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You Never Walk Alone: If you and I are together, we can smile

Chapter Text

Present time - Jimin 19

...his lungs burn as he wheezes and his vision darkens. He knows he is about to pass out so he quickly finds a safe spot to hide from the Hybrid Patrol Officers between two abandoned buildings. He gets there just in time as his knees buckle and he collapses into the dirt. As he lays there flat on his back the gunk in his lungs starts to shift and make it harder and harder to breathe, but he is too weak at the moment to move or even roll over. To his horror, he feels the gunk climb its way up his throat and he helplessly begins to choke...his body reflexively trying to clear his airway by coughing weakly. He somehow manages to roll onto his side and cough some of it up, but enough of it gets caught in the back of his throat to effectively block any air from getting into his lungs. His chest aches as his body desperately craves oxygen, but he just doesn't have the strength to clear his airway or sit up, which would probably help...Panic surges through him as he realizes he is absolutely helpless and he can't breathe. He knows all he can do now is wait for his heart to stop. He tries to clear his mind and allow himself to relax....but the pain makes it hard to forget that he is infact choking to death, alone(well...so he thinks).

 

 

3 yrs ago - Jin 19/Jungkook 13

 

No matter what Jin tried, the sick boy's fever kept getting worse. Jin knew his little brother needed help he couldn't give him when he started having a really hard time breathing. It broke his heart to watch the young teen struggle to get air in...his chest rose and fell with uneven, labored breaths. He needed to get help fast or he was going to watch his sweet baby brother die. So early that morning he began desperately walking through the streets carrying his brother and begging the passersby to help him. No one seemed to care and just walked right past the sick boy. He couldn't understand how people could see his condition and then quickly look away as they sped by. They were trying so hard to ignore the fact that his little brother was very close to death. As the sun started to set, small weak breaths continued in tiny puffs against Jin's neck. He slid down to lean against the building he had been pacing in front of and began to fall apart. He tried to come to terms with what was happening: Jungkook...his fun-loving, selfless little Kookie was dying in his arms. He knew this not only because he hadn't kept any water down in almost 3 days, but as he looked down at the boy in his arms....he could see that his baby brother's lungs were barely able to take in oxygen anymore. Each breath was a struggle and he was quickly losing the strength to fight. His chest was almost still now and the breaths he felt along his neck were getting weaker...

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Two brothers, Jin and Jungkook, were orphans for pretty much their whole lives. The boys never really knew their parents because they were very young at the time of their deaths. The boys had lived most of their lives in an orphanage with hybrid and human children. One night a gang of rogue hybrids attacked leaving many of the children badly injured, human and hybrid alike. Apparently this was not an isolated occurrence. The gang was causing trouble all over the country. Instead of focusing on taking down the rogue hybrids the government raided the orphanage and took the surviving hybrid children captive, claiming they are a danger to society. This happened at every orphanage in the whole country that day and marked the beginning of a long cruel war against all hybrids. The next week the Hybrid Patrol was organized, and they began to raid the streets searching for hybrids and capturing them. They were brought to prison camps and tortured....many don't survive there long.

As for the remaining human kids, like Jin and Jungkook, they were forgotten. Most had died during the attacks or soon after as a result of their injuries. The government offered no help to them, as if they didn't exist. Jin was one of the oldest and tried to save and care for a couple wounded kids, but they didn't make it past a few more days before succumbing to their injuries. Soon after that the food was gone, so the two had no choice but to leave the place they had called "home" their entire life...

From that point on, the two brothers were truly alone and forced to roam the streets to survive...living off scraps and huddling together in whatever shelter they could manage, praying to God that they wouldn't freeze to death through each harsh winter night or overheat under the hot summer sun. They were doing fairly well until a couple years later when a particularly cold bout of weather swept through the area. The scraps of food became hard to come by and at night the younger's lips would turn blue as he shivered and burrowed into his big brother's side. No matter how tired he was, Jin couldn't allow himself to close his eyes for fear that his little brother would die of hypothermia in his sleep. So instead, every night he would focus on rubbing warmth into the kid's limbs and shielding him with his body from the wind. Within a week of them living in such conditions, Jungkook fell deathly ill. He developed a nasty cough that was deep in his chest and nearly took his breath away, along with a burning fever. It wasn't long before he started wheezing with each congested breath and was so weak he could hardly stand up. Jin was scared for his little brother as he watched his strength leave him, and his energy depleted. He realized Jungkook probably needed a doctor, but he knew that they would be turned away because they had no money. By the third and fourth day he was having trouble staying awake for very long at a time and couldn't drink any fluids without throwing it back up. As time went on Jungkook only got sicker and sicker as he became dehydrated and his fever began to skyrocket. No matter what Jin tried, the boy's fever kept getting worse. He knew his little brother needed help he couldn't give him about a week after he got sick. He had not been able to wake him for the last couple days, and now he was having a really hard time breathing. It broke his heart to watch the young teen struggle to get air in...his chest rose and fell with uneven, labored breaths. He realized he needed to get help fast or he was going to watch his sweet baby brother die.

So early that next morning he began desperately walking through the streets carrying his brother and begging the passersby to help him. No one seemed to care and just walked right past the sick boy. He couldn't understand how people could see his condition and then quickly look away as they sped by. They were trying so hard to ignore the fact that his little brother was very close to death.

As the sun started to set, small weak breaths continued in tiny puffs against Jin's neck. He slid down to lean against the building he had been pacing in front of and began to fall apart. He tried to come to terms with what was happening: Jungkook...his fun-loving, selfless little Kookie was dying in his arms. He knew this not only because he hadn't kept any water down in almost 3 days, but as he looked down at the boy in his arms....he could see that his baby brother's lungs were barely able to take in oxygen anymore. Each breath was a struggle and he was quickly losing the strength to fight. His chest was almost still now and the breaths he felt along his neck were getting weaker...

 


 


 

Namjoon~25

 

Namjoon, a doctor fresh out of med school, had just finished a long day at the office and decided to walk home. As he rounded the corner of a building his thoughts were interrupted by a desperate plea..................................
"Please...please d-don't leave me Kook!!" A voice choked out between heartbreaking sobs. "Pleeease K-Kookie stay with me kid!!!" He sounded even more desperate the second time. Namjoon took a deep breath and continued around the corner. There was the man he had heard crying out with a small teenage boy cradled in his arms. At a glance there were no signs that this kid was alive. He was deathly pale except for the deep red colored splotches on his cheeks and visible along his collar bone...cheeks sunken in and ribs visible through his thin clothing. The most concerning thing he noticed was how still the ill boy's chest was. After noticing this the doctor jumped into action and fell to his knees next to him. The older of the two jolted, fear evident in his posture. "Wh-who are you?? What d-do you want??" He said, his voice wavering as he protectively pulled the boy closer. The doctor showed both of his hands as a sign that he meant no harm before quickly reaching out to put his hand on the young boy's chest. Namjoon used his other hand to pull his badge out of his pocket and handed it to the sobbing man. "I only want to help sir. Can you tell me how he got like this?" He said in reply as he tried to keep his voice calm and steady. To his relief the kid was breathing, but just barely. He needed to get him to his house very soon. He always kept extra supplies there in case he did a home visit. Jin relaxed slightly and decided he didn't have much choice but to trust the man, so he began to let his guard down and tell Namjoon what had happened the last few days. While he finished up answering the doctor's questions and told him their names, Jungkook suddenly tensed up and began convulsing violently...his breathing coming to a complete stop......

The doctor quickly took the kid into his arms and ran down the street to his house, yelling over his shoulder for Jin to follow. He arrived at his door and quickly unlocked it and ran inside laying the still convulsing boy onto the couch. He sprinted into his room and came back out with a syringe of medication and without wasting any time injected it into a vein in the frail boy's arm. The convulsions immediately began to slow and Jungkook took a couple desperate breaths. Satisfied that the boy was breathing again, Namjoon left and returned with a small oxygen tank and mask that he quickly placed over the kid's mouth and nose. Then he came back another time with a couple more syringes of medication.

At that moment his mind registered the sound of muffled sniffles and he remembered the sick kid's older brother. He turned toward the young man to see him sitting and leaning against the wall trembling and wide-eyed...he looked absolutely terrified. Namjoon walked over and gently laid a hand on his shoulder to get his attention and spoke quietly as to not scare him more. He said in a calm voice, "I need to get a couple more medicines into his system and then I Promise I will explain everything that just happened...okay?" Jin just took a deep breath and nodded.

Namjoon really hoped he could save the poor kid but as fragile as his state was....he knew it would not be easy, but he also knew that he would surely die without help.....

Namjoon was the boy's only hope.



 

 

 

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As Jin was recounting the last several days to the doctor, he felt Jungkook grow tense in his arms and then he began to convulse...his breathing stuttered and stopped. His little brother was not breathing! The next thing he knew Jungkook was being pulled from his arms and Namjoon was running down the street. He was stunned for a few seconds, but then got to his feet as quickly as his stiff limbs would allow and ran after him. When they got inside what he assumed was where the doctor lived, Jungkook was laid gently on the couch as he continued to seize.

The poor kid's lips were beginning to take on a bluish color the longer he was deprived of oxygen. His older brother began to think that he was watching the young boy die. As fear and anxiety for his brother's life gripped his heart his knees gave out and he crumpled onto the floor. Before Jin's mind could register that Namjoon left, he was running back to the boy's side and injecting something in his arm. Thank God! Jin thought as he watched the convulsions slow to a stop and his little brother began to gasp for air. Namjoon watched for a few seconds and then disappeared. He came back with an oxygen tank, quickly strapping the mask onto the sick boy's face and turning it on. Thankfully the bluish tent to his lips began to fade with each breath as he was able to get more oxygen into his lungs.

To Jin's relief his brother seemed to relax a little and his breathing looked a little less of a struggle than before. It was still quite labored and his chest moved slow, but it was okay because his breaths were deeper and filling his lungs with much more oxygen at a time than just 10 minutes ago. Before he even realized the doctor had left again he was back with more shots for Jungkook. He said something that Jin couldn't quite make out over the ringing in his ears, but he nodded in approval anyway. At this point it didn't matter what was said because he trusted the guy wholeheartedly. If anyone could nurse his brother back to health it would be him. The fact that his brother was breathing at all at the moment was because this man had stopped to help him.

He watched as the man he barely knew gave the younger more medications and took out a stethoscope to listen to his heart and lungs. He then propped him up on pillows and tucked a blanket around him as he started to shiver....he even took the time to push the loose strands of hair away from his eyes. The sight of the man being so gentle and caring towards his little brother almost brought him to tears. Why was this man being so kind to them??? Why did he care if a homeless teenager was dying?? Nobody else had...Jin was so lost in thought that he let out a yelp when Namjoon started talking to him. He apologized and asked him to start over.

"So...." he took a deep breath, "I am not gonna lie to you.....your brother is very very sick. There is a good chance that even with treatment he may not make it. I just don't want to give you any false hope...okay?" Jin suddenly felt paralyzed...his chest was tight and he couldn't get air in! Namjoon spoke again in a stern tone of voice as he cupped the boy's face in his hands, "Hey hey, look at me Jin. I need you to breathe. I can't have you keeling over because Jungkook needs me okay? So can you please try to take a deep breath for me?...good keep doing that for me." He paused to let the other catch his breath and then began to explain what was happening to the young boy. "As you have seen already he has become extremely weak, so much so that breathing is difficult for him to manage. His body has started to lose the battle so to speak causing his temperature to rise to a dangerous level to try to kill off whatever infection he has...considering how hard it is for him to breathe and the amount of congestion in his lungs, my best guess is that he has pneumonia...anyways, in other words his body tried to fight it off but its not strong enough so, ironically, his fever is a last ditch effort by his body to help him survive. Instead of killing off the bacteria though, the fever is damaging his organs...such as his lungs, heart, and brain. This is why he was having a seizure episode, severe enough to close off his airway. So our first priority is to get his fever under control...so one of the shots he got was to reduce his temperature. The other was an antibiotic mixed with a steroid. The antibiotic will hopefully help his body fight off the infection, and the steroid will keep the inflammation down in his lungs. He should be able to breathe a little easier....if his lungs are able to take in an adequate amount of oxygen and his body gets some strength back he might regain consciousness soon." 

Jin is silent for several minutes as he tries to process everything. He made his way over to his brother's side and gently grabbed ahold of his hand. For a few minutes he let the rest of the world fade away as he focused on his baby brother. He had known when Jungkook first began feeling ill that this was not just a common cold. He started complaining that his chest ached and he couldn't take a deep breath, but Jin was just hoping it would get better on its own. As the days went by and the boy started to cough and wheeze, he knew it could be serious, but they were completely helpless and alone...nobody wanted to offer help to a dirty homeless kid, especially one carrying germs.

He thinks back to their time at the orphanage and remembers how optimistic and passionate the young boy had always been growing up...so full of life and endless energy. To look at him now, sickly pale and limp, struggling to take a full breath...he just looked so small and weak. It was truly heartbreaking and Jin didn't know if he could continue living if his brother didn't make it...if this ends up killing Jungkook, he is sure he would die with him. But he needed to quit thinking like that and put all his strength into being there for his precious little brother. What can he do to help? He can't just sit back and watch him fight this battle alone...he decides right then and there that he will fight too, with everything he has. They have always done everything together, and that was not going to change now.

Namjoon watched as Jin's expression changed from one of fear and devastation to one filled with determination before opening his mouth to speak. "What do we do now Namjoon hyung-nim??" He asked anxiously.
"Well...all we can do now is wait and stay close in case he gets worse and needs more medicine....I will need to run to the office in the morning to get him some extra medications and equipment...and of course I will need to close the office indefinitely so I can be here for him if anything happens.." Namjoon answers before seeing the look of helplessness on the boy's face. A feeling that he, himself, was all too familiar with. So he quickly comes up with a task for him. "Actually, Jin, there is something you can do for Jungkook. His fever is still pretty high...so I am gonna bring a couple washcloths and a bowl of ice water. Could you soak a cloth and lay it on his forehead and use the other to wipe some of the sweat off of him? That should help bring his temperature down some more." Jin looked relieved to have something useful to do, and went right to work as soon as Namjoon brought him the supplies. He watched the heartwarming scene for a while before the mood changed as the sickly 13 year old on his couch began to cough weakly in his sleep. He coughed several times before choking on air as he tried to take a deep breath. It didn't last long,  and soon he is relaxed into the pillows again only slightly wheezing. With a slight frown on his face, he takes notice that the kid's breathing had become more congested in the last several minutes and he was working a little harder to fill his lungs. Namjoon knew he was in for a long and sleepless night.

As the doctor observed Jungkook, he tried to come up with a realistic plan for his care, and he began to ask himself a question that made him sick to his stomach: What are the chances that this young boy will be able to survive the next few days, or even live through tonight...? The odds are definitely not in his favor. If the doctor was being completely honest with himself, the kid seemed far too weak to fight this and win...but that didn't mean he wasn't going to give him the very best possible treatments...at the very least he wouldn't let the boy suffer. Despite his doubts, Namjoon felt the young boy deserved to atleast have a fighting chance at beating this and living a full life. So he would do everything in his power to give him that fair chance. The sad truth about all of this though, was that even if the boy pulled through the two brothers would not survive very long on the streets...

He turned to make eye contact again with Jin and continued. "I can't promise you that your brother will make it through this, but I can promise you, Jin, that I am gonna do everything I can for him......and please Jin-ah just call me hyung, okay? Jungkook has a long and rough recovery ahead of him so we are probably gonna get to know eachother very well....and honestly I think you should stay here even after I'm done treating your brother....only if you feel safe here..and please understand I would never force you to stay against your will...I just know you guys need help." Namjoon knew what he had just said was crazy and he only just met the guy, but he knew the boys' situation was dire...They were quickly heading down a path that would lead to dying on the streets, and he just couldn't allow them such a fate. For some reason he felt the need to guide and protect these two, even if he had just met them.

At hearing what he interpreted to be the assumption that he wasn't capable of taking care of himself and his little brother, Jin shook his head and began to protest. Just then a wave of dizziness took him by surprise and he squeezed his eyes shut...When was the last time he had eaten? He couldn't remember, but knew it must have been a while because he felt so lightheaded...suddenly he realized someone was shouting at him and gently patting his cheek. He slowly forced his eyes open and tried to focus on Namjoon's worried face. "I'm okay" he said with a shaky voice. Namjoon frowned. "You are clearly not okay...and don't try to lie to me. I'm a doctor....I can see how frail and malnourished you two are. You can't keep going like this much longer. You are slowly starving to death....and I know you must realize that." Namjoon helped Jin to the recliner and went to the kitchen. He returned a few minutes later with some warm broth and as he handed it to Jin he said, "Just....please think about my offer. I can help you get your strength back, and you can stay as long as you want, or leave anytime. I just really want you and your brother to have a real chance at life and happiness." Jin nodded and smiled. A single tear running down his face as he whispered "Thank you for your kindness hyung."


 

 

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It was quiet for a while, as Jin sipped on his broth and Namjoon looked through his supply of medications and things he might need to use to help the boy breathe. The peace was interrupted when the youngest began to wheeze loudly and his chest rattled as he tried to inhale. Both turned their attention to the couch to see that the kid was in obvious distress. Jungkook seemed to be struggling to get enough air in, his chest heaving with effort. Namjoon listened to his lungs with his stethoscope and found them to be very congested, crackling with each inhale and exhale. Jin came over and sat Jungkook up, letting him lean against him while the doctor went to find something to help break up the mucous that had built up in the poor kid's chest.

The sick boy desperately needed a breathing treatment, but he didn't have the equipment for that at his house. Instead he returned with a hot pack wrapped in a towel and placed it over the sick boy's chest. After a few minutes he brewed some hot tea and took the boy's oxygen mask off to allow him to breathe in the steam. After it had cooled down enough to drink, he placed a hand on the back of Jungkook's neck and coaxed a few drops of the tea down his throat at a time. He stopped frequently to make sure the kid wasn't choking on it. Eventhough he was not awake, he reflexively swallowed and took almost half the glass before starting to gag. The doctor leaned him forward some, patting his back as Jin grabbed the trash bin. He held it under his brother's chin as he coughed up pretty much everything he just drank, but also alot of phlegm from his chest.

Although he had cleared some of it from his airway, enough of it shifted in a way that almost completely cut off air to his lungs. The mucous was very thick, and the weak boy tried unsuccessfully to clear a path for oxygen to get in. Jin carded his fingers through the boy's hair and spoke as calmly as he could manage. "Come on Kook. You can do it, kid.....keep fighting okay? Keep fighting it." Jungkook continued trying his best to inhale, but he was too weak to get much air past the blockage of phlegm. His eyes fluttered open as he recognized his brother's voice, but it was apparent that he was not fully aware of his surroundings. They were half-lidded with a faraway, unfocused look in them...and a distant look of panic.

Namjoon knew he had to act quick because the kid was not able to breathe effectively. He tilted him forward pounding firmly on his back in a way that looked like karate in hopes that it would help to break up more of the congestion and help him cough it up easier. He went side to side between the kid's shoulder blades as Jin supported his thin frame by putting an arm across his chest so he wouldn't fall forward too far.

Just when Namjoon was about to panic and try to find a way to manually pump air into his lungs, he began to cough...and not weakly like he had been, but with unbelievable force and strength for someone so very weak. He coughed hard from deep in his chest, gagging as tons of thick pus-like material worked its way up and out of his lungs. It was actually a little scary to watch as the boy gasped and choked in between coughs in an effort to catch his breath. Jin continued to say encouraging words into his ear and massaged the back of the kid's neck to comfort him. A few minutes went by before he relaxed some and tried to take a deep breath. The boy was gently pulled back to rest limply against the doctor's chest as his exhausted lungs tried to recover. Namjoon praised the boy as he reached for his stethoscope. "Good job Jungkook-ah. You did great kid...just relax and take some deep breaths for me. You're okay now." He was not sure if the younger could hear him, but it was possible. Jin placed the oxygen mask back over his little brother's face as instructed by Namjoon...he was hoping to ease the strain off of the boy's respiratory system.

About a half an hour went by and Jungkook was completely drained and still wheezing from the stress of coughing, but his lungs sounded so much clearer. Jin watched as his brother's eyelids slipped shut again. He wiped the poor kid's forehead with a cold washcloth to remove the sweat that had been produced by the stress of the last hour. Namjoon situated him back on the couch with several pillows to keep him somewhat upright. His chest moved slightly more gently up and down as his breathing became a little easier...but it still took alot of effort for him to fill his lungs consistently...and he sadly didn't have much energy left to even do that.

Namjoon knew the mucous would inevitably build up again.... He would need to keep a close eye on the kid through the night because without help, the boy was not strong enough to keep his lungs and airway clear.

After watching the boy's still labored breathing pattern for a while, observing his body for signs of worsening distress, he was fairly certain the young boy was getting enough oxygen into his system for the moment. He then began to speak to his brother, after coming to the realization that the older boy was exhausted. The adrenaline rush had obviously worn off and he was having a difficult time keeping his eyes open. Dark shadows under his eyes gave away how broken and worn down he truly was. He needed to rest before he came down with something as well. "Jin, I am going to stay up with him tonight since he is having such a hard time breathing...you are welcome to sleep right there in the recliner if you want. You don't need to worry too much about Jungkook because I will be right by his side if he needs help. I promise I will not leave him...he won't be alone for even a second.....just please..honestly kid I am concerned for your health. You don't look well, and the last thing your brother needs is for you to fall ill...so please, Jin, trust me and get some rest. I will wake you if his condition gets worse...okay?" Jin replied hesitantly, "O-Okay but only if you promise to tell me if anything happens." Namjoon reassured him that he would be woken up if Jungkook got significantly worse. So Jin was given a blanket and was asleep almost instantly. A sense of peace came over the room, as even Jungkook's breathing was quieter than before.

Unfortunately the peace did not last very long. As the night went on, it became more and more clear that the young boy needed a miracle.


 

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Over night the ill boy only got sicker and weaker, with no real signs of improving or even stabilizing. Namjoon feared the kid would continue to deteriorate and eventually die. It was a dangerous spiral as the infection made the boy's muscles weaker, causing breathing to require more effort and energy...which only further exhausted him.

After Jin had went to sleep Namjoon rechecked Jungkook's fever..it had went down slightly. He was no longer at risk of having another seizure, but it was still a dangerous temperature...most likely contributing to his lack of energy. Despite Namjoon's efforts the boy remained deathly pale and still, his body focusing all of its strength on expanding his lungs...

It was rare to see his eyes, but when they did open he was still mostly unresponsive. His eyes were always unfocused and lifeless. Namjoon kept thinking back to that awful seizure, and the more he did...the more he worried that the poor young boy may have suffered brain damage during that time. He had, indeed, been deprived of oxygen for several minutes.

Namjoon felt helpless as he watched the kid's breathing become increasingly labored. His coughing fits were getting more severe with time due to the worsening congestion of his respiratory system. Jungkook had started to cough more frequently and randomly gasped to catch his breath. The oxygen mask was still on, but he wasn't really sure it was doing enough to matter. All of this combined with how exhausted and weak he was left him dangerously close to respiratory failure... The more he struggled to breathe and clear his airway, the weaker he became.

Namjoon was concerned that the antibiotic and steroid he had given him were not enough...that he needed something stronger to beat the infection that was, at this point, completely overwhelming his body. The doctor also desperately wanted to get the nebulizer machine from his office because he knew it would help keep the boy's lungs clear. Unfortunately though, it was extremely dangerous to be on the streets at night. Since the war started, the likelihood of making it back home alive if he went out at this time was very slim...so Jungkook had to hold on until sunrise. It was going on 2 o'clock now...he just started a humidifier and hoped and prayed the boy would survive just a few hours longer...

 


 


 

 

His hopes were shattered at about 3:30 am when Jungkook's body appeared to be giving up. It was terribly sad to watch the boy as he gradually declined...he just didn't have the strength to fight anymore. He took very shallow and noisy breaths that were slowing down as his strength faded. Namjoon tried to rouse the boy and get him to breathe deeper by caressing his cheeks and rubbing firmly on his chest. He began talking to him in a gentle but authoritative way..his voice getting more and more desperate as he went on. "Jungkook..Kid, listen to my voice. You need to breathe...I need you to take some deep breaths for me....Jungkook-ah, please!" In response, the boy began to breathe a little faster, but not much deeper.

The doctor could tell the kid was trying, but just couldn't keep up with his body's oxygen needs. He just couldn't do it... He watched for a minute as Jungkook tried to obey...every few breaths his chest would heave as he tried but failed to take a deeper breath.

Within that minute or two the boy's lips began to look slightly blue, and Namjoon's heart dropped into his stomach. He didn't know why he was so attached to the boy, but he knew it would absolutely devastate him, and of course the boy's brother, if Jungkook didn't make it. Namjoon found himself lost...he was not sure how to save the poor boy and it was terrifying how rapidly he was deteriorating. He knew that he had to do something quickly because the frail boy was beginning to lose the battle to get oxygen into his lungs. He was, in fact, dying in front of his eyes...and Namjoon refused to just sit back and watch him fade...


 

 

 

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Jungkook had now crossed the line into respiratory failure, and if something didn't change soon his lungs were going to stop functioning. Namjoon remembered his promise to Jin and quickly woke him up and explained the situation. The lack of effort from the boy to fill his lungs was extremely concerning, and the doctor knew going to the office now was his only chance at saving the boy.

He spoke urgently to the boy's older brother. "Jin...I am sorry to wake you, but your brother is not doing well. The infection is making him too weak to get enough oxygen into his lungs. I need to get some stronger medicines and some other equipment from my office to help him breathe until he gets some strength back. I will not be gone long. My office is not far from here. Just keep him upright and if his breathing starts to slow down again take your knuckles and rub hard on his chest...and don't worry about hurting him. Just make sure he keeps breathing until I return." Jin was wide-eyed, but still half asleep as Namjoon ran out the door. 

God must have been watching over him because the trip there and back was uneventful. He arrived, gathered up an IV kit, more medicines, some bags of IV fluids, a CPAP machine to assist his breathing, and a nebulizer machine to give him breathing treatments with. He practically ran back to his house, because he knew that Jungkook was running out of time.

He was only gone for about 10 minutes, but by the time he got back the kid was hardly giving any effort to breathe anymore. He only tried to pull air into his lungs 4 or 5 times a minute, as his body grew even weaker with lack of oxygen...his lips and skin around his mouth were turning bluer by the second. A sure sign that the boy was quickly approaching the point of no return...he was not getting enough oxygen to keep him alive much longer. 

Jin was in tears as he desperately rubbed on Jungkook's chest to stimulate him to inhale. The boy was sadly too far gone to even respond to the touch. His older brother was hysterical and began shouting as soon as he realized Namjoon had walked in. "Namjoon please! Please help him hyung! He..he can't breathe!! I tried..but he....I-I" The doctor tried to calm him. "Look at me Jin. You have to try to stay calm...for his sake. He needs you now more than ever."

Namjoon hurried to set up the CPAP machine as Jin continued to tearfully plead with his little brother to breathe. As the doctor finished getting the machine ready, the boy made one more feeble attempt to take in air...barely getting it past his lips.............and then let out a puff of air as he stopped breathing altogether.

Jin tried his best not to panic as Namjoon dove in and laid the young teen on his back on the floor. He checked for a pulse at his neck, and found it to be so weak it could barely be felt. "He's still alive, Jin, but he won't be for long if he doesn't get air into his lungs. Come here quick...I need your help. Jungkook doesn't have enough energy left to expand his lungs...he needs you to breathe for him, can you do that?" He nodded, so Namjoon removed the oxygen mask before showing him how to hold the younger's head to keep his airway open. He proceeded to give him a lungful of air through his mouth while he pinched his nose closed. The young boy's chest rose and fell in response. The doctor watched as the other gave the boy a second breath and then he, himself, immediately began pumping on Jungkook's chest...pausing often to have Jin force more air into the boy's lungs.

They did this for a good 20 minutes with no response from the youngest. Was he already gone? Namjoon stopped pumping on his chest and checked his pulse again...it was weak and miraculously still there, but if the kid didn't start breathing soon he wasn't going to make it. Jin didn't have to ask to know that his little brother was very near death....

When Namjoon started to pump again on the boy's chest Jin put his hands on his shoulders and gently pushed him back from his little brother. The doctor gave him a questioning glance and the younger looked him in the eyes and blurted out, "He's not gonna make it...is he??? Please.....tell me the truth Hyung.........Jungkook is dying..."

Jin was right...without a respiratory drive, he knew the boy would inevitably die. Namjoon looked defeated as he realized what Jin wanted and what was about to happen. CPR would only prolong the inevitable, and Jin wanted to accept it and let his baby brother leave this world as peacefully as possible.

"Jin...I..I am so sorry....I-" He was cut off by the other boy. "Namjoon-hyung...i-its not your fault, but I..I don't wanna talk about it right now. I just want to hold him while he...while...he umm......... Namjoon?...he's not suffering, is he? Does he know that he...? Can he feel it, hyung?" Namjoon thought for a moment "I think he knows that his body is failing, but at this point he is probably numb to the pain...kind of like in a dream. You are aware of what is happening, but can't feel the physical pain involved..." Jin seemed to visibly relax at the idea. "What can I do to help him...to make it easier for him to...to.." He just couldn't say the words as if saying it out loud would make it too real.

Namjoon nodded with understanding and replied like this. "Talk to him. Let him know you are here and how much you care...don't stop talking to him until the end because he can hear you, and he needs the comfort. To be honest he is probably scared and he needs to hear you say its okay and that you are taking care of him." As he talked he helped move Jungkook to his brother's lap so Jin could hold him and talk to him one last time before he had to say goodbye to his sweet little Bunny forever....

 


 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

Several minutes had passed since they had stopped trying to resuscitate Jungkook, and decided to let him pass peacefully. Namjoon watched as the color began to drain from the poor boy's cheeks. His lips turning a deep blue as well as his fingers and toes, with lack of oxygen. The only movement from the dying boy was an occasional open and close of his mouth....almost as if he was either trying to talk or make a last ditch effort to breathe.

The doctor could not keep silent tears from running down his cheeks as he witnessed the last signs of life slowly leaving the boy. He had never even had the chance to get to know the kid. The way his brother talked about him was so endearing...it was obvious how much he loved the young boy. 

Namjoon reached out and held one of the boy's now cold hands, gently massaging the back of it with his thumb as the kid began to make small restless movements.....a common sign of significant and prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain....essentially his brain was now beginning its own dying process. Jin continued to talk to him and hold him close in order to comfort him and ease him out of this world as painlessly as possible.

Except for the slight motion of Jungkook's jaw, there had been no real attempt to inhale from the boy. It had been atleast 5 minutes since the kid began showing signs that his brain had started to die. Namjoon figured that lack of oxygen for that long had surely been enough to cause cardiac arrest as well as profound brain tissue death. Namjoon grabbed his stethoscope to check if the boy was still holding on or if his heart had given out. Just then the youngest became increasingly restless as he made a very weak attempt to gasp for air. His mouth had opened again, but this time he actually tried to expand his lungs. As he began to explain to Jin that sometimes the dying will gasp for air, but they are still dying....the boy took another equally weak, but deeper breath.

Suddenly Namjoon was hit with a very strong wave of doubt....This was much easier to deal with emotionally, when the boy was lying still...but now that he was struggling, the doctor was overwhelmed with heartache and anxiety as he watched the kid desperately gasp for air once again.

Namjoon was conflicted and his heart felt heavy with so much inner turmoil. What if by allowing the boy to asphyxiate, he was causing his death? What if he was wrong and the boy was suffering as he felt the effects of oxygen deprivation? If so the boy was probably hungering for air that he was not strong enough to inhale.............

On the other hand could there really be a chance that the young boy might still pull through this? He had already shown signs that his brain was being deprived of oxygen and its tissue was most likely dying at this very moment. There was a good chance that he was already brain dead at this point....

But.....the fact that he was making an effort to breathe now was a good sign that he may still have brain activity to some degree. He could not shake the feeling that he should do something to help the boy get air into his lungs rather than watch him struggle.....it was clear that the kid needed help. He could not breathe on his own. He was completely at the mercy of the people around him and would quickly suffocate without some kind of assistance. The guilt was nearly crushing Namjoon now...

It was true that the boy had already been deprived of oxygen for several minutes, but if there was even a small chance that the boy could live if only he intervened he knew he could not ignore it. Jungkook was actively trying to take in air, and to him that was a big deal. There was no guarantee that the kid would make it even if he did try to encourage and assist his breathing, but atleast then he wouldn't have to wonder if he could have saved him.....

Namjoon was deep in thought as he observed the young boy being cradled by his brother. The kid's eyelids fluttered slightly as he whined softly, and then took a slow stuttering breath...chest heaving as the poor kid put forth a great effort to try and fill his lungs, with unfortunately little result. With the little energy he had left he was trying to escape death, but in his pitifully weak state he was helpless to get enough air in....to survive...on his own. Jin looked to Namjoon with a desperate, wordless plea in his eyes to give Jungkook one more chance. This was exactly the confirmation he needed to take action....

 

 

To Jin's surprise, Namjoon didn't hesitate and strapped the CPAP mask over the young boy's mouth and nose, quickly turning the machine on. He resituated the boy into a position that would make it easier for him to expand his lungs. His back was leaning into Jin's front, the boy's head resting on his brother's shoulder as the older leaned against the couch. He began to massage his chest and encourage the boy. "Come on Jungkook-ah. Come back to us...you can do it. I know you are tired, but if you can just keep trying to breathe, the machine should do some of the work for you."

 

 

Another minute went by and he remained completely limp and lifeless...

 

 

"Please kid I believe in you......and so does your brother. I really want to help you, but I need you to try...don't let go yet, Jungkook. If nothing else, hold on for your brother. I can tell that you mean the world to him..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After what seemed like an eternity the sick boy inhaled shakily.....chest moving slightly as a small amount of air finally made it deep enough to reach his lungs.

Jin's eyes were filled with unshed tears as he nodded in agreement of Namjoon's statement. Realizing that the person who needed to know he is loved was not able to see him, he began to express his feelings out loud for his little brother and gently kissed the top of his head. "You are my reason to live. Please..I...I love you so much Kook. Please come back to me...I need you to be okay....please Kookie I....I can't lose you."

The boy took a weak breath in response....followed shortly by another, and silent tears of relief began to escape his brother's eyes.

 ..........................................................

 



 

"I LOVE YOU TOO, HYUNG!!!

But I...I think I'm dying...... Please! Please help me...I don't want to go, hyung...but I don't think I am strong enough to do this........"

Jungkook's awareness began to come back to him, first, in bits and pieces...a muffled familiar voice in his ear, a warm hand rubbing on his chest, throbbing pain in his dying lungs.... With time it began to come in waves and he found himself fading in and out of consciousness as he tried to stay alive. 

He was so confused, though...he tried to remember what had happened to bring him to this point, but he couldn't piece it together in his foggy, oxygen deprived mind. Why did everything hurt so bad? What was causing him to feel so dizzy? He had so many unanswered questions....

It scared him to the core that he had no idea what was happening to his body. All he knew was that he was going to die if he didn't get more oxygen into his lungs, which in itself was a daunting task. He felt so unbelievably tired and weak, and his entire body ached. What terrified him the most was how his muscles refused to move the way he wanted or even at all. Filling his lungs in his current state was like climbing Mt. Everest....

Whenever he was aware he would try desperately to get air into his lungs, but as he succumbed to the darkness and fell closer to death's clutches his efforts often stopped...making getting enough oxygen nearly impossible. The boy attempted again to take another breath, but the air failed to make it to his lungs this time....whimpering pitifully as his lungs ached from the lack of oxygen, yet his body was adamantly protesting against the action of breathing....

 



 

The pattern at which Jungkook attempted to breathe was causing a rollercoaster of emotions. Each time he would stop breathing for a minute or two, hope would be lost....just for him to begin gasping again a few seconds later. He startled them both by trying to breathe again...with more effort than before, but breaking their hearts as they watched him fail to bring much air in....causing further heartache when he whimpered and pain flashed across his face.

They both saw it and immediately recognized that the boy was uncomfortable. "He.. he's hurting...Is there anything we can do to ease his pain, hyung?" Jin asked with concern in his eyes. 

Namjoon knew that a major decision would follow...he could relieve the boy's pain, but it would likely kill him. He spoke carefully, "Well...the truth is, Jin, that I could give him some morphine...a-and it would stop the pain, but it is also highly likely to....to stifle his attempts to breathe. Morphine often inhibits the body's respiratory drive, causing the urge to breathe to slow down or stop completely...in his condition he can't afford to have any less respiratory drive...

Its up to you though, because without medication he will probably be somewhat uncomfortable...he is struggling to get his weak lungs to cooperate and it is probably painful for him to breathe....."

Namjoon paused to let the boy absorb the information. He continues in a gentle tone with a reassuring hand on Jin's shoulder. "He may not survive either way, but he honestly has a better chance without the morphine."

Jin's face hardened in concentration...he didn't know how to make this decision. Why must life be so hard on him??

What was the right thing to do? What would his little brother want if he could tell him??

He was terrified to make the wrong choice...

 



 

"No!....no, hyung please!!! I'll be okay....it does hurt..so much, but its worth it...Please hyung give me more time. I'm not sure if I can do this...but I need to try....I'm not ready to die, hyung!...."

He focused all of his energy in that moment to the hand his brother was holding...willing the muscles in his hand to move. His fingers twitched and then he managed to close them weakly around his brother's hand. That was all his frail body could do to try to convey that he wanted to fight this...he was not ready to give up. He could only remain limp, hoping with all his heart that his hyung would get the message....and not give the go to medicate him. 

He inhaled again with as much strength as he could gather to help send his message.

"Please hyung...please understand me....please give me a chance to fight this. Don't give up on me yet, hyung........"

 



 

Jin focused on his little brother's face as he tried to make this impossible decision. He watched him intently for any more signs that he might be in pain. He was so lost in thought that he almost missed his little brother's hand move to hold onto his. A small choked noise escaped his mouth as he held back a sob with his other hand. He squeezed Jungkook's hand hard as he tried to compose himself enough to talk softly to his baby brother. "J-Jungkook???....Can you hear me, Kookie??"

There was a brief moment of silence and then Jungkook inhaled much deeper than he had in hours...as if showing them he could do this.....he was not done fighting yet.

Jin continued to address the boy in his lap with a small smile appearing on his tear stained face. "You're not done....are you Kook? Is that what you are trying to tell me?...to not give up on you?" He gently brushed the hair from Jungkook's forehead and caressed his cheek, turning his little brother's face toward him. "You know I would never, Kook......I just don't want you to be in too much pain...."

The boy's hand twitched again, his eyelids fluttering and a sigh escaping his lips as he let out the lungful of air he had just inhaled.

 



 

"Yes, hyung! I can hear you! Yes! I need you to know that I want to keep going! Please help me fight this, hyung!

Don't worry about that..I will be okay, but...I need you to keep talking to me. Please hyung...it...it helps with the pain..........I just really, really need you hyungie..."

At that Jungkook tried to move his hand again to squeeze his brother's, but could only manage to wiggle his fingers. He tried to open his eyes or get his voice to cooperate, but he was too weak. Even with great effort, all he could get his body to do was produce a gentle sigh and another slight flutter of his eyelids. He really hoped that was enough to let his brother know that he could hear him....

 



 

Namjoon watched the scene before him in awe. He couldn't believe it...this very sick boy was trying to communicate with his brother, even while being so incredibly weak that he could barely breathe... Wow! He thought, this kid was definitely a fighter. This also confirmed that the boy had atleast some brain function...Namjoon knew he wouldn't have been capable of what had just happened without a decent amount of brain activity.

He was so relieved that his efforts were making a difference in the boy's condition. It was all very reassuring, and he was confident that he had done the right thing when he decided to help the boy breathe. By no means was the kid out of the woods yet...he was still very sick, but it seemed all that he needed was a little push to make him strong enough to maybe get a second chance at life...

Jin held onto his brother as if he would disappear the moment he let go of him. He made an effort to never stop talking to him for very long, only pausing to breathe. If Jungkook was somehow finding strength and will to live from hearing his voice, he would never ever stop...not until his baby brother was strong again. He had finally found a way he could help him fight against death, and he was filled with a new sense of purpose and determination. He vowed to do everything in his power to help his brother survive.

 


 

 

 


 

The topic of the morphine did not come up again. There was an unspoken understanding between them after witnessing Jungkook try so hard to tell them that he was not giving up. Unless the boy's pain got worse, the medication was no longer an option. Knowing that the sick boy really was able to hear them, they continued to encourage and soothe him with their words and actions. The mood changed a little with the confirmation that the boy was "present" and fighting with everything he had...and Jungkook in turn began to breathe with an attitude of stubborn determination. He was not going to give up any time soon.

As the sun began to peak out over the horizon a sense of peace and hope warmed their hearts. Just like a ray of sunshine brings life to the earth itself, Jin's voice and the CPAP machine were basically breathing life into the sick boy's lungs.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

About 45 minutes had gone by since Jungkook had started to breathe again and the frail boy was still fighting to get air into his lungs. He was able to breathe about 8 to 10 times a minute now, but it was still a struggle and he had a hard time taking any full deep breaths.....his lips remained mostly blue in spite of his efforts.

Namjoon was beginning to be really concerned for the boy...he was not improving as well as he should be. He still wasn't getting enough oxygen into his system and the doctor had to figure out why before the boy crashed again.

He listened to the kid's lungs and frowned. It sounded like they were nearly blocked off by mucous in his airway...the sick kid needed to cough some up, but Namjoon feared he was not strong enough to cough effectively. He may need to do some deep suctioning to get his airway clear....which honestly would not be pleasant either. He turned to Jin, explaining what was happening and what Jungkook needed. "This is not gonna be easy for him, but it is necessary for him to be able to breathe better."

Ultimately, the decision was made to use suction...coughing would be too much strain on his body right now. Truthfully, the suctioning would be pretty hard on him too, but much more effective. He gathered his suctioning equipment, which he had decided to grab just in case at the last minute from his office. He knew the kid was having trouble keeping his airway clear, and as he looked at him now he was sooo thankful that he had thought to take it with him...the poor kid was working really hard to get air in but his breathing was noisy and shallow...making it very ineffective.

"Jungkookie-ah...if you can still hear me I want to try and keep you involved. I need to get the mucous out of your lungs so you can get more oxygen in, okay? But I want to be honest with you...its going to be very uncomfortable for you and probably a little scary...you will not be able to breathe for a bit while I suction your lungs out.

I will give you a warning before I start."

Namjoon took a minute to set up the suctioning tool, while Jin spoke comforting words into the boy's ear. When he was ready he instructed the boy to take a few deep breaths if he could. Then he had Jin hold the boy with one arm wrapped around him in a way that pinned his arms against his torso and the other supporting his head...He needed him to remain still during the process, and there was a chance he would panic. Realistically he knew the boy was too weak to struggle much, but adrenaline could do crazy things to a person...

Directing his voice at the youngest he said, "Alright Jungkook-ah, everything is ready....Are you okay with us starting?" He paused to see if the boy would respond somehow. Jungkook only whimpered. He caressed the kid's cheek as he continued. "Its gonna be okay Jungkookie. I will make sure of it. Just take another breath for me and relax...it will be over soon. 

The boy inhaled the best he could, and as he exhaled Namjoon quickly inserted the tubing down the boy's throat. He gagged slightly as the tubing travelled down his throat and invaded his airway. "Okay...here we go...Jin will be with you the whole time. I promise you will be okay, Jungkook." He says before flipping the suction on and slowly pulling the tube out. The boy's muscles tensed in discomfort as the tube slowly came up and out. He gasped desperately as soon as the tube was removed. He let the boy recover for a few seconds before repeating the process two more times.

After a few minutes Namjoon inserted the tube one last time, but this time squirted some saline into his lungs to basically loosen and rinse out the remaining secretions. This was the worst part to watch as the boy began to struggle weakly in his brother's arms, gasping and choking.

Jin shushed his little brother and held him firmly so he would not dislodge the tubing. The doctor ran his fingers through the kid's hair to soothe him and apologized. "I am so sorry Jungkook-ah but your lungs were in really bad shape so I needed to use saline to help clean them out." The boy whimpered and gagged, tears rolling down his cheeks as Namjoon suctioned the saline solution out while pulling the tubing as well. They were all relieved that the "torture" was finally over. The poor sick kid was exhausted...his tense muscles relaxed and he went limp against his brother's chest....

 



 

"I don't know who you are but, yes...I can hear you...Jin-hyung must trust you. So I guess I do too. 

I will do anything if it means I can fight a little longer...just please help me....I am so scared that I'm gonna die....please don't let me die!"

Jungkook whimpered in fear of dying, but also of what was about to happen. As the suctioning process began, his heart raced with anxiety. It was moderately uncomfortable and he felt burning pressure as the small tube slid down his throat and deeper into his chest, but the most uncomfortable part was when the machine kicked on. Pain exploded through his chest, and his lungs felt paralyzed. It only lasted for about 10-15 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. As soon as he had caught his breath it started all over again...and again.

The very last time the tube went down his throat, he suddenly felt a cold sensation....and then pure panic. He felt as if he were drowning, his lungs burning. He could hear the unfamilar voice talking to him, but couldn't make out anything as the darkness engulfed him and pulled him under again. He tried to fight against it but was powerless to stop it. Was he dying??...He couldn't be sure and it terrified him. 

"Please no...I....I don't....don't want to die....please............................."

 



 

Jungkook was very still for a minute or two, despite having his mask back on and being encouraged to breathe. Namjoon again rubbed on his chest and massaged the back of his neck in an attempt to bring the boy back, but he made absolutely no movement. Namjoon felt like he was the one who couldn't breathe...had he killed the poor boy?? Oh please no!! He had promised him that everything would be okay.....

As the seconds ticked by, the color was again leaving Jungkook's face..Namjoon tried to hide his panic as he pleaded softly with the motionless young boy, "Come on Jungkook-ah...you have to breathe......Please breathe, your brother and I are very worried about you.."

At the doctor's words, Jin began tearing up and begging the boy to keep trying. He knew if Namjoon was this concerned, his little brother's life was in danger again.

 



 

This time in his oxygen deprived haze, Jungkook began to "dream"...if you could call it that. It was more like bits and pieces of memories of his childhood flashing before his eyes. He saw himself and another boy laughing and playing on the school playground, he could see the boy's piercing eyes and contagious boxy smile, he heard a smooth deep voice comforting him and a warm hand holding his as he lost consciousness when he had his first asthma attack....it was the worst one he ever had and he had nearly died that day....was he dying now???

At that point he suddenly registered a deep voice telling, no begging him to breathe.....TaeTae is that you??

No it couldn't be. The boy had been presumed to be dead for years...ever since his gruesome disappearance shortly before the war started. His parents woke up one morning to find the boy's room splattered with his blood....his pillow and sheets soaked in the vile stuff. Tae was nowhere to be found, and the investigation was eventually abandoned, shortly after the war was in full swing. They said that there were more important things for them to worry about than a kid who was obviously severely injured...he was most likely dead anyway.

Jungkook snapped back into reality when he heard a very familiar voice, his brother's, tearfully encouraging him to try and breathe. All at once his senses came back to him and he was painfully aware of the ache in his lungs and a desperate desire for air...but also a lightheaded feeling as darkness began to pull him under. If he went under now he just knew that would be it for him...so he gathered as much strength as he could and tried to breathe, only resulting in a weak cough. He paused to collect himself, but he just didn't have any energy left to fight.

"I..I guess this is it hyung. I just don't have the strength to take another breath...I am so sorry...I just can't do it anymore...."

But then he heard his brother talk to him again...telling him how strong he is, and to not give up. His energy spiked and he immediately took advantage of it as he once again fought against his diseased lungs to get air in. A few more minutes passed and the fog slowly faded from his mind as he took in more oxygen. 

 



 

 

Finally the boy coughed weakly before trying to inhale unsuccessfully. Another long pause followed as the boy's strength seemed to fail him. Jin continued to be encouraging to his little brother as Namjoon listened to his lungs again. He tapped on the boy's cheeks and leaned him forward, patting his back to stimulate him. "Come on Kookie you have done so well....please don't stop now...You are so incredibly strong."

 

 

The boy took a deep wheezing breath, followed by another fairly deep intake of air.

 

"Yes that's it Jungkookie-ah...I know that the suctioning made your lungs constrict, but they will ease up soon. Just keep fighting!" Namjoon exclaimed as he watched the boy begin to put in effort again. Jin chimed in next as he stroked his little brother's cheek, "Don't you give up now Kookie! I have seen how strong you are...I know you can do this." Jin began to gently comb his fingers through the boy's hair as he began to take more regular, yet wheezing breaths.

 



 

"I'm really sorry, hyung...I didn't mean to stop breathing again...I was just soooo tired and my lungs are so weak....my chest feels really tight....but I promise you, hyung...I won't give up. For you I will fight till I can't anymore. I couldn't have made it this far without you....."

He knew he would have died by now if he was alone. The more they had talked to him, the better he was able to fight against the darkness that had threatened to choke the life out of him. Just moments ago his brother had helped him keep going by simply talking to him. It was especially comforting to hear his brother's voice....he wasn't really sure who the other voice belonged to...but he didn't have enough energy to focus on that right now.

His breathing began to improve again, and within a few minutes it was the best it had been in hours. His body gave in to exhaustion as he slowly drifted off into a peaceful sleep....his brother running fingers through his hair...

 



 

After watching his little brother fighting for his life and now seeing him begin to win the battle, the older boy lost control...his emotions getting the best of him. Jin could no longer hold it together and he burst into tears, cradling the boy's head gently in his arms. He sobbed into Jungkook's hair, as the boy continued to give his best effort to breathe.

The older let out all the pent up emotions he had felt within the last hour or so...crushing guilt for sleeping when his brother was so sick, paralyzing fear as he watched Jungkook have to work harder and harder for each breath, devastation and heartbreak when his baby brother wasn't able to breathe at all anymore and they were sure he was dying, and an overwhelming sense of relief that, with the help of the CPAP, he was now breathing again....and of course, on top of all that his heart swelled with pride as he saw how hard his strong little brother was fighting to survive. In spite of significant physical weakness and the odds being against him, he didn't back down...he kept fighting with evey last ounce of his strength.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Namjoon thought back over the last couple of hours. In that short amount of time he had witnessed the boy in severe respiratory distress that progressed to apnea. He honestly thought that the kid was not gonna make it, and it was still a shock to him that the boy was alive.

It had been amazing to watch the transformation into the boy in front of him now though.....who was giving his absolute all to breathe, with unexplainable renewed strength. It was a miraculous change from just an hour ago. He was beginning to basically come back from the dead as he was finally able to supply his severely deprived body with adequate amounts of oxygen.

Now that his lungs were mostly clear of mucous, he could breathe a little easier. With continued encouragement and comforting touch from his two biggest cheerleaders, as well as the help from the CPAP machine he had begun to breathe a little more regularly as the time went on. The effort was still beyond weak, but filled with determination....even in his extreme weakness he was breathing again and that alone was a miracle.

The pair kept a very close eye on the youngest over the next 30 minutes to be sure that he was getting enough oxygen. The CPAP machine was literally a life saver for the sick boy. Jungkook's breaths were becoming deeper and more effective with every passing minute. However it was obvious that breathing was still pretty difficult for him, but the CPAP machine helped to ease the burden. The blue shade to his lips was finally beginning to fade away, and his heart beat much stronger in his chest. Jin sat and held his little brother's hand after Namjoon had moved him carefully back to his spot on the couch. He spoke to his brother as he rested his other hand lightly on the kid's chest to feel him breathe. "I'm so proud of you, Kook...you are so strong kid."

To Namjoon's surprise the boy stirred and his breathing picked up a little as he heard his brother talking to him. This was shocking because the doctor was convinced that if the kid didn't have brain damage from the seizure, he surely had suffered significant damage during the time that he had failed to breathe. They just didn't know the degree of brain injury yet, and wouldn't know until the boy was awake enough to evaluate. However he was quite sure the boy would unfortunately have some type of deficit after such severe oxygen deprivation...

Jin spoke quietly again, "I love you Kook...with all my heart. If you can hear me, you don't have to respond...I just really want you to know that.." He defied the odds once again as his eyelids fluttered. Some time passed before his eyes were opening, trying to find the source of the voice.

After searching the room he finally focused in on his brother's face. He opened his mouth to try to talk, but found it was extremely hard for him to manage both breathing and talking at the same time. It was too much for his body in its current state. He tried again... "Hy-...hy-.....ung?", he choked out with great difficulty. Jin shushed the boy as his eyes darted around the room and a look of fear took over his features. He started to panic and hyperventilate, his lungs protested against the extra strain. Jin gave Namjoon a concerned glance as the kid wheezed and his breathing became more labored.

The older boy moved onto the edge of the couch, positioning himself right in front of Jungkook's face....forcing him to make eye contact as he tried to ease the boy's fears. He squeezed his little brother's hand to reassure him and started to talk in a soothing manner. "Hey..shhhhh its okay. Hyung is right here...look at me Kookie." He paused to let Jungkook study his face for a moment with his tired gaze. The boy struggled to speak a second time, and Jin shushed him again as he carded a hand through the kid's hair to help him relax. "Shhh. Don't try to talk...you need to focus your energy on breathing, okay?....just listen to me and try to take some deep breaths.

You trust me, right?" He nodded slightly and tried to slow his breathing. His eyelids beginning to droop with exhaustion. "Good....because I promise, and I hope you know, that I will always protect you...with my life. You are completely safe Kook. You are just really..really sick, but absolutely safe....and Namjoon-hyung has been taking very good care of you. He is a doctor...I trust him with my life, and yours too. You are gonna be okay, Kookie-ah. Just relax and focus on getting better, okay?" The boy squeezed his brother's hand in reply as he continued trying to catch his breath.

Namjoon had come over slowly as to not scare the unstable boy and gently held his other hand. He perched himself on the back of the sofa and watched the kid as the panic began to melt away. The raw and genuine way the sick boy looked into his brother's eyes was heartwarming. There was so much trust and admiration, and he seemed to cling onto every word as his brother spoke to him. Namjoon could see the kid wholeheartedly trusted his brother with his life.

Within a minute or so Jungkook was breathing at a more relaxed pace. As if noticing for the first time that another person was present, he looked toward the doctor curiosly. After a moment he seemed to make a connection and mumbled in a weak voice as he started to slowly lose consciousness, "Nnn-....J-Joo-...Joon..." He smiled fondly at the boy after hearing his attempt at pronouncing his name in his frail state. He didn't dare correct him or scold him for the lack of "hyung" after his name, knowing how much of a struggle it was for the kid to talk at all. He spoke gently and reassuringly to the boy as he moved his thumb over the boy's hand. "Yes Jungkook-ah, that's me kid. You can just call me Joon....I don't mind. Don't be scared...I am going to help you through this. I will stay right by your side until you are well again." The kid searched the doctor's face for a minute as his eyes fell shut multiple times without his permission. He then mouthed "thankyou" as he weakly squeezed Namjoon's hand. His eyelids falling shut again, but this time he didn't have the strength to open them.......and just like that he was out again. His lips were slightly parted and almost back to the healthy pink color that they should be.

As Namjoon watched the boy's chest move up and down he could not be happier. Eventhough his breathing was still fairly labored, the boy was thankfully not showing signs of oxygen deprivation anymore. He was overwhelmed with relief that the kid could finally breathe effectively enough to meet his oxygen needs. He allowed himself to think for the first time since meeting the sad pair, that the boy just might make it afterall.

Jungkook had hit rock bottom, but he didn't die...he kept fighting and pulled through. Namjoon couldn't explain with his medical knowledge how the boy on his couch was still breathing right now, or why he had a sudden surge of energy and desire to keep going. Even the fact that he was coherent enough to recognize his brother's voice and face was incredible considering what he had just been through... The only explanation he can come up with is that the kid somehow found strength and motivation in being close to his brother and hearing his voice. The two boys were obviously very close and he thinks that their connection is what ultimately kept the boy fighting to fill his lungs with life-giving oxygen. He couldn't fully understand it but he knew that the CPAP machine, suction and Jin, not himself, had saved Jungkook from death. The kid's older brother had played a key role in the miracle that he so desperately needed to save his life.

 


 


 


 

 

Meanwhile a young boy with a long abandoned boxy smile was, in fact, physically alive. Yet there was no life left in his eyes at this point. The first year after his kidnapping he lived every day in fear that it would be his last, but now he longed desperately for death to take him....often begging his captors during severe beatings to end his life. It has definitely come very close a time or two, but he always miraculously pulled through...in spite of very serious internal injuries, many of which never completely healed.

Deep down the abused boy had totally given up. He knew there was no hope for him...he would never be rescued. The last several days he barely ate anything when they did decide to feed them, and it was beginning to take a toll on him. He could feel his muscles starting to weaken, but he really did not care. He wanted so badly to just pass peacefully in his sleep...was that too much to ask for? Maybe he would if he slowly starved himself to death...he knew it could be a slow and painful process, but in his desperation he was willing to try anything...

 


 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Once Jungkook's lips started to pink up again and he was resting comfortably, Namjoon put an IV line in his arm to give him stronger doses of antibiotics and steroids, and also to hydrate him. The boy was extremely dehydrated and too weak to even try to take any fluids by mouth. Namjoon was again broken out of his thoughts as the boy started to breathe noisily and with difficulty as the mucous overwhelmed his lungs again. He sat him up, briefly removing his mask and beating on his back as he coughed up another round of thick mucous. The coughing fit was over in a couple minutes, and the kid relaxed again after replacing the CPAP mask over his mouth and nose.

Namjoon had contemplated giving him a breathing treatment, but decided against it. He came to the conclusion that the IV fluids alone should help loosen and thin some of the mucous in his lungs. He was not yet stable enough to handle a breathing treatment, because it would require shutting off the CPAP for several minutes. It made him nervous to even remove it while he coughed as it was. The boy's lungs were just so weak that taking him off the CPAP for too long could be dangerous for him. The work of breathing would quickly wear his body out, and increase the risk of him relapsing. Namjoon definitely did not want to take any risks that could cause Jungkook to stop breathing again. So he decided that it could be delayed until he could breathe on his own.

For the moment his body was still battling hard against respiratory failure. He was getting a sufficient amount of oxygen now with the help of machinery, but just barely keeping his head above the water....having to breathe at a faster rate than normal to keep himself from going under....which was absolutely exhausting for someone as weak and sick as Jungkook currently was. Staying alive was not easy for someone in his condition...even something as simple as breathing was taking alot out of the boy, but he was not a quitter. He would keep fighting until the moment his heart gave out. Namjoon could see that clearly now. With each passing hour that Jungkook managed to keep on living, the doctor became even more sure that the boy was capable of surviving this.

It took several hours for the combination of fluids and CPAP to have an effect on Jungkook's appearance and respiratory status, but overtime his color improved drastically from a grayish blue to a healthier pink. About 24 hrs after the IV was started, his breathing had improved significantly. Each breath was consistently deep enough now to fill his lungs. Although he still needed the extra oxygen and CPAP machine, because he continued to be too weak to breathe effectively without help. His cough was still intense and frequent...but it seemed he had less trouble getting air into his lungs in between fits than before and his lips had almost returned to their normal color.

The boy's older brother hardly left his side over the next few days, keeping constant physical contact of some kind. He kept atleast one of his hands on the boy's chest or in his hair -sometimes both- at all times....even while he slept. Occasionally Namjoon would let him hold the boy in his lap with his head cradled into his chest, as long as his breathing was okay. Not only did the position help the sick boy relax and his vitals stabilize, but the older boy could be at peace feeling his little brother's breaths against his chest. 

As for talking to Jungkook, Jin was persistent. He told his little brother about anything and everything all day long, the boy occasionally responding to his voice in subtle ways....such as he had done that first time he communicated that he wanted to live. His body was still not strong enough to produce a more obvious reply. He only stopped speaking to the boy at Namjoon's insistence that he get a few hours of rest or that he stop to eat something. Jin knew how vital his voice had been before in saving his little brother's life. He wanted so badly to be useful to his ill baby brother, and if that's what it took to help him get stronger he would commit wholeheartedly.

It still amazed the doctor how much the close contact affected the very sick boy. He seemed to struggle the most whenever Jin was not present...he has had a few scary episodes of very difficult breathing when Jin had left the room or fallen asleep. The kid needed his hyung more than any type of medical intervention Namjoon could provide him. This was both puzzling and heartwarming at the same time..

 

 


Once it got so bad that the young boy almost stopped breathing...Jin had passed out from exhaustion and Namjoon had moved him to his own bed, letting him sleep almost all night. The sick boy seemed to weaken the longer Jin was away from him...breathing becoming too much to handle. He rushed to wake the older boy when Jungkook's lips started turning blue again and he could barely expand his lungs. When Jin arrived by his side, he was hardly able to inhale at all...he was gasping noisily, but his chest did not expand. The boy was quickly heading toward death.

It took time, but within several hours of Jin waking up and sitting by his side...stroking his cheek and encouraging him...the boy was breathing so much better. He could almost fill his lungs like before, and had made a near complete recovery from his relapse. Since that night Jin slept near his little brother's side or with the young boy's frail body cradled against his own. Namjoon doesn't dare argue because the evidence was concrete in his mind. He can't be sure that Jin's absence caused the relapses, but he does know that his presence helped the boy through them...he would have died multiple times over in the last few days without his hyung's support.

