Isolated: Far away from other places, buildings, or people; remote.
Even with the bright sunlight shining into the attic, the window seemed to collect more dust. A single chair sat near the window, one leg snapped in half and only held together with old (and nearly pointless) duct tape. Could he afford a new chair? No. Without any money or motivation, he allowed the house to decay and rot around him.
He did not particularly enjoy the loneliness. It kept others alive and safe however, and that was all that mattered. The burns and callouses on his hands was a reminder of why he lived his life this way. The veiny burn scars that littered his body proved to him that he deserved this.
Jeongguk could remember the screams mixed with his own in the rainy night. His voice burned with regret and sorrow mingled with the devastation and horror at the event. It was all a mistake. His mistake. His burden.
Jeongguk ran away and did not look back. He could not. Not with fear lacing his bones with every quivering breath. He did not remember a time he slept without hearing the dreadful screams. The boy was so innocent. The fallen victim.
Electricity raced in his blood stream, empowering his every breath, and move. It begged for release, to get out into the world around him and cause unintentional harm.
It was a burden Jeongguk was tasked to live with. He discovered it when he was twelve and short circuited the Tv by merely touching the screen. The Tv smoked and caught onto fire after blue lightning shot from Jeongguk’s hand. Jeongguk’s hand was fully burnt after the incident and he endured all the pain, as if he'd been electrocuted.
His powers weren't easy to control. He would break small things like lamps, toasters, and computers. It soon became out of control. He would nearly electrocute everyone on the bus, in a building, or on the street. He no longer allowed himself to use public transportation, go into crowded areas, or go out in the rain. His entire world flipped. He was a danger.
His friends around him were supportive, often trying to pull Jeongguk out of his dark abyss of depression. He didn't deserve the love he received from his friends.
No matter how many times Jeongguk broke the gaming counsel, Taehyung and Hoseok were always assuring him that is wasn't his fault. “You just didn't want us to win!” They'd laugh and ruffle Jeongguk’s hair. After buying three they realized it was useless to buy any more with the little money they had.
No matter how many times Jeongguk broke the kitchen appliances, Seokjin just smiled sadly and hugged him. “We’ll eat out tonight.” Soon they could no longer afford kitchen appliances and often went nights without a meal.
No matter how many times Jeongguk broke the recording equipment, Namjoon and Yoongi wouldn't yell at him. “The store rents them out sometimes.” They'd smile and pat the boy on the shoulder. They could not always afford to use the equipment and would miss crucial deadlines. They were close to losing their jobs.
No matter how many time Jeongguk send sparks of electricity racing up Jimin’s skin, the innocent boy would smile at him. “You always get my heart racing, don't you?” Jimin’s smiles began to fade as the sparks got more harmful. His beautiful laugh became cries of pain.
It was Jimin’s screams that haunted Jeongguk in the dead of night. He could no longer remember the brilliant smiles, instead remembering the tears and cries Jimin would let out every time Jeongguk could not control his powers.
“Can you stop being irrational?” Jimin shouted at Jeongguk one stormy night. “Don't do anything stupid.”
Jeongguk needed to get out of the house. Jimin let out the loudest cry of pain just moments ago, and Jeongguk finally broke. “I need to go.” You're too pure for me. Too fragile.
“Stop,” Jeongguk fisted his hair and he knew that blue sparks surrounded his hand and burned his scarred skin. He remembered when it was smooth and pale. Never again. “Stop acting like you're not hurt Jimin!”
“Stop trying to leave me!” Jimin shouted back. “I don't care if you hurt me, I love you.”
Jeongguk turned around and opened the door just as one of the other boys came to the living room to see what was going on. “Don't you dare leave me.” Jeongguk didn't think twice before running down the stairs and into the rainy streets.
“Jeongguk!” Jimin followed him into the rain, ready to run after the younger. Right as Jeongguk stepped into a puddle at the bottom of the stairs he knew he made the biggest mistake of his life. Blue bolts raced from the water to the metal railing where it led up to Jimin’s hand and to the rest of his body.
He let out a blood curdling scream as he fell on the steps. Jeongguk went racing up the steps before the front door even opened and Yoongi raced out towards Jimin. Jimin was crying out on the stairs and Jeongguk, steps away, was pushed back by Yoongi right as all the other boys raced out to see what was happening.
