The car ride is silent for the most part, which is awkward, as one wouldn’t expect it to be, although it’s one of the highest possibilities in situations like these.
Jimin, against all expectations, had just been adopted. He’s already eighteen and a half and was supposed to move away from the orphanage before he turned nineteen, in October, but he got adopted right before he started looking for an apartment. Which is good, because in all honesty, he wasn’t ready to live alone without knowing anyone. Because he really doesn’t know anyone, not in the city - all his friends are back at the orphanage, at least two years younger than him, or studying in Seoul instead of Busan.
Well, he’s not gonna live in Busan anymore, either. His new adopted-mothers, Jeon Jiwoon and Kim Boyoung, and his new adopted-brother, Namjoon, told him they’re on their way to Daegu some time ago. If he’s correct, they’ll be arriving soon, but he’s not sure since he’s never been to Daegu before.
“So, Jimin-ah,” Jiwoon smiles happily. “Want to tell us a little more about yourself? We know all the practical information and the things you already told us at the orphanage, but we don’t much about the actual you, do we?” She laughs a little. Jimin thinks there’s something strange about her laugh - it feels a little too dark.
He shakes the thought off his mind. He’s just a little nerve-wrecked because he’s finally, finally adopted after seventeen years. Honestly, he should be grateful to these people - his new moms and brother - but, quite frankly, he’s also terrified of all these changes.
“There’s not that much to know…” he trails off. His eyes flicker to his adopted-mother’s. “What would you like to hear about me?”
Boyoung looks at him through the rear view mirror and smiles. “Just say the first things that come to mind when you think about yourself, yeah? Important things or unimportant things… Your favorite color or movie, certain allergies… That kind of stuff. Everything you want to share, can be shared.” She makes a turn to the left. “Don’t worry, we don’t judge easily.”
Next to him, Namjoon nods. Namjoon’s about one year older than him, with blond, curly hair and brown eyes - the warm, chocolate brown kind. The kind that makes you trust someone easily and makes you a little more relaxed just by looking at them. Jimin thinks he’ll be a great brother. One that will care about him. He really hopes he isn’t wrong about this - a brother that doesn’t like him sounds like a problem he’d like to avoid.
He’s never had a brother himself. At least not one he knows about, but he doubts it - his biological mother was apparently barely able to care for the two of them, and then she got hit by a car while he was at the babysitter’s. (Sometimes he wonders if it was really an accident, but he never dwells on it for too long. It’s better not to care.)
Jimin feels a tiny smile grace his lips as he looks at his adopted-brother and turns back to his mothers. “My favorite color is blue,” he replies, thinking about what more to say. “And… My favorite movie is the Hulk. I don’t have any allergies, but I don’t like seafood that much, honestly.”
Jiwoon laughs. “Funny, considering you’re from Busan, isn’t it?” she chuckles kindly. Jimin feels like she’s his mother already, at least kind of. Her presence is heartwarming, the way a mother’s is supposed to be. It’s like she’s more experienced in being a maternal figure than Jimin is experienced in having one and it overwhelms him a little. “But you’re lucky. Your brother doesn’t like seafood either, so we don’t eat it a lot.”
Boyoung glances at him from the mirror again. He tries to smile a little brighter. Namjoon speaks up playfully, “Don’t talk like I’m the only one in our family that doesn’t like seafood, ma. Uncle doesn’t like it either and mom only likes it when you cook it.” Jimin notes to himself that Namjoon uses ‘ma’ for Jiwoon and ‘mom’ for Boyoung and reminds himself to use those words, too.
“I plead guilty,” Boyoung grins at her wife. “That’s definitely not a lie. Sorry, hun.” She looks back at Jimin and her grin falls into something softer, something more gentle. “Anyway, that means you fit right in, Jimin-ah. Almost like it was destined,” she chuckles. “Do you believe in destiny?”
“I haven’t really thought about that, to be honest…”
Before he can say more - not that he was going to - Namjoon intervenes. “Realistically seen, destiny can’t really exist. There’s too many lives of humans alone with too many details, and it’s stupid to think that if destiny existed, only destiny for humans exists, so there would be a destiny to all animals’ and plants’ lives. All of that together, there’s no way destiny or fate could exist.”
After that, it’s quiet for awhile. He thinks about what Namjoon said - going by the logic he stated, there’s indeed no way destiny or fate could exist, if all the small details were to have a reason. It makes him wonder, more than ever before, if there really is a purpose to some things, or if it’s all just coincidence - for the better or for the worse.
Hesitantly, he speaks up, “What if… What if destiny only draws the rough lines of life? Only the big, important things, none of the details or the way you’ll get to it? Just the things you dream about, or the things you think about when you’re happy?” He looks his new brother in the eyes just briefly before the latter turns his head to the window, staring out of it.
Faintly, he hears him whisper, “That would be nice. Very nice.”
No twenty minutes later, they arrive to a big house surrounded by trees, bushes and all kinds of plants - the woods, basically. Jimin thinks it’s nice to have a change of scenery - instead of the beach or the mountains, the forest. It’s beautiful, he has to admit - there’s something special about the amount of differences of green in one place, special in the way that just about anyone can feel at ease here, even grown up around the beach like Jimin.
The house is something different. It interrupts the peace of the forest, although it looks like it’s been standing there for a very long time, so much that it’s already partly covered by ivy. There’s something invisible surrounding the house, too, that gives him a chill. There’s something so utterly wrong about the place that he nearly refuses to come inside for a second - but just like Jiwoon’s weird laugh, he realizes that it must be his nerves playing with his sanity a little, so he enters the huge house anyway, immediately blown away by everything in sight.
“Wow,” he breathes out, eyes falling on the paintings on the walls, then on the chandelier. “Are you like, rich, or something?” he laughs, a bit of panic settling in his voice.
Another boy scoffs right in front of him. “Why do they always think that?”
The voice makes Jimin furrow his eyebrows and frown a little. He directs his eyes from the chandelier and the ceiling down to a boy that can’t be older than him - probably a year or two younger than him, actually. The boy has brown, straight hair and grey, icy eyes with an earring in his right ear. He’s wearing a black shirt with a black pants and honestly, with the eyeliner, he just looks like a teen in his emo phase. Jimin nearly snorts.
Boyoung chuckles a little nervously. “Everyone meaning, all our visitors. Which aren’t that much, but they all think we’re rich,” she says, placing a hand on Jimin’s shoulder gently. “We aren’t that rich, to be honest - we just got lucky with no one really liking the area.”
Jimin can’t imagine anyone not liking the area , but the house? Definitely. He would’ve stayed as clear of it as he could, if his adopted family haven’t lived here - and by default, he does too. Yet, he doesn’t say anything about it, just smiles and nods. Wondering why the hell they don’t seem as bothered by the sense of evil or wrongness around and inside the house in general.
“This is your new cousin, by the way,” Jiwoon smiles kindly at him. “His name is Jeongguk. Jeongguk-ah, this is Jimin. Please be nice to him. His father isn’t home right now, I’m sorry to say - but he’ll come home soon enough, so you’ll get to meet him soon, Jimin-ah. We all live together in this house, since there’s space enough and we’re all very close.”
The boy nods, taking in a little more of the space he’s in right now. It’s all so beautiful, too beautiful to be real - it’s almost as if it makes up for all the negatives feelings lingering around. Or maybe it’s to distract you from it.
“Anyway!” Boyoung smiles. “Namjoon-ah, could you please show your brother the way to his room? You guys can chat a little bit and get to know each other more. Come down after half an hour for dinner, though. Is that okay? Jeongguk, would you like to go with them as well?”
The emo kid is shaking his head and muttering that he’s good, just as Namjoon nods and picks up one of Jimin’s bags. Jimin lifts up the other and then, they’re on their way, the elder leading and the younger following blindly. They take a few turns and go up the stairs once, then the male before him stands still, opening a door.
“This is it,” Namjoon’s voice calls loudly, as if anticipating something, deep in trance. Blinking rapidly, he’s out of it within a second. “Sorry, I just had some kind of déjà vu,” he shakes his head, opening the door quickly and stepping inside.
Jimin just nods, looking around in his new room. It has walls of a light, but bright shade of yellow and it cheers him up a little. There’s a big, wooden bed with fluffy blankets on it and two puffy, white pillows. It nearly comes from a Disney movie or something, judging by the way it’s unnaturally cosy. The walls are empty and there’s a wooden desk in the corner that only has a pen on it. One of the drawers are half-way open and there’s a wooden closet in another corner with a big mirror build in. Even with all the furniture in the room, Jimin feels like it’s too empty, too unlike him.
He guesses it’s one thing to look forward to - decorating his room. That’s definitely going to be fun, and familiar even with all these big changes going on.
“Thank you, it’s amazing. Thank you,” Jimin tears up, just slightly and he wipes it away before his adopted brother can turn around to see it. “Can you set the bag on the floor, please?”
Namjoon does so, distractically saying, “Sure.” Once he stands up straight again, he looks around the room to check if everything’s fine and then looks at Jimin. “Um, do you mind if I go talk to Jeongguk now? I know we’re supposed to talk, but… I’m kind of worried about him? We can totally talk later, or tomorrow, or something.”
The younger doesn’t get why he’s so nervous. “Yeah, go ahead,” he smiles. “I can handle it from here. Thank you for carrying my bag upstairs. I’m… I’m looking forwards to being your brother from now on, Namjoon. And I’m sorry if I won’t be a good one, I just never had one? So I’ll learn.”
The elder seems to warm up a little, just staring gently at Jimin with a calm, warm look in his eyes. “I’m looking forwards to being your brother, too, Jimin. You can call me hyung from now on, and don’t worry, I won’t judge you for being new to having a brother.”
“Thank you,” Jimin says for the fourth time. He smiles a little wider. “Really. Hyung.”
Namjoon smiles, dimples showing, and nods. Then he’s out of the room and Jimin’s left alone in a room destined for him, in an unfamiliar house in Daegu. The scariness of being adopted after seventeen years isn’t completely worn off yet, but Jimin already feels a little more at ease - most of all, he feels wanted. Happy. A family adopted him, and he’s finally going to start living a life surrounded by people that love him. If the only price to pay for that is ignoring the weird aura around the house and having to deal with Jeongguk who doesn’t seem to like him, then he’s been very lucky. The cons pale in comparison with the pros.
He begins opens one of his bags, the one with mostly clothes, and puts all the items inside in the closet. Because he doesn’t own a lot of clothes, more than half of it remains empty, but he reminds himself that they’ll probably buy more in the soon future. It’s normal for orphans to go shopping nearly a day after getting adopted, his caregivers had told him. Apparently it gives a satisfying feeling to the people who adopt someone, like the orphan is finally theirs, or something. It’s also the first real activity they do as a family, so it’s kind of bonding time.
When he’s done emptying the first bag, there’s a shout of ‘dinner!’ and he goes downstairs, following the way Namjoon had showed him earlier, now backwards. He gets there easily and stands still like a fool when he finally reaches the dining room.
The boy doesn’t know what to do, honestly. In the orphanage, they had a system - the oldest, Jimin, would be cooking alongside one of the caregivers and the children between twelve and fifteen would set up the table. The kids younger than twelve but older than six would call everyone to the dining hall and all of the others would do the dishes afterwards - except those that were too young.
Now, he’s unfamiliar with whatever routine is going on. Does he help? Does he simply sit down? Does he help after dinner? And, well, the easiest way to find out is asking one of his new mothers, but he doesn’t want to ask if he has to help or not because it makes him feel like a spoiled child. Eventually, he decides to go to the kitchen and ask where the plates are, so he can set up the table.
“In that cupboard, dear,” Boyoung says from where she’s seated on the counter. “It’s nice of you to help us, the other two never do anything.” It’s said with a fond chuckle and the look in her eyes accompany it. Jimin wonders if she’ll ever talk about him like that. It would feel nice.
He nods, saying, “Thank you.” Reaching out to the cupboard, he opens it easily and pulls out five plates. “Will Jeongguk’s father be eating with us, too?” he asks, blinking at his mom.
She furrows her eyebrows and looks at Jiwoon, who’s cooking. “Hey, love, will Jaebeom eat with us or is he still working? Jimin-ah wants to know how many plates he needs to set on the table.”
Jiwoon’s eyes immediately snap towards her adopted son, mouth parting in an ‘o’. “Oh, love! You don’t need to do that, but it’s really sweet of you, boy. We’re really lucky with you, aren’t we?” she smiles heartily. “No, unfortunately Jaebeom-ah won’t be eating with us, he’s still caught up at work. He’ll arrive around tomorrow evening, I think.”
Red from the praises, Jimin casts his eyes to the floor, completely flustered. “Thank you,” he mutters embarrassed, taking the five plates a little steadier and heading towards the dining room. He sets them down, two on the left side, two on the right side and one at the head of the table. After that, he heads back into the kitchen and takes cutlery, placing that on the table, too.
Once he reaches for the cupboard with the glasses, Boyoung suddenly jumps off the counter. “No, no, that’s good, dear. Thank you for having helped us, but we’ll do the glasses, don’t worry. It’s kind of normal for us to fill the glasses in the kitchen, then take them to the table. It’s a little tradition of us. Speaking of, what would you like to drink with your dinner?”
That’s not the most normal tradition, Jimin would say, but what does he know? Maybe that’s normal for every family. “Uh, water? Please.”
“Sure, dear,” Jiwoon smiles encouragingly at him. “Why don’t you go sit down already? You can chat a little more with your brother and your cousin. We’ll bring the food, don’t worry about it, okay? Go enjoy yourself a little.”
He nods and turns around on one foot, quickly reaching the table. Namjoon and Jeongguk are already seated, the younger on the left side and the elder next to the other. Jimin guesses that Jiwoon or Boyoung will sit at the head, so he goes to sit down in front of Jeongguk - which is a little awkward, but he realizes it too late. The younger male glares at him with some kind of passion, and when Jimin goes to meet his gaze, the boy turns his head sharply, refusing to look at Jimin any longer.
After that, it’s only Jeongguk and Namjoon muttering between themselves and Namjoon making small talk with Jimin until Boyoung and Jiwoon come into the room. Boyoung’s carrying the food and Jiwoon holds a plate with glasses on it. She sets a glass with water in front of Namjoon and Jimin, a glass with coke in front of Boyoung - who sits down next to Jimin after setting the food on the table -, a glass with some purple liquid in front of her own plate and some red liquid in front of Jeongguk.
He frowns - what were those liquids? It’s in a dark color, both of them, but it doesn’t look like juice at all.
Jiwoon catches him frowning and giggles. “He loves cranberry juice, love, and I really like blueberry juice. Do you want some of mine? I still have a lot of it in the kitchen.”
“No, no thank you,” he smiles at her. He isn’t totally convinced, but considering Jiwoon has offered some of her drink, it must mean Jeongguk’s drink is okay too. It’s his nerves, he tells himself. His eyes drift towards the drink again. “Cranberry juice?”