 


 

Jungkook's condition seemed to stabilize by the start of the second day with an IV. It seemed he had hit a plateau, which Namjoon would take over a decline any day. He remained limp and pliable as he continued to exert all available energy to breathe. A small improvement the doctor noted was that the boy did sound a little less congested as the fluids started to thin out the mucous in his chest.

Everything changed though at about noon that day...Jin and Namjoon were eating lunch while watching some TV, and of course Jungkook was resting on the couch. All of the sudden, the boy's eyes shot open and he began to vomit. The other two were frozen for a few seconds in shock. The sick boy started to choke helplessly because he wasn't able to change positions on his own...the nasty substance going straight back down his throat. Noticing the boy couldn't breathe, Namjoon jolted out of his stupor to take the mask off the boy's face and turn him onto his side. He patted his back to help him clear it out of his airway, until the boy took a deep gasping breath and continued to puke. His stomach should have had hardly anything in it because he had been unconscious for days.....so it was unbelievable how much the young boy's stomach was able to force out. Once he stopped dry heaving, the doctor removed his soiled shirt and changed a couple pillowcases. He used some wet washcloths that Jin had brought to clean the boy's face and neck. Replacing the CPAP mask, he gently laid the boy back onto the clean pillows. They both watched for a few minutes as the boy's breathing evened out and his glassy eyes slipped shut.

All seemed well again until about an hour later when the boy dry heaved for several minutes. After he was finished his eyes opened and focused on the ceiling. Jin tried to gain his attention by calling his name softly and patting on his cheek, but he wouldn't respond to his brother's voice or even touch. When the boy's lips moved slightly, Jin leaned in to try and hear what his little brother was wanting to tell them. It was inaudible the first time, but clear the second time...."eomma." He was calling for his mother....in Korean.

 


 

 

There were multiple things wrong with that. The first being that Jungkook had never met his mom. Their mom and dad were murdered when Jin was very young. It was just after they had moved from Korea to a newly discovered Island off the coast...Jin was too young to remember the name, afterall they were only there for about a week before tragedy struck their perfect little family.

One Saturday morning when the six year old boy was still in bed, their dad was caught by surprise and stabbed in the chest while fixing breakfast in bed for his wife. A slender hand came around from behind him and covered his mouth with a thick cloth to stifle any sound he might make while the other held a large blade that was swiftly plunged deep into his chest and directly through his heart before he could even react.

One would think that such a death would be quick and somewhat painless, but this attacker was obviously an experienced assassin. It was clear that the killer was trained and very good at what they did....not only did this woman know how to kill, but also how to torture the victim with a slow and painful death.

Her familiarity with the human body and how it works made her a deadly and terrifying killing machine. She knew exactly what angle would be fatal, but not immediately causing death....what damage would effectively incapacitate him, but still leave her several minutes before he succumbed to the injury. Her victims always die, but never until the very moment that she intends them to...she was and is always in control of the situation.

The man by no means saw it coming. He saw the slender hand and at first thought it belonged to his wife. As it clamped roughly over his mouth he realized he was wrong, but in the instance it took to process this it was too late....the cold blade was already being forced into his chest cavity with determination and speed. Time slowed and all he could focus on in that moment was the intense pressure and the icy coolness of the knife entering his body. He opened his mouth to call for help or atleast alert his wife and neighbors of the danger, but only managed to inhale sharply as the blade pierced his heart...

Even after the deadly blow he tried again to yell out...if only to save his family, but was only able to whisper "help" a few times before he ran out of air. A voice shushed him and whispered in his ear as he tried to pull more air in....his body eventually sagging into the killer's chest in defeat...tears running silently down his cheeks as he realized he could not protect his family.... "Shh...easy now.....good boy....no use in putting up a fight." She patted him on the head and watched for a minute as his efforts to alert others of her presence failed and his chest stilled. He groaned softly as the pain of the injury set in. "I'm sorry Dear...but this is for your own good and the good of this country. These things can't be overlooked anymore." The killer paused, taking her hand off of his mouth as the man started to make faint choking noises. She knew that with the damage to his heart he did not have the capacity to make too much commotion, let alone breathe....his lungs refusing to function as blood backed up and quickly filled them....his circulatory system in complete shock from the fatal wound. She shifted to lean against the counter and better support his weight as his knees gave out.

His killer snickered and spoke in a slightly louder voice as the man continued to choke on his own blood, some of it spilling in small amounts over his now blue lips. "Who Am I kidding...I am definitely not sorry. Your wife and those babies have to die for their crimes....I guess I'm just sorry you got in the way..." She feigned a sad expression as she grabbed firmly onto the handle of the knife and forcefully shoved it farther into his chest...all the way to the base, causing him to gasp noisily through his open mouth. As the man's warm blood seeped out onto the front of her shirt a sick feeling of satisfaction came over her. "There we go....much better!!...........now where were we?? Oh yes that's right I-" She said in a sickly sweet voice before being interrupted by the sound of someone vomitting as it echoed down the stairs.

She turned her attention back to the dying man slumped up against her chest and continued to speak in a regretful tone as she bopped him on the nose. "Unfortunately for you I am in a hurry...I don't have time to chat....so I am going to have to speed this up a little. As you know I have something very important to deal with.." She paused as he coughed harshly...his lungs trying to clear themselves in a futile attempt to keep him alive. She looked very pleased as his eyes filled with panic after registering what she had just said. "Very good Mr. Jeon! I knew your brain was still functioning.....I could have had so much fun with someone as strong-willed as you......but sadly your time is up.............oh well, Goodbye Dear!!" The killer paused and smirked before saying the last part in a light and cheery voice as if talking to an old friend.

Within seconds the man's struggling abruptly came to a stop as it was cut off by a short squeaky breath...the knife suddenly being twisted vertically in his chest with a quick and purposeful flick of her wrist. His rigid muscles and his lungs relaxed immediately as she slowly withdrew the blade....a long wet sigh involuntarily escaping his lips. His lifeless body was carefully lowered to the floor as to not make any noise that would alarm the real target.

 


 

 

His wife was a beautiful young Korean woman with fair skin and childlike features. Everyone said when she smiled it reminded them of a bunny because she was truly adorable. She had become frail recently and her eyes were dull with deep bruising underneath them. The doctors worried that the twin pregnancy was just too much for her body and told her that if the babies went to full term she would likely die. Her body would be too weak to survive the birthing process. She had cried all day the day before when they had told her and that morning had been feeling very sick and dizzy. She had just laid back in bed after another round of dry heaving over the toilet.

As time went by she began to worry that her husband was taking too long getting breakfast. As she weakly tried to sit up and get out of bed the plastic bag hanging on her bedpost...just in case she couldn't make it to the bathroom...was suddenly forced over her head and she was pushed back onto the bed by strong muscular arms. A large masked figure appeared and pinned her down with their knees, looking into her eyes as she quickly suffocated. She fought weakly, turning her head in a desperate attempt to break free.

Just before she lost consciousness a slender masked figure with blood soaking the front of her appeared and removed the bag from her face whispering in her ear, "Your babies must die for what you have done...what a shame..to kill babies for their mother's ignorance and stupidity...but there is no other choice in this kind of situation.....you have forced our hand, Mrs. Jeon." She clicked her tongue and shook her head in disapproval as the young woman tried to regain her strength.

At that the large masked figure carried the dazed woman into the bathroom and the smaller one bound her wrists and ankles with duct tape. They laid her in the tub and held her down as the water slowly rose over her body. The desperate mother pleaded for her life and the life of her babies, but the figures just looked at eachother and laughed as she began to cough and choke...the water beginning to enter her mouth. The slender one pulling her head up for a moment to say something in her ear as she rubbed the woman's belly. "Don't worry honey....they probably won't suffer...too much.......but I can guarantee you will Dear. Afterall it is your fault that they don't get to have a chance at life.....people like you are ruining this country and deserve to die slow and painful deaths......well, enough talking Dear....its time for the fun to begin...."

With that the female killer's eyes sparkled and she winked playfully at the mother before dropping her with a splash back into the rising water. The man held onto her legs as the female assailant sat on her chest and pinned her to the tub floor....she tried and tried to get away but within a couple minutes was completely submerged. She put up a strong fight as adrenaline kicked in but was no match for the deadly pair, struggling and splashing for a full minute before her movements slowed...only jerking her head back and forth every few seconds, her knuckles turning white as she gripped the edge of the bathtub above her head.

They were beginning to get impatient when suddenly the victim's mouth opened reflexively and pulled water into her lungs...the organs began to shut down and her fate was sealed as she was unable to clear the fluid from her airway. She fought desperately from beneath the water for several seconds but it was completely useless in her position...she would cough the water up only to inhale more in, over and over until the inevitable finally happened.....her blue lips falling gently open and her bound hands sliding off the edge of the tub and hitting the water with a splash as her muscles relaxed and her entire body stilled. The female became giddy as she watched the pregnant woman's dark almond eyes glaze over in death.

"Wow....even in death she looks like a porcelain doll...it really is a shame she had to die like that....." The masked man said with a hint of regret in his voice. "Oh come on! Just finish the job and stop talking like that before I slit your throat!!....NOW!!" The female threatened as she waved her blood coated blade in his face. He didn't say another word as he quickly went over to his bag and pulled out a long knife, stabbing the woman's pregnant belly with violent force three times. He sped out of the room as the water in the tub became tainted with blood, and the female assassin grinned from behind her mask.

The criminals left in a hurry and missed the fact that 6 year old Jin had woken up and was hiding in the bedroom closet...the poor thing had heard bits and pieces of the commotion as they drowned his mother. The boy was terrified but slowly came out of hiding and into the bathroom after he was sure the intruders were gone. He fell to his knees at the side of the tub and sobbed. He was young enough that this was so confusing to him, but old enough to understand that his mother was gone. The distant look in her eyes and the red tinted water scared him to death.

He called the emergency number as he had always been told to do when something went terribly wrong and the paramedics rushed to his home. They discovered that the stress on his mother's body had stimulated labor as she died and one twin was stillborn into the bathtub minutes before they arrived. It was evident the abdominal trauma had killed the child before he left the womb.

                                                                                 

It wasn't noted until several days later when the grandmother went to retrieve the infant's body for burial...that he had been some type of hybrid....possibly a bunny, but because he was not fully developed it was difficult to tell. This was interesting because her husband was not a hybrid....

                                                                                 

 

The trembling older brother was taken out of the room by a social worker while they performed an emergency c-section to deliver and attempt to save Jungkook. He came out limp and blue from lack of oxygen and his heartbeat was weak, but he luckily had no injuries from the knife attack. They made an effort to stabilize him before calling a medical evacuation helicopter to take him to a children's hospital. He was extremely lucky to make it to the hospital alive...he was very early and his lungs were not ready to take in air yet, so the paramedics pumped air into his fragile lungs the entire way there. 

The doctors in the NICU didn't think he would live long because he was so small and weak. He couldn't even breathe on his own for the first few weeks, but even back then he was a fighter. A machine breathed for him through a tiny tube running down his throat and into his underdeveloped lungs for about a month. Even as he began breathing on his own, it was still a struggle for his tiny body to get enough oxygen. He spent 3 months in the NICU with supplemental oxygen before he was strong enough to breathe in enough on his own.

He was finally well enough to go home at almost 5 months old. He had started to eat better, without having trouble breathing, and to grow like he should. The nurses adored him at this point and had nicknamed him the miracle baby. They wished him well and sent him on his way.

The boys were immediately shipped back to Korea to live at their grandmother's.....who only spoke Korean. At that point Jin had grown up basically bilingual...their mother was Korean and their father had moved from America to Korea when he was a teenager and could speak English...so he was fluent in both languages. For the first 4 years of Jungkook's life he only heard and eventually spoke Korean.

The poor boys just couldn't catch a break and life went into an even faster downhill spiral when their grandmother died of old age. After her death, no one was left to take care of them in Korea. The only option was a distant cousin who lived on a remote, barely known, island with an especially high ratio of hybrids as residents. They had no choice but to be transferred overseas to a "foreign place", where virtually no one knows Korean.

Little did they know that they had come full circle and ended up in the same place that started it all............

Jungkook, with the help of his brother, learned English overtime out of pure necessity. In order to help him adjust, Jin stopped using Korean. Their relative died shortly after they arrived and that was when they were moved to the orphanage. They once again had no other choice as they were shipped away like they were not even human...

 


 

 

The fact was, that Jungkook had not spoken hardly any Korean in over 7 years. Something was not right...

Before Jin could explain this to Namjoon the boy began to take rapid shallow breaths and his eyes rolled back in his head as his body was once again racked with convulsions.....another seizure, yet not near as severe as the one induced by fever. It only lasted a little over a minute, and did not obstruct his breathing too much. It was very concerning though. As the boy came to and tears of pure terror streamed down his face, Jin stepped in to hold him close and talked softly in his ear to soothe him...holding back his own tears. The boy slowly faded out of consciousness again, but continued to breathe rapidly. Namjoon knew this was a red flag and that something could be seriously wrong.

Would this poor boy and his brother ever catch a break in life??

 

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

So I made some mistakes in the storyline and had to make some adjustments to the last chapter......I apologize guys I am not real experienced at this yet but I will try to do my best for you!
Also I added some detail to the part about their mother....and some other minor edits.

SO BASICALLY IT WOULD PROBABLY BENEFIT YOU TO RE-READ THE LAST CHAPTER......I AM SO SORRY.....
I FAIL 😬 BUT I WILL TRY HARDER FROM NOW ON

I hope some of you will still stick around till the end.....sorry for the inconvenience and wasting your time!!

 

 

Geez I sound so ridiculously insecure, but I just can't help it....lol

Chapter Text


 

 

When Jungkook fell back asleep after his second seizure of the week, Namjoon began to examine the boy closely from head to toe for any signs of what had caused the seizure. He still had a pretty high fever, but it was well under what it had been the first night. His heart rate was faster than normal, but it sounded strong and steady. His lungs were mostly clear, but he continued to pant..He was not as dehydrated as he was the day before.......and then it hit him. The fluids he had given him might actually be killing him.

He was sadly probably right about the kid having some kind of significant brain injury. When he gave the boy fluids through his IV that he so desperately needed, they unfortunately contributed to swelling around the damaged tissue and put pressure on his brain...which caused him to have another seizure. He needed to lower the pressure in his head very quickly before it caused more damage.

To be sure that this was the case he took a light and shined it in the kid's eyes one at a time to test his pupil reaction. His heart clenched at the result...the boy appeared to have severe swelling around his brain and needed immediate intervention. Normally a doctor would give a specific type of drug that removes fluid from the brain, but he didn't have any of that and would have to improvise.

 



 

As the pressure had increased around his brain Jungkook began to have a really hard time telling the difference between reality and delusion. He saw his mother, whose face he had only seen in pictures. She was holding his hand and asking him to come with her so they could be together and he could be well. She said his father wanted to meet him and his brother misses him...

At that moment his thoughts were cut off as his mind went dark and pain overwhelmed his senses. He had started to sieze, and when it was over he began to cry. He was terrified because he knew he must be close to dying again if he was seeing his mother, but also heartbroken that he had never got the chance to know his mom and dad before they died.

Then he heard a voice that he knew was not a delusion. He heard his older brother talking softly to him, telling him that it was gonna be alright.....and in that moment he held onto his words like a lifeline. He didn't know for sure that they were true, but he needed to believe that they were.

 



 

Jungkook slept for a few minutes, but then started to become increasingly agitated as the pressure continued to get worse. He started to panic and look very uncomfortable. "Please h-help me!.....N-nooo!......Taetae....I'm sc-scared," Jungkook whimpered as a few tears ran down his cheeks. He started to wheeze and became restless as Namjoon gathered some medicine for him. Jin tried to soothe him by humming in his ear and reassuring him that he is safe and cared for, but he seemed to be in his own little world. 

 



 

"Can't Breathe! Can't Breathe!! Can't Breathe!!!

Taetae hyung, I need you....please don't go.."

In his delirium, he was thrown back into the time he had by far had the worst asthma attack of his life. This had happened several months before the older boy had been brutally injured and kidnapped. 

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Jungkook had caught a chest cold a couple days before, that had not really gotten any better...but he didn't feel worse either so his doctor said he could go to school if he felt like it. Tae was walking with him to the orphanage after stopping by the custard stand on the way home from school. The last few blocks he had noticed that his chest felt a little tight and he had to breathe faster to feel like he was getting enough air. He was thankful that Tae was still talking and hadn't noticed yet. The older boy was very protective of Jungkook, and it really was sweet and appreciated...but he didn't like to worry him. It would pass, he just needed to rest for a little bit when he gets to the orphanage.

All of the sudden his lungs constricted with such intensity that he lost his footing and tripped...almost falling before the older's arms wrapped around his waist and helped stabilize him. He tried to take a breath, but barely got anything in. Tae was saying something to him, but everything sounded so distant and he could only hear his own loud wheezing as he tried to breathe. He met his best friend's concerned eyes as his knees gave out and he started to collapse.

They weren't too far from where the boy lived, but it was clear that he couldn't walk anymore. He was gently eased down onto the sidewalk and leaned up against the side of a building as he continued to gasp desperately for air. Tae got down to his level and held his face between his warm hands to get his attention. "I have to go get help for you, but I promise I'll be right back...as fast as I can....just keep trying to breathe, okay Kookie?" He took off running toward the orphanage and left Jungkook propped up against the building. He was so scared and wanted more than anything to be held in his best friend's arms. A wave of silent panic coursed through his veins as he watched him run away, but he was powerless to stop him...his body becoming weak with the inability to get enough oxygen.

"Noooo! Taetae, please don't leave me alone! I'm scared!!"

The rational part of his brain knew that Tae was doing the right thing. He needed help fast and he couldn't help him if he stayed...even carrying him to the orphanage would have taken too long. It was after business hours now and the sun was beginning to set, so not many people were on the streets that could help him. This was an emergency and time was a critical factor because he could not breathe. He could feel himself starting to lose his grip on the world, the longer he went without a proper breath. The scary truth was that he was so close to passing out from lack of oxygen. 

Tae was back before he knew it and kneeling in front of him. His face was blurry, but he could recognize his soothing deep voice as he brushed the hair out of Jungkook's eyes. "Jungkookie, I'm back.....please look at me Kookie-ah.....No No No...come on, stay with me. Don't you do that, okay? Focus on my voice and try to keep your eyes open...help is coming, Kookie." Jungkook could hear in the older boy's voice that he was scared for him. As warm hands patted gently on his cheeks he fought to keep his eyes on Tae's face, but he could feel them rolling back into his head again and again. A warm hand slipped into one of his now cold and blue tinged hands and held on tightly. He held back as firmly as he could as he started to lose consciousness, and the world went from blurry to black.

Tae later told him that he had basically stopped breathing by the time the paramedics got to him. They laid him on the stretcher and immediately put a tube down his throat to get medications into his lungs and to help him breathe. He ended up staying two weeks in the hospital...the first couple days he was sedated and on a ventilator so his lungs could recover. After he was taken off the breathing machine they kept him on oxygen until his chest cold, which turned out to be bronchitis, had passed. Before they released him he was diagnosed with asthma and told this was an extremely severe attack...it was possible that this could happen again when he was sick or exerted himself, so they gave him an inhaler to carry with him in case of emergency. 

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All at once he began to feel funny, like he was floating as a new medication entered his veins and his anxiety and fear began to fade away...

 



 

 

The doctor gave the boy some morphine to keep him calm and comfortable....explaining that the increased pressure was causing confusion and probably some pain, which is why he was so restless. To help ease the pressure on his brain while the swelling goes down, he started a continuous drip of medication to lower his blood pressure. Using that type of drug could be risky if his vitals dropped too low, but Jungkook was in trouble and didn't have any other options. He temporarily disconnected him from the bag of fluids to stop the swelling from getting any worse.

In response to the medication, any awareness that the sick kid had before was gone. Within minutes the boy relaxed and fell into a coma-like state as the medication coursed through his bloodstream and took effect. His blood pressure lowered and remained below normal, and his heart rate slowed way down before stabilizing at a much lower rate as well. The wheezing slowly faded away as he stopped hyperventilating. 

 


 

He watched the boy very closely the rest of the day and through the night. The medication having left him in a very vulnerable state. He was so out of it that if he threw up again he might not even try to keep it out of his airway, and instead just pull it into his lungs....as weak as his lungs were, that would likely kill him. His condition had went from stable to critically ill in less than a few hours and he knew that it could change again at a moment's notice.

When it began to get late and Jin looked like he could barely keep his eyes open, he carefully climbed onto the couch and slipped behind Jungkook. With Namjoon's help the boy was positioned on his side with his head over his brother's heart....this way if he did get sick again he was less likely to inhale the nasty stuff into his lungs. They would still have to move quickly and remove his mask, but him being in this position would give them a little more time. Thankfully, the kid was still breathing deeply and regularly despite it being labored. Namjoon did end up suctioning him once because he was wasn't able to cough very effectively in his current state. He recovered within minutes this time, his respiratory drive being much stronger now eventhough his body was still very weak. The CPAP machine was doing wonders for his oxygenation so the doctor didn't have to worry too much about that for the time being.

 

  


 

 

 


 

 

The next morning Namjoon gradually eased the boy off the blood pressure medication to see how his body would react. The result would help him know if the swelling had went down any. By mid afternoon he disconnected him from the medication. At that point he was still stable even as his blood pressure and heart rate slowly normalized. Several hours went by without the drug and the boy seemed to remain stable and comfortable. He checked the boy's pupils and they reacted much better, but not at 100% yet. Hopefully the worst of it was over though, and the poor kid could begin to recover now...he had been through plenty of suffering, enough to last for a lifetime.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The third full day in Namjoon's house was pleasantly uneventful. Besides having harsh coughing fits that left him wheezing, the sick boy's condition stayed pretty much the same. He was beginning to slowly come out of respiratory failure, but still randomly gasped and panted as if he couldn't get enough air. The IV fluids were restarted at a much slower rate, this time with no unwanted effects.

By the time the sun was setting again Jungkook had begun to stir and whimper when Namjoon changed the cold cloth on his forehead or used the stethoscope to listen to his lungs. At one point Jin asked if the boy could be in pain. Namjoon gave him a very small dose of morphine because it was possible that the kid's chest or his head was hurting and he didn't want the boy to be uncomfortable...but he also knew that this could be a sign that he was starting to become more aware and could wake up soon. He didn't say this out loud though to avoid getting his brother's hopes up.

Another day and night passed with no progress, but also no significant decline in his status...his condition was finally truly stabilizing. In the early morning hours of that next day, his fever broke and left him drenched in sweat causing him to shiver and moan in his sleep. Jin woke up and kneeled next to the couch to observe his little brother for a minute before standing again to wake Namjoon. The older boy had not really slept at all the past few days to make sure Jungkook didn't have too much trouble breathing or the swelling around his brain didn't get worse. He was currently passed out on the floor a few feet away.

As Jin stood to go shake the exhausted doctor awake he felt a weak tug on his pants and immediately fell back to his knees to get closer to his brother. His big brown eyes were focused again this time and tiredly looking up at him. He looked slightly confused as he took in his surroundings, but did not look as terrified as the last time. He blinked ever so slowly as he gazed up at his beloved big brother. The older boy couldn't keep the tears from spilling over....Namjoon had said that after all the damage the kid's brain had endured, he may take a long time to wake up....or worst case scenario not at all.

"Hey Kookie." Jin said in a tear soaked voice as he tried to stop the tears so he wouldn't scare the boy. He held tightly to Jungkook's hand and leaned in closer to brush the damp strands of hair out of his eyes with his other hand. The boy smiled weakly and took a deep noisy breath before trying to speak. Jin had to strain to hear as a weak muffled voice came from behind the mask on his face. "D-don't...leave me...J-Jin hyung......I...I n-need you..." It seemed as if talking took alot of effort, and he had to stop in between words to catch his breath. Before the last words even left his lips his eyes were trying to flutter shut again, but he kept them stubbornly open. "I would never Kook, I promise...I'm staying right here......Are you hurting, baby? Do you need something??" Jin whispered in reply as he rubbed circles on the boy's chest. The frail boy took a deep labored breath and shook his head slightly as he struggled to remain conscious. He whispered back, "J-Just you...hyung." His eyes sparkled for a second and he smirked.

 



  

If he was being honest, his chest was hurting pretty bad. His lungs protested painfully every time he expanded them to take in air.....and it was so hard to breathe, but it was okay because he could do this. His hyung didn't need to worry about him any more than necessary. He was sooo very tired, but he couldn't give up because he knew it would kill his brother if he died...and there was nothing he loved more in this world than his Hyung. 

 



 

Jin smiled at the playful comment, knowing Jungkook didn't understand how truthful that statement actually was. As he looked at his little brother, he thought his heart might explode with the amount of love he had for the boy. A pang of guilt hit him as Jungkook made a pained expression...his breath hitching in his chest, before trying to hide it with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. It already hurt him to look at his little brother and see how pale and sickly he had become. The fact that he was still trying to be brave when he was so uncomfortable and frail was the breaking point, and brought tears to his eyes.

His sweet, selfless little brother did not deserve this....it should have been him instead. He thought he had done everything right. He had given his best effort to try and keep Jungkook from getting too cold, but in the end it wasn't enough. Eventhough he knew that Jungkook had a history of getting sick easily...and unfortunately there was nothing that could be done about that....the boy had always been sickly, but he still couldn't help but feel like he had failed him. He felt like it was his fault that he was in this state of balancing between life and death.

His appearance easily gave away his critical condition. His body just looked so small and weak, with dark circles under his tired eyes. He had a fresh sheen of sweat on his forehead and his teeth chattered as his temperature fluctuated. The only other movement from the frail boy was from his chest, as it heaved with each labored breath. Jin hated so much how hard the boy had to work to get a full breath of air. He knew it was cliche', but he wished so badly that he could take the young boy's place.

Just then his breathing hitched again and he coughed and wheezed a couple times. He took a few deep breaths and whispered "I-I'm okay...hy-hyung" as he met his brother's concerned eyes. The two just sat in silence for a few seconds before Jin confronted him. "It's okay Kook-ah. I know you are uncomfortable....you can be honest with me. I know you are strong and brave, but you are not going through this alone....please let me help you...you are very ill....you need help Jungkook-ah." The boy opened his mouth to reply, but let it fall closed as his energy depleted. Instead he just squeezed Jin's hand and kept eye contact with him.

Jin massaged Jungkook's chest to help distract him from the pain in his lungs...the younger boy keeping constant eye contact with his hyung as he tried to breathe deeply and consistently. Within no time his eyes began to lose focus and his eyelids drooped...it was obvious that what little energy he had was spent. He had attempted to fight against the darkness, but he was too sick and lacked the strength to stop it from pulling him under again. He let out a pitiful whimper and squeezed his brother's hand again as he tried to keep his heavy eyelids open. "It's okay Kookie, just relax. Your body needs to rest so you can get stronger. I will be here when you wake up again.." He said while rubbing his thumb in soothing circles on the back of his hand.

The poor boy tried to obey by letting his eyes close, but was clearly anxious. He fidgeted weakly and started to wheeze. Jin scooped him up and sat him in a more upright position on his lap to help him calm down and to open his airway up better, the way Namjoon had taught him. He seemed to relax at the close contact...his breathing eased up and evened out a little. Jin threaded his fingers through the boy's damp locks as he slipped out of consciousness and into a deep, exhausted sleep.

 



 

"Hyung, I am so tired...but what if I stop breathing in my sleep?! I know I need to rest but I'm scared. Please don't let me die....please stay with me while I sleep hyung...I don't want to die!"

As much effort as it took to get air into his lungs, Jungkook was legitimately terrified that he wouldn't be able to breathe if he went back to sleep. His anxieties quieted down as Jin took him into his lap and his body quickly began to give in to exhaustion. He knew without a doubt that if his hyung had him in his arms, he would not let him die...

 



 


The poor kid didn't have enough energy to stay awake long, but the few short minutes that he was conscious he seemed to be acting like his old self....
It filled Jin's heart with something wonderful but yet so very cruel...Hope.

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Tae is one step closer to death every day. He just lays on his bed staring at the concrete ceiling and blocking out the world. This has become his new normal since he stopped eating about 2 weeks ago, and nobody was going to change his mind. He is satisfied with how quickly his body seems to be deteriorating. Weakness has taken hold of every inch of his body and he can hardly stand without collapsing because of intense dizzy spells. The last day or so his mind has filled with an almost pleasant fog, slightly easing the pain of starvation that was beginning to intensify.

At first they yelled at him to follow orders and beat him when he didn't respond. The beatings got more and more severe over a few days, the last guy taking a bat to his ribcage.....he is pretty sure most of his ribs are broken. He used to worry about internal damage after such a beating, but the hopeless boy was beyond caring...maybe just maybe his injuries would hasten his death. To the boy's relief they suddenly give up and just leave him alone most days as his strength withers away....his delirious mind wandering into his past life.

He thought alot about his Jungkookie...his very best friend whom he would have died for if need be in a heartbeat. The boy was like the little brother he never had, and he would give anything to see him one more time. Although he would probably think him pathetic now as he laid here and wished for death to hurry up and take him. On the other hand he had no idea if his little Kookie was even still alive after the war had started.....for all he knew he could be in danger or hurt...the thought of the younger boy scared or in pain brought him to tears. He so badly wished he could be there to watch out for the boy like he used to..

 

...........................................................

 

Being a premie baby, Jungkook had always been sickly as a child. He had a poor immune system and got sick really easily, and often had a hard time fighting off infections. Even something as small as a common cold could become very dangerous for him if left untreated. Because he was always focusing his energy on battling infections, his body did not have the opportunity to build any strength...so he was small and weak compared to the other kids. This left him vulnerable and he was constantly being made fun of and pushed around....nobody wanted to associate with him. When his brother wasn't around, the poor boy was completely on his own.

Tae vividly remembers the first time they met. He had found the poor boy puking up his guts into a toilet in the bathroom. It looked like he had barely made it before collapsing in front of the porcelain bowl and beginning to empty his stomach..the stall door wide open. Tae couldn't just leave the kid by himself in this condition, but was frozen as he watched the small boy turn pale.

When the boy started to choke and struggle to breathe through the relentlessly violent heaving, he rushed over and began whispering encouragement into his ear as he patted his back. "Its gonna be okay. It will be over soon...just hold on. I am gonna stay and help you." He wrapped an arm around his waist for support and placed a hand on his chest to keep him from collapsing into the toilet as he finished throwing up and started to slump over in an exhausted heap. They just sat on the floor together for the next several minutes in silence, the younger leaning heavily into Tae's side as he tried to catch his breath. The older boy ended up picking him up bridal style and carrying him to the nurse's office because the episode had left him too weak to stand and barely conscious. He sat with him while the nurse called someone to come and get him.

Tae held his hand as another cramp tore through the small boy's stomach and he moaned pitifully. When his stomach finally relaxed the boy gathered enough strength to talk. He turned to Tae and said in a hoarse voice, "I'm sorry...you didn't have to..to do that hyung..." The boy looked ashamed and tried to pull his hand out of the older's grasp. When Tae stubbornly held on tighter he whined, "Please hyung I am not well....you will catch it. Helping me is not worth getting si-" He was abruptly cut off as another round of vomit was violently forced out of his stomach and into his lap. Tae helped him change into some extra clothes that the nurse had and brought him a glass of water. Jungkook looked up at him with curious doe eyes as he bowed respectfully and accepted the water. After taking a sip he whispered, "Why hyung..why did you help me??" Tae squeezed his hand, "There was no way I was going to leave you like that...choking on your own puke and white as a sheet. You looked like you were about to pass out." The young boy shrugged his shoulders and mumbled barely above a whisper. "Wouldn't have been the first time hyung...I would have been okay."

Before Tae had time to form a reply another boy, an upperclassman, came running in. He went directly over to Jungkook's side, picked him up and sat him in his lap. He kissed him on the forehead and as he held his face in his hands began talking calmly to him. "What happened this time Kookie-ah? Do we need to go to the hospital??"

"I can't stop puking Jin-hyung and my stomach hurts really bad. I feel a little........a little dizzy too...." He had to stop mid sentence as ironically, a wave of dizziness almost caused him to pass out and he collapsed into his brother's chest. He lay still for a minute before Jin addressed him again. "You still with me Kook?" The boy nodded so he continued as he held him close and rubbed his back. "You are probably really dehydrated, Kookie. The last time you caught a stomach bug you needed fluids through an IV...you couldn't keep anything down for several days, remember?" Jungkook nodded again, "Yes hyung...I remember. I am in the hospital more than anywhere else...." He said in a tired and hopeless tone. Jin just patted his back and sighed.

The nurse came back and told them that no one at the orphanage was available to pick him up right now, so he would have to stay with her for a few more hours until school ended. He clung to his brother's shirt and whimpered, "I don't want you to leave hyung." The older boy sincerely apologized "I'm sorry Kook-ah, but I need to go. I will be back as soon as class is over." The nurse tried to ease his anxiety. "Don't worry Jungkookie...I will take good care of you, sweetie. Your brother has an important exam to finish....and this is not our first afternoon together." She said with a sad smile. Jin helped him get comfortable on the small cot in the corner with a pillow and a blanket, ruffling his hair affectionately before slipping out of the room to go back to class.

Tae stayed out of the way as the nurse checked the sick boy's temperature and placed a cold rag on his forehead. Noticing that the older boy was still in the room she said, "Shouldn't you be going back to class now too?"
"He will be okay....the poor thing gets sick like this alot.." she added as she looked at his worried expression. "Please Noona...I don't have any tests this afternoon. Please let me stay with him. I won't cause any trouble for you I just want to keep him company..." Tae pleaded with the nurse. He had no idea why, but the kid had a magnetic effect on him. He hated the thought of leaving him alone, curled up on the cot with both arms over his stomach. The nurse would be with him of course, but he felt like the boy needed a friend....he suddenly wanted more than anything to be that supportive friend for him. The nurse gave a defeated sigh before nodding in approval and crossing the room to sit at her desk.

The older quickly made his way over and pulled a chair up next to the cot. He sat down and gently combed his fingers through the boy's hair as he swallowed thickly and breathed heavily. When his eyes shot open and he started to gag Tae helped him sit up and hurried to grab the trash bin, holding it under Jungkook's chin as he threw up yet again. He sat next to the sick boy and when his stomach stopped heaving, he pulled him close so he could lean on his shoulder. The poor boy remained quiet and limp for a minute before speaking in a rough voice. "So you're still here.....even after finding out that...that I'm just a sickly orphan kid.....please..don't feel like you have to stay with me...I-I'll b-be o-k-kay." As he finished, he began to shiver so badly that his teeth chattered and he stuttered.

Tae gently moved the boy onto his lap and wrapped the blanket around him before replying. "I'm feeling a little stubborn today. You're not gonna get rid of me soooo you might as well stop trying...but seriously, I want to be here. I want to take care of you when you don't feel well and be your friend." He suddenly felt embarrassed of this confession and his face turned red.

Jungkook looked up at him with tear-filled eyes, and a flash of hope appeared...vanishing as quickly as it had arrived. The sick boy did not seem to notice Tae's flushed cheeks and said in a small voice, "You don't want to do that hyung...I get sick really often, and alot of the time I end up in the hospital....because I am w-weak hyung....my body...it can't fight off germs very well. But I have Jin hyung, and he is very good to me..so I will be okay...."

He heard the boy, but chose not to acknowledge the comment right now. Although his heart ached for him, hearing how weak his immune system was. Instead he hugged the sick boy closer as he continued to shiver and said, "...Jungkook right?" As Jungkook sighed in defeat and nodded in comfirmation, he kept talking. "My name is Taehyung, but you can call me Tae or Taetae..........." He paused as if to decide if he should say the next part or not. "...I don't care how sick you get Jungkook-ah, I want to be with you...even if you have to go to the hospital, okay? Would you like that??" The younger boy sniffled as tears ran down his cheeks. "I...I would Taetae hy-hyung...so much, b-but-" Tae shushed him and combed his fingers through his hair. "Please Jungkookie, don't do that to yourself. I don't know what made you think you aren't worth people's time, but you are so wrong. Just let me be there for you...nobody is forcing me to. I really truly want to be your friend if you'll let me..."

A small shy, but hopeful smile appeared on the younger's face before he curled himself into Tae's chest and fell asleep. The sick boy only slept for about 20 minutes though before waking up as another round of vomit involuntarily made its way out of his body. Jungkook woke up like that 7 more times in the next 2 hrs, and it became obvious that the strain of throwing up was absolutely exhausting the boy. Each time he would barely stay conscious long enough to throw up and then slump over, panting in the older boy's arms.

By the time school was over, the sick boy was burning up and had a dazed look in his eyes in the rare moments they were open. When the orphanage worker arrived the decision was eventually made to take Jungkook to the hospital so he could get IV medication for his fever and to treat his dehydration, which was getting worse by the minute. Tae begged them to let him come as he held tightly onto the unconscious boy's hand, "Please Noona...please Jin Hyung-nim, I promised him I would go with him if he needed to go to the hospital! Please..." Jin was so happy to see that his little brother had made a real friend, one that seemed to genuinely care about him. He convinced the worker to bring Tae along...as long as he called his parents for permission first.

The younger boy was in the hospital for four days as his weak immune system struggled to fight off the stomach bug, eventually winning the battle, with the help of fluids and antibiotics that were pumped into his bloodstream...but leaving him weak and exhausted. Tae remained loyal to his new friend, stopping by the hospital every day after school and staying for hours..even if the sick boy was just sleeping, he would sit quietly by him and hold his hand.

Once Jungkook was discharged home, the older boy visited him at the orphanage until he was well enough to come back to school. From that point on, Tae became Jungkook's Best Friend and fierce protector. With his newfound friendship, Tae watched the boy blossom into a happier, more hopeful kid...not to mention his health improved a little and his body became overall stronger over the next few years. He still got sick easily, but not as often. He spent less time hospitalized, and instead began to succeed in school. For the first time in his life he was able to focus on learning, rather than worrying about staying alive long enough to finish each grade.

...............................................................

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

After that night Jungkook's fever didn't go away completely, but it never got high enough to be considered dangerous like before. It was clearly still not easy for him to breathe, and even with the CPAP mask the effort was wearing him out...robbing him of energy. Namjoon made sure to be clear to Jin about Jungkook's condition. Despite the improvements they had seen, he was still extremely fragile and sick. At this point there was still a chance that the infection could make his body too weak and it would stop being able to fight. As much as it broke his heart to admit, the odds were still against the young boy surviving....it was likely that the boy would die. The infection was currently winning as it overwhelmed his immune system and weakened body. The kid appeared to be somewhat stable but was truthfully barely hanging on to life.

It was a few days later before they saw his eyes again. It was mid-morning when Jungkook had a really bad coughing fit. Namjoon jumped in to sit him up and rub his back comfortingly. After it was over he let the kid lean on him for a few minutes as he tried to catch his breath. As he gasped for air, his eyes slowly cracked opened. At first they were a little unfocused, but with time they were able to find his brother's face. Jin was kneeling down in front of him and wiping his face with a cool wet washcloth as he tried to get a full breath, but his lungs seemed to protest against his efforts. The older boy was so grateful for the CPAP mask as he witnessed his little brother having a hard time breathing. He had a pained look on his face and was struggling more than usual to get air into his lungs.

A few minutes go by with no signs of improvement, and the boy begins to wheeze loudly. His lips start to have a bluish tint and panic can be seen in the young boy's eyes. Something clicks inside the doctor's head and he suddenly asks, "Does Jungkook have asthma?" Before Jin could answer Jungkook nodded and choked out one word in between gasps and wheezes, "h-hurts..." "I know Kookie. You're doing so good baby." Jin said, nodding in confirmation as he massaged the younger's chest. "He was umm...b-born really early so he has had lots of health problems." Jin took a deep breath and shook his head to clear his dark thoughts. Even after all these years have passed, it was still really hard for him to talk about that morning. He had lost almost everything that day, Jungkook was a miracle...the main reason he kept on living when his world had caved in on him. He couldn't lose him now....he wouldn't be able to handle it..

Seeing the distant look on his face, Namjoon put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently as he tried to bring him back to the present. "Jin-ah...are you alright?" He blinked a few times before his eyes focused on the doctor's face again. "Y-yes hyung...I'm sorry, I am okay...just thinking. Let's focus on Jungkookie....umm...He's only had one really bad asthma attack several years ago, and a few small episodes of wheezing since then...that I can remember." The older hummed before turning his attention to the distressed boy. "You are really sick right now Jungkook-ah and its triggering your asthma...but its gonna be okay. Just keep trying to breathe for me. I'm going to leave you with your brother while I go get some medicine ready that should help you breathe easier, okay?" Namjoon said as he shifted to let Jin sit behind Jungkook.

 



 

Jungkook couldn't help but think about the last time he had trouble with asthma. Tae had saved his life...his lungs had basically refused to take in enough air, and he knew if he would have walked home alone he would have died for sure. His mind began to wander as it was again deprived of oxygen, but not as severely as the last times...just enough to create a haze. If he concentrated he could still make out his current situation, but it was hard for his mind to stay there. 

For some reason his thoughts were fixated on his best friend and his hero time and again, his Taetae. From the beginning the older boy had always been so kind and genuinely concerned for Jungkook's wellbeing. Even when his health failed him, the older boy never abandoned him.....staying close and helping Jin nurse him back to health when he was ill. His hardships only seemed to make their relationship grow and become stronger.

He would never forget how gentle and persistent he had been the first time they met....he had simply refused to leave him, in spite of Jungkook's pleas to take care of himself instead. The younger had been so sick that day and he had refused to leave his side, even when they decided that he was too sick to go home and needed a doctor. He went with the boy to the hospital, apparently not really concerned for his own wellbeing....but more focused on the condition of the small sickly boy that he insisted on cradling in his arms on the way there. In his semi-conscious state he could sense his friend's presence, and feel the warmth of his hand as it held gently onto his own.

From that moment forward, Tae became his motivation to get stronger and to survive when all he wanted to do was give up...sometimes it was so hard to keep fighting, but he was never going to have to go through it alone ever again. Of course he had always had his brother, but this was different in a way that he couldn't fully understand himself. All he knew was that Tae had saved his life more times than he could remember.

 



 

 

Namjoon returned a minute later with a tube of vaporub and and an inhaled steroid/bronchodilator(this helps to decrease inflammation and open up the airway). After applying the rub to his chest, the doctor kneeled down at his level. He gently caressed the sick boy's cheek to get his attention as he spoke to him softly, "Jungkook-ah are you still with us? I need you to look at me for a minute if you can..." The younger nodded and opened his eyes to meet his expectantly. "Okay great! I have to remove your mask for a minute, but not too long. It might take more energy to breathe for a minute, but you need to get this medicine into your lungs. I am gonna need you to breath in as deep as you can when I tell you and try to hold your breath as long as you can so the medicine can absorb into your lungs. I know its gonna be hard for you, but I need you to try...do you think you can do that Kook?" The wheezing boy nodded and Namjoon gently removed his mask causing the boy to squeeze onto his brother's hand in fear as it became nearly impossible for him to breathe, and his lips started to turn an even deeper blue.

Jin looked at Namjoon with concern in his eyes and asked, "Are you sure he can handle this, hyung?? His...his lips....it is so hard for him to get enough air on his own! He's suffocating hyung!!" Namjoon spoke sternly and quickly as he grabbed firmly onto his shoulders. "Listen to me. I am not gonna let him suffocate, Jin...but he really needs this medication or he is going to stop being able to breathe because of his asthma, okay? We will try for a minute and then put the mask on and let him rest before trying again...." Jin relaxed slightly but still looks very concerned, as his little brother struggled to stay afloat without the extra help.

The young boy looked determined as he gathered all his strength. He did his best to take a deep breath as Namjoon instructed, but the first time only managed a weak shallow breath that sent him into a small coughing fit. However some of the mist must have gotten in because as the coughing died down, his breathing was a little less labored. Namjoon held the mask up to his mouth and nose as the boy tried to catch his breath, warning him again before pulling it away and holding the inhaler to his lips.

The next puff of medicine stayed down a lot longer, and within a few minutes of replacing his mask his breathing improved significantly and the blue faded from his lips. Jin spoke up, "How are you feeling now Kook?? Are you able to talk to me a little?"
He nodded and tried to verbalize how he was feeling for his brother. "I...I c-can breathe....now hyung......much b-better.....But..." He found his brother's hand again and held on as tightly as he could in his weak state. The next part came out in a whisper. "I am just so.....sc-scared hyung..." he paused to catch his breath, "I f-feel so....weak I-I...can barely m-move.........or c-catch my breath."

By this point silent tears were running down Jungkook's face and his strength was fading again. He used his remaining energy to turn slightly and snuggle weakly into his hyung's chest...hands gripping desperately onto his shirt as he began to hyperventilate. "Hy-ung..........A-am I.....g-gonna........d-die??? Please n-noo....I-I don't...I........" He whimpered and paused for a moment as if to calm his erratic breathing before mumbling sleepily, "Stay w-with me..J-Jin hyung..."

Jin pulled his baby brother the rest of the way into his lap, rocking him and holding him close to his chest as his breathing slowed a little. When he was calm again he began to speak softly to him in a serious tone.  "Its true Kook, you are very sick and a few times you have almost died. You scared me to death because I wasn't sure if you were gonna make it, Kookie....but you held on because you are strong...well and also thanks to Namjoon hyung, he saved your life and has been so kind to two homeless kids who desperately needed help...I think he must be an angel Kook..........Kook can you still hear me?" The boy nodded weakly in response. He really was trying to stay awake and listen, but despite his efforts he started to fade in and out of consciousness.

Jin knew the kid was exhausted and couldn't stay awake much longer, but he wanted to say one more thing. "Jungkook-ah I just want you to know that hyung loves you so much, and I will Always be there for you. I can't promise that..that you won't die, but I can promise that I will be here with you every step of the way... I have faith in you though, and I know you can do this...You are gonna beat this, and Namjoon hyung and I are going to help you. So I don't want you to be afraid, okay Kookie?" The young boy hummed and his grip on Jin's shirt relaxed, as did his entire body. He felt his little brother's body go completely limp against him and he knew sleep had taken him again.

He stayed like that for several hours with Jungkook's small frame curled into him....feeling his heartbeat and the rise and fall of his chest...It was oddly comforting despite each labored breath obviously still being a difficult task for the boy. Jin felt a sense of peace wash over him and was able to get his first Real rest in so long as he felt the steady reminder that his brother was alive against his chest.

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

On the other side of the island two teenage hybrids are huddled together in an abandoned building with their mother, trying to keep from freezing to death. Their father had been killed in a raid by the Hybrid Patrol almost a year ago that sent them fleeing for their lives. The broken family is on the run and desperate for a safe place to stay. They are a heartbreaking sight to see...all three of them cuddled up against the wall with a plastic tarp draped over them to hold in some heat. The youngest begins to shiver so the older of the two boys, though smaller in frame, wraps an arm protectively around him as they drift off to sleep. What is even more heartwrenching is the fact that none of them are aware that this would be their last night together......

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

Over the next few days, Jungkook begins to show signs of improving as his body starts to miraculously gain the upper hand against the bacteria that has been threatening to take his life. His lungs are exhausted, but he has finally made it out of respiratory failure. He is still very weak and his lungs struggle to function as they should. He has so little strength that he is barely able to move on his own and breathing is still a heavy burden. 

The boy makes a strong effort to be present as much as possible, and by the end of the week he is able to stay awake for about an hour collectively each day. Like everything else, remaining conscious for more than a minute or two is not easy for him. Jin can see how hard the boy is trying...he wants so badly to get better! No matter how much he wants it though, he is only capable of keeping his tired eyes open for a few minutes at a time before wearing out and falling back asleep...but he manages to do this several times a day now.

He eventually no longer needs fluids through an IV line, and Namjoon takes it out. He is able to take the necessary medications in pill or liquid form. He can drink small amounts of water and eat soft foods, but he needs alot of help. Someone has to help him sit up and coax small sips and spoonfuls down his throat.

The first meal he gets is some soup. Jungkook tries so hard to cooperate, because he knows he needs the nutrients to get stronger.....but can only handle two or three mouthfuls at a time before he starts to wheeze and breathe heavy....his body struggling to manage eating and breathing at the same time. Even as he wheezes, he opens his mouth for another spoonful. Jin ruffles his hair, "I think that's enough Kookie....you can barely breathe. You need to take a break." Namjoon puts his CPAP mask back on as his eyes try to flutter shut...he is clearly exhausted. "Your brother is right, Jungkook-ah. We shouldn't push your body too much. It is trying to tell us to slow down, and I think we should listen. Don't worry though....you did really good, okay? I'm proud of you." He said this while resituating him into a more comfortable position to sleep. Jin tucked a blanket around him and brushed the hair away from his eyes, talking softly to him. "I am so very proud of you, Kookie-ah. You are gonna be strong and healthy in no time!" The boy nodded and smiled, his breathing gradually improving as he relaxed into sleep once again.

The poor kid also has a hard time swallowing and has choked a few times. The doctor realizes that this is probably caused by a combination of factors. One being the extreme weakness that is affecting his entire body, including the muscles used to chew and swallow. This should improve with time as his body recovers and beats the infection. The other factor will probably be more permanent...the injury to his brain from lack of oxygen can result in a difficulty coordinating the muscles used for speech and swallowing, which explains why talking always seems to be a struggle. He has to force his words out, and tires out more quickly than if he just stayed silent.

Other complications from the brain trauma that Jungkook has struggled with are severe headaches, memory problems and episodes of confusion. These are so mild considering how long the kid went without enough oxygen. It is really a miracle that he doesn't have worse issues to cope with. Namjoon is very hopeful that the things he is experiencing will become less of a problem as his brain heals....the injury is still pretty fresh at this point.

As far as his breathing goes, it is still labored and he wheezes often. He is taking regular breathing treatments now with the nebulizer and has the inhaler available for emergencies. His lungs are somewhat stable enough to shut off the CPAP very briefly when he is awake, trading it out for oxygen tubing that blows into his nose so he can eat and drink....but he can't maintain his oxygen levels very long at all like that. The stress of eating and trying to breathe without assistance quickly takes a toll on him only after a few sips or mouthfuls... 

Namjoon is so relieved that the boy is finally starting to respond well to the treatment. Although he is far from healthy right now, he seems to be taking the first step toward getting some of his strength back. Jin is so thankful for Namjoon, because he truly owes his little brother's life to him. He knows for certain that Jungkook wouldn't have lasted much longer that night if the doctor hadn't offered his home and resources to two starving and sickly strangers. The boy was at death's door, and frankly Jin probably wouldn't have been too far behind him. He had been too focused on his very sick brother to take care of himself for several days and it had taken a toll on his health. In the last day or two, Jin finally has started to feel his health and strength coming back to him...he figures eating three real meals a day and sleeping in a warm house without fear of dying or being killed in your sleep has a lot to do with it.

Namjoon not only saved Jungkook from being just another statistic, but he has become a true hero and lifeline for both of the brothers. Jin decides that he will accept the offer to live with Namjoon because who knows if anyone would ever be this kind to them again...he may be their only chance to get off the streets and not only survive, but really Live.

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The broken hybrid family sleeps somewhat soundly for a couple hours before being jolted awake by a loud bang. Someone had just busted the door down. They scramble to find a hiding place as they hear heavy footsteps marching down the halls, but are not fast enough. As they turn a corner a gunshot echoes through the room and their mother collapses. She appears to have been shot in the neck and was already starting to choke on blood. In the time it took for the boys to glance back at their dying mother, the Patrol officers were on them. They injected the boys with a light sedative before securing collars around their necks and shoving them into cages. The last thing they hear as they drift off is their mother's choking and sputtering as it intensifies and then ends abruptly.

These two hybrid teens are now orphans, but it doesn't really matter anyway. They are about to basically be thrown into a death trap...a hybrid torture camp, where they will most likely not live long and never again see the light of day.

They travel in a cargo train car for two days with no food or water and hundreds of other hybrids. When they finally reach their destination everyone is removed from their cages and attached to a big long chain by a loop on the back of their collars...the pressure making it a little bit hard to breathe. Then Patrol officers go down the line shackling the hybrids' wrist behind their back as if they were criminals. As soon as that is taken care of they are shuffled through a huge gate and divided off into three different areas.

When the two brothers get to the front a man asks how old they each are and what kind of hybrid. "He's 14 and I am 16...w-we are both b-beagles sir...." the older one said timidly. Two gaurds came up and unclipped them from the chain, pulling them separate ways. Both crying and fighting to get back to eachother until the last second. They had never known life apart from eachother. This cruel world had torn their perfect little family apart beyond repair...

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

It's been almost 3 weeks since the night of Jungkook's horrific seizure, and the young boy is now awake a few hours during the day. His fever is pretty much gone and Namjoon thinks the infection is almost cleared up. He still doesn't have the energy or strength to do much of anything, but with some help he can sit up and watch tv.

He is able to handle longer breaks from the CPAP and has less trouble breathing while he eats...but still needs constant supervision and assistance. If it stays off too long or he has a coughing fit though, he starts to feel dizzy and light-headed as his lungs get tired and can't keep up. His respiratory status is improving everyday though, slowly but surely. Breathing is not as difficult as before as long as he doesn't exert too much energy or have a bad coughing fit.

He does seem to have a relapse occasionally though....like the coughing fit a few mornings ago, causing him to have trouble breathing and severe wheezing for hours. He had to use his inhaler twice, but it finally kicked in and Jin sat with him to reassure him as his breathing gradually returned to normal.

Jungkook had thought he was dying at the time. He had already used his inhaler twice and replaced his CPAP mask, but he still couldn't breathe. He began to have a full on panic attack, his body trembling and his hands clawing harshly at his neck. Jin's voice suddenly broke through the fog. "Kookie....Kookie can you hear me, baby? Hyung is right here. I am going to hold your hands, because you are hurting yourself." The boy's breathing seemed to be slowly improving, but he was too panicked to notice. His eyes were open but unfocused as they darted around the room. Tears started running down his cheeks and he whimpered as he wheezed. "Shhhh...it's okay, I promise, you are gonna be okay....just breathe with me, Kook." He pressed Jungkook's hands against his chest and breathed deeply and slowly. Over the next minute or so he calmed down enough to focus his eyes on his hyung's face. His breaths were slowing down and the wheezing fading away, but they still shuddered in his chest. As his mind cleared up, he realized that he had been moved into his brother's lap. "Thankyou....hy-hyung" he said breathlessly.

"No problem, Kookie. Hyung loves you alot...and I don't like to see you so scared. Are you better now Kook?" Jin looked concerned as he wiped the remaining tears from his little brother's cheeks.

"Y-yeah....I'm ok-kay. Just t-tired, hyung..." The young boy was having a hard time keeping his eyes open.

Jin held him and pet his hair. "Go to sleep then Kookie. I will stay right here incase you need something, okay?" Jungkook hummed sleepily as he fell into a peaceful slumber. The panic attack had thoroughly exhausted him and he slept through lunch and most of the afternoon.

Since then he has only had a few small coughing episodes, but no wheezing or anything after. He seems to be stabilizing, so Namjoon is letting him go outside for a few minutes for a breakfast picnic and to let him breathe some fresh air. It is a chilly spring morning, so Jin helps him put a jacket and hat on. He is still too weak to walk more than a couple steps so his brother carries him and his oxygen tank to the back door and down the stairs leading off the deck before placing him carefully on his own two feet. He makes sure his legs can hold him somewhat before wrapping an arm securely around his waist and letting the younger lean heavily on him. He helps him take a few steps to the blanket Namjoon has spread out in the grass with food Jin and him had prepared laid out for each of them. With his brother's support Jungkook slowly lowers himself onto his spot on the blanket. Jin sits behind him and lets the younger lean up against him as he breathes a little heavy from the exertion for a minute or so.

After he recovers, he takes one more deep breath of oxygen and then removes his mask to test the cool air on his lungs. He inhales slowly and carefully, and then exhales with no discomfort. He repeats this over and over for several minutes and then smiles so sweetly that the other two can't help but join him. It feels so good to breathe in the cool refreshing air....he feels more alive than he has in years. Not only is his health improving, but he has a home and someone who wants the best for him and his brother....who willingly stepped in to save his life.....sacrificed his time and sleep to stay by his side and make sure he kept breathing, and still today spends alot of his day making sure the still fragile boy is comfortable and well cared for.

Other than from Jin and Tae, the young boy had never known anyone to care so much about a poor orphaned boy....Jungkook could not understand how a dying homeless teenager was important enough to catch a rich doctor's eye, but it had happened. Eventhough he is still very sickly and weak, he is sure he has never been this happy in his life until this moment. His whole life he had always felt trapped...doomed to be a nobody, to have no purpose or hope of a future. Some days he felt as if he was suffocating and would surely die, lonely and worthless....and on this beautiful spring morning as he is able to take a deep breath of fresh air into his lungs for the first time in almost a month, he feels as if he is coming alive again...his heart beating strong in his chest. As a butterfly flutters over and lands on his foot, he lets out a genuine giggle....the hopefulness of the situation he finds himself in leaves him giddy with happiness. An unfamiliar sensation of warmth....and not the kind of uncomfortable heat that comes from a raging fever..but a blissful, yet dizzying feeling...It washes over his body and overwhelmes his entire being with a sense of pure Euphoria.

 


 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Ever since the picnic, Jungkook's health began to quickly improve. The fresh air proved to be really good for him...bringing more color to his cheeks and strength to his weakened muscles. Atleast once a day Jin takes him outside for a few minutes. They sit on a two person swing on the back deck...the younger resting his head on his hyung's shoulder and focusing on breathing deeply and evenly. At first the older boy just carries him out to avoid the strain on his frail body, but Jungkook begins to protest and asks to be given the chance to do it on his own. Namjoon gives his approval, but says he needs to wear his oxygen to prevent stressing his lungs out.

His first attempt ends with him collapsing about halfway to the door. Jin catches him and carries him back to the couch as he begins to fall apart. Tears run freely down his cheeks and he coughs and chokes as he struggles to control his breathing between sobs, thoroughly scaring his brother. He gently cups his little brother's face in his hands. "Kook, look at me. Take some deep breaths before you pass out........please Kook, you're scaring me." Just when Jin is about to yell for Namjoon the younger draws a long, shuddering deep breath through the oxygen mask, and then another before speaking. "S-sorry hyung. I just...I..I th-thought I could d-do it, b-but I can't do it Jin hyung.....I c-can't walk!"

He strokes his cheeks, wiping some of the tears from his face as he tries to console and encourage the boy. "Oh baby...you will though, you will get stronger. You just have to give it time. You have been through so much, Kookie. Your body is just very tired and drained after fighting off that awful infection, but things will get better....Just promise me you won't give up, okay Kook?"

"I-I promise hyung." The boy whispers as the tears start to dry up and a determined look appears on his face.

Jin looks into his little brother's face for a moment, studying him for any signs that he is struggling or in pain. He seems okay, but Jin asks anyway, "Are you feeling okay Jungkookie? Can you breathe alright?"

"Yes hy-hyung. I'm fine...just fr-frustrated.......Can we still g-go outside?? I r-really am okay, hyung."

Jin sighs, "Yeah, come on kiddo. I will carry you today...and we can try again to walk tomorrow if you feel up to it, alright?" Jungkook nods and wraps his arms around his hyung's neck to be carried.

 

 


 

 

Within a few days of trying to walk the first time, he is able to get from the couch, out the back door and to the swing....all the while leaning heavily on his brother. His legs tremble with the exertion, but continue to hold his weight long enough to get him to the back door. As he steps onto the deck his knees buckle a little, but he manages to stay standing. Jin takes on a little more of his weight for the last few steps and then eases the boy onto the swing before sitting himself. Jungkook's lips curl into the cutest little bunny smile and happy tears gather in his eyes. "I did it hy-hyung!" He giggles and takes a few deep breaths before removing his mask, fully revealing his proud expression and contagious smile. 

"Of course you did Kookie-ah", Jin says, ruffling the younger boy's hair affectionately. His heart swells with pride for his precious little brother and tears fill his eyes as he looks at how happy this seemingly small accomplishment has made him. With time the adrenaline fades and his little brother grows tired. He leans into his side more and more the longer they sit there, his weak muscles starting to run out of energy to hold him upright. Jin thinks he is asleep when he suddenly begins to speak. "Hyung?"

"Yes, Kook?"

Jungkook shifts slightly and looks up into his brother's eyes. "I'm g-gonna make it....r-right??"

The question makes his breath catch and a lump form in his throat. His baby brother is still scared that he is dying. At this point there is no guarantee that he couldn't relapse and die, considering the state that his body is in...but he has come a long way from the frail boy that had to struggle and fight for each breath. Jin had to bite his lip to hold back a sob at the heartbreaking memory. But that is well behind them now....and Jungkook really does have a good chance at a full recovery....at making it out of this alive. He does his best to keep his voice steady as he replies. "Honestly Kook, for a long time I was so scared that I was going to lose you...gosh kid you were so so sick.......but I don't think I need to be afraid anymore, Kookie...you are doing so well. Of course, I will always be worried about you, because I love you more than air....but when I look at you and see the progress you've made, I know in my heart that you are going to be just fine, Kookie-ah."

The young boy really needed to hear someone say it...that he isn't dying anymore...that he is going to be okay. He hums and mumbles sleepily as he squeezes his brother's hand. "Th-thankyou hyungie....I l-love you too....I....I couldn't k-keep going without you..." Jin slips his oxygen mask over his face as his eyes flutter shut and his breathing becomes slightly labored...

