"in starlit nights i saw you,
so cruelly you kissed me"

he was the boy who could never find a home no matter where it was he ended up. with his bruised knuckles and his stubborn inability to follow rules, no normal family wanted anything to do with him for very long. jaehyun jung was an orphan in the sense that he couldn't find a family anywhere. he was too reckless for the foster homes -- he acted as if he had nothing to lose. he fell subject to a few beatings because of his behaviors, but they only fueled his urges to act out in ways that made others angry.

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the 1930's treated no one kindly, especially not impulsive young boys with no regard for the law. he started writing on the pages of books at a young age, and as he grew older, he vandalized the walls of buildings. petty theft escalated to bank robbery. he taught himself how to use a gun and claimed it was so that no one could hurt him anymore. he broke his nose and busted his lip in the fights he got himself involved in, and for a long time, he had no one but himself to look out for.
at least, not until he tried beating the shit out of some kid in an alleyway in new york and got his ass kicked instead. the boy laughed at him with a single drop of blood running down his chin and introduced himself as johnny. he was jaehyun's very first real friend and remained his friend through everything they suffered together.

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jaehyun didn't have the slightest idea what to do with johnny when he was around him. he asked him if the thought of robbing a convenience store seemed appealing. if he wanted to pickpocket wealthy men they passed on the streets. each time, johnny told him the same thing. he wanted to be a cop. eventually, though, jaehyun was no longer alone in his criminal habits as johnny finally began to join him -- so long as they were never caught.

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he was certainly no hero. he hardly considered himself to be even brushing the edge of a good person. he knew that what he was doing was wrong in the eyes of society, but he couldn't bring himself to care enough to stop. it was how he was living. it was how he got by. the money he stole got him everything that he could have needed. it was a habit, a dangerous way of life that he couldn't abandon, and he didn't want to.

ruining lives became such a familiar feeling to him that saving a life was the most terrifying and amazing thing that could have ever happened to him.

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johnny didn't want to be there for too long, terrified of the thought of getting caught, but jaehyun couldn't bring himself to leave. not when he'd kicked down the door of a motel room to find a sobbing fourteen year-old boy who held onto one end of a frayed, broken scarf, the other hanging from the ceiling fan. the sight was enough to stop him from holding up the motel just to take the boy with him, which resulted in confusing johnny, but he allowed it nonetheless. the boy introduced himself as mark, and he was the very beginning of what started to be a gang.

jaehyun offered mark something akin to a home with him without even realizing he was doing it. he and johnny took the boy with them everywhere they went and he showed no signs of wanting to go back to wherever it was he came from. the three of them lived off of stolen goods and robbed money, somehow managing to avoid getting caught until jaehyun had discovered an underground bunker where they could stay.

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the gang was only complete enough to be called a gang when two more permanent members were acquired after a shootout that was the result of a run-in with the cops. they were lucas and jungwoo, two boys who unknowingly took cover in jaehyun's getaway car and ended up in his life when they were speeding down the road with police on their trail. the boys claimed they had nowhere else to go and they didn't mind where they ended up so long as they stayed together.

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jaehyun, as he grew old enough to see his twenties, found himself falling subject to foreign feelings he'd never known. there was something about watching mark turn sixteen years old, something about witnessing johnny say something that brought the brightest smile to lucas's face. for the first time in his life, he felt a deep attachment to something. to people. he had found something akin to a home in an underground bunker on the outskirts of new york city, and he had found something like a family within the people who had chosen to stay with him.

it was little, and it was mismatched, but he'd found one.