Jeongguk finally looks at him with the same glare as before, rolling his eyes. “No, it’s fucking blood,” he retorts sarcastically.
Everyone around the table, including Jimin, snorts. “I just never knew it existed around here, honestly. I thought that was a thing for overseas.”
Jiwoon ‘ahh’s. “Well, it mostly is, to be honest - but you can get it around here, too. You just need to know where you have to get it,” she chuckles kindly. “Jeonggukkie here has been all around the world, and he drank it a lot when he was in Europe, so he became a little addicted to it. Now that he’s here again, we have to buy it in this shop in the centrum of Daegu. The shop’s owner is a really nice lady, with the same addiction to cranberry juice. Jeongguk and her really get along well.”
The rest of dinner goes fast - Jiwoon’s a good cook, the food he’s eating tastes heavenly. Soon, he’s cleaning up the table with Namjoon as Boyoung starts doing the dishes with Jeongguk. Jiwoon cleans the table of any remains of dinner and then places the flowers that Jimin hadn’t even noticed before back on the table. After that, Jeongguk immediately heads to his room and Namjoon sits down next to Jiwoon on the couch.
Boyoung looks at him with a smile as she goes to sit down next to her wife. “You want to join us? We’re going to watch a movie.”
Jimin shakes his head politely. “No, sorry. I’m feeling kind of tired, so I think I’m going to unpack a little more and then head to bed.” He turns to Jiwoon. “Thank you for dinner, it was really tasty.”
His mother grins widely at him. “No problem, love. Thank you for being so polite, it’s so cute.” Her grins fades into an equally as happy smile. “Good night, Jimin-ah.”
In a burst of happiness, the orphan beams with twinkling eyes. He can’t believe he’s really part of a family so loving. “Good night,” he repeats, glancing at the three one by one. They nod at him and he leaves the room, heading to his own. He unpacks the second bag and when that’s done, he puts on some pajamas.
It’s only when he’s laying down on the bed that the smile finally fades off his face, as he drifts off to sleep, feeling content.
I took a little journey to the unknown
And I come back changed, I can feel it in my bones
Thing is, Yoongi’s fast.
Not so much on physical level as on mental level, but whatever. That doesn’t matter. Yoongi’s fast - all it took for him to realize things were horribly, horribly wrong was the aura of the house. Nothing’s that dark unless something like a mass murder happened there. He had never seen anything like this, never had seen this much darkness in one place. It took all of his energy to even walk up to the house and it was almost too hard to enter it.
First time he noticed something was off, was back at the orphanage, though.
Yoongi’s born and bred in Daegu - it’s his town, and he’s the town’s. He was raised by his mother and father - his mom being a regular human with a job as journalist and his dad being a nymph that worked as a barista. Despite having been only four years old at the time his parents got murdered by two thieves that had made their way into their home, Yoongi had always been close to his father. Through his journal, he’d learn everything his father had known and written down to give to Yoongi one day.
Everything about supernaturals, such as their looks, behavior, what they eat and what they don’t eat, how they attack and how to defend yourself against one. He would read it when he was fifteen and wouldn’t know what to do with the information until he turned seventeen and went towards the streets of Daegu.
Tons of supernatural teens and young adults would go there to spend time with others of their kind, whether in peace with the other beings or not. Yoongi would go there too and eventually, he got the hang of feeling if someone was supernatural or not, only by passing by them. By feeling their aura, really.
When he was adopted that day, he already found it weird that his new parents hadn’t even wanted to meet him before they adopted him. Like they didn’t care about who it was going be, and it was already weird that someone would adopt a fucking twenty-one year old. He got down to the reception hall anyways with his bags filled and just by glancing at the two women and the teen next to them, he already knew they weren’t just humans.
Later, in the car, the woman that wasn’t driving looked at him critically, and noted that they should feed him lots so that he could grow a skin or two. Yoongi didn’t like the way she said it.
Then the house. It was simply surrounded by a bad aura, worse than hell itself. The house was the core of the aura, all the blackness and negativity stored at one place. He hadn’t told anyone he knew something was up - if they could stand living there, then it was likely that they were the very cause of the energy.
That night, he’d been led towards a room that had been called his. It had been cleaned up well and had a lot of nice furniture inside of it, but if you directed your attention to something else than the room itself, you could feel it in the air - souls. Souls of people that had been promised the room, and the energy had come all the way from the desk.
He crunched down and opened the drawers one by one, looking for something. Eventually, he felt it underneath one of them - scratches. A lot of them. So he laid down on the ground, facing the ceiling with his back hitting the floor. He looked at the underside of the drawer and gasped.
Names - hundreds of them. Carved by knives, nails, pens, anything they could find, probably. All of them in a different handwriting, all of them with a different energy - but all different shades of negativity. The owners of these names have died, something told Yoongi. All of them. Dead. Deceased. And somehow, Yoongi knew - whatever destiny they had, would be his own, too. Had turned into his fate the second Jiwoon and Boyoung decided that it had to be him they adopted.
Next to the last name, Yeonjun, who had to be only one to two weeks old, Yoongi carved his own name with his nails. He did it hard enough for his finger to eventually begin to bleed and for his nail to break a little, but it had been like he was numb.
He couldn’t fall victim to these people. He couldn’t become another one of the deceased people with their names carved on the underside of a drawer. He had to survive, but for that, he needed to figure out what was going to happen to him and how exactly to survive all of that. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, that it would be dangerous. But he couldn’t forgive himself if he would give up.
And honestly, it was hard - hard to make Namjoon crack enough for him to tell Yoongi what was going on and what would happen to Yoongi soon enough, but he did it and it raised his chances of survival. A bit later, the younger had also had him meet three other individuals - Hoseok, Seokjin and Taehyung. They had all confessed for being some kind of supernatural being after he told him what kind of creature he was himself and they had helped him create a plan on how to get out of the garden once the game starts.
They had worked out the plan well, of course. There shouldn’t have been made a single mistake and there hadn’t been one, no single miscalculation. It had been perfect and Yoongi’s life had been guaranteed after Jeongguk began to help them, too.
But nothing could have warned them about someone finding out. Soon enough, Jiwoon had known all about Yoongi’s plan and had decided to mess with him. They threw him in the garden at midnight exactly. In the dark, when the plan had been for the morning or for the afternoon.
In the dark and without any of the others knowing the game had started, Yoongi basically only had himself - or even less than himself, seeing that his eyes wouldn’t do much good in the dark.
Jiwoon had smiled at him. Had explained the rules of the game. Boyoung had chuckled at him, basically telling him that no one had won the game ever before. And that Yoongi had to know how many people had participated, so that his chances were next to zero. Then Jiwoon had even laughed at him about his plan. Asking him if he really thought it was that easy to mislead them.
Right after she had finished speaking, he sprinted away from the house, into the woods. He knew that staying next to the house was basically asking to be cornered by some creature.
Once he set his first step into the treeline, the first flash of light appeared, followed by thunder and a hunting, loud growl.
A flash of light. Thunder. The negativity in the air makes Jimin’s skin crawl, along with the bitter cold wind. The whisper of a name - followed by panting, like someone’s been running for hours and hours, getting no air anymore. Like someone tired to the core, scared and only running on adrenaline. “Yoongi,” a voice whispers, nearly ghostly. It’s hunting, feeling like pure darkness to Jimin. “Yoongi.”
Someone falls to the ground and curses with a shaking voice. A sob spills from the person’s mouth, but they can’t remain on the ground. They get up and start running again, more tired than anything. Adrenaline finally running out. Still, the person sprints away, afraid. “Yoongi,” the voice hunts, as if it’s amusing to watch them struggle.
They fall again, foot caught by some stone. “Fuck,” the person curses, a deep voice accompanied by clear panic. Another flash of light and the thunder sounds only one second later. The storm has come, the guy thinks. Slowly, rain begins to drip down. There’s no way of telling whether the tracks on the guy’s face are from tears or the rain. He stands up again, the voice hunting him beginning to hiss. The guy turns around and Jimin can’t see anything of his face - everything blurry. He comes eye to eye with some kind of black creature, equally as hard to see.
And it then strikes.
“Jimin, wake up. It’s breakfast time,” Namjoon’s voice calls. The younger gasps for breath, eyes finally snapping open. There’s tears in his eyes and he’s scared to the bone. His new brother furrows his eyebrows. “Are you okay?”
It takes a while before Jimin feels like he can answer. His eyes dart around the room, searching for something. He doesn’t know what exactly, but he knows he has to search something . There’s something he’s missing, something he needs . “Yeah,” he pants, “yeah, hyung. Sure. I’ll be right downstairs.”
Namjoon doesn’t move from his spot next to the door for some seconds, then he sighs and turns around, arm closing the door behind him. “Okay, Jimin-ah. If you want to talk about your nightmare, I’m right here.”
He smiles gratefully. Namjoon’s out of the room in less than a second later, leaving no time for a reply. Now that he’s alone, his nightmare hunts him again - the whisper of the name he’s already forgotten right behind his ears. But he doesn’t want to think about it, so he puts on some clothes and heads downstairs, ignoring the urge to search. He can do that after he’s eaten - he’s really hungry and tired, like he’s run a thousand kilometers.
But he can’t explain something - a feeling nagging on him. The boy, man from his dreams, he’s in danger. Jimin can feel it, both because it was obvious in his nightmare but also because of something bigger than Jimin himself. A dream is supposed to be only something of your imagination, but he can feel that that man wasn’t just a fantasy. He had been real - is still real. Somewhere out there, Jimin can feel that the man is in life threatening danger, and he needs to save him. Needs to, desperately, for a cause unknown to him.
When he enters the dining room, Jiwoon is reading some papers and discussing it with her wife. Jimin sits down next to her on a bar chair in front of a bar between the kitchen and the dining room. “Good morning, sweetheart,” Boyoung smiles, looking up from where she’s making scrambled eggs.
“Good morning,” he replies, smiling. Jiwoon lifts her head from the newspapers and greets him too. Namjoon comes in then, too, and sits down next to Jimin.
“I gave Jeonggukkie his cranberry juice and breakfast,” he tells Jimin. “He doesn’t like to get up early in the morning, so we bring his food to him. At least, when we feel like it,” he grins, “since we can’t always spoil him, even if he’s the youngest.”
The comment makes Jimin giggle, eyes closed.
Boyoung hands them both a plate with eggs and bacon on it. Namjoon’s plate definitely has more bacon on it than eggs, and when Jimin thinks about yesterday’s dinner, then it was quite obvious about how much meat Namjoon and Boyoung were eating. He guesses everyone has their preferences - for him, it’s more leaning towards vegetables and fruits. Jiwoon seems to think the same.
“Were you able to unpack everything before you headed to bed yesterday?” Boyoung asks politely, sitting down on the kitchen’s side of the bar.
The youngest in the room nods, mouth filled with food. He swallows it down and replies, “Yeah, I was done right before I felt like passing out,” he laughs. “It’s a very big room so there’s still a lot of empty space, but it already feels like my space now. The bed’s mattress is really comfortable.”
“I’m glad,” Jiwoon smiles, looking up again. “You can choose what to do today. Unfortunately, Boyoung and I are busy today, but I’m sure Namjoon-ah or Jeongguk-ah will give you company today. If anything’s wrong or you have a question, you can always ask them. For lunch, there’s bread in the cupboard and you can get anything for on it in the fridge.” She leans a little closer to Jimin with a wink, like she’s telling a secret. “Don’t touch Jeongguk’s cranberry juice. He gets really possessive over it.”
Normally, Jimin would retort, ‘What’s he gonna do? Bite me?’ but something tells him that Jeongguk would bite him, without any remorse. Even if he wouldn’t, Jimin isn’t keen on finding out.
“I was planning on looking around a little, today,” Jimin says instead. “Around the house, I mean.”
Jiwoon nods, lifting the papers up again. She takes her glasses and puts them on - probably reading glasses. “Sure, honey. You’re free to do as you please. There’s only two places you can’t go in: anyone else’s room without their permission to enter and the garden is off limits as well.”
Boyoung nods, swallowing the last of her meal. “The garden’s a little dangerous, you see. There are a lot of wild animals around and if you don’t know how to handle them, you shouldn’t go outside. Okay?”
Standing up and bringing his empty plate to the kitchen, the boy nods. It takes a while for him to respond, mind busy thinking about something else, someone else. “Okay. I won’t,” he promises after some seconds. “Are there really that much dangerous animals around here? Isn’t that dangerous for you, too?”
Namjoon hums. “We’ve grown up around here, so we know how to handle them. Don’t worry about us, really,” he mutters, strangely serious, especially when saying the last sentence. It gives Jimin the chills a bit, but he ignores it.
Two minutes later, he’s standing in his room wondering where he should look first - search first. He still doesn’t know exactly why he feels the urge to search for something - or someone? - but he figures it won’t go away until he gives in. He decides to go to the right, away from the stairs. There’s a door right next to his. Opening it, it’s revealed to be a bathroom. His, probably, because why else would it be right next to his door? It also isn’t like anyone else’s bedroom is in this hall.
The only thing that throws him off is that the bathroom seems… used? As if someone used it before. Not the kind like ‘oh, my bathroom isn’t working, I’ll use the spare one’, but… Actually used, frequently. In a more-than-thrice-a-month way. There’s a towel on the rack, a little wetted by someone using it to dry their hands, there’s a little bit of water on the floor of the shower, the bathtub has a shampoo bottle in it and there’s used towels and washcloths in the laundry basket. Even the mirror in front of the sink is a little dirty and when Jimin opens the cupboard, there’s pills in it. Looking at it closely, it’s birth control.
Breathing in, Jimin closes his eyes. There’s no way someone would use their spare bathroom often enough to make it this used or dirty. And no girl would leave their birth control in the spare bathroom, right? He isn’t a girl and he doesn’t need to take those pills, but still - he doesn’t think anyone would do that. It would make you forget to take them, no? And those kind of pills aren’t to be forgotten.
He makes a mental note to ask Namjoon if any of their bathrooms are broken. Maybe there’s a reason to why it’s used this much. Or a family member that doesn’t live in this house came over for a week or something, a little while ago? There could be so many reasons to why the bathroom is this used, and Jimin feels silly for immediately thinking it’s weird, but he has a nagging feeling that it isn’t as simple as it could be.
When he looks inside the mirror, it’s strange to see himself. He looks healthier, in a way - even if he’s only been adopted for a total of one day, it’s like it magically made his cheeks a little chubbier in a healthy way, turned his eyes a little less dull and made his hair’s - which was dyed orange two weeks ago, against the orphanage’s wishes - condition better.
He turns away from the mirror with a sigh, heading out of the bathroom. Closing the door behind him, he wonders what to do now. In the end, he heads into another room in the hall where his room is, and it seems to be a laundry room. Since it’s nothing special, he closes the door again and goes into another hall. The first room he sees, he enters, only to see Jeongguk and Namjoon in a rather close position. The younger’s on the elder’s lap and they’re facing each other, close enough to imitate something sexual but not quite yet.
