Have you ever been blue?
Maybe everything around him was, indeed, blurring at the edges but Jungkook knew it was the tears forming in his eyes. Or maybe the fact that he was intoxicated. He didn’t care. He only wanted to fall asleep. Just for a few hours or maybe just forever. He didn’t care.
The last thing he remembered was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, shovelling white pills down his throat.
He didn’t understand why this light was so blinding. If it was heaven then it looked hella different to what he’d imagined. These people around him didn’t seem like angels, even if they were all dressed in white. An angel wouldn’t push him forcefully back into the bed he was lying on, feeding some damn tube down his throat and making him want to vomit.
Two pairs of hands pinned him down by the wrists and another pried open his jaw, forcing him to open his mouth even wider. It was like something was crawling inside his stomach. He coughed, feeling tears dribble down his cheeks, eyes burning.
Someone rolled his head to the side and he choked. Why did he have to be awake for this? What was happening? Then he was sober again and everything morphed into pain. For the first time since he came to, he felt the disgust and so he closed his eyes once more so that he couldn’t see what was going on above him.
If he could, he would have covered his ears so as not to hear those pathetic sounds he was making as he threw up the entire contents of his stomach in front of this collection of doctors and nurses or whoever they were supposed to be.
“Okay. His blood pressure is stable,” came a woman’s voice.
“Why didn’t you let me die?” Jungkook whispered, voice so hoarse that it didn’t sound like him at all. “I wanted to fucking die.”
“I know, but my job is to keep you alive, kid,” a man – probably a doctor – called out from somewhere in this whitewashed room.
Jungkook turned his head away from the hustle and bustle, gazing out of his hospital room window. Beside the bed, a transparent substance was making its way down a drip and through the needle inserted into the back of his hand. The beeping of the apparatus was starting to drive him insane, but the gazes of his parents were even worse.
“I want to go home!” Jungkook screamed at them.
“You can’t,” his mother said.
“I don’t care! These sounds are driving me crazy! I hate this place!” he kept screeching, reaching for the catheter in his hand and trying to rip it out before a nurse stopped him.
He tried swinging his legs, hoping to catch some delicate flesh and inflict pain but his ankles were stapled to the bed by another set of strong, iron-like fingers. There was a sudden sting in his upper arm and warmth started to spread beneath his skin.
And then he was drifting off to sleep.
One Week Later
They examined him in every possible way. They checked his weight, his height, his blood pressure, asked about any illnesses he’d acquired before his admission and which medications he either currently or used to take. He felt like a lab rat. An abandoned lab rat. His mother had left two hours previous but not before she’d informed her son that he was going to be locked up in a psychiatric hospital for a while. She didn’t say what ‘a while’ was, whether it was a week, a month or a year. She even cried a bit, muttering something about not being able to look after him on her own, but Jungkook didn’t believe her. He wanted to know how that asshole was going to treat her. The guy had lived with them for several months and now he had practically the whole house all to himself.
Damn dickhead, is what Jungkook thought of him. He’d dated his mother for only a year but he acted like he’d been her husband for decades and Jungkook was almost positive that he was cheating on her.
He wasn’t quite sure whether he felt concern for his mother dealing with that jerk alone or anger that he was being kicked out of his own home so some random stranger could take over. Maybe both.
Struck by a sudden burst of anger, he kicked the door in front of him. A few seconds later, it banged open and he saw the face of a surprised man, finally realising how much noise he must have made.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured, suddenly feeling guilty.
“You’re Jeon Jungkook, right?” the man asked, and Jungkook nodded. “I’m Dr Kim Namjoon, but you can call me Namjoon. Come on in.”
The doctor’s office looked comfortable but it was small and the furniture was ageing and old-fashioned. Jungkook sat on the leather chair he was ushered towards, eyeing the place with distaste.
“I will be your therapist during your stay here. I’m a psychiatrist but also the chief of this unit,” Namjoon introduced himself kindly, crossing his legs from where he sat in the chair opposite his newest patient.
Looking at all the diplomas and certifications that decorated the walls, Jungkook could tell that the guy was pretty experienced in this field.
“Okay …” he huffed, not really sure what he was expecting.
“I want you to know that you can feel comfortable here,” Namjoon continued. “Nothing that is said here will ever leave these walls. Our conversations will remain between you and me. Now, is there anything specific that you wanted to ask?”
“When did you come up with the idea that I want to talk?” Jungkook countered, nonchalantly, propping his legs on a spare chair and crossing his ankles.
“Why don’t you want to?”
“I just don’t,” he sighed and Namjoon nodded calmly, leaning back a little.
