“Jiminie, just put the garbage outside and you can leave for today. Hyung said you could take the plastic container full of leftovers that is in the fridge with you”, Taehyung said as he entered the kitchen, taking off his apron and letting out a tired sigh.
“Really”, Jimin asked, putting away the last of the dishes on the rack. Tonight wasn't so busy since it was only the beginning of the week. He knew that this kind of things didn't happened on the weekends because those were the most crowded days of the month. Jimin tied the garbage bag and took off his uniform that just consisted of an apron, a pair of gloves and sometimes, a hair net.
“Say bye to Hyung for me, Taetae”, he said before waving at Yoongi hyung who was stretching his arms after holding the pans during the whole night.
It was pretty cold. He could see it in the way white clouds of fog came out his mouth when he threw the garbage bag inside the metallic containers located in the alley that the back door of the restaurant led to. Jimin sank his hands inside the pockets of the green jacket he had put on before leaving and started to sing some song while going home.
Fortunately, he lived nearby his workplace so it didn't take him too long to recognize his apartment building. Before climbing the stairs that led to the principal doors, he stopped and started to search between the bushes. It was kind of difficult to find it in the dark since his fur was so black, it would disappear perfectly in the shadows of the shrubs.
“Hey, pretty little thing”, Jimin murmured when he found it in the corner of the small garden. He kneeled down and began calling after it, “It's just me, come on, I brought you some food”.
Well, it might not be a pretty little thing from other people perspective, but for Jimin this huge-assed dog that came out of the bushes was just a puppy. Or at least, it behaved like one.
“Oh, hi to you, too”, he said when the black dog nuzzled his humid nose against Jimin's cheek, making him giggled, “I missed you. Where were you last night? I brought you some chicken yesterday”.
It may be sad but Jimin didn't have a lot of friends. He was okay with that, though. And even if he wasn’t able to have a pet now, Jimin had always found friends in animals too. This particularly dog had followed him around the city, he didn't know how was that possible but was completely sure about it.
When he came to Seoul, he was 8 years old and very talkative but because of his Busan dialect, it was hard for him to make new friends at first. His parents used to own a veterinary at that time, so he spent his free time surrounded by animals instead of his peers.
One afternoon, when he was playing football by himself at the park in front of his house, he heard a high-pitched whine near the trees that separated the public area from the forest that guarded the outskirts of the city. Hesitantly, Jimin followed the noise and neared an old tall tree, finding behind it a crying little pup. A branch was crushed under his foot loudly enough to attract the dog's attention and it recoiled against the trunk when Jimin kneeled down in front of it.
“Oh, no”, he gasped when he noticed the stain of blood under one of its eye and the open wound in its hind leg, the black fur matted with leaves and dirt. He tried to touch its head but received a defensive bite instead, “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. I'm just gonna...”
Jimin gulped down, looking around the park for someone who could help him out. Luckily enough, he found a man walking his dog nearby and started to run to him, screaming to draw his attention. The man gave him the leash of his dog and managed to carry the black puppy to his parents' veterinary.
He took care after him everyday when one morning, he just vanished from the place. Jimin really thought it was gonna be the last time he would see him, but several days after, while he was playing in the garden behind his house, he heard a bark and all of a sudden, he was tackled down by a fluffy little ball of fur.
When he opened his eyes, he found the black puppy standing up on his chest, growling at him. He recognized the small cut under his eyes and smiled happily at it.
“Puppy!”, he exclaimed in joy, circling its little figure with his arms and pressing his face against the fur of its neck, “You're back”.
The puppy moved aggressively against him before slumping tired on his chest. It gave him some bites until Jimin finally let go of it. The dog started to run excitedly around the garden and stopped when it noticed Jimin seating still in the middle of the place. It barked one, two, three times till Jimin stood up and started chasing after him.
When his mom called him at dinnertime and he turned around, the puppy was nowhere to be seen. Feeling a mix of confusion and disappointment, Jimin looked out for it until he was called again. He searched even after dinner but he couldn't find it. Days later, it appeared again. And again. And again. And the time between its visits shortened down till the puppy got to come everyday.
When he moved to live in the center of the city with a new roommate, Jimin thought this was definitely the last time they were gonna see each other because there was no way he could bring it to his apartment building besides, the puppy disappeared again the day of the move, so imagine his surprise when two nights after he had installed himself in his new home, he found the little pup (not so small now) crouched down between the bushes, whining for him. Same doe eyes and same scar under one of it.
He would have adopted it, but the landlady had specific rules against pets in the building. Though, sometimes, when Jimin came back from work really late, he would sneak it through the window of his bedroom that faced the street and the bushes. The perks of having an apartment on the first floor.
The whole process was a secret because the landlord was an old lady who wasn't afraid of kicking out those tenants who break her rules. And Jimin would only let him in when he was certain there was no witness around, including the guard that watched the security cams from a special room located in the basement.
“You shouldn't feed him, Jimin-shi, otherwise, it will keep coming here”, the guard said, sitting inside the security stand positioned at the other side of the stairs. Jimin scratched his little pup's head while it was devouring the leftovers he brought from the restaurant and sigh fondly when it sneezed after a piece of rice got inside his nose- You should give me the food instead, Jimin-shi. It wouldn't kill me, you know.
Jimin rolled his eyes and smiled at the guard.
“I may be his only source of food”, Jimin answered, running his fingers through its fur, “You, in return, can go and buy yourself something to eat”.
The guard hummed, rubbing his neck and lowering his eyes to the ground.
“In that case, would it be okay if I drop by during your shift at EatJin? So you could, you know...”
“¿So I could give you my employee discounts?”, Jimin completed.
