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Ruin Me, I Dare You.

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“When the world discovered the existence of soul mates it was by accident.

The Existent Experiment. An experiment that was meant to find proof of the existence of the human soul. An experiment that blew up in it's researchers faces, releasing particles into the atmosphere. A plague that spread across the world in a matter of months.  It took the survivors a year to work out what had gone wrong, but when they did it was too late. The Existent Phenomenon had begun.

The Tether they called it. A  membrane invisible to the human eye, exiting on a parallel plane which inextricably connects one soul to another. Soul Mates; the title of every newspaper revealed the greatest discovery known to man…”

Jane grumbled angrily at her laptop screen as her finger repeatedly stabbed the full stop on her keyboard.

This was the fourth draft of the movie blurb she had written this evening. It was also the 5th this month where the brief centered around the EXP. Two starcrossed lovers. An assassin and a cop discover they are soul mates but bound to be enemies. Her favourite was the mob boss and FBI agent finding out they are soul mates. Because that’s original. What she wouldn’t give to write a sappy blurb about two coppers on the job, partners before soulmates. Performing their duties like it didn't make a difference that they were tethered. 

It's been ten years since her parents discovered they were Soulmates. Washing the dishes of all things when they experienced the Switch. They saw each other through the others eyes, standing over the kitchen sink, dishtowel in hand and smiled when they saw themself through the others eyes. The moment they went back to normal, they kissed each other and finished washing the dishes. Though perhaps they were the lucky ones.

Plenty of marriages had ended up in divorce since the metaphorical Second Big Bang. It was hard discovering the one who you had put a ring on wasn't your destined partner.

Liz, Jane's best friend from high school was a child of divorce. The new cruelty kids came up with these days. Unsubstantiated rumours that insinuated children born to non Soulmates were not meant to be born. That they weren't connected to a Tether and would die Old and Alone. She had the last laugh there.

But why does the world have to make a big deal out of The EXP. Why can’t they treat it like the invention of the bicycle or the telephone. It’s a benefit to society, but that does not give them the right to allow It to invade every crevice of society. Every commission Jane had taken in the last three years have been about the damn EXP.

If it wasn't because she needed the money. 

Five years the trend has lasted, unheard of in publishing. Five years and every book, movie and tv show had been about the damned Existent Phenomenon. What happened to Game of Thrones? What happened to Supernatural for peats sake!!!!

Jane finished the draft reluctantly and emails it to the company. A distant hope that she was not going to get another blurb commission this week. She was all for aiding fellow writers with their publishing aspirations. It was the least she could do if she ever expected the same treatment.

A double-edged sword.

Slipping her phone into the pocket of her pjs , ear phones in her ears, Jane closed down production in her crammed, little office of organisational chaos.

She pushed the buds further into her ears as she sashayed past her parents room. She needed new ones like yesterday.  

A solitary figure, dancing through a silent house to the voices in her ears. Certainly not an unfamiliar site if one had watched that haunted house show on Netflix. Or so Jane had heard. She still hadn't watched it. Horror should be enjoyed in groups. With the lights on. In the middle of the day.

The clock as she passed it read 12.01pm.

If she went to bed now, she would get in at least 6 hours of sleep. That was enough time to get in 5 hours of writing in the morning before Jane's agent, Fiona sent her notes on the latest draft. 

Months powering over chapter rewrites, highlighted paragraphs, emails back and forth to explain why something could not be removed from the book because it would fall apart otherwise had made Jane a Realist.  If not with pessimistic tendencies. 

It would be the last draft. If Fate was kind to Jane. 

Jane’s standing in front of the mirror, making a mental list in her head of tomorrows schedule, toothbrush in hand, paste threatening to drip down her chin when it happened.

 

She’s standing before a mirror.  A studio, mirror from wall to wall, music blaring through speakers behind her. Her chest is heaving, her muscles sore. Silver hair sweeps across her vision as sweat drips down her neck. A male reflection stares back.

A moment passes. A blink. An inhale and she’s no longer staring out of those eyes. The reflection shows black hair. A figure to the left, silver hanging from an ear. 

Same mirror, same studio. She feels herself stumble. Her intake of air sharp. Shocked. 

Another breath. An exhale. She’s paused in motion. Her body hesitant to move. Arms outstretched. Another face staring back through different eyes. Another reflection.

A blink. A different foot steps forward. A new body jolts.  Excitement fills her.
Another breath. She turns. A different face. Focused on her fallen brother. Concern turns to trepidation. 

A sharp intake. Different Eyes. Different Hands. Realization strikes. A new reflection.

Another release. Body loose. Eyes Alert. A smile. Another Reflection.

 

Like surfacing from beneath an ocean wave.  Icy. Breathless. Vision blurred from the salt water. Jane was frozen.  Her toothbrush hovered over the sink, a white abyss.

BREATHE JANE!

The exhale came out fast. A peppermint cascade of foam across the sink.

This couldn’t be happening.

The toothbrush left her hand. 

It had to be because of what she was listening to. A paranoid delusion because she listened too much kpop when she was stressed and prone to whinge.

There were stories about this kind of thing, about people matching across the world. Strangers who wouldn't normally have crossed paths. The Tether wasn’t a physical thing. It wasn’t constrained to the laws of the natural word, so a single tether was common. But more then one?

How could it be them?

Her breathing became ragged as she dragged her legs out into the hall. The cry to her parents escaped her lips, drowned out by the music in her ears. She clung to furniture for support, her feet barely finding ground.

Were the walls closing in?

She could feel pressure building in her chest. A panic attack?

Another cry escaped her before the puppeteer cut her strings. Her knees collided with the floor sending shock waves up her hips. 

She recognized the struggle to breath, the feeling of not being able to get enough air even when her lungs filled. The sensation of her chest not expanding or her lungs being too small to take in the air she required to breath. The air felt thin. She grasped for something to ground her, the floor, her pants, the door frame.

Vibrations in the timber floor beneath her caused her to look up.  The terrified faces of her parents cut across her vision as it began to darken. The corners of her sight blackened until all she could focus on is Their voices. But even They faded to nothingness when the darkness took hold.

 


 

Jane woke to a beeping. A monotonous high pitched beep that still needed a lesson in rhythm. She rolled away from the familiar sound, burying her head deeper into the pillow. 

They still don’t have volume control on those things?

She turned and winced as a tug at her arm, a sharp pain, halted her. A familiar sensation. As were the cords across her chest. A heart monitor.

A moan escaped her as she peeked through her lids. A ceiling that would make the weakest claimant of trypophobia squirm greeted her.

Shit!

She looked to her arm were she found her shackle. An IV.

Double Shit!

A hospital. Not her favourite place in the world.

She looked around. At least it wasn’t a private room. Those drove her to boredom. 

The curtains around her had been drawn closed and her father, his face grave, stared as her from across the vast distance of the cotton cream expanse that was her hospital blanket.

"Since when do you have panic attacks?” He looked like he hadn't slept.

"Since last night apparently."  She shuffled into a sitting position, adjusting her IV and began to search for any liquid that would lubricate her sandpaper throat. There was a jug on the bed side table. She filled a glass and chugged it, then filled another because IV be damned. It did shit all to relieve actual throat parching thirst.

She drank enough water to fill a bath, which would be awesome right about now. She felt sweaty, and dirty and not fit to be seen in public let alone taking up a bed in a public hospital.

She did not need to be here.

The amount of damage caused by Switches in the last ten years was extensive, sure. Car accidents. Pedestrians stopping in the middle of the street during peak traffic. Collage football players who missed the winning pass because they switched with their soulmate at the wrong moment. Though that was more emotional damage then physical.

Even a skydiver with two broken legs and a shattered pelvis as a result of switching in freefall had more right to be in a bed then she did.
The UN’s Switch Related Incident Legislation was implemented for those very things. Not for a 24 year old writer after having a switch induced panic attack

Surely it didn’t compare to a fractured pelvis.

A doctor appeared at the end of her bed, her father rising to meet him. A mind reader. Just at the moment she was deciding to make a run for it too.

He was young, mid 20’s maybe and married going by the ring on his finger. He'd probably had a normal switch. He was probably in medical school when it happened. Not brushing his teeth.

"Miss Seville, how are you feeling?" 

Embarrassed. “I had a panic attack right?" She scratched at an itch on her other arm only for her fingers to catch on something. Another bandage covered the inside of her elbow. 

They took blood!

Crap!

"It would seem so. Your test results confirm that the Existent Particles in your system are now active." Double Crap! Not the way she wanted her father to find out about this part of her life.

"How long ago was your First Switch?" the doctor asked, face glued to his tablet, stylus tapping away waiting for Jane’s answer.
She glanced at her father, his face alert and hyper focused. He too was awaiting her answer. She searched for her phone finding it by the jug.

Taping the screen on, Jane had to hold back a squeal.

She cursed fate for having a sense of humour, if she could call it that, and banishes her phone to depths of her pocket.
"Twelve hours ago. Why did I sleep so long if it was just a panic attack?"  She was unable to look at her father as the Doctor answered.

"Switches can effect people differently. Though mild, it appears your Asthma reacted to the particles causing you to black out. But it is rare. Was there anything unusual about your Switch?" 

YES.

His tapping continued. He hadn’t even looked at her yet.

“It was long distance." Jane tried not to notice her father fidgeting as he retook his seat. They hadn’t talked about this possibility, about what this sort of thing would mean for her.

The doctor brushed it off. Long distance Soulmates were not uncommon now that the world was international. "God only knows what it would have been like in middle ages - Fire and Brimstone." He laughed. At himself.

Jane forced a smile. She didn't feel compelled to explain to someone who should be more intelligent, that it wouldn't have happened in the middle ages. What with humans highly suspicious stance on science. 
He proceeded down his checklist. Tapping away as Jane answered his questions. He ordered her to drink another liter of fluid today, and to get in contact with her Soulmate as soon as possible. It wouldn’t do her any good to get sick.

No she wouldn't want that. 

Soulsickness.

A bane to the world.

To have an invisible rope tide to her very essence, to tug at her. To feel lethargic. To sap all her energy. To take away her desire to eat one too many pieces of red liquorice or remove her capacity to drink erroneous amounts of tea. 

All because her Tether had a distance complex. 

Because she wasn’t in the same vicinity as her Soulmate.

Who would willingly want that.

Stupid Existent Particles. Why do they have to be drawn to each other without consulting their host?  It's not her fault she lives 7000km away from her Soulmate.

…Soulmates.

Plural.

Was it even right to call them that?

"Considering your history and your reaction," the man continued. " I would recommend sending a blood sample to Prometheus Labs for testing. Just in case."

No.

"NO."

He didn't seem to understand her reasoning. He knew her history he said. The paperwork was right there. She was drug free. The test confirmed it. He’d said it with such a straight face too. He even assured her it was perfectly safe. That it was just a precaution. 

She knew that too. But it was still a no. The man really didn’t seem to comprehend the English Language, but at least he had looked up from his damn tablet.

With a sardonic expression on his face, the told Jane to be mindful of further Switches. Now that she’d shared her first with her Soulmate, she should expect more throughout her life time. 

“Always be vigilant Miss Seville."

When Dr. likely-not-as-intelligent-as-he-appeared finally left, relieving Jane of her shackles, she still couldn’t relax. Her focus shifted to signing herself out, desperate to put her mind to other things. But her father sequestered her to her bed. She was to stay put whilst he went to the Surgical floor where her mother worked so he could update her on Jane's now conscious state. 
At least Jane didn’t have to feel guilty about causing her Mum to take a sick day because of her. Her list of oh-shit-what-now was already high.
It took her a moment to settle. If it wasn’t the white coats, or the mottled blue curtains, it was the fluorescent lighting mixed with the scent of antiseptic and chocolates. 
Giant red and pink balloons in varying forms of hearts littered the room like confetti. Someone even thought they were being ironic and had found a balloon shaped like a real heart. It floated from the chair of the nurse behind the desk with a ribbon that said ‘Will you be my Soulmate?’

Unoriginal. 

Jane blew her unruly hair from her eyes. She'd hate to see the state it was in. 24 hours since the last time she'd had a brush through it, and that was before she'd piled it into a messy bun atop her head.

She collapsed back into the hospital bed, her body falling into the mattress. An old friend. They really needed to overhaul of their hospitality department. The blankets still smelt stale and musty.

Jane just lay there, unmoving. A corpse for lack of a better word.

With nothing but the beeping of distant heart monitors for company, Jane couldn’t help the images from floating into her head.

Images of silver hair and plump lips. Of  broad shoulders and boxy smiles. Of sweat soaked singlets clinging to muscled bodies. Of exhaustion and excitement running through her body. The sensation of emotions not her own.

Stupid Tether!

Why couldn’t it have been their manager instead, or a choreographer. The clerk at their corner shop near their dorm. Hell, even that hot security guard would have suited Jane fine.

This was beyond comprehension.

Jane found herself searching for her pocket, releasing the device from it’s exile. Her other hand crawled out from beneath the covers like a thief. A pursuit for the earphones on the bedside table.

From within the shelter of the covers, the light of her phone illuminating the shake of her hands, Jane typed in the three letters she never expected to fill her with dread.

B.
T.
S.

Video after video filed a line down her phone screen. Each video 100 million+ views. Most popular first. The music videos first.

She slid her finger up the screen. Searching.  She hesitated when the thumbnail appeared, her finger hovering over the screen.

| BTS (방탄소년단) 기다릴게 (I Will Wait) Music Core Performance|

A song she knew by heart. A song she’d played on repeat for two days before she had memorized the lyrics. A song whose meaning had been changed in a single moment. 12 hours ago.

Her finger hit the glass.

Her ears filled with the roaring of the crowd. The fan chant ripped through the entry music like a sword through tapestry, a united Army.

The camera panned over seven silhouettes, the coloured lights over head bouncing off their black jackets. Glossy and gleaming as their shoulders bounced and rolled. A warning. That it was too late to turn back now.

The chant ended. The spotlights lit up the stage.

The beat hit and Jung Hoseok popped.

A STRANGER SMILES. IS IT ME THAT YOU SEE OR THE FACADE MADE OF PORCELAIN AND GLASS.

A god of rhythm. His body moved without constraint. A solar eclipse in motion that Jane would have gladly stared at and gone blind if it meant she could feel his rays. Sunshine incarnate. An exterior that lit up the world, with a burning heat hidden inside.

WILL THE GROUND RUPTURE IF I TAKE A WRONG TURN, THE HEDGE GROW UP BEHIND ME IF I GO LEFT INSTEAD OF RIGHT

Now all she felt like was a trespasser along the Sun’s path. 

She was a thief stealing glances that once upon a time, she thought were meant for her. A song made for an 18 year overweight girl to strive for something better. To meet her truer self. 

BEAT DOWN THE WALLS, DEMAND THE BANNER IN YOU NAME...

A letter to a future Jane. To love herself. To let others love her in return.

THE CHOICE IS YOURS, A BATTLE CRY, AN HONOUR GUARD AWAITS.

Kook’s voice converted airwaves to magic. Lyrics into a spell. Cast years ago on a broken girl, her heart in tatters. Willing to be stitched back together by the boy who didn’t even know her name.

A name she was now expected to tell him. Her breathing faltered.

EMBROIDER YOUR NAME ON MY HEART. BLEED INTO ME MY DECALCOMANIA. 

Fate had it wrong. The machinery of the universe was broken. There was a cog missing, a screw loose. The threads had been weaved wrong. 

Her Tether couldn’t be connected to them. They were too big. 

The music slowed. The lights dimmed. And Park Jimin dared her to look away.

COME TO ME. I WILL WAIT.

Silver hair turned to starlight under the studio's gleam. A hand caressed his face.

Would you like to be that hand his stare asked her. What answer is the right one. What answer doesn't make her feel like the world is playing a huge cosmic joke on her.

ARMY say this song is about finding the inner your. About waiting until the you on the inside finally meets the you on the outside. But right now, her brain was telling her the song was made for her.

Jane couldn't watch the rest.

Her finger jabbed the back button, the search engine reappearing. She stared at the search bar until those three letters had been burnt into her retina.

An overwhelming fear suddenly took hold. It squeezed at her chest like a breath she had forgotten she'd taken.

She typed in a second word after the first. The word the universe was screaming at her.

A hundred-thousand hits emerged. One after the other, and for a moment she feared she would arrive home to a house surround by paparazzi. Instead she found herself looking at thousands of fan fictions, each one dedicated to the idea of being Tethered to the band.

“Jungkook’s my Soulmate”

"I keep Switching with Suga"

"Soulmates and Cheesecakes"

"Don’t cut the Tether Hobi!"

The butterflies in her stomach dissipated like smoke. Jane had always had the habit of jumping to conclusions when she read news articles. She once even panicked when a headline she'd caught sight of stated Jimin and V had been kicked out of BTS. She'd gone on a wild search for the official statement by BigHit before returning to the original article and discovered it was satire.

Perhaps that was what this was, Fates attempt at Satire.

Sure, lets tie a red string of fate around Jane Seville’s pinky and let her try and comprehend our reasoning for pairing her with seven men, instead of one. It’ll be hilarious. 

Stupid Red String. Beneath the covers her thumbs moved across the screen of their own volition. She'd hit enter before she realized what she had typed in the search engine.

Official Red String Theory Forum. Established 2010.

It wouldn't hurt to check. The worst that could happen is she finds nothing.

Jane taped the link. 

The page opened to a black background. Two white hands extended towards each other rest in the top left hand corner. A red thread tied from one pinky to the other.

The official tag line read "Created by Soulmates for Soulmates". Find your other half. It wasn't meant to be romantic, but the connotation couldn't be helped.

There was a single thread under the same name. Jane clicked it.

1000 plus pages were listed. Impossible for anyone to find what they were looking for if it were any other forum.

Jane was familiar with the set up. She'd perused it as a teenager. Finding the most romantic Switch Stories and imagining the moment when the two Soulmates would finally meet was the past time of every girl in the country under the age of 16. And like most girls at that age, they were prone to romantic fantasies. And blind to reality.

Before the site was started, Soulsickness had the highest rate of hospital admissions across the world. If it hadn't been for a group of tech savvy students, who were sick of the lack of support for soulmates searching for each other, including their own, it would still take years to make a connection.

Deductive reasoning works under normal circumstances, like police investigations and medical diagnoses. Not when verbal communication was impossible across a Switch.

Thus the The Red String Theory Forum was born. Completely free of charge and private. 

Unlike other forums, RST had two things that held it above and apart from it's brethren. Once a user found their Soulmate on the Forum they were given access to the Red String Theory App. Completely separate from all social media. Only accessed through the Forums Managers by application where an ID is provided for personal communication on the app.

Jane really had spent too much time on this site as a teenager.

Finding said Soulmate was the second thing. Rather then searching through hundreds of thousands of posts, the forum had an algorithm that enabled users, once their Switch accounts had been submitted, to search the posts for Soulmate Matches. The site had a nifty translator built in. It was accurate to the 90th percentile, provided the users account was accurate down to the minutest of details.

Sometimes a Soulmate noticed the things that the other would otherwise ignore. It helped to write down everything.

Jane set up an account under her old twitter handle, deleted since graduation and posted her account of her First Switch. Taking into consideration exactly what she saw, she was vague to a degree. But quite generous with her descriptions of 'the men in the room', as she put it.

She was in the passenger seat of the car driving home, stuck in afternoon traffic when her phone buzzed.

Leaning against the window, pretending not to hide her motivations from her father, instead feigning boredom, she clicked on the notification.

Her dashboard opened up and there they were. Their usernames. Their First Switch accounts. Each one hosting a green button at the bottom of their post which said CONFIRM, as though it was an easy answer. As though it didn't have world changing consequences. The posts all said Translated from Korean.

Jane read through each one, her heart squeezing tighter and tighter with every word.

Maybe she really was hoping it was all a dream. Because a single detail, the same in each account had dissolved it into a puddle of muck. A detail that had completely slipped her notice.

One that hadn't slipped theirs.

Jane looked at her fingers, curled around her phone, clinging to it like a rescue light after jumping from a sinking ship.

bright blue nail polish. 

Chapter Text

When I started writing Ruin Me, I didn’t expect it to consume my thoughts so much that I actually started to worry about my day job.

Cue Bio...


I’m 28 years old and a full time writer. By that I mean that I spend every day in a room in my house I call my office, working on the novel I’m trying to get published. This is possible by my ever encouraging and supportive parents, which I know I’m very lucky to have. So I do feel obligated and duty bound to repay them for all their support, which was why after posting the very first chapter of this story that I contemplated deleting it.

In truth Ruin Me came about as something that I could do for fun because I’m a 2 year old ARMY who wishes she knew what the word Kpop even meant in high school. Perhaps I may be in a different place in my life if I had found it earlier. 

I don’t have any stressors in my life. Except one. My Writing. I know that makes me very lucky and I’m grateful to the universe for setting me on this path. That being said. I over think things and last night I even went to bed contemplating not writing Ruin Me at all.

Then I woke up this morning, and with only 1 chapter Ruin Me had 100 hits. I know that might not be much to some people in comparison to the Kudos, but just the thought that people were interested in seeing where the story would go made me so excited. I started seeing all the scenarios the characters would be put in, fluffy, romantic, sad and explicit. I saw the ending and I realized why I wanted to write it in the first place.

BTS destress me. Everything about them puts a smile on my face like nothing in my life can. They are what I listen to when I work out, when I write. I even started learning Korean because I fell in love with the language. And when I thought about the impact that had on me I wanted to write about it. 

So Jane came about as a type of symbolic character.

Now here comes the fore-warning.

I intend to write about body positivity. That includes self love. In all it’s forms. Be that exercise. Masturbation, sex, or simply making a connection with another person. All these things are just part of loving yourself.

That does not mean that Jane, a plus size girl, will be written as an encouragement to remain unhealthy just because she is a confident woman. Because I know from experience as an obese woman that that is not the case. Being confident in how one appears and how one feels inside are not mutually exclusive.

I have known who i was and was proud of her since i was 16. But it is only in the last year that I have managed to understand my own body enough to make a physical change.  That came with finding strength in BTS, how they live their lives, how they treat people, love they love each other and ARMY. And in my opinion they would want us to be healthy. And since I started to lose weight the right way, since I started to see the person that was the confident side of me in the mirror, I have never been more proud of myself.

Everybody’s soul is beautiful. But if we don’t appreciate and ensure that the life we are given is well lived, then we are hurting ourselves.
I do understand that some people may disagree with my stance on being plus size, and that is their prerogative. They can stop reading right now. I won’t be offended.

But Jane will be someone who lost weight in a very dangerous situation. Not any way someone should have. But like many people, she found strength in (this universes’) BTS to heal and become a better version of herself.

This will mean that Jane is unapologetic about her stance on getting healthy the right way. Giving those around her THE BEST OF HER. That includes eating right, exercising (spoiler - with a hot and sweaty Bunny in the gym), doing what makes her happy and being with those that make her happy. In this case BTS.

The reason i am telling you this is because my intention is not to offend anyone. 

I am a very visual writer which means along with images of BTS, I will be using visual representation of Jane in the form of Barbie Ferreira.

If you don’t know who I mean I’ve provided an image.

This is who I pictured when I wrote the very first sentence. A beautiful plus size woman.
The reason I’m alerting you to this is because many of the images I will be using range from when Barbie was smaller, to her current size in the television show Euphoria where she is a little heavier. 

I reiterate.
I do not wish to offend anyone. I have no opinion on Barbie’s size. She is just a visual representation of Jane with a vast array of pics that I can use to tell stories. A weight loss journey for Jane, starting from before she became Soulmates with BTS

That is it.

So if you don’t mind reading a story about an overweight girl, on a weight loss journey, fulfilling her dreams to become a writer, whilst falling in love with seven amazing and loving men, who will love her in all the right ways.

Then I welcome you with open arms.

Because I am very excited for these 8 people to fall in love.

 

Thank You for finding my story. and I hope you keep reading.

 

Love.

 PORCELAIN BONES.

 

 

Chapter Text

Fiona’s email said “It’s Done. I’m submitting it.”

That was it.

So Jane had now spent three days hating her agent. She could no longer preoccupy her mind with anything other the seven men on the other side of the world wondering about her.