“Then I’ll ask you a question and you can decide if you want to answer it,” he said, still smiling. “What’s the colour of the sky?”
He must have been joking. No one was that stupid.
“It’s easy, right? So what is it?”
“So can we agree that simple questions are easy enough?”
“I don’t think I have a choice,” Jungkook snapped.
“What makes you think that?”
“Because …” Jungkook paused, unsure whether he really wanted to answer this question. “I would turn out to be a pretty rude asshole. I’m almost certain you’ve already noted some negative things about me in that little notebook of yours.”
He pointed at the pages sitting on Namjoon’s lap.
“I’m just writing a few scribbles so I can remember everything for our next session. They are for my eyes only,” he explained, clearly understanding that it was making Jungkook uncomfortable. “But now you’ve piqued my interest. What makes you think that you don’t have a choice?”
“People are always telling me what I should and shouldn’t do. It’s frustrating.”
“Do you always do what they say should be done?”
“Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But if I don’t, it drives me crazy.”
“Why? What do you feel when you don’t?”
“I …” Jungkook took a deep breath. Just thinking of all his past experiences was giving him a killer headache. “I want to do what others tell me to because otherwise they’ll grow to hate me. And it’s only me. Other people are allowed to do whatever they want and refuse the stuff they don’t want but when it comes to me, they can’t accept it.”
“Has anyone ever told you that they hate you?”
“Not directly. But I’m not stupid. I notice these things,” Jungkook answered, tone laced with irritation, before his lips stretched in a sarcastic smirk. “It’s funny, actually. I’ve started to make a game out of it. I give myself a year for every relationship I get into.”
“Is that one of the reasons why you overdosed?” Namjoon asked him carefully, voice still calm, and Jungkook felt something heavy settling in the pit of his stomach.
“I just wanted to fall asleep.”
“I see … but Jungkook, mixing multiple medications with alcohol will do more than make you fall asleep. It’s dangerous and it can kill you.”
Jungkook withdrew his legs from the chair, shuffling uncomfortably in his seat as he tried to resist the urge to scream at the man sitting before him.
“People make my life hard,” he gritted out, working hard to keep his voice level and calm. “They don’t get me at all and they’re always demanding things. Anyone would be tired of being treated like that. I’m not crazy.”
“I never said you were,” Namjoon reasoned.
“I’m sorry. Can we finish this?” Jungkook asked after the silence stretched longer than he was comfortable with, rubbing the back of his neck. “Please? I’m just not in the mood.”
“You know how to say ‘no’. You asked if we could stop the session and that’s okay. It’s not that you have to agree to everything that you feel uncomfortable with,” Namjoon said, but Jungkook knew it wasn’t the same.
This guy was a therapist. Everything was so much easier for people like him.
When Jungkook was directed to his new living arrangements, he was met with two unfamiliar guys who – he assumed – were his new roommates. They’d probably already had their individual sessions because they hadn’t been present when Jungkook had dipped in to drop off his suitcase.
“Hi,” he greeted awkwardly when one of the guys looked up at him with heavy-lidded eyes.
“Hi. Are you the new one?”
“Yeah. I’m Jungkook.”
“I’m Yoongi,” he grunted, reaching out his hand. Jungkook extended his own fingers but before he could wrap them around the offering, Yoongi clenched his hand into a fist. “Not like that, kiddo. Irish bomb.”
Their fists collided.
“Bomb? Where?” the second guy suddenly shouted, leaping up from his bed. “Is it the North Koreans?”
,, Jin, have some manners.'' Yoongi whined and lied back on his bed. ,, It’s Jin by the way. I don’t know what kind of idiot thought it will be good idea to make us roommates. He's so loud and I can't take morning naps because of him.''
“What’s up with him?” Jungkook whispered, watching as Jin ran to the window, muttering something about soldiers attacking them.
“Hebephrenic schizophrenia,” Yoongi sighed.
The hair on the back of Jungkook’s neck stood up and he noticed Jin’s gaze on him, staring with a weird smile plastered on his face.
“Hi,” he tried, a little nervously.
“Do you have fudges?” Jin blurted, completely out of the blue.
“Why would I have fudges?” Jungkook questioned, retreating a couple of steps when Jin approached.
“Why not? Everybody here knows I like fudges.”
“I didn’t know,” Jungkook murmured, dodging past Jin when the boy tried to lean in closer.
“Your loss,” he sang melodiously, trailing after Jungkook and sitting down beside him on the bed. “Will you pay me? I have a lot of debts and my wife used to tell me that I need to find a job if I want to eat fudge.”
