Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

House Rules

By @Master_King_Queen

Rules: Come In!

Rules: Come In!

Reaching out, Jimin’s arms quaked in mid-air. The breeze laying over the island made the strands of orange hair fly over baby-smooth face, blocking his vision. Still, he had to be still if he wanted to catch this thing, so he waited until the wind quieted down and he could see again. But by the time he could, the lizard was gone.

His voice was sharp. “No!” He straightened himself and chased after the small green and gold reptile. His feet were moving quickly, buzzing in between trees and clumps of vine to—

Two other hands.

Jimin stopped so abruptly that he fell, lurching forward onto the slightly wet dirt. Jimin panned up from the large tanned hands to the even larger tanned face. There were stacks of sticks and twigs sitting next to Tae’s feet dropped abruptly to catch the lizard in his now cupped hands. He and Jimin rose at the same time, both washed in sunlight and assaulted by wind. In this moment, they were quite the same, even though circumstance had made them seem so different. “I—” Jimin was about to say something when someone called his name in the distance.

By now, having spent a day or so on the island, they knew what Joon’s call meant. Tae reached down and let the lizard go, Jimin now scurrying to catch it before it got away. By the time he got up again, Tae had gathered his sticks and twigs and sauntered off. The smaller man’s shoulders slumped, wishing he could say more to them, to any of them.

Joon made the hill his bitch, his tight black jeans on fire by the time he reached the top. The short hill covered in stray spoiled leaves and pale grass was what they had marked as the barrier before the forest really began. There was a part of their island that had trees so thick and fruitful the sun only left scattered dots across the forest floor, and other parts where the trees were so skinny and bare it was impossible to lose one another; Joon was in the skinny part now. He slid down the other side of the hill and paused at the sound of footsteps.

“Have you guys seen Jimin?” Joon asked Tae and Kookie as they approached. Tae’s haul of sticks had a variety to them: some big and some small, some old and some new, some straight and some rather curvy. However, all of Kookie’s sticks were thick and large, carrying quite a few at a time in only one arm. “He’s somewhere back there,” Tae nudged his head backward and Joon thanked them, told them to get back to camp, and went off in that direction.

“You saw Chim Chim?” Kookie posed to Tae, Tae still looking down.

“Yeah…I want to talk to him, but I’m not sure how.”

Kookie struggled to climb the hill but didn’t show it. Past the hill, there were lines of thick rose bushes and vines that blocked them from the shore, barely seeing the burning white that the sun hitting the water and sand brought forth. Kookie smiled, eyes squinting. “You walked up and talked to me.”

“Yeah, but you’re not as scary,” Tae admitted. Their bodies began to turn right, heading toward the only part of the bush barrier that wouldn’t cut them. They had to tear out an entire rose bush just to be able to explore the rest of the island. Yoongi wanted to take down another one—so there were more points of entry—but Joon and Jimin thought better of it. They often thought the same when it came to the island and the things that went along with it. “You talk to everyone else fine,” Kookie said as they scooted through the man-made hole and landed on the sand, encasing their shoes. “You just have to get past Jimin being…Jimin, ya know?”

“Come on!” Jin urged, waving Tae and Kookie forward. They walked over to the others. Yoongi and Hobi were sitting on the sand. About a minute ago, they were preparing the fruits and fish they had collected from earlier, but now that everything was ready they were just waiting on the fire and the water.

Water was Jin’s department, although he had only found a small pond nearby, and that was depleting quickly; they would need more soon.

Putting all of the wood down in the now complete pile, Kookie got down on his knees. He put down a leaf and got one of Tae’s skinnier sticks, checking for moisture and then rubbing it against the plant. Jin watched him and, against judgment, couldn’t help saying, “Wait for Joon and Jimin.”

“Why?” Yoongi asked, scratching his leg. “A fire’s a fire, go ahead Kookie.” Kookie went ahead, completely ignoring Jin.

“Ah, Kook, if you can make this fire I’ll give you $10.”

“You don’t have any money, Hobi,” Tae said.

“Then what’s this?” Hobi reached into his jacket’s pocket and pulled out his own hand, now positioned like a finger heart.

