Chapter 1: The cupcake.
About this story: the idea sparked when I was rewatching Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, a cute and funny anime with lovely characters. In it, there's this girl, Seo, who is very mean (even if that's not her intention) to this boy, Wakamatsu; however, her singing is the only thing that calms him down (but he doesn't know it's her). So yeah, that evolved into this story.
About the title: it was my friend's idea and she told me not to use it but I couldn't think of anything better and I wanted to annoy her (sorry Lotte).
Act 1: Wish you were here, with me.
The bell rang and, as always, Jimin immediately got up, having already put all his books and notebooks in his backpack. He had a window of two minutes. Just two. To get out of the classroom, to his locker, leave his books and pick up his lunch before running to the backdoor. It usually worked great, he managed to avoid him almost every time and this year he was doing even better than the last, not being caught even once; and yes, Jimin knew that the year was barely starting, but he was proud of himself.
Making it to his locker, it took him only five seconds to unlock it, dump his backpack and pick the tote bag with his food: a container with some leftover salad from yesterday, a protein bar and the veggie shake his mom had made for him. And that was it, his breakfast and lunch. It wasn’t much food, especially compared to how much he used to eat just a year before, but he was determined to lose weight and more often than not he wouldn’t have any energy to work out after school, so less food it was; he had already been doing this for two months and he was doing great, so it couldn’t be that bad. Grabbing the bag, it was just as he closed the locker’s door when he heard it.
For a moment, Jimin considered running anyway. Maybe they’d be distracted enough and he’d be able to escape. But he knew that was wishful thinking, the laugh was too close and if he ran not only would they get him, it’d be a lot worse. So he sighed, resigning himself to the fate that awaited him.
“Hey Jimin!” Jimin didn’t hate many things, but that voice was something he despised with his entire heart. It wasn’t necessarily a bad sound, it would probably be very nice if it weren’t for that tone. It was as if a hunter talked to a deer, calm and relaxing as to not scare the animal away, but with the hidden intention of making the creature feel safe before shooting it. And Jimin was the deer. He had always been.
He didn’t know what was it about him that attracted bullies. There’s a saying that bullies are attracted to those who are weak and won’t stand up for themselves, and that was often true, yes, but Jimin wasn’t like that; from day one he fought back, either by just yelling instead of taking it to actually throwing fists, bites and kicks to his attackers. But it didn’t work, any bully that had ever targeted Jimin continued on doing so even if they knew that he wasn’t an easy victim.
It all came to a stop, however, when Jimin entered high school. It was as though the bullies had gotten bored or tired of him; and he would’ve been really happy, that all the bullies were leaving him alone, but not even a week after entering high school he met the worst of them all:
Min Yoongi. His personal demon. The person Jimin despised the most.
“What do you want?” He muttered loud enough for Yoongi and his gang to hear him, but low enough to not sound annoyed or angry; that would only make things worse. Rising his eyes, he was met by a very familiar scene: Daniel Lee, Choi Jin and Kim Jeongsik, all seniors, and in front of them a younger boy, who had bleached blond hair, small curious eyes and, when not sporting a smile, a resting little pout. If it weren’t for his horrible attitude and for all the mean stuff he did Jimin would actually consider him really cute.
But his personality wasn’t compatible with his appearance.
“To greet you?” Yoongi stated, as if it was obvious. “We haven’t seen you in almost two months,” he continued, his tone casual and relaxed. Jimin hated it.
Sighing, he turned completely so he was facing Min Yoongi fully, making himself smaller and maybe Yoongi would be fooled, just like his other friends, if it weren’t for his eyes. It was the previous year when Yoongi crouched next to Jimin, who was in the ground after being pushed, and told him that even if he tried to hide it, a spark of defiance rested still in Jimin’s eyes. He had tried for months to get rid of it, thinking that maybe it could help his case, but Yoongi’s current smirk proved that the blonde could still see how much Jimin hated him.
“Yeah, it’s been a while,” Jimin answered defeated, eyeing the people who were still walking past them in the hallway, wishing that someone would stop and help him. But that’d never happen.
“What’s the matter Jimin? Looking for something?” Darn it, they had noticed. Looking at Daniel Lee, Jimin realised the man wasn’t waiting for an answer, instead a mocking smirk dancing in his lips.
“I think he wants to run away,” Kim Jeongsik added, the same playfulness on his eyes.
“Is that so?” Choi Jin finished. Honestly, Jimin found it somewhat amusing that they basically took turns to speak; the thought almost made him smile, but he managed to stop himself. “But Yoongi wants to talk to him, right?” Choi continued.
As expected, when Jimin landed his eyes on Yoongi the older was already staring at him, that tiny smirk still in his lips as he opened them to talk. “What do you have there? Your lunch?” Yoongi questioned as he grabbed Jimin’s tote bag, opening it wide in front of everyone for them to look.
And here it came, another round of the three seniors taking their turns.
“Wow, that’s nothing.”
“Mommy’s not feeding you well?”
“If you want you can eat with us. Wouldn’t that be fun? Do you want that Jimin?” This time it was Lee who finished their sequence.
‘Hell no,’ he wanted to say, out loud. But he couldn’t do that. Instead he settled for a shy answer. “N-no. Thank you,” he hated pretending he wasn’t mad, but it was the only way out of this one.
“How bad,” Lee answered, not looking as disappointed as he tried to sound. “Well, since it’s the first time we meet this year, how about we leave our friend Jimin here?” He asked to his gang, looking around and receiving two ‘okay’s immediately. Then, he looked at the last one, who hadn’t said anything. Looking at him, Jimin hadn’t noticed when Yoongi’s expression became devoid of any happiness, a frown now settled between his eyebrows. “Unless you don’t want to, Yoongi?”
As soon as Lee spoke, Yoongi seemed to snap out of a trance and his frown was quickly replaced by a lazy smile. “Let’s leave, I’m hungry,” he yawned, shoving Jimin’s bag in his chest before opening his eyes, a hint of – worry? – suddenly present in those kind-of-pretty eyes, “You should eat more, Jimin,” he mumbled, his expression completely serious and a hidden threat in his eyes: he wouldn’t accept no for an answer.
“I will,” Jimin answered, not even trying to make himself smaller anymore. Yoongi was being annoying and he was having none of it anymore. Sure, it was a bit dangerous, but he didn’t like being ordered around by anyone.
And despite his defiance, he still flinched when the older leaned in. “And don’t cross paths with us again,” Yoongi whispered, “things won’t be pretty next time.”
Holding his eyes, Jimin nodded. “Understood.”
“Good,” it seemed as if the boy wanted to add more, but before he could do it a loud voice came from the end of the corridor, next to the door to the cafeteria.
“Yoongi! Hurry up.”
Sighing, the blonde looked at him one last moment before smiling and spinning around, quickly catching up to his senior friends and disappearing inside the cafeteria a moment later. Taking a few deep breaths, Jimin sighed and grabbed his little bag properly, hugging it tightly as he made his way to the exit door and only allowing himself to relax when his back was against the school’s cold wall. He thought for a moment about Min Yoongi’s slightly weird behaviour, the older never saying anything to him unless the others were with him, and wondering if the worry that had appeared in the blonde’s eyes was real or his own imagination. However, after a minute of thinking, Jimin just shook his head and decided to eat.
It wasn’t worth thinking about that asshole, anyway.
When Jimin came back to his locker to pick his backpack and get done with the rest of his classes, he didn't expect to see a cute cupcake sitting on top of his books. Looking around the hall, he didn't see anyone acting weird, so whoever the foe was they were gone; he decided to think about the responsible later, for now he had a bigger dilemma: would he eat it or not? And yet, even before he asked himself that question he already knew the answer.
(He threw the empty liner on the closest trashcan as he licked his lips, making sure there wasn't any icing left there.)
Chapter 2: The chatroom.
Reaching his bed, Jimin sighed and finally dropped himself on top of it, his face buried in the soft pink comforter and almost falling asleep after several minutes of just laying there and enjoying the warmth. He woke up, however, when his phone started vibrating, making noise inside his backpack on the floor. Whining, he rolled to his side a couple times and yelped when he almost fell down, finally in a position that allowed him to dig around in his bag and grab the still very noisy phone.
“Hey Tae,” he yawned as he rolled back once in order to face the ceiling and be able to talk properly.
“Hey Minnie! How was school?” His friend, Kim Taehyung, answered on the other side of the line, as loud as always.
It was a little sad, how his childhood neighbour and best friend was so far away from him now. Before, they only had to leave their respective flats and walk to the other side of the corridor if they wanted to see each other to play, do homework or just talk; now there were over 300 kilometers between them. Still, even after two years, they kept on touch and every day after school Taehyung would call him in order to catch up and just fool around. Even if neither of them acknowledged it, Jimin knew it was because Taehyung was scared that the bullying had gotten worse.
And it had, it definitely had. But Taehyung didn’t need to know that.
“Boring, I don’t have classes with my favourite teacher on Mondays. How about you? How have you been?” Jimin asked, fully knowing that Taehyung would take the lead of the conversation immediately and allow him to relax. Hugging one of his plushies, Jimin played with his hair as he answered Taehyung’s questions and made little noises to make sure the other knew he was listening. It was when they were about to hang up when Jimin mentioned the cupcake incident, wondering if his friend had any suggestions as to how to find out who the person who had left it was.
“I mean, if it’s an one time occurence then there’s no way to know, but if it happens again I’m sure you could try to catch them in the act,” Taehyung suggested, Jimin agreeing that it was the only option. As he was about to say goodbye, however, Taehyung continued. “Whoever it is shouldn’t matter that much, either way. They clearly care about your well being.”
Jimin chuckled. “Or they want to get me fat,” he joked, not worrying about Taehyung figuring out that he hadn’t been eating properly since he didn't have any way of knowing other than his own words and, of course, he hadn't told him. “What if it’s a horrible person?”
At that, Taehyung scoffed. “If they left you something then they can’t be a horrible person, even if they sometimes do bad stuff.”
And despite rolling his eyes, Jimin knew Taehyung was right.
After finally hanging up with Taehyung, Jimin made his way to his desk and turnt on his laptop, walking to the kitchen to grab a little bowl of grapes to munch on whilst he did homework, lazily returning to his room and closing the door before sitting in front of his screen. There were a few good things about being home, his favourite being talking with Taehyung, but on a very close second place was being able to talk to his online friends.
Despite having always been an introvert and having issues connecting to others, Jimin never faced any problems when it came to chatting online. It was surprisingly easy to communicate when he didn’t have to worry about other people being able to watch his face, his gestures… even hear his voice; he could be in his pajamas with the messiest hair possible and the other person wouldn’t know anything. And yet his favourite thing about it was the anonymity: no one knew anything he didn’t want them to. He could hide his face and voice, but also his name, age, gender… anything.
Soon, he found himself paying more attention to English class in order to be able to understand more content online and before he knew it he had made his way to online forums where he could say what he couldn’t tell Taehyung and get it out of his chest without anyone judging him. And if they judged him, it didn’t matter; he could leave the website and never come back and that’d be it. But that had never happened, thankfully, instead only finding nice people and eventually a group to call friends. It was lovely: Taehyung, online friends, silence and grapes. He didn’t need anything else in life.
Opening the chatting app his friends and he would use, he cursed when he realised that he had forgotten something important and stood up, grabbed his favourite soft blanket and wrapped himself with it as he sat down again, hopefully for the last time. Looking at the screen, he realised his app was ready for use and typed his username and password, having to wait yet another minute to finally be able to check the chat.
His little group of friends, all from different countries yet having one thing in common.
> Christian Chimchim has logged in.
Scrolling up, Jimin made sure that the others weren’t talking about anything important before typing in his message. The last thing they talked about was how Kim had finally stood up to his bullies or, as they called them, parasites; after that, they’d all talked about their favourite sweets. Once he read the messages he couldn’t check since he had been at school, Jimin slowly started typing, his face impassive and his heart rate only slightly faster than normal.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:30PM
update: i managed to avoid him for two weeks
but today he got me
He saw at the bottom bar as, one by one, all the members’ names appeared as they were typing their responses. This was the only time when most of them were online, almost all of them awake; to Jimin’s knowledge, everyone but him were from different countries in Europe and the United States, but some members (including himself) didn’t want to share that information.
alice liddell - Today at 06:30PM
OMG!! DID HE HURT U?
Sylwia - Today at 06:30PM
How are you Christian? :(
Kim! - Today at 06:31PM
Need us to beat his ass?
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:32PM
if someone could beat him up i’d be happy
he didn’t do much, just threatened me, but i’m scared for next time
i’ll try to avoid him as much as i can
Sylwia - Today at 06:32PM
Still can’t tell your teachers? :/
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:32PM
he needs to be caught in the act, apparently
Kim! - Today at 06:32PM
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:33PM
it’ll be okay tho
i can take it
Sylwia - Today at 06:33PM
Doesn’t mean you SHOULD take it >:C
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:33PM
i know that
but fr, i’ll be fine
> sam_thing has logged in.
felix91 - Today at 06:33PM
why cant bullies like idk die or something?
And here it came, Felix. Jimin didn’t know much about the guy, other than the fact that he was Sylwia’s friend, but he also knew that the dude didn’t like him at all. Sighing, he considered not replying, but Jimin knew that if he didn’t answer he’d feel terrible and, more importantly, the idiot would bother him even more.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:34PM
don’t say that
felix91 - Today at 06:34PM
stop apologizing their ass
they deserve to be put in place
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:34PM
yeah, but wishing for their death makes us as bad as them
Sylwia - Today at 06:34PM
Bullies deserve punishment, but we shouldn’t want them dead :|
felix91 - Today at 06:35PM
u keep getting ur ass beaten if u want
not like i care
just dont come to us when you have another suicidal breakdown
> Kim! has logged out.
Jimin buried his face in his hands. He definitely shouldn’t have answered, now Kim was upset because of Felix. Kim didn’t deserve that, he was very nice. He was about to type an answer to get the other to stop, but someone beat him to it.
sam_thing - Today at 06:35PM
That is incredibly unfair Felix
You should apolgize to Christian
It’s one thing to hate bullies and express it in a hard way
Another thing is to BULLY someone who has a different perspective on the matter
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:35PM
thanks sam, but i’m okay
sam_thing - Today at 06:36PM
Also, you know this is the safe channel, so don’t say triggering stuff
You know Kim and the others get bothered easily
It’s nothing Chris
felix91 - Today at 06:36PM
i’m not a bully
jst stating facts
that christian cant take em is another thing
sam_thing - Today at 06:37PM
If you’re not going to apologize at least stop adding to this discourse
felix91 - Today at 06:37PM
whatever, miss i-dont-play-favorites-but-i-always-defend-christian
i’ll leave now so you stop bothering
sam_thing - Today at 06:37PM
You know that’s a lie
> felix91 has logged out.
Finally, peace and quiet. He wished he could talk to the others about how terrible that dude was, but when he talked to the others Felix was actually rather friendly and nice. Jimin wondered, what was it about him that made the other so angry all the time. Sighing, he ate the last of his grapes and was about to stand up to get more but he remembered the cupcake he had eaten earlier. As delicious as it was, it was a lot of calories and he needed to compensate for it, so he decided to stay in his place and wait until his mom came back from work to eat with her.
Sylwia - Today at 06:38PM
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:38PM
i take it that he had a bad day?
alice liddell - Today at 06:39PM
I think so
but he wouldn’t tell
he was still way over the line
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:39PM
it was my fault, i shouldn’t have said anything
sam_thing - Today at 06:40PM
It wasn’t your fault honey
Sylwia - Today at 06:40PM
Don’t blame yourself for it Christian, you did nothing wrong ;)
> Gloss has joined the server.
Jimin couldn’t remember the last time someone new had joined. The last one had been Alice and that was… what, three months ago? Maybe even more. Looking at the name in the screen he wondered who it was. Clearly, Gloss wasn’t their real name. Squinting his eyes, as if he could see more information by doing so, Jimin gave up a few seconds later and instead decided to wait for the person to introduce themselves.
Sylwia - Today at 06:41PM
Oh! Hello there. Who are you? :D
Gloss - Today at 06:41PM
Um, I’m not comfortable sharing my actual name, sorry.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:42PM
most of us keep that private too
so don’t worry
this is a safe place and everyone wants you to be comfortable
sam_thing - Today at 06:43PM
Yeah, what Christian said
You don’t have to share anything you don’t want!
But a little introduction would be nice
Just your pronouns, name you want us to call you and age
Sylwia - Today at 06:43PM
And if you want, a little explanation of how you found this chatroom and what’s your situation
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:44PM
and anything else you want to share
Gloss - Today at 06:46PM
I’m a dude, so he/him but they/them is okay too.
Gloss is fine.
And I turn 17 in a couple weeks.
I found the link in the Be You forum.
alice liddell - Today at 06:47PM
oh! so lgbt+?
sam_thing - Today at 06:47PM
DON’T BE SO BLUNT, SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT COMFORTABLE SHARING THAT!
Gloss - Today at 06:47PM
Yeah, I’m gay.
I also have some issues regarding my gender identity, but I’m not trans or anything.
Not that it’s a bad thing!
Fuck, I just realized that sounded bad.
I’m just… not…
But it’s fine if people are.
Oh, I shouldn’t have cursed.
Cute. Jimin thought as he saw the messages frantically appearing one after another on his screen. Whoever this “Gloss” was, he was really cute and desperate to clear up the misunderstanding he thought would appear. Smiling, he thought about what to tell the other to calm him down.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 06:49PM
hey, it’s okay
most of us curse here
Gloss - Today at 06:50PM
Sylwia - Today at 06:51PM
So, Gloss, welcome to the group! Make sure to read the rules whenever you can. And feel free to share anything you want :D
Gloss - Today at 06:51PM
You said I could tell you about my situation.
Can I do that? I feel it’s important before you welcome me to the group…
sam_thing - Today at 06:52PM
Please, go on!
None of us mind :)
And Jimin waited. They all did, but Gloss wouldn’t answer. Was he really that nervous? Or had he just become busy and would come back soon. After five minutes without answer, Jimin decided to get up from the computer and stretch his muscles a bit, throwing his blanket on the chair and picking up his empty bowl, taking it to the kitchen and passing to the bathroom a on his way back to his room.
Sure enough, by the time he had come back the screen hadn’t changed a bit, so Jimin lazily walked to his bed and picked his discarded backpack, bringing it to the desk and leaving it on the floor next to his chair. Picking up his tiny notebook where he wrote his homework, Jimin was about to get his chemistry book when, over twenty minutes after the last answer, Gloss finally sent a message. Deciding it was more interesting than homework, Jimin started reading.
Gloss - Today at 07:15PM
Sorry for the delay, I just didn’t know how to say it.
So, I’m just going to say it.
Sylwia - Today at 07:15PM
Gloss - Today at 07:20PM
So, for the last year and this one, I’ve been bullying this kid, who’s also in my grade.
> alice liddell has logged out.
What the heck?
Gloss - Today at 07:20PM
It’s not because I want to, but the reason behind it is a little complicated.
Sylwia - Today at 07:20PM
Stop. Please do not continue.
Gloss - Today at 07:21PM
I shouldn’t be here, right?
Sylwia - Today at 07:24PM
Gloss, I don’t know what the link you found said, but this is a chatroom for bullying VICTIMS. I’m sorry if there was a confusion there. But this place is not for you. This is a chatroom for people who struggle everyday with being bullied. This is a safe space for us to talk and vent about it. Not for bullies to justify their actions and pretend to be in the right. In behalf of this group, and for the safety of the younger members, I’m going to ask you to leave.
sam_thing - Today at 07:24PM
Before you leave, can I ask what your username in the Be You forum is?
Gloss - Today at 07:24PM
sam_thing - Today at 07:24PM
I’m afraid I can’t ignore this fact
As a mod in that forum, I’ll be kicking you out as well
Gloss - Today at 07:25PM
No, it’s fine. I understand.
I shouldn’t have joined either of the groups.
You don’t need to kick me out, I’ll exit myself.
It doesn’t matter.
Thank you for hearing me out and being nice.
And sorry for causing you any kind of distress.
> Gloss has left the server.
The message on the screen finally made Jimin react. Something was not right. Looking around his room, he stared blankly at one wall as he tried to figure out everything. Why would a bully join an anti-bullying chatroom? Why was the guy so nice and open about everything? And why was he feeling uneasy? It made literally no sense. Unless…
Realisation hit him a moment later. Damn it. He looked at the screen and scrolled up, relieved to see that the guy’s messages and, more importantly, the link to his profile were still there. Before committing to his crazy idea, however, he wanted to see what the others said.
Sylwia - Today at 07:27PM
I don’t know what that was but I’m glad that piece of shit left
Christian Chimchim - Today at 07:27PM
we should’ve heard him out
Sylwia - Today at 07:28PM
sam_thing - Today at 07:28PM
Christian Chimchim - Today at 07:29PM
a) he told us immediately instead of hiding it. why would he do that if he had bad intentions? he could’ve lied and pretend to be a victim, but he didn’t, meaning he felt guilty or really needed help for whatever reason. not to mention his apology at the end
b) he said he didn’t want to bully the other person and that the reason is complicated. i’ve never heard such a thing but either he has DID or something like that and that’s the reason or someone forces him to do it. either alternative means he needs help
c) just because he’s a bully doesn’t mean he’s not bullied. he said he’s gay and has gender identity issues. that’s more than enough reason to be bullied, so maybe he does get bullied
Seeing his reasoning in text, Jimin suddenly felt a lot more sure about the decision he had already done. In the distance, he could hear his mom parking in front of the house, meaning he only had a few minutes before she called him for dinner. They always ate take out.
Sylwia - Today at 07:32PM
So you’re saying we should’ve let him, a BULLY, stay?
Christian Chimchim - Today at 07:33PM
didn’t say that
just said we should’ve heard him out and then decide to kick him out or allow him to stay
as a group
> alice liddell has logged in.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 07:34PM
aren’t all these decisions supposed to be by the group?
you didn’t even give me time to type anything before you kicked him out
i mean, i get it and i’m not mad
but you should’ve at least waited for sam’s opinion, given that she is the second mod
Sylwia - Today at 07:34PM
Sorry Christian, but did you miss the part where Sam asked him to leave her forum?
Christian Chimchim - Today at 07:35PM
drop the passive aggressiveness
i know it’s not intentional, but it’s not nice
you still should’ve waited for her (our) opinion
Sylwia - Today at 07:36PM
Well, sorry you don’t agree
But I’m not apologising for protecting the other members from that bully
Alice even left
alice liddell - Today at 07:36PM
actually, my internet had an aneurysm
chris is right
we should’ve seen what he wanted to say and then decide together
sam_thing - Today at 07:37PM
I hate to say this, but I agree with Chris too
But Chris’ arguments are very valid
I hate to think that maybe that dude needed someone and we just threw him out immediately
Unfortunately, what’s done is done
Wish we could contact him
But he’s already left my forum
alice liddell - Today at 07:38PM
i’d send him a private message but i’m kinda scared
sam_thing - Today at 07:38PM
And I just got an assignment through mail
My teacher is an asshole
They really gave him no choice; at least he had already taken the decision himself. He typed his answer fast before his mom entered the room, multiple bags on her arms and her phone precariously balanced in her shoulder as she leaned in to kiss his head. Mouthing ‘I love you’, Jimin stood up to grab his mom’s bags, two had some second hand clothes inside, another one a small, cookie-looking plushie (surely for him) and the last one was their food: Italian. Perfect.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 07:39PM
i guess i’ll do it
Sylwia - Today at 07:40PM
You do what you want
Just be aware that if he cyber bullies you it’s your own fault
Don’t come crying about this later
sam_thing - Today at 07:41PM
Stop being immature Sylwia
Good luck honey <3
alice liddell - Today at 07:42PM
good luck chris
> Christian Chimchim has logged out.
Closing the lid of his laptop once he made sure everyone had sent the last messages, Jimin made his way to his mom’s room and dropped the bags he knew were for herself there, walking to their tiny dining room afterwards and leaving their food and his cookie plushie there, and finally going to the kitchen to fetch a couple plates and chopsticks before he returned, doing everything mechanically as he could only focus on one question in his head:
How was he going to do this?
