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Voices (they're a part of me)

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Voices.

 

Always voices.

 

Well, maybe calling them voices is a bit inaccurate…and provoking (he really didn’t want to deal with the ‘voices’ going off on him right now thank you very much). But as he stood tensely behind the coffee machine trying to persuade it to just go even a tinsy winsy bit faster, while simultaneously trying to mentally block out the noise from the man behind him as well the ones in his head…

 

He thinks that ‘voices’ is pretty accurate.

 

‘Voices’ make noise.

 

Annoying voices.

 

 

Okay, ONE annoying voice who goes by the name Suga. And to be fair, Suga is usually one of the more mellow of the six (albeit if it’s just because he’s too lazy to actually speak half the time).

 

But…

 

Suga… Jimin tried. If he could mentally sigh, he would 100% be doing it at this point.

 

What an actual fucking bitch this guy is. Like actually, shut the fuck up.

 

Suga.

 

Aish, you’re making the coffee as fast as you can, like JESUS FUCK. CALM YOUR FUCKING TITS.

 

SUGA.

 

Jimin stares at the coffee machine like it has personally offended him and takes a deep breath, trying to smooth over his features before he has to inevitable turn back around and face the problem-of-the-day. It wasn’t unusual to have difficult customers. Heck, he works at a coffee shop, basically where people go to stop being so cranky with the help of a good ole cup-of-joe. Not that it makes it any easier to keep smiling and take sleep-deprived people’s orders, but all in a days work. All of them know this. And they know not to make a big deal out of it. Jimin can handle it as Jimin. He doesn’t need for one of them to be In Charge right now. He’s okay. He can do this (he has been doing it for the past six months). They’re only human though and they do care -if Suga’s ranting is anything to go by. He’s always been the most irritable of the seven of them.

 

And he can only take so much.

 

Smoothing a hand through his currently dyed grey hair, Jimin tries to block out the noise. He lets his eyes wander a bit. To his small, chubby hands with stubby fingernails. To the vintage table the coffee machine rests on. To a white scar on his lower arm, right below his left elbow. Honestly, he should be used to this by now. He can’t remember a time where he didn’t have at least one extra voice in his head. But now that he’s living in the ‘normal’ world, trying to live an as ‘normal’ life as he can…having up to six voices in his head (*cough* or just one really loud annoying voice) can get to be a bit much sometimes. Especially with the variety of personalities that those guys have. Seriously, Jimin swears that if they weren’t all in the same body, they could probably be a pretty successful K-pop group or something.

 

“Beep!”

 

He breaks out of his daze with a small audible ‘ah!’ as he hears the coffee machine finish. He stares at the black depths of the coffee for a second.

 

Back to reality.

 

Back to the noise.

 

Back to Suga…

 

This guy must have been dropped on his head as a baby. No one can be THIS DUMB. Does he GET that coffee doesn’t just, like, FUCKING MATERIALIZE out of thin air? Huh!? Aish!

 

Suga   please…

 

Jimin was just about to have another go at quelling the fire Suga when he finally, finally, hears another voice step in.

 

Yah, Suga, Jimin’s got this. Give him some space.

 

Rapmon. Next to Jin, he’s the most levelheaded of the bunch. And the smartest. Jimin honestly has no idea where he gets that IQ from. Probably from being the one In Charge the most when he went to school. He hears another voice pipe up.

 

Nothing he hasn’t handled before, Suuuuugar! Let’s play ‘I-spy’ in the meantime! Wink, wink.

 

It’s fucking Suga. Don’t start this “Sugar” thing again V I swear to FUCKING god.

 

V, did you seriously just say “wink, wink?”

 

Jimin let’s go of some of the tension in his shoulders and giggles softly to himself. It’s almost as if he could her Jungkook’s judgmental stare towards V. Being the newest addition to the bunch, Jungkook has grown on Jimin like a weed. He couldn’t imagine being without him now.

 

He stops himself before he can think any further on just how Jungkook was ‘born’ again.

 

V sounds nearly affronted, Well how else am I supposed to express that I winked two times? I mean, Jimin’s working so he won’t let me be In Charge right now anyway. Pout.

 

Oh. My. God. You actually didn’t just say “pout.”  

 

I already told you why I do it, Jungkookie!

 

That doesn’t mean you should still do it!

 

If I want to, I want to! Sticking-out-my-tongue-at-you!

 

For fuc- JIN MAKE HIM STOP.

 

Jimin takes back what he said before. There are definitely at least three annoying voices.

 

Four if he counts the man at the counter yelling at him.

 

“Yah! You told me my coffee would be done, like, a minute ago!? Take a look, do you see my coffee nice and ready in front of me? No? Me neither! Hurry up! I got places to be and better things to do!”

 

Jimin closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He turns around with a plastered smile on his face. “Your coffee is almost done, sir! I’ll bring it to you as soon as it’s ready.”

 

Jiminnie! Can we go to the pet store today? Or the park? I really want to see puppies!

 

Maybe after work we can switch, V. Honestly, sometimes he thinks that V’s the actual puppy that needs to be walked every few hours. He turns back to the coffee machine and gropes blindly for the lid that slipped from his fingers.

 

The truth is though, Jimin doesn’t really mind switching all that much anymore. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like being cooped up almost 24/7. He’s Jimin now and he wants to try to figure out just who Jimin is. But he also has to keep in mind that there are six others, who are in his opinion, just as real as 'Jimin' is. They respect him, and he respects them. Allowing them some time to just exist in the ‘real world’ seems only fair. Granted, he would like some prior warning before switches.

 

But really, he’s okay with it. He’s trying to be okay with it. Trying to get rid of the guilt from before.

 

It’s still hard though.

 

And maybe Jimin should have been suspicious of how quite Suga was up until now. Maybe then he would have been expecting it, would have been more prepared for it.

 

At times, it’s scary. Feeling yourself slip away without your control.

 

It’s hard to explain what it feels like when you switch your identity mentally. Kinda like you’re being put behind a glass wall that’s kinda foggy. Or falling into crystal clear water. It’s like you’re still there, but you’re not really. Like taking a step back. Falling under a drowsy spell.

 

Most of the time the ‘voices’ (as he’s dubbed them for now) respect that he’s the original owner of the body. More so now that’s he away from his parents. Now that he has put some distance from his past.

 

Certain words or situations do cause one of them to take Charge however.

 

He tries not to hold it against them too much. They can’t help it. It’s what they were ‘born’ to do anyway.

 

Besides, he knows he’ll never be the person he is today without them. Might not even be alive for that matter.

 

But it didn't matter now. He wasn't Jimin anymore, not really. Well, technically all of them (all six of them) were Jimin in a way. They had to come from somewhere. But the 'voices,' Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Rapmon, V, and Jungkook, weren't really him. Sure they were a part of him as in they share the same headspace together, but each one was like a whole different person. Like the seven of them just happened to be trapped in one body together. Like they were destined to be together by the universe! Or at least he tells himself that.

 

It's better than the truth at any rate. 

 

And as Jimin fell back, back into the glossy water, Suga stepped (pushed) forward.

 

~

 

“Why don’t you shut the FUCK up and wait for your god FUCKING damn coffee, HUH!? Or are you too slow to understand even THAT?!” In a blur of grey hair, Suga was upon the man, glaring with a look that would make even the strongest of men falter in their resolve. “Here!” Suga slammed down the paper cup. “You happy now?! You got you DAMN coffee! Now FUCKING LEAVE!”

