Concepts are borrowed heavily from the I Need U (original ver.) MV, the Most Beautiful Moments In Life Pt.2 Prologue video, and one version of popular lore on the seven deadly sins and their respective demons.
Reference symbols (from a Pinterest picture, not mine. These are important) :
src : https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/11/aa/df/11aadf83ef8b04731af3513f3c9471d2.jpg
Greed meets gluttony in a casino of course. Namjoon bets high, and then higher, cards and chips changing hands faster than what Seokjin can keep up with. Seokjin is content to just watch. He comes for the seafood buffets, and stays for the generous amounts of free alcohol being served by the scantily dressed ladies on the gambling floor.
Occasionally, he’ll shadow bet on a hand, because sometimes it’s fun (and it’s always fun to indulge). Tonight he’s betting on Namjoon, a tall man with bleach blond hair in a white dress shirt and dark slacks, who’s been sweeping the floor at blackjack to the point where there are scary looking men loitering around the edges of the floor, trying to catch him counting cards which Seokjin is sure he’s doing somehow without anyone else’s assistance.
Seokjin sees movement out of the corner of his eye, and it doesn’t seem like Namjoon does. It’s not in his nature to assist random strangers per say, but this one’s been kind to his wallet tonight so he casually upends the rest of his drink on the guy’s nice Valentino shirt.
Namjoon immediately yells at him in outrage, and it’s the first time they’ve talked to each other in the two hours they’ve sort of spent together.
“Sorry!” Seokjin apologizes quickly, not at all sorry. “My hand slipped, let me help you clean that up in the restroom?”
He almost physically drags Namjoon out of his chair, barely giving him enough time to clean up his chip stacks, and towards the men’s room, ignoring all of the other’s protests. Except he drags Namjoon past the men’s room, and into the elevator, and punches in the number for the seventeenth floor.
“What is wrong with you?” Namjoon shouts when Seokjin finally turns to look at him again.
“Hey, I just did you a favor. I think you should avoid coming here for a while, I don’t think they appreciate you winning so much.” Seokjin smiles. “By the way, thanks for my next month’s food budget!”
Namjoon glares at him, but Seokjin can see the mild shock and terror in his eyes too. It’s probably not the first time the guy’s been physically discouraged from returning to a casino, and somehow Seokjin thinks that makes it that much worse that he still hasn’t learned to keep an eye out for the danger signs.
“Where are we going?” Namjoon eventually shrugs.
Seokjin steps out of the elevator first when it reaches his floor, and indicates for Namjoon to do the same. “Back to my room I guess. I didn’t want them to camp out for you outside the restroom. I can lend you a shirt, unless you’re staying here too?”
Seokjin lets them into his room (and it’s a pretty luxurious room, for just one person on the floor just below the penthouse), and rifles through his closet for a moment before handing Namjoon a shirt on a hanger, not too unlike the one he’d previously ruined.
“Sorry it’s not Valentin-” He chokes off with a gasp.
Namjoon, who’d already stripped off his wet shirt with his back to Seokjin glances back over his shoulder and frowns.
Seokjin’s eyes are frozen on a dark mark, three small circles connected within a larger one, just below Namjoon’s nape between his shoulder blades where the last ridge of his spine meets his spinal cord which could have been a tattoo except Seokjin knows with sudden absolute clarity that it isn’t.
Namjoon’s eyes widen, then narrow. “Who are you?”
“Funny meeting you like this,” Seokjin laughs airily in disbelief, as he tugs the neckline of his own sweater and under-tanktop down until his left shoulder is fully exposed, “We haven’t found each other in what, like sixteen lifetimes. My name is Seokjin. Kim Seokjin.”
Namjoon slowly traces the familiar lines and curves of Beezlebub’s birthright, etched dark and vividly on the side of Seokjin’s shoulder with his eyes, and breaks out into a wide grin himself. “You don’t look like a vessel for gluttony, Kim Seokjin. Why are you so freakishly tall and thin, seriously.”
Seokjin smiles wider, and shrugs both broad shoulders, tugging his clothes back into place. “I have good metabolism?”
“I’m Kim Namjoon, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Uh, thanks for back there I guess, although I would’ve been fine.” Namjoon finally puts on his borrowed shirt, the least of his concerns now.
“You’re welcome.” Seokjin lowers his voice, but nothing can hide the glimmer of hope in his tone as he asks, “Hey...do you think, we might be able to find all of us this time around?”
“I hope so. I really hope so.” Namjoon meets his eyes, equally serious.
“It’d be nice to go home.”
There’s a heavy pause where Namjoon thinks about the hundreds of thousands of cycles they’ve been through, desperately searching for each other to the point where some lifetimes he doesn’t even try anymore. The times that he’s the only one alive, or can’t find anyone are bad, but even worse are the times where they find almost everyone only to miss the last few or realize someone’s already dead. If they make it to the end together, even just once, they can go home to their rightful place in the underworld and end this infinite cycle of human despair.
Namjoon crashes in Seokjin’s room that night, and neither of them talk until Seokjin eventually turns off the lights and says, “Goodnight ‘joonie”.
“Yeah.” He eventually whispers against Seokjin’s stomach, sprawled across the older man on an overly large hotel bed. “We’ll make it this time, I swear.”
They don’t like to talk about their previous lives, and the memories are scattered and hazy at best anyway. All they know is that this life means they’ve failed again, and it’s a hard pill to swallow no matter how many times they come to be, disappointed.
Yoongi is extremely cynical by nature, and he doesn’t believe they’ll ever succeed. Since he has an infinite amount of lifetimes to suffer and fail, he can do whatever he wants. He can do absolutely nothing, or everything and anything, but mostly he resigns himself to living a quiet life because per his birthright sin, he just can’t be bothered to be bothered.
In this life though, he is not a good person. He hasn’t seen his parents in four years, and he probably won’t ever see them again. They’re six feet underground after all, and it’s his fault. The fire that had burned down the house and everyone that could have loved him in this life was an accident, but it’s his fault for trying to steal a cigarette from his dad’s stash and not putting it out well in a backyard full of dry leaves. He’s too old to go to an orphanage now, and has no extended family he can ask for help. It’s too difficult to make his own way through university, so he silently drops out after a tumultuous first year and returns to his old high school gang.
