Four days. Four days is how long it had been since anyone could elicit a response that consisted of more than one or two words out of you, if they were lucky enough to get in contact with you in the first place. Or, according to Seven, ninety-nine hours, thirty-four minutes and eighteen – no, nineteen – no, twenty seconds which had turned twenty one by the time he’d gotten it out and the cycle began all over again. Whether it was through text or phone call or communications through the chatrooms, you just weren’t all there, your heart wasn’t able to be in it and everyone sensed there was something extremely wrong. Words were spoken at a sluggishly slow pace or elaborated on very little as if you were walking on eggshells around every topic, messages left with spelling errors that were never corrected nor cared for. Your responses to their messages of concern and reminders to take care of yourself were unusual to say the least, you either lied unconvincingly or given a reply they prayed they wouldn’t receive.
No one was sure what happened, really. One day you were planning the RFA’s next party and the next you “called in sick”, and then there were hours upon hours of radio silence and suddenly you were back with what seemed to be a paper-thin version of yourself with little emotional indicators and just trying to keep acts up. Your phone calls with Yoosung were especially worrying, the two of you were little love birds sitting up in the clouds together full of smiles and good times, but now you were hazy and fading in and out with interest in conversation. You were heavy words and cloudy skies around your beautiful sunshine boy who could always make you feel like you were something special to the world. There had always been hints of sorts that you hadn’t always been so well, that you struggled with the chemicals in your brain like many have before and continue to do, but no one ever pressured you into talking about it. Though, now that you were so inactive there were so many worries swirling around everyone.
At hour one hundred and three, Seven and V put the party planning on a temporary hold to look out for you and all members and guests were very compliant, thankfully. After eleven consecutive hours of radio silence, it was decided at hour one hundred and ten that someone had to go check on you, no one had seen you in over a week besides for one short video call. Yoosung was the clear choice for the check-in, being your boyfriend and all, and of course, they were aware everyone copes differently with struggles and if you did truly need to be alone then he would let you handle things on your own. But if you needed help, needed someone and were too cautious and concerned to reach out, then he’d already made a promise to himself and anyone who would listen to stay around for as long as you needed, he would be there for you. He knew how hard it could be in times where you get caught up in your head, knew how hard it was to be alone and feel like no one could be understanding, he knew how hard it was to feel like you weren’t worthy of what you needed.
He’d been a strange kid with a heart too big for his chest and tones too loving for those he spoke to, seemingly always going home dragging his feet even though he was trying his best to run to something better which felt like it was never coming. The loss of Rika had been shocking and shook him to his core, he spent too many nights crying to the stars hoping someone was listening on the other end. The loneliness and abruptness of it all had been too much, and watching others handle it better and go through the motions faster only worsened things. He started an ongoing fight with himself in his head over whether it was a problem with him or a problem with them, whether they didn’t take take enough time or he was taking too much, whether he had the right to his feelings or not. He remembers the tears and wishes to sink into his mattress and disappear and the conversations he had with himself that he wish someone else could understand. The thoughts in his mind eating away at his skull and pulling on his heart strings and the feeling of never wanting anyone else to feel the way he did.
After one hundred and twelve hours of detached and empty phrases and outstretched periods of nothing, Yoosung makes the short journey to your home, taking taxis under the lights of the city and around the buzz of people living their own lives with their own worries and joys. He finds himself on your porch standing in front of your door, shoes scuffing against the cement underneath his feet unsure what to do after a few unsuccessful knocks. He bites his lip, fishing into his bag of possible overnight clothes and a few special snacks for you to find the spare key you’d given him. Yoosung hopes not to worry you, cautiously turning the key into the doorknob and pushing softly, making sure to call out that it was him to not startle you. The small house was unbelievably dark inside, maybe one or two lights on in the entire home as far as Yoosung could tell while he set his bag down near the couch trying not to trip over his own feet He turned on a few lamps here and there to avoid the darkness taking advantage of his clumsiness and concussing him or something of the sort because that’d be the last thing either of you would need. He noted the house seemed more unkempt than normal as he made his way to your room, garbage laying around in the kitchen and clothes and random items, trash and other belongings, were strewn across the floor.
