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Thaw (and Return)

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Park Jimin has made it. Has gotten everything he's ever wanted, and a little bit more than he asked for too. Some days, he sits and tries to wake up still, believing he's living a dream.

 

So many of us long to follow our passion into a career but almost none of us do. He made it. After sacrificing time, money, health, and relationships, Park Jimin is one of the most famous dancers in the world.  

 

People cater for his every need, he can dance and choreograph to his heart's content, live as he pleases. Everything he's ever wanted, except the loneliness is eating him from the inside out. There is no one to talk to, no one to share with. Silent days stretch long and colorless into eternal night.

 

The world seems to be almost monochromatic. Passion isn't bubbling under his skin anymore, easy to grasp and meld. It's driving him insane. Move, run, fly. He needs to live again. It hits him in the middle of the night, a hot summer one where his window is open to savor the warm wind.

 

He packs his suitcase and vanishes. His disappearance is fretted over, searches are launched. No-one can find him. Marked as a missing person, his story fades after a month.

 

Jimin is still living stuck though.

 

And he remains stuck until he crashes into someone at the gas station. “I'm very sorry.” He apologizes, helping the other person up.

 

“Don't sweat it-”

 

Jimin thinks he's seen this face before. At a studio years ago, laughing and dancing with a hyung. He struggles to fit a name the face, and eventually he finds it. “Jung Hoseok?” He asks softly.

 

“Oh my god. You're- what- how?” Hoseok looks dumbstruck. “But you were gone?”

 

“I ran.” Jimin answers flatly. Shaking his head, he smoothes out his expression and speaks again. “This will sound absolutely insane, but can I crash with you for the night? I'm completely broke.”

 

“S-sure.” Hoseok sounds beyond confused, but let's Jimin into the car nonetheless. The drive back to Ho Seok's place is filled with cheerful comments from the older, and Jimin trying his best to respond. He's rusty. Icy even. Hasn't has a friend, or something like this in so long. He needs to warm up, to feel the ice began to crack and melt. He'll get there.

 

One night quickly turns into one week. Jimin is addicted to the energy that thrums through the household with Hoseok and his five roommates. They live in a dorm of sorts, deciding not to part after college. It's large enough for them, and is one of the best places Jimin has ever seen.

 

They try to melt him bit by bit, but he doesn't speak much yet. One word answers, maybe a sentence if they're lucky is what they get.

 

Then one day something changes. There is a studio they use for dancing in the basement, and it's torturing Jimin not be in there, connecting with the feel of the place itself. He wishes everything was colorful still. He wants his energy back, all he has is a fizzle.

 

A fizzle will do for now. The thought of going and dancing tempts him, and when music drifts up, music he knows, he choreographed to, rises through the floor, he's gone. Finds himself downstairs and moving in perfect time with Hoseok and the maknae of the household Jeongguk. Music bleeds into his skin, goosebumps spread over him.

 

Jimin’s dancing is like a rose vine. So beautiful and fluid, it's impossible to look away. He's absolutely captivating. Hoseok on the other hand, is the crackle of the fire, loud and demanding forces attention out of you. He's friends with the music, blending the ferocity and soothing qualities in a campfire. Jeongguk is the movement of a bird’s wings. So sure and natural, as if he had been dancing the moment he first opened his eyes.

 

And somehow it's one of the most surreal experiences Jimin has ever had, and something just clicks. Red. The hopeful and playful brightness returns to his vision, and he cracks a grin as he takes in his surroundings in a whole new light, taking in Hoseok’s almost scarlet hair.

 

“Oh my god hyung that was amazing.” Jeongguk bursts, admiration practically dripping off of him.

 

“When was the last time you danced?” Hoseok asks curiously.

 

“It was before I left.” He answers.

 

“Damn he actually is pretty good.” This voice comes from none other than Min Yoongi, sitting on the basement steps eating a bowl of cereal and blowing locks of hair out of his eyes.

 

“They call me the best hyung.” Jimin responds with a small smile. Everyone pauses for a beat before running with the fact the Jimin might be speaking now after breaking his record of sentences spoken in a row.

