Shadow

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Of Namjoon

Namjoon's heart lurches as he watches. Time appears to almost slow down.

One moment, Hoseok is smiling his signature thousand-watt smile, skin glistening with the sweat of accomplishing nothing short of a raging success. The next, his body waves like a blade of grass caught in a hurricane as he comes crashing down.

Yoongi is there to catch him. As always.

And Namjoon can only watch.

As always.

Hoseok is sweating profusely and panting as he lies helplessly in Yoongi's arms. Namjoon watches Taehyung and Seokjin move forward to help lift Hoseok and take him to the nearest hospital in Jeongguk's car. Taehyung reaches out his arms, but Yoongi doesn't budge. He lifts the unconscious man up in his arms as if he weighs nothing, as if he isn't taller than himself. As if his heart isn't combusting in panic, even though it must be.

Namjoon knows by now how they feel for each other. It's the reason he gave up. If watching Hoseok in pain hurts him enough to make him feel paralysed and lifeless, Yoongi must feel infinitely worse. That's just how their dynamic works.

His mind starts to flood with his many conversations with Hoseok.

"Namjoon, I love you so much. We'll be friends forever."

"I know I can always count on you."

"Joon, I think we must be soulmates! I don't think it's possible to get along this well with another human being."

"Namjoon, I- I feel so lonely. Can you-"

He swallows his pain and does the only thing he's capable of doing.

He follows Yoongi and grabs on to Hoseok's hand.

"You'll be fine, Hobi. It's gonna be alright."

His hands squeeze the delicate but cold fingers in their grasp, as he prays to a God he doesn't believe in.

---------------------

They've been waiting outside the doctor's room for a little over twenty minutes when Seokjin finally comes out. He looks nervous. "The doctor is ready to give us his diagnosis."

Yoongi jumps up and barges in without any preamble. Namjoon stares at his small yet broad back, as it disappears through the white door with peeling medical posters. He sighs as he holds his breath.

"Hyung, can you go for me? I'm afraid I'm not in the right mindset for this."

Namjoon sighs and prepares himself to admonish Taehyung for his lack of responsibility and how he isn't being a very good boyfriend; but what he sees makes him swallow his words.

Taehyung's forehead is creased in pain and worry. His hands are clasped on his knees as he shakes profusely in a cold sweat. But it is the constant sparks of blue ripples that truly express the anguish of his soul.

"Please, hyung. I can't even think straight. I just hope he's okay." Seokjin looks at Taehyung in concern, as he nods to Namjoon, who doesn't waste any time in rushing in.

He opens the door to see Hoseok in hospital pyjamas, but relief washes over him like a tsunami when he sees the sheepish, but healthy look on Hoseok's face. Yoongi is already seated next to Hoseok and enquiring about his health. Namjoon sits next to him and tries not to focus on how their hands are intertwined.

"Is there any problem, Doctor?" Namjoon asks.

The doctor looks at Yoongi, with a teasing smile.

"Nothing serious. Nothing to worry about at all, in fact. Just a bit of fatigue. Mister Jung tells me he was working too much with too little sleep or water."

Hoseok looks down at his hands peevishly. Yoongi left out a loud and relieved breath, and Namjoon could almost feel him loosening the grip on Hoseok's hands.

The doctor smiled. "And that combined with his over dependence on his lover's shadows probably triggered his collapse. There's been an osmosis of shadow into the voids in his light. In order for two polar elements to co-exist in harmony, they need to take care of their energy supplements. When I examined Mister Jung, there were a few shadow stains in his body, especially his legs, which seem to be the most abused. Take care that you don't get fatigued any time soon, you hear. But on the other hand, I must congratulate the two of you. Your relationship must be very strong for your shadows to want to sustain your partner enough to take place of his depleted light. Do take care though, especially because his light is of the healing kind and your shadow seems to be cursed."

There is pin drop silence.

Namjoon's mind is racing a mile a minute.

Hoseok's boyfriend Taehyung has a water element. Was Hoseok cheating on him with Yoongi? And since when did Yoongi have a cursed element?

Yoongi was the first to break the silence.

"What do you mean by osmosis of shadow element? Is this some kind of joke?" He slams his fist on the doctor's table. Hoseok gets up to placate him. "I've been so careful all these years not to touch him too much, be with him too much, just to protect his light." Namjoon hears Hoseok gulp. "Do you mean that it was all futile? That my shadow got into him anyway? Does that mean I have to fucking leave the country to save him? And your diagnosis is bullshit! I may have a shadow, but it's not nearly cursed. My only curse is having the damn shadow in the first place!" He got up and the doctor shrank back in fear. Hoseok pulled him back in agitation.

"Namjoon, get him out of here. I'll settle this and come out in a second." Hoseok looks exhausted and Namjoon doesn't want to leave him alone, but he senses Yoongi losing his mind and attacking the doctor any second now; so he tiredly pulls him out.

Once outside, everyone else crowds around them. Namjoon sighs. "It was just fatigue. He's okay now-"

"The fuck do you mean it's just fatigue?!" Yoongi spat out as he pushes his finger into Namjoon's chest. "My shadow poisoned his light. I fucking did that to him! I keep trying to stay away, just to protect him, but it doesn't fucking work! He's fucking collapsing because of me! What more can I-"

"Was it shadow osmosis?"

Taehyung's voice cuts through like a knife. Namjoon is surprised at Taehyung's knowledge. He was hearing the term for the first time. He nods in affirmation. Taehyung blows out some air. "Oh thank God. I was so worried for a second there."

Namjoon feels queasy. "What do you mean, Tae?" Yoongi's jaw is almost touching the floor in his combined state of aggravation and confusion.

Taehyung stretches and smiles lazily. "It's quite normal actually, especially for people with cursed shadows. It's usually not that bad, though. Aish, that hyung! He must've been over-exerting himself. And we've been spending so much time together recently, gosh!"

Namjoon's brain finally seemed to catch up. "What do you mean?"

The door swings open and Hoseok is out looking emotionally exhausted, but physically quite fine. Taehyung runs up to him and kisses him hard, till Hoseok pants for breath. Namjoon's insides twist in discomfort, and he can see Yoongi grit his teeth in jealousy and confusion.

Taehyung holds Hoseok in his arms and kisses his hair. "I told you to be careful, hyung. You should take better care of your element. My shadow is really wild, and the curse is strong enough to make it quite volatile, especially to you because he loves you. Be more careful from now on, okay?"

Hoseok hums timidly and glances towards Yoongi. His face is a painting of loss and betrayal.

"You have a shadow, Taehyung?"

Namjoon's water flows through his body in havoc. He can not begin to fathom Yoongi's pain and regret.

And he doesn't hold him back as he lunges at Taehyung.

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