In this life, Yoongi meets Taehyung during a short stint at a correctional facility in their hometown of Daegu, when Taehyung is fourteen, and Yoongi, seventeen. (Yoongi is twenty-one now, and much better at not getting caught when doing things that would have made his mother cry, but he will never regret the gang fight he wins against a rival neighborhood’s top gang that lands him in a cell with a kid with bright orange hair for two nights.)
Taehyung talks too much, and less than four hours into the first night, Yoongi snaps and punches him in the stomach. He shoves the kid against the hard, moldy wall by his throat, and contemplates suffocating the kid, seriously, when the kid scratches him clawing at his hands.
The struggling causes Taehyung’s oversized grey long-sleeved shirt to ride up pretty high, and Yoongi drops him abruptly, hands shoving aside the soft cotton falling back down to get a better look at the two simple embedded circles, the inner chasing it’s own tail, just below the kid’s heart that marks the kid as one of them.
Taehyung gasps for air, and struggles to recollect himself. Yoongi waits until he thinks the kid can speak again before asking shortly, “What’s your name, kid?”
“Kim Taehyung,” says Taehyung brightly, as if he hadn’t just been grievously assaulted, and Yoongi tries very hard not to strangle him anyway. Taehyung blinks at Yoongi as he processes what’s happened. “Are you...do you know me?”
Yoongi glares in reply, and surprisingly, Taehyung actually shrinks a little. Wordlessly, he rolls up his right jean leg, and watches Taehyung flinch in shock as recognition dawns on his face. His own mark is just above his right ankle, a cold moon resting against the base of a colder world.
Taehyung reaches down to touch it, and Yoongi kicks his hand away on instinct. The younger jerks his hand away, and looks at him, mouth open. “Belphy?”
“Yoongi.” Yoongi corrects him, eye twitching at the bastardization of his true name. His heart burns with mixed feelings at the confirmation that this orange-haired waste of a kid is the Leviathan he hasn’t seen in centuries. They’re all so old that they really don’t know who is in fact the eldest anymore, but it’s all too easy to fall into their roles in human age naturally, given that they are pitifully human and mature each lifetime like humans do. (The only knowledge they really retain is the instinctive recognition of a true mark. Even as babies, they can tell and are drawn to each other.) “My name is Min Yoongi. And that’s hyung to you.”
The boxy smile that lights up on Taehyung’s face is so bright that Yoongi has to look away for a long time.
Yoongi learns that Taehyung is also an orphan, has been one for as long as he can remember, with extremely fast fingers (and that’s in fact what’d earns him two nights in a cell with Yoongi. “But hyung, it was so cute and I really wanted it,” he says of the massive stuffed lion he’d bought with the pilfered wallet that got him caught). Taehyung, in the true spirit of someone who always wants, forcibly inducts himself into Yoongi’s gang and somehow (Yoongi doesn’t want to know how), secures for himself the second seat within two years, putting Yoongi at the top of a bunch of delinquents he’d never wanted to be the leader of.
Yoongi spends most of his time working odd jobs, both honest and not. They live in Seoul now, because it’s easier to be forgotten in a concrete jungle this big, full of people with wild dreams and demons and danger. It’s a much bigger hell than the rural hometown they’ve all left behind, and they’re always recruiting fresh blood on the less popular streets. He’s not averse to hurting people for information or otherwise, but he mostly prefers to keep his head down and his name unknown.
His favorite gig is a bartending one, deep within the red light district, and the bar triply serves as a source of questionable information from incapacitated customers as well as a good cover for some of the gang’s more illicit activities. Yoongi can count on one hand the number of times he’s been shocked in this lifetime (he’s seen a lot over the course of all these lifetimes), but when a kid who looks like he could be twelve walks in laughing behind Taehyung one Fall, wearing a loose, ripped t-shirt that bares his entire midriff and low hanging dark jeans over long, long legs, Yoongi is shocked. Two in one lifetime within four years, it’s sort of a record for him, nevermind that this child is stupidly tall.
Taehyung drags the kid up to the bar counter with his signature grin pasted on. His voice is so much lower at eighteen, and he says, “Look what I found at the arcade!” He pulls the kid in closer, and drags the kid’s shirt up more, in a way that Yoongi finds hilariously ironic. As if he hadn’t seen it already, Yoongi studies the mark again - the eye of the heavens above the temple of pride. Lucifer’s insignia is the most unique of all of them, and this kid is plainly showing it off on his left hip. “This is the Yoongi-hyung I was telling you about. C’mon Jungkookie, introduce yourself!”
Jeon Jungkook introduces himself with a slight tilt of his lips, and a drawled out “hyu~ng” that Yoongi would have found offensive if he weren’t trying so hard to fight the wave of panic from allowing himself to hope, if just for an instant, that maybe, maybe this could be it.
“What are you, twelve?” Yoongi snorts, “Get out of my bar before you get us arrested.”
Jungkook doesn’t move, except to rearrange himself more comfortably across the barstool. “I’m nineteen. I’m legal.”
“Yeah, sure you are.” The kid doesn’t look a day over sixteen (and is in fact, two months shy of seventeen, Yoongi later learns). He sets down the last polished glass, and summons the other two into their private lounge in the back anyway. “Look, you can hang out here okay? I’ll figure out what to do with you guys later.”
“I’d like a rum and coke!” Jungkook calls after him.
“Fuck, I didn’t sign up to babysit.” Yoongi complains loudly, and ignores the cold heat that rises through his stomach to his lungs when pride and envy laugh in unison.
Taehyung spends the rest of the night challenging Jungkook to every single video game they have, and losing at almost all of them. The one time he wins, his smile is so smug that Jungkook throws his controller at a wall and then both of them are fleeing to replace it before Yoongi can find that they’ve broken it.
They don’t come back until four or five in the morning, and Yoongi doesn’t sleep until he hears two sets of footsteps and hushed whispers - one light and deep, one steady and sure.