Your door was slightly cracked open, a nightlight or two and the glow from the city and moon being the only things illuminating the room as far as he could tell. You were in a haze when he arrived, you knew he was there, heard him speak when he first entered but couldn’t muster up enough energy to do anything about it or react in any way. You were on your bed, laying on your stomach, blankets piled on top of you and a few articles of clothing and notebooks and writing utensils shoved to the side of your mattress. You felt like your limbs weighed more than your whole body and like your mouth was glued shut, all you could do was stare at the wall opposite to you and feel everything and nothing at the same time. You could tell your mattress was shifting, assuming Yoosung was sitting down at the end of it, wanting to be close to you but not invade your space especially being careful not to get too close too fast. You could tell by the soft sound he made and the way he breathed that it was him, it almost made you feel better until the waves of grey, foggy, discolouration swept over you and added a heaviness to your heart and a dullness to your eyes and vision.
“Baby? Sweetheart, can you hear me? It’s me, Yoosung, your boyfriend. I, uh, everybody in the chat and myself got really worried since you’ve been so…upset lately, so they sent me over.” He spoke to you in such a soft, gentle tone. He’d never seen you like this, and sure, you’d only been together for about six or seven months but this was almost scary to him. Not scary like he was afraid or ashamed of you, but scary like he knew how much you were hurting and scary that you had been trying to deal with this for so long by yourself like you were trying to tread water in iron shoes.
You made a noise, almost like a strange moan or whine. You wanted to crawl to him and give him the biggest smile and hug your body could muster, you wanted to be happy, but all you could do was shift a little and wave a couple fingers in his direction as you clutched the blankets closer. You felt like crying, your body and your mind wanted two different things and you wanted to stop the ridiculous science experiment your brain decided to conduct this week with the thoughts and feelings in your head. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fucking fair.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay. You’re gonna be okay.” Yoosung’s heart clenched in his chest seeing you like this, aching to fix it as he put a hand on your hip reassuringly, “Is it alright if I touch you, honey? Maybe I can help pull you up and we can sit together for a moment. Then, maybe, I can help you get cleaned up and turn a little light on? Get you fed and taken care of, baby?”
You nod, swallowing thickly, you can feel tears pooling in your eyes for no reason and so many reasons at the same time, there’s too many things swimming around in your mind to keep track of, too many emotions bubbling over the numbness. You almost don’t feel deserving of the help you’re getting, you know you should feel otherwise but loving yourself as much as you want to is harder than faking confidence right now. You feel Yoosung push some things to the end of the bed and kick his sneakers off, moving to the side of you closer to the wall your bed is pressed up against. His arms are wrapped around your shoulders and waist, helping you up and get you and your blankets settled between his legs with your back pressed to his chest. Your head falls back onto his shoulder, a few tears roll down your cheeks and you shake as he’s so sweet with you, it feels like your heart is swollen in your throat when he’s moving a few strands of hair out of your face and wiping away your tears.
“Oh, honey. It’s okay, you’ll be okay. We’re going to get through this together, gonna get you through this together. Me and you, we’re a team. Okay? You’re already doing a really good job even though it probably doesn’t feel like it, I’m so proud of you. My baby is so strong.” He holds you so close, making sure you’re all covered up and whispering sweet things to you. You feel his heartbeat below one of your shoulder blades as your dreamy boyfriend keeps you near during a nightmare situation. You can tell he’s taking note of your dark circles, how sunken in your eyes seem and how unsure all your movements are, he’s probably also taking in how it’s been six days since you last showered but thank god he seems more concerned over the feelings that have caused it.
The waves in your head are still crashing against the front of your skull and you still feel like you’re drowning in the calm chaos of your depression. You can almost make out a lighthouse through all the fog and you’re trying so hard to just make it to shore. It’s going to be a long night. It’s like being in stuck in a pit of one of the world’s slowest cases of quicksand, you keep trying to go forward but you trip and get pulled back in, so all your work no matter how big or small is always torn from underneath your feet. But, you try to focus on Yoosung’s warmth, his soft voice telling you how much he loves you and how you’re going to be okay now and you try your hardest to believe it. You stay like that for a bit, resting against his chest as his fingers trace shapes on your skin, keeping your hair out of your face and murmuring kind things to you. The dread that the stars are falling from the sky and their burning weight is landing onto you dissipates mildly, it isn’t much but it’s something.
