zoo //thesis yr ia

zoo //thesis yr ia

13-11-2022

18:51

This is giving me very idol jm vibes who, mins before going on stage, receives a text from his lawyer confirming his divorce from min Yg. It was a marriage of convenience,So he doesn’t understand why his heart suddenly clenches at the thought of not returning home to Yg’s scent

Anyway Jm panics. He’s not sure whether he remembers where he kept his favourite yellow pajamas that he will want to wear tonight when he returns home. Or whether the new toothbrush that was sitting on the counter this morning was supposed to be his.

Yg would know. Yg always knows. He texts Yg on a whim, asking him to stay. Just for tonight. Atleast for tonight. »you can’t ask me to stay when you’ve never wanted me once in the past year Jm-ah«

His hands tremble as he reads the text. “Is everything alright, Jm-ssi?” His makeup artist asks, concern knotted in her brows. /he’s going to leave me/ “Yes,” Jm gulps. He shuts his eyes close right and calms his breath as the stage director gives him a 2 min countdown.

He can do this. Put on his boots, his camera ready smile and give the best performance of his life. He’s been trained years for this. So he forces his brain to shut, detaches himself from the greater part of his reality.

Maybe if he doesn’t think about it too much, he can blame the loud thrum of his heart on the rush of adrenaline.

Once he gives his ending ments and goes off stage, he takes off to his car waiting outside in record time. Makeup still unwashed, belt buckled in the wrong hole and the remains of sweat still lingering on his body.

But somehow, he cannot seem to care about his looks right now. He hopes to God Yg is still at the apartment they share. And a small part of him tells him he’d be. Because Yg is always there.

He runs out before the car even comes to a halt, stumbling as he makes his way through the basement to the lift lobby. /please be home. Please be home/ he thinks as he rummages through his bag for the keys.

As soon as he opens the door, he’s welcomed with the smell of homemade kimchi and instant noodles. His favourite after a gruelling day. Yg’s smile doesn’t reach his eyes as he tells Jm to eat, food already laid out on the table.

Jm doesn’t think he can eat. He feels his heart stuck in his throat. But no matter how much he insists m, Yg tells him they’re not talking until Jm eats.

As soon as he takes the first bite, quite forcefully, he realises how much he’d needed this. He’s exhausted. And Yg’s instant noodles, even, had always tasted much better than when Jm made it.

But Yg had never told him what he would add. Jm had asked him multiple times how he cooked it, what the secret ingredient was, and Yg had merely brushed him off saying ‘it’s how everyone makes it’.

Once he’s done eating, he figures it’s best to start with an apology. Yg would probably ask, at some point, why exactly he asked him to stay, and although Jm doesn’t know how to answer it yet, he’ll stall until he does.

“Im sorry for being late, hyung. You know..the concert. But I came as soon as we wrapped up.” “You don’t need to apologise for that Jm. I don’t expect you to choose me over your career,” Yg says, as usual with an air of calmness around him.

“In fact, I don’t expect you to choose me at all.” Jm’s breath stutters. He’s not sure what to make of that. Or how to answer it when Yg says it with such conviction that’ll make anyone believe.

“Why’d you ask me to stay, anyway?” Jm opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. He doesn’t know why he asked. He doesn’t know why he feels that once Yg leaves, the world would crash down on him. /it’s only been a year. He’ll learn to be without Yg/he forces himself to believe

“I didn’t think you’d leave so soon,” he mutters out at last. “You didn’t think?” Yg’s voice rises up a notch. “I mean-“ “The fuck do you mean you didn’t think??” Yg yells at him. He’s never had Yg yell at him. Jm gasps, his vision gets blurry.

“Don’t- scream at me.” “Ah,” Yg chuckles drily. “It’s always about you, isn’t it. It’s always about you. And your career. Your contracts. Your friends. It’s always fcking about you!”

“You know why you asked me to stay, Jm? You asked because you fcking /knew/ I would,” he seethes. “Because you wanted to see, for one last time, just how much power YOU had over me.” Jm stares at Yg, horrified and mute.

“Even though it all works out in your favour. This farce of our marriage. Our divorce. The fkn money you get out of this to save your dying company. It’s still not enough, is it? “Hyung, please,” jms lip quivers. Yg runs a hand through his hair, breathing in deep.

“Then tell me Jm, tell me why’d you asked me to stay. Give me one good reason. No fck. Give me /any/ reason. The lamest of excuses you can think of and I’ll believe you. I swear to god I’ll believe you,” Yg pleads. “Say something. Anything Jm-ah”

“Hyung..” “Yes, Jm-ah,” Yg encourages. Jm wants to tell him how the alimony is the last thing on his mind. How he hadn’t even thought of it until Yg brought it up. That Jm isn’t that selfish when it comes to Yg.

But it’s pointless. It doesn’t matter when the foundation of their marriage had been just that. Jm could go on about how the things he’s done for Yg ever since have only been because…because Jm had simply wanted to.

But it’s pointless when the the foundation is so shaky, so fragile.

“I’m sorry,” he breathes out at last. The last remnants of hope drain out of Yg’s eyes. And JM’s are too blurry to notice it. Yg doesn’t say anything after that. The lump in his throat threatening to burst if he even gets out a syllable.

He gets up, preparing to leave but his feet stay frozen. They stay like that for a while. Jm seated on their- no JM’s- dining table, head bent low, while Yg stands across from him, staring out towards the Seoul skyline.

Their words hang in air between them, too heavy with emotions, too sacred to be said out loud as the two struggle to call themselves. “Alright, then,” Yg’s voice comes out a whisper. He picks up his keys and wallet from the table, and leaves in one swift motion.

If he pauses now, he’ll never be able to leave. Jm stays silent, fingernails digging into his thighs as he tries to not look at Yg’s retreating back. If he looks, he might not be able to hold himself back. Might fling himself at the elders feet, pull him back, beg him to stay

So he doesn’t look. /you don’t know how to live without him/ a part of his brain supplies. /he’s just a habit/ the other part says. /you can unlearn habits/

so he waits. waits until he hears the lock at their front door click, and suddenly his body doest support his weight anymore. he's drained of everything he has. the ache in his muscles too unbearable. the room too cold. the throbbing in his head too loud.

he falls of the chair, back against the foot of the table he shared countless meals with Yg on. the thought makes him curl into himself, face pressed against his knees. "i lo-love you," he hiccups. "i wan-ted you to- to stay 'cause i- i love you."

But Yg isnt here anymore. Yg would never be here anymore. it is only the walls of his apartment, with the memories of the one year the two shared etched on them.

"hold me," he sobs. "Yg hy-hyung. please- please hold me." he says, wrapping his arms around himself. "why won-t y-you hold me" The tears never seem to stop. his body hurts with the exertion of crying.

he isnt sure how much time has passed, but he's lying on the cold marbled floor, too tired to even sit back up and yet he cant seem to fall asleep. he picks up his phone at last and opens it to yg's chat.

»yoong hyujg m sory« »but« »I csnt find yelkow pajamss« »third drawer from the left. Under the one you keeps your socks in. They’re right on top, you’ll see easily« »thsnk yio hyunf« »yiourw the brst«

Jm supports himself up on his elbows with all his strength. he stumbles a few times but somehow makes it to his closet, leaning gainst the walls that seem to close in on him. the pajamas are right where Yg said they'd be.

he comes back around to lie on his bed, but somehow the thought feels too revolting. he walks out of his room, until he's stading right infront of the door that opens to Yg's. It used to be the guest room before he Yg came into to his life and now he wonders

if he would ever be able to look at it and not think of it as Yg's.He's never really been in here since Yg came to live in. he takes in a shuddering breath as he pushes down the handle.

The fear of being hit with Yg's memories dies down as soon as the door opens. The room is clean. too clean. there's nothing that belongs to Yg that's left behind. it is almost as it he has erased all of himself from Jm's house. as if he was never even here.

Jm shuts his eyes, grabbing tightly at his pajamas as his other hand folds around the door handle. he needs to do it. he needs to go in and rip off the band-aid at once. he plants himself face first onto the bed as he quickly walks towards it.

the sheets smell fresh out of the laundry and nothing of Yg. it rips an ugly loud sob out of him as he starts crying again, sobs muffled against the covers.

"im sorry. i love you," is the last thing he cries out before exhaustion takes the best of him and he drifts off to a fitful slumber, his favorite yellow pajamas forgotten in his hands.

He wakes up to an irritating pain in his neck, courtesy of the position he’d slept in. He panics at the unusual surroundings at first, looking around with eyes blown wide to figure out where he is. Until realisation dawns on him with how his eyes burn with dryness.

Yg’s gone and Jm is the only one left in here. His chest constricts. The absence of Yg manifests as a hole in his heart, big and wide and Jm wonders when Yg made his own place there.

He lies back down on his side, curled against one of Yg’s pillows. /it isn’t Yg’s anymore/ his brain reasons and Jm shuts his eyes to it. /it’s his. it’ll never not be his/ A tear trickles down the bridge of his nose. The day would probably be too tiring.

What with the media having a field day with the newest gossip today that the two had managed to kept under wraps under their divorce had been finalised. Maybe they’ll blame Yg. He has always been the ruthless CEO of the min corp. after all.