A loud crack breaks through the screaming and shouting, and sounds of flesh and bone clashing, and everybody freezes. Hoseok removes his fist from the hole he’s just created in the cheap plaster wall.
“What the goddamn shit is going on here?” Hoseok is beyond angry, he wants to see blood. It’s been a bad day, and he hasn’t slept in thirty-seven hours, and this ridiculous scuffle outside the paper thin walls of his miserable apartment aren’t helping. But he can’t afford anymore blood on his own hands, not right now, and despite the mess he’s walked into, it doesn’t look like anyone is actually dead or dying.
He drags a hand through his hair. It’s far more difficult to make Hoseok snap now, but an unlucky few have literally died succeeding. It’s a past he’s trying to put behind him, but he’s getting tired of moving all the time.
Yoongi stares straight back at him, simultaneously shoving a thug with a black eye and broken nose away from himself, wiping his hands on his own shirt casually as if the blood on them were cookie crumbs.
Hoseok pulls a butterfly knife out of nowhere on Yoongi. “How do you know my name? Who sent you?”
“You’re not exactly...difficult to recognize in the right circles.” Yoongi raises both hands in front of himself in the universal gesture of trying to look as non-aggressive as possible while approaching.
“We’ve been looking for you.”
This new voice comes from behind Hoseok, and he whirls so fast that the person behind him whistles in appreciation as he pulls out a second knife from god knows where and trains it on Seokjin, who has one hand stuffed in the pocket of his sweatpants, and is nursing an ice-cream cone with the other.
Hoseok is surprised, when Yoongi beats him to the question and asks, “Who the fuck are you?”
The setting sun blows his shadow up until it looks like a two-story-high monster when Namjoon steps out of the corner behind Seokjin and glares, “More like, who the fuck are you? We just wanted to talk to him.” He gestures at Hoseok.
There’s a moment of silence where all three parties size each other up.
Hoseok loses his temper. He looks from Yoongi to Namjoon and Seokjin and snarls, “Okay. I don’t give a fuck who any of you are, but you need to leave. I don’t want to talk to any of you, just stop fighting outside of my apartment before I actually kill you.”
Yoongi finds this funny for some reason that makes Hoseok debate if a lifetime spent in jail is worth it. There are two witnesses though, and he can’t kill all of them outside his apartment. “I thought you retired, J-Hope.”
And then Hoseok realizes he’s trapped. At least one, if not all three of them know exactly who he is and what he’s done, even if they don’t seem to know each other.
Seokjin has the timing of a devil, or perhaps naivety of a saint. “Hoseok, can we see your wrist?”
He almost immediately rejects the request, as he calculates how quickly he could retreat back inside his apartment and hopefully out of the fifth floor fire escape, when the nature of it catches his attention. Slowly, he shifts both weapons to one hand and pulls off the black and white armband that’s become a permanent accessory around his right wrist, and shows them the angry black star and circle of Satan.
“Why do you want to see this?” Hoseok asks, tense.
“Shit, the rumors are true.” Namjoon turns to Seokjin, nodding. Seokjin shrugs off one side of his half-zipped hoodie, and turns so that Hoseok, and also Yoongi behind him can both see the matching mark on his shoulder.
Hoseok looks surprised, amazed, suspicious, upset, and happy all at once, before looking questioningly over at Namjoon.
“Are you really? Are you…”
Namjoon smiles slightly and turns around, as Seokjin huffs, “Why does everybody sound so shocked that I can be pretty?” Namjoon reaches back to drag his own thermal shirt collar down in answer to Hoseok’s question.
Behind all of them, half-forgotten, Yoongi clears his throat loudly.
“Well, this is a lovely reunion and all, and I can say I’m honestly surprised, but I think we should move elsewhere before the cops come.”
Three pairs of eyes simultaneously focus on him suspiciously, and Yoongi rolls his eyes. He’s wearing shorts with tall basketball socks today, so he rolls down the right one and hides a small smile as the same watchful eyes light up in happy acceptance.
Seokjin has a late shift at work, and Hoseok is about to die from lack of sleep, so Yoongi gives them the address of his bar, and doesn’t tell them about Taehyung and Jungkook. He figures the two younger kids (and they’ll always be kids to him), will appreciate the element of surprise.
Before Hoseok ducks back into his apartment, he turns to Yoongi and asks, “Who were you fighting with? If you wanted my attention and knew where I lived, why?”
Yoongi gives him a look. “I obviously didn’t know where you lived, or I would’ve just sent someone to get you. That dumbfuck raped one of my girls, okay? He’s lucky you came out and saved his ass. Seriously though, I’ve forgotten how scary you are when you’re angry.”
“One of your girls? How many do you have, want to share?” Hoseok raises one eyebrow, then laughs, genuine and clear for the first time in a long time. “I’ve forgotten how lazy you are unless it’s serious.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, but can’t help the wide grin that crawls across his own face. “One of the girls in my gang. She has a boyfriend. Get some sleep dumbass.”
Yoongi bids his goodbye, but just before he’s out of earshot, Hoseok hears, “Please, please don’t do something stupid. Not this time, not so close.” And he’s not sure if Yoongi is talking to himself or Hoseok.
There’s six of them together, and this is brilliant and amazing to everyone involved. They only need to find one more, before the family is complete. The possibility is very, very real, but it makes most of them extraordinarily antsy because it’s happened before, twice, and they’ve always, always failed. The first time, greed dies just before they find their last member, and the second time, there isn’t a wrath to find. Their reincarnation cycles don’t always align between one life and the next. It’s unpredictable what they’ll look like, how old they’ll be, where they’re born, and how they’ll die - the only constants are that they’re always human and they’re always male and that they have a way of gravitating towards the same locations. It’s somehow even more amazing, in a way that makes even Yoongi’s heart lodge firmly in his throat, that they’re all more or less around the same age this time (there’s only a five year gap between Jungkook, who is almost legal now at eighteen, and Seokjin).
As expected, Taehyung and Jungkook are both over the moon in their own strange ways when Yoongi lets slip to them about Seokjin, Namjoon, and Hoseok.