“Get away from him. Can't you see what you've done?” Yoongi yelled at him. “You've might have finally killed him after all this time.”
One of the boys, Jeongguk couldn't see, was calling an ambulance while the others brought Jimin inside. Yoongi kept his heavy glare on Jeongguk. You've might have finally killed him after all this time.
Jeongguk went bolting, jumping over the puddle, and running down the street and into the stormy night. Never again would he go back.
Jeongguk wonders what it would be like to go out again, to feel the sun on his crisp and ashy skin, to remember the feeling of the wind. The house he resided in was about a two-hour drive from his last place in Seoul, but it meant he was not going to do more harm. The house was in a beat-up town and the house was a disaster on the outside (along with the inside). The shingles were hanging on by only a few nails, the green grass was dead and was replaced with dirt, the paint was chipping as if it was never there to begin with, and most of the windows were either shattered or cracked. Winters were often beautiful.
It's been five years since Jeongguk left the house.
He would get his food from the dumpster in the dark alley behind the house at night. It was disgusting but it got him by. He had no money, had no other source of food. Sometimes he would sneak to the food bank a street away and snag some food.
Everything in the house was powered by him, the Tv, the useless heater, the lights. After a year of isolation, he could practice controlling the electricity in his veins. He still didn't trust himself around people though. They were too frail, too vulnerable. Life was precious and for all he knew he killed his lover.
So, five years after the incident he didn't expect a slight knock on his door.
Jeongguk nearly jumped out of his skin and he raced to look out of the dusty attic window. The cracked window was tinted yellow but outside on the porch was a single man. Jeongguk could see someone sitting in the car parked on the driveway. Waiting.
The person knocked again and Jeongguk quickly ran down of the stairs two at a time before peeping in the peephole. He felt electricity surge through him. “Hello?” said the man. “Anyone in there?”
No no no. Nobody could know he resided here. Jeongguk took a few steps away from the door and further into the living room (if you can even call it that). Maybe he could leave, escape before anyone knew he was there.
The plan proved efficient until Jeongguk turned around and knocked into the rotten table and knocked the antique lamp over. The sound of glass shattering filled the whole house.
Jeongguk waited close to a minute before unlocking the door and opening it slightly. The man perked up and shuffled on his feet as he saw the door open a smidgen. It was too dark inside to see Jeongguk’s face. “Hello,” the man said again, glancing at the running car in the driveway, “I was just—ah—looking for someone? Perhaps you can help?”
Jeongguk was trapped. He could slam the door shut but there was no way he would forgive himself. “I haven't seen him in years but somebody down town said someone lived here. You haven't left the house?”
Jeongguk stayed silent. His voice was unused and raw, disgusting compared to this man’s light and soft voice. “Please,” the man begged. “We’ve been going town to town. I need help, I’m begging you.”
The lights in the background began to flicker as the sound of surging electric currents filled the air before the light bulbs providing the only light in the house shattered and put the house in complete darkness. “Jeongguk?”
A whisker. A plea.
Jeongguk opened the door more the expose his dark and sunken face. Jimin felt like the world swayed around him as his heart stopped.
Jimin took a small step forward but Jungkook ducked his head and backed away, swaying the door closer to closed. Jimin instantly took a step back. “I—I’ve been looking for you…”
Jungkook kept his head bowed and closed his eyes. “You should go.” His throat sounded like nails on a chalkboard and felt like fire.
Jimin shook his head. “I’m not leaving. Not until you come back home.” Jimin looked completely different. His blond hair was now a midnight shadow as well as grew a few centimeters and gained a healthy amount of weight back (something Jeongguk prayed for every night when they were together. He was always too skinny). Dark lines rimmed his eyes and his lips seemed to be in a permanent frown. He wore a black and white designed t-shirt with tight jeans and his boots, a classic Jimin outfit.
Jeongguk raised his head enough to let Jimin see his face. Jeongguk’s entire body had thinned out to only skin and bones. His cheeks were sunken in and his skin was a sickly pale color. He really shouldn't be alive. He wore the same clothes as the day he left, a dark faded hoodie with jeans. His boots were falling apart and threads were coming off his clothing. “Come home.”
“I hurt you.”
The blood curdling screams resurfaced quickly which caused Jeongguk to flinch and close his eyes. You've might have finally killed him after all this time.