The two stay in the same position for almost an hour as the younger sleeps on his hyung's shoulder. Jungkook looks so peaceful, the oxygen easing his breathing as he drifts off into a deep sleep. Jin is afraid to move and risk disturbing his little brother...he needs all the rest he can get. Moments like this are so priceless and he never wants to forget the way he feels right now.....his brother's small frame cuddled up against him, and his hand wrapped around his own. 

 

 


 

 

Jungkook is well enough at this point to go hours while awake without his oxygen mask, as long as he doesn't do too much....and he lets Namjoon help him with a breathing treatment a couple times a day. He doesn't use the CPAP anymore when he is awake...his lungs are strong enough to function without the extra help now. At night it is a different story though....He often has a hard time breathing at night...or really anytime he sleeps. Breathing is not a particularly difficult task anymore, but it still requires a conscious effort to consistently fill his lungs. When he lays down he has to be propped up on pillows and needs his tank to help him get enough oxygen. Some nights his anxiety gets the better of him and he can't sleep for fear of suffocating....on those nights Namjoon sets up the CPAP machine to help push air into his lungs. If the CPAP does not help to ease his fears, Jin sits with him and holds him....reminding him that he is gonna be okay.

As far as the amount of activity he can handle...he is able to walk pretty much anywhere inside the house, besides the stairs, as long as someone wraps an arm around his waist to steady him. He is forced to take frequent breaks to rest his tired muscles and to catch his breath....sometimes having to use his oxygen tank if his lungs struggle to keep up with his body's demands. The young boy is so proud of himself and Jin is so happy to see him up and about.

His heart is so full as he watches his little brother get stronger with time, and happier too. In the last few weeks the young boy's appearance has dramatically changed. His color has changed from a sickly pale color to a healthy pink. You can't see his ribs as much and his cheeks are not so hollow anymore. But the change that has the most effect on Jin is the light he can now see in his sweet little brother's eyes....he thought he would never see those eyes shine with expectation and hope ever again.

He had watched the life slowly fade from the young boy's eyes the last several months, until they were dull and dark. Tears come to his eyes as he thinks about how close he came to losing his little bunny just over a month ago...and not that it was a good thing that Jungkook got so sick, but Namjoon was absolutely right...him and his brother would not have survived much longer on the streets. If he was completely honest, they were so very close to starving to death before the younger got sick...but the sad truth is that Jungkook was dying long before then...and now he was lucky enough to watch him as he started to live and breathe again, and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

A few more days have passed and the more time that goes by, the more uncomfortable Tae becomes. For the past hour the hunger pains have become nearly unbearable. He begins to writhe in pain and sweat soaks his clothes. He suddenly lurches to the side and dry heaves, laying back down and panting as a wave of dizziness threatens to make him black out. He feels so utterly miserable and sick....feeling the full effects of starvation as his body starts to shut down. 

To his surprise and horror a guard comes in and shoves a boy into the room, knocking him to the floor and beginning to beat him...within an inch of his life. The boy pleads with his attacker, apologizing over and over. He appears too weak to fight back, and is thrown around the room like a ragdoll. The man kicks him repeatedly in the ribs and stomach until he gags up small amounts of blood. He then rolls the boy onto his back and wraps both hands around his neck, squeezing until he starts to struggle and choke. The boy pleads one last time in a strangled voice. "Please....sir...I....pleeeaa-" He abruptly falls silent and goes completely limp when the man lifts him and slams the back of his head into the bedpost...a sickening thunk rings through the room as the boy's eyes roll back into his head and he collapses in a heap at the foot of Tae's bed. Tae could only watch as the man all but crushed the kid's trachea, knocked him out, and then left him wheezing on the bed next to him. "That's what happens when you cross the boss...you better watch yourself!" He yelled as he slammed the door.

Tae's mind suddenly went dark as he started convulsing, and didn't stop until he had passed out from lack of oxygen. He slept for what felt like hours as nightmares about his best friend, mixed with what he had just witnessed, plagued him. When he woke up there was a young badly beaten boy beside him, but thankfully he was still breathing. He was struggling to do so and probably needed a doctor, but was indeed still alive. He had seen this boy a few times, but didn't know his name...which means he must be from a different group. When he arrived he was assigned to a group of kids that he does everything with, and he rarely sees anyone else... He was always aware that there are more groups, but for all he knows there could be hundreds of them here...

He thanks God that it's not Jungkook beside him, like it had been in his dreams. He is brought out of his thoughts as the boy whimpers and his breathing hitches. He proceeds to cough up a concerning amount of blood. Adrenaline courses through Tae as he fears the kid is going to choke, and he jumps up to turn the boy on his side as he expels the substance from his lungs. He relaxes again and resumes his labored breathing pattern....his back against Tae's chest. He can feel each breath crackling in his chest and knows the kid is in trouble...

Over the next couple hours the boy becomes really pale and his lips turn blue. He is having a hard time getting enough oxygen into his lungs.....panting through an open mouth, each breath now gurgling in his chest. The boy really needs help and Tae can't give him what he needs...He is feeling very weak and useless at the moment. Unfortunately all he can do is be with the younger while he dies. For the first time he is starting to regret his suicidal decision, but at this point it may be too late to help himself... His heart aches as he watches the boy's breathing slow down and weaken. He gags and coughs up another round of blood. Tae is so concerned with keeping the kid from choking that he barely hears the stranger enter.

The door slowly clicks open and a young man with a face mask, a beanie and sunglasses enters. He doesn't say a word, but holds a finger up to the outside of the mask. The man crosses the room and observes the boy for a second as he weakly struggles to breathe, before feeling along his bruised and swollen neck...the injured boy wincing in response to the contact. He then gently scoops the young boy into his arms, the broken kid whimpering and squirming in pain as the pressure increases on his damaged ribs. The man shushes in the boy's ear as he heads to the door. As the adrenaline wears off its all Tae can do to keep his eyes open. His pain is long forgotten and he starts to lose consciousness as the man carries the boy out of the room and disappears. 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Over the next month Jungkook recovers in leaps and bounds with renewed hope and will to live coursing through his veins. He still needs to be given regular breathing treatments to keep his lungs clear and make it easier to breathe. He continues to be pretty frail, but his respiratory system is strong enough now for Namjoon to start teaching him breathing exercises. He rarely needs the oxygen anymore, but the tank is always nearby while he sleeps just in case. After his condition began to stabilize, Namjoon had started converting a spare room into a bedroom so that the brothers could share it. That way someone could keep an eye on the boy as he regained his strength, help him to the bathroom, and be close if he relapsed. Never in his life had he been offered something like this, so Namjoon knew in his fragile state that he had to be careful how he told him the news.

He approaches him one morning while he finishes a nebulizer treatment, and after guiding him through some exercises to strengthen his lungs he starts the conversation.
"How are you feeling today, Jungkook-ah?" He sits down next to the boy and waits for his response. Jungkook looks up at him and smiles.

He ducks his head shyly as he answers. "I am f-feeling pretty well J-Joon Hyung...th-thanks to all you have d-done for me...I...I can b-breathe pr-pretty easily most of the time...a-and I can walk on m-my own, well alm-most...but I am t-trying really hard...I f-feel stronger everyday Hyung-nim...I p-promise I'll be okay if you....i-if you need to go...t-to go b-back to w-work-" He begins to breathe a little hard and his stuttering gets worse as his nerves overwhelm him.

The doctor cuts him off and brushes the hair out of the younger's eyes. "Hey hey, take it easy kid...take some deep breaths before you work yourself into an attack." He pauses as Jungkook closes his eyes and takes a few slow deep breaths, and then opens them to make eye contact again. "The first thing I need you to understand is that I care about you kid and I stopped that night because nobody deserves to die on the streets like that...and I haven't went back to work because I want to be here with you, because like I said, I care about you Jungkook-ah. I will be here as long as you need me to be, and then some, okay? I want to stay close and make sure you are recovering like you should. I am not going to even think about going back to work until you are strong and healthy. So don't worry about me...I am exactly where I want to be."

The boy nods and then breaks down, sobbing into the strong arms that saved his life a couple short months ago. He cannot even begin to comprehend why this man cares so much about his wellbeing. The magnitude of what he is saying comes down on him like a ton of bricks and he sobs until he is completely drained of energy and tears. Namjoon then pulls the boy into his lap and talks softly. "I am so proud of you kid and of how much effort you have been putting into getting better. The only thing I need you to promise me is that you will tell me if you start to feel unwell again or have any trouble breathing...you are not a burden Jungkook-ah and you never were, so please tell me that if anything feels off or uncomfortable you will let me know immediately." The boy nods again.

Namjoon then remembers why he came to the boy in the first place, and shifts him back onto the couch. He makes sure he is comfortably propped up on some pillows and places the oxygen mask on his face as he is starting to wheeze a little from the exertion of crying. He caresses the kid's cheek gently and asks the boy to look at him for a moment. Once the boy makes eye contact he speaks again. "As you know I want you and your brother to stay here for as long as you want...and I want you to have a heads up that I am re-doing the spare room to make it into a bedroom for Jin and you to share. You will each have your own bed and a closet to put your things in. I already told Jin, but I wanted to wait till you were stronger." He stops and gives the boy time to absorb what he just said.

His eyes are comically wide as if in shock and then taken over by a look of confusion. "Why d-do you care so m-much about us?...I..I don't understand Hyung. W-we are nobodies...worthless." The last word was barely audible.

Namjoon tears up at the teen's depressing words and says firmly, but full of love. "Please Jungkook-ah don't you ever say something like that again. You and Jin matter, okay? You are important to me...you are worth it Jungkook-ah, absolutely worth my time. I want nothing more than for you to be well again and enjoy life." Namjoon takes note and is concerned that the boy's breathing is becoming pretty labored and his lips are a little pale. He frowns and turns up the amount of oxygen flow. "You need to rest, Jungkook-ah. You look exhausted....are you feeling alright?" The boy only shrugs his shoulders. He doesn't seem to have the energy to respond verbally and lets his eyes fall shut. 

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Its been close to four and a half weeks since he ate anything. He had refused everything and only had a sip of water here and there. The longer he lays helplessly on his stiff squeaky bed, the more he regrets this decision....but he is far too weak to do anything about it now. Even breathing has become a burden within the last several hours.

Yesterday evening his captors had locked him in a private room, each one coming in individually to take their turn with him...which only weakened him further. It made sense to take advantage of his weak defenseless state, but are they really going to let him die?

He knows he is not going to make it if he doesn't eat something soon, but lacks the strength to help himself. So for the next 2 days he is unmoving and helpless to even get a drink of water. On the third day he knows it is his last. Thankfully no one comes to torture him....maybe I can die in peace, he thinks. His breathing is very labored and shallow and his heart feels weak, often pausing long enough to make him breathless.

 

 


 

 

That night as he begins fading in and out of consciousness he knows he is close to death. He wonders how the young boy he watched basically get beaten to death felt as he neared the end. Could he feel his body failing him?...or did it feel like falling asleep? He can't help but wonder how death will feel... After all this time of longing for the end, he was nervous and unsure. The uncertainty of his final moments turning out to be absolutely terrifying.

 

Panic courses through him as the door creaks open and careful footsteps come over to his bedside. He wants to open his eyes but he doesn't have the energy. He is barely breathing at this point, his body giving up.

Oh gosh no!!! Please just let me die! He screams internally. He is startled when a hand gently touches his cheek, stroking it lightly, and then travels down to his neck in search of a pulse. Another hand rests on his chest, sending a wave of pain through his abused ribcage. He tenses up and holds his breath as the pain becomes too much for him to handle.

After a moment, they must find his weak heartbeat. Is that a sigh of relief or disappointment......? "Oh Taehyungie...please hold on kid." As if suddenly realizing that he was not breathing, the young man removes his hand from Tae's chest. "Oh gosh....no no no...please Tae, stay with me....Breathe for me..come on." A concerned but unfamiliar voice whispers as a hand pats on his face until he takes as big of a breath as his broken and bruised ribs will allow. The man sighs again in relief.

He is suddenly scooped up into strong arms, causing immense pain. His breath catches in his chest and he whines softly as he is carried out of the room, down the hall and into another room. The door quickly being shut and he could make out the sound of a lock before he was slowly lowered into a softer bed and wrapped in blankets. "You are safe now Tae....and I am going to help you. You're gonna be okay." The voice said as a hand slid behind his neck, propping him up to help him take a drink of water.

He is extremely weak, so he can only handle a few drops at a time. After a few swallows he begins to choke and wheeze, causing his rescuer to pull the glass away and sit him up to make it easier to breathe. "I'm sorry Taehyung-ah, deep breaths kid. We will take it slower next time, but you need to drink." The older boy waits as he coughs and sputters, giving him a chance to recover before starting the process over again...stopping to let Tae rest every few swallows. It takes almost an hour but his rescuer is patient and gentle with him as he finishes the entire glass....stroking his cheeks and whispering encouragement into his ear.

Tae forces his eyes open as the kind man praises him for being so strong and brave. He tries to speak....but it only comes out in a whisper, "th-thankyou."

"You're welcome, kid. I plan to help everyone here....but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if you die...I knew something was not right with you over a week ago, yet I did nothing to help you. For that I am so so sorry Taehyung-ah, but I am here now... Anyways just save your energy, okay? I'm making some broth for you to drink. It will help you get some strength back.....Why don't you relax and sleep for a little while. I will stay here to take care of you and keep you safe. I promise Tae, I won't let them hurt you anymore." The man says as he sits down on the bed and gently threads his fingers through Tae's hair, the young boy's eyes fluttering shut within seconds. For the first time in years he felt somewhat safe and cared for as he allowed himself to fully relax into a deep sleep.

 


 

 

 


 

When he wakes up again, he feels a little less miserable. Some of the fog in his mind has lifted, and his mouth is not so dry. He is still very sickly and nearly starved to death, so it takes him a few minutes to fully wake up. The first thing he registers is the sound of his rescuer talking quietly to someone on the other side of the room. As he becomes more aware he can also recognize the distinct sound of wheezing. He had heard it for the first time when Jungkook had that severe asthma attack, and then a couple other times before he had taken his inhaler. 

His eyes fly open when he realizes who might be having trouble breathing. The young boy who he had watched be severely beaten more than a week ago. Surely that boy had died, because he was near death when that mysterious man.....something suddenly clicks in his brain and he tries to shout, but his voice comes out weak and quiet.

"I-It was you! Please I...I need to...c-can I see him??" He is hyperventilating now and trying to sit up or turn his head, but his muscles will not cooperate..

The young man who rescued him comes quickly over to his side...holding firmly onto the boy's shoulders as a way to ground him. "Yes Tae, please try to calm down and breathe...it was me. I had heard that man yelling at him and beating him from the hallway....a-and I had to come back for him. I knew he was probably in really bad shape. He would have died if I didn't come back and get help for him. He is still not doing very well....he has a really hard time breathing, but I think the internal bleeding has stopped. He hasn't thrown up any blood today..."  

Tae calms down some and nods in understanding, but still seems anxious to see the kid for himself. He needs to see for himself that the young boy is still breathing after being abused so violently. The young man helps Tae sit up and props him up with some pillows against the wall before going over to the young wheezing boy and gently lifting him. He carries him over to the bed Tae is on and sits down beside him. He rubs his thumb lightly on the injured boy's cheek to try and rouse him. He stirs weakly, whimpering as he tries to open his eyes. 

"Hey kiddo....Yeonjun-ah, can you hear me? Somebody wants to see you...he has been really worried about you and wants to know that you are okay." The young boy looks confused as he focuses on Tae's face. "This is Taehyung....he saw you get beaten, and tried to help you.....but he is not well himself."

"I'm sorry....I-I can't.....I don't....." He trails off as he begins to cough weakly.

The boy, Yeonjun apparently, looks absolutely awful. He has deep purple bruises around his neck, a black eye, and numerous other bruises and cuts all over his body. His right arm is wrapped in a way that holds it securely up against his torso..it must be broken. His overall color is very pale and he is working pretty hard to breathe. His voice comes out hoarse and airy, but just hearing that he is capable of talking causes relief to wash over him. 

The boy starts to moan pitifully and it becomes obvious that he is in alot of pain. The older boy reaches for a drawer and pulls out a syringe, quickly injecting some into the boy's arm. It must be some pain medication because he begins to relax and eventually drifts off to sleep. As it takes effect the man talks softly to Yeonjun. "It's okay if you don't remember...you were hit in the head pretty hard. Is the pain any better Yeonjun-ah?" He nods slightly as his eyes flutter shut. The young man then moves the boy back to his cot.

After making sure the boy is comfortable, he crosses the room and addresses Tae. "The poor kid has been in so much pain...I just can't understand how someone could be so cruel......." He sighs and shakes his head. "Let's get some broth in you....It has been ready for a while, but I didn't want to wake you....do you think you can handle that? I will help you...and we can take as much time as you need. They basically leave me alone....they obviously underestimate me. They think I'm too scared to try defying them I guess..." He smirks as he walks over and grabs a small cup of chicken broth. 

Tae looks very confused and almost scared as the man returns with the broth. He realizes he knows nothing about this man...he could be keeping them alive just to torture them more for all he knows. The young man looks concerned and sets the broth on the bedside table.

"Taehyungie, what's wrong?"

"Wh-who are you? What do you want f-from us?!" Tae barely chokes out the words before going into a coughing fit. The young man watches in shock as the younger begins coughing up blood. It's not a crazy amount, but it means the boy is in worse condition than he thought.

"Relax Tae....take some slow deep breaths and I will try to explain things, okay? But first I need to know...are you injured? What did they do to you?"

Tae nods and takes a deep labored breath. "My ribs......it hurts to....to breathe..." His voice barely comes out in a whisper. The young man gently lifts his shirt to reveal shades of yellow and purple and green all over his upper body. He winces at the thought of just how much pain the boy must be in.

"Oh Tae..I had no idea. I must have hurt you so badly when I moved you. Let me give you a small dose of-"

"No! I-I will be okay...please..just save it for him." Tae knows there has to be a limited supply and the younger boy needs it more than him. Besides....he chose this, and he would have to suffer the consequences of his decision.

The man sighs and put the morphine syringe back in the drawer. "Fine...but if it gets too much for you please let me know, alright?" Tae nods again and takes another slow deep breath so he continues. "So...um..you wanna know more about me. I suppose that wouldn't hurt.." He pauses to remove the beanie on his head, revealing small white triangular cat ears peaking out of his grayish blond hair. "First of all, I want you to believe me when I say I am not one of them....I'm a hybrid. They murdered my wife before the war started and threatened my brother's life. I-I didn't have a choice. I couldn't let my brother get hurt because of me. They forced me to do some awful things and now that they don't need me anymore I am basically a prisoner here...but I am tired of just standing by while they abuse you and the others. I won't do it anymore..I can't...Taehyung-ah please tell me you believe me." He gently takes the younger's hand in his.

Tae squeezes back. "I do..hyung. I be-" He is abruptly cut off by a round of convulsions, his body's blood sugar still dangerously low. 

The young man is frozen in fear as the boy makes small choking noises and his eyes lose focus. "Oh my gosh! Tae....please don't die, kid." His lips start turning blue and the young man panics. "Please Taehyung-ah you need to breathe....come on don't do this!" After about a minute his muscles relax and he takes a few deep gasping breaths, his eyes struggling to focus.

"Thank God!! Oh my gosh...y-you scared me to death! What was that?!"

Tae shrugs his shoulders. "I don't know, hyung...that happened once before....I...I think I'm d-dying..please, I-I don't want to hyung!" He is in tears now at the thought that what he wished for so long to come true, might actually be happening now. This man he barely knows has opened up so many possibilities for him. He might actually have a chance to get out of this terrible place, and with this renewed hope he finds himself wanting to survive and keep breathing....for the first time in too long he does not want to die.

The older boy wipes the tears from Tae's cheeks as he speaks to him. "Don't worry Taehyungie I won't let that happen if I can help it..." Tae sniffs and looks hopefully into his rescuer's eyes. Can he trust this man to save his life?

The young man picks up the small cup of broth and slowly sits down on the bed. "Let's get some nutrients into your body and then you can rest some more. Is that alright with you? We will talk more later if you want, but right now we need to take care of your health..."

Tae agrees so he begins carefully spoon feeding him the warm broth. Slowly but surely he is able to take in the entire cupful. It takes all the energy he has, and leaves him limp and drowsy. He is gently lulled to sleep with a full stomach and the young man's fingers in his hair. As he sleeps the once hopeless boy now dreams of freedom and seeing his Jungkookie again, rather than the usual nightmares of death and darkness. 

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

Newlyweds are on their honeymoon. They have just checked in to the beach front resort they had reserved for the weekend and unpacked all their luggage when the young man hears a sharp intake of air from the bedroom. His wife is being held by her throat against the wall. He walks in the room just in time to watch her be impaled. She makes eye contact with him as the knife enters her abdomen and twists, her mouth opening in a silent scream.

The assassin lets go and she drops to the floor. He tries to go to her as she lies on the floor taking slow shuddering breaths, but he is stopped by a pair of strong arms. He can only watch as a large pool of red forms around her, and her lips turn pale from the rapid loss of blood.

The smaller of the two yells out orders. "Inject him...then we will make our deal." A needle goes into his neck and within seconds pain erupts in his chest. He feels as if his lungs are being crushed, making it extremely difficult to breathe. He gasps for air as his wife's attacker comes close and begins to talk to him as she secures his hands together with zipties. "Well hello handsome...I need you to listen carefully because you do not have time for me to repeat anything. The poison in your bloodstream is paralyzing your lungs. In less than two minutes they will lose the ability to function and you will start to suffocate."

She pauses and pretends to be devastated, as the young woman gags and coughs up small amounts of blood. "I'm afraid she cannot be saved, but I do have the antidote for what is killing you dear....I will give it to you on one condition.....You help me start a war..." She trails off as his wife stops being able to breathe, choking and struggling briefly before relaxing into death.

He shakes his head and tears run down his face as he sinks to the floor, slowly beginning to suffocate. His lungs barely expand, taking in tiny puffs of air. His heart races to try and compensate as he fails to take in enough oxygen. All he can think is that soon he will be with his beloved wife in paradise....was that so bad? The assassin comes closer and harshly grabs his face as she speaks softly....a confusing and terrifying contrast. "Is that really how it's gonna be? Is that really what you want, dear? You can't fight this...it will kill you. Very soon you will share her fate........aaand......your brother's fate will be sealed as well."

She snickers as his expression changes from determined to fear at the mention of his younger brother. "Yes...I do know about him, dear. He is currently hanging out with some of my friends. If you refuse me I will give them the go ahead to torture him to death. If you help me I will keep him safe...for now, but if at any moment you make me doubt your loyalty..." His lips are blue and he is very close to death by asphyxiation. The poison has completely locked up his lungs now, making it impossible to get any air in whatsoever. His eyes are unfocused and he makes small grunting noises as he struggles to get his lungs to function. It takes a few seconds for his oxygen deprived brain to comprehend the threat on his brother's life, but once it does he nods his head as hard as he can. His brother is his whole world, besides his wife the younger boy is all he has.

The assassin smirks as she injects the antidote into his bloodstream. "I knew you would make the right decision, dear!" Seconds later he still passes out from lack of oxygen and collapses, eventually starting to breathe again as the antidote takes full effect. He stays unconscious as he is carried out of the hotel inside a luggage container and away from civilization. This was the terrible moment his life was changed forever. 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

As he sits alone in a small room with a bed and a tiny kitchenette....his prison for the foreseeable future, maybe even the rest of his miserable life.....he realizes that if given the choice again....to suffocate to death and possibly kill his brother or to be forced to do all of the terrible things he has done over the past years. He knows he would have done it all over again, eventhough it was sooo wrong and probably futile...for all he knows his brother could be dead or in one of those horrific hybrid torture camps by now. He has not seen or heard from any of his family since he was taken....he has no proof that they are safe.

He can't help but think, though, that if he had died she would have found someone else to do her dirty work. She is persistent and deadly...no one could stop her if she had her mind made up. She leaves a path of death and destruction everywhere she goes... He also can't shake the feeling that life has brought him to this point for a purpose. There has to be a reason that he is not dead yet...he just hasn't figured it out. 

 

 


 

 

Less than a month after the war begins he decides he is going to end this operation no matter how dangerous that will be...these kids need help, and no one else knows they are alive. He had quickly discovered that the place that has become his home against his will is basically an underground slave business. In the time that he has spent at the compound he has witnessed teenage boys forced to endure so much pain and torture....being abused and thrown around on a daily basis.

They are so malnourished that they are not strong enough to resist the abuse and if they try they are drugged and tortured, sometimes so severely that it kills them. They live each day in fear....fear of the unknown, fear of pain, fear of surviving and having to face another day.....  Some of them are not able to handle the physical and mental torture, and He has watched helplessly as they recede into the darkest corners of their minds. It makes his blood boil and breaks him at the same time...the way the young boys look at him with fear in their eyes eventhough he would never think of hurting any of them. This has to stop...all of it..before he loses his mind and any trace of who he truly is.  

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Over a year later he still has not figured out how he is going to stop these criminals, but he has noticed that they don't monitor him as closely as they used to. He is of no use to them anymore so he is surprised they haven't killed him yet. They know he can't escape without being gunned down, so they just don't care what he is doing.

He has also picked up some useful bits of information, overhearing things he shouldn't occasionally. He knows that about 20 of the kids kept here are children of government officials that were kidnapped to help turn people against the hybrid population. At each crime scene they expertly framed the attacks on hybrids and made them all look like murders....so nobody is even aware these kids survived, which is perfect for the criminals because no one is looking for the poor kids. The more he learns the, more disgusted he is with these people...and the more determined he is to put an end to all of it no matter what it costs him.

 

 


 

 

 

He is wandering down the hall one day when he hears yelling followed by a crash and then a small voice pleading for mercy. There is more yelling and shuffling around mixed with heartwrenching pained noises for a few minutes before a shriek rings down the hall. He jogs until he finds the door that all the noise is coming from. He begins to hear gasping and choking sounds before a strained voice can be heard begging for forgiveness, but is cut off abruptly with a sickening thunk. He takes note of the door number and hurries back to his room to figure out his next step as the door knob turns. 

 

A couple hours later he decides he can't wait any longer to check on whoever was being abused. He is so tired of just letting these people get away with mistreating these poor boys. He comes to the conclusion that he will never be of any help to them if he doesn't start taking action. From the sound of it, the boy is probably hurt pretty badly...likely incapacitated by the attack. He hides his identity in case a worker follows him and goes back down the hall to the room he had heard the commotion in. He opens the door as quietly as he can and slips inside. There are two figures laying on the bed. The older of the two boys looks very thin and almost sickly, his cheeks sunken in and his skin pale. He is awake, his are eyes open and following the intruder's movement across the room, but he doesn't try to move at all. His eyes actually flutter and start to roll back in his head, but he stubbornly continues to lock eyes with him.

What concerns him the most though is the smaller boy lying on his side, being held securely up against the other boy's chest. The kid has a pool of blood in front of him and some still steadily dripping from his mouth. He has significant bruising around his neck and it seemed to be swollen, probably explaining some of his difficulty breathing. His lips are blue, and he gasps noisily with each breath...clearly struggling to get air into his lungs....leading him to believe that something is seriously wrong....damage has been done internally.

The young boy needs help, and he can't just leave him here to die, so he decides to take him somewhere safe....and then he will try to find someone who can treat his severe injuries. His heart breaks in two as he lifts the boy, causing him to cry out weakly in pain. He carries the boy to his own private room and lays him gently on his bed. He takes a moment to observe the damage, and it makes his chest ache.

"How could somebody do this? How could anyone beat someone until they can barely breathe...and just leave?" His voice is thick with emotion, unbelievable sadness mixed with rage. The boy whimpers softly so he gently combs his fingers through his soft locks to comfort him. "Don't worry kid they are gonna pay for this...." He mumbles as he tenderly rubs his thumb over the bruising on the kid's neck with his other hand.

He is jolted out of his thoughts as the boy gags and chokes up more blood. It isn't alot, but he has a hard time clearing it from his airway in his state. He tilts the boy onto his side and rubs his back as the kid tries to regain the ability to breathe. Eventually he succeeds and begins panting shallowly in a weak effort to catch his breath. He checks the door to be sure that he locked it before taking out his stolen phone to call a childhood friend.

He had known Namjoon for a long time, but they hadn't spoken in over a decade. He had read about his old friend's accomplishments and knew he may be this kid's only chance...he was 99% sure that Namjoon would not turn him down if he knew the kid was dying. He took a deep breath and dialed the number he knew from memory. As he heard the click of someone answering, he jumped right in. "Namjoon Hyung I need your help! This boy is hurt really badly...he's having trouble breathing and coughing up blood. I-I don't know what to do for him, but I knew you would....please hyung, I think he is dying.......what do I do??"

There is a short pause and then, "Y-yoongi?...Yoongi is that you?! You're alive!! Where are you?? Wh-"

"Namjoon...please!! Yes, I am alive....but I...I can't tell you where I am. You can't get involved with this hyung!! It's too dangerous! Please just help me save this kid...he was beaten nearly to death a few hours ago, and now he is really struggling to breathe....I can't save him without your help hyung, please."
Namjoon sighed before agreeing to help, knowing this would not be easy to treat someone he can't even see.

 


 

 


 

 


 

Only a few miles away from where Jungkook is recovering a newly orphaned and terrified hybrid teen, now forever separated from his younger brother, is forced into a crowded warehouse filled with hybrids of all kinds and ages....yet he has never felt more alone in his life. They are shoved and hit with clubs until the entire group of them is packed shoulder to shoulder into the building. The air is so thick and hot that it nearly chokes him. He is starting to panic and hyperventilate when suddenly a loud bang briefly startles him out of his anxious thoughts. He goes right back into a panic as he realizes what has happened....the door to the warehouse is closed now...he is trapped. His fate is sealed, and he is going to surely die here. 

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Namjoon has been sitting with Jungkook for most of the day. The younger boy is not feeling well and the doctor is worried that he has picked up a secondary infection in his weakened state. The night before, he had put him to bed with his oxygen on for the first time in days....his breathing had been a little labored, but the doctor was hoping that he had just over-exerted himself. The boy woke up early the next morning covered in sweat and shivering. He tried to get out of bed and wake his brother, but he was so dizzy he could barely sit up. He ended up laying back down and calling his name softly.

"Hyung......J-Jin hyung...please w-wake up. Something i-is wrong, hyung. I...I don't f-feel good...." The poor boy was starting to tear up...not because he is in pain, but because he is scared to death. Jin wakes up pretty easily and stumbles over to Jungkook's side. He runs his fingers through his little brother's hair and frowns at the heat coming from him. Fear seizes his heart at the thought of the boy being ill again. Years ago he had become used to the boy being sick all the time, but he had gotten so much stronger since then. He is not a doctor, but he knows enough to understand that his little brother is still pretty weak from his near death encounter...making him very vulnerable.

"Oh Jungkookie...you are burning up, baby!" He wets a washcloth with cold water and drapes it over his forehead, only getting a groan out of the boy. "I am going to get Namjoon....don't worry Kookie, he will know what to do."

"O-Okay hyung. Thankyou." When he spoke his voice came out so concerningly weak, only adding to Jin's anxiety.

When Namjoon came to look him over he found that he does have a fever, but nothing too dangerous. He turned up the oxygen flow all the way, because his lips were not as pink as they should be and he was breathing a little heavy. "You are having some trouble breathing, aren't you Kook?" Jungkook nods and looks pained as he tries to take a deep breath. "Can you tell me what else you are feeling Jungkook-ah?"

"I was d-dizzy, but that's kinda......b-better now. I f-feel awful, Joon hyung...I am hot, but I-I am freezing t-too......M-my chest aches a little......hyung, I'm sc-scared." Jungkook is trying to be brave and manages to keep the tears from spilling until the last phrase leaves his lips. He covers his face with his arm, as much as his oxygen mask allows, as his cheeks flush with embarrassment. He knows he is being a baby, but he is unable to stop the tears from running down his cheeks and onto the pillow underneath him. 

Jin had held him close while the doctor tries to reassure him, until the tears eventually dried up. It seemed to Namjoon that the boy had probably caught a bad virus, and because his lungs are still not at 100% and his body is still in the recovery phase, it is hitting him really hard. There was no denying that this could be very dangerous for him, but he was in good hands and they had caught it fairly early on. Between a rightfully overprotective brother and a skilled doctor, there is no doubt that the boy would definitely be watched carefully over the coming days.

"This is not like the last time. You will be fine Jungkook-ah, I promise. It looks like you just have a bad chest cold." After he had calmed down some Namjoon gave him some fever reducers and helped him do a breathing treatment before the two of them tucked him back into bed. That is where he is now...it is late in the evening, and he has been sleeping on and off all day...his body trying to save energy to fight off whatever is attacking his worn out immune system.

Namjoon jumps when his cellphone suddenly comes alive, with his ringtone blaring. The younger startles awake and goes into a fit of dry and painful sounding coughs. As he helps Jungkook sit up, he calls for Jin. He moves to let him help the boy through the rest of the fit, and slips out of the room to answer his phone.

He doesn't recognize the number but swipes to answer the call anyway. It takes him a moment to process the voice on the other end, but when he does he nearly falls over. The voice on the other end of the line is undeniably the voice of his childhood best friend....the young hybrid had been missing for almost 5 years and many people thought he had been killed by those who hated his kind. But here he was, calling Namjoon from a random number, from who knows where....very much alive.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The doctor tries to walk him through a head to toe description of the badly abused boy's injuries. "Okay let's start at his head and go down. Just tell me what you see, and I will tell you how to treat it, alright? Is he awake?"

"O-okay I will do my best....no he is unconscious. He has so much bruising, hyung...everywhere. His lips are blue....does that mean he is dying??"

"No....he could still make it, but it's definitely not good. It means he is not able to breathe in enough oxygen...his lungs are probably damaged. He is gonna need help to breathe better........Yoongi I need you to listen to me carefully before you do anything but I need to know if his ribs are broken. You are gonna have to lift his shirt up and very gently feel his ribcage. Do not put any pressure on his ribs or it could really hurt him if they are broken, okay? Can you do that for me?"

He swallows hard before answering with a wavering voice. "Yes hyung............oh gosh...alot of them do not feel normal, and they move so easily...they're broken aren't they, hyung.." The young boy starts to hyperventilate and make small pained noises, gasping when he hits a particularly sore spot...a few tears trickling down his cheeks, eventhough Yoongi is trying so hard to be gentle. It kills him knowing that he is causing the boy pain, but he knows it is necessary to figure out how to help him.

"Yeah, they probably are. If most of his ribs are broken, that might explain why he can't breathe very well...his chest is unstable. We need to stabilize his ribcage..do you have something kind of stretchy that you could cut into strips and wrap around him?"

He looks around and decides he could use his pocket knife to cut up a blanket. "I do hyung....

shhhh I'm so sorry kid....I am only trying to help, b-but I don't know what I'm doing....

Hyung, the poor kid is in tears because I...I h-hurt him! What if I made it worse?!" While he was talking the boy had started to moan and tears ran freely down his cheeks.

"Yoongi, it's okay. No matter how gently you touched him it was going to cause alot of pain. Broken ribs are extremely painful. I'm sure you did nothing wrong...whoever beat him so hard that they broke his ribs did this to him, not you. We are going to save him, Yoongi." He pauses to let the other compose himself.

"You think I can help him, hyung? I am not a doctor....what if I kill him?? I-"

"Yoongi, listen to me. I think we can save him....you are not alone anymore."

Namjoon talks him through wrapping the boy's ribcage, which proves to be a very painful process for the young boy. After that is done though he seems to have less trouble breathing and the support must help with the pain. He stops moaning and his breathing slows a little as his body relaxes slightly.

They move on to the rest of his body...discovering his right arm is broken in atleast two places, his collarbone is shattered, and he most likely has some internal bleeding that is causing him to throw up blood. The only way to fix it is to do surgery, and they both know that is not an option. Namjoon explains that sometimes the bleeding can slow and stop on its own with lots of rest, so it is not completely hopeless....but if it doesn't the boy will eventually bleed to death. In the meantime all Yoongi can do is keep him comfortable and make sure he can breathe.

In order to ease his pain and reduce swelling, Namjoon suggests ice for the young boy's ribcage, arm and collarbone, and his swollen throat. By the time the phone call is coming to an end, the kid's lips are much pinker. It is obvious that breathing is still very hard on him and quite painful, but he could get more air in now. He isn't in danger of dying from lack of oxygen at the moment....thanks to Namjoon's expertise.

Right before hanging up Namjoon suddenly speaks again. "Please Yoongi....tell me the truth....I need to know. Are you safe??"

The boy sighs before replying in a shaky voice. "Joon...I.....no, Joon I am not...but please hyung promise me you won't try to get involved. These kids need me...they will die here if I don't do something. These people are brutally violent and enjoy having the upper hand on these poor kids..." He is breathing rapidly and on the verge of panic as flashbacks of the horrors he has witnessed flood his mind.

The doctor's deep and reassuring voice cuts through the disturbing images and brings him back to the present. "Yoongi-ah...take a deep breath. I'll stay out of it only if you promise me something in return...fight like heck, get those kids out of there, and if you go down make it worth something. Don't hesitate to call me if you need help, alright? I know I am not physically with you right now, but I want you to remember that I am here to help you....just call me."

After hanging up and hiding his phone Yoongi watches the young boy for a few minutes as he breathes noisily but much more effectively than before. His lips are only slightly blue now and a little color has come back to his face. As he turns to get ready for bed himself, the boy coughs weakly and talks in an equally weak voice. "Wh-what....where a-am I??" He starts to panic and tries to sit up resulting in a flash of white hot pain through his ribcage, and he gasps. Yoongi rubs his thumb tenderly over the boy's temple as he speaks in a soothing tone and gently presses him into the matress. "Shhh Easy kid, you're gonna hurt yourself more. Please relax...I am not going to hurt you. I promise you....I will never do anything to hurt you on purpose. I hope you will believe me." To Yoongi's surprise the young boy weakly searches for his hand and holds on desperately. He squeezes back reassuringly as he adresses the kid again. "You have some serious injuries...so I need you to try to stay calm and not move too much, okay? It probably won't hurt as bad if you lay still." The boy nods weakly as he struggles to focus his eyes...the pain making his vision blur and darken around the edges.

"I want to help you get better....do you remember anything from earlier?...what that man did to you?"
The boy starts to calm down, but continues to wheeze and pant a little. "It's kind of a blur.......I.....I think....he beat me really bad.....he kicked me...a-and he choked me.......I couldn't get away...I-I tried but I....." The boy trails off as a wave of intense pain racks his broken body...he groans and his knuckles turn white as he grips the sheets with the hand that is not in a makeshift sling. "I-It hurts hyung." He whispers as tears roll down his cheeks. The young boy breathes in an irregular pattern and his breath catches painfully as Yoongi tries to soothe him, massaging his hand until it slowly releases its hold on the sheets. "It's okay...it's gonna be okay. I know it hurts, but you need to take some deep breaths or....I think you could get pneumonia." He walks over and puts some ice from his mini freezer inside a pillowcase. He gently places it over the boy's ribcage.

"This should help you feel a little better....I'm so sorry I can't do more to make you comfortable." He says as he takes the boy's hand in his, rubbing his thumb over the back of it. The boy obediently tries to take deeper breaths, whimpering as his ribs protest painfully.

"I-It's okay hyung. I....I understand. Th-thankyou, it does help...a-a little hyung."

"You're welcome kid...nobody deserves to be beaten like that. I don't care what you did.. You are worth more than that...and you know, you deserve to be called by your name. What can I call you, kid?"

For the first time since he'd been here Yoongi witnessed a young boy look at him as if he wasn't their worst nightmare, but instead as if he was their only hope..a hero even. The younger boy's eyes light up and he smiles tiredly up at him before speaking barely above a whisper. "N-no one has ever asked me that, hyung......m-my name is Yeonjun. What's yours hyung??"

He easily smiled back at the boy. Maybe he isn't the villain...maybe this was his purpose all along....to save this boy's life and get him out of this terrible place. He would not have been able to survive the night if Yoongi was not there to help him, this he was sure of. "Yoongi, but I don't mind if you just call me hyung."

Yeonjun doesn't have the chance to reply before he begins to choke on blood again and Yoongi's heart drops to his stomach...the boy is still bleeding. It is alot more than last time....it just keeps coming, preventing him from breathing for a good 15 seconds. The huge amount is scaring Yoongi, making his heart race with anxiety. It may just be his imagination, but it appears that the poor kid is even paler after this episode...the blood loss is definitely taking it's toll on him and weakening his abused body. His deathly pale complexion serves as a horrible reminder that there may be no way to save him...

Yeonjun no longer has the strength to speak after that, yet it still takes a while for the exhaustion to beat out the pain. Yoongi stays right beside him, holding his hand as his eyelids start to droop and flutter. Even after his eyes close he ocassionally winces and whimpers as his breath catches or a twinge of pain shoots through a broken bone. He eventually relaxes enough to fall into a restless sleep as the older boy combs gently through his hair and wipes the remaining tears off his cheeks.

As he watches the boy squirm and whimper in pain as he sleeps, Yoongi swears to himself that he is gonna do something about it...even if it is risky. He plans to find the stash of medication the despicable people here sometimes use on the boys when they resist too much...he would work on that first thing in the morning. If this poor boy is dying he is going to make sure he isn't suffering in his final days, and he is sure whatever that drug is will help him relax. He will call Namjoon before he gives it to him...just to be sure he doesn't overdose him. One thing he knows for sure is that it will kill him if he has to watch the young boy be in pain as he takes his last breath. Nobody deserves such a fate.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

He is hardly breathing as panic squeezes at his heart. He can't get his lungs to cooperate at all. His vision begins to darken around the edges, and he is sure he is going to pass out. Too many people in one place.....there is surely not enough air for all of them.

A loud booming voice echoes through the room, startling him just enough to cause him to take a gasping breath. "This is how this is gonna work! Everyone shut up and listen! From this point on it is gonna be survival of the fittest. You have been chosen for experimentation...so basically you are all gonna die eventually but the method is yet to be determined......"

A gunshot then echoes through the building and a fox hybrid about his age and a few feet to his right collapses to the ground, a rapidly growing deep red stain on his chest. Everyone else is frozen in fear as they watch the boy quickly heading towards death.....until an older woman kneels down and pulls his head into her lap as he coughs and gasps for air before going still.

As soon as the boy has died two men in military uniform come and attach a heavy chain to the woman's collar. They drag her across the room and through a small door he hadn't noticed before. Then another set of guards carry off the boy's body in the same direction. "Alright...the rest of you are spared for today. These two will be our first test subjects."

He doesn't even realize he is falling until a pair of hands grip him under his arms and he is being lowered with care to the floor. His vision is swimming and he is so nauseous. He groans as he feels the cool concrete floor underneath him. It actually feels like heaven because his body is on fire and the air around him is so hot that it gets caught in his throat.

A blurry face of a boy who looks a little older than him appears in his vision, but he is too far gone at this point to make out anything happening around him. He can tell that their mouth is moving and they look concerned, but he is not able to figure out what he is saying or even why he would be concerned...his mind failing to process anything anymore as it flips off like a light switch.The world goes dark within a matter of seconds and one last thought runs through his mind before he completely loses his grip on reality....This must be what it feels like to die and go to hell...Wait! Am I dying??

 


 

 

 

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"Is he dead? He doesn't look good."

"Did you see the way his eyes rolled back as he collapsed?"

"I think this place literally scared him to death...poor thing."

"He isn't breathing! Does anyone know cpr?!"

"I don't think we should do that...if he is dying let him be. A heart attack or whatever he just had has to be less painful than the torturous death they have planned for him.."

"Has anybody checked for a pulse??"

There is silence for a moment as a few fingers push into the side of his neck and someone else lays a hand on his chest. 

"He's still alive....he has a heartbeat."

"He won't be for long if he doesn't breathe! He needs help guys!"

His head is lifted and placed in what feels like a lap and fingers comb through his hair.

"I know its awful but he is right. Let him die peacefully....it's the most merciful and humane thing to do. It sounds terrible but if we help him breathe it will only lead to more suffering for him...."

Another wave of silence comes over them as they contemplate the right thing to do...observing the pale boy as his lips start to lose color from not breathing for so long. He truly appeared to be dying.

Out of nowhere the young hybrid awakes with a start and gasps for air. He struggles and coughs as he chokes on air for a few seconds. Within that time he has been scooped into someone's arms and they are rubbing his back as he tries to catch his breath. He has no choice but to lie limply against their chest, listening to their steady heartbeat as the dizziness slowly fades away.

Several minutes later he is coherent enough to realize what happened. He had just had a very severe panic attack. Unfortunately he is not a stranger to this type of episode. He used to have them often before he was put on anxiety medication....the remainder of his supply had been destroyed in the fire that killed his dad and ultimately started a ripple effect that destroyed his life and family.

He tries to move and get up, but he feels like he has been hit by a truck. He has no energy...his limbs are heavier than a ton of bricks....and his entire body aches. He groans softly and slowly opens his eyes, revealing a handful of people huddled around him looking at him with varying degrees of curiosity and concern in their eyes. He jumps when a voice comes from right above his head. "Hey kid." A genuine laugh bubbles out of the chest he is resting on before the voice continues talking to him. "Gosh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. Umm...are you alright?"

He tilts his head up to make eye contact with the boy before speaking and tries to take a deep breath, his chest still feeling a little tight. "I-I think so...I just panicked...a-and I couldn't breathe...s-sorry to bother you...." he paused before adding, "hyung...?"

The boy chuckles again. "Don't worry about it too much. Well....I am eighteen, how old are you kid?"

"S-sixteen....hyung."

The older boy smiles brightly at him. "Ah okay...you are a bit older than you look, but I am still your hyung. You can call me Hobi if you want...what's your name, kid?"

The younger looks puzzled at the other's good mood and bright smile despite their situation...eventually giving up on understanding it. The boy's smile and attitude is just so contagious.....he can't help but respond with a friendly grin before answering shyly in a small voice, "Jimin."

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

The next morning Tae wakes up to the sound of gagging and coughing. With the broth in his system he has just enough energy to push himself into a sitting position, and what he sees makes his own breath get caught in his throat.

Yeonjun is laying on his back, and he appears to be awake...his eyes are wide open in fear and his lips are a pale blue color. He is choking...his small body jolting with the effort of trying to clear his airway. As the fog clears Tae can see that the kid's mouth is full of blood and some is running out of the corners of his lips as he struggles and arches his back. He must have thrown up blood, but he is too weak to move from that position. So the blood just stays in his airway, preventing him from breathing.

As his lungs crave oxygen he reflexively gasps and it gurgles in his chest, probably inhaling some of the blood into his lungs. He immediately begins to cough as his lungs reject the foreign substance, which doesn't prove to be very effective in his current state...with gravity working against his efforts. He begins to squirm and move his legs restlessly as he is deprived of oxygen, and Tae hears small wet choking noises from across the room. His left hand weakly reaches up to pull at his collar and he tilts his head back, his mouth opening and closing desperately as his body starts to give up.

Once again Tae is helpless to do anything for the boy...he is still too weak to move out of the bed....and he has no idea where Yoongi is. He calls his name in hopes that he is nearby, and thank goodness he comes out of the bathroom. He instantly sees the young boy struggling and runs over to him. Yoongi turns him gently on his side and rubs his back. "Come on kid...cough it up." The boy coughs and gags weakly, bringing up most of the blood out of his airway. His chest heaves as he tries with all his strength to breathe. He only gets a couple good breaths in before puking again, the biggest amount of blood Yoongi had seen yet. Thankfully the boy immediately resumes breathing, although very labored. He cleans him up and props him up on pillows, sighing in relief that the boy was still alive for the moment.

He observes the boy for a minute, and his heart shatters at what he sees. Before him lies an innocent kid fighting for air with everything he has....all because of a beating he never deserved. The boy is too weak to keep his eyes open any longer and they slip shut. He looks so very pale and if he really thinks about it, the young boy is alot weaker than he was a day or two ago. He is hardly ever awake, and even then he is rarely strong enough to talk. He hates to admit it, but the kid is probably dying from his internal injuries.

Yoongi had called Namjoon late last night before laying down. He told him about Taehyung and the seizure, and was reassured that they will stop...he did the right thing. He also updated him on Yeonjun. The doctor said that the kid is likely not going to make it. From the symptoms he described, it sounds like the boy was getting worse and weaker. It is amazing that he has survived this long... Yoongi knows in his heart that he is right. The boy is slowly bleeding to death...

Yeonjun is not puking up blood as often as before, but Namjoon says its probably because he is close to bleeding out...he doesn't have much left.
Yoongi knows he has to tell Taehyung this before the boy is actively dying, or he fears it will come as too much of a shock for his sytem. He thought he was too late when he found the boy choking as he left the bathroom. He didn't think he was going to start breathing again, but he did.

 

 


 

 

 

While he helped Tae to eat some soup for breakfast, he tenderly brought the subject up. "Taehyungie I need to talk to you about the boy. You know how badly he was abused...gosh I can't imagine how terribly scary that was for you to watch.

Tae nods and looks overwhelmed with guilt. "I thought he was going to kill him! A-and I couldn't help him....He was so scared and I couldn't stop it.......I-"

He stops short when an incredibly weak voice comes from the corner of the room. "T-Tae p-pl-ease....." Yeonjun struggles to sit up and Yoongi rushes over to him. He tries to calm him, but the boy only gets more agitated and begins to cry.
"Pl-please......hy-hyu-ng!....I n-nee-need Tae...."

The older boy caresses his cheeks and wipes away some of the tears. "Okay Yeonjun-ah....it's alright. Just breathe. He is right over there...I will go get him."

The younger boy visibly relaxes and tries to regulate his labored breathing. Yoongi turns to find Tae sitting on the edge of the bed and trying to stand. He hurries to his side and wraps an arm around his waist, helping him walk slowly across the room to the youngest boy's side.

Tae squeezes Yeonjun's hand as he talks. "It's me, kid. I'm right here...what do you need? What can I do fo-"

"I-I...I c-can.......f-f-feel i-it...hy-hyung......I'm...." He stops as his lungs begin to hunger for more air...letting his eyes fall shut and panting for a couple minutes before continuing. "Hy-hy-ung...I'm d-dying.......s-s-soon. I-I....i-in m-mmy ch-chest.....I..I-I ca-an't." His words start to jumble up and make less sense the more he talks...his mind struggling to focus. He is forced to stop as his lungs seem to spasm and he involuntarily inhales sharply a few times, creating a sound much like hiccups.

He proceeds to cough up a small amount of blood....probably some residual that had been in his lungs from choking just an hour earlier. The poor boy grimaces as it is forced up his throat and overflows from his lips a little. Yoongi leans him forward as he coughs and then eases him back onto the pillows. He cleans off his mouth with a small towel as the kid takes a slow labored breath before pushing out one more phrase in a broken voice. "P-please pro-....pr-prom-mise me...d-don't bl-ame y-yo-ur-s-s-self.." Yeonjun is really having to fight to get his words out now and his lips have turned blue with lack of oxygen...his weakened body cannot handle talking and breathing simultaneously. Yoongi talks softly to him, encouraging him to breathe. The young boy obeys, but with great difficulty as he gasps for air.

Tae is deep in thought and tears threaten to spill out of his eyes. This was so much to process at once. It broke him to hear the younger say he is dying...could it be true?...and if so how is it not his fault?? He could have saved him if he hadn't been so weak from starving himself...

Several minutes go by with the poor boy fighting desperately for air before his breathing starts to slow down some and his eyes flutter shut. At that moment Tae snaps out of his thoughts and gives Yeonjun's hand a firm squeeze. "If you can still hear me....I promise I will try, Yeonjun-ah." After a brief pause the boy squeezes back weakly. "Just know that you deserve so much more than this and I will always regret not giving you that chance...." He is cut off by a sob as guilt threatens to choke him, squeezing at his heart until it aches almost unbearably.

He refuses to leave the dying boy's side the rest of the day, even sleeping on the floor next to his cot that night. If he wasn't able to save the kid's life all those days ago, he would at least do his best to be there for him now....to ease his suffering as he nears his final moments. He vows to be right there beside Yeonjun as he takes his last breath....no matter how unpleasant that final battle might be. He atleast owes him that much.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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It has been close to a week since Jungkook had woken up not feeling well. He is doing much better now, but the bug did set his progress back quite a bit. When he sleeps he is back to using the CPAP machine to help him breathe....his lungs have weakened significantly and his asthma has gotten more aggressive as a result.

A couple days into the cold he started to have a really hard time breathing....the virus was wearing him out, and he was struggling to find the energy to take a deep breath. Now that he is on his way to being well again his breathing has improved, but he still needs an extra boost when he sleeps...and sometimes he needs a little extra oxygen during the day when he is up and about the house.

Eventhough Namjoon is sure the virus is pretty much gone now, Jungkook still has a persistent dry cough that rattles deep in his chest. A fit of these coughs often triggers his asthma. It can easily take his breath away and leave him panting and wheezing as he tries to keep his head above the water.

Luckily once the virus starts to leave his system his strength returns to how it was before the cold had made him bedridden. He is still able to walk around the house without help, although he moves a little slower to avoid strain on his lungs. If he walks too fast he sometimes starts wheezing and can't catch his breath. Often they will find him leaning against the wall and gasping for air as an episode of shortness of breath hits him without warning. It eventually passes without any intervention, but it scares them to death to stumble upon him in that condition.

Sadly his energy level has changed alot as well. The poor boy is barely awake for a couple hours a day now...he is just always so tired. He spends most of his time laying around in the recliner or on the couch, struggling to stay awake. It is obvious just by looking at him that he is worn down...his eyes have deep bruises underneath them and his posture and facial expression scream exhaustion. Even when he smiles it does not always reach his eyes, but the boy is strong-willed...one of the biggest reasons he is still alive...and he tries his best to hide how tired he is.

The last thing he wants to do is cause them more stress and anxiety than he already has. He knows it was out of his control, and that he very nearly died...but it still makes a heavy stone of guilt form in his stomach when he thinks about how much they had to worry about him during that time. His body is so completely and unmistakably drained from having to fight off yet another infection, that it is getting harder each day to hide such utter exhaustion from his hyungs.

Jin is so thankful his brother didn't really get much weaker. He didn't think his heart could handle him being so frail and vulnerable like before. The past week was stressful enough as he watched his little brother lose energy and have difficulty breathing again....frankly it was terrifying. He hardly slept, even when it was not his turn to watch Jungkook. The fear that the boy wouldn't be able to breathe in his sleep overruled the weariness in his bones.

A couple nights after the younger started needing help to breathe, Jin climbed into bed with his little brother....pulling the boy close to rest his head on his chest. Jungkook lets out a contented sigh and coughs weakly as he snuggles into his brother's side. Jin slowly drifts off to sleep, reassured that his brother is okay as he feels him breathing regularly against his side with the help of the CPAP mask. Namjoon watches the interaction fondly, but doesn't interfere. He knows the close contact had basically saved the kid's life in the past, so he is certain it wouldn't hurt him now.

Namjoon suddenly rushes out of the room as his phone starts to buzz in his pocket...

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

  

 


 

 

 

For the next two days Yeonjun's condition spirals downward as does the amount of time he has left. The poor boy can no longer keep any water down...he either chokes on it or pukes it right back up. He had kept asking for a drink, and really tried his best to swallow it...but he just couldn't handle it. The young boy's body has become too weak to swallow or even process any type of nutrients as it begins to shut down. Yoongi quickly realizes this and eventhough it breaks his heart he denies the boy's requests for a drink in order to lessen his distress.

As Yoongi and Tae finish eating dinner on the second day Yeonjun again asks for a drink. His voice comes out ragged and cracks several times. "Hy-ung ple-ease.....Water...s-s-so th-thirsty.." The young boy coughs painfully and feebly rubs at his neck...his throat must be so dry after almost two days without water. Yoongi can't stand to tell him no again. There has to be something they can do to lessen this discomfort without making him choke. He takes a wet washcloth and squeezes it to carefully put a few drops of water into his mouth...wetting his tongue and throat in hopes that it will help keep him comfortable as he nears his final moments.

The boy gags slightly, but then relaxes and releases a shaky breath as the liquid helps to decrease the uncomfortable sandpaper sensation. It does not completely quench his intense thirst, but it definitely helps.

By the second night since Tae joined them, the dying boy is becoming increasingly dehydrated and his heart beats rapidly in his chest. His skin is covered in a cold sweat and he mumbles incoherently every once in a while. He does not throw up blood anymore, but occasionally chokes as some travels up his throat and gets caught. Not much can be done for him when this happens though, and all they can do is wait and see if he will breathe again. Yoongi can't stop his heart from trying to beat out of his chest every time the boy starts gagging, eventhough he knows it's only a matter of time before Yeonjun stops being able to breathe at all...

By the third day Tae is doing a little better, moving around the room on his own, often sitting by the younger boy and holding his hand as he squirms restlessly. It is very likely that Yeonjun will not live through the day. He knows he should prepare himself, because death is not avoidable for the young boy. He can see it in the boy's death-like appearance and the way the boy struggles to breathe as if he was slowly being asphyxiated by a large snake...and it is only getting worse by the hour. Tae had always pictured death as an invisible snake that coils itself around a dying person days before they actually stop breathing. It constricts ever so slowly around them until it begins to weaken and suffocate them. Tae shivers at the thought and prays that death will go easy on the poor sweet boy.

 


 

 

As the day goes on Yeonjun begins to breathe faster, but a little bit less effectively as his breaths get weaker and shallower.....causing him to become increasingly restless as he fails to get enough oxygen. By lunch he is breathing rapidly in an effort to keep up with his body's demands, but even so his lips start to lose their color and turn blue. They sadly never return to their natural pink color.

After lunch Tae notices the kid is shivering violently. He puts an extra blanket on him and again holds his hand, rubbing it to try and bring some warmth into it.

Yeonjun surprises them both as his eyes slowly open and he chokes out a single word, "c-cold."

Yoongi comes over and wipes some sweat from his neck and forehead as he groans in discomfort. "I know kid...I'm sorry.."

Yeonjun attempts a deep breath before trying to speak again in a barely audible voice, "T-T-Tae??" He wheezes as he strains to inhale.

Tae gently turns the boy's face toward him so he can see him....at this point the boy is too weak to even turn his head. "I'm right here, kid..."

The boy tries really hard to say something back but he is not able to get any sound out...his strength quickly fading as death approaches. His lips move and a rush of air escapes with each attempt, but still no real sound. He takes a series of weak shallow breaths before struggling again to reply, "I-I....I....dd..nngh..." He sighs heavily as he fails to form words.

Tae shushes him with tears in his eyes, knowing that the young boy is virtually out of time.....death's grip is starting to get uncomfortably tight. "Shhh shhh It's okay Yeonjun-ah. I am gonna stay right here....I know...you don't have much time left, right? Is that what you wanted to tell me?"

In reply the boy takes a very difficult, shuddering deep breath and lets it out with a gentle wavering sigh as he squeezes Tae's hand. He holds eye contact with him for a few minutes, but eventually his eyelids get too heavy to hold open. In his sleep for the next hour he only takes a few gasping breaths a minute and his heart slows down instead of racing. Yoongi knows that this young boy's life is almost over and as he watches him sleep somewhat peacefully he hopes and prays that death will be quick and gentle. This innocent boy had suffered so much more than he ever deserved in his short existence...

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Jimin sits in Hobi's lap so long that he starts to fall asleep. The older doesn't stop him or tell him he needs to get up. He just scoots over to rest against the wall and keeps a comforting hand on the young hybrid's back. Jimin doesn't have the energy to question the older hybrid's motives for helping him at the moment...the panic attack left him completely worn out and trembling slightly. He is in no shape to try and move on his own right now, so what choice does he have but to trust him?...Besides, if he is being honest...listening to the boy's heart as it beats strong and steady is helping to subdue the raging anxiety that is still coursing through his veins, causing his own heart to race and his chest to feel heavy. He fears that if Hobi leaves him he will be thrown right back into another panic attack. He gasps at the thought and begins to cough as he chokes on air.

Hobi is startled out of his thoughts as Jimin starts hyperventilating and coughing. He pats gently on his back and mumbles against the top of his head. "Breathe Jimin-ah...I've got you. Just breathe for me, you're okay....deep breaths.." The younger starts to breathe a little deeper and slower so he keeps talking. "I know you don't know me, but I promise I will protect you from these people the best I can, okay? You are not alone in this..."

After a few minutes Jimin is breathing regularly enough to form words again. "Hobi hyung?" He breathes timidly.

"Yea Jiminie...are you doing better now?"

The younger shrugs his shoulders and takes a shaky deep breath. "Don't risk your own safety for me hyung. I can't even stand right now. I am no good to you...I can't protect you. You should find someone who can return the favor and....and let me die hyung." A tear escapes and he quickly wipes it away to hide it. He doesn't want to appear any weaker than he already has.

Hobi shifts the younger so he can see his face just as another tear falls. He moves to catch it, but stops short when the younger flinches and closes his eyes tightly. His heart clenches painfully at the sight...the boy thought he was about to be hit. While the boy has his eyes shut Hobi gently wipes the tear away. The younger hybrid opens his eyes and looks up at him with an unspoken question on his lips before looking away in what only can be percieved as shame. Jimin whispers an apology and tries to get up from the older boy's lap, but he freezes at the concern in the older hybrid's voice.

The smaller boy is breaking Hobi's heart with the way he has acted since they met....as if he is not worthy of the older boy's attention...not worth protecting....and why would he think he deserved to be hit for crying? Eventhough he is a stranger he can't help but be concerned for Jimin's wellbeing...something is off with him. His voice comes out unintentionally thick with emotion. "Hey...where are you going?"