Taehyung introduces himself by stealing Namjoon’s wallet (“Holy shit, you’re fucking baller hyung!”), Seokjin’s lunch, and Hoseok’s hidden butterfly knife from the insole of his boots.
Hoseok gets his own back by catching Taehyung by the arm and pinning him to the bar lounge floor, fingers merciless beneath his shirt until Taehyung is all but crying, gasping and laughing so hard he literally can’t breathe. Hoseok doesn’t even pause when his fingers ghost over Taehyung’s proof of birthright, although he does take a moment to raise an eyebrow at Yoongi who smirks in return.
“That brat is Taehyung.”
“What did he do this time?” Jungkook asks, entering the room with bags full of greasy Chinese take-out boxes and tossing Namjoon’s wallet back at its owner.
Jungkook is still wearing racy, hand-cropped shirts that show off his own mark, much to Yoongi’s chagrin, and now Seokjin’s as well, as Jungkook stretches in front of their eldest. In fact, Seokjin sounds almost offended as he shouts, “Yah, how old are you!”
Offering his most innocent grin, Jungkook lowers his eyelids softly and chews on his bottom lip until it’s puffy, “Old enough.”
Taehyung laughs loudly from where he’s still sprawled on the floor, “Jeon Jungkook!”
It’s Hoseok that puts it all together first, glancing yet again at Yoongi, jaw dropped. “Oh my god. Oh fucking Christ on a stick, Seokjin, Namjoon, there are six of us here.”
Seokjin still looks affronted, and Namjoon muses, “Our proud fallen angel is a baby. Oh how far the great have fallen.”
It’s Jungkook’s turn to look terribly insulted.
“And this pink-haired brat is Levi,” Hoseok grins, to which Taehyung exclaims, “I’m twenty!”
“Still younger than me, brat.” Hoseok ruffles Taehyung’s hair.
Yoongi, who’s known for awhile now that they have six, is getting drunk off his seventh beer, and the thrum of excitement in the air. There’s an uneasy feeling stuck in the base of his throat that prevents him from wanting to join in on the casual getting to know each other chatter that’s picked up between the others. He thinks if they don’t find their seventh soon, he might go insane, even though they’re all young and should have plenty of time. Somehow it feels like they don’t have any more time at all.
It’s Taehyung who brings up the awkward topic first, a few days later when they’re all gathered again in the same place, when he says wistfully, “I wonder who our bae is.”
Taehyung uses the term ‘our’ loosely, because in all honesty, they’ve really actually all had some adult-rated fun with Asmodeus at some point. The prince of lust is a friendly personality and a phenomenally easy lay; he’s someone who even Yoongi and Hoseok's demons have a soft spot for. Strangely enough, due to either good or perhaps bad fortune depending on perspective, thier promiscuous seventh was more often than not too old, too young, or deceased. And despite how depraved each of them could get in their own ways, none of them enjoyed those particular kinks.
As a living, breathing, being of a reasonably sexually active age though, Asmodeus has always been the easiest one to find. Word gets around any city (and it’s always a city, because lust is drawn to densely populated places like bees to honey) that Asmodeus takes up residence in, about a slutty male with a distinct half-formed yin-yang tattoo somewhere on his persons. In fact, it’s become a sort of strategy for the rest of them to try to converge upon wherever lust is, so it’s a cause for concern that the six of them have found each other first.
They’re all at risk of death at the hands of normal people, some more so than the rest by nature, but none more than the one they can’t find. Jealous husbands and girlfriends, partners who are a bit too rough, homophobic nuts, and countless others have rang up Asmodeus’s homicide victim tally to numbers that make Hoseok white with rage, fingers clawing blood from his own skin. (On the other hand, they’ve all caused a number of innocent deaths either intentionally: greed, wrath, envy, and pride, or unintentionally: sloth, gluttony, and lust in particular has a penchant for being the cause of suicide cases, so it’s hard to say who’s really in the wrong. “Heh, you know some people call us the seven deadly sins,” Hoseok grins.)
They can feel the time bomb ticking.
A week turns into a month, which turns into a year, and they still can’t find him but not for a lack of trying. They’re really trying this time, and Seokjin is upset that Yoongi is starting to doubt that they have a seventh at all. They’ve tried almost everything, but the awkward fliers and forum posts have only attracted far too much of the unwanted kind of attention.
“This is stupid. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.” Yoongi scowls at the floor, as Seokjin stomps his heel in front of him.
Namjoon throws yet another questionable magazine onto the mountain of similar not-literature in a corner of their shared space, and rubs his eyes. Jungkook and Hoseok sit side by side on the couch, each with their eyes glued to their respective laptops, browsing mostly homemade porn from the darkest corners of the internet. (“Yah! What do you think you’re doing?” Hoseok exclaims the first time, and Jungkook groans, “For real, I’m nineteen, or like a billion years old actually. Can you all chill. I’ve watched porn before you know.”) They’ve done this so much it doesn’t even do anything for them anymore, and they’ve ventured so deep, the content is more often disturbing than otherwise.
Taehyung has taken to wandering by himself, or sometimes with Hoseok or Jungkook but more often alone, through likely places in the seedier areas after dark. It’s not exactly safe, but Taehyung is fast on his feet, and they need all the help they can get. No one says anything the nights when he comes home when the sun rises, drunk or high or slightly bruised, because he’s never gone too far overboard, and at least he always, always comes back.
The first time Taehyung finds Jimin (and of course, it’s Taehyung who finds Jimin first. They’ve always been exceptionally good at finding each other, time and time again, envy drawn to lust like a drug addict to good crack), he fails to recognize the other. The gorgeous dark haired boy in the loose white graphic tank and skin-tight black leather bottom is taking the dance floor by storm, and Taehyung can’t take his eyes off of him. He’s not the only one however, and he can feel the familiar slow fire coiling in his stomach when it becomes painfully obvious that the boy isn’t picky in his choice of partners.
