Taehyung wakes up with his head pounding like a drum, his hands flying to cover his eyes from the bright morning light. He’s sober, he realizes, he can tell by how hyper aware of his own body he is, pain flaring up from his limbs and from deep within him. He tries shifting to the side and once his legs move even the slightest, his behind feels like it’s being stabbed. Whimpering and shivering with cold sweats he manages to turn.
Seokjin and Jungkook are on the other side of the bed, half awake themselves, kissing languidly, tongues circling each other noisily. Taehyung watches Jungkook hold Seokjin with both his hands, caressing the gentle slope of his cheeks, bracketing him protectively, thigh between the other’s legs to give him something to rut against. It looks so perfectly loving. Seokjin’s engagement ring catches some light and it shines so powerfully it casts sparkles all over the canopy. It’s a picture perfect moment. Taehyung feels like throwing up, retching dryly, catching the youngest’s attention.
“Hey, doll ...” he smiles toothly, reaching out to push Taehyung’s bangs out of his eyes. He recoils as if stung. “Are you alright?”
They both had used him thoroughly last night, chocked him, beat him, burnt him, had him faint more than a couple of times, took him in turns, took him together, pissed on him, in him, made him profess his love over and over until he almost believed it himself. No, he wasn’t alright. He missed Hoseok, missed the way he was in control with him, how he allowed himself to be vulnerable with him, trusted him, cherished him despite it all. Taehyung wasn’t loved here, he knew that, but he was needed and at the end of the day these two were just like him, monstrous. Especially Jungkook.
“Want me to bring you some water, Tae?” he says sweetly.
“Please ...” he manages.
Planting another kiss on Seokjin’s plush lips, Jungkook gets up in all his unabashed naked glory and heads out of the room to get a glass. He acts as if he owns the place. Perhaps he now does. Surprised screams are heard from down the corridor followed by the youngest’s laughter. Jin scoffs and runs a hand through his hair.
“Can you believe it, Tae?”
He means the proposal, this whole situation and to be honest, he does believe it, Jungkook had always been a loose cannon.
“He wants me as I am. He loves me just like this. I thought … I thought I’d never hear an honest I love you.”
It’s not honest, Taehyung wants to scream it. He’s tricking you, he only loves the power you give him and even that is not enough anymore, he wants it all.
“Have you told him …?” Tae manages, voice broken and hoarse.
“He’ll find out eventually. I don’t wanna … I don’t wanna be the one to tell him.”
“What are you afraid of?”
“I’m not afraid, I just … He’ll go mad, I know he will.”
“You don’t want to hurt him.”
“I’m not like him. He killed my mother in cold blood. I’m not that cruel. I won’t hurt him on purpose.”
“But you’re gonna rip his heart out when you marry Jungkook.”
“He doesn’t have a heart, Tae.”
Jungkook returns and luckily busies himself with helping Taehyung drink and doesn't notice the unshed tears in Seokjin’s eyes. But Taehyung does, he sees them and he sees the uncertainty behind them, he hears the fear in his broken voice. This is a mistake, this is just desperation.
“Are you ok, hyungie?”
“I’m fine, Kook. I just gotta get dressed, have some errands to run ...”
“Oh no, no, none of that.”
Jungkook quickly makes his way to the other side of the bed, pinning Seokjin down with his ever stronger arms and shutting him up with kisses. It’s poison, he’s dripping poison. Taehyung shivers.
“You stay home, relax, enjoy the day and if you really wanna do something you can start planning our reception. I’ll take care of business.”
“But I gotta check on the main branches, we’ve been getting way more money than usual, something’s up ...”
“Nothing’s up, silly. I’ve just implemented a few new ideas and they’re working.”
“Ideas? What ideas, Jungkook?”
“Stop worrying so much, Jinnie. I’ve got it all under control. You can lean on me, yeah? Trust me, everything’s more than ok.”
Jungkook looks at him with his big eyes and wide smile and Seokjin sighs, sagging against the pillows in defeat. The venom’s working.
“There’s my princess!” the younger giggles.
“Don’t call me that!”
“Ok, ok, grumpy.”
“I mean it. Don’t ever call me that.”
Jungkook kisses him, placates him with his skilled tongue and soft lips, holding onto his hands, caressing his knuckles, touching the ring like a trophy.
“I won’t, promise. I’ll do whatever you want.”
“Thank you. I didn’t mean to raise my voice ...”
“It’s alright. I’ll go get dressed. I’ll call you later, ok?”
“I love you.”
The way Seokjin looks up at him, eyes full of hope, bottom lip trembling slightly, the way Jungkook smiles, blindingly, leans down, kisses him breathless one last time.
“I love you too.”
