He very desperately tries to forget how good it felt to starve.
They have a show. UK maybe, or Germany. Jimin isn't sure. The whole of Europe kinds of gels together one show after another.
Across him, Jungkook is watching a video in English. Jimin can't quite understand it. He wishes he couldn't understand any of it. Some days he hates this language, this language that measures how smart they are, how educated they are.
Some days he wishes they weren't famous to enough to perform outside Korea.
Taehyung is shaking him, "...Minie, Minie."
Jimin blinks and forces himself to focus on Taehyung's downturned lips and shifty eyes. He looks tired, the blue of his hair is fading and it's dry, cracked, torn, dry, dry, dry. He's been missing his family, Jimin knows. Later that night, Taehyung will cry in his sleep and Jimin will hold him uselessly.
"What?" His voice comes out flatter than usual.
"You haven't eaten." Taehyung sits on the edge of the couch where Jimin is sprawled and gently massages his feet.
"I'm not hungry."
"But - " Jimin pulls his feet from Taehyung's hold and folds them, turning on his side to face the brown of the couch. He traps his hand between his knees and closes his eyes Across him, the sounds of the video have stopped.
It's silent for a while before he feels the weight off the edge lift up and a sigh that follows. Nobody is mad. One hour, three hours; Jimin will go to Taehyung's room and the latter will open his arms with teary eyes and trembling lips and Jimin will accept. They're soulmates. This is what they do.
It would be so easy to love Taehyung, Jimin thinks. It would be so easy to fall for his boxy grin and his deep voice and his gentle, gentle self. But Jimin wasn't made for those things. He was already taking more than his fair share from Taehyung, by making him suffer every time he refused to take care of himself. No, Jimin was made for less food, lesser self esteem and the least amount of self preservation.
(Somewhere in the back of his mind, he hopes he was also made for doe eyes, teasing smile and a voice that never gave up a chance to steal his breath.)
The couch dips under somebody's weight again and Jimin feels a hand, going up and down his legs before resting on his knee. He smells laundry detergent and the earphones dangling from his ears ghost over Jimin's soles.
"I think I'll go eat some fruit after a while." Jungkook says. Everything is perfectly still.
"Jin hyung had ordered some remember?" Jimin doesn't. But its probably true. Jungkook is quiet. The weight on Jimin's knees is heavy. Jungkook's hand is warm and Jimin thinks sleep would be good.
He knows what Jungkook is asking. He doesn't care. Not tonight. Tonight he wants to curl up in this couch and pretend he doesn't dream of his death every day.
He feels a shift of weight, then a warm hand cupping his face. Then hot breath on his cheeks. If he were to turn, their lips would meet. Jimin could fake being asleep and then turn. Act like the kiss is an accident.
They could imagine that they haven't already kissed hundreds of times, that they didn't fuck that one time after an award show in Korea. And innumerable times after that.
They could play out their own romantic movie.
But Jimin doesn't move and Jungkook stays like that for a minute or so before leaving him. The universe is helpless today. Today, Jimin is his own worst enemy.
"Do you know one in five deaths due to anorexia is because of suicide?"
Jimin looks up from his laptop. Namjoon is sitting on the dining table across him, his phone is clutched a little too tightly in his hands.
"Are you worried I'm going to kill myself?" Jimin asks. He's surprised at how calm his voice is. Even Namjoon looks taken aback at his attitude.
"I'm worried." He says. "About a lot of things."
"Well don't worry about this one." Jimin resumes typing. Getting an online course from the university means writing papers and doing assignments in whatever little free time they have. His Microeconomics paper is due tomorrow and Jimin would like to be done by atleast midnight and get some sleep.
"I'm just - I just want to make sure....." Namjoon's voice is faltering, breaking a little bit, "That you know that you don't have to do this by yourself and that...."
"Namjoon hyung." Jimin exhales. He's tired and he has two thousand more words to write. He's tired. "I don't have anorexia anymore."
