“GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED RIGHT NOW!”
Something soft and fluffy hit Jungkook in the face. Bolting up right in his bed, he looked around the unfamiliar room in a frenzy. He was in a bland hotel room with even more bland decorations and bolted down lamps and chairs with mysterious stains on them. Nari stood next to his bed with a pillow in her hands, ready to strike again.
She swung down to hit him with the pillow once more and Jungkook quickly rolled off the bed to dodge it.
“Wha-?” He groggily looked at her through lidded eyes. “Nari…?”
“It’s almost 10! If we don’t get out by 11, we get charged an extra day! And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of money!”
Jungkook blinked. He was still half asleep and all that sounded like a bunch of sounds without meaning to him. But it seemed like getting out of bed would make her happy and probably get her to stop bothering him. So he slowly put one leg off the the edge of the bed and then the other leg before pushing himself into standing position.
Nari paid him little attention as she buzzed around the room packing everything up and tidying things so the housekeeper wouldn’t have as much work to do. The paper bowls from their dinner last night were put into one trash bag and then all the trash bags they used were consolidated into a single one. She made the beds and put their used towels on top of them. She even went as far as to put a ten dollar tip on their night stand for the housemaid.
Jungkook watched her with mild interest as he slowly woke up.
“Why are you cleaning up?” He mumbled. “Isn’t that the maid’s job?”
Nari didn’t even spared him a glance as she double checked their luggage. “Yeah, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to be a pig. Housekeepers have a really hard job. My friend is one and she’s told me all about it. They have long hours, aren’t paid well, and have a very high chance of getting injured on the job.
“Plus,” She sneered at Jungkook. “My mom raised me to have good manners.”
“Hey, I have manners!” Protesting, he crossed his arms and leaned in closely to her face. “I drove you when you ran out of gas, didn’t I? I offered to share this room with you, too.”
Nari hummed in acknowledgment while she put her hair up in a messy bun and turned away from him to get back to work. She had to concede to that, he had gone very far out of his way to help her out. But she wasn’t going to let him think she gave him too much credit for that.
“True, one of you few good moments.” Jungkook rolled his eyes while she stepped away from him and took one last sweeping look around their room. “I think we got everything, ready to go check out?”
Jungkook nodded and took hold of one end of the trolly loaded with their stuff. Nari squeezed past it and opened the door for him. The same man from last night was still at the front desk and helped them check out. When they got to their cars, Jungkook helped Nari load her stuff into her truck.
She leaned up against the bumper and crossed her arms so she didn’t have to think about what she should do with her hands. Jungkook had an awkward expression and for a moment, neither of them seemed to know what to say or do to say good bye.
Nari opened her mouth to break the silence and thank him for all his help, but was interrupted by a high pitched laugh.
In the lot next to the hotel was an abandoned parking garage. A few teens, younger than Jungkook, were stumbling out of it and making a ruckus. Their clothes were rumpled and hair tangled. It looked like they had spent the night at the abandoned building, but they looked light and free. Their arms were hooked over each others shoulders and they laughed at inside jokes as they headed home from a night of rule breaking.
Nari grinned as she had an idea and turned to Jungkook.
“Wanna do something stupid?” She asked, arching an eyebrow as a silent dare. Jungkook opened his mouth before closing it and looking away from her.
After a pause, Nari turned and walked toward the parking garage. The loose gravel on the pavement crunched behind her and let her know that Jungkook was following her regardless of his initially hesitation. Nari smirked and glanced over her shoulder at Jungkook. It seemed like he was the type who couldn’t back down from a challenge.
A chain linked fence surrounded the abandoned structure. Grass and wild flowers had overgrown the area and gave the feeling that no one should be there. Jungkook and Nari walk along the fence until they reach where they had seen the teenagers. There was a hole in the fence where someone had clipped the wire and pushed it all to the side.
Nari got down and carefully crawled through the hole. She took care not to get snagged by any of the exposed wires and quickly stood back up when she made it to the other side. Jungkook hadn’t moved from where he was.
“What? Don’t tell me you’re chicken?” Nari linked her fingers through the gaps in the fence and taunted him. “Are you that much of a goodie two shoes, shortie?”
“Shortie?” That struck a cord with him. “I’m not short!”
Jungkook glared at her before getting down and crawling through the hole as well.
When he stood back up, Nari snickered.
“Oh yeah, you’re totally not short when I have at least 2 good inches on you!” She put a hand on top of her head and swiped it over Jungkook’s to emphasize the difference.
Jungkook batted her hand away but that only made her laugh even harder.
