Chapter 1: Prologue: growing old
Kim Seokjin never thought of death, sure he went to funerals when a close one passed on and went to church in the hopes God deemed him worthy that he’d take him up to heaven when the day came.
But the thought never really struck him. He didn’t waste time on something that was bound to happen, rather he lived in the moment. Because how could one not? Especially being in love with a woman as great as his girlfriend.
They met in college, one fateful day that brought them together by porridge of all things. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight as one could already tell. But it’s a funny story to remember, or explain when telling others how they met.
Like any college student, Seokjin was tired and stressed about school. Having stayed up late the night prior, had the male in a rush to get to class in a hurried and uncaring state. That when he turned the corner rather abruptly, he had bumped into a small petite woman full on. Making the girl spill her breakfast on them both. As you can guess, Jin went to class with a porridge stained shirt.
He had never seen the woman before, too many faces in the crowd to know this one existed. But how can he forget her now? Jin knew the woman as ‘porridge girl’ of course she didn’t like that when they saw each other in the cafeteria and Seokjin called out to her. She glared, and told him it wasn’t her name followed by ‘clumsy ass.’ Jin laughed and soon got her number.
Her name was Bora Lim, a unique name for an extraordinary woman. Her physical appearance was small and petite, but her attitude on life and mind were loud and outgoing. Seokjin never knew such things and possibilities in life could possibly exist until she came along and showed him that, life was pretty amazing. Especially with her in it.
She majored in becoming a doctor, so already Jin knew she was a smart woman if he didn’t care to learn for the rest. But he did care, her mind was absolutely brimming with knowledge that he couldn’t get enough. Whether it was fact, fiction, or clearly stating that the popcorn at the movies on the east side was better than the West. Kim Seokjin took note of it all.
Bora loved him too of course, he saw it in the way she stared when he would make the most awful puns. And how he sang in the shower when he would wash her hair, especially when they both graduated and she had said ‘Yes’ when he asked her to marry him.
The marriage was quite lovely, and like every newlyweds, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Which resulted in a beautiful baby girl, and Seokjin knew this must be what heaven felt like when carrying his baby and having his wife by his side.
Life was pretty great for the small family, the occasional picnics, going sightseeing and having family get togethers. Teaching their daughter about the world, well Jin would tell his small baby how wonderful her mom was. Bora would smile and say, ‘don’t forget to praise her dad.’ Which Jin would say, ‘who?’
An ongoing joke clearly.
When their daughter grew old enough to go to school, they realized parenting got a lot harder. It wasn’t the school necessarily or the classes they put her in, no, it was the play dates. Jin was just glad he had met a wonderful woman like Bora, how great she was. Because honestly, every other adult was just plain boring.
“I don’t think I can go to one more of those god forsaken play dates!” Bora exclaimed. “If I have to sit with Mina and her husband one more time talking about the damn snow on the mountains I’m going to crack!”
Jin laughed, going over to Bora. “Why don’t we go see it instead, then we’ll have something in common with them?” He suggested.
When it came down to their planned holiday, they did exactly that. Taking their daughter to a expansive mountain getaway, where they saw the snow on the mountains Mina and her husband saw. And honestly both Jin and Bora came to the conclusion, it wasn’t that amazing. But what was, was what came nine months later, another baby girl.
Jin couldn’t be happier, he didn’t even care about the play dates after that. Because his family is what made everything so thrilling. To the holidays; waking up on Christmas mornings, taking their two precious daughters trick or treating on Halloween, and birthdays. Wow, did they go big on birthdays.
But of course, with each passing year, seeing Bora grow Jin swore he fell more in love with his wife. And on their twentieth anniversary, he asked if they could renew their vows. And just like the time he asked her to marry him, she had said ‘yes.’
So life was pretty grand, sure there was ups and downs, with money and with their daughters experiencing life. It was like any other family, and crazy as it might be, Seokjin loved it all. He was an content old man, that when he did eventually retire from his job at the college, he and Bora went on an extravagant trip to Hawaii. Where they slow danced in the middle of the restaurant.
It was also in Hawaii that he met a rather strange man. He was small and stout but gave him a letter, when he asked who was it from, the man simply walked away.
On the letter, it revealed a message. He didn’t understand it, so he didn’t pay attention to the letter, so when he got back to the hotel with Bora she looked at the letter and read it out loud.
“This looks like an anagram,” she mentioned casually. Setting the paper down to take off her shoes and then got ready for bed.
“I don’t know what that is..” Jin spoke, not really caring for it. It must be a prank the townspeople do to the foreigners. He spoke like an old man, proud to be of course.
When they returned home, life return to its usual routine. Jin going out to get the paper, Helping Bora make breakfast, the occasional call from one of their daughters, and well, the natural life of two loving old couple.
One day in particular, he went to get the mail and when he saw it. It was familiar, he didn’t know where he had seen it, but he took it inside and looked at it. The strangest thing, each page was the same. It read;
:Just about any man can do horrible things, but a Justified and Knoble man will do the right thing.
It takes a while for him to remember where he had seen it, in Hawaii, the random note he had gotten. Not wasting a moment on it, and not wanting to frighten his wife that they might be stalked, Jin crumbles the paper and installs a security camera outside his home while buying a few extra locks for the house.
Years go by, and the letter is long forgotten.
Then the day comes where Seokjin is too old to move, his precious little wife isn’t able to help him either. So they go to the hospital where he spends the rest of his days, his wife by his side reading to him. She’s in good health, and it makes Jin happy to see how beautiful she is, how the sun hit her in the evening from where she sat in the room next to his bed. And he can’t help think, ‘what a wonderful woman.’
Seemingly, he knows it’s his time when the doctors are more frequent, his daughters come with their husbands and grandchildren. He knows. But he’s not afraid, he’s lived a rather amazing life, sure a few regrets here and there but overall, Kim Seokjin was a happy man with it.
Looking to Bora, he smiled softly, “I love you.. porridge girl.” He didn’t know that would be his last joke. That when his eyes fell closed and the bumping monitor of his heartbeat came to a straight line, he believed heaven would be his next journey.
Oh was he wrong.
Kim Seokjin woke up, blinking a few times. Maybe it wasn’t his time yet?
“Bora?” He called out, quick to notice his voice wasn’t as deep and husky, he sat up. Which surprised him, that he was even able to do so.
His heart began to beat fast, looking down to his hands, they weren’t old. The faint gray specks were gone, revealing a rather young man's arms. Jumping out the bed, he runs around the unfamiliar apartment and to a bathroom where he stops.
He’s young, he’s young again.
What was happening? Was- was this heaven? Could Jin be in heaven? Hands touching his now young face, he looks around the apartment. And how close it looks to crumbling down, sure he’s imagined what heaven might be like but would never have pictured heaven to be this.
Then there’s knocking at the door. Slowly creeping to it, Jin looks through the peephole and sees an old man he’s never met before. “I know you’re in there Kim!” The man calls out, “don’t pretend you can’t hear me!” Stepping back, Jin falls flat on his butt. His heart now picking up faster than before. “You said the twentieth is when you can pay me! And your rents way past due!”
Surely in heaven, one doesn’t have to pay for rent.
Chapter 2: 1.0
Jin sits there, not knowing what was happening or what this even was. Was this a dream? He knew being old had him remembering past times, but usually it was something he’s lived. Not this. Definitely not this.
This apartment, how the paint was fading in some parts and others there was cracks in the walls. How there was barely any livable furniture, and most importantly some man yelled at him for rent on the other side of the door.
Kim Seokjin would’ve remembered if he lived something like this. But no, Jin had always lived somewhat comfortably. He rarely had to struggle, especially not to this extent.
As the bangs continued on the door, feeling like any moment the lock would give out and the door would burst open he hears the man yell out;
“I know you’re in there! I heard you!”
Jin jumps to his feet and hurried around the apartment he’s never been in and finds a long black coat and puts on shoes that were there and runs out the apartment, past the man who stumbles back and yells at him, wondering where the hell he was going.
Not even bothering to close the door as he runs out the building and out into the open air.
He doesn’t know where he is, this place is unfamiliar, and outright sketchy. Taking a few moments to bare his groundings, he runs again.
He doesn’t know where his running to, just that he doesn’t stop. People look at him like he’s crazy, but he doesn’t care. Because he was supposed to be in heaven right? Or had he lived such a sinful life without knowing that he ended up in hell?
His chest ached and his lungs burned, and that’s when he stops. Looking around him, he notices the buildings around him. Some stores here and there, and there’s people. People.
Going to the first person he sees is a woman, she looked a little older than him, but Jin stands in her way with a panting breath. “Where am I?” The girl looks a little shaken, her eyes traveling his body that Jin had to look down and see he’s only in a baggy shirt and shorts. Quick to cover himself with the long coat, he asked again. “Please.. I need to know where I am!” He pleaded desperately.
“B- busan!” She stumbled out.
“Busan?” Why was he in busan? For what reason? What was the cause? Where’s Bora?
Looking around, he’s lost. What did this mean? What was happening?
“Wh.. what’s the date? To- today’s date?”
“September first..” that couldn’t be possible, when he passed on it wasn’t September.
So just to check, Seokjin added, “Year?”
“2011..” she let out slowly.
Jin stopped to stare at the woman, his face must’ve shown he was beyond confused, beyond scared because she asked if he was alright.
No, he certainly was not. He didn’t understand anything that was happening. If this was just some cruel misunderstanding. Surely someone up there messed up, or this was some hallucination. Yeah, maybe he was put on some new medication and these were the weird side effects?
“Thank you,” He murmured to the stranger and walked away.
What does he do? This year didn’t fit well whatsoever with him, he knows how he looked in this year and certainly didn’t look like a grown man. But why in this year?
Not knowing any answers, he runs again, this time with his coat buttons closed.
Jin finds himself at a library, it’s a big one to find out information. Though he should look up many things, the only thing he could think to search was Bora. She would know what to do, if not just seeing her would make all this fade away. So he searched, looking for his wife, and her whereabouts. If this was some type of hallucination, then his wife surely should be in it.
It takes awhile, because Bora Lim doesn’t come up. He tried Bora Kim, but still nothing. He’s almost stumped, trying her mother’s maiden name then every else.
Til eventually, he finds two people relatively close by. Both that go by Bora Lee. That was odd. But Jin takes the information and writes it down on a piece of paper and runs out.
If Bora was here, then he had to find her fast.
While running to the destination, he bumps into a male, quite young from the looks of it.
“Watch it old man!” The boy called out.
Too occupied with everything else, he mutters out a sorry and hurried out.
Seokjin finds out quite quickly it’s hard to get anywhere without money. And where he wants to go was too far on foot, and with nowhere else to go he ends up back at where he started.
Standing outside the apartment duplex, Jin thinks it over and tried to remember the route of the room he woke up in. While trying to figure out to dodge the screaming man.
Once he thinks he remembers, he nods with a huff and walks inside. Taking it slow incase the old man was behind the corner. He does this till he ends up back at his room. The doors closed, and he gives the knob a turn, which it opens surprisingly.
Anyone could’ve broken in.
But when the door is fully open, surprisingly it’s not. Everything looks the damn same, if anything if someone had broken in, Seokjin probably wouldn’t have known. The place was a rather hurried mess. Sighing at it, Jin closed the door and locked it. Even though it looked like with a good shove, the bolts would let loose.
Then, Seokjin looks around. Trying to find money anywhere he can. When finally he finds a wallet, his fingers fumble to get it open and when he does there’s nothing.
“Aish! You live in a complete dump with no money!” He whispered yelled to himself afraid if he was any louder the man would come back. But then he saw an i.d which he pulled out and looked at the date.
If this year was 2011, then at this time he would’ve been eighteen. But no, according to this time stamp and the year it stated, Seokjin was twenty five years old.
Things really weren’t adding up. With a heavy sigh he sat on the bed, his weight made the springs come to life and all he could do was just breathe.
“God.. you need to tell me what’s happening.. you say to trust and follow you.. a- and I’m struggling right now so you have to help me..” Jin then waits for something, anything. Maybe that he’d wake up, see his beautifully aged wife and his daughters by his side with his grandchildren. Or maybe, that soon a light would fill the room and he’d be escorted to heaven.
Nothing like that happens, instead the damn bed buckles and falls to the floor. “Aish!” He yelled out. Admitting defeat, when he realizes the bed isn’t completely on the floor. Which springs Jin up and makes him move the bed, to find a lot of dirty clothes and garbage but besides all of that held a steel box.
Going close to open it, the man finds quite a lot in it. Like a lot.
Why in his world or weird vision he was in, didn’t pay rent was beyond him because there was plenty of money inside of the box.
He takes a moment to thank God before he’s scurrying around to get himself changed. Once he’s decent enough, settling with a shirt that fit and blue jeans, pulling over a sweater as well, Jin stuffs all the money into a backpack and runs back out. Of course this time taking a key that was the apartments, and leaving some cash in an envelope at the head office with a note; Jin.
Then he heads out to the direction on his paper in the hopes to find Bora. It was pretty weird her last name was Lee, but if this was correct, then Bora would be twenty three right? If not, going by her actual birth date, she’d be sixteen. The only way to find out was to head to both destinations.
Seokjin soon finds out with the first stop that yeah, this Bora is not his . The kid was four years old, and didn’t have his wife’s parents for one. So he apologized profusely to the people and headed off to the next destination.
The next stop, the house is quite spectacular, very lavished. Something similar to the one he lived in once, with his blooming family. Stuffing the note into his jeans, Jin adjusts his backpack and walks to the door. Giving it a couple of knocks Jin takes a few deep breaths, as he waits for the door to open.
When it does, Jin stands up straight. Eyeing the older burly man, he clears his throat and gives a soft smile. “Hello, I was wondering if.. B- Bora was here?” He didn’t know why he was nervous, but there was this smallest chance she was and his heart began to beat again. Albeit not in fear, but in longing.
“Yeah, just hold a bit,” the older man says, going back in to the call the woman then looks back at him. “She’ll be down in a minute.. may I ask you who you are young man?”
Jin blinks. It was strange, he was older than this man before him. Or was older, right now physically, he was young but mentally he was older and wiser. He should be calling this man the ‘young man.’ But still, whether this was a dream or not, Jin had to play the part and pretend he was young. “I’m a.. friend.” He said courtly.
“Hm.. one of her students?”
“Her what?” Before he can get an answer the door widens, and a very familiar voice says; ‘who’s at the door hun?’
Seokjin sees her, Bora. His amazing wife, the woman he grew old with. He stops his worrying and just admired her, taking in her beauty. She was young, well in his mentally older mind she was young. A bit over forty, he remembers how she looked during this time.
Though it meant, the timeline wasn't making any sense. Why was his Bora forty when he was twenty five?
Why was she calling another man hun and not him? Why was his Bora, not his? As Seokjin watch the older man lean down to kiss his wife, he murmured a ‘I’ll leave you both to it’ and walks away. Leaving a hurt expression on Jin’s face.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Bora question with a gentle smile causing Jin to gulp.
“I uh.. just came to say..” that he was terrified, that he woke up in some sort of joke dimension that he wasn’t with his beloved. That he was suddenly young again with no clue how. “I came to ask.. a- about school?” Jin decided to go with that, because Bora seemed happy with the gruff looking man.
“I know it’s uncalled for to come to your house and ask.. but I was in neighborhood and I didn’t have your number..” he went off in a tangent like it mattered. Bora would think he was some young punk, which he was not.
“Oh, well..” Bora looked at him with a puzzled expression, “I wouldn’t know how you got my address and don’t take this the rude way but.. I’ve never seen you in one of my classes..” Taking in the information, he quickly put something together.
Blinking a few times he stared at his feet, “I don’t come to school often, and one of the classmates gave me your address.. th- they didn’t have your number either.” He hushed. Hoping it would work.
Checking if it did, he looked up at the woman he was so infatuated with, and he saw the face she made. Clearly underestimating him. She wanted to believe his words, but something didn’t add up, he could read it off of her.
From this knowledge, it seemed like this Bora wasn’t a doctor rather a college teacher. “I’m also.. really new to the class.. I just transferred in.”
The additional lie worked, Bora relaxed. “Oh I see, well I don’t give out my number because a lot of kids tend to prank call..” she smiled sweetly, a giggle left her lips and all Jin did was laugh with her. It was contagious.
“Ah, those kids ruined it for me huh..” He smiled back, idly scrunched up his shoulders. “I understand, I can ask this at school..” he pursed his lip as he bit on it. “Um, where- uh when will you be free to discuss with me at school?” Hoping this Bora would reveal the destination and whereabouts.
Which worked, she told him Saturday afternoon at what dormitory building. Leaving Jin one full day and a half before he can see her. He had no clue what to do, and he hoped seeing his wife would make sense but it left him even more confused. Bora wasn’t his wife, she was married to someone else having caught the ring on her ring finger knowing it belong to the man he met earlier.
Jin really was just some young man.
He must’ve been staring too long because Bora asked if there anything else she could help with. “Oh uh.. no.” He shook his head, bowing down before he said goodbye and was about to leave before he turned back and asked, ‘is there any good coffee shops around here?’
That’s where he wounds up, ordering a small black coffee because it was the cheapest thing off the menu, this Bora had the money to relish in fancy drinks, so she told him to go to this one. Which didn’t exactly fit his price range but he went because Bora liked it.
Finding himself a seat, Jin huffs down and looks around him. This wasn’t his world, this was some sort of weird dream he was obviously in which was out of whack. Jin was twenty five, living in a runned down apartment with a bag of cash that was dwindling. Bora was forty from the looks of it, living a lavish life. No longer a doctor in this world but a teacher. She was married to someone else, which meant the life they once shared was nothing, their two beautiful daughters were erased from the world.
He doesn’t know it, but his eyes begin to water. It was all too much. What was going on? Why did this happen to him?
What did he do to deserve this?
He sits there, contemplating everything until his coffee is all gone then he gets up and walks out the expansive cafe.
Seokjin mindlessly walks around, feeling utterly defeated. People walk past, some filled with joy that was overwhelming and some just walk past as if wanting to just get to where they’re going.
Jin takes note of it, nothing else made sense, but what did was others expressions. Which he looked at till he went to the underground train, his mind lost in itself, he doesn’t pick up how the train just stops, along with the noise of the people crowding him. Instead he walks to the underground trains door then he realized it wasn’t opening so he looks around and sees, no one else was moving.
Chapter 3: 1.1
It was as if time had stopped. Everyone was at a standstill. People taking steps in midair, some in the midst of running. It brought Jin to step back and look around.
Waving an unsure hand in front of one stranger, he breathed in deeply before he’s yelling out; “what the hells next! Huh?! Will the world just stop now!” He was furious, he felt it as he screamed. His face a knowing red as the veins in his neck were prominent. Kim Seokjin, was also scared.
“Please.. just.. make it stop.” He pleaded softly.
But silence takes over, he doesn’t know how long but eventually he’s sitting on the ground of the dirty floor waiting on anything. That’s when he hears it.
He sprung up from his spot on the ground, looking around to see who spoke. “Who’s there!” He cried out. “W- who are you?”
“That’s not important.”
Jin needed to know who was speaking, everyone was still frozen in place but the voice meant he wasn’t alone in this. They knew his name, maybe if he saw who was speaking he’d know them too?
“You are probably wondering what is happening.” The voice spoke, making Jin run around in between people in the chances he’d find who was talking.
“Yeah! I- I am but who are you?” He asked once more, stopping to look around because it was no use. Everyone who was around him was paused. Which meant, this voice was coming from no person but the sky. “Are you.. are you God?”
“No. If you keep asking who I am you will get no answer as to what’s happening to you.”
Deciding to keep his mouth shut, he breathed in and waited for what the voice was going to say.
“In your past life, you were given-”
Of course, Jin had to speak. “Wait! My past life? So what is this? Like.. like reincarnation? Is this what this is? Am I living a completely new life?” Jin yelled out, face directed to the ceiling.
But the voice doesn’t answer, it merely continues.
“In your past life, you were given hints about the journey you would encounter. Though Kim Seokjin, you decided to ignore them. You now have to-”
“What do you mean? What is this? What hints!” Jin yelled out, voice breaking. “Answer me! Don’t I deserve to know what is fucking happening to me?!”
There’s utter silence, his chest tightens believing that was it, until.
“You failed to see the hints, even now you demand for more. Now Kim Seokjin, you will have to figure this out on your own.”
Jin panicked, shaking his head furiously. “Wait no! I-” before he can say he’s willing to listen, everything starts up again. The train coming to a halt, and people are walking. It’s like whatever just happened, never happened at all.
When he gets back to the runned down apartment, Jin shoves his backpack beside the bed as he falls down onto it.
His body was tired, just like his brain but sleep didn’t devour him yet. His mind kept playing what happened in the underground train station, like it were on a ongoing loop he couldn’t escape from. It didn’t make sense, that he was living a new life. Reincarnation seemed impossible, because he should’ve been a newborn, rather Seokjin woke up in a grown man's body.
So what was all of this?
What were these hints the voice spoke of? Why did he of all people have to endure this? Have to live another life so abruptly.
These questions make his mind ache, and soon enough Jin is crying. He doesn’t stop, the tears keep rolling down his cheeks as his muffled sobs filled the room. Nothing made sense, and it left the male frighten because what if, this life repeated itself again?
It’s three in the morning when Seokjin is able to stop crying, praying to God, asking him to help him. But the thing with God, one can’t just lay around and expect his miracle, Jin had to help bring the miracle to life.
With a huff, Jin got out of bed and searched around the apartment for a pen and papers. A lot of them. Once he retrieved what he wanted, Jin goes to the small table and begins to write down everything that may deem worthy of a hint.
Which happens to be a lot, he did live a full life before, so having to require what could be considered a hint from it took a lot of effort. That work took its toll on the man as his stomach rumbled. Forgetting the fact that he needed to eat, he was so worried with what was happening to even consider consuming food.
So Jin takes his papers, puts on the long black coat and gets his bag, where he stuffs ‘his’ wallet in and goes out once more.
It’s six in the morning, the sun is rising, the colorful hues littering the sky when Jin finds a small dirty diner. He orders coffee, this time adds in cream and sugar. When the lady pours him his coffee, he orders his food, asking for bacon and eggs a rather normal breakfast. Once she writes it on her pad and leaves, Jin takes out his papers and goes over what he wrote. Hoping to find something in his words.
When he hears a faint, ‘hey! It’s you, the old man that ran into me!’ Seokjin paid no attention, thinking it was to another old man. But soon the seat in front of him is filled with a young lad.
Looking up, he had to blink a few times to register who this kid was. Had he seen him before? “Uh.. who are you?” Jin asked. Voice deep and raspy from having not spoken anything properly in hours, only crying, besides ordering.
“Oh come on! You forgot me? My face?” The boy smiled, his teeth are prominent that it catches Jin’s attention. The boy was young, and with the resemblance of an animal, a bunny to be exact.
For Jin’s lack of words, the boy continues, “you bumped into me yesterday.. you seemed to be in quite a rush.. how I know? Because if you weren’t you’d realize you’d have to take another look at me~” the boy flashed a knowing smile. Which Jin realized, the boy was really into himself.
“Ah.. yeah I think I remember? Yesterday was a blur.. sorry if I hurt you.” Jin replied, going back to his papers, soon scribbling down some more things that he thought should be added. When he hears a small sigh.
“Here I am, giving you my entire attention while you scribble-” Jin watched as the male tilted his head to look at the words on the paper, his face quickly filled with confusion. “Whatever you’re scribbling and not paying attention to me at all. That’s not very kind is it?” The boy waves his hand to the waitress, wanting her attention and successfully getting it.
Jin peered his eyes at the other, seeing how effortlessly he had to do a thing. The waitress not even having to ask the male if he wanted coffee as she poured it into a new mug.
He waits til the waitress leaves again, then speaks. “I don’t know you..” saying simply.
“We can change that,” The boy smiled, flashing his teeth as he opens up a few packages of sugar and pours it into his coffee. “You can call me bunny, it’s what my friends call me” the male stopped his movements and held out his hand. Jin only looked at it.
Well “I’m a complete stranger, that certainly won’t address someone as bunny .”
‘Bunny’ seemed to find it funny, dropping his hand to add in cream into his coffee. “You’re quite rude, I mean.. it’s common for old men like you.” His tone clearly teasing. Jin just watched the other stir his drink. Yeah, he was rude but could you blame him? Seokjin was living a complete new life, having to figure out on his own on what the hell to do. Added to the situation that he had no sleep, and no food in his stomach.
“Fine!” Bunny drags out, bringing the mug to his lips, a smile on them. “You’ve pulled my leg, you can call me, baby.” He hums as he takes a drink. “Only my lovers call me that although,” Bunny winks.
Jin shakes his head, realizing this man was flirting with him. This boy was so young, and frankly Jin hasn’t had to deal with flirting other than it coming from his wife. So this was new, especially coming from a man. “If you don’t want to give me a name I’ll just have to call you Bunny.” He replied and goes back to work, reading it over while taking sips from his coffee.
“Aish, I see I’m ruining your alone time.. but.. from the looks of it, I don’t think I should leave you alone.”
“Why?” Jin gives in, looking up at the other.
“Because of your eyes..”
Oh right, his eyes were probably puffy and pink for crying so long. All he does is nod, looking down to his creamy coffee. “Well you don’t have to worry,” Jin is quick to add. “Today’s a new day, anything can happen.” Surely it would be better than the day before.
With a gentle slap on the table from the other, Bunny smiles brightly. “That’s the spirit, old man! We need more people like you!”
The boy just had too much energy on a early Friday morning, but Jin gives into the males game and shrugs his shoulders. “We just need people.” He adds, it’s dark but Jin was lonely. He didn’t even know in this life if he had parents, he didn’t even have a phone.
“You’re right.. we do.. but fuck them for a moment because let’s focus on what I need,” Bunny looks serious as he leans in closer, “what’s your name, surely it’s not old man?” His eyes smile, leaving Jin to either give the other his name or fake it like he did.
“Old man is fitting,” if Bunny knew that just a day before he was an old man on his deathbed he would’ve stuck with that.
“Oh c’mon.. please.. give me it, it can be a belated birthday present to me. It was yesterday,”
Jin quirked an eyebrow, “your birthday was yesterday?” Adjusting in his seat he takes a drink from his mug. The other nods, “how would I know you’re lying? We only just met.”
Bunny sighed, “if I was lying I would’ve said it was today.. requesting for birthday sex and not your name.”
Jin chokes, coughing up the bitter liquid. Hand covering his mouth as Bunny just watched. “Believe me now?”
Jin nods, taking a few moments to collect himself, “don’t.. don’t joke like that.. especially so early in the morning.” He was spiritually an older man, a man no less that never really had the attention of the same gender. If he ever did, he didn’t know of it. “My names Seokjin.” He finally let out. Once he did, his food comes out, set before him. Jin thanks the waitress before digging in.
“Seokjin..” Bunny nodded, “that’s a nice name. I like it, but I’ll call you baby since one of us has to.” He shrugged drinking his coffee.
Jin then decided to ignore him. Eating his food in silence, writing or scribbling out something on his papers, the morning flows by. Then Jin is finished with his food, and stuffed his work into his backpack. “It was nice meeting you.. Bunny.” With that he tried to turn to leave when the boy took his arm, going fast to the register and quite loudly stated; ‘I’m paying my baby’s food.’
Jin leaves the dinner with a pink hue dusting his cheeks.
“Oh I was only joking!” The boy cried, following Jin.
“B- bunny.. I think you should know that I’m married! In a- a heterosexual marriage.” Why he stated it like that was a little beyond him.
Bunny on the other hand just crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t see no ring.” He huffed.
Seokjin couldn’t be upset, if anything that statement just made him feel weak. He wasn’t married, his beloved wife was wedded to another. “You’re right.. I don’t have a ring.” He whispered, turning away from the young man and walked.
It seemed although, he couldn’t get rid of the boy.
“I.. I’m sorry if I brought up a sad memory.” Silence. “is that why you were crying?”
Seokjin shook his head, the smallest hint of a smile on the corners of his lips. Young people really didn’t know how to approach situations. It was pretty funny actually.
“Yeah.. I guess you can say that.” Jin answered, adjusting his backpack then tucking his hands into his coat.
“Um, divorced or widowed?”
“Wow, you really have no filter.” Jin commented, giving the young boy a look. Bunny shrinks, realizing it was a rough question.
“No it’s fine..” Jin shrugged it off. “I would’ve never divorced her.. she was the light of my life..” He smiled tiredly, knowing he couldn’t have that again with her in this life was heartbreaking. “If that answers your question.”
Because honestly he didn’t know, he was supposed to be dead, which meant his Bora was widowed in his past life. That left Jin, not on the spectrum of Bunny’s question.
“I’m sorry for your loss..”
Jin remained silent, continuing to walk when the silence is broken with. “But you’ve gained something? You’ve met me.”
He just shakes his head and walks to his apartment.
Bunny was a kid, kept on asking where they were headed. Jin would tell him, ‘home’ because the runned down apartment seemed to be his new place. But the young boy, just kept on asking random things, then if he wouldn’t get a reply he’d try to flirt. Seokjin ended up ignoring him once more.
That was until they stood outside of his apartment building. “This is me.. see ya.” He didn’t invite the other in rather he hoped his rude goodbye indicated to leave him alone. But to his dismay, the boy followed him inside and into his cramped apartment.
“This.. is where you live?” Bunny asked.
“Yeah.” Jin huffed, setting his bag down then hung up his coat. “Home sweet home,” He mused, Taking his bag and putting it right beside his bed before he turned to the young man.
Bunny is still in shock, looking around almost in horror probably wondering what kind of sane person would live like this? But the way Jin saw it, someone’s home reflected where there mind was. He was lost and broken, so naturally he was placed in this horrid situation of a ‘home.’
“Now I don’t know who you are ‘bunny’ but now you’ve seen I’m literally no one of importance.. so you can leave.. if you were afraid earlier if I was gonna harm myself- don’t be. I have everything under control” a lie, clearly. “And I’m going to be just fine. Now I really think it’s best if we part ways.” A pause. “I think it’s best that you leave.”
Bunny just looked up at him, blinking. Seemingly unaffected by how he phrased his words.
Jin stands there, the silence that crowds between them grows old fast and he just sighs. Going to his bed and lays himself down on it. Having not slept, he falls asleep almost instantly. Clearly not afraid if Bunny decided to steal anything, Jin had nothing to take.
He doesn’t know the time when he wakes up, but he rolls onto his back, stretching out his limbs before sitting up. The lights off in his room, so it took a moment for him to fully register his eyes.
For awhile, Jin let himself believe he was in the hospital. The last place where he was with his family, his life that he loved, but he knew it was now just a fantasy. Also because he heard humming outside of the door, that occasionally would sing. The octave was deep, a man that he knew for a certain who it was.
Getting up, he rubbed at his eyes. “I told you to leave-” opening his eyes, he sees the younger male cooking. Grocery bags littered about, and a blinking boy looking back at him.
“Wha- what’s this?” Jin was getting tired, who was this man? Why did he go out of his way to buy groceries? Why was he still here?
“Stop.” Jin looked to the man. “I don’t know who you are. You’re just a stranger to me, won’t give me your fucking name and now you’ve welcomed yourself to my place.” He steamed, fed up with the other. “I’m tired and confused enough as it is! And I don’t need some kid following me around like some puppy!”
The boy stared, “you done?”
“I- am I done?” This boy must be completely stupid, did he not hear a thing he said?
“Go sit down, I’ll make you a plate.”
Jin huffed a breath, but did exactly just that. He was exhausted, he couldn’t handle physically moving the other out of his apartment.
Sitting down, he watched as the other made a plate of macaroni and cheese with mashed potatoes for them both then sat down across of him. “Someone woke up on the wrong side of bed,” Bunny says casually, beginning to eat his food.
Jin just stared, not knowing what to do with this kid. The other must’ve saw, as he sat back in the wobbly chair and ran a tongue over his teeth. “Okay, ask away.”
The older sat up, “why did you sit with me this morning, and why haven’t you left?”
Bunny paused, meeting Jin’s gaze before continuing. “Baby,” Jin hears how he says it, like he’s not going to give it up. “You have to see it from my perspective..”
“Tell me it then.” Now he was just getting upset.
“Well, yesterday was my birthday. Like every other birthday while you get older becomes a nuisance. Everyone around you tries to use the day to make you feel better.. but it just feels like every other day.”
“Where are you getting at?”
Bunny sighed, shrugged as he put another mouthful of food into his mouth. “I’m saying, the day is like every other day and I’m tired of it, but then some guy bumps into me, not giving a fuck clearly.” The boy laughed, “and to top it off, he’s wearing a long black coat covering his body that looks like he’s about to flash someone at any given moment.. so naturally, when I see that same guy brooding at the booth alone, same coat and all I have to sit down with him.”
To Jin it made no sense. “Why.. what were you even doing there so early in the morning?” Asking with a defeated sigh.
“You don’t need to know, but maybe I was just doing the same as you.”
He highly doubted that, that the male in front of him was trying to figure out hints of his past life to figure out this one. Or why he had to live a completely new life where he could be in heaven.
“To eat food.”
Jin scoffed, “you didn’t even eat food!”
“That’s besides the point!”
“Then what is the point!”
“You interest me okay!” Bunny shouts back. Realizing his tone, he breathes out. Calming down. “You have this look.. that.. that I can’t describe, but I just wanted to talk.. see where it leads and honestly, if you were gay.” Bunny shrugged, a playful smile on his lips. “You’re hot, but sadly I think you’re a heterosexual..”
“Uh.. Bunny I..”
“See, you get all freaked out when I try to flirt with you.”
“I.. okay look,” Jin placed his hands on the table, “we’re still strangers.. you bought me groceries .. for all you know I could be some killer!”
“Well are you?”
Jin scoffed, “no.”
“Neither am I, so I think we’re in the clear.” Bunny whispered, acting as if he was a child.
“I don’t know your name.. and frankly if you want a friendship with me I have to know your name.” He stated clearly. Bunny chuckled.
“Jungkook, it’s a pleasure to meet you Seokjin.” He held out his hand like he did at the diner. Jin peered his eyes at the gesture but soon enough took his hand and shook it.
Jungkook smiled, teeth prominent as his eyes crinkled at the corners, then took his hand back. “Now that we’re at a first name basis, I think you should know I only see this heading one way.”
“And what’s that?”
Chapter 4: 1.2
For the entirety of the following day, Jungkook is by his side. He complains that he’s bored occasionally, which Jin tells him to leave. To go off and do something, but the boy doesn’t. He stays. Seokjin even tries to pay back Jungkook for the groceries but the boy refused him. Stating that he can pay him back with spending time with him. Jin would rather give Jungkook the money.
It’s not till that night, Jin is getting up from his seat at the table and stretching out his body that Jungkook makes a comment.
“You really are an old man.”
Jin laughed. If only Jungkook knew, knew that this was what he was used to. His past life he was well rested in it, spending the rest of his days indoors and in bed. This young body he was now in, didn’t change the fact he was an old soul. And it makes him laugh, harder than it should because soon he’s hauled over, eyes watering with laughter. Because Jungkook didn’t know.