And Jm, Jm has always been the poster boy for the most well-mannered idol in all of South Korea, that people couldn’t not sympathise with. Or maybe…maybe they’ll know. They’ll see the papers. They’ll see how much Jm got in his alimony. They’ll call him a gold digger.

An idol who used his fame in the most vulgar way. Jm would be stripped of all that he has managed to build. He’ll lose everything, just like he lost Yg. As soon as the first pained cry is about to rip out of his chest, his phone pings in his pocket, distracting him.

It’s a text from Yg. »are you alright?« It does nothing but make him cry harder. A notification pops up again as he’s trying to open the first one. »avoid the news if you can. you know they never say anything worthwhile«

His fingers hover over the keypad, unsure of what to say, how to ask Yg to come back without saying it outright. He doesn’t think he has the right to, anyway. »there’s pancake mix in the fridge. won’t take long to make. don’t leave without eating«

»do I need to give out a statement« he types out at last. »not if you don’t want to. I’ll handle it. it’ll die down soon anyway« »okay hyung« »thank you hyung« »it’s alright« »I’m sorry« »you don’t need to apologise for anything«

Jm does. He knows he does. But if Yg says he doesn’t, he won’t. He’ll take it. He’ll take anything Yg gives him at this point because it’s only scarps of his concern that Jm masks as affection that he’ll get now.

Yg isn’t his. He’s gone. Taken away everything that was his from jm’s life. Even the ‘min’ in his name and left him with only half of what he was. Is he a glass half full? Or a glass half empty?

None of them sound convincing enough to him and somehow the tears find their way back and Jm shuts his eyes close until he falls asleep once again.

[ok so how about I go work on my thesis for a couple of hours and come back?]

The ringing of his phone jolts him awake a few hours later. His eyes hurt with the light of the screen so he picks it up without looking at the caller ID. "hello?" he says groggily. "min," its TH, his manager who's come to be his best friend over the years.

"You didnt come in for your afternoon call today and i-i just saw the news." TH sounds like he doesnt wan to talk about it. well, neither does JM. so he merely hums. "you wanna take a few days off? i'll deal with the boss and your appointments-" "no," JM cuts him off.

he doesnt want to spend the day cooped up in YG's bed. maybe a distraction would be nice. maybe he can exhaust himself to the point that he doesnt feel anything except the ache in his muscles. that is bearable. "i'll come in in an hour." "you sure. you dont really have to."

"i want to," he says and disconnects abruptly. he cant be bothered with pleasantries when his whole world seems to be crashing down. he shakes the thought out of his head. He's cried enough for one day. no more. no more.

he forces himself out of bed and goes back to his own room. his own reflection in the bathroom mirror makes him shiver. he looks...pathetic. face swollen, drool marks all over his face. so much for being an idol, he thinks.

he brushes mechanically, without once looking at the mirror and then takes a cold shower, all the while willing his thought to not go wandering about and end up at Yg. he fixes his gaze on a slight crack in the shower tiles he'd found a few days ago and zones out.

until the thin line starts reminding him of how Yg has left him broken too and then he grabs his hair and screams and looks away. maybe if he tries hard enough, he would never be reminded of Yg again.

he goes to make breakfast once he's out of the bathroom, simply because Yg told him to. He'll listen to him. maybe if he meets him some time, he'll tell Yg how he didnt let the mix go to waste, how he didnt skip on breakfast.

and maybe Yg will ruffle his hair and smile at him, just like he always did when he wanted to praise Jm. but this time, Jm wouldnt crinkle his nose, wouldnt push his hand away, wouldnt say 'dont mess up my hair, hyung'. Jm would smile at him and take all the praises he can get.

its cruel how Yg took away everything except the memories he engraved in his bones nd Jm is left to carry their weight all on his own. Jm takes in a deep breath to steady himself as he turns on the knob and then goes around to take out the mix.

the smell of butter sizzling on the pan brings out a small smile on his face. and even the stray tear that falls in a corner of the pan (that evaporates just as quicky) doesnt make his smile falter.

but its not until he's pouring the batter in the pan, that his hand slips a little lower and hot edge makes contact with his knuckles. he pulls back at once, the batter falling all over the counter as he brings his hand up to put it into his mouth to sooth the burn

he's not clumsy. he's never been this clumsy and it frustrates him to no end. "yg hyung," he calls out and receives only silence in response. "YG HYUNG!," he yells, fully aware of how there's no one else in his apartment.

it happens again then. the tight squeeze in his chest that sends his heart up, constricting his chest. he cant breathe. he doesnt think he'll ever be able to breathe again. he falls against the cabinet, hand coming up to rub at his chest.

his head spins, heartbeat too loud in his ears. he's dying. he's dying but death never comes. no matter how much his chest heaves and he struggles to breathe, he doesnt die. this is worse than death, he thinks.

he ends up splayed on the floor once again on a pillow of his own tears and wonders if the pain will ever go away.

he ends up reaching his company building over two hours later, texting an apology to TH on the way about how he got caught up working on a song and forgot the time.

TH assures him its alright and then he pockets his phone before he can say anything else. TH always has something else to say. So TH's 'take the back entrance. too much reps at the front' goes unread.

by the time he realizes that on his own, his car is engulfed in a swarm of reporters. he thankful for the shades and mask he's wearing, for the tinted windows of the car, but the banging on his vehicle thrums too loud in his head.

the car soon finds its way into the basement, but not before JM catches a few of their words. '..manipulated a chaebol..' '..were you forced into it..' '..blot on the society..'

no matter how much he tries, they circle round and round in his head until he has to ask the performance director for a five minute break so he can lock himself up in the nearest bathroom stall and cry into his hands to muffle his sobs.

he presses his lips tight when he hears someone walk in. he holds his breath as there's a knock on his door. "JM-ah." maybe if he stays quiet, he'll go away. "I know youre in there, jm." "leave me alone, TH," his voice comes out shakier than he'd expected.

"fck off," he deadpans. " im not leaving you alone to wallow in self-pity. get the fck out." Jm doesnt move. "YAH. JIMI-" jm clicks open the lock. TH throws his arms around him as soon as he sees JM and the easiness and warmth of his embrace has all of JM's facade crumble.

he sobs in his on his shoulders. but it doesnt come without a pinch of guilt that he's making TH go through the pains of calming him down. TH lets him cry as much as he wants. "let it out," he says and JM does.

"shit, jm-ah, i didnt know you were so down bad for him," TH tries to make light of the situation when JM calms down a bit. but it only makes his lower lip curl out as another wave of tears hit him. "shit. jm. i didnt mean it like that."

JM assures him he's fine and that he should go back to practice. "wanna go out for drinks later?" "um. i have some work so im gonna head home i guess." "oh. alright."

when jm returns home though, he skips dinner (YG didnt say he should have dinner) and heads straight to Yg's room where he curls up against his pillow and cries until the pillow under his head is too wet.

so he turns it around and then cries some more until exhaustion gets to best of him.

he wakes up sometime in the middle of the night. he's wide awake, no ounce of sleep in his eyes and suddenly the house seems too big for him. he gets up and goes into YG's en suite.

his shelves are all clean, nothing except the things that JM had already kept there in case of an unannounced guest. he wonders if YG took everything so he wouldnt ever have to come back. wouldnt ever have a reason to come back.

jm sinks into the bathtub, suddenly feeling too weak, and turns around the knob to the cold shower, and plugs in the drain. by the time the bathtub fills up, he's shivering with cold. JM doesnt have the strength to turn it back off and he lets it overflow.

he lets his tears flow easily under the shower. he doesnt need to acknowledge them if they cant even be seen. Yg is gone. and he's never coming back. and jm will have to live with that. his head hurts. maybe if Yg was here he could complain. or maybe not.

Jm would never bother himself with complaints again. because Yg is gone and no matter how much jm cries out for him, he isnt coming back.

"was i so insufferable, hyung?" he wonders out loud. "so unlikeable?" he shivers. he knows he'll probably be sick of he doesnt get out now but he cant find it in himself to care. he cannot seem to care about anything lately. "why wont you come back?"

Jm dozes off for a moment in the tub and jolts awake as a violent shiver runs down his spine. He gets up too quickly, slips and is saved by a hairs breadth from falling on his head. He turns off the shower and goes back to bed, skin turned to prunes.

He wakes up with a slight fever the next day. But he promised TH he wouldn’t sit around and wallow so he readies himself for work. Jm thinks he could give up feeling everything if only his pain would go away with that too. His heart seems to small against the world.

Muscles too worn out to bear any more pain. Thoughts too focused on the one man he doesn’t have in his life anymore to think about anything else.

He turns off his internet for the next few days, aware of how looking at the news might just make it way worse and goes back to work diligently for the next few days.

And if he takes way more breaks than usual, keeps himself locked up for a little longer in the stalls because the constant lump in his throat sometimes (too often) gets too big in his throat to ignore, then no one has to know.

TH keeps checking up on him. And Jm keeps responding in half truths or outright lies. “I’m fine.” “I ate.” “I’ve been doing much better lately.” He isn’t. He’s been doing worse.

