The goddamn beeping won’t stop. Taehyung rolls over on his twin bed, shoving his pillow over his head and pressing it against his ears. Letting out a grunt, he curls his knees up to his chest, making a lump under the blankets. He is not a morning person, which is why he decided to plug in his phone all the way across the room, setting it to the most annoying ringtone he could find to force himself out of bed and hopefully awake.
Taehyung groans against the mattress and sheet as he slides his feet to the edge of the bed to the floor, toes barely hitting the carpet. He slides off to his knees as the beeping continues its relentless attempt to do its job of getting his ass up. He crawls over to the desk on the other side of the room. He usually doesn’t do anything as dramatic as crawling across his bedroom floor to turn off the alarm but the past couple days for him have been, needless to say, rough.
When he finally gets to his office desk, he reaches up, smacking his hand around the top of the desk to find the buzzing beeping phone while shoving aside papers to do so. He turns off the alarm, unplugging his phone from the wall charger. He takes the worn soft dark grey blanket he dragged with him from the bed around his shoulders and curls up into his office chair, the chair squeaking its complaints as he leans back, pulling his knees up against his chest. He yawns and unlocks his phone and opens his eyes wide as he sees the list of notifications. Not surprisingly they are from the same person, there is no one else that he talks to, there is no one else he needs to be talking to. He slides the notifications open and starts catching up on what he missed.
TAEHYUNG YOU BETTER BE GETTING YOUR ASS UP
THIS IS KINDA IMPORTANT
I can’t call right now so text me when you’re awake
it’s about fucking time.
are you sitting down
and no this isn’t about overwatch
Taehyung deletes the message he was typing, smiling at his phone. When his best friend is losing his shit like that it’s either one of two things: overwatch or the impossible. And it’s been too long for the impossible.
lol yes I am sitting down. It’s also too damn early and I have class at 8
now what the fuck is this about
that's a loving “what the fuck is this about” by the way
i just haven’t had my coffee yet
Taehyung I found him.
His fingers mechanically type.
that’s not funny jungkook
I know where he is. I found him.
He feels his frozen smile melt off his face as a weight settles in his stomach. There’s no way. After five years a missing person just doesn’t end up being found.
I am calling you
Taehyung quickly presses the call button under the contact information and waits impatiently as it rings.
“Jungkook this is not a funny joke so please tell me right now how you know where the fuck he is,” Taehyung’s voice low and on the verge of breaking as he holds back the hope that is threatening to barge full force again into his life. Hope has been dwindling further and further away as time has gone on, and he was forced to grow up away from the memories. Hope is too familiar and heartbreaking to feel when he knows there actually is none. So this is not a funny idea of a Tuesday morning prank.
“I-I can’t. I can’t technically tell you where he is.” Jungkook says, slightly stuttering.. Taehyung can almost picture him rubbing the back of his neck as he’s speaking.
“And why the fuck not?, How can you find him but not know where he is?”
“I traced him. I found a trace of him. I know he is alive and he moves around a lot but…Taehyung he IS alive.”
He feels himself sinking down into the floor, falling onto his knees. He is alive. Ever since he was 16 this is all he wanted was for him to be alive. Now what is he supposed to do now that he could be?
“I know you need someone right now.” He hears rustling on the other side of the line. “Let me finish up what I have here and bring you what I’ve found. I’ll pick some coffee up for us too.”
Taehyung breathes out an okay and hangs up. He is not going to get hopeful. There is no point in getting hopeful. What if it isn’t him? This just doesn’t just happen. They said he was dead. What if he is really dead and is Tae just crazy for thinking he is alive? But Jungkook is smart and he knows what he is doing. His mind whirls around in circles as he sits on the floor.
It feels like hours go by before he hears a knock on his dorm door. Pulling himself off the floor, he pads barefoot through his bedroom to let Jungkook in. Opening the door he sees Jungkook wide-eyed with his heavy-duty backpack, holding two large coffees. His dark, long hair is messy, curls slightly framing his face.
“Morning”, Jungkook says, holding out one of the coffees. “Extra hazelnut cream and sugar.”
“Thank you.” Taehyung takes the cup from him, opening the door wider to let him in.
“Of course,” Jungkook says as he heads to the living room. He sets his coffee down on the worn coffee table and his bag on the couch, unzipping it to pull out a laptop,a couple of folders, and a binder. He glances over to Taehyung as he organizes things on the table.
“Please tell me that you’ve called out sick for class already.”
He completely forgot. He looks at his phone. It’s already ten minutes into his lecture. He has at most a B in the class already so fuck it. He really doesn’t need to show up. He doesn’t even have a choice, this takes top priority.
“What did you find?”
Jungkook has been a computer science major, cybersecurity minor since he started college. But he was a very skilled hacker before that. Video games got him into it initially, and then their his friend went missing it became a full time hobby. He ended up starting his Freshman year in advanced programming courses just because he spent so much time trying to hunt down someone who disappeared and kept looking for better and new ways to search.
After two years of no hints or clues in the case, it is widely accepted that there will be nobody found, dead or alive, and there is no way to find a dead body without any clues. And they officially close the case as unsolved. Taehyung had always thought that there was something people were overlooked in the case. He just knew that something wasn't right, that he could be still alive, and Jungkook agreed. They have been best friends since High School, since they paired up doing biology labs, and were attached at the hip ever since. When their friend went missing, they worked together to find anything they could that would show that he is still alive. They soon learned that at their age there wasn't much that they could actually do or even anyone that would take them seriously if they found anything that actually mattered. As time went on, Taehyung’s search efforts ceased to exist Jungkook, however, as he learned more on his own about computers, started searching as a side hobby quietly and used it as something to keep him creative and busy. Taehyung knew he was looking on his own and honestly didn’t care. He knew there wasn’t much he could do on his own and he trusted Jungkook. Besides, he could never entirely give up. However, after several years, they went to college and Jungkook's skill turned out to be more than beneficial.