Jimin has not made it far...he is struggling to stand up on his wobbly legs. His knees give out and he sinks to the ground, the older boy making sure he lands without injuring himself. The younger looks at him, appearing to be a little stunned. "I-I...hyung.."

Hobi smiles sadly at him before helping him back into his lap. "Please let me help you, Jimin-ah...You need to take it easy. You went a looong time without breathing earlier.....we thought you were dying.."

"Hyung please..." He whispers before spitting out in a self loathing tone, "Don't waste your time...I am weak a-and pathetic."

It was the older boy's turn to be shocked. "Jimin-ah baby, you are not pathetic...just a little broken, but who isn't?" Hobi gets a distant look in his eyes for a second, but he quickly shakes his head to clear it. "Life has been so cruel to us, kid...You have to be strong to endure what our kind has.." He takes the boy's face in his hands. "You....are strong Jimin-ah...I know you are. You are not a quitter, and neither am I, okay? We are gonna survive this...Do you trust me Jiminie?" 

The younger sniffles and nods his head slightly with tears in his eyes. He takes a deep shuddering breath and releases it slowly, his eyelids starting to droop and flutter. Hobi smiles fondly at the sleepy young boy as he moves his head back up against his chest and begins rubbing his back. "Go to sleep Jiminie. I'm not going to leave you...just rest."


He continues talking softly to lull him to sleep. Jimin can't make sense of his words anymore as he gives in to the exhaustion and stress of the last couple hours....and falls asleep with his head again resting above the older boy's heart. 

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

A few days have passed since Jungkook had started to recover from the virus and it left him thoroughly exhausted, which means he requires alot of help with everyday tasks again...his body and lungs wear out extremely quickly and he often can't finish what he has started without asking someone for help. He is currently trying to take a bath and Jin is staying nearby in case he needs him. The older boy suspects he will not be able to complete this task on his own, but the boy is stubborn and trying so hard to be independent. He knows he can't deny him a chance to succeed without assistance, so he just stays close in case his little brother needs help.

He makes it about halfway through before he is overwhelmed by a coughing fit. At first Jin waits to see if he can recover on his own, but as the seconds tick by it becomes clear that Jungkook is going to need help. He is starting to have trouble getting enough air in between coughs...Jin can tell by how close together they are that there is no way the boy even has time to breathe very much. When he hears the soft thump of his little brother's small body slumping against the side of the tub, he can't wait any longer to intervene. He knocks before coming in with an oxygen tank.

Jungkook's head is resting on his arms that are folded together over the edge of the tub....shoulders shaking with each forceful cough. Jin lifts him enough to strap the mask over the boy's face as he attempts to control his breathing. His little brother looks awful. His eyes are glassy and his skin is a dull grey color. As his brother had guessed, the boy can't breathe properly...the coughs are dangerously impeding his efforts to inhale. Jungkook looks very close to passing out.

Jin's gentle and comforting voice floats through the air and he clings to it like a lifeline. "It might be easier for you to breathe, Kook, if you sit up straighter...here let me help you." He is not able to hold himself up...his trembling arms collapsing as he slumps back onto the edge of the tub. Jin sits on the ledge, holding his little brother up against him...not even caring a little bit that he is getting his shirt wet....and stroking his back as he wheezes and gasps for air between coughs. "Slow deep breaths, Kookie. You've got this." The younger struggles to stop coughing, his breath hitching as his lungs constrict and relax over and over again...making it that much harder to regulate his breathing.

In a few minutes he is breathing regularly, but each inhale is still tainted with a wheeze. He isn't coughing anymore, but his lungs are still trying to recover from the strain. Jin shifts him to lean against the back of the tub as he wordlessly helps him finish washing up, knowing all too well that the coughing took all of his energy from him. Jungkook is limp and cooperative through the rest of the process, and his brother's heart aches at the sight of the defeated look on his face. He doesn't protest as his brother then drains the tub and dries him off before helping him get dressed and carrying him to bed.

Jin makes sure his little brother is comfortable and in a position where he is able to breathe as easy as possible, propping him up on a few pillows and tucking blankets around him. He silently watches his big brother fuss over him, and it tugs at his heart. He is hit hard with the realization of how lucky he is...how much love is behind those kind eyes. His older brother is his whole reason for living, for surviving the last several months. After he is tucked in and his eyes start to flutter shut with exhaustion he whispers, "Th-thankyou hyung...I love you." He holds his thumb and pointer finger together to make a heart and smiles in a way that makes his brother's heart skip a beat.

"I love you too Kookie...more than anything." Jin hugs him tightly and his eyes fill with tears as he is again overwhelmed with how much love he has for this precious little boy. He would trade his life for him without a moment of hesitation or an ounce of regret.

He finally releases him as the boy coughs harshly a few times and starts to wheeze louder. Jungkook's breathing quickly gets much worse and the poor boy suddenly takes on that familiar look of panic he always has when he is having an asthma attack. Jin immediately recognizes what is happening and retrieves his inhaler off his nightstand. He sits him up and helps him take a couple puffs of medication, which seems to help alot.

Jin climbs into bed with him and stays until his breathing eases up and the wheezing becomes barely audible. Jungkook is now completely depleted of energy. As he drifts off to sleep his breaths become a little more labored...something that had sadly become so common lately. The boy rarely makes it through the night now without having some kind of trouble breathing.

His brother gently brushes his hair from his eyes and kisses him on the forehead, being sure to help him put his CPAP mask on before leaving the room.
"Rest well Kookie. I will come to bed soon okay?" The boy makes a small faint sound of acknowledgment as Jin turns out the light and leaves the door cracked open so he can hear if his brother needs something. He stops in his tracks for a moment as he registers Namjoon talking in a hushed voice from inside the kitchen.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Yoongi and Tae stay nearby and watch as the young boy begins to have more and more trouble breathing. He breathes through his mouth now and each inhale is a battle...chest heaving as he exerts great effort to expand his ever weakening lungs. He is unconscious for the moment and frankly Yoongi is hoping with all of his heart that he will stay that way and die quickly in his sleep. 

Those hopes are abandoned and the older boys' hearts ache as the boy's eyes fly open, wide with fear. Yeonjun tries to inhale, but instead begins to make choking noises. Both the older boys lean in close and try to comfort the boy as he struggles to breathe. Yoongi holds his face in his hands and tries to talk to him while Tae holds his hand, rubbing his thumb back and forth on the back of it. Finally after a couple minutes the young boy coughs and then gasps desperately for air several times before giving Tae's hand a gentle squeeze.

Tae strokes the dying boy's cheek and despite being very weak he leans into the touch, as if craving the contact. Tae suddenly asks, "Yoongi hyung, can we move him?....like maybe onto the bed?? Or will that hurt him too much? I think it would help him relax if I could lay next to him and he could hear my heartbeat...."

Yoongi thinks for a minute and then squeezes Tae's shoulders as he says, "I think that's a beautiful idea Tae." He leans over the boy to make eye contact. "Would you like that Yeonjun-ah, if he cuddles with you for a few minutes...or however long it takes?"

The young boy opens his mouth and chokes on air as he attempts to talk, but doesn't have the strength to produce more than a soft grunt. He pleads with his tired eyes as he fights to take another breath. Tae runs a soothing hand through the boy's hair as he lets out a long shaky breath, eliciting a contented hum from his lips.

Yoongi takes this as permission, and knowing the boy is very close to taking his last breath, he works quickly. He goes to grab some pain medication for the boy before moving him, hoping to ease the pain the movement might cause. He is startled by the dying boy's sudden burst of energy.

He gasps and forcefully chokes out the word "no" as a wave of adrenaline courses through him.

The older is puzzled and asks, "You don't want the medicine??"

He has silent tears trailing down his cheeks as he fights to respond, gasping for air in between words. "P-p-pl-...pl-please........n-n-noo.........ss-sl-sl-ee-eep..."

Yoongi wipes the tears from his cheeks as he tries to calm the boy. "Okay, it's okay....I won't give it to you. You're afraid aren't you, baby? You are scared to fall asleep...." The boy nods weakly as he struggles to get enough air into his lungs...the adrenaline rush quickly leaving him and stealing his remaining energy. Yoongi's heart again shatters into a million pieces at the boy's response.

He had seen death many times over the past years. Whenever one of the boys was doomed to die, he was always forced to stand by and watch as they were fatally wounded. Some had been pretty ugly, but for the most part those boys had died quickly...a gunshot wound or knife wound to the chest, strangulation or on one unforgettable occasion a man had poisoned a boy and it had been very violent but somewhat fast acting. It had been the first one he had witnessed since arriving at the compound, and by far the most torturous. He had been so relieved when the boy relaxed and fell still.

He was glad that they didn't have to die alone, but it was still awful. In most instances the boys had struggled desperately for a couple minutes, and it was not pleasant to watch, but they were gone before he even knew their names. It was super depressing if he thought about it too much, and sometimes he still has nightmares about their final moments spent in agony and fear. He is positive he will never forget their faces as long as he lives.

Despite all the horrors he has witnessed nothing has ever affected him like this. Seeing this boy suffer and weaken over the past several days has started something deep inside him that had been dormant for so long, snuffed out by the weight of the world...a small flame has started flickering in his soul....and each time this boy breaks his heart it fuels that fire even more. He isn't sure how, but he knows for certain...someone is going to pay for this. 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

When Jimin fell asleep it was mid morning. He was dead to the world for hours, but Hobi just waited patiently for him to wake up...knowing his body really needed the rest. He watches and frowns as the young hybrid's breathing ocassionally pauses for several seconds but then starts up again, sometimes with a little difficulty. It worries him, but there is nothing he can do about it..

The only way he knows it is lunchtime is that everyone is given a few crackers, a slice of cheese, and a small cup of water. He is sure to save some for the sleeping hybrid for later.
It is early in the afternoon before Jimin stirs and opens his eyes. The younger looks up and makes eye contact, but quickly ducks his head and blushes.

The older lifts his chin up to force him to meet his gaze, causing the boy to start hyperventilating slightly. "Hey, it's alright Jimin-ah....just don't feel bad about resting for a while. I would have woke you if I didn't want you to stay here." Jimin has closed his eyes and placed one hand on his chest. He appears to be focusing on trying to slow his breathing. Hobi continues after giving the younger a moment to catch his breath. "I wanted you to take it easy and recover...How do you feel? Any better?"

Jimin nods shyly. "Much better...th-thankyou hyung" he says...still a little out of breath.
Hobi studies the younger boy as he helps him move out of his lap and sit beside him. The boy is still feeling a little dizzy and weak when he tries to move, and this makes the older's eyes fill with concern.

There is more going on with this boy than he knows.....he doesn't seem well. He actually seems fragile and Hobi is becoming increasingly protective of the boy. In spite of what his brain is telling him...that this young hybrid couldn't possibly make it out of this place alive....his heart won't let him walk away. He just can't live with the idea of abandoning him...the boy needs him. Not that he is completely helpless, but he doesn't stand a chance against the Hybrid Patrol officers.

Hobi considers what teaming up with Jimin could mean. It could give the younger a real chance at survival. He is realistically probably the only person here willing to help him. Everyone else had walked away after seeing how weak he was following his fainting episode.

On the other side of things though, helping Jimin could very well get him killed. It would definitely put his life more at risk. His brother had most likely been murdered by these people....could he live with himself if he let them take Jimin too? No, he can't let them win like that. For some reason he would be willing to sacrifice things if it meant this boy's safety, but is he willing to die in order to give this small, possibly ill hybrid a chance? 

As he watches Jimin nibble on the food he had saved for him, he feels like his heart might actually break in two......

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

Yoongi slides his arms carefully underneath Yeonjun's shoulders and legs, causing him to gasp and bite down on his lip. "You sure you can handle this, Yeonjun-ah? Its gonna hurt..."

The boy nods and tries to take a deep breath. The older boy slowly lifts and moves him to the bed and Tae lays down beside him. With Yoongi's help he tenderly shifts the boy to lay up against his chest. It is awkward and difficult to get him comfortable due to his broken arm and ribs, and the poor boy is in tears before its all over. He can't be laid entirely on his side without causing him to whimper weakly in pain. Eventually they have him lay mostly on his back, resting his head on Tae's shoulder...the older boy's arm tucked around him and holding him securely into his side. The boy immediately melts into the touch and his muscles visibly relax.

Over the next several minutes Yeonjun pants desperately while Yoongi wipes at his face and neck with a washcloth soaked in warm water. The boy's breathing pauses as he tries to talk again. "ff-feeels....n-nggh..nniii-" He stops and whines softly in defeat before taking a gasping breath.

Yoongi smiles and nods in understanding and the boy sighs....relieved that he had made sense of his attempt at communicating. The boy's breathing gradually slows way down.....not because he has caught his breath, but because his body has lost that battle. He just can't get enough air in....His lips are a deep blue color from not getting enough oxygen. Each breath is more and more labored and rattles in his chest.

Within minutes the kid is really struggling to pull even the smallest amount of air into his chest...gasping noisily with every breath he takes. His head is tilted up toward Tae and his eyes remain locked on his as death slowly robs him of the ability to breathe. Yeonjun begins to look very uncomfortable and squirms weakly, pushing his heels into  the bed back and forth in a rhythmic pattern as he tries to breathe. Yoongi rolls up a small cloth and places it behind the base of the boy's neck, and as a result his head is tilted back and his mouth opens more. He had discovered from experience over the years that this position makes a dying person feel like it is easier to get more air in....eventhough in reality it does not make much of a difference.

One particular boy who had been stabbed multiple times in the chest had completely relaxed in the position and passed almost peacefully....eventually asphyxiating from the extensive damage to his lungs, but without much of a struggle. He knows it won't actually help him breathe...but at this point, Yeonjun is dying and all he wants for the boy is less suffering. He hopes this will make him more comfortable.

The position change does seem to help for a while. The boy relaxes slightly and takes in very shallow puffs of air through his mouth, pausing for several seconds to a minute every so often...as if he is running out of energy. Yoongi is hoping that he will slip away peacefully before it gets any harder for him to breathe, but out of nowhere his next breath gets caught in his throat and does not reach his lungs. From then on his breaths catch and shudder in his chest, and the poor boy arches his back a little as he tries to continue pulling air in.

He attempts several more times to take in a breath, only succeeding in gasping very shallowly. Yoongi mumbles softly in his ear as his efforts begin to fail. The boy gradually stops fighting after nearly a minute, eventually weakening from lack of oxygen and falling still. He makes eye contact with Yoongi, finally being forced to acknowledge his voice as his movements slow to a stop and he relaxes into Tae's chest.

Yeonjun whimpers faintly and opens his mouth as if to breathe, but lets it fall closed as Yoongi tenderly touches his face. The oldest boy rubs the dying boy's temple as he speaks.. "There you go baby...keep looking at me. Everything will be okay soon...You will be free of this terrible place and from all the pain....all of it will be gone very soon, alright?" He shushes the boy as he opens his mouth and strains to breathe without success, gasping noisily but not really moving air past his lips. "Shh, it's okay. You are almost done, just focus on my face and Tae's warmth. You will be home before you know it, I promise Yeonjun-ah."
Yeonjun's eyes smile slightly before hardening with determination.

He uses most of what's left of his energy and all of the air in his lungs to communicate one last time.....something that is very important to him. He does not want to die without making this very clear. It is extremely difficult to form words at this stage, with death less than a couple minutes away. The boy is determined, though and fights hard to get his message out in a voice barely above a whisper. "S'nn-not y-your fa-fa..-ault........y-you did ss-ave m-me....hhhyy-uung." As he says this he squeezes Tae's hand so hard that it hurts and pleads with his eyes for the boy to believe him.
Tae nods and kisses the boy's forehead as his eyes struggle to stay focused.

The young boy lets out a weak cough and chokes out another word. "Th-thankyo-" He is cut off abruptly as his heart flutters and skips a beat and he inhales sharply. He releases a slow crackling breath as his head lulls to the side and his eyelids flutter slightly...his forehead is now nestled up against the crook of Tae's neck.

He is facing directly where Yoongi is kneeling next to the bed. He smiles sadly at the boy and lightly places a hand on his chest to confirm something. As the boy again struggles for a breath, his chest crackles and gurgles...the boy's lungs are filled with something, most likely blood from his injuries. He knows he can't do anything about it, but he can't help but think about how uncomfortable that would be. 

Yeonjun's heart is beginning to weaken rapidly, and an intense feeling of drowsiness comes over him. He gasps weakly and ineffectively before mumbling in a voice that sounds as if he is on the verge of sleep. "M's-s-soo-t-t-..tt-tiirrre-d-dd..............hh-hhhhyyuuu--uunng..." His words slur together and it becomes more difficult to speak with every passing moment. By the end of the short phrase the young boy is really struggling and barely gets the last word out, forcing it past his lips in a very strained whisper as the rest of his strength leaves him.

He then takes one last breath...his final breath. It is very difficult and slow, his failing lungs protesting the action and muscles straining as he fights against death to pull a very small amount of air in. The poor boy sounds like he is under water, his chest gurgling loudly as he tries to inhale. He coughs wetly and gags, but nothing comes up. The older boy rubs gently up and down his arm as he struggles to swallow and releases a soft sound of exhaustion.

Yoongi runs his fingers through his hair and fights back tears as he talks to the dying boy as if he was putting him to bed. "It's ummm it's good that you are sleepy, baby...it's time for you to go to bed.....to say goodnight Yeonjun-ah. We will stay with you until you.....fall asleep kiddo...."

The boy's eyelids are heavy and he has trouble keeping them open. He suddenly arches his back again and his eyes open wide as his lungs hunger for air with more intensity. Yoongi's voice cracks as he tries to soothe the suffocating boy. He knows what that feels like and it is terrifying. He can barely focus on the present as his mind goes back to that time. He see the same fear and pain reflecting in Yeonjun's eyes as he makes faint choking noises. "Just relax, ba-aby. I know it is uncomfortable. It won't last long though, I promise." He is not sure if the last part is true, but all he wants is to calm the boy's fears. As the boy locks eyes with him...so innocent and trusting, he is positive there is not much he wouldn't do to take all of this suffering away from him. 

The choking noises fade away as the young boy tries his best to release the tension in his muscles. He makes an involuntary sound similar to a hiccup and the air gurgles in his throat. His eyes widen again and he gags slightly as a lungful of blood overflows his lips and pools onto Tae's chest. His eyes roll back for a moment as if losing consciousness, but he manages to focus them again on Yoongi's face. He breaks both of their hearts with the amount of trust that he seems to have in them as he fights the urge to struggle and lays still.

For a couple minutes the boy reflexively opens his mouth every few seconds to take in a breath, but as the asphyxiation worsens the urge to breathe fades to nothing. As this happens the boy falls truly still and for the first time in days Yeonjun seems truly content.....the fear and pain having dissipated as the boy fades into a merciful bliss in his oxygen deprived mind. His lungs suddenly relax and he hums softly as all of the air left in them escapes. A small stream of blood trickles from the corner of his lips, seeming so out of place as a contented sigh escapes his lips. The gentle sound tapers off as his lungs run out of air, and just like that the battle is over. The boy makes no further attempts to breathe as his body surrenders to death's crushing embrace.

Yoongi gently cleans the blood from his face with the warm wet washcloth as the boy thanks him with his eyes. The older boys watch as Yeonjun pulls his hand out of Tae's and weakly holds it up. He uses his thumb and pointer finger to form a heart and then lets it fall limply. Tae suddenly can't breathe as he reaches to hold the boy's hand again. All he can think about is Jungkook making that same sign, combined with a genuine bunny smile....the image just might be the death of him. That was the last time he had ever seen him...before being stabbed and kidnapped later that night.

Thankfully the boy doesn't seem to be uncomfortable anymore...his facial expression is so full of trust and peace. He actually seems to relax more and more as the seconds go by. His blue lips remain slightly parted and make subtle movements as his heart pauses and flutters. He keeps eye contact with Yoongi until his eyes lose focus....He whimpers almost inaudibly at the loss of his vision.

Tae carefully takes one of the boy's hands and places it over his own heart...the faint sound of distress snapping him out of his thoughts. It doesn't take long for him to understand what is happening, only needing to take one look at the boy's unseeing eyes. He takes a long needed breath of air before speaking. "It's alright...You can feel my heartbeat and know for sure that I am here...eventhough you can't see me, I promise I am with you. You are not alone, Yeonjun-ah."

The dying boy very briefly squeezes Tae's hand in response and moves his lips as if to say something, but without a breath in his lungs he can't push any sound out. Yoongi rubs his cheek lightly and shushes. "Shhhh baby...we know you can't talk anymore. Don't strain, baby just take it easy. Tae and I aren't going anywhere....we care about you Yeonjunie...we umm l-love you too, kid."

It feels strange to admit, but this kid has claimed a special place in his heart. He truly loves the boy like he would a little brother. Before he had become too weak to talk much, they had a few deep conversations...often about their families and past lives, and even about their childhood dreams for their futures. They shared memories of good times and sometimes had laughed together.

Yeonjun is such a sweet selfless kid, full of love and hopes for the future, and it is tearing him up to see him struggle against death. He is way too young to be nearing the end of his life. Yoongi hopes with his entire heart that he has done enough to ease the boy's discomforts and fears.

It really shouldn't be very long at all now...he surely only has seconds left before he will not have to be in pain or scared ever again. Yoongi is so ready for it to be over so the boy can be at peace and free...finally free of the evils of this awful place.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

They both lean up against the wall as Jimin nibbles on the tiny ration of food that was saved for him.

Hobi suddenly breaks the silence. "I want us to get to know eachother, because we need to trust and have one another's backs, you know? So umm you are a beagle hybrid right?" Jimin nods. "Okay cool....I am a golden retriever. I guess that's why I am so outgoing...I don't really get sick. I have always been pretty healthy.....ummm...." The older hybrid starts to ramble and look really uncomfortable and Jimin notices.

The young beagle hybrid sighs shakily and cuts Hobi off mid sentence. "Hobi hyung...just stop and I will tell you what you want to know. You want to know if there is something wrong with me....if I am sick, right?"

The older looks stunned and relieved at the same time. "Jimin, I-"

"It's okay hyung...you need to know if you are going to try and help me get out of here alive." He takes a deep breath. "I have a rare genetic disorder....an error in the DNA that makes me a hybrid. Hybrids are supposed to be stronger and healthier than the average person....but I...I almost died right after I was born. My heart is exceptionally strong, but the rest of my body was abnormally very weak. They said my heart overwhelmed the rest of my organs and they started to shut down. My lungs are the most affected....I couldn't breathe for several months without help. The doctors tried so many different treatments to help me get stronger, but none of them did very much..I guess I was pretty lucky that they were able to atleast get my lungs working properly...they still act up on me sometimes, especially if I have a really bad panic attack..."

"Wait...so that's why you stopped breathing this morning??"

"Mhhmm..." Jimin focuses on the floor as he continues talking, seemingly ashamed. He also knows he may have just lost his only chance at getting out of this place alive. This boy would surely abandon him now that he knows he is not well, and these people will easily kill him. It hurts him to say this next part, but Hobi deserves to have a fighting chance and he will only be in the way. "So umm....you may want to reconsider helping me. I really am weak hyung. I meant that. My lungs do function, but they are weak and so is the rest of my body. It won't take much for them to kill me hyung....I can't resist.."

Hobi huffs out a breath and then turns and looks him in the eyes, his gaze so intense that he could burn right through him if he wanted. "Jimin...listen to me. That's exactly why I have to help you. I am going to stay with you, because you need help...and my brother....God rest his soul." A few tears threaten to spill out of his eyes and he dabs them away with his sleeve. "He taught me to never leave someone who is in need of assistance, because some day I could be in a similar position..."

Jimin is completely shocked at the older's willingness to put himself in danger for someone like him. He looks back down at his feet and starts to speak in a whisper. "Hyung, you can't endanger your life for me. We just barely met. I-"

The older boy cuts back in. "Please Jimin, don't argue with me...I have my reasons, okay? You don't know what I have been through at the hands of these cruel people already. I know what they are capable of and I can't allow you to be another victim. I can't walk away from you, Jimin.....and leave you to die because you are right. They will overpower you and take your life for sure if I don't protect you...I can't let these monsters kill another person that I care about. I just can't...I refuse to let them have another victory,  Jimin-ah!"

By the end of his little speech he is getting emotional and loud enough to turn the heads of those around them. Two officers come quickly across the warehouse...right toward them.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Yeonjun remains very still as the remaining signs of life slowly leave him...His restless movements coming to a stop as he hits the point of no return. His feet, which just moments ago were pressing into the matress as he struggled for air, are slowly sliding down the matress as his muscles relax. Yoongi reaches down and gently straightens his legs, placing them back to rest on the bed. It is no longer necessary for his mouth to be open, so it falls closed until his blue lips are almost touching....only opening every so often as he gags wetly on the blood that is coming up and pooling in the back of his throat.

Tears flow freely and silently from Tae's eyes as he witnesses death's tight coil relentlessly crushing the breath right from the poor boy's lungs and squeezing the life out of his weakening heart. He can feel the boy's heartbeat slowing against his side.

By taking a deep cleansing breath, he composes himself enough to whisper a sweet goodbye to the boy he barely got the chance to know as his body shuts down. "Please forgive me kid....I promise I will try....for you, but I...I don't know if I can ever forgive myself for this."

He stops and gently squeezes the boy's hand, but a wet gag is the only response this time. The boy chokes up another round of blood.....his body seemingly trying to rid itself of everything it has left. Yoongi suggests they sit him up a little so maybe the blood won't come up as much, so he props a few more pillows and blankets behind the two on the bed. Tae shifts the boy so that he can see his face one last time before he dies. He looks into the young boy's extremely pale face and unfocused eyes for a moment as the boy blinks slowly, and tries to remember his innocent features. He doesn't want to ever forget him because he deserved so much more than this torturous existence. If he can't give him that he atleast deserves to be remembered.

The dying boy tries hard to swallow as more blood fills his mouth, but he is not strong enough. His face crinkles into a look of discomfort and the vile substance begins to overflow his lips. Yoongi puts the washcloth in front of the dying boy's mouth, gently turns the boy's head far enough to drain the blood, and rubs his back. Yeonjun gags harshly as another large amount works its way up. He gently replaces his head into a comfortable position. He grabs a fresh cloth and runs it under the sink, coming back to clean his face and wet his mouth with a couple drops of water. "There you go, baby....that probably feels much better. I think Tae has something more to say to you before you go Yeonjunie."

Tae then continues his farewell as the boy silently passes away. Every time the boy blinks it seems to take greater effort to open them back up....his body does not have the energy to do even such a simple task anymore. "....anyway, I'm not your problem anymore Yeonjun-ah...you will be home soon. I can promise you that. You are the closest thing I have ever met to an angel, and I am sure a beautiful paradise is waiting for you on the other side, kid. You belong there. You are too good for this ugly world, Yeonjun-ah." He sniffs and takes a shuddering breath. "I-It means alot to me that you don't blame me for this. Gosh, you must be an angel..." He places a kiss on the top of Yeonjun's head.

Yoongi never stops combing through the kid's locks while Tae gives the rest of his touching speech. As he finishes talking the boy's mouth opens and a short contented sigh escapes his lips as his eyes seem to focus briefly on Tae's face before slowly dilating and fluttering shut. As death creates the illusion that the boy is slowly drifting off into a peaceful sleep, Tae feels Yeonjun's grip on his hand tighten and hold on with determination....only going slack a couple short seconds later as his heart beats for the last time and he passes mercifully into death's grasp...a fate he definitely did not deserve, but it was ultimately inevitable.

An innocent and beautiful soul lost his life to unbelievable violence that cruel evening, having two very different reactions from his new friends. The memory of Yeonjun's heartbreakingly short life fuels Yoongi to do better and do more, but it crushes Tae's tender heart...creating a wound that may never heal....

Yoongi stops threading his fingers through Yeonjun's hair and brushes his bangs off his forehead, before feeling with both hands for a pulse at the boy's neck....knowing very well that there wouldn't be one. The boy is gone...he is free. For good measure, he gently lays his ear over the boy's chest. He lets out the breath he was holding as he discovers nothing but silence. He looks up at the younger and the boy immediately falls apart. Tae tightens his grip around the young boy's body and sobs into his hair. Yoongi leaves the boy alone to give him some time and privacy, and walks over to the other side of the room to call Namjoon.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

As Jin enters the living room he is greeted with a very stressed looking Namjoon. His shoulders are slumped as he walks across the room and sits on the couch with his head in his hands and his cellphone in his lap.
"Joon hyung is everything alright? What's wrong?" He says as he sits down beside him and puts a hand on his shoulder. 

The older looks up at him, studying his face for a moment before sighing. "I didn't want to pull you or Jungkook in to this mess, because you both have enough on your plate right now....but my best friend from years ago is in some type of trouble. He has been calling me for advice, but he doesn't want me too involved....says I will get hurt." He takes a deep breath and runs his fingers through his hair before letting it out. "He had called a few days ago and said the people who are holding him against his will also have Mayor Kim's son. He nearly died because he tried to kill himself...by starving himself to death over the past several weeks. Even after getting him to eat he is still in rough shape and he wants to know if he did the right thing."

He is forced to stop as tears run down his cheeks and a knot forms in his throat. Jin is patient as he waits for him to continue. "There was another boy that he was trying to help also, but he couldn't be saved. The boy was pretty young and just died this evening.....most likely from some fatal internal injuries after a severe beating he recieved. He apparently had a rough time in the final stages...they had to watch him struggle for air....there was alot of blood in his airway. The poor kid slowly suffocated over several hours...not an easy way to go at all....probably very uncomfortable. My friend said the young boy was terrified, but so trusting...." He stops to regulate his breathing which had become slightly erratic. "I guess I am just overwhelmed. I can't help but think of Jungkook, when I think about that boy suffering. I am thrilled that Yoongi is still alive, but these people he is with sound awful...who beats a child to death? Or drives a young boy to feel like the only way out is to slowly starve to death? And the mayor's son...the government quit looking for him. They said he was dead, but he isn't. Something terrible and sketchy is going on and I-" 

Jin stands up and cuts him off as he realizes something that made his heart clench. "Hyung...who did you say the kid is? Mayor who? I'm so sorry to interrupt but I...I need to know."

Namjoon does not seem upset with him, but slightly confused as he gives him the information he asked for. "His name is Taehyung....Mayor Kim's son-"

"Oh my gosh! I have to tell Kookie...I.....I can't believe he is okay. He will be so glad to hear-"

Namjoon then interrupts him as he rambles. "Jin! Stop....I don't know what you are talking about, but if him and Jungkook have a connection we need to be very careful how we handle telling him. That boy is still in alot of danger right now...He may not manage to get out of there alive."

Jin takes a deep breath and sighs. "You're right, hyung. Sorry I...I just want my little brother to have some good news for a change. Life has never been easy for him. I just want to see him smile more often, hyung."

Namjoon puts gentle pressure on Jin's shoulder and he sits back down on the couch. "When Tae was around he was the happiest I have ever seen him. That boy made him feel wanted and cared for....important to someone else besides just me......When he disappeared I thought it might literally kill Jungkook. He has always had a very weak immune system, hyung, but when he stopped eating and couldn't sleep well it made it worse. I watched him get weaker until he made himself sick. I love him to death, but he is so stubborn sometimes..." He chuckles sadly at the memory.

Jungkook had eventually let the older boy feed him some soup as he lay in bed with a fever, too weak and tired to protest. Jin had been so scared that his baby brother would continue to spiral down into depression and not be able to recover. The fear and worry must have shown in his facial expression because the boy had suddenly apologized for scaring him and promised he would try to take care of himself better....he had broken down in tears saying he didn't want to die and begged his big brother to help him get better...to save him from himself. It took some time, but the depressed boy had finally gotten back on his feet...just in time for the orphanage to be attacked and for him and his older brother to be thrown hopelessly onto the streets....

"Jin-ah...." The doctor waits for the younger to look him in the eyes. "Jungkook is gonna be okay....even if that boy dies, we will help him through it. We just need to be careful and gentle with him....we need to do what's best for your brother...he has relapsed and is more fragile than he was a couple weeks ago. I honestly don't know if his body can handle any added stress at this point. Let's let him rest tonight and we will consider telling him something tomorrow, alright?"

Jin agrees and gets ready for bed. Before laying down he checks on Namjoon...who is still sitting in the living room. "You okay, hyung?"

"Yeah....I will be Jin-ah, don't worry. I just need to think for a little while. We'll talk more about your brother's friend in the morning, okay. Why don't you go check on him for me? Let me know if he needs anything."

He smiles sadly. "Of course hyung. Thankyou for trusting me enough to talk about your friend and for letting me talk about Jungkook... I'm here to listen if you need to talk, hyung."

Namjoon smiles back and says, "You trusted me with Jungkook's life...I'm just returning the favor kid."

Jin turns to leave, but the older speaks again. "Hey Jin?.....thankyou. It means so much more than you know..." 

"Anytime Joon hyung...I kinda owe you anyway....for all the time you spent saving Jungkook."

"You don't owe me anything Jin-ah. I took care of him because I wanted to....I wanted him to live. He's a good kid...he deserves more than to die on the streets. I didn't want that for him...I still don't. I am gonna stay by his side until he gets all of his strength back...and don't worry I'm sure he will. He is a fighter, Jin."

"The strongest kid I've ever met, hyung." Jin smiled to himself as he went inside the bedroom and quietly pulled the door shut.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Jimin watches in horror as the two guards start kicking Hobi in the stomach. He begs for them to stop and even tells them to take him instead, but they continue until the older boy throws up his meager lunch and starts coughing up blood. They suddenly stop and one kneels beside him, grabbing him by his hair. He growls a threat into Hobi's ear and then releases him, letting his head slam into the concrete floor. After they leave he slowly curls in on himself and struggles to breathe through the pain. Jimin quickly goes to him, puts his head in his lap, and runs his hand through his golden brown hair.

The younger can't stop the tears from flowing even as he speaks. "Hyung are you okay? I am so sorry. If...if I was stronger I could have....I could have attacked them or...or something...I-I could have protected you."

"Jimin...I-" He starts weakly but stops as his abused stomach contracts and he gags harshly. "I'll be okay." He groans as he is hit with a wave of pain. "Please don't ever do anything like that...please just....I'd rather die than let them win, Jimin-ah."

Jimin looks conflicted but slowly nods.
Hobi lays still for a few minutes to gather his strength before pushing himself into a sitting position with the younger's support. He leans heavily against the boy's shoulder briefly before again breaking the silence. "Jiminie can you help me get over by the wall?...I need to lean up against something, well....bigger than you." He grins and winks at the younger hybrid. "I feel like I'm gonna crush you..."

Despite his small frame, Jimin manages to help the injured boy over to lean against the wall again. They sit next to eachother quietly, Hobi resting his head on top of the younger boy's head. He has almost relaxed enough to fall asleep when the young hybrid says his name softly. "Hobi hyung...are you alright? It sounds like you are having trouble breathing..."

It's true...his breaths are labored and he is wheezing. He doesn't sound good. "I think I'm okay Jimin-ah...it is kinda hard to breathe, but I can do it. Don't worry....I am not going anywhere. I think I just might have a broken rib....it hurts like heck to inhale."

Jimin feels for the older boy's hand and holds on firmly. "Hyung promise me you will tell me if it gets worse, okay? I want to help you."

Hobi chuckles a little causing pain to shoot through his stomach and side, and he winces. "What are you...gonna do if.....if I can't breathe, kid? No one here is....g-going to help me, and you....you are not...you can't help me..."

"But hyung I-"

"Don't worry....Jimin-ah, I will tell you......I promise I will...I just.....I-I don't want you to.....to feel like its....your fault if......if something happens to me."

At his words the younger tenses up and puts his hand on his chest. He starts to shake and gasp for air at a fast pace as anxious thoughts take over his mind. "....hyung I....I-I can't b-breathe...please I c-can't......h-hyung help." He tries to breathe, but chokes and starts coughing. His grip on Hobi's hand tightens as his lungs start to lock up...panic squeezing him like an invisible band around his chest.

It takes him a moment to register a new steady sound in his ear, and another moment to realize where it is coming from. It is a heartbeat, not his own frantic one but Hobi's. Within a few minutes he is calm enough to move himself off of the older hybrid's chest, but he chooses to stay put a little longer. He only decides to move as another sound suddenly floats into his awareness and he remembers that the hybrid is having a hard time breathing. He is wheezing slightly with each breath and the sound is magnified as he lays with his ear on his hyung's chest. He lifts his head to get a good look at Hobi's face. It is obvious that he is in pain by the tension in his features, but to his relief he doesn't seem to be struggling too much to get enough air in.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Yoongi releases a long sigh after hanging up the phone. Namjoon had seemed so torn up about Yeonjun's death that he almost felt guilty for calling. He walks back over to where Tae is still cradling Yeonjun's body. The tears have dried up, but the boy has a concerningly distant look in his eyes.
He slowly kneels down to his level and touches his cheek. "Tae........Taehyung-ah, please look at me..."

The boy shakes his head as if to clear it and then his gaze falls down to the pale and lifeless form which is now laying in his lap. "Hyung....he looks so peaceful..."

Yoongi sits down on the edge of the bed next to Tae and throws an arm around his shoulders. He takes a few minutes to look at Yeonjun's body. He does look very peaceful, almost angelic in death. The tension is gone from his muscles and his facial expression is completely relaxed....he really looks like he is sleeping. He sighs deeply. "Yeah...thank God. He looks like he is comfortable, Tae. Yeonjun isn't suffering anymore." He runs his fingers through the boy's soft blonde hair one more time. Tae is again lost in his thoughts and the look in his eyes sends chills running down the older boy's spine. He is beginning to worry about what is going on in his head. "You know...he cared about you, Tae. Did you ever find out why that man was beating him?"

The younger makes eye contact with him for the first time since Yeonjun died. "No hyung," he whispers with guilt heavy on his heart, making it hard to take a deep breath. "D-did he tell you??"

Yoongi nods and squeezes the younger boy's shoulder. "He did. He was afraid to tell you...made me promise yesterday to wait until he was gone. The last thing he wanted was to see you hurt..."

Tae looks down at the young boy's body and can't hold back the tears. "Why was he so good, hy-ung?" His voice breaks with emotion as he looks to Yoongi with big tear-filled eyes.

"I honestly don't know Taehyungie....maybe he is an angel."

"Maybe......" Tae zones out again briefly before snapping back into reality. "What...what did he say, hyung? What was so bad that they felt justified to...to beat him to d-death??" He was terrified of the answer to that question, but he needed to know why that man had beaten him so viciously.

"He...he was trying to protect you Tae." He stops to make sure the boy is taking it alright. He looks stunned, but so far he seems alright. "He knew that you were starving to death...he had overheard some guards laughing about how weak and easy you were to abuse. He begged them to leave you alone, to let you live, to let him help you....but they refused. They said you deserved to die a slow and painful death, because you were a coward. As the days went by Yeonjun was apparently frantic and insisting that they atleast let him be with you as you died. He said it made him sick to think of you dying alone in a dark room." He steals a glance at the boy next to him. He is crying again as he absent-mindedly rubs over the slightly faded bruising around the boy's neck.

He strokes Tae's back as he continues. "That evening he tried to start an uprising with the other boys at supper....to get them to help break you out of there or make them change their minds. Before they could form a plan, one of the guards caught on. They knew it was Yeonjun who had started it and immediately asked the boss how to deal with him. He was approached after supper and they dragged him down the hall to your room....and you know the rest. According to him the guy had gotten orders to beat him until he had no hope of survival...and then leave him to suffer a slow and painful death alongside you."

Complete silence comes over the room and Yoongi is afraid to look the boy in the eyes. He just stares at his lap until a bone chilling sound forces him to turn his attention to the younger. A shrill wheezing sound rings through the air as if he is trying to breathe through a straw.....followed by a strangled cry for help. "Oh my gosh, Tae....hey, look at me!" His eyes dart around the room, but cannot seem to focus on Yoongi. His breaths are short and fast, not really filling his lungs enough to keep him from passing out.

The older moves Yeonjun's body to the makeshift cot and kneels on the floor in front of the gasping boy. He holds his hands and talks softly. "Tae, baby...I think you are having a panic attack." Yoongi taps lightly on his cheeks like he had the day he had rescued him. "Breathe for me Tae...come on deep breaths."

Tae squeezes his hands hard and gasps for air. "Hy-ung....why Hyung?....please no...nonono...."

Yoongi wipes the tears from the younger's eyes. "Taehyung-ah...breathe. I don't know why....we might never know. Please Tae....you need to focus on breathing or you are going to pass out."

The boy whimpers and his eyes start to roll back into his head. At the same time he goes limp and begins to collapse onto the bed. Yoongi catches him and sits behind, wrapping his arms around his front. He rubs circles into his chest and speaks into his ear. "Are you still with me? Can you hear me Tae-yah?" Another whimper, much softer as he runs out of useable oxygen. "I need you to try to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds....can you do that for me? Breathe with me 1...2...3"

After several minutes of choking on air Tae finally is able to take in a full breath. With each breath of air he gets into his lungs, the color in his cheeks and lips improves and gets closer to normal. He is breathing much better now, but seems to be in pain....his bruised lungs and ribcage still not at 100 percent, causing him to wheeze slightly.

A few more minutes pass and the boy's eyes are still concerningly unfocused. Yoongi gently shifts him and turns his face toward him to try to get his attention. "Tae....baby can you hear me?" The younger only whimpers in response. "Talk to me Taehyungie...how are you feeling?"

Tae's eyes are glazed over and distant and his words make Yoongi's breath catch in his throat. "D-dizzy hyung.....but don't worry about me....Yeonjun....he needs you. He needs you to take care of him, hyung."

There are tears now in the older's eyes, and he is so scared for the boy. The boy is confused....he thinks Yeonjun is still alive. How on earth can he tell him the boy is dead without sending him into another panic attack? "Tae...sweetie. I don't know what is going on with you, but I don't think you are well. You need to lie down."

They stay in the same position for a while, because the older is afraid to let go. Tae seems to be slipping away and he has absolutely no idea how to stop him from falling. The younger suddenly tenses up and whines softly in pain. It is obviously hurting him to breathe. This goes on for a while and the wheezing starts to increase, the more uncomfortable the boy gets. Yoongi can't stand it any longer and reaches for a syringe of pain medicine, quickly injecting some into the boy's thigh before he can refuse.

As he gently tucks the boy into the bed, he protests weakly. "No hyung...I don't deserve it...please I.." The drug works fast and he feels a twinge of guilt as Tae's eyes start to get sleepy and flutter shut. Right before he falls asleep there is so much hurt in his eyes. He mumbles almost inaudibly, "It...it was s'posed to be me, hyung.......I-I was m-meant...t'die.......please...hy-hyung...." The boy's words shake him to the core. Combined with the desperate look in his eyes, it almost felt like he was begging him to let him die.....or to kill him. Yoongi shudders at the thought of hurting the boy. He is not sure how to help him from here, but he knows one thing for sure. Tae is not okay...and he is not sure if he ever will be.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The next morning while Jungkook is still asleep, the other two discuss how to break the news about Taehyung to the young frail boy over some breakfast. 

Namjoon tells Jin what he has been thinking. "So I think we should not give him very many details at all...just maybe tell him that there is a possibility that a friend of mine has found Taehyung alive, but we aren't really sure of that fact....and we don't know exactly where he is or what condition he is in so he may still die before we get to him. I don't think we should mention the young boy that died or any details of the kind of place he is being held at...that will only stress Jungkook out, and he needs to worry about his own health right now. Does that sound good to you, Jin?"

Jin looks nervous. "It sounds great, hyung...but....what do you think this could do to Jungkook? I don't want to hurt him or set his progress back...."

Namjoon reaches across the table and holds the younger boy's hand. "That's why you will be there to comfort him and try to keep him calm while I talk to him. He is gonna be a little upset by this information, but he deserves to know that his best friend is alive. He is a strong boy and he trusts us, especially you...if this sets him back a little, he will get back up again with our help. Don't worry...I am prepared for him to have a little trouble breathing through this process. Its inevitable no matter how careful we are..."

 


 

 

 


 

 

Jungkook finally wakes up a little before lunch and they gather on the couch. Jin pulls his little brother into his lap. "Jungkookie...Joon hyung has something important to tell you today."

The young boy looks at Namjoon expectantly and then concern takes over. "W-what is it hyung?....Are m-my l-lungs okay??"

The doctor had been running some tests recently to see if the boy's lungs are healing properly. After a particularly bad night where Jungkook had extreme difficulty breathing, he began to think back on his condition since the virus. The boy didn't sleep much that night, spending most of it struggling for air...so much so that Namjoon had woke up Jin, because he thought he could be dying. That next morning he had sedated the boy while he took a lung biopsy and some pictures of the inside of his lungs.

He had been coughing so much and having so many asthma attacks that Namjoon started to worry that there may be irreversible damage. The findings were disappointing...his lungs are not beyond repair, but they are in really bad shape...only a small amount of scarring, which will be permanent, from what he can tell. The rest of the damage can heal, but his body is not healing itself as fast as the doctor would like. He may need added medication and treatments to help his lungs recover.

Namjoon ruffles Jungkook's hair and smiles at him to reassure him that everything is okay. "Jungkook-ah, your lungs are weak and damaged but they should be able to heal eventually...I just might have to give you some medications and special treatments to help them heal faster, okay?" The young boy's shoulders relax and he nods.

Namjoon squeezes the boy's shoulder gently and looks at Jin with an unspoken question in his eyes. He nods in approval and turns his attention to his little brother. "Kook-ah, baby I need you to take some deep breaths and try to stay calm while Joon hyung tells you the news, alright?"

Jungkook obediently takes a deep breath. "Yes hy-hyung...I-I can d-do that." The young boy smiles and takes another deep breath.

The doctor calmly begins to explain the situation. "A friend of mine thinks that he has found your friend, Taehyung, alive...." He pauses to make sure Jungkook is still breathing alright. 

The boy looks to his brother with big teary doe eyes. "T-T-Taetae....he's alive, hy-hyung??" As Jin nods, the younger chokes on a sob and buries his face in his brother's chest. He holds the boy tightly as his emotions get the best of him. 

After a couple minutes the boy quiets down, sniffling every once in a while but not moving from the safety of his brother's embrace. Namjoon lays a hand on his back to assess his breathing, and he flinches slightly. "I'm sorry Jungkookie I didn't mean to scare you...I am just worried about you. Are you alright??"

The boy shakily pushes himself into an upright position and forces a small smile. Jin wraps an arm around him for support as slouches over slightly. Jungkook coughs a couple times and after he catches his breath asks, "J-Joon hyung? W-where is he? Can I s-see him?"

Namjoon sighs. He watches as Jin whispers something in the boy's ear and the younger nods before taking a couple slow deep breaths. He knew that questions would surely follow, but he is just worried about how the boy will handle the answers. "I really wish you could see him, Jungkook-ah, but we don't know where he is or what condition he is in...we just got a call from my friend the other day saying that he had found him alive. He said it was too dangerous to tell us where they are right now, so we just have to trust that he will keep him safe...."

Jungkook is now hyperventilating a little and wheezing, and Jin is humming softly in his ear. A small voice immediately catches Namjoon's attention. "Do...do y-you think he is h-hurt?"

"Kook, I...I think he is injured and probably a little weak, but my friend is taking good care of him......"

At his words the young boy's breath catches and he struggles to take another breath. Namjoon hurries to grab the boy's CPAP machine and places the mask over his face. He is still wheezing, but the machine seems to help quite a bit.

Jungkook's eyes are heavy as he leans all of his weight into his brother. Jin rubs on his chest as the boy still works hard with each inhale. Namjoon touches his cheek to grab his attention before saying one last thing. "Hey Jungkookie...next time my friend calls I will ask him to let you talk to Taehyung if its a good time, okay?" The boy nods and smiles weakly as he drifts off to sleep, clearly exhausted by the stressful conversation. 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Jimin shifts himself to a comfortable position with his head on the older boy's shoulder, and he in turn leans a little on him with his head against the top of the smaller boy's head. This time Hobi reaches to hold Jimin's hand with the hand that is not currently clutching his stomach. "You okay now Jiminie?...I'm sorry if I caused that. I promise I don't plan on dying anytime soon. I'm gonna be okay.."  He gives Jimin's hand a reassuring squeeze, before hissing in pain.

Jimin shakes his head. "Its not your fault I can't handle things....Hyung? What's wrong?"

He chooses to ignore the self-deprecating comment, partly because talking and especially breathing causes waves of pain through his damaged torso. Arguing would require quite a bit of both of those actions, and he just doesn't have the willpower or strength to push through the discomfort it would cause. "Nothing Jimin-ah...Its okay..just moved wrong. Seriously don't...worry so much.........hurts alot, but I...can take it."

The younger is not sure he should believe him. Hobi's breaths catch every so often when the pain overwhelms him and he has a fresh sheen of sweat on his forehead. He is clearly struggling to deal with the aftermath of his injuries, and it is adding to the difficulty he is already having filling his lungs.

Jimin squeezes the older boy's hand. "Hyung, you don't have to handle it on your own...I'm right here."

"Thanks....Jiminie." He barely chokes out the words as he focuses on breathing through the intense pain ripping through his abdomen.

The younger hybrid begins talking about anything and everything.....not expecting a response from the hurting boy, but hoping to distract him. He dabs at the sweat on his forehead periodically with his sleeve and the older boy smiles weakly at him. He doesn't stop talking until Hobi's breathing regulates and he becomes limp against Jimin's side. He sighs in relief that the boy has finally relaxed enough to sleep...atleast for the time being he won't have to be in such immense pain.

He is super anxious about what tomorrow may bring, but completely worn out from the many anxiety episodes that he has had in only one day's time. It feels like it takes hours, but he eventually can't keep his eyes open any longer and gives in to a restless, yet exhausted sleep as the sun sets and it gets very dark in the warehouse.

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

He sits on the edge of the bed for a while, watching Taehyung breathe to make sure he didn't give him too much medication. Namjoon had said it could stop you from breathing if you overdose on it. Each inhale is slightly labored, but he isn't wheezing anymore and he seems much more comfortable.

Once he is satisfied that the boy can breathe properly, he goes to deal with Yeonjun's body. He removes the makeshift bandages from the boy's arm and from around his ribcage before taking a few locks of his hair....hoping that would be enough to help identify the boy's parents and give them some sort of closure.....if he ever got out of here to find them. He places the hair inside the boy's shoes, which he had removed days ago to make him more comfortable and places all of it inside a small trashbag. He then takes one last look at the boy's angelic face and wraps him in a sheet.

Yoongi casually slips out of his room and out the back door of the facility. This is where he had always taken the bodies to dispose of them over the years...so no one would suspect anything. The guards only nod at him...seeing that he is carrying a body. They watch from a distance as he digs a hole and gently lowers the boy into it. He whispers a quick goodbye before filling the hole and packing the dirt over it. He takes a moment to absorb his surroundings. He had picked a place between two oak trees. A young willow tree is growing near the head of the grave and tiny blue flowers, probably just weeds, are growing all around the bases of the oak trees. It is an absolutely beautiful place to be buried, if only it wasn't less than 100 ft from Hell itself....

He returns to his room and is relieved to see that Tae has not moved. The boy is still breathing deeply and evenly so he takes a quick shower before sliding into the covers next to the younger. Even in his drug-induced sleep the boy cuddles into his side. He doesn't dare push the boy away, and instead pulls him closer. Feeling his breaths against his neck is enough to soothe him to sleep. Today had been really hard on both of them...having to watch the young boy struggle to breath, without being able to do much to help him. He couldn't blame the boy for not wanting to be alone right now...he's not sure he could ever stand to be alone again.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

It happens in the late afternoon when the teen has fallen asleep on the couch while watching tv. The poor boy has been having a hard time breathing since the news about his Taetae a few hours earlier. Namjoon tried to turn off the CPAP so he could eat some lunch, but his lips started turning blue after a few bites.

The young boy is completely terrified by the fact that he can't breathe very well, so Jin has not left his side. That way he can reassure him and keep him calm...the more relaxed he is the easier it is for him to breathe. Right now his head is resting in his brother's lap, and Jin has his hand resting on the younger's chest. Anytime Jungkook sleeps near him he has a nervous habit now of checking to see if the kid is breathing. He finds the rise and fall of his chest, though quite labored, very calming and starts to doze off.

All of a sudden the teen begins to breathe heavily and whimper, and Jin is all at once very alert. He yells for Namjoon and he comes quickly to Jungkook's side. The boy is starting to wheeze and gasp desperately for air as he tries to gently wake him up. He is finally able to rouse him and as his eyes flutter open the tears flow freely down his cheeks and his breath hitches. He looks terrified and tries to speak, but can barely get a word out between breaths. "Please I...I ca-can't.....breathe..I can't....I-I...." Jin runs fingers through his hair as Namjoon shushes him. "Shhh you're okay. You are gonna be just fine, but I need you to take some deep breaths for me...can you do that Jungkook-ah?" The boy is sweating profusely and begins to go into a coughing fit.

Namjoon instructs Jin to sit him up, press the younger's back firmly against his chest and take slow deep breaths...he then turns his attention to the panicked boy. "Alright, I know you feel like you can't breathe but I promise you can, okay?" He nods, but you can see the doubt in his eyes as Namjoon continues. "I need you to focus on Jin's breathing....can you feel that? Okay good. I need you to try and breathe with him the best you can."

It takes several attempts, but after about 10 minutes Jungkook's breathing slows....and he begins to breathe more deeply and regularly. Another few minutes pass and the poor kid looks utterly exhausted. His body is limp as he leans against his brother and his chest heaves as his lungs try to recover. Jin continues to comb his fingers through the boy's hair as he falls back asleep. Namjoon sets up and gives Jungkook a nebulizer treatment to help open up his lungs, but he still ends up wheezing for the next few hours. The doctor reassures the older boy that his brother is okay. His lungs are just weak and his body is under some added stress, but he will feel better after he rests for awhile.

Turns out Jungkook's recovering body is completely drained from the episode. He ends up sleeping the rest of the evening and through the night, with Jin refusing to leave his side. Namjoon knows they have just helped the young teen through a panic attack and will need to discuss this tomorrow, but right now the best thing for him is to rest...

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Jimin and Hobi sleep hard that night. Jimin is so drained from everything that has happened and Hobi is too overwhelmed with pain to notice the guards standing and observing them. In the middle of the night two gaurds walk over to where they are resting and talk in hushed voices..

"The boss has plans for the small one already...we will start his experiment tomorrow night. According to my research its gonna be a fun one and a slow process....he won't die right away, but he will suffer...like alot"

"At night? Jeez that's cruel...fun?! Dude, what's wrong with you?? Since when is killing a beagle pup and watching him suffer enjoyable?..."

The other gaurd claps his hand over the boy's mouth, successfully silencing him. "You are gonna get us both killed talking like that. Get a grip!"

"Right...sorry ummm...so what are we doing with the injured one?"

They both pause and watch as Hobi, as if on cue, coughs several times. A small amount of blood escapes and flows from his lips as he gags. The boy moans softly in pain as he goes back to sleep.

"She wants to wait and see...he may already be dying from internal bleeding."

He looks at the boy with a hint of regret...had he really kicked hard enough to cause fatal damage? He hums in response as his stomach ties in knots. "How is the woman they took earlier today? What did they do with her?"

"Well...she is dead. The surgeon took her heart and lungs out and tried to transplant them into the boy that was shot. The boy was technically alive for a couple hours but was completely braindead. He didn't last long though...lost too much blood."

"Oh...wow.." Thank God the kid didn't suffer long..

"Yep......let's move on down the line."

 

 


 

 

 

Early in the morning while it is still dark Hobi is startled awake as a needle pierces his skin on his forearm. He tries to pull away, but someone has a tight grip around his wrist. "Please...I-"

A hand presses firmly over his mouth and someone whispers in his ear. "Shh don't make a sound. This is some pain medication...she will kill me if she finds out I am doing this for you, but you look so miserable....."

The man slowly removes his hand from his mouth and injects the medication into his blood stream. Hobi can feel the cool liquid entering his vein and a slight dizziness comes over him. He inhales sharply and his eyes widen in fear at the feeling.

"I promise this is going to help you. Don't be afraid...its going to make you a little sleepy and the dizziness is completely normal.....and...and please keep a close eye on your friend tonight. He is in great danger."

Before Hobi can say a word the man is retracting the needle and disappearing into the dark. As the drug takes effect Hobi can barely keep his eyes open, but he thinks the man must have been telling the truth....the pain has slowly faded to a dull ache. If it had been meant to kill him, it probably wouldn't have dulled the pain so much. These men seem to like torturous deaths and suffering, but right now he feels pretty good....so he doesn't think he is dying. With the fear and adrenaline dissipating, he doesn't have the energy to fight against the drowsiness. Remembering what the man had said, he protectively pulls Jimin closer before allowing himself to fall back asleep.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Yoongi wakes up with a start as the boy next to him sits up and vomits all over himself, collapsing back onto the bed immediately after. He quickly gets out of bed to turn the light on and assess the damage. What he sees has him sprinting back across the room. The boy's eyes are open, but they look so lifeless and the boy is so still.

He runs to his side to make sure he is still breathing, and he is....but he can't get his attention. "Tae please...kid if you can hear me....give me some type of sign." The younger moans softly before going into a violent seizure. His lips quickly turn blue as the convulsions intensify and his eyes roll back into his head.

Yoongi tries to stay calm and keep the boy from hurting himself. This being one of only a handful of seizures he had ever seen...staying calm is not an easy task. He sighs in relief as the convulsions come to a sudden stop. He waits for the boy to breathe, but several seconds pass and the boy is still limp and lifeless. "Oh Gosh no...please Taehyung-ah, Breathe!"

He rubs on his chest and pats his cheeks, but none of his efforts are stimulating him to breathe. He knows he has two choices: watch the boy die from lack of oxygen or blow air into his lungs...mouth to mouth, and hopefully stimulate him to start breathing on his own again. The decision is easy...he is not going to let the boy die if he can help it. So he quickly wipes the puke off of Tae's face with his sleeve before pinching his nose and blowing into his mouth....watching to make sure his chest expands with each breath. Thankfully it only takes 3 breaths before the younger is gasping for air.

Tae's eyes are open, but he is struggling to focus them. He soothes the boy as he tries to sit up and presses his shoulders into the bed. "Easy...easy Tae. You just had a really bad seizure and you stopped breathing. You need to stay lying down and take some deep breaths. I need to call Namjoon, okay? You need help, Tae.."

The boy is too weak and dizzy to fight too much and he slowly relaxes back onto the bed. He breathlessly tries to argue and plead with Yoongi as the older picks up his phone to dial the doctor's number. "N-no hyung....no...please.....I..I don't...wanna d-do this...anymore...."

Realizing that what he means by 'this' is to live makes him sick to his stomach. He had already suspected this earlier, but he is sure of it now as the younger looks at him with eyes that are so concerningly lifeless and void of emotion...this boy has lost his will to live.... "Tae....kid I...gosh, I hate that you feel that way but....I am not gonna stand by and watch you slip away. I....I c-care too much to do that."

With that the boy falls silent and Yoongi combs his fingers through the younger's hair in hopes of calming the raging storm inside of his head. As Tae starts to drift off to sleep, the older calls his friend.....but it goes to voicemail. He doesn't leave a message, just deciding to call back later after he cleans the boy up a little.

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The next morning after Jungkook's anxiety episode, they are all three gathered on the couch after breakfast. The youngest is doing his morning breathing treatment and exercises, as Namjoon quietly observes his progress from his place beside him. The boy seems to be breathing much better after a good night's rest and the steroid shot the doctor had given him to speed up the healing process in his lungs. He was able to eat breakfast without difficulty and he is able to handle using the oxygen mask instead of the CPAP while he is awake.

Jin is on the boy's other side watching TV with one arm casually yet protectively thrown over his little brother's shoulders. He has him pulled slightly toward him, gently encouraging the younger to lean into him for support. Jungkook doesn't resist....and after he finishes his breathing exercises he allows his head to rest on Jin's shoulder, his whole posture screams exhaustion, but there is fear and worry in his eyes too.

Namjoon places his hand on the young boy's knee to get his attention before speaking. "Jungkook-ah...we need to talk about what happened yesterday." He only nods and begins fidgeting with the hem of his shirt, so the doctor continues. "You have been through quite a lot in the last few months. I know it must have been scary for you...and the news about your friend added even more stress on your body....and I think that's why you had something called a panic attack..."

At that the younger speaks up. The longer he talks, the more frantic he gets. "I...I couldn't breathe hyung! I thought...I thought I was g-going to die....I don't w-wanna die hyung!! I don't...I.." Tears begin to make trails down his face. Jin shushes him and encourages him to take deep breaths.

He gives Jungkook a minute to calm down and then Namjoon asks in a gentle tone, "Jungkookie are you talking about while you were sick or during your panic attack yesterday?"

He thinks for a moment and then replies, "B-both, I guess. I don't remember m-much from the time I-I was sick but what I d-do remember...It was s-so scary hyung. It..it was r-really hard to breathe....and sometimes I f-felt like...like I was ch-choking...a-and my chest hurt s-s-sooo bad.." He stops to take a deep breath as a few more tears escape and Jin whispers encouragement into his ear. "Yesterday i-it was kinda the same b-because my chest hurt a-and I couldn't br-breathe, but it felt a l-little different....like s-somebody was s-sitting on my chest..."