Taehyung’s never felt more sober.
Jimin opens his eyes and he is confused for a few moments. The light that filters in from outside is not terribly bright and he realizes it’s because of the dirty, raggedy drapes that stand in its way. Right, he wasn’t in the penthouse anymore, hasn’t been there in a short while now. He has no reason to wake up, no breakfast and morning routine to see to, no obligations. He can just be lazy in bed. He hears a faint snore from his side and it’s coming from under the cover from which only a tuft of raven hair peaks out. Yoongi must be so tired after last night … Jimin shifts, turns towards him and feels his ass and thighs burning. He can only imagine how bruised he must be. He had needed that, needed to feel alive for once, feel like he was made of flesh and blood and not porcelain. Yoongi had claimed him like a wild thing but he didn’t treat him delicately, didn’t go slow and gentle. Jimin was so grateful for that. He nuzzles closer, kisses the top of his lover’s head and carefully pushes the covers off to reveal the sweet, sleeping face. He watches him for a while, caresses the soft slopes of his cheeks and nose and lips, tries his best to memorize his features. His entire life he’s only ever slept with Taehyung and Namjoon and both of them used to wake up before him. This was a nice change of pace. Soon Yoongi huffs and yawns and eventually opens his cat-like eyes. He smiles, gummy and beautiful and Jimin blushes to the tips of his ears.
Jimin’s vision starts swimming and before he can do anything about it the tears start falling. Yoongi immediately embraces him, holds him tight, shushes him.
“Nothing … I’m just so happy ...”
“Yeah … I’m alive, Yoonie, I can feel stuff … like I … my ass hurts and my neck and thighs and I’m hungry and I need to take a piss and … fuck, I can cuss now too… shit ...” Jimin babbles and Yoongi can’t help his giggles.
“You can cuss all you want, baby. And eat whatever you want and however much you want and get up when you please and do whatever.”
“I wanna eat seven slices of toast with jam.”
“I’ll make you eight just in case.”
“Wanna have ‘em in bed.”
“I’ll bring them to you.”
“Wanna stay naked and work from bed.”
“I’ll get you the laptop’s extra battery.”
“I wanna shoot some more.”
“I’ll find you some more cans and bottles.”
“I wanna get fucked again, want you to take me from behind on the floor ...”
“I’ll take you however way you want me to, wherever you want me to, baby, I’ll even fuck you outside in the field and have you crawl back inside with cum dripping out of your used hole ...”
It takes them another hour to finally get out of bed, at which point Jimin had to hold on to furniture to get from point a to point b. He had overestimated his stamina but damn, it felt so good to be wanted like this, to be treated as an equal.
Jimin takes a cold shower in an attempt to reduce the swelling around his bruised and bitten areas and then lathers himself with some herbal cream he finds in the small bathroom. It should be good enough, he’ll live, he has so many reasons to now. He checks himself out in the mirror, looks at this young man with his short and fairy like physique, messy hair with roots showing, splotches of purple and red all over and smiles. He likes this Jimin, this Jimin looks like he’s having fun, like he’s working hard, like he doesn’t let days pass him by.
He wolfs down the toast Yoongi brings him, all eight slices and licks his fingers and burps, making his lover jokingly protest before he finally settles against the lumpy pillows, laptop on top of a blanket on his lap. Yoongi shows up soon after, two mugs of coffee in his hands and settles next to him, handing him the one that had enough milk and sugar to taste like syrup.
“Your sis is not online.” Jimin informs him.
“She wakes up late usually, unless she has to be somewhere.”
“I can’t wait to meet her. Do you think she’ll like me?”
“She’ll love you. I’m not sure how she’ll feel about me ...” Yoongi worries his lip, staring at his black drink when Jimin kisses him until the frown goes away.
“She’ll understand. I’m sure. C’mon, enough with the pity party. Let’s check the news. See what’s up in the world.”
It takes 2 seconds for the news website to load, another 3 seconds for them to read the front page title and exactly one second for both of them to jump out of bed.
“Monster Plaza in flames. Firefighters confirm arson.” The pictures that follow the words in bold are grainy but still clear enough to show Namjoon’s unmistakable figure as he throws canisters of petrol at his own casino.
“What the fuck triggered him so badly?” Jimin asks as he struggles to put on a pair of jeans.
“Fuck knows but he’s clearly lost it, we gotta get as far away from Seoul as possible.” Yoongi replies while tossing whatever is near him in their travel bags.
“It’s 11 o’clock, if we hurry we can sneak on the midday train while they change the tracks.”
“I’ll load our guns just in case, you write to Yoonji, let her know we had to skip town and we won't be in contact for a few days.”