Jungkook opens up the folders that are sitting on the table and pulls out the latest findings. He holds out a piece of paper with a map of the city for Taehyung to see.
“Here is where I tracked him to, or where the ping was, I’ll explain that in a second. I wanted to wait until I was here to officially check but it looks like there are some cameras around the area as well that I could see if I could get into.”
Taehyung looks from the paper to Jungkooks face, his jaw open in shock, “You’re actually serious?”
Jungkook looks at him, lowering his arm a bit as a soft smile forms on his face. “Come sit with me and I will show you for yourself.”
He sits down on the couch next to Jungkook as he starts explaining the process of how he actually got the information, “You know how I just started messing around with learning how to track facial features in class right? Well for fun a while ago I created an updated image of what he would look like now, look.” Jungkook pulls up a file on his computer, opening up the photos of their friend’s face,switches from the unedited to the edited one. As he looks at the screen at this new face Taehyung feels chills going down his spine.
“He would be twenty-five years old so I just kinda made some subtle changes.” Jungkook shrugs. “I just grew him up a little.”
Taehyung feels his eyes start to sting as he just stares at the photo of a now-grown man. It’s really been five whole years since he has seen him and now with technology like this he can actually see what he would look like grown-up. He wonders how much his personality would have changed in five years, how much he would have changed, what their friendship would look like.
“You’re so talented Jungkookie,” he says pretending the lump in his throat isn’t showing the emotion in his voice.
Jungkook humphs softly, “Thank you, let’s just hold onto the hope that I can actually get into the cameras and then we can confirm even more so that this ping is him.”
Taehyung's heart suddenly feels like it’s pounding out of his chest. It’s actually going to happen. After all these years they are the closest they have ever been to actually finding him. Sipping his coffee anxiously, just for something to do with his hands, he watches Jungkook open up his computer. He pulls up several different pages and then starts to type quickly. Tae crosses his legs underneath each other on the couch as he watches the younger one work. Zoning out as he loses track of what Jungkook is doing, he starts to sink into his thoughts. He woke up this morning expecting a normal day, ready to just go to class and learn about the history of art from the 18th century. He definitely was not planning on his best friend showing up prepared to rip his world and everything he has known for the past several years apart. He wasn’t expecting to have any hope today.
There was something that he would never admit to Jungkook even though he was his best friend. Something definitely changed when he started college, his hope fully disappearing the moment he turned the same age as the man that left. It seemed too good to be true that they would ever find him again, so he just buried himself in schoolwork and avoided the throbbing pain in his heart every time he would look in the mirror. However, the moment that Jungkook said that there was a chance that he found him alive, the familiar glow of hope came back just for a moment.
Jungkook leans back from his computer, eyebrows knitted together as he stares intensely at his screen. “Okay, I think I’ve got it.”
Taehyung sets down his coffee and pulls his shaking hand into his lap, leaning closer to Jungkook.
“So what do we do now?”
“Let me explain kinda what's going to happen at this part so you aren’t confused.” Jungkook brushes his hair away from his face as he starts to explain,
“I submitted his aged photo into the facial recognition database which they search and track and find connections to people with similar facial structures and features. The database is very good at narrowing down the people found to the most accurate one. I would say the chance of this actually being him is at practically one hundred percent.” he looks at Taehyung with a focused expression. A look he has when he knows what he is talking about and he wants people to take him seriously.
“I got a notification this morning when I checked the database. It showed that we got a ping on a location where it matched someone from the edited photo I submitted. An alive, moving around the city type of someone that was picked up by cameras.” He says carefully, still watching Taehyung. “That’s when I double checked and texted you. I am sorry I couldn't call you then, my roommate was still sleeping.”
Taehyung looks at him in awe from the overload of information, “Honestly I can’t even process right now that this even worked, I don’t care that you didn’t call me this morning, that’s fine. I..” He trails off. “Jungkook, if he is alive…”
Jungkook grabs Taehyung's hands that are resting in his lap and hold them in between his own, the warmth and roughness of his hands calming his pounding heart. Jungkook softly says, “It will change so much, I know. And I want you to know I am so so sorry if this turns out to be a dead lead, but Taehyung... I really don’t think it’s going to be.” He smiles. “I have hope.”
“Kook I am going to need you here whether this is a dead lead or not,” Taehyung smiles, painfully squeezing his hands. “Now let's please check before I pass out from this adrenaline rush.”
Jungkook smiles and nods, pulling the warmth of his hands away from Tae’s and facing the computer. Clicking a couple buttons, he pulls up a black and grey video at the corner of his screen of a corner of sidewalk in a city. He pulls the video to the center, making it larger, and opens a page with editing tools and the photos. Taehyung watches cluelessly but intently as Jungkook pulls up the photo of the aged older man to the side.
“This is where and what time the ping was,” Jungkook says pointing to the paused video. He turns his head to Taehyung, “Are you ready?”
Taehyung nods. “As I’ll ever be.”
Jungkook looks back to his computer and presses play. A couple of seconds go by as a flock of people move through the frame back and forth on the sidewalk. Jungkook looks carefully as the people walk by, and suddenly he pauses the video and quickly zooms in on the frame. He screenshots what seems like a random face in the crowd. He pulls it into the editing software, cropping and making some shading adjustments so it is easier to see, and then he matches it to the size of the unaged photo.
Jungkook pulls the new photo to the side and pulls up the original aged photo of the man.
Taehyung feels his body go numb as the new face stares back. A man staring straight ahead in dark clothes, blending in with the crowd. The pictures are mirror images, exactly the same.
It is him.
Taehyung’s brother Namjoon.
He is alive.