“Ah, that’s worth much more than $10,” Jin said, his expression shifting to that goofy smile he made when he was joking around. He didn’t make it that often before the island.

“Mm yeah, like 10 dollars and one-sixteenth of a penny.” They laughed at Yoongi’s comment, the jokes doing well to forget about Kookie as he blew on the sore spot and the smoke, the natural heat emerging.

“Alright, Hobi,” Kookie turned to him. “You owe me ten dollars and one-sixteenth of a penny.”

Hobi and Kookie high-fived as Joon and Jimin broke through the bushes…or rather Joon walking and Jimin slung over his shoulder. “I hate you!” Jimin cried out, beating on Joon’s now sore back.

“I don’t care!” Joon shot back, trekking over to the others. “Jimin stopped to catch a dumb lizard.”

Jimin turned his head so his forehead and right eye could be seen over Joon’s right shoulder. “The lizard was not dumb!” Jimin argued as Joon dropped him, collapsing by the pile of wood Kookie had ignited. “Ooh, a fire. Nice work Kookie.” He high-fived him as well and soon enough the fish was cooking and they were eating berries, bananas, and aquatic animals for breakfast.

Joon was uncomfortably still holding his stick, the stick deep throating the fish at the end of it over a fire. He didn’t want to burn himself but he kept thinking he wasn’t getting close enough. He had finished cooking the fish for the six others, he just had to get his own fish over with before he could be done and stop worrying about burning the whole island down. They didn’t know he was a terrible cook yet, and he was planning on making sure they never would.

Jin looked over at Joon, back perked like there was a stick up his ass rather than the fish’s. They were all away from him and the fire talking, although the conversation seemed lacking, unsound, defective. Jin was wondering what was taking him so long, and it was not until he saw Joon flinch as his finger caressed the fire that he considered getting up and helping.

But as always, Kookie acted before he thought, in that irrational logic making Jin seem inadequate.

Hot sand kicked up as the young one made his way over to the tall one, sitting down beside him. Jin couldn’t hear the conversation, but he could imagine what it was like:

“Need help?”

“Yes, you always know what I want. Let’s make-out.”

“For you? Anything.”

Jin just couldn’t get used to Kookie, at least not yet. The two of them walked back over to the rest of the group, Joon’s fish now fully cooked with Kookie’s help. Joon sat down next to Hobi, catching his attention immediately. He wanted to say something to him; anything would do…but anything was hard to say. Before he had the chance, like usual, Joon set something off.

“Okay, we have a whole day ahead of us to do…something.”

Yoongi burped out loud and looked up. “We could build a tent.” In the time they had been on the island, they had not built a structure but rather found a large tree with many leaves to cover them and put together a spread of soft things to lay on in a dingy pile. Although, they had found a very interesting sleeping spot farther into the woods, still visible from their sleeping space. It was an even thicker tree camping out in the midst of the scrawny part of the forest. There was a gaping hole in the side of it, hollowed out perfectly for a human being. It looked deep enough to be cozy with the right positioning, but they hadn’t touched it quite yet.

“We won’t make it to a tent if we don’t find more water,” Jin said. “The pond is depleted.”

“Dammit,” Joon cursed, biting his fish. It was slimy.

“We should also address this—” Hobi poked his three whole fingers through a hole in his oversized grey shirt. “—as a problem.”

“Ah!” Joon yelped, touching Hobi and catching him off guard as he grabbed his shirt. “I can sow! I just need…like…cotton and a needle.”

“And a cotton mill,” Yoongi muttered, picking up what Joon had so easily forgotten. Joon ignored him, proposing, “How about first to water gets the tree.”

“The tree with the sleep hole?” Jimin perked up immediately. Joon just nodded. “I’m in then.”

“First to water gets the tree,” Jin agreed.

“What about clothes?” Hobi asked.

“If there’s even cotton on the island, and any of us happen to find it…fight the person who finds water for the tree, I guess?”

“What about both?”

“First person to find cotton and water…gets the tree.” They waited for Joon to say more. “And is also a really cool person.”