Namjoon opens his mouth, a slightly indignant look on his face but then he closes it. "Bang PD wants you to see a therapist."
"Stop typing for a second. Jimin. "
He shuts his laptop down. Namjoon is looking at him with calm eyes but after five years, Jimin can make out his tense shoulders, knows the meaning behind the perfectly still plams that are flat against the wooden surface of the table.
"Bang PD wants you to see a therapist, the one Yoongi sees."
"I heard you the first time." Jimin says coolly.
"And you're okay with it?" Namjoon does a terrible job at hiding his surprise. "With seeing her?"
Jimin gets up and tugs at the power cord."It's whatever. Not like I can refuse."
The tightness of Namjoon's shoulders disappear and they sag. His palms are retreating into fists and Jimin notices the bags under Namjoon's eyes that look darker today.
Jimin hates himself, hates, hates hates hates hates -
"Have you not been sleeping?" He asks.
"This isn't about me."
Jimin sighs. He hugs the laptop close to his chest. It's hot and it burns but Jimin doesn't mind. These days everything is a little too cold. He'll take what warmth he can get.
"I'll make an honest effort with the therapist if you promise me you will go to sleep by twelve today."
Namjoon doesn't smile. But there's a tiny tiny spark in his eyes when he says, "Deal."
He's a liar. He's a filthy, flithy, hypocritical liar.
His first session ends with him staring at the dark brown leather chair in which his therapist sits. No words are said.
Idly, he hopes atleast Namjoon kept his end of the deal.
Jungkook waits for him below the building. Jimin is preparing a lie in his head but Jungkook doesn't ask about the session.
He just drives.
One year ago he had anorexia. It got bad. There was a tube stuffed down his throat that made it difficult to breathe and impossible to speak.
Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and the tube inside his mouth tastes like acid and he breathes the fire in his lungs.
In his dreams he never really left the hospital.
He looks in the mirror and looks away just as instantly. His ribs don't stick out anymore and he still hates every single inch of his skin.
"I'm bisexual." is the first words he utters in front of his therapist. It's their third session. The second one had ended with him staring at the chair once again. Now he's staring down at his hands that are joined together tightly.
He doesn't know why he tells her. Maybe he just wants to see if she's okay with it.
"Thank you for telling me that Jimin." She might be smiling. Or she might be judging him with disgust. Jimin can't bring himself to look up.
"Does anyone else know?" She asks.
"Just the other members." Anyone else isn't an option. Not in this industry. Not in this country.
"And....are they okay with it?"
"Yes." Jimin focuses on the scratches around his knuckles. Last night he had dug his nails into them, trying to convince himself that he wasn't strapped to a hospital bed anymore.
"I'm happy for you." She says and Jimin scoffs. He doesn't want her happiness. Just his own.
The third session ends. Before leaving he gives her a quick bow of thanks and meets her eyes for a brief second. She smiles at him.
He leaves. Jungkook is downstairs and Jimin does not wish to make him wait long.
He's gotten his abs back. Almost. He's leaner now, more than he used to be and there's practically no muscle on his arms. He sees an old photo of him wearing a sleeveless tank top and can't help the jealousy that overtakes him. He destroyed his own life.
Yoongi has depression. He has had it since before they were famous and Jimin thinks he will have years after they're over. Yoongi has depression and his best lyrics are when he's saddest.
Namjoon thinks too much. Jimin is sure he's not the only one who considers suicide every now and then. Sometimes he walks in front of Namjoon while crossing roads so that he doesn't walk into traffic.
Hoseok gets anxious like it's the easiest thing in the world. Jimin shares a room with him and it is always obsessively spotless despite his disorganised state of existence. It's sickeningly clean and they both hate it.
Seokjin cuts himself while chopping vegetables far too many times for someone who's been doing it for more than six years now. Jimin wonders which cuts are intentional.
Taehyung can stare at blank spaces for hours at a stretch. His mind is always never fully with them. Taehyung is in too many places at once and none of them are enough to keep him going sometimes.
Jungkook is -
Jimin doesn't want to go there.
