It’s been three days. Three days since Jin’s life has been turned upside down, stuck at the wrong angle.
Three days since that tweet was sent out for the whole world to see.
The weekend has passed, and it’s time for him to go to school, the first day entering with the whole school knowing he hasn’t been the perfect angel of a student everyone has made him out to be.
And it seriously sucks.
He’s had no contact with his friends throughout the weekend, keeping his phone in some corner of his room. He just couldn’t deal with it all.
But today, he’s ready. Or at least, he forces himself to be. His parents have been giving him hell the past three days, school is, sadly, his only escape.
Upon entering the school, none of his classmates he always traded notes with or studied with give him a smile of greeting.
However, his small frown is wiped off his face, replaced with a faint of a smile. The six of his friends barrel through the hallways, shouting his name with excitement and glee.
“Jin! You’re here! You’re alive!” Hoseok yells, throwing himself onto Jin in a hug.
He laughs in response, giving everyone else a small hug as well. “Of course I’m alive. I missed you guys.”
“What happened? We tried calling and texting you but you never picked up,” Jungkook asks with worry.
“Yea, me and Tae even went to your house but your dad said you weren’t home,” Jimin says.
“Uh. I just didn’t wanna deal with the real world ya know? No biggie. I’m good now. Don’t worry,” he reassures with a smile.
Namjoon narrows his eyes. “But are you really okay? Why didn’t you tell us about…”
He doesn’t have to finish his question as Jin already understands.
“Should you really be asking that?” Jimin scoffs.
Namjoon gives him a blank look. “What?”
Jin gives them both a confused look, the exchange of words giving him a weird vibe.
“Umm it’s okay, Jimin. He can ask. It’s a long explanation though.”
“We got time, we’re skipping first hour,” Taehyung demands, not even waiting for the others to answer.
He starts walking toward Yoongi’s old studio room, expecting everyone to follow along.
Within a few minutes, all seven of the boys have settled into the tight-fit room.
Six of them expectantly look at Jin.
He clears his throat, looking at the ground to avoid anyone’s gaze. “I- uh. I’ve always been the straight-A student and I didn’t wanna lose that streak. There’s pressure on me from my parents and the school board to keep those good grades, but I was slipping. So I took adderall to help me focus more and just keep me in shape enough to get through the rest of the year.” He pauses to meet Yoongi’s gaze before looking away. “...and my family situation isn’t the best. I’m not being abused or anything. But just- they give me so much shit if I do something wrong. It’s constant yelling and I didn’t know how to deal with it. So I turned to drugs. Stupid, I know.”
Everyone stays silent before Hoseok speaks up quietly. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I didn’t wanna be a burden, putting my problems on you guys.”
“Jin. You absolute idiot. Your problems ARE our problems, okay?” Taehyung says.
“Yea. We just wanna help you,” Jungkook adds.
“Makes no sense how the birdy account figured that out,” Jimin clicks his tongue.
“Why are you even talking about the account right now? We should be focusing on Jin,” Yoongi chides.
Jimin shrugs his shoulders. “Sorry. Anyways, what are you gonna do now? You don’t still have the drugs do you?”
Jin shakes his head.
“Okay good. Cause you can turn to us if you need help, but don’t ever turn toward drugs. Ever,” Hoseok emphasizes.
Jin nods his head. “I know, Yoongi took them from me anyways. I’m not addicted but it’s nice to know you guys are here for me.”
“Wait, Yoongi? Why? How did he know already?”
Jin hesitates before answering. “I told him a few days ago.” He could already see the speculating faces in the room. “BUT, he can’t possibly be the bird account because of all he’s helped me with.”
Taehyung sighs. “Yea, he can’t. There’s no evidence anyways.”
“Can we finish this talk during lunch? I actually have to get to class if I want good grades,” Jin laughs.
All seven boys give a chorus of yeas.
“Oh yea. Happy birthday!” Jimin hugs Jin. The other boys start whooping and tackling Jin in hugs and punches.
“Finally legal!” Jungkook shouts.
Jin tries to escape the punches as he laughs. “Okay, that’s enough. Let’s get to class.”
