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the last snowfall

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Jimin waits.

He sits in his usual spot on the vinyl chairs, leaving two empty seats to his left. The wintry wind grew stronger with each feathery billow, one that sent the cinereal clouds traveling to the edge of the earth like silent wanderers.

The platform is quiet. Wispy murmurs permeate the atmosphere in their gentle lilts, settled in the nests of their conversations on their phones. Someone’s loud music blared through muffled earphones. He shivers from the cold despite the thick jacket he wore but he sits still, hands buried into the depths of his pockets, every breath that escaped through his lips a wisp of pale smoke that disappeared just as quickly as the world’s warmth, back into its stagnation.

Jimin waits to be forgotten.

The metallic screech heralds the arrival of the train, the ground rumbling beneath him in a faint briskness - all corroded iron and timeworn upholstery. The doors ease open with a chime in the broadcast, an announcement made by a perfunctory, lackluster voice. People file in to escape the cold, but he doesn’t move. He sits there, motionless, as though he’s fallen in a standstill. He watches, he waits, he breathes. He sees fluttering in his periphery and as he turns, his eyes catches the sight of a dainty butterfly. A white one. It’s odd, because they aren’t supposed to emerge until spring, and as he curiously follows the airy creature drift around in a daze, there, he sees a young man standing in the carriage, clad in a white t-shirt stained with crimson and dark brown that revealed his bare arms to the frigid air. He stands in the train with a certain wistfulness in his expression, but then he turns, and looks straight at him. He stares with round eyes framed by dark hair, stares with curiosity, stares with a particularity Jimin couldn’t read. His mouth opens.

The door closes and the boy disappears. The butterfly is gone. The train leaves and it’s empty again.

Jimin waits for nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

The back of his neck tingles.

Jimin thought that it was just the coldness of his apartment that made him wake up in goosebumps, but even as he buried himself deeper into his covers, there’s a persistent tingle that he can’t ignore. The waxlike sunlight poured through the windows from above him, sharply stinging to his senses. There’s a heaviness to his limbs that rendered him tired but his mind is awake, too awake, and he can’t sleep anymore.

His eyes flutter open and he rubs the blurriness out of them. The tingling stops, and as he slowly sits himself up from his bed, he hears the squabbling harmony of the birds that flittered outside of his window in the bleak morning.

He yawns, turns, and his eyes raises to meet another pair.

“Hi.”

Jimin doesn’t think he’s ever screamed so loud first thing in the morning, but he did, and then the next thing he knew, he's scrambling backwards in complete surprise until he reaches the end of his bed and falls backwards, landing onto the icy floor with a painful thud. His heart’s accelerating to the point where he thinks he’s about to go into cardiac arrest and the initial shock sends a ladder of chills down his spines as he frantically reaches for his alarm clock on his night stand.

“Oh, wow,” The stranger remarks with amusement, his eyes sparkling, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a guy scream so high before. That means you can really see me!” He’s beaming but Jimin didn’t care. The fight or flight response prompts him into hurling his alarm clock at the boy, but the object goes straight through his smiling face and slams into the wall instead with a jarring crash before it falls onto the floor. The quiet ticking fills the silence. Jimin was frozen in his spot, mouth hanging and eyes widened in disbelief.

“Um, are you okay?” The stranger walks -- no, floats towards him and passes through his bed and crouches down beside him. His threadbare sneakers barely touches the wooden floor, leaving an inch of space between them. This must have been a dream. A hazy, uncannily realistic dream haunting him, replacing the dull nightmares he often couldn’t remember.

“I’m sorry for scaring you,” He says softly, but his eyes retained its brightness when his mouth stretched into a wide smile that made his eyes crinkle and nose scrunch, a light giggle spilling past his lips, “but your reaction was totally worth it.”

That’s when Jimin realized how dim his figure was -- his translucid features and the clothes he wore, white shirt and jeans bloodstained and tattered with dirt, too underdressed for the winter’s turpitude and how the colour from his complexion was drained away by the transparency of his ephemeral state. There’s a sanguine scar by his temple, flakes of blood dotting his skin. The knot unwinds in his throat and his words are scratchy, “A ghost.”

“Yup.” He nods with a boyish smile, and there, Jimin wonders how a ghost can smile like that, so happily and so carefreely when he was caught in between purgatory. He looks too young to have had his life robbed away from him, but even in his eyes there was still life, more life to them than Jimin’s. How ironic.

 

 

It’s not a dream. He was the boy from the train. He isn’t a malignant presence much to Jimin’s surprise. In fact, he seems rather innocent and benign in his intentions. He has this whimsicality to him, this gentle quietude and youthful vigor, completely dissimilar to how spirits like him are portrayed in the movies.

Jimin nurses a cup of tea in his hands after he threw on a large sweater to shield himself from the cold and having calmed down (he may or may not have locked himself in the bathroom and freaked out for the next twenty minutes until he heard the ghost call him out of concern), still a bit shaken, he watches warily as the ghost drifts around his bedroom and poke his head around his bookshelf. He had introduced himself as Jungkook, a twenty year old (too, too young) who had been struck by an intoxicated driver the snowy night before his friend’s birthday, where he had been rushing away in an angry state after a small, trivial fight with said friend. The truck’s headlights had been the last thing he saw before he found himself separating from his corporeal body. He witnessed the doctors attempt to resuscitate him, only for their efforts to amount to nothing when they announced him dead after hours of failure. He’s been wandering the earth for almost a year already after that, drifting aimlessly with a flickering hope in him that someone would be able to see and help him.

He listens quietly as Jungkook runs a hand through the spines of the books, lithe fingers running past them and not quite touching, never going to touch again, “I watched my own funeral. I didn’t like seeing them all so sad. It’s the first time I ever saw my dad cry.”

Jimin places his cup down on the desk, wringing the sleeves of his sweater. He’s still trying to wrap his mind around this phenomenon, “Why me? Why am I -- I the only one who can see you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s fate!” Jungkook says brightly as he settles beside him, floating in the air with his legs crossed, and Jimin tries not to squirm in discomfort, “I’ve been frequenting that train station a lot and I see you sitting there in the same spot all the time. It’s just -- this time, when I looked at you, you looked right back at me. In the eye, which meant that you saw me. Just when I was losing all hope and that I was going to be stuck on earth forever with no one to talk to, I met you.” He adds with a grin, and at that moment, those words that contained all his dovelike optimism and lightheartedness, the warmth of his voice and how easily he wore his heart on his sleeve, it melts the grey of Jimin’s perspective and his surroundings brighten just a tiny bit with colour. A faint vibrancy Jimin has forgotten the feeling of.

“So do you -- do you want me to help you?” Jimin asks with uncertainty, “To help you move on?”

At that, the light in Jungkook’s eyes dim and he looks up at the ceiling in thought. He fidgets as though he’s uncertain as well. “Well… it’ll be my friend’s birthday again soon. It’s in two months. I know he’s still blaming himself. Maybe that’s why I’m still stuck here. I can’t leave and, you know, pass onto the light or whatever when I still feel so unfulfilled. There’s so many things I still haven’t been able to say to them. My family knows that I love them, but my friends don't. You’re the only one who can help me.” He exhales a heavy breath, and looks at him sadly, “But I -- I want to stay for a little longer. Just a little bit longer. I want to watch over them a little longer, and when it nears his birthday, then I’ll -- I should be ready to part, because I don’t want him to spend another day blaming himself when he should be celebrating.” He bites his lip and hesitantly continues, “Can I stay with you until then? Until I’m ready? I don’t have anyone else.”

Jimin lowers his gaze in contemplation. His life is a repetition of repetitions, a vapid tedium of waking up, eating, working in a corner store, coming back home to an empty, cold flat before going to sleep. It repeats. It dulls. It adds another weight in his heart. A snowpiercer of loneliness wraps him up and leaves him to wither; as though it’s a glove of ice, encasing his heart in a cage that keeps a tropical bird, where his heart yearns to fly again, to stretch it's wings and soar and be let free, and see the vast possibilities of life laid out before him, but it stays locked up in its frozen prison, afraid to pick the lock or try to break and free against the cafe. Perhaps he can truly help the boy and maybe then, his heart would feel lighter. If he can help him pass onto the next life, at least Jimin would be doing something right in his life.

“You’re so weird.” Jimin mutters. Even though he’s a ghost, Jimin can see the candidness and the brightness in his eyes, so vivid amongst the transparency of his features. Jimin is only going to help him. That’s all. He’s not keen on the prospect of having his heart grow heavier with another slab of melancholy.

“I know, but you’re taking this a lot calmer than I thought. Now, for me, that’s weird.” Jungkook shrugs with a chuckle, “Is that a yes, then?”

Jimin watches the steam rise from his cup in light filigrees. He waits for the steam to dissipate, waits for his tea to turn lukewarm before he answers.

“Yeah.”

 

 

 

 

 

It’s snowing as Jimin sits there, watching the train lurch forward into a steady motion. His cheeks feel numb and his ears hurt, but he waits until the carriages disappear from his view. The snowflakes fall gently onto the platform like icing sugar.

“Why do you come here everyday?” Jungkook asks curiously as he floats around him after following Jimin to the train station again. “You don’t even go in.”

In lieu of answering, Jimin merely smiles. Jungkook pauses and studies his face, a thoughtful look in his eyes as he catches the poignancy written over his expression, but he doesn’t say anything. As silence falls with the gossamer snow, Jungkook waits with him.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s an early morning. The windows are closed with frozen cracks decorating the glass panes. Jimin makes use of the tomatoes and green onions in his nearly empty fridge, chopping them up to boil in the saucepan with water. After he finished making a warm bowl of soup with udon noodles, he fixes himself a cup of green tea before he takes a seat on the small island bench.

