Every time he tried to be helpful, it inevitably ended in disaster. It hadn’t been that way in Busan, but Seoul seemed to have done something to his personal magnetic luck field. As such, he should have known that staying late after dance practice to help Hoseok clean up could only lead to bad things.
Having a knife pointed at his chest while a man with a cap pulled low over his face demanded all of his money probably counted.
“I-I-I,” Jimin stuttered, hurriedly pulling his pockets inside out and opening his wallet to show that they were empty. He even ripped open his duffle bag, which contained only dirty clothes. “I don’t have anything, I swear! I would give it to you if I did, but I—“
He was cut off by the man with the knife growling angrily, drawing the knife up to press the very tip into the soft flesh of his throat. “Fucking liar, where’s your phone? Kids always have a cell phone!”
Jimin swallowed in terror, feeling the metal scrape against his skin. “I’m a trainee! I don’t—they don’t let us—no phone!” he managed, voice cracking.
“Aish!” the man grunted, sounding even angrier. Jimin tried to lean over and away from the knife, but he was pressed into the side of a building, the rough stone scratching at his back, nowhere to go.
“Please, I-I won’t tell anyone,” Jimin begged. “Just…just…”
“Oh, I know you won’t, kid,” he menaced, pressing the knife in hard enough to draw a thin line of blood and make Jimin whimper.
And then he was gone.
Jimin stood frozen, uncomprehending, until he finally managed to turn his head to see the would-be robber unconscious on the ground, ten feet away on the sidewalk. Turning his head in the other direction, he could only stare and shiver at the green-haired person, who looked to be around his age, yawning and rubbing at his face.
“You’re the second person he’s tried to do that to this week,” the green-haired boy said, voice much lower and rougher than Jimin would have thought for someone who looked so… “You think he’d have learned the first time. Unless the concussion made him forget…” he added wryly.
“I…” Jimin breathed. “Th-thank…”
“Whatever,” the boy shrugged, pale face nearly glowing in the dark. “I just happened to be taking a walk.”
Jimin nodded shakily and tried to move, but found his knees unable to support his weight, falling forward until he was caught by a pair of surprisingly strong, pale arms. “Yah,” the boy grunted. “You okay?” his dark eyes flicked to the red line across Jimin’s throat.
“I’m…no,” Jimin admitted. “But I’ll be fine in a minute, you don’t have to—“
But the boy was already practically carrying Jimin across the street and into a coffee shop, setting him down a in chair by the front window. Jimin must have zoned out, because there was magically a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a slice of cake slid in front of him, the pale boy sitting in the chair across the table and staring at him.
“Well?” he said impatiently. “Eat! I didn’t waste my money for you to stare at it.”
“Oh, umm, thank…thank you…” Jimin said softly, reaching out to take a sip of the drink and sighing as it warmed him up, sugar helping to get some feeling back in his fingers and toes. “Oh!” he said suddenly, eyes widening. “What about…” he trailed off, looking out the window. “Should we call the police?”
“The police are worse than useless around here,” the boy said lazily, resting his head in one hand, purple shadows under his eyes. “Call them and they might get here tomorrow, if they feel like it.” He looked at Jimin, tracing the lines of his face and the innocence of his expression. “You must be new to Seoul.”
“Oh…” Jimin said, staring into the mug of hot chocolate. “Then I’m…I’m really lucky that you were walking by,” he looked up, hoping his eyes accurately reflected how grateful he was. “If there’s any way I can repay you, I…”
The boy reached out to slide a finger through the icing in the cake, making a little noise of approval when he ate it. “Payback is too much trouble,” he muttered.
“You’re so strong,” Jimin said, quickly flushing after he realized what he’d blurted out. “You knocked that guy down like it was nothing…”
The boy frowned, eyes narrowing. “Eat your cake and go home, kid,” he said, standing up.
“Wait!” Jimin said, standing up as well. “I don’t even know your name…”
“No,” the boy agreed, smirking. “You don’t.”
Jimin watched helplessly as he left the shop, not even looking back.
Disappointed, Jimin slumped back into his chair and gulped his hot chocolate, wincing when it burned his throat. His eyes surveyed the straight line carved into the top of the cake. He wondered if the green haired boy liked sweet things.