“It’s so good to see you, everyone was so worried about you. I know I was. I’m so glad to be here with you, I feel so lucky to know you. We all care about you so much.” Yoosung’s voice is sticky with emotion, his words are coming to him so naturally but he feels like he’s choking on them. “Do you want to try to clean up now? Take a shower, maybe?”
Your mind is stuck in mud and sluggishly slow, like your thoughts are trying to navigate their way out of a maze in absolute darkness. It takes a minute, but you nod. You feel Yoosung adjust himself behind you, you take that as cue to move forward off the bed. Feeling your feet touch the floor for the first time in at least fifteen hours is strange, black spots start to crowd your vision when you stand up and reach out for something or someone to hold onto. Your boyfriend’s hand is quick to find yours, he’s behind you in an instance helping hold you up and keep you balanced, hushing you and reassuring you that you’re okay. The floor feels so weird beneath your feet as Yoosung leads you to the bathroom, you’re so tired it’s like your body is moving and you’re floating just outside of it. Yoosung picks you up and sets you down on the sink countertop, reassuring you he’ll be back.
Yoosung runs a hand through his hair and over his face once he leaves your room, looking up for a moment. God, you don’t deserve this, he wishes he could just fix everything but both he and you know that he can’t, there are pills and appointments for that but he hopes and prays he can help at least a little. You look like you’ve been through hell and back since he’s seen you last, its almost unbelievable and it’s so painful. He thinks about how caring you are, how your words always soothe him and smiles always light up his day, he thinks about how beautiful you are and how you are the last person who should ever have to go through this. He shakes his head, grabbing a few towels from a closet in the hall for you before retrieving his overnight bag and making his way back to you, he just wants to focus on helping you and tries not to get caught up in his own emotions right now. He’s doing alright, if he needed to take a moment to check in and care for himself he would, of course, he’s just concerned for you, that’s all.
He sets his bag in your room for now, grabbing a sweater of his out of it for you and making his way back to you. He set’s the folded up towels on the counter next to you, along with one of his hoodies, and holds your face in his hands, getting so close to you that your noses touch for a moment. He whispers to you how much he loves you, how he’s not going to leave you, and kisses you on the forehead. You swear to yourself and the forces above that Yoosung is far too good to you, you don’t know what you did to deserve him but you’ll always be thankful for whatever it was. He was so beautiful and felt like home like he was laced with all the good things in the world and he looks at you like you are the best thing in the universe with such sincerity it almost makes you cry.
“Ah, alright. I guess I’ll leave you to it then,” he says, started to back away from you and make his way out but you grab his wrist before he can get out of reach, he turns and looks at you with his wide lilac eyes with uncertainty. “Huh? What’s wrong?”
“I, uh…” You’re not really sure you have the energy to shower, you know you should and you know that it’ll make you feel better but it’s hard enough to move your body and verbalize thoughts. You want to try, you just aren’t sure how you can do it; maybe you’ll just wash your hair or something, sit down on the shower floor and try to work it out from there, “I think I need help. I feel really, like, weak? I don’t know…”
Yoosung is quiet for a moment as his eyes remain on you. Your voice is so fragile and quiet and you seem so small, like you’re caught between crawling deep inside yourself, down the bones of your ribcage and trying to break out of your chest while you shift under his gaze. “No, yeah, don’t worry about it! We can take the chair from your desk and get in some shorts and a sleeveless shirt and I can help you out. That way you can just sit back and breathe, I’ll take care of everything, okay?”
He watches intently for your approval with a soft smile and eyes that you can see right through, he’s always been the biggest open book especially when it comes to you and your “okay” on things. You give him a thumbs up with a little smile and you have to admit, watching him roll in a computer chair down the halls and trying to get it through doors it wasn’t meant to fit through is one of the most endearing and entertaining things. You can’t help but fall for how your boyfriend always tries so, so hard for everyone he encounters, especially you. Your shoulders still sag and you can still feel an upsetting feeling gnawing at the bottom as your heart, but you feel warm when he takes your hands in his to help you down from the counter. You stand in front of each other, unsure of what the next move is and you can tell he isn’t certain whether he should go now or not so you reach out and pull him in.
