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The Typewriter: A Jikook AU

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Chapter 1 – It’s Easier at the Bakery

Jimin grabbed his messenger bag and threw it over his shoulder. He turned off the lights as he stepped into the hallway, closing his classroom door behind him.

“Bye Mr. Park,” two third graders called as they passed him.

“Goodbye Tyhung, goodbye Sobin, see you Monday.” Jimin smiled and started up the long hallway towards the Principle’s office.

One of Jimin’s kindergarten students ran down the hallway towards his direction, “Bye Mr. Park.”

Jimin knelt down on one knee to slow her as she approached, “Wyn, no running in the hallway please. Remember that Monday is picture day. Tell your mom, ok?”

“Picture day! I completely forgot, I’ve got to do something with my hair!” Wyn exclaimed.

“Well, your hair is very beautiful already little one. Just remember to bring your smile.” Jimin pinched Wyn’s cheek and then slid to the side so she could continue on her way.

A familiar yodel came from behind him, “Hey Mr. Teacher of the year!”

Jimin dropped his head, “Here we go,” he mumbled to himself.

Ong, Jimin’s best friend, was headed in his direction. And judging from the hop in his step and his aggressive walk, Jimin surmised that he wanted something. He stopped to bow at another teacher who was headed out to her car. As soon as she was out of sight, he immediately pounced upon Jimin wrapping his arm around his neck.

“It’s Friday night Jimin. You know what that means? It’s KARAROKE!” Ong put his fist up to his mouth and used it as a makeshift microphone then pretended to sing into it. “Come on, I’m driving. Professor Woo and Principle Min are meeting us there.”

Jimin tilted his head and flashed a dimple filled smile, “Ah, I appreciate the invite, but I think I’ll pass.”

“Jimin, it’s always the same old story. You never want to go out. This time, I’m putting my foot down. I will not take no for an answer,” Ong insisted.

“You can put your foot wherever you like. I’m still not going.” Jimin stuttered trying to push out an excuse, “I-I’m busy tonight. I have to put together my lesson plan for next week and I need to get through another chapter of my novel.”

“Lesson plan? You teach Kindergarten! You literally could sing about the color blue all day and they would be good to go. That does not take planning, even from the teacher of the year.” Ong was a little irritated now. He removed his arm from Jimin’s neck and turned to face him seriously. He said it as gently as possible, “Jimin, fall is coming; colorful leaves, cooler weather, romance. You don’t want to spend another season alone, do you? I know you love the kids but when are you going to start putting yourself first? You’ve poured your entire life into leading and guiding these children, but you’ve not lifted a single finger to end your own loneliness. They’re going to grow up and leave and you will still be alone. You need to get out and meet new people.”

Jimin looked down at his feet. The tension was awkward between he and Ong. He knew Ong meant well, but he couldn’t help but resent his constant prying into his love life. As luck would have it, the perfect distraction came along. One of Ong’s third grade students came running towards him yelling, “Mr. Ong, thank goodness you’re still here. I left my phone in my desk in the classroom. Can you please open the door to let me get it?”

“Hello Lys, I’m sure your parents wouldn’t be too happy knowing that you forget your phone every other day. I’ll let you in. Let’s go.” Ong turned toward Jimin and gave him a cautionary warning, “We’re not done discussing this. Stay here, I’ll be right back.”

As soon as Ong turned the corner to return to his classroom, Jimin skirted out of the building and rushed towards the bus stop. He felt badly about ditching his best friend and he knew it was just a matter of time before he received a barrage of angry texts. However, Jimin just wasn’t in the mood to get lectured for the 9197th time about his dead love life. Everyone spoke of finding a companion as if it was as easy as buying toilet paper, but the truth was that finding a compatible person to spend time with, was not easy. Jimin’s high expectations didn’t help matters. Ong had set him up with plenty eligible bachelors before but none of them impressed Jimin enough to even garner a second date. The truth was, Jimin was starting to feel hopeless. He was starting to feel as if finding his perfect man would never happen.

Another sad reality that Jimin had to face was that it was Friday night and he had absolutely no plans. The lie he told Ong was just that, a convenient excuse to get him off his back. Jimin really had nothing to fill his Friday night. The bus finally arrived and he hopped on. He grabbed a seat in the front behind the driver so they could chat on the route home.

“Hey Jimin, happy Friday,” The driver greeted him.

“Happy Friday Kyung. It’s hot out there. I thought you’d never get here,” Jimin shot a warm smile at the driver. He removed his hat and wiped his forehead once he settled into his seat.

“Plans for the night Jimin?” Kyung inquired.

“Nah, I’m not really up to going out. Yet, I don’t really want to go home either.” Jimin tilted his head curiously.

Kyung looked at Jimin in his rearview mirror, “A young guy like yourself should be with fiends, out and about. It’s a beautiful city we live in, Busan.”

“You sound like Ong, Kyung.” Jimin rifled through his bag and placed his bus pass back into his wallet.

“And how’s he doing? Haven’t seen him much since he started driving.” Kyung burst into a loud resounding laugh.

“Annoying as usual,” Jimin responded.

“Well tell him I said hello,” Kyung removed his right hand from the steering wheel and gave a slight wave.

“Will do.” Jimin could feel the rapid vibration of his phone which indicated that he was being viciously spammed - no doubt by Ong. He didn’t bother to look at it. He could deal with Ong later. As he rode through the vibrant streets of Busan, he studied all the familiar buildings that knitted together to form the fabric of his home. The city had flourished considerably since Jimin’s childhood. Skyscraper after skyscraper adorned the city’s perimeter, creating a stunning architectural profile along the beachfront. Almost every block hosted large cranes that were shifting and lifting bundles of steel beams for new construction projects.

Busan was experiencing an economic boom of sorts. Sustainable growth led to increased population and large- scale migration into the city. But despite more and more people flocking to the city, Jimin still remained un-cuffed. Population may have increased, but that didn't make it any easier to find that special someone. Jimin's parents owned a quaint bakery smack in the middle of town. Once a week, typically on Fridays, he would drop in for a visit along with some tea and cake. The bus stop for the bakery was about 100 feet away. Kyung, familiar with Jimin’s route, was already bidding him a good night.

“Here’s your stop Jimin. Hey, I won’t see you for a couple weeks so take care will ya’?” Kyung pulled the bus to a stop.

“What do you mean, where are you going?” Jimin asked curiously.

“Headed on vacation. Me and the wife are spending two weeks in Hawaii. Celebrating our 20th anniversary,” Kyung said proudly.

Jimin was surprised, “Twenty years? Wow. Congratulations. I hope I’m lucky enough to find that kind of love one day,” he said sadly.

“You will, Jimin. That special someone will come to you when you least expect it," Kyung reassured him.

Even though Kyung’s words were as cliché as they come, Jimin held on to them. He looked graciously at Kyung, slipped his black beanie over his head and gave Kyung a firm pat on the back as he walked past him to exit down the stairs. “Tell the Misses I said hello- and I fully expect some more of her homemade ramen with pork belly when you return. You two have a lovely time.”

Jimin bounced quickly down the steps and bee lined directly for the bakery across the street. He could see his mother through the front window. She stood behind the counter laughing with one of her regular customers. Her smile was so comforting that Jimin could feel his skin warm despite the heated temperatures outside. His Father stood on a ladder hanging a picture. Jimin immediately recognized it as a picture of Min Yoongi, a local rapper out of Seoul. The bells on the entrance door clambered to life as Jimin pushed it open. He immediately walked over to where his Father dangled precariously above the floor trying to hang a photo.

“Dad get down from there. You should let me do that. You shouldn’t be climbing up ladders. And when did Min Yoongi visit? Mom never mentioned anything about it.” Jimin was a fan of Yoongi’s and was rather impressed to know that he’d visited the bakery. He grabbed the ladder with both hands and held it tight to keep it secure while his Father hung the picture.

“Jimin - Happy Friday. What are you doing here?” Jimin’s Father acted as if he were surprised to see him.

His mother answered on Jimin’s behalf, “Hiding from life as usual. Jiminie, why aren’t you out with your friends. Every Friday you come here and hang out with your parents. That’s not hot. You can miss me with that hermit act. What we’re not going to do is pretend this it’s normal for a handsome man your age to spend all of his free time in his parents’ bakery.”

Jimin flashed a bright smile, followed by a tickled laugh, “Mom have you been on twitter again?”

Jimin’s Father answered, “she’s opened a stan account for some boy band. Now she runs around saying words like “group chat” and “moot”. I can’t make any sense of it.”

Jimin laughed. He held on to his Father’s legs as he descended down the ladder.

“Is that straight?” His Father questioned as he admired his work.

“No Daddy, it’s a mess but I’ll fix it later. Just stay off the ladder.” Jimin held his Father’s hand and pushed him away from the ladder.

“I’ve got your favorite tea steeping Jiminie. It’s warm but I can put a little ice in it since it’s so hot outside. Jimin removed his beanie and hustled behind the counter to give his mom a kiss and hug. She was a tiny little thing and the top of her head only reached Jimin’s chin. However, what she lacked in height, she more than made up for in feistiness. “Ong called. He said he invited you to karaoke and you refused. Why? You’re too handsome to stay locked inside all the time.”

As biased as his mother was, she was not over exaggerating Jimin’s looks. His appearance was astounding. His flawless skin clung firmly to his perfectly angled jawline. His naturally pink, thick, pouty, lips were only eclipsed by his brilliant white teeth and prominent dimple. His figure was sleek, toned and muscular giving him the appearance of a trained dancer. The long, naturally brown hair on his head was highlighted with a warm mixture of blonds. Jimin, to put it simply, was runway worthy material in the looks department. But apart from being an absolute stunner, he was also one the brightest lights in the field of education in all of South Korea. His unique teaching style and uncanny ability to connect with his students had earned him countless awards. He even received the president’s award of Merit, an honor that was typically reserved for diplomats and people of international allure. Jimin was one of the most prolific teachers of his time and he had a long line of successes to prove it.

While Jimin was talking to his Mother, his Father once again started up the ladder to attempt to straighten his autographed picture of Min Yoongi. Jimin looked over just in time to stop him from making the unsafe climb again.

“Daddy can’t you be patient? I told you I would fix it,” Jimin admonished.

“Well hurry up. He said he’s coming back for another visit soon. We don’t want him to come in here and see his picture leaning like the Titanic,” Jimin’s dad explained.

“I’ll do it, just get down.” Jimin ran up the ladder like it was a flight of stairs. In less than ten seconds, he climbed the ladder, straightened the picture and started back down – that is, until something through the window on the opposite side of the street caught his attention. “Mommy, is that place new?” He pointed at the small storefront adjacent to his parents’ bakery and read the name aloud, “Magic Shop”. As the sun began to set, a purple haze exploded across the sky behind the building creating a vibrant contrast against the orange neon sign that buzzed and flashed with the words “Magic Shop” in all English lettering. Jimin stood in the window of his parent's baker to get a closer look, “Hmm. What is it I wonder? Mommy do you know what that is over there? The magic shop? That’s new?"

His mother looked up from the register, “Yes, it’s new. It’s an antique shop where they sell old novelty items and used artifacts. You see the comic over there that’s framed on the wall? It’s from 1976, it’s a comic that I used to read when I was a small girl. The nostalgia and memories it brought back were amazing. I had to have it. The owners are American. Very lovely people. They’ve retired here to be closer to their daughter who’s attending Busan University.”

Jimin’s dad walked behind the counter and put his arm around his wife. “I meant to tell you about it Jiminie. With your love for early 19th and 20th century collectibles, it’s the perfect spot for you. They have a son who travels the world looking for unique items. When he comes across something interesting he brings it back here for them to sell. There’s some amazing stuff.”

“Why do they call it The Magic Shop? That’s a curious name for an antique store.” Jimin still stood in the large picture window, transfixed by the beautiful orange glow of the neon sign.

“Your tea.” Jimin’s mother was behind him with a mug of tea and a piece of cake so big that it covered the plate.

Jimin laughed, “Mommy I can’t eat all of this!"

“Do what you can then take the rest back to your apartment.” She waved him off and walked back to her position behind the counter.

Jimin sat, ate and visited with his parents for another couple of hours until it was time to close. Like the thoughtful son he is, he offered to close down the bakery for them so that they could go home early. They thanked him sincerely, gave him a few parting hugs and kisses and then scurried home. It only took Jimin about 45 minutes to wipe down the tables, move the leftover baked goods to the freezer, sweep the floors and clean the glass cases. When all of the nightly chores were done, he flipped off the lights, and stepped outside. The evening breeze from the ocean whipped through the buildings downtown, creating a chill in the air, despite it being the middle of summer. He placed his beanie back on his head and pulled on a sweatshirt that he kept stored in his messenger bag.

The Magic Shop once again caught his eye. The glow of the orange sign illuminated even more brightly against the pitch darkness that now blotted the sky. To Jimin’s surprise, the shop was still open. He could see a couple inside trying on rings from the jewelry case. They must have found the perfect one because the girl bolted into her boyfriend’s arms as smothered him with kisses as soon as the ring landed on her finger. Jimin looked away. Partially because he wanted to give them privacy but mostly because seeing the two of them - happy and in love – made him sorta’ nauseous.

It was a busy night in Busan. People were milling about as cars zoomed up and down the bus streets in front of the bakery. There was definitely an excited buzz with National Liberation Day approaching. People were off work and school was out, which meant an active weekend for the city. Jimin decided it was a perfect time to visit the alluring shop. He found a break in the busy traffic and sprinted across the street. Th happy couple that he’d seen through the window met him on their way out.

“New ring?” He asked.

“Yes!” The woman squealed, “We’ve been looking for the perfect engagement ring for months and we finally found it HERE of all places. It’s vintage.” She shook her left finger at Jimin and squealed again.

“Well it’s lovely. Congratulations to you both.” It was the second time in one day that Jimin had to congratulate someone else on their love and it was already getting old.

Jimin entered the shop. A teenage boy stood in the corner staring at his phone. “Annyeonghaseyo,” he greeted in Korean but with a strong American accent.

“Annyeonghaseyo,” Jimin greeted back.

“Looking for anything in particular?” The boy asked thinly.

“My parents own the bakery across the street. I saw your shop and was intrigued. Not looking FOR anything, just looking.” Jimin flashed a smile.

Despite the large neon sign giving it a warehouse house feel, the shop was actually quite small. Shelves that lined that wall from floor to ceiling were covered in trinkets from every generation. So much was crammed into the small space that Jimin had to frequently stop moving just to take it all in. Despite the cramp-ness, everything was meticulously organized. The radios were assigned to one shelf; the cameras to another and so on and so forth until a pattern was established making it easier to sort through the collection.

The first item that peaked Jimin’s interest was an old Manolta camera. Each item had a handwritten tag that provided the history, date and detail of the item. He read the description on the camera:

“1988 Minolta High Matic-G 35 millimeter camera. This camera was used to photograph the final heat of the 400 meter track and field race for Gold In the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The camera originally sold for $300 U.S. it’s value is now over $1400 or 1,630,580.00 won today since it is no longer manufactured.”

Jimin let out a small, “Whoa,” as he read the impressive history of the artifact. He moved on to the next shelf which was covered in ancient books. A copy of Geumo Sinhwa (金鰲新話 금오신화) sat prominently towards the front of the stack. The book appeared to be in its original leather binding with a pristine inner cover. The book looked as if it had never been touched. As a writer and student of literature, Jimin was astounded to find this work. Most of them had gone out of print when Jimin was still just a child. He grabbed the book off the shelf and turned towards the disinterested teen who was texting away on his phone, “Is this an original printing?” Jimin asked.

“I don’t know. Is it?” The boy responded.

Not exactly the help that Jimin was after but none the less, such a classic in such great condition was something he couldn’t pass up. He tucked the book under his arm and continued to shop. Before he knew it, an hour had passed and Jimin’s collection of goodies sat piled up near the front register. Among his purchases were: two limited edition books, a brass telescope, three Kpop eight track tapes, an eight-track player and another comic from the series his mother collected. Jimin couldn’t help but laugh at himself. He truly was slave to vintage artifacts.

“Ok I think I’m done. Do you get new items often?” Jimin asked as he removed his wallet from his messenger bag.

“We get new things almost every day. My uncle and aunt own the place. I’m just here for the night while they’re at a play. They can give you alot more info on this old stuff. I’m Ricky, by the way, visiting from New York in America.” The teen seemed apologetic for not having more knowledge of the treasures he sold.

“New York! Small world. I received my masters from NYU.” Jimin spoke fluently in English to accommodate the young man.

“Cool. So is this it?” Ricky shifted his attention back to the items sprawled across the counter.

“Yes, for now.” Jimin handed him cash to pay.

Ricky took his money and placed it into the cash register. “I think I have a box in the back. I’ll be right back.” Ricky disappeared to the back of the small store, leaving Jimin alone.

Had it not been for Ricky brushing against it as he headed to the back room, Jimin might not have even noticed the old typewriter that sat on the desk behind the counter.

“That’s beautiful!” Jimin exclaimed.

The typewriter was old. Very old. Jimin could see a descriptive tag hanging from the carriage box. He wondered why the typewriter was hidden behind the desk and not out on display with the other items. With no sign of Ricky, he slid behind the counter to read the full description. It read:

“Groma T mechanical typewriter manufactured in 1956. This typewriter once belonged to the great Shaman Wu Lee Soung. It is said to have mystical powers that fuel the owner’s writing, bringing their typed pages to life.”

There was an additional note at the bottom of the tag in smaller font that read:

“*NOTE: To life? Ribbon still black, hasn’t been replaced in 64 years. Manuscript can only be destroyed by fire. NMR- DNS!”

The typewriter had no price tag but Jimin immediately knew that an item with such a rich history had to be expensive. The price didn’t matter, he had to have it. He reacted as soon as Ricky returned, “Is this for sale? I’ll pay you whatever you want for it.” Jimin said eagerly.

Ricky scratched the back of his neck, “Sir - I don’t know about this one. I was instructed to leave this behind the counter. I don’t think it’s for sale.”

“Surely, they meant to sell it, there’s a tag on it.” Jimin attempted to convince the teen to relinquish the item. “Think about how happy your aunt and uncle will be when they see you’ve made an unexpected sell.”

“I guess you’re right. Money is always good,” he said naively.

“Does it work? It says something about the ink still being pitch black. May I try it?” Jimin asked politely. He looked around the old shop and found a flyer for a garage sale. He flipped it over and inserted it into the old typewriter.

There was a sweet reason that Jimin was so drawn to the typewriter. It was because the machine, in it’s great antiquity, reminded him of one that his grandmother used to own. It was very similar, indeed. She used to use it to type kind notes to her neighbors. Jimin would spend hours playing on it as a kid. He learned to type using an antiquated model much like this one. His passion for the thing only grew as the nostalgic memories came flooding back to him. His small fingers depressed the keys creating a counter reactive clicking noise as the key stick struck the paper. True to its description, the ink was pitch black.

His enthusiasm continued to grow, “I’m a writer. Having a tool like this in my arsenal is bound to inspire me.”

“Wait you plan to really use that thing?” Ricky scratched his head.

“Of course. It’s in perfect condition, why wouldn’t I?” Jimin said matter-of-factly.

“Doesn’t that slow you down? No spell check or delete button? That would drive me crazy.” Ricky began texting on his phone once again.

“That’s the beauty of it.” Jimin looked down at the typewriter. His fingers danced across the keys typing a short sentence. He wrote: “Hello Mr. Typewriter, I’m Jimin. Nice to meet you. You’re coming home with me and we will live happily ever after.” He giggled at his silly sentence.

“If you want the stupid thing, then guess I can let you have it for 120,000 won?” Ricky’s negotiating skills were horrific. He had no sense of the true cost of the antique and he offered to sell for the first price that popped into his mind.

“Deal.” Jimin gave the young man his money and then proceeded to pack all of his goodies into the box that Ricky had retrieved from the stock room. The box was heavy. Lucky for Jimin he only had a short two block walk to his apartment.

Jimin’s phone buzzed again. The incessant buzzing was then followed by an actual phone call. Ong was on the war path and he wasn’t going to stop until Jimin faced him. Jimin balanced the heavy box on his knee while he scrambled to unlock his front door. He exploded through the door and rushed to place his box of goodies on the counter, then he quickly reached for his phone,

“Hello Ong – Jeez what is it?” Jimin said with dread.

“So you’re just going to run off in the middle of our conversation and then REFUSE to answer the phone? Not cool Jimin. I had something really important to say,” Ong whined.

“Ok, I’m sorry. Go ahead. Say whatever it is you want to say. But hurry, I have things to do.” Jimin glanced over at his box. He was eager to get his typewriter set up on his desk to begin writing.

“The only thing I want to say…is that I love you. You’re my best friend and I only want to see you happy. I know your dating experiences haven’t been the best. It’s not easy being gay in this city, but Jimin – he’s out there. You can’t give up. But even if you aren’t up to dating right now, at least come out and meet new people. Don’t spend every weekend hiding in your parents’ bakery. You’re too much of a precious jewel to keep yourself all to yourself. That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Ong disconnected.

Jimin felt a bit guilty. Ong really did want what was best for him. Maybe Jimin was a bit too quick to dismiss his idea of getting out more often. Maybe, just maybe, next time, he would indeed agree to go. But for now, his only objective was to play with his new err-uh old typewriter.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 2 – The Presence of Mr. X

Jimin removed his sweatshirt and hat, lowered the temperature on his air conditioning and removed his shoes. Temperatures in the city were expected to exceed 90 degrees, so it was going to be a lovely night to be locked in his apartment. After a quick shower, he sat down at his desk to admire his new toy.

In no time, the first idea was sparked for his new chapter and just like that, he was off. His thoughts came so quickly that it was hard to transfer thoughts to paper because of the slow key strokes of the old typewriter. Fresh innovation poured through his fingertips as he documented it in deep black ink. This was going to be his best work yet, he could feel it. His steady stream of inspiration continued and before he knew it, four hours had passed and ten brilliant chapters had been written.

“This typewriter really is magic,” Jimin spoke to himself. He decided to take a break and read through the content he’d written so far. It was true, the writing was exceptional and he loved every bit of it. “Make sure to make copies tomorrow Jimin,” he reminded himself. The story that Jimin was writing was set in 1945 during WWII, it was a story about two siblings who were separated during the war but later found each other after years apart. Definitely a tear jerker. Even though Jimin loved his job as a kindergarten teacher, he had a dream of one day also being a published author. “I guess that’s enough for tonight,” Jimin spoke to himself and then took the bundle of typed papers and stacked them neatly into a pile. He placed a large book over the top of the pile to keep the pages from blowing away. As he turned to head for bed, his attention was once again drawn to the curious tag attached to the typewriter.

“Groma T mechanical typewriter manufactured in 1956. This typewriter once belonged to Wu Lee Soung. It is said to have mystical powers that fuel the owner’s writing, bringing their typed pages to life.

*NOTE: To life? Ribbon still black, hasn’t been replaced in 64 years. Manuscript can only be destroyed by fire. NMR- DNS!”

His eyes retraced the line ‘mystical powers that fuel the owner’s writing, bringing their typed pages to life’. What did this note mean, bringing typed pages to life? Jimin assumed it meant bringing vivid characters to life metaphorically. But the more he read and reread the note, the more he was convinced that whoever wrote the note, meant something – different. Jimin laughed at himself. It was getting late and he was being silly, one of the side effects of being tired, he presumed. As a joke to poke fun at himself, he pulled his chair up to the typewriter again and typed out a few sarcastic sentences.

“Ok Mr. (or Mrs.) Typewriter, let’s see how well you bring characters to life. Let’s create the perfect boyfriend, shall we?” Jimin began to type out a playful message describing his perfect man.

Dear Typewriter, please bring him to me,
Male
He’s 5’11”
Age 23
Large deep set brown doe eyes
Clear skin
Not too muscular but not too thin
Korean, with brown hair
Dressed in tight blacks jeans that accentuate his perfect ass
Wearing a long sleeve black sweatshirt
Let’s name him X

Jimin hit the slider on the typewriter and laughed loudly. He popped up from his desk, quickly lowered the temperature on the air conditioner and headed straight to bed. The satisfaction of completing another ten chapters of his novel ushered in a sound sleep for Jimin. It was a dreamless night that provided the restorative slumber that he is desperately needed.

***

The next morning, the bedroom was bright with the glow of the sun cascading through the Window. Jimin could feel the rays beam against his closed eyelids. He opened his left eye while keeping his right one tightly closed. He pulled his hand from beneath the warmth of his blanket and slapped it around the nightstand trying to trap his thick black glasses beneath his palm. Instead of his glasses, his hands rested upon his phone. Eyes still only partially open, he pulled the phone close to his face to allow himself to read the large blurry numbers.

“11:00 o’clock! Jeez I slept half the day away,” Jimin dropped the phone back to this nightstand. “Get up Jimin. You’ve got chapters to write.” He swung his legs out of the bed and immediately began to shiver. The apartment was freezing. He slid his feet into his slippers and sprinted immediately to the air conditioner to increase the temperature.

Once the temperature in the apartment was a bit more comfortable, he headed to the restroom to handle the next urgent matter; relieving his full bladder. He stood over the toilet with his legs spread and wiggled his penis out through the slit in his long pajama pants. He relaxed his shoulders and held his head back as the steady stream of urine arched over into the toilet below.

A warm bubbly voice emanated from the hallway behind him, "Hi Jimin." The voice was coming from a tall, handsome, man with dark hair, who stood in the doorway.

“Aaaahhhh!” Jimin screamed and immediately turned on the spot. Startled, he flung himself agains the wall, pulling the towel rack to the floor and knocking the top cover off of the toilet. Pee continued to pour uncontrollably from his penis, wetting the entire front of his pajama pants.

“Who are you? How’d you get in my apartment?” The last thing Jimin wanted to do was fight while wearing pee stained pajamas, but he braced himself and prepared to do what he had to do. Lucky for him he was a black belt in Karate.

The intruder greeted him again, oddly, “Hyeee Jimin!” He repeated himself, this time even happier.

“How do you know my name? Why are you here? Get the hell out of my house!” It was becoming clear to Jimin that he was going to have to engage in battle with his intimidating, yet attractive, visitor.

“Hyeee Jimin!” The stranger released a brilliant smile and raised his hand to shake Jimin’s.

“Oh shit, you’re that serial killer that’s lose!” Jimin looked around. He was trapped in the bathroom. The only way out was to somehow navigate himself past the serial killer that stood in the doorway. “Listen you creepy bitch, you’ve got one last chance to tell me who you are before I kick your ass!” Jimin attempted to sound as tough and threatening as possible. He readied his body for attack and waited for the stranger to make a move.

“You don’t recognize me Jimin? You called for me. I’m here because you asked me to be.” The stranger stood with his hand still outstretched waiting for Jimin to shake.

Jimin sputtered, “Called for you? What are you talking about you lunatic? Get out of my apartment.” Jimin was at his wits end. He was seconds away from unleashing a flurry of kicks into this man’s chest.

“I’m X,” the man said as he continued to offer Jimin his outstretched hand.

Jimin stood in ready position, uncertain of the relevance of the name, X.

“You called me last night and asked me to come,” the man, now identified as X, explained.

“I did no such thing!” Jimin defended.

“5'11”, brown hair, porcelain skin, dimples....” X raised his index finger and inserted it into his left dimple. “You named me, X.”

“No way. N-noooooo way!” Jimin looked around wildly. He was suddenly not afraid of his visitor anymore. He ran past him and headed to his desk. The piece of paper with the typed words, still rested in the carriage of his old typewriter. He ripped it out and began to read, “5' 11", brown hair, doe eyes, dimples...no way, no way, impossible. This is a joke. This is a fucking joke! Who put you up to this, Mr. X? Ong? Was it Ong?” Jimin approached X and demanded that he reveal the joke.

“Joke? No joke. I’m here because you asked me to be,” X repeated.

“Wait a minute, there’s no way that Ong would know anything about this.” Jimin turned again to take a good look at X. He looked an exact replica of the brief description that Jimin had typed on the paper.

“This isn’t real. I’m dreaming. Yeah, dreaming.” Jimin pinched himself then slapped his own face. “Ok ok- if you’re here because of me, then why aren’t any of the other characters that I wrote running around my apartment?”

“You did not ask them. I’m here because you asked me to be,” X repeated again.

“I did not ask you!” Jimin erupted.

“Yes you did,” X held his ground; quite determined for a character that was only 20 minutes old, “Read again.”

Jimin scanned the page and realized that he'd inadvertently typed a peculiar phrase at the beginning of his description. The phrase read, ‘bring him to me”. Jimin remembered typing the sentence but never took it seriously. Under no circumstances did he really mean it. The entire situation was ludicrous. Surely this was a joke. A cruel, elaborate joke being waged against him by one of his friends or one of his students.

“Hi Jimin!” X repeated.

“What’s wrong with you? Why do you keep saying that?” Jimin screamed.

“What’s wrong with you?” X repeated.

“This is UNBELIEVABLE,” Jimin rubbed his hands through his hair and was suddenly reminded of his wet pajama pants. “Eww, look what you made me do.”

“Eww look what you made me do?” X ended his sentence as a question.

Jimin walked closer to X, he approached him cautiously and studied his innocent expression. As Jimin got closer, X broke into another beautiful smile. Jimin stopped. For the first time since X “arrived” Jimin was starting to believe that maybe the stranger was telling the truth - maybe something magical about the typewriter had caused him to appear.

Twenty minutes since he'd first offered it, X’s hand still remained outstretched, waiting politely for Jimin to shake it.

A hard wrap at the door caused Jimin to jump. “Oh shoot who could that be?” He could ill afford a visitor, not while he was trying to deal with the presence of X.

“Who could that be?” X repeated.

“Dude. Open up,” Ong called from the hallway.

“Ugh, not now,” Jimin lamented.

“Ugh, not now,” X repeated.

“Shh, I don't want him to hear you,” Jimin warned.

“Shh, I don't want him to he...” X started to repeat but before he was done, Jimin had cupped a hand to his mouth and silenced his voice.

“You have to be quiet. Do you know what that means?” Jimin asked.

X shook his head innocently to indicate no. He then mumbled Jimin’s words back to him from behind his cupped hand, “I hab to beee kwyettt,” X repeated as best he could for a guy with a hand covering his face.

Jimin grabbed X by both arms to drag him away from the door. The only thing he could do was hide him, but since he was a big fellow, shoving him in a closet wasn’t an option. He looked frantically around the apartment for a space large enough to accommodate Mr. X.

More knocking came from his front door, “Come on Jimin, you’re not mad at me for what I said last night are you?” Ong said apologetically.

“Coming, I’m not dressed,” Jimin said. He glanced around his bedroom and realized that there was a large space under his bed. "Come on big fella', I'm going to need to you get under here ok?" He pulled X along behind him, careful not to say anything else that would activate the parrot. “Shh,” was all Jimin would say.

“Come on big fella'. Shh,” X repeated loudly.

“No. Quiet. Shhhh,” Jimin begged X to shut up.

“Shh, shh, shh, shh,” X continued shushing.

Jimin couldn’t get him to stop. He grabbed both of X’s lips and held them together, giving the visitor the appearance of a puckering fish. He saw a pack of scotch tape on his dresser and grabbed it. After pulling an excessively long string of tape from the dispenser, he wrapped it around X’s puckered lips, trapping him in fish mode. While it didn’t completely stop the shushing, it did lower the volume to a small mumble. He pushed X to the floor and then navigated his long body into a comfortable position under the bed.

Once in position under the dusty crawl space, X extended his hand once again in an attempt to shake. Jimin threw a large yellow blanket over him and rushed back to open the door.

“What took you so long? Why are your pants wet?” Ong invited himself in. He removed his shoes and made himself comfortable on the couch in front of the fireplace, “Come sit, I have a surprise for you.”

Ong, of course, had no way of knowing that Jimin was walking a tightrope rope of nerves and jitters. His pajamas were covered in pee, a magic typewriter sat on his desk, and a tall beautiful idiot lay hiding under his bed; much too much drama for a Saturday morning.

“Ong, I love you buddy but this really isn’t a good time. You should have called first,” Jimin explained.

“No. This is too important. I couldn’t take the chance of you dipping out in order to evade me. Now sit, let’s talk.” Ong patted the seat next to him to invite Jimin to come.

“I have a surprise and I won’t take no for an answer.” Ong rubbed his hands together excitedly.

“I don’t like the sound of this.” Jimin put his face in his hands.

“We’re going out on a double date. I met a great guy a few weeks ago at a wedding. We've hung out a few times and I think he’s PERFECT for you. He’s agreed to go out again with us tonight to meet you. 7pm sharp.” Ong said proudly.

“Ok,” Jimin said without protest.

“OK? Wait why are you saying ok without a fight?” Ong asked suspiciously.

“What good is fighting going to do. You’ll make me go anyway. And if I try to refuse, you’ll call my mother. So why not just go, and avoid the drama?” Jimin was half joking. It was true that if he didn’t go, Ong and his mother would gang up on him and tag team with hours of lecturing, but it was also true that Jimin rather liked the idea of going on a date. He listened contently as Ong told him all about his mystery date.

Jimin could see past Ong into the short hallway that led to his bedroom. An increase in movement from beneath the yellow blanket caught Jimin's attention. His precious cargo was on the move. In his comfortable conversation with Ong, he had completely forgotten that X was stowed under his bed.

“Uh Ong, listen you’d better go. I’ve got loads of chores to do before my date tonight. Shave, shop for new jeans, other stuff, lots o’ stuff, so bye.” Jimin pulled Ong from his seat on the couch, being very careful not to allow him to turn around where he would have seen X emerging from under the bed.

“Uh ok - abrupt but it’s ok. I agree you need to shower, you smell like pee.” Ong snickered and gave Jimin a hug. “See you tonight, I’m excited for you Jimin. I think tonight could be special.”

Ong left just in time because no sooner than Jimin closed the door behind him, X had pulled the tape from his lips and was now walking around with the blanket over his head whispering, “Shhhhhh-shhhh.”

Mr. X had been here less than an hour and he was already becoming a nuisance. Jimin locked his front door and then turned on him in aggravation, “Why do you repeat everything I say?” Jimin slugged him in the arm.

“Why do you repeat everything I say? OUCH! Shh,” X repeated.

Jimin thought, "Wait a minute. I think I understand. Why didn't I realize this sooner?" Jimin bopped himself in the forehead. What Jimin abruptly realized was that X was just a few words on a page. He wasn’t a fully complete person because Jimin hadn't given him any personality, or characteristics. X had no story. In the absence of a full persona, he was just a shell with limited individual thoughts. Of course, he would repeat everything Jimin said because he had exhausted his limited vocabulary. His only form of communication was to repeat the words he heard. Jimin smiled a little. This sudden epiphany somehow made even more X endearing, "You're just trying to communicate with me aren't you? You're so cute." Jimin removed the blanket from X’s head and finally - shook his hand.

Jimin left X sitting alone on the couch while he escaped to take a quick shower. Even though Jimin had finally accepted that X was his creation through the typewriter, he still felt a bit uneasy having him in the apartment. His mind still bounced back to that serial killer that was on the loose.

***
Jimin combed through the internet looking for the secrets of the mysterious typewriter. After hours of searching, he came up with nothing. There had to be a way to send X back where he came from. X, in all his glorious attractiveness, sat quietly behind Jimin wrapped in the yellow blanket that he once wore on his head. Every hour or so he would mutter, “Hyee Jimin,” and wave like an innocent child.

The thought occurred to call the Magic Shop to ask for help. Jimin quickly dialed the number on the tag that still hung from the typewriter carriage.

“Yeah,’” Ricky answered.

“Yeah? That’s no way to answer the phone.” Jimin’s inner teacher came out and he couldn’t help but correct the young man on his manners.

“Magic Shop,“ he corrected dryly.

“Yes, Ricky it’s me, Jimin. I was there last night,” Jimin stated.

“Oh yeah, the guy who spoke Korean. I remember,” Ricky said stupidly.

“This is Korea. We all speak Korean...never mind, Ricky did your Aunt and Uncle come back? May I speak to them?”

“Bro - you’re out of luck. They had to fly back to the States. They won’t be back for a few months. Death in the family last night. My Aunt has to take care of the estate. I’m in charge for now. Bro! Are you the one who brought the typewriter? How is it?” Ricky was proud of himself for remembering Jimin’s purchase.

“Yes, about that. Is - there- um - more information or something? I-I mean I need to learn how to change the ribbon.” Jimin was not truthful.

“Sorry Bro, nothing. I’ll check the manifest though to see if there’s anything there,” Ricky offered.

“Yes, please and thank you,” Jimin said politely. He held the phone for over ten minutes waiting for Ricky to return.

“Magic Shop,” Ricky said again.

“Ricky it’s me,” Jimin was growing frustrated, “you were looking for instructions on the typewriter remember?”

“Hey Bro, thanks for waiting. I forgot all about you. Look there’s nothing in the manifest other than a strange website. It appears to be a tag line out of Weibo. You heard of that?” Ricky asked.

Jimin was relieved and simultaneously impressed with Ricky’s ability to actually provide useful information, “Yes, I’m familiar with that. You have my number, text me the link, please.”

“Can do Bro, but Bro didn’t the note on the typewriter say - the ribbon was never to be changed?” Ricky said curiously.

“Uh I don’t remember that, thanks Ricky goodbye.” Jimin quickly disconnected before Ricky started to get suspicious.

True to his word, within seconds of disconnecting, Jimin’s phone buzzed with a text from Ricky.

“Buzz,” X imitated.

Jimin laughed.

X was pleased. He mimicked Jimin’s laugh and then made a sentence consisting of, “Hyee Jimin, I’m here because you asked me to be. Buzz. Shh.”

Jimin laughed again, “Good X, good.” Jimin was proud of X’s improved conversation.

“Good Jimin, good,” X repeated.

Jimin looked at his phone and clicked on the link Ricky texted to him. The link took him directly to the log in page. It had been months since Jimin logged into his Weibo account but despite the limited interaction, he quickly recalled the password, “Lonely1”. The subsequent page that opened was curious indeed. The entire screen was black with nothing but a gif of a burning Yule log. Jimin grimaced, “What’s this? Dumb Ricky, he gave me the wrong link.”

“Dum ass Ricky,” X repeated.

“Hey. That’s not what I said, where did you learn that?” Jimin asked surprised.

“Where’d YOU learn that?” X semi repeated but with a slightly different context.

Jimin gave him the side eye and then turned to continue examining the dark page with the fiery burning log. “There’s nothing here X. I don’t think this is right.”

X, unnoticed by Jimin, walked over to the typewriter and began lightly tapping the keys. For every letter that X typed, a corresponding group of Chinese characters appeared across the screen. Jimin sat amazed. The characters were sentences. Jimin spun around toward X, “How’d you do that?”

“Unlock,” X explained.

“Unlock the page? This page has to be unlocked and we have to use the typewriter to do it?” Jimin asked.

X continued striking random words on the typewriter. Jimin grabbed a pen and began to feverishly copy down the words that flashed across the screen. His Chinese was rusty but from what he could make out, the messages were definitely about the typewriter. There seemed to be eight sentences repeated over and over again. One of them was oddly familiar: “only fire can destroy the manuscript”

X stopped typing and as soon as he did, the mysterious characters froze on the screen. Once again the gif of the burning Yuletide log appeared above the characters.

“How did you know to do that?” Jimin asked X

“Hyee Jiminie,” X called out and waved.

Jimin went to work on translating the eight sentences:

1. The longer the characters remain, the more their free will evolves
2. Never change the ink
3. Your touch will be translated into a reading of your soul - use caution and know your true motives
4. It’s a harmless typewriter - until it isn’t - the power lies in the bidding
5. Only fire can destroy the manuscript
6. The detail of the first is the power of the last
7. It can kill
8. The key to breaking the first code is to simply ask

Jimin wasn’t sure how to interpret the messages. They’d clearly been written by a previous owner or someone who knew what the thing could do. While some of the messages seemed like instructions, others seemed like warnings. “Only once” and “it can kill” what did that mean?

“Oh no! Is that the time?” Jimin once again had allowed time to slip away from him. It was already 5:45pm and he was scheduled to meet Ong and his blind date in just over an hour.

“Yes, that’s the time. Oh no!” X answered and repeated.

Jimin closed Weibo and logged off of his phone. Although the web page was cryptic, it did prove useful because now Jimin understood how to send X back. It was the same instruction that had been noted on the typewriter’s original tag. Jimin looked at the typed piece of paper that sat on his desk. X’s entire creation was typed into a few short careless words. All Jmin needed to do was take the paper and throw it into fire and poof, his problem would be gone.

In a flash, Jimin crumpled up the paper and tossed it into his metal trashcan. He dropped a match to light the page and then watched as it burned.

At first nothing happened. X still sat happily on the couch staring at Jimin as he had all morning, “Hyeee Jimin, I’m X.” But after a second or two, X began to frown. He stood and then looked down at his own body wondering what was happening. “Jimin?” He looked at Jimin with a face of sadness. “I’m here because YOU asked me to be,” he said sadly.

Jimin moved closer. A slight feeling of regret crossed his heart. For a moment, he actually considered trying to grab the paper out of the fire to stop the actions he'd set in motion. He watched in awe as X’s physical image began to thin right before his eyes.

“But Jimin why? Please don’t, please,” were X’s final words as his form dissipated; first turning into a milky white fog and then transitioning into a translucent stream of waves that resembled heat waves rising from the concrete on a smoldering hot day. The last thing Jimin could see clearly before the image completely disappeared were the tears in X’s large brown doe eyes.

Jimin immediately felt guilt. Why did X beg him not to send him back? Why did his beautiful eyes appear to fill with tears as he faded away? Was it possible that within the six short hours that he and X had spent together, X had formed some sort of emotional attachment? Jimin couldn’t understand how a "being" that was just a shell of a character could have evolved emotion so quickly. Getting rid of X should have been a relief but instead Jimin felt strangely empty; like a hole had developed in the pit of his stomach. Had Jimin himself felt something? Or were his feelings of loneliness so deep that even a bumbling mime provided relief? One thing was certain, for the six hours that X was with him, he never once felt lonely.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 – Perfect Man

Jimin stepped into his new jeans. After X left, he was able to run down to the designer shop on the corner and pick them up. He turned in the mirror to check out his own ass. “Nice,” he bragged to himself. He parted his blond messy hair on the side and brushed it away from his face. His roots were beginning to darken which meant that a date with his stylist was overdue. A cologne bottle titled, ’Vivaldi’s Spring’, lay half empty on the dresser. It was Jimin’s favorite scent because it smelled of fresh oranges and tangerines. Nothing too earthy or woody, just light and clean much like Jimin himself. He sprayed a light mist of it into the air and then did a full ballet turn allowing the fine beads of mist to fall gently onto his skin and through his hair. Jimin completed his date look by placing long dangled earrings in each of his four pierced holes. He slipped on a white shirt, then layered it with a long sleeve over-sized sweater. It was still warm outside, but the sweater was Balenciaga and it looked absolutely fabulous, so Jimin was willing to endure the discomfort if it meant looking stunning for a few hours. All in all, Jimin felt pretty confident in his appearance.

Jimin took a quick glance at his phone to check the time, "About ten minutes to spare." A tiny tug of nervousness pulled at his stomach. "Relax, Jimin, it's going to be fine," he smiled to himself in the mirror, "If Ong likes this new guy, Lee Joo-heon, then trust he's a good fit." Ong and Jimin had been friends since youth, so if anybody knew Jimin’s type, it was Ong. And although he didn't have the best record of success, Ong's previous choice in men had always been very hot. Jimin approached the evening with a great deal of optimism; he gathered his wallet and keys and headed for the restaurant.

Busan had a bustling nightlife. There were many places for young twenty-somethings to meet up and spend time with their friends. Ong chose a local hot spot called, Galmego Brewing Pub. It was a highly recommended local bar with good food, great drinks and a lot of eye candy. The walk to the bar where they were meeting was less than five minutes away from Jimin’s apartment. The scene was very casual when he stepped in. The large wooden high tables and quaint secluded booths sat intermixed across the room with a centrally located wet bar towards the front. Jimin surveyed the space in search of a familiar face.

“Jimin!” Ong called from a table near the window. He and his girlfriend Solar both waved aggressively, hoping Jimin could see them in the poorly lit bar. Jimin looked around anxiously for a third member at the table, but to his disappointment, only Ong and Solar were there.

“Hi – hi guys.” Jimin gave Ong a high five and then reached over to give Solar a kiss on the cheek, “Good to see you kiddo,” Jimin said to Solar who was three years his junior. “I see my date isn’t here,” Jimin said angrily, “let me guess - he had a sudden emergency and won’t be able to make it? I get so sick of this. It’s the same thing every time. Why do I always get stood up? Well I’m not going to sit here and third wheel with you two. I’m out of here.” Before Ong could even stutter to say a word, Jimin spun around and headed back towards the front door. He could hear Ong calling for him to return, but he ignored him and kept walking. He forcefully pushed open the front door of the restaurant slamming it hard into the face of - Lee Jooheon – who was entering the bar at the exact time that Jimin was trying to exit. They collided at the entrance.

“Oh, I am so sorry. I didn’t see you and I was careless, can I get you some ice?” Jimin said apologetically.

“Wow, that hurt,” Lee Jooheon held the side of his face, opening and closing his mouth slowly to make sure his jaw wasn’t broken. Once he was satisfied that all was well, he held out his hand and said, “I think you’re my date. Ong showed me pictures and you look like him. And if you’re not my date, will you please be my date because DAMN, you’re fucking gorgeous. I’m Lee Jooheon. You must be Jimin.”

“Jooheon! Oh God. You’re here. Wow I am so completely embarrassed,” Jimin covered his face with his hands.

Jooheon could see Jimin’s cheeks turning pink behind the tiny fingers that hid his face. “Where are you going? You’re not backing out on me just because I was late are you? I called Ong and explained everything. Don’t be angry. Stay?” Jooheon reached down and grabbed Jimin’s hand and pulled him back inside of the bar. Once inside, Jooheon continued to hold onto Jimin until they reached the table where Ong and Solar were seated.

“Well, well, well, what have we here?” Ong gloated. “Seems like you two have met? If you had let me speak before storming off, I would have told you that Jooheon was running a little late and would be in as soon as he parked the car.”

“Sorry Ongie – Sorry Jooheon. I’m a little sensitive around the thought of being stood up,” Jimin said.

“Consider it forgotten,” Jooheon said. He smiled.

Jimin almost fell out of his chair. Jooheon was GORGEOUS, “You are hot, aren’t you?”

“I am. I am.” Jooheon laughed loudly. “I’m kidding, but thank you.”

“Ong, remind me how you and Jooheon know each other? I don’t remember you ever mentioning him before,” Jimin asked curiously.

“He’s my cousin,” Solar tipped her glass in Jooheon ’s direction.

“We just met a few weeks ago at a wedding. Ong thought we would get along nicely so he invited me out to meet you. I guess the rest is history?” Jooheon clicked his tongue and shot finger guns at Jimin.

“Finger guns? That’s incredibly corny. I like it.” Jimin shot finger guns back at him. They shared their first mutual laugh.

The four of them made small talk for the next hour or so. It was finally Ong who excused himself and Solar so they could go upstairs to play pool. The evening seemed to fly by. Jooheon was refreshing. He was well traveled, well educated, ambitious, polite and gorgeous; all the things that Jimin wanted in a man. He and Jooheon continued their easy conversation and since Solar and Ong were still playing pool, the two of them decided to move over to the bar to continue sampling the hand-crafted beers.