Her time had been spent watching Korean Variety Shows on cable. Running. An extra mile added for good measure, and walking around the house in nothing but her underwear and dressing gown.

It probably wasn't long until her parents asked her if she wanted to see a psychiatrist. They'd already asked her is she was depressed. She'd yelled back she was having an Existential Crisis and slammed her door shut.

She never really went through the rebellious teenager stage.

Jane was more of the Leave-me-alone-while-my-brain-processes-this-enormous-life-changing-event-before-I-give-you-the-411 kinda girl. The first time her parents had to put up Jane secluding herself to her room was during her A levels. They got used to not seeing her unless it was for a tea break. Her father ended up delivering her dinner to her on a platter because it was easier then asking for her to sit at the dinner table. Long silences filled with Jane mumbling maths equations and english grammar didn't make for substantial dinner conversation. And when she did deign to leave the confines of her room to do her chores, her mother started to worry she was developing some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The dishes were all cleaned with some form of disinfectant her mother didn't even know they possessed in the kitchen. The vacuuming and cleaning was so thorough that the house had started to smell like a show house. Not even the corners of the walls had dust in them. And her dedication to washing the clothes had forced her mother to ban her from using the washing machine on account of the electricity bill.

She still managed to graduate with four a levels in English Lit, Politics, History and Modern Foreign Languages.  

Most recently, it was a 6 month period where she wrote her first novel. Not the one currently on some meeting desk in a publishing house waiting for an editor to sell their publisher on.  The one that got her an agent.

Whom she now hated.

During that half a year her parents had had to grin and bare with the house sounding like a kpop concert because Jane had to have it playing in the background to concentrate. She'd tried to wear ear plugs when she first started. But her sentences went from eligible english to including mid-sentence translation of the lyrics that were playing in her ears, a side effect of her Korean comprehension. Ironically, this was after a 3 month period of true immobility on Jane's part.

This. This four day, darkness is thy friend, sugar induced seclusion was new to them. 

Her current theme song. AGUST D. On replay. It was a spare of the moment decision, made in error at some attempt to strengthen her resolve.

To ignore the fact she had seven soulmates.

Jane sat perched up against the wall of her bed. Her BT21 plushy collection, which would under normal circumstances be comforting in this situation were banished to the other side of the room. Because she couldn't look them in the eye.

An episode of Running Man she had already seen twice played on her TV. A box of raspberry Twizzlers lay busted open, the contents falling out onto her duvet. A decision that she would regret when she added an extra 15 minutes to her run tomorrow.

When she decided to get up.

Her room smelt like an overpriced tea shop fused with a candy store, and a patron who didn't know when to leave.

Her curtains were closed. Only a strip of light would indicate if it was morning.

It wasn't.

It was a darkness fit for self wallowing. Which was what she was doing. If she admitted it. Which she hadn't. Yet.

Jane swore at her cup for being empty the third time she brought it to her mouth to drink.

Her eyes stared a vengeance at her bedroom door. She'd told it in no uncertain terms. The only time she was going to be requiring it’s services was to pee. She’d had no intention of using the entire contents of the once litre filled appliance. Which was still on the counter-top because she hadn't bothered to commandeer it from the kitchen. Her door had laughed at her in the form of refusing to close.

And yes Jane lets her frustrations out on inanimate objects when they refuse to do what they are required to. She'd resorted to propping her dressing table chair against it for good measure. And in stubbornness.

It was also where her seven BT21 plushies were situated, faces to the wall. She'd have to move them to exit her room. Which could result in eye contact. It was a countermeasure.

She was not getting up.

The episode ended, the auto process sending the program onto the next one. And for the fifth time in the last hour Jane glanced at the clock.

9:14PM.

Teacher's were up at this time right. But not at school yet?

Throwing down her last twizzler, Jane bucked up. She put on her big girl panties. No pun intended. She changed position, lying across her bed, her back to her door. She flipped through her contacts, tapped the face-time button and waited as the dialling filled her room. An ominous theme for what was to come.

Like Jaws.

Liz picked up only seconds later. Gee was her phone in her hand!

Jane’s name was barely out of her mouth before the loading signal froze her best friends face into meme territory.

Jane almost hangs up, taking it as a sign she shouldn’t be doing this. But a second later. Liz was squealing through the phones speaker.

"Janie!" A nickname she insisted on calling Jane during high school because she though the name associated her too much with the character they were immersed in in English. Apparently an independent and self reliant woman, who made her own money and found her own self worth in her self evident talent and strong mind, who refused to let herself illegally marry a man that she was desperately in love with, enough to run away because of said self worth wasn't someone who Liz thought Jane should identify with. It was the principle of it she'd said. Liz held the belief that Jane Eyre should have been more active in her role, and that Rochester was doing both Jane and his wife a disservice, essentially locking them both up.  Bertha in her physical confinement and Jane in an emotional one. The only difference being that Jane's freedom didn't come at the cost of her life. Her Jane, as Liz often refereed to Jane, didn't need that association. 

She'd refused to retract the nickname for the past six years. 

"Oh my god. You look great. Have you lost more weight. I can totally tell. Is it night there, it's morning here. God I miss weekends. You'd think I'd have the hang of this teaching thing after four years. 6am starts still murder me." Liz likes to ramble.

"Qui est-ce? A male voice asked in the background. Jane recognized the voice as Francois. Liz's 29 year old, French, gift of a boyfriend. And her soulmate.

Suck it childhood bullies! 

 "Janie." Liz replied to her boyfriend, a giant smile plastered to her face.

"Bonjur Francios." Jane called through the speaker, the only word her brain has retained from 9th year French. Before she made the smart decision to change courses. Liz, ever Fate's favourite human being had continued with her studies. Apparently because she was destined for a Frenchmen.

Fate really had a fucked up sense of humour.

A distant, but pleasant greeting flowed back through the phone speaker in Korean, a language they could both understand. Jane had spoken to the Frenchmen several times since he and Liz had started seeing each other but had yet to meet him in person. They had moved into to his place a year ago.

"What's Francois doing there?" Jane asked Liz. "Doesn't he have a restaurant to run?"

Liz looked proud. “He cooked me breakfast.”

“Doesn’t he always cook you breakfast?” And lunch and dinner. Francois cooked for Liz so often that she was now known as the Frenchman’s Korean Englishwoman on Instagram. She was his own personal advertiser. The man owned and ran his own restaurant, which also happened to be the location of their first switch. 

“Yes. But it's his day off so it was more spectacular this morning." She giggled. Liz was cute when she fawned over him.  “Wait." Liz added making the screen jump as she did. "Didn’t you see my post.?”

No. Jane had not. She was avoiding social media like the plague. 

But the notification was waiting on her screen. Jane sucked it up because she knew there would be a reason to Liz' wanting her to see it and tapped the notification.

 

The Frenchman’s Korean Englishwoman's post appeared on her screen, it's icon, Liz eating the only baked good of Francois' that she approved of.

“Look who liked it.” And there is was. The reason Jane was required to see the post. 

Redvelvet, Liz’s new favourite, or should Jane say, old favourite that is new again Kpop Girl Group. And If Jane was honest with herself, they was the reason behind Jane’s call to her best friend.

If it hadn’t been for the inundation of messages at 11am, talking about their visit to Francios' restaurant, and how they had come because of Liz's posts, Jane may have never considered calling Seoul at all. She may very well have kept her soul-crushing secret to herself until she withered away and died from Soulsickness. Distance and technology can get fucked.

When Jane hadn’t said anything, for a period of time which was too long in Liz's book. A mere 30 seconds. Liz knew instantly that something was wrong.

“Your face is doing that thing it did when you told me you’d lost my car.” 

Jane quickly tried to change her features. “It is not. - and I didn’t lose your car. I misplaced it.” She had. In the neighbours yard.

With her voice calm, her eyes focused, her preoccupation of getting ready for work gone, Liz stressed the words. “Jane-."

OK so Liz did call her Jane, but only when she felt the need to reprimand her.

It seemed this was one of those times.

"-Winifred Seville, a girl I would kill for if I wasn’t half way across the world, so I’d hire a hit man to avenge you. What the fuck happened?”

Her stomach bubbled with nerves. Kinda like those times when Jane drank beer before liquor, only to find out it was liqueur, so the scent of her sweetened breath made her heave twice as much, allowing her to own the bathroom toilet for the night. The difference now was that Liz' wasn't there to hold her hair for her, or her hand.

Jane inhaled. “I switched.” Then exhaled.

An explanation followed, but one that left out the part where Jane had a panic attack and was admitted to hospital. Liz didn't need to hear that. Not with the last time they were  physically together still ingrained into Liz's psyche. Jane in a hospital bed, IV in her arm and tube down her throat.

"Shit Babe! Did you recognise him?" 

There was a moments pause.

"You know them." She's used the word intentionally. Liz would only notice if she was paying attention. 

She wasn’t. Not in the right way. So Jane didn’t elaborate as Liz made suggestions. Was it so and so from high school? That boy from 12th grade, the one with the earrings they'd had a crush on? What about that student professor from the teaching course, they were old enough now to pursue him after all?

"They're all too close. Distance is more of our problem. In fact you probably see them more then I do?" 

Liz, who had been busy stuffing her face with Francios’ french begat, the earlier mentioned baked good, as she attempted to paint her face for the morning, nearly chocked on the bite.

Yes Liz was that girl who ate while doing her make up. It was a sight during formal preparations when she insisted on eating her fill of bread and chocolate as the beautician her mother had hired for the night attempted to do her make up. She'd said she had to eat before she wore her dress otherwise she wouldn't be able to stomach anything for several hours. The dress had a corset.

An actual corset.

"The pop or drama variety." Liz asked. When she was finally able to talk.

"The first." Jane answered, feeling somewhat relieved now that the initial confession was over. 

"Daebak." Liz exclaimed in what could now constitute as her native tongue. It wouldn't surprise Jane if this conversation was her first in English with another native speaker in months. Most of Liz's fellow teachers were either from across the channel or Korean.

"Qu'est-ce qui ne va pas?" 

"Jane’s tethered to an Idol," Liz shouted, moving her head dangerously close to the mascara brush as she updated her boyfriend.

"Qui?"

“Who?” she reiterated.

"Yeah, not happening. If I can't even wrap my head around it. How are you going to?"

Liz agreed. Jane had always been the calmer of the two. Liz only got through finals because Jane behaved like a drill sargent and wouldn't allow her to procrastinate.

"You’ve at least tried contacting him haven’t you ?" Liz definitely hadn't caught on to Jane’s choice of words. 

But when Jane didn't answer, Liz took a different tactic. "Hangugeoneun eottae?” 

"Yakgan nokseun.” Jane replied, the language feeling familiar on her tongue.

Liz scoffed, her image moving in the screen as she applied lip stick. "Rusty my ass. I’ve been living here for 4 years and your rusty is better then my daily."

Jane smiled to herself. She couldn't deny it either. Teen years spent fawning over the likes of Lee Min Ho, Lee Joon Gi and Kim Soo Hyun and being one of only two girl in her high school that liked an obscure music genre called KPOP had sent both girls into a whirl wind of Korean immersion.  By the time they graduated Jane was fluent enough that she and Liz made the decision to move to Seoul and teach English.

In the end only one of them had used their plane ticket. 

6 months in and Liz was still getting her tenses mixed up and calling Jane for pointers. It was a good thing she was teaching English. 

"At least you don't have to worry about a language barrier. Now all you need to do I make sure it’s him." Jane knew Liz's insinuation and she had no intention of doing that. And from Liz's expression she knew that about Jane too.

"He’d an idol Jane, not a god. Besides he’s probably wondering about you too. For all you know he saw your face when you two switched."

Jane assured her HE didn't.

"Doesn’t matter." Liz was firm. "You need to get tested. I’ll send you the money if that’s the problem. I know frequency tests are expensive back home." She continued, kissing Francois, a peck on the lips as she passed him on the way out of the house.

"Besides we used to dream about this kinda thing when we were kids."

"Back when we were immature little girls who used to write Naneun Choeseunghyeoneul Saranghanda on our school books in Hangul and giggle when someone asked us what the cool code was." Liz's eyes bugged slightly. "It’s not a BIG BANG member is it?"

Jane assured her is wasn't them either.

"Good because - a band that big would be major news. Like every paper in the world major." Jane was ever so grateful to be reminded of her tiny tiny status in the world.

The phone jumped around as Liz got into her car, the car door shutting echoed through her room. After what looked like placing her school stuff on the passenger seat, Liz stared at Jane through the screen. Her tone serious. "I expect to hear about the test Janie. I will call you everyday if I have too. You can’t get sick."

Jane ignores her.

"JANE! I mean it. You are going to the clinic, or I’m telling your parents."

"How old are you, 5 ?"

"No but they do influence my behaviour. Don’t change the subject! Babe you need to get the Frequency Test done. You know what happened to Gong Yoo’s soulmate." She added, turning on the car engine.

How could Jane not. It was on every news media outlet in Korea for weeks.

A girl from Jeju Island had come to the mainland and gone to his company. She waited around for him every day for a two weeks before the company had her arrested for stalking and sent her back to the island. She was plastered as a Saessang in every newspaper. A girl with delusions of them being tethered. The problem was they actually were Soulmates.

No one even checked if her story was true until Gong Yoo started getting sick and they were forced to have him go meet her because she too had begun to show signs. When they met and touched, the tether connection was established but by this point Gong Yoo was so angry at his managers that he fired them on the spot. It turned out that they had withheld one key thing from him.

She was blind.

He had specifically told them that this was his belief of his soulmate, but because she was a nobody they kept it from him. She'd actually just come to the city to make the connection so neither of them got sick. She understood who he was and just wanted to thank him for allowing her to see for the first time. To see the world through his eyes. He hadn't left her side since.

The event though caused netizens to criticise the Korean government. Accusations that they were letting their pride get in the way of the citizens health. Gong Yoo and his wife as she later became were the first to use the Seoul's Frequency Test clinic when it was finally implemented. But it had taken her years to gain his fans favour. She’d ended up becoming an ambassador for the UN as a spokesperson for Blind Soulmates and a philanthropist just to appease them. It hadn't bother her, but it had him.

It wasn’t until Gong Yoo’s 2017 acceptance speech for his Daesang playing a blind father in his film Your Touch is all I Need  that he was finally able to thank his wife publicly. Not only her support all those years, but for her eyes as well. Only then did his fans start to forgive her for being his soulmate.

Jane couldn't even imagine what some of ARMY might think if they ever got wind that she was one of their soulmates, let alone all of theirs. Getting the test was the easiest way to ensure that the least amount of people got hurt.

"I’ll get the test Liz,” she told her best friend before letting her concentrate on the road. 

But Jane had no intention of getting the test.

Because she’d had it two days ago.


The Switch had freaked her out so thoroughly that Jane had called to book an appointment at the clinic the very next day, payed for with her commission money because if ever there had been a time to use her emergency stash, that was it.

She had been so jittery on the bus ride to the clinic. Almost every passengers to look her way must have thought she was going to have a breakdown right there in the aisle. She walked the last mile by foot.

Situated in the middle of the London CDB, The Moirai Clinic was just another nondescript building, no more or less New Age in design then the one beside it. The only indicator that Jane was even in the right place was the sign by the door.

Moirai Laboratories were the the first to discover the Frequency Test so they had it patented it to ensure all soulmates could find each other, no matter their place in the world. It said it right there on the brochure the woman by the door had passed to Jane as she had entered.

It was the most un-clinic like clinic Jane had ever been in, and she had been to enough to not get used to the smell they had. The Moirai clinic smelt like vanilla, cinnamon and cranberry tea. Not the smell of a medical clinic.

The woman at the counter had smiled as though seeing Jane was the most exciting part of her day. She had her sit down and fill in paperwork and then wait for her name to be called. 

The Frequency Test was what regular people called the the Rich Man's test, because it took a hefty chunk out of anyone's savings. An examination of the blood in ones system, analysing the Existent particles within and determining what frequency they vibrate at. Then matching that frequency to another human being.

Another bit of information provided by the brochure. Not that every child by the age of 10 didn't know how the test was performed. But it only worked so long as both sides of the Tether had actually had the test. 

Most people actually payed for it through their employer, a form of medical benefits that they supplied. Employers didn't want to hike out money for their employee after getting soulsickness because they couldn't afford such a basic test. So the employers provided it. Better then having 10 workers on sick leave at any one time. 

The waiting room wasn't quite full, but there was someone in every third seat, the most common occupants being couples. Their lovey dovey eyes, fingers intertwined because they believed their connection to be true. Thus the reason for their visit. Jane practically jumped from her seat the moment her name was called.

It didn't take much, just a blood sample, three vials just to be safe and then an hour and a half wait in the same room with the same couples.

Jane looked worse then they felt and her dread was understandable. Her outcome was earth shattering.  Their expressions seemed almost too unfare.

They must have been worrying about what the nurse had said int he procedure room.

There was always the possibility of Phantom Thread Syndrome occurring between two individuals who want to become soulmates so badly that their bodies physically manifest the symptoms of a Tether connection. The sensitivity to the other's touch, the desire to be in close proximity to each other, even mimicking the symptoms of Soulsickness when they are apart. The Nurse had warned Jane that if she was there because of another person whom she already believed to be her soulmate, she should be prepared to be disappointed if the frequency test proved negative. 

She was prepared. She even hoped, every few minutes, that the First Switch has been a delusion that night, a dream on her feet. She then she had remembered that switches where the only symptom that PTS could not mimic.  

"Jane Seville!" The Nurse had called after almost 2 hours of waiting, in which time Jane wrote notes for her next book to preoccupy her mind. It was a waste. The whispered reassurances of the couples distracted her too much. 

The doctor, a man in his late mid 30's, of above average appeal entered the small little client room Jane had been lead to. He introduced himself as Doctor Garnet and sat with a puff opposite her. As in he actually blew a puff of air from his mouth.

"This is extraordinary Miss Seville." Here it comes.

"You have matched with multiple Tether frequencies." There it is.

He appeared to believe his statement needed amendment. "By that I mean that your Tether frequency is identical to 6 others. A Multi-Tether is appears." That she was not expecting. So one of them....

Someone hadn't gotten the test.

Jane didn't know whether to feel gutted or to feel relief.

"But you knew this." She looked up from her hands in her lap, the blue nail polish still on her fingers, slightly chipped away where she had scratched at in nervousness.

She didn't say anything as Dr Garnet continued to examine her demeanour.

He informed her that the details of her soulmates are all confidential. Which isn't exactly unusual, but that her soulmates documentation specifically asked that you get in contact with their representative. The details were on the form.

Jane understood that. They were world famous Idols and she wasn't.

"I won't ask you if you know who they are." He seemed to sigh a moment before speaking again. "Would you like me to enter your details into the system so that they can find you?"

"NO!" He wasn't at all phased at her desperate outburst.

"And you're aware that remaining separated from you Soulmate for an extended period of time without making that first connection could lead to Soulsickness? Which could be especially dangerous as their are 7 of you?"

8 but whose counting.

"Are you not concerned about their well being?"

"They live in the same city, " she informed him.

What she was concerned about was uprooting their lives, causing a media circus, destroying their relationship with ARMY. And that was just for starters.

He didn't question her again. Instead he suggested she use a wrist band, no different then a Fitbit which he said would monitor her vitals. As a precaution, just in case of an emergency. She signed some paperwork, thanked him and moved to leave.

However she stopped in the doorway, hand on the handle.

"Dr Garnet. How is it possible to be the soulmate of someone you never, if not for the Existent Phenomenon, would have had the chance of meeting?"

He leaned back in his chair. his gaze seemed to tell her he pitied her. She was at a new low.

"Tether science is new. We are still learning about it but the working theory, even without the Existent Phenomenon is that circumstances would have lead to you meeting regardless."

She doubted that. Jane had never even been to a BTS concert. The chances of meeting a single member let alone 7 was high in the probability of never. Dr Garnet had observed this doubt so he asked her is she had ever heard of the Flashes Theory.

"The incidents where Soulmates dream of their past lives? I thought that was just a myth made famous by that movie with Margot Robbie and Chris Evans. The Cicada..."

"The Cicada Effect. Modern day classic."

Jane tried not to roll her eyes. He continued, on a roll now.

"It does happen. Think of the Tether like a string being plucked. One end tied to each soulmate, in your case 7, the vibrations of which can be heard right through time, like an echo. Since the Existent Phenomenon occurred soulmates have been claiming to see and experience moments in the past. Archaeologists and anthropologists have actually been studying the details of these Flashes to ascertain the accuracy and legitimacy of these dreams.

Of the 23 cases world wide, 15 have been verified as true historical accounts. So in all likelihood, you and your soulmates, whoever they are, have forged a bond that has tethered you all together in this lifetime. At least that is the theory. But I quite like it."

"What about the other cases?" Jane asked, for what purpose, even she wasn't sure.

One was a lied, he'd said. Cooked up by an obsessed fan who was convinced they were tethered to a famous actor whose past life flashes were recorded in their memoir. The others simply had no historical evidence to back them up. And neither one made her feel any better.

She had left the clinic not feeling any better then before she had arrived. The confirmation just made her feel heavier, heavier then her already food loving body was.  


As Jane rolled over, her face mushed into the duvet seeking solace, the light of her phone flared up. She had forgotten that before she had called Liz, she'd had her twitter app open, though untouched since hours earlier. 

She gave in. Because the universe didn't give a fuck about how she felt. And she couldn't be bothered to fight anymore tonight.

Jane pulled the phone over to her face, flipping it up to view like a mini cinema screen and watched the tweets float down one by one. 

Her Soulmate was trending.

 

Jane even made the conscious decision to watch the famous "ARMY could be soulmates interview" they did last year, back during their Back to Basics Era. Back before Jimin confirmed her had two tattoos.

Fuck her resolve. Her will was fractured the moment she saw them in that studio. 

The idea that BTS could fall in love with anyone was never in doubt. It was the fact ARMY heard it with their own ears that sent them all into a tailspin. The idea had caught so much traction that an otherwise insignificant online writer had managed to turn her sex driven YA BTS fanfiction about Bad Boy Jeon Jungkook titled Before into a best selling book and box office movie, and all because ARMY was eating up the possibility that one of them could be one of their soulmates. 

Not that they would react particularly well if they found out it was Jane. She took a deep dive into the fandom after that. She didn't regret it. Even though the weight of her secret felt like the pea beneath the mattress, slowing driving it's way towards her, layer by layer. Jane let herself fall into the void.

She didn't recall falling asleep. She did remember waking up and turning her phone on to discover it was 1PM. 

Still enough time.

It took her exactly a minute to sign into the Red String App and send her message, and in that moment she didn’t regret it.

Jane found her father in the kitchen having breakfast when she left the confines of her room. Her plushies scattered across her bedroom floor in her effort to extricate herself.

Her father, continuing to reading his news paper, cleared his throat when she entered the kitchen. "If your existential crisis is over - the kettle’s just boiled." 

Ah... the most wonderful sentence in the world.

Even with her eyes hazed over, Jane could still find her way to the kettle for a cup of tea.

She'd retrieved her cup, delicately placed the teabag inside, because a proper cup deserves to be treated with kindness and was just about to pour the water in when the phone rang.

The house phone.

Jane answered it as she was the closest. 

It was Fiona. 

"Jane I've got great news. There's been an offer."

This.

This is the moment she regretted sending that message.

Chapter Text

 

 

The music blared through the studio. There was no sound of rubber soles skidding on timber. There was no thumping as Jungkook’s Timberlands impacted with the floor. Suga wasn’t rapping over his lines as their music played through the stereo. Instead the heavy breathing that they were accustomed to when they rehearsed, the breathing they used to undertake in unison, a single entity in dance, had taken on a different pattern. A new rhythm.

The muffled chatter of the camera men who were filming behind the scenes footage for their comeback drew some of their gazes.

“What happened, Suga since when do you stop when Jungkookie screws up?”

Suga slowly raised his gaze to their choreographer releasing his grip on Jungkook's arm. The younger tried to straighten up, his own gaze snapping across to Taehyungs. The two of them exchanging signals.

Did you just?
I think I did. Did you?
I think so.

Hoseok stared at their reflections in the mirror. They all seemed to be in a state of shock.

“Sorry Hyung.” Namjoon spoke up trying to defend the older man. “But -” and he hesitated.