“Aw, don’t take it to heart, kiddo,” Slinging an arm around his shoulder, Nari guided him toward the garage. “You’re young enough that you’re probably going to grow a few inches.”
“I’m eighteen,” Jungkook shrugged her arm off of him. “I’m not a kid anymore.”
“Oh my god, you really are young,” Nari reeled back with wide eyes. “I mean I knew you were, but it’s weird now that I know for sure.”
“You’re talking like an old lady,” Jungkook made a stink face at her before realization dawned on his face. “Wait. How old are you? Thirty?”
“No,” Nari punched his shoulder and glared at him. “I’m twenty-two.”
The pair was silent as they digested this new information. When they reached the entrance, they stopped and looked up at the cracking and unstable pillars. Jungkook shivered even though the summer’s morning sun was warming their skin.
“On a scale of one to winchester mystery house, how haunted do you think this place is?” He asked her, suddenly nervous.
Something falls inside and echoes loudly, making both of them jump. Nari laughs humorlessly before taking a step forward.
“I’d give it a solid four; maybe five on Friday the thirteenth.” She replied.
“Only a four?” Jungkook ducked underneath a cobweb hanging across the entrance and followed behind her.
“Well, those other kids were able to make it out.” She explained. “It can’t be that haunted if they’re still alive.”
Jungkook froze and looked at her. That did not reassure him at all.
The inside of the parking garage was exactly what Nari had expected. Red solo cups and crushed cans of beer were strewn across the floor after a night of partying. The air was stale with smoke and alcohol, making Nari scrunch her nose. There was a worn out couch with holes ripped into it and stains hiding it’s real color. Next that sat a small table with random junk piled on top of it. The walls was covered in graffitied slurs and “edgy” things or whatever the teenagers had thought would make them look cool.
Nari made a disgusted noise.
“See, definitely not haunted.” She scooped a stray blue spray paint can off the floor and walked over to the walls. “Just a teen hide out.”
Jungkook took one look at the slurs covering the walls and looked away quickly. He crossed his arms over his chest protectively and looked down at the ground to kick at some rubbish.
“I can’t believe they think that’s okay,” He muttered in disbelief. “Those words are seriously offensive.”
There was a shaking sound and then a faint hiss.
Jungkook looked over at the noises. Nari had her back to him as she faced the wall. She took the spray paint to a transphobic slur and drew an ocean wave on top of it.
“I know,” Nari responded softly as she focused on the task at hand. “They really need to be educated.”
Her hand swept across the wall as she slowly chipped away at covering the words. The paint dripped down the wall and erased even more. Nari was painting a beautiful ocean over all the hate and drowning it all.
Jungkook watched as one by one the slurs vanished from sight. After a mesmerizing moment, he tore his eyes from it all and blinked rapidly.
He walked around the room and kicked all the trash to the side to make a path for him to move. The parking structure wasn’t as interesting as he thought it would be. It was just a typical party spot, like the ones in movies, and there wasn’t even a party happening. It was just the gross aftermath.
“Why did you even want to come over here, Nari?” Jungkook knocked a lone beer can off the table before he began to dig through the random assortment of junk.
“…Because I could,” She waved her free hand vaguely, not turning away from her masterpiece. She found a can with a different shade of blue in it and went back in to added some highlights to her sloppy ocean.
“That’s it?” Jungkook raised an eyebrow and gave her a look.
“Yeah,” She said simply.
Their conversation trailed off and the only sounds that filled the parking garage was the hiss of the spray can and the shuffling of Jungkook as he dug around the pile on the table. It was mainly covered in empty chip bags and junk food wrappers, but Jungkook found a DVD case hidden underneath it all. He snorted in amusement.
“Hey Nari,” He turned over to her and she finished the last wave with a flourish. “Want to watch Miraculous Mew Mew?”
“What?” She walked over with a confused expression before brightening up when she saw the DVD. She took it from him and smiled at the nostalgic art. “I use to watch this show all the time when I was a kid! It was my favorite.”
“Ugh, stop that,” Jungkook grimaced, shifted away from her. “First music and now this? You need to stop liking the same things as me otherwise we’re going to end up liking each other.”
Nari stuck her tongue at him. “I’m very likable; You’re the unlikable one in this relationship.”
“That is false. I’m not the one who dumped food on a certain someone the first time they met.”
“Well, you’re not the one who wasn’t able to eat their dinner because some jerk ran into them and made them drop it.”
Jungkook didn’t respond and they stood at an impasse on this particular argument. They both looked back down at the DVD.
