3. Reality

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  I stay in my room the whole morning. Pacing. Sweat pouring off me. The sun continues to rise all the same as usual. The cars below my window drive to and fro work as usual- with the occasional road rage honking of course. The train station a few miles away has trains coming and out with tons of passengers as usual.

And yet...

It's true.

BTS never existed.

I've looked on Naver about them, but nothing has shown up.

Exo had won last night's Mnet Artist of the Year. I had rewatched it all on Youtube. Fans cheering, waving their light sticks enthusiastically as the members stood in joy with their award. The cameras had panned the stage where all the artists stood at the ending of the awards. No BTS.

Even at the BBMAs, a Canadian Artist named Shawn Mendes had won apparently. 

It's true.

Yun-ji and I never were friends.

The text conversation and group chats we were in together no longer exist. She doesn't even know me for crying out loud! 

The only thing that seemed to link what's going on now to last night is the shattered necklace on my desk.

It doesn't make any sense. None of this does. Especially the necklace part.

If I'm in a different reality, what is with the necklace? Nothing exists that shows Yun-ji and I's former friendship. Except the necklace.

I don't want to touch the necklace. It doesn't seem right to even disturb a single broken shard of it.

In the afternoon, I slip out of my room that's starting to become stifling. The house is empty since both my parents are at work. But nothing has changed in it. The couch is still in front of the TV, the new stools we got from the store last week are in the kitchen. I'm not surprised, though, when I see the picture of Yun-ji and I as little kids, playing together on the beach, that used to be on the coffee table, is gone. In its place is a vase of flowers. I just feel a deep ache in my chest.

I sit down on the living room couch, worrying my bottom lip and flipping my phone in my hand restlessly. I had been in this exact spot last night watching the MAMAs. I look down and stare blankly at the phone screen, unsure of myself. I feel like I should do something, anything. But what?

A thought suddenly hits me. I'm in a different reality, but I still had the same parents. Yun-ji still existed. So could that mean that the Bangtan boys still existed? Maybe they weren't a group, but maybe the boys themselves: Namjoon (RM), Seokjin, Yoongi (Suga), Hoseok (J-hope), Jimin, Taehyung (V), and Jungkook still existed.

Where are the lines drawn between this reality and the previous one?

I search Kim Seokjin and Jeon Jungkook without any results. But when I put Min Yoongi in the search engine, my heart skips a beat when 'Agust D' pops up.

"Daebak," I whisper, unable to keep the slang out of my mouth. Something like a thrill rushes through me as I scroll to see images of Yoongi on my phone and read his online profiles.

In this reality, Yoongi isn't Suga, but he still somehow became Agust D. The songs he's produced are different, but I can see the similarities from the mixtape he made in the old reality to this current music. He still appears dangerous: rapping faster than I can comprehend math, and hotter than the stove I burned my hand on when I was little and thought fire was pretty in his music videos and songs.

I bite my lip as I search Kim Namjoon and 'Runch Randa' pops up. Well, Suga-I mean Agust D-I mean Yoongi...oh geez, I'm getting things screwed up in my head. Maybe Yoongi became Agust D in this reality, but I guess RM, I mean Namjoon, hadn't become Rapmonster or RM. It also showed that Namjoon was also in Seoul National University, Department of Engineering. He was currently top in the class.

I feel funny as I see the two former rappers of BTS show up online. It proves that somewhere out there, the former members of Bangtan exist. I finally turn off my phone and bury my head in my arms. This can't be real. This kind of stuff happens in books. In fantasy. Not in the real world.

I stay on the couch, unable to move, until Dad comes home from work.

"Hey Nari. Heard you're not feeling good," he calls as he enters the front door and starts taking off his shoes and work jacket.

I give an incoherent response.

"Your mom mentioned that you were talking about some acronym and was freaking out over it."

"BTS," I say softly, not bothering to get worked up about it. "Bangtan Sonyeondan."

"Bulletproof Scouts?" My dad pauses before he reaches the kitchen. "What is that?"

"Nothing," I sigh. "It's just...a club from school."

"Oh. I see."

No, he didn't see.

I miss Yun-ji something awful. She is- was always someone I could talk to. Someone who truly was my best friend.

At dinner, my parents continue to shoot me concerned glances, but they keep quiet.

"I'll call in to school and excuse you if your not feeling well on Monday," my mom finally says.

"Can you excuse me for a week?" I mumble, half joking, as I chase a pea around my plate with my fork.

"Yeah, sure."

My head jerks up in surprise. My mom is really concerned for me. She's actually going to excuse me for a week from school. Good, that means I won't need to face Yun-ji anytime soon. I don't what I'll do when the time comes.

"Thanks," is all I can say in response.

I drag myself upstairs after dinner and in my room turn on my phone again, feeling lost. I type in 'feeling lost' in my phone and a bunch of websites for inspiring quotes pops up. I listlessly flip through them. I'm so out of it I'm not even comprehending what I'm reading.

Were there others who experienced this type of thing? Others who had a reality stolen away? And if so, what did they do? Was there a way to get the old, can I say normal, reality back?

I'm starting to really hate the word 'reality'. Maybe there is no such thing as a 'reality'. Maybe everyone lives in different versions of what surrounds us.

I can't help but glance back at my desk where the silver dust of my necklace lays glistening in the last rays of sun.

Did it have something to do with what was happening to me? Is it a coincidence that Yun-ji and I got into a fight on the same night that everything was altered and warped? Could, somehow, what happened be because of me? Is there a way to fix this?

I groan as these questions cluster in my head and turn back to the screen, looking back at the "inspirational quotes."

I click on a different link and a quote in big bold letters pops up on top of the screen, catching my eye.

"To rebuild what's been broken, reunite what's been lost."

I can't help but feel like these words are talking to me.

Rebuild the broken, reunite the lost.

I blink slowly. A crazy idea has taken root in my mind. I honestly have no clue where it's come from.

One thing I had admired of the Bangtan Boys was their friendship, their connection to each other. How they took care of each other, were like actual brothers, hyungs, to one another.

Yun-ji and I's friendship had been broken, along with the Bangtan Boy's connections, whether they knew it or not, on the same night. Perhaps if I could rebuild BTS' friendship, reunite the boys, then I could restore reality as it was. Or at least merge the two realities a little closer.

I did mention I was really starting to hate the word reality right?

I curl up on my bed, my mind with that idea still humming in my head. And I plan on carrying that idea out.

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