“I hope this isn’t too much, or too odd, but, can you help me change? I just…I don’t…I feel, weird, and achy. Like, my body-“ He shushes you in the middle of your sentence, nodding and smiling gently at you, he gets it. He understands the creaks in your bones like an old house that needs some good old tender love and care, he’s been there before. He looks at you each time before and after he touches you, making sure you remain comfortable as he pulls at the strings on your baggy trousers, helping you step out of them carefully. He holds out the shorts for you to step in to, making sure your legs don’t get caught or tangled up in anything, including each other. You lace them up yourself and he holds out his hand for a high-five, which you return the gesture, giggling a bit. Yoosung can’t begin to explain how happy is to see that smile back on your face, even if it’s just a trace of it for the smallest second.
“You’re so cute.” He says to you quietly as he’s helping pull your shirt off with your arms up in the air, looking at you in the most sincere manner. You feel safe when he rolls your sleeveless shirt down your body, fingers ghosting over your waist and being so attentive not to be rough with you. You sit down in your computer chair and Yoosung twirls it so your back is to the sink and you feel like a child at the hairdressers for a moment, remembering when you weren’t tall enough to see your reflection in the mirrors. You watch him fill up a small bowl of water, placing it by your feet with a few rags following suit and he tells you he tried to figure out what soaps to use by which ones smelled the most like you which makes your cheeks heat up and butterflies flutter in your stomach. He’s so cheesy and cliché, but you always get caught up in it and all of his sweet words, you know he has the most pure intentions and you really do trust him with all you are.
He sits on the floor at your feet, looking up at you like you’re an angel sent from the Heavens and you feel so much love for him, your heart skips and jumps at the way he looks at you. He dunks a wash cloth in the glass bowl of water before wringing it out and running it down one of your legs, the warm water giving your tense muscles some relief. He repeats this process with soap too before rinsing it off, you sit through periods of silence and moments where he updates you on what the RFA has been up to (most of the activities include worrying about you) while resisting the urge to tickle your feet. Yoosung tells you about how Jumin had security drive by your house every couple of hours for a few of the days and how Seven almost hacked into your webcam but a three hour moral redirect from the group chat stopped him, but then tried two hours later but your computer was off and shut, so.
Yoosung is so cautious when washing your arms and hands for you, making sure to get under and in between everything, paying extra close attention to your fingers. He slots his fingers in the empty spaces between yours, kissing the wet surface of the back of your hand and going down each appendage, “I love you. I love holding your hands and being close to you. You’re so pretty…everything about you…” He’s entranced by you, to be completely honest and fair. He loves your skin and your smile and your spirit and the way you talk to him and he loves you.
He smiles at you when he dries you off with the fluffy, soft towel before making his way behind you, helping you lean your head back against the sink where he pours cups of warm water over your hair. He runs his hands over your head and threads his fingers through your hair, grabbing strawberry shampoo and massaging it into your skull. He rubs at your hairline and the nape of your neck and your temples, scratching the top and back of your head softly and it feels so good. You sigh deeply, feeling the warm water again and hearing Yoosung’s soft humming above you while he pays close attention to getting all the suds washed out and not get any soap in your eyes. Sometimes you wonder where he learned to be like this, where he learned to be so kind, was it from his mother or maybe Rika? Or was he simply born with so much love and such a genuine soul resonating through him and his existence; you’d never dare ask though in fear of hurting him because he gets fragile too. He brings up another soft towel to your head, rubbing and wringing your hair out as best he can while not disrupting what seems to be your state of almost peace. The air feels different here, with the two of you in your bathroom with him taking such good care of you when you can’t look out for yourself, alone together. Everything feels comfortable and right and you really feel like someone loves you because you know Yoosung does. You know he’s here because he wants to be here, he wants to do this for you and help you not because he feels like he’s obligated to or you’re burdening him.
He spins you around slowly to face him, “There. All clean. Now let’s get you into some dry clothes.” He leans down to kiss your cheek and flash you a quick smile, taking your hands and helping you up, making a funny little noise that makes his smile contagious. In your room he helps you into a flimsy t-shirt and any traces of water on your shorts seem to be dry now, so you slip into one of his extra hoodies and wrap your arms around his waist. He wraps an arm around you, holding you close to him and resting his head on top of yours, swaying the two of you back and fourth.