“You don’t have a lot of incriminating things here,” Jungkook muses as he floats through the walls and approaches the island bench nonchalantly. A week has passed since that morning and Jimin’s still getting used to the fact that he has a ghost living in his apartment. It’s like some benevolent form of haunting, where most of the time Jungkook yaps about his life before his death and complains incessantly about how he can’t feel hunger anymore or how he wishes that he could change clothes and actually look decent instead of a bloody specter while he follows Jimin around. It’s been a long time since Jimin has had such consistent company. Jimin can’t remember the last time he’s eaten his meals with somebody else to accompany him. Jungkook doesn’t seem to mind Jimin’s lack of responses though, and likes to ramble away with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Why would I keep anything incriminating here in my own apartment?” Jimin asks with a frown as he quietly eats his noodles.

“I don’t know. I mean, you’re a guy, right? I thought I’d see porn magazines or some shit underneath your bed. Or, like, a vibrator. Even lube.” Jungkook looks up at the ceiling thoughtfully, ignoring the fact that Jimin was choking on his food and was hacking gravely into his arm, “But no. All I see are dust bunnies and a long forgotten pen covered in cobwebs. Where’s the spice in your life, man?”

“What the fuck,” Jimin heaves hoarsely as he wipes his mouth with a napkin after almost spitting a whole mouthful of noodles back out. Jungkook is laughing at him in a shrill, undulating pitch, a hysteric kind of laughter that’s endearing in its own way, and the whiskers of his eyes show as he shuts them and holds his stomach. “You brat.”

“Your face. It looks so funny!” Jungkook slams his hands against the counter, or at least, he tries to as his hand goes through the marble. His hearty laughter dies down into childish giggles, “Has anyone told you that you blush way too easily? You’re so red right now! You look like you can blend in with a chili pepper or something.”

Impetuously, Jimin reaches over to smack him upside the head but only for his hand to pass through smoothly, and he stills for a moment. He’s forgotten about Jungkook’s transparency and his diluted form, how he can never solidify, a gangrenous reminder of their detached worlds. But Jungkook’s still giggling, unaffected by his petulant attempt to hit him for his teasing and Jimin relaxes. He wonders how someone as young as him, who would’ve had a bright future, can take such a substantial reality in stride.

“If you were still touchable, I would’ve smacked you silly.” Jimin mutters as he picks up his chopsticks again.

“Ha! That is, if you could even reach me.” He sticks out his tongue in a childish manner and bursts out into another slaught of shrill laughter. Jimin huffs, taking another bite out of his noodles.

“Very funny.” He mutters, but he can’t help but harness a small smile as he looks at Jungkook’s playful grin. His mirth is contagious enough to brighten up the everyday simplicity of Jimin’s life. He feels a warm glow in his chest, a dangerous feeling, but at the moment, he wishes to bask in it before it could disappear. As serenity fills the silence, Jimin studies his translucid paradigm and how his arm is right smack-dab in the middle of the counter.

So, after Jimin takes a sip of his tea, he curiously asks him, “Do you know if you can… solidify?”

Jungkook blinks at him innocently. “Solidify?”

“Yeah.” He nods, “You know, draw in energy from things and people to make yourself solid. Stuff like that.”

“That’s what I thought too in the beginning, like how they show it in the movies and television shows. My feelings are still in tact so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, so I wandered around crowded streets and places and malls and did what I can, but nothing worked. Nothing happened. I still pass through things. I still can’t touch anything.” Jungkook says plaintively, “It’s just… empty. Everything is.”

“Oh.” Jimin bites his bottom lip, “I’m sorry.”

Jungkook flippantly dismisses the unnecessary apology, “What are you apologizing for? I’m completely fine. Look, you should’ve seen me first thing when I floated right out of my body. I was a total mess and I’m kinda glad I had to walk around for almost a year before meeting you or else --” He lets out a low whistle, “I would have made your life a lot more miserable from my misery.”

Jimin smiles a bit, “I wouldn’t have minded the company.”

“Well, now you’re stuck with me for two whole months. Guess you’ll have to endure all my annoying complaints until then.” Jungkook grins freely, and Jimin ignores the sudden pang in his chest, a familiar, distinctive pain as he imagines the outcome. Right. He buries all those hopeful emotions underneath and lets the quicksand of his heart swallow it whole until it becomes nonexistent.

He waits until the pain fades and he continues to eat.

 

 

 

 

 

“Jimin, Jimin, Jiminie!”

Jungkook’s sing-songy voice greets him as Jimin walks through the threshold of his apartment. He closes the door behind him and throws on the lights, finding Jungkook somersaulting in the air. Jimin’s surprised at first, not because of Jungkook’s silly tactics, but because it’s been awhile since he’s come home to someone waiting for him.

“What are you doing?” Jimin asks with a slight laugh as he takes off his bulky coat and throws it over the coat hanger.

“I’m bored. You’ve been gone for, like, eight hours.” Jungkook whines and trails after Jimin as he enters his bedroom to change into more comfortable clothes and out of his work attire. Jungkook bashfully turns around and faces the wall as Jimin gives him a pointed look in the middle of taking off his shirt.

“You could have gone out or followed your friends like you usually do.”

Jungkook lets out a sigh, and when he speaks, he suddenly sounds tired. “I’ve been watching over them for almost a year, Jimin. It get’s tiring when seeing them all the time only reminds me that I’m never going to laugh with them ever again or be with them in the biggest moment of their lives. I won’t be able to meet their partners or hold their children or go out on adventures with them again.” A heavy silence fills his pause, and Jimin hears a quivering breath.

“I’m never going to grow up with them ever again.”

And he stops because Jimin knows how that feels, the familiarity of lost connection. How it breaks you, shatters the fortitude you once possessed. Jimin knows. And maybe that’s why he knows that Jungkook is reluctant to start immediately when Jimin had agreed to help him, merely stalling with all his witty exchanges and comical digressions. It’s because he’s scared. He’s scared of the possible rejection, the possible pain, every possibility of heartache when he confronts the reality of how truly divided and separated he was from everyone else. Even though he wants to pass, he doesn’t want to leave the world where humans walk yet. He doesn’t want to leave the friends that he still, and will always, love. He can’t let go. So, he’s waiting too. He’s waiting until he’s ready and he doesn’t know when he’ll be ready.

He’s been wandering around the earth all on his own. With no one to see him, no one to hear him, being unable to touch and share laughter, only able to stand there and watch the world go forward without him while his own world falls and shatters into pieces-- that must have been the worst kind of loneliness.

Jimin knows. He understands.

He tentatively lifts a hand and slowly, he reaches for Jungkook’s hand. He hesitates as he hovers above it. He can’t touch a ghost, but Jimin tries anyways, treads thin waters and goes past the boundaries he’s set up for himself as he tries to grasp it.

But Jungkook didn’t feel it, couldn’t feel it, and speaks lowly, “I’m going to go out for a bit.”

And he disappears before his eyes.

“Jungkook?” He doesn’t walk through the walls, doesn’t sink below the floorboards. He just disappears like a star at daybreak. Jimin looks at his curled hand, the one that had tried to touch him. He slowly retreats it. He goes back out into the living room and sits on the couch. The silver sky outside fades into a darkened sea of black, until the heavy clouds surmises to stifle the lunar rays and the stars with an impermeable veil.

“Don’t leave,” he whispers.

Jimin waits, even as the sky starts to brighten outside.

He falls asleep at one point with his head against the arm rest, but in a half-conscious state, his hand begins to tingle. Not the kind of sensation where a limb falls asleep, but the kind that feels as though something had draped itself over it, like a wispy spider web tangled between fingers. Drowsiness inhibits him but he opens his eyes anyways, starts to open them, and all he can see is white. He blinks and lowers his gaze towards where a hand lingered above his. A larger, stronger hand compared to his. Jimin can’t feel the full tangibility of it but he can feel the presence; the same tingling feeling he had felt on his neck the first time he met Jungkook. It holds all the coldness there is to a ghost, but it’s warm, too. Warm in an elusive way that was comforting; that soothed the ache of longing in his chest. He hears the whirring of distant cars fade outside.

“I won’t leave you.”

It’s an empty promise, nothing but wishful thinking and a pipe dream, but Jimin falls asleep to it with a lightness in his chest anyways.

 

 

 

 

He drowns in his nightmare.

 

 

 

 

“I was studying to be a cop, you know.” Jungkook says one day as he floats in the air with his hands behind his head, perching a leg on top of an upright knee. “I wanted to be a police officer. Like, fight crime and bring justice to the world -- all that jazz. I sucked at the studying part, but the whole physical portion?” He karate chops the air, “I was un-fucking-beatable.”

Jimin was looking out the window where the heavy snowfall covered his view. The snow fell like comets plunging towards the earth’s demise. His boss had called him early in the morning to inform him that he didn’t need to show up, and considering the weather, Jimin wasn’t able to head to the train station, which meant he’s holed up in his flat the whole day. It’s a change of pace, however, when he’s spending an entire day inside with someone else to accompany him. Then again, Jimin’s the only one who can see Jungkook. That’s probably the only reason why Jungkook sticks to him like glue, but Jimin was okay. The company was nice. Not being alone was nice. Jimin enjoyed listening to the little tidbits Jungkook shared about himself, about his life, about his once bright future. Jimin couldn’t share much about himself, though. Sharing about himself meant getting attached and he didn’t want to do that.

“Yeah?” Jimin dog-ears the page of his book, and closes it, “What made you want to become one?”