“I’ve told you all about my exciting life as a teacher, now it’s your turn. What do you do for a living?” Jimin asked.

“I’m a model,” Jooheon replied.

“Why am I not surprised?” Jimin laughed, “You are very gorgeous.”

“Yes, I am. We agreed on that earlier, remember?” Jooheon nodded and agreed for a second time, “I’ve modeled for quite a few years. Mostly print with some runway.”

“I knew you looked familiar!” Jimin punched Jooheon in the arm, “Louis Vuitton ad right? Fall catalog?”

“That’s me. Did you miss the winter Gucci spread? That one came out last week.” Jooheon blew on his nails and then buffed them on his shirt.

“I saw that too! Who would have thought? Shit that was hot,” Jimin shook his head.

“Have you ever thought about it?” Jooheon used his index finger and traced small circles in the back of Jimin’s hand.

Jimin took a sip of his beer, “Thought about what? Modeling?”

“Yeah, Jimin you’re fucking stunning. Do you even realize that?” Jooheon flicked one of Jimin’s dangling earrings causing it to swing back and forth.

“You’ve been talking to my Mother, haven’t you?” Jimin was serious. It wouldn’t be the first time that is Mother pried into his love life and got into the ear of one of his dates.

“Dude, I don’t know your Mom. I’m just stating the obvious that I think you would do well as a print model.” Jooheon licked the suds of his beer to keep them from overflowing.

“That’s not for me. I’m very happy with my life. I love what I do. I love my students,” Jimin explained, “How’d you get into modeling anyway?”

“My annoying Mom! She’s a publicity agent. She’s had me in fucking print ads since I was in diapers. It started as just a stroke to her ego but after a while, I kept getting steady work. That’s when Mom realized I had something. By the time I was in high school I had full time offers from Channel, Balenciaga, Fila and LV. My awkward teen years were played out in print magazines in front of millions,” he laughed.

Jooheon had an “In your face” type of gorgeous-ness. There was nothing subtle about his broad shoulders, deep set brown eyes, intense white smile, large juicy lips, dimples from God and slick black hair. His tight chiseled face screamed super model. He wasn’t too tall, about 5’ 11”, perfect height for kissing. Jimin’s thoughts ran wild. This was the kind of man that fantasies were made of.

“Uh HELLO? Jimin? Earth to Jimin.” Jooheon waved his hand in front of Jimin’s face.

Jimin shook himself alert, “Sorry, yeah?” He looked away feeling completing embarrassed. He’d been staring at Jooheon and hadn’t even realized it.

Jooheon opened the menu and spoke from behind it, “Another round? We still need to sample the chocolate beer, the hard apple cider, the pumpkin beer and the Hops Blonde Ale, whatever that is.”

Jimin gave a thumbs-up, “Let’s do it.”

Jooheon raised a finger to call the Bartender. The tall man with violet purple hair, sauntered over and stood in front of Jooheon. He licked his bottom lip and stared at Jooheon from behind light green contact lenses. His strong muscular physique and handsome face were definitely noticed, “Hey hot stuff. We’re going to try the holiday sampler next.” Jooheon winked and blew him a kiss.

Jimin, feeling slightly offended by the obvious flirting, blurted out, “You two know each other?”

“No.” Jooheon shrugged his shoulders as if Jimin’s suggestion was ridiculous. “You know Jimin, I could see myself fucking you so good,” Jooheon said slightly slurred, completely changing the subject.

“Same. But seeing as we just met, I think we should get to know each other better, don’t you?” Jimin laughed a loud obnoxious laugh.

“Darn. I knew you’d say that.” Jooheon laughed and slid his hand up Jimin’s knee.

Jimin returned the favor by resting his hand inches away from Jooheon’s crotch.

The bartender reappeared with a tray full of hand crafted holiday beers, “Your drinks.” He stared directly at Jooheon, once again ignoring Jimin.

"Thank you," Jooheon drew out the words slowly and he and the bartender made brief but impactful eye contact.

Jimin was irritated again and removed his hand. He stiffened his back and shifted in his chair. Once again, Jooheon ignored the tension. He took the chocolate beer and poured half into his cup and half into Jimin’s and offered a toast, “To the possibility of fucking.” Jooheon and Jimin, aided my alcohol, both laughed. “Just kidding. Seriously, I’d like to toast to the most enchanting, intelligent, entertaining and beautiful man I’ve met in a very long time. Here’s to a bright future between us.” Jooheon clicked glasses with Jimin. He raised his glass partially to his lips before stopping, “Oh wait! And to the great Ong for introducing us. He’s finally got one right.” Jooheon and Jimin both laughed again

“To Ong,” Jimin repeated.

The two continued to talk into the wee early of the morning. It became so late that Ong and Solar grew too tired to keep up. They bid both of them goodnight and headed out around 3am. Jooheon and Jimin continued to talk. It was almost 5am when the owner had the sad duty of telling them they were closed.

“What? Is it that late?” Jimin laughed.

“I’m afraid we’ve talked the night away Jimin. What do you say we call it a night?” Jooheon suggested.

“Sure. Let me walk you back to your car,” Jimin grabbed Jooheon’s hand and led him towards the door.

Jooheon and Jimin walked in slow silence through the bright streets of Busan. They walked in close proximity to each other, careful not to act too familiar.

“I’m parked just over here.” Jooheon steered Jimin to a dark parking lot at the end of the block. They reached the car and stood facing each other awkwardly for a few seconds.

Alcohol dictated what came next; Jimin leaned into Jooheon, pressing him against the door of his silver Mercedes. And in a very bold move for a celibate kindergarten teacher, he kissed him. Jooheon returned his kiss. Jimin placed both of his hands in Jooheon’s dark black hair and pulled his head back, away from his lips. “Be patient with me because there’s so much more that I have to give.”

“Fuck! I guess that means I’ve earned a second date?” Jooheon smiled, exploding his dimples all over the dark parking lot.

Jimin nodded, “Definitely.”

Jooheon took a few steps closer to Jimin, “Can I drive you home?”

“Nope. Bye,” Jimin backed away still laughing and facing Jooheon. He blew another kiss and yelled, “I’ll call you,” before launching into a sprint towards the front of his apartment building.

Jimin was exhilarated. He skipped the elevator and chose to use the steps to run all the way to the eighth floor. He slammed open his front door and ran and jumped full bodied onto his couch. He kicked off his leather boots and let out a giggly scream. Jooheon was everything. Everything that he’d prayed for, everything that he’d waited for, everything. He cranked up the air conditioning and ran to take a quick shower. Despite how great he looked, he was relieved to finally peel off the heavy sweater. His every instinct was to call Ong to blubber over how well the date had gone. But he knew that Ong would be less than pleased with a phone call at 5:30am, so his giddy blabber would have to wait a few hours until Ong was finally awake.

To Jimin’s surprise, his phone rang. “Who is calling me this time of the day?” He and Jooheon had exchanged numbers at the bar but he was still surprised to see his name pop up on the caller ID, “Hello?” He answered.

“I miss you,” Jooheon’s voice was on the line.

“How can you miss me? It’s been 28 minutes,” Jimin rolled his eyes.

“Guess I’m whipped already. Goodnight Jimin.” Jooheon’s deep whisper was like music to Jimin’s ears.

“Good night Jooheon.” Jimin disconnected then ran over to the couch and gleefully jumped up and down again.

It was time to go bed. He clicked the light off and walked into his bedroom. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the old typewriter sitting quietly against the wall, undisturbed. Jimin walked over to it and ran his fingers along the stiff keys. “I’m sorry X,” he whispered. Jimin wasn’t sure why X came to mind, especially after such a promising date with Jooheon. But something about the memory of X’s tear-filled doe eyes burned in Jimin’s brain. A flash of guilt stirred within him again. He rubbed his tired eyes and pushed X out of his mind. The warmth of his crisp fluffy bed was calling.

***

Jimin crawled out of bed around 10am the next morning. Excitement filled his lungs like breath and he let out a loud “Wooop!” of joy as the memories from the previous night came rushing in.

His phone was already burning with several texts from Jooheon.

JooHeon 9:15am: Wake up and tell me you miss me

JooHeon 8:00am: I can’t stop thinking about you

JooHeon 7:30am: I woke up with my dick hard as fuck. No doubt because I dreamed about you

JooHeon 7:00am: Thanks for last night

Jimin opened his texts and decided to respond to the naughtiest one first.

JiMin to JooHeon: What happens between you and your dick is none of my business- yet.

JiMin to JooHeon: I enjoyed myself last night too. Thanks for a great time

JiMin to JooHeon: Yeah, maybe I kinda’ miss you too

The response bubbles immediately popped up

JooHeon to JiMin: When can I see you again?

JiMin to JooHeon: Lunch? Today? Around 2?

JooHeon to JiMin: It’s a date. Bar across from your place?

JiMin to JooHeon: Sure. I can do American food again

JooHeon to JiMin: See you soon😘

Jimin thought for a minute. He held the urge to type a long string of hearts and kissy faces. Instead he went with

JiMin to JooHeon: See ya’ 😉

Jimin couldn’t wait to talk to Ong. He yelled into his phone “Siri call ONG!” Four rings later a sleepy voice answered, “What is it Jimin?”

“He’s great Ongie. He’s absolutely great,” Jimin gushed

“After ONE date? Impressive. I knew you two would be a good match,” Ong gloated.

“He’s smart and handsome and kind. I’m trying not to get too excited but I think he’s a keeper,” Jimin cautioned.

Ong yawned loudly, “So when are you going to see him again?”

“In about four hours,” Jimin replied

“Today? Wow, you two aren’t wasting any time are you? Well I’m happy for you Jimin. I hope the second date goes even better than the first. See you at school tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Ongie. I better go, I need to get through at least another three chapters today in my novel.” Jimin walked over to his desk that housed the old typewriter while he said his final goodbyes to Ong.

He sat down hard in his chair and tucked his phone away safely in his desk drawer to avoid the temptation of checking it every five minutes. It was critical that he focus. His time with Jooheon had already started to interfere with his writing schedule. He pulled out the last page of his manuscripts and began typing where he’d left off Friday night. As soon as his fingertips touched the keys, a sensation tingled along his spine causing him to turn around. There was nothing there, well nothing except the soft yellow blanket that X had worn over his head 24 hours earlier. The familiar twang of guilt pinched his stomach once again.

***

Jimin’s lunch date with Jooheon went exactly as expected; a lot of flirting, massive amounts of touching and not too subtle sexual innuendo. Jooheon made no secret of the fact that he was hot for Jimin and Jimin shamelessly returned the sentiment.

A bond between them materialized quickly. And so it went, over the next two months, Jimin and Jooheon were virtually inseparable. They chose, rather carefully, to avoid slapping labels on their relationship. Instead, they chose to cherish every moment with each other and take things slow.

The sexual attraction between them was another matter altogether. At Jimin’s insistence, they kept their physical desires bottled up. Jimin just wasn’t ready. His history of falling in love too quickly and giving himself too freely had led him to endless hurt; pining after relationships that never really mattered. The destructive pattern needed to stop, and this was where that path ended.

Jooheon was long on patience because he cherished Jimin and he understood that Jimin’s past had left him scarred and cautious, so though he pressed as often as he could, he always conceded to Jimin’s wishes.

***
Jimin heard the knock at the door from the bathroom. He jumped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around himself and rushed to answer.

Jooheon stood there with a dozen roses, “Guess what?”

“I am really sorta’ naked here, how about you just come in and we guess later.” Jimin laughed.

“Sorry.” Jooheon scooted inside and started again, “Guess what?”

“What?” Jimin said flirtatiously.

“Its officially our two-month anniversary today. I thought I would surprise you and take you out to celebrate. OR, we could stay here and order in, just the two of us. These are for you.” Jooheon stepped forward, handed Jimin the flowers and then kissed him aggressively. He released Jimin’s towel and allowed it to drop to the floor.

Jimin scrambled to pick up the towel and cover himself again, “Jooheon. I love the idea of us staying in and having a nice dinner, but...”

“...but what Jimin? You get dressed, or don’t, please don’t, and I’ll order dinner. How about that new take-out spot on Nampodong? They deliver." Jooheon tugged at Jimin's towel again.

Jimin slapped Jooheon's hand away, “That sounds perfect but YES, I AM going to get dressed,” he clarified.

“Bummer.” Jooheon responded.

Dinner was delivered in less than an hour. Jooheon and Jimin sat on the floor and sipped wine while they ate.
“I’m headed to Germany in a few days. Not looking forward to this trip. I prefer to stay home this time of year and spend more time with my family. But unfortunately, this is when we ramp up for the spring and summer campaigns for next year. The worst part is that I have to be away from you Jimin.” Jooheon laid his head in Jimin’s lap.

“I’ll miss you too, but it’s only for thirteen days, right? It’ll go by fast.” Jimin tried to seem upset about Jooheon leaving, but the truth was, he was somewhat agnostic to the fact that Jooheon traveled all the time. It left him more time to work on his Novel, which was behind schedule.

“You don’t seem too upset about me traveling. Jimin I think it’s time for us to be honest with each other," Jooheon stared up at Jimin from his position in Jimin's lap, " How do you really feel about me? I need you to be honest because I’m starting to see the stars and the moon when I look at you and I don’t want to be in this alone.” Jooheon took a very direct approach with Jimin, something he’d never done before.

Jimin pushed Jooheon away from his lap, “I've told you that I want to take things slowly. I’ve been hurt in the past and I don’t want to be hurt again. I like you very much, but I need you to understand.”

“Why do you think I’d ever hurt you?” Jooheon was confused.

“I don’t, but, I don’t want to set myself up either.” Jimin pushed Jooheon back down into his lap.

“So I am being punished for something that I might or might not do? Got it,” Jooheon summarized.

Jimin leaned over and kissed Jooheon as he laid in his lap. Jooheon pulled Jimin down to the floor and crawled on top of him. He rubbed his hands up and down his crotch and began unbuttoning his shirt. Jimin allowed him to continue for a few moments, but then stopped him when he felt things were going too far.

“Stop baby. I’m not ready to do this now,” He said softly.

How long are you going to make me wait? It’s like you’re a fucking tease. I have needs. I’m starting to think, you’re not attracted to me.” Jooheon’s voice sounded whiny and entitled.

Jimin didn’t appreciate his attitude, his temper got the best of him and responded without thinking, “Need I remind you that we are not exclusive? You can go right out and take care of those needs tonight – with someone else.”

“Fuck this.” Jooheon jumped up, placed on his shoes and stormed out of Jimin’s apartment.

Jimin watched him leave and didn’t say a word. He suspected that Jooheon was off to do just as he suggested, find a quick fuck to relieve his "needs". “Spoiled brat. So used to men just falling over him,” Jimin mumbled to himself.

Jimin, in his anger, grabbed the take-out boxes and slammed them into the garbage can. He took Jooheon's roses and placed them in the kitchen so that he didn't have to look at them. Jooheon constantly trying to guilt him into being physical was growing old. It was also a pretty significant character flaw that a grown man would complain about his "needs" as if he were some horny teenager. Jimin's anger simmered for a couple of hours before more rational thoughts entered his head. A little reflection made him realize that maybe it was too much to ask someone as sexual as Jooheon to suddenly adopt celibacy. Jimin laughed. The entire thing was ridiculous. He relented to himself that he would call Jooheon the following day to apologize before he left for Germany. The evening alone allowed Jimin to really think about he and Jooheon’s relationship. He really liked Jooheon but something just seemed to be – missing. Externally Jooheon seemed to be everything that Jimin could ask for, but intrinsically Jimin's feelings for him were moderate at best. It was truly a conflict that he would need to work through. Jimin took a seat on his couch and placed the yellow blanket around his shoulders. There was a slight scent of lavender that still lingered in the fabric. He recognized the smell as that of the mysterious Mr. X. It was so curious that X had arrived with a scent that was immediately appealing to Jimin. It was nothing he specified in the manuscript, so how did it happen? He held the blanket to his nose and took a deep breath. The smell of X was familiar and comforting. After all these months, it was incredible that the beautiful scent still remained.

***

“Hey,” Jimin waved to Ong as he unlocked the door to his classroom. Ong’s room was directly across from Jimin’s and with the door open, Jimin could see his best friend as he stood at the front of his empty room. Ong swayed back and forth at the blackboard, erasing the math problems from the previous day’s lesson.

“Do my eyes deceive me? Did Jooheon let you out of his sight long enough for you to come to work?” Ong teased.

“Ha-ha-ha.” Jimin buried his smile, not wanting to acknowledge the truth in Ong’s statement. “He’s in Germany doing a shoot for Burberry. He's been gone for a while and he won’t be home for another six days.” Jimin didn’t want to give Ong the impression that he was counting the days until Jooheon returned, but ever perceptive Ong caught on immediately.

“6 days? I think you mean, 136 hours, 52 minutes and 6 seconds? Act as aloof as you like, you’re not fooling me.” Ong laughed.

Jimin’s text buzzed. He knew without looking who the text was from.

Jooheon to Jimin: Tell me you miss me

Jimin to Jooheon: I sorta’, a little bit could possibly miss you

Jooheon to Jimin: I’ll take it - stay beautiful - bye

Jimin to Jooheon: Bye

The loud school bell rung high above Jimin’s head. Hordes of school children came rushing through the hallway headed for their classrooms. A single file line of Kindergarteners walked obediently down the hall and headed towards Jimin.

Jimin had a mystical ability to bring out the best behavior in his students. While other children ran wild, Jimin’s class walked in orderly fashion preparing to start their daily routine. The routine was simple; something Jimin created to make sure that each of his students felt loved and cared for. As each child approached, Jimin would give them a hug and then engage in a special handshake. Every single child had a secret handshake that Jimin developed just for them - no two were alike. Each little kid giggled with satisfaction as they completed their unique handshake with Mr. Park. His special routine took almost ten minutes each morning to get the class of 18 kids properly greeted and seated, but he did it every single morning, without fail.

Jimin began the day by reading a story to his class. It was a story about a gang of rogue socks who played tricks on their owners and hid throughout the house. The children laughed, many removing their own socks to hide them throughout the classroom. Next, Jimin took out a guitar and sang a silly song about a family of koala bears who lived in Australia. Next, it was time for Journaling. Jimin passed a small black Journal to each child. Their instruction was to write a story explaining what they’d done over the weekend. The room was quiet. Jimin used the quiet time to grade the spelling papers from the previous week’s spelling test. The tests results were uneventful. With the exception of his most worrisome student, Soon, who wrote, “Beyonce” for all of her test answers, everyone received 100%.

By eleven o’clock, it was time to prep for lunch. Jimin walked through the aisles collecting the Journals and prepared each student to line up. As he walked with his back to his classroom door, he heard a small volley of giggles from the children.

“Shh, my silly little gooses, some of your peers are still working,” he playfully admonished.

Instead of the giggles growing silent, they actually grew louder. Jimin warmed them again, more sternly this time, “I don’t know where these giggles are coming from but it must stop please.”

The children were now in full on laughter and no one was paying any attention to Jimin’s warnings. “Alright, what’s going on?" Jimin turned to walk back to the front of the classroom and that’s when he saw him; Jooheon was standing there wearing a silly green wig and a large plastic nose. He also engaged in some strange clown-like dance that had Jimin’s students beside themselves with laughter.

It had been eight long days since Jimin had seen him. He didn’t know why he was here or how he got here but he didn’t care. He ran to him and embraced him in a deep long hug. Jooheon kissed Jimin gently on the lips. A collective “Eeeeeeeeeeew” followed by more giggles came from his class of onlookers.

“You can’t kiss me in front of my kids!” Jimin slapped Jooheon in the shoulder.

Jooheon whispered in Jimin’s ear, “I can’t fuck you in front of your kids. But I’m sure kissing is ok.”

The lunch bell rang. Jooheon‘s sudden appearance had completely disrupted Jimin’s normally impeccable scheduling. He hadn’t even lined the children up to walk them to lunch.

“Oh my babies, you’re not in order and I haven’t even finished collecting your Journals,” Jimin panicked.

“You finish collecting the Journals. I’ve got this.” Jooheon removed his silly wig and began calling out marching instructions, “Left, Left, Left, Right, Left. Let’s go children, line up. Uncle Jooheon is the line leader today.” He began his silly dance once again and continued it all the way to the lunchroom with 18 gleeful children mimicking behind him.

Ong heard the commotion from the hallway and peeped his head out of his classroom door, “Spoke to soon, guess he didn’t let you out of his sight,” Ong laughed and closed his door.

Jimin watched Jooheon and his strange cadence flow down the hallway. "What a good guy," he thought to himself.

After lunch was nap time. Jooheon helped Jimin prepare all of the mats to put the kiddies down. Jimin sat in the cool dark room with only the light from his desk lamp illuminating his face. His large black rimmed glasses sat on the tip of his nose as he shuffled through papers. While the children slept, Jooheon pulled up a bean bag and sat beside Jimin.

He whispered, “You’re simply the best teacher I’ve ever seen.”

“You’re pretty good with them yourself, Jooheon,” Jimin whispered more quietly now, “do you want kids?”

“No.” Jooheon said with no hesitation.

Jimin was both sad and surprised to hear this. “Oh,” he said simply.

“Do you? I mean you’re around them all day. They suck your time, your money, your energy, your youth. Who wants to be bothered? I’d rather just play with other people’s kids.” Jooheon laughed, fully expecting Jimin to laugh with him.

Jimin sighed and looked away.

Jooheon noticed Jimin’s reaction and decided to probe more seriously, “You want kids, don’t you? You want them very badly? Wow Jimin I-I didn’t know. I don’t want them at all. I never would have imagined we were so far apart on this issue.”

“I didn’t imagine it either,” Jimin said sadly.

“Well it’s not like we’re in a relationship or anything. I mean there’s no obligation here,” Jooheon said.

“Yeah, yeah exactly,” Jimin agreed. He had no idea what he was agreeing to. Were they agreeing to not call themselves boyfriends? Were they agreeing to ignore the fact that they had different opinions on kids? It was unclear but Jimin was not about to try to get clarification in front of 18 slumbering five-year olds. “What are you doing back so early? You weren’t supposed to be back until next week.” He changed the subject.

“I wrapped early. Two of the new designs that I was supposed to wear got hung up in customs in Hong Kong because of the protests. It derailed the entire schedule and instead of them paying me $10,000/hour to just sit there, they shot what they could and sent me home.” Jooheon smiled at Jimin and held his hand.

“That’s definitely good news for me.” Jimin made sure that all of the children were sleeping and then planted a slow mouthy kiss on Jooheon’s lips.

“Tell me you missed me,” Jooheon begged.

“Just a tiny, little, infinitesimal amount,” Jimin laughed.

“I gotta’ go. I need some sleep. I grabbed my green wig and came straight here from the airport so I’m exhausted after the long flight. Dinner? My place?” Jooheon offered.

“Jooheon, I need to work tonight. My novel isn’t going to write itself. I’m so close to finishing...”

Jooheon interrupted, “I won’t take no for an answer. I’m cooking your favorite: pigs feet, pork belly, spicy ramen and seaweed sauce.”

“Be there at 6,” Jimin said with no further argument.

***

Jooheon’s apartment was on the 32nd floor of a high rise condo that overlooked Busan beach. Jimin sometimes forgot just how wealthy Jooheon’s career made him. He’d been to the apartment many times but each time he was still stunned by the beauty of the exquisite view. The night marked the three-month anniversary of Jimin and Jooheon’s first date. It was only the beginning of August but the weather had already begun to turn cooler. Fall was Jimin’s favorite time of year and knowing that he was going to have a man in his life for the first time during the holidays, gave him a deep feeling of warmth and satisfaction. He strolled through Jooheon’s apartment, stopping to look through the large picture window and admire the view.

Jooheon called from the kitchen, “More wine baby?”

Jimin looked at his empty glass and yelled back, “Hell yes please.”

Jooheon’s giggles resounded from the kitchen, “Help yourself, the bottle is on the fireplace.”

The smell coming from the kitchen was divine. Jooheon’s parents owned one of the hottest restaurants in Seoul and he had definitely picked up their flair for cuisine.

“Come here,” Jooheon called.

Jimin abandoned his spot in front of the Busan skyline and walked to the kitchen where he’d been summoned.

Jooheon was wearing an apron that looked like a naked body, “Cut these peppers for me. Can you please also bake the croissants?”

“Indeed,” Jimin smiled brightly.

“You know I enjoyed being with you and "The Squad" today. Jooheon dipped a large wooden spoon into the pot of seaweed sauce and placed it on Jimin’s tongue to taste.

“OH MY GOD, that’s delicious. The Squad?” He inquired while grabbing a bowl to pour more of the sauce into.

“Baby, that’s not soup, you can’t just eat an entire bowl of it. Yes, The Squad. It’s my new nickname for your students. We came up with it during lunch. They love you so much Jimin. They would do anything for you. They’re your ‘squad’,” Jooheon laughed as Jimin took a ladle to his seaweed sauce and spooned it into the bowl.

“That’s cute. The Squad it is...my God this is good. I prepped the croissant dough last night, so now all I need to do is bake them.” Jooheon wasn’t the only one who picked up skills from his parents. Jimin was an award-winning baker himself, using skills taught to him by his parents when he was a young boy. Whenever he and Jooheon got together, it was always agreed that Jooheon would cook the main meal and Jimin would do all of the baking. He prepared two different desserts for the evening as well as homemade French croissants.

“Jimin. I’m sorry about my outburst a few weeks ago. I respect what you’re doing and I promise to dial back the pressure for us to be intimate.” Jooheon focused on sautéing onions in his large skillet.

"It's long forgotten Jooheon. Out of curiosity, what changed your mind?" Jimin was still licking seaweed sauce from his bowl.

"You mean too much to me. My feelings for are pretty intense and I just don't want to do anything to drive you away." Jooheon took the bowl from Jimin and placed it in the sink.

“Since we are being honest again, where did you go after you left my apartment that night?” Jimin asked firmly. He made a point to look at Jooheon, even if Jooheon refused to look back.

“I met up with an old boyfriend and took him home and fucked him,” Jooheon said honestly. The cheeks of his olive toned skin brightened with embarrassment. He stopped everything and just stared down at his feet in shame.

“The purple hair bartender?” Jimin said intuitively.

“Yeah,” Jooheon said softly.

“Thank you for telling me the truth,” Jimin nodded and allowed his eyes to wander about the kitchen.

Jooheon appeared a bit misty, like he may cry, “Are you upset?”

“No. What right do I have to dictate your life? I can't be upset, I mean...we aren't exclusive. You shouldn’t do that again, however. If you want me, then wait for me. It’s that simple.” Jimin was telling the truth. The fact that Jooheon had slept with someone else was almost inconsequential. There was no commitment between them and Jooheon had every right. The good news was that Jimin wasn’t affected by it and it did nothing to change his feelings for Jooheon. The bad news was that Jimin wasn’t’ affected by it, which meant something was amiss.

Having cleared the air, the two sat down for dinner in the dining room that overlooked the bridge. The conversation was fun at first until the touchy topic of children came up again, “I was talking to The Squad and they said that you were like their second dad.” Jooheon caught himself. He wanted to snatch the words that hung in the air, stuff them back into his mouth, chew them up, swallow them and pretend they never happened. It was not his intention to go anywhere close to the subject of Jimin being a dad.

“I want to be a dad...someday,” Jimin said firmly.

"Let's not talk about that, ok?" Jooheon tried to rush past the topic and move on to something else.

"I thought we were being honest tonight. I think we should talk about it." Jimin took a sip of his wine and bit into a croissant.

“You want honesty? I don’t want kids,” Jooheon said even more firmly, “and you think you want kids but you really don’t. You’re gay for God’s sake”

Jimin was incredulous, “Don't tell me what I want. And what does being gay have to do with anything?”

“Oh sure, the courts of SK are going to let you adopt a kid. Keep dreaming Jimin,” Jooheon said rudely.

“There’s other ways,” Jimin argued back.

“You’re going to fuck a woman? Ok, can I watch? Cause I gotta’ see this,” Jooheon laughed but Jimin thought the joke was tasteless and insensitive. He dropped his fork down to his plate in irritation. He clenched his jaw and glared at Jooheon with contempt.

“Ok I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. Why the fuck are we talking about kids anyway? You think you want them now but you’ll come around to sanity sooner or later.”

Jimin didn’t like that remark either. But before he could object, Jooheon had him in his arms kissing him passionately.

Joohein figured that if Jimin wasn't going to change the subject willfully, then he would force the matter.

For far too many minutes, Jimin lost control. The tepid innocent kindergarten teacher disappeared leaving a horny, lust filled vixen in his place. He pulled the entire tablecloth to the floor causing dishes to crash and collide to the ground. He pushed Jooheon onto the dinner table and climbed on top of him. Once again, he found his lips and kissed him. Jooheon spread his legs to allow Jimin to settle between them, then pulled Jimin’s shirt over his head and licked the dark nipples on his chest. Jimin focused on remaining controlled and restricted in his response. His tried to let his guard down but his mind continuously measured the consequences. He and Jooheon had been dating for over three months and it was time, but Jimin remained rigid and slightly inhibited. The fact that Jooheon had slept with someone else also played a small role in Jimin’s decision to finally give in. Even though he'd told Jooheon that he didn't care about the transgression, a small bit of Jimin felt as if he were in a competition not of his choosing. He nuzzled his face into Jooheon’s neck and flicked his tongue in small circles against his skin. Jooheon released a small sigh and clenched Jimin’s ass to pull him closer.

And then it all went wrong. Jooheon whispered, “See if we had a bunch of screaming kids we couldn’t fuck on the dinner table.” He laughed with a slight gloat.

Jimin froze, “Are you saying this just to fucking hurt me? I’m not some child who doesn’t know what he wants. I’m not going to change my mind just to keep you happy.”

“So now my happiness doesn’t matter?” Jooheon said loudly.

“You act like a selfish dick sometimes. You know that?” Jimin pulled away from Jooheon and crawled off the table.

“Jimin don’t. Come on - forget about it. I need you. I need you inside of me,” Jooheon tried to seduce his way back, but the mood had already been broken.

Jimin replaced his shirt and walked back to the couch, leaving Jooheon alone laying atop the dining room table.

Jooheon exploded in frustration, “Oh come on! You’re fucking kidding me right? You’ve made me wait for months. MONTHS! And now you pull this shit? Do you know who I am? Do you know who I fucking am? I’m Lee Joo-Heon, I can have any man I want gay or straight but I chose you. And this is what I get?”

“Did you really just say that? Like I’m some charity case?” Jimin grabbed his jacket and his boots in one hand while he yelled at Jooheon, “well guess what, I can fuck anybody too. You’re not the only one with men lining up. I’ve been loyal to you, but fuck it. Suck your own dick, I’m outta’ here,” Jimin stormed out.

Jooheon was too angry to chase after him. Both men suffered from the stubbornness of blind pig-headed mules.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 – The Name I Didn’t Give You

Jimin and Jooheon went four full weeks without so much as a text to each other. Chuseok was coming and they had planned to spend it together cooking and shopping. But, those plans were all up in smoke since neither of the men were willing to apologize. In fact, Jimin was still angry with Jooheon and pondering if he was really the right guy for him. Although he wasn’t officially in love, he did care for Jooheon deeply and he knew that Jooheon felt the same. But cracks were starting to show after just four months together and it was possible that this was the end.

The one good thing that did come from his and Jooheon’s argument was that Jimin once again had time to cozy up to his magical typewriter and finish his World War II novel. Jimin had written eight stories prior to this one, but this one – this one felt like his best chance to become published. He was extremely proud of the work and planned to get it over to an editor within the next few months. As much as he wanted to credit his own originality and creativity, the truth was that the typewriter was partially responsible. Something about the ancient piece of machinery stirred the creative juices within him like never before.

Jimin shuffled around his apartment cleaning, rearranging and generally keeping himself busy so that he wouldn’t think about Jooheon. It was no small coincidence that in his deepest moments of NOT thinking about him, the text on his phone alerted to a new message.

He grabbed his phone and read:

Jooheon to Jimin: Tell me that you miss me

Jimin frowned when he saw the message from Jooheon. There no apology, no humility, no sincerity, just an expectation that Jimin would crumble and pretend nothing had happened. Jimin chose not to respond. Another text followed:

Jooheon to Jimin: I know you read it. Your read receipt is on

This made Jimin even angrier. He jumped over to his settings to make sure that his read receipt was OFF. Then, he threw his phone on the bed and walked over to the window. To his surprise, Jooheon’s new Porche SUV sat just below his window parked at the curb.

“Oh shit! He’s here?” Jimin was even angrier. The audacity of Jooheon to think he could just show up at his apartment unannounced without so much as a phone. It was infuriating. The text on his phone alerted again.

Jooheon to Jimin: I’m here, in front of your building. I’m coming up. We need to talk, please Jimin?

Jimin to Jooheon: No you can’t come up. I’ve got a date here

Jooheon to Jimin: Yeah sure you do- I’m coming up

“He doesn’t fucking believe me?” Jimin said out loud.

“Damnit! I can’t let him be right. Think Jimin! What to do? I can’t refuse to open the door, that’ll be even more suspicious.” Jimin panicked and ran around the room trying to create a fake date. He had less than five minutes before Jooheon would reach his apartment door.

His eyes glanced over at the typewriter in the corner and without thinking, he immediately ran over to it and banged out words.

Dear Typewriter, please bring him to me:
Male
He’s 5’11”
Age 23
Large deep set brown doe eyes
Clear skin
Not to muscular but not too thin
Korean, with brown hair
He’s dressed in tight black jeans that accentuate his perfect ass, he’s also wearing a long sleeve white shirt
Loves to read - Fast reader
Catches on quickly to new vocabulary

Jimin thought back to how difficult it was to communicate with X the first time he summoned him, so this time around, he made a point to give X a few new characteristics that would make him less of a liability. Jimin had been asleep the last time X appeared, so he had no idea how long the “process” actually took. His only hope was that the handsome man would show up before Jooheon barged into his apartment.

A cool breeze blew through the room even though no windows were open. Jimin’s hair swept upward with the wind and then floated gently back into place after it settled. The large yellow blanket rustled under it’s own weight.

At first, the image was translucent, much like the slow development of a Polaroid picture. But within seconds, the silhouette of Mr. X began to appear. Jimin watched impatiently. Jooheon was seconds away from reaching his front door.

Finally, X’s materialization was complete. He stood there as a fully formed human; looking around confused and uncomfortable. His eyes, which sparkled with the innocence of a child, glowed bright once they landed on Jimin. Jimin made a mental note to admire the power of the typewriter at a later date. The creation of a full human being from dust and paper was pure magic, but now wasn’t the time to marvel within it.

“Hi Jimin!” He exclaimed. Completely unexpectantly, he ran over to Jimin and clasped his arms around his neck. “Jimin, Jimin, Jiminie. Hi Jimin. I’m here because you asked me to be. Yes?”

“Yeah, yeah that. So listen X ...” Jimin was interrupted.

“No. I’m Jungkook,” he clarified.

“Jung - what? Jungkook? That’s not the name I gave you...” Jimin looked over at the paper that still sat in the typewriter.

“I’m Jungkook. Jeon Jungkook. I named myself. Hi Jimin!” Jungkook repeated.

“You can do that? Yeah, ok whatever. Listen X - er - I mean - Jungkook - someone is about to come here. A visitor. I need you to be quiet and say nothing. Got it? Don’t talk,” Jimin warned.

“Shh,” Jungkook said proudly. He recounted Jimin’s instructions from the previous time when he had asked him to be quiet. He cooed when he saw the yellow blanket on the couch and quickly placed it over his head.

“No baby. No- no blanket.” Jimin pulled the blanket from Jungkook’s head, rustling his hair into a mess. He needed to make the scene look as if he and Jungkook were together. So he ripped off his shirt, unbuttoned his jeans and rustled his own hair. He reached to remove Jungkook’s shirt too but he was out of time. Jooheon was knocking at the door.

As if receiving the perfect prompt, Jungkook stood behind Jimin and attached himself to his back like a Koala, clutching his naked chest with both of his hands. “Jimin, Jiminie. I’m so happy to be back Jimin, shh.” Jungkook remembered he wasn’t supposed to be talking so he shushed himself.

Jimin struggled to get to the door. With Jungkook draped all over him, it wasn’t easy to walk. The scene couldn’t be any more perfect. Jooheon needed to know that he couldn’t just waltz back into Jimin’s life as if nothing had happened; having Jungkook with him would definitely send that message. Jimin whispered to Jungkook over his shoulder, “Don’t let go of me, ok?”

“Ok Jiminie,” Jungkook answered obediently.

“Come on Jimin, let me in- please,” Jooheon sounded pathetic.

Jimin swung open the door and stood there partially nude with a very attractive Jungkook draped all over him.

Jooheon was stunned, his mouth agape. He’d improperly made the assumption that Jimin was lying when he said he wasn’t alone. To see him standing there with another man in his arms was a sting he could have never anticipated.

“Shh, don’t let go,” Jungkook mumbled.

Jimin ignored Jungkook’s utterance and instead spoke to Jooheon, “Why did you come without calling? I told you I had – a visitor,” Jimin said coldly. He kissed Jungkook’s long hand that stroked his left pectoral muscle.

Jooheon gulped, his expression vapid. He boldly chose to forge on with his intended speech despite being punched in the gut by jealousy, “I came here to apologize. I didn’t take your feelings seriously and I’m so sorry for that. Jooheon looked at Jungkook who was peering at him from behind Jimin’s shoulder. He continued, “I’ll never believe that you’ve moved on after only four weeks. I know you too well. But in case you truly have, please know that I care deeply for you and I’m so sorry for everything I did…and said. Bye Jimin.” Jooheon turned away from Jimin’s door and disappeared into the elevator. Jimin watched the elevator door close on his sad face.

“He’s sad,” Jungkook said.

“Yes, he is,” Jimin agreed.

“Who is he?” Jungkook asked.

Jimin stepped back into his apartment and removed Jungkook’s heavy arms, “He’s someone that I care about very much.”

“Care about? Him? But...I’m here because you asked me to be. You care for me too, right?” Jungkook was a ball of unfocused confusion.

“What? What kind of question is that? Jungkook you’re acting very different strange,” And by strange, Jimin meant intuitively human. Very different from the way he’d behaved the last time. Jimin stared into Jungkook’s bright eyes.

“What happened to him, Jimin? Why’s he so upset? Did you throw him in the flame too?” Jungkook asked.

“Oh no Jungkook,” Jimin laughed. “He’s real, I can’t throw him in the flame.”

“I’m real too and you did it to me,” Jungkook seemed offended.

“No you’re not. You’re just a figment of my imagination, I think. Jooheon is my real.” Jimin felt a bit awkward giving Jooheon that title considering the horrible interchange that had just occurred between them. At first Jimin wasn’t sure how he felt. He wanted to remain steadfast in his conviction and not forgive Jooheon, but somehow, seeing him again after weeks, weakened his resolve. Jimin decided, it was time to put this episode behind them. Jooheon had been brave enough to reach and out apologize, the least Jimin could do was to accept it. He missed Jooheon terribly and it was dumb to be apart. The entire fight was dumb. Jimin felt horrible about the way he’d treated him. He had no idea how he was going to convince Jooheon to forgive him for the little stunt he’d pulled. Pretending Jungkook was his lover – how ridiculous.

Jungkook sulked, “I’m not your imagination, not anymore. I’m me now.”

Jimin found the shirt he’d thrown to the floor and scooped it back up. He dressed quickly and sat Jungkook down on the couch, “Look I don’t have time to talk right now. Jungkook I have to go find that man that was just here. He needs me. You’re going to have to stay here alone.”

“Alone? Does that mean you’re leaving?” Jungkook looked defeated.

“This is important Jungkook. I need to go,” Jimin tried to explain.

“Once again, you put no thought into me. You gave me more vocabulary but nothing more. You brought me back here, why Jimin? Why bring me back just to leave?“ Jungkook looked around the large apartment sadly as if searching for answers.

“Jungkook, where is this coming from? You’re not…look...I’m not leaving you. I have to go for a short time and then I’ll be right back here with you. We can read or talk, whatever you want. Just let me go and I will come right back, ok?” Jimin pleaded with Jungkook to understand. It would have been much simpler to just throw Jungkook’s manuscript back into the fire, but despite his behavior being extremely peculiar, Jimin decided to keep him here for now. Not much was known about either the typewriter or it’s powers. Jimin’s hope was that by keeping Jungkook around a little longer, he would learn some very important secrets about the mysterious typewriter and it’s true capabilities.

“You’re going? You’re leaving me here alone?” Jungkook seemed frightened.

“I’ll be back soon, you’ll be ok. Jimin ran to the typewriter and typed another sentence on Jungkook’s manuscript, “Not afraid to stay in the apartment alone. Strong and self-sufficient.” He hit enter and slid the carriage, advancing the page to the next line. “Now, how do you feel?”

“You can go. I will be fine, I guess?” Jungkook was still upset.

“I don’t know about feeding you. I guess you have a biological need to eat? I’m warming some Ramen for you." Jimin removed a bowl of leftover Ramen from the refrigerator and stuck it in the microwave for three minutes to warm, while he pulled on his shoes. "Do you feel hungry?” Jimin patted Jungkook’s stomach to try to explain the word hungry.

With the frown of one thousand faces, Jungkook swiped Jimin's hand away from his body, “I know what hungry is." He adjusted his line of sight to focus on the bowl of warm Ramen that Jimin had so carelessly thrown on the counter, "I’ll see you when you come home.” Jungkook gave him a hug.

Jimin expected to pull away quickly but there was something in Jungkook’s touch that caused him to linger. He gently brushed his hand through Jungkook’s hair and then wrestled him away. There was something else that caught Jimin’s attention; Jungkook was exhibiting behaviors and characteristics that he, himself, had not written for him. It was as if he were evolving on his own. Jimin stepped away from Jungkook and pulled on his sweater and beanie, “Ok then, I’ll be back. Goodbye, Jungkook.”

Jimin left Jungkook alone in his apartment while he ran to find Jooheon.

***
About five minutes too late, Jungkook waved towards the door and said, “Don’t leave Jimin.” He looked around the empty apartment again examining his new surroundings. He should have been frightened, but Jimin’s small addition to his manuscript assured that he would be comfortable alone.

Jungkook walked over to the window and watched with wonder as large droplets of rain fell from the sky. He pressed his face against the cool window to look up as he wondered who was shaking the water all over the city. The yellow blanket that Jimin once wrapped around him sat alone on the couch. He flung it around himself for a sense of comfort.

The plate of Ramen that Jimin left for him sat cooling on the kitchen counter. And although eating was something he instinctively knew, utensils were a different matter. Two forks and a pair of ceramic chopsticks lay next to the plate; in Jungkook’s mind, neither of them had any purpose. He dove his face directly into the plate of noodles and began slurping them into his mouth. Less than five minutes later, the entire plate had been consumed.

What to do next, was a riddle Jungkook hadn’t quite figured out. He paced back and forth in the large space trying to make sense of the many objects around him. His eye finally rested upon something that brought him peace and calm, a bookcase full of books. Still wrapped in his yellow blanked, he scurried over to the hundreds of books that lay against the wall and began to pull them down one by one, looking for one to read. He settled upon, How to achieve your dream career. It was a large book of about 1300 pages. Jungkook held it under his arm and laid down in front of the fireplace to read. There he remained for the rest of the evening, only stopping occasionally to look towards the door for Jimin.

***
Jooheon’s place was only about a ten-minute walk away, but it is much too rainy for Jimin to try to reach him by foot. Instead, he walked the two blocks to his parent’s bakery and called an Uber to come and pick him up. Normally, he would have gone in to say hello to his mom and dad, but tonight he had to remain focused. It was important for him to get to Jooheon. He stood there in front of the bakery, waiting patiently for his Uber. The bright neon light of the Magic Shop glowed brightly in front of him.

A familiar laugh came from inside the bakery. “Sounds like Ong,” Jimin said aloud to himself. The window of the bakery was covered in rain and fog, making is quite difficult to see inside. He used the sweater sleeve from his right hand to clear a small circle in the window so he could see. There at the first table, closest to the door, sat Ong and Jooheon. Jimin gasped. He quickly canceled his Uber ride, then swung open the front door of the bakery and walked inside.

“What are you two doing here?” He said, a bit suspiciously.

“Jimin!” Ong smiled.

“Left your hot boy toy at home, I see.” Jooheon rolled his eyes and refused to make eye contact.

Jimin’s mom yelled from behind the counter, “What “BOY TOY”?”

“Never mind mom,” Jimin yelled back, “Ongie, can I speak to Jooheon alone for a minute?” Jimin pulled out the chair directly across from Jooheon and sat.

“Jooheon called me and asked if we could talk. I suggested we meet here since I was in the area. Now, I’m not sure what “boy toy” he is referring to, but I assured him that you aren’t seeing anyone else,” Ong confirmed.

Jimin glared at Ong. Even though Ong was telling the truth, it was not his place to get involved in Jimin’s relationship. Ong took the hint. He quickly got up from the table and excused himself, leaving Jimin and Jooheon alone. Ong kissed Jimin’s mom on the cheek and then headed out the front door. He waved goodbye to both of them and left.

Jimin watched Ong disappear and then immediately spoke softly to Jooheon, “He’s just a…friend. We haven’t even known each other that long. I used him to make you jealous and there’s nothing going on between us, I swear. I was angry because you showed up unannounced and I staged the scene to make it seem like something more was happening between us. For that, I am very sorry.” Jimin got it all out as quickly as possible.

“You sleep with him?” Jooheon asked.

“No. Never even got close. He really is just a friend,” Jimin reassured.

“He didn’t look like ‘just a friend’. He was all over you.” Jooheon looked directly at Jimin and stared into his eyes looking for truth.

“Like I said, it was staged. Unlike your very REAL escapade with a purple-haired bartender.” Jimin smiled to show that he could joke about the situation.

“Does HE know it was staged because it seemed to me like he was very much infatuated with you Jimin,” Jooheon said sadly, ignoring Jimin’s reference to his transgressions.

“He held on to me because I told him to. Let me off the hook please. I said I was sorry.” Jimin used his small hand to tap Jooheon’s chin. He smiled brightly at him. When Jooheon smiled, his dimples caved in the sides of his cheeks, creating a seriously handsome face that Jimin very much adored.

“I’ve missed you so much. My ego wouldn’t let me apologize. The reason I didn’t call before I showed up at your apartment is because I knew you were still angry and you wouldn’t have agreed to see me. I needed to apologize in person so you could see that I really meant it. I forgive you Jimin, if you forgive me?” Jooheon reached to hold Jimin’s hand across the table.

Jimin squeezed Jooheon’s hand. Before he could speak, his mother startled them both, “HELLO. Jimin, who is this may I ask?” She smiled oddly at Jooheon, looking back and forth between he and Jimin. “And why have I never met him?”

“Mom!” Jimin said embarrassed. “Uh this is Jooheon, he is a very good friend of mine. We have been seeing each other for a few weeks…”

“Four months,” Jooheon corrected.

“Four months,” Jimin cleared his throat.

“Hello Mrs. Park.” Jooheon stood and bowed. He quickly sat back down under her disapproving look.

