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He's Cold And I Burn (I Guess I'll Never Learn)

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“I’m not soft.” Jimin tells Hoseok one rainy afternoon from where he sits across from him in the parlor. There’s been a peaceful silence between the two for the past twenty minutes and Jimin’s supposed to be reading a book for university, but has been lost in thought instead.

Hoseok looks up from his computer.

The novel is for Jimin’s political science class. It’s intended to instill a sense of sensitivity in him and his peers, is about a boy with Leukemia and the health care system in South Korea. Yet, for some reason, it rubs Jimin the wrong way, reminding him of how he’s been treated his entire life.

He’s twenty years old and he has a babysitter, for one.

“Okay,” Hoseok trails off, looking up from his laptop screen. He seems to be waiting for Jimin to continue.

But Jimin’s trying to justify this to himself in his head.

He doesn’t remember being sick, but its framed his entire life: never leaving the house unless it was to attend school, doctors appointments, and his parents’ concern. Jimin barely survived to the age of five, living in and out of the hospital.

He’s fine now, but.

He’s thinking about this and looks up to see Hoseok still waiting for a reply. Hoseok looks at him inquisitively.

“Nothing.” Jimin replies. He closes his book and gets up to go to the kitchen. “I’m gonna get a snack from the fridge.”

Hoseok shrugs. He doesn’t think anything of it.

Jimin doesn’t know why he feels like crying.

“Is it rude that we’re not sitting with him?” Taehyung sets his coffee down on the table and drops some sugar packets beside it. He takes two napkins out of the dispenser as Jimin watches, waiting for him to be seated so that he can follow.

Though, Taehyung’s words make him do a double take. He turns around to see Hoseok facing his table, though from far away. He has his computer with him, but is obviously keeping an eye on Jimin from a distance.

“No, I don’t think so,” Jimin pushes his hair back and moves to grab for the bag holding his croissant, “if I sat with him we’d be spending all day together and it’d be awful.”

Which, is true. There was a time when Jimin had Hoseok with him everywhere, no space of his own ever. It’s not that he doesn’t like Hoseok, or that he minds spending time with him, but anyone would get sick of someone after being glued at the hip.

“Oh, okay,” Taehyung shrugs, accepting Jimin’s response. Mostly, because Hoseok’s become Taehyung’s friend, too, and it feels weird not including him, despite being in the same cafe.

Taehyung looks down at his phone when it vibrates.

“Hey, has Jungkook mentioned anything about spring break yet?”

Jimin shakes his head no, mouth full.

“Oh, well like, I told him how my family has that lake house on the countryside. It was kind of a casual thing, but he asked if we could maybe all go? So I told him breaks coming up,” Taehyung explains carefully.

Jimin cuts him off.

“You know my dad would never let me go.”

It’s true. Jimin has never gone on vacation, or anywhere, without his dad or his dad’s men. And things are getting kind of tense right now. His dad’s health hasn’t been the stablest and everyone feels like a vulture, trying to encroach on his throne.

Everyone’s tiptoeing around who will take over when Park Joon dies.

Jimin doesn’t want to think about it.

“What if Hoseok came?”

Jimin does ponder this. He feels bad asking for anything from his parents during such a rough time, but maybe if he brought it up to Hosoek, Hoseok would be able to feel for the situation and see if its something his parents would tolerate. Sometimes, it feels like Hoseok understands Jimin’s dad more than Jimin. It’s pretty crazy to think about, especially since Hoseok has only been working for the White Crosses for five years. Before then, he had lived abroad in Japan for school.

“I could mention it to Hoseok.” Jimin offers. He’s never been to Taehyung’s lake house, but he’s heard about it lots.

He remembers Taehyung going away for the summer when they were kids, missing him and being stuck indoors. He remembers being forced to play board games with men who sold drugs and had sex with prostitutes and had killed people for the sake of territory and all things aforementioned. Because he had no one else to play with, and his parents were busy.

Sometimes, Jimin’s mother was overbearing close-up — “Jimin sleep in my bed tonight,” she’d say, and Jimin would whine that he’s eight and not a baby — and sometimes she was overbearing from a distance. He wouldn’t see her for a month, but he’d feel her presence through ominous text messages about making sure to lock his bedroom door tonight and asking to have his current caretaker call her.

In hindsight, Jimin thinks that he felt safe in his childhood, even if he wasn’t always. But now, in his adulthood, he’s never felt more watched.

“It’ll be so much fun if he says yes,” Taehyung’s entire face lights up at the thought, “like, obviously I want you to see the house — we can go swimming and have a bonfire and eat and watch movies — but, like, Jungkook’s the one who mentioned it. Do you think that means he’s interested?”

Taehyung’s been pining after Jungkook for the past year that it’s almost painful to hear about sometimes. Especially since Jungkook’s a little flakey, is inconsistent with his affections, or even friendship. Like, one second, he’s best friends with Taehyung just like Jimin is, and the next, he’s off doing things for the White Crosses and has no time to hang out with university students.

Their lives are different and Jimin thinks that Taehyung has made amends with that. Taehyung hasn’t, however, made amends with his feelings for Jungkook.

“I’ll be sure to mention that Jungkook might confess his love for you when I try to persuade Hoseok to let me go.”

“Oh my god, wait, really?” Taehyung’s eyes widen dramatically, “Do you think he’ll confess his love for me if we go?” He deadpans.

Jimin rolls his eyes, but smiles. He turns around to see Hoseok watching them, and quickly looks away, though Hoseok’s stare stays consistent.

Jimin and Hoseok have lived together since Jimin started university in the fall and managed to convince his parents that he’s a college student now and should get to live alone. Alone, meaning, a secured apartment ten minutes from campus and twenty from the mansion that is his family home. Alone, meaning with Hoseok.

But it’s fine. Jimin has a king sized bed and candles lining his dresser, a soft duvet to curl up underneath at night, and his flat always smells like cinnamon for some reason. It’s comfortable and feels like home, even if, sometimes, Hoseok leaves his gun on the counter, and sometimes a runner will come over to pick up a package from him.

