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Strawberry Lube

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Yoongi felt a hammer smashing against his temple to the tune of his heartbeat and what felt like laser beams boring through his closed eyelids melting his already jelloed brain.  Even wrinkling his brows in a frown against the sunlight took special effort and caused the lumpy bed to spin beneath him.  He swallowed, his throat painfully parched, like his body had forgotten how to produce saliva.  His stomach was melting itself with its own acid and he could still taste the liquor in his mouth.

Slowly, Yoongi became more aware of the twinge in his shoulder and how numb his foot was.   Yoongi groaned the sound sticking in his parched throat, but that was a bad idea because the throbbing increased sharply like a drill boring into his skull, the noise rattling his aching brain like a piñata. Yoongi hadn’t been this hung over since Seokjin’s graduation party. Except maybe this time he felt a thousand times shittier.

Lifting a hand to shield his eyes from the unforgiving sunlight that was streaming through the open blinds of the window, Yoongi tried to remember what he did last night, but didn’t get too far considering he currently had the mental capacity of a rock.  His mind looped around in circles and all he could dig up was something to do with a birthday party.  Yoongi decided more would comeback once he had a couple cappuccinos under his belt.  Right now he needed several aspirins and about a tankful of water.

Yoongi slowly sat up, his dinner threatening to make its reappearance.  He massaged his temples as he opened his eyes, still tacky from sleep, and recognized he was in Jungkook’s dorm. It appeared to be empty, the other bed messy but unoccupied. Frowning, he noticed he was without his shirt.  He lifted the Star Wars patterned sheets to discover he was also without pants.  His boxers were pulled down, tangled about his ankles and there was something white, dried and sticky on his stomach like glue.  Yoongi reached a hand down to between his legs to find shiny, slippery goo that smelled faintly of strawberries.

Nothing made any sense to his fuzzy brain; Yoongi stared at the evidence but couldn’t seem to piece together the clues--not until his eyes found a ripped condom packet at the foot of the bed and a half empty bottle of strawberry flavored lube.  Yoongi’s ears processed the rustling of sheets and a grumble emanate from a previously unnoticed bundle of sheets beside him.  His jumbled thoughts snapped into coherence.  He felt the blood drain from his body. 

 The room was tilting at an odd angle. Bile rose in his throat, but he choked it down.  With unsteady hands Yoongi pulled down the covers to reveal the face of—of all people in this universe— Park fucking Jimin (Jungkook’s roommate and possibly the most annoying person ever to walk this side of the earth and coincidentally his best friend) drooling, his black hair a tangled mess, snuggling close to the Luke Skywalker pillow cover, looking disgustingly cute.  A crease puckered between Jimin’s brows as he mumbled, “Mom, just fifteen more minutes.  Turn off the lights.”

Yoongi cried out pathetically, reeling backwards and falling off the edge of the bed.  The air whooshed from his lungs as his back hit the floor and his head slammed back, making him see shatters of white.  He couldn’t keep the bile down this time and he turned his head, going sick all over the floor.  Yoongi coughed, tears escaping at the acid in his mouth, as his abused brain throbbed violently.  And yet all he could think of was how he’d never fucked up more in his entire life.

He scrambled up, slipping as his feet tangled in his boxers, almost falling into the mess he’d made.  Pausing, he hoisted his boxers, which where uncomfortably damp in the front.  The sudden movements were causing the room to spin, but it didn’t matter in his frenzied panic.  Yoongi limped about the room, his foot still asleep, knocking over a lamp, as he grabbed a random pair of sweats and one of Jungkook’s used practice jerseys from the floor.

The sheets began to rustle, Jimin coming into consciousness from the ruckus and the horrible smell of Yoongi’s throw up.  Jimin mumbled, “Hmm. Jungkook… stop makin’ so much noise,” before turning over on the mattress.

Yoongi squeaked.  Where were his damned shoes? 

He spotted them thrown by Jimin’s side of the bed.  Yoongi considered going without shoes, before deciding against it and skittering over.  Shoving his boots on roughly, he grabbed his phone from under Jimin’s jacket.  Before turning to leave he caught a glimpse of his beanie under the bed.

As Yoongi was leaning down to grab it, Jimin flipped over, the covers riding down to reveal naked shoulders. Squinting his eyes open he began to whine, “What’re you— ” Jimin paused, his eyes widening, “Hyung?”

Yoongi grimaced, his fingers finding his beanie.  He straightened up, pulling it over his messy hair as he scowled at the half-asleep boy.  Embarrassment and anger bubbled hot inside him.

  “Fuck you.” He bit out. Jimin’s expression turned from surprised to clouded with confusion as Yoongi turned on his heel and stalked out, leaving Jimin calling after him, dazed and hurt, with a pile of vomit to clean up.

 

***

 

Fucked.  He was absolutely fucked.  In every sense of the word.

Yoongi cringed, his face flushing again with shame. His untied bootlaces skittered against the sidewalk.  This just couldn’t be real—the universe couldn’t be so cruel.  Not that the universe and him were ever on good terms considering his luck over the years, but this seemed to be on a whole other level of shitluck.

No, this was just a horrible, horrible dream.  Maybe it was something he had for lunch yesterday that was causing all this.  Indigestion.  Soon enough—Yoongi was sure—he’d wake up to his messy room that was always a little too cold, burritoed in his sheets with the stereo still playing softly.  He’d groan and stretch a little, grab a bag of shrimp chips from his stash under the bed for breakfast before rolling over for his late morning nap.  Yoongi just hadn’t woken up… yet. 

He sighed.  How the fuck did this happen?  Yoongi asked himself for the thousandth time since he stumbled out of the D dorms, terrified that someone would see him in his haggard state and connect the dots.  Coincidentally, it was very early morning on a Thursday, so the campus was eerily empty aside from the squirrels that scampered amongst the trees.  If he’d woken two hours later, he’d have no chance of escaping unseen, especially with the nosy sophomores that lived in that building.

Yoongi stretched his stiff neck, his head pounding with every step.  The morning sun felt like needles being shoved into his eyes.  The kinks in his legs were still present despite his long brusque strides as he tried to make it to his apartment across campus with his reputation still intact.

That is, if Jimin didn’t blab about it.

Jimin was an idiot most the time but even he would have sense to keep his trap shut.  Not that there was anything to talk about.  Absolutely nothing happened.  Yoongi didn’t remember, so how could it have happened?  Right?