Looking up, he was met with the sight of his mom, still on the phone, opening all the take out boxes, with her hair a little messy and her feet visibly red from walking on heels the entire day; her nails looked bitten and the bags under her eyes were way worse than when she left the house. Smiling sadly, Jimin walked to her and gave her a light peck on the cheek, setting the plates in silence as she talked and sitting on his usual spot. Shaking his head from side to side when she signaled for him to start eating, Jimin played with his fingers as he waited patiently for his mom to be done.
It was about ten minutes later when he felt the soft fabric of the plushie rub against his cheek. Turning around, Jimin saw his mom smiling gently at him, her phone finally down, and her fingers grabbing the small arm of the little cookie-thing as she made it wave to him.
“Hey you,” she said, her voice as loving and gentle as it had always been. Even if she had the worst day at work, she’d always make Jimin feel loved.
Conversation started today.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:45PM
Gloss - Today at 08:52PM
Um, who’s this?
Chapter 3: The stranger.
He breathed in. He could do this. It wasn’t as though Jimin was scared; it was just an online conversation with a complete stranger, something he had done a thousand times. His face, name, age, location… everything would be hidden. He just didn’t know the way he’d go around this. On one side he wanted to just forget about the entire thing; he didn’t know the dude and didn’t owe him anything. But the thought of Gloss, the bully that had joined an anti-bullying chatroom, being alone when he needed help was enough to push Jimin to pull up the chatroom and scroll up until he found the last message the mysterious dude had sent.
Hovering the cursor over the name for a couple more minutes, Jimin sighed and finally clicked on it, quickly selecting the “Private message option” and waiting for a new conversation to be created. Drinking a sip from his coffee and setting his mug away from his textbook, Jimin finally typed in a simple message. He planned on doing some homework whilst he waited for an answer.
Conversation started today.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:45PM
Gloss - Today at 08:52PM
Um, who’s this?
Surprisingly, the answer came a lot faster than what he had expected. Maybe Gloss was talking to someone else, or maybe the dude had nothing to do. Or maybe he was like Jimin, a certified procrastinator who was looking for every excuse possible to stop doing homework.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:52PM
ah, christian, from the bullying chatroom
when you left we argued a little since a bunch of us actually wanted to hear you out
so we agreed that i’d check on you
we don’t have to talk if you don’t want
but if you need someone to talk to i can listen
Gloss - Today at 08:54PM
You shouldn’t have argued because of me.
The people who told me to leave were right, a bully shouldn’t be in an anti-bullying chatroom.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:55PM
well, why would you join an anti-bullying chatroom?
either you were looking for an easy prey to bully on the internet
Gloss - Today at 08:55PM
That’s not true.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:55PM
or you had some genuine reason to be there
and you were going to tell us but didn’t get the chance, right?
Gloss - Today at 08:56PM
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:57PM
well, if you want to vent go on
or if i’m annoying you tell me and i’ll stop texting you
Gloss - Today at 08:58PM
You’re not annoying me.
You sure you want to hear?
Christian Chimchim - Today at 08:58PM
And then he waited. He saw as, in the bottom bar, Gloss’ name kept appearing and disappearing, which led Jimin to wonder whether the other was writing a really long message and made pauses in between or he was writing and deleting his messages over and over again. After a couple minutes, Jimin decided he’d just keep working on his notes whilst the other decided to send something. He was almost done summarizing the first page out of five when his computer finally made the sound that indicated he had gotten a message. He wasn’t surprised in the least when he read it.
Gloss - Today at 09:12PM
Right now I’m a mess.
I’ve been trying to but I keep deleting my messages.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 09:12PM
are you okay?
Gloss - Today at 09:14PM
To be honest no.
But don’t worry about me.
Christian Chimchim - Today at 09:15PM
too late silly
if you don’t want to tell me we can talk about something else
Gloss - Today at 09:15PM
Christian Chimchim - Today at 09:15PM
you don’t want to tell me your name, which is fine
you are gloss, a dude, almost 17 and gay
where are you from?
Gloss - Today at 09:16PM
South Korea. You?
Christian Chimchim - Today at 09:16PM
He probably shouldn’t have gotten that excited over something as simple as finding out that the other man was South Korean, like himself, but in all his time in the website he had never stumbled across someone from his country. Leaving the conversation for a minute, Jimin opened his settings and finally, after thinking about it for almost three months, edited his nickname in the website. Truth is he only called himself Christian over a joke Taehyung had made a couple years before and, insecure over his nationality, decided to use it for a while as he got over that irrational fear. He grew to hate it, however, a couple weeks after people started calling him that; it just wasn’t his name and it sounded so weird. Saving the changes, he opened the chat with Gloss once again.
Gloss - Today at 09:16PM
Chimchim - Today at 09:18PM
guess where I’m from n_n
Gloss - Today at 09:18PM
I didn’t think anyone from SK used this website.
Chimchim - Today at 09:18PM
can we stop talking in English, please?
it’s so awkward
Gloss - Today at 09:19PM
Actually, let’s do that, please. I don’t like it either.
Jimin smiled. Although he now understood English almost perfectly, he didn’t like talking in it and was glad that he’d be able to speak in his mother language. It was way more comfortable and it took away from the fact that he was still speaking to a complete stranger. Well, not complete, as he knew some basic information about Gloss, but the man was still a stranger and, now that he remembered, he was still too.
Chimchim - Today at 09:19PM
so, I completely forgot to tell you
you can call me Chimchim or just Chim
i’m, a dude, 16 and also gay
what grade are you in?
Gloss - Today at 09:22PM
Chimchim - Today at 09:22PM
what city are you in?
Gloss - Today at 09:31PM
Uh… what are you doing?
Chimchim - Today at 09:31PM
what do you mean?
Gloss - Today at 09:35PM
Talking to me.
You said you wanted to check on me, but why?
Chimchim - Today at 09:36PM
because you said you’re not okay
Gloss - Today at 09:39PM
Chimchim-ssi, let me spell it out to you.
I’m a bully.
That is, someone who hurts other people for their own sick reasons.
You, someone who’s bullied, shouldn’t be talking to me.
You should be scared.
Ugh, he had expected this to happen, but not so fast. He really hated the fact that Gloss’ guilt and insecurities stopped them from getting somewhere. Nevermind the fact that Jimin still didn’t know why the other bullied some other dude, he also didn’t know other important things, such as the reason why Gloss decided to join their little chatroom and, more importantly, leave immediately after being told to. It was a little frustrating that the man was trying to avoid talking about himself, but more than anything it was sad, that someone would shut the doors so eagerly to people who were trying to help. Either Gloss was a huge introvert or he was terrified of opening up, which could have so many different causes and most of them were bad. Finishing his coffee and pushing his textbook away for good, as he was sure he wouldn’t be able to get any work done until he ended the conversation, Jimin reached for his mom’s gift and hugged it loosely as he typed. He still needed to name the cookie.
Chimchim - Today at 09:40PM
didn’t you say that you didn’t want to bully that guy?
and drop the honorifics, we’re the same age
Gloss - Today at 09:42PM
Yeah, but I still do.
Regardless of the reason I bully that kid I still do it.
And that is not okay.
That should be enough reason for you to not want to talk to me.
Chimchim - Today at 09:45PM
well, at least you know it’s not okay
just that makes you different from most bullies
i don’t know why you do it
and honestly i don’t care
you seem to be in the need of help and i’m offering it to you
why are you being a dick about it?
Gloss - Today at 09:45PM
Because you shouldn’t be talking to me!
Chimchim - Today at 09:45PM
Gloss - Today at 09:45PM
Because I’m a piece of shit monster who’s hurt a boy for an entire year!
Again, that should be enough reason.
Chimchim - Today at 09:46PM
you’re not a monster
monsters don’t feel remorse
why did you join the group chat?
Gloss - Today at 09:47PM
Chimchim - Today at 09:47PM
why did you join the group chat?
Gloss - Today at 09:59PM
Because I don’t know what to do.
I can’t stop hurting that boy because
Why do you care?
Chimchim - Today at 10:00PM
finish the damn sentence first Gloss
Gloss - Today at 10:05PM
I can’t stop hurting the boy because if I do bad things will happen.
I want to stop, but I’m too scared.
Knew it. Whatever the reason Gloss bullied the other dude, seeing how much he hated and regretted it, was probably something really complicated and scary.
Chimchim - Today at 10:05PM
and you joined the group chat because?
Gloss - Today at 10:09PM
Because I want to apologise.
Or at least explain everything to the dude.
But I can’t see him alone.
And he hates me, rightfully so.
I don’t know what to do.
Chimchim - Today at 10:10PM
and you wanted advice on how to do that?
Gloss - Today at 10:10PM
Chimchim - Today at 10:11PM
okay, i’ll help as much as i can
Gloss - Today at 10:11PM
Chimchim - Today at 10:11PM
because i’ve been talking to you for like two hours and i can already tell you’re not a bad guy
Gloss - Today at 10:12PM
But I’m a bully.
Chimchim - Today at 10:12PM
and that’s shitty
but a) you’re not bullying me so it’s not my place to hate you, that’s the other dude’s thing
and b) just because you do shitty things you’re not a bad person
everyone does stupid stuff
the fact that you want to fix this means enough for me to want to help you
plus, i get the feeling that you’ve been crying this entire time and are in crisis
even if you were my personal demon i wouldn’t leave you alone until that passed
Gloss - Today at 10:15PM
Chimchim - Today at 10:16PM
how i call the idiot who bullies me
now answer, do you want my help?
or do i just fuck off?
Gloss - Today at 10:17PM
How do you get bullied when you can push me around so easily?
Chimchim - Today at 10:17PM
i have no idea
Jimin laughed, remembering the time Taehyung had asked him the same thing. He knew it was weird, that someone like him, shy and calm, could also get frustrated easily and wasn’t ever afraid to speak his mind and stand for what he believed in. He liked cute things and hugs, thunder scared him and he ate enough sugar to make a sloth run, but he was also very determined and witty (sassy, Taehyung would say). He was about to demand an answer to his question when he saw that Gloss was already typing.
Gloss - Today at 10:20PM
You can change your mind at any time, I won’t get mad.
Chimchim - Today at 10:20PM
for the love of god, Gloss, just give me a direct answer for once
Gloss - Today at 10:21PM
Um, yes, please.
Chimchim - Today at 10:22PM
we need to work on making you more assertive
you sound like you desperately lack confidence
is it the guilt?
Gloss - Today at 10:23PM
Chimchim - Today at 10:23PM
oh, come on
i’m a complete stranger on the internet
you can tell me anything without a risk
Gloss - Today at 10:24PM
I guess you’re right.
Uh, I’d rather say it’s self hatred.
Chimchim - Today at 10:25PM
you feel that guilty, huh?
i wonder why you bully that boy
but we can talk about that other day
for now i have to leave, i need to do homework
Gloss - Today at 10:26PM
He was about to log off when he noticed Gloss’ name appearing, once again, in the bottom bar. Waiting for a few seconds, however, Jimin noticed this was yet another instance where the other man would type and erase his message over and over again. He really needed to help Gloss stop doing that.
Chimchim - Today at 10:28PM
whatever it is you want to say just go for it
Gloss - Today at 10:30PM
I was just wondering when can we talk again?
As in, at what time of the day are you available?
Chimchim - Today at 10:30PM
How would they talk? Of course, they had this conversation and it was safe for Jimin and he had pretty much total control of the circumstance, but for some reason Jimin got an idea. Shaking his head, he was about to tell Gloss that he got home at six when the idea appeared on his head again. No. It wasn’t safe. But why did he want to do it? So frustrating to have his own head against himself. Sighing, aware that he wouldn’t be able to stop himself for too long, Jimin grabbed his phone and logged into his messaging app, changing his name to ‘Chimchim’ and deleting the photo of his face, quickly replacing it with a random picture he found in his phone. Finally content, Jimin focused on his laptop once again. He was crazy for doing this.
Chimchim - Today at 10:31PM
know what, fuck it, do you have kkt?
Gloss - Today at 10:31PM
You sure you want to add me there?
Chimchim - Today at 10:32PM
if i want to i’ll just block you
just sent you an invite, please accept it
Gloss - Today at 08:40PM
Wait, you’ve been pushing me around this entire time and you have a cute cat as profile picture?
Jimin laughed again. He didn’t think anyone other than Taehyung and his mom could make him laugh, but now he realised that had been wrong. Maybe he and Gloss could become friends, despite everything; that’d be nice.
Chimchim - Today at 10:40PM
what’s so wrong about being strong but liking cute things?
and his name is pusheen, respect the internet overlord
Gloss - Today at 11:10PM
You’re… so weird.
Chimchim - Today at 11:11PM
get used to it
Not giving the man time to answer, Jimin finally logged off and picked his phone to send a smiley face at the stranger, turning it off immediately afterwards. It was nearly midnight and he hadn’t done any homework yet.
This was going to be a long night.
Chapter 4: The game.
Jimin raised his eyes from his desk and looked over the book he had resting in his classmate’s chair, providing him of a little barrier to hide the fact that instead of writing notes, he was in his phone. And sure, Jimin knew that he could even get detention for having his phone out when the teacher had made it clear that it was prohibited, but he was sure he could get away with it. He wasn’t the best in this class for nothing. Once he made sure that the teacher was distracted writing in the whiteboard, Jimin focussed on the message he had received.
It was two weeks after they had started talking and Jimin was already used to the constant teasing from Gloss. It had been a little hard to convince the other man that it was okay, that they could talk and Jimin wouldn’t judge him, but it took him nearly a week to succeeded and even now Gloss was still reserved and didn’t talk much, Jimin being the one that had to drive the conversation. It had been a silent agreement between the both to not talk about their personal circumstances regarding bullying and what came with it, instead choosing to get to know each other better and become a bit closer and more comfortable.
And it worked, as they were finally opening up about their personalities and the things they liked. Sure enough, there was the constant thought in the back of Jimin’s head that he was talking to a bully, but as soon as they would start talking the thought would almost completely disappear. Jimin knew that this couldn’t last forever, as the person Gloss bullied was still around and Gloss needed to figure out what to do as fast as possible. Thankfully, not only had Jimin been lucky whilst avoiding Yoongi and his friends, but Gloss had also managed to avoid the dude he bullied “against his wishes”. And Jimin couldn’t understand how anyone could bully someone else without wanting to, but he had decided on his own that he’d wait for Gloss to be ready to open up about that as well. As soon as he did, which would hopefully be soon, they could talk about what to do. For now, things were going okay with both of them and Jimin liked to think it was progress.
Jimin smiled and was about to send an answer when he perceived it, that feeling of someone laying their eyes on him from the front of the classroom. He quickly left the phone on the table and looked at the front as his teacher, Sejin, started to speak.
“Jimin-ah,” his tone was stern, but also doubtful. Jimin knew that the man was conflicted, as Jimin was really good at his subject and was also a really calm and responsible student; he had never used the phone in Sejin’s class before and whilst a part of Jimin felt guilty, the immense feeling of accomplishment he felt from having Gloss send him a very long rant about how maths were great and just misunderstood by most people was enough to make him not feel bad about disobeying his biology teacher.
“Mitochondria,” Jimin answered the question Sejin had done before his focus had fallen on him, proving that despite everything he had been paying attention to the class, probably even more than the rest of his classmates.
Seeing as his teacher raised his eyebrows and giving him a tiny apologetic smile, Jimin ignored the message Yoongi had just sent. He could wait a couple minutes. Soon, Sejin broke eye contact with him by closing his eyes and letting out a tiny sigh. “I know you probably already know all of this, but please try paying attention to class,” the teacher said with a slightly tired yet patient voice; when he opened his eyes, Jimin saw some exasperation in them, as if the teacher was frustrated with himself for not being able to scold Jimin.
But who could blame him, right? Jimin laughed a little at his own silly thoughts. It made him feel a bit better and more confident to make those jokes for himself and no one could take that away from him.
“Okay, Sejin-nim. Sorry,” he bowed a little, trying his best to make his eyes reflect the sincerity of his apology. When Sejin smiled, Jimin knew he had accomplished his goal. Turning his attention towards his phone, Jimin smiled at the little message he had gotten and decided to end the conversation for the moment quick, as to not bother Sejin anymore. He was Jimin’s favourite teacher and Jimin was his favourite student; Jimin wasn’t going to ruin his relationship with the teacher over a conversation he could have at any moment.
Jimin wasn’t surprised at all when he got the answer. Over the course of the past two weeks he had realised Gloss never liked to speak with him at lunch, apparently even turning his phone off the time Jimin had kept on messaging him even after the other had told him to stop. He didn’t know why this happened, but he didn’t like upsetting Gloss, so he had stopped. One day he’d asked why this was, but once again that’d have to wait.
He didn’t message his internet friend until his class was over and he had to, yet once again, rush towards his locker.
Placing his phone on his back pocket quickly, Jimin quickly stuffed his backpack with all his belongings and pretty much bounced in his seat as the seconds went by until the bell rang. Standing up quickly, Jimin walked to the front of the classroom and gave a little nod to Sejin as he headed towards the door; had it been someone else the teacher would’ve probably gotten angry, but at the beginning of the year, as soon as Jimin learnt that he had class with the teacher before lunch on Thursdays, Jimin had decided to tell the older man about his situation as to justify his quick exits. Of course, the teacher had tried to convince Jimin of telling him who the bully was, but he had decided against it in case Yoongi or any of his friends heard about it, so after a week of insisting Sejin had given up and instead would just allow Jimin out of the classroom without saying anything to him.
Practically running to his locker, Jimin had already picked his tote bag with a smoothie and one apple when, before he could do anything, someone closed his locker’s door before him. Jimin shut his eyes as soon as he realised who had done that, sighing as he spinned slowly and only opening his eyes after insulting Yoongi under his breath about twenty times.
Surprisingly, Yoongi was alone, the blonde looking disinterested and very tired. That alone was weird, but the weirdest thing was the fact that Yoongi’s lower lip was split, almost as if he had been punched. What had happened? Had he gotten in a fight or had the idiot just bit his lip surprisingly hard?
“I told you things wouldn’t be pretty the next time,” the blonde’s voice woke Jimin up, who quickly looked at the other’s eyes and, despite his wishes, blushed when he realised he had been staring at Yoongi’s lips for at least an entire minute. Crap.
Processing the words, and with no signs of Lee, Choi and Kim, Jimin crossed his arms and adopted a defensive pose before answering with his best annoyed voice. “Is that so? Where are your friends?” He was actually genuinely curious. He had never seen Yoongi without them.
“They’re not my friends,” Yoongi answered immediately, his voice hoarser than usual. “I don’t know where they are and you don’t want to wait until they come around, do you?” Yoongi continued, not even attempting to make his voice as sarcastic as his question was. He just looked exhausted. Now that he paid attention, under Yoongi’s fringe Jimin could see some scratch marks and were his eyes puffy from crying? And what was that about the three seniors not being Yoongi’s friends? What was going on?
Why did Jimin care?
“What?” He just asked, completely confused. It wasn’t really because of what Yoongi had said but rather because of what Jimin was feeling. Why was he genuinely worried for his personal demon ? He couldn’t understand himself.
Resting his back on the locker next to Jimin’s, Yoongi closed his eyes and yawned, his eyes falling to the floor once he opened them again. “I’m tired, so I’m letting you off,” the blonde explained. When Jimin didn’t move, Yoongi looked at him, still looking defeated. “Go on, before I change my mind.”
“What the absolute fuck?” Uh-oh. He probably shouldn’t have asked that, but Jimin couldn’t understand anything that was going on.
“You’re so stubborn,” was Yoongi’s reply. And his little smirk should’ve been enough for Jimin to run, but everything was just weird. Before he could process it, Yoongi was suddenly in front of him again, the blonde’s hands on his shoulders and Jimin’s back pressed against his locker. Oh no, he was trapped and couldn’t run away and- “I’m not gonna hurt you,” the boy interrupted his thoughts, locking eyes with him and stopping Jimin from doing anything; Yoongi’s gaze was too intense. With his mind going blank, the only thing he could focus on was the fact that Yoongi had been crying. “Listen, Jimin,” the blonde interrupted his thoughts again, “I don’t know if you had noticed but I’ve never done anything to you unless the other three are with me.”
“I’ve never seen you without them,” he quickly objected. Why was Yoongi pointing this out?
“But I do see you when I’m not with them,” was the other’s reply, as if that explained absolutely anything. Jimin (or rather, his heart) just became more confused, but he could feel his own annoyance growing. “Just freaking leave now that I’m giving you the chance,” Yoongi continued, finally letting go of Jimin’s shoulders and taking a step back. Just as he was about to run away, however, the blonde spoke again. “I told you to eat more.”
And somehow that was enough for Jimin to put any other feeling away and allow his usual annoyance to return, lightly pushing Yoongi and recovering some of his personal space. “And I’m just gonna do what you tell me to, right?”
Yoongi smirked, his eyes looking sad. “Of course not, but you still should eat more. It’s not healthy to eat that little.”
Jimin rolled his eyes. “As if you cared.”
“And why would I say anything if I didn’t?” Yoongi answered, finally looking elsewhere and picking up his backpack (when had the blonde put it there?) before walking away, not giving Jimin time to even process his words. Stunned, Jimin just stood there without moving and followed the blonde with his eyes until the weirdo entered the cafeteria. Blinking a few times, Jimin wrapped his arms around his bag and walked to his little hideout, pulling his legs to his chest and hugging them tightly, the same question repeating itself over and over in his brain.
What the heck just happened?
After hanging up with taehyung, Jimin opened his messaging app instead of going to his computer. He had logged in the chatroom just yesterday, so there was no reason to log in again; it’s not as if he had any kind of updates to the group. Not only that, but other than Sam and Kim, no one really liked him or actively tried to talk to him; after the discussion they’d had regarding Gloss, most of the people in the server decided that he was an “apologist” and apparently didn’t like him anymore. And sure, it hurt a lot, but he had only asked Sylwia to listen to the other’s opinions before taking decisions on her own and if the rest saw that as wrong it wasn’t his fault. As long as he had Sam, Kim and Alice he was okay with the others being mad at him.
Besides, it was more fun to talk to Gloss, after all.
Jimin read over the sentence over and over until he realised that he hadn’t read wrongly and that yes, Gloss had just said that he got beaten up. Gloss, the bully, beaten up. What even? Jimin couldn’t understand at all how that could happen. And apparently it hadn’t been the first time. Who was abusing the other? Rubbing his eyes, Jimin realised he was tearing up, but he didn’t care. Regardless of the fact that Gloss was a ‘bully’ (Jimin wasn’t as convinced anymore), he was a very nice guy (shy, but funny and caring) who definitely didn’t deserve to be beaten up.
For a moment, Jimin considered the possibility of Gloss being beaten up by the dude the other bullied, but that didn’t make sense at all. Last time, Gloss had said. So that meant it was definitely not the bullied guy. Then who? Quickly, Jimin started thinking of more and more possibilities. Maybe random people who targeted Gloss for being gay? But according to his internet friend no one knew, so that couldn’t be it. His family? Maybe, but despite the fact that they had never talked about their families Jimin couldn’t imagine someone being as terrible as to hurt their own son, especially when said son was Gloss.
Change of topics with Gloss meant to not ask any further. And Jimin wanted to keep on asking, but it’d lead to nowhere and it’d make his friend sad. Jimin sighed and decided to just go with it.
Despite his fake annoyance, Jimin was laughing. Sure, they had only known each other for a couple weeks, but no one made Jimin laugh as much as Gloss did other than Taehyung and his mom, but he couldn’t talk to them as much as he could talk to Gloss. Reading the answers message, Jimin decided to do a bold move; it had been two weeks and he wanted to help his friend fix his mistakes, but he couldn’t do so until he knew what was going on and right now he had the perfect plan to pull the truth out of the other.
