[I'd like to thank each and everyone for coming to the concert.]
"I, I can do more hours-"
[I hope you guys all had a great time, because I know I did.]
"I swear I'll have more next month-"
[I wish I could've done more...]
"N,no, next week, I, I s,swear, next w,week...I'll have-"
[...and I wish today wasn't the last day of the concert, and um, hopefully, there will be another one soon. Thank you ARMY for supporting me and making this possible. I love you guys, have a safe trip back home!]
Jimin hates Fridays.
People might think he's crazy for saying it, but he really, really hates Fridays.
Fridays are the worst when it comes to his father's temper. The man never failed to spend his weekends raising his blood alcohol level well past the average lethal dosage, and it was up to Jimin to bring in enough money from this part-time job to fuel that kind of reckless behavior.
Jimin's trying. He really is. He is working wherever they are willing to hire a small, introverted teenager with little skill in any field. Usually, it's cleaning or doing repetitive tasks in the back of shops, where customers won't find him. He can only work limited hours, since he still has to go to school and everything. but he makes sure he spends just enough of that money to keep him from dying of starvation. He doesn't need fancy clothes. He doesn't need nice shoes. He doesn't need a nice haircut or a sleek new phone. He doesn't need any of those things, because no one ever pays attention to him. Sure, a couple of bullies find it entertaining to push him around a bit, but it's nothing compared to what he has to endure at home so he lets that pass.
Jimin wakes up and finds himself on the cold, tiled floor of his kitchen.
Oh, so that's where he passed out. His father was not happy about the amount of money he made this month and had made it quite clear. Jimin has to force his right eye to open, because blood had dried over it and kept it shut over the course of his unconsciousness. He's used to it, though. The first time it happened, he thought he had lost his vision, but it was just blood from the head wound he got when he hit it against the bed post in his room.
Jimin gets up.
He knows better than to linger, because he never knows when his father might come back.
He can't do this again. Not today. He can hardly move his limbs, but he tries anyway. He half crawls, half stumbles back to his room and collapses onto his bed. He regrets it immediately when his ribcage protests the sudden impact.
He hates Fridays.
It's Saturday. His entire body aches. His sprained ankle isn't doing much to support his weight, and the nice head wound be received isn't helping either. He's washing dishes, making each and every one is squeaky clean, but from time to time, he almost loses his grip on them. He can't afford to break anything. Especially when he has to ask the manager for more hours.
He doesn't mind working. In fact, work is the safest place he knows. His favorite is this diner, because the manager lets him play his own music in the kitchen. He has to keep it down for obvious reasons, but it's still something, and this way, he can listen to Jungkook's voice without being worried about his father barging into his room and beating the living shit out of him. He doesn't know Jungkook personally, but he likes to think that the singer is his guardian angel protecting him until he can leave the house as soon as he turns 18. It's absurd, he knows.
Jungkook just released a new album last week, but he wasn't able to save up for a copy yet. Today, however, he will be getting paid and will be able to set aside some loose change to have just enough.
"It's break time, Jimin," the diner's manager Seokjin announces as he walks into the kitchen. Jimin likes Seokjin. Seokjin is not like the others. He doesn't judge. He doesn't pry. Seokjin nevers asks why he walks into the kitchen with a different bruise every day, but instead tells Jimin to talk to him when he's ready. Jimin appreciates that about the other man, because getting the police involved is never a good idea for someone in his situation.
Seokjin feeds him well. In fact, Seokjin is probably the only reason why he hasn't died of malnutrition. Today's no exception. As soon as the teenager walked into the building, Seokjin was ready with a small bowl of salad, a sandwich and today's soup. Jimin does his best to finish everything the other man gives him, but it's difficult, because his stomach simply isn't prepared to take that much in.
"You really like Jungkook, don't you?" Seokjin continues with a mock roll of his eyes.
"I like his voice."
"I can tell. He's the only one you listen to," the manager says before pulling something out of one of the cabinets. "So today's your birthday."
"Yes, really. Don't tell me you forgot your own birthday."
"Um...H,how did you even know...?"
"Your application for this job. It's not much, but I got you something."
"What? No, no, no. I can't. You already give me too much..."
"Your meals come with your work, silly. Now, here," Seokjin explains as he hands the other the gift. "I was going to wrap it, but it seemed a little cheesy."
"No. Way," Jimin squeaks as his eyes take in the cover of the album. It's the same album he's been saving up for. He looks up with his mouth wide open, which has Seokjin chuckling. "I...How did you..."
"Not that hard. You're a little obsessed. And judging by your look, I'm guessing you haven't gotten yourself a copy yet?"