When the tenth or twentieth (Taehyung isn’t exactly keeping count, but it’s one too many) set of hands gropes that pretty ass, and the nth body grinds itself against that body, Taehyung downs the rest of his last drink in one go and makes his way out to the floor.
He makes eye contact with the boy, who gives him a quick once over before lowering dark hazy, blown out eyes and biting his lower lip in a way that goes straight to Taehyung’s groin.
Taehyung unceremoniously removes the girl who’s falling all over herself and Jimin by telling her to fuck off with a rough nudge, and gives Jimin some of his own back with his best ‘I want to pin you to a wall and fuck you seven ways to Sunday’ look. He loves the way the dancer shivers in response, and moves behind Jimin to tightly grip hips that should be illegal on men. They fit front to back beautifully, and move together like sin. Jimin is surprisingly more well-defined and less soft than he looks from afar and Taehyung is lean and wiry and taller.
“Damn your hands are huge.” Jimin giggles between tracks, and somehow Taehyung catches that over the noise and music. “I like them.”
Taehyung nips at Jimin’s neck, and Jimin tilts it just so to expose more glistening skin. “Yeah?” He says, voice husky and dark, directly into Jimin’s ear. “Hi, I’m Taehyung. Wanna see what else I can do with them?” He slips a hand lower, trailing it teasingly around the curve of Jimin’s ass, down a leather inseam, trying to make his intentions more than clear.
“Fuck yes,” Jimin groans, arousal settling in his tone. “Even your voice is hot.”
In the alley around the corner from the club, Taehyung makes good on his previous non-verbal promise and pins Jimin against the cold brick and dirt. They move quickly, desperately, mouths and tongues warring with each other and any other skin they can get to. Taehyung has one thigh shoved between the other boy’s legs, and Jimin ruts against him freely.
When Taehyung slips the hand not braced against the wall up Jimin’s shirt however, he’s not expecting the other the flinch and gasp, as if in pain, and Jimin pushes his hand away immediately. Under the dim light of the nearest streetlamp filtering down to where they are, Taehyung can vaguely make out the dark bruises lining the other’s wrists and forearms, and he frowns, moves to pull away, but Jimin stops him. “What the, are you okay?”
Jimin laughs, “I’m fine.”
Even though Taehyung isn’t entirely convinced, his body is convinced enough to continue when Jimin deftly undoes Taehyung’s belt and zip and drops to his knees in front of him.
It’s really difficult to care about much at all, when Jimin has his mouth around Taehyung’s cock, and is giving the best head that Taehyung can ever remember receiving. Jimin doesn’t even complain when Taehyung tightens his fingers in that soft black hair, and takes control, fucking that wet, warm, pliable mouth at his own increasingly more aggressive pace.
Taehyung pours filthy praise on Jimin like holy water, and Jimin moans around his cock. It isn’t long before he comes down Jimin’s throat with a particularly deep, growled, “fuck, oh fuck I’m coming.” And by the time he can think rationally again post-fucking amazing orgasm, he’s surprised that Jimin is already coming over his own fingers with a soft moan.
“Thanks,” Taehyung says, breathlessly stashing the image of the moment away for alone time with his right hand later. “I could have returned the favor?”
Jimin wipes himself off on the wall, tucks himself back in, and grins at Taehyung with a two finger salute. “No worries, no prob, and any time babe.”
Jimin has disappeared almost entirely around the corner, leaving Taehyung behind, before he turns around again to call back, “My name is Jimin!” And then he’s truly gone.
It isn’t until long after Taehyung’s returned home that he thinks he might have missed something crucially important.
The second time they miss Jimin, it’s sort of Jungkook’s fault.
Jimin literally comes to them, when he drops into Yoongi’s bar just after eleven on a night that Taehyung is out prowling. Yoongi’s is a small, hole in the wall, get-piss-drunk-and-cry-over-your-ex sort of place. There’s a small HDTV mounted on one wall that plays whatever is currently on the sports channel, but that’s not why people come here. There’s no dance floor, and it’s not large-group friendly at all, but Yoongi isn’t stingy with his alcohol proportions nor the talkative friendly sort, and his customers appreciate the straightforwardness in which he allows them to drink themselves stupid. So when Jimin steals a coveted seat in the far corner at the bar counter, well-worn black hoodie pulled low over his head and skinny jeans covering the rest of his skin, Yoongi thinks nothing of it and sends Jungkook who’s helping out tonight to take his order.
Jungkook is wearing a black vest over an oversized plain white t-shirt per Yoongi’s orders, and for once his midriff isn’t bared for the world to see. He makes his way over to where Jimin is slumped over the counter with his face in his hands, and taps the customer on the head.
“Hey, what can I get for you?”
The sound seems to startle Jimin, who doesn’t look up right away, and Jungkook has enough time to wonder why this guy is even here - honestly, who gets startled by a bartender at a bar? He taps his fingers on the counter impatiently, and after a moment, the guy peeks up through long lashes from under his hood and Jungkook is pretty sure he doesn’t mean to, but for a tense ten seconds that feel like a lifetime, they just stare at each other.
“Coke and rum please.” The customer breaks eye contact first, and immediately turns his face away again to begin another intense staring contest with something down by the left corner of the wall that Jungkook can’t see, but Jungkook can’t see anything past the bleeding, swollen lips and dark bruises on the other guy’s neck and cheek anyway.
He almost trips over himself scrambling to make the drink, and pours double the usual amount of rum on purpose, heart pounding in his chest. Jungkook is good at fighting, is tall and pretty damn strong, but it’s taken him some time to establish his street cred so he knows what it’s like to be on both sides of a delinquent brawl. This guy isn’t the victim of a simple street fight - he also knows this much.
Jungkook catches Jimin staring at Yoongi when he returns, drink in hand, and prays that Yoongi hasn’t caught on, because if there’s anything that Yoongi hates, it’s trouble. This guy spells trouble like no other, even if he’s trying to curl in on himself in the corner of a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar. Jungkook isn’t a fan of charity cases at all, but there’s something strange about this guy that makes him want to protect him - and if the guy is getting plastered here, well, at least he’s not back out there with whomever had done this to him. He sets down the drink in front of the customer and picks up the plastic card already waiting for him.