Jeongguk turns around to glare at him with blushing cheeks and Namjoon’s red as well. “Get out,” the youngest hisses angrily. “Get the fuck out!”
“Um,” Jimin says dumbly, eyes darting around the room. “I actually had a question for Namjoon-hyung?” The eldest looks a little surprised, but encourages him to ask the question anyway. “Uh, is any of your bathrooms broken or something?”
They both furrow their eyebrows from where they’re seated on the couch in this… relax room? Jimin doesn’t know. “No, I don’t think so. Why?”
“Just, the bathroom next to my room has been used a lot, and there’s birth control in the cabinet. I figured that if it’s Boyoung’s or Jiwoon’s I should give it back?” Jimin nervously replies, deciding he shouldn’t say anything about his doubts of the place. It’d be quite rude, after all, and it wouldn’t make Jeongguk like him any better.
Speaking of, the youngest seems more irritated by the second. He opens his mouth rather angrily, saying, “Do you realize how stupid that sounds? Jiwoon and Boyoung don’t take birth control, they’re lesbians . They won’t get pregnant from each other. And even if they did take it, why would they leave it in that bathroom? Seriously, stop sticking your nose everywhere. It doesn’t matter if there’s fucking birth control in that cabinet or not! Just throw it away, or something!”
“There’s more to birth control than just preventing pregnancy,” Jimin frowns. “But fine, I guess. Thank you for the answer, Namjoon-hyung. I’ll be taking my leave, then.”
His brother nearly shoots up from where he’s sitting, but Jeongguk prevents him to. “Wait, Jimin-”
He closes the door. It’s fine, he guesses - he’s a little disappointed that he can’t talk to Namjoon like the latter promised the day before, but whatever. They’re gonna be brothers, aren’t they? They’ll have plenty of time. And Jeongguk and Jimin will come to like each other at least a little over time, because they’ll be family, too.
Three doors further down the hall, he enters another room. Turning on the lights, he’s immediately quiet. There’s tons of pictures on the walls and Jimin closes the door and steps closer to them, expecting family pictures. What he finds, is something entirely different.
He feels like puking.
Every picture shows a single, different face. Underneath them, there’s names and a date. In the right corner of every picture, there’s a number with ‘days’ added to it. The first picture shows a little girl, probably around fourteen years old. Choi Seohyeon, 8 May 1794 . The sticker above the picture says three hours.
Kim Doyun, 14 September 1811 , two days. Kang Taehyun, 30 December 1819, five days. Jung Kai, 1 February 1877, one day. Choi Soobin, 8 March 1902, twelve hours. Choi Beomgyu, 27 August 1955, one day. Then the three last ones. Choi Yeonjun, 5 July 2019, three days. Min Yoongi, 21 July 2019. There’s no amount of days yet.
Jimin’s sure - that’s the guy he saw in his nightmare. Even if he couldn’t see fis face then, he knows . His name, too - Yoongi. It had been repeated multiple times. What does it mean? Why did he have a nightmare about the guy whose picture is hanging on this wall? He already knew the nightmare hadn’t been his fantasy, but he hadn’t expected anything like this. It scares him, but it’s also a step in the right direction if he really wants to somehow save the guy. Furthermore, why is the last picture, the one next to Yoongi’s, his own?
There’s no mistake about it - Park Jimin, 23 July 2019 . It’s the picture the orphanage used in his file. There’s no sticker with the amount of days yet, like it’s either still counting or not started yet.
If he’s on the wall and Yoongi’s before him, does that explain why he dreams about this person? Did Yoongi dream about Yeonjun? Will the next person dream about Jimin? For some reason, he doubts that. Something tells him that his dream - nightmare - about Yoongi was special. But that’s not the most pressing matter right now - what do the numbers mean and why are there so many of these people on the wall?
Jimin wants to scream as loudly as he can - scream the questions, the confusion, the fear and the anger away. He’s scared to the bone. Confused more than anything. He wants to trust the people around him, in this house, but there’s no way he can with all of these things around. Jiwoon’s laugh, the dark energy surrounding the house, the weird drinks, the amount of meat they eat, the garden, the bathroom - this .
He leaves the room as quickly as he can, closing the door not so quietly. He sprints towards his own room - is it even his? What if all the people one that wall have lived in there? Maybe he’s just another one. Maybe he isn’t here to be someone’s son or brother or cousin or nephew. He’s just one of the pictures on the wall, soon to be added a sticker with a certain amount of hours or days.
He’s not sure if he really wants the answers on his questions. Isn’t sure if he’s ready yet for the things coming for him. He knows there’s something wrong, very wrong - but for now, he’ll just have to hide in his room, door locked and hoping no one will bother him. He’ll face reality the next morning.
I fucked with the forces that our eyes can't see
Now the darkness got a hold on me
Holy darkness got a hold on me
Yoongi didn’t stop running for minutes. He panted hard, wondering where there would be an end to these woods, if there even was one. He was certain that at some point, he’d run out of energy or adrenaline, but he didn’t stop until he found a spot he deemed safe. Once he stood still, he placed his hands on his knees and gasped for air, wheezing like he had no breath at all.
Going to sit crunch down, feeling too tired to stand on his legs a second longer, he set his hands on the ground to prevent him from falling over. He thought he was finally alone.
Behind him, a loud hiss sounded, and Yoongi already knew what’s behind him. Still, he stood up the slowest way possible, trying to make near to no noise. Once he was fully standing straight, he didn’t dare turn around to check if it was indeed what he thought it was - he already knew, anyway. But that was the trick - they would sneak up behind you then attack when you would turn around. It was the moment of vulnerability they wait for. Instead falling for the trap, he sprinted away.
The vampire behind him hissed even louder this time and was right behind him. It was almost like he could hear the creature breathing down his neck, but Yoongi knew better than to believe that. It was another of one of those tricks vampires use to catch their prey - and Yoongi knew better than to become prey. He had promised himself he’d survive this. He had promised Namjoon, Hoseok, Taehyung and Jeongguk he’d survive this. He had promised everyone on that drawer, all the earlier victims, that he’d survive this. That he wouldn’t die and turn into one of the negative auras in the desk.
Flashes of light filled the air above Yoongi. More thunder echoed above the woods, loud and clear even in the dark of the night. Negativity was filling Yoongi’s lungs, taking more and more of his breath as he ran. He panted heavily and nearly tripped over some branch of a tree laying on the ground.
The vampire whispered, “Yoongi… Yoongi.”
Yoongi was scared. The voice scared him even more, nearly spilling the bucket. Once it would spill, he was sure he wouldn’t come out of these woods with a sane mind. The vampire was too slow to match his pace that was made purely out of fear, adrenaline and all the energy he had left.
Then he fell to the ground with multiple curses spilling from his lips. He sobbed but stood up, running again, knowing fully well the vampire hadn’t stopped coming after him. The voice hunted him again, “Yoongi, give into the exhaustion, you’ll feel so much better…”
Yoongi fell again, foot caught by a stone laying in his way. “Fuck,” he cursed, panicking. Lightning lighted up the air for one second followed by thunder, no second between them. The storm had come, he had thought, finally. It began to rain soon after. He cried and stood up, turning around with tear tracks and the rain falling down on his face.
The vampire grinned and within a second, it jumped up and flung towards him, striking.
Right before it could touch Yoongi, a wolf jumped through the bushes and threw the vampire aside, standing on its chest and legs. The wolf growled lowly and bared its teeth at the vampire threateningly. Yoongi looked if it was anyone he knew, but it wasn’t Namjoon or Seokjin, so he started to run again, no matter how tired he was.
He wished there would come and end to this. Quickly. He could feel the exhaustion eat at him, slowly but painfully.
Once he was far enough from the werewolf and the vampire that hadn’t even ran after him, still fighting, he slowed down and began to walk. He guessed he’s a little lucky that it was midnight when he started the game, since nearly all of the creatures were asleep, even though people used to think supernaturals were creatures of the night. He wished some of the others were awake, but even if they were, there was no way they would find each other. In their plan, they had agreed a direction in which they would meet each other, but with Yoongi having ran away from that vampire, he was probably off tracks.
All he could do now was hide somewhere, camouflage himself until they would find him. He hoped that would be fast, but he didn’t believe it. If they could find him quickly, others would as well. He needed a good hiding spot, one where no one would find him but the one person that knew where he was at all times - his soulmate. Of course, that person wasn’t even involved and neither did he even know who that was yet.
Under the ground wasn’t a smart idea for multiple reasons - it would take too long to make a hiding spot, and if they would make the ground collapse, he’d be trapped. Up the trees it was, then, he guessed.
Looking around himself, he collected sticks and plants he could use to shelter and hide himself with. Once he would be in a tree, he would build a platform to sit on and cover it with green leaves so it looked like a part of the tree while he would be completely hidden. He would also change his scent by rubbing dirt on himself and maybe wash a little sweat off if he found water, masking in a little between the other creatures that residented here.
He didn’t get a chance to do so, though, when he suddenly felt a weight on his back pushing him down on the ground. Getting dirt in his mouth, he spat it out. There were claws digging in his flesh and he groaned, trying to stay as quiet as possible - he didn’t want to make a scene and have others come here.
Gathering strength, he pushed the animal off him, immediately getting up in a defensive hold. Werewolves weren’t easy to fight - definitely not when it’s a one on one in the dark.
The dark. But there was a storm going on. He smirked as he thought of a plan. It had to work. If it didn’t, he’d probably die or at least lose a limb or two and then die from the blood loss - but he was nearly certain it would. Light flashed through the sky and Yoongi counted until the next one came. Fifteen seconds.
The wolf and Yoongi circled around, the animal growling and the half nymph panting. He had to wait until there was a lightning strike until he could make his move and that meant keeping the wolf from attacking. At the fourteenth second, he made a fake advance towards the wolf and it was triggered into attack as well. On the fifteenth second, lightning rushed through the sky and with the light, Yoongi made use of his powers as a half-nymph and made tree roots shoot towards the wolf’s legs, effectively tying it down on the ground.
Wasting no time at all, Yoongi recollected his branches and plants and sprinted away again, right when the wolf began to bark and growl, probably calling others.
He couldn’t believe he did that. The last time he used his powers was back when he was nineteen, playing with some plants on the balcony of the orphanage’s neighbour. To use his powers, there had to be light - natural light, preferably. Most of the time that means the sun, but as he now had found out, that also meant lightning. And he could only use his powers on nature, such as trees, grass, other plants such as flowers and stuff like that. Things you’d find in the woods, basically.
In the end, he found a spot in the trees that was high enough to camouflage him. Climbing up, he decided to wait for the lightning again to use his powers on making a cocoon that would protect him. It worked flawlessly, and for a moment, Yoongi stood still, beaming from pride. Then he heard a howl in the distance and quickly rushed into the cocoon.
He just hoped he’d be safe and that he’d survive. That Namjoon or Hoseok, Taehyung or Seokjin or even Jeongguk would come and save him. They wouldn’t get attacked for being here - Taehyung, Hoseok and Seokjin were part of the garden, after all. And no one would dare touch the sons of the owners of the garden.
Most of all, he wondered how soon the next orphan would come. If the creatures here didn’t get food soon, they’d starve or Jiwoon would have to pay more to get them all food. That wouldn’t be a disaster for them, per se - Lord knew they had enough money. But following their mindset, it was probably a matter of feeding their animals the ‘fun way’.
At first, all he can see is darkness with a background noise of howls, hisses, screams and laughter. He hears thunder and sees lightning light up the sky for a brief, brief moment. Then panting, the kind of panting he’s heard before in another dream. He’s certain it’s from the same person, and soon enough, a lightning strikes again, illuminating Yoongi’s face.
He looks lost, is the first thing Jimin notices. And sad. Exhausted, mostly. Jimin wants to reach out to him, hold Yoongi’s face between his two hands and whisper that everything will be fine. Embrace him and warm him up, because it can’t be hot enough to be where Yoongi is right now without wearing a jacket.
It’s strange. Jimin doesn’t even know this man, but he knows he’d do all of those things without a moment of hesitation.
The scenery changes the second he reaches out to the man. Suddenly, they’re in Jimin’s room, but without any of his stuff. Actually, there’s someone else’s stuff in there - it must be Yoongi’s.
Yoongi is laying on the floor and carving something in the underside of a drawer of the desk. When Jimin looks closer somehow, he sees there’s tons of names, the last one being carved right at that very moment. He breaks his nail a little and a curse spills over the grey haired male’s lips. There’s blood coming from underneath his nails, but he pays it no mind - focussing on his task.
The scenery changes again. This time, they’re outside of the house, behind the door to the garden. They’re in the garden, Jimin realizes. Boyoung and Jiwoon are standing next to another man - probably Jaebeom, Jiwoon’s brother and Jeongguk’s father. All of them are smirking or laughing at Yoongi, finding whatever is going on amusing.
Yoongi, though, looks alarmed. It’s dark outside. His eyes keep drifting towards the right side of the woods, but whatever he’s searching for, he doesn’t find it. Eyes drooping, his face harden when he looks at the three in front of him. Reality hits Jimin - his new mothers had told him that the garden was dangerous territory. Yet, two of the three sceneries - or three of the four, if you count this one - he had dreamed about had happened in the woods, which basically was the garden.
Had Yoongi not listened to them and gone to the garden anyway? Or was he cast away? Judging by the grins on Boyoung, Jiwoon and Jaebeom’s faces, it was probably the latter.
Jimin finally registers that these things have actually happened, most likely. In another order, maybe, but it’s almost for sure - Yoongi hung on the wall with the pictures, he’s been in the rooms Jimin’s been, he’s been cast away into the dangerous garden and he’s been followed and in danger there.
He isn’t even aware that he’s woken up until he feels tears running down his cheeks. Wiping them away, he stands up and turns the light on, walking towards the desk. Guessing randomly which drawer it was, he opens the one that had been open when he first entered the bedroom and goes to lay down on the ground.
The very first name written down is Mina. It’s the first name and the only name written with a pen instead of carved in. It’s followed by a text, a note - probably her last, he realizes with a heavy heart. My name is Mina. It’s the 6th of November, 2010. Dear anyone who reads this, I don’t think we’re safe here. If you can, run away - but not through the garden. Yesterday, I heard a scream, followed by a howl. It almost sounded like flesh was being ripped. If you go to the hall next to this one, four doors down, you find a room with pictures. You will know what I mean after you check it out. DO NOT GET CAUGHT. DON’T TRUST TH
Jimin breathes in and out fast. Others had been aware of what was going on, too. Were they as scared as he was? Did they experience the same as Yoongi experienced, or is experiencing? Flesh being ripped - just what was going on outside of this house? What was going on inside of it?