Jimin took a breath and surged toward Jeongguk, taking his hands in his. Jeongguk was quick to stumble back and turned away. His once tight jeans that fit snuggly on his legs were now hanging onto nothing, empty space filled the space now.
Jimin saw this as an opportunity to enter the house “I’m fine now,” Jimin kept the door open behind him. “I just want you home.” Blue bolts surged on the floor and settled on the ceiling.
“I hurt you.”
Jimin was pulling on nonexistent strings. The last five years of his have been dedicated looking for Jeongguk. When Jimin woke up in the hospital the first he said was his name, and when the boys said he ran he thought he was having a heart attack. Once he was fully healed he nearly (and physically) clawed Yoongi’s eyes out.
“This is your fault!”
“He has been killing you for two years!”
“He’s gone because of you! He could be anywhere! He could be dead!”
“No, you're not!”
Jimin’s eyes were tearing. Five years spent looking, he wasn't giving up easily. “You hurt me more by leaving.”
Jeongguk tensed up.
“Why did you leave? You knew I loved you,” Jimin begged. “I wanted you to stay by my side.”
“I thought you died.” Yoongi’s words haunted him because it was true. Jimin was on the brink of death and it was because of Jeongguk. He didn't run because of Yoongi. He ran because Jeongguk was afraid of himself.
Jimin gently grabbed Jeongguk’s hands again. “I’m alive though.”
There was a sudden light knock on the open door and Jeongguk looked up to see another familiar and haunting face. He looked the same but older, his features sharper and slightly taller. Yoongi’s hair was a darker shade of brown—now nearly black—and his face had thinned out. “I wanted to make sure everything was okay.”
He then met Jeongguk’s eyes and his mouth parted slightly, not truly believing his own eyes. Jeongguk let go of Jimin’s hands and wrapped his arms around himself and bowed his head, backing away from the scene.
When strong arms wrapped around him Jeongguk finally broke, tears falling on his cheeks and sobs leaving his parched mouth. It’s been too long. He broke down. Jimin buried his head in the crook of Jeongguk’s neck and squeezed his arms around him. Yoongi walked closer and got a clearer look of the corpse of a man.
“You were dead,” Jeongguk choked out through tears. “I saw you. I hurt you.”
Jimin held onto Jeongguk’s face. “Baby, I’m fine now. Look at me! You're not dangerous, you didn't kill me, please come home.”
“Why—why don't you hate me,” Jeongguk’s grey skin mixed with red, the first color Jimin has seen in the house. “I’m dangerous.”
“We would never hate you,” Yoongi whispered encouragingly. “We all missed you.” It was true. After a few days without Jeongguk, Yoongi realized he made the biggest mistake. A part of their dysfunctional family was missing. It was a family nonetheless and every member was essential. Jeongguk tied them all together and without him all the boys were more prone to argue and yell over things. “The others…they'll want to see you too. Taehyung hasn't been the same ever since...we all haven't.”
“We still have your stuff,” Jimin held onto Jeongguk's hands tightly, tugging them lightly to get Jeongguk’s attention. “I knew someday I’d find you. Please come with us. Please leave this place, you're not healthy at all. When was the last time you had a full meal?”
Jeongguk let a few more years fall before he saw Yoongi rub his arms, too cold in the dark household. It was fall after all and was chilling down. Jeongguk carefully sent an electric current and turned on the heater on the other side of the room. The two others turned to see what just happened.
“Have you…you learned to control it?” Jimin asked softly. Jeongguk nodded shyly, avoiding eye contact. Jimin’s beautiful smile graced his face. “Baby I’m so proud of you.”
Baby. He said it as if Jeongguk hadn't nearly killed him. As if the five-year gap never existed. As if he still cared.
Jeongguk's face flared. “Should we leave then? We’re not leaving without you. We have a hotel room a couple minutes away,” Yoongi said.
“You can get showered a washed up and we can go get some food,” Jimin rubbed Jeongguk's arms. “And tomorrow we can go home and see the others and we’ll be a family again.”
“It hasn't been the same without you,” Yoongi commented.
“Not even close.”
It was silent for a couple of moments. Yoongi and Jimin feared that there was no hope. Jeongguk would forever fear himself and lock himself in this ransack of a house. They would never get their family back.
“I want to go home,” he whispered.