“Wha.. what’s so funny?” Jungkook asked with a smile, laughing ever so softly. The type of laugh of that occurs when watching another laugh hard.
“I am old!” Jin says through his laughter. It felt oddly satisfying to laugh so carefree. Like, his world wasn’t so confusing.
“Well.. how old are you?” The boy asked, getting off the couch to stand beside him.
“Ninety two.” He said without skipping a beat. He was that old when he came to pass.
“Ew..” Jungkook scrunched up his nose, the face makes him look even more like a bunny. Jin knows even more now why people call him the animal for his nickname. “No seriously.. how old are you?”
The man sighed, scratching his neck. “My i.d says I’m twenty five.”
Jungkook tsked, “you’re not that old.” He laughed, going over to sit down where Jin was just sitting. Making him turn around to face him.
“Well, how old are you?”
Jungkook shrugged, “twenty one.” He says it so casually, like it was nothing.
Now Jin knows why the boy was so bored, he had the stamina of a kid. Of course no young man would want to stay inside all day doing nothing. But it was the boy’s fault although, Jin told him to leave if he was that bored.
“You’re a kid.” Jin remarked.
“What? You’re like.. four years older, not a huge difference.” Jungkook says while not making eye contact, just reading the paper Jin was working on all day. His hints.
“Um.. what is this?” The boy asked. “It’s.. so weird.. this is what you’ve been working on all day?” To an outsider, it would’ve looked cryptic, random parts of Jin’s life were on the paper. “We could’ve been having sex..”
“Aish..” Jin moved to pile the paper in one stack. “We wouldn’t be doing that if I wasn’t working on this.”
“Oh I was only kidding~” the boy singsonged. “But for real, what is it?”
Jin inhaled deeply, “my past life.” It makes Jungkook laugh. “I’m serious.”
The younger just finds it funny, “fine! Keep your secrets..” He then looked up to him, “don’t actually keep them.. are you a writer? Like.. writing a story?”
The way Jungkook’s eyes glistened, like a child would waiting on a yes, Jin waits before he nodded. “Yeah, I’m a writer.” Even if he told Jungkook the truth before, lying just didn’t sit well with him.
“Hmm, I knew it.” Jungkook blurts.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, usually writers live poorly, and unsuccessful ones live even poorer.” He says it so unashamedly Jin had to stop and stare at him.
“What the hell? I should slap you!” Jin moved his hand, the movement holding as if he would hit the younger.
“I- I’m sorry!” Jungkook broke out, flinching from his hand before he sits up straight and smiled. “Can I request where you hit me?”
“Aish!” Jin really was going to hit him now.
Jungkook laughed while running away.
Soon Jin finds himself at a restaurant with Jungkook. Deciding he wanted to eat out, and of course the boy wanted to follow.
Now they were in a booth at a Korean barbecue, looking at the menu. “I’m quite boring.” Jin blurted, gazing through the items to get. “So I understand if you want to leave.”
He said this politely, not trying to kick out Jungkook rudely from his life like yesterday. Taking one last look from the menu, he looks up at the younger to see Jungkook’s eyes on him already.
“You are boring.” He said simply. “But I’m intrigued.”
Jin is left confused. Why this boy wanted to spend his time with him was unknown. And if Jungkook can’t see that his little crush on him would soon dwindle away, and realize he spent his good days on an old man would be his own damn fault.
The rest of dinner goes on, Jungkook wanting to know more about Jin but he doesn’t budge. Because he only knows about his life, not this one. But the conversation drifts to different topics, in the end it’s a light hearted conversation.
When they head outside, Jin expected Jungkook to leave when he headed home but like usual he doesn’t.
“You’re not sleeping over.” He said abruptly, cutting Jungkook from his mindless singing. “I don’t want you getting ideas.”
Jungkook sighed, “can’t I just walk my baby home? Holy shit Jin I can’t even be nice to you without you thinking I want your dick.”
“Well I needed to make it clear.”
The boy hummed, “Well, don’t worry! Because I wouldn’t sleep at yours! It’s probably infested!”
“Oh? Didn’t stop you from spending all day there with me.” Jin snarked back.
“Oh well that’s easy,” Jungkook goes back to his playful tone. “I thought I was going to get some dick.”
Jin ignored him.
When they do get to his apartment Jin stopped to look at the other. “Goodnight Jungkook.” And is about to head inside when the boy asked if he can come back tomorrow. He tells Jungkook that tomorrow he’s busy, and the look that plastered his face makes Jin sigh. “I’ll be free in the evening.”
That makes Jungkook perk up and say good night, telling him he’d see Jin tomorrow evening. Which leaves Jin to nod then go inside his apartment.
The following day, Jin takes a shower and dressed his best. Or whatever that laid around his place that smelt clean, for today he would see Bora. He styled his hair, making himself look decent and heads out with his bag in tow.
He has time to kill, so he goes to a coffee shop. It’s packed, it was the weekend after all. But Jin didn’t mind, it allowed him to look at the menu to figure out what he wanted to get, while listening to the people’s voices that lifted to the air. It’s mindless till he hears the young boys in front of him speak.
“Noble knight is the greatest game you have to play it!” One kid yelled to the other, his friend most likely.
“Yeah! But when you look for it noble is spelt with a ‘k’.”
Jin whipped his head down to look at them, budding into their conversation. “Wait what did you say?”
The kids look up to him confused, “what?” One of them says.
“The- that game.. noble?”
“Yeah.. noble with a k..” The boy says slowly, clearly unsure what was happening.
But it clicked for Seokjin. He pictured the word and how it was spelt, he’s seen it before. Once in Hawaii, and another in the paper. If this wasn’t a fucking hint he didn’t know what is, and Jin is soon yelling out to the ceiling a thank you. Many people are looking at him when Jin runs out the cafe, not getting a thing.
Jin doesn’t even care that he’s at the campus earlier then he should be. He found his hint, how it escaped his mind was outrageously stupid of him. But he found it, and when he is inside the building (with the help of students around him) he sets himself down and writes out what he remembers of that quote. Strangely enough he remembered word for word and wrote it out exactly like that.
“Thank you God.” He whispered to himself, then spent the rest of his time waiting for Bora trying to decipher what it meant. To see who said it, or if it had reference to this life. But he was stumped. It felt like he was back at the beginning, not knowing where he had to go next.
But right when he was about to plummet onto the desk, he hears a familiar voice saying hello. Quick to look at the person, he sees Bora, his earlier thoughts quick to fade. All he can think of now was how beautiful she was, always would be.
Jin spends the following hour with the older woman, asking questions about school as if he even attended it. It was funny, his past life he was a college professor, at first he wanted to be doctor but his work ethic changed and he realized he wanted to teach science. Which, scientifically there could be a good explanation on why this was occurring to him, living a new life. But nothing came to mind.
But when Bora states she had to go, Jin asked one more question; ‘do you like puzzles?’
“So, tell me it again.” She asked.
“Okay, so the riddle goes, a man comes into a new life with only a letter to guide him through it, it reads-” Jin read it out for Bora, then showed her how it was written. “This is how it’s written.”
Just about any man can do horrible things, but a Justified and Knoble man will do the right thing.
Seokjin pays attention to Bora, and how her face looked puzzled. She bites her lip, eyebrows furrowed, he falls in love with her once again.
“It appears similar to an anagram..” she said softly.
Jin’s eyes widen, “you said that before! How can I have forgotten?” He says excitedly, but Bora stared at him confused. “I uh.. I mean the last person I asked about this.. s- said the same thing.” He is quick to recover as Bora grabs another paper and wrote it down, playing with the words.
“Was this exactly how it was written?” She asked, Jin nods.
“Well, look here,” Bora comes closer, showing Jin her paper, but Jin doesn’t pay attention, the close proximity caused his heart to swell because she smelt so good, looked so amazing up close that he had to take the chance to stare till she coughed, getting his attention. “Jin, the paper.”
He nods, quick to peer at the paper, hoping the woman didn’t catch his flushed expression.
“Only three of these words are capitalized, look- Just, Justified and Knoble.” She then looked to him. “Grammatically speaking, only the first word should be capitalized, and noble isn’t spelt with a k, so these words should hold something to the riddle.”
Seokjin wants to kiss her, she was so exceptionally smart that he was always blown away by her mind. Even in this life he needed her. “I didn’t even notice that.” He sighed.
“Is there more to the riddle? About the man?”
The question leaves him at a standstill, it was only his third day in this life, Jin couldn’t add to the made up riddle because he had no clue. “Uh, not in the moment no.”
Bora nodded, “gosh, I want to know..” she’s in her mind, thinking, Jin can see it and it makes him smile. She was so adorable.
“This is gonna mess me up till I figure it out,” she chuckled, getting up from her chair and making sure to bring her paper that she wrote down the riddle. “You’re in my class right?” Jin nodded. “Okay! So I’m going to think this over, and if I get any clues I’ll tell you.” She smiled, then says her goodbye as she leaves.
Seokjin is left alone, heart beating with love at the woman that isn’t his.
Coming back to the apartment, Jin shuffled around setting his things down and coat back into the closet. He makes food, wanting to make something nice but all that was there were instant foods. “Aish, he really is a kid.” Though he can’t be mad, Jin didn’t buy the groceries.
He ends up making ramen noodles and garlic bread. Weird combination, but Jin realized something, when he was old he couldn’t stomach all these fatty foods. The only good thing about being young again was that, he can eat whatever the hell he wanted. Which is exactly what he did.
He’s reading over the riddle, occasionally stopping to eat his food when the door bursts open. Jin stopped, cheeks filled with food when he sees who it is, it’s Jungkook.
“The fun has arrived~ ” He chimed in, kicking the door closed.
Jin swallowed his food. “What the hell! You scared me!” He exclaimed. “And how the hell did you get in? The door was locked!”
Jungkook shrinked, “I may or may not have.. taken the spare key..”
Eyes blown out, Jin took a moment to register the boy’s words. “What the hell!”
Soon they are both running around the small apartment, Jin yelling for the key because it was creepy that he had it, they barely even knew each other. Jungkook would yell back that it was his own damn fault for falling asleep while a stranger was in his apartment. Though, things go quiet when Jin does finally catch the boy, demanding for the key.
“Kiss me, then you can have it.”
Jin lets the boy have the key, as he goes off and finishes his food.
Days go by, Jungkook still remaining by his side. Only leaving when the night fell to sleep at his own place, but he was always right back there in the morning. Sometimes even before Jin is awake, so some mornings there would be food cooked for him. Those mornings, he thanks Jungkook and is nice to him. But the boy always ruined the mood by asking him to thank him instead by a sexual favor. Jin would then ignore him.
Seokjin doesn’t spend all of his days with the bunny boy, he figures out Bora’s work schedule. So he can sneak in when she held a class. Good thing her class didn’t require attendance, or he’d be found out that he wasn’t one of her students.
Soon days turn into weeks, and Seokjin’s bag of money grows smaller till there’s nothing left. He decides then it’s time to get a job, leaving out resumes and filling out forms, Jungkook at times would be there with him. Whining that he can give Seokjin money. He always respectfully declined. Telling the boy that there’s nothing better than to work for money, that was rightfully earned. Jungkook would then say, ‘dance for me,’
“I’m not going to strip for you, Jungkook.”
“It’s a well known business!”
Seokjin does eventually land himself a job. It’s at McDonald’s. He’s a little slow at first, who knew a fast food chain restaurant was so busy? People he worked with would eventually ask why such an attractive man would work there, they only had those questions because Jungkook was the first to ask. Whining loudly one day because Jin had a shift when Jungkook wanted to hang out.
“We always hang out,” he replied serving a customer.
“Yeah But.. but why would you want to work here? When you’re so hot! You can be a model!”
After telling Jungkook to quiet down or leave, the question remained. Jin would just reply, ‘why not work here? I’m lovin’ it.’ A pun, he loved it.
October flies by, and Jin doesn’t celebrate Halloween because he just isn’t ready to celebrate his first holiday without his family. But the boy doesn’t question it, Jin’s glad because he wouldn’t have an answer.
Jungkook isn’t always by his side any more. Some days he’d leave for a couple of hours at a time, when he did come through the door Jin would look up, greet him then go back to what he was doing. He never asked where Jungkook went, knowing the boy had his own life to live but he would always tell him after. ‘I had a thing to do, hope you didn’t miss me.’
One day while walking back to the apartment Seokjin asked why Jungkook stuck around still, surely he wasn’t having fun with him. He was old.
“I don’t know..” Jungkook shrugged. “I like your presence. You intrigue me.”
“You can’t keep saying that, you literally see me everyday.. you know my life, I wake up, read the paper then go out either to school or work. I’m boring and I believe you shouldn’t waste your youth with me.” Jungkook was a great kid, and it was beginning to pain Jin that the boy wasn’t using his skills to woo another.
Jungkook merely replied. “Youth is just a concept.”
Jin doesn’t ask again, instead living his days in a routine. Work, school, eat and sleep. It was the same, he paid no attention to this life. He only felt alive when he’d be in Bora’s class, witnessing her speak about topics and Seokjin swears, he’s still madly in love with her. But never acted on it, because Jin valued marriage. Bora was happily married to another, he wasn’t going to try and ruin that.
One day, Jin is tired of routine. “I think I’m going to save up for a tv.” He says to Jungkook. “We can watch movies together, also, I believe with a tv around you won’t be so bored when you stay over.”
“We?” Jungkook asked, sounding shocked.
“Well yeah,” Jin laughed. “Do you expect me to shove you in the room while I watch tv?”
Jungkook doesn’t answer.
Instead the next day when Seokjin comes back from work, there’s a tv and a tv stand in his apartment. “Help me set it up?” Jungkook asked.
Jin sighed. But helped anyways, because he knew the bunny would set it up anyways if he didn’t help him, or told him to send the tv back. Jungkook was really relentless.
“Why did you buy a tv?”
“You said ‘we’.”
Looking at the other, Seokjin sees the smile on Jungkook’s face while looking at the tv all set up. And all he can think is; ‘oh no’
Please don’t let this boy fall in love with him.
Few days pass, Jin keeps his promise and watches movies with Jungkook. The couch is uncomfortable, he realized fast but Jungkook doesn’t say anything about it. The boy probably got used to it’s springs digging into his spine while waiting around on him. Jin decides not to tell him he’s going to save up on a couch so when they watch movies, they can watch comfortably.
One day getting off shift, Jin is greeted with a waiting Jungkook. “Yah, you’re just going to walk past me!”
“You’re going to follow me anyways.”
“I meant!” Jungkook runs up next to him, “not even a hi, or ‘how long have you been waiting here, Jungkook’?” He mocked out the question.
Jin stopped to look at the younger, “Thank you for coming to get me, a grown adult from his job.” He blinks. “Is that better?”
“Aish!” Jin hissed, walking away from the boy. “You have no respect for your elders! Not once have you used honorifics with me!”
“I’m older than you Jungkook!”
“By a few years-”
“I’m still older!” He yelled back. Jungkook appeared unphased. It pissed him off, the boy just didn’t get the hint when he was upset.
“What?” The elder replied.
“You’re not older.. not the way money is used in this relationship,”
“We’re not in a-”
“I buy you things, I cater to you-”
“I don’t ask for any of these things!” Jin was so tired. Why couldn’t Jungkook just be nice to someone else? To someone his age?
“Are you done?” Jungkook asked not waiting a moment for a reply before he picks up again. “I even let you have your tantrums and I listen but god forbid when I speak you have to yell over me.”
He decides to stay quiet, the last time he was told this fact the world moved again and Jin got no answers about it. “Okay, I’ll listen. Continue.”
Jungkook huffed. “What I was trying to say~” he loosened up, a smile on his lips. “It's like I’m your sugar daddy~” the boy wiggled his eyebrows.
Jin turned away, “this is why I don’t let you speak.”
“Am I wrong?” The younger asked, running to his side.
“Go hang out with your friends, Jungkook.”
“Don’t got any.” The boy simply shrugged.
Jin stopped once again. “Then who the hell calls you Bunny!”
That night, when they came to his apartment, Jin asked if Jungkook was coming inside, it was a new question. Never been asked, and Jin saw that on Jungkook’s expression like a deer caught in headlights. “Can I?”
That night, Jungkook slept on the couch.
He does this for couple of nights actually, once Jungkook got the unspoken green light it was now okay to sleep over the boy didn’t seem to leave. Occasionally gone for a few hours at a time, but would always come back.
Jin doesn’t tell him yet, but he’s close to purchasing a new couch.
In one of Bora’s classes, all of the students are taking a test. Jin happens to be taking it because, well, it was Bora’s class. If he wanted to keep attending he had to take the test. Luckily for him, it was easy. Sitting there patiently waiting on a few students to finish before going up and handing in. He didn’t want to appear as the smart student, that’s asking for attention. So Jin just doodles on the paper when he hears Bora yell out, ‘I got it!’
Looking up, he sees the woman get flustered because she got all of their attention. “Please get back to work.” She replied.
They do, but not Jin, he admires her. Can’t help thinking she’s endearingly adorable.
When the time is up, Jin finally hands the paper in, about to head out when Bora calls for him to stay. He does.
“I got it!” She said, excitement in her eyes and body.
“Got what?” Jin smiled down at her, love in his eyes.
Jin almost forgot.
“Just, Justified and Knoble!” She repeated, “this man who got the letter has to find the person who it’s written about!”
“J, J, K,” Bora explained. “Its initials! It would explain why noble was spelt that way! And that the man in the riddle was given a new life with only that to guide him!” She breathed out, “right?”
It takes an agonizing slow time for it process in Seokjin’s head. It sounded reasonable, it made sense. It wouldn’t hurt him to try? Then he smiled, a bright big smile. “Bora you’re so smart!” About to lean in for a kiss, he stopped himself.
Inches near her face.
“Thank you,” wanting to show his appreciation went out the window by his awkward action, Jin finds himself running out of the class.
Kim Seokjin doesn’t go to Bora’s class for the next two weeks. Simply because he’s embarrassed. He tried to kiss a woman that was married, and that wasn’t right. Instead he hangs out with Jungkook more, one morning even asked him to come along with him.
Jungkook always looked unsure when Jin changed routine, but would happily follow suit because he replied with ‘sure!’
“Why are we here”
“Because it’s life Jungkook-ah.”
“No I mean- wait, Jungkook-ah?” The name change caused Jungkook to stare at Jin, but the older man doesn’t look. Though he can sense his stare through his peripheral vision. “Um.. I meant like.. why are we here.. feeding pigeons on a Saturday morning, in the cold.”
Jin shrugged, “you’ll understand when you’re older.”
“I don’t think I’ll be here feeding pigeons when I’m twenty five.” Jungkook says mindlessly, throwing another handful of seeds out to the birds.
“Oh? Then what do you plan on doing?”
“Uh, well let’s see..” There’s a pause, like the boys thinking. “Where you are.. imagine me like.. a few steps beside you.”
There’s a heavy sigh that escaped the older, “I don’t think you’ll be by my side still around the time.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because anything can happen, maybe you’ll find someone more worthy of your time.”
Silence grows between them, the only thing that can be heard is the coo of the pigeons, the few people in the park and cars in the far distance. Jin likes it, the harmonic melodies of the world. It brings a calming peace, that maybe this life wasn’t so bad. During this though, Jin realized the boy had been thinking.
“You asked me awhile back, why I stuck around.. and I told you..” Jin hummed, showing Jungkook that he was listening. “So.. why did you keep me around? Why not push me away?”
Jin gives out a throaty laugh, “trust me Jungkook, I have tried.. multiple times, you just stayed.”
“You could’ve tried harder? You know.. a restraining order or something.”
Jin paused, turning to look at Jungkook. “I don’t think we have to take it that far Jungkook,” he replied, turning back to throw seeds onto the ground. “You’re not a bad kid,”
“I’m not a kid!” The boy snapped, “so tell me why.”
Blinking at the birds, the man thinks it over, after coming with a definite conclusion he spoke up. “At first I suppose, it felt like I was told to take care of a pet I didn’t want.. like the pet was meant for someone else to take care of but now it’s my responsibility and I grew fond of it.” Jungkook lets out a breathy chuckle. “But, now..” Jin wanted to say Jungkook reminded him of a child, a son he never had, but knew to Jungkook the age difference wouldn’t make sense. So Jin went with the next best thing. “Now you’re like a bro-”
“Don’t.” Jungkook cut him off.
“What?” Jin smiled lightheartedly, thinking this was a joke. Jungkook always cut him off then added some sort afterwards. “I was only going to say like a broth-”
“I said don’t.” Jungkook said again, his tone harsh that Seokjin had to look at him.
There’s an eerie pause before Jungkook met his stare. “Did I ever give you a reason to believe I wanted to be thought of as your brother.”
Jin doesn’t know how to reply.
“Do brothers make dirty innuendos to one another?”
“No Seokjin,” Jungkook turned his body completely to face him. “Haven’t you seen how I react with you? You can’t be that blind!”
“Jungkook!” Jin said sternly. Looking around, “you’re going to frighten the pigeons,”
“Screw the pigeons!”
“Hey,” Jin sat up, turning his body to look at Jungkook. “The day we met you commented on the fact that I was heterosexual, what changed?”
“Wha.. what changed?” Jungkook’s voice broke, “you did! You come here, being all sweet and taking me in, god.. Jin, you said ‘we’, you let me sleep over, you never told me that I was annoying you, you made me change my thinking, made me believe you did. Made me think that maybe.. you liked me back.. that I filled the void of your passed on wife.”
Jin listen to each word, mentally cursing to himself for forgetting Jungkook had a young mind. That he didn’t know that not every kind gesture led to romantically liking someone, that it wouldn’t eventually lead to more. Then cursing again for letting Jungkook to believe he could ever return his feelings. “Jungkook, I think you took my kindness the wrong way,” he started but Jungkook shook his head.
“No! I did so much for you!”
“I didn’t ask for any of it Jungkook!” Jin yelled back, the birds now all gone because them. “I didn’t ask for a single damn thing! You , decided to do all of that, not me.” He paused, clearly upset. “And no one, Jungkook.. could ever fill that void of my wife.” He added.
“But I love you!” The words are suddenly blurted out and Jin is taken aback.
“You barely know me!”
“I know that you’re kind, and-”
“I don’t love you.. like that.” He cut off, “I’m sorry if you felt I’ve led you on, that was never my intention.”
Jungkook took it in from what Seokjin could tell, then after a few beats, Jungkook got up and threw the rest of the seeds he held onto the ground. “I’m sorry for thinking I could’ve been something more.” Jungkook replied, not sparing him a glance before walking off.
Jin doesn’t know what to do, if he should follow the boy, or if it would make it worse. But one thing Jin thought he was certain of, was that Jungkook would come back either later in the evening or at night. The boy always came back.
But boy, was he wrong. Jungkook didn’t.
Chapter 5: 1.3
A whole day goes by and Jungkook doesn’t make an appearance. Seokjin doesn’t even have a way to contact him, he had no phone and because of that he didn’t try to get Jungkook’s number. With the fact in mind the boy was always around. Why would he need the boy’s number if he was by his side all the time?
Jin tells himself that the boy was fine, that he just needed some time to himself. That he’ll come back.
Another day goes by, and Jin isn’t used to the quiet nature of his apartment.
On the third day, Jin can’t even focus on his job. He just needs to know that Jungkook was okay, but still, the boy didn’t come back.
On the fourth night, Jin’s mind comes up with the most horrible thoughts. That maybe Jungkook was hurt. Trying to shake them away, Jin turned on the television and watched the news. Only for it to show things that worsen his already horrid thoughts. There was shootings, car crashes, and a recent bank heist in the next town over.
Shutting the tv off, Seokjin spends the rest of the night praying to God. Praying for the boys safety.
It’s not till the next day, Jin’s walking home late at night with bags in his hands when he hears a faint, ‘hey old man!’ In the distance. Snapping his neck to see the the familiar voice of said person, Jin finally sees him. It’s Jungkook.
Dropping his bags he runs to the boy, seeing that he gets closer the boy appeared tired. But well, oh god did he look well. Which meant he could take a yelling.
“What the hell's the matter with you!” Jin asked, grabbing Jungkook’s coat to shake him.
“You- you just left! You can’t just do that!” Jin cried out, “it’s morally wrong to push yourself into someone’s life and make them well adjusted to you then suddenly disappear on them without a word! Didn’t your parents teach you anything!” His voice was shaken up, he was just glad Jungkook was okay.
“It looks like someone missed me,” Jungkook said with a weak smile. Then placed his hands on Jin’s wrists, “you’re hurting me.”
“Shut up!” Jin was quick to pull the younger male into a hug, burying his face into his neck. “Of course I missed you, you idiot.” It takes a while, but soon Jin feels the hug being returned by Jungkook’s unsure hands being gently placed onto his back.
“I saw you dropped your bags, let me help you take them back.”
Jin shook his head, “no, you’re looking tired I’ll carry them.”
“Then I don’t have a reason to sleep over.” Jungkook weakly joked. The elder saw it, how Jungkook’s body language and attitude was different, something had happened.
“Yeah you do,” Jungkook tilted his head at him, “I’m not going to give you a choice to say no.”
While they walk back, Jin walks close to Jungkook as his hands held onto the bags.
That night, Jin cooks for Jungkook. Not bothering to ask where he has been, knowing the boy would tell him either eventually or if it came of importance. He just relished in the fact Jungkook was alright, and realized the fact that Jin had grown used to his person.
He had no one close in this life only this tired boy in front of him. Seokjin realized, he had to do all that he can to keep him in it. He needed Jungkook.
When Jungkook eventually states he’s gonna go to bed, Jin stops him. “That couch isn’t comfy”
“I’ve slept in it plenty of times before Jin.” He said with a shrug.
“I know but.. sleep in my bed.”
Jungkook scrunched his nose, “you sure?” Jin nods.
That night, Jungkook sleeps on the bed, and Jin sleeps on the couch.
The following morning, Seokjin wakes up late. When he does wake up, Jungkook is singing a soft melody while making toast. “You really can’t live without me, huh?” The boy says when he sees Jin awake.
“What makes you think that?”
“Because you only have toast to eat.”
They go out for breakfast, the diner they met in. Where Seokjin takes the time to actually put interest into the conversation. Eventually asking about the boy.
“Tell me about your parents Jungkook-ah.” He says as he takes a sip of his coffee.
“Because I want to know.”
Jungkook peered his eyes up at him, moving in the booth to get comfortable. “Why the sudden interest?” Jin shrugged.
“M’curious.” There’s a pause, and the others eyes seem to catch something. Like Jin is playing a joke on him. “Fine! You pulled my leg,” He smiled. “You intrigue me.”
Jungkook smiled his bunny smile, turning his attention to the cutlery on the table. “If you’re trying to woo me, I’m telling you I’ve moved on.” There’s a playful tone in his words that Seokjin can’t help but laugh.
“Oh darn,” the elder pouted, giving into Jungkook’s joke. “But I’m serious, tell me about them.”
The younger breaths out before casually saying, “don’t have em,”
“I don’t have parents.”
This statement makes Jin feel bad, just last night he yelled at Jungkook, questioning his parents teaching. He must’ve made a face because Jungkook cuts into his thought process.
“Don’t feel bad, I have a Grandma.. she’s my mums mum.”
Seokjin leans in, “Tell me about her.” Jungkook does exactly that, explaining that the woman was very smart, always took him out as a kid. That they had great moments together. Jin sees it in the way Jungkook speaks, that he really loves his Grandma. “She sounds amazing.” Jin says after Jungkook finishes.
“So that makes you.. not a Dae Jungkook,” Catching the last name that was mentioned.
“Then what does it make you? Your surname.”
Jungkook raised his eyebrows in shock. “I was in love with a man who didn’t even know my surname?!”
“Hey! To be fair you never told me.”
“To be fair you never asked.” Jungkook retorted a satisfied look on his face.
“Okay, fair but you don’t mine-”
“What the hell?”
“Oh c’mon, I was there with you a few times when you filled out resume forms..” He tsked. “You really aren’t that smart Kim Seokjin.”
“Okay cut it out, what is it?”
Jungkook grinned, “Jeon, okay? Jeon Jungkook.”
Seokjin’s heart sped up. “So.. so like J, J, K?” He says not believing what was happening. This couldn’t be real right?
Jungkook lets out a small laugh, like Jin’s question was stupid. “Yeah, I guess you can say that.”
“Jungkook! Are you justified and noble?” He blurts out way too loudly in the busy diner. Jungkook gives him a confused look.
Jin just stared at him, and he prayed in his mind that Bora’s words to be true. That Jungkook was the answer to this life. “Oh nothing.”
They don’t go home after, Jin walks and this time tells Jungkook to follow. Like a child, Jungkook asked where they were going every few minutes. The elder would just respond, ‘it’s a secret.’
By the time they get to the furniture store, Jungkook whined. “This is the secret?”
“Well.. yeah?” Jin turned to look at him. “I’m going to get a new couch.. last night it was hard for me to sleep on it and I thought that maybe.. you’d like it if I did because you’re the one that’s always on it.”
The look he caught on Jungkook’s face was puzzled, like he was trying to make sense of the situation. “Couches cost money.”
“Aish, I know I’m not dumb.” Jin turned back and pushed the doors to get inside.
“I mean.. this place looks expensive.. so.. you’ve been saving up?”
“Bingo!” Jin sang.
Jungkook doesn’t reply, he then just quietly followed behind Jin. The elder taking the reins and looks around the store, he tells the younger occasionally to sit or lay down on the couches asking if it’s comfortable. Jungkook would reply small, ‘it’s okay.’ Till one couch, was a nice suede black and it had a bonus, it pulled out to a bed.
Jungkook looked like he liked it, so Jin made the purchase. With the additional cost of getting it delivered to his apartment. That night, when the couch is placed in the cramped living space, Jungkook asked why he hadn’t told him he was saving up for the couch, he would’ve paid for it.
Jin replied with ‘I wanted to surprise you.’
“Oh by the way?” Jin added. “You have money.. and I was wondering what job you have?” Because Jungkook would leave for a couple of hours at a time, those times were irregular so it couldn’t be a job.
Jungkook doesn’t answer, instead he changed the topic. “This couch is more comfortable than your bed.. I better not catch you sleeping here.”
“Aish! Not even a thank you!” Jin yelled out jokingly. Jungkook just laughed, letting out a very gentle ‘thank you.’
Seokjin takes the time to look at him, to really notice the boy. Jungkook can feel his stare because he returned his gaze, asking why Jin was staring at him. “I really missed you while you were gone.” Jin paused. “You’re not allowed to leave again so abruptly.. if you have to leave for a couple of days, you have to tell me beforehand and give me your goddamn number!”
“You don’t even have a phone..”
“I’ll get one! Just.. just don’t leave like that.. I thought the worst and I was scared.”
Jungkook went quiet, fumbling with his fingers before saying; ‘I’ll make sure to tell you if I leave like that again.’
He knew he was waiting on the younger to admit to where he went, but suddenly Jin’s parental instincts kicked in. “Where did you go?”
Jungkook for the first time, ignored him.
The question isn’t brought up again, instead they go back to how they were. Seokjin going off and doing his own thing, and Jungkook is following beside them. But it’s different now, Jin asks if the boy wants to come, initiates conversation and even jokes with him. His puns make a come back, and the way Jungkook stares at him it’s quite hilarious, majority of the time it’s pure agony sometimes it’s telling him that his pun was good. One time in particular although, Jungkook looked at him after a pun, and Jin swore he saw Bora in the boy’s look.
It was love.
Jin goes back to school, deciding its best once more that they don’t spend so much time together. But going to class, he sees Bora and it’s heartbreaking. He wants to talk to her about the riddle, but he made it up, surely she would get suspicious. And he can’t talk to her anyways because she looks at him sometimes with a confused look on her face, like she’s questioning why he was even there. Maybe she figured it out that Seokjin didn’t attend to the school, but she doesn’t speak to him about it. Or rather, Seokjin doesn’t let her. He goes just when class is about to start, and leaves just before it’s over, so Bora can’t talk to him. Even though he longed for her conversation.
He’s left with no clue. He can’t speak with the love of his life, and the riddle doesn’t make sense. If it was true about it being about a person with the initials J.J.K then it would be Jungkook, right? But when Jin asks more about the boy’s past, or what he did to get so much money, Jungkook doesn’t answer. How can he find out if the riddle is true if he can’t break Jungkook’s walls?
Then he had an ephiany, maybe his own walls had to tumble down to get through to Jungkook. Seokjin decides to give it a shot, it couldn’t hurt, right?
One late afternoon, Jin is making a budget with his minimum wage living allowance when he checked the date. It was December fourth, his birthday. He blinks a few times before looking up at Jungkook who laid on the couch. “Hey Jungkook?”
He doesn’t want to tell him, wants to pretend his birthday doesn’t exist because he was realizing if he celebrated it, it would be the first birthday he didn’t celebrate with his family. But, this was the point of breaking his walls.
“Today’s my birthday.” He said casually.
“What!” Jungkook jumped off the couch.
After dealing with a persistent Jungkook, Jin decided to give into him. They went out, it was dark but the city lit up with Christmas lights.
“I’m sorry, if I had known it was your birthday-”
“It’s okay, I didn’t tell you.” Jin calmly replied, looking around. He’d be ninety three in his past life, this one he was only twenty six.
“Here! Just hold on.” Jungkook runs inside one of the stores, leaving Seokjin outside but he doesn’t mind. He watches how the snow falls elegantly onto the ground creating a gentle blanket of it. When Jungkook does finally comes out, he tells Jin to close his eyes, he does.
Blinking his eyes open, he sees it. One cupcake with a candle in the middle of it. “Happy birthday!” Jungkook chimed.
Seokjin looks up to Jungkook, wondering how he came across such an innocent soul.
“Come on now! Make a wish!”
With a sigh, and a timid smile Jin leans in and blows out the candle. Simultaneously the church bell went off, and Seokjin’s body racked with a buzz. He doesn’t know what it is exactly, but somehow he just knew without a doubt he was on the right path. Whatever that path may be.
They continue to walk and Jin shares his cupcake with the younger, when suddenly Jungkook blurts;
“Something’s changed with you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like.. you’re nicer to me.”
Seokjin stopped in his tracks, realizing just how mean he was to Jungkook. Why he stuck around was shocking. “I’m sorry Jungkook-ah, for being so rude in the past.. I never meant to come off that way.”
“You don’t have to get sappy about it, I was only stating it.”
“No I do,” Jin said softly. “I’m older than you, I should be setting a good example that.. when you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it, it’s called growing up. And.. especially an apology can be healing.”
Jungkook peered his eyes at him, “you sound.. like my Grandma.”
Seokjin laughed, “it’s okay if you want to call me Grandpa, I don’t mind.”
“No.. you’re ‘baby’ remember.”
Jin raised his eyebrows, the nickname had been forgotten. Perhaps Jungkook and him are on more of a joking level, where they had been before but Jin never joked back.
“So.. from what I remembered you saying long ago.. that makes you my sugar daddy.” Clearly a joke, but Jungkook looked at him with wide eyes.
“I- uh.. what?”
Jin doesn’t answer but picked up some snow from off the ground and made a snowball, looking straight into Jungkook’s eyes. There’s long a pause, and he can tell the boy is either nervous or getting cold because he starts to fidget.