Sehun. - This room means you’re going to die. I’m going to die soon, too. You need to get out when you have the chance. Please. Do not become one of us. SAVE YOURSELF
Jimin can’t run away. He can’t leave - physically, yeah, but he won’t be able to forgive himself for not saving Yoongi. He needs to help him, he needs to. It would almost be against his nature not to - which is strange, considering he doesn’t even know the man, but he’s seen stranger things these last few days.
Wonsik. Yeonwoo. Chanyoung. Jongsoo. Haewon. Hyunhee. Kyungmin. Doyeon. Moonsik. Minchul. Yeji. Jinyoung.
And so, so many more. All names lost on a place no one cares to look, unless it’s too late. All names lost to a death they weren’t able to avoid. They couldn’t save themselves, and no one is grieving for them, because they were all orphans with their previous caregivers thinking they were happily adopted. There’s something that just tells him - no one of this underside of the drawer is alive, except the last one. Yoongi.
So Jimin grabs something sharp and makes it two names that are still alive, with the promise that they’ll stay alive.
He isn’t able to get back to sleep, after that. Just lays in bed, awake, thinking about how he’s gonna figure this mess out in a way that will lead to an ending that isn’t unfortunate. He needs a happy ending for this - not only he, but also Yoongi, and all the others who died in vain. Who died for nothing, really.
How long, baby, have I been away?
Oh, it feels like ages though you say it's only days
He hadn’t slept a wink since he woke up after the nightmare, and to put it quite frankly, he looks like some sort of zombie. He hasn’t put on his clothes yet and is still walking around in his pajamas, hair wild from sleeping and the right side of his face imprinted by the fabric of the pillow he slept on.
Despite that, he heads downstairs anyway. He’s glad Jeongguk won’t come to the dining room in the morning, he isn’t in the mood for snarky comments today. Heading into the living room, he comes to a halt when he hears voices in the kitchen discussing something.
“I thought Jaebeom would come home yesterday?” Boyoung asks, yawning.
Jiwoon is probably shrugging, if Jimin’s thoughts are correct. “I thought so too, but he called instead. Something’s wrong outside so he’s already searching for another kid.”
“Another one? This one just arrived, though. Don’t they always get at least a week? Jimin’s been here for… Three days now. Isn’t that a bit too soon? And he already came so quickly after what’s his name. Yoongi?”
A hum and Jimin can hear something being cut - tomatoes, maybe? - but nothing dangerous. “Yoongi, yeah. His game went wrong, remember?” A big, annoyed sigh. “God, with that boy everything went wrong. I can’t believe he did so much harm against us. Really - how many problems can one boy give you? And I’m sure we forgot some details when preparing for Jimin, so he’s probably already caught onto something . But that won’t be a problem for a long time. Jaebeom suggested to let him play the game tomorrow morning already.”
Boyoung makes a disagreeing noise. “Tomorrow morning? He won’t be ready by then. Yesterday night, Namjoon said Jimin felt so sick he couldn’t eat lunch or dinner. He won’t have eaten enough. It’ll be like eating bones!”
“Oh, shush. You dogs like eating bones!” Jiwoon tells her off playfully. “But back to the problem. Yoongi apparently disappeared from the garden. Can you believe that? He actually managed to win. Kind of. I knew that one wasn’t like the others… He knew too much, too soon. He even formed a plan against us. We’re getting sloppier, but after Jimin starts his game, we’ll be able to redo everything. See all the mistakes we’ve made. Then everything will be fine again.”
Nothing is fine, Jimin thinks. Nothing is fine about this. Their mistakes are right in front of their noses but they actually think all these dead people are things they’ve done right . He needs to talk to someone - alone, he won’t stand a chance. He needs a plan, one like Yoongi had. Jiwoon thinks that the man had disappeared from the garden, but Jimin knows better - knows in his gut, that Yoongi’s still out there, waiting for something. Perhaps, waiting for Jimin. And the younger male will not let the elder down.
Namjoon, his mind supplies. Namjoon is the only one, along with Jeongguk, that doesn’t feel fucked up to him. The former even feels safe in a situation like this.
He knows - Mina, the first name on the drawer, had tried to write that he couldn’t trust anyone, hadn’t even been able to finish what she wanted to write. But that was back in 2010 - surely, Namjoon hadn’t really been in the picture back then. He had only been ten or eleven years old at the time, hardly an age appropriate to deal with things like this.
He has what Mina didn’t have - someone to trust. And he’s going to make use of it for sure.
Rushing back upstairs, he runs towards he thinks is Namjoon’s and Jeongguk’s hall. Luckily for him, the first door he knocks on seems to be the right one. Namjoon’s voice calls for him to come in and he does, twisting the door handle and coming inside, closing the door behind him.
Namjoon’s bedroom is gigantic - bigger than the kitchen, even, and Jimin had thought that that room was huge already. Its wall are a mix of white and grey, with pictures and two windows decorating it. There’s a big, open closet in one corner and it’s filled with clothes to the point where there can’t be too much added before it’s filled to the brim. There’s a desk twice the size of Jimin’s bed, a bed that’s probably king size and other fancy furniture, which would, added up, cost more than Jimin’s entire life.
If there is a time to doubt Namjoon, it’s definitely now. But Jimin doesn’t blink before he walks over to where his adopted brother is sitting behind his desk. He sits down in the chair opposite to the elder’s and breathes in deeply. “What’s the game and who is Yoongi? Where is he? I need to help him. Please.”
“ No , Namjoon. I know you know. I know that you know what I’m talking about and what I’m asking. I know you know the answers to my questions, I need you to give them right now,” Jimin harshly says, bitterness creeping into his voice. Namjoon looks a little panicked, a little scared, but he seems to relax a little. “Look, hyung. I’ve- I’ve been dreaming of this Yoongi person ever since I arrived here. He’s special to me, I don’t know in which way, just. Just special, you know? I need to save him. I know he’s in danger. And I’ve seen the desk and the room , oh my god, the room. A-And then, just a while ago, I heard them talking about the game, hyung. I need to go tomorrow.”
His hyung places his hands on Jimin’s shoulders from over the desk. “Calm down, Jimin-ah. I can’t understand you when you speak so fast. Let’s go over it again, okay? About Yoongi. How do you know about him and how much do you know about him?”
He breathes in and out slowly, trying to calm himself down before his emotions get the better of him. He needs his mind to be clear, right now, and figure things out with Namjoon. “Since I arrived here, I’ve been getting nightmares every time I sleep, and it’s always about him. Min Yoongi, right? But first, I had forgotten his name and hadn’t seen his face. Then, yesterday, I found this room with thousands of pictures - his was the second to last, so I remembered his name again and found out what he looked like. I am the last picture, hyung.”
The blonde male ignores that last part, asking further, “Do you know anything else about him? For example, did something happen to him, is he still alive, anywhere else you saw him? Was there an amount of days above his picture?”
Jimin tries his best to keep up with the questions. “He lived in the room I live in now. He came here on the twenty-first of July. There’s no amount of days yet. I don’t know what happened to him, but it was the game. What even is the game, hyung? And what do the stickers mean? I know he’s still alive. I can feel it. Jiwoon said he even disappeared from the game, but I don’t believe it - he’s just well hidden. In that cocoon I saw.”
“Cocoon?” Namjoon echoes. “What do you mean with that?”
The orange haired male bites his lip. “In my last dream, I saw him in a cocoon made from branches and sticks and leaves, things you find in the woods. I think he created it himself. He was sitting in it, but I couldn’t see his face at first, because it was too dark, but then lightning lit his face up a little.”
“A cocoon of things you find in the forest that he made himself… But that’s impossible, they released him on midnight, without any sun. Wait. Lightning, you said?” He lifts his brow at the younger male and the latter nods quickly. “That’s amazing… Hyung, I’m proud of you. This is great news - it means he’s still alive.”
Jimin nods, deciding not to ask about why Namjoon talked about ‘hyung’. It’s pretty clear, after all - Yoongi had been adopted by Namjoon’s parents just like he had been. “I already know he’s alive,” he admits quietly. “I can feel it. I don’t know why, I just do. It’s like the dreams are telling me to hurry up and find him, to save him, because it’s dangerous out there. Honestly, whatever’s out there in the garden, I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s going to be the death of him if I won’t help.”
The blonde male looks at him and slowly begins to smile softly, dimples showing only a little - a fond, caring smile that belongs to a brother. Jimin wonders if he can still call Namjoon his brother despite everything going on and finds that, yeah, he probably can. “If you can feel his presence and you get dreams about him in times of danger… then you’re soulmates, no other way around it.”
“This is no time to be poetic about love because you need something to do with your feelings for Jeongguk,” Jimin replies, rolling his eyes. “About that, I hope you two aren’t actual family - that would be incest.”
Namjoon sputters, smile falling off his face to be replaced with flustered panic. “What? No, no! I’m adopted as well and Jeongguk’s father isn’t his biological one, it’s - Jaebeom’s his- uh. Anyway!” he rambles embarrassedly. “Soulmates exist, Jimin. I’m telling you. Yoongi’s special? Yeah. Yoongi’s just special in a way that makes him and his soulmate aware of each other in situations like these.”
Narrowing his eyes, Jimin leans closer. “And just what do you mean with ‘special’? Namjoon-hyung, you haven’t been answering any of my questions. I need to know, so I need you to answer me,” he speaks seriously. “I know not all of this is easy to tell me, but you have to, okay? I can’t do this without someone to put my faith and trust in.”
A big sigh leaves the elder’s mouth as he leans all the way back in his chair, thinking. After a little while, he sits up straight again and looks Jimin in eye. “You can trust me, Jimin. I promise.” Another sigh, and at other times, under different circumstances, the younger male wouldn’t have pushed it, would’ve said that if it was that difficult to say, that he didn’t need to. “Everyone has a soulmate, even humans. The difference is that other species are more aware of their soulmate, or soulmates, whereas humans aren’t involved with their soulmate at all.”
Jimin huffs a fake laugh. “Are you trying to tell me that Yoongi’s some other species, not human? Do you think that about all orphans who come here? Namjoon, what the fuck. What the fuck?” he spits. He normally doesn’t curse, but he hadn’t expected this of Namjoon either. “Didn’t you just say you weren’t blood-related to your mothers? You’re the same as us.”
“Jesus, no, Jimin,” the blonde groans. “I don’t think badly of orphans. I don’t! I’m talking about actual different species. Non-humans or half-humans - like Yoongi. Like me and Jeongguk, Boyoung and Jiwoon - like everyone in these woods except you!” he nearly yells, keeping his voice down only so that no one come in, wondering what’s going on. “Look. You can’t tell me anything in this house has given you a reason not to believe me right now. The aura surrounding the house? You felt it, too. Everyone feels it. That’s not something a human would call normal , because it’s not - it’s supernatural, Jimin.”
He can’t accept it. “But…”
Namjoon doesn’t let him finish, or even start, his sentence. “And the trick with the cranberry juice? How old is that one? It’s probably even used in thousands of vampire movies - it’s so obvious that it’s blood that people don’t believe it’s blood anymore. Hiding something in plain sight. Jeongguk even straight up told you it wasn’t cranberry juice, but blood. And you and I both know fully well that it’s not normal for a human to eat as much meat as Boyoung and I do. It’s ‘cause we’re not - we’re not human.”
“I know it adds up,” Jimin whines frustratedly, rubbing his hands over his face. His mind is screaming at him, half of it saying not to believe Namjoon because the supernatural isn’t supposed to exist and half of it saying he needs to believe him - it’s the only logical explanation even if it’s not logical at all. It’s the most logical answer of the unlogical answers and Jimin can’t take it. “It’s hard, okay? I’ve never had any reasons believe in something magical - something other than regular humans and the occasional werewolf or vampire novel for young adults. Just- Prove it to me. Please,” he begs.
The taller male nods. “I will show you something supernatural, but it’s up to you to believe it. I can’t make you do that.” The male stands up from behind the desk and makes his way next to Jimin, looking unsure and lifting an eyebrow as if to ask if he really wants to see. Jimin nods, not looking away once. Namjoon breathes in and then there’s a shift in the air, his body slowly turning taller and hairier and there’s actual ears growing out of the top of his head, the ones on the sides disappearing into flat skin. Namjoon’s eyes slowly turn unnaturally golden and when he opens his mouth, there are terrifyingly long teeth sticking out.
The orange haired male’s breath quickens to a rate that’s definitely too fast. He wants to believe that somehow, Namjoon’s tricking him, but there’s no way, absolutely no way that the elder would be able to fake something like this . Plus, he hadn’t even known Jimin would turn up, asking about these things - the chances were non-existent. “This is insane,” he chokes. “Absolutely insane. Oh God.”
“Are you okay?” the freaking werewolf in front of him, his adopted brother, Namjoon, his hyung, asks worriedly. There’s even a change within his voice - it’s much deeper and it sounds half like a growl. The man-wolf stretches a hand out to touch Jimin’s shoulder but seems to notice the longer nails on his hand at the same time as the younger male, pulling away again. “Sorry for freaking you out like this. It was the only way I knew I could prove myself. I’m sorry.”
Even after Namjoon slowly shifts back into his full human form - hairs getting shorter again, nails and teeth going back to their original state, eyes turning into their actual brown color, ears on his head retreating back into his body and the ears on the side of his face coming back - it still takes a while before Jimin can bring anything out.
The first thing that pops up in his mind is that turning, shifting, is a lot uglier than any of the fantasy novels and movies say it is. It’s also a lot slower, but that could just be Namjoon, deciding to turn slowly for Jimin to see. Still - now that he’s witnessed it, he believes that no supernatural can shift in less than one second. There have to be actual bones mended into another shape than they normally are, cartilage has to come out of people’s heads and there’s all kinds of details he hasn’t even thought about.
It takes the elder to complain about having ripped his pants with his tail to even make Jimin realize that he hadn’t seen all of the shift, and then he opens his mouth. “I believe you,” he says. “And- you don’t have to be sorry for shifting when I asked you to prove it to me. You even asked me if I was sure, hyung - don’t blame yourself. It’s just a lot for me to take in.”
“I don’t doubt that, Jimin-ah. This must be difficult for you,” his adopted brother says comfortingly. He crunches down and places his hands on Jimin’s shoulders, looking into his eyes deeply with unmasked worry and warmth - it reminds the younger male of the fact that they’re brothers every time he sees that warmth. “I’m here for you if you want to talk about it.”
Shaking his head, he blinks the tears that had formed because of too much emotions and frustration away. “It is- it is difficult, but… I know I can handle it for now. I know I can, because I have to. This Yoongi person, he’s my soulmate, right?” he chuckles disbelievingly, as if it hasn’t sinked in yet (it has). “If he’s in as much trouble as I think he is… He can’t afford letting me have a break down. I can’t, either. We need to help him, hyung.”
Sighing, the other nods. “I know. When did you say your game starts again?”
“Tomorrow morning,” Jimin replies. “I think after breakfast.”
