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The Ones Who Walk Away

Chapter Text

The boy had been walking for hours, simply following the snow-covered tracks as they led to nowhere.

He had been walking for hours, but he had been on the run for much longer.

Days? Weeks? Months?

He had simply lost track. Always on the move, running from his past.

It was a cold day today. It was winter after all. But the boy didn’t feel the cold as a winter wind tore through his thin coat. The boy had stopped feeling anything long ago - or maybe not too long ago. Time had slipped away from him, making it impossible for him to pinpoint how long ago it all started.

But he hadn’t forgotten why it started. He could never forget that.

Sometimes, when the sun was up, he could forget why he was running. What he was running from. But surely, as the sun set, the memories would assault him. Forcing him to relive the moment again, and again, and again, and again.

The boy was tired.

He just wanted it all to just stop.

The boy had left the city in the morning, suddenly deciding to follow the train tracks out. He didn’t know why he suddenly decided to leave. But this morning, when he was watching the trains roll in and out of the station, he suddenly got up and started to follow the trains as they left the city.

As the boy walked, the sounds of the city eventually faded and were replaced with the quietness of the countryside. Slowly the landscape became more and more desolate, until there were no signs of any human life, save the train tracks he was following.

That is, until he came across an old abandoned train station.

As the boy drew closer, he could see the station’s windows were covered in dust, and the wood of the platform was rotting.

Looking up at the decaying station reminded the boy of another building. A building he was trying to forget.

The boy slowly climbed the steps to the platform, carefully avoiding the holes where the wood had rotted through.

What had his life become? One quick decision, and now he was standing on a rotting train station’s platform in the middle of nowhere.

The boy let out a sigh, once again wishing for it all to just stop.

It was a quick decision that led the boy out to the middle of nowhere. It was another quick decision that led him to step off the platform and onto the tracks.

The boy slowly made his way across the snow-covered track, and knelt. He looked down the tracks towards where he had come, and slowly lowered his head, resting it on the rail.

The boy didn’t know when a train was coming, or even if one would, but he was ready for everything to stop. He was tired of running, tired of fighting his memories.

The boy closed his eyes and let the scene play out in his mind, this time not fighting it. He could feel the thickness of the blood as it coated his hands. He could hear the screams. And he could hear the sound of an approaching train.

He let out a breath. The boy was ready. This was the penance he was ready to pay. A punishment he deserved.

The boy listened as the sound of the train echoed through the valley, slowly getting louder.

Then he heard another sound.

It was the sound of boots crunching against the snow, then stopping right in front of where he knelt.

“Hello,” a voice said. If the boy had to guess, he would guess that the voice belonged to a boy around his age. If he could bother to lift his head from the tracks and open his eyes, he would see he would be right.

“Can I ask what you’re doing?” said the newcomer.

The boy somehow managed to find enough strength to mumble, “Why does it matter to you? You should leave now and forget about me.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” said the voice. “It would be pretty hard to forget about seeing you. I think I would spend the rest of my life wondering about what became of you if I left now.”

The boy said nothing, continuing to listen to the slowly approaching train.

“I know you must be hurting right now,” the voice said. “Why else would you be here if you weren’t? But whatever it is that’s causing you pain, don’t let this be the end. Not today.”

This was the first real conversation the boy had with anyone since he started running. No, longer. The boy couldn’t remember the last time he felt like someone actually saw him. That someone actually cared.

“But how could this person care?” the boy thought, “The only person who ever did care…”

The thought made tears well in his eyes as the memory flashed through his head again. Someone used to care about him. When did that change?

“Why do you care?” asked the boy, voicing his thoughts. “You don’t know me.”

“No, I don’t,” replied the voice. “But that doesn’t mean that I can’t care about what would happen to you. Please, come off the tracks. I know somewhere you can go. Somewhere safe. A place where you don’t have to run anymore.”

There was a moment of silence, then the boy whispered, “Maybe this is what I deserve.”

He said it so quietly that he wasn’t sure if the person in front of him actually heard the words. Once the words were out, tears begin to fall freely from the boy’s eyes.

“Whatever you did,” the voice said slowly, “I don’t think that this is the solution. You may have done something terrible, but this can’t be the solution. The solution is to fight for better days. Days where you can do better, and be better. Not erasing what happened –no, never forgetting, but fighting and hoping for those better days.”

There was the sound of snow crunching as the person in front of him knelt down in front of him. The voice was suddenly a lot closer when the boy heard, “Please stay a little longer.”

Tears were falling from the boy’s eyes as he slowly lifted his head off the tracks and opened his eyes, looking at the person in front of him.

The first thing the boy noticed was the other’s pink hair and a set of white shoes that hung around his neck. Then he registered the boy’s sad smile. This was someone who had experienced tragedy, you could see it in his eyes.

But the pink haired boy was still breathing, still fighting. If the pink haired boy could do it, then maybe, he could too.

The pink haired boy held out a hand and said, “You don’t have you fight alone anymore.”

It was a split decision that caused the boy to run, leading him to this abandoned train station. A split decision that led him to rest his head on the rails to wait for the end.

It was another split decision that lead the boy to take the pink haired boy’s hand, allowing himself to be pulled off the tracks just as the train came into view.

The pink haired boy pulled him away from the track as the train rolled past the abandoned station. Then the pink haired boy pulled him into a hug.

The boy normally didn’t like being touched, but for once he relished the embrace.

While in the hug, the pink haired boy whispered into the boy’s ear, “Thank you for staying.”

When they finally let go, the boy looked down at the snowy ground, and wiped away the tears from his eyes.

He felt the wind of the train traveling past him, and he suddenly felt scared. It had almost been the end. He had been ready, but he was now grateful for this stranger who had talked him off the tracks.

“Can I have a name?” Asked pink hair. “It doesn’t have to be your actual name. One of the guys back at the place, we call him Joonie. I don’t know why exactly because he wanted us to call him Rap Monster, but that’s kinda silly, especially since he refuses to actually rap for us. Sometimes we’ll call him Rap Mon, but I don’t really know how you get Joonie from Rap Monster, but we all took Jin’s lead on it. Really, it could be anything. Sorry, I’m rambling. Just, what can I call you?”

The boy thought for a moment, finding a great release in the idea that he wasn’t obligated to give his real name. He could become someone else, someone new. Maybe this would be a new start for him.

After thinking for a moment, the boy simply said, “V.”

“Alright V, I’m Jimin. I’ll take you to the others.”

V let himself be lead away from the abandoned train station asking, “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere safe.”

Chapter Text

Jimin visited the abandoned train station every day. He would time his visit so he could watch the 5pm train roll past, wait a bit to see if anyone would show up, then head back home.

Nobody ever showed up.

This use to be Jin’s job, but after Jin found him, Jimin offered to take it over. Most days, Jimin was greeted by an empty station.

Today however he was greeted by the sight of a boy resting his head on the train tracks.

Jimin’s heart constricted, and his breath caught in his throat. His hand instinctively went up to the white shoes that hung around his neck.

Jimin didn’t know what to do, but knew he had to save this boy, and he did.

And now he was leading this boy whose face was a mix of sadness and regret to the one place that might be able to help him. To people who could actually help him, because although Jimin had talked this boy off the tracks, Jimin was way out of his depth.

A wave of incompetency washed over him which he tried to push down.

He had gotten the boy to come with him, Jimin told himself. He had maybe saved this boy’s life.

His hand instinctively flew up to the shoes around his neck.

Realising what he was doing, Jimin quickly lowered his hand and looked behind him to see V slowly following behind him.

“We’re almost there,” Jimin said as he led V through a grove of trees that gave way to a tiny town.

From afar the town looked abandoned, and in a way, it was.

Its only residents were the boys that lived in the motel.

The motel in question sat at the edge of the tiny town, facing the grove of trees that Jimin and V had walked through.

“This is home,” Jimin said once the building came into view. “It doesn’t look like much, but there’s a magic to the place that makes it feel like everything will turn out ok.”

V just silently nodded and followed Jimin as he walked up to the door in the middle of the motel and pushed it open.

“I’m back,” Jimin announced as he entered, “and I found someone.”

V quietly stepped into the room behind Jimin, and looked around.

The room was what one would expect from a motel room, but it did not have that impersonal feeling that most had. This was not a place where you would stay for a night or two then leave without really remembering much about it.

On the far side of the room was a bed that was next to a large window with white billowing curtains. Off to one side of the bed was a dresser with a wide array of cameras resting on top. On the other side of the bed was a messy looking desk that was piled with papers and boxes of polaroid pictures.

By the front door was a couch, and in front of that a coffee table.

On that couch, there was a boy sprawled out across it, and sitting on the floor beside the coffee table a boy sat trying to build a house of cards without much luck.

“Jin,” Jimin said smiling, “You’re still working on that?”

“It’s much harder than it looks, okay?” Jin replied, turning to the newcomer.

“He’s been trying to get past the third level all afternoon,” said the boy on the couch, “It’s been funny watching him fail.”

Jin shot a look at the boy on the couch, then pushed himself off the floor.

Turning to the newcomer he introduced himself, “Hello I’m Jin, and the buzz kill over there is- “

“I’m Suga,” the boy on the couch interrupted, not getting up from his position, “and I can introduce myself thank you very much.”

“You’re moody today,” Jimin commented.

“I’m not moody,” Countered Suga, “I’m tired.”

“You’re always tired,” said Jin before turning back to V, “Anyway, hi. What can we call you by?”

“I’m V.”

The lack of a proper name didn’t seem to bother Jin as he said, “Welcome to Motel 7, V,” then started walking towards the kitchen. A few moments later he returned with a key in hand, and offered it to V. “Stay as long as you need.”

V didn’t reach for the key, instead just stared at it before saying, “I don’t have any money to pay for the room.”

Jin just smiled and placed the key into V’s hand. “No money is needed. Room 3 is yours for however long as you need it. Food is all in here, come whenever you’re hungry, although we always all end up eating together. You’ll find that none of us will pry into whatever you’re going through, but we’re here if you need us.

“Room 3 is on the left. If you get lost just come find me and I’ll help you find whatever you need. My room is always open if you need anything.

“Just while you’re here, please take care of yourself. Whatever it is that brought you here, don’t let it win. Okay?”

V nodded and said a quiet, “Thank you.”

Jimin starred at V as Jin gave his welcome speech. V was the first new person who had shown up since Jimin had arrived.

At the end of Jin’s speech, V was about to leave to find his room when two people came bursting through the door.

“We’re back!” called out one of them cheerfully as he walked towards the kitchen to deposit the bags of groceries he held.

“Welcome back,” Suga said from the couch. “What an honour that you’ve decided to grace us with your presence. Let’s throw a parade celebrating your return. Whatever would we do without you.”

“He’s moody today,” said the other guy, still standing in the door way.

Noticing the new addition to the residence he introduced himself, “I’m Rap Monster.”

“Although you don’t have to call him that,” said the one in the kitchen, “because one, it’s kinda long, and two it’s kinda dumb.”

Rap Monster rolled his eyes, “Oh yes, J-hope, like that’s any better.”

J-hope finally emerged from the kitchen free from the grocery bags that he had previously been carrying. “Hey, we all need a bit of hope in our lives, and I’m willing to provide it.” Then J-hope proceeded to give a smile that practically glowed.

“Stop,” Suga said covering his eyes, “it’s too early for this kind of optimism.”

“Suga, it’s past five,” Jin quipped, then turned back to V. “Ignore these idiots. Do you have everything you need.”

V nodded.

“I can show you to room 3,” Jimin offered.

V nodded once more, and they both headed out of Jin room, away from the bickering that was happening inside.

“They tease each other, but we all really care for one another,” Jimin explained as they walked.

It wasn’t a long walk to room 3, it was just two doors down. The numbering system for the doors however didn’t make much sense. Jin room was numbered 7, while beside it was room 2, then, next to that room 3.

Jimin, seeing V’s look of confusion said, “The door numbers don’t really make sense. In fact, a lot about this place doesn’t make sense. But it’s a quiet place to put yourself back together. Anyways, this is your room. Mine is next door in 2, so just let me know if you need anything.”

V silently nodded, unlocked his door and slipped into his room.

Jimin watched as the door close behind the sad boy, saying a silent prayer for him.

He heard footsteps approach and turned to find Jin walking towards him.

“Hey,” Jin said when he was close enough. “How are you doing?”

“Good I think,” Jimin answered giving a quick glance back towards the door.

“How did you find him?”

“With his head on the tracks,” Jimin said quietly, picturing the scene he was greeted to when he arrived at the train station.

There was a moment of silence while Jin studied him, “You’re sure you’re okay?” Jin asked again.

Jimin nodded, although he wasn’t so sure himself. His hands drifting up to the shoes around his neck.

“Good job today,” Jin said, resting a hand on Jimin’s shoulder. “With you, who needs me here.”

“No, we would all be lost without you.”

They spent a moment looking at V’s closed door before Jin pulled Jimin away.

“Come one,” Jin said. “We should make sure that the others haven’t burnt anything down yet.”

Chapter Text

Jimin was going to have a hard night. Jin knew from the moment that Jimin walked through the door with V and that haunted look in his eyes.

Jimin had been quiet through most of the introductions when normally he would have joined in teasing the other guys. Instead he mostly fiddled with the laces of the shoes around his neck.

Jimin didn’t like to open up and “burden” others with his problems, but Jin had gathered enough to know that the shoes belonged to Jimin’s dead brother. Whenever Jimin was thinking about his brother, his hands would fly up to those shoes. Judging by the way Jimin was constantly fiddling with those shoes tonight, something about the arrival of V had brought Jimin many thoughts of his brother.

Jin made a mental note to keep an eye out for Jimin.

When they got back to Jin’s room they found Hoseok and Namjoon playing cards with the toppled house of cards, and Yoongi playing with the burner of the stove.

Some chose to give fake names when they came here, and Jin respected that using whatever name they wanted.

He wondered how long it would take the new boy to reveal his actual name. It took Namjoon slightly over a month before he gave Jin is real name in private. It was a late night where he had just bared his soul to Jin.

“It feels weird you calling me Rap Mon when we’re having serious talks,” Namjoon explained.

“Do you still want me to call you Rap Mon around the others?” Jin asked.

Namjoon nodded, and that was the end of that.

Hoseok decided to go as J-Hope only went he heard the others’ made up names.

“Really Suga,” Jin when he saw what Yoongi was doing in the kitchen. Jin walked over and turned off the burner. “Is that really necessary.”

“I was going to help start dinner,” Yoongi said, “But that seemed more fun. I’m going to lie down now.” Yoongi exited the kitchen, and went back to the couch to watch the two boys play cards.

“I can help you,” Jimin volunteered walking into the kitchen.

“I could help too,” Namjoon called from where he was sitting.

The last time he had helped things didn’t go so well. Mainly, it ended with everyone having to clear out of the room because of the copious amounts of smoke.

Jin thought back to that last time and said, “It’s alright Joonie. Jimin's help is all I should need.”

Namjoon just shrugged and went back to his game.

Jin could sense that Jimin wasn’t in the mood to talk. Instead they prepared the food in silence, listening to the sounds and shouts of the game going on in the next room.

Dinner was its normal affair of bickering and teasing. Although tonight Jimin didn’t join in. Jin also noted that the new boy didn’t show up. He made a mental note to check on V later.

Once everyone had left after helping clean up, Jin gathered some of the left-over food, and went to bring it to V’s room. As he made the walk over, Jin started making a mental check list of the others, like he did every night.

Namjoon had left for the gas station right after dinner.

“Jin hyung,” Namjoon said at dinner, “I have a shift at the station today. I’ll be back in a few days.”

Jin made a mental note to check in with him when he came back. Namjoon was always in a weird state whenever he came back from that place.

Yoongi was back in his room. Today was one of his good days. Jin could tell by the melodic sound of a piano floating in from the town earlier today.

Jin could never tell where Hoseok was at. He always hid his true feelings behind a bright smile. Jin could only tell how Hoseok was truly feeling after something happened, and that was because Hoseok had slipped and Jin needed to help put him back together.

Then there was the new boy. Jin didn’t yet know what to make of V, but could see that the boy needed space to sort out whatever was going on. Jin could see that there was some messed up things in that boy’s life.

That’s why all of them ended up here. People came to have the space they needed to sort out what they needed, and left once they were okay again. That’s what this place was for anyone and everyone who needed it. Everyone expect Jin that is, who had no choice in the matter. Or he did, but he gave that up.

Reaching V’s door, Jin genteelly knocked on the door. “Hey V, it’s Jin. You missed dinner, so I’ve brought some food for you if you want it.”

There was no response from the other side of the door.

“I’m just going to leave the plate here, okay?” Jin left the plate by the door, and walked back to his room.

Jin got himself ready for bed and was about to turn off the lights when he heard the sound of running water from the room next to him, which, this late, meant that Jimin was having a hard night.

It meant that Jimin was in his room crying, and wanted to hide the sound.

Jin had learnt that Jimin was one of those people who didn’t want anyone to see his sadness. Much like Hoseok, only Jimin was not as good at hiding it behind a smile.

Jin was always able to tell when Jimin was struggling, although he would never say anything to the younger boy. Jin had learnt that people deal with things in their own way. He just made sure that Jimin knew he was there if he needed him.

Jin got out of bed and walked to where his wall met Jimin’s bathroom. Leaning his back to it he slid into a seated position and rested his head against the wall.

Although Jimin did his best to drown out his sobs, Jin could still hear them faintly over the sound of the running water.

Jin could picture the bathroom in his mind.

Jimin with his back to the tub, pulled into a ball. The white shoes he religiously wore around his neck perched on the counter. Jimin’s dishevelled hair. The tears running out of his red puffy eyes.

Jin considered going over to the next room, but he knew that wouldn’t be what Jimin wanted.

Instead, Jin sat with his back to the wall, listening to the sounds coming from the other room. Although there was nothing Jin could do, he felt wrong going to bed while the boy next door cried.

Jin let out a sigh and closed his eyes. He wished he had the power to take away Jimin’s pain. He wished he could take away the pain of all the boys under his roof.

Jin hadn’t been at this for a long time, but he couldn’t imagine it ever getting easier. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like years from now, when he was still here, and everyone had left.

It had been a few years since he had made the deal that both saved and irrevocably changed his life. A decision that seemed like the right one, but had bound him to this place.

Jin had tried to leave once, but just the thought of leaving caused his vision to spin and a blinding pain to build in his head.

He had gotten as far as the train station before the pain overwhelmed him, and he was unable to go on. After that, he resigned himself to his fate.

This place needed a guardian, and now that guardian was Jin.

There were worse places to be bound to. But trapped was trapped, and it pained him he would never be able to see the more of the world. An endless amount of time might pass, yet all he would ever see would be what was right around him.

The sound of water stopping brought Jin out of his thoughts. He could picture Jimin wiping the stray tears from his face, taking a few steadying breaths. Jin imagined Jimin getting off the bathroom floor and walking over to the shoes, carefully picking them up and bringing them to his bedside table, where he kept them each night.

Sure enough, Jin heard the bathroom door closing.

Was it wrong for Jin to listen in? Maybe. But the walls were thin, and Jin was supposed to be the guardian of this place, responsible for all who came here.

Hearing that Jimin was finally in bed, Jin climbed into his, but found that he was no longer tired.

Jin laid there for a couple of minutes, before climbing back out of his bed.

Instead of trying to sleep, Jin pulled on a pair of shoes and a jacket, and quickly slipped outside. Looking down at the row of doors, he could see the plate he had left for V was gone.

Good, at least V is eating, Jin thought as he walked away from the motel.

Jin made his way to the grove of trees, taking a different path then the once that Jimin and V had come through earlier. He walked till he found himself in a clearing.

In the middle of the clearing was a statue of an angel. Or what used to be an angel. Was it still considered an angel if its wings had broken off?

The statue was bathed in moonlight as if the moon was its own personal spotlight.

“A new boy came today,” Jin said to the statue. “Once again I feel like I’m out of my depth here. I don’t know how to help him. I don’t really know how to help any of them.”

Jin sighed running a hand through his hair.

“I’m not here to try to talk my way out of this curse. It’s just that, Jimin spent another night crying. He’s probably in bed right now, crying himself to sleep. I just don’t know what to do.

“I don’t know why I talk to you anyway. I don’t know what I’m expecting from an old statue. Advice maybe. You did this much longer than I have.”

Jin sighed and stared up at the statue. He almost expected it to answer, but it had been silent since he made the deal.

It wasn’t the first time he had come out here to try to get it to talk, but once again his efforts were in vain.

“Okay, good talk then. Any advice would be welcome. If you can even hear me.”

Jin let out a sarcastic laugh.

“Look at me now. Talking to a statue. I must be going crazy.”

Jin went to walk back to the motel, but instead found himself wandering to the train station.

He could remember the day he arrived here. How desperate he was.

Jin pulled his jacket tightly around him, and sat on the rotting platform, feet dangling off the side. Looking up at the moon, he wondered what it would look like from anywhere but here.

Chapter Text

It was another night of self-loathing for Rap Mon, or Namjoon, which was his name everywhere other than the motel.

The motel was a place where Namjoon could pretend to be better than he was. But he couldn’t stay there forever. He had responsibilities. Or at least that’s what he told himself every time he had to force himself to leave.

In reality, he was scared that as he spent more time there, his mask of confidence would crack, and they would all see how much he truly loathed himself.

Tonight, was another night spent alone at his place.

Namjoon’s place consisted of an old train’s freight cart that was close to the gas station in which he worked.

Namjoon’s night at the gas station had finally ended, and he made the short walk between the station and his freight cart.

Working at the gas station was soul crushing, especially the graveyard shift, but it paid well for not really doing much most of the time.

Namjoon reached his place, unlocked the door and stepped inside. He flipped the switch that illuminated a single bare flickering light bulb hanging in the middle of the ceiling. Moonlight spilled through the windows, casting eerier shadows with the what little furniture he owned.

From his pocket, Namjoon pulled out a wad of bills and stuffed it into a glass jar that he pulled from a set of drawers. He didn’t know what he was going to do with the money, but it was there for whenever he could sort out what to do with himself.

A sudden wave of tiredness overcame him. He had been pushing it aside all night but he finally gave in and sank down to the ground, his back against the wall.

The room didn’t have much. There was a table littered with stacks of papers and empty beer and liquor bottles. A single chair accompanied the table. The set of drawers sat beside what was once the kitchen. A small cot was tucked away in the far corner, right under one of the tiny windows.

The peculiar thing about Namjoon’s room were the mirrors that covered every inch of wall space. Everywhere Namjoon looked, he saw his reflection. The mirrors were a reminder of who he was, and all that he wasn’t. It was a reminder to get himself together.

Looking at the mirrors tonight, all he saw was a tired face staring back.

Pushing himself off the floor he walked over to his meager kitchen to see what he had in the fridge. All he found was a half empty case of beer.

Namjoon grabbed a few bottles and resumed his seated position against the wall. He worked his way through the bottles as he watched the rising sun’s light slowly seep through the windows.

Namjoon’s head was a mix of trying to shift through all the thoughts racing through his head, while simultaneously at the same time trying to drown them out with the alcohol.

Slowly, he drifted off into an uneasy sleep.

When Namjoon awoke, the sun was setting, and it was time once again for him to head off to work. This was his schedule when he worked at the gas station. Nights spent filling gas into the rare car that came through, and days spent trying to drown out his thoughts.

After the last night Namjoon was scheduled to work, he didn’t return to the freight cart, instead making the long walk back to the motel.

He didn’t know why he was drawn to that place, constantly being pulled back to it.

He remembered the first time he stumbled upon the motel. Jin had been so excited to see another person he convinced Namjoon to stay a while. Namjoon was happy to find a friend that helped fill his lonely life.

After that, Namjoon started spending more time at the motel, until one day Jin offered him a room. He didn’t have to stay, but it was there whenever he wanted or needed it.

It was a grey snowy morning when he first arrived, much like today. However, this morning was one of those days when it snowed in the middle of April. Just as one thought winter was finally over, there was one last big dump, and today was it.

As Namjoon approached the motel, he could see Suga and J-hope sitting outside. The No Vacancy sign flickered like it always did, the big letters that sat on top of the motel announcing it to the world.

When J-Hope saw Namjoon, he jumped up from the plastic lawn chair he was sitting on and gave a big wave.

“Joonie! You’re back!”

“Of course I’m back,” Namjoon said when he was close enough that he didn’t have to yell. “Nice to see the place hasn’t burnt down since I left.”

Suga rolled his eyes knowing the jab was at him, “Maybe I should burn it down one day, just to see your reaction when you return. Or Jin hyung’s reaction.”

“Didn’t Jin hyung take your lighter after the last incident?” J-Hope asked.

“You severely under estimate my ability to start a fire.”

Namjoon missed them despite himself. He really tried not to grow attached, but he could feel himself smile. Something that did not happen when he was not here.

“How’s the new boy?” Namjoon asked as he looked towards room 3.

“Quiet,” J-Hope responded, “barely comes out of his room.”

“Still? It’s been a week.”

Suga shrugged, “Remember when Jimin first got here? It was a good month before he would talk to any of us. He just sat there quietly with that vacant stare.”

“Everyone takes their own time,” J-Hope said.

Namjoon nodded, remembering Jimin’s first month here.

“Alright,” Namjoon said, breaking off form the group, “I’m going inside. You’re both crazy for staying out in the snow.”

“I’m sure Jin will come out any minute to yell and tell us we’ll catch a cold,” Suga said.

Namjoon walked into Jin’s room, trying his best to knock the snow off his boots before he entered.

“Jin hyung I’m back!” Namjoon called as he entered.

Jin appeared from the kitchen, “Welcome back. Have you eaten?”

“No.”

“Do you want food?”

“No. I’m going to sleep.”

Jin looked him up and down before saying, “How was the gas station?”

Namjoon shrugged, “the same as always. I’m going to lie down for a bit.”

“Here,” Jin tossed Namjoon an apple.

“Thanks,” Namjoon said placing the apple in his pocket.

“You sure you don’t want to eat?”

“I’m fine, Mom,” Namjoon said. Something that he never said to his mother. Not that she was around long enough to actually look after him.

Jin was staring at him, slight concern written on his face. Most people would miss it, but in his time here Namjoon had become an expert at reading Jin’s expressions.

“I’m fine, I promise. I’m going to go lie down. See you later.” And with that, Namjoon left the room.