The two older boys nod in understanding and Namjoon responds. "What you went through yesterday was probably brought on by a flashback of having trouble breathing when you were sick...and I promise you it is completely normal to be going through this. The fact is that what you had to go through was not pleasant...and you did get pretty close to dying a few times. Death is a scary and unfamiliar thing to anyone especially at your age, so anxiety is a totally normal response. You were indeed very sick, but you overcame it because you are a strong boy...and very brave. You will be able to get through this part too...and I will be here to help you, and so will your brother."

Jungkook has tears in his eyes again but a small smile graces his features. Turning to Namjoon he says "Thank you so much hyung...I really do owe everything to you. I wouldn't be here without your kindness..." 

"You're welcome Kook. I wouldn't change anything I did for you. I only wish I could have found you sooner....before you got so dangerously sick. You are well worth my time, kid. You guys are like family to me now...I would be...heartbroken if....if something happened to either of you"

Tears well up in Jungkook's eyes at such heartfelt words from his literal hero. There was no denying this man had brought him back from death's door. He knows he would be dead if Namjoon hadn't shown compassion toward him and his brother. His intervention had been the difference between life and death for him. 

He suddenly realizes he can barely keep his eyes open...he is exhausted. He yawns and then snuggles into Jin's side. He reaches back with one hand to hold the doctor's, giving it a gentle squeeze. "Stay, hyung! Please stay...I'm scared its gonna happen again...." he mumbles sleepily as he starts to drift off to sleep.

Namjoon squeezes back. "Don't worry, Kookie. I'll stay right here as long as you need me to." 

The youngest falls asleep tucked protectively between his two big brothers and fierce protectors. He has never felt so safe and secure in all of his life. The others eventually fall asleep too and no one is awake to notice Namjoon's phone vibrating on the coffee table...

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

As sunlight comes in through the sky lights and shines on his face, Jimin begins to wake up. He immediately looks over to see how the older boy is doing. Hobi looks strangely peaceful and he is breathing with ease. Although he is asleep his grip on the younger is strong....He is wrapped protectively around him.

Jimin touches the older boy's face as he calls his name softly. "Hobi hyung.....hyung, can you hear me?"

The injured hybrid's eyes flutter open slowly, but he looks a little dazed. "J-Jimin-ah?" He whispers before lurching forward and coughing up blood.

The younger rubs his back as he finishes and tries to catch his breath. Hobi eventually leans back against the wall and Jimin uses his sleeve to wipe the blood off of his mouth. "Hyung?"

The older's voice is hoarse, but he is so glad to hear it. "M'alright Jimin-ah...just f-feel a'lil dizzy a-and queasy. There...there s'aman with pain medicine...was sooo n-nice...I-" His words are slurring together...he almost sounds drunk. He stops abruptly as he dry heaves and then groans. "Why'm I so nauseous, Jiminie? There's nothin in m'stomach..."

Jimin is so confused at this point....his anxiety spikes a little. "I...hyung, I don't understand....why would someone here give you pain medication? Are you sure they didn't poison you?!"

"I-I don' think so Jiminie...Its really helpin with th'pain.... 'n I can breathe...s'much better."
The younger sighs in relief. If it is helping him feel better and making it easier for him to breath, than they surely didn't give him something toxic...they enjoy watching painful deaths around here. But then...why would any of them care if Hobi was suffering? Why would they want to ease his pain? It just doesn't make any sense...

Jimin brushes his hair from his eyes as he talks to him. "Good hyung...I am really glad you can breathe without too much pain, but I think he maybe gave you a little too much. You sound kinda drunk.." He giggles and his eyes disappear, causing the other hybrid to laugh in return.

"I do feel kinda f-funny...." Hobi grins and makes a goofy face, his eyes still unfocused with the drugs coursing through his veins.

Jimin giggles again before his face falls serious as the older boy heaves again, only working up a small amount of blood mixed with stomach acid.

They both fall still and quiet out of fear as a gaurd walks right past them. He doesn't stop or slow down as he passes, but nonchalantly tosses a small, slightly stale roll of bread into Hobi's lap. Both of the boys just stare in unbelief.

Jimin breaks the silence...clearing his throat before speaking. "U-umm I think he wants you to eat that, hyung. It might make your stomach feel better..."

Hobi nods slowly and pinches off a piece of the bread, discreetly popping it into his mouth. "Th-that was him Jimin-ah...he gave me th'medicine..."

The younger hybrid hums in response as his gaze follows after the man who had offered kindness to his hyung. After eating most of the roll, the injured boy declares that he can't eat anymore and insists that Jimin eat the rest of it. He doesn't argue and tosses it in his mouth...if he is being honest, he is starting to feel the first effects of not getting enough food. The stale bread tastes pretty good in his state of hunger.
With the small amount of food in his stomach, the older boy is feeling content...and the longer he is awake the more tired he is.

Jimin notices how hard he is fighting to stay awake and gently reaches over to pull Hobi's head onto his shoulder. He runs his fingers through the sleepy boy's hair as he reassures him. "Rest hyung....it will be alright. I will wake you if anything happens and when its time for lunch, okay?" Before he even finishes talking the poor boy is out. He wakes him to eat a sad lunch of crackers and moldy cheese and then he immediately crashes again.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Yoongi carefully removes Tae's soiled shirt and observes his bruised torso. It has been a few weeks since he had been beaten with a bat, so most of the bruising has faded to yellows and greens and his broken ribs are starting to fuse back together....he is healing pretty well from what the older can tell. He wonders if the boy knows how lucky he is that his injuries weren't more severe...it would have been easy for his attacker to have beaten him to death with that bat, but he figures the intention was to cause pain and not to kill at that point.

The boy whimpers a little in discomfort as the older boy dresses him in one of his own shirts. He realizes the movement is probably disturbing his badly bruised ribcage, but he asks anyway...if for nothing else but to get the boy talking.
"What's wrong Taehyung-ah? Where are you hurting, kid?"

"Everywhere hyung....it aches all over...am....am I dying hyung?"

The achiness is probably normal after the convulsions his body just went through, but its the hopefulness in his voice at the last phrase that takes Yoongi's breath away. All he can do is hold the boy close as he collects his thoughts. "Look kid....Taehyungie, I know that is what you want, but I won't let that happen if I can stop it, okay?....I may be selfish but I want you around."

"Hyung I don't deserve it...I can't....its my fault....." He suddenly looks very confused as his stress induced delusions clash with flashes of reality. He tries again to sit up causing all of the color to leave his face.

Yoongi pushes him firmly into the mattress, only releasing him when the boy begins to sob. He sits back and lets out a sigh, brushing Tae's hair from his eyes. He stays silent on the edge of the bed and holds the boy's hand until he quiets down, except for the occasional sniffle. "Tae...I know this has been really hard for you, but you can't blame yourself for Yeonjun's death." The younger blinks up at him, his eyes still slightly clouded and disoriented.

He squeezes the boy's hand and fights off his own emotions as he continues. "Maybe I could have done more to help him. Honestly, I could have stepped in and pulled the guy off him....I was right outside the door, Tae. I heard his cries of fear and pain and I was too coward to stop him from being hurt. So if anyone could have saved him-"

He is cut off by a small quiet voice. "He's gone....isn't he hyung? He's dead..." His eyes scan frantically around the room for Yeonjun before he gasps. He squeezes his eyes shut as the rest of the memory of the boy's struggles and eventual death comes back to him all at once. "The blood hyung.....oh Gosh.....He couldn't....couldn't breathe and it killed him.....I killed him........I-"

Yoongi yells to get his attention as the boy starts to hyperventilate. "Tae!...Tae, listen to me! None of this is your fault. Yes, Yeonjun struggled....and it wasn't pretty, but he is at peace now. He passed away last night, and we were right there with him. He was not alone in his last moments. He was warm and reassured, and I'm sure he felt so loved because of your idea to lay with him...You did that Tae. Death is scary and for him there were many discomforts, but you were such a huge part in easing his suffering and fears at the end. You were a true friend to him, Tae..."

Tae looks into his eyes and for the first time since the young boy's death they are clear and focused. "You really believe that hyung??....eventhough he was beaten because of me..."

"Of course I do, Tae. Nobody forced him to try and help you. He fought for you because he wanted to....and he would want you to keep living, don't you think so?"

"Y-yea I guess so hyung....."

Yoongi ruffles his hair and stands up to go and call Namjoon again, but the boy latches onto the hem of his shirt.

"Please hyung....please don't leave me...I'm scared. I.....I don't...f-feel good hyung....I feel dizzy." The younger is breathing irregularly and shallowly...in a panic at the thought of being left alone.

The older boy easily gives in...concern for the boy flooding his eyes. He sits down on the bed and cards through the boy's hair until he falls asleep. "Take some deep breaths Taehyungie...I'm not going anywhere, okay? Just breathe...its gonna be alright." As he watches the boy relax and close his eyes, he can't help but admit to himself that the boy has created a soft spot in his hardened heart....and he makes a promise with himself to get this boy out of here alive if its the last thing he ever accomplishes.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Namjoon is the first to wake up. He decides to let the two younger boy's sleep a little longer before waking them to eat lunch. They both need the extra rest....Jungkook for obvious reasons, his body is still weak and sickly...and Jin has not been sleeping well, consumed with worry for his little brother the last couple nights. As he stands up from the couch he realizes his phone is blinking...he had missed a call. Seeing that he has a missed call from Yoongi nearly an hour ago, he quickly calls him back.

After only a couple rings the younger picks up. He sounds a little concerned as he greets his friend. "Namjoon hyung....is everything alright? I was getting a little worried that something was wrong. How's the kid you're treating??"

"I'm really sorry for worrying you. Everything is alright...we were all just napping and I had silenced my phone. I should have never done that just in case you needed me. The kid is doing okay, just exhausted...he had a pretty bad panic attack yesterday. It was really hard on his lungs, but he is doing a little better today. How is Taehyung?..still taking the young boy's death pretty hard?"

"Yeah....he is not handling it well at all, hyung. He had a panic attack last night and he...he doesn't want to live anymore... I don't know what to do to help him. That's not why I called though. I need your help because he had a terrible seizure...so much worse than before. It was so violent and he couldn't breathe after....I had to give him mouth-to-mouth to get him breathing again. I thought he was dying. What do you think caused it this time, hyung?? He has been eating pretty well up until today. Poor kid is really nauseous...he threw up this morning."

"Hmm...sometimes extreme emotional stress can cause a seizure, or he could be getting sick....does he feel feverish?"

Yoongi feels the boy's cheeks and forehead with the back of his hand. "I don't think so...but what do I know. He is pretty pale, though."

"The upset stomach could also be from all the stress that he is under....I take it he is breathing alright now?? He's not having any difficulty, is he?? What color are his lips?"

"He seems okay now...he isn't wheezing or anything. His lips look normal..reddish pink. He just fell asleep a few minutes ago. Although I think his ribs are still bothering him. It seems to hurt him to take a deep breath."

"His ribs are probably bruised internally along with his lungs...the pain isn't going to go away any time soon so if you still have medication maybe try giving him small doses of it. If he doesn't take decently deep breaths he could get pneumonia...and that will kill him without proper treatment. So definitely encourage him to take deep breaths even though it causes pain. Otherwise just keep a very close eye on him and call me if anything changes."

The cat hybrid gently takes the sleeping boy's hand as he whimpers softly in his sleep. "Okay...thanks hyung."

"You're welcome, and Yoongi....this is really important. If he is talking about wanting to die don't ever leave him alone, alright? Not ever. If he is desperate enough he will find a way to end it...and his life is not the only one in danger if he tries something reckless."

The last sentence has him cocking his head to the side in confusion. "Hyung I promise I will stay right by his side....but what do you mean someone else's life is at risk??"

"The kid I saved off the streets...his name is Jungkook. Taehyung and him used to be best friends from what I understand. When I discovered their connection I knew he deserved to know that his friend is not dead.... This boy has always been frail and sickly and when Taehyung was kidnapped it apparently sent Jungkook on a dangerous downward spiral. In the current weakened state that he is in, it might kill him to hear that his best friend killed himself..." Namjoon is distracted for a moment as Jungkook starts coughing and wheezing in his sleep, but he eventually manages to catch his breath on his own. He turns his attention back to the phone call to say one last thing. "Yoongi...do me a favor?"

"Anything hyung...what is it?"

"When Taehyung wakes up tell him that I am taking care of Jungkook...that he is alive but recovering from being very, very sick. He is weak and he needs his best friend to help him get stronger...tell him Kookie wants to talk to him. Call me back when he is feeling up to it, alright? I think it will do them both alot of good to hear eachother's voices.."

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

By late afternoon the pain in Hobi's side is at full force as the medicine completely wears off. It has improved though...his stomach is only a little sore now, but a couple of his ribs on his left side cause him severe pain and make it hard to breathe. Jimin tries his best to distract him and keep him calm, but he is nearly in a panic by nighfall. The poor hurting boy is writhing in pain and taking short irregular breaths. Hobi tries to say Jimin's name as he squeezes the younger's hand, but can barely choke a word out. "Chim..." Tears are streaming down his face as a muscle spasm rips through his side and his breath catches.

The younger is at a loss and tears fall down his face too as he watches Hobi fall apart. He comes to the conclusion that death would be a better alternative for his hyung than the pain he is experiencing now, and part of him prays that someone would end his suffering.

Suddenly a guard appears and smacks the older boy hard before grabbing him by his hair and yelling in his face. As this is happening Jimin doesn't miss how the man winks at him and then swiftly injects a small syringe full of something into a vein in the boy's arm. Before the guard stands up to leave he slips a few crackers into Jimin's hand and winks again. Jimin is in shock as he watches this unfold, only blinking up at the man as he stands and returns to his post.

He waits several minutes until everyone stops staring and then turns to his hyung. He only needs to take one look at him to tell that the drug has taken effect. His eyes are glazed over and his breathing has slowed down to an almost below normal pace. He can't make any sense of this whole situation, but one thing he does understand is that this man is relieving his friend's pain...and that is enough for right now. He is so thankful to see Hobi comfortable again.

He presses one of the crackers into Hobi's hand and whispers, "Eat hyung. It will help keep you from throwing up."

He blinks slowly and obediently begins nibbling on the cracker...one by one he eats all of the crackers before succumbing to drowsiness once again.

 


 

 

Soon Jimin is asleep too and totally unaware that a guard was watching and waiting for him to fall into a deep sleep. He observes him for a while before silently setting up his deadly weapon. He retrieves what looks like a nebulizer machine with a mask attached, takes a small vial of purple liquid and pours it into the machine. He then puts on a gas mask and flips a switch, causing the machine to come to life with a soft hum.

Lastly he injects a light sedative into Jimin's arm before holding the mask firmly over the boy's face. He is helpless to stop what happens next, and Hobi is sleeping hard beside him. The mask fills with a thick purple gas that is slowly pumped into the boy's lungs over a few minutes, causing him to gag and choke faintly...the noise is muffled by the thick mask enough not to wake anyone.

The young hybrid squirms a little and his face scrunches up in discomfort as the toxic substance settles in his lungs. Once the purple fog inside the mask dissipates and becomes clear again, he removes it and observes the boy. His weak lungs struggle to expand and then go still. The officer scoffs. "Oh no you don't. You don't get to go out that easy." He hits the small boy in the chest hard enough that one of his ribs cracks audibly, but he remains limp. "Come on, mutt...breathe!" He then takes his right foot and jerks it to the side, twisting until the boy gasps in pain.

As the boy continues to struggle for air the officer listens to his lungs with a stethoscope. "There you go...that's better. Around here you don't get to die without a good fight." He smirks and walks away as Jimin chokes and takes very short labored breaths. Despite how uncomfortable he is the young hybrid is forced to stay unconscious until morning by the sedative running through his veins. It is only then, hours later, that the two hybrids begin to understand the damage.

 

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

It is late afternoon before Tae starts to stir.

Yoongi is taking Namjoon's words very seriously....he had not left the boy's side, even as he slept. He had sat on the edge of the bed trying to come up with a plan to get out of this place alive, and he just hadn't found a big enough flaw in the security system yet... As the younger boy stirs awake Yoongi abandons the subject for now to focus his attention on Taehyung.

"Feel any better, kid?"

The younger yawns and winces at the strain it causes on his injured ribcage. "I don't feel dizzy...but my chest aches, hyung, it...I can't take a deep breath.."

Yoongi fluffs the pillow behind him and helps him to sit up a little more. " You probably re-injured your ribs during your seizure, Taehyung-ah......I know it hurts but Namjoon says you need to try to take deep breaths or you could get very sick. I am going to give you a small dose of pain medicine to make it easier, okay?"

He opens his mouth to protest, but the older boy cuts him off. "Tae...please don't argue with me. I want you to be comfortable and healthy.." He hesitates and then decides now is as good a time as any to tell him about his sick friend. He places a grounding hand on his shoulder. "Okay, Taehyungie. Its important that you listen to what I'm about to tell you. I know someone else who would be devastated if something bad happens to you....Namjoon says it could even kill him, Tae....he is not well. He told me to tell you that he knows a sick boy named Kookie.....he needs you, and he wants to talk to you."

At that Tae freezes, eyes big and full of questions at the mention of the younger boy. He takes a deep breath and nods for Yoongi to give him the medication. "Go ahead hyung...but pleeease tell me more about Kookie. How sick is he? His body can't handle much....Is he alright, hyung?? Is he safe?" He is talking entirely too fast for his own good, fear for his dear friend's wellbeing nearly pushing him into a panic.

Yoongi allows a small smile before he injects a very small amount of medication into a vein in the younger boy's arm before answering. "Breathe Tae....stop and take a breath before you pass out. He is safe...him and his brother were rescued off the streets a few months ago, and they have been living with Namjoon since. He is a really genuine and selfless guy, so I have no doubts that they are in great hands. He has been trying to nurse Jungkook back to health ever since he found them, but it has not been easy. I guess he was deathly ill when my friend found him....a really bad case of pneumonia made him really weak....it almost killed him."

The younger boy sits straight up from the bed, eyes wide with fear as he realizes what that could do to someone with asthma.....not to mention how hard it would be for his immune system to fight it off. "Oh my gosh....Kookie! He...he has asthma. That must have been so scary for him. I-I should have been there to take care of him. How is he now, hyung??"

"Well from what Namjoon says he is doing better. The infection is cleared up, but his lungs are still struggling to recover. I don't know any details, but I can call right now and see if he is feeling good enough to talk to you. Are you ready for that?"

The boy nods as a few tears collect in his eyes and he wipes them away with his sleeve...the thought of hearing his precious best friend's voice again after all this time causing him to lose control of his emotions for a moment. Yoongi puts a hand on his shoulder and squeezes. "We don't have to do this right now, Taehyung-ah."

"No hyung, I'm okay. I want to hear his voice...I need to know that he is okay."

The older boy dials the number and waits for his friend to answer. Within a couple rings his deep voice comes through.

"Hey Yoongi. Did Taehyung wake up?"

"Yea...he is awake and ready to hear from Jungkook. Is he feeling up to a phone call? How is he doing?"

"Well...he woke up about an hour ago and had an asthma attack, but his inhaler and a breathing treatment seemed to help alot. I don't know how much he will be able to talk, though...its been a difficult week for him. I will go ask him how he is feeling."

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

Namjoon walks into the living room and approaches Jungkook and Jin. They are sitting on the couch, the older has dozed off....the younger is still half-awake. He is looking toward the TV, leaning into his brother's side with an oxygen mask over his face. The poor boy can barely go a few minutes without some type of mask to assist his breathing since the virus set him back.

Namjoon kneels in front of the young boy and places a hand on his chest to have a better idea of how he is breathing. The sickly boy is used to this action by now, and doesn't even question it. He blinks a few times and then focuses his eyes on Namjoon's face to gauge his reaction. Jungkook does his best to take steady breaths, as deep as he can manage, and waits to hear the doctor's thoughts.

The doctor removes his hand and just looks into the younger's eyes for a moment, studying his facial features for any evidence of distress or pain. Luckily all he can see in the boy's eyes is a bone deep exhaustion. He runs his fingers affectionately through the boy's hair and for a moment thinks about how much better the young boy looks compared to that first night. His hair is soft and clean, his cheeks have filled out a little and are a healthy pink color....not to mention his eyes. Eventhough he is so worn down, his appearance is full of life whereas before he was so close to death...and he looked it. His heart aches a little at the memory.

He suddenly realizes he has been staring for longer than usual and the boy is giving him an inquisitive look. He coughs into his elbow a few times and then talks softly. "I-Is something wrong, J-Joon hyung?"

"No! I'm sorry I just got lost in my thoughts I guess........How are you feeling Jungkookie? Do you think you could handle talking on the phone for a few minutes?" Namjoon smiles as the boy's eyes widen. "My friend is on the phone and he says Tae wants to talk to you...but only if you are feeling like you can breathe alright. Your health comes first, Jungkook-ah."

"I p-promise I am okay, Joon hyung. M-My chest is a little a-achy...but its n-not too hard to br-breathe......please hyung, I w-wanna talk to Taetae hyung."

"Alright I believe you, kid, but if you get tired or start feeling bad you have to let me know. It is important that we do not stress your lungs too much while they are trying to heal, okay?"

"Yes J-Joon hyung. I will t-tell you if I don't feel g-good."

Namjoon smiles and then pats Jin on the shoulder to wake him up. "Yoongi and Tae are on the phone. I think I'm gonna put it on speaker so Jungkook doesn't have to do all the talking. I don't want to wear him out."

Jin yawns and stretches. "Okay hyung...sounds great. I'll be glad to hear that the kid is alright. Tae was always a really sweet and respectful boy. I want him to come home safe just as much as anyone."

Namjoon smiles sadly as he thinks of the likelihood of the young boy getting out of that terrible place without being injured or killed. Especially in his state of mind, he would never make it out alive. The fact remains that if the boy's will to live is not restored soon, he is going to die....either by his own hands or at the hands of his captors. He needs this phone call to refocus his thoughts and energy to someone he really truly cares about.

Jungkook also needs this desperately...Namjoon hasn't mentioned to either of them yet, but he is starting to be concerned that the boy is going backwards. For some unexplainable reason the boy's lungs are getting worse. He is almost always wheezing lately, even if just very softly and his coughing is sometimes wet and productive. Asthma attacks have become a daily occurence, as well as struggling to breathe at night. The last couple nights, Namjoon had insisted that Jin sleep in the same bed as Jungkook so someone would be close if the boy couldn't breathe. He is really hoping the extra encouragement will help turn things around for him.

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

When Jimin wakes up he knows something isn't right. He feels strangely light-headed like he could pass out at any moment and he is shaking like a leaf. He absolutely feels like he is freezing to death and when he tries to say something to Hobi to wake him, he doesn't get much sound out.... "Hyu-" He is cut off harshly with a gag. He chokes on what he can only assume is his own saliva before starting to cough. Its then that he realizes how much his chest aches. It is only a dull discomfort, but it can't mean anything good. The only explanation he can come up with is that he has fallen ill...

Hobi wakes with a start as the young hybrid goes into a coughing fit, and then gasps for air noisily. His eyes grow wide as he takes in Jimin's appearance. He is a sickly pale color and his skin is moist with sweat. The poor boy is shivering and breathing in a shallow panting manner. "Jimin-ah.....you look awful..ummm I think you are sick. How do you feel?" He places his hand on the boy's forehead...not finding a fever, but instead the hybrid's skin is cold to the touch.
The younger hybrid tries to talk, but his voice is all but gone. "I-" He chokes for several seconds on the thick poison lining his airway before slumping up against Hobi's shoulder and taking slow wavering breaths....which scares the older boy to death.

Hobi forgets about his own pain as he focuses on the struggling boy and he feels tears start to collect on his shoulder. "Oh Jiminie..don't cry. I am gonna take care of you."

Jimin has a very bad feeling about this. This is more than just being sick....this is bad.....this, whatever it is, has the potential to take his life. He can feel it, and the thought of dying in this awful place scares him more than anything ever has. He whispers through the tears, because that seems to be the only way he can communicate without gagging... "No hyung....this is bad. I'm....I'm scared hyung...I-" He begins coughing again and Hobi shushes him and pulls him into his chest. The older hybrid knows he is right. This is really bad...if the nice gaurd was telling the truth, this is no coincidence...they did this to the young boy. If that's true it is most likely meant to kill him. The very sad truth is that the young beagle pup might not survive this.

Soon the shivering boy is fast asleep against his chest and Hobi's pain is now climbing again, causing him to take very shallow breaths and whimper involuntarily. It is still pretty dark at this point when the gaurd visits him again. This time he hands Hobi a small pouch full of pills and a handwritten note. He glances regretfully at the still shivering hybrid cradled into his chest before leaving without another look.

Hobi waits until there is enough light coming in the window to read the note. It says to take 1 pill at a time with each meal, and it should help keep the pain at a bearable level....so at lunch he takes a pill with a stale slice of bread and a small chunk of apple. He then wakes the ill hybrid and helps him nibble on his food and sip on his water. He only eats a few bites before turning a sickly green and moaning in discomfort.

He hiccups sickly before whispering, "S-something is...really wrong hyung. I can't eat...a-and it hurts to breathe....I'm sooo dizzy hyung...and so c-c-cold.."

"I know...I know you feel awful. Atleast try to finish your water so you don't get dehydrated...would you do that for me?"

Jimin nods tiredly and suddenly gags, bringing up a small amount of mucous or something. He spits it out and they are both shocked to see it is bloody, with a hint of purple. They both stare for a few seconds before the younger opens his mouth and Hobi helps him take small sips of water until it is gone. The water helps to clear the poisonous substance from his throat, so now he can talk a little without gagging and choking....but his throat is raw and burns when he swallows.

Hobi spends the rest of the day holding the younger close in an attempt to keep him warm and comfortable. He beats on his back when he chokes on the toxic gunk and tries to distract the boy from the ever increasing difficulty breathing and climbing discomfort in his chest. Neither of them could deny the seriousness of the situation anymore. After seeing the unusual purple gunk Jimin had coughed up and how much of a struggle it has become to take a breath, they don't need to say it out loud...they both know he had been poisoned.....and it couldn't possibly end well.

 

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Yoongi tries to soothe Taehyung's anxiety as they wait for Namjoon to come back on the line. The younger is on the verge of panic. "What if something happened to Kookie? What if he is having trouble breathing, hyung, and I am not there to help him..I have to.....we..we have to get out of here hyung! I need to be with him...I.."

Yoongi huffs out a long sigh and looks into the frantic boy's eyes. "Deep breaths Tae...breathe....I'm sure everything is fine. Your friend is not well, so Namjoon is probably making sure his body can handle this. If he decides that he can't handle it, then it would be better to wait so we don't make it worse, right Taehyung-ah?"

The younger takes a long deep breath and relaxes a little. "Of course, hyung. I..I don't want to make him sicker. I would never...."

"I know you don't, Tae. You want him to be healthy....you care about his wellbeing. I can tell he means alot to you, so let the doctor do his job and look Jungkook over really well. He is really good at what he does...you just have to trust him. He really is in good hands with Namjoon...." He pauses and studies the younger's face for a minute before adding, "...and..and even if it kills me, Tae, I promise you I will do everything in my power to get you out of here...so you can be by his side and help him get stronger, okay kid?" He genuinely meant every word of that. This innocent boy deserves a better life than this.

Tae catches him by surprise as he dives into his chest and wraps his arms around him in a tight embrace. That is all it takes to completely destroy his remaining armor and melt Yoongi's heart. He had spent so much of his time here building a barrier around his heart. As he watched the life leave the eyes of so many young and innocent boys, he had begun to distance himself and tried his hardest not to make real connections with anyone. It hurt way too much to watch them tortured and killed right in front of him. Over the years he had slowly retreated to his room for this very reason, and his captors miraculously did not object. They had what they wanted...the war in full swing and his kind dying at an alarming rate. They really don't need him anymore.

Yeonjun had done alot to break through this barrier, but Tae had finally crushed the remaining layer with something as simple as a hug. He immediately returns the embrace as a few tears roll down his cheeks and then it all breaks loose....his body shakes with muffled sobs as all the pent up emotion from years of emotional abuse comes flooding out of him. They spend the next several minutes in the same position as Yoongi cries and Tae does his best to be comforting to his hyung. The younger doesn't question his behavior or feelings, but instead gives him time to calm down and just breathe. He is so unbelievably thankful for that...he doesn't think he will ever be ready to talk about what he has been through..

 


 

 

They had almost forgotten about the phone call until suddenly Namjoon's voice breaks the silence. "Alright Yoongi.....are you still there?"

Yoongi pulls out of the hug and reaches for his phone. "Y-Yes Joon hyung. Is Jungkook okay?"

He can hear the heavy sigh through the phone. "He is better than he was an hour ago, but still not great...he is just so worn down. Let me talk to Taehyung before I put it on speaker phone for Jungkook?"

"Sure!...whatever you think is best." He says before handing his phone to the younger boy.

 

Namjoon talks calmly, but in a serious tone that says what he has to say is important. "Taehyung?...hey, its Namjoon. I've been trying to help Jungkook get better over the last months and he really has made great progress...but he seems to be having a really hard week. So he is probably going to have a hard time talking very much without putting strain on his lungs. I just wanted you to know ahead of time, so it doesn't scare you....Jungkook may struggle to catch his breath, but I will be right by his side the whole time. I'm gonna turn it on speaker phone and me and Jin are going to help him if he gets tired, okay?"

"O-Okay, Namjoon hyung. As long as you are sure this won't make things worse....I-I don't want to hurt him."

"Taehyung-ah, I promise even if it sounds scary through the phone...I won't let him get too worked up. He has a special mask on right now that is helping him get more oxygen into his lungs and I have other medicines I can give him to help him breathe.....he will be fine, kid, trust me."

"I trust you hyung.....I'm ready. Thankyou for taking care of my Kookie..."

"I would do it all over again if I had to, Taehyung-ah. Here he is, kid..."

There are a couple seconds of silence before the phone switches to speaker phone and a small voice floats into his ear. "Taetae hy-hyung?"
Tae almost breaks down in tears...the nickname that only Jungkook had ever used brings back so many memories, good and bad, of their time together.
He is also hit with an intense wave of concern at just how weak the boy sounds compared to the last time they had spoke. His voice is so small and quiet, as if he is being careful not to use up too much energy or air.

"I can't b-believe..you...you're a-alive..."

To be honest he can't believe it either. At first he can't bring himself to answer or do anything really. Yoongi notices his hesitation and pats him on the back reassuringly.

"T-Taetae??"

It is only the concern in his best friend's weak voice that brings him to speak.

"Y-yes Kookie...I'm here. I'm sorry, I guess I am just nervous....."

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Jimin only gets worse as the day goes on. He tries to eat a cracker and cheese for supper, but pukes it all up with a sickening mixture of purple gunk. That night as everyone falls asleep Jimin is still freezing cold. His small body shakes and his teeth chatter. Its as if he has lost the ability to retain even the smallest amount of heat in his frail and sickly state.

Each breath he takes is noisy and wet...he sounds like he is drowning from the inside. Hobi can tell the younger is becoming anxious. He begins fidgeting and breathes at a faster rate as his lungs struggle to take in a sufficient amount of oxygen. Before long he can't get enough air in to calm the feeling of breathlessness. "Hyung...I-I can't......breathe I....I really can't...th-this is not.......like usual.....I really....ca-....c-can't breathe...hyung I ca-"

Hobi's heart aches, because he realizes this could be it for the hybrid pup. He rubs his back and whispers in his ear as the boy tugs at his collar and squirms. "Shhh Jimin-ah. Talking is gonna make it worse. Try to be still and save your energy, alright? I know it is hard to breathe, just relax and listen to my heart." The boy doesn't reply, but seems to sink a little further into the older's chest as he gasps for air...some shallow, some deep and noisy. He writhes as if in pain every now and then as he attempts to inhale.

He surprises the older hybrid by lasting all night like that. He doesn't sleep at all, but spends the entire night fighting for air. At some point in the early morning Hobi drifts off to sleep. He startles awake as the sun comes through the skylights and he realizes the boy is no longer struggling...he is limp against his chest. He lets out a huge sigh of relief as he registers the soft puffs of air against his neck...Jimin is not dead. He is still breathing. Each breath is very labored and shallow, but the fact that he is able to inhale at all amazes him. The boy is suddenly jolted awake with a coughing fit. He coughs up quite a bit of blood and purple coated mucous before collapsing in exhaustion into the older hybrid...causing him to wince in pain and groan.

Jimin is barely conscious but he hears his hyung's sound of discomfort. "Sorry hyung...did I hurt you??" His voice is really hoarse and weak, but even then he can hear the selfless concern for his hyung in the ill boy's words...and it brings tears to his eyes. This boy is too good for this world. 
"Chim-Chim...." He sniffs and combs his fingers through the young hybrid's hair. He is concerningly cold to the touch. What concerns him the most is the fact that his delicate ears are like ice... a hybrid's ears are always warm unless they are really sick or near death.

The hybrid pup has shifted himself so he can look at Hobi's face. His tired eyes are filled with concern and guilt. "Chim...I am fine, okay? Don't worry about me, please......can you tell me how you are feeling? Your ears are cold...."
The younger smiles at the new nickname,  even in his semiconscious state. "Sooo tired hyung....Don't worry about my ears...my condition causes my ears...to......to do that alot....sometimes they ache and go numb....." He winces as Hobi tries to rub warmth into the pup's ears. He takes a wavering deep breath before continuing. "I can breathe a little better now......but my chest...its on fire hyung..it burns, but I am still so cold...I don't understand it hyung....I...its....." He is on the verge of delirium and starts mumbling almost incoherently.

Hobi removes his shirt and pulls the boy into his lap and up against his chest to warm him up. He wraps the garment around the boy as an extra layer and hums in the beagle pup's ear. The hybrid begins to lose what is left of his conscious awareness as he is lulled to sleep by the extra warmth and soothing melody. The older boy finds himself hoping and praying that the very vulnerable boy wheezing into his chest....someone he only met a few days ago, will survive this and have the opportunity to live a good life outside these walls. It only took him hours to realize that this boy deserves something way more than to die at the hands of these awful and cruel people....this boy has a purpose, he can feel it in his heart. He decides right then and there as the boy clings to him like a lifeline, struggling hard against the poison in his body that is threatening to suffocate him, that he is going to do his best to give the boy a second chance.... Even if it gets him killed, he is not going to allow the young beagle pup to be hurt again.

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

Tae is shaking like a leaf...he is so ridiculously nervous, and he cannot even explain it himself.

Jungkook coughs before speaking softly. "Hyung...I-I'm sick, but I'm still Jungkookie. You're n-not going to hurt me...Y-you have no idea how much I n-need this Taetae."

Tae can hear the sincerity in the younger's voice. He can also hear the slight waver of emotion that only someone who knows him well could detect. He knows without being able to see him that the young boy is trying to hold back tears. The logical side of him also knows that he has nothing to be nervous about...if Jungkook gets overwhelmed he has a doctor by his side to help him through it. "Right.....I know that, Kook...I just.....I...umm....Namjoon hyung says you were very sick...I've been so worried about you, Kookie."

"I was really sick T-Taetae...I almost died, but I-"

His heart skips a beat at hearing those words come from his best friend's lips. He had already been told that it was a very close call and the boy had been dying when he was found.....but it hits him harder for some reason as he realizes how scary that would have been to experience an illness so serious that it nearly takes your life. He doesn't let him finish before words and emotions come flowing out. "I'm so sorry I wasn't there, Kookie. I should have been there to take care of you..."

"Please d-don't be sorry, Taetae. I know you would have b-been here if you could. I'll be okay thanks to J-Joon hyung....he s-saved my life. I am getting b-better now, but I do still have l-lots of asthma attacks a-and its hard to....to b-breathe at night-" The boy is cut off by a series of deep rattling coughs. Jin can be heard talking softly to him as the coughing dies down.

Namjoon's deeper voice comes next. "Kook, you are gonna have to take it slower, alright? You are starting to wheeze again. Talk slower and take time to breathe."

Jungkook takes a few deep wheezing breaths. His voice comes out hoarse this time from coughing. "Taetae...hyung, h-how are....are y-you..."

Tae can hear the younger wheezing through the phone, and its all he can think about. "I um....are you alright Kookie-ah?

Jin knows his brother wants to talk more but he is still out of breath from the coughing spell...so he steps in to calm Tae's fears. "Taehyungie, we are all curious if you are well and unharmed....Jungkookie is just trying to catch his breath, but don't worry. He is okay, Tae. He just needs some time to focus on breathing, so why don't you tell us how you've been."

"Okay, sure.....Please take your time Kookie-ah...I am okay Jin hyung. I am doing well thanks to Yoongi hyung...He basically brought me back from the dead." Yoongi shakes his head as if telling him to avoid going into detail and he nods before continuing. "I am still recovering from a umm..beating a few weeks ago though....I think I have a few broken ribs and Namjoon hyung says my lungs are probably bruised. It hurts to take a deep breath or move a certain way...but nothing too bad.

Please don't worry too much about me, Kookie...you need to focus on your health...on getting better. Yoongi hyung takes good care of me and keeps me safe, but if something happens to you I don't think I could keep going. Keep fighting to get stronger, Kookie, and I promise as long as you are still breathing I will never stop fighting to be by your side, okay? If you don't give up, I won't either."

Jungkook has recovered enough to form a short reply. "I'm s-so glad you are well. I-I won't give up, hy-hyung.....I promise..."

"I know you won't, Kook. You have always been such a fighter. I'm really proud to be your friend. You know, after that night I was taken...I woke up soaked in blood and in so much pain that I could barely see straight. I was terrified and pretty sure that I was dying, but all I could think about was how thankful I was that it hadn't been you. If you had spent the night like we had planned.....they would have hurt you too."

The younger tenses at the thought of his friend badly injured and in pain. His brother never let him see the pictures of what Tae's room looked like after that night, but it must have been pretty gruesome for the police to decide that the boy couldn't possibly survive such an attack. His mind races a mile a minute and he starts to feel a little dizzy. Jin senses his little brother's distress and interrupts his thoughts by placing an arm around him. It is then that Jungkook realizes he is hyperventilating and he tries to control his breathing. 

"I have thought about you alot since then. I wondered how your health was and hoped that someone was watching out for you.....when I heard about the raids at the orphanages I thought for sure you were gone..." Tae stops to regulate his breathing and wipe away a few tears. "How did you survive?"

"The h-hybrid children helped us hide...a-and then we ended up....homeless for a couple y-years...until I got really s-sick." He remembers Namjoon's warning and after his episode of slight panic he can feel his chest getting tight. He closes his eyes and tries not to wince at the uncomfortable achy feeling in his chest as he takes a couple deep breaths. He can hear his friend sniffling through the phone. "Its okay, h-hyung. I am safe here w-with Namjoon hyung. I'm alright now...m-my lungs are just weak...."

"I'm so glad to hear that Kookie. I know its selfish but it was killing me to think that I might never get to see you again." Tae can hear the younger is struggling to take a deep breath.

He takes a few shallow breaths before forcing out another couple sentences. "No, hyung...I f-felt the same way when I thought you were d-dead....."

The doctor breaks into the conversation. "Stop and breathe for me, Kook. You don't look so good." He takes a few shakey deep breaths, but his lips are starting to look pale. "I think you need to stop and let us do the talking for a few minutes. This is too much for you right now, Kook-ah." Namjoon brushes his hair from his eyes as he takes several more labored breaths.

He shakes his head stubbornly. "I-I can do this Joon hyung. I may be...w-weak now but I.....got s-so much stronger when I met him..........You ch-changed my life then and I know you...can help m-me do it....again, Taetae." 

Namjoon can tell that the boy is really pushing his limit, but he is so determined....its honestly inspiring how much fire is in this young boy's heart.

"I need you, T-Taetae.....so p-please stay safe."

His heart has never hurt so bad in all his life as it does in this moment. The desperate tone in his best friend's voice combined with the hopelessness of his situation forms a crack in his already unstable mind. "I will try my best not to let you down, but I would be better help to you if I could be with you....I need to be with you, Kookie, and it won't be easy to get away from these people. I'm af-"

Yoongi has tried to stay silent as to not intrude, but he feels it is important for Jungkook's health to stop Tae before he scares the younger boy. "I will bring him to you in one piece, Jungkook-ah, I promise. I just don't know how long it will take...."

Namjoon turns up the oxygen flow into the mask to ease the boy's labored breathing. Jungkook tries again and manages a decently deep breath before speaking again.

"I b-believe you......Y-Yoongi hyung. I-I don't....care how l-long.......it t-takes......j-just please....pl-pleeeeaase be careful..."

The youngest is nearly in tears now and working hard to take in air. He is not too oxygen deprived, though, to understand that his friend is truthfully anything but safe. Tae and Yoongi are in danger and attempting to escape could get them killed. A sob escapes his lips and tears stream down his face as he loses control. The boy quickly begins to spiral into a panic attack.

He really can't breathe, can't stop shaking, and his hearing is completely gone...replaced with a constant ringing. His vision gets darker and darker until he can't see anymore either. He can feel Jin's hands on his face and Namjoon rubbing his chest and eventually injecting something into his arm, but its not enough to bring him back to reality......he feels trapped, only adding to the ever rising panic in his chest. It seems like hours as he struggles to breathe, but can't seem to make any progress. As quickly as it began though, it all stops as he loses consciousness and falls limply into someone's chest.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

From then on Hobi only takes half a pill at a time to make sure he stays alert enough to protect Jimin from further harm. They stay in virtually the same position for the next couple days, with the younger securely held up against his chest. He doesn't get any worse, but he makes no improvements. He is very weak and dizzy....He can barely lift his head and it is still a challenge for him to take a full breath. His breathing sometimes pauses and only starts back up again with some kind of stimulation, which only makes the older's concern grow deeper. 

Despite the extra warmth he shivers violently most of the time and his skin is so cold, yet moist to the touch. Hobi is convinced the boy's body has lost the ability to produce heat of any kind and his temperature would quickly drop dangerously low without the extra body heat. At meals he drinks all of the water, but is only able to handle a few nibbles of the food they are given. He remains  mostly unconscious unless trying to eat or drink, and even then he is often delirious.

On the third night is when it happens again. Hobi wakes up to a man holding a wet cloth over his face until he passes out. He comes to about an hour later. Jimin is laying flat on the floor next to him making awful choking noises and gripping his throat with both hands. The poor boy rolls back and forth and kicks his legs weakly as he tries to clear his airway.

Hobi dives toward the choking boy and sits him up, beating hard on his back. His lips are a bluish purple color and he slowly begins to slump onto the older boy. As Jimin goes still he thinks the boy may have passed until he takes a sudden gasping breath...and then another. He works even harder than before to get his lungs to expand, and each breath is very congested....it sounds like his chest is filled with liquid glue. The already weakened boy struggles and chokes, making terrible gagging sounds and pained whimpers as the poison attacks his body a second time.

Hobi feels completely defeated as he watches the boy try to breathe. He had failed to stop them...and surely now the weak young hybrid is going to die. If the first round of whatever poison they are giving him almost killed him, this round will likely finish him off in the state he is in...He combs through his hair and scratches behind his ear to help soothe him as his eyes widen in fear as he tries to swallow the thick substance lining his throat and it gets caught. "I'm so so sorry Jimin-ah...I was supposed to protect you....I promised you I would help you get out of here."

The boy finds the older's hand and squeezes briefly before swallowing hard, causing his eyes to water. He speaks barely above a whisper. "Hyung...I wouldn't blame you....if you walk away now......I won't make it out of here....you know I-"

Hobi comforts him as he is cut off by a harsh gag and a small stream of blood trickles down his chin. The older cringes but gently wipes it away with his sleeve as he talks softly, but in a way that leaves no room for argument. "Chim-Chim...if that's the case, I am absolutely not leaving you to suffer alone. I will stay beside you until its over..."

The younger doesn't have the energy to say anything else. He just curls into Hobi's side and continues to take shallow congested breaths. The older hybrid rubs his back and whispers encouragement. "That's it Chim, just focus on breathing. You are doing really well."

All day long Jimin fights hard to get enough air, but he is wearing out by nightfall. His lips and fingernails are turning blue with lack of oxygen and he is starting to lose consciousness again. He didn't eat or drink anything at all since the second dose of poison, because of intense nauseating stomach cramps and a persistent feeling of breathlessness.

As it begins to get dark, the boy moans in discomfort and suddenly lurches forward. He vomits with violent force producing more blood and a large glob of purple tinted mucous. He dry heaves a few times before collapsing back into Hobi's lap. "Good job Jiminie...its probably best to get as much of that crap out of your system as you can. Are you done throwing up?" The boy just nods weakly in reply and chokes out one barely audible word, "thirsty."

He smiles in relief that the boy wants to drink something and holds the small cup of water he saved to Jimin's cracked lips...helping him take small sips until it is gone. With newfound strength the young hybrid battles relentlessly against the toxic substance that is now starting to fill his lungs. Hobi stays awake all night to watch over him.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Namjoon could see that Jungkook was getting too upset, but was powerless to rationalize with him as panic flooded the boy's senses. As he began to hyperventilate, it put a ton of strain on his weakened lungs...making it harder for him to breathe, which in turn caused more panic. Soon he was not hyperventilating, but instead desperately gasping for air. Even his brother's soothing words in his ear were not enough to pull him from the ledge. Jin tried hard to get his little brother's attention, but his unfocused eyes were looking right through him.

Namjoon takes the oxygen mask off and replaces it with the CPAP....the boy is not breathing very effectively on his own. He rubs gently on Jungkook's chest as he talks in a loud, but calm voice. "Jungkookie....kid, its gonna be okay....can you hear me, Kook?"
There is no response...the young boy continues to gasp for air, and as his breathing starts to speed up again Namjoon makes a choice. Jungkook isn't going to calm down without some type of intervention....and his breathing is getting harsher by the second. His lungs can't handle this much longer. He quickly grabs a vial of medication from his supplies and kneels down by the panicking boy to inject some into his bloodstream. It takes a couple minutes, but the boy's muscles relax and his heart rate slows as the drug takes effect. He suddenly slumps up against his brother's chest, and the older boy's eyes widen in surprise.

"Its okay Jin...he's alright. He just passed out from the medication I gave him. He will probably sleep for a few hours now...until it wears off."

Jin pulls Jungkook into his lap and cradles him against his chest. "Wow, he's out....what did you give him?"

"Its a decently heavy sedative...the same one I gave him to examine his lungs. I hated to drug him, but it is not good for him to get that worked up....with how weak his lungs are-"

Yoongi's voice stops him in the middle of his thoughts. He had completely forgotten about the phone call...Jungkook had become his sole focus for the last several minutes.

"Breathe Tae, come on, do it with me....You can't be there for Jungkook if you don't keep breathing. I know you are scared for him, but Namjoon is helping him......that's it kid, just like that..."

He can also hear faint sobs and uneven wavering breaths that he can only assume are coming from Taehyung.
He takes one more look at Jungkook laying peacefully up against his brother's chest as he takes slow labored breaths before adressing his friend. "Yoongi-yah....tell Taehyung that Jungkook is okay and resting, but I gave him some medication that made him fall asleep. He isn't going to wake up for another few hours, which is probably good because he needs the rest."
"Did you hear that Tae? Jungkook is resting....he is alright, just sleeping."

Tae takes a shuddering breath. "Th-Thank God.....what happened Namjoon hyung? Did I do that to him??"

"No...no, Taehyung-ah....not at all. This whole situation is just overwhelming for him. I think he probably realizes how much danger you are in, and he is terrified of you getting hurt. He had a really severe panic attack, and with his lungs the way they are....the added stress made it really difficult for him to breathe. He is breathing better now, though, with some help from a machine called a CPAP.....and like I said the medicine I gave him put him to sleep...........are you alright, Tae?"

The younger sniffles and coughs, whimpering as pain shoots through both sides of his ribcage. "I think so hyung.....just really sore."

"Make sure you try to breathe deeply as often as you can....I don't want you to get sick. You need your strength to get out of there. Eat well and get plenty of rest, okay Tae? Jungkook needs you to stay healthy and get your strength back."

"I know....I'll try but I-"

"Tae...I know Yeonjun's death has been really hard for you to deal with, but you have to keep living.....for Yeonjun and for Jungkook. Please....try to take care of yourself. Yeonjun basically gave up his life to help you...don't let that sacrifice be a waste, and Jungkook....he is frail, Tae." He steals a glance at the young boy in his brother's lap. He is pale and his lips are slightly tinted blue. He is still struggling and wheezing a little with each inhale, even with the help of the CPAP machine. "I am worried about him. He was doing well, but over the last several days he has gotten so much weaker. He needs your support...so promise me that you will try, if for nothing else but for Jungkookie."

Tae's voice is thick with emotion. "I-I prom-ise Namjoon hyung.....j-just please don't let him die before-"

"I won't let that happen Taehyung-ah. He is still doing alot better than when I found him....he was hardly breathing that night, and he was burning with fever. I'm not gonna let him get that sick again if I can help it. He's not dying, Tae...that's not what I'm saying, but he really needs you. He needs you to stay safe and alive, and if you give up....its going to affect his fragile health in a bad way."

The younger sighs heavily in relief. His heart aches as he thinks about Jungkook being so terrifyingly close to death. He hopes that the younger never has to be that sick again, and if there is anything he can do to help the boy gain his strength back....he would do it in a heartbeat. "I understand, hyung. I would never do anything to hurt him, I promise. He is my best friend...I just want him to be healthy and happy. I'll do whatever it takes to help him get stronger."

"I know, Tae. You must really care about him. Trust me when I say the best thing you can do for Jungkook right now is worry about yourself. Jin and I will watch over him and make sure he can breathe alright. Just be careful and do exactly as Yoongi says...I have no doubt that he will take good care of you and get you out of there alive if you follow his directions."

"He is special, hyung...Thankyou so much for saving his life. I trust you and Jin to care for him. Jin has always been so supportive of him and Yoongi says you are really good at what you do. I will be careful and hopefully one day we can meet in person....will you call again?"

"Like I told Jin...Jungkook is a really sweet kid. He deserves another chance at life. I saved him off the street because I knew he was dying. My heart wouldn't let me walk away...knowing that he couldn't breathe and was obviously very sick. He has become like a little brother to me...there is not much I wouldn't do to protect him. I will call again soon and let you know how Jungkook is doing.."

Just then the boy starts coughing and his breath hitches in his sleep. "Hey umm...I gotta go. I think Kook needs a breathing treatment. Take care of yourselves." He hangs up and gets the nebulizer set up to give Jungkook a treatment. After he gets it running he uses his stethoscope to listen to the boy's lungs. Thankfully they sound mostly clear. There doesn't seem to be much fluid buildup, just alot of wheezing.

Jin stays silent until Namjoon removes the device from his ears. "How is he Joon hyung? Does he sound alright?"

"Well...he doesn't sound great. He is having a little trouble expanding his lungs, but I don't think he is sick...just very stressed and exhausted. I added a steroid to his usual breathing treatment to help speed up the healing process and keep inflammation down. Hopefully that will help decrease the number of asthma attacks he is having lately. I think I am gonna have him take it 4 times a day instead of just 2 also. If he isn't able to eat and drink more tomorrow, I will give him an IV."

Jin nods and kisses Jungkook's head. "Do you think Tae will be alright, hyung?"

"Gosh...I hope so. He is not stable mentally and emotionally from what Yoongi tells me. I'm hoping that Jungkook will be a huge motivation for him...and also the other way around. They both need a little encouragement to keep going."

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

In the morning Jimin wakes up as he coughs hard and deep and very painfully. He can feel that his lungs are coated in a thick sticky layer of gunk and with each cough it feels as if they are being ripped apart. The pain alone is nearly enough to cause him to black out. Hobi immediately starts rubbing on his chest and he tries to relax back into the older's embrace.

He gives his all to get air into his lungs despite the agony it causes, but knows he is not breathing effectively enough to keep him conscious long. He can feel the worsening effects of not getting enough oxygen. His lungs ache with a desire for more air, and he can't stop the growing anxiety that is brought on by the ever increasing sensation of breathlessness. Tears stream down his face as the pain becomes unbearable and his lungs start to fail him.

As his heart start to race he takes a difficult congested breath and manages to force out a few words in a whisper. "Hyung.....c-can't breathe.." He inhales weakly and whimpers softly as his vision darkens and the world seems to spin around him. It is difficult to even tell which way is up or how much time is passing by as he drifts in and out of consciousness. The next thing he knows a mask is being held over his face, and he automatically starts to panic and struggle weakly until Hobi's face appears in his narrowing and blurry vision. "Its alright, Chim-Chim. You are safe. Just breathe the best you can...he is trying to help you."

Jimin obeys with a very shallow gasp and then a whine in discomfort as his damaged lungs go into a wave of suffocating spasms. He opens his mouth desperately, but is not able to inhale. He nearly loses consciousness before someone hits him hard in the chest...not knowing that he has a broken rib. The pain is intense and shows in his eyes. He is too weak and breathless to cry out, but it is enough to shock his system and cause him to reflexively gasps for air. Hobi tearfully pleads with Jimin as he cards fingers through the boy's tangled and sweaty hair. "Come on Chim...keep fighting it. Don't let them win.." The boy tries to breathe, but immediately starts choking again.

An unfamiliar voice begins talking. "Tell him to cough. He needs to get some of that junk out of his lungs. Its going to suffocate him..." He is turned on his side and someone starts drumming on his back.

Hobi talks softly in his ear. "Cough Jimin-ah, as hard as you can. You can do this." The choking boy focuses all his energy on coughing from deep within his chest. The amount of gunk that Jimin expels from his lungs is concerning to say the least. It is amazing that the small frail boy is not dead with such a large amount of poison coursing through his body.

He finishes coughing and his body goes limp with exhaustion and lack of oxygen. He doesn't really even have energy to attempt another breath. The mask appears back over his mouth and nose and knuckles dig roughly into his chest, causing him to take a shallow and noisy inhale. The only thing that keeps him fighting for breath with all the strength he has left is the blurry sight of Hobi's tear streaked face above him as the older hybrid continues to run his fingers through his hair and whisper sweet words of encouragement and affection.

 


 

 

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He drifts in and out of consciousness for what seems like forever as his body struggles to recover.....before waking up with his head in Hobi's lap. The older boy has a hand on the younger's chest as if to be sure that he is still breathing, and one hand massaging warmth into the beagle hybrid's cold ears. The mask is gone and he cannot even be sure that he didn't dream or hallucinate it all. He is so weak that it takes all of his strength just to produce a small whimper to get his hyung's attention. He takes some deep breaths and finds that he can do it without too much pain or struggle, but each breath leaves him yearning for more air. He can't seem to get quite enough in to relax his frazzled nerves and the fear shows in his eyes.

Hobi smiles softly at him and brushes some hair out of his eyes. "Jiminie...its gonna be okay. He is going to get us out of here......tonight. We are gonna find a doctor and get you some help." He massages the younger's chest as he begins to wheeze and struggle to get enough air. It must help to break up some of the congestion, because Jimin coughs weakly and gags as some of the junk from his lungs works its way up. Hobi helps position him so he can spit it out and then places him back in a comfortable resting position. He breathes fast as he tries to keep up with his body's demands, but with a little more ease than before and less fear in his tired eyes.

The sick hybrid has a hard time wrapping his head around what the older boy is saying, but he did catch the first part. If the older hybrid says its gonna be okay, does he have any reason not to trust him? At this point he doesn't have a choice anyway...he doesn't even have the strength to move on his own. The second round of the toxic substance having robbed him of all his remaining energy.

The older lifts Jimin into a sitting position and brings a cup of water to his lips. "Drink...slowly.....small sips." The young hybrid drinks the best he can...coughing and spluttering every few sips. Small streams of water trickling from the corners of his mouth and dripping off his chin, but still managing to drink a decent amount in the end. Hobi dries his mouth with his sleeve and praises him. "Good Job, Chim-Chim. I really am so proud of you for not giving up."

Jimin just gazes tiredly into Hobi's eyes as he talks. He is unable to find the energy to reply or even nod his head, but he hopes the boy can tell that he is trying his best to listen. Within a few minutes he grows too tired and frankly too weak to hold his eyes open. The other notices and pulls him closer to his chest. In no time he drifts off to sleep with the older boy's fingers running gently through his hair.

He wakes up again as the older hybrid shifts him into an upright position and gently shakes his shoulder. "You are sweating like crazy. You need to drink something." Jimin is surprised by this because he feels like he is on the verge of freezing to death...he can barely recall the last time he felt warm enough. His fingers and toes feel stiff and numb, but maybe that has to do with lack of oxygen.....he doesn't know for sure. He never made it to medical school and now he is sure he never will. Being a doctor is just an empty fantasy at this point. He is more concerned with living long enough to see freedom again...or, heck, even tomorrow would be nice.

He doesn't protest, but gives his best effort to get water into his worn out body as Hobi again holds a cup of water to his lips and encourages him to take sips. It doesn't matter this time, though, because it is only a matter of seconds before he is curled over on himself with terrible stomach pains. He knows he is about to throw up, but he tries to fight it by swallowing it down. This only makes the pain worse and he eventually vomits forcefully. The first round is mostly water, but the next few bring up so much blood that the boy sways with dizziness.

He finally stops with a single congested cough and spits out that awful purple mucous before slumping over and almost collapsing into the disgusting mixture of his own body fluids. Hobi catches him and pulls him back into his lap. He rubs his tense stomach until he slowly relaxes. The younger begins shivering again and Hobi removes the boy's sweat soaked shirt, replacing it with his own.

Jimin gags as his stomach twists painfully, but it doesn't have anything left in it. He coughs weakly before whispering, "Hy-ung......th-thank...you."

"You're welcome Chim. Just hold on a little bit longer, okay?" The older boy squeezes his hand.

"M'k-kay..." He gives a small squeeze in return and attempts to smile, but it turns into a grimace as his lungs spasm painfully and take his breath away. It thankfully doesn't last more than a few seconds before he is able to breathe again. He wheezes as he tries to catch his breath.

The older hybrid rubs on his chest and whispers in his ear as he starts to hyperventilate. "Easy Chim, easy. I've got you....I am not going to leave you. I've got you, Chim-Chim." Jimin is reassured by his soothing words and his eyes droop and flutter. He tries to keep them open for as long as he can. "Its okay Jiminie. Go to sleep. Hyung promised that he would stop them if they try to hurt us." The sick hybrid is confused by the last part, but too out of it to question the meaning of it out loud. He allows his eyes to slip shut and he is again pulled down into unconsciousness.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Tae's chest feels suffocatingly heavy with emotion and anxiety as the phone call comes to an end. He just stares at the phone for the next several minutes, trying to fight off the negative thoughts and convince himself that he will get out of this place someday. He just has to...so he can live his life as he chooses and most importantly so he can be there for Jungkook.

But his mind tells him that he will die here, that he can't change that....so why even try. Jungkook doesn't really need him to survive...he is living with a doctor for crying out loud. The only thing he is accomplishing by staying alive is making Kookie worry about him. The boy is already sickly enough as it is and its not like he would be able to protect him anyway. He'd probably just get him killed like with Yeonjun....

That last part throws his mind into overdrive. Dizziness causes his body to sway and his thoughts are so jumbled that he can't make sense of anything. He can hear the older boy is saying something, but it sounds distant and muffled. His chest is on fire, his trembling fingers are tingling, and tears trickle down his face. 

Without warning everything stops....he feels nothing. The sudden numbness is terrifying and as the thoughts come back full force he thinks he might be going insane. All at once it seems too much for him to handle. His thoughts get louder and louder, but he finds himself emotionless.....he feels absolutely nothing and deep down it scares him to the core.

He has no way of knowing how long he is like this. He wants so badly to escape this place, wherever it is. It is so empty and lonely, yet so very loud and overwhelming at the same time. A voice miraculously breaks through the void and brings him abruptly back to reality.

"-top, Taehyung-ah please! Look at me." Yoongi grabs his wrist firmly, causing him to hiss in pain. He is suddenly aware of an intense stinging sensation that brings tears to his eyes. The older moves his hand up to grasp his forearms instead. "I'm sorry, kid, I didn't mean to hurt you. I just wanted you to stop." He stops to take a shuddering breath. "Gosh Tae, you scared me half to death. It was like you couldn't hear me at all and you were scratching and I-"

Tae is still staring off in the distance as he speaks. "I couldn't, hyung....hear you, I mean. I couldn't hear anything but my thoughts.....they....they were so loud...so loud and awful...and suffocating. I couldn't- oh my gosh, hyung, I'm going crazy!" The troubled boy begins to sob uncontrollably and mumbles nonsense.

The hybrid tries to comfort him by pulling him tightly up against his chest. "Its alright, Tae...I won't let that happen to you....just try to breathe with me.......Good, you are doing so good. Can you hear the thoughts now?"

The younger sniffles. "No hyung...no just you.....and my heart racing."

"Okay good. See?...its gonna be okay. Before we do anything else we need to clean and bandage your wrists. I am no doctor, but you scratched them pretty deeply...and I don't want them to get infected."

Tae looks down at his bloody wrists for the first time and whispers, "I'm sorry....I-I didn't know...I-"

"I know Taehyungie. I know you didn't mean to do it...its okay." He leads the younger to the small bathroom and has him sit on the toilet lid while he washes the blood away from his cuts and out from under his fingernails. He doesn't have any disinfectant so he just takes some of the strips of cloth he had used to wrap Yeonjun's ribs and ties them around the boy's wrists to keep the wounds covered.