(Jungkook looks at thirteen year olds playing in the parks sometimes and Jimin knows he doesn't understand the game. No one ever played with him. Jungkook's game is called how to be perfect.)
What's he's trying to say is --
(They're all kind of fucked up.)
(Why is he the only one who doesn't have it under control?)
"Sometimes I want to die." He tells his therapist.
"That means sometimes you want to live." She says, "Don't ever forget that."
"Why do it so late?" Seokjin hisses.
Jimin pauses right outside the kitchen door. It's late at night.
"Its been a year since he....since that." From his voice Jin sounds mad and Jimin wills his heart to stop crushing. "Why didn't they assign him a therapist then? Why make him suffer for a year?"
"Hyung - " It's Yoongi. Of course it is. The two eldest are having a midnight conversation. About him.
"Have you seen him in the last few months Yoongi?"
"You think I haven't?" Yoongi's voice is cold.
"That's not what I -"
"I know." Yoongi cuts him. "But therapy would have been useless then. He barely talked to us. You think Jimin's the kind to go around telling his problems to a stranger?"
The only noise heard is a kettle boiling and Jimin turns around.
"I just want him to get better." Jin's faint voice reaches him even then.
Jimin had been decidedly numb when a doctor had told him he was anorexic. The whole time, when a tube was inserted to provide him with the necessary nutrition, when Taehyung had held his hand and cried, when he's entered the dorm after a week in the hospital, he'd felt nothing. It was unreal. Any moment Jimin had been expecting to wake up from this nightmare, this torture, this pain, this pain, this pain.
The months had gone by in learning songs and learning choereographies and learning to just get by somehow.
He hadn't known he would have to learn to live all over again.
Hoseok asks him if he wants to choreograph a part of the new song they're working on. He's been asking Jimin that for the past four songs. Jimin's been refusing every time.
"I don't know hip hop that well." is what he says.
"We need a fresh perspective." is what Hoseok says.
Jimin pauses for two reasons.
One, he's been given an assignment by his therapist (Jimin I want you do something you love. Something that you haven't done in a long time maybe.)
Two, the song Hobi is talking about is a comparatively softer song. Jimin is good with soft songs.
(Three, he would really like to remember what it feels like to not be so useless.)
So he swallows a bit and says, "I'm not making any promises," Hobi visibly brightens in front of him, "But I'll try."
"That's all you ever need to say." Hobi tells him. He skips away and takes a bit of Jimin's sadness with him.
There's no one home during breakfast one morning. It's a perfect opportunity. He can tell Jin hyung he ate a bit of the leftover rice. No one would notice.
Jimin eats his routinely non-fat choclate flavoured yoghurt that Yoongi gets for him.
Weirdly enough, it feels like an achievement.
"I want to take you out on a date." Jungkook whispers to him one night.
They're sweating, coming down from their euphoria and Jimin feels strangely disjointed. Like a spool of wool. Like Jungkook has unravelled him.
"As the older one, isn't it my right to ask you out?" Jimin asks as Jungkook gets off and slides beside him, one arm still throw across his neck.
"It is but I'm very desperate to date you." He can hear the smile in Jungkook's voice. Underneath that though, he can taste the bit of insecurity too. Jungkook has never been successful at hiding anything from him.
"What would we do?" They're slotted against each other, skin on skin. There's a sheet somewhere, tangled in their legs. Jungkook had almost ripped it off when he hungrily pressed him against the mattress half an hour ago.The hotel room has two beds because no one knows they only need one. Jimin hopes they haven't stained anything.
"We could have dinner." Jungkook's hand is idly stroking the skin around his ribs. Jimin knows he's secretly trying to find out if his ribs are more prominent than before.
"And eat what? I can't stomact that food anymore." His voice comes out more bitter than he expected it to. Jungkook pulls him even closer.
"They we can go visit someplace. We've never been to the Studio Ghibli museum before. I was checking the reviews today and apparently it's beautiful."