 

Suga hates people like this. Stupid people.

 

People who don't understand how the world works.

 

Like how it takes more than five fucking seconds to make a fucking cup of coffee.

 

He knows that forcing Jimin into a switch isn't good for him, but he was sooooo done with seeing Jimin taking his shit. He's going get a lecture from Jin or Rapmon (maybe both. Fuck knows they like lecturing him on shit) as soon as he comes down from his anger, they've done it plenty of other times.

 

But FUCK is he so fucking done with this guy.

 

The man had the decency to look shocked for a few seconds. It was like the spirit of a rabid tiger entered the previously meek-looking and soft-spoken boy in front of him. The man tried his best to recover and shake off Suga’s piercing glower before offering an ugly snarl. With an affronted ‘humph,’ he huffed “on second thought, I don’t want any coffee you’ve got to give”

 

Ohhhh Fuck no.

 

Suga saw red.

 

In the back of his head, he heard Jungkook make a small whimper.

 

Grabbing the piping hot coffee, Suga gave a growl. He began to raise his arm, ready to throw the coffee at the fucking awful cunt who dared to fucking insult Jimin. Nobody, and he means NOBODY, messes with Jimin and gets away with it.

 

SUGA STOP IT! You’re going to get Jimin fired!

 

Suga felt the sharp tug of being pulled back forcibly into his headspace. If he was still In Charge, he would have sworn he would have a killer headache from it. He tried to push back, but he was far too angry to really give it a serious effort, the anger preventing him from concentrating on anything else.

 

~

 

JIN… Suga ground out.

 

If you blinked you would’ve missed it, that’s how fast Jin changed Jimin’s face from an angry glare to a polite smile.

 

Holding up the already raised coffee, Jin looked at the man with his ‘worldwide handsome’ smile of his (or so they all joke). “Please sir, you’ll have to forgive me. It’s been a long week. Take your coffee. On the house”

 

The man scoffs, says his final words (“last time you’ll see me here”), and then leaves with that ugly scowl still marring his face.

 

Jin sighs. With the weary voice of a mother, Jin thinks back to Suga. Suga…you know better. You have to control that temper of yours. Jimin was fine. He wasn’t in any danger of getting hurt. You know that. Don’t do this to him.

 

Somewhere in his head, Jin hears an irritable ‘hnnn’ and a defensive murmured ‘he could’ve’ from the hothead.

 

Knowing that those responses were probably the best he’ll get out of Suga for now, Jin searches for Jimin. Most of the time Jimin will come to as soon as one of them steps back from being In Charge. When Jimin willingly gives up being In Charge or is easily coaxed into giving it up, it’s quite easy to him remerge. But with Suga forcing him back so violently…

 

Jin looks away from the retreating figure of the man in favor of smiling politely at the next customer. “Hi! Can I take you- oh Minjun-hyung! How are you doing?”

 

The small man hums to himself for a second, “let me guess…Jin or Rapmon…?”

 

“Jin. But call me ‘Jimin’ please.” The ‘because we’re in public’ went unsaid.

 

Minjun waves him off. “Right, right –you know how I knew this time? It’s because you and,” cough, “Rapmon,” cough, “are the only people who actually ask ‘how I’m doing,’ ya know?” Minjun gives a goofy simile, the type that you would only see in an anime like Naruto.

 

He does kinda look like Naruto when he smiles like that though. He’s already got that bleached hair of his. And he’s short. Oh   oh   we should spike it for him one day!

 

Hush now, J-Hope. Try to find   Jimin   please.

 

“Not here, Minjun-hyung. Please.”

 

“Right. Got it.”

 

Jin watches as Minjun stares intensely at the sweets displayed. Like as if it’s a life or death decision. He clears his throat subtly. “So…are you going have the usual…?”

 

“Yep.” Minjun says, popping the ‘p’ without looking up.

 

As Jin gives a soft sigh, he wonders how this guy is older than Jimin. Heck, he acts like he’s even younger than nineteen!

 

Maybe he should be wondering how this guy even became their therapist (and friend) of all things in the first place.

 

“It’ll just be a minute then, hyung.”

 

As Jin starts gathering the beans for the coffee machine, he lets himself retreat back into their headspace and resumes his search.

 

He tries to feel for the soft and warm anchored presence that is Jimin. Jimin is always the hardest to find when he is forced back in his opinion. Being the ‘original’ identity, he’s not as fluid in his movement as the alternative identities like himself and Rapmon and V and all the others. He was never supposed to be moved from one identity to another in the first place. He was never supposed to have more than one self. So when he does move, he retreats to the deep depths of his mind, as if the original identity is not quite sure what to do with itself.

 

Jin has never been more thankful for that fact when growing up with Jimin.

 

But now, it’s no longer needed.

 

It doesn’t take very long to find Jimin’s presence. He’s good at it. He’s been doing it since Jimin was three years old.

 

Taking hold of the presence, Jin coaxes it forward. Strokes it into consciousness.

 

Jimin. Jimin   come   back now. It’s okay, no need to be afraid. That’s it, almost there. Here, I’ll help. Don’t worry, I’ll always be with you.

 

Jin stays In Charge of the body just enough so that it doesn’t topple over in Jimin’s drowsy state. He feels himself slowly being pushed back by Jimin’s awakening consciousness and grips the table the coffee machine rests on a bit more firmly. It doesn’t hurt. It just feels like you’re drifting off to sleep without losing consciousness. Slowly leaving your body behind.

 

He let’s go completely.

 

~

 

“Jin?” Jin? Jimin whispers with a sleepy slur.

 

Hi, Jimin. I don’t know if you saw but Minjun-hyung   is here. I was making him coffee. The usual. Feel alright to finish?

 

Jimin nods with a hum, still feeling the aftereffects of the switch. Drowsy. A bit disconnected. He presses the espresso button on the coffee machine and lets the sound ground him. Switches usually aren’t that hard on him anymore. They don’t need to be forced as much as…before. And Jimin admits, sometimes it’s scary after a hard switch, waking up and not knowing what day it is, what time, where he is. After those switches he sometimes wishes to just be normal. Free of the voices inside his head.

 

Jimin…? Are you okay, Jungkook’s small innocent voice inquired.

 

Shhhh! We’re supposed to be quite so he can settle in again, V rushes in

 

Ah…I know…he just…kinda seems sad…

 

Rapmon speaks up. We’re not supposed to do that anymore guys…it’s not like back then. If he wants to be Jimin –stay as Jimin– we have to respect that.

 

We’ll be there for him when he needs us or when he wants us to be! Love you, Jimin!

 

But then Jimin thinks again and shakes his head fondly at J-Hope’s words. He would be lost without these ‘voices.’ And calling them ‘voices’ is a bit unfair. He would truely be nothing without them.

 

Over the voices, Jimin hears a soft ‘Jimin?’ He can tell it’s Suga.

 

Jimin? Um…I’m sorry…

 

He wakes up a little more, feels his heart swell at how genuine Suga spoke the words.

 

He rubs the scar on his arm and feels his lips upturn slightly.

 

He loves them.

 

I’ll try not to do it again…I just don’t want to see you get hurt, you know? So yeah…

 

He hears a soft ‘hmmm’ in agreement. He knows it’s Jin.

 

Thank you, Suga. Please don’t do it again. I promise, if I need you –any one of you– I’ll ask.

 

It’s scary being the way he is.