“I wasn’t aware that Jimin was dating anyone. You are quite a looker aren’t you. What are your intentions with my son? Jimin are you aware that there is a serial killer loose?” She stood firmly.

“Mom, it isn’t him. Please, now is not a good time. He and I are in the middle of a very important conversation. Can this wait?” Jimin pleaded.

“Jimin, we need to talk. Not now of course, but at your earliest convenience. Nice to meet you Jooheon.” Mrs. Park walked back behind the counter to greet a new customer who had just entered the bakery.

Jimin made sure that his mother was a safe distance away before proceeding with his conversation, “Jooheon, about the whole kids thing – we aren’t even officially dating – the entire argument was stupid and premature. I just want to enjoy TODAY. We can worry about the future once it comes. Can we just put it behind us?”

“We can. But Jimin, I won’t change my mind on this. Not now, not ever. But…it is stupid to let that keep us from enjoying this for what it is,” Jooheon smiled again, “what is it, by the way?”

“Two people who enjoy each other,” Jimin grabbed Jooheon’s hand again with his sweater covered fingers.

Jooheon leaned forward and whispered, “Let’s get out of here. I’m a little uncomfortable with the evil eye that your mother is giving me. Can we go back to your place?”

“Yes – uh, I mean NO. NO, we cannot go back there. Let’s go to your place instead,” Jimin caught himself. Taking Jooheon back to his place where a very sexy, handsome Jungkook was residing, would not end well.

“But your place is clo- ah never mind. My place it is.” Jooheon grabbed his keys out of his pocket. ‘I’m parked at the corner right beneath your apartment.

“Let’s go. Bye Mom, tell Dad I said hi.” Jimin yelled back towards the back of the bakery. He and Jooheon walked the quick two blocks to Jooheon’s car and drove back to Jooheon’s apartment.

The car ride home was a long one, not because of the distance, but because both Jooheon and Jimin knew what was about to happen and neither of them could wait for it. It was time to give themselves to each other in every way.

***

They exploded into Jooheon’s apartment, already undressing. The moment started a bit awkwardly with Jooheon’s cold hands finding the warm bare skin of Jimin’s stomach underneath his sweater. Jimin jumped and pulled Jooheon’s hands away, “Your hands are cold.”

“Sorry,” Jooheon pulled Jimin’s sweater up and lifted it over his head. He was eager to taste the plump lips that pouted over his cold hands. They peeled each other’s clothes off, piece by piece until they both stood there bare chested in unzipped jeans. The next logical move would have been to head to the bedroom, but it was the naughty boys within them that made them head to the kitchen. They kissed passionately, with their legs in lock step back peddling through the living area. Once in the kitchen, Jooheon lifted Jimin up to the counter and wriggled his pants down. The phone that had been nestled in Jimin’s front pocket fell to the kitchen counter next to Jimin with a small thud. No one noticed. Jimin’s hard swollen dick bounced against his stomach while Jooheon stroked it. One last kiss and then in a flash, Jooheon had Jimin’s dick in his mouth. He pushed his erection to the back of his throat and wrapped his soft pink lips around the shaft. Jimin hadn’t been pleasured in this manner in years. He leaned his head back, accidently knocking it into the cabinet. Jooheon stopped and looked up, “You ok?”

Jimin sighed, “Oh don’t stop.”

Jooheon resumed. Jimin could see the soft creases in his face that appeared whenever he drew his cheeks in to suck harder. His head bobbed up and down on Jimin’s cock as he pulled it and stretched it with his powerful jaws. Jimin grabbed the back of Jooheon’s head and guided it gently to slow his pace. Nothing was going to keep him from releasing fast, but he needed to try. Jooheon allowed Jimin’s dick to fall from his mouth. He licked the soft tender areas between Jimin’s thighs and then slurped both of his nuts between his lips. Jimin tremored slightly against the ecstasy of the warm tongue that flickered over his genitals. It was the sensual delicate sound that drove him over the edge; the sound that Jooheon’s wet lips made when they glided past the tip of Jimin’s cock; the gentle “suck” noise that his cheeks made when they gripped the shaft of Jimin’s long hard member and the moans that Jooheon released whenever the top of Jimin’s cock tickled the back of his throat. All of it was too much because it took less than five minutes before Jimin was digging his small fingers into Jooheon’s scalp, clenching large chunks of his hair and screaming for him to make him cum.

Jooheon gave Jimin exactly what he wanted. He swallowed on the tip of his dick causing Jimin to release a small squirt of cum down his throat.

Jimin’s orgasm was full, he moaned softly, restricting himself, careful not to seem overly eager. “Oh, it’s so good, don’t stop.” Jimin was still in the midst of his orgasm when his phone began to vibrate violently on the counter. His orgasmic body relaxed and he immediately pulled Jooheon off of his dick and back to his lips.

Jooheon was already pulling Jimin to the floor, ready to transition to the meat of the matter. He kissed him again and Jimin could taste his own fluid on Jooheon’s tongue. The phone continued to vibrate, but Jooheon was in such a trance that he didn’t notice. It was by pure coincidence that Jimin saw the caller ID illuminate in the dim light of the kitchen.

“Wait, baby, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” Jimin tried to pull away.

“No, you don’t need to answer that. Let it ring. Nothing is more important than this,” Jooheon said, attacking Jimin’s neck with kisses.

“Baby please. This will just take a second. It’s my neighbor, she’s calling from our emergency phone in the building. Something is wrong, please just let me…” Jimin didn’t wait for permission. He answered the phone as quickly as he could.

Jooheon scoffed at Jimin and refused to stop kissing him. He pulled his own jeans down and pressed his hard dick against Jimin’s stomach. He cupped his balls and tugged them slightly to make his dick rise even harder.

Jimin lost focus with Jooheon. His sexual thoughts came crashing down with the call from Lei Mu-Yin, who was his elderly neighbor next door. She never called him unless something was truly wrong. He ignored Jooheon’s actions and answered, “Hello Mrs. Lei, what is it?”

“JIMIN! Oh thank goodness I reached you. There’s smoke coming from your apartment. I don’t see any flames but something is definitely not right,” she explained.

“What? OK, I’m on my way.” Jimin immediately thought of Jungkook being alone in the apartment. “Listen, Mrs. Lei, don’t’ call the fire department just yet, unless you see flames. I’ll be home in a minute.”

“What do you mean don’t call the fire department? What if there’s a fire?” Mrs. Lei insisted.

“Please just trust me. It’s ok.” Jimin could not take the chance of the fire department finding Jungkook in his apartment. He was willing to risk all of his belongings to avoid Jungkook being detected. He pushed Jooheon off of him. “Smoke in my apartment. I have to go. Please forgive me. We’ll see each other tomorrow ok?” Jimin grabbed his clothes and dressed as fast as he possible could.

Jooheon, fighting his resentment, spoke kindly and reassuringly, “Smoke? Do you need me to drive you?” He stood against the counter with jeans unzipped and the remnants of his erection slowly fading.

“No, I’m ok. I’ll Uber. My mom is probably going to be there and…well awkward. Can I just call you tomorrow baby? You know I’m sorry, right? This couldn’t be helped,” Jimin said respectfully.

“Yeah, call me tomorrow. I’m beginning to think I’ll never get to feel you inside of me.” Jooheon helped Jimin pull on his sweater. “Jimin? You do remember that I leave tomorrow, right?”

Jimin sat on the couch to pull on his boots, “Leave, what do you mean? Leave for what?” He was looking down and didn’t notice the sad look on Jooheon’s face.

“Jimin, I’m gone for the next six weeks. The photo shoot that was stalled by the riots in Hong Kong, it has been rescheduled. I won’t be back until mid-October. That’s why it was so important that I make things right with you before I left.” Jooheon said sadly.

“Oh my God. I – I didn’t remember. I completely forgot…Oh Jooheon, I am so very sorry. But hey, the good news is that you’ll be back and we can pick right up where we left off.

“Jimin, sometimes I just don’t’ think we’re in the same place with this relationship, you know that?” Jooheon said.

“We are. We are on the same page, but I have to go. Thank you for tonight. It was - it was good. Call me before your flight tomorrow ok?” Jimin gave Jooheon a quick kiss and then ran out the door to catch his Uber.

***
Telling his Uber driver that he had an emergency at his apartment was probably not the best idea because the man drove like a maniac. Jimin fastened his seatbelt tightly and held on for dear life. What should have been a ten- minute drive took less than six minutes and quite a few stop lights were sacrificed in the process.

Jimin ran up the stairs to his apartment. Mrs. Lei stood outside his door, waiting to greet him, “Thank goodness you’re here. I think I hear crying. Is someone in there? Should I call the Fire Department now?””

Jimin walked Mrs. Lei back to her unit across the hall, “Everything is fine, I’ll handle this. If we need the Fire Department I’ll call them. Now go back to bed. Thank you for calling me.” Jimin quickly unlocked the door. Much to his surprise, Mrs. Lei was right, smoke was billowing through his apartment. He looked around quickly for the source of the fire and found nothing. It wasn’t until he looked back at the fireplace that he saw the culprit. There appeared to be a large book burning amidst the flaming embers of the fire. As the book burned, it let off a strong odor that filled the room. Directly across from the fireplace, lay Jungkook cowering beneath the yellow blanking, crying. His face was flushed red and his eyes were puffy and swollen.

“Oh Jungkook, what happened?” Jimin ran over to him and helped him from the floor, “Did you do this?”

“It scared me. I threw it in the fire to make it go away – like you did to me. I didn’t want it here,” Jungkook whimpered.

“Make what go away, what are you talking about?” Jimin struggled to understand.

“Look at it. It is about something called a Vampire. It scared me so I threw it in the fire,” Jungkook explained again, still shaking.

“Jimin looked at the fire, trying to decipher the remnants of the scorched title, “Blood Too Rich,” he read aloud. “Yes Jungkook, that’s a scary one. I’m sorry it upset you. But Jungkook, books aren’t real. They also aren’t from the typewriter. They can’t be burned away. In fact, burning books is rather frowned upon.” Jimin laughed, trying to lighten the mood and show Jungkook that everything was okay. He moistened his index finger with his mouth and then used it to wipe away the tears that had dried above Jungkook’s cheeks. He turned on the fan and opened the window above the couch. “Let’s clear some of this smoke away, okay?”

“Okay. Are the Vampires gone now?” Jungkook asked innocently.

Jimin rubbed Jungkook’s soft hair, “Jungkook, the Vampires were never here."

"Are you sure?  Because there are lots of other frightening things.  There's something called Childbirth that I read in one of your Medical Journals.  THAT. WAS. TERRIFYING."  Jungkook almost broke into tears again.

"Childbirth?  Oh Jungkook, you should definitely stay away from that one.  Where did you find all of this?"  Jimin placed his arms around Jungkook to comfort him.

I read it in those books over there, ” Jungkook pointed to a pile of books in the corner.

Jimin’s eyes bulged, “Did you read all of those books?  I’ve only been gone for a few hours, how is that even possible?”

“You gave it to me.  Reading. It’s in my manuscript.  I’m a very fast reader.  I learn from reading,” Jungkook reminded.

Jimin sighed, “Yes, that's right, I guess."  

Jimin stared at the dark smudges of soot that stained Jungkook's deeply embedded dimples. You’re covered in soot and smoke.  How did you even manage to start a fire?  I should have never left you alone.”

"Fires are easy.  The Burning Sands, page 1108."  Jungkook replied.

"Huh?"  Jimin didn't understand.  "I think you may need to take a shower."

"Shower, yes.  I know about those. It's a wash of my genitals.  I Sing the Body Electric, page 910." 

Huh?"  Jimin said again.  Jungkook had given yet another strange response, but he chose to ignore it.  The young visitor was peculiar so Jimin didn't take too much of what he said seriously.  He nudged Jungkook forward then led him to the shower and instructed him on how to to operate the controls and dry himself. He also loaned him a pair of clothes to use as make-shift pajamas.  Jungkook immediately began to strip naked and began throwing his soot covered clothes all over the bathroom floor.  Jimin made his exit quickly before seeing too much.

After about thirteen minutes, Jungkook emerged from the shower, not quite right.  He was dressed fine, wearing the small undersized t-shirt and shorts that Jimin had given him. But the left side of his hair was matted into a wet clump held together by an abundance of Jimin’s very expensive name brand shampoo.  The right side of his hair, somehow, was completely dry.  Jimin wasn’t even sure how he’d managed to do such a thing but it didn’t matter.  He laughed a hearty laugh before walking Jungkook back to the bathroom.  Jungkook was a quite a few inches taller than Jimin which meant that Jimin had to stand on his tip toes to reach over him and position him properly over the sink to wash his hair.  The front of his leg pressed against Jungkook’s backside, creating a cozy adhesion between their two bodies.  It took a few minutes of rigorous lathering but he was eventually able to clear the clump of shampoo from Jungkook’s hair while giving both sides an even and thorough wash.  Jimin removed the first towel of many from a stack that he kept on the bathroom counter and used it to massage through the wet strands of Jungkook’s beautiful brown hair. He managed to soak most of the water into the towel, leaving a fluffy, slightly damp head to air dry. Instinctively, with no presence of mind, he lightly tapped the top of Jungkook’s wet head with his lips.  He surprised himself and was completely confused about why he’d done it.

Jungkook sat on the closed toilet lid and stared up at Jimin with gratitude, “Did I not perform the hair washing duty correctly Jiminie? You corrected it for me, thank you Jiminie. Hi Jimin.”

Jimin held out his hand and insisted upon shaking with Jungkook, “Hello Jeon Jungkook, nice to see you again.”

Jungkook released a child-like grin of joy and vigorously shook Jimin’s hand in return, “I am so happy to be here with you Jiminie.”

Jimin’s eyes danced about Jungkook’s intensely beautiful face and contemplated the best next steps.  With Jungkook being so literal in his interpretation of the world, Jimin worried about leaving him alone while he attended school. The best thing to do, in Jimin’s opinion, was to ask his nosey neighbor Mrs. Lei to keep an eye on him while Jimin was away each day. At least she could make sure that he didn’t hurt himself or - burn down the building.  “Jungkook?”  Jimin asked, “How would you like to meet one of my friends?  I think you’ll like her.”

“If Jiminie likes her, then so shall I,” Jungkook said concretely.

Jimin ushered Jungkook over to meet Mrs. Lei.  The two of them were immediately fond of each other.  But it was Mrs. Lei’s black toy poodle, Koya, that really stole Jungkook’s heart.  Jimin sat back and observed as the three of them, Mrs. Lei, Jungkook and Koya got to know each other.  It wasn’t long before Jungkook was lost in a wall full of books that Mrs. Lei coveted from her late husband.  He swept several of them under his arm, begging Mrs. Lei to allow him to read them. Ever so kind Mrs. Lei allowed him free reign over which ever books he wanted.  She was so pleased to see someone get enjoyment out of them.

Jimin took a long, relieved sigh.  Leaving Jungkook with Mrs. Lei, who often found herself lonely during the day, was definitely going to be a win-win for everyone.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 – The Correct Page

Jimin rose from the bed to find Jungkook laying in front of the fireplace with the yellow blanket once again draped around him. A large stack of books were piled adjacent to where he lay. Even though Jimin created a soft pallet on the couch where Jungkook could sleep every night, his young roommate often insisted on sleeping on the floor in front of the burning fire. For a few precious moments, Jimin watched Jungkook sleep peacefully. Then, he kissed his two fingers and touched them to Jungkook's cheek. Jimin noticed that the books at the very top of Jungkook's stack didn't really look familiar. In fact, he was sure they did not belong to him. He reached across Jungkook's sleeping body to get a closer read of the first title, The Joy of Sex. Jimin gasped. "You naughty boy, where did you get this?" He mouthed silently to Jungkook's sleeping ears. He slipped open the front cover and there in bold red writing read, 'Property of Lei'. "MRS. LEI!" He mouthed.  Jimin was a bit flabbergasted that his elderly, unassuming neighbor was the origin of such filth in Jungkook's book collection. Jimin had always been fond of his neighbor, but somehow this made him adore her even more.

Jimin's study of Jungkook's behavior inadvertently exposed more of the mysterious workings of the typewriter.  The new information swam through his head with no particular order or organization.  He paused his thoughts long enough to grab a pencil and his notebook.  The first three revelations that came to mind, were the ones he jotted down:

1) Specifics stated in the manuscript do not always reflect equally in the actual being that's produced.  For example:  I said that he could read.  That was an attribute I gave to him.  What the typewriter gave me was PROLIFIC speed reader with a photographic memory who was capable of absorbing his read content into applicable learning that directly affected his cognitive abilities.

2) The more vague the description of the person being created, the more the typewriter seems to fill in the gaps based on the writer’s personal disposition. For example, I never told the typewriter to give Jungkook soft, fluffy beautiful hair. The only attribute that I dictated was to make the hair brown, yet the typewriter gave me a person with the most beautiful healthy hair that I've ever seen: perfect length, natural highlights, precision cut and gorgeous shine. Details. Details. Details.  In fact, it's as if the typewriter is purposely giving me something that it knows I will find attractive.  Like my match maker?  Everything I like, the typewriter gave to me, from the glow in his eyes to his soothing lavender scent.  Another example, I never told the typewriter the exact placement of Jungkook’s nose or the size and color of his lips, yet it still produced an extraordinary specimen that matched EACTLY what I would have imagined; a man that is physically just my type. He has adorable dimples. AND HIS BODY! For lack of a better word, his body is mesmerizing.  How in the absence of providing fine details, did the typewriter KNOW what to give?  Am I being lured?  Baited?

3) The creepiest and definitely most dangerous fact of all, is that Jungkook seems to have developed his own will.  He is definitely doing things that I haven’t given him the ability to do. He named himself, not just any name, but a first and last name with meaning that fits his personality. How is this happening? How is he evolving outside of my control?

Jimin still had mounds of information in his head that needed to be documented, but he decided to give himself a break and call Jooheon.  He closed his notebook and tapped the end of his pencil against his desk, hoping that with more time, he would discover more answers about his mysterious roomie.  As a precaution, he grabbed Jungkook’s manuscript out of the typewriter and hid it in one of his old boxes on the top shelf of his bookcase. It was important to keep it safe.

***

Jimin to Jooheon: Are you awake?
Jooheon to Jimin: Been awake for hours, at the airport
Jimin to Jooheon: Why didn’t you call me
Jooheon to Jimin: Didn’t want to wake you, everything ok with the apartment? I fell asleep waiting to hear from you
Jimin to Jooheon: Sorry, yes everything was fine, but had to calm a nosey neighbor
Jooheon to Jimin: I’m about to board

Jimin’s phone vibrated with Jooheon’s special ring. He answered, “I guess that means you’re about to leave me?” Jimin asked.

Jooheon answered, “Yes, but I’ll be back before you know it. Six weeks is a long time, but we’ll skype every day and text every day. Plus, I’ll leak the photos of the Summer line. I’m just happy that we cleared things up before I left. I couldn’t bare taking this trip knowing that things were bad between us.”

“And I’m sorry again about last night. Jooheon, I want you. I want you more than you know. Stupid circumstances seem to get in our way, but I promise you,” Jimin lowered his voice to make sure that Jungkook was unable to hear, “when you get home I am going to fuck you until you can’t breathe.”

“What kind of language is that for a Kindergarten teacher? I hope you don’t speak to your children with that potty mouth,” Jooheon teased.

Jimin turned pink. It was a bit out of character for him to speak so candidly about his sexual desires, but he was comfortable with Jooheon and it felt great to share his inner thoughts with someone.

“I have three different stops on this trip. Amsterdam, then Capri, and then Milan. I’ll be flying back to Korea straight from Italy and I’ll be home on the 17th, ok?”

“Ok, I’ll look forward to it. Call me tomorrow as soon as you land ok?” Jimin asked politely.

“I will. I have to go now baby, they're calling first class to board. I'll miss you, Bye." Jooheon disconnected.

“What is your occupation?” Jungkook appeared behind Jimin.

Jimin released a small scream. Jungkook was standing inches away from him. He’d snuck up behind him without making a single sound.

“YOU SCARED ME! You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that!” Jimin admonished.

“My apologies. What is your occupation?” Jungkook asked again.

Jimin twisted his face in confusion, “Occupation? That’s a strange question. I’m a teacher. I teach Kindergarten, why do you ask?”

“Teacher, page 391, teacher. Jungkook walked back into Jimin’s living room and picked up the book, How to achieve your dream career. “Tell me about being a teacher please Jimin. Hi Jimin. It’s on page 391, tell me how do you become a teacher?”

“Well it’s pretty easy. You have to love kids, then get proper education to be certified to teach the kids, and you have to have patience and understanding. You have to be able to accept different cultures and background and you have to LOVE to do public speaking. You also have to pass a series of tests.” Jimin nodded, satisfied with his answer.

Jungkook nodded enthusiastically, “Do you like it? Are you happy?”

“Very happy. It’s the most important thing I have ever done in my life. I get to help young minds grow. I get to help teach them to be good people, strong people. And most importantly, I get to give them lots of love and hugs every day.”

“Great, how do I start?” Jungkook asked eagerly.

“Uh – you want to become a teacher?” Jimin looked at the book again that Jungkook was holding in his hands.

Jungkook smiled so big, “Sure, sounds great. I want to be like Jiminie. Jiminie is a great teacher. Teacher of the year 2016-2019, page 3, Korea’s Who’s Who Under 30.”

Jimin looked over at the pile of books again, extremely impressed with Jungkook’s abilities. “Well you must get a good education. That is the best way to start. You must educate yourself before you can educate the kids. Understand?”

“Understood. Did you find the man? Last night? The man you hurt?” Jungkook abruptly changed the subject.

Jimin was caught off guard, he had to scramble his thoughts quickly in order to come up with an explanation that Jungkook and his tender mind would be able to understand, “I didn’t exactly hurt him, um, technically we hurt each other. Well maybe I hurt…never mind. Yes, I found him. We apologized to each other and everything is fine now.”

“You do not love him. He is not here because you asked him to be,” Jungkook pressed.

“Jungkook you are EIGHT minutes old. You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Jimin snapped. He became uneasy because there was truth in Jungkook’s words. As much as he tried to put it out of his mind, Jimin felt like Jooheon was more of the here and now than the now and - forever.

“Why do you like him? Tell me,” Jungkook pressed again, despite Jimin’s agitation.

“I – I, Jungkook what’s wrong with you? You’re acting so differently.” Jimin touched Jungkook’s forehead to check for a fever.

“You like him because…finish that sentence, The Suspect, page 116,” Jungkook quoted another passage from another book on Jimin’s shelf. Not only was he able to memorize large passages from the books, he was also able to quote the page, line for line, word for word, definitely not a trait that Jimin had passed on to him.

Jimin decided to entertain Jungkook’s question. After all, if he couldn’t defend his feelings for Jooheon, then he had bigger problems, “Well he’s handsome …”

“Me too,” Jungkook added.

Jimin smiled and continued, “He’s very educated, he’s kind and supportive. He is very accomplished in his career…”

“He’s a teacher too?” Jungkook looked concerned.

“No Jungkook, he's a model. A very famous one,” Jimin smiled as he looked at the framed picture of Jooheon that sat on his coffee table.

"Ahhhhh model, his occupation is a model, Vogue, page 119, How to Satisfy Your Lover In Bed.  Pictures are taken of him, yes?"

"Yes."  Jimin smiled.

"Continue to tell me about the model."  Jungkook squinted his eyes and tapped his chin as if trying to solve a complex math problem.

"Ok, well he is wealthy, very patient, big hands and whatnot."  Jimin seemed to scramble for more adjectives.

“You did not mention the words passion or love? Page 58, The Roaring Seas," Jungkook, once again, quoted one of the many books floating around in his head.

“Jungkook you don’t even know him. Why would you make such a statement? OF COURSE, there’s passion between us. We are super passionate all the time. I mean last night he made me cum so ha… ooo, not the right conversation to have with you. Moving on. Yes, we have passion,” Jimin defended.

“COME. COME? CUM? Oh CUUUMMMM. Page 1013, The Roaring Seas,” Jungkook’s eyes widened and he blushed with embarrassment as he put the words together with the scenes he’d read in his book. “I can make you cum too. Jiminie can cum.”

Jimin let out a loud obnoxious laugh, tears were falling because he was laughing so hard, “Jungkook, I think we may need to monitor more closely what you read.”

Jungkook giggled uncomfortably, not sure what he was supposed to be laughing about.

“So, what do you say I take you to the bakery to meet my Mom? I know you must be hungry, we can go there and have breakfast,” Jimin smiled. He walked over to his closet to pull some clothes for Jungkook to wear. Jungkook only arrived in a baggy sweatshirt and jeans. He had no other clothes, which meant if Jimin was going to keep him warm as the weather cooled, he was going to have to loan him a few items. The size difference between the two was definitely going to be a challenge, but Jimin found the largest clothes in his closet and helped Jungkook get dressed. They headed out towards the bakery.

True to form, Jimin’s mother absolutely loved Jungkook. She was full of questions regarding how he and Jimin met, but oddly enough, the one thing that she never questioned was Jungkook’s peculiar behavior. She seemed to not even notice his childlike references and lack of understanding of basic life principles. Jimin did his best to stay engaged and run interference whenever she asked a question that may rattle Jungkook, but for the most part, he held his own exceedingly well. It was like - he knew exactly what to say to wrap her around his finger.
“Jimin where have you been hiding this one? He’s lovely,” Mrs. Park whispered to her son so that Jungkook could not hear. Jimin didn’t even bother trying to explain Jungkook’s true existence or that they weren’t dating each other. His mother was so happy to see him meeting new people that she really didn't care that Jimin hadn't mentioned him before.

Mrs. Park fed them both until they could barely walk. The morning went on with Jungkook drilling Mrs. Park about her “occupation as a baker, page 910”. She kindly and patiently explained the process, even offering to teach him how to bake her most famous pastries. When it came time to leave, Jungkook bowed to her, “Jiminie’s Mom is so beautiful.” He picked her up and swung her around in five circles. By the team he released her, she was unsteadied on her feet and blinking her eyes quickly to clear away the dizziness.

She giggled despite herself, “You are a sweet boy Jungkook.”

Jimin sat back and watched the curious exchange between Jungkook and his Mother. It was nice to see his mom in such high spirits but weird to see her embrace Jungkook so quickly. Whatever she saw in Jungkook, it made a positive impression. Definitely a departure from her exchange with Jooheon.

“Good-Bye Mom!” Jungkook waived. She giggled at the inappropriate title and waived back.

“You can’t call my Mother “Mom” Jungkook,” Jimin said kindly.

“I don’t have one, so I may as well use yours,” Jungkook’s reasoning was so simplistic that Jimin truly couldn’t argue.

“You’re very self-aware. How is that possible, you came from nothing?” Jimin said quizzically.

“I did not come from nothing. I came from you. I know what I am. My self-awareness is intrinsically woven into my creation.” Jungkook licked the frosting from a cinnamon roll that Mrs. Park had slid into his pocket as a snack for later.

“Your what is woven where?” Jimin laughed in total surprise, “What book did that come from?”

Jungkook shoved the remainder of his cinnamon roll into his mouth, “Jungkook original, page 9.1”

Jimin quickly picked up on the 9.1. Jungkook had referenced it a few times previously because it was the date that Jimin last summoned Jungkook to his living room. It seemed as if Jungkook considered that his birthday.

On the way back to the apartment, the two of them stopped by Mrs. Lei’s apartment. Jimin wanted to remind her that she'd agreed to allow Jungkook to sit with her during the days while Jimin was at work. Were it not for Jungkook’s lovable charm and his instant bond with Koya, she likely would have refused Jimin’s request. Jimin looked forward to monitoring the affect that Mrs. Lei would have on Jungkook's ever-changing personality.

They finally reached home. For the remainder of the evening, Jungkook continued to pepper Jimin with questions about everything from sex, to sailboats, to God, to the correct classification of tomatoes. He also was not shy with sharing his low opinion of Jimin and Jooheon’s relationship. By the end of the night, Jimin was exhausted but pleased. Jungkook was amazing. Every hour marked a measurable improvement in his cognitive ability, comprehension and understanding. Keeping Jungkook there was a risk, but the little experiment was proving to be very – interesting.

***

Three weeks passed and Jimin was still enjoying every single moment with Jungkook. And he was not the only one enamored with the handsome stranger; both his mother and Mrs. Lei had taken quite a liking to him. Jungkook rotated his days between working in the bakery with Mrs. Park and playing in Uno tournaments with Mrs. Lei. He was quite popular and Jimin took comfort in knowing that he was in good hands while he was at school. Every evening after school Jimin would spend hours interviewing Jungkook for more material to add to his notes. But after a while, the interviews became less about trying to decode the mystery of Jungkook's existence and more about long meaningful talks. Jungkook’s presence in Jimin’s life was very natural and never once did they feel out of place with each other.

It was Monday morning, the start of a new week. Jimin awoke feeling refreshed and ready to start the day with his Kindergarten class. He reached over to check his phone and was startled to find it wasn’t there. He popped up and looked at his watch. It was 9:30am – he was almost two hours late for school, "Oh NO!" He panicked.

He jumped out of the bed and immediately screamed for Jungkook, “Jungkook! Have you seen my phone?” Without his phone, he didn’t have his alarm which led to him oversleeping. “Jungkook!” He yelled again. Within seconds he was brushing his teeth and trying to squeeze into his jeans. “I can’t even call Principle Min without my phone. I need to tell her that I’m running late.” Jimin chattered senselessly, thinking he was talking to Jungkook. “JUNGKOOK!” He called again. A quick scan of the apartment told him that Jungkook was not there. He didn’t worry. Jungkook was likely at Mrs. Lei’s. Jimin couldn’t be too concerned about it now, he had to get to school. He dressed in a hurry in his favorite blazer, threw his messenger bag across his chest and sprinted towards the bus stop. It was 10:55 by the time he made it to his class room. He burst through the door full of apologies.

“Hyee Mr. Park!” The squad yelled when he barreled through the door. There seemed to be a strange voice within the crowd. Jimin settled his things and looked towards the back of the class. Jungkook sat in the back row full of smiles. His oversized body was oddly crammed into the student desk and several large books sat open in front of him.

“Jungkook! What are you doing here? We really need better security in this school.” Jimin was interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat behind him. He turned around to see Ong sitting on the edge of his desk giving him a look of high judgement.

Ong spoke without inflection, “Principle Min asked me to sit in on your behalf since my class is out on a field trip today.” He turned towards the class and gave them instruction, “Class, please finish your spelling words while I have a talk with Mr. Park.” Ong pulled Jimin towards the front door and began to whisper, his face full of anger, “Do you mind telling me who that weirdo is in the back of the class? He says he LIVES with you? Jimin what the hell? You’re really doing this Jooheon?”

“It’s not what you think. I promise, I’ll explain later. He’s just a friend.” Jimin looked towards the back of the class at Jungkook who was diligently working on his spelling.

“Is this the same guy Jooheon caught you with before he left? Is this the “boy toy”? GOD Jimin, really?” Ong was livid.

Jimin uncomfortably rubbed the tip of his nose and then looked at Ong, “Ongie! You know me- I’m your best friend, I wouldn’t do this to Jooheon, I promise. Listen, Jungkook is in a tough situation that’s mostly my fault, he needs my help and it’s complicated. We’ll talk about this later, you can go. I’ll take over my class now.”

Ong left the classroom without saying goodbye to Jimin or The Squad. Jimin couldn’t be concerned with him, he knew he could explain everything later. He made a bee-line to Jungkook and knelt down in front of his desk, “What are you doing here? Jungkook what is wrong with you?”

“I’m getting my education. I want to be a teacher so I came to school. You said I needed to educate myself befeore I could educate them.” Jungkook smiled and patted Jimin’s hair. He licked the palm of his hand and used it to try to slick down the rogue hairs that flew about Jimin’s head. Brushing his hair was unfortunately one of the things that Jimin had to sacrifice in his haste to get to class.

Jimin wanted so badly to be angry. He tried to hold his laugh but the more he tried, the more he failed. He finally exploded and his signature laugh filled the classroom.

“Shh,” Alai called from the front row, “I’m trying to concentrate Mr. Park.”

This made Jimin laugh even louder.

“Jungkookie, may I borrow a pencil. I broke mine,” asked Soon.

“JUNGKOOKIE! Bwaaaa-haaaaaa!” Jimin was overjoyed. He laughed so hard that he fell over Jungkook’s desk. Whatever was happening, was easily the happiest moment he’d experienced in years. He ran his hand through Jungkook’s hair and tapped his chin. “You’re something, you know that?”

“I am something, otherwise I would be nothing. I need to finish my spelling now Mr. Park.” Jungkook gave Soon an extra pencil and then went back to focusing on his spelling words.

“Jungkook, before you continue your work, have you seen my phone? I need it,” Jimin asked beneath giggles.

“No,” Jungkook – lied.

***

It took Jimin quite a long time to explain to Jungkook why his Kindergarten class was not the appropriate place for him to earn his education. After much discussion, they came to a compromise, Jungkook would still be able to attend class with Jimin every day, but as his assistant and not a student. Based on his quickly developing cognitive abilities, Jungkook was perfectly capable of attending REAL classes, so Jimin signed him up for an online Early education class from Busan University. He wanted to see how Jungkook would do when challenged with higher learning. Principle Min was fine with the arrangement because he was able to sell Jungkook as a “student teacher intern”.

Three days in, and Jimin’s phone was still missing. He tried retracing his steps, but every lead was a dead end. He even went back to the bakery to look under the seats and check the kitchen. Finally, he had to accept the fact that his phone was simply gone. It was not ideal, but he used his iMac to email Jooheon every day in order to keep in touch. With his phone missing, they were no longer able to Face Time each other.

Jimin sat shirtless in front of his sleek Apple iMac preparing to send an email to Jooheon. After finishing a long shower, a wet Jungkook walked through the bedroom wearing Jimin’s undersized pajamas. He stepped to Jimin in silence and stood behind his chair watching him browse through a web page full of phones.

Jungkook spoke casually, “Your skin is very beautiful. What is this scar here on your back?”

Jimin could feel Jungkook's fingertips tap gently across the area on his back, “It’s nothing. I had a small accident when I was younger and it left a scar.” Jimin smiled and patted Jungkook’s hand.

Jungkook continued to rub the area on Jimin’s shoulder, “Hi,” he said.

“Hi, you feel better now that you’ve showered?” Jimin asked casually.

“I feel better, now that I’m touching you. This brings me pleasure.” Jungkook began to massage Jimin’s shoulders.

“Hold on, what’s happening? This is new.” Jimin turned around to face him. “What page is this from? What book?”

“It’s not from a book. Another 9.1 original. I like the way you feel, your shoulders, your skin.” Jungkook used a deep unfamiliar voice that Jimin didn’t recognize.

Jimin stretched his neck under the pressure from Jungkook’s fingers, “I should make you stop, but I won’t lie, you’ve got great hands.” He laughed as he continued to rotate his head around in response to the relaxation of his tight muscles. Jimin wasn’t quite sure how to interpret this level of touch from Jungkook. Was it just brotherly, as friends, or was he flirting? His answer came soon enough. Somehow the long fingers of Jungkook’s right hand made their way down the front of Jimin’s chest. He rubbed past his nipple and traced the outline of his pectoral muscle, giving it is a slight squeeze.

“OK!” Jimin said loudly, “I get it. What’s up? This isn’t like you.” Jimin removed Jungkook’s hand from his bare chest, albeit slowly. “Talk to me Jungkook, let me know what you’re thinking.”

“Let me touch you, please Jimin. Let me touch you in that special way that you let Jooheon touch you…”

“Jungkook, it wouldn’t be right to let you touch me that way. I’m in a relationship with Jooheon, you know that. Where is this coming from?” Jimin said, concerned.

“Relationships, Page 30, The Fifth Option. But you have no passion! He begs you and you tell him no. It’s because you don't want to be with him.” Jungkook yelled as if trying to convince Jimin to allow his touch.

“JUNGKOOK, that is not your concern, and how do you know that? Who have you been talking to? I belong to Jooheon, not you. Do you understand?” Jimin wanted to sound authoritative but even he wasn’t convinced of what he was saying.

Jungkook said no more. He grabbed his yellow blanket and pillow and left the bedroom. Jimin could see his shadow as he laid down on the couch in the living room; crying started soon-after. The trembling lump of despair jostled back and forth on Jimin’s couch.

“What is going on with you Jungkookie?” Jimin said quietly. He walked into the living space. The fireplace was dead now with only a few small puffs of smoke escaping up the chimney. Jungkook lay there with his back towards him, still crying. Jimin pulled up the yellow blanket and then scooted in behind Jungkook to spoon him.

“Don’t cry Jungkookie, please,” Jimin said softly, “tell me what’s going on.”

Jungkook seemed to breathe a sigh of satisfaction feeling Jimin behind him.

“I don’t know. I feel so strange. It’s like I’m in pain but there’s nothing that actually hurts. I don’t know what to do. I’ve looked in all of your medical books and there’s nothing to explain it.” Jungkook’s voice was pathetic.

“Well something is definitely off. I mean where is all of this emotion coming from? Another surprise that I definitely didn’t give to you.” Jimin giggled a bit.

Jungkook spoke to the back of the couch, “Emotions? I know those; happy, sad, angry, scared, horny.”

“Uh Jungkookie, I don’t think that last one is actually an emotion-ah never mind. You definitely are an emotional person. I noticed it the very first that I met you. I even think I saw you cry when I sent you away. It’s not something I would have expected.” Jimin breathed into the fluffy chocolate hair on the back of Jungkook’s head,

“Make is stop. I don’t like emotions, Jimin,” Jungkook cried.

“Oh Jungkookie, emotions aren’t all bad. For some reason, you’re experiencing some sadness right now but I’ve also seen you extremely happy. Think about how happy you feel whenever you visit my parents at the bakery. And remember how happy you are whenever you visit me in the classroom?

“There was no pain then, only happy butterflies,” Jungkook reinforced.

Jimin smiled in the darkness, “Exactly. Emotions are important. The more of them you have, the more human you are.”

“Can I only keep the happy ones and throw away the rest?” Jungkook asked.

“If you figure how to do that, will you teach me?” Jimin laughed. He stroked Jungkook’s hair and continued, “Jungkook I think we need to do a little more research on this typewriter. The more I can learn about IT, the more I can learn about YOU. Can you tell me what else you’re feeling? Why are you suddenly so interested in me?” Jimin, feeling chilly, reached down to pull the discarded yellow blanket over the two of them.

Jungkook twisted himself on the couch so that he could face Jimin, “That is not a smart question. I’ve always been interested in you. I don’t have family or a Mom or a relationship. You’re all that I have. I’m here because you asked me to be.”

Jimin suddenly felt the burden of Jungkook’s statement. He had indeed, brought him into the world with no thought given to his emotional well-being or complex circumstance. In essence, he created a house with no foundation. It was bound to cause conflicted feelings within a man as layered as Jungkook.

Jimin held Jungkook until he fell asleep. He slid away from the couch and returned to his own bed. His mind flooded with questions: Had he severely taken for granted the fact that he had created a full human life through the powers of a typewriter?  Had he severely underestimated the responsibility of caring for that life?  Was it possible that he had created a life and destroyed that same life by virtue of the creation? Had he doomed Jungkook to misery? The situation needed to be taken more seriously. Jimin’s stomach sank because for the first time he wondered, would he have to send Jungkook back?

***
The next morning, Jimin decided to use the time while Jungkook was showering, to do some much needed research.  Now that he knew Jungkook's secret to unlocking the Weibo page, he was able to go back there to gather more information.  A few hints from the website led him to the original owner of the typewriter. Legend had it that the original owner was a Chinese Professor who was also a great Shaman with spiritual powers. He, as far as Jimin could tell, had been the sole possessor of the typewriter until his death in 2018. Wu Lee-Soung, an Astrology Professor from Shanghai University, wrote a series of articles dated from 1955 through 1957, the time when he is suspected to have first obtained the typewriter. Jimin combed through the articles which were comprised mostly of dry lecture notes on the Cosmos. But it was a concentrated series written in 1956 that caught Jimin’s attention. The series didn’t fit the formula of his other entries which made it an easily distinguishable outlier. The title of the work was simply, What Should I type?

Every single article being in Chinese only added to Jimin’s frustration. His Chinese was not the best but it was serviceable enough for him to decipher a few critical details; not so much about the typewriter itself, but what it could yield. Jimin jotted down a few notes:

‘The essence of the manufactured being is the equal balance to the creator, less ye’ be fooled into thinking he is the creator.’

“What? What kind of twisted circular non-sense is that?” Jimin complained. He released an exhaustive breath and continued to translate:

‘...deceived is he who is not prepared to lay with his soul’s creation; for the precipice of sexual fulfillment awaits. No one understands the soul as well as the creation of the soul itself.... the tree is not barren and will yield fruit. As such, offspring are possible as are all other human capabilities and desires unto as much he is human flesh. First amongst them, eating, sleeping, and procreating.’

“PROCREATING! No wonder he’s been a weirdo! He’s fucking horny! Wait, If I understand this correctly, not only can he fuck, but he’s a good fuck?” Jimin let out a small devilish gasp and looked back towards the bathroom where Jungkook was loudly singing. He shook his head with a slight grin and continued to read:

‘As so shines the light; must too come the dimming through darkness; for one cannot exist without the other. It is here where evil lies and inescapable death is met. Balance will be maintained. Control is a fallacy.’

“Yea so I didn’t like anything in that last paragraph,” Jimin laughed to himself, not completely understanding what he’d just read. He continued:

‘…Each pass grows more dangerous than the last. It is by the power of the fire that the slippage begins to occur, self- actualization becomes the being’s reality. One time as three times as nine is one. The third pass is the final, it cannot be undone. For the purpose of love, those that try to decode the third rule, will only fail; thus the final dagger. Only the truest heart can produce the light. Others are doomed to unleash havoc upon the earth. Control is a fallacy.’

Jimin read, mouth agape, certain that this cluster of articles held the explanation, not just for Jungkook’s odd behavior, but also for the evolution that occurred between his first appearance and his second. Jimin’s eyes scanned the screen wildly, desperate to pick up the simplest phrases that could be easily translated. He was so focused on reading that he paid almost no attention to the knock at his front door.

“I’ll get it,” Jungkook yelled from the bathroom.

Jimin worked in a silo, completely disjointed from his surroundings. He translated as accurately as he could while using his translation app to fill the gaps. He scribbled feverishly on his notepad, attempting to preserve every word.

The faint sound of the door opening was followed by an angry scream.

“What the fuck! Dude put some clothes on!”

Jimin was snatched from his isolation. At the sound of Ong’s angry voice, he quickly jumped up and stepped out of his bedroom. There he saw it, Jungkook, with no social graces, stood completely naked in front of Ong, holding the apartment door open while he brushed his teeth.

Ong rushed passed him in a fury, “Jimin! What’s he doing here? AND WHY IS HE NAKED? You told me you were just friends and now I find him naked in your apartment?”

To make matters much worse, Mrs. Lei, Jimin’s sweet neighbor, happened to be walking past the door with her dog. She paused momentarily to take a good look at naked Jungkook and then gave him the thumbs up, “Lookin’ good Jungkookie!” She cackled as she walked off.

Jimin pulled Jungkook inside and slammed the door. He looked at Ong with eyes full of guilt, “I-I can explain...again. Christ! Jungkookie come here.” Jimin grabbed the yellow blanket from the couch and gently wrapped it around Jungkook’s nude waist. He made sure to a get a good full look at the goods before covering him. Jungkook's naked body was a stark reminder that he was actually a very HOT 23 year old man.

“Ohh yeah, that’s um - very good,” Jimin whispered to Jungkook. He continued to speak quietly, “Hey, Jungkookie, can you get dressed and run to the bakery to tell Mom that I want some cookies, please? The chocolate peanut butter ones with the frosting. Can you do that for me?”

“Of course, Jiminie.” Jungkook wrapped his large naked body around Jimin, giving him a long soft hug. After much too long, he finally let go and headed into Jimin’s bedroom to put on clothes.

Jimin turned to Ong, “Ok, I must look very bad right now. But Ongie, I promise. It’s not what you think. He’s not very social and he has to learn…”

“How can you do this to Jooheon? I never imagined you to be the kind to play around. I thought I knew you better than that Jimin,” Ong argued.

“Stop bringing Jooheon into this. This has nothing to do with him. Please, I’m your best friend, I wouldn’t lie to you. Now will you let me explain?” Jimin was growing a bit tense because of Ong’s attitude.

“Then who is he? Where did he come from all of a sudden? And tell me once again, why he’s naked?” Ong plopped into the chair.

“He’s a family friend who just moved here. He’s staying with me for a while until he finds an apartment,” the excuse was weak, but it was all that Jimin could tee up.

“Don’t give me that ‘family friend’ crap. Your parents had no idea who he was either. I checked. Are you fucking this guy Jimin?” Ong grew angry.

“Stay out of my life Ong. How dare you discuss this with my parents. And if I was fucking him, which I am NOT, it would be my business. I swear, you always do this. You always stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.” Jimin kicked Ong lightly in the ankle.

“Did someone say “fucking”? I like that, Playgirl Magazine, page 1,” Jungkook said as he emerged from the bedroom fully dressed.

Jimin snickered, however, Ong didn’t appreciate being mocked, and he lashed out at Jungkook angrily, “Can you leave please and let us talk alone?”

“I’m going, I’m going.” Jungkook stopped and gently rubbed the side of Jimin’s neck, “When I return, will you tell me you missed me?” he said. He walked through the front door unbothered and waved goodbye, specifically to Ong.

“That was a strange thing to say,” Jimin stared at the door after Jungkook disappeared. “Why would he say that?” he questioned himself.

“Jimin, Jooheon is away and he…” Ong began to say before Jimin shouted him down.

“Jooheon, Jooheon, Jooheon, why do you continue to throw him in my face? Did he ask you to keep an eye on me while he was gone? Why are you constantly taking his side against me? I like him, I have committed to him. I am not doing anything wrong. Jooheon and I talk every day. We laugh every day. I’m not throwing him away in favor of Jungkook. Listen, Jungkook will be gone soon and everything will be back to normal and then you’re going to feel like a real dick for giving me such a hard time about this!” Jimin pushed back against Ong’s implication that he was somehow being disrespectful to Jooheon.

Ong let out a heavy sigh, “You’re right. I’m sorry ok? It’s just…do you remember that night in the bakery? The night that Jooheon met your mom? Well, that night, he confided in me. Jimin, I think he’s in love with you. A guy like Jooheon doesn’t make himself vulnerable very often and if this doesn’t work out, it could really set him back emotionally, you know?”

“Trust me, I know. It’s one of the things he and I have in common. But Ong, you have to let me take things at my own pace with Jooheon. He has never said the L-word to me, but if he does or doesn’t, that’s our business, not yours. Ok?” Jimin kicked Ong in the ankle once again, this time more lovingly.

“Ok. But while we’re on the subject, how are you going to explain naked boy living with you? I don’t think Jooheon is going to take that lightly,” Ong reminded Jimin of a problem he never contemplated.

“What?” Jimin’s eyes widened. “You’re right. I have to figure out what to do. I can’t let Jooheon find him here. Maybe he can stay with Mrs. Lei?” He mumbled to himself.