The morning coffee isn’t right because somehow, after all those years of making it himself, suddenly it was only Yg who know the right amount of sugar in it. So it usually goes down the drain. His laundry has been piling up ‘cause the instructions on the machine are fading away

Half eaten take away boxes in the living room smhave started smelling rotten and Jm has started avoiding going in there. Everything seems like too much work. Except crying. Jm has been crying a lot lately.

The urge to pick up his voice and call Yg just so he can hear his voice is too strong. But he also doesn’t want to bother him anymore. He doesn’t know how or when Yg started feeling like home.

And now Jm is homeless. Cold and shivering without the shelter of Yg’s warm words and careful touches that he’d always taken for granted.

He’s angry at him on some days. For leaving so easily. For being the one to walk out first. For making Jm hurt. On those days he screams and screams until his voice gives out or his curses turn into wailing sobs. Whichever is first.

He walks like a ghost of his past self through the corridors of his company building. A practices smile plastered on his face as he bows and greets everyone. Maybe if he acts enough, he wouldn’t be able to differentiate reality from his facade.

But that is only until he receives a text from Yg, five and three quarters of a day since he left. »jm« »can you come over to the office tomo?« »or anytime you’re frer« »free« »or I’ll come over if that’s preferable to you« »there’s some paperwork that n« »needs to be signed«

»can you come« »it’s okay if you can’t« »come« Jm receives the texts sent at 3 am the morning after. Yg must’ve been too tired to text. Or too indifferent. »okay. is 4pm alright? I have a schedule till 3«

He shoots a quick text to TH, as his heart beats erratically against his chest, asking if it’d be alright if he doesn’t come today. The reply comes affirmative and then Jm tucks himself under the covers once again, The thought of seeing Yg too overwhelming.

—tbd. I’ll be back tomo :). Your girl got a thesis to do (yuckies). But lemme know if you like it. Your interactions really keep me going. Thank you for reading!

JM thinks he's never been as nervous as he is now. his cuticles suffer the brunt of his anxiety as he keeps peeling them off. even under the comforting darkness of the cover, his eyes stay open, fixed on the phone screen in front of him, waiting to ping with YG's text.

as much as he's wanted to have even a glimpse of YG in the past few days, he isnt sure he wants to see him. its scary. its nerve wracking. /its just a signature/ he tries to calm himself. and fails.

maybe yg will miss the text. maybe he'll reply too late and then jm can make up another excuse. and then jm wouldnt have to face him. maybe jm will fal asleep and wake up way into the night. jm doesnt know if he can face him and keep himself from breaking down in front of him.

tears come too easy to him lately. and he doesnt want to be so pathetic infront of yg. but theres also the other part of him. the one jm wants to cling to desperately.

the one that sends shivers down his spine, whispers softly into his ears that maybe, maybe yg would take one look at him and realize that he wants him. that maybe yg is calling him over because he misses him too. that yg has been feeling just as hurt as jm.

wishful thinking, he shakes his head.

Jm jolts when the phone vibrates next to him. »alright. where shall I send the driver?« »i have my own. you don’t need to« »yes. I know« Jm doesn’t know what to make of his message. Yg confuses him. So he puts an alarm for an hour and goes back to sleep.

As it happens, he misses the alarm and wakes up in panic. He has less than an hour to get ready so he can reach on time. He gets out of bed quickly, rushing to brush and shower and change. Deciding what to wear seems like a humongous task.

Especially since the first thought that comes up in his head every time he picks something out, is if Yg would like it. And as much as he wants to choose for himself, the thought seems stuck in his head.

He settles on a baby blue shirt (the one Yg picked up for him the only time they went shopping together. maybe Yg would see the effort he put in. Maybe Yg would realise Jm isn’t as selfish as he thinks), and pairs it up with navy blue pants.

He makes sure to eat a light lunch. Just so he doesn’t have to lie in case Yg asks him if he ate. Once he’s done, he debates whether he should put on a light makeup, maybe just a gloss and some blush. But the thought dies a quick death once he looks at the time.

Shit. He’s going to be late. He forgoes any cosmetics completely, puts on his mask and sunglasses and rushes out. By the time he reaches the min corp building in gangnam, his right calf hurts from having tapping his foot all throughout the ride.

But the (in)sane part of his brain has gotten way too loud. The divorce had been finalised, his lawyer had told him there wasn’t any more paperwork left and that he wouldn’t have never have to see min Yg ever again.

So it’s only logical that Yg called him just because he wanted to, right? /right/

He realises, belatedly, that’s it’s the first day in what seems like eternity that he hasn’t cried even once. Sure, he’s spent most of it sleeping and half the day still remains, but it must count for something.

By the time he asks his way around and reaches the top floor of another of one of gangnam’s high- rises, he’s feeling the lightest he’s felt in days. And it pulls out a smile on his face.

He’s somehow managed to reach a little early. Sehi, Yg’s secretary, as she introduces herself, leads him to Yg’s office and informs him how he’s stuck in some board meeting but would soon be here. Jm smiles politely at her when she apologises on his behalf.

“Would you care for some tea, mr park?” Jm thinks she must be a fan with the way she blushes. It makes him feel at ease, somehow. He lets her go, saying he doesn’t need anything and would be fine with waiting.

“Was that park fkn Jm who just walked in?” Jm looks up from where he’s surveying Yg’s table, only to see the door has been left slightly ajar, most likely as a mistake. But the thought of people recognising him oh Yg’s workplace, especially since he hasn’t been here, feels nice

As he starts towards the door to close it shut, not wanting to eavesdrop even though he had never meant to, he hears the voice again. “Didn’t think he’d walk in here himself after everything. Must take ,” the voice says again. And suddenly it has JMs jaw tick.

“No self respecting man would, in my opinion,” it’s sehi this time, Jm recognises. His nails dig against the skin of his palms. They’re going to leave marks and TH is not gonna be too happy about it.

“10000 won says he’s gonna be moaning out Yg’s name less than 10 minutes after he walks in,” the first voice giggles. “Fcking cheap,” sehi says. The two laugh before sehi continues. “He better be quick though, he has another date later tonight with sunmi.” JM’s heart drops.

His ears rings and no matter how much he tries to focus, he cant hear anymore over the loudness of his own racing thoughts. The office feels too big one moment and too suffocating the next. he wants to run away but his feet seem to be laden with steel.

he grabs the edge of the table to steady himself. 'why' he breathes out shakily.

he shuts his eyes close. but no matter how much he tries, the needles stabbing in his chest dont go away. no matter how much he wills it, he cant shut his eyes to the pain. its loud and its blinding.

he mentally counts to ten and fishes out his phone from his back pocket and finally turns on his internet for the first time in days.

Its on every other media outlet. every article. he keeps scrolling and scrolling but the search under his name only shows that one thing. 'compromising pictures of chaebol ceo with co-worker surface up after divorce'

jm wants to throw up as soon as he sees them. there's only a couple of them, blurry and taken from too far off, but there's no mistaking who is in those pictures. one year is long enough to memorize the every dip and curve someone.

'no. no. no no no. please. no' he gulps and looks towards the ceiling so his tears dont fall off. so yg doesnt see them. he turns his head to the left and catches the sight of himself in the mirror.

the shirt hangs loosely on his shoulders and he wonders if Yg even remembers it. or was it only jm who'd jotted it down and kept it sacred for the two of them. how Yg had held his hand and ran with JM in tow as a few fans had followed after them on recognising jm.

how they had laughed, bent over and tired once they'd reached the terrace and Yg had Yg's gaze had stayed longer than necessary on him. how jm had shuddered at the sight of wind blowing Yg's hair all over his face. 'you look like such a fckng clown,' he whispers.

As he sees the first tear roll down his face in the mirror, he thinks if this was why Yg had walked away so easily. How long had it been since he wanted to leave? How long did he force himself to stay?

‘Avoid the news of you can. You know they never says anything worthwhile’ Yg’s message runs in his head and he feels like as if he’s been played for a joke. Stupid. Jm had been so stupid to think it was because Yg cared.

He looks at his own eyes and feels vulnerable and wishes he had stayed home a little bit longer, put on a full face of makeup. Maybe that way he wouldn’t feel as naked as he does now. He looks away and takes in a shuddering, deep breath and forces himself to breathe normally.

He quickly wipes off his tears with the sleeve of his shirt as he hears the familiar padding of Yg’s feet’s against the floor and takes a seat to ground himself.

he doesnt turn around when the door opens behind him, the idea of looking directly at Yg feels too overwhelming right now. The elder sits on the chair next to him, instead of going around and sitting on his own.

it makes place his hands under his thighs as he shifts slightly to the left in his seat, a little away from Yg. Jm keeps his gaze fixed on the table ahead and so does Yg. "thank you for coming in," he says. /one last time./ jm nods his head.

“Have you been well, Jm-ssi?” Yg tries again. “Don’t,” JMs voice is barely above a whisper. “I’m sorry?” Yg turns towards him. “I’m-im not Jm-ssi,” he shakes his head. “Don’t be so formal with me. Don’t act like the last one year did not happen.”

“I’m sorry, I-I thought you would prefer it if we kept it that way.” Jm presses his lips together and looks away. He feels on edge and it doesn’t sit right with him. The silence stretches between them before Yg chooses to break it again. “Have you been eating well, Jm?”