Except, Hoseok and Jimin have a rule that they don’t have anyone over that the other doesn’t know or hasn’t been made aware of beforehand. Mostly, it’s for Jimin’s comfort — he doesn’t know everyone in his father’s gang, but everyone knows him.

He knows what they call him: Princess Park. It’s a combination of his birth making his father soft nearly two decades ago and Jimin’s overall incompetence and apparent uselessness to the White Crosses. They say that Park Joon used to be ruthless, but now he’s just less. He could have more control, more territory. The White Crosses have lost their touch because of Jimin.

Jimin doesn’t want to feel intimidated in his own home.

However, when Jimin goes into the living room to ask Hoseok about spring break — he plans to tiptoe around the subject a little, mostly because he’s scared of being denied — there are two men on the couch, who he’s never seen before, talking to Hoseok. Two men that Hoseok never mentioned he was having over.

“Oh,” Hoseok sits up straight suddenly upon seeing Jimin, “I thought you said you were getting picked up by Jihun to go home today? Joon ahjussi wanted to meet with you, didn’t he?” Hoseok says this quickly, nervously, and Jimin can tell that he’s flustered by Jimin’s arrival.

It’s not that big of a deal, that he’s having someone over. Jimin’s not mad, or anything. He doesn’t really see all of the fuss.

“I was going to, but my mom said he wasn’t feeling well and to just stop by tomorrow morning and come with them to his doctor’s appointment.” Jimin shrugs, hardly bothered. Though, he thinks it suspicious that Hoseok isn’t introducing him to the two men sitting on their couch across from him.

Both of them look young, can’t be older than thirty, and are wearing leather jackets with a silver pin. He gets the impression that they’re friends of Hoseok’s and are unrelated to the White Crosses by the way that they haven’t bothered to stand and bow to Jimin in recognition.

“Hi, I’m Jimin.” Jimin smiles and bows. The two men stand at this sign of acknowledgment and follow his gesture of respect, introducing themselves.

“I’m Namjoon, nice to meet you.”

“I’m Jin.”

“I like your pin,” Jimin looks at it, can see the red enamel that adorns both of theirs, “is it an apple?”

“No,” Namjoon clears his throat, “it’s a pomegranate.”

When Jimin takes a step forward, he can see that while the pomegranate on the pin is whole, there are seeds beside it, like they’ve somehow spilled out. The shade of red is piercing, verging maroon, and contrasts with the silver metal.

“It’s really cool.” Jimin doesn’t look up from the pin. “I buy pins all the time but I never put them on anything. Did you buy them together?”

Jin looks up to Hoseok before responding, “Yeah, we did.”

Jimin senses that he’s interrupted something. He smiles and excuses himself, going off to the kitchen. When he returns back with a plate of kimchi and rice, intending to go back to his room to start some of his homework, Namjoon and Jin are gone, and Hoseok’s locked himself in his bedroom.

Jimin doesn’t know how he gets Hoseok to agree to let him spend spring break at Taehyung’s lake house so easily. He assumes that it must be the combination of Jungkook being there as well, Taehyung being Hoseok’s friend, too, and that it means that Jimin will be out of the way for a week.

His father’s health is deteriorating. The doctors say that he isn’t doing so hot — he needs an oxygen tank sometimes, his skin is getting paler than normal, and he hardly has the energy to lead anything, let alone the White Crosses.

“We’ll be fine,” Hoseok tells Jimin when he asks if the White Crosses are losing power, if anyone’s threatening their stability. He knows that a lot of the smaller gangs have been trying to move in on White Crosses’ territory, but that normally it’s easy to subdue them.

Hoseok tells Jimin that he’ll take care of asking his parents if it’s okay for him to leave. And Jimin doesn’t talk to his parents too frequently these days, they’re much too preoccupied, so he doesn’t mention it directly himself. He’s satisfied enough knowing that he can go.

When Jimin calls Taehyung to tell him the good news, Taehyung screeches through the speaker.

“Oh my god,” Taehyung enunciates, “I could kiss Jung Hoseok hyung.”

“Please don’t,” Jimin makes a face of disgust, even though Taehyung can’t see him, “he’s only letting me go because he trusts you. If you kiss him, he’ll just think that you have ulterior motives.”

“I mean,” Taehyung starts, “I do, just not with Hoseok hyung. Though, if hyung wants to join too…”

“Do not have a threesome with my dad’s runner and my babysitter, thank you.”

Jimin’s excited, though. He hugged Hoseok when he agreed, jumped on top of him and nearly spilled his coffee all over the couch. He’s giddy the entire week leading up to when they’re set to leave — Friday afternoon he and Taehyung get out of class.

They leave separately; Jungkook drives Taehyung and Hoseok takes Jimin, in case Hoseok and Jimin have to leave early for any reason, just so that Taehyung and Jungkook aren’t stranded without a car.

Kim Taehyung

jungkook looks so hot when he drives omg

jimin hes so focused i cant

the veins in his arms rjhajkdhg

Jimin’s looking for music to play through the Bluetooth in Hoseok’s car when he gets text notifications from Taehyung at the top of his screen.

Taehyung hasn’t had the best of luck with guys, has had to resort to casual hookups at parties that Jimin wasn’t allowed to go to (Hoseok saying, “Jimin, I’m sorry, but your parents would kill me if they found out I let you go”) and Grindr meetups. But Jimin knows that Taehyung wants more than a hookup from Jungkook, has been pining painfully for a year.

“Do you think Jungkook has any idea of how much Taehyung likes him?” Jimin asks, watching Hoseok leave the parking lot and drive out of campus.

“Probably not,” Hoseok fishes his phone out of his pocket with one hand, steering with the other, “Jungkook might be clever, but he’s daft as fuck sometimes.”

Jimin agrees, sadly, because as much as Taehyung obsesses over Jungkook, Jungkook is busy and gets distracted, overwhelmed and caught up in work. Jimin tries to learn as little about that side of him as possible.

“Hey, can you check this for me?” Hoseok holds his phone out to Jimin, allowing him to take it. “Did I get a text?”

“Yeah,” Jimin hums, “Bangtan group chat,” he reads, “some guy named Min Yoongi says that he’s ready.”