“Catch!” he then threw the snowball, and ran away.
Jin laughed hard when he heard Jungkook groan, but continued to run. Something felt so freeing hearing the snow under his feet crunch, and the cold air nipping at his face. He felt alive.
Stopping to look at Jungkook, to tell him he was having a great birthday, Jungkook hasn’t stopped running and soon their body’s collide and they fell back. Groaning at the impact, Jin looked up at Jungkook, they both stare at each other before they break into laughter.
Perhaps Jin found it too funny, because he felt lifted but also when he opened his eyes Jungkook was staring at him.
The elder doesn’t say a thing, but he caught onto how Jungkook’s eyes shift downwards to his lips. He knew he had to stop it, “Jungkook-ah?” A pause, “We should get hot chocolate.” He whispered out. And Jin sees the struggle in Jungkook like he was thinking if he should close the distance and make a move or get up.
Eventually Jungkook mutters out, ‘yeah, alright.’
They end up getting hot chocolate and Seokjin doesn’t mention what happened, neither does Jungkook.
Later when they get home, the boy insists on watching a movie. After contemplating it, Jin agreed. They watch a few studio Ghibli movies on Netflix, then they began to watch a new t.v series together. He had no work the following day so he didn’t mind staying up late until he heard a soft;
“Oh. I can go and let you sleep.”
Jungkook simply shook his head. “No.. we can just make it a bed and I’ll sleep and you can watch still.”
After some moments, Jin helps Jungkook shift the couch into a bed. And he lays down on it, soon he’s back to watching the series when he hears a soft snoring. He didn’t know Jungkook snored.
That night he falls asleep on the couch.
Nothing seemed weird about it, not like Jin expected it to be weird but after that night sleeping together kind of became a habit. It was like an unspoken thing they had, Jungkook asking to watch a movie and Jin would fall asleep there with him. One day, Jin asked if they can watch a movie together, and Jungkook was very quick to say ‘yes.’
When Christmas arrives, he tells Jungkook that he is not getting a tree and that he better not come home to one already set up. The boy whines and says it’s weird to not have one, but Jin is standing by his word. He doesn’t want to celebrate the holiday, it made him think too much of his wife and kids.
Jungkook insists on getting Jin one gift, he allows the boy that. So come to Christmas Day, Jungkook holds out a box. “Open it!”
Too tired, Jin opens the box to see it’s an iPhone four. He acts surprised, but in his mind he can’t believe how old the phone looked, having been used to the technology of the future. “Thank you Jungkook, I’m going to need your number.”
“Flirt for it.”
“No, you’d like that too much.” Jin joked tiredly. Going to his bedroom to retrieve a small box, “here you go, there’s yours.” Jin doesn’t wait to watch Jungkook open his present, instead he goes to make breakfast.
But he does hear how silent Jungkook is when he hears the tearing of the wrapper stop. Jin thinks he hates it. “I didn’t have the most expensive budget.. I just got-” he’s cut off short when he’s hugged from behind.
“Shut up, I love it.” Jungkook muffled.
Looking down at Jungkook’s hands, he sees the golden bracelet on his wrists, at least it fit. “It’s not real gold you know, it may fade a green tint on your skin.. and I never see you wear jewelry so I wasn’t sure if you’d like it.”
“I just told you what I thought of it.” Jungkook said as he pulled away.
After that, Jin doesn’t see a day go by with Jungkook not wearing the bracelet.
It’s not till New Years when they’re laying on the couch, confetti all around them when Jungkook mentions where he was all those days past.
“So you want to know where I was?”
“Those four days and a half?”
Jin turns his head to Jungkook, trying to read his expression. “Yeah.”
“I had a job to do.”
“What? What kind of job?” Jin asked, searching the boy’s face for anything. He catches the way Jungkook stiffens, like he’s afraid of the truth that would soon spill. “Jungkook?”
It takes a moment, but soon Jungkook sits up. “My money, I have a lot of it as you know.. and uh.. well.. how I get it isn’t.. looked upon well..”
“What does that mean Jungkook?”
“Um, Bunny is a code name.”
It doesn’t make sense to Jin, if anything each word brought him more worry. “Jungkook.” His voice was stern.
“I’ve done this since I was like.. sixteen.. my grandma got ill and she was the only person in my life who loved me.. I had to do what I did..”
“Say it already” Jin sat up, body turning to face the boy. “How do you get the money?”
“I rob for it.”
Chapter 6: 1.4
“You.. you what?” Seokjin couldn’t believe what he just heard. “You’re lying.. this is- this is a joke right?” He breathed out a weak laugh, hoping Jungkook was just playing around. But the young boys expression said otherwise. “Explain yourself.”
Jungkook tried to hide his body, to appear small but Jin wouldn’t let him leave his harsh gaze. “Well!”
“Sh! These walls are thin..” Jungkook whispered.
If Seokjin didn’t believe the other before, he did now. “You just.. rob people?” He asked weakly.
“No! I mean.. yeah I but.. no one gets hurt?”
“Yeah they do Jungkook! People work hard for their money and you just go and steal it?”
“I don’t rob people.. I rob places..”
Seokjin is just left with nothing to say. The boy he thought he knew was a criminal. “Alone? Jungkook you could go to jail.”
“I don’t do it alone, the people who plan it out make sure we don’t get put in jail-”
“So there’s other people?” Jin cut him off. Getting upset with each word. “And you just steal from.. from stores..”
“But they got greedy recently and.. and when I left I went to the next town over.. we.. we robbed a bank- it was small-”
“Jungkook!” Jin yelled, not caring anymore. He saw it on the news, he saw what appeared on the screen. Jungkook was the cause of that.
“Jin- no please listen.. I needed the money.. then it went out of control and I couldn’t come home because I was afraid of leading them here- I didn’t sleep-”
“You’re excuses are nothing!” Jin got up from the couch, standing in front of the tv realizing it was bought with stolen money, along with his phone. “You’re supposed to do the right thing Jungkook!” He yelled, turning to face him. “I feel like I don’t know you!”
“You do Jin- you do!” Jungkook cried out, his eyes watered but Seokjin didn’t care.
“No.. I don’t.. because all I see is a criminal on my couch.” Jin turned away and went to his room, slamming it shut.
The next morning, January first, Jin doesn’t talk to Jungkook. He’s upset, so he doesn’t acknowledge him. Perhaps it’s cruel, but he thought he knew the kid. He thought Jungkook was a pure soul, why else would the riddle involve such honorable words.
He leaves Jungkook to do what he wants, telling him he’s taking the tv down and going to give him back the phone. The boy doesn’t say a word when he leaves. Seokjin finds himself going to Bora’s house. To relive memories they made in his past life but staring at the house, Seokjin knows she made memories with her own family in this life. It wasn’t right to be here, but he wants desperately to break down. Jin can’t take it anymore, he wants to cry.
He wants his wife and kids. He misses being a well off old man, having lived a splendid life.
But that’s not possible, it never would be again at least not with Bora and their two kids.
Jin doesn’t go home, he waits till the sun is down before walking back. When he does arrive at the apartment, he sees Jungkook on the couch sleeping. The tv is gone, and most likely the phone as well. With a sigh, he puts a blanket on the sleeping boy before heading off to bed. Though he doesn’t fall asleep, rather his mind runs on everything that has happen.
And he prays, prays for it all to make sense. Why was Jungkook in his life, why did the boy rob others? He asks God for a sign.
Eventually Seokjin gets up to look at the riddle, going word for word trying to understand what it meant. But it’s not till the early morning, having not slept he got it.
Jungkook was the man in the riddle. Anyone can do horrible things, but a pure soul will decide on doing the right thing.
Jin has to make Jungkook do the noble thing.
“I got it!” He yelled, running out the room with a just woken up Jungkook, most likely from his yelling. But he doesn’t care, he puts on his shoes and makes a run to get outside.
“I got it! I finally understand what I’m supposed to do!” He yelled on the top of his lungs in the biting cold.
Clearly in his own head, he forgets just where he lived because he hears someone from the balcony yell out; “shut the hell up! Can you understand that!”
Jin yells out an apology before heading inside. Then scurries up the stairs and back into the room and runs to his bed. He was cold and needed to warm up. When he does eventually get up, and sees Jungkook cooking breakfast, Jin gawks at him. Just how does he make Jungkook do the right thing?
The boy is quick to look at him, as if he waiting on Jin to speak up first.
“Are you done with robbing?”
Jungkook then bit his lip in thought, “I brought it up for a reason.. you told me to tell you when I would be gone for a few days.” A pause, “I have another job.”
This was it. Jin had to prevent Jungkook from doing anymore robberies. He had to make the boy live out an honorable life.
“Jungkook.. I.. I strongly believe you aren’t supposed to do this.” The man breathed out, putting his honesty in his words. “I believe you are supposed to live out a good life..”
“What makes you think this isn’t good? I saved my Grandmother because of this job.”
“It’s not honorable.. there’s other ways to get money, you could’ve gotten yourself a job that way it would’ve been-”
“A job takes too long! Y- you don’t know what it’s like to be on the brink of losing someone! You don’t know that I needed the medication right then and there! I had to do it! Okay! I had to!”
Hearing Jungkook, his woes, Jin can only sigh. “I do know what it’s like to lose someone Jungkook.” It’s like Jungkook remembers that Jin had a wife, and he stutters out a sorry. He rolls his shoulders in response. “I loved her.. I would’ve done anything for her.. that was in the eyes of God..” he added. “God wouldn’t want you to steal from others Jungkook-”
“God is not real! Medicine.. That’s real!”
Jin just pursed his lip, eyeing the boy. He knows forcing a religion onto someone was never the answer, and he wasn’t going to. So he just nodded his head. “I believe everything happens for a reason Jungkook, the good the bad, and my religious beliefs lead me to believe that God has given me you..” he looked to the boy, “you don’t have to believe in something that I do.. because I don’t believe that what you’re doing is right.. stealing is wrong and I won’t have it in my life.”
“What are you saying..”
“I’m saying.. if you’re going to continue to rob people, from the community.. then I can’t have you in my life.”
It pains Jin to say it, he’s saddened because Jungkook is a good kid. One that lit up this life with positivity, and he hopes Jungkook gives it up. Pulls away from a life of greed and takes up an honest job.
“One more job.” Jungkook mutters out, going to the food cooking on the stove. “One more job and I’ll be out.. o- out of the robbery I mean..”
Seokjin knows he can’t let Jungkook do another job, he doesn’t know where it’s coming from but in his entire being it told him, that Jungkook can’t rob from another. “When.. where?”
“When’s it going to happen? And where?”
“I’m not going to tell you?” Jungkook said as he made the plates after the food was done cooking. “You don’t get to know..”
“Why not?” Jin asked softly, “I just want to know, I’m not going to do anything-”
Jungkook turns to him, “how do I know that?”
The elder slouched his shoulders, “I need to know because.. It’s not like that money will be any useful here, for your Grandmother sure but.. groceries and rent.. Jungkook I have a minimum wage job.. I can’t take care of us both with it.” He made up a quick lie, “so I’d like to know because the sooner you get an honest job the better.”
There’s a pause and Jin’s left to watch Jungkook get cutlery and bring the plates to the table. “Come eat and I’ll tell you.”
Seokjin remembers Jungkook’s every word, January fifthteenth will be the heist, a small bank in Ulsan just thirty minutes away.
Seokjin was going to try all that he could to prevent it.
With each passing day, he doesn’t know exactly how though. He wonders what he should do, what paths to take that would prevent the robbery. Even purchased a small flip phone so Jungkook can call him if need be. But come around the night before the heist, Jungkook tells Jin he’s leaving, and it’s too late. He wasn’t smart enough, he’s ruin his chance.
Or did he?
Surely Jungkook wouldn’t go with it, if he was there at the bank pretending to be some innocent bystander. Going with that as his plan, Jin runs to his room, stuffing his backpack with clothes and everything important he may need before running out to catch a train.
It’s the middle of the night, but Seokjin books the cheapest motel he can find and waits. He doesn’t sleep that night, too afraid he won’t wake up early enough to get to the bank. During his fidgety state, he plays with his phone, tapping into the buttons and hoping Jungkook would call. Saying that he’s changed his mind, there would be no job.
But he doesn’t get a call. The night edges on, till finally the sun rises and Jin is out the door. Heading to the bank, and when he gets there, his phone begins to ring. But like a jackass, it’s in his bag so he stumbled to get it open, having bumped into people, he apologized and went off to the side. Where he sees its Jungkook, but before he can answer the screen shuts off to black. “Oh no..” because he had played with it all night he forgot to charge it. “Shit!” He muttered to himself.
Now he had to just wait, sure he can run off to a payphone but what if he left and Jungkook and his ‘friends’ came while he was gone? With that in mind, Seokjin stayed. Minutes are quick to turn into hours, and Jin is left believing that maybe Jungkook lied about the bank. Because soon the building is coming to a close, and Jin is outside in the dark. With horrible thoughts now running rapid through his brain, Jin finds himself running to the train station to get back home. While on the train, he asked around if anything had happened on the news but no one can give him a definite answer. Making him even more nervous, because what if Jungkook was calling for help and he didn’t answer his god forsaken phone.
When the train stops in busan, Jin is running out. Making sure not to slip on the melting ice, when he approached his apartment he barges in with the mindset to charge the flip phone when he sees a figure in the dark. Breathing heavily he turns on the light.
“K- Kook?” It’s a relief to see the boys frame, that he was home, Jin could run up to hug him but he doesn’t as the boy turned around with wet cheeks, he was crying. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Closing the door, Jin drops his bag to the floor and goes over to him. Hands cupping Jungkook’s cheeks, thumbs swiping the fallen tears. “Speak to me please..”
“I.. I tried to call you..”
His heart shattered, something horrible happened.
“Y- you didn’t answer.. I called so many times..” the boy trembled.
“I’m sorry Jungkook, I’m really sorry.”
Jungkook wiped at his nose, and sobbed. “I was so scared Jin..”
He felt so horrible, whatever happened must have been traumatizing and he wasn’t there for Jungkook. “What happened?”
“I-” Jungkook broke down crying, going in to hug Seokjin tightly. “I thought I lost you.” He muffled. Leaving Jin taken aback.
“I thought I lost you! Y- you’ve been so stand.. standoffish for awhile- I thought you didn’t like me anymore and.. come today I called to ask if I really should go through with it.. I- I would’ve done whatever you said..” the boy bawled, burying his face in Jin’s chest. “But you didn’t answer any call of mine.. so I said no- I couldn’t do it and I come here and everything is all messed up and your things are scattered.. I thought you left me..”
This outcome was better than anything he had in mind, Jungkook wasn’t physically hurt. Just afraid, he really was just some precious kid.
Returning Jungkook’s hug, Jin pulled him tightly in. “I didn’t leave you Jungkook..” he whispered out. “I’d never leave you.” The boy continued to cry, and Jin takes the initiative to take care of Jungkook. Just holding him in a comforting way, till eventually they lay down on Jin’s bed, both not wanting to set up the couch. And when Jungkook does finally falls asleep, Seokjin doesn’t pull away, instead he falls asleep holding the boy.
When the morning came, Seokjin is greeted by Jungkook staring at him. “So creepy.” He murmured, voice raspy with sleep. And he wants to go back to bed, but he takes his hand, realizing it was still draped over Jungkook he rubbed at his eyes. “You could’ve woken me up you know.” Jin grumbled rolling onto his back to stretch out his limbs.
“And miss out on being held? No thanks.” Jungkook hushed out.
Jin smiled softly, turning back onto his side to meet the boy’s gaze. “I was there yesterday.”
“Yesterday, I went to the bank you said you were going to rob in hopes that I can make you stop.” He said honestly. “I stayed there all day and my phone died.. I wasn’t leaving you, I was just trying to save you from doing something horrible.”
Jin watched Jungkook, how his eyes shifted down thinking over what he had said before he met his gaze once more. “Thank you..”
Smiling up at the bunny boy, Jin cards his fingers in his hair. “Had I known if I just stayed home and picked up your call I could’ve prevented spending so much.” He joked, a tired chuckle rippling through his chest. “But Jungkook..”
“Yeah?” He blinked innocently at him.
“You really can’t do this anymore.. I can help you score a job.” Seokjin said his words ever so gently. And Jungkook gives a weak nod.
Eventually they both get up, and it’s Jin’s turn to cook breakfast so that’s what he does. When it’s all done, he sets a plate in front of the other as he placed his own plate down before him. “I did some thinking while I cooked.” Jin says suddenly. “And I don’t think I’m the best role model on you-”
Jungkook laughed, “you’re crazy, you’re the best!”
“No Bunny boy,” he smiled as he cut into his eggs. “I preached to you on New Year’s Day to live an honorable life and I haven’t been living up to that either..” he placed food into his mouth and chewed, not wanting to admit the truth to himself just yet. But when he swallowed, he does. “I tell you I go to school, but I don’t I.. sneak in and just attend, I haven’t been caught and because of that I kept on going.” Because of Bora.
Jungkook doesn’t say anything because he’s stuffing his face with food.
“Jungkook, how can I tell you to do what’s right while I do the opposite?” The question is really just to himself, because it was hypocritical of him. But not going to that college meant he couldn’t see Bora. It was hard but if he wanted Jungkook to be on the right path, that meant doing the right thing as well. “I’m going to stop attending.” He admits, his voice low because he’s sad. “We can make a do over with life Jungkook, are you with me?”
Jungkook licked his lips, leaning back into the wobbly chair. “I knew you didn’t attend that school” He says casually, “looked too expensive for your minimum wage ass.”
“Jungkook!” Here was feeling down and out about his predicament, and the boy just makes fun of him. Of course, it’s because he didn’t know. “Wait.. how did you know how it looked? I’ve told you to leave me alone whenever I went?”
“You told that to the same guy that stole your spare key..” Jungkook shrugged, “one day I was curious what this school was because you don’t talk about it ever and you don’t have books with you. So.. naturally I thought you were lying and followed.”
Jungkook was a smart kid, he had to give him that. Smarter than he actually anticipated. “Well.. my words remain on the table for you~” Jin sang. “Do you want to start over with me? No lying, no robbing and! No following the other when they tell them to stay put,” he added the last part with an amused nod.
Jungkook thought it over in a playful way. “Start over? From the very beginning or erase just the bad parts?”
“Hmm, I don’t know, no one asks this they just go with the question.”
The boy scrunched his nose, followed by a smile. “first time we met I had basically got off a job, so our beginning was already bad” he shook his head, “so I’d like to redo our introduction.. I’m Jeon Jungkook.” He put out his hand from Jin to shake like the first time. Jin smiled and took his hand and before he can say his name Jungkook added, “and I’m going to be your boyfriend.”
Seokjin laughed, and decided to give the boy’s hand a firm shake. “I’m Kim Seokjin, and sorry but.. you aren’t my type, I’m not into children.”
A joke that made Jungkook scowl, “oh screw you!”
Jin smiled, this new beginning would be great, he can already feel it.
For the next week, Seokjin spent his time with Jungkook. Sitting down with him and trying to figure what could the boy do. He asked him if he finished school, the boy said he did but didn’t further it. Which left plenty on the table, Jungkook was still young he had time to choose what he wanted to do.
They made a list, what Jungkook liked or what he can picture himself doing for a long time.
“What about a cop!” Jungkook chimed.
Jin looked from his papers, “a cop? Why?”
The male shrugged, “I have the build and I can prevent robberies from happening~” he wiggled his eyebrows. “That’s pretty honorable in my opinion.”
Seokjin bit his lip, and breathed out heavily through his nose. “I don’t want you getting hurt but.. if you really want to we can look into it.”
Jungkook blinked a few times, then scribbled it out on his paper. Jin furrowed his brows and asked why he did that, Jungkook just replied; ‘I don’t want to frighten you with a job each day, so I’ll pass.’
It takes a while, but the list comes down to that Jungkook liked to move about so no desks, or not much of desk work, and that he liked to use his hands. Seokjin offers a couple of jobs, far fetched ones mixed with practical ones. But what Jungkook decides on is being a mechanic.
“Imagine I’m all sweaty and have those mechanic suits on, you won’t be able to keep your heterosexual hands off of me~” Jungkook smirked.
“I think I’ll be able to tame myself,” Jin replied.
“You say that now, but just watch! You’ll be begging me for my body.”
Seokjin can’t help but laugh, “yeah okay.” He mocked.
They figure out mechanic school costs a lot, well more than what they have or even make. So Seokjin does what he thinks is best, and picks up another job. He’s a janitor at an office building, he works at night. Jungkook tells him it’s a waste of his talent but Jin tells him, ‘I’m doing this for you.’ And the boy goes quiet.
Even though Seokjin was glad to help out Jungkook, his mind would always linger to Bora. He wondered how she was every day, he did stop going to her class, keeping his word. But it didn’t stop the fact if he had a day off his day job at McDonald’s he’d go to the school just to see to her vehicle parked outside, and oddly enough it was what kept him going through it all.
When valentine's hit, Seokjin tells Jungkook that ‘no, we aren’t doing it.’ Because the holiday was for lovers, and they were not, his heart still belonged to a woman that didn’t exist in this life. So no celebration had occurred.
Jungkook soon picks up a job as well to help pay for his class, it’s at a restaurant, he’s a bus boy. He has to wear a suit, and when Seokjin saw it on the boy, he cooed. Telling him he looked adorable, Jungkook although flushed and grumbled out that he was going to change.
That’s how they spend their days, Seokjin is tired usually when he gets back from one of his jobs, getting a few hours to sleep before going to the next. Jungkook’s hours were different so they rarely saw each other. But when they were able to sit down together, they would tell each other everything that had happened. How work went and the funny little stories that had occurred in their busy life.
A few months pass and they have enough to put Jungkook in mechanics school for the year, Seokjin feels like a parent all over again. Jungkook does although quit his bus boy gig to focus on school, which the elder is happy about.
It was nice to see the boy excited about something, to have a pure passion that wasn’t stealing. It gave Jin a sense of pride that he was doing the right thing.
One day Jungkook asked why Jin was so overly kind to him, no one in their right mind would spend their days fulfilling someone else’s dream. It brings Seokjin to wonder if in this life Jin had any schooling or any background but that was him to worry about as he replied to Jungkook’s question.
“You may not believe in God, but I do and I believe they’re telling me I should help you.. follow the right path, do my duty in this world.”
“God? Wants you to help me? That’s your duty?” Jungkook asked unsurely.
“My purpose can be many things, I can be a teacher to you and help you succeed, while having jobs that serve to others like McDonald’s, and another job to help keep the world clean like being a janitor. There’s endless possibilities Jungkook.”
“Why- how do you see the world like that? So.. so pure like everything has a meaning? Because I just see you , an attractive man wasting his time giving people fast food that isn’t good for them and picking up people’s trash.” Jungkook retorted.
Seokjin sighed, giving the boy his full attention. “For me, it helps knowing that there’s a higher power out there, that I don’t need to worry about the world because that’s someone’s else’s job, I just have to focus on one myself, my world, and make it better. Because not only am I helping myself and the people around but I’m helping God and in return they help me.” Jin smiled gently, “does that make sense? Because I don’t have all the answers, I just believe that.”
Jungkook looked like he was taking the information in, and Jin thinks that’s it so he returned to his paper when Jungkook blurted out; “But he hates gays?”
“Not the God I believe in, the God I believe in loves everyone for who they are.” Jin looks at the boy, “now finish your homework, I can’t be breaking my back at work for you to be a slacker.” He chuckled. Jungkook then does exactly that.
Seokjin doesn’t expect anything from their conversation, usually people find their own path with God. He wasn’t a preacher so he didn’t expect his words to have effect, but one day when he gets home, eyes bloodshot from being so tired he’s greeted with Jungkook on the couch. Looking at him and his sleeping state, he noticed a book right beside his head. It’s a bible, or rather to be precise the books called ‘the bible for dummies.’
It makes him smile, and he goes to bed happy.
Days pass and Jungkook groans heavily. “I can’t do this.. I’m not smart..” he then plopped his head on the table. Jin who was laying on the couch, almost falling asleep blinks his eyes open.
“You’re very smart Kook.” He rubbed at his eyes, getting up to see what he was working on. “I know some math and science, I can help.” As in his past life, he was a science professor after all.
“Yeah? You want to help?” Jungkook seemingly asked innocently in Jin’s mind.
“I said I can.”
“I need a break, let’s make out.”
Jin wakens by that statement, “what?” Clearly shocked he shook his head. “M’too tired for this Jungkook-ah.”
“Lazy make out sessions are pretty hot-”
“Stop. Okay, I know this is your thing, constantly flirting and tryna get laid jokes but really?” Jin looked to Jungkook, “when is it gonna stop? Aren’t you tired of me rejecting you each time?”
“I.. I didn’t know it affected you so much.” Jungkook says his words small.
Jin rubbed at his eyes, “I was a little harsh, it doesn’t weird me out or anything, I just.. I just don’t want you getting hurt if you develop feelings again for me.” He stopped to think on what to say next, “maybe you should flirt with someone you actually have a chance with?”
He didn’t realize how cruel his words sounded in his tired state, because right after Jungkook is getting mad.
“Someone I actually have a chance with huh?” He repeated disdainfully. “ If I develop feelings for you again.. what’s wrong with you Jin?” Jungkook broke out.
“Nothing? I don’t.. I don’t understand what’s hap-”
“You can’t be this dumb!” The younger cuts him off. “After all this time you’re leaving me to believe you don’t feel anything ?”
“Jungkook.. we had this conversation before?” Jin was just so confused. “You know I’m into women..”
“Really?” Jungkook was upset, Jin saw it in how Jungkook’s nostrils flared. “You really want to go there?”
“Go where? What’s this about?”
“You’re.. you can't be just into women Jin.. not they way you treat me.. you- you act like.. like..”
“Like? Jungkook I just care for you?” Seokjin replied, now fully awake. “You’re reading everything I’ve been doing the wrong way-”
“No see! That’s the thing! I thought that too but ever since that night I came back things between us.. you can’t tell me heterosexual men sleep with a gay guy almost every night sometimes holding them! And.. and you act like you’re mine.” Jungkook soften when he said ‘mine.’ “You cater to everything I do.. you’ve gotten another job for me, to help me through school.. haven’t you ever questioned these actions?” Jungkook peered up at Jin.
And he honestly didn’t know how to answer, how does he tell Jungkook he was doing what the riddle told him to do? Helping Jungkook to do the right thing? That he was given this life with that sole purpose? That he was still so invested in his wife and kids, that each passing day it felt like was mourning for them. Would Jungkook even believe that?
“I.. I’m still getting over my wife..” Jin said quietly.
There’s silence that builds between them that Seokjin can’t seem to register it’s feeling. Jungkook eventually breaks the budding tension.
“God wouldn’t want you to live in constant mourning Jin..”
That takes him by surprise, “hey-”
“Am I wrong?” The boy asked sympathetically. “Wouldn’t God want you to move on? Be happy with someone else? I’m- im not saying me but someone? Because I don’t think he would want you to just give up on life because someone passed on. I’d think he’d want you to push forward and live.”
Jin is left speechless, obviously that book Jungkook read wasn’t for dummies.
He wants to tell Jungkook everything, but he just can’t. “I.. I think we spend too much time together, perhaps you do need a break, maybe you should head out? Go see friends you’re always cooped up here?”
“Jin? You’re always cooped up here! And I never see you hang out with friends!”
“Because I have two jobs that pay the rent, groceries and your schooling!” Jin yelled back.
“When we met you didn’t have friends! I came in and fixed that!”
“Just.. just stop okay?” Jin replied, he didn’t want to be mad. He keeps forgetting Jungkook was a child. “I’m sorry-”
“Just tell me this.. have you ever considered that you might be into guys as well? Or.. even considered us?”
Seokjin was always confident in his sexuality, he never in his past life fantasized being with a man or looked at one like he did with women. He never looked at Jungkook more than just a friend. “No. I haven’t.”
Jungkook got up from the table and walked over to him, and cupped his neck to bring him down. The close proximity makes Jin’s eyes fall shut as their noses brushed lightly. “And if I kissed you right now.. it wouldn’t do a thing?”
He only breathed, “it wouldn’t do anything” Jin repeated.
“Can I then? To just.. get over you once and for all?”
Seokjin then pulled away from Jungkook, “maybe you do need to make out with someone.. I just can’t be that person..” the look on Jungkook’s face is beyond hurt as he turns to face the ground.
“You want me to do that?”
“If it helps.” Seokjin was an old man, why couldn’t Jungkook see that? That he deserved so much better than him? A man who would return his feelings.
“Fine.” Jungkook then moved around the small apartment to grab his wallet and spare key. “I’m going out.”
Jin watched as the boy made his way to the door, “wait Jungkook!” Wanting to tell him to be safe, to not do anything reckless the boy speaks up in a monotone voice.
“Don’t worry, I won’t do anything bad.. I’m just gonna get laid.” With that the door slams shut.
Seokjin is left there not knowing what to do.
Chapter 7: 1.5
The following day in the afternoon is when Jungkook gets back. Seokjin had just gotten out of the shower and noticed the boy’s neck. It was littered in hickies. At least now the boy can move on, and give his innocent love to another now.
After that, their dynamic shifted. Jungkook wouldn’t stay at home as much, saying he had friends in school that he’d hangout with. Or times he’d see hickies on, one time in particular Jungkook came out of the shower with just his boxers. It was nothing, but they both had the respect before to cover up at the very least, so Jin jokingly states that Jungkook is basically naked. However the boy just replied, ‘it’s just skin.’
It shuts Jin up. He decides not to focus on the boy’s behavior because he’s a kid that’s growing up. Instead he focuses on work, at McDonald’s and his janitor gig. Where he meets an older short stout man in a business suit. Jin’s on his break, and they sit around and chat, they both have the same humor. The entirety of the time they hung out, the small man had a red face and watery eyes from laughing too hard. Seokjin feels good.
Which would result in the older small man to bring Seokjin up to his office, and where Jin would realized that he owned it. All the jokes he made about the building came into mind, and he thought he would be fired. But instead he asked if Seokjin would be his assistant till his assistant came back on pregnancy leave. He adds of course, that the pay was a lot better than janitor, Jin says yes.
He comes home that morning wanting to tell Jungkook the great news, when he noticed the look on the mans tired face. Jin couldn’t make it out, but whatever it was, was going to be news.
“I have something to say!” Jin spoke up.
“Yeah?” Jungkook ran his hands through his hair. “What is it?”
“I got a temporary job that’ll pay a lot more, it’ll help a lot I think! And after I’ll get my old job back!” Jin said happily.
Jungkook smiled softly. “I’m happy for you Jin! Sounds like you’re going places now~”
Jin just laughed, moving to take his coat off before sitting across from Jungkook at the small table. “How are you? We haven’t spoken in awhile.”
Jungkook looked to the side, like he’s trying to figure out the words on what to say. “I.. well I’ve been living you know? Going out more while keeping my studies high? Sometimes I want to just give it up.. and go back to robbing.” Jin doesn’t expect such brutal truth and the other must’ve seen it because he adds, “I’m not! You don’t have to worry about that, I have it too good with you.” He released softly.
Then they just stare at each other, the elder doesn’t find it weird. Neither does Jungkook, they immerse themselves in the silence until, “I’ve been asked out.”
“Oh? Like a date?” Jin was now leaning in, elbows on the table. He was clearly impressed and wanted to know everything.
“No.. not like a date.. we’ve been going on dates or something..” Jungkook seemed unsure of his voice, his words. Seokjin caught it on how the younger wouldn’t meet his gaze.
“So? That means?”
“I’m being asked if.. to be someone’s boyfriend, okay? And in return they’ll be mine.”
Seokjin wonders why the others tone is low, or upset with the factor. Perhaps it was only 2012, being gay is still taboo. That’s the first thing that comes to mind, and he’s about to tell Jungkook that in the future it won’t matter. Love will win. But when he catches the look on Jungkook’s eyes, he knows. It’s like saying, ‘I’m going to be moving on.’
“What do you think I should do?” Jungkook asked. Giving the confirmation Jin needed, the boy wanted his approval. Like to say, ‘yes, it’s okay to move on.’ But Jin doesn’t say that.
“If this man, makes your heart flutter.. stomach tighten with butterflies and kissing them makes the world lighter then, I say you should go for it.”
Jungkook stared at him, his look is pained and he nods. “Yeah okay.” Then he’s off to the bathroom to take a shower.
Few more months pass, and Jin tried to celebrate on his own his daughters birthdays and his wife’s. Their anniversary is too hard to although, and he’s always left feeling saddened. It feels like he can’t go on, remembering a time that seemed like only a memory now. Which it was.
He’s walking alone one day when he remembers Jungkook’s words. That God wouldn’t want him to be stuck in his past life, when he’s granted a future in this life. It hurts him to even consider moving on but he ends up at the fancy cafe Bora told him to go the first day he came into this life.
Jin has a bit more money to buy a nice drink. He’s too occupied in his own mind that he doesn’t realize he’s being called out only until he’s being tapped on the shoulder. It’s Bora.
They end up sitting down at one of the tables, and they talk. It was like God did this, and at first he doesn’t know why because it just pains him.
After their light hearted conversation comes to an end, Bora brings up something he had been dreading.
“You know Seokjin, you were never registered in my class.” He doesn’t know what to say. “Or in the school matter of fact.” She adds, looking at him for an answer.
Jin looked to his now empty cup, trying to figure out what to say. He can’t possibly tell Bora in another life they were happily together. That they had two beautiful daughters, so he just says; “yeah, I was going through something.. and I did something horrible like sneak into that school.”
Bora just nodded her head, “but you only snuck into my class?” How she figured that out made his body tense up. She caught onto this and laughed. “I’m only bringing this up because I’m curious.”
“Why.. why didn’t you do anything?”
“We never had time to talk, I couldn’t catch you in time to bring it up.”
“But you.. could’ve got the school board into it or the police?”
Bora smiled, how effortlessly beautiful she was tugged at his heart. “You’re a good kid Seokjin, I didn’t see the reason I had to. You did the work in class- which by the way you’re a very smart kid.” She’s quick to add. “And I just wondered why?”
“Why what?” Jin asked quietly.
“Why you came into my life? I had time to think it over, and it was like after the riddle you just.. vanished.” The way she spoke was gentle, like she didn’t want to scare him. “At first I thought you must’ve been some kind of figment of my imagination because when I asked my co workers if they’ve seen you, they said no. I started to believe you didn’t exist. But I remembered the riddle, how that was real.” She smiled. “And I thought maybe you just came into my life to know that answer but.. it’s not real right? It was only made up?”
Seokjin wanted to say no, but he nodded in response. “It was fake.”
Bora hummed, “I thought so. Because there’s no way a man has to live out his life through a riddle.” She said this like it was crazy to even think that. Jin wished to be her, that she can think that and go about her life. But instead he just awkwardly laughed. Then she added; “then I thought maybe you appeared so randomly because you had a crush on me” she giggled, “because I caught on to how you stared at me.” Bora looked at him, eyes gentle. “Like now.”
