It was easy to befriend him; Jimin was as bright as the sun and hard to miss. He became quick friends with Namjoon, a neighborhood boy two years older than him, and they frequented the manhwa store halfway between their places.
Every time they went to the manhwa store, Jimin would pull every book he could find involving gangsters. He idealized their life, wanting to become one. Namjoon would patiently listen to Jimin’s ramblings about the gangster life. Jimin’s strong fascination with their life amused him on occasions.
They started hanging out less when Namjoon got a job at the gas station. With his first paycheck, he offered both Jimin and Taehyung, Namjoon’s other friend, to eat at a Chinese restaurant. Just as they finished ordering, a large group of men walked in and as they did Taehyung excused himself from the restaurant. Jimin turned around to see who it was that seemed to have scared Taehyung off. His eyes widened in excitement when he saw the gang sitting at the table. He rapidly patted Namjoon’s arm to catch his attention. Namjoon set down the glass cup he was drinking from to turn and look.
“Hyung, do you think they’re gangsters?” Jimin asked.
Namjoon shrugged and turned forward, making sure not to act strange and catch attention. Jimin watched them excitedly from behind his chair, giggling to himself about how cool they were. When the food came to their table Namjoon watched in fascination Jimin’s effort to scarf it down quickly. Making sure to wipe his mouth, Jimin suddenly got up from his chair and turned around. Namjoon was too slow to grab Jimin’s sleeve before he started to make his way to the gangsters.
Taking up four tables at a corner of the restaurant, they all started digging into the meals placed in front of them. Kun Hyung, the man sitting at the round table at the center of the four tables with the jacket loosely hanging over his shoulders, looked up at the waitress who brought him his bowl of food to give a thanking smile. Just as she walked away, Jimin walked forward.
“Hyung, are you a gangster?” Jimin asked in his high pitched voice.
He looked up from his bowl of noodles at the little fifteen year old boy in front of him.
“So what if I am?” he responded in a deep raspy voice.
Jimin’s smile widened even more, “isn’t it awesome?”
Kun Hyung chuckled in amusement at this conjecture. Out of the corner of his eye he could see his lackeys getting ready to take down the boy if needed. He lifted his hand to wave them off.
“Now why do you say that, kid?” he replied, leaning back in his chair.
“Well, isn’t it?” Jimin answer.
Before he could continue, Namjoon came in behind Jimin and pulled at him. He apologized profusely to Kun Hyung as he struggled to drag Jimin away from the center of the gang.
“Let’s be friends! I’ll find you!” Jimin shouted as he was being dragged away.
Once outside, they met with Taehyung who was waiting in the next store over for them to finish. Namjoon tried to ignore the situation that had arisen and simply left it as was. They continued hanging out that day as normal, from the manhwa store to the arcades to the small street vending venue.
To his surprise, Jimin did manage to find him again a few days later. After finding out where one of the headquarters were in the small town, he frequented often. Kun Hyung found it surprising that, despite his reputation, Jimin didn’t actually know who he was. Perhaps he was too clouded by his idealism of the gangster life, but he was so dense that he never figured that Kun Hyung was one of the big leaders of the Hyungwon Gang. But there was something about him. He never showed it, but he favored this small boy a lot. Jimin reminded him of himself at that age, dumb but bright, just before he became who he was today.
Kun Hyung made sure that the lackeys let Jimin do whatever it was that he wanted, but to make sure they never involved him into any of the gang things. So, of course, the men started to notice his special treatment of this small kid. Those who had followed him loyally for a few years now had never been treated the same way. As one could guess, many were jealous of him, if not deeply annoyed. But that was the least of Kun Hyung’s worries.
Today they had decided to play hookie. Well, Jimin did. The other two never went to school. That day they planned on climbing a mountain just outside the village outside of the city. Together they climbed up the mountain, in search of this tree that granted wishes that Taehyung had read about online. It took them about three hours to find it once reaching halfway up the mountain. They don’t remember how they found it, just that they were walking and suddenly they were there.