Jimin wonders what for but doesn’t think anything of it. He looks out the window and watches the sky change colors the longer they drive. It was blue at school, but the clouds are graying and a storm is approaching. He’d checked the weather earlier and it was supposed to be a sunny day.

“I hope it isn’t raining tonight,” Jimin frowns absentmindedly, “I wanted to have a bonfire.”

Jimin’s a little confused when Hoseok gets off the freeway and, driving through a narrow street seemingly hidden by tall trees on either end, stops in front of a house painted black. There’s a metal chain linked fence securing it.

“Hold on a second, I just have to pick something up.” Hoseok looks to Jimin, but avoids eye contact. He takes the keys out of the ignition and steps out of the car before Jimin has a chance to question him.

Jimin’s not entirely unfamiliar with being in shady situations. He’s surely been shielded from them, but Seoul is a shady place in general, as are the men who work for his father.

But he’s only really seen the aftermath of violence. His father in a suit for a funeral because he lost one of his closest men, blood on Hoseok’s white shirts, overhearing Jungkook telling another gang member that he ran out of bullets last week, and —

Jimin’s never been in the middle of it. He doesn’t know what it’s like until there’s a man knocking on his window, and he has an awful feeling about what’s about to go down.

Jimin doesn’t know what to do. He’s embarrassed to react too paranoid — like by locking the door and calling for Hoseok to come back — but the man in front of him looks serious.

He reaches for the door handle, and Jimin presses the lock button quickly, looking up to meet the man’s eyes. They’re squinted and there’s a smirk that rises onto his face. When Jimin looks behind him, praying to find Hoseok, he sees a man who looks familiar. It isn’t until he spots the leather jacket and red and silver pin from a distance that he recognizes him as Jin.

And then there’s Hoseok’s dyed red hair. Jimin is relieved, feeling small whilst sitting in a locked car with this man standing in front of him from outside.

Hoseok unlocks the car with his starter, allowing the stranger to open the door when he pulls on the handle once more.

He looks down at Jimin who still has his seatbelt on and his phone in his lap.

Suddenly, before Jimin can do anything about it, the stranger is reaching over him and snagging his phone from where it rests on his thigh.

“Get out,” he says, voice stern.

“Yoongi, you don’t have to be like that. He’s not going to—“

“I said, get out.” He interrupts Hoseok.

Jimin swallows, still looking up at the man, Yoongi. He looks to Hoseok, for guidance, maybe, because obviously Hoseok should be defending and protecting him in the face of the rude man who stands in front of him. He wonders who he is, to be treating Jimin like this, if he knows who Jimin’s father is.

He must not if he’s speaking so crudely.

“Jimin, just do what he says, okay?” Hoseok says softly, sincerely.

Yoongi rolls his eyes and watches Jimin as he unbuckles his seatbelt. He doesn’t move to get his phone back, only mourns it as he steps out of the car and onto the curb. His shoulder brushes against Yoongi’s, and Jimin immediately retracts from the touch.

He’s stunned, confused, and only reassured when he can see the outline of a gun tucked into Hoseok’s boxers, underneath his t-shirt. The sight makes him feel immediately more protected.

“Are you driving or am I?” Hoseok asks, holding his car keys up to Yoongi.

“I’ll sit with him in the back.” Yoongi says, but doesn’t look at Jimin, like he’s not relevant in this decision. “I don’t trust him.”

“Cool.” Hosoek agrees, voice light, despite Jimin’s panic. Yoongi walks to the backseat and opens the door. He holds it and looks to Jimin for him to get in.

“Hoseok?” Jimin asks. He feels his voice becoming unsteady and swallows over the lump in his throat.

Jin gets into the passenger seat in front of Jimin, and Hoseok stands by the driver’s door.

“Just listen to what he says, Jimin.” Hoseok repeats himself persuasively.

Jimin nods, listening to his hyung. He walks past Yoongi and gets into the car.

Jimin’s dad has told him a few things about what to do in a hostage situation. It’s been a little inevitable, though they’ve been able to prevent it by having someone guard him at all times. There’s power in holding a gang leader’s family captive. It’s then that they have to choose between their personal and professional life. And family is always a vulnerability.

Except, Jimin doesn’t know if any of the things he’s been told should be taken into consideration if he has Hoseok to defend him. He knows that, ultimately, he should be listening to Hoseok. Yet, Hoseok also seems to be willingly going along with Yoongi and Jin. Like, they’re friendly almost.

Thus, Jimin begins to wonder if he’s in a hostage situation. If they are taking him somewhere other than where he’s supposed to be going: Taehyung’s lake house. And if so, why are these men coming with? Why didn’t Hoseok tell him about this beforehand?

Jimin can feel Yoongi’s eyes on him as he stares out the window and tries to tell if they’re taking an alternative route to an alternative destination. He’s stiff, is sitting upright and alert. The car ride to Taehyung’s is three hours and while he’d initially planned to sleep, he doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

“Namjoon said he arrived.” Jin says from the passenger seat.

Jimin wonders where, remembering Namjoon’s face from when he met him briefly. He had looked so clean, dimples and straight, white teeth. There was nothing about him that screamed gang, but now Jimin has this feeling, especially when he notices that Yoongi, too, is wearing a leather jacket with a pomegranate pin on it.

Jimin ponders whether or not this is a new gang, something he’s never been warned against before. He wonders if his father has any idea, and then wants to cry, knowing that his father’s not in the condition to be worrying about something like this right now.

“Good, tell him to text you when Jungkook arrives. They should be there an hour before us.” Yoongi’s voice is hard and direct, intimidating. He speaks clearly, enunciating himself well, and Jimin’s starting to get the impression that he’s the leader — he’s the one in charge, controlling Hoseok and controlling Jimin.

Jimin’s too scared to say anything.

They’ve been in the car for twenty minutes, in utter silence, when Jimin decides that he has to do something if Hoseok isn’t going to. He has options: make a scene and start screaming and banging on the car window, try to make a weapon out of something and pray that Jin and Yoongi aren’t carrying guns, or ask them to stop at a rest stop and, maybe, Hoseok will make a move. Or, maybe, Jimin will get lucky.