The dried cum on his stomach and the sickly sweet smelling lube between his legs declared otherwise… who’s cum was it anyway?

A shiver ran up Yoongi’s spine.  Ew, ew, ew.  Don’t think about it, don’t.  Yoongi ran his hands over his face, whining pathetically.  He felt so disgusting, he was sticky everywhere and the jersey stank.  All Yoongi wanted was to take a scalding hot shower for five years with a couple gallons of bleach and wash the nauseating stench of Park Jimin from his pores.  He should probably bleach his brain while he was at it. Or just bleach out his whole existence.

They had gone out to drinks, his bitch of a hangover obviously attested to that.  Yoongi must’ve drunken a bit more than he intended, and by a bit he meant a lot more.  Whatever had happened, it must have been Jimin’s fault.  Things must’ve gotten out of hand— Jimin was always so god awfully touchy, clingy to the point of harassment, really —and Yoongi was too out of it to say no or know what he was doing. 

It was a onetime thing.   

Yoongi wasn’t gay.  Jimin had shoved his dick up his ass, but Yoongi definitely wasn’t gay.

The image burned itself in his brain, causing his lip to curl and embarrassment to flush his cheeks.  The image of Jimin bent over him… doing those things… while Yoongi begged for it. 

Wait, fuck no.  Yoongi did NOT beg for it, Min Yoongi was NOT a pussy.  Was he?  He… he hadn’t liked it right?  Yoongi immediately crushed thought.  If he thought about it anymore he was going to puke again.

It probably wasn’t even that good of lay, anyways.  We’re talking about Park Jimin here.  What does that idiot know about sex?  That kid can’t even watch american dramas without turning bright pink.

Sweet Jesus.  How was he ever going to live this down.

He breathed a sigh of relief once he spotted his dorm complex and it wasn’t a few minutes until he made it inside, the common room completely empty, the building usually bustling with 700 seniors and honors students of any year as well as the occasional grad student, completely devoid of life.  It wasn’t until he’d made it to his door that Yoongi realized with a huff that he’d left his wallet and keys.  He might as well just get new ones, there was no way he was going back for them.  Never seeing Jimin again in a thousand years was preferable.  But now getting into the room unnoticed was impossible.  Yoongi knocked, slamming his fist harder with each second that passed.  Whatever.  At this point he just wanted to get home.

Yoongi was about to give up when the door was wrenched open to reveal an agitated Jungkook, still wearing the same sweater from last night, a scowl on his brow, one eye barely peeked open, and dried drool on his chin.  So he’d spent the night here.  And he looked hungover.

This triggered his memory.  It was Jungkook’s birthday yesterday… yeah.

 Much of what happened early yesterday came clearly.  A great deal of planning had been involved by all of them in orchestrating the youngest’s coming of age.  They kidnapped him during the middle of his English Basics 101 class.  Luckily, Jungkook always sat in the back to doze off unnoticed, so it was easy for the six of them to grab him without causing too much of a stir despite the younger’s kicks and surprised yelps.  Mr. Kwon didn’t seem too unfazed and his classmates were too bored to care.

They’d taken a train to downtown to Hongdae where they had lunch at an all you can eat bbq buffet, wandered the shops, watched performances by buskers and musicians, and messed around at a dance club.  Yoongi remembered being suckered with ridiculous aegyo into buying tteokbokki for the younger three when they inevitably got hungry again.  Jungkook spotted the bar and insisted on buying his hyungs drinks… it got fuzzy from there.

The maknae rubbed his eyes drowsily.  He looked almost adorable like this.  Yoongi changed his mind as soon as he opened his mouth, “Is that my jersey?” He pointed, “You know I don’t like to share clothes!”

Yoongi scrunched his face, “Shut up,”

“Are they back?” said a voice from inside.  Hoseok appeared, his face still swollen from sleep, peering over the boy’s shoulder.  “Ah—oh,” He burst into giggles, “You look a little... uh worse for wear,”

“You look like shit,” Jungkook bluntly stated.

He twitched an eyebrow, “Look who’s talking, drooly,”

The kid frowned, reaching up to wipe his face on his sleeve.  Yoongi shook his head (that brat).

Hoseok pointed at his baggy sweats that were, of course, backwards. “What happened to your clothes?”

“Don’t ask.” Yoongi shoved past the two to dark living room, kicking off his boots by the shoe rack.  Jungkook moved past them to face-plant on the couch, groaning loudly.

“Where have you been, man?”  Hoseok asked, concerned, “I’ve been trying to call you.  You guys said you’d be back here in half an hour but when Jungkook stumbled in alone four hours later I was beginning to think you were lying dead on the streets.”

Well shit.  No wonder Hoseok was giving him that look.  He didn’t remember staying later at the bar, much less loosing Jungkook, but he didn’t have a hard time believing Hoseok—being the careless hyung was more or less his trademark. 

“Uh, my phone died,” Yoongi was silent for a moment, pulling his beanie lower over his eyes.  He considered lying, but Yoongi couldn’t come up with anything plausible on the spot, so he decided a curt version of the truth wouldn’t arouse too much suspicion. “Crashed at Jimin’s,” he mumbled.

“Oh,” He nodded. “Just be more careful next time. Things could’ve turned out a lot worse.”

Not really.  Things were pretty fucked right now.  But at least they didn’t know what he and Jimin had been up to last night.  And no one could know.  Never.  Not for five billion years.

He deemed the conversation more or less over. His eyes trained on the door to the bathroom, prepared for a quick escape.  Before he could make it to his refuge, however, Hoseok called out, “Hey, why do you smell like strawberries?”

Yoongi slammed the door.

 

***

 

Yoongi emerged from the shower nearly an hour later, sufficiently purged of last night’s sins (and thankfully no longer smelling of god awful strawberries).  Hoseok thoughtfully left behind a batch of brewed coffee in the kitchen.  Jungkook snored softly from the couch, a pillow thrown over his face.  Yoongi grabbed a mug and several aspirins.  He shuffled to his room, muscles relaxed after the scalding shower. He really needed a nap. No, really, he needed to go into a coma for a while.

As he passed by, Yoongi heard the sounds of Hoseok lumbering about his room, opening and closing drawers as he started getting ready for dance practice just like any other regular Thursday morning.  Yet everything felt so different.