The blonde male groans. “Fuck, that’s too soon. That’s really soon. Fuck,” he complains. He looks sideways at Jimin with a lifted eyebrow. “You okay with seeing another supernatural thing?” Reculantly, the latter nods. “Okay then.” Namjoon opens his phone and presses some buttons. “He’ll be here in a second.”
Right after he finishes speaking, a loud ‘poof’ sounds and when they look to their left, there’s a man there. He’s got pink hair and light green eyes - both odd colors and a strange combination, Jimin has to say - broad shoulders and he’s nearly as tall as Namjoon, but not quite yet. What grabs his attention is that the man just suddenly appeared there, not having come through the door. One second there was empty space, the next, there was a man standing there.
Jimin will have to get used to things like these, he assumes.
“Namjoon-ah, you called?” the stranger hums. Then his eyes fall onto Jimin and he gasps, hands rising to hide his mouth dramatically. “No way, is he the next one? Wait, if you called me here and he’s here too… You told him? Or does he know? Man, what even- I can’t believe they already got a new one when Yoongi’s still out there. Wait! Does he know about the game? And Yoongi?”
“Calm down, hyung,” the blonde male rolls his eyes. “I’ll answer your questions later, but for now - yes, he knows about supernaturals, the game and Yoongi.” He ignores the following loud gasp from the other man’s mouth. “I need you to call everyone together for a meeting tonight. Jimin’s game is already tomorrow morning, we’ve got no time to waste.”
For the third time, the stranger’s mouth falls open. “Tomorrow morning already?” he asks, face turning serious now. “Okay, Joon. At the usual time, I assume?” A quick nod from his adopted brother and the man nods too. “I’ll make sure everyone’s there. Don’t worry. And Jimin? Good luck.”
Wordlessly, Jimin opens his mouth but nothing comes out. Eventually, he manages a weak ‘thank you’, after which the older male leaves - disappearing into nothingness, just like he appeared. Once the man is gone, he looks at his brother. “Who was that?”
“Kim Seokjin,” the other male replies. He goes to sit back down behind his desk. “A werewolf, like me. He showed up here with Taehyung’s help - the phone thing was his idea. Seokjin’s been here longer than I have been and without him, I would’ve ended up like Boyoung and Jiwoon, probably. Or at least a little, I guess. I owe him a lot - that’s for sure.”
Jimin looks at the papers on the desk and nods. “So what now, hyung?”
The blonde looks him in the eyes and smiles faintly. “Now, you can do whatever you want to do for the rest of the day. I’ll come get you around midnight and take you with me to the meeting I just arranged, okay? So make sure you’ve rested enough. You won’t be getting much sleep otherwise and you’ll definitely need the rest and energy tomorrow.” He looks down at his papers again and picks a pen up, beginning to write again. When he notices Jimin isn’t moving, he glances back up at him. “I promise I’ll come get you and that we’ll try to help you and Yoongi, Jimin-ah. I swear.”
That wasn’t what Jimin wanted to ask or say, but he’s still a little more relaxed after hearing it. “I just wanted to say thank you, hyung,” he mutters. He looks up in his brother’s eyes. “Really. I can’t thank you enough. I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own, I think.”
“It’s nothing, you shouldn’t even have been put into this position. No one should’ve been in this position. The least I can do, is help you get out of here. It also helps me forgive myself for having been ignorant for so long,” he replies quietly.
There ain't language for the things I've seen, yeah
And the truth is stranger than my own worst dreams
The truth is stranger than all my dreams
Holy darkness got a hold on me
Lunch passes by in a couple of minutes, his adopted ‘mothers’ trying to feed him a little too much food and Jimin trying to keep up with it. He doesn’t know exactly what the game is, yet, but he knows most of it and therefore knows he’ll need as much energy as he can get. Luckily for him, he’s strong and fast because of all the muscles he’s build up during the years. Yoongi, from what Jimin has seen of him, wasn’t so lucky.
After eating lunch, they all go their separate ways. Jimin goes to his room and lays on the floor, looking at the bottom of the desk and mentally talking to those whose names have been written on it, promising they’ll come out of this alive.
It’s weird to be so connected, or rather familiar with the dead. For Jimin, he’s never had anyone to mourn over - even if his mother died and he doesn’t even know what happened with his father. He never had a connection with them, never really knew them - and he doesn’t really know these people that had been adopted before him, but somehow, he does. In some strange, supernatural way, he knows them very well.
Hours pass, and when dinner rolls by, he nearly forgets about it. Namjoon ends up knocking at his door, though, and when he opens it, there’s both his adopted brother and his adopted cousin. Jeongguk smiles sheepishly at him, glancing into his eyes and then staring hard at the floor, red cheeks. “Hi,” the boy mumbles.
Jimin furrows his brows and looks at Namjoon questioningly. “Hey?”
His brother smiles, looking down at his - boyfriend? - fondly. “Ggukkie doesn’t like to get close or form a bond with the game players, because of what will happen to them,” he says. Then he looks up again. “He wants to get to know you, now, because he believes you and Yoongi will come back.”
“Oh,” Jimin replies dumbly. “Oh. I see? Thank you, um. Jeongguk, I appreciate it a lot. I also believe we can make it… But I don’t think that we’ll come back here. I wouldn’t want to.” The boy looks up at him and they make eye-contact. The orange haired male smiles a little awkwardly and slowly, Jeongguk smiles back - equally as awkward, but glad nonetheless.
Honestly, Jimin gets it. Jeongguk probably doesn’t like to deal with the fact that he got close to someone he knew was going to die; not able to live with the knowledge someone was beginning to see him as family when he already knew what was their fate, without telling them. It’s a mental hit, for Jimin - Jeongguk wanted to save them both mental pain.
It also makes him realise that Namjoon and Jeongguk wouldn’t have done anything to help him, had he not come to Namjoon himself. Or maybe they would, but in a way Jimin wouldn’t have known. Still, there’s a possibility - and it scares him, makes him wonders what would’ve happened if he hadn’t gone to Namjoon. If they wouldn’t have helped, then he’s sure - he’d be dead, once the game started and Yoongi, maybe, too, unless this weird soulmate thing - he still isn’t over the fact that he has a soulmate - would save them. But he doubts that. Mentally, he makes a note to ask Namjoon what they would’ve done.
The rest of the walk is quiet, a comfortable silence sitting between them. Once they enter the dining room, Jimin immediately goes to help him ‘moms’ even though he doesn’t want to - but he needs to act normal so they don’t find anything out. It’d be too dangerous, knowing what they did to Yoongi.
Sitting down in front of Jeongguk and next to Boyoung, he asks Jiwoon for water and a bit later, they all get their plates filled by Boyoung. He notices that he has a much larger pile of food than he got the day before yesterday, like at lunch. He guesses they’re really trying to stuff it into him, for a reason unknown for now - but he believes his brother will tell him later tonight.
“So, Jimin-ah,” Jiwoon smiles, trying to make a conversation going to end the awkwards silence. “How have you been these days? You’ve been here for three days now. Is everything to your liking?”
He nods, cheeks filled with food. Biting on it then swallowing, he replies, “Yeah, pretty much! I really like my room. It’s pretty and the vibe in there is one of a kind. I’m certain not a lot of people can say that.” With a grin, he stops talking in the hopes that they’ll be satisfied with the answer.
It seems that while they are satisfied, they still want to talk more. Jimin needs to remind himself that these two are murderers - they’ve killed orphans like himself and tomorrow, they will attempt to murder him, too, and they it even better than him. These are the same people - but now smiling, friendly chatting and loving. It’s scary, how a person can hide so much behind a smile - sad things, but also terrifying things.
“How are you and Namjoon-ah getting along?” Boyoung asks curiously.
“Good. He’s really nice,” the orange haired male says, smiling cheekily at his brother from over the table. He can’t say too much, but he can’t say too little either, so he adds: “He showed me how to work with his phone. It was pretty confusing - I’ve never used anything other than a computer, and that was only when I went to the library. In high school, no phones were allowed, so my friends never had the chance to show me and when we met up, they didn’t go on it or didn’t even bring it with them because they knew I didn’t have one.”
He’s pretty proud of himself for having bullshitted en entire situation. Well, not completely - he’s been on a phone, but the amount of times are able to be counted on two hands, and it is pretty confusing.
Jiwoon nearly gapes at him. “You’ve never used a phone before? That’s crazy, I wouldn’t be able to deal with that kind of life. I say we buy you a phone soon,” she says, scandalized. “That must be horrible, no phone.”
“Well, I don’t really know how life with a phone is, so I can’t say I miss something like that. Besides, if I needed technology, I just went to the library. It isn’t that bad, overall. To be very honest, I don’t know if I want a phone. I’ve seen the negative influence it had on people,” Jimin mumbles, eating again. He casts a glance at Namjoon, who’s looking very glad that the conversation has taken a turn. They smile at each other. Jeongguk’s lips turn into a small smile, too.
Boyoung hums. “But you haven’t seen the brighter sides, either. Being able to have an actual conversation with people that aren’t near to you, navigation that constantly gets updated, everything you can find on a computer but then on a smaller device you’re able to carry with you - and that’s only some things. There’s a lot more.”
“What’s she’s trying to say is that, while there are negative things, there are also positive things - probably more than negative. I’m not too sure myself whether I think there’s more positive effect than negative effect or if there’s equal as much effect,” Namjoon says.
The discussion continues from there and soon enough, dinner ends. Jimin ends up going to his room to follow Namjoon’s advice and sleep before they go to the meeting at midnight. He doubts he’ll have enough time to feel fully rested if he goes to sleep after the meeting, and knowing the energy he’ll need tomorrow, it would be stupid not to listen to what his brother had advised him.
He changes into his pajamas after preparing some clothes for later tonight and goes to bed. It’s a little early for him, now, sleeping right after dinner, so it takes a while before he falls asleep, but eventually his breath evens out and his chest rises at a calm pace, leaving Jimin at ease and asleep.
His vision darkens then brightens up until he’s left with the scenery of the night with moonlight brightening everything up a little. There’s trees in front of him and he immediately recognizes this place as the garden where Yoongi’s caged. His breath hitches and he only faintly realises he’s dreaming.
He sees a figure walking slowly, probably trying to make as least noise possible, and recognizes the person as Yoongi, his apparent soulmate. Wondering what he’s doing, Jimin steps closer and notices that he doesn’t make any sound even if he’s stepping on multiple branches and breaking them underneath his feet. Maybe it’s because he’s not really there. Yoongi doesn’t seem to hear anything, either, just keeps sneaking slowly.
“What are you doing?” Jimin asks, but no reaction. “Yoongi?” Still no reaction. He doesn’t even seem to know Jimin’s here - it indeed must be that since he isn’t actually there, he can’t make any noises and can’t be seen, like a ghost. It would interrupt and change his dream.
Catching up to Yoongi quickly, he sees the elder’s holding something in his right hand - and looking closer, it seems to be a dead bunny with a broken neck. Jimin’s first reaction is to think about, if Yoongi killed it, how hard must’ve it been to snap a neck of a tiny, cute animal? The boy even is a half-nymph, apparently - shouldn’t they have some connection to animals of the forest, then? It must’ve hurt Yoongi, too, to kill the bunny. The hunger probably takes a lot out of him, and then there’s this - Jimin wants to help him as soon as possible. There isn’t a spat of blood on the bunny, though - he wonders why that is.
After a minute of walking, they get to a small river, just wide enough to fit two people standing next to each other. Despite the fact that it’s thin, it seems to run deep - he’d be surprised if it was any less deep than three meters at the very least. It isn’t that see-through, so you can’t see the bottom - even the river gives Jimin the creeps.
Yoongi gets on his knees and washes the bunny in the river, skinning it with a makeshift knife. The first drops of blood appear in the water, and finally, Jimin gets it - if he had let the bunny bleed out of water, a vampire would’ve smelt it.
It’s still weird for him to acknowledge that vampires exist, nevermind thinking about the dangers of having them near you. Well, he kinda knows that Jeongguk’s a vampire, but it still hasn’t sunk in, just like the way Namjoon is a werewolf hasn’t sunk in yet, even if the man half-shifted right in front of him. It’s just unnatural to him, having lived almost nineteen years without thinking those creatures actually exist.
His soulmate seems to know one or two things about it, though, seeing that he realized the danger it would be to let the bunny bleed. It could be because he’s been there for nearly six days now, or it could be because he’s half-nymph. Maybe even both.
Yoongi’s skinning the bunny calmly. If Jimin ignores exactly what he’s doing, he finds it relaxing to just look at the other male and simply breathe. Like time stops around them, even if the other can’t see him. For a dream, it all feels so real, like this is an actual moment he could have with the older male once they get out of here. And maybe, they can. Maybe, they have a whole future before them that’s shared between the two of them. All of this could be fate, then.
A horrible, sick fate, but he guesses not all fates are positive. A life with no negativity is a life without any positivity.
Suddenly, there’s a weird noise. Yoongi’s eyebrows furrow and he looks concerned, pulling his hands out of the water with the bunny a little too close to it still. Then, a head comes up above the water - wicked, green eyes and when it opens its mouth, three rows of razor sharp teeth get shown. It doesn’t even stop opening its mouth, cheeks ripping as its mouth opens and opens and opens. It finally stops and snaps shut with the bunny in its mouth, Yoongi having to pull his hands completely away before it eats his hands too.
The bunny is swallowed with one bite and the creature lunges for Yoongi.
Jimin’s vision gets a little blurry just as it nearly reaches his soulmate.
It bites down in Yoongi’s arm hard, pulling him back into the river. The grey haired male looks scared to death, doing nothing in his defence - probably too shocked to do anything in response. The arm is losing blood rapidly and soon there’s a whole puddle of blood on the ground. Jimin knows it isn’t realistic, knows that since his vision got blurry it hasn’t been real but a twist made in his nightmare, but it’s making him scream Yoongi’s name and attempt to help him, but his hands just go through the creature and the older male. He begins to cry, frustration getting to him as he tries to help in vain.
There’s footsteps approaching at an alarming rate, multiple, and Jimin gets more scared by the second. Soon, there’s three pair of red eyes looking at the scene before them and they rush towards Yoongi and the siren even when the latter hisses too loudly and too sharply. They surround Yoongi’s body and Jimin can hear him scream and thrash but he can’t do anything to help, even if he so desperately wants to.
He knows it isn’t real, not any of this is, but it scares him, makes him cry out of fear and frustration and the knowledge he’ll lose Yoongi even before properly meeting.
“Jimin!” Yoongi shouts, skin at his neck, legs, arms and shoulders getting teared by the teeth and nails of monsters. A hard tremble rocks Jimin’s body. There’s blood gushing out of all of his wounds and the male’s sobbing, and Jimin is too, and he knows the elder won’t survive this and he can’t help and the elder’s shouting his name and everything’s just too much. “Jimin!”
Another harsh movement rocks his body and Jimin gasps awake, eyes open and alert and tears rushing down his face.