“Hyung,” Jimin manages to build up the courage to say. He ignores that he can feel Yoongi’s eyes on the side of his face and looks into the rearview mirror, making eye contact with Hoseok, “I have to use the bathroom.”

“Hoseok, we really shouldn’t be—“

“No, let’s stop somewhere.” Yoongi cuts Jin off, and when Jimin looks to him, there’s a sense of anticipation building in Yoongi’s gaze. He’s not looking at Jimin anymore, but it’s still just as threatening.

So they stop somewhere, taking a random exit off the highway and finding a rest stop. Jimin’s nervous, to say the least, hasn’t decided what he wants to do yet. But what does happen, he doesn’t expect, couldn’t have anticipated, though he knows he should’ve seen it all coming.

When they park the car in front of the gas station, Hoseok turns off the car, leaving them in complete silence. Everyone unbuckles their seatbelts, Jimin a little cautious as he does.

“You guys go ahead,” Yoongi clears his throat, sitting up, “I’m gonna talk to him before we go in.”

Jimin thinks that his heart stops. He tries to catch Hoseok’s eye, to plead him silently, because even if Yoongi hasn’t really done anything to make Jimin scared yet, something tells him that he will.

And he does.

Jin and Hoseok leave the car, going inside of the store and leaving Jimin behind. It’s silent and Jimin’s avoiding acknowledging Yoongi, but really does have to pee, at the least.

“I really have to go.” Jimin says meekly.

“I really don’t trust you.” Yoongi responds bluntly, repeating himself from before. When Jimin looks up, he’s interested to notice that, underneath his baseball cap, Yoongi’s has pale, clear skin. His face would almost look soft, if not for his serious expression. It’s not what Jimin’s used to from the gang members he’s encountered — softness, even if it's just physical.

“Please,” Jimin bites his lip nervously, pleading a man that he doesn’t know.

It’s no accident when Yoongi readjusts his shirt, only to expose the handle of a gun tucked into the front of his waistband. Jimin’s supposed to see it, to understand the silent threat.

Jimin feels like he can finally breathe when Yoongi lets him get out of the car. He’s thankful for the fresh air, even though it has just started to rain and there are fat drops hitting his cheeks. He keeps his head down in order to keep the rain out of his eyes on his way inside of the store, when suddenly he Yoongi’s hand grab his, interlocking their fingers.

The touch is warm and firm, routing Jimin in place.

“Let’s go.” Yoongi says when Jimin stops. It gives him a chance to take back control and lead Jimin into the store, through the aisles, and toward the toilets.

Jimin sees Hoseok and Jin at the cash register as he’s taken down a hallway and into the restroom.

Upon realizing that it’s just them, Jimin grows nervous being in a bathroom all alone with Yoongi. Thankfully, Yoongi lets go of Jimin’s hand, allowing him to be free for a moment, but trails closely behind Jimin as he approaches one of the urinals.

Yoongi stands right beside Jimin, that Jimin can feel him hovering.

“Um,” he swallows, “Yoongi, can you turn around?”

“Hyung.”

“What?” Jimin’s confused.

“Being impolite will get you nowhere, Jimin. Call me hyung.”

Jimin wants to shy away from being scolded, embarrassed. He feels his cheeks heat up from the attention, reminds himself that he’s at a urinal, and is suddenly even more embarrassed. Though, for a different reason.

“Please, Yoongi hyung, I can’t go if you don’t turn around.”

It’s kind of unexpected when Jimin’s voice cracks like he might cry and his breathing gets shaky. He’s not emotionally equipped for someone like Yoongi, a little aggressive and terribly blunt.

Yoongi must notice the change in Jimin’s voice and the sudden collection of tears in Jimin’s eyes.

“Jesus Christ,” Yoongi breathes, “are you seriously about to cry?” He turns around though, and then utters (under his breath, and if nothing else, it’s just plain mean, Jimin thinks), “No wonder why they call you Princess Park.”

Jimin manages to keep himself together. He pees, after much hesitation, and Yoongi leaves him alone, though still following him to the sink to wash his hands. And, once dry, Yoongi claims his left one.

Jimin thinks, absentmindedly, that if Yoongi’s skin was as cold as him, there wouldn’t be any sense of warmth radiating off of his body right now. And, yet, there still is.

Yoongi’s arm brushes against Jimin’s, and Jimin attempts to separate himself, walking with a space between them, yet Yoongi only stands closer in order to ensure that his presence is felt.

Jimin doesn’t get a chance to try to escape, not when Yoongi has managed to secure him like this. He returns to the car, shamefully, where Hoseok and Jin are already waiting for them.

“You good, Jimin?” Out of context, Hoseok’s inquiry is casual, but they both know that Jimin isn’t. Hoseok just wants to reassure himself, Jimin thinks.

Well, Jimin doesn’t know what to think.

“I’m okay.” Jimin replies, buckling his seatbelt. He stares down into his lap until Jin turns around and holds out a bag of chips to him.

“Hoseok says you like these.” He’s smiling expectantly when Jimin looks up to meet his gaze.

They’re a brand that Jimin does quite like. They sell them at one of the snack shops on campus. Jimin offers a small smile and accepts the chips with a quiet, “Thank you.”

At least, Jimin tells himself, Jin is nicer than Yoongi.

Jimin thinks about Taehyung while he eats his chips, wondering if he’s okay. He wonders if Jungkook already knows what’s going on, since Jin had mentioned his name, and if Taehyung’s as worried as he is. He trusts Jungkook, to take care of Taehyung, and to know what to do.

He wonders if Taehyung has texted him, but knows better than to ask Yoongi for his phone back.

Jimin’s mind continues to race as they drive. He stares out the window, too scared to acknowledge Yoongi’s presence beside him. Eventually, Jin turns up the radio, helping to drown some of Jimin’s anxiety and internal conflict.

Because Jimin’s so preoccupied by his thoughts, he doesn’t notice when Hoseok’s phone begins to ring. He’s confused when Hoseok starts to pull over to the side of the road, when the radio is turned down and the ringtone becomes blaringly prominent, and when Yoongi moves down in the back seat to press his hand to Jimin’s mouth.