He gave a small wave to Suga and J-Hope, who were still sitting outside despite the cold, and headed off to his room.

As soon as he was in his room he pulled off his boots and jacket and flopped onto his bed.

This room was completely unlike his other one. The freight car had everything he needed, but this room provided him with a comfort that the other didn’t. He had been living in the freight car much longer then he had been here, but this was the place that felt like home.

If Jin hyung knew what my other room was like he would never let me go back there, Namjoon thought closing his eyes.

Sleep came to Namjoon as soon as his eyes closed, and he drifted into a peaceful slumber.

Chapter Text

Back in the city, a boy was searching for a place to hide.

When he first decided to run away from home it was to see if he could. Then he kept going to see how long it would be before someone noticed.

Three days had passed, and still no one was looking for him.

He had his cell phone with him, but no one had called him since he left. He checked TV screens every time he passed a coffee shop, but saw no news of anyone looking for him.

Three days, and no one knew he was missing.

Not that he was surprised.

It was dark as he looked for a place to spend the night.

As he walked, he accidently bumped shoulders with some guys that were passing the opposite way.

“Sorry,” he mumbled and kept walking.

“Hey!” yelled one of the men, “What’s your problem!”

The boy kept walking, ignoring the man who was shouting at him.

The boy heard quick footsteps, then felt a weight on his shoulder forcing him to turn around.

“I said, what’s your problem?” the man said, pushing the boy against the gate of a nearby shop.

The boy could smell the alcohol on the man’s breath. He could see the man’s friend with a mischievous smile growing on his lips. “I think we need to teach this boy a lesson.”

He felt the pressure of a hand around his neck, holding him to the wall. The boy quickly ripped it away.

But before the boy could say or do anything, he felt the impact of a fist connecting with his face.

The boy tried to stop his head from spinning so he could try to defend himself, but he failed as he received another hit, to his stomach this time. It knocked the air out of him, and he wheezed for breath.

The boy tried his best to block the hits that came his way, but it was two against one, and his head was still spinning.

The boy ended up in a ball on the ground, doing his best to stay conscious as he took the beating.

Finally, one of the men reached into the boy’s jacket pocket, pulling out his wallet and phone. “I think I’ll take this for the trouble,” he laughed, and the two men walked away.

Once his attackers were out of sight, the boy uncurled himself and slowly sat up, resting his back against the wall.

He let out a groan that was half pain, half frustration.

The boy needed a place to hide. He wanted a place where he could sort out what to do with himself.

He couldn’t go home.

No, that hadn’t been a home for a while now. The lack of Missing posters had proven that.

The boy slowly got up off the floor and limped his way through the streets. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but figured he would know when he found it.

Eventually, the boy ended up at the train yard.

The train yard was quiet, not a soul in sight.

Perfect, the boy thought as he walked through the line of trains, finally finding a train with one of its car doors slightly open.

The boy pulled the door wider, just enough for him to climb in. He then closed it so only a faint stream of light was left to light his way.

The car was completely empty.

Even better, the boy thought as he lowered himself down in one of the corners, and closed his eyes. I’ll stay here for the night, then figure out what to do in the morning.

The boy thought that the pain form the beating would have kept him up, but instead sleep greeted him like an old friend.

Chapter Text

The snow had melted and today seemed to be turning into a beautiful spring day. The sun was bright, the birds were singing, and all of it annoyed Yoongi, who was curled up in bed, head under his pillow, trying to block it all out.

After a few more minute of trying to fall back asleep Yoongi gave up, and slowly got himself out of bed. If he was going to be awake, he might as well make use of the time.

Yoongi got himself ready for the day, opting to skip breakfast and head straight to the music shop he had been using as his studio.

Stepping out into the bright morning light, Yoongi headed off towards the town behind the motel.

The town, like the motel, seemed magical. It seemed to Yoongi that buildings appeared out of nowhere periodically, but that was silly. How could buildings just appear? Yoongi always attributed noticing a new building as a testament to his lack of observation skills, rather than magic.

The town was completely empty, save for when one of the boys from the motel were there.

Every time Yoongi came to town, he wondered why anyone would build a place like this just to have everyone abandon it. But figuring that out would take a lot more effort than he was willing to put in. He was just grateful that a place like this was so close, mainly because of the music shop.

Yoongi arrived at the store, and pulled the door open.

He remembered the first time he went to explore the town, and the excitement he felt when he found this store. He remembered the feeling of the brick in his hand as he threw it at the door so that he could unlock the shop’s door to get inside.

Yoongi had long ago dismantled the shop’s alarm and taped a piece of cardboard over the hole he had made. But the trill of stepping into the shop had never subsided during the two years he had been here.

Yoongi could still remember the first time he had laid hands on the old brown piano that sat in the middle of the room. The thrill of the music he could create, the memories from his childhood that it brought back.

Presently, the piano was covered with paper. Lyrics and music scores of all the songs he had been working on since he first found the shop.

One day he would fulfil his dream to produce music. The world would know his name. Not Min Yoongi, but Suga, which he decided that would be his stage name.

When Jin first asked for Yoongi’s name it was a spur of the moment decision that kept him from saying Yoongi.

So Suga was born, and one day the world would know.

Yoongi spent his morning working on a piece he had been stuck on for the last week. It was a tune he would whistle to himself when he wasn’t here, but he couldn’t figure out the lyrics. Normally they would just come, but this time he was stuck with the bones of a melody, unable to write the rest.

Yoongi spend the morning making little progress on that song, before giving up for the day and moving on to others.

It was late in the afternoon when he emerged from the shop, somewhat satisfied with the work he had done. Maybe tomorrow he would be able to make some headway on that song.

It had been two years since Yoongi had started writing. The plan was to go to the city, and become someone. He was going to make music. His mind was already made up on the matter. But he couldn’t go until his music was perfect. He wouldn’t let himself go until his music was perfect.

On Yoongi’s good days he would come to the shop and practice. On his bad day, well, he tried not to think of those.

Yoongi returned to the motel and headed straight for Jin’s room. He entered without a word and went straight for the fridge.

“Why hello to you too,” Jin said as Yoongi entered.

Yoongi just waved in the general direction of Jin’s voice and continued searching the fridge. He eventually settled on a container of something, but looked edible enough.

“You know,” Jin said, walking into the kitchen, “you wouldn’t be so hungry if you stopped doing things like skipping all your meals.”

“I don’t skip all my meals, Yoongi said with his mouth full of food, “What do you think I’m doing now?”

“Do you at least want to heat it up?”

“Naw it’s good.”

Jin rolled his eyes. “Honestly, no one here appreciates the importance of food.”

“We appreciate it. We eat. We just don’t want to marry it like you do.”

“I don’t want to marry it,” Jin huffed, “You hardly eat. I’m pretty sure Joonie doesn’t eat when he’s not here despite what he tells me. Thank goodness V is finally coming to meals. The only one who appreciates my cooking is Hobi, and Jimin”

“Clam down there,” Yoongi said patting the elder on the shoulder, “We all appreciate your cooking.”

Jin’s room was quiet today. Normally someone would be in here being loud or whatever. Jin was honestly a saint for putting up with all of them.

“So where is everyone?” Yoongi asked after finally satisfying his stomach.

“Jimin’s taking a nap, I think. V is who knows where. Probably locked in his room. Joonie is having one of his existential crises, and J-Hope hasn’t shown his face all day.”

Yoongi could hear the worry in Jin’s voice as he talked about J-Hope. It was unusual for J-Hope to be MIA.

“Hobi hasn’t been around?” Yoongi questioned.

“I tried knocking on his door earlier, but he said he was fine, just tried.”

Jin was always good about giving them their space when they needed it. But J-Hope rarely did need space, so it always worried Jin when he did.

“I think I’ll check on Hobi,” Yoongi announced while dropping the empty food container into the sink.

Jin looked at him with surprised. Yoongi normally didn’t volunteer to do that sort of thing.

It wasn’t that Yoongi didn’t care. It was that he rarely knew what to do when the person inevitably needed comforting. Best leave that for someone who actually knew what they were doing. Someone like Jin. Yoongi was good at providing support in the background, so that’s what he did.

Yoongi left Jin’s room and traveled the two doors down to J-Hope’s door.

“Hobi,” Yoongi called through the door while knocking. “Are you okay? Do you want to do something?”

There was no reply from inside.

Strange, thought Yoongi as he knocked on the door again. He wouldn’t be sleeping, would he? As he knocked there was still with no answer.

Finally, Yoongi pushed the door open and let himself inside J-Hope’s room.

The late afternoon sun was streaming through the window by J-Hope’s bed. On that bed was J-Hope’s sleeping figure. Or at least he looked like he was sleeping until Yoongi noticed the blueness of his lips, and the bottle of pills by his side.

Yoongi swore loudly, then yelled out the open door, “Jin hyung! You’re needed here now!”

Yoongi rushed over to the bed and tried to rouse the unconscious J-Hope.

“What’s happening?” Yoongi heard from the door. He looked up, expecting Jin, but was greeted by Rap Mon instead.

“Go get Jin now!” Yoongi yelled at him, still trying to shake J-Hope awake.

Before Rap Mon could leave, Jin came running into the room.

“I’m here, what’s wrong? Oh, fuck!” Jin turned to Rap Mon, who was still in the door. “I need you to get the cart in the closet of my room, okay. You know the one, right?”

Rap Mon nodded before running off.

“What’s going on?” said Jimin, replacing Rap Mon’s space in the door. Behind him Yoongi could see V curiously peeking into the room. They must have been attracted by the yelling.

“What does it look like,” Yoongi retorted, turning his attention back to J-Hope.

Jin was checking J-Hope’s pulse, and his breathing, swearing under his breath.

Yoongi was shifting his weight back and forth, willing Rap Mon to get here faster. The two at the door had finally stepped inside.

Taking in the scene, Jimin had started to cry, and V had him in a hug, trying to comfort him.

Yoongi was about to run and go find the cart or whatever himself, when Rap Mon came running back in, dragging a cart behind him.

Yoongi marveled that Jin hyung had something like that, but honestly, he wasn’t that surprised. Jin hyung seemed to have everything.

“Joonie,” Jin said, connecting tubes to a machine inside the cart. “I need you to help me.”

Rap Mon paled a bit. “I don’t know how to do any of this.”

“I know,” Jin said, connecting something else, “but you read a lot, and honestly you have a greater knowledge of different drugs and medical things then I do. Just watch to make sure I don’t mess anything up. Okay?”

Rap Mon nodded, and started watching Jin’s every movement with intensity.

“Is Hobi hyung going to okay?” Jimin asked timidly, still crying into V’s shoulder.

“Of course he will be,” V said comfortingly. “Jin hyung is like some magical fairy that always knows what to do. I’m sure everything will be fine.”

V shot a look toward Jin that said, everything is going to be fine, right?

Jin gave a reassuring nod, but Yoongi could see the uncertainty in his eyes.

“What can we do to help?” Yoongi asked.

Jin hyung looked around like he was trying to sort out what they could do, but before he could answer the question there was a knock on the door.

“Hello?”

Standing at the door, eyes wide, was a boy. The boy looked like he had been beat up. He had the start of a black eye, and was hugging his side as if trying to keep himself together.

Jin sighed as if saying, Really now! There had to be someone new now!

Before Jin hyung could say anything Yoongi started to move towards the boy at the door.

“Hey,” Yoongi said to the boy. “Why don’t we step outside.”

The boy nodded, and stepped out of the door frame, limping slightly as he walked.

“Why don’t we all go outside,” Yoongi said to Jimin and V, slightly pushing them out the door.

Once they all were out of the room, Yoongi closed the door behind them, giving Jin and Rap Mon the space they needed to do whatever they were doing. Yoongi wasn’t the type to pray, but he sent a silent prayer to whoever was listening that his friend would be alright.

Jimin’s crying had calmed down a bit, but he was still gripping onto V.

The new boy looked shaken by the whole ordeal he had just witnessed.

“I’m Suga,” Yoongi introduced himself to the boy.

“Jungkook,” the boy replied.

Yoongi gave the Jungkook a small smile. “Nice to meet you Jungkook. Welcome.”

Chapter Text

Taehyung had been at the motel for about a month, or maybe longer. All he knew was that the snow was finally melting, signalling the end of winter.

Taehyung had spent the first week here confining himself to his room. He mostly slept, and stewed, and tried to make himself forget.

He was successful in only two of those things.

When he first came here he gave himself a new name. When asked for his name, he answered with the first things that came to his mind, V.

Maybe with a new name he could forget, he told himself, but how could he ever forget? At night, his dreams were still filled with the blood and the screams.

After the first few days of confining himself to his room, Jin had barged in, rousing him from sleep.

Jin stood in front of him, hands on his waist. “So, it’s been over a week.”

Taehyung just looked up at him from where he was laying on his bed.

“It’s been almost a week, and you haven’t once come out of this room.”

Taehyung brought himself up to a seated position and shrugged.

“Lunch is in 10 minutes. You don’t have to say anything, but you’re expected to be there and eat. Cornering yourself off from the rest of the world won’t do you any good.” Having said what he needed to say, Jin left his room.

Taehyung managed to drag himself out of his room and into Jin’s. Inside was Jin, who looked surprised that Taehyung had actually showed up, even though it was him who had told Taehyung he was expected.

“Hi!” Jimin said excitedly from the table where he and J-Hope were sitting. J-Hope gave V an energetic wave, and went back to the discussion that he and Jimin were having.

Jin came up behind him, “Happy you decided to join us.”

“I thought I didn’t have a choice,” V mumbled.

Jin ignored the comment, instead motioning V to take a seat.

After that, Taehyung started coming to meals. He would never admit it, but Jin was right. He couldn’t just stay in his room.

He slowly started spending more and more time out of his room. The others tried talking to him, but he never had much to say. He mainly found himself just enjoying the break in silence. The others helped to distract him from his own thoughts.

He found himself enjoying Suga’s sarcasm at everything. He fed off J-Hope’s energy on his sluggish days. He was drawn into Rap Mon’s philosophical rambling even if he had no clue half the time what he was talking about. He appreciated Jimin’s effort in trying to talk to him even when he had nothing to reply. Mostly, he was grateful for Jin dragging him out of his room.

“Hey,” Jimin said, showing up at Taehyung’s door soon after he started going to meals. “Do you want to go exploring?”

Taehyung thought that after the first few times of rejection, Jimin would stop coming around. Jimin, however, kept showing up at his door.

“What’s with the pink hair?” Taehyung found himself asking one day.

“I don’t know,” Jimin said running his hand through his hair. “I just like it like this.”

Taehyung also wanted to ask about the shoes that constantly hung around Jimin’s neck, but those shoes were most certainly from Jimin’s past.

There seemed to be an unspoken rule here not to ask about a person’s past. In the weeks he had been here, Taehyung had very much appreciated that unspoken rule. He knew the power that memories could have over someone. He didn’t need any more of a reminder of what happened, and he was sure Jimin didn’t either.

Jimin’s voice broke him out of his thoughts.

“Hyung, do you want to go on a walk or something?”

“Not today Jimin,” Taehyung answered.

“Okay, maybe another time,” Jimin said with a small smile before leaving Taehyung's room.

Taehyung knew that there was a town behind the motel. Some mornings he could hear music drifting from the town, later finding out it was Suga who was playing.

Sometime after his first week, Jin had dragged him out of him room and into town.

“You’ve been here a whole week,” Jin said, “and have been wearing the same clothes since you’re got here.”

“I’m fine,” Taehyung mumbled as he was dragged along.

“I’m sure you are,” Jin said sarcastically.

Jin brought Taehyung to a store where inside there was just a huge pile of clothes in the middle of the room.

“What’s this?” Taehyung asked.

“It’s a bunch of clothes,” answered Jin who took to standing in front of the door to leave. “Pick some stuff, then I’ll let you go back to your room.”

Taehyung started climbing the pile and sorting through the clothes.

“Where did this come from anyway?”

Jin shrugged. “I have no clue where half the stuff around here came from. I’m just glad it’s here.”

There was a beat of silence before Jin started speaking again. “So, how have you been?”

It was Taehyung’s turn to shrug. “Alright I guess.”

“Let me know if you need anything, okay? Or if you ever need to talk?”

“Thanks hyung,” V said, climbing down from the mountain of clothes, a bundle of clothes in hand.

“Anytime.”

Taehyung had never taken Jin up on that offer, but was glad for it all the same. Spending more time out of the room.

Nightmares still plagued his sleep, but he found it easier to push down the memories to keep them from surfacing.

He had stopped feeling tired. He had stopped feeling numb. He had stopped feeling like he couldn’t go on anymore.

The words that Jimin said to him on the track constantly echoed in his head.

Never forgetting, but fighting, and hoping for better days.

Taehyung wouldn’t mind forgetting, he would welcome it. Although he doubted he ever would forget. But he found himself hoping for better days, and that thought he kept going on.

“V hyung?” a knock on the door brought Taehyung out of his thoughts.

Taehyung got up off his bed where he was lying staring at the ceiling and went to answer the door.

Jimin stood on the other side.

“Do you want to go do something?” Jimin asked. It had been a few days since the last time Jimin had come.

Taehyung paused for a moment, and surprised himself and Jimin by answering, “Sure.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, sure.” Taehyung stepped out of his room and closed the door behind him. He didn’t know why he agreed, but maybe it was time to stop pushing others away. “Where to?”

“Ummm,” Jimin clearly didn’t think he would get this far. “If you want I can show you around the town if you want? Oh, I need to leave for the train station in a bit, do you want to come?”

“Either sounds great. I’ll just follow you.”

They were about to head off when they saw Jin run towards J-Hope’s room, and heard a bunch of yelling from that direction.

“What’s going on?” Taehyung wondered.

Jimin gave him a worried look and they went to see what had happened.

Before they even reached the room, Rap Mon bolted out, running towards Jin’s room. Jimin gave Taehyung another worried look before stepping into the doorway.

“What’s going on?” Jimin asked when they got to the doorway. Taehyung was behind him and was trying to see over him.

“What does it look like?” Taehyung heard Suga say from inside. He didn’t know what it looked like, because he couldn’t see anything past Jimin.

Jimin finally stepped inside, allowing Taehyung to see what was happening.

Finally, being able to look in, he saw and unconscious J-Hope with Jin and Suga around him doing stuff.

Understanding what was happening, tears started to well in Jimin’s eyes. V wasn’t completely sure what was happening, but he didn’t need to. Whatever this was wasn’t anything good.

Jimin started taking shaky breaths, as if trying to keep himself from crying. His eyes were fixed on J-Hope’s unconscious figure.

Taehyung pulled Jimin into a hug, using his body to block out whatever was happening on the bed. The tears that were building in Jimin’s eyes started to roll as he started to sob.

Rap Mon came running back into the room, dragging behind him a cart.

“It’s going to be okay,” Taehyung kept whispering into Jimin’s ear, “Everything is going to be okay.”

“Is Hobi hyung going to okay?” Jimin asked timidly, still crying into Taehyung’s shoulder.

“Of course he will be,” Taehyung said comfortingly, “Jin hyung is like some magical fairy that always knows what to do. I’m sure everything will be fine.”

Taehyung didn’t know when he started trusting Jin, but saying those words made Taehyung realize that he would trust Jin with his life, and that thought scared him. When did he suddenly start to trust people again?

Taehyung shot Jin a look that said, you know what you’re doing right? Everything is going to be okay?

Jin gave him a reassuring nod and retuned to whatever he was doing.

Taehyung returned his attention to Jimin, whose crying had subsided a bit, but big fat tears were still leaking form his eyes.

“What can we do to help?” Taehyung heard Suga ask.

To be honest, Taehyung didn’t think there was much they could do, but he would do whatever Jin told them.

Before Jin could answer the question a knock from the door grabbed everyone’s attention.

“Hello?” a voice called out from the door.

They all turned to see a new boy at the door. The boy was clutching his side, and half his face was swollen. This boy reminded Taehyung of himself, or at least who he was before he came here. Broken and lost. Only a month and he already felt like a completely different person.

“Hey. Why don’t we step outside?” Suga said, walking towards the new boy. “Why don’t we all step outside.” That was directed to Taehyung and Jimin, and with a slight nudge from Suga they headed out.

Once outside the room Jimin’s crying started to stop a little, but he was still gripping onto Taehyung.

“I’m Suga,” Suga said turning to the new boy.

“Jungkook.”

“Nice to meet you Jungkook. Welcome. Why don’t we get you looked at?”

“Thanks,” the boy said and they started walking to Jin’s room.

Jimin detangled himself form Taehyung when they started walking. Jimin wiped a stray tear from his eyes, his breaths still shaky from the crying.

“I’m V,” Taehyung introduced himself.

“Jimin,” Jimin said, finally calming down from what he had just witnessed. He then turned to Taehyung saying “Sorry. I’m sorry. I’m a mess right now.”

“You’re fine,” Taehyung said reassuringly.

When they got to Jin’s room, Suga went right to the kitchen and came back with an ice pack.

“Here,” Suga said, offering the ice pack to Jungkook, then gestured to the couch, “have a seat. I don’t know how to treat injuries. Normally Jin does that. But Jin is a bit busy at the moment.”

“This is good,” Jungkook said taking the icepack and placing it over his swelling eye. “Thank you.”

Jimin took a seat on the couch next to Jungkook, and Taehyung opted for the floor. Suga dragged a chair from the eating table and brought it in front of the couch.

When they were all seated Jungkook started talking. “I don’t have any money, but I can work. I just need a place to stay for a while. I promise I won’t be any trouble, I just-“

Suga cut him off before he could continue. “You don’t money, you don’t need to work. You can just stay.”

“Really?” Jungkook said, surprised.

“Yeah,” Jimin said, finally calming down a bit. Enough to give the boy a soft smile.

“Thank you,” Jungkook said quietly.

When Taehyung looked at the boy, he could see himself, and how he had been when he first got here. Taehyung gave a reassuring smile to the new boy. “Everything is going to be alright.”

Chapter Text

When Hoseok woke up, everything hurt. It hurt to keep his eyes open and to focus them. It hurt to turn his head to see Jin sitting at his side.

“Hey Hyung,” Hoseok said, voice gravelly from it disuse.

“Hobi!” Jin said, jumping up, “You’re awake! You’re alright!”

“Of course. I’m always alright.”

“Do you remember what happened?” Jin questioned.

Hoseok tried to remember, and although it made his head pound, he recalled the vague details of how he got to this state. It suddenly became much harder to keep his eyes open, so he shut them, returning his head to its original position.

“A mistake,” Hoseok said quietly before slipping back into sleep.

The next time Hoseok woke up, it was Jimin standing over him.

Every muscle in his body still hurt like a hundred arrows had been fired into him, but like always he did his best to paste on a smile and looked up at Jimin.

“Hi Jiminie,” Hoseok said, voice still raspy.

“Hey Hyung,” Jimin said, concern etched into his face.

Hoseok slowly pushed himself to a seated position although his body greatly protested the action.

“How are you doing?” Jimin asked timidly.

Hoseok rolled his head, trying to release some of the tension in his neck, but instead sent a wave of pain down his spine. “I’ve been better.”

Jimin squinted, titling his head like he was trying to read Hoseok’s thoughts on whether he actually was alright or not.

Hoseok couldn’t stand to see that look on Jimin’s face. He couldn’t stand the concern, because he didn’t deserve that. He wanted to see a smile back on Jimin’s face.

Grabbing a pillow behind him, he hit Jimin right in the head.

“No fair,” cried Jimin, stumbling back a bit.

Hoseok laughed, jumping up although his body protested, and hit him again.

A smile slowly started to spread across Jimin’s face as he grabbed a pillow from Hoseok’s bed and started hitting back.

“Honestly,” Jin said after just entering Hoseok’s room, “I leave for ten minutes and I return to this.”

Hoseok and Jimin shared a look, then started to advance on the new arrival.

“Don’t you dare,” Jin said, backing away.

Jimin smiled and started running towards Jin, who Jin to bolted out of the room.

Although Hoseok’s body protested, he started running after the other two. Each step sent spikes of pain up his legs.

His stupid hips felt like an old creaky joint, but he breathed through the pain and kept going.

Along the way they passed V, who was just innocently standing by until Jimin walloped him in the head and kept running after Jin, giggling.

V stood frozen for a moment, trying to take in what just happened, then started laughing and chasing after Jimin. However V hadn't even gotten three steps in before he got hit over the head with Hoseok's.

V tried grabbing for Hoseok’s pillow, but was too slow. Hoseok pulled his pillow away and continued running after Jin.

“You need to be faster than that,” Hoseok called behind him to V.

Hoseok got to Jin’s room, and the scene was one of chaos.

Jin had managed to grab a pillow to start defending himself against Jimin’s attacks. Suga and Rap Mon had also joined into the fight.

Before Hoseok could even step into the room he was bombarded by projectile pillows that were being thrown by Suga, who had taken shelter behind the couch. His plan was short lived because he very quickly ran out of pillows and then started to be attacked by a boy that Hoseok had never seen before.

“Joonie,” Jin complained from over by his bed, “You’re supposed to be on my side.”

“Then you shouldn’t have attacked me,” retorted Rap Mon, continuing his attack on Jin.

Hoseok decided to start attacking Jimin again, but before he could do so he was hit from behind by V, who had grabbed a pillow form his own room.

“Ha,” V laughed, continuing to hit him.

Hoseok started to swing his pillow at V while backing into the room. Leaving his back exposed was probably not the best idea, however, because he soon started to get hit by Jimin from behind.

Somehow, Jin had managed to break away from Rap Mon and had starting taking pictures of the fight with his pink polaroid camera.

They all pretty much ended up in the middle of the room swinging at whoever was close by. Suga had regathered all the pillows he had lobbed and proceeded to target people again, but this time from a closer distance so he could get his pillows much more quickly to start throwing them again. Suga was scarily accurate with his throws.

The new boy was mostly standing quietly, taking all that was happening before him, but whenever someone got too close he would take a swing at them with surprising amount of strength.

Somehow, they all ended up swinging their pillows at the same time, causing the seams to burst, showering them in feathers.

Every inch of Hoseok’s body was in pain. His muscles protested every time he moved, but the smiles on everyone’s faces made it worthwhile as he pushed through the pain and laughed along with them.

“Wait,” Suga said, “who started this?”

“Jimin,” answered Jin, looking at the younger boy.

“What no I didn’t,” Jimin protested, but his cries were drowned out by Suga wrestling him to the floor, then trying to cover him with feathers while V and Jin continued to hit him with the pillows that hadn’t burst.

