Things always get rough, especially life. It is something out of your control, no matter how much hands you put on deck. I, who’s good at controlling and setting my mind on the right track, am not capable of predicting it. Unfairness is bound together with it, making things even worse. One day it can paint you the best memories ever and the next day it can take the hues away, leaving your world monochrome.
Mine wasn’t that bad at first. I was living perfectly fine, money was enough and I was doing great. Fighting and killing were illegal, even the dumbest knew that but there’s always a lot of zeros and it did help me surviving. But lights do not always shine long, they dim once they got used frequently.
Sadly enough, I dimmed.
Their heart was ablaze with rage and hatred. I have witnessed it, how their inner turmoil boiled but they didn’t let that pass on their face– there was some kind of an unwritten rule to never let anything painted on your face, to always be devoid of emotions. But it was obvious for me, and I wished I wasn’t so observant.
Hate was a strong word – and they hated me for all the bruises I left on them, both mentally and physically. For every black eyes and every fractured bones I caused in them, they oath to devour me by their bare hands, revenge have already took their mind. For every blood dripped from their mouths and every cuts I slashed on their filthy skin, they desired to bring me down and back to their slaughter house.
I was left alone on my devices, wandering around aimlessly. Stealing was the only thing that I could do to keep me alive. Luxury be damned, I’d kill for a roof to stay. Rainy days and sunny days passed me just like the busy crowd I stood in now. I saw faces but none had their eyes on each other, let alone on me and that was the way I like it. My nonexistence made it easier for me to slip my hands on their bags or ambush a guy in a ritzy suit in the dark alleys and suck the greens out of him. Loneliness did not creep in even once, merely because I got used to this situation where everyone is avoiding everyone.
After getting shoved here and there, I landed my eyes on a newspaper lying forgotten on the sheet. Without intention, I read the biggest word written with black and white ink.
‘BTS V is Looking For Personal Officer/Bodyguard’
Beside the big letters, there’s a black and white inked photo of a guy and for no reason, I had my eyes lingered on it longer than normal. My gaze on the photo was cut by a feet stepping on the paper, somehow snapping me back to reality. The second I found myself considering the offer, I internally slapped myself. Being near a famous person like him is a dicey situation, I wasn’t dumb enough to not how fast information leaks. I’d be in trouble too. If I were to be a personal officer, my location would be known and being exposed is the last thing I am trying to be.
Approximately three minutes later, I sighed and cursed myself, grabbing the newspaper just when it was about to be blown by the wind.
Needles to say, death was knocking pretty damn hard on the door.
It was crowded in here and my lungs contracted too hard it wasn't easy to breathe, but then again, it was stupid for me to expect a clear path for an interview, especially for working for someone as famous as who-the-fuck-ever it was mentioned. I didn't need to know, after all it wasn't just names that fades by time, but faces too, and I'll keep it as simplest as it can be: if he’s loaded, count me in.
I leisurely slipped between the crowds, nowhere planning on waiting on the queue so it wasn’t a surprise that I earned curses from every direction, and I let it be. It was always better this way, I have a numb shield wrapping around me and that way I won't be pushed around like the skinny guy two feet away. Power was the only thing I worshipped.
But when I made it halfway, it was starting to get harder for me to slip through the lines. It wasn't hard for me to decide violence as the answer. I did not once look back and pitied those who mourned, for it was a feeling I had abandoned years ago.
‘What the fuck?’
There was a hiss amidst the hollering of the crowds, and I could sense a stare burning my back, but I didn’t turn. Then a strong grip landed on my shoulders, I snapped.
'Don't touch me.'
There was a guy shorter than me and he had his aesthetic pink shirt smeared with a grape yogurt. His crescent eyes squinted as he winced in pain, rubbing soft circles on where I jabbed him, probably attempting to reduce the sore. It wouldn't be gone easily.