They stayed there for the rest of the day, waiting for the new day to break through. As they waited, Namjoon pulled out a blanket from his backpack, breaking the zipper as he pulled it out. They told stories to each other and bonded. Just as the day was starting to break through, Jimin fell asleep with his head on Namjoon’s lap and his back leaning against the tree.
Namjoon lightly shook Jimin awake as they started to pack up. Jimin rubbed his tired eyes and looked up to see that the sun was already high in the sky. Namjoon apologized for not waking him up and Taehyung joked about how he looked too cute lying there to wake up. Namjoon suggested they come another time when Jimin was older so that he could stay up late enough for it. Taehyung teasingly bumped into his shoulder and asked him what his wish was.
“I want to go to the beach. All of us, together,” Jimin said.
Namjoon and Taehyung chuckled; Namjoon told him he didn’t need to wish that.
“I have a job; once I save up enough, we can go to the beach together.”
They came back down the mountain safely, splitting ways to their homes. Shortly after that day, Jimin made time to run back to the Hyungwon quarters to share his experience with Kun Hyung. On that day, Kun Hyung was on a “business trip”, as they said, and so they quickly tried to chase him out. He jumped into the closest room by him to avoid the lackeys chasing after him.
He turned around to find a young man sitting on a creaky bed with a worn out sweater. The young man turned around quickly, clearly frightened by his sudden entrance. Jimin walked forward to search for the light switch hanging from the ceiling. With the light on, he noticed the chain around the young man’s ankle that tied him to the bed.
They quickly became friends, but because he didn’t know what kind of man he was, he made sure not to go too often. He made sure not to let his doubts cloud his judgement, he didn’t know why the man was being held there. Until he heard them talking about some sort of powers.
He joked with the man in the room about him being some sort of magician, but never went any further. Instead, he found himself talking about Namjoon and Taehyung and things he wanted to do outside. Just regular things that he would talk to Kun Hyung with.
Today, Kun Hyung wasn’t there again. Jimin had rushed over to show him his newly dyed hair. Before Jimin left, Kiseop hyung, one of the lackeys who worked with Kun Hyung, gave him Kun Hyung’s jacket.
Jimin marvelled at it, the jacket that always hung over Kun Hyung’s shoulder. One of a kind; no one else had this jacket, no one else was allowed to replicate this jacket. This was the one and only. And here, Kiseop hyung had just handed this to him; Kun Hyung was giving this to him. This jacket that he had never seen leave Kun Hyung’s shoulders, was being given to Jimin. He couldn’t handle his excitement.
For some strange reason Kiseop was in a rush to have Jimin out of the building, but Jimin was too excited to even notice; he was content with having to leave. As he was walking out, another lackey stopped Kiseop to ask him something, to which Kiseop pushed Jimin forward to keep walking without him. As Jimin continued, he saw the same man from the dark room sitting on a chair in a different room. He excitedly waved at him to catch his attention. He laughed when he saw his eyes widen at his hair color.
“Cool, right?” Jimin said, pointing to his bright orange hair.
The man smiled and nodded. Just as Jimin was about to step into the room to talk with him, Kiseop hyung appeared behind him and urged him forward again. He bent backwards in order to wave goodbye to the man before disappearing down the hallway. Jimin kept exclaiming in disbelief at the jacket, giggling to himself.
Jimin had gotten a text from Namjoon the other night. He excitedly jumped out of his house, eager to show off the jacket to Namjoon for their hangout today.
As they walked down the busy street, Jimin stopped every time he saw a mirror, admiring the look of the jacket, loosely hanging over his torso. Calmly, Namjoon continued ahead of him, sucking on his lollipop. He called out Jimin’s name, thinking that he was still following behind him.
“Did you hear me?” Namjoon said.
He turned around to find that Jimin was no longer following him. In fact, he couldn’t see him behind him anymore. He walked back a bit to see if he had gone down a different alley, only to find Jimin laying on the ground.