“It wasn’t me,” Jimin said, trying to defend himself from the oncoming attacks. “Hobi hyung started it.”

The attacks suddenly stopped when the three attacking boys turned their attention on Hoseok.

Hoseok was getting ready to flee but wasn’t able to get away before Suga tackled him to the ground.

Spikes of pain radiated through his body as he hit the floor, but he hid his moans of pain by forcing himself to laugh.

Suga started trying to bury him in feathers. There were nowhere near enough feathers to be successful, but Suga wasn’t letting that stop him.

Finally, Suga let up. “Next time you want to do an activity that requires this much energy, please give a 3-5 business days notice.”

“But that defeats the point of a surprise attack,” Hoseok complained, still on the floor. “Also, thanks Jimin for throwing me under the bus.”

“Well you did start it,” Jimin said, and received a face full of feathers courtesy of Hoseok.

Jin offered both of them a hand up off the floor. Once off the floor they tried to brush of the feathers without much success.

“Dinner will be in about an hour,” Jin announced, brushing feathers off himself. “It would have been sooner, but someone decided to attack.”

“Sorry hyung,” Jimin said, picking feathers off the white shoes around his neck. “Do you need any help?”

“No, but thanks. Go get yourself cleaned up.”

They all started to file out of Jin’s room save Rap Mon, who decided to try to help clean up.

Once out of the room, Jimin ruffled his hair, creating a cloud of feathers above him.

Suga looped him arm around Hoseok’s shoulder and walked them in the direction of their rooms.

“How are you doing Hobi hyung?” Suga asked.

“Fine as always,” Hoseok answered, pasting a smile on his face.

“Really? Because a few days ago I found you passed out in your room.”

“Really Hyung, I’m fine.” Hoseok reassured his friend.

Hoseok wasn’t fine. Each step he took hurt, but he would never let the others know that. He didn’t want to bother them with his pain when there was nothing they could do and they had their own things to worry about.

“Okay then,” Suga said, removing his arm from around Hoseok and entering his room at which they had arrived, “if you say so.”

The tone in Suga’s voice said that he didn’t really believe what Hoseok was saying.

“See you at dinner,” Hoseok said still smiling. He waved a goodbye to Suga before stepping in his room.

As soon as Hoseok entered his room, the smile dropped from his face.

He went straight to the bathroom where he kept his pain medication, only to find his bottle of pills gone from the shelf they normally sat on.

Hoseok braced himself against the sink and took a few steadying breaths. He shouldn’t have been surprised to find the bottle missing, especially after what happened. This meant he would have to go to Jin to ask for them back.

Hoseok ran a hand over his face, and took a few steadying breaths. He stayed in that position for a while, willing the pain to go away with no luck. If only he could wish away the pain.

Hoseok took a few more breaths, then headed back toward Jin’s room, pain radiating with each step.

When he arrived at Jin’s room, he found it was completely clean of feathers. It surprised Hoseok how fast Jin had cleaned it all up. Rap Mon was gone, probably after Jin told him there was nothing for him to do.

Good. Hoseok didn’t want an audience.

“Hey Jin hyung.” Hoseok said, entering the kitchen where Jin was preparing whatever they were going to have for dinner.

“Hey Hobi,” Jin said, not turning from where he was cutting something.

Hoseok was trying to figure out how he could approach the topic of his missing pills when Jin beat him to the chase.

“I’m guessing you’re here about your medication?”

“Umm, yes.”

Jin turned to face Hobi, “What happened Hobi? I know you said a mistake, but how does a mistake lead you to be unconscious with me having to bring you back inches from death?”

“I… it…” Hoseok didn’t like sharing. He trusted Jin not to tell the others, but he couldn’t stand the idea of Jin looking at him like he was some fragile thing, easily broken. He had escaped that before, and would be dammed if he let it happen again.

On the other hand, Hoseok needed his medication. He didn’t think he could last long without it.

“I…” Hoseok tried to start again.

“Whatever it is, you can tell me,” Jin reassured him. “Just help me understand.”

“I was in an accident, and ever since then everything hurts. Every inch of my body is constantly screaming out in pain. That was my pain medication.

“The other day, I took my pills, but it wasn’t working fast enough, so I took a few more, then a few more. It was a stupid thing to do, I know, but I just wanted the pain to stop.”

“And how do I know it won’t happen again?” Jin asked.

“It won’t,” Hoseok promised. “I know what I did was stupid. I won’t be that dumb again. I promise it won’t happen again.”

Jin just stared at Hoseok for a moment, as if trying to decide what to do. Then he opened the cabinet behind him, grabbed Hoseok’s medication, and turned back around.

Before Jin handed Hoseok the bottle he looked Hoseok straight in the eye saying, “I’m trusting you. Please don’t make me have to save your life again.”

“You won’t hyung. I promise.”

Jin slowly handed Hoseok the bottle, eyes narrowed as if he was still trying to figure out if this was the right thing to do.

“You know you can always come talk to me about anything you’re going through. You don’t have to do this alone Hobi. We're all here for you.”

“I know hyung. Thank you,” Hoseok said when the bottle was finally in his hands.

Jin sighed, “Dinner will be ready in 15 minutes.”

Hoseok quickly left the room, returning to his own. Once inside, he went straight to the bathroom and swallowed one of the red and white pills, then went to the bed to lie down.

The problem last time was that he wasn’t patient enough to let the pill kick in. He wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Hoseok breathed through the pain.

Five minutes and the pain was still throbbing throughout him.

Ten minutes and nothing had changed.

Fifteen minutes, he was late for dinner but couldn’t get himself to move till the effects kicked in.

Twenty minutes and finally the pain started to subside to a dull throbbing. In another five minutes, it would probably completely disappear.

Hoseok pushed himself off the bed and made his way back to Jin’s room.

It wasn’t until half way through dinner that for the first time that day, Hoseok felt no pain.

Chapter Text

It had been a weird few days for Jungkook. Although weird might not be the right word. More like eventful.

The night after getting the shit beat out of him, Jungkook woke up still in the train. Looking out the door however, he found that the train had moved and now was stopped in front of a run-down train station.

Jungkook’s sides hurt from the previous night, and his face was throbbing. Genteelly touching his face, Jungkook found that it had started to swell.

Jungkook didn’t want to move, because moving caused his body to ache, but he was curious.

Curiosity won out over the ache in his side, and Jungkook stepped off the train onto the station’s rotting platform.

Jungkook looked up at the station, then looked around to see where he now was. The platform seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, only surrounded by trees, with not a soul in sight.

The sound of the train starting to move again grabbed his attention. Jungkook watched it leave, unsure of whether he should be worried that he was now who knows where with nothing on him and no way to find out.

Jungkook looked around again, hoping to see anyone who might be able to help him, but no one was there. He tried the door of the train station only to find it locked.

Catching his reflection in the dusty station’s window, Jungkook found that his right eye was indeed swollen and there was a cut over his cheek.

Maybe I should just wait here for someone to show up and ask them where the hell I am, Jungkook thought. But then again, who knows if anyone will actually show up. It didn’t look like this train station had been in use for years. It was a wonder that the train decided to stop here.

Jungkook looked around again, and this time saw a worn dirt path leading from the train station.

Might as well, he thought as he stepped off the platform and stated to walk along the path.

He limped slightly as he walked, following the dirt path on the bright spring day. The path led him into a grove of trees, then started to diverge.

Jungkook started following the one on of the right and ended up in a clearing, where he found statue of an angle with its wings broken off.

Creepy, Jungkook thought, looking at the statue. It almost seemed like the statue’s eyes were following him.

Jungkook looked around and saw no other path out of the clearing so he backtracked to the split and took the other path, following it until he came out of the trees and emerged in front of motel.

Good, Jungkook thought, maybe I can find help inside.

He slowly made his way towards the motel, noticing the lit ‘No Vacancy’ sign. He wasn’t sure which door he should knock on, but hearing voices coming from one of the rooms he decided to go toward that one.

The scene that greeted him in that room was not a pleasant one. It was obviously a bad time for him to have shown up, yet one of the boys still took him to another room and tried to look after him as best he could.

It wasn’t until later that day that he met Jin and had been given a key to a room after Jin had properly taken care of his injuries.

“Sorry you had to witness that,” Jin said while patching him up. “You didn’t come at the best time.”

“Sorry,” Jungkook apologised.

“No, don’t apologize,” Jin told him, “Things aren’t usually that hectic, I promise.”

Jin took a step back and admired his work. “Okay, all done. How are you feeling?”

Gingerly Jungkook touched his eye to find that the swelling had gone down a bit. He touched his side to find that he hurt a little less than a few hours ago.

“Still not great,” Jungkook told Jin, “but a lot better than before. Thank you.”

Everyone was on edge the first few days he was there, but he didn’t meet the cause of that tension till a few days later, when Jimin and another boy came running into Jin’s room starting a pillow fight.

After the fight, Jungkook was amazed. It was like the tension had melted off everyone and everyone was breathing a bit easier.

“J-Hope,” the boy introduced himself to Jungkook over dinner that night. “Nice to meet you.”

“Jungkook. Nice to meet you too!”

“How has your stay been so far?”

“Good.”

The conversation progressed to some other topic, but never once turned to where he came from or why he was there. In the short time he had been there, no one once asked about his past.

Not that Jungkook had much to hide. He wasn’t hiding. But he enjoyed not being compared to anyone, or asked what he was doing with his life. He enjoyed how even though he had only been there for four days, he felt cared for and included.

It was the day after the pillow fight and Jungkook was still pulling feathers out of his hair. It was a cloudy day, but Jungkook decided he wanted to explore what was nearby. He had spent the past few days cooped up around the motel because of rain and he needed to stretch his legs.

The town behind the motel consisted of two rows of buildings and was completely empty.

Jungkook walked through the town looking at the run-down buildings. There were buildings like the laundromat, and a music shop, which looked like people still used them. Then there were other buildings that looked like no one had entered them in in a long time.

A sign announcing an arcade caught Jungkook’s eye. He approached the building and was surprised to find the door unlocked.

Stepping inside, he found rows of dusty arcade games.

Jungkook fumbled around for a light switch and when he finally found one and flicked it on, all the consoles came to life. The previously quiet shop filled with flashing lights and cheesy music.

Jungkook walked around, looking at the games. He would have to come back here, Jungkook told himself. Maybe bring some of the other boys with him.

Jungkook exited the arcade. He turned off the lights as he left, plunging the shop back into silence and darkness.

The town stopped and gave way to a forest with a simple path leading into it. Jungkook followed that path through the forest, the wind rustling the trees around him.

As he walked, Jungkook started to wonder whether his family had started looking for him. Now that he had lost his phone he really had no way to tell. He wondered if they were at least a bit worried, or if they had even noticed.

Jungkook thought back to the time when he had dyed his hair bright red. His parents hadn’t noticed till weeks later. He wondered if they were even home, or on another one of their ‘business trips’.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Jungkook told himself as he walked, “You’re here now and won’t have to deal with them again.”

Jungkook continued walking, trying to push thoughts of his past aside.

The trees started to thin, and the path opened to reveal a clearing with a broken-down swing carousel.

Jungkook stared up at it, cocking his head wondering why something like this would be in the middle of a forest.

Slowly Jungkook made his way toward one of the rusty swings, tugging on its chain to make sure it would hold. Seeing that the chain didn’t break, Jungkook slowly lowered himself on to the swing, and gently rocked himself back and forth.

The swing brought back a childhood memory of walking to the park alone, and rocking himself on the swings much like he was doing now.

“But I’m bigger now,” Jungkook said to himself. “I don’t need anyone to push me anymore.”

Jungkook pushed off the ground more forcefully, swinging himself higher and higher. He tilted his head back and looked to the sky. The wind had blown a small parting in the clouds, and the sun shone on his face.

Jungkook let out a small laugh as he vaulted himself off the swings, and for a moment he felt like he was flying.

As a child, he dreamt of growing wings and flying away. He spent weeks leaping off furniture pretending he could fly before he got scolded and stopped.

For a moment Jungkook felt like a child again. Then his feet touched the ground and the moment ended.

Jungkook took one last look at the carousel, making another mental note to come back to this place. Then Jungkook re-entered the forest and continued walking.

He walked until the trees opened up and he came upon a small cemetery.

The cemetery’s gate was open, so Jungkook walked through, reading the names on the tomb stones as he passed. There weren’t many, but Jungkook noticed that some tombstones looked ancient, while others looked somewhat newer.

One name specifically caught his eye as he passed, causing him to stop and stare.

The stone was one of the newer-looking ones. The name etched across the front read, ‘Kim Seokjin.’

Kim Seokjin.

Was this person somehow connected to Jin hyung? That question bounced around Jungkook’s mind. He had never been told Jin’s full name. Was Jin even his full name? Was this the reason why Jin was at the motel? Did losing this person lead him there?

Maybe he was just over reacting. Maybe this person and Jin hyung were completely unrelated. But Jungkook had this strange gut feeling that the name was important.

The questions pooled around Jungkook’s head. He had to force himself to move on or he would have spent the whole day standing there questioning.

Maybe he would ask Jin about it later. Or maybe not. Maybe it was best not to pry into the past.

Jungkook finished reading the names on the rest of the tomb stones, then went to explore the little house adjacent to the cemetery.

The house was partially burnt down, but the structure was still stable enough for Jungkook to explore inside.

Wildlife had begun to growing within the house. The fire must have been contained to only certain parts of the house, because most of the downstairs remained relatively intact.

A thick layer of dust covered the furniture that did survive the blaze. In one room, Jungkook found an old brown piano sitting in the corner, half burnt.

Jungkook tried to imagine the family that used to live there. He imagined a father who tended to the graveyard next door, and a mother taking care of their only kid. He imagined the kid sitting beside his mother as she taught them how to play. He thought about his own family, and how he never got that. He couldn’t pull up a memory of his parents ever spending the time to teach him anything.

The burnt house and his imagined life for the family was suddenly too much for Jungkook. He looked around one last time, hoping that wherever they were, the family was happy, then quickly left the house.

Jungkook started heading back toward the motel, but when he came through the forest to the edge of town, he heard soft piano music coming from one of the buildings.

Following the melodic sound, Jungkook found himself standing in front of a small music shop. The door was covered in cardboard, but through the grimy front window Jungkook could see Suga inside playing.

At the end of the song, Jungkook instinctively started to clap causing Suga to whip around on his piano bench.

Seeing that it was him, Suga hesitated for a moment, then motioned for him to come in.

“That was amazing, Hyung,” Jungkook said while stepping inside the shop.

“Thanks,” Suga said, “but it’s missing lyrics.”

“Is this what you do with your days?”

Suga nodded, turning himself to face the piano. He played a sad, short riff on the piano. “I come here most days.”

“That’s pretty Hyung,” Jungkook said after listening. “Did you write that?”

“I did,” Suga said, playing something else. “You’re actually the first one who has heard any of this.”

Jungkook thought back to something Jin had said to him yesterday. “Actually, I think they can hear your music from back at the motel.”

The music stopped suddenly. “What?”

“Ummm, yesterday Jin hyung was telling me that if I sometimes could hear piano music it was coming from you.”

“Did he say anything else?” Suga questioned.

“I don’t think so,” answered Jungkook. “I think he enjoys it though.”

Suga mumbled something to himself.

“Sorry, what was that?” Jungkook asked.

Suga sighed, “I didn’t want anyone to hear until it was perfect.”

“It sounds pretty perfect to me,” Jungkook offered. “Plus, Jin and the others aren’t the type to judge.”

“I guess,” Suga said, playing the melody of the song without lyrics again.

Jungkook just kept talking, “This place is like a new beginning. The world is kind of a scary place you know. But I don’t know, this place seems safe. A place to start over. I mean, I haven’t been here long, but I can sense it. You guys are like a family.”

Jungkook could see the gears turning in Suga’s head from what he had just said.

“I’ve never thought about this place like that before,” Suga said while continuing to play, then started to hum the melody of the song.

Suga seemed lost in thought, and Jungkook took that as his cue to leave.

“I’ll let you get back to your songs.” Jungkook said heading towards the door.

“You can stay if you want,” Suga offered, stopping Jungkook mid step. “Just be quiet. I think I’ve finally got lyrics.”

“Okay,” Jungkook said, pulling a nearby stool close to the piano. He watched as Suga started writing down lyrics, then started testing them with the melody.

Jungkook spent the rest of that afternoon listening to Suga play.

Chapter Text

Namjoon was returning to the motel after another long set of late night shifts at the gas station. Spring was slowly turning into summer, allowing him to see the sun as he was walking back to the motel.

The walk was shorter now that he didn’t have to trudge through the snow to get back. For that, Namjoon was grateful.

When Namjoon reached the motel, he did what he always did which was go to Jin hyung’s room to tell him he was back before going to his room to try to sleep.

“I’m back,” Namjoon called as he stepped through Jin’s door. “I’m going to go sleep.”

Jin got up from the table he was sitting at when Namjoon entered. “Do you want to eat?”

“No, I’m good.”

“Here,” Jin said while tossing Namjoon an apple.

“Thanks.” Namjoon put the apple in his pocket.

Namjoon was about to leave, but Jin’s voice caused him to pause for a moment.

“We’re all going to do laundry later if you want to come, or if you’re even up at that time.”

“Thanks for letting me know,” Namjoon said, actually leaving this time. “See you later then.”

Namjoon had walked two steps out of Jin’s room when V’s voice called out behind him.

“Joonie hyung! You’re back!”

“Of course I’m back. I always come back.”

“Are you coming with us to do laundry later? Jin hyung made it seem like a big deal.”

“Honestly, it’s not a big deal. We just go to the laundromat behind the motel and do laundry. It really doesn’t have to be a big outing.”

“Oh, okay.” V started to head back into his room, but Namjoon stopped him before he completely left.

“But I’ll be there,” Namjoon said. “I’m just going to take a quick nap first.”

“Okay then,” V said, “I’ll see you later then.”

Namjoon made the rest of the walk back to his room without being stopped again.

When he got to his room he pulled off his shoes and his jacket, then flopped down onto his bed, quickly falling asleep.

When Namjoon woke up the clock on his wall told him it was late in the afternoon.

Namjoon slowly got up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Rolling off his bed, Namjoon pulled his jacket on as well as his shoes, and went to go find the others.

Jin’s room was empty when Namjoon went in. Listening, could hear voices coming from the town.

Namjoon slowly made his way back to his room to grab his dirty clothes and went to join the others at the laundromat.

The sun had started to set as he arrived.

V was sitting on the bench in front of the laundromat staring off into the distance, a troubled expression on his face.

“Hey,” Namjoon said as he approached.

V jumped slightly, startled by Namjoon’s appearance. “Hyung, you came.”

“Of course I came. I’ll always come if you ask me.”

A smile started to spread across V’s face.

Through the window Namjoon could see the other boys inside.

“What are you doing out here alone anyway?” Namjoon asked.

V shrugged. “I came out to watch the sunset.”

“You looked deep in thought.”

V shrugged again. “Guess there’s a lot on my mind.”

Namjoon nodded. “I feel that. I’m going to put this in the machine.”

“Okay hyung,” V said, turning back to the sunset, “have fun.”

“Oh yes. All the fun.”

Namjoon walked into the laundromat to a chorus of greetings.

Suga, Jungkook, and J-Hope were squeezed on the bench by the front door. Jimin was sitting on one of the dryers, the white shoes that were normally around his neck now sat beside him. Jin was standing in the middle of the room, watching the spinning clothes as they washed.

Namjoon never could figure out why Jin made such a big deal out of laundry day. There wasn’t really anything special to it. It was just laundry. It was however, one of the few times that Jin left the perimeter of the motel.

“How was your nap?” Jin asked.

“Wonderful,” Namjoon replied while starting to throw his clothes into one of the washing machines.

This place, like everything else around here didn’t take money. One could always find the change they needed in the coin return slot.

Sure enough, when Namjoon when to retrieve the coins there was exactly the amount he needed.

Having put his clothes to wash, Namjoon returned outside to V.

“Mind if I sit with you?” Namjoon asked.

“Go ahead,” V answered shifting slightly to make room for Namjoon on the bench.

Namjoon took a seat and they both stared at the setting sun, watching the sky change colour.

“What were you thinking of?” Namjoon asked.

V hesitated for a moment before answering, “My family.”

Namjoon tried thinking back to his family, trying to draw up some small memory of them, but like always, nothing came to mind.

“Do you think that they are also looking at the sky?” Namjoon wondered.

“No. I know they aren’t.”

The way V said that, Namjoon knew not to press the subject farther. It seemed like they both had their fair share of family problems.

“Well, we’re your new family now.”

“Yeah?”

“Of course. You haven’t been here long, but you’ve already seen how close we are with each other. People come here needing community, and they find it.”

Namjoon gave a sad laugh, thinking about who he used to be. “When I first came, I was lost in life. Jin hyung was there to support me. I mean, I’m still lost. But lost and supported.

“We’ll always be here to support you V,” Namjoon said, resting his head on top of V’s shoulder. V looked at him, then continued to look off into the sunset with a small smile spreading across his face.

Namjoon closed his eyes, feeling the fading rays on his face. He could hear the quiet murmurs of conversation happening inside the laundromat.

Thinking that Namjoon couldn’t hear him, V quietly mumbled, “but what if I don’t deserve another family after what I did to the last one?”

Namjoon took in that comment and lifted his head off V’s shoulder. “This is a place for new beginnings. Whatever happened in your past is your past. We’ll support you anyways.”

V nodded along with what he was saying, a smile playing at the corner of his lips. “Thanks, hyung.”

Namjoon placed his head back on V’s shoulder, and they sat there for a while, staring at the sun set.

At the sound of the laundromat door opening, Namjoon lifted his head and saw all the boys pile out of the building with bags of laundry in their hands.

Jungkook was holding two bags and handed one of them to V.

“We threw your stuff in the dryer in the dryer,” Jin said, “We can come back for it later. Ready to go?”

“Yes, let’s go,” V said standing up, then offered a hand and pulled Namjoon off the bench.

They started making their way back toward the motel, when about half way back Suga stopped in his tracks and turned to Namjoon, saying, “I forgot my jacket at the laundromat.”

“Then go and get it,” Namjoon said.

“But it’s so far,” Suga whined. “Can you go get it for me? Please?”

“It’s right there. Go get it yourself.”

“Please Joonie,” Suga pleaded.

“No.”

“Please?”

“Ugh fine,” Namjoon relented.

“Wow,” J-Hope commented. “That actually worked.”

“Thanks.” Suga smirked and continued to walk back to the motel.

Namjoon rolled his eyes as he walked back to the laundromat. Inside he looked around, and couldn’t find the jacket that Suga was talking about.

Maybe he just thought he had a jacket when he actually didn’t, Namjoon thought. Ugh he made me walk back here for nothing.

Namjoon took one last quick look around. Not finding any jackets, he left to meet back with the others. Suga could find his own jacket.

Walking back, he noticed that the others had already gone back without him.

Namjoon made the trip back alone in silence.

When he arrived at Jin’s room he found a crown placed in front of the door with a note saying, “Please put on.”

Namjoon frowned at the crown for a moment, the placed it on his head and cautiously stepped into Jin’s room. He narrowed his eyes in confusion at the scene in front of him.

As soon as he pulled open the door, everyone inside yelled out, “Happy birthday!” then started throwing stuff at him.

J-Hope and V had a can of silly string in each hand, and were covering Namjoon in the stuff. Jimin, Jungkook, and Jin had bags of confetti that they unleashed upon him. In one of Jin’s hands was a video camera which he was using to record the whole thing. Suga also had a bag of confetti, but was laughing too hard to properly throw it.

Suga made a move toward the cake but Jin’s voice stopped him, saying, “If you destroy that cake you’re making a new one.”

“I wasn’t going to throw it at him,” Suga defended himself. “I was just going to bring it forward and present it to him.”

Jin rolled his eyes. “Oh okay. So, when you earlier said, ‘I’m going to throw a cake at him,’ you didn’t mean this cake. The only cake we have. You meant another totally different imaginary cake.”

Jimin piped up from where he was standing, still throwing handfuls of confetti at Namjoon even though everyone had stopped. “You totally were going to throw that cake.”

“Fine,” Suga said, throwing his hands up. “Someone else present the cake.”

Jin went to pick up the cake as Jimin pushed Namjoon to the couch and made him sit in the middle then took a seat beside him.

“I’ll light the candles,” Suga offered.

Jin just gave him a look and Suga backed down.

“You’re not letting me do any of the fun things today,” Suga complained as he laid down along the back of the couch.

“Here,” Jin said, tossing Jungkook a box of matches, then holding the cake in front of him. “Can you light it?”

“Sure,” Jungkook said, striking a match and lighting the candles on the cake. Jungkook had a tendency to stay quiet and watch what was going around him instead of participating, but Namjoon noticed how Jin always tried to pull him in.

Carrying the cake towards Namjoon they all started to sing ‘Happy Birthday’.

During the song Namjoon wondered how they knew about his birthday when even he forgot that it was today. He vaguely remembered talking to Jin about birthdays once. Did Jin hyung really remember his birthday from that?

At the end of the song Namjoon blew out the candles, making the wish he always did whenever his birthday came around.

Here’s hoping for better days, Namjoon wished before blowing out the candles to a chorus of clapping.

“Thanks everyone,” Namjoon said once the candles were blown out. “It was a nice surprise.”

“And now it’s cake time!” V exclaimed.

“Isn’t dessert supposed to come after the meal?” Suga questioned from his spot on the couch.

“There’s never a wrong time for cake,” V said excitedly as Jin started to cut the cake.

“I did also make proper food,” Jin said. “It’s on the table in case anyone cares.”

Jin served the cake, and everyone broke off into smaller groups. Suga started acting as DJ, playing music through an old stereo set.

J-Hope and Jimin started to having a dance battle, which mostly consisted of who could do the best body rolls.

V and Jungkook watched from the side giggling, then started to join in.

Jin had that wistful smile on his face as he got his video camera and filmed the whole thing.

Namjoon got up from his place on the couch and tried to shake off most of the confetti and the silly string. He went to go grab some food and a piece of cake, then returned to the couch.

There Namjoon finished his food and the cake while watching the others around the room.

He watched how Jimin, V and Jungkook talked and joked with each other. It had been roughly a month since Jungkook had shown up. Two months since V came.