Seokjin coughed and laughed, then adjusted himself in his seat. “I uh.. I did.” He admits unashamedly. “But I never meant to scare you if I did- I’m sorry if that disturbed you-”
“No, you hadn’t frightened me it’s just..” Bora laughed her gaze shifting to the open window revealing the busyness of life outside of the cafe. “I am married you know.” Jin nodded, “and quite frankly.. a lot older than you Seokjin.” Bora said this like it was the most known fact in the world. “You’re an attractive young man and you shouldn’t fancy an old woman like myself.”
Seokjin shook his head, without thinking and blurted out “you just look like my wife-” realizing his words he rubbed at his temple. Having to lie once again made his chest tighten. “I mean.. I had a wife and you.. you looked like her and I know how crazy it is but I just needed to see you to remember that what we had was real- that I didn’t make it up and.. and she knew about the riddle so I thought.. why not ask you about it.” His words were shaky at some parts but overall his chest wasn’t tight anymore, it kinda was the truth.
Bora took in this information and reached out to take one of his hands, “she was a very lucky girl to have you.” Her words soft and caring. “Anyone would be lucky really, a charming man such as yourself? You’ll have girls falling for you left and right..”
“I.. I don’t think I’m ready to give her up just yet..” because his heart beat rapidly in his chest from just having Bora take his hand. “If I do.. it would be like the life we lived never existed.” His eyes watered, the truth sounded so raw when it came out from your own lips, instead of it just playing in one's mind.
The elderly woman seemed to understand, because she just held his hand for a few minutes, allowing him to try and hold his tears back but failing. “You know.. I lost my husband a few years ago.” She eventually starts up. “I thought that was it, I’m not going to do that again!” She laughed, indicating love and dating. “But one day, I was at the grocery store when I came upon this gentleman and.. I could’ve sworn my Jai sent me another man.. because he didn’t want me alone.”
Jin listened, using his other hand to wipe away at his eyes.
“I think your wife would want you to be happy Seokjin.” She says softly, “to start again.”
He knows now why God made this occurrence happen. Jin needed to hear from Bora, that it’s okay to move on.
With tears in his eyes, she tells him to get up and they hug. Jin just immersed himself in the embrace, because it was this that he’d let go. Let his wife go.
Come September, on Jungkook’s birthday is a celebration for the boy but also Jin takes note that he’s lived this life for a full year. It’s frightening in a way. But it’s also when Jin meets the boyfriend. He’s goofy and a little slow with his jokes, but he seems to make Jungkook smile. It’s all Seokjin can ask for. While witnessing how they interact, and for the first time in his life. He questions it. Or rather he sees love in a different lighting. And the following day he asked Jungkook about his preference for men.
Jungkook tells him he knew ever since he was a child that he liked the same gender. That while society was telling them that boys and girls are the only way, he was crushing on male actors and singers in his alone time. Seokjin finds the story cute, and asked if that’s how everyone’s story went. Did everyone that preferred the same gender know since they were children. Jungkook replies with; ‘no, I met a woman in my lgbtq meeting that didn’t realize she preferred other woman in her late forties. So it’s all about one's journey Jin.’ Followed by, ‘why?’ Seokjin just tells the boy that he was curious. Jungkook leaves it at that.
His birthday passes and it’s just the two of them that celebrate, this time they share a small cake.
By the new year, when the woman comes back from maternity leave, Jin expected to go back into his previous work. A janitor but he’s surprised to have the boss give him a job. It’s lower of course, but better than being a janitor. His boss tells Jin that he liked him and his jokes, that if he could he would’ve given him a better job but Jin didn’t have the proper schooling. He then tells Jin that if he gets the schooling, he’d have a position open for him.
Seokjin takes the new position but tells the man schooling isn’t an option right now, he doesn’t have the budget. He doesn’t add that this job solely paid for a bunny’s schooling.
He although does tell Jungkook everything his boss said that night, and the boy doesn’t reply.
A month goes by and Seokjin takes Jungkook out to celebrate his tests, that were two months ago Jungkook states to remind him. Jin was just busy, he couldn’t take the boy out, but now he was able to.
The dinner is going well, it’s at a nice restaurant. They’re having a pleasant conversation when an older man comes to their table. He appeared to be in his mid thirties, but he held out a card for Jin. “We should go out sometime.” The man said.
Jin raised his eyebrows, how men in this life thought he was gay was shocking but also, it meant he was pretty attractive. It was a compliment.
“Sorry-” Jungkook tried to wave the man off. “The man likes pussy.”
“Jungkook!” Jin hissed, then turned to the man and thanked him and took the card. Watching the older man leave then set the card in his pocket he resumed to eat.
“What.. what are you doing?” Jungkook asked.
“No I mean.. you’re leading the guy on..” his words are soft, unsure. “If you just stated straight off the bat that you’re heterosexual then the man would go on his way.”
Jin smiled, “look where that led us, you wouldn’t take me being a heterosexual a possibility.”
“That was different, who knows if that guy’s a physco Jin?”
“I’ll take my chances, what’s the worse he can do? Move in with me and buy my groceries?” He teased but Jungkook didn’t laugh.
“Take your chances?”
Jin used a napkin to clean his fingers. “Yeah.. I mean, I’ve thought about it and.. I think it’s time to move on you know? And have an open mind about it, go out on dates with people who ask..”
Jungkook clenched his fist, and fixed his position in the seat. “Why.. why now?”
Jin doesn’t have it in to tell him that Bora, his past life wife told him it was okay to move on. So he just shrugged. “I thought it was time.”
“Well.. he looks old, you should go out with someone your age!” He whispered yelled.
Seokjin could laugh, his own age consisted of the dead. But physically, he had a decent shot with people who are alive. “Jungkook, I’m twenty seven.. it’s pretty close I would think.”
Jungkook shook his head, “why now when I’m in a relationship.” It must’ve not been what Jungkook wanted to spill out because his eyes are closed, face filled with regret.
“I’m not doing this to hurt you.” Jin hushed out. Then looked at the boy with a hesitant stare. “Do you.. still have feelings for me Jungkook?”
The question goes unanswered as the boy finished his food. The night goes on and Jungkook pretends the conversation never happened. Neither did the date.
Three months go by and Jungkook tells him that he and his boyfriend are no longer dating. They broke up. Jin asked what went wrong and Jungkook says that he didn’t see a future with him. It made sense.
The following week he finds Jungkook crying, or so, Jin comes home to him waiting for him.
“It broke!” He cried.
“What broke?” Jin put his things down to go over to Jungkook.
“The- the bracelet broke.. the one you got me..”
Jin looked away, he couldn’t let the younger see him smile. His reaction was just too cute. “I’ll get you a new one Jungkook-ah.”
When it’s Jungkook’s birthday, Jin saved up to get a nice silver bracelet that had the initials carved in ‘JJK’ on it. Jungkook never takes it off.
When his own birthday rolls around, Jungkook gives him a gift. It’s a bracelet as well that has his initials carved into it. Jin jokingly says, “thank you, now we have matching couples bracelets.”
Jungkook only blushed. “You’re welcome.”
When it’s New Years, and the clock strikes midnight at a party that Jungkook invited him too. A random person tries to bring Seokjin into a kiss, but a buzzed Jungkook pushed the stranger and pulls Jin in. “He’s mine.” Jungkook said as he brought their lips together.
The party cheers in celebration, and all Jin can do is be in his own world with Jungkook. When the kiss breaks, he stares at the younger. Time seems to stand still as they look into each other’s eyes. They both know in that moment they have to talk about it now.
Seokjin does the adult thing and brings Jungkook home, makes him drink water and puts him to sleep on the couch. Jin sleeps in the bed.
The next day, Seokjin waits at the table for Jungkook. The boy takes his time washing his face and brushing his teeth, as if he was trying to delay the inevitable. “Jungkook come here.”
The boy does what he’s told and sits across Seokjin. Not saying a word.
So he starts, “the kiss.” Those words put Jungkook in a shifting state. “Why did you do that?” Seokjin knows, but he wants to hear Jungkook say it.
“It’s New Years.. people do that..” was Jungkook’s reply.
“We’ve never done that.” Jin released delicately.
The boy looked down, playing with his fingers. “Yeah we never done that..”
“I think you know why..”
Jin leaned back into the chair, staring at the boy across of him. “Tell me, I can’t read minds.”
Jungkook takes a while, looking anywhere else before he settles back in Jin’s stare. “You asked if I still had feelings for you..” Jin nodded, “what if I said.. that.. that I did?” Jungkook doesn’t look away, he’s waiting on Seokjin’s reply. There’s hope in his eyes.
“Well..” Seokjin rolled his shoulders, “frankly I’d say you’re stupid-”
“Let me speak” Jin said calmly, making sure Jungkook didn’t say anything. Then he continued, “you’d be stupid because time and time again I have rejected you.. you don’t seem to get the hint at all .” He huffed, “and you’d think that a young stud as yourself wouldn’t waste his time with an old man like me” the small joke makes him chuckle.
But soon gets serious, “I did say long ago that I would be moving on” though Seokjin never kept to his words, he was just too busy with his jobs and hanging out with Jungkook, making sure he did the right thing that he never actively went out on dates or searched for someone. And maybe, it was the fact he thought he couldn’t find someone as great as Bora. “And..” Jin added, “I’ve never been with a guy.. ever.”
Giving Jungkook a smile, he breathed out through his nose. “So if you still did, still had feelings for me that is.. you’d be with an old man that doesn’t do much other than work and sleep.. and that’s never been with a man.. so he wouldn’t be good in that department.. are you realizing what I’m saying Jungkook?”
Jungkook’s gaze softened, “four years older isn’t that old.”
Jin pursed his lips, “that’s not the question.”
“No I don’t understand” He says honestly.
“Let’s say.. we try this out? I’m still healing from my wife.. and I’ve never been with-”
“A man, I know.”
“Yeah.. so.. this relationship would have to go incredibly slow.”
Jungkook looked at him as if he told him that the world was ending, “so.. you’re saying we can give it shot?!”
“Easy now.. you have to see the down side in this.. like if it doesn’t work out? That I realize that I’m just not into men? Or that we aren’t compatible- there’s many horrible ways this can end and you have to be prepared for it-”
“It could work out” Jungkook interrupted. “You could be into men and we can live old together.. that’s a possibility.”
Jin thought about it, it was a possibility. But was he ready for that possible outcome? Could he actually and truly fall for Jungkook? He knows he’s a great kid, and he’d always feel a guilt in his chest that the boy didn’t go after someone his age but he was twenty eight in this life. And maybe just maybe, God and Bora sent Jungkook to him, to begin again.
“Well then?” Seokjin sat up properly, “Are you going to ask?”
“Ask what?” Jungkook smiled unknowingly.
“Ask me out?”
Jungkook’s smile dropped, “what? A- are you sure? Or are you just gonna blow me off?”
Jin pretended like he didn’t know. “Why don’t you ask and find out?”
“Okay..” Jungkook sat himself up. “Will you, Kim Seokjin go on a date with me?”
Seokjin looked into Jungkook’s eyes, trying to see if this was the right thing to do. If there was a future that held in store for them or if it would just end up badly.
God already had his path down, whatever may happen now was entirely in the creator's hands. With that in mind, he smiled at the other.
“I will, Jeon Jungkook.”
Chapter 8: Jeon Jungkook
Seokjin kept his word, that they would go on a date. But he added, after Jungkook graduates his basic four years before getting a bachelors. The boy whines and says that’s not fair, but Jin tells him he needed to keep school his first priority, plus he added that, it wouldn’t be long before then.
Seokjin is thirty when Jungkook’s four years are up. And the first place he takes Jungkook is the park. They’re feeding pigeons.
“This is there you confessed, you barely even knew me.” Jin said softly with a smile.
Jungkook shook his head, “Aish!”
“You also said you wouldn’t find yourself feeding birds around this time.”
“But!” Jungkook exclaimed, “I did say I would be beside you didn’t I?”
Jin smiled, throwing seeds onto the ground and gave a small nod. “You did.”
Jungkook remains quiet before taking ahold of Jin’s hand, taking the initiative to intertwine their fingers. “We can go on that date now, right?” Seokjin paused to look at their hands. He can’t help think it’s a pretty sight, the boy had beautiful hands.
“This whole time I’ve been waiting for you.” The elder replied.
That night they go on the date, where Jungkook admits he’s not going to further to a bachelor's degree. Stating he can get a job with his degree now as a mechanic, work on vehicles. Seokjin pressed onto the matter more, and asked why? The boy replied, ‘I want to help you now’ telling Jin that if he went to school, he could get a better job like his boss said.
Jin couldn’t believe Jungkook remembered that.
Seokjin then says they can talk about it another time, as they were celebrating Jungkook for finishing school. Jungkook said he didn’t care about that- Jin said he should because he put his blood sweat and tears in working to pay for Jungkook’s school. The boy put his hands up in defense, telling Seokjin he really just cared for the date. ‘Oh’ was the elders reply.
When the date ended, and they stood inside the apartment Jungkook asked gently if they can kiss.
“You really want to?”
“Yeah.. I’ve been waiting two years” Jungkook let out a breathy laugh. Their last kiss being that New Years long ago.
“Okay, just.. wait.” Jin set his coat away, and changed into something comfortable. Jungkook says it ruined the mood, but when Seokjin is right in front of him, hands cupping the side of Jungkook’s face, he’s quiet.
“Do something.” Jungkook whispered.
“I will, I said wait” Jin laughed, seeing how Jungkook’s eyes had fallen shut. “Just.. don’t move.” He added.
After that, Seokjin slowly leaned in and nuzzled their noses together, Jungkook’s hands instinctively go to hold Jin’s waist. “I said don’t move..”
“Just.. please?” Jungkook agreed, and Seokjin takes his time in the close proximity. Hands caressing the chiseled jawline the younger had. Definitely not like a woman, Jungkook felt muscular and hard, like a man. It was new, though he did have an open mind. Seokjin had two years to picture himself kissing Jungkook and it wasn’t a horrible thought. Just new, because he wasn’t Bora.
When those thoughts arose, he had to remind himself that no one could ever be Bora. And he’d be a fool if he didn’t see Jungkook for he was. Jungkook.
Their breaths are hot against each other when Jungkook murmurs out Jin’s name. The slow touching seemed to have an effect on the boy, it makes Jin smile.
He waits just a moment more before he’s leaning into Jungkook and closing the space. Unlike the first time, this kiss is soft and delicate. It isn’t rushed. Seokjin is taking his time feeling Jungkook’s lips against his, and taking in on how he felt about it.
Pulling away, just barely so to breathe, Seokjin asked if it was okay to do so again. Jungkook scoffed and pulled him in by his waist, they kiss again.
They just peck, till when tongue eventually comes along Jin’s getting flustered and he’s pulling away. “That’s it for now Jungkook-ah..” The look on the others face looks like he’s lost in a daze, like he’s in love.
“Okay.. do you- do you want to watch a movie then?”
Seokjin knew what it meant, that he’d fall asleep on the couch with Jungkook. “I’m not sleeping with you on the first date.”
“I know!” Jungkook said matter of factly, but softened, “so there’s going to be more?”
“Yeah.. there’s going to be more.” Jin smiled. Though he would still take his time with Jungkook, because he wasn’t ready to move too fast romantically. “But if I watch a movie with you, don’t expect anything.”
“I wasn’t! I.. I just wanted to sleep with you.. like! Like just sleep!”
Jin smiled, the boy clearly so innocent. “Okay, now get changed and let’s pick a movie.”
When they’re all set on the pull out couch, Jungkook and Jin watched satellite when a man came on the screen and Jungkook very cheerfully stated ‘I love him!’ Looking at the man on the screen, the mans smile resembled a heart.
Jungkook adds that he’s gay, well technically not open yet but gay, he quickly added. Jin finds it endearing and right before they fall asleep, Jungkook asks if they’re dating, Seokjin says yes.
Dating is put on a momentary hold, as Jin figures out what schooling he needed. He could’ve easily switched jobs and be what he was in his past life, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it because it would’ve been just painful.
So Seokjin is left with associates or bachelors or a masters in marketing. If he wanted to take his bosses offer, which he did. Because it was a fresh start. He ends up going with Bachelors in marketing because the other two didn’t satisfy him, this degree he was with way more people. But it took four years to graduate. Along with the fact, his boss said he’d be an assistant during that time with no pay, with those in mind he’d have to give up his second job.
“Four years isn’t too long,” Jungkook said, “I did four years and you took care of us.. now it’s my turn.”
Seokjin is grateful for Jungkook.
That’s what they decide on doing, Jin going to school while being an assistant. Jungkook eventually lands himself a job as a mechanic. He makes a pretty decent paycheck.
One night while making dinner, Seokjin asks ‘can I meet your grandma?’
“You want to meet her!?” Jin nods in response. Jungkook then gives him his brightest bunny smile yet.
To take time off to visit Jungkook’s grandmother takes a while. But eventually they make time, and they travel to the countryside where Jungkook’s grandma lives in a peaceful retirement home.
Obviously enough, they have a lot in common. Jungkook is completely in awe by just how much they talk; about life, love, and Jungkook when he was a child. Seokjin was an old soul after all.
His grandma then asks why Jungkook didn’t bring Seokjin around sooner, he says ‘he didn’t ask!’ His grandma tells him it’s his duty to invite him to the family, Seokjin sticks his tongue out at the boy. “your grandma is a smart woman.” He whispered to Jungkook. “You should listen to her.”
When night comes around, he asks how Jungkook kept his grandma in the retirement home. Jungkook said he still had money from his robberies, he saved up. Now he pays with his job.
When they leave, Jungkook’s grandmother tells Seokjin that he can call her grandma too. And he feels good, that he’s loved.
After that, the days flow past them.
And falling in love with Jungkook occurs.
It took a long while, because he was afraid of letting himself love another that wasn’t his past wife, and because Jungkook was a man. But he falls nonetheless. The love comes from how Jungkook makes breakfast in the morning, how he still flirted with him like the first time they met. How he smiled like a bunny, and how he took Jin to one of his lgbtq meetings and proudly showed him off, ‘he’s my boyfriend!’ Jungkook would say, and Jin would look at him with love. It’s how tired he would look coming home but still kept an upbeat attitude, it was how Jin would stay up late on the bed studying while Jungkook snored right beside him, and how each kiss felt like the first, with passion.
It’s how Jungkook says ‘I love you.’
“I love you too.” Seokjin finally says back. Jungkook doesn’t stop looking at him that whole night, like he just received the greatest gift of all.
When Jin turns thirty three, he asks Jungkook if they can celebrate big. All his birthdays before he didn’t care, just did something small but now he had a reason to celebrate. Jungkook asked why turning thirty three was so special. And Jin can’t find a way to tell him that, in his past life, he would’ve been one hundred years old. So instead he says that it felt special, in his heart.
Jungkook does his best to give Jin a big birthday. And he’s so grateful yet again for Jungkook.
After that, Jin eases up, tells Jungkook they can get a tree when Christmas comes around. They get one, and it’s small and a little dead because they don’t have the budget to buy a nice one, but it’s theirs. That’s all that matters.
When Jin graduates at thirty four, he and Jungkook celebrate by non alcoholic champagne and a makeout session on the couch. Where Jungkook is a little too handsy that Jin puts an end to it.
“Why do we have to stop? We’re together.. we’ve been together for so long?”
“I’m just not ready yet Jungkook-ah.” Jin was scared to be quite honest. A man's body was definitely different from a woman’s, he had no clue what he would be doing. He at the very least would like to be educated and do it when he’s ready, and he tells that to Jungkook. All of it.
The boy understands, ‘then I’ll wait.’
After that, when Jin gets a position with his bosses help, and he gets paid. They have money. Oh, do they have money. He and Jungkook decide one day they should leave the rotten apartment and move somewhere nice. It’s takes awhile to save up, but soon enough they buy a small home. Bigger than the apartment for sure, but it’s theirs.
Time progressed, and Seokjin and Jungkook talk about what they want as a couple. They both realize they don’t want kids, Jin’s reason being was that he missed his kids from his past life, (he doesn’t say that to the boy though, instead he makes up something.) Jungkook’s being that he just didn’t want them. Then after, Jin asked about sex, how Jungkook liked it with another man. The boy is obviously flushed but he tells Jin, in explicit detail and when Jin has questions, Jungkook answers them.
When Jungkook’s thirty third birthday comes around he asks Jin if they can celebrate big, like how he did. The request is too adorable for Seokjin, that he simply had to. He takes Jungkook out to a fancy restaurant, since now they had the money to do so and brings out a small box, a gold bracelet. It’s real this time.
“I’ve been saving up.” Jin told Jungkook.
The younger is simply amazed and places the bracelet on his other hand. “Now I have two.” Jungkook doesn’t take them off.
Later that night when they’re at home in bed, Jin kisses up Jungkook’s neck making him shiver. “Jin.. you.. you should stop..”
“Because.. I don’t want to have to take a shower..” indicating to finish himself off.
“Then let me help you..” Jin whispered in Jungkook’s ear.
The other however, moves to look at Seokjin, “what do you mean?”
Jin smiled warmly, “I’m ready.. I know it took a long time to get here..” he starts. “But I am, and it makes your birthday a lot more special.” Because it was special, and it embarked thirteen years of this life. “So? Do you.. want to make love?”
Jungkook smiles lovingly, “This whole time I’ve been waiting for you.”
When their bodies do finally come together in unison, and Jungkook’s moaning underneath him, he knows he’s fallen in love all over again.
“That was.. that was worth the wait.” Jungkook pants after, Seokjin agreed. “You.. you wanna go again?”
And like any couple that experiences their first time being intimate with one another, Jungkook and Seokjin can’t keep their hands off each other.
“Thought you’d never ask.”
Seokjin even surprises himself when he goes to Jungkook’s work, bringing him a lunch when he sees him in his work wear all sweaty. He can’t keep his hands off of him.
“I’m at work Kim Seokjin!” He hissed.
“I can’t possibly wait till home,” Jin pouted, a joke clearly.
“Too bad horny ass, you’re gonna have to.”
When Jungkook gets home, wanting to shower Jin doesn’t let him. They don’t make it to the bed, so they end up on the couch. Jungkook on his lap, riding him, while Jin’s hands roamed his boyfriends body. Hot moans in between.
“I told you..” Jungkook murmured, his head on Jin’s chest.
“Told me what?” Jin asked weakly, his fingers in the younger males hair.
“That you wouldn’t be able to keep your hands off of me~” Seokjin just laughed.
After their lust filled fest came to an end, they went back to their usual days. Where Seokjin still celebrated his daughters and wife’s birthday, he even celebrated their anniversary. Though it wasn’t a party, he would just buy a bouquet of roses for the house or buy take out. He still thought he could eat whatever he wanted.
On a rainy day, Jungkook gets a phone call. Jin looks over to him, a knowing look that said ‘who is it?’ But when there’s silence that fills the room, and Jungkook breaks down crying, something just clicks without having to be told.
The funeral that is held for Jungkook’s grandma is beautiful, the white lilies that were all around, and the distant relatives mixed with friends, Jungkook doesn’t feel so alone.
For the next couple of weeks, Seokjin would make sure Jungkook felt special. Holding him whenever he can, and taking him out. Telling Jungkook that he loves him, that he was loved.
When Seokjin is forty, Jungkook asked while they lay in bed why they never got married.
“The churches won’t allow it Bunny.”
“We can get married outside of a church,” Jungkook suggests.
Jin breaths out, looking to the man he fell in love with. “Jungkook, there’s nothing like being in a chapel, taking vows and reciting the ones you wrote in front of family and friends.. it’s beautiful..”
“What if.. what if the church never wants to marry us?” Jungkook hushed.
Seokjin knows from his past life that the church did open up to gays, allowing them to be married in the church but it happens when he’s old. “I have a feeling they will in the future,” it was all over the news when it happened, to do the calculations of timelines, Seokjin would be eighty in this life for when it happens. “Can you wait? Till then?”
“Until the church accepts gays?” Jungkook sighed. But nodded nonetheless. “I can wait.. I’ve waited this long,”
“What does that mean?” Jin smiled.
“That I’d wait forever for you..”
“Well, forever won't take long.”
“I know it won’t.”
When their anniversary comes around, of them becoming a couple, Seokjin buys a promise ring for Jungkook. When he gives it to him, Jungkook doesn’t take it off.
When Jin’s forty five, they go to eat out, where the elder gets fatty foods.
“I think you should cut down on eating so recklessly.” Jungkook commented.
Seokjin knew he ate good foods, knew he should quit but he just hasn’t. And he saw compared to them both, Jungkook was still fit and lean while he had a belly it wasn’t necessarily big but it was noticeable. “Is it because I’m not attractive anymore?” Jin asked simply.
“What? Jin how can you say that?”
The man shrugged.
That night, Jungkook praises Jin’s body, with his words, hands and lips.
After all these years, Jin still kept up with Bora. Through social media, of course. Because he just couldn’t seem to distance himself, he liked knowing she existed because it meant his old life was still alive.
But as he checked her account, he sees people had commented that she would be well missed. And Seokjin knows she passed on.
He falls into a saddened pit, Jungkook doesn’t know how or why because Jin won’t tell him. But like the angel he was, he did what Jin did when his grandmother passed on. Made him feel special, Jungkook told him he loved him, and that he was loved.
One night, he goes outside and cries it off. “Is this how it felt? When I passed away on you?” Jin’s words were directed in the sky, asking his Bora. He doesn’t get an answer, but after praying to move on, the days that follow aren’t bad. Soon enough he’s back to himself.
Seokjin is sixty five when he retires, Jungkook follows suit.
They decide together that they want to travel, they make arrangements and days before they’re about go Jin sees billboards with a word slogan. As a retired marketer he finds it strange, and when they’re stopped at a red light, Jin reads out what the billboard said. “Perhaps, we’re all trying to figure this out, just maybe, we don’t have to do it alone.”
“What?” Jungkook chuckled at him, Seokjin just pointed to the billboard.
“it’s kind of a weird slogan, what’s it for?”
Jungkook shifted to see the billboard then looked back to him, like he just figured something out.
The following day Jungkook takes Jin to an eye doctor. He knows he should go at his age, but it’s so sudden that Jungkook would have mentioned it before hand.
They leave with Seokjin getting prescription reading glasses.
In a few short days, they leave for their trip to LA so Jungkook can gawk at the stars. It’s also where Jin made arrangements on a rooftop, on the night of their anniversary. lights all around, and hoping the evening would have the perfect weather, it does. Jungkook is definitely surprised when he sees the outcome of it.
“Wha! Jin!” His eyes reveal everything, that he loves it. “You did this?!”
Seokjin nodded, and they eat on the rooftop. Jungkook thinks it’s over when they finish but when Jin’s slow body goes to turn on the speaker, the song that plays has Jungkook in awe.
Jin held his hand out, “will you dance with me?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
As their bodies swayed to the music, Jin sang the song as it ended.
“Take my hand.. take my whole life too.. for I can’t help falling in love with you..”
Jungkook has the biggest bunny smile on his face and Jin’s completely enamored.
“For I can’t help falling in love with you..”
The man kissed Seokjin in a loving embrace, “that was beautiful.. thank you..”
“No.. thank you.. for showing me that love.. still exists.” He whispered, kissing Jungkook once more.
When they get back, Jungkook puts Jin on a diet. They argue about it.
“I just don’t see why I can’t eat it?!” Talking about the Twinkie.
“You get heartburn after!” Jungkook retorted, “you think I like seeing my baby in pain?”
Seokjin tries the diet, for Jungkook’s sake.
He’s seventy five when he’s taking out the garbage and sees an ice cream truck hurtle on by, of course he goes to it and when he purchases an ice cream and the truck leaves, he sees a weird slogan on the back of the vehicle. He swears he’s seen it before.
As the days pass, them cooking breakfast and going out. Jungkook telling Jin that he can’t get off his diet, “Why?” He’d asked, and Jungkook would reply, ‘because you promised me my forever.’
Seokjin really does try the diet, but gradually his chest stings. And seemingly enough processed goods help the ache, maybe he should’ve been more strict with himself when he was younger.
One day, Jungkook asks Jin to come along with him, he does. The boy leads him to the park, they feed pigeons.
“I finally see why you liked coming here,” Jungkook smiled. Eyes dancing around the scenery, “it’s peaceful and calming.”
Jin watches Jungkook, how his eyes twinkle. “Yeah, it’s pretty beautiful.”
There’s a comfortable silence that comes, it’s gentle as the birds coo at their feet and the busyness of life just surrounding the park. It could be heaven.
“I’ve never stopped loving you, you know.” The boy suddenly says. “Everytime I look at you I fall back in love.”
The elder finds the boy’s words sweet, so he shuffled closer on the park bench. “Every time I see you I see a bunny.”
“I’m kidding!” Jin laughed, holding his partners hand. “I want you to know that I’ve always been grateful for you, even the times it doesn’t or didn’t seem like I was, I always had you to turn to.”
Jungkook turned his head to meet his stare.
“It took me a while, but once I fell in love with you, you wouldn’t have been able to get rid of me if you tried~” he playfully said.
“I could never get rid of you..”
Jungkook lays his head on Jin’s shoulder and sighed ever so gently. “When do you think our forever will come?”
Jin knows that the church has five years to go before opening up to the gays, “soon.” He says instead.
“‘Soon’ is pretty close huh.”
“Yeah, the closest.”
Jin can’t help but think, this life with Jungkook was beyond Justified and noble.
That night when they lay in bed, Seokjin holds Jungkook close. As the night went on, he’s awakened suddenly by the pain in his chest.
“Jung- Jungkook..” his hand tried to reach for Jungkook’s hand as his heart felt like it was going to burst. “Bunny-”
With a blink of his eyes, it stopped.
“Holy shit.. Jungkook..” a relief washed over him as he rolled onto his side, going to hold the boy. “Babe I was so scared for a second ther-” But Jungkook’s not there.
The room was dark, eyes barely able to function his surroundings. “Kook-ah?!” Jin yelled, his voice sounding different. This time as his heart raced, it was out of fear, not pain.
Getting out of bed, he bumps into something. Like he didn’t know his surroundings. Which makes him get out of the room quickly. “Jungkook!” When he stumbles out of the room. It’s not his. It’s a weird apartment and Seokjin dreads for what he thinks and he runs to the bathroom where he sees once again.
Chapter 9: 2.0
Standing in the bathroom, Seokjin can only stare at his reflection. He was young, again.
Not wanting to believe it he stumbles out of the bathroom. Eyes scanning the apartment he mutters out a ‘no.’
The place was covered in dark wood, minimal decorations on the walls and the couch was relatively small considering the size of the living room. This wasn’t home, Jin wouldn’t make it so.
Bora nor Jungkook were here-
Searching the place, unlike last time he tries to find a phone. When he finds one, it’s a cordless receiver, and he quickly types in Jungkook’s phone because he remembered it by heart.
The phone number you have dialed does not exist
It was in the future, obviously it wouldn’t exist. Or- what year was this?
Setting the phone down, Seokjin looked around, going back into the room when he finds a wallet quick to open it, he sees that on the i.d it’s 2012, the year was new but he was still twenty five.
“No! I’m not doing this!” He yells out to the void hoping the god forsaken voice can hear him.
Unlike last time he makes sure he isn’t wearing something horrible before he makes a way out the door and stops, seeing keys dangle Jin grabs them and heads out.
When he gets outside, he sees how beautiful it is, how it was nothing like how he started in the past life. Not going to fall victim to this life’s curse, Jin pressed the alarm on the car key and when he hears a vehicle go off he runs towards it.
Turning it on, Jin races down the roads and to his old place. When he gets there, he runs in and asks if the room he occupied before is his or filled by another. The man who once screamed at him for rent says he’s never seen Jin before, and to get the hell out.
His next stop is at the diner he met Jungkook, searching frantically around he begins to ask if anyone knew Jungkook, no one answered. “How about Bunny!” Nothing.
His next stop is to Bora’s old house, and when he gets there, she simply doesn’t live there.
“You better fucking stop this..” Jin says, his voice shaky as he goes to the police station. Filling out a missing persons report, two of them.
“I’m telling you! His name is Jeon Jungkook!” Seokjin repeated.
“There’s no Jeon in our system..”
This was wrong, there was something horribly wrong happening. “Wh- what about Bora.. Bora Lim..”
The typing of the keyboard clicks and the worker goes off to make a call, when they came back they’re stating she’s fine.
“That’s not information we’re allowed to give out.”
“How old!” Jin yelled, everyone who was in that room turned to face him. Eventually he does get his answer, Bora was just a preteen.
Walking out the police station, he fumbles with his key as he tries to get inside the vehicle. Almost giving up when he remembered, Grandma.
Racing down roads once again, he digs through his mind to figure out where the retirement home was and he swears he remembers but when he gets to the countryside where his mind takes him. The building isn’t there, it’s just trees.
There’s shock that runs course in his body.
Jungkook, he couldn’t find one trace of the boy. His bunny smile would never be seen again. He couldn’t even see him if he wanted to, and Bora? She was a kid, he wasn’t going to pester her like some creep.
“How could you!” His throat cracks as he falls onto his knees. “I did you’re stupid riddle! And I fell in love! What more do you want from me?!” Seokjin cried out, realizing he couldn’t keep his word. He couldn’t give Jungkook forever.
“I just needed five years!” He broke down. His chest heaving as he succumbed to the dirty ground, where he wouldn’t get off of until night fall.
When the cold bites at him, Seokjin wants to welcome the freezing chill to his body. That way he felt something other than his aching heart. But he sees his Bora in his first life, and a bunny smile in the second, and he knows it’s time to get up.
Jin goes back to the lifeless apartment.
Where he pulled out a pen and paper, completely drawn from it all and thinks. His hints.
He cries again, because he can’t take it. He was so happy, he allowed himself to be joyous once more. And just with a blink of an eye, it all vanished.
“You are really fucking cruel you know that?” He whispered to himself as he wrote down what can be possible hints. Jin didn’t know his eyes watered, he rubs at them, remembering he needed reading glasses. But that was the past life, he had good vision now. That’s when he realized as his eyes watered, while rubbing them he remembered why he needed reading glasses.
The billboard. The ice cream truck.
Once he remembered he looked up to the ceiling, “oh fuck you..” He let out softly, voice filled with pain. “In my first life I wrote letters and then I get the riddle through one? I read the paper and each damn page has the same riddle!” Seokjin gets up from his chair and now his voice is louder, “I become a marketer and you give me the riddle on a billboard! I become a fatass and you put it on the ice cream truck!” He yelled out, feeling his vocal cords go a bit strained. “Fuck you!”
He doesn’t want to have to do it all again. Live life all over, not without them. At least Bora existed, but Jungkook didn’t, not even his family. He’d never get to hear his playful flirting, or get in a heated discussion with him, Seokjin would never see Jungkook again.
With still, lifeless movements, Jin sits back down and writes what he saw on the billboard and ice cream truck a lifetime ago.
Perhaps, we’re all trying to figure this out, Just Maybe, we don’t have to do it alone.
The words are cryptic, and like the first riddle it involved Jungkook. He had to be justified and noble, this one however. Needed a person.