This had happened so out of the blue that it had jarred him. He is still shaking as he encourages the boy to eat and then sits by him as he falls asleep. Namjoon's warning had not been near enough to prepare him for what he just witnessed. This boy needs help, but he can't get it as long as they are stuck in this awful place. Just another reason that they have to get the heck out of here as soon as possible. There has to be a way, and it has to be soon or this boy may slip so far that he can't be reached.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Hobi thought he was going to watch the younger boy die this morning until the guard with the pain medicine appeared and ushered them down a dark hallway and into an equally dark room with only a metal table with a small metal box on it. He quickly lit a candle and locked the door. Jimin continued to struggle to breathe and his lips were a deep blue-purple. The poor boy's system was being overwhelmed by the nasty poisonous substance.

The guard moved the box and instructed Hobi to lay the boy on the table. As the older boy got closer and his eyes adjusted to the lighting, he could see that the table and floor were covered in blood stains. Terrible things had been done in this room. With that realization, he held the now choking boy closer to his chest and his eyes grew wide with fear.

The guard immediately realized what had happened and quickly tried to explain his intentions. The young hybrid couldn't breathe and he wanted to help him. "No....no I promise...I did not have you bring him here to torture him. Please lay him down....he is not breathing. I just want to help."

Hobi hesitantly laid him down on the blood stained table, and the guard expertly inserted his fingers into the boy's mouth and swept them across the back of his throat. He pulled them out covered in the purple gunk and as he did the boy gagged, but then began to gasp weakly for air. He then opened a closet in the corner of the room and grabbed an oxygen mask and tank.

After a few minutes of breathing in the extra oxygen, Jimin's eyes fluttered open. At first he looked confused and then panicked. He squirmed weakly and tried to remove the mask from his face. The guard restrained him as Hobi tried to meet his eyes and reassure him he is safe. It didn't take much...either he ran out of energy to fight or he believed Hobi, but he eventually stilled. Seconds later his eyes widened and he made a pained sound. He opened his mouth to breathe, but it looked like his lungs had locked up. The other two watched as he unsuccessfully fought for a breath.

When his eyes started to roll back, the guard took his fist and thumped the beagle hybrid hard in the center of his chest. To their relief it caused the boy to take a gasping inhale. Jimin made eye contact with Hobi again as he told him to keep fighting. The boy tried, but ended up choking again. The guard rolled him onto his side and started beating hard and rhythmically on his back. He instructed Hobi to have the boy cough. The hybrid doesn't hesitate. He calls the boy's name and tells him to cough. They were both stunned by how much toxic junk he worked up and out of his body. The guard replaced the mask over his mouth and nose and rubbed hard with his knuckles on his chest to stimulate him to keep breathing.

As the younger started to breathe again in a somewhat steady pattern the guard turned to Hobi. "He needs a doctor if he is going to have any chance of surviving this. This stuff is very dangerous." Hobi nodded in understanding and looked at the ground. He knew there was no way that Jimin would live long without medical treatment...the guard was basically telling him the young beagle hybrid would die soon. The guard closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I'm going to get you guys out of here....tonight....it has to be tonight because he is not doing well. He may not survive the trip, but he definitely won't make it if they give him another dose. His third dose is scheduled for early tomorrow morning. In the state he is in it will kill him...he won't come back from it."

Hobi is scared to death of what an escape could mean for their safety, but he is also scared for his new friend's life. This place is going to kill the younger and eventually kill him too. If there is a chance that they can defy these monsters and possibly save Jimin's life then he is all in. If this gets him killed then so be it...he will be brave until the end and make his brother proud. "Whatever you need me to do....I will do it. Jimin deserves his best chance."

Hobi still remembers the softness in the man's eyes at that moment. Something had changed in his demeanor. He watched the two hybrids silently for a few minutes. Jimin was struggling to inhale, and Hobi had been doing whatever he could to encourage and comfort him. The older hybrid almost missed the guard's teary eyes as he gave Jimin an injection for pain and ushered them back into the main area before the sun came up too far and revealed their absence....almost, but not quite...

 


 

 


 

As the sun begins to set and the time of their escape draws near, Hobi is starting to get a little anxious. Jimin's condition hasn't changed much over the last few hours, which he is super thankful for. His lips are not as blue anymore, but they are dry with dehydration. He is not able to drink much at a time and often vomits it back up, but the older is persistent and determined not to let him get too dehydrated.

The young hybrid is so very weak and exhausted from the morning ordeal that he lays deathly still. He is scared the boy will get worse and it will be too late to save him. He is deathly pale and his breaths are weak and shallow, but his heart beats strong and he doesn't seem to be in too much pain. Hobi hopes and prays that the younger can hold on long enough for them to find help for him.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

A few hours after the incident with the phone call, Namjoon switches Jungkook's mask out for a few minutes to give him his bedtime breathing treatment. Just as it finishes running the boy's eyes flutter open for a moment, only to slide closed again. The young boy takes a deep shuddering breath and hums softly as he lets the air back out.

The doctor gently caresses his cheek causing the boy's eyelids to twitch slightly. "Jungkook-ah...are you awake?" There is no response and the younger eventually stops stirring. He turns to Jin. "Let's go ahead and get him ready for bed. He may be so drained that he sleeps through the night. Its been an emotional few days for him, and he will probably need some time to recover from it."
Jin carries his little brother to the bathroom and undresses him before depositing him into the hot bath that Namjoon had prepared for him. Jungkook doesn't fully wake up, but he does stir a little as he is lowered into the water. After he is clean and his hair is washed, they let him sit an extra few minutes....the heat and steam from the water seems to be opening up his lungs and helping him breathe easier.

Just as they begin to drain the tub and dry the young boy off he opens his eyes. "Hyungs....w-what's happening?" He looks disoriented and starts to hyperventilate and tremble with anxiety. His big doe eyes are filled with fear and he whimpers between short puffs of air. Namjoon replaces the oxygen mask that had been removed for the bath as Jin wraps a towel around his little brother and places him in his lap.

He holds the boy close with his head against his chest as Namjoon takes his hands and tries to meet his eyes. "Jungkookie...everything is okay. You are safe. Hyung promises. Jin and I will talk with you and answer all your questions but first I'm going to help you catch your breath, okay?"

Jungkook nods as he continues to breathe erratically and frantically. "Please.......I-I'm.....scared," he whispers as tears start to fall and he chokes on a sob.

"Shhh shhh its alright Kook-ah. I know this is scary. Just look at me and listen to my voice.

Okay, now take a deep breath.

Good, now let it out slow and easy."

He coaches the boy on a few more cycles of deep breathing until the boy seems to have some control over his lungs again. The boy closes his eyes and breathes deeply on his own for a few minutes. The other two think he might have fallen asleep when he suddenly lifts his head and talks softly. "Why d-does that keep happening? I knew I was s-safe but I c-couldn't stop it, hyungs."
A few fresh tears run down his face and Jin gently wipes them away. He looks to Namjoon for answers.

The doctor looks between the two for a moment and then speaks. "I think I may need to put you on medication, Kook. Your anxiety is getting worse and causing these attacks. Its not your fault...its out of your control Jungkookie."

 


 

 


 


The next day Jungkook has less asthma attacks, but finds himself too weak and tired to eat anything....the panic attacks from the day before had stolen all his energy. However he does manage to drink enough water that Namjoon doesn't give him an IV. The doctor has several days worth of anxiety pills at his house, and probably more at his office. So he decides to let him try it out before he goes to get more from his office. He gives him a very small dose, actually breaking the pill in half, because he knows his supply is very limited. With the war still raging on it is hard to get medical supplies, so whatever is tucked away in his office is it.

On another topic, he has noticed that their food supply is starting to dwindle. Right before the war he had filled a storage room full of canned goods and an extra freezer with meat. Within the next month it will all be gone...

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

It is dark enough now that Hobi can barely see the boy lying in his lap.....eventhough most of the warehouse can hear him struggling for breath. He is so glad for the privacy the darkness brings. The looks of pity that the other hybrids had sent their way the last few days as Jimin began to get sicker are beginning to take a toll on his emotional state.

He has come to know and love this selfless young hybrid over the past several days. He can tell Jimin has had a rough life. The way he flinched on that first day tells him that being hit was a common occurence for him....and the anxiety is so severe that he wonders if some type of abuse had caused it to reach that level.

The boy has quickly become somebody he wants to protect and shield from the cruelty of the world. His sweet and delicate features and personality traits pull hard on his heartstrings. The boy desperately needs a friend to look out for him, even if only to hold his hand and calm his fears as he loses his life.....he shouldn't have to do it alone. He hopes and prays it won't come to that...He would love to be the one to show him how beautiful life and friendship can be.

He knows the boy looks terrible...he looks like death, but he is well aware of his friend's condition. The young hybrid is dehydrated, he can barely breathe, and he is so very weak. The boy has been poisoned....without help it will most likely kill him. He is in and out of delirium as his body uses every ounce of its resources to fight against the toxin. He doesn't need to be reminded by the others of this several times a day. He is experiencing the effects of the decline of his new friend's health every minute of every hour.

He is broken out of his thoughts as a small faint voice comes from the boy in his lap. "Hyung...m'gonna be sick.." As soon as the last words have left his lips he coughs and gags harshly, choking as his stomach forces purple gunk up his throat. Hobi barely has the time to turn him on his side and move his own legs out of the way before the boy's stomach is heaving and emptying its content onto the concrete floor. The boy stops puking and spits a mixture of blood and stomach acid. He pants and moans as he tries to get past the relentless nausea. He ends up gagging miserably several times as sweat begins to drip from his hairline.

Hobi massages the back of his neck. "Try to take slow steady breaths, Jimin-ah. Focus on your breathing."

Jimin does his best to slow his breathing and as he does the gagging stops. "I d-don't feel good, Hobi hyung..I-" The boy gasps in pain and clutches his stomach. "Everything hurts...s-so bad....and I feel so c-cold..." He starts to mumble incoherently in his delirium as he struggles to continue filling his lungs.

The older cuts him off gently as he turns his face toward him with a hand on his cheek. "Jimin-ah, baby, save your energy. I know you feel awful....you are very sick right now, but I am going to do whatever it takes to get help for you. I promise you....I swear on my life I won't let you die here."

Tears fill the ill boy's eyes at his hyung's touching words, but he can't focus his thoughts enough to come up with a response. Hobi tears up as a shiver runs through the frail boy and his eyes take on a faraway look as he loses touch with reality, reminding the older how critical his condition is.

Just as the older sits the boy up and finishes giving him a drink of water the guard swoops in without a word. He quickly wraps a thick blanket around the shivering hybrid and picks him up, motioning for Hobi to get up and follow him. They rush out a back door and don't stop until they reach an old abandoned train station several hours later as the sun starts to come up. Jimin had been utterly terrified at first and went into a panic attack. His weakened body couldn't handle the stress. Despite Hobi's reassuring words, he continued to gasp frantically and soon passed out.

The boy is still unconscious and cradled against the guard's chest when they climb into an old box car. Hobi is exhausted and in alot of pain from so much activity...his broken ribs protesting such exercise. The malnourishment and inactivity has taken a toll on his body as well. He nearly collapses as he tries to climb up into the train car. The guard gently props Jimin up in the corner and helps lift the older hybrid. He lowers him gently into a sitting position against the wall before sliding the door mostly shut to conceal them from anyone passing by, but still letting a little light in.

They sit in silence for a while catching their breaths before Jimin starts to stir. Hobi tries to move closer to the boy, but his ribs feel like they are on fire. He lets out a stifled groan of pain and guards his side with his arm. The guard puts a hand on his shoulder. "Don't move too much, okay? You need to rest. I have medicine for you, but let me talk to him first."

The hybrid nods as he tries to control his breathing. "Could you bring him closer....so I can talk to him too?

"Of course." The guard carefully lifts the young hybrid and sits near the older boy with the sick boy in his lap. Jimin's eyes slowly open and widen with pure terror as he makes eye contact with the guard.

Hobi grabs his hand and holds it firmly when he begins to shake with fear. "Jiminie...its alright. I'm here too. Hyung is right here. This is the nice guard that has been helping us. We won't let anyone hurt you."

The younger tries to take a deep breath, but he is very congested and ends up coughing. The guard pats gently on his back until he relaxes again. Jimin's eyes travel groggily around the dimly lit metal box and he talks in a weak voice. "Wh-where....are we?"

The guard answers, "I am trying to find a doctor for you. I'm afraid the poison is going to kill you if we don't find help." The boy still looks very confused, but is too focused on trying to breathe to form words.

Hobi tries to explain it more. "Chim-Chim...he broke us out of there and we are hiding out in an old train car right now. As soon as its safe we will keep traveling to find someone who can help you.....how are you feeling?"

He tries to talk in between labored breaths. "H-hard...to breathe.....hyung...I-I can't..."

The older hybrid runs his fingers through the sick boy's hair. "Shhh Jiminie...I know. I know its hard, but you are doing so well. What else are you feeling right now?"

"Hurts..." 

"Where does it hurt Jimin-ah?....your chest?" The boy nods...Each breath feels like a wildfire spreading through his lungs, but he knows he can't stop breathing or he will die. He doesn't want to die so he does his best to push through the pain. 

"Are you nauseous anymore?"

"No hyung...j-just dizzy.....and c-cold....." The dazed look returns for a few seconds, but he shakes his head slightly and then looks at Hobi with genuine concern. The older is pale and sweaty....and still out of breath, his chest heaving with fatigue. "Hyung...a-are you..alright? Y'look....exhausted.." The frail boy reaches shakily for Hobi's hand.

"Gosh Chim...you're killing me." His expression softens at the sudden fear in Jimin's eyes. "Not literally kid...I am just worried about you. You could die, Jimin-ah, and I don't know if I could handle that." He holds back a sob and tears overflow his eyes. He laughs at the ridiculousness of the situation. "How could you even think about me when you are so ill?" He ruffles the boy's floppy ears affectionately with a slight sad smile on his face. He speaks softly and sincerely as he looks into the boy's half-lidded eyes and cups his cheeks. "You are unbelievable Park Jimin! There aren't many people like you in the world anymore, you know that?" He stops as the younger's face scrunches up in pain and his breath catches a little, scratching lightly on the boy's scalp to soothe him until the discomfort fades a little. He continues once the boy has relaxed again. "I will be fine, okay? I just need you to be okay. I know you can't promise me that, but at least tell me that you will try to hold on.."

Jimin nods and takes a noisy labored breath. "I'm trying...hyung. I r-really am....but-"

"No Chim Chim. No but's.....You are going to get the help you need." Silent tears stream down the younger's face as fear and exhaustion overwhelm him. He squeezes desperately onto the older hybrid's hand as he releases his pent up emotions. The guard rocks him gently back and forth as Hobi rubs on the back of his hand and speaks softly to him. "Its gonna be okay....I won't give up until you get to a doctor. Deep breaths, Jimin-ah, you're alright."

It takes a while, but the tears eventually dry up and Jimin stares blankly at a spot on the wall of the car. It is quiet besides the harsh wheezes coming from the young hybrid's chest as he breathes.

 

The guard breaks the silence and shifts Jimin to sit next to Hobi, having him lean into him for support. "I think he should try to eat something while he is awake. He needs to keep his strength up."
The man then reaches into his bag and pulls out a bottle of water and a granola bar and helps Jimin eat and drink. He only manages to eat half the granola bar before he is full. He then turns his attention to the other hybrid and gives him some pain medication. "Now we just need to focus on resting until it gets dark enough to move..." The older hybrid nods and swallows the pill he has been given.

 

 

Hobi feels much better as the pain starts to subside. He pulls Jimin close to his chest before closing his eyes to rest. The younger relaxes into him, laying his head over his heart as he had the first day they met. It is silent for a few minutes, except for the sound of the sick boy's troubled breaths. The young frail boy tries to talk, but it barely comes out in a whisper. "Hyung?" The older boy hums sleepily. "Th-thankyou...for everything.." He coughs and winces, moaning softly from the pain it causes.

"You're welcome Chim-Chim." He massages the younger's chest as he tenses up and his breath catches. The boy strains to breathe and begins to panic, making his weak lungs lock up even more. "Stay calm Jiminie. Relax for me, okay?" Jimin nods and allows himself to sink into the older boy's chest as the color starts to drain from his lips. "Alright...now breathe, slow and easy." The boy struggles, but manages a shallow wheezing breath.

After fighting for air for a few minutes he whimpers as he starts to lose consciousness.
The guard had been watching from across the box car. He pulls a small oxygen tank and mask from his backpack and places it over Jimin's face. "There you go, kid...deep breaths."

The boy can't physically take a full breath, because of the gunk in his lungs. A tear falls down his cheek as he gasps weakly for air. "C-can't...hyung.....I-I.."

Hobi shushes him and wipes the tear away. "Shhhhh Chim-Chim, I know kid.....what do we do?? He can't breathe!" He exclaims as he himself is overwhelmed with worry for the boy.

The guard puts a hand on the younger's chest. "I think he needs to cough again. That crap is threatening to choke him."

Hobi looks into the boy's glassy eyes as he holds his face in his hands. "Jimin-ah...you need to cough....and cough hard, alright? Its hard to breathe because of all that junk in your lungs so you need to cough it out. Can you do that?"

Jimin takes as deep a breath as he can manage, which naturally triggers a deep and breathtaking cough that fills his mouth with blood and gunk. He gags weakly and spits before forcing a few more productive coughs, working up a mouthful of toxin with each one. He collapses into Hobi's chest, having spent much of his remaining energy.

The oxygen mask is replaced over his mouth and nose as he tries to catch his breath. There are tears of pain running down his cheeks as his chest burns with an intensity he has never experienced. He breaks Hobi's heart as he whimpers and squirms in discomfort every time he breathes. The older hybrid holds him close and rocks him back and forth, trying to soothe him.

The guard pulls a vial and a syringe from his bag and quickly draws up a dose, approaches the two hybrids. He gently grabs ahold of the boy's slender wrist and finds a vein. "I'm gonna give you some medicine, alright kid? Its gonna help with the pain. You are gonna feel a prick in your arm." Jimin flinches slightly as he injects the medication, but then starts to relax as the pain dulls and the drug creates a fog in his mind.

The young boy clings to Hobi's shirt weakly. "Hobi Hyung...Do you really think....a doctor...can help me?? I think.......I feel like....I'm dying, hyung." The boy begins to hyperventilate and panic overwhelms him.

Hobi recognizes the look in his eyes and holds him with his ear against his chest. "Jiminie...I don't know for sure what the doctor can do for you, but it is worth trying...you are worth the effort, and if nothing can be done I will stay by your side until you are at peace. I won't let you suffer alone."

This seems to be exactly what he needs to hear. He squeezes the older boy's hand and struggles to speak as the drug pulls him under. "Th-thankyou......hy-ung...y-you are so....good t-to me."

They sleep the rest of the day, with the younger coughing weakly in his sleep every so often. As nightfall hits a storm rages and they are forced to stay put or risk making the younger sicker by traveling in the rain. He can't afford to catch a cold in his condition, so they decide to remain in hiding. He thankfully seems to be stable..

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The following day Jungkook's appetite returns and he is able to eat and drink with no issues. Although he is a little weak and dizzy, for the first time in a while requiring assistance with any kind of physical activity. He sleeps quite a bit and has a hard time breathing without his CPAP when napping. He is still wheezing and a deep breath takes alot of effort, but he stays awake long enough that he wants to talk about the phone call. After they finish lunch the boy brings it up. "Joon hyung?"

Namjoon directs his full attention to the young boy. "Yes Kook, what do you need?"

"N-nothing really hyung....I just w-want to talk about Taetae."

"Sure, Kook-ah, if you think you are ready to do that I will try to answer any questions you have."

The young boy nods and clears his throat. "B-be honest with me hyung....do you th-think I will ever see h-him again?" He looks up at Namjoon with sadness in his big doe eyes as if he already knows the answer to that question.

The older closes his eyes and sighs. He opens them to find silent tears running down the boy's face. He reaches over and gently wipes them away as he replies. "Jungkookie...I am not going to tell you that it is impossible. You may see him again some day, okay?" He pauses and directs the boy to take a deep breath before he continues. "Escaping from where they are will be very dangerous, but Yoongi is smart. I honestly believe they have a good chance of making it out alive....and you should do the same, Jungkook-ah. You cannot give up hope, alright? We have to stay strong for them. They are gonna need our support when they get out of there."

Jungkook nods and snuggles into the doctor's side as a wave of dizziness and exhaustion hits him. He mumbles a soft thankyou as he falls asleep. Namjoon gently slips his mask over his face and pulls him into his lap. "I would do anything to make this easier for you, Kookie."

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

It pours hard all night. Jimin is asleep for most of the time, only being woken up to coax water and tiny portions of food down his throat. His body is thoroughly worn out by the poison coursing through his veins. Thankfully, the poor boy hasn't thrown up since they left the camp, but he is so weak that he can barely swallow anything without choking.

This time he is having a particularly hard time and the guard is forced to stop as the poor kid struggles to clear his airway. He coughs and wheezes, gagging weakly every so often...unable to swallow the remnants of cracker left in his mouth. When his lips start to turn blue he leans him forward to help him spit out the contents of his mouth. "Spit it out if you can, Jimin." The choking boy whimpers and shakes his head stubbornly as he tries again to swallow.

Hobi rubs comfortingly on his back. "Chim please. You need to breathe...that is more important than swallowing a bite of cracker right now. Let it go, okay."

The younger gags and spits as the older hybrid pats his back and the guard holds him steady. As he is eased back against Hobi's shoulder as he gasps for air, tears of frustration and fear stream down his face. "I'm sorry...hyung. I just....don't want to...d-die." 

The latter gently turns the boy's face toward him. "Losing one bite of cracker is not going to kill you Jimin-ah. You have been doing so well-"

Jimin cuts him off with a weak scratchy voice. "Exactly...I-I was doing well....but I'm getting worse.....weaker, hyung. If I can't eat...I'll-"

Hobi shushes him and combs fingers through his hair to calm the growing panic he can see in the boy's innocent eyes. "I want you to forget about the odds...don't focus on the future, alright? Just focus on staying determined in the here and now. Fight to survive in every moment and soon the doctor will do the rest."

"Just go back to sleep for now...rest and we will try to eat again later." The guard watches as they both fall asleep and then tenderly brushes Jimin's hair from his eyes, taking his sleeve and dabbing the sweat away. He tucks the thick blanket around the boy as he shivers violently, despite the warm weather.

As he observes the very ill boy his mind races and he feels sick with guilt. There is a good chance that this young hybrid will die a painful death that he could never deserve. Not even the fact that he was weak and sickly to begin with justifies this kind of brutality. The next thought brings him to tears. This pure and innocent boy deserved to live a life full of love and happiness. How could anybody ever want to inflict pain on, or heaven forbid end his life. For the millionth time since he had laid eyes on the boy, he is reminded that he had been so wrong back then....and especially that awful day....so very wrong and cruel. How could he ever be forgiven...let alone forgive himself?

 

 


 

 

 


 

When the sun starts to come up the guard wakes the boy and encourages him to cough, promising to give him some pain medication afterwards. He nods and proceeds to cough up a ton of purple tinted mucous. Just when they think he is finished he gags and chokes up a mouthful of blood.

Hobi cleans him up and helps him take a drink of water before positioning the boy to lean against his shoulder. He then watches as the guard gives the boy a dose of medication and he slowly relaxes and dozes off to sleep. "Do you think he is gonna make it? It just seems like there is so much of that stuff still in his system...."

The man sighs. "Honestly...I have never tried to save someone who has already had two doses of that crap...but I have watched a few die from it. Of course they all had the third and final dose before they really started to suffocate. Your friend has progressed a lot faster than the others though....it is already beginning to fill his lungs and choke him......."

"He has had problems with his lungs...since he was an infant apparently..."

As Hobi trails off the guard tries to keep his face neutral, but his eyes show so many emotions. The other boy can guess a few but there is something he can't quite make sense of. He can recognize sadness at hearing the boy has a disadvantage and concern for the boy's condition, but he also thinks he sees a mix between regret and guilt. He guesses this could be from feeling guilty for being involved with the people who had caused Jimin to be so ill, or for breaking Hobi's ribs....but he gets a strange feeling that this emotion comes from a much deeper darker place.

The guard must notice his inquisitive stare and quickly averts his gaze and closes his eyes. He takes a deep breath and sighs. "Well, I hate to say this but that could be the factor that kills him. The poison affects the entire body, weakening it significantly, but it targets and attacks the respiratory system until the victim can no longer get enough air into their lungs. The reason he keeps coughing so much up is because it multiples and makes his mucous thicker. If we don't get him to a doctor who can stop the progression, he will eventually become too weak to cough up the thick mucous. It will completely overwhelm and fill his lungs and throat."

Hobi gulps in fear of what the younger may have to endure. "What about the blood...why is he bleeding?"

"The poison is causing damage to the lining of his lungs and throat and anywhere else it makes contact. That's what is causing him intense pain when he coughs. I'm telling you this stuff is super dangerous...I know this from research and unfortunately have seen it work in person.....It is an extremely painful and slow death. Toward the end the lungs become very stiff, making it impossible to cough effectively. We have nicknamed it the 'point of no return' because death is unavoidable by then...it's just a waiting game as they begin to suffocate. As they become severely dehydrated, mucous production slows down, but it hardens like concrete as it fills their lungs slowly. From the 'point of no return' it takes about 2 days on average for the mucous to reach their throat and completely cut of their oxygen. In the meantime it causes an immense amount of pressure and pain in their chest."
Hobi looks terrified and holds tightly to the sickly boy.

He squeezes the other's shoulder as he tries to reassure him. "Don't get too worked up...he is not there yet. He can still cough pretty effectively and he is able to eat and drink small amounts, which will help his body stay strong enough to fight. He may still make it if we can find an antidote, but don't be surprised if it isn't possible to reverse all the damage. His lungs could be beyond repair..."

They both turn their attention to the younger as his breath catches and he arches his back with his mouth open. It last for several seconds before he takes a noisy gasping breath and a few coughs erupt from his chest. He gasps for air a couple more times and then his breathing begins to even out.

Hobi, who had silently massaged the boy's chest through the whole ordeal, now speaks up. "What do you think caused that?? It was like he couldn't breathe at all..."

He winces and looks at the boy with genuine sympathy in his eyes. ".......his lungs are spasming. When that happens it makes it impossible to inhale. Out of the few I have seen poisoned with this stuff, only one had those. They got more intense and frequent with time...since his lungs are already weak, its not surprising that he is experiencing these.....I have a muscle relaxer I can try if they get worse. Other than that all we can do is dull the pain and wait for the spasm to let up."

The older hybrid is saddened by this new information...why must this young boy suffer so much? 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

A few days go by before Tae has another episode and his mental health takes a sharp turn for the worse. He wakes up screaming at the top of his lungs. Yoongi wakes with a start as the boy thrashes around in the bed. The younger appears awake, but his eyes are glazed over and wide with fear. The older knows he has to silence him before someone comes to investigate so he holds a hand firmly over his mouth and hums in his ear until he stops hollering. He is still breathing heavy and his arms and legs move frantically as they fight against the covers. He begins to cry and whispers "help....help, hyung.." over and over.

Yoongi tries to calm him by telling him he is right there and not going anywhere, but it is like Tae is in a whole other world. He is dripping with sweat and his cheeks are flushed....he is quickly overheating, so the older slowly removes the covers....hoping that will help the situation. Even with the blankets gone his arms and legs still move restlessly and he starts to hyperventilate. He whimpers and mumbles a different set of words between gasps for air. "Please....Nonono. please nooo!"

Yoongi suddenly remembers that pain had brought him back the last time. He doesn't want to hurt him, but maybe just a pinch or something like that would help ground him. "Tae, kid, I'm sorry to do this but I need you to come back to me." He then pinches hard enough to leave a bruise just below his collar bone and the boy jolts and takes a long deep breath.

His eyes wander a little and then focus on the hybrid's concerned face. "Y-Yoongi?....Yoongi hyung?.....I.....I-I'm.....so-....s-sorry...hy-" He has a hard time forcing out the words in a tired voice. His energy is nearly gone and he is fighting to catch his breath.

"Shhh its okay. Its not your fault. Just rest for me, okay? Lay still and breathe."

Tae doesn't have the strength to disagree, having spent all his energy fighting off his invisible demons.

 

About a half an hour later he suddenly speaks up. Yoongi looks over to find tears in the boy's eyes. "It...it happened again, hyung....the voices in my head. They said Jungkook is going to die...a-and they would make sure he would suffer. I begged them to spare him and take me instead and that's when Yeonjun came. It was awful....he looked like he did when he was dying, hyung. His lips were blue and stained with blood, and his eyes were unfocused. He told me it was my fault and began to strangle me....that's when you pinched me and brought me back. I.....I don't-" He is cut off by a heartbreaking sob.

"Tae..you know none of that crap is true. Jungkook is doing so much better than before...he is getting stronger everyday....Namjoon will watch over him well, and Yeonjun never blamed you. Even as he was dying he told you not to blame yourself. He would never have hurt you." He lifts Tae's chin to get him to look at him. "Tae. Your mind is playing tricks on you, but you have to fight against it. You can't let those voices win or you will lose yourself."

"But, hyung....I don't know how to stop them."

"Just keep reminding yourself what you know is true." He hands Tae a notebook. "Write stuff down that you know as truth. If you're not sure of something just ask me to help you, alright? Read this to yourself when you start to have doubts."

The younger accepts the notebook with a polite smile. "Thankyou hyung.." He starts to write a few times, but scribbles it out each time. "Hyung...I....my memories are starting to get mixed with those awful voices...I can't......I don't........I'm scared hyung. Please help me." He is looking up at Yoongi with fear and confusion clouding his eyes. His breathing is irregular as his mind races and his thoughts run in circles.

The hybrid's heart feels like it is splitting in two at the scene before him. He quickly agrees to help him and wraps a comforting arm around his shoulders to help ground him. "Of course I will help, Taehyungie."

 

They spend the day writing down facts about Tae's life. Yoongi does his best to help the boy remember stuff about his family and childhood all the way to the present events. As the kid falls asleep he allows himself to shed a few tears for the broken boy. He had witnessed this happen before with other boys here, but he thought by rescuing Tae he had saved him from that fate. The poor boy had been so confused about some of the details of his life and he could see that it absolutely terrifies him...but he can't really do much more to help him.. The young boy's mind is slipping away faster than he thought and all he can do is sit by him and watch.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

The older two take turns sleeping so they can keep a closer eye on Jimin as he rests. It is still raining and actually starting to be a potentially dangerous storm by the time it is getting dark again. The youngest jolts awake as a particularly loud roll of thunder roars and shakes the train car. He gasps in fear and then immediately goes into a coughing fit.

Hobi rushes over to him, earning a streak of white hot pain through his side from his still healing ribs. "Easy Jimin-ah, take it easy. We are safe....that was just some thunder. There is a bad storm coming through. How do you feel, kid?"

He spits out a mouthful of purple gunk before talking in a rough voice. "Kinda hungry, actually....and less dizzy."

Hobi smiles and ruffles the younger's hair. "I'm glad you are feeling better Chim-Chim...how is your chest?"

Jimin takes a deep wheezing breath to test it out. "Its still kinda hard to breathe....but not as bad as it has been...it hurts really bad though......when the medicine wears off."
The guard sits down next to him and puts a hand on the boy's chest. "It doesn't feel like your lungs are quite as congested as they were before...so you are probably not as dizzy, because more oxygen is getting to your brain. As for the pain medicine, I have enough to last through a few more days. Hopefully by then we will have found the doctor I am looking for...he supposedly lives nearby. His name is Kim Namjoon. The guy was with both of his parents as they died...alot of people say he killed them, but I don't believe it. I went to high school with his parents....he's the most honest, self-sacrificing, and compassionate person I have ever met. If anyone can stop the poison and save your life, Jimin, it will be him."

A small hopeful smile appears on Jimin's face. That combined with the ever persistent wheeze from deep within the poor boy's chest is more than enough to break Hobi's heart. He hopes with everything in him that this Namjoon will be able to save his new friend's life.

 


 

 

 


 

About halfway through the night the storm passes and the rain slowly comes to a stop.
The guard wakes the older of the two hybrids and packs up their stuff. "We have to get moving. The sooner we get him to a doctor the better his chances are."

Hobi rubs the sleep from his eyes and nods before painfully forcing his body into an upright position. He is panting as he leans up against the wall. The guard approaches him and presses a pill into his hand along with a half empty bottle of water and a few crackers. "Take that...it should ease the pain a little. I would give you something stronger, but I wanna save the high powered stuff for the kid...."

Hobi nods and smiles as he swallows the pill and eats the crackers. "Of course! He needs to be the priority...I can tough it out."

The guard shakes his head and sighs. This boy is a better person than he ever has been. "You are a good person, you know that? Here you are injured and in alot of pain and all you care about is getting him help...no matter what it costs you. Were you two friends before you were captured?"

The hybrid chuckles softly. "Nope....We had never met. He just...grew on me I guess." Hobi is silent for a while as he thinks back on the first day they met. "He has health issues to begin with, and I...he was just so vulnerable, and he really has a very kind heart. No one else was willing to stand by him....He deserves to know what it feels like to be welcome and loved. For some reason I get the feeling he has always been sort of an outcast."

The guard was silenced as guilt and shame weighed heavy on his heart. He had failed in so many way in his lifetime. Nothing could ever make up for all the evil he had done, but he had to focus on the task at hand. He had to do everything he could to give this boy a chance at surviving. "He probably should try to eat something, and maybe cough some more before we head out."

Hobi agrees and makes his way over to the younger, gently shaking his shoulder to bring him into conciousness without startling him. The boy's eyes slowly open and he blinks them into focus. He opens his mouth to talk, but begins coughing instead. The older boy helps him stay upright and rubs his back as he chokes up several mouthfuls of toxic junk from his diseased lungs. He tilts the boy back some to look into his eyes as he takes a few labored deep breaths. He smiles at the smaller hybrid, but it doesn't quite reach his eyes...they are filled with concern.

Jimin's voice is weak and nearly gone from all the coughing. "I-I'm okay, hyung....don't worry...I don't feel any worse." He surprises himself as he genuinely smiles in spite of his dire situation.

Hobi is taken aback for a second before returning the smile. "I'm glad to hear that Chim. How is the pain?"

He shrugs his shoulders. "Its pretty much the same...gets alot stronger after I cough, though."

The older hybrid hums in acknowledgement and massages the younger's chest as he winces and struggles to inhale through the painful burning sensation. "I'm so sorry Jiminie. I wish I could take it all away from you. You have done nothing to deserve any of this."

 

The pain intensifies over the next few minutes and the boy's lips turn blue, the discomfort making it harder to breathe effectively. Pain medication is prepared and given to him by the guard, and they both stay close as it starts to kick in. Hobi continues to massage his chest and the guard holds an oxygen mask over his face. "Good Job Chim-Chim. I'm so proud of you....so proud of how strong you are."

Jimin smiles tiredly and squeezes his hand. He suddenly cries out in pain and it is clear that he can't breathe...his lungs are spasming. Several seconds pass and it is still not easing up enough for him to get any air in. His eyes are wide with panic as he pulls at his collar.

The guard digs in his bag and draws up some medication, quickly injecting it into the boy's arm. Within a minute the boy is completely limp. The guard pushes his knuckles into his chest, thankfully stimulating him to breathe. "Muscle relaxer...a strong one." The guard explains and Hobi just nods.

Jimin feels so heavy and disoriented. Every part of his body is like a ton of bricks. He can't move and can barely keep his eyes open, but he can breathe again....and even in his dazed and semiconscious state he knows that is really important.

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Over the next couple days Jungkook's anxiety improves. He takes the half pill every night and has learned how to avoid triggers and use coping skills when he begins to feel anxious. He wakes up from a nap the second evening feeling as if he can't get enough air.

Jin and Namjoon stay close by as they watch him try to control his breathing and ground himself. He mutters to himself about the colors he sees and what he smells. Jin almost jumps in when the boy starts to cough, but the doctor grabs onto his wrist and shakes his head.

Within a few more minutes Jungkook is taking slow purposeful breaths. He reaches over to pick up his glass of water, but he is too shakey and accidentally knocks it over. Jin cleans up while Namjoon gets him a new glass of water and brings it to him. "We are so proud of you, Kook. You did it all on your own." He elbows Jin in the side playfully and Jungkook giggles. "Your brother, here, was a worried mess and almost jumped in to help, but I stopped him. I knew you could do it!"

Jin sighs and dramatically gets on his knees to beg for forgiveness. "I'm sorry Kookie! You know me. I just can't help but worry about you!! I promise I do have faith in you...will you ever forgive me Kook?!"

Jungkook giggles again and rolls his eyes. "Oh c-come on hyung! Don't be s-so dramatic. Get up off the floor and f-face me like a man!!"

Jin slowly stands up from the floor and then without warning pounces on Jungkook and begins tickling his ribs. The younger erupts with contagious laughter. Namjoon can't help but chuckle with him and they all get lost in the moment.

Jungkook begs playfully for Jin to stop at first, but then suddenly looks panicked and stops laughing. The soft whimper hits Jin like a truck and he immediately stops tickling and takes in his brother's scared expression. That's when he notices the worsening wheeze and blue tinted lips.

Namjoon jumps into action as Jin collapses onto the floor. "Oh my gosh....what have I done?  What have I...how could I be so stupid?" He hugs his knees as he loses control of his emotions.

He doesn't know how much time goes by before a small weak voice brings him back. "Jin hyung?"

He looks up as the young boy coughs.
Jungkook smiles at him from behind his CPAP mask. Relief floods his body and he goes to the boy and hugs him gently. He apologizes over and over into his shoulder until the small voice speaks again. "Hy-hyung please...stop. I'm okay, really..I p-promise." The younger pauses to take a few labored breaths. "I w-wanted to..say thankyou, hyungie...I haven't f-felt that happy....in s-so long."

 

At hearing the younger's words the older boy breaks down in tears. He is overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. He is so happy that he was able to bring a little carefree joy into his little brother's life, but the other part of him reminds him that he hurt the young boy. It was too much excitement for his still weak and recovering lungs. He still can't shake the guilt for causing the fear and pain he saw in Kookie's eyes just then.

"Hyung please c-calm down....J-Joon hyung says....I will be just f-fine after a few...minutes of rest. It w-was so worth it......t-to laugh with you again, h-hyung.....I missed it so m-much." The younger is now in tears as well.

Jin shifts his little brother so he can sit with him. He holds him close with his head against his chest. "I love you so much, Kookie, and I feel so lucky to be your big brother. You know I would do anything to take all of your struggles away."

"I-I know hyung....I love you too, b-but you can't...It's not your f-fault that...I was born early...a-and sick." Jungkook starts to cough from talking so much.

Jin rubs his back and shushes. "I think maybe you should stop talking and just rest. I promise I will work on the guilt thing, okay? You know I just want the best for you. I want you to enjoy life, Kook-ah."

Jungkook smiles sweetly. "I know y-you do hyungie...you are the best big br-brother.....I could ever ask f-for..........can I s-sleep now??" The young boy smirks, earning a gentle poke to the stomach. He giggles softly and curls up against his big brother.

The latter pulls a blanket over them. "Of course kid...whatever makes you happy." He runs his fingers through the boy's hair until his breathing evens out.

He wakes up a couple hours later feeling much better. Namjoon listens to his lungs and is very pleased to find them clear and free of wheezes for the first time in a very long time. "Wow, Kook! Your lungs sound pretty good. How do you feel?"

"I feel pretty g-good, Joon hyung...just a l-little tired."

Jin chimes in next and ruffles Jungkook's hair. "That's amazing Kookie!"

The youngest smiles brightly at them as Namjoon checks over the rest of his body. He listens to his heart, pushes gently on his stomach, feels for the glands in his neck, checks his reflexes, and takes his temperature. He is so relieved to find everything healthy and normal as far as he can tell. The doctor lets him take the mask off, but insists that he still take a breathing treatment before he lays down in bed.

Jin still sleeps with him to make sure he does okay through the night. He does a little better, but still wakes up gasping and wheezing enough times in the first few hours that Namjoon sets up the CPAP. The boy is not even close to fully recovered, but solid improvements are finally being made.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

After watching the boy breathe for a few minutes and eventually drift off to sleep the guard announces that they have to leave and find shelter before sunrise. They really need to move while Jimin's condition is still somewhat stable. They finish packing up and Hobi slides the door open a few feet, stopping abruptly as a gunshot rings through the air. The older hybrid collapses into a heap on the ground. The guard immediately realizes what is happening...they have been caught. He glances sadly at the small ill boy and prays that he is out of sight as he is roughly yanked out of the train car.

The older hybrid boy is still alive, but there is blood everywhere and it is clear that he has been hit. It is unlikely either of them will see tomorrow, but he is hopeful that the sick young boy will be able to find help in time to save himself.

Several officers surround them. One flips Hobi over on his stomach and puts cuffs on his wrists, causing the boy to cry out as the movement appears to cause intense pain. The hybrid is barely conscious at this point, the only movement is the rapid rise and fall of his chest as he pants.

Two more come over and hold his arms behind his back. A third approaches and gets close to his face. "Where is the small hybrid you took with you?"

He doesn't hesitate to lie to them. "He is dead. He couldn't breathe and we watched him choke to death on that toxic crap only hours after we left that hell hole.  Does that make you happy? Are you pleased that an innocent and harmless creature like him died a horrible death??"

This infuriates them, but they seem to believe that Jimin is infact dead. They know how deadly that poison is.

 

 

The knife still catches him by surprise as it goes through his chest just below his heart. Someone had come from behind and quickly delivered the deadly blow. His vision darkens and his lungs scream for oxygen as his body shuts down. The officer holds the knife in place for a few seconds and whispers in his ear. "Was it worth it to try and help a couple mutts escape...was it worth your life?"

The only reply he can manage is a deep wet cough that fills his mouth with blood. He slowly removes the blade, causing the wounded man to tense up and reflexively claw at the knife as it leaves his chest. "You know the rules...do what she says or die, and die you will....slowly and painfully, officer Park."

Another officer snickers and yanks the guard's hat off to reveal his ears. "Have you forgotten that he is one of them. He totally deserved this...it was bound to happen eventually."

As his strength fades and his knees buckle they let go of him and allow him to fall to the ground with a thud. It knocks the air out of him and causes him to cough up more blood. He gasps noisily...sounding as if he is drowning before forcing out a few words. "S-so...wo-wo-rth it-"

As he gets a rush of adrenaline he picks up the knife from the ground and stabs one of the officers through the heart. He dies instantly and before the others can react the guard has grabbed his gun and shot two more of them. The guard collapses as his vision goes out and listens as the officer carrying a seriously injured Hobi gets in a vehicle and drives away.

As he dies, he can't help but feel content with how he went out. With Jimin safe and off the Patrol's radar his mind and heart can finally be at peace. His job as a Hybrid Patrol officer was destroying him from the inside out. He absolutely hated being responsible for so much pain and suffering. The one good thing that came out of it was the immense guilt for treating his son the way he had. The weight of the regret was nearly suffocating, but over time it had changed him for the better. He knows he can never possibly make up for how cruel and unloving he had been toward his own flesh and blood, but he could atleast give the boy a chance to keep on living.

 


 

 

 


 

 

Everything had changed a couple months after being pulled from the fire at his house. He was forced to play the role of executioner at a death camp. They send the old, very young, and sickly hybrids to be executed rather than tortured....maybe because they do actually have hearts or because they don't want to waste their time and resources on them.

His first victim was a boy that had a major heart condition. They told him to suffocate the boy however he wanted as long as it killed him. He sat on the boy's chest, because he couldn't bring himself to do anything more violent. It was effective at first, but as the boy panicked, adrenaline made it possible for him to get small breaths of air in. The other officers threatened to send them both to a torture camp if he didn't hurry up so he reluctantly wrapped both hands tightly around the petrified young boy's throat.

He still remembers the strangled sound the boy made as his airway was abruptly closed off. The young hybrid clamped his small bony hands around his wrists, digging a few nails deep enough to draw blood. He looked into the eyes of his killer, as his legs moved restlessly and his knuckles turned white, with a silent plea for his life. It was the same look his own son had given him, eyes wide and fearful with unshed tears. Was he no better than these terrible murderous people?

The boy was now clutching his chest with one hand, seemingly in pain. He suddenly wanted nothing more than to let this boy breathe. He quickly released him but it was too late. His arms fell limply to his side as he inhaled once reflexively. The boy's weak heart had already given out. He gently released a long breath as his eyes went blank...the boy was dead and he had caused it. Sure the kid had a serious health problem, but he didn't deserve to die. For the first time he realized how wrong he had been about his son.

As he looked at the small frail boy that he had just killed, he was reminded of his son's similar features. The boy was thin and pale with little muscle build...his body looked weak. He never could have fought back...he was helpless.

Death didn't change his appearance much except for the blue tinge to his lips. He now had to come to terms with the fact that he had actually committed murder...of a child....a sick child at that....and it felt awful and wrong.

Over the next months he seriously considered taking his own life. He just couldn't handle the guilt.......all the suffering and death he was causing with his own two hands. He did what he was told, but always tried his best to make it quick and minimize their pain and suffering. Among the other officers he got the nickname, Angel of Death for that reason.

One in particular that nearly pushed him over the edge was a young girl, maybe 6 years old, that had been given the purple poison. They had given her a single lethal dose and it was causing lots of pain. He approached her after dark and pressed his thumb into her neck enough to close her airway as he hummed a lullaby. She never woke up, but suffocated and passed away gently in her sleep. He let a few tears fall as he helped ease her into death and ended her suffering, but for once in the last several months he knew he had done the right thing....something he can be proud of.

When he had stumbled upon Jimin he planned on doing the same for him, but couldn't go through with it. He was done ending lives...maybe his son could be saved if he just had a doctor to help him. He had to try if it was the last thing he ever did. As Hobi had said: "Jimin deserves his best chance." He owed him that much and more for all the abuse he had put him through.

 


 

 

 


 

Some time just before sunrise his damaged lung collapses and he struggles to get enough oxygen. He has never prayed in his life, but he hopes that God can still hear him now as he lays choking and gasping for air...seconds away from death. He prays that his son will forgive him and he hopes with all of his heart that he will survive, but if he can't get help for himself he prays that death will be quick and gentle. His biggest regret is never telling his oldest son that he loved him. He forced out a few words as death took him. "Appa is....s-s-sorry Jiminie." He stopped and coughed. "L-Love you s-so-....son." It didn't take long before he asphyxiated. At the last second he remembers a short note he had written for his son. Just as he grabs ahold of it, his body relaxes into death. A single tear runs down his cheek as he falls still, the note remaining firmly between his fingers.

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 


Jimin is jolted awake as he hears two gunshot sounds. He had been having a nightmare about his rough childhood. He tries to take a deep breath, but finds that he cannot...infact he can't breathe at all. He tries to remain calm as he looks around and realizes he is completely alone....nobody is here to help him. He loses control and begins to panic at the thought of suffocating alone, mixed with images of his father with his hands locked around his neck.

Out of nowhere he remembers Hobi coaching him several times to cough hard. It hurts like heck, but he prefers pain over choking to death at this point. He gathers as much strength as he can and then coughs....and coughs....and coughs. Its working...tons and tons of purple gunk is coming up out of his lungs, but the problem is he can't stop long enough to inhale. This goes on for a couple minutes and ends in the young hybrid blacking out.

He isn't out for long...as soon as he passes out he reflexively starts breathing. Within a few minutes his oxygen level is high enough to bring him back into consciousness. He moans softly as he comes to and with that awareness the familiar burning sensation floods his senses. It nearly takes his breath away as the intensity continues to rise and tears begin to fall. He tries to dissociate himself from the pain in his chest and instead urges his mind to ask himself what could have happened to Hobi and the guard...the GUARD.

Jimin whimpers as the realization hits him hard and his head pounds. The guard's face flashes in his mind alongside images of his less than loving father. It was the same man....only minus the look of disinterest and disgust, and with a few almost unnoticeable burn scars. No wonder the guard ignited pure terror that was so hard to suppress eventhough this man had done nothing to harm him since arriving at the torture camp. He can hardly accept that this kind man is his father....he was supposed to be dead. It was better off that way.

He thinks back to before his father had been trapped in their burning house as the hybrid patrol tried to flush them out and kill them. His father had never really cared about him. His mother had been the one who had quit her jobs for the first years of his life to care for him as his frail body struggled to manage even the simplest tasks. He couldn't swallow at first, so the doctor had put a tube through his nose and into his stomach so he could get medications and nutrition. She was also instructed to lay him on his side so he wouldn't choke on his saliva.

As far as breathing, the boy was in the hospital on a ventilator for nearly a year after he was born. He just simply couldn't breathe....his lungs were too weak to function correctly. The doctors decided to take him off life support and were surprised when the boy attempted to breathe. After a couple months of supportive care, the boy was breathing well enough to go home on several medications.

When his mother and younger brother weren't around the man would make sure Jimin knew how worthless he was. His father always treated him roughly....pushing him around and occasionally beating him, just to show how weak he truly was. He had heard his father tell his mother once that they should have let him die as an infant instead of working so hard to save him. He said that he is costing more in medical bills than he is worth. Jimin had been about 8 years old at the time and on several different life-saving medications.

He took a few different breathing treatments and emergency inhalers, a pill to prevent seizures....he had a handful of fairly severe seizures as a child, and supplements to help him get stronger. Until the age of 10 his younger brother often helped him walk, because he barely had the strength to do that. The boy's limbs were not strong enough to hold him up.

Ever since Jihyun could walk he started looking out for his brother. After Jimin began to stabilize and slowly gain strength at the agae of 6, their mother went back to work. Both their mother and father worked 6 or 7 days a week, taking multiple jobs just to afford the one bedroom house they lived in. The genetic disorder made Jimin way too sickly to go to school, so he and his brother stayed home alone most of the time.

The caring little boy would bring him his inhaler when he could tell it was hard for his big brother to breathe, and on the rare occassion that the boy had a seizure Jihyun would help him through it. For a young child, he was always well behaved and rarely strayed from the older boy's side. The young boy was even there for Jimin as he had his first panic attack after a threat from his father. The one thing the boy could not do for his sick older brother was protect him from his father....he was powerless to change his father's opinion and feelings toward Jimin. No matter how much it hurt to watch, he could not stop the abuse.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

Some days the young boy is worse than others. He has moments where his eyes are bright and clear. When he reads through the notebook he will add notes and they will laugh together about a funny childhood story. Other times the cloudiness comes back and he seems to drift in and out of his mind. Sometimes on these days his swirling thoughts will drive him into a panic attack, or even one of those awful dissociative episodes. Weeks go by like this and the hybrid finds himself exhausted, not having slept much worrying about Tae.

Today is one of those terrible disoriented days. Yoongi is sitting next to the young boy and running fingers through his hair in an attempt to keep him grounded, while also trying not to fall asleep. "Are you with me, Tae-yah? You have been quiet for a while..."

The younger nods and scoots closer to Yoongi to cuddle into his side. "I'm just....I..ummm. Please keep talking hyung. Its getting kinda loud again..."

"What's it saying this time, kid? Is it about Yeonjun or Jungkook again??"

"No...no not this time. It says that we are gonna d-die here. We will never get out of here alive, hyung. They will kill us a-and we will die and I will never get to see Kookie again."

He pulls the boy closer. "Tae, I promise you I will protect you. I'm not gonna let that happen. I will get you to Jungkook's side, okay? You just have to trust me more than those ugly thoughts. Can you do that for me, Taehyungie?"

"I....I-I don't know, hyung, but....I am gonna try.."

"That's all I could ask of you, Tae. Just...don't you ever think about giving up on me, okay?" The younger nods against his shoulder. "You haven't been sleeping well. Maybe you should take a nap." He just yawns and whimpers in reply. "I'll give you some more pain medicine and then we will both nap..how does that sound?" Tae hums softly, already starting to drift off even as Yoongi injects the medicine into his system. "But you have to promise to wake me up as soon as you are up, alright? I don't want you to be alone with your thoughts."

"I promise..." He mumbles as the drug takes full effect and he falls into a deep sleep for the first time in days. Yoongi is not far behind him. They sleep the rest of the evening and even through the night.

 

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

The pain is worse than anything he has ever experienced....Nothing could even compare to the agony of being shot. He doesn't think the bullet hit him in the chest, but he is finding it very difficult to breathe....so maybe it did and he is dying right now..

He can barely think straight, or even tell what his limbs are doing. He is so overwhelmed and disoriented by the pain that nothing else even matters to him. Is he even still alive? That question is answered as he registers his rapid heartbeat, so intense that he can feel it in his throat.

He suddenly feels terrifyingly numb as his body goes into shock and wonders to himself why it is so dark. Then he realizes his eyes have fallen closed. He manages to pry them open in time to watch the guard who had been helping them be stabbed in the chest. Hobi allows a few tears to fall for their would be hero. They never even learned his name.

The next thing the hybrid feels is extremely light-headed and queasy. He guesses the blood loss from wherever he has been shot is significant. He is powerless to stop the moan that escapes his lips and the darkness that swallows him as the remaining officer roughly picks him up and throws him over a shoulder to take him to who knows where. In his last conscious moments he finds himself hoping that he bleeds out before they can torture him more.

 


 

 


 


The next sensation he is aware of is almost equivalent to an electric shock as his bare skin is laid on a cold metal table. He only has seconds of silence to try and comprehend what is happening as restraints are attached to his wrists and ankles before pain erupts from just under his collarbone on his left side as someone tries to dig the bullet out. He screams and begs for it to stop until his voice is gone and his mind shuts down.

When he wakes up next his arm is in a makeshift sling and he is lying on his back on a cold concrete floor. His throat feels like it is on fire. It is raw and his vocal chords are surely damaged. It hurts badly, but it's nothing compared to the burning pain spreading from the hole in his shoulder. There are no restraints this time, but it doesn't matter because he finds himself entirely too weak to move. The gauze over his wound is soaked with blood and he is lying in a pool of what he can only assume is also blood.

He drifts in and out of consciousness as he continues to bleed out onto the floor until someone with rubber gloves comes in and sews up the gaping hole in his upper chest. Compared to all the pain he had endured the last several hours, this is nothing. He only whimpers softly each time the needle pierces his skin. As they finish and then put pressure on his chest to help stop the bleeding he struggles to focus on their words. As his mouth opens in a silent scream and he tries weakly to squirm out of their grasp he catches a few phrases here and there.

"......lost most of his blood volume...."
"...too weak to survive...."
".....give him a few days...."

The pressure finally leaves his wound and he can breathe again....that is until someone holds his mouth open and begins to pour water into it faster than he can drink it and he starts to choke. They don't stop until his lips are blue and his eyes are losing focus. He coughs and splutters, gasping for air in between. As he expels the water from his lungs the officer wacks him in the head. "Well that was pretty stupid of you....to waste all that water. You aren't getting anymore for days....Idiot!" He then wacks him again so hard that he sees stars. "Stupid mutt...." He mutters to himself as he exits the small room and slams the door, leaving the dazed hybrid choking up water and struggling to breathe.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

The next morning Yoongi wakes up with a start. He feels so rested that he is afraid he might have missed something with Tae. He immediately relaxes though as he registers the familiar weight against his side along with the gentle rise and fall of the boy's chest. The younger is surprisingly still fast asleep. He slips carefully out of bed and over to the fridge to find something for them to eat, but soon realizes it is nearly empty. He would have to go ask the lady in the main kitchen for some supplies. It would only take a few minutes, but he still doesn't feel right about leaving Tae alone in his current mental state.

He searches the place for potential dangers...taking his razor and the syringe with him before quietly slipping out of the room and locking the door behind him. He only gets half way to the kitchen before being stopped by the same man who had caused Yeonjun's fatal injuries. "What do you want?!" It comes out angry and a little bolder than he feels, but he can't help the bitter feeling this man is causing to build inside of him.

"Oh! Someone has gotten a little fiesty over the years!" He meows at him mockingly and then chuckles to himself. "Anyway...why don't you do something for me...for old times sake?"

"No wa-"

"On second thought that's an order or would you like the boss to know you tried to save the brat...you know the one I left for dead? Or maybe she needs to know the mayor's son is still alive??"

Panic takes hold of his heart at the mention of the broken boy lying in his bed. Warning bells go off, reminding him that he should have never let the boy so deep into his heart. These people wouldn't hesitate to kill Tae right in front of him, and that would surely be his breaking point. "Okay! OKAY! I'll do whatever you want just leave him out of this!"

"Oh so he is alive! That was just a hunch, but thanks for confirming my suspicions. Don't worry I will let you keep your little toy....untouched if you do this little favor for me. You see, there is a boy in this room here...I need you to take care of. I may have played a little rough with him and now the bleeding won't stop."

He opens the door and shoves Yoongi in before he can reply. It is a bedroom with a fancy bed in the center. The boy, who looks to be about 14 or 15 is completely naked and lying bloodied and beaten in the middle of the mattress. It is so disgustingly clear what had taken place here and how very violent and probably very painful it was for the young boy. Bruises litter his pale skin on his chest and in the shape of a hand around his neck. He is chained to the bed with his arms above his head and blindfolded. His lower half is covered in blood and other fluids. The man had prevented him from making too much noise with a sock stuffed in his mouth and duct tape sealing his lips.

He approaches quietly and just observes for a minute. The boy is pretty still except for the slight, rapid rise and fall of his chest as he struggles to get enough air through his nose. He arches his back and gags occasionally from the discomfort of the sock as it impairs his ability to swallow. It is evident that the boy has been bleeding for several minutes already by how white his skin is, but also by the small restless movements he makes as his body feels the effects of significant blood loss.

The older boy jerks out of his thoughts as the boy lets out muffled cries of pain. He seems to forget his hands are bound and tries to reach down toward the major source of bleeding. The uncomfortable feeling of the warm substance leaving his body combined with the pain of his fatal injuries undoubtedly causing his delirious mind to order his body to fix the problem. Sadly, nothing can be done to stop it in time. Yoongi can see at a glance that the damage is going to kill him, and within the hour...nobody on the compound knows how to repair such extensive internal damage.

Yoongi climbs carefully onto the bed, and finds it hard to breathe as the young boy flinches in fear and tries to move away from whoever is coming near him. He gently removes the blindfold and the boy's eyes fly open, fresh tears adding to the tear stains and red puffy eyes already tainting his features. "Hey...its okay I'm not gonna hurt you." He is surprised to recognize the kid....he is the son of a rich businessman, who he unfortunately witnessed the murder of. This boy's entire family, parents and two younger siblings were all killed years ago. He doesn't think he will ever be able to erase the memory of the screams of fear and pain from that day.

The said boy stops crying and just stares silently as he removes the chains, apparently too weak from blood loss to do much of anything else. The boy's wrist are raw and bloody from fighting against his restraints to escape the torture he had endured. As the young boy shivers he quickly removes his own shirt and wraps it around the boy's upper body. He removes the duct tape in one swift motion, eliciting a soft whimper from the dying boy. As he removes the saliva soaked sock, the boy begins to gasp hungrily for air.

He then carefully places the boy's head in his lap. He whimpers in fear as he makes faint choking noises. A small amount of blood overflows his mouth as he clutches his side. He curls in on himself and draws his knees up....in obvious severe lower abdominal pain from internal injuries. That's when Yoongi can see that the bed sheets underneath the boy are soaked with bright red blood and the pool is growing at a steady rate. Whatever the man did to him was truly terrible and had to be excruciating to endure. The boy pants and writhes on the bed. "Ahh....ahhhh....pl-.....nnnnghmm.....pl-please help me..." The boy lets out a choked sob and his eyes have an almost crazed look in them. Tears stream down his face and sweat soaks his brow as he barely manages to force out one last heartbreaking phrase. "Please kill me sir." The boy sounds years younger as he pleads for relief in a barely audible voice.

Yoongi remembers the syringe in his pocket. He pulls it out to find it pretty full. Without hesitation he injects the whole thing into the boy's arm. "There you go, kid. That should help you relax. I will stay right here with you until your pain goes away. Soon you will get to be with your family...I promise." The dose is not enough to kill him, but it is enough to hopefully render him blissfully unaware and slightly suppress his breathing. The boy is confused by his words but soon recognizes what he has done and smiles weakly at him. He mumbles a slurred thankyou as the drug starts to dull the pain and fear.

He drifts in and out of consciousness as his entire system begins to slow. His breathing slows down so much that his lips turn blue from lack of oxygen. His muscles gradually relax and he allows Yoongi to place a cool hand on his stomach. He rubs small circles lightly on the boy's clammy skin as the color drains out of his lips and cheeks. Yoongi surpises himself by wondering how he might be able to speed up the dying process for the poor boy. As long as it doesn't cause pain or suffering it would be an act of mercy. He eventually turns the boy's head to the side to help keep him from choking as a small steady stream of blood starts coming up his throat. He still gags and coughs every few seconds, wincing at the uncomfortable sensation.

Yoongi doesn't have the chance to speed the process up before the boy's body does it naturally. He takes a deep shuddering breath and as he slowly lets it out his muscles go completely relaxed. As his muscles go lax, he begins to bleed out much faster. The hybrid can hardly stand to watch as the pool of blood grows rapidly so he pulls the covers up around the boy's waist to hide the horrible sight. It doesn't change that the boy is bleeding to death right in front of him, but it makes it easier to focus on keeping the boy comfortable.

He suddenly gasps, inhaling some of the blood from his mouth and then coughing. The coughing bring even more up and his eyes grow wide at the overwhelming dizziness caused by the rush of blood leaving his body. He makes gurgling noises as he tries to talk, the flow of blood up his throat increasing a little. Yoongi speaks to him as he gags miserably over and over. "Don't fight it, kid, just let it happen. I know its uncomfortable, but there is no way to stop it...it'll be over soon. " He relaxes as his strength dissipates and only whimpers softly in reply to the older boy. For the next minute or so the boy tenses every once in a while as a particularly severe twinge of pain tears through his lower abdomen despite the high dose of morphine. The older boy hums softly as a distraction.