“Jimin! Are you okay?” Namjoon whisper-yells, hands on his shoulders and looking into his eyes with such large amount of worry. “You were sobbing, Jimin-ah. We were so worried - I know you’re not supposed to wake people up when they have a nightmare, but… I couldn’t just let you suffer. I’m sorry.”
Jeongguk, from behind Jimin’s adopted brother’s back, looks worried as well, not even masked this time. Jimin can’t say anything about it, though, because there’s still tears leaving his eyes and he can’t stop them, choking in a sob that rocks his body forwards onto Namjoon’s shoulder. He blabbers about Yoongi dying, even if he knows and feels that his soulmate isn’t dead yet - it’s just so horrifying and he can’t erase the image of him surrounded by monsters feasting on him while he yells for Jimin and Jimin can’t even help.
“H-he was dying , Joon, and I couldn’t even do anything- I know it was fake, but I couldn’t do anything hyung, nothing , my hand just went through them and-” he bawls. “I couldn’t do anything. He was yelling for me - screaming for me - and I couldn’t save him.”
For a moment, the two in front of him look panicked. “You said it was fake, right? It was only a nightmare. You can still actually save him, in real life, Jimin,” Jeongguk says, probably the most he’s already said to Jimin. “If we go to the meeting now, you’ll save him, Jimin. You’ll be able to do something when it actually matters, isn’t that something you want? C’mon, Jimin. Work with us.” He comes standing a little closer and presses his hand to Jimin’s arm, a comforting weight.
The human looks up at the vampire. This boy, too, is a vampire, just like the three that killed Yoongi in his nightmare. But there’s a difference, he can feel that - a monster, he figures, is something or someone that does horrible crimes without remorse. It doesn’t matter whether its species is vampire, werewolf, siren of even human - all species can become a monster. It’s not the species that decides whether or not you become a monster, but you and your morals.
With Jeongguk’s and Namjoon’s help he gets up and wipes his tears away. They stop him from putting on the clothes he had readied, and only then he realizes that they’re wearing their pajamas, too. “If we’re caught snooping around the house, we’ll just say we couldn’t sleep and decided to visit each other. If they catch us with actual clothes instead of pajamas, that lie probably won’t be realistic,” Namjoon explains.
“Smart of you,” Jimin replies with a thick voice, smiling a little.
“It was Jeongguk’s idea,” his brother grins, proudly. “He’s a smart one, this kid.” He ruffles the younger’s hair affectionately.
The vampire rolls his eyes. “I’m older than you, firstly. And secondly, we’re literally dating, don’t call me kid - that’s gross,” Jeongguk complains. Seeing Jimin’s wide-eyed look, he mumbles an explanation, “I was seventeen years old when I got turned into a vampire. I’ve been seventeen for ten years, now. So I’m basically twenty-seven years old, but everyone keeps referring to me as younger than them, when I’m literally not.”
They start walking out of Jimin’s room and close the door behind them, walking further in the direction of the dining room. “We don’t care about your actual age, Ggukkie, you’re the youngest for us because you act like a spoiled baby,” the werewolf chuckles. “But that’s what we like about you, I guess.”
Jimin is a little confused about the use of ‘us’, but he figures it’s probably Namjoon and the other people they’re gonna meet right now. They pass by some more rooms and eventually they reach a large window with three layers - there must be quite some danger outside. Then Jeongguk slides it open and goes outside, a place where Jimin’s strictly been told not to go. It seems that rule doesn’t apply, now, as Namjoon ushers him to follow. He walks into the garden with his pajamas on, which hardly counts as protection in Jimin’s agenda - especially with the nightmare he had just before. There are beasts lurking in the woods, beasts who’ll hunt and hurt you.
Seeing how tense he is, his brother places a hand on his shoulder comfortingly. “You’re not in danger here when you’re with us,” the werewolf whispers. It’s clear in the way he had to add ‘when you’re with us’, that he’ll be in danger tomorrow, when he’s alone. But that was a given already, and instead of dwelling on it, he follows the youngest male - elderst, actually - into a tiny barn, probably of Namjoon’s parents.
Going inside, he feels like he passes a border. Not emotionally, but physically - something in the air shifting, going from the dark aura he’s been living in for the past three days to a light, pink kind of aura with hints of white. It lifts a weight off his shoulder and he breathes in and out equally as deep as the other two.
Inside, there’s three people - the guy with pink hair and green eyes, Seokjin, being one of them. The other two are new to Jimin - one of them having brown hair with green ends and brown eyes, and the other having bright red hair with blue eyes. The first one looks rather tall in comparison to the other, but Jimin knows that he’s smaller than the both of them just by looking.
“The hidden layer of the barn was Hoseok-hyung’s idea,” Namjoon says, pointing at the red haired man. “He’s a witch. Taehyung-ah, too. He’s the one I told you about, remember? About how Seokjin-hyung showed up after I called him on my phone. He’s your age, actually - I think only two months younger.”
At that, the youngest witch - an actual, honest to God, witch - jumped up and walked towards them with a boxy smile. “Jeonggukkie, Namjoon-hyungie! You brought someone with you! I’m Taehyung, what’s your name?”
“I’m Jimin,” he replies shyly. He doesn’t really know how to respond to such brightness after having spend so long within his own thoughts - dark ones, worried about the future. He can’t say this isn’t nice, though, but he does wish that this meeting will lead to something fruitful by the end of the night. They all go to sit down at the couches that are placed into a square - Taehyung deciding to sit down next to Jimin, Seokjin and Hoseok sharing a couch and Jeongguk and Namjoon sharing one, leaving one couch unseated. After Seokjin and Hoseok introduce themselves properly and Jimin does too, they start to talk business - Hoseok’s words.
Namjoon clasps his hand together, looking only a little nervous. “So, I called for a meeting tonight because of multiple reasons, but they all revolve around Jimin here. I’ll just start with starters. Jimin told me that, since night one, he’s been having nightmares of Yoongi - that he’s still alive, but hidden in some kind of cocoon he made with his powers once lightning striked somewhere. In fact, Jimin had a nightmare just before coming here.”
“So that’s why you have tear tracks,” Seokjin ‘ahh’s. “I was wondering why. Wait. You had dreams about Yoongi ? Min Yoongi? You, a non-magical, ordinary human… Oh my God! That’s cute. You two are soulmates!”
The orange haired male grimaces. “I wouldn’t exactly say cute, given the situation we’re in, but yes, according to Namjoon-hyung, he’s my soulmate and I am his,” Jimin agrees.
“Thing is,” Jeongguk continues for his boyfriend, “that we needed a lot of planning for Yoongi’s escape plan. For Jimin, we only have one meeting to arrange it - his game is tomorrow at noon. Jimin overheard them this morning and went to tell Namjoon-hyung.”
“Shit,” Hoseok groans. He throws his head back while cursing, but he straightens up again. “So we only have tonight, huh? I guess that means we’ll have to make a quick and simple plan that isn’t that secure, but remains efficient. The positive thing is that with Jimin being Yoongi’s soulmate, we’ll find hyung easily. After all, soulmates find soulmates, especially when in danger.”
“That’s definitely an advantage,” Taehyung nods, thinking hard. “I think we should do the most basic plan - just find each other. Jimin, look - we, the three of us, wear green bracelets. If you see a wolf-” he points at Seokjin, “- or Hoseok or me with a green bracelet, it’s safe for you to come closer. We’ll help you survive. But , if you can’t find us, and before you find us, there’s things you need to remember: don’t make too loud noises, they’ll hear you. Even if you see something horrible, if you see something you think is terrifying - don’t make any loud noises. Some witches leave gas that makes you see horrible things you think are real, but they aren’t. The witches aren’t close to those gasses, but will come to you when they hear you scream - as will all the other creatures that hear you.”
A chill runs over Jimin’s body. He remembers that only the smell of blood had first attracted a siren and then three vampires. He doesn’t know what that would mean for yelling or screaming - sure, some species had a sensitive nose for blood, but all species could hear yelling. Instead of three vampires, it’d be three vampires, wolves, witches and whatever the hell more there’s lurking around the corner in those woods. This time, tho, it wouldn’t be just a nightmare - it would be reality as well.
Jimin feels awkward asking. “So, I get the outlines of the ‘game’, but what really is the game?”
Five pairs of eyes settle on him. Jeongguk’s the first one to answer. “A supernatural family adopts children or teenagers, with whom they live for two months. After that, they lock the children in the garden, where there are all kinds of supernaturals who are hungry. The children need to get out of the garden alive in order to win the game - of course, no one has survived yet,” he says, adding, “Originally, it was to determine whether or not a child was a supernatural being or not - by throwing them to the wolves, their power would prevent their deaths. Now, supernatural beings are ones of power, although secretly, so none of them really need to hide. The child residents with the family as long as they wish the orphan stays. The game has turned into something… amusing, let’s say, for the families who originally took part in this.”
“That’s disgusting,” he chokes out, staring down a his own hands. “That’s absolutely-” He needs to play the game tomorrow. He can’t even understand how anyone would name that the game like it’s something funny or even amusing. “How many people do this? How many have died for this?”
Taehyung sits a little closer, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and placing his head on Jimin’s. The position is far too close for strangers, but Jimin feels comforted. “Too many people to count,” he whispers sadly, a little out of it, nearly equally or even more depressed about the fact than Jimin is. “It’s horrible. You see people getting happy because they finally found a family and they die no less than a week later. You try to help them survive, but you fail. Every time.”
“I can’t imagine how that must be,” Jimin whispers back. “I’m so, so sorry.”
Hoseok scoffs. “It’s not you who should be sorry. It’s us. It’s every creature in those woods. It’s Jaebeom, Jiwoon and Boyoung. It’s everyone who has taken part in this, but not the victims, Jimin - not the victims .”
Taehyung smiles sadly. “I still remember the first time I watched a child that had to play the game,” he tells. “I had been dropped into these woods and I have no idea what I was before that. My memory is simply - wiped. It drives many insane, but I’ve been lucky to get to know Seokjin-hyung, Hoseok-hyung, Jeongguk and Namjoon-hyung. The first one... Her name was Haneul. She was sixteen years old, but she was bright and mature, and had known immediately that supernatural things would hunt her, even if she was only human and didn’t even believe in supernatural creatures before she got here. She took a knife with her, Jimin. The second the game started, she ran into the woods. I thought she was going to attack people that would attack her with the knife, but… She only hurt herself.”
No one speaks - not Namjoon, not Seokjin, not Hoseok and not Jeongguk, but most definitely not Jimin.
He doesn’t know if there’s an afterlife, but he guesses that if there is life after death, it would be better than being in this position for sure. Nevertheless, he doesn’t want to find out - Taehyung made him realize something, made him swallow hard reality served with a teary smile and wet eyes, but also with a warm arm around his shoulders and a comforting weight against his back. If he dies, it won’t be only Yoongi who grieves, if Yoongi dies, it won’t only be him who grieves, if they both die, there will be someone to grieve - multiple someones.
If they die, it’s going to be these people before him who take the hit. Who have taken the hit so many times until now.
It isn’t only about him and Yoongi, it isn’t only about the people with their names carved into the desk, it isn’t only about all these orphans with their names and pictures on that wall - it’s also about them. The ones who’ve seen it all happen with a heavy heart and a dark conscience even knowing they couldn’t do anything. Jimin decides that he doesn’t care whether Namjoon and Jeongguk wouldn’t have helped him if Jimin hadn’t come to them - he decides to care about the fact that they’re willing to try and help him with the risk of losing even more hope and having an even heavier burden to carry.
Jimin tears up, sobs wrecking through his body. “I’m sorry,” he gasps. “I’m so, so sorry for making you help me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m putting you guys through this again - and I promise I’ll get us out. You guys, too - you have to come with us. You’ve been through too much to stay as well, haven’t you?”
“Oh, Jimin-ah,” Seokjin smiles. It’s not a fake smile, but it isn’t a happy one nor a sad one. It’s the kind of smile you make when you’re feeling some kinda hopeful, but also nostalgic - maybe. Or maybe when you just smile because you don’t exactly know what you’re feeling, but you know you have to smile. When you just know . “Don’t be sorry for giving us hope. It’s true - you’re not the first one we’ve tried to help and Yoongi wasn’t either. But Yoongi was the first one with whom we felt like it might work, but it was also too perfect, too well. With you, that’s turned into something more realistic. You’re not the one who should apologize, but we are the ones to thank you.”
Namjoon walks towards him and Jimin only feels thankful when he’s embraced by the taller male - his brother . His family. He feels loved, too, and love in return. He lived eighteen and a half years without any family to call his, but it took him only three days to create something as precious as this, whatever this is.
I have seen what the darkness does
(Say goodbye to who I was)
I ain't never been away so long
(Don't look back, them days are gone)
Panting, he runs away of the river, making as least noise possible. He can’t believe he made that mistake - sirens . Of course there’d be sirens in woods like these. He should’ve checked how deep the river is, seen how unclear the water is. Luckily, the siren hadn’t been able to actually reach him, only the bunny.
Which was his food for the day, but he guesses no food is better than no life. He doesn’t want to die - not here, at least. And despite having survived for five days, almost six days, now, he isn’t seeing any progress.
He does has hope - he has been having dreams of a young male with orange hair and plump lips, a tan skin and a bright smile. The dreams have been playing in the house and have been feeling so real that Yoongi already knows that they aren’t ordinary dreams, but soulmate dreams. Jimin, had Namjoon called the boy in Yoongi’s dream. Jimin, his soulmate, a new orphan, the next one to play the game - that’s what he gathered. And that the boy has been looking for a way to save both of them.
It gives hope indeed, knowing someone’s out there making sure they’ll have a future with you even when you haven’t met. Even when that person is a human with no previous knowledge of supernaturals or even the concept of soulmates - especially then. Yoongi already know he has a perfect soulmate, and he hopes to share his future with that perfect soulmate, just like the other wants to spend it with him.
It gives strength and he knows he can’t fail Jimin, can’t be weak when the boy finally comes to rescue the both of them, so he gets out of his safety cocoon two seconds after getting in again to search for food. He needs dinner, needs energy, needs to be able to help.
And so, he gets up and starts walking towards the place he had found and - regretfully, but it was necessary - killed the bunny. It was empty of any creatures, tonight, and when he gets there he sees it still is - but now there’s no more animals to be seen, either. So he walks a little further into the woods, until he deems it far enough.
With the energy his body has only gotten from water, he tries to hunt or find - whatever you call it - some small animals. He finds a squirrel, sooner or later, and closes his eyes while he snaps its neck. He wants to cry - after this, he’ll never touch meat again. For now, it’s necessary for survival, even if he ends all chances for this squirrel’s life while saving his own.
As Yoongi turns around, he’s faced with a person. No red eyes and sharp teeth, no hairy wolf, a person that looks human. A person that looks like Jimin.
