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Upheaval

Chapter Text

Dohyon knocked, leaning in the door frame, giving Seungwoo a minute to look up before he stepped into his boss’ office. One hand holding a coffee mug, the other a stuffed file.

“Captain?”

“Sergeant.” He smiled tiredly. “You got anything for me?” Since they transferred the case to his department they were all working overtime. Just as today - the third time this week. He, as their captain, always stayed until they were all leaving. It was his way of showing solidarity.

“I checked the numbers as you wanted me to.” Dohyon said and handed him a stack of papers.

Seungwoo took them, loosened his tie and eyed the charts of numbers. “What exactly am I looking at here?”

“Your proof.” His employee stood behind a chair, arms crossed.

“For what? Dohyon, it’s super late.” He exhaled. “Can you just tell me? It better be good news otherwise we’ll stay here today even longer.”

The younger walked around the chair and sat down at its edge, leaning forward. “I was working the numbers Seungyoun gave us. You know like prices, distributions and everything. At first sight there was nothing suspicious about it. The prices weren’t very stable. Simple ups and downs just like you would expect it.”

“So where is the proof?”

“It took me while to find out and I had to visualize it first. There is curve in there somewhere. If you have a look at it you’ll see it.”

“Jesus, Dohyon I know you’re enjoying being incredibly smart but just tell me.”

Dohyon waved at the file. “Look at it. Go go.”

Even though Seungwoo was his boss and even the leader of their task force he never got mad if Dohyon talked to him like that. He was the youngest of them all. Fresh recruited from the academy and a real wunderkind. There was basically nothing he couldn’t find as long as it had something to do with numbers. A textbook nerd.

Meanwhile Seungwoo had found the curve Dohyon was talking about and as soon as he looked at it, his eyes widened.

“I assume now you see it?”

“It’s the same. The prices are the same!” Seungwoo’s eyes lit up and all the sleepiness was suddenly gone. Adrenaline was such an amazing thing.

Dohyon chuckled cheekily. “Exactly. The prices rose and dropped intervallically. It’s not particularly a pattern but if you apply it to a map there is always one area with low money.”
Seungwoo stood up, unable to take his eyes off the paper. “So I was right. It’s a ring.”

“I think so. Well, maybe the word ‘proof’ is the wrong term here but let’s just say it prompts you’re on the right trail.”

“That’s not just really awesome.” Seungwoo said, dropping the papers and grabbing his phone. “It’s also a reason to go home. We’ll work on this tomorrow. Let’s just get a fresh head, shower and then we’ll discuss it first thing tomorrow.”

He walked past Dohyon, who now also got up and followed his boss with his eyes.

“Is it just me or…” He spoke up before Seungwoo had a chance to walk out of his office. “did you hear anything from Seungyoun lately?”

“Hm? Nothing since the last update but that’s not unusual.”

“I know but don’t you think it really has been a while?”

The tall man turned around, one hand on the doorknob. “What are you implying?”

“I’m implying nothing, I’m just worried.”

Seungwoo smiled warmly at this young man. “Listen, I know this is new to you but it’s completely normal if you don’t hear from an undercover agent everyday. Maybe he’s caught up into something or just busy. Maybe he’s in a situation where he can’t make contact. It doesn’t mean something happened.” He walked over and put his hand on Dohyon’s shoulder. “Go home, get some sleep, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Sir, I really think we should-”

“Sergeant, I see that you’re worried about our agent. I hear you. But let me reassure you that Cho Seungyoun might be the only one out of our team who was literally made for this job. He did the undercover training, he was preparing for it long enough. He knows exactly what he’s doing. And quite frankly” He chuckled. “if he wasn’t part of this task force and serving the country just like you and me, he would probably work for the other side right this moment. So please, don’t worry. Just go to bed.”

+++

“Suck it up! People already died tonight and I don’t need you on that list as well!” The man hisked and tried not to let the other slip away while dragging him down the nightly street. His steps echoed between the houses and teared the quiet apart.