“Good luck figuring that out. I’m getting out of here before naked boy comes back.” Ong gave Jimin a hand slap and left.

Once Ong was gone, Jimin walked back to his desk, closed his notebook, and looked around for a place to store his translations from Professor Lee-Soung’s articles. He remembered the box on the top shelf that held Jungkook’s manuscript. The books on his shelf were all scattered and out of order, thanks to Jungkook’s incessant reading, but he ignored the mess and stepped onto his stool to wrestle the box free from the clutter. He opened it up to drop his notes inside and there, staring back at him, was his missing cell phone. But even more intriguing was the appearance of the once simple manuscript, originally typed by Jimin, now covered in freshly typed words from the typewriter. From what Jimin could deduce, Jungkook had been editing his own manuscript using the messages from Jooheon’s texts. Jimin was bewildered. There was no logical explanation for this – unless – Jungkook was trying to absorb more of Jooheon’s personality to make himself more appealing to Jimin. Suddenly, all of the long conversations and constant interrogations about Jooheon made sense. Jungkook, the house without a foundation, was trying to find his footing but going about it in all the wrong ways. Text after text after text was now reflected in Jungkook’s manuscript. Even the most private ones where Jimin and Jooheon talked dirty to each other were somehow merged into Jungkook’s personality. Normally, Jimin would have considered this a total and complete violation of his privacy, but under these circumstances, he considered it a desperate attempt on Jungkook’s part to find a place to fit in. Was this why Jungkook was suddenly so intense with his feelings for Jimin? Was he taking on Jooheon’s emotions and absorbing them into himself? Was Jungkook falling in love? Was this the pain he was feeling- love? “Oh GOD, this is bad. This is really bad,” Jimin uttered. He covered his mouth to keep himself from screaming.

He was suddenly faced with a real problem which required careful thought to solve. 

***

Chapter Text

The evening was upon them and Jungkook lay dozing on the soft comfortable couch, a noticeable change that pleased Jimin tremendously because he was sick of Jungkook always choosing to sleep on the floor. Once again, sweet Jungkookie cocooned himself within the comfort of the yellow blanket. As was his usual routine, Jimin kissed his two fingers and pressed them to Jungkook's cheek as he slept. He then tip-toed back to his bedroom to make a phone call.

Jimin to Jooheon: Good Morning! Found my phone
Jooheon to Jimin: Good Evening! Thank goodness, now I can hear your voice. It’s late in SK. Why are you calling so late?
Jimin to Jooheon: I missed you.

Jimin’s phone immediately rang.

Jimin closed his bedroom door tightly, sheltering himself from curious ears. Jungkook had already violated his privacy enough, Jimin was cautious to make sure it didn’t continue. He answered Jooheon’s distinctive ring,

“Here’s my voice,” Jimin greeted.

“I. Have. Missed. Hearing. You. How are you baby?” Jooheon asked sweetly.

“I’m fine. Glad to have my phone back. I missed your voice too. How did the shoot go today?” Jimin licked his lips and smiled.

Jooheon sighed, “Meh. Lighting problems, technical problems, moody bitches on the cat walk…same old routine. But thinking about you, got me through it all.”

“How much longer?” Jimin whined.

“Still another two weeks. But it’ll go by fast. Guess what? I get to keep all of my clothes AND I get cart blanche access the the Chanel summer line which means YOU will be the best dressed Kindergarten teacher on the face of the earth.”

“Oh Jooheon, somehow that made my dick hard,” Jimin laughed.

“I knew it would, my little fashion whore.” Jooheon laughed loudly.

Jimin couldn’t disagree. He did love clothes and he did love to look good, which was one of the things that attracted him so much to Jooheon. His appearance was always impeccable and he looked every inch the supermodel that he was.

“Now that that’s out of the way, show me your left nipple,” Jooheon asked.

Jimin wrinkled his face “Jooheon! That doesn’t even make sense.“

“OK, OK, then show me your right. Is the right one better?” Jooheon seemed serious, “Jimin, I’m so horny. I’ve been saving myself for you and I literally haven’t fucked in the four months since we’ve been dating. Well most of the four months that we’ve been dating. I’ve jacked off so much that my hand wants to get married and start a family.”

Jimin roared with laughter. He covered his mouth to silence himself because he didn’t want to wake Jungkook. His loud, snort laugh echoed through his bedroom. “I know it’s been hard and I appreciate your waiting for me, I really do. When you get back, I’ll give you all of me.”

“Jimin this has been hard. This is the first relationship where I… well…you know…didn’t make my “presence” known on the first date,” Jooheon whispered.

“The first date? That’s a little aggressive don’t you think?” Jimin baulked.

“I’m hot babe, no one can resist me. I don’t make the rules, I just follow em’,” Jooheon said arrogantly.

Jimin rolled his eyes, “Oh good grief. Jooheon, tell me the truth, why did you wait so long for me?”

Jooheon sighed, “It’s not obvious?”

“No.” Jimin’s stomach knotted, he feared what he was about to hear.

“I love you. Knew it pretty quickly after we met. I know I’ve stumbled a bit along the way, but I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I can say for sure, that I do love you. You’re worth waiting for,” Jooheon gushed a little when he said the word, “Love”.

“You love me.” Jimin repeated simply. “You love me?” He questioned again.

“I love you.” Jooheon seemed to sense Jimin’s trepidation, “Jimin, you love me too right?”

“Jooheon, We’ve talked about this. You know that I care for you. But…I have a tendency to take it kinda’ slow with this type of stuff.

“This type of stuff. Falling in love type of stuff?” Jooheon seemed a little miffed.

“Don’t get angry. You mean a lot to me. Can you be happy with that? For now?” Jimin remained calm and spoke lovingly, careful not to tread on Jooheon’s tender feelings. “Switch to Face Time.”

“You’re changing the subject.” Jooheon smiled, revealing his obscenely large dimples.

“You had a nipple request. I’m obliging,” Jimin propped his phone on his desk and then took several steps back to sit on his bed. “Can you see me? All of me?”

“Shit yeah, I can.” Jooheon moved closer to his phone.

“Here’s the left one. And the right one.” Jimin removed his shirt to reveal his nude upper body.

“I thought you had a rule against this type of thing. Not appropriate for Kindergarten Teachers right?” Jooheon teased, his eyes fixed upon Jimin.

Jimin stood up and removed his pants, “I care about you, which means I trust you.”

“Yes, this is making me very happy.” Jooheon slid away from his hotel desk to make sure that his fully erect dick was within view of the phone screen. He began to stroke himself in front of Jimin, “Now, take off those pesky underwear.”

“These?” Jimin slid his underwear down. His dick suddenly popped into view.

“That’s it. Now, stroke yourself,” Jooheon instructed.

“Like this?” Jimin began to masturbate himself.

“Just like that.” Jooheon followed Jimin’s lead and began to heavily masturbate himself in front of his phone.

They stared intently at each other, each using the other as stimulation. Jooheon peeked first, releasing a deep slow moan. Jimin stroked himself faster as he watched his boyfriend spew cum in tiny pulsations from the tip of his dick.

“I love to hear you moan,” Jimin whispered. He grabbed his balls and tugged on them gently, and then returned his hand back to his shaft.

Jooheon continued to rub his limp dick while starting at Jimin, “Cum for me. Pretend you’re inside of me.”

Jimin pushed himself back upon the bed. He spread his legs and jerked fast, pulling the skin of his dick up and down. As he erupted, he sat up partially, compressing his abs so that every muscle was visible to Jooheon. His stream of cum arched into the air about five inches, before raining down on his thigh. He fell back again and collapsed on the bed. Jooheon could hear him laughing through heavy exhausted breaths.

“Your body is hot. I can’t wait until we can finally seal this deal,” Jooheon panted.

Jimin sat up. He used his shirt to cover himself, “Jooheon, just because I can’t say I love you right now, doesn’t mean that I never will. A little more time?”

“I know you don’t feel the same way. I won’t lie, it hurts. But yes Jimin, a little more time. Forever, if that’s what it takes. I love you. Bye.” Jooheon kissed Jimin through the screen and disconnected.

Jimin’s screen went blank. He smiled at his phone and kissed the image where Jooheon once appeared. He was too tired to shower and put on fresh pajamas, so he tucked himself in bed, in all of his glorious nudity. He basked in the satisfaction of his good hard orgasm, which was just what he needed for a sound sleep.

***
The tickling of Jimin’s nose awakened him. A head of muffled hair brushed the area around his face, tickling his nose and covering his lips. Another body was pressed against his, causing him to sweat. He gathered his senses and pushed through his sleepy haze to recognize that it was Jungkook who was pressing against him. At some point during the night, Jungkook had crept into bed with him and was now snuggled up against him in the most intimate way. Jimin’s first instinct was to close his arms around Jungkook, hold him tightly and go back to sleep.

“Oh GOD!” Jimin’s eyes popped back open. He suddenly remembered that he wasn’t wearing any clothes and a substantial erection was growing as his nude body lay wedged against Jungkook’s backside. “Jungkookie, wake up. You have to go back to the couch.” Jimin shook Jungkook’s shoulder to wake him.

“Huh? Why? Why do I have to get back? I like it here Jiminie,” Jungkook yawned.

“Jungkook, this isn’t good for you. It can complicate things for you because your emotions are all over the place. Plus, I’m not wearing any clothes,” Jimin said delicately.

“Oh that’s ok, I’m not wearing any either.” Jungkook closed his eyes and began drifting back to sleep.

“Jungkooooook, NO, it’s not ok. This is my bed and you have to leave,” Jimin shook him again.

“That’s fine Jiminie. I’ll leave. But tell me that you’ll miss me,” Jungkook mimicked.

“Jungkook, those aren’t your words. You’re taking on Jooheon’s persona instead of just evolving into yourself naturally. I know you stole my cell phone, I know you copied his texts into your manuscript. Jungkook this has to stop.” Jimin slid out of the bed, pulling the top blanket with him to cover his naked body.

“You know about that?” Jungkook’s large eyes were visible even in the low light of the darkened room.

“Yes, I do. Why Jungkook? Why can’t you just be yourself?” Jimin spoke as a wise elder.

“Because you don’t seem to love me when I’m just myself,” Jungkook said sadly.

“Love you? Love you? Oh my God, this is a mess. How did we get here? This is a mess. I’ve created a mess.” Jimin looked around his room helplessly confused.

“It’s not a mess. Why call me a mess? Jimin, I borrowed his texts because I needed his help. He knows how to relate to you and how to get you to respond. I didn’t steal his persona, I just needed to learn the right words to say. Tell me you understand?” Jungkook crawled his naked body across the bed towards Jimin.

Jimin fought within his own mind to dull his senses. Naked Jungkook was a sight that stirred his deepest animalistic desires. He prayed for his rational side to prevail, but he could feel the battle slipping away as his body physically responded. Jimin’s memory flashed back to one of the warnings from Professor Lee-Soung’s article, “… 'the being' will always know your deepest desires, for he is from you, of you.”

As Jungkook continued to slink across the bed, the fibers of his long neck thickened, creating a shapely block of muscle that screamed to be kissed. His long arms, encircled with thick veins, burrowed into the crisp white sheets as he propelled himself slowly. The long cock that slithered between his legs, gently tapped against his thigh as it dangled beneath him. And the muscles within his flexed thighs rippled under his skin with each move forward; much like a lion stalking his prey, Jungkook continued to approach.

Jimin backed further and further away, until finally, he bumped into the corner. There was no place left to hide.

“Gotcha,” Jungkook whispered, barely making a sound. He looked down at the tent created by Jimin’s dick hardening underneath the blanket. “I just want you to want me, like you want him.” He stepped out of the bed and strolled towards the corner where Jimin cowered. The kiss that he placed upon Jimin's lips came without warning.

Jimin’s insides screamed. The battle to resist the sexual being was definitely lost. He wanted to stop the kiss. But instead, he embraced Jungkook and pushed his tongue deeper into his mouth- a contradiction that caused him to shiver. Every vacant corner of his heart felt fulfilled. He dropped the blanket that maintained his modesty and then opened his mouth wider to taste more of Jungkook. His tangled fingers were lost within Jungkook’s thick brown hair. The two men stood gripped by passion; their sexual tools delicately throbbing and then sliding back and forth past each other with a slow grind that heightened Jimin’s arousal. The sensual seductive kiss, continued.

It was only by the grace of the Universe that Jimin’s alarm blared from his phone. The noise startled him enough to snap him back to reality. He gently pushed Jungkook away and scrambled to pick the blanket up from the floor to covered himself once again. “Jungkook, please leave my room. This isn’t right. This will just confuse you, I’m so sorry. What have I done?” Jimin covered his face with his hands.

“For the first time Jiminie, I am not confused. I’m here because you asked me to be. I didn’t chose this, you did.” Jungkook dropped his head and walked away, still completely naked.

***
Neither Jimin nor Jungkook spoke to each other the following morning. The air in the small apartment was thick with awkwardness. For the first time in his existence, Jungkook was showing anger. He sat stoned-faced on the couch refusing to speak to Jimin or even acknowledge him. The course books for his online class sat spread across his yellow blanket.

Although disappointed, Jimin completely understood Jungkook’s attitude. He was hurt and felt repeatedly rejected. Jimin wanted to console him and tell him the truth about how much he desired him, but alas, he had to set boundaries to keep the situation from becoming even more complicated than it already was. Jimin was walking an emotional tight rope where Jungkook was concerned.

He hurried out of the apartment, leaving Jungkook alone to study for his Early Education exam. He stepped down the hall to Mrs. Lei’s apartment door and knocked quietly,

“Who is it?” Mrs. Lei called from behind her apartment door.

“Hi Mrs. Lei, it’s me Jimin,” he answered.

“Sweet Jimin, come in, come in.” Mrs. Lei opened the door.

“Mrs. Lei, I was wondering if you could do me a favor? I have to travel to Seoul for the day. I have to leave Jungkook alone and I’m wondering, could you keep an eye on him? He has a lot of school work to do and he can’t accompany me.” Jimin looked pleadingly at Mrs. Lei.

“My dear boy, of course, I would LOVE to visit with him. Maybe we’ll finally get a chance to watch that Romantic Comedy he told me about. He says the two of you watched it together.” Mrs. Lei smiled kindly.

Jimin touched her arm gently, “That sounds quite lovely. Jungkook will love it, I’m sure. Can you please not tell him where I’ve gone?”

“He’s going to want to know. Jimin, is everything ok? I sense some tension,” Mrs. Lei said clairvoyantly.

Jimin looked away. He didn’t want her to read his expression, “No-no, things are fine. I just need to get away for a little while and I don’t want Jungkook to be lonely.”

Jimin was dressed in one of the sleek Chanel sweaters that Jooheon had sent him from the Italy. He was bundled in a thick black overcoat with a black beanie and ankle boots. Fall was in full swing and the weather was much cooler which allowed Jimin to flex his fashion muscle a bit.

“I’ll be back tomorrow ok Mrs. Lei?” Jimin still made no eye contact.

***

His Uber was waiting for him by the time he reached the lobby. The sudden trip was a much needed distraction from Jungkook’s presence. Jimin’s mind was spinning. He needed answers to the questions that flooded his thoughts. A small part of him just wanted to run and keep going, never to have to face Jungkook again. The events of the previous night had exposed a vulnerability that he didn’t realize existed; a sexual desire for Jungkook that was almost uncontrollable.

Jungkook was the only thought that occupied his mind. But why? Nowhere in any of his research had he found a plausible explanation for what was happening between the two of them. His last hope for answers lie in the archives of the Seoul Natural History Library. Many of the unpublished works from Professor Lee-Soung were housed there. He had exhausted all of the information available to him on the internet so it was worth a try.

The 4:45pm train for Seoul left on time. Jimin found a seat towards the front and pulled out all of his notes from Professor Lee-Soung. He also read through the updated manuscript that Jungkook had created. The train ride was just two hours and he rushed to the library directly from the train station. He had less than three hours to find what he needed before the library closed. The title of the article he so desperately sought was, The Typewriter. Jungkook was evolving fast, and Jimin couldn’t help but be wary of the warnings that Professor Lee-Soung had given in his previous work. Within just a few days, Jungkook went from quoting books and pages and chapters and versus, to establishing his own unique thoughts about sex, philosophy and love.

Aided by fate, Jimin went straight to the section of the library where the Professor’s works were accumulated. He searched and searched until he finally stumbled upon the article, “Not more Chinese,” he complained.

The first passage he found said the following:

“The typewriter was manufactured in 1955 and came to me straight from the office store. Back in those days, we had singular department stores that sold everything from electronics to clothes. It was gifted to me by my Uncle. Of course, you don’t care about that. Your interest is in it’s power, am I correct?”

Jimin looked around. The words written on the page seemed to be speaking directly to him. He continued:

‘…The mistake most make is to believe the artifact is in some way cursed, or 诅咒 as we say. But that is too simple of an explanation for what really exists. The power of the typewriter comes from a series of incantations from those who desperately want to live in the make-believe worlds that are created by their hand. Great literature works were created from the artifact, some said to be so realistic that the line between fiction and real world became inexplicably blurred. It is here where the beings first came to life.”

“Only those with the purest of heart can use the typewriter to its fullest power. But even those who are well intentioned must use caution for they are not immune to unleashing evil. The third occurrence rule was created for this reason. The rule is finite, however, the…”

Jimin reached the back binder of the article, “Wait, where are the rest of the pages? Is that it? Is that all there is?” The remaining pages of the article had been torn away and removed. “SHIT!” Jimin swore. He threw the article against the archive shelf, removed his hat and ran his fingers through his hair, “I came all this way for nothing. Another dead end.” He pounded the library table and fought to hold back tears.

His phone rang, it was Jooheon. Maybe it was the guilt of what had happened the previous night with Jungkook, but Jimin felt a bit nervous about talking to him. Despite himself, he answered the call quickly, “Hi Baby. It’s late in Capri isn’t it?”

Jooheon laughed, “You know I can’t sleep without talking to you first. You sound upset. You ok?”

Jimin covered his true emotions, “I-I’m good. I’m in Seoul doing some research for school. Just a little frustrated because I can’t seem the find the information that I really need.”

“Let me guess, critical pages missing?” Jooheon laughed.

“How did you know?” Jimin said stunned.

“I’m from Seoul remember? I’m one of the little assholes who used to vandalize the books in middle school. We were so stupid. Back then, we had no idea that we were destroying classics, nor did we understand the long-term impact it would have for people who came after us. On behalf of my seventh-grade class, SOREEEEEE!” Jooheon laughed.

Jimin’s stress was immediately released. He laughed so hard that he had to be shushed by the Librarian at the front desk. “Ah so I have you to thank for this non-sense?”

“Yeah, probably,” Jooheon still laughed, “so other than that, how was your day? Did you sleep well last night? I sure did. I busted a BIG OLD FAT NUT in front of my boyfriend.”

Jimin laughed again, “Boyfriend huh? Is that what we’re calling each other these days?”

“I will, if you will,” Jooheon said suddenly sounding serious.

“Sure. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that,” Jimin said honestly.

Jooheon paused for a moment, “If you’re willing to go that far, maybe you’ll go a little further? Jimin move in with me?”

“What? I can’t move in with you!” Jimin laughed.

“OK, then I’ll move in with you. Although, let’s be honest, my apartment is on the beach and five times larger with a better view and far from your parents,” Jooheon teased.

“You have made several very good points,” Jimin laughed and swept his hair back once again.

“This time away from you has made me really reflect on what matters. What matters is you, Jimin. I fall more in love with you every day.” Jooheon sounded incredibly sappy. “Don’t say no. Just tell me you’ll think about it.”

“I’ll think about it,” Jimin said lovingly.

“That’s all I can ever ask. Gotta’ go. Love you, goodnight,” Jooheon said.

“Fond of you too, goodnight,” Jimin teased.

“Ha-ha-ha, nice to know you find playing with my heart so amusing.” Jooheon blew Jimin a kiss over the phone and disconnected.

Jimin was suddenly disinterested in his research about the typewriter. Jooheon’s offer was an exciting one, indeed. He immediately dialed Ong.

“Hey,” Ong answered.

“He asked me to move in with him? You were right. He told me he loved me,” Jimin rattled off a rapid summary of he and Jooheon’s conversation.

“That’s big. What are you going to do?” Ong said, very interested.

“I don’t know? I never saw this coming. Ong, I don’t feel that way about him.” He walked back to the stacks to return all of the Professor’s articles he’d collected on the table.

Ong blew a breath of frustration, “Why not Jimin? Why won’t you just let go and let him into your heart?”

“My heart doesn’t work that way. I can’t just close my eyes and pretend to be in love,” Jimin said, agitated. “We have a lot in common but we also have a lot of differences, some of which could be difficult to overcome. Plus, I..” Jimin trailed off.

“You what?” Ong pushed.

Jimin walked out of the library and headed for the park, “I just don’t feel, the passion.” Jungkook’s words popped into his head as the perfect description for what was missing between he and Jooheon.

Ong chose his words carefully, “Passion? Jimin? Are you sure that you don’t feel anything for Jungkook? I mean even if you two really are just friends, don’t you agree that his presence is keeping you from really exploring your feelings for Jooheon? The guy is pretty attractive and he’s clearly infatuated with you and heavily reliant upon you. All of that is quite a burden when you’re trying to sort out your feelings for someone else.”

“Not this again. I told you where things stand between us.” Jimin blew a heavy breath of irritation and chose to let Ong continue.

“You also said he would be leaving soon and that was two weeks ago. He’s still here. If you do move in with Jooheon, where exactly is your Jungkook going to stay? The spare bedroom?” Ong said mockingly.

“Enough! I don’t need this from you. I called for advice not ridicule.” Jimin dropped the phone to his side to take a break from Ong’s voice.

“I’m giving you advice, you’re just too obtuse to listen. Jungkook is problematic. You’ve been walking the line with Jooheon for months now. You haven’t even fucked him, yet he continues to stay by your side and wait patiently for you to sort out your feelings. Now you bring Jungkook into the situation and expect him to deal with that too. You ask too much of him Jimin. It’s not fair,” Ong said everything that was on his mind.

“Ong if I didn’t know better, I would swear that you’ve been Jooheon’s best friend for 15 years instead of mine. Can I get your support just once? Just once?” Jimin hung up the phone.

Nothing had been resolved. If anything, he had more questions than when he started. The biggest questions of all being, why was he so afraid to make a commitment to Jooheon? And why was he so affected by Jungkook who had only been with him a short period? Jimin found a seat in the park and sat there in deep contemplation for almost two hours. When his time was done, he knew what he needed to do. There was no need to stay in Seoul plus, he still had time to catch the last train headed back to Busan. He immediately grabbed his things and headed for the train station.

***

“Jimin, I thought you weren’t coming home until tomorrow?” Mrs. Lei opened the door and stepped back to allow Jimin to enter.

“I decided to come home early. I have some…things that I need to take care of and it can’t wait.” Jimin looked at Mrs. Lei with telling eyes.

“Well it’s just as well that you came home early. I stopped by to check on Jungkook. He was pretty upset about you leaving without telling him.” She laughed, but there was no happiness in her laughter. “Will you take care of him now?”

“Yes, Mrs. Lei. I will. Thank you for doing this.” He bowed towards Mrs. Lei and returned to his apartment.

As soon and Jimin opened the door, Jungkook sped towards him, “Jimin, I missed you so much.”

“It’s been nine hours Jungkook.” Jimin rolled his eyes. Despite the ridiculousness of it all, Jimin couldn’t help but appreciate being missed. He returned Jungkook’s hug and rested his head on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry I was angry. Emotions? I didn’t mean it. I love you Jiminie. Do you know that?” Jungkook whispered into Jimin’s ear.

“And that, my sweet Jungkookie, is the problem.” Jimin grabbed Jungkook’s hand. Underneath his arm, he carried the box with Jungkook’s manuscript and the notes from his research with the Professor.

“Are you cold Jiminie? I’ll start a fire. Do you think it will snow again? We can go out tomorrow and play in the snow. Your dad said he’s going to teach me to make American style biscuits. That should be interesting,” Jungkook talked pointlessly while he stoked the embers for a fresh fire.

Jimin interrupted Jungkook and motioned towards the couch, “Jungkook, sit down please.”

“Only if you sit next to me,” he negotiated.

“Sure. I can do that.” Jimin sat next to Jungkook and turned to face him. “We’re good friends aren’t we?”

“Ong is your friend. I’m something different,” Jungkook stopped Jimin’s line of conversation immediately to restate his feelings.

“Jungkook, I have told you. I’m involved with Jooheon. He is my boyfriend not you,” Jimin said bluntly.

“So you’re calling him a boyfriend now? When did this happen? He left you for a very long time. You two fought and you hurt him. You two do not have passion and you do not love him. He cannot be your boyfriend,” Jungkook argued.

“He has asked me to be his boyfriend. Jungkook, Jooheon is coming home,” Jimin said reluctantly.

“Won’t he be disappointed when he finds out that you’re in love with me?” Jungkook said innocently.

“Oh Jungkookie. How do I make you understand? I don’t know what to do anymore. This was my last hope. Everything I’ve tried has failed. I’m so sorry.” Jimin’s eyes filled with tears.

“Nothing you do fails Jiminie. Jiminie, I got an ‘A’ on my exam today. I just got my score.” Jungkook looked at Jimin with large expressive eyes.

Jimin began to cry. He hoped that Jungkook would believe the tears were tears of happiness, “You are so perfect Jungkookie. I’m so proud of you,” he choked out the last word.

“I am going to enroll in another class. I did some research and found a lot of nice programs. I have to get a job to help you pay for food and clothes,” Jungkook rambled.

Jimin allowed Jungkook to talk without interruption. When he was finally still, Jimin reached over and placed a long soft kiss on his lips. With his eyes closed, he gently rested his forehead against Jungkook’s, “You are perfect.”

“Jiminie! You kissed me!” Jungkook smiled his happiest smile causing his dimples to sear into the mounds of his cheeks. He closed his eyes and began to ramble again; this time about kisses and love and destiny. He never even noticed Jimin leave the couch.

The box with Jungkook’s manuscript lay on the coffee table. Jimin’s hands trembled as he held the box. With no hesitation, he removed the manuscript from the box, gave it a final kiss and then tossed it into the fire.

“Jiminie, what’s going on? You look so sad.” Jungkook left the couch and walked towards Jimin as he stood in front of the fireplace. He glanced to his right and saw his manuscript begin to burn. His eyes filled with panic. Tears began to stream down his face and his body tensed.

“I am so, so sorry. It’s the only way. Please forgive me,” Jimin apologized as much as he possibly could.

“JIMINIE! WHY? WHY?” Jungkook cried out loudly, yelling though his tears, “Please don’t do this. I love you so much, how could you?”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” Jimin fought to hold his composure but the sadness of the moment threatened to overtake him.

As Jungkook’s image began to glitch he grabbed Jimin tightly and held him to his chest, repeating, “No, No, don’t make me go. No please Jimin, please Jimin. No. No.” Jungkook begged for his life. He clawed at Jimin’s coat as his body began to disappear. He closed his eyes and held on desperately, trying to stop himself from fading. When he opened his eyes, Jimin stared back at him, completely unrepentant. It was at that point, that he stopped struggling. When his eyes met Jimin’s teary cold stare, he knew that he had to accept the inevitable. He released Jimin’s coat and took a step back.

“Don’t ever bring me back again. I won’t come back.” Those were Jungkook’s last words before he faded into a translucent wave of mist.

***
The following morning, Jimin jumped out of bed, refreshed and ready to head to school. “Jungkookie!” Jimin called, “time for us to get dressed so we can head to the bus.” Seconds passed before he remembered. Jungkook was no longer there. The apartment was silent. The absence of Jungkook’s laughter created an eerie atmosphere forcing Jimin to fight hard to keep sadness from creeping in. After all, he had no reason to feel guilty for what he had done. He had no choice. Jungkook was a liability that could threaten his relationship with Jooheon. It was cruel to have brought him there in the first place and it would have been even more cruel to force him to stay.

Over the following weeks, Jimin recommitted himself to Jooheon. They spoke every day, several times a day. They laughed and teased and made plans for the future. Although Jimin was still not in a place to say, “I love you”, he definitely appreciated Jooheon for what he meant to him. Jooheon was a good partner and Jimin definitely felt safe with him. Safe. Good and safe.

No one was happier about Jungkook being gone than Ong. With Jungkook out of the way, he felt certain that Jimin and Jooheon could create a bright future together. He was pleased with Jimin’s dedication to making things work with Jooheon and he wanted to do everything possible to support them.

On the contrary, Jimin’s parents, Mrs. Lei and The Squad were all very UNHAPPY about Jungkook’s sudden absence. Jimin tried to convince all of them that he’d just left to live with family in Seoul. It was a perfectly rational explanation, however none of them were buying it. Jimin’s mother even threatened several times to call the police to have them investigate Jungkook’s sudden disappearance. She even suggested that he may be a victim of the serial killer that was stalking young men in Busan. It took Jimin’s best persuasive arguments to get her to back down from the idea. Regardless of how anyone felt, the fact was that Jungkook was gone, never to return and everyone, including Jimin, would have to learn to live without him.

With only 24 hours to go before Jooheon would be boarding a plane for home, Jimin mentally prepared himself for life with a “boyfriend”.  It would be the first time in many years that Jimin considered himself committed to someone. He placed his phone on face time and dialed him. Two large dimples popped up on the screens. Jooheon was smiling so hard that dimples were pretty much all that Jimin could see.

“Well I knew you’d be happy but this is a bit much. Stop all of that smiling before your face gets stuck like that.” Jimin teased. It was good to see Jooheon so happy.

“Italy is nice. Milan is spectacular but I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here. When I get back to Busan, I’m going to kiss the ground,” Jooheon laughed.

Jimin rolled his eyes, “That’s a wee bit intense, but yeah. I get it. I’m so happy you’re coming home. It’s been a really long time. What time do you get in tomorrow?”

Jooheon riffled through papers on his desk, “Let’s see here, I’ve got the flight information, um, I get in at 2pm KST, Flight 5519 Al Italia Airlines. We leave Milan and fly straight to Korea, non-stop. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep, thank goodness. Do you need me to email it?”

“Nah, I got it. Those are my lucky numbers, I won’t forget. Do you want me to meet you at the airport?” Jimin offered.

“Meet me at my place. I’m going to want to fuck immediately.” Jooheon laughed.

Jimin covered his mouth with a bit of shyness, “No subtly what-so-ever. I’ll meet you at your place.”

“Tell me you missed me,” Jooheon quipped.

“Unlike your typical crack head demands, this one is actually logical. Lee Joo-heon, after 45 days, seven hours and 15 seconds, I can honestly say, I miss you.” Jimin leaned in and kissed the phone.

Jooheon leaned in as well and timed his kiss to meet Jimin’s, “I have to get on the plane in a few hours so I better get some rest. I’ll literally see you tomorrow. God that feels good to say. Jimin, I love you.”

Jooheon switched into a voice that could only be described as an impression of Jimin, and answered himself with, “I love you too, you hot sexy thang.”

Jimin laughed so hard that he fell off of his bed. “I would never say that- like ever. Sexy thang? Really dude?” Jimin laughed again. “Good Night. Make sure to call me when you land. Ok?”

“I will. Byee,” Jooheon waved.

“Byee,” Jimin said back.

***
Since Jooheon was finally coming home, Jimin decided to take a vacation day. He called in a substitute teacher to look after The Squad while he took the day off to prepare for the homecoming. His plan was to spend the day in the bakery and then wait for Jooheon to call to meet up at his place.

“Good Morning!” Jimin greeted his parents as he walked into the bakery.

“Jimin, what a surprise, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” Jimin’s mother hugged him and fixed his hair.

“Technically, yes, BUT I took a vacation day. Jooheon’s flying home from Milan today. He’s been gone for over a month,” Jimin smiled.

“Oh honey, I’m completely indifferent to that information,” his mother said coldly.

Jimin gasped, “Mom, why don’t you like him?”

“I never said I didn’t like him, honey. I said I was indifferent, agnostic, MEH,” she said even more coldly.

“Mom, I really like him and I think he and I could have a future,” Jimin attempted to defend his relationship.

Jimin’s mother took a seat and prepared to lecture her son, “Really like him huh? Then tell me this; why is it that the fire in your eyes burned out the day Jungkook left? All I see when I look at you are dull pallor’s of grey. It’s almost as if you have no passion for this Jooheon. But when Jungkook was around, your entire soul illuminated bright bold color.”

“Passion? Not that again. You sound like Jungkook,” Jimin laughed.

“Yes PASSION! Life is nothing without passion. Honey, I have nothing against Jooheon, I really don’t. I’m sure he will make a lovely husband for someone, just not you. Jimin what happened with Jungkook? Why did he really leave? The truth, please.” Jimin’s mother stared intensely into his eyes.

“It’s very complicated and I would rather not get into that conversation. He wasn’t right for me Mommy. I have no idea why you latched on to him,” Jimin said angrily.

“Latched on to him? No, I flat out love the guy. Do you know why? Because he LOVES YOU and you…love him. I’m your mother Jimin. Do you honestly think I can’t see these things? Beyond being a spectacular young man and a wonderful spirit, I can see the connection between you. Jimin your heart leaps whenever you look at him. Why are you trying to pretend that doesn't exist?”

Jimin’s voice sounded like a whiny child, “I’m not pretending anything mommy. Jooheon loves me too. He told me so…”

She held up her palm, “STOP. Stop right there. What do you feel for him?”

“I –I like him, very much. I shouldn’t have to defend my relationships. It’s my choice!” Jimin argued.

“Jimin, I know you very well. I suspect that the only reason you’re sticking with Jooheon is because…he’s safe. But you don’t have to settle Jimin.” She sat back in her seat and relaxed, having voided her conscious.

His mother’s comments hit home. Jimin sighed a deep sigh of irritation. Safe, no passion, settle – all words that he’d said to himself repeatedly. Even Jungkook tried to warn him of the same thing. Jimin smirked, “Am I really that obvious mom?”

“Captain Obvious, sweetheart. Anyone with a brain can see that you don’t love Jooheon and probably never will. I will support you, whatever decisions you make. But I wouldn’t be a good mom if I didn’t call you on your bullshit.”

“Mother! Language!” Jimin scolded.

She gritted her teeth and shrugged her shoulders, “Sorry.”

A small group of customers gathered around the television near the front counter. Jimin could hear gasps and weeps as they watched something on the news. He walked over to join them. The lower third of the screen flashed in all caps: ***BREAKING NEWS***TRAGEDY IN MILAN, 235 PEOPLE PRESUMED DEAD ON FLIGHT #5519 AL ITALIA AIRLINES.  FLIGHT CRASHED DURING TAKE-OFF FROM LINATE AIRPORT.  THE FLIGHT WAS BOUND FOR BUSAN'S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN SOUTH KOREA. NO DETAILS KNOWN AT THIS TIME.

Jimin’s mother immediately grabbed his hand, “Jimin. Jimin listen to me. I’m sure it’s a different flight. Why don’t we call him? L-let’s find out where he is. He’s probably still at the airport. Let’s call him.” Her hands trembled as she tried to help Jimin dial his phone.

Jimin’s was suddenly unable to stand. He fell backwards into the booth near the television. Before he could dial Jooheon’s number, his phone rang. The call was coming from Ong. He stared at the number as it flashed across the screen and contemplated his choices. He could choose to ignore the phone call and go about his day pretending that his boyfriend had not just been killed in a plane crash, or he could answer and have his worst nightmare confirmed.

Before he could choose, his mother took the phone from his hands, “Ongie, Ongie, tell me it’s not true. Tell me you’ve spoken to him and he’s fine...”

Silence.

More silence.

Jimin looked up at the screen. The News camera panned across the view of a field that was fully engulfed in flames. Airplane wreckage debris was strewn thousands of feet across the meadow. The dorsal tail, still intact, read Al Italia #5519.

Silence.

Silence.

“Ongie, no. I don’t know how to tell him this. Oh God.” Time slowed. Jimin watched his mother’s face. He read her eyes. He followed the words as they passed her lips. He watched her shoulders slump over in helplessness with the words, “He’s gone.” She leaned down into the booth and held her son.

***
Not much was known about the cause of the crash. The NTSB as well as the KAAIB were on the scene, but finding the root cause could take months, even years to pin point. Jimin lay on the floor of his apartment watching the local News do a roll call that paid tribute to each of each of the victims. 208 of the 235 people onboard were Korean citizens. It was easy to forget that Jooheon, as humble and unassuming as he was, was an International superstar. His loss was grieved not only by Jimin and Jooheon’s family, but by fans and Fashion Houses all over the world. Although all lives lost that day were precious, Jooheon’s life was by far the most famous. Unfortunately, that meant a constant barrage of tributes, News stories and documentaries on his very short but exceptional life.

It was widely suspected that Jooheon was gay, but out of respect for his family and his legacy, none of his former lovers, including Jimin, chose to speak out about their relationships. In such a homophobic society, it was unknown how such information would affect his memory. If Jooheon had been running the show, he would have shouted it from the rooftops, but in his absence, his sexuality and all references to it, would be buried with him.

It seemed as if every five minutes, his beautiful face flashed upon the screen. Lee-Joo-Heon, dead at only 28 years old. His death was the talk of Busan; all of Korea really. Jimin’s friends and family and co-workers formed an assembly line of well wishes and condolences. All of them felt empty. Jimin was torn between guilt of never telling Jooheon that he loved him and relief knowing that he’d never lied and told Jooheon that he loved him.

Ong, at the behest of Jimin’s mother, barged into Jimin’s apartment with numerous take-out containers from Jimin’s favorite food spots.

Jimin looked up from his position on the floor, “How’d you get in here?” He mumbled.

“I have a key, remember?” Ong answered.

“Give it back,” Jimin mumbled again.

“You ask for it back every week. I never give it back. I’m never going to give it back,” Ong teased. “Jimin, the funeral is today. They don’t have many remains, but they are still going to give him a proper burial. We need to get you dressed. When’s the last time you ate?”

“The day he died,” Jimin answered.

Ong grabbed Jimin’s arm and forcefully pulled him from the floor, “Jimin, I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now. But if you don’t say a proper goodbye, you’ll never forgive yourself. Now get up and get dressed. The funeral starts in an hour. Jimin walked to his closet to pull out his black Chanel suit, a gift that Jooheon had purchased for him.

“You look nice Ongie.” Jimin noticed Ong wearing a tailored black suit with a skinny black tie and black leather shoes.

“Thank you. Now get in the shower. We’ll eat some lunch and then we’ll go,” Ong dictated.

***
Jimin shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His chest was heavy and he found himself gasping for breath. Funerals were not cup of tea. He spotted Jooheon’s parents standing alone and decided to take the opportunity to speak before more funeral goers bombarded them. “Mrs. Lee, Mr. Lee? Jimin greeted them with a polite bow.

“You must be Jimin?” Mrs. Lee extended her hand and held Jimin’s. Jooheon’s Father, Mr. Lee, stared off into space, seemingly incoherent.

“Yes,” Jimin smiled, “how did you know?”

She held on to his hand and cupped it within both of hers, “Pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. He thought you were very special. He loved you Jimin.”

“And – I felt the – same,” Jimin closed his eyes as the lie passed his lips. “I’m sorry we had to meet for the first time under these circumstances. I…” Jimin stopped speaking.

“Thank you, Jimin.” She reached out and gave Jimin a faint hug. Her tears began to flow but she continued to speak bravely, “It’s good to know he had someone like you in his life.”

Jimin bowed and then backed away from Jooheon’s parents. Their level of grief was too intense for him to handle. The thought of losing a child was unimaginable, no matter his age.

Jimin just wanted to breathe again. He felt suffocating pressure, like an elephant was sitting on his chest. He just wanted to breathe. He glanced around the room and rested his eyes upon the attractive Purple-haired bartender, Jooheon’s ex-boyfriend. They met each other’s glances and smiled politely, each understanding the other. He continued to look around and spotted his parents sitting in the last row. The sweet and loving Parks, always there to support their son no matter what, had made a surprise appearance. He walked to the back and hugged them both.

“Funerals are not my thing.” He smiled awkwardly.

“Yep, never have been. Can we take you home?” His dad offered.

“Please.” Jimin saw Solar and Ong talking to what he assumed were more family members. He gave them both a wave goodbye and then bolted from the building. His breath still escaped him. All he wanted to do - was breathe.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 7 – The Saddest Part

Jooheon’s death was such a National tragedy that an inescapable hush of melancholy befell the city. Most of the world only knew Jimin and Jooheon as friends, but those who knew their real story were particularly insufferable with their constant hovering. Ong and Solar were especially annoying; expecting Jimin’s fragility to overtake him at any moment. Everyone was waiting for him to show weakness and eventually crumble. Even the school board, in their own self-important wisdom, felt Jimin needed time to “grieve”. As such, they forced him into a mandatory 3-week grievance leave from school, separating him from the only joy he had remaining in his life, his students.

What they didn’t know and what no one really understood, was that Jimin didn’t want time to grieve. He just wanted to move on. Grieving meant trying to rationalize why God would take a man like Jooheon, in his prime. It was an exercise in futility and Jimin wanted no part of it. It was better to just stuff his feelings inside and move on. He didn’t love Jooheon, so what right did he have to cry for him? Hypocritical behavior.

One month to the day of Jooheon’s death, Jimin finally returned to the classroom. The Squad was relieved to have their beloved teacher return. Even though they were young, the impact of Jooheon’s death was not lost upon them. The news was inescapable and they too were bombarded with daily reminders. Jooheon was not just a strange face to them, he was a friend who they knew well. He was a regular visitor at the school and he always had a purpose for his visits such as; bringing Mr. Park lunch, or bringing him flowers, or hanging out with The Squad to tell funny stories. They understood that Jooheon was special and now he was gone.

There was no morning greeting for The Squad. Instead, Jimin entered the classroom after the bell had already rung and the children were already seated.

“Good morning, nice to see you again. Please read silently and practice. The page assignments are on the board.” Jimin’s voice was dry and hoarse, as if he hadn’t used it in days. He sat down quietly at his desk while they worked on their phonics study guide and busied himself by reading through the new rules for school bus parking. He was half way through the bulletin when he heard a small sniffle. He looked up and Soon was standing at his desk.

“Soon what are you doing out of your seat?” Jimin said firmly.

Soon’s face was sullen with small tear droplets burrowing within her eyelashes. She rubbed her nose and spoke, “My mom says when you’re sad, you need a hug and a song and that will make it all better.”

Jimin forced a smile, “Soon, I’m sorry you’re sad but I really don’t feel like singing...”

“No Mr. Park, I’m going to sing to you. Soon cleared her throat and in her soft uneven tiny voice, she sang Jimin’s favorite verse to Spring Day:

“Nunkkocci tteoreojyeoyo
Tto jogeumssik meoreojyeoyo
Bogo sipda
Bogo sipda
Eolmana gidaryeoya
Tto myeot bameul deo saewoya
Neol boge doelkka
Mannage doelkka”

She smiled at Jimin, revealing two missing front teeth. “Remember Mr. Park, you sang that to me when my pet hamster died? Now I’m singing it to you.” Soon reached up and wrapped her arms around Jimin’s neck and squeezed him tight. “Be better now Mr. Park.” She turned and skipped back to her desk.

Shilpa was his next visitor, “Mr. Park, remember when I first moved here and I was sad because I had to leave all my friends in India? You wrote me a poem. Now that you’re sad, I’ve written one for you,” Shilpa cleared her throat and spoke loudly and clearly, “Sadness is bad, happiness is good. Let’s be happy with lots of yummy food.” Her expression was hopeful as she continued, “I baked this for you.” Shilpa gave Jimin a cupcake and then she too, wrapped her arms around him in a sweet hug.

Jimin looked into the eager faces of the small children, “Class. I-I don’t know what to say...” before he could get his words out, a line had formed. In a completely spontaneous display, each of his students waited patiently for their chance to hug him. The little faces and little hearts wanted nothing more than to give back the love that he had so selflessly poured into them. Some of them had food, others had words of encouragement and still others just needed to touch him. Every single student greeted him with love and compassion. Jimin’s heart was so full that it threatened to burst wide open.

As the line died down, Alai, the last to greet him, walked slowly towards Jimin’s desk, “Mr. Park, remember when my Mom died? You drew a picture of her and put it in a frame so that I would always remember her. It looked so much like her. You even came to her funeral. Well, I drew something for you.” Alai handed Jimin her drawing of two stick figures hugging, one of the figures had large commas in his face to represent dimples. It was a framed picture of Jimin and Jooheon. Alai smiled and then spoke, almost in a whisper, “He’s with my mom now, so don’t worry. She’ll take care of him.”

And for the first time in weeks, Jimin breathed. The elephant that had smothered him and entombed him in a coffin of numbness and denial, released itself. Jimin wailed loudly and finally released the pinned-up anger, guilt, frustration and grief- yes grief that he held for so long. He lowered his head and sobbed freely. Within seconds, 18 sets of arms were snuggled around him.

***
Once again, Jimin returned home to the silence of his apartment. To keep his mind occupied, he decided to do what he always did when he needed to distract himself; he cleaned and rearranged things. It felt like the best way to create a fresh start for himself. While cleaning out the crates under his desk, he came across his finished Novel that he’d typed on his magic typewriter. Earlier in the year, Jimin committed to doing a final edit on his book so he could shop it around to potential publishers. But with the turmoil of Jooheon’s death, he quickly abandoned any hopes of ever having his Novel published. Jimin no longer had the motivation to continue with the project. In fact, the Novel seemed to come with too many bad memories. He looked for a place to store the completed manuscript and saw the familiar storage box on the top shelf. He opened it once again and threw the entire copy into the box. A picture of Jungkook lay on the bottom of the box, attached to the notes from Professor Lee-Soung’s article. “Jungkook,” Jimin whispered, “my most painful memory yet.”

Time had given Jimin precious perspective about his life and his relationships, a perspective that had previously been missing. He thought back to all the pain he’d caused. First, he’d hurt Jooheon by not being able to return his love. Then, he hurt Jungkook by betraying him and tossing him aside for his own selfish choices. And now God was punishing him by taking them both away. Jimin’s guts twisted in knots as he tried to fathom just how much he must have devastated Jungkook when he sent him away. The biggest lesson that he’d learned from Professor Lee –Soung’s explanation of “the beings” was that the love between the being and the creator was powerful and everlasting. Not accepting Jungkook’s love, may have been his greatest mistake and now it was too late. “One is three and three is nine which is one.” The last warning that Professor Lee –Soung gave about trying to replicate his creation in the name of love, after destroying it.

The entirety of his circumstance made Jimin inconsolable. He laid on the couch and covered himself from head to toe with the yellow blanket. Within moments, he was sound asleep.

***

The nightmare that came to Jimin while he was sleeping was punishment from his own mind. A vision of an airplane slamming into the ground replayed itself over and over, but instead of Jooheon’s dead body lying there in the wreckage, it was Jungkook. His once perfect body lay twisted, broken and bloodied. Whenever Jimin would attempt to touch him, the body would disappear behind a wall of flames and Jungkook could be heard pleading with Jimin to save him. And then just as suddenly, the nightmare would switch to the memory of the night that he and Jungkook kissed while naked. The back and forth between the pleasure and the pain was paralyzing until finally, Jimin awoke screaming from the conflict. Tears engulfed him again. The gravity of pain pulled him down from the couch into a pile upon the floor. He breathed into the comforting lavender scent of the blanket, begging for it to somehow take the pain away. Was he grieving Jooheon or was he grieving Jungkook? The fact that he had to ask himself that question only exacerbated his angst. He looked down at his hands; mounds of the blanket were clasped tightly within his fists as he shook with the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. He had to do something, he had to find a way to fix it. Warnings blared in his head telling him not to do it. His highly logical brain begged him to stop, abandon the idea, don’t take the risk. He could hear none of it. The only sound he could hear was the slow beat of his aching heart. He bounded from the floor and ran directly to the typewriter, typed the words, then stepped away breathing heavy, shaking and terrified of his own impulsivity.

