hello, he will say, hello, my name is min yoongi, and i'm a boy. i am.
warnings for transphobia, misgendering, name-calling.
you could call it character study. i could call it longing. can be found here on ao3, too.
He hadn’t had enough money to pay for both the credit and the bandages. He’d stared at the roll (eight bucks, six inches) for ten minutes, almost. The girl at the cashier had been watching him, fingertips tapping on the counter, the sound ringing in his ears. He’d ended up just paying for the phone credit instead, and regretting that decision an hour later. Cloth and tape are a painfully weak substitute.
Too tight in the front, continually slipping. He’ll probably have one hell of a time trying to catch his breath, later, if he goes up too many stairs. But it conceals well enough, he supposes. It’s all he can go on, for now. The shirt he’s wearing is black and button-down, and he’s glad he’d managed to persuade his mother into letting him get that haircut, last week. Too short, she’d complained, even when the hairstylist had a pair of scissors in her hand already, too short, I don’t know why you always want to cut your hair this short. It’s not nice. It’s not proper.
It’s fine, he thinks, running a hand through his hair. It’s perfect. He doesn’t want it any other way.
He’ll never find a pair of jeans that will fit the way he wants them to, and he’ll always have to wear those godawful scuffed-up black school shoes in lieu of an actual pair of sneakers. Not those tiny things his mother will always try to make him wear.
It’s enough. It’s always been enough. Just this is enough, for him.
Yoongi cards his fingers through his hair again, sweeping his fringe out of his eyes. He tugs the shirt down, and pats the imaginary dust off absently. “I’m a man,” he says, to his mirror, to no one in particular. Maybe to himself. “I am.”
He tries again. “I’m a boy,” he says, quieter. In case anyone overhears him. The walls are thin and the people too many, in this house. “I am. I’m a boy.”
There are no correct angles, no right contours. Yoongi clears his throat, dips his chin, and nods. “I’m Yoongi,” he says, “My name is Min Yoongi.”
He’s Yoongi. And if that’s all he can have, for now, that’s all he’ll take.
It doesn’t mean he can’t stop hoping for something more.
“Dress properly,” says his mother, when he comes down the stairs, bag slung over his shoulder, “you shouldn’t be looking like that.”
“Like what,” says Yoongi, voice dry, heading straight for the door. He’d rather skip breakfast in favour of not having to listen to the same, old words, over and over again.
“Like a boy,” says his mother, but Yoongi’s already unlocking the door, and toeing into his shoes. “Make sure you eat something at college.”
“Yeah,” says Yoongi, and he waves her off, closing the door behind him. He can already imagine it, in his mind, the way the rest of the day will play out. Rewind; and his mother will be complaining to his father about the way Yoongi dresses, the way Yoongi acts, the way Yoongi looks. She shouldn’t be behaving like this, his mother will argue, frustration lacing her tone, and Yoongi’s father will simply say, let her be.
Yoongi knows better than to try to correct them.
Hello, he imagines himself saying later, hello, my name is Min Yoongi, and I’m eighteen this year, and I’m taking this class too, and I’m a boy, yeah, I am. He imagines the words, and he imagines the handshakes, and maybe a smile or two, and maybe a nod back. But reality remains that he’s never really been good at making friends. Reality remains, that he’s never been good at keeping them, either.
And reality stays true to itself. Yoongi finds himself in the cafeteria of the college some hours later, eating alone, as he watches the crowd mill about, as he watches the other students laugh and joke and chatter merrily. He just watches. That’s all he’s ever done, really. That’s all he can do, really. But, well. At least the food is good.
“Hello,” comes a voice from beside him, and a figure slips into the seat opposite. “Is this taken?”
“No,” says Yoongi, only slightly taken-aback, almost forgetting to drop his voice in reply. “It’s vacant.”
The person smiles, wide and bright, and Yoongi recalls him as the one who’d sat a few rows ahead of him in this morning’s Economics lecture, too loud and too vibrant for a Monday morning. Monday mornings are like Yoongi, perhaps. Nobody ever likes Monday mornings. This guy, he seems more like a Sunday. When the sky shines, the sunniest it can be, before another week sets in. He’s definitely a Sunday.
“Hello,” says the guy, “my name is Hoseok. You’re in the April intake, right? Saw you in my class, today.”
“I am,” says Yoongi, all motions of eating halted, by now. “I’m Yoongi.” And I’m a boy.
“Hi, Yoongi,” says Hoseok, and he’s smiling, and smiling, and smiling so wide Yoongi’s going to contract a migraine just from looking at him. “Do you want to join some of us for lunch, over there? We’ve got room for one more.”
And maybe it’s just the years of eating lunch alone, and the years of sitting by himself in classes, and the years of never really knowing what to say to another human being, that jog the blink in response to the question, and nothing else. “Me?” says Yoongi, eyebrows furrowing. “We don’t even know each other.”
“Now we do,” says Hoseok, “come on, I’m nice, I swear. I don’t bite.”
But I do, thinks Yoongi, my past will come up to bite you and sever whatever you’re trying to build between us, right now. I don’t even trust you. I don’t even trust myself.
But Hoseok is still smiling at him, and maybe there’s just a flicker of uncertainty that Yoongi doesn’t want in his chest, and maybe Yoongi just really wants friends again, for once in a long time, and maybe Yoongi is just desperation beneath a stoic face and stone-cold words.
And maybe Yoongi just wants to give himself a chance. “Sure,” he finds himself saying, and he’s dragged over without any further ado, and they’re nice kids, they are, all from his intake too, and none of them say anything about Yoongi being something other than what he seems to be, and Yoongi doesn’t detect anything about any of them noticing that he’s not really what he seems to be, and maybe this won’t be too bad.