“I know he’s pretty cute, but I wouldn’t go there. Yoongi-hyung will probably cut off your dick and feed it to you through your ass. Park Jimin? Is that your real name?” Jungkook runs the card anyway, and hides a smile when the guy blanches and ducks his head again, but not before Jungkook catches his obvious embarrassment.
“Speaking from experience? Yeah…and that is actually my card if you were wondering, asshole,” Jimin scowls at his drink.
“Wow, no need to be rude man. I just thought you looked like you might want someone to talk to.” And this isn’t true at all, because Jungkook really doesn’t want to actually talk to Jimin about what he already suspects happened, but his mouth is running on autopilot already.
Thankfully, all Jimin does is shoot him a surprised look, his features catching in the low bar-light again and Jungkook looks away first this time.
They don’t talk again except when Jimin orders another three of the exact same drink, and nurses the last one until Yoongi begins cleaning up for the night. Jungkook pointedly ignores the looks that Yoongi shoots at him, questions in his eyes.
“You gonna be alright?” He asks, when Jimin gets up to leave.
For the first time in the three hours they’ve spent awkwardly stealing glances at each other, Jimin laughs. It’s quiet and a little sad, but a high and pretty sound nonetheless, and Jungkook doesn’t know how to react when his own skin flushes.
“You’re cute.” Jimin smiles at him, eyes disappearing into soft crescents. "I’ve been worse.”
Jungkook is scratching at his own skin, still frozen in place, when Jimin disappears through the door.
He doesn’t move until Yoongi tosses a dish towel at his head. “What is wrong with you, you’ve been weird all night with that guy. I swear you were going to either kick him out or follow him home.”
Jungkook picks up the tip and has to pause to fight down the unreasonable bitter feeling of disappointment when there’s no number on the bill. “I don’t know, Yoongi-hyung. There’s something wrong with him, I don’t know. Maybe I should have followed him home.”
Jungkook really doesn’t understand why he’s so shaken up, why their brief not-really interactions have his hands shaking and sweat beading on his collar bones. It’s not like Jimin’s particularly special in any way (except, his treacherous mind suggests, he’s much prettier than most of the regular crowd - even with those horribly suggestive injuries that make Jungkook’s skin crawl for so many different reasons. He wants to be the one to put them there). Next time, he decides, he’ll ask if Park Jimin has any tattoos.
Jimin doesn’t come back, Yoongi looks at him strangely for all of a week, and Jungkook shoves his feelings into a tiny little box, chains it up, and buries the entire incident away in the deepest, darkest corner of his mind.
No one sees Jimin again for almost four months.
Taehyung is leaving a club he’s been to a few dozen times before, but with Hoseok, Jungkook, and a rare appearance of Yoongi this time (Seokjin and Namjoon are running the bar tonight so they can drag Yoongi out for a much needed break), when movement and voices catch their attention from down a familiar alleyway.
There’s a loud crack of what sounds like skull against brick.
Hoseok and Yoongi who are walking in front share a look and determinedly continue walking. Taehyung follows to do the same but Jungkook catches his sleeve and pulls him back to just around the corner where they’re not visible from the alley. “Wait,” he says, swallowing the bile rising up his throat, “wait, I have a really bad feeling about this.”
Taehyung frowns at him but doesn’t move when Jungkook releases him and ahead of them their hyungs have stopped too and are circling back towards them.
“What are you doing?” Yoongi hisses at them. “We don’t want to get involved in this, it’s not our territory.”
A shrill scream echos down their way, cut off halfway when the voice is muffled, drowning out into a sobbing moan. A second voice shouts, “God damn it gag him if you’re not going to use his mouth!”
The sound makes Taehyung’s blood freeze. “Hyung, I know that voice. We need to help him.”
“Yoongi?” Hoseok meets Yoongi’s eyes in question, and there’s a tense moment where everyone waits for Yoongi’s approval as the eldest and their interim leader in Namjoon’s absence.
“Whatever, not like I can stop you anyway.” Yoongi grumbles, and lights himself a cigarette. He has no intention of being physically involved, not this time. “Just, try not to kill anyone, yeah?”
They step into the alleyway quietly, taking advantage of the shadows, but it’s not long before someone spots them.
“Fuck off.” The thug gestures at them with a metal baseball bat threateningly. “There’s nothing to see here.”
But they’re already close enough to see the dark-haired boy, naked from the waist down, bent almost ninety degrees between two other figures with their pants down around their ankles. It’s too dark to see clearly and past the small crowd standing around them, but the grunts and moans and erratic muffled struggling sounds carry sharper than crystal.
Yoongi’s eyes sharpen and narrow perceptibly. He turns to the three thugs now right in front of them and demands, “Move the fuck out of my way or I’ll fuck you up.”
There are maybe fifteen or so gangsters total, and it’s Hoseok that reacts first when the thugs before them move. Hoseok fights like he’s dancing to a dark, wild rhythm that only he can hear. He meets them halfway and ducks under a swing, stepping sideways behind another one’s back to disarm the last with a heavy blow to the wrist. He rolls out of the way to pick up the bat and makes quick work of the other two.
The guys behind the first three stiffen and pause, and that’s all the encouragement that Jungkook and Taehyung need to join in, punching and kicking and yelling their way to the boy, with Hoseok watching their backs and cleaning up the rest.
Yoongi casually slinks behind them, stepping on more often than over the trail of unconscious limbs and bodies.
Several of the remaining guys flee, leaving their friends behind. They peel the last few people surrounding Jimin off just in time to catch the guy in front of him pulling out of his mouth to cum all over his face and hair. The guy behind has already finished and steps away from palming Jimin’s half-hard cock, zip still undone but pants pulled up and prepared to run. He does in fact run like there are mad dogs on his tail when Hoseok grabs the first guy by the shoulder and punches his lights out, but Hoseok is faster and rams him into a wall anyway.