Jungkook hums, “I’ve always wanted to help people and make a difference in the community. I wanted to work for something greater than myself. Serve mankind and stuff. Plus, Law and Order was the shit. Then again, I lose my faith in humanity sometimes, thanks to jerkwads like that stupid asshole that ran his stupid truck over me because he got drunk off of Johnny Walker.” He grumbles, “Like, hasn’t the law established the fact that it’s illegal to drink and drive? What a stupid wanker doodle.”

His voice is like a broom sweeping off the dust from underneath a vase, and for some reason, Jimin finds his nonchalance funny. Something tickles his chest and rises up his throat and a giggle spills through his lips involuntarily, and before he knows it, he’s laughing out loud into the quietude of his apartment.

Jungkook stares at him, nonplussed, “Uh, did I say something funny?” He floats towards him and settles on the seat beside him. “I mean, one of my friends used to joke about how my whole existence was a total, shitty and comedic sitcom. Does that apply here right now?”

“It’s just -- how are you so calm about this? About everything? You talk about it as though it’s not a big deal. You’re just so happy-go-lucky.” Jimin can feel his cheeks hurt as his laughter dies down. His smile feels weird against his face, and he wonders if it looks contorted, because Jungkook’s staring at him again. Staring at him with his round eyes full of curiosity and inscrutable intricacies of the world. It was so morbid, but there was something funny about the morbidity of it. The absurdity of this entire situation.

He breaks out of his daze and shrugs, suddenly timid, “Well. Um. I don’t know. I’ve done my fair share of being miserable already for the past few months of being dead. It’s manageable right now because I have you, y’know? I’m not lonely anymore.” There’s a shy smile on his face and Jimin fights the light warmth spreading throughout his chest at the sincerity of his words, but consternation quickly waters his smile down, “Besides, I’m not -- I’m not really vengeful. He’s an asshole for sure, but he’s already serving time in jail and his family -- his family’s really upset about the whole ordeal too. I wouldn’t want to wish the same thing upon them. It’s hard to be positive sometimes. Incredibly hard. But I try anyways, because what’s the point of brooding over something that's already done? But I still don’t --” He draws in a deep breath, “I still don’t want to leave yet.”

“That’s okay, Jungkook.” Jimin smiles softly, his eyes lowered towards his lap, “I said I’ll help you and I will when you’re ready. Before your friend’s birthday, right? We have plenty of time before the 31st.”

Jungkook nods but regards him with an earnest look. His hair is a deep shade of brown that reminds Jimin of cherry oak. The smudges of dirt and bloodstains don’t intimidate him as much as it did in the beginning. All Jimin can see is a boy who can easily smile like how a flower blooms and a boy who can easily disappear like rain. Jungkook’s staring, and Jimin isn’t sure if it’s because there’s something on his face.

“What?” Jimin finally asks.

“You have a really pretty smile,” Jungkook blurts, then adds, “and laugh.”

Jimin blinks. He blinks twice until what he’d just said registers in his mind and his cheeks burn just slightly and he looks away, warmth pooling around his chest to his stomach, and it tickles. His mouth opens and closes until he finally croaks, “Thanks.”

Jungkook clears his throat awkwardly and gave a jerky shrug, “Uh. Yeah. No problem.”

They sit in a comfortable silence. Jimin opens his book and resumes where he had left off, but he can’t focus.

Jimin thinks Jungkook would have been a good cop.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the flaws of having a spirit who’s constantly present is that he can witness the very molds of Jimin’s mask break into pieces, exposing all his vulnerabilities and his fears.

“Jimin?” Jungkook appears in his periphery, but Jimin doesn’t turn to look at him. He stays rooted in his bed, arms thrown over the covers as he stares up at the sombre ceiling with tired eyes. The sky outside is grey and lackluster and the light that shines through his windows are barren. He hears the low rumble of a jet but it disappears into the far distance. It’s a peculiar cavity of vacancy, larger and impeccably hollow than usual he feels, and the days where he wakes up like this isn’t often, but it occurs more than he can count. It’s uncontrollable, sometimes, hitting him unexpectedly. “Don’t you have work today?”

No. Someone else had taken his shift, but he doesn’t answer.

Jungkook frowns as his face hovers above his, but he quickly retreats and lingers beside his bed. He stays with him and waits into the monotony of the morning, the dull ticking of his alarm clock the only symphony that reverberates in the lifelessness of his apartment. There’s something impermeably heavy in Jimin’s chest and it was both painful and empty at the same time.

Jungkook’s voice is tiny, “Jimin?”

He sounds concerned. Jimin wishes he didn’t. “Jimin. I’m here, okay? I’m here for you. Can you -- can you tell me what’s wrong?”

There’s a knot in his throat and it coils around his neck. Like everyone, Jungkook will leave too. It’s not his fault, though. He can’t stay on earth forever. He didn’t choose his death, but Jimin wonders. He imagines. He thinks about what would have happened if the tables have turned; what would have happened if Jimin had died in Jungkook’s place instead. Jungkook would still have his life adorned with vivid happiness and emotions, full of aspirations and ambitions and friends and family, and Jimin would be in the one place where he truly belongs.

“Sometimes,” his voice is raspy and hoarse, “it hurts.”

Jimin could feel Jungkook’s confusion but the realization slowly settles, slowly clicks and turns when he listens to the silence after those words.

“I know.” He says gently, “I know it does.”

His breath hitches.

“I know.” Jungkook’s voice is soothing, but it makes his heart twist even more, “I know, Jimin. But look at it this way: you always wake up on time. You never miss going to the train station unless the weather sucks. You cook for yourself to eat instead of just living off of instant food, which is something that I would do, by the way.” He chuckles lightly, “You pay the rent. You keep the place clean and you do your laundry and you change your bed sheets and covers routinely. You go to work and you come back late. You do all your chores and you read all those fancy-sounding books I’ve never heard of in my entire life.” Jimin feels a tingle in his hand -- in both of his hands, now. He didn’t need to look that Jungkook was holding them.

Jungkook continues softly, “So, you’re trying, aren’t you? You’re trying.”

Jungkook never asked him about the personal facets of his life, the incessant solitude he drowns in, the friends he refuses to mention, or the constant disconsolation of his disposition. He only knows that Jimin likes to read, to travel through stories because the beauty of it was that, in a way, they never really end. He knows that Jimin can easily laugh and smile but he just didn’t have the right people to make him, so Jungkook is the one who goes out of his own way just to make him laugh. He knows the trivial things and that Jimin understands-- this silent understanding, boundaries not quite open nor quite closed.

Jungkook says, “You’re alive, Jimin, so please don’t forget to live.”

 

Jimin knows. He lives lifelessly, like a dead man walking whose soul has been discarded into disposable pieces, but in the end, he’ll always keep on trying, won’t he? He’ll try and sometimes he'll succeed, but the other times, he’ll fail too. He will always keep on trying even if he doesn't know what he’s trying for when the world before him is too stark beyond words. He will always keep on struggling and no one can change that.

But Jimin tries harder this time, for Jungkook and for himself. He wants the kind of growth that hurts and heals at the same time, the kind where he can't wait for it to happen. There's someone who’s willing to stay even if his company is merely transient. And that's what Jungkook is: a friend who wouldn't give up on him, who wouldn't grow tired of these gloomy episodes of his and think of him as a burden. Because even though no one can change his inbred dismality, the dullness of his viewpoint towards the land of creation that’s turned into a grey slate of dreariness, at least he has someone who’ll help make it easier for him to bear the incongruous hardships and make him feel a little bit more than just flesh and bone.

So he tries, because broken crayons can still colour and a tendril of hope slowly curls around his heart. He tries, he tries, he tries.

 

 

 

 

The sky turns orange and Jimin finally gets up.

 

 

 

 

Jungkook takes him to his grave the next day.

Jimin walks along the avenue aligned with bare linden trees giving a soundless moan every now and then and he sees a columbaria and the morgue in the distance. Snow crunches beneath his feet as he walks across the pillowy field, holding a single pink carnation in his hand. His frosty breaths resemble that of fairy floss. He feels the icy air nip at his skin as he maneuvers around the graveyard, and finally, after trailing behind Jungkook’s figure for a while, he finds his burial place. A marble cemetery marker dusted with feathery snow rests before him among the field.

“Jeon Jungkook,” Jimin reads the epitaph engraved onto the stone, “A beloved son, brother, and friend. His life a beautiful memory, his absence a silent grief. We shall find you in the spring garden and the rain-wet cherry blossoms; stir of wings; and the morning hills behind you.”

“God, it’s so cheesy.” He hears Jungkook chuckle, and as Jimin turns his head to look at him, he sees the mourning in his eyes, the sadness in his fond smile. The longing.

“I think it’s a beautiful message.” Jimin says. He crouches down and lightly places the pink carnation across the marker, running his fingers against the bronze letterings etched onto the stone.

“They visit me sometimes. My friend -- he leaves me purple hyacinths in the springtime. I don’t know why, though.”

“ ‘Forgive me’. “ Jimin says quietly at the familiarity of it, “That’s what the flower means.”

The smile fades from his face. He looks down at his own grave, “Oh. How do you know that?”

“I had my own share of grief too.” Is all Jimin says and is willing to say. Jungkook nods wordlessly. The pink flower stands out amongst the whiteness of the cemetery and he realizes that Jungkook’s grave was the only one with a flower on it, how the winter inhibits loved ones from placing their offerings.

“What does this mean, then?” Jungkook asks as he hovers above the marker, eyeing the pink carnation, “I didn’t know they bloomed in the winter.”

Jimin smiles up at him with soft sincerity and he stands up, the petals of the flower slightly fluttering from another gentle billow of the wind, and settles on a simpler answer.