/no/ “Yes.” Somehow, lying to Yg doesn’t feel so world shattering anymore. “What’d you have for breakfast?” “I..fruits.” “Lunch?” “I don’t- don’t remember. Some takeout.” “Did you find you pajamas that day?” “Yes.”

“You know you have to wash them in cold water, right, or else-“ “Stop it,” jm yells out in frustration but quickly gets a hold of himself, suddenly too aware of ears listening in on them. He doesn’t want to creat a scandal, so he brings his voice down a notch as he turns to Yg.

“I’m not a fcking child. Stop coddling me like one. I can take of myself.” he feels his eyes stinging. “What? Do you think I’m heartbroken that you left, huh?” He laughs out drily.

“Please. Don’t give yourself too much credit. I’m so. fcking. relieved. I don’t have to wake up to your god awful shower gel everyday. I hate it. Did I ever tell you that? I HATE IT!” He chest heaves as he tries to regain his breath.

“I don’t fcking need you sitting on my head all day to-“ “I’m sorry.” Jm feels like he’s been shoved against a brick wall. “Wh-what?”

“I’m sorry. I was just asking because you never ate before leaving for work unless you were forced to,” Yg says plainly. “I didn’t mean to make it seem like you couldn’t take care of yourself. I’m sorry.”

Jm gulps. After everything he’s said, he feels like a berated child. He’d let his emotions get the best of him. He’d misunderstood what Yg said because his judgment was too clouded by everything he’d read on the internet.

And even though that was true, Jm shouldn’t have found fault in each one of Yg’s actions. But it wasn’t his fault when everything Jm had imagined in his head had crumbled down only moments before.

Stupid. He felt stupid. How many times was Yg going to make him feel stupid in one day?

Jm thinks he should come with a ‘fragile. handle with care.’ sticker with how many outbursts he’s had lately. He feels pathetic. He looks away, unable to hold Yg’s gaze because in Jm’s eyes, it felt as if Yg was looking at him like he always did. With affection. With care.

And Jm does not think he can look into them and not lose himself again.

He hears Yg take in a deep breath then. He wonders when this happened, these excruciating silences between them, the strain of putting words to their feelings. Yg had always been easy. Comfortable. Yg clears his throat. “I was about to have my lunch.Would you like to join?”

His voice sounds unsure and Jm hates it. “You haven’t had lunch yet?” “I got caught up with work. And it kept getting delayed,” he says as he sends out a text message.

Sehi comes in minutes later with a tray of food and Jm makes it a point to glare in her particular direction. She gets a little queasy as she keeps stealing glances at him and Jm thinks he likes it.

There’s two full bowls of bibimbap along with several dishes and Jm wants to tell Yg he wouldn’t be able to stomach all of it down. But Yg insists when Jm makes a face and as soon as he takes a bite, there is no mistaking the taste of Yg’s food. He’s made it. Jm is sure if it

He wants to think, to believe desperately that Yg specifically did it for him, but the images of him cozying up with another woman flash in his head. So he keeps his silence and lets himself be grateful for the first proper meal he’s having ever since Yg left.

“Does it taste alright?” Yg asks. Jm hums around the food. “It’s really good, hyung.” He says, a genuine smile on his lips. “Yeah?” Yg smiles back at him. “There’s this new place that opened right around the corner,” he says. “They’re really good.

I’ve been ordering from them for weeks now, Jm-ah. This too,” he points at the food. “If you want, I could hook them up with you, maybe ask them for a tiffin service, you know. It’s so well cooked. Always. You wouldn’t have to worry about cooking, ever. I’ll talk to them, yeah?”

Yg rambles when he lies. Jm wants to cry.

“No its- it’s okay. I’ll manage,” he chuckles hesistantly. “Why?,” Yg’s pitch rises a notch. “It’s- it’s not good?” “No. Hyung. It is. It’s just- I’ve been learning how to cook,” he giggles. “I’m quite decent, you know?” “You are?”

“Yeah. You’d be surprised at how a week alone can change a person.” Jm freezes. He hadn’t meant to sound it the way it does. Yg stares at him for a moment before he resumes eating without a word. Stupid count three, Jm curses himself.

they eat mostly in silence and jm doesnt mind it. the food tastes too good to worry about anything else. "so," Yg says, as he's wiping down his face with a napkin. "does my shower gel /really/ smell that bad."

Jm's first instinct is to apologise, to tell yg he didnt mean it at all. (that JM rubbed his nose raw on Yg's sheets the first couple of days to get a faint whiff of it. but he thinks he can omit out this part.)

but then he sees the hint of teasing mirth in the elder's eyes and his stomach is too full and he cant help as his jaw drops open in a gasp. "are you teasing me, hyung?" he whines.

Yg bursts out in a laugh then. the one that shows his kitten teeth and pink gums and Jm takes a moment to burn it down into his memory in case he forgets, before he starts laughing himself.

"it smells like goo," JM teases back as his laughter comes down to a giggle. "you're goo." "and that," jm presses, "is the worst comeback in the history of comebacks. and that's saying something since all of your comebacks suck."

Yg opens his mouth to respond but Jm cuts him off instantly. "'you suck' is what you were about to say, right?" JM cocks an eyebrow. "hey," Yg points a finger at him. he opens his mouth and closes it back a couple of times.

then he pulls back his finger and rests back against his chair. "with the way you have my comebacks memorised JM-ah, it makes me think you actually like them," he says, tone cocky. /i love you/ "and he's self obsessed as well," jm rolls his eyes.

"of course i am. have you looked at me," yg says, running a hand through his air and acting so full of himself. Jm's cheeks hurt from smiling.

this is his Yg. this is the Yg Jm fell in love with. this is the YG that makes a fool out of himself just to make Jm forget of all of worries, his problems. this is the Yg Jm lost.

their conversation flows easily and jm sinks into it. with Yg, it feels easy to forget. with Yg, everything seems easy. with Yg, life isnt a series of ups and downs. it is a constant. it is home.

but it doesnt last long, just as no dream does no dream does. you wake up at one point, somewhere close to the finish line but never really reaching it, and then reality takes over and everything seems too much.

there's a knock of his door. Yg's face forms into a frown as sehi walks in and lets him know he has an important call. and suddelny, Yg seems too far away to Jm, out of his reach.

"i should leave," he says. he doesnt want to stay any longer and make himself a witness to Yg leave for his 'date'. "already?" "i-i gotta go back to the company, hyung. schedule tomorrow," he giggles. "need to prepare." "oh." Yg says. "i'll take you, then." he gets up to.

"no. no," jm shakes his head, taking a step back. Yg raises an eyebrow. "i'll be fine. dont wanna be a bother," he chuckles. "my driver is waiting downstairs, anyway." "Oh. Okay."

Yg comes around the table then, towards Jm and he wacthes as his steps become hesitant the closer he gets. Yg raises both arms. then keeps one back down, then raises it again. they end up parting with a handshake and a slight bow of their heads.

he walks through the corridor with his head held high and shoulders taut, aware of the lingering gazes on him. he clenches his jaw, steps stiff. he isnt sure if he'll be able to walk all the way down, farther away from Yg, without losing his stepping somewhere or the other.

he hopes to God no one sees him. a small, soft part of him is thankful Yg didnt have to feel this way when he had walked off. Jm thinks a part of him would have died if he ever had to see Yg go through it.

He somehow makes it to his car. A shiver runs down his spine as he shuts the door close. This is reality and it feels too much. He takes out his phone and shoots a quick text to TH. »drinks @ mine tonight?« He sleeps the whole ride back home.

Just in case y’all decide to NOT listen to the song I’ve been listening to as I write, here’s the lyrics (PS I haven’t highlighted the text, it’s as i found them, but I guess it still works ‘cause..yk..Jm giggles…when he lies)

TH walks into his apartment minutes later after Jm does. Jm is already down a couple of glasses by then. He runs over and crashes TH in a hug. TH grunts. "ew. when did you become such a hugger." JM giggles and passes him a drink.

Jm has always been a light drinker. the alcohold oesnt even settle in his system and he starts getting dizzy. Yg would always slide the glass farther away from JM's reach as soon as the elder felt like it was enough.

Jm would whine and pout but it would only last so long because soon he would not even remember the existence of any glass for that matter. but Yg isnt here. and the thought of him only makes Jm chug donw even more of the burning liquid.

he thinks he laughs a lot. TH makes nice jokes. he'll let him know later. he thinks he hits TH with a pillow once. or twice. or maybe he makes a fort with them and settles under it until TH pulls him out.

he thinks he also asks TH at some point if a person can like two people at the same time (he wants to replace 'like' with 'love' he thinks the word wouldnt roll off his tongue right. he doesnt remember what TH answers.

the memories are all hazy. he sees YG pull him up and place him down on the couch and tuck him under a blanket. Jm asks him to stay and Yg does. Jm cries himself to sleep in Yg's lap as the elder runs his fingers through his hair and sings him a song.

but when Jm wakes up, with a throbbing headache and blurry eyes, he's lying on the marble floor, the table cover on top of him. the apartment too cold, too lonely.

he struggles as he tries to get up and look for his phone. luckily its on the couch, within a hands reach. its 1.52pm and theres a text from TH. he strains his eyes as the letters start forming into words.