He wanted to see Taehyung and Hoseok, both with brilliant smiles as they fight and bicker and play. He wanted to see Seokjin and Namjoon who were so desperately in love with each other that each word they said to each other was a word of poetry. Jeongguk wanted to be surrounded by them all again, wanted to feel the familiar warmth not only on the outside but on the inside as well.
“I want to go home.”
Yoongi was driving the car while Jeongguk and Jimin sat in the backseat. Jeongguk was practically staring at the world like it was never discovered before. Little sounds escaped him, unbeknownst to him. Jimin couldn't keep the smile off his face. “When was the last time you went outside?”
Jeongguk turned to look at Jimin. “After I hurt you…I didn't want to hurt anyone else,” Jeongguk turned back to look outside. “I went outside every few days to get food.”
“Where did you get food?” Yoongi asked carefully. Jimin raised his eyebrows.
Jeongguk sunk in his seat. “I had no money…” he mumbled. “There would be leftovers thrown away in the dumpster out back…Sometimes I stole food from the food pantry.”
None of the boys said anything but were grateful they pulled up to the cheap hotel. Jimin grabbed onto Jeongguk’s hand and helped him out of the car. “We’re going to get you all washed up and clean and we’ll feed you a full meal and you’ll sleep in a comfy bed tonight…” Jimin was rambling as he took a duffle bag from Yoongi and threw it over his shoulder.
Yoongi clasped a hand tightly on Jeongguk’s shoulder, making Jeongguk whimper at the impact. Too bony. Yoongi knew Jeongguk needed to see a doctor, and soon, but he didn't know if Jeongguk would even be willing to go.
They quickly made it to the hotel room on the third floor to see there was only two beds. “Let's get you out of these clothes,” Jimin tugged Jeongguk toward the bathroom. “Yoongi can you go get some clothes ready for him?”
Jimin didn't wait for an answer before he closed the bathroom door, quickly turning on the shower. Jeongguk stood awkwardly away from Jimin, looking at his crisped hands. The florescent lights made his skin even darker. Jimin grabbed his hands and inspected them.
They were dark five years ago, but now it looked as if Jeongguk stuffed his hands in coal dust. “Do you need help?”
Jeongguk nodded his head shyly as Jimin tugged the faded hoodie off Jeongguk only to see the black veins covering his entire torso. Jimin didn't spend too much time staring, afraid that it would make Jeongguk insecure, and took off his pants, underwear, and sneakers. Jimin put all the clothes in the cabinet under the sink. “We won't be dealing with that.” The smell was atrocious.
Jeongguk looked away and his eyes caught onto the mirror and he quickly looked away. He looked terrible. Why were they even helping him? He had black burns I the shape of veins creeped up his neck and spilled onto his hollow cheeks, some even creeped down from his hairline to the outermost corner of his right eye, allowing it to blend in with his dark hair.
The shower was running and steam filled the air. All Jeongguk was focused on was controlling his electricity. “C-Can I take it alone?”
Jimin understood why and didn't question as he kissed the younger’s ashen cheek. “Take as much time as you need, I’ll help you change and blow dry your hair afterwards. Call me if you need anything.” Jeongguk nodded as Jimin left the bathroom.
Now it was only Jimin and Yoongi. Yoongi sat on one of the beds, cross legged and barefoot while on the phone. “Hey, me and Jimin got to the hotel just now.”
Seokjin sighed in relief. “You should've been there hours ago, you had all us worried…”
“Sorry hyung,” Yoongi rubbed his eyes.
“No luck?” It seemed as if it was a routine phone call. Jimin and him went around South Korea trying to find leads that led to Jeongguk. Each time they failed.
Yoongi braced himself. “We found him,” he heard the gasp on the other line. “He’s taking a shower…he’s in such bad shape…he's like dust.”
“You found him?” Seokjin said louder and Yoongi could hear the commotion on the other side of the phone call. “Oh God, oh God.”
Someone else grabbed the phone. “How is he?” It was Taehyung, with his concerning brotherly tone. “Our Guk.”
“He’s…” Yoongi glanced to the bathroom and then to Jimin who laid down next to Yoongi. “He’s locked himself in a house for five years…he’s all skin and bones. He thinks he’s dangerous but he has control of his powers, or a little control at least.”
It was silent on both ends before—“Minnie?” it was just loud enough for the phone to pick up. Jimin rushed off the bed.
“Coming baby,” Jimin grabbed the clothes Yoongi left out and went into the bathroom.