 

Step one is complete, the ice is cracking.

 

One week turns into two months. Two months of Jimin living and breathing the dance floor, because even though he still feels empty moving is like a drug. The concentration and effort that go into each piece get his blood pumping and he just wants more.

 

Hyung-” Jimin begins quietly to Kim Seokjin, the oldest and best chef in the household.

 

Jin turns and sees the haunting expression on Jimin's face and knows he's aching to be dancing. Aching or not, he's eating something.

“You will not step foot on that floor until you eat a decent meal.”

 

Jimin hesitates, then retreats back into his empty expression and nods. Jin sighs. The flashes they see of him are so new and fun, it's disappointing to see him shut down. But he's getting there. He'll make it. Jin has a good feeling about him.

 

Something in Jimin’s mind takes him back to when he would dance himself to collapse, working constantly, only stopping when he couldn't stand anymore. He feels the desperate need to improve all over again, and slowly but surely increases his practice time.

 

The others keep an eye on him, aware of what he used to be like. So he gets away from their eyes by waiting until the gentle breath of sleep fills the apartment and dances until the sun comes up. His eyes burn with lack of sleep, and he's completely dependant on coffee, but to him it's all worth it. To feel that slight flicker of light beneath his skin again. To hold the reg mug and listen to the morning conversation.

 

“-yung?” He hears, and he looks up to see Taehyung waving his hand in front of his face to capture his attention.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“What's up with your feet?” Jimin freezes and looks down, cursing his delicate frame. His feet are covered in cuts and bruises, giving away his actions for the other dancers in the house.

 

“Uh.”

 

“He's been dancing in the night hasn't he?” Jungkook asks softly, concern filling his face.

 

“But you're already so good, why do you need to practice so much?” Namjoon asks, as if seeing Jimin in a new light.

 

“I can be better, I'm not as good as I wanna be.” He grumbles.

 

“Hobi lock the door.” Jin says firmly, tossing a pair of keys that Hoseok catches and runs off with. Jimin knows what they're doing, it's what his professor did so long ago when Jimin began to look like a corpse. That restriction was one of the worst things he had ever felt and he goes after Hoseok, only too late.

 

“Please?” He asks desperately, shaking the unbudging door handle.

 

“Nu-uh. Dance is a friend, not something that should kill you.” And that ends the discussion. Jimin completely shuts down for the first time in almost a month, eyes completely blank, limbs limp. He looks like someone took a piece of his soul away.

 

A week passes.

 

Yoongi forces Jimin to sleep, eventually getting out a stash of sleeping pills Jin kept around just in case they were needed. Namjoon and Taehyung try to get him to do something, anything but just lay there. They're having little success. Jin on the other hand is making Jimin ingest a full three meals a day with unknown methods.

 

Namjoon and Taehyung take Jimin to the room they record music in. Playing different tracks for him, and then Taehyung comes up with the idea to fiddle around with a track for himself. So they leave and Jimin is surrounded by unfamiliar equipment, but curiousity. He is almost never curious anymore so he follows his instinct.

 

He's in there for hours, obsessively changing small details and making a small piece perfect. There are no words, that seems too intimate to Jimin, he hasn't connected with the energy here yet.

 

Purple.

With the music comes purple, so vibrant and joyful that he only wears purple for days, reveling in the richness of the color.

 

And he speaks again. Slowly, baby steps, but he's opening up. “What's your favorite color hyung?” Jimin asks Yoongi one day, who lifts his head sleepily from a mug of tea.

 

“Blue..? I don't know.”

 

“Purple is it for me right now.” It's a short conversation, a brief exchange, but the light that flickers through Jimin's hollow eyes has everyone holding their breath in excitement. This is new. This is welcomed.

 

“Mine's pink.” Jin chimes nonchalantly, and Jimin almost laughs.

 

“Perfect for you hyung.” He answers. After that his eyes dim a little, and he becomes quiet once more, content to listen to the conversation flowing around him. And for the first time in a long time, he feels at home somewhere.