Kun Hyung irritatingly looked around the room.
“It’s not in the dining room either,” said a lackey as he walked into the room.
“Where is it?” Kun Hyung shouted angrily.
“Perhaps it’d be best if you didn’t wear it today,” said Kiseop.
Kun Hyung glared at him, “why? Do you know where it is?”
Although he stood firmly in place, his heart raced at what it was that Kun Hyung might do next.
Kiseop and a few others proceeded to explain to him that there was a rumour that David’s gang, their rival, had set up a bounty on him, as a way of initiation into the gang. There were no pictures of his face handed out but they had caught fliers of his iconic jacket being handed out by the high schools. Kun Hyung scoffed at them and yelled angrily, asking if they thought that he would really be undone by some dumb school children. He asked them again, in a dangerously quiet voice where it was that they had put that jacket.
“I gave it to Jimin,” Kiseop said.
“What?” Kun Hyung replied, still equally as quiet.
Kiseop repeated himself, trying to explain how Jimin was a potential threat to his position, that he could be undercover, or be with the enemy. He started about how they were getting too close, and how he was showing unfair favoritism towards Jimin as compared to the men who had been with him for years. A loud clap echoed in the room as Kun Hyung slapped him hard across the face. Caught off guard, but slightly expecting it, he assumed his still position, lowering his gaze to the ground.
“Unfair favoritism. Is that what this is? I have favoured you for so long that you are now jealous at the idea of someone being treated better than you? When did I favor him? When did-no! I thought you were better than this,” Kun Hyung waved him towards the door, “Get out!”
Namjoon screamed at the sight. Jimin cried and grunted as he covered his bleeding abdomen.
“Hyung, it really hurts, please help me,” Jimin kept saying.
Namjoon looked around at the emptying streets that had been so busy earlier. A small crowd watched them from a distance not wanting to be a part of it. He screamed at them for help, crying hysterically.
“Apply pressure on his wound!” shouted a female voice.
He turned his head towards the voice, seeing as a young female struggled to pass the crowd barricading them in. She pulled out her phone with a little Mario accessory hanging off of it.
Namjoon looked down at Jimin, who was still crying on the ground, bleeding profusely. He placed his hand over the wound to apply pressure but as soon as he did, Jimin groaned louder.
“Are you sure about this?” he screamed, having a mental break down.
His hands shaked, unable to try and apply more pressure. She assured him, stating she was a registered nurse. She kept asking him what had happened. But he didn’t know–because he wasn’t watching. He wasn’t beside him. He should have been there, but he wasn’t so he didn’t know.
“It hurts a lot, hyung. Am I going to die? It really hurts,” Jimin kept repeating.
Namjoon tried his best to stay calm, telling him that everything would be okay. Everything was going to be alright, so not to worry. As he kept repeating himself, it became evident that he was truly trying to convince himself.
Jimin stared straight up into the whitening sky above him. A face appeared, with hair as white as fresh snow. He cocked his head, looking down at Jimin.
“You’re being unnecessarily stubborn,” he said.
He offered his hand and Jimin suddenly felt a pull.
“I don’t want to go yet,” Jimin said out loud.
Namjoon repeated himself, telling Jimin that he would be okay, that the ambulance was on it’s way over. The boy with white hair stood hunched over him waiting, and he knew.
“Looks like I can’t fulfill our promise. I really wanted to go to the beach with you guys…” he trailed off, laughing in pain.
Namjoon held onto him, feeling as Jimin started to go cold, his breath slowing.
“Don’t leave me, Jimin. We have to go to the beach, you, me and Taehyung. The ambulance is coming, we’re going to be fine,” he repeated like a mantra.
Jimin took the man’s hand and followed him down the street. He turned his head to look back and saw the crowd that surrounded the area, wondering what had happened.
“Yoongi-hyung,” Jimin said, “where are we going?”
“Home,” Yoongi stated and tugged at his hand as they continued down the road, unnoticed.