the aspect of someone's character that is presented to or perceived by others.
Bang Sihyuk gathered the seven members who were meant to debut in three months so they could discuss their group concept, their personal concepts and how their 'individuality' was going to contribute to their fame and eventually lead to their success.
The first thing he noticed when he stepped in was that the room was quiet, way too quiet to be filled with seven people, which probably meant that they weren't comfortable with each other or didn't know each other yet, the news he was about to drop was soon going to change their minds, so he sat down, took a breath and started:
"I assume you all know why you were brought here today."
Most of them nodded and he took that as a sign to continue.
"Because of your debut, things are going to have to change, you will have to work harder in order to succeed, and before any of you protest, I'd like you all to know that we've had a team of writers, stylists, advertisement experts and even psychologists contribute to the making of these concepts." He announced
"so make sure to remember if you ever feel like the role assigned to you doesn't match with your current personality or personal preferences that this is never personal, but rather professional."
Fewer now nodded but that didn't faze him one bit, of course they wouldn't like it, but it's not like they had any other choice, without this job, some of them would be homeless.
Without wasting anymore time, the CEO took out the concept papers, and read aloud the first name on the list:
"Kim Seokjin" the guy sitting to the left of PD-nim wore perfectly fitting clothes, he looked intimidating, so much so that the member sitting next to him had wheeled his chair as far away from him as he could, while no one even made eye contact, he shifted his gaze to the CEO ever so calmly and spoke in an equally calculated tone:
"Jin will be your stage name, you will be the humble caring hyung-"
"I don't think that would really fit-" he started just as calm although the tone was now shifting into ice and bitterness.
"you are also the visual." the other's shoulders relaxed at that.
"obviously." he said, while looking the rest of the members down, and even bang Sihyuk, who briefly tried to look amused before reading the next name off the list:
The one sitting across from Seokjin lifted his head ever so slightly but enough to indicate that he was aware of his surroundings, he wore all black, even his face barely showed.
"Suga," Seokjin quietly snickered but it was enough to earn him a threatening glare from Yoongi "a tsundere"
the room went quiet again, and Sihyuk waited patiently for the other to process the information, but that moment never came, he was only met with a blank stare:
"a what now?"
"I think you heard me the first time" he tried to force.
Yoongi's expression didn't change one bit, nor did his tone when he spoke again:
"a what now?"
Sihyuk decided against letting him know that he was starting to hate him:
"Since we know your acting skills are still... lacking at the moment, we thought it would be best to ease you into this so that your... cold side would only seem as an illusion to the fans so that they wouldn't hate you." he tried to put as nicely as he could.
"why wasn't I given that concept?" Seokjin interrupted, seemingly offended, PD-nim sighed:
"because you're better at acting thanks to your studies, Seokjin."
"I still think I can pull it off better." the other scoffed.
"we're not discussing your roles!" he said in clear exasperation "the writers and I had a meeting and the decisions are final." his firm tone managed to silence any further arguments, they all knew no one was going to bail, they all had their reasons for staying, they all needed the job desperately enough to stay quiet.
"good," pd-nim resumed after sending them all a challenging glare:
"Jung Hoseok" pd-nim then announced his stage name "Jhope, you're gonna be the hope of BTS."
"oh fuck me." Hoseok quietly muttered, rolling his eyes a bit.
"from now on, you will have to watch both your image and your language Hoseok, your job is to be the link between the maknae and hyung line, so you could help attract the younger audience more."
PD-nim was apparently waiting for at least a nod of confirmation but all Hoseok did was absently stare at the wall.
"do you understand?" he tried to confirm.
"mm-hm" was all he got.
"moving on..." PD-nim sighed again "Kim Namjoon, Rap Monster, you're gonna be the leader of the group" Jin looked like he was trying really hard not to say anything about that.
"I don't think that's appropriate, you know" he failed "considering I'm here." he pointed at himself as if he was the obvious choice.
"I've already gave you your role, so you can't argue with that."
"does that mean I can?" one of the maknaes with ruffled hair asked, the member sitting next to him with perfect posture gaped at him in shock, which gave Sihyuk some of his faith back.
"No." He cut him off "Kim Namjoon, your high score IQ is what qualifies you to be the leader of BTS." he added while shooting a glare at Seokjin "I hope you can lead them to success."