Yoongi never felt so grateful to be cocooned in his sheets and yet what had occurred still nagged at his brain until he fell asleep from exhaustion and even then his dreams were polluted with the hot groans, wet kisses and the scrape of nails on bed sheets.

 

***

 

It was almost noon when Yoongi rolled out bed, jostled from his restless sleep by his seizing stomach.  After making a pit stop at the toilet, he ambled to the tiny kitchen where Jungkook was digging into Yoongi’s stash of instant ramen. 

“What are you still doing here?”

“Just woke up,” Jungkook replied with a mouthful of noodles.

Yoongi hummed and ambled to the fridge to grab himself an extra-large can of Monster energy drink in the hopes of snapping his mind from its current foggy state.  His hangover had lessened somewhat, but he still had a dull headache and a bad case of vertigo if he moved his head too quickly.

“You’re jersey’s in the washer, I’ll give it back later.”

“Good.” Jungkook assented.

“So,” Yoongi began, tracing his thumb over the circular lid. He was nervous about asking but he needed to know the extent of what had occurred last night. He and Jimin didn’t start making out in the middle of the bar or anything right? If they had he might as well move to China because everyone would find out.  Although as of yet Hoseok and Jungkook were acting normal.

“Yeah?” Jungkook slurped some of the soup.

“Last night, at the bar, did I do… anything…weird?”

Jungkook looked up, attempting to recall his memory, “Not really,”

“And Jimin, was… acting normal?”

“Yup,”

“So we… so we were both just… uh, normal.”

“What are you trying to ask me, hyung?” Jungkook frowned, chopsticks paused mid-trajectory on their way to stuffing more noodles in his mouth.

“Nothing, never mind,”

Jungkook looked at him strangely. He blinked rapidly.  A look crossed his face and he choked, no doubt on the noodles he kept shoving down his throat without chewing, Yoongi thought.

 “Do you remember anything?” Jungkook asked once he caught his breath.

Yoongi rubbed the back of his neck, “Not really.”

“Really?  Nothing at all?”

The sound of the front door opening saved Yoongi from further inquiry.  Namjoon stumbled in, throwing off his backpack roughly and plopping into the rickety chair across from Jungkook.  He pounded his forehead on the table, groaning softly as the other two looked on with amusement.

“How’s calculus, big guy?” Yoongi pulled himself up to sit on the counter top next to the sink, his sore body protesting a bit.  The energy drink fizzed loudly as he popped it open.  Music to his ears.

Namjoon mumbled something into the tabletop that sounded something like, “Absolutely terrible,”

Jungkook slurped his noodles. “Didn’t you have a big test today, hyung?”

Namjoon turned his head to rest on his cheek, his lips smushed comically, “Bombed it.  The problems were impossible.  Its bullshit, what’s the point of teaching the class if she’s just going to fail us all anyway?”  He was referring to his professor that was a huge ball buster on tests and exams. 

“Preaching to the choir,” replied Yoongi, massaging his stiff neck.  Jungkook hummed in agreement.  Yoongi hated math with a dying passion for as long as he could remember and the only reason he scraped by in his significantly lower level class was due to Namjoon’s generous assistance.  It’s not that Yoongi wasn’t smart, it’s just math was never especially relevant to his interests besides calculating the pitiful savings in his bank account.  Jungkook wasn’t any better.  As the living definition of a jock, the kid had minute interest in anything that didn’t involve some type of body movement or physical strain.

“I shouldn’t have stayed out so late,” Namjoon moaned.  Namjoon never had any trouble with math prior to her class, equations came to him as easily as breathing, but now that he was struggling there was nothing he liked more than to rant about it.

Jungkook pointed his chopsticks at him, “And miss my birthday party? Nah,”

“Yeah, I guess last night wasn’t too bad,” Namjoon admitted, “Wildest birthday party I’ve ever been to,” He teased.

You have no idea. Yoongi gulped down his energy drink.

“Hey,” Namjoon picked his head up, peering around as if he just remembered something, “Taehyung wasn’t in class today, have you seen him?”

“Not since last night,” Jungkook said.

Namjoon tsked, “He’s going to get a zero for missing that test today.”

Yoongi finished his drink, twirling the empty can in his hands.  He could already feel tightness in his heart from the caffeine rushing thrumming through his veins, “So he’s skipping for once.  No big deal,”

 “It’s not a good idea to skip on test days if you want to keep your grade.”

“What’s his grade in that class anyway?” Yoongi wondered.

Namjoon grumbled, “Good, really good.  He’s the only one with an A this quarter.” Obviously being bested by the idiot-genius Kim Taehyung was a point of annoyance for Namjoon. “It’s weird I never see him study or pay attention in class.”

Yoongi shrugged, not really in the mood to try to figure out the Taehyung-enigma.  If no one else had figured him out yet, then Yoongi sure wasn’t going to.  Besides, he was sure Taehyung didn’t even comprehend it himself.

Hoseok stepped in, gym bag thrown over his shoulder and sweat on his forehead.  “Hey!” He greeted, smiling brightly.  He threw his bag on the couch and joined them in the tiny kitchen. 

“Hyung!  You left for dance without me!” Jungkook pouted.

“Aw, you were sleeping so adorably!  I couldn’t bring myself to wake you up,” Hoseok cooed, crushing Jungkook’s face to his chest, petting his hair.  Jungkook struggled uselessly in his grasp.  Hoseok chuckled, “My little legal drinker all curled up and hung-over on my couch, how cute!”

“Hyung,” Jungkook begged, “You’re all sweaty!”

Hoseok released him, but not before ruffling his hair one last time.  Yoongi and Namjoon laughed at Jungkook’s disgruntled expression as he attempted to smooth down his tanged hair.  Hoseok took Jungkook’s empty ramen cup, rinsing it in the sink next to Yoongi, flashing him a shining smile that was only returned with a grimace on Yoongi’s part (advanced facial movements were difficult for him post slumber).

“You didn’t miss that much, Kookie,” Hoseok said over his shoulder, “Taehyung and Jimin were too hung-over to show up, I guess, so we couldn’t work the new choreo.”

His stomach flipped a little at the mention of the name and he held the can a little tighter in his fist.  Jimin probably stayed to clean up the mess they made. Shit.  It now occurred to him that he quite rudely threw up on Jimin’s floor, then left.  He felt like a dick but there was no way he could’ve stayed to clean it up.  His eyes flashed to Jungkook and he sent a silent prayer of thanks that Jungkook had stayed here long enough for Jimin to dispose of the evidence. 