The other was barely able to hold on to him and nowhere near walking himself. He pressed something that looked like a soaked hoodie heavily against his core and panted. Sweat ran down his temples and dripped down from his chin.

Yohan had his arm wrapped around his shoulders and hurried, now that Seungyoun wasn’t answering anymore. “Nevermind.” He said. “Just hang in a bit longer, we’re almost there.”

They turned around a corner and as they entered the shady alley, he could finally see the tiny neon sign at the end of it.

tea/coffee 24h

Through the store window Yohan checked if there were any people inside. Except the man behind the counter there was none.
He told him a thousand times that a 24h Café in this district was first class bull but Kookheon never listened to him. They never had that much customers. Not even at day time. Good for him the main source of income was neither his cakes nor the americanos.

The man in his arms coughed and something splattered on the cobblestone pavement. “Yikes.” It slipped out of his mouth.

There was no time going in the back, so he just kicked open the door with his foot and entered the shop.

“No questions, patch him up first!” Yohan demanded while he let down Seungyoun carefully on the floor.

Kookheon, who now warped around the counter rolled up the sleeves of his grey sweater. He turned Seungyoun on his back and felt for his pulse, eyes on his watch.

“Jesus, Yohan! Don’t you just stand there! Lock the door, close the shutters and help me get him off the floor. He’s bleeding on my parquet!”

Yohan took a deep breath after which he did as he was told. He let down the shutters and turned the sign at the door to ‘closed’.

In the meanwhile someone came out the back into the room, yawning and stretching.

“Hey, what’s going on he- Oh! Work.” The guy put on his thin framed glasses and stroked back his hair before he closer look at Seungyoun who was still on the floor.
He pulled away the fabric that was supposed to stop the bleeding but didn’t really do the job. His shirt stuck to his core and more blood was oozing out with every breath he took.

“That’s nothing we can’t fix. It’s what?” He counted. “1, 2 … 3 shot wounds. Entry only I suppose. Nasty but doable.”

Kookheon looked at Hangyul, who stood up and looked at Yohan. The guy leaned against the counter, nervously chewing on his nails.

“What’s his name?” He wanted to know and Yohan replied surprisingly snippy.

“Woodz.”

“His name, Yohan.” Hangyul requested now more urgently. “Not some childish synonym you made up for your gang games.” It was an unspoken rule that he wouldn’t treat anyone whose name he didn’t know. That was just one of many actions to keep the cafe out of people's mouths. Even in their community buzz marketing wasn’t always welcome.

“You don’t have him in your register! Use mine! Money is not a problem, just fix him!” He yelled, unable to take his eyes off Seungyoun.

“I. Need. A name.” Hangyul crossed his arms and stared at the customer, his look deadly serious. It was a risky procedure. Only working on someone if he knew who it was. But usually the people who came here had no other choice so they always told him.

But right now he wasn’t sure. It seemed as if Yohan would fight an inner discord concerning the guy that still ruined their floor.

“Is there something wrong?” Hangyul turned his head a little and frowned. What was wrong with him.

Yohan snapped out of it. “Cho Seungyoun. Now go!”

Hangyul clapped his hands and turned around. “Move, chop chop! Let’s get him inside. Dude that’s nasty, look at the floor.” He added as the picked him up.
“That’s why we’re telling them to use the backdoor.” Kookheon shook his head.

Yohan followed them into the back of the cafe. Hangyul and the other dropped Seungyoun on a hospital bed in a small room. Besides the fact Yohan was a loyal customer for a couple of years now, he had never seen the premises behind the counter. Neither wounded nor healthy. Now that he suddenly was he wondered about where these two were getting all the medical stuff from. Besides the bed the room contained a whole surgery set up. Anaesthesia equipment, trays with blades and clamps, one of these huge adjustable lamps, …

“You prep him, I’ll go scrub. Can you put him down?” Hangyul asked, while they got Seungyoun out of his clothes.