They all looked around at each other. Curious and baffled faces stared back, chests rising not from rehearsal but from a quickening of the heart. “Did you all just -”

Jungkook and Taehyung nodded adamantly. Jin was about to speak up when Jimin cut in, turning toward Sungdeok. “I think they just had their first Switch.” 

Sungdeok was caught off guard. The cameramen exchanged glances.

“And you Jiminie.” Hoseok had said, approaching his roommate, taking hold of his hand. The young man smiled, his eyes squeezing into two thin lines.“Ani.” The silver haired dancer replied, shaking his head. He squeezed Hoseok’s hand back adding, “It doesn’t matter Hyung. You did. You had your First Switch.” 

Jimin started bouncing, which caused Taehyung to bounce sending the Sunshine-Line into a spinning bouncing mess around the studio. And Jungkook couldn’t be left out of the celebrations so the trio became a quad that Suga couldn’t help but admire from afar. For about 12 seconds before his gummy smile appeared and he was joining in as the room erupted into chaos. 

“You too Namjoonah?” Jin asked as he approached their leader, whose face was caught up in some form of struggle.

“That’s 6 of us. 6 of us had our first switch. I need to get Sejin-hyung.” But when Namjoon turned around to head to the door, Sejin was in the break room down the hall, Sungdeok had already walked out of it.

Jin waited, his conscious torn between joining in with his dongsaengs and being there for his leader. He was the oldest, he was supposed to be there for support when his members needed him. Jin had hoped he would be the first to become Tethered so he could be a supportive experienced hyung when their time eventually came. He hadn’t expected to be joined by five of his members. He was elated for both himself and them, but … Namjoon hadn’t lost that look.

Seungdeok arrived a few minutes later, but only after the maknae’s had collapsed into a pile of joy. Taeyhung was rubbing his hands through Jungkook’s long hair, Suga had  given up dancing around the room with his dongsaengs and was reclining against the wall. They all fell silent when their performance director ordered the men to follow him from the room. 

The maknaes were torn between giggles, laughter and a sense of dread as they followed their hyungs. They were never called to BangPDnim’s office unless for something big, and the fact Sungdeok had been the one to instigate the meeting made them all feel worse. Jimin just tried to be a comfort to his members. Hoseok was forcing his excitement down into the deepest part of himself. It hadn’t failed his notice that having 6 members of the same band in a Tethering period could get complicated.

Sejin joined them half way to the offices. His expression didn't make any of them excited.

Hitman Bang was intensely scrutinising the paper work in his hands when the seven men walked into his office. He immediately put it down when they entered, asking them to sit as he circled his desk taking a seat in front of it. Joining them. This wasn’t a conversation to be had behind a desk.

“The six of you.” He confirmed after Namjoon had reiterated the turn of events. He didn’t ask for details, just that each man swore it was not a prank. 

All seven swore.

They sat in silence for an uncomfortable minute. The only sound was Jungkook’s knees bouncing beneath the table. Taehyung tried to calm his dongsaeng down by draping an arm over his shoulder, his fingers playing with the maknae’s ear. His other hand was occupied by Jimin’s.

Hoseok gazed at his roommate, his eyes scouring his features for any sign of hurt or disappointment. Jimin hadn't switched...

Jimin looked up. When he realized Hoseok was watching him he smiled. It was Chimmy who came through his features, mochi cheeks and puffy eyes. Pure Unadulterated Joy. Jimin was ecstatic for his members.

Hoseok tried to take that as a sign. Relief that his member was ok.

No one could tell, because he hid it well beneath the mask. But Suga’s mind was elsewhere. On pair of lips trying desperately to keep toothpaste from escaping captivity.

Hitman Bang cleared his throat. Leaning forward, looking each man in the eye he said, “I know this wasn’t in your contracts. Frankly no one ever expected this sort of thing when we wrote those clauses. But we cannot control Fate.”

Each boy tried not to glance at the one across from them, memories of Pledis announcing three members of Seventeen had become Tethered, still fresh in their memory. That announcement last year had been closely followed by JYP announcing Bam Bam had also Tethered only a day later. 

Each man had been a member of Jungkook’s 97-Line Chat Room.

Netizens had claimed it was because the men spent so much time together. Some theory about proximity leads to connectivity. Carrots and Agases where taking over the chat rooms with predictions on which member would be next. If it wasn’t for the statement both companies released confirming the four men had actually Tethered at separate times, and they just chose to reveal it on the same day, and the 97-Line chat room confirming it, Jungkook might have continued to wait for his First Switch whilst playing Overwatch deep into the night in the hopes that his Soulmate might see his username and be able to find him.

“I will have someone from the Moirai Clinic come to the offices by this afternoon. We need to get this done as soon as possible.”

Upon hearing Hitman Bang’s decision, Jimin paled, a woman’s face wiped from his mind instantly.

“What if their soulmates can’t get the frequency test?”  His stomach flipped at the thought. He had seen what Kai had gone through with Da Im. She'd lived in such a remote and rural area of Korea that the only place she had ever heard an EXO song was on the radio. She’d never even bought one of their album’s until she arrived in Seoul. SM had the same policy as BigHit in regards to the release of their information at the Clinics, so when Da Im had her first Switch she didn’t even have a way to contact Jongin. They found her on a bus unconscious in the city the same week Kai was forced to pull out of a scheduled performance. The news hadn’t been released. Jimin only knew because his circle of friends tried to keep each other in the loop. Jimin had eventually told his members that Da Im had been traveling to Seoul for the specific reason to have her Frequency test, but it had taken her so long to save up the money that she’d already begun to suffer the effects of Soulsickness. Jimin didn’t want that for his members.

Taeyhung’s smiled dropped. His grip slackened in Jimin’s hand. The older man started to rub circles on the top of Taeyhung’s hand. Jimin knew this would worry him. It would crush Taehyung if anyone got hurt because of him.

“We could use the Red String Theory App.” Suga suggested, the rest of his members unaware that his hypothesis regarding his own soulmate was the only reason for the suggestion. He knew the suggestion was partly selfish, and he would rather take a bullet then see one of his members in pain. But this pain. This would be inflicted on his soulmate. If he didn’t do something.

It would be like he pulled the trigger.

They all seemed to like the idea. The forum was anonymous. Language wasn’t a barrier in case any of their soulmates were foreign, a fact which was all in the back of their minds that it might be some day. When they finally met their soulmate.

The CEO of Big Hit paused, contemplating the idea. "Did any of you see their faces?"

Six heads shook. Though Suga’s was more of a shrug.

Jimin unnoticed by his members stared at Taehung’s hand in his. A pair of deep sea blue nails fading in and out of his mind replacing this dongsaengs.

“I think she saw mine.”

Jungkook had been quite until then. The excitement of everything was a little overwhelming for him. He was a grown man with wants and desires. He couldn’t deny that he had preconceived notions of what he wanted from a soulmate, what he hoped they would become to each other. He wanted what his parents had. And he wanted to be mature about it given the situation  But this wasn’t something he could keep to himself. 

He tried to pull his gaze from the table and look his hyungs in the eye as he spoke up.

“Are you sure Jungkookie?” Namjoon asked, glancing between the hyung-line and Sejin who was standing behind the younger members.

The golden maknae gulped. “I was staring right in the mirror when it happened. She had to have seen my reflection. If she knows us, Hyung..” Jungkook directed this to Namjoon. “You don’t think she would..”

In that moment, they all witnessed the return of that shy 14 year old boy. Fearful and nervous. 

The fearless JK who tore up the stage with his vocals was nowhere to be seen.

“Hajima.” Taehyung exclaimed trying to dissuade Jungkook’s negative thoughts, his head moving to rest on the younger man’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. 

No one said the thought out loud. But it was there. The fear that their soulmate may reveal their identities to the wrong people, people who wanted nothing but to cause trouble. That the world might find out who their soulmate was before even they did.

When their sunbaenim HyunA and Pentagon's E'Dawn were outed as soulmates a year ago, it wasn't  their choice and they were the ones who had to suffer the consequences. They'd been Tethered for 3 years before the world knew and yet some of their fans thought they had the right to criticise them for keeping it a secret.

This was what Jungkook worried about. It was what Jin worried about when he spoke to his brother. What Namjoon and Hoseok worried about when they thoughts about the bands future. Hitman had always tried to keep the lines open between himself and the members. It was the reason why the clauses in their contracts regarding their soulmates were all so detailed and agreed upon by the members as a whole. He hadn’t just wanted to protect his boys, he wanted to protect their soulmates as well. So when he saw their faces he knew how worried they were.

“You can use the forum. But no details about who you are. Just your accounts of what happened, what you saw.” He then turned to Sejin. “I want only those who have to know filled in. Send me a list of who you’ve told. They need to keep on eye on them. God forbid you switch during comeback week.”

The moment they arrived back in the rehearsal studio Namjoon had them all join the forum. His wish was that after they did so, they would all relax. He hadn’t liked how tense they all had become in the PDnim's office.

The six men sat around the room, not a word from their mouths. Jin chose a chair in the corner. Suga returned to the spot he’d collapsed into earlier. RM found he had to pace as he wrote his account. The words came easily to those three. Although Hoseok kept pausing to giggle, finally succumbing to his excitement. 

For Jungkook and Taehyung the words didn’t come so easily. The 23 year old was having trouble expressing himself in words. The word he wanted was never there in his head, or if it was on the tip of his tongue, he couldn’t get it to his fingers. Jungkook’s hands were shaking to profusely that he had to delete every second word because it was misspelled. When he paused to wring out the sensation, whipping his hands in the air, then proceeding to stare at them in frustration because they refused to comply, Taehyung reached over, took hold of one then returned to his own phone to type out his message one handed. Jungkook seemed to calm down after that. Taehyung found the connection calmed him too. Jungkookie always did that for him.

As they all wrote, in that one act of selfishness, all of them completely unaware of the singular detail that would send their very singular soulmate into a tailspin, Jimin danced. 

No one saw. To survive in that moment, Park Jimin was forcing Christian to the surface.


Hoseok was barely able to stay upright in the shower after returning to the dorms. But it was the first moment he’d had to himself to clear his head. To truly come to terms with what had occurred. 

He leaned his head against the shower tiles, letting the hot water ease out the tension in his sore muscles. The heat burning down his back.

No had ever really explained to him what a switch was like. He supposed it was because they were very personal experiences. He didn’t even truly understand how they worked. Something about the Tether allowing soulmates to see through the other’s eyes. He hadn’t actually expected it to be that close to true.

It was like someone had pulled a pair of Virtual Reality goggles over his eyes. He knew he was still in the dance studio. He could still feel his own body, but he was aware of a second body, a body whose shape and feelings didn’t belong to him. 

It was the sensation of an arm or leg going numb and then touching it but being unable to feel the contact. 

He knew the smells where not being detected by his nose but by another's. The tastes where not being experienced by his tongue. The feeling of shock, of recognition of what was happening where not his feelings, but hers. 

He could hear, feel and see everything she did, but he was just an observer to her world. As she must have been to his. 

What must she have thought?

He tried not to wake his roommate as he changed and sought the comfort of his bed, face planting into the pillow. Jimin had buried himself under his covers an hour ago, so Hoseok was confident even if he squealed from stubbing his toe on his bed, Jimin would still remain asleep.

10 minutes of listening to quite breathing across the room, Hoseok could feel the pull of sleep pressing on him.

“Hyung.”


Jimin wasn’t asleep?

Hoseok shuffled under his blanket turning to face Jimin’s direction. “Yeah Jiminie?”

There was a moment of silence before he spoke. “Do you think your soulmate will like that you are an idol. I mean, do you think it will bother her that you’re famous?”

Hoseok leaned up, his pillow squishing under his chest. Looking across into the darkness, his eyes adjusted as he searched out the younger dancer’s features.
Jimin was lying on his back. Staring up at the ceiling. 

"Hyung?"

Hoseok lay his chin on the pillow, keeping his gaze on the silver haired dancer, his hair reflecting softly from the light creeping through the bottom of their blinds.

“Sometimes I suppose. But most of us do. It’s not an easy life. We chose it. Our Soulmate might not have. That’s always a possibility. Honestly sometimes I’m so used to being me that I forget we don't have normal jobs. I guess I would have to help her get used to the idea. I can’t change who I am or what I do. And I wouldn’t expect her to either. Not just to fit my life style. We would have to make compromises, so that we could fit, to be there for each other.”

Had he talked to Wheein? Is that what this was about?

“So you don’t worry that this life would be too hard on someone who hasn’t grown up in it?”

“Where’s this coming from Jiminah?”

The sound of blankets rubbing against each other filled the silence. Hoseok can now only see the back of Jimin's head.

“Just worried about Jungkookie and Taehyung. Don’t worry. Good night Hyung.”
Before the younger could settle, Hoseok quickly reminded him they had a shoot in the morning and to set his alarm. A mumbled reply floated through the darkness.

Hoseok would have to wake him in the morning. 

He sent a loving glance Jimin’s way before rolling onto his back, his body relishing the feeling of sinking into the mattress’ embrace.

Hoseok fell asleep to the image of a pair of pretty hands. The nails painted a bright shade of navy blue as one hand clutched a pink toothbrush, the scent of peppermint toothpaste in his nose and on his tongue as one of their songs blasted through his ears.


They'd all expected a response by the next morning. That was the typical response time right?

But when the morning came, a morning that saw the return of Chef Jin, who was up before Sejin-hyung had even arrived at the dorm, there was no response.

"She could be nervous." Namjoon had said when they left the dorm. A more positive thought then the one they were all thinking.

Hoseok made a conscious decision not to look at his phone during the photo shoot. It wouldn't do him any good to be worrying about a stranger, perhaps on the other side of the world when he didn't even know her name yet, let alone seen her face.

They were on the first day of a three day concept shoot for their comeback, and he and Jin were the last to take their shots. The photographer wanted a few more of them together before calling it a day when Jin caught Hoseok off guard.

Jin's hand which had been delicately draped over the main dancers shoulder, suddenly grabbed him. Hoseok had to turn to steady his hyung before he fell from the platform they were posing on.

A movement on the other side of the photographer caught Hoseok’ s attention. They were all so on edge with this switch stuff. Sejin had witnessed Jin’s little stumble, his face strewn with worry. Hoseok quickly shook his head. 

Hoseok had him. 

Namjoon watched from a distance beside Suga, the two producers scrutinising the onlookers, hoping no one else had noticed.

"Jin-hyung, you good?" Hoseok asked, trying to keep his focus on the camera. Jin steadied himself, the actor in him appearing as he stared ahead, unknown to everyone except his band members that he was completely blind in that moment. His eyes somewhere else.

He took a deep breath. 

"She's running. I can feel the air on her face. I can feel her breathing. She likes her music really loud." Jin softly laughed, his expression ripping flashes from the photographers camera.

Hoseok had never heard Jin talk like that before. A contentment he hadn't seen on is hyung's face since they won their first Daesang.

"Can you see anything you recognize?" Hoseok asked, desperate to help his hyung find his soulmate.

Jin took a moment, adjusting to make it look as though he was changing his pose. "English I think. She just passed a sign with English letters."

"A lot of countries use those letter Hyung."

Jin was adamant. "It was English. I saw the word Street."

A second later Jin's grasp loosened and he blinked.

When the shoot was over, they all crowded Jin in the dressing room, forcing him to repeat what he'd told Hoseok. He was the first of them to have a regular switch. It excited the members, especially so close to the first one. It gave them hope that they may find a clue to their soulmates identity within them. It made them check the forum.

No matches.

No one else experienced a switch for the remainder of the photo shoot. Nothing for three days.

By the time Hoseok's birthday came around, they couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. They didn't want to think what lengths the company might have to go to if it came to needing them to find their soulmates. The idea of becoming a burden on their company after all they had achieved together was not something they could stomach.

But they refused to let it effect the celebrations. The dinner at the dorm they’d organized for Hoseok’s birthday was full of laughter, chimaek and soju for three hours.

During that time, before they were too far gone, Jimin made sure to commemorate the event and posted a group selfie to their official account when he discovered Hoseok was trending across the world.

 

It was a good thing too, because an hour in, Jimin was more then a little tipsy. He’d fallen out of his chair twice. Suga made him swap places with Taehyung so the smaller man would have a barrier the next time he found himself vertically challenged. By the third hour, Jungkook had stuffed himself so thoroughly that he’d acted like a pinata that Jin missed striking. The older man on his fourth round of dad jokes.

Taehyung was on the verge of turning on the Karaoke machine, at 10 o’clock at night when Hoseok’s phone buzzed.

He thought it was another birthday message. Junhong had yet to wish him a happy birthday, it was probably him. He was taking a swig of soju when he saw the notification for the red string app instead.

He had to put the cup down.

“It’s her.”

Suga, who had sunk further and further into his chair as the night went on, sat bolt upright.

“Open it,” Jin encouraged as Jimin stood from his place to stand behind Hoseok. Jungkook and Taehyung followed soon behind. Jimin placed his hands on Hoseok's shoulders, partly as encouragement and partly to support himself to stay upright.

Hoseok logged into the app. The user dashboard popped up. A notice in the corner said 1 in the inbox. He tapped it.

 

scarletsilk&buttermilk have sent you a message.

 

He tapped it.

What the fuck!

“Did you tell her your birthday hyung?” Jimin asked, his grip loosening on Hoseok shoulders as he read the message.

“No.”

“She knows who you are Hobi-hyung.” Jungkook said, astounded.

A moment later the table starts buzzing. All their phones were making the table vibrate. If this were a horror movie, this would be the scene where the heroes received the creepy “I can see you” message from the killer.

Good thing it’s not.

The message was the same for all of them, all except Jimin, who had returned to his seat in a somewhat sober state, his phone a fare distance from himself.

 

Your ID is ready to use on RED STRING .

 

They hesitantly exchanged glances before putting in their own IDs.

“Scarletsilk and buttermilk.” Suga read out. “That’s the ID right?”

Hoseok repeated it as Suga turned his phone to face the dancer.

“Not funny.” Taehyung said putting his phone face down on the table, slouching back into his chair. Unimpressed by the pranksters antics.

“It’s not a joke Taehyungie.” And Namjoon proceeded to collect all their phones. He lined them up and made sure all the screens were on at once.

 

scarletsilk&buttermilk is online.

Chapter Text

Everything went to shit.

The month following Jane's first switch was the most - Scratch that.

It was the second most memorable month of her life. The first being the month she spent in hospital after she broke her legs.

It had nothing to do with the phone call she was waiting for from Fiona.

No.

It was the pain. The human body never forgets pain.

Happy memories. Those faded away with time. People remember them of course. Or more like they remember the root of the happiness from which the memory stems.

The smell of the meal their mother made on their birthday as they pass a restaurant. The music coming from some teenagers’ bedroom window as they walk past the house and it reminds them of that school dance when the boy they liked asked her to dance.

Those come back like a fog. They’re hazy at first, but they can still picture it. The vague outline of a figure or the sight of the place they got their first kiss sends endorphins to their brain.

That tingling feeling over comes them. They smile. And their body tells them this is happy, this is a good place to be.

Pain is different. 

Pain is the reason why the image of a departed loved one fades away, but the agony of having to learn to walk again, to wake and find oneself in a ditch with two broken legs and having to crawl their body from death’s door because Grim Reaper got the wrong date clearer than their own name.

That pain leaves an imprint, a branding in the skin that scars over, a tattoo never wanted but forever unable to be removed.

The pain wasn't immediate for Jane this time.

It started exactly a week after her first switch. The days following Hoseok's birthday message. The message she sent because she thought had nothing to lose. 

The Red String System was set up so that every match could communicate with the other, even if there were three or four. But Jane had 6. The event was so uncommon that the moderator sent her a personal query to ask if there had been a mistake. It took Jane two days to reply.

"It's not a mistake. Thank you for your concern."

She stared at the message board all day as her phone lit up.

A bombardment of messages filled her inbox. Each one asking her relatively the same questions. What was her name, where did she live, what language did she speak, how old was she. Heck they asked if she knew she might have more than one soulmate.

The day after Hoseok’s Birthday she received a call from the Moirai Clinic.

“One of your Soulmates has granted you permission to contact them directly, would you like me to send you their information?”

Jane couldn’t answer.

Someone wanted to know who she was. After that message who could blame them. Logging into the forum was a bad idea. They all now knew when she was online. Her inbox said 23. They’d sent her 23 messages in 24 hours.

“No. Thank you for telling me, but no. Don’t send the details.”

Jane wasn't ready for that yet. Of course she was curious to know which of them it was. Who had gone out of their way to get the Moirai Clinic to ask her directly if she would contact them. She tried desperately not to think of who it might be.

Where they older then her, where they younger? Those thoughts drove her mad. She couldn’t let her mind go there.

If she had waited one more day. Just one. She would have gotten the phone call and then she could have waited to send that message. She could have paced herself, tried to come to terms with her multi-tethered status. She could have devised some plan, a method on how best to deal with this situation. She’d even woken up the morning of the phone call with a plan to read every article published on Multi-tethers. There were trio’s and quads all over the world, a Quintet was announced just 6 months ago in America with a blog on YouTube documenting their life together, she’d planned to watch that, though they had three women and two men – not exactly the same.

But Jane had woken up with a determined mind. The message was her attempt at a first step. She had planned to tell them one at a time, but in her half waking state, she’d forgotten the connection was live across all matches. All 6 knew her ID now. All 6 were in the same place when Hoseok received her message. Now all six wanted to know who she was.

If she had just waited one more day-

That was when the throb behind her eyes started. 

Her sleeping habits changed that week. Jane had had such unusual sleeping habits for years. High school studying kept her up late into the night. Her English teaching course was online so she used all her spare time, which was all the time as being immobile after didn’t give her much else to do. And once she hits her 20’s and started writing full time and decided to switch her days to nights, her parents stopped trying to keep her in regular hours. She’d claimed it allowed her to spend more time with them during the mornings and afternoons, whilst she slept during the day. They accepted it. Then.

This time around was different. It kept her mother’s thoughts on her at work. It kept her father checking in on her whilst she slept. It wasn’t like Jane was sleeping through her days. She was keeping regular hours these past few months while she was finalising her manuscript. And she wasn’t forgetting what day of the week it was. She wasn't even wallowing in the darkness of her room like the week prior. Jane had just stopped going on her morning runs. Choosing to sleep-in instead.

Jane hadn't missed a morning run in 2 years.

Then the last week of February came.

Monday:

  • Big Hit Entertainment Announces BTS Comeback Date

Wednesday:

  • BTS Album Title Reveal.

Friday March 1st:

  • Members Official Posters Released

Jane was ARMY. She had always been Army. And seeing the band’s comeback take over social media, seeing them trend, would under any other circumstances, make her extremely happy.

They had worked their asses off for years. They deserved every Purple Heart, every vow of support, ever excited mention on twitter, on Instagram, on youtube and blog.

She wanted to show them her support. She wanted to tweet, at how much she had nee looking forward to their next album. But a great sense of guilt hung over Jane. A cloud threatening her with a storm, and some sky god who would sit there watching over her, questioning her with her true intent.

Was she wishing them well now because she was Army or was it because she was their Soulmate? Was she one or the other? Was there any room for her to be both, was that even possible.

Was there even room in their lives for her?

She was caught in a conundrum. Was she was looking at their posters because she was attracted to them as Idols? Was it because she applauded the photographer in catching them at the perfect moment? Was she enticed by the Album Title and what it meant?

Or was Jane looking at them because she the world was telling her she should be.

She felt like she was a teenager again. Like when Liz told her a guy in her class liked her, and if Jane hadn’t been told, she wouldn’t have even thought about him in a romantic sense. But now that she knew, she felt herself looking at him in class, waiting in the hall by his locker to speak with him, to ask if he wanted to walk together after school because they lived near each other.

Did Jane actually find herself attracted to them, because they were attractive men and prior to her first switch she never even fantasied about having a conversation with one of them, or was it because the universe had given her permission to do just that?

She received a message that day. She threw her phone across her bed when she saw the ID was Rkive.

Jane stared at the message for 20 minutes. She willed herself to be angry, to feel anything other then what she was feeling. She wanted the butterflies to stop making her crawl into her pillows and stare at the little Koya Icon as his ID.

But she couldn’t.