“I worked a job. The ramen was spicy,” Jin babbled, not making the slightest bit of sense. “Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon?”
“No,” Jungkook answered and Jin laughed.
“They didn’t call me later. They called me Jin. They didn’t call you? It’s really nice talking with you, Jungkook. My wife went out with a dog when she heard about it.”
“Leave the poor boy alone,” Yoongi intervened. “You don’t have a wife, dude.”
“Did we get a divorce?”
“No. You never had a wife.”
“That’s a really good observation. Thanks for reminding me,” Jin chirped.
The three of them lapsed into a long silence that was finally broken when the Jin stood up and approached Yoongi’s bed.
“Yoongi, do you want me to make you a sandwich?” he giggled, waving his arms around as though performing some kind of incantation. “Poof! And you’re a sandwich.”
Yoongi ignored him.
“Check,” a sudden voice interrupted and a nurse appeared at the door, shuffling over to Jin as the boy tried to gain Yoongi’s attention by swatting playfully at his arm. “Okay, okay, time to take your meds, handsome. You seem a little too excited today.”
“Hear that?” Jin said proudly to Jungkook as the woman took his hand. “Everyone calls me ‘handsome’ here. Why? Because it was my order.”
“Of course,” the nurse appeased, patiently waiting for his cooperation.
“I’m leaving. We’re going to have sex,” he whispered, winking at Jungkook.
“Not true,” the nurse diffused and Jungkook could hear Jin’s giggles even after the door had closed behind them.
“What am I even doing here?”
Yoongi snorted, rolling over onto his side and opening one eye, glaring at Jungkook. “You think you’re the only one whose normal?”
“I’m not meant to be here. My family just wanted to get rid of me.”
“Nice one,” Yoongi laughed like it was the best joke he’d ever heard. “And I accidentally almost killed myself. Twice. Gee, I wonder how that happened.”
He grabbed hold of his quilt and covered himself completely from view, adding the words “have a nice day, bunny” before turning over, signalling that the conversation had come to an end.
Jungkook lay back on his bed but sleep didn’t come to him nearly as easily as it appeared to for Yoongi who seemed to have slipped away in just a few seconds. He wondered why his new roommate was always so tired.
Giving up on rest, Jungkook started unpacking his things in silence, wary of not waking Yoongi. But as soon as he noticed a lack of headphones in any of his pockets, it drove him to breaking point.
“What the fuck?” he screamed, kicking the case with all his might before dropping to his knees and turfing all his clothes out onto the floor.
“I’ve got the same question, dude. What the actual fuck?” Yoongi grunted.
“Why is she such a bitch? She took my headphones! I can’t listen to music without headphones! Where’s my phone?”
“You can’t use your phone without permission,” Yoongi yawned. “They take them away along with all the sharp stuff.”
“What’s going on?” came a voice in the doorway and Jungkook looked up to see Namjoon standing there with a couple of nurses at his side.
“Give me back my phone.”
“It’s locked away at the moment,” Namjoon explained, regarding Jungkook like he thought he was about to explode. “You can use it during your free time and give it back to us afterwards.”
“I need my Mp3 player! Tell my mother to bring it! I need to listen to music,” Jungkook fumed, tension oozing from his every pore.
“Okay,” Namjoon soothed. “Calm down. Everything is fine. You will get it back, okay?”
“You can go to the common room if you want,” one of the nurses added and Jungkook followed her like the obedient little puppy they wanted him to be.
He didn’t know why he was always getting so angry. At first, he thought that his mother did things to purposefully drive him up the wall, but now that he was sitting on a couch outside, he realised that maybe it was just him after all.
There were a few people in the room alongside him, only men seeing as they didn’t mix the genders in psychiatric units. A couple of boys were sitting to his left and they looked about his age but he couldn’t bring himself to speak to them.
But then they turned to him, “Hi. How are you?”
“Shitty,” he responded at once.
“What’s your name, boy who feels shitty?”
Jungkook chuckled and introduced himself. The patient’s name was Taehyung.
“I’m home, sweethearts!” someone shouted happily and Jungkook glanced across the room to see who was making such a dramatic entrance.
Two nurses were leading a young man through the door, releasing their grip on his arms when he asked them to. If he was a patient then Jungkook never would have guessed. The guy was blonde and looked like he’d just returned from a party.
A silvery leather jacket, perfectly styled hair and, when he moved closer, Jungkook even noticed that his eyes were framed with makeup. His lips stretched in a smile and he brushed his hand down the side of Taehyung’s face.
“Hey, Tae, did you have any wet dreams about me?”
“You wish,” Taehyung countered, flinching back slightly.