"I know I can." Namjoon finally spoke, leaning against his chair and somehow looking calmer than Seokjin, which suddenly reminded him that he didn't thank him for making him leader, the CEO returned his dimpled smile and quickly moved on, completely failing to hide his surprise at how much of a complete disaster the hyung line's attitude turned out to be, although their dancing and singing skills were some of the best among the other trainees, their acting still had to improve quite a lot before they could debut, if their arrogance and ignorance were anything to go by.
"Park Jimin." He announced next, the member with ruffled hair now looked up.
"Jimin will be your stage name"
The other nodded attentively and Sihyuk almost immediately felt better, of course the maknae line would be better, they were younger, more curious, more ambitious-
Someone snickered for the second time and Sihyuk was about ready to scold Seokjin when he noticed that wasn't him but rather the one who was wheeled far from him, sitting between Seokjin and Jimin, the one that had gasped at him earlier, and to think he was the one that had restored some of his faith.
"Is there something funny?" He asked, and almost immediately the other's expression changed, he somehow managed to control his laughter and facial expression in record time, which, in a meeting this bad was quite impressive.
"so Jimin, your concept will be shy, sweet-"
"uh-huh." Jimin's smile seemed to only get wider as PD-nim's reading progressed which only made him more uncomfortable.
Why was he enjoying this so much?!
"okay..." he continued uneasily, flipping through the pages to get to:
"Yes, PD-nim." he gave him a charming smile.
"you will have the stage name V."
Kim Namjoon was definitely the one who snorted, there was no mistaking it, Jimin's smile was now impossibly wide, it was bordering on creepy which would've been straight up creepy on any other person's face but it was his so it was still bordering for now.
"thank you, PD-nim."
the CEO hated himself for being suspicious because Taehyung was being too polite compared to the other members.
"Yes, your role is to be the goo-"
Sihyuk was so taken aback that he lost speech for a few seconds and when he looked up from his paper Taehyung was giving him a blank look, as if waiting for his reaction, as if he was ready for his reaction.
"I didn't finish yet."
"I don't need to hear the rest of it, PD-nim" He flatly replied,
the CEO was now conflicted, was he supposed to just let it pass just because he's actually being polite despite embarrassing him in front of the other members or...?
"you will have to train for your role no matter what." he decided to argue.
"I just think that there are too many cheerful members in this group, wouldn't it help balance it out if there were more serious ones, like Suga-hyung?"
At the mention of the last name Jimin almost fell out of his chair laughing, Sihyuk was in the middle of arguing so he couldn't really scold for now, but also because he was a little creeped out.
"you sure you wanna call me that?"
Min Yoongi who was dressed for a funeral asked, tone all but threatening, Taehyung visibly squirmed in his seat before apologizing:
"I'm sorry, hyung, I just-" he now turned back to the CEO after shooting Yoongi a hesitant glance "I think it would help the team's balance more."
"I already told you before" he now replied a little more gently "you cannot change anything, I've been in this industry for years and I still don't know anyone who got to choose their own concept."
"I really can't do this, though" Taehyung all but pleaded with him, Sihyuk caught his eyes and for a split second he actually considered the option, that's when Hoseok spoke up:
"yeah me too." he announced, still with that distant look on his face, PD-nim briefly wondered if he was sleep deprived or just generally zones out a lot.
"you just have to believe in yourselves." he pushed out "just like I believe in all of you."
"but I can-"
"yes you can, Taehyung." he said a bit too forcefully "you will all have three months of training, cameras will be following you everywhere to ensure you stay in character, we don't want any accidents to happen after your debut, and by the time that happens you would be so used to playing your roles it wouldn't even feel like you're faking it."
Kim Taehyung didn't reply to that, he just gave Sihyuk a brief teary eyed look before quickly looking away, he felt a little bad before remembering how well he could act, and reassured himself that this might be the case as well.
"Jeon Jungkook." he called out.
There was only one memeber left in the group and that was the maknae, and he sure did look like a maknae, PD-nim was used to maknaes being somewhat shy, somewhat reserved, mostly scared of the world but still eager to learn, so he thought this would be easy enough to handle and he would finally leave this meeting.
"we'll just use your name as a stage name" he quickly spoke "your role is to be the golden maknae of the group, you have to give out the impression that you're good at everything you do so that the younger audience likes you more." he deeply inhaled and thanked the heavens he wasn't interrupted this time, when he glanced to see if the maknae was paying attention he saw him staring at the table in silence, he didn't know what to make of that but was still thankful that he didn't object.
He's just shy.