“Completely ignored my tent idea, but sure, let’s go with that,” Yoongi added, clapping as a mode of finality. “Should we split into groups?”

“I’ll go with Joon.”

Jin and Hobi turned sharply to each other, speaking in sync. The group froze for a moment, an almost juvenile sense of awkwardness—an “I saw him first” awkwardness—hanging over them. Joon was quick to recover. “Actually, I think I should go with Yoongi.” Yoongi tried to pretend he didn’t flinch at that, continuing to eat away. Although, in his head, he knew it would be hell for him.

Losing Joon, Jin went for the next best thing. “I’ll take Kookie then.”

Kookie seemed confused by that but accepted it, going on to say, “Then Tae should go with Jimin.” Both Tae and Jimin looked extremely doe-eyed, stunned, and upset by that. Now all eyes were on Hobi: He could pick between any of them.

He wished to go with Joon, talk with Joon…but nothing would get done if Yoongi was there. It was their own private time. Hobi considered Jin and Kookie—considering their possible pissing contest—but ultimately landed on—

“I’ll go with Jimin and Tae,” Hobi decided, staring back in confusion at the terrified and pleading look Jimin was giving off.

Joon clapped. “Then it’s settled. Go out, meet back at sundown for dinner.”

After breakfast, they set out.

Kookie put one last banana in his pocket. Without bags—or really anything—they could only make do and carry a little at a time. It made it so much harder to bring things back to camp, more often than not they would just mark where they found it and move on. Kookie’s goal was to make it past where he had already traveled before. “You ready?” By the time he turned around, Jin was already walking past him.

Jin sighed before replying with, “Always.”

“So,” Hobi stepped over a rock and landed right beside Jimin, Tae a step or two ahead and apparently unaware of it. “Why did you look at me like that? Why am I here?”

Jimin kicked Hobi with his boot and nodded at Tae up ahead but remained silent. Hobi rolled his eyes. “Well yeah, Tae. What about Tae?” Jimin wasn’t aware that “I’m too scared to talk to him” was something he would have to communicate without speech.

So he pouted and hid his face and tried to fake fear and uncomfortableness until Hobi finally got it. “Oh! Awww.” Jimin hit him a lot harder than he meant as Tae stopped suddenly. They stopped as well, watching him like he was some foreign bird sitting awkwardly on a tree branch.

His head turned around suddenly, eyebrows lowering. “Why are you guys so far behind. Come on!”

Hobi smiled and rushed forward, taking Jimin’s hand and pulling him along.

Yoongi swore he could hear the ants marching up the tree trunk. Why not? he thought. He could already hear the crash of the sea, the rustle of the breeze, the crack in his knees, the clink of his keys…if he had those, of course. But for now, he heard the other things without a doubt…and as quiet as Joon was being on this trip of theirs, he might as well have heard those ants run up that tree.

Jin’s breath was heavy as the sunlight was cut off, his energy leaving him so quickly. Kookie was the opposite, seemingly fueled by the sudden crowding of trees and lack of light. Yes, they had gotten to the parts of the woods where the birds, bunny rabbits, and snakes seized to exist, or at least admit their presence. In this part, the trees were so close together that they had to turn their bodies to get through; do a little dance to make it that far.

“Ah,” Kookie called out, stopping and stooping down. Jin didn’t have the patience for him at that moment, but he pretended he did, for his entertainment; this childish moment Kookie was having was a moment Jin wanted to cherish, not destroy. The last thing he needed was the “Man” in Jeongguk. Kookie stroked the light brown part of the tree, its bark pulled off violently and laid beside it. “This is the farthest I went last time,” he explained.

Jin leaned on his knees to look at the spot, his main question of how Kookie was able to do that with just his hands…or maybe he had something more. Jin would like to believe that Kookie was a superhuman, then maybe he wouldn’t feel so bad about himself. But then again, it felt as if everyone was a superhuman here on the island, all except for Jin. “When did you come all the way out here? Did you come alone?”

At least he had this one little thing: Age difference.

Kookie looked back at him swiftly—about to justify it—when the spur of silence made it easier for his ears to pick out a unique new noise. “Do you hear that?” but as soon as he asked, Kookie had already played the sarcastic response in his head and decided it wasn’t worth it, starting off in its direction.