“Ah, really?” Jimin sighed, glowering at his swollen ankle like it would somehow answer him back. He’d been sore from practicing their newest routine and hadn’t been paying enough attention to where he was going, one misstep off of a curb rolling his ankle painfully.
He’d tried to keep going, but soon enough had been forced to sit on the sidewalk in front of a convenience store and remove his shoe and sock, wincing at the angry red skin and ballooning shape. “Aish,” he sighed, rubbing an angry hand through his hair. Sitting there wouldn’t make it any better, and he still had a while to go before he reached his tiny apartment, so he did his best to brace himself for the pain, deciding that he could deal with his sock, but that having his shoe on might kill him.
Every step he took, he got closer and closer to letting tears of frustration and pain slide down his cheeks, using buildings to hold himself up as he hobbled along. His bag was hanging heavily around his neck, and he’d never felt so close to throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a public street.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a cold hand settle against his forearm, almost falling again before a familiar pair of cold arms reached out to steady him. “It’s you,” he said dumbly, noting that the pale face looked as tired as ever.
“Yah, what the fuck did you do now?” the green haired boy asked, helping him stand straight and lean against the nearest plate glass window.
“I sprained my ankle,” Jimin answered defensively, “and I didn’t do anything before! I was robbed, you know!”
“Yeah, I was there,” the pale boy said dryly, ignoring Jimin’s protest to squat on his heels, reaching out to take Jimin’s foot gently his hands and peel away the now-dirty sock. “Ouch,” he said, wincing at Jimin’s ridiculously large ankle. “Is there no one you could call to come pick you up?”
“No,” Jimin said quietly. In Seoul, he had nothing but his dreams. Not even a cell phone.
“Do you have far to go?” the boy asked, sliding his sock back on.
“I…I can make it,” Jimin insisted stubbornly. “It’s just a few blocks that way,” he pointed.
“I’m too tired for this,” the green haired boy muttered, but nevertheless turned around and hunched, reaching behind him to point at his back. “Climb on.”
“What?” Jimin questioned, embarrassed, “but I’m too heavy!” And the green haired boy might have been strong, but still, he and Jimin were around the same size, and there was no way he’d be able to—
“Aish, just get on!” he said angrily, slapping his shoulder for emphasis.
Jimin frowned but complied. The green haired boy would see that he was too small to carry both Jimin and his bag, and then Jimin could be on his way. Except, when Jimin wrapped his arms around the boy’s neck and his thighs around the boy’s waist, he was lifted up easily. The boy wasn’t even breathing hard as he carried him several blocks, silent except for light huffs when he readjusted Jimin to a more comfortable position.
“This…this is me,” Jimin said, indicating a crumbling apartment complex with a burned out streetlight at its entrance.
The green haired boy whistled. “Honestly, I’m surprised you’re still alive.”
“Hey,” Jimin muttered, “I can take care of myself.”
“I can see that,” the boy answered wryly, eyeing his ankle.
“Ah, whatever,” Jimin pouted, beginning to limp towards the door before his wrist was caught in a firm hold.
“How old are you?” the green haired boy asked, narrowing his eyes.
“Twenty-two,” Jimin said, suspicious.
“Aha!” the boy said. “I’m the hyung, then.” He smirked. “Go to sleep, dongsaeng. That’s what I should be doing,” he added under his breath.
“Have we known each other so long to be that close?” Jimin muttered, lips still firmly jutted outward.
“I think saving you twice is enough,” the other shrugged. “Or did you need a third time?”
When Jimin woke up and set out painfully for the studio in the early morning, he found a bag with medical supplies and an ankle brace in front of his door. He didn’t even want to know how the boy had known which room was his.
Jimin’s bad luck, apparently, needed a third time.
Because he woke up to screaming and the stifling smell of smoke, choking when he was unable to fill his lungs. Whether it was intentional, an electrical short, or someone had fallen asleep smoking, the fact of the matter was that his shitty apartment building was on fire.