Standing up and going to his desk, Jimin grabbed his biology textbook and notebook, sighing as he pulled his maths workbook and preparing for their game. He opened the notebook in a random white page and writing the first few questions that popped in his head, both the ones regarding biology and the ones about Gloss. Once he made sure he had everything ready, he continued explaining the little game to his friend.
It was already over nine and they weren’t done with their silly game. Throughout the entire thing Jimin learned to not hate maths as much, but he blamed that on the fact that the way Gloss explained was a lot easier than how his teacher explained; it was even fun, if Jimin were to be honest, but he’d never acknowledge that, much less to Gloss. On the other side, he also managed to explain a lot of things to his friend, which served as a very needed revision as his biology exam was coming up next week.
Disregarding their studies, however, Jimin had also discovered various, mostly random facts about his friend: how he was taller than Jimin by just one centimeter, how he was originally from Daegu and lived now in Seoul, how he had gone through elementary and middle school completely alone, how the other guy had struggled with very negative thoughts in the last year and even how Gloss took his frustrations out in himself, be it by punching walls or biting the inside of his mouth really hard on purpose, amongst other things. In turn, Jimin had shared little stories like the time he once went to the police station to return a penny he found on the street, or how he had learnt how to dance when he was younger, or how Taehyung and he would talk everyday on the phone about the most ridiculous things.
It had been in the middle of their study session when Jimin’s mom called to tell him that she was running late and that there was some leftovers in the fridge that he could warm up. It wasn’t the first time something like this would happen, when her coworkers left early and left her with a lot of work, but it was certainly the first time Jimin didn’t feel bitter or sad when that happened, instead deciding to focus on answering Gloss’ questions, eating some jajangmyeon, doing the dishes and preparing his mom’s bed for the night. Based on previous times, she’d probably be back at around ten, so he’d run her a bath in a few minutes.
Right now, after nearly five minutes, he had managed to answer Gloss’ math problem and he felt really proud of that one. He didn’t understand most things in maths, but anything related to trigonometry was instantly ten times harder than the rest of the things. Happy that he had gotten the question right and with Gloss’ compliments, Jimin decided that he deserved to ask something harder and a lot more personal next.
After a minute of Gloss not typing anything, Jimin was ready to take the question back when he noticed that Gloss was typing once again. So unusual.
And then Gloss stopped typing again. Maybe he was thinking on how to explain it or he was second guessing himself, as always. When he didn’t answer in ten minutes Jimin was beginning to get worried and decided to instead prepare his mom’s bath. Ten minutes more passed and Gloss wouldn’t answer and Jimin was starting to get very worried that not even seeing his mom lifted his mood, the woman too stressed to notice his expression. It was until she was already in the bathroom and Jimin had nothing to do but order her stuff so she wouldn’t struggle to find anything the next morning when his phone vibrated again.
He had never unlocked the phone faster in his life.
And Jimin wanted to know what had happened, but he somehow felt that whatever it was it couldn’t be good. Sighing, he resigned to waiting for the next day to get an explanation on the events from earlier that day, but also what had just happened.
Ah, what was he doing with his life?
Chapter 5: The locker.
In the end Gloss didn’t message him again, not that night or the following day or even the next one. It was as though his internet friend had vanished and part of Jimin understood it, something had probably happened and Gloss didn’t need to tell him everything, but other part of him felt almost betrayed. It wasn’t as though the other owed him anything, and they barely knew each other, but Jimin really appreciated the friendship they were developing and it hurt to know that either Gloss didn’t feel the same way or something bad had happened to him.
Plus, it was nice to have someone to talk other than Taehyung and his mom, both of which having a rather busy schedule that didn’t allow Jimin to talk to them more than an hour per day.
It was already Monday and Jimin was debating with himself whether it’d be a good idea to send him a message or if that’d be annoying. He was worried, okay? And maybe he shouldn’t worry so much, he had almost gotten caught by Yoongi and his no-friends (term he had decided into after a while) twice since the last time he had spoken with Gloss, but he had managed to escape just in time and he was still worried.
He decided to focus on other things, like the mysterious person who kept on leaving him little pastries and muffins every day after lunch. He still hadn’t caught the person who was doing that, but earlier that day he found something other than the usual chocolate muffin. A note.
“Please take care.”
It was short and clearly didn’t give him any indication as to who was the responsible: he didn’t know the handwriting, there was no name and even the page was from a normal notebook. Nothing that got him closer to discovering the identity of his guardian angel, but it was something. Maybe he’d get lucky and see a bulletin or a poster with the same handwriting, or maybe the person would start leaving more and more notes and eventually confess their name. Regardless, Jimin was convinced that, whoever they were, it was a nice person who for some reason cared about him and that was a nice feeling.
He didn’t notice the bell going off, or his teacher and classmates leaving the classroom or the door closing until he heard it, a voice he didn’t really want to hear now or ever.
“Oh. What have we here?”
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
What was Daniel Lee doing in his classroom?
Turning around and standing up as fast as he could, knocking his chair down in the process, Jimin was faced with a situation he had never expected: Daniel Lee, Choi Jin, Kim Jeongsik and, behind them and looking angrier than ever, Min Yoongi. All four of them, in his classroom and in the way to the door.
Fuck. How did he end up in this situation? How did they see him? How didn’t he notice? He had never seen them after classes were done, he had always been able to avoid them then. What would they do now? There was no one around, the classroom already empty and the hallways emptying as the seconds passed. Jimin had always been glad that they’d pick on him during lunch as there would always be people walking around as the quartet bothered him, which in turn meant that they couldn’t do anything obvious to him; the worst thing that they ever did was when they stole his house keys and Jimin spent two entire months scared that they’d break in (which thankfully never happened).
But now that they were alone they could do anything to him.
“Hey Jimin. Do you want to take a little walk with us?” Choi started, his voice happy as a child on his birthday.
And he was terrified, but he didn’t want to let it show. He hated this, he hated them. He wasn’t going to let them hurt him without a fight. He picked his backpack, and slowly walked towards the exit. Towards them.
He looked at Yoongi in the eyes. The guy looked beyond pissed. “Where to?” He asked, his tone petulant and defiant. He wasn’t weak and wasn’t going to pretend like he was; and sure, things could get worse for him, but he didn’t really care. He kept walking forward until he was about three meters away from the guys and, behind them, the door.
“Hey!” Kim yelled, next to the door. “Watch your tone,” he sounded angry, not amused like Lee and Choi. Good, he didn’t care.
“C’mon kid, don’t make this harder,” Choi interrupted smiling.
Lee smiled too, his grin looking far more sadistic than Choi’s. Despite the fact that Yoongi was almost always in front of them, Lee seemed to be the leader. “So, Yoongi, how about you teach Jimin about respect?” Now that he thought about it, it was Lee the one who always directed what Yoongi did. Weird.
Behind the three seniors Yoongi still looked angry, but in his eyes there was a flash of worry. He looked pale, to be honest, almost as if he was sick, and Jimin had no clue why he was paying attention to the idiot, but for some reason he was and well, it was a bit troubling. He hated the contradicting feelings he always had when it came to the blonde: on one hand he hated him, but on the other hand he felt sorry and he didn’t have a clue as to why he felt that way.
“Seems like he could use it,” Kim interrupted his trail of thoughts. Right, focus on the four bullies who can easily knock you out Jimin, not on the blonde’s expression. So what if Yoongi was sick? It shouldn’t matter to him.
“Yeah, did you see how rude he was earlier?” Choi added, moving to Yoongi’s side to swing his arm around the younger’s shoulders…
...leaving a small space in the middle that Jimin could use to escape.
Yeah, it was a slim chance that he’d be able to run away, but he had the element of surprise on his side. They wouldn’t expect him to attempt to run, right? After all, he had two choices: stay still and have Yoongi punch him or run and maybe get away, maybe fail. At least there was another possibility if he took the second option and Jimin wasn’t going to remain still and allow them to hurt him without putting up a fight.
“I-” Yoongi started, his voice strained and very weak. He didn’t have time to finish whatever he was going to say, however, for Jimin had already made up his mind.
And the plan worked perfectly, no one was expecting it and he managed to get to the door and open it fast before any of them reacted. Perfect. Now he had to outrun them. He could do this, he could reach the exit and get to the street. Maybe there they wouldn’t do anything to him as it was a public space, but he wouldn’t stop. He’d go to that nice sandwich shop across the street; there he’d be safe. He knew the owner, his mother calling often to order some food and being a regular as a result; if it came to it he could hide in the kitchen until the bullies left. He’d be fine. He just needed to get to the exit and he’d be fine.
But of course he didn’t take one factor into consideration: Kim Jeongsik was part of the school’s track team. That is, he was really fast.
He felt it before he could process it, two slender arms wrapping around his waist in a swift motion, pulling him back for a moment before the direction of the pull changed to his right side, the senior reaching his side as he tried to stop Jimin completely. He tried to fight back, moving his hands to the arms that were stopping him from moving and scratching the exposed skin with as much force as he could. And it worked, for the senior’s grasp left him finally… when he forcefully threw Jimin to the side, the top of his head being the first thing to collide with the locker.
As his butt reached the floor, the first thing he noticed was the ring in his ears, a bit more intense in his left ear but present in both. Then he felt something warm sliding down his temple; it was some sticky liquid and it felt so weird on his skin and he didn’t know what it was until he picked some of it up with his hand: it was red. Oh, so it was blood. He couldn’t focus on it for too long, however, because the next thing he felt was a terrible headache that was spreading throughout his entire head. It hurt so badly.
Opening his eyes, Jimin realised his vision was blurry as well. He had never being hit in the head, so it made sense that he didn’t know how it felt.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Was that Kim speaking? He couldn’t tell, his voice sounded distant and muted, as if he was underwater. He looked up to see the bully’s face, not surprised to see five – wait, no – four faces in front of him. None of them looked happy.
“Jeong!” Choi complained, looking a little scared, as if he hadn’t meant for something like this to happen. Jimin turned his head to the side, searching for the exit. He had been close, only twenty meters separating him from it, but right now the light was too much for his eyes. He closed his eyes.
“What? He was trying to run away” Kim answered, sounding irritated. “Yoongi, go on. Show this low class what happens when he messes with us,” wait, since when was this a class issue? He didn’t know how wealthy were the bullies’ families, but they had never once brought it up when they said mean stuff to him. Maybe it was a personal conflict Kim had.
“No Jeong, look at his head,” Lee interrupted before Choi could say anything. He sounded… disappointed, as if he had wanted to see what Yoongi did to him as opposed to Kim. “You messed it up pal,” the leader continued. Yup, he had wanted to see Yoongi in action; Jimin didn’t. Giving up to his curiosity, Jimin opened his eyes and tried to focus on the younger’s face, to no avail. The guy was already a few meters away, facing the opposite direction. “It’s okay though, we can leave his lesson for another day. Jiminnie is not going anywhere, right?” Dick. As if he could answer, he could barely open his eyes. He grumbled. “Let’s go,” Lee finished.
Without opening his eyes, Jimin could hear four sets of footsteps walking away. They were just going to leave him there? He had a head injury! The least they could do is wait until he got up. He sighed, opening his eyes and staring at the ceiling. He felt dizzy and wanted to puke, but at the same time he knew the knot in his throat would stop him from doing anything. And he didn’t want to, but he started crying at some point.
Ah, his head really hurt.
He sighed. It had been just a couple minutes, but he really should get up and head home before the students who were still in their clubs got out; he didn’t want anyone to see him injured. He was gathering up the courage to try to get up and see if he could even walk when he heard the school’s front door closing, meaning that someone had either gotten out or entered and, given the fact that he hadn’t heard any footsteps in front of him, it was the latter.
Turning his head to see who it was, already forming an excuse in his head as to why he was in the ground (hoping that there wouldn’t be any blood in the locker), he didn’t expect to come face to face to the one and only Min Yoongi once again, not even five minutes after he had left.
Jimin couldn’t help himself, he screamed, desperately trying to move away from his demon and immediately regretting trying to stand up, his head spinning like crazy. He was hopeless against Yoongi and he was terrified for the first time since they had met, already a year ago. He couldn’t stop himself, he teared up.
“S-stay away,” he hated how he was stuttering, but he couldn’t stop it. He felt so bad. Staring at Yoongi’s face Jimin found… nothing. No anger, no happiness, no regret. Nothing. As the blonde walked towards him, Jimin prepared to yell as loud as he could in an attempt to get help from anyone.
And then something weird happened, for Min Yoongi stopped looking at his eyes, walked past him and made his way down the hallway, turning right in the intersection and disappearing a few seconds later. What? He hadn’t been there to bother him? Then why was the blonde back? Maybe he had forgotten something in his locker? Yeah, that was probably it. Still, he’d be back and Jimin didn’t want to see him. He tried to get up, but his legs felt like jelly and he got dizzier as soon as he raised even a few centimeters.
Damn it. He was defenseless. Maybe Yoongi would just get what he wanted and leave without paying him any mind? He hoped, he didn’t think he could deal with anything else right now. He breathed in, not giving up in his attempt to get up and sitting down again when he felt more nauseous. He wasn’t weak emotionally, but he wasn’t sure the same applied to his body; it had been one hit to his head and he still hadn’t recovered and yeah, it wasn’t a light collision, but still. He needed to do something about that.
He was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn’t hear it, the faint steps moving in his direction, the sound of Min Yoongi’s sneakers against the cold floor. It was only until the blonde was right in front of him when Jimin noticed it, the faint smell of the other’s cologne, musky with a sweet undertone. Opening his eyes and snapping his head in the guy’s direction, Jimin tried to get away to no avail, for Min Yoongi was already on top of him, grabbing his hands as to stop Jimin from punching him and immobilizing him against the locker.
“Leave me alone!” Jimin yelled, trying to shrug the other away, more tears escaping his eyes, his breath uneven and his head spinning worse than before. Yoongi didn’t move away. “Let go of me!” He tried again, desperately trying to hit him in the face, chest, anywhere. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do anything. “Let go,” he mumbled in between sobs. He wanted his mom, as childish and pathetic as that sounded; he needed a hug. What he got, however, was a cold, wet sensation in his temple. He opened his eyes and was surprised, to put it lightly, when he discovered that Yoongi was cleaning the blood away with a wet tissue. He looked at Yoongi’s eyes, which were still empty. Or so he thought, for the longer he stared he started noticing something else in those dark eyes. Guilt. “What the-”
“Don’t talk,” Yoongi interrupted as he moved some hair away from his forehead. He continued cleaning Jimin’s injury in slow but secure motions, getting rid of the blood slowly. Whenever the tissue he was holding became full of blood, the blonde would swap it with another one; he’d open a package, get a normal tissue out and damp it with the water from his bottle. Once he was done he pulled something else from his pocket, this time a band-aid. As soon as he opened it Jimin noticed it had a flower pattern in it, which was weird but out of the entire situation it was the most normal thing. Yoongi applied it to the injury, which was apparently on his temple and not higher in his head, as opposed to what Jimin had felt. It hurt a little whenever anything brushed against the injury, but it wasn’t too bad. Once the band-aid was in place, Yoongi moved away from him, holding one of Jimin’s tiny hands with his and wrapping it around a packet of ice that Jimin hadn’t seen. It looked like the ones they had in the infirmary, which was in the direction the other had gone.
Had Min Yoongi gone to the infirmary to get him an ice package? Wait, that wasn’t the question. Why was Min Yoongi, his bully , taking care of him? It made literally no sense.
“You’re getting really bad at this,” Yoongi suddenly spoke, raising Jimin’s own hand until it was next to the injury. Jimin moved his hand the last centimeter. “Two times in less than a week,” the blonde continued.
“Let me go,” was the only thing that came out of Jimin’s mouth. He was confused and he needed answers, but he was just so scared. He knew he was tearing up again when Yoongi grabbed another tissue out of the package and, instead of damping it, only brought it to Jimin’s cheek.
“Can you even stand up?” The blonde answered, apparently unbothered and sounding just bored. But Jimin knew better, the other’s eyes filled with guilt and worry.
“Yes,” he answered immediately as he tried to demonstrate that yes, Park Jimin could stand up.
He couldn’t, his headache increasing exponentially as he moved and, as a result, he fell down on his butt again. He hated it, being so weak in front of the source of his fear (he wasn’t so sure about that title anymore).
Yoongi scoffed at his attempt at getting up. “You sure about that?” Once again, his tone suggested that he was having a good time, but his face told the opposite. “Here, I’ll help you,” he said and instead of waiting for Jimin to say anything, stood up and dragged him until he was in his feet. His head was killing him and the ring in his ears became louder, but Yoongi was holding him still and helped him rest against the locker, not letting him go until the headache resided a little bit; apparently Jimin had let out a pained expression, otherwise there was no way Yoongi could figure out that he wasn’t okay. It was until Jimin opened his eyes again when the blonde spoke, looking even more tired than the last time they had talked. “Rest there and don’t come out yet, they are eating right across the street and could see you. Fifteen minutes should be enough,” he instructed, his hands finally dropping from Jimin’s waist to his sides. He moved to grab his bag and took a step back, clearly about to leave.
“What the fuck Yoongi?” Jimin asked before he could stop himself.
Yoongi seemed surprised as well. “What?”
No going back now. He sighed. “Why are you acting this way? You’ve never had a problem being a dick to me, why the sudden change of heart?”
The blonde smiled; it wasn’t a happy smile. It was the kind of smile someone you see in the face of someone who really hates themselves. “And you’ve never wanted to talk to me and yet here we are. Looks like both of us had a change of heart,” Yoongi observed, making a valid point as always. “Just to be clear, Park Jimin: I don’t care about you, at all,” and somehow, Jimin knew that was a lie. Maybe it was because the blonde himself had stated otherwise last Thursday, maybe it was because his eyes screamed ‘lies’. Jimin didn’t know, he only knew it had been a lie. A bad one, at that. “And I might be a piece of shit, but even I have my fucking limits. Lee doesn’t and he’s becoming more and more unstable every day. I suggest you try harder to avoid us, because I can’t tell what will happen next time.”
“You say that as if you weren’t part of it,” he accused.
Yoongi sighed. Yup, he was very tired alright. But tired of what? “What’s the worst thing I have done to you?”
“You called me a-”
“Physical, Jimin,” the other clarified. “What’s the worst physical thing I’ve done to you?”
Making memory, Jimin could only think of one answer. It was weird, to notice such a thing. “You pushed me and made me fall.”
“Now compare that to what happened today,” Yoongi finished, successfully making Jimin question every action Yoongi and his three no-friends had done. Everything really bad they had done had been because of Lee.
But he wasn’t about to admit that Min Yoongi was right. “You’re still as bad as them.”
Yoongi smiled again, that smile full of self-hatred, his eyes screaming that the blonde was miserable. “You think I don’t know that?” And Jimin knew he meant it. “Stay away from us, for real,” Yoongi finished, finally walking away and he was about to get out of the building when he spoke again, loud enough for Jimin to listen but not quite a yell. “And for the love of God, don’t sleep until night; it’ll be worse if you do,” and with that, the blonde disappeared, leaving Jimin with his own thoughts.
Apparently, he had been calling the wrong person his demon. Because whilst Min Yoongi was terrifying and a huge asshole, he was only the puppet.
As soon as Jimin got home he threw himself on top of the bed. He wanted to sleep and forget about everything that had happened, but he knew it was a bad idea. As much as he hated to do what Yoongi told him to, he had been right when he told him not to sleep; apparently it could lead to a coma or something and it was a very scary thought, so Jimin wasn’t going to risk it. His phone had rang when he was in the bus and he had decided to answer, even if he didn’t want to, as to not worry Taehyung. They talked like normal and Jimin had to lie when the other noticed he wasn’t in his room, making up a fake story of how he had met with his teacher Sejin and helped him out grade some homework; thankfully Taehyung didn’t notice the lie and instead talked to him normally.
Lying in his bed for a few minutes, Jimin decided to get some homework done. It was stressful, yes, but it’d keep his mind busy. He had thought about login in to the chatroom, but decided against it when he thought about what the others would say: Kim, Alice and Sam would be worried, the rest would be dismissive and maybe even cruel. He didn’t want to face them. They were only people in the internet, but words hurt regardless of where they came from.
He managed to finish all his homework, even the maths one, before his mom got home, her hands full as always and Jimin was beyond relieved that one of the bags contained a very cute baby blue beret. Perfect. He put it on, careful to cover the band-aid and walked to the dining room, starting the usual ritual of getting some plates and chopsticks and opening the food containers with their food: today it was Chinese. Good, at least it wasn’t sandwiches, otherwise he’d be reminded of his failed escape.
“Everything okay honey?” His mom asked from behind him; Jimin hadn’t noticed that she was done talking on the phone. He turned around and gave her his best smile.
“Yup mom, why do you ask?”
Returning the smile, she sat down next to him. “You looked a bit worried, did something happen at school?”
And how could he tell his mom, who was always stressed over whether she could pay the rent and get him presents as an apology for never being around, that he was constantly bullied and his bullies had gone a step forward this time? Sure, he wanted someone he could vent to, but he didn’t want her to worry about him; she already had too much on her plate. Still, he was confused and conflicted and he needed advice from someone.
Biting his lip, Jimin nodded, thinking of a way to tell her about Min Yoongi without spilling the whole story. He managed to do it after about a minute.
“It’s just,” he started, unsure. What would he do if his mom asked questions? He hoped it didn’t happen, he didn’t want to lie to his mom. “There’s this guy at school. I’ve never really talked to him, but over the year I thought I had figured out his character, you know? I thought I knew how he was.”
“But?” His mom asked a few seconds after he had stopped speaking.
“But today I saw him do something I didn’t think he’d be doing and now I’m confused,” he continued, slowly and steady as to not give anything away. “He did something that goes against everything I knew about him and now I don’t know what to think about him.”
“Do you like him?”
His mother’s question surprised him. What the hell? Nothing he had said indicated that he liked Yoongi. How could he even like him? Sure, his mom knew Jimin was gay, but that didn’t mean that every guy he talked about was a romantic interest.
“No!” He answered bewildered, his cheeks heating up.
Sure, Yoongi was handsome and there was no denying to that, and his voice wasn’t all that bad and his eyes were very pretty, but even if he had been a God amongst men (which he wasn’t, otherwise the blonde would be a model) his attitude was enough to make Jimin disgusted with the mere idea of liking Yoongi.
And then he made a mistake, the mistake of remembering the events of the day. Yoongi had sounded so scared when Lee asked him to beat him up, and then he taken care of Jimin even if he didn’t need to and even warned him about his three no-friends. And his eyes had looked so sad, guilty and even miserable as he took care of Jimin’s injury. His touch had been so gentle and the way his hand felt around Jimin’s own was actually rather nice.
Suddenly he wasn’t disgusted with the idea of liking Yoongi, but rather with the idea that everything the blonde had done, every cruel word, every dismissive action, was not something the guy wanted to do. What if that was the case? Would Jimin forgive him and excuse his every action? Of course not, he would never do such a thing. But maybe he could understand him now and, honestly, that was the worse part.
He was confused and, honestly, scared.
“Okay, honey. It’s okay if you don’t like him,” his mom suddenly spoke, reminding Jimin of her presence. He opened his eyes to meet hers, as loving and gentle as always. “But you could try and talk to him, at least once. Maybe then you’d know better what to think of him, good or bad, and then you’d be able to decide if you want to talk to him again or just avoid him forever. In the end it’s your decision and you can’t go wrong with that,” she finished, giving him a peck in the cheek before raising her chopsticks, a huge ball of noodles in between them. She forced Jimin to eat, which in turn made him smile. “Now, let’s dig in!”
It was until he was getting ready for bed when he got it. He didn’t reply immediately, as the message arrived when he was getting dressed after his shower, the soft pajamas he had chosen warm enough to make him sleepy after mere seconds of putting them on. Leaving the bathroom and reaching his room, he had turned off the ceiling lights and was about to jump into his bed and get comfy when he noticed it, his phone in the bedside table indicating that he had a notification. Unlocking it dismissively, he almost dropped the device as soon as he read the name displayed on the screen.
New message from Gloss.
He opened the app as fast as he could, only to be met by a… weird message.