“Don’t you think I would ha—Hey!” Jin called after him, speeding off after Kookie. It took a few paces for Jin to finally see what Kookie could hear: A break in the crowded woods, a way out that wasn’t backward. What Yong Boy found was a tunnel, or rather a tunnel-like cave. Either way, it had an entrance and an exit; Jin could hear it now.

“Water,” he breathed, shocked. Kookie turned to Jin, proud of himself. Jin watched Kookie turn to him, full of himself. Jin caught onto this and quickly dropped his astonishment, his joy. He cleared his throat and stared straight. The wall of the cave was made of a very dark rock, sparks of white hidden inside of it. It was slick but not wet, slippery but not fluid. Ducking down, Jin realized he and Kookie could barely fit in there if they went at the same time. But he could also see, from ducking down, the brightness of the sun on the other side. It was painful to look at, but he had experienced this pain before…somewhere. He couldn’t remember where.

Jin crawled through first, Kookie crawling in eagerly behind him. The tunnel was slick inside as well, making a slapping! sound every time skin came in contact with the rock—Jin thought it was marble while Kookie knew it was marble. And then they were on the other side, Jin squinting at the sudden brightness.

Any farther and Jin would have fallen off the edge of the waterfall. Kookie snuck up beside him, equally as shocked at the scenery. All they had ever seen of the island so far was some of the beach side, the skinny trees, the fact trees, and nothing else. But the trees here were neither fat nor skinny, they were a healthy medium. It felt as if each tree had its own personality, its own agenda on what it wanted to be. Gliding over those trees was the skyline, the sky’s blue fading slowly into the tree’s green leaves. They could see so much more of the island from there, spotting dips and curves that they had never noticed before. All this did was make them aware of how much more they had to explore.

And that didn’t even cover the actual waterfall. The number of asymmetrical rocks that the falling water from far above them had to glide over seemed unimaginable. The clear whitish blue water fell around their tunnel rather than over it, allowing them to peer out and see the water droplet by droplet plummet toward a massive pool below. That’s where Jin had felt this pain in his eyes looking at it all…at the beach. He remembered the smell of water—although this water was purer—and he especially remembered the light bouncing off the water and into his face, making the world look like nothing but white noise; a T.V. with no real channels.

Jin was too scared to look that far over, so Kookie ended up the one sticking his head out and looking up, watching the water glide off a long cliff, surrounded also by grass. That led him to believe that he could get up there somehow.

He reached back into the cave and watched Jin, his companion’s mouth slightly ajar. And suddenly he had an idea, a very very bad idea. But, as Jin had noted, Kookie was all action and no talk.

Maybe he should have thought about that before pushing Jin over the edge.

Tae let out a sudden grunt before collapsing.

Jimin was by his side before Hobi could even react, putting a hand on his bent back. “Agh,” he groaned, Hobi now also by his side. “I’m…tired.” Despite how drained Tae really did look, the two were glad that he was at least coherent. His skin had lost its morning tan, getting paler and paler by the second. His pupil was no longer visible, rolled back behind his eyelids as he tried to keep them open.

“Didn’t you eat?” Hobi asked, trying to position himself so he blocked the sun from reaching Tae; his hot and sweaty skin was another thing Hobi noticed.

Tae nodded, his eyelids heavier and heavier as time passed. “I ate as much as Jimin did.”

But that wasn’t the right answer. Back at home, Jimin ate much less than everyone else at gatherings and parties—hell, he even ate less than his cat at times—and now on the island, in consideration for everyone else, he ate even less than that. However, Jimin could handle not eating as much, or at least he had trained his body to believe such things. He felt a terrible feeling in his stomach thinking that Tae’s pain was his fault. He looked up at Hobi in fear, but Hobi didn’t look back. He was looking straight up, past Jimin and Tae’s heads. Jimin turned around to see what could possibly be grabbing Hobi’s attention at a time like thi—

“Woah,” Jimin breathed out as he stared at the crisp white horse, leaning its snout down at Tae’s bowed head.