Within seconds his breaths become very weak and uneven, requiring great effort to get air in. The medication becomes less effective the closer the time of death. He moans softly as the muscles in his abdomen visibly spasm and another large gush of blood flows from his lips. His anxiety spikes a little just before death....the lack of blood causes a brief yet intense hunger for air. As the dying boy becomes extremely restless he reaches up and grabs onto the other boy's hand.

Yoongi shifts the boy into an upright position and pets through his hair as he rapidly gasps for air. "I'm so sorry you have to go through this, kid. You didn't do anything to deserve such pain." The boy squeezes his hand weakly before his breath catches and abruptly stops. He opens his mouth to try to breathe, but his chest remains still. He opens and closes his mouth a few times with no result before his jaw relaxes with his lips slightly parted. His hand goes limp and slips out of Yoongi's. He inhales sharply and noisily and releases a small gentle exhale as his lungs spasm and then relax. At that same moment his eyes go unfocused as his body gives in to death.

The older boy doesn't move for a few minutes as he waits to be sure the abused kid's heart has stopped. He then closes the boy's eyes and cleans him up the best he can before taking a mental picture of his now peaceful face. He hates to think that no one will remember these boys...their families don't even know how they have suffered. He buries the boy near Yeonjun's grave, grabs a few essential food items from the kitchen, and then hurries to check on Tae.

Nothing could prepare him for what he encounters as he opens the door.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jimin continues to let his mind wander to his childhood and beloved little brother. A few tears fall silently down his cheeks at the bittersweet memories.

 


 

Jihyun basically took on the role of caregiver for his ill older brother. He never did go to school because Jimin was not well enough to be left alone, although the two did their very best to learn how to read and write at a very basic level. It was when Jimin was 12 years old, after his father had gotten angry with him for not helping more around the house that the abuse reached a whole new terrifying level.

He had gotten stronger over the years, but his body still couldn't physically handle much housework. His father and him were alone in the back yard. The young boy slid down against a tree and used his inhaler as he struggled to catch his breath. He had closed his eyes for a few seconds when suddenly he was roughly grabbed by his throat and slammed against the tree. The man had a terrifying look in his eyes, a murderous gleam as he continued to squeeze his son's throat.

Jimin thought he was going to die...his own father was going to strangle him to death. He didn't bother to fight, because he knew his father was so much stronger than him....and it would only anger him more if he showed defiance. The boy nearly passed out before his father released him, walking away as he crumpled onto the ground gasping for air.

Jihyun found him an hour later in the same spot. He was shaking like a leaf and white as a sheet, too weak and shaken up to move. His little brother carried him to the house as he coughed and wheezed through his swollen airway and hooked him up to a breathing treatment. Jimin was concerningly silent for a while and then broke down in tears. He spoke in a weak hoarse voice, his lips blue with lack of oxygen. "He's going to kill me Jihyun...I-I could see it in his eyes. He wanted to. He w-wanted to k-kill me."

His little brother doesn't have to ask him what happened...he knew. He could see the bruises forming around his neck and could guess who had done it. He wasn't completely oblivious to his father's abusive tendencies toward Jimin. He had seen the man shove his older brother to the ground more than once, but Jimin had made him swear he would never interfere or tell a soul what he witnesses. This was a step too far though...this made him angry and scared for his brother's life. "Hyung...I have to tell mom. I can't lose you. Please forgive me for breaking my promise, Jimin hyung. I Love You." Jimin was too weak at this point to argue with him and had started to lose consciousness.

Their father had already left for work, but their mother had not left yet. She was in the kitchen trying to scrounge up enough food for the boys to eat until she returned. He rushed to tell her and she then ran to Jimin's side in disbelief. She ran her fingers gently over his bruised neck as a few tears escaped her eyes. "Oh...God help us. Can you hear me Jimin-ah, baby?" He moaned softly. "Open your eyes for me sweetie. I need to see them for a moment."

He forced his eyes open halfway. "Eomma......A-Appa...he-"

"I know, baby. I'm so sorry I let it get this far." Jimin coughed and his mother let out a sob as he struggled to breathe and pulled at his throat. "Jihyun, hurry and grab a towel and some ice for your brother's throat." She turned back to Jimin and caressed his cheek as he wheezed. "I love you baby, its gonna be okay...I promise, just stay awake for a little longer." Jihyun returned and they wrapped a makeshift ice pack around his damaged neck. Within a few minutes the swelling started to retreat and he could breathe easier. They watched as he fell asleep and then their mother rushed off to work, telling Jihyun to call the doctor immediately and then her boss if Jimin got worse.

Jimin rested peacefully for most of the day with Jihyun barely leaving his side. The younger boy helped him take his medications and changed the ice around his neck. Jimin knew he was lucky to have such a caring little brother, and also very lucky that his father hadn't broken his neck or worse. It hurts to swallow anything thicker than water and makes it that much harder to breathe.

Jihyun tries to get him to eat, but the pain brings tears to his eyes and it breaks the younger's heart to see him so uncomfortable. He finds some broth and heats it up, hoping it will be easy to swallow and soothing for his throat. Jimin winces as he swallows, but then sighs contentedly as the warm substance slides down his abused throat. He smiles at his sweet and considerate little brother and then takes small careful sips until the broth is gone.

That night Jihyun sleeps with Jimin as usual, being very cautious of his injured neck. He gets up once in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. When he returns Jimin's eyes are wide with fear and he is breathing way too fast and hard to be healthy. As Jihyun approaches the boy starts screaming in a hoarse voice. "Please, Appa! I'll do better.....please.....please don't-" He is cut off by a series of coughs.

The younger boy quickly turns a lamp on so his brother can see him better. "Hyung, its me...Jihyun. Appa isn't here...nobody is going to hurt you. I'll protect you." The boy doesn't seem to hear him and his eyes look right through him. He repeats the last couple phrases over and over as he climbs back into bed and holds Jimin close with his head against his chest. "Hyung...please don't cry. I'm not gonna let him hurt you anymore, I promise. Please take some deep breaths so you don't make your lungs lock up."

The older boy takes a single deep breath and then struggles unsuccessfully to take another. Jihyun doesn't hesitate to seal his mouth over his brother's and gently blow air into his lungs like the doctor had shown them. He gave his brother two breaths before the boy squeezed his hand and took a weak breath on his own. They laid still as Jimin took deep labored breaths for a few minutes and then asked for his "mask." Jihyun knew this meant he needed a breathing treatment to open up his weak lungs and make it easier to breathe.

He quickly set the machine up and placed the mask over his brother's mouth and nose before switching it on. Over the next week this became a common occurence. Jimin would wake up scared to death that his father was coming to kill him and go into a full on panic attack. The panic was too much for his lungs to handle, and always lead to them locking up....which had the potential to cause suffocation without immediate intervention. His doctor prescribed anti-anxiety medicine and family counseling. Their father refused to agree to counseling and their mother did not press charges against him for abuse. She knew that she would not be able to support the boys on her own income. She was trapped.

 


 

 


 

Maybe they just went to find some food or a water source...no. The older hybrid is injured, and not to mention his own condition is not good at all. They never would have left him alone in this state. Unless they decided to leave him behind. This had to be the case...he was too much trouble, only slowing them down and endangering their lives. They probably decided to leave him behind and let him die while they ran to freedom...he was close to death already, so it would not be long before it came and wrapped its long fingers around his slender neck and squeezed the remaining life out of his weak body.

As the minutes go by the pain dulls slightly, enough for him to call it bearable. For the first time he is aware of the sensation of bone grinding together in his chest when he moves a certain way or takes a really deep breath. Did he break a rib while coughing or just make an existing injury worse?
He half crawls, half drags himself over to a bottle of water and a granola bar he spots in the corner. He nibbles on it and then shoves the rest in his pocket. He has to atleast try to survive and find the doctor the guard had mentioned. If he lives nearby its possible he could gather enough strength to make it there.

He waits until sunset before he crawls over to the door and lets his feet dangle over the edge. Tentatively, he scoots forward until his feet are on the ground and then tests to see that they can hold his weight. He involuntarily yelps as a sharp pain shoots through his right ankle and he collapses onto his butt in the dirt. He cries tears of frustration and fear as the complexity of his situation hits him.

The tears come to a sudden stop as he realizes he has no choice but to fight through the pain...walk, or crawl if he has to. He is all at once filled with determination. His sweet and timid little brother never had a chance. He is surely dead by now. He could hear the screams at night from the next door warehouse where his brother had been sent...awful guttural sounds that he was certain could only mean death. If for nothing else he had to keep going for his brother's memory. He slowly and painfully pushes himself onto his feet. He bites his lip in an attempt to stifle a whimper and ignores the brief wave of dizziness the action brings on. He is going to give it his all....he has to do this for Jihyun. He would do this and make his little brother proud.

 


 

 


 

 


 

Yoongi unlocks and opens the door to find the young boy leaning up against the bed as if he had fallen trying to get out of it. His eyes are glassy and unfocused, and his lips are a deep terrifying shade of blue. The boy takes a slow shuddering breath and a distant look of panic flashes across his face. He opens his mouth and again and again to take a decent breath, but can't manage more than several tiny little gasps.

The cat hybrid drops everything in his arms onto the floor and rushes to Tae's side. He places a hand on the boy's cool cheek. "Taehyungie....can you hear me kid?"

He blinks slowly up at him and then attempts to speak. "Hh-hy-...hy-hyunng? I...I dd-diidd.....s-ssome...something...I-I..." He can't finish the sentence before his eyes start to flutter shut and he slumps over onto the floor.

That's when Yoongi spots the broken vial of morphine on the floor. "No...No, oh my gosh, Tae...you...you swallowed that?!"

The younger takes a slow labored breath and tries to form words, but his muddled brain and numb lips make it impossible. Yoongi quickly carries him into the bathroom and shoves his fingers down the boy's throat to make him vomit. It has the intended result. Tae empties the contents of his stomach into the toilet and lays limply against the older boy when he finishes.....but he is still not breathing near often or effectively enough. He is carried back to the bed and Yoongi pleads with him to stay awake and keep breathing as he dials Namjoon's number. "Come on Taehyung-ah, stay with me. Keep your eyes open for me."

Tae keeps his eyes locked on Yoongi's and a tear escapes and runs down his cheek as he takes a weak shallow breath. "I-I'm s-s-orry..."

"Shhh its gonna be okay. Just keep breathing for me....I know its hard, but you need to try." Yoongi rubs affectionately on Tae's chest as the boy tries his best to get oxygen into his lungs. He takes several short gasps of air with tears still trickling down his face. "I'm calling Namjoon right now. You're gonna be alright, Tae."

The phone stops ringing and Namjoon starts talking. "Hello?"

"Oh..thank God!! He swallowed a bunch of morphine, hyung...They made me leave him and he...he was hardly breathing when I came back...oh my gosh, hyung what do I do?? Please tell me I can save him.."

Namjoon's stomach drops to the floor. "Okay...umm just a second....." There is the sound of a door clicking shut. "Is he awake?"

"Yeah...but just barely." Tae's eyes start to roll back into his head. "No! Tae, look at me...please! Don't you dare do this!" Even in spite of Yoongi's scolding the boy is losing the battle to stay conscious.
He tries to keep his eyes open, but they are determined to fall closed. "Joon what do I do? He can't stay awake and his lips are blue."

"Most importantly did you get what is left of the drug out of his stomach?....its not the ideal method to treat this, but it might save his life in this situation."

"Yes hyung I made him throw up as soon as I realized what he did, but he is still not breathing very well."

"Get some ice water if you can and a washcloth. Use it to wipe him down with and it will hopefully help keep him awake and stimulate breathing. He is also probably overheating so it might be good to take his shirt off."

Yoongi quickly gets the ice water and removes the younger's shirt. As soon as the cold cloth touches his skin he gasps weakly, but deeper than he had in the last several minutes.

His eyes open halfway and then slide shut again. The older wipes the other side of his face. His eyes flutter and he inhales sharply before sighing. Yoongi continues to wipe down his neck and chest. "Its working hyung! He is breathing a little better...how long do you think this will last?"

"This could go on for hours depending on how much of the morphine absorbed into his bloodstream before you found him....are his lips still blue?"

"Yes...very blue."

"He is not getting enough oxygen.." The doctor sighs. "Yoongi-yah I am gonna be honest with you...I don't know that he will survive this. If he doesn't start breathing effectively enough to bring the color back into his lips soon his body is gonna start shutting down from oxygen deprivation."

 




 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

Jimin is only a few feet away from the train car when he encounters a body. It doesn't take him long to recognize it as his father. His hat is off and his ears are fully visible. With his hyper sensitive ears he can hear his father's heart struggling to hold on.

A hybrid's heart will sometimes continue beating for hours after the rest of the body has shutdown. Research has shown that in this period between life and death the hybrid appears unconcious but continues to suffer until the heart gives out.....feeling the many discomforts as each organ in the body shuts down and making for an extremely painful end. This is very rare and only happens when something is keeping the soul from resting at peace. His father must have had many regrets that are making him uneasy, and causing his heart to resist death. 

Jimin wants to walk away and leave his father to suffer and die alone like he deserves, but he instead finds himself kneeling in the mud beside him. He just silently observes the still man for a few minutes. He has a single stab wound to his chest that must have been the fatal blow because he has no other visible signs of injury. He is lying in a pool of blood, but not enough for him to have bled to death. He then dares to look at his father's face and suddenly he knows what is causing his death. The man's mouth is open wide and his head tilted back as if still trying to take a breath that Jimin knows he will never achieve. There is blood filling the back of his throat and cutting off his airway, his lips blue from asphyxiation. Its almost as if he is frozen in time just moments before death. His features are tense and his dilated, unfocused eyes are filled with pain....but he makes absolutely no movements. 

Jimin's chest aches, not from the poison this time, but from the knowledge that his father has been suffering over the last several hours. His father had struggled for breath before falling into this strange comatose state as his body was deprived of vital oxygen. 

This was the young hybrids worst fear, probably brought on by the many problems he has had with his lungs since birth. He is absolutely terrified of suffocating, and his father had been forced to do it alone. He shivers at the thought and is reminded that he may have a similar fate. He takes a very labored breath and tries to calm the growing panic in his chest. That is when he notices the small piece of paper between his father's fingers. He gently opens his hand, already stiff and cool to the touch, to find a note written. It reads:

 

Dear sweet Jimin,

I want you to know that you never deserved the way I treated you. You are so unbelievably strong to face the health issues you do on a daily basis. I want you to understand that I was wrong and that I am proud of you, son.

I don't deserve your forgiveness and honestly I would never ask that of you. Just please promise me you'll keep fighting to live...with everything you've got. 

Love,

Appa

 

Jimin becomes overwhelmed with a sharp pain in the center of his chest and his heart races with years of pent up emotion. He finds himself unable to cry for this man he had called Appa, but he suddenly knows what he has to do. He has to stop his father's suffering no matter what his feelings are toward the man, because its the right thing to do.

He leans over and closes his father's eyes, placing a kiss on his cheek. He then takes one of his hands in both of his. Taking a deep breath he tries to let go of all the hurt, fear, and hatred he had over the years toward this man. He reminds himself of the fact that this man has changed and had actually been fatally wounded in an effort to save his abused son's life. He blinks away a few tears before whispering a simple yet so difficult phrase. "I...I f-forgive you....Appa.....so please be at peace. Even after all you've done I...I don't want you to suffer."

As he finishes he hears his father's heart stutter and then slow and the tension leaves his face. His entire body relaxes, his head lulling to the side with his mouth closed and a peaceful expression on his face. As his heart comes to a stop the man takes a sharp shuddering breath and releases it with a wet sigh. A small amount of blood spills from his lips and Jimin wipes it away with his sleeve.

Jimin sits there with his knees pulled up to his chest, still holding his father's hand, for way too long. A shiver runs through him as a cool wind blows right through his clothing and chills him to the bone. He loses track of time as an unusual numbness takes over his mind and heart. He doesn't know what to feel or think about anything...this man, his father, who had once tried to strangle him had sacrificed himself to give him a chance at survival. None of it makes any sense at all. He starts to hyperventilate and only realizes he is passing out when the air is knocked out of his lungs as his back hits the ground with a thud. 

He comes to only seconds later, rolling over as he is overcome with a coughing fit. As usual he coughs up gunk from his lungs along with a fair amount of blood before rolling back onto his back. His eyes go wide with panic and he quickly sits up as he feels the gunk shift uncomfortably in his chest, significantly restricting his breathing. It takes a few minutes for it to shift back to where it was. The hybrid struggles anxiously to get enough air until the hunger slowly fades and the heaviness in his chest lessens.

Once he catches his breath, he shakily pushes himself off the ground. He takes a few more seconds to look at his father's body before pressing onward. He walks as far as he can toward the city before the sun starts to rise, and finds shelter in an abandoned cabin outside of town. He dozes off into a restless sleep propped up on some hay bails, making a mental note of what had happened earlier when he tried lying flat on his back. He rests until nightfall and then continues his quest to find the doctor.

He doesn't get far before his knees start to buckle and black spots dance in his vision. He hasn't eaten much recently and it is getting harder to breathe all the time. He stumbles over into an alleyway and slides down to lean against a wall, closing his eyes and breathing heavily. He finds the granola bar and forces himself to eat a few small bites.

Jimin's lungs suddenly ache with the urge to cough and he is thrown into a violent coughing fit. He coughs up more than he ever has and is so thankful that he is sitting down. Otherwise he would have surely collapsed from the wave of dizziness that hits him so hard he thinks he might vomit. He fights hard against the queasiness, knowing he can't afford to lose the small bites of granola bar he had just eaten. Eventhough it wasn't much, he needs the nutrients to keep his strength up.

He allows himself to rest there for a few minutes as his lungs feel like they are on fire again. Darkness pushes in on the edges of his vision, threatening to pull him under. He struggles to contain the involuntary whimper as a new sharp pain explodes through his chest and he blacks out for a couple of seconds. He gasps as the pain comes back full force with his awareness. All he has the energy to do for the next half hour is to try to breathe through the blinding pain as it slowly fades.

As soon as he can see clearly again he takes the water bottle he brought from the train car and shakily removes the cap. He takes small sips and the cool liquid feels like heaven sliding down his raw and abused throat. He nibbles a little more on the granola bar to settle his stomach and after gathering his meager supplies decides he better keep moving. He is not sure where he is going, but he hopes he can figure it out once he gets further into town.

He grits his teeth to keep himself from crying out as he again puts weight on his injured ankle, leaning against the brick wall as he steadies himself. He continues like this all night, taking frequent breaks and coughing more than ever. His ribcage aches with overexertion and its starting to hurt him to breathe. He guesses the exertion is causing the poison to work faster and bring on more coughing spells.

The closer he gets to the heart of the city, the more people he starts to encounter. It is too dark for them to see his ears, but with his heightened sense of sight he can see them very well. They are homeless from the looks of them....skeletal frames and ragged clothing. He can tell from a distance that some of them are dying or already dead.

He passes through an area where it seems many bombs may have been dropped. He gags and almost barfs as the smell of death and destruction hits him like a ton of bricks. There are bodies everywhere....all hybrids. This must have been a hybrid hideout. It is a sickening sight to see...proof of his own kind brutally murdered and the bodies left out in the streets. Some were badly burned and others with several bullet wounds, but all of them were dead. His hybrid senses are overwhelmed and his ears start to ring.

He nearly screams when a bunny hybrid, maybe 10 yrs old with a single bullet wound to her upper abdomen whimpers. The girl is taking slow shallow breaths through her mouth. He tentatively approaches her and gently lifts her from the pile of rubble. She gasps as what he thought was a bullet is removed from her body. She had landed on a large piece of metal debris that had severed her spinal chord and pierced all the way through to her abdomen. The presence of the debri had slowed the bleeding, and forced her to live hours longer than all the rest. The absence of the metal in her body has her rushing toward death.

He cradles her in his lap as she begins to slip out of consciousness. "Th-thank...you...s-s-sir....." She squeezes his hand and does her best to focus her tired eyes up at him. She opens her mouth to breathe, only able to take a shallow shuddering inhale. Before she has the chance to exhale her chest begins to quiver as her lungs fail, causing her to make soft hiccup sounds. Blood trickles from her blue lips as the hiccups fade to silence and her chest stills. 

Through all of this she remains calm and doesn't seem uncomfortable. Even as her heart begins to weaken and slow, she is not restless. She leans her head against Jimin's chest as her eyes get heavy and begin to dilate as she comes very close to death. Her eyes suddenly smile as she recognizes his hybrid features. She attempts to talk and it comes out in a faint whisper as she places her hand on his chest. "Hh-hybrid...l-like me.......I-I....I....w-w-want-" She stops as her lungs run out of air. The girl opens her mouth wide and grips his shirt in her hand as she tries to get enough air to finish her sentence....a strained gasping sound escapes her lips, but no air moves past her lips.

She does this for only a few short moments before suddenly making a series of choking noises as blood fills the back of her throat. Her lips move slightly to try to mouth the rest of the sentence, but her jaw quickly relaxes and falls still...her hand falling limply onto her stomach. She will sadly never get to tell him what she had wanted...that wish will die with her. Jimin watches with a heavy heart as the young girl's now unblinking eyes dilate completely and glaze over as the moment of death arrives too soon.

 


 

 


 

 


 

Jungkook had fallen asleep on the couch after getting out of bed that morning while waiting on Jin to fix breakfast. Namjoon had set up his nebulizer treatment and then rubbed his back until he eventually couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. Although he is improving, he still wears out very quickly and naps often. He is not sure how much time goes by, but when he wakes up the mask has been removed and Namjoon is leaving the room with his phone up to his ear.

The young boy would have minded his own business if it wasn't for the distraught look on his hyung's face as he clicked the door to his room shut. Jungkook is not the frail dying boy that he was for the majority of the time he has been here. The last several days his asthma has seemed to retreat and his lungs are finally showing subtle signs of recovering. He has learned how to keep his anxiety at bay and prevent most attacks with the help of the medication. He could handle hearing whatever it was that was going on with Tae and Yoongi.

He quietly walks over to listen through the door and the first thing he hears causes a brief wave of dizziness. It sounds like Tae is in serious trouble and Jungkook wants to help...he needs to be useful....he owes Taetae that much. The older boy was always there to rescue him when he needed it....it is his turn now. Before he can think too much about consequences or how disrespectful he is being to his hyung, he turns the door knob and walks into the room. "I want to help, J-Joon hyung, please! I-I want to do something f-for Taetae..."

Namjoon is startled at first but then sighs in defeat...the boy has already heard some of it, so there is no hiding his friend's sitaution and mental instability. He is going to have to be honest with the young boy and just deal with the effect it may have on him. Jungkook's physical and mental health have been improving, so maybe he is ready to hear everything. "I will tell you more details later but what is happening right now is.....Tae overdosed on some morphine Yoongi had stolen to give him for his broken ribs. We have made him throw up most of it, but some absorbed into his system. Its causing him to have difficulty breathing and-"

"Let me t-talk to him-"

"I don't know about that, Kook-"

"P-Please, hyung, it might give him strength to k-keep going...for me....and i-if not I want to keep him company until he d-dies..." He has tears in his eyes, but for the most part looks like he is handling it okay so Namjoon hands him the phone.

"Y-Yoongi hyung...could you put it on speaker phone or s-something so Tae can hear?"

"Of course, kid, but he isn't really awake right now..."

"I know.........b-but maybe he can still hear me."

"Its definitely worth a try Jungkook-ah." The cold water worked for a couple minutes, but not anymore. Tae's breathing has basically stopped. He is only gasping a few times a minute and Yoongi resorts to giving him puffs of air mouth to mouth as Jungkook begins to talk.

"Taetae its K-kookie.....please don't give up h-hyung. You promised that as long as I am breathing y-you would always keep fighting."
Tae's eyelids flutter and he takes a shuddering deep breath.

"Keep going Jungkook. He just took a good deep breath on his own."

The young boy lets a tear escape as he starts talking again. "Hyung....I love you Taetae hyung and I-I want more than anything to s-see you again. I want you to know that I am g-getting stronger. Ever since th-that phone call I have felt more alive, hyung. N-Namjoon hyung says my l-lungs are starting to heal and my anxiety is so much b-better. That's all thanks to you hyung................................

Is he alright, Yoongi hyung?"

"He has taken a couple more good breaths and is stirring a little. Are you doing alright, Jungkook-ah?"

"Actually yeah...I'm feeling just fine, hyung. I-" he stops short at what he hears through the phone.

Tae takes another labored but deep breath and speaks softly in Korean. "Borahae.....Kookie-ah."

Tears fall freely down Jungkook's face...not of sadness, but of relief and out of love for his dear best friend. "Borahae, Taetae....s-saranghaeyo." He hadn't used the language much since he was very young, but the two close friends had spoken a few words of affection back and forth to each other over the years of their friendship in his first language. "Keep fighting hyung...d-deep breaths, okay?"

Tae takes a couple slow deep breaths and forces his eyes to open. "I'm so.....s-sorry....Kookie...I didn't....want I-I didn't.........I couldn't.."

Yoongi stops him and reminds him to focus on breathing. "You can talk more later, but right now we all just want you to breathe."

"He's r-right Taetae. I don't want y-you to talk too much right n-now. Stay awake a-and breathe. No one is m-mad at you...we are j-just worried, hyung."

Namjoon takes the phone back and turns on speaker phone. "How is he Yoongi? What do his lips look like?"

"He is breathing much better and his lips are only slightly blue now. He is awake again and trying to talk too."

"Okay good." He turns to Jungkook with a proud smile on his face. "Kook...you may have just saved his life."

 

 



 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jimin finds an old sheet in an abandoned motel and wraps the young bunny hybrid's body in it before lifting her onto a bed. She didn't deserve for her final resting place to be in a pile of rubble....the bodies of her friends and family mutilated all around her. This is a more peaceful place to be laid to rest, the best he could do. He lays her delicately on top of the matress, and before leaving her there takes one last peek at her peaceful face and her delicate pink bunny ears. Just before covering her up again, he catches a glint of silver around her neck and gently removes it. Its a large silver, heart shaped locket...with a keyhole in the side. He tries to open it and it is indeed locked. He is sure the girl had no place to hide a key on her person. The attack had happened in the middle of the night so she was dressed in a simple night gown and a thin pair of sleep shorts, neither had pockets.

He fastens the jewelry around his neck and tucks it into his shirt. He then kisses the girl gently on the cheek. "Rest easy...." He reaches for the locket, turning it over and reading a name that is engraved on it. "Leah.....I will tell everyone I meet about you, okay? I'm really grateful that I got to know you...even if it was only for a minute." He covers her face and bows deeply to her as he leaves the motel and continues on his journey....suddenly reminded of his predicament as the adrenaline fades and a forceful coughing fit sends him to the ground. It takes everything he has to get back up.

 

He walks past several alleys full of starving and homeless people before something he hears nearly stops his heart. He hears a gun being loaded...at this point only Hybrid Patrol officers and the soldiers have guns. He jumps into a dumpster as heavy footsteps come his way. He dares to peek as a Patrol officer drags a man and his daughter, both appear to be mouse hybrids, into an empty alley. He forces them both to their knees at gunpoint and then shouts at them. He can't make out what he is saying, but soon both hybrids are in tears. The dad kisses the little girl on the head and then stand and turns his back toward the officer. He promptly ties his wrists and then ankles together as the girl begs and cries. The officer yells at her and then tapes her mouth shut.

Jimin's eyes widen, but he can't seem to look away as the man is strangled. He pulls a thick rope from his bag and makes a noose, proceeding to hang the man from an old electric pole. He tries to remain still to avoid scaring his daughter, but begins fighting as adrenaline takes over. Jimin has to look away as the man dies. The officer then goes over to the crying young teenager and ties her ankles and wrists together. He grabs a syringe full of a blue liquid and injects it into a vein in her neck. The officer stares at her for a while, deep in thought. "Well...lets do another just to be sure." He pulls a vial from his backpack and fills the syringe again, injecting it into the other side of her neck. "There....you will never see the sunrise again, dear, so enjoy the full moon while you can....I am sure you will die within the hour, and I am so sorry I can't wait around to watch......anywaay....sweet dreams!" The officer, who Jimin was sure was a young man up until this point, blows a kiss and takes off her hat....releasing her long dark hair as she turns and walks away. She yells once more over her shoulder as the girl begins to wheeze. "Oh good! It has started! I will be back as soon as I can to collect your body, sweetheart!" 

Jimin waits a few minutes after the woman is gone to come out of hiding and approach the young girl. In those few short minutes the girl has quickly deteriorated. She squirms against her restraints and pants anxiously as the poison takes effect. She jumps slightly as Jimin slides down to sit next to her. He reassures her that he won't hurt her as he unties her wrists and removes the tape from her mouth. "Shhh...easy...I just want to help you. Look...I'm a hybrid, too." He pulls his jacket off to reveal his ears and wraps it around her as she shivers.

She nods and inhales rapidly and hungrily for air. She speaks softly. "You can't do much for me though....I will die soon." She gasps again and again sharply, releasing little puffs of air in between. 

He puts his arm around her and pulls her onto his lap. "I know...I know you are dying, but no one deserves to be alone in their final moments....that's how I want to help. Would you like me to stay with you?"

Her breaths are shallow and body tense as if in pain. She takes a deep breath and relaxes as the pain seems to lessen. The girl nods and pushes out words a few at a time. "Please d-don't.....don't leave...m-me. I'm scared." 

He takes a few labored breaths to ease the sudden hunger for air in his chest and the dizziness that makes his vision blur.

"Y-you are....s-sick....I c-can hear.....how h-hard it....it is f-for you...to br-breathe..."

He smiles sadly. "Yeah...I am. I think I might die too. They poisoned me at a torture camp...and some friends helped me escape to get help. I don't know if I can get it in time though-" He is cut off as his lungs spasm. The girl slips her hand in his as he struggles to breathe. It doesn't last too long before he can take in air again, but he has a hard time catching his breath.

She looks at him as if he is a superhero as she speaks in a whisper. "I b-believe...in you. I h-have heard so...much about y-you-" She tries to inhale, but her breath catches in her throat and she gags and then swallows. Tilting her head back, she manages strained gasping breaths. 

Over the next minute her breaths speed up and she restlessly moves her legs as her lips turn blue. She is somehow suffocating, even as she rapidly takes in air....the poison seems to be blocking oxygen absorption.

Her breaths gradually slow over the next couple minutes and her movements stop....her body weakening with oxygen deprivation. She suddenly takes a deep gasping breath and struggles to speak. "D-Doct-tor.....l-lives...on..." She takes several useless breaths and attempts to tell him what street the doctor lives on, but can only force out small puffs of air. Jimin rubs her back gently. "Its okay....I will find him. Don't worry too much about me."

She strains to look around and then points toward where the doctor lives. Jimin smiles at her and squeezes her hand. "Thankyou...that is really helpful. I wasn't really sure where to go from here...."

The girl smiles back and takes a slow breath through her mouth before gagging wetly and swallowing. Opening her mouth wider, she takes a slightly deeper breath and slowly releases it. Her next breath catches several times as she strains to pull in air. She tilts her head back and weakly fumbles with the neck of her shirt for several seconds with a pained look on her face. Her eyes glaze over with an unusual blue color as the girl manages one last strained breath....very slow and deep. She then begins to make choking noises as her body is thrown into a seizure. 

As the poison reaches her heart it immediately stops and she abruptly stills. Jimin cocks his head to the side in confusion as the girl's chest gurgles with her gentle exhale. As he lays her body down her mouth fills with a blue liquid. He turn her head to the side to let it drain, and watches with wide eyes as the puddle grows and begins to make an ominous hissing noise.

He quickly turns away as the seemingly acidic substance forms a pool around her body. His chest tightens with anxiety and he chokes on a breath as he spins on his heels and leaves the area as quickly as he can. He is not sure how long he is nearly running for but he is forced to slow down as all the buildings spin and a band tightens around his chest.                           

He stretches his hands out to feel for something solid to lean on and then collapses against it. He feels like he can't breathe and its hard to tell if he is truly dying or just panicking. The dizziness intensifies until it is really difficult to focus or form a coherent thought. All he can think is that he can't breathe, can't breathe, can- His lungs suddenly lock up like they used to when he was younger, but Jihyun is not here to help him this time. He tries to breathe, but his lungs refuse to cooperate....they are useless and he is now facing his worst fear.

After a while of futile attempts, he doesn't have the energy to keep trying. He just stares blankly at an old fountain across the way, which had probably stopped working many months ago. He tries to imagine what it must have looked like when it was functioning...it was most likely a beautiful sight. This whole town was probably a beautiful place once. He wishes he could die in a beautiful place...or atleast have the chance to see something beautiful before he died....He reflexively gasps for air with absolutely no success as his body desperately craves oxygen, resulting in soft grunts and occasional choking sounds as his lungs refuse to expand. His heart races with anxiety as he remembers he is suffocating.....his worst nightmare. He trembles as terror floods his chest and tears stain his face. As his lips turn a deep blue and his vision blurs, he longs for Hobi's presence. The older hybrid had been there for him through so much in such a short time....but now he would be forced to die without a single person by his side. He only hopes that his friend is not suffering wherever he is...

 


 

 


 

 


 

Jin eventually brings breakfast to them and they stay on the line as the drug slowly leaves Tae's system. Breathing remains a difficult task..he occassionally stops so long that his lips turn blue, but his best friend's voice brings him back from the ledge every time. Jungkook continues to talk to him and encourage him as the morphine does its worst to his body. His heart races and skips a beat often, his skin is flushed and sweaty, and its very difficult to swallow. He is unable to speak as his muscles become tense and spasms run through his body occasionally. The spasms often affect his ribcage, making it even more difficult to take a breath.

It would be much easier for him to just give in and let the morphine pull him under, but his best friend's concerned voice is more than enough to keep him fighting to fill his lungs. A couple weeks ago he would have given in and allowed himself to suffocate so he could escape this awful world forever, but now he knows that Jungkook is counting on him and to his surprise he has several people that care enough to encourage him to keep living.

The combination of Jungkook's unconditional love with the selfless love and concern radiating from Jungkook's brother, the doctor, and Yoongi...who honestly know very little about him.... It is absolutely overwhelming, but giving him the strength he needs to keep struggling for each and every breath of air. Maybe life can be more than all the pain and suffering he has known for the last several years? Maybe life could be worth living with these people in his corner...

Jungkook gets worried when his friend goes silent for several minutes. "Yoongi hyung....what's happening??"

Yoongi brushes Tae's hair from his eyes as the boy tries and fails to form words. "Easy Taehyung-ah, just focus on breathing." He then speaks to Jungkook. "He's okay, Jungkook-ah. I don't think he is able to talk right now, but he is still doing his best to breathe. I think he is gonna be okay thanks to you, kid."

Jungkook has no words and only takes a deep breath as a few tears escape his eyes. Jin hugs his little brother and then praises Tae for not giving up. "You are a good kid, Tae. I am proud of you and I know Jungkook is too...he is just a little emotional right now."

Yoongi scolds him playfully. "Stop it, you guys, you are making him cry." Jungkook giggles through the tears.

Namjoon takes over and asks questions about the young boy to determine if his condition is improving.

Tae becomes restless as his heart beats irregularly in his chest and he begins to feel like he is floating. At the same time a rush of heat comes over him and sweat drips from his hairline. His vision blurs and his eyes unfocus as if he is about to pass out. Namjoon fills Yoongi in on common side effects to help him understand what the younger is going through.

Yoongi wipes him down with the cold water and reassures him as he pants shallowly and weakly clutches at his chest. "Joon hyung says your heart is going to be just fine. I know it feels like its gonna beat out of your chest, but it will be okay...that's just a side effect of the morphine."

Saliva causes him to choke and gag as he fails to be able to swallow it. Namjoon instructs him to lay Tae on his side to help drain it and keep his airway open. That helps tremendously. A long 3 or 4 hours after Yoongi found the boy he seems to be coming out of it. His body temperature drops dramatically and leaves him shivering so the older puts his shirt back on and lays down next to him under the blankets. He starts coughing, bringing up small amounts of pink tinged mucous that had collected in his lungs the past few hours. He continues to do that for a couple days and wheezes when laying down. He begins to breathe deeper and more often even as he begins to drift off to sleep. Yoongi allows it because the boy is exhausted and Namjoon says it is safe as long as he doesn't stop breathing or slow down too much.

Namjoon suggests he stay on the line for a little longer to be sure Tae is stable. After a few seconds of silence as Yoongi watches Tae breathe, Jungkook timidly asks some hard questions. "What's wrong w-with Taetae? I know s-something is wrong with him....D-did he do it on p-purpose? Does he w-want to die, Yoongi hyung??"

Yoongi sighs deeply and Namjoon puts an arm around the young boy. "This is gonna be hard for you to hear Kook, but Tae is not well. We think he may have done this on purpose."

The hybrid then speaks up. "Some days he is not himself, Jungkook-ah. He gets confused and has awful invasive thoughts. Sometimes they drive him into a panic attack and other times he goes into his own little world and I can't reach him. Its terrifying to watch. I had to go do something for my boss and when I came back I found him barely breathing...I don't know for sure, but I bet his negative thoughts got the best of him...."

It is quiet for a while until Tae coughs and whimpers. Yoongi pulls him closer and runs fingers through his hair. "You're alright, Taehyung-ah, the worst is over now."

He coughs some more and winces before groaning in pain. He mumbles groggily and starts to wheeze softly. "Chest h-hurts...hyung.."

He looks at the boy for a moment with concern in his eyes. "Joon hyung is that normal? He is wheezing a little and his chest hurts."

"Yes...unfortunately. He probably has some fluid buildup in his lungs. Its a common side effect of an overdose. He might have trouble breathing laying flat so try to keep him propped up a little."

Namjoon looks over at the youngest to see how he is holding up. Jin has pulled him into his lap and is holding the boy's head to his chest. There are surprisingly no tears falling and the young boy looks deep in thought. He doesn't say a word as Namjoon wraps up the conversation, says goodbye and hangs up the phone.

The boy suddenly goes into a coughing fit and his lungs constrict....all the talking finally catching up to his recovering lungs. He begins wheezing and feeling lightheaded. He whimpers and breathes heavily. "Hyung, I-I..think-" He stops talking as his lungs constricts even more and squeezes his brother's hand.

"Shhh, Kookie...I've got you. Joon hyung is getting your medicine." Jungkook hadn't had an asthma attack this severe for a long time. Jin tries to keep him calm as Namjoon gets his inhaler and sets up a breathing treatment. The boy tries to take a deep enough breath for the inhaler to be effective but can't do it and starts to panic...which only makes things worse. Jin carries him to the couch and lays him with his head in his lap as Namjoon kneels on the floor and holds a mask over his face. His older brother gently brushes his hair back from his eyes as he struggles to fill his lungs. "Just focus on me, okay? The breathing treatment is gonna help you feel better soon. Joon and I are going to take good care of you. No matter what that brain of yours is telling you, I promise its gonna be okay."

Jungkook still looks scared to death, but nods and keeps eye contact with Jin. The young boy's eyes flutter as if he might pass out and his older brother looks to Namjoon with fear and worry on his face. 

The doctor looks concerned too as he pats on the youngest's cheek. "Try to stay with us, Jungkookie...keep those eyes open and take deep breaths so the medicine can get in and help you." The wheezing boy's eyes widen slightly in response to his words, but still go in and out of focus as he balances on the edge of consciousness. The wheezing gets worse and worse. Before long he tries to take a breath a few times, but can get very little air in.

Namjoon retrieves a syringe and a vial of medication from his room. He explains as he injects some into Jungkook's bloodstream. "This is a steroid. It will help the inflammation in his lungs go down so he can take deeper breaths and get the other medicine into his lungs. I was trying to avoid using it because I am running low on alot of stuff...but I don't think he is gonna improve without it."

Jungkook continues to struggle to draw a breath for several seconds. His lips begin to turn blue and his eyes close as he loses the battle to keep them open. Namjoon swallows nervously and squeezes Jin's shoulder. "He's alright, Jin, just give the medicine time to kick in and start working." The youngest takes shallow wheezing breaths for a few minutes until the steroid decreases the inflammation of his airway enough for him to take a decently deep breath.

Jin and Namjoon sigh in relief as Jungkook pulls in deep wheezing breaths and his lips start to pink up. He does this for a couple minutes before coughing softly and opening his eyes a little. "Hyung?..." He whispers softly. 

His little brother's disoriented and fearful eyes pull at Jin's heartstrings. This is not the first time the boy had woken up confused after an asthma attack. It happened almost every time he had a severe attack, bad enough to render him unconscious. The nurse at the orphanage had said it was caused by his brain being deprived of oxygen for an extended amount of time....not long enough to cause brain damage, but enough to leave him anxious and confused. "I'm here, Kookie....its alright." He massages Jungkook's chest gently in hopes of easing the discomfort he knows his asthma attacks bring on. 

Jungkook whimpers and his eyes fill with tears. "Hyung...wh-what...I-"

Jin cards through his little brother's hair as he gets worked up and starts coughing. "Shh...breathe, Kookie. You had a really bad asthma attack, but the medicine is working now and you're gonna be just fine."

Jungkook nods weakly and his eyelids flutter with exhaustion. Namjoon caresses his cheek as his eyes slip shut. "Jungkook-ah, I would really feel better if you would try to stay awake a little longer..." He groans softly, but does his best to follow directions.

His lungs slowly open up over the next 20 minutes, allowing him to breathe easier. Namjoon removes the mask after the treatment has finished and after a few minutes places his CPAP over his mouth and nose. The boy is not wheezing, but still having a pretty hard time breathing. His anxiety makes things worse and soon he is overwhelmed with breathlessness. He shifts uncomfortably, trying to find a position to ease his breathing. His eyes grow wide in fear and he breathes rapidly. "J-Joon hyung, I can't-"

Namjoon grabs his shoulders reassuringly. "You're alright, Kook. Just slow down your breathing...let me help you get comfortable." Jin lifts Jungkook while Namjoon slides a couple pillows under his back to help prop his head up. "There you go...Is that better, Jungkook-ah?"

"Yes, hyung.....th-thankyou." The boy gives him a tired, but genuine smile. Once he is able to feel like he is getting enough air, the teen drifts off to sleep....his body exhausted from the sudden attack and the stress of the day.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jimin is quite literally suffocating. His lips are blue and his eyes are glassy....death is just around the corner if he doesn't get oxygen soon. He becomes delirious and starts to see people like his dead grandmother and his cousin who had died years ago. But then he sees a face that is not a relative's, yet is immediately recognizable....the young bunny hybrid from the hideout that died in his arms.

She is dressed in the same night clothes, but her skin has a healthy glow to it and there is no blood tainting her clothing. The girl kneels down and timidly reaches for the locket around his neck. She looks up and smiles cutely, a faint blush blossoms over her cheeks. "You kept it, huh?" Her smile quickly fades as Jimin makes a choking noise and his eyes start to roll back in his head. She cups his face in her hands. "Hey...Jimin, look at me. You can't join me yet. You have to breathe." She places her hand on his chest and Jimin feels his heart skip a beat and a rush of warmth flood his chest...easing the pain of asphyxiation. He opens his mouth to take a breath, but can't find the strength to follow through.

She combs her fingers through his hair. "Gosh...you are so sick," She whispers softly and then tilts his head back. "I'm gonna help you, okay?" The young bunny hybrid blows air into his aching lungs again and again until the fog in his oxygen deprived brain fades away. The last thing he remembers before falling unconscious is the girl's small hand on his cheek and a soft kiss on his temple. "Thankyou for caring Oppa.."

When he opens his eyes again he is in the same spot, but the girl is gone and the sun is starting to come up. He doesn't have much time to ponder what had happened, before a terrifying realization hits him. He had left his jacket with the poisoned mouse hybrid, so he has no way to cover his ears. With the sun steadily rising he is totally exposed to the Patrol Officers. The danger level of his presence in the middle of town during the day is extremely high. If he is found there is no doubt in his mind that they will either torture him or kill him on the spot. 

He obviously has to find a place to hide if he wishes to continue living...he understands that much, but his body is drained and uncoordinated. He tries to stand up, using the building wall as support. His legs tremble and give out, refusing to hold him up. Tears of frustration fill his eyes, but he continues to give it all he has until he is standing. He leans heavily on the brick wall as sweat drips from his hairline and his chest heaves with labored breaths. His frail body is suddenly overcome with deep congested coughs. All his progress melts away as he collapses onto his knees and chokes on the poison-filled mucous still coming up from his lungs.

He remains there, hunched over and hacking hard enough to break his ribs, until his ears start to ring. Jimin's body can't handle the strain and his muscles turn to jello. He begins to slump over onto the ground, but to his surprise arms slip under his and wrap around his chest. He is quickly dragged out of the sunlight as his eyes slip shut yet again.

As his consciousness slowly returns to him, he registers something soft under his head and shoulders and a thin blanket tucked around him. He forces his eyes to open and scan his surroundings. It appears he is in a one room apartment. He can see a small kichen area and a few makeshift beds across the floor. A deep cough rattles in his chest before he tries to use his arms to push himself into a sitting position.

An older woman with kind and concerned eyes approaches and presses him gently back down. "Easy sweetheart, save your energy." His eyes are full of apprehension and distrust, but he doesn't have the strength to try and move again. "please...don't turn me in...I-" He whispers with tears in his eyes and fear gripping his heart at all the possible scenarios swirling in his mind.

She takes a wet rag and dabs at his sweaty forehead. "Shhh..its alright. I'm not gonna hurt you and I would never dream of letting those terrible men get ahold of you. You are safe here, I promise."

Anyone can just say that, but is it the truth?

 


 

The beagle hybrid has had way too much experience with lies and empty promises in his life. His father had promised after the first time he had beaten him that as long as he behaved it wouldn't happen again. Only a couple days later he went through the worst beating of his life, leaving him with several cracked ribs, a broken arm, and a pretty bad concussion. That had been when Jihyun had found out about the abuse. The man told the doctor and everyone else that he had fallen down the basement stairs, but Jihyun had overheard Jimin pleading with their father to stop. He hurried down the stairs, but by the time he got there his brother was unconscious and being cradled in the man's arms as if he had just found him that way.

His father had him call Jimin's doctor immediately, and of course he didn't argue. The man even tried to convince the boy that he had fallen, and in his confused state he had almost believed him. As the memories slowly came back to him he realized what his father had done and made his little brother promise to never tell anyone or get in their father's way. Thinking back now he realizes Jihyun coming to the basement was probably the only reason he hadn't been beaten to death.

His mother had made so many empty promises. She promised him that he would be well enough to go to school one day, but he was never able to leave the house. Once she discovered the abuse she promised that she would take him and his brother away from the man...somewhere safe. Later she confessed she couldn't afford to keep them fed on her own. He didn't blame or resent her for any of it, because she meant well....but it just added to his distrust and anxiety issues.

 


 

Jimin is still uneasy but too weak and exhausted to do much else. He can barely talk let alone get up and walk out of here. The woman sits nearby, but doesn't touch him except to wipe away the sweat...sensing that the boy is wary of her presence. Even with anxiety coursing through his veins, it doesn't take long for his worn out body to give in and allow him to fall asleep.

Soon the old woman wakes him and begs him to let her help him eat some soup. "Please...you are going to starve and you are very dehydrated...let me help you. Please honey, you have to trust me. I don't want to watch you die..." She grabs his hand and squeezes it gently, waiting patiently for his response.

He eyes her hand nervously for a few minutes and then squeezes back. She has a valid point. He hasn't eaten much of anything in days and he is getting too weak to help himself....he will soon starve to death if he doesn't accept her help.

The woman helps him swallow small mouthfuls at a time until the soup is gone and then holds a cup of water to his lips. After he finishes she praises him. "You did so well. Just relax and rest now. Your body needs it. I'm not a doctor, but you seem really sick..." Jimin nods hesitantly and his breath catches. All at once he begins to have more trouble breathing and the woman's brow wrinkles with worry. As he struggles to take congested breaths she slowly comes closer and places her hand on his chest. "Oh sweetheart....you poor thing. Your lungs are so full of mucous.......let me help you sit up, dear, and try to work some of that up."

Jimin can't bring himself to protest as he starts to feel lightheaded from not breathing properly. The woman pulls him slowly into a sitting position and wraps an arm around  him to support him. She massages his chest in hopes of breaking up whatever is making it so hard for the boy to breathe, and then drums firmly on his back. "Okay sweetie, try coughing now if you can...I know you are so tired.." She holds a small trashcan under his mouth as he coughs up gunk and blood for several minutes. He then leans heavily into the woman's chest as he wheezes and tries to catch his breath. She rubs up and down his back to comfort him. "That's it. Deep breaths...slow deep breaths." And that is how he falls asleep, with a hand fisted in her shirt.

 


 

For the rest of the day, the woman wakes him during mealtimes to help him eat and drink. By nightfall he is starting to gain a little strength and his mind feels sharper. It is only then that he realizes he is not the only one this lady is caring for. There are a handful of children, some younger than him and some older, scattered throughout the room.

Two young dog hybrids are sharing a blanket in the corner, probably siblings. They don't look sick, just malnourished. A very pale teenage girl lays on a cot. She looks extremely unwell and maybe even close to death. On the other side of him there are two more boys. One is sitting up on his cot mindlessly shuffling a worn out deck of cards. He is extremely pale and thin and can't stand up without the woman's help. The other boy must have some type of brain damage. He is the only kid laying on an actual bed, and Jimin thinks maybe he might be related to the woman. She spends alot of time at his bedside, just talking to him. He squirms restlessy most of the time and his eyes are never focused. His breaths are sporadic and shallow gasps. The boy seems to calm significantly at the sound of the woman's voice, which leads him to believe he is close to her.

Jimin's stomach flutters with nerves as he realizes many of these people are dying....she is rescuing kids to give them a safe place to die in peace.

Is he dying too?

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

Jungkook stays asleep for only a few minutes before he speaks suddenly. "Why w-would anyone want to hurt Taetae?...h-how could somebody do this t-to him? They br-broke him, hyung...they broke h-him.." He coughs again and starts to work harder to breathe so his older brother sits him up.

"Easy Kookie....easy baby." He holds him close as the boy breaths deeply and intentionally. "I know Tae is broken now, but once he is free we will help him heal, Kook. I, personally, will do whatever I can to help him get back on his feet. In the meantime Yoongi is doing his best to protect him. All we can do now is wait and trust him." Its true...these awful people have broken Tae's innocent and life-loving spirit, but they have to hold onto hope that they can help put him back together when this is all over.

They sit in silence until Jungkook talks again. "I w-want to help him...a-and keep him from getting w-worse, hyung."

Namjoon sits down next to them on the couch. "You already helped him so much, Jungkook-ah. You saved his life today and I am so proud of you. He cares about you alot, Kook, and just hearing from you had a huge impact on him........I think we should keep in touch with him regularly to keep him focused and give him strength to keep moving forward. Is that okay with you, Jungkookie?" He grins as the boy smiles widely and reaches over to ruffle his hair. "Get some rest for right now and I will wake you up to eat later."

The young boy nods and curls into his big brother's chest. His breathing is a little labored as he drifts off to sleep, and Jin reaches for his oxygen mask....but Namjoon stops him. "We need to start weaning him off the oxygen unless he absolutely needs it...I don't want to run out, and unfortunately our supply is very low." Jin nods in understanding. All of their supplies are slowly dwindling, and there is nothing they could do about it. "As long as his lips are a good color just keep an eye on him. He is not as weak as he was before, so he should be able to handle it better. If he becomes uncomfortable or too tired to breathe effectively then we will use his CPAP to assist his breathing, alright?"

"Of course hyung. I understand."
The boy's breathing gradually eases up and he breathes deeply and gently against Jin's neck until lunch is ready. After resting Jungkook feels much better and eats well. Namjoon is right: the boy is starting to gain strength in his lungs again. He still requires assistance from his CPAP machine to breathe at night and has episodes of difficulty breathing occasionally throughout the day, but he seems to recover quicker than before and with less intervention. Things are finally looking like they can go back to normal soon for the young teenage boy.

 


 

 


 

 


 

Yoongi calls back later that evening to give an update on how Tae is doing. He is breathing without needing stimulation, but has developed a wheeze with each breath and a wet cough. He has been in and out of consciousness, but has been too weak to eat or drink much. Namjoon reassures that all of those symptoms are normal and just stresses the importance of keeping him hydrated and propped up with pillows to ease his breathing.

Tae wakes up just before they are about to say bye to eachother. His eyes are a little cloudy and unfocused. Yoongi puts a hand on his chest and tries to get him to make eye contact. "Tae...look at me for a moment, kid. Namjoon hyung is on the phone." He is able to focus his eyes on Yoongi and the older boy smiles. "How are you feeling, Taehyung-ah? You are breathing much better and you don't look as pale."

"I'm okay hyung...just really groggy....and my chest hurts......when I breathe." He coughs and brings up a little more fluid from his lungs, wincing as it causes the pain to spike. He wheezes harshly at first, but it slowly fades to a soft high pitched sound. ".....a-and when I cough, I guess."

Yoongi relays the boy's words and symptoms to Namjoon and he hums before replying. "What he really needs is probably some oxygen. It would help him breathe a little easier, but I doubt you have access to that....The only other option would be to give him small doses of morphine to-"

"No!!!" Tae startles them both as he yells with all his strength. Tears run down his face and the wheezing increases as he gets more and more upset. "Please.....please, Yoongi hyung....I-I can't.....be trusted around...that s-stuff.....keep...keep it away from....me. It will k-kill me...a-and I don't want to die...plleeeaassse I....I can't do that t-to Kookie....I..I c-can't.....hyung h-help....c-can't breathe....please help me...I-" At this point the young boy is in a full on panic attack. He is gasping rapidly for air and starts to go into a coughing fit.

The hybrid puts his hands on the boy's cheeks. "I've got you, Tae. I'm right here and I will help you breathe...just follow me. Deep slow breaths...in, 2, 3, 4....and out 2, 3, 4..."
After he manages to calm the younger boy down he picks the phone back up and updates his friend on what happened. They agree to try and contact eachother on a daily basis to help Tae's mental health and then hang up.

He turns his attention back to the younger boy and reassures him as he falls asleep, his body thoroughly exhausted now. "We don't have to use the morphine, Taehyungie, I promise. I will get rid of what is left if you want me to as long as you promise to breathe as deeply as you can....even if it hurts." The boy nods weakly as he continues to wheeze harshly with each inhale. He takes an especially deep breath as if to prove he is serious, whimpering as his chest aches and his cracked ribs twinge painfully.

The older smiles sympathetically. "Okay then go to sleep and I will dump the rest down the drain." Tae's eyes widen and he grasps Yoongi's hand as tight as he can. "What's wrong? Are you hurting? Talk to me if you can, kid."

He takes a deep painful breath before whispering. "Please don't leave me alone, hyung...I'm so scared." He sniffles and a few tears escape his terror-filled eyes. Yoongi squeezes the boy's hand back and wipes away the tears before climbing into bed next to him and pulling him up against his chest. He knows exactly what he means and it breaks his heart. The boy is scared of himself...of his own mind and thoughts...and what they might drive him to do.

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

The pain from Hobi's bullet wound only seems to increase as time goes on and even though they have stripped him down to his boxers he is burning hot....most likely with fever. Someone comes once a day to clean his wound with a strong-smelling solution that burns so strongly and makes it difficult to breathe, but his fever rages on. He lays still on the cold concrete floor most of the time, too weak to even lift his head.

One day he begins to projectile vomit, and when they find him semiconcious and laying near a pool of puke he is carried to another smaller room. He is again placed on a metal table and his arms and legs secured before a few masked figures approach. He begs them in a weak voice to leave him be, but no one even so much as makes eye contact.

He squirms frantically as one of them begins to remove his stitches and another approaches with a sharp blade. He screams for mercy as they begin to carve out the infected tissue. They dig in his wound for what seems like hours as he struggles to keep breathing through the unimaginable agony. His vision goes in and out and he feels dizzy as he loses even more blood...he can feel it beginning to pool under his shoulder. As they go deeper he knows they are probably destroying muscle and getting dangerously close to puncturing his chest wall. He is caught off guard as the blades are retracted and a whole new kind of pain takes his breath away.

He finds himself unable to take in air as the third masked figure presses an extremely hot metal object deep into the crater they had created and holds it in place for several seconds. He fights against the restraints at first, but then goes limp as his mind begins to shut down. He gasps desperately as they remove it and rinse the wound only to repeat the process twice more, and by that time the hybrid has passed out from the intense pain. They wrap his shoulder with gauze and bring him back to his room, not even bothering to clean up the blood and vomit on the floor.

For the following week a young teenage girl, a bunny hybrid, comes and spoon feeds him daily. He can tell by the thick collar and chains on her ankles and wrists that she too is a prisoner here. She never speaks and when he asks why she points to 2 jagged scars on her neck and mouths "surgery......vocal chords" with tears in her eyes. After the first week they forbid her to help him anymore. She sneaks in one day to give him food and is beaten to death right in front of him.

From then on he is only fed about once a week and every couple days he is forced to make a choice between dying of thirst, but being able to breathe....or the possibility of a drink, paired with being nearly drowned. He usually picks the latter and almost always has a wet cough and blue tinged lips as a result.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

Some time in the night the boy on the bed goes into a relentless seizure. It goes on for several minutes, seeming to gain intensity as the minutes pass. He makes soft gurgling sounds in his throat and foams slightly at the mouth as after about ten minutes the convulsions slow to a stop. The boy remains limp with his eyes fixed on the ceiling.

The woman doesn't try to make him breathe, but just comforts him as small hiccup sounds come from deep in his throat. As Jimin watches he realizes the boy probably has too much brain damage to survive. His efforts to breathe are very uncoordinated and ineffective. The woman pulls him close, taking his hand and speaking Korean softly into his ear as he takes his last breath. He sighs deeply into her neck as his body relaxes and his heart stops. He looks the most peaceful Jimin had seen him...and even to the young hybrid it was a relief to see the boy's suffering end.

The woman places her hand on his chest and breaks down in tears of relief at the absence of the boy's heartbeat. After a few minutes pass she notices Jimin's fearful yet thoughtful expression and tries to explain what happened to the boy. "There was nothing to be done for him at this point. He had severe epilepsy and he couldn't get his medicine. He's been seizing several times a day for the past month, and it was slowly killing his brain. He hasn't been able to talk or move on his own for weeks...the muscle spasms from brain damage became too severe. He went blind eventually and hasn't been able to swallow anything since two days ago. Death is a merciful blessing at this point."

Jimin nods and swallows thickly, building up enough courage to ask a question that had been bothering him since he woke up here. "Why d-did you bring me here?" The hybrid is still suspicious of the whole situation and the woman's intentions with him.

She smiles kindly and sits down next to Jimin's cot. "Because I saw how much you were struggling just to stand and I knew the Hybrid Patrol would be coming through to scout for strays at any time. I knew you couldn't get to a safe place on your own in time, and I wanted to help you. If you don't want to stay here you can leave at any time, but I suggest you atleast stay here until you get a little stronger. I don't want to see those violent men hurt you...so whatever you choose, just please be careful."

Jimin smiles slightly, eyes still cautious and questioning. "I will stay a little longer, but the truth is I don't have much time....I will die if I don't find a doctor soon." He hesitates and studies the woman's face for any reason not to tell her what has happened to him.

She startles him as she seemingly reads his mind and calls him by name. "Jimin-ah......sweetheart. I know that you escaped a torture camp. Your name is well known among the hybrid population...what did they do to you? Maybe I can help?"

He is too stunned that she knows who he is to answer her questions. "But h-how....h-how do you know about me? You aren't a hybrid...y-you...no! N-no...I don't..." He tries to back away from her as panic overwhelms and chokes him from within.  

"Please, Jimin-ah....breathe for me, honey. I keep in touch with many hybrid groups that are in hiding nearby...bring them food, blankets and clothing when I can. You are an inspiration for them to keep on surviving. They will be thrilled to know you are still alive." The young hybrid relaxes a little at her words as he tries to gauge if she is telling him the truth or not. The mouse hybrid seemed to know who he was also......so maybe this woman is being honest with him. The woman again presents her question to him, gently lifting his chin to make eye contact. "What did they do to you, Jimin?"

The hybrid pup takes a deep breath and holds it for a moment before speaking. "Poison....they poisoned me. That's why I keep coughing up blood and purple stuff. They forced me to inhale it and it is killing my lungs. It is getting harder to breathe each day and I'm so scared." A sob escapes him and his whole body shakes as he breaks down in tears. The woman pulls him into a soft embrace, just simply holding him as he cries. "I don't want to die..please, God I'm not ready to die yet. I need....I need a miracle....." He whispers into her shoulder, but she catches enough to hear the desperation and will to live in his weak voice. 

One name comes to mind when she racks her brain to figure out the boy's best chance at recovery. After the crying fades and she collects her thoughts she begins to talk again. "Kim Namjoon....he lives a couple blocks away. He might be able to help you. He is a good man, Jimin."

Jimin lifts his head at hearing the familiar name. "Yes..that's who I was looking for. He lives close?" She nods. "Oh...thank God!" He looks to be deep in thought and then looks up at her again. "Umm can I stay one more day with you....and can you tell the other hybrids that my friend, Hobi, is missing and to keep an eye out for him. I just wish I knew if he was still alive....he was a huge part of the reason I made it out of that camp alive."