 

You know where to find us. Jin gives with a soft, airy laugh.

 

But the voices inside his head, they’re a part of him.

 

They care. They love him. He knows they do.

 

Family.

 

They’re his family and he loves them. His heart swells even more.

 

 

He loves them.

 

 

 

 

 

He loves them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love you guys.

 

 

Chapter Text

 Jin sometimes wonders who he really is. He sometimes wonders what he really is.

 

 

Is he really his own identity? Or is he just another part of Jimin? Or is he both? He doesn’t really know.

 

 

He tries not to think about it too much. It won’t help thinking about it. Leaves it up to the universe to decide.

 

 

What he does know is that him and Jimin (and the rest of bunch) will always be connected. One way or another, there’s no escaping from being together.

 

 

And Jin’s happy with that. He loves Jimin. He will never leave him. He will be with him.

 

 

Always and forever.

 

 

~

 

 

Jin doesn’t remember much about being ‘born.’ That is to say, how he came into being.

 

 

Jimin told him that it was sometime after his parents started beating him. When he would leave his room and sneak down to the kitchen to try and get some food for himself and his year-and-a-half-year-old brother, Jihyun.

 

 

Jimin was only three and had to drag a chair in order to climb on top of the counter to get to the crackers and bread.

 

 

Sometimes, if he was lucky, his would parents leave a bowl of watermelon in the fridge. Leftovers from the house parties they had. It was too heavy to carry upstairs to his room, so he would sneak Jihyun down and they would quietly eat a bit out of the bowl.

 

 

It was one of those nights when their parents came back home. Loud and rambunctious from partying a bit too hard and drinking a bit too much.

 

 

In an effort to put the bowl back and drag his brother upstairs, Jimin’s tiny hands dropped the bowl. It didn’t shatter, but a piece fell off and it made a heck of a noise.

 

 

Jimin’s parents, upon seeing their kids sticky and pinkish from the watermelon, become outraged and his mother grabbed Jimin harshly, slapping him across the face.

 

 

Jimin was getting used to it. He was learning how to take it, even with the tears dripping down his face and whimpers escaping from his lips.

 

 

This was not how Jin was ‘born’ though. As he said, he doesn’t remember much on how he was ‘born.’ Jimin doesn’t really know that much either honestly.

 

 

But he does remember why he was ‘born.’

 

 

Their parents have yet to lay a hand on Jihyun during his short life, something that Jimin was eternally grateful for.

 

 

That night was different.

 

 

Their father, a stern looking man stuck in an office most days, cornered his brother. His little, baby brother, who can only really say a part Jimin’s name, and has such beautiful doe eyes.

 

 

His innocent baby brother. His treasure.

 

 

With one hand, their father unbuckles his belt and grabs Jihyun’s squishy arm with the other.

 

 

Jimin only hears the high-pitched sequel of his brother as he wretches his arm free of his mother's grip.

 

 

His father brings down the belt. A new, black leather belt. The sides still sharp and crisp, straight from the factory.

 

 

Jimin steps in front of his brother and holds up his left arm while his right circles his brother protectively.

 

 

And then there’s pain.

 

 

Like a hot knife slicing through Jimin’s delicate baby skin. Right underneath his left elbow.

 

 

Jimin feels the pain. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts. But beneath his pain he feels his heart thumping and his mind telling him, screaming at him, to protect, protect, protect.

 

 

Pain. Pain. Pain. Protect. Protect. Protect.

 

 

And then Jimin falls back, and it’s black.

 

 

Jin is ‘born.’ Amongst the cries of his brother and the blood running down his arm.

 

 

~

 

 

Jin looks at the retreating back of his (Jimin’s?) father. He knows who that man is. He knows that they call him “father.” He sees “mother” a few feet away, looking on with disgust at the two children in front of her.

 

 

Jin presses his bleeding arm close to his chest and pushes Jihyun behind him more.

 

 

His head is ringing. His mind is chanting protect, protect, protect.

 

 

He watches as “mother” follows “father” out of the kitchen, and listens to their footsteps as they go upstairs. He listens for the clicking of their bedroom door closing.

 

 

He turns back to Jihyun and wipes his tears.

 

 

Protect.

 

 

“Jihyun? Are you okay?” Jin checks their brother’s arm, the beginnings of a bruise starting to appear.

 

 

Jihyun sniffles, still looking down. His eyes scrunched with tears.

 

 

“Hey, Jihyun it’s okay. Look at me, hmmm?” Jin gives a small kiss to their brother’s noise “My kiss will make it all better! See?” He wipes the tears again and gives a smile. “All better”

 

 

“Minnie…arm….” Jihyun points to his bleeding arm.

 

 

Something clicks into place in his head.

 

 

He’s not Jimin. At least not right now. He knows who Jimin is of course…but he also knows that he’s not him.

 

 

He’s Jin.

 

 

He doesn’t know how he knows, but he does. Just like he knows that Jihyun is not the only one in this family he needs to protect.

 

 

Jin stares down at his arm. He has to protect Jimin. He has to protect them both.

 

 

“It’s okay, Jihyun,” he says softly “let’s go to the bathroom and get Jimin’s arm all cleaned up!”

 

 

Finally staring up at him with those adorable doe eyes of his, Jihyun looks confused. He points at Jin’s face. “Minnie…?” he asks with his baby voice of his.

 

 

Jin shakes his head with a soft smile. “No, I’m not Jimin. I’m Jin. Don’t start crying again though! Your brother’s fine. I’m going to take care of you both now. I’m going to protect you both.”

 

 

~

 

 

A few weeks after, when the scar on Jimin’s arm has faded to a puffy pink, he could say that Jin and Jimin were still getting used to each other.

 

 

To be fair, it must be pretty strange to all of a sudden have a second voice that’s not your own in your head.

 

 

But Jimin is still young, and after his initial surprise, he welcomed the voice. As a friend. As a brother. As family.

 

 

~

 

 

Jimin blinks at the brightness in his room as he opens his eyes. He feels groggy. Like he’s slept for the past twelve hours. He looks around the room blearily. Everything looks the same. The window is small and is opposite the door. The bed he shares with Jihyun is pushed against the wall to the right of the door. The old wardrobe is across from the bed. And the lamp is on the ceiling.

 

 

Everything looks the same, but he feels…off.

 

 

He listens carefully for his parents. He hears some cabinets closing downstairs. That’s good. It means they’re leaving soon and that they won’t be coming back upstairs. He needs to go pee.

 

 

Trying to push himself up with his arm, however, turns out to be a bad idea.

 

 

“Ah!” he exclaims and then immediately covers his mouth, trying to muffle the noise.

 

 

It hurts… he thinks. Why does it hurt?

 

 

Jimin? Jimin does your arm hurt?

 

 

Jimin gasps and glances down at Jihyun, ready to tell him to go back to sleep. “Jihyun! You scared me! You should be sleeping…” Jimin blinks once. Twice. His brother looks like he’s still asleep. He feels his heart starting to beat faster. “Jihyun…stop kidding around silly, it’s okay if you’re not actually asleep…”

 

 

Jimin…

 

 

“I won’t be mad, I promise.”

 

 

Jimin, I know this is scary, please listen to me.

 

 

He feels tears start to prickle at the corners of his eyes. He’s scared. “Jihyun please wake up!” he pleads, voice shaky and loud. His brother opens his eyes sleepily. He cutely rubs his eyes and looks at Jimin.