And the circumstance was so reminiscing of Yoongi’s that Jimin almost thought his demon and Gloss were the same person. Almost. But Yoongi wasn’t gay, he had seen him and his no-friends fooling around with Hyuna and to be honest Jimin didn’t know what was real or an act but he held onto that thought. There was no way the shy, funny and very nice guy was the same guy as Min Yoongi. No way. There were over ten million people living in Seoul, it’d be the biggest coincidence in the entire universe if he found his Min Yoongi in an anti-bullying chatroom in English ; it was already a huge coincidence that he and Gloss both lived in the same city. It wasn’t the same person. Besides, Gloss mentioned one person, not three and whilst Lee was the leader, Choi and Kim also had a say in what Yoongi did. So it couldn’t be.
Jimin knew Gloss had it bad, but he hadn’t imagined something as terrible being the reason his online friend acted the way he did. So he’d had a valid reason to be at the anti-bullying chatroom, after all. And everyone kicked him out and talked badly about him whenever he was mentioned in the chat. Assholes.
And he shouldn’t have said that, because Jimin planned on being the best goddamn friend that had ever walked across the face of the Earth (second to Taehyung, of course). Now he needed to do something to calm Gloss down, because knowing the other his friend was crying profusely. And Jimin was tired, but Gloss was more important than anything else. Not turning the light on again, Jimin reached for the control of his second hand TV and reached to turn on his second hand Xbox.
And he could tell Gloss all about it. He could open up about what had happened that day and how he felt, but for some reason he decided against it; Gloss had a lot of things to worry about already, he didn’t need to add to it, at least not now. He decided to say the truth: Yoongi hadn’t gotten him. He just didn’t mention Lee or the others.
And before he could stop himself, he started typing again. He was so stupid, wasn’t he? To get so attached to someone whose face was a complete mystery. To fall a little bit in love with a stranger.
Yup, he was very dumb. Thankfully, the status of stranger wasn’t a permanent one.
(He started the game.)
Chapter 6: The jacket.
After what he had decided to refer to as “the locker incident”, Jimin didn’t see Min Yoongi again, not the next day or the next one or even the next week. In fact, he didn’t see him or his no-friends for a month. And it was great, really, to not encounter his bullies, but at the same time Jimin was curious as to how he had managed to avoid them and, most importantly, what had Yoongi meant that day and how he was doing.
In the end he decided that nothing Yoongi could do would make Jimin forgive him for all the horrible things the blonde had said. He was willing to stop hating him, sure, but from that to forgiveness there was a long way and Yoongi would have to do much more than taking care of him once. Even if he wasn’t the one with the initiative to hurt him, he was still the effector and there were only so many reasons anyone would agree to hurt someone else, the main one being that he was okay with it and maybe even enjoy it. And based on the previous lack of doubt and regret of Yoongi, which Jimin had gotten accustomed to over the year, that was probably it. So what if the idiot wasn’t okay with physically hurting him? He was still okay with hurting him emotionally. Jimin was naive, yes, and he loved to see the best in people, but he wasn’t stupid.
But of course, his luck couldn’t go on forever. It was after he had picked up his breakfast, some iced tea and an apple, when he heard their voices closing in, Lee and Kim speaking louder than usual. Turning around, Jimin discovered that maybe he could still get away, for the four bullies were distracted speaking to Hyuna and Chaerin, two of the most popular girls in the school. Sure, they were pretty and Jimin knew for a fact that at least Hyuna was actually a very nice and lovely girl, but the fact that they hung out with people like Yoongi and his no-friends was enough for him to keep his distance.
He began walking on their direction, nervous but determined to reach the exit without the bullies noticing him. The group had stopped right in front of the door that lead to his salvation and it was frustrating, but maybe it’d increase his chance to get away. They seemed to be talking about Sejin, complaining about how hard his class was and how unfair the exam had been and sure, Jimin was a year younger, but he knew that if you paid attention to the teacher’s class you wouldn’t struggle in his exams, so it was their fault for not paying attention.
Scanning the group as he approached the exit, Jimin discovered everyone had a smile in their face; everyone but Yoongi, whose eyes were fixed on the ground. Whatever, Jimin shouldn’t care about him. He kept his eyes in the group and he was already five meters away from the door when he noticed it, Daniel Lee turning his face away from the group and into his direction. Fuck.
However, before the guy was even done turning around, someone raised his voice. “Noona, when’s that party you mentioned?” It was Yoongi, his voice a little strained as though he didn’t want to say that. Looking at him, there was a moment their eyes met and Jimin realised what had happened. Yoongi had also seen Lee turning around and was intervening; and he succeeded, for Lee was looking at Yoongi now. After a second, however, instead of an explanation there was a demand in the other’s eyes: Get the hell out of here.
And Jimin had never been happier to do what Yoongi told him to. What a weird change of events, just a month before he wouldn’t have paid attention to the blonde and now he was mentally thanking him for the opportunity to get away, thinking that if he kept going this way Jimin would end up forgiving the blonde eventually. He didn’t want to think of the possibility.
He kept walking, his steps fast but without running. That’d only attract attention to him. From his left he heard Hyuna’s sweet voice. “This Friday. Why? Did you change your mind?”
“I think I’m free, but I need to confirm with my dad. Do I call you later?” Yoongi answered. He probably hadn’t wanted to go, but was doing this just so Jimin could get away. Why? He wasn’t sure but he wasn’t going to question it. Not now. He reached the exit and opened the door.
“Yeah, thank you-”
“Hey! Jimin!” The girl’s answer was cut off by Kim’s yell.
But Jimin was gone.
“Jisoo?” It was their last class of the day, History, and their teacher wasn’t there yet; he was probably busy with his other group, the man usually losing track of time. So, he turned to see his closest classmate, the only person he really talked to at school; in retrospective, he knew Jisoo thought he was weird and she never tried to start any conversations with him, but when they did speak she was nice, so Jimin didn’t mind.
“Jimin, what is it?” Without turning away from her phone, the girl answered.
Okay, here it goes. To be fair, Jimin didn’t really want to talk about the dude as his heart would immediately start beating faster, the confusion he had been feeling for over a month still as strong if not more, but he wasn’t going to speak to Yoongi and he needed to know more about him. It couldn’t hurt to see how other people perceived the boy, right? “Do you know anything about a boy called Min Yoongi?”
Thinking for a moment, Jisoo eventually nodded, her eyes still in her phone. “The one with bleached blond hair?”
“Yeah, that guy.”
“Why do you ask?” The girl continued, her tone suggestive. Of course she would. After all, Jisoo was the only person at school who knew he was gay.
Jimin didn’t let it affect him. Nope, he didn’t like Yoongi. “I just- I heard a rumour about him.”
Finally putting down her phone, Jisoo turned around to face him, her eyes looking serious. That was weird. “Let me guess, that he hurts himself?” What? He had never heard such a thing, only making up that excuse in order to get the girl to talk about his bully.
But now that he was here. “Uh, yeah, that thing.”
Jisoo sighed, looking sad. “It’s not a rumour Jimin. You know that girl Hyuna? She’s a senior,” Jimin nodded. He didn’t like where this was going. “Last year she crashed with Yoongi and dropped some coffee on top of him. He went to his locker to take out his hoodie and exchange it with another one he had there, but in the few seconds his skin was exposed everyone who was there could see that his arms were full of scars, some of them new. Jiwon took a picture and uploaded to Twitter, so the entire school knows about it; well, everyone apart from you. Do you even have Twitter?”
And he was horrified and honestly sad to hear such a thing, and he felt even more at conflict than before because how could he not feel bad to hear that someone was doing such a thing to himself, even if it was his bully?
But he didn’t let it show. He couldn’t. Jisoo wasn’t exactly discreet and Jimin didn’t want to give her a reason to gossip about the current situation to anyone else. “Nope.”
She rolled her eyes, picking up her phone again. “Of course. You should stop isolating yourself Jimin, is not healthy. That guy Yoongi is always alone, too, and look how where he is: so depressed that he feels like cutting himself is the only option.”
He was always alone? Since when? Maybe Jisoo meant in the classroom and maybe in the cafeteria, as those were places Jimin couldn’t see him, but other than that he had assumed that they were always together. It was yet another revelation and he wasn’t sure he liked everything he was finding out, because it all translated into the fact that Min Yoongi wasn’t the huge asshole Jimin had made him out to be.
“If he wanted to die why doesn’t he do it properly?” Suddenly, from Jisoo’s other side, Seungho mumbled, almost for himself but his voice was loud enough for Jimin and Jisoo to hear it. “He only does it for attention,” the guy finished and well, Jimin was suddenly pissed.
“That’s not how it works,” he answered. He didn’t want to pick fights with his classmates because it was too troublesome and unnecessary most times, but he somehow felt the need to defend Yoongi and, more importantly, Gloss, who had confessed his nocive habit earlier that week. In the end Jimin had scolded him, but he couldn’t stay mad at his friend and decided to offer him his support, making the other promise that he’d tell Jimin whenever he felt like he was going to do it.
“And you know that because?” Seungho continued. His voice was rather disinterested, clearly not caring about the matter as much as Jimin cared.
Jimin sighed, deciding to give an answer without many details. “I have a friend who does that to himself. Either way, if Yoongi was doing it for attention he wouldn’t wear hoodies or anything that covers his arms, don’t you think?”
“Whatever,” was Seungho’s answer. Yup, he definitely didn’t care as much as Jimin did, if he cared at all. Jimin just pouted; no use in adding to the argument.
“So what’s with the sudden interest?” Jisoo talked again; clearly she had waited for his little argument with Seungho’s to be over. “Does Jiminnie have a crush?” Of course she thought that.
He made a semi disgusted face. “No. I just heard about him and I’ve never really paid attention to him, much less speak to him,” the first part was clearly a lie, the second one wasn’t. His classmates didn’t need to know the full story; it’s not like any of them would care. He sighed lightly: Jisoo was right, he isolated himself way too much. But he had his reasons. He didn’t want to get hurt and that was fully respectable, right?
“Well, if you want to speak to him, he’s always alone in the cafeteria,” Jisoo continued. So he had been right in that. “Never eats anything, he just gets there, buys some dessert and sits in the corner table until five minutes before break ends. Then he takes the dessert and leaves.”
That was weird. “Dessert?”
“Yeah, it’s usually donuts and cupcakes,” like the ones Jimin always got. But it couldn’t be that. “Whatever there’s in the cafeteria, to be honest. Who knows what he does with them.”
Suddenly, before Jimin had time to think about that information, Donghun joined their conversation. “Sehun told me that Mingyu told him that Hansol saw him opening a locker that wasn’t his and left it there,” oh. “No idea whose locker it was, but apparently he’s been doing that every day almost since the year started,” oh.
“You should eat more.”
That had been the note Jimin found earlier that day. He had brushed it off, it had just been a coincidence; it wasn’t a particularly interesting phrase, everyone could’ve said it. But now he realised it hadn’t been a coincidence.
Min Yoongi was the one who kept on leaving him snacks and little notes.
On one hand, this meant that one mystery had been solved, which was always good. On the other hand, it made Jimin even more confused than he had been. As if he needed more confusion added to his little heart, he already had a hard time deciding what to think of the blonde bully and of Gloss, his internet crush. He closed his eyes. This was so confusing. Why was Yoongi leaving him food? Caring about him? Why had he taken care of him that day, after he had gotten hit in the head? Why had he intervened earlier when he almost got caught? It made no sense at all and Jimin was tired of dedicating time to think about someone he had decided to hate the previous year. Why couldn’t the blonde be a huge asshole that Jimin could hate without feeling bad? It’d certainly make everything easier for Jimin and his tiny heart.
“Maybe Yoongi has a crush?” Jisoo continued gossiping.
“Maybe,” Donghun answered.
Jimin hoped that wasn’t the case. He didn’t even want to think of the possibility. He was just a normal sixteen year old boy who liked sweet food, cute plushies and cuter boys, spending time with his mom and talking to his best friend on the phone, prefered meat over seafood, loved biology and hated maths, played videogames and talked to people online. He was nothing special, not in a good way but also not in a bad way. He was a normal person. He had a normal life for the last sixteen years and nothing special ever happened to him.
So why was everything weird and special happening to him at the same time ?
The storm surprised everyone. It was only april, why was it raining so hard? Jimin didn’t understand why the weather seemed to be against him. The one time he didn’t bring an umbrella and it was raining so hard. He considered for a minute running under the rain, just to discard the idea immediately; nothing would happen if he got home late, but if he got sick his mom would worry too much and take him to the hospital and Jimin wasn’t sure if she could afford it at the moment. He also considered asking someone for a ride, maybe Jihoon or even Donghun, but he didn’t know them that much and they weren’t friends, so it felt weird to even bring it up. Not wanting to stay in the classroom in case Yoongi and his friends would find him, he walked to the cafeteria and sat near the entrance, determined to wait until the rain stopped or at least decreased and then going home.
Entering the big room full of circular tables and chairs, he considered doing some homework to stop himself from thinking about the demon. He was already confused, he didn't need to actively search for reasons to feel weird. However, the room’s lights were off and with the clouds there was no way enough light entered through the windows and he didn’t have any idea where the lightswitch was. He hadn’t entered the room since the third week of classes the previous year, afraid to encounter his bullies, so didn’t know where anything was.
He sighed, trying to find something to distract himself. The rain was one option, but even though the little drops of water colliding against the windows was very relaxing, Jimin knew that instead of clearing his head it’d only give more space for his thought to fill his head.
There was one last option, but the chances of it working were rather low. Still, he lost nothing by trying.
The last time he had spoken to his friend had been the previous night… or rather, that day’s early morning. They had been speaking about random things for hours and Jimin didn’t know at what time he had fallen asleep, he just knew they had been talking about videogames and then it was the morning and Gloss had sent him a few messages asking if he was there and then wishing him a good night. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about Gloss, if he was only crushing on his internet friend or if his affection went beyond that, but he didn’t care too much. Whatever happened between them both would happen and Jimin wouldn’t make any moves unless the other started it. It was the best idea he had and, to be honest, the only one he had.
His phone vibrated on the table. Jimin hadn’t expected an answer, much less this fast. He smiled but frowned immediately afterwards, a breeze of cold air filtering from under the cafeteria’s doors and reaching his body. Of course, Jimin hadn’t even brought a warm sweater with him. But hey, it was the weather’s fault, not his.
It had been a month since Gloss opened up about his situation both at home and at school and Jimin had decided that whilst he’d continue updating his internet friend about his situation, he’d keep most of the information vague as to not worry the other. He didn’t need the extra pressure that Jimin getting beat up meant, after all. Plus, Jimin hadn’t been beaten up and his encounters with Yoongi were nule until that very day, so he didn’t have to lie about his luck.
He thought about leaving the cafeteria, as it was a rather big room and as a result not very warm, but to be honest he felt the safest there, in a big room with two exits and many obstacles that could help him escape if things got bad, even if there was no reason for things to go bad. As far as he knew, Lee, Kim and Choi all had cars and they surely took Yoongi with them, right? After researching a little bit Jimin had discovered what Kim had meant when he called him a “low class”, for the four of them came from rather wealthy families, including Yoongi. He didn’t know that before and it was frankly very useless information, but at least it gave a justification as to why the quartet picked on him.
Suddenly, the door to the cafeteria opened and Jimin was encountered with the last person he wanted to see. Why was he here? Why didn’t he leave with his no-friends? Trying to block the conversation he’d had with Jisoo earlier from his memory and failing miserably, Jimin’s mind was suddenly flooded with the questions from earlier. Why was Yoongi taking care of him in secret?
Jimin hated the uncertainty.
“Seriously?” Yoongi’s tired voice got him out of his head. Right, he needed to focus on what was going on right now , he could worry about Yoongi’s weird antics once the blonde had left.
“Get away,” was Jimin’s only answer, not moving an inch. He was glad he hadn’t stuttered as he spoke.
Yoongi rolled his eyes. “I’m not going near you, relax,” he sighed, once again looking as if he wanted to say something but not sure as to how or what to say, even.
Jimin decided to attack him with a simple question; if this was at all like their previous encounters, Yoongi wouldn’t do anything to him whilst he was alone. “What was that earlier?”
“What was what?” Yoongi answered, fully knowing what Jimin meant but wanting to make sure.
“You distracting them so I could get away,” he answered.
The blonde smiled as always, a deep hatred for himself present in his eyes. “I already told you Jimin, I have my limits and Lee goes beyond them.”
“So you’re okay with calling me awful names but as soon as physical violence is involved you back off,” Jimin stated. Maybe the answer would help him understand Yoongi and, better yet, his feeling better.
“If that’s how you want to see it go on.”
“Give me a fucking direct answer,” it was frustrating, really, when people didn’t answer to his questions and instead answered around them. He had already gotten accustomed to Gloss doing that, but he wasn’t about to allow Yoongi to do that.
In the other’s eyes appeared a glimpse of recognition, but it was gone the moment after, instead replaced by his usual apathy. “I don’t have to,” he answered and oh no, he hadn’t just said that, after everything he had done to Jimin the blonde owed him the fucking moon and he wasn’t going to get away without answering. Yoongi seemed to have other plans, immediately changing the topic. “I didn’t see Kim leave and I don’t think he brought his car, so be careful. You should be fine here, just hide better,” okay, that was actually important information. But still.
He got up from the chair, not even bothering to not look annoyed. “You’re not going to leave without giving me an explanation.”
“Again, I don’t have to,” Yoongi looked honestly bored. But if Jimin had learned something about the other in the last month it was that he wasn’t what he appeared to be. No, Yoongi wasn’t bored, he was nervous and trying to get away.
“But you owe me that much!” Jimin raised his voice, stomping in the demon’s direction until he was less than a meter away. Every other time it would’ve been the other way around, Jimin happy with keeping distance from Yoongi, but not this time. He was getting tired of Min Yoongi playing around with his emotions, even if he wasn’t trying to.
The nervousness in Yoongi’s eyes increased for a moment, and then he closed his eyes and sighed. “Okay Jimin,” was his answer, taking a step back and turning around as to leave.
He wasn’t having that, Jimin caught up and grabbed his arm. “Don’t fucking leave, Min Yoongi.”
And there was surprise in Yoongi’s eyes, but also sadness. “Or what? You’re going to beat me up?” The other asked, not even searching for an answer. The answer was crystal clear in Jimin’s eyes and he knew it. Damn it. “You’re not an asshole like me, so I doubt that. And even if you did I’m already used to it, so it won’t make a damn difference.”
What? He was used to being beaten up?
No Jimin, focus on right now, think about that later.
He still felt bad for the other. His hand dropped from Yoongi’s arm to his side.
“I hate you,” he sighed. He meant it, but he didn’t. Why couldn’t he make up his mind? Why was Yoongi so damn complicated?
He didn’t mean it.
Based on Yoongi’s eyes, the other had also noticed. His answer was, well, normal under these circumstances. “I know,” he whispered, sad and tired and looking so fragile and why did Jimin want to give him a hug? He hated it, he hated being confused, he hated his feelings. He needed to stop and he didn’t know how.
He didn’t have time to snap out of his weird thoughts, however, for suddenly he felt something warm on his shoulders and back. Opening his eyes, he discovered that the warm sensation was Yoongi’s jacket, which was now covering him and it had that distinct cologne, musky and sweet but also just… safe? It wasn’t really a smell, but it definitely made Jimin feel the same way as when his mother or Taehyung gave him a hug or, in a different way, when he was talking to Gloss. It felt safe and warm and like home and the thought that this nice sensation came from the fact that his bully had given him his jacket was weird.
“What the fuck?” Jimin asked as Yoongi helped him slide his arms in the sleeves. It was a little big for him, but also very cozy.
“Keep it, it’s freaking cold,” Yoongi replied nonchalantly, as if this was completely normal. “You’ve been doing good for a month, so keep avoiding us,” he added, reminding Jimin of something the blonde had said the last time they had seen each other.
Before Jimin could add anything, however, Yoongi turned around and left the cafeteria and Jimin could’ve followed him, but he decided against it in case it irritated Yoongi. He’d have to ask Hyuna to give Yoongi his jacket back the next time he saw her.
Going back to his seat, Jimin stared at the wall for a few minutes, thinking about what had just happened, before shaking his head and picking up his phone, which had vibrated pretty much at the same moment Yoongi had entered the room. Good, he had Gloss to distract him.
Okay, once was not the ideal, but it was normal. Twice was weird, but it had happened a few times already. Thrice was completely unusual and scary and seriously, why did he encounter Min Yoongi again? It was almost five, he had stopped talking to Gloss almost half an hour ago (the poor guy had probably fallen asleep) and the rain had finally stopped and so, he had left the cafeteria to head home just to find the weirdest of sights: Yoongi, sitting in the floor with his back against a random locker, his arms crossed in an attempt to hug himself to decrease the cold, his eyes closed and his expression the most peaceful Jimin had seen in his face since they met. Looking at his arms, Jimin noticed something he had ignored earlier when the blonde had given him the jacket; it looked like Jisoo hadn’t been lying about Yoongi’s toxic habit, a series of white, brown and sadly red scars decorating those slim arms.
Seeing him like that, so vulnerable and peaceful, Jimin couldn’t ignore the sting in his heart and before he could convince himself that this was a bad idea, he was by the other’s side crouching next to his sleeping form. Up close and under this circumstances Jimin allowed himself to think that yes, Min Yoongi was very very handsome and yes, that relaxed expression suited him quite nicely.
After a couple minutes of staring, Jimin decided to do what he had wanted to and took off the jacket, the cold biting his skin immediately. Whatever, he was walking home and that’d warm him up. He moved closer to the blonde and decided to pull him by the shoulders, away from the locker, as to wake him up and also wrap the warm safe jacket across his back. In his head he tried to justify it as him repaying a favour, for Min Yoongi had taken proper care of him once, protected him earlier that day and left him food for over a month as to make sure he didn’t starve himself, but in the end Jimin knew this was more than that. He was willing to stop hating Min Yoongi, after all.
As his eyelashes fluttered and he got accustomed to the light, Yoongi let out a small whimper (why, Jimin had no idea) and took a moment to process what was going on. His eyes focussed on Jimin as soon as he did. “What are you doing?” His voice was deeper than usual, groggy from sleep.
Jimin tried to get the blonde’s arm in the sleeve, to no avail. He sighed. He’d have to explain himself, after all. “You’re the one who said that it’s cold and yet here you are, hugging yourself to not freeze,” he pointed out, staring at Yoongi’s eyes as the other understood. He continued. “The rain stopped, go home.”
After a minute of silence, in which Jimin failed again to get the other to put the damn jacket on, he spoke again, his eyes looking the saddest Jimin had seen them be yet. His heart hurt at the sight. “Why are you being nice to me?” And the question wasn’t why was Jimin being nice to him, even after everything, but rather why was anyone being nice to him. Jimin hated the fact that he felt so bad for Yoongi, but he didn’t think he’d be able to stop himself from feeling that way.
He sighed, deciding that it was easier to pretend that it was the first question. “Is me being awful to you going to make you stop being a dick?”
“I wish it did,” Jimin knew he meant it.
He gave Yoongi a half smile. “I guess we agree on something.”
Looking at Yoongi stand up, the blonde grabbing the jacket with one hand and his backpack with the other one, Jimin didn’t expect Yoongi to offer the jacket to him. “Here. You take the bus, you must live far,” he explained, justifying himself.
“And how exactly do you know that?” Jimin answered as he grabbed the jacket and put it back on, aware that he would never win this battle.
Yoongi sighed, swinging his backpack’s strap across his shoulder. “I told you, you don’t always see me when I’m around,” he paused for a moment, deciding if he was going to say something or not. The answer must’ve been no, for the blonde shook his head and just turned around. “See you. Or not, that’d be better.”
And whilst Jimin agreed, as he saw the other walk away, he discovered himself thinking that he wanted to see him again. Maybe if they had met under different circumstances they could be friends? He could only hope.
“See you Min Yoongi.”
Chapter 7: The ice cream.