»there’s no fcking way I’m gonna say this to your face but you said some things tonight that don’t sit right with me at all. 1. you’re not going to be sad forever. Some day min Yg would just be a fading wound that you forget about because it doesn’t hurt anymore.

nobody is sad forever. Ask the seed buried in winter snow that turns to a rose in spring (don’t ask me what that means, my therapist told me so and I didn’t wanna look dumb so I just nodded my head). And if spring comes and you’re still sad, we can go on a trip.

2. What’s the point of living if you don’t take up too much space? 3. THAT asshole is not the only person in the world. There are other assholes. Trust me. 4. Just because he doesn’t love you, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Bitch, I fcking love you.

you are loved. You are loved. You are loved.«

TH always has something to say. He types out a quick reply to him. »is it possible to take a few days off?« His phone pings before he can keep it back down. »sure bestie« Jm closes his eyes to call his dizzying head and feels his gut churning all too suddenly.

His knees feel weak and he ends up puking on the living room floor. He’s going to have to clean it. He doesn’t want to clean it. He climbs up on the couch, rolls around and buries his face into the pillows and cries softly until he falls asleep once again.

When he wakes up, he has a new found determination. He cleans up the vomit and then goes to his room and throws the first clothes that come into his hands in a bag and books the first ticket out of Seoul.

"hah," she gasps. "jm-ah!" her voice is loud and excited and it drowns out the ringing in Jm's ears. "my love," she says. and then JM is being held in a vice grip. "darling!" she screams out next to jm's ear, "look! our jm-ah came home."

he thinks he likes this loudness. but then his father comes into view, and the smile he sees on his face is probably a very strong contender.

he's led in as both his parents subtly fight over each other to hold him, both his hands engulfed in each one of theirs as his appa takes his bag away. they dont ask him why he came. they never ask him that. maybe that is why JM had came over on a whim.

but there's a part of him that weighs heavy on him. even though they were aware of the marriage, his parents had never known of the contract. never known that it would eventually come to an end.

jm had even forgotten to let them know of the divorce and his mom had called him crying one day, after learning about it through the news (or the neighbours, who knows) and jm had shut her down rudely before when his ribs threatened to crush him again.

he'd felt like shit after that and found another reason to cry himself to sleep that night.

he wonders if he deserves their kindness. he thinks if they werent his parents, maybe they wouldve gotten tired of him by now. maybe they'd have left him too.

he balls his hands into fists. he's not going to cry. he's not going to cry infront of them. he's here after an year too long. he's not going to cry.

within an hour of his arrival, his mother has made an extensive list of ingredients and his father has left home to go buy them. "appa," he sighs tiredly, "just order it. i've told you there's this app-"

"no," his mother's voice comes from the kitchen."we ordered apples and they tasted rotten. this is all just a gimmick. a headache." "eomma, that was /one/ time."

"and we dont want it to happen another time, jm-ah. yeobo," she addresses his father. "go. and dont you dare to stop to talk to mr lee. come back quick." jm turns around to look at his father. he stands there looking like a berated child. he sighs and gives a pointed look to jm

"are you still here?" his eomma says and the man practically runs out. jm laughs.

they dont ask him about the divorce and jm doesnt bring it up himself. even though he sees his parents steal looks between them, jm chooses to ignore it. he feels fine. this is home and it is comfortable. jm is going to let himself breathe.

park one (his eomma) and park two (appa) keep bickering among themselves and park three tries to hold back his laughter (he's on his mother's side after all)

its somewhere in the middle of dinner, as his mother forces another serving on his plate, careful to not comment on his weight (jm knows because he had told her off one day and she had never brought it up again),

and his father is telling him about how his eomma didnt let him watch the football match yesterday, that it hits him. he never signed any papers. and yg never asked him to.

he hears the hand of the wall clock tick. the ringing in his ears gets louder than his parents voices. why did Yg call him? why did Yg call him? /he wanted to see you/ /he wanted to see you make a fool of yourself/

by the time the clock ticks the next time, jm's facade crumbles.

the pain crashes on him like a wave & JM forgets how to swim. he's wailing like a child. the half chewed morsel of food too difficult to swallow because he cant remember to close his jaw anymore.

his parents get up at once and sandwich him between their arms that feel too big for jm.

"eomma," he cries out despite himself. "we're here, my baby. eomma's here." she rubs his back. jm ducks his head low. he doesnt think he can add the worried faces of his aging parents to his list of things he's done wrong. "it hurts"

it feels like it takes him ages to calm down. his parents never leave his side. the food remains uneaten, and Jm feels a pang of guilt at how his mother had prepared so much for him. they ask him then, they ask him what happened and jm says he's too tired to talk.

he gets up and goes to his own room and locks the door shut behind himself. he covers his ears with his hands against the murmured concerned voice of his parents. the pillows muffle his sobs this time.

the next morning, he wakes up way too early. his parents are still asleep. he picks out a piece of bread from the fridge and eats it as it is and shoots a quick text to his parents. that he's going out. he scrolls down to another contact he hasnt spoken to in months.

he closes the door softly behind him as he walks out.

the morning air os colder than he'd expected. or maybe its been too long since he came back here. he goes down the walkways next to the sea. he never receives a reply for the text he sent out (as expected) but he's already here.

his feet take him faster as he hugs his shirt tighter against himself. as soon as HS sees him, he breaks into a dance from JM's lates single. "that good enough to audition?" HS asks once he's done. JM smiles at him.

HS makes him buy hotteok for the two of them and then they walk around until they find their usual spot, a little ahead from where the walkway ends, behind a clearing that needs to be jumped over, until they're both sitting atop a stone bench (its hardly a bench)

with their legs hanging over the sea. HS talks a lot. JM loves to listen. then he makes JM talk. and JM does. (he only breaks down twice and gets a hold of himself within minutes. he feels its an achievement.)

"this YG guy any good in bed?" JM gives him a pointed look. he's grateful his eyes focus right. "that's the first thing you ask?" "what? i cant be curious?" jm looks away. "i dont know," he mutters out, looking away. "what? you guys into somno?" "no, HS. what the fck?"

HS looks at him for a moment too long and JM feels himself burn under his gaze. "you dont say," he whispers. and then louder "no fcking way. youre shitting me right now." "what?" JM says animatedly.

"youre telling me," he point to himself, "that you guys lived together for an year. /an year/. and didnt even bang once?" "no" jm says at once, feeling as if he's been shoved into a corner.

HS looks out towards the sea and seems to be lost in thought. then he turns back around to jm. "like...not even for funsies?" JM laughs out in shock.

"youre the only person in the world who says 'funsies', hyung." "well, thank fck. at least I'm original." Jm rolls his eyes at him. "whatever you say, hyung."

"so when exactly did you 'fall in love' with him," he says, making apostrophe with his hands in the air. "when he was leaving," jm says without missing a breath. "no. that's when you /realized/ you loved him. i'm asking when did you start loving him?"

"I.." JM looks out to the sea. he runs back through his memories and no matter how much he tries, he cant seem to pick out the exact moment it happened. every shard of his memory had the ink of Yg's name splayed on it. each of them hurt just the same.

he thinks his heart is swelling. the longer it takes for him to answer, the heavier he feels. Yg seems to be everywhere.

his memories seem to be divided in before Yg and after Yg. the 'before Yg' memories seem like too distant a past and the ones after Yg are the ones he could live a thousand lifetimes of. "i think," he shivers. "i think somewhere along the way."

the realization haunts him. Yg had seeped into the cracks of his life so comfortably, so easily, Jm had forgotten to put his guard back up. Yg had grown on him. around him. Yg had taken up all the space Jm hadnt even known he had. and Jm had loved him without even knowing.

"i hate him," he breathes out shakily. "i hate him so much," he chokes out. and then he's crying again. it's too early in the morning and he's outside, with a friend he hasnt seen in ages and Jm is crying into the palms of his hands. "he did this to me. he-he-i hate him."

HS pulls away a hand from his face and wraps his around his own. "you dont." "god," JM breathes out as he tries to calm himself. "i love him."

HS hums and gives Jm the space to gather himself. the silence is easy. his palm wet with his own tears held tightly in HS's not so much. "if only i had realised it before, hyung," he thinks out loud.

"i think we take too much for granted. the world treats us with kindness and we start to think we deserve it." Jm looks out to the sea. it seems bigger than all of his problems combined. "and its only our ugliest moments that open our eyes. it was the same for me and kook too"

JM turns to look at him. "when did you realise with him?" HS takes a deep, long breath, lost in thoughts. "when i bottomed for the first time. for him of course. it hurt like a bitch and i thought to myself 'i must really fcking love him if im putting myself through this' "

"that was the first time i told him i loved him." Jm's jaw drops open. "are you being serious right now?" "it was such an intense moment Jm-ah, and then-" "hyung." Jm is horrified. "did you just compare my divorce to you bottoming?"

HS turns to him and gives him the most genuinely confused expression ever. "is it not the same?" Jm falls back against the ground laughing.

it is the first time there's tears in his eyes and they dont belong to the ghost of Yg by his side.