This was an intriguing situation.

Joon was just about to speak when Yoongi decided to take a sharp right without speaking a word to him. “Yoongi?” He turned to see him marching up an incline, spotting something in the distance. It took Joon a moment to realize that they had been trudging up a huge incline for the past hour it seemed. Their backs were drenched now and Joon had to squint sweat out of his eyes. But the two didn’t stop. It could have been because of stubbornness, or possibly they both wanted the tree, but neither seemed likely for them.

Finally, as Yoongi had spotted, half the hill had ended, but the other half could go higher. He had decided that this was where their incline’s destination was, and Joon couldn’t argue with that based on how it seemed to tilt toward it. There was a wide break in the scattered trees—they had gone in a different direction than toward the bushy forest—and they walked through it. Suddenly, the wind hit them as hard as it had since they left the beach side. That was the signal for a wide-open space, which they had stumbled upon. But there was something different about this open space, they were much higher than the beach now. They could see the clouds more clearly, the sky’s blue so evident that it bored them. They walked farther into the grass, grass that was like a meadow now…probably because it was a meadow. The cliffside was large, allowing a good walk still before they were even close to the edge. They saw none of the island, just the entire Atlantic Ocean in all its glory.

Joon thought about a house they could build here.

Yoongi thought about a sign they could build here.

They both thought, oh, did they.

Yoongi walked over to the edge of the cliff, his beaten-up tennis shoes centimeters away from that sudden break in the earth; the fall. He exhaled and closed his eyes, feeling nothing but the wind swaying his body as he loosened his muscles and let himself be…trying so hard to let go of everything he wa—

“What’re you doing?” Joon, always concerned, approached Yoongi slightly.

Ruined again, Yoongi thought to himself, his arms slowly rising. “I’ve never seen these birds before, you know.” He was talking out of his ass now, and he knew that. “But they’re so pretty, aren’t they?” Joon got closer, his own body tensing as Yoongi’s arms rose farther into the air. “Red and green and blue…and they can go anywhere with their wings; fly away from this island.”

There was a long, daunting pause after that, one so staged it hurt Yoongi to make it; a big part of him was dead serious and another part found it funny.

“I would like for you to fly off this cliff, Joon…” Joon was right behind him now. “…A part of me wants to fly with you.”

Yoongi sensed Joon right behind him, practically breathing on his neck. He expected him there, wanted him there, and Joon was there…but not all of him. No…

…part of him was still on that plane.

Yoongi wasn’t sure of that until he realized Joon’s outstretched hand wasn’t to pull Yoongi back…but to push him off. Yoongi’s entire body pivoted, spinning just in time to miss Joon’s hand and stumble back into the safety of the deep grass, away from the cliff. Yoongi fell into the grass butt first, breathing heavily, the flush of death still lingering in the hairs on his skin.

He was going to—

But Yoongi stopped himself because he remembered who he was talking to…his brother. So he asked him, “…Do you want to kill me?”

Joon just stared at him, more of a shadow than anything as he looked down at his brother-in-law, his white-ish hair swaying in the wind. Yoongi wasn’t sure if Joon was crying or not, possibly he thought this way because he was crying himself. “Do. You. Want. To. Kill. Me?” Yoongi extended and emphasized each word, his body shaking and wracked with pain. As of late, he could never tell if it was physical or emotional, maybe one triggered the other. It was only seconds after that Joon muttered out an answer: “Yes.” It was so faint that Yoongi barely caught it, but the intensity made it impossible to miss. And he didn’t stop there:

“Sometimes I watch you sleep at the camp…and I just want to throw you into the sea.” Joon let out a huff of air; a sadistic “ha.” “I want to drown you, Yoongi. I want you to be eaten by sharks. I want you to choke on your own blood. I want you to be crushed. I want you to explode—!

Yoongi shot back, “Why!?”

“Because that’s how she died!” Joon yelled, able to do that since they were so high up. Yoongi hadn’t seen this much emotion from Joon directed at him. “Because she was drowned, she choked, she was eaten by sharks, crushed, exploded, and guess what Yoongi?” He waited for the punch line. “I blame…you.