“Oh my god.” Jungkook chokes when Jimin crumples to the ground completely, silently shaking, and curls in on himself in a heartbreakingly familiar way, even smaller this time, “Oh my god, Yoongi-hyung that’s the guy from the bar.”
“Jimin!” Taehyung reaches out to touch his face, but pulls back completely when Jimin flinches violently upon contact, clearly not recognizing him. “We want to help you, please.”
“Tae, let me handle this, go with Jungkook and see if you can find his clothes?”
Hoseok’s post-fight rage is so thick it's almost tangible, and when he steps into Jimin’s space, Jimin becomes still and strangely pliant - as if he’s completely given up. It’s a defense mechanism of sorts, although not a very good one in Hoseok’s opinion, to give in and pray for the least amount of punishment. It sort of hurts to think that this kid believes that they’re also there to hurt him, but it helps here, for Hoseok to pull Jimin gently into a sitting position against a wall so they can assess the damage.
There’s blood trickling down one side of his face from where the assholes had cracked Jimin’s head against the wall for trying to run away. His throat is an entirely solid dark mess of hickies and bruises (they’d probably tried to choke him a few times) and from what Hoseok can feel and see under his plain black t-shirt, has at least a few cracked and bruised ribs. There are countless other cuts, scratches, and bruises littering his body - some a fresh pinkish purple and others a stale green or brown. There’s also a lot of blood further south, trailing dark rivers down pretty thighs. There’s cum all over him, far more than from just two people.
“Those fucking savages,” Hoseok grits his teeth, and shrugs off his leather jacket, then his own long black tanktop to use as a cloth to clean off some of the worst areas.
Taehyung returns with a ruined pair of deep blue skinny jeans and remembers their first encounter, wonders if those have ever had a chance to heal. The idea that this sort of thing might happen to Jimin on a regular basis makes him sick.
Hoseok eyes the proffered clothing in his hands doubtingly, but they don’t have anything else or a towel. “He doesn’t have boxers or anything that might be more comfortable?”
Jungkook grimaces and responds for them, “No, we didn’t find anything else. He could have mine?”
Jimin has his knees drawn up and his arms wrapped loosely around them, and the first time he protests is when Hoseok tries to pry them apart, a weak, trembling, “Please, no. No, I c-can’t-”
“Yah, Hobie, stop.” Yoongi sighs, taking one last long drag and stubbing out the last of his cigarette. “Hey kid, do you have a...tattoo or something that looks sort of like this one?”
It’s the question that’s been buzzing in the back of all of their minds, and all eyes pause to stare, hearts and hopes and dreams of home in their throats.
Jimin finally lifts his head and looks up excruciatingly slowly. He’s squinting because his head hurts and his vision’s blurry and there’s blood and other bodily fluids dripping into one eye, but he zeroes in on the simple pair of nested circles decorating Yoongi’s ankle nonetheless.
They’re all holding their breaths.
“Y-yeah.” Jimin nods. “I-I- yea- fuck-”
He gives up stumbling over his words and winces in pain as he tucks his right leg in tighter and spreads his left until they can clearly see the snake of Eden curving through the apple of life resting high on the inside of his right thigh. It’s him.
“Jiminnie…” Taehyung whispers softly, moving in to hug him but stopping just short of touching Jimin. “Oh my god.” He starts crying, choking on his words. “Oh my god I am so sorry I didn’t ask you wh-when we-”
“Me too,” blurts Jungkook, frighteningly pale. “I should have known. I should have asked too when you came in. Oh my fuck you literally came to us and I didn’t-”
“Taehyung,” Yoongi says, voice thin and shaky and more serious than they’ve ever heard him, “call Namjoon and tell him to close the bar and come here with Seokjin. And bring a towel, a first aid kit, clean clothes, and a car. Immediately.”
Satisfied when Taehyung scrambles to do as told, Yoongi crouches in front of Jimin and strokes his thumb in light circles over the other’s mark, almost in disbelief. “You’re gonna be okay, we’ve got you kid. You’ll be fine. We’ll get you home. We can all go home.”
But his words are lost on deaf ears when Jimin slumps against the wall and doesn’t move again.
Jimin wakes up alone and completely naked save for a pair of bright red boxers that aren’t his, on the bottom bunk in an unfamiliar cramped bedroom seventeen hours later to someone humming outside. The first thing he processes is that everything hurts. There’s a sharp ache splitting from his head to his ribs, down to below the base of his spine where he’s suddenly reminded of his last waking memories. His eyes snap from zero to one hundred and then some in a split second, and in the next, he’s tripping over the sheets and his hands are scrambling for a weapon, anything and he fails to notice when the humming stops.
“You’re going to hurt yourself,” Seokjin frowns at him from the doorway.
“What? How...who are you? Where am I…?”
Seokjin’s expression softens into a small smile, and there’s something about it that feels comfortable and warm, that makes Jimin relax unconsciously. He tosses a bottle of water at Jimin, who somehow manages not to drop it. “My name is Seokjin, but everybody just calls me Jin.”
Someone outside is shouting something that Jimin can’t make out, but Seokjin looks down the hall, then back at him, and says with a cryptic smile, “Hold on and wait here a second okay. Feel free to put on whatever you want - some of this mess is probably clean and I think you’ll want to meet everyone else.”
He leaves Jimin blinking.
The room is really very small, just big enough for the bed and a closet that for all intents and purposes is more like an oversized laundry basket. There’s a large stuffed lion on the corner of the lower bunk where he’d woken up, and when he picks up the sheets he’d kicked off in his panic, he notices that they’re UFO-print.
The top bunk has a more normal personality but isn’t any less messy. There are six identical plain white t-shirts hanging off the side of it, a couple of beanies tucked in a corner, a box of tissues wedged between the mattress and the wall, and a pair of basketball shorts haphazardly strewn in the middle.
Five minutes pass and Jimin doesn’t see anyone when he peeks out of the room (there’s a bathroom, a closed door that looks like it could be another bedroom, and he can see the corner of a living room from here). After another five minutes, he debates just leaving, and pulls on one of the plain white tees, the basketball shorts, and an oversized zip-up hoodie that he finds balled up half-under the bed.