“I’m not doing it! I’m not going to try and look for someone with-” looking down at the paper, he saw the capitals. “P.J.M as their name! So fuck you!” Because why was it his duty to make some stranger have someone in their life? Because Jin was left alone, he had no one, again.
“I’m not going to do it, so fuck you and your riddles.” Seokjin keeps his word.
Jin tried to adapt to his surroundings, it didn’t feel like home although. But he couldn’t bring himself to go back to that run down apartment, because this time a bunny of a boy wouldn’t be there. So he stayed at the place he woke up in, finding out he has a bank account, with a decent amount of money held inside. He’ll be good for awhile.
Until he isn’t, and the rent is pretty high so he's left with no choice but to get a job. He becomes a waiter at a fancy restaurant. And life’s lonely, because all he does is work, eat, and sleep. Remembering a time where he had someone to love.
Three years easily pass by.
It’s October thirteenth 2015, the fourth year he’s been in this life and Jin doesn’t want to celebrate or do anything. He wants to forget. Which ends him up at a bar, where people offer to get him drinks, he takes them of course and he buys his own drinks. When he does decide to go home, he stumbles to his vehicle, knowing all too well not to drink and drive. But he thinks he can drive.
He’s on the highway, thinking he’s doing a relatively good job when he sees red and blue lights in his rear view mirror.
Pulling off to the side, he waits for the officer. When he gets a tap on his window, he smiles weakly at the man. His vision may be blurry, but he can tell the man is small and has black wavy hair or no, dark brown- now black- the colorful cop lights are screwing with his eyes.
“I said have you had anything to drink tonight?”
“Yeah..” Jin shrugged. “water.”
“I’m asking about alcohol sir.”
“What’s it to you?” The male slurred.
The man eyed him, clearly upset with his answer. “I need you to step out of the vehicle.”
Seokjin finds himself outside his vehicle, being told to walk in a straight line, he does but when he messes up he tells the officer it was because he was bi. (Well for one man but he doesn’t add that.) The officer doesn’t find it funny, instead he makes him blow into a breathalyzer.
“You’re coming with me, you can’t drive.” He says as he reads the test of the breathalyzer.
“I can. And I’ll show you.” Jin tries to hurry back to his vehicle when the small officer yanks him back rather harshly, and pressed him against the hood. “You’re pretty strong for someone so small..” he says drunkenly, but his words were probably not the best because soon the handcuffs are placed on way too tight making him hiss.
Seokjin ends up behind bars, there’s a homeless looking man sleeping on the bench so Jin doesn’t have nowhere to sit, so he stands up and hangs onto the bars. “I’m telling you! I don’t belong here! The riddle says!” He blurted out, mind not making sense.
He doesn’t know how long he’s waiting, but he did wake up the homeless man. Jin ends up telling him a lot of nonsense.
“Wait.. you had a wife and kids? But also had a boyfriend?”
“Correct!” Jin chimed. “But we were going to get married.. I promised forever..”
“So you cheated on you wife?”
“No! I lived two lives!” He said as if the man was stupid, when reality he didn’t bring that factor up. “This is my third one.. I have to find- what’s your name?”
“Oh well it’s not you.” Jin says absentmindedly. Having not even been trying to search for the person in the riddle for the past three years.
“So you’re alone?” The homeless man asked.
“What makes you think that?”
“You didn’t mention anyone in your third life.”
Jin doesn’t know what to say, but goes to sit next to the man and sighed. “That’s not true.” He smiled dumbly at the other, “I have you.”
After that they talk about the randomest things, some make Seokjin laugh the others he wonders how the homeless man was so knowledgeable. “Have you lived multiple lives?” He peered his eyes at him.
“What!” Jin sat himself up. “Tell me!”
“Well, I was a kid, lived a kid life then.. lived as a teenager, then a man with a loving home then to this one, a homeless one.. because I let my addictions get the best of me.”
It wasn’t what Seokjin meant but he nods and hugs the homeless man. “Ah thank you for telling me.”
He doesn’t know how long he continues to hold the man when the officer who took him in, opens the door and tells him to stand up. By this time, the alcohol in his system had begun to fade.
“Go, you don’t want to get into anymore trouble.” The man said.
With a sigh, he got up. The officer takes ahold of his wrists behind his back and leads him to a room.
“Where are we? I thought I was free?”
The officer sighed and sat across from him. Just staring at him, Jin stares back because he wasn’t going to let this officer one up him. Plus, he had all the time in the world. They have a stare down for a solid two minutes before the officer is the one to crack.
“Who are you?”
The question made him blink with confusion. “What?”
“Who. Are. You?” The officer repeated.
“Kim Seokjin.. the man of many lives.” Only two, but he spreads out his arms in a type of way like he was presenting himself. “Your welcome.”
The man looked pissed, because he gets up from his chair and looks in his eye at a closer distance. “You have nothing on you..”
“Lies!” Jin yelled out, “I have clothes on!” Obviously he wasn’t that drunk as before, but as an old soul, he was just getting his kicks. He hasn’t had them in a while.
The officers face becomes hard, soon he slapped the table. Making Jin look aimlessly at his hand, not frightened whatsoever. “Did that hurt?” Looking a little more, he noticed the wedding ring. Then he looks up, slowly and sees the name tag.
He couldn’t be.. his riddle, right?
Park didn’t seem alone, he was married. Surely a married man wasn’t alone. Plus, Jin didn’t even know if there was an M in the officers name.
“You're clean as a whistle! Cleaner even! It’s like you barely just exist.”
“What?” Now he was dumbfounded. “What does that mean?”
“For a moment there you didn’t even have a record.. then suddenly it just came up, showing just the minimal.. so who are you! Are you a spy-”
Seokjin bursts out laughing, something was eerily funny knowing that. He never did get around in searching his life in the past with Jungkook. He always thought he would but just never did. But knowing now that he didn’t have one made things funny.
It wasn’t, but he was in a delusional head state.
“A spy? Why’s that.. Park?”
The man is silent, moving away from him. Going to stand near the door and leaned against the wall. Again, just staring, like he’s trying to figure Jin out. “No family..”
Of course, Seokjin would have no family. In the past life and this one.
“Well.. what can I-”
They get interrupted by the door opening. An older policeman, tilting his head to get the officer out. “Jimin, hurry.”
Jimin. Park Jimin. PJM.
Was this really his riddle of a person?
As Jimin left the room, Seokjin thinks it over. “It can’t be him?” He then turned his attention to the ceiling, “he doesn’t look like he’s alone.” Sighing to himself, he looked at the door, “even if it is him.. I’m not going to do it.. and you can’t make me.”
Seokjin wants to keep his word.
The door opens up, and Jimin is leading Jin out to the door, while the officer says says to Jimin, ‘go home and relax.. it’s your birthday.’
Something about that statement brings him to an understanding. This was his riddle.
“Okay, you’re free.. go to the office to get your things and the number to get your vehicle from the tow company.” Jimin says in a monotone voice. Then turns to leave, and Jin watched him go.
“I’m still not going to do it.” He mumbled to himself.
Chapter 10: 2.1
The following day, he keeps telling the void, the voice he wasn’t going to do this again. He already did it and it made no sense. “I deserve to be in heaven!” Was his reasoning.
A week goes by and Seokjin tries to forget about Jimin, but each night becomes agonizing because he dreams of the police station. When he gets up to wash his teeth, he mutters to himself it’s too bad, no matter how many dreams he gets he’s not doing it.
He was tired, mentally. Emotionally.
When November rolled around, it brought too much pain because he thought of Jungkook how as they got older, the younger would get so excited for his birthday. The days of his wife and kids a fond memory, yet it still aches his chest when their birthdays came. Jin just couldn’t find himself to do it again, to get involved in someone else’s life, why should have to fix their problems.
He was angry.
One evening, he’s walking down the aisle of a convenient store. Not thinking anything of it, he goes in line and pays for his water and protein bar. Having decided to be on a healthy route, because he found out in his past life he died from a heart attack.
Jin likes to think Jungkook would be proud of him.
When he’s getting into his car, he just sits and opens up his bar, watching the sign on the road saying, ‘follow lane’ in it’s yellow neon light. He’s in his own world, it’s what he usually did on his days off. Just sitting out in his car watching the world from where he sat.
When he’s about to leave, he sees a small man very familiar. It’s Park Jimin. “You’re sick.” He says out loud. “I’m not doing it.” Going to start his engine to leave, it doesn’t start. “Oh fuck you..” it was perfectly fine, he knows how to fix a vehicle and keep it in check because of Jungkook, so he knows this is some weird trick the voice was doing to him.
He keeps trying to get it to start, it doesn’t.
When he hits the steering wheel out of annoyance, that’s when Jimin comes out. Jin watched as the male gets into his vehicle and slowly drives out. That’s when the vehicle turns on, “oh.. you want me to follow him?” Jin laughed, “too bad! I’d need a sign from God to do such a thing!”
Driving out of the parking lot, he takes a look both ways before going, but before he turns to leave the yellow neon lights now say, ‘follow.’
With a sigh, Seokjin follows Jimin.
Albeit it’s a little nerve wracking for him, surely Jimin would know if someone was following him? Right? Jin knows nothing about following someone other than the movies, and it makes his palms sweaty trying to keep a relatively safe distance without being caught.
He doesn’t know where Jimin is going until he stops at a small brown house. He watches the male walk in and Jin keeps driving down the block to not cause suspicion. When he turns around, Seokjin parks at the other side of the street. “Okay I’m here.. now what?” Jin asked in a whisper.
He sees the lights through the curtains turn on in some rooms, then shut off like someone left the room. Then the light goes on in the living room and remains on. An hour goes by and Jin has no clue what he’s supposed to look for. “This is a waste of time.. I have work tomorrow..”
Another hour, and the light in the living room goes off and Jin is left to believe that Jimin went to bed. Thinking it over, it seemed like one person lived here, sure there was a wedding ring on Jimin’s finger but no other vehicle, or if Jimin and his spouse shared it, it didn’t stop the fact it seemed like no one else was inside.
He starts his engine and goes back to his apartment.
After that, Jin doesn’t actively search for Jimin. This time it wasn’t out of spite of the voice, rather because seeing Jimin alone just brought out the fact that he was alone. How he missed his life before.
Seokjin is coming home from work, the highway semi busy when he sees a man pulled over on the side of the road. With that body frame and vehicle, he knows exactly who it is. Something in him pulls over, and gets out of the vehicle.
“Uh sir.. I’m gonna need to see your license?” Jin jokingly says.
Jimin turns around, and barely gives him a glance before looking back and realizing who he was. “What are you? Stalking me?”
Seokjin knows it’s an approach when people say it mindlessly, but for a moment he wonders if Jimin knows about that night when he followed him home. “Maybe..” he decides to play it off. “No, I saw you when I was heading home..” he points back to his vehicle with his thumb. “I’m assuming you need help?”
Jimin breathes in then out, deciding on if he wants help from Jin. Or, Seokjin sees it that way. “Yeah.. I can’t get the engine to work.”
“Oh.. just the engine huh?” Walking closer, Jin took a look at the engine and it’s motor, when he sees the belt loose. “Right there.. your belts loose.” He points to the problem. “Just wait and I’ll get my tools.” He says with a breath and heads back to his vehicle.
The thing about it was, Jungkook taught him everything he knows. Yeah he’s known how to semi fix a vehicle from his first life, like changing a tire, but because he was wealthy in his first life, if his car ever needed fixing he’d just take it to a mechanic. But Jungkook would teach Jin when they had the time to spare, and even bought him tools. When he’d ask ‘why? I can just use yours?’ Jungkook told him it felt better when you owned them, that you can say ‘I’ll get my tools.’ He was right.
Even as an old soul, learning from another’s perspective was quite nice.
Coming back, Seokjin had a box in his trunk that held his tools and coincidentally had a belt. Because of Jungkook, that boy filled his brain with everything and became a worry wart about vehicle’s and their potential hazards.
“Here we are..” Jin gave Jimin to hold the belt, “this is temporary, like it’ll get you home or to the mechanic and they’ll set you up.. so don’t go recklessly driving.” He preaches. A semi joke.
“Oh thank you.”
Jin gets to work with his tool to take the belt off, then sets it down to place the new one on. The process is less than thirty minutes, and the entire time he makes no conversation. Focusing on his task at hand, but neither does Jimin. He just doesn’t speak.
“All done.” Jin says as he picks up the old belt from the ground and hands it over to Jimin. “You’re free to go~” he doesn’t know why, but these police jokes were awfully easy to fall for.
“Thank you.. let me pay you.” Jimin says as he’s about to go to get money but Jin stops him with a wave of his hands.
“You saved me from driving recklessly, and I’ve returned that favor. So there’s no need.”
Jimin only nodded, “Well.. okay then.. see you around-” he looked like he was trying to remember. He even snaps his fingers till he gets it. “Seokjin, the man who has nothing”
‘Well damn, he didn’t have to say it like that.’ Jin thought to himself.
“On him.” Jimin added. Why there was a long pause in the middle was beyond him.
“Right.. well see you Jimin..” he waved weakly and turned away back to his vehicle. Only when he’s about to open up his door, he hears Jimin call out.
“You know any good mechanics?”
Seokjin stills, looking back at the man. “I know one..” Jungkook, but he didn’t exist in this world. So he tells Jimin where Jungkook once worked. And with a nod of the other, Jimin heads out.
Seokjin watched the other drive away in the comfort of his vehicle, tapping the steering while with his finger pads. “You’re not going to let me go.. are you?” He whispered to the void. Speaking on the riddle. Even so, Jin finds himself driving to his place now called home.
It’s not until a few days pass and Seokjin is running around at his work. It was a busy day to say the least, every waiter was on their toes trying to serve almost appearing frantic while maintaining a poise and delicate atmosphere.
Jin had caught up with his section, his tables were content for the time being when a coworker asked if he could help him with his. Being free and liking his mind occupied, he nodded simply and went to where his coworkers tables were when he saw Jimin. Alone.
He doesn’t know why, but it makes Seokjin stop and heart buzz with something he was far too familiar with. Being alone. Having no one, and he doesn’t want to attend to the officer with his thoughts alone. However, another part of him kicked in as he somehow finds himself walking toward the male.
“How’s your evening, sir?” Jin started as he bowed slightly, the standard for this restaurant. “Find anything worth your appetite? Or,” he looked at Jimin as the male finally looked up from the menu. “Still need time?”
Jimin is almost just as surprised to see him, well Seokjin thinks he sees it on his face. And it takes a moment for the other before his eyes soften. “You’re everywhere suddenly?” Jimin remarked.
Jin rolled his shoulders, merely glancing around before looking back at the officer. “Maybe I’ve always been here, and you never noticed.”
Shaking his head, Jimin positioned himself properly to peer at the man. “No I saw you.. earlier,” he pointed his finger up and waved it around lazily. “You were running around, which makes it so- I saw you first.” Stating as if it was an award winning move, Jin laughed and pulled out his notepad.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you’re flirting with me officer?” He was clearly joking, but not a good joke to say the least as the look on Jimin’s face appeared lost.
“N- no I.. that wasn’t”
Jin smiled, “I was joking, you’re all good.” He even winked, playfully so as he started to chuckle. “What- can I get you?” Asking in between his laughter, he bit onto his bottom lip to contain it. For an unknown reason, it was just funny.
And it felt good to smile.
“Uh..” Jimin shook his head as he peered at the menu once more, “what do you recommend?” Then he looked back up. Blinking almost innocently as he waited, and now that Seokjin saw the look there was an almost tired expression in the man's eyes. That it had Jin lost himself, it was as if he was looking into a mirror.
“The.. the special today.. starter soup, main course; chicken breast wrapped with bacon, glazed on top with a gourmet sauce. Shallots on the side.” He started off slow and unsure, but during the process Jin regained his attitude he kept for work. “That’s what I’d recommend. I’m a simple man and that had me soaring.” Which was true, it had been the special one night last month and it was his favorite.
“I’ll get that,” Jimin said with a small hum as he placed the menu closer for Seokjin to grab with ease.
“Sounds great! And are we going to have wine tonight?” Jin asked.
Which Jimin swallowed and leaned in ever so gently, “there’s an arrangement made.. those will answer.”
Seokjin apologizes as he takes the menu, and states his starter will be out in a moment. And when he leaves to the back, putting Jimin’s order in, he asked his coworker what the arrangement was? Because it was unclassy for such a thing to occur, but when Seokjin gets his answer he wished he hadn’t.
It was an anniversary celebration.
It would’ve been fine, nothing to think too much about. However, throughout the night as Seokjin went back to his section, he’d look over to see if anyone had joined the officer. But, Park Jimin was alone.
Just like how he was.
And it was beyond sick. Because there was an epiphany that sparked within and Seokjin knew, just like the life he shared with Jungkook about being justified and noble, Jin had to live out the phrase out in this one as well.
Whatever the riddle meant, he couldn’t do it alone. So as Jin walked back home, shoulders slumped he knew finally what it meant. As he opened the door to his place, the quiet nature it had been for three years he knew. He couldn’t live this life alone, and Park Jimin couldn’t either. “Why me?” He asked out loud, never once getting an answer as his voice broke. “Why?”
When he falls asleep that night, Jin doesn’t dream of a police station nor a small man’s physique. No, instead he dreams of a boy with a bunny smile.
‘Live’ Jungkook had whispered, cupping Seokjin’s face.
At least Jin liked to believe it was Jungkook, but the face was just too blurry all he could fathom to picture out was the man's lips. ‘I can’t.. not again’ he uttered back, sounding defeated.
‘For us, for me?’
‘What?’ The statement had Jin taken aback.
‘You promised forever.. celebrate big.. for us.’
Before Jin can ask what he meant, or to stay with him, he wakes up. Tears puddling his vision.
“Okay.. okay Jungkook..” one more year. The man would’ve been eighty by then in his past life. He can live the way Jungkook had asked, invite people for an unknown wedding and make up an excuse just say it’s a party. Jin can do that.
That’s exactly what Seokjin did. He slowly but surely began to initiate conversation with his peers at work. Finding out some of the kids working there were going to college, or that the cooks had always dreamed to work at the high end restaurant.
These were real people. They had to be, how they worked hard yet joked around and occasionally screwed up. They were real and Jin hadn’t realized how much he missed.. feeling real with other people.
And when his birthday rolled around, he asked his coworkers if they would like to celebrate with him.
One more year, he thinks to himself as he blew out the candles his friends had put onto the birthday cake.
The night seemingly goes good. Some drink a little too much, which ends up Jin waiting inside the police department. The place he’s been dreaming about for far too many nights.
There’s something in him that hopes he doesn’t see Park Jimin. But something else happened when he finally gets to pick up his friend from the drunk tank, a flyer.
Stating that they were looking for a police clerk.
“Seokjinnie~” his friend slurred, “Thank you! You’re my best friend..”
Nodding along, holding onto the man his eyes remain on the paper. One more year, he thinks. And finally he has the courage to embark on his riddle. “As my best friend, should I become a worker here?” Jin asked, pointing to the flyer, and the man nods enthusiastically.
“You’ll be like the dramas! All cool and stuff”
“Yeah..” is all Jin can say as he leaves the police station and takes his friend back to his own place. And it meant, he was going to be seeing a lot more of Jimin.
Chapter 11: 2.2
When Seokjin woke up the next morning, He makes breakfast. Something quick and easy; oatmeal and coffee as he sits down in front of the computer he supposedly owned but never once used.
It’s where he makes a resume. Stating what he can bring to the table, and from the looks of it just made the cut. Graduated high school, and he had pretty good work skills. He was a marketer in his past life, he knew how to get people's attention if need be.
Once he’s satisfied with his resume, Jin prints it out. Placing his dishes in the sink then takes a shower. Completely ready to go, he heads down to the police station and hands in his resume.
The worst that can happen is that they reject his application. Even then, it wasn’t so bad. With that in mind, Seokjin turned around about to head out when he’s faced with Jimin.
Wearing his uniform with a designated work coat, holding a coffee and what appeared to be a brown bag that held assumingly a donut. Only assuming that by how the light hit the bag, revealing the circular shadow that had a hole in the middle. Although it could be a bagel?
“What the..” Jimin muttered out, coming to a halt as he eyed Seokjin.
Seokjin tucked his hands in his pockets, acting unknowing as he stared back.
They probably stare at each other longer than they’re supposed to. But how Jin saw it, they both knew one of them would crack but all Jin had was time. So he wasn’t going to be the one that spoke first.
“You’re definitely stalking me.” Jimin stated as he took a sip of his coffee.
“No way, I didn’t even know you worked here?” Jin joked, albeit his tone sounded serious.
“Yeah right, with all those cheap jokes of my line of work? You definitely remember I work here.”
Jin shrugged. But smiled soon after, “But it seems like I left something on you.. my jokes, how do I know you’re not stalking me to hear more of them?” Jimin looks appalled, his look alone was telling Seokjin that ‘it doesn’t work like that.’
But Jin finds it all to funny, his famous laughter ripples through and he’s toppling forward. Hands on his knees, “I- I’m going to get a restraining o- order on you!” Standing up right, a hand on his stomach because it hurt from laughing too hard, his other hand wiped at his eyes. “So you don’t get the privilege of hearing my beautiful jokes.”
It feels so good, to just let loose. To not be so angry at this life, and at Jimin. It wasn’t the mans fault per say that he had to live another life. Jimin didn’t even know he was apart of something bigger, and because of that Jin couldn’t be putting his passive aggressive resentment on the officer.
“Don’t worry.” Jimin just breaths out as he makes his way past him, “I don’t want to hear them anyways.”
That statement however had Seokjin scrunching up his nose, “well that’s just rude. And if I get the job you’ll have to hear them!” Stating mostly to himself, he turned to the entrance when he hears a faint ‘wait!’
“Hm?” Jin rolled his shoulders, further indicating his hum as if saying ‘what is it?’
“What..” Jimin shifts his weight on one leg to the other, fidgeting almost. “What job?” Asking nonchalantly, Jin can see through it. And he smirked.
“Here, big boy.”
That has Jimin turning his head to the receptionist and the woman gives a small nod. Which has the male huffing out an audible outtake of breath.
And it has Seokjin leaving the premises.
It also has him thinking on how to go about Jimin. Surely he had to befriend him, right? Perhaps get him to go out, make friends? But it has him stumped. Why couldn’t this be easy like it was with Jungkook? The bunny had been the one following him everywhere Jin went, now it was the opposite in this one. Jimin was stubborn and alone and..
And completely like him.
Seokjin was Jungkook in this situation.
It made Jin smile as he turned on the engine of his vehicle. Being Jungkook wouldn’t be so hard, he had lived with the male practically the day he woke up. And the fact he knew the man inside and out, this would be easy. Right?
Although when the week passed by, focusing on his work as a waiter he’s surprised to receive the call at the police department. He has an interview at nine on the following Monday morning.
As he tells his peers at his work, they congratulate him. Telling Jin that he’ll get the job. That they’d be foolish to not accept him, like friends would say. It makes Jin shoulders slump and chest ache, his friends were pure and kind. Something he hadn’t known he missed.
Maybe venturing out wasn’t so bad.
Come Monday morning, Seokjin wore his best suitable attire as he attended his interview. As the records show, Jin had a clean slate. Almost too clean as Jimin had put it that one day. However there was one thing on his record and that was when Jimin brought him in. The interviewer does press upon the matter, and Seokjin simply stated that on that particular day it was a horrid time long ago.
“But I’m different now, that day doesn’t affect me anymore.” It was the day he was brought to this world. Four years now.
“Are you sure?” She asked, while also adding that when the day comes up again would he be okay?
Seokjin just knows somewhere in him that he would be, “Yes.”
The rest of the interview goes swell he even throws in some light humor which had the interviewer laughing. She was a slight older woman with glasses on the bridge of her nose, her name was Ji Woo.
“It’ll be a pleasure to work with you, Kim Seokjin.” She held out her hand, Jin on the other side tilted his head at the gesture and blinked.
“You mean.. I got the job?”
Seokjin is sputtering out nonsense before taking Ji Woo’s smaller hand for a firm handshake. “Thank you, I look forward to working with you as well.” He even bowed to show his gratitude. Once he was escorted out of the room, Jin helped himself out to the main entrance after of course getting a few added details. That he would start in a weeks time, he would’ve started sooner but Seokjin had to finish with his other job.
With a breath, he began to head out. Going to his vehicle he hopped in and just sat there. Smile soon faltering he looked around him, catching the details of the parking lot. The police station, this was the start of the riddle. “I got the job Jungkook..”
He knew without a doubt, Jungkook would be happy. And it was almost funny, in a sickening sour way that Jungkook once mentioned on wanting to become a police officer. Who knew Jin would have to work with one in the end?
“I’ll give you forever..” while working on his new riddle, on Jimin. That was the plan, he hadn’t had one till now but Seokjin was going to invite the smaller male to his birthday. So that meant becoming his friend and getting Jimin out there to make some of his own. It shouldn’t be hard, right?
As the days past, the week soon coming to an end Seokjin had gotten each of his coworkers number. Telling them that just because he was working for the law didn’t mean they had to stop breaking it. A cheap jab, but can he do? He liked his small jokes, and the others found it funny.
After saying goodbye to his job he had for almost four years now, he said hello to his new one as a police clerk. Jin had gotten up early that Monday morning, to wash up and dress accordingly for the job.
Black slacks, a navy blue button up, it seemed appropriate. Placing his coat on, he then left to work. Of course stopping for coffee, Jin then entered the building and saw Ji Woo at the front desk. “Hello, good morning.” He smiled as he stepped closer.
Ji Woo smiled back then pointed to the door. “Come along back, Seokjin.” With a nod Jin hurdled to the back.
Looking around, the new scenery was something to take in. Nothing too special, it was a bit dirty. Like the life of the law was just moving too fast behind the door from the public to really keep the place sparkling. Along with the years the building was taken on, it was like any place with dust just barely noticeable on some surfaces. The smell wasn’t horrible per say, it was just the fact that If this line of duty had a smell, the rug omitted it.
Taking a sip of his coffee, Seokjin headed to Ji Woo. “H-”
“Your coat, there’s a backroom- a break room. Here I’ll show you.” The woman got up from her seat and lead the way to the backroom, Seokjin easily following her as he peered around the place. There was some doorways to other entrances, he knew one led to some type of drunk cell. He recalled it the day he met Jimin. Other than that, the building would be something he would learn in time.
“Here we are~” Ji Woo sang, “there’s lockers over there, those are the officers. Some use them, some don’t.” She shrugged, then pointed to another small litter of lockers, “these are for us,” they had names on them, Seokjin reading them briefly as he saw one blank.
“This one?” He asked, leaving out ‘is mine?’ But the other seemed to have caught it and smiled.
“That’s yours, you can put your things in there.”
Which was what Seokjin did, setting his coffee down he took off his coat and hung it inside the locker. After closing it, Ji Woo slid on a name tag. Stating he was officially part of the crew. “Thank you” He cooed back.
Ji Woo then stated everything in the backroom, pointing to the fridge, the couch, basically everything Seokjin would’ve guessed what it could be used for was what Woo had mentioned it to be. But he listened with ease, nodding along to show that he was paying attention. As she continued on, Jin had cuffed up his sleeves to his forearms before picking up his coffee.
Taking sips from the paper cup, Ji Woo then lead him around to the basic necessities. Just the places Seokjin would find himself in the days or hours to come, like the filing room and the storage room. The computers, but the one computer he was told he’d be using the one the most was the front. He’d be the one to greet people, for the most part at best.
“I know this is a lot to take in, but it’s quite easy once you get the hang of things around here!” Ji Woo chimed, the tone she used and expression that held on her face was something Jin had to admire. It was someone who worked in this line of work for far too many years and enjoyed it.
“Ah, with you to help me? I’ll get the hang of everything in no time.” He mused, a playful look on his face as he took a drink from his coffee. Tilting his cup back, that’s when he saw Jimin.
It was like a new dimension, a shift to finally be in the same place knowing the other couldn’t actually just leave. This was their job, however Jimin actually got to leave with his line of work but in the general perspective they were stuck. This was where Jin had to step in, “morning officer park.” He greeted with a slight nod of his head.
Jimin just eyed him back, the look was unreadable. Only because Jin couldn’t describe it. It was a mixture of things, and Jin felt like it was more bad than good. Although Jimin just gave out a huff and walked away.
A step forward, and three steps back it seemed like. The past times they’ve accidentally met up, it went along good Jin would say.
“Don’t worry about him, he doesn’t talk much. On good days he talks to me.” The statement alone had Jin breathing out.
One more year, he can do that. A reminder to himself. “Those must be the best days for him then?” He smiled, Ji Woo looked lost. “He gets to speak to the best worker here.”
The fond smile is what Seokjin hoped for, “oh hush you.” She waved him off, “now come along I’ll show you how to work the computer.”
“Okay.” Before Jin followed Woo, he peered to where Jimin went. With a sigh, he then proceeded to the computer.
Which was easy, Jin knew how to work. He was someone of his past life to work with computers, a marketer wasn’t just pitching ideas it was to follow through and test it out. He knew math and science from working with it all his life in his first, to say the least, Seokjin would consider himself a smart guy. He caught onto things quick.
By the afternoon, he knew how to properly manage the computer. The basics to say the least, filing here and there, Ji Woo was pretty impressed.
When lunch rolled around, Jin decided to just sit at the front desk. Not hungry, he played with one of the pens. In his own little world, hearing the door on the side open and close, he thought nothing of it when he saw something standing in front of him. Turning to the figure, it was Jimin.
“Why are you working here?”
“No ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, quite rude.” Jin pestered back, leaning forward to press his elbows on the desk. “But if you have to know, I’m a spy gathering intel.” Joking from what Jimin had mentioned the first time they met.
“I'm asking seriously.”
Sighing, he shrugged. “Okay.. well, seriously there’s this riddle, and it’s important because-”
Jimin sighed as he began to step back, obviously leaving the situation. But Jin was quick to blurt out, “wait!”
Swallowing thickly, he gathered his thoughts. Of course no one would believe the truth. They would think it was just some joke like Jimin just had, “I’ve.. always wanted to be working with the law.” Is what he came up with, the lie not settling well with his stomach.
Jimin held an unsure look, like he didn’t fully believe it. “And you just decided.. Here was the best place to work?”
“Well.. yeah?” Jin said matter of factly. Leaning back into his chair, “I grew up wanting to be a police officer but.. it didn’t work out. But while some are mighty with a sword I’m mighty with a pen!” He grinned happily, waving the pen he had in his hand. “Saw the flier and just knew, this was my calling.”
The officer is taking the information in, deciding on whether or not to believe what Seokjin had to say.
Only staring back, Jin blinked a few times. “You? why are you working here?” He tried.
Jimin inhaled audibly and looked behind him, to Jin it was towards the front entrance. “I have to go.”
“Don’t let me keep you back, by all means.” Jin waved Jimin off. “I’ll see you at supper.” Releasing a mindless joke, he went back to twiddling with his pen. It wasn’t like friendship was built over a few hours. Plus from what Seokjin can tell, or so think, Jimin probably considered him a stalker. Which, in a way, wasn’t wrong? He did follow him that one day, but it wasn’t like he wanted too! The void or some sort had told him to.
‘Aish’ Jin thought. Maybe Jimin thinks he’s crazy, and if he did.. Jin wouldn’t blame him.
Looking back up, Jimin is still there. “Can I help you?” It was what Jimin needed to snap out of whatever it was and shake his head. Watching Jimin leave, Jin sighed.
He was already tired, Seokjin wasn’t cut out to be Jungkook. If he had it his way, he’d have just lived out this life alone not bother a single person. But that’s what made the riddle work out he supposed. Jimin wanted it too, but why did he have to be the one to initiate anything?
One more year, Jin reminded himself.
As the day came to an end, Jin planned out what he’d try to do tomorrow. He’d be casual, build up a budding friendship with Jimin.
It resulted buying three coffees, one for him, Ji Woo and Jimin.
Bringing them to the building, he had left the day prior asking if Ji Woo would want a coffee the next day. After getting down what she preferred in it, he had remembered. Bringing it to her when he got settled, “oh thank you, Seokjin. You’re too kind.”
He shrugged, “We clerks gotta stick together.” He winked playfully. After some time of speaking, Jimin had stepped in. Walking past him and Ji Woo and to his locker, which Jin picked up the third coffee and walked over to him.
“Morning.” He held out the cup. “I got you one.”
Jimin was in the midst of stuffing his things away when he gave Jin a mere glance and continued his actions. “I don’t drink coffee.” He muttered out.
Now that had to be a lie, Seokjin could’ve swore he saw the man drinking some before. “You don’t?”
“No, not from strangers.” Jimin had added.
It was like a jab. “Oh.”
Taking a sip of his own cup, he turned around and set the extra coffee in the fridge. “I’ll just have it for later.” It wasn’t like the end of the world if Jimin rejected him. “How about this?” He pointed to the coffee machine, “Like coffee from here? Because I can brew some.” Jin offered, facing Jimin as he slid his free hand into the pocket of his jeans.
Jimin just shook his head, “there’s a certain way I like it made here. You wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The corner of Jin’s lip twitched into a small grin. Jimin was like a child, this game they were playing could easily have them both being petty. But if this was going to end up anyway that he’d like, Jin had to take what Jimin threw out. Plus, with all the knowledge Seokjin had, and time, it would be easy.
“Well, why don’t you show me?” Laying out his arm in the direction of the coffee maker he took another sip from his cup. “I’d like to learn, I am new afterall.”
Watching Jimin cross over his arms, eyeing the situation he finally let out, “I don’t want coffee.”
Nodding, Jin put his free hand up in defeat. “Alright. No coffee from a stranger. Sorry.” Genuinely meaning his apology, Jin shifted his weight as he leaned against the counter. “Well, Jimin how was last night-”
“I have work to do.” With that Jimin left.
Ji Woo catching the entire scene just hummed out, “He just works, when he wants to he’ll initiate conversation. So don’t take it personally Seokjin.”
Humming out, he looked to the woman. “It’s okay, it doesn’t affect me. Not when you’re here.”
“Aish, are you always this kind?”
“Just to my friends.” Ji Woo seemed to like that response.
The day goes by and Christmas is brought up. Woo says they already did secret Santa, that they had already exchanged gifts at their staff Christmas party. But she added that she can get a gift for Jin, he tells her there would be no need. To also not worry about him that he had his own coming up, which he did. Some of his friends from the restaurant wanted to do something, they invited Seokjin to come along. Exchange gifts, the whole ordeal. Although, he only agreed with Jungkook in mind
But Jin did ask about Jimin, if he participated in secret Santa. Ji Woo said he did not.
It was scary almost, how similar they were.
By the following day; Wednesday, Jin tried to talk to Jimin again. And again, and again. Every attempt was shot out the window
It wasn’t till Christmas came, Jin worked on the day because life didn’t stop for a holiday. He did bring in a basket full of goodies, all store bought. After inviting all who worked to have some, he looked around for Jimin. It must’ve been obvious as one of the fellow police officers said, ‘he has the night shift.’
Mouth parting to an ‘o’ he then sparked conversation with his peers. Seokjin knew he was a funny guy, so to see how each of the fellow coworkers laughed at his older witty humor wasn’t surprising. It felt nice to make others smile.