“Was that him?” It was now Hoseok.
“Yeah,” Yoongi breathed. “He was in the shower, Jimin is helping him right now. We’re going to go get food in a little bit.”
“Are you going to bring him back tonight or tomorrow?” Hoseok asked.
“Tomorrow probably, first thing in the morning. He’ll be overwhelmed tonight and who knows when was the last time he slept in a bed,” Yoongi sighed.
As Yoongi continued the conversation now with Namjoon, Jimin was drying Jeongguk’s body off and slipping clothes on his that hung off his body. “Do you feel clean now?”
Jeongguk nodded quickly and gave a small smile. “Beautiful,” Jimin murmured and held both of Jeongguk’s cheeks. The younger blushed furiously. “Let’s blow dry that hair.”
Jeongguk was led back into the bed area where Jimin pulled the blow dryer and brush from Yoongi’s bag and situated the both of them on the floor. Jimin began to brush through Jeongguk's hair. The younger closed his eyes at how good the feeling was. It's been too long.
“I ordered room service,” Yoongi said from the bed. “The boys said that we’re going out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow.” Jimin chuckled at the exaggeration. If anything, they'd go out for lunch and then go out for ice cream afterwards.
“Do they…” Jeongguk mumbled. “Do they hate me? I mean…I want to fix it.”
Yoongi sat up on the bed, letting his feet hang off the bed. “No,” he shook his head. “No, of course not. They were all just crying because of the news. We all wanted you back so bad.”
Jimin wrapped his arms around the frail boy. “And now we do. Tomorrow might be hectic but soon everything is going to be perfect. We missed you. I missed you.”
Jimin pecked his cheek and Jeongguk almost short circuited the blow dryer. While Jimin was blow drying Jeongguk’s hair, Yoongi took a picture of the two of them and sent it to the group text. ‘Last family member. Found.’
Ignoring the responses Yoongi jumped to get the door for the food.
Jimin and Jeongguk slept together that night, bodies interwoven together. Their bodies were also interwoven in the backseat of the car. Jimin would constantly point stuff out through the window which made Jeongguk’s eyes grow.
Halfway through the car ride the radio stopped working, Yoongi wasn't surprised. The damn radio always broke. All the sudden thought he white noise was eliminated and the radio worked perfectly. All it took was a glance at the youngest’s hands to realize why it was working. He wasn't even paying attention, just staring out the window.
“Does it hurt?” Jimin asked.
Jeongguk furrowed his eyebrows. “Does what hurt?”
“Your hands, your body, whenever you use the electricity?”
Jeongguk looked at his hands, seeing it burn and leaving another layer of scars on top of the already existing layer. “Not anymore.”
The rest of the ride went by like a breeze but as soon as they parked in the driveway Jeongguk's body tensed up. The boys left the old apartment four years ago, and instead found a duplex that was separated evenly. Seokjin, Namjoon, and Yoongi stayed in one part while Hoseok, Taehyung, and Jimin stayed in the other. “You can stay with me,” Jimin said during the ride. “Just like the old times.”
When Jeongguk got out of the car he felt his knees go weak. Was he ready for this? Jimin held onto tightly on his hand, feeling the heat of electricity warm his hand. “I’ll be right here.”
The door slammed open and his best friend came running out, slamming right into Jeongguk with a cry. Jeongguk stumbled back, letting go of Jimin’s hand in the process as he wrapped his arms around the man. It only took seconds to make both of them cry.
“You asshole,” he rocked the two. “I missed you so so so much.” There was no hate in his tone only love and sorrow.
Jeongguk held on tighter. “I missed you too Tae.”
“I never felt more relieved in my entire life,” Hoseok now tugged on Jeongguk for a hug which was happily obliged. “I felt like a piece of my heart was missing.” Hoseok was wiping away his tears.
“Guk!” Namjoon raced down the porch steps and crashed into the frail boy for a bone crushing hug. “You're never leaving out sight. Never again I won't allow it.” They both laughed lightly.
“My little boy,” Seokjin pulled Jeongguk into a gentle hug, rubbing his back and rocking the two of them. “Oh, how we needed you.”
Jimin soon grabbed onto Jeongguk's hand again and was beaming. A little zap came from Jeongguk unbeknownst and all Jimin did was kiss his love’s cheek.
He missed the zaps and the shocks and the electricity. It always got his heart racing.