Here was this person, on the other side of the world, busy with his comeback schedule, where he could be doing anything, talking to anyone. But he was busy worrying about her.

A sense of nausea hit her so fast that it sent her running to the bathroom.

She found herself in the midst of a dry heave when she was suddenly-

staring at a computer screen.

The taste of ramyeon in her mouth. Jane can still feel the toilet seat against her hands, but she also recognises the sensation of the bowl in her palm, of chopsticks in her hand, the scent of chilli in her nose.

She is - He. He is looking at something. An article. It's written in english. Jane catches the headline.

Tethers, an examination of past lives.

He hears a knock and turns. The chair he's sitting in spins. He places down his bowl and heads to the door. A head peaks around.

Jungkook! Jane’s stomach does a flip.

His dark hair hangs loose around his eyes, a single earring dangling from an ear.  The flannel shirt he has on hangs loosely on his frame, the sleeves reaching the palms of his hands.

Jungkook sniffles as he stands outside the studio. "Has Scarlet messaged you yet hyung?" he asked her... Him!

He notices the tiniest of smiles the maknae hides as he lowers his head, his eyes cast to the floor. That smile is his hopeful one.

"No. I don't entirely blame her either."

Jane would know that voice anywhere. Namjoon. Jane was seeing through Kim Namjoon's eyes.

He lets the younger singer enter his studio as he returns to his seat. As his chair swivels back around he can feel Jungkook hovering over his shoulder. He turns and finds the younger man eyeing his ramyeon. He smiles and proceeds to feed the younger man. 

"Jungkookie, what do you remember about her?" He asked.

Jungkook finishes his mouthful before speaking, but not before licking his lips.

Jane squeezed the toilet tighter.

"I've been trying to draw her hyung, but every time I try my hand gets all shaky."

Jungkook mimics the movement before Namjoon.

Jane's stomach churns. 

"Don't worry about it. Don't feel pressured. We don't want you to think we're relying on you to tell us who she is just because you saw her first. That's not your job OK?"

He stood up, putting his hand on Jungkook's shoulder.

The connection of touching Jungkook, the sensation of feeling him under her hand, even through the use of Namjoon’s own hand ripped Jane from the switch. Vertigo struck her and with it went the rest of the contents of her stomach.

She lay there on the bathroom floor, the tiles a cold comfort as she started the felt like her head had been too close to a speaker.

They were calling her Scarlet.

She supposed it was appropriate since she was refusing to reply to any of their messages. They couldn’t keep calling her by her Red String ID.

It shouldn’t have surprised her that she understood what they were saying. They spoke Korean, so did she. She watched everything from Korea now without subtitles. There was even a moment where she thought, OH THERE ARE NO SUBTITLES ON THIS, as though her mind was trying to convince her she wasn’t truly seeing them with her own eyes, as though she were watching them through a computer screen.

The fact that she was listening to a private conversation they were having, behind closed doors as far as they were concerned wasn’t lost on her.

She felt like an intruder. And one who hadn’t intended to invade their privacy because she learned two things she didn’t think she wanted to know.

Jungkook was attempting to draw her.

She applauded him for his determination, but what made him so nervous about it? From what Jane knew of his drawing capabilities, Jungkook had always been able to draw what he wanted. She also couldn’t decide if she was happy about it.

She wouldn’t put it past Big Hit to have the picture analysed with some kind of facial recognition software to find out her identity. Though they did have the world to sort through so, it may take some time. Some of the guys would have to narrow it down, but Jane doubted they saw much of her face to begin with. She’d been staring into her sink by the end of the first switch. Only one person might have seen her face.

But it seemed that that person was lying to his members.

Jimin hadn’t told anyone about the switch. Else why were they under the impression Jungkook was the first she’d visited?

Why was Jimin lying?

She found herself crying. Right there. On the bathroom floor. 

It was like one of those scenes from a rom-com where the girl had a really bad bout of PMS. Water fountain tears, ugly crying, staring up at the bathroom ceiling as she muffles her sobbing with a towel.

She was crying for absolutely no reason. Jane wasn’t the type to cry over a guy. Especially one she didn’t even know.

This was Bullshit.

Her mother found her on the bathroom floor the next morning. Fast asleep.

She didn't have another switch that month, so that was good.

 


 

Four days into March she received a message from Taehyung. The only reason she read it was because she mistakenly thought it was from Fiona.

Her eyes completely missed his Vante ID.

When she saw the photos, Jane froze.

She imagined this was what it must be like for those people who watch the nightly news and see their lotto numbers on the screen. You know you've won something huge, but until you receive the phone call, your brain can't function correctly.

He had sent her a selca, with full knowledge that she might not message back. She didn’t know if their messages were being monitored in regards to her, but the fact he had sent her a picture of himself, unfiltered made her made her feel special, and that terrified her.

She hadn’t even brought herself to read Hoseok’ message in reply to the one she’d sent him. She’d stared at that message notification for half an hour before sending it to unread mail.

This was the first she had read outside of Namjoons.

Her inbox now read 47.

 


 

March 9th arrived.

Jane had been dreading it for weeks.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to wish him a happy birthday. It was just…

There was this constant nagging in the back of her head. A voice that was telling her “you can’t send a message to Hoseok wishing him a happy birthday and not send one to Yoongi on his. And what happens if it gets to September, are you still not going to wish them a happy birthday, what about October, December, are you even going to wish them a happy Christmas, what a soulmate you are!

Jane couldn’t bring herself to do it. She had received messages from him already, not that she had read any. But the Cat face icon told her it was him. That and the fact he was using his old underground rapper name for an ID.

Twitter was full of birthday wishes. In Russian, in Italian, in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English. And those were just the ones she recognised.

BTS’s Suga was trending, and Jane, the only person, the only ARMY in the world who had a chance of getting a response back was terrified he actually would.

She contemplated just sending the birthday wish to BTS’s Official Instagram page, and if the day ever came she could tell him that she had wished him a happy birthday.

But Jane didn’t.

She opened the messages between them on the Red String App. She left the others as unread and typed in a new message.

There was no point dwelling on past mistakes now. Hoseok had received her message, she couldn’t take it back. She wasn’t even sure if she wanted to anymore. The least she could do was show Yoongi the same curtesy. Even if the idea of a reply scared the shit out of her, because it would be a direct conversation.

The only difference this time was she typed it in Korean. There would be no translation on his end.

 

생일 축하해요, 민윤기씨.”

 

The reply was instant.

스칼렛 감사합니다.”

 

Jane forgot for a moment, as she read the Hangul, that she had turned off the translator. Her heart gave little palpitations as she imagined his fingers typing out the words, typing out the name they had given her.

She allowed that much.

For 1 minute.

Then she put her phone down.

 


 

Her period started in the second week of March, and with it came cramps. So Jane went through her usual routine.

Honey and Lemon in hot water. Green tea in the morning. Jasmine before bed. Hot pack on her pelvis, heat patches on her legs. The bones always ached during this time of the month, a constant reminder of her period of immobility.

She’d then lay on the sofa, let her mother baby her – the only time she ever allowed it – her mother would massage her legs for her, and would marathon all the episodes of Return of Superman she’d missed the last month.

She occasionally made trips to the bathroom when she her nausea became too much. She didn’t really question her appetite that week, not even when she ate less Twizzlers than the month before. She craved sweets during her period.

But when it was over, and the cramps hadn’t gone away, and the delicious raspberry candy began to taste like rubber, she started to worry.

Jane had developed a head ache in those last few days, and it hadn’t gone either. Even with the anti-inflammatory and pain relief she’d taken, Jane was still making trips to the bathroom to throw up.

She tried to keep it from her parents, but they caught on when she threw out perfectly good milk, because it smelt off.

It took Jane till she couldn’t stand the scent of tea, to acknowledge something was wrong.

Jane was convinced it was Soulsickness.

Period cramps were different. They were dull, a constant ache that didn’t go away for a week. These appeared like an intruder. They were sharp. Sporadic. Tiny little slices along her insides. She even broke her favourite mug when one hit her so suddenly, the pain so abrupt and painful the mug fell from her hand.

It had to be soulsickness, she wasn’t even pissed the mug was busted.

Yet the fact it had hit her so soon after her first switch made her second guess herself. Even her mother, a nurse, thought it would be odd. Then again, Jane had yet to inform her of her multi-tether status, so that may have had something to do with her mother’s diagnosis.

When Jane had spent a three days longer in bed then she should have, and noticed her PJ top had gotten bigger, she weighed herself.

She’d lots 3 kilos (6 pounds ) . In a week.

She refused to lose weight this way again. She refused to let some mythical figure spinning her life’s thread in front of a spindle dictate this was how she was going to reach her goal weight.

Jane went to the pharmacy that day and bought anti-nausea medication, and she forced herself to eat three meals a day.

But she still didn’t get up in the mornings to run.

The nausea eased. It was everything else that went to shit.

She developed insomnia in the third week. Which was great for binge tv watchers. She caught up on all the Kdrama’s she’s been wanting to watch. Including Park Seo Jun’s latest, the one where he actually tethered to his co-star. She tried to ignore that it made her think of Taehyung. Or how it made her watch the behind the scenes stuff when they’d done a drama together a few years back.

But when the nights lengthened because she was sleeping less and less, and she didn't have the attention span to continue watching tv, nor have the energy to even attempt a run to waste time, Jane found herself getting frustrated.

When she threw Shooky across her room because she was angry she couldn’t get to sleep, she quickly secured her plushys in her closet. For their safety.

And when flashing lights, caused her head to throb, she left her phone in her draw, where it buzzed constantly. The band seemed to be sending fewer and fewer messages, but there wasn’t a day that went buy when she didn’t receive a message from someone with the ID Seagull, or StreetDancer or Lamas-are-awesome.

She stopped reading all together by the third week, when reading turned her headache into a migraine that kept her glued to the bathroom floor.

By this point Jane didn’t even care that half the messages were from Liz. At first she was just checking up on Jane. But when Jane hadn’t answered the first 5 texts, Liz started emailing her, knowing full well that the subject line would show up in the notification.


The cramps turned into a fever on the last week of March.

Her father found her sitting in the shower with cold water pelting down on her, shivering. She had a temperature but by the time her mother came home from night-shift, it was down.

It continued to yoyo for two days.

Jane knew it was Soulsickness. She didn’t know how it was possible, or why it was hitting her so badly. Most people just got lethargic, and lost their appetite. But she knew what this was.

Her father wanted her to go to the hospital, but Jane pleaded with him. It wasn’t bad, just a few days. If it goes on longer than three days, she promised to check herself into a hospital.

She barely slept. She had the chills, then the sweats. She tried to eat, but couldn’t most of the time. Then on the third day, she woke up feeling fine.

Fiona called her that morning. A deal was on the table.

Jane took the subway to the agency's office. She was so excited that she didn’t sit the entire train ride.

The secretary saw her, smiled and led her straight to the elevator.

Fiona was beaming at her. She ushered Jane into the room where a nice white stack of papers sat on the table.

It was a three book deal. With film rights.

She stared at the advance. There were six 0's. Jane doubted even the total accumulation of all the money she’d ever had in her bank account could amount to the sum she was staring at.

It took four hours to go over the contract, line by line. Every detail ingrained in her head. She had never felt so clear in her life. This was what she had worked for.

Her hand shook as she signed on the dotted line.

Fiona insisted they go out for drinks to celebrate. Jane made it as far as the office sidewalk before her legs went out from under her.

"Jane!"

The concrete turned into a kaleidoscope. She didn't know there where that many shades of grey. Hehe. That’s a book. 

Jane groaned, her hand reaching for her head but the movement caught her off balance and she fell onto her elbow.

"What's wrong? Jane, Jane talk to me!"

She felt a hand reach under her forearm, trying to help her sit up.

"I'm fine. I'm just a little over excited." 

Jane felt another set of hands help her to her feet. But the world decided to somersault around her.

Everything went black.

As consciousness returned to her, Jane remembered three things.

A vibrating sensation on her wrist.

“Bang”, but not if she heard the sound or if someone said the word out loud.

And she remembered the distinct smell of diesel petrol accompanied by a loud rumble that made her open her eyes for a few seconds. She thought perhaps she was looking at the night sky.

When Jane was finally awake, she could hear an old friend.

A heart monitor beeping.

Bugger!

Jane recognised the antiseptic scent. She was in another hospital room.

The bed was warm, which meant she had been there a while.

Knowing they wouldn't appreciate the sudden overload as they were exposed to the light, Jane took her time opening her eyes.

A florescent light was over head. Though it wasn't on. She was grateful to whomever was responsible.

Her throat wasn't dry, which meant there was a humidifier in the room. Again, grateful.

A flickering light at the end of her bed drew her attention. There was a television mounted to the opposite wall. A news broadcast was on.

Every muscle in Jane's body went rigid.

Jane saw the date on the broadcast and burst out laughing.

Chapter Text

Park Jimin of Bulletproof Boy Scouts rushed to hospital.

Just to make sure she went to as much effort to read the Hangul her prankster had with great effort concocted, Jane read it again.

Yep still says the same thing. Looked real too, right down to the news casters informing her that Jimin was rushed to hospital after collapsing during a dance rehearsal.

"Annyeonghaseyo."

Every molecule in her body switched to panic mode at the sound of that voice. 

It was a joke. It had to be.

Slowly, with some deep seeded hope she was having a delusional episode, or even a very realistic dream, Jane turned to the speaker.

A set of blue eyes stared back at her. 

Liz!

"So, Bangtan Sonyeondan.”

Jane’s body wilted back into the bed.

No, no. "No. no!" She grumbled in disbelief before a curtain was ripped open sending daylight into the room.

"Sorry to disappoint." Liz said, her voice a little peeved.

Jane returned to her sitting position, her gaze on the best friend whom she hadn’t seen in five years outside of a phone screen. Her blonde hair was in a neat pony tail, her cardigan was draped over the chair she sat in beside Jane’s bed and her cheek was smooshed and resting on her fist as her elbow leaned on the chair arm.

It was definitely Elizabeth Peterson, the girl who got Jane detention in high-school for correcting the substitute English teacher when they scolded her for incorrect grammar.

"This isn't a joke right. April fools, Haha - Please tell me I'm not in Seoul." Jane begged.

Liz's face rose from her hand.  Her resting bitch face appearing. "You're not in Seoul." Jane pursed her lips.

Liz just had to say it in Korean, didn't she! 

The lack of expression on Liz’ face told Jane she wasn’t impressed. "Do you know how much paperwork there is in a non-disclosure form, Jane. " She used Jane! Liz was definitely pissed. And she was a terrible liar. The effort Liz would be putting in, was quite an achievement. Liz had never even been able to hide Jane’s surprise birthday parties. After the first three were spoilt it became a running theme. Jane had a Non-Surprise Birthday ever year until Liz moved to Korea.

Jane gulped. "Big Hit know I'm here?"

"Yep. Flew you over in a big ass private jet." She was getting a little snarky. She must be hungry. Liz always got snarky if she hadn’t been fed.

Jane looked around the room, mostly to avoid Liz’s stare. Hers was the only bed. Jane was in a private room.

"How long have I been here?" she asked glancing down at her state of dress. She was wearing a hospital gown.

Liz leaned back in her chair. "A few hours. Got the call last night. Your dad rang to tell me you were coming to Seoul and that I had to be at the airport as your guardian. At first I was confused. I mean why would I, your dearest and greatest friend in all the world, need to be your guardian. I mean I know your parents love me more then you, and they trust me more then you , so of course they would want me to look after you here, and I did question why you hadn’t told me of this surprise trip. But you’re a grown woman, you can take care of yourself. Then he told me you were unconscious. That you had been unconscious for two days . With Soulsickness.” Liz’s eyebrows rose. “That’s when the unread messages made sense. You Jane Winifred Seville, didn’t want me telling you off for being an utter idiot.”

Jane attempted a smile “Does ‘I miss you’ and ‘you look great’ win me brownie points?”

“One. But only because I feel bad.”

“Why?” Jane tried to prepare herself for the other shoe to drop.

“Because I’ve been mad at you all day and I’m done now.” Jane didn’t have time to react. The second Liz was done talking, she launched herself out of the chair and onto the bed next to Jane, her arms wrapping around Jane’s neck sending her backward into the pillows, and snagging Jane’s IV line in the process.

She shifted, freeing the plastic fluid filled tubing from her grasp and looked at Jane. “I’m loving the long hair babe.” She said, taking a strand of Jane’s hair into her hand. She then scrunched her nose. “But it needs a wash.”

Jane scoffed. “Just be thankful I got electrolysis on my legs when I did.” She can thank an embarrassing incident that involved the removal of casts for that choice. “Or else there would be man legs under these here sheets. I’ve barely had enough energy to shower let alone shave for the last two weeks.”

Liz shifted off Jane, sitting on the edge of bed, her feet barely touching the ground. “Janie, you’re lucky that wristband of yours alerted the Moirai Clinic when it did. What if you fell into a coma again?”

The paperwork she signed....

Jane could see Liz was ready to give her a scolding. She needed something to calm down the angry pygmy. She saw the food tray.

“Here.” she said handing Liz the jelly cup. “Feed the beast.” Liz’s nose twitched a snarl before snatching the green emerald from Jane’s hand.

Liz was much happier, and much calmer to fill her in on the details of Jane’s trip to Seoul cross legged at the end of the bed, jelly cup beneath her chin.

The paperwork Jane had signed, gave the clinic permission to contact her soulmates in emergency circumstance. In this case that meant Big Hit were alerted to Jane’s identity.

Liz took a mouth full before continuing.

“So they then got in contact with the Soulmate Council at the Korean Embassy in the UK, who then had to organise an Emergency Travel Visa for you, which meant that you needed a sponsor for your Soulmate Visa. Enter Big Hit Entertainment. They chartered a private jet in London to get you to Seoul, where I accompanied you to the hospital – by helicopter, which was awesome by the way. You were unconscious so you missed it, and now we are here.”

Jane couldn’t help but smile. She had really missed Liz. “Where did you learn all this?”

Liz had finished the jelly cup and was now proceeding to open the drink the hospital kitchen had provided. She leaned against the bed end as she spoke. “Your agent Fiona. She got in contact with me because she needed a go-to while you were – unavailable. She wants you to call her, she wouldn’t tell me why though.”

Jane bit her bottom lip. The move stopped the bottle at Liz’s lips. Her eyes widened.

“What? What are you not telling me? I know that look.”

“You know all my looks. It’s why you’ve got the title of best friend.”

Liz put down the bottle. “Shut up and tell me.”

“Which is it? Shut up or tell you.”

Liz leaned back, the area between her brows creasing together. “You’re dragging this on. This is big.” She said bobbing her head in understanding. “You got a book deal.”

Jane couldn’t hold in the smile. “I got a book deal.”

Liz leapt onto her knees, leaning over Jane’s legs beneath the blanket. “Chincha?”

“Really.”

Liz started bouncing. She reached out for Jane’s face, her cheeks squishing between her best friends hands. “Janie, you got a book deal.”

“I know.” Jane said through pouted lips. This answer sent Liz into a fits of squeals, causing her to jump from the bed and spring around the room, jumping up and down, her face in a fit of joy until the door opened and a nurse stood there arms crossed watching Liz lose her mind.

It took Liz a moment to notice, but when she did she went from excited 15 year old to polite foreigner, bowing and apologising in Korean.

When the nurse was done scowling she gave Jane one look before disappearing.

It wasn’t even a minute later when the doctor entered the room.

She must have met and spoken with Liz when Jane was admitted because the Dr addressed her first, then turned and spoke to Jane in English. It was good, Jane assumed because it was a private hospital, and this being a private wing meant the best doctors worked on it, likly with some English education, but she looked like she was struggling. She’d gotten as far as her name, Dr Hwang and her position, Soulmate Medical Specialist, when Jane informed her she could speak in Korean.

She seemed pleasantly surprised, and a little relieved Jane spoke it.

“You’re Korean is very good.”

Jane thanked her. She tried ignore the “see i told you you weren’t rusty look” she received from Liz.

“Are you aware you were suffering from Soulsickness?.”

She told Dr Hwang that was her conclusion, but that she wasn’t sure why she was suffering so soon.

“We were made aware of your circumstances. All confidentially of course. But we think it might be because on your Multi-tether. Whilst your Soulmates are tethered to you. It appears your connection to them exists separately.” Dr Hwang drew her a diagram when she asked for clarification.

“Oh. And is that unusual?” Jane imagined these so called tethers just sticking out of her, stretching across the world, invisibly tied to each one of them.

Dr Hwang shook her head. “No. We assumed because of the number with which you tethered that perhaps each one of you were connected to another other, but the tests conducted back in London, and what was sent to us from the Moirai Clinic, as well as our own frequency test here confirmed your tethering is no different.”

“So I am normal.” That didn’t exactly relieve her.

That seemed to amuse Dr Hwang, who gave Jane a sympathetic smile. “All Multi-Tethered Soulmates to date have shared the same frequency. But what is unusual in your case - just so you are aware, I have spoken with a representative of your Soulmates – you all Tethered at the same time. The Trios, Quads and the Quintet in the United States are all documented to have tethered at separate times. We think that because of this, and adding to that your extreme distance from the seven of them-“

That catches Jane off guard. She’d only ever said 6. Had Jimin finally told Big Hit?

“-That your soulsickness was exacerbated.”

It made sense. Not that she knew what to actually do with that knowledge.

Dr Hwang then examined Jane physically. Now that she was conscious it would be easier to see if there was anything wrong, considering her medical history. She made Jane sit on the edge of the bed as she examined her legs. She checked to ensure their was no inflammation to the previously damaged areas, checked her knees, her ankles, and when they all seemed to be rotating and functioning properly, she made Jane stand and walk across the room, IV stand included. Dr Hwang then knelt before Jane and examined her hips, to ensure the soulsickness hadn’t had an effect on her pelvis or any of the scar tissue there, she had said. She even changed the dressing on the wound on her elbow. She’d only just remembered the contact it made with the sidewalk. She had landed hard enough that it required stitches.

“You’re very lucky Miss Seville.” Dr Hwang told her when her examination was over, helping Jane back into bed. “Most people don’t have the resources to rescue their soulmate from soulsickness, you truly have received fate’s blessing.”

Jane didn’t feel that way recently. She kept waiting for Fate’s punchline.

“I’ve never had a Soulsick patient fall into a coma in my entire career. You were almost my first. Be grateful that they were transferred here when you were and the abatement of your soulsickness was so quick.”

Dr Hwang confirmed Jane would be staying with Liz and said she could leave in the morning after a final checkup. Then her expression changed, and she looked at Jane with pity. “I understand the circumstances are unusual, and complicated to say the least, and I can’t imagine the stress it has put you under. But you are in the same city as your soulmates now. The same hospital. You should take the opportunity to make the Tether Connection with them as soon as possible. At least to remove the possibility of another bout of Soulsickness. Distance is the worst thing for you at this point.”

Jane couldn’t say anything. She was still trying to get her head around the part of the statement where Dr Hwang said “They were transferred.” She tried to mime a smile of understanding. Dr Hwang gave her another pitying look and quickly scrawled something on a note pad, ripped it off and placed in on the table by the bed. Then as though the last conversation never happened she provided Liz some after hospital care tips, to keep an eye on any symptoms that might occur, not that it was necessary. Jane had had enough first aid and medical training from her mother after breaking her legs that she could have opened a blackmarket clinic from their sun room. Not that she had utilised much of it in the last month.

When Dr Hwang left, Liz returned to her typical self and started rattling on about being hungry still, and how she had sent Francois home to cook her dinner but she was going to call him to make some more now that Jane was awake, and that she was excited because Jane would finally get to meet him in the best way possible, by tasting his cooking, and mentioning that Jane really needed to call her parents who had been lighting up her phone every half an hour since she arrived when Jane finally found her voice, the scrawled note in her hands with Room 712 written on it.

“Who is in the hospital Liz?” she asked staring at the note.

Her best friend looked at her, hand paused mid type on her phone to her boyfriend. “Jimin.” Liz said, as though that should have been obvious considering Jane woke up to the broadcast.

“Here.” Liz buried her hand inside the bag hanging from her chair, retrieving Jane’s phone and handing it to her. She then left Jane to do what ever processing she needed.