With what was left of the treats, Jin set some to the side with a note. ‘Merry Christmas, Jimin’
It was Friday, the next time he assumed he’d see Jimin would be Monday. He hoped the smaller male took his offer.
When the day ended, Jin didn’t go home. No, he went to one of his friends house. The cook of his old job and he celebrated the holiday with him, some old coworkers and a few of his friends.
It was tranquil. To say the least. But all he could picture was a wife, two kids opening presents on an early morning. Another was, a man with a bunny smile enthusiastic about a bracelet. That’s what Jin longed for.
When Monday came, Seokjin did his usual routine. Bringing coffee for him and Ji Woo. After giving the woman his drink, Jin headed to the breakroom to set his jacket away. But when he got to his locker a note was stuck on his locker.
‘Merry Christmas, Jimin’
Was the note Jin had left, but the words added underneath were.
‘I don’t do sweets’
Now that was a lie, he saw Jimin eat a donut every other day. Perhaps it was from a ‘stranger’ that the other wouldn’t accept his offer. But now Jimin was being a pain in the ass, at least when Jin had Jungkook, he let him do what he pleased.
A sigh passed his lips as he tucked his jacket away. But if Jimin wanted to play, Jin knew the game. Taking the note off his locker, he quickly wrote down what he so desired and stuck it on Jimin’s.
Then he went to work.
Filing paperwork, Jin hummed to himself. Having been busy for almost thirty minutes when Jimin came into the room. Eyeing him for a moment, he went back to work, but Jimin set the note right in front of him.
The added words being; ‘is that why you don’t want to my friend?’ Indicating Seokjin was sweet.
“You think you’re funny?” Jimin asked gruffly.
Seokjin gawked at the note, blinking a few times before trailing his gaze up. “The funniest” he rolled out his words effortlessly on his tongue.
Jimin holds the eye contact. They remain silent for a time being. Jin decides to break the silence.
“Here’s-” But Jimin seemed to have had the same thought process.
“You go first,” Jin nodded. Going back to work as he occasionally stilled to look at Jimin.
“Okay. Well here’s the thing,” he started. “I don’t know why you’re making it your business to be in mine?” That has Jin freezing momentarily, knowing it was a figure of speech and not that Jimin knew he followed him home that one day. Seokjin really wished he hadn’t done so, it was eating at him during these types of moments.
“What do you mean?” Jin stopped completely to give the officer his full attention.
“I mean, leave me alone!”
Catching Jin off guard he scoffed subconsciously, “what?”
“I said.” Jimin walked closer towards Jin, “leave. Me. Alone.”
Now Jin was just tired, if he could he would. He’d leave this place and never look back, it wasn’t Seokjin’s choice to be here! Being Jungkook was actually a lot harder to be, damn. Now that he thought about it, was he this stubborn?
“How old are you?” He asked simply. Voice calm and registered.
“Why would that matter?” Jin knew Jimin had to know where he was coming from. If Jin was older, then Jimin would have to show his elder respect. So instead of answering he just gave Jimin a look. A knowing one. After sometime, Jimin just muttered out a grumbled ‘twenty six.’
“That wasn’t so hard now was it?” He began, “now.. I don’t know why my kind generosity is taken the wrong way with you? Everyone else seems to like me? So.. why don’t you?” Jin tried.
There’s silence that builds between them. All Seokjin is waiting on is an answer, but as Jimin stepped back he knew he wouldn’t be getting one.
“I would appreciate it if you let me be.” Is what Jin gets as Jimin left the filing room.
Watching the man go, all Jin can think is; ‘I can’t.’
Chapter 12: 2.3
New Years comes by rather quickly. The countdown is celebrated among friends at a party. The crowd is pumped, thrilled and even among so many, Seokjin feels alone. It was one thing to push through this life, but to encounter so many and befriend them was another. If he could have it his way, he simply wouldn’t.
Though even with his thoughts, the man couldn’t deny how good it felt to be around people. It was mixed emotions, but this was hard. Jin was alone again, and before he could speak hypothetically to Bora. It made his life easy, made things easier. But in this life, Bora was a kid and Seokjin was not going to ever pester a young teenager.
There was something calming about knowing she existed in this life however. At least she wasn’t erased from the world like Jungkook had been.
Jungkook. It was still so hard to think about him and the life they shared. Jin had thought that living that life with him would then lead him to heaven. Now he didn’t know anymore if after this one, what would happen?
Walking into work, Jin had only one coffee in hand as Ji Woo had the day requested off. Seokjin knew however what to do when he got there. Although when he stepped in, he was asked to make coffee. Because they liked how he made it. With a nod, Jin helped himself to the breakroom, drinking his own coffee not caring where he was going because he trusted his footwork. However, when he turned sharp into the room, someone stumbled into him and Seokjin’s cup is squeezed between them.
The hot liquid running down his chest, Jin hissed loudly and quickly pulled the shirt away from his body.
“I’m so sorry!” A very familiar voice squeaked out.
Looking up Jin looked at Jimin’s scared expression, but he couldn’t think anything of it as he pushed through the room to set down the now mangled paper cup. “Get me something to wipe up?” He ordered, or so, sounding like one because his chest was burning.
As Jimin hurried to do just that, Jin began to undo his white button up. Now ruined, he knew he couldn’t wear it but it’s not like he carried an extra shirt?
As the shirt comes off, Jin sets the material on the table. That’s when Jimin came and gave him some pieces of paper towel, “Seokjin, I’m really sorry- I wasn’t paying attention-”
“Please” Jin cut him off, wiping at his bare chest with caution as it stung. “I wasn’t paying attention either, two way street. You’re good.” He winked mindlessly. Then sat down on one of the chairs provided, looking at his chest there was a patch of skin that screamed red and had him sighing. “You think lost and found has a shirt that’ll fit?” Jin weakly chuckled, turning his gaze to Jimin who had his eyes on his chest.
“Uh.. no.” Stating simply, Jimin rushes around once again but Jin paid no attention as he peered at his shirt. Maybe he can get away with just wearing the soiled material?
“Here” Jimin came back, holding onto some ointment as he stood in front of Jin.
Watching curiously, Jin had no voice nor mind to tell Jimin to stop. It was as if it was happening in slow motion, and before he knew it Jimin was on his knees. Settling closer to Jin.
“You don’t..” seeing as Jimin had a glove on already, he shook his head. “You don’t need to. I’m a grown man, I can do it myself.”
Jimin didn’t seem to listen as he poured the substance onto his fingers. “It’s a burn ointment. It’ll take a second and then I’ll find you a shirt.”
For some odd reason, Jin let’s it happen.
Settling his gaze on Jimin, the male's face is preoccupied with the task at hand. Brows furrowed as he smeared the cooling gel onto his chest, “if it starts to burn, I’ll leave this on the counter so you know where it is. Just put some more on alright?” Jimin stated, voice gentle as he worked. His actions were gentle, touch soothing as if his hand that rubbed his chest was saying sorry.
Seokjin couldn’t explain it if anyone asked, but his own eyes burned. With tears.
“What’s going on here?” An officer asked, moving around them to help himself with making the coffee. “Jimin hurt you?” He asked towards Jin, “damn Jimin, I knew you didn’t like that guy but hurting him?” He scoffed.
Jimin just breathed out through his nose, “it was an accident.” Saying with grit between his teeth. Catching onto it, Jin just blinked away at his eyes and laughed.
“Funny thing, came in here guns blazing. And spilled my drink on myself.”
“So why is Jimin rubbing your chest?”
It was like Jimin had just realized what he was doing, hand freezing he stared for a moment and looked up. Then retracted his hand away.
“I freaked out.” Jin added, “it was so hot and Jimin here.. kind guy he is, just.. was there. saw me freaking out, and I asked for help. Which he did!” He then got up from his seat and waved his arms out. “Now look at me? Brand new.” He smiled smugly for show.
“Oh.” The man nodded, then eyed Seokjin’s body frame. “You’re lean. Work out a bit more and you’ll get some abs.” Like any typical guy would say, he patted Jin’s shoulder as he walked out the room. After beginning the coffee to brew.
Now, Jin was more than content with his body. He didn’t need abs to fulfill any thing. Lived two full lives to know where he was physically was pretty nice. And he knew from one life, eating good was far much better. But because of that, he hadn’t gotten to live very long.
“I’m sorry if I overstepped. I didn’t realize I was touching you. I mean, I did but.. an instinct came in and I had to help.”
Turning around to face Jimin, Jin sighed. “It’s okay.”
“No. I should’ve asked. Plus in the workplace.. no man wants to be seen in such a predicament.”
Tilting his head, Jin scrunched his nose. Taking ahold of his cup and tossing it into the garbage. “And what’s that?” He asked.
“Like..” Jimin waved his hands around. Indicating what had occurred just moments before.
Pressing his tongue into his inner cheek, Seokjin was puzzled. He knew where Jimin was coming from, but it honestly wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t for him at least. Jimin on the other hand. His reaction was what made Jin come up with some small lie to the other officer. “Jimin. I said it’s okay, and I mean that. Plus..” Jin rolled his shoulders, “it’s not the first time I received a man’s touch. So I think you’re fine.”
There’s a flash that flickered in Jimin’s eyes. It was quick but Jin had caught it, but hadn’t held onto it long enough to know what it meant. “So this shirt you spoke of?” He grinned, “it’s kinda cold? And I don’t think any more people would like to see a red, gel covered chest.”
“That’s not.. fair, we could.. ask?”
The wording sounds unsure, but Jin knew a joke when he heard one. No matter how it was said. Jimin was joking with him. Even his eyes gleamed playfully.
“Right,” he breathed out into a chuckle. “Lets go and ask then.”
Jimin gave a hint of a smile as he shook his head, “I’ll go do that. Stay here.”
Jin remained put. It takes about five minutes when Jimin returned. A plastic wrap, within it held a shirt. “This is all I could find last minute.” He said as he pulled out the dark navy blue police shirt out. “Now you can live out your dream, for a while.”
Scanning Jimin’s features, Jin’s eyes go soft. Even if it was a lie, Jimin remembered his fake story on wanting to be a police officer. “Thanks Jimin.” Taking hold of the material, he carefully slid it on, making sure not his rub at his chest. Although it would be no prevail as the shirt would soon cling to the gel. “Ah, just fits, thanks.. again.” He chuckled.
“No problem.. officer Kim.”
Now it was weird. This must be Jimin’s way of pitying him. Or maybe, Jin finally got to break down a small part on Jimin’s walls that were built. Maybe, Jin let himself believe the latter even for a moment. With a nod, he began to button up the shirt.
Now with no coffee, he’d have to make some from the brew that was being made.
“I’ll just leave this here then..” Jimin went over to set the gel on the counter. Tapping his hands together, Jimin paused. It looked like he was trying to figure out something to say, but instead he lets out a hum and heads out the room.
Maybe now trying to be Jimin’s friend wouldn’t be so hard now.
But it had been, not because Jimin cut him off. Rather the universe had them working different schedules. Jin during the day, and Jimin during the night. It wouldn't be in two weeks time Jin would see Jimin again, but at this point Jin had grown used to not seeing Jimin. He hadn’t expected to when he got to the breakroom, beginning to make coffee, back turned away from the door he hummed to himself.
That’s when he heard a cough, not thinking anything of it, Seokjin keeps doing his own thing when finally he hears; ‘how’s your chest?’
Hands coming to a stop, Jin finally turned around. There he was, Jimin leaning against the counter with his arms crossed. It’s actually nice to finally see him, although he appeared tired. “No ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, do you really wanna see my chest that badly.” He teased. But Seokjin shrugged no less, seeing that Jimin didn’t budge. But Jimin’s eyes held care within them, that was something. “It’s okay. I’m okay.”
“That’s good.” Jimin murmured out, pushing himself off the counter and moved to where Jin was. Working beside him, which had Jin turning to look at his actions. Watching how he made coffee, it was pretty easy. It was a premade mix, just pour it in the coffee strainer and hit start. But how Jimin had done it, it was with ease and he added a bit of already ground mix into it as well. It smelt of hazelnut. “I was worried.” He concluded after he had hit start on the machine.
Jimin had been worried? That meant the officer had been thinking about him once or twice. It meant that maybe Jin had been right. Perhaps befriending the smaller was a possibility now. “Ah, you shouldn’t have been.” He offered, “I’m a tough man”
“I can see that.” Jimin rolled off his tongue, and peered up at him. Jin looked down to meet his gaze, “so there’s no mark?” The boy pressed on the matter.
“There’s no mark.” He breathed softly out. Confirming that it really was okay. “It hurt for a day but otherwise, I’m good.” To see the kindness radiating off Jimin was new, but welcoming. The male had been so stuck up, this look was refreshing and Jin hoped Jimin felt refreshed too.
Jimin holds the stare, then he stepped away. “The coffee tastes better, in my opinion like that.” Pressing his lips together, Jimin then walked out the room. Watching him leave, all Jin could think was; ‘game on.’
After that, speaking to Jimin wasn’t horrible as it once was. Every time he’d try before, Jimin would sluff him off or just keep on walking. Now though, when Jin would stop Jimin to tell him a joke or ramble about his previous evening, Jimin would stop to listen. But that was it, the officer would hold eye contact with Jin and once he was done, Jimin would be off his way. It was a start, a small one but better than before. But each time Jin would talk to Jimin, he wondered what the man thought. Because he seemed to pay attention to what he said, he just never conversed back.
“He’s changed you know?” Ji Woo brought up at lunch one day.
“Hm?” Jin hummed, mouth full of food to properly ask ‘who?’
“Jimin, it’s subtle but.. he has.”
Thinking it over, Jin liked that. Walls were breaking slowly, the boy that was behind them would one day come out and reveal himself. Seokjin just had to work harder.
It’s March, Jin had fallen into work easily and comfortably. It’s rare for anything truly terrifying to occur, once they requested more units to a house hoarding drugs. Other than that, it was small things like speeding tickets, or vandalism. Nothing out of the blue really.
Jin’s doing paperwork, not completely at the back but in an area where his fellow coworkers can pass by. It’s when Jimin walked by, glancing at him, Jin started “this funny thing happened during the weekend”
“I’m actually quite busy right now. Can it wait?” It’s not said passive aggressively, more so that Jimin did have something he had to attend to. Seokjin nodded, watching Jimin hurry off.
But a coworker heard and asked ‘what happened?’
It resulted in Jin telling the story, he was with friends at an event. Some got a little drunk enough to act stupidly, and Jin had to be a parent as he hadn’t drank, hasn’t since that night he was taken in. But the way he told it however, seemed to be oddly hilarious as other coworkers gathered around to hear the rest of the story.
When it came to an end, Seokjin had a group of people laughing. Turning his attention away, he met the eyes of another. Jimin.
Now Jin had lived a life being a teacher to young college students in one life, having married a curious woman. Along with a second life, he lived and loved a man who expressed what he felt easily through his features and words, Seokjin could confidently say he could read facial features or looks. With Jimin though, he couldn’t always. Something about the other had Jin questioning him, he couldn’t read Jimin at times.
It wasn’t till lunch, Jin was eating in the breakroom. Occasionally sparking conversation with others as they passed. It was usually like this, Seokjin ate at times in the room. Some others would as well, but if he wasn’t here then he’d be out front, because he needed to be alone. Rarely, Jin went out to eat. Though today, he sat alone as he took his time eating.
It was a premade lunch, utterly healthy. If only he had ate like this before, he would’ve lived longer. Could’ve kept his promise.
In his thoughts, Jin hadn’t realized a chair was pulled out and someone occupied the seat. Eating now in his thoughts, too immersed in them he hears a clear of throat. Which brought him back to the here and now. To his surprise it was Jimin, Jimin never ate in here.
“So. That story?” He asked, not looking at Jin as he unwrapped his sandwich.
Registering what was happening, Jin took a drink from his uncapped water bottle. “No ‘hi’ or ‘hello’?” Not letting his features show he was surprised, it was like when a baby would fall down, if one acted like it was the end of the world the baby would cry out. If you didn’t, the baby would get up and keep going. Jimin in this case, was the baby and the end of the world, was the fact Jimin could get up and leave any second if Jin brought up the fact he was here.
Jimin again, didn’t budge. Instead began to eat his sandwich. Which, Jin knew would happen. Relenting, he gave in and retold the story. The other had a straight face the entire time, until Jin had said ‘then I got home, cried myself to sleep like a baby.’ That’s when the tormented man gave out the smallest hint of a laugh. A huff with a small grin on the corner of his mouth at best.
“If I had to deal with three grown adults drunk off their ass.. I would too.” Jimin then took a sip of his drink.
“Haven’t you though? Being a police officer and all?”
“What makes you think I don’t cry when I get home?” Jimin smiled, an actual smile. He was joking, and for some reason Jin felt enlightened by his smile. Maybe Jimin felt good to do so too. But even if it was meant to come off as a joke, something in Jin felt it a little more true. The only reason being, from the day he followed him home he was alone. Did Jimin cry himself to sleep some nights?
“I hope not,” Jin decided to say. “You deserve to be happy, even if you had a rough day at work.”
If Jimin hadn’t liked his words, or had, Seokjin couldn’t tell. There was a heavy wall on Jimin’s emotions that wouldn’t budge to the surface. Albeit, he made Jimin smile. Now that was something. “What about you?”
“What about me?” Jimin responded, licking his finger as some sauce from the sandwich had trickled onto it.
“Oh.” A beat or two is passed between before Jimin looked at Jin, like he was unsure. “Do you actually want to know?”
Digging into his salad, Jin nodded. “I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t, now would I?” Forking around in his bowl, he then brought some to his mouth and ate. Jimin on the other hand, sat there. This was a time Jin could read off Jimin, it was like he was pondering if he should tell Jin what he did.
“I ate chicken.” The officer started, “this one pojangmacha has the best, so I got some. It was Saturday and I was working but on Sunday.. I.. went to..” a breath, “karaoke.”
Karaoke? Jimin? Could Jimin sing? “What? That’s so cool-”
“Calm down, it wasn’t anything special.” Continuing to eat his food, Jin watched him as he ate his salad. “Just got there. Watched a few people and left.”
“That’s cool.. still.” Jin hummed, he didn’t sound enthusiastic only because he was just amazed. Whatever happened, had Jimin talking a lot. It was nice, it was like those few times of their accidental meetups. Jimin had been kind, in some way. But just like those times, had Jin feeling alone. But this time, he did have friends, but at times when with them he just felt more alone? “Any song you like to hear?”
Jimin shrugged, finishing up his sandwich. “Yeah but no one ever sings it.”
“Well, What is it?”
Jimin doesn’t answer, and Seokjin doesn’t press on further. Instead, Jimin brings up the gym. “I also went to the gym. I’ve been adding weights, getting tone. Have to be fit, or tough enough to take someone down if you have to in this line of work.” Which meant, Jimin was probably ripped.
“I eat healthy, but I don’t work out. I probably should.. just don’t want to.”
“If you do” Jimin comes off a little rushed, or suggestive Jin didn’t know what. “Decide to.. I can tell you what I do, have washboard abs in no time.” Stuffing his garbage in one hand, Jimin drinks his drink. “Not like you need them or anything, just if you want them.”
This was progress, and Jin didn’t know how to go about it. It was one thing to get turned down each time but this, this was another. “W- why don’t you show me?” Is what is blurted out instead. Because receiving this sort of treatment had Jin lost, slow, so to speak.
Jimin then got up, looking down at Jin. “Yeah, I can show you.” With that, he left.
‘Holy shit’ Jin thinks, at this rate maybe Jimin would actually attend his party?
Chapter 13: 2.4
May comes around, it wasn’t till then do Jin and Jimin actually get around to working out. Both had been busy with life, or schedules just didn’t match up. Or, that seemed to be the case. Seokjin never really brought it up again, neither did Jimin. After awhile Jin had thought the arrangement was one of those types of plans that both parties don’t actually intend on doing.
Seokjin was okay with that, he didn’t really like the idea of working out. But he did have to talk to Jimin more, which he did during the rest of March and all through April. On occasion Jimin would take an interest in the conversation, but more so than not, he just listened. It was like he was taking the information in, getting to know Jin in the world he spoke of and how he joked. Or maybe Jin was thinking too much on how Jimin appeared, the boy could very well be thinking of something else when he spoke. But Jimin was intelligent, and from what it seemed like, he put his entire attention on things or situations when they became of importance. So to think otherwise would be Seokjin’s misdoings.
On occasion, rarely Jimin would ask Jin if he had something planned. Those times usually made his eyebrows quirk up. Seokjin should’ve seen it as something more, but Jin had been busy. He’d have already mapped something out with a friend or a colleague. Trying to befriend them. But not all the time, sometimes Jin liked to be alone, away from the world. Those times he’d park his car in some parking lot and view the world in that setting.
Feeding birds on park benches just weren’t an option. It was too painful.
Coming up with an excuse for that although, Jin would just say ‘I have errands to do.’
It’s not till May 11th, that the question is brought up again. Jimin is standing off to the side. Sipping his coffee that smelt of hazelnut, “do you have anything planned in the coming days?”
Jin hummed, coming out as if saying ‘not really.’ “I have some errands here and there.. but..” he shrugged. “Free for the most part.” Giving Jimin a quick glance, he turned back to stirring his coffee. Hazelnut wasn’t the best option truth be told, to him it tasted like bitter happiness. But he always drank it when Jimin would make the brew, in a way, Seokjin wanted to connect with Jimin. “How about y-”
“I actually have something planned. I don’t work Friday- through the weekend actually and I was going to head to the gym those days. Was thinking maybe.. I can show you then.” He offered, “my workout routine.”
It’s then that Seokjin realized that Jimin had been asking his plans for this particular reason. He hadn’t caught onto it because, every time he’d accidentally and unknowingly sluff Jimin off, Jimin would just state how he’s busy as well. Jin thought the officer was just making light conversation. If he had known Jimin was thinking of working out, Seokjin would’ve made time. “Oh yeah!” Releasing enthusiastically, tone coming off as remembering. “I’m down. Where should we meet up?”
Jimin’s gaze remained on him before he got up from where he leaned against the work fridge. Setting his mug down, he took out his phone and after a few touches on the screen, he held it out for Jin. “Put your number in.”
Staring at the device for a second too long, Jin stopped his motions and took the phone. Typing in his number, he set in his own contact name.
It made him smile, because there was something light and almost carefree in acting immature. At least with Jimin, the man rarely ever cracked a smile.
Giving Jimin’s phone back, he took the stir sticks out his cup and threw them out. Then turned to Jimin who was typing something quickly and set his phone down, but stimutanisally his own device vibrated. Pulling his phone out of his pocket he saw a notification on the screen. A text, only saying. ‘It’s Jimin.’
“I’ll text you when I’m going to go. Give you the location of the gym I go to.” Jimin added, then picked up his mug and began to leave. Only to stop midway and turn back, “and.. Park Jimin is what I want my contact name to be.” A little demanding Jin had thought. But he honestly wouldn’t have expected less from the officer.
“Chim chim it is~” Jin chimed with a playful wink, but he had every intention of putting Jimin’s request down. Jimin on the other hand, shook his head appearing playful in a sense before leaving the room.
This was progress. They had to be friends by now, if the planned get together was anything to go by but Jin needed more. A deeper understanding, he had to get to know Jimin. What he liked and disliked, what he preferred to do on his time off. But most of all, he had to know why the man was alone. And why he wore a ring on his wedding finger. These were important questions Jin hadn’t dared to ask a colleague about, he wanted to hear from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Because if he didn’t, the riddle wouldn’t work right?
Seokjin didn’t want to know what would happen if he couldn’t do the riddle.
With high hopes, Jin decides to go on the natural route of things. He asked questions to Jimin when the opportunity arose. Like why he preferred hazelnut, which Jimin said it was what he grew up smelling. His mother loves it, and it just kinda passed on to him. The other questions were small like the first, because it would’ve been weird to ask suddenly ‘what’s with the ring?’
Sometimes Jin would get answers and other times he didn’t. Jimin seemed to only reply to the ones he wanted to. So when he didn’t, he’d give a look and Jin knew something more than ‘is that something you actually want to know’ appeared on his face. There was something else lingering in the gaze.
At times when Jimin was like this, he wondered if he was like this to Jungkook. Why had the boy stayed in the beginning? Seokjin had kept at with Jimin because of the riddle. In the middle at least, the beginning Jin wanted nothing to do with Jimin.
Sometimes it was hard. All Jin wanted was to be quiet. Everyone of his peers or friends had wanted him to talk, for once Seokjin wanted silence. But with the presence of a person.
The days pass by and suddenly it’s Friday. Jin didn’t know when Jimin would throw a text, but he decided last minute to head to town after work. Where he bought a gym outfit and a water bottle. When he did finally get home, Jin quickly washed the new water bottle and filled it with water. Perhaps a little eager, but he wanted to just be ready.
Seokjin appeared to be ahead of the game, because two hours go by when finally he received a text. It was Jimin, stating he's going to head to the gym now, and the location on where to go.
Jin was out the door, wearing his new gym gear and water bottle in hand. By the time he got there, Jin was left to look around. Jimin wasn’t in sight, but he kept on going till he met up with the front desk. He then paid for general admission for the day, then walked a bit to the treadmills as he continued to peer around. Perhaps Jin missed him?
Deciding to walk into the next room, a lot smaller almost closed off to the rest of the workout equipment is where Jin found Jimin. “Here you are, couldn’t find you there for a moment.” Jin chuckled quietly.
“You could’ve texted me.” Was Jimin’s reply leaving Jin dumbfounded. So he shrugged in response, a small hum along with it sounding like ‘I suppose.’
“Let’s get you to stretch and we’ll get started.”
With a nod, Jin did exactly what Jimin did and told him to do. It wasn’t long before they got to working out. Starting with a ‘lat pull down’ a machine where he had to sit and pull the bar to his chest.
Easy. Or so Jin thought, supposedly there was a technique on how to do it which Jimin guided him. His small hands laid upon his back, occasionally adjusting his posture. “I believe you can do more, from your build but for now let’s do three reps of twenty.” Jimin sounded so sure of himself, confidence radiated him and for that Seokjin admired.
“Okie dokie.” Saying simply, Jin began to do the workout. Jimin’s eyes remained on him, as if he were the workout trainer and in a way he was. But Jin would stare back when their eyes met, and if Jin didn’t look away first Jimin would go behind him and give out a small order. Like ‘pay attention.’
The next few were basic arm workouts with different machines, Jimin said next time they’d work on legs. A next time was promising.
The last thing they came upon was a rowing machine, Jin was sweaty and exhausted. But Jimin didn’t let go of the pace, “you.. know..” Jin said in between each row of movement. “You could go easy on me..” he laughed breathlessly.
“Well, I would’ve but.. it doesn’t seem like your first time.”
“It.. could very well be.. you.. don’t know..”
Jimin then came beside him, squatting down to meet eye level. “Is it your first time?”
How soft it was spoken had Jin turning away. Deciding to change the topic, “why.. this gym?” He grunted. “I noticed that.. you’re in this.. room and.. and not the-”
“Do you really care for that Seokjin?” Jin furrowed his brows at that, looking down to his sneakers in contemplation. He had to know, get to know all he could about Jimin. But before he could say ‘yeah’ because he had to, Jimin continued. “Silence is pretty nice.. we don’t always have to talk to fill up the air between us.”
Silence, it was what Jin craved with someone. But could he have that? With Jimin? He had to learn about him, perhaps in time but Jin wanted to break down Jimin’s barrier before his birthday. Jin wanted the officer to be apart of something big. “I just want to get to know you..” Seokjin uttered out. Slowing down his movements to a stop to catch a breath.
Letting the bar go, Jin sat up to rest his elbows on his knees. Just breathing. Maybe he had been trying too hard with Jimin, right now he just wanted to give up.
Can he, even for a moment?
Not focusing on Jimin, Jin hadn’t seen the male go off to fetch his water bottle until he came back and held it out for him. “There’s plenty one can learn from someone by their silence.”
Seokjin knew that. He was an old soul after all. And now that he realized it, Maybe Jimin was too? Not in the same way or sense, but metaphorically. Or, his soul just grew a lot from prior experiences.
Just how Jin’s had.
“Thank you,” Jin released as he took the water bottle from Jimin. Taking a few long gulps from the bottle, he then set it down. “Sorry if I came off annoying. I just..”
‘Felt like I had to.`` Is what Jin didn’t add.
“You weren’t.” Jimin states. Which has Jin sighing, “okay maybe sometimes.”
He then huffed out a grin, but so had Jimin.
“C’mon, I’ll cut you some slack. We’ll call it a day, and maybe go eat somewhere?”
Looking up at Jimin, Jin blinked in the information before getting up. “I could eat,”
“Then let’s go eat.”
Still wearing their gym outfits, Jin and Jimin then headed off to eat in their own respected vehicles. Jimin had said ‘follow me’ and Jin had. They parked in some parking lot, and Jin got out first and headed off to the side to wait for Jimin. Once the smaller male came out, Jin followed him to a small pojangmacha. “The chicken here is-”
“I remember!” Jin released a little too quickly, maybe he was pumped to remember the small tidbit of information. “The best chicken..” he added.
Jimin nodded, “You haven’t tried chicken unless it’s from here.” He stated, not bothering to look away from the menu. However as Seokjin watched Jimin it appeared that he knew the menu by heart as when he came to say his order he gave the worker a soft gaze and effortlessly stated what he wanted. The worker though didn’t look like they needed to hear it as simultaneously they were punching down what Jimin wanted. “I hope it’s alright that I ordered for you.”
“What?” Having being too caught up in the scene before him, Jin didn’t realize Jimin ordered for him.
“I got you something good don’t worry.”
Jin didn’t, as they paid for their respective meals and sat down in the offered seats and began to eat. He sighed loudly, the chicken was really good. The flavor, the crunch, and texture, it was bliss. “Wow..” is all Jin could say and Jimin replied ‘I know.’
As they continued to eat, Jin didn’t bother to strike a conversation because once he got the green light for silence he took it. And silence was nice, life around them continued. The cars kept going, along with conversations being loud yet not enough to know what they spoke about, it was busy yet not for them. Jin and Jimin seemed to be there but closed off in a sense, for a moment so brief Jin recalls the moment like feeding pigeons with a man next to him.
“This was good.” Jin hums after he finished his meal, Jimin wipes his hands with a napkin and agrees.
“I could never get sick of this place, they’re my go to.”
There’s something in the way Jimin moves and portrays himself in this moment that has Jin taking the other in. He was content, Jimin enjoyed the smaller things in life like chicken from a small pojangmacha that the world doesn’t get the chance of eating unless you lived here. “Thanks.. for showing me your routine, well some of it and taking me here. It was nice.”
Jimin finally looks at Jin and shrugged, a small grin on his lips. “Anytime.”
Anytime consisted on days off, Jin would say he needed to blow off steam or just want to work out or Jimin would ask what his plans were and they’d make arrangements to work out. Though on one occasion in June, Jimin stated ‘why don’t you get a membership?’ As Seokjin paid for general admission each time he came. Then he did, and during their occasional hangout, there was silence. A serene calmness between them and for once Jin didn’t feel overwhelmed by someone or to try to befriend them. Jimin was like him, there was no need to fill the air.
But that didn’t stop Jin from still pestering the man. Not as eager as before albeit. It was small gestures, like when he spoke to his colleagues about a story he offered Jimin to join in to listen, other times he’d make coffee the way Jimin preferred it at work. However now, Jin wasn’t the only one making progress as it appeared.
Jimin would occasionally come to sit in the break room for lunch and sit with him, sometimes there would be conversation other times it was quiet. One day in particular had Jin shocked as when Jin came into the breakroom, about to take his jacket off when he saw Jimin and smiled tiredly that’s when the smaller came over to him and held out a cup of coffee. Not a mug from the cupboards, no, it was bought. Jimin bought him coffee. Suddenly Jin was awake like he didn’t need the hot liquid in his system to stir his body up. “No ‘hi’ or ‘hello’?” He mused.
Jin smirked, taking off his jacket as he peered at the cup. “I don’t take coffees from colleagues.” A joke from long ago.
Jimin however licked his bottom lip and shook his head, “I’m returning the favor.” With a gentle nudge to indicate the coffee, he added “please.”
Seokjin took the coffee and once he actually took a sip of it, that’s when Jimin left like he was waiting to see if Jin would actually drink it. Or perhaps if Jin liked it, either way it was nice. The thing they had. It wasn’t like they came and forced it anymore, on Jin’s part at least but they were friends. Of a quiet nature.
“Okay partners!” A fellow officer yelled out playfully, they were playing a game. Who was the most knowledgeable in certain fields. It was mindless, pure, a cool July evening where things were okay. The law wasn’t needed so the people working for it got a breather.
“I got mine!” Ji Woo announced, suggesting the chief of the police department who was secluded in his office. They laughed, people then began to move about to get a partner while Jin watched.
Jin was just enjoying the atmosphere, because sure he liked the quiet but there’s times that were so good he enjoyed how loud life could be. That’s when Jimin walked in, his usual self, walking with no amusement for what the others were doing. Although he did come stand beside Jin to ask “what’re they doing?”
After Jin told Jimin what was happening, Jin faced the crowd with a smile. Another police officer even asked ‘are you going to play?’ To Jin but he shook his head, “don’t have a partner.”
That’s when Jimin piped up, “I’ll play. I’ll be Jin’s partner.”
What? Looking at the other Jin blinked at him. “What?”
“C’mon. It’ll be quick.”
Who was Jimin?
Left with that question, the game started. When someone got something wrong they’d talk about it and basically yell to the person how wrong they were. In a joking manner of course.
If someone got it right the others would let out exasperated sighs. When Jimin got it right, he’d be nonchalant about it, when Jin did he’d hype himself up because for the time being life wasn’t so bad.
The game although came to an end when one topic got into a heated discussion. Which lead Jin chuckling as he turned to Jimin, “that was fun.”
“Yeah, it was.” Jimin even looked amused, he had this glimmer in his eyes and Jin was just left to stare.
Jimin although broke the silence, “you’re pretty smart.. if the game continued we would’ve won.”
“Yeah, my smarts would’ve led us to victory” he stated like it were an obvious thing. Then cracked a smile to drop the fake serious act. “You joined? I was surprised.”
Jimin merely shrugged, “you didn’t have a partner.” With that Jimin turned away and continued to work. Jin watched him leave, and felt a shimmer of hope. Had it felt rewarding for Jungkook when he began to break down his walls and barriers? Because he feels pretty damn rewarded.
Chapter 14: 2.5
A step forward and two steps back.
This time it wasn’t Jimin that was pulling away. This time, it was Jin. He wasn’t trying to seclude himself or ignore the world but it was August, after this would be September. Jungkook’s birthday, sure when the day came before it would hurt but this was different. Jungkook would’ve been seventy seven the year they would’ve gotten married. It was big, and it was eating at Jin.
The man began to not go out, or if he did he’d be off in his head and not in the moment. At work Jin didn’t offer to tell stories or be loud, when it came to Jimin he didn’t even try. It was hard to even look at the small officer because if it weren’t for him, and Jin’s own bad eating habits he’d have been with Jungkook. It was horrible to think that, and that’s why he kept his distance.