Jimin didn’t want to end up in the infirmary, but he didn’t really have a choice; it’s not like Yoongi asked him if he wanted to go there. The bully didn’t even give him ask him if he wanted to get punched in the tummy, so there’s that.
After a week of little encounters it was only a matter of time for Yoongi and his no-friends to get him, catching him when he was by his locker and waiting for all the people in the hallway to leave. Looking back, Jimin knew for a fact that it had been Daniel Lee’s decision. Lee, Kim and Choi had been the one to push him to his locker whilst Yoongi stood in the back, looking miserable and genuinely angry at the trio. When Yoongi punched him where his diaphragm was and successfully knocked the air out of his lungs he had looked so sad and guilty that, even as he crumbled to the floor, Jimin couldn’t help but to feel sorry for Yoongi. And he hated feeling sorry for him, but it’s not like telling that to himself would stop his little heart from doing whatever it wanted.
In retrospective, it could’ve been a lot worse, the seniors looking quite disappointed when Yoongi aimed for the right spot and hurt him enough for the day, but leaving almost no damage. After the quartet had left, leaving him on his own to recover his breath as best as he could on the floor, it wasn’t that surprising to Jimin when Yoongi came out of the cafeteria about five minutes later and helped him off the floor and dragged him to the infirmary, the blonde not looking at his face even once but his posture enough for him to know that Yoongi felt awful.
It was until Jimin was sitting in the infirmary when Yoongi left, his eyes glued to the floor and being honest, Jimin was starting to find him genuinely cute. After coming up with a sufficient excuse and convincing the nurse that it had been an accident, Jimin was allowed to leave for his class. It was Friday, which mean he had art history and he didn’t like angering his teacher, Hyunsoo; after Sejin, it was Jimin’s second favourite. When he got to the classroom, however, he didn’t expect to see their principal there, accompanied by probably the most handsome man Jimin had ever seen.
“—As you probably already heard your teacher Kim Hyunsoo-ssi has recently fallen ill and it’ll take him at least a month to recover and join us again,” the principal was explaining. Jimin didn’t know that; maybe if he actually paid attention to gossip he wouldn’t be as surprised. “I’m here to introduce you to your substitute teacher, who’s recently graduated with honours from Konkuk University. His name is Kim Seokjin, please treat him nicely in the time he’s with you,” the old man finished, bowing to the handsome young man and leaving the room afterwards. He stared awfully at Jimin as he passed by him in the doorway, but didn’t say anything. Dick. Jimin didn’t like the old dude, he had gone talk to him a few times about the bullying only to be ignored.
“Why were you late?” From in front of him the substitute teacher spoke; turning around, Jimin discovered the older guy to be referring to him.
Gulping, Jimin bowed in an apology. “I was at the infirmary; the nurse gave me this pass,” he explained before walking to the teacher’s side, handing him the little paper where the nurse had written him a justification as to why he was late.
Watching as the teacher’s eyes scanned through the paper, Jimin only let out his breath when the other man nodded. “Okay, you may come in,” he said, returning the paper to Jimin, indicating him to go to his desk. Bowing, Jimin walked to his place and sat down, his cheeks burning. This was not the first impression he wanted to give any teacher and this Seokjin dude looked very serious and stern. Definitely not someone he wanted on his bad side.
Jimin buried his face in the desk, tears threatening to leave his eyes. Just then the screen on his phone turned on.
Damn it Gloss, not now. The message was concerning, however, and after pondering his decision for a few seconds Jimin decided to just answer, taking advantage of the teacher writing his name in the whiteboard.
“From what I understand you guys are a little behind when it comes to the syllabus,” Seokjin started, once he was done with his name, “but as much as it pains me to waste time we need to know each other slightly more. We’re gonna go down the rows and you guys are going to tell me your names and a couple things about you. After you are done each one of you gets to ask me a simple question,” the man explained slow enough for everyone to understand, a hint of boredom and exasperation in his voice. Definitely not someone Jimin wanted to mess with. His phone turned on again. “Let’s hurry so we can get at least do a little review of what you’ve seen,” the teacher finished as he pointed to the girl closest to his desk, giving him a few seconds to read and write.
And honestly, what the fuck? Jimin liked cats, they were cute and a little grumpy but very sweet if you treated them right and he had always wanted one, so he couldn’t even imagine someone hurting a sweet innocent creature for what, for fun? It made him sick in the stomach.
“In case it wasn’t implicit enough, phones are completely forbidden in the classroom; anyone who’s caught with their phone out is gonna have to leave,” from the front of the room the teacher spoke loud enough again. Shit. Shit shit shit. He had seen him, hadn’t he? “I’m looking at you, missy,” the man suddenly continued, looking at Jisoo and Jimin felt calm for a moment, but there was no way the other saw Jisoo and not him; looking at his eyes, Jimin noticed the teacher staring right at him. He gulped. “Since I didn’t mention it before you get a free pass, young lady, but this is the last time,” Seokjin finished, finally returning his attention to their classmate.
Jimin sighed; he hated to do this, but he’d have to leave Gloss on his own for a couple hours. He typed a quick message.
With that, Jimin turned off his phone and dropped it in his bag, resting his head in his folded arms, staring at the teacher in front of the classroom. He was genuinely handsome, with beautiful brown hair styled to perfection, broad shoulders and big, pink lips and of course Jimin would stare at them, he was really gay and he appreciated art when he saw it. And yet, for some reason, he felt no attraction to the man; not only was he older, even if it was just by a few years, but he also looked mature, manly and hot and that was great, but Jimin prefered cute and soft boys with pretty eyes.
He continued staring at his new teacher, bored out of his wits and paid attention to every question his classmates would ask, piecing together the teacher’s answers. He was 22, from Gwangcheon, had studied acting at Konkuk University and played the guitar in his spare time; he had even worked on the soundtrack for a couple dramas and that was really cool. Eventually, his time to introduce himself approached and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do, so he just listened to Donghun and decided to do the same.
He closed his eyes, nervously trying to control his breathing as he leaned in to rest in the desk once again and he had completely forgotten about the incident from earlier when he accidentally hit himself with the table and pain shoot through his body; damn it, out of all the places he could’ve hit himself at why did he had to hit in the exact spot Min Yoongi had punched him at? The pain made him remember all about the damn blonde who had put him through so much and yet Jimin couldn’t help but to feel bad for; if Yoongi’s circumstance was at all like Gloss’ then Jimin would try his best to do something, anything , for the dude. He still owed him loads.
“Infirmary boy, you’re up,” Seokjin’s voice made Jimin jolt up, snapping him out of his thoughts. Damn it, he had forgotten he was the next one. He stood up shakily, his cheeks burning bright and he heard a few classmates laugh at him; paying attention to the teacher, however, Jimin found only a concerned, yet interested expression.
“Uh, my name is Jimin,” he managed to mumble. “I’m sixteen and I like biology and maths,” he finished, copying the format of Donghun’s introduction and of course his classmates would laugh even more.
Seokjin shushed them with a hand gesture. “Not interested in the arts?”
Jimin shook his head. “I appreciate them, but I wouldn’t go to art university.”
Seokjin nodded pensively a couple times before speaking again. “Understood. Any questions for me?”
And to be honest he wasn’t sure about what to ask, but before he could even come up with something he heard a voice next to him whisper something. “He’s probably going to ask him out,” of course, it had been Seungho speaking.
Before he could complain, however, Seokjin beat him to it. “Excuse me, what was that?” Apparently Seungho’s voice had been loud enough for the teacher to hear.
Seokjin wasn’t having it. “No, please do elaborate.”
At that, Seungho rolled his eyes. “Jimin is gay,” the asshole declared loudly, clearly wanting the entire classroom to hear and Jimin didn’t know how he knew it, but he didn’t want his classmates to know; even if some of them were nice, it was certain that they’d share it on Twitter and then the entire school would learn about it and Lee, Choi and Kim would have a new reason to bully him. However, when he tried to open his mouth to deny it he discovered he couldn’t and instead felt his cheeks becoming redder. Damn it.
“And?” Seokjin suddenly asked, not looking impressed in the least.
Everyone was surprised at that. “What do you mean ‘and’?” Seungho asked, perplexed. “He’s a faggot!” And Jimin was accustomed to ignorant remarks and stupid names—he had Yoongi and his no-friends to thank for—but for some reason hearing that one in particular hurt a lot. He wanted to speak to Gloss.
From the front of the classroom, Seokjin sighed, standing up and walking towards Jimin; once there the teacher placed a hand on his shoulder and indicated him to sit down. He obeyed immediately, tears pooling in his eyes and he wanted them to stop but he didn’t know how. “I might only be a few years older than you,” Seokjin started, his voice soft and very, very dangerous and angry, “but I will not tolerate this type of disrespect in my class. For as long as I’m here you must treat each other with basic respect, which means you mustn’t use such derogatory words against each other. He’s gay, great, let the boy get himself a boyfriend, it’s not affecting you in any shape or form unless he asked you out and I’m certain he wouldn’t. Now apologise.”
After a few seconds of silence, in which all his classmates looked at each other surprised, the idiot finally managed to speak. “What?”
Jimin was surprised too. Maybe it was because Seokjin was young and more open minded, but he had never imagined any teacher would stand up for, well, a gay student. Jimin wanted to cry even more.
“I said apologise. Now,” the teacher demanded, his tone much stronger than before. It was genuinely scary.
“Sorry Jimin,” and he wasn’t sorry in the least; that much was obvious, but at least that was something.
Jimin just nodded a few times, his eyes fixed in his desk. He didn’t want to look at anyone. “Good. Questions Jimin?” What? Oh, yeah, he was supposed to ask something to the teacher. Looking up, he was met by a sweet expression in the teacher’s face and man, he was really handsome; he looked way better like this, smiling gently and with kind eyes. He had pretty eyes.
Oh, he had to ask a question. Blinking, Jimin decided on the first thing that came to his mind. “Um, why did you chose to study acting instead of more stable careers?”
The smile that Seokjin gave him said it all: he had asked a good question. The teacher left his side and walked to the front of the classroom. “My father is the CEO of a big company; growing up I had everything handed to me and I could’ve studied management or economics and inherit the family business, but I wouldn’t have loved it. I love acting and that’s what I wanted to do, so I just followed my heart even if the logical answer was something completely different, an advice I highly suggest you kids follow if you’re in the possibility to do so,” and that last bit was towards Jimin, even if the teacher didn’t know it. It didn’t matter what he wanted to study, he’d never be able to study anything he wanted, for as soon as he left school he’d have to start working to help his mom. There was no way she’d be able to pay for university and whilst Jimin didn’t want to give up on studying, he understood that he’d have to take a couple years off at least.
It was useless to hope otherwise.
“Infirmary boy, come here for a second,” he was getting his maths notebook out of his bag when Seokjin called him over. Confused, Jimin asked Jisoo to take care of his things as he walked to the door, following the older man to the hallway and stopping a few meters away from the door. Had he done something wrong? Was this about his phone or about the incident with Seungho? Jimin was really nervous, to be honest. Maybe he wouldn’t be as nervous if the other guy wasn’t this attractive.
And no, he wasn’t developing a crush. He already had enough with one, this one with someone whose face and name were still a mystery. And yeah, maybe he was starting to like Yoongi a bit, but that was sure to fade away really quick and as such it didn’t count as a crush. Nope. Jimin knew he was a mess recently and he couldn’t wait for his heart to stop feeling weird stuff. The sooner the better.
“Yes, sir?” Jimin mumbled, finally looking up to see the other’s face and seriously, who thought it was a good idea to hire him as a teacher? Nevermind Jimin and his gay antics, every girl in the entire school was soon to fall for the handsome man.
Seokjin rolled his eyes. If he noticed Jimin’s burning cheeks, he didn’t say anything. “Don’t call me sir, it makes me feel old,” oh yeah, he was only six years older than him; it was a weird thought, that Jimin was still in high school and this dude had already graduated. “Hyung is fine, but only if we’re alone.”
And it felt awkward, but he already called Sejin ‘hyung’ when they were alone, so he could make another exception. “Okay hyung. What is it?” Seokjin smiled at the name for a moment, but then his expression became serious again.
“Just wanted to tell you that if any of your classmates, or anyone else in the school, bothers you for any reason you can tell me, okay?” And it was really tempting, to tell him about Lee, Choi and Kim, but given the principal’s previous behaviour when Jimin mentioned it he didn’t have faith in the ending results.
He still noded. “Okay, hyung. Thank you,” he smiled, and it was a tiny and nervous smile, but it was enough for Seokjin.
The older patted his shoulder a couple times, giving Jimin the warmest smile yet. “Good. You can return to the classroom Jimin,” and Jimin had given him a tiny bow and was already at the door when the other man spoke again. “Oh, and don’t use your phone in my class again, okay?”
Of course he had brought it up.
It was a sunny day, so as any sunny day Jimin had decided to walk home. Of course, he didn’t mean to encounter Yoongi, but as he approached the ice cream cart and spotted the blonde in the background, laying down in a bench, reading and looking effortlessly beautiful, Jimin couldn’t stop himself from asking the kind man for two ice cream cones, both chocolate. Everyone loved chocolate, right? Once he had them, he walked towards the boy.
He wasn’t sure why he wanted to do this, but somehow he felt like they needed to talk and well, they were in a public place and Yoongi was alone, so nothing bad could happen, right?
“Here,” he said as he reached the blonde’s side, not waiting for the other to move or give him space and sitting in front of the other’s tummy. Of course, Yoongi looked surprised and stared at him in disbelief, but Jimin didn't mind; he wasn’t in a hurry.
“What are you doing?” Eventually coming out of his stupor, Yoongi moved so he was partially sitting. Jimin noticed he had changed his clothes, an oversized white shirt and ripped jeans being his outfit choice. Ignoring the scars—which still made Jimin really sad—, he looked good and Jimin was done denying it to himself. It’d die soon enough, though; he was sure of it.
“Giving you ice cream, what else?” He answered, handing Yoongi the cone once again. Slowly, the boy took it.
“But why?” He looked genuinely surprised.
Without looking at him, too focused on his ice cream, Jimin gave him half a smile; he knew the other could see it. “You keep taking care of me, it’s the least I can do,” he explained before jumping into another topic, aware that the blonde would complain a million times if he gave him the chance; just one more thing he and Gloss had in common. “What are you doing here all alone?”
“Just resting,” fair enough, Jimin was also there to rest. “And why aren’t you scared?” The boy continued, still confused. Jimin pointed at the ice cream man, who had perfect view of them; nodding when he understood, Yoongi finally started eating his ice cream. He was one of those weirdos who sucked on the ice cream, Jimin noticed; he prefered just licking. Nothing was worse than the people who bit the ice cream though; those were even weirder.
“It’s Friday night, 6PM, and you’re here resting?” Jimin continued.
“What else do you expect me to be doing?” And yeah, Jimin wasn’t one to go anywhere, but for some reason he had expected Yoongi to be different. Maybe he shouldn’t have thought that, given what little knowledge he had of Yoongi after asking around.
Still, it didn’t hurt to ask. “I don’t know, go to a party? Go to an arcade? Hang out at home and play videogames?”
“I’m purposefully avoiding going home,” the other stated, a little sad.
“And why is that?” Jimin asked, finally looking at him. And he knew Yoongi saw through him, how Jimin was asking out of mere curiosity rather than actual concern—which was also a thing, but hopefully the blonde wouldn’t notice—and as such, he could tell Jimin anything without worrying about what he thought or worse, if he’d tell anyone.
Once he understood that, Yoongi resumed looking at the clouds. “My father’s an asshole and my stepmother isn’t any better,” he explained, sounding almost bored but there was a hint of immense sadness behind those words, as if the boy wished his parents were different.
And well, who wouldn’t? Jimin was lucky enough that his mom was the best in the world and people like Yoongi and Gloss were rather unlucky in that front. Once again, Jimin got reminded of the fact that both boys were rather similar, but he still held on to the hope that it was a series of coincidences. He tried to remember if Gloss had ever mentioned having a stepmother, but they hadn’t spoken too much about the other’s parents, if anything they always focused on Gloss’ father.
“Valid reasons. What happened to your mom?” And Jimin knew he was pushing the limits, but hey, maybe Yoongi needed someone to speak about this with. He didn’t have to answer if he didn’t want.
The other seemed to be thinking the same, his expression troubled for a minute, but in the end answered. “Used to be a junkie, lost my custody when I was just a baby. She’s probably in rehab for the eleventh time,” and his tone was very cold and distant, but Jimin already knew that the blonde usually sounded like that when he was trying to hide something else. Namely, sadness and guilt.
“I can feel the love,” he stated sarcastically.
“Just stating facts. I’d give anything to go and live with her,” and he meant it.
“You hate your dad and stepmom that bad?” Jimin continued asking, munching in the cone; there was not much left of his ice cream, which meant the conversation was almost over.
Yoongi shook his head. “I don’t hate them, but they don’t love me.”
Fair enough. “Okay. Is that the reason you’re an asshole?” And he knew it wasn’t, but the words escaped his mouth before he could think properly about them.
“I’ve told you the reason,” and back to tired, self-hating Yoongi. Fuck, Jimin didn’t mean for this to happen.
Still, it was as good as any other chance to call him out on what had happened earlier. “No you haven’t. You say it’s Lee who tells you what to do, but that doesn’t explain why you do everything he says. You probably enjoy it.”
“I don’t, but believe what you want,” his voice was fragile and Jimin wanted to give him a hug.
“That was the plan, Yoongi,” he answered, looking at the boy again, hoping that his eyes reflected that he truly understood. Once the other seemed to get it, Jimin was about to resume licking his ice cream when he saw it, a black car parked in the side of the park. Looking up, he discovered a man in black suit standing next to the car and… staring at them. Creepy. He didn’t like it one bit. “You know that car?” He asked, not sure if he expected an affirmation or the opposite, but he didn’t have to wait for Yoongi to speak to get the answer.
As Yoongi turned to see the car, the blonde’s body suddenly became stiff and his respiration went still, the boy’s eyes closing in regret as the creepy man turned around and walked to open the car’s passenger door.
The boy sighed. “My dad’s driver. I need to leave,” his tone screamed that he didn’t want to. Now that he thought about it, Yoongi’s voice was starting to become very soothing and nice; maybe it was the realisation that the tone Jimin had hated so much was full of self-hatred. Whatever it was, the blonde’s voice was starting to grow on Jimin and he didn’t mind as much as he thought he would. As Yoongi stood up and Jimin picked up his bag, eating the last bit of ice cream, he discovered he wanted to do… something. He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he had the sudden urge to say goodbye to the other in some way. No. That was too far, even for him. “Keep avoiding us,” Yoongi’s voice stopped him from doing anything stupid; great. “Next time it’ll probably be worse,” the boy warned him as always.
Jimin gave him a small smile. “I wasn’t going to start hanging out with you at school, you know?”
“Good,” and that was it, Yoongi started walking away. It was probably for the best. He was about to start walking in the opposite direction when the other decided he wasn’t done. “Hey, Jimin?”
Turning around, he found Yoongi no more than ten meters away, doubt filling his dark cute eyes. “Yeah?”
“I know any kind of apology on my side is worth bullshit, but I really am sorry,” and Jimin knew he meant it, there was no way Min Yoongi could lie to him at this point, but as weak as Jimin was to puppy eyes and as much as his heart wanted him to just accept his apology, he wasn’t going to.
Min Yoongi wanted to be forgiven? Great. He was going to need to earn it.
He walked towards the blonde until he was only a meter away, staring at his eyes. “You’re right, it’s worth bullshit. Apologies are just words and unless you start doing something else to prove that you’re genuinely sorry they remain as words. Empty words at that. If you want me to forgive you you’re going to need to do much more than just say sorry and help me get to the infirmary; that’s the bare minimum and whilst you doing it proves that you’re not an absolute piece of shit, it’s still not enough for forgiveness.”
Yoongi’s eyes fell to the floor. “Tell me something I don’t know,” he whispered.
“If you know it then why don’t you do anything?”
“You’re not gonna believe me, but I’ve been trying to do something,” and Jimin knew, he knew exactly what he was talking about. And he had promised himself that he wouldn’t bring it up, but to be honest he didn’t really have a choice this time around. It wasn’t like Yoongi was going to stop, that much he knew.
“Making sure I eat enough by leaving me pastries?” As soon as he said the words, the other’s head shoot up faster than Jimin had imagined, confusion and fear pooling in his eyes.
“Who told you?” His voice was small and a little broken.
Jimin sighed, stuffing his hands in his pockets. It was starting to get cold and he needed to get back home quickly for his mom wouldn’t take long to arrive. He also needed to call Taehyung before his friend worried; also Gloss. He needed to do so many things. “A classmate. It’s a sweet gesture, not gonna lie, but that’s just above the minimum and still not good enough.”
“Would it scratch the level of ‘enough’ if I told you I’ve been beaten up quite a few times in your name already?” Yoongi whispered again, this time even softer than the first. His voice was so soft Jimin almost didn’t hear it. But he did and he didn’t like what he had heard.
“Beaten up by who?” He asked, almost ready to run and punch a bastard in the face. And he wasn’t sure why he cared that much when just a couple months before he wouldn’t have cared about Yoongi at all, but this is where he was now and there was no easy way back.
And Yoongi looked so sad and small, tired and scared, and he was about to open his mouth to, hopefully, spill the beans and confess who was hurting him, but someone didn’t allow him to. “Master Yoongi,” of course the freaking driver had gotten tired of waiting. Couldn’t he have waited one more minute? Shoo, nobody wants you here.
His intervention, however, was enough for Yoongi’s expression to harden and the blonde gave him the smallest of bows before walking away. “I’ll see you at school.”
Ugh, he had been so close.
He was done taking a shower and was now resting in his bed, bored and a little sleepy, when Gloss had sent him the message. Jimin knew his mom was already asleep and everything was ready for the next day, her keys were in place, her clothes carefully folded on top of the chair and her lunch was in the first level of the fridge, so there was nothing else for Jimin to do. They had talked a bit earlier, before leaving school and Gloss had told him all about the crazy bastard that controlled his every movement at school and, in exchange and with the intention of making him feel better, Jimin had told him about his hot new teacher and his little dilemma, excluding the fact that he had the smallest of crushes in his bully. They hadn’t talked since and Jimin was thrilled to have something to do.
And he didn’t hear of Gloss afterwards and Jimin was worried, but he knew Gloss wouldn’t want him being worried. So, he stood up, reached the lightswitch and buried himself under the covers, hugging Shooky closely and giving a peck to the top of the cute cookie’s head. He could really use a hug from his mom right now, but he didn’t want to bother her as she had to wake up early.
Eventually he fell asleep, and instead of dreaming of any of the possible faces he had imagined for Gloss, instead of the repetition of the last few texts they had exchanged or all the little ‘I love you’s the other had given him and even instead of Seokjin’s handsome face, the last thing he remembered before falling asleep was the face of a certain blonde who was currently making his life really hard.
And of course Yoongi had been right when he said that next time would be worse. Mondays were already bad: he didn’t see any teachers he liked, he had the most boring classes, his mom usually came home the latest this day—heck, it was Monday , historically the most hated day in the entire universe. He didn’t need to add being dragged to the bathroom against his will by Yoongi’s no-friends, being thrown to the floor and having the trio hold his arms and legs as to stop him from moving, much less having Yoongi in front of him, his eyes empty and so full of hatred—for the situation they were in—at the same time.
“Let me go!” He screamed, desperately trying to free any of his limbs to punch anyone in the face. Or kick them in the dick, that could work too; it wasn’t the gentleman way to go, but he didn’t care at all.
“Aww, Jimin wants us to let him go,” Lee stated. Jimin hated him the most.
“Go on Yoongi, show him what he’s worth,” Kim added. He was second in the list.
“Yeah Yoongi, last time you just left him without air. Now show him,” finished Choi. He wasn’t as bad, but he was still pretty terrible.
And he knew it was useless, there was no way the blonde would do anything nice for him in this situation, but he wanted to try at least once. He stared into the other’s eyes, fully knowing that he was crying now. “Yoongi, please don’t,” he muttered and it wasn’t until he heard his own voice when he realised how scared he was. Last time it had only been a punch, and the previous he had somehow gotten away, but this time was the one when they’d finally beat him up. It was scary.