“Taehyung wasn’t in class today either,” Namjoon said.

Hoseok took the can from Yoongi’s grasp and threw both containers into the recycling bin, drying his hands on his tank. “That’s not like him,” he leaned his elbows back on the counter, “You don’t think he missed his particle physics class right?  He had a project due this afternoon.”

Namjoon shrugged, “I texted him but he hasn’t answered,”

“You saw him this morning right?” Hoseok implored Yoongi.

“What?” Yoongi was caught off guard. “No.”

Hoseok blinked. “Didn’t you say you guys crashed at Jimin’s?”

“Yeah but Taehyung wasn’t there…” Yoongi trailed off.  Thank god.  If Taehyung was a witness he would have to assassinate him.  No other option.  But now Hoseok and Namjoon were giving him this look, and crap, he was going to be in trouble now.  He’d been an irresponsible hyung that allowed his youngest dongsaeng to get shitfaced drunk on his first day of turning legal and then let him go wandering loose.  And now he’d lost the other one on the same night.

“Okay what really happened last night?” Hoseok asked, looking pointedly at Jungkook and Yoongi. “You guys were nowhere near hammered enough to be this hung-over before Seokjin, Namjoon and I left,”

 “Ah,” Yoongi stumbled. He pushed his black bangs from his brow, “Um,”

Thankfully Jungkook, god bless him, took over, “I don’t remember how long we stayed, but I remember a little bit after you left the bar Taehyung teased Jiminnie on being a lightweight because he ordered a skinny girl margarita.”

Namjoon let out a loud laugh.

“Hey, you know he’s on a diet,” Hoseok scolded, but couldn’t quite seem to keep the chuckles from escaping.

“So then,” Jungkook continued, “Jimin called Taehyung a liar and said he could outdrink anybody even Yoongi-hyung… or was it that Taehyung said Jiminnie couldn’t even outdrink Yoongi-hyung… I don’t know, anyway, we had a contest and things got really blurry after that, but I think we got kicked out because we got too loud.  And then we went to the bar across the street, and then to the one next to it—”

“You went barhopping?!” Namjoon’s jaw dropped.

“Uhuh,” Jungkook assented.

Woah.  He remembered now.  How Seokjin had looked at his watch and declared they should get going: there is class, work tomorrow.  But Jungkook whined and Taehyung begged them to stay a little longer.  Yoongi, for whatever reason, agreed to stay behind ordering his second beer.  And Jimin declared he would stay back if someone bought his next drink.  Jimin got his margarita, they started to tease him, and soon enough they were waving the bartender over, downing shot after shot of tequila, falling over and gyrating to the trashy music.

“Now I wish I’d stayed just to see that.” Namjoon sniggered. “Wait, who won the game?”

 “I don’t remember,” Jungkook said after a slight pause.

“Did Jimin beat hyung?”

Jungkook snorted, “No way,”

Namjoon pursed his lips, nodding at Yoongi in approval.

“Still got it,” Yoongi declared feebly.  The victory definitely wasn’t worth it.

“Anyways,” Jungkook began, “We were on the way to another bar, I think, when we realized Taehyung wasn’t with us, I don’t remember how long he’d been gone, but we looked around for him until we decided he’d meet us at the dorm.  And…” Jungkook paused for a while here, a weird expression crossing across his features before disappearing, “Then that was when I lost you and Jimin,” Jungkook said, looking at Yoongi, “I lost you… in the crowd and wandered a bit looking for you guys.  Then I found a cop and he helped me get on the metro and then I walked here.”

“Hmmm, you’re lucky he found that cop, hyung,” Namjoon chided lightly.

“Yeah, yeah, I lost them I’m an irresponsible human being.  But it turned out okay, Jungkook’s still breathing.”

 “Not quite out of the woods yet...” Hoseok said ominously.

“What?” He frowned at him, “I’m sure Taehyung made it back to his dorm.  He’s probably in his dorm sleeping off that hangover.” Yoongi surmised.

“He’s been working on this project all semester, I don’t think he’d fail the class for a hangover,” Hoseok reasoned.

“Fine, call him then if you’re so worried,” Yoongi snapped.  If he wasn’t getting constant mom-nagging from Seokjin at work, it was coming from Hoseok.  Why was he his best friend again?

“I’ll call him,” Namjoon pulled out his phone.

They waited in silence for the phone to ring.  Yoongi sighed and left the congregation at the table to fish for oreos in the pantry, confident that any second now Taehyung would pick up on the other line, voice raspy and half asleep, and maybe then they would stop worrying so much and blaming him for everything.

“He’s not picking up,” Namjoon said after a moment, redialing the number for a second time.

“His phone is probably dead,” Yoongi concluded. “Maybe you should call his roommate.”

Hoseok hummed in agreement, bringing his phone to his ear while gesturing for Namjoon to dial again when the call failed.  Yoongi stuffed oreos in his mouth nervously, scowling at Jungkook when he reached over to steal a fistful of cookies, getting crumbs everywhere.  Namjoon jiggled his leg impatiently, while Hoseok conspicuously sniffed at an armpit and wiped his forehead on his sweaty tank.

“Yeah, hey Jongup, is Taehyung around?” Hoseok paused, his pretty ski slope nose wrinkling slightly, “Do you know where he is? … Ah.  No we don’t…  Alright, call us if he shows up or something.” He hung up. “He didn’t come home last night,” Hoseok reported.

Yoongi groaned.  Just when he thought he’d made it clear.

“Hyung, shou—” Namjoon stopped suddenly, checking the phone screen before pulling it back up to his ear, “Hello? Who… who is this?”

Jungkook paused, oreo against his mouth, tongue halted in mid-lick.  Everyone froze, their worried eyes trained on Namjoon, imagining the worst— that their missing friend had been arrested, or robbed, or mugged, or kidnapped, or worse.

“… Goo Junhwe?”

“Junhwe?” Yoongi echoed.  He was an honors program underclassman that lived one floor directly below them.  Yoongi had seen him around the common room a couple times tinkering on his ipad, but didn’t know anything about him until Jiwon had introduced them a couple months ago.  That was all the contact they had.  The tall freshman always looked like he was smelling something awful and was equally as insolent as Jungkook (Yoongi didn’t know why, maybe 1997 was a cursed year).