 

 

“Jinnie?”

 

 

A shaky smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. “Yes! It’s Jimin! Your older brother!” He’s not weird! He knew there was nothing to be scared of! It was his brother this whole time! Right! Jimin feels himself start to relax. It’s okay, I’m okay. He pets Jihyun’s hair lovingly, taking care to use his good arm. Why is his other arm injured anyway? Jihyun looks at him again, his small mouth turning down in a slight frown.

 

 

“Minnie? Bud where’d Jinnie ‘o?”

 

 

Jimin’s hand freezes. He feels his lip wobble a bit. “What do you mean, Hyunie?”

 

 

He means me.

 

 

Jimin can’t help it. He bursts into tears.

 

 

No no Jimin! Please don’t cry! It’s okay! Ummm here, let me explain. I’m ‘Jinnie.’ Well, actually I’m Jin but ‘Jinnie’ is what your brother calls me, so you can call me that too if you like ummm I’m not going to hurt you! I’m here to protect you! You and your brother! I know this is scary but pretty please with sugar on top stop crying…? I can tell you a joke! What does a cow sound like when it laughs –moo ha ha ha ha! Get it…? Ah, I’m sorry! That was pretty bad…

 

 

He giggles a bit through his sobbing. Having another voice inside his head is really scary, but Jin doesn’t seem to be so bad. His panicked blubbering was kinda funny too (and he never knew that a cow says that when it laughs!).

 

 

“Minnie!? Minnie! Wad’s wron?”

 

 

Hiccup. “I think I just,” Hiccup, “met ‘Jinnie.’”

 

 

“Jinnie’s nice righd! Jinnie took care me.”

 

 

Jimin looks up at Jihyun through watery eyes in confusion. “He did? When?”

 

 

“Lasd nighd,” he said, pointing to Jimin’s arm.

 

 

Jimin blinks owlishly. What happened last night? he thinks to himself.

 

 

Jimin, do you remember what happened after your parents came home?

 

 

He starts a bit, still getting used to having an additional voice inside his head. “Ummm, I think they were angry because we were stealing their food.”

 

 

Okay…anything else? (“who ‘re you dalking to, Jimin?”)

 

 

“And then mother grabbed me and father went to Hyunie with his belt…and then…then…” Pain. He remembers blinding, white-hot pain.

 

 

And an unquenchable urge to protect.

 

 

Do you remember what you felt after that?

 

 

Jimin tries to answer, tries to take a breath. It’s stuck in his throat. He can’t seem to get air into his lungs. He can hear his heartbeat racing in his ears.

 

 

Pain!

 

 

He wants to breathe.

 

 

It hurts!

 

 

Why can’t he breathe!

 

 

Jimin! Jimin calm down, it’s okay! It’s over now! This is going to feel weird I think, but just let me…

 

 

All of a sudden, Jimin feels like he’s floating on a bed of water. Drifting back, but never going under. It feels weird, like all his senses are being dulled and then muted. He feels hazy. It’s scary.

 

 

It’s even scarier when he hears his own voice speak without his control.

 

 

“Jimin? Are you still there?”

 

 

Jimin feels drowsy. He gives a sleepy, Jin?

 

 

“Oh good! Last night you were completely submerged. It took me a long time to find you. You were easy to coax back this time because you were panicking I think.”

 

 

He tries to nod and fails. It’s weird. He forgot that he’s not the one in control right now. He opts for an ‘okay’ instead.

 

 

“I’m sorry I had to do that but I didn’t want you to hurt yourself…and you were worrying Jihyun…”

 

 

Speaking of Jihyun…

 

 

He swears he didn’t think his brother’s eyes could get any bigger than they were at that moment. Jimin could see that behind the unshed tears was pure, unadulterated awe. “Are you a wizard, Minnie?”

 

 

Jin chuckles a little. “No, he’s not a wizard. And it’s Jin now, sweetheart”

 

 

“Then wad are you? How’d you do dat?” Jihyun asks without blinking even once.

 

 

Jimin perks up a bit. Now this is something he’ll like to know the answer to.

 

 

“Well, sweatpea…to be honest I’m not entirely sure what I am. Jimin is Jimin. But I’m a part of Jimin I think? My best guess is that I was born out of his desire to protect you. It’s just a guess though.” Jin brushes his finger lightly over his wound. “I really don’t know myself…”

 

 

So you’re saying that I ‘created’ you out of my desire to protect Jihyun?

 

“Kinda? I could have started from that and then fractured off to become my own consciousness.”

 

 

What’s ‘consciousness’ mean?

 

 

“It’s like mental identity or awareness of sorts. But see! That’s what I mean! It’s like I’m a separate person or something…Like how I know the word ‘consciousness’ and you didn’t.”

 

 

…I don’t really get it…

 

 

“Ah well...I honestly don’t’ really either…”

 

 

Downstairs they hear the front door slam. Outside a car engine starts up. As if one queue, they hear Jihyun’s stomach growl.

 

 

“Okay, Jimin, I’m going to give you control back now so you two can eat together downstairs. Oh! But wash your arm before you do!”

 

 

Okay…how do we do that?

 

 

“I just take a step back. Mentally.”

 

 

Jimin giggles a little bit and is about to tell Jin that doesn’t make any sense when he feels a gentle tug. Like if someone was pulling you out of the bathtub full of water, there’s some resistance at first, but once you’re just about standing up, you’re fine. He feels his sense slowly sharpen and attune themselves. He tries out speaking. “Jin? Did it work?” he slurs, still a bit drowsy.

 

 

Looks like it!

 

 

“Minnie’s back! Magjic!”

 

 

Jimin smiles at Jihyun, appreciating how he can now successfully move his lips. “It’s not magic, Hyunie. Let’s go get something to eat”

 

 

~

 

 

Lying on his back, Jimin stares up at the ceiling. Jihyun’s soft breathing next to him signals that he’s drifted off to sleep. He should be asleep too. He’s had a long day full of new discoveries. Instead, he tries talking to Jin, tries projecting his thoughts instead of speaking them.

 

 

Jin?

 

 

Yes?

 

 

He pauses before asking his next question. Too nervous to really be surprised that he can just communicate with Jin though his thoughts alone.

 

 

Will…will you take over my body whenever you want to? Jimin feels tears prickling the corner of his eyes. And his stupid bottom lip is quivering again! Even when he is in control of his body, he still can’t control it!

 

 

Oh…oh no, Jimin. I’ll never do that to you. I would only ever do that it I think either you or Jihyun need protection, and only then if you can’t handle it on your own. And of course if you want me to take Charge, I’ll be there. Always.

 

 

Jimin can’t help the small spark of hope in his heart. Always?

 

 

Always. It may be hard to believe since we just met, but I love you Jimin. With all my heart. I will never leave you.

 

 

Jimin’s eyes widen. No one’s ever loved him besides Jihyun. His parents despised him. He’s kept locked away from the world.

 

 

Maybe being loved by another would be nice. Maybe he can learn to love someone else too.

 

 

I love you too, Jin.

 

 

~

 

 

In the present, nineteen-year-old Jimin stands in front of a grave, bright red poppies held tightly in his hands.

 

 

The voices are silent for now. They give him this moment of peace.

 

 

“Hi. I’m sorry I haven’t visited in a while…I wanted to…but it’s a bit tricky between work and Minjun-hyung. I know that’s no excuse though…”

 

 

Jimin looks down at the simple grave and feels his lib wobble. Always wobbling.