"how is cookie, anyway?" Jm asks once the two have stopped hitting each others backs between bursts of laughter. "he's good. great, even. in his final year. says he's gonna get a gold medal." "oh. really? its been that long?" "i still dont think he's already so grown up."

jm hums. "gold medal, huh?" "even has some side-piece in college." HS says. "really fcking grew up."

"you-you guys broke up?" HS shakes his head no. Jm's jaw falls shut. he thinks HS sounds sad but he's already missed the slight rise of his pitch and now Jm isnt sure anymore. Jm stares at him and HS stares out to the sea. "he's cheating on you?"

HS shrugs his shoulders. "are you sure?" "mostly." "well, did you talk to him then? did you ask him?" HS shakes his head no. "hyung! what the fck! why not?"

"because, jm-ah, he isnt here most of the time, and when he comes back on his vacations, he tells me he loves me and i forget to ask." "thats a fcking excuse." "shut the fck up. youre one to talk." "its not the same thing."

"look. jm-ah. all i'm saying is that im not the biggest supporter of your ex-husband, but i think the fact that you only realised you loved him when he walked away is because he didnt ever make you feel like shit before that." "what?"

"you said it yourself. you fell for him somewhere along the way. did you ever feel like, you know, hurt, or-or jealous, or too much, or not enough or i dont know. the sorts." "not- not really." "i think it takes active effort on both parts to make sure the other feels okay.

and i think if you did, then min yg must've done atleast something right and you dont need to beat yourself up for falling for him." JM doesnt know what to say to that. so he settles on the obvious. "well, he did have good manners."

"you think?" JM hums. "i also think you need to talk to kook." HS pulls up his legs and turns towards JM and does a full bow. "thank you for your words, love guru," he says. JM pats his head. "good boy," he says, making HS look up at him with mirth in his eyes.

and the next thing he knows, he's being tackled to the ground behind them. the stones sink into his back and the dirt sticks to his clothes and JM thinks that Yg would enjoy HS's company.

the two go for a heavy breakfast and as JM walks back home, he thinks about what HS said and it reminds him of the time YG had come home late, sometime around the first month of their marriage, and JM had woken up from the noise and walked out to see who it was.

YG had apologized, way too formally, and Jm had never been woken up again. now that he thinks about it, it was because Yg always came back on time. he goes inside the park on his way home and sits on a bench before he lets himself cry.

its almost lunch time when he arrives home. mrs park seems just as excited as she was yesterday and JM wonders how long it will take for her to ask him about yesterday.

Jm doesnt think he'll be able to tell her because the lump in his throat is too heavy and it might take him a lifetime to swallow it down.

"where's appa?" he asks. "oh. he went out." "where?" "out." weird. "oh. okay. i'll just go and freshen up." "okay." she hums. JM goes back into his room and straight to the washroom.

he avoids the mirror. he's been doing that lately and takes a quick shower. by the time he comes out, all dressed and clean, all traces of tears swept away under the shower, his parents are standing behind the dining table, looking at him.

theres balloons in his appa's hands and a cake in his mothers. "happy birthday, son," his dad says.

he bites his tongue until it bleeds because his parents are standing there with such blindingly smiles on their faces and all JM can think of is if Yg remembers.

its take all of his strength to smile back at them. his eyes sting and he hates himself. he hates how he spends the whole day glued to his phone. he hates how his parents voices seem so distant and yet Yg's ring loud in his ears.

he imagines Yg saying it to him. he thinks Yg whispers in his ears. he thinks Yg calls him. he thinks Yg shows up to his home in busan. he thinks and thinks and thinks until he falls asleep with exhaustion. Yg never comes.

Jm wakes up and checks his phone and thinks there is no way he will ever feel happy again. he ignores all the other texts, calls and goes back to sleep. the days seem to blur together after that. jm wakes up and jm sleeps. the darkness seems haunting and solitude seems lonely

the pain in his chest seems to never go away and at some point he begins to accept it as an extension of himself. if being happy is the final destination then the path towards it seems infinite. grief is too big and it takes a different form everyday.

one day it was his own clothes, draped over himself and too heavy to carry so he dragged his feet along the floor. some time, his dad came in and asked if JM were about to sleep in his jeans. he doesnt remember what he said but the next moment his dad was changing

him out of his clothes. JM didnt have it in him to feel embarrassed because his father kissed him on the head and told him he was strong and JM repeated that to himself all night long.

yesterday, grief was a giant, pinning him down on the bed and Jm couldnt get up no matter how much he tried. Today, it is the monster under his bed and Jm is scared out of his wits.

he curls into a ball and tucks his blanket under himself. even an inch of his skin exposed and the monster will eat him whole. he wants to call out to his parents and ask them to come save him. jm cannot face it on his own. jm isnt as strong as his father thinks he is.

he doesnt know how much time passes before he hears his phone ping. it is the ringtone he saved specifically for Yg a few days ago because he was tired of running to his phone every time it rang. (it didnt help at all, he still panicked at the first sound.)

but the phone is on the night-stand and jm is scared. he takes in a deep breath. then another. then he decides he's going to fight back against the monster and and in one swift motion extends his hand out, grabs his phone and covers himself again.

he takes one look at the notification panel and presses his phone against his chest. yg. it is yg. and jm hates himself for how his hear thrums loud and wild against his chest despite everything.

He hates how he still clings on the to the hope of Yg. He hates how Yg makes him bleed and Jm keeps giving him the knife over and over again. He hates how Yg holds the trigger to the gun pointed and jm’s heart and Jm only pushes closer.

He takes in a deep stuttering breath and pulls the phone away from his chest. The light stings but he forces his eyes open. »the finale for attorney kim just dropped« »in case you were wondering« »just saw an ad« Jm never told him he was watching the show.

»oh« »thabk you« »yeah« »it’s no problem« The phone shakes in his hands. »how’s Busan?«

/Busan is the only home where the walls aren’t made of glass/ »same old« »park two still fighting park one to shift to a high rise?« Jm whines out a giggle. »yes. Park one stilk winning«

»I hadn’t expected anything less from her« Jm stares at the screen until the three typing dots disappear from the screen. »hyung« »yes Jm-ah« /I love you. I love you I love you I love you/ »?« Yg texts again. /did you forget my birthday?/ »I met HS hyung«

»oh« Yg seems to type for too long after that before he sends another text. »that’s nice« »how did it go?« »how’s his doe eyed man?« »I think he’s sad« »because of kook« »I think he nisses hum a lot« »he’s vert sad« »hyunf«

»Jm-ah« »I donr know what to do hyung« »feed him« »what?« »make sure he eats well« »what should i mske him?« »I don’t know how ti make anything« »hyung«

Jm feels hot all over, the shivering of his body adding to his exertion. He pushes a leg slightly out of the blanket. The monster doesn’t touch him. »soup is easy. you can start with soup« »soup« »soup« »link attached« »this ones easy. try this. Tastes just as good«

Jm wants to tell him it’s not. It’s not easy. Soup takes too much time to make. It boils and boils and Jm would have to stand there watch it and spill over the edge and he wouldn’t be able to do anything. »and don’t pick out the scallions from your bowl«

»I don’t do thay« »but you do. like a kitten. making faces until almosg every thing is out of your food« »almost« »I’m don’t! You’re lying! You’re the kitten!« Jm sends out the message in a rush, feeling offended. »you decorate your plate with little carrots«

Jm tells him he doesn’t and Yg keeps nagging that he does. They end up arguing until Jm is completely out of the covers because their weight makes it difficult to type and he needs to fight back against Yg because he’s wrong. Jm doesn’t do that.

By the time he wins, there’s a stupid smile of his face and he wants to curl up, tuck his palms between his thighs and drift off. He thinks he’ll sleep well today. »and Jm-aj« »happy birthday« Jm gulps. »it’s belated happy happy birthday hyung😡« »I’m barely a day late«

»it’s been DAYS since my birthday« »no it hasn’t« »it’s been A day« Jm pulls down his notification bar and checks the date. 15 October. This can’t be right. Jm can swear it’s been days.

His heart rate rises again. He sprints out his bedroom and goes to the kitchen and opens the fridge. The cake lies there uneaten. It can’t be right. It’s been days. It felt like it’s been days. Jm grabs the kitchen counter to steady himself.

His head spins and he thinks he’s going insane. He wants to scream until his lungs give out. The back of his palms feel wet and he belatedly realises it’s courtesy of his own tears. It’s cold and Jm is only wearing a pair of shorts and a half sleeve t shirt.

He knocks on his parents door. His mother opens up, half asleep. “Jm-ah?” “Can I- can I sleeep in here, eomma?”

His mother lets him in as his father wakes up too. He goes to lie in between them, his father rubs his shoulders from behind and his mother caresses his face. He becomes a child again.

The same one that drew on the walls of this house. The one whom his mother would run after with a morsel in her hands. The one whom his Appa would throw up in the air and Jm didn’t know he would ever fall. He becomes that child and he cries into his parents pillows.

Grief becomes a monster.

He wakes up with a throbbing headache and the weight of guilt against his chest. He shouldn’t have worried his parents. He should’ve handled it in his own. He’s big enough. He’s an adult. He should’ve handled it own his own.

He goes out and tells his mother he’d assist her in making lunch today and then he goes into his own room to freshen up. He avoids the mirror and gets out as son as he can.