A soft wind stirred briefly and then disappeared. Jimin could hear a deep gentle voice echo through the walls, “I asked you not to bring me back.” It was Jungkook’s voice speaking, admonishing Jimin defiantly; almost as if he were refusing to return.

Jimin’s only response was the sound of his cries. He was too overwhelmed to speak, he could only hope that Jungkook could read his heart and agree to come to him. Jimin lay resting on his knees with his head down, grasping at his chest, trying to relieve the hurt, guilt and despondency that were triggered by his nightmare. As should have been expected, the sound of Jimin’s sobbing proved to be the key to unlocking Jungkook’s stubbornness.

The familiar wind of Jeon Jungkook’s arrival traveled gently through the apartment. Jimin’s tears were blown back from his face as his real-life Polaroid developed in front of him. The subtle lavender scent arrived moments before Jungkook, himself, materialized.

The Jungkook that Jimin expected, was not the Jungkook that returned. He was there but - wasn’t? Indeed, he looked the same, walked the same, and smiled the same but he wasn’t- the same. The childlike aura that once danced in his eyes was now replaced by a somber visage of maturity and worldliness. Instead of his usual jeans and baggy sweatshirt, he wore a black, well fitted suit with a casual button-down shirt underneath. His hair was no longer a fluffy chocolate brown, it was now black, chin length with large soft waves that were pushed behind his ear on the right side.

He walked straight towards the sound of the crying, and stood over Jimin as he wept upon his knees. His large hand slid under Jimin’s chin, forcing him to raise his head to look up at him. Instantly upon seeing Jimin’s face, he dropped to his knees and pressed his forehead against Jimin’s, eager to learn the source of his tears. Now using both hands, he wiggled his fingers around Jimin’s eyes to wipe away the wet droplets with his fingertips. The familiar comforting hug that he gave to Jimin was only eclipsed by his words, “I’m here baby.”

Jimin, now flooded with a sense of relief, collapsed in Jungkook’s arms and released all of the tears his body could produce.

***

For whatever metamorphosis Jungkook had undergone, one thing remained unchanged and that was his love, passion and desire for Jimin. His sensitive nature seemed to remain as well because for every tear that Jimin shed, Jungkook shed a tear of his own to match it. They sat on the floor holding each other for over an hour until Jimin was finally all cried out. Jungkook helped him to the couch and covered him in the yellow blanket.

“Jungkookie, thank you for coming back. I know I hurt you and…”

“Stop please Jimin.” Jungkook didn’t allow Jimin to go down the path of making excuses for why he had discarded him last time. He simply didn’t want to hear it.

Jimin perceived the warning and quickly changed the subject, “Jungkook, you seem like a different person. It’s like you’re you, but not you. But my heart – my heart tells me you’re the same. I-I don’t understand,” Jimin tried to explain himself.

Jungkook stood and prepared to lecture Jimin, “You were warned. The first time you ever created me, you were warned. Remember the Weibo page that Ricky gave you? One of the very first warnings was only ONCE, meaning you could only destroy me once. You’ve now destroyed me twice and summoned me back three times. Each time you bring me back, you inadvertently give me more control over who I am and who I decide to be. My past experiences with you have shaped who I choose to be today. I mean, did you really think you could just disregard the rules but still keep your precious puppy?”

“But your heart is the same, I can feel it.” Jimin stared. Jungkook had always been handsome. But his latest iteration magnified his beauty 100 times over. Every single detail about his face was to Jimin’s liking. Every element from his chest, all the way to his fingertips were exactly as Jimin would have wanted them to be. Jungkook, as he stood, was the most beautiful man Jimin had ever seen.

“Of course my heart is the same, it matches yours. That can never be changed. “One is three is nine which is one.” What’s all of this about Jimin? What has happened that has you in tears?” Jungkook sat again and placed his arm around Jimin’s shoulders to hold him close.

“Jooheon is dead,” Jimin sniffled.

Jungkook’s body stiffened and he removed his arm from Jimin. Without emotion he spoke, “I’m sorry to hear that. What happened?”

“Plane crash. He was on his way home from a photo shoot and the plane went down suddenly in a field just outside of Milan, Italy- 235 people were on board and he was one of them.” Jimin struggled to get through his sentences.

“Again, I’m very sorry. Obviously, you two were much closer than I realized. Explains why you so callously sent me away.” There was a bite in Jungkook’s tone. The subject matter of Jooheon, even in his death, was not a good one for him.

“We were very close but...not as close as he wanted to be. I held him at arms-length and I never gave him the same type of love that he gave me. I don’t know why...something just always held me back,” Jimin explained.

“Jooheon was a relationship of convenience. He was never the right match for you. You clung to him out of your own ridiculous fear of being alone. Fuck- Jimin why am I here?” Jungkook stood up and walked towards the fireplace.

Jimin had never heard Jungkook swear or rise in anger before. The new Jungkook was definitely a character of his own making, yet his familiar Yin to Jimin’s Yang persisted.

“I told you not to bring me back. Why did you defy me?” Jungkook said, angry and resentful.

Jimin did his best to justify it, “I-I needed you, I was grieving, confused and-and...”

“I’m a placeholder? Once again, you’ll keep me here until something better comes along or until you get angry with me or until whatever other fucking desire strikes you and then you’ll destroy me again?” Jungkook was seething. The disrespect he felt was paramount. He was tired of Jimin toying with his heart and using him for his own selfish needs. He looked around for the manuscript that Jimin used to bring him back. It was still sitting in the typewriter. Jungkook marched over to the desk, ripped out his page and crumbled it in his hands. Without any hesitation, he drew his arm back preparing to throw the page into the fire to destroy himself.

“NO!” Jimin caught Jungkook’s arm and dislodged the paper causing it to fall to the carpet between their feet.

“LET ME GO BACK! I can’t help you in this world, I can’t give you what you need. My heart can’t take this anymore, Jimin! I’ve loved you from the day you first created me. I am YOU, and you are me. Don’t you understand, that’s the true power of the typewriter. It fulfills your destiny! But it can’t overcome your stubbornness and lack of faith. Create someone new Jimin. Create whatever the fuck you want, just let me go, please.” Jungkook’s eyes filled with tears.

And just like that, all of the pieces came together. For the first time, Jimin could clearly see the typewriter’s true intentions. Jungkook was never an accident or a simple figment of his imagination. He was – a gift customized just for him. Jungkook’s tender spirit and fragile heart could only exist because Jimin himself existed. Jungkook’s suffering as well as his own suffering only occurred because Jimin had broken a bond that was never meant to be undone. His heart fluttered with excitement, “Jungkook listen to me please. I understand. Now I know why I could never love Jooheon, I understand…”

Jungkook yelled, “Don’t say his name to me! Even after his death, I’m still competing with him!”

“No please Jungkook listen. I met you before I ever met him and it was already done. By the time I met him, it was already done. I could never love him because…” Jimin knelt down between them to pick up the ball of paper. Carefully, as if it were the most precious jewel on the planet, he unrumpled the page. His eyes locked into Jungkook’s eyes as he unfolded crease after crease until the page was back in its original form. He didn’t speak; he allowed the words on the page to speak for him. He held the page with the typed print facing Jungkook so he could read it.

There were only thirteen typed words. Jungkook read them aloud, ”Dear typewriter, bring me Jeon Jungkook, the only one that I truly love.” Jungkook stared at him and stuttered, "Y-You love me?"

The reflection from the fire shone in Jimin’s eyes. His expression was both enchanted and ravenous simultaneously, "Nice suit,” he whispered, “too bad it has to come off.” Jimin pulled Jungkook free from his jacket, then placed his small hands on either side of his shirt and ripped it open so aggressively that half of the buttons flew off and landed in the fire. With all of his might, he pushed the larger man against the chilly window of the apartment.

Jungkook was happy to oblige, he aided in his own disrobing by unbuckling his pants and pushing them to the floor. The duo stumbled around the apartment stripping each other and tripping over shoes, and boxes, until finally both of their bodies tumbled on to the couch. They continued to clutch each other ripping away clothes and throwing them about.

A brick of mingled emotions had been sitting on Jimin’s chest for weeks and it was now time to purge them all. There would be no tender love making, not today. The two attacked each other like animals in the wild, mating for survival. Jimin, the mild-mannered Kindergarten teacher, flipped Jungkook around to lay on his stomach. Jungkook writhed in pain as his hard cock was mashed against the couch cushions. Jimin paid no attention to his mate’s discomfort.

In an instant, the glow of the fire picked up markings along Jungkook’s back. Jimin paused and then whispered in a low sultry voice, “What is this?” In the middle of Jungkook’s back, right between the shoulder blades was a vertical tattoo that aligned perfectly down the center of his spine. The J was lettered just below the back of his neck, followed by the rest of the letters that ended right before the curve of his ass. It read:

J

I

M

I

N

“I’ve always been yours. Now when you’re fucking me from behind, you’ll remember it.” Jungkook flexed the muscles in his back to make the tattoo wave across his toned curves.

Jimin felt as if he might explode right there; his shear desire was so strong that he suddenly felt the need to cum hard, immediately. He fought to maintain control but seeing his name across Jungkook’s sexy back drove him crazy with lust.

He straddled his mate’s ass and began massaging his own hard dick between the firm muscular ass cheeks. Careful not to insert himself, he slid his cock along the deep crease where Jungkook’s two halves met. Forcefully, he grabbed a clump on Jungkook’s hair and pulled his head back, causing the JIMIN written on his back to collapse in an inverted arch. Jimin leaned forward and ran his tongue up and down the trail of small hairs that ran along Jungkook’s nape. He could feel his dick pulsating as it tickled the wrinkled slit of Jungkook’s ass, almost as if it wanted to jump through the hole on it’s own. “Down boy, not yet” he whispered to his engorged cock, which seemed to have a mind of it’s own.

If Jungkook was truly a figment of his imagination, then driving his hard dick into his dry tender ass would be just fine, right? Jimin laughed at the thought. He folded Jungkook into a slight V so that his ass protruded high into the air. Jungkook lay face down, ass up while Jimin attacked, using his supple swollen lips to suck the soft sensitive area around his hole. His tongue flickered in and out of the slit, causing Jungkook to let out soft quiet moans. He deposited a small amount of warm saliva just inside of Jungkook’s walls and then lubricated the entire area with his mouth. Jungkook moaned again and shifted himself to push his ass closer to Jimin’s face. Jimin’s dick continued to pulsate as if begging to be engulfed in the tight warmth of Jungkook.

Jimin pushed Jungkook’s ass back down and climbed on top of it. He spread his legs and pointed his dick straight down towards his target. He started by inserting his tip, then he pushed further until he was met with resistance from the thick uncooperative walls of Jungkook’s anus. The tight squeeze around his shaft drove him crazy and caused him to call out, “FUCK, this is good." Jungkook assisted by pushing back against him, causing his ass to swallow Jimin’s entire dick. Jimin watched as his extension completely disappeared into the warm stiff entrance of his lover. He slowly, as slowly as possible, pulled his cock out, watching as it reappeared glistening in moisture. He pushed in again, and pulled out again until he created a pace which was both exhilarating and erotic. Pleasures previously unknown to him, circulated through his body. Jimin was so seduced by the fuck, that he didn’t even recognize the feverish, uncontrolled pants and moans until he realized they were coming from his own voice. Never had he felt like this and never had he endured such complete satisfaction. With each stroke, he grew closer and closer and closer, until he was ready to release it all. The climax started with the roar of his groin, then the hot tingling within his nuts, and finally the quivering of his long legs.

He no longer wanted to be inside of Jungkook, no, he wanted something else. He wanted to make sure that Jungkook knew what he’d done to him. Instead of burying his liquid inside of him, Jimin wanted Jungkook to feel the heat of his boiling hot cum across his skin. He ripped his dick out just in time to squirt a stream of fresh cum across Jungkook’s back completely covering the M, I, and N. “You did this to me, you made me cum like this,” he spat as he released into his frenzied orgasm. “Ahhh, oh God, oh God, oh God,” he repeated while his dick continued to eject a never-ending stream of sexual juices. His satisfaction was unrivaled.

After a few deep breaths, Jimin collapsed across his name, splattering the puddle of semen over his own chest. He laid there with his and Jungkook’s legs tangled together at the far end of the couch.

And with the greatest irony imaginable, Jungkook turned his head and said, “Hi Jiminie.”

Jimin laughed and responded with, “Hi Jungkookie.”

He kissed the back of his neck and then they both fell asleep right there, without moving another muscle.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 8 – The Best Part

 

“Your hair is brown.” Jungkook blew softly through Jimin's hair.

“You have my name tattooed down your spine.” Jimin smiled.

“Touché, I guess some things have changed. But only the right things,” Jungkook said wisely.

“Do you prefer blonde?” Jimin ran his hands through his hair and the tips towards his face.

“I prefer – you. There is nothing else.”

The loving couple, now warmly stowed in Jimin’s bed, huddled close together with their noses touching and lips brushing against each other as they spoke in whispered conversation.

“I’ll probably dye it again. The last few weeks have been hectic and the last thing I cared about was…my hair,” Jimin was careful to avoid saying Jooheon’s name. “Jungkook, your tattoo…?”

“It just came. With each pass, the fire intensifies my sense of self. I feed from my creator, always, but I become less defined and limited by your will. But at the same time, changes in you can also create changes in me as the Yin and Yang is maintained. Everything has balance Jimin. Where there is great sadness, eventually there will be great happiness, I think you are due for happy.”

Jimin slid his head backwards on the pillow to increase the distance between their faces. He admired the full beauty of Jungkook’s face, “You sound like the Professor.”

“In a sense, he’s my Father, the typewriter is my Mother and you – are my creator. The one who breathes life into me.” Jungkook reclaimed their original position and once again pressed his nose against Jimin’s. He closed his eyes and nuzzled into this face.

Jimin grinned, “This is the weirdest conversation I have ever had. I’ve got to call my mom.”

“Good. And which part are you going to tell her? The part about a typewriter being my mother or the part about you being my creator?” Jungkook sarcastically questioned.
Jimin booped his nose, “I think we’re going to skip all of that. How about I just start with telling her – you’re back?”

“Playing it safe. I like that,” Jungkook laughed.

Jimin laughed with him, “I don’t know if I will ever be able to explain any of this to them Jungkook, but at least I can now convince her that you weren’t viciously murdered by the serial killer.”

Jungkook laughed even harder, “Yes, that is a positive.”

***

Jungkook decided not to accompany Jimin to school the following day. Instead, he chose to visit Jimin’s parents in the bakery. He knew that Mrs. Park would be delighted to see him after he’d been away for so long. He didn’t have a good explanation for where he’d been for almost two months, but it didn’t matter. He wanted to see his “mother” even though Jimin asked him not to refer to her that way. Mrs. Park Mom was the name he settled upon.

She worked diligently in the back kitchen, pulling hot fried dumplings out of the pan. Jungkook wanted to sneak up and surprise her, but since she was working with hot grease, he thought it would be better to announce himself.

“Mrs. Park?” He said softly from the kitchen entrance.

She gasped, “JUNGKOOKIE!” As quickly as possible, she laid the hot dumplings on the paper towel to drain then pulled off her gloves and apron and ran to give Jungkook a hug.

“Oh my handsome darling, where have you been? I almost called the police. Jimin wouldn’t tell us anything and he kept insisting you were with family, but I know you have no family and oh darling it is so good to see you.” She hugged him as tightly as he’d ever been hugged in his sporadic existence.

Jungkook smiled at the petite little woman, “Jimin was telling the truth. I traveled to Seoul to visit a sick Uncle. He’s better now. I hope to be able to stay here in Busan for a while, if Jimin will allow me.”

“But why didn’t you say goodbye before leaving? You had to know that we would miss you. And what do you mean ‘IF Jimin will let you stay’? Of course, he will. And if he gets out of line you will just come and stay with us. Do you understand?” She meant what she said. She looked at Jungkook sternly to make sure he understood that her offer of support was genuine.”

Jungkook went over to the sink, washed his hands, threw on an apron and said, “I want to spend the day with you Mrs. Park Mom, where can I help?”

Her face soured, “Mrs. Park Mom? There’s too much there, how about Momma Park?”

“I like it,” Jungkook agreed.

She smiled at Jungkook with all the love in the world, “Roll up your sleeves boy, we’re making Dasik.”

Jungkook listened thoughtfully as Mrs. Park recounted all of the events that happened while he was away. She respectfully skimmed over the topic of Jooheon, while still acknowledging his painfully tragic death.

“The key is to stretch the dough gently, we don’t want any air pockets,” Mrs. Park explained.

“Those evil little air pockets, I will destroy them,” Jungkook mocked.

“Jungkook, far be it for me to pry, but….” Mrs. Park started but was interrupted.

“YOU? PRY? That’s absurd! You’re incapable,” Jungkook teased again.

“Shush boy, before I put you over my knee. Far be it for me to pry BUT, Jimin was miserable without you. Even while Jooheon was still alive, he just wasn’t himself. He called me this morning and before he even told me you were back, I already knew. Can you guess how?”

“Your psychic Shaman powers?” Jungkook laughed.

Mrs. Park threw a chunk of dough at him, “No, smarty pants. I knew because…I could hear it in his voice. I could feel your presence through him. His energy was different and his voice was different and his tone, reminded me of that joyful boy that used to run around the bakery when he was five years old. Jungkookie, those are differences that only you can bring.”

Jungkook made a compulsive confession, “Momma Park. I’m in love with Jimin. And last night for the first time, he told me that he loved me too,” He said sentimentally.

Jimin’s father entered the kitchen, “This isn’t going to turn into some sappy love story is it? Cause if it is, I’m leaving.”

Mrs. Park threw dough at him as well, “On God, can you just chill?”

“Stop twitter talking at me. It creeps me out, plus I have no idea how to translate that madness into regular people speak.”

Jimin’s father put on a pair of heat resistant gloves and began pulling hot pastries from the oven. All three of them laughed in the kitchen while Jungkook learned all of their secrets for making great Korean Dasik. Jungkook was so happy to be with them.

***
It was November 29th. Those walking below the 11th story apartment had no reason to suspect anything was amiss. In fact, they had no reason to think anything at all. The occurrences in the 11th story window were of no consequence, despite the two large hands that were pressed like dough against the foggy glass. A light dusting of snow covered the city and the sounds of Christmas filled the air. Bustling city inhabitants went along their merry way, embracing the holiday season.

But inside the walls of apartment 1108, a different scene altogether was unfolding. Jungkook panted as a hard cock pumped his ass from behind. He begged Jimin for more and pushed his ass further into him. His hands lay pressed against the window, leaving two handprints in the otherwise cloudy cold glass.

Jimin held on to Jungkook’s hips so tight that small red indentions formed along the tender V-line of the younger’s skin. He buried his face between the shoulder blades of his statuesque lover and released his screams into the surface of his wet sweaty flesh. The salty sweat from Jungkook’s body dripped onto his lips and trickled into his mouth, providing the sensual taste of lavender on his tongue. Although shorter than Jungkook, Jimin’s strength rivaled his in every way. The muscles in his abdomen convulsed causing him to release Jungkook’s hips and wrap both arms around his entire chest. He licked the letters of his own name; tongue flittering between the J and the I. They stood naked before the large window with their flesh pressed against each other and Jimin’s cock so far up Jungkook’s ass that his nuts were barely visible.

And for his part, Jungkook took every inch of it. He was well lubricated which meant Jimin could unleash his passion with no restrictions. Jungkook removed his hands from the window and used them to reach behind himself to push Jimin deeper. Without any warning, his engorged dick released a filthy stream of cum that splashed against Jimin’s window. The thick liquid slid through the cloud of fog that covered the glass and puddled near the bottom of the window sill.

Jimin’s moans were almost like pleas for help, as if the fuck was so good, that it might kill him. His legs became unstable as the storm of orgasm approached. Unable to support Jungkook’s weight anymore, they both fell to the floor with Jimin’s dick still lodged firmly within his boyfriend. Jimin continued to stroke him from their fallen position. He wrapped both of his legs around Jungkook to increase his leverage and stuttered, “W-w-where do you want it?”

“My back, I want to feel it,” Jungkook answered.

Jimin obliged. He pulled his dick out and gave it two final strokes with his hand before he released his hot cum against Jungkook’s lower back. His body clenched tightly and then relaxed once the intensity of his orgasm subsided.

Jungkook let out a stream of quiet giggles.

“Are you laughing at me?” Jimin asked between heavy breaths.

“Yes.” Jungkook said. He turned to face Jimin and used his lower lip to tease Jimin’s before pressing his tongue into his mouth.

Jimin objected between kisses, “What’s – so – funny?”

Jungkook answered between kisses, “You – could have – fucked – me – months ago – but you - were too – stubborn.”

Jimin pulled away from the kiss, “It’s not that simple and you know it.”

“It WAS that simple, and you know it.” Jungkook was clearly still holding a grudge over the times when Jimin had rejected him in the past.

“Jungkook, this is the best sex of my li…”

Jungkook interrupted him, “I know. That’s the point.” He rose from the floor and headed to the shower, leaving Jimin alone to bask in his afterglow. There he lay, naked and smiling, with the heat from the fire warming his legs. The biggest smile possible erupted across his face. He stretched his taught muscular body, and let out a small shout of glee.

***
The next few weeks passed in a flash. Jimin and Jungkook continued to work through the occasional awkward kinks that arose due to Jungkook’s unusual origins. Although he was mostly a man of his own making, he held on to the original attributes that Jimin had given him which meant he was much more complex than his previous iterations. Jimin enjoyed discovering Jungkook’s new personality because it was like dating someone completely new. Each day seemed to bring a new surprise and Jungkook continued to evolve. Most of his innocent outlook towards life had been fractured by his resentment. Yet, small sporadic pockets of his childlike aura remained and were heavily displayed when he was at his happiest.

Christmas was fast approaching and Jungkook had already begun to decorate Jimin’s little apartment. Jimin sat idly by as he watched Jungkook slowly morph into one of Santa’s most precious Elves. The apartment was alive with activity; the smell of fresh baked cookies, the sound of Christmas carols, and the hum of Jungkook’s soft voice –a voice that filled his heart. “My home,” Jimin uttered as he watched Jungkook shuffle through the small apartment.

“Jiminie. We need a Christmas tree,” Jungkook said. He was on top of a ladder hanging mistletoe from the ceiling.

“A what?” Jimin looked to the top of the ladder. He sat at the foot of the couch with his legs crossed like one of his kindergarten students.

“A Christmas tree, right here, in the living room.” Jungkook pointed to the corner next to the fireplace.

Jimin laughed. “Well that sounds like fun. How about we go this weekend to pick one up from the store?”

“I like that. Let’s do it. I don’t know Christmas very well, so I had to research it. According to Charlie Brown, we need a tree, and lights and ornaments and presents. Yeah, a lot of work.” Jungkook frowned.

Jimin guffawed, “Did you just quote Charlie Brown? THE Charlie Brown, the bald American kid with three strands of hair?” Jimin hiccupped laughed and fell flat on his back. He pounded the floor with his fists as he released his laughter.

“What the hell is so funny? HE’s a very wizened boy who knows a lot about the topic of Christmas.” Jungkook was visibly confused by Jimin’s generous teasing. The old Jungkook would have folded his arms and pouted until Jimin apologized. The new Jungkook was a bit more calculating. “You find me funny huh? Don’t make me come over there, Jimin,” he said seriously.

Jimin sobered, a bit startled by Jungkook’s authoritative tone, “Are you threatening me?”

“Yes, I’m absolutely threatening you. You’re not too old to put over my knee.” Jungkook put his hands on his hips.

“Aw DAMNIT! That was really sexy until I realized that you got that phrase from my Mother.” Jimin frowned, the mood was broken. As sexually advanced as Jungkook was, he still had not fully gripped the context of sexual double entendre. “Jungkookie, you’re literally talking about a spanking, aren’t you?”

“Yes, you’re being unruly. What did you think I meant?” Jungkook was still confused.

“That is something that I look forward to teaching you later,” Jimin said naughtily. “Never mind that. School lets out for Winter break on Friday, so this will be the perfect weekend to venture out and do a little shopping. We’ll get everything we need my love.”

Jungkook climbed down from the ladder and sat on the floor next to Jimin, “Am I really your love?”

“You are every bit, my love,” Jimin confirmed. He took Jungkook’s hand and placed it over his heart, “You live right here.”

***
School released early due to the start of winter break. Jimin packed his things and perched himself in the hallway to prepare to hug his students goodbye as they left for vacation. The kids assembled in single file line, ready to board the bus.

As fate would have it, all 18 members of The Squad saw him at the same time; Jungkook was walking down the hallway towards them. The routinely disciplined class erupted in chaos with all of them taking off in a thunderous swarm to run towards Jungkook. Even though he’d been back for a month, he’d avoided visiting the school out of respect for Ong and others who were still grieving Jooheon. But today was a special day, and he figured it was time to let The Squad know that he was back. Jungkook saw the herd of children running towards him and he braced for impact. He tried to maintain his footing to remain upright, but it was no use, they took him down. He went crashing to the floor underneath a pile of little children.

Jimin fell against the wall laughing hysterically. He slow jogged over to help unbury Jungkook while an orchestra of little voices filled the halls yelling his name, “JUNGKOOOOOOOK!”

Jungkook giggled and tried his best to hug all of them at the same time.

“Jimin!” He yelled, “They’re so cute. Can we have lots of these?”

Jimin yelled back, “The kids? You want kids?”

“Of course I do!” Jungkook yelled back, still under assault.

“How many?” Jimin asked curiously.

“How many are here?” Jungkook yelled back.

“18!” Jimin answered.

“Yes, then 18. I want 18.” Jungkook giggled, still wrestling with the gang of children.

Jimin fell against the wall again, this time clutching his chest, “Jungkook, I think this needs more discussion.” He swam through the tiny little arms and found Jungkook’s hand to pull him up. “Get back in line kiddos. It’s almost time for the bus and I didn’t get my goodbye hugs.”

Jungkook stayed with Jimin and the two of them loaded the children onto the bus. They wished them all Merry Christmas and watched as the bus drove off. Jimin immediately turned to Jungkook to carefully examine what he was wearing.

“My love. It’s chilly outside, but not THAT cold. What exactly are you wearing?” Jimin smiled, but was careful not to laugh.

Jungkook wore a bright red headband that covered both of his ears, a bulky Down jacket, wool gloves, heavy boots and several layers of pants.

“I have a surprise for you Jimin.” He wiggled around in excitement.

“Heatstroke? No thanks.” Jimin giggled.

“Ha-ha-ha very funny. Jiminie, I’m taking you on an adventure. We’re going to get our Christmas tree.” Jungkook continued to wiggle.

“Jungkook, I think they have heat in the mall. Again, you’re a bit overdressed,” Jimin said as he kissed Jungkook’s forehead directly over the bright red headband.

Jungkook shook his head, “No mall for us. We’re real men. We’re going to chop down our OWN Christmas tree. I figured we would also spend the night on the mountain while we are there and make a fun trip out of it.”

Jimin rubbed his temples, “You said a lot of things just now, none of which I understood. Explain please?”

“We are going to a Christmas tree farm in the mountains to chop down our own Christmas tree just like our ancestors used to do,” Jungkook spoke slowly to make sure Jimin understood him.

“Clearly those were your ancestors. My ancestors went to the mall to get their Christmas tree.” Jimin was dead serious.

“There were no malls back in the caveman days, Jimin,” Jungkook said, now agitated.

“Caveman mall. My ancestors shopped at the Caveman mall,” Jimin quipped.

Jungkook did his best not to laugh. He held his lips tightly together for a few seconds before his hearty laugh escaped through his pressed lips. “Oh shut up Malfoy.” Jungkook grabbed Jimin’s hand and began to drag him toward the parking lot.

“You’ve been in my Harry Potter collection?” Jimin frowned.

“Possibly.” Jungkook grimaced and smiled. He continued, “Jimin trust me. This is going to be the most fun ever. I have everything planned.”

Jimin grimaced, “Jungkook, you’re serious, aren’t you? Baby, do I look like I’m dressed for tree chopping? I’m wearing Chanel boots for God sake.”

“It’s taken care of. Your clothes are all packed. We’re just going for a night, maybe two.” Jungkook smiled enthusiastically.

“Jungkook wait! There are so many problems here 1) It’s freezing outside, we can’t “camp” in the woods, 2) No bus takes us up to the mountains, so we have no way to get there, 3) I have never wielded an ax in my life, there’s no way I’ll be able to chop down a tree without losing an appendage, 4) Even if we found a bus to take us there, we can’t very well bring a Christmas tree back on a bus, 5) Did I mention it’s freezing outside?” Jimin was growing concerned.

Jungkook stopped pulling Jimin long enough to reply, “1) Yeah, heated tent, 2) I’m driving, rented us a truck, 3) We’re using a chainsaw, read a book about it, we’ll be fine, 4) I’m driving, rented us a truck, 5) HEATED TENT-T-T” He emphasized the “t” at the end of the word tent to show his growing irritation with Jimin’s lack of faith in him.

“YOU CAN DRIVE?” Jimin exclaimed.

“Nice, right? Slight adjustment I made since the last time I was here,” Jungkook boasted.

Jimin dragged his feet, trying to slow Jungkook down, “Where is the money coming from for all of this?”

“Your parents have been paying me to help out in the bakery.” Jungkook tugged harder.

“What? They pay you? They never pay me!” Jimin completely stopped in his tracks.

“Would you shut up and let’s GO?” Jungkook, no longer interested in toying with Jimin, picked him up and threw him over his shoulder. “We have to go. I want to get there soon so we can watch the sun go down.”

Jimin called from over Jungkook’s shoulder, “Jungkook, you DO realize that this is one of those cute little innocent mistakes that could get us killed, right?”

“I do.” Jungkook slapped Jimin’s butt.

Jimin relented, “Alright then, let’s do this.”

Jungkook continued to carry Jimin until they reached a large F150 Pick-up truck that was parked in the teacher’s parking lot. He gently let him down and unlocked the passenger door.

“Jimin?” Jimin heard someone angrily yell his name. He turned around to see Ong.

“He’s back? Jungkook is back and you never bothered to tell me? Wow, love the way you grieve the man you were supposed to move in with.” Ong said angrily. “Did you ever fucking care about Jooheon at all?”

“Ongie...” Jimin didn’t know what to say. There was no purpose in denying his feelings anymore. And although the timing was unfortunate, his and Jungkook’s relationship had nothing to do with Jooheon’s death. But there was no way he was going to be able to make Ong understand that. “Ongie, yes. He’s back. This doesn’t diminish my feelings for Jooheon. Ong please understand, I’m in love with him.” Jimin glanced quickly at Jungkook, “It’s always been him.”

Jimin prepared for Ong to unleash a flurry of insults and curses to express his disappointment, but instead, something even worse happened - Ong turned his back on Jimin, got into his car and drove away.

Jimin dropped his head. This was the first time that Ong had ever refused to speak to him.

“You and Jooheon were planning to move in together?” Jungkook asked dryly.

Jimin slapped his palm against his forehead, “Oh shit,” he cursed. One more thing that he now had to explain.

***
There was an icy silence between Jimin and Jungkook as they drove up the side of the mountain. Jimin had to think carefully about how to handle the delicate topic of Jooheon. The old Jungkook would have taken anything Jimin said as gospel and forgiven him. The new Jungkook was a feisty, stubborn, and very intuitive man who challenged Jimin at every turn when his feelings were involved. Jimin began to whistle to break the silence.

“Stop whistling,” Jungkook demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to move in Jooheon?”

“Ong overstated the truth a bit, ok? Yes, Jooheon asked me to move in with him, and I won’t lie, I thought about it. But Jungkook, I was never, never going to do it. It was a fleeting thought. I was trying to make things work and it seemed like a possibility, but I NEVER agreed to do it.”

Jungkook exhaled, “Why do I always feel like I’m chasing ghosts whenever he comes up?”

“Can we forget about it please? Can we just enjoy our weekend and focus on not freezing to death in this weather? Can we do that?” Jimin teased.

A slight smile flashed across Jungkook’s face, “We’re not going to freeze to death. I’m sorry Jimin. I didn’t mean to make this a big deal. You just…you can’t understand what it did to me when you threw me in the fire. I knew it was because of him. And we both know that if he hadn’t died, you would have never brought me back.”

“That isn’t true Jungkookie. It may have taken more time, but eventually I would have realized that you were the one.” Jimin held Jungkook’s free hand. “Jungkookie, I need to ask you something.”

“Ask me anything, Jimin.” Jungkook smiled and gripped Jimin’s hand tighter.

“Where do you go when…your manuscript burns?” Jimin closed his eyes, afraid to even say the words.

Jungkook pulled his hand away and gripped the steering wheel, “I go nowhere. I cease to exist. I have no memories, no destination, no life. The only reason I can remember certain things is because each time you have brought me back, you’ve maintained my form and never changed me into someone else. But while I am away, I do not exist. It’s like having huge gaps in your memory. The last thing that happens before I leave is the first thing I remember when I return.”

Jimin was surprised to see a tear fall from Jungkook’s eye.

Jungkook continued, “The first thing I remembered when you summoned me this time, was the cold look in your eyes when you tossed me away because Jooheon was coming home.

Jimin looked out of the passenger side window, feeling uneasy with guilt, “That’s why you were so hesitant to come back isn’t it? The pain was unbearable?”

Jungkook looked at Jimin momentarily to emphasize his point, “Imagine being rejected by the only form of love you’ve ever known.”

“I was selfish and I didn’t understand. I knew I felt something deep for you but I was scared Jungkook, you have to understand. I honestly thought I was saving you from pain, not causing more of it.” Jimin tried again to defend the indefensible.

“There are rules in place for a reason Jimin. This is dangerous stuff; even I realize it and I’m a product of it. You’re playing around with emotions, creation, space and time. It can go very wrong. That’s probably why the three-occurrence rule was created,” Jungkook spoke with insightful wisdom.

Jimin kissed Jungkook’s hand, “Jungkook, we must be careful, I know. I need you to tell me everything you know about your existence. The more we understand this typewriter and you, yourself, the better we can protect you. My love, what else can I do to keep you from harm?”

“I am a man. Flesh and bone, as the writings told you, I am susceptible to all maladies of the common man such as aging, illness and death. You can’t protect me any more than you can anyone else that you love.” Jungkook stared through the window of the truck, with his eyes carefully following the snow covered road.

Jimin didn’t know if he felt relief or more anxious with Jungkook’s comments, “Jungkook, I’m sorry for what I did and I won’t ever send you away again.”

“Promise?” Jungkook said tepidly.

“I promise,” Jimin agreed. “I’ll even write it in your manuscript if you like,” Jimin teased.

Jungkook glared at Jimin, “Yeah, let’s not touch that.”

***
It took about three hours for the two to reach their final destination. The location where Jungkook had chosen to make camp was a beautiful spot about 20 feet away from the frozen lake. Jungkook parked the truck and began to unload the camping gear.

“Jiminie, your outerwear is in the bed of the truck. You need to bundle up. It’s cold.” Jungkook sang in his soft melodic voice as he pulled their supplies to their designated spot.

“Right. I’ll get on that.” Jimin scurried to the back of the truck where he found a thick Down jacket, leather snow boots, gloves, a wool hat and ear muffs. He pulled on the outerwear over his regular clothes and changed his boots inside of the truck.

Jungkook continued to sing, he was totally in his element. He stopped every few minutes to give Jimin updates, “The Christmas tree lot is just above about a mile away. We’ll get a good night rest and then head up in the morning. Let’s get the tent up, start our fire and then head to bed. Maybe we can go snowboarding tomorrow?”

“Definitely tomorrow.” Once Jimin was dressed, he took time to survey his surroundings. It was a beautiful place that Jungkook had chosen. He walked to the edge of the lake and peered up into the mountainous range behind them. Thick layers of frozen snow covered the ground and crunched beneath his boots as he walked.

Jungkook dropped the tent near the edge of the lake. He ran over to Jimin full of energy, “Would you like to do the honors of setting up the tent?”

“Uhhhhhhh I don’t know how to do those type of things,” Jimin said, nervously.

“Easy, just push the button.” Jungkook handed Jimin something similar to a remote control and showed him which button to push.

“The button?” Jimin pushed the button and the tent began to self-inflate, “Whoa!” Within ten minutes, a fully erect tent sat ready to be occupied. “Where did you get this?”

“Amazon.” Jungkook picked up his duffle bags and carried them into the tent. “Now, let’s get the heat going and this will be our home for the next day or so.”

“Whoa!” Jimin said again. He watched his boyfriend scurry around their isolated camp sight, completely in control of every detail.

“Oh, the tent’s warming up nicely. Can you start the fire, please?” Jungkook carried more bags into the tent.

“My love, I told you I don’t know how to do those things, oh wait, is there a remote control?” Jimin said hopefully.

“Nope. You can do it. Just like building a fire in your fireplace. You know how to do that very well.” Jungkook was being snarky. “I even brought some fresh dry wood. It’s in the bed of the truck. You can do it baby. I believe in you. I have to get our sleeping bags set up. I’ll be right back.” Jungkook disappeared through the slip doors of the tent.

“Believe it me?” Jimin said incredulously. He yelled towards the tent, “I’m a kindergarten teacher, not a…a…a …cowboy,” Cowboy was the only word he could think of.

“Boy scout is a better word baby,” Jungkook yelled from the tent, “I believe in you.”

Jimin cursed under his breath. He headed back to the truck and grabbed an arm full of wood. The lighter, kindling and fire pan were scattered amongst the supplies that Jungkook had dropped near the fire pit.

“Just like building a fire at home. Ok, let’s do this.” Jimin layered the fire wood and kindling in about three layers. His first attempt at lighting the kindling ended with him burning two of his fingers. “Ouch – that hurt.” He cursed again under his breath. Thirteen matches in and about five minutes later, he still hadn’t managed to light the kindling. His frustration began to grow. He kicked over the logs with his boot and yelled profanities at the fire pit.

Jungkook watched from the tent, struggling to stifle his laughter, “How’s it coming baby? I’m almost done here, I’ll be out in a second. Oh and don’t forget to use the lighter for the fire. It’ll make things easier,” Jungkook snickered under his breath and held his sides to contain his giggles.

“Lighter! There’s a fucking lighter?” Jimin whispered to himself, again cursing under his breath. He looked back through the supply bag and sure enough, there was a fireplace lighter laying right next to the matches.

Jimin stacked the logs again. This time he doubled the kindling, just to make sure he succeeded. He flicked the lighter and lit each kindling strip. Puffs of smoke began to rise from the pit. After a couple of minutes, the first log caught fire, then the second, then the third, and before he knew it, Jimin had a full-fledged, roaring camp fire. He stepped back several steps and took a bow.

Jungkook continued to watch from the tent, “Yes,” he pumped his fist, “I knew you could do it baby,” he said quietly to himself.

The sun was quickly setting. Jimin took out his phone and snapped a few pictures of the mountain caps before it became completely dark. He walked over to the partially frozen pond and captured the reflection of the frozen trees across the icy surface. Lastly, he laid on his back, staring at the faded purple and orange streaks across the sky and took pictures of the stars directly overhead. It was a quiet night with no moon.

***
Jimin ran towards the tent, excited about his achievement. “Jungkookie, I DID IT. We have a fire. Daaaaamn it’s hot in here.”

“I know.” Jungkook lay shirtless in his underwear on top of an air mattress, hair slightly damp with perspiration. He was searching through playlists on his phone, looking for something to pipe through his blue tooth. He settled on a play list of long songs that began with the song, “Best Part” by H.E.R.

Jimin couldn’t decide where to fix his eyes first; on the glistening droplets of sweat that dripped from Jungkook’s nipples or the girth of his dick as it peaked through the front hole of his underwear. Neither was a bad choice.

“Let’s get you undressed before you faint,” Jungkook advised.

“Is it supposed to be this hot?” Jimin asked as he kicked off his boots.

“Yes. But keep in mind, this is the same tent that they use in Antarctica when they explore the ice caps. It’s meant for weather 40-50 degrees below zero. It’s only 32 degrees right now. I turned the heat down, so it will cool off, but for right now,” Jungkook slid the phone away and made direct eye contact with Jimin, “for right now…” He sat up and continued to undress Jimin with deliberate slowness, unzipping his coat and then pulling his shirt over his head. He roughly unbuttoned his pants, rustled them down and then tossed them aside.

Jungkook pressed his lips against Jimin’s and kissed him with the fullness of passion, slow and relentless, consuming him as if he were his oxygen.

Jimin opened his mouth to taste more of his boyfriend, he clung to him, his body melting into his. The heat within the tent only served to intensify their eroticism. He was surrounded by Jungkook’s powerful arms and his blood raced at a speed that made him feel light-headed and weak. Jimin could only stare at him amidst the soft light within the tent. He held his gaze, amazed at the bright beauty within his full brown eyes. A whimper rose in his throat as he felt Jungkook’s hand wrap around the shaft of his hard cock.

Jungkook pulled Jimin to the center of the air bed. His warm hands were slightly dampened by the beads of sweat that rolled down his arm. The two collided against the sensitive stroking of Jimin’s dick. Jungkook’s own massive erection nudged against the muscular thigh of Jimin’s leg, “My only fantasy is to make love to you,” he whispered. Once again, Jungkook locked his mouth upon Jimin’s, in a demanding kiss.

Kissing Jungkook was like free falling through an expanse of fluffy white clouds. There was no end, there was no beginning, just the ecstasy of the moment. His firm controlling lips volleyed between sucking and caressing with perfect balance. Jimin eagerly clamored for more. His heart fluttered as he mumbled beneath Jungkook’s kiss, “How do you always know exactly what I want?”

“Because I’m you,” Jungkook whispered.

“So, what do I want now?” Jimin asked seductively.

“I…think…you want it like this…” Jungkook straddled Jimin. He leaned forward and kissed him again. Then he intertwined his long fingers with Jimin’s stout ones, isolating two of them which he placed in his mouth. He suckled the soft fingers, slathering them with moisture before pushing both of them into his own ass. A slight gasp escaped his mouth as he felt Jimin’s fingers begin to massage his insides. A bottle of oil lay nestled behind Jimin’s pillow. Jungkook reached for it and poured it down his back so that the slick liquid puddled between his ass cheeks where Jimin’s hand diligently conditioned him.

Jimin massaged half of the bottle into Jungkook’s tight hole, “Are you ready?” Jimin teased.

“Are you?” Jungkook smiled. Jungkook lowered himself onto Jimin’s hard dick. “I think, this is what you want,” he said passionately. Small hiccups came through Jungkook’s voice as he found his stroke, “Oh shit, you feel good.”

Even in the midst of the best fuck of his life, Jimin was taken aback by Jungkook’s aggressiveness and freedom. He had no trepidation in his love making and he was not afraid to do what pleased him. He exhibited duality of epic proportions; in his normal everyday life, he was a shy sweet unassuming man of impeccable character, but in between the sheets, he was a filthy mouthed Demon with no inhibitions. He was everything that Jimin could have ever wanted.

Jungkook rode Jimin’s dick like horse, he bounced slowly up and down, squeezing his tight ass cheeks around Jimin’s shaft, “I’m cumming Jiminie.” He began to jerk himself off as he slid up and down Jimin’s pole. “Oh FUCK!” He screamed. A stream of semen squirted high into the air, hitting the walls of the tent and spraying Jimin’s face.

Jimin used his fingers to wipe the cum away. He stared into Jungkook’s face and licked the semen from his fingers. This only served to intensify what was already the most erotic sex-capade they’d ever had.

Even after his orgasm subsided, Jungkook continued to push Jimin into him. He held both of Jimin’s hands as he pumped up and down on Jimin’s stiffness.

Jimin’s muscles clenched and released over and over in deep pulsations. Pleasure radiated through his body. His muscles began to spasm and jerk and he tried to cry out, but Jungkook cupped his mouth with his own, forcing silence. Jimin’s hips nudged upward in a rhythmic pace that was beyond his control. His breathing came in unsteady surges as he approached his climax. Jimin had never in his life been filled with such acute sensations, every nerve in his body was lit and glowing.

Jungkook recognized the beautifully contorted face of his beloved, “Inside me,” he whispered.

Dirty talk was something that Jimin just couldn’t handle. That was all it took to trigger his final release, “OH FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! Uh I’m cumming!” He screamed. He arched his back and held on to Jungkook’s hips as he unloaded his warm juices within Jungkook’s tight walls.

It took ten minutes before Jimin could stop shaking. They hugged each other tight and savored the moment of what could only be considered perfection in love making. They alternated “I love you’s” in the midst of their happiness.

“I love you,” Jimin panted
“I love you,” Jungkook panted
“I love you,” Jimin panted
“I love you,” Jungkook panted
“I love you,” Jimin panted
“I love you,” Jungkook panted

Both of their bodies glistened with sweat. The inside of the tent was like a sauna. Even in the nude, they were still smoldering. But, none of that mattered. Despite the heat, they refused to break their embrace. They held each other tightly until they both fell asleep.

***
Jimin was up before Jungkook. The tent had cooled off and the temperature was now warm and toasty, perfect for cuddling. The sun peaked through the roof of the tent, creating a bright glow within the space. He crawled to the edge and unzipped the cover so he could peak outside at the beautiful sky. He then turned back to look around the inside of the bright tent. He couldn’t help but laugh quietly when he noticed the yellow blanket from his couch, nestled beneath Jungkook’s arm. The two, Jungkook and the blanket, had a strong attachment to each other that dated back to the first time that Jungkook ever appeared. Jimin looked around for his phone. He snapped several pictures of Jungkook as he slept.

The quality of his camera phone captured every fine detail: the mounds of muscle below his nipples that created perfect curves in his chest, the six waves of abdominal muscles housed within his midsection, and the strong jawline that edged his beautiful face. The sleeping bag that covered him fell just inches below his stomach, revealing the soft black pubic hair at the start of his groin. Jimin’s intention was just to take one or two pictures, but the sight was so lovely, he ended up taking more than 50. Close-ups of his skin revealed small goose bumps that congregated along his arms. Close-ups of his lips captured the small moles peppered around his face. Close-ups of his cock – well those were just close-ups of his cock. Jimin’s laughter inadvertently woke Jungkook and raised him from his slumber.

Jungkook didn’t say anything. He sat up, grabbed Jimin in a tight bear hug and then collapsed back down on the mattress with Jimin in his arms.

“The view outside is absolutely stunning. You’re the one who dragged me all the way up here. You can’t decide now that you want to sleep all day.” Jimin wasn’t really able to move. Jungkook had him in a tight grip. “Hey, baby, wake up. I thought we were going snow surfing…”

“Snowboarding,” Jungkook corrected.

“Yes, that. I thought we were doing that,” Jimin urged.