 

 

“It’s hard…coming here. It…it reminds me of how you’re not here.”

 

 

He feels tears prickle at the corners of his eyes. He hasn’t changed a bit.

 

 

“I’m sorry, that’s not an excuse but…but…”

 

 

The tears start to fall. He grips the flowers tighter.

 

 

“But it’s hard, you know? Why is it so hard!”

 

 

He begins to sob, face scrunching up. His heart aches.

 

 

“It hurts, it hurts…”

 

 

His tears blur his vision, he can only see a blurry grey though them. He kneels down and places the poppies on the blur, hugs his knees tightly when he draws his arms back.

 

 

And he cries.

 

 

He cries and cries and cries. And at some point, he doesn’t know when Jimin stopped crying and Jin started to. It all feels the same. The pain is the same. The ache.

 

 

They don’t know who it is that takes Charge, who starts to walk them away from the grave. It’s probably Jungkook. He doesn’t remember him very well. It doesn’t hurt as much. But at that moment, he speaks for all of them.

 

 

“Goodbye for now. Don’t forget that until our very last days, we will always love you.”

 

 

 

 

Always and forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive me, Jimin.

 

 

~

 

 

Jin stares at the latte in his hands. Watches as wisps of steam escape from the little hole in the lid. Watches as the wisps disappear in cold winter air. It feels colder than last year. There’s not as much snow covering the park as last year, but it feels colder. On second thought, maybe it’s just him.

 

 

Guilt has a way of eating up your insides.

 

 

Minjun-hyung sits next to him on the bench, the image of carefree and relaxed. Jin knows better. Hyung’s smarter then he lets on. Glancing up from the wisps, Jin sees children playing in what little snow there is. The look so carefree, so happy. Jin’s not a bitter person, but he wishes Jimin and Jihyun would’ve been able to have a childhood like that.

 

 

A happy childhood.

 

 

“So one year, huh?”

 

 

Jin only nods in response.

 

 

“And how are you doing? I hate asking these types questions but it’s part of the job requirement, ya know?”

 

 

I feel guilty.

 

 

Minjun gives him a casual side-glance. “If you want me to help, you gotta actually talk to me ya know. It’s just you and me right now, buddy.”

 

 

That was true. After what happened a year ago, Jimin was put in therapy for his trauma. Long story short, Jimin didn’t want to be “cured” of his “mental illness,” and instead asked –begged– to allow for the trauma treatment of all of his identities individually.

 

 

Thank god their therapist is Minjun-hyung or they probably would’ve been locked up in a mental asylum by now.

 

 

Jin looks at the wisps again. They’re getting thinner and thinner. He hears a child sequel in glee in the background. He hears Minjun’s jacket crinkle as he repositions himself.

 

 

They sit in silence for a few minutes.

 

 

When he finally speaks, the wisps are all but gone from his cup. “…I still feel guilty.”

 

 

He hears Minjun sigh softly. “It’s not your fault you know. We’ve talked about this, Jin.”

 

 

Jin’s jaw tenses. His hands grip the cup a bit tighter, eyes blinking rapidly in an effort to dispel the tears rising up. “You don’t understand still though.”

 

 

“I understand enou-“

 

 

Jin throws his cold coffee violently.

 

 

“No, you don’t! You don’t understand! I was supposed to protect them! Protect them! From everything –everyone! And-d I didn’t!” He feels the tears streak his face. He thinks he’s standing up now. “I didn’t…”

 

 

He hugs himself tightly. “…I didn’t…”

 

 

Rubbing the scar underneath his elbow through his jacket, Jin lest out a shaky breath. He tries to listen to the sounds around them. The children playing, the crunching of snow, the paper cup being rolled around by the wind. He tries to calm himself, acting out like this won’t do anyone any good.

 

 

Being the oldest of the alternative identities, Jin puts the responsibility of everyone’s wellbeing and happiness on his shoulders. They joke that he’s the mom of the bunch. He supposes that isn’t entirely untrue. Moms take care and help their children. Help them get back up when the fall down. Comfort them in their time of need. He knows that Jimin doesn’t need to deal with him feeling guilty all the time. He wants to always be there for Jimin. He will always be there for Jimin. He tries not to show how much it hurts him to live with his guilt. It’s hard, but Jimin is worth it.

 

 

Jin takes a breath and looks up to the sky. He’s cheeks are getting cold again, the tear tracks starting to freeze on his face.

 

 

He doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to get over his guilt, but he can hide it. As much as what happened hurt Jin, it hurt Jimin equally as much. Maybe more. So he’ll bury it, bury his insecurities and guilt. For Jimin.

 

 

But sometimes he just needs a good cry.

 

 

Minjun regards him with an uncharacteristic serious look. “Jin. Tell me honestly now. Do you really believe that you could’ve done anything to stop what happened. Really?”

 

 

They’ve been down this path before, and just like the last times, Jin doesn’t answer. Unlike the last times though, another voice answers.

 

 

Stop it, Jin. Listen to him for once. He’s right.

 

 

Jin feels his jaw tense again.

 

 

You’re not supposed to be here right now, Suga. Please…please leave.

 

 

If not listen to him, listen to fucking me! This has to stop. It’s unhealthy. I would say that you’re hurting no one but yourself but damn is that not true. We’re a part of each other! And god DAMN it do you think any one of us like to see you try to hide this guilt of yours all the time? Fuck no. Your pain is our pain. Feel fucking guilty! Don’t fucking hide it! Get it the FUCK out. Then fucking forgive yourself if you want to, even though it WASN’T YOUR FUCKING FAULT.

 

 

Suga sto-

 

 

No YOU stop. You think you’re helping Jimin huh? Hiding your guilt, letting it fester. Well you’re fucking NOT. He loves you Jin, and the more you hide it, the more you push him away, the more guilty he fucking feels because now he hasn’t only “failed” to help one person he loves, but two. If you really want to help him, get over it. What happened, happened. There’s no changing that. There’s only here and now, and you better get your shit together if you ever want to be happy again.

 

 

Jin is silent.

 

 

Suga sighs. Let yourself have that much, Jin. Let yourself be happy again. You’re one of the most deserving of it.

 

 

~

 

 

Jin giggles at Jimin’s failed attempts to cut the onion properly. Also giggles at the small sheen of sweat on Jimin’s brow as he bits his lip in concentration and the haphazardly tousled silver hair caked to it.

 

 

“Is this how you do it…?”

 

 

Y-your’re almost as bad as Rapmon, Chim! J-Hope manages to bark between laughs.

 

 

Jimin makes a defensive humph. “It’s not that bad…”

 

 

Hyung, it looks like you’re chopping an apple up.

 

 

“Shut up, Jungkook.”

 

 

Yeah shut up, Jungkook

 

 

Shut up, V.

 

 

Jimin, sweetpea, do you think you can eat an onion like an apple?

 

 

Jimin indignant squawk and balks. “Of course not!”

 

 

Then you should know you’re doing it wrong, sweetie.

 

 

Giving a huff, Jimin looks down at the onion massacre in front of him. “Well…then why don’t you do it?”

 

 

Might have to if we ever want to eat tonight, Jin teases as he starts to tug Jimin’s consciousness back softly. Lazily, Jin feels his senses sharpen. He hears Jimin mock him with Rapmon.

 

 

Go on now ‘oh great chef.’ Make dinner so we don’t starve.