The only ones glaring wasn’t only his orbs but also his wild, messy orange hair. Written on his face was a mixture of shocked and something I couldn’t quite comprehend, but what I know is that his whole being was set ablaze with anger.
‘Sorry.’ I muttered.
The man stepped forward and I bit back a sigh.
‘Are you?’ He squinted his eyes.
Apparently I took too long to answer because with a tongue sharper than my jab, he called a biting, ‘Yah.’
I stared at his smeared shirt. Couldn't this man just buy a detergent? Wash the stupid thing with it and maybe drink it down his throat?
'Sorry.' I repeated.
He scoffed in disbelief, and opened his mouth.
His answer came in distant as a taller man in a black suit approached him. Hanging around the new comer's earlobe was a wire, probably for communication purposes. He wore black glasses too, and I could tell right away that this guy was a bodyguard.
Wait. I f he’s a bodyguard, talking to the angry guy- wouldn't he be someone important?
‘Pardon, sir. V hyung doesn’t know how to properly recruit a bodyguard.' an accent I recognized as satoori laced between the spaces of his words. 'It’s…kind of a mess right now.’
The shorter man sighed, both with worry and with frustration, and honestly, I couldn't care more. This was a man of money, the zeroes in his account could probably buy a lifetime supply of fried chickens and beers, the essentials of surviving. The things that kept me alive.
I looked at him again, now with a little interest and curiosity. ‘Yeah?’
‘Yeah? Yeah?’ he stared at me in disbelief, then a huff followed. I stared at him, waiting for him to say something but we passed a moment, glaring at each other until finally, he gave up and started to walk away.
At the view of his back leaving me, I let out a relieved sigh and turned-
‘Where the hell do you think you’re going?’
‘I told you, you’re coming with me.’ and he turned his head to the bodyguard, saying something to him with a stern voice. ‘Take him, Kookie. And stop calling me sir, Jesus.'
With that, the orange haired man reached out his hand to- Kookie's earlobe and fixed the wire that wasn’t attached properly. It was mere seconds, but the lingering of the touch and the hesitation pause was there, evident, before one of them pull out from another and then it was over, washed by the screaming crowds when the shorter male strolled through them easily.
I was left with Kookie as he put his hand on my shoulder, pushing me slightly, silently ordering me to walk and follow, obey and shut up.
I did. For once in a lifetime, I really did.
‘What the hell are you doing?’
I was in the studio when the short male, again, hissed in annoyance.
I looked around and everything was shining. There was a complete set of music property and there was this big, black-shiny speaker somewhere on the left, made to project the beat of a pounding music, not too different from the old, beaten club somewhere downtown where it smells like smoke and vomit and oblivion. My second home.
There was a full screen TV too hanging down the wall for entertainment purposes, trying to cheer lonely souls. A room that could buy anyone's life, and I was standing in it, so close to stealing the cappuccino machine on top of a translucent table.
Luxurious it was, but no matter how fancy the studio looked like, no matter how shiny the devices and gadgets were, nothing was brighter than the boy who sat comfortably on the couch with UNO cards on his hand. He was practically glowing and I just had to look away from him to gain back my composure.
‘Jiminie! I’ve missed you!’ The glowing man gave a bright smile to Jiminie. Jiminie- it's a cute name for a raging man. 'Wanna play?'
‘You- They were almost killing each other to be your personal officer and you–’
‘Hush it, babe. I’m doing my thing.’
At the nickname that spilled out from his mouth, I shot my eyebrows up.
‘Christ.' Jiminie barked. 'I’m your hyung, V, not your babe.’
O-Oh so this was the man I'm-
‘Ah, Jimin hyung, sorry. And do call me by my real name, please. I took that as an insult.’ he stuck out his tongue, waving the cards cradling between his fingers. Slim and long, I'd like to put a ring on it.
...What the fuck.
What the fuck was that?
‘Chillaaax, I know how to deal with recruitment, you out of all people should know that.’