He can’t be making this up - orange hair, brown eyes, plump lips, cute cheeks, not the tallest of the bunch, probably even Yoongi’s height or a tiny bit smaller. It’s standing right before him, all of it - precisely Jimin. But it isn’t the real one, it isn’t the one he wants to meet, it’s a fake copy of the soulmate he’s waiting for. Witches’ doing.
“Yoongi-hyung?” the fake boy asks, eyes doing some cute thing that he can’t wait to see on the actual version of Jimin. “Yoongi-hyung, why do you have a dead animal in your hands?” He gasps. “Did you kill it?”
Damn witches, Yoongi thinks, mentally apologizing to Taehyung and Hoseok. It hits home, that comment, and that’s exactly what witches try to do. They hit close to home, make you make noise, make you tell them where you are that they can actually attack you. He needs to stay sharp, he needs to be quiet, he can’t give in. He needs to go back to his safe place.
“Not going to react? But, hyung. It’s me, Jiminnie,” the boy smiles cheekily. “Your soulmate. Don’t you remember? The love of your life. You’ve always, always wanted to find someone to love you and to love back, right? I’m right here, now…”
Yoongi doesn’t move, though he knows he should. He needs to leave - quickly, before Jimin can make him do something stupid. Fake Jimin. Not real. Fake, fake, fake, fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake -
“I’m right here, Yoongi-hyung, right here,” the voice says at his ear. Yoongi’s eyes snap open and he hadn’t even realized he had closed them in the first place, tears rolling over his cheeks. He doesn’t even know why he’s this effected - it’s just too much, too much at once. Everything has been too much, lately.
“You’re not real ,” Yoongi bites, harshly. He realizes his mistake when Jimin’s eyes widen and his grin does, too - stretching too far to be natural and going further and further. It’s horrifying, it’s haunting, Yoongi can’t breathe , this image will be stuck on his eyelids forever and he’s petrified.
Fake Jimin laughs. Fake Jimin looks at him like he’s a stupid person, like he’s been caught. “Am I not? You’ve realized, then. Smart of you,” he says, lips as wide as earlier. “I’ll guess I’ll have to make you scream another way, then.” And Yoongi knows - the dirty joke there isn’t there by accident, and Fake Jimin actually laughs at that, and Yoongi feels like throwing up, puking his guts out, and then-
And then, Jimin’s head turns 360 degrees and Yoongi only nearly stops his urge to shout out loud. It goes too slow, too real and Yoongi can’t pull his eyes away from the scenery before him. When the trick doesn’t work, Jimin opens his mouth with the wide grin he had earlier, and Yoongi’s shown two rows of teeth - it’s like the siren, really, and the familiarity makes him think about the fact that he’s in the woods. He remembers that no, this isn’t Jimin, it’s Fake Jimin and he can’t make any noise.
He walks away, and Fake Jimin tries to touch him, but he is an illusion and illusions can’t touch you unless you allow it to do so. Yoongi won’t allow it - he can’t.
Later, in the safety of his cocoon, he eats the dinner he killed and it fills up his stomach. With the last moonlight, he uses his powers to get water and drinks all of it. It’s just a feeling, but somehow, he believes in it - he’ll need all of the energy he can get, because soon the real Jimin will come to get him.
So he pushes his thoughts about all the kills he’s done, the Fake Jimin, the siren and everything else away and sleeps, feeling only a little bit like a monster.
It had been hard to go to sleep after they ended the meeting, but now that he’s awake again, he realises how good of a decision it was to sleep some more. It couldn’t have been more than three and a half hours, but added with the hours he had slept before the meeting, he easily got a good night’s rest. That way, when he woke up, he wasn’t all that tired - just a little bit more than usual.
It puts him in a good mood, so to say, because it means that one step of their plan has already gone well. He needs the rest so he isn’t exhausted once the game starts.
Still, he doesn’t want to get out of bed yet. Knowing what’s coming in just a few hours, knowing what’s going to happen - it makes him scared. Afraid for the known that’s unknown. Or the unknown that’s known - he knows what will happen, but not exactly - not the beginning, not the middle, not the ending, not how everything will happen. He knows the summary with some blurred parts here and there, but not any of the details.
And he’s scared to death - literally - that one of those details, or one of the blurred parts, will be the end of his life, or Yoongi’s. Or both.
Yoongi’s name is the thing that convinces him to get up, anyway. The name, the image of him gives Jimin the strength to push himself up and out of bed, putting on the clothes he had readied for the meeting but didn’t have the chance to wear. Walking downstairs, he meets Jeongguk on the stairs. He nods at the younger - elder, following his vampire age - male and the other nods back, both smiling tensely. They probably have the same thing on their minds - the game.
It’s unreal, to Jimin, that it’s nearly time. Just this night he was learning all about it and he’s only gives some hours to process it. But if he keeps going, then maybe everything will keep going as quickly as it’s been going these last few days. He can only hope for that, but if he works for it, it might even work.
They head towards the dining room together and when they get there, Jeongguk sighs next to him, mumbling, “Here we go again,” while looking Jimin a little sad in the eye. The human can’t help but feel some kind of fondness for the other male, even if they’ve never really been in a conversation together, not alone anyway. There’s just something about the vampire that makes you endeared, something that makes you care about him. Maybe it’s in the way he looks like a literal bunny, Jimin would think, but he knows it’s not.
The whole table is filled with food - meat, vegetables, fruit, all of it is on the table at an amount that could fill a family of ten easily. Even drinks, Jimin notices, are placed on the table, even if that breaks the ‘tradition’, as Boyoung had called it. He guesses that now that he’s ready to be disposed of, they don’t need to care anymore.
“Why is there so many food?” Jimin whispers to Jeongguk.
The brunette eyes him with something akin to anger, but he knows it isn’t directed at him, now. “They’re feeding you a lot, so you’ll have more energy and that whoever’s lucky to eat you - or the whoevers that are lucky to eat you - will have much to eat, too,” he spits quietly. “Like a pig. They’ll give you some kinda excuse, though, to make it seem normal.”
Jimin’s stomach turns at the thought and he isn’t sure if he wants to eat anymore, but he knows he needs to. Rest, check; energy, to be checked. “Is that why you’re downstairs, too? Because it’ll be considered more normal to eat so much at breakfast?”
“Kind of,” the vampire says, mouth twitching as he doesn’t know what to say. His eyes are casted towards the ground, and with a small blush, he adds, “I just wanted to see you before the game started.”
The orange haired male wants to answer to the endearing comment with something teasing, but the other rushes towards the table with his ears crimson red. It makes a smile bloom on Jimin’s face, and he feels more hope sparking in his chest. He imagines living somewhere with Yoongi, Namjoon, Jeongguk and the other three - he imagines waking up to a family that will grow to love him and a family he will grow to love in return, with Jeongguk to tease all day, with Namjoon to talk to about deep things, with Taehyung to cuddle, with Yoongi to get to know and all the other reasons he hasn’t figured out yet. These six people, all known but unknown to him - a puzzle, a riddle to unravel. A mystery to figure out and he’s so, so excited to.
But first, he needs to get through this.
He walks towards the table, too, and when Jiwoon sees him from in the kitchen she grins happily at him. “Good morning, love! How are you? Did you sleep well?”
“Yeah,” he smiles back, though a bit forced. Can’t let them know that he’s aware of everything, he reminds himself in his head, or everything will go down the drain, like it did with Yoongi’s plan. He can’t let that happen again. “Good morning to you, too. I slept really well, although I woke up once, in the middle of the night.”
Boyoung’s head pops up from somewhere in the kitchen, probably from getting something out of a cupboard. “Oh no, dear, that sounds annoying. Hm, Namjoon-ah? Didn’t you have that a while ago? Do you still remember why that was?”
Namjoon, already sitting by the table - which had gone unnoticed by Jimin, somehow - looks up. “Hm, yeah. There were eight reasons, I think - your room could be too hot, cold, noisy or bright. You could have anxiety. You may need to take a piss. You were drunk. Sleep apnea - which means that you nearly stop or completely stop breathing while you’re asleep. Hunger can wake you up too. Hm, I forgot the rest, but honestly, there’s a lot of reasons you wake up at night. It can also be from someone waking you up, but I don’t think that’s the reason, is it?”
His brother smirks a little and Jimin feels a little rush of adrenaline going through him - it’s funny, he thinks, that neither of his ‘moms’ are aware of what’s really going on, what’s really being said, when it’s literally right under their noses. It’s using their own trick against them - hiding in plain sight.
“No, that certainly wasn’t it, I think,” he replies. “But it might’ve been from the cold. It was a little chilly, I remember.”
Soon, they all sit down at the table with their plates and glasses both filled with either food or a drink. Jiwoon tells him they’ve made a big meal for him because they’ll do a lot of fun things together, today, like going to the garden and take a large walk, for which he’ll need to dress up warmly. When Jimin asks why they’re going to the garden if it’s so dangerous, they simply tell him that he’s safe with them.
It takes a lot to keep a snort down when they say that, but he manages, and decides to just eat and enjoy the food.
The breakfast passes in a blur for him, mind clouded with all kinds of thoughts and fears, so much that he simply can’t concentrate on making a conversation with his fake moms. He excuses himself to them with saying that he’s just still waking up, and they accept it with a smile and a nod. They feed him a lot, and by the time the meal’s over, he feels like he ate a ton.
If he didn’t know their true intentions, he would’ve thought they were kind, caring people - caring parents, even. But sadly, or luckily, he doesn’t. “I’ll do the dishes, don’t worry,” he smiles at them. “To repay the meal, yeah? Think of it like that. You can go and rest, if you want to.”
Boyoung coos. “Aw, thank you, sweetie. Namjoon-ah, shouldn’t you be more like him? Jiminnie’s such a nice boy,” she smiles at the orange haired male and fake glares at the blonde. “You go help him, Joon.”
Once they begin on doing the dishes and cleaning the table, Jiwoon and Boyoung head upstairs to dress for their walk together. When they’re out of earshot, Jimin huffs and whispers, “Sure, you are,” and to answer Namjoon’s questioning gaze, he replies, “I offered to do the dishes so I could steal some food. I know that once we’re out of this garden - or even still inside of it -, it’ll be difficult to eat enough, so I thought it’d be a good idea. Do you have some boxes around here?”
“Yeah,” Namjoon nods, taking them out of a cupboard. “Good idea, by the way. I’ll take these with me when Jeongguk and I go to the cabin we meet at, yeah? That way, they won’t see the boxes. If you were to take them, they’d see and take it back.” Jimin nods to that and together they fill the boxes with food they then put in a bag for Namjoon to carry easier.
“I’ll go put on warm clothes, now,” the human says after they’re done, but he doesn’t move. Staring at his hands, there’s something getting to him. “Namjoon-hyung… Thank you. I know Seokjin-hyung told me that you guys should thank me, but I don’t see it that way. I would be dead in a few hours if it weren’t for you, and I need to thank you for that. There’s no other way I would’ve survived, hyung. If you hadn’t decided to help me, I would die. Yoongi would die, too. Thank you. Thank you so much.”
Namjoon just smiles. He smiles, and it lights up Jimin’s heart, hope and joy flying all around. This man, he’s becoming Jimin’s brother. Already is, in a way. “Thank you, too, Jimin-ah. Without you or Yoongi-hyung, without Hoseok-hyung or Taehyung, without Jeongguk or Seokjin-hyung, there wouldn’t be any hope left in my universe. Without any of you, I wouldn’t be here as the me I am today.”
Jimin walks back to his room, after that, and puts warmer clothes on, even wearing one too many hoodies so he can give it to Yoongi later. His mind goes over all the things he needs to remember.
When he’s in the woods, he can’t make too much noise, or everyone will come running for him and he’ll be the lunch for at least twenty-five supernatural creatures. If he sees something that can’t be true and that has to be an illusion, he’s in a witch’s trap and needs to get out without screaming or telling the illusion his location. He needs to look for a werewolf with a green bracelet or Hoseok or Taehyung, who will both also wear a green bracelet. If he sees an illusion of them, he needs to check for their bracelet, otherwise it’s not them. He needs to search Yoongi, but Namjoon had said that he’ll run to him without even meaning to, anyway. Something about soulmates always finding each other. He can’t let himself bleed, either, because vampires will smell it. Rivers are a no-go, he thinks, remembering his nightmare.
And there’s probably so, so much more. But in the end, the most important is to get to that cabin at the edge of the garden that only Hoseok or Taehyung can get them to, or people that already know where it is. After that, they’re free.
Too soon, too fucking soon, it’s eleven thirty and Jiwoon’s calling him. He yells back that he’ll be there in a second and stands up from the chair behind his desk. Before heading out of the room, he makes sure to open the drawer with the names - and his name, now, too - carved in, for the next orphan. The next one to possibly fall. If everything works out, there might not be one soon. He hopes for that at least.
He heads downstairs and it’s like time slows down, from going five hundred kilometers an hour from these past four days to slow enough to see a raindrop slide down on a window. He imagines that it makes up for all the times he felt like he couldn’t breathe from how fast everything was going, from back in the orphanage when he heard he was getting adopted, to just now, opening a drawer he knows will mean so much to the next one to occupy the bedroom.
He breathes, breathes and breathes, all the breaths he won’t get in the woods. All the air he’ll lose. All the hope that might get lost. He breathes, right now - he’s still breathing, and it’s all on his own. Jimin figures that he can be proud of that, how far he’s come, still not giving up.
Too soon, but too slow, he’s standing in front of the large windows with Jiwoon and Boyoung. Namjoon and Jeongguk are nowhere in sight and Jimin likes to think that they’re already preparing to go to the cabin or are already there.
“Are you ready to go, Jimin-ah?” Boyoung smiles at him, and when he gulps and nods, she opens the door leading to the garden and lets Jiwoon and Jimin go first, then comes after and closes the door. Jimin’s nervous, they all know it, but only Jimin knows that it’s because he knows what’s coming. His ‘moms’ probably think it’s because they’re going to the garden and that he’s scared of it.
Jiwoon stops with walking and turns towards him, making him stop too. He walks a little backwards, so he can give her space, and in that time Boyoung goes to stand in front of him, too. “Now, I can’t say I don’t like this part, but you’ve been such a sweet boy that it makes even me a little sad to see you go,” Jiwoon begins, face going from a loving mother to someone who’s glaring at him like he’s a bug on the wall. “Still, we can’t make an exception just because you’ve been nice.”
Jimin swallows. Boyoung continues while rolling her eyes, “We host a game, Jimin. Today, you’re the player. The game will be fun for us, tragic for you - that’s the most simple way to put it. You see… We’ll release you into the garden and you have to make it out alive.” Her grin becomes a little less kind, a little more wicked. “Of course, the woods aren’t safe for you, as we’ve said before. No one has ever made it out alive.”
“Good luck,” they say in usion. They’re evil. More than the creatures inside the woods. They’re able to raise orphans, make them happy for one month or even a couple of days, then sentence them for certain death without even batting an eye. They make the creatures inside the forest kill for food, hunt on humans, to be able to eat and survive. These two women made them, all the supernaturals inside those woods, evil.