Jane called her parents instead. Video chat, just to show them proof she was indeed alive and hadn’t died in transit. They were happy she was awake. They were not so happy with being kept in the dark, but they could understand the stress she was under. Her mother’s words. It was rare to have multiple Soulmates.  Her father wanted to know what her plans were. She admitted she didn’t know. One day at a time, she told them. She asked them to keep it quite back home. She really need anyone finding out. “I mean it mum. No boasting in pride at work that your daughter has moved to Seoul because her soulmates are KPop idols. Nothing. I haven’t even met them yet. BTS are not my soulmates as far as the rest of the world is concerned.” Her mother acted offended Jane even had to tell her. “We’ll just tell everyone you finally went on that trip to Korea.” her father told her. It was the closest thing tot he truth. so really no one was lying. They tried to change subject by congratulating her on her book deal, asking for details and praising her, wanting to know everything she did.

It was nice not thinking about her other circumstances for a while. But that only lasted as long as the phone call did. And the time it took her to check her bank balance with her advance now within it.

Jane found herself searching the latest news for BTS.

Amino was having discussions as to the cause of Jimin’s collapse, several citing other members looked drained at the rehearsal.

Twitter had been spreading said pictures.

ARMY was already on the Soulsickness bandwagon, even after Big Hit’s official statement

 

But from what Jane could gather most of ARMY, k-army to be specific wanted BigHit to put off the comeback until Jimin was 100% healthy.

This was her fault.

Jane had known for a month that BTS were her soulmates, but because she had been so caught up in ensuring that she wasn’t going to be a burden to them, Jimin had gotten sick.

She’d wanted to be a writer for so long, to make sure she was known for her talent. Even in the minutest of ways, to repay BTS for being there for her when she was at rock bottom, for being her strength and driving her to be better, to achieve her dream.

She knew it was selfish to wait until her had a book deal. But she couldn’t bare the idea of people, of ARMY accusing her of she was using her status as BTS’s Soulmate to sell her books. She deserved better than that. They didn’t deserve that.

And Jimin didn’t deserve to be in the hospital because of her.

Jane stood from the bed and took hold of the IV stand, a sense of determination in her steps as she walked out of her room

She searched the hall for an indication of where she was. It took a moment of her mind to process all the Hangul, but by the time she had worked out she was on the 6th floor, and found the sign for the elevators, Jane’s brain had switched to Hangul fluency.

It was a private floor, so there weren’t as many nurses around, which Jane was grateful for, she wasn’t sure if she could have handled explaining why she was out of bed.

No one noticed her as she headed to the end of the hall, stopping in from of the elevator. She pushed the ^ arrow.

The 30 seconds it took for the lift to arrive felt closer to 30 minutes. Jane jumped when the lift dinged its arrival.

Her feet scuffed across the threshold in the hospital slippers she managed to find on her way from her room. Her nails rattled against the metal of the iv stand at she tapped away her nerves, the knuckles of her other hand turned white as she opened and closed her fist.

The doors closed. The lift moved up.

7 seconds.

The elevator dinged and the doors opened.

Jane didn’t look at a single sign as she exited the elevator. A form of muscle memory she was never taught, had never learnt lead her down the hall.

She could feel a tingling sensation in front of her, like a feather caressing her chest.

The closer she got to the room, the easier it became to breath. The heaviness she hadn’t realised she’d woken up with was dissipating with every step she took.

Until she stood before room 712.

What was she doing?

Her hand, without her say so grasped the door handle and pulled. The door slid open without much effort.

It was a large room. A window, drapes closed took up most of the opposite wall. Four beds occupied the room. Two had blankets askew but no occupants. One was completely untouched.

The fourth bed was occupied. Then end of which Jane could see from around the corner of the wall where the bathroom was situated.

If Jane just stood there. Stood there and did nothing. He wouldn’t even know she was there.

She stepped into the room.

What if he’s awake? What does she say? He’d probably think she were an saessang. Order security. Have her arrested.

CALM THE FUCK DOWN JANE. Do what you came here to do!

She took another step forward. Then another. With each step she felt a stronger draw to move forward, as though the feather caressing her chest was suddenly pulled taut, a string tied to the end, leading her forward.

Jane had always wondered what it was like for ARMY when they met the band at concerts and fan-signings. Were they giddy, excited, did they want to cry? She’s always thought perhaps she would feel nervous in this moment, even after the First Switch. She had wondered what she would do in the circumstances, not these circumstances, but she how she would feel when she saw one of them.

Releasing a breath like it was the first time she had ever taken one was not it.

Jimin lay sleeping beneath the white cotton blanket, though he’d tossed around enough to shift it half way off his body, the tiniest slip of skin at his hip showing.

Jane took a step forward, propelled to move closer by Fate’s great cosmic game of tug of war.

Jimin moved, his entire body shifting, rotating and turning towards her.

She froze.

Was he waking up?

She could hear his deep breathing, though only when she held her breath.

Jane moved closer, his bed a foot from her now. She moved to the seat that faced his bed, nearer his head a sat down, careful not to wake him as she moved the IV stand.

She didn’t know why she wasn’t nervous, as her eyes trailed over Jimin’s sleeping figure.

He looked good. He looked healthy.

Jane let out another breath of relief.

Jimin was ok. She could…. Jane could feel it somehow.

She doubted she looked anywhere near that good today. His hair was still silver, the strands draped across his brow glistening like spiders silk. His left hand had moved to rest beneath his head, the other lay draped over his hip, an IV in the back.

Jane felt a pinching sensation in her chest, an ache.

This was her doing.

She leaned forward, intent to reach for that hand, to make the Tether Connection, to free Jimin. But Jimin shifted and Jane froze, hand hovering over his sleeping form.

He hadn’t woken. He must be a restless sleeper.

She refocused her attention. To the hand on his hip. To making the connection.

Jimin shifted again.

And Jane inhaled.

The sensation she felt was unlike anything she could describe.

It was like seeing the entire universe in a grain of sand. Like feeling the world only existed inside the confines of a snow globe. It was like tasting ice cream for the first time, and sipping tea for the first time. It was like swimming through air, breathing underwater. It was learning to cry and to laugh, to smile and to weep all at the same time.

And then she felt it. A click. A puzzle piece moving into place.

Jane exhaled and she could feel him.

The hand that had dropped from his pillow now rested beside her own. The hand that she didn’t even know she had moved there there. His hand had move right on top of her own.

And for the life of her, Jane couldn’t catch her breath.

She was terrified to move her hand. Terrified the movement would wake Jimin.

But she did, and he didn’t.

She stood, slowly, her eyes never leaving his face, and found her back to the door.

She quickly slide it aside and exited. Her breath finally catching up with her outside the room.

Jane never caught sight of the brown eyes that opened as the door closed.

Jane, in her desperation to leave the 7th floor as soon as possible, discarded the IV stand right there in the hall, and bypassed the elevators in favour of the stairwell.

She took two steps through the threshold before colliding with the person on the other side, her IV bag tumbling from her hands.

It was caught mid-fall by a set of very defined, masculine hands.

“Nice Catch.” She said to the owner, ignoring the voice in her head that told her she knew those hands. Out of habit, or just because she hadn’t been in Korea for very long, she thanked them in English, pushing herself out of the arms of the person who had rescued her from what would have been a rather bad fall and reached for the bag.

Jane’s eyes trailed up the figure, following one of those hands as they moved to toward their owner’s face.

 A face hidden beneath a black face mask and cap. Small brown cat like eyes stared back at her as ringed fingers unconsciously scratched at his jaw. A brown that was warm like honey. Soft eyes that looked heavy even when the owner was wide awake. Eyes that scrunched up into two perfect new moons when he decided to show his gummy smile. Eyes that she used to look at when she needed someone to pull her from her procrastination.

Those eyes stared at Jane.

And it happened again. She released a breath like she had taken one for the first time.

Jane was also, extremely aware of the taller figure standing beside her. Of his arms not quite touching her back, but close enough to catch her should she find herself off balance again. Because she felt that same pull, only there were two feathers this time.

He held his hand far enough away that he wasn't touching her any longer, likely for proprieties sake, because as far as he was concerned.

Jane was a stranger to him.

At that exact moment, as Jane was caught up in her attempt to remove her IV bag from that hand without touching it, pulling it up by the cord being her only option, Min Yoongi’s eyes fell to her lips.

Having secured the bag in her possession, Jane bowed to the two men, to which they quickly reciprocated and she proceeded to rush down the stairs.

“Wait. Miss!” a voice cried out in heavily accented English.

That deep voice made her stop as it filled the small corridor. The voice which had sent shivers down her spine the first time she heard him sing his solo song. The voice she wished she had had to sooth her crying during those long months of recovery in the hospital when the pain from her healing bones was just too much. The voice she chose to listen to now when her ankles swelled up because she ran just a little too hard.

Jane’s breath caught in her throat as she heard his footfalls echoing behind her. She turned looking over her shoulder and found Kim Taehyung pulling off his jacket.

 

And again. It happened again. Jane has been breathing for 24 years, why did meeting one's soulmate have to feel like some exotic, foreign experience!

 

Without saying another word, he raised his arms over her head –

Jane was more surprised at this point. She had never actually thought about it before, and knowing it doesn't really have quite the same impact as standing before him. But Kim Taehyung was so much taller in person.

He raised his arms over her head, his jacket sleeves in his hands, and proceeded to wrap his jacket around her hips, tying the sleeves into a knot at her pelvis.

OMG!

He actually tried to limit the amount of times he did in fact touch her.

When he had finished. He smiled at her. Not his boxy grin, where his eyes became those of the smiley face emoji. It was his closed lipped, bubble-gum cheeked, where the corners of his lips perked up smile.

Jane could feel her face heat up instantly. Her free hand moved to her cheek to shield herself. Taehyung moved toward her in an attempt to take her hand, like he had so many times to ARMY at fan signings. An automatic instinct to show affection and care, in Jane’s case to offer her comfort in her embarrassment. But Jane quickly stepped back, bowing in thanks.

“Gamsahamnida. Gamsahamnida.” She bowed with every thank you until she could disappear through the 6th floor doorway.

The door shut and Jane slammed herself against it, the IV bag held close to her chest like a kevlar vest.

.

.

.

.

Her backside was showing.

Jane just showed her soulmates her ass.

Chapter Text

Jane had been waiting for this moment for 5 years. 

To see a Seoul sunset, the metallic buildings glistening as the evening light washed over their glass window panes, the horizon growing more orange and purple with every inch of the suns descent, the city coming alive in blues and greens and yellows as evening lights flickered into existence.

She just didn’t expect it to be from the roof of a hospital.

In a pair of lace nickers.

Wearing the jacket her idol soulmate had given her to hide said lace nickers.

Three of them. Jane had met three of her Soulmates in a single day, one of which she’d made the Tether Connection with.

She didn’t feel any different. Humiliated perhaps, a little relieved. She felt closer to the Jane she had been before her first switch if she was honest.  But what was odder, was that when her phone lit up with a Dispatch notification and Jane she saw the pictures of the band members leaving the hospital-

-Jane felt smug.

She was in on this big secret, and the rest of the world was left to guess. It was a privilege she didn’t know if she even deserved.

Her phone dinged for the 10th time with a message from Liz, asking where Jane was.

“YAH!”                                                                                                            

Jane’s head snapped around to find a very annoyed looking Liz standing by the roof entrance door, one hand squeezing her phone, almost to breaking point.

“I thought you ran away.” She cried to Jane in Korean as she near stomped over to her. Jane had taken it upon herself to commandeer what appeared to be a hospital staff hangout zone. She had taken up occupancy of a sofa that overlooked the view of the city, with her body cocooned in the denim jacket.

“Not bloody likely in this outfit. Papers would be reading foreign lunatic running around Seoul in nothing but undies come morning.” Jane retorted returning her attention to the farthest spot on the horizon.

“I have great taste in underwear thank you very much. Better than those granny nickers you were wearing when you arrived.” Liz stared at Jane as she held out the bottle of soda she had found in the mini fridge in the corner in offering.

 Liz eyed the bottle. Jane didn’t drink soda.

Jane pulled the bottle back to her chest, “ I should probably thank you for that.”

Liz continued to stare at Jane. Her eyes took in the jacket wrapped around Jane’s figure, her legs up under her chin beneath the pearl blue hospital gown.

“I know that jacket, why do I know that jacket?”

Jane shifted, passing her phone to Liz, with the search page open.

Liz stared at the screen as she collapsed into the spot beside Jane.

 

 

Her eyes then moved to the breast pocket, and the images embroidered there.

 “You made the Tether Connection?” Liz was so happy, her smile lit up her entire face. Jane couldn’t help but smile back. “Not with him.”

“oh.” Liz was disappointed. “OH!” then she wasn’t. Her eyes tripled in size as realization hit her. “And was it like jumping out of a plane and flying, like...like every molecule in your body was tickling with electricity, like having your first kiss only you never stopped to take a breath.”

Jane let a laugh escape, knowing her smiling was finally reaching her eyes. Her first genuine smile in weeks. “Something like that.”

“Wait so how did you end up with Tae’s jacket, and one of his custom edits?”

Jane said two words.

Nickers.

Stairwell.

A smug look took over Liz’s face. “Oh you should definitely thank me.”  She then relieved Jane of the beverage and gulped down the rest of the contents.

“Why would I do that?”

“Because I removed the hard part. Now it’s going to be 10 times easier to get naked in front of them. One has already seen you in your underwear.”

Jane held up two fingers.

“Who?”

“Yoongi.”

“You were busy.” Liz settled into the seat after retrieving another soda bottle.

“Well you shouldn’t have left me alone in a foreign country where my emotions dictate the behaviour of my brain, anything could have happened. You should have handcuffed me to the bed.”

“Kinky.” Liz smiled, her eyebrows bobbing in mischief.

“Shut up. Liz this is so surreal. He gave me his 300 dollar jacket to cover my pantie wearing ass and he doesn’t even know me. Who does that?”

“Kim Taehyung.” Liz had such a satisfied look on her face that Jane didn’t know if it annoyed her or made her jealous at the confidence.

“But what am I supposed to do with that?” Jane answered as she gazed at her hands beneath the too long sleeves.

A moment of silence passed between them. “Thank the universe for choosing you.”

Jane could say nothing.

“look –“ Liz took Jane’s hand in her own, intertwined their fingers and turned her attention out to the horizon. “The way I see it, I’m more of a stan then you are. And that’s a good thing. You are ARMY, but you have never fantasied about being with one of them, because the possibility was never there. You never clung to false hopes, you always watched and supported them from afar because they were the same for you. You connected with their music, but always saw them as normal people. You like the sidelines Janie. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I know you. I know why it took you so long to get to this point. And I get it. And once they get to know you, they will too. And if they don’t, I will kick them up the ass. I don’t care how much money they have for a lawyer that will undoubtedly sue me for every cent I have. You are the best person I know, the best soulmate for them, for anyone because you don’t expect to be anything for them apart from what you have always been, a constant companion.” She pulled Jane’s hand to her heart. “You know we were soulmates first anyway, right?”

Jane smiled again putting her head on Liz’s shoulder as she continued. “And if nothing comes from your connection with them, if the seven of them don’t fall head over heels in love with you then there is something wrong with them.”

“Liz-” Jane rolled her eyes, causing Liz to examine her best friends face.

“Since when are you insecure!”

Jane nudged her best friend. “You know this isn’t me being insecure, this is me being terrified.”

A small smile finds it’s way to her lips, catching Liz off guard.

“I met three of them Liz. Three. And everything in my bones told me to tell them who I was, to touch Yoongi and Taehyung. To feel what I had with Jimin.” She didn’t tell Liz that the connection had been Jimin’s doing. “Every muscles in my body was screaming for that connection, because it felt right. Because it was right. I knew looking at them, that being near them was where I was meant to be. It didn’t matter if all I became was a friend. I just want them happy and healthy.

When I saw Jimin in that bed Liz-” a sob escapes from Jane’s lips. The thought of being the reason he was hurt…. Jane wiped at the tears leaked down her cheeks. Liz quickly wrapped her arm around Jane’s shoulders.

“When I saw Jimin, I don’t think I had ever felt present in my own body before until we touched...

What I’m truly terrified of - if this is what it feels like to know deep down that Jimin is my soulmate, to know that even if he, if they had not been idols, had not been BTS, this would still be happening, I would still feel like this.”

“Like what?”

Jane took a deep breath. “Like I’m capable of falling in love. And I don’t know if I can go through that again.”

Jane’s eyes searched out the horizon in the direction she had watched the band's cars drive off in. Off to their dorms no doubt.

Liz withdrew her arm, and leaned back into the sofa, her body turning towards Jane. She had on her 'disappointed teacher look'. “You realise the unnecessary pressure you’re putting on your heart right. Telling it not to fall in love with 7 complete strangers when they don’t even know your name.”

Jane laughed, though through gritted teeth. “Stop making fun of-.”

“and what about them.” Liz cut her off. “Don’t you think it’s quite obnoxious of you to assume that you will even like them. You never know, RM could be a complete sexiest in person.” Jane’s eyebrows rose in shock. “Jungkook may not even like older women.”

“I hate you so much right now.” Jane told her best friend through tears of laughter, even if she was trying to hold in said laughter.

“It could happen” Liz continued, on a roll now that she was getting a more positive reaction from Jane. “You just don’t know. There might not even be room for you between YoonMin, I hear they are completely enamoured with each other. And Jin he may not even let you bake. Which is a crime and he can’t even be punished for that.”

Jane stared at Liz, who had on an extremely serious face.

Jane rubbed at her face. “I should really stop worrying.”

“You should really stop worrying.” The blond repeated.

 Liz perked up suddenly. “Like this.” And because she was still holding Jane’s phone, nothing could stop her from taking a photograph of the horizon.

When she was done, she turned the phone screen to Jane.

 

 

“Did you have to tag yourself?” Jane asked.

“Promotion. You’re going to be doing a lot of it soon now. Better the Frenchmen’s Korean Englishwoman then Bangtan Sonyeondan."

Jane moved to retrieve her phone, only for Liz to swipe it back at the last minute. A look crossed her face.

“Why are you staring at me like you just decided it would be a good idea to rob a bank?” Jane didn’t like this look. She never liked this look.

“Go stand over there.” Liz pointed to edge of the building. Not the actual edge, just the part where one could look over if they wanted to.

The very place Jane had been standing after escaping to the hospital roof, because she couldn’t bring herself to face anyone yet. The place where she had screamed out her frustration over what had just happened as it turned into relief and she collapsed onto the cement and laughed herself into a state of calm.

Jane didn’t move until Liz pushed her to her feet. “Go.”

Liz stood and began positioning herself, ever the social media guru, for what appeared to Jane the a position to take a photograph. Of Jane.

“No Liz, this will be flagged as like…porn or something.” Jane said as she pulled Taehyung’s jacket tighter around her body, its length and size, too large, even with her current weight.

Jane paused, not noticing the “I’m not fucking stupid” look that Liz was giving her. She'd paused because she smelt men's cologne.

She hadn’t noticed it yet, not until she pulled the collar close to her face. It was deep, and rich. It smelt like his solo; of dark roses, and clear water. Black ink and purple silk. It was a smell that made Jane think of the boy in the glasses, willing to seed her a barefaced selca, bearing himself to her without expecting anything in return. It was the scent of Kim Taehyung.

“Jane.”

She looked up.

There was a click.

When Liz pulled the phone down, there was a smirk on her face. “Not photogenic my ass.”

Liz’s eyes returned to the phone. She was doing something, enough to cause Jane to worry and rush forward. But too late. A final tap and Liz surrendered the device.

Jane was staring at her Red String account, and a recipient list of pending mail.

 

 

Jane had no idea what to do, and by the time she remembered how to undo something like this.

The mail box pinged.

Jane forgot that Liz was familiar with this app.

She and Francois used it for fun. After they met.

If Liz had been wearing a bow tie she would have been straightening it cause of a job well done.  “Now you don’t have to be torn. Now they’ve seen you too. This way you won’t feel so guilty for having seen them.”

Jane felt like tackling Liz. She would have too, if another phone buzzing hadn’t caught both their attentions. They turned and looked back towards the door. A moment later it opened.

A nurse, staring at her phone was caught off guard by the two girls, one in a patient’s gown.

“You two shouldn’t be up here.” She scolded, hand on hip.

The two girls quickly bowed in apology, Liz hiding the empty soda bottle behind her back, and they left through the rooftop door, Jane just glade Taehyungs Jacket still covered her ass as she ran down the stairs.


 

79 AD

 

We’d sailed from Neapolis two days ago and yet since docking, I had yet to feel dry land beneath my feet.

I had been forced to admire the landscape for days through the window of the litter until we reached the city gates.

It was far larger then I had expected, not that I had expected to accompany father to begin with, but what the Emperor wants the Emperor gets.

And what the emperor wanted was for his favourite general to establish solid relations with the city. Which meant marriage. My marriage to the most prominent family of the city. I had yet to meet my betrothed.

The litter drove through the city as voices and near exotic smells beyond those four walls filled me with excitement. I wished nothing more than to walk through the city, to see how different life truly was beyond my home. But this was not Rome.  It was dangerous for a wealthy woman to walk along the city streets alone, for I would be alone as father had forbidden any of the slaves from accompanying me. Their life would be forfeit if I wandered off.

I held in my displeasure. I would take whatever moments of freedom I could garner with this marriage. Rome may rule over my body, but I rule my heart and I refuse to hand it over by imperial edict.

My future in-laws were to be expected. The Father is proud and snivelling, intent on praising the Emperor to father, ensuring he is not removed from his position as city leader, praising me and my beauty, which is worth as much as the last suitor to pursue me.

Pretty words mean nothing when that is all I’ve heard my entire life.

The mother is more formidable. No smiles. Just civil. Intent on making sure I know who really rules this house. I would like living with her if nothing else.

The son. My betrothed. Is late.

I’m escorted around the mansion, to examine the new home, my new home, should this marriage go ahead. According to father it was, but I had yet to make up my mind. I don’t care for a handsome husband. They are too prone to wandering out of the bedroom. An ugly but kind husband would be preferred. I could grow to appreciate his features. And I have heard that the son is kind. One out of two so far.

The day dragged on. And much to my surprise, my mother-in-law wished me to see the city, to purchase a garment fit for this city for this evening’s party they were hosting in my honour.

This was a city of the Roman Empire, I didn’t doubt that. But it was much more exotic. The trade with the east made it smell of spices, and the fabrics were darker and richer in colour that they looked like pools of ink.

We were purchasing a garment of deep red when a jewel on a nearby stall caught my eye. I found myself drawn to it. As though I had no will of mine own, I walked towards it.

I heard the chariot, but I never saw it. Dust filled my vision, screams filled my ears, and all I could focus on was my breathing and that of my saviour.

I slowly opened my eyes, a man’s heavily rising chest in my field of vision. As I dared to look at my rescuer I find he too is looking at me. A pair of brown eyes gaze into mine.

When I realised I have allowed myself to stay in his arms for too long, patrons on the market street staring at us, I withdrew myself from his embrace.

“I thank you sir. My father would appreciate that you went out of your way to save me.” I tried not to look into his eyes.

“And what about you? Are you not appreciative that I saved you?”

I’m forced to look at him again, to see the cocky look he holds for saving my life. But he has none.

“Lucius. What in the heavens? Child are you all right?” the mother cried when her sense had returned to her, a mother’s instinct having taken over as he examined us both.

I could not get a word out. This was my betrothed.

I feel the need to drink something, but find nothing available.

He was much too handsome for my liking, and how was he not cocky, surely after a save like that he would be, practically demanding we be wed this evening.

Yet he just stared at me, not smile in sight.

I avoid looking at him as he escorted the littler back to the mansion. But every so often I find myself examining him through the curtain. And every time, he is returning my gaze. I fail to hide my blush from his mother, her proud smile was not something she could hide under her stern demeanour.

I do not see him again until the party. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to attend the party at all. He was a contradiction. Men who look as he does, do not do things without expecting something from a woman in return.

Yet when the party started, he did not approach me.

When the meal started, and he was sat beside me, he did not speak with me.

It infuriated me to find myself staring at him. And even when he returned my gaze, I found myself holding my breath. Wondering if he would approach me.

Yet he did not.