Joon wiped his face, telling Yoongi that he was also crying. At least that was a comfort, something not different between them. But as Joon walked away, Yoongi realized they had another thing in common:

They blamed each other for her death.

The white horse trotted lightly, easing Tae’s mind and stomach as he chomped away at the fresh corn, having just finished an apple.

Tae’s vision was hazy when he had fallen, so when Jimin tried to tell him that there was a horse before him, it was hard to believe. But after they had gotten him back on his feet and he saw the horse nudging an apple, a banana, and an ear of corn towards him, the skeptic in him went away. After he had eaten a little bit, they had put him on the horse’s back, the horse’s consent established beforehand.

“Hey.” Tae had said, reaching a hand out to Jimin. “Get on.”

Jimin hesitated at first, but Hobi hit his back and urged him forward. Finally, he reached his hand up to Tae’s, Tae gripping it tightly. He swung himself up onto the horse, immediately letting go of Tae…or rather he meant to.

But Tae wouldn’t let him go, instead, he placed Jimin’s hand around his own waist and told him to hold on. Hobi got on behind him, latching onto Jimin as Jimin had latched onto Tae and Tae had latched onto the horse, holding his corn ear in his mouth as the horse trotted off, amazingly able to handle the extra weight.

Now they were in a field.

Tae, Jimin, and Hobi should have paid attention to where they had gone to get to the field of daisies. It hurt seeing the beast stamp on the flowers, but as they came back from below the horse’s hooves, they appeared fine. Jimin didn’t believe it until then, but that was when he considered the flowers, their entire situation even, to be fate. The field was surrounded by the bushy thick trees, so it felt apart from the rest of the island. As the horse trotted through with the three on his back, Jimin did something almost as cool as when he had lifted Joon in the air on the wing.

He locked his legs tight around the beast’s waist and turned upside down, sweeping the grass and plucking a daisy from the field. He reached his hand up and Hobi grabbed it, pulling him back upright. Grunting as he regained balance, he tapped Tae on the shoulder. Tae turned around and flinched as the flower was stuck in his face. “It symbolizes our friendship,” Jimin explained, making that up completely.

Tae smiled, taking the flower and then fist-bumping Jimin, reaching around and slapping him on the shoulder.

“What about m—?” Before Hobi could effectively complain, Jimin turned around and handed him another daisy, one Hobi didn’t realize he had picked up. Hobi accepted it as well, giving Jimin a high five.

Hobi twirled the flower in his hand, catching Jimin’s “shy” bug. “Now that we’re friends…can you tell me something Chim Chim?” Jimin just nodded, turning his entire body around so he could face Hobi. “What’s…Joon like?”

Jimin blinked before edging a smile onto his face. He felt powerful suddenly. “Don’t you know already? Haven’t you two talked?”

Hobi shrugged. “Sort of, but not in the way that you talk to him. I mean he’s close enough to you to carry you on his shoulder and yell at you for chasing a lizard I mean it’s just…” Hobi struggled for the right word, but settled on, “…different.”

Jimin nodded as if he understood, but he wasn’t sure he did. Either way, he tried to figure out how to put him, how to put Joon. “There are like…a million different ways I could describe Joon, but for someone who feels like he doesn’t know him well I’d say…” Jimin finalized his thoughts and looked Hobi straight in the eye. “He loves hard, hates soft, fears more…and let’s go less.”

Jin knew he was screaming, but over the sound of the wind and falling water, he doubted anyone else knew, especially not Kookie who had jumped a mere second or two after he had pushed him. Jin saw the fast approaching mist of water and could only imagine how scary the actual pool would be.

He didn’t have much time to contemplate it before he hit.

The mist felt like being pelted with sand from all angles, but hitting the water felt like falling off a skyscraper, he just happened to hit and then sink into the ground. However, the impact was still there, and Jin couldn’t help but open his mouth and scream under water after it was over. The water’s flow was disorganized, flowing in a million different directions at once and pushing Jin in every single one. It wasn’t until he had the energy to try and swim up that he found the surface. Jin took a huge breath as he heard the crashing of water behind him, swimming as far away from it as he could. His foot eventually kicked some rock and he assumed it was the edge of the pool, flailing for a ledge. Jin, finally able to see, latched onto the rock and pulled himself up sloppily, rolling over on the dirty slab. He closed his eyes briefly, catching his breath. The rude interruption of Kookie’s laughter, however, prevented any real recovery.