“Have you eaten, lately?” Yoosung asks you, even though he’s almost certain he already knows the answer. When you shake your head and mumble back “no”, his suspicions are confirmed, “How about I go make something for you? I learned how to make a really nice sweet bread that might be good for your stomach, since it’s not too much flavor or texture at once. It only has about a ten minute rise time, too, there’s a genius in my cooking class. And maybe we can pop a bag of popcorn and watch a movie together, honey!”
You give him the biggest smile you can manage as he speaks, telling him that yes, you would love that. You love how excited he gets over everything, getting so passionate even just about cooking for someone. You follow him around the house to the kitchen like his own shadow, always staying close and watching with wonder at what he’s doing. You help him get the ingredients, standing on the tips of your toes to reach your flour with him behind you in case the bag falls, which it does, but thankfully Yoosung comes to the rescue and catches it. A flour bag exploding all over your floor might be comedy gold any other night, but tonight it might be a bit too much. Your boyfriend tells you with a smile that if you hadn’t just gotten cleaned up, you two could definitely have a flour fight tonight, but it looks like you’ll have to take a rain check on it.
He prepares the dish with you glued to his side, he keeps one arm wrapped around you and the other stirring, pouring and cracking various things that you didn’t even know you had in your cabinet or even had purpose as a food. You can’t help but look at him and wonder what domestic life would be like, living with him and waking up to his extravagant breakfasts many mornings and going to bed with him. Maybe you’d have a dog or a cat or children, or all three, or maybe just each other. Maybe you’d spend your holidays out and about or stay in all night watching themed films in your pajamas. You could spend the early mornings and late nights together, fall asleep in each other’s arms and look out for one another on good and bad days and listen to the other talk about their dreams while you cheerfully encourage them. Maybe you’d live in a big, big house in a cute suburb or a shoebox apartment in the city. You get lost in your daydream of a future with Yoosung with white picket fences and happy days, your cheek pressed up against his chest while he scratches your side softly and reassuringly every so often. It feels nice to be in a fog of feeling that isn’t awful and overwhelming in the worst way, it feels good to not have all the worries in your brain still and to be able to breathe easier.
You’re startled out of your haze by oven beeps as Yoosung sets the timer for preheating and small amount of rising the bread has to do and when he feels you jump he freezes and looks down at you quickly to make sure you’re alright. You laugh it off lightly, telling him not to worry as you detach yourself from his side go sit on the couch, you should really go grab some pillows and blankets but now you’re just stuck in a love haze while recovering from your previous brain fog. Yoosung laughs when he walks out and sees you all melted into the couch cushions, “Are we converting to the couch potato life style now, honey?” You go to open your mouth but stops you, “I’m only kidding. Relax, don’t worry your head any more than you already are. I’ll go get us some blankets and just take care of a couple things in the kitchen and I’ll be right out.”
Sooner rather than later you are engulfed in big, fluffed out blankets and a down comforter, curtesy of your beautiful boy who is too good to you. You rest your head on your outstretched arm, watching him go between the living room and kitchen, the sound of the microwave buzzing as he lights a few candles for you. He changes into a soft white t-shirt and grey baggy trousers, one of your favourite pairs of his, might you add. He’s taken out his hair clip and his hair is just a blonde mess now as he tries to keep it out of his face, pushing it back and to the side this way and that way. Of course, he still looks adorable, he still looks like the boy who you want to come home to every day who will treat you right and love you whole heartedly who you’ve loved and dreamed about for so long. He continues his busy bee routine for another twenty or so minutes before returning with way too much food than he should logically be able to carry, holding a plate of sweetbread and a bag of popcorn while trying to carry two glasses of water. You rush over to help him with the glasses, going on and on about how he didn’t have to do this and that you could have helped him and how you’re so, so sorry to which he tells you that there is no need to be sorry, he just overestimated himself. He promises you that if he needed help, he would have asked, telling you that he just wants you to be able to relax and not have to worry today.