"for your group dynamics, you will have these papers," He handed them out "to help you learn what exactly is expected from your character to do and what reactions you should show in different situations, I hope you study these before tomorrow's training."
"Thank you for listening." He added after no one reacted, all too busy reading their own scripts, except Jimin who didn't even pay it any attention and slurred his reply:
"thank... you for coming."
Sihyuk left as fast as he could.
He let himself drop on the nearest chair when he found the team waiting for him in anticipation:
"what the hell is wrong with them?" he wondered out loud.
"I know." Sejin replied in clear sympathy.
"not one person agreed to their concept," he ran a hand across his face "except for Jimin..." he added uneasily.
"oh god..." Hobeom trailed.
"He didn't do anything weird did he?"
"No- I, what do you mean?" He asked.
"I... don't want you to fire anyone because of me." He hesitated.
"Hobeom, I am in no position to fire anyone at all, if anything I should be recruiting people or soon enough there'll only be the three of us left, so what is it?"
"I really don't know if I should tell you this but- Jimin is definitely not the most cooperative of the group."
"he sure looked like he was."
"when he's sober I mean," the other finished and Sihyuk froze in his seat, did he just attend a meeting completely unaware that one of the members who were going to debut in three months was drunk?!
"He almost got fired several times because of it and-"
"Why the hell do I not know about that?! we could've sent him to rehab before-"
"He's not addicted." Hobeom retorted "he just prefers to hold meetings and such with a... light buzz"
"A light bu-" Sihyuk was baffled "his concept is to be a cute shy boy, how the hell is he gonna do that if he can't even walk straight?!" he all but yelled the last part.
"Since you're angry anyway, I'd like to add a few things as well." Sejin stepped in.
"Go on." He gestured, thinking it couldn't get much worse.
"the maknae, Jeon Jungkook."
"What about him."
"You should probably consider getting him into some anger management program or something." He suggested "staying with him in the same room is now almost as safe as Yoongi"
wait, Min Yoongi?
"I thought he was over his past."
"He still has some...habits, he says, I don't know how much of them he can really control."
"What about Seokjin and Namjoon? why do I have a feeling one of them is a sociopath."
"I do too, honestly." Hobeom regretted "they would only talk to us out of necessity, Seokjin gets scolded for being too distracted with his own reflection during practice and Namjoon scolds the teacher back for being too dumb to teach."
"wow, and how's the teacher holding up?"
"he quit yesterday."
"At least, Kim Taehyung seems serious, albeit a bit blunt."
"oh no." Sejin shook his head in disapproval.
"that's exactly his problem, he's too serious, he smiles even less than Seokjin, he has the emotional intelligence of a jellyfish, and maybe even less than that."
"Woah, is he that bad?"
Sihyuk thought back to their interaction, and only recalled Taehyung being polite, nothing too odd as they were saying.
"even worse, the only thing he cares about is training, I think he's addicted to it or something."
well maybe he just wants to improve.
Compared to the rest of the members, being too serious didn't seem like a problem at all.
"I'd take that over too playful any day." He said.
"Are you sure want to debut this group?" Sejin asked after a brief silence.
"Who the hell else are we gonna debut then, me?"
"I know, I just- this is too risky, and none of them agreed to this in the first place."
"If this fails, this could really ruin your career." Hobeom predicted.
"And if it succeeds, we will be legends."
Once Bang Sihyuk left the room, Jimin broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, Taheyung's face finally relaxed and he allowed himself a smirk:
"Not bad, huh?"
"You fucking- genius!" Jimin breathed out "how did you do that?!"
"Do what?" He feigned innocence, which only made Jimin slap his arm and laugh harder.
Taehyung then turned to the papers in front of him and slowly started reading, he gestured at a water bottle for Jimin which went completely unnoticed.
"cheerful and... goofy." he read "who the hell came up with these."
Seeing Jimin too distracted with the window view, Taehyung started reading his file as well:
"kind... helpful... angel smile?!" Taehyung fought the urge to roll his eyes but eventually failed.
Seokjin was holding the file up and reading his role in disbelief.
"Can you stop?" Namjoon snapped "I'm trying to read here."
Seokjin narrowed his eyes.
"we all are."
Namjoon rolled his eyes then sighed, speaking slowly, as if he was talking to a five year old:
"You're reading too loud."