“Gratitude.” I’ll never forget you.

Jungkook is curious; he can see it in the roundness of his glowing eyes. Always curious about the things most wouldn’t be curious about, but then he smiles a heartfelt smile that shows his teeth that slightly juts out. Jimin’s words must have warmed his heart but Jungkook has always warmed Jimin’s own heart with his mere presence. He doesn’t know if the warmth will stay when he leaves, if he’ll take it along with him into the light.

Jimin is getting attached.

He doesn’t know exactly when the boy had slowly nestled his way into his heart when Jimin had vowed to refrain from opening up and from harnessing any form of connection with him, but he’s broken it along the way when he realized how much Jungkook has changed the everyday ennui of his life. He’s installed variations of companionship that made Jimin feel less alone, less dead, and it’s funny how a ghost can remind him of the wonders of life he had deemed as a bygone from death itself.

He should stop and turn away and sever the ties because that’s what he’s supposed to do to prevent the inevitable sorrow, but Jimin doesn’t. He stays and waits until the end is near despite the war between his heart and mind.

Jungkook lightly hums, “Gratitude, huh? I wish I could give you one too.”

Jimin is always waiting. Jungkook is always wishing.

 

 

 

 

 

For some reason, time seems to be passing by quickly when it used to be slow.

It’s the fifth day of December.

The snow falls and freezes just as quickly from the burbling orchestra of rain. It’s a sunny afternoon, which makes the sidewalks more hazardous, but it makes the frozen curlicues of his windows glint and sparkle in a sublime sight. He’s lounging in bed finishing the last page of Despair when he hears yells grow louder and louder with each succession, until Jungkook flips through the walls and heads straight towards him.

“Jimin! Jimin!” Jungkook exclaims with utmost enthusiasm, “Let’s go to the movies!”

He looks up at him with cursory eyes, “Why?”

“Hear me out, okay. They’re replaying Civil War in the fucking theatres and I love that movie!” Jungkook flings his arms around, “We have to go! Like, right now!”

“But it’s so busy during the weekends --”

“Who cares! Come on, come on, come on!”

“Fine, just stop yelling,” Jimin mumbles as he places his book down on his night stand and stands up. Jungkook’s still floating there all excited with sparkling eyes, and he sighs. “Are you just going to stay there while I get dressed?”

“Uh, um. Well. Uh.” Jungkook stammers, and if ghosts could blush, Jimin surmises that he’d be blushing right now, “I mean, we’re all guys here, you know? Shouldn’t matter, right? Unless, like, you’re not wearing any underwear.” He pauses and narrows his eyes, “You are wearing underwear, right?”

“Oh my god,” Jimin can feel his cheeks redden as he walks past him to go to his closet, “of course I am, Jungkook. Get your mind out of the gutter.”

“Hey, I am 100% completely innocent in my thoughts, I swear.” Jungkook quickly defends himself. “I mean, not wearing underwear isn’t a crime or anything. Sometimes it feels really good to just let it hang, you know? But that also means your dick is more sensitive to, uh, you know. Boners.”

Jimin laughs at his nervous rambling as he pulls a hoodie from the hangers. “I know, Jungkook.”

“Right. Great. Okay.”

 

The cinema is rather crowded, but Jimin guesses it’s because of the holiday season that many are more motivated to spend some time in front of a movie being projected towards the large screen. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn fills his nose and the whirring cacophony of the busy atmosphere makes the room warm and stuffy. Jimin rarely goes to the cinema but he supposes it’s not entirely bad since he has Jungkook with him.

Well, if he doesn’t receive any odd looks from strangers whenever they caught Jimin talking to no one in his proximity and laughing for no reason. That’s why Jimin pretends to be on his phone whenever he talks to Jungkook so he doesn’t look crazy to the public prone to all sorts of assumptions.

“You watched the movie two times already?” Jimin scrunches up his eyebrows in displeasure as he waits in line to buy his tickets, “Why are we watching it again then?”

“Hello, no one can ever watch enough of it. It’s the bomb!” Jungkook exclaims wildly, “We should be talking about how you’ve never even watched it. That’s fucking blasphemy right there. What have you been doing all this time, Jimin?”

“Not bothering to waste my time with Marvel films, apparently,” Jimin mutters audible enough for Jungkook to hear and he squawks in indignation, and Jimin can’t help but giggle at his amusing reaction.

Jimin goes up to the counter and purchases a ticket to the movie. He receives a weird look from the woman when Jimin stifles a laugh from Jungkook’s petulant murmuring, and quickly thanks the employee before he dashes off to the lobby. After a heated exchange of whispering of whether or not Jimin should get popcorn, Jimin relents to Jungkook’s irritating whining and purchases a bag of popcorn and a small soda from the concession stand. He heads to the correct viewing room, where the lights are dim and commercials play on the large screen, and he exasperatedly listens to Jungkook’s persistent recommendations to sit in the back for a superior view and experience.

“I can’t finish this all by myself, Jungkook.” Jimin mutters as he sets the bag of popcorn down on his lap and places his drink into the cup holder of the seat. “I don’t even know why I listened to you.”

“Stop being such a party-pooper, alright? If I could, I’d shove my entire face in all that heavenly glory of buttery goodness there right at this moment.”

Jimin scrunches up his nose, “It’s not even that healthy.”

“That’s ‘cause you added the butter.”

“You told me to add the butter.”

“Well, not that much butter.”

Jimin was about to hiss something back when a couple in front of him turns around to regard him with a look that conveyed a mixture of skepticism and fear. Jimin clears his throat and sinks down in his seat, and when the couple turns back around, he whispers lowly, “Can you stop instigating arguments with me? People think I’m some kind of nutjob.”

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Jungkook shrugs coolly as he crosses his legs, and Jimin scoffs and rolls his eyes.

As the room darkens and the large, bright screen displays the inauguration of the movie, the effects piercingly loud, Jimin tries to ignore Jungkook’s stubborn side comments throughout the whole movie. Jimin barely knows the premise of the film and would like to actually understand what’s happening, but the ghost’s pestering mutterings are distracting him from focusing.

“Okay, we all know how it ends when you put your beliefs in the government. They fuck it up somehow and the world plunges into chaos. But I side with Iron Man on this one, okay? Captain America can go suck an egg.”

“That’s because you’re biased towards him.” Jimin mutters underneath his breath.

“Hey! I’m not biased or anything. It’s my perfectly logical and objective perspective on things, okay?”

“Right.” He grabs his drink and sips on it quietly to alleviate his parched throat, and continues with much purposed sarcasm, “Completely objective.”

“Oh, I hear that tone, young man.” Jungkook pouts and Jimin regards him with a disapproving look when he’s the older one, “What? Don’t look at me like that. I’m a totally open-minded person. Captain America’s the one making a mistake here. Iron Man knows what he’s talking about!”

“You sure it’s not because you have a huge prepubescent crush on him?” Jimin jokes with a little shake of his head.

“What! No way!” Jungkook denies passionately, but then he leisurely shrugs with one shoulder as he thinks about it, “Well. I mean, you gotta admit. He is pretty hot.”

“Oh my god,” Jimin turns with a vehement exclaim as he saves himself just in time from choking on his drink but as soon as that happens, he immediately flushes a bright red and regrets it. The other audience members turn to glare at him at his sudden outburst when, in fact, nobody was talking at all during the movie except for his frequent whispering. He splutters an apology as he sinks lower into his seat while Jungkook broadly laughs into oblivion.

As Jimin slowly recovers from his painstaking embarrassment, Jungkook finally falls quiet, letting Jimin finally enjoy the movie in peace. The unnecessarily loud sounds and explosions startle him at times, but he supposes that the plot seemed promising enough and the action scenes aren’t so bad. However, three quarters into the movie, he begins to feel the prickling sensation that a pair of eyes are on him. He tries to ignore it and feign nonchalance, but he can literally see in his peripheral vision that Jungkook is no longer paying attention to the movie and is now staring at him from the side instead. Jimin shoots him a glance and Jungkook immediately averts his gaze and that repeats a couple of times throughout the entire film. When the movie ends and the list of credits go on, Jimin slowly gets up from his seat and collects his trash along the way.

“See? See? I told you it was a good movie!” Jungkook declares pompously as he follows after Jimin, as they were the last ones to leave the room. Jimin squints when his vision adjusts back to the bright lights of the lobby.

“Says the person who wasn’t even paying attention to the rest of it.” Jimin raises an eyebrow at him as he throws his garbage into the respective trash cans. He watches as Jungkook splutters and coughs and emits a high-pitched ‘what’ and a ‘pfft’, indicating that not only is he a horrible actor and liar, Jimin is also right.

“L -- Look, in my defense, I watched it already. I just wanted you to watch it ‘cause I thought it’d be fun.” Jungkook mutters, crossing his arms as he keeps his gaze to the floor. Jimin was about to remark how he didn’t initially say that in the beginning when Jungkook continues rather bashfully, “Besides, I -- I rather watch you.”

Jimin pauses midway towards the exit and stares at him, taken aback. Jungkook fidgets around and even as people walk pass him, distorting his image for a millisecond, Jimin can see the timidity of his demeanor and the nervousness in his features from the revelation. There’s this lightness he feels that stretches through his whole body with no bound nor length nor depth; it’s just pure, yet his heart squeezes in a way that’s both breaktaking and painful.

“Oh, God,” Jungkook groans as he slaps his hands over his face, “that sounded so creepy. I swear, that wasn’t supposed to come out as creepy.”

Someone bumps into him and it snaps Jimin out of his reverie, and he feels his cheeks lightly bloom with a rosy warmth, and he manages to smile as he quickly ducks his head down and resumes his way, “It’s okay, Jungkook. It wasn’t creepy at all.”