He’s looking for his phone and wallet in hopes that maybe the seemingly-harmless Seokjin had been nice enough to pick them up for him when he hears several footsteps and voices moving closer, and then there are six people squeezing into the tiny room.
Jimin ends up pressing his back flush against the far wall (his back has had enough of walls for several lifetimes, he thinks) just to give them enough space to all fit, spread over both bunks, leaning inside the closet, and blocking the doorway.
“Couldn’t we have done this in the living room,” the short angry-looking blond (Belphy, Jimin remembers, this guy has sloth’s mark on his ankle - it’s the last thing he can remember, and the first thing he’ll never forget. But if Bel is here...who are the others?) from last night complains from his perch on the edge of the upper bunk. Jimin can see the beginnings of a grin hidden behind his scowl anyway. “Goodmorning sleeping beauty!”
There are a lot of people talking all at once, and Jimin doesn’t even know where to begin asking his own questions. It feels like his heart is burning and his stomach is trying to eat itself, so he just answers as best as he can when addressed, (“are you okay?”, “are you hungry?”, and “do you remember me?”).
Looking around the noisy crowd, Jimin is surprised that he does vaguely recognize most of their faces, although it’s harder to remember names and context. The gorgeous brunette (did he have pink hair before though?) sprawled across the bottom bunk looks like someone he’d have hooked up with, and the tall, dark, and handsome kid leaning against the side of the bunks is a...barista? A bartender? J-Hope is well-known in the underground street dance circles, for both his fierce and wild b-boy styles as well as rumors about his dark past and hot temper (neither of them run a crew, but they’ve crossed paths here and there, and Jimin’s just witnessed first hand what J-Hope’s like when pissed - the rumors are true).
Seokjin is tall and pretty, with wide shoulders and long arms, and is standing in the corner between the closet and the door. Next to him, there’s an even taller, well-dressed guy with platinum blond hair cut short on the sides and long on top that Jimin’s never seen before trying to get everybody else to settle down. It takes him a few tries yelling and throwing random items at some people, but a few minutes later the room is quiet.
“Alright boys, now that we’re all assembled in this glorious moment-” the guy begins, and is answered by several groans, “- oh shut up, we should all introduce ourselves. I’ll go first. Name’s Kim Namjoon, and I’m the leader of this shitty bunch.”
He sticks his hand out for Jimin to shake, and Jimin takes it quickly as the others boo and someone throws a pillow at Namjoon. Like with Hoseok, Namjoon turns and tugs down the collars of his layers until Jimin can see Mammon’s mark.
One by one in a neat clockwise order, the rest each remind Jimin of their names (J-Hope’s real name is Hoseok apparently, and the barista/bartender/whatever is Jungkook. Jimin commits them to memory this time - he’ll never forget, never), and then reveal their own marks.
Greed, pride, envy, sloth-
Jimin can feel his breath coming shorter and a distinct pressure welling behind his eyes as understanding dawns on him even before they’re done. There are after all, exactly seven people crammed in this room.
Taehyung leans up out of bed to pat Jimin’s ass.
“And you’re the last one Jiminnie!”
“Park Jimin. Uh, mine’s on the inside of my upper thigh- ”
He takes a deep breath and pulls up the right leg of his shorts and boxers just long enough so that Seokjin and Namjoon can see it.
Namjoon laughs and whistles lowly, “Nice. That’s gotta be the best place yet.” as Jungkook shouts, “Tramp stamp!”
“I can’t...I can’t believe we- you guys.” Jimin cuts off. The tears fall, and he lurches forward into the center of the circle to hug Namjoon and Seokjin. Without warning, another pair of arms - Hoseok’s - wrap around his back, and then all six of them are hugging him and each other.
Namjoon is the last one to die, filling his role as their self-imposed leader until the very end.
He wants to do this right, wants to not give anyone any reason to reincarnate them again so he can’t kill himself, won’t let the others kill themselves or each other, and as time passes he’s both relieved and terrified as they each die young.
Their golden youngest, who’s always been too good at everything, first place in anything, of course goes first. It’s a drunk driver and a car accident that finds him staring vacantly at the sky in a pool of his own blood early one evening when he’s still only nineteen, just about to turn twenty, and Jimin cries for a week.
Three years later, Yoongi and Hoseok are caught up in a drug smuggling deal that goes too wrong too fast, and Yoongi burns with the warehouse explosion. Hoseok is caught and beaten until they permanently destroy his ability to move, and one of the cops, taking pity on him, slips something down his throat that shuts down the rest of him forever.
Jimin and Taehyung wreck havoc through the city’s clubs and bars and skate parks - an inseparable pair that the city’s underground music and dance scene call the 95z. They’re good, really good at freestyle battles that don’t involve rapping, and reach some sort of underground celebrity status. They’re at a rooftop party on top of a seven story apartment complex, when someone accidentally bumps into Taehyung, and then he’s flying, taking Jimin’s stupid fragile human heart with him. Despite Seokjin’s best efforts (going as far as to offer to share his food and home, which is entirely against his nature), he and Namjoon (who watches helplessly) can’t save Jimin who stops eating, stops sleeping, who passes out in a cold running bath two weeks later, drowning in his own tears.
Seokjin, who’s been with him the longest gets ill from what he thinks is food-poisoning one day at thirty-eight, goes to sleep that night in his own bed, and never wakes up again.
He’s buried all of the others so there’s no-one left to bury him, but it all seems so inconsequential now, because this is it. If he’s right - if they’re right, then they’ve made it this time, and he fights down the doubt and dread that’s fighting in his chest to tear him apart from the inside out.
When it happens, it’s an accident.
Someone drops a lit cigarette onto a leakage at the gas station where Namjoon is filling up at fourty-three, and the entire station blows up. The last thing he sees is all six of them smiling down at him, and he allows himself to reach for them. He smiles back.
When he wakes up again his last delusion is the reality.
They’re all waiting for him against the backdrop of home, and they all look exactly as they did the night they first all came together - human appearances and everything.
When he reaches up this time, there are six pairs of hands ready to catch him.
He smiles back.