In fact the only time we made any contact was when his mother orchestrated a moment in which we were forced to dance together, a moment seen by all invited that neither of us could refuse.

“I fear we are going to be a miserable pair if you can’t stand my company Lucius.” I said, ignoring the hand he hovered over my hip, disgusted to touch me it would seem.

“With a wife who can barely tolerate her husband I fear the same thing.”

We moved in sync, considering our lack of intimacy.

“What gives you that impression?” I am confused.

We stepped forward.

“A lack of any cordiality on your part might perhaps be the cause.”

We stepped backward.

“Cordiality.” I scoff. “It is reticence.”

He paused, our movement on the dance floor halted. “Have I done something in which you find the need to be reluctant?”

I turn. Catching him off guard. “I find you are a contradiction sir.” His eyes trail to my lips and I find my own doing the same.

“Would you care to take a walk with me My Lady. The estate gardens are particularly pleasant of an evening.” He said, his eyes still upon my lips.

“I would.”

We do this of an evening for near a week, him escorting me, me watching him laugh and smile as he tells me stories of the city, of a boy who grew up dreaming of travelling the world, confined to the walls of his city, serving his father’s ambitions. We two destined to serve at another’s whim.

By the sixth day, I could not take it anymore.

“Lucius.” He came to an abrupt stop. I could see his shoulders rising and falling in quick succession, though he did not turn to look at me.

“Please don’t move.” I take a step forward. And then another until I can see my breath playing with his hair at the nape of his neck.

My own breath catches in my throat. I am scared but I do it anyway.

I wrap my hands around his waist, my head leaning against his shoulder. He does not need to see my face. He does not need to see how he is effecting me. Just this once.

A moment passes and then another, until he is looking at me.

I lean forward, my breath mingling with his own.

Yet he moves not.

 I shouldn’t have done it.

I quickly withdraw my arms from him, only to have my arm grabbed in my retreat.

His eyes burn with something I hadn’t seen before.

I gaze down. At his hand as it slides down my arm to my hand, as he grasps my hand, his thumb rubbing circles over the back. We both, entranced by the image, by the touch, by the connection we had finally allowed ourselves to make, inhale in union.

Suddenly, just as the moment he pulled me from the chariot’s path, I’m pulled to his chest again, but I’m given no reprieve to catch my breath because it is taken from me. Stolen by his lips upon mine.

Nothing had prepared me for this moment. I wanted it the minute we spoke at the party, but hadn’t the courage to ask until now. And he had given it willingly and without restrain.

A sense of urgency took over. His hand upon my cheek held me unmoving, as though he himself were terrified I would leave, would pull away from the center of the universe, when he should know by now.

He was the center of mine.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I stood before him in our wedding chamber, every part of me nervous as he stood at the edge of the room, the moonlight pitting him half in darkness.

I have to take another deep breath. I can’t see anything else when he’s in the room.

He took a step forward. And then another, his steps timed with the beating of my heart.

When he stopped before me, I found myself tingling. By body preparing itself, the anticipation of his next move, driving me mad.

His eyes trailed to my dress, to the clasp at my shoulder.

Goose pimples trailed after his touch as his fingers brushed my wrist, as they grazed up the inside of my arm and paused, for the minutest of moments at the dip in my shoulder. His fingers deft as they managed to remove the clasp.

My dress fell away, a pile of moonlit silk at my feet.

I am bare before my husband. Naked and wanting.

His breathing hastened, mine own calmer than ever before. I watched his eyes linger on me, on my perk breasts, sensitive to the evening breeze. 

He took another step forward, his hot breath warming my collar bones, his eyes on my sex.

I barely have a moment to notice his own arousal when I am in his arms.

His kisses were toxic, a poison, a serpent whose venom kept me in its clutches.

I cannot breathe.

I felt his hands reach around me and squeeze, and in wanting I press my body further into him as my arms wrapped around his neck.

Air passed below me as I am lifted up, my legs wrapping around him.

His hands burned against my skin. A stark contrast to the cold sheets of our wedding bed.

He pulled away, leaning over my breathless form, his gaze held in mine own.

“The fates have cursed me.” He said, mine own hand within the curve of his neck. I wanted desperately to pull him back towards me, but his speech gave me pause.

“I am half awake half dreaming when you are near. I would let the world burn if it meant another moment with you. But it will never be enough. Even if we are given another lifetime, a thousand lifetimes – Eternity is not enough.” He brushed at the hair by my ear.

“Eternity is irrelevant.” I said, my hand caressing his cheek, my thumb wiping away the tear that had fallen. I reached for the hand by my face and I bring it to my lips. “I bind you to me Lucius.” I kiss his hand, sealing my oath. “We are bound. It is our doing, not Fates that has entwined us.” I squeeze his hand before placing it by my heart. “We will always find each other. We have cursed ourselves.” 

He smiled. “And what a curse-ed pair we make.”

His body rushed towards mine, our lips colliding. My breath stolen.

He trailed his kisses down my mouth to my neck, my flesh burning from the contact. His toxin spreading across my collarbones until he paused at my breasts. He hesitated and I looked to find him staring back at me. A moment passed and he smirked as his lips hastily settled over my nipple.

A sharp intake of breath, and my hands gripped the sheets like an anchor. For I feared if he removed his tongue from where it torturously stroked, I may have floated off.

He lips released me, his hand sealing me in the bed’s embrace as it caressed me from neck to navel.

I watched him from between my legs as he glided his hand over my waist and settles on my hip. He has removed himself from the bed and gazes at me from over my mound.

His grip on my hip tightened until he had a firm grasp of my legs, both hands encircling my things.

The move was fast. A whine escapes me as I am pulled forward in haste until my core is within his reach.

His beautiful face disappears from my sight, but I am rewarded when his toxin stretches the length on my groin. The sensation is a blade to my senses. I am dancing on a knife’s edge as his kisses stop within a single breath of the center of my crevice.

My hand finds his hair. And I cling to him for a semblance of reality.

He tortures the mouth of my arousal with his own.


Jimin lay awake.

Sleep would not come for him as it had for the others. 

Jungkook had fallen asleep hours ago, drained from not only the excitement of receiving his first message from Scarlet, the image now his phone screen but from the exhaustion of Soulsickness. 

The entire dance-line had fallen ill at rehearsal. No one willing to let the other's down this close to comeback. Jimin had seen how Jungkook pulled himself back to standing position at the end of every dance, even when his breathing was becoming ragged. Hobi-hyung could barely think straight to check on their synchronicity. Then when Jin had to hold Taeyhung to prevent him from falling over, Jimin couldn't handle it anymore.

They were all suffering, if they weren't going to get help for themselves he would. 

He'd collapsed on stage. On purpose.

He'd felt relieved when he arrived at the hospital, relieved when his members were taken care of, even more relieved when Taehyung wasn't admitted. His soulsickness had only gotten so far as to cause him to be dehydrated. 

Only the three of them had been admitted. But in the hours since they had been transferred, they had returned to peak health. And Jimin was the only one who knew why.

He pulled himself from the bed, the hospital floor cold beneath his feet as he searched for the slippers Jin had made sure were there for him before the other's had left for the evening.

Pulling on his robe, pausing to remain quite as Hobi mumbled incoherently in his sleep, Jimin headed for the hallway, stopping to fix Jungkookies' blanket- he had tossed it off in his sleep.

He pulled on the face mask he left in the robe pocket earlier and left the room.

The hallway was void of activity bar the nurse down the end of the corridor. She didn't notice the silver haired man quickly slip past and around the corner to the stairwell.

Jimin knew where to go, a pull somewhere in his chest, some voice in the back of his mind telling him to go down.

An invisible string pulled him along, down the stairwell. Through the 6th floor exit and into the corridor. His feet carried him along the hallway. He smiled and nodded as a nurse noticed him pass by, but his mask hid his identity enough to let him continue unhindered.

Her door was finally before him.

And he was frozen.

What are you doing?

Jimin didn't move. It was dark inside.

Of course it was dark inside. She was probably asleep. He should leave.

Jimin reached for the door handle.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING, ARE YOU JUST GOING TO GO IN THERE AND SAY - SAY WHAT, HELLO I'M PARK JIMIN, WE MET EARLIER. I'M ONE OF YOUR SOULMATES.

WHY THE HELL NOT. SHE DID.

SHE HAD REASON TOO. YOU WERE SICK. NOW YOU'RE NOT.

He turned the handle.

YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HER NAME.

Jimin's eyes found the name tag on the door.

세빌 제인 

Jane Seville. So she is English. Now he knew why he'd been craving so much tea.

He found himself smiling.

The light inside the room switched on and Jimin spun away, his back against the wall.

Did she know he was there? Did the tether connection work that way.

He tried to calm himself. To breath like he were about to go on stage, to become Christian. In and out. In and out.

A minute passed and the light switched off.

Jimin pushed off the wall and returned to the stairwell.

What was wrong with him? 

He sat in the stairwell, staring down at his feet.

Why didn't you go in, he scolded them. You carried me this far, why not further!

Perhaps it was a good thing they did not meet. Jimin wasn't even sure what he would have said. Would he have asked why she had not woken him? Would she have asked how he knew it was her? How would he explain that?

Jimin breathed a heavy sigh before standing.

He took two steps up when his vision vanished.

his....no Jane. Jane's eyes are closed. but..

Oh! Wait...NO! A moan escaped him and he reached out desperately for the railing to stop himself from falling.

Her breathing is ragged. Her hand between her legs. One hand clings to the pillow above her head as the other massages her clitoris beneath her underwear.

Jimin's breathing increased as he blindly lowered himself to the ground, a tingling sensation permeating in his lower abdomen, his legs growing weak.

Her motions were slow and circular.

Jimin bit his lip as Jane moaned. The heat building in his mask was too much. He ripped it off.

She increases her pace, the pressure building, the  anticipation and wait sending electricity down her spine.

Jimin leaned back against the wall, his hand brushing over his face as he pleads with her.

As his toes curled. 

Jane breathes in sharply, a whine of pleasure -

A moan of equal measure escaped Jimin.

- as the rush, the sensation, the euphoria washes over her as she comes.

 


 

Yoongi-Hyung was right.

It was entirely possible to suffer from second degree masturbation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Sorry for the week break. I was Christmas shopping last weekend and didn’t have time to update. But I couldn't leave you without a chapter over Christmas. I'm sorry if this one isn't as exciting as last chapter, but it does lead up to the first meeting chapter which I will be posting just before new year. 

On a side note. If you don’t follow me on Tumblr, then you likely haven't seen my latest post. As most of you know I do write full time, Ruin Me is a side project, and in honouring Ao3 rules on not publishing original work here, I have posed a question to my readers on Tumblr and am doing the same for my Ao3 readers. If you are interested in reading something else from me, then I would really appreciate if you checked out that post.

If you are not on tumblr and have no way of messaging me that you are interested in reading my original work, then please message me at the end of this chapter.

Here’s the link: https://ivorygossamer.tumblr.com/post/189713928393/question

I hope I haven't broken any rules by doing this.

If I get enough interest then I will be cross posting with Tumblr and Wattpad. 

 


 

 

Francois was a cross between Tom Hiddleston, Tom Holland, and that Swedish Muppet Chef from sesame street. The last part was mainly his eyebrows. He had really great eyebrows.

The first moment Jane and he met, after the two women came back from the roof she was swept into his arms as he proceeded to hug her and kiss either cheek. “See I found her.” he told Liz, who had proceeded to call him Her Hero, albeit mockingly.

Jane watched them interact all evening as they sat with her in the hospital. Francois serving her beef stew on a plate he had brought from home. “Like an artist needs the right canvas, a meal needs the right serving dish.” He was so pleased when Jane asked for a second helping.

Who wouldn’t? It was sex to her taste buds. Whose ability to taste food had returned since waking up. So that was something good that came out of the whole situation. Plus she didn’t think she had eaten a full meal in over a week.

Liz had to leave early because she had work the next day, at which time Francois informed Jane he would be returning for her first thing in the morning as he didn’t have to start work until early afternoon.

Because most people have normal day jobs. Most people don’t have the ability to make their own hours, wear pyjamas to work or take 15 toilet breaks because they drink three litres of water a day.

It was why Jane has great skin.

So when he turned up at exactly the time he said he would, Jane began to wonder if that comment Liz had once made about him always being on time actually meant something else entirely.

Plus it was the most normal thing about the past 24 hours of her life in Korea. Last night’s dream had been so confusing, and made her extremely hot and bothered that she risked de-stressing herself in her fucking hospital room.

It seemed that Liz had filled Francois in on everything, except the Jimin stuff, because when they were at the administration desk, he knew exactly what was required for her to check out. He began chatting away with the Nurse at the counter after informing Jane all of her medical bills were covered by her sponsor. Sponsor being the word the nurse used. All she had to do was fill in her information for the hospital.

She kept hearing Francois between her attempts to read the paperwork. Jane was fluent in Korean, but it was the first time she had actually filled out any paperwork written in nothing but Hangul.

Francois’ accent was so good that if Jane hadn’t known it was him speaking, she would have assumed he was a native. She got to the part that said Next of Kin.

“Liz. She told Bi-Your Sponsors that she was your next of kin. Here..” and he took the paper work from Jane and wrote his and Liz’s contact information, citing them as her family.

Jane actually felt relieved. He’d only just met Francois, though she had known him from years through the window of a mobile phone. But that he, without any effort called her his family. Jane was flattered.

Unlike Liz, who took public transport everywhere, and had informed Jane she would have to do the same, and was going to be receiving lessons on just the right way to do that, Francois drove.

Jane watched the city she had longed to see for 5 years pass by through the window of his car. It was mostly highways and suburbs but just the image of Hangul on every sign she saw, on every bus that passed by, and every billboard on display sent butterflies to her stomach.

She was half excitement, half apprehension. This was never how she wanted to be here. But because she couldn’t walk into Fate’s Headquarters and demand a do-over, it would have to do.

The sun had barely risen, but Francois was insistent that this was the best time of day in the city.

They had driven 15 minutes when Francois asked if she minded joining him when he went to get the ingredients for the lunch service. He offered to drop her off first. But Jane declined. “Don’t let me interfere. Please just do what you need to do.”

A bright excited smile filled his face.

When he’d said he was going to get the ingredients for the lunch service Jane hadn’t expected he meant walking through the seafood market on the edge of the city, just as the stalls were opening.

Jane followed behind Francois as he spoke and bartered with the fish mongers, all who knew who he was, and tried to convince him to purchase their latest catches. Jane watched him in awe as this foreigner, a Frenchmen speaking in perfect Korean managed to charm and haggle for the best deals with the locals.

How long did it take him to acclimate to Korea?

How long would it take her?

Thirty minutes and they left the market with two crates of fresh ingredients. They drove another 15 before they entered the city and pulled up to the curb. The square was so quite this time of morning. Jane left the car as Francois asked if she minded waiting whilst he ran into the restaurant to drop off the crates.

Jane didn’t mind.

She wandered a little from the car, scanning the shops along the promenade where the restaurant was situated. None were open as of yet. And though Francois was able to walk straight into his, being greeted at the door by whom Jane assumed was a co-worker, she pondered what the place would look like in full swing.

Was it busy like London of an evening, was there barley any room to walk or was it possible to walk hand in hand with someone, meander down the square?

Where all the shops and restaurants brimming with noise that one could barely distinguish where each sound was coming from or was it quite, not because it wasn’t busy but that it was one of those places where people couldn’t speak words because they were so amerced in their food.

Jane had seen posts online of the restaurant back when Liz and Francois started seeing each other. She knew what it looked like at night, bright neon blue sign, printed twice, one Korean, one French.

Right now it just looked- silent, as though it too were on the edge of sleep.

Laughter and squealing caught Jane’s attention. Out of curiosity she followed the sound.

There was a bus stop across the square near the main road. Three girls in school uniforms were jumping up and down behind the shelter.

Jane approached. Possibly against her better judgement.

All three were admiring the digital advertisement in the wall of the bus stop, the image alternating every 15 seconds. One of the girls, she reminded Jane of herself at that age, larger than her friends, but equally as excited spun around, hands bouncing in time with her bob cut.

“I can’t choose.” The second of the girls whined, the one who most would consider the prettiest, her eyes squishing as her face made a pained expression, before returning her gaze to the advertisement.

“Jimin.” The larger girl said, smiling at the picture as it appeared before her.

Jane froze mid step. Her breath caught in her throat.

You couldn’t give her a single day could you Fate!

They were watching a digital display advertising Looking Glass, the image one of those that switches between images, as the former fades into the next. In this case, Christian became Chimmy which became-

“Jimin!” cried the third girl, her hair in two buns- “But Chimmy is so adorable. How could you choose Jimin.”

“Christian-Oppa is the hottest.” The pretty one added, her phone turned to the switching images waiting for the right moment to snap a picture. “He is totally the best side of him.”

“Jimin came first.” The Korean Jane replied, the crush she had on the idol evident in her features. “He’s the one who cries on stage, the one in the Vlives telling ARMY he loves us, Jimin’s the one who forgets his luggage.”

A laugh escaped from Jane..

The three girls turn and notice her.

“Joesonghamnida.” Jane quickly said, bowing her head in apology. The three girls return a bow, likely because they assumed Jane was older.

“I wasn’t laughing at you. I sorry.” and she turned to flee.

“Are you ARMY Miss?”

Jane found her younger Korean counterpart had stepped forward. The girl looked hesitate, but genuine in her questioning.

“I am. Since Debut.” Jane said pursing her lips. Gosh that made her feel old.

The girl with the buns, who as it turned out was sucking on a lolly pop, started pouting and bouncing. “Omo. I’m so jealous. I was 11, I didn’t even know who they were then - But you’re not Korean. How did you get into k-pop Miss?”

They’d started to approach Jane, her peripheral vision filled with Christian and his gaze upon them. “My best friend. She introduced me to it. We watched Bangtan Sonyeondan debut together.”

Perhaps this whole thing might have been easier if Jane hadn’t been a fan for years.

“Are they why you speak Korean Miss?” The pretty one said.

“You do speak really good Korean Miss.” Buns smiled in agreement.

“We learnt it together. She teaches English here in Seoul now.” This was exciting. Aside from Dr Hwang, this was Jane’s first conversation with Koreans.

“Is she why you’re here in Korea Miss?” Korean Jane asked.

“Oh! Are you here to watch their comeback?” Buns bounced as she spoke, her eyes doubling in size. “I can’t wait for their comeback.”

“No.” They were strangers. And Jane needed to say it out loud to believe it. “I’m here because my Soulmates are Korean.”

All three sets of eyes widened.

“You Have A Multi-Tether - Omo!” Pretty appeared to be having an annurisim. For a moment Jane remembered how judgemental teenagers could be, and waited for the moment Pretty’s eyes trailed up and down Jane’s figure. But they didn’t. She just smiled and asked if Jane had met them yet. She was just curious.

Jane’s eyes lifted to find Jimin staring back. 

Her stomach did a somersault. “One.” It wasn’t entirely a lie.

“Whose your Bias?” Buns quickly cut in returning to their initial topic.

“Never had one. But I take it yours is Jimin?” Jane said to the Korean her. The school girl blushed. “I agree with you. Jimin is my favourite side of him too.”

Jane then asked them if they wanted her to take a picture of them with his poster. Jane would have done the same thing at 16, she had done the same thing when there was BTS ads in London. Hell she’d done it when there was a random KPOP ad, because it was so fucking rare 6 years ago.

She took the girls phones, one after the other- Buns had a ChimChim doll hanging from hers, and took multiple sets of selcas. Then just as she was about to say goodbye, she didn’t want Francois thinking she’d done a runner, Korean Jane asked if she wanted a selca too.

Jimin’s gaze held Jane. She didn’t have much of a chance to say no. All three girls quickly dragged her over to the advertisement and snapped some pictures.

Just as Korean Jane had managed to take a picture of Jane by herself in front of the advertisement, their bus arrived.

Korean Jane smiled to her from her bus window as it drove off.

The photo of herself and Jimin felt weird being in her phone. Even with just a digital version of the idol. She found the image quite surreal. Especially considering it was taken in the same city he was in.

When she returned to the car, Francios hadn’t yet left the restaurant and she didn’t bother to inform him of her unusual encounter on the car drive home.

Somethings however trivial, felt better kept private.

They drive to Seocho-gu where he and liz had been living for over a year. A place called Seorae Village; basically Seoul’s French Quarter.

Jane knew that Francios’ parents were quite wealthy, but she didn’t think they’d paid for it. The two bedroom home was very nice. And very expensive looking.

“I know Liz can’t afford this on a teacher’s salary. This is all you, isn’t it?”

“I’m a French Chef in Korea. I am rare and quite pricy.” A mischievous smile filled his face as he hauled Jane’s luggage in through the front door. La Cordon Blur indeed.

Francios was excited to show Jane around their home. It was a western style home. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a massive kitchen.

“You’re welcome to use it whenever you like. I restock every fortnight so don’t fret about using the pantry. I prefer when the house smells like food.”

“I may just take you up on that.” Jane tells him.

He showed Jane to her room. The window was wide, so the room was bright, a large western style bed filled up the far wall, and a closest the width of the wall filled the other.

And it had an en suite.

“Make yourself at home.”

He then informed her he was given instructions by Liz to make sure Jane received the wifi password as she had to make a call to her agent today.

He left her to settle in.

She knew she might be putting them out, but she’d never say so to Liz, the woman would throttle Jane if she so much as spoke the words. So Jane resigned herself to accepting her situation.

By lifting her suitcase onto the bed and unpacking.

The first thing she saw was Taehyung’s jacket.

She found herself smelling it, the scent something she couldn’t quite place.

STOP IT JANE! Don’t be a stalker. You’re above that.

She quickly withdrew her face form the denim, holding it as far away from herself as possible, and hung it in the closet. She would need to find an opportunity to return it.

Without them actually meeting would be preferable at this point in time.

When she wasn’t so freaked out he’d seen her ass.

Her mother had packed her suitcase for her. Enough for a month, so at least she wouldn’t have to shop for a while. It was spring so only a single large parka was packed. She hung that beside the jacket.

She knew her laptop being stored between the clothes was her father’s doing. She never went anywhere for long periods of time without it.

A letter had been slipped inside.

Jane, if you need anything, call us, we’ll send a care package. I don’t think their Tea is like ours. So I’ll send that as soon as possible. Don’t forget about your writing. I don’t care how many of Them there are. Don’t forget all you’ve worked for. Love you. Dad

There was an empty dressing table in the corner. Jane stored her laptop there.

A temporary writing desk.

When Jane reached the smaller compartments of her suitcase, she was reminded of her mother’s dirty mind. Even when Jane had been in hospital, in and out of consciousness, unsure of she was going to be ok, her mother still had the capacity to pack her several pairs of dedicates.

She also now knew where Liz had found the lace pair she wore yesterday.

Jane left the items in the suitcase and stored it at the bottom of her wardrobe.

Where it would remain for the near future. She hadn’t even thought as far as her mother had.

After having a conversation with Francois regarding the internet, which she was free to use, he set her up in her room to have that face time call her agent was so adament about.

Fiona wasn’t happy. Jane reminded her that it was Fiona had had said she didn’t need to know about Jane’s love life to do her job.

“That was then. I’m amending our agreement. I actually had to look up KPOP because of you.”

She looked like she hadn’t slept in three days. “and?”

“It’s confusing. I need more time. But I researched your soulmates. We need to prepare. Why couldn’t fate have tethered you to a smaller group, or to only one of them?”

“I’ve been asking the same thing for a month Fiona. I still haven’t received an answer.”

“Yes. Well. Regardless. We need to keep this under wraps during the publication and at least a few months after the book comes out. Or we’ll be accused of leeching.”

Jane knew that. It was why she was in this mess.

They went over how things were going to work now that Jane was in Korea. It took Fiona an hour to tell Jane she had a meeting at BitHit Entertainment tomorrow.

“When did this happen?” The butterflies in her stomach made a reappearance as she watched Fiona duck out of frame for a moment.

“Whilst you were sleeping. – they should have your publicists contact information now but I faxed you over a copy in case." From now on, any official meeting with the company has to occur with her present.

Jane, after retrieving the papers from Francios' office looked down at the fax sheet Fiona had sent through. “Carrie’s based in London?.”