Yoongi hardly had time to put the bullet clip in the magazine when a thunderous round of knocks made their rickety door quake. They both freeze. Another round of knocking almost brings down the door. Yoongi eyes Jimin and silently hands him the gun, signals for him to take cover as he grips the handle.
“Who is it?” he shouts.
“You know damn well, who it is, Yoons. Open up!”
He thought he’s never seen Namjoon more roughed up than when he tried to kill him and Jimin and yet this time he looked far worse. His clothes were in tethers and his split lip and bruises attested to the fights he must’ve gotten into before arriving here. He reeked of smoke and gunpowder and alcohol and the roots of his grey hair were now white. Yoongi didn’t budge from the doorway.
“Four fucking years by my side, you thought I wouldn’t know where your hideout is? Please...”
Namjoon sways and catches himself before falling, leaning on the side of the door.
“What do you want, Namjoon?”
“He’s … he’s getting married ...”
Yoongi’s brows turn downwards into a frown at first, unsure of what he heard then the moment he realizes they shoot up into his hairline. No way. No way that was possible. He hesitates, looks over his shoulder at Jimin who was holding the gun with both hands in the correct position, ready to shoot at any moment. The blond nods and raises his gun. Yoongi turns to his former boss.
“Get your ass inside.”
Namjoon huffs and smiles, whispering thanks. He follows Yoongi, sways a little more, holds on to furniture and eventually collapses on a chair in the tiny kitchenette, long legs splayed out, heavy head resting in his hand. He hears the safety of a gun being pulled.
“Hey, Jimin.” Namjoon salutes before even looking at the younger.
“I won’t hesitate this time.” Jimin warns him.
“I’m counting on it.”
“Did you come here just to have a pity party?” Yoongi intervenes, putting himself between the two. “What do you mean Jin’s getting married?”
“ He … I’ve just heard about it this morning … from someone I trust. He’s marrying some kid that joined the clan like last year or something, a fucking opportunistic teenager ...”
“And you thought burning down the casino was a good reaction?”
“The penthouse too … Had a rough morning.” Namjoon smiles, dimples showing. Jimin looks away.
Yoongi just huffs, incredulous, then smiles as well, cusses, pulls out a cold bottle of water from the mini fridge and hands it to Namjoon who gratefully gulps it down. Jimin inches closer, carefully stepping around his former lover to cling to Yoongi’s back, nuzzling him but his grip on the weapon not weakening for a second.
“You look cute together.” Namjoon comments.
“Fuck off.” his ex-lieutenant laughs.
“I mean it. I’m sorry for … before.”
“Trying to kill us?”
“Yeah, that. I react badly to betrayal.”
“For the last fucking time, we didn’t ...”
“It doesn’t matter, Yoons, it’s ok. Even if you did, it’s alright.”
“Oh, is it? So you’re not here to end us?”
“No, don’t worry. I just … I need some advice. And you are my best friend.”
Yoongi says nothing at that, just looks deeply into Namjoon’s eyes for a few moments, trying to read anything other than sincerity. When he can’t find anything to make him doubt he turns to Jimin, asking him wordlessly what to do. The blond sighs, deeply, exhausted. He kisses Yoongi’s nose and puts the safety back on the gun, before tucking it in his jeans’ waistband.
“You really need to learn how to treat your friends better.” Jimin tells the mobster before he moves to make them some tea.
Yoonji wakes up at 12 after sleeping through five alarms. She considers this a new record and can’t even bring herself to be mad about it. Rubbing her eyes, before she even gets up to go to the bathroom, she lifts the lid of the laptop and blinks until she can clearly see the screen. Jimin had sent her something not too long ago. She tries willing her mind to work and her bladder to wait as she looks at the folder full of images. They’re from a party, candids of all sorts, people in suits having a good time. She doesn’t understand.
Suddenly her phone starts dinging as text messages are coming through. Yoonji groans and focuses on the smaller yet somehow brighter screen. Messages from her team. Former team? Still her team? They’re wondering about her wellbeing, if she’s coming to the station today, if they should drop by with some food. Yoonji thinks that they’re really nice girls, tough as nails all three of them but still kind and patient with her. She half-asses a reply, bullshits that she’s got the stomach flu but she’ll be in tomorrow.
Before turning her phone on airplane mode she notices another notification from her newsletter. Something about a fire … at the Monster Plaza, she reads, Kim Namjoon, the very private multimillionaire businessman was seen setting his own establishment on fire before fleeing from the police. Oh, Yoonji thinks, he did find out. Bummer. Then something clicks. The photos of the casino from the news article and the photos she had in her folder …
The décor was different, different furniture and lights but everything else was the same. These photos were taken at a party inside the Monster Plaza. Then who are those people?