Jungkook lets out a relieved sigh and follows after him, back to his breezy disposition, “Good. Alrighty, then. You know what’s always a fun thing to do after a movie?” He pumps a fist into the air and whooped excitedly, “Shopping!”

He sighs, “We’re not going shopping, Jungkook.”

 

Jimin ends up acquiescing to Jungkook’s persistence and that’s how he finds himself wandering around a busy shopping district in the evening, where the buildings are already decorated in gaudy lights and festive embellishments. He didn’t hate the jolly festivity per se, but it can be overwhelming to be surrounded by so much happiness and joviality, to be blessed by strangers in the streets even though he hasn’t celebrated it for quite some time.

He treads through the mass of people, pretending to be talking on the phone to ward off any suspicion from strangers as Jungkook blabbers on and on and makes Jimin double over from his eccentricity.

“I don’t even have anything to buy, Jungkook,” Jimin laughs, “why are we even here?”

“Sometimes it’s good to treat yourself! It heals the soul, you know.” Jungkook scours the buildings lit up in fancy lights, rows and rows of boutiques and shops catering to the restless crowd of customers.

“You know I can’t afford to splurge, right?”

“Um.” Jungkook makes an appalled face, “Excuse me? I didn’t say splurge. I said treat, as in, it’s time to add some more pizzazz and moxie in your dull closet.”

Jimin huffs, “Thanks?”

“Oh, here, here! ” Jungkook screeches excitedly as he makes a sharp turn and heads towards a boutique where gilded light pools through the large window panes. With a sigh, Jimin reluctantly follows him into the store, greeting the workers who welcomed him in a timely manner. As he walks around and squints at the price tags of the expensive coats displayed neatly on the hangers, Jungkook beckons him towards the counter where a rack of sunglasses stood.

“Jungkook, it’s the middle of winter.” Jimin deadpans as Jungkook eagerly runs his hands through the rack, pointing at a certain pair.

“So? Who the fuck cares! These look awesome!” Jungkook exclaims, “Try it on!”

They’re round retro sunglasses, the iridescent lenses reminiscent of the colour of the warm sunset. Tentatively, Jimin listens to Jungkook’s zealous requests and tries it on and the world around him dims with a tint of orange. He examines himself in the thin mirror before he turns to look at Jungkook, “Well?”

His brilliant eyes are wide and shimmering, “You look amazing. Totally matches your face shape and your hair, by the way. Black fits with everything.” He makes a pleased noise and nods approvingly, “You should totally get them. Use them in the summer or something!”

Jimin can’t help but smile and he gently laughs. He catches sight of a few people, including the workers, staring strangely at him and Jimin realizes that he had put away his phone, but Jimin doesn’t care anymore if they stare at him as though he’s crazy. He doesn’t want to let his self-consciousness tamper the fun he’s hasn’t had in so long, thus he unwinds the tension from his body and just lets himself be. He lets himself smile and laugh at no one particular in other people’s eyes.

He takes them off to check the price tag, and his expression instantaneously twists into a grimace, “Oh, wow. This costs more than the amount I get in my paycheque.”

“Well, that’s the definition of ‘treating yourself’.” Jungkook shrugs with a complacent grin, “It’s totally worth it!”

“Why do I get the feeling you’re encouraging me to become broke?” Jimin sighs as he cradles the sunglasses in his hands, mulling over whether he should purchase them or not. He glances back up into the positive assurance of Jungkook’s eager expression. He really did like them.

Jimin ends up buying it.

 

Through the whole of the night, Jimin tailgates after Jungkook as he restlessly wandered around the sequence of stores, emboldening him to try on any article of flashy clothing that catches his ‘artistic eye’, as he calls it. His prudence gets in the way of Jungkook’s pursuit of buying everything there is in a store, and although he falls into a state of petulance at his frugality, it’s short-lived whenever he catches the delight on Jimin’s face.

Jimin laughs and smiles all the while as he bumps into people trying to chase after him, an invisibility to others but a vivacity to him, and he feels the fervor in his chest as he listens to the togetherness of Jungkook’s voice, how as Jimin hears his own heartbeat pump blood in his ear drums, it reminds himself that he’s alive, more alive than he’s ever felt, how easily it was for him to be comfortable in his own skin with him.

The sky grew darker and the streets slowly waned into a more calmer disposition. The evanescent moon rose elusively and silvery like a great glowing disc that slid upward, out of the mountains and into the sky like a phoenix rising. They trek back home, the sound of their giggles ricocheting off the stillness of the neighborhood as cars slowly zip by, a certain giddiness leaving through their wide smiles at the fond recollection of their night.

“I’ll have to work extra hours to make up for the amount I spent tonight.” Jimin sighs as he carries three bags over his arms that contained the sunglasses; a nice, baby blue sweater and a white, embroidered shirt. He smiles subsequently, “But I guess I don’t regret it.”

Jungkook grins triumphantly, “Told you so! Did you -- did you have fun tonight?”

“Yeah, I did.” Jimin muses tenderly, “I had fun.”

Jungkook beams and he smiles with visible relief, “I had fun too. I wish we can do this more often. It’s -- it’s nice to spend time with you, Jimin.” His smile turns a bit timid as he keeps his gaze on the ground, “I genuinely like being with you and it’s not just because you’re the only one who can see me. I just wanted to let you know that.”

Jungkook turns around when Jimin suddenly stops in his tracks. Jimin understands, now. This whole night was like a parting gift -- a countdown to the inevitable and his heart wrenched. Jungkook was sincere in his words, in his intentions, in his endeavors to make Jimin happy, even if it may be a momentary state of mind. It was pensive to think about but there was no point in smothering the truth.

There’s a hopefulness in Jungkook’s eyes as he waits for Jimin to respond.

He can’t help but ask first, “Why are you so nice to me?”

Jungkook blinks at him, “That wasn’t an answer I was expecting, but. Uh. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

Jimin chews on his lower lip tentatively, glancing down at the bags he was holding, “And you’ll be gone soon.”

“So what?” Jungkook frowns, nonplussed, “So if we all have is now, why not make the best of it, Jimin? I don’t -- I don’t want to spend the rest of my time just brooding about, you know. Moving on and all that baloney. I want to live a bit again. It's not easy but I want to feel alive again. And -- and sometimes, being with you makes me feel like that.”

And there, he realizes that friendship isn’t measured by time. It didn’t matter how long they’ve known each other. Jimin feels as though he’s known Jungkook since forever and within such a short amount of time, the boy’s been able to rearrange the furniture in his heart. He can taste his name and hear his absence and Jungkook’s kept him smiling since day one. He didn’t want to wait for him to leave like he always did with everyone else. He makes him want more nowadays and Jimin can’t understand why.

“I like being with you too.” Jimin gently says with all earnestness, letting the current of brisk air from the momentum of the cars rush by him, the streetlamps flickering on with a golden silhouette, and he smiles, “ I’m not sure what I really feel about you, but all I know is that it’s warm and comforting and that I’d like to keep it as long as I can.”

And as the moonlight hits him in an angle that’s just right, Jimin believes that Jungkook’s smile is absolute compared to the starry sky. He etches his lucid features into his mind before he can forget -- before all of this is over.

 

They walk home together.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin dreams about Jungkook. He dreams that he’s tangible, that Jimin can feel the warmth emanate from his body and his sweet touches and that Jimin can map out every freckle, every dimple, every sensitive spot, every flaw and every perfection. He dreams so much that he drowns in his embrace and never lets go.

 

 

 

 

 

But then the dream dissolves and Jimin remembers that good things can never last long.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s six days left until the 31st. Jimin heads back home from the train station alone. Jungkook went to see his friends in the morning to see what they were up to during the holidays. Jimin only hopes that the boy isn’t discouraged this time.

The sky’s a perfect uniform grey. He walks past people who were going home for the holidays, walks past couples holding hands and smiling, walks past groups of friends laughing with each other, walks past families huddled together in a jolly spirit. He walks past them, like how he walked past everyone else in his life. But Jimin’s the only one still stuck in the bifurcated crossroad, unsure of which path to take. The stitches holding his heart sometimes tears and he bleeds until he can’t feel anymore. Then he stitches it back up all by himself again, a crosshatch network. A repetitive cycle it is.

Jimin wonders when Jungkook will be ready. He wonders when he’ll leave. There’s a tightness in his chest as he thinks about it.

He arrives at his apartment complex and enters through the lobby, up the stairs, to the hall of his door. The walls are splotched with stains that reminds him of the spots on a dalmatian.

“I’m home,” Jimin says as he kicks off his boots, shutting the door behind him. Nobody greets him back, however, which means Jungkook isn’t home yet. Jimin fills the electric kettle with water and boils it, and as he waits for it to finish, he changes into more comfortable clothes. He makes himself a cup of tea and settles onto the couch, flicking on the small television. He changes the channels but there’s nothing that piques his interest. He tries to finish the book Kitchen but he can’t focus enough to grasp any details of the text.

It isn’t until six o’clock that Jungkook finally shows up. Jimin blinks awake from his short nap as he’s sprawled over the couch, finding the younger boy staring out the window, a wistfulness to his eyes, the same look Jimin had saw at the train station the first time.

“Jungkook?” Jimin calls softly, and he turns around. Jimin almost flinches because Jungkook looks bereaved, his eyes dark and forlorn, the edges of his lips turned into a dismal frown. There’s no life to his eyes tonight. It’s empty and hollow and sad.

“Hi.” Jungkook says quietly.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Jimin sits up fully in concern. Jungkook didn’t move, so Jimin stands up from the couch and shuffles towards him. “Did something happen?”