“I have an external disc drive for my laptop,” Jungkook left Nari to decipher what he actually was offering. He was eighteen years old and Did Not Watch Cartoons, but if Nari wanted to he wouldn’t say no. Out of the goodness of his heart, of course.
“That’s good, if you use DVDs your computer won’t get a virus like if you tried to download videos.” She said off handily.
“Ya know,” Nari looked over at him. “Porn.”
Jungkook turned beet red. He stuttered out incoherent sounds that really weren’t helping his case at all. After a few awkward moments, he gave up and made a whining noise before covering his face. Nari had to try very hard not to laugh at him.
“It’s okay, Jungkook,” Nari said seriously and put a hand on his shoulder. “At this age, it’s completely normal to have sexual urges every time you see a boobie or dingaling.”
Jungkook shot her a mortified look and Nari’s composure broke. She started laughing so hard she couldn’t breath and tears were streaming down her face. Jungkook was silently screaming into his hands and hoping that hell would decide that now was the perfect time to open the ground beneath him and swallow him whole.
“Holy s-shit,” She wiped her eyes and tried to hold back her laughter, which was only making her laugh even harder. “You should have seen- Oh my god… You’re fucking face holy shit.”
Groaning, Jungkook turned away from her and crouched down in a small ball to hid his shame. There was nothing he could possibly do to live this down. She already made fun of him for being younger than she was but she was going to have a field day with that blatantly virgin reaction.
“Hey Jungkook,” Nari spoke up again once she had calmed down. “Do you think bigger is better?”
“NARI! I JUST WANTED TO WATCH CARTOONS WITH YOU!”
That just launched Nari into a new fit of giggles. Her stomach was aching and she was wheezing to try to breath but she was happy. She hadn’t laughed this hard in what felt like years. Jungkook peeked at her from in between his fingers and laughed when he saw her bright red, tear streaked face.
Once they both managed to stop laughing at each other laughing, they went back to Jungkook’s truck and set up the cartoon. Jungkook propped the portable DVD player on the dashboard and Nari pulled out some snacks from Dijonae’s duffle bag for them to eat while they watched.
The DVD only had some of the first season on it, but it was more than enough for Nari and Jungkook to have a weird bonding experience. While they still pointedly did not like each other, they had a bit too much fun watching the show together.
Nari stubborning insisted that Mew Ladybug had the coolest super powers but Jungkook argued that Mew Chat’s power of destruction was far superior. They argued about this so intensely that they missed an entire episode and had to replay it. Every time a new episode started they sang along to it in a purposely terrible way to try to make the other laugh. Nari even confessed to Jungkook that she dyed her hair blue to copy Mew Ladybug,
(Jungkook laughed at her for that. Nari felt betrayed, even if she knew she should have expected that coming from him.)
The last episode on the disk was one that Nari remembered watching when she was little and crying over it. The episode is a dramatic reveal of the Mew Ladybug and Mew Chat’s identities and the characters fight over a misunderstanding. They fight on top of Tokyo Tower and come to terms that they don’t know as much about their crime fighting partner as they thought they did.
It ends with Mew Ladybug detransforming in an abandoned building and crying in a dramatic thunderstrom.
As the credits rolled, Nari spoke up softly.
“When things got tough, back in Chicago, I did the same thing.”
“You fought your side kick?” Jungkook tried to joke, but he misread the atmosphere and it fell flat. Nari didn’t even look at him.
“No, I’d hide out in buildings no one bothered with anymore. It was nice to have some alone time. Plus, I had a lot of responsibilities, so it was a nice, harmless way to rebel. This trip is kinda the more intense version of that, I guess.”
“Why did it take you so long do this then? You’re 22, you could have left 4 years ago and no one could have stopped you.” Jungkook pointed out. She could have left it all behind the moment she came of age, but she didn’t.
Nari gazed blankly ahead of her before closing her eyes. “I had to look after my brother.”
An unspoken question hung between them and added tension to the air.
Why didn’t she have to take care of him now?
A/N: *comes in several months late sweating* Ya’ll I don’t know why I promise updates at a certain time when we all know I’m going to end up taking twice as long to actually get stuff done. Hopefully the nearly 3k chapter will make up for it. Well, since the last time I’ve updated I graduated, became a legal adult, and seen GOT7 twice so there’s that too.
Anyways, I am still serious about this story! I’ve finalized the plot diagram (because dear lord I want this story to be easier to write than Silver Rose. I love that story to death but it was a nightmare to write.) and I’m trying out a new system that has been working pretty well. I’m super excited about this story and I hope ya’ll enjoy it!
(Miraculous Mew Mew is a references to my favorite kids shows, Miraculous Ladybug and Tokyo Mew Mew!)