Panicking, Jimin dropped to the floor, at least able to remember that smoke rose and he could get the cleanest air closer to the ground. He reached out to grasp his door handle but released it quickly with a cry, the metal burning hot to the touch. The fire must have spread to where he was on the fifth floor, and considering how hot his door was, it wasn’t safe to try the hallway.
He crawled back over and onto his bed, head fuzzy from lack of oxygen, to shove open the only window in the apartment, using all of his strength to push against the ancient panes until they finally gave, letting in a rush of cool night air, leaving Jimin gasping.
He could see several police cars and fire trucks, hear their sirens sounding loudly, and a small crowd of people gathered in front of the building. Jimin tried to shout, but the minute he opened his mouth, he gave into a fit of coughing, choking on ash wafting from the burning rooms below.
“Hey!” He yelled as loudly as could, waving his arms back and forth wildly. “Hey, I’m up here! There’s still someone up here!”
A few people saw and pointed up at him as he continued yelling. It looked like the firemen knew that he was there but didn’t know how to get to him, a few of them talking and pointing as others fought the fire with gigantic hoses.
Finally, one of them grabbed a megaphone and pointed it up at him. “We can’t lean the ladder against the building, it’s too unstable!” he yelled. “It’ll be five more minutes before the bucket lift truck can get here! Just hold on, and we’ll get you out!”
Jimin was beginning to doubt that. The smoke only got thicker and thicker, the air harder and harder to breathe even from the window. He knew it would only be a matter of time before he passed out, and he wasn’t sure if the building itself would last another five. It was old, and definitely not up to code.
For a moment, he even contemplated jumping, but he knew he probably wouldn’t survive the fall.
“Aish,” he laughed darkly. “It’s really the worst, my luck.”
He startled when, through the cloud of smoke, his door was knocked completely off of its hinges, falling flat against the floor. Flames licked the outside frame, but a figure in a dark hoodie and green hair walked straight through them.
“Yah,” the green haired boy said. “You know, when I said three times, I was only joking.”
“You’re so...strong…Who are you?” Jimin asked dazedly, squinting as the smoke and heat stung his eyes.
“You can call me Suga hyung,” the boy answered, getting to him quickly and checking Jimin over for injuries, frowning at his blistering palm from where he’d grabbed the door knob.
“What kind of a name is Suga?” Jimin wondered, coughing as Suga lifted him bodily from the bed, holding one arm under Jimin’s knees and the other under his shoulders.
“A fucking cool one,” Suga grumbled, stepping up onto Jimin’s bed and setting a foot on the windowsill.
“Hey,” Jimin said fearfully, curling his fists into Suga’s hoodie. “Hey, hyung, what are you doing?”
“What does it look like?” Suga grinned cheekily. “I’m saving you,” he said.
Jimin woke up in an unfamiliar bed, the sheets cool against his warm skin, the clock on the nightstand telling him it was early in the morning.
He raised a hand to rub at his forehead but winced when he made contact, his palm wrapped with white bandages.
“Oh, you’re awake!” a pleasant voice exclaimed, and Jimin squinted up at the handsome man standing in the doorway. “I’m sorry about this, it must be awfully confusing. I’m Jin, and you’re in my guest bedroom. Suga dropped you off last night, said something about hospitals being too much of a hassle.” The man rolled his eyes. “He just didn’t want to fill out any paperwork, the lazy—“
Jimin groaned, trying to sit up, and the man was by his side, helping him to lean back against the headboard. “Last night,” Jimin rasped, throat scratchy. “He…he jumped…”
“Yes, he can be a bit melodramatic,” Jin sighed. “But this is the first time I’ve seen him go on a rescue without me having to push him out of the door. He heard it was your building and,” Jin snapped his fingers, “he actually ran, the functional grandpa.”
“Rescue,” Jimin repeated dumbly.
“Oh, yes, it’s kind of a hobby, really,” Jin said nonchalantly, pouring Jimin a glass of water from a pitcher he hadn’t noticed before. “Suga was born with…certain abilities that other people don’t have. It’s kind of ironic, actually. The laziest man in Korea gets saddled with super powers, isn’t that funny?” Jin giggled, eyes lighting up. “But anyway, somehow, he and a few others managed to find each other, and now they try their best to help people.”
“There are others?” Jimin asked, awed.