 

 

Oh yes great one! Since I apparently have my own category of ‘inedible’ in terms of cooking skills, by all means, make us a supper we shalln’t forget.

 

 

Honestly, Jin doesn’t know why he puts up with them half the time. Jin turns back to the onions. “So…guess we’re going to have stew tonight.”

 

 

What.

 

 

WHAT. After all that chopping and saying that ‘oh I know best,’ you’re not even going to use them?!

 

 

Oooooo nice double cross, Jin. Wink wink!

 

 

Shut up, V.

 

 

Kookie, seriously. Why are you like this. Who hurt you?

 

 

Can you two shut the fuck up? To the idiots who can’t cook: onions can go in stew.

 

 

Thank you, Suga. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to preparing a meal for my absolutely starving children.”

 

 

It’s blissfully silent for about 30 seconds.

 

 

Yo but Jin, have you ever thought about how a raw onion tastes spicy? Why are you putting something spicy in a stew?

 

 

FOR FUCKS SAKE, J-HOPE.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Jihyun is dead.

 

Jungkook is his replacement.

 

~

 

Unlike his hyungs, Jungkook doesn’t consider himself his own person, his own identity. Not really. Like, how could he? When you’re ‘born’ as just an attempt to fix the hole in someone’s heart, you’re bound to take the shape of whomever that hole belonged to. So yeah, he doesn’t really feel like he’s Jungkook. Well…not just Jungkook. And sometimes, when he talks to Minjun-hyung, he spills these insecurities, but he mostly keeps it to himself.

 

He honestly doesn’t feel like Jimin is the only one cursed with split identities, but he doesn’t think his hyungs would take him calling them a “curse” too nicely.

 

He’s Jihyun’s replacement. He knows this even if the others insist otherwise.

 

He can feel it sometimes. When he calls the others ‘hyungs’ by impulse, or when he gets flashes of a long forgotten memory of Jimin and Jihyun together.

 

However, he also knows that he’s not just Jihyun. He’s Jungkook too in one way or another.

 

But where does Jungkook begin and Jihyun stop? He’s not quite sure. The lines aren’t clear. He’s both but neither simultaneously.

 

In theory he knows who Jihyun is– who he was. Who he should be.

 

But who is Jungkook besides his replacement? Deep down he knows the answer, but he’s afraid of the ugly truth. For now it’s better to live plagued with uncertainties rather than wallowing in reality.

 

He thinks he’s probably having and identity crisis or something.

 

How ironic.

 

~

 

“Here’s your ice cream, sir.”

 

Jungkook blinks out of his reverie, handing the vendor the money and delicately taking the cone with big eyes– chocolate fudge with vanilla caramel swirl. Shiny bits of caramel and dark chunks of fudge among the chocolate and vanilla ice cream stares back at him. Reminds him of Milky Way. Ha. He blames Jin for that bad pun. But the treat looks tasty aside from the slight melting of the cream on the cone.

 

It’s Jihyun’s favorite, Jimin oh-so helpfully reminds him.

 

Jungkook rolls his eyes. Honestly, Jungkook doesn’t get why he keeps mentioning him. It’s a stupid, painful memory for all his hyungs and it’s irrelevant to him. Fuck off. If he hears Jimin makes a choked noise, he dutifully ignores it.

 

Go on, Jungkookie, he tries in an encouraging tone. Try some! I promise you’ll like it! Cross my heart!

 

God, he can practically see the eye-smile Jimin’s emanating even if it was just his voice.

 

Yeah try some! This will be the first time you’ve ever really had ice cream right? V pipes in.

 

Jungkook absent-mindedly hums, staring intensely at the treat. He knows what ice cream tastes like…in theory. He’s not stupid, he knows it’s sweet and cold and comes in different flavors…he’s just never tried it firsthand. No biggie. Only kids make a big deal out of ice cream. He refuses to be seen as one.

 

But god forbid that “Jungkookie” has never tasted real ice cream before. It’s dumb. Seriously, who knew his hyungs could be so bothersome over something as trivial as ice cream. There are much more important things to worry about. Like how to get Jimin better or watching the new episode of Game of Thrones (which he is currently missing).

 

But no, apparently it’s ice cream first, important shit later.

 

…Sweetie, you know we can hear what you’re thinking right?

 

Damn. He tries (and fails) to keep his face from flushing red.

 

You’re still new at this so it’s going to take some time to learn how to block us from some of your thoughts.

 

God, this is just embarrassing now. He stares adamantly at his slowly melting ice cream, hoping that he could somehow absorb the cold from it to cool his burning cheeks. He gets that RM isn’t trying to rub it in his face but it’s been what, three months now? And he still can’t guard his thoughts when he’s In Charge.

 

For fucks sake, we can still hear you.

 

Jungkook snaps his metaphorical mouth shut. He may not have been around for very long, but he knows very well that an irritated Suga is a really scary thing. Survival instincts kicking in, Jungkook glowers at the drops of ice cream that slides down his cone. He feels like he’s at a crossroads: eat the ice cream and please his hyungs or throw it out just to spite them. His contemplation is rudely interrupted by J-Hope.

 

If you’re just going to just stare at the ice cream and not eat it, mind if I have it?

 

Fuck no. Jungkook may or may not admit that he’s petty. J-Hope can get his own ice cream on his own time. Screw him. “No, it’s my ice cream. I paid for it.”

 

He hears a half-hearted huff from Jimin. Well, technically I paid for it…

 

Jungkook ignores him and in favor of taking a sizable bite-

 

-only to nearly spit half of it out from the cold fucking freezing his teeth off.

 

“Aish!” He sputters through a cold mouthful of sugar and cream. Jesus Christ it’s cold! He opens his mouth slightly in an attempt to dispel some of the cold, making strange huffing noises in the back of his throat in an effort to try and force warm air onto the very cold treat. He definitely hears someone laughing their ass off in his head. He tries to ignore them in favor of saving his teeth from falling out. After what felt like ages (which probably has been only a few seconds), his teeth finally, finally, begin to thaw out.

 

And his mouth explodes with a rainbow of flavors.

 

He tastes the vanilla, strong and sugary, spreading a pleasant flavor across his taste buds. The caramel plays with the sweetness by adding its own sticky, saltiness. Fucking edible liquid gold. Bits of chocolate fudge, tasting heavenly and dense, melt in his mouth in a highly satisfying way and mixes with the vanilla. The condensed taste of the fudge is embellished further by the rich chocolate ice cream encasing it. The chocolate cream simultaneously joins the vanilla, caramel, and fudge already assaulting his tongue. It’s a dance of two opposite sweetnesses in the best of ways. A song of chocolate and vanilla. Ha. Maybe he’s still not quite over missing Game of Thrones after all.

 

But he’s definitely not over the fact that ice cream tastes fucking amazing. Jungkook allows himself to let out a small, tiny moan in contentment, closing his eyes to further appreciate the taste. It tastes soooooo good. He quickly takes another (smaller) bite. He ignores the weird feeling of deja-vu washing over him. For those few moments, he feels like he’s in his own little world, a world filled with sweet things and content feelings and happiness.

 

So? How is it! I take it you like it?

 

It tastes good, right!

 

So distracted by the cocktail of tastes in his mouth, he answers V and Jimin’s excitement honestly without much thought.

 

“Hyung, I think I’m going to marry ice cream. I’m fucking in love.” He answers with eyes sparkling with a childlike innocence (well, as much innocence there can be with the word ‘fuck’). He feels like a kid in a candy shop though.