She tells him to flip over the kimchi pancakes as she goes to chop off veggies. Jm waits for them to be done on one side. “Ah jm-ah, they’re burning, honey.” Jm looks back down and realises he’s spoiled their lunch.

His mother takes away the ladke from his hands and hisses as she turns them over. “I’m sorry,” he says. “It’s alright,” she says as she assess them. Her voice sounds as if she’s berating him. As if she’s sick of him. “I’m sorry, eomma.” “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.”

“I really didn’t mean it. I swear. I didn’t do anything. I was looking at them. I didn’t realise-“ “Jm-ah,” his mother turns to him. She looks faded out. “Baby, it’s alright. Hey. Hey. Why are you crying?”

[shower time. also, idk what’ll happen to this app and I don’t have this au saved anywhere else. so I think I’ll cut off a few scenes and finish it off today (hopefully) so no Yg pov ig]

"i- i messed it up, eomma im so-so sorry." his shoulders shake. he isnt sure why he's crying. "its just pancakes, baby. we-we'll make it again," she comforts, holding JM's face in both her hands. its just pancakes, jm thinks. we'll make it again, he repeats in his head.

but he doesnt understand why he cant stop crying. lately, he can never seem to stop crying. everything feels too huge, too big and jm is too small to handle all of it on his own. he doesnt want to cry.

Jm's mother insists that he go and rests but jm says he'll help. he wipes his tears with the neck of his shirt and gets to making them all over again. this time, he succeeds. it doesnt seem as difficult as it did the first time.

but when they sit around the table, jm cant stomach a single bite of it. he goes back into his room and sends out a 'thank you' to Yg when he opens hos chat and realizes he left him on read.

he doesnt know when he fell asleep, but when he wakes up, its in the dead of the night. he's come to fear nights. they stretch the longest. so he gets up and goes out of the room.

he finds his dad out in the living room balcony and decides he'll join him, if only to fight off the growing loneliness in his chest. his appa insists that JM eats something and jm says neither of them know how to cook, so the old man ends up making a pack of instant noodles.

"you really cant cook, appa," jm teases as he takes a bite. but they taste good, really good and before jm knows it, he's licked the bowl clean.

they go and sit out again and talk. neither of them addresses the elephant in the room until jm's father clears his throat and asks, looking away from him, if he's okay. "i think i'll never be okay, appa," jm blurts without thinking.

his father takes in a deep breath and jm mentally curses himself. his appa places his hand over jm's and presses down. jm decides to zone out so he doesnt end up crying. he thinks his father's voice breaks when he tells him that if its not okay, its not the end.

the next morning, he packs up his bags and leaves. 'you know i cant stay long, eomma," he reasons.

When he gets off the plane, there’s 13 missed calls from TH and a text from Yg. »haraboji wants to meet you. If he calls, just tell him you’re busy bc he won’t listen to me. You know how he is.« He calls TH up next. “There’s an investors meet next week. Boss wants you present”

two days later, he's sitting in a private seating at a luxury hotel. Yg sits at his left and his grandfather across him because Jm couldnt say no. in his defence though, he wasnt sure Yg would be here either, even though a small part of him had hoped for it to.

Yg's presence is too loud around him and jm is hyper aware of every little thing. he smoothes out shirt, tucks his hair behind his ears and places his palms on his knees. but when he looks at the menu, the words seems al jumbled up and the longer it takes for him to decide,

the heavier his breath becomes. "try this one," Yg says pointing at the menu. "i think you'll like it." jm nods his head.

Yg's grandfather is a man of few words and Jm thinks that's where Yg got his personality from too. after all, he'd been raised by the man himself. he asks him how Jm has been and jm bows his head and tells him he's doing well.

their food arrives and as the old man begins eating, Yg subtly brushes off the scallions and removes the carrots before serving it to Jm. it is in moments like these that Jm forgets. forgets that Yg isnt his. that he most likely is dating someone else. that Yg left him.

Yg makes it easy to forget and jm pretends. he thinks yg has taken him to meet his family because yg /wants/ to marry him. he thinks Yg loves him. it is easy to think yg loves him because yg is just a caring man by nature.

"thank you," jm breathes out quietly. as if it a secret between them and no one else can hear it. because if its said out too loud it will become too real and jm would be reminded of how he will never be able to look at YG this close, shoulders almost touching,

and tell him how he feels. he feels grateful. he feels like he will burst.

"i hope Bang isnt overworking you," haraboji says. Jm looks up from his plate and Yg puts another serving on it. Jm feels full already, but he cant find it in himself to tell yg as such. he thinks if he opens his mouth to speak to him, he will break.

so he eats. yg keeps putting things on his plate and jm keeps finishing it off.

at some point, yg excuses himself from the table to attend a call and suddenly the silence between the two becomes heavy. "what happened between the two of you?" the old man cuts straight to the chase, as he continues to eat. jm picks up the glass of water and gulps it down.

"hyung mustve-mustve told you." the man hums. "i want to hear it from you, son." /dont cry dont cry dont cry/ "we fell apart." the man's shoulders slump and then he sits back in his chair. "do both of you take me for a fool?"

"no." jm shakes his head. "no harabeoji, why would you-" "i've lived too long for the two of you to disrespect me like this," he scoffs. "yoon said the same thing without matching my eyes once and i knew something was wrong." "hara-"

"and now i look at you both. he keeps eyeing you sideways thinking no one would notice and you dont raise your head up to look at him even once." "its not-" "you cant even talk to me without your voice shaking, son." jm breath stutters.

"if something went wrong," his voice softens, "why dont you talk to him, my child. my own boy is thick in the head so i know there is no point is asking him. but Jm-ah, not you, son." jm looks down in his lap. "is there something you need to tell him?" /yes./

"then why wont you, son?" the man seems to read his mind and with how soft, tender his voice sounds jm feels his resolve shaking. he breathes in. breathes out. in. out. "im afraid," he whispers. "what are you afraid of, jm-ah?" "im afraid he wont say it back."

[ok its almost 6 pm. ive been writing since 1 ig and i need to go do thesis work :( i'll be back later tonight ad hopefully finish it off uwu]

btw, im curious, who do you think will be the first one to say IT?

jm thinks he weakens. grief takes another form. it is now hope. harabeoji's words never leave his mind. for the next few days, he dissects them, then stitches them back. makes a cloak out of them and wears it all the time.

he spends his days thinking what it would feel like to be loved by Yg. he thinks it would be a privilege. by the time the next week rolls out, jm is a changed man. he calls home more often. his giggles are brighter. the sun doesnt feel cold anymore. /yg loves me/ he thinks.

he spends hours with his stylist picking out the outfit for the investors meet. she gives him a look as he smiles at everything like a mad man. but jm doesnt care. yg is going to be there. and jm is going to look his best. and maybe yg's eyes would linger longer on him.

and jm would turn his head around and hold his gaze. yg would walk towards him and jm would hold his breaath. he cant think farther than that. yg has never told him he loves him before.

he's too jumpy. TH gives him a look and asks him what if yg doesnt say it. jm ruffles TH's hair and cheekily says, "then i will."

he cant stomach breakfast that day. but he forces down fruits. /what if Yg asks/ he thinks. by lunch time he thinks he will puke his guts if he even smells it. his stomach hurts and the nerves have him shitting the toilet bowl minutes before the investors dinner.

but it doesnt dampen his mood. he shakes his head and laughs it off. he's happy he's happy he's happy.

he takes in a deep breath and wipes off the stupid silly smile off his face. he's going to look so hot, yg wont be able to look away. he giggles. he thanks his stars when he finds himself alone in the lift. he presses his face against the metal and squeals out his energy.

the dinner is out on the terrace. its the perfect weather for it and jm is schools himself before stepping out. he doesnt see yg at first, there are too many of his juniors and company staffs he needs to greet.

he meets people he hasnt seen since the last investors dinner but his eyes keep straying away. the terrace is huge anyway, jm will find him somewhere along the way.

He sees him later, as he’s sitting across the bar counter, a drink dancing in his hands while he’s chatting up one of the investors, and Jm wishes he hadn’t. Grief is no longer hope. It has a new name but Jm doesn’t know what.

The moment he sees the face next to Yg’s, Jm is reminded why he doesn’t look in the mirror anymore. She’s gorgeous. And all the years Jm had spent feeling secure in himself had crumbled down that one day he had decided to look sunmi up.

Her arm wrapped around Yg’s feels like a noose around his neck and it tightens everytime her hold on him does. Jm can’t hear what the man is saying to him anymore. He downs the drink in one go and calls over the bartender for a shot.

Then another. And another and another until the burn in his throat drowns out the one in his heart. (He thinks the bartender says no at some point and Jm tells him to remember his place) He feels a tug on his arm, it’s weight familiar and Jm wants to sink into it.

“What’re you doing?” He turns around to look at Yg, just as he had imagined it, but he only sees the face of the man who’s killing him, tearing him apart piece by piece and leaving Jm alone to gather all of them back in the desolation of night.

There’s a loud ringing in his ears. Almost like the breaking of glass of a hard surface. “Leave me alone!” He thinks he’s said it in a whisper so he doesn’t understand why everyone suddenly turns and look at him with shock on there faces.