“What is this? Jimin begging?” Now Kim started.
“Weird, this brat’s never done such a thing,” Choi followed. Jimin tried to get away, taking advantage of their confusion, but their grip was too strong.
One of them, however, wasn’t as stupid as the others. Somehow, Lee caught on to what was happening, at least partially; he looked at Yoongi. “Do you know why he’s doing it?” Yoongi shook his head, trying to not let anything in his eyes. “Do you know something we don’t, Yoongi?”
“No,” his voice was ice cold.
“Then beat him up,” Lee demanded.
Slowly, Yoongi took a couple steps forward until he was right in front of Jimin; he crouched and Jimin wondered if the other would hate him if he kicked him in the face, but he already knew the answer was a big ‘no’. It wasn’t like he could move, so Yoongi didn’t have to worry. “I-” The blonde started, his voice secure; as soon as he looked at Jimin’s eyes again, however, he doubted. Oh no. “I can’t.”
“You know what will happen if you don’t,” Kim threatened. Jimin didn’t know; would they beat Yoongi up? If so, he prefered getting beat up himself. How pathetic, to want to stop his bully from being bullied.
Yoongi looked as if he was about to cry. See? That was the reason Jimin wanted to get beaten up, the other looked so sad. “I-”
Before he could finish, however, Lee started pushing him. “Whatever. Move aside, I’ll deal with it myself,” and he moved, positioning himself in front of Jimin and now he was scared. Lee was like Mr. A: he had no limits and that was incredibly terrifying. He was sure they wouldn’t kill him—not this time, at least—, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t hurt him bad.
Just as Lee was directly in front of Jimin, however, Yoongi yelled. “Stop!” Oh, so it was like this? On one side he was sacrificing him, on the other he was saving him from a worse outcome. Such an ugly situation. “I’ll- I’ll do it,” Yoongi finished, closing his eyes seemingly in pain.
Lee smiled sarcastically. “As you wish. You already know what we’re doing later, right?”
And with that, Yoongi moved closer until he was right on top of Jimin. He raised his fist and, just before striking the first punch, his eyes screamed a message. Sorry. And Jimin didn’t mean it when he answered, and hopefully Yoongi knew that the message wasn’t aimed at him but at Lee, Kim and Choi; at the people who were ruining both their lives.
The first punch was to his tummy.
This time he had to drag himself to the infirmary, Yoongi being nowhere to be seen, and he couldn’t lie to the nurse but he insisted in not telling her the names of the culprits. And going home wasn’t easy and his entire body hurt a lot, but at least his blonde, sad demon hadn’t punched him in the face and that was a win in his book; at least he’d be able to hide it from his mom.
Once home, he treated himself to a nice hot bath and his nicest pajamas—they were baby blue, silk and incredibly comfy—, which had been Taehyung’s gift, and allowed himself to eat a very nice chicken sandwich he had bought in his way there. It was as he was cleaning his plate when he decided to text Gloss and tell him exactly what had happened, even if that went against his previous decision.
Surprisingly, he got an answer almost immediately. He could always count on Gloss to be there for him, couldn’t he? He was the only person who was there in the darkest moments and sure, it was partially his fault, but that was the truth.
And so, their three hour battle begun.
Jimin didn’t really like gym class. He was good at it, there’s no denying to it, but he didn’t like it. As long as he was in the gym he was supposed to interact with his classmates and whilst he hadn’t hated it too much before, ever since Seungho outed him as gay things had become hectic. Some people would be nice, some others would be assholes, some were in the neutral yet avoided contact with him. Whilst before he had worried about the bullying he underwent from four guys now he worried about his entire classroom and it was such a weird turn of events he wondered how he could’ve avoided this: maybe not dropping his friends at the chatroom, maybe not befriending Gloss, maybe not staring at his hot teacher the entire class, maybe not talking to Yoongi at all. Those were all the variants he could think off when he thought about what was different from the previous year, but to be fair he only saw the connection to the homophobic remarks in one case, his little infatuation with Seokjin.
The teacher had continued to refer to him as ‘infirmary boy’, despite fully knowing his name and using it when they met in hallways and that one time they had almost crashed when classes were over. He was very strict in the classroom, but he was also very good at teaching and making Jimin feel interested in the class; outside the classroom, however, he seemed to be an entire different person: he was all smiles and he was a serious flirt with the rest of the staff—men and women alike—, but he also seemed to have gotten the reputation of being a jokester with a liking to awful dad jokes despite being pretty young and Jimin didn’t know how he felt about that. He only knew that whenever he saw the handsome man walking around his cheeks would burn bright and he’d get really nervous and Jimin had always mentally made fun of the people who got crushes on teachers, but now he was in that position and he didn’t know what to do.
Yoongi, however, was also a big factor, big enough to make him forget completely about Seokjin and, maybe more worrying, Gloss. He’d seen the blonde walking around a couple times after the day they had beat him up, just over a week before, and he seemed to be alone most of the time; the only time he saw the other with his no-friends was when Jimin had gone to the bathroom and heard a loud noise down the hallway. Curious, he peeked through the corner and discovered the noise source to be Yoongi’s back against a locker, a mocking Lee telling the boy something and man, he really hated the senior now. Eventually, they both left in different directions and Jimin walked to the place the confrontation had happened, curious as to what the little crumpled piece of paper that had fallen from Yoongi’s back was. First, Jimin noticed the handwriting and paper to be the same as the ones in the notes he’d get, so at least that was further confirming that it was indeed Yoongi’s doing; then, he noticed the little stains of blood here and there and that was scary and very, very concerning, for at this point Jimin knew that the responsible of that was no one but Yoongi himself; last, but not least, the message was the drop that filled the glass:
“Get out of my head.”
Over and over until the page was full, Jimin was seriously worried about the other and he didn’t know how to help him. He considered reverting the events, searching for Yoongi’s locker and drop something there for him, but he didn’t know which was his locker or how to open it—heck, he didn’t know how Yoongi knew his password—, so that plan was discarded. He also hadn’t seen the other on the park they had eaten ice cream at, so that was also gone and he wasn’t setting foot in the residential area where Yoongi and his no-friends lived. He wanted to ask Gloss for help, but that wasn’t really an option.
Sure, last week they had promised to tell each other their names, but it seemed like fate was against them because they both had grown really busy lately and they barely had time to talk: Jimin was busy studying and helping with the house chores as usual, Gloss was trying to fix stuff at his home and it didn’t seem to be going well. And Jimin was worried for his friend, the man who had effortlessly stolen his heart, so instead of troubling the other with more problems Jimin opted to just be there for his friend, trying to cheer him up in the few times they spoke and sending him cute messages when the other was not available.
That day, however, they had talked almost the entire time and Jimin didn’t know exactly why the other sounded so happy—he still needed to ask that—, but he didn’t mind and instead embraced the conversation with his dear friend. The last message they had exchanged came before gym class, the other asking him to wait because he was kinda busy at the moment and Jimin told him to go do whatever he needed.
His mind, however, kept coming back at the text, his friend, Seokjin and Yoongi and Jimin hated being in such a position, but he couldn’t help it and his distracted demeanor got the couch to send him to sit down after he had messed up a few times, later requesting him to come back after classes were done so he could clean the gym and that was an excessive punishment and Jimin wanted to argue, but he also didn’t want to get in trouble so he just accepted his fate. Eating the muffin Yoongi had left him earlier—he had continued leaving those even when he knew Jimin knew—, which he had saved for later after eating a nice sandwich, Jimin was finally done storing all the balls in the storage room and making it look nice, sweeping the floors in the main room and hallways and only had to clean the guys’ dressing room next when he pulled out his phone, typing a series of quick messages for his friend.
And before he could talk himself out of it, he typed his name. Sure, they had promised to tell each other together, but seeing Gloss so happy after so many days of being gloomy really lifted Jimin’s own mood up, so he didn’t care too much. Finishing the muffin and cleaning the little crumbs out of his clothes, Jimin left the bleachers and made his way to the last dressing room, broom in hand. Really, this whole punishment was too much for one student, but at least he was almost done.
He was almost done, he just needed to go to the corner and then close all the open lockers and hopefully that’d be it. As soon as he reached the corner, however, he noticed something in the bench: a big, red jacket. It was from the basketball team, which meant nothing to Jimin since he didn’t keep up with the school’s activities, so it could be anyone’s. He’d check it out in a moment, as soon as he was done with the dust. Picking up everything with the dustpan and walking towards the bag where he had piled all the trash, Jimin left the utensils there as he walked back to the room.
He closed the lockers in his way to the corner, not really caring to check if someone had left anything behind; he wasn’t in the mood to snoop around. Eventually, he reached the last locker and closed it, which meant he’d now have to figure whose jacket it was now or, if he couldn’t, he’d have to put it somewhere safe. As soon as he picked the jacket up, however, a phone fell to the floor.
“Shit,” he mumbled. The phone was probably under the jacket and he accidentally pulled it when he picked the jacket up. At least this could make his job easier, the phone most likely belonging to the same person that the jacket. And yeah, he didn’t like invading people’s privacy, but he couldn’t just leave the jacket alone, nevermind the phone.
Disinterested, once he checked it wasn’t broken from the fall, Jimin turned on the phone, hoping that the owner had set a picture of themselves or someone else from the school as the background. Unfortunately for him the answer was no, the background being the Iphone’s default one and that was weird, yes, but not as weird as the one notification displayed there.
Jimin almost dropped the phone again.
New message from Chimchim.
I’m Jimin! :D
Gloss. This was Gloss’ phone. Gloss, the bully who got bullied, the one who was trying to fix what he had done wrong, the one who got abused both at home and at school, the one who hated himself the most to the point of hurting himself, the one who paid attention to Jimin and made him feel less alone, the one Jimin loved. This was Gloss’ phone and it was at his school’s gym, which meant his internet friend, who was also from Seoul, had turned seventeen last month, was shy but funny and was thinking about changing his hair colour again was in his school.
Suddenly, Jimin remembered all the little things Gloss and Min Yoongi shared in common and Jimin held onto the hope that this was just a coincidence, that there was someone else in the school who had things as bad as Yoongi did and who was he kidding? That chance was so small it might as well not exist. But Jimin didn’t want this, he didn’t want Min Yoongi to actually be Gloss. Because sure, it’d explain the bully’s behaviour and it’d definitely make Jimin want to forgive him, and it’d mean that they could talk in person and they could play Overwatch in the same room and they could go and buy yummy things together.
But it’d also mean that he had been in love with Min Yoongi all along.
Jimin didn’t want it. He had never meant to fall in love with his abuser. But how couldn’t he? He knew Yoongi’s personality through his online persona, and he also knew his actions in real life, and he also knew about all the awful things that happened to the other every single day. And Yoongi was handsome, sad and he risked a lot by taking care of him and Gloss was sweet and always put his well being before everything.
He was so confused. He needed time to think properly.
And somehow he heard it, the noise of the gym doors opening, and he wasn’t sure how he had heard it because he was a huge airhead and got lost in his head often and his heart was a mess right now, but at least he heard it. He turned off the phone and left it in the bench, where it had been, and placed the jacket on top; now that he thought of it, the jacket smelled faintly of Yoongi and he didn’t know how he hadn’t noticed. Losing no time, Jimin walked fast to the other side of the room and pretended to be closing a locker when the intruder entered the room.
And he had been so lucky when he heard the door and even luckier when he managed to take a rational decision because the person at the doorway was no other than his personal demon, his online friend, his-
“Jimin?” Yoongi’s surprised voice stopped his thoughts. It was probably for the better.
He decided to take on the technique he would take whenever the blonde appeared in the same room as him, deciding to focus on the now , rather than what happened next . His heart didn’t like the idea, however, and Jimin felt his heartbeat accelerate and his cheeks turn pink. “Y-Yoongi,” he greeted and sure, he was stuttering, but it was the best possible outcome.
Thankfully Yoongi interpreted it as fear. “Relax, I’m alone,” he explained as he walked closer, his eyes scanning the room. “What are you doing here?” The damn blonde asked.
“Couch punished me for being distracted,” he started, following the other’s every move. “I had to clean the entire gym and I was just closing the open lockers,” he explained, turning around and leaning in the lockers. “What about you?” He already knew the answer, but it’d be weird not to ask.
“Forgot my phone,” damn right. The blonde reached the corner and lifted his eyebrows when he saw his jacket. He picked it up and, much like Jimin, dropped it. This time, however, Jimin moved fast enough and caught the device before it reached the floor; he had all his gaming to thank for the quick reflexes. “Oh, thank you,” Yoongi said as Jimin offered the phone, picking it up and for some reason neither of them moved for a moment. Their hands were almost touching and Jimin wanted to just tell him that he knew, that they could end the suspense now. But he wasn’t sure how Yoongi would react to the news and Jimin didn’t want to lose him.
“I didn’t know you were in the basketball team,” Jimin mumbled, not sure of what to do.
Confused for a moment, then remembering the jacket, Yoongi nodded. “Only as a replacement; the couch’s an ass and won’t let me on the court unless it’s necessary. You know, because of the-” Yoongi trailed off, only interrupting himself at the last word. Scars. Jimin nodded to let the other know that he understood. “Well, I have to leave now,” the boy finished, awkwardly.
“Yeah, me too,” Jimin agreed and walked to the door, the other following close behind and waiting for Jimin as he walked up the bleachers to pick his bag. Once they were at the gym doors, however, Yoongi offered the basketball jacket.
“It’s getting cold outside and you only have your sweater,” the blonde explained, his eyes on the floor. Jimin still hadn’t given him the other jacket back and now he was getting another one and, to be honest, Jimin didn’t mind. He accepted the soft jacket and put it on slowly; when he struggled with one of the sleeves Yoongi helped him, but it was until he was done when the other spoke again. “You can keep it, but don’t wear it to school; it has my name,” and Jimin felt dumb, he hadn’t noticed that. The jacket was soft and warm and it smelled like Yoongi and, much like last time, it felt nice and safe. Yup, he wasn’t giving it back anytime soon.
“Okay,” he whispered, putting his backpack back on and turning off all the lights, grabbing the garbage bag, broom and dustpan, finally opening the door and stepping into the hallway.
“Well, goodnight Jimin,” Yoongi mumbled, as always looking as if he wanted to add more, but deciding against it. After a little bow, the blonde walked off in the exit’s direction, whereas Jimin walked to the janitor’s closet to leave everything, throwing the bag in the trash bin in the way and going to the bathroom to wash his hands before getting out of the building.
It was until he was out, the sun already setting and some cold wind blowing away, when he answered, the tiniest of smiles in his lips.
What a mess.
Chapter 8: The first aid kit.
Jimin buried his face in the pillow and screamed. He never really know how therapeutic screaming was until a couple years before, when Taehyung suggested it; ever since, whenever he became too frustrated—especially at himself—he’d scream his lungs out with the face buried in a pillow or plushie. It felt great, to get everything out of himself. He felt sick.
Twenty days. He hadn’t been answering for twenty days. He didn’t mean to ignore Yoongi’s messages, but he knew he needed to until he figured himself out, at least a little bit, or he’d lose his sanity completely. It sucked, he wanted to speak to his friend, but despite it going against his nature, he decided to look after himself this one time. It was really hard, and more than once he had to fight the urge to open the app and type a response, crying every time he received a message and clenching his fists as hard as he could, a huge pressure appearing in his chest whenever it happened and, maybe even worse, whenever he saw Yoongi on the halls.
As every night, Jimin decided to list everything that was troubling him: first, he was in love with Yoongi—or rather Gloss—and there was no denying to it; second, he had always liked Yoongi a bit and in recent times he had really come to understand him.
Combining those two facts wasn’t the problem. There were a lot more, however.
Third, Yoongi had made his life miserable for a year; fourth, half the school was homophobic; fifth, he had never been in a relationship and he didn’t know what to do; and sixth, Lee and the others were still a huge problem to him, Yoongi and both combined. Too many problems that made him really insecure at what he wanted or what he’d do. Bonus problem was that whilst he was fairly certain that he and Gloss had a thing going on, he had no idea how the blonde would react to the fact that he was the same Jimin and how that information would affect their relationship.
Jimin sighed, getting up from his bed and walking to the computer, staring blankly as the screen lighted up and everything loaded. Disinterested, he opened the chatting app he had first met ‘Gloss’ at and logged in. It was two months since the last time he had entered, not interested in talking to those people who had pretty much turned their back on him as soon as he said something they didn’t agree with, but he didn’t have anything to do and he wanted to speak to someone. He needed advice. Of course, Taehyung was an option, but Jimin didn’t want to bother his best friend, mostly because of the time; at least for the people in the chatroom it was early. Looking at the screen, he was not surprised to see “99+” next to the chat’s name, indicating all the messages he had missed. He sighed and clicked in, not bothering to check any of the messages he had missed.
> Christian Chimchim has logged in.
Oh, he had forgotten about the stupid nickname. Suddenly, he felt the urge to change it, so he did. Who cares if he’s Korean and has an androgynous name? Not him, at least not anymore. And in the end, the only opinion that mattered here was his own.
> Christian Chimchim has changed their name to Jimin.
sam_thing - Today at 11:15PM
alice liddell - Today at 11:15PM
omg ur back!
sam_thing - Today at 11:15PM
How are you Chris?
alice liddell - Today at 11:16PM
what’s with the name?
Jimin - Today at 11:16PM
i’m fine, overall
sorry if any of you worried over my absence
and that’s my actual name alice
Sylwia - Today at 11:17PM
Why did you lie about your name before?
Jimin - Today at 11:17P
i didn’t lie sylwia
from the beginning i said i wanted you guys to call me christian or chris
never said it was actually my name
i get the confusion
Sylwia - Today at 11:19PM
Where are you from? I’ve never heard that name
Jimin - Today at 11:19PM
alice liddell - Today at 11:19PM
didn’t expect that
Sylwia - Today at 11:19PM
Aren’t you guys supposed to not have internet or something?
He rolled his eyes. The ignorance of some people was outstanding. It wasn’t surprising, not really; it was rather disappointing, though, that two months had gone by and she was still as terrible. Jimin wondered how had the others been, Sam, Alice and Kim being all really nice; hopefully the remaining members had been good to them in the time he had been gone. He sighed, determined to not waste too much time talking to those who didn’t want him there and instead get what he had come for: advice.
Jimin - Today at 11:20PM
i think you’re thinking about north korea
sam_thing - Today at 11:20PM
Your English is so good though
Jimin - Today at 11:20PM
it’s an obligatory course in high school
how are you guys?
Sylwia - Today at 11:20PM
Do you care?
Jimin - Today at 11:20PM
would i ask if i didn’t?
SeagullJK - Today at 11:21PM
What the heck??
Who’s this and what’s with the attitude??
And Jimin had no idea who this ‘Seagull’ was, but he was most likely on the other’s side. He couldn’t blame them, as far as he understood everyone got along when he wasn’t around, so of course the other had gotten a really bad first impression of him. Not like Jimin cared. He was here for Yoongi, to figure out what he felt and take a good decision that would help both, hopefully; talking to his actual friends was a huge bonus, too, so he didn’t care about what a random kid on the internet thought about him.
> Kim! has logged in.
alice liddell - Today at 11:21PM
i’m fine jimin! how about u? what happened? u left us for a long time
sam_thing - Today at 11:21PM
I’m also fine Jimin
As curious as Alice though
Kim! - Today at 11:23PM
You have such a nice name
I’m also from South Korea :D
Jimin - Today at 11:23PM
is kim your family name?
Kim! - Today at 11:23PM
Actual name is Namjoon
Kim Namjoon :P
Chose Kim because it can pass as a name from many different places
Let’s talk more in a bit, I’m actually super curious about why you disappeared
felix91 - Today at 11:24PM
more like why he came back
Why was he here? He sighed, repeating in his head that this was a waste of time, that he should focus on the others. He knew he’d have to give a little explanation about Yoongi’s situation and he didn’t want to, he hated it and it felt so wrong to disclose such personal information, but it was necessary and he only convinced himself of doing it because Yoongi’s identity was a secret and these people would never be able to do anything to his friend. He inhaled deeply a few times before finally answering, determined to get this over with as fast as possible.
Jimin - Today at 11:24PM
didn’t miss you
i’ll cut the chase, i need some advice and it’s related to why i went away
anyone wanna help?
SeagullJK - Today at 11:25PM
You just came back, don’t be mean to our active members
Sylwia - Today at 11:25PM
Don’t you think it’s a little unfair to ask for advice without telling us the circumstance? At least tell us what happened and if someone wants to help you you can talk more about that in private
Jimin - Today at 11:25PM
you people remember that dude who came around with the name ‘Gloss’?
alice liddell - Today at 11:25PM
U OWE ME SAM!!!!
sam_thing - Today at 11:25PM
THAT’S NOT FAIR, IT WAS OBVIOUS!!
Jimin - Today at 11:25PM
Kim! - Today at 11:26PM
They made a bet about why you went away
Alice said it was related to that dude
Jimin - Today at 11:26PM
yeah, it’s related to him
long story short, i talked to him and we became really good friends really fast
turns out the dude is gay and someone else knew about this, threatening him to tell his homophobic parents about it if he didn’t do what he wanted
and what he wanted was for Gloss to bully this other dude, for sick reasons
alice liddell - Today at 11:28PM
still awful tho
Jimin - Today at 11:28PM
he hates himself because of it so much, but he’s too scared to stop
SeagullJK - Today at 11:29PM
So why do you need advice??
Jimin - Today at 11:30PM
i recently discovered who this person is
i already had my suspicions, but it got confirmed a little while ago
twenty days ago, to be precise
sam_thing - Today at 11:30PM
And he is?
Here goes nothing.
Jimin - Today at 11:31PM
whatever you guys call them now
i haven’t answered him ever since i found out
and he still hasn’t connected the dots
i need advice because i don’t know what to do
SeagullJK - Today at 11:33PM
You don’t know what to do with your bully?
Sylwia - Today at 11:33PM
Cut all ties with him
How the fuck have you not done that yet?
Jimin - Today at 11:33PM
because he’s a victim
felix91 - Today at 11:33PM
no hes not
hes a bully
Jimin - Today at 11:34PM
a bully is someone who hurts others for their own pleasure
he is forced into it
not to mention the fact that he’s emotionally and physically abused by his father and the asshole who knows he’s gay
call him what you want, i don’t care
out of all the choices i have considered that’s the one i’ve completely ruled out
and that’s not changing, so don’t even try to convince me otherwise
now, anyone who wants to give me any kind of actual advice?
Sylwia - Today at 11:36PM
Whoever says yes is immediately out of this group
And honestly, what the fuck? He knew Sylwia was controlling and never recognised when she was wrong, even going as far as to be really mean to those who didn’t agree with her, but this was a lot worse than anything she had done before. Jimin sighed; he needed to get away from this toxic environment as fast as possible, everything was already bad at school, he didn’t need more awful people in his life and he intended to leave the group that night. It was a little sad, considering that for a while this had been his only safe space and he had considered the people in it as his friends for almost a year, but at the same time he knew it was for the better.
Besides, now he had a good friend, someone genuine who had been there for him every time he needed it, who would hear him out, take care of him without expecting anything in return and was never anything other than kind, even in their worst moments. Not only that, but he also had a new safe space, the feeling of Yoongi’s jacket heavy on his shoulders; he wondered how it felt to hug Yoongi, have his thin arms around himself or maybe be in the giving end. It’d surely be nice, right? That is, if Yoongi didn’t hate him for ignoring him now that he needed someone the most. The heaviness returned to his chest and he hated it so bad, he wanted to reach for his phone and type a really long message to the blonde telling him how precious he was, how sorry he was, but he managed to contain himself: fix yourself first, then talk to Yoongi. That was the plan and he kept postponing the second part, but he didn’t have the strength to do it any other way.
For now, he’d finish what he had started here. He could think of Yoongi later—it was certain he would.
Jimin - Today at 11:37PM
what the fuck sylwia?