 

Huh, there’s that deja-vu again.

 

He disregards it in order to concentrate on taking another bite. It takes him god knows how long to finish his two-scoop cone, but he definitely thinks it takes quite a while, savoring every bite for at least 30 seconds before taking another. Everyone is quiet in his head and he takes a moment to appreciate this rare alone time. He takes in the scenery around him. There’s an arcade across the street from the ice cream stand situated at the edge of a park. Jungkook notices how two kids, a brother and sister by the looks of it, bicker over whose turn it is to play a cute-looking fishing game. An urge to get closer to the arcade suddenly hits him and he moves to cross the street.

 

Jungkook loves games after all (and kids but he’ll never admit that out loud). But that could have to do with his…ambiguous mental age. Fuck, he hates being called a kid but even he has to admit to himself that he can’t help but to give into super childish impulses at times. Like wanting to play on playgrounds or running around with other kids playing ball games.

 

Or like not looking both ways when crossing a street.

 

JUNGKOOK!

 

~

 

When Jungkook comes to, he’s standing in front of the arcade. Well, maybe ‘standing’ isn’t the best word. He thinks ‘leaning heavily against the outside wall of the arcade panting like he’s just run a fucking marathon’ is a better way to describe it. And of course, let’s not forget the deafening headache. He hears his heart beating in his ears and goes to feel it with his hand only to realize that there’s a slight tremor accompanying it.

 

He notices the kids from before staring at him. Flustered, he pants out a “what’re you looking at?” The previously deemed brother doesn’t seem to notice his snappish tone.

 

“You dodged a car, Mr.,” The boy says with an awed expression painted on his features.

 

Jungkook was surprised to say the least. If he himself dodged a car he would have definitely remembered it. It’s possible that one of his hyungs did it but if that was true then he wouldn’t have still been In Charge like he is now (when one of them takes charge from someone else it takes a while for the one pushed back to become In Charge again. RM speculates that there’s a certain recovery period needed or something like that). Honestly, to say he was flustered would’ve been an understatement.

 

With some effort, Jungkook tries to make sense of his muddled mind. His head feels like it wants to spit in two though. There’s a throbbing that gives him little to no ability to concentrate on anything. He decides to focus back on the boy in front of him; at this point he probably knows more about what’s going on than he himself does and it’s high time to investigate what the fuck is going on.

 

He licks his lips and eloquently clears his throat. He opens his mouth ready to get some answers and says, “no shit, Sherlock.”

 

He then proceeds to sprint in the opposite direction.

 

~

 

When he finally stops running, it’s less of a choice and more of an obligation; unless he wants to throw his lungs up that is. He must not have run very far though since it appears that he’s still parallel to the park from earlier.

 

That, or it’s one huge fucking park.

 

But it’s quieter here than it was before. He guesses he ran into one of the residential neighborhoods surrounding the park judging by the lack of stores. It was a quaint area, a surprising amount of trees and bushes both in the park and the neighborhood. The sidewalk was a bit cracked but instead of it feeling rundown, it felt homey. It was quite relaxing actually. Still, something felt amiss. Perhaps not with the environment he was in but…

 

Ah.

 

The young maknae felt his hands starting to get calmly. He tries to wipe them off on his jeans. It’s stupid to get nervous about this; it’s what he wanted, right? A dry swallow follows anyhow. Cautiously, he parts his lips. “Hyungs?”

 

Silence has never sounded so deafening.

 

Oh what a double-edged sword it is. Something he always desired has turned into his worse, unspoken nightmare. Like a genie who grants the wish you want but always in some twisted way.

 

“Hyungs?”

 

Oh god, he’s alone.

 

He looks down at himself– no, at Jimin. Silence means that it’s just his voice in his head right now. It means he’s alone with a body that’s not his. He feels Jimin’s heart speed up. He’s in a body that’s not his. It’s not his. He feels sick. He’s Jungkook. But Jungkook doesn’t have a body. Jungkook’s a weed. A weed that grew in place of a deceased flower. A weed that will never be as beautiful or loved as its predecessor. He doesn’t want to be a weed. But to live he must. What a life he lives.

 

A parasite.

 

Nothing but a curse to Jimin and a shadow of life.

 

God, please, please just kill me, he pleas; to the body he haunts or to the air he steals, he doesn’t know.

 

I am a virus that should be eradicated.

 

He imagines himself as one of those charismatic anime characters who turns their face to the sky and screams their innermost desires out. Screaming and letting the world know who- what he is with anger and strength and acceptance.

 

But he knows he’s not.

 

Instead, he crawls behind a bush that sits in front of an entrance to an alleyway, nose full of snot, eyes blurred, and chest aching.

 

And cries.

 

~

 

Jungkook guesses an hour or two must have gone by judging by the elongated shadows when he finally calms down enough to breath normally. The young maknae’s not too sure though, he feels like he might have blacked out a bit from crying. At least his throat’s not raw (he passingly remembers that Jin told him that he and Suga trained Jimin’s body to cry silently, so he could cry without a sound in peace and safety). His head also feels much better.

 

Jungkook? Hey baby, can you hear me now?

 

Jungkook hums in acknowledgment before he can register what he’d just heard. When he does, he manages to choke on his own spit. J-Hope-hyung…?

 

Ah, so you can! It’s me, baby, don’t worry. Everyone else is okay too but it’s just me and you right now okay?

 

Swallowing past the lump in his throat, he lets out a small ‘mm-hmm.’

 

How are you feeling? Do you feel better now? We all love you very, very much Jungkook, J-Hope says softly, please don’t forget that. You’re not a weed.

 

The boy takes a moment and blinks slowly, his mind still reeling in relief. “How do you know that…?”

 

How do I know you’re not a weed or how do I know that you said that?

 

Both I guess, Jungkook thinks. He hears J-Hope ‘hmm’ accompanied by a small sigh.

 

Well…you’re still a bit new to all this, Kookie, but you’re smart –don’t doubt yourself on this– so I’m sure you’ve guessed that each of us has a distinct…purpose, I suppose, in being here. Something that Jimin needed but couldn’t possess himself.

 

Jungkook’s heart sinks a bit. “Yeah, I kinda got that.” A sad, bittersweet smile comes to his face. “After all, I’m Jihyun’s replacement, aren’t I?” It sounded more like a statement than a question. J-Hope sighs again.

 

I’m being as honest as I can right now with you, Jungkook. So yes, in a way, you are. But before you go moping about it again, know that it’s not in the way you think it is.

 

If Jungkook thought he could scoff and get away with it he would’ve, but considering they were literally sharing a body, he stayed silent.

 

Yes, you were born after Jihyun’s passing but you’re not his clone nor were you ever meant to be. I know Jimin’s memories of Jihyun overlap with your personality but that nowhere near defines you. You’re not a surrogate Jihyun, you’re a sibling to Jimin. A sibling free from the horrors and abuse of his childhood. If anything, you’re a blend of the best parts of us. With Suga’s snark, V’s innocence, RM’s brain, Jin’s care, and so on. Listen to me when I say that you’re not a weed growing in the shadow of the past. Weeds are unwanted and imitations of unique and beautiful flowers. And you’re anything but that. You’re Jungkook: the maknae to our ragtag family who swears every other sentence and has recently fallen in love with ice cream. The boy who cares so much for others that he’s willing to sacrifice himself for their happiness. I’m not telling you that’s who you are Jungkook –that’s something for you to discover– but I am saying that you are unique and special and beautiful and loved. Don’t forget that.