She shouldn’t, she knows this, but she uses her credentials and password to access the police’s resources and sure enough there they were. Wanted criminals of all sorts, many considered dead or gone, having left the country, some never even had their real names on the record, ghosts. Yet they were all there, having a blast at Namjoon’s place.
Yoonji then has another aha moment when she recognizes a few other faces but these were not gangsters, these were higher-ups in the justice system, politicians, news outlet owners. A bit of googling yielded the identities of the remaining ones, doctors and businessmen.
Namjoon was in none of the pictures, Yoonji notes, but she understands what she is looking at now. Of course the head of the lower Kim clan wasn’t in the shots, he had them taken. This was entrapment, this was blackmail material.
“Sons of bitches ...” she mutters to herself before stretching and heading towards the bathroom. She had to take a long shower, wash her hair, iron her best power suit, load her gun. She had a lot to do.
Hoseok feels slightly out of place when he’s escorted by a butler wearing a suit with tails through the long hallways above which sparkly chandeliers hung heavily. He flinched when a grandfather clock rung twelve times and he was frankly relieved when the man finally told him to “Please wait here, Sir. The master will arrive momentarily.”
The room he is in is very spacious and sunny, no curtains in the way of the floor to ceiling windows and the tasteful, white, minimalist furniture contrasted so much with the ever present huge chandeliers and the various crystal and diamond decorations. He felt like he was going to meet Batman or something.
As he waited, he stared outside at the beautiful landscape, this villa being sat atop a hill made for a great view.
He didn’t hear the owner of the place come in until he was already close to him. Hoseok jumps, startled.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” the man says. He’s wearing a ridiculously long red silk robe with golden flower patterns on it and … that’s it. That’s all he is wearing. Did he just wake up? A cat comes up from behind him, purring and rubbing itself against his bare calves and the man picks it up, cradles it and nuzzles it.
“Kwon Jiyong?” Hoseok asks to be sure.
“Yep.” the man replies, face smushed in the cat’s fur.
“The Dragon?” Hoseok asks again.
“That’s me. And you’re Jung Hosuck.”
“Right. How can I help you?” the mobster turns, making his robe billow behind him before he seats himself on a soft armchair and gestures for Hoseok to do the same opposite him.
“I’m not gonna beat around the bush with you, I’m a cop.”
“I know. Dr. Kibum told me. You’re on some suicide mission against the Kim clans.”
“I wouldn’t call it suicidal ...”
“Namjoon alone has 20 professional assassins in his service that I know of. Seokjin has none because he doesn’t need someone to do something he’s perfectly capable of on his own.”
“Well, when you put it like that ...”
“I don’t want things to get messy.” Jiyong says, scratching behind his cat’s ear. “My family has suffered enough at the hands of the Kims ever since old Kangmin was running the show. Yes, we are criminals but even we should have limits. Kims have no limits.”
“They’ve pretty much massacred the Kwon dynasty.” Hoseok states, point blank. Jiyong kisses the top of the cat’s head.
“I’m the only one left. My family used to rule Seoul and from there half of Asia. We got chased out by Kim and his dog from Ilsan. Now I’m just trying to mind my own business, pull all my men out from the capital eventually and perhaps move it all to Japan.”
“Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?”
Jiyong looks at him from behind his pet’s head, eyes just as feline. His comment touched a nerve.
“Choose your next words carefully, Mr. Jung.”
“I want to help you regain control of Seoul.”
Jiyong smiles and leans back in his chair while the cat turns in his lap a few times before settling.
“If you want to work for me I can easily arrange that, I can always use more cops on my side. There’s no need for such dramatic declarations.”
“I’m serious.” Hoseok tells him, leans in, resting his elbows on his knees. “I want the Kims gone and I’ve realized this past year that it’s impossible to get rid of them by legal means. So I’m choosing to replace one evil with another.”
“A more manageable one, perhaps? You think the Kwon clan is easier to handle than the Kims.”
“All due respect, but you only deal drugs and prostitutes and the occasional theft. Kims, on the other hand, are trading guns internationally, trafficking people, performing illegal organ transplants and the list goes on. I’d rather let you cover Seoul in cocaine like it was snow than have to deal with the aftermath of their destruction.”
The cat yawns and begins purring and Jiyong coos at her, petting her back.
“You think I haven’t fought the Kims so far? They’re much stronger than me.”
“You’ve fought them on the streets. I have a different idea.”
“Can you get me to Kim Kangmin?”
“Sure. But what good can talking to the fossil do?”
“He’s the only one that can tell Seokjin the truth about what happened to his mother and Namjoon’s parents.”
“If the Kims will have each other again then they won’t need anything else.”