The two of you place the food on the small table in front of your sofa before laying down together, a content sigh leaving both of you. You’re able to rest your head on his chest and swing an arm over him, your legs tangled together while he wraps one of his arms around you and kissing your forehead. You reach over for a sweetbread roll when Yoosung speaks, “If you don’t like them or if you don’t feel well enough to eat them, it’s okay. I don’t want you to feel guilty or obliged to eat something that makes you sick. Just…so you know. Because…I love you, and I want what’s best for you, you know?”
He gets so quiet and shy at the end of his sentences, like he’s had a revelation of some sort and gotten to close to his heart while you were holding a bread roll, which genuinely might be the case. You smile at him, kind eyes and all as you kiss him chastely, “Thank you, Yoosung.” The moment almost feels too private and too quiet like it shouldn’t be happening, you feel like you’re looking so deeply into his eyes, “I love you too.”
He beams at you, watching you start to rip the roll in half and handing him the other half, taking a good sized bite out of yours and raising your eyebrows excitedly, “Yoosung! This is so good! Why is my boyfriend the best cook ever, why are you perfect?”
You can feel his chest vibrate with laughter and you finally feel like you’ve done something right, you are the luckiest person ever to be able to elicit such a beautiful noise out of such a precious boy, “Really? I’m glad you think so. My baby is pretty perfect too.”
The two of you hold pointless conversation and accidental small talk about the food for a while, Yoosung flipping through movie selections and making funny faces at you when you think he isn’t paying attention to what you’ve said or vice versa. Being ever so near each other is so pleasing, you both love everything about one another so much, it’s a blessing to have time together where you can get as close as you’d like, snuggling into each other’s sides and hiding in the crooks of necks. Yoosung can never shut up about how stunning he thinks you are, on any given day to any person he holds conversation with and sees the chance, including rambling about your beauty to you. He falls in love with the slope of your nose and how your skin feels against his and how much he loves kissing you anywhere he can on the daily, getting caught up on your collar bones and your shoulders that carry so much world weight. He loves your hands and your legs and your face and your mouth and the way you ask him questions and answer his. He loves how you look at night and in the bright morning sunlight and how you have such a wonderful soul even though you don’t even know it.
You’re walking two fingers up and down Yoosung’s chest jokingly when he starts to talk, taking you a bit off guard by breaking the blanket of silence over the two of you, “The other day I saw this sunset, it was so pretty. It was all blue and pink and yellow, I’m not sure if you saw it too, but it reminded me of us, of you. I wanted to take pictures of it, maybe take pictures of you in front of it, but I didn’t have my phone on me and you weren’t around. But I wish you were, I always wish you were around. I…I hope you’re always around.”
“You did so well today, I’m so proud of you, you know that? And I’m so glad nothing happened to you this week while I wasn’t around and you weren’t in the chat. I was just so scared for you…I hope you know you never have to be hesitant to reach out for help from me or anybody else, okay? Everyone loves you, I love you so much. I don’t know what made you relapse, if it was anything or just something that happens sometimes. I’m always here for you, though. I’m gonna stay with you as long as you need, sweetheart. You’re so strong on your own, but it’s okay to ask for help. I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon, especially anywhere that takes me out of your life. I’ll always be here, on your side, baby. You’ve always helped me out, even when it was hard on you, and I intend to do the same for you…Everything’s going to be okay, I promise.”
Your mouth hangs open and you’re pretty sure you’re too close to catching flies, you don’t even know what to say because your sweet, sweet boyfriend just shared his entire heart with you and you can’t even fully process it, “I…Thank you…I don’t know what to say, I just, I love you too, I love you so much. I…”
He rubs up and down your arm, reassuring you, “Honey, it’s okay. You don’t need to thank me or say anything. I know how you feel. I’m just glad you’re alive, I’m glad you’re here with me.”
The two of you melt into a comfortable, silent sate, turning on some silly rom-coms, deciding to have a movie marathon and throwing popcorn at the tv screen when characters you don’t like pop up. You feel better, not all the way okay, but you feel warm and you feel safe and you’re so glad that you are here with him too. Your eyelids start to get heavy a movie and a half in as Yoosung’s runs his fingers up and down the inside of your arm.
“Hey, Yoosung?” your question, your cheek squished against his chest still.
“Will you stay another night?”
“Of course, honey.”