Sylwia - Today at 11:38PM
You’re defending someone who’s hurt other people. The circumstances do not matter, he’s a bully and anyone who defends bullies is as bad as them. You’re out of the group, you Chinese weirdo. Anyone who’s with him can leave as well
Kim! - Today at 11:38PM
Wow, pulling the racist card
How low can you sink?
Jimin, can you please tell me your KKT id? I’m gonna add you and we can talk
alice liddell - Today at 11:38PM
Kim! - Today at 11:39PM
KakaoTalk, a chatting app for phones
alice liddell - Today at 11:39PM
gonna download it, wait for me so we can make a group there
sam_thing - Today at 11:39PM
Wait for me too
Kim! - Today at 11:39PM
Okay, it’s better if I give you guys my id
Remember to add me when you make your accounts
SeagullJK - Today at 11:40PM
You know, I was on Sylwia’s side until this
Can I join you guys??
I don’t understand you Jimin, but you’re all better that someone who calls anyone from Asia “Chinese”
And that was the most surprising part of this, but he wasn’t going to question it; reaching for his phone and tearing up when he saw Yoongi’s name on the menu, he forced himself to just add Namjoon and then threw his phone on the bed, knowing that his self control was running short. It was a relief that he wouldn’t lose his friends, however, which helped him feel a bit better, at least for a moment.
Kim! - Today at 11:41PM
Well, I’m off
See you never
> Kim! has left the server.
Sylwia - Today at 11:42PM
Excuse me? JK, after everything I’ve done for you? You’re not even Asian so why are you getting butthurt?
SeagullJK - Today at 11:42PM
Yeah, no, sorry, even if I wasn’t Asian I wouldn’t stand this behaviour
This is an “anti-bullying chatroom” and you’re bullying them
And fyi, I am indeed Asian
Korean, for that matter
JK stands for Jungkook
Not that it matters
> SeagullJK has left the server.
alice liddell - Today at 11:45PM
okay, the new group is done
thanks sylwia, if u hadn’t made this group we all wouldn’t have met
hope u stop ur ugly personality one day
sam_thing - Today at 11:45PM
Having issues with the account, but I think I know what’s wrong
I’ll join you in a minute
alice liddell - Today at 11:46PM
see ya soon
> alice liddell has left the server.
Sylwia - Today at 11:46PM
Sam, don’t fucking leave
sam_thing - Today at 11:46PM
Sorry hun, but you’re behaving like a 5 year old brat
Have been doing that for a while
So no thanks, I’m leaving
And you can’t do anything to stop me
> sam_thing has left the server.
Jimin - Today at 11:48PM
well, that happened
anyway, i’ll leave now as well
Sylwia - Today at 11:48PM
This is your fucking fault
Jimin - Today at 11:48PM
i didn’t tell them to leave
or to make a new group or anything
that was their choice
and they made it based on your ugly comments
so yeah, not my fault
but let’s not argue
i’ll leave and that’d be it
Sylwia - Today at 11:51PM
I hope your beloved bully hurts you
felix91 - Today at 11:52PM
or rappes u
u deserve it
Jimin - Today at 11:52PM
felix, aren’t you from the us?
felix91 - Today at 11:52PM
Jimin - Today at 11:52PM
learn to fucking spell please
and stop saying that kind of bullshit, it makes you look like an ignorant idiotic piece of shit
and he won’t hurt me
even if he does, it doesn’t affect you in any shape or form, so stop it
thanks for letting me meet so many nice people
> Jimin has left the server.
Turning off the computer, Jimin threw himself to his bed in the darkness, not taking Yoongi’s jacket off and hiding under the covers, finding Shooky and hugging him in sadness. Unlocking his phone and opening the app, he stared sadly at Yoongi’s last message, wondering if the blonde was already asleep and if he was doing good; he needed to do something quick, he couldn’t leave his friend alone for much longer, for both their sakes, and he needed to find the courage to tell him what he knew. Hopefully everything would end up good afterwards. Crying in silence, Jimin opened the other chat, the one his friends had made a few minutes ago, willing to skip as many hours of sleep as he needed to until he had heard what everyone had to tell him; hopefully that’d help him.
And if not… well, he still had to do something.
It was almost like the universe had read his mind. Really, what were the chances? One day he’s thinking about talking to Yoongi, explain everything to him despite how scary it was, and the next day he’s there, in the infirmary after being injured at gym class, the nurse almost done cleaning his scraped knee when Yoongi walked in, looking really pale, sick and a little lost as he looked around the room, his eyes landing on Jimin and filling with sadness immediately. On one side Jimin was happy to see him, on the other side he was terrified; even after speaking to Namjoon all night about his situation and getting really good advice, he didn’t have a particularly good plan and being faced by the boy who made him feel so many different things was troublesome for his little heart.
Suddenly, the immense guilt he had felt for the last three weeks came back at full force, a strong pressure constricting his chest, making his heart beat faster and knocking the air out of his lungs. He hated it, he wanted to run to the blonde’s arms and hug him very hard and never let go of him, but he couldn’t, not with the nurse there, not with Yoongi not knowing anything. It felt terrible. He knew he was blushing and tears were pooling in his ears, but he couldn’t stop them so he opted to look down.
If the nurse noticed something, she didn’t say anything.
“Hello, can I help you?” She asked, her voice sweet as she looked away from Jimin and in Yoongi’s direction, her expression a bit worried at the sight of such a pale student.
It took Yoongi a few seconds to understand that she was speaking to him, finally tearing his gaze away from Jimin and focusing on the now very worried nurse. “What? Oh, uh… my teacher sent me, he says I look really sick.”
And he did, really. Jimin wondered who his teacher was; maybe Seokjin? He wouldn’t be surprised, the handsome man being very caring towards his students.
“Are you?” The nurse asked, probably very experienced in dealing with students who didn’t want to speak.
Sure enough, Yoongi denied everything. “No, not at all,” lies. “But he kicked me out of the classroom and I can only return when I have a note from you,” yup, definitely Seokjin.
The nurse sighed. “Well, I’m a little busy at the moment, so you can rest over there,” she pointed at the other examination bed, the one that Jimin wasn’t using. “If you’re sick that’ll help a bit, and if you’re not at least you can tell that to your teacher. As soon as I’m done I’ll write you a note, okay?” She finished, turning her attention towards Jimin again. Thankfully he had stopped the tears by now, but she raised her eyebrows when she noticed his red cheeks. Jimin prayed she didn’t ask anything.
“Uh, okay,” Yoongi mumbled, walking towards the bed and jumping in it, laying down with a folded leg and he looked almost as peaceful as he had looked in the park a few weeks ago. Almost. There was a frown between his eyebrows and he looked like he had a hard time breathing and Jimin really wanted to tell him a dumb story, anything that’d make him smile, but he couldn’t.
To distract himself from his dilemma, he started thinking about why his friend was there: he was pale normally, but never this much; it could be that he was genuinely sick, but he wasn’t coughing and his posture wasn’t that of someone with a tummy ache. The other option was a lot sadder and it made Jimin sick in his stomach, to imagine that the blonde had recently been hurt by either Lee and his friends or his father. He tried to breathe normally, tears forming once again and this time rolling down his cheeks and there was no way the nurse didn’t notice it, but she didn’t say anything and instead gave him a comforting smile; at least Yoongi was not looking at them. After a couple minutes of the nurse making sure all his injuries were healed and there was nothing else to do, she stood up from her little bench and walked to the desk.
“Okay Jimin, I think you’re all good for now! I’m gonna write you a note as well, so your teacher can see you came over here,” she explained as she picked a pen and lifted a folder from the desk, frowning afterwards. Had she lost something? She kept looking around her desk, lifting everything and letting out an exasperated sigh after a minute. “Where did I put it?”
“What are you looking for, noona?” He asked, his voice tiny in an attempt to contain any sadness that could show in it. It didn’t seem to work, Yoongi turning his head where he was and staring at him. He pretended not to notice. This was too awkward.
“The bloc with all the notes. I must have left it on the staff room earlier; I’ll be right back,” oh no. No no no. “Neither of you leave,” she instructed and fuck , he was screwed. He didn’t want to be in the same room as Yoongi, not now, not alone. He didn’t know what to say and he knew he couldn’t stay quiet. He tried to come up with an excuse to go with her, to leave the room and not be stuck in this situation but he couldn’t think of anything; instead, he stared blankly at her, nervousness growing inside of him and his chest hurting yet once again. This couldn’t be healthy.
It was when the door closed behind her that the atmosphere became suffocating, the air so heavy with unsaid words and negative emotions. Jimin wondered what Yoongi was thinking; he was probably happy that Jimin had managed to avoid him all this time, but Jimin knew the other was devastated by “Chimchim’s” absence; adding all the terrible people in his life to the list and Yoongi was near the edge of breaking down and Jimin didn’t want to imagine how the other’s arms looked like at the moment. It was all too much and this was all his fault; he could’ve pretended everything was fine and Yoongi would be better now, but instead he chickened out and avoided his friend for weeks and now he looked like this, so tired and sick.
He hated it, it was suffocating and he couldn’t stand it anymore. Slowly, Jimin stood up, careful to be quiet and soon he reached Yoongi’s side, the boy’s eyes closed and looking as troubled as he had looked before. Maybe it was all in his head, maybe the room’s air wasn’t as heavy as it felt, maybe he was making everything worse than it really was. Before he could stop himself, however, he extended his arm and poked the blonde lightly in the cheek, so soft that maybe the other wouldn’t feel it and maybe that’d be for the better.
The boy felt it, however, his eyes opening slowly and he was so pretty, even when he was sad. Jimin knew he was crying. He shut his eyes firmly and sighed, looking at Yoongi’s confused expression for a moment and before the blonde could ask what was wrong he found his voice. “Yoongi?” His voice was small and he knew it was the weakest the other had ever seen him, but he didn’t care; it was weird to think how much everything had changed in the last couple months. “You okay?”
Maybe it was good that he had asked that, Yoongi’s expression changing to that of exasperation as soon as he heard the question. “Why does everyone keep asking that? I’m fine,” he said, his tone bored and snappish and that was good, for Jimin suddenly felt less sad. Maybe a while ago he would’ve gotten frustrated at the other’s tone, but now the blonde’s voice only helped him find more words and, along with those, courage.
“You don’t look fine,” he stated, his voice a lot more stable than before. Good.
Yoongi sighed, closing his eyes and laying down again. “Whatever.”
“Who was it?” And it surprised even Jimin, that he had asked that, but now that he had done there was no going back. Maybe it was for the better. Maybe this was when he opened up, when he confessed everything, and it wasn’t perfect and he wasn’t sure how it’d go, but there was no possible way he could’ve ever been prepared for it and, as such, this was as good as any other time to do it.
“Who was what?” Yoongi asked his eyes still closed.
Jimin gulped, determined to continue. He could do this. He didn’t know how to bring it up, so this was as good as any other opportunity. “Who hurt you?”
That made the boy open his eyes, confusion and a little fear showing in his face. “What?”
Jimin bit his lip. “Was it your dad?”
“What are you on about?” And Jimin wanted to hug him, to take away all the confusion, but he couldn’t. He could do this. He needed to do this.
“Or was it Mr. A and his friends?” He stated, his voice firmer this time.
And that was it, the point when Yoongi’s impassive facade broke, recognition filling his dark beautiful eyes and the confusion from before morphing into a much deeper and stronger one. He was getting it. Jimin was nervous and uneasy, but the fact that Yoongi was starting to understand filled him with even more determination to just get this over with, to tell his friend everything and stop walking around it. “What did you just say?”
“I asked you if Mr. A was the one who hurt you,” he repeated, slowly and careful as to not upset the other, but in a tone that showed that he knew, he knew and it really hurt to know; everything would be easier if Yoongi wasn’t Gloss, but that’s how the circumstance was and there was no way of changing it. He sighed. “You know, I’d complain about your massive obliviousness but I’m no better, I only found out because you forgot your phone.”
“What the heck are you talking about?” Yoongi’s voice was strained, panic shining through and Jimin just wanted to hug him but he didn’t dare.
“What do you know?”
Breath in, breath out. Repeat. He prepared himself mentally, but he knew he’d never be completely ready for it. This was it, the suspense ended now. He opened his eyes and stared at Yoongi’s; it wasn’t fair, they were too pretty. He sighed and made the smallest of smiles. “I know, Gloss.”
There was a pause, a moment where both of them just looked at each other and Jimin allowed himself to not think, to just look at the other and enjoy how pretty he was, to enjoy the feeling of finally getting rid of such a heavy secret and enjoy the fact that he was there, with Gloss, the man he had fallen in love with. It felt nice.
But the moment didn’t last. Yoongi’s blinking breaking the moment of peace. “What? How did you-”
“How did I know your username?” Jimin finished, feeling the sadness pool inside of himself again. “Come on Yoongi, you can’t be this dense. How would I know the name you use online if I hadn’t talked to you?”
“I-” The other started, surprised, sad, confused. He didn’t blame him, it was all a huge coincidence. A chance in a million, maybe even more. “What?”
And he couldn’t contain himself, Jimin reached an arm and placed it softly on Yoongi’s shoulder. “I know this seems crazy. It is crazy,” he chuckled, aware that it wasn’t a happy chuckle. “What were the chances that out of the millions of users of an online chatting app we’d end up talking to each other? And yet it happened and I don’t know how to feel and everything is a mess,” he finished, his heartbeat heavy in his ears, his eyes scanning every detail in Yoongi’s face; it was a bit hard, the tears making his vision very blurry.
He didn’t expect the blonde’s answer, however. “Stop,” the boy demanded and Jimin didn’t know why, but the word made the dam of his feelings break and the sadness and desperation from the last couple weeks suddenly invaded his mind, stopping him from thinking rationally, words getting out of his mouth with no filter anymore.
“No!” He complained in disbelief. “Don’t tell me to stop, I’ve been feeling terrible these past few weeks!” His voice was louder, he was getting too emotional. He didn’t care. “I wanted to tell you but I didn’t know how and I feel so bad not answering to you and-”
“Stop!” Yoongi yelled, loud enough for it to ring heavy on Jimin’s ears but low enough for no one else to be able to hear—not that there were many people around, the infirmary cornered next to the cafeteria, which was sure to be empty now.
It wasn’t Yoongi’s yell what stopped him, however. It was the fact that the blonde pushed him and made him fall, the other on top of him and holding him firmly in his shoulders, pushing him down on the ground and it really, really hurt. For a moment, Jimin’s eyes closed and his brain short-circuited, a flood of negative and desperate thoughts filling his mind, yelling for him to scream, to fight, to get away before the boy hurt him, to get away from his bully, his personal demon. Somehow, however, Jimin managed to remember that Yoongi wouldn’t hurt him, not intentionally, as long as Daniel Lee wasn’t around; this wasn’t him, Yoongi wasn’t thinking, it was just a strong reaction and the blonde probably hadn’t noticed he was hurting him. This was Gloss, his friend. He didn’t need to be scared, he wouldn’t get hurt.
“Stop it!” Jimin said, loud and clear for Yoongi to listen to him, still much lower than the other’s yell. Looking up, Jimin saw the other’s eyes were shut forcefully, tears escaping through the corners of his eyes and his breath uneven, altered, his head shaking from side to side in denial. “You’re hurting me!” Jimin continued, grabbing one of Yoongi’s arms and trying to push him off. Sure, Yoongi didn’t mean it, but this actually hurt a lot.
“You’re lying,” the blonde mumbled, almost speaking to himself; he probably was. “You can’t be for real,” he continued, his tone desperate as if he hoped that saying that would make it become true.
The boy applied more pressure on Jimin’s shoulder, pain shooting through the red haired boy’s body and tearing a genuine yell out of him.
“Get off me!”
It hurt so bad. But Yoongi didn’t mean it. He repeated that phrase over and over again in his head and it went against everything he had taught himself in a year, but it was the truth and he kept holding on to it through the pain.
It was then when Yoongi opened his eyes, looking truly miserable and almost betrayed, confused and sad to no ends. He stared right into Jimin’s eyes. “You’re lying, stop messing around,” he stated, his tone being the one he’d use whenever he lied. He was starting to believe it, but he needed proof.
Thankfully for Jimin, he had proof right there, in his pocket. Taking advantage in the fact that Yoongi had decreased the pressure in one of his shoulders, he quickly reached for his phone and pulled it out, unlocking it swiftly and opening their conversation for the first time in twenty one days, showing it to the blonde. “Here,” he said, wincing again because of the pain in his left shoulder; there was definitely a bruise forming there. He waited as Yoongi scanned the little screen, confused for a moment, before his eyes opened wide and fear pooled in them. “Look at me in the eyes and tell me I’m lying,” he continued, observing the blonde’s every reaction, pain in his chest increasing again as he saw the poor dude fall in realisation. “Now please get off me, it hurts,” he finished. He felt terrible for Yoongi, but the pain was seriously too much.
It was as if he had woken up, the blonde blinking in confusion for a moment before he understood what Jimin had been telling him, realising where his hands were, the position they were in and the pain in Jimin’s face. He moved away, almost as if Jimin’s skin had been on fire, staring dumbfounded at the redhead as he processed the fact that yes, Jimin was Chimchim and yes, he had been hurting him. Jimin sat up, grabbing his injured shoulder immediately because it hurt a lot and trying to recover his breath.
“I-” Suddenly, Yoongi’s small voice broke the silence, making Jimin look at him again. He looked so broken and confused. “I-” The blonde started again, his words getting stuck in his throat.
Jimin stared at the boy in front of him: Min Yoongi, his personal demon, the man he detested the most. A few weeks ago Jimin would’ve pushed him away, would’ve just stood up and left that freaking place and not look back. But he couldn’t bring himself to do that now, for in front of him, with eyes full of sadness and regret, was not only the bully he had grown to hate over the year, but also the one person who ever listened to him, the one person who had cared. The one person he loved.
Why was life so darn difficult?
He wanted to hug Yoongi and tell him that it was okay, that they’d talk about this and figure everything up together, that they’d find a way to fix everything. Just as he was going to do it, however, to trap the boy in his arms and kiss his head, Jimin heard a noise from outside the room: footsteps. More specifically, someone wearing high heels in their way to the room and no teacher had anything to do there at this time and no student was allowed to wear heels, so there was only another possibility as to who was closing it. Once again, the universe took a decision for him without his permission and honestly, fuck that.
He couldn’t do anything about it, however, so he stood up fast and he got dizzy, yes, but that didn’t matter. Without a word, he reached for Yoongi’s arm and pulled him up until the confused, crying blonde was on his feet, pushing him towards the bed he had been at before, after which he cleaned his cheeks with his sleeve to pretend he wasn’t crying, ran a hand through his hair to fix the mess and made his way to the nurse’s desk, sitting in the chair designated for patients. A moment later, the kind nurse entered the room and she must’ve sensed something had happened, for she stopped in her tracks for a moment and her gaze alternated between the two students, but she didn’t say anything about it and apologized for the delay, handing Jimin a little note for the teacher and heading towards Yoongi, who this time didn’t complain about the questions about his health.
Walking out of the room, Jimin thought about what had happened. He had told Yoongi, now he needed to figure out a way to speak to him properly about it.
The obstacles really had no end, did they?
He had been alone.
But maybe not anymore.
Yoongi laid in bed. He didn’t want to be home, but his dad’s driver had picked him up at school and he couldn’t avoid him. And now he was in his room, tired and sad after a breakdown, staring at his ceiling, the little glow-in-the-dark stars being the only touch of personality he had allowed himself to display in the room; they were comforting, after all. He closed his eyes for a moment, knowing fully what he’d see as soon as he did and not caring at all.
Park Jimin. His angel.
Yoongi knew he could never tell the boy about it. It’s not like Jimin had known about his existence before high school, so it didn’t make sense to tell him that they’d been in the same schools for over ten years—ever since elementary—, much less tell him about the fact that until high school it had been him the only reason Yoongi ever liked school; sure, he prefered it over his own house, but it was Jimin who really made him excited to be there. The only reason he ever got excited, if he was completely honest. Every day, at lunch, he’d stare at the then black haired kid and try to gather up the courage to speak to him, only to cower away afterwards. It went on for nine years until one day he had enough: he’d talk to Jimin in the first day of high school—that is, if they ended up in the same school.
But they did, and Yoongi had been so nervous and scared but was tired of being a coward and he was ready, ready to talk to the boy. And he was so beautiful, his hair recently dyed an intense shade of red to contrast with Yoongi’s own blue hair, and he had looked so relaxed and carefree as he stood next to his locker, setting his password for the first time with a gorgeous smile on his face and Yoongi was ready, only giving himself a small pep talk in order to gather the courage needed.
And that’s when he came into his field of vision. Daniel Lee, son of one of his dad’s affiliated, flanked by Choi Jin and Kim Jeongsik. And Yoongi had wanted to tell them ‘not now’, to tell them away and walk towards Jimin, but he hadn’t, too shy and scared to do so. And instead of the day he finally talked to his nine year old crush, the person who had kept him afloat for so long without even trying, that day became the one when he started a long list of regrets that kept growing every single day.
He hated it. Sure, he had been depressed for the longest time, but he had never considered harming himself and he had never thought about dying until the first time he saw tears in Jimin’s eyes, tears of anger and hatred born from the words Yoongi had said. He hated it, so so much and it was getting worse as Daniel asked more of him and that was exactly what the older wanted, to see Yoongi break down, fall into a pit of despair, become more and more desperate as his hatred for himself grew; the asshole never had anything against Jimin, it was never against him: it was all because of Yoongi.
It was all his fault, every single bit of it.
And earlier that year a new angel had appeared, someone wonderful that had a strong sense of morality and yet was able to look past Yoongi’s mistakes and still be willing to help him, no matter what terrible things he had done. And he couldn’t help but to see Jimin in that kid, Chimchim, and he didn’t like the constant comparison that appeared in his head, but there was no avoiding it: Chimchim acted a lot like Jimin, the little bit of the redhead’s personality Yoongi had been able to see over the years.
But Chimchim wasn’t Jimin, it was a completely different person. Chimchim listened to him and looked past how much of a horrible person he was, Jimin hated it and it was okay, it was what he deserved, what Chimchim should be doing. It was a bittersweet feeling whenever he spoke to his online friend: it felt really good, but he also couldn’t help the feeling of guilt. Not only was he replacing Jimin in his heart with this online person, Chimchim was also wasting his own time. Yoongi was broken and he couldn’t get fixed and his circumstance was beyond fucked up and it’d never end, not until he was dead.
He wished he was dead. Maybe then Jimin wouldn’t have to suffer. He had thought about that many times, but Chimchim had stopped the thoughts for quite a while now and it was until the other had disappeared that the thoughts came back at full force. At first he didn’t notice, worry being the only thing he felt: what had happened to his friend? Had he lost his phone? Had the bullies broken it? Maybe he had gotten injured. Or maybe he was busy at the moment, maybe he had exams or maybe his mom needed help... Or maybe Yoongi had said something that upset him, or maybe the other had grown tired of him, or maybe Chimchim had only been a nice dream, a passenger in the bus of his life who finally left. It wouldn’t be the first time Yoongi imagined something that felt real, so it wouldn’t surprise him if it was it, even if the messages in his phone said otherwise.
But that hadn’t been it. He should’ve seen it coming, all the little clues, the big clues… the simple fact that he had fallen a little for Chimchim should’ve been enough to make the connection that Jimin and Chimchim were no other than the same person.
He had fallen for the same boy twice. How pathetic of him.
The most amazing part? The fact that when he left the infirmary earlier that day Jimin hadn’t shot him a hateful look, or a pity one; he hadn’t told him to stay away or to die or anything. The boy had only looked sad and, underneath that, relieved. Relieved for what, Yoongi didn’t know. Based on the boy’s words, it seemed like he had found out about Yoongi going by the name of Gloss that day at the gym, which made sense considering the fact that it was the last time they had talked; even the times fitted. Maybe the other had been relieved of finally coming forth with the fact that he knew. Or maybe he was relieved that Yoongi had only ever hurt him because of Daniel, explaining Yoongi’s terrible acts. Or maybe he had just been happy to have found Gloss, his ‘friend’.