Their attitudes had changed as soon as they had left the service room. Now they were focused, highly concentrated and drilled on keeping their patient alive. Kookheon nodded and told Hangyul to go scrub, letting him know he got everything under control.

Yohan was still standing in the doorway staring at the scenario in front of him. As Hangyul walked past him he commanded to follow him and Yohan did.

They walked straight into the staff’s restroom which turned out to be so much more, than just a regular restroom. They had a shower, two lockers, a dispenser for disposable scrubs and cloves. A big metal sink with petals to use the tap.

Hangyul rushed into the room, taking off his jacket on the way and tossing it aside. He grabbed a scrubber and disinfection and got started. While he was washing off every potential germ from his fingertips up to his elbows, he looked at Yohan’s reflection in the mirror above the sink.

“So you got into trouble?” He smirked.

Yohan who once again just stood in the doorframe scoffed. “They were asking for it.”

“Who was it this time?”

He was looking for a term that would describe it well enough and leave no room for additional and annoying questions.

“NCT.”

Hangyul couldn’t help but laugh. “You know they’re like … a lot of people? I’m not sure if anyone even knows the exact number. Not even Taeyong.”

“I don’t know how many they were before but now it’s 8 people less than yesterday.”

The shady surgeon blew air through his teeth. The whistle chimed over the running water. “That’s … a lot. What was it about?”

“None of your business.”

He was right. Hangyul turned around, his hands pointing upwards since he was done scrubbing now. He walked over to the dispenser, looking at it and then at Yohan. “Do you mind?”

Yohan scoffed once more, before he took out one of them and helped Hangyul putting it on.

“Gloves as well and I need you to hold that door for me.”

Chapter Text

Yuvin jogged past the patrolmen and dived under the crime scene tape. Showing some other sergeants his badge he made his way towards his colleagues. He arrived next to Dohyon, panting but trying not to show it.

“I don’t get it.” Dohyon said. “You are a sergeant of a special task force yet you’re out of breath if you jog like 500 meters?”

Yuvin scoffed. “I’m a sergeant of a special task force that is particularly short on breath. I came here straight from home. What happened? You only texted me 911.”

Seungwoo who just approached and walked past them said: “It is a 911.”

Both of his employees turned their heads following him with their eyes. “It is?”

“There are dead people, of course it’s an emergency.” He stepped off the sidewalk and climbed down the embankment, Yuvin and Dohyon following.

It was a cloudy afternoon, slightly windy. Somehow the perfect fitting setting keeping in mind they were about to visit a crime scene.

Dohyon’s expression suddenly darkened as they walked beneath the motorway bridge. 5 bodies laying on the dusty ground, 3 others already zipped up in body bags. The paramedics were checking every single one of them for vitals but apparently none of them made it.

The walls and pillars carrying the bridge were covered in street art and simple smudged graffiti, alongside with bullet holes and something that was most likely blood.

Neither Yuvin nor Dohyon dared to say a word. It was their first crime scene with actual victims. One of them joined up the task force immediately after graduating from the academy and the other got upgraded from his rank as a patrolman and was basically shoved into the first free position.
They both noticed pretty fast, that the ‘special’ in ‘special task force’ was more or less an ornament rather than a requirement.

“I told you we haven’t heard from him for too long.” Dohyon whispered turned towards Yuvin.

“Shut up, it’s not him! they would have told us.”

“That’s true. It would be the first thing they would tell us. Not just because he is a colleague but because they are human beings. Now let’s find out who we got here.” Seungwoo said, informing the two of them that they would do good about shutting up and getting to work.

Even though he was pretty sure that this would be the case, he was instantly hoping that he was right. Somehow his own words didn’t really convinced him. But they weren’t for him anyways, it was just a way to calm the two newbies down. No point in making them freak out yet.

“Do we know any of them?” Seungwoo stepped near the bodies, leaning over them to see who they were.

