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Family Matters

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        Jimin had been homeless for quite some time now. He’d been sleeping on benches and streets for days, perhaps months. But he wasn’t able to remember, he’d long lost the track of time. He'd been quite fortunate in this unfortunate situation: he had found help in the faces of strangers, people that treated him better than his own parents ever did. These strangers would usually let him take a shower at their house or give him some much needed food and, sometimes, when they were kind enough, they had even let him sleep for a while. But he never stayed for too long, he didn’t want to be a burden to them, even though he really appreciated their kindness, who would really want to live with a useless person like him? He had some friends before, if you could call them that, because they all disappeared the moment all of this started.

The blanket was his most prized possession, a gift from his beloved grandmother who had died a year ago. She was the only one who really understood and cared for him when his parents couldn’t, always telling him that she would love and protect him until the day she died. She kept her promise, Jimin was safe for as long as she was alive but people can't stay alive forever and it had been only months after her death when his parents threw him out. He missed her a lot but there weren't a lot of things that he could do right now, except for trying to survive.

       To get his mind off his terrible thoughts, he had picked up the habit of watching people, the passersby that created little stories which evolved around their seemingly interesting life. It was what he’d been doing for the past hour, sitting on a bench near the playground and watching as kids played and swung their boredness away - innocent and oblivious to the darkness of the world. It was quite a pleasant day, not too hot yet not too cold, a nice spring day that gave him the opportunity to relax. Now that jimin was homeless he wasn't able to appreciate his life anymore but it was in moments like these that he was content enough just enjoying how the warmth of the sun felt on his face. He watched with a wry smile as a kid fell off the slide and started crying as his mum ran over to reassure him that everything would be fine and that it was only just a small scratch. It didn't take much for the child to stop crying as if his mother performed a magic spell and had taken his pain away with a delicate kiss on his scratched little knee. He was so focused on the scene in front of him that he didn’t notice when a young man, only a few years older than him, came and sat next to him pushing a stroller and placing it between them. The only thing that announced the man's presence was when his phone suddenly started ringing, startling Jimin. The stranger cursed under his breath, something that wouldn't be easy to hear if they weren't sitting next to each other, and he stood up to get his phone from his front pocket and to answer it. Jimin's attention shifted to the stroller as the baby inside it was starting to babble, seemingly making too much noise, distracting her father from an important business call. The stranger looked at her with an apologetic look as he started rummaging through a huge bag, looking for something to entertain her while he was busy. A  small ‘oh’ sound left his lips when he found what he was looking for - which turned out to be a box of chocolate cookies. The baby squealed when she saw the box of cookies and the stranger gave her one in each hand with a smile on his face. She immediately started nibbling happily on one of the cookies, now looking at Jimin and waving her other hand with the second cookie at him which made him smile brightly at her.

        Jimin hadn’t eaten anything for nearly a day, so when he heard his stomach growl he wasn’t surprised.He really needed to find something to eat. As he was getting ready to get up he saw the baby reaching out her hand with the second cookie over the handle of the stroller, offering it to him like she was aware of his thoughts, an action that made Jimin cover his face with one of his hands to muffle his giggles trying not to disturb the girl’s father from the seemingly important business call. She gave him a captivating smile in response, so wide that had her gums were on full  display, mouth still stuffed with cookie dough and little baby teeth that look like they just started to come out. It was needless to say that Jimin's heart was sold.

          “For me?” Jimin whispered to her, placing a hand on his heart in a dramatic manner. Even though Jimin was pretending he wasn’t affected by this small gesture, it actually meant a lot to him, the babies kindness had made him truly happy. Growing impatient, she gestured with her hand eagerly ushering him to take the cookie from her, which he gladly accepted with a small thank you -  trying to be quiet while her father was still on his phone, just a step away from the bench with a hand still holding the stroller. Instead of putting his hunger at ease, the cookie instead just made it worse. He only took one bite and he started to feel hunger clawing its way through his stomach, feeling as empty as it was. The cookie was pretty tasty and Jimin figured that must be the problem - it was one of those cookies that are so smooth that they melt in your mouth, which makes sense because the baby doesn’t yet have enough teeth to chew.