She helps him lay back down and brushes hair out of his eyes. "Of course, Jimin-ah, and some rest would be good for your body. Just relax and let me take care of you, alright?" The hybrid is wheezing now as his eyes start to get heavy. To her surprise he doesn't protest, just whispers a soft "okay" and lets his eyes fall closed. 

 


 

 


 

The woman wakes him the next morning with a bowl of broth in her hands and he allows her to help him sit up and drink the broth. After he finishes he looks around and then asks, "What brings all these kids here? Did you rescue them too?"

"Well....the girl over there came to me a couple years ago. She was diagnosed with a fatal disorder that is slowly shutting down her organs. Her parents sent her out on the streets to die. She is not doing well...I expect we will lose her very soon.. 

The twin hybrids were starving to death when I found them. They were in my dumpster one morning. The smaller of the two was so still and unresponsive that I didn't think he was going to make it. I was able to coax enough broth down his throat that first couple days to get him to wake up. That was only a couple weeks ago. They are still very weak and seem scared to death, poor dears.

The young man over there, I found him collapsed in the street...too weak to get up on his own. He has cancer that I think has gotten into his lungs now. The poor thing is starting to have alot of chest pains, but I don't have any real medication I can give him....just herbal remedies."

She takes a deep breath before adding a little more. "The young boy that died last night was my grandson. I raised him since he was 3 years old. His mother was a heroin addict and his father abandoned him when he started having seizures. He had such a giving heart and was always so helpful around here. When we ran out of his medication, I knew it was only a matter of time before it killed him.......would you like to go around and meet everyone, Jimin? I can help you."

Jimin scans around the room at all the kids she has given refuge to and for the first time since arriving he feels in his heart that he can fully trust the woman. "I-I think I would like that, thankyou.." He smiles genuinely at her and she scoops him up.

They go to the paralyzed young teenager first. The girl's eyes are cloudy with blindness and her skin is a yellowish gray color. She is on her back with her jaw relaxed open and her chest completely still. Jimin touches her hand, finding it cool and stiff....she had probably died through the night. "She's already dead, halmeoni..."

The women checks for a pulse and then sighs deeply. "You're right, Jimin, she is gone." She gently pushes her eyes closed and covers her completely with a blanket. "I will take care of her in a minute. Let's go meet the twins. I need to check on the smaller one, anyway. I'm afraid he is coming down with something." 

The two boys, who look to be very young, cower away in fear as they approach. The smaller boy looks awful. His eyes are glazed over with fever and he is much paler and thinner than his brother. Jimin climbs out of her arms and sits down close to them. "Hey...its okay. No one is going to hurt you two. She just wants to help you get better." The bigger of the two is making eye contact with him now, but the other is looking past him and struggling to keep his eyes open. "My name is Jimin, and I'm a dog hybrid too..." He can see the recognition in both of their eyes.

Even the sick boy seems to know his name, and tries to speak to him in a whisper. "You're a he-" He is cut off as he vomits all over himself several times and then sways with dizziness. "I don' f-feel good, Jimin hyung." He whines and then begins to cry.

Jimin helps him lay down as the woman goes to get something to clean him up with. The other twin seems in shock and only watches as Jimin soothes the sick child. He combs through his hair and pets his ears. "Shhh its alright buddy, what's your name?"

The boy sniffles and then replies softly. "My name is Kai...my brother is Taehyun."

Taehyun suddenly speaks up with tears in his eyes. "Is he gonna die, Jimin hyung?"

He takes a good look at the boy before answering. Kai looks very weak and he briefly wonders if the child has other underlying health problems. "I....I don't know, but I know that no matter what happens you can trust this woman to take good care of both of you." Jimin ruffles the other boy's hair affectionately. "How old are you guys?"

"We turned six the day before the Officers took mommy away.."

Jimin nods and then turns toward the woman as she comes over with rags and a bowl of water along with some new clothes for the boy. "He is burning up, halmeoni." The beagle hybrid looks at the boy with growing concern. The young pup is breathing hard and his cheeks are flushed.

Jimin tries to stand from the floor to prepare a cold rag for the boy's head, but the woman stops him with a hand on his shoulder. "Please take it easy, Jimin. I will take care of him." He watches as she cleans him up and ever so gently helps him take his clothes off. Jimin's heart aches at just how thin and frail the pup is. Every rib is easily visible and his stomach is sunken in below his ribcage. They must have been so close to starving to death. The new shirt and pants are so big on him that they decide to let him wear the shirt as a night gown. 

He soon falls asleep with a cold rag on his head and a bowl next to him incase he needs to throw up again. The woman wraps an arm around Jimin's waist and helps him walk to where the thin boy with cancer is propped up against the wall. 

He looks different than the relaxed boy he saw the first day he was here. The boy appears to be in an intense amount of pain. One hand is grasping at his chest and the other is fisted in his blanket with knuckles white. His breathing is erratic and strained with his head tilted back. The woman leaves and comes back with a cloth soaked in strong smelling herbs and holds it over his mouth and nose.

After breathing it in for a minute or two the boy relaxes and has a distant look in his eyes. She moves him into a laying position with a few pillows propping him up for easier breathing. He still continues to strain and wheeze with each breath, but he is much more comfortable. "Is that better, Soobin-ah?"

The boy coughs and blood trickles down his chin. "Y-yes, halmeoni," the boy chokes out between gasps for air.

Jimin can feel in his heart that this boy won't last through the night. His chest aches and breathing is still difficult, but he feels better than he has in a long time so decides he will stay to comfort the dying boy and also help with the sick hybrid boy. He sits down beside the gasping boy and massages his chest all afternoon while the woman tends to the vomiting twin.

His instincts are right about the boy with cancer. His breaths become progressively shallower as the cancer grows rapidly and prevents his lungs from being able to expand. As a result his lips are blue from lack of oxygen and he pants at a faster pace to try and keep up. The boy's face crumples up in pain and Jimin speaks softly in his ear as he reaches for the cloth with herbs and places it over the boy's face. "I'm sorry...I know it hurts." The herbs don't seem to help very much this time and the boy moans in between labored breaths. "Let's talk about things you like. It will help keep your mind off of things.....Do you have any hobbies?"

The boy nods and tries to take a breath, but it catches and he coughs hard. As the coughing slows Jimin cleans blood from his lips and chin and mops the sweat off his forehead. The dying boy then tries to speak. "Y-you don't..even know....m-me. Why d-do you...care s-s-so m-mu-" He gags as his mouth fills with blood. 

Jimin leans him forward and supports him as he spits weakly into the cloth. As he helps him lay down again he answers the question. "Well I.....honestly I never really thought about it. Maybe its just an instinct... The thought of somebody suffering alone.......nobody deserves that." The boy's breaths start to slow down and his eyes go in and out of focus as he continues to speak. "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Death is already scary enough, and some discomforts cannot be helped....I just imagine it is much worse without someone by your side."

Jimin cards through the boy's hair as he opens his mouth and strains to breathe. He manages a small inhale and then chokes as blood again overflows his lips. The hybrid helps him spit it out again and then helps him onto his side. His eyes slowly focus on Jimin's face as he lays still and tries to catch his breath. Over the next hour the boy stops coughing up blood, but it is nearly impossible for him to take deep enough breaths to keep him conscious. He surprises the hybrid by talking again.

"Thankyou, hy-hyung....I'm not sc-scared to die...n-not anymore." He stops and struggles for breath, eventually pulling in a deep whistling breath before pushing out another sentence in a strained whisper. "I-I w-wish I could...pay y-you back......s-somehow."

Jimin smiles and tears fill his eyes. "Don't worry about that. I don't want or need anything from you, okay?" He pulls the boy close to him as he shivers. "Its enough for me that you are finding comfort and I hope I can continue to lessen your suffering until the end...that is all I want."

The boy attempts to form a reply, but is unable to make more than a few short sounds as he nears death. His eyes slowly unfocus as he fails to get enough oxygen to his brain. 

As midnight approaches it becomes clear that death will occur very soon. The woman comes over to sit with him as well. The dying boy gasps occasionally, but is often unsuccessful in getting much air. He lasts another half an hour with the woman carding soothingly through his hair as his heart slows and the light leaves his eyes. Before one o'clock the boy is gone.

Jimin knows before she does. One of his least favorite things about his abilities is that he can hear the exact moment of death...every time. Its overwhelming sometimes. "He's gone halmeoni...I don't hear his heart anymore." He closes the boy's eyes as he speaks.

She looks at him with a sympathetic expression as she places her ear over the boy's chest. "That must be hard on you....to actually hear a person's last moment of life."

He shrugs his shoulder and watches the woman prepare the boy for burial. He feels a little numb to it right at that moment. He has seen more death in the last several days and weeks than a normal person should see in a lifetime. The woman disappears and reappears with a large hand sewn pouch. She tenderly places the boy's body into it and then sews it shut around him. She then explains that he will go into a group burial site as ordered by the Patrol officers. She places the body outside her door and they ask no questions as long as the body is sealed properly. 

Jimin finds himself in a daze as his mind processes the last several days. There is so much death and violence happening everywhere. The world has become such an ugly and depressing place and each day is filled with pure terror, especially for someone like him. Yet for some reason he can't explain, he wants to live more than anything he has ever wanted.....and that's exactly what he intends to do. Live the life that many others he had encountered were deprived of without a second thought.

 


 

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Jungkook struggles to keep his anxiety under control as he waits for afternoon to come. Namjoon says that is the best and safest time to call Yoongi to see how Tae is doing. The waiting proves to be difficult for the young boy. He cuddles with Jin on the couch after barely eating anything for breakfast.

His older brother feels his forehead and tilts Jungkook's head to face him. "Are you feeling alright, Kookie....you didn't eat much."

The young boy avoids his brother's gaze. His eyes fill with unshed tears as he whispers a reply. "I'm just n-not hungry, hyung.........c-can I take a nap. I just feel really t-tired."

"Sure Kookie-ah, get some rest...but just always remember you can talk to me about anything. Don't feel like you have to hide what you are feeling, okay? I love you, Kook, but you already know that..." Jin smiles and then pulls his little brother closer as tears spill from his innocent doe eyes and his shoulders shake with silent sobs.

"I l-love you......t-too, hyung." Jungkook chokes out in a whisper in between heartbreaking sobs. The older boy simply holds and soothes him until he wears out and falls asleep. 

An hour passes before the boy wakes up again and speaks softly into Jin's chest. "W-what if Taetae.....what if I-I never see him ag-gain, hyung?" He breathes irregularly and pulls absentmindedly at his collar. "My ch-chest, hyung...it feels so heavy......"

Jin is not sure how to reply to his little brother's very real fear so he just holds him close and shushes him. "Shhh, breathe Kookie."

Namjoon catches the last part from the kitchen and hurries to kneel in front of the couch. "Jungkook-ah, look at me. You are starting to panic again. You need to take deep breaths an-"

The younger cuts him off, seeming not to be registering anything he just said. "J-Joon....hyung, what if h-he is in pain...what if they a-are hurting him right now...wh-what if he i-is hurting himself again....." Jungkook is trembling and tears are pouring down his face, making it even harder to catch his breath. 

Namjoon holds an oxygen mask over his face as his lips turn blue and his eyes become unfocused. He continues to cry his heart out and Jin feels as if his own heart has been ripped out of his chest. His little brother is more heartbroken than he has ever seen him and he almost wishes they never told him Tae is still alive. The fear and anxiety of the situation may be too much for the still fragile boy to handle.

 


 

 


 

Jungkook had eventually cried himself to sleep again and the older two allow him to rest until it is time to call and check on Yoongi and Taehyung. They wake him and make sure his breathing has improved enough to remove the oxygen mask. Jin then coaxes some food into him before Namjoon dials the number of the cat hybrid's stolen phone...

......only to find that the phone would ring and ring and ring with no response.

They all freeze in place as the realization hits them hard. Something is preventing Namjoon's old friend from getting to the phone.

 


 

 


 

 


 

As soon as Hobi is strong enough to take it without keeling over and dying on them....the beatings begin. Every few days it is someone different, but it is always the same routine. They beat him until they are bored with him and then either choke him out or slam his head into the ground....leaving him a battered mess.

That's when the depression hits hard. As he wakes up repeatedly on the floor in his own blood he sees images of his mom and dad and little sister. At first they make him smile, but as time goes on he can only picture their lifeless bodies. The sounds of their suffering and cries of pain as they died echo inside his brain.

Over the years since his family had been murdered in front of his eyes he had coped with it by being as happy and optimistic as he could manage. Eventhough the dark and depressing thoughts were always there, he was successful in suppressing them and drowning them out with positivity. Now he could not find a single thing to be positive about...Jimin is likely dead or dying from the poison, he himself is doomed to a torturous end, as well as the hybrid species impending extinction. He finds himself being overwhelmed with foreign emotions such as hopelessness, and worthlessness, and even bursts of rage at how unfair he is being treated.

The first time he resists the harsh treatment and fights back in a sudden rush of adrenaline and anger....he may regret for the rest of his life. The longer the man beats him, the more resentment builds within the abused hybrid. As the man finishes and places him in a choke hold he snaps. He elbows the man in the ribs and simultaneously kicks him in the groin. The man grunts in pain and stumbles back a little, but never lessens his iron grip on Hobi's throat. He actually tightens his hold, nearly crushing the hybrid's windpipe. Hobi briefly wishes that this would be the end as the man screams into his ear. "How dare you fight back.....you worthless animal!!"

Just before he passes out the man throws him to the ground and watches as he struggles to draw breaths through his damaged airway. "You are gonna wish you didn't get so cocky, mutt." He holds up a syringe full of medication for him to see and then speaks again as he injects it into his neck. "This is some powerful stuff...if you are lucky it will kill you." Hobi can only lay submissively on the concrete floor as the man empties the syringe into his bloodstream....his injured arm lying weakly at his side and the other pinned down by his attacker's knee.

It burns as it goes in, making tears stream from his eyes and his chest tighten painfully. He whispers "please" again and again, but the man only smirks as the drug causes the hybrid's muscles to spasm and his eyes to roll around in his head. He suddenly can't see or feel his body as a strange numbness takes over and his heart beats at a nearly fatal speed. It only takes a few more seconds for the drug to flood his brain and overwhelm his senses, rendering him limp and basically unconscious. From that moment on everything becomes a blur....and frankly it terrifies him more than anything he has faced to this point.

 


 

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Later that morning Jimin's condition plummets as the stress of the previous night catches up with his deteriorating body. His energy level drops and his breathing becomes extremely difficult. The woman helps him cough up mucous and reassures him as he wheezes. "Jimin, dear, I don't want this to sound like I don't want you here, but you need a doctor. I think you should leave soon."

The hybrid's lips are tinged blue and his eyes flutter shut. "I-I....I don't think I can....." He trails off as exhaustion takes over and he takes one labored breath after another.

She brushes his hair from his forehead. "I don't mean right this minute, sweetie. Whenever you feel ready you should go. I want you to get help." 

He is already fast asleep before she finishes talking so she tucks him in, hovering for a few minutes as he coughs weakly in his sleep and struggles to get a full breath. The woman stays by his side until his breathing evens out and becomes a little less labored. She then crosses the room to check on the ill hybrid twin.

Kai has been throwing up almost constantly for nearing 24 hrs. The pup is seriously dehydrated and even weaker than before. His fever is relentless and his color is a sickly grey. He is currently cuddling up against his twin brother's side and whimpering as his stomach churns and cramps.

She approaches with some herbal tea to help hydrate him and settle his stomach. "I need you to try to drink some of this, sweetie. It might make you feel better." The boy barely stirs and his eyes remain closed. He takes weak and shallow breaths through his mouth. By the looks of it the boy is not far from death. She gently lifts the sick pup into her lap and holds the cup to his lips. "Come on honey...swallow some for me." He remains limp and actually gags and spits some out. "Please.....Kai, baby.." She pours a little more into his mouth and rubs on his throat to stimulate swallowing. He swallows, but immediately starts gagging. "Deep breaths...you can't throw this up, sweetie, you need it."

After a couple minutes, the boy relaxes and she continues to coax small sips down his throat over the next hour. The pup falls into a deep sleep about halfway through the cup and the woman smiles as she lays him back down next to his brother. The tea must be helping to soothe his stomach pains. Taehyun immediately pulls his brother close to him and wraps an arm around him protectively. Hopefully some good rest will help his fever come down.

 


 

 


 

Jimin wakes up a few hours later to the sound of vomiting and gasping for air. The woman is holding Kai as he vomits forcefully into a bowl in front of him. Jimin makes his way slowly over to them and leans against the wall breathing heavily. The woman smiles sadly at him as the young pup goes limp against her chest. "He can't keep anything down, Jimin.....not even water. I gave him some herbal tea to help calm his stomach and he threw it up 10 minutes later..."

The hybrid understood the unspoken concern: if the boy can't even keep water down, he won't make it. He watches as the boy gags convulsively and whimpers weakly. His lips are dry and cracked and his eyes are sunken in. His breaths are starting to rattle softly in his chest as he becomes futher dehydrated. His twin brother is fast asleep a few feet away. Jimin blinks back tears. "Halmeoni....if giving him water or tea makes him sick and uncomfortable....then.....then don't give him anymore..."

Immediately guilt washes over him for thinking something like that and he feels like an awful person. The woman's voice stops his spiraling thoughts. "I agree with you, Jimin-ah. I think that either way he is going to die very soon. He is too weak to fight off this illness. At this point what he needs is to be comfortable. If he asks for a drink we will give it to him, but I am not gonna force it anymore."

They both look back to the sick pup as he squirms, drawing his knees up and breathing rapidly. He continues to hyperventilate for the next half hour as they try to find a way to soothe his pain. A warm compress seems to help some, but not much. After another hour his breathing starts to slow as his energy dwindles, and each breath is noisy and labored. The woman suddenly has a thought. "We should let his brother say goodbye before he is too incoherent...." She shifts the boy in her lap and caresses his cheek. "Kai, sweetheart, would you like to talk to your brother before you...get too sleepy?" The pup whines slightly. "Can you open your eyes for a minute then?"

Jimin has woken the other boy and explained that his brother is going to fall asleep soon and not wake up....he is going some place special. The boy immediately says, "You mean Kai is dying, hyung?"

"Yes Taehyun...he is."

"Will it hurt him?!?"

Jimin looks to the half concious boy in the woman's lap before answering. "No...no I don't think so. He is just very sleepy and like I said, he will fall into a really deep sleep soon that he won't be able to wake up from."

Kai has his eyelids slightly open when Taehyun comes over to see him. His mouth is also open as he tries, and starts to fail, to get enough air. His chest heaves with effort as he gazes deliriously at his brother. There is a small hint of recognition in his eyes, but nothing else in his expression changes. The woman shifts him to sit next to and cuddle with his brother. Over the next few hours, Kai's level of consciousness slowly fades. His fever climbs higher and higher, causing him to shiver and sweat simultaneously. He has a blue ring around his mouth, his breathing becoming irregular and shallow.

Eventually Taehyun falls asleep and the woman lays him down in his cot. He doesn't need to see his brother actually die. While she tucks him in Jimin holds Kai against his chest like a baby, his legs straddling his waist but bent at the knees. The woman places a cold rag on the back of the child's neck for comfort as his temperature continues to rise. The boy's breaths start to catch in his throat and he whimpers softly. The older hybrid rubs his back to calm him, but he only seems to get more anxious as the seconds go by. He starts to breathe rapidly and noisily, wheezing and rattling in his little chest.

Jimin can't stop the tears from trickling down his face at the little boy's obvious discomfort. He pulls the sick pup away from his chest and is surprised to see incredibly tired and fearful eyes looking up at him. The boy's lips move with a purpose over and over, but he is unable to produce more than a couple airy grunts. He then runs his tongue over his cracked lips and tries to swallow but his throat is so dry that it causes him to cough. Jimin turns to the woman as the pup tries to get his breathing under control. "Halmeoni....he wants some water.."

She nods and fills a small cup only about halfway full and brings it to where they are sitting. "Slow and easy, Kai." He drinks it all and whines when it is gone. "Wait a few minutes to see how you feel and then I will get you some more." As expected not even 15 minutes later the pup's stomach is rejecting the fluids. Due to how weak he is, he struggles to get it all the way up and chokes on it. Some inevitably gets inhaled into his lungs and he coughs for several minutes before finally relaxing. They make a silent agreement to only moisten his mouth with drops of water when he asks or if he seems uncomfortable.

An hour later as the sun goes down, the boy becomes restless again...breathing becoming more labored with time. The boy tilts his head back to try and breathe easier, but it doesn't make much of a difference. The older hybrid reaches up to support his head, gently moving it back onto his chest. Kai whimpers and tries to move his head back again, but he holds it firmly in place. "That's not gonna help anything, Agi. It's only gonna make your neck sore. Just relax and listen to my voice." He soothes fairly quickly as Jimin whispers assurances in his ear and massages his scalp with his fingertips, laying still but whimpering occasionally with a particularly difficult breath. "Its alright, buddy....don't be afraid, I'm right here."

His breathing eases a little as his anxiety fades and he rests somewhat peacefully for the next hour. He then stirs and takes a deep wheezing breath before forcing out a single word in an airy voice...."th...th-thirst-t-y..." Jimin tilts him back to look into his eyes as he takes another desperate breath and then mouths "please."

The older hybrid grabs a cloth out of a small bowl of water sitting next to him and wraps it around his pointer finger. He gently wipes around the inside of the boy's mouth and then squeezes a couple drops onto his tongue. He laps it up and then mouths "please" again. Jimin repeats the process, more thoroughly wetting his lips and mouth before dropping several drops onto his tongue. "That's all I can do for right now, Kai, I'm sorry.....try to relax and sleep some more." He holds the small boy close to his chest, and to his relief the boy snuggles into his neck and slips into a deep sleep.

The woman approaches as it becomes very dark outside and Jimin starts to struggle to breathe, himself. "Jimin, dear, you need to leave. Go get help. I can take it from here. I-"

"No! I will not leave him." Jimin raises his voice enough that the near comatose boy in his lap jolts and hungrily gasps for breath. "I'm so sorry, Kai....slow deep breaths, Agi. Everything is alright...just go back to sleep."

He turns his attention back to the old woman and speaks quieter. "I'm sorry, but I won't leave him. Even if it kills me...I just can't, halmeoni, look at him. He trusts me." The small boy is gripping onto Jimin's shirt with his knuckles white. Jimin knows the boy is tied to him through the strongest hybrid bond. He can feel the pulling sensation deep in his chest and the emotional attachment running deep in his soul.

He knows the woman wouldn't fully understand, but a death bond is not to be broken. Relationships and bonds are very important to a hybrid. Their lives are often built around strong bonds, and the death bond is one of many important reasons for a hybrid to surround themselves with many people they trust. If there is no one to bond to at death or heaven forbid that bond is broken, it is guaranteed to be slow and painful.

Breaking the bond wouldn't hurt him except for burdening him with endless guilt and emotional turmoil, but the dying hybrid would suffer an immensely painful death. The farther away Jimin would travel, the more pain the young boy would be in as he neared death. 

He is not angry at the boy, because he knows it is the hybrid body's automatic response to being near death....but only if there is a hybrid whom the individual fully trusts nearby. It honestly touches his heart that the young dog hybrid fully trusts him after only knowing him for a few short days. His entire being trusts that Jimin is a good enough person to stay by his side as he takes his last breath. Jimin is more than willing to stay close if it will ease his suffering and help him pass peacefully. The child deserves nothing less than a friend to hold him in his last moments.

 


 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

The woman doesn't push Jimin to leave any further and only drapes a blanket over the two of them. As the night goes on the little boy struggles more and more to get air into his ever tiring lungs. He often tries to take a breath, but only chokes on air as his lungs fail to respond. This causes the boy's anxiety level to rise and soon he is trembling with fear. His eyes are wide open, but clouded over and disoriented. The child becomes increasingly restless as his attempts to breathe are rejected more often with time. Jimin only holds him tighter and talks to him. "Its alright, Kai....I know you're scared, but I won't let go.....I promise, buddy, I won't let go." 

The older hybrid is caught off guard by a flash of anger as the young boy's prominent ribcage presses into his chest....a horrible reminder of what this innocent child had been forced to endure. How absolutely disgusting it was to leave helpless children on the streets to die. This country is despicable. Not only are they killing off his kind, but they are doing it so heartlessly and with such hatred. Starving to death is a cruel and torturous fate, especially for such a young child. Thank God Kai didn't have to do any of it completely alone and in the end he will be held as he takes his final breaths. The poor boy deserves to feel that kind of love and compassion for once in his short life.

The woman comes over and places a cloth with a mixture of herbs on it over the boy's face as he begins to make choking noises and high-pitched gasps. Jimin holds the back of his head to keep it still and within a minute or two the boy is sinking back into his chest. The effects only last for a few minutes before the child begins to squirm restlessly and whimper. "Hyung.....I c-can't breathe...ca-" Kai's chest heaves uselessly and tears form in his innocent brown eyes.

Jimin is at a loss for what to do to ease the young boy's suffering. "I know, kid...I'm so sorry, Agi..so sorry-"

He is cut off by the old woman approaching and lifting the boy. She has to pry his fingers from the older hybrid's shirt, causing the child to whine in protest. She shushes him as she turns him around and places him back in Jimin's lap. His back is resting against the older hybrid's chest. The boy is pulling weakly at his neck and his lips are blue with lack of oxygen. The woman grabs Jimin's hands and speaks as if she knows from experience. "Hold him tight against your chest and put this hand over his heart...trust me, Jimin, it will help." 

Eager to do whatever is necessary to ease the boy's passage into death, Jimin nods and does what she suggests....placing his right hand firmly over Kai's chest. The effect is almost immediate and Jimin takes a deep breath as he suddenly feels a little dizzy....but its okay because the dying child has relaxed completely into his chest.

The boy's arms fall to his sides and eventhough he is still dying his body is radiating peace. His chest rises and falls gently as he pulls in shallow, but much less difficult breaths. His lips remain blue as his body continues to steadily shut down, but the discomfort of the dying process seems to have vanished. He closes his mouth and turns his head, nuzzling into Jimin's neck. The older boy smiles and chuckles wetly at the cute antics of the sweet hybrid child.

Kai then looks up at him, making actual eye contact for the last time and forces out a very strained whisper. "I-I....I kn-...knew......" The boy's eyes go in and out of focus for several seconds and Jimin thinks the child might never finish the thought. The older boy plays with the child's soft brown locks and velvet ears as he patiently waits for death to take the boy. To his surprise Kai's eyes focus on him and the boy tries again to communicate. "I kn-knew.....y-y-...you w-would...ss-st" He stops and swallows dryly, eliciting a painful dry cough.

"Easy Kai....easy." Jimin tilts his head back and wets his mouth and tongue like before,  giving him a few drops to swallow and moisten his throat as well. The young boy seems to be done trying to talk and instead seems like he is running out of energy, but Jimin can fill in the blanks. His words sound confident, but the look in the young hybrid's eyes tells him otherwise. The child is scared and uncertain as he nears death. He wants reassurance that the older hybrid will not leave him....he wants to hear him say it. "There...now just relax and let me take care of you. I am not leaving you, Kai. I would never dream of it. Of course I am going to stay with you...I'll be right here every step of the way." The little boy nods weakly with tears trickling down his cheeks.

Over the next couple minutes Jimin can feel the boy begin to fade away. The small movements he had been making at first....wiggling his fingers, blinking his eyelids, and subtly readjusting his head and neck...slowly taper off. Less than ten minutes after the position change, the boy is very still. His chest barely moves with each ineffective breath he manages. His fever gradually leaves his body as if whatever disease that had pushed his body to its limits and left him for dead has now withdrawn from him. 

Suddenly the little boy takes a slow deep breath before moving his lips to speak. But death is cruel and doesn't care that he has something to say.....his body is far too weak at this stage to push out words. Jimin runs fingers through his hair as he fails to make a sound other than short rushes of air. The boy's heartrate picks up and his breathing pattern is desperate and sporadic as he gives it everything he has.....but it is still not enough. His efforts gradually taper off over a couple minutes as his eyes dilate and fix on the wall. Jimin catches what the boy is saying as he mouths it one last time before falling still...."Taehyunie." He wants his brother to be with him as he dies.

"Halmeoni....he wants his brother. He's been trying to say his name, but I couldn't understand him..."

They both take a moment to look at the peacefully sleeping face of the dying boy's twin. Would it be cruel to rob the pups of these last moments together? At the same time is it terrible to allow the sleeping boy to miss seeing his brother's death.....to spare him of having to watch such an unpredictable moment? Death is not always peaceful...

The woman snaps him out of his head as she sighs deeply. She has tears in her eyes. "This is already gonna be so hard on Taehyun....I don't think we can justify waking him. He is way too young to watch someone die, even if it is his brother."

Jimin nods in agreement and looks down at the child in his lap. It is heartbreaking to admit that she is right. They need to just let the boy sleep. The ill hybrid is mostly unresponsive at this stage, and unaware of his surroundings. Jimin scoots until he is sitting right next to the sleeping twin. He gently takes Kai's hand and place it over his brother's. "There you go, Kai. Your brother is sleeping, but he is right here, okay?" The boy takes a shuddering breath and relaxes even further into Jimin as he releases the air. 

Jimin doesn't dare move over the next 20 minutes as the boy's breathing begins to slow. He knows death is very close as an increasing amount of the small hybrid's breaths begin to go no deeper than the back of his throat and each one is noisier than the last. As he approaches death his jaw relaxes open and his eyelids flutter with exhaustion. "It's okay, Kai. Go see your mama now..." Jimin caresses his cheek and then pushes his unfocused eyes closed.

In response Kai whimpers softly and then strains to get a small amount of air into his lungs. He fails to get any past his lips the first 2 times, but on the third try he is able to take a decently deep breath. He makes a few soft grunting noises and then by some sort of miracle the boy mumbles a few words. They are slurred together and barely audible, but Jimin hears them loud and clear. "J-J-J....min'hyung...KK-Kai's h-hero-" He seems like he so badly wants to say more, but breathing has become nearly impossible..... The hybrid's chest spasms as his muscles cramp up with dehydration and he takes several quick involuntary breaths...not nearly deep enough to do any good.

The older hybrid doesn't have long to dwell on the little boy's words before an intense wave of dizziness comes over him. As the hybrid child takes his last few difficult breaths, Jimin's heart aches painfully. The less the young boy breathes the more breathless Jimin feels as if he himself is the one dying.

Fear begins to creep into his mind...Is he dying too? He had heard of instances where it had happened before. The death bond can take a toll on the surviving hybrid...so much so that some have died shortly after. 

The woman leans in close and wipes sweat from Jimin's brow with a cool rag. "You are doing so well, Jimin-ah...this is all a normal part of the process. Kai is nearing the end....it won't be long at all now. He is comfortable thanks to you, sweetie."

The child slips away without a hint of a struggle thanks to the bond he shares with Jimin. When the time comes the pup simply stops attempting to fill his lungs. That's when Jimin's vision goes dark and he can feel his own heart slow a little. Kai's heartbeat fades so much that Jimin can barely feel it against his hand but he can still hear it faintly. Seconds and then a few minutes pass without a single breath. Kai makes makes a small choked sound just before his heart gives out and he passes peacefully into death.

Jimin doesn't realize he has stopped breathing until he registers the woman's concerned tone and a gentle hand massaging his chest. "Come on Jimin, its over now. Kai passed away peacefully because of you, but you need to breathe now.."

He tightens his grip on the child's body as he gasps for air. The woman smiles and sighs in relief. "I was afraid the bond would be too much for you...thought I might watch you die too." She mops some sweat away from his face and neck as he works to catch his breath. As she strokes through his hair she speaks again. "You are such a strong boy, Jiminie. I am so, so very proud of you."

He is too exhausted to form a reply, but is still overcome with emotion at her sincere words...she had said he is strong, and that she is actually proud of him. He has never thought of himself in that way. His father had always made it very clear that he was weak and that he should have died as a baby. Such a worthless young hybrid would never ever be something anyone could be proud of. He was destined to be a burden on those around him. Even when he had read a similar phrase in his father's note it hadn't had this effect on him. He was too in shock at the time to process much.

He never could have imagined making it as far as he has. Nobody would have dreamed that the boy who constantly lingered at death's door as a child and was once too weak to even stand on his own could survive to be a teenager, let alone escape a torture camp. It was not possible. He can barely believe it himself and to hear this older woman he had come to respect so much say those words to him....it began to mend a wound so deep and painful that he thought it would never heal. 

" Could he really be worth something to someone? Is it possible for him to belong and have worth in such a messed up world?"

Tears come in heavily, streaming down his cheeks...wetting his shirt and even dampening the boy's hair. Jimin holds on tight for a while as the warmth slowly leaves the boy's body, and he can feel the bond dissipating. He sobs silently into the pup's hair for what seems like hours until the woman comes and gently takes the child away, giving him a sympathetic look as she prepares the body with spices and ointments and places him into another handmade pouch meant for someone much bigger. He was way too young and small to be needing a body bag of his own. He had a whole life to live, but it had been cut short when Officers had taken their mother and forced them to the streets.

The woman shakes her head in disapproval and removes the boy from the oversized bag. She takes a blanket and wraps him snugly like a baby, sewing the blanket together in places so it wouldn't loosen and come undone. "Would you like to hold him while I prepare a smaller burial pouch or atleast something to cover his head? It just didn't feel right to do that to him..."

Jimin nods and takes the small lifeless body into his arms. As he looks at the child's peaceful face he is reminded of the boy's last words: he had called Jimin his hero.

A Hero.

Somebody to look up to.

A role model. 

Someone who is brave.

A person who takes risks to defend others.

He had said he was his Hero.

Was he really a Hero in this little boy's eyes?? What had he done to be worthy of such a title? He had kept his word and helped ease the young child into death, but could that act alone earn him such a respected role. He couldn't save the child, but basically just watched as he faded away. How is that brave? How is that the actions of a hero?

Kai must have been referring to something other than himself. Jimin remembers when he first met the young boy. He had been already very sick, but he had tried to call him a hero then too...before he even had gotten to know the older hybrid. The pup must have been basing his respect for Jimin on what he had heard about him. He had escaped a torture camp, defied odds as he travelled across the country on foot while battling a deadly poison that continues to course through his body, and to add to the list he had sacrificed his precious time to find help for himself....instead spending it keeping a small dying hybrid comfortable in his last moments.

When he thought of it that way it made more sense why the young pup had seen him as heroic. The things he has accomplished have never been done before. Nobody has ever left a torture camp, unless in a body bag. In the years since the war began the hybrid population has dwindled down to nothing. All hope of survival for hybrids in this country had vanished until Jimin and Hobi dared to fight back. Although his motives had started out selfish and purely based on a desire to survive, his actions have inspired people to not give up and most important of all it has given the hybrids hope. Hope that there are still brave people out there willing to stand up for their species and willing to push back against the authorities no matter the cost. Hope that as long as they stand together, they can be proud of whatever the outcome is.

Suddenly Jimin feels a new strange sensation near his heart, replacing the heaviness of emotion...not unpleasant, but warm and energizing. This boy had lit a fire in him and he was not about to let it go to waste. He would rest until nightfall and then finish his journey to find help. He would do his best to continue to be worthy of what that sweet dying child had labeled him. He would do everything in his power to be a hero for his beloved people from this moment on and for the rest of his life.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jin sees the moment his little brother begins to fall apart for the second time in one day. As the phone continues to ring and ring with no answer on the other side, the young boy's eyes widen.....his breathes coming quick and short. He knows what the silence from Yoongi and Tae could mean and it causes his mind to go into overdrive. Jin pulls him onto his lap as Namjoon hangs up the phone, taking hold of his little brother's hands as he digs his nails into the skin on his wrists. "Kookie....please don't do that, baby. Just take some deep breaths...just breathe."

Jungkook seems to have forgotten how to pull air into his lungs. He struggles and chokes as he tries to inhale. The poor boy looks dazed and terrified and defeated all at once. "I-I caaan't...hyung I c-can't....breathe!! Please...p-please don't go....."

Namjoon places a hand on his chest. "Kook, you have to calm down so you can breathe....look at me. No matter what happens, me and Jin are always gonna be right here, I promise. What makes you think we would leave you??" The boy pulls his arm from his brother's grip and holds onto Namjoon's hand with a vice-like grip. He coughs and takes a very labored breath. "There you go, Jungkook-ah....now try again."

The poor kid tries his best, but his still healing lungs are not cooperative. His breaths are difficult and noisy, but in a different way than when he has asthma attacks. He is not wheezing, but just gasping and choking on air. As the boy starts to sway with lack of oxygen Namjoon leaves and returns with the CPAP machine, hooking it up and securing it over his face.

It only takes a few easier breaths to calm him enough for the pure terror to fade from his eyes and he relaxes into Jin's chest, whimpering softly into his shirt. His brother kisses the top of his head and talks soothingly into his ear. "I'm right here, Kookie-ah..." The youngest only stares up at him tiredly with silent tears streaming down his puffy cheeks. Over the next several minutes, his breathing becomes less strained and desperate, but remains labored.

Namjoon squeezes Jungkook's hand, successfully gaining his attention. "I don't know what is keeping Yoongi from answering his phone, but we have to stay positive, Kook." Jin hums softly in agreement as he runs his thumb tenderly over the red scratch marks on his little brother's wrist. He hadn't broken the skin but it had gotten very close in spots. Jungkook flinches slightly as Jin touches a particularly sensitive spot, but immediately apologizes. "S-sorry, hyung...I pr-promise....I didn't do it..on pu-"

"Shhh baby....I know. I know you weren't trying to hurt yourself. You just panicked because you felt like you couldn't breathe."

Namjoon places a hand on his back and another on his chest to feel his breathing. "Can you breathe any better, Jungkook-ah? You don't feel like you are struggling as much now...."

Jungkook shrugs his shoulders. "My ch-chest hurts, hyung." The younger coughs deep and hard, gasping to catch his breath afterward. 

Namjoon observes the young boy's labored breaths and half-lidded eyes for a moment before standing and heading toward his room. "I'm gonna give him something to help him relax and hopefully open up his lungs..try not to let him fall asleep. I'm not sure he is getting enough oxygen." He returns a couple minutes later with something to calm his anxiety and a bronchodilator. "I'm gonna give you a shot in your arm, Jungkookie. It will sting a little, but it should help you feel better." 

The young boy is barely able to focus on anything besides breathing. His lips are beginning to lose their color and his eyes are dull and starting to unfocus. He whispers 'okay' and only winces a little as the needle goes into his shoulder. 

 


 

 


 

 


 

The woman approaches with a small covering she had made for the boy's head....the last missing piece he needed to be ready for burial. It was absolutely beautiful...embroidered with vibrant colors that danced across it in intricate patterns. There are flowers and hearts mixed in with squiggly lines in a way that brings tears to Jimin's already puffy eyes. "Its beautiful, halmeoni....it couldn't be more perfect." He whispers softly before taking one last look at the child's face. His lips are no longer blue, but a very pale pinkish grey color....which is oddly comforting to Jimin because the blue always meant some form of suffocation was happening. The boy looks lifeless and his skin is white as cotton, but any signs of suffering or even the dying process have vanished. Even the dark circles around his eyes and the pink inside his ears have turned to a pearly white color. The only evidence of how sickly he was is the prominence of his little cheek and jaw bones....anyone who looked at him would guess he had starved to death...which is not far from the truth. The boy had been too far gone to reverse such severe malnutrition that it had ultimately took his life.

"You were really brave too, Kai....so strong and brave, Agi." He whispers thickly before bending over and kissing Kai's forehead. He then helps hold his head as the woman places the material over it and down to cover his face and neck. She sews it shut where it meets the blanket and then places the boy inside the larger water resistant pouch.

The woman finishes sealing the bag before straightening up. "You know what Jimin? I don't care if its against the rules. I think Kai should be buried in the back yard instead of a mass burial ground. He deserves better than that and to be close to his brother. Taehyun's healing process will be much easier if he has some type of closure as well."

Jimin loves this idea, but is also worried for the woman's safety. "Just be very careful, halmeoni. Its dangerous to go against their rules."

"I know, Jimin-ah....I promise they will never know. I will bury him at night and only mark his grave with flowers so it will be very discreet, alright? Don't worry.."

Just then Taehyun begins to stir and Jimin's heart drops. Someone has to tell the boy his twin brother won't be by his side anymore.

 


 

Jimin watches as Taehyun wakes and the woman tells him his brother is gone. The hybrid stares at her blankly and then giggles. "That's okay I will find him. He loves to play hide and seek." The boy giggles again and moves to find his brother who is 'gone'.

Jimin moves closer and grabs the boy's shoulders. "Taehyunie, Agi.....he is gone. Remember what we talked about? Kai died this morning...he is asleep, but he will never wake up. He can't play hide and seek with you anymore, Taehyun....he is gone and he is not coming back. I'm so sorry..so, so sorry." He pulls the kid close as he can tell what he is saying begins to set in and make a little sense in his young innocent brain. The child falls apart and sobs wrack his small body as Jimin tries to console him, but he knows nothing will ever make this easier. He can't fix death and he can't change that the boy has no living family left...he is left all alone to navigate grief over something he can't fully comprehend. 

Taehyun cries himself to sleep and the woman tucks him in his bed. The boy would spend most of his time over the next weeks sleeping, only eating with encouragement from the caring old woman.

She makes sure the young boy is comfortable and then helps Jimin back to his bed. As the hybrid tries to stand he yelps in pain and would have collapsed if the woman didn't have a firm grip on him. She lifts the small hybrid and carries him the short distance to his cot as he continues to whine as pain shoots through his injured ankle. 

Jimin gasps as she lays him down as gently as she can, but the movement still seems to cause discomfort. The woman wipes a few tears from his face that he didn't even know he had shed. He breathes heavily and whimpers as the pain slowly subsides. Once he is able to form words he speaks in a weak voice. "Halmeoni....how am I gonna get help if I can't walk? My ankle hurts really bad....it popped when I stepped down on it and now it feels l-like its gonna explode-" Jimin is cut off as he gasps and hisses in pain.

The woman quickly goes to the freezer and comes back with a bag full of ice, carefully situating it around his severely swollen ankle. She then cards her fingers through his hair as the pain fades and the hybrid begins to relax. "Jimin, sweetheart....why didn't you tell me your ankle was injured so badly?"

Tears still leak from his eyes periodically as he speaks, obviously still in a significant amount of discomfort. "It...it wasn't important. Besides I thought it was getting better. I hadn't felt much pain until trying to stand on it...."

The woman hums and then begins to push and prod the swollen joint in an effort to determine the severity of the damage. Jimin struggles to keep his breathing steady as waves of blinding pain cause air to catch in his throat. "I-Is it broken?? He whispers with a hint of defeat in his eyes and posture. "If I can't walk on it....I will die here, halmeoni...I don't have much more time-"

She stops him with a finger on his lips and then uses a tone more stern and serious than he had heard her use the entire time he had known her. "Stop talking that way. I can't stand to hear you talk as if your fate is sealed. You are not done yet, Jimin....do you understand, young man?" The woman grabs ahold of his jaw firmly, forcing him to look her in the eyes. Her voice and grip on his face are on the verge of scaring the crap out of him, but there are tears in her soft and caring eyes. 

Jimin swallows hard and whispers a soft reply. "Y-yes, halmeoni, I understand.."

She then releases him and disappears into a small room for a few minutes before returning with something to wrap his ankle with. She sits down beside him and then sighs. "Your ankle doesn't feel broken but it is severely swollen. It is no doubt a very serious injury. That pop you felt likely made the damage worse." She readjusts the ice over his ankle. "We will keep ice on it and put some pillows under it while you rest. Hopefully the swelling will go down enough so I can wrap it to give it support before you leave." She slips her hand into his. "I still think you can do this, Jimin-ah. I believe in you."

Several minutes go by before the hybrid is able to relax. The woman smiles at him as his breathing evens out....the ice dulling the pain. He almost falls asleep, but anxiety over the surviving twin's wellbeing and safety causes him to direct his gaze to the hurting young boy.

The woman notices his concern and offers reassurance. "He will be okay, Jimin, I will make sure of it. I will help him through this and protect him with everything I have. You don't need to worry about him....you need to worry about yourself, okay?" Jimin nods and smiles numbly. "I will wake you when it starts to get dark, honey."

As he rests his mind wanders to hybrid bonds. How did this woman know so much about how to activate the benefits of the death bond? She must have seen it in action before. However she acquired this knowledge Jimin would be forever grateful. It was her wisdom that ultimately spared the child so much suffering.

He himself didn't know as much as most hybrids. He never went to school to learn how to create more complex bonds, but he knows the basics. He knows about the bond that forms when you build a friendship with someone and the bond shared by a family, the romantic bond when you fall in love, and of course the end of life bond....all of those happen without effort. They are an instinct, a part of a hybrid's DNA...those bonds cannot be stopped without consequence.

A thought suddenly occurs to him and he sits upright in his cot: A hybrid's bonds are unstoppable and that is what the government is so afraid of. They are terrified of hybrids and what their bonds could mean for the rest of the population....so they must either figure them out or get rid of them by killing them all. They will never stop....not until each and every hybrid has been put in the grave. The determination from moments ago is replaced with uncertainty and fear as this fact sets in.

Jimin doesn't realize he is panicking until the woman comes into focus in front of him. She holds his hand and places a cloth over his face. "Deep breaths, sweetie. This will help you relax." He has seen what this stuff had done for the two dying boys so he obediently breathes as deeply as he can manage. He immediately starts to feel pleasantly lightheaded and every muscle in his body goes limp. His eyelids start to feel heavy and the woman starts to leave. "Pl-please....halmeoni. Please s-stay...with me. I don't want.....I-I don't want t-to die...please.."

She sits down beside him and cards her fingers through his hair as he wheezes. "Shhh Jimin-ah dear...I will stay right here. You're okay...just close your eyes and rest, honey."

 


 


 

Jimin is woken up gently as the woman places her hand on his cheek. Almost immediately after his eyes open he is choking on toxic junk. The woman quickly sits him up and holds him steady as he coughs stuff out of his lungs, waiting patiently for him to recover from the episode before examining his ankle. The swelling has gone down alot, but the joint is still significantly swollen and badly bruised.

The old woman fills a small tub with hot water and sprinkles some herbs and spices into it. She explains as she lowers his foot into the tub. "This will help pull some pain and inflammation out of your joint so it will be able to bear some weight for the rest of your journey."

She then makes something light for him to eat as he soaks his ankle. As the sun disappears for the night she wraps the elastic bandage around his injured joint and advises him to avoid putting much weight on that foot as much as possible. She gives him a spare jacket of her late grandson's before assuring him again that the abandoned young hybrid will be safe and cared for.

As he stands near the door, the woman takes his hands and squeezes them hard with tears in her eyes. "I wish you the best, Jimin-ah. Please be careful, dear." He smiles sadly and squeezes back, taking a congested, wavering breath. "I'll be very careful halmeoni, I promise.....thankyou for saving my life." He puts the jacket on and turns to leave, but freezes and turns back to look her in the eyes once more. "One more thing....what was your grandson's name?"

She smiles at him as tears run down her cheeks. "Beomgyu...it was Beomgyu, dear. Thanks for asking...He would have been thrilled to meet you. As he began losing the ability to move and talking became nearly impossible, he often used all his strength to ask to hear stories about your life. After I found you I tried to tell him you were here, but I don't know how much his brain was able to comprehend at that point." She pauses and looks into his eyes with such sincerity and admiration that he looks down at the floor in disbelief. "People believe in you, Jimin. You are not just Kai's hero. Many people are rooting for you and are inspired to fight for justice because of you."

"I-I don't deserve it, halmeoni....I'm literally dying...."

"And yet you still keep fighting. Even when facing the worst circumstances, you never just roll over and let death win. You made it this far because you are strong in here and here." She points at Jimin's chest and then his temple, indicating he is strong emotionally and mentally despite his many health issues. "You are not an ordinary healthy young boy, but you are my hero, Jimin-ah....you are Taehyun's hero.....you may very well be the hero of the entire hybrid species. With your fighting spirit and such a giving heart I am confident you could do big things, sweetheart. So go out there and follow your instincts...and know that so many people, hybrid and human alike, are gonna be there to support you."

Jimin is stunned into silence and tears threaten to spill again as his mind struggles to understand what she is telling him. Before he can form a response the sweet old woman wraps her arms around him and gives him a long hug. When she pulls back she has tears trailing down her face and a small bitter sweet smile on her lips. "Goodbye Jimin-ah..." She kisses his head and gently pushes him out the door.

He whispers 'goodbye' and takes one last good look at the woman who had saved his life and instilled a bit of hope and purpose back into his dying body and spirit. He bows deeply and respectfully before turning and limping in the direction she had pointed, bracing himself against the buildings when he can. His knees threaten to give out and waves of dizziness persistently attack his senses, but he knows he can't sit down now. He knows he doesn't have the strength to get back up again if he does, nor the time to waste. Despite the days of rest he had been blessed with, he could feel his body getting weaker with every passing hour. Deep down he fears the poison will not rest until he has breathed his last.

 


 

Chapter Text

 

The next thing Jungkook is aware of is an uncomfortably sticky heat and a deep ache coursing through his muscles. He whines softly and within seconds a hand is running fingers through his sweaty hair. "Its alright, Kookie, hyung is right here."

The young boy opens his eyes to see his brother sitting on the edge of his bed...how had he gotten to bed? Last he remembered they were all in the living room calling.....calling Yoongi and Tae! A few tears run down his cheeks and onto the bedsheets as the memory of that attempted phone call comes back to him. 

Namjoon's voice brings him back to the present and he tries to turn his head to look for the doctor, but two pairs of hands quickly prevent him from making any significant change in position. "How are you fee-......woah, easy Jungkookie." Jungkook's eyes widen in fear and confusion and he whimpers. Jin is holding his head still and Namjoon has his hands on the boy's shoulders. He doesn't have the strength to fight against them so he doesn't try.

His older brother is now crying as he tries to calm the fear and hint of betrayal radiating from his little brother at being restrained like this by the two people he trusts the most. "Kookie, baby....we just need you to lie still. If you don't move, we won't need to hold you anymore. Can you do that, Kook-ah?"

Namjoon slowly releases him and Jin moves back to running fingers through the younger's hair. The doctor reinforces the importance of staying still as he lays a cool washcloth across his forehead. "It is very important that you don't move your head or neck, Jungkook-ah. You fell pretty hard and hit your head on the coffee table. Your neck twisted and popped, and I am afraid you sprained it and possibly fractured a bone in your spine. Do you remember any of that?" The boy seems to be in a daze and the confusion in his eyes is enough to confirm his suspicions. "I didn't think you would, Kook. You have been unconscious for a day and a half....and you looked so disoriented just before it happened. You woke up and tried to stand, only making it a few steps before passing out and falling to the floor."

Jin sniffs and wipes tears from his own eyes. "I'm so sorry Kookie. I shouldn't have left you alone, but you were breathing much better and I needed to use the bathroom. Well..you weren't completely alone, but Joon was across the room and you got up so fast he couldn't get to you before you fell." The youngest tries to take a deep breath so he can speak and is immediately sent into a coughing fit. He is startled as a deep barking cough rips out of him, stealing the breath from his lungs and sending waves of white hot pain through his chest. The poor young boy has come down sick yet again, as his immune system fails to protect him.

The coughs are so close together that he can't get a good breath in, and even when there is a short break it is difficult to inhale. He makes a high-pitched gasping sound every once and a while, continuing to cough for almost two minutes straight. Namjoon holds the CPAP mask over his face as the coughing dies down, but he still struggles to breathe. Once he catches his breath the mask is pulled away from his face and he manages to whisper a soft phrase. "I-I...I'm sick too..." It isn't even a question, because the boy is smart enough to know that he feels feverish and exhausted....and a cough like that is not at all normal. 

The doctor smiles sadly, nodding as he slips a brace around his neck and tightens it to help protect his injured neck. "We think that you have been sick for a few days, and that's probably what made you pass out and fall. Now that you are awake I am going to keep this neck brace on to remind you not to move it, okay?"

"M'kay......Joon hyung?" Jungkook closes his eyes tightly as if the light is suddenly hurting his eyes. "M-my head hurts...and I....the r-room is spinning, hy-hyung."

Namjoon very carefully lifts the boy's upper body and places a couple pillows behind him before taking two pills from a bottle and helping Jungkook swallow them with a glass of water. "I think you probably have a concussion. Are you hurting anywhere else, Jungkookie?"

"My n-neck aches a little and my chest h-hurts when I cough, but I-I'm okay, hyung." The boy smiles and his eyes crinkle in such a genuine way that it would be quite convincing if he wasn't so pale, so weak, and wearing a neck brace.

 


 

Jungkook seems to get worse and worse as the day goes on. He has just fallen asleep after another harsh coughing fit and Jin secures the CPAP mask onto his face to make it easier to breathe. The poor boy has found himself in a place once again where he has to put alot of energy toward getting enough air into his lungs. His big brother places a fresh cool cloth on his forehead after wiping away some of the sweat off the boy's neck and at his hairline. His fever is not severe, but just high enough to make him sweaty and uncomfortable.

Namjoon comes in to place an IV line so they can start some strong antibiotics and fluids. Because the boy has a very weak immune system...the more aggressive they are with treatment and the faster they get rid of the infection, the better the outcome. The doctor had explained this to Jin earlier, but reiterates as he sits on the edge of Jungkook's bed. "We don't want to take any chances with him, because his body can't fight things off like you and I. Even the common cold could kill someone like him if not watched closely and treated appropriately."

Jin nods. "I trust you, Joon hyung. I've watched you save his life. Please do whatever you need to do to make him better. I hate seeing him so miserable..." As Namjoon inserts a needle into Jungkook's wrist, the boy barely flinches....but the doctor jumps in surprise and nearly misses the vein as someone pounds firmly on the front door.

He can see Jin hesitate for a second and then go to answer the door. "Wait! Jin, don't answer that...wait for me okay? I'm almost done." Namjoon suddenly has a really bad feeling about this. He secures the IV in place with tape and then pushes Jin gently away from the door. "Stay back...just in case."

Namjoon approaches the door and takes a deep breath before opening it. Nobody has knocked on his door in months...

A man in uniform stands outside his door and salutes to him before announcing that he is from the Hybrid Patrol and would like to count how many residents are in this household currently. Before Namjoon can reply the man roughly forces his way into the living room, causing Jin to let out a startled sound. Namjoon reaches out and grabs his hand, pulling him closer. The man looks around and then speaks. "Are you the only two living here?"

As if to answer that question, Jungkook begins to cough again and the doctor rushes to his side. He only coughs a few times and then his lips turn blue as he fails to inhale and sputters helplessly. Namjoon smacks him firmly on the back and on the fourth time the young boy gasps for air, making a high-pitched whooping sound as he struggles for air over and over. As the younger starts to relax he focuses his eyes on the Patrol Officer, who had apparently followed him, and begins to tremble.

Namjoon stares daggers into the Patrol Officer's eyes, the hatred and distrust obvious in his expression. He didn't invite this man into his home, let alone to Jungkook's bedside. The sick young boy doesn't need any more stress on his body right now. He needs to rest. "Can we talk in the living room?" The officer nods reluctantly and then heads out of the room. Namjoon speaks in a hushed tone as he closes the door behind him. "Stay with him, Jin...lock this door and don't come out unless I tell you its okay.." 

The door clicks shut and Jin turns the lock before returning to Jungkook's bed and pulling the younger into his chest. "Its gonna be okay, Kookie...he won't hurt us. They only hate hybrids..." The latter is having too much trouble breathing to try to reply. His lungs seem irritated and almost every breath is followed by coughing. He holds his little brother tightly as he hears Namjoon raise his voice on the other side of the door.

 


 

 


 

All the doctor can feel is anger and disgust at what he has just been offered. The sad excuse for a human in front of him has just offered to take "the burden of caring for such a sickly boy off their hands." Namjoon is stunned into silence at such a statement. Jungkook is such a sweet and precious young boy...he would never have dreamed of calling him a burden. The younger needs him to survive, but that doesn't make him a bother. Namjoon chose this...he wants nothing more than the safety and wellbeing of the two boys he willingly brought into his home.

The officer then goes on to say, "It would be a quick and painless procedure...a special needle injects a paralytic into the heart, and just like that its over...."

Namjoon's jaw drops open, but he is jolted into action by the realization that the vile man is taking steps toward Jungkook's bedroom. He quickly positions himself  between the Patrol Officer and the door to the bedroom. "There is no way I am letting you do that to him....Absolutely not!"

The man ignores him and continues. "It would be for the good of all people...he would be donated to science of course and-"

"I said NO!! Do you even hear yourself?? I don't want him to die....how could you even suggest something like that? He has lots of life left in him...he is just sick!" He admits that Jungkook does look bad. The boy is pale and weak and his cough sounds awful....the poor thing is once again very sick, but he will recover with the right treatment. Namjoon is sure of it. His body doesn't have much strength, but he is and always has been a fighter. 

"Sir, I don't think he-" The man takes another step closer to the door and the doctor's heart leaps into his throat.

Namjoon is done hearing what this man has to say. "I don't care what you think....I am not letting you near him." The two stare at eachother for nearly a minute before he speaks again. "There are three of us living here....please, just give him a chance."

The officer clears his throat. "A week's worth of rations for....three will arrive tomorrow morning at 7 am sharp. Be ready to present ID and some form of payment at that time or you will be passed by." He turns and walks to the front door, pausing briefly with his hand on the doorknob. "When the boy dies, we must be informed immediately or there will be severe punishment." 

The almost murderous look in the man's eyes sends chills down the doctor's spine. Time slows as the man glances toward Jungkook and Jin's room before leaving and slamming the front door. Namjoon is left wondering if the man may still come back to finish the job..

 


 

 


 

 


 

Meanwhile the compound where Yoongi and Tae are has ran out of food, and because the boys are all dead according to the government they are not eligible for rations. Knowing the boys will eventually die from starvation they become more aggressive and violent, on many occasions torturing them to death. The boys begin to join forces and fight back. All the little groups they had them divided into to prevent such an uprising found out about eachother's presence at the compound and started to communicate by leaving subtle clues in the common areas for the next group to find. They quickly devise a plan to escape and that's when all Hell breaks lose. 

One morning Yoongi sits on the bed and holds Tae's sleeping form against his chest after yet another panic attack. The boy had cried himself to sleep about an hour ago but his breathing still catches pitifully every so often, making the older's heart ache. This kid deserves freedom and happiness, and Yoongi is determined to give him that and so much more. The hybrid's mind again reminds him that the boy may not make it out of this place alive, so he should have never become so attached. "No!" He whispers into the quiet room as he looks at the young boy in his lap. This boy has given him a reason to keep pushing forward and looking for a way out. He had been so close to losing himself before Yeonjun and Tae came around.

Worry grows in his stomach as he observes him....the kid is wasting away. He is very thin and has less muscle mass than a couple weeks ago. He is not physically sick, but his mind is ill and it is slowly killing him. Even before the food ran out the boy wouldn't eat much.

He had witnessed it before with other boys whose mental health had spiralled. Eventually they all died....Most of them slipped away in their sleep. Yoongi would know from the dull look in their eyes before bed that they wouldn't wake up in the morning. The idea that something like that could happen to Tae has his heart jumping into his throat and tears trickling down his face. He places his hand over Tae's chest just to reassure himself that his heart is still beating strong.

For the second time since he met this kid, he finds himself overwhelmed with emotion. Tears are now streaming down his cheeks as he does his best to control his breathing. He hasn't had a panic attack for a while now and doesn't ever want to experience one again.

Tae stirs at the sound of Yoongi's sniffling and mumbles a few words sleepily. "Am'I...dying, hyung?"

The older rubs his back soothingly and clears his throat before speaking. "No Taehyung-ah, you are gonna be just fine. I won't let you die, okay?"

"Mmm, okay hyung."

"Why would you think that you are dying, Tae?"

The young boy opens his eyes and looks at his teary-eyed hyung. He moves a shakey hand up and wipes a tear away. "Cause you are crying. You never cry, hyung.....is everything okay??"

Yoongi is caught off guard by how attentive the boy could be even in his state of deteriorating mental health. He ruffles the boy's hair and forces a smile. "Yeah...I guess I am." He dries his eyes with his sleeve and sniffs hard before continuing. "Don't worry Tae...everything is fine. I'm just worried about you. I don't want...to umm..to lo-ose you, kid." His voice cracks, but he tries to cover it up by clearing his throat. Tae watches as he swallows a lump in his throat. "Getting out of here is gonna be really dangerous, but we will starve to death if we stay here much longer.....and you are already kinda weak, Tae. I'm just worried about you getting hurt....."

Yoongi stops talking as Tae's eyes become wide and fearful. There is alot of commotion coming from upstairs, so much that the older boy shifts the younger onto the bed and puts shoes and a jacket on. He then helps the younger into an old hoodie of his and Yeonjun's shoes. 

Tae is still half asleep and confused. "What's happening, Yoongi hyung??"

The hybrid is rushing around the room gathering things they might need. He stops briefly and kneels in front of the trembling boy. "I think its time we get out of here, alright? Just stay by me and do whatever I tell you." He offers a hand to the boy. "Do you trust me, Taehyung-ah?"

The younger swallows back tears and nods his head with determination. Yoongi takes a deep breath and then smiles encouragingly at the scared boy in front of him. "Let's get out of here then. I'm tired of just staying alive....you deserve better than that, kid."

Tae smiles back briefly with genuine hope in his tired eyes. "So do you, hyung."