Taehyung doesn’t care anymore.
Why should he? The purple bruises on his face, left by his foster father, say it all.
A car honks at him, and he jumps back onto the sidewalk but tears prickle his eyes again.
He’s too cowardly to even end it all, what good is he anyways?
A car pulls up to his side and an old disgusting looking man leers at him, “Want a ride cutie? I’ll trade you for a chance at that ass”
Taehyung flips the man off and continues walking, but the man follows him.
The car cuts him off and the man steps out off the car and moves to grab Taehyung, who doesn’t have the energy to evade him. The man grabs his wrists, bruising, and that’s when the panic kicks in. Not for the first time, though.
The man shoves Taehyung against his car and the younger lashes out, making the man move his hands from Taehyung’s wrists to his neck, putting pressure.
And Taehyung snaps. His knee goes up and he kicks the man in the groin and punches him in the face, before pushing him to the ground for good measure.
He jumps into the car and presses down on the gas pedal, heart slowing down a little when he leaves the man far, far behind. When he feels that he is safe, Taehyung ditches the car and moves on foot.
Until his feet ache and his head spins. He only walks a little more before he arrives at a gas station. There’s a T.V and on the screen there is a date.
June 18, 2018
He had left that place, home he was told to call it, 3 days ago. Walking for three days straight.
Huh, no wonder he was so tired.
“Dude, are you okay?” Taehyung turns around to see a blonde man standing behind the cash register, his chubby cheeks are accentuated by the fact that he is frowning.
Taehyung speaks with a hoarse voice, “Washroom?”
The cashiers eyes widen and he comes away from the counter, where Taehyung sees that the man is much shorter than him.
“Do you need anything…” the cashier trails off and Taehyung frowns for a moment before consciously pulling his sleeves down to cover the bruises on his wrist.
Leaving the bruises on his neck more exposed. He can’t even cover the ones on his face. He sighs, nothing is under his control.
Taehyung clears his throat, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I just need to use the washroom.”
The cashier nods and points Taehyung in the right direction, who bows politely and leaves to clean himself up.
But that turns out not to happen. Taehyung looks at himself in the mirror once and wants to fall over.
His brown hair is the only thing that seems not to be affected, as it hangs in his face like always.
That can’t be said for the rest of him. The bruises, the ones visible at least, draw the most attention.
It takes a moment for Taehyung to notice that his cheeks look slightly sunken and that he is hunched over, as if his own body is trying to shield him from the world. He wants to throw up.
When did he get so weak?
The bright lights of the washroom make him dizzy, so Taehyung leans against the wall. His fingers tremble and maybe it was a bad idea to not bring any water with him. But he didn’t have any time.
The knife glinted in the dark and Taehyung cowered as the man he was told to call father laughed at him.
‘Look at you, still can’t protect yourself, you fucking grown ass man, stand up for yourself!’
And for once, Taehyung did.
Grabbing the the broken alcohol bottle, he chucked it at the man, who hissed in pain.
But it was just enough for Taehyung to scramble to his feet and run out the door.
Taehyung coughed suddenly, bending over, but the coughs kept coming.
He thought he tasted blood.
There was a knock at the door, “Hey, are you okay in there? You don’t sound so good?”
Taehyung tries to answer but his head feels funny and his stomach turns. He takes a step to open the door. That’s the last thing he can remember.
When Taehyung opens his eyes, he is still on the floor of the washroom, but not alone anymore.
For a second he panics, hyperventilating and lashing out, the person quickly backs away.
Taehyung’s vision clears and he sees that the man is the small cashier, feeling embarrassed, he sits up, blinking when his head spins.
“Ah, you should lay down, you’ll feel better.” the cashier speaks, his voice higher pitched than Taehyung’s own deep voice.
Taehyung gulps and nods, going back down on the floor, when he notices something else. The cashier, he assumes, has slipped a folded up blanket where Taehyung’s head had been.
The fist clenching Taehyung’s heart loosens up a bit. How long had it been since Taehyung had actually received a token of affection? And then he wants to laugh, because obviously the cashier didn’t care, he was just a decent human.
As his head touched the blanket he sighed, the exhaustion coming back. The cashier promises to be back in a moment.
And it turns out to be one of the very few promises made to Taehyung that aren’t broken.
I do care about, Taehyung, really. Lies.
I want more than your body. Lies.
You belong here. Lies.
I’ll be back in a minute. Truth.
The cashier has a water bottle in his hand, and what looks like a protein bar.
Taehyung stares at the outstretched items, confused, “You need help to open your water bottle?”
The cashier stares at him before laughing, a loud clear laugh that echoes in the washroom, leaving Taehyung confused as he stares at the cashiers crescent eyes.
“No, they’re for you”
Now Taehyung is even more confused, “For me?”
The cashier rolls his eyes, “Obviously, there’s no one else here. So take them, unless you have something against water?”
Taehyung shakes his head and eagerly gulps the water down. Feeling a little better with the clear, sweet tasting liquid.
“Let’s get out of the washroom, yea? We can go to the breakroom”
Taehyung wants to accept but hesitates, “Don’t you have work?”
The cashier grins, “No one ever comes by, besides, I have a bell in the front if anyone needs anything”
The cashier helps Taehyung up and leads him to a small little break room, where there is a small kitchen and table with two chairs, along with two small couches.
The cashier leads Taehyung to sit at the couch and watched as Taehyung finished the water.
The cashier gets up again and pulls something out of a drawer. A first aid kit.
It reminds Taehyung of when he was young.
His mom dabbed the disinfectant on the long cut her husband had left on her cheek. Taehyung didn’t like calling him father.
He didn’t deserve it.
His mother smiled when she saw him watching and pulled the first aid kit closer.
‘This, Taetae, is used to cover boo-boo’s, remember, band-aids?’
Taehyung blinked at the band aid, ‘I need one’
His mother had frowned, ‘Ah, you don’t have any boo-boo’s right Taetae?’
Taehyung shook his head, ‘No, for the boo-boo here’
He pointed to his heart.
His mother had cried.
“Hey, dude! Are you okay?”
Taehyung blinked. The cashier was waving his arms around.
“Sorry, I was just...thinking.”
The cashier looked worried but didn’t say anything, instead pulling out a cream.
“It’s for the bruises, can I touch you?” Taehyung hesitated but then agreed.
The other man hadn’t done anything to make Taehyung distrust him, but then again. Taehyung trusted too easily.
The man kept his distance and applied the cream to Taehyung’s wrists softly, it stung a little but that was just because of the slight pressure on the bruises.
The cashier seemed to notice Taehyung wince as he began to use less pressure, especially when he put the cream on Taehyung’s face.
The cashier then put the cream away, and Taehyung settled down on the couch, looking for permission as he swung his feet up.
“Don’t worry, I sleep on that couch all the time, go ahead, I’ll lock the door if you want?”
Taehyung nodded and just before the cashier left, he spoke.
“My name’s Taehyung” he said softly, a little unsure if the cashier heard him.
But he did, and smiled widely, “My name’s Jimin, I hope we can be friends Taehyung”
Taehyung smiled as Jimin left the room.
He hadn’t felt like this in a long time.