“Which is why I’ve already spoken with Mr Bang, and they will have a Face time call with Carrie during your meeting with them tomorrow. You will need to call her before the meeting, tell her everything that has occurred so she can be prepared for any possible fallout. Have you met any of your soulmates yet?”

“Not officially.”

Fiona froze.

It wasn’t the screen. Fiona actually froze.

“Unofficially.”

Jane answered, though she couldn’t actually look Fiona in the eyes as she did. “Tether connected with one, bumped into two on the stairwell. None of which know I’m their soulmate.”

Fiona scoffed and returned to shuffling papers. “Only you could make that sentence plausible.”

They finalised details for the book publication which was still months away. Fiona said Jane was to call her the moment the meeting was over. At which point Fiona pressed the point - What ever decisions Jane made tomorrow, they were her decisions, she just had to make sure Carrie was aware of them. Jane still had a life. She wasn’t to let her soulmates dictate it.

One meeting ended and another began.

Jane had almost forgotten how tedious this stuff could be.

Carrie was abrupt. No nonsense. Jane liked it. She actually wondered about the face that went with the voice. She supposed she would have to wait until tomorrow’s meeting.

She wanted every detail that might become public knowledge. “None of the private Switch stuff." Carrie told her. "I don’t need that. Just anything that might cause a problem in the future. Tell me like I’m stupid and have never heard of BTS before.”

“Have you?”

“I don’t live in a cave. Lucky bugger you are. Now go.”

So Jane did. Carrie wanted everything. She wanted names -Jane gave her birth names, stage names, nicknames. She wanted dates - the first switch, date of hospital visit, she even wanted to know who might have been present outside of Jane’s soulmates during the switch. She wanted to know when Jane started getting sick. What were her soulsickness symptoms and was she anywhere public when they occurred - Fiona had sent Carrie all the medical paperwork, which she wasn’t entirely pleased about as she needed to have them translated. But she had faxed through copies of all the Visa and Sponsorship documents to Jane. She would be receiving the originals at her meeting tomorrow as they were in the possession of Big Hit. They were to give Jane the official second copies. If they don’t she is to call Carrie immediately.

Then Jane told her about what had occurred in the hospital.

“You sure like to complicate things for yourself.”

“I don’t want to complicate things for them.”

“As much as I wish to congratulate you on finding your soulmates. I am going to be that person for you. The person who tells you that there are certain times you need to be selfish. Your career is one of them. You are about to be a published author Jane, and if I have my way, you will be successful. But this is a symbiotic relationship. I can’t do this on my own. I understand your apprehension in telling them who you are, but can you honestly tell me you think they will think the same. Will they consider your career as important as theirs?”

Jane didn’t say it out loud. But the thought had been there. Jane didn’t truly know any of them, not outside of their media. Carrie could be right.

After the meeting was over, she let out her frustrations in the kitchen.

Jane baked.


A container sat on her lap as the bus headed towards BigHit Headquarters.

Liz stared at the baked goods Jane was clasping like her life depended on it. She’d come home last night exhausted from having to catch up on school to find her best friend had baked cupcakes. And Liz loved Jane’s baking. 

Jane had forbidden Liz from touching a single one.

“They are for tomorrow.” Jane had told her.

Liz knew instantly they were stress baked cupcakes, and there was no point in arguing with Jane. Stress baking was sacred.

Come morning, with Liz sending desperate glances at the container, she accompanied Jane into the city on the bus. Liz still had to work, so she payed for two tickets, they hadn’t actually had time to set Jane up with a bus pass, nor was Liz ready to let Jane wander around Seoul on her won so she made Jane promise not to get on a bus without her. She was to catch a taxi back to the house. 

Liz reiterated that fact to a Jane void of any emotion.

If the void was like a blender and each emotion had been obliterated into millions of minute pieces, all mixed together.

Then yes. Jane was a void of emotion.

“Here you are.” Liz pressed the stop button. Jean tensed up.

She felt like she was going on a blind date. Except only she knew who the other person was.

This was unfair. 

The bus came to a stop. Jane looked over at her best friend who urged her out of her seat. “You’re a professional remember.” Liz smiled.

Standing on the side walk, Liz in the window sending her finger hearts of encouragement, Jane still felt nervous as the bus pulled away.

“You can do this Jane. Don’t pussy out.”

She took a deep breath and a step forward.

Chapter Text

Sorry this isn't the update for Ruin Me that you so desperately want.

This is in regards to my original work. A YA/New Adult fantasy series that I'm cross-posting on Wattpad and Tumblr.

As I can't post it here on AO3, I'm providing links for where it can be read.

I don't earn anything from the story, so hopefully this chapter won't be taken down cause it's breaks some rule I don't know about.

 

For those who have Tumblr you can read Warren of Woes here

 

For those that don't, you can read the story on Wattpad here 

 

For those that are interested, I will leave a notice at the end of every Ruin Me chapter telling you if a Chapter of Warren of Woes was updated and provide the link.

 

Chapter Text

The woman at the front desk smiled at Jane.

Jane wondered if it was because she was wearing a tweety bird t-shirt.

She gave her mother credit for packing her suitcase, but the one thing that she hadn’t packed for Jane was anything remotely appropriate for a business meeting.

Jane had had to improvise. She’d worn a pair of skinny jeans, the high-waisted type, the ones with the stretch band and fabric that was comfortable enough to sit in and not cut off circulation from the constriction normal jeans had on her stomach, and not cause her to want to be sick any more then she already did.

In all honesty, somewhere in the deep recesses of her mind, Jane was dressing like herself, because, with the universe being the ass hole it has been of late, the possibility of running into her soulmates was more then 50% and her subconscious would rather her look like herself then some random business woman.

She’d tucked the white shirt into her jeans, wore her navy blue cardigan, oversized for style purposes, not because of a subconscious desire to hide her figure, tied her hair up in a pony tail, because the change in weather was not being kind to her hair and wore her favourite shoes. The one thing her mother had remembered to pack. A pair of red high heels that put an inch on her height. They were the shoes she wore the day she sent our query letters -yes from the confines of her home, but they still worked. She wore them the day she received her letter of interest from Fiona, and they were the shoes she wore to her contract signing, regardless of the fact she fell unconscious afterward and ended up in Korea.

They still got her here.

Dorothy has nothing on Jane’s Red Heels.

Jane looked casual, but presentable, and besides. It wasn’t a business meeting. She was just going to meet the man who saved her life, and ensured she wasn’t kicked out of the country, the man who held her life in his hands. It was that kind of meeting.

Jane greeted the woman in Korean. “Hello. My name is Jane Saville. I have a 9am meeting with Bang Shihyuk. I apologise. I’m early.”

The woman’s eyes became alert, she looked Jane over and then smiled. A look of recognition. What kind of recognition Jane was not privy too.

“Oh yes. Miss Seville. He’s expecting you. If you will follow me please.” She was one of two women at the desk. So it appeared leaving her post to escort a foreigner through the building wasn’t unusual. “You speak wonderful Korean by the way.” She complimented Jane, who thanked her whilst taking in the Security boundary of the foyer.

Two guards and a gate greeted her as she lead Jane through an subway style gate which her nametag. A card on a spring band around her neck gave her access when scanned. She allowed Jane through before leading her up a giant staircase

They stopped on the main landing of the staircase and the receptionist lead Jane to an elevator. The woman pressed the button for the 4th floor, and then let Jane stew in her worries as the elevator crawled up three floors.

Once the doors opened the receptionist led Jane through a corridor and stopped before an open space. A set of lounges were organised around a coffee table. Jane was asked to wait there as the receptionist walked to the other side of the room. There was another desk with another woman sitting behind it. Her expression all the more serious.

Jane assumed this was Bang Shihyuk's secretary, as she could see his name on the door behind the woman. The two women exchanged words and a glance over to Jane.

Jane stared down at her feet. The red heels a stark contrast to the white flooring.

“If I click you together, would you take me home?”

The receptionist returned to Jane and informed her that Bang-PD would see her soon. She should have a seat.

“Excuse me!” Jane said before the woman had a chance to leave.

Jane presented her with the container. “It is for the staff. Please share it amongst yourselves.” The woman looked at the container as though she couldn’t understand what she was doing.. Jane didn’t know who in the company knew about her, what she was to them so she didn’t say it was a thank you for the plane, and the hospital, and the visa.

The woman bowed and left with the cupcakes. Much to Jane's relief. 

Jane’s legs bounced as she waited. She had expected to wait 30 minutes or more, she’d come early not out of excitement but because of Liz had to go to work, and it was the only opportunity for her best friend to offer moral support. She hadn’t expected the secretary to stand five minutes later and ask Jane to follow her.

She was lead into an office where Bang ShiHyuk, CEO and creator of BTS was standing waiting to greet her. He was of a height with her, and reminded her of her english teacher from high school, a kind face but stern, someone who comforts whilst critiquing.

She felt like she was in the principles office.

Jane rushed forward bowing and taking his outstretched hand in greeting.

He spoke first. “It’s nice to meet you Jane.”

“And you sir. I need to thank you for everything that you did. And I’m so sorry for any problems that occurred on my behalf. This was never how I wanted this to happen.”

“Please sit.” He spoke in English after Jane’s blabbering in Korean. “Would you like anything to drink, Tea? Coffee?”

She took a moment to register his request. “Tea please.” She took the seat he offered, opposite, her fingers fiddling with the sleeves of her cardigan- she kept pulling them over her hands.

“Hi Jane.” Caught off guard, Jane whipped her head to the voice and found a giant face on a tv screen staring down at her. “Carrie?”

“Nice to put a face to the voice.”

“Likewise.” Carrie was a redhead. 

“So I guess I will get things started, if you don’t mind Mr Bang.”

Jane watched the CEO of BigHit shake his head and allowed Carrie to continue. “This is how things stand on my end. Jane is about to be a published author which means that her soulmates complicate things. I think for both your artists Mr Bang and mine, a certain amount of privacy and anonymity is required. At least for the foreseeable future. Any decisions that Jane makes today in regards to getting to know her soulmates is her choice, I’m not here for that stuff. Jane can do what she wants privately but in regards to her career, the public not knowing her soulmates are the seven members of BTS would be preferred.” Carrie really was blunt.

The problem was Jane couldn’t really concentrate, she kept sending glances to the office door.

She practically leapt from her chair when the secretary opened the office door with Jane’s tea.

“They are not coming Miss Seville. ” BangPD informed her. “If that is what you are worried about.”

Jane smiled in apology. “I’m sorry. This is all very weird for me.”

“I can assure you. It was just as weird for them.” He returned his attention to Carrie. “This is something we can do. You have the details from the members contracts regarding the public reveal of their soulmates. Is that something that we can agree upon?”

“May I see a copy of that?” Jane asked, wondering what the members had accepted as a suitable soulmate reveal before they even knew they had a soulmate, let alone shared one. Would it be an annoucement, a public outing. Would she have to sit for an interview like the other soulmates of idols that she had seen over the years.

“I’ll fax it to you.” Carrie said. “I’ve looked it over. After the release of the book. This is something I can definitely work with. I’ll send the details to her agent. Now I have another question for you Mr Bang.”

“Please ask it.” He leaned forward, concentrating exceptionally hard. It made Jane nervous.

“You are Jane’s Sponsor, but you are also BTS’s CEO, are you comfortable being both, because as we move along this path, there may be conflicts of interest, and I can’t have you throwing Jane to the wind for the sake of your boys. If I had my way, I wouldn’t have chosen you as Jane’s sponsor. ”

“I understand your hesitance but I swear to you now. I will never make a decision that goes against what the band wants, nor what is good for Jane. I knew what signing as her Sponsor meant, but Jane’s safety here in Korea is a priority to me.”

“Because it effects your members?” Jane really wished Carrie wasn’t so blunt. If she continued to insult the CEO he may just decide she was less trouble if they kept  Jane under house arrest.

“Yes but not in the way you are thinking.” Suddenly Bang PD turned his attention to Jane. “I will not lie to you Jane. The members are aware you are in Korea.”

Jane’s hands suddenly relaxed in her lap. Well this wasn’t the reaction she expected of herself.

“I did not tell them your name, nor that you were coming in today. But because of the incident with Jimin and the rest of the Dance line I had to inform them why they suddenly got better.”

Jane’s eyes widdened. “Dance line, they were -Jungkook, Hoseok and Tae were in the hospital too. Those were their beds?” Jane whispered that last line, and if BangPD heard it he didn’t acknowledge it.

“They want to meet me?” she couldn’t look at his face when she asked.

“They do. But only if you do. Can I ask -were you aware of who they were during your first switch?”

Jane thought about lying, she thought about saying she wasn’t into kpop, that she was one of those people who had only heard of BTS in passing, but she didn’t want to start whatever relationships she would have with a lie, so she said “ I knew from the start. But it wasn’t confirmed until I signed up with the Red String app.”

He nodded to her as though he knew more then he was saying. Did he know about the messaging, about Hoseok’s birthday incident?

“And yet you did not make official contact even after you had the frequency test.?” He looked a little annoyed. Which annoyed her.

“With all due respect Sir. I’d just found out the biggest boy band in the world were all my soulmates. Excuse me if I gave myself time to come to terms with that.

It wasn’t my fault that the stupid tether decided to work faster then the rest of the world's and make me and the others sick. I couldn’t control that. I didn’t want the world blaming me for making them sick, or hating me for taking their chance at being bts' soulmate away from them. I didn’t need that stress. They don't need that stress. I would have come earlier if I’d known I’d make them sick so soon, even if it was just to make a tether connection and then return home. Stupid fate.” Jane looked up. Bang PD had a small smile on his face. Carrie had raised her eye brows at Jane.

“I said all that out loud didn’t I.”

PD leaned forward again. “Can I ask you what your plans are now that you are in Korea?”

“I’m not leaving Korea if that is what you are worried about. I don’t want any of them getting sick, not again. I couldn't do that to them.”

He nodded, thinking. “I don’t expect you to make the tether connections with them all at once. I wouldn’t ask that of you. And they wouldn’t want that, so I have a proposition.” He looked to Carrie, “We can both agree it is best for Jane to stay close to the members until the tether connections are all made?”

Carrie concurred.

“I propose this. Jungkook has been wanting an English tutor, and the company has been interviewing English translators to take the pressure off of Namjoon when they travel. You are qualified to teach English as a foreign language and are fluent in Korean from what I understand. I am willing to take you on as an employee.”

Jane was stunned. She wanted to reject the offer, just because it was ludicrous but Carrie butted in.

“What would that entail?”

“Jane would be an official employee. Aside from tutoring Jungkook, she would make her own hours, if the others want tutoring she would be free to engage in that as well. She would also be free to come and go from the company building. But she would be required to actually do translation work, for our records. She would also need to fly around with the band when they travel, the 1st reason is to ensure none of them get soulsickness again. and the 2nd is to ensure that she is publicly seen as doing the job I will employ her for, translating bts posts, translation of english speaking interviews for the band to take the pressure off the leader. The band is going to the states in a few months, I would employ you for that. It is not extensive translation, mostly on the job, and it wouldn’t get in the way of your writing.

“What if by then they know who I am?”

“You will still need a reason to be around the members until we reveal your identity as their soulmate. Or else questions will be asked about why you are always with them, and then the reveal will be hard to control.”

“I like it but Jane has to agree.” Carrie turned her attention toward Jane through the screen.

Jane hadn’t thought something like this was possible. She’d only contemplated starting conversations with the members on the app until they were ready to meet. Jane never expected to have the opportunity to meet the members in person on a regular basis.

“OK.” That was easier then she expected.

They spoke at length over the details of Jane’s not so fake employment, most of which consisted of Jane refusing to accept a salary as a full time employee, with benifits, but PD refusing anything less then the most secure form of protection by BigHit. After her new employment contract was signed, one that didn’t interfere with her agencies one, and Carrie was satisfied with the arrangements , she ended her face time chat.

“You can speak Korean now if it’s more comfortable, Sir.” Jane told BangPD.

“Only if it’s comfortable for you.” He replied in English.

Jane smiled. “It is. Please.”


The Day of Jimin’s Tether Connection - more accurately 4 hours before.

Jimin was hesitant to look up at their CEO, he felt the man’s eyes on him. Jimin leaned back on the mansize pillow that was Kim Taehyung, seeking his no judgemental comfort. Because Jimin was surly judging himself.

He looked at the states of his members. Jungkook had finally finished puking and had wandered back over to his bed, curling up in the covers when Bang-PD had arrived. The Maknae was hugging a pillow as Jin sat beside him rubbing a hand down his back. Taehyung, Jin and Hobi-hyung, even though the latter was still getting over his own soulsickness were all mothering the other members. Hobi sat on the end of his bed, Yoongi in a chair beside it, casually leaning on Hoseok knee, Min Yoongi body language for non-verbal support. Namjoon was sitting alone in the circle the members had formed. Each one of the members sending him concerned looks.

 

Their leader had been torturing himself the past few days. He could produce a song in week, learn another language by watching a tv show, lead a nobody group to win their first daesang three years from debut, but Kim Namjoon was an utter mess when his members were hurt.

Jimin couldn’t look at him like this. All he wanted to do was hug his leader and tell him everything would be alright but Jimin couldn’t. Because even he didn’t know if it would be.

Bang-PD finally addressed the members.

“Your soulmate is in Seoul.”

Namjoon finally looked up from wringing his hands in his lap. Taehyung tensed behind Jimin, and Jin’s hand stopped on Jungkook's back.

“I found her and she is now in Seoul. I will be meeting her in a few days.”

The room was silent.

“How did you find her Hyung?” It was rare when Namjoon called Bang PD this, and normally only under really emotionally charged situations. Jimin realised for the first time since this all started, just how much his leader was truely effected.

“I was contacted by the Moirai Clinic.” HitMan Bag replied

Jungkook spoke up. “Was it because of Jimin-Hyung?” the maknae was making a reference to Jimin’s personal visit to the clinic in Seoul. Not in anger. Rather because they had all been concerned as to the state their soulmate had been in during this time, desperate to know if she was ok. Desperate to find her. Jimin had informed the members of his private visit to the clinic of only after he’d done it because he couldn’t stand keeping the fact he too shared the same soulmate with them to himself any longer. He’d told himself he'd done it for them  - to ensure they didn’t get sick, but it hadn’t worked.  Unless...

Jimin looked to their CEO to confirm if it had been in fact because she had wanted to speak to a soulmate directly rather then go through the stress and secrecy that their paperwork with the clinic entailed.

“No. She contracted Soulsickness. Only far more intensely then any of you.”

The CEO was suddenly bombarded with questions.

“Is she all right?” – Jin-Hyung

“How did she get here, where is she staying?”- Hobi

“Is she OK, should we visit her?” - Taehyungie

“This is our fault isn’t it?” No one expected that to come from the Maknae’s mouth, least of all Jimin. Jin shifted to sit on the bed behind Jungkook, a hand on his shoulder, the eldest member emerging. "Is this our fault Sir?”

Bang-PD took a deep breath. “From what I’ve been told, it was a combination of her distance from you and the fact she has 7 tethers to you men – Where as you each only have one to her. This was the reason for her ending up in the hospital. If she had been close she still would have gotten sicker than any of you. So Jungkook, you must not blame yourself.”

The youngest member sat straighter, nodding. But Jimin could still tell the boy’s worries hadn’t been alleviated.

“Can you tell us anything about her?” Yoongi asked, Hoseok’s hand now holding the elder's hand, Yoongi allowing the intimacy.

“I can’t tell you her name or where she is from, I need her permission for that, however I can tell you her being in Seoul is the reason why you are no longer feeling sick.”

“Is that the same for her?” Taehyung asked, his chin resting on Jimin’s head.

“I believe so. It should remain this way so long as she is in Korea.”

Hoseok spoke up again, directed more at the members then the CEO. “She wouldn’t leave though would she, she wouldn’t leave us now that she is here?”

“Sir.” Namjoon had returned to BTS’s leader, his face stern but quite alert. “Are you going to be meeting her?”

Jimin saw the CEO confirm this and watched as each one of his members excitement built, in the way Taehyung’s body shifted, the way Jungkook sat up and let go of the pillow, the way Yoongi’s lips pursed, how Hosoek’s back straightened, and Jin’s relaxed.

“I am, would you like me to tell her something?”

All the members looked to Namjoon, knowing that when he spoke for the members it was because they trusted him.

“We don’t know her circumstances, if she is married or has a partner, we have no intention of upending her life. We want her to know that.” Namjoon paused before finally adding. “Tell her to take her time.” He looked around the room to confirm his words with the rest of the members, with Jimin who’d taken the longest to come to terms with this, to come to terms with the fact they might have soulmate that wasn’t like them. He continued. “We don’t expect anything from her. We just want to get to know her, anyway she is willing to do that. We will follow her lead. We just don’t want her to leave Korea before we’ve all met face to face. I think we all owe that to each other at least.”

“I think I can do that.”

As the members got caught up in the excitement of their soulmate being in the same city as them, the idea of maybe passing her in the street or evening talking to her about what sights she should see now that she was in here, drawing their attention away from their CEO, Jimin left his bed and followed Bang Shihyuk from the room.

“PD-Nim.”

The older man, paused in the hospital corridor. He turned and looked curiously at the 24year old dancer.

“Jiminah?”

Jimin took a deep breath and let the words escape before he could turn back into the room. “I think you should keep her close to the members.”

“Keep her close to you all -” Jimin didn’t correct the CEO on the inclusion of himself. The PD continued. “Was that not what Namjoon meant?”

“I mean close to the company. Find a reason, anything that keeps her close to the members. If she isn’t from our world, it might be hard for her to get used to it, and used to us if she has never been a part of it. That’s just what I think.”

Jimin then bowed and attempted to walk away.

“How are you and Wheein?”

Jimin froze. He inhaled and turned to face his CEO.

“We are fine, Sir.” He released his closed fist.

“Does she know you have a soulmate?” It was a simple question. Not judgement from the CEO.

“Does it matter at this point Sir. I don’t even know my soulmates name.”

There was a pause between the two men, a silence that permeated the hospital corridor like gunfire.

PD Bang exhaled. “I suppose not. Rest well Jiminah. You need your strength for comeback.”

“I will sir.”


“You want me to move into their dorm – is that the best idea?”

MOST DEFINITELY NOT.

“I think in the long run. Yes. Once they know who you are you will need a reason to see them, a reason that won’t draw public attention, and an apartment in the same building as them would be the best option. Your coming and going won’t be questioned, and if anything develops –

“I’m not after that sort of thing –“ Jane cut in, desperate to ensure the CEO knew she wasn’t that kind of person. He just smiles at her. “If anything develops, you will have an easier time seeing each other. There will be an apartment available in six weeks.”

And that was how Jane discovered not only would she be working side by side with BTS, she would also, come May, be living with them –sorta.

Jane was informed she would start next week, which meant her first lesson with Jungkook would be on Monday.

Five days before comeback.

Jane was meeting Jungkook in four days.

Suck it up Jane. Just because you intend on not officially meeting them, doesn’t mean they won’t have a switch with you and see you in the mirror like you did.

That shit will happen. It is inevitable.

Shut up brain!

Jane was also informed that only certain members of BTS’s staff would know who she was, so they won’t question why she is around the members. This would include their managers apparently. BangPD told her she would meet them on her first day.

She was then taken to HR to receive her ID card.

She didn’t completely hate her picture.

20 minutes later Jane was lead to the elevator. They bowed to each other and the HR woman left. Jane stared at her ID as she waited for the lift to arrive. Jane Seville. BigHit Entertainment Employee.  She never expected this.

 It kinda felt like that sensation when someone tried to rub their stomach and tap their head at the same time but keeps ending up tapping their stomach and rubbing their head.

The elevator pings Jane steps in and presses a floor button, her eyes still turning over the ID card.

The elevator stops. The doors open and Jane walks out only to find she isn’t of the right floor. She spins around to catch the lift but it’s already on its way back up.

Crap!

She presses the down arrow several times to no effect.

BoomBoomBoom.

Jane hears a bass. The throbbing of the music carrying down the corridor. She turns toward it, that subconscious tug pulling her along.

From Fate’s prospective, it was a re-enactment of that scene from sleeping beauty where the princess is caught in a trance and walks all the way through the castle to find the spinning wheel and prick her finger on the needle.