“Jimin?” Jungkook whined.

“Yes Jungkookie,” Jimin smiled. He already knew what Jungkook was going to say.

“My dick is hard,” Jungkook whined again.

“If I fix it, will you promise we can go?” Jimin already had one hand on Jungkook’s groin.

“I promise,” Jungkook assured him.

Jimin lowered his head to Jungkook’s erection. In one wide gulp, he pushed his entire dick into his mouth. Jungkook held on to Jimin’s head with both of his hands, guiding him as he sucked. Jimin bobbed up and down, using his tongue to create pressure along the underside of Jungkook’s stiff cock. He could taste the dried cum from the previous night on the tip. He sucked in his cheeks and rotated his head, pulling the skin into his mouth and pushing it back towards his throat.

Jungkook saw Jimin’s phone nearby and snapped a picture of Jimin sucking him. Luckily, Jimin didn’t notice. It was an impulsive naughty gesture that would definitely have consequences later. Jimin’s sucking drove him wild. In less than three minutes, he was already climaxing.

“Just like that, don’t stop. Don’t stop baby,” Jungkook moaned. He closed his eyes tight and released into Jimin’s mouth.

Jimin swallowed, and then began kissing the entirety of Jungkook’s groin, “Can we go now?” He said immediately.

“Give me a second, my boyfriend just sucked my dick and I can’t breathe yet,” Jungkook teased.

Jimin slapped him in the chest.

“Let’s go.” Jungkook slid off the mattress and began dressing in his layers of warm clothes.

***

Their first stop was the ski shop where they rented snowboards. They had a quick lesson on how to stop and start and then, off they went. Even though both of them were natural athletes, neither of them chose hills that were too challenging. They glided down the bunny hills without injury and considered that a major victory. They returned the snowboards and then headed for the hiking trails.

They played like children in the shadows of the magnificent snowcapped mountains, running through the trails, throwing snow balls and making snow Angels. Jungkook, and his bright red headband, ran through the path that led up to the side of the mountain with Jimin chasing behind him. Once they reached the top, they turned around to look at the amazing view. Jungkook held Jimin’s hand as they stood in the glow of the sun, absorbing the beauty around them. Being together while watching the snow whip across the valley below was almost a spiritual experience. Jimin thoughtfully absorbed every second, understanding that these were the best moments of his life.

Once again, he and Jungkook traded, expressions of love, “I love you, Jiminie.”

“I love you, Jungkookie.”

They shared an intimate kiss and rested their heads together to continue watching the snow. After hours of letting the sun drench their faces, Jimin broke the silence by saying, “I guess it’s time to get that Christmas tree.”

They both smiled.

***
Jungkook parked the truck about 100 feet from the start of the Tree farm. Trees of all sizes grew beneath blankets of snow as far as the eye could see. What initially sounded like the most ridiculous idea ever, suddenly had Jimin overcome with excitement. He jumped out of the truck like a kid and ran straight into the tight congregation of trees.

Jungkook greeted the employee working the tree lot, “Good afternoon. Can you tell me how this works?”

“You pick a tree,” The attendant said aloofly.

“Yes, I gathered that much, but once we select one, then what?” Jungkook smiled, attempting to make eye contact.

“You take it home.” The grumpy employee was reading a newspaper and seemed quite miffed with Jungkook’s interruption.

“Yes, Sir, we are right there in agreement with that. But what happens between picking a tree and taking it home? We cut it ourselves, right?” Jungkook pressed.

“I LOVE HIM” Jimin yelled in the distance.

Jungkook searched for Jimin. He finally spotted him about half a mile away, in the far corner of the field, hugging a large crooked tree.

“According to Charlie Brown, we should get this one,” Jimin yelled again and then collapsed upon the tree laughing hysterically. He gave it another hug.

“Well this is progressing nicely. Sir, how much for that one?” Jungkook asked politely.

The gentleman was no longer interested in talking. He pointed to a hand-written sign at the front and then disappeared into a shack that sat on the lot.

“Yeah, ok, thanks.” Jungkook walked around to the front of the sign and read it.

“Please don’t bother the attendant. All of the instructions for selecting your tree are here:

1) Select your tree
2) Use either a chainsaw or Ax to cut down your tree. All trees are marked with a suggested cut radius
3) Prices are tagged on each tree
4) You are responsible for carrying and securing your own tree in your vehicle, please do not ask the attendant

Jungkook laughed at the last warning, “Yes cause Lord forbid we would bother the man who actually WORKS here.” Jungkook said aloud. “Well I guess that’s all there is to it,” he shrugged his shoulders and headed back to the truck to retrieve the chainsaw. By the time he reached Jimin, he was sitting crossed legged, petting the bristles of the tree like it was a pet. “Is this it Jiminie? Is this the one you like?”

Jimin stared up with sad eyes, “He’s beautiful Jungkook. But…”

“But what? Do you prefer to keep looking? We’re in no hurry.” Jungkook looked around at some of the other trees in the area.

“No, it’s not that. He’s definitely the one. But Jungkook, I just realized something…if we cut it…we kill it.” Jimin looked as if he were about to cry.

“I guess that’s true, yeah,” Jungkook agreed. He already knew where this was going.

“What if it can feel pain?” Jimin asked.

“I don’t know how to answer that Jimin,” Jungkook said sadly. He placed the chainsaw down on the ground and sat across from Jimin.

Jimin tried his best to explain, “When I first summoned you, I looked at you as just an object. You were there for my personal needs. I never took the time to understand that you were human, a real man, capable of being hurt. And what did I do? I hurt you over and over and over again. Your soul was ripped apart for my own selfish desires. It’s the same with this tree. How can I take it’s life, just for my own personal wants? We’ll prop him up in our living room and adorn him with gold, only to throw him away. It’s not so different to how I treated you. Now that I understand how wrong it was to do that to you, I can’t take the chance of ever hurting another soul again. What if he can feel pain?” Jimin asked again.

“Jimin, you’re an incredible human being. Your heart is so big, now I understand why you’ve won Teacher of the year circa 2014-2019,” Jungkook laughed, “but I need you to understand something. You had no idea what you were creating with me. The typewriter doesn’t exactly come with clear instructions. I don’t blame you and I’ve forgiven you. If you don’t want to cut down this tree, then we won’t. In fact, we can use the money to make donations to plant more trees if you want. Whatever makes you happy.”

“You sure you aren’t mad? I mean we came all this way,” Jimin said.

“We came all this way to spend time alone, to connect, to make love. We’ve done that. The tree was just an added bonus. Jimin, we can always just get a fake tree from the mall, like your ancestors,” Jungkook smiled.

Jimin laughed in a loud obnoxious pitch that shook the snow off of the trees nearest to him. He pounced on Jungkook and the two of them went rolling down the hill in the snow.

***
Christmas music blasted through the apartment. Jimin and Jungkook danced in their sock feet around their eight- foot tall artificial Christmas tree.

They sang in unison, “With yooou, shawty with you, with yooou, shawty with you, with yooou, beautiful Christmas day.”

Jimin handed the ornaments to Jungkook who stood on the ladder to reach the top of the tree. A knock came from the front door. Jimin danced over to answer, it was Mrs. Lei. She danced into the apartment, singing “Shawty with you, beautiful Christmas daaaaaay. Hey boys, I come bearing gifts. Merry Christmas.” She handed Jimin a large pot full of homemade Budae Jjigae stew. She danced her way back out of the apartment and closed the door.

“Thank you, Mrs. Lei, Merry Christmas,” they both yelled over the music.

Jungkook descended from the ladder and turned down the music. He grabbed Jimin’s hand and pulled him over to the couch. “Jimin, can we talk for a minute?”

“Uh oh, this sounds serious. What’s this about?” Jimin said cautiously.

“Jimin, I have a gift for you.” Jungkook reached into his jean pocket and pulled out a small tiffany blue box.

“Jungkookie, I thought we agreed no gifts. We were going to use that money to donate to a tree planting foundation,” Jimin complained.

“I will still do my part, I promise. But Jimin this is not really a Christmas gift. This…means something more. Open it please.”

Jimin opened the box to find two matching rings. “Matching rings? Jungkookie, they are beautiful, really beautiful. I love them.”

“This way, we will never be apart, no matter what may happen in the future, we will always have these rings to feel close to each other. You are the best boyfriend a man could ever have Jiminie and I love you.”

“And I love you,” Jimin pushed Jungkook down beneath the Christmas tree and began stripping off his clothes. It was time for Jimin to give Jungkook his Christmas present.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 9 – Good Intentions

Jungkook entered the bakery late Tuesday evening. The post-Christmas crowd was pretty dead with only a few of the regular customers hanging around playing chess. Mrs. Park sat in the booth under the television sorting through a variety of Newspapers.

“Hi Momma Park,” Jungkook walked over to her booth and took a seat across from her.

Mrs. Park did not immediately respond. After a few stagnated moments, she finally looked up and said, “Jungkookie, I didn’t hear you come in. What are you doing here?”

“I came by to see if you needed any help closing down? Jimin’s at home preparing lesson plans for this week, so I thought I would pop down here. Momma Park, what are all of these newspaper clippings?” Jungkook picked up one of the articles, but immediately dropped it when Mrs. Park slapped the back of his knuckles with her hand. “Ok, ok, sorry.”

She immediately began to gather all of the articles and shove them into a labeled folder that she had trapped under her elbow. “Nothing for you to be concerned about. Why are you here anyway?” She questioned him again.

“What’s going on lady? Why so secretive? It’s me, Momma Park, you can tell me anything,” Jungkook reasoned.

Mrs. Park released a sly smile. She looked around to make sure that no one was in ear shot of their conversation, then leaned across the table closer to Jungkook and whispered, “Well…it would be kinda’ fun to have someone to talk to about this. I definitely can’t tell Jimin, he’ll judge and tell me I’m wasting my time. And Jimin’s Father will pretend to listen, but actually watch soccer on his cell phone. So yeah Jungkookie, I think I will let you in on my secret.” She looked around one more time to make sure that no one was eavesdropping, then she pulled the stack of articles from her folder and showed them to Jungkook. “You have to promise to keep this just between us. You promise?”

“ok,” Jungkook said reluctantly. His eyes widened as he scanned the newspaper articles. He looked at her with a stern disapproving glare, “Should you really be reading this stuff Momma Park? I mean its…” Jungkook couldn’t find the right words.

“Look, I could really use some help with this. I’m close to figuring it out, I can feel it. Will you help me Jungkookie? I just need fresh eyes on this.” She smiled, excited about the possibility of having a partner in her adventure.

“…ehhhh.” Jungkook thought for a few seconds. He loved Mrs. Park and even though he didn’t approve of her “project”, he felt that if he was involved, he could keep an eye on her to make sure that things didn’t get out of control. He laughed at the silliness of it all and finally agreed, “Yes. I will help you. Where do we start?”

Mrs. Park clapped her hands excitedly and pulled even more articles from her apron. She laid them all out in date order in front of Jungkook and then produced a large binder with notes and maps. Jungkook gasped. Mrs. Park laughed loudly and said, “I told you.”

***
Christmas came and went, as did the New Year. Jimin was overjoyed planning his new life with Jungkook. To make things ever brighter, winter break was almost over and in less than four days, school would start and Jimin would once again be with The Squad. Jimin was insanely happy and there wasn’t anything that could spoil his mood. Well almost anything.

It was January 9th. Jimin and Jungkook had just returned from the market and Jungkook was stirring around in the kitchen putting things away while Jimin flipped through Jooheon’s old recipe book for ideas of what to cook for dinner. In the most peculiar show of appreciation, Jooheon’s mother had given Jimin all of Jooheon’s classic recipes that she found while cleaning out his apartment. And although he was honored to receive them, it did quickly become a point of contention between he and Jungkook. But with time and understanding and a lot of reassurances, Jungkook slowly began to accept the recipes being in the house and even enjoyed looking through them.

“Jimin!” He heard a call from the hallway, followed by a succession of knocks. It was Ong. Jimin knew that his best friend was irritated about something because the sudden visit gave him a bad feeling. He answered the door with trepidation.

“Ongie! Hi. Happy New Year.” Jimin pulled Ong inside and gave him a brief hug. “Sorry, I haven’t called, we’ve been doing some traveling and spending time at the bakery,” Jimin offered an excuse for his distance from Ong. “Have a seat. Can I take your coat?”

Ong immediately attacked, “I won’t be staying long. I was at your parent’s bakery recently Jimin. Your mom and I were catching up. Seeing as how I don’t get to talk to you much anymore, I wanted to talk to her to see how you were doing. I happened to notice the new Magic Shop consignment store across the street and do you know what she told me?”

Jimin threw his recipe book on the couch and folded his arms defensively, “No Ong. What did my mother tell you?”

Ong paced around the apartment and spoke as if he were in front of a lecture hall, “She mentioned that you had an infatuation with that shop and had made multiple purchases. You and I talk, well we USED to talk, every single day,” Ong emphasized the past tense, “yet you never mentioned that store to me. So I went to pay the store a visit. I had an interesting conversation with Ricky, the store clerk. He remembered you as the “handsome Korean guy”. He also remembered your purchases. Jimin, he told me about the typewriter. That typewriter back there behind you.”

“Ong, stop right there…” Jimin tried to distract him.

Ong disregarded Jimin’s interruption and continued with his speech, “I thought to myself, why would Jimin hide such an inconsequential purchase from me? Why would he never mention it?”

“Hide? I’m not hiding anything. It’s a stupid artifact, it was hardly worth mentioning,” Jimin interjected.

Once again Ong disregarded him, “You know what I did Jimin? I did a little research of my own. And with Ricky’s help, I found out quite a bit about this typewriter that you cherish so much. You see, I’ve always been very curious about your Jungkook and how he just showed up one day out of nowhere. And how you could never explain his sudden appearance…”

“Ongie, I don’t know where you’re going with this but you’re being a bit creepy,” Jimin smiled to try to hide his anxiousness.

“I know what he is Jimin,” Ong said firmly.

“Know what he is? What do you mean ‘know what he is’? He’s Jeon Jungkook and YOU are being silly,” Jimin said dismissively, “I explained to you that Jungkook was a friend from out of town. Now let this go. Would you like to stay for dinner? I want to talk about the Teachers’ Conference.” Jimin smiled. He could hear Jungkook rattling pots and pans in the kitchen.

“Don’t try to change the subject. We have to talk about this. Jimin - I know- I know what he is. I did my research too Jimin. You forget I was a research scientist before I was a teacher, did you think I wouldn’t figure this out? I even went to Seoul to pull all Professor Lee-Soung’s records. I know Jimin.” Ong walked closer to his friend and glared at him with a heavy heart.

“Stop it Ong. Stay out of my affairs. I’m so sick of you barging into my life and making proclamations. You act as if you’re my Father instead of my friend. You have no idea what’s going on here,” Jimin yelled.

“Yes, Jimin, I’d like to ask that same question. Ong, what is going on here?” Jungkook appeared, he was concerned when he heard the raised voices and stepped out to see what the commotion was about.

“This is between me and Jimin. Stay out of this Jungkook or whatever your name is,” Ong said rudely.

“His name is Jeon Jungkook and he’s my boyfriend,” Jimin said, growing angry.

“We don’t know who or WHAT this thing is,” Ong said harshly.

Jimin stepped in front of Jungkook as if shielding him, “He’s a man; flesh and blood. He’s got feelings and a heart that’s bigger than anyone I’ve ever met.” Jimin was fully angry now. He stepped towards Ong with his finger in his face.

“A man! He’s a figment of your imagination! He’s not real. We don’t know what the fuck he is. This thing could be evil for all we know,” Ong argued.

“Thing? You dare call him a thing! You have no fucking idea who he is or what’s inside of him!” Jimin lunged closer to Ong, but Jungkook caught his arm to keep him from making contact with him.

“And neither do you! You’re so fucking lonely, so fucking desperate, that you’ll latch on to anything these days, even this thing. Did you even read the warnings? You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know what this thing is capable of!” Ong retorted, refusing to back down.

“Call him a thing one more time and I swear to GOD I’ll throw you through that fucking window,” Jimin ripped his arm away from Jungkook and marched up to Ong’s face.

“I’m trying to save you Jimin don’t you get it? The only reason he’s here is because you feel guilty. You’re the one who never showed Jooheon the same affection he showed you. You’re the one. You never treated him as your equal and now he’s dead and you’re afraid of being alone, so you’ve done this! You can do better Jimin. You can find a real human to love. Don’t do this!” Ong was passionate about his speech. He plead with Jimin to reexamine his choices.

Jimin shook with anger, “You have no idea how I feel. Jooheon’s death was tragic but it was not my fault and I have no guilt. Do you know why I didn’t show him the same affection he showed me? Because I didn’t love him Ong! I cared about him, yes, but he was never going to be my forever. I feel horrible about his death but that doesn’t change how I felt about him.”

Ong seemed triggered by Jimin’s harsh truth. He reached within his coat and produced a single piece of paper. Jimin wasn’t sure what the paper was, but he found it odd that Ong would produce it in the middle of their argument. “What the hell is that? Why are you waving it at me?”

Ong suddenly spoke with assurance as he walked towards the fireplace, “I had hoped you would come to your senses and it wouldn’t come down to this. I told you that I did my research Jimin. I know how to get rid of him and if you won’t protect yourself, then I will.”

“What? Ong what are you saying? What is that?” Jimin stepped closer to Ong.

Jungkook reached out and held Jimin’s hand. What he said next shook Jimin to his very core, “It’s my manuscript Jimin.”

“What?” Jimin looked closer and quickly recognized the words typed on the page, “Ong, how-how did you get that? You stole it from my apartment…how did you…?” Jimin’s eyes clouded with the tears of betrayal.

Jungkook turned his back to Ong and faced Jimin, “We both knew that this could happen. And now we have to face it. I need you to be strong ok?” Jungkook lifted Jimin’s hand and kissed his fingers, “Your hands are so cute. They really are my favorite part of you.”

Jimin snatched his hand away from Jungkook and rounded on Ong and began pleading with him, “Please. Ongie, please, don’t do this. I’m your best friend. You wouldn’t hurt you me like this. Put it down Ong, please!”

“Hurt you? I’m trying to save you. This thing is evil, it’s not healthy and it’s not natural. You have to let it go,” Ong stopped speaking. His eyes grew large and he took several steps towards the fireplace. He was met there by Jungkook’s imposing figure. Jungkook’s eyes were dead and his expression was blank; it was impossible to read him. Ong grew frightened of the approaching man who seemed so vacant. He stood his ground with the thin white paper clutched tightly in his hand.

Jungkook continued to walk towards him, within seconds, he and Ong were nose to nose. Fear caused Ong to shake slightly. He had no idea what to expect but he was determined to defend Jimin and he was not going to allow Jungkook to intimidate him.

Jungkook’s expression sank into sadness. He nodded his head slightly and then wrapped both of his long muscular arms around Ong to hug him, while speaking into his ear, “Thank you for loving Jimin. Thank you for protecting him. You’re doing the right thing. Always do - the right thing.” And with that, Jungkook removed his manuscript from Ong’s hand and threw it into the fire.

A blood curdling scream came from Jimin. Even Ong was horrified with what Jungkook had done to himself.
After staring at the burning page for a fraction of a second, Jungkook walked back over to Jimin. He stumbled as reached for him. He leaned against the couch for support and grabbed Jimin’s hand again, “Where were we? Oh yes, I love your hands and your eyes and that small dimple in your cheek. I love every drop of you.” He lifted the yellow blanket from the couch and pressed it firmly into Jimin’s arms.”

“Nooooooo! Jungkook why?” Jimin’s scream was so deafening that it shook the windows. “The third time is the final. The third time is the final. You can’t come back if you leave this time. FIGHT! FIGHT! Stay with me! Stay with me! Don't fade, please, please. I can’t lose you.” Jimin was frantic. He grabbed Jungkook and held him tightly. Sadly, his efforts were in vain. Jungkook’s body disappeared and then reappeared in several flashes before the final translucent waves of steam appeared where he once stood. Jimin clutched at the waves of light as they danced in the glow of the fireplace. “No, No, No, NO, NO, NO! I love you, you can’t go, I love you. Jungkookie please fight it, come back.” Jimin fell to his knees and crawled desperately to the fireplace and attempted to retrieve the scorched parchment. He burned his right hand badly and pulled it away from the fire. He used the underside of his boot to scrape the burned manuscript from the fire, but it disintegrated under his touch.

Ong stood in silence, not sure how to comprehend the dramatic scene. His brain moved slowly, trying to make ends meet for understanding.

Jimin rushed to the typewriter. He inserted a piece of paper and began feverishly typing, “Bring back the one I love”. He kissed the paper, “Please, please, please work. Please work.” He rushed around the apartment looking for Jungkook. He wasn’t there.

He threw that paper in the fire and started again, “5’11”, black neck-length hair…” He waited. Still nothing.

He attempted again, “Jeon Jungkook, come back to me. Please come back to me.” Jungkook did not come.

“Noooooo! Nooooo! Noooooo!” Jimin screamed.

“Jimin...get a hold of yourself. This is exactly what I mean. Your obsession...this isn’t healthy…” As strongly as Ong felt about getting rid of Jungkook for Jimin’s safety, he was equally devastated watching his best friend suffer. Jimin was emotionally broken. Ong attempted to touch his shoulder to console him.

“Don’t touch me! Get out!” Jimin screamed. Ong watched helplessly as Jimin ran around the apartment trying to find more paper. He finally procured a full ream from a shelf in his bedroom. He ripped off his sweatshirt and began typing everything- anything he could to unlock the code to bring Jungkook back.

Ong was empty inside. He and Jimin had been best friends for 15 years. He loved him more than his own biological brother. Was this really how it was going to end? Could Jimin ever forgive him? His tears clouded his ability to see. With the back of his palm, he sniffled and wiped them away. Without another word, he exited the apartment, leaving Jimin still begging Jungkook to come home.

***
It was 4am the following day. Jimin had been awake for over 30 hours trying to find the right combination of words that would bring Jungkook back. He understood that what he was trying to do was dangerous, so he was careful to burn each of his failed attempts. He spent countless hours combing through every fine detail of the Professor’s writings, looking for any clue that could lead him back to Jungkook. The third occurrence rule seemed impenetrable.

Questions burned in his brain. Why? Why had Jungkook done it? Why had he so willingly left him? They could have stood together, against Ong. They could have fought for each other but Jungkook destroyed himself.

“WHY? Why did you leave me?” Jimin cried.

***
The following morning came with numbness.

Jimin looked at his phone and saw 91 missed messages; all from Ong. He had called so much that Jimin eventually powered down his phone. Ong’s betrayal meant the end of their friendship. Never would he be able to forgive him or trust him again.

Minutes turned to hours and hours turned to days. Nothing Jimin did seemed capable of bringing Jungkook back. Winter break was over, which meant Jimin would have to return to school. He could no longer fill his days trying to break the third rule restriction. The only thing left for him to do now, was cry.

The yellow blanket that was once such a strong sense of comfort for Jungkook, lay neatly folded on his side of the bed. The pain of missing him was a physical ache- much like Jungkook had described all those months ago when he first realized he was falling in love with Jimin. Jimin caressed the blanket against his achy face, and begged it to catch his tears.

Numb.

Jimin dressed without conscious effort. The baggy shirt that Jungkook first wore when they first met, hung in the closet. Jimin pulled it over his head and slid his thin arms through the bulky sleeves. The fabric was soft and warm, yet it burned wherever it touched his skin. With eyes shut tight, he hugged himself and begged, “I’m sorry I didn’t protect you. Please feel me. Please, please come back to me.”

The thunderous clap from the distance forced him to open his eyes. Rain fell heavy against the living room window and flashes of lightening strobed through the glass, illuminating the dark apartment in intermittent spurts. Jimin pleaded with the rain, “Don’t wash him away, please.” The intensity of the rain doubled, almost as a direct response to Jimin’s pleas for it to stop. Once again, he was being punished.

He’d used the entire ream of paper in his desperate attempts to bring Jungkook back and he needed to buy more. Numb. He picked up the umbrella that Jungkook always kept near the door, and headed for the office supply store across the street. The moment his feet hit the sidewalk, the rain intensified once again. Jimin stood there in front of his apartment building. He raised his head to the sky, and met the millions of rain drops as they poured over his face and body.

A kind passerby laughed, “The umbrella works better if you open it buddy.”

“…what…” Jimin mumbled, “...right…” He opened the umbrella and raised it over his drenched body. The one good thing about the rain was that it was great for masking tears. It took less than ten minutes to purchase more paper and return home. Leaving the apartment with no coat or hat meant that by the time he returned, he was shivering uncontrollably and losing feeling in his fingers and toes. The irony was that his body was competing to match the numbness that he felt in his paralyzed heart. He stripped off the wet clothes and sat naked in front of the fireplace, cocooned in Jungkook’s yellow blanket. There he fell asleep, just as his Jungkookie used to do.

***

 

It was nearing 6:30am. Jimin still needed to shower and get to the bus on time to reach class before the bell rang. His sadness had to be buried because The Squad were a sensitive bunch who fed off of his every emotion. He couldn’t risk putting them through mourning again. If he was going to get them focused and prepared for mid-term readiness testing, he was going to need them at their best which meant he had to be at his best. If he had to lie about his happiness, then so be it. Jungkook’s absence had to remain a secret.

Jimin put on a brave face. He greeted each of his little warriors as if everything was perfectly normal. They hugged him and held his hand and wanted to share every breathe with him after such a long time away. But even his 18 little heart-menders couldn’t dull the pain of missing Jungkook. The void was too deep.

As to be expected, he avoided all encounters with Ong. His rage and anger towards his once best friend had only intensified since they’d last seen each other. The bounds of Jimin’s temper had never been tested like this before and he feared losing control if he were forced to face him. Jimin sat alone in his classroom grading papers while the kids were at recess. Despite his attempts to focus, his mind continuously wandered back to Jungkook. The back of Soon’s spelling test quickly became his scratch pad for jotting down new word combinations that could potentially break the third occurrence rule.

He looked up startled after hearing someone enter his classroom. It was Ong.

“Get out.” Jimin looked away from him.

“We have to talk,” Ong bravely entered Jimin’s room and closed the door behind himself. He took one step inside but it was one step too many.

Jimin bounded from behind his desk and pushed Ong hard in the chest, “Get out, get out, get out! I said I don’t want you in here.” Jimin’s tears began to flow. His voice began to tremble as he balled his hand into a fist.

“Jimin please don’t be this way. Jimin you’re my brother, my best friend. I can’t stand the thought of you being angry with me,” Ong pleaded.

“You should have thought about that before you took away the only thing that ever mattered to me,” Jimin screamed.

It was then that Ong realized that in 15 years of knowing his best friend, he had never seen him in this amount of pain. “Jimin, please Jimin. You have to forgive me. I was just doing what I thought was best. You’ll get over him, it just takes a little time,” Ong continued to state his case by using the worst arguments possible.

“Get the fuck out of my classroom,” Jimin snapped – his rage was once again rearing. He was not himself and exhibiting this type of behavior, in school, was a clear indication.

“Jimin,” Ong cried. He grabbed Jimin’s arm and pulled him near, attempting to hug him. He cried into Jimin’s hair as he struggled against his rebuke, “I can’t stand to see you like this.” His struggle did not last long.

Jimin regained his leverage and pushed Ong so hard that he fell to the floor, “Get OUT!” Jimin shouted one last time.

The bell rang, marking the end of recess.

It could be argued that the ringing of the bell quite possibly saved Ong’s life because the anger that Jimin was displaying was “otherworldly” and not something that was part of his natural persona. Ong didn’t even recognize his former best friend. He also didn’t stick around to continue to test Jimin’s patience; he gathered his pride and left Jimin’s room quickly before Jimin could attack him again. The recollection of Professor Lee-Soung’s warnings reverberated loudly throughout his mind.

***
The negative encounter with Ong affected Jimin the remainder of his day, causing his mood to quickly spiral downward. Whereas earlier in the day, he had been able to hide his anxiety, Jimin was now being triggered by every little incident. His worst moment came when he walked past the empty seat next to Soon. Memories of the day when Jungkook had come to his class to “begin studying to become a teacher” flooded his mind leaving him frazzled, nervous and heartsick. The pain of missing Jungkook was too much. He let out a sigh, covered his mouth and turned his back to his class, attempting to hide his sobbing.

***
It was now March 8th and Jungkook had been gone exactly two months. Jimin decided to stop by his parents’ bakery on his way home from school since he had nothing else to do. It was just as good a day as any to stop by and see if they needed any extra help.

“Hi Jiminie,” his dad called out when Jimin entered.

“Hi Daddy. How’s business today? Where’s mom?” Jimin asked.

“Your mom took the night off to go to some BTS Muster Concert. Please don’t ask me what that is because I surely don’t know. What I DO know is that she’s got notebooks full of their pictures and t-shirts and all kinds of stuffed yellow dogs. I can’t keep up with that crap…but she’s happy and that’s all that matters,” His dad said sweetly.
“You on the other hand don’t look happy at all. I’m glad you’re here, it will give us time to talk, you know, man to man.” Jimin’s Father placed his arm around Jimin’s shoulders and guided him gently into the kitchen.

What’s going on my boy? You’ve been moping around for weeks.” Jimin’s dad rubbed his shoulders and rustled his hair.

“I wish I knew,” Jimin’s only answer.

“Does your sudden depression have anything to do with the fact that we haven’t seen Jungkook in weeks?
He was supposed to stop by a few weeks back to learn how to make the Yakwa dough. He never showed up. And then your mother was upset because he was supposed to be helping her with some secret project and he never told her he was leaving. Don’t tell me he’s done another disappearing act?” He asked innocently, never anticipating the reaction he would trigger from Jimin.

Jimin didn’t answer. He rushed to his Father and hugged him, crying in his arms, “He’s gone daddy. And I can’t make him come back.”

“Jimin I’m sorry. I didn’t know you two had broken up. Why didn’t you say something?” He asked

“We didn’t break up. He left against his will...he didn’t want to go...he...” Jimin realized that what he was about to say was ridiculous. There was no way he could make his Father understand the complexities of Jungkook’s disappearance.

“What?” His dad said perplexed, “Against his will? I don’t understand. But Jimin listen to me, not to sound like your mother, but I saw something in you two. He’s different from anyone else you’ve ever been involved with. He seems like a special one, so don’t you go fretting over a disagreement or whatever this is. He’ll come to his senses and come back. When you find the right one, you aren’t capable of staying away from each other for very long. Look at me and your Mother.” He smiled broadly and kissed Jimin on the forehead.

As inappropriately off base as his Father’s comparison was, Jimin took comfort in his words. He wiped his tears, dawned an apron and stepped behind the counter to begin taking orders. For the remainder of the evening he remained nestled in the warmth of his Father’s love and watchful eye. In between serving customers, they talked about matters of the heart and joked like old friends. It was exactly what Jimin needed to bridge the gap between one moment to the next as he learned to cope without Jungkook.

Still - nothing could erase the pain that re-emerged once Jimin returned to his empty apartment.

***

Chapter Text

Chapter 10 – Lost Souls in the Mirror

Time was a liar.  Time had promised Jimin that he would heal his wounds but instead of every passing day lessening the pain, Jimin’s pain seemed to intensify.  He reached a point where every day of his existence was like living in a catatonic state; with his only daily activities consisting of school, home and occasionally the bakery. The rest of his time was spent obsessing over the loss of Jungkook.

Spring was upon them.  The once snow-capped mountains were beginning to fill with rainbow blooms of color as trees blossomed, honey bees buzzed, and birds bred their offspring.  The roar of the tide became more pronounced as the beaches of Busan began to busy with visitors.  New life surrounded him, yet the old life was all that Jimin longed for.  

Jimin never gave up on trying to find a combination of words that could bring back his Jungkookie.  Every evening, without fail, he spent hours reading websites, searching articles, and combing through notes. He even started a search for possible relatives of Soung who might have information about the typewriter.   As was his luck, each search led to a dead end.

Jimin laid Jungkook’s yellow blanket gently across his lap while he shuffled through his phone for the Weibo site.  Maybe starting over from scratch would give him more clues on how to defeat the third occurrence rule.  The link to the Weibo page was saved in his bookmarks, so he navigated over and the cryptic black page appeared on his screen.  The yule tide log was now replaced with four even columns full of the clues that Jungkook had unlocked when he first arrived.  Jimin was surprised when he realized that despite the months that had passed, the first set of clues that Jungkook unlocked still remained visible which, Jimin suspected, was how Ong was able to follow the trail that led him to the Professor. 

Jimin made a mental recall of the exact pattern that Jungkook used the first time to unlock the clues, 

“Let’s see Jungkookie.  I think you just, typed randomly, huh?”  He spoke to his missing boyfriend.

He typed, just as Jungkook had done, but nothing more appeared.  He continued on with the pattern of typing random words, then he switched to simple phrases.  No use.  All of the clues were revealed and there was nothing more for Jimin to uncover. However – his efforts were not all in vain.  There was one useful little tidbit of information that Jimin was able to discover. Whenever he typed the ‘strike’ key, a single clue would disappear from the page.  Strike keys were used back in the days before electric typewriters, phones and computers as a form of “delete” for permanent text.  The strike key would allow the writer to go back and place a black X over anything the user wanted to delete or remove.  Jimin noticed that the strike key worked in similar fashion here, except instead of removing the last letter, it would completely remove Jungkook’s unlocked clue; the entire phrase would simply – disappear. In Jimin’s mind, this was a good thing because it meant that the only way to learn the truth about the typewriter would be THROUGH the typewriter itself – which Jimin maintained safely in his possession.  He slammed the strike key multiple times until all of the clues had been erased.  At least now, no one could link the typewriter with Professor Lee-Soung.

“Weibo page, another dead end,” he admitted aloud.  

Despite having no leads, Jimin still traveled back to the Seoul Library on two different occasions to search for the missing pages from Lee-Soung’s articles.  Although he never found the pages, he was able to use his phone to download some interesting documentation on the Professor’s personal life.  He scrolled through his bookmarks to find the links to the biographies that he pulled from the library.  Thankfully he was able to find translated versions written in Korean instead of Chinese.  The first bio read:

Wu Lee Soung was born in 1931 to parents, Je Lon Soung and Lisa Wong in the small fishing village of Xuajiulan, China. Both parents were part of a peaceful religious community of Shamans who resided in the area.  Throughout his younger years, Wu Lee-Soung was trained in the principles of meditation and spiritual healing.  In 1948, just a few years post War World II, Wu attended Shang Hai University.  It was there that he double majored in Astronomy and Physics.  He went on to attend Jilin University where he earned a Masters and Ph.D. in Quantum Physics.  At the time, his Binary Thesis on the Space-Time Continuum was considered ground breaking and cutting edge in the field.  In 1955, he returned to Shang Hai University as a Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science.  He continued his study of transportational matter late into the 1960’s where he published multiple award-winning pieces on the concept of time travel through the use of intracellular entry points.  There was such interest in his “movement of matter” theories that in 1968, he was invited to NASA to become an advisor to the United States in their quest to land on the moon, a move that many of his countrymen considered to be treasonous.  Professor Soung’s theory on the “movement of matter” was ‘simple really’ as he once quoted; ‘in the absence of rules, there are no limits.  Our unfortunate circumstance is that we are bound to earth therefore we are also bound by earth’s rules such as: gravity, life, death, evolution.  But once removed from these boundaries and free of these rules, these things no longer limit us. If we can operate within the niche that lies between our world and another, we can create a new reality that allows matter to seamlessly transition between the two.’

This bit caught Jimin’s interest.  He pushed his thick black glasses further up the bridge of his nose and sat up fully to pay closer attention to the text, “Could that be how the typewriter moves Jungkook back and forth?  Did Professor Lee find a way door way through space and time?” Jimin’s head was beginning to ache.  Whatever Professor Soung’s brilliant mind was trying to reveal, it was too intricate for Jimin to decipher.  He turned his attention back to the bio and read the last few sentences:

Professor Soung returned to Shang Hai University where he continued to teach until 1995.  He retired from teaching and moved back to Xuajiulan with his wife, Leena Soung, and his four children.  It was there where Soung reconnected with his roots and immersed himself and his family into the powerful Shaman culture.  His knowledge of the cosmos and physics gave him unique insight into the mysterious world of material degeneration and reclamation - what some even referred to as “magic”. By the time of his death on April 19, 2018, he’d become known as one of the most powerful Shaman in modern history.

“Total badass,” Jimin admired.  “Interesting information, but sadly, another dead end.”  He put his head down on his desk briefly and then asked himself a somber question, “Are you ever coming back Jungkookie?”

Jimin returned to his phone once again to search for the other articles that he’d saved.  As he flipped through the apps, a bright snowy picture appeared on his screen.  He stopped scrolling.  He’d inadvertently landed on the cluster of pictures from he and Jungkook’s camping trip.  The sensation of grief bubbled up again.  Jimin clenched his fists and took several deep breathes.  The pictures were unexpected, in fact, he had totally forgotten about them.  He dropped the phone and covered both of his eyes, searching for the courage to view them.

“Oh my God, my Jungkookie,” the name passed his lips like the soft touch of a feather.

Treasured memories, once again, came flooding back.  Picture after picture documented the beauty of his fantastic boyfriend.  He continued to scroll through the pictures, staring at them in awe of how happy he felt during the time; in stark contrast to the melancholy he’d carried over the last few months. 

His somber mood was broken when he came upon a picture he’d never seen before.  It was a shot of him, Jimin, that was taken during the morning of their camping trip.  He blushed at the image of his lips puckered around Jungkook’s entire cock.  “Well damn.” Despite himself, Jimin smiled.  He brought his phone closer to his face and naughtily examined the picture close up.  The image perfectly embodied Jungkook’s playful personality, “How did I not know you’d taken this?  Next time I see you, I’m going to kill you,” he threatened the Jungkook in the photograph.  Jimin’s laughter- a sound that had been vacant for 85 days, 13 hours, 58 minutes, and 2 seconds, suddenly filled the room. 

At the time that Jimin originally took the pictures, he thought it was silly to capture over 50 shots of every inch of Jungkook’s body.  But now he realized it was the best thing he could have ever done because each picture gave him a momentary reprieve from his sadness. “You beautiful man,” he whispered.  He still wore the ring that Jungkook had given him for Christmas; it’s meaning grew more significant every single day.

***

April.  Cruel April.   Despite it being Spring, the days were now dark and rainy and even when it didn’t rain, a cloud of solid haze hovered just above the horizon.  It was as if Jungkook’s absence sucked the Sun away leaving only dark grey hues in its place.  Or maybe the cloud only followed Jimin; either way, it didn’t matter because his emotional pain was a palpable presence that defined him.  He carried it around with him every day like a pet on a leash.  But as much as it hurt, he reveled in the fact that the pain helped maintain a sense of closeness to Jungkook- because without the pain, there would be nothing. 

In addition to everything else going on, Jimin still had to manage his feelings over his estranged friendship with Ong.  Since the two of them worked together, they needed to maintain a professional relationship for the sake of the students.  The good news was that time, finally, was kind enough to lessen Jimin’s anger towards him.  But no matter what he said or did, Ong would forever be inextricably tied to Jungkook’s last moments on earth; and for that Jimin could never forgive him.  

It was Friday night and Jimin decided to forego his usual trip to the bakery.  Despite the weather being warmer, the nights were still chilly and all he wanted to do was go home and curl up underneath Jungkook’s blanket.  Jimin sat in his regular seat on the bus while reading a copy ofRed Moon Rising, Our Biggest Burdenby Professor Soung. 

“Jimin?”  Kyung, the bus driver, called him coyly.

Jimin reluctantly looked up, bitter about the interruption, “What is it Kyung?”

“Jimin... I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time.  Jimin...”

“Please just say it quickly Kyung, what is it?”  Jimin tried to hold his temper.

“I’ve always considered you kind of like a son,” Kyung looked into the mirror to gage Jimin’s expression, “you remind me of my son, I mean.  And I only want the best for you but Jimin... you’ve changed since Jungkook left.  It’s like the day he left is the day the life in your eyes died.  Hear me out...”  he pressed on, stopping Jimin when he attempted to interrupt, “I don’t know what happened with you and Jungkook and I didn’t know him very well but Jimin, I’m worried about you man.  It’s been months...what I’m trying to say is, take care of yourself Jimin.”

Kyung pulled the bus over to the curb and opened the door for Jimin to exit at his stop.  Jimin threw the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and stepped off the bus into the pouring rain. Grateful once again for the rain masking his tears, he uttered to Kyung, “I have no self to take care of anymore.” He turned and headed towards his apartment.  

Mrs. Lei was in the hallway dressing her toy poodle in the customized rain gear that Jungkook had purchased for him months prior.  The aggravated puppy sternly objected to his rain gear and sat planted on his hind legs nipping at the plastic hood covering his head.  Jimin didn’t feel like talking.  He tried to avoid Mrs. Lei by ducking into the stairwell but it was too late because she’d already spotted him. 

“Jimin, where’ve you been?  I’ve come over several times to visit but you’ve never been home.”  She knew the truth, which was that Jimin was home each time but refused to open the door for her. 

Jimin came out of hiding and reluctantly addressed her.  “Hello Mrs. Lei, I’ve been busy with school. Sorry I missed you.” 

Lately, Mrs. Lei’s only topic when she saw Jimin was, “Where’s Jungkook?” 

The question grew tiring, but Jimin always gave the same polite answer, “He’s still away visiting family Mrs. Lei.”

“It’s been months!”  She exclaimed.  “Are you sure he’s ok?”

“I’m sorry, I have go…papers to grade.”  He leaned down and gave a quick forehead kiss to the black toy poodle that Jungkook was so fond of, “Bye Kora.”   As a final gesture, he rescued the dog from his irritating plastic hoodie by removing the hood from his head.

He waived a polite goodbye to Mrs. Lei and then continued down the hall to his own apartment, “What the hell?” Jimin stopped shy of his unit when he noticed that his front door was slightly ajar.  “I didn’t leave this door open, did I?” He pondered for a moment.  “Did someone break in?”  Using just his fingertips, he gingerly pushed the door open a few inches.  A body came barreling towards him at full speed, almost running him over.  It was Ong rushing out of Jimin’s apartment.  

“Jimin!” Ong exclaimed.

“You seem surprised to see me in my OWN damn apartment.  Jesus Ong, what are you doing here?  You scared the shit out of me,” Jimin asked calmly.

“I-I came to see you to try to talk things through,” Ong replied.

“Funny how you came to talk at the exact time when I’m typically at the bakery and not at home.  Stop your lies Ong.  Why are you here?  And give me back my key.  This is yet another betrayal of trust which…I should expect from you by now,” Jimin snapped, a bit angrier.

Ong pulled Jimin’s key from his key ring, “Here’s your key.  I really do want to talk, but not now – later. Please?”  Ong ran past Jimin and exited the apartment building

Jimin sighed, “Yeah, that wasn’t weird at all.”  As angry as he was with Ong, he knew he wouldn’t cause any damage to the apartment so he had no reason to be concerned about him being there – even though he found it strange.  He dismissed his strange visit and concluded that Ong was just there trying to mend their friendship.

Before shutting the door, his foot rubbed against something sitting on the ground.  A package sat on the hall way floor just in front of his apartment unit, “Hm, what’s this?  I’m not expecting any packages.”  He reached down and scooped it into his arms to get a closer look at the label. The box was relatively heavy and was addressed to Park Jiminie.  

“Oh my God, what is this?  What is this?  This-this-Jungkook?  But how?” Jimin rambled and none of his sentences made any sense.  His eyes began to tear immediately.  “What can it be?” He asked himself.  The box was made of white cardboard.  It sat about 9-inches wide and about 2-inches high, with FRAGILE written in black letters.  A large colorful label affixed to the top read; Dongascience Co. Ltd. Seoul, South Korea

“What?  Why would a publishing company send me anything?” Jimin walked the package inside and laid it on his desk.  He peeled off his wet sweatshirt, then finger brushed his damp hair back away from his face.  “Scissors, scissors, where are my damn scissors?”  

Anxious, he rifled through his drawer, throwing paperclips, note cards and rulers all about his bedroom. Finally, he pulled a pair of scissors from the drawer and began cutting through the thick tape that held the box closed. Inside, was something that appeared to be a book heavily covered in bubble wrap and tissue paper.  Despite having no idea what this was, Jimin’s heart raced knowing it was from Jungkook.  He pulled the book free and read the title. 

“…oh my God…” The book slipped from his hands as his body collapsed to the floor in a heap of shock.  He cleared his tears and read the title again and again and again and each time it said the same thing, The Lost Souls in the Mirror, By Park Jimin.  Jimin cupped his mouth with his hand. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  The book had a beautiful cover that matched the description he’d once fed to Jungkook while lying in bed.  It was bound and edited and even had a forward written by - Jimin’s Father.

“Daddy?  Jungkook?  How?  How?”  Jimin sat on his bed and flipped through the crisp beautiful pages.  He read every word of his Father’s introduction over and over and over; at least 91 times.  Inside the back cover was a note dated November 11thth, it was in Jungkook’s handwriting.

“You did not find the typewriter, it found you.  This story was always within you, you just needed a little help to get it out.  My heart didn’t beat, until it beat against yours; my lover, my best friend, my teacher and my creator.  I believe in you Jimin.  I love you, forever – Jungkook.”

“This can’t be real,” Jimin shook his head in disbelief.  Was he now a published author?  Had Jungkook done the impossible and gotten him published AND managed to keep it a secret?  He grabbed the book and held it in both hands as he rushed out of the apartment and headed straight to the bakery.  He needed answers and he knew exactly where to get them.  The second that Jimin’s feet touched the sidewalk, he ran full speed down the block.  In his rush to leave, he forgot to grab another jacket, but luckily the rain stopped and a rainbow over the ocean peaked from behind a cloud in the foggy distance.  

By the time he reached the bakery, the place was mostly empty.  His Father sat at a table near the back watching a soccer game on his phone.  He glanced up and saw Jimin, “Hey son, it’s dead in here.  No need to waste your time.  Enjoy your night,” he called out before Jimin could even reach him.

“Daddy!” Jimin screamed. 

“Hey what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Jimin’s dad stood up, concerned.

“Daddy what is this?  You wrote the forward, which means you knew about it.  It’s beautiful daddy but where did it come from?”  Jimin was completely out of breath.   

“It came? Let me see.  Oh, it’s beautiful Jimin, Congratulations.  He arranged for the Publishers to send it directly to you once the final print was done.  Your copy is the first one off the presses.  Too bad he’s not here to see it,” Jimin’s dad frowned.

“He?  Who’s HE? You mean Jungkook?”  Jimin rushed his words out quickly, almost incoherently, “Daddy did Jungkook do this?”  Jimin was shaking. 

His Father reached out and held both of his hands to settle down the tremors.  “My boy, what is it, you’re shaking like a leaf. Jimin sit down.” His dad pulled out a chair and gently nudged Jimin into it.  He continued, “Yes, Jungkook did this.  It was supposed to be a surprise.  He found your manuscript and sent it off to be edited. He then shopped it around to 100 different publishing agencies trying to find one who would publish it.  He worked so hard for you Jimin.  He wanted it published because he believed in your work.  Well low and behold, it was a hit. At least 10 different companies wanted to print it and publish it. Was there a check that came with it?  Did you open it?”