“Why do you have Taehyung’s phone?  Is he there?” Namjoon paused for an answer, “Yeah, come up.”

“What did he say?” They asked once Namjoon disconnected. 

“He didn’t say anything,”

“Do you know him?” Hoseok asked.

“Yeah I know him,” Yoongi said, moving to unlock the door.

“I think I have some classes with him,” Jungkook added.

“A bit rude,” Namjoon commented.

“Really?” Hoseok looked absolutely shocked.

“Part of the charm.” Yoongi shrugged. “Don’t really see how he has Tae’s phone though…” He was a bit worried.

“Maybe he crashed there,”

Jungkook shook his head. “I don’t think they know each other.”

The tall boy stepped in before they could jump to any conclusions or otherwise panic further.  He had Taehyung’s phone, minus the owner of course, and a look on his face that was more disgruntled than usual.  “Your friend was banging on our door last night at two in the morning.  Really drunk.  Wouldn’t go away even after I told him to piss off.  Kept singing songs and calling your names and didn’t let me and my roommate sleep at all.” He glowered at them accusingly.

Yoongi’s friends stared at him, of course, expecting him to speak as the oldest and the one partially at fault.  Yoongi grimaced. “Ah, really sorry about that.  We went out last night and kind of lost him.”

“So where is he man?” asked Namjoon.

“Damned if I know,” Junhwe placed the cell on the table. “He was gone by morning.  Left his phone in the hallway though.  It was dead and has a passcode so I had to charge it wait for you guys to call.  Don’t think I tried to steal it or anything.”

“Not at all.  Thanks, Junhwe.” Hoseok grabbed it, easily bypassing the passcode and searching through its contents.

Junhwe scoffed. “So you really, like, lost him?” He was more or less ignored by the rest, too absorbed with watching Hoseok apprehensively as he tapped at the phone.

Jungkook sighed, looking away. “How was Professor Kang’s class?”

“Nothing much.” Junhwe shrugged.  “I can forward you the notes.”

Jungkook grinned. “Thanks a lot.”

“Sure.  Gotta go.”  Junhwe seemed to note the heavy atmosphere for once and offered stiffly by way of consolation, “He’ll turn up.  But make sure to keep him away from our dorm next time.” He called out, opening the door, “I miss enough sleep as it is.”

“Won’t happen again.” Yoongi assured him as he left.

Hoseok’s brow creased. “Nothing but the texts from Namjoon and some blurry selcas at the bar.” Hoseok stated after a couple scrolls.  “But—Oh this one’s cute,” He showed them a picture of Yoongi and Jimin posing together with pouted lips.  Namjoon agreed and Yoongi tried not to be too obvious, keeping his expression blank despite the involuntary flush of his cheeks.  “Other than that we have nothing.” Hoseok concluded after sending the picture to himself.

“But he was able to find his way here right?  That’s good at least.  Maybe he’s still around here somewhere.” Jungkook reasoned.

Namjoon shook his head. “I didn’t see him in the common room on my way up,”

“Maybe he’s in a hallway on another floor.” Jungkook suggested.

“Alright let’s go look for him then.” Yoongi plopped off the counter, ready to explore the four story complex in his pajama pants and baggy Eminem concert t-shirt.  He quickly grabbed a snapback to hide his messy hair.

They shuffled down the corridor, splitting up into pairs to search the five floors.  They called Taehyung’s name as they passed, stopping anyone they came across (most of them returning from their morning classes) to ask if they had seen a lilac hair colored—possibly disoriented—man wandering about the halls but as of yet no results.  They reached the common room on the first floor without finding any trace of their friend.

“He’s not here.” Hoseok announced as he and Namjoon rejoined the other two that were lounging despondently on the couch.

“Should we call the police?” Namjoon breathed, running his hand through his silver hair. “He’s been missing for way more than ten hours.”

“No, no, no.” Yoongi trilled. “No cops.  I hate cops.”

“Then what do you suggest, hyung?” Hoseok crossed his arms. “Move on and pretend he never existed.”

“Maybe.”

Jungkook snorted at that while the other two levied him with a withering gaze.

“I’m kidding.” Yoongi clarified, scratching his neck awkwardly. “He was around here just a while ago. He couldn’t have wandered that far.”

“Did you forget that time you and I wandered all the way to Daejeon??” Namjoon snickered a bit.

“Did you really?” Jungkook asked, his eyes wide.

 “That was years ago,” Yoongi waved off.  That was back in his crazy early days of college.  He was way too old for this shit now. “Anyways, I think we should check the campus before doing anything else.”

“If you say so.” Hoseok replied, annoyingly terse.  He led the way out and they wandered the sidewalk looking for that shock of purple hair, occasionally calling out a name.  They searched the entire east side of campus, even walking into several buildings and peeking into classrooms.

The crisp September morning warmed into early afternoon without further sign of Taehyung and Yoongi felt as if they were wandering aimlessly.  He was pretty sure the kid was fine anyway… he was just passed out on a bench or something, sleeping it off.  He’d wander back soon of his own accord.  His cat always did that before whenever it escaped, and that was just a stupid cat.  Taehyung could do that too right?

“You don’t think he wandered off campus, did he?” Namjoon pulled sunglasses from his pocket fitting them over his face.

“God I hope not.” Yoongi murmured.

“We might have to end up searching all of Seoul before we find him.” Namjoon said grimly.

“We should organize a search party or something.” Jungkook chimed in.  He hopped around on the sidewalk making sure to step on every crunchy leaf that appeared in his path.

“Can you see if you can get a hold of Jimin?” Hoseok asked Yoongi. “Maybe he can help us look around the west side since his dorm is there.”

Yoongi looked at him in complete utter despair but Hoseok just blinked back at him, completely oblivious. “I forgot my phone.” He blurted out.

“It’s right there in your hand.” Jungkook pulled it from his grip waving it before his face.

Yoongi skidded to a halt not sure if he should run away or throw his phone down the sewer drain.  Anything to escape this absolutely cruel and very unusual punishment beset to him by the gods that be.  He should smack Jungkook.

“You okay hyung?” Namjoon peered at him from over his shades, eyebrows quirked in confusion, much like the expressions of the two guys next to him.  Students passed by them, some alone, some chattering happily with their friends, completely unaware to their current dilemma.  Some even shared Yoongi’s current dress code of pajamas and sweats.  Ah, college.