They turn around and walk inside the house together, leaving Jimin alone in the garden, afraid and at their mercy. That’s what they think, anyway.
He knows better than that. He knows better than to be at their mercy. So he begins to run, towards the line where the trees are, but silently. Sniper-like, he supposes. And once he passes by the tree line, it’s like he’s in a different world - the world of his nightmares. His breathing gets restricted immediately, only able to breathe in what he needs to survive.
Around him, there’s trees, bushes, plants, everywhere. It’s as if he’s trapped inside a maze, but he knows it’s worse than that. He keeps running a little, but slows down now, looking for a green bracelet. He needs to find Taehyung, Hoseok or Seokjin - or even Yoongi, right now. He wishes he’s back at the staircase, breathing in whatever he could.
Something crashes against his back and he falls to the ground, turning around to see what hit him. Before him, there’s a creature that has red eyes and large teeth, smiling at him crazily. It looks at him with too wide eyes that are blood, blood red and a glance in them that can’t be anything else than insanity. It’s right in front of him, he can’t get up and run away. And he most certainly can’t fight it - it’d be a death sentence. This whole game is a death sentence.
For a moment, he thinks about giving up. He closes his eyes and thinks, for all the eighteen years and a half that he existed, he never actually lived. But he’s happy, proud of himself, that he’d die trying to.
But he can’t give up, and when the vampire jumps at him, he somehow runs between its legs. It’s the most cowardly move, but he can’t care about that right now. It’s life or death, no rules applied. The vampire growls at him and lunges again, Jimin getting away at the last second and getting trapped against a tree.
He can’t die. Can’t. He won’t allow it - not this early, not later into the game, he won’t allow it . But he can’t get away, either, can he? He’s trapped - stuck between a tree and a vampire that won’t hesitate to take his life.
And then, there’s a flash of brown and some green, and the vampire falls to the ground, stumbling - Taehyung standing behind the creature, a wild look in his eyes. “Are you okay?” the man asks, looking deeply into Jimin’s eyes.
For a moment, he thinks about how this witch, this person in front of him is younger than him by a few months. How much shit has he seen, despite everything he’s already told the older boy, to bring a vampire down so easily and not even seem shaken up about it? How much shit has he seen, how much evil, just because someone decided to let him see it, decided to make Taehyung endure this torture?
“I’m- I’m okay,” the orange haired male breathes out, knees shaking a little. Out of the corner of his eyes, he sees movement, and he yells a little too late, “Watch out!”
Taehyung falls to the ground, groaning as his hands fly to his head. The vampire stands over his body, breathing heavily and glaring down at the witch. Something that had been in the brunette’s hands rolls over to Jimin but he doesn’t look at it, keeping his eyes on the two figures in front of him, scared.
The vampire’s hand balls into a fist and slams down, hitting Taehyung’s shoulder. The boy groans, hands now flying towards his shoulder and there’s tears appearing in his eyes, making Jimin worry even more. The creature lifts the witch’s upper body up a little then slams it down again, making a loud sound. Jimin can’t take it - the look on the younger male is too painful to ignore. He just leans down and takes what had fallen from Taehyung’s hands without even looking at what it is, and pierces it through the vampire’s chest.
He holds his hand out towards Taehyung and the latter grabs it so that he can pull him up. The younger male is breathing heavily and so is the elder, both having adrenaline rushing through their veins. “Tae, you okay? Did it hurt you a lot?”
“It’s manageable,” he wheezes. “Thank- you need to run. Search for the others, I’ll wipe your scent. They’ll come here, they heard us, go . I’ll run after, I promise, but not after wiping your scent. C’mon, run, Jimin. I’ll see you later.”
Jimin trusts Taehyung. “Okay, Taehyung. I’ll see you there,” he nods. The look in their eyes is mutual understanding, trust and seriousness. It’s not the time to be thanking each other. There’s time for that later. And so, he runs again, leaving the other behind with an actual dead body.
Sprinting and breathing at once is hard, especially in a place like this. There’s no extra air to breathe in, so Jimin acts like he’s still at the staircase, acts like he can still breathe in enough to let his mind relax. But pretending to get enough air takes energy too, and energy comes along with air. It’s hard, everything’s hard, and he stops running after a while to calm down.
His surroundings are familiar. At first, he thinks it’s because in a forest, all places look the same. Then he realises that it’s familiar to a nightmare of his. The river’s there, with the blurry water he won’t dare to step too close to. There’s a familiar stone, which he hadn’t paid attention to while having the dream, but it now seems like a huge thing to him.
Yoongi is close. He must be, right?
Jimin follows the path he had seen Yoongi take towards the river, but now backwards. It takes a minute or two, but when he stops walking, it’s at a spot that’s familiar to him, as well. Taking a deep, deep breath, he looks up at the trees.
He meets two blue eyes, looking down at him with something in his eyes that might be wonder. Jimin smiles softly. Yoongi .
The elder climbs down the tree quickly, standing in front of Jimin in no time. He looks at him with the biggest eyes, so much emotion inside of them, and Jimin believes Namjoon. They’re soulmates - they have to be. “Are you real?” Yoongi asks him, softly. There’s a dream inside his eyes, a dream Jimin shares with him, one about the future they know they can spend together, and will spend together. There’s no other way.
“Of course I am,” Jimin replies, eyes getting teary. He takes Yoongi’s right hand in his own and presses it against his cheek. “Of course.”
Then, Yoongi places his left hand on Jimin’s other cheek and he leans forwards, lips barely brushing against each other. “I’ve waited for you, Jimin. I’ve never met you, but I’ve missed you.”
And indeed, they’ve never met in real life. They haven’t ever touched each other, never been able to share gazes. But it’s all there - the feelings, the love, the everything there can be. The potential - of love, of family, of happiness. So when their lips touch, and they kiss, it’s nothing but natural to the both of them.
If Jimin’s perception of fate and destiny is real, then he knows this is one of those big moments in his life that have already been decided by whatever bigger thing there is in life. If his perception is real, he knows he can believe in what will happen to them will be for the better.
Jimin takes off his hoodie and gives it to Yoongi, who looks at him with wide eyes. “I took this with me for you, since I saw you were cold. Put it on, so we can go to the cabin, okay? We’re getting out of here, I promise you,” he smiles.
“Thank you,” the elder says, putting it on with Jimin’s help. After, they take each other’s hands and walk in a direction Jimin feels the others are. “I know my plan didn’t work out, but in the grand scheme of things… I’m glad it didn’t. I’m lucky to have met you, even if it’s destiny, I’m lucky . Thank you, Jimin. You’re saving the both of us when I couldn’t.”
“No,” Jimin disagrees. “You could, and you did . This soulmate thing - I don’t know much about it, and it’s a little over my head, honestly. It’s not something I actually believed in before getting here, but now… I get strength from you, Yoongi. And I think you get it from me, too. We give each other strength and hope to continue on. With only one of us, this wouldn’t work, so it can’t be only me that saved us. We saved us.”
“Jimin!” someone whisper-yells. The boy looks away from Yoongi’s eyes and finds himself looking at Hoseok, accompanied by Seokjin. “Oh my God, Yoongi ! Jimin ! I can’t believe it! Holy shit, man, oh my God . I’m so happy you guys are alive. I didn’t think I’d see you again, Yoongi-hyung, but then Jimin was in the meeting yesterday night and he told us he was your soulmate and fuck I was so relieved, you don’t understand! I’m so happy right now.”
Seokjin is the opposite of Hoseok, in this moment - he’s quiet and instead of opening his mouth to speak, he walks towards them and wraps them into a hug. Jimin hugs back with one hand, not letting go of Yoongi, and his soulmate seems to do the same. Over the elder’s shoulders, they look at each other and smile.
Soon enough, they remind each other that they need to get to the cabin and they let go, walking deeper into the woods. Hoseok leads the way, as he apparently is the one to have made the cabin in the first place. “I hope Namjoon and Jeongguk are already there,” Seokjin murmurs.
“I asked Namjoon to bring food with him,” Jimin states, walking with a smile on his face as he glances at the three others one by one. He can’t believe it’s actually- he can’t believe everything is actually working out. “So we won’t get hungry while getting away.”
Yoongi hums calmly. It seems that that is what they are now - calm, peaceful, even surrounded by evil like this. The entire forest is black aura, but their own little bubble is light, light blue, untainted by anything.
“Ah, we’re here,” Hoseok says. They all look. There’s nothing on the ground where Jimin expected it to be, but when he looks up, there’s a treehouse. “Up we go,” the witch grins, letting them go first. Seokjin goes, then Jimin, Yoongi and Hoseok as last. Inside, two faces greet him and immediately hug him and Yoongi, just like Seokjin had done before.
Jeongguk holds on tight. Somewhere, Jimin had expected him to do so. When it happens, though, he’s a little shocked, but he hugs back just as tight. Namjoon follows soon after. “It worked ,” Jeongguk sobs. “It worked. It worked. You’re alive .”
“We are, Gguk-ah,” Yoongi says, smiling and petting the vampire’s hair. “We are. Don’t worry anymore. We’re all alive, and Taehyung’s gonna come in in just a matter of minutes. We’re all alive. It worked.” When he says it, he looks at Jimin, a bright glow in his eyes. Jimin beams back.
And true to his words, the door swings open again just a minute after. Taehyung’s in the doorway, eyes wide and searching. Once he sees Jimin and Yoongi together, holding hands, his straight posture relaxes and he lunges himself towards the human, tears flowing. “Jimin, thank you- thank you thank you ,” the boy sobs. Jimin thinks back to the moment they were fighting the vampire - Taehyung had looked too mature then, too old for the age he is. Right now, he was just an eighteen year old boy, and he finally felt younger than Jimin - like he actually is. “Thank you for saving my life. I can’t repay you. Thank you, Jimin.”
And the orange haired male smiles. “You saved me, too. All of you saved me. There’s no debt to be paid, Taehyung-ah. It’s called caring about each other, giving and receiving.” He knows - he’s no one to preach about this. But he also knows that no one in this cabin is one to preach about it, and it gives him a voice that will go noticed by the others. “Let’s run away now, all of us.”
The last sentence disrupts whatever vibe was going on. Namjoon furrows his eyebrows while looking at Jimin. “What? Jimin, we’re not coming along. It’s you and Yoongi-hyung that are running away, we’re staying.”
Jimin frowns in return. “What? I thought we’d all go away from this place. Why would you stay? Nothing here is good. Nothing here will do you any good. I thought we were all going to get away together.”
“Actually…” Jeongguk starts, biting his lips and looking away from everyone. “I don’t want to stay. I want to leave, too. I can’t handle living here. Every day, I wake up to two women that have killed so many people without remorse. I wake up to being a vampire, forcefully turned by a man that now calls himself my father. I hate him, I hate them. I hate seeing people get lured into the house. I hate seeing them get killed. The only thing keeping me going is you , Namjoon. But I don’t want to stay.”
“Let’s… Let’s vote?” Hoseok’s voice pops up timidly. “Jeongguk votes to run away, clearly. I… vote that, too. I can’t stay here when all it brings is pain , and we’re finally promised a chance at happiness, with an entire family. Knowing that awaits me… I can’t stay here.”
Seokjin shakes his head. “I can’t go away. I need to stay and help as many people as I can. Look - we’ve already saved two. I can’t run away. There’s people I can save - people’s lives that won’t be lost if we stay here.”
Taehyung nods to that, even though there’s tears in his eyes while doing so. “I don’t think I can leave, either. I vote to stay.”
All of them look at Namjoon. Namjoon, who loves all of them, and all of them love him back. Namjoon, who’s been adopted by two women that are training him to become a evil as they are. Namjoon, who’s become Jimin’s hyung. “I don’t know,” he begins, frowning and furrowing his eyebrows. “I don’t know. Everything… Everything is complicated. On one hand, I know that staying here will mean I will have the chance to save a lot of people. On another hand, I know that running away from here with all of you will save us . And I think, that if we run away and save ourselves first, that we have a bigger chance at saving other people, too. We can do more outside of this forest and away from these people. I won’t ever stop trying to help the people that come here - but for now, let’s do it another way. We’ve saved two people, yeah, but how big are the chances we’ll meet two people like this again? Close to none. The chances to save them when we’re not directly in the middle of this… Much bigger. I vote to leave this place.”
Jimin begins to cry. “Thank you, Namjoon-hyung.”
Looking at Taehyung and Seokjin, he knows they’re glad about Namjoon’s choice. They look happy, even if they won’t stay like they wanted to. It seems that everyone knows that they have a bigger chance of success if they leave instead of stay. Hoseok pulls them all into a group hug, and together, together , they cry of relief.
Once they made their way to the ground again, Seokjin and Namjoon lead them towards the path that allows them to leave. It’s hidden away, too hard to reach for a player, and even if they could reach it, there’s too many creatures around to survive running away. As for the creatures, Namjoon explains that they’ve gone so insane that they can’t leave, something Jiwoon is responsible for. He doesn’t know exactly how it works, but Jiwoon’s a witch and she’s powerful.
With the five others around Yoongi and Jimin, they’re safe. Especially since no one would dare to hurt Jeongguk and Namjoon, even if it’s clear they’re getting away. Eventually, they reach the road and there’s a car waiting for them, one Seokjin says was destined for Yoongi and Jimin to drive away in. Luckily, there’s enough space for seven.
They drive away, together. Knowing fully well that Jiwoon, Boyoung and Jaebeom will search for them. Knowing fully well that one day, they’ll come back and fix this mess. To save the next one’s that have been brought there to die.
But for now, they’re free.
Follow me into the endless night
(I can bring your fears to life)
Show me yours and I'll show you mine
(Meet me in the woods tonight)
“And what, now?” Jimin asks Yoongi, laying on a bed in a motel not too far from the edge of Busan. He’s looking at his lover with adoration in his eyes, love that’s shared only between them. For the one day they’ve been on the road with the others, he’s learned that love comes in a lot of ways, shapes or sizes. Not about the human giving them, but the love itself.
There’s love that comes in families. The one that blooms between Seokjin, Yoongi, Namjoon, Taehyung, Jeongguk and him. There’s love that arises between siblings. Namjoon and Jimin talking until late in the night about whatever is on their minds. Love between friends, bestfriends. Taehyung and him playing games and telling each other jokes all day long. Other love, love he hasn’t figured out yet, like the love between Hoseok and him, Seokjin and him and Jeongguk and him. They’re all love - but they’re all different kinds of love, all beautiful in their own way.
And there’s the love he receives and gives Yoongi. Love he won’t put a label on, because that kinda love isn’t labeled. It’s too big, too tender, too pure to be labeled. It’s love he can’t get enough from.
Yoongi looks at him and smiles softly. Under his eyes, Jimin feels the love he preaches about inside his mind. He feels the love he’s dreamed of for his whole life, all his years and all his days.
“Now, we live.”