The thing is : Japan sort of feels like their place. It doesn't matter if they're here to perform or just to visit, Jimin still looks at the lights on a ferris wheel and thinks that he was always meant to come here with Jungkook.
So he says, "Yeah. I'd love to go there."
Jungkook's cheeks are warm against his shoulder, "It's a date."
They listen to the faint noise of midnight traffic mixed with the sound and smell of gently falling rain outside. Inside their breaths are the only voice in the dark.
"I wasn't sure whether to ask you this." Jungkook says.
Jimin opens his eyes.
"But how are your therapy sessions going?"
He bites his lips, staring at the white ceiling. Beside him Jungkook doesn't seem as languid anymore. "They're going okay."
It's not entirely a lie.
He's somewhere around the seventh or eighth session now. He manages to talk for roughly twenty minutes of the hour long session. There has been no discussion about his eating disorder though. Mostly because he refuses to mention it. Instead he just tells her about his day. Sometimes he tells her how he's worried because Yoongi hasn't left the studio in two days or Jin has a new cut on his forearm.
But still. It's okay. Often he leaves the office feeling a little lighter than he did before. That's okay for now. It has to be.
There's a flash and there's Jungkook. Hovering above him, lips parted. Jimin stares at them and then at the hollow at the base of his throat. He has the sudden urge to kiss it.
Jungkook's arms are on either side of Jimin's head and he breathes out an, "I'm proud of you."
"Yeah?" Jimin's voice is a whisper, a question.
"Yeah." Jungkook's voice is a whisper, a promise.
"Kiss me then."
Jungkook bends and captures his lips. Jimin puts his arms around Jungkook's shoulders and pulls him down, tangling his fingers in locks of dark hair. He bucks his hips unconsciously and Jungkook pulls back and grins, "Desperate aren't we."
"It's your fault for asking me out. Now you've unleashed this monster." Jimin bites his lips unabashedly.
"I knew you agreed to go out with me only for sex."
"Of course I did."
Jungkook dives down for another kiss.
"I have problems with food." He says.
He no longer stares at his hands. Neither is he capable of looking her in the eyes constantly. But he manages, every once in a while.
"A year ago, I had anorexia."
His therapist gives him a warm smile. It had taken Jimin quite some time to notice that she's actually young and that her dark hair had a few strands of ever changing colour, currently a bright red.
"When you tell me more about it, I will buy you coffee."
He forces himself to stare in the mirror.
At first it's painful and he flinches away. It's impossible.
"No its not." Taehyung says and he holds Jimin's hand and together they stand in front of the mirror.
"Yes it is." Jungkook says and he stands behind Jimin and they look at the mirror. "But you are not alone." He holds Jimin and Jimin quite likes the way their bodies fit.
Later, later, later, he stands alone and reminds himself what he looks like and reminds himself that he looks okay and its okay.
"There was a lot of screaming involved on my part," Jimin tells his therapist. He's holding a cup of coffee in his hand. "A lot of screaming and yelling and throwing things. I honestly don't know how they put up with me. I was sick of me."
"Well, for starters,"His therapist twirls her blue lock of hair, "they love you."
Jimin gives her a disbelieving smile.
Sometimes he still thinks about the bottle of sleeping pills hidden deep inside his drawer.
He tells Jungkook he looks beautiful after one of their performances and kisses him on the mouth backstage. Jungkook kisses back and Taehyung wolf whistles.
"I can't eat a lot of things." He says, "Mostly things with a lot of oil or heavy meat. I always vomit them back up."
"That's okay." She says. "One day you will be able to eat that as well."
"And if I can't?"
"Then you will learn how to live with it."
And for the first time, Jimin believes her.
(The secret to recovery is to know that you can never go back to being the way you were. The person who you are today has survived things that the person you used to be couldn't have dreamed of.
The secret to recovery is to know that first, you have to be okay with the fact that you are part of this world. Next, you have to be proud of it.
The secret to recovery is to know that you are strong, stronger and braver and much more human than you think you are. Life goes on and so will you. )