Yoongi evaded the question, “Why can’t you call him?”

 “Why can’t you?” Jungkook shot back and OHMYGOD WHY WAS HE TRYING TO KILL YOONGI.

He was going to have to do it.  Any more refusals and they certainly would become suspicious.  Not that they didn’t already know something was fishy judging by their stares.  Yoongi cleared his throat, tapping the call button trying to look nonchalant as his mouth dried and his stomach flipped.

“Nothing, just don’t see why I have to do everything,” He brushed off, holding the phone to his ear.

Hoseok frowned at him, no doubt almost done with his shit.  Namjoon went back to surveying the area while Jungkook scuffed his shoes on the sidewalk impatiently.

The phone trilled in his ear, dialing.  Don’t pick up. It rang again. Don’t fucking pick up you son of a bitch. A couple more rings and it’ll go to voicemail. Don’t—

“Hyung?” A voice crackled on the line.

Fuck. “… Hi.” He cringed.

Jimin’s voice was hoarse (from screaming while partying or from moaning his name, who would ever know??) and there was a hint of caution in his tone. “What did… we do last night?”

Judging by the way he said it, he knew what they’d done and—it was stupid of him but—Yoongi had hoped maybe Jimin wouldn’t be able to figure it out.  But Jimin wasn’t that stupid and the evidence, condom, lube and all, was pretty damning. They’d both been naked in the same bed for god’s sake.  Yoongi spun around in a circle, biting his lip.  His eyes zoned in on a bench not too far away and he strode to it.  The others followed closely behind.  “Have you seen Taehyung?” He asked, completely blowing past Jimin’s question.

That caught him off guard. “Uh, no?  He’s in class right now.  Yoongi-hyung what—?”

Yoongi plopped down on the bench, letting out a huff. “He’s been missing since last night, can you check around for him?” He didn’t give him a chance to respond. “Yeah, good?  Okay.” Yoongi hung up, springing off the bench and rushing off, as if walking away he would leave behind his embarrassment. He pulled down his snapback over his face.  The sun was brutal.  He wished he brought sunglasses.  He was getting a headache again.

“You—” Hoseok began.

“Yeah, he’s looking.” Yoongi interrupted, grumbling back, “Let’s keep moving.”

They continued their hunt, searching the buildings that were left.  After a while they walked to the green at the heart of campus where Jimin was sitting cross-legged by the fountain.  His hair was damp as if from a shower and pushed back to reveal his high forehead.  A venti coffee cup was nestled in the gap between his legs and a bag sitting next to him.  Large square framed glasses nearly covered half of his face.  He looked absolutely exhausted, shoulders slumped.  A somber look colored his expression which only seemed to turn darker when he spotted Yoongi. 

Yoongi’s step faltered and he lagged behind the others as they strode to meet him, coming to stop a distance away although still within earshot.  Namjoon plopped down next to Jimin, throwing himself backwards to lie down, nearly dipping his head inside the fountain.  Hoseok greeted him while Jungkook blinked at Jimin silently.  Yoongi was practically melting from embarrassment.  The sight of Jimin so soon after their escapade caused his heart to rise in his throat. 

Yoongi shifted his weight uncomfortably, admiring the crispy grass or watching the couple jogging by or observing the bright scarlet colors of the falling leaves almost as red as his ears.  Anything to avoid the stone-like gaze Jimin was giving him.

“Sorry I missed dance practice, hyung.  I was busy...” He informed Hoseok.  His gaze lingered on Yoongi before flitting down to his feet. “I checked everywhere.  I couldn’t find Taehyung.” Jimin reported his voice rough. 

Namjoon groaned.

“That’s it. We’re calling the police.” Hoseok proclaimed, looking daggers at Yoongi.

“Okay fine!” Yoongi barked back.  His eyes met Jimin for a second before he ripped them away.  Awkward.

“…Is he really missing?” Jimin asked.

“You remember last night don’t you?” Jungkook spoke.

Jimin sputtered. “I—Um yeah.  Most of it.  I don’t remember getting back to my dorm or loosing Tae or the…” He drifted off, blush reddening his cheeks. 

Yoongi snapped his eyes, fixing him with a sharp glare.  He wouldn’t dare mention… if he did Yoongi was going to drown him in that fucking fountain.  Luckily, Jimin kept quiet and the others didn’t seem to notice the pause.

“That’s a lot more than what hyung can remember,” Jungkook gestured to Yoongi, “He completely blacked out.”

All of them turned to look at him and Yoongi redirected his attention back to watching the drifting clouds.  He recognized Hanbin and Yunhyeong playing catch with a baseball.  Under the shade, Jaebum from his audio technology class was having a picnic with two other underclassmen and that thai foreign exchange student.  They all seemed to be having such a nice time.  Yoongi wished he could say the same.

“Hyung please call.” Hoseok pleaded.

Yoongi grumbled but complied, dialing the emergency number.

Jungkook filled Jimin on everything with occasional comments from Namjoon and Hoseok.  Jimin listened quietly, his eyes flitting back to Yoongi when he thought the others weren’t looking.

“I’d like to file a missing persons.” Yoongi announced once he heard someone on the other end. 

“We might have to put his face on milk cartons.”  Namjoon joked, sitting up and pushing his hair back.

“His name is Kim Taehyung, nineteen, been missing for about twelve hours, maybe more.” Yoongi reported to the operator, ignoring Namjoon.  “He’s tall, has purple hair—” He was interrupted by the beeping of his phone.  It was an incoming call.  From Seokjin-hyung.  The others looked at him curiously, confused by his delay.

Yoongi frowned. “I’m sorry hold on.”  He said, accepting the other call. “Hyung, I’m not working today,” He huffed into the receiver, annoyed. “I traded my shift with Jinyoung remember?”

“Did you lose something last night?” Seokjin wondered.  There was mischief in his tone.

Yoongi blinked. “What are you—Is Taehyung there?!”

Seokjin broke into that weird giggle of his which sounded more like he was wailing than laughing. “I think you should see for yourself.”

“What does that even mean?” Yoongi was so confused and wanted to ask what the hell Seokjin meant, but walking over there would be faster than trying to goad the answer out of Seokjin when he got like this. “You know what whatever.  I’m coming over there.  Don’t let him wander off.” Yoongi ordered.

“Oh, he’s not going anywhere.”