        “And you waited to tell me all that now?” The stranger said in a much louder voice than he did earlier. He quickly turned to check if his tone affected his daughters munching, smiling at her when he saw that she was okay. He chuckled when he saw Jimin's face, who probably looked like a deer caught in headlights. Visibly more relaxed, the stranger turned to continue his call with a much calmer voice completely ignoring Jimin's startled expression. Jimin couldn’t believe that, only now, had he realized what the stranger was wearing. Wearing a black, expensive suit and black pants that fit perfectly to his body, the man fixes his tie nervously. The tie itself is dark blue, thin and long, and attached with a silver clip with what appears to be engraved with  initials, finishing off what seems to be an entirely custom made outfit. “Y.M”, Jimin thought he makes out, the letters flashing under the sunlight. He was also wearing Oxfords that Jimin had only ever seen his father wear, a very expensive watch, and rings that look like they're made of real gold. Jimin looked down at the raggedy shirt that he’d been wearing for days now, then to his torn pair of shoes, his worn blue sock visible through the hole on his left foot. His gaze travelled to the ripped jeans that were already like that because it was fashionable, dirty and discoloured, which is not convenient at all now. He suddenly started to feel as dirty and as disgusting as he looked.He felt the bench shake a little as the stranger sat next to him again, letting out a long sigh, apparently exhausted from the business call. But Jimin didn't pay much thought to the stranger, still trying not to bring attention to himself.

 

            “She seems to like you!” The beautiful man had suddenly said, startling Jimin who wasn’t expecting the stranger to talk to him. He then chuckled at Jimin's funny reaction, making Jimin’s heart flutter a bit as a blush started to dust his cheeks, completely embarrassed over his exaggerated attitude. Then he noticed the man's diamond shaped eyes study his face in curiosity, a hint of worry on the man’s brow. Jimin turned his attention back at his dirty hands still holding half of the bitten cookie, not really feeling like he could hold it or even eat it anymore.

     “When was the last time you ate something?” the stranger asked, worry evident in his voice, and Jimin felt his stomach twist again in something between guilt and hunger. Even though the man's intentions were good, he still felt like a burden to him.

       “Yesterday!” he replied before he could catch himself. He didn’t want the stranger to feel responsible to feed him. “But it’s okay, I can manage” he said quickly, trying to sound as casual as he could. Trying hard to mask the truth behind his words. The stranger looked hard into his face, the same way that he did before, trying to catch the lie in his eyes which was pretty easy to find. There’s a long pause between the two of them, the stranger looked like he was thinking of what to say next and Jimin is just staring at him. Staring at his beautiful eyes, his pretty lips that are pink and look like they have some type of gloss to them. His small cute nose that makes you wanna bop it at any moment. But their silence was cut short by the baby’s adorable babbling noises, making grabby hands towards Jimin, asking him to take her into his arms. At that the stranger smiles pretty much the same way his daughter does, completely adorable and gums full on display, the only difference is that he has all of his teeth.

        “Nana seems to like you a lot!” he pointed out again, but this time it sounded like he wasn't actually talking about the baby, and more himself. Nana giggled at the mention of her name, and both men coo at her, followed by the two of them joining in with her laughter .

         “I can tell that she likes everyone!” Jimin exclaimed, wiping a tear from his cheek, his giggles quietening down. The stranger looked at him with a hint of satisfaction on his face, something that suits him a lot.

        “What makes you believe that?” he said, in a teasing manner.

        “She is sweet and kind like her father.” Jimin replied sincerely. This answer appeared to have surprised the generous man, as he started laughing which in turn made Jimin pout.

       “How could you know that? You don’t even know my name.” he said with doubt written all over his face. It's true, Jimin didn't know his name. And neither did the stranger know his.  But he’s still treating Jimin with respect.

        “Well, I’ve been living in the streets long enough to know how to read someone’s personality just by looking at them.” he said with a sad smile on his face that was mirrored on the strangers face. Not out of pity, but out of sympathy, something that was pretty rare for the people that end up helping him. Not that he was complaining much. Sure, he didn’t like it when people showed pity on him, but it's an emotion that’s hard to mask and they have good intentions so Jimin was grateful for their help.

       “Since I’m a nice person, and Nana likes you a lot,” he said jokingly, winking at the baby “I’ll take you somewhere to eat.” he finished with determination, standing up. Then he took the phone out of his pocket and looked at Jimin. “What do you wanna eat?” he said unlocking his phone whilst waiting for Jimin to answer, who was finding it hard to believe what was going on in front of him.