Namjoon was glad that the younger boys had each other. He was glad Jimin had someone closer to his age to befriend. Namjoon could see the good the boys did for each other.

The three boys had started arguing about which of them was the strongest, leading them to an arm wrestling contest.

Namjoon watched as Jin watched the others while silently nodding on to whatever story Hobi was telling him. Since the overdose, Jin had been watching Hobi especially closely.

Noticing Namjoon looking at him, Jin cocked his head to the side as if to ask if he was okay.

Namjoon gave a slight nod with a grateful smile, and Jin returned his attention back to Hobi who was getting more and more animated while telling his story.

“So, twenty-three,” Suga said, plopping himself onto the couch beside Namjoon, two cups in hand. “Wow Joonie, you’re old now.”

“Wow thanks hyung,” Namjoon laughed. “Aren’t you a year older than me?”

“Doesn’t change the fact that you’re old now.”

“We’re both old.”

Suga handed Namjoon one of the cups he was holding. “To another good year.”

“Hoping for more good days,” Namjoon said, taking the cup and tapping it against Suga’s.

Chapter Text

Taehyung was drowning. He was surrounded by water, unsure of where he was. He spun around trying to get his bearings, to no avail.

It was dark under the water. He could only see about a foot in front of him. Starting to panic, he spun around again trying to find a way out. Seeing a source of light, he started to swim towards it, hoping he was swimming to the surface.

The light got closer, then closer, and finally Taehyung broke through the water’s surface.

When Taehyung broke the surface, he found himself standing on solid ground, dripping wet. Looking down he saw himself not wet from water, but from blood. Blood covered his shirt and hands.

In his hands was an empty beer bottle. Surprised by its appearance, he quickly dropped it, stepping back from where it had fallen.

Shaking, Taehyung tried to wipe away the blood from his hands, but it wouldn’t come off. More frantically, he began rubbing his hands on his shirt and pants. He could feel a sob rising in his throat.

Then, Taehyung woke up.

Taehyung jolted up in his bed. It took him a moment to regain his bearings. His panic settled a bit when he remembered where he was.

Taehyung tried closing his eyes, but when he did, the images of the nightmare came back. He could still feel the blood on his hands.

Taehyung kicked off his covers and started pacing his room, dragging his hands across his face and through his hair. His heart was beating fast. His breathing was ragged.

His room suddenly felt suffocating, so Taehyung did what he always did when he felt the walls of his world closing in. He left.

Pulling on his shoes Taehyung left his room, stepping into the warm summer morning. He didn’t know where he was going, he just let his feet carry him off to somewhere.

His hands we shaking slightly, so he put them in his pockets to force them to stop.

It had been a while since he had a dream like that. He was mostly sleeping through the night now, which had done wonders for his mental state.

Where did this dream come from, Taehyung wondered. Things had been going so well. Was it too much to hope that everything would stay okay?

He walked through the empty town, looking at the buildings to distract him from his thoughts.

Taehyung kept walking until he entered the forest just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. The forest was still dark when Taehyung crossed into it, but the rising sun slowly started to light his path.

Taehyung walked until the sun was fully overhead, filtering through the leaves. Taehyung kept walking pushing his memories away.

The forest eventually opened up to reveal a clearing with a large empty swimming pool.

In the middle of the empty pool was an old mattress, worn out and torn. Off to one side was a set of ratty couches arranged in a semi-circle around what appeared to be a fire pit.

Taehyung walked to the edge of the pool, taking in the strangeness of the swimming pool in the middle of nowhere. Then he jumped down to the pool’s concrete floor. Walking up to the mattress in the middle of the pool, he flopped down on to it.

The sun had now fully risen and was shining upon his face. The August heat was humid and heavy around him.

Taehyung used his hands to cover his eyes, then rolled over to block the sun with his back.

Taehyung focused on his breathing.

In, and out.

In, and out.

In, push down the memories, and out.

Every time a memory surfaced, he imagined it as a piece of paper that he crumpled and threw away.

In, and out.

Taehyung must have fallen asleep, because he awoke to the sound of a voice.

“V?” the voice asked.

Taehyung opened his eyes to find Jin hyung standing in front of him.

“Are you okay?” Jin asked, kneeling down in front of him, dripping with concern.

“I’m okay. I’m always okay. Couldn’t be better.”

Jin looked at V skeptically. “Why are you out here then?”

“I just…” Taehyung sat up and looked up at Jin. The concern on Jin’s face stopped whatever lie Taehyung was forming. “I needed to walk before my memories caught up to me.”

Jin nodded, understanding what Taehyung meant.

“Would you like to be alone?” Jin asked.

“No,” Taehyung said quickly. He didn’t know when, but sometime during his stay here, he had started relying on the others’ company to get him through the hard times.

“You sure? Because the others might be on their way. Jimin wanted to explore, and got all of us to come with him. I think Jimin was searching for you. But if you want to be alone I can lead them away.”

“I’m sure. I… I don’t want to be alone.”

“Okay,” Jin said. “I’m going to lead the others here then.”

Jin stood up, walked to the edge of the pool, and climbed out.

“I’ll be back,” Jin called out, then disappeared into the forest.

Taehyung went back to laying down on the mattress. He once again threw arm over his eyes to block out the sun, focusing on his breathing.

In, and out.

In, and out.

In, crumple the memories, and out.

He started to drift off again, tired from his early morning, when the sound of footsteps and chatter filled the quiet clearing.

Taehyung heard the sound of people jumping down into the empty swimming pool, and the sound of approaching footsteps. Then a shadow came across his face.

Taehyung uncovered his eyes to find Rap Mon leaning over.

“What are you doing?” Rap Mon asked offering Taehyung a hand up.

Taehyung shrugged while taking Rap Mon’s hand and got pulled up from the mattress.

“Wait,” Jungkook said, pointing. “Jin hyung?”

They all looked where Jungkook was pointing, and sure enough there was Jin filming the whole thing.

“Where did you go?” called Jimin.

“I forgot my camera,” Jin lied while carefully jumping over the edge of the pool to join the others.

“You could have told us,” said Jimin, “We would have waited.”

“Nah, it’s all good. I caught up eventually.”

“Hey hyung,” Taehyung greeted Jin like it was the first time that he had seen him that day.

“Hey V,” Jin replied, “What’s up?”

“Oh, you know the usual. Trying to take a nap before these idiots showed up.”

Jungkook stuck his tongue out at Taehyung, and Taehyung stuck his tongue out and gave Jungkook a push.

“Mature,” Suga commented, taking a seat on the mattress that Taehyung had just vacated.

Jimin looked around. “I didn’t know this place existed.”

“Me neither,” Jin said, “But new things always seem to be popping up around here.”

Jungkook was looking around, eyes wide. “Why would anyone build this here anyway?”

“Well who builds a motel in the middle of nowhere?” Suga said still laying on the mattress. “Especially since there are no roads that actually lead to it.”

They all looked at Jin as if expecting him to answer. It was his motel anyway.

Jin just shrugged. “I’m as confused as you are.”

Before they could ask more questions, Jin pulled out his video camera and pointed it towards the group.

“Smile for the camera.”

They spent the rest of the morning trying to one-up each other for the camera. This led to Suga almost crashing into a wall as Jungkook pushed him in a shopping cart they found somewhere in the forest.

That put an end to the contest.

The afternoon was spent exploring the forest around the abandoned pool and just laying around.

Taehyung somehow found a bag of spray paint and, and started to draw stick figure versions of all of them. Then he started tracing people’s outlines and colouring inside of them.

The whole time, Jin could either be found filming the whole thing, or taking pictures with his pink camera.

When the sun started setting, Jin and Suga gathered wood and started a fire in the fire pit.

“Here,” Jin said, offering Suga a silver lighter.

“Is that my lighter that you took from me last year?” Suga asked, taking it.

“Yes. But I swear, if you start burning things again I’ll take it back and keep it.”

“I promise I won’t light random things on fire anymore.” Suga said while clicking the lighter and letting a tiny flame burst into life.

They had built a fire, and they were now all sitting around it. Jin had with him a bag of pretzels they were all passing about, as well as the different pictures Jin had taken throughout the day with his Polaroid.

As they were looking at the pictures Jin was rubbing his temples with a pained expression on his face as he gazed into the fire.

“You okay, hyung?” Taehyung asked.

“Yes,” Jin said quickly, removing his hands from his temples. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“No, just making sure.”

Jin nodded and returned his gaze to the fire.

The others were flipping through the pictures, commenting on what they did that day.

“Where’s this picture from?” Jimin asked holding up a photo for Jin to see.

Jin looked up. “Oh, that was from a few years back. It must have been in my pocket from before.”

“We should all visit here someday.” Jimin said, staring at the picture.

“We should,” added Rap Mon, peering over Jimin’s shoulder.

Jimin showed the picture to the others, “What do you think? Should we go here?”

The others nodded, and started talking about what they would do if they could visit.

Taehyung noticed Jin not participating in the conversation, instead staring into the fire. Taehyung could see the cogs turning in his head.

“If we all go on a trip together,” Rap Mon said, “you all should know my real name.”

“You mean Rap Monster isn’t your real name?” Suga joked.

“Believe it or not, no. It’s Namjoon.”

“That’s where Joonie comes from!” Jimin exclaimed.

That made Namjoon and Jin laugh as they shared a look.

“Wait,” Jungkook said staring at Jin, “So, you knew.”

Jin nodded.

“Well then,” J-hope said, turning to Namjoon, “if we’re sharing. Hello Namjoon, my name is Hoseok.”

Hoseok stuck out his hand and Namjoon shook it, laughing.

“Wow, nice to meet you too.”

“Yoongi,” Suga said simply.

Taehyung could feel the others wait expectantly for him to reveal his name.

On one hand, he did want to tell them. But at the same time, it was a link to his past.

The last few months had been great. It was like he no longer had to be himself. But maybe it was time for him to stop running from his past. But what if giving his name broke whatever spell of happiness that was going on?

Taehyung could feel the others’ eyes on him, but he couldn’t get himself to speak.

Seeing Taehyung struggle, Jin turned to Yoongi and asked, “So why Suga?”

“What do you mean why Suga?” Yoongi asked, and everyone’s attention shifted from Taehyung to Jin.

“Well, I’ve gotten some explanation for why Joonie choose to be called Rap Monster, and why J-Hope chose that name. So why Suga.”

Suga shrugged, “It sounded cool I guess.”

“It’s cause you’re sweet like sugar,” Jimin joked.

“Sure,” Yoongi laughed. “It’s what I want to call myself once I start producing music.”

“I look forward to the day I hear more about the brilliant producer Suga,” Jin said.

The night continued passed with teasing and laughter.

When looking around the circle, Taehyung felt an overwhelming sense of love for all the boys there, and that feeling scared him.

Taehyung was waiting for the moment when it would all fall apart like everything else had.

The same thoughts kept popping up in his head, telling him he didn’t deserve the happiness he was feeling. Not after what he did.

Taehyung did his best to push that thought down, to bury it along with his memories, but it always found a way to resurface in the moments when he was feeling happiest.

Taehyung once again forced the thoughts down, focusing on whatever was being said in the circle. Everything would eventually fall apart, so he had to make the most out of the time when everything was okay.

This would be a day that Taehyung remembered. Even when it all fell apart. He would remember the breathless joy of the day as they ran through the forest. He would remember the warmth of the fire, and the joy he felt sitting there.

Maybe he would tell them his name. He scolded himself for being hesitant, but he still couldn’t speak. Maybe another time.

These were his thoughts as he listened to the dying conversation as everyone started drifting to sleep.

Taehyung laid on his back, looking up at the stars knowing that he wouldn’t dream tonight.

Closing his eyes, Taehyung fell asleep happy.

Chapter Text

Jin stayed up as everyone else drifted off to sleep around him. He watched as their tired eyes slowly started to close, and their breathing slowed. It wasn’t like Jin would be able to sleep out here anyway.

Jin watched as the last bit of wood burned up in the fire leaving only embers.

He waited until everyone was asleep before he slowly detangled himself from J-Hope who was curled up against him, resting his head on Jin’s shoulder. Slowly, Jin got up from the couch, and quietly climbed out of the swimming pool.

Jin looked back one last time to made sure they all were asleep, then began trekking through the forest.

He wasn’t heading back to the motel however.

No, he had a plan and he’d be dammed if he didn’t make it happen.

Earlier that day Jimin had asked them all to go exploring with him. Lately Jimin had been finding it hard to stay still.

Jimin had started to smile more. Jin had stopped seeing that sad smile that Jimin use to give when he pretended everything was alright even though his whole world had fallen apart. That sad smile was slowly being replaced by one of joy, especially when he was around the others.

The other boys all agreed to Jimin’s pestering of going exploring. Normally he would take V, but V seemed to have disappeared.

Jin was worried about V, but he figured V just needed some space. Plus, Jin could tell that V was still close by. There was no sinking feeling in his gut, which he had come to know as a warning that someone was leaving.

He had only gotten that sinking feeling once before, but he tried not to think about that. He wouldn’t let himself think about that.

Normally Jin would stay back, not being able to stray far from the motel before the world started spinning. Something in him, however, was telling him to go. Maybe it was his own selfish desire to get out, or something else, but that morning Jin decided to go.

The group made their way through the forest, Jungkook leading wanting to show them a carousel he found the other day when he was exploring.

“It’s so far,” Yoongi complained. “How much longer?”

“We just started walking,” Namjoon said.

“But walking is so much effort,” Yoongi said.

“What do you want then?” Hoseok said laughing at Yoongi’s complaints, “Do want us to carry you?”

“Well if you insist,” Yoongi said, jumping onto Hoseok’s back.

“Oof,” Hoseok stumbled at Yoongi’s unexpected weight. “Some warning next time, maybe?”

“You offered,” Yoongi said, clinging onto Hoseok.

“No I didn’t.” Hoseok sighed, then started to run as if trying to bounce Yoongi off his back.

Laughing, Jungkook ran after them, calling out that he could probably carry Yoongi for a lot longer than Hoseok.

Namjoon and Jimin started to pick up their pace to catch up with the others.

Jin was about to run after them when he felt called to another path. At first, he ignored the feeling, but it kept tugging at him.

The others had raced ahead, not noticing that Jin had started to fall behind. Taking one last look at the others, Jin walked off the path, and followed the tugging feeling.

The feeling led him to an abandoned swimming pool where he had found V.

Jin jumped down to the concrete floor of the swimming pool, and approached V.

“V?” Jin asked cautiously.

When V opened his eyes, Jin could see his tiredness. It must have been a rough night for him, Jin thought.

Their conversation was brief, and ended with Jin saying he would bring the others. The others were on their way anyway, so he didn’t actually have to bring them. Jin just wanted to make sure that V was okay with the idea that others were coming.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of fun and laughter.

Jin had tried to film as much of it as he could. He had tried to take as many pictures as the others would allow. That was the way he would store memories, knowing someday in the future he would desperately need them. He would need to remember happier times.

All through the day, the dull throb of a headache constantly reminded Jin of where he had to return to.

It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t the world spinning, body aching pains that he had experienced before. But the headache grew as he walked away from the motel, and stayed until he quietly crept out of pool, and back into the forest.

This always happened when he wandered too far from the motel for too long. There was a tether to the place where he was bound.

Jin brought himself out of his thoughts as he approached his destination. He had made it to the clearing with the angel statue.

“You know why I’m here,” Jin said to the statue. “You know what I’m going to ask for.”

There was no answer, so Jin kept going.

“Three days. That’s all I need. I need you to let me leave for three days, and I swear I will come back at the end of it. Just please grant me that.”

Why should we? The thought popped into Jin’s head that was not his own What good will it do?

“It’ll be good for the others. You can see how they are already starting to change by just being with each other. This can help them. This could bring us all closer.”

Is this truly for them? Or is it not your selfish desires that have brought you here to beg for time?

“Of course it is for them! Everything I’ve done is for them! And yes, maybe this is also a little bit for me, but that doesn’t change the fact that this would help them.

“You must have heard them tonight. Longing for adventure, but still too lost in their past to go find it. Yes, I long to see the world, but I’ve accepted my fate. They shared their names tonight. This could bring them together, and help them all move on.”

There was silence in Jin’s head for a moment, then the voice returned.

What are you willing to give in return?

“Have I not given enough already? You already own my life! What else could I give?”

What are you willing to give in return? Would you still be willing to ask for time if you knew that once you come back, they will all start to leave?

The thought made Jin pause. But in the end, although it broken his heart, Jin let out a quiet “Yes.”

Two days. 48 hours from the moment you leave.

Then the voice was silent. Jin waited for the voice to come back. To tell him more. But Jin’s thoughts stayed his own.

Jin left the clearing, heading back for the motel. There was much he needed to do before they left.

If these were going to be his only two days of freedom, he would make them count.

Chapter Text

Jimin woke up to the sun shining onto his face, directly into his eyes.

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Jimin uncurled himself from the ball he had slept in.

Like always, the first thing he did when he got up was to check that the white shoes were still beside him.

Jimin panicked for a moment when his hands didn’t immediately come into contact with the shoes, but he quickly located them by his feet, and placed them back around his neck.

Jimin relaxed with the familiar weight back around his neck. He took a moment to say a silent good morning up to the heavens for his brother, which was who the white shoes belonged to.

Completing his normal morning rituals, Jimin gazed around, looking at the still sleeping boys around him.

Looking at them all, Jimin had realised that these boys had become his new family. They filled the hole in his heart after his brother had died. They didn’t replace him, no they could never do that. But he found comfort in them all. Comfort that he had so desperately needed.

Jimin remembered back to when he has first arrived at the motel. He was drowning in his sadness, lost to how to go on.

However, no matter how heavy his grief was, Jimin wouldn’t let himself cry. He needed to be strong for his parents.

It wasn’t until he had come to the motel that Jimin let himself grieve. Tears started to fall as soon as the door to his room closed.

Jimin had locked himself in his room during his first few weeks, and Jin constantly had to force him out.

After his brother’s death, Jimin has sworn off getting attached, but look at him now. Looking around at the circle of sleeping boys, Jimin didn’t know what he would do if anything happened to any of them.

While looking around, Jimin noticed that Jin was missing from the circle.

Jimin worried about Jin. Jin was always there when you needed him, but when he thought that no one was looking, there was always a sad glint in his eyes. A longing for something that Jimin couldn’t figure out.

The others had started to rouse from sleep, the sun finally causing them to awake.

“Why is the sun so bright,” Yoongi complained, as he tried to roll over to stop the sun from shining on his face.

“Well you see,” Namjoon said, rolling off the couch he was sleeping on, and right onto the ground. “When the night end, this thing called the sun rises because on the rotation of the earth, and that signals that the night has ended and the say has begun.”

“Stop.” Yoongi said his face buried into the couch in efforts to block out the sun. “It’s too early for you to be a smart ass.”

“It’s never too early for me to be a smart ass.” Namjoon retaliated.

“Where’s Jin hyung?” Hoseok asked rubbing the tension out of his shoulders.

The others looked around, finally noticing their missing member.

It was Jimin who answered Hoseok’s question saying, “He wasn’t here when I woke up. He’s probably back at the motel.”

Namjoon got up off the ground and brushing off himself. “Shall we go back then?”

V walked over to the last sleeping boy and gently poked him, “Jungkook is still sleeping.”

“It’s a wonder he can sleep through all your noise,” Yoongi said, finally uncovering his face from the couch, and squinting at the still sleeping boy, “I envy his ability to sleep.”

Namjoon walked over and stood right in front of Yoongi, blocking the sun from his face, “But then we wouldn’t get to have such pleasant early morning conversations.”

“Conversations that would be just as good later in the day.”

In the meantime, V was trying to wake up Jungkook with Hoseok’s help.

“Jungkookie,” V whispered into the sleeping boy’s ear, “It’s time to wake up now. Come on Jungkookie. Sleepy time is over now.”

Hoseok was trying to tickle Jungkook awake, but both were unsuccessful in rousing him.

Yoongi walked over to the sleeping boy yelling, “Wake up Jungkook!” right into Jungkook’s ear, but that also didn’t wake him. “Well, I tried.”

Namjoon thought for a moment, then simply pushed Jungkook off the couch where he slept.

“What the hell,” Jungkook said, finally being successfully woken up. His eyes were wide as he looked around, trying to figure out why he was surrounded and on the floor.

“You weren’t waking up,” Yoongi explained. “We woke you up. Now let’s go back to the motel and hopefully find Jin.”

“That wasn’t very nice Joonie,” Jimin said offering a hand up to Jungkook.

The group made their way back to motel. The walk back seemed much shorter than the walk there. Or maybe it was faster because they weren’t constantly stopping.

When they got back to the motel, Jimin noticed as Hoseok quietly slipped into his own room as the rest of them entered Jin’s room.

“Good morning all,” Jin said happily as they all sat around the table.

There was a chorus of good mornings as they all dug into their food.

“So, Jin hyung,” Namjoon said between bites of food, “Where did you go?”

“I had to sort out something,” Jin replied. “Eat fast, we’re leaving in an hour.”

“Leaving?” Hoseok said while entering the room. “Leaving where?”

“Yesterday you all said you wanted to visit the coast,” Jin explained, “So let’s go.”

“Really?” Jungkook asked excitedly.

“Really. Unless anyone has an objection.”

None of them did. Instead they started talking excitedly about the trip, and started eating as fast as they could.

Jimin was excited for the trip. When he was younger, Jimin once visited the shore with his family. That was a long time ago, and the memories were fuzzy. Maybe it was time to make new memories with a new family.

They all finished eating, and within the hour they were packed and were all following Jin through the forest.

They stopped walking when they came to an old black pickup truck that sat parked at the edge of the forest, and quickly all piled in.

Jin slipped into the driver’s seat as the rest of them fought for seats in the back.

“Shot gun!” Namjoon yelled, quickly climbing into the seat beside Jin’s.

Jimin, along with Jungkook and V ended up sitting the trunk, although they didn’t mind. Especially when they started moving, and they could feel the wind in their hair as Jin drove.

They drove all morning, only stopping once to grab a quick lunch before hitting the road once more.

It was late afternoon when they finally reached the coast.

The boys started getting more and more rowdy as they watched the sea speed by.

Jin eventually pulled the car along some stretch of empty beach, and parked.

Even before the car was fully stopped the boys jumped out of the car, energy bursting out of them from being cooped up in a car all day.

Jimin ran towards the sea, trailing behind Jungkook and V, echoing their shouts of excitement.

Jimin was surprised to find no other soul in sight, a strange thing for mid-august day. Not that he was complaining.

The afternoon was spent playing along the shore. They raced along the water’s edge, daring each other to jump into the frigid ocean. Namjoon tried to catch crabs, but only managed to get his finger snapped. Jungkook terrorized all of them trying to put sand down their back, and successfully managed to get Jin.

All throughout the morning, Jimin felt himself laughing fully and wholeheartedly. The sensation was strange to him. For the first time in a while he felt like a weight was lifted from his soul.

Laughter still flushed his cheeks as Jin gathered them all around the truck to take a picture. The sun was setting and they all had been staring out at the horizon lost in thought before Jin interrupted them to take a picture.

“Hyung,” Hoseok protested, “But you won’t be in it.”

“I don’t have to be in it,” Jin said, bringing his Polaroid up to his eyes. “Now smile.”

They all struck a pose, and Jin snapped the picture.

“Perfect,” Jin said looking at the picture, then carefully placing it in his pocket.

“Jin hyung,” Hoseok called out after grabbing Jin video camera from inside the truck. “Now you smile.”

“You know that’s a video camera, right?” Jin laughed.

“I know,” Hoseok said, moving closer toward Jin with the camera open, “doesn’t mean you can’t smile.”

Jin smiled and waved at the camera before holding out his hand for it, “Pass me the camera.”

“You’ll just turn it on all of us,” Hoseok said, dancing away from Jin reach. “You need some memories of yourself. Hey!”

Jungkook plucked the camera out of Hoseok’s hand, and ran away with it laughing, but still filming them.

“If you want it back you’ll need to catch me!”

“Come me you brat!” said Hoseok chasing after the younger boy.

Jin snapped a picture of the chase, a sad smile on his lips.

Jimin look at the older boy with concern, “You okay hyung?”

“Of course Jiminie, never better.”

Chapter Text

It was almost fully dark when the boys dropped into a booth in some late-night diner along the winding sea side road.

Jungkook was wearing a towel like a cape. He was still wet from when Hoseok finally got the video camera out of his hands, then proceeded to push him into the ocean.

“Take a seat,” Jin said, as they entered the diner. “I’ll go order, what do you all want?”

They all shout what they wanted, and it was a wonder that Jin was able to understand it all. Jungkook was fully prepared to have to repeat his order, but Jin simply nodded and went up to the front to place their order.

“I’ll come help,” Jungkook offered, getting up and following Jin up to the front.

Jin relayed their order to the cashier with surprising accuracy.

“Wow hyung,” Jungkook said, “Your memory is scary good.”

Jin laughed, “Only when it comes to food and you guys.”

The look in Jin’s eyes was a mix of love and sadness when he looked over at the boy currently seated one of the diner’s booth. They were laughing at Namjoon as he somehow managed to break the napkin dispenser that sat at their table.

“You know Jin hyung, you help us carry all of our burdens. You shouldn’t be afraid to let us help you carry some of yours.”

Jin’s head snapped back to the boy beside him. “I’m fine Kookie. There’s nothing wrong.”

Jungkook knew Jin was lying, but choose not to call BS, instead saying, “I know. But just, you know, if that time ever does come. You can lean on us too.”

“Thanks Kookie.”

Their food was prepared quickly given that the diner was otherwise deserted. The food was brought over and soon devoured.

“Hobi hyung you must be hungry from trying to catch me all afternoon.” Jungkook teased as they were eating.

“I did catch you.”

“I let you catch me.”

“Brat.” Hoseok said throwing some of his fries at Jungkook.

“Hey!” Namjoon protested, having also gotten pelted by fries by sitting next to Jungkook.

“The tragedy,” V said dramatically, plucking a stray fry that had gotten caught in Jungkook’s shirt then popping it his mouth. “A waste of perfectly good fries.”

“Gross V,” Jimin said pushing his friend slightly.

“Yeah gross,” Jungkook laughed throwing some of the fries that had been thrown at him towards V.

V simply caught one in his mouth and proceeded to eat it.

Jungkook didn’t know how it happened, but as the night wore on, more food was thrown at each other. V somehow ended up standing on their table doing a truly terrible dance, as they all pelted him with their left over food.