Tw/ blood Yg hisses bends down and holds his other hand by the wrist. “Come with me,” he says. “No!,” Jm says louder and pushes Yg back with both his hands. But as soon as he pulls his hand back, there’s a handprint of blood of Yg’s white shirt. Jm screams.

He looks down on his palm and there’s blood dripping down his arms. He thinks the loud ringing in his ears was maybe the glass in his hands breaking. He looks back up at Yg and walks a step closer. “Yg,” he says, both hands hovering in the air next to his face.

“Hyung, are you- are you hurt. What- what happened oh my god hyung there’s- there’s so much blood on you hyun-“ “Jm-ah,” he thinks Yg says. And then his wrists are being held in Yg’s grip and and Jm can’t stop looking at the blood. “It’s alright” He thinks he has hurt Yg.

Yg is hurt. And Jm has hurt Yg. The moment he feels an arm around his waist, he passes out.

When he wakes up next, he’s in his own bedroom, a hint of light sleeping in through the curtains drawn closed. He wonders when he last slept in his own bed. It’s eerily familiar, the bugs in the ceiling bulb above, the sound of the heavy curtain ruffling against the wall,

the scent of Yg’s shower gel. Wait. What? He turns his head to the other side so quickly it makes him hiss at the crack. Jm is lying with his back on the bed and Yg sits on one edge, head bent low, elbows on his thighs and fingers hooked between his knees.

“Hyung,” Jm says, voice unsure. Maybe he’s started hallucinating, who knows. Yg doesn’t look up. Jm sees him gulp and then he hums, exhausted. “You’re here?” Yg doesn’t reply. “When did you wake up?” Nothing. “Did you not sleep at all?” Nil. “Hyung.”

“Did you stay here the whole night?” “I’m sorry I-,” Yg breathes out at last. He turns his face farther away from jm. “I couldn’t leave,” he whispers and as Jm gets up on his elbows, he swears he makes out Yg scrunch his face with the way his jaw clenches.

“I count leave. Not again.” Yg’s voice wavers and it send a shiver down jm’s spine. And then Yg’s back hunches even more and he’s crying. He has his lower lip between his teeth and eyebrows knotted to hold himself back and Jm can tell because he’s heard the same sound from

his own lips over and over again. Jm thinks it’s cruel how his heart breaks again.

It’s like a dam breaks. Sudden and unexpected as Yg’s sobs get louder and Jm doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to swim up to safety. He gets up at once and throws his arms (one bandaged up) around Yg’s torso and presses his cheek against Yg’s shoulder.

His body shakes with Yg’s sobs. “Hyung-“ he can’t remember when he started crying too. He thinks it’s the waves that are drenching him. “Jm,” Yg chokes on a sob. “Pls-please don’t- don’t make me l-leave again. Jm-ah”

“I’m sorry,” Jm cries. He isn’t sure what he’s apologising for. “I’m so-sorry,hyung I- I won’t.” “Jm-please. Pl-please Jm. D-don’t. Don’t-“ “I won’t,” he shakes his head. “Please Jm-ah. Hyun-hyung will d-do an-anything, Jm-ah. Pl-please.” “I won’t. Hy-hyung, I-I won’t.”

at some point, their bodies become too tired with the weight of feelings buried in them and they end up lying on the bed. Jm spoons Yg and the elder lies almost on the edge of the bed, curled up, head tucked next to his knees as his hicupping sobs turn into soft, sniffling cry.

Jm holds him throughout, one hand over his waist and the other under him. it will numb at some point and Jm wouldnt care. Yg's hand gripping his own is even tighter. jm thinks it will bruise. jm thinks he will cherish it.

"i came- i came to wish you on-on your birthday, jm-ah. your company said-said you were on-on leave so icame with-with sea-weed soup, jm-ah." "hyung," jm whimpers. he doesnt think he has it in him to hear it. "you didnt open so- so i came back again. at night. and-"

"hyung." "you still- di-didnt open, jm-ah." yg's voice starts picking up, chest heaving and jm knows he's going to start shaking again. he holds him tighter. "i rang the-the bell so many ti-times' jm-ah." "hyung." "i thought- i thought you didnt wan-na open the d-door for me"

“Hyung I was-“ “I-I know. Bu-san. I didn’t k-know th-then. I thought- Jm I thought you- you didn’t wanna open t-the door f-for me.” “I’m sorry,” Jm says again. But Yg keeps saying how Jm didn’t open the door for him and Jm doesn’t know what he keeps apologising for.

Yg begins sobbing again and this time Jm doesn’t think he’s strong enough to hold him. Yg curls up even more, says how Jm didn’t open the door and his broken sobs echo around the room. Jm forgets everything else. Jm forgets the nights he cried himself to sleep,

the times he wondered how Yg didn’t love him, the face of the woman who had her legs draped across Yg’s. Jm forgets everything. Grief becomes his own face, staring right at him, telling him how he didn’t open the door for Yg when he ringed the bell again and again and again.

Yg’s cries are too loud in his ears and the only grief Jm knows now is Yg’s. And it seems bigger than how own. Jm thinks it should be blasphemous for a man of Yg’s stature to sob so pathetically like a baby.

Jm cries against his back too but his own pain drowns against the muffled screams of Yg’s. It hurts. It hurts so much Jm thinks he will never not hurt again. “Hyun-hyung. You-re brea-breaking my heart, hyu-hyung.”

Jm doesn’t remember when he stops shaking against Yg. He only remembers that he’s dozed off when he jolts awake to Yg’s gasp next to his ears. Yg looks at him with big eyes, a nightmare written in the edges of his pupils as he stares at him. “Jm-ah,”his voice is low, unsure

“Yes,” Jm nods his head and Yg heaves out a loud shivering breath of relief. His eyes fall droopy once again and this time, he rolls around, tucks his head under jm’s chin, face buried against his chest and goes back to sleep. Jm thinks he wouldn’t mind dying like this.

when yg wakes up next, jm has already been up for too long. tilts his head up and looks at jm with eyes still glistening. jm wants to tell yg there are stars in his eyes but then Yg gives him the saddest smile jm has ever seen and asks if Jm is comfortable, if they can stay

like this for a little bit longer. jm doesnt think he can voice out even a single word and he settles on a nod. his eyes burn as yg ducks his head back down under his chin. jm wants to scream until yg can hear him.

"are you hungry?" yg's croaks out against his chest, voice genuine and with so much concern that jm cant mistake it for anything else. "yes." "what do you want? hyung will make it for you." "i-i dont know." "you can think about it." "what if-what if it takes me too long?"

"then i will wait."

jm's hand shiver where they're pressed against yg's back. "what- what about that- that sunmi?" "what about her?" "wouldnt you have to g-go back?" jm bites his tongue. yg looks back up at him and shakes his head violently. "she's only a f-friend jm-ah." "then /why/" jm whines

"i'm sorry, jm-ah. i'd meant to keep our contract from the media. but someone paid off someone from the firm and the papers leaked out." jm doesnt like where this is going. he thinks he will hurt again. "and it doesnt really mean anything for me, but i know how important

your public image is and i-and i did the only thing that came to mind jm-ah. i thought maybe- maybe this way they wouldnt say anything you-you wouldnt want to hear." "you-that was- a cover-up?" Yg nods. "i called you in office that day to tell you so. but i-

you already seemed upset with me and i didnt have it in me to make you hate me more, baby. and i had to-to keep up appearances with her so-so it would be believable until everything died down" jm's world blurs. he rolls over and cries into his palms.

This time, it is Yg who keeps apologising and Jm thinks it calms him down. The pain seems to never go away even when he knows the only respite from it is holding him right now. “Yg hyung,” he sniffles. “Please don’t-don’t leave me.”

“I won’t. I won’t. I won’t I won’t I won’t.” Jm chants it back in his head like a mantra.

Yg will stay and Jm doesn’t need to know the how or why or where. It is enough. Yg would stay and it is enough. Jm can get through a hundred lifetimes if Yg would stay.

Time becomes a slow flowing river. Jm’s ears have the melody of water playing in them. He thinks he can dance to it. He’s no longer afraid. The bugs in the ceiling lamp are all dead and all Jm needs to do is reach up and throw them out. He’s no longer afraid.

All it takes is one soft touch of Yg’s calloused fingers against his skin, one whispered breath against his ear, the sound of skin against skin, blending together, starting and ending in a circle and grief gathers dust in a long forgotten drawer that no one even looks at.

Jm is happy. Jm is happy. Jm is over the moon and Yg is in his arms. Jm is pirouetting on top of the world and Yg is in his arms. Jm is in his own home, the walls made of solid brick, and Yg is in his arms.

Yg goes to the kitchen as Jm stands across the counter and watches him prepare food for them. There’s a spring in his feet and he giggles as Yg reached across and pecks him on the nose.

Words seem redundant, pointless. There is no need for them. Words seem like a waste of energy when Jm takes the first bite of instant noodles and realises that the secret ingredient had always been love.

— the end. biggest hugs to all of you.

Thank you so much for reading w me. Idt I would’ve been able to write so much without your interactions. I hope you liked it too! Lemme know your thoughts. See you around?

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