“Answer it.” Jin says, voice urgent, though Jimin’s suddenly overwhelmed, by Yoongi being half on top of him, a firm pressure against his mouth, and he doesn’t quite understand why.

That is, not until Hoseok answers the phone.

“Hi, Ji Soo ahjumma.”

He’s on the phone with Jimin’s mom. Jin and Yoongi must know that Jimin could scream in the background, could make a fuss to lead his mom into becoming suspicious. It just further makes Jimin wonder what the plan is.

Except, while Yoongi’s gun that’s tucked into his pants is digging into Jimin’s hip, almost as a reminder for him not to fight Yoongi, not to try to scream, Hoseok doesn’t have any lingering threat. He fakes things well, speaking lightly on the phone.

“Yes, of course, we’re going grocery shopping so that my family’s cabin is stocked. We got here about an hour ago. I’m just waiting for Jimin to be ready to go out.”

Jimin frowns, suddenly, confused, because none of that is true. He could simply just lie that they’re still on the road, and…why is Hoseok saying that it’s his family’s cabin? Why wouldn’t he have told Jimin’s mom that they were going to Taehyung’s?

Suddenly, too quickly, yet far too slow, Jimin realizes that Hoseok isn’t on his side. He’s painfully reluctant, has known Hoseok far too intimately for too long. His father trusts him, he’s one of the most prized men in the White Crosses, especially for being so young, so why would he want to revolt against them? What more could he want?

Except, it must be true, if Hoseok is lying, if Hoseok isn’t revealing anything of secrecy, and if Jimin can hear, faintly, his mother’s sweet voice being so agreeable, like everything he’s saying lines up with all preconceived plans.

Jimin feels the color drain from his cheeks and panics. He panics more than an attempted escape at a gas station restroom, and far more than locking the car door. Somehow, just as Jimin thinks that he should scream, fight against Yoongi, bites his hand, Yoongi senses this. He must have already had some hint that Jimin was still trusting Hoseok, and at this moment realized that Jimin’s naive mindset was shattered, because he whispers to Jimin, his mouth right next to his ear, and only Jimin can hear him:

“If you scream, I’ll shoot you in the leg.”

Yoongi presses his hip further against Jimin’s side, so that he can feel the hard press of a gun. He’s in too much of an awkward position to reach for Yoongi’s gun or to push Yoongi away, and there’s something so blunt in Yoongi’s voice that Jimin doesn’t even want to know if he should test it.

He’s been told, warned by his father of this: in a hostage situation, if Jimin is valuable, which he more likely than not will be, they won’t kill him. There is reassurance in that. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t harm him.

Jimin moves his head just slightly and can see the way that Yoongi’s staring at him, his face glooming in front of his. Their eyes lock and Jimin feels tested.

He listens to Hoseok’s phone conversation. Everyone seems to.

“Oh, uh, Jimin’s almost ready, so I think we have to get going. Please call me if anything happens with Joon ahjussi.”

Jimin’s heart is beating fast. He’s breathing out of his nose, small puffs hitting the palm of Yoongi’s hand.

“You want to speak with him?” Hoseok asks and turns around, quickly, to lock eyes with Yoongi, and then Jimin.

Jin’s eyes widen and everyone seems to make eye contact in the car at once, silent, because Jimin’s mom will hear.

Jimin swallows. Talking to her will be suspicious, but not doing so is just as much.

So, perhaps to frighten Jimin further, Yoongi takes his gun out from underneath his shirt and aims it at Jimin’s thigh. He lets go of his mouth, but the threat is even more present now as Hoseok hands him the phone.

“Hi, mom.” Jimin manages to croak out. He feels weak, weaker than ever before, but knows that he has to suck it up for just a minute. He can cry after, maybe, if Yoongi will let him.

“I just wanted to let you know that they changed some of your father’s medications. He’s having more testing done and there should be news about his condition in a few days.”

“Okay,” Jimin manages to make his voice sound nearly normal, inconspicuous, “let me know the results, please.”

“I will,” there’s some rustling in the background and Jimin feels Yoongi’s body pressed to his, but knows that if he looks up, looks too closely at the gun, he’ll break, “is your phone off? How come when I called it went straight to voicemail?”

“Oh, um, yeah, it died in the car. I have to find a charger.”

“Okay, I was just wondering. I’ll let you go and call you when we have the results.”

Jimin says goodbye while staring into his lap, waiting until his mother hangs up before holding the phone out to give it back to Hoseok. Rather, Yoongi takes it instead.

“We have to turn this off.” Yoongi moves away from Jimin, now that he’s ended the phone conversation, and his side feels cold, yet relieved no longer having him pressed against him. He puts his gun back into his pants.

Jimin watches this closely.

“How come?”

“They’re going to be able to track it once they realize something’s up. We need Park Joon as clueless as possible for the next few days.”

“That won’t be hard,” Hoseok says, “he’s unconscious and in a hospital.”

Jimin frowns at that, doesn’t like the way that his father’s being spoken about, especially when he’s nearly terminal and they all know this. It’s probably why Jimin’s being kidnapped now, why action is being taken.

Except, Jimin hasn’t been able to piece together why he’s being kidnapped quite yet. Like, what is there to gain by having a twenty-year-old boy who can hardly defend himself? What is there to gain in having a person who wasn’t going to take over the White Crosses, anyway? If he was, then his father would’ve at least exposed him to the ropes of being in the gang, especially how to lead one. Rather, Jimin’s been sheltered from all of this, has barely been exposed to the outside world, let alone the life of a gang leader.

This moment, this situation probably amounts to more than all of the exposure he’s ever received.

“You did well, Chim.” Hoseok smiles as though they’re conspirators. In return, Jimin has the urge to run and hide, but has nowhere to go.

Hoseok starts the car up again and they get back on the road. When Jimin glances discretely beside himself, Yoongi is fumbling with Hoseok’s phone, deleting its information, and then turning it off. He passes it to Hoseok in the driver’s seat.

“Well, thanks,” Hoseok says, “s’fine, I have another phone in my bag.”

Jimin thinks that that should’ve been suspicious to him in itself, but never really thought anything of it when he saw Hoseok with two phones before.