The school day goes on regularly, or at least, as regular as it can get with secrets floating through the air.
As everyone is leaving school, Jin has a little battle in his mind before pulling Taehyung to the side.
“Hey, Tae. Can I ask a favor?” Jin asks nervously.
Taehyung looks at him in concern. “What is it?”
“Can I stay with you for a few days? Like live with you.”
Taehyung’s eyes go wide and he gives his full attention to Jin. “Why? What’s wrong? How? Will your parents be okay with it?”
“My parents are giving me lots of shit. And yea, I was wrong. But they just keep pushing me over the edge and I don’t wanna deal with them right now. Emotionally and mentally it’s too much. And my birthday passed this weekend. I’m 18. They legally can’t do anything,” Jin explains.
Taehyung is silent before a small smile spreads across his face. “Sure, my parents love you more than me anyways,” he jokes.
Jin’s parents aren’t home when he arrives. He quickly grabs a few necessities, leaves them a note, and heads out the door. Hopefully his siblings will be okay for a few days without him.
As soon as he enters Taehyung’s house, he’s tackled in a hug from Taehyung’s mother.
She giggles as she pulls back from the embrace. “So you two are dating.”
Taehyung face palms. “No mom. We’re just friends. The amount of times I have to tell you this.”
Jin just chuckles at the interaction, thanking Taehyung’s parents for letting him stay before he’s being led to Taehyung’s room to sort out his things.
Taehyung’s parents never pushed for the reason of Jin’s sudden visit, which Jin is super grateful for.
He just needs a breather. Maybe here, he can actually relax for once.
“Taehyung, honey? Do you boys want anything else to eat?” Taehyung’s mother asks, peeking her head out through the window.
The boys all chorus a no.
They are chilling after school at Taehyung's house. Jungkook is almost asleep, laying on Hoseok's lap who is playing on his phone. Jin and Jimin are playing a game of cards with Yoongi cheering them on and Taehyung and Namjoon were playing video games.
Suddenly, Namjoon’s phone rings loudly. He quickly presses the lock button, muting it until he can step out of the room. Taehyung argues with him for pausing the game, but Namjoon is already out of the small bedroom. The room quiets but then resumes in its low chatter. However, Jimin can't get his mind off of who would be calling.
As the afternoon turns to night, the boys slowly trail off home. Jimin starts walking home before a running Namjoon follows him.
“Hey, let me walk you home,” Namjoon says nudging his shoulder. He smiles, displaying his dimples.
“I've been walking home the past two years all by myself. Nothing has happened yet. But I guess you're gonna come along anyways. Since you ‘work’ there,” Jimin adds, a bite lacing his words.
“That's not why I offered,” Namjoon denies quickly.
“Yea. Like I’m some idiot who actually believes that. Get over yourself. I know when you’re lying and when you’re not.” Jimin shrugs Namjoon off. He is beyond pissed and he is going to make sure to show it.
Namjoon follows silently in defeat. As they near the same street where Jimin found out about Namjoon’s secret, Namjoon stops in his tracks. So does Jimin.
“You know what? I should walk in there and find out for myself why it is your doing this.” Jimin starts heading towards the building.
Fear and panic rises in Namjoon so fast that he grabs Jimin’s shoulders and pushes him so hard that Jimin falls to the ground. A small grunt escapes Jimin’s lips before he stands up and launches himself towards the older boy, pushing him squarely in the shoulders.
“OKAY,” Namjoon yells. He breathes deeply. “Okay,” he repeats quietly.
They walk to Jimin’s bakery this time and sit on the front steps.
“My mom leaves. A lot. Almost every night. And I don't know where but each time she comes back a little more of our money's gone and she's a little more drunk than the night before. One night, a couple of men came to my house. They were demanding where my mom was but I didn't know. So they said since she couldn't pay then they would take me instead. They didn't hurt me since they realized I was smart and an actual asset to their business. So they recruited me. And once you’re in, there's no way out. But I’m only the brains. I don't want to hurt anyone. At least I try. With Hobi’s brother, I’m trying my best to help him but it's only making it worse,” Joon gushes.