Which was how they got kicked out of the diner.

“Good job guys,” Yoongi said walking back towards the truck.

“Yeah good job,” Hoseok teased, pushing V’s shoulder.

V put his hands up in protest, “It wasn’t my fault.”

Hoseok gave him a look.

“Okay,” V mumbled. “Maybe it was a little my fault.”

They all piled back in the truck, and Jin started to drive again.

Jungkook didn’t know where they were going, which normally would cause a bubble of anxiety to build in his chest. This time however, Jungkook felt strangely relaxed.

As they drove, Jimin slowly started drifting off to sleep. His head rested on the truck’s back window. V also drifted to sleep, curled in a ball beside Jungkook, his head resting on Jungkook’s lap.

Jungkook tipped his head back to look at the sky. That feeling he’d gotten back when he felt like he was flying when he was swinging on the carousel was back.

He felt like his heart was going to burst from his chest with happiness. He felt safe and free and like everything was okay in the world.

Jungkook closed his eyes, feeling the wind on his face. He listened to the laughter that was coming from inside the truck.

Jungkook let the rocking of the truck lull him into sleep.

It was some time later when Jungkook woke up to the truck slowing. It was still night, when the truck pulled into a gas station.

Jungkook was still half asleep, eyes closed as he listened to the quiet conversation happening at the front.

“I’ll do it,” Namjoon said, and there was the sound of a car door opening.

“It’s okay Joon. I can do it,” said Jin. “This is probably the last thing you want to be doing.”

“Nah, it’s fine. Trust me, I’m an expert.”

Jin let out a quiet laugh, “Thanks Joonie.”

“I’m going to go get some snacks or something,” Came Hoseok’s voice, accompanied by another door opening and closing.

There was the sound of footsteps as Namjoon walked into the station along with Hoseok, and a few moments later came out again and started filling gas.

Jungkook opened his eyes to survey the scene around him.

The bright neon sign of the gas station lit up the dark night. Looking behind him, beyond the gas station, Jungkook could see the sea. Jungkook didn’t have to try too hard to hear the roar of the waves as they crashed into the shore.

There was so much of the world left to explore, and the roaring sea a reminder of that. One day Jungkook would see it all.

“Pretty, isn’t it,” Namjoon said, also looking out towards the sea.

Jungkook nodded in agreement, and they watched the ocean as Namjoon pumped gas into the truck.

It didn’t take long, and Namjoon was snapping the tiny gas door back in place. Jungkook couldn’t remember its actual name. It was too late and he was too tired.

Jungkook’s eyes started to close as he watched Namjoon walk over to the driver’s side window and motioned for Jin to hand him a camera. There was the sound of a picture being taken and printed as the sound of Hoseok’s footsteps approached the car.

As Hoseok approached the car, Jungkook could see him slip something that looked very much like a bottle of pills into his pocket. Or maybe it was just his eyes playing tricks on him because he was tired. Lately Hoseok seemed fine, not that Jungkook could tell what he was like when he wasn’t fine.

Hoseok dumped two bags of stuff in the trunk, and gently pulled a blanket over Jimin’s sleeping form before hopping back into the truck.

“You okay there hyung?” Jungkook asked before the older boy could walk away.

“Of course Kookie,” Hoseok said, giving him he million watt smile. “It’s late, you should sleep.”

Jungkook simply nodded as Hoseok climbed back into the car.

It wasn’t until the car was speeding back along the winding seaside road that Jungkook fell back asleep.

~
Jungkook woke up to the sound of waves crashing and seagulls crying.

Jungkook rubbed the sleep from his eyes. His back was stiff from sleeping in such an awkward position.

Looking up at the sky, Jungkook found it to be grey and overcast, but he didn’t mind. Maybe he would mind if it started raining on them since he didn’t have the luxury of being inside the car, but the clouds gave some relief from the August heat.

Jungkook looked down at Taehyung, still sleeping on his lap, then to Jimin who was now curled into a ball.

Looking through the back window, Jungkook could see that everyone in the truck was still sleeping inside.

Quietly as he could, Jungkook removed Taehyung’s head from his lap, and he jumped out of the truck.

Jungkook looked around to find that the truck had been parked in one of those pull off look up points.

Jungkook walked over to the lookout point, and took a seat at the edge, letting his feet dangle over the side.

Once again, Jungkook was surprised to see how deserted the place was. As he looked around it was as if they were in a little bubble where no outside people were allowed.

Since his time at the motel, Jungkook had seen and heard little of the outside world. It was as if time had stopped and the only things that mattered were what was happening around him.

Jungkook was so lost in thought that he didn’t hear the sound of the truck’s door quietly closing, then the footsteps approaching him.

“You’re up early,” a voice behind Jungkook said, startling him slightly.

Jungkook looked up to see Yoongi sit beside him, draping an arm around the younger’s neck.

“One day you’re impossible to wake up and the next you’re the first one up.”

Jungkook shrugged, “My sleeping habits are weird I guess.”

“As long as you’re sleeping. Lord knows we don’t need more people with sleeping problems in this group.”

“What about you hyung? Why are you up so early?”

“Namjoon’s snoring. It’s a wonder the whole car isn’t up because of him.”

They lapsed into a comfortable silence as they watched the rolling sea, and listened to its crashing waves.

“How’s the writing going Yoongi hyung?”

“S’all right. Been working on perfecting some stuff. Maybe when we get back I’ll write a song about this.”

“I look forward to hearing it.”

They fell back into silence once more, Jungkook just enjoying the moment, and trying to drink it all in. Who knows when he would get something like this again.

Eventually Yoongi got up from where he was sitting and offered Jungkook a hand up.

“Come on, let’s go wake the others.”

Jungkook and Yoongi slowly made their way to the car, and started to rouse the others.

“I drove most of last night,” Jin complained, “I should be allowed to sleep.”

“Fine,” Jungkook said, “Go back to sleep then.”

“Too late now.”

They spent the morning bumming around the lookout point.

Jimin found a soccer ball laying around, and they started playing around with it. That fun ended when Jimin accidently kicked it in the ocean.

They walked along the road by the ocean, just goofing around and enjoying each other’s company.

Jungkook at one point started balancing on the wall that separated the road from the cliff’s edge to the ocean, causing Jimin a great deal of anxiety as he watched Jungkook’s balancing act.

V just laughed watching Jungkook, and cheered him on.

Eventually, Jungkook jumped off the wall because they were getting too far away from the others, and they had to run to catch up.

They eventually they found another lookout point, this one surrounded by scaffolding structure. They all ended up sitting in the same position that Jungkook and Yoongi sat earlier that morning. Feet dangling over the side of the side of wall, looking out into the ocean.

They were so engrossed in their conversation that no one noticed that V had separated from the group and was now missing.

“Ummm,” Jungkook said, being the first one to notice. “Where’s V?”

“Beside Jin hyung.” Hoseok answered, but did a double take also noticing the missing boy. “I mean, he was there the last I looked.”

It was Jin who finally located him. “What the hell.”

Jungkook followed Jin’s eye line up to reveal that V had climbed one of the nearby scaffolding structures.

“V,” Namjoon yelled up at the boy. “Get down from there.”

Jin got up from where he was sitting and started walking towards the tower, “V! Come on.”

Jungkook felt a weird sense of emotion watching his friend on top of the tower. Part of him was worried about his friend’s safety. But another part of him also wished to be up there. Jungkook, after all, had always been a bit of a daredevil. Jungkook thought he could understand why V had climbed up there in the first place.

That pounding in your chest, as you climbed higher. The wind blowing your hair, and your leg trembling. It all made you feel so… so alive.

Jungkook watched as everyone tried to get V to climb back down, but Jungkook didn’t join in. More than anything, Jungkook fought the urge to climb the tower and join V on top.

That thought was short lived, as V gave them all a small smile, before running towards the oceans, and jumping.

Chapter Text

It was late afternoon when they were heading home. They were all exhausted from the day, but there was a happy vibe in the air.

After Taehyung had jumped, they had promptly fished him out of the ocean.

Once they made sure he was okay, and they found he was, Jin had started yelling.

Jimin didn’t know if he also wanted to yell at his friend for scaring the living daylights out of him, or hug him because he was okay.

“What the hell V!” Jin yelled while wrapping the younger boy in a blanket. “You could have been hurt! Who knows how deep the water was, or what was in it. Why would you even climb up there in the first place? Like, what the hell V.”

“Taehyung.” The scolded boy said quietly.

“Sorry what?”

The rest of the boys stood stock still, watching what was unfolding in front of them.

“That’s my name. Taehyung. If you’re going to be mad at me, might as well use my real name.”

Jin paused for a moment, just staring at the younger boy, before pulling him into a hug.

“I’m not mad at you. I was just worried. You scared me.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Jin finally pulled out of the hug, and looked Taehyung up and down once more. “Just don’t do that again.”

After that whole debacle, they explored a bit more, before Jin announcing it was time for them to head back.

There was a fair bit of grumbling as they made their way back to the car, but nevertheless they all climbed into the car, ready for the long ride back.

If it was up to Jimin, they wouldn’t go back. A tentative peace seemed to have fallen over the group, and for once everyone seemed okay. Jimin was scared that that peace would break once they got back, but didn’t say anything as he quietly climbed into the back of the truck and pulled away from the shore.

As they drove, Taehyung and Jungkook started talking about some video game they both loved, and started debating on who the best character was.

Jimin thought back to the beginning of the trip, and smiled at the memories that were made. Memories made with a new family.

His hands went up to the shoes around his neck, and he had the sudden urge to do something.

Looking out at the landscape, there was nothing but empty field of all grass, and the occasional shrub poking out.

They drove a bit longer before Jimin saw what he needed.

There standing high above the rest of the plant life around it was a barren tree. Although it was the middle of summer the tree bore no leaves.

“Can you tell Jin hyung to stop the car?” Jimin asked through the back window when they got close enough. He watched as the message was brought forward.

“You alright Hyung?” Jungkook asked.

Jimin smiled, “Yes. I think I am.”

The car slowed and when it finally came to a complete stop Jimin jumped out of the back.

Jimin walked to the front of the car where Jin had rolled down the driver’s side window.

“Is everything okay?” Jin asked.

Jimin nodded hands coming up to the white shoes around his neck, “I just need to do something.”

Jimin looked out at the open field, and at the large tree that was growing in the middle of it.

Jin smiled as if knowing what Jimin wanted to do. “Do you want us to come with you?”

Jimin thought for a moment, then finally said, “Could you?”

“Of course we can,” Namjoon said having caught the entire exchange since he was sitting next to Jin.

Jimin jumped out of the back, and started heading towards the tree, the tall grass tickling his legs as he walked.

Jimin turned as he walked, checking to see is the others were behind him, and they were. Following Jimin’s lead, as he made his way to the tree.

Turning back to face tree, Jimin took the shoes from his neck and held them tightly in his hands.

His brother had killed himself a year and a half ago, and Jimin had been carrying his shoes around his neck ever since. Jimin didn’t really know why he first started doing it, but it felt right. Maybe it was a way to show his brother more of the world, even though he was gone. Maybe it was to keep a piece of him close by.

Jimin had always felt guilty of his brother’s death. Always asking himself what signs he missed. What did he not see that let his brother slip so far.

He had always blamed himself, but not anymore.

Surprisingly, Jimin found that there were no tears threating to spill like they normally did whenever he thought of his brother.

I’ve been carrying you around for the last year, unable to let you go. Unable to stop blaming myself for your death. But I think I’m finally ready to move on. I will never forget you, but I’m ready to forge my path without you. I hope wherever you are, you’re happy, and I want you to know that I will try my best to be happy too.

Jimin sent the silent prayer to wherever his brother was now, and with all his strength Jimin flung the shoes at the tree.

The shoes caught on one of the branches. There they were left swaying in the light summer breeze, and Jimin felt lighter watching the shoes dangle there.

The other boys had caught up to him, and had watched him throw the shoes.

Taehyung placed a hand on Jimin’s shoulder, and although he didn’t say anything, Jimin could tell the meaning behind the action.

“Who did they belong to?” Jungkook asked timidly, unsure if he had crossed a line.

“My brother,” Jimin said right away, no longer wanting to hide what happened. “He died about a year ago.”

“I’m sorry hyung,” said Jungkook looking sorry he brought up the topic.

“No, don’t be sorry. I think I’m finally ready to let go.”

There was the sound of a camera clicking.

“Here,” Jin said handing him the picture he just took. It was a picture of the white shoes in the tree.

Jimin tucked the picture into his jacket pocket, “Thanks hyung.”

Taking one last look at the shoes, Jimin turned to the other, “Come on let’s go.”

They all walked away, back to the car quietly and piled back in.

As they drove off once more heading back to the motel, Jimin took one last look at the no longer bare tree, and the white shoes now dangling from it.

The winding ruffled Jimin’s hair as they drove, and he felt a sense of freedom. Like a weight had been lifted form his chest. He tipped his head back, and let out a small laugh as he watched the sky.

“You okay hyung?” Jungkook asked watching Jimin with those big round eyes.

“Never better,” Jimin answered and for the first time he felt like he meant it.

Taehyung was giving Jimin this confused look, as if trying to figure something out.

“What are you thinking of Tae?” Jimin asked.

Taehyung snapped out of his thoughts, “Oh nothing. Just, happy that you could let go I guess.”

“Thanks hyung. I think things will be okay.”

The day wore on and they kept driving. The car had stopped once to grab food. The whole time they had stopped, Jin was antsy to get back on the road.

“You okay hyung?” Hoseok asked when they had stopped.

“Yes, of course,” Jin answered distractedly. “Just anxious to get back that’s all I guess.”

“Homesick already?” Yoongi laughed nudging him slightly.

Jin stumbled a lot more than if should have for the amount of force Yoongi put into that push, and Jungkook had to catch him from falling.

“Sorry,” Yoongi apologised.

“No, it’s okay. Just caught me off guard.”

Jimin gave Jin a worried look, which Jin ignored as he went to order food.

They soon got back into the car, and continued speeding along.

The sun set, and the residence of the car eventually fell asleep.

~

Jimin jolted awake to the car swerving, then correcting itself. The sudden movement having also waken Jungkook and Taehyung and they were looking around in confusion.

“Jin hyung,” Jimin could hear Namjoon say at the front, “Why don’t you let me drive?”

“No, it’s fine. I’m fine.” Jin insisted.

Even from the back Jimin could tell that Jin wasn’t fine. Jin had broken out is a cold sweat, and Jimin could see a slight tremor in his hands.

“I’m sure you’re fine,” Namjoon said, “But you’ve been driving all trip. Why don’t you take a rest? I can take over. We’re almost there anyways.”

“Honestly hyung,” Yoongi said from the back seat, “You really don’t look good. You should let Joonie drive.”

“Let me drive hyung. You look like you could use the sleep.”

Jin sighed relenting, bringing the car to a stop.

“You okay hyung?” Jimin asked when Jin got out of the car to switch seats. The streetlights illuminated Jin pale face.

“I’m fine,” Jin reassured with a strained smile, before getting into the car again. He was clearly not fine.

“I don’t think Jin hyung is fine,” Taehyung commented quietly when Jin got into the car.

Jungkook gave him a look that said, ‘no shit,’ and then returned his attention to the older boy sitting in the front seat as if trying to determine the cause for Jin sudden illness.

Jimin’s hands went up to where the white shoes around his neck like they always did when he was feeling uneasy before remembering that the shoes were gone. Jimin instead ran his hands through his hair, fidgeting with one of the strands.

“Stop staring,” Yoongi scolded through the back window at the boy in the back.

“We weren’t staring,” Jungkook whispered back, tearing his eyes away from Jin.

“Honest guys I’m fine,” Jin called out from the front. “Sorry for waking you. Just try to get some sleep.”

The boys in the back turned around, resuming the sleeping positions they were in before getting suddenly woken up.

The other’s fell back asleep easily, but Jimin stayed awake. From he was, Jimin could hear the conversation that Jin and Namjoon were having at the front.

“You know you could tell us, right?” Namjoon said to Jin quietly after they had started driving again.

“I know,” Jin replied equally quiet. Jimin had to strain to hear his answer. “Thanks Joon. I’ll be alright once we get back.”

Jimin could hear the strain in Jin’s voice.

“We should do this again,” Namjoon said. “It was good for all of us to get away.”

“We should,” Jin said wistfully. Jin said it like he knew it wouldn’t happen again.

The conversation happening at the front grew quiet. The only sound was of the car driving along the empty country road.

Jimin closed his eyes letting the himself fall back asleep.

The next morning, Jimin woke up to the car stopping.

Like always Jimin went to reach for the white shoes to put around his neck. There was a moment of panic before Jimin remembered the events of the previous day.

Jimin heard the sound of a car door opening, then closing again.

Soon after, Jin and Namjoon came into view, heading straight for the forest, heading back to the motel.

Jin was swaying as he walked, and Namjoon walked beside him ready to catch his if he did fall.

Jimin quietly jumped out of the back of the truck, and proceeded to follow Jin and Namjoon.

“Jin hyung,” Jimin could hear Namjoon say, “You’re clearly not okay.”

Jin didn’t say anything, just kept going. The look on Jin’s face made it clear that it was taking all of Jin’s concentration to stay upright and walking.

They finally made their way out of the forest.

Jin went straight for his room, and before Namjoon could follow him inside, Jin closed the door behind him. From where he was, Jimin could hear the sound of a lock sliding into place.

Both Namjoon and Jimin froze mid stride.

There was lock on all the doors, but they were hardly used. On top of that, Jin never locked his room, always insisting that they were all welcome whenever, no matter the time of day or night.

Jin’s door being locked was a new, and uncomfortable occurrence.

Jimin found himself reaching up to the white shoes only to find empty air, and for the first time since he had thrown the shoes, Jimin missed their familiar weight.

Getting over his shock, Jimin approached Namjoon who was still staring at the closed door.

“Joonie hyung, are you okay?”

Namjoon jumped slightly, surprised by Jimin’s presence.

“Yes. Just worried.”

From inside the room they could hear the sounds of Jin throwing up.

Jimin was about to go knock on Jin’s door, but Namjoon slung his arm around Jimin’s shoulders, pulling him away from the door. “Come on. Let’s go wake the others.”

“What about Jin hyung?”

Namjoon looked at the door, giving it a sad smile.

“He’s always good about giving us space. Now it’s our turn to give him some.”

Jimin nodded, and although it felt wrong leaving Jin there, the pair walked back into the forest.

Chapter Text

Taehyung was happy. He couldn’t remember the last time this had been true.

It had hit him sometime during the trip that he was happy. He was happy and it was all because of the new family he had made himself.

They had returned, and everyone had gone back to their regular routines.

Jin had disappeared the morning they returned. They had walked back from the car after Namjoon and Jimin had woken them only to find Jin’s room empty, and Jin nowhere in sight.

Taehyung caught the look that passed between Namjoon and Jimin before they all spilt off to do their own thing.

It was strange to see Jin’s room empty. The lack of his presence seemed wrong to Taehyung, but none of the others commented on it, so he kept his mouth shut.

Namjoon left for the gas station that night saying he wouldn’t be back for a few days.

Yoongi left for his room saying he needed to recover from the amount of outside that had taken place.

“Are you guys going to run off,” Hoseok asked, “Or do you want to do something?”

“Let do something,” Jungkook decided with Taehyung and Jimin nodding along.

“Okay,” Hoseok said practically lighting up. “There’s a movie store in the town, how about a movie?”

They all walked to the tiny movie store in town. Although it looked like the shop hadn’t been in use for years, they still managed to find some pretty recent movies.

The split looking at the titles trying to decide which movies to watch.

Taehyung walked the shelves, looking at the titles. It had been years since he had seen a movie. His mind wandered to back when he was child and his family’s Friday movie nights.

That had been back when they were still a family. Back when they all still cared.

Jungkook’s voice brought Taehyung out of his thoughts.

“What about a Marvel Marathon?” Jungkook suggested holding up a DVD.

“Yes please!” Hoseok yelled from wherever he was, “I haven’t watched those in a while.”

They found an old projector in the back of the store, and set it up to project onto the wall. Jimin left briefly as they were setting it up, and returned with an armful of pillows and blankets.

They spread out the blankets and pillows, and spent the rest of that day watching movies.

Jin came by sometime after the sun had set, bringing food with him. He passed the food around and sat down, joining their marathon.

They didn’t ask Jin where he had been, and Jin didn’t offer any explanation. Jimin simply rested his head on Jin’s shoulder, and Jin gave him a reassuring pat.

Taehyung studied Jin as the movie played. He noticed that Jin still looked pale, like he had been sick. The happy glint that had been in Jin’s eyes the past few days had gone out.

Jin noticed Taehyung staring and gave him a questioning look. Taehyung just returned his focus on the movie.

Although his eyes were trained onto the screen, Taehyung’s thoughts weren’t on the movie, but on the eldest boy in the room.

It was none of his business. God knew how grateful Taehyung was that Jin stayed out of his business. Taehyung couldn’t help but be at least a bit concerned about Jin.

The realisation that he had started to care about people again hit him again, leaving him to again wonder when that had happened.

Taehyung pushed those thoughts out of his head. What was important was that he didn’t screw this family up. He wouldn’t screw this family up.

Turning his attention back to the playing movie, Taehyung found himself leaning on Jungkook. A smile played across his lips as Jungkook unconsciously started fidgeting with his hair as they both enjoyed the movie.

~

It took two days for Yoongi to emerge from his room again. Taehyung woke up that morning to music coming from the town, which could only mean that Yoongi was back.

He saw Yoongi for the first time in days at lunch where Yoongi made a surprising announcement.

“I want you all to come to the music store with me,” Yoongi said suddenly.

They all looked at him in surprise, expect for Jungkook.

“Are we finally going to hear the elusive Yoongi’s songs?” Said Hoseok excitedly.

“First off,” Yoongi said, “Jungkook told me you all could hear whatever I played from here, so not that elusive. Secondly, yes.”

“His stuff is really good,” Jungkook said between bites of his food.

They all looked at Jungkook.

“Yoongi played you his stuff?” Jin questioned

“Yeah?” Jungkook looked at them confused, “So?”

“I’ve been trying to get him to play me something for the last year,” Hoseok exclaimed.

“Calm down,” Yoongi said, “You’re going to hear it today.”

Hoseok pouted

Yoongi laughed at that, “Also, Jungkook had been helping me.”

Taehyung looked at Jungkook. Is that where he would sometimes disappear to during the day.

“I’m excited to hear your stuff hyung,” Jimin said.

Yoongi gave Jimin a grateful smile.

After eating, they all quickly piled out of Jin’s room and headed over to the music store.

They all crowded into the tiny shop, jostling for a spot around the piano. There were sheets of music scattered on top of the instrument. It looked like a jumbled mess, but it seemed like Yoongi knew exactly where everything was.

“It’s not fully done,” Yoongi said nervously as he sat on the piano bench, and place one of the papers covered with notes in front of him. “Like this is just the basics, but, like, there’s going to be different layers and-“

“Just play,” Jin interrupted. “Whatever you have I’m sure it will be good.”

“Umm, okay then,” Yoongi said putting his hands on the keys.

Yoongi started playing and the beginning chords of the song rang throughout the piano shop. Yoongi’s low voice echoed through the shop as he started rapping, telling the story of his first love.

The song was slightly sad, and full of so much more emotion then what Taehyung was used to seeing in the older boy.

“That was beautiful hyung,” Hoseok said when the song was done.

They all nodded along in agreement.

“Thanks,” Yoongi said, with more confidence. “I’ve got some other songs, if you want to hear more.”

“Please,” Jin said gesturing for Yoongi to keep going.

Yoongi turned to Jungkook who was sitting beside him on the piano bench. Jungkook gave Yoongi a small nod. Yoongi turned back to the piano and replaced the sheet in front of him with another.

When he started playing again it was Jungkook’s voice that filled the store.

It was a song about new beginnings, and Taehyung thought that the song might be about them.

The lyrics rang true to Taehyung as he listened. These boys had become his brother, a new family. For once, that thought didn’t scare him. Listening to Jungkook sing gave Taehyung the hope that maybe he could keep this one. Maybe he wouldn’t ruin this.

The song ended, and Yoongi explained, “I can’t really sing, so Jungkook has been helping me actually hear my stuff.”

“Your voice is so pretty,” Jimin said to Jungkook, causing him to blush. “I didn’t know you could sing.”

“That song,” Jin asked. “Was it about us?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi said, his fingers unconsciously playing the main riff, “This place is a place of beginnings right. Jungkook actually helped me spark the idea behind this song.”

“Our Jungkookie,” Hoseok said, slinging an arm around the boy in question. “so many hidden talents. It’s like you’re good at everything.”

They stayed in the tiny piano shop till the sun was no longer in the sky, and the stars were bright.

Yoongi played through all his songs, sometime with Jungkook singing, sometimes with Yoongi rapping, sometimes just the piano playing.

The shop filled with laughter as Hoseok started freestyle dancing to one of the songs. Jimin watched for a moment, then joined in. There was another round of laugher as their dance moves kept getting more and more ridiculous and they tried to outdo each other.

Meanwhile Jin was filming the whole thing. Secretly at first, but as the night wore on, Jin stopped trying to hide.

Taehyung couldn’t stop smiling. A bubble of happiness was building in his chest. He wanted to remember this moment forever.

That happiness, of course, couldn’t last.

That night, the nightmares came back for Taehyung.

It started off as they always did, with him underwater, lost and drowning.

Taehyung spun around trying to find a way-out. His lungs burning from holding his breath. He spots a light and started to swim towards it.

When he broke the surface, he found himself covered in blood, but this time he is not alone.

He is in Jin’s room. Laying in front of him, bleeding out, was Jin. Blood leaked out of a wound in his abdomen. A broken bottle clattered to the ground from Taehyung’s hand. Taehyung hadn’t even realised he was holding it.

Taehyung stared at the bleeding body, a sob rising.

This was his fault. All his fault. He had caused this. It was only a matter of time before he would hurt someone again, and here it was. Here was a glaring reminder of how much he didn’t deserve them.

“Tae?” Jin’s voice crooked from where he was laying on the ground. “How could you? Why would you do this? I thought you cared.”

Taehyung was trembling. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I’m so sorry.”

Then, Taehyung woke up.

Taehyung laid there for a moment staring up at the ceiling, reminding himself that it was all a dream. Jin wasn’t dead. He hadn’t hurt him.