“How much longer?” Jin asks.

“Only a half hour or so.”

Despite everything, time goes by fast. He listens to a conversation that Yoongi has with Jin about supplies, but none of it makes sense. He learns the waves of Yoongi’s voice — it’s neutral and blunt. He’s honest, entirely, telling Jin what he wants and how he wants it.

He’s definitely the leader.

But Jin gives it to him right back, so Jimin pieces together that they’ve probably worked together for some time. There’s a level of comfort between the two.

Jimin sees the lake before he sees the house. He had a picture of it in his head, open space and a field, for some reason, but realizes very quickly that Taehyung’s family home is in the middle of nowhere. There is a lake and there is a dock, but there is hardly a beach between the house and the lake, and there is hardly an amassable amount of land aside from the woods.

They are, quite frankly, in the middle of nowhere.

Jimin doesn’t think that this is a good sign, especially if his mom doesn’t even know where he is. He wonders, prays that Taehyung’s family knows.

Nonetheless, Jimin will take what he can get. He’s relieved to see Jungkook’s car already in the driveway. Though, perplexed by an additional vehicle. Who could that…?

“Once we have the pictures, Namjoon’s driving back tonight. Until we have what we want from the negotiation, Jungkook and Hoseok will stay with me.” Yoongi says this to Jin as Hoseok parks in front of the house. There are trees across the road. Jimin doubts anyone ever needs to drive down here anyway. With his luck, it’s a dead end street and they’re the only ones on it.

It’s nothing like Seoul.

Jimin doesn’t get out of the car until Yoongi stares at him from outside of the vehicle, looking amused by Jimin’s compliance, like he’s some obedient pet who has finally been trained. Jimin wants to hit him, even though he’s never been in a fight and probably wouldn’t win, especially if Yoongi has the upper hand of a gun.

“You gonna sit in there all afternoon, or do you want to come in?” Yoongi’s voice is lighter than before, perhaps because he no longer has the additional stress of transporting Jimin somewhere without getting caught. Jimin assumes that the hard part of his kidnapping is over.

Jimin doesn’t respond. He stares ahead at the windshield, staring out into the gray sky. It’s stopped raining, but everything still feels damp and cold outside, and they’d splashed in some puddles that had filled the potholes during the drive.

“Your friend’s inside.” Yoongi hums, tapping his fingers on the glass of the window. He’s hanging over the car door, and Jimin figures that it’s only in his best interest to get Jimin inside of the house. It isn’t like he cares.

Though, Jimin’s persuaded. He needs to find Tae. He needs to talk to him, to do something, because how could Hoseok just betray them all like this? How could Hoseok drag Jungkook into this?

Jimin feels a rush of anxiety overwhelming his body.

What role does Jungkook have in this?

So, he reluctantly leaves the car, walking ahead of Yoongi, who closes the door behind him, following the front path, up the front steps, and into the house.

The house, Jimin realizes immediately, is not necessarily small, but cozy and intimate. It’s everything Taehyung’s described to him in nostalgia and more — wooden walls and floorboards, remnants of being lived in, a huge couch in the living room that takes up more space than it should, leading to awkward pathways and not enough room. Which, gives off this impression of it being smaller than it actually is, making it cozy.

And then Jimin spots Taehyung as he walks through the living room, going ahead of Yoongi, and into the kitchen. Taehyung sits at the table, hair messy, like he’s worried his fingers through it, and face pale. He looks distressed, has a half-eaten sandwich on the table in front of him, and Jungkook sits on the counter across the room. They don’t seem to be in conversation with one another by any means, despite facing one another.

It looks like the aftermath of something, a scene that Jimin had missed while he had a scene of his own on the drive over.

Jimin has so many things to ask that he doesn’t know what to say, can feel it all pouring out of him at once, when:

“I don’t trust them together.” Yoongi tells Jungkook, walking into the kitchen behind Jimin.

Jimin hasn’t walked that deep in yet, is still hovering in the doorway, forcing Yoongi to stand directly behind him. It makes Jimin uncomfortable, but he’s scared to walk further into the room.

Taehyung visibly tenses at the new body and the serious tone of Yoongi’s voice. It’s lost all lightness to it from a moment ago.

“I talked to him,” Jungkook says, looking up from his lap to meet Yoongi’s gaze in the doorway. It’s like Jimin isn’t even there if Yoongi is behind him. “You don’t have to worry about Taehyung doing anything. I took his phone and he knows the situation.”

Jimin wonders why no one debriefed him like Jungkook had Taehyung, but Tae is a persistent individual. He can be a pain in the ass to get to cooperate, so it’s likely that Jungkook had no other option. It was probably in his best interest in order to get him to cooperate, too, because even if he is taken with Jungkook, he isn’t as pliant as what might serve more useful to Yoongi’s scheme.

“I don’t trust them together.” Yoongi repeats, referring to Jimin and Taehyung.

Jimin steps aside, further into the kitchen, and takes a seat across from Taehyung, almost as though to show Yoongi that he doesn’t care what he has to say about it. He isn’t going to leave his best friend, especially not right now, not when Taehyung might have answers, a plan, a solution, anything.

Because, truthfully, despite being warned against something like this all of his life, he’s clueless.

Suddenly, Jimin sees the second man from his couch that day, when Hoseok had him and Jin over, and he remembers his name as Namjoon. It’s his turn to stand in the doorway, intimidatingly, looking into the room until he catches Yoongi’s eye.

“I should leave soon.” Namjoon tells Yoongi while checking the black watch on his wrist. “Dr. Kim said he rushed the test results. Things aren’t looking too good.” He glances at Jimin, suddenly, like he realizes that he’s in the room too and can hear everything he’s saying.

“What is it?” Yoongi asks, pushing Namjoon’s intelligence along. Almost as to say don’t worry about Jimin.

At that moment, Jimin realizes that he hates Yoongi.

“He probably won’t make it to Monday.” Namjoon’s adam's apple bobs when he swallows, a visible sign of discomfort.