  What the hell does that mean?  Yoongi shook his head.  He hung up, returning to the other line.  “Never mind, found him.” He said shortly, hanging up and swiftly starting in the direction of the college town where the restaurant was located.  The others followed reluctantly.

“Wait what happened?” Namjoon implored, taking long strides to catch up with him.

“Hyung?” Hoseok called out.

“Seokjin-hyung found him.” He said over his shoulder.  He glanced back.  Jimin was trailing behind, throwing his coffee in the trash bin.  He still carried that bag, his expression inscrutable.

“Where?”

“At Taqueria’s.”

“Isn’t that where you work?” Jungkook asked.

“Yeah.”  Yoongi had the privilege of being employed at that revered establishment.  Actually it was just a Tex-Mex restaurant a five minutes’ walk from campus where most of the students hung out if they didn’t feel in the mood for cafeteria food.  It wasn’t a bad place to work at despite everything smelling of grilled pork.  Yoongi worked a shift after classes on most days and the owner was kind enough to give the employees free meals so it was actually pretty nice.  His manager most of the time was Seokjin and his chats with his friend kept him from being too entirely bored out of his mind on slow days.

“It isn’t too far from here.  I could see how he wandered there.” Namjoon concurred.

“I’m so relieved.” Hoseok breathed out.

“I said we’d find him.” Yoongi said matter-of-factly.

Hoseok huffed.

They galloped there with Yoongi in the lead trying to stay as far away from Jimin as humanly possible and Jungkook not too far behind him.  Jimin continued to lag back and Hoseok and Namjoon seemed to take notice of his reserved attitude.  They walked beside him, attempting to goad the usually cheery boy into conversation.  But Jimin ignored their jokes and teasing citing being too tired and hungover to play along.  Perhaps Yoongi was just being paranoid but he thought felt Jimin’s stare boring into his back the whole while.  It made his body twitch.

It was still early but there were several people milling about the street for an early lunch at one of the many eateries in the area.  Yoongi spotted Seokjin outside, wearing the restaurant uniform, an orange shirt with the logo and a matching cap.  He greeted them with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face.

“Nice pajamas.  I assume you had a wild night?” He was clearly amused.

“Where is he?” Yoongi asked bluntly.

“Well, I was just coming in to open the restaurant when I saw…”

Seokjin pointed to a tree where a small crowd had gathered, all looking up into the branches, laughing amongst themselves and taking pictures with their phones.  They all walked over for a better look, pushing through the crowd to stand at the base of the tree.  There, under the cover of the canopy and lying on a branch high up in the air, was Kim Taehyung, still knocked out cold and snoring like a bear. 

“What the flying fuck?” Yoongi couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Oh my god…” Hoseok gasped. “Is he wearing heels??”

“His jacket is inside out too.” Seokjin commented.

“How did he get up there?!” Jungkook said between laughs.

“Taehyung!  Kim Taehyung!” Namjoon called out.

Jungkook pulled out his phone and commenced to take pictures and post them on every social media site available.

“Someone should get him down from there before he breaks his neck.” Seokjin advised, chuckling a bit.

“Jungkook!  Stop taking pictures and get him down!” Hoseok smacked his hand.

Namjoon peered at the tree, “He’s not waking up,”

“Hyung!” Jungkook called out, taking off his shoe and throwing it at Taehyung.  It hit its mark.  Taehyung snapped up nearly losing his balance and toppling down.  He caught himself, looked down at his precarious height and began to scream, hugging the branch for dear life.  A single heel slipped off his foot and fell to the ground.

“Idiot, we said get him down not knock him off,” Yoongi scolded.  He rubbed his temples.

“Seriously have you ever seen any movies where they get the cat down from the tree?” Seokjin frowned.

“But where did he get those heels?” Namjoon murmured.

Taehyung seemed notice the boys at the base of the tree, “Help!” He panicked.

“How did you get up there?” asked Hoseok.

“Um.  I don’t know.  It made a lot of sense at the time.”

“What?”

“I was hungry and wanted something greasy.  So since you guys wouldn’t let me back in I came here, but the restaurant was closed.  I didn’t want to sleep on the sidewalk because that’s dirty so…”

“So you decided to sleep in a tree?!” Yoongi was in disbelief.

“I also didn’t want anyone to steal my wallet!” Taehyung said in defense of himself.

“He was drunk.  Does it really matter?” Jimin said to Yoongi, startling him.  Jimin had been really quiet so far. “Just get him down.”

“Can you climb down?” Hoseok called up.

“No.” Taehyung replied immediately, his legs shaking.

“Do you want to jump?  Well catch you!”

 “No! No!” Taehyung refused vehemently.

“I’ll climb up to get you.” Jungkook volunteered, kicking off his other shoe.

“What happened to your eye?” Seokjin asked Tae.

“Wha—Oh,” Taehyung reached up to touch his face where a black-eye was festering. “Jungkookie’s an angry drunk.”

“I hit you??” Jungkook widened his eyes.  “Hyung, I’m sorry!”

“No problem Jungkookie.” Taehyung said amicably.  He was never one to hold grudges. A particularly strong fall breeze wafted through the air, jostling the branches.  Taehyung clung a little tighter, his knuckles white. “Can you hurry up getting me down though?”

“Okay I really need to know why you’re wearing women’s heels,” Namjoon picked up the fallen shoe.  It was sparkly gold and at least six inches.

“Oh, haha.  I really don’t remember that.  They’re pretty though don’t you think?”

Hoseok laughed, Namjoon nodded in agreement, Seokjin asked to see what brand they were while Jungkook was still struggling with climbing up the base of the tree. Yoongi just pinched his nose in exasperation.  Things couldn’t get more ridiculous.

Jungkook had shimmed himself halfway up the trunk when he declared, “I’m stuck.”

Hoseok, Namjoon, and Seokjin came to give aid, struggling to push him up by his butt.  Yoongi was very aware of Jimin moving to stand beside him, entirely too close for comfort.  Yoongi gnawed at his bottom lip as he tried to forget Jimin’s existence completely.  It was a lot harder than it seemed since every nerve in his body was hyper-aware of every breath and sigh Jimin took.  He felt queasy.

“Hyung.” Jimin said gently as if he were trying to approach a startled animal that might lash out at any moment.  Yoongi flinched away but Jimin pressed on. “Hyung, we need to talk about this.”