“I think --” Jungkook purses his lips, swallowing down the hesitation before he speaks again, “I think I’m ready now.”

Oh. There’s something uncomfortable, something churning in the mantelpiece of his chest. It’s heavy as his heart leaps to his throat, dread sinking deep into the pit of his stomach, and it hurts and pulls and tugs. Jimin had forgotten until now that permanency doesn’t exist for him. He feels the earth beneath him crumble.

Jimin tries to smile but it only amounts to a wince, so he looks away, “That’s good, Jungkook. We can -- we can go talk to your friend tomorrow.”

Jungkook gnaws at his bottom lip before he grimaces and that was the moment Jimin realized that he’s trembling, that his shoulders are quivering and his eyebrows are furrowing. His voice is so, so quiet, so weak, “He blames himself, Jimin. It’s not even his fault but he thinks it is. It’s not his fault. I was the one who was stupid. It’s my fault. I didn’t look where I was going and I just -- it’s not his fault. I can’t watch all this guilt eat him up and break him -- I can’t watch all of them throw away their lives because of grief. They all -- they all just look so sad and it’s all because of me.” His voice breaks and he chokes back a sob and it racks at his whole body until he sinks onto his knees to the floor. Jimin watches with a heavy heart and it feels as though there’s something sharp being lodged into his chest.

Jimin’s forgotten how, even though Jungkook is so busy being strong, he can also be fragile as well.

Tears don’t fall but his cries are just as heartbreaking. Jimin drops to his knees to face Jungkook, trying to grab his attention when he feels his own eyes well up when this is the first time he’s seen him break down, “Jungkook, please. Please look at me. Please.” His hands hover above the sides of Jungkook’s face, and how much at that moment Jimin wanted to truly hold him, to touch him and to comfort him. “It’s not your fault, Jungkook. It’s not your fault, it’s not your friend’s fault, it’s not anybody’s fault. What happened to you was out of your control. Please don’t blame yourself for this. Please, please, please.”

“I wish I wasn’t dead,” He repeats it over and over again, “I wish I wasn’t dead and that they could see me and know how much I -- I miss them and I want them to be happy again. I wish I wasn’t fucking dead,” Jimin reaches for him. He wraps his arms around his shoulders and holds the space between them, not quite touching because they’ll never be able to touch each other, but Jimin tries. He tries to give solace. He tries to make his presence known. Jimin waits into the deep nightfall until his cries grow softer, reduced to whimpers, all until it vanishes into a plaintive silence that hangs above them like stormy clouds that has had enough.

Jimin doesn’t let go and holds him, tries to pick up the pieces as the sun rises.

He tries not to notice how much the morning light blends in with Jungkook’s figure.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin waits.

He watches the train arrive. He watches people file in. He watches it leave.

He waits until a cloud drifts by the pale sun and covers it, leaving a silhouette to cover the earth.

“What are you always waiting for?’ Jungkook asks beside him. Jimin feels a tingle on his cheek. In the corner of his eye, Jungkook was brushing his fingers along the side of his face. If Jimin could feel it, it would have been gentle.

This time, he answers, “Purpose.”

 

 

 

 

“This is it. They usually hang out altogether at this time.”

Jimin looks up at the apartment building underneath a firmament with a gradient of evening colours, asterisks emerging through the darkness. Its tall immensity towers over him and he glances at Jungkook, who stares at it readily. Jimin wants to say something -- anything that can convey his feelings, but what Jungkook needs is closure and what he wants is for his friends to receive closure. There’s nothing else he needs at this moment, so Jimin buries it all back down and nods.

Jimin walks into the lobby of the building after someone from inside opens the door for him. He follows Jungkook’s instructions and rides the elevator to the third floor. It’s quiet between them. Jimin realizes how weary Jungkook has been, the lethargy in his movements and the brightness drained from him now into a dim flame.

Jimin enters the corridor as he trails after Jungkook. He arrives at the apartment door that belongs to his friend, a welcome mat placed before him as he steps on it. Jungkook hovers beside him, ambivalence apparent through his features.

“Let’s hope your friend believes me.” Jimin steadies himself before he knocks three times on the door before he twists the long sleeves of his sweater nervously.

“He will.” Jungkook says, “He has to.”

Jimin repeats the words he’s prepared to say over and over again inside his head as he anticipates the long-awaited encounter. Once he hears the click of the doorknob and a muffled voice from inside, Jimin immediately stands up straight and steels himself ready. The door is opening and then a young man with golden brown hair appears, the gilded light from inside radiating off his tanned complexion; eyes that held the brightness of a supernova still burning without him, the soft hook of his nose and the wide, gummy smile Jimin hasn’t seen in a long time fades from his face when he stands there, shell shocked, at his unexpected visitor.

The world is spinning.

“Jimin?”

Jungkook’s confusion is palpable and he turns to look at him, “Wait. You -- you two know each other?”

Jimin opens his mouth but nothing comes through. All words are caught in the tightness of his throat and his mind goes blank. He didn’t know if the world was playing a cruel joke on him, if the world thought it was entertaining to watch Jimin stare at Taehyung like a lost child, like he was seeing something entirely foreign and inconceivable. He wanted to laugh at the arbitrary coincidences that brought them back together again because he can’t believe how they were all connected.

“How did you -- What are you doing here?” Taehyung stares at him with his big eyes, unmoving and Jimin feels as though he can see the hint of melancholy in his expression. Pity. He’s imagining it but his skin crawls at the prospect. He’s frowning at him and Jimin hates how easy it was for his smile to fade at the sight of him, as though Jimin robs his happiness away, and he hates it. He hates it so much.

“Jimin,” Jungkook is saying to him, “please, can you --”

“Tae, who is it?” Another familiar voice from inside the room calls. And just then, the door slides open a little bit more and Jimin catches a glimpse of them. He can see the dark-haired men, the dyed hair colours, the warm and coziness of their disposition and Jimin feels as though there’s quicksand throbbing in his ears.

“Guys, it’s -- “

“Jimin, please answer me -- “

But Jimin can’t hear them anymore because he’s running. He’s running down the corridor and serrated breaths pierce his chest as he heaves, as his legs burn and his throat tightens and his vision becomes a blurry farrago of dull colours. The tumultuous thudding of his heartbeat drowns the cacophony of his surroundings and he’s not there anymore. He’s running until it feels like fire was scorching through his lungs and he can’t breathe.

The lobby molds into the streets and cars whir by and he swerves around bodies as he runs, runs until he trips over the uneven land of the sidewalk and scrapes his palms against the asphalt ground with icy fractals. It stings and it pulsates through his veins and his chest hurt better than a branding iron, the pain rendering him unable to conceive a complete thought. People walk past him and at his huddled form, a patheticness that Jimin is too used to and he hates it. He hates this cowardice and how holding onto things only made his heart hurt more.

Jimin hauls himself up frantically and looks around to see that he was alone. Jungkook didn’t follow him and he’s glad. He can't face him, not when his eyes are dewy and his palms are red and he feels as though he’s about to break again.

He keeps his head down and tries not to think about how he let Jungkook down.

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody greets him when he comes back home.

His apartment is silent. Eerily cold. He throws his keys onto the kitchen counter and kicks off his boots. He breathes against the weight suffocating him where his chest sinks down to his stomach every time he thinks about what happened. He clenches his fists but it was the wrong thing do as he hisses at the stinging pain of his scratched palms.

“What happened?”

Jimin nearly jumps out of his skin and he turns around. Jungkook’s staring down at his hands with an unreadable expression. Jimin swallows down the knot in his throat and croaks, “Jungkook, I’m --”

“You should clean them first, Jimin.” Jungkook says quietly. “It might not be serious but it’s important you take care of them either way.”

Jimin purses his lips and he nods. Jungkook doesn’t meet his eyes so Jimin goes ahead to the bathroom and washes his palms with soap and water, cleaning the minor injury. It didn’t bleed at first or anything so Jimin didn’t think it was necessary to bandage it, so after he wipes his hands on a clean towel, he shuffles back out into the hall. He heads to his bedroom, turns on the lights and he goes to his closet and reaches for a shoebox on the top shelf. He approaches his bed and in lieu of taking a seat on it, he sits on the floor and leans his back against the frame. Jungkook’s there, waiting patiently for him. He drifts towards him and sits beside him with his legs crossed.

“What’s that?” Jungkook asks.

But Jimin doesn’t reply to him. Instead, he says, “I’m sorry, Jungkook.”

And finally, Jungkook lifts his gaze to look at him, but Jimin was squeezing his eyes shut towards his lap as he clutched at the shoe box tightly. All the bitterness has drained years ago and is now replaced with rue, “I’m sorry I ran away. I can’t -- Jungkook, they were the friends I haven’t spoken to or seen for the last two years. Tae,” His voice drops to a feeble whisper, “he was my best friend.”

There’s a silence of hesitation and realization and all kinds of unspoken perplexity. Jimin can’t believe such a drastic coincidence either.

“Were, was.” Jungkook finally speaks, “How come?”

Honesty was the least Jimin can do for him. “They, um.” He takes a sharp breath but it still hurts nonetheless, his back still boring holes. A wound to the heart was like a wound to the mind, “They gave up on me.”

“... What?” Jungkook murmurs in disbelief, and Jimin finally looks up and catches his nonplussed expression, but it quickly morphs into a strange anger that was spreading across his face, the furrow of his eyebrows and the tight frown on his face that matched the edge to his tone, “They -- how could they? Friends -- friends aren’t supposed to give up on each other.”