Pushing off his covers and Taehyung got out of bed and started pacing. He walked trying to get the images out of his mind.

It doesn’t work. He could still feel Jin’s blood on his hands.

Checking his shaking hands, Taehyung was relived to find his hands clean.

It hadn’t happened yet. He hadn’t hurt them yet.

Taehyung wasn’t thinking when he starts grabbing his belonging and started stuffing them into a bag.

It was a split decision that led him out to this place. It was another split decision that caused him to start packing.

Taehyung would always be eternally grateful for all the boys he had come to call his family. But families broke apart, and he would be dammed if he would be the one who broke up this one. He wouldn’t let himself hurt this family like he hurt the last one.

He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he hurt them.

So, Taehyung did what he always did when he was scared.

He ran.

Chapter Text

Namjoon returned to the motel to Jin sitting on his bed, head in hands looking distraught.

“What happened?” Namjoon asked as soon as he saw Jin.

Jin’s head snapped up when he heard Namjoon’s voice.

“Namjoon, you’re back.” Jin sounded surprised.

“Of course I’m back. I always come back. Now what’s wrong.”

Jin got up from his bed and started pacing. “Taehyung is gone. He left sometime last night.”

“Tae is gone? What do you mean gone?”

“I mean he packed himself up last night and just left.”

“Well maybe he’ll come back,” Namjoon said hopefully. He couldn’t believe that Taehyung would leave without a word of goodbye to all of them. He couldn’t believe that he would actually leave.

“He’s not coming back.” Jin said, dashing that hope.

“How do you know,” Challenged Namjoon.

“I just do.” Jin said stopping where he was to face Namjoon. “His room is empty, his things are all gone, and I can feel it in my gut. Taehyung is gone.”

“Well why are we still here? Let’s go find him.”

Jin gave dry sad laugh, “I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t? You can’t or you won’t?”

“I mean I can’t,” Jin said, almost yelling. “You don’t think that I don’t want to be out there right now searching for him. To bring him home, and tell him that whatever it is that made him run, we can help him through it.

“You don’t think that my first instinct when I found out he was gone was to go out a search for him. I desperately want to be out there right now trying to get him to come home, but I can’t.”

As Jin said those last words, he stumbled backwards, like someone had just hit him over the head with a piece of wood. Namjoon went over to steady the wobbling boy, and gently eased him down onto the bed, and sat beside him.

“I’m stuck here Joonie,” Jin said, quieter then how he had been speaking before. “I’m bound to this place, and it won’t let me leave.”

Namjoon wasn’t entirely sure what Jin was talking about, but he knew now was not the time to ask.

Instead Namjoon said, “Then I’ll go find him and bring him home.”

“Really?” Jin looked surprised at the offer, which surprised Namjoon.

“You’re not the only one who cares around here. You also don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.”

“That’s what friends are for, right?” Jin said with a sad smile.

“That’s what family is for,” Namjoon said, offering a smile back. “and when, or if you ever want to talk about whatever is going on with you, I’ll always be there to listen.”

There was a moment of silence as Namjoon let his words sink in.

“Thanks Joonie.”

“Anytime.”

Namjoon got up from the bed and headed for the door. “I’ll be back in a few days I guess. I’ll call if anything happens.”

Namjoon was about to leave when Jin’s voice stopped him.

“Hey, catch.”

Jin tossed him the keys to the black pickup truck.

“Thanks,” Namjoon said turning to leave again, but got stopped again by Jin calling out,

“One more thing.”

Then an apple came flying at Namjoon. He reached up to catch it before it smacked into his face.

“You should eat something,” Jin said. “Be safe out there.”

“Always,” Namjoon said, and left the room to find his missing brother.

~

Namjoon had been walking through the empty city streets for hours now, not really sure where he was going.

He promised Jin he would find Taehyung, and he would. He just didn’t know where to look for the boy.

He probably should have come up with a plan before heading out.

Namjoon had driven the car along a road that ran adjacent to the railway tracks to the city. He was guessing this would be the most probable route for Taehyung to take.

Namjoon drove with no luck in spotting the boy.

So now Namjoon was walking around the city trying to find a boy that he wasn’t even sure was there. It would take a miracle to find Taehyung.

He started his search around the city’s shipping depo, where the tracks lead to. He had asked around, seeing if anyone looking like Taehyung pass through, but no one seemed to remember anyone like Taehyung.

Namjoon thought back to his conversation with Taehyung, trying to remember any place Taehyung had told him about.

Taehyung had never mentioned family. In fact, the boy would actively avoid any mention of family or a home. Namjoon hadn’t pushed him on the topic, but now he kind of wished he had. it would have at least given him a place to maybe start.

A conversation about a highway overpass popped up in his mind. A place that Taehyung had said he loved to go, and just watch the cars.

It was a long shot, but it was the only lead he had.

If Taehyung wasn’t there, Namjoon decided to call it a night and try again in the morning.

It didn’t take Namjoon long to find the overpass, and he was soon heading in its direction. Before he even got there, he spotted a familiar figure.

Standing in front of Namjoon was Taehyung.

Taehyung had a can of spray paint in his hand, and was in the process of drawing something on the grate of an old building.

Namjoon quietly approached, watching as Taehyung used yellow paint to draw some design on the grate.

“Hey,” Namjoon said, when he was close enough to reach out and touch the other’s shoulder.

Taehyung spun around, startled.

It took a moment for Taehyung to register who was standing before him. Once he did, his face changed from surprised fear, to a surprised smile.

“Namjoon hyung? What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” Namjoon answered leaning on the wall attached to the grate that was being painted.

Taehyung shrugged and returned to what he had been doing before.

They were both silent, with the only sounds being the cars from the overpass in the distance, and the spray of the can in Taehyung hand.

The silence between them was eventually broke by Taehyung.

“This is where I grew up. What used to be home. I didn’t expect her to still be here after all that happened, but I guess… I don’t know. I guess part of me was still surprised to see this place empty.”

Taehyung stopped what he was doing for a moment to look at Namjoon.

“I wanted to leave my mark here. A reminder of happier times. Maybe it’s stupid of me to want that. Maybe I should just be trying to forget this place and move on.”

“No,” Namjoon said, looking up at the vacant building. “I understand. I would want to leave a mark too.”

Taehyung gave a small smile, then returned his attention back to the grate.

“I not staying long,” Taehyung said, shaking the can in his hand. “Once this is done I’ll be done with this place for good.”

“Where will you go?”

That question made Taehyung pause for a moment before answering, “I’m not sure yet, but somewhere far from here.”

“Come back with me,” Namjoon said, finally getting to the real reason he was there.

Taehyung was quiet for a moment, before whispering, “I don’t think I can.”

Before Namjoon could question that, he noticed two policemen walking towards them. The beams of two flashlights when to the grate, illuminating the freshly painted graffiti, then turned on the boy who was painting it.

Namjoon nudged Taehyung, who had yet to noticed the approaching officers.

Taehyung gave him a questioning look, “What?”

Namjoon nodded towards the officers, and gave Taehyung a look asking him what he wanted to do.

A mischievous smile spread across Taehyung’s lips, as he processed the situation. Taehyung turned towards Namjoon, mouthing the word ‘run’, before grabbing his backpack which laid on the ground beside him, and took off.

Namjoon let out a chuckle, then ran after the fleeing boy.

They could hear the policemen calling out from behind them for them to stop as they ran. They didn’t stop.

Taehyung turn around and ran backwards for a few steps, making faces at Namjoon.

Namjoon rolled his eyes and overtook Taehyung.

They ran to the overpass, and were almost across when they saw a police car waiting for them on the other side.

Taehyung swore, stopping in his tracks.

Namjoon had experienced a few brushes against the law, and honestly wasn’t too worried. It probably wasn’t a good thing for him to be so okay with all this. He should probably be trying to set a better example for the younger boy.

The policemen behind them eventually had caught up, and grabbed them from behind.

They were led to the police car with their hands pinned behind their back, then pushed roughly against the side of the car while they were searched.

Taehyung had a guilty expression on his face as he mouthed, ‘Sorry hyung.’

Namjoon gave him a smile.

“It’s alright,” Namjoon said quietly, and he meant it. He was a pretty easygoing guy, who took things in life as they came. “It’ll be quite the story to tell the others when we get back.”

Taehyung echoed Namjoon’s smile, but the smile slowly morphed back into a worried guilty look.

“What is it?” Namjoon asked, but was silenced by a smack to the head by the officer behind him.

Taehyung shook his head, and looked away from Namjoon refusing to meet his questioning look.

Suddenly the grip on their arms was released as both policemen walked away to investigate something that was going on behind them.

The boys pinned to the car didn’t stick around, and with a look to each other bolted off in the direction they came from.

Namjoon followed as Taehyung led him through the winding allies of his childhood neighbourhood. They eventually stopped running when they reached the underside of another overpass.

The roaring of the cars filled their ears as they made their way under the bridge.

Taehyung collapsed to the floor with his back to the wall.

“Sorry Namjoon hyung.”

Namjoon sat down next to him, “It’s really okay. An exciting story to tell the others right.”

“It would be, yeah.”

“Oh man. Jin hyung will definitely yell at us for almost being arrested.” Namjoon laughed looking at the boy beside him. “You ready to go back now?”

Taehyung didn’t look at him. Instead he stared off into the distance.

“Why did you come?” Taehyung asked quietly.

That question confused Namjoon, “Isn’t it obvious. I came to find you. I told you once that I always come back. I came for you.”

“What if I didn’t want you to come find me.”

“I don’t believe that. I can’t begin to understand why you would just leave like that, but you’re my brother. Why wouldn’t I come to find you.”

“I don’t deserve this,” Taehyung said bitterly.

“Don’t deserve what,” Namjoon challenged. “Don’t deserve to be loved? Don’t deserve not to be alone? Help me understand what’s going on.”

“No, I don’t deserve any of that.”

There was a beat of silence before Namjoon said, “Jin hyung is worried sick about you, you know. He was heartbroken that you would leave without a word. I’m sure the others are worried sick about you too.”

Taehyung didn’t reply right again, instead letting the silence hang between them.

Right when the silence was become too much, Taehyung spoke again quietly. “I think you should go.”

“What?”

“Go back. I’m not going with you.”

Namjoon was shocked by his words.

“Did you care so little for us that you would just walk away without a word. Leave without even saying goodbye?”

“Please, just go.” Taehyung repeated, still refusing to look at Namjoon.

Namjoon got up from where he was sitting beside Taehyung and stood in front of the younger boy.

“Look me in the eye and tell me that you want me to leave.” Namjoon challenged, “That you never care for any of us.”

Taehyung’s eyes slowly lifted to meet Namjoon’s. The cold look that Taehyung gave him broke his heart.

“You didn’t matter to me. No one mattered to me. I’m sorry you came all this way thinking otherwise, but you should go. I’m not going to go with you.”

Namjoon stared in shock at the sitting boy, frozen at the harsh words. A look of disgust slowly made its way on his face.

Then without another word Namjoon walked away.

Chapter Text

Taehyung’s heart broke as he said those words.

Of course they mattered to him. Of course he wanted to go back.

But he wouldn’t let himself say those words. Best he hurt them now instead of hurting them in some bigger way later.

As he watched Namjoon walk away he wanted to yell out to his friend. His brother.

He wanted to ask Namjoon to tell the others goodbye for him.

To say thank you to Jin for caring, and getting him to a place where he could live with himself.

To say thank you to Hoseok for his kind smile.

To say thank you to Yoongi for his music.

To say thank you to Jungkook and Jimin for their company.

He wanted to thank Namjoon for always coming back.

He wanted to say that he would be eternally grateful to all of them, and that they would never fade from his memories.

He wanted to say he wanted nothing more than to sit around a table with them to share a meal. Or to go do laundry. Or explore the woods. Or do countless other things.

But instead Taehyung said nothing as he watched his brother walk away as silent tears ran down his face.

Chapter Text

It had been a month since Taehyung had left, and Jungkook could feel how his absence caused a shift in everyone’s mood.

Jin seemed to have taken Taehyung leaving the worst. He had become quieter after Namjoon had returned with the news that Taehyung wasn’t coming back.

One night about a week after Tae had left, Jungkook overheard a conversation between Namjoon and Jin which he probably shouldn’t have.

“It’s my fault he left,” Jin said quietly.

It was after dinner, and Namjoon and Jin were the only ones remaining in Jin’s room. Jungkook had come to get a glass of water, but stopped short when he heard his two old hyungs speaking in hushed voices.

“How is it your fault,” Namjoon asked angrily. After Namjoon had returned, sans Taehyung, he would become angry at any mention of the other boy. “He made his choice.”

“It’s just-“ Jin stopped himself.

“Just what?”

“Nothing.”

Jin had been hiding something for the rest of them. Jungkook had been suspicious that something might be going on, but the end of the road trip had confirmed it. Ever since they had gotten back, Jin had been acting weird.

They were all here for a reason, and although they didn’t talk about it, Jungkook had mostly figured out everyone’s reason. Everyone, that is, except Jin’s.

Something didn’t add up about this place, or about Jin that Jungkook couldn’t place his finger on.

From inside Jin’s room Namjoon voiced Jungkook’s thoughts.

“What are you hiding from us?”

“I’m not hiding anything,” Jin said a bit too quickly, and Jungkook could hear him start walking around in the room.

“Why are you here?” Namjoon challenged.

“I’m always been here,” Jin answered.

“Really? I find that hard to believe that you’re always been here. When I left to find Tae, you said you were stuck here. Why is that? What makes you stuck to this place.”

Jin sighed, “What’s bringing this on?”

“Ever since Taehyung left, you’ve been acting like a kicked puppy. You say it’s your fault, even though it’s clearly not. I just want to understand why.”

The was the sound of Jin’s bed squeaking as he sat back down on it, “I just wish Taehyung would explain why he left. I wish I could have helped him.”

After that, Jungkook quietly creeped back to his room. Completely forgetting about his glass of water.

Jungkook missed his friend. He missed how easy it was to joke and talk with Taehyung. He missed the afternoons they would spend with Jimin exploring the area. The time they spent at the arcade in town, and their movie nights.

Jungkook missed his friend, but mostly, he was mad at him. He was mad that Taehyung had left without saying goodbye.

Without Tae, Jungkook was forced to find new things to do with his time. He started spending a bit more time with Yoongi at the music shop. Jimin had also started joining them, more and more.

It was a few nights after Jungkook had eavesdropped on his hyungs’ whispered conversation.

Yoongi had decided to spend his day locked in his room, leaving Jungkook to find something else to do with his time. That’s how he found himself back at the old carousel.

Jungkook was sitting on one of the rusted swings letting his thoughts wonder.

The autumn leaves around him made the forest look like it was on fire. He loved the colours, but it also made him sad that winter would be upon them soon. He already missed those happy summer days.

Like most times when Jungkook was alone, he found his thoughts wandering to his parents. He had been at the motel for slightly over half a year. Had they eventually noticed his absence? Were they glad for it? Did they even try to look for him?

For the first time he had been here, Jungkook had a sudden desire to go back.

Maybe it was Taehyung leaving that suddenly brought this on, but Jungkook shook the thought from his head.

Even if he left, he would have nowhere to go. He could go home, but he no longer felt like that was an option after it had left. That was no longer home. This was.

Jungkook thought back to the conversation between Jin and Namjoon, and how there was something that Jin was not telling them.

He worried about the oldest boy, and was sure that everyone else did too. But there was that unspoken understanding not the push each other to talk. As much as they worried, not one said anything.

It wasn’t any of his business anyways. Jungkook couldn’t help being curious.

Jungkook stayed at the carousel until the sun had started to set, then slowly made his way back to the motel.

He was stepping out of the forest, and about to head to his room when he heard a loud crashing noise coming from Yoongi’s room.

Concerned, Jungkook ran towards the sound of the noise. His heart was beating fast, and scenarios of what could be happening flooded his mind.

Jungkook didn’t know what he was expecting to see, but it certainly was not Yoongi in a rage, completely trashing his room.

“Yoongi hyung,” Jungkook called out, but it got no response from the boy who had started throwing cups at the wall.

On instinct Jungkook went up behind the older boy and grabbed him from behind, trying to pin his arms by his side before he broke something else.

Yoongi easily threw him off with a frustrated scream, and Jungkook got pushed towards the wall.

Jungkook winced in pain as he hit the floor, his face painfully coming into contact with the wall. Jungkook quickly got up and tried to grab a hold of Yoongi again.

“Hyung,” Jungkook tried to reason with Yoongi. “Calm down. What happened.”

Yoongi roughly pushed Jungkook away again, causing Jungkook to go tumbling again.

“What happened?” Yoongi yelled. Jungkook flinched at his friend’s tone. “What happened is that all my work is gone. All of it, gone in a puff of smoke. Maybe if I hadn’t sat on my ass all day, I would have been there, and been able to save it.”

Yoongi let out another frustrated screen as he threw a chair across the room. The chair went flying, hitting a mirror, and shattering it.

“I just…” Yoongi trailed off, looking around his room. Rage filled his eyes. “I can’t be here right now.”

There was the sound of glass crunching under Yoongi’s feet as he stormed out of the room, leaving a shocked Jungkook on the floor.

Jungkook knew better then to follow Yoongi out. He held his side knowing there would be a bruise there from where he hit the wall.

Jungkook stayed there, eyes wide, as he looked around the room.

The pain in his side reminded Jungkook of another beating he had received, and brought back those painful memories.

This time was worse.

Not physically. But emotionally. Yoongi was his friend. It hurt Jungkook to see his friend in this state.

Jungkook curled himself into a ball, waiting for the pain to pass. Waiting for him to figure out what he was going to do.

That position was where Hoseok found him, when he later came stumbling into Yoongi’s room.

“Jungkook,” Hoseok said, surprised to see him there. Hoseok offered a hand to help Jungkook off the floor. “Are you okay? What happened?”

Jungkook took the hand gratefully, “I’m okay.”

“What happened in here? Where is Yoongi hyung?”

“Yoongi happened.”

Hoseok was quiet for a moment looking around at the destroyed room. Then he said, “Come on. Let’s get you looked at.”

“Why was Yoongi hyung like that?” Jungkook asked as they were leaving. The sound of crushing glass filled the otherwise quiet night as the left the room.

“There was fire at the music store,” Hoseok explained.

Jungkook finally understood what caused the anger he had just seen. Finally understanding Yoongi’s words. “All his music, it’s gone.”

Hoseok nodded solemnly.

All the hours Yoongi had put in, trying to make his music perfect. All that work.

Jungkook then noticed the smoke that rose about the motel’s roof.

As they walked Jungkook couldn’t help but feel like everything was falling apart.

Chapter Text

Yoongi needed to talk to Jin. He needed to talk to someone to vent his feelings. Normally this wasn’t something he would do. After yesterday however, he needed to talk through what to do next.

That was at least his plan when he came storming into Jin’s room. Yoongi stopped shot finding Jin and Namjoon already in there, fighting.

“I can’t believe you went behind my back and did this,” Namjoon exclaimed pacing back and forth in front of Jin who was calmly sitting at the kitchen table.

“I went behind your back because I knew you wouldn’t agree to submitting your application.” Jin retorted back. “If it were up to you, you would spend the next hundred years contemplating your life. Hoping for better days, but never actually venturing out to go get them.”

Yoongi cleared his throat and the heads of both boys turned to look at him.

“What’s going on in here?” Yoongi asked hesitantly.

“Jin went behind my back and enrolled me in university,” Namjoon said at the same time as Jin said, “Namjoon got accepted into one of the top universities and is making a big deal out of nothing.”

Namjoon glared at Jin, “And what if I don’t want to go. Didn’t consider that in all your scheming.”

“Look Namjoon,” Jin said evenly, “It took Taehyung leaving for me to realise this. I’ve been scared of losing any of you. But as much as I would want you to, you can’t stay here forever.”

Namjoon opened his mouth to argue, but Jin held up a hand motioning him to stop.

“Look, I told you that I was bound here. That’s because I made a deal with this place after I first got here. I was sick, and scared of dying, and this place offered to save me in exchange for my freedom.”

Jin sighed, running a hand over his face.

“I’m stuck here, but you aren’t. Go to school Joonie. Go explore the world that I can’t. Don’t bind yourself to this place like I have.”

Both Yoongi and Namjoon were left speechless after Jin’s confession.

“That explains a lot,” Namjoon finally said.

“Hyung,” Yoongi said, “Why would you hide that from us?”

“What’s done is done,” said Jin simply, “I don’t need your sympathy for my choices. Plus, you were all dealing with your own shit, you didn’t need mine piled on top of that.”

There was another moment of silence before Jin turned to Yoongi and said, “You came in here to tell me you wanted to leave, didn’t you.”

Yoongi was stunned at that statement, but hearing it said out loud made Yoongi realise it was true. Yoongi no longer felt lost for direction. He was no longer scared to step into the real world.

After losing his work there was nothing keeping him there. Nothing, except the people.

“I didn’t realize that was why I came in here,” Yoongi said quietly, “But I don’t think I want to leave anymore.”

Jin gave Yoongi a knowing smile, “No, please do.”

“Wow hyung. I didn’t know you wanted my gone so bad.”

Jin rushed to explain, “Don’t take that the wrong way. I hate seeing you go, but like Namjoon there’s nothing more for you here. Go together. Take care of each other, and explore the world. Just don’t forget me okay?”

“How could we ever forget you Jin hyung,” Yoongi said looking at the older boy. “And I would come back to visit.”

Jin smiled sadly like he knew that wasn’t true. Before Yoongi could say anything further, Jin turned his attention to Namjoon.

“So Joonie, what do you think?”

There was a moment while Namjoon processed everything he had been told. Then slowly, he turned to Yoongi.

“I could go with you?”

“Of course. I don’t think I would leave if I didn’t have someone to leave with. We could find a place close to the university. You could study, and I would figure out what the hell to do with myself.”

“Actually,” Jin said, walking over to his dresser and picking up one of the many video cameras. “Here.” Jin offered the camera to Yoongi.

Yoongi took the camera and looked at it confused. “Thanks hyung.”

A laugh escaped Jin’s lips. “That night you played your songs for us, I recorded most of it. I know it’s not the same thing as having all your sheet music back, but maybe this could help.”

Yoongi’s eyes widened at what Jin told him, and held the camera like it was the most precious thing in the world. He had decided right then and there that he would not let the camera out of his sight.

“Thank you,” Yoongi said, chocking up with emotion.

“Wait,” Namjoon said to Yoongi. “You played your music for them. I’ve been asking for over a year to hear you play something.”

“You were at the gas station,” Yoongi laughed throwing his arms up in defense, “As roommates, you’ll be able to hear all my songs. You’ll be wishing that I would shut up.”

Namjoon silently weighed the offer that was in front of him. “I guess as roommates, I will get you finally hear your stuff. Finally.”

“So, you’ll go then,” asked Jin.

Hesitantly, Namjoon gave a slow nod.

A wide smile spread across Jin’s face. “I’m glad. I’m happy for you Joonie.”

Yoongi could hear the happiness in Jin’s voice, but he could also see the twinge of sadness in the older boy’s eyes that Yoongi had so often seen in his two years of living there. A sadness that he now knew came from being trapped here. That sadness that Yoongi finally understood.

“We will come visit you,” Yoongi said. “Don’t think that we’ll just disappear forever.”

“I would love that.” Jin said. “Just promise me that before you leave you say goodbye to the others.”

“Of course we will,” Namjoon said, looking offended that Jin would even ask that.

“Patch things up with Jungkook,” Jin told Yoongi. “He understands why you behaved the way you did, but still.”

Yoongi cringed as he thought about his behaviour from a few days ago. He regretted it, and had been avoiding Jungkook when he should have gone to apologize.

“I’ll talk to him,” Yoongi said.

Jin nodded. “When will you guys leave?”

Namjoon looked at Yoongi as if saying that whenever Yoongi decided would be fine with him.

“At the end of the month,” Yoongi decided. “That should give us enough time to sort things out, right?”

“Sounds good,” Namjoon said.

Jin nodded, the sadness in his eyes just barely peeking out, but Yoongi could see it. He could see Jin’s need to be alone and process that two more of his friends would be leaving him.

“Let go find the others,” Yoongi said grabbing the Namjoon’s arm and dragging him out of the room.

Jin shot Yoongi a grateful look, understanding what Yoongi was trying to give him.

Yoongi gave him a slight nod as they exited the room.

They didn’t end up finding the others. Instead they ended up in Namjoon’s room, discussing future plans.

Yoongi had never been much of a dreamer outside his musical ambitions. Something about thinking of this possible future excited him.

They ended up telling the others of their plans to leave over dinner that night and were met with stunned silence.

The silence was then broken with a barrage of questions that were carefully answered with Jin’s help.

Through all the questions Yoongi noticed that Jungkook was unusually quiet. Normally, Jungkook would have the most questions, his eyes round with curiosity.

Yoongi also noticed that Jungkook wouldn’t meet his gaze.

Yoongi sighed remembering his behaviour from the previous night. He didn’t regret trashing the room. It felt really good and he desperately needed to let out his frustration, even if that may not have been the best way to do it. He did regret that Jungkook got caught in his rage and got hurt because of it.

It was the next day before Yoongi was able to finally apologize to Jungkook.

Yoongi made his way through the forest, trying to find the carousel Jungkook had been spending more and more time at.

The weather was getting colder and colourful autumn leaves rustled in the wind.

Finally finding the carousel Yoongi spotted Jungkook sitting on a rusted swing with his eyes closed and head tipped back. There was a faint smile on Jungkook’s lips as he sat there.

Seeing Jungkook like this made Yoongi stop in place and take in the peaceful boy.

He looked so young. Like he hadn’t yet felt the weight of the world pressing down on him. Yoongi’s wish for the boy was that he would never lose that blissful ignorance of how messed up the world actually was.

Yoongi hated to disturbed the scene in front of him, but he took another step into the clearing anyways.

“Hey Kookie.”

Jungkook’s eyes snapped open, that small smile immediately dropping from his face.

Yoongi felt a twinge of regret for causing that smile to go away.

“Yoongi hyung. Hi.”

Yoongi made his way to the carousel and took a seat on the swing in front of Jungkook’s. The seat groaned under his weight, and for a moment Yoongi through that the rusted chain would snap under him.

“I want to apologize,” Yoongi said once he was sure the swing would hold. “I’m sorry for my behaviour, and I’m sorry for hurting you yesterday.”