“A check?  There was an envelope but I didn’t open it.  I have it here.” Jimin opened the envelope and a check for 10million won fell onto the table.

“A bidding war,” Mr. Park bragged, “and your Jungkookie insisted on the best offer.” Jimin’s dad shrugged his shoulders and chuckled.  “That’s just the advance. I think he said you’ll get royalties on sales too.  He needed a forward for the book and since he knew I was an author too, he asked me to write it.  He could have written it himself, but he felt that it would have more meaning if it came from me because I’m your dad and all.”  He smiled boyishly.

“Oh my God.  Oh my God.  Jungkook.”  Jimin stared at his newly published book, “And daddy, who designed the cover?”

“He did. He says you described it to him and he designed it from memory.  Quite the artist, isn’t he? You should call him Jimin.  This is all his doing and he deserves the credit.  He’ll explain it all.  I’m sure whatever is going on between you two, it can be worked out.” His dad rested his hand on Jimin’s shoulder and offered him a supportive smile.  

This new revelation about Jungkook only served to drive Jimin deeper into depression. Four months had passed but the pain still felt as raw as it did the first day.  It was like mourning a death; there was no difference. 

****

It was 7:30am when the class bell rang.  Jimin called his rowdy class to order and began his lesson plan for the day.  The first day of school after spring break always meant chaos; new students, new teachers, grading deadlines, exams and a flurry of other activities.  

It was journaling time and the class sat silently writing stories about their Spring vacation.  Jimin looked out over the classroom and noticed little Soon laying with her forehead pressed against her desk.

“Soon,” Jimin called her to attention, “why aren’t you writing in your journal?”

“I need a new pencil,” she pouted.

“Soon, you have got to learn to be more careful with your pencils.  I can’t give you a new pencil every single day.”

“Where’s Jungkook Mr. Park? He would always give me new pencils,” she pouted again.

“Soon, don’t say that!” Alai complained before palming herself in the forehead. The other students looked up in a collective gasp, knowing that the sound of Jungkook’s name was going to upset their beloved teacher.  They braced, ready for the tears that he always tried to hide.

“I told you he’s away.  He’s gone forever.  And don’t ask me about him again!”  Jimin snapped at the mention of Jungkook’s name.  He calmed himself and proceeded in an apologetic tone, “Just put your journal away and color in your workbook.  We’ll get you a new pencil tomorrow.”  Jimin was beyond frustrated and Soon seemed to dance on his already frazzled nerves.

Jimin was thankful for the ringing of the lunch bell.  He walked The Squad to the lunchroom and then rushed back to his classroom to complete his tasks.  He had three new students arriving that needed cubbies, folders, name tags and scores of other necessities to get them settled.  He chose his lunch time to get everything set up.  Two of the new students were from Japan, so he silently practiced his pronunciation of a few Japanese greetings in order to greet them politely in their native language.

He looked through the large window in his classroom and noticed a new young teacher leading her class to the playground.  The young woman’s face was bright with smiles and her eyes jumped with excitement as the leader of a new generation of minds.  It was a familiar feeling.  Jimin’s love of kids was what lured him to teaching in the first place.  But now, as he faced another day without Jungkook, he pondered everything in his life, and wondered openly what would become of his dreams and aspirations.  The thought saddened him.  

Just when he thought he couldn’t feel any worse, Ong popped into his classroom, “Jimin!” Ong said loudly.  

“Ong,” Jimin answered evenly. 

Ong walked over to Jimin’s desk, “Lots of new kids this semester huh?” 

“Yes,” Jimin said dryly. 

“New teachers too,” Ong continued, “in fact I met a couple of the new teachers.  They seem pretty cool, I guess.” Ong said uncomfortably.

“Yeah,” Jimin said dryly before asking, “if you don’t mind, I have a lot of work to do...so...”

“Have you met any of them? The teachers, I mean?” Ong persisted.

Jimin was done.  He wanted Ong out.  He slammed his drawer shut and swiveled his chair around so that his back was to Ong, and then bellowed an angry response, “No I haven’t. Ong, we have new students and new teachers every year.  Nothing new! NOTHING NEW! IS THERE A POINT TO THIS CONVERSATION?”  

“Yeah, there’s a point,” a soft velvet voice answered Jimin’s question.  

Jimin heard it but…but…

“He’s just taking too damn long to get to his point,” the voice spoke again

Jimin closed his eyes tight and shook his head; he squeezed his tears underneath his sealed eyelids.  He rationalized to himself because it was likely that he was hallucinating, it had happened before.  When you’re grieving, you sometimes think you hear things…you hear them...but it’s just a trick of the mind.  He continued to sit with his back to Ong, refusing to turn around.  The hallucination would end in heartbreak because it wasn’t real.

The soft rich undeniable voice spoke one more time, “It’s ok Jiminie.”

Jimin gripped his chair and his legs went numb.  His heart beat through his chest so fast and so loud, that the thumping filled his ears, deafening him to all other sounds. He briefly saw the stars of unconsciousness but pushed through to force himself to stay upright.  His fingers began to swell and bruise under the grip that he had on the arms of his chair. He cried out, “You’re not real.  Please don’t do this to me, please don’t be cruel,” Jimin plead with his mind, demanding that the hallucination stop. Jimin’s mind had played many cruel tricks on him before; thinking he spotted Jungkook in a grocery store, or thinking that he saw him lying in their bed or thinking that he heard him singing in the shower – but none of it was ever real.  He could not allow himself to be fooled again.

“Turn around Jimin,” Ong called out.

Jimin’s voice trembled as he spoke, “No, my heart can’t break again.”  The sound of his own heart beat grew louder.  Blood rushed to his head and the feeling of dizziness and nausea invaded his body.  He covered his ears and shook his head – still refusing to turn around.

Jungkook stepped from behind Ong and gently approached Jimin, walking up quietly behind him.  

The scent of lavender tickled Jimin’s nose.  He erupted in tears, but still did not turn around.  His weak pallid voice spoke again, “J-Jungkookie?”  He continued to grip the handles of his chair, causing his fingertips to burn red from the pressure.

Jungkook, worried about Jimin’s fragile state, made a point to reveal himself as gently as possible.  He knelt down on his right knee and held on to the back of Jimin’s chair and then slowly spun him around.  From his vantage point, he looked up at Jimin to study his expression.  A bright smile ripped across his face as he whispered, “I’m here because you asked me to be.”

Those words. Jimin’s eyes were still locked closed and his chin was dropped into his chest, the chair squeaked with a steady cadence that matched the uncontrolled twitching of his legs. The familiar smell of lavender grew even stronger within his nostrils.  It wasn’t until he felt the kiss on his lips - you know the kiss that sent him soaring through white puffy clouds, the one that made him feel like he was in constant free fall, the one that made him feel like he was the most loved person in the world – it wasn’t until he felt THAT kiss that he finally opened his eyes.  And what he saw could only be categorized as miracle; Jungkook was there, touching him, kissing him, holding him, caressing him.  Jungkook was there.

Jimin pulled away and stared in disbelief, “I-Is that really you?” He said it so quietly that Jungkook barely heard.

“It’s absolutely me Jiminie,” Jungkook assured him.

Jimin pawed at Jungkook’s face with his small hands, trying to convince himself that he was real.  

He fell from his chair, straight into Jungkook’s arms and embraced him as tightly as he could.  He cried again.

Jungkook began to cry as well, “We’ve got to start reuniting under happier circumstances,” he joked through his tears.  

Jimin pawed at his face again, wiping his tears and finger brushing his hair, which was still black and slightly longer than the last time, but still beautiful.  He bracketed his face and kissed his lips, and his nose and his forehead and everything else in between.  Still crying, he whispered, “I can’t believe this.  I can’t believe it.  I thought I had failed.  I can’t believe it. How did I get you back? Which combination? How long have you been here?  Why didn’t you come to me?” Jimin asked a million questions and accented each one with a kiss upon Jungkook’s perfect lips.

“Jimin, Jimin wait, wait,” Jungkook laughed. He could barely talk because Jimin’s lips were all over his mouth.  “Jimin, it wasn’t you,” Jungkook explained.

“What do you mean it wasn’t me? Of course, it was,” Jimin said surprised.  “I never gave up Jungkookie. NEVER.  I’ve been trying new combinations every night since you left.  I never gave up…”  Jimin’s tears of joy were dropping in buckets now.

“Jimin, the three-occurrence rule is steadfast.  It can’t be broken.  It couldn’t have been done by you.  It wasn’t done…by you,” Jungkook said lovingly.

“Then who?” Jimin dropped from Jungkook’s arms, fearful once again of this being some type of hallucination or cruel trick.  He held Jungkook tightly as if he were afraid of him disappearing again.

“It was me,” Ong spoke up after standing silently in the corner for what seemed an eternity. 

“YOU!”  Jimin stood up, pulling Jungkook up behind him. “But you’re the one who destroyed him in the first place,” Jimin said protectively. 

“Which is exactly why it had to be HIM to bring me back,” Jungkook explained.  

Jimin held Jungkook’s hand and stood protectively between he and Ong, “But he tried to destroy you.” 

Jungkook smiled at Jimin, “But he didn’t destroy me.”

“Because you did it first. Why? Why Jungkookie? Why did you do that?  Out of everything that happened, that’s what hurt me the most.  Why did you throw yourself into the fire?  Why didn’t you fight for us?”  Jimin was no longer focused on Ong.

“Jimin. I had to.  Ong was willing to risk everything to protect you, even if it meant losing you.  He wasn’t going to back down, I saw in his eyes.  Jimin, if I had allowed Ong to be the one to throw my manuscript into the fire, you would have never been able to forgive him.  It would have been as if he killed me and, you in turn, may have killed him.  So, I had to destroy it myself.  I couldn’t allow you two to lose each other.  His love for you is unconditional and he only wants what’s best for you, which is why I also knew that he would, eventually, be the one to bring me back.”

“I couldn’t go another day seeing you in pain Jimin,” Ong said quietly.

“Wait.  Is that what you were doing in my apartment?  You created a new manuscript on my typewriter?” Jimin asked.

“Yes.  When I stole the original, I stared at it so much that I accidently memorized the 13 words.  It was easy to reproduce. And it worked immediately too because by the time I got home, Jungkook was in my kitchen teaching Solar how to fry apple dumplings,” Ong laughed. He continued, “Jimin there’s a fail-safe written into the third occurrence rule.  Although it wasn’t easy for me to find because those bits were missing from the articles stored in the Seoul library.  I was able to find the missing pages by pure luck.  Some kid had stuffed them in the middle of the erotic session in the archives.  The code was simple, only someone who truly loved you and understood your heart could transfer your “being” back to you by duplicating or summoning your original manuscript.  That someone - was me.”

“Ongie, you figured out how to bring him back?  You did that for me?”  Jimin said, “I’ve been so horrible to you.  I blamed you.”

“I deserved it.  Jimin seeing you suffer the way you did told me everything I needed to know about Jungkook.  You’re in love with him and he’s in love with you and he makes you happier than I’ve ever seen you in the 15 years we’ve known each other.  He’s your destiny and I – almost denied you of that.”

Jimin spoke sincerely, “Thank you Ongie.  You have no idea what this means to me.  But wait, if he’s been here since last night, why am I just now learning about it?” Jimin laughed.  He touched Jungkook’s face and began pushing the long black strands of hair away from his forehead. He rested his head upon Jungkook’s chest and closed his eyes. 

“That was my idea.  I wanted to see you at work,” Jungkook smiled.

“Work?” Jimin said confused.

“I’m one of the new Teachers,” Jungkook grinned.

“You added Teacher to his profile?” Jimin asked Ong, surprised again.

“No, he did,” Ong said.

“I’m no longer controlled by the manuscript Jimin.  My will is my own.  I studied to become a teacher and I have excellent credentials.  I even spent months as a student teacher in this very school,” Jungkook explained.

Jimin nodded, “Great point.”

Ong spoke up again, “BUT, I did add one small teeny, weeny, little change to his profile,” Ong said.  He removed the paper containing Jungkook’s newest manuscript.  He also removed a lighter from his pocket.  He set the paper ablaze and dropped into Jimin’s trash can.

“Are you crazy?” Jimin screamed.  He instinctively grabbed Jungkook again as if to protect him.

Ong smiled like a silly puppy. He was pleased with himself.  Jungkook smiled as well, seemingly completely unaffected by his burning soul. 

“Jimin, it’s ok.  Ong is brilliant.  He added to my profile that I could no longer be destroyed by fire.  He kinda’ outsmarted Professor Lee-Soung.”  Jungkook gave Ong a high five.

“Ong, you ARE brilliant!” Jimin hugged him tightly.

 “And now that he’s destroyed the manuscript, I also can no longer be altered.  My growth is now my own.  I hope you’re ok with that,” Jungkook questioned.

“I am very ok with that.  I love you just as you are,” Jimin reassured him.

“And nothing will ever change that,” Jungkook said proudly.  

Jimin stared into Jungkook’s large brown eyes, “I love you.”  He lifted Jungkook’s hand and kissed the back of it.  He then leaned forward for a kiss on his lips.

“That’s my cue to leave.  I have some papers to grade or something. Bye,” Ong said.

“Ong Wait,” Jimin and Jungkook said in unison, “Thank you,” they both pronounced. 

Ong gave them a nod, “Karaoke Friday you two. I won’t take no for an answer,” Ong yelled as he left the classroom.

Jungkook turned back to Jimin, “We’re coworkers now.  That means we can fuck in the bathroom.”

Jimin shook his head, “Nope, nope, that is not what that means.”

“You sure? I thought I read that in the handbook, oh well we can sort that out later.”  Jungkook was serious.

Jimin stroked Jungkook’s hair again, “I almost died without you.  I didn’t know how much longer I was going to be able to hold on,” Jimin confessed.

“You would have held on forever, because with me or without me, you’re Park Jimin, and your strength and courage would have seen you through anything,” Jungkook reassured. 

Jimin didn’t reply.  He leaned his head against Jungkook’s chest and just cried tears of joy and relief.  Jungkook removed a handkerchief from his pocket and used it to wipe Jimin’s tears.  He ran his lips through Jimin’s hair, kissing intermittently throughout his head.  Jungkook took a moment to apologize, “I’m sorry that I put you through this pain, Jimin.”

“But how did you know that Ong could break the third occurrence rule?”  Jimin asked still confused.

“I didn’t.  But I trusted that he would figure it out or die trying. It’s hard to explain Jimin, but because I’m a product of the typewriter, something instinctually told me that there was a way around it.  We just needed to figure it out.”  Jungkook shrugged.

“You took a big risk Jungkook.  You literally sacrificed EVERTHING for me and Ong.  What if it hadn’t worked and he hadn’t figured it out?  What if your instincts had been wrong?”  Jimin shivered at the thought.

“It was a chance I had to take.  But I knew in my heart that he would do the right thing.”  Jungkook smiled and tried to lighten the subject. “On a happier note, my tattoo is still there.  Plus, two others that you are really going to enjoy discovering.”  Jungkook gave Jimin a naughty grin and a wink.

Jimin’s heart leapt, “I can’t wait.”

“And guess what?  I meant it when I said we were coworkers.  I’ve been assigned to those terrible third graders that were left roaming the earth after Mrs. Klu retired,” Jungkook said happily.

“They are terrible.  Good luck with that.”  Jimin could no longer hide his joy, he kissed Jungkook right there in the classroom. They were tongue to tongue when The Squad came rushing in from lunch. Neither of them noticed they were no longer alone. 

“Ewww, they’re using tongue,” they all spewed together.

“What’s kissing feel like?” Alai asked.

“Like getting your lips caught in a vacuum cleaner,” Ji answered.

“Ewww,” they all yelled again. “Hi Jungkookie,” a few others yelled in unison, realizing that they hadn’t seen him in quite a long time.

Jungkook felt a tug on his shirt.  He looked down to see tiny little Soon standing below him.

“Jungkookie, may I borrow a pencil, my eraser is broken?”  She showed him a tattered pencil that was snapped right at the eraser.

“Why of course Soon,” Jungkook fished a pencil from his pocket and gave it to Soon. Not wanting to be too bold in front of an audience, he turned to Jimin, “Have a good day Mr. Park, I shall see you after school.” He gave Jimin a formal handshake and then disappeared down the hall in search of his own classroom full of third graders.

***

“Jeez, it’s hot.  Summer sure did come fast.  Are you ready to go, Hot Stuff?”  Jungkook flirted.

“That’s new.  That’s definitely new.  Let me play that back in my head to decide if I like it.  I’ll let you know.”  Jimin giggled, “Yes, I’m ready to go.  Did you see the new sapling that we’re planting?  He’s a Red Maple and his name is Jikook – get it? Jimin and Jungkook merged together…like that?”

“You’re so clever.  I love it.  Do you have a location in mind?  That last five trees we planted for our foundation are getting a bit crowded, I think we should probably chose another spot for Jikook,” Jungkook reasoned.

“Good idea.  Jikook is already packed in his burlap sack and loaded in the truck.  I packed the luggage last night and I think you packed all the camping gear this morning, so yeah, I think we’re ready, Hot Stuff.”  Jimin opened his mouth into a toothy smile and gave Jungkook a crooked wink.

“No baby, it only works when I say it,” Jungkook admonished.  “Race you to the truck?”

The two elementary school teachers who were very stern about students NOT running through the hallway, took off running down the hallway.

Jimin got there first.  He jumped into the truck and yelled, “Let’s go slow poke.  I can’t wait to see how the lake looks in the summer.  Can we camp in the same spot?”

“I am NOT a slow poke and, yes, we can camp in the same spot,” Jungkook grumbled as he jumped into the driver’s side.

Ong approached as Jungkook settled into his seat.

“Hey guys, where ya’ going?” Ong said light heartedly.

“Camping,” Jungkook answered, “in the mountain range on the edge of the city,” Jungkook waved at Ong as if to say goodbye.

“That sounds GREAT.”  Ong jogged over to the lowered window on Jungkook’s side of the truck.  He peaked inside with a satisfied grin, “Since summer break has officially begun, what do you say me and Solar grab out gear and come…”

“Go away,” Jungkook didn’t allow Ong to finish his sentence.  He stared at him while his index finger plowed into the automatic window button.  The thick truck glass raised between their faces as Jungkook continued to stare at him in disappointment.

“Jungkook!  Bwaaaaaa-haaaaaaa” Jimin laughed so hard that he accidently knocked the seat back, causing his legs to fly up into the air.  He rolled about on the passenger side laughing in his loveable but obnoxious laugh, at Ong’s expense.

Jungkook cranked the truck and quickly drove off, leaving Ong standing there still trying to figure out why he and Solar couldn’t tag in.  Jimin cracked his window as they left the parking lot and yelled, “love you Ongie,” and then continued with more laughter.

The END...If you want it to be.  

But if you really want to dive into the mystery and learn the truth about the typewriter, follow me into "Epilogue:  The Manuscript"

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 – Epilogue: The Manuscript

Mama Park’s Secret

“Stay still Jungkookie, I’m trying to cut the gum out without chopping off your hair.” Jimin admonished Jungkook as he squirmed in the chair. “I hope you told Principle Min about this. This is NOT appropriate behavior to show towards a teacher. Seriously, putting gum in your baseball cap? Unruly kids!” Jimin said in anger. He was more angry about the fact that he would have to cut Jungkook’s beautiful hair, than he was about the actual prank.

Jungkook rubbed his hand over the section of hair that Jimin cut and laughed quietly under his breath, “It was just a last day of school prank. It’s not that big of a deal. I thought it was kinda’ funny.”

“Jungkook those children are Demons,” Jimin said solidly.

“Agreed, but they’re my Demons and I love them,” Jungkook defended.

“Baby, I’ve got to cut it. The gum was embedded pretty deep and I can’t leave this uneven patch. Are you ok with that?” Jimin said sadly.

“I’m fine with it. You’re the one who seems to be tearing up. It’s just hair Jiminie, it’ll grow back.” Jungkook laughed at Jimin.

“You’re right.” Jimin sniffled. He really was emotionally attached to Jungkook’s longer hair. “Speaking of hair, I’m thinking of going blonde again. What do you think?”

“Don’t care.” Jungkook was flipping through his phone shopping for new outfits for Koya.

“Jungkookie, I want your opinion. Surely you have a preference. Brown or Blonde?” Jimin said agitated.

“Naked.” Jungkook placed two sweaters in his shopping cart for Koya, Mrs. Lei’s puppy.

Jimin laugh loudly, “That is not a choice.”

“I like the color of the hair on your nuts. It’s nice, does that count?” Jungkook snickered and placed his hand on Jimin’s crotch.

“You’re filthy. Filthy mouth, filthy mind, just filthy.” Jimin laughed while caressing Jungkook’s hand that was gripped on his nut sack.

“You love my filth,” Jungkook whispered.

Jimin moaned, “I really do.”

A rapid knock startled them, “I’ll get it,” Jungkook offered. He jogged to the door and opened it to find a middle-aged white man standing there.

“Hello.” Jungkook said in English, “May I help you?”

“Yes, hello, my name is Pierce Mechaux and I’m looking for a Park Jimin?” Mr. Mechaux introduced himself politely.

“Sure, come in. He’s here.” Jungkook stood aside and invited the stranger into his apartment. “Jimin, this is Mr? Could you repeat that name please? My English is not…”

“Indeed, Mechaux, Pierce Mechaux. I’m the owner of the Magic Shop. Mr. Park it’s a pleasure to meet you. I hope you don’t mind, my nephew Ricky told me where I could find you.”

Jimin’s face lit with recognition, “Mr. Mechaux!” He rushed over to shake his hand, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Come in, come in, have a seat,” Jimin ushered him towards the couch, “please call me Jimin,” Jimin spoke in English.

“Would you like a cup of coffee and some fresh pastries?” Jungkook offered.

“Why yes, thank you. A cup of coffee would be wonderful. I am a bit tired. Just returned from a long flight from America.” Mr. Mechaux sat back comfortably on the couch.

Jungkook left the room to fetch the coffee and pastries.

“Did you come straight here from the airport?” Jimin asked.

“Almost, I stopped by the shop first and that’s actually what brings me here,” Mr. Mechaux explained. “Mr. Park, I’m not sure how to tell you this, but…there’s been a terrible mistake made.”

“Oh? How so?” Jimin asked, intrigued.

Mr. Mechaux loosened his collar, clearly uncomfortable with the topic, “My nephew seems to have sold you something that was not supposed to be for sale.”

“The typewriter?” Jungkook asked as he re-entered the room.

“Yes, how did you know?” Mr. Mechaux asked.

Jimin began, “Mr. Mechaux…”

“Call me Pierce, please,” he corrected.

“Pierce,” Jimin began again, “I made your nephew a fair offer for the typewriter, everything was above board.”

“I don’t mean to insinuate that anything nefarious occurred. It’s a bit more complicated than that Jimin. Firstly, my nephew is an idiot. You see the typewriter was not for sale. In fact, it was clearly marked with DNS or Do Not Sell. Secondly, we believe the typewriter may have some...err uh…malfunctions that need to be repaired.” A few beads of sweat broke out along the edge of Mr. Mechaux’s forehead.
Jimin and Jungkook both looked at each other.

Jungkook, the bolder of the two, had little patience for bullshit and he was pretty certain that bullshit was being served to him and Jimin. He spoke unafraid, “Malfunctions huh? Such as? Because Jimin and I have both used it for almost a year now and we have never had a single problem.” Jungkook looked directly at Mr. Mechaux, making him even more uncomfortable.

“Well, that is uh- great news. But we are lucky no one was hurt or injured, so I will gladly take it off your hands. I’m willing to offer you what you paid for it plus an additional $100 for your trouble,” Mr. Mechaux offered.

“You seem to want this typewriter back very badly. Are you sure you’re telling us everything?” Jungkook probed.

Mr. Mechaux was silent. The three seemed to be playing a game of cat and mouse with two sly cats and one very scared mouse. Jungkook spoke again, “Pierce, my boyfriend is very fond of the typewriter. We think we will decline your offer. Unless you can give us a more compelling reason for why we should part with it. If not, I believe we are done here. Shall I show you out?” Jungkook said poignantly.

“No, please. I must take the typewriter back…it’s…it’s not for sale. It is a family heirloom that belonged to my wife’s Father. I assure you it has no value other than sentimental. I must retrieve it for her. She has a very strong attachment,” Pierce Mechaux was almost begging.

“No.” Jungkook said simply.

Mr. Mechaux decided that maybe his efforts would be more fruitful if he focused them towards Jimin. “Jimin. Please?”

Jimin took a deep breath. “Tell us the truth please Mr. Mechaux. What is the real reason you are so eager to retrieve it? It wouldn’t, by any chance, have anything to do with certain powers it holds, would it?”

Mr. Mechaux’s face went paper white. All of the color drained as he blinked heavily in stunned silence, “H-h-h-how did you know? No one knows the keys to unlocking it’s power, how did you find out?”

From the look on his face, it was clear that he never expected anyone to know the secrets of the typewriter’s hidden abilities.

Jungkook walked over to rub Pierce’s shoulder to help calm him. “Sir are you going to be ok?” Jungkook was concerned.

“It’s impossible. No one knows the unlock phrase, not even my family. How did you?” Pierce was now sweating profusely.

“It was purely by accident. I used the unlock phrase one night, just playing around and the next thing I knew…” Jimin was shouted down by Mr. Mechaux.

“Tell me you burned it! Please tell me you burned it! You cannot allow it to walk amongst us,” Mr. Mechaux was panicked and shaken.

“Yes,” Jungkook answered. He burned it. He made eye contact with Jimin and held a silent conversation.

“Oh thank God. No one knows much of anything about this typewriter. We believe it may be cursed or something. That’s why it was tagged and DNS and NMR.”

“NMR?” Jimin questioned.

“Needs more research,” he explained. “After my wife’s Father died last year, my son found the thing when he was going through their estate. We’ve heard many stories about it, but we never really believed any of it to be true until my mother-in-law started to fill in some of the gaps.”

“Wait. Professor Lee-Soung is your wife’s Father?” Jimin spoke fondly of the Professor. He was so intimately familiar with his writings that he felt as if he knew him.

“Yes. I wasn’t lying when I said this was a family heirloom. My wife is Chinese, that nut Soung, was her Father. She grew up with the typewriter in the house but frankly, she hates it. There are very bad memories surrounding it, yet she feels a sense of responsibility in protecting others from it. Jimin, we believe this thing to be dangerous. Not much is known…”

“You’re a little late to the party, Pierce. To the contrary, much IS KNOWN about your precious artifact. We’ve researched it for almost a year. We were able to trace the origins all the way back to the manufacturer and throughout the history of the original incantations. We know quite a bit about how it works. And I can assure you that it is not cursed and it does not only produce evil,” Jungkook tried to sound confident but he too had his doubts about the typewriter.

“How could you possibly know all of this?” mMr. Mechaux said defiantly.

“We’re teacher’s, we’re smart.” Jungkook said curtly, slightly offended at the insinuation.

Jimin laughed and rubbed Jungkook’s knee to calm him down, “Pierce, we found the original owner, the Professor, and we tracked down all of his articles, published and non-published, to learn the secrets of the typewriter. But Pierce, you are right about one thing, the typewriter can be dangerous if it falls into the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. Which brings me back to your original request…I think it is safer for everyone if the typewriter remains with us, since we are the two who know most about it. So our answer is still…” He paused and with perfect timing Jungkook answered,

“No.”

Mr. Pierce smiled, almost as if relieved. “Well Jimin, I have to be honest. It is a bit of a comfort to know that the artifact is in the hands of someone who knows how to protect it. To be honest, we had no clue about the thing. Chi-Lin has a few memories from when she was about seven or eight but she’s mostly blocked them out because of some type of trauma that occurred around that time. We tried speaking to Chi-Lin’s Mother about it, but she is as tight lipped as her dead husband. Chi-Lin, that’s my wife.”

“Interesting. Professor Soung’s wife? She’s still alive? “ Jungkook asked.

“Very much so. She’s as lucid and focused as she ever was although honestly compels me to say that she’s lost a step or two since her husband’s death in 2018. Quite a love story with those two. I imagine she’s had a rough time without her husband.” Mr. Mechaux gulped the last few drops of his coffee.

“Her name is Leena, right? Leena Soung?” Jimin confirmed.

 

“Well I’ll say, you certainly have done your research. Yes. Her name is Leena. She’s truly one of the most extraordinary women I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Her husband got all of the attention because of his success but most people don’t realize that she too was a scientist. A physicist, just as intelligent and groundbreaking as her husband. He credits her theory in his most successful work. Quirky little lady though. She and my wife are very close.” Mr. Mecheaux placed his empty coffee cup on the table and began stuffing different pastries in his mouth. “Forgive me for being a bit greedy. I’m starving. Gosh these are delicious.”

Jungkook relished Pierce’s appetite. It made him feel good to see someone enjoying his pastries. “Can I get you more Pierce?” He offered graciously.

“No thank you I’ve been greedy enough. I should prepare to take my leave.” Pierce laughed as he pinched off the delicious crumbs that were stuck to his lip.

Jungkook took Pierce’s cup and plate and disappeared into the kitchen.

Jimin shifted the conversation back to the typewriter, “Pierce, May I ask you a personal question?”

Pierce nodded with the last mouth full of flakey crumbs falling from his lips.

“You gave up your quest for the typewriter pretty easily. I get the feeling you want nothing to do with it. I mean how’s your wife going to feel about you returning without the typewriter?” Jimin asked timidly.

“Relieved, she’ll be relieved. Jimin, no wants anything to do with that thing. You have to understand that my wife grew up hearing the whispered rumors about Dad’s little “toy”. As a child, she never really understood the chatter but as she got older, the mystique grew. It’s like a family embarrassment. The typewriter disappeared for more than twenty years, everyone had forgotten about it, so imagine how startled she was when it showed up at our shop after our son brought it home from the estate. Jimin, I’m more than happy to leave this typewriter with you but you have to promise not let it land in the wrong hands. You understand more about that piece of shit than anyone in my wife’s entire family, well with the exception of Leena, who knows much more than she’s willing to let on.” Pierce stood and extended his hand to Jimin, “I better be going now. If anything comes up, you have my number,”

Pierce walked to the front door, opened it and stepped into the hall way. He turned and bid Jimin farewell. As he turned to walk away, Jimin called to him,

“Yes, Pierce Um, one more question if I may? Where’s Leena now?”

“Oh feisty little Leena. She’s with her sister now since Lee-Soung died, they live in...Xuajiulan, China.”

Simultaneously, as Jimin closed the door, a thunderous crash came from behind him. Jungkook stood their ghost faced. The antique tea set that he was holding had slipped from his fingers and crashed to the ground.

Jimin jumped startled from the loud noise. “Baby! You ok?” He initially focused on the thousands of jagged pieces of porcelain all over the ground, but the look on Jungkook’s face diverted his attention.

“Oh my god, Jungkookie what’s wrong?” The look on Jungkook’s face was familiar; it was the same look that he’d always given right before he disappeared. Jimin tried to remain calm, he held Jungkook tightly, “Talk to me baby. What is it?” Jimin held his breath, waiting for Jungkook to speak.

Jungkook didn’t speak. Instead, he grabbed Jimin’s hand forcefully and pulled him out of the apartment. He didn’t bother to clean up the spilled tea or sweep the broken porcelain tea pots, he didn’t even bother to lock the apartment door.

Jimin fought behind him, “what’s wrong with you? Where are we going? Jungkook stop. STOP!” He yelled.

“I can’t stop. We have to go. We have to see your mom right now,” Jungkook continued to tug at Jimin, pulling him into the elevator.

“WHAT IS GOING ON? What’s my mother got to do with anything?” Jimin stopped and dug his feet into the ground, refusing to be moved any further.

“Jimin just fucking, Ughhhhh!” Jungkook grew frustrated. He wrestled Jimin from the ground and threw him over his shoulder.

Jimin kicked and punched at Jungkook’s back all the way to the bakery. “Put me down!” Jimin was livid, “you have a very bad habit of being an asshole sometimes, you know that?”

Jimin’s mother giggled as she watched the two of them stumble their way into the cafe. “What a pleasant surprise.” She laughed.

Jimin continued to fuss about Jungkook’s behavior. For Jungkook’s part, he was incredulous to the bitching.

Jungkook ran over to Mama Park and gripped both of her arms and hurriedly spoke, “We have to tell him. We have to tell him everything now. Mama Park, it’s urgent.”

“Jungkook! You promised. You took an oath to keep this private between us! I can’t believe you!” She was visibly upset and crossed her arms discouragingly.

“Mama Park, please. Things have changed, he needs to know,” Jungkook responded.

“What’s so urgent anyway that you’re willing to throw me under the bus?” She pouted.

“Twitter talk again,” Jimin’s Father yelled from the kitchen.

“I would never betray your trust unless it was urgent. I kept your secret Mama Park, I did. But now I think we need more help. Jimin can help us.”

“What are you two lunatics talking about?” Jimin had had enough. He wedged himself between them and pushed them apart. “If someone doesn’t tell me what’s going on right now, I swear to God I’m going to...to...to...be very upset!”

“Scream baby. Scream would have been a better word.” Jungkook rolled his eyes and turned back to Mama Park.

“Damnit will you just tell him before he bursts a vein! They’re tracking a serial killer, Jimin.” Jimin’s father yelled from behind the soccer match on his cell phone.

“Excuse me, tracking a what?” Jimin wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly.

“We need to tell him everything. Get your notebooks Mama Park,” Jungkook asked respectfully.

“Mommy, you can’t be serious! Please tell me you’re not at this again?” Jimin spoke firmly but gently to his mom, “and now you’ve dragged Jungkook into this madness.”

Jungkook asked confused, “again?”

“She has a habit of prying into matters that don’t involve her. I swear she and Ong are related,” Jimin said bitterly.

“Jimin, please understand. This serial killer has been loose for almost two years moving between Busan and Seoul, preying on men your age. TWO YEARS, Jimin and they still can’t stop it. 19 victims, and they haven’t been able to stop it.” She looked pathetically at Jimin begging for forgiveness. “When Jungkook disappeared THE FIRST time,” she cut her eyes at Jungkook then refocused on Jimin, “I feared the worst and that’s when I started looking into it. I was sure she’d gotten to him. I was scared Jimin and you wouldn’t take my concerns seriously. I searched a few articles for news. One article turned into two and before I knew it, I had over 200 articles collected. And Jimin, there’s a pattern.” She looked at him with fear in her eyes.

Jungkook also made eye contact. Jimin could tell from his expression that there was much more than just a serial killer on his mind.

“Ok mom,” he said, still staring at Jungkook, “show me what you’ve got. Who is this guy?”

“Girl.” Jungkook corrected. He had the look of intrigue upon his face.
Mrs. park sat them down in the booth and pulled out her pictures, binders and hundreds of clippings. It took over an hour for her to explain the patterns. She was able to predict with great accuracy where the next murders would take place.

“Jimin your mother knew it was a woman, weeks before the police reported it,” Jungkook bragged.

Jimin rubbed his tiny mother’s back, “How?”

“Crime scene photos.” She began to flip through her folder to display the gruesome pictures.

“Mommy, you shouldn’t be looking at crime scene photos!” Jimin grimaced and gagged.

“That’s exactly what I said.” Jungkook supported.

“Shut up. Both of you, shut up, I’m not a child.” She baulked. “Look at the bloody footprint.”

She produced a full-scale photo of the killers foot print and then compared it to her own. See?” She gestured. “She’s a small one, similar to my size. She uses a sword to stab them which is why there’s so much blood.”

“How did you get these pictures?” Jimin questioned as he turned his head away from the bloody images.

“Your uncle Jin on the police force. I should have turned him in but your Grandmother said I couldn’t “tattle” on my big brother,” Jimin’s dad joked sarcastically. He was still yelling from the kitchen, half in and half out of the conversation.

Mama Park nodded in agreement, “Your mother’s right. He’s family. We don’t tattle on family. Besides he’s under pressure to get this case solved. A little help from his sister in-law can’t hurt anything.”

“Your occupation is not a Police Officer.” Jungkook lightly teased at his former self.

Jimin couldn’t help but laugh despite the grisly topic on the table.

Mrs. Park rolled her eyes again before continuing, “Anyway, after Jungkook returned from wherever the hell he’d been...”

“With my Uncle, he got sick again...” Jungkook lies.

“Blah -blah whatever,” she interrupted, “...after Jungkook returned, I asked for his help. Almost immediately, he was able to see things that I completely overlooked. For example, she’s left handed. Look at the direction of the slash marks in the victim’s chest.

Jimin buried his face in Jungkook’s shoulder and closed the page, “Yuck mom, yuck!”

“No look this is important. Look at all of them. Notice anything else odd?” She said as she pulled them out again and shoved them in his face.

“No, what?” Jimin was facing the photos but his hands were completely covering his eyes, thus defeating the purpose.

“Come on Jimin look. Jungkook is the one who put these pieces together. See it? They could all be brothers. They look exactly alike, same age, same hair color, same facial features, all University students.” She obtusely held the photos up again, trying to make Jimin look.

Jungkook didn’t like seeing Jimin uncomfortable. He gently pushed the graphic photos down to the table and tucked them away in the manila folder. Instead of the gory police photos, he found the missing person’s flyers and laid all 19 of them out for Jimin to see. “It’s safe to look now baby. These are better. Notice anything?”

Jimin looked quickly and then looked again. He looked up at Jungkook with a raised eyebrow. “Yes. I see what you mean. This is all very fascinating, but what does any of this have to do with any of us?” Jimin asked his mother but directed his attention to Jungkook.

“Jimin there’s been more murders in a different Country.” Jungkook clarified.

“Yes. Another brilliant observation by your boyfriend. Killing someone with a samurai sword is a very unique murder weapon. It was his idea to scour the internet for murders with similar killing methods and that’s when we found it. The murders did not start in Korea. They started months before, dating back to April 2018,” Mrs. park added.

Jimin leaned forward, laser focused on his mother’s words, “Then where did they start?”

“China.” His mother stated simply.

“Xuajiulan.” Jungkook added.

Jimin’s eyes glassed over and his mouth fell open. He stared at Jungkook - speechless.

***
The Familiar

Jungkook paced back and forth in the apartment. Jimin was busy flipping through Red Moon Rising, Our Greatest Burden, trying to find the picture of Lee-Soung from 1956.

“oh my God. Oh My GOD! Jungkook look.” Jimin showed Jungkook a picture of Wu Lee-Soung when he was just 26 years old.

“Incredible. I told you Jimin, the resemblance is uncanny. Every single one of the serial killer’s victims looks just like Professor Soung.” Jungkook lined up the flyers next to Soung’s picture.

Jimin covered his eyes, “Jungkook no. What are we saying?”

“Jimin, yes and you know what we’re saying. Jimin, the serial killer came from the typewriter. And judging from the appearance of the victims, it’s someone who had a serious hatred for Soung. All the clues are there. We have to face the facts.”

“But how? You heard Mechaux, no one knows how to release a being from the typewriter. Even you were an accident,” Jimin said carelessly.

Jungkook didn’t like the reference. He corrected Jimin angrily, “I was never an accident, I’m your destiny.”

“Baby don’t get defensive, you know I didn’t mean it that way,” Jimin back peddled, “my point is, no one could have created another being except...”

Jungkook picked up Jimin’s aborted sentence, “...except Professor Soung himself.”

Jimin ran his fingers through his hair. He blew an exasperated breath.

Jungkook held Jimin in his arms, “Jimin, your mom has been able to predict the timing of the murders almost perfectly. The killer attacks during the first phase of the full moon, which means in less than six days, she’s going to kill again. We have to stop her Jimin. We made a promise to Mr. Mechaux that we’d protect the world from this typewriter. We have to do something.”

“The manuscript.” The idea came to Jimin suddenly. “We have to get the manuscript and destroy it. If we can do that, Jungkook we can stop the killings.” Jimin ran back to his phone and pulled up the biographies for Professor Soung.

Jungkook was very sensitive to the idea of destroying the manuscript. Even though he knew it was what they had to do, the scars of being on the receiving end of a burned soul made him uncomfortable, “Yeah...but...where do we even start looking?”

“Xuajiulan, of course. Mechaux said that his son got the typewriter from his grandfather’s estate after he died. We know the typewriter was dormant for over 20 years which means, the manuscript has to be in Soung’s home. Jungkookie, we need to talk to Leena.”

“Good thing school is out, because it looks like we’re headed to China.” Jungkook frowned and sat down at the computer to begin searching for airplane tickets.

***
Santa in August

Jimin tossed restlessly in his sleep. He reached his arm out to embrace Jungkook but his arm fell empty against Jungkook’s side of the bed. Jimin sat up, “Jungkookie?” He called softly.

He looked around the dark bedroom and didn’t see him but noticed a bright glow coming from the living area. “A fire? This time of year? It’s August Jungkookie.”

Jungkook had an endearing pattern. Whenever he felt disjointed or anxious, he’d sit quietly in front of a roaring fire to help him sift through his thoughts. Jimin, of course, completely understood why the fire was such a lure for Jungkook; it was just as Professor Soung had explained, ‘it is by the power of the fire that the slippage begins to occur’. In other words, the very thing that had ripped his soul apart so many times also gave him the power to define himself. The fire represented an ironic source of both comfort and understanding.

Jimin had a pretty good idea what was bothering Jungkook so he slid out of the bed and walked softly to the couch barefoot. Jungkook sat at the far end of the couch with his knees pulled into his chest and his toes hanging over the couch’s edge. He wore the yellow blanket around his shoulders like a shawl. Jimin, hesitant to disrupt him, sat quietly at the opposite end and crossed his legs to face forward.

“Why are you awake, Jiminie?” Jungkook asked sadly.

“I can’t sleep when I know you’re troubled.” Jimin glanced at the side of Jungkook’s face.

“What makes you think I’m troubled?” Jungkook looked forward as well.

“It’s 80 degrees outside, yet you’re sitting in front of a roaring fire wrapped in a thick blanket. If that’s not a sign of your troubled mind, then I don’t know what is,” Jimin smiled, holding back a laugh.

Jungkook extended his blanket covered right arm as an invitation for Jimin to snuggle with him underneath, “You know me too well Jiminie.”

Jimin accepted the invitation and scooted close to him, similar to how a baby bird would snuggle underneath her mother’s protective wing.

Jungkook planted a series of quick humble kisses on his ear, “How are we going to explain the real truth about this serial killer to your mother?” Jungkook asked.

“We’re not,” said Jimin, “knowing the truth about the typewriter and its origins, YOUR origins, is just too much. This knowledge can be a burden plus I don’t want to unnecessarily place her in any danger. The less she knows, the better. She’s given us all of her information so I think we can proceed without her. If we’re right about the killer, then once we find the manuscript, we’ll destroy it and the murders will stop. Mommy will continue to follow it for a while but eventually she’ll move on to being nosy about something else.”

Jungkook laughed and playfully nibbled Jimin’s ear.

“Our flight leaves tomorrow, we need to get some rest. Are we going to discuss what’s really bothering you or are we just going to pretend?” Jimin continued to face forward.

“I was an accident?” Jungkook questioned suddenly.

“Never.” Jimin said without hesitation.

Jungkook turned to Jimin, “But you said…”

“...I said,” Jimin overlapped him, “that I accidentally stumbled upon the Professor’s gateway that led you here. I never said YOU were an accident. I would have met you one way or another Jungkookie. We were meant to be. You were correct when you called us destiny because that’s exactly what we are.”

The look of the former Mr. X appeared briefly upon Jungkook’s face, bashful and insecure, “Do you think Jooheon had to die for us to be together?”

“No Jungkookie. It was an accident. That’s all. I studied the typewriter intensely while you were gone, and it just doesn’t work that way. There is no quid pro quo with the Universe. His death was just a tragedy, one of those things that would have happened with or without you. I didn’t love him. I knew I didn’t love him, you knew I didn’t love him, my mother knew I didn’t love him, Ong knew I didn’t love him and even HE knew I didn’t love him. Jooheon and I would have ended, period.” Jimin now looked back at Jungkook.

“Our path to happiness is clear and pure. Please don’t fret, my love.” Jimin turned toward him and nipped at his bottom lip. “Jungkook?” Jimin continued to nip, “It’s hot as hell in here, can we please put out the fire?”

“No. The hotter, the better,” Jungkook whispered.

“The hotter the better for what?” Jimin said innocently.

Jungkook shed his yellow blanket, revealing his toned naked body. He spread his knees apart to give Jimin a familiar peak at his newest tattoos that read:

F
U
C
K

Vertically down the left inner thigh and

M
E

Vertically down the right inner thigh.

Jimin looked down between Jungkook’s legs and hissed like a venomous snake, “That is much too naughty for a third-grade teacher. You do realize that when you put all three of your tattoos together they say, ‘FUCK ME JIMIN’, you realize that right?”

“Fuck me Jimin,” Jungkook demanded.

Jimin dropped to the floor and spread Jungkook’s legs even further apart. He pushed his bubbled lips against Jungkook’s inner thigh and sucked the word FUCK. He turned his head and used his teeth to bite the word ME.

“…o-o-o-ah...” Jungkook sank under the pressure from the bite.

Jimin buried his face into Jungkook’s balls and pushed both of them into his mouth, sucking them like his favorite lollipop. Then he flitted his tongue along the long vein that ran the length of Jungkook’s cock, just underneath his skin. Finally, he collapsed his entire mouth over Jungkook’s girth, sucking up and down the shaft; his plump lips creating a tight suction that “popped” whenever he took a breath.

“Why are you so good at this?” Jungkook stretched his hands over Jimin’s head and tugged lightly on his hair. It took less than five minutes for Jungkook to crescendo with a stream of creamy liquid into the back of Jimin’s throat.

Jimin stood but left his pajama pants on the floor. The stiff wood between his legs bobbed around Jungkook’s face as he stepped closer to his seated position on the couch, “What do you say you sit in Santa’s lap and tell me what you want for Christmas,” Jimin grinned like a greedy song bird.

“Christmas is still four months away…Santa,” Jungkook breathed.

Jimin fell back onto the couch and then slapped his hard, meaty thigh three times as an invitation for Jungkook to “sit”. Jungkook did as he was told. He turned around and slid across Jimin’s thighs until his butt flushed up against Jimin’s tight stomach. Jimin’s cock throbbed at attention between Jungkook’s thighs. He mumbled into the initials on Jungkook’s back as he started the role play.

“Now, have you been a good boy?” Santa Jimin asked politely.
“Not really,” Jungkook quipped.

“Oh no, confess your misdeeds to Santa,”

“To start, I constantly want my boyfriend to fuck me. I want it so bad, that I wrote it between my thighs.” Jungkook confessed.

“Yes, that is naughty,” Jimin bounced Jungkook on his lap and ran his lips along the J I and M of his back. “but I think I can forgive you. Tell me what you want for Christmas.”

“A finger…up my ass.” Jungkook’s dick jumped hard again. Talking dirty to Santa Jimin was drilling into fantasies he didn’t even know he had.

“Like this?” Jimin licked his fingers and then reached between Jungkook’s thighs and found his entrance. He worked his small finger through the tight space while continuing to lick the letters along his boyfriend’s back.

“uh-huh,” he moaned, “now two, please Santa.”

“Yes, you deserve two.” Jimin removed his finger and then licked both his index finger and middle finger and reinserted them together.