        “You don’t even know my name and you already want to take me out for dinner?” he said in a flirting tone, still a little shocked at the attitude of the other. “Besides, I’m pretty sure you have better things to do than feeding a homeless dude that you started talking to just because he ate one of your daughter’s cookies.” He said with nervous laughter. “How pathetic is that?” His eyes started to sting as the realisation of what he said came to his mind.

       “Don’t talk about yourself like that.” The kind man said as he softly patted his back trying to reassure him. “Come on, let's get you something to eat. I was already planning to go and eat somewhere so you don’t need to feel like you keep me from doing something else.” He said as he gave Jimin his cutest gummy smile. “We'll learn each other's names when we are filling  our stomachs”

       It took seconds for Jimin to realise that he had no other choice. “Alright!” Jimin said whilst getting off the bench. “But as you’re the one paying, you should choose where we will eat!” The smile on Jimin’s face could only be described as mischievous. “So... incredibly kind man, where are we going?” he teased while resting his hands on his hips. They stood there for some time, taking in each others appearance, realising that they  are roughly the same height. At the sight of Jimin standing, Nana started whining, asking again to be held by him. “I’m sorry little one” he said with a sad smile. “I can't hold you right now. I'm too dirty and you don't need that. You might get sick and your daddy over there will get mad at me.” He smiled at the stranger and it seemed as if she understood what he said as she quietened down.

    “You can push her stroller if you want. I believe she will like that a lot too.” the stranger reassured Jimin, giving him a small smile before he turned to look at his daughter. “Wouldn't you like that chickie?” he babytalked to her as she smiled. “Oh, I'm sure you would baby. Who wouldn't want to look at that beautiful face all the time?” he said and he looked at Jimin. His comment made Jimin smile as a dust of pink started to appear on his face. Jimin realised that in those thirty minutes that he's been interacting with the stranger, he smiled more than he ever did in all those months that he's been living on the streets. His cheeks were starting to hurt by how much he’d been smiling. The stranger looked at his phone again as it seemed to lighten up indicating a new message. “Change of plans!” he said laughing at Jimin's worrying expression as he placed his phone back in his pocket after locking it. “My driver is going to take us to my home” he said sporting his gummy smile “I have a guest room that you can sleep in and take a shower!” Jimin's eyes were blown wide, he wasn't sure anymore, was this all just a dream or was this really happening? The stranger chuckled. “Come on, I'll cook dinner too,” he said as he winked at Jimin teasingly, “It's nice to have someone to cook for from time to time.” There was a sad look in his eyes that Jimin barely noticed. Jimin suddenly thought that the man must feel very lonely.

         A black car parked near the sidewalk and the stranger didn’t even look at him before he slowly pushed the stroller towards it. “Pack your stuff and let's go.” he sing songs while shaking a rattle to distract Nana from whining because she still wanted Jimin to pick her up. Jimin just stood there, baffled from what was happening right now. ‘Is this guy serious?’ Jimin thought. ‘Is he really taking me to his home to stay for the night?’ He still can't believe what he saw in front of him because this man was so beautiful with his dark red hair and his delicate small features.  “I will stay here all day ‘cause I'm not leaving without you, kid.” He said turning to look at him and smiling to him. “Let's move.” He ushered Jimin to follow him while gesturing towards the car.

      “Okay, okay, I'm coming.” Jimin said, quickly picking up his things. “Not that I have a lot of things with me.” He said under his breath  and started following the man to the car. When they got near enough to the car, the driver stepped out to greet them as he opened the door for them. He had a slim silhouette, his eyes were sharp and his skin looked like it had been sunkissed.

      “Greetings, Mister Min!” The driver greeted the stranger with a wide smile on his face in a shape of a heart. He yelped as he tried to dodge Min’s attack.

     “There is no reason to call me that. How many times do I have to tell you?” the stranger said with a sigh still trying to smack his driver. Jimin laughed at the scene in front of him. They acted more like friends than actually boss and employee.

       “And where is the fun in that may I ask?” The driver said with a shit eating grin. Making Mister Min to start chasing him again. Wait- Min? Why does this name rings a bell to Jimin brain? It is evident at this point that the man in front of him that is now a little tired from running after his friend and he is taking his daughter in his arms to put her in the car is rich but Jimin doesn't know a lot of rich people. So why does this name feels so familiar.