They’re talking about Jimin’s dad and everyone knows it. He can feel everyone’s gaze move to him, where he sits at the table. Tae and Jungkook, who both had been there when Jimin cried about his father’s declining condition a few weeks back, gauge his reaction closely. Though, it feels like more of a stabilizing stare, to ensure that he’s okay, rather than Jimin’s suddenly blank and numb expression being for their own pleasure. They aren’t vultures.

But Yoongi, Jimin decides, when the only person he locks eyes with is this new man with squinted eyes and a lip twinged in what Jimin can only describe as sadistic, is a vulture.

He’s staring into the eyes of a dark bird waiting to claim all that Jimin has, once he’s weak and down.

Namjoon clears his throat, drawing everyone’s attention away from Jimin, including Yoongi, who pulls his phone out of his back pocket.

“Okay,” Yoongi heads toward the kitchen’s exit, “I’ll go find Hoseok.” He glances back at Jimin before leaving the room, Namjoon trailing behind him.

Jimin doesn’t think that he’s really had the chance to breathe in the past three hours until Yoongi is out of sight and he’s facing his best friend, who is nothing but home to him.

“What happened?” Taehyung asks, voice heavy and slow, though there’s still this pressing sense of urgency behind his tone. Both of them need a debriefing, if not on the entire situation, then on one another’s conditions.

Jimin manages to explain everything that’s happened without crying. He ignores that Jungkook is watching him, still seated ominously on the counter. He doesn’t think anything of it, because Jungkook can frequently be shy, quiet, and perhaps a little suspicious. Taehyung and Jimin have just taken it as a part of his personality.

That is, until Taehyung says, glaring past Jimin and at the figure behind him, who’s suddenly become nothing but a stranger, “Jungkook’s with them.”

And Jimin really can’t take any more betrayal.

“I didn’t know anything was wrong until I got here and Namjoon was already waiting in the driveway.” Taehyung explains, articulating himself carefully. “I just assumed you fell asleep in the car and that’s why you weren’t answering my texts, but then Jungkook took my phone and apologized.”

Suddenly, like he’s had enough, Taehyung interrupts himself to look up at Jungkook again, saying with a pugnacious tone, “Can you leave, actually?”

Jimin turns around to look at Jungkook. He looks a little defeated, tired perhaps. His hair is messier than usual, which is something Jimin doesn’t think he’s ever seen before.

“I can’t,” Jungkook says, “Yoongi told me earlier not to leave you two alone.”

Taehyung scoffs, blatantly, rolling his eyes. He looks disgusted. Jimin thinks that he’s only ever seen Taehyung like this on rare occasions, when he’s been so completely offended by another person.

Nonetheless, Taehyung continues, explaining how they’re going to convince Park Joon, before his death, to let the White Crosses collaborate with the gang Bangtan in Daegu. He says that it won’t be difficult — Park Joon is in no state to be making decisions, Hoseok is already on Bangtan’s side, and Yoongi has a reputation. A reputation for getting jobs done. This has only been inevitable.

“Is that where he’s from?” Jimin asks, biting his lip as he listens closely. A million questions come to mind immediately.

Taehyung nods, knowing that Jimin is referring to Yoongi.

“Then why are we here?”

Taehyung’s silent.

Jungkook speaks up.

“Yoongi’s dad, Min Gangdoo, is the king of Daegu. Yoongi is the prince. He’ll become the king of Seoul once his family merges with the White Crosses.”

Jimin regrets asking.

Before Jimin can inquire further, or Taehyung can question the logic (he looks as though he’s about to say something, and if Taehyung is questioning someone’s logic, then that can hardly be a good sign), Hoseok enters the kitchen.

“Jimin,” he starts, hesitant, “we need you for a moment.”

Of course, Jimin is reluctant, but he doesn’t know if there’s any point in resistance. He feels disappointed in himself, knowing that his father would be disappointed in him, for truly being a weak link. But he keeps reminding himself of the way that Yoongi hadn’t even hesitated to take out his gun and pointed it at his leg. Jimin hadn’t even done anything wrong, but Yoongi knew what to expect from him and how to subdue any act of potential resistance.

So, Jimin stands, following Hoseok out of the kitchen. They walk through the living room and down a long hallway that holds all of the bedrooms. The lake house is only one story, but it really does take up all of Taehyung’s family’s land, the hallway holding quite a few rooms.

Hoseok opens the door to one of the bedrooms on the left, where Yoongi and Namjoon stand inside.

“Did you find any rope?” Namjoon asks, leaning against the dresser on one side of the room.

“Why would his family even have rope?” Hoseok replies rhetorically. “We can just use someone’s belt.” He suggests instead. “It’ll be more visible on camera, anyway.”

They look around. Neither Hoseok nor Namjoon appears to be wearing a belt.

“Chim, you got a belt?” Yoongi asks bluntly from where he stands beside the night table. All of their bodies are distributed throughout the room, while Jimin shyly corners himself in the doorway.

Jimin shakes his head no.

“Fine, fuck,” Yoongi concedes and lifts his shirt. He sets his gun on the night table and Jimin pays close attention to it, to the sound of its weight settling on the brown wood. But then, Yoongi distracts him from it, as the metal of his belt buckle clanks and the leather around his waist is being slid off.

He reveals a black belt.

“Rope would’ve been better.” Yoongi asserts. “Jimin, get on the bed.”

And, what?

Jimin’s heart skips a couple of beats and everyone’s staring at him. His eyes are wide in confrontation, as he gets a horrible taste in his mouth and a rush of adrenaline shoots through him. He thinks that it might not be a bad idea to try to run, but there’s the gun on the night table as a reminder. If Jimin can’t even take Yoongi in a fight, how would he take Hoseok, who definitely has some muscle and certainly a six pack, and Namjoon, who has too many centimeters on Jimin to assert himself.

Jimin’s slow, perhaps too slow for Yoongi’s liking, but he doesn’t have a choice in the speed of things. Not yet, at least, as Jimin kneels on the mattress.

“Jimin, just listen to what he says,” Hoseok’s voice is soft and considerate. He must pity Jimin to some extent, even though he’s purposefully betrayed him. Jimin wonders if he holds even an ounce of guilt within him. He doubts there’s any regret. “We just need to take some pictures to make Joon ahjussi give in to our demands.”