Jimin, maybe for the better, stayed silent, as if he was considering something. In the end, he just sighed and walk towards the grinning man on the couch, finally making himself comfortable.
Five minutes (of awkwardness and stealing glances) the man who requested for a bodyguard shouted a loud UNO! and ended the game, whatever and however it worked. Another man with a nameless face bowed and left the room with no protest heard- not that anyone really acknowledge his presence anyway.
‘Don’t tell me you were recruiting someone based on the winner.’
He looked at Jimin, and gave a mischievous smile.
‘Glad you’re finally catching up.’
Jimin gave a spare me why are you like this look and angered out a biting, ‘Taehyung. I’m serious.’
Taehyung. Taehyung. Taehyung.
‘What?’ he threw his arms in the air, still laughing. ‘It’s more fun that way.’
I looked at him dizzily, spacing out as soon as his laughter echoed inside the four walls like those blooming dandelions in a quiet field. Then I inhaled, trying to keep myself ground while also convincing myself that no, my face is not red and I am not a standing cherry.
‘Hey, I really know what I’m doing.’ his voice sounded very soothing it’ll made everyone who listened believe him right away, and Jimin seemed to be lured by his trap, finally trusting him.
Just when I thought I couldn’t be more awkward, he turned his head to me and it felt as if the seconds were forever until his eyes were completely on mine. As a kid who was raised with all the sickening cruelty in the world, I was taught to only feel my heartbeat whenever I came out swinging in every ambushes, to only feel myself alive in the fights I never started. I was taught to feel how my adrenaline rushed as my knuckles smeared with blood and to feel joy when seeing the red liquid strained my shirt – one that I knew will never be gone no matter how many times I washed it. So now, when this- this magical creature had his eyes on me, with the things I’ve been taught and actually succeeded in doing so– the rot and disgusting success I put pride in, I should never let him upped the beating of my heart, nor should I let my legs lose it’s strength. I came here for the money and I would never let a small mistake such as being flustered get in my way. Even if I did, even, then those stupid eyes were the ones to blame.
He didn’t say anything, and that made it very hard for me to ignore the veins that were rushing in my ears. He turned his head to Jimin, seeking for an introduction.
‘He’s mine to deal with, don’t mind him.’ Jimin said, brushing me off with his waving hand and he was occupied again with his phone.
‘Why, no, Jiminie.’ His voice was deep and vibrant. ‘I do mind him. I have to.’
The room fell into a deep silence. He looked at me again and smirked.
I came to him with light footsteps, summoning my confidence but as much as it hurts my pride, I had to admit that I was melting. I had to keep myself sane, alright, despite the looks Taehyung had been giving me. I had to look comfortable and serene, like his presence didn’t affect me at all. But as I came closer, it was like his face was zoomed and everything was clearer – his palmed and curvy mouth was very inviting, his jaw was sharp like it was curved by the hands of an artist, and his eyes, breath be damned because they were holding the whole universe within and they were fierce, they were burning me and I was sure of nothing. Nothing.
‘Name?’ he said, after making himself comfortable again in the couch. It was my cue to sit and I did, making me and him both in the same eye level.
‘Kim.’ I said, voice smooth. When he was still holding the intense gaze, I replied him with a predatory stare. ‘Kim Namjoon.’
‘Kim Namjoon.’ He repeated my name under himself, as if muttering it wasn’t his intention in the first place. But nevertheless, it’s been more than two years since I heard my real name and it sounded so damn good being rolled out from his lips.
Maybe the fact that it was out from his lips was a bonus of pleasure.
‘I’d take him.’
A thundering silence as soon as Taehyung said that, and the only thing that froze wasn't time but my brain too.
‘Are you out of your mind?’ Jimin hissed.
‘I’m always out of my mind.’
‘Are you even considering this? Can he protect you? Can he deal with the bad people? Can he even throw a fist?’
Taehyung looked at me after the sentence, a sincere curiosity painted all over his face.
‘Can you?’ he cocked his head to the side, and my chest clenched.