“Friends aren’t supposed to push each other away either,” Jimin says and huffs a self-deprecating laugh, “but that’s exactly what I did.”

He places the shoe box onto the floor and opens it. Pictures, polaroid photos, mementos and gifts rested dormantly in the box, a thin film of dust lightly covering the glowing sheen of them. Jimin made a home out of these people, yet he should have known that it would have collapsed, leaving it a hypaethral structure of nothing but a rocky foundation, leaving him homesick and remorseful. He picks up a photo of him and Taehyung during their high school years and shows it to Jungkook. Baby fat still hung from their cheeks during that time, but their smiles were wide and brilliant, arms around each other with the notion of never letting go.

Jungkook stares at it with softened eyes before he raises his eyes to finally meet Jimin’s, “This is the most happiest I’ve seen you.”

“And this is the most happiest I’ve ever been since they left me, and it’s all because of you.” Jimin lets the photo flitter from his fingers as it falls back down into the box. Jungkook doesn’t say anything.

“Jungkook, they’re good people and you should know that because you’re friends with them too.” Jimin says wistfully as he thumbs through the other memories, “I was unhappy as well, back then. I, uh. Things weren’t so great with my brother and it affected me a lot.” He takes a deep breath, “I had them, though, and they always helped me get through it. They -- they were my family, Jungkook, but sometimes I felt as though I was being left behind in this stalemate while I watched them progress into such successful, talented people while I was still at the very bottom. I’m always at the bottom just watching them. I wanted to be like them. And I -- I just felt so inferior and pathetic. So,” His fingers tremble and he places the photos back down before he could let his reflexes crumple them, “helpless.”

“I pushed them away when they tried to help me. I pushed them away when they tried to cheer me up. I pushed everyone away and Tae -- fuck, I said some shitty things to him and I -- I couldn’t face him after that. I did some things that I’m not proud of. I was a burden to them and I didn’t want to be a burden but at what cost, Jungkook? I lost my friends because I was insecure. And because of that, they -- they left. They left me. They gave up on me because I gave up on myself. I hurt them so much.”

“Jimin,” Jungkook says softly as Jimin wipes furiously at his eyes when tears fell down his cheeks, “You’re hurting yourself too. And you don’t deserve that. All -- all of you don’t deserve that. All of you don’t deserve to hurt.”

“I -- I just. I hate myself for letting that happen. And I didn’t do anything to mend things.”

“So you just let this -- this miscommunication -- tear you guys apart for two years?”

Jimin’s breath quivers, “It doesn’t matter anymore, does it? They’re happier without me.”

Jungkook vehemently shakes his head, his voice shaky, “No, no. You don’t get it. Jimin, they’re like family to me too. But there was always someone missing to them. They never said any names but they always mentioned this other person -- this other friend, and they’d get so sad and I -- I never pried because I didn’t want to see them all so upset. They missed you this whole time, Jimin. Taehyung -- he really, really misses you. He’s always missed you, Jimin. They all love you so much and I-- ” He stops abruptly. “I -- I don’t want to watch you all hurt anymore.”

Jungkook’s hand hovers beneath his chin as though he’s trying to catch the tears that fall, only for them to pass through it, just like how as he’s trying to wrap his arms around his trembling body, all Jimin can feel is a cloak of goosebumps and it’s unfair. Completely unfair.

There’s a sharp intake of breath and Jungkook whispers so quietly to the point that Jimin barely hears him, “They’ve lost me already, Jimin. And I don’t want them to lose you forever too.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin takes the treasured photos and items out of the shoe box and places it on his desk, hoping that one day, he’ll be able to put them all back up again.

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m sorry, Jungkook.” Jimin murmurs as he stares up at Jungkook’s glowing figure as the moonlight that spilled through the windows pierced through him, his blanket wrapped around his body. His eyes are swollen and exhausted and he feels the fatigue overwhelm him. “I couldn’t help you today.”

“It’s okay, Jimin.” Jungkook answers with a smile that didn’t fit quite right on his face, “We still have time. Just get some rest, alright? I”ll -- I”ll be right here if you need me.”

He closes his eyes, listening to the gentle lull of his voice, and then Jungkook’s saying something else but Jimin doesn’t quite catch it as sleep slowly takes him away.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin doesn’t run away this time.

Taehyung greets him with the same expression as the other day. Jimin sees the dark circles underneath his dreary eyes, the wanness of his complexion, the weary lines on his face. He looks tired, but all of them are. He hasn’t seen him for two years but Jimin still remembers the fine lineaments of his features, every blemish and every wrinkle, because they’d been with each other for so long that Jimin’s memorized everything about him. Where they stand now is vague but he tries to ignore the tension and awkwardness between them because it’s not about him today. Not yet.

He feels a hand on his back, “I’m here about Jungkook.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin watches as Taehyung buries his face into his hands as silence fell over them, letting the words sink in. Taehyung had impugned the validity of his words, but after Jimin relayed all the secrets only he and Jungkook knew, Taehyung’s eyes had widened profoundly and he could see the shock in his expression, the disbelief that slowly morphed into a grimace as he took a sharp intake of breath. When Jimin hears him sniffle and let out an involuntarily pained sound, that’s when he truly knew how heartbroken he was, and Jimin’s own heart twists at the sight of his friend barely held together. Jimin glances to the side to where Jungkook was and can conspicuously see how much effort it was taking him to stay composed.

“He’s here?” His voice cracks, “He’s really, really here?”

“He is.” Jimin reaffirms him and Taehyung exhales a quivery breath as he pulls his tear-stained face away from his hands, eyes misty and nose red. “He’s -- he’s sitting right beside me right now.”

“Oh, God, Jungkook.” Taehyung groans miserably as he wipes the snot from his nose away with the sleeve of his shirt, squeezing his eyes shut, “I’m such an idiot. Fuck, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, Jungkook, you -- you didn’t deserve to -- fuck. I’m so sorry.”

Grief is like an ocean that comes in waves that engulfs and overwhelms, and Jimin can clearly see the substantial downpour of it from Taehyung. Jungkook’s posture has sagged and it looks as though his eyes have frozen over like the surface of a winter puddle, the usual light and warmth in them receded into that of nothingness. He looks so -- sad, and ‘sad’ sounds so childish, so immature and so flimsy and weak, but ‘sad’ holds the hefty magnitude and significance of despair, like a parasitic seed that’s planted before it sprouts into a full-fledged demon after watering it with constant sorrow. It breaks and hurts and that’s what Jungkook embodies.

“Taehyung, please don’t -- please don’t blame yourself for what happened. It’s not your fault at all. Not even. He doesn’t even remember what you guys fought about in the first place because it was just so trivial. He doesn’t blame you. He could never blame you.” Jimin grips the fabric of his jeans as he tries his best to convey the words Jungkook can’t personally speak. “Ever since his death, he’s been watching over you guys and he just -- it hurts him so much to see you guys so depressed. He can’t move on if you don’t first.”

“He’s -- he’s been watching over us this whole time?”

Jimin nods, “Yeah, he has.”

“Shit.” Taehyung heaves a raspy breath and he turns slightly to face the empty seat beside Jimin, where Jungkook was, “If it weren’t for that stupid fucking fight, Jungkook -- I’m so sorry.”

He watches as Jungkook drifts from his seat and reaches for Taehyung’s hand, gently holding it. Taehyung lets out a small gasp at the sensation he must have felt, that faint, tingling feeling that felt like a ladybug’s kiss. Taehyung glances up at him, “Is he -- where is he now?”

“Right beside you, holding your hand.”

“Man, he’s such an ugly crier.” Jungkook mutters as Taehyung breaks out into another onslaught of tears.

“He called you an ugly crier.” Jimin passes on the message and shrugs when Jungkook sends him a disapproving look, but Taehyung laughs and sniffles and grabs another tissue from the tissue box to noisily blow his nose in.

“That punk.” Taehyung huffs, but there’s a fond smile on his face, “Sounds like the Jungkookie I know and love. God, he was so young. He was such a big dreamer and he always talked about what he wanted to do in the future.” His gaze lifts towards the invisible space in front of him and he talks to it, talks to Jungkook, “Jungkook? You’re there right? Fuck, this is so bizarre and I feel like a crazy person but -- I love you and you know that, right? We all do. Sometimes, Jin would cook for six people before he’d remember that you’re not coming back anymore and it just -- fuck, we miss you so much, but I’ll try, okay? I’ll promise you and I’ll try to forgive myself and I’ll try to move on but -- but you’ll always be our stupid baby. You'll always be with us.”

There’s a bit of light in Jungkook’s eyes as he smiles poignantly. He looks peaceful and untroubled now as Jungkook let’s go of Taehyung’s hand and lingers slightly back.

“He’s happy.” Jimin remarks quietly when the smile on Jungkook’s face slowly stretches into a wide, uncontrollable grin at the hopeful words, “That’s all he wanted to hear and that’s all he needs to say, Taehyung. He’s content, now.”

Taehyung nods in acknowledgement as his face grimaces once again, because loss was like barbed wire that cuts you up into jagged pieces from the inside out; it was like a nail that hammered aimless craters deep into your heart and remains. Loss was ugly and painful and Jimin knows, because he’s gone through it, and he’ll go through it again soon, but he can’t stand to see how hurt his friend was. They may have been estranged but that didn’t mean it altered how Jimin felt about him. In the end, no matter how hurt he may have been in his times of own struggle and loneliness, Taehyung would always be his best friend.

Jungkook’s staring at him with a knowing look. Jimin is reluctant and he’s too scared but then he nods at him, a silent nod of encouragement, a signal that he’ll be there with him as Jimin tries to grasp at the ends of such a broken friendship.