Soon he was beside him, hitting his shoulder as his shoes—surprisingly not lost in the fall—sponged around Jin’s head. “Wasn’t that fun?”

And this is when Jin exploded.

He shot up, grabbed Kookie’s collar, and pushed him back. Even though Jin had meant to, it surprised him that Kookie actually stumbled and fell down, his streaked bangs shagging into his eyes. Jin stood up, enjoying the raging height he now had over Kookie. “What the hell is wrong with you!?”

“W-What?” Kookie said, all of a sudden innocent.

“How do you not get it yet?” Jin’s teeth barred, leaning down and dripping onto the younger one. “Not everything is a freaking game Kookie! You’re annoying, and you’re dumb, and you’re reckless and so damn aggravating! Joon only deals with you because you kiss his ass and you think you know everything when you don’t! You’re a child! How did you even have any friends!?”

But Jin was no longer talking to Kookie, he was talking to Jeongguk, who was Kookie…but sadder, smaller; everything Jin had peeled away from Kookie…the leftovers; that was Jeon Jeongguk, Jeon Jeongguk’s response: “I didn’t.”

Jin’s expression softened slightly, realizing all of these things about Kookie as he realized them about himself. But as quickly as the tension had come, it melted as Kookie was once again taken out of reality and into another one. “Look.”

Jin turned hastily around and looked to where Kookie was pointing. It was past the pool but not quite up to the tree line. He saw what Kookie was seeing, gasping at it.

Luggage of all shapes and sizes sat in a heaping pile—some scattered all around as well—in the distance. The two didn’t hesitate to get up and glide across the rock to the grass, stopping at the edge of the field of bags.

“That’s my bag!” Kookie pointed out, running over to it. Jin searched for his but didn’t spot it.

“It must have fallen here from the plane when it exploded,” Jin realized. “But this is…unbelievable even for a coincidence, right?”

Kookie nodded and looked up. “For us to find the water and the cotton?” He held up one of his t-shirts. “What are the chances?”

“But…who’s gonna take the prize?”

As soon as Jin said it, the two knew what was going to happen.

“So, you just…found it?” Joon asked as they sat around the fire, the sun setting now.

“Yes, I did,” Jin said proudly, rummaging through some of the suitcases he and Kookie had brought back after their vigorous rock, paper, scissors battle at the waterfall.

Joon sighed. “I guess you get the tree, then.” Jin nodded a thanks, glancing back at an annoyed Kookie. Yoongi was sitting next to him, watching the exchange. “Are you okay with him taking credit?” he asked.

Kookie stared at the back of Jin’s head. “Not sure, he did win our game.”

“And you like the competition?” Yoongi asked, perplexed by that.

Kookie thought about it, looking back at Yoongi. “I think I might.”

“Maybe you guys should have tried harder,” Jin announced, clearly antagonizing. Jimin, Tae, and Hobi all looked at each other and shrugged. They weren’t all that interested in the tree; they had found something better: A horse…and friendship if they’d like. “Yeah, I guess we should have,” Tae said, acting sad—devastated even.

Joon didn’t have to pretend. He wouldn’t have minded sleeping alone that night. “Yeah…” was all he said, playing with his thumbs. Joon got up quickly and walked away, uncaring of who saw him go. And suddenly Hobi remembered what he wanted from this day: Joon, he wanted Joon’s attention.

He got up and followed, Kookie watching them go. He turned back to Yoongi who was also watching Joon’s back, wondering what it could do, what it felt, if it truly felt. “What’s up with you two?” Kookie asked.

Yoongi shrugged. “I don’t know yet…” She looked at Kookie and smiled. “I feel like you and I are gonna be good friends.”


“…We both have people that hate us that would probably love us…if circumstances were different.” Yoongi shrugged and got up, walking off. Kookie let that sink in, and he wished—once it was ingrained—that he had, instead, just shaken it off.