Jungkook was quiet for a moment while taking in Yoongi’s words before saying, “It’s alright.”

“I just wanted to make sure we’re good before I left.”

“Don’t worry, we’re good.”

Yoongi nodded gratefully.

“I’m going to miss you,” Jungkook said rocking himself slightly on the swing.

“Really?”

Yoongi had never seen himself as someone who would be missed. He was more often than not moody, and tended to shy away from most social interactions. He figured that Jin would miss him, and maybe Hoseok.

“Of course,” Jungkook laughed at the older boy’s surprise. “Why wouldn’t I miss you? You’ve become like a brother to me.”

Yoongi shrugged. “I didn’t think I would be missed, I guess. I’ll miss you too.”

“Of course, you will be missed. I look forward to when you’re super famous. I’ll tell everyone I know that I knew you.”

“That’s a long way off Kookie. Like, who knows if that will ever happen. Plus, I need to compile all my songs again.”

“That big brain of yours probably hasn’t forgotten a single note of any of your songs. You’ve been practicing them for over a year, right? So, they’re probably ingrained into your memory. And when you’re become super famous we’ll all travel to see you perform at concerts, and cheer so loud you’ll be embarrassed to see us.”

The thoughts caused a smile to grow across Yoongi’s face. “That would be nice. It’s nice to know that someone is in my corner.”

“Of course we are. Always.”

They sat in silence admiring the fall colours, till Jungkook broke the silence.

“Hey hyung, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure. What’s up?”

“Why were you here? Like you didn’t just come here to make music, right? I’m guessing it has something to do with fire? Like that’s why Jin hyung kept your lighter from you.”

Yoongi stared at the younger boy, surprised at all the questions. He was mostly surprised at how observant Jungkook was.

“Why do you want to know?” Yoongi asked.

Jungkook shrugged, “Just curious.”

Yoongi sighed, thinking back to before he arrived. “Jin hyung was the one who brought me here. He found me went I was in a bad state, and pulled me out of the fire. Literally.”

“Literally?”

The memory made Yoongi cringe. He tried not to think about that time.

“He may have pulled me out of my apartment after I set it on fire.”

Jungkook’s eyes went wide, “You what?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi said, trying to push the emotions from that time back down, “It was a bad time for me. The reason Jin took my lighter from me was because the first few months I was here I kept lighting random things on fire.”

“Why?”

“Looked cool I guess. It was kind of therapeutic. But then Jin took my lighter.” Yoongi let out a sad laugh. “It’s kind of ironic that a fire is how I lose all my work.”

Yoongi got up off the swing, “I guess I should go back. Check up on Joonie. See if he needs any help. Get somethings ready of my own.”

“I’ll come with you,” Jungkook said, jumping off the swing.

“You don’t have to. I didn’t mean to interrupt whatever you were doing. I just needed to apologies.”

“I wasn’t really doing anything important. Just thinking. I’ll come with you.

“Thanks Kookie.”

“Anytime hyung.”

~

The end of the month came around much faster than Yoongi was ready for.

All the arrangements were made. There was an apartment waiting for them in the city close to the university. When the term started up again Namjoon would attend.

Yoongi was still unsure what he would be doing, but he would figure it out as he went.

The night before he and Namjoon were set to depart Yoongi started to feel twists of doubt in his gut. He tried pushing them aside, but they kept creeping up.

That night, Jin hyung cooked a big dinner for them as a farewell meal.

Dinner was a loud affair, with Hoseok trying to keep everyone’s spirits up as he acted ridiculously. Yoongi appreciated the effort.

Hoseok had been keeping to himself more often in the last few weeks. Since Taehyung’s sudden departure Hoseok had been trying to raise the others spirits as much as he could, but his energy was a bit subdued.

Normally Hoseok would spend his days in Jin’s room joking with the other, but Yoongi had hardly seen him in the last few days.

Dinner passed quickly and after a night of restless sleep, it was time for them to go.

They made the short walk over to the train station where, to Yoongi’s surprise, a train was waiting for them.

They all stood there silent, staring at the train. Nobody wanting to move. Moving would mean leaving. And leaving would mean saying goodbye.

Finally, Jin broke the silence by enveloping Namjoon into a hug, then Yoongi.

“I’ll miss you guys. Be safe. Take care of each other.”

Yoongi was choked with emotion as he said his goodbye to Jin. Jin who pulled him out, and put him on a better path. Jin who was stuck there, but was still willing to let them go.

“Bye hyung,” Yoongi said, hugging the older boy fiercely. “Thank you.”

Well wishes were passed around, as well as hugs and suddenly Yoongi found himself boarding the train.

Once both passengers were on board and seated, the train started moving, slowly pulling away from the station.

Both Yoongi and Namjoon looked out of the window and waved at the boys still standing on the platform. The boys waved back.

They stared out the window until they could no longer see the train station, then turned to look at each other.

“Here’s to a new adventure,” Namjoon said, a small but excited smile growing on his face.

Yoongi smiled, “Here’s to hoping for more good days.”

Chapter Text

“Hey hyung,” Jungkook said knocking on Jin’s door, “Can I talk to you?”

“Of course,” Jin said from inside the room. “Come in.”

Jungkook pushed opened Jin’s door to find him sitting on the couch flipping through a box of polaroid pictures.

“You’re not busy, right?” Jungkook said, stepping into the room. “I can come back lat-“

“I’ll always make time for you Kookie,” Jin cut him off. Jin closed the lid of the box and placed it on the ground clearing a spot on the couch. “Come sit.” Jin smiled and patted the empty spot beside him.

“What were you looking at?” Jungkook asked, as he went to sit beside Jin

“Just some old pictures. Never mind that. What did you want to talk about? You’re not telling me you’re leaving, are you?”

“No! Of course not,” Jungkook said hurriedly. “Why would you think that?”

“Well, last time someone came to talk to me that ended with Yoongi and Namjoon leaving. Not that you wanting to leave is bad.”

“I’m not leaving, I promise.” Jungkook started playing with his hair nervously. “I wanted to ask, Ummm, I wanted to…”

Jin smiled kindly at the stuttering boy, “Whatever it is, just ask.”

Jungkook took a deep breath. This was probably a bad idea. He was basically breaking unspoken rule number one. His curiosity, however wouldn’t let it slide. There was something strange about this place, and Jungkook needed to know what.

“I wanted to ask about your past,” Jungkook finally blurted out.

“Oh.”

“Is that okay?” asked Jungkook nervously. Maybe he should leave. He should probably just leave.

“Yeah, just unexpected. Well I guess not that unexpected really.”

Jungkook looks surprised. “What do you mean?”

Jin let out a small laugh, “You look at the world like it’s a mystery to be solved. I shouldn’t be too surprised that you would ask about my past. What do you want to know?”

Jungkook stared at Jin as if judging whether it was actually alright to press into Jin’s past. “Why are you here?”

“Like what brought me here?”

“Yes. I think I’ve pretty much figured out why everyone else ended up here, except for you. Everyone here is or was kind of a mess, except you.”

“I was a mess,” Jin confessed, “Before I came here. This place saved me.”

“What do you mean by ‘saved you’?”

Eyes narrowed, Jin looked like he was judging how much to share.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a magic about this place. It calls people who are hurting, and needing saving. It calls the lost and broken, especially if they have no one else to lean on.

“When I came here I was alone, sick and dying. I had been sick for a while, but no one could tell me what was wrong with me. It felt like I was cracking. Like I was falling apart.”

Jin had a faraway look in his eyes as he remembered his past.

“Then I found this place.

“When I first got here, there was another guardian. He had been here for, God knows how long, but looked no older then you.”

A fond smile spread across Jin’s face.

“He took care of me as I got worse. Then one day he made me an offer. I could take his place as guardian and I could live. It would bind my soul here, but it would save my life. And I, being scared of dying, took that offer.”

A sudden image of the wingless angle popped into Jungkook’s head. The strange statue he had seen on his first day here.

“The wingless angle statue. Was that the old guardian?”

Jin looked surprised, “You’ve seen the statue?”

“Was I not supposed to?” Jungkook could still remember the creepy way the statue’s eyes seemed to follow him as he moved about that clearing. “I saw it my first day here.”

“I’m surprised it revealed itself to you. To answer your question, it is the guardian of this place, but also not.”

Jungkook titled his head in confusion.

“It’s the spirit behind the magic of this place. It’s the reason why buildings seem to pop out of nowhere in town, or how new rooms seem to just spring up. It’s the force that pulls people here.

“But the spirit needs a physical body to actually maintain this place, and that’s me.”

Realization dawned on Jungkook. “That’s you. Kim Soekjin.”

Jin’s once again looked at Jungkook in surprise, “I haven’t heard that name in a long time.”

The pieces were slowly falling into place in Jungkook’s mind. “I saw that name in the graveyard. That’s you, isn’t it. When you were bound here, your name ended up there.”

“You’re one smart cookie, Kookie.”

Jungkook groaned at the terrible pun. Jin just laughed.

“Anyways, yeah. Kim Seokjin. That is my name. Or was. It’s not like I go by it anymore.”

“So, you’re stuck here.” Jungkook was piecing together more and more pieces. “Is that why you hardly leave the motel?”

“I don’t leave its proximity unless I have to, or get called somewhere.”

“Called like that day at the swimming pool where you went away because you were called to Taehyung. Or called like how you found Yoongi hyung?”

Jin nodded.

“And if you go too far?” Jungkook continued. “Oh! That’s why you looked so sick by the end of the road trip.”

“You’ve figured it all out Kookie,” Jin smiled at the younger boy. “Now what I want to know is why-“

Jin stopped mid-sentence, his eyes glazing over for a bit. He was giving Jungkook a strange look.

“What is it?” Jungkook asked.

Jin quickly snapped out of whatever funk he was just in. He looked dazed and was looking and Jungkook strangely. “No, nothing. Did you have any more questions?”

Jungkook shook his head, “No. My curiosity is satisfied.”

“Good.” Jin blinked away the strange look and now was looking at Jungkook with resolve. “Now promise me two things.”

“Of course hyung, anything.”

Jin let a sad smile spread across his lips, a look that Jungkook had seen countless times on the older boy’s face. Finally, he understood where the sadness was coming from.

“First, promise me that you won’t tell the others about this.”

Jungkook looked confused, “Why can’t the others know?”

“Because it might stop them from leaving. Jimin would definitly never leave if he found out. That boy’s heart is too big for his own good sometimes. Same with Hobi. They both would insist on staying.”

That was true. Knowing the two other boys, they would stay by Jin’s side till the withered away and died.

Another question popped into Jungkook’s head.

“Wait so are you, like, immortal? You basically can’t die, right?”

“Technically no, I can’t die. I’m effectively immortal.”

“Cool!”

Jin shrugged like he was over it. “Anyway, that leads to my second thing. Promise me that one day you’ll leave this place. That whenever you’re ready, you’ll leave. That you won’t stay because of me.”

Jungkook didn’t know what to say to that.

Seeing Jungkook’s uncertainty Jin started to speak. “Kookie, you are way too curious to just stay here forever. Go explore the world, and enjoy life. Like I said on your first day, you’re welcome to stay as long as you want, but promise me that I will never be the reason for you staying. I don’t ever want to be the reason that’s keeping you here.”

Jungkook gave a slow nod.

“Good,” Jin said, getting up from the couch. “Since you have no more questions let’s go do something.”

“Like what?” Jungkook asked while also getting up.

Jin shrugged, “I don’t know, you pick.”

“I need to pick something that your old ass can keep up with.”

Jin laughed, “Hey, respect your elders. Plus, I’ll always look this beautiful, you’re the one who is going to get old.”

“And I will still be able to beat you at whatever game we play.”

“Oh yeah, bring it Kookie.”

Jungkook laughed at Jin’s challenge.

The older boy left the room to see if the others wanted to join them.

Jungkook stared after him, the smile dropping on his face.

He knew what he promised Jin, but a large part of him hoped that he wouldn’t have to be held to it. At least not for a long time. The thought of Jin being here alone for eternity made his skin crawl. And yes, he wouldn’t be here alone always, but still. People would leave him. People already had.

“Kookie! You coming?” Jin yelled from somewhere outside.

“Yeah,” Jungkook called back, leave the room to join his friend.

Chapter Text

The motel was quiet with now only four people living there.

Normally Hoseok didn’t like quiet, but for once he didn’t mind.

It had been 2 months since Namjoon and Yoongi had left. The fall leaves had fallen, and snow covered the ground.

The four of them that remained still spent most of their time together, but the energy was different. More subdued. They felt incomplete without their three missing members.

Namjoon and Yoongi started off by calling every few days, telling those who remained how things were going. Checking in to make sure everything was okay. They told stories of the new things they had seen. They told them of the adventures they went on while exploring the city.

As time went by, the gaps between the calls became longer and longer. They were going on almost two weeks without a call.

In their absence, Hoseok did what he always tried to do, which was to be the optimist. Joke with Jungkook and Jimin to bring a smile to their faces. Laugh at Jin’s jokes and be around whenever he needed someone.

It was getting progressively harder to do all these things.

It was hard to remain cheery when your body protested every slight movement.

Things had not been going well for Hoseok. The pain in his body seemed to grow worse with every passing day.

The pain had started with an accident. A one in a million event that caused his body to rebel against him.

When the accident first happened, the doctor told Hoseok that things would get better with time.

Things, however, did not get better with time. They only seemed to get worse.

It took Hoseok just under a year to start walking again after it all went down. He had assumed that as he got stronger, the pain that radiated throughout his body would stop too.

It didn’t.

Today would be an especially hard day. That was what Hoseok felt as soon as he woke up, and moved.

Hoseok eventually did manage to move his head to look out his window. He had forgotten to draw his curtains last night, having been too tired to do anything but flop onto his bed and sleep.

Looking out his window, Hoseok saw the ground covered with snow. This was the first big snow dump of the season. The sky was grey, and the winter wind rattled the windows as it blew.

Hoseok laid in bed listening to the wind. Today was one of those days where it hurt too much to move. Normally, he would push through the pain to at least show his face, but this wasn’t one of those days.

Today was a day of just lying on his bed, hoping that the pain would pass.

Hoseok could hear the sounds of Jimin and Jungkook playing outside in the snow. They had knocked on his door earlier inviting him with them.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” Hoseok had called through the door.

“You alright hyung?” Jimin’s concerned voice called through the door.

“I’m fine,” Hoseok lied. “Enjoy freezing your butts off.”

Hoseok heard them laugh as they walked off, their voices getting softer.

Today was not going to be one of those days he could fight the pain, Hoseok decided as he slowly rolled his way off his bed.

His body groaned at the movement, but he managed to make his way to his bathroom cabinet.

Holding onto the sink for support, Hoseok pulled opened the cabinet and grabbed his bottle of meds.

Hoseok studied his gaunt face in the mirror, and poured a couple pills in his hand. A few pills fell through his hands and dropped into the sink. He would pick them up later.

Hoseok swallowed all the pills that remained in his hand. He wasn’t thinking straight, he just wanted the pain to stop.

He was sick of fighting it. He just wanted the pain to go away.

After waiting through a couple of minutes of the meds not kicking in, Hoseok swallowed a few more pills.

Slowly, a numbness started spreading over his body, and Hoseok gave a sigh of release.

Hoseok stumbled his way of the bathroom and made his way back to his bed. The world around him was spinning and turning funny colours, but he didn’t mind. The pain was easing.

He was finding it hard to breathe. Hoseok tried drawing in a large deep breath. His lungs strained with the effort.

Finally making his way to his bed, Hoseok felt a sudden wave of drowsiness. He collapsed onto the bed.

As his eyes started close his last thought was that tomorrow would be a better day. Tomorrow he would be able to fight through it better.

Hoseok closed his eyes, shutting out the spinning colourful world.

Focusing on trying to breathe, Hoseok stopped trying to stay awake. Slowly he drifted into unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Jungkook was numb. He still couldn’t process what had happened. He couldn’t believe what had happened. Every time he thought of those words, it was like a new punch in the gut.

Hoseok was dead.

Jungkook could still hear the words ringing in his ears from when Jin had told him and Jimin earlier.

Jimin had taken the news worse then he had. Jungkook hadn’t seen him in the two days since Jin broke the news. He had locked himself in his room, and wouldn’t answer when anyone tried to coax him out.

Jin was also not taking the news well. Which was understandable. Mostly, Jin was blaming himself, which was less understandable. But Jin blamed himself for everything that went wrong around here.

Jungkook didn’t know what to do with himself, but he couldn’t stay in his room anymore. He couldn’t be alone.

Slowly forcing himself up from where he was lying in bed, Jungkook made his way out of his room towards Jin’s door.

From outside Jin’s door, Jungkook could hear the hiccupping sobs from the boy inside.

Jungkook hesitated, but forced himself to knock on Jin’s door.

“Jin hyung?”

There was the sound of a shaky breath being taken, and the blowing of a nose. Then Jin’s shaking voice telling him to come in.

Jungkook opened Jin’s door to find the older boy sitting of the couch, quickly wiping tears away from his eyes. The older boy’s eyes were still red and puffy. Dark circles were under were under his eyes.

“Hey Kookie,” Jin said, his voice raspy. “How are you holding up?”

Jungkook went to sit beside Jin, “I feel like that’s the question I should be asking you.”

Jin wiped a few more tears from his eyes, “Oh you know. Getting by.”

Jungkook looked at the boy who had taken care of him throughout this time here. He thought about how Jin rarely showed when he was hurt, always holding it in. He remembered their conversation from a few weeks ago. About how Jin didn’t feel like his hurts was worth everyone else’s attention.

“Jin hyung,” Jungkook said softly, “It’s okay. You don’t have to pretend to be better then you are.”

“I just…” More tears leaked out of Jin’s eyes, “I can’t….”

Then Jin was crying. Fully sobbing. His whole body shook as tears streamed down his face.

Jungkook went to go hug his friend, for once being the strong one. For once letting Jin be the one who needed supporting.

“Everything will be okay,” Jungkook comforted, echoing the words the Jin had so often told all of them.

“But how can it. I failed him. I let him….”

“No, you didn’t.” Jungkook cut him off. “And don’t ever let yourself this that. It may not look like it now, but things will get better. No today, but one day. I promise.”

Jungkook didn’t know how long they sat there, Jin crying, and Jungkook holding him.

They sat there as the sun set, and the room became dark around them. Until Jungkook eventually felt Jin fall asleep, exhausting himself from all the tears.

 

 

This was why Jimin didn’t want to care. After his brother’s death, he swore to himself that he wouldn’t let himself grow attached. He wouldn’t open this heart to anyone.

Of course, that promise fell apart as soon as he boarded that train that brought him here.

When Taehyung left, Jimin was sad. He missed his friend dearly, but got through it by thinking that his friend was in a better place.

Then Namjoon and Yoongi had left. That had left another crack in Jimin’s heart, but they were pursuing their dreams. Plus, they at least said goodbye and promised to visit. He would see them again. At least that’s what he told himself.

Jimin told himself he could handle his friends leaving because they moved on to better things. Then leaving didn’t have to mean he would never see them again.

But then Hoseok died, and Jimin’s heart couldn’t handle another hit.

Jimin was back, lost in the sea of his grief, but this time he had no refuge. This place that once was a life raft, was now filled with memories that pulled him back down trying to drown him.

They had buried Hoseok in the cemetery close by. At least that’s what Jin had told Jimin through his door.

Although he might regret it later, Jimin couldn’t get himself to leave his room. He had already been to one funeral in his short twenty-two years on this planet, and that was more than enough to last a lifetime.

Jin had been knocking on his door periodically, trying to get him to get out. Maybe it was selfish for him to hide any from the others, but leaving his room meant dealing with the fact that Hoseok’s smiling face wouldn’t be out there to greet him.

Jimin had been spending much of his time in isolation sitting in the bathtub. Sinking below the water’s surface. As if he could drown himself in water, as well as his sorrows. Mostly, the water muffled the sounds of his crying. At least that’s what he told himself.

He hadn’t had to use the bathroom as a way to hide his tears in a while. Pretty much a year. It was both familiar and foreign.

Jimin didn’t know what else to do. He didn’t know how to move on. Maybe time would help, but it certainly didn’t feel like that right now.

It was some days after Jin broke the news that Jungkook came storming into Jimin’s room.

Jungkook entered the room to find Jimin curled in a ball on the bed, a blanket pulled tight around him.

“Kookie?” Jimin said sitting up in surprise, letting the blanket to fall to the floor.

“Hyung, it’s been a week.”

Had it? Jimin had lost track of time as he had locked himself away. The week had felt like both a second, and an eternity.

“How did you get in here?” Jimin asked, his voice raspy from all the crying and from not being in use.

“I took Jin’s extra key. But that’s not import-“

Jimin cut him off, curling back into a ball and pulling the blanket back around him. “I don’t really feel like talking Kookie.”

Jimin’s voice sounded emotionless as he said the words. If only his heart could be as emotionless.

“No,” Jungkook said angrily, walking over and pulling the blanket off of Jimin and away from his reach. “It’s been a week. You haven’t been eating. We haven’t seen you since Jin broke the news. Jin might think that letting you have your space is what you need, but no. It’s clearly not if all you’re going to do is lay there and wallow.

“What happened sucks.” Continued Jungkook, his anger fading a bit. “I hate it. But it’s times like this when we ne-“

Jimin sat up at the younger boy’s lecture, and cutting him off before he could finish, “And how do you know what I need.”

“Look at yourself Jimin hyung,” Jungkook sighed. “You can’t honestly tell me that this is good for you. You need-“

All the emotions that had been swirling inside Jimin that he had been trying to keep in finally exploded. “What I need is to stop growing attached to people who will leave. What I need is to be able to leave my room without seeing memories of Hobi hyung everywhere I turn. What I need is… I don’t even know. What I need is just for everything to stop.” Tears started to spill from Jimin’s eyes. “I need to stop caring.”

Jungkook who had been staring there wide eyed, sat down beside the crying boy and pulled Jimin into a hug.

“I’m sorry. I’m such a mess.” Jimin said between sobs, his head buried in Jungkook’s shoulder. “It’s just, I miss him so much. I’m angry at him for dying. I’m angry at myself for being angry. I’m just… I miss him.”

“I miss him too,” Jungkook said, silent tears falling from his eyes.

“I miss all of them. Everyone’s leaving. I can’t leave my room without their memories haunting me and making me miss them more.”

“I won’t leave you.” Jungkook whispered into Jimin’s ear. “I won’t leave you.”

Jimin pulled away from Jungkook to look him in the eye, “Promise?”

Jungkook returned Jimin’s stare. “I promise.”

“I don’t think I can bear it out there,” Jimin said looking down at his lap. “Every time I think about leaving this room, all the memories of Hobi hyung come back. I don’t think I could leave my room without…”

Jimin let himself trail off as he got lost in his memories.

A voice form the doorway pulled him out of his thoughts. “Then you should leave.”

“Jin hyung.” Jungkook said in surprise, looking slightly guilty at the boy in the doorway.

“You stole my keys.” Jin said looking at the Jungkook.

“Sorry,” Jungkook mumbled. “I-“

“It’s alright,” Jin said stepping through the open door. “I’m glad you did.” Jin then turned his gaze to Jimin. “Slight confession. The walls here are pretty thin. So, I might have heard most of your conversation. I’m sorry for leaving you on your own for so long.”

“No,” Jimin said. “I’m sorry for locking myself away.”

“Jimin, I shouldn’t have made you have to deal with all this on your own. I’m sor-“

Jungkook interrupted him, “I swear. Both of you need to stop apologising for having feelings.”

“Sorry,” Jimin and Jin mumbled together, causing each other to give a small smile.

Jimin had once again sworn off growing attached, but there were still two people who had managed to dig hooks into his heart.

“Jiminie,” Jin said slowly. “If you’re haunted by memories here, maybe it’s time for you to leave.”

The smile on Jimin’s lips faded at Jin’s words. “Please don’t push me away too.”

“Oh, Jimin no,” Jin said quickly. “I’m not trying to push you away. It’s just… how do it put this.”

Jungkook cut in, “Jimin, if this is no longer a good place for you, you shouldn’t have to stay here.”

“Then both of you come with me then. We can all leave, start somewhere new. Maybe we could find Yoongi hyung and Joonie hyung.”

Jungkook and Jin shred a look that Jimin didn’t understand.

“What?” Jimin questioned.

“Jimin,” Jin said carefully, “This is my home, and I ca-… I don’t want to leave it.”

“But Jin hyun-” Jimin started to protest.

“Please don’t ask me to leave with you Jimin. It’s already hard enough having to let you go, please don’t make it harder.”

“Then I’ll stay then.” Jimin said, with firm resolve.

“No Jimin. You deserve to have a life outside this place. You shouldn’t be tired to this place because I am. Please, find a place where you can live your life without it falling to tragedy at every turn.”

“But how could I leave, knowing you would stay?”

There was a moment of silence where Jin looked like he was trying to figure out what to say to get Jimin to leave.

Jungkook pipped up. “I’m going to leave.” This earned shocked looks from both older boys. As the words came out Jimin could see the conflict in the younger boy’s eyes as he said it. “I… I don’t want to stay anymore. I mean, the silence is driving me nuts. Yeah… I’m going to leave.”

Jin and Jungkook looked at each other once again. There was a silent conversation going on between them that Jimin couldn’t decipher.

Jimin turned to the younger boy. “Jungkookie, you can’t mean that.”

Whatever silent conversation was going on between Jin and Jungkook ended as both boys turned their gaze to Jimin.

“I really do,” said Jungkook, although somewhat reluctantly.

Jimin looked at him in shock, “How could you say that? You promised that you wouldn’t leave me.”

“Then come with me.”

“Jimin,” Jin said, placing his hands on Jimin’s shoulders. “You deserve to find somewhere that will make you happy, and this is no longer that place. This is the place that makes me happy, but it’s not yours. You need to find that place for you.”

There was a moment of hesitation as Jimin looked between Jin and Jungkook. Both boys looked at him expectantly, awaiting his decision.

“Please come with me Jimin hyung,” Jungkook said. “We’ll start somewhere new. Things will be better. You’ll see.”

Slowly, Jimin nodded, giving in. “I’ll go.” There was a clear reluctance in his voice. “I don’t like leaving Jin hyung, but… I’ll go.”

“I don’t like you leaving either,” Jin said, giving Jimin that sad smile he had grown accustomed to. “But I take comfort in knowing that you are finding your happiness.”