“I know you all missed me,” the new arrival shouted to the entire room.
It was remarkable how much attention he drew. Everybody was looking at him and he seemed to be loving it. A nurse approached him and he raised his arms in greeting, grin widening.
“Hi, Hana!” he called, wiggling his eyebrows. “I’ve only been gone a week and look at you. You got even hotter.”
“Stop it, Jimin.”
“You know I’d never lie to you.”
“I know,” Nurse Hana answered him, reaching for the prepared medication on the trolley at her side.
Jimin leaned back against the wall, watching her with a smirk. “Are you blushing because you suddenly got all shy?”
“I’m blushing because this is inappropriate.”
“Inappropriate …” Jimin muttered, biting down on his bottom lip. “I like that word.”
“Jimin, go to your room,” Namjoon ordered, seemingly appearing from nowhere.
“Doc! Long time, no see!”
“Because you ran away for a week.”
“Anyway … I feel too good to waste my time in one of those tiny little rooms. Unless I have good company,” Jimin grinned, straddling one of the chairs positioned in front of Taehyung and Jungkook.
“Be a good boy, okay?” Namjoon conceded and Jimin winked seductively.
“I’m always a good boy. Love you doc!”
He even sent out a flying kiss before Namjoon left the room and Jungkook suddenly felt that intense gaze burning into his face. Up close, he could see that Jimin was astoundingly beautiful. His skin was flawless, his lips had a nice full shape and his cheekbones were so distinct. And it seemed that he was perfectly aware of it.
His confidence was almost intimidating.
“And who is this? I would have thought I’d remember such a pretty face,” he asked, observing Jungkook with a crooked eyebrow. “Are you new?”
“Yeah,” was all Jungkook was capable of saying, especially when Jimin suddenly approached and hugged him without any warning.
He could smell the sharp and yet sweet scent of his cologne.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Jimin. And you, sweetie?”
“Jungkook,” he squeezed out, slightly breathless and still taken aback at the sudden display of physical affection but Jimin only smiled and reached up to fix his baseball cap.
“You’re really cute, Jungkook. And this cap makes you even cuter.”
Jungkook had forgotten he was even wearing it.
“Make yourself comfortable, honey. If you don’t feel so good then come to me and I’ll make you feel all better,” Jimin hinted suggestively before he was off and roaming, transferring from person to person and striking up a conversation with each of them.
“Does he compliment everybody like that?” Jungkook whispered to Taehyung. “Why is he so super nice?”
“He’s got his stage.”
“You’ll understand everything soon enough.”
“How do I look?” Jimin crowed to a larger group of patients. “I had a really nice time in Jeju.”
He shrugged off his jacket to expose his muscled arms, revealing a nicely shaped body beneath black clothing. It was obvious that his dedication to staying in shape kept him working out on a regular basis.
“You was in Jeju? That’s hella far away.”
“I can go wherever I want. You know me. I could take a trip to the US if I felt like it.”
“But how would you talk to people?”
“I’m damn good with languages. I could learn the basics in just a few days. But they’d understand me even if I spoke gibberish. When you forget words, you just have to use your charm.”
Jungkook stopped listening and returned to his room, dead set on taking a nap. He was woken merely two hours later by a nurse who insisted that it was time for his group therapy session. He sat there, listening, but he didn’t say much. He was new and nobody took any notice of him.
When Taehyung took his turn, Jungkook really started to wonder what had led him to be a patient at this hospital. But during the boy’s testimony, it became more than crystal clear.
“So what was the reason that you locked yourself in the bathroom?”
“There was a visitation,” Taehyung mumbled, glaring down at his feet.
“Did it make you nervous?”
“My sister came.”
“Isn’t that good?”
“She wanted to kill me.” Taehyung’s voice was starting to shake.
“Why do you think that?”
“She wants to destroy me. She once tried to gas me to death. She turned on the oven and left me in the house.”
“But you told us before that she was just making cookies for the family.”
“That was her excuse. She’s clever. Like an assassin,” Taehyung answered, as though it was obvious and Jungkook truly felt sorry for him because he really seemed to believe it.
“Bitch!” some other man in the group shouted out.
“Let’s not use such words,” therapist chastised calmly.
“Bitch! Fucking bitch!”
“Okay, Hoseok. You can go back to your room now and rest.”
“Fine,” the noisy patient agreed and left the room without any hesitation.
An hour and a half in and Jungkook was truly starting to feel the effects of exhaustion, even if he’d already slept. Feeling like a zombie, he shuffled out into the corridor and waited in the long line of patients to take his medication, noticing Jimin sitting on a nearby chair.