He could only be hopeful that it was the case.
It’s not like they’d get together after that. Even if his suspicions about Chimchim liking him were true, Yoongi didn’t know how Jimin felt about him as, well, Yoongi; not only that but there were so many things in their way. They’d be lucky if they could establish any kind of contact outside of school—after one of the bad days when he’d have to hurt his angel—, let alone friendship. But Yoongi wanted it, he wanted to see the beautiful boy and see him smile because of him, maybe go out and have fun somewhere together. Yoongi didn’t even care if they ever became more than friends, he just wanted to see Jimin smile, outside of school and far away from anyone who could recognise them.
He glanced at his phone on the bedside table, sighing and hitting himself in the face as soon as he remembered what he had done earlier.
Why had he typed that? He didn’t know. As soon as he came back from school he had texted the boy, having a mental breakdown immediately afterwards and it had taken him half an hour to calm down and think everything rationally. And now he regretted sending that text; or rather, the last part, given that the first one was good. He thought about how to add something to maybe bring the conversation back; maybe he could ask Jimin to meet him somewhere to talk? They needed to do that, for sure, so it could work.
He wrote a few messages, deleting one after another; one was too straightforward, other too apologetic, other insensitive and the other one didn’t make sense. He was terrible finding words. Sighing, he left the phone on his bed, right next to him without turning it off as he thought about what he could say, how he could speak to the boy.
And then the door opened.
“What are you doing?” The man’s voice asked from the doorway, light filtering through the slight gap he had left when he closed the door behind him. At least he didn’t sound mad. Yet.
“Thinking,” Yoongi answered, low enough to not sound as if he was angry or bothered by his dad’s presence, but high enough for the other to listen. If the man couldn’t listen he always made sure to punish Yoongi. Apparently that was really bad and it showed an intense lack of assertivity—which granted, Yoongi had—, something Yoongi’s dad couldn’t stand in his son.
“I hope about school,” the man continued as he approached, dragging Yoongi’s desk chair with him and sitting next to the bed. Yoongi really hoped his dad wouldn’t break the chair again, it had taken him forever to piece it back together and he was sure he still had a splinter in his hand from it, but he couldn’t find it. Not like he cared too much about the chair, anyway; he was more worried about his back.
“Yup. We have to do an art history project in pairs and I don’t know who to do it with or what about,” and sure, he hadn’t been thinking about that but it wasn’t a complete lie: Seokjin had left them such a work. Now that he thought about the older man, Yoongi suddenly remembered the day Jimin had told him about a ‘hot teacher’; now that part made sense. And Yoongi agreed, Seokjin was really hot; at the very least, Yoongi now knew that Jimin had excellent taste in men—even if said ‘men’ were completely out of reach.
“Why don’t you do it with the young Choi?” His dad continued, interrupting his thoughts about the pretty redhead and the hot teacher.
He suppressed the urge to sigh and roll his eyes; that’d be really bad and would definitely get him in trouble. “He’s in last year, dad; he doesn’t have the class anymore,” he explained.
“What about your friend, Hyuna?”
“Also a year older than me,” Yoongi continued. It’s not like he hadn’t ever told his dad about these people, his step-mother demanding to know about all his ‘friends’ and Yoongi having no issues in mentioning the names of a couple rich people who happened to talk to him, but he’d gladly repeat their names every time his dad asked if it meant he didn’t get punched or something.
“And your classmates?” The man asked, finally defeated and already expecting Yoongi’s answer. It was no secret to his parents that he wasn’t good at talking to other people, if maybe the times he had accidentally ‘embarrassed’ them with stuttering and awkwardness being the worst way they could’ve found out.
“I’m the odd number, dad. There’s no one else. The teacher did tell me that I could find someone from another group, as we all have to do it, but I don’t know anyone from the other groups,” he finished.
“That’s because you lack completely of social skills,” and yeah, he wasn’t going to fight against that.
“I know dad,” Yoongi conceded. “If it comes to it I’ll ask the teacher for help finding someone to work with,” he explained, hoping that the answer was good enough for the other. It wasn’t even a lie, he had already planned on asking for Seokjin’s help. In his mind, Jimin’s face appeared. Maybe he could ask him? Maybe. He decided to change the topic into something he was rather curious, but also very nervous to bring up. “Are we going out?”
“No, why do you think so?” And the man knew why he asked, but he probably wanted to see how Yoongi explained it. ‘A leader has to know how to explain things’, he’d say and sure, it was a good skill to have, but not something Yoongi felt like he deserved to be punished for when he failed.
Still, he couldn’t complain. “You sent Hyunsuk-ssi to pick me up, I thought it was because you wanted me to go with you somewhere.”
“You’re right,” he sounded satisfied enough, “we were going out. It was cancelled, however. I do want to speak with you about something, though,” he continued and Yoongi knew exactly what this was about and he was so over this topic already, it had been brought up so many times already and it was getting too old too fast.
“Is this about Somin-noona?” He asked in a neutral tone and he didn’t know if it was the tone of the words, but before he could even process it he felt the buckle of his dad’s belt hit him in the tummy with force; it wasn’t enough to leave permanent damage, of course, but it was really painful. He sat up in pain, clenching his jaws and containing a scream just in time. Screams were bad, they meant more pain.
“Watch you tone,” his dad warned him, standing up from where he was and moving the chair to its original place.
Yoongi gave him a bow in apology. “Sorry dad.”
Content with the answer, the man continued. “It is about her. You’ll be relieved to know that her father is not so content with the idea of marrying her off for business relationships,” and yes, he was actually relieved about it; he didn’t say anything. “However, you will have to meet her this weekend, at the dinner his father will be having. I expect you’re nothing but a gentleman towards her.”
And he hated these dinners, they were too awkward and he never knew how to behave in there, but between being forced into a relationship with a girl he didn’t even know and having to go to a dinner and be nice to said girl, the second option was the way to go.
“Understood. I will, don’t worry,” he stared at his dad as he answered, watching the man pace around the room for a minute, inspecting the room and walking towards the door. Good, this was almost done.
“Good. That’s it for now, please do your homework,” the man finished, not looking back at him and instead focusing on the door, opening it and letting a flood of light wash over the dark bedroom. Yoongi closed his eyes in relief, happy with the ending result of the conversation and was just waiting for the door to close, for the little sound that indicated that his dad was gone to just lay down again and relax. Maybe he’d take a bath, today had been too eventful and he needed to destress. But his plan would have to wait, apparently. “Is this blood?” His dad asked from where he had last been, right next to the door.
Opening his eyes, Yoongi tried to find what his dad meant. Blood? Where? Sure, he would sometimes hurt himself, but that was always in the bathroom, not here. However, as his eyes landed in the floor in front of his dad, focusing on the spot the man’s gaze was fixed at, Yoongi had a feeling.
He had a feeling that there was a little drop of blood in the floor, result of the serious injury Jeongsik had inflicted on him two days before, when he slammed Yoongi’s head against the floor before leaving.
“What?” He asked, terrified. Maybe he could play it out? “Uh, no,” he knew it wouldn’t work, but he could try. “I must have dropped something earlier,” and it was a pathetic excuse, but he could try.
And seems like trying was the only thing he ever did. And it never worked.
“Take off the shirt,” his dad ordered, his voice dangerously low. When Yoongi didn’t move, however, he raised his voice, belt in hand. Fuck. “Now!” And Yoongi did so, slowly and trembling as his dad opened the door wide, allowing light inside the room and it wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to see the new scars in Yoongi’s arms. He tried to contain the tears and managed to not let any noises out when his dad yanked him away from the bed, tossing him into the cold wood floor.
“You’re weak, do you realise that?”
“Yes,” he answered, his voice shaky.
“Yes, sir,” he mumbled.
“Are you going to stop being weak?”
“Yes, sir,” his skin was burning.
And another one.
“You always say that and then you do it again. Are you lying to me?”
“No, sir,” he was crying.
“Then get better.”
“I- I will, sir,” he wanted his mom.
“You better, because if my reputation gets damaged due to your weakness you’ll be in trouble. Understood?”
“Yes, sir,” he wanted Jimin.
The last one.
“Your phone’s been vibrating. Answer it,” the man ordered and finally left the room, not staying to check if Yoongi was conscious or even alive.
But he was. Alive and conscious, that is. His skin was open and there was blood coming out, but he couldn’t feel it. It was wonderful what years of abuse had done to him, how in the moments where his father would lose his patience and start hitting him his mind would disconnect itself from his body, at least for a few minutes. He didn’t feel anything and it was great, the pain used to be so terrible in the few seconds after it had happened, but it also meant that he could be bleeding out and he wouldn’t even notice—although his dad would never kill him; it was Daniel who he needed to worry in this case.
He sighed, lifting an arm and wiping away his tears. He didn’t even know why he cried, this was nothing new and it wasn’t going to change. And yet he always cried. Without standing up, he reached blindly for his phone on the bed, struggling until his fingers brushed against it and then struggling even more until he managed to make it drop next to him. He didn’t really know why his phone had been vibrating and he didn’t care, to be honest, but he needed a distraction right now.
He didn’t expect the distraction to be Jimin’s name.
He unlocked the phone as fast as he could.
To be completely honest, he hadn’t thought Jimin’s would assume that. He felt horrible. Somehow this felt worse that the hits to his back—which were starting to hurt, now that he thought about it.
And yeah, he was being self-loathing again and Jimin hated that and he didn’t want to say that, but whenever he spoke to Jimin he felt the need to be completely honest about his feelings and that’s what he felt, that Jimin didn’t need to care about him; shouldn’t have cared about him. In Yoongi’s eyes, he was just giving Jimin one last chance; one last chance to walk away from the horrible person that he was and enjoy life properly, not having to worry about a mess up ever again. He just wanted to open his arms and hug him and apologise, but if he didn’t give Jimin this last chance he’d hate himself forever.
And there it went. Yoongi knew there had been two sides of him before: one that wanted Jimin to stop talking to him, another one that wanted the opposite. He just didn’t know which side had been bigger and the contradictory feelings were messing with his heart. He wondered how Jimin was doing, given that earlier he had mentioned being confused as to what he felt and of course he was: he had hated Yoongi for a year and now he didn’t. It was weird. Sighing, Yoongi decided that he would stop thinking for tonight, that he would try to enjoy the feeling of having Jimin care about him and he’d go back to hating himself and feeling guilty the next day.
And with that, he locked his phone and put it in his pocket, stood up and hissed in pain, assessing the damage in the process—as he had thought, it wasn’t that bad compared to other days—and went to his closet, pulling out of it an old shirt that he didn’t care about and then a big hoodie, throwing them on top of himself. Once done, he walked to the window and opened it, carefully getting up to the window sill and jumping to the tree next to it. He knew his parents knew he got out through there, and he also knew that they didn’t care; they were huge assholes, yes, but surprisingly they had a limit and allowed him to go out that way after every beating.
For being horrible people, they sure were a lot better than Daniel.
“Yoongi!” Jimin yelled as soon as he spotted him. Yoongi couldn’t help it, he smiled for a moment as he raised his hand, making a gesture for Jimin to stay where he was. Slowly, he reached the bench where the redhead was sitting and his eyes looked a little red and puffy from crying and Yoongi felt terrible for making him worry like that and he wanted nothing but to hug him, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t because they needed to talk about so much and they hadn’t done so, nor would they do it right now at the park. They were too tired and emotionally drained to do it.
As he approached the bench, Yoongi stared at the park. It was beautiful at night, with the calming atmosphere and very few people walking around. He had also seen some fireflies in his way there, which was an added bonus; he had always loved the little bugs, they were almost magical. Soon, he reached the boy’s side and Yoongi just took a moment where he stood in front of him and did nothing; he did nothing but admire his beautiful face and he was so whipped for the smaller boy, he had always been, and it felt so good to see no hatred or fear in those pretty eyes. There was a bit of worry and also some sadness, but also a lot of peace and maybe some happiness.
Exactly what he needed after such a messy day.
“Scoot,” he finally said, pushing the boy by the shoulder lightly and remembering with guilt that he had hurt him there earlier. It hadn’t been the intention, of course, but he had been suddenly overwhelmed by the emotions and messy thoughts and he hadn’t even processed what he had done until Jimin told him to get off. As he sat down he was determined to just close his eyes and rest, but someone had a different plan. He frowned. “What’s that?”
Between Jimin’s hands was a little, yellow plastic box and Yoongi had no idea what the contents were, even as the boy opened it and scrambled around it, until the other answered. “A first aid kit silly,” he said as if it was nothing, as if he knew exactly what he was doing with the utensils inside. Before he could question anything, Jimin pulled a little bottle of what could only be antiseptic and a fluffy cotton ball. “Back?” The boy asked, frowning as he rolled up his sleeves, which were covering his small hands completely. He was wearing a big, white fluffy sweater and unlike the rest of the boy’s clothes this looked new, so it was probably a gift from the boy’s mother; on top of Jimin’s head there was a cute baby blue beret and it was all so simple, as if he had thrown both things on top of his head without a thought, but he looked so good and cute.
Not giving him time to answer, Jimin forced him to turn around and started raising Yoongi’s shirt, exposing his injuries to the cold wind and he hissed in pain. Still, he was so surprised about Jimin’s actions that he couldn’t care less. “Why?”
Jimin let out a small chuckle, grabbing one of Yoongi’s hands and forcing him to hold the shirt up so he could work. Sure enough, he soon felt the light sting of the antiseptic acting in his wounds. “I don’t know, somehow the idea of knowing that my friend is probably bleeding under his shirt and hasn’t done anything to stop it worries me.”
Yoongi sighed. “Stop it.”
“What?” The boy asked, stopping in his tracks immediately and moving so he could see Yoongi’s face.
“Calling me your friend. It hurts because it’s not true,” he stated, letting his insecurities win this time and he knew Jimin didn’t like it, but he couldn’t stop the thought from invading his mind.
And sure enough, Jimin didn’t like what he said, scoffing and moving so he could resume what he was doing. “It is. Now let me help you,” and Yoongi knew there was a double meaning to the last part, but he decided not to think about it for too long. He sighed and nodded a bit, which was enough for the redhead, who worked in silence for a couple minutes before asking a simple question. “Wanna talk?” His tone was easygoing, indicating that he meant small chat, but Yoongi needed a bit of silence at the moment.
“Okay,” thankfully the boy seemed to understand fully. Once again, Jimin was Yoongi’s angel.
He raised his head and tried to spot as many stars as he could, disillusioned at the lack of them but not giving up; it wasn’t as though he had anything other to do. From time to time Jimin would give him indications, but other than that they said nothing, the sound of the wind in the trees and the faraway cicadas being their only companions. It was peaceful and nice and everything Yoongi needed right now, Jimin’s warm hands being the last piece he needed to fully relax. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to enjoy for the moment. Maybe the next day he’d wake up with no energy to do anything, pain shooting through his body; maybe he’d spend all day crying and maybe he’d be unable to focus on anything, but at least right now everything was okay.
He didn’t notice the boy was done until two arms wrapped around his waist, Jimin’s legs next to his on the bench and the other’s head on his shoulder. It was nice and Yoongi immediately melted in the hug, fighting back the tiny voice that was trying to ruin the moment telling him that this was wrong and instead placing a hand over Jimin’s, letting out a small smile.
It was many minutes later when he spoke. “You’re too good for your own good, Park Jimin.”
At that, Jimin giggled, the sound so nice and beautiful Yoongi never wanted to stop listening to it. “Oh, believe me, I could be a massive bitch and call you out. I’m just saving it for another day,” the boy stated, his voice as relaxed as everything else. That was good.
“One day when you don’t scare me to death,” Jimin complained.
Yoongi sighed. He really felt bad for that—and for everything else—, but he didn’t want to dwell in guilt for too long. “Sorry,” hopefully Jimin knew he meant it.
“I’m sorry too. I was scared and was a little too mean,” and Yoongi couldn’t help but to chuckle. After everything he had done Jimin was apologising for being somewhat mean once. Unbelievable.
“It’s okay,” he reassured the boy.
“I’m also sorry for not answering. I didn’t know what to say and needed some time to think,” and no, Yoongi wouldn’t take this apology.
“You don’t need to apologize to me,” he stated stern, not wanting to get into an argument but not willing to let Jimin feel bad for anything related to Yoongi.
“Yes I do,” the boy complained, but immediately changed the topic. “Can we not talk about this? Just for tonight. Tonight you’re just Gloss and I’m Chimchim meeting for the first time, watching some stars in the park as we cuddle,” and that sounded perfect.
“That sounds nice. We do need to talk about it someday, though,” he didn’t want to say that last part, but he meant it.
“You could ask me on a date,” came Jimin’s answer and how was he so confident? Yoongi didn’t understand it and it was a little scary. But no, he wasn’t going to think tonight.
“Would you say yes?”
“Depends. If you try to take me to a fancy restaurant I’ll kick you in the balls,” his answer made Yoongi laugh out loud and he hadn’t laughed so loud in forever. Sometimes he’d laugh at what Jimin told him over texts and that was great, but it had never felt as good as right now, to just be there, in Jimin’s arms and feeling as the boy laughed, his gorgeous laugh filling his heart and replacing all the sadness of the last few weeks bit by bit. It was great.
“I’d do the same,” he agreed, still giggling.
“Nice to see we agree on something,” Jimin mumbled next to his ear.
They remained quiet for a couple minutes, enjoying each other’s warmth, before Yoongi finally continued their conversation. “Where would I need to take you to say yes?”
“I want a strawberry milkshake and the nicest chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted after my mom’s,” of course he had thought about his answer beforehand; somehow, Yoongi knew that Jimin could always get what he wanted and he found out he didn’t mind.
“I think I know a place.”
Act 2: Let’s make a deal.
Jimin smiled at the texts, yawned and closed his eyes again. He’d had a very nice sleep and he wasn’t ready to get up and do bothersome things, like making himself breakfast, taking a shower and cleaning the house. He wondered if he could just sleep through the day, and he knew his mom wouldn’t mind, but a little voice inside his head told him it wasn’t the best idea: he’d just wake up at two in the morning with a lot of energy and nothing to do.
He sighed and instead decided to take stock of the situation.
First, Yoongi was Gloss, his lovely friend who got abused everywhere, who had been forced to hurt him for a year and who, by a series of celestial coincidences, had found him online under a ridiculous nickname and began talking to him.
Second, Daniel Lee was an asshole who was unstable, dangerous and out of control and they needed to deal with him fast. They needed to come up with a plan that would help them get rid of him before he hurt either of them or even someone else. The problem was that he was strong, somewhat powerful, had no limits and had two goons to constantly cover his back. Either they got help from someone else, or they came up with a flawless plan using their combined intelects.
That would have to wait, however, because third, Jimin was in love with Yoongi. He had it clear now, and he wasn’t sure of what to do with this knowledge, but he definitely knew that he needed to talk Yoongi about the situation they were in, the past mistakes, the misunderstandings and, overall, themselves. Jimin knew a lot of things about his friend, but he needed to know more before he came to the conclusion of whether he was going to help Yoongi out of friendship or love.
He also had other pressing matters, namely the art history project he still hadn’t started and desperately needed to get down to, if anything to not make Seokjin mad. At least now he could ask Yoongi for help, since he was done ignoring his friend’s existence. Maybe Seokjin could help? That’d be nice, but he knew there was little the teacher could do, the fact that the school library was named after Lee’s grandfather being a constant reminder that the principal wouldn’t do anything about the psychopath.
Jimin sighed, opened his eyes and looked around his room. It was almost pitch black, the curtains effectively stopping light from entering the room and the only source of light being his phone, still open in his conversation with Yoongi. He couldn’t ignore his friend for much longer, he’d worry if he did, but he also needed to freshen up.
He stood up, then made his way to the bathroom and took a fast hot shower; he couldn’t stand cold showers. Once he was done and he had one of his comfiest sweaters on, he walked to the kitchen and prepared himself a bowl of cereal, pouring the milk first; he smiled, remembering the somewhat heated argument he’d had with Yoongi about putting milk before cereal. Adding strawberries and whipped cream, just because he could, he finally grabbed his phone and started writing, not before turning on the TV and smiling widely when he saw that Steven Universe was on.
Jimin rolled his eyes as he sent the message, already knowing what the answer was going to be. The question wasn’t if Yoongi was going to take the chance to hate on himself, but rather how was he going to do it. He focused on the screen until his phone stopped buzzing for a minute, indicating that Yoongi was done for the moment.
Yup, there it was, Yoongi giving up. How many messages did it take for them to get to that point? Jimin sighed.
Pause. Jimin had been laughing during the last part of the conversation, but those words made him stop. Had he talked to Yoongi about Taehyung? He didn’t doubt that he’d mentioned his best friend, but he wasn’t sure to have used his name anywhere; not because he was scared ‘Gloss’ would do something to his beloved childhood friend, but because he felt weird about saying Taehyung’s name and not his own.
He quickly opened the app’s search feature and typed ‘Taehyung’, ‘Taehyungie’, ‘TaeTae’ and even ‘TeTe’, getting no results at any moment. How did Yoongi know that? He tried to remember if he’d mention his friend to any of his classmates; maybe he’d mention him to Jisoo? He didn’t think so. Maybe someone from his elementary had said something to Yoongi? But why?
He shook his head. It was pointless to try to guess, it was better to just ask Yoongi about it.
Out of all the possible coincidences that could happen — and had happened — this was the weirdest. Jimin couldn’t remember Yoongi, not him or anyone. He only remembered Taehyung, being the only one who ever talked to him. Had he noticed Yoongi, he would’ve talked to him; he knew he would have, he was always into cute people and Yoongi was bound to be the cutest little kid in the world, he didn’t even doubt that. Maybe if he had noticed him, none of this would’ve happened. But as Yoongi had said, what’s done is done and nothing can take it back, no matter how much he wanted.
He was going to pester Yoongi restless until he got a baby picture, that was for sure.
And Jimin knew that Yoongi was, once again, drowning in self-hatred and regret, so whilst he wanted to push on and make sure that Yoongi stopped blaming himself, he decided that it was better to leave it for the moment and instead help Yoongi get out of his toxic headspace.
He looked up, deciding to leave his choice in the universe’s hands. When he saw the credits rolling through his screen, he made up his mind. He could clean the house after a couple hours of playing.
In the end, two hours of playing became seven, the cleaning long forgotten. Thankfully his mom didn’t mind and instead decided to join Jimin’s game with his ‘new lovely friend’.
(She was right, Yoongi was lovely.)
Hewwo! It’s been a moment, I’m so sorry for that. I don’t think my words can convey how awful I feel for leaving you guys hanging for what, five months? I suck, I know. I’m the worst writer in the world and it always surprises me when people are willing to support me in any shape or form even after I leave you guys like this for so long.
The explanation is the same as always, I’m constantly struggling with my mental health and school doesn’t help. I’m really trying to write stuff in advance so this doesn’t keep happening, but I can’t make any promises yet.
In the meantime, I’m updating next week on Friday as well, that much it’s for sure. I’m also going to post another story starting tomorrow and will update that one every day until it’s done (if I can, there’ll be more than one chapter each day). I'm updating Fools next week, too, not sure when.
I started being more active in Twitter (and less active in Tumblr, I have to fix that too) and made myself a CuriousCat. You can find the links for those accounts below; if I don’t update anything when I say I will go and bug me there, please. I do moodboards in Twitter (for my stories, present and future, at least twice a week) and will hold little polls from time to time so you guys can pick which story I write next. Does that sound okay? I hope so.
As for this story, I’ll try stick to shorter chapters than the last couple we had, this to be able to update more often without having to sacrifice the schedule or the quality of the chapter; sometimes I rush and some parts don't turn the way I want them. So yeah, time to stop with that.
One last thing, I changed the format of the texting, hope it's okay and you guys like it; if you have any problem with it please do tell me so I can fix it.
Anyway, that's it for now. Bottom line, sorry for being so awful. Hope you have a great day/night. Love you.
Question of the week: what goes first, milk or cereal?