~
They started packing the next day, with the plan for them to leave that night.

As Jin put it, to rip the Band-Aid off quickly.

Jungkook said that there was some family home that they could stay at while they got themselves together and figured out what’s next.

Packing was much harder for Jimin than for Jungkook. Jungkook had been there the shortest amount of time, and therefore hadn’t had as much time to amass many things.

Jimin on the other hand had been then much longer, and he liked to store memories in objects.

Jin came to check on him and bring him food sometime around lunch. Jimin still refused to leave his room, but Jin was at least able to get him to eat.

“How’s it going,” Jin asked, as Jimin slowly ate the food that was brought to him.

Jimin shrugged, “S’all right I guess. I have too much stuff.”

“Do you need another bag? I can find another one.”

“No, it’s okay. I’ll manage to fit it all in.”

As Jimin ate, Jin walked around his room, looking at all the keepsakes Jimin had gathered throughout the year.

There was a feather from the pillow fight. A shell from the beach. An empty can of silly string. The picture of his brother’s shoes hanging from a tree. There were things from events that Jimin would have forgotten if not for the keepsakes.

“Are you going to bring all of them with you?”

Jimin shrugged, finishing off the plate of food. “I haven’t decided yet. They all hold good memories, but I don’t know. Those memories have turned sad.” Jimin looked over at his collection and was hit with a wave of nostalgia. “They are less good memories now, more like reminders that people leave. Maybe I should just leave them.”

Taking a seat on the floor by his suitcase, Jimin started folding his clothes and placing them inside the open bag.

Jin came to sit beside Jimin, facing him. “Jiminie, promise me something okay?”

Jimin stopped packing to look at the older boy, “What is it?”

“Promise me you won’t lock yourself away. That you won’t lock away your heart because you’re scared of getting hurt.”

There was a pause where Jimin struggled to speak. He turned back to his half-filled suitcase, not being able to look Jin in the eyes. “I don’t think I can make that promise.”

“Why not?”

“Because every time I let people in, I get hurt. I can’t…” Tears were building in Jimin’s eyes. “I can’t open my heart knowing that people will just leave.”

“Oh Jimin,” Jin placed a hand on Jimin’s shoulder. “Having a big heart isn’t a bad thing.”

“Isn’t it? I didn’t ask for this. All it does, is get me hurt when people eventually leave.”

“But there are people who won’t leave you. Look at Jungkook, he won’t leave you. He won’t let you be alone.”

“But what about you?” Jimin countered, looking at Jin. “You’re pushing me out, telling me to go. Did I do something wrong? Do you not want me here anymore?”

Jin looked like he had been punched in the gut as the words came out of Jimin’s mouth and he instantly regretted them.

“I’m sorry Jin hyung. I shouldn’t have said that. That wasn’t fair to you.”

It took a moment for Jin to speak again. “Listen to me as I say this, okay Jimin? The world promises you nothing. You have to fight for your own happiness. Fight through all the shit the world throws at you.

“I hate seeing you go, but I can’t go with you. It’s not fair to ask you to stay here with me here when you should be out there trying to find and fight for your share of happiness. This place is no longer that place for you. So, go out there and find it. And that might mean having to open your heart again. And it might mean getting hurt again, but in the end when you’ve find yourself in a good place. A place where you’re undoubtedly happy. That pain will be worth it.

“So, promise me that you’ll fight for your happiness okay? That you won’t close your heart and not give yourself a chance.”

Shocked by Jin’s speech, all Jimin could do was nod.

“Good,” Jin said patting the younger boy’s shoulder. “I have something for you. Another memory I guess, but I hope you’ll keep it with you to remember.”

Jin pulled out a photo from his pocket, and passed it to Jimin. It was a picture from their day at the beach, when Jin had gathered them all around the truck to take a picture.

“Jin hyung, you aren’t in the picture.”

“I don’t have to be in the picture for you to remember me. Just use this as a reminder of the happiness you’re trying to find.”

Jimin nodded looking at the picture. He remembered the sun on his face, the laugher in the air. Looking at the picture, Jimin hoped he could find the happiness he felt when this was taken.

“Also,” Jin said flipping the picture over revealing the writing on the back. “If you even need me, I’ll be a phone call away.”

Jimin read the name Jin had written on the back of the photo, “Kim Seokjin? That’s your name?”

“Yeah. But Jin is just faster to say. Easier to call out in an emergency.” Jin joked.

Jimin flipped the picture over again, and looked at the smiling faces before carefully placing the picture in his shirt pocket.

“Thank you Jin hyung.”

“It was nothi-“

“I don’t just mean for the picture,” Jimin said, cutting Jin off. “For everything. For staying by my side. For caring.”

“Always,” Jin said pulling the younger boy into a hug. “Even when you’re gone, I’ll always still care about you.”

After their conversation, Jin left Jimin to finish packing.

Jimin managed to fit everything into his suitcase, with only a bit of difficulty. He decided to leave behind his collection of memories, save the one tucked in his shirt pocket, and the picture of his brother’s white shoes.

Once Jimin was done packing, he took a trip to the graveyard.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Jin had asked him when Jimin poked his head into Jin’s room to tell him where he was going. Jimin had said no. This was something he wanted to do on his own.

Jimin didn’t want to leave before saying goodbye, knowing he would regret it if he did.

The walk to the graveyard was snowy but short. Fat snowflakes fell from the sky as he walked. Jimin had to brush the snow off a few tombstones before he located the one belonging to his friend.

Jimin never knew what to do at times like this. When his brother had first died, he had visited his grave almost every day before he took the habit of wearing his brother’s shoes around his neck. Jimin also ended up just talking, like his brother was in front of him to help carry the conversation.

So that’s what Jimin did. He talked to Hoseok about what had happened, and what would happen. He let out his anger that Hoseok had left them. He talked about his fears, and how guilty he felt about his excitement. Mostly he talked about how much he missed his friend, and his regrets.

“Goodbye Hobi hyung.” Jimin said as he got up to leave. “Thank you for your kindness and hope. Wherever you are, I hope you’re happy. Please protect Jin hyung. He’s going to be lonely, so if you can, please look out for him.

“I’ll miss you.” A sad smile creeped onto Jimin’s face as he remembered his friend’s smile. “I miss you. I promise I won’t forget you.”

Saying what he had to say, Jimin left. Before he fully left the graveyard, Jimin turned around one last time, letting the sight of his friend’s grave be engraved into his memory.

Snow was still falling when they boarded a train that night. Much like when Yoongi and Namjoon left, a train was waiting for them when they arrived at the train station.

“So, I guess this is it,” Jin said looking at the two leaving boys.

“Don’t say that,” Jungkook said. “We’ll come back and visit. Like actually. I promise. And we’ll call.”

Jin gave them his signature sad smile. “I would like that. But don’t worry about me okay, I’ll be okay.”

“Maybe one day, you’ll be able to leave and join us.” Jungkook said. There was a hopefulness in those words.

A look passed between Jungkook and Jin.

“I look would look forward to that day.” Jin said quietly.

Jimin was confused by their exchange, but didn’t get to ask before Jin pulled Jungkook into a hug.

“Take care of yourself Kookie. Take care of one another.”

“Same to you Jin hyung. Thank you for everything.”

When they pulled away, Jimin could see unshed tears in both their eyes.

Jin moved over to Jimin, pulling him into a big hug.

“Bye Jiminie. Take care,” Jin whispered into his ear. “Find your happiness.”

“I will,” Jimin whispered back, tears starting to build in his eyes. “I hope you find yours too.”

Jimin wished that he never had to let go, but eventually Jin pulled away, wiping tears from his eyes.

They boarded the train, and stared out the window waving goodbye to Jin as the train pulled away. Jimin letting the tears he had been holding in finally fall.

“Things are going to be okay,” Jungkook said quietly after they both tore their eyes from the window. “I won’t leave you, I promise.”

Jimin gave Jungkook a teary smile, “I know. Thanks Kookie.”

Both Jungkook and Jimin fell asleep as the train barreled away from their home, carrying them towards the unknown.

They awoke to the train stopping.

Quickly gathering their stuff, they hopped off the train.

“Do you know where we are?” Jimin asked, looking around. They seemed to be in the middle of a shipping yard or something of that sort.

“Yeah,” Jungkook said, starting to walk in a direction. “I know the way. It shouldn’t be too far.”

They walked in silence as snow fell around them, crunching at their feet. The sounds of the city filled their ears, much different than the calming quiet of the motel.

“Your family would be okay that I’m staying with you right?” Jimin asked.

“Yeah,” Jungkook answered, looking around. “Not that they would care much. I don’t think anyone would be there, but they shouldn’t care. It’s not like they’ve cared in the past, why would they care now.” He mumbled the last part.

“Sorry what was that?”

“Nothing. My parents would be fine with you staying.”

It was dark as they walked, streetlights lighting their way.

“Maybe we can find Yoongi hyung and Namjoon hyung,” Jungkook suggested. “I know we don’t know exactly where they are, but they said somewhere close to the university right. I’m sure we could find them if we looked hard enough.”

“Hmm, maybe we’ll even bump into Taehyung.” Jimin added.

“Yeah. If we’re all in the city, there’s a chance for us to all see each other. We can bring our group back together. Maybe we can even all go back to visit Jin hyung together. Wouldn’t that be a surprise.”

Jimin appreciated Jungkook’s effort to try to raise his spirits. Jimin could help but feel hopeful at the prospects of maybe finding his friends.

Jungkook kept talking, “There’s so much we can do.” A genuine smile was on his face. “Things are going to be good Jimin hyung. You’ll see. Oh, we need to cross here.”

They had come to a road, and they waited for the light to turn, before stepping out into the street.

Jungkook continued, “Tomorrow will be a new day. It might take some time, but things will be good.”

Jimin nodded along, and was about to say something when the sound of tires screeching filled the night.

The last thing he saw was the lights of a car barreling towards them.

Chapter Text

Taehyung was in trouble, but what else was new. Ever since he left the motel it seemed like he wasn’t able to stay out of it.

Taehyung was in a police station

“Really kid,” The police officer in front of him said typing into the computer in front of him. “Name?”

Taehyung wasn’t looking at the officer when the question was asked, instead looking around the station trying to figure out how he was going to talk his way out of this.

Graffiti and defacing public property. That was what Taehyung got dragged into the station for.

“Hey kid,” The officer in front of him said while snapping his fingers in from to Taehyung’s face to grab back his attention. “I asked for your name.”

“Kim Taehyung.”

The sound of keys being pressed filled the otherwise silent police station. It was as if they were the only ones there.

“Age?”

“Twenty-two”

“Parents?”

Now that question opened up a can of worms. Taehyung pushed down the memories, which he was getting pretty good at. Since he had left the motel, the memories started popping up more frequently.

“Don’t have any.” And it was pretty much true. He didn’t have parents. At least not now.

The officer frowned at Taehyung’s answer, but didn’t question that futher.

The officer took a drink from a water bottle on the table, reminding him of another man. His father.

It reminded him of the last few months with his family. How his dad would drink, and get angry, and get violent.

Taehyung suddenly longed for another family. The family he had made for himself. For not the first time since he left them, he desperately wanted to go back. He missed them.

It was that feeling that lead him to ask for a phone call.

The officer lead him to a room, and left Taehyung there to make his call.

The room was bare except for a singular desk with a phone resting on top.

Taehyung wasn’t thinking clearly when he made the request for a call. Once the phone was in his hand, he suddenly realised that he had no one to call.

The only people he wanted to talk to, he didn’t have a number to reach them.

Taehyung was about to put the phone back on the receiver when the he heard a voice speak from the phone in his hand.

“Your call is being forwarded,” The voice on the phone said. “Please hold.”

Confused, Taehyung stood there waiting to see what would happen next.

Eventually the voice of a woman came through the phone, “Hello? Is this Mr. Kim?”

“Yes, this is. I’m sorry, who is this?”

“This is the Wings Medical Institute. We tried reaching you earlier about your friend Park Jimin. We found your number written on a photo in your friend’s pocket.”

A knot of worry started building in Taehyung’s stomach. Why was a hospital calling him about Jimin? What had happened.

Before Taehyung could ask any questions, the woman on the other end spoke. “Let me pass the phone to your friend.”

The was the muffled sounds of quiet conversation, and the sounds of the phone being passed.

“Jin hyung?” Jimin’s voice finally came through the phone.

Jimin’s voice sounded scratchy, like each word was a struggle to get out. Taehyung could hear the grief laced in those two words, and it made his heart break.

“Hey Jiminie. It’s actually Taehyung.”

“Taehyung?”

“Um yeah.”

There was a beat of silence.

“You left.”

There was so much heartbreak in Jimin’s voice as he said those two words. Once again Taehyung felt a wave of regret for leaving the others.

“I’m sorry.”

There was a moment of silence where Taehyung gathered the courage to ask what he needed to.

Finally, Taehyung managed to force out the question.

“Jimin, what happened? Why are you in the hospital?”

There was another beat of silence, then Jimin’s quiet voice as he choked out the words. “They’re dead.”

Jimin’s sobs echoed through the phone.

Panic was bursting out of Taehyung as he asked, “Jimin, who died.”

“Hoseok,” Jimin said between sobs. “and… and Jungkook.”

Taehyung stood there, shocked by the news. The only sound as he tried to process the news was Jimin crying at the end of the other line.

Through the crying, Taehyung was able to make out a few Jimin’s whispered words. Something about a promise not to leave.

“Jimin,” Taehyung’s voice cracked as he said his friend’s name. “Are you okay? Why are you in the hospital?”

“I was with Jungkook when he…” Jimin took a big shaky breath. “There was a car that ran a light, and well…”

“Are you okay?” Taehyung asked again.

Taehyung heard Jimin draw in then let out another shaky breath before he heard, “Tae, I can’t feel my legs.”

Just when Taehyung didn’t think things could get worse.

Jimin continued, “The doctors said the feeling might come back with time, but for now I’m stuck here.”

There was the sound of a door opening. Looking up, Taehyung saw the officer standing by the door.

“Two more minutes,” The officer told him.

“Listen Jiminie,” Taehyung said urgently. “I can’t come to you now, but I promise I’ll come get you.”

“What happened Tae?” Jimin asked timidly. His voice was still scratchy, but he had managed to stop his tears. “How much longer till I can see you?”

“I’m actually in the police station right now.” A dry laugh escaped from Taehyung. “I got myself in a bit of a mess. But as soon as I’m released, I promise, I’ll come to you. Just wait a little bit okay?”

Another beat of silence.

“I miss you Tae.”

“I miss you too Jiminie.”

Taehyung wished he could travel through the phone to where Jimin was. He wished he hadn’t been so stupid, and left them. They ended up hurt anyway. If he stayed he could at least comfort his friend.

Taehyung imaged Jimin alone in a hospital. Afraid, and grieving. He so desperately wanted to be with his friend.

“Time’s up,” The officer said from the door.

Taehyung hadn’t been able to ask about the others. He wished he had an infinite amount of time to talk to his friend. To truly make sure he would be okay.

“Jimin, I have to go now. I promise you, I’ll come find you. Just stay there a little longer.”

“How many more nights?”

“I don’t know Jimin,” Taehyung said looking at the impatient officer. “If you just wait a few more nights. I’m sorry Jimin, but I have to go now. Stay there, okay? I’ll come get you.”

“Okay Tae,” Jimin said quietly, “I’ll see you soon. Please hurry.”

“I’ll try. Bye Jimin.”

“Goodbye Tae.”

It was one of the hardest things Taehyung had ever done putting down the phone to end the call with his hurting friend.

Once the phone was back in its place, the officer came a lead Taehyung out of the room.

As they walked out, Jimin’s voice echoed in Taehyung’s head.

Just stay there a little longer, Taehyung found himself thinking, I’ll come get you.

Chapter Text

When Jin had no one to take care of, he often ended up forgetting to take care of himself. What was the point of cooking if you only had to feed yourself? It wasn’t like he could die anyway.

It was a bad habit that Jin thought he would have lost after six boys stumbled into his life.

Turns out he was wrong.

Sitting at the kitchen table, Jin was just staring at the wilting flowers in front of him.

He had placed the vase of flowers there a few weeks back hoping it would add a bit of life to his empty room. He still wasn’t used to the quiet. He would never be use to the quiet. He hated the quiet.

There was an apple sitting on the plate in front of him which Jin couldn’t bring himself to eat. He got as far as picking up the apple, before he eventually let the apple drop back to his plate uneaten.

Jin let out a sigh as he slowly raised his pink camera that was sitting in his lap to snap a picture of the withering flowers in front of him. The picture developed and he added it to the pile of photos much like that were piling up on the table in front of him.

It had been a year since they had all left. Thinking about them made Jin’s heart ache.

He missed them.

Every time he thought about the six boys who walked into his life, it left him feeling like there was a big gaping hole in his chest.

Jin didn’t know what to expect when they left, but he at least thought that they would maybe call every now and then. He wondered if they still thought about him.

After Jimin and Jungkook had left, it had been radio silence. Same as with Yoongi and Namjoon. Not that he blamed them. They had lives now. They had better things to do then to stay in the past.

In the year since everyone’s departure, Jin had not seen a single soul.

He still faithfully made the trip to the train station every day hoping that someone would be there waiting. New or familiar, he didn’t care. He just wanted someone to end the crushing loneliness.

Yet no one came. He was alone.

Jin pushed his chair away from the table and walked over to his mess of a desk. His desk was covered with boxes filled with pictures. Some from his time before he had come here. However, most were taken here.

Jin took one of the boxes off the desk and went to sit on his bed.

Dumping the contents of the box onto his bed, Jin started looking through the pictures of his time with the boys.

The pictures he took of them knowing that he would need them on days like today.

Jin found himself smiling as he rifled through the pictures, the memories of those happier times coming back to him.

He hated them for leaving.

He hated himself more for telling them to go.

He hated himself for feeling this way. He hated that he let himself care when he already knew from the begaining that this would be how it ended.

He hated feeling this way, but no matter how hard he tried, Jin couldn’t stop himself from caring. He couldn’t force himself to forget them.

Jin had once tried to burn these pictures, but couldn’t get himself to drop the match. Instead he found himself just staring at the ground. The smiling faces in the pictures looked back up at him as tears welled in his eyes.

He missed them. But there was nothing he could do to lessen the ache in his chest when he thought of them.

Jin wished he could turn back time and go back to that summer. Go back to that sea when it felt only happiness. Go back to before it all fell apart.

He was warned, and some naïve part of him hoped that maybe they wouldn’t leave. That maybe he could get some happiness. That something for once wouldn’t fall apart.

Jin rubbed his eyes and turned to face his window. Blinking and the brightness spewing from the behind the curtain he pulled the white billow curtains back.

It was a sunny winter’s day. The snow-covered ground reflected the sun making the world seem much brighter than it actually was.

The afternoon sun shone on Jin’s face, and he closed his eyes enjoying it. He focused on the sun’s warth rather then the crushing loneliness in his heart.

Opening his eyes, Jin caught his reflection in the glass. His face looked gaunt, and there were dark circles under his eyes. Jin sighed, running his fingered through his unkempt hair.

His reflection surprised him, but not really. Considering how well he had been looking after himself lately, his apperence shouldn’t be that surprising.

Turning back to the bed, Jin carefully returned the pictures to their box and set the box back on his desk.

It had been a year since they left. A year alone. One year out of who knew how many more.

The place had offered him a way out. It had shown it had revealed itself to Jungkook, and when the younger boy confronted Jin with his questions, the place had whispered into Jin’s ear.

This is your way out, the place whispered. He figured it out. If you can get him to stay, you could leave. Isn’t that what you want? To leave.

Jin wanted so despratly to leave. To once again be free.

But he couldn’t do that to Jungkook. He wouldn’t let anyone else be trapped there.

So, Jin let them leave. Maybe one day Jin would be able to find another way out, but for now he would stay if that meant they all would be free. If it meant that they could be happy.

There were days where he regreted it. Days like today where everything seemed like too much. Where is felt like there was no possible way for him to go on. But he had made his choice and now he would have to live with it.

Jin knew it was the right thing to do, but sometimes he imaged what life would be like if could leave. Where would he go? What was out there that he was missing being trapped in here.

This year he would try hard to forget them, Jin promised himself. This year he would try harder to move on.

He would find a way to fight through the loneliness. Find a way out.

Jin looked out again at the snow-covered landscape outside his window.

This winter season will pass, Jin told himself, and a spring day will come.

Here’s to hoping for better days.

Chapter Text

Jin was sitting in his truck, windows rolled down as he stared at the sea.

The sun was shining, and Jin watched as people milled around as some new pop song played over the radio.

Jin was surprised to find this beach filled with people when arrived. It was so different then when he had been there years ago, and the only other people in sight were the six boys he had brought with him.

This time Jin was surrounded by people, and the white noise of chatter filled the air. Yet Jin felt utterly alone.

After that first year when everyone had left, Jin swore he would find a way out. It had taken him time, and he was still bound, but he found the loop holes that at least let him leave for a couple hours here and there.

In the end, Jin still had to go back. He would always have to go back. But the few bouts of freedom made the whole thing a bit more bearable.

A throbbing pain was building in Jin’s head as he watched the sea. The sun reflecting off the water, in to his eyes.

Jin blinked at the blinding brightness.

Maybe there was a pair of sunglasses here somewhere. Jin never knew what would pop up in the car. Much like the motel, things had the habit of suddenly appearing.

Jin pulled opened the glove compartment, and rummaged around seeing what he could find.

Jin finally successfully located a pair of sunglasses.

As he removed the glasses from the glove compartment, Jin noticed a scrap of paper caught in the folded glasses.

Jin removed the paper and was about to shove it back into the glove compartment, when he finally noticed what it was.

It wasn’t a scrap of paper. Looking at it more carefully, he saw it was a Polaroid picture.

Specifically, the picture that Namjoon took on the two-day road trip.

Jin stared at the picture, letting the memories of that night rush back. The dimly lit picture showed only Jin smiling at the camera, but Jin knew that Yoongi’s head had popped up beside him as the picture was taken.

The darkness didn’t allow Yoongi’s face to appear, but Jin could still picture Yoongi’s soft tired smile.

Jin let a wave of sadness build up for a moment before pushing it back down. He had done such a good job trying to forget. He was practically there. Forgetting was kinder than remembering and blaming them for leaving.

As if taunting him, the radio announcer started introducing the new song of an up and coming rapper and producer. Someone named Agust D.

Then suddenly, the truck was filled with the sound of Yoongi’s voice.

It was a sad song. A song about hurt, and longing. But it was also a bit hopeful.

Jin closed his eyes as he listened to the rise and fall of Yoongi’s voice. In that moment, Jin allowed himself to miss him. He allowed himself to miss all of them.

Jin had spent so much time and effort stopping himself from caring. Stopping himself from falling apart every time he thought of them.

Look at him now. All that effort shattered, the longing just as deep as the day they all left.

By the end of the song silent tears had begun rolling down Jin’s cheeks.

Quickly wiping his eyes, Jin put on the sunglasses that were still clutched in his hands. He took a few steadying breaths before proceeding to drive away from the beach.

Jin knew what he had to.

What he had been putting off since he had found his tentative freedom.

Screw forgetting, it was time to find the others.

The gas station’s florescent lights made it a beacon of light to its dark surroundings.

Namjoon sighed as he sat by one of the pumps, reading a book, waiting for a car to come.

Namjoon was in the first year of post grad, but old habits die hard and there was something comforting to doing something familiar. He was working at a gas station close to campus in his spare time.

By spare time, he meant his spare nights.

Whenever he showed up for a shift, Namjoon couldn’t help but think back to a different time. Back to when he was lost to himself, but not to the people around him.

Now it felt like the opposite was true.

Over the few years Namjoon and Yoongi had slowly drifted apart. There was nothing in particular that drove them apart. They just both became busy.

Yoongi got signed into some company, and was following his dream of making music. Namjoon poured everything he had into his studies. They still talked occasionally, but it was hard to find a time for them to meet up since they had stopped living together.

Namjoon often thought about those he had left at the motel.

The spring break of their first year away he and Yoongi had tried visiting, only to find that they couldn’t re-find the motel. They had tried calling the number Jin had given them, only to hear an operator telling them the line had been disconnected.

Namjoon wondered how they all were.

Namjoon missed Jungkook’s curiosity, and Jimin’s smiles. He missed the way they would laugh at some secret joke between them. He even missed Taehyung, and had tried to find him now they both were in the city, but had no luck.

Namjoon missed Hoseok. He hoped Hoseok was okay, and that he had sorted through whatever it was that brought him so much pain. Maybe Hoseok had left the motel by now. Maybe he would try to find him.

Namjoon even missed Yoongi. He knew that if they really wanted to, they could make a greater effort to see each other. He should do that. Yoongi was one of the few friends he had.

Mostly, Namjoon missed Jin. He missed Jin’s concerned eyes, and his constant nagging for him to eat. He missed the stupid jokes the older boy would make to diffuse tension. He missed their late-night talks.

Namjoon missed his friend so much, but knew there was nothing he could do about it. Maybe if he had tried harder to keep in contact earlier on they wouldn’t be out of touch now.

As much as he missed them, Namjoon was grateful that Jin had pushed him out. He now could see that he would never have left on his own. But part of him knew that he would always regret having to leave the older boy behind.

A pickup truck rolled into the gas station, pulling Namjoon out of his thoughts. He sighed as he put down his book and got up to greet the customer.

One more hour to go and he would be free to go. Namjoon tiredly ran a hand through his hair as he walked towards the truck thinking of all the things he had to finish up before he could sleep.

Namjoon stopped in front of the driver’s side window. The stared at his reflection in the truck’s tinted windows, waiting for the driver to rolled them down.

As the driver finally rolled down he window, Namjoon stepped back in surprise.

Was he dreaming? Was this some hallucination because he had just been thinking about him? He looked not a day older then when Namjoon had left, but his hair was cut slightly different, and there was a new weariness in his eyes.

“Jin hyung,” Namjoon finally managed to get out, still looking at the boy in surprise. Still not believing that Jin was actually there.

Jin gave Namjoon a soft smile while raising his eyebrows. “It’s been a long time.”

Chapter Text

Hello!

It's been a year, but I've finally started posting a part two to this story! It will post every Friday, and will pickup a couple months at the end of this story.

If you've enjoyed reading this please consider reading part two.

Happy reading!

-PBD