Literally. Seokjin would go to his vehicle for lunch, go for a drive and eat. The times Jimin would try to spark a conversation or even try give him a coffee, Jin would just nod and walk away. August was going to end, did he request September first off or not so his mind was occupied?
That question bugged him, ate at him because of that he didn’t know what to do. Jin had no one to talk to, out of all the friends he made he was still alone.
Then it came. September first and Jin was at work.
‘It’s fine. It’s fine.’ Was his mantra. He just had to get through the day. That would be easy, Jin just had to be occupied so he didn’t think too much.
It was still early in the morning and it dawned on him harshly. Jungkook would’ve been a beautiful old soul with such a beautiful bunny smile no doubtingly saying ‘forever isn’t far away now’ that has Jin’s heart rate picking up quickly. Breathing got hard and he knew he had to leave, which Jin began to head out but everything was going so fast that he couldn’t make it.
When suddenly hands were on his shoulders, “Hello? Jin? Hey are you okay?”
Looking up he saw Jimin, and even in his anxiety induced state he uttered out “now you finally say it?”
Jimin just hummed but asked again, “Are you ok-”
“I- I can’t be here.. I.. I’m not supposed-” he couldn’t finish his sentence, because how does one explain that he was supposed to be with someone from a past life? That said someone didn’t even exist in this life?
“Okay, I’ll take you home.” Jin had forgotten how strong Jimin was, that he was escorted out of the building and into the police vehicles passenger seat. “Where’s home?”
“I can’t go home.” Jin whispered. Staring blankly in front of him, his vision blurring gradually. “I need.. a park..” after some more in-depth instructions on where to go, Jimin parked the vehicle and Jin saw it. The bench were Jungkook had confessed.
“Thank… you.” Jin choked out, slowly stepping out the vehicle he headed towards the bench and sat down. That’s when the tears just didn’t stop, they wouldn’t.
“I- I’m so sorry..” is what’s finally uttered, but once it came out it was like the only thing that came out of Jin’s mouth. He was apologizing for a promise he couldn’t keep, apologizing for not giving Jungkook forever sooner, apologizing because he died.
The day passes on and the sky begins to get dark. It also begins to get cold, “I’m sorry I didn’t go big but.. happy birthday.” He said softly, voice hoarse from crying majority of the time. “I’m still going to give you forever..”
After about a half hour of laying on the bench with the cold night air, is when he hears footsteps coming towards him. But Jin doesn’t look up, doesn’t say anything. “It’s time to go home Seokjin.”
A voice so familiar, it was Jimin.
With a nod, almost agreeing he’s surprised when Jimin helps him up. Jin’s more surprised when he lets himself be led to the vehicle, he was perfectly okay to do so on his own but being helped felt easy to succumb to. After he was in the vehicle and Jimin closed the door, Jin waited till Jimin started the vehicle and drove off.
“I’m sorry about-”
“Don’t apologize.. I heard you apologizing enough for a lifetime.. you also don’t have to tell me what’s wrong.” The man's voice was gentle, like Jin was glass. Jimin wouldn’t be wrong because Jin felt his eyes water again because why was Jimin taking him home? He heard him saying sorry? It meant he was there, Jimin couldn’t have been. “Jin. It’s okay.. it’s okay to cry if you need to.”
Seokjin nodded slowly, then his shoulders start to shake and he was crying again. The entire time the car kept going, as if Jimin prolonged the car drive so Jin could let it all out and it hurt him. Because Jimin had been such a hard ass but now? Now he was being extremely kind. Jin didn’t feel worthy of it at the moment.
When the tears finally subsided, Jin wiped at his eyes and breathed out. “You didn’t have too.. you know.. be there.”
Jimin inhaled his words and shrugged ever so gently. “I wasn’t there the whole time. I did leave so you can be alone but..” he turned on his signal and changed lanes. “I did come to check on you and..” the pause has Jin knowing what Jimin wanted to say. That he heard Jin crying and muttering out ‘I’m sorry’ every so often, that the moment was just too vulnerable to interrupt. “I couldn’t leave you alone.”
“But you could have” Jin added.
“I didn’t want to.”
“Why?” He had to ask, Jimin could have very well left and continued on his day.
Jimin then drove, there’s silence in the air for a minute before he speaks again. “I know what it’s like.. to.. be alone.. and I didn’t want you to be.” Oh. Seokjin knew Jimin was alone but this was so much deeper than any conversation they had. “I wanted to make sure you were okay. I know I’m stepping boundaries but.. this is what friends do.. right?”
Friends? Jimin and him? This is what it had to take for Jimin’s walls to break just a bit more?
“You really consider me a friend?” Jin was tired, hungry, and overall exhausted by the days events that’s why he asked such mindless or one can say a childish question.
The officer gave Jin a brief glance before looking back to the road. “I do. I have for awhile now.”
With a hum as a response, too tired to take in the reward he tells Jimin where he lived. By the time he got there he just sat for a moment longer, “thank you.”
About to get out Jimin reached out for him, “if you need me, give me a call and I’ll come.” Jin huffed through his nose, looking at Jimin’s hand on his arm.
“Am I a good friend?” He asked instead.
The man smiled softly, “Yeah.”
It’s all Jin needed to hear before asking “do you want to come in?”
Jimin is right behind him while he opened the door, once the lock was unlocked he stepped to the side to allow the man to go in first. Following suit, Jin took off his shoes and shut the door behind him. “You can sit.. I’ll make us some tea or coffee, whichever-”
“Jin why don’t you sit down? You’re most definitely tired so I can.. you know.” He waved his hand around suggesting to make the drinks.
“You don’t even..” Jimin didn’t even know where anything was, but succumbing to being helped once more Jin just shrugged. “Okay.” Going over to sit at the table, he watched Jimin for a time being before peering at his own hands.
“I made a promise..” The elder spoke, not caring if Jimin was listening or not. “I made a promise to someone and I couldn’t keep it.” He sighed. “I.. I was too late.”
‘I died’ is what he couldn’t add. So he altered the story.
“They died..” silence. “I couldn’t love them back sooner and they died..” all he could do was stare at his hands, the same pair that was once able to hold a man he once loved. Still loved. Will forever love.
A cup was placed in front of him, with a thick swallow Jin held the warm mug to heat up his palms. Glancing up he saw Jimin still move about, helping himself to things and condiments. “What are doing?”
“I’m making you some food?” Jimin said as he did exactly what he said he was going to do. Jin didn’t say anything more, instead just drank his tea. It was made with care, at least Jin thought so as when it trickled down his throat it was so utterly soothing.
When Jimin is done making food, he placed the bowl down in front of Jin. Jimin then had a bowl of his own, it was chicken stir fry. “I’ve seen you Jin..”
“I’ve seen you. The way you speak to people or how you tell stories, you care.. I can only imagine what it’d be like to see you.. love someone..”
Jin hadn’t been the best lover. He was human, humans mess up, he wasn’t a god. “I love just like any other..”
“You care” Jimin emphasized. “You keep at it.. my only knowledge on the matter is with me..”
Jin blinked, turning to face Jimin.
“You’re beating yourself up.. a lot.. but you’ve helped people without realizing.”
He was still so lost. “Who?”
They share eye contact, longer then they should but Jimin is the one that breaks it. Turns to his plate and begins to eat. “We’re alike.. my person didn’t die but.. they.. she..” The way he said ‘she’ was like it was forced. “She couldn’t live a lie.. so she left.. we.. I screwed up.. I was lost for a long time.. so I gave up on this world, and when I did it was like the world gave up on me.”
Seokjin listen with every fibre in his body, he listened. Took in each word, and brushed away the walls that tumbled. Even if Jin couldn’t express wholeheartedly his past, it did feel good to speak some truth and if Jimin was feeling the same, then Jin could be happy.
“So.. I was just surviving.. doing what I was told, made no exception for anything other than work.. I became this empty shell and then.. you came.”
“Yeah.” Jimin smiled, digging into his food. “You come and it felt like.. in a way you were saying the world didn’t give up on me. I hated that.. I hated knowing I was given a second chance but you didn’t give up.. for whatever reason..” Jin soften, he didn’t know his shoulders were tense until he relaxed. “That’s why I was so hard. But one day I just thought, ‘hey maybe I don’t have to just survive any more’ becoming your friend had been.. good. Not good, I mean.. I’m not the best still but I’m farther than where I’ve been. I don’t feel so empty and that’s because of you.”
“I can’t do that.”
Jimin breathed out, “you can’t but you did. You and your attitude shifted the dynamics of my thoughts and.. I’m not so hard anymore.”
Jin looked away, taking in the moment. Jimin seems to allow that as only when Jin eventually picks up the chopsticks he continued, “I’m saying all of this because.. I’m sure without a doubt you kept your promise.”
“I was supposed to marry him!” He suddenly blurted out. “I promised to marry him but I couldn’t keep it..” It’s Jimin’s turn to look at him, eyes so foreign and unsure that Jin doesn’t know what to make of the others gaze.
“Maybe” Jimin finally speaks after sometime. “You didn’t give this man fancy papers.. but you loved him, yeah?” Jin nodded without hesitation. “That’s more than enough.. more than any marriage certificate. So I’m telling you Seokjin, you kept your promise in more ways than one.”
Closing his eyes, Jin just didn’t know anymore. It felt refreshing to hear he kept his promise from another, but there was still his birthday coming up in a few months. That’s when Jin could feel free, like his being wasn’t a burden.
When he opened his eyes, Jin saw Jimin already staring. “Thank you. For the food.”
“It’s no problem.”
With that Seokjin ate the delicious meal, when it was all gone Jin walked Jimin to the door. Once Jimin was about to head out Jin added, “you’re a good friend too.” With a delicate grin as a response Jimin left.
The following day Jimin didn’t show because he didn’t work. But as fate would have it when Jin walked out to his vehicle Jimin came into view.
“Hey,” Jimin breaths out so casually, tucking a hand in his pocket.
Jin had to stop to get a good look at the other, it didn’t seem like Jimin was carrying something heavy like before. A wall so to speak. “Hey.” He replied.
Jimin licked his lips and put his free hand in the air to block the sun, “I came to see if you were okay.. you know you could’ve called in sick?”
Jimin came to check up on him? He cared? The male did say they were friends but.. but it was just new to see this side of the other. Not bad or horrible, just new and enlightening. “I could’ve but then the whole place would’ve fell apart and.. ugh.” Jin groaned jokingly. “Someone would probably arrest me and I can’t have that.”
“I suppose not.” Jimin smiled, “I would hate to have to arrest you again.”
Jin chuckled weakly, it wasn’t funny but explain why he began to laugh so hard he had to place his hands on his knees? “I would too!” He cracked out, “you’re so strong from what I vaguely remember.”
“Do you want me to remind you?” Tone suddenly softer, Jin stood upright and began to walk to his vehicle. Away from Jimin.
“The others are inside, if you need them.” He called out.
Hearing footsteps following him, Seokjin isn’t surprised to see Jimin when he turns a bit to open his car door. So he asks, “did you just come for me?”
Jimin’s left to a standstill, wondering now if he made the wrong choice. “I shouldn’t have..” he said it in a way that Jin had to confirm.
“It’s really kind that you came. But I really am okay.” Yeah he’s still hurting, but it’s something Seokjin grew to welcome the day he woke up in this life. Even in his past one. “Sometimes.. we just have our off day.”
With a nod of the officer, Jimin asked ‘where are you going?’
“Why don’t you come along and find out?”
Jimin got into the passenger seat, once settled Jin took off. Usually Jin stopped in parking lots, on rare occasions to feel like the world wasn’t so bad he’d go somewhere nice, this time it was a beach. Although he didn’t step outside the vehicle, he remained in his seat and took out his lunch he premade.
Jimin didn’t say a word for that Jin was thankful, instead they enjoyed the comfortable silence. Jin even offered some cashews he had to Jimin, which the other took. They watched the waves rise and fall from the comfort of the dashboard. After eating his lunch, Jin drove back to work and parked. “I like to see the world in different viewpoints. That’s where I go.. it’s mostly different from time to time but generally the same.”
Jimin watched Jin, he saw the way the man stared at him like what he just learned was pretty valuable knowledge. “Text me if you need me.” Is what Jimin says when he eventually leaves.
That leaves Jin wondering, could he text Jimin to hangout so the silence that comes from being alone isn’t so defending? Because silence with a person, was rather comforting. The only person he seemed to get it from was Jimin.
Jin doesn’t bother to have his question answered. He lets the days flow past, and he notices how close they’ve gotten since that day. Jungkook in a way, brought them closer. It takes about a week for Seokjin to get back into the hang of things, when he is he’s loud and making plans once again with friends.
He even asks Jimin outright that they should start working out again. Jimin agreed.
After one evening, Seokjin’s at home when he gets a message from Jimin. Asking if they should work out later. Jin had already made plans to hangout with some of his old colleagues, after texting Jimin that Jimin quickly responded with ‘next time then’ followed by ‘have fun.’
Not knowing if he’d get a yes, Jin messaged back ‘why don’t you come along?’
“How good at bowling are you?” Haneul, a friend of Jin’s asked Jimin, the small crowd of people turn to the foreign person. Jin only smiled, knowing full well what they planned to ask him.
They came to bowl, they weren’t the best by any means but every twenty fifth of the month a group of older people came to play and after one particular evening of Haneul and Lin being the competitive people they were bet the elder group on for a game. Each time one of the teams lost they’d say ‘another game.’
They needed six people, one of their friends couldn’t make it and Jimin was there so they had to ask him.
“That’s good enough!” Lin hollered and handed Jimin a pair of bowling shoes. When Jimin slid them on they were a little big but Jin told him it would be fine.
“I’m actually not good at this..” Jimin whispered to Jin, from the looks of it Jimin actually appeared nervous.
It was sweet. It was even more so considering the man initially planned on working out this evening and not playing some game. But also because they never did this before together.
“Don’t worry, I’m not the best either..” Jin shrugged. “Never got a strike, I just do it for fun.” He laughed.
Jimin let out a sigh of relief. “Okay.”
Jimin had to have been lying because each time he had to roll, the man would get a strike.
“That’s more than decent!” Jin’s friends would delightfully call out.
But still when the game ended, they lost. Apparently the older group had been practicing.
“You were phenomenal! Obviously it’s in your blood to bowl!” Jin said enthusiastically.
“Yeah! Show us your ways!” Another asked.
There was something in Jimin that Jin saw that seemed delighted. Carefree, like the world was showing Jimin how it hadn’t and had never given up on him. Jin was thoroughly enjoying the look plastered on the mans face. “Huh?”
“He’s going to show us his sick skill!”
Jin shook his head playfully but followed suit. Jimin then told the others how to bowl like him, like he were suddenly a professional. The elder just watched. But when Haneul told Jin to get up and try, and he had they booed teasingly because obviously Jin wasn’t paying attention as the bowling ball went straight for the gutter.
With roaring laughter from the others, Jimin came up to him. “Here.. like this..”
“Look I’m just not cut out to-” Jin went silent when Jimin’s hand was placed on his hip, the other on top of his hand. “Bowl..” looking straightforward he slowly peered down to Jimin’s hand on his and trailed upwards, when his eyes settled on the officers side profile he didn’t know what to make of it. Jimin didn’t do this with the others so why with him?
“You got to make sure you align your arm properly like this..”
“Bend your knees just slightly.”
“Then with just enough force..” Jimin brought back their hands and rolled the ball. “You’ll get the pins.” Jimin’s voice had been so gentle, so soft that Jin couldn’t look away. All he could think was ‘no.’
He didn’t want to believe what his mind was telling him. Jin was wrong, he silently prayed to himself that he was but when Jimin looked up at him with such a delicate gaze followed by a smile so bright that made his eyes crescent moons Jin knew.
“You got a strike!” The crowd of friends cried out from behind.
He decided to ignore it. Surely it was the neon lights playing tricks, or perhaps it was Jimin finally going out in so long, assumingly so.
But Jimin didn’t let go just yet, “if you need a reminder just let me know..”
The world around them didn’t care for the two men, as Jin’s friends quickly gathered on who would go next while some asked where they should eat.
All Jin could do was stare and hope he was wrong.
“I think I should be fine.” Jin whispered. Those words seem to work as Jimin peeled himself away.
It had to be the funky lights, Seokjin blamed it on everything else for the rest of the night. Because it was better than admitting to himself that Jimin was blooming feelings.
Chapter 15: 2.6
It’s October third, Jin’s sitting at the front desk having finished up with work for the time being so he twiddled with a pen. Mind blank with the task at hand, just in his own world when Ji Woo came to tell him she was going for break. With a nod and a smile, he said ‘I’ll miss you.’ Perhaps he still jokingly flirted with her, but she knew that and would giggle each time. But before she left, she asked if Jimin would do anything for his birthday.
Jin almost forgot. October thirteenth was when he came into this world, it was also Jimin’s birthday.
“I wouldn’t have asked but.. he’s more out there now so I was wondering if he was or not since the two of you have gotten close.”
Jin honestly didn’t know, he’d have to ask. “I’ll see what he says, he hasn’t told me anything.” His reply had Ji Woo nodding and then heading out with a wave.
Left to ponder what Jimin would like, he knew the man wouldn’t want a huge birthday bash. From his personality and what he knew about Jimin, he’d probably want something small and secluded. So when Jimin came to work, with a tired expression on his face Jin hurried over to him.
“Hey! I have to ask you something!” Jin said a little too loudly, which Jimin just returned with a soft gaze.
Seeing how tired the other was although had Jin pausing, “are you tired?”
The smaller chuckled, “that’s what you want to know?”
“Well no.. but you should sleep-”
“I’m fine..” Jimin breathed out audibly. “Now what’s the question?”
“I was wondering what you’re doing for you birthday?” Seokjin asked casually.
Jimin stared up at him, blinking. “Dinner with my family most likely. Why?”
That’s all Jin needed to know, but something inside him urged him to ask “want to do something with me?”
Jimin gave a tired smile, eyes falling closed. “Yeah.” He answered with a slow nod, “I would.”
The poor man was tired, and from the looks of it, it was dead. Not like Jin needed to wait for Ji Woo to come back from lunch break because Jin hadn’t went for his either.
Looking around, Jin saw Mina a fellow officer. “I’m going for lunch, can you watch here for a bit?”
“For sure!” She replied, busy with some filing and a donut in hand.
Jin ushered Jimin outside after getting his things. “Hey- hey what are you doing?”
“I’m taking you for a ride.”
“Oh.” Jimin then allowed himself to be brought to Jin’s vehicle. Once they were both inside, Jin drove off to a secluded parking lot with an odd view but it was still nice.
“We have an hour.”
“For what..” Jimin released unsure, blinking himself awake.
“For me to eat, and you to sleep.”
Realization washed over Jimin, like he was thinking something else. “Oh.. Jin I’m not tired.”
“And I don’t have abs now.” Jin did have abs now. All those intense workouts did pretty good on his body.
Jimin eyed him up and down, “you have abs? Why didn’t you say-” he stopped when their eyes met, because he knew Jin had trapped him. “So maybe I’m tired.. so what?”
“ So ..” Jin emphasized. “Go to sleep. I won’t be creep.”
That seemed to make Jimin laugh, eyes closing once more. “Okay.. just.. ten minutes, alright?”
With a nod that the other couldn’t see, Jin began to eat his food as quietly as he could. When he finished about a half hour later, he set his things away and to the side. Whilst doing so he saw Jimin, Jin’s movements came to a stop. The other seemed so at peace, so calm fast asleep. His little ball of uncharted silence washed away and Jimin was like.. a fairy?
Was that the right word?
Shaking his head, Jin looked away. Deciding to be quiet. When the hour came up, Seokjin started his vehicle and began to drive back to work, it’s not until he’s parked outside the building Jimin stirs awake.
“Hmm..” rubbing his eyes, Jimin looked at the time from the cars clock and groaned tiredly. “I said ten minutes.”
“You did. But you didn’t tell me to wake you.. was I supposed to?” Jin jokes. “Look you needed sleep and I wanted you to get plenty of it so I just let you.”
An adorable baby, that’s what Jimin looks like when he looks at him with tired eyes. “Hm.. fine. Thank you.”
“Have you been getting enough sleep Jimin?”
The man merely shrugged. “Here and there.. I.. I took on some shifts.”
“I think you should go home to rest, I don’t think you’ll be much help to the law if you’re about to pass out.” Jin said with the most certainty.
“Okay.. just.. wait..” Jimin from the looks of it was about to fall asleep again and Jin chuckled.
If Jimin was already passed out or just decided not to respond was beyond Jin as he went back inside and told the chief Jimin’s state. It’s when the burly man sighed, “he does this around his birthday and November.. the man suddenly has the urge to work himself to the bone.”
In November too? Jin then remembered long ago, Jimin was celebrating an anniversary. Did this have to do with the woman he mentioned before? It had to.
“Take him home.”
Heading back out, Jin got into the driver seat. “I’m taking you home.”
“It’s okay I spoke with him already.”
That had Jimin settling back into the seat, and Jin was off to where he remembered where Jimin had lived. The time he stalked him. Creepy but he didn’t want to wake the man up, plus he had the knowledge so he might as well use it.
Upon arriving to Jimin’s, Jin with a gentle voice cooed out ‘we’re here’
Allowing Jimin to slowly awake, he saw his house. “How’d we get-”
“You told me.” A cut off lie.
Getting out of the car, Jin went to the passenger side to help Jimin inside. “I’m not going to fall.”
“Of course you’re not. Not with my muscles!”
Jimin grinned, “Yeah.. they feel pretty good.”
Jimin is just tired, Jin thinks.
Once he gets the man inside, Jin got him to the couch and huffed out. “Alright. You sleep it off.. don’t go rough housing.” A joke, he hadn’t use the line of work as a joke in awhile. Seeing as Jimin was already moving to lay down, Jin turned to the door going to help himself out when;
“Thank you..” is quietly released. “And Jin?”
“Yeah?” Jimin doesn’t say anything, except Seokjin knew what the younger was trying to ask for. “Text me if you need anything.” He decides to say so Jimin didn’t have to.
Jin goes back to work, it isn’t till he’s getting off when Jimin texts him. Stating he’s sorry.
‘Don’t be’ Jin replied. Adding; ‘I’m just glad you got some sleep.. just sleep some more okay?’
Instantly he gets back, ‘I will’ after some minutes, Jin thinks that’s it when, ‘I do want to do something with you though’
Jin smiled to himself, ‘great, it’s a date.’ A joke. It was so mindless that he hadn’t realized until Jimin texted back saying ‘a date it is.’
So Jin texted back, ‘not really a date date I was just joking’
As the days pass, Seokjin goes out to buy Jimin a present. He doesn’t know exactly what he intends on getting when he’s at the store, but he does get hazelnut coffee beans and a candle that smells the same. After some time of wandering the store, he sees the perfect gift and buys the things along with a birthday card.
They both worked on his birthday, so they don’t actually get to celebrate till after work. However, that didn’t stop Jin from bringing in cupcakes and asking whoever was around to sing ‘happy birthday.’ Jimin was flustered but he did have a smile on his face, and Jin knows Jimin is content with life at that moment.
When they do get off work, Jin had gotten off earlier so he had time to finish up some arrangements. They were ready when Jimin got off, and Jin picked him up at his house.
“What are we doing?” The officer asked once seated on the passenger seat.
“I don’t know..” Jin rolled his shoulders, “you’re the birthday boy.” A beat, “I’m kidding I do have something planned, I hope you don’t mind.” With a shake of Jimin’s head, showing he didn’t mind Seokjin drove out to the destination.
They were going to just have dinner, but Jin wanted it to be nice so he planned the evening at a fancy restaurant. The elder didn’t know if the officer would appreciate it, but when they stepped inside the warm and welcoming atmosphere he knew then on Jimin’s expression. Jimin liked it.
“This place is so..” still in awe, Jimin gawks around as they are seated. “H- how?”
“One of the cooks, the head chef is a friend.” They met when Jin worked at his old job as a waiter. “After a few words with him he got us a reservation.” As they were seated, Jin fixed his coat and ordered them wine, well Jimin as he was the driver. After their glasses are set, Jin watched Jimin swirl the wine in his glass before bringing it to his lips.
“I had a feeling that you would like it.”
The rest of the evening goes on splendidly. Jimin looks happy and thrilled and Jin admires the way Jimin relaxes wholeheartedly. When dessert came out, so did Jin’s friend. Stating to wish Jimin a happy birthday, and the look on the mans face was everything Jin could’ve hoped for.
“Get inside!” Jin exclaimed.
“Why can’t I help you?” Jimin asked with wide eyes.
“Because I said so! Now get inside and wait for me on the couch!” Jin just didn’t want Jimin to carry in his own presents because how lame was that? Only after some reluctance Jimin goes inside and Jin carries in the two bags of presents. “Close your eyes~” he sang.
Jimin did exactly what he was told with his hands on his thighs. “I don’t really need gifts.”
“But I already bought them! Put your hands out.”
With open palms now up, Jin placed the first bag in Jimin’s hands. Opening his eyes, Jimin gave a questionable look towards Jin before opening the bag. “Wah, Thank you Jin.. these are wonderful.” It really just was the coffee beans and hazelnut candle with a card, but it goes to show when you get older you’re grateful for anything.
“One more” Jin says softly. To which Jimin holds out his hand again but Jin tells him its a little heavy so he’s going to place it on the floor in front of him instead.
By the time Jimin opened up the second gift, there was a silence that lifted into the air. “Now you can sing your song in the comfort of your home.” Jin offered.
“Yeah..” Jimin pouted softly. Running his hands over the small karaoke machine. “You remembered.”
“Of course I did! You’re meant to be a singer!” Something rushes through Jin at that moment, maybe Jimin feels it too because they share a lingering gaze. Jin’s first to snap out of it. “Why don’t you sing a song!”
“Oh no.” Jimin giggled. Actually giggled, perhaps it was the wine in his system. “I had plenty of excitement today.. I’ll probably call it early tonight. But thank you, Maybe next time.”
Seokjin gave a nod in understanding. After some talk Jin laughed. “Last year you were putting cuffs on me.” Who knew time flew, he did but that's besides the point.
“I mean.. if you want to keep a tradition I could do it again.”
Jin was confused and laughed, who would want to willingly be cuffed? “No thanks! We don’t have to make that a tradition.” After some laughs, Jin feels good. Delighted even to share such a moment with the other. Then they were calling it a night and Jimin walked Jin to the door.
“Really though..” Jimin says softly. “Thank you.”
The way it’s said, Jin knew what he meant. This birthday albeit small, he knew Jimin appreciated it. “Anytime.”
As the days roll by, Jin isn’t just giving his time to Jimin. He spends some days with friends, some others by himself in a parked car to reminisce on days where he had a wife and two daughters, on where he had a boyfriend. Some days he goes to eat out with colleagues, getting to know them a bit more.
In late November, it’s when Jimin is quiet. It must be because of the anniversary, so Seokjin gives the officer space. That is until Jimin asked Jin if they could do something.
That evening it’s Jin that gets picked up, it’s late and he doesn’t know what Jimin wants to do exactly but he understood that Jimin just didn’t want to be alone. Jin would be there for him, just how Jimin was there for him. They park at the beach Jin took Jimin that day long ago, they sit and watch the stars light up the night sky from the dashboard.
About an hour passes that’s when Jimin speaks up, “I gave her a ring..” Jin is quiet, wanting to listen to what Jimin was going to say. “We made promises for the future.. I told.. her to just.. give me time and I would marry her.” There’s a sour smile on the others lips, like he regretted what occurred. “But I was all talk.. he- she..”
The slip up. This wasn’t about a woman.
Jin swallowed, deciding whether or not to intrude. Something in him tells him to. “He.” He gently corrected.
Jimin clenched his jaw, gripped the steering wheel hard before a very subtle nod came forward. “He..” Jimin confirmed with watery eyes. “He” this time it was like he was finally testing the pronoun, having so long saying ‘she.’ “ He.. he couldn’t wait.. I already made him wait so long..” after a moment silence, Jimin says how they were so deeply hidden that Jimin couldn’t truly love the man unless they were completely alone. If a friend came over, he’d pretend the man was just a friend, even make him sleep elsewhere. “I was horrible.. I made.. I made him feel unworthy of love yet expected- I expected..”
“It’s not!” Jimin said loudly. “I expected him to stay so I could marry him one day.. but.. I was too harsh.. too good at playing pretend on not loving him that.. one day coming home..” Jin watched as Jimin recalled the day.
He was so unsure, but with a slow hand he placed it on Jimin’s shoulder in a soothing way. The comforting touch is what it took for Jimin to start crying. Seokjin knew then, those walls that were built so high and strong were finally down.
“He.. left a note.. saying he couldn’t be a secret.. and underneath it.. was.. was.. this..” on Jimin’s ring finger held the ring, “it’s the one I gave him..” he choked out, soon resting his forehead on the steering wheel.
Seokjin says nothing, instead allows Jimin his time to cry. To let it out. Only when he feels it’s appropriate to do so, Jin speaks up. “Sometimes.. being yourself is hard.. considering who we were brought up by or who we surround ourselves by.. or even what society tells us to be.. when you can’t be yourself.. it’s going to be hard to love someone wholeheartedly and fully..” during the whole time Jimin was silent until Jin stopped and he sobbed again. With a caressing touch, Jin rubbed the mans back. “Life doesn’t end when you make a mistake.. it's how we see it, and I think this memory you’ve wrapped your life around doesn’t have to define who you are.. I think you can learn from this Jimin.”
“I- I don’t.. I-”
“Jimin.. breathe.” After a few deep inhales and exhales, Jin added, “you can love another, and truly love them if you just admit it.”
“Admit?” Jimin wiped his eyes, slowly turning to look at Jin. The elder just gave a knowing nod.
“What if I can’t?”
“You can. It doesn’t have to be now or anytime soon but one day you will.”
Jimin sniffled, shifting back until he was sitting up properly. Jin then pulls his hand away and faces forward, allowing the moment to register and sink in. A few hours pass of complete silence and Jin says it first “I’m bisexual.” He breathed out.
He feels Jimin’s eyes on him, but he doesn’t meet his gaze. Jimin was the baby in this situation once again.
Seokjin doesn’t expect Jimin to say anything, but after a few minutes it’s spoken quietly but he heard it. “I’m gay..” a deep inhale and tightly gripped hands on the steering wheel, “I’m gay..” it’s a little louder than before. Jimin’s then unbuckling himself from the belt and gets outside, Jin watched from where he sat as Jimin ran to the sand and he heard it loud and clear. ‘I’m gay!’ It’s said a few times like Jimin needed the universe to understand, maybe even God too. Or maybe it’s said in a way that said ‘I’m free.’ Jin remained put until he saw Jimin fall to his knees it’s not until then he got out of the vehicle and went over to the man. He can still hear him sobbing.
Crouching down, Jin placed a hand over Jimin’s shoulder. “I’m gay, Seokjin.” He whispered.
Jin hummed, leaning in. “And you’re still so wonderful.”
Jimin heaved, Jin’s response to the hoarse crying was to bring Jimin into a hug. It’s how they remained for a while longer. Holding each other in such a vulnerable and revealing moment. “You’re not alone..”
That evening, when Seokjin is driving them back to Jimin’s he says he’ll get a cab home. But Jimin says ‘why don’t you sleep over?’
Jin sleeps in the guest bedroom that night. Something about that bed or home makes Jin feel not alone. Maybe.. just maybe it was the fact Jimin was just in the other room.
The following morning wasn’t anything big or spectacular. They continued on, they made coffee the special beans Jin had bought and breakfast. They ate in silence. When Seokjin is helping with the clean up, he finally asked Jimin, “do you want to come to my birthday? It’s December fourth.”
Jimin accepts almost immediately.
After that Jin plans out his birthday with friends. He invites them obviously , though to be merrier he tells them to bring friends too which involves them somehow renting out a building. It’s pretty spacious, they rent out a DJ and things to make the party spectacular. Seokjin would be turning thirty in this life, in another he’d be eighty.
He invites coworkers to come along, stating it would be fun. During this whole process he’s cheery and upbeat. When he’s home he’s tired, so tired.
“For Jungkook..” Jin would remind himself.
It’s December fourth suddenly and the air has gotten colder, snow is falling on an early morning. Seokjin can hear his phone go off every couple of minutes knowing they were texts of ‘happy birthday.’ He leaves them be for the time being and heads to a park where he used to feed pigeons. “Today’s the day.” He whispered, gently throwing the seeds on the ground. “Today’s the day..” he repeats. Because today’s the day.
It goes by a little fast, Jin’s preoccupied with making sure things go smoothly. His friends help which makes the process a little easier. One asks ‘why is majority of things white?’ Jin couldn’t say it was a wedding. Instead he said ‘it’s my favourite color.’
By the time the birthday starts, the room is littered in fake colorful lights strobing about. It’s late and the group of people are so crowding, and dare he think it, suffocating. But Jin puts a smile on his face, tells himself to enjoy the atmosphere. Though having celebrated so many birthdays, this wasn’t too special. What made it so, was because of a promise.
They sing Jin happy birthday, it’s then he sees Jimin in the crowd singing along. He can’t hear him, but Jin briefly saw his lips moving so Jimin must’ve been.
When Jin is told to make a wish he closed his eyes and thinks ‘I do.. I do Jungkook.’ Then blows out the candles. Gifts are passed to him after, Jin says thank you to each person who gives them. Soon people grow tired of watching a man open presents and go back to the party, Seokjin’s grateful for that as he heads outside on the balcony that’s provided. For the time being, he’s alone.
“I got myself a gift.” He spoke up to the moon, pretending it was someone else. Jungkook. “It’s for us..” digging into his coat, Jin brought out a box. “I went for something I think you would’ve chosen for me..” opening the box, was a gold ring. It was plain, but what was carved inside the ring wrote ‘forever’
“I may not be there Jungkook..” Jin breathed in shakily. “But I kept my promise. I hope you know that..”
Taking the ring out the box, Seokjin slid the ring onto his right hands ring finger. People would question and bug him if he actually wore it on his wedding finger, but he would know and that was all that mattered.
Jin stays out longer, not wanting to face the crowd just yet. But he hears the door behind him open and close. With how the footsteps are coming Jin could only assume it was Jimin.
“This is where you are.” It was Jimin.
“Yeah, I needed some air.” Jin didn’t bother to turn around but he heard the other come closer until he’s in front of him. Resting his elbows on the cold railing.
“I wasn’t expecting you to go this big.” Jimin spoke truthfully. “You didn’t seem the type.”
“Then why?” The other asked, turning to meet Jin’s gaze.
Seokjin breathed in, rolling his shoulders as he looked towards the night sky. “I had to make it big.. for..”
Something had changed when their walls fell, reading Jimin wasn’t hard anymore. Jin was still learning but Jimin was beginning to be easy to read and he can only assume Jimin felt the same towards him. So the officer understood why Jin had to go big without continuing.
“I don’t know.. what to do now.” Jin suddenly blurts. It surprises him, apparently it was in his thoughts but so deeply hidden. But it was out now, this entire year was leading up to this moment, when it was over then what? What does Jin possibly do next?