Why should I help with this? Jimin asks himself this, kneeling on one of the beds in Taehyung’s family lake house. He looks up to Yoongi, who’s holding his belt dangerously, looks to Hoseok who smiles kindly, sympathetically.

And then, he sees the gun just staring at him on the night table. It almost looks like an attractive option. He tells himself that things couldn’t go that wrong. He’s held a gun before, once out of curiosity, and his mother had scolded him seriously for it, had told Jimin that he was going to be raised as a good boy, and that good boys don’t use weapons. She’d told him that she wanted a better life for him, that all of this violence is no way to grow up.

Jimin had taken that lecture very seriously as a child and often times thinks of it when he sees Jungkook overwhelmed and stressed out because a deal went wrong, because someone owes him money and he hates having to threaten people’s fingers and lives and families, but.

Violence is the only true way to get what you want, it seems.

So, when Yoongi walks down to the end of the bed, to approach Jimin, belt threateningly in hand, and Jimin wonders so urgently what he intends to do with it, Jimin quickly moves, jumping to the night table.

His fingers are just hardly on the handle of the gun, Jimin doesn’t even have a fucking plan, when Yoongi surges on top of him.

Jimin hears Hoseok’s gasp and Namjoon’s sharp intake of breath. The room goes silent, with Yoongi on top of Jimin, who’s struggling to reach for the gun, but Yoongi is smooth and Namjoon hurries to the night table to take the gun away.

Jimin feels like Yoongi has been in a situation like this before, given how quick he reacts and how he knows what he wants to do. While Jimin struggles beneath him, squirming against the heavy pressure of Yoongi’s body pinning him in place, Yoongi flips him over.

Jimin panics, wanting Yoongi off of him immediately, but Yoongi has other plans. He’s able to grab Jimin’s wrists and, in Jimin’s moment of shock, fixes the belt around them. He takes a minute to secure the leather end through the metal buckle, locking the fabric in place.

When Yoongi gets off of Jimin, they’re both a little breathless. Jimin can feel how hot his cheeks are, knowing that his hair must be tufted and all over the place. Pulling at his wrists, Jimin realizes that Yoongi’s really managed to secure the belt in place. It’s tight.

With Yoongi off of Jimin, he scoots to the head of the bed, as far away from the others as possible.

Jimin feels ganged up on, if nothing more.

“I told you,” Yoongi pants, and Jimin wonders if Yoongi’s heart is racing like his, except for a different reason, because Jimin getting a gun would be nothing but bad news, “I don’t trust him.”

Namjoon and Hoseok look between one another. They both appear stunned by the scene in front of them, by Jimin all tied up and the way Yoongi had so fearlessly dived on top of him. It wasn’t without reason, and it was definitely a good thing, for them, that is, but. But, still, it was bold and changed the atmosphere completely.

“He’s just a roadblock.” Yoongi fixes his hair, but it’s not out of insecurity. Rather, it’s confidence. He’s asserting himself as Jimin sits, small and vulnerable on a pillow against the wall. “He’s a brat.”

Yoongi says this while making eye contact with Jimin.

Jimin merely glares in response.

No one wants to defend Jimin, so even Hoseok stays quiet. There’s no defending Jimin reaching for Yoongi’s gun, when it would have so obviously ended poorly if he had succeeded.

Jimin can’t picture himself shooting it, but he knows that he’d gain an upper hand if he had the weapon. He can’t picture himself shooting it, but he could’ve.

He wishes he would’ve, when Yoongi says, and it’s completely out of spite and in a search for revenge, “Namjoon, help me take his pants off.”

“How come?” Hoseok interjects, perhaps somewhat biased in advocating for Jimin just a little.

“I think it’d help persuade Joon.”

Jimin hates him, hates Yoongi’s disrespect. He doesn’t understand what his father’s ever done to Yoongi, for Yoongi to ignore honorifics and just be all around…a vile human being.

Namjoon seems to agree, or at least be willing to comply, because suddenly, when Yoongi pulls Jimin’s legs away from his chest, Namjoon is pinning him to the bed by his shoulders and Jimin is staring at the ceiling.

It sinks in quickly that Yoongi is unbuttoning his jeans, a warm hand against his bare hip from where his t-shirt has raised, holding him in place carefully. Jimin really does try to struggle, even says, weakly, “Stop, what are you doing?” and his voice is certainly filled with panic, but Yoongi is reluctant and Namjoon is strong.

Jimin is, has always been too small, too weak, too soft. It’s just the fact of the matter.

So, it isn’t hard for Yoongi to get his jeans down to his ankles and pull them off, leaving his legs pale and bare. Jimin gets laser hair removal, and he knows, from the way that Yoongi’s just staring, that he’s taking note of this, of the smooth nature of Jimin’s legs.

“If you reach for my gun again, I’ll shoot you in the leg.” Yoongi repeats the same threat from earlier. “And your legs really are nice, so I think it’d be best that you heed this warning.”

Jimin feels like he’s on some weird porn shoot when Namjoon just…takes pictures of him. It’s to show that they have him, Jimin realizes, to show his family that Jimin is being held captive, and they really can do whatever they want to him. It’s to show that Yoongi’s claimed him, a power move, really.

Jimin’s uncomfortable, in just a gray pair of boxers, with everyone watching him on the bed. At least he’s been allowed to keep his shirt on.

When Namjoon’s gotten what he wants with his photos of Jimin, he tells Yoongi that he’ll call him when he arrives and leaves the bedroom, presumably leaving the lake house as well.

Jimin’s staring at Yoongi, waiting for him to untie the belt.

“I’d leave you tied up like this,” Yoongi says, like he thinks he’s being funny or something, and it just makes Jimin glare at him even more than he already is, “but I’d like my belt back.”

The second Jimin’s hands are free and Yoongi’s off of the bed, Jimin grabs his pants and leaves the room. He hasn’t even put them on yet, is only in his boxers, while Yoongi watches him closely, and if Jimin hadn’t known any better, he’d think that Yoongi was staring at his bum.

Meanwhile, Jimin hurries to find a bathroom. Once successful, he thinks that he’s barely locked the door before falling to the ground, beginning to cry immediately.