Surprisingly, I nodded calmly.
‘See, there’s no biggie about this, hyung. He can throw a fist.'
More than that actually.
Jimin didn’t seem to be convinced. ‘How’ll you prove that?’
‘I can kill you right now.’ I shrugged.
‘That sounded really like a plan.’ Jimin squinted his eyes.
‘Well,’ I scratched the back of my head. ‘That was my job. But I won’t do it to you, though.’
‘Job?’ Jimin squeaked.
‘I was a street fighter.’
Jimin immediately stood up. ‘No. That’s a no for you.’
I shrugged leisurely and adverted my eyes to Taehyung who was now gaping at me. His surprised face was giving me an unsettling feeling, raw and maybe exposed.
I raised my eyebrows at him questioningly.
‘Don’t you see, Jiminie?’ after awhile, he whispered to Jimin, eyes never really left me. ‘He fits perfectly for the job.’
‘He can kill you.’
‘How can you be so–’
‘He needs money.’ Taehyung cut, satisfied like he figured out the right reason I was here. ‘Therefore, he won’t’
Then I looked at Jimin, who was glaring at me. At this point, I dared to meet him in the eyes. The height difference made it easier too.
‘I won’t.’ I said to him.
‘You’re all crazy.’
Taehyung scoffed. ‘I’m passed that stage.’
‘You’re delusional then.’
‘What is so delusional in wanting him to be mine?’
The room fell into silence as soon as the sentence left his mouth.
‘I mean, my– my bodyguard.’ He nervously laughed. This time, he was staring on anywhere but me.
‘You don’t even know why he’s here, Taehyung.’
'Then do a better job as a hyung and tell me.'
'Clearly I didn't sign up to be your hyung, asshole.' Jimin barked. 'And we're in the same year, Jesus. Why do you make me sound so old...'
'You're the one who use the hyung card.'
'Fine.' Jimin shrieked. Manly, I'll give him that. A manly shriek. ‘Fine. He bumped into me and smeared a yogurt on my favorite shirt. I was thinking about him charging but that seemed too nice.’
‘Actually,’ I glared at Jimin. ‘I was here as a volunteer too.’
'Really now? Ganging up on me?’
‘Shhhh, Jiminie. I always know the best.' Taehyung shoved a finger. 'Like when I recommended Jungkook for you as your current bodyguard, I know you’ll like him and you’ll get along well with him, right? Right.’ He stopped for a while. ‘A little too well, can I say that, Kook-ah?’
Taehyung put on a victorious smile as Jungkook immediately stared at the floor, somehow finding it interesting than Jimin who was now attempting to kill Taehyung who looked too smug. It made me shiver. Then I knew Taehyung was one I shouldn't underestimate.
‘Kim.’ the devil called out, a little too low with his voice for my own good, probably worn out after escaping Jimin, who’s currently panting.
I raised my eyebrow as Jungkook wiped off his sweat from the neck, not knowing it was obligatory to wipe off their superior's sweats too as a bodyguard.
‘Kim Namjoon.’ Taehyung repeated, and I turned to him this time, attention undivided.
There was something lightened in his eyes. I had to admit, calling him sir came out too natural for me, but I didn’t take too much attention on it because Taehyung was grinning now. Taehyung was grinning now and the world around me strangely didn’t matter.
‘From this day, you are the pointed to be Kim Taehyung’s bodyguard.’ He walked to me, using my sitting position as an advantage as he towered me with his height. ‘To this day and forward, you will be there anytime I need you. You are not allowed to protect anyone except me and me only. You will be there from the moment I open my eyes until I close them. You will do whatever it takes to keep me safe, to make me feel secure even if danger is not around, and all the ladies and gentlemen, the living and the dead, they all know how easily I get frightened.’
He stopped for a while, taking a deep breath, then finally continuing his sentence.
‘Kim Namjoon. From this day and forward, you will be and always be mine.’
Might as well wipe his sweats too.