Yuvin showed up right next to him. “Actually, yes.” He flipped pages on a clipboard he just got handed from another officer. “It’s 8 of ‘em.”

Seungwoo rolled his eyes. “8 of whom, Yuvin? I’m not telepathic.”

“Of NCT, sir.”

“Jesus. I was hoping it’s not about them again.” He crouched down next to one of the corpses shoved up the guy’s sleeve checking for a tattoo. “How many of them are left after this?”

“Ehm…” Yuvin hesitated. “No one really knows how many they are in total so it’s quite impossible to predict that.”

“Great!” The captain got up again, straightening his coat. “What’s with all the blood and the bullets?”

Yuvin turned some more pages. “Samples of the blood are on their way to the lab. They are giving them priority and also do cross checking with Seungyoun’s samples. We should have the results by tomorrow. Same with the bullets. It’s a common caliber, no serial numbers. Nothing significant. The team is on it finding out what gun they belong to. They’re also going to tell us as soon as they know anything further.”

“Dohyon!” Seungwoo turned around shouting for his sergeant.

“Yes, sir?”

“Do me a favor and tell the officers to check for eye witnesses. Homeless people, street kids, neighbors, … anything you can find. I noticed a gas station nearby, maybe some of the truckers or employees saw something.”

“Of course.”

“The two of you go and visit our friend. Tell him we got 8 of his … men.”

“But still can’t prove the connection between NCT and Esteem!” Yuvin exclaimed, holding on to the clipboard. Just as if would support him while speaking up to the captain.

“I know. But that’s not a reason for not telling him. My intuition never let me down. Maybe he’ll blab something out. I’ll check in on you tonight, I have an appointment for now.”

+++

First thing he noticed was the ticking of the clock. For some odd reason it was off-beat. The first tic was on time but the second was alway a little bit late. Now that he slowly regained consciousness he began to remember what happened to him but he didn’t manage to recall it completely.

He was reminiscent of Yohan, the motorway bridge, Midam joking about how the grip of his gun didn’t match his shoes. They were waiting for something but he couldn’t find the missing pieces in his whisked mind.

As he opened his eyes he wondered. Who was this guy sleeping in the chair next him and where was he?
Seungyoun tried to sit up but as soon as he moved the pain kicked in and sweat appeared all over his body.

Quickly realizing that he must be in some kind of medical care, he decided there wouldn’t be any danger around. And just for now he leaned back again eyeing the sleeping man.

He sat in the armchair, curled up in a blanket and with his glasses resting on his hair. His fingers wrapped around the rim of a book and a clipboard on his knees, he couldn’t be sleeping that deeply. His breath was regular and slow but Seungyoun assumed if he’d cough or anything - the man would wake up immediately.

So he decided to let him sleep a little bit longer.

It was nearly 7am. How long was he gone? It must have been more than five hours for sure.
After a few minutes Seungyoun finally had the courage to care about his injuries. He lifted up the blanket and looked down himself, finding him only wearing his own boxershorts. Most part of his core was covered in bandages.

He reached down with his left hand take a peek under them but the second his fingers got hold of the fabric he hesitated.

„You’re doing good about not touching it. Otherwise I would have to stitch you up again and I would like to avoid that.“ The guy in the armchair stretched and yawned. He must have woken up just now. Or did he just act like sleeping?

“Who are you?” Seungyoun asked suspiciously eyeing his opposite.

“Hangyul.” He stated simply and put the book aside the book.

By the sound of that name something in his memory sparked up. Weren't there these rumors about a guy who took care of people? Someone you could turn if you’re in trouble and can’t go anywhere else? Maybe he got it wrong. Some people said it’s a place you can come to regardless on what was going on but now he figured it might be for medical issues only. Which would make much more sense.

“You’re this doctor, right?” He asked, done thinking and jumping to conclusions.

“Oh.” Hangyul chuckled. “So you’ve heard of me?”