“Joon, what the hell? All of this happened to you and you kept it a secret. What the actual hell?” Jimin puts his head in his hands. “I'm an idiot, I should’ve never involved myself,” he continues.
“But what do you mean about Hobi’s brother?” Jimin asks wearily, almost scared to hear the answer.
“Hoseok's brother is an addict. A really bad one as it is. He comes in frequently to buy. He doesn’t know I’m part of his dealership. But lately he's been slacking off on the payment. And usually I secretly cop him for it and change the records. But he's noticed that he’s getting away with low amounts of pay and is taking advantage,” Namjoon responds with a stony expression.
Jimin blanches and attempts to close his mouth from gaping open.
“Hobi’s brother?” he squeaks out, his mouth suddenly dry. “Hobi whose dad will kill him if he gets anything below a 4.0? His brother is a druggie?” he tries to comprehend.
“Yeah, but we can’t say anything to Hobi. I don’t even know if he knows,” Namjoon warns.
“Yeah, of course. I’m sorry Joon. I really am,” Jimin apologizes again, throwing himself onto Namjoon in a hug.
“Yeah, I know. Now go inside. It's cold.” He stands up, his hands in his pocket.
“Goodnight, Joon. Be careful please,” he says again and heads inside.
Namjoon smiles until Jimin is out of sight, returning his face to stone.
He presses call. “Mark? I'll be there in 3 minutes.”
Hoseok dreads the sound of the voice he can hear coming from the living room of his house. It’s a voice he never expected to hear again over here, yet the person who the voice belonged to sat squarely on the couch as Hoseok entered the living room.
His mom gives a curt nod to Hoseok. “I’ll leave you two alone.” She then makes her exit toward the back of the house where her room is located.
Hoseok’s gaze lands on to the man once more. “Dad,” he acknowledges, trying to keep the sneer out of his tone. “Why are you here? We usually meet in your office at school. You know, since you’re the principal. We don’t ever meet here since the day you and mom got divorced.”
A fierce look flashes in his father’s eyes. “This seemed rather of an important matter that needed to be addressed somewhere outside of school grounds,” he answers.
Hoseok knows what’s about to come. He’s been anticipating it for the past few days, something he can’t avoid.
“Why?” Is all his father says.
Hoseok knows in reference to what he’s asking. But he stays silent.
“Why?” His father repeats, voice louder.
Frustration passes through Hoseok. “I’m sick and tired of being the perfect image of what a high school jock like me should be. Sick and tired, okay? I wasn’t happy.”
“Your happiness doesn’t matter at the moment. Your image does. I don’t wanna force you in who you should date but that girl can ruin your reputation in a snap. And the worse thing you could’ve done was break-up with her, getting her riled up even more,” his father’s voice booms.
Hoseok scoffs with disdain. “Do you hear yourself? You’re so worried about my image that you don’t even care I wasn’t happy.”
“Your happiness lies within your image, Hoseok. Don’t you want a good scholarship? Don’t you want the scouts to notice you and accept you into their university? You had that going for you. But with the strong influence of that girl gone, it’ll go downhill from here.”
“I don’t wanna cheat for a position. I don’t need her help. And if she’s that mad at me to spread a bad image of me to universities, I don’t care. The fact you don’t believe in me enough to the point you think I can’t get anywhere with my football skills without someone helping me. Universities should accept me for my talent, not for my allies.”
His father is seething, at loss for words for the son he had such a great future planned out for.
“I think you should leave. Kick me off the team if you want. I literally don’t give a fuck anymore. I’ll find another way to make it on top if it bothers you that much,” Hoseok says, controlling the anger in his voice.
At that exact moment, his mother walks in.
His father gives one last look at Hoseok. “You’re not off the team. But you better work your but off if you want to secure a spot with a scholarship at a good university. Don’t expect me to acknowledge your skills until you become the best of the best. Goodbye,” he finally says, moving to exit the house.
He gives a small bow to Hoseok’s mother on his way out.
There’s a moment of silence before Hoseok’s mother wraps Hoseok in a side hug. “You okay?”
“Yea. Just seems like a bunch of bullshit to me.”