A classic scene and one Fate thought appropriate for this moment.

The music was coming from an open door.

Jane’s feet carried her right to the precipice. She looked through the door, the crack no wider then a foot and saw two figures dancing. They didn’t seem to be rehearsing anything, rather they were mucking about, free-styling.

Her eyes followed both figures, glued to their bodies like magnets. Her breathing hastened as her eyes found their face. She recognised them instantly and quickly hid herself from their view.

Fucking Tether Connection.

But Jane didn’t leave. She couldn’t. She found herself pressing her hand to her chest. Just over her heart.

Stop it. Please. This feeling was intoxicating. The desire to be near them, the beating of her heart, the way her breathing skittered, Jane could barely take it. Please stop, she silently begged it.

The music picked up and Jane found herself peaking back through the door. Her eyes drawn to both Jimin and Hoseok, the second man sending waves of emotions over her. He hadn’t been in the hospital bed when she had been there. If he had been, would Jane have taken the risk and connected with him as well.

Would it have felt like she did now? What she wouldn’t give to walk into that room this very moment. Take his hand into hers, apologise for ever allowing him to get sick, and make the tether connection.

This was their first encounter outside of The Red String App. That day when she had posted his birthday message, Jane had been a bundle of nerves, but right now, she was calm, as calm as she had been standing before Jimin in that hospital room.

This wasn’t going to work. She wasn’t going to be able to work around them without them knowing who she was. If she met them how would she explain why she couldn’t touch them without being rude. Was she going to be able to be in the same room as Jungkook without wanting to make the tether connection?

Was she the only one who felt this way, could they feel her now, did they feel her presence, something that couldn’t be named pulling at their chest, calling for them? Was it always going to be this difficult?

Hoseok laughed, a small breathy laugh, the kind Jane had seen whenever he watched his members enjoying themselves. 

She had never seen his smile in person before. It lit up his whole face.

His eyes twinkled.

Jane felt a tightening in her chest and she had to turn away, to control her breathing and suppress that voice in her head that said she never wanted to see that smile fade.

She never noticed the dancer had turned toward the doorway.

Jane had to do it. She just had to. She was so close, she was going to walk into that room, introduce herself and make the tether connection with Hoseok.

Because if she didn’t, she would burst.

Jane took a deep breath.

Her phone buzzed.

And it sent her running down the corridor as she desperately tried to silence her phone.

The Instagram notification opened up on her phone in her haste. The update Liz had just posted appearing on her screen.

Jane made several turns before she found the elevator and only relaxed from her panicked state when the doors closed and the phone was off. She concentrated this time when she pressed the button. Ground floor chimed the elevator voice.

Why didn’t she hear that before?

The lift pinged and she headed out towards the staircase. But as she got to the security gate Jane realised something.

She had dropped her ID.

*@#k. *@#k *@#k!

“Bollocks!”

She returned to the lift and stared at the button for the floor she had just been on.

It’s on that floor Jane. You need to get it. It’s bad professionalism to lose an employee ID before your first day.

Her finger hovered over the button.

PRESS IT JANE.

She closed her eyes and her finger made contact.

It was nowhere to be seen. Jane’s ID had vanished. She searched the elevator twice before leaving it. Searching the corridors, as there were plural, was a much harder task. Jane doesn’t even know how she found the lift earlier. There was just too many hallways.

She searched the floors, along the walls, even beneath the furniture that decorated some of the halls, in case someone had kicked it beneath them as they walked through.

Jane was crouching down in one of the empty hallways, near another sitting area, searching beneath a sofa when she heard “OH”.

Jane quickly retracted her feet from the path behind her, they were no doubt blocking it for the incoming person, and moved to stand to apologise when she froze as they spoke.

“Byeongwoneso yeoja!”

The lady from the hospital.

Jane couldn’t help but stare at the three figures approaching her.

At Kim Taehyung as he waved at her.

Stupid red shoes. Was there such a thing as too much luck.

Chapter Text

The image had been so clear that Taehyung couldn’t have imagined it. Nor could he contain his confusion at seeing the woman from the hospital within the picture. It had been brief due to his soulmates panic and desperation to turn off her phone, but he had read the name of the handle. Enough that when the switch ended, and he pulled himself up from the sidewalk after having fallen off his bike due to switching, he’d searched his own Instagram account, an anonymous no name account that wouldn’t draw anyone’s attention.

He’d found the post, his recollection of English letters basic but enough for him to type in the words.

The name was familiar.

It had been one that JiWon-Noona followed, a restaurateurs soulmate’s. She’d suggested quite a few times for Sejoon-Hyung to book a sitting there.

When Taehyung found the post, the latest one, he found himself blushing.

It was the woman who he had given his jacket to. The woman who hadn’t seemed to realise her hospital gown was showing her backside.

And her pink lace underwear.

His grandmother had always said, a man should take every-opportunity to be a gentlemen. Her voice had echoed in his head when he saw the woman fleeing down the stairs.

It had been an instinct. Without a second thought he had removed his jacket and given it to her. The nerves were there, being so close to a woman he didn’t know was always nerve-wracking, but Taehyung cared more about her not being embarrassed than his nerves.

He’d been careful not to touch her, careful not to let her get embarrassed. He’d even tried to calm her down when her cheeks flushed red. A sight he wasn’t unfamiliar with because of ARMY at fan-signings.

Whether it was because she recognised him or because she realised why he’d done what he had, he didn’t know, but she’d left before he could reassure her either way.

But for two days the girl hadn’t left his mind.

Then this morning, he’d seen her in a switch with his soulmate and he’d become even more confused. His stomach did a somersault as his eyes fell on her face.

Who was she?

He’d searched the post and found The Frenchmen’s Korean Englishwoman had tagged her.

He’d clicked the tag and waited, unexpectedly nervous as the account on his phone changed to one titled MightyPenWarrior.

He scanned through the account but didn’t find a single selca. In fact the account hadn’t seen any activity for a month, opposed to the constant posts prior.

He’d returned to the original account, reading over the post again.

She was best friends with the restaurateurs’ soulmate?

Why had he seen her twice in three days?

He’d scanned the account again and noticed the latest post, dated April 1st.

The day she was in the hospital.

The image was familiar…. Was it the lighting?

It suddenly dawned on him and he went to his photo gallery. An album titled Scarlet.

He’s stared at the photo all night when she’d sent it. He’d traced the wisps of her hair, the outline of her body. He’d wondered why she held it in such a way, what had she been thinking when the picture was taken?

The photographer had been clever. He was certain Scarlet was looking at the camera, but the lighting made it impossible to distinguish her features.

He couldn’t be 100% sure but the two photos, the sky line and the silhouette, appeared to be taken at the same place. He’d taken enough photographs to be certain of that.

Could this woman, this MightyPenWarrior be his soulmate?

He’d been so excited to get to the company and tell the members, he righted his bike and pushed off only to stop when he recollected what had actually happened in the switch.

She’d been watching Jimin and Hobi-Hyung dancing. She’d been conflicted.

He remembered all that, he could recall that feeling as though it were his own. The longing. The desperation and excitement, and he recalled the dread, so heavy it made her panic when her phone buzzed and sent her running.

The idea of the band finding out she was their soulmate – it terrified her.

But then why was she at the company?

Taehyung barely registered his arrival at BigHit’s building, his senses not returning until he heard Jin’s laugh.

He looked up and found the youngest member standing by a table – Taehyung had found his way into one of the rooms where the staff usually ate –Jungkook had what appeared to be two green cupcakes in his hands, one of which was being stuffed into his mouth like he’d never eaten a day in his life.

“I thought you were dieting?” The maknae looked up to his smiling hyung. He swallowed before answering.

“Not since the hospital. Besides they’re free. DaIm said they are a gift from a new employee. You should try one, don’t know what they are made from but there are really good.” Jungkook held it out to Taehyung.

He leaned forward and took a bite of the pale green cupcake. He caught a scent of green tea.

Jungkook wasn’t wrong. Whoever the new employee was could really bake.

“You’re later than normal.” Jin asked him as the three of them left the elevator, Jungkook having finally been pulled from the baked goods long enough to head to the dance studio.

He could just tell them- that he thought he knew who their soulmate was, the words even began to form in his head, but they were silenced when he spotted a pair of red heels sticking out into the hall.

They were attached to a pair of denim clad legs that belonged a crouched figure.

“Oh.”

Taehyung turned to find Jungkook was staring at the woman, an odd expression on his face. Like he was confused. His head tilted slightly.

Taehyung turned back to find Her standing there. He couldn’t control himself.

“The lady from the hospital.”

He felt Jungkook’s eyes fly to him. He knew the words his Maknae was thinking without his having to say them.

You know her?

But he didn’t have the opportunity to reply because She suddenly stumbled backward, the glass coffee table behind her.

Three sets of hands rushed forward.

Taehyung caught hold of her wrist before he realised what he’d done.

A moment later, a blink, a breath.

He was staring at his own face.

They hadn't made skin to skin contact. He knew that much. Was it because they were together? Was it her emotions, could intense emotions bring on a switch?

The thought quickly vanished as he released his hold on her, his other hand searching behind him for Jungkook, finding his hand and pulling him close, his hand tightening on the maknae. He didn’t know if Jungkook understood what was happening to him, but the younger man didn’t pull away.

Taehyung tried to breathe as realisation hit, as the surreal sensation of seeing himself through her eyes overwhelmed him.

He could feel pressure on his—her arm and her gaze turned to find Jin supporting her. Her gaze stayed there for a moment, tracing the lines of his hyung’s face, of the breadth of his shoulders and of his hand gently holding her. The proximity sent goosepimples down his entire body.

That same emotion from earlier came over him.

Excitement.

Desperation.

Longing and a panic.

He watched as his hyung slowly withdrew his hand from her elbow and asked if she was ok.

Butterflies filled his stomach as he heard his hyung's voice, an odd sensation, not his own.

Hers.

A feeling that made him slightly giddy, and sent his own cheeks flushing. She quickly withdrew her gaze, embarrassed, only for her vision to cross over himself, where they settled on him, a pit opened in her stomach at the sight of himself. He could feel her face heat up at the sight of himself, feel a flood of embarrassment wash over her.

She was remembering the stairwell?

His eyes appeared glazed over, he looked as though he were looking at her but they moved too drastically, too random.

Quite frankly he looked as though he were dreaming while awake.

She payed it no mind as her gaze fell to Jungkook.

An odd sensation came over him then, as though she had just registered what was actually happening. A moment passed where her breathing eased and Taehyung felt himself breathing in unison with her, as though it were the easiest thing in the world.  But there was still a sense of unease, a desire that fought against her free will, to move toward them, to move toward Jin, toward Jungkook, toward himself.

He realised right in this moment, he recognised that feeling.

In the stairwell. The moment before the door had swung open, a tug at his chest, a tickle at the back of his mind, a ripple in his stomach.

It was that invisible string people talked about when meeting their soulmate for the first time. The pull to be near them. To touch them, to make that tether connection.

He tightened his grip on Jungkook, as though his Maknae could anchor him to the spot. The idea his members were going through the exact same thing in that moment, was only the briefest of thoughts.

This wasn’t just his feelings, not just his tether he was feeling. He was feeling hers as well. He could not only feel his own tether pulling at her, he could feel Jungkook’s and Jin’s like a tug of war game he didn't know he was meant to be playing. It was almost impossible to bare.

How was she still standing there?

He felt her straighten, her gaze flickering between the three men before her.

When she took a step back from them, he felt his own body’s desire to move with hers. He barely restrained himself.

They stood there in silence.

Then she spoke.

“This isn’t going to work.”

She suddenly bowed excusing herself and turned, the hallway beyond appearing before Taeyhung's eyes and with the image of himself finally out of shot, Taehyung felt himself relax.

“Chair” he told Jungkook, the younger quickly obeying and helping the blinded Taehyung to a seat, as he continued to watch as his soulmate ran through the hall for the stairwell.

He felt her panting and determination as she ran up the stairs. “What’s wrong Taehyungie?” Jin asked, his voice sounding right in front of him.

“I think he’s in a switch, Right?” Jungkook answered, his hand still firmly grasped in Taehyungs for support.

She ran right through the door until she reached a desk but the moment she opened her mouth to speak the switch ended.

Taehyung blinked and he saw Jin crouched down before him. “What happened?”

Taehyung looked over his shoulder to where she had vanished. When he looked back he saw Jungkook had followed him, their eyes connecting. But it was Jin that spoke up.

“It was her wasn’t it?” The two younger men stared at the eldest member of BTS.

No one answered because they all knew the answer. They stayed that way for five minutes.

When Jungkook finally broke the silence her asked, “What do we do now?”

“Nothing.” Jin stood, pulling his bag back over his shoulder.

“Nothing. How do we do nothing, don’t you want to meet her?” Jungkook was excited, Taehyung knew that much of his youngest member. He’d never really been able to contain his excitement, about anything.

“What if she doesn’t want to meet us?” Taehyung said, he didn’t know whether he believed it. Just because she felt certain things when she was near them, didn’t mean they were actually how she felt.

There were those in the world that considered the Existent Phenomenon a chemical plague that messed with people's body chemistry, forcing them against their will to be attracted to certain individuals.

There were enough studies on the Existent Phenomenon that indicated that fact. It didn’t matter if a person believed in soulmates or not. Everyone who met their soulmate was attracted to them. Fate or chemical, it wasn’t something anyone had ever managed to control.

Or avoid.

But ending up with ones soulmate was a different story altogether.

EXP disbelievers on the other hand didn’t believe in soulmates. So perhaps she was one of them.  Perhaps her desire to not meet them was because she thought she was being forced to be attracted to the members that she otherwise wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for the particles in her body being drawn to their own.

A chemical imbalance.

The look on Jungkook’s face told Taehyung they felt the same.

They hoped it wasn’t true.

“There you are.” The three men turned and found Sejin-Hyung walking towards them, Namjoon and Yoongi behind him. Yoongi had one of the green tea cupcakes in his hand, a bite already taken.

“PD wants us in the meeting room right away.”


This was the best option right?

Jane couldn’t spend the next 6 weeks, pretending to not be their soulmate. She’d come off rude the first time she met any of them when she refused to shake their hands.

No…. this was her only choice. They all had to be aware.

She couldn’t’ start any kind of relationship with any of them on a lie. Not that she was looking for a relationship of the romantic kind. That was the last thing on her mind. Friendship was the goal.

She had to keep that in mind.

Whilst she waited for them to arrive.

To the meeting room.

Where she was waiting.

FUCK!!!!!

She’d paced the room for the third time, until Bang ShiHyuk suggested she might be better not standing by the door where they are likely to greet her if she remains there.

Jane quickly carried herself over to the other side of the meeting table, preparing herself for the bands arrival. She went over what she was going to say, knowing that it would probably all change the moment she sees them, the moment they actually speak to her.

Carrie, after Jane’s brief email to her informing her of Jane’s decision to reveal to the members her real identity, adding that it would be too hard keeping it a secret from them, had replied back with an ”It’s your choice. As long as they keep it a secret until after the book tour, I’m fine with it.”

Jane didn’t know if she wanted more reticence from Carrie, or a flat out refusal, but either way, standing in that hallway with Taehyung, Jin and Jungkook before her was too hard.

She was hyper aware of every move they made. Whether because she was aware of who they were to her, or that it was a side effect of being soulmates, she saw the way they moved with her, toward her.

She felt her own desire to connect with them.

This whole secret employee thing was never going to work if Jane was doing all the work.

There was a knock on the door.

Her heart skipped a beat.

PD told them to enter.

When the door opened Namjoon was the first through.

Jane felt an instant calm settle over her at the sight of his face. The one man she had yet to encounter.

His eyes fell on Jane and the tether tugged.

The desire to step forward and take his hand was overwhelming. It was like needing to breathe, knowing she could but choosing to dive underwater instead.

He bowed to her. She forced herself to stare at the table as the others entered.

The sensation that settled on her as she felt each man’s presence as he entered the room made the desire to connect with them all the more bearable, as though somehow their collective presence tamed whatever force was determined to control her body.

Her nerves may have calmed down but the butterflies in her stomach were still putting on a cirque du soleil worthy performance.

She kept her eyes on the table as she heard Bang ShiHyuk beside her invite everyone to sit down. Jane sat beside him, hands gripping the seat beneath her for grounding.

The men sat in silence waiting for their CEO to speak.

Jane stood instead, seven sets of eyes following her rising figure.

she took a deep breath and greeted them in Korean. “Hello. My Name is Jane Seville.” Jane finally looked up. It was one of the hardest things she had done.

Seven sets of eyes gazed at her, a few as complete strangers.

NO Pressure Jane.

She sought out one set of eyes in particular. The eyes that always told her to stop procrastinating.

She took a breath.

“You may also know me as scarletsilk&buttermilk.”

Then she sat back down.

Two sets of eyes sought out the CEO. Both Namjoon and Hoseok seeking confirmation that what they had just heard was the truth.

She couldn’t bring herself to look at the members, to see perhaps the disappointment on their faces, the confusion.

She felt the tug then, her eyes being pulled to the left.

The small smile she saw was - 

His smile was everything.

The sigh of relief she expressed was caught by all of them. Not that she noticed.

The sound of her phone's notification went off, and Jane went to ignore it only to see that it was from The Red String App.

Who....What?

Jane quickly tapped the screen opening the app and saw that she had received a message.

Had he just taken this?

She looked up at the man in the bucket hat, at the look on his face, the way he watched her hands on her phone.

He wanted proof.

She turned her phone to face him.

"Hello, Hoseok, It's nice to finally meet you."

Jane watched as Namjoon looked over the lead dancer's shoulder at the sent message on his own phone,the leader making the connection. Jimin on the otherside - he was not looking. His gaze was on Jane alone. But when she looked at him, he shifted his gaze away from her.

Namjoon returned his eyes to her. "Your name is Jane. Jane Seville."

"Yes."

"Your Korean is very good." He complimented her. The dimples in his cheeks making their first appearance.

Whoever said in the past that this man was unattractive must have been hallucinating. 

Jane had to contain herself. Control the smile that wanted to emerge at the sight of those dimples.

She replied in English. "Your English is very good also."

His eyebrows rose at the change in language. Jungkook's eyes lit up too. Did he perhaps understand what she had said?

"But I think for everyone's sake I will continue speaking Korean."

"You speak it fluently?" Jin finally spoke up after hearing her return to Hangul, drawing Jane's eyes to him. To the glasses he was now wearing. 

Was there a Korean word for Dapper...She would have to look it up.

"I do. I've spoken it for seven years."

There were a few wow's, though the silence from Yoongi, Tae and Jimin was a little off putting.

"Can I ask -" Namjoon never broke eye contact with Jane. "Is there a reason why ..." he paused as though unsure how to broach the subject.

"Why I decided to tell you who I was?" Namjoon nodded in reply.

"Because it was unfair of me to keep it to myself any longer. I've known who you all were from the First Switch. and I kept it to myself. Maybe for selfish reasons, Maybe out of fear. But I did know. And then I got sick."

Jane was careful to remain completely polite. No hint of informality in case they thought she wanted or expected anything from them. "And then I found out Jung Hoseok-shi, Kim Taehyung-shi, Jeon Jungkook-shi and  -" Jane's eyes fell on Jimin, on his hands playing with his hoodies cords, his pauses when he notices her looking. "Park Jimin-shi got sick because of me." 

The was suddenly a chorus of disagreement from three of those men.

"What! No. It wasn't your fault." - Hoseok

"Why would you blame yourself? -Jungkook

"You thought our getting sick was your fault?" -Taehyung.

"The Tether is a two way street." - Yoongi. She wasn't expecting him to speak.

Jane never saw the look of shock on Jimin's face at her self blame. She was too preoccupied with the way in which 6 of the seven members were all suddenly moving towards her. Jane quickly withdrew her hands from the table where a few had desired to reach her in comfort.

They caught the way she retracted her hands, and quickly moved back.

"We interrupted you." Taehyung said. Jane looked up at the sound of his velvety voice. 

How long would it take her to remember he was really standing in front of her and that she wasn't hearing him speak through the speakers of a phone or laptop?

"I'm sorry you got sick, and for whatever part I played in that. I had my reasons for staying anonymous back then. But circumstances have changed - " Jane turned to BangPD for help. 

This wasn't really as easy as she thought. But he simply nodded for her to continue.

"Due to my soulsickness being as severe as it was, BigHit Entertainment was kind enough to bring me to Seoul and become my Soulmate Visa Sponsor."

NamJoon asked if she intended to stay in Korea.

"I do. For the foreseeable future. At least until all this soulmate stuff is worked out."

"How?" Yoongi spoke up, his eyes moving from Jane to the PD. "Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad you are actually here, but PDnim, how are we going to keep her safe?"

He talks as though she were in danger being around them. The sessangs have never been that bad.

Bang ShiHyuk finally spoke up. "This morning I hired Jane to be Jungkook's English Tutor and translator."

"What! PD-nim I can't let my soulmate work for me?" Jungkook's face was so confused, Jane didn't know what to feel -Flattered maybe?

Then much to Jane's surprise, and possibly panic, Bang Shi Hyuk left the room.

All eyes fell on Jane. So she took another deep breath and spoke, finally getting down the the real reason behind this meeting. Ignoring the climax of the butterflies performance in her stomach.

"I don't want to get sick again. And I don't want you to get sick again. My being in close proximity to the members of BTS will stop that. I am qualified to teach English as a foreign language. It was actually my plan to teach here five years ago before circumstances prevented my coming, so I do not mind teaching it. I agreed because my presence as your English teacher is not going to draw other questions, questions that you or I am not yet ready to answer. But it is hard."

"What is?" Namjoon asks, although his tone tells Jane he may already know the answer.

"I have been a fan of your work since debut. But I have no delusions as to what us being soulmates means. I don't understand how I am tethered to the seven of you. We can't change that. I don't even know how any of you feel about it. But this connection on my side is intense, and if I didn't tell you who I was, and I started working with you, was around you everyday..." Jane pauses watching the men, their eyes still all on her.

She was the center of attention.

She hadn't been the center of attention since 10th grade. The teacher made her read a page of a story she was writing, instead of the assignment she was supposed to be working on in class. He hadn't bothered to ask her why she was writing something else, instead trying to embarrass her for not working on the assignment, unaware that she had finished it a week ago. When he'd tried to stop her from continuing reading, now embarrassed by her, Liz had worked the class up enough to encourage Jane to continue until she'd read the entire chapter. He never called on Jane again in class.

"Please tell me that it's not just in my head, the intensity with which I feel this... whatever it is?"

"It's not." Namjoon answered. His eyes on Jane. "I feel it too." He smiled at her, sympathetically perhaps, but it was comforting.

"You were not going to tell us, and just work here?" Hoseok asked her, his face holding a look of disappointment. Jane felt guilty in that moment. This was exactly what she wanted to avoid. Had she really just hurt Hoseok?

"Do you blame her?" Yoongi jumped in, his gaze never quite able to remain on Jane for too long.

Hoseok look a little offended but his own gaze returned to Jane as his hyung continued.

"You decided to tell us because you are worried that being around any one of us, with you being the only one working on maintaining your distance, we would subconsciously try to connect with you. Am I right?" 

Jane looked into those dark eyes. She wasn't caught off guard by how quickly Yoongi caught on to her reasoning, but rather the way in which he tried to hide the smile when he found her looking back at him.

"We would never try to force the connection from you Jane." Jin tried to reassure her, leaning towards her. He straightened when he realised what he was doing.

Jane laughs softly. "It's not easy is it. I thought this was better then being known as the rude foreigner who refuses to shake BTS's hands. I'm not saying I don't want to make the tether connection with you, because for us all to have some semblance of a normal life in the future, we will all need to make the tether connection" Her eyes fluttered over Jimin. 

They quickly returned to Namjoon when she found Jimin was watching her too.

"But I would ask that we do it at a time when we are comfortable with each other. Whatever comes after that we leave to fate."

And her fucked up sense of humour.


 


Author here: So I'm a little annoyed I couldn't get the gif of Jimin to work in the pic so I'm providing it here for your benefit.

Right Here:

Gif isn't mine. Happy to credit owner if anyone knows. It was just the only one of Jimin and his pinky that I could find.