He leaned his head back against the wall, stretching out his legs like he was sunbathing. A male nurse stopped by and looked down at him.
“Why do you keep sitting around inside with sunglasses on?”
“Because I look fucking cool,” Jimin snapped and he sounded different than before. His voice wasn’t nearly as sweet. “You got a problem with that?”
“It’s against the rules.”
“I fuck your rules!” Jimin suddenly exploded, rising from his chair and pointing his finger straight at the nurse’s chest. “But not you! I don’t fuck stupid jerks!”
“Watch your mouth!”
“Let me be,” another nurse interrupted, stepping between the two of them in an attempt to diffuse the situation.
“I hate it when he speaks to me like that.”
“Are you really going to argue with one of our patients?”
“Yeah! She’s right. Are you? Didn’t you go to school?” Jimin mocked maliciously, taking a step closer before the second nurse pulled him away from any further attempts at confrontation. “Did they not teach you anything or were you just born stupid? You work in this place and you don’t even know how to treat us? Why haven’t they kicked you out yet?”
“Okay, calm down, Jimin …”
It's like he couldn't stop talking.
“How can you employ such an idiot? Do I pay my taxes just to get this shitty kind of healthcare? I would sack him on the spot if I was in charge of this hospital. You’d already be scrubbing toilets!”
“Sit down, please.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” Jimin kept shouting even as the nurse tried to get him to sit back down. He ripped off his sunglasses and glared at his enemy’s retreating back. “I want to talk with the principal!”
Jungkook could hear his screaming even as he was handed his pills on a plate. He supposed he could only hope those little white nuggets could take away even a sliver of the internal pain and emptiness he felt with every breath. He’d had a headache since morning and it was only getting worse with the ruckus Jimin was making.
“Hey! Let go of me! I said let go of me!” the boy kept screaming, and now there were medics holding him down. “Why? Why? Because you’re scared I’ll tell him about all your shortcomings and you’ll lose your jobs? You’d better be careful! I could really harm your careers with just a few words! Let go!”
“He’s been off his medication for a week. No wonder he’s so aggressive,” Jungkook heard one of the nurses muttering.
He turned away from the scene and headed to his room, wondering why he suddenly felt so dizzy. Removing his cap and boots, he laid back against his blankets and before he knew what was happening, he was opening his eyes again and it was dark.
There were voices outside in the corridor.
“They will find you,” he heard Yoongi whispering.
“What?” Jungkook grumbled, almost paralysed with sleep. He could only just see the outline of a body as somebody ducked behind Yoongi’s bed. “What’s going on?”
Before he could say anything else, somebody lunged for him and slapped their hands over his mouth. If he was capable of screaming, he would have shrieked the entire place down but the whisper in his ear silenced him.
“Shh … I need to hide. They want to lock me in this damn room.”
The voice was familiar. Jungkook reached up and grabbed the figure’s wrists, knowing he was stronger and therefore not at all surprised when he pried those hands from his face with ease. Blinking in the darkness, the shadowy shape of Jimin came into view crouching beside him.
There were footsteps outside. The door clicked and Jimin grabbed for Jungkook’s quilt, slithering under it.
“Are you fucking serious?” he hissed, feeling the intruder wriggling about near his legs.
“Shut up,” he heard Yoongi hiss from the adjacent bed. “Pretend you’re asleep.”
The light from the corridor attacked Jungkook’s eyes and he groaned in protest, calling out to the faceless figure in the doorway, “Stop it. I can’t stand the light.”
He tugged the blankets right the way up to his chin, successfully concealing the fact that there was a second body in his bed.
“I could have sworn he went in there.”
“I can’t see anybody. Keep searching.”
The door closed and darkness returned but nobody moved, listening to the voice and the footsteps gradually getting quieter and quieter until they vanished altogether. Jungkook could feel Jimin crawling up the bed towards the pillow and suddenly the blankets were being tossed to the floor and the boy was straddling him.
“Thanks, sweetie,” he whispered, leaning down until they were so close that Jungkook could feel the breath on his face. “I never would have thought that I could top you so fast.”
“Let go of me,” Jungkook growled, shoving Jimin off the bed and retrieving his blankets.
On the other side of the room, Jin started giggling, “Is someone having sex right now?”
“You’re giving me naughty ideas, Jinnie,” Jimin teased as he straightened up, dusting himself off.
“You’d better go before they find you,” Yoongi grunted, already halfway back into the land of the dead.
“It was really nice being in your bed, Jungkook. Sweet dreams,” was all Jungkook heard before Jimin slipped out of their room with all the stealth and elegance of a cat.