“There are,” Jin nodded, “but I won’t tell you who they are without their permission.”
“Oh, no, umm, I didn’t mean,” Jimin waffled, flushing. “This is just a lot to process.”
“I understand,” Jin smiled. “It took me a while, too, to get used to the idea of all of us. But when they need patching up, they come to me.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” Jimin said quickly, looking down at his bandaged wound. “I would never—“
“Of course not,” Jin nodded. “I could tell just by looking at you that you’re one of the good ones.”
“Oh,” Jimin blushed again. “Umm…I…that’s…thanks?”
Jin laughed. “No wonder that old man has a soft spot for you.”
Jimin gasped with sudden realization. “Oh no, my apartment! All my things…” he felt his voice wavering, tears pricking his eyes. “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Jin said, resting a comforting hand on top of Jimin’s own. “You’re here, aren’t you?”
He met the rest on their own terms, of course.
They would stop by at random hours of the day, in need of medical treatment or direction, and Jin would introduce them to Jimin when they agreed to let Jimin into the same room.
V was the first to allow Jimin to see who he was, bleeding green slime onto Jin’s dining room table and chatting animatedly the whole time. He liked to rescue endangered animals and had gotten caught on top of a spiked gate he’d been jumping over. His body chemistry made it possible for him to melt things, dissolve them at will like he was using some kind of acid.
Even though Jin used special gloves to stitch him up, he still ended up with minor burns along his arms.
Kookie was the second, the kid still in high school but using his spare time to stop bank robberies. Kookie was incredibly strong, Jin said. Even stronger than Suga. But his powers were more unstable, and he sometimes ended up hurting himself just as much as the bad guys. He didn’t trust the idea of someone else knowing about his powers, but Jin speaking well of Jimin eventually wore his paranoia down.
Jimin watched and paled as Jin dug a bullet from Kookie’s shoulder, red staining his pressed high school uniform shirt, but the teenager didn’t even flinch, absentmindedly playing with his cell phone like getting bullets pulled out of him was a chore.
Jimin didn’t meet RM for a month. It wasn’t because the hero was avoiding him, but because he had the oddest hours of all the others. But one night, when Jimin was getting himself a glass of water from the kitchen, RM stumbled drunkenly into the apartment, Jimin nearly dropping his glass in surprise. Jimin had hurried to help the unsteady man to Jin’s couch, pulling back in shock when his hands were deeply stained with red. “Jin,” the man’s deep voice said, pained.
Jimin thought that RM had it the worst of all of them, because while he didn’t have any super strength or speed or melting powers, he also couldn’t die. He felt the need to intervene where possible, to seek out trouble and prevent it, but he was unable to do more than a mere mortal to stop from getting hurt. Jimin watched as Jin tweezed inch-thick shards of glass from RM’s back, the man wincing in pain at every tug until the wounds closed on their own, leaving his skin free of marks or scars, like the pain had never even happened.
Jimin did his best to be a good roommate to Jin, because he knew that he didn’t deserve the man’s generosity in the first place. He gave the entirety of his meager earnings as a dancer to Jin, and even though Jin protested every time, he would eventually accept with a pat of Jimin’s head, muttering about what a good kid he was.
Jimin gave up trying to predict Suga.
Sometimes he would show up just to complain, other times to nap on Jin’s couch or take over Jimin’s bed, which he insisted had been his first, so he had a right to it. He would sometimes meet Jimin to walk home after his dance practices, enough so that Hoseok began to ask him who the cute ghost was. Other times, he was gone for weeks with no notice, long enough for Jimin to start to worry over whether he was even alive anymore.
Jin would tell him not to worry, that Suga was probably just hibernating somewhere, but Jimin would still stay up all night, keeping his ears alert for the soft clicking of the front door.
Jimin watched the news, one evening, when a blurry cell phone video showed an entire building collapse with Suga still inside it. And Jimin knew it was Suga, his green hair clearly distinguishable as he raced into the building to pull people from it.
When the man had showed up the next day as though nothing had happened, Jimin punched him in the face, fracturing two of his own knuckles in the process.