 

Goddammit, whose cutting those fucking onions.

 

Aww our Jungkookie is crying.

 

He’s sure his “stop teasing me” would have been more convincing if he wasn’t blubbering the words out. But quietly, in the deep recesses of his mind, he calls to his hyung, Thank you for loving me.

 

Always.

 

His chest aches but for all the right reasons.

 

~

 

Jungkook’s a bit (a lot) embarrassed to admit that it took him a good 10 minutes to stop crying from J-Hope’s pep talk. Not like anyone else will know except the two of them but still. Which brings him to another point that’s been freaking him the fuck o– ahem, mildly concerning him for a while.

 

“J-Hope-hyung, where are the other hyungs?”

 

Ah, well, so do you remember how I mentioned that each of us has a sort of purpose?

 

Jungkook nods.

 

Well, I basically pull people out of bad situations. Not really physically or anything, although I guess you could technically say that I do, like with the car thing from earlier and all that.

 

“What…that was you?!” Smooth, Jungkook, smooth.

 

Yeah but that’s kinda just one example of many. I can force you or Suga or Jimin to take a step back in dire situations. Other’s, like Jin, can do it to but I’m kinda like a ‘kill switch’ I suppose…I can do it nearly instantaneously and can be completely In Charge without any real repercussions. Aside from the fact that I can’t really be In Charge for long. I can slingshot myself into being In Charge but once I give it up willingly or lose the stamina, the one formerly in charge is then slingshotted back with so much force that it sorta stuns them mentally. Hence why you had the really bad headache and couldn’t communicate with me. It wears off after a while. But with both me and you being catapulted with so much force back and forth, it also stuns the other hyungs for a bit too. Not as long as now, but I’m forcing them to stay stunned for now since I thought it was necessary! J-Hope tried to end brightly, a hint of nervousness evident in his tone.

 

“Ah. Okay,” he didn’t really know what to say to all that. Luckily, J-Hope stepped in again but Jungkook was caught off guard by what he said.

 

Please, for now, don’t ask me why I can do this.

 

He nods with a bit more hesitance than before again. The maknae then recalls something J-Hope said earlier about him…sharing memories with Jihyun or something? He carefully asks about it.

 

Right, that! So one other thing that I can do is that I can feel everyone’s experiences and feelings –while they're experiencing them at that moment that is– a bit better than the others. Do you remember earlier when you kept getting a bit of deja-vu, Kookie?

 

To be honest, Jungkook forgot about it until now. It wasn’t the first time it happened anyhow. But in a way Jungkook was a bit relived that someone else knew what was going through his head (would that be a pun then?).

 

You had deja-vu then because within Jimin’s memories he remembers Jihyun having a near identical response to ice cream– well, minus the swearing of course. Since these moments are unexpected the others are sometimes caught off guard…Yah! I feel you getting all depressed again so let me tell you now that these memories don’t dictate you, they’re just one ingredient in what makes you, you!

 

Jungkook grumbles a bit. Okay so maybe his relief was a bit premature.

 

I heard that! It’s true though, you’re our unique, cute little maknae~ kissy kissy~

 

He sticks his tongue out in disgust. “Eww okay, stop that, hyung.” He hears J-Hope make a strange popping noise which he assumes is his way of complying. “Could you wake the others up now? I kinda want to go home.” He definitely wasn’t going to admit that all the a) crying, b) revelations (he’ll put trying ice cream in this category he supposes. It was a spiritual revelation after all), and c) life-threatening situations, has tired him the fuck out.

 

Okie dokie! I’ll go ahead and start ‘waking’ them up. Just start walking back home.

 

It was at that moment that Jungkook realized that sitting curled up next to a bush for half the day does a number on your body. With all the grace of a newborn giraffe (except Jimin’s short so maybe he’s a miniature pony or something), he stands up, attempts to wipe his tear tracks away and pat his gray hair down a bit, and walks out from behind the bush.

 

He ends up tripping on a crack and face planting.

 

~

 

By the time he gets back to their apartment, he’s about to keen over from exhaustion. Not that it was a far walk back from the ice cream stand, but Jungkook ran like a bat out of hell and ended up much farther away than he originally thought. So basically it took for fucking ever to find his way back home. The one thing he can find solace in is that J-Hope did manage to ‘wake’ everyone up by the time he reached the front door. He thinks that his hyung has been quietly updating everyone on what happened since they don’t ask him any questions really. Plus V has just been giving out compliments about him left and right (not that he’s complaining, it’s just a bit weird. But it is V so maybe not).

 

As soon as he sits down on the worn couch though, he can barely keep his eyes open.

 

Sleep, he thinks he hears Jimin whisper, I got this.

 

Jungkook feels a gentle tug and he lets himself fall back without a fight.

 

~

 

It’s been a few weeks since the whole ‘Ice Cream Incident’ as he so dubs. In some ways, it solidified his existence as Jungkook and not as Jihyun but in other ways, nothing has changed at all. He tries to live his life as purely Jungkook now, as an independent entity from Jimin or Jihyun. He’d be the first to admit that while he isn’t necessarily ‘loyal’ to Jimin like his hyungs are, he does care for him deeply. The day after the Ice Cream Incident, him and Jimin (the other hyungs listened in but it was mostly just the two of them) had a heart-to-heart about Jungkook’s purpose. Jimin mostly reiterated what J-Hope had told him the day before but by the end, they agreed that Jungkook’s purpose was to just be, well…Jungkook. Not a caretaker like Jin nor a ‘friend’ like V.

 

Nope. Just Jungkook.

 

He’s fine with that he supposes (he wouldn’t know what else he could do anyway), but he still believes that Jimin needs to be cured of them. At the end of the day –no matter how much Jimin protests– Jungkook and the rest of his hyungs are a disease. While he can finally admit that it’s an amazingly loving disease that has created a family, it still is something that prevents Jimin from having a normal life. But he does understand that for the time being, they’re still needed to help Jimin heal and grow.

 

Man, he’s trying to act all fucking mature and shit but he’s scared. Yes, he knows that what he said is true. Yes, he believes it.

 

But the more he lives his life as Jungkook, the harder it will be to say goodbye.

 

Ha. What we do for the ones we love, am I right?

 

It’s at that bittersweet moment that Suga decides to yell an eloquent, “FUCK you all and your SHIT cooking skills! Thank FUCK I actually moderately like you fucks or you will all be eating SHIT and starving like the BASTARDS you are!”

 

Jungkook lets the moment break easily. Might as well enjoy living (or listening in this case) as Jungkook as much as he can.

 

HEY! I’m not that bad of a cook either! I would say I’m third place right after Jin! He hears J-Hope pouting.

 

Sighing for what feels like the hundredth time, Jin laments with a, how come all of our arguments always come back to cooking?

 

Shrug, I’m not complaining as long as I get a decent meal.

 

Gotta agree with V there.

 

If he was In Charge now, Jungkook would definitely be smirking.

 

That’s just because you’re lazy, Jimin-hyung.

 

Jimin gasps, not true!

 

I mean…isn’t it…?

 

Shut up, RM!

 

Yep, he will definitely enjoy this for a bit longer.

 

“SHUT THE FUCK UP I’M TRYING TO COOK.”

 

Ahh love is in the air.

 

And he’s never been happier.