“uh-shit,” Jungkook began to stroke himself with his large hand, while Jimin massaged his insides. He rubbed the back of his head all over Jimin’s face, forcing Jimin to inhale and exhale the soft black lavender scented hair.

“Is it good my Angel?” Santa Jimin asked.

“Yes Santa, it’s very good,” Jungkook ran his hand up and down his own cock.

Jimin realized that his little role play was sending Jungkook towards the edge, fast. Pleasuring the man that he loved was driving him wild as well. He reached for the side table and found heated oil in the drawer. He slathered it on his cock as quickly as possible, so that he could take his Jungkookie for a ride.

“You’re such a good boy. What else do you want Santa to give you?” He whispered.

“Fuck me Santa.” Jungkook lifted himself just above Jimin’s lap and held his dick steady while he slowly lowered himself down –inch – by inch—by inch. The pressure built around Jimin’s shaft as his cock burrowed deep into Jungkook’s slippery moist abyss. The heat from the oil began to warm against the agitated friction of their grinding. He lifted and lowered himself repeatedly until a rhythmic clapping punched through the air, “...uhhhh fuck me Santa...” Jungkook growled like a hungry predator, begging for Jimin to thrust deeper into him.

Jimin’s hands found the front of Jungkook’s chest and pinched the erect nipples of his pectoral muscles. “…oooh GOD...Jungkookie’s gonna’ make Santa cum,” Jimin cried out, but his voice was beat down by the loud clapping of Jungkook pounding his ass against Jimin’s thighs, with his dick lodged deep in the center of his body. Jimin began to convulse as the orgasmic heat bubbled through him. He held on tightly to Jungkook’s chest and began banging his head against Jungkook’s back trying to control the quivering down his spine.

Jungkook let out one final low moan as he simultaneously stroked himself and fucked his boyfriend into oblivion. His cum percolated from the tip of his cock and spilled down the sides of the shaft onto his hand. “Inside, inside, inside,” he moaned it three times to let Jimin know where he wanted it.

“ok…inside…I’m cuming inside…hehhh…,” With one final breathless pulse, Jimin released inside of Jungkook’s body.

They both gasped for air. Jimin didn’t move but he remained tightly sealed inside of Jungkook until his erection began to subside. They simultaneously shivered and then Jungkook reached over his shoulder to kiss Jimin’s mouth, “Thank you Santa.”

***
Leena

“How in the world did we end up waking up late?” Jimin fussed.

“You know how?” Jungkook laughed.

“Oh yeah…that was totally worth it.” Jimin laughed too. They rushed around the apartment throwing last minute items into their carry-on luggage. The flight was leaving in less than two hours and they hadn’t even finished packing.

“Got everything?” Jimin had already stepped into the hallway and was calling the Uber for pick up.

“I think so, let’s get out of here.” Jungkook swam into his sweatshirt and rushed towards the front door.

They bolted down the hallway, right past Mrs. Lei. They halted briefly to give her a kiss on either side of the cheek and yelled, “goodbye!”

“Wait, where are you going?” She yelled back.

“China, be right back.” Jungkook yelled again.

***

Once they were safely at the airport, Jungkook quizzed Jimin on some general Chinese phrases. Mr. Mechaux never verified for them if Leena Soung could speak English or Korean. Calling him now to ask, would only bring forward suspicion, so they decided to prep for questioning her in Chinese. They’d received permission to visit from Nila, Leena’s sister so they knew that she spoke English as well as Chinese.

“I envy you Jimin, your Mandarin is really good,” Jungkook complimented his sweetheart.

“It’s because of you really. When you were gone, I was so deep into my research on the typewriter, that I practically immersed myself in the language so that I could translate all of Professor’s Soung’s work. I wasn’t going to allow the language barrier to come between me and possible answers.”

“My goodness you love me, don’t you?” Jungkook asked.

“I really do. I really, really do.” Jimin leaned over and gave Jungkook a big smooch in the middle of the gate terminal. They were instantly drowned in stares from curious onlookers who weren’t accustomed to gay couples showing affection in public.

The flight to China was about three hours, giving Jimin and Jungkook plenty of time to go back through their notes and focus on the questions they wanted to ask Leena.

Leena lived with her sister, Nila. She had lived there for almost two years since her husband died of a heart attack in April of 2018. Jimin’s and Jungkook’s plan was to meet at the sister’s home, interview them and then get permission to look for the manuscript in the old house that sat empty. With Leena being of such advanced age, Jimin thought it best not to mention anything about serial killers or typewriters. The story was going to be that they simply wanted to take the manuscript back to the library to store with Professor Soung’s other great works. That was the plan anyway, nice and simple, so they thought.

Once the plane landed, they had to take a bus to travel the additional 2 hours to the city of Xuajiulan. Jungkook already knew most of the history that Jimin had discovered while he was away. But Jimin made a point of giving Jungkook every little detail, no matter how small, during their five-hour trek to meet Mrs. Leena Soung, Professor Wu Lee-Soung’s widow.

The dilapidated old bus drove Jimin and Jungkook high into the mountains to the small village of Xuajiulan. The house where Leena was living was less than ten minutes away, so despite their exhaustion, they decided to walk.

The scenery was beautiful and the fresh mountain air made them feel clear headed and fresh despite their long journey. They held hands as they walked onto the grounds belonging to Nila Yin, Leena’s younger sister.

Jungkook rang the doorbell. An attractive older woman in her late sixties opened the door.

“You must be Jimin and Jungkook?” She greeted them in English and welcomed them into her home.

“Hello Mrs. Yin, it is our pleasure to meet you,” Jimin bowed. Jungkook bowed.

“You as well. Come, Leena is just outside. She is expecting you.” Nila led them to a large clearing behind the house. The mountainous terrain overlooked the ocean below with a stunning view of hilly green countryside as far as the eye could see. A petite, toned woman with long salt and pepper grey hair elegantly glided barefoot through the grass as she practiced Tai Chi.

“That can’t be Leena?” Jungkook whispered to Jimin. “I thought she was an old lady? This chick is hot.”

Jimin frowned, “She’s 78, I’m sure calling her HOT is disrespectful.”

“Leena! They’re here.” Nila called.

Leena jogged slowly over to where Jimin and Jungkook were standing. Upon closer review, she was as beautiful close up as she was from a distance; her hair fell shoulder length, she had large brown eyes, perky cheekbones and relatively smooth skin for a woman of her age. Nila left to allow the
three of them to visit privately.

“Remember,” Jungkook whispered, “she’s a Shaman.”

“Right.” Jimin acknowledged.

Leena greeted Jimin first, “You are Jimin? No?” She said in perfect Korean.

“Yes, hello Mrs. Soung, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I must say, I didn’t expect for you to speak Korean.” Jimin went in for a handshake, but Leena instead, pulled him in for a hug. “Yes, I’m fluent in Korean, English, Mandarin, and Russian. So nice to meet someone who cherishes my husband’s work.”

Leena turned to greet Jungkook, but seemed to freeze in place. Her expression was something between fear and intrigue. She stared at him without speaking a word.

Jungkook looked at Jimin as if asking for help. He spoke to break the awkward silence, “Hello Mrs. Soung, I’m Jungkook.” He offered his hand but she refused to take it. She was a petite woman much smaller than Jungkook, yet she was intimidating in her presence. She stepped up to him and evaluated his face. She raised her palm and placed it to his chest as if feeling for a heartbeat. She stared him down, refusing to blink, “Jimin, how do you know Jungkook?”

Jimin thought that was an odd question, but seeing as how the entire situation was growing stranger by the minute, he thought it best to answer her honestly, “He’s my boyfriend.”

“Your what?” Her eyes widened and she pulled Jimin gently away from Jungkook.

Jimin didn’t appreciate the gesture. He pulled away from her and reached out to hold Jungkook’s hand.

“Jimin I’m an old woman. Please kindly answer my question,” Leena asked politely.

“Work. We met at work, we’re both teachers.” Jimin was growing uncomfortable.

“You’re lying.” She smiled and gave Jimin a dismissive pat on the back.

“My God! My God! Can it be?” She walked up to Jungkook again. Her expression softened as she touched his face. It was then that Jungkook recognized her too. He wrapped his arms around her and she whispered in his ear, “Hello – little brother.”

“Little bro…Jungkook what is it with you and old ladies?” Jimin rubbed his temples, once again completely clueless about what was going on.

“Jimin. She’s from the typewriter.” Jungkook stared at Leena just as hard as she stared at him. Both of them understood the rarity of their existence but found instant comfort in sharing that rarity with each other.

“The serial killer?” Jimin pulled Jungkook away from Leena and stood between them as a barrier of protection.

“No Jimin, Leena is Wu Lee-Soung’s destiny.” Jungkook said dreamily as if he were about to cry.

“Serial killer? Boys, grab your luggage. Let’s go inside. I think we need to talk.” Leena led them up the path to the main house.

***

Leena prepared tea, broiled carp, seaweed and steamed rice for her guests. They ate out on the veranda, speaking in Korean to keep their conversation from Nila.

Leena sat with them, “How did you stumble upon my husband’s typewriter Jimin?”

Jimin felt somewhat relieved to know that he could speak honestly with Leena, “I- saw it in your daughter’s shop and convinced Ricky, their nephew, to sell it to me. I loved the retro look and feel and I had to have it. I spent hours working on my novel, that’s now published by the way,” Jimin gave himself a shameless plug much to the approval of Jungkook. “My intention was never to do anything morally wrong. Jungkook was created out of pureness of heart and a desire for true love.” Jimin was careful not to use the word “accident”.

“Yes Jimin, I can tell that Jungkook comes from the best part of you. As for the typewriter, my grandson removed it from my home without permission. It was not intentional, but as you can imagine, I would have preferred to keep the heirloom in my possession. We had it stored in the attic, where it’s been for the last 20 years. I didn’t even realize it was gone.” Leena was eloquent yet, extremely intimidating. She exuded wisdom from every pore in her body and carried herself with a quiet confidence. Jungkook could see their resemblance.

“Pierce called me to tell me that he couldn’t retrieve it, but I never imagined, anyone in a million lifetimes would figure out how to use it. We’ll talk more about that later. Now, what serial killer?” She asked quickly.

“Before we get to that, we need some information from you please Mrs. Soung,” Jimin said respectfully.

“Leena. Please call me Leena. What would you like to ask?” She held Jungkook’s hand and stared at him once again.

“He created you?” Jungkook gripped her small hand in his and gave it a squeeze.

“Yes Jungkook,” Leena answered.

“What do you know about your creation?” Jungkook asked.

“Everything,” Leena responded.

“What do you know about the typewriter?” Jimin followed.

“Everything else.” She smiled, teasing the boys with her cryptic answers. “I guess the best place to start is the beginning.”

She walked over to a rocking chair that sat in the front of the room, tied up her hair into a bun and produced a large partially completed crochet project. With her needle in her hand and a large ball of yarn dancing about the floor below her, she began to talk as she crocheted.

“It was about 1948 when he first started experimenting with time and space displacement of matter. He was 21 years of age, brilliant, handsome, and bored. Lee, I called him Lee, at times was too smart for his own good. Through a series of equations and theories, he stumbled upon the ability to move large bodies of matter and not just small microscopic things. He found, as he used to call it, a busted seam along the stitching of the universe. But there was a catch. In order to move the matter across the threshold, he needed a receptacle to carry it back and forth. In 1954, he acquired the typewriter.

It was also about this same time where he began writing and publishing articles. He began by casting positive incantations around the typewriter in an effort to affect positivity around his writing. A trick that he learned from the Shaman community. The power that he bestowed the typewriter was initially intended to bring more attention to his work. He was critically acclaimed for knowledge, intelligence yet no one ever read any of his work. So his intention with the original incantation was to put a blessing over the typed words that came from him. And sure enough, his articles grew and grew in popularity. Before he knew it, he was world renown. His professional spare, but his love life fizzled.

As handsome and loving as my Lee was, he never had much luck with women. It was a different time back then and dating at the University was tough for a man of his recognition. Finally, one night after a particularly bad date, he came home drunk and frustrated and began typing a love story; his love story of how he wished things would be. And how he wished he could find his perfect mate. One thing led to another and before he knew it, he had a full page describing - me. And...so I came. That open stitch in the universe? Well I walked right through it. Things didn’t go so well at first and within minutes, he destroyed my manuscript.

“He destroyed you?” Jungkook’s eyes misted over.

She momentarily stopped crocheting mid loop to reach over and touch Jungkook’s hand, “Oh Jungkook, they don’t mean to hurt us. They have no idea.” She looked at Jimin who also became misty eyed reflecting upon the guilt he carried from throwing Jungkook away at the beginning.

“But he only did it once right? He knew better right?” Jungkook scrambled to understand.

“No Jungkookie, he destroyed me greater than 100 times.” She wiped a tear.

“100 times?” Jungkook could no longer hold back his tears, he stood from his seat, gave her a hug and wept on her shoulder, “that must have been horrible for you.”

“Again, he didn’t know. Lee was a perfectionist and he wanted me too to be perfect. He kept destroying me to improve me, make me more like him. What he failed to understand was that the Universe works with balance. There is no need for two of the exact same person. That’s why no two people are exactly alike. Him trying to create a female clone of himself was destined to fail. In essence, I wasn’t perfect but I was perfect FOR HIM and he had to learn that.”

Jungkook and Jimin smiled at each other with complete understanding.

She returned to her story, “it was the 103rd attempt when he realized that no matter what he typed in the manuscript, certain traits of mine seem to evolve independently of his will. That was the last time he destroyed me. From then on, we were inseparable. I became a physics student and we attended University together. We were in love, the deepest love possible without becoming one person. And the SEX!!!”

Jimin bulged his eyes and blushed, quick to look away. Jungkook chimed in with, “I know right!”

“Lee and I began researching how the typewriter was able to do what it did. The rules that exist around the typewriter today, were all my incantations; especially the third occurrence rule. I added it because - well no soul should ever have to endure being ripped apart 100 times. It was for the sake of humanity - among other things. Turns out that It was not the typewriter that held the special power but...the ribbon. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the ink is vibrantly black and sharp despite being 60 years old?”

“Yes,” they nodded in agreement.

“The ribbon was the receptacle for the creation. The typewriter itself was just the means by which it worked. One is useless without the other, another method of balance. We wrote a series of discreet articles to help explain the typewriter but over time, everything moved to the internet. The reason we created the hidden Weibo page is because we wanted to make sure that if anyone ever came across the typewriter, they would understand how to control it. We protected the page by assuring that you had to have the typewriter in your possession in order to unlock it. We understood that it was not fool proof, but it was good enough at the time." Leena adjusted her large blanket and then continued, "Anyway, Lee and I eventually married and had our first child. Things were wonderful and perfect until- tragedy struck. Chi-Lin, my daughter was only seven years old at the time. One night, Lee, Chi-Lin and myself were sitting at the table having dinner. Without any warning, I disappeared right before their eyes. You can only imagine the trauma.

Turns out, there was a fire in Lee’s main lab. My manuscript was always kept in the lab because he thought it would be the safest place. It was a critical mistake that he never forgave himself for making.

“He went about the business of trying to recreate me but I couldn’t come back.” She winced as if the memory caused her physical pain.

“The three-occurrence rule?” Jimin asked.

“Yes. He’d already recreated me 103 times, my own incantations prevented him from doing it again. The cruel irony was that it retroactively applied to his previous attempts. And since I was no longer there to break the incantation...”

“...he desperately fought, doing everything possible to try to bring you back,” Jimin commented knowingly. His heart sank at the thought.

“It almost killed him,” she whispered. Tens of thousands of attempts Jimin, over two years. Two years, I was missing from my family. Two years where my daughter had to grow up without her mother. Two years where I could not touch him. It almost drove him mad. He took a leave of absence from the university and dedicated himself full time to caring for Chi and trying to recover me.”

“Obviously, he got you back.” Jungkook smiled.

“Not him. Chi-Lin. Leena smiled back, “She was nine years old by this time. One night she walked over to the typewriter and simply typed, ‘Please bring my mother back to me.’ Within seconds, I appeared. Little Chi gave us our greatest lesson yet about the typewriter. She taught us that sometimes it takes a different kind of love to make us whole again. It was truly a life lesson.”

Jimin was now weeping. The story hit too close to his heart. He felt Leena’s every word. All of the pain, angst, misery, sadness, and hopelessness that he felt when he lost Jungkook came rushing back. No wonder he felt such a connection to Professor Soung- their hearts had endured similar suffering; but the Professors suffering was much greater.

Jungkook knelt in front of Jimin and used his thin sweet lips to kiss Jimin’s tears away, “I’m here now. I’ll never leave again. I promise. He nibbled on Jimin’s cheek trying to distract him and make him smile.

Leena careful followed their exchange, “Amazing. The love between you two is very familiar. And with two boys, no less. I guess it further proves that love is love and the universe sees no difference.” She smiled through her own tears.

There was an interruption. Nila came to the veranda, “It’s getting late Leena. I’m heading off to bed. Is - everything ok here? I can’t help but notice that all of you are crying.” She spoke in a English.

“We are wonderful,” Leena responded. "Goodnight Nila."

“Ok then. Jimin and Jungkook, you are welcome to spend the night. Leena has a room for you.” She waved a distant goodbye and disappeared.

“How is Leena your sister?” Jungkook asked.

“You are very bright Jungkook. No, she is not from the typewriter. She’s my best friend. People always thought we looked alike so about 40 years ago, we started telling everyone we were sisters. It stuck. Even some of our families think it’s true.” Leena laughed heartedly for the first time since Jimin and Jungkook met her. “Now - let's discuss this serial killer please? Why do you think they have ties to Xuajiulan?”

It was now time for Jimin and Jungkook to tell their tale. They explained to Leena how the murders started just after Lee-Soung’s death and how they began in Xuajiulan and how all of the victims were handsome young men in their twenties who looked exactly like Soung.

“Leena,” Jimin explained, “our theory is that whoever is committing these murders seems to have a vendetta against the Professor. We think she’s from the typewriter."

“She?” Leena dropped her needle.

“Yes, SHE.” Jungkook repeated.

Leena bounded from her seat, very spry for a woman of 78. She rounded on Jimin, “I know what you’re thinking. But there is no way. He would have never created another, NEVER.”

“Not on purpose,” Jungkook intercepted, “I believe, forgive me Leena, I believe Professor Soung may have - missed one.”

“What?” She glared.

Jimin took over, “When I was trying to bring Jungkook back, I made sure to destroy every single manuscript that was not successful. I burned through thousands of sheets and it was only four months.”

Jungkook chimed in, “after two years of trying, is it possible that he simple missed one? One of his failed attempts didn’t get burned and...”

“...It sat dormant until his death?” Leena paced around the veranda in deep thought.

“I believe,” Jungkook continued, “that without it’s creator, a “being” that has never been cultivated or loved would simply go rogue and fall under the influence of the worst evil possible. Soung dying meant she no longer had any ties to anything and that is when she manifested.”

“She thinks he abandoned her?” Leena held on to the wall. She looked contemplatively over the ocean view, “The rage she must feel. That’s why she’s targeting him or what her fragile incomplete mind believes is him. She’s destroying him, paying him back for abandoning her.”

“Yes. She’s never been loved or had positive human interaction. She’s developed under her own will before she was capable of doing so. I don’t even know how she’s managed to survive. To make matters worse, she’s evolving. It’s why the police can’t find her. She’s changing her style and learning from her mistakes. She’s from the typewriter, I can feel it. Just like you recognized me, I recognize her,” Jungkook said passionately.

“She’s our sister Jungkook. I saw the news about the murders when they first happened. That was a very unusual thing to happen here in Xuajiulan. I remember thinking at the time, how did such evil get unleashed upon the world? I had no idea…no idea.” She put her hand to her mouth and looked toward the sky.

“This is not your fault nor the Professor's. He didn’t know that Leena 1.0 even existed. He was very meticulous to destroy all of his failed attempts. Something about this one just fell through the cracks,” Jimin comforted her.

“Leena, Jimin,” Jungkook called out to both of them, “I think I understand now why she has moved from Xuajiulan to Busan and Seoul. She’s evolving and learning more about herself, possibly reading too. I think she’s after the typewriter so that she can edit her own manuscript. Leena, you are everything good in this world, but she is your balanced counterpart.”

“Have you two covered your tracks? Leena rounded on them quickly, “you can leave no trace, no clue that will help her. You are both in real danger as long as you have that typewriter. She is definitely after it.”

Jimin rubbed his fingers through his hair, “I’ve deleted the Weibo page, the typewriter is safely in my apartment and no knows about it, I’ve removed almost all of the Professor’s articles and books from the library, I even erased my name from the library's check out slips and databases in order to keep my searches from leading back to me. So yes, I believe we have covered our tracks very well. I also refused to return the typewriter to your son-in-law, because, all due respect, Ricky’s an idiot and if he sold it to me, he could sell it to someone else. But tell me Jungkook, how would she know about the typewriter?”

Leena answered instead, “She’s ME Jimin, albeit a much younger, less knowledgeable version, but she knows everything that I know. The “being” never loses it’s memory when its brought back as the same person,” Leena reminded Jimin. “She’s maturing and coming into her own, which means things are making sense to her now. She has learned how to survive, in fact survival is probably her only purpose in life; survive and kill. She wants that typewriter because her survival depends upon it.”

“Leena. We’ve got to find her manuscript and destroy it,” Jimin concluded. “and we need your help. We have to stop...you.”

***
Leena 1.0

It was late, but the matter was urgent which meant there was no time to rest. According to Jimin’s mom, Leena 1.0 was scheduled to murder again in less than four days. Leena drove Jimin and Jungkook to the home that she once shared with her husband Wu Lee-Soung. She parked in a field behind the antiquated dwelling and led them around the back to a set of stairs that led directly the attic. “All of his old documents are here. With the exception of the few things that my Grandson procured, everything should be here. This is where his memories live.” Leena looked around sadly at the remains of her husband’s legacy.

Jungkook spoke gently to Leena, “Thank you for bringing us here Leena. It’s late now, go get some rest. Jimin and I will take it from here.”

“Oh shut up boy – there’s a younger, hotter, smarter version of me floating around the sexy beaches of Busan and you think I’m ok with that? Nah, I’m in. Scoot over boys, let’s get to work. We’re taking this bitch out,” She spoke in Chinese to lessen the impact of her colorful language.

The three of them searched through boxes for twelve straight hours, stopping only for sustenance. They searched through every book, every binder, every notepad, looking for Leena 1.0’s manuscript. Time after time, they came up with nothing but they continued to search with the hope that they would eventually find their treasure.

“So Jimin,” Leena made small talk, “how quickly did you realize you loved him?”

Jimin smiled at Jungkook, “The very first moment,” he answered, “but I was too distracted to understand. Ended up causing him a great deal of pain because of it. But as you can see, I eventually got it together.”

Jungkook laughed loudly. He rather liked hearing the story of Jimin’s undying love for him.

Leena spoke to Jimin as if Jungkook were not sitting there, “Small piece of advice to you Jimin. You’re the only love he’s ever known, but it doesn’t mean you’re the only love he’s capable of knowing. Your relationship needs to be like any other. You must nurture it and protect it. Reciprocate his love and don’t take him for granted. He is very intense, you must have been in great pain when you created his final form. I imagine he’s marked himself for you?”

Jimin and Jungkook shared a surprised glance, “How could you possibly know that Leena?” Jungkook asked in astonishment. He peeked around his back to make sure that Jimin’s tattooed name was not exposed.

Leena released a quiet laugh, “It’s just something I know. Jimin, I think it would be lovely if you returned the favor.”

She spoke with such wisdom that Jimin immediately nodded with no argument, “Agreed, it would be lovely,” he stared at Jungkook and their eyes once again shared a silent conversation.

“Look at this!” Leena called from the corner, “I haven’t seen this in years. I wonder if I’ve still got it.” Leena brandished a three-foot long sterling silver Samurai sword. She whipped two quick strikes through the air and then posed with the sword in fighting position.

“OH MY GOD!” Jimin’s mouth dropped.

“Leena, you know how to use a sword?” Jungkook asked quickly.

“Yes. I’m a trained fighter. It was years ago. I stopped after my second child was born.” Leena continued to walk through fighting positions with her sword. “I had two in this case, one seems to be missing. Hmph?”

“She has it. Leena 1.0 - she has it. I-It’s her weapon,” Jimin said timidly.

“You mean this crazy bitch is running around South Korea killing men with a sword? Oh boys, we’ve got to stop her.” Leena was stoic and serious.

Their search intensified. All of them worked tirelessly reading through hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper that were stored in the attic. They spent days and days sorting through all of the boxes; stopping only for quick showers and quick meals. Time was ticking and they only had one day remaining before Leena 1.0 was scheduled to strike again.

Only one box remained, “Well this it. Our last chance,” Leena announced.

With all three of them searching, it took less than thirty minutes to sort through all of the files in their last box of hope. The search turned up nothing.

“What do we do now?” Jungkook said, frustrated.

“I really don’t know. I was sure that this was the answer,” Jimin responded.

“We can’t give up hope just yet. Let’s go downstairs to the kitchen. I’ll fix us some lunch and we can think about this a little more.” Leena led them downstairs where she fixed them a meal consisting of fresh tuna and steamed rice.

Jungkook made more small talk, “Your home is beautiful Leena. Why’d you leave?”

“As you can see, I never completely left. I still come here from time to time when I wish to relive the memories. The home belongs to my kids now. I sold it to them with the hopes of being able to travel in my older age. We will eventually get everything cleaned out, but for now, I still keep most of my belongings here. I moved in with Nila, just to avoid being lonely.”

Jimin listened to Jungkook and Leena discuss the history of her seaside home. His eyes visited around the room and admired the scores and scores of awards that adorned the walls. In the middle of the south wall, hanging just below Wu Lee-Soung’s PhD, was an adorable framed piece of hand drawn art. The art drew Jimin’s attention because it reminded him of the framed drawing he’d received from his student Alai after Jooheon died. Jimin approached it to get a closer look.

The signature said, “To daddy, we will be ok. Love Chi.” Based on Chi’s message, Jimin concluded that it must have been drawn during the time that Leena was away. The image was of a man, Lee-Soung, holding a little girl’s hand, Chi, as they ran through a field of green grass. Jimin smiled. It was a lovely picture. But something – was strange about the paper. Jimin lifted his phone and pointed the flashlight at the framed art. Strong black shadows of the letter X seemed indented from the back side of the paper. Chi had drawn over them, leaving them barely visible, but Jimin could see them clearly with the light of phone. He recognized the black X’s as strike through marks where someone had made corrections to the typed letters. “Something is typed on the back, he yelled.”

His loud proclamation startled Jungkook and Leena who had been having a quiet conversation.

“What?” Jungkook responded as he jumped from fright.

“Leena! May I take this picture down?” He asked politely but urgently.

“…yes, yes…of course,” she granted him permission.

Jimin pulled the picture from the wall and rushed over to the table where Leena and Jungkook were sitting, “How old is this picture please Leena?”

“…at least 30 years, Chi drew it when she was a child during the time I was gone. It was so important to her and Lee that I framed it and hung it on the wall. It’s been there all that time.”

“Sorry about this Leena,” Jimin warned before ripping the back cardboard off of the frame and releasing the precious drawing from it’s casing. Jimin shook the paper and then turned it around. There on the back, was a page full of typewritten words. “Leena. This is a manuscript. Is it yours?”

“NO! Remember, mine was written by Chi and it’s just a few simple words. It’s stored safely in a fireproof vault at the bank. No one can access it ever. This was written by Lee. It’s one of the originals – Jimin you found it. This belongs to Leena 1.0. This is the failed copy that he never destroyed. He didn’t destroy it because – because – because Chi drew on the back. She probably found it laying around and needed a piece of paper and just accidently used this one. When she gave him the drawing, he probably never thought to check the back of it.” Leena hugged Jimin.

“You are the smartest man on the planet. I cannot wait to get you home, Santa.” Jungkook gave Jimin the horniest, naughtiest glare that Jimin had ever seen. His cheeks blushed pink and he cleared his throat to refocus his thoughts. “We need to burn it right now. We don’t have much time.” Jimin continued.

“Jimin, you can’t, not yet,” Leena stalled him.

“What do you mean we can’t. We must,” Jungkook insisted.

Leena shook her head, “Listen to me boys. You need to take this manuscript home, back to the typewriter. You have to make an edit to her manuscript. You must type, “She shall never return.”

Jungkook and Jimin looked on, anxious to understand Leena’s reasoning.

Leena continued, “If she burns, but somehow is able to come back, she will be unstoppable. We can’t risk that. You still have time. You have 24 hours. Your flight leaves tomorrow. Go straight home, make the edit and then burn it,” Leena gave stern directions.

Jimin shuddered, “As much as I hate to travel with this evil filth in my luggage, I understand what you’re saying Leena. You’re right, it is the best way. We’ll do it. You can trust us.”

***

Jimin and Jungkook settled in their assigned seats on the plane. Jimin kept a watchful eye on his luggage that held the powerful manuscript.

Jungkook’s mind was concentrated on Mama Park, “You know we’re still going to have to figure out how to address all of this with your mother. She’s going to want to know why we won’t play Detective with her anymore. And I doubt she’s going to accept, “Oh we think she’s been caught.”

“Good point Jungkookie. What if we simply tell her that we turned over all of the evidence to Uncle Jin and he is going to make an arrest?” Jimin pondered.

“And what happens when the arrest never comes, or if Uncle Jin calls us on our bullshit story? Then what?” Jungkook countered.

“Good point. Here’s another idea, what if we tell her that we reported her to the police in Xuajiulan? That will definitely get her off the trail. She doesn’t speak Chinese, so she won’t be able to easily track down the articles. Google translate will undoubtedly fail her and then the murders will stop, causing her to drop the scent.”

“That…may work.” Jungkook smiled.

The two buckled their seatbelts and looked forward to a three-hour long nap between China and South Korea. They were exhausted, but their successful efforts were worth every single minute of the sacrifice.
***

Ong peaked his head from behind the shower curtain to listen towards the door. Sure enough, someone was knocking. He stepped onto the rug and pulled on his robe. There was no time to dry himself because he was expecting a packge and he didn’t want the driver to leave without delivering it. He rushed to the front door and swung it open, to his surprise, an extremely attractive woman in her early twenties stood in the hallway smiling politely.

“Hello? You’re not the delivery person. May I help you?” Ong greeted.

“You are Ong?” She said in a mix of Korean and Chinese, “I am Leena. You have books to my need.” She showed him a check out slip for one of Professor Soung’s books from the Seoul library. Ong’s signature was on it, along with his address. He was the last person to check out the book.

“Books? I think I returned them. Yes, I am sure I returned them.” Ong attempted to close the door but Leena wedged her foot in between the door frame and the door to keep it from closing. She pushed the door open and entered Ong’s apartment, uninvited.

“You are handsome, girlfriends here no?” Leena looked around the apartment as if checking to make sure that Ong was alone.

“My girlfriend is traveling. Is there something you need Leena? I already told you that I don’t have the book any longer. I returned it.” Ong grew suspicious of the petite women invading his home, yet he was oddly attracted to her, so he hesitated with throwing her out.

Leena was dressed well. Her hair was the darkest black and fell long behind her back. She had delicate features accentuated by round pouty lips and olive toned skin. Her breasts were substantial and perfectly upright. Ong could see her swollen nipples beneath the tight cream-colored blouse she wore. A large backpack that seemed to house a baseball bat or golf club, something long and irregularly shaped, was strapped to her back. She walked over to Ong and pressed her body against his in a longing kiss.

“Hey, lady cut that out. Who are you?” Ong pulled his lips away, but stopped just short of pushing Leena’s body away from his. Her warm stout breasts pressed against his exposed wet chest felt quite satisfying to him.

“Give me my typewriter?” Leena asked seductively.

“Typewriter?” Ong’s stomach sank, “Leena why are you here? I told you that I don’t have the book and I don’t know what typewriter you are talking about, so please leave now.”

“The truth, typewriter of your knowledge. The truth is of your knowledge. You are sloppy, I traced your steps and found your home. The truth of the knowledge that you have. You know, don’t you? Give me the typewriter.” Leena now, was threatening. She reached behind her, ripped the sword from her bag and pointed it towards Ong’s chest.

***
“Which font do you like best? Helvetica or Roman?” Jimin flipped through the tattoo book trying to decide which style he liked best for his JUNGKOOK tattoo.

“Neither, I like the Arial. It’s clean and crisp. Are you really going to do it Jimin?” Jungkook walked around to the trunk and pulled their luggage from the Uber. They bantered back and forth as they walked into their apartment building.

“Yes, I’m going to do it. I think I want it straight down my spine, just like you have yours. That is extremely sexy. What do you think?”

“Uh, that’s been done. I think you should get it under your rib cage. Right here.” Jungkook ran his fingers along the upper abdominal region just below Jimin’s pectoral muscle.

Jimin giggled, “Stop, that tickles.” He opened the door to their apartment and hauled in their luggage.

***

Ong backed away from the sharp tip of Leena’s sword, “Take it easy. What do you want from me? I have no money” he picked up the only weapon he could find which was a large math book from his Teacher’s workshop. He threw it hard at Leena’s head. With one swoosh of her sword, she cut the thick book completely in half. Ong continued backing away from her. “L-l-listen, you don’t want to do this, I don’t even know you.”

“Give me the typewriter.” Her eyes were dead and showed no remorse. Ong threw a chair at her. She blocked it with her sword and continued to advance.

“Get out,” he screamed. He hurdled another chair. That one was also blocked.

Leena swung her sword at Ong, he ducked below it’s path and stumbled to the ground. Leena swung again. Ong reactively raised his hand and the sword sliced through his palm creating a deep cut. She swung a third time, once again Ong avoided contact, but this time he launched a hard kick to her chest causing her to fly back. Ong scrambled to his feet and bolted towards his bedroom. He slammed the door closed behind him and locked it. Bleeding heavily, he wrapped a towel around his hand and began barricading the door with everything he could find. Leena approached the door and with one swipe of her deadly sword, sliced a hole in the wood. Ong screamed for help.

***

“Ok, I think we have a plan. Arial, black, lower rib cage, right side, J U N G K O O K, all caps? Yes?” Jimin sat on the couch casually.

“Yes. I’m getting horny just thinking about it.” Jungkook collapsed next to him. “The school board says that as long we keep them hidden out of sight, there is no violation of policy. When are you going? I’m coming with you.”

“I think I’ll make an appointment for next week. School starts in a couple of weeks, I want it done and healed before then.” Jimin laid his head in Jungkook’s lap.

Jungkook brushed Jimin’s hair with his fingers, “You know Jiminie, I really liked Leena. I hope we can stay in touch and visit with her often. She mentioned that she would love coming to Busan to visit the beaches.”

“She’s an amazing woman. I can’t help but wonder, is that how the typewriter ages people? Beautifully? When you’re 78 are you going to look that good? I mean Leena was 78 and still stunning. I can’t imagine what she must have looked like when she was 26,” Jimin said respectfully.

“Yes, 26, the exact age of her doppelganger that’s running around killing people. I’m sure she’s hot. How else would she get so many men to willingly invite her into their apartment? Your mom says that none of the murder scenes showed signs of forced entry. Yet all of the crime scenes are violently brutal, meaning the victims fought hard for their lives,” Jungkook explained.

“Jungkookie, speaking of which, we need to take care of Leena 1.0.” Jimin moved from the couch and pulled Leena 1.0’s manuscript from his luggage. He read through it quickly and marveled at the intricacy and detail in Professor Soung’s creation of his beautiful Leena. He walked into his bedroom and fed the paper into the typewriter, “If my mom’s time line has any validity, 1.0 is due to start killing again any minute now,” Jimin warned.

Jungkook waived off Jimin’s concerns, “I don’t think we can ever time that down to the exact minute. The sun is still up and the full moon hasn’t come out yet, so I think we still have a couple of hours. I would rather practice instead?”

“Practice what?” Jimin said confused.

“Practice…telling Santa what I want for Christmas,” Jungkook smiled devilishly at Jimin.

***

Leena’s sword made quick work of the bedroom door. Ong pushed his desk in front of the door as a last desperate move to stall Leena until he could think of another escape plan. He scrambled around the floor looking for his phone to call for help. Leena continued to swipe at the door with her sturdy sword. She pushed the desk back and was now in Ong’s room.

Ong screamed into his phone when the Operator answered. “HELP, I’m being attacked by a killer, she’s here,” Ong yelled out his address to the operator, “come quick. She’s trying to kill me with a sword.” Ong lifted the Karaoke speaker from the corner and pinged Leena in the face.

Leena’s nose began to bleed and her left eye was cut, but somehow, it still did not deter her from her murderous rampage. When she saw that Ong was yelling into the phone, she wielded her sword towards it and sliced completely through it. The phone went dead.

Ong’s last hope for help was now destroyed. His eyes glistened with tears as he tried to rush towards his window. He was four stories up but he was willing to risk broken legs if it meant not being chopped into tiny pieces by the lunatic in his room. He felt a sharp pain across his back. Leena had once again managed to slice him with the sword. He called out in pain and then tumbled to the floor, landing right in front of Leena’s feet. He looked up to see the sharp tip of the blade aimed directly over his heart. At that moment, his entire life flashed before his eyes: he thought about his happy class of first graders, and his parents and friends, especially Jimin and Jungkook, he thought back to his childhood and happy memories of early years, he thought about his girlfriend Solar and how he was going to propose to her for Christmas this year. He thought about the kids that he wanted to have and the names he would give him. Was this it? Was this the end? He continued to stare at the sharp edge of the sword and then answered his own question, “Hell NO this isn’t the end. I’m not going out without a fight.” He scissor-kicked from the floor and swept Leena’s planted leg, causing her knee to buckle. She slipped just enough for him to crawl from underneath her and circle around to her back. Leena swung the sword wildly, trying to clip Ong, but he was too quick…

***
Jimin tip toed naked through the living room on his way to the kitchen, “Just a little whip cream. It won’t be sticky, I promise. I’ll suck it all off…”

***
Ong rounded upon Leena’s back and placed her in a headlock. Leena was obviously a trained fighter because she wiggled her way free of Ong’s grip within seconds and was once again perched to attack him. She took several swipes towards his mid-section. Ong jumped back each time, narrowly avoiding being sliced completely into two pieces. He could hear the distant wail of the police sirens. “The police are coming, get out before they come for you.” Leena was oblivious to Ong’s threats. She continued to swipe at him, getting closer and closer each time. Ong rolled over the top of his bed to increase the distance between them, a crucial mistake, because now he was trapped between the bed and the wall. Leena had him cornered. She raised the sword for the last time and drove straight towards Ong’s heart…

***
Jimin returned to the bedroom with two lit candles and a can of whipped cream. Jungkook was sprawled across the bed naked, stroking himself to keep himself erect.

Jimin admired him as he lay on the bed, “GOD you are gorgeous. Santa thinks, he wants to watch you fuck yourself.”

Jungkook laughed, “Um I believe the signs say, ‘Fuck Me Jimin’. There is nothing in the instructions that say I have to do the work myself.”

Jimin placed the two candles on the desk near the typewriter. He was slow to return to the bed because he simply wanted to watch. Jungkook rubbed oil all over his body, starting with his chest, then his legs and lastly his cock. As the sun began to set, Jimin could see his oily skin glisten under the candle light. “It’s been six days since I’ve had you, Jungkookie. I’m going to destroy you.”

“I’m counting on it,” Jungkook stared intently at Jimin while still stroking himself. “but hurry, I won’t last long.”

Jimin turned to the typewriter and clicked out, “She shall never return,” and casually balled up the manuscript and touched it to the wick of the burning candle. Then he dropped the entire manuscript into the glass before turning towards Jungkook. Behind him, the manuscript expanded into a large glow ball and then faded into black dead embers.

“Santa wants to do something especially naughty tonight. Keep rubbing that oil on your cock.” Jimin said as he jumped into bed…

***
The police were at the door, kicking it in. The screaming and commotion from the attack could be heard throughout the entire building and neighbors from all around were standing in the hallway curious about the events. Ong could hear the shouts from the police who were now in his apartment. They yelled loudly, demanding Leena freeze and release the sword.

Ong raised his hands defensively as Leena drove the sword downward into his body. He closed his eyes and braced for impact. The first touch from the blade burned hot with intense pain, but as the sword continued to push it’s way through his body, the pain lessened and lessened until he felt nothing more than light pressure in his chest. When he opened his eyes, the only thing he saw was the faint translucent image of Leena as she faded away. The police officers who entered the apartment all saw the same thing. Leena disappeared into a wave of steam right in front of their eyes.

Ong surveyed his body to assess the damage. There was pain from his back and his hand, injuries that he received during the fight. But the new injury was not nearly as severe as it should have been. Leena’s sword had swept the side of his arm, giving him a surface level cut, but that was it. Nothing else. She disappeared before the sword could make full contact and cause life ending injuries.

The police officer raced to him, “Don’t move Sir, you’re bleeding. Let’s get you to the hospital.”

“Where’d she go?” A team of voices all yelled as they swept Ong’s apartment looking for Leena, “Sir, where did she go? Did you see where she went?”

“No, I closed my eyes and when I opened them, she was gone.” Ong was only telling half of the truth. Leena’s fade was intimately familiar to him and he understood exactly where she had gone. She was clearly a “being” from the typewriter and someone had destroyed her manuscript just in time…to save his life.
***
Meanwhile, in the apartment of the two clueless heroes, screams of a different kind could be heard, “Make Santa cum baby, make Santa cum…”

***
Here we go a caroling

“Jimin! The weather man says it’s going to snow today starting around 8pm. We are literally going to have snow, can you believe it?” Jungkook was hanging mistletoe from the ceiling again.

The apartment was festive the previous year, but this year looked as if Santa and all of his Elves had literally thrown up all over the apartment. Every piece of furniture had lights, mistletoe hung from every piece of the ceiling, red stockings were nailed to the fireplace, large pre-lit reindeer were posed in every corner and seven -YES SEVEN -Christmas trees adorned the small little apartment. Jimin didn’t care. He had truly never been happier in his life and if over-decorating made his beautiful Jungkookie happy, then so be it.

“Exciting, right? What time are we supposed to meet Solar and Ong for caroling?” Jimin asked.

“6pm, then we’re going to Bornga for dinner and drinks,” Jungkook confirmed. “And Jimin!” Jungkook was too excited, “Our Christmas photos arrive tomorrow. You know the ones we took last month with you and the grey hair? I saw some of the proofs and they are beautiful.”

“Yes, and I still can't believe you made us take Family Christmas photos! Speaking of hair, any plans on growing yours back?” Jimin yelled from the bedroom.

Ong yelled obnoxiously from the hallway, with an obnoxious knock to match, “Let us in!”

“Got it.” Jungkook answered the door and Solar and Ong came bouncing into the apartment full of smiles.

Jimin emerged from the bedroom wearing a red and white Santa hat, and a red and white Santa style coat. His blond bangs hung below the hat, giving him a precious look of innocence. Jungkook licked his lips as Jimin entered the room. He walked over to him and whispered into his ear, “Can you wear this again…later?”

Jimin laughed loudly, causing Solar and Ong to take note. He whispered back to his boyfriend, “I can. I definitely can.”

The quadruplet enjoyed a great night of caroling to the neighbors around downtown Busan. They even stopped at the bakery and the Magic Shop to sing their rendition of Jingle Bells. After which, Jimin and Jungkook engaged in heated conversation over the fact that, “Batman smells and Robin laid an egg,” were NOT the correct words to the song despite the insistence of Jungkook’s third grade class.

“They really are wretched Jungkook,” Jimin complained.

“And I love them,” Jungkook rebutted.

They all sat at the bar inside of Bornga enjoying rich conversation. Jimin excused himself and pulled Ong along with him, leaving Solar and Jungkook alone at the table.

They walked to the back corner of the restaurant and paused in front of the restrooms, “Hey buddy, how are you feeling? Nervous?” Jimin gave Ong a pat on the back.

Ong exhaled, “Extremely. But I’m ready. It’s time, you know?”

“I know. After the year we’ve had, you really deserve this. You almost got yourself killed, so it’s about time you settle down.” Jimin smiled. His teasing of Ong’s near death experience was quite purposeful.

“Got MYSELF killed? Need I remind you that you and your boyfriend were fucking while a lunatic serial killer was about to turn me into shish-kabob? I was one Jungkook orgasm away from total death, thanks to you two.”

Jimin laughed until he was crying. He gathered his composure and giggled out, “How were we supposed to know? We saved you in time, so it’s all good. I think you should be grateful.” Jimin broke into hysterical laughter again.

“I-I am grateful Jimin. I’m grateful for having you…and Jungkook…in my life,” Ong said seriously.

“No sappy stuff right now. You need to focus. Here’s the ring. They sized it for her finger and added the rose gold setting. Jungkook and I are going to come up with an excuse to leave and then, it’s all on you.”

“Thanks for helping me with this Jimin. I would have never been able to pick this up without her getting suspicious.” Ong nodded nervously.

“Good luck my sweet Ongie.” Jimin gave Ong a hug and then ushered him back to the table where Solar and Jungkook were exchanging recipes for American biscuits.

“Jungkook?” Jimin said awkwardly and loudly.

“Yes Jimin,” Jungkook answered awkwardly and loudly.

“We need to go immediately, I believe I have left the oven on in the apartment.” Jimin smiled showing too many teeth.

“Indeed, I would agree that is a good reason to leave.” Jungkook smiled and immediately jumped up from his seat. “Let us go now and leave these two alone.”

Ong laughed and shook his head.

Before leaving, Jungkook grabbed Ong and gave him a deep hug, “Good luck, you annoying little man.” Jungkook sniffled and released him.

They waved goodbye to Solar and Ong and exited the restaurant.

“Jungkookie, you aren’t crying, are you?” Jimin asked sweetly.

Jungkook wiped a small tear from his eye, “I can’t help it Jiminie, I think, I love weddings.”

Jimin stopped Jungkook’s forward progress, “Well what if I promised you that you could have a wedding of your own someday?”

“I would love that Jiminie,” Jungkook said honestly.

Snow began to fall over the city of Busan. Jungkook and Jimin stood there with their faces towards the sky, watching the snow fall over them. Jimin couldn’t have timed it any better, “It’s the first snow of the year. And we’re witnessing it together. Jungkookie?”

“Hi Jiminie.” Jungkook kissed Jimin’s hand.

“Jungkookie, you’re here because I asked you to be. Will you marry me?” Jimin knelt down on the icy cold sidewalk and produced a solid black titanium ring with a platinum accent.

Jungkook didn’t seem surprised, but he was definitely overwhelmed. His voice was barely there but he pushed it forward the best he could, “I-I have never wanted anything more. Yes, I’ll marry you and I will love you for the rest of my life. And I promise to stay super hot well past the age of 78.”

Jimin placed the ring on Jungkook’s finger and then hopped up from the cold ground, “I’ve made mistakes Jungkook, but I won’t repeat them. My life is now yours and I will treasure you forever. I can’t wait to be your husband.” Jimin and Jungkook embraced with a hard kiss. “I guess tomorrow, you can start planning a wedding,” Jimin looked around at the rapidly falling snow, “but in the meantime, do you wanna’ build a snowman?”

Jungkook shrugged his shoulders and said, “I thought you’d never ask.” They held hands and ran down the sidewalk. Their laughter and giggles could be heard for blocks throughout the empty streets of the city.

The End – For real this time