Hobi sat down next to Joon silently, the way he had on the plane’s wing. The only differences were that the water was now coming up from the ocean to plunge itself into their feet instead of vice versa, and Joon was already crying before Hobi had come. Hobi cleared his throat, remembering what Jimin had said.

…and let’s go less.

As Hobi went to say something, Joon’s actions cut him short, his hand reaching out now for Hobi’s.

This, too, was different than the first time.

“Don’t leave for a while, okay?” Joon said, his voice shaky. Hobi, although flustered, just nodded and stayed. Joon was showing a side of him that seemed old, showing that part of himself that he had thought he left on the plane…that vulnerability. Hobi was starting to remember who he was before the crash as well. He was so cheerful, happy…he shined more.

He wanted to get back to that.

He wanted Joon to get back to letting go more.

Jin’s new bed was very comfortable, it was wonderful actually. The space was small enough to feel safe and warm, but large enough to give him some wiggle room. The wood was soft somehow, magical he considered—magic was a thing he was considering now. But as great as the bed was…there was just something lacking in it. That thing was anyone else, someone else, a “one” to “some” with.

Jin got up and scooted out of his little hole, pressing his bare feet to the grass softly as to not wake anyone else, even though they were a few feet away. As Jin was about to take a walk, he glanced up and over and saw something on the outside of the tree. It was a paper nailed to the tree with a pocket knife, surprisingly neat words written on it. Jin squinted at it, assuming the materials came from one of the suitcases. House Rules it read, and as Jin skimmed it, he smiled at the “Finalized by: Kim Namjoon. Written by: Kim Seokjin, Jung Hoseok, Jeon Jeongguk, Kim Taehyung, Park Jimin, and Min Yoongi.”

Sneaking up to the others, Jin looked down at the pile of bodies all sleeping under the wide tree, now a newly found blanket flung over them, Jimin hidden somewhere inside it while the others were “crusting” the edge. Jin spotted Joon quickly, seeing Tae latched onto him from the back seemingly unconsciously. Maybe he thought he was a pillow, maybe that was what Joon’s role was when they were asleep. Jin made space for himself on the other side of Joon, facing him.

“Goodnight,” he told them, before letting his eyes close and his mind loosen.

         House Rules

(Bold is for “Rules” variations)

1.     Everyone has their specific day to prepare food for everyone.

a.      Sunday: Namjoon

b.     Monday: Seokjin

c.      Tuesday: Yoongi

d.     Wednesday: Tae

e.      Thursday: Hobi

f.       Friday: Jimin

g.     Saturday: Jeongguk

2.     Cleaning (Building) day is every Saturday.

3.     Holidays and Special Events (Special/Magical parts of the Island) are to be shared and everyone has a chance to pick or control a group activity.

4.     Expired food has to go out immediately. Those injured have to sit out immediately.

5.     Those going grocery shopping (salvaging) is decided by rock, paper, scissors.

6.     No new people at the house (on the island).

7.     Roommates (Building Buddies) are picked by a raffle and are final.

8.     If one leaves the house (island), we all leave the house (island).

9.     All contributions are equal.

10.   Who manages what is pre-decided:

a.   Hobi: Food and appliances stock; writing grocery lists. Mapping the island.

b.     Jimin: The house’s garden and their image to the outside world. S.O.S messages and communication with the magic of the island.

c.      Jeongguk: Breakfast/Morning talks and catch-ups. General health and strength training.

d.     Namjoon: Money managing for the house and appliances, etc. and neighbor relations. Watching the weather and watching the waters.

e.      Seokjin: Restocking the house’s necessities and installing new appliances. Necessities (food, cloth, etc.) collection and distribution.

f.       Yoongi: The house’s well-being. Materials taken from the island and put back in, including collection.

g.     Tae: Decorating the House. Making the island their own.

11.   You must talk to the people in the House (Island) if something is wrong physically or mentally.

12.   BUT, everyone is entitled to their own space.

13.   The House (Island) comes first…always.

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
3 Likes 0 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.