Namjoon brushed him off quickly, muttering something unintelligible, then took his own papers and left the room, not sparing him a second glance. Seokjin was entirely ready to argue it out, but seeing him leave like that as if he couldn't stand being in the same room as him made his own blood boil.
How was this guy supposed to be their leader anyway?
Hoseok dropped his head in his hands and started panicking:
"I'm fucked, I can't do this, I'm leaving."
"Relax." Yoongi who was sitting next to him quietly advised "you just gotta lay off your prescription is all."
"Stop making a big deal out of it." he said in clear annoyance "just keep it with me before you start pissing your pants during the training."
At this, Hoseok's head snapped up, eyes narrowed:
"with you?" Yoongi looked away.
"Yeah, who knows, maybe it'd help keep me in check, you know?"
Hoseok gave him a long look before saying:
"just say that you ran out."
"No, you say that you ran out." Yoongi retorted "you know I never do."
Hoseok stayed silent for a few minutes before he faced another dilemma:
"I need to replace it though." he decided "you know how I get with weed..."
"I know..." Yoongi trailed, waiting for the other to ask before offering.
But the request never came, as a voice suddenly spoke up in the quiet room:
Both Yoongi and Hoseok pretended to be deaf, it was the maknae, probably looking to 'get to know each other' or 'what does this mean' or some other stupid excuse.
"I think we should discuss our roles before tomorrow." he added and once again got no reply.
Seokjin was doing a terrible job of pretending not to be listening but it was Taehyung that spoke first:
"Of course." He once again switched tones "what concept did you get?"
"Uhm- Golden maknae?" he read from the first paper, and Jimin cooed:
"Aww, that's sooo cute!" he squealed, seeming less aware of his surroundings than he was a few minutes ago.
"hmm, that means you should do a lot of training for that role." Taehyung remarked.
"I guess so, yours is to be cheerful right?"
"yeah, wanna switch?" he suddenly suggested, Jungkook's eyes widened:
At that both Hoseok and Yoongi looked up, even Seokjin stopped pretending to not listen:
"we can suck at it so bad they would have to make up new concepts." he quirked an eyebrow.
"Or abandon it altogether." Seokjin said, which earned him a few looks "we are all this company has left, if we fail they will have to shut down."
The silence lingered for a few moments, the members simultaneously looked at their papers, then each other before Taehyung picked up Jimin's file:
"this one's job is to just smile, anyone want it?" Jimin, turned just in time to find his file put on auction so he exclaimed:
"Give that back!"
Taehyung sighed before throwing it his way.
"So... that's the plan? we don't cooperate?" Jungkook asked, looking at Taehyung then Seokjin.
"I'm in." Hoseok announced.
"me too, but that ass for a head leader's probably not gonna be and it'll all fail because of him." Seokjin retorted.
"It can't fail if it's six against one." Taehyung said.
"Right." Jungkook agreed.
"Yoongi, you in?" Hoseok suddenly turned his way, the others did as well, curious but also nervous, because while Namjoon wasn't here, Yoongi was, and if he wasn't doing this with them and he knew created an unexpected threat.
"I wasn't gonna play along anyway." he shrugged and they visibly relaxed.
The training day was there, they were going to do a test first: introduce yourself while in character, cameras were already installed, the footage would be used to rate their acting skills and monitor their progress.
Sihyuk prayed they would at least pass this one so they could move on from there.
The training session was scheduled right after morning practice, the first person to show up was Namjoon and the rest followed suit, Sihyuk decided to start with the leader, since he was first, but once he explained what they were about to do, the members' faces all fell, except for the actors of course, and the ones hiding their faces (Yoongi) and the ones smiling (Jimin).
"Jimin?" he called out, Sejin looked at him in regret.
Sihyuk returned Sejin's look, desperately fighting the urge to faceplam.
He couldn't let the other members and the team know that he was the kind of CEO that allowed this kind of behaviour, except that if he scolded Jimin and sent him off they wouldn't be able to do the test when they were already short on time, and Jimin's character required for him to smile anyway.
Sihyuk decided to play dumb for today.
"You know what we're doing today, right?"
Jimin giggled at that.
"Of course, PD-nim." He assured.
Sihyuk decided to send him second after Namjoon.
"Hi, my name is Rap Monster and I am leader of BTS."
Namjoon was looking at the camera with a dimpled smile, there was absolutely nothing wrong with his acting, since he probably wasn't acting at all, with all that confidence and all.