Jimin came, his walls fell down. In time the man would go back out into the world and Jin would’ve done the riddle but what about him? What does he get?
Was it wrong to think that?
Why did he feel this way? What was this feeling?
“Live for yourself.” That took Jin aback. Staring down at Jimin, the man continued. “I mean.. you’ve lived and made this whole thing for someone else.. but isn’t it time you live for yourself?”
Live for himself? What did that imply? Did he want to li- wait what? “What?”
“I’m sure this man would’ve wanted you happy, to be you.. it’s why he fell for you Seokjin. So live for yourself from now on.”
Taking a deep inhale, Jin looked to his ring on his finger. Maybe living out this life would be an adventure. He was only thirty after all, considering. “I’ll try.”
“You have me to help, don’t forget that.” Jimin smiled with his eyes, wanting to lighten the mood.
Taking the moment in, Jin smiled weakly at the smaller male “I won’t.”
Chapter 16: 2.7
Going back to work was like any other day. Though it wasn’t. There was a thrill that came in counting down the days for his birthday but now there wasn’t. Jimin spoke a lot more, Jin saw it. Not just to him but to their coworkers as well. Jimin was more light in a sense, it was nice to see especially the road it took to get here.
But Jin felt.. hallow? Empty? Were those right to use how he felt? Was it alright to think that?
Seokjin missed what was. With Bora and his daughters, With Jungkook. Those were in the past, something he’d never get back. So what does he get in this life? A pat on the back for doing the riddle?
Why did he keep thinking so negatively?
When Sunday comes around, Seokjin goes to church. Sitting towards the back, he listened to the priest and the songs that are sung. He asks God then what was his purpose. Something he never truly questioned before, just took on whatever life gave him because he believed it was in God's will. Wasn’t it?
Did God really want him to live out multiple lives to help others? Who was going to help him?
“I need your help..” because God’s helped before. “Why am I here?” Looking up at the cross, Jin doesn’t get an answer. He doesn’t when he goes to confession and prays right after.
He doesn’t when he drives back home. He waits on possible phrases or even scriptures to be said or to be read but nothing.
Perhaps God will tell him in time.
Talk about the Christmas party flowed through the police department. The whole ordeal, secret Santa and where they’d potentially go. Jin doesn’t get involved in it however, he listens to the others speak on the matter. He’ll just follow along, do whatever they planned he decided.
“Are you going to participate?” Jimin asked while Jin made coffee.
“Yeah.. I mean.” Jin shrugged. “They’re all doing it.”
Not thinking his response meant anything, Jin turned to Jimin and saw the expression he held on his features. Like he was unsure, bubbling in his thoughts. Knowing all too well in that moment, the riddle was still going. Jimin was a free man now, but he needed friends and to go out more. That wouldn’t be so hard, considering they were basically the same person. If the crowd of any sort got too much they could leave together. That itself was promising. “Of course I’m doing it if you will.” Jimin had smiled, the type of smile that had someone wanting to do anything for him.
Seokjin was going to bring Jimin out of that shell.
When the Christmas staff party came around, Jin and Jimin went together. The party wasn’t anything big or special just a few people with ugly sweaters and donuts. With how small it was, how real, Jin appreciated it a lot. It wasn’t all too loud, only when they exchanged the secret Santa gifts. Which they all gawked and made fun of the gifts they received. The night went pretty well.
Jin had another Christmas party to attend to with his friends outside of work. He asked Jimin to come along but the man had to see his family, but afterwards he came. Jin gave Jimin a gift, it was small and quaint. A music box, it had a rustic look and for some reason when Seokjin saw it he thought of Jimin. The man had loved it, and in return gave Jin one as well.
“I don’t see you wear necklaces but..” Jimin offered as he held out the locket in hand. “You can put him in it.”
Jin couldn’t, he had no pictures of Jungkook whatsoever but it was the thought that counted. “Thank you Jimin.” Bringing the other into a hug, Jin didn’t let go for awhile because he was thankful.
New Years came and went, so did the months. Jin was busy for the most part. Arranging hangouts with friends, or colleagues. Seeing the people around them build families, expand their horizons. Even Jimin started to hang out with friends without Jin being there. It was nice. When Jin wasn’t with people, he’d go for drives alone. Park and look at the world.
Occasionally Jimin would go with him during lunch and they’d sit in silence. They’d still go workout when they’d have the time, on one night although Jimin asked what he had planned for after they worked out. After telling Jimin he was going to go for a drive alone, Jimin asked ‘could I come?’
Driving alone didn’t happen all too often after that. Seokjin preferred the silence of another than with himself. Sometimes he’d even text Jimin if they should go for a drive which indicated sitting in a parking lot. If Jimin wasn’t working, he’d always say yes.
When April came, he and few friends went out for Karaoke. Knowing they were he invited Jimin to come along. Sitting on the couch of their closed off room, the others sang. They asked Jimin to, but the man simply smiled and shook his head ‘another time.’ Upon asking him although, Jin got up and scrolled through the songs that came and decided on stronger by Britney Spears. His Korean was thick, but he had fun singing the words because maybe he would become stronger. His loneliness won’t kill him. It won’t, he was going to make sure of that.
As the days grew knowing Jimin got easier. They’d share a look and knew instantly what it meant. Sometimes it was wondering if they should leave the crowd, or get lunch at work, at times they’d share a look and knew they just needed time alone. There was one look however that Jimin held that Jin didn’t know how to look back, because all he could think was ‘no.’ It was sentimental, caring, maybe even loving. So no was what came across Seokjin’s mind.
But sometimes when he wasn’t thinking, wasn’t allowing the past worlds tumble his thoughts, life with Jimin was pretty grand. They were at the beach, the weather warm enough to swim but the night made the water cold so they didn’t. But they walked along the shore, they spoke nonsense yet allowed silence to wash over them when they had nothing to say.
“Thank you Seokjin.” Jimin uttered as he looked towards the water.
“For.. for being you..” his voice was soft, like an early morning. “For showing me the world is still good.”
Jin turned from the scenery before him to look at Jimin, the man he became was delicate and caring. Perhaps even a fairy in human form, Jimin was beautiful. “If you ever forget I’ll show you again.”
That’s when Jimin faced him and gave Jin the look. The one he always mentally said no too, but this time it carried a smile so warm and welcoming. Life and the world's he’s lived didn’t come to mind, it was just them. In that moment, whatever Jimin wanted Jin would’ve said yes.
“I won’t. Not if you’re with me.”
They share that moment together, not aware of the minutes that passed by as they stared at one another. Jin’s not aware of Jimin stepping closer, or maybe he did and just allowed it to happen. He’s only aware when the proximity of their body’s are so close he swears he feels the mans warmth radiating from him.
Eyes water, and he knows what Jimin wants but Seokjin can’t.
“We should go.” He just can’t.
There’s a pause from Jimin, but he nods soon after. “Yeah it’s getting pretty late.”
Seokjin dropped Jimin off first, they don’t share much words but ‘see you’ and ‘goodbye’ that night. That night Jin thinks of his past to not feel so alone.
Through July and August it gets surprising busy. Life of the law is so hectic that Jin has to make sure not to get in the way of the police officers that are constantly coming and going.
The radio on a police officer goes off one day, stating an officer was down and they needed backup. The other officers are out in no time so Jin couldn’t hear who it was. Fear rushed through him, it couldn't be Jimin. It can’t.
During busy times Jin wouldn’t text Jimin because he was working, but this time he couldn’t help it. He texted and spammed the male whenever he got the chance but he didn’t get a reply. Fear, it was wracking through him.
The night seemed like agony, his chest ached.
Suddenly a group of officers came in, Seokjin jumped to see who it was. No Jimin. What?
Rushing past them, Jin was freaking out. Once outside, Jin heaved, breathing uneven when he hears ‘hi.’
Turning almost frantically to the voice, he’s sees Jimin. Tired, and dirty like he was in mud but well. He was well. “God..” Jin sighed and ran to the officer and brought him into a hug. So tight that he was afraid if he didn’t Jimin would slip away.
“No.. just Jimin, sorry.”
Laughing painfully, Jin moved to cup Jimin’s checks and looked him up and down for anything bad, once he saw nothing he met Jimin’s eyes. “I was so worried.. you.. I texted you!”
“My phones in the locker..” a pause. “You were worried?”
“Of course I was!” His voice shook, eyes puddling with water. “I need you!” Reality struck. Words so real and raw, Jin felt vulnerable but he meant what he said. He’d say them again if need be.
“Shh..” Jimin hushed, his hands coming to hold Jin around his waist. “I’m here.. and I’m not going anywhere.” The position was intimate but that was the last of his worries. Jimin was in his arms, safe and sound.
That night Jimin went home with him. Jin didn’t need to say a thing, he was grateful for that, perhaps it was the worry on his features that Jimin suggested he stay for the night. Seokjin was quick to say ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way.’
Jimin is placed on the couch, Jin in bed. The quiet night air is somehow so loud, his breathing too. Jimin was just in the other room, he was fine. Jin didn’t need to worry. But he was.
Thoughts deafening, Jin ran his hands through his hair. Massaging his scalp.
“Just stop..” he whispered. Jimin was fine, so was he. But other things came through, like Bora and.. and Jungkook. “Stop..” he pleaded. Because it was wrong. They were lovers, Jimin wasn’t in that category.
He was a riddle, that was it.
The door opens, the light hitting Jin’s eye so he looks. Jimin’s at the doorway with a pillow in hand, “is it okay if..”
Jimin didn’t even need to finish that sentence and Jin was nodding, shifting in bed to make room for him. With slow footsteps Jimin walked to the other side of the bed and crawled under the sheets. Still laying on his back, Jin shifted to face the other way. So he wouldn’t have to face Jimin.
But at least his thoughts weren’t going crazy. The weight on the bed was comforting and Jimin’s breathing even made him relax.
Finally easing into the bed, Jin feels the bed shift again. Not saying anything or moving, he feels Jimin’s arm around his waist.
“Seokjin?” No response. “I know you’re scared.. but when I say I’m here.. I’m here. I didn’t get hurt, and I’m not going to die anytime soon.”
Holding in a sob he didn’t know he was carrying, silent sniffling came from Jin.
“You’re stuck..” Jimin breathlessly chuckled, “with me.”
But that wasn’t the problem. One day Jin was going to leave and he’d never see Jimin again. That’s why he cried, because another life after this might be a possibility.
The tears however stop instantly when he feels Jimin’s lips on his shoulder.
This was wrong.
Another kiss. It’s so warm.
Why did it feel so right?
Another and Seokjin’s sighing softly. He’s finally able to fall asleep.
The morning after, Seokjin doesn’t bring up the matter of last night. He makes breakfast and coffee, taking the natural route of things. When Jimin comes and joins him all he asked was ‘how you feeling?’
After that they move along the kitchen and share breakfast. He’s thankful Jimin doesn’t bring up last night either.
Seokjin finds out one day that Jimin is a huge Disney fan. Only because while him and a few others were in Jimin’s home, Jin helped himself to put on a movie where he saw an entirety of Disney movies. It’s cute, and Jin turns to smile at Jimin. “This one's my favourite.” He held up the little mermaid and put it on. Jimin is quiet but he says ‘it’s mine too.’
Jimin never took off the ring on his wedding finger, Seokjin could only assume he was healing. Moving on slowly whilst forgiving himself, Jin doesn’t ask. If Jimin wants to tell him, then he will.
At work Seokjin’s love life is suddenly a hot commodity. A lot of them are confused as to why he’s single, his body was toned with Jimin’s help and with his natural beauty, they were shocked. They told him he was catch and any girl would be happy to have him.
“They’re right you know.” Jimin said as they ate in Seokjin’s car. “Any girl would be happy to be with you.”
Jin sighed, “I don’t want any girl.”
“Any man then..” Jimin released slowly. Almost unsure.
Jin paused. He had them both, Bora and Jungkook. At this point maybe love was just supposed to be gazed from afar for him. Not knowing how to respond he looks to Jimin, although the mans already staring at him. “Enough about me..” he decided to joke. “What about you?”
Saying anything to get the topic off of him, he just didn’t realize how blunt it was until the words came flooding out.
Jimin breathed in deeply, “I don’t want just any man.” Seokjin mentally sighed with relief, he didn’t screw up with his words. “I just want one.” Maybe he did.
Love, lust, Jin couldn’t do it again.
Facing forward, Jin unwrapped his sandwich more being nonchalant. “Tell him.” He acted and maybe prayed it wasn’t him. “You should be happy.”
“I want him to be happy..”
“What?” Jin smiled unknowing.
“I want him to be happy.” He repeats. “He’s breathtaking when he’s happy.” Jimin sips from his drink, “one day I’ll say something but.. I think we both know, he knows already.”
Jin doesn’t say a word.
He doesn’t when the weeks roll by, and it’s September first again. It’s a Friday, so after work Jin goes to the bench and feeds pigeons. He talks to Jungkook, tells him his journey and how far Jimin has come. “I’d think you’d like him Jungkook. He’d probably think you were annoying at first but.. he’d grow to like you.” Just like he had with me. When he leaves he says ‘happy birthday.’
October pushes through, and it’s Jimin’s birthday. Him and few of Jimin’s friends Jin’s never met go out to eat at the small pojangmacha. Where Jimin’s favourite chicken was. Jin finds out these people were Jimin’s high school friends. With the years that tolled on everyone, Seokjin’s happy to see people from high school can still be friends.
The lot gets buzzed from the soju, they’re rowdy and Jin acts as the parent. Making sure they’re alright and whatnot. Jimin even gets buzzed but he’s more reserved. Stating he’s an officer! He needs to be respectful out in public.
When the night comes to an end, Jin takes Jimin to his house. The others follow suit but in cabs, but before they head inside It’s where Jimin slurs out ‘sleep over~’ his satori drips from his tone.
Jin knew this would happen and even packed a bag, so they hurdle inside together. Jin helping the smaller in.
Once Jimin’s friends come bursting through the door, Jimin yells out “I have karaoke!”
Everyone takes a turn, even Seokjin. Jimin says he doesn’t want to go yet, he finally does when the crowd is paying attention to something else. But Jin is interested because the man is finally going to sing.
The beat comes from the speaker, it’s the little mermaid. Jin smiled, eyes on Jimin when he began to sing.
“I don’t know when.. I don’t how, but I know something's starting right now~” Jimin’s voice was angelic. Seokjin was in awe, the man could really have been a singer. Too focused on Jimin’s voice, Jin sees Jimin’s eyes on him. “Watch and you’ll see.. someday I’ll be, part of your world~”
Holding the stare, Jimin calls it a night. The group of friends leave and Jin is helping Jimin to bed. They’re at the doorway when Jimin takes ahold of Jin’s jacket collar, “I want you.” He hushed, the movement quick enough to where Jimin kissed Jin’s chin.
“Woah- woah.” Jin pulled Jimin away. “You’re drunk.”
“I’m not that drunk..
“Then you’ll have no problem telling me tomorrow.”
“Why not tonight?” Jimin pleaded with his eyes.
Jin looked down to Jimin and breathed out. “Why do want to do something when you’re drunk?”
There’s a pause, then Jimin’s says “can you just kiss me then?”
Seokjin shook his head slowly. “Ask me tomorrow when you’re sober.”
Although when the next day came, Jimin didn’t say anything. Didn’t even mention the night prior.
Neither did Seokjin.
After that it grew to be a game they’d play. Doing subtle things for each other. Sure they were friendly but Jin wasn’t dumb there was more in their actions but neither of them mentioned it.
It was how Jimin looked at him when he brought him coffee, or how Jin would wait for the man outside of the car for Jimin. How they both would linger their accidental touches of their hands while getting a door. It was how Jimin’s eyes would stare a little longer on his lips when he spoke.
They were small, subtle things that neither spoke about. Jimin was getting over his past, he still wore the ring while Jin.. well Jin wasn’t ready to move on whatsoever. He had two lovers, both so different yet beautifully unique. He couldn’t possibly go through that again if there was a possibility of another life waiting for him after this one.
When November came, the anniversary Jimin comes to work and it’s gone. The ring Jimin wore since they met wasn’t on his finger any more.
“You’re acting like you’ve seen a ghost.” Jimin mused, making his famous hazelnut coffee.
“No.. no.” Lost for words, Jin knows he did it. The riddle was complete.
When his birthday came, Jin went bowling this time. It wasn’t that big either, just a few friends he was close with and they celebrated. Bowling was fun, Jin still wasn’t any good but he laughed and enjoyed life for the time being, that was enough.
When they ate the cheap bowling alley pizza and the store bought cake, they soon called it quits. But for him and Jimin, they drove to the beach. It was winter and too cold to walk along the shore, but they got out anyways and sat on the hood of the vehicle.
“I’m sorry Jin.” Jimin apologized.
“That night.. I came off too strong. I’m sorry.”
Realizing where Jimin was coming from Jin shrugged. “It’s okay.”
“It wasn’t. I should’ve said something when I was sober.. should’ve.. told you..”
Blinking a few times, Jin got up from the vehicle. This was taking a turn of events that he didn’t expect. Hadn’t expected. They were playing that game for so long he didn’t think Jimin would actually break the rules of it.
“I’m broken.” Jin shook his head, maybe if he said the truth of their reality Jimin would change his mind.
“You- you’re broken.”
“I know.” Jimin took his hands out of his pockets and placed them on Jin’s arms, slowly taking them out of their own pockets. “We can heal.. together.”
Watching as Jimin took hold of his hands Jin continued to shake his head, this was wrong. “What if..” he huffed, “What if I forget his face..” it was scary, because each day he was afraid he’d forget Jungkook. How he smiled and appeared, for Bora she was a google search away. Jungkook wasn’t.
“You won’t.. because he’s in here.” Jimin suggested to Jin’s heart.
“I’m not great- I’m old- I’m..”
“Shh..” Jimin hushed, gently squeezing Seokjin’s hands in his smaller ones. “You’re allowed to say no.”
Something in him wanted to, but something small told him to say yes. “I don’t want to.”
Chapter 17: Park Jimin
They took it slow. Seokjin didn’t know what he wanted. He was afraid to give into love once again, to him he had every right to have that fear. Because not knowing what would happen next was terrifying, what if he did have to live another life after this? Jimin would be gone like Jungkook.
Jin couldn’t deny although how calm and patient Jimin was, was pretty alluring. They’d have sleepovers, sometimes Jimin would sleep on the couch and sometimes he’d sleep in the bed. But nothing would happen except sleep.
It’s New Years and Jin doesn’t want to go out, instead he stays in and gets a call. Jimin wants to countdown with him, so comes over.
As the new year hit, they eat chocolate cake and drink hazelnut mixed hot chocolate. Seokjin actually grew into the flavor, started to like hazelnut.
“Tell me about him.”
“About who?” Jin asked with a stuffed mouth.
“The man you loved.”
Shocked, Seokjin set his fork down and peered at Jimin. “You.. want to know?” Jimin nodded, and Jin spilled everything out. Spoke about all of Jungkook’s quirks and hobbies, how he had a bunny smile and Jimin would’ve grew to like him. It felt good to acknowledge Jungkook to another completely. Like he was alive, like he wasn’t just in Jin’s imagination.
“He sounds amazing.”
“Do you have a picture of him?”
No. Seokjin didn’t. Swallowing thickly, Jin shook his head and rubbed his face. He had no picture and never would. “No. No I don’t.” Moving his hands away from his face, Jin smiled painfully at Jimin. “But I remember how he looks.” That was enough. As long as he didn’t forget.
When they go back to work, Seokjin is in the back filing when Jimin comes through. “Come with me.”
“Hm?” Confused and a little thrilled with the look that Jimin carried, Jin followed with some eager. They come to one of their coworkers office the sketcher for the reports. “Jimin?” Still clueless, Jimin opens the door and tells Jin to sit down. He complies and Jin looked to the other man across from him.
“What does Jungkook look like?”
Oh. Oh. Oh.
Why didn’t he think of this?
Smiling brightly at Jimin, Jin goes off into every possible detail. How Jungkook’s lips were shaped, the thin upper lip to his teeth. His eyes and how they curved, his jaw line that was ever so sharp. How Jungkook usually parted his hair, and how his nose was the cutest thing.
“I’m done.” The sketcher announces and hands Jin the paper.
Taking it, Seokjin had to look away. Tears puddled in his vision, but he had to look.
It was Jungkook, some details were a little faulty, but overall? It was him. “That’s my Jungkook!” He exclaimed. Showing Jimin who Jungkook was, “that's him.. that was him.”
Jimin smiled back, “he was beautiful.”
Jin buys a frame and frames the drawing. Placing the art on his mantle piece, where it wouldn’t ever be moved.
Time goes by smoothly, Jin’s chest isn’t so heavy. He spoke about Jungkook, Jimin knew him. Life was going pretty good.
He goes out occasionally, works, the whole ordeal. Although when Jin gets home one evening, Jimin texts;
‘Wanna go on a date?’
Heart pumping and body unsure, Jin replies ‘yeah.’
The date goes on pretty well. They talk, Jimin shares some information about his family. New information, like he has an older brother, he’s closer with his mom. Jimin’s family life is nice to hear about.
When the dates over, Jimin walks Jin to the door and they stand there for a while. Waiting on if a move would be made.
Nothing too crazy happened, Jimin just cups Jin’s cheek and thumbs Jin’s chin. Being the taller one, Jin looks down to him, the moment is caring. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Seokjin watches Jimin leave.
They have a few more dates after that, whether it’s to the movies or to the beach just to walk along the shore. Maybe even sitting in a parking lot, they don’t make advances. But each date involved Jimin asking Jin out.
It’s July and Jimin asks ‘Do you want to date me?’ He’s unsure, as if Jin had been pitying him this entire time.
“Because we don’t have to you know?”
No words formed in Jin’s throat, because he liked Jimin. But liking him felt like he was betraying Jungkook.
“Why don’t we take a break, I’ll let you think about it.” It’s not said in a horrid way, rather in a gentle and soothing manner. Jimin was basically saying ‘I’ll give you time to heal.’
Seokjin takes all the time he needs. He thinks about the positives and negatives. The pros and cons so to speak. The logical things, he then comes up with the conclusion that just like loving Jungkook he had to let Bora go. To love Jimin, he had to let Jungkook go.
“Can I?” He asked out to the universe. Laying on his back in bed, “is that alright?” To Jungkook. For Jungkook, Jin would’ve been happy to see him move on with someone else, but for himself? Was it okay?
Looking to the ring on his finger, Jin kissed it softly. “I’ll always love you. You’ll always have forever with me.” Getting up, Jin walked to the mantelpiece and stared at the drawing of a beautiful man. “Tell me.” Waiting for a sign, anything, he suddenly sees the boys smile when he closes his eyes. Something in him gets his answer. “I.. won’t forget you.” Sliding his ring off, Jin placed it in front of the drawing.
The day after he tells Jimin, he wants to date him. This time, Jin asks him out.
That night, Jin goes home with Jimin. They share a few laughs till it’s time for bed.
“Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”
“N- not like that.” Jimin giggled.
“Well if you say that, of course~” he playfulled cooed.
When they're in bed, Jin rolls into his side towards Jimin, eventually Jimin does the same. They share eye contact for a moment and Jimin’s shifts closer. Soon a small hand is on Jin’s cheek, “can I?”
“This is more than just sleep.” He teased. Jimin smiles, but Jin nods no less.
Moving slow, their lips meet and Jin’s sighing into the embrace. Leaning in for more, because it’s so gentle, so loving, something he had forgotten he loved. The kiss goes on a little longer, maybe gets heated before they pull apart.
Jimin has blown pupils, lips somehow appearing more full. He’s beautiful, Seokjin thinks.
Life goes on. Sometimes he goes sees his friends but it gets harder because they’ve grown up over the months. They have significant others, and some are growing families. Some are traveling and some are just working, it’s life. So Jin focuses on work most days, goes for drives and sometimes works out on his own. Some days when they came around, he’d celebrate the days of his wife and kids birthdays. When September comes around, he stays home and watches some anime like the times he would with Jungkook. That’s how he celebrates his birthday.
He does still go on dates with Jimin. But when they go out in public, it would be like they were just friends, Jimin was still afraid to truly be himself. One day Jin has the idea to take Jimin to a lgbtq meeting, the one Jungkook once took him. During the session, Jimin cries. He cries because he doesn’t feel alone after hearing the others stories, at least that’s what Seokjin thinks.
Jin doesn’t really go back, but Jimin tells him he still goes. That’s progress and that makes him happy for the officer.
When it comes to them, and their relationship, Jimin is the one that usually initiated the intimacy. They’d kiss behind closed doors or in the comfort of their home. Seokjin feels relaxed when they do, it’s not terrifying to kiss a man as he loved one before. He knows the do’s and what to do whenever it does happen.
The one day comes a lot sooner than expected when their make out session grows heated on the couch. Jimin’s on top of him, hands roaming each other when suddenly he feels the other palm on his crotch. “Woah!” Jin hiccups, eyes wide at Jimin. Jimin merely smiles. “You want to..?”
Jimin nodded, “if you want to.”
For Jungkook their bedroom stuff didn’t happen for a long time because Jin had never been with a man. But he knew now.
They move to the bedroom, the actions are slow as they slowly undress. Jin’s completely naked on his back, Jimin eyes him up and down like he was savouring the moment. “You’re so beautiful.” Jin’s body goes pink.
When it’s time, Jimin grabs the lube and condom, then he’s spreading his legs and Jin stops Jimin. “I’ve never-” Jin never bottomed. Jungkook was the one who did because he preferred it that way. Seokjin had no complaints because he was in the overall aspect in the same position with Bora.
Jimin leans down and kisses Jin, “it’ll feel really good Seokjin.” He promises but Jin wasn’t ready. “But if you want, I can bottom.” Nodding to that, Jimin bottoms.
But Jimin was still in control, his assertiveness in life came into the bedroom. Jin’s embarrassed when he comes undone first, he just never had someone so dominant with him in bed. It’s new, but it felt good to let someone else take control.
When it came to intimacy, Jimin bottomed as Jin wasn’t ready. On some occasions, very rarely Jimin would let Jin take control. When those times occurred Jin would feel so honoured to witness Jimin in that lighting.
Jimin was so beautiful.
Jin saw it how he focused on work, how Jimin learned from how to fix a vehicle, how he looked watching Disney movies. How he looked in the early morning, smiling at him.
Seokjin knew he if he just let loose, he’d love Jimin completely. He was just scared.
When their birthdays came, they didn’t do anything big. Instead Jin met Jimin’s family. Of course he was introduced as a friend but he saw that for Jimin it was a big step. On his birthday they celebrated alone, having dinner at a fancy restaurant.
When New Years came, they kissed when the clock struck midnight. In front of friends.
They didn’t speak on the matter, but in due time Jimin did announce to the very closest of friends that he was gay and that he and Jin were dating. They were all accepting except one, Jimin had been sad because he lost a friend but in the end he felt lighter, he told Jin. Because some people knew who he was truly.
While watching Mulan, they ate popcorn. Jimin somehow got handsy, and Jin knew what the other was trying to do. The movie was left alone as their clothes were discarded. Jimin asked then “can I top?” His voice was like velvet, and Jin responded.
“Go slow with me.”
When they came together, bodies connected as one it stung at first. But gradually as the pace was sensual and Jimin cooed sweet words, Jin found out bottoming felt really good. To him, that night it felt like love.
During the few months, Ji Woo announced she was retiring, they celebrated a farewell party and Jin said ‘don’t be a stranger, I’ll miss you too much.’
Ji Woo said ‘I won’t.’
Jin hadn’t ever really taken off the locket Jimin gave him that Christmas long ago. There was no picture inside although, so one day he took some pictures of Jimin. He asked why with a huge smile, “you’ll see.”
When Jin showed Jimin the locket with him in it, Jimin really had tears in his eyes. Jin knew in that instant, Jimin was in love. Although didn’t voice it. Instead they made love.
“How come we never made it to the back seat?” Jimin asked one day while sitting in the parked vehicle.
Jin chuckled, “have you thought about that?”
“Once or twice.” The younger shrugged.
They end up in the back seat for the first time. It’s awkward and a tight squeeze, some laughter is shared between them but in the end they’re both satisfied.
Years begin to pass them by, it’s the year 2023 and Jimin is promoted to second in command. It’s a huge deal, they celebrate by going to a pride parade.
One evening, Jimin is setting up a new tv they bought. They basically live together, Jin’s place was there still but they rarely went to it. Jimin’s was more spacious. Seokjin had been making supper, almost done he made some lemonade and stood at the doorway, watching Jimin focused.
It had been a long time since they've been together, almost seven years. Jin never said ‘I love you’ he had his reasons, but Jimin hadn’t either. But the elder knew why, he was waiting on Jin to say it first because of Jungkook. But he saw the way Jimin stared sometimes and how he portrayed his feelings in caring actions, he knew the younger had been in love for a while.
“I made lemonade.”
“Yeah?” Jimin perked up, getting up from the floor. “I want some~” he sang delicately, going to the kitchen.
Seokjin followed with his arms crossed. Eyeing Jimin and his actions.
There was a cage over his heart, afraid of the future. Of a possible life after this, but staring at Jimin being so mindless while he poured himself a cup of juice Jin knew he had to say it. “I love you.” He meant it in every sense of the word.
Jimin stopped and looked at him, then the most beautiful smile he’s ever seen on Jimin appeared on his features. “I love you too, Seokjin.”
Those words opened many doors. They decided together that they should live together, they buy a house. So their pasts aren’t in their relationship.
It’s small but it’s big with love.
Jimin eventually asks Jin if he ever dabbled in bdsm.
“No,” he laughed sheepishly. He didn’t have the best knowledge on the fact, to say the least he was pretty vanilla.
“Can we try? I’ll take care of you.”
Jin knows Jimin would, Jimin would never hurt him. “Okay.”
One occasion Jin’s wearing a blindfold, feeling his other sensations spike as he lost his vision. He feels Jimin’s lips and fingers ghost his skin.
Another occasion, Jin’s wearing handcuffs, it’s terrifying in a thrilling way. But through it all, Jimin makes sure Jin’s okay.
“I want to tell others.” Jimin says one day at lunch. “I want to come out.”
Perhaps it was the year and how accepting the world had become, more people were coming out or just didn’t have to and suddenly be in a same sex relationship. Or perhaps Jimin loved himself to let the world love him as is.
“You should, I’ll be right beside you.”
Jimin comes out to friends that he hasn’t told, to his family. His dads not impressed but his mom is thrilled. His brother said ‘we already knew.’ Jimin feels in love with the world, and dances with Jin in their home.
Constant praises are released from Jin, then they settle down and Jimin says “I have to ask something to you but.. I have to ask someone else first.”
Jimin goes to the drawing of Jungkook, it was placed on their new mantle when they moved in. “If it’s okay with you..” Jimin started, “I want to spend the rest of my life with Kim Seokjin.”
Inhaling sharply, Jin felt the water pool in his eyes.
“If he’ll allow me.” Walking over to Jimin, the man carried the most softest expression. “Will you, Jin? Spend the rest of your days with me?”
“Yes.” Without any hesitation. Jin cupped the man's cheeks and kissed him. He was in love. Being in love felt like fresh air.
Seokjin’s forty five, he began picking up hobbies. He learned how to thread clothes in a group full of women. It was actually pretty soothing, relaxing even. He learns how to play cards, because some of his friends began having a guys night. Some others were like meditating, or soulcycle. Jimin would come along sometimes, other times or the most part would be there to pick Seokjin up.
Their life together began to feel so normal. In a different sense, like maybe just maybe Jimin would be the last person he’d get to love wholeheartedly.
When Seokjin’s birthday comes, he takes Jimin to the beach. “I love you Jimin. I really really love you.” His words were raw, like Jimin needed to know this.
“And you love me?”
“I do.. so much.” Smiling at the other, Jin leans down and kisses Jimin. Life is good. There’s no purpose needed if he can have this. This with Jimin.
When Jin’s forty nine, the group of women threading clothes show what they made. Some show intricate designs and some have words.
One in particular stands out, it reads.
‘the Knight N shining armour does come to rescue, but don’t Just rely on them for one day, they too may fade away’
It’s a little dark Seokjin thinks.
Weeks pass and Jin goes to meditation with Jimin. As they walk in the flyer reads the same thing.
That night he holds Jimin close and prays, hopes it’s not a riddle. “Don’t let me go.” He pleads.
Seokjin’s fifty. He’s not as sore and old feeling as he was in his past lives. This time he had Jimin who constantly worked out with him, they pushed each other in good ways.
“We need groceries,” Jimin announces in the early morning. It was Sunday, both didn’t work.
So they go out to eat breakfast, but after they walk inside the grocery store. They shop and when they’re about to pay, Jimin realizes he forgot his wallet so he runs out. Jin stays put so they don’t have to line up again, but in a few cashiers down he hears commotion.
Then suddenly a hooded figure pulls out a gun. “Give me the money!”
Instincts kick in and Seokjin is moving to the male. “Hey- hey there’s kids.”
The guns aimed to him. “Shut up!”
Jin puts his hands up slowly. “You don’t have to do this.” He offered gently. “You can leave.. you don’t have to get in trouble.. you can put the gun down and..” the male is shaking, like he didn’t expect to get this far. But with the movement Jin knows if the man just has someone to tell him to stop he would. “And leave.. no one gets hurt.”
It seems possible, the man tosses the idea around. But as fate would have it, a kid moves too quick that the stand of cans begin to topple over and the gun goes off.
Pain flashes through Seokjin. Gulping thickly, he peers down and there it was. Blood was pooling at his abdomen.
Falling to the ground, Jin holds his stomach. Trying to stop the blood, the pain. He hopes no one else got shot.
“Hi- baby it’s okay.” Jin hears Jimin say as he fell to his knees beside him. He’s scared, Jin knew.
“No, shh.. don’t talk- SOMEONE! CALL THE AMBULANCE!” Jimin yelled to bystanders.
“Jim.. Jimin..” one hand moved up and faintly gripped Jimin’s shirt. He had to tell Jimin things, he had to. Because he knew he was going to die.
“Pro- promise me..” breathing is so hard to do, the pain.
‘Just get through it’ Jin tells himself.
“Life w- won’t give up on.. on.. you.”
“The ambulance is coming, don’t talk.” Jimin pleaded.
“I promise! But there’s no need- you’re coming home with me.. we need to get groceries and grow old still..”
Jin smiled painfully, “say it.”
Jimin begins to cry, “I promise that life won’t give up on me.”
Running his hand up, his hands bloody as he cups Jimin’s face. “Kiss me.. d- don’t let me go.” Jimin complies instantly. His arms wrap around Jin and while Jimin holds Jin, their lips meet. For a moment, it’s heaven.
“I.. I.. love you..” Seokjin whispered, the pain soaring throughout his body.
“I know, I love you too.” Jimin means it, but it’s rushed with worry. “You’ll be fine, just wait a little longer.”
“Beautiful..” Jin smiled one last time, eyes fluttering with tears and pain. With one eye flutter the pain stops.
Opening his eyes fully, the sun is shining in and Seokjin knows it started again.
“Why?” He chokes out, rubbing his eyes that held tears already.