       “What?” He screamed at the recognition of the person in front of him. The poor man got so startled that he hit his head on the roof of the car. “You're Min, as in Min Yoongi” he said way too loud which had some people turn their heads towards him. “Min Yoongi: the owner of the biggest recording company in Korea?” He whisper yelled, too embarrassed to now look at the people around him, too embarrassed to notice that he had gotten too close to the stranger that was now looking at him with a terrified expression.

    “Could you please not alert everybody that I'm here and get in the car?” He whispered frantically, trying to move a little faster than before. “Hoseok, can you help me with the stroller? I can't close this thing no matter how many times I've tried.” He said as he was taking the big bag under the stroller with the baby’s stuff. He opened the trunk of the car to put Nana's things in. “You can put your stuff here too.” He said and he moved to the side so Jimin could have better access to the trunk.

      After Jimin got his things in, Hoseok came and placed the folded stroller inside as well. “That's all. We are ready to go Yoongi-hyung!” He said and wiped his hands on his pants after closing the trunk, acting like he just put a dead body inside which made Jimin laugh. “Let's go” He said, patting both of their backs.

     “You should sit in the front seat and I'll sit next to Nana.” Yoongi suggested and he went to open the front door.

        “As you wish, Mister Min!” Jimin said with a mischievous smile and got in the front seat of the car and Yoongi showed him his tongue. ‘God, he is such a child’ Jimin thought .  He listened as Yoongi closed the door and Hoseok laughed hysterically at Jimin's teasing.

       “I like him already”Jimin heard Hoseok say to Yoongi as he moved around the front of the car. Nana squealed at the sight of her dad getting in the car, smiling at both of them as he does. “So, you are?” Hoseok asked after getting in the car.

      “A nobody.” A fake laugh left Jimin's lips as he spoke.

    “Don't think of it like that kid. I'm sure you have your reasons why you became homeless.” Yoongi said with a stern look. “You don't look like one of those people that are too lazy to work.” His words brought tears in the corner of Jimin's eyes and he shifted his gaze back to his hands that were now resting on his lap as he uncomfortably played with the hem of his shirt.

   “Thank you!” He said with a strained voice, as unshed tears choked his throat. He felt Yoongi’s hand rub his shoulder in an attempt to console him.

     Hoseok shifted in his seat. “Anyway, I'm still waiting for you to tell me your name?” he said in a joking manner and Jimin gave him a sad smile in return.

      “Hobi!” Yoongi warned him in a quiet voice, as if speaking more loudly would  make Jimin break. “It's not always time for jokes.” He indicated.

       Jimin cleared his voice and shaked his head in response. “It's fine. I know Hoseok-ssi just wanted to  lighten the mood.” He said while giving Yoongi a reassuring smile.

      “See!” Hoseok pointed excitedly. “I told you I already like him.” He said while starting the car, smiling wide at them.

      “I like him too. Nana always knows how to read other people.” Yoongi said while smiling at his little daughter. “Isn't that right Chickie?” He said while talking to the baby. “He is nice and really, really cute don't you think that too, my little dumpling?” Nana began to giggle as Yoongi started tickling her.

     “Sometimes I don't know which one is the child with those two!” Hoseok mumbled under his breath looking fondly at the rearview mirror and sighed. “Are you going to tell me your name or am I going to call you whatever I want?” He said and they both started laughing.

      “Sorry! I'm Jimin!” He said in between his giggles.

       “Jimin!” Yoongi repeated,voice deep as the ocean, making his name sound like the most beautiful thing in the world. “I like it.” He said, smiling to himself whilst looking at Nana. “Did you hear that, my little chick?” Yoongi cooed at his daughter. “Your new friend has a name as pretty as him.” and at that Jimin’s heart skipped a beat for what felt like the millionth time.

         “Thank you” Jimin said a little embarrassed at how hot his cheeks feel which made Hoseok laugh even more . A reaction that didn't really help Jimin's situation. Yoongi turned and looked at his eyes smiling at him and that moment was the first time in these months that Jimin really felt happy. It was the first time that Jimin thought that he might have found somewhere he belonged. A place to call home.