Before Sihyuk could comment on it, Namjoon had already left his spot for Jimin, from the corner of his eye, he could see Sejin giving him a dissatisfied look, when they started this team the manager had told him that he was being too easy, Sihyuk took that in a bad way but now he's actually starting to see its effect, how the members barely listen to him, how Seokjin knows probably more about the company than he does himself, and he's the founder! how Namjoon just lets his ego run everyone over until the room was too small.
this is not how things were supposed to be.
"Namjoon." he called out, letting a stern look possess his eyes for once, Jimin took a few steps back to let Namjoon pass, Namjoon who raised his eyebrows just enough to make it annoying:
"we'll redo that." he said, not breaking eye contact "you showed poor acting."
At the last remark, Namjoon's eyebrows shot up even higher into his forehead, then he slowly smirked:
the leader of the group went back and did the exact same face:
"Hello, my name is Rap Monster and I am the leader of BTS"
but then he added a smirk at the end.
"Yes!" Sejin suddenly exclaimed "perfect! next! Jimin."
Sihyuk spared Sejin a frown before turning back, they really didn't have time to go bitter now, not with the comeback being so close, these weren't even the official introductory videos seeing as the members didn't even start acting yet.
"okay, Jimin, big bright smile and say your line, yeah? ...action!"
Sihyuk watched as Jimin's already relaxed face broke into a smile that reached his eyes, the drunkenness giving his cheeks a soft blush, which was exactly matching to his concept...
Except that it stopped there.
"Jimin." Sihyuk sternly called, to which Jimin adorably pouted, a frown barely apparent behind his messy hair.
"I don't know my lines." he blurted.
"just... introduce yourself." Sejin instructed, Jimin's face lit up at that, as if a heavy weight was lifted from his shoulders, his mouth turned into an 'o' shape in realization:
"yeah..." Sihyuk looked up to the ceiling, praying for all of this to be over soon.
"I'll- I'll do it again, then." he decided out loud, Sejin sighed but still nodded, calling action once again, even though the camera had never stopped rolling.
"Hi, I'm- uh-" a confused look flashed over his face for a moment before he continued "diminie and-"
"Jimin!" Sihyuk suddenly snapped, Jimin flinched and his eyes started shining with unshed tears.
"y-yes PD-nim?" he pouted again.
"ugh- fuck this" he muttered before calmly instructing "just say 'Hello, I'm jimin from BTS' okay?"
was it really that hard to say?!
Jimin sniffled before addressing the camera again:
"Hello, I'm... Jimin from BTS." he said, then glanced at Sihyuk to see how he did, the latter sighed in both relief and exhaustion:
"Next! Kim Seokjin!" he said, the eldest member moved past Jimin, looking mildly disgusted, when he finally stepped on the spot facing the camera, he asked:
"PD-nim, I wanted to talk to you about my concept."
"what about it." he gritted out.
"I have made a few changes into it-"
"Seokjin, you can't just change your own concept, there was an entire team of-"
"I did." He declared "I talked to the stylist and writer and they both approved of my idea, well, mostly the writer."
"what is it?" Sihyuk asked, faking disinterest.
"what about it?"
"It's perfect." he deadpanned, gesturing to his own facial features as if to prove a point.
Sihyuk waited for the rest of it for an embarrassingly long time, they both just stared at each other in complete silence.
"and?" he finally asked.
"that's it, since I'm the group's visual, I'm supposed to be the most handsome but..." he let it hang in the air for suspense, Sihyuk narrowed his eyes "I'm actually perfect, and, I'm allowed to say that just as much as I want to." he hastily added "So, hello, my name is Jin, I'm the handsome visual of BTS."
He smiled at the camera and it looked expectedly flawless but Sihyuk wasn't going to praise him for that...
Yoongi dragged his feet until he was facing the camera, passing a once again disgusted Seokjin:
"Min Yoongi BTS" he mumbled before he turned around and started leaving.
"You're supposed to say your stage name." the CEO remarked and Yoongi stopped moving:
"I don't remember it."
Sihyuk tried to mirror his perfectly stoic face but failed.
"Suga BTS." Yoongi said, completely emotionless.
"you're not facing the camera." Sejin remarked. Yoongi moved to his left where the camera and lights were focused and repeated:
"that's not even a sentence."
"I'm Suga, from BTS."
Sihyuk and Yoongi glared at each other for a moment before he was let go.
Someone sniffled loudly from the back of the room, Sihyuk turned to another manager with a defeated look:
"go comfort him."