"I...wow, thank you...thank you so much..."
"Why don't you go ahead and listen to it for the rest of your shift?"
Jimin slowly opens the album and takes a step back in surprise when something black falls onto the floor in front of him. Seokjin picks it up and examines it, turning it around a couple of times.
"What is it?" Jimin asks cautiously, worried about the sudden changes in the other's expression.
"Well damn, I think I just got you another birthday gift."
Jimin thinks he might throw up.
It turns out that Seokjin had somehow been lucky enough to buy a copy with a surprise ticket to Jungkook's secret fan meeting a week later.
At first, he had been ready to give up the ticket, because Jungkook is, for the lack of a better word, stunning. He is a gorgeous man, and Jimin can't help but be a little ashamed and intimidated by it. He's sure that Jungkook wouldn't want to see someone as hideous as he is.
However, a part of him, the more selfish part of him, couldn't let the opportunity pass.
Jungkook is only a short distance away, dressed in all black with two silver rings on his right hand. His hair is slightly messier than usual, but Jimin likes it like that. It's more natural. More Jungkook (whatever that means). Jungkook is all smiles like always. His pearly whites almost blinding and his huge, expressive eyes glistening under the spotlight. He waves at the 30 people gathered in the room and thanks everyone for coming. His voice is even better in person, and Jimin's sure that his heart might leap out of him if he dares to open his mouth.
He's the only male fan in the vicinity, which isn't at all surprising, but luckily, no one is paying attention to him. Why would they? Jungkook is in the room.
He waits patiently for the first row to get their albums signed.
When it's his turn, he checks to make sure that the black mask he's wearing is completely covering his nose and his mouth. He touches his hair and pulls them down lower so that his eyes are hidden behind his locks. He tries to keep his trembling to a minimum as he forces his feet to eventually align themselves in front of Jungkook.
Jimin dares a look. The singer is watching him with an unreadable expression, and instinctively, Jimin pulls the mask up higher.
"Hi," Jungkook greets softly with a tilt of his head.
"H,hello," Jimin greets back as he slides the album across the table.
"Why the mask, Jimin? Are you sick?" Jungkook asks as he sends the pen in his hand gliding across the smooth surface.
"Um. Yeah," Jimin lies, hoping that he's convincing enough.
"Thanks for coming all the way here. You must be tired."
"N,no, I'm OK..."
"Why aren't you looking at me?" Jungkook asks suddenly, and Jimin jumps at the question. He had been staring at his own hands, afraid to make eye contact with the singer. Jungkook was even more beautiful and charismatic in person. His eyes were full of pride and liveliness, his nose dignified and his lips full and curled into the most stunning smile a man can create. He was everything Jimin wasn't, and the truth was enough to make Jimin feel too insignificant to be in the other man's presence.
"Can I at least see your eyes? I want to remember you when I see you again," Jungkook continues when Jimin remains silent, his fingers grasping the hems of his hoodie tightly.
Jimin hates his eyes. His father had told him that his eyes were the most disgusting part of him, and his father is right. That's why he makes sure that his hair covers them at all times. Especially at home.
"I...I don't think that's a good idea..."
"What makes you say that?"
"I uh...I,I should...go.."
"Hey, I'm sorry if I offended you. Will you show me next time though?"
"Y,yeah...maybe..." Jimin answers quietly, knowing that there will be no next time. There's no way that he will ever get this lucky ever again. He dares a quick glace through his hair and sees that Jungkook is staring at his hands now. His hideous hands that are cracked, torn and bruised, with a fourth finger that was never set properly and thus is at an odd angle. He shoves his hands into the pockets of his hoodie and then remembers the letter he wrote for Jungkook when his fingers brush against it.
He had written the letter last night. He knows that Jungkook would never get around to reading it, but he had written it more for himself than anything else. He wanted to write down in words how much Jungkook's music meant to him. He wanted to reach out to someone. Someone who was basically a stranger.
He knows he'd be risking showing his ugly hands again, but he pulls out the letter and quietly places it on the table diving them. The singer cocks his head to the side but takes it anyway and smiles at his name written neatly across the front of the envelope.
"I'll make sure to read it, Jimin."
"T,thank you," Jimin stutters before rushing away from the singer. He doesn't look back. He doesn't wait around for the rest of the meet. He leaves the hall to return to his part-time job. Seokjin told him that he didn't mind if Jimin stayed through the whole thing, but he couldn't do that. Seokjin had already done so much for him.
He got an autograph. He got to meet Jungkook in person.
That's more than enough for him.