“Taehyung,” Jimin tentatively speaks, and the brunette looks up.

“What? Did he say something else?” He eagerly asks, eyes wide.

“No. It’s not from him. It’s from me.” He bites his lip and stares down at his palms, the scrapes on his hands doesn’t hurt anymore and it was strange watching his skin heal and realizing that he, himself, hasn’t. He covers the crevasse of cowardice with an impulsive slate of courage and propels the words out, “I’m sorry.”

"I'm sorry I wasn't here for you." His own voice trembles, “I’m sorry for everything.”

And then it was warm, because Taehyung’s gotten out of his seat and was close to him now, hugging him with his arms wrapped tightly around his waist and his face buried into the crook of his neck, staining his skin wet from his tears. Jimin couldn’t move at first, stunned by the sudden contact, but then he feels his own shoulders quiver and he reciprocates the embrace and clutches onto the fabric of his shirt tightly, and he hasn’t realized how much he’s missed Taehyung’s hugs, this simple act of intimacy that makes his heart wrench, but in a good, nostalgic way.

“Park Jimin, you are such an asshole. Such a goddamn asshole, but I am too.” Taehyung croaks into his neck, “I’m so sorry, Jimin. I’m sorry for leaving when you needed me -- us the most. I’m so sorry.”

Jimin's voice is hoarse, “We’re so stupid.”

“Two idiots gotta stick together, don’t they?” Taehyung laughs weakly, and Jimin can’t help but laugh as well, because he hasn’t realized that Taehyung’s been hurting in his own way too. And maybe they can never go back to how things were, and maybe it’ll take time for them to familiarize with that same comfort with each other; that same bond and trust, and that was okay, because nothing really lasts but there’s always a new beginning waiting to be built upon. There were lots to talk about and lots of issues to be resolved but they had plenty of time to sort things out, because even though it's been so long, nothing truly can ever break apart their friendship, and how easy it was to forgive when they both knew of the sincerity behind their apologies.

Jimin looks up at Jungkook and he’s smiling at him, gentle and jubilant and youthful again, and Jimin feels relief that the stark bleakness that’s been plaguing him ever since that night of hollow solemnity has waned into that of a buoyant smile, and how that childlike smile has brought them all together again in the most unexpected ways, “I told you so, Jimin.”

But then he blinks and Jungkook’s gone. He’s nowhere to be seen, disappeared into thin air, and the sky outside darkens into a foggy grey and snow begins to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin runs all the way back to his apartment as the heavy snow gets caught in his hair and his eyelashes and the cold air whips at his skin and burns frigidly, but his heart is hammering against his rib cage because Jungkook isn’t here anymore and Jimin didn’t get to say anything to him, didn’t get to say goodbye or to say thank you.

“Jungkook?” He calls into the emptiness of his apartment once he arrives. He doesn’t bother to take off his shoes as he hastily walks around and leaves behind snow tethered footprints on the wet floor, looking inside into each room but Jungkook was nowhere to be seen. Apprehension grapples at him and as he stands there lost of what to do, a possibility manifests in his head.

Jimin doesn’t wait as he hurries out the door.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin finds him at the train station.

He was sitting on one of the chairs as he stared out into the wintry distance, where powdered snow fell in a flurry and rose among surfaces into a thick tower. His figure is dimmer than usual but he’s still there, still visible before Jimin’s eyes.

“Jungkook,” Jimin heavily breathes as he approaches him.

“Hey.” Jungkook looks up with a smile, “You found me.”

“You’re still -- you’re still here. Where did you -- why did you leave all of a sudden?”

Jungkook sighs, eyes thoughtfully raised towards the ashen sky as though he was questioning the vicissitudes of it, “I don’t know. Jimin, I thought I saw it, you know? It was really bright. I thought it was time for me to leave and I was happy just seeing you and Taehyung together again, but when I opened my eyes, I was here. That light brought me here. I’ve been wondering why it didn’t take me yet and after reflecting upon it, I think I know why now.”

Jimin takes a seat on his usual spot beside him, and asks, “What is it?”

The purity of the snow’s white stretched among the land in front of him, beyond the tracks of the train and beyond the vacantness of the station, and Jungkook slowly meets his eyes and he smiles with a kind of ebullience Jimin’s never seen before, “It’s you. It’s you that’s holding me back.”

Jimin sucks in a deep breath and he stares at him, wide-eyed and unbelieving in his words and not quite registering it, and Jungkook turns away, his smile growing crestfallen.

“I wish I was still alive, Jimin. I wish that I can grow old with you. I wish that I can take you out and watch movies and go shopping together in the flesh. I wish that I can hold your hand and touch you and hug you and feel your smile with my hands.” His lips are quivering as he keeps his gaze downcast, sounding so, so dejected, “I wish I was still alive so I can be with you.”

It feels as though there’s concrete drying in his chest, raw and solid and Jimin can’t breathe. He closes his eyes when he feels something warm and wet pool in his eyes and he can’t protect himself from this imminent melancholy, but like Jungkook, Jimin wants to do the same. He wants to touch him, hold him, taste the very brightness he has embedded in his smiles, but it’ll never happen. The frigid air makes him tremble but the inside of his body burns with harrowing warmth that it was painful to handle. His voice was thick and uneven as he tries to speak through the tightness of his throat, “Me too, Jungkook.”

Jungkook laughs with a broken countenance, and the smile he has on his face twists and wobbles, “It’s funny, isn’t it? We could have -- maybe we could have met back then. Maybe we could have -- maybe things would have been different. And it fucking sucks because you, of all people, deserve a happy ending. And I want you to be happy even though I’m not here with you. So, please promise me that, Jimin. Please promise me that you’ll learn to grow happy with yourself, that you’ll learn to love yourself and that you’ll learn to love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.”

Jimin grits his teeth as he tries to hold back the tears that’s been waiting to fall, and he feels all the energy drain from him as he slumps in his seat and chokes on his words, “I promise. I promise.” He wishes that someone would have told him how much mourning comes with attachment, comes with love and love is all that he can feel and Jungkook knows, they both know but they don’t say it because it’ll be too much for the heart to bear, because articulating love was harder than expressing grief. He’ll never forget his dark brown irises and the warmth they hold, that golden heart of his that brought a new colour into his life.

“I’m glad. I’m. I”m really glad.” The sadness of his smile dissipates into that of a tender comfort to hear Jimin’s words, “Just -- just don’t forget about me, okay?”

Jimin shakes his head. How does Jungkook do it? How does he make Jimin brave, how did he find all these hidden parts of him, how he did keep discovering him? “I won’t. I’ll never forget about you, Jungkook, because you’re more than just a ghost to me. You’re more than just a friend.”

The look on Jungkook’s face stills and his eyes widen just slightly as he looks ahead, and then he smiles bigger, much more lighter than the heaviness his smile before had encompassed, and his whole body relaxes. Jimin doesn’t know what he’s seeing because all he can see is the snow.

“I think that’s it.” Jungkook murmurs in awe, “It’s so warm.”

As Jungkook slowly gets up from his seat, Jimin reaches for his hand to take it one last time, and for a split second, it feels as though his hand was tangible and that Jimin can feel the sturdiness and warmth of it, the shape of his fingers and the callouses on his finger tips. He doesn’t know if it’s his imagination, mind filled with skeptical hope, but for a tiny moment, he feels Jungkook squeeze back.

“Thank you,” Jimin whispers.

And Jungkook smiles, the kind that made his eyes gleam as it crinkles and the way a dimple shows through the lift of his lips, the warm glow of the happiness he emanated from his fading form. The smile of a conqueror, of a boy who’s fulfilled and at rest, and Jimin desperately ingrains the last image of him into his head and let’s his happiness soak right into his bones that flooded him like warm ocean waves. He’s growing lighter and lighter and Jimin bites back the words he desperately wants to say.

Don’t leave.

But Jimin ultimately lets go of his hand and watches as Jungkook turns around and heads towards a light Jimin can't see.

And finally, as the gossamer snow comes to a wispy halt, Jungkook vanishes; disappears like a dew drop on a spring day, and the sun slowly emerges from behind the heavy, slate clouds and glows in the aftermath.

The warmth stays with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin waits.

 

The sky is a backdrop of airy blue. Commuters wandered around like a myriad of travellers as muddled voices filled the platform on a warm morning, their winter garb abandoned as the snow melted and the sun began to brighten.

He plays with the white carnation in hand that was shielded by a wrap of plastic, the brilliant paleness of the soft petals standing out amongst the greyness of his surroundings. There’s an old man that sits beside him, the same old man that Jimin often sees in the station. The man smiles at him when they meet eyes. Jimin smiles back and looks away.

He waits for the cherry blossoms to bloom gently into the springtide air,

where the virescent grass grows amongst the barren land when winter passes. He feels something buzz in his pocket and he takes it out to read the message Taehyung sent him.

 

hey. we’re going to see him today.

we’re waiting for you, jimin.

 

He looks up when the train arrives with a rickety screech, the same corroded upholstery of the metal never changing. The door opens and that same, dull voice chimes through the speakers and people file into the patient carriage. And suddenly, there appears a butterfly, with effervescent white wings twirling around him in an innocuous trail. It lingers in front of Jimin for a moment, as though it were conveying some kind of message that only his eyes can decipher, before it floats away and flutters towards the carriage and floats among the quiet crowd of passengers, waiting. And for a second, Jimin thought he saw someone familiar, a boy with a white t-shirt and dark, brown hair smiling at him, but someone momentarily blocks his view and the illusion is gone. The white butterfly is still there, waiting. Waiting for him.

Jimin smiles and he stands up from his seat. He goes into the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He finally stops waiting.