Suga barely felt a thing. Instead, he’d spent the next hour alternating between berating Jimin for his stupidity and anxiously waiting for Jin to get home to properly treat his hand.
But still, Jimin thought it was worth it.
Kookie developed an interest in teaching Jimin how to fight, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
The moment he’d spotted Jimin’s dancer’s figure to go along with his busted knuckles, he’d deemed it a pity that he didn’t even know how to throw a punch correctly. Jimin had tried pointing out that he in fact had several years of Taekwondo under his belt and that Suga’s face was just exceptionally hard, but Kookie brushed him off, saying that real fights were dirty and he needed to learn how to play that way.
If he was being honest, Kookie terrified Jimin more than a little bit. The kid could crush steel in his bare hands and take bullets while barely flinching, and on top of that, he had problems with control. Jimin wasn’t sure he could get out of this unscathed, even if he did his best to smile through it.
His fears were proven somewhat true when Kookie accidentally tossed him through a window. At least, he hoped it was accidentally.
It was then that Jimin learned that Jin had powers too, ones that were activated by sudden surges of adrenaline. Jin could move things by just thinking about it, when he was under great stress or pressure. Luckily for Jimin, seeing Kookie throw him through a window seemed to be enough to qualify, and Jin surged to his feet as his eyes glowed blue, wrenching Jimin back inside through sheer force of will.
He’d sent Kookie home with a stern glare and comforted Jimin with milk and cookies, dabbing at the slices across his face and arms with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball as Jimin’s heart continued to try and hammer a hole through his rib cage.
Suga hadn’t been very happy when he’d arrived at Jin’s apartment to see Jimin curled under a nest of blankets on the couch, snoring lightly, regularly flawless face marred by ugly scabs. Not that he was happy normally, but at Jimin’s injuries he’d dragged Jin outside and demanded to know what happened.
Jin kept his lips sealed, not wanting to instigate a fight.
Suga pulled Jimin’s feet into his lap and fell asleep next to him.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” RM mused, “but this is…cute.”
Jin nodded, pulling out his phone to snap a picture of Jimin and Suga, who’d somehow maneuvered their positions to be lying against one another’s shoulders.
“What’s that for, blackmail?” RM asked, eyeing Jin’s pink phone warily.
“What? No, it’s just for me,” Jin smiled back.
Jimin’s luck was really the worst.
He hadn’t even known Seoul had villains, much less supervillains, though maybe he should have figured out that things in the big city worked differently once he’d acquired friends who punched through walls on the regular.
He and Hoseok were headed to dinner when the latter had offered to treat Jimin for his hard work. Little did they know that there was a giant robot on the loose until Jimin’s head was nearly taken off his shoulders by a gyrating claw.
“This is ridiculous,” Jimin said, gritting his teeth as he ducked behind yet another cement column. “I just…wanted…some ddeokbokki…” he huffed, rolling to meet Hoseok where he trembled behind a different column in front of the same building.
“Hyung, are you alright?” Jimin whispered, peeking from behind their hiding place to spy the robot chasing after a group of high school delinquents.
“Jimin-ah, hyung is seriously considering moving,” Hoseok answered, teary-eyed. “This is the second robot this month, and my heart just can’t handle it.”
Jimin gasped when a green-haired blur grabbed the robot by one of its flailing arms and threw it up into the sky, only to have it met by a dark-haired blur’s fist, the robot sent sailing into the side of a skyscraper. “Hyung,” Jimin whispered nervously.
The robot was only damaged superficially, climbing back onto its feet and racing back to where Suga and Kookie waited, faces determined.
“And maybe I could understand the robots if there was a point to them,” Hoseok continued, “but they just break everything. Who does that? Huh?”
Jimin watched breathlessly as, suddenly, the robot fell to the pavement, its shell beginning to hiss and steam as it decomposed. He was confused before he spotted a grinning V waving at it from behind a building. He must have left some kind of acid trap behind.
“Thank goodness,” Hoseok sighed, dusting his knees off as he rose to his feet. “You still hungry?”
Jimin watched as his friends made quick exits, not wanting to be hassled by the authorities, even though they’d just protected everyone in the city. Giant…giant robots, huh?
He definitely wasn’t in Busan anymore.