Yoongi kept his attention fixed on the circus act that was occurring in front of him, unable to look Jimin in the face even if he wanted to.  He just really wanted for all this to go away.  “We don’t need to talk about anything.”

“Are you just going to keep pretending that nothing happened?”

“Nothing did happen.” Yoongi insisted, taking off his snapback.

“But—”

“Do you remember ‘it’?” He demanded, whipping his head to glare at his friend.

 “…No.  D-Do you?” Jimin stumbled, caught off guard by his sudden hostility.

Yoongi shook his head, “Then it never happened,” He fixed his glare back onto the tree.  They were still struggling to get Jungkook higher up the tree.  The first branch was a ways up and the trunk was too wide for Jungkook to get a good grip so he kept sliding down and their hands could only push him back up so far.  After some debate, Namjoon lifted Seokjin onto his shoulders, wobbling precariously all the while.  Namjoon yelled as Seokjin tugged at his hair for balance.  Hoseok tried to help them best he could, flailing his arms around and shouting directions.  The crowd seemed to have grown, watching the fiasco unfold.

“That’s not true.  Something did happen.  We woke up…” Jimin faltered.  He lowered his voice further. “We woke up in the same bed together.  Naked.  With lube and condoms—”

He scowled. “Okay! Okay!  Stop talking about it.”

Jimin blinked.  Yoongi could feel him analyzing his face.  “Here.”  He offered the bag to Yoongi and he grasped it reluctantly. “Your clothes. They’re washed.  You’re wallet and keys are in there too.”

Yoongi blinked.  He checked the contents and sure enough there they were.  Jimin was being his usual self-less self and Yoongi felt like a huge jerk.  “…Thanks.” He cleared his throat, “Sorry about throwing up on your floor by the way.”

Jimin just shrugged. 

Seokjin, now steady on Namjoon’s shoulders pushed Jungkook up but Jungkook couldn’t get a good grip and slid back down.  His butt landed on Seokjin’s face and they almost all crashed to the ground.  Namjoon shouted under their combined weight and Hoseok was nearly in a panic.  Taehyung was laughing hysterically, forgetting at the moment his precarious position.  Eventually Seokjin managed to use all his arm strength to push Jungkook off his face and higher up the tree.  Jungkook successfully grasped the first branch and hoisted himself up.  He climbed the rest with ease, reaching Taehyung.  Taehyung unglued himself from the branch and grabbed Jungkook into a crushing hug refusing to let go despite Jungkook’s protests.

“How the hell did he get up there by himself?” Namjoon panted practically throwing Seokjin off his back.

“You need to let go of me so we can get down.” Jungkook’s voice was muffled by Taehyung’s jacket.  Taehyung let go but kept a hand fisted on the back of his shirt.  Jungkook looked down, completely unfazed by the height, “Now what?”

“Ah,” Hoseok laughed, “Actually I don’t really know.”

“What?!”

Hoseok paced around the tree. “Just, um, lower Taehyung down and we’ll grab him.”

“Then how will I get down?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

Jungkook frowned, but moved to straddle the branch, replacing Taehyung’s grip on his shirt to his hands and despite panicked protest on Taehyung’s part managed to lower him over the side.  Taehyung dangled from Jungkook’s arms, blubbering in fear.  The others had their arms up ready to catch him.

Jungkook lowered him as far down as he could, body straining.  “Hyung let go now.” He wheezed, but Taehyung’s death grip on his wrists remained steadfast, legs flailing in the air.  Jungkook began to slip, his face turning red from exertion. “Hyung!” He tried to shake him off but only succeeded in slipping down further.  Taehyung wailed.  Somewhere in the back of his mind Yoongi thought that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“Taehyung!  We’re right here to catch you!  Let go of—” At that moment they both fell, the crowd gasped.  They screamed all the way down landing hard on the others, tumbling into a heap on the ground, a cloud of leaves cascading over their prone forms.  If Yoongi wasn’t so distressed he might have laughed.  Jimin took half a step forward, concerned.

“Everyone alive?” Yoongi called out.  There was a unanimous grumble in response.  Slowly they began to untangle their limbs and pick the leaves and twigs from their hair.  So far the only casualty was Taehyung’s other shoe, the heel broken in the crash.  Everyone, Jungkook specifically looked ready to strangle Taehyung, but all was forgiven the moment he flashed his heart-melting squinty-eyed grin.    The crowd seeing now that the event was over began to disperse.

Jimin laughed brightly.  A moment passed.  “So are we going to be okay?” He sounded hopeful.

Yoongi took a deep breath.  “No, Jimin.  I don’t think so.”  He didn’t want to pretend to be fine with all this, not when every time he looked at him he was reminded of his mistake, his body flushed with shame and awkwardness filled the air.  He didn’t want to constantly question his sexuality and everything about himself whenever Jimin decided to stop by or hang out.  No it was better just to avoid each other from now on.  Easier.

“What?” Jimin gasped. “Nothing needs to change.  Nothing happened like you said.  We can just go back to how it was before.”

“We can’t… I cant.” He regretted this, he regretted everything about this.

“Wha-what do you mean?  We can’t be friends anymore?”

“No.”

“Hyung I’m so sorry that it happened please—”

“I just can’t look at you in the face anymore knowing…” He drifted off, unable to voice the words. “It’s better if we don’t see each other anymore.  At all.”

“You don’t mean that.  You’re just in shock, you need time to cool down and forget about it.  You don’t really mean…” Jimin shook his head, refusing to accept it.

Anger flared in him dangerously.  Jimin just wasn’t getting it. “I really don’t want to see you ever again.” He growled, putting the final nail on the coffin that was their friendship. “Actually, I kind of just wish we never met.”

Jimin flinched and Yoongi felt like such a dick, but this was just something he could never forget or get over.  Jimin had six other friends to harass when he felt like it.  He’d get over this.

The others, now collected, limped towards them.  Hoseok seemed to notice the tense atmosphere surrounding them—Yoongi’s scowl and Jimin’s morose expression, now on the verge of tears.

“You two okay?” He asked.

“Just fine.” Yoongi snapped.

“You guys want to stay for lunch?” Seokjin invited them, nodding towards the restaurant.

The rest responded with enthusiasm, hungry for nachos.  Yoongi just shook his head, placed back on his snapback, and left without a word, not at all in the mood to stay any longer.  He could feel Jimin’s gaze linger after him, but he dared not look back.  He dug his hands in the pockets of his pajamas and kept walking.