“Yes, wait, what?”, the guard said, looking confused at Jimin's conclusion.
“Sure. There's no such a thing as an employee discount there, but I could try to appeal to my boss for you, Wonho-shi”, Jimin added, smiling apologetically at the guard.
“No, no, no. I didn't mean it like that”, Wonho objected, letting a nervous laugh out.
“Oh, so sorry”, Jimin said, tilting his head with curiosity, “What did you mean then?”
“I...I just t-thought we could...you know”, the guard started to blush and stutter.
Suddenly, a noisy bark spooked Jimin, making jump a little and turned his attention to his puppy.
“¿What is it, Kookie?”, Jimin asked, a little concerned.
“Jiminie! What are you doing outside? It's freezing”, his roommate screamed, running down the block till he got to the stairs, panting heavily.
“Of course you're freezing, Hoseok-hyung, where is your coat?”, Jimin scolded him, standing up and taking off his own jacket to give it to the older one.
“I know, I know. I think I left it at the studio”, Hoseok said, accepting the piece of clothing with a satisfied sigh, “Oh, hello there, Wonho-shi, Jimin's beast”, Hoseok wave at the guard and smiled when he noticed his surprised face, “I meant Jimin's beastly dog”.
Jimin pushed Hoseok's shoulder with a frown.
“It's not a beast, it's a...”
“Puppy”, Hoseok scoffed, rolling his eyes then looking at the huge dog seated against Jimin's leg, “I don't know how many times I've told you this: that thing is too big to be a dog, even more to be a puppy”.
“Well, it's mine so if I say it's a cute little puppy, it is just that”, Jimin huffed, kneeling down again so he could wrap his arms around Kookie. He received a couple of lick all over his face and giggled when he felt its wet nose against the skin of his neck.
“Cute”, Hoseok admitted, extending a hand to palm its head softly.
“It's getting pretty late, guys, you should go inside”, Wonho suggested after a little while.
Jimin sigh, putting the lid back on the plastic container and picking it up so he could wash it and return it the next day. He leaned down to give Kookie a quick kiss on its forehead.
“Goodnight, pup”, Jimin murmured, then he turned around and smiled at the guard, “See you tomorrow, Wonho-shi”.
“Sweet dreams, Jimin-shi”, the guard answered with his cheeks blushing.
“Huh, I see what's going on”, Hoseok said waiting for Jimin in front of the door to their apartment, cheeky smile on his face.
“And what's that?”, Jimin asked with an uninterested tone of voice, walking to his room after hearing the door clicked shut.
“Oh my god, you're so oblivious, it hurts”, Hoseok exclaimed with a pained expression, “Literally, it must be hurting Wonho-shi”.
Jimin smiled, confused, while he started to undress. He took off his tight pants with a little struggle and pulled of his shirt.
“I don't know if I had asked you this before but should I be jealous about the fact that you've tattooed my boyfriend's song on your rib?”
Jimin laughed, throwing his dirty t-shirt at his hyung's face when he took a seat in his bed.
“Damn, Jiminie, if Wonho-shi could see you right now, he would totally cream his pants”, Hoseok said with a perverted smiled, making his eyebrows jumped funnily.
Jimin grabbed his toilet basket, his towel and a clean pair of pants.
“What does he have to do with anything at all?”, Jimin asked, walking to the bathroom at the end of the hallway.
Hoseok followed after him, picking up his toothbrush and putting on some toothpaste while Jimin was leaving his stuff over the toilet lip.
“The hurt”, Hoseok yelled, “The pain”.
“Whatever, I'll shower fast so you can wash up too, hyung”, Jimin said, taking off his boxer and throwing it inside the dirty laundry basket located under the sink.
“Oh, our Jiminie doesn't need to worry about that”, Hoseok said, spitting some toothpaste foam before brushing for last time his teeth, “I took a shower at the studio”.
“Okay”, Jimin answered, closing the curtains behind him. He heard his hyung rinsing out his mouth when he turned the shower knob, cold water falling against the naked skin of his back.
“Talking about that, are you getting ready for the audition, Jimin?”, Hoseok asked, obviously trying too hard to sound casual about it.
The water started to get warmer.
“Yeah”, Jimin croaked, coughing to clear his throat.
“I'm not trying to steal an employee from Jin-hyung but don't forget why did you move here with me”, Hoseok said, then in a softer tone, he added, “Good night, Jiminie”.
“Good night”, he whispered in return when the door closed behind his hyung, the hot water burning steam around him, his skin flushing violently under it.
One hour and a half later, when he came out of the shower, Jimin tiptoed pass Hoseok's room and the first thing he did when he entered his room was practice. He put on the song he'd already selected on a lower volume so his neighbors' sleep wouldn't be disturbed and he started to practice his dance routine over and over again. After the sixteenth time, he heard a whimper just outside his window. Jimin checked his phone to realize it was past three in the morning, and he figured that Wonho must be already asleep in front of the security screens in the basement, so he opened the window and took a peek at the empty security stand, just to be sure, before whistling. Kookie jumped right into his arms, tackling down his tiny form with ease.
“Uff”, Jimin let out a huff and stood up so he could close the window, “Hey, pup, you wanna watched me practice to death?”, Jimin joked, going to his laptop and playing his song again.
Kookie whined weakly before taking a seat in Jimin's bed, its doe eyes glued to his form while he performed his routine one time after another one. The time flew and when Kookie let out a whimper to draw his attention, Jimin realized it was nearing six in the morning. He put on a shirt and fell on his bed comfortably, letting out a groan while shifting around till he found the perfect position with Kookie cuddling his side.