“So,” says one of them, a short kid with a chipper voice. Yoongi’s always had the habit of calling people kids, even though they’ve barely any age difference. “Want to join us tomorrow, too?”
It might be relief, that uncoils inside. It might be hope. It might be the thought that hey, they really think I’m me, I’m Min Yoongi and I’m not anything else, I’m just Min Yoongi, coming to college and meeting new friends and talking about mundane little things and trying to not fall asleep during cold lectures. “Okay,” he answers, and it might even be a smile on his own face, when he glances up to see Hoseok’s own grin, happy with the knowledge that Yoongi will be joining them again. “Sure. Why not?”
Yoongi follows the group to their last class, some time later, hands in his pockets. Hoseok falls back to where Yoongi is trailing at a distance, and says, “You’re pretty quiet.”
“I don’t really like talking,” replies Yoongi, truthfully. Words are meant to be used when there’s something important to say. “And I don’t really know what to say, most of the time.”
“Ah,” says Hoseok, nodding, “well. That’s alright. Different people and different ways to interact, eh?”
How different is different, though, to everyone else? Yoongi just smiles slightly, and says, “Yeah. Guess so.”
It might be hope, that keeps burring in his chest. Hope that the day will stay as good as it has been, so far, a rare sight to see. But hope is easily quashed, and hope is so simply destroyed, and the hope that has been curling up inside Yoongi dissipates the second the lecturer decides to call out the namelist for roll call, instead of passing it around to be signed off on.
The lecturer gives him a hard look when Yoongi puts up his hand at the call of his name. The name that isn’t Yoongi. The group he’d walked in with also give him strange looks, because that’s not Min Yoongi, that’s not the right name, that’s not a boy’s name. But it’s Yoongi’s name, no matter how much he despises it, and he says, “That’s me.”
Hello, my name is Min Yoongi, my name is Yoongi, I’m eighteen, I’m a boy—
No, you’re not, he imagines them saying, you’re not. What’s wrong with you?
What’s wrong, thinks Yoongi, what’s wrong, indeed?
His palms are clammy for the rest of the class, his heart thumping too hard against the too-tight bindings across his front, his eyes glued determinedly on the projector screen and not glancing towards the people around him.
Reality will always remain as it is.
“Hey,” says Hoseok, after the class has ended, students flitting out faster than the rain can begin to pour, “are you alright? You look a little pale.” And why is he still here? Didn’t he notice?
“I’m fine,” says Yoongi. He’s not. He’s not fine. He’s never been fine. Everything is constantly jarring and harrowing and terrifying. This is why he doesn’t do social. This is why he sits alone with a plate of two-fifty rice and a single coffee and watches the rest of his life move on without him. “You should probably go ahead. Aren’t the others waiting for you?”
Hoseok shrugs, a casual movement. “I told them to leave, first. You didn’t have anyone waiting for you.” And for all the cheer that he is, Hoseok is unknowingly blunt in his words. “Besides, they didn’t seem like they wanted to stick around longer than they had to.”
“And you did?” come the words, straight out of Yoongi’s mouth, before he can take them back.
Hoseok just looks at him for a moment. “It doesn’t change anything,” he says, hesitantly, and oh. He’d noticed. He’d realised that Yoongi wasn’t actually what Yoongi seemed to be, and he’d actually realised what that had meant. “You’re still you, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” says Yoongi, and his voice feels disconnected from the rest of his body. He slings his bag onto his shoulder, and avoids Hoseok’s eyes. “I am.”
“Then?” Hoseok pauses, then reaches out to gently smack Yoongi in the shoulder, a little playfully. The way friends would, when they’re messing around. The way boys do. “Come on,” he says, and his smile is no less genuine than it had been, before. “Let’s go, Yoongi.”
The fact that Hoseok is walking beside him, talking him into a conversation that eases into something that feels too familiar to be between two people who’d just met that very same day, doesn’t change the fact that there are now empty spaces where there had been people walking, that very same afternoon. It doesn’t change the fact that Yoongi had still heard the whisper of a thousand voices ringing in his mind, even though there had only been one, behind him in the class, the quiet whisper of, is she some sort of dyke? It doesn’t change the fact that Yoongi will have to learn to live with those same looks, for the rest of the year.
But it does make things a little less bad. Knowing that one person hasn’t been scared off. Knowing that at least, there’s one person who won’t gawk or taunt or mock, just for what Yoongi is. Just for who Yoongi is.
“Hey,” says Hoseok, and he’s grinning, again. Yoongi could learn to like that grin. Maybe even return it, some day. “It’s just the first day.”
It is. It’s just the first day, of many days to come, and Yoongi could still have that hope. But he’s always gone by what’s enough, and never really more than what he can have, and for now? Hoseok is enough, maybe. It’s a start. He’s a start.
This is the start, maybe, of Min Yoongi. Not anyone else. Just. Yoongi.
“See you tomorrow,” bids Hoseok, and Yoongi murmurs the same, waving him off at the turn.
Yoongi returns home, steps through the door to his room, and lets his bag slip to the floor.
Eyes shut. He breathes. Inhale, exhale. Everything aches but all he can think about is everything he’s done today. And maybe he doesn’t mind the smile that appears on his face anyway, the smile that accompanies the thought that hey, he went outside today. Nobody really noticed. And nobody really saw. And he did that—he did that today. Yoongi did it. And it’s the most exhilarating feeling, really. It’s the best feeling in the world.
My name is Yoongi, he says to himself, with the quietest hint of a smile. Just Yoongi.