“Yeah. Isn’t that the point of your entire business? That people hear about you?”

He smiled quietly. “Mostly.”

Seungyoun looked around one more time, now that he gathered a few information.
“How did I get here?”

“Yohan brought you in last night. Through the front door. Kookheon was pretty mad about it since you bleed on the floor in the customer area. The part of this company that’s actually a cafe for normal people.” Hangyul said while checking something in his chart.

“I’m … sorry about it?”

“It’s fine.” He sighed. “We have a carpet we put out for those occasions. Though i think he whooped Yohan for disregarding the rules.”

“Rules?”

“Yeah, the house rules. We have a few of them otherwise this business model wouldn’t work.”

Seungyoun, now curious about those laws couldn't help but ask. “For example?”

Hangyul now put down the chart as well and sat up straight. He gave Seungyoun his whole attention. “First of all I need to know my patients real name. If I don't, I don’t operate.”

“So, I assume Yohan told you my name?”

“Yes, Seungyoun. I really doubt you’d be alive by now if he didn’t.”

“What happens if someone comes here and is too injured to talk? How do you want to find out the name?”

Hangyul crosses legs. “Different ways. Most likely they are already customers of ours. We have a file of all of them including picture and name. Also their position and what they're doing.”

“Of what they’re doing?” What did this guy know about Yohan?

“Yes. Call it fastidious but I like to know the people that are coming through the backdoor. This place is neutral. We don’t want to get involved in gang fights or other shady shit. I’m a surgeon and i heal people. Even criminals. Guys that can’t go anywhere else. They pay a membership fee and I don’t tell anyone they were here. No patient gets to check out the other rooms. They stay overnight and then they leave. That’s it.”

He frowned. “But I’m not a member.”

“Yohan is. He told me everything I needed to know to keep you alive. And that’s that.”

Seungwoo hesitated. “I’m somehow not feeling well knowing you know my name.”

Hangyul chuckled deeply, shook his head once and picked up the chart again flipping some pages. “Chill, I know more intimate things of you than your name.”

Seungyoun blushed helplessly. “Like what?”

“Like, does Yohan know where you put his gang tattoo?” Not making any eye contact he raised a brow and smirked.

His patient blushed even harder, unsure what to say. “Not particularly where but he knows I got it.”

“Alright.” Chuckling once again and still looking at the chart. “I didn’t expect it to be that far south.”

Seungyoun grabbed the blanket and covered the rest of his chest that was visible just until now. “Why were you even looking there??”

“Dude, you got shot in the abdomen three times, what was I supposed to do?”

“Look somewhere else??” His voice was higher than intended which was obviously amusing his surgeon.

“Next time if you get shot, just duck.”

+++

“Sorry I’m late.” Seungwoo rushed through the cafe to their usual table. Yohan was already waiting for him, taking a bite of his chocolate cake.

He waved at the late arrival, munching peacefully. On the chair next to him hung his suit jacket, his briefcase rested on the seat, a stack of files on the table. He had his sleeves rolled up and his tie loosened a bit, the first button of his grey shirt open.

Seungwoo sat down and indicated the waiter that he’d go for the usual order. The two of them met here regularly so they were more than regulars by now. The first few times they came here they got two of those cards to collect seals on. For the 10th seal they would get a free drink. By now they didn’t use those anymore. The owner already knew their names and they got a free coffee from time to time.

That was how often they went there.

“You know, you’re an actual lawyer but you have chocolate cake for lunch.” Seungwoo sighed as he put down bag and dropped his badge on the table top.

“So what?” Yohan asked, taking another bite. “You’re a police captain and you drink a caramel macchiato. But what’s new?”

“Some things just don’t change I assume. Thanks.” His order arrived and he smiled at the waiter politely.

The lawyer snorted. “It’s one of the perks being a grown up. You can have for lunch whatever you want.”

“Though I still don’t see you as a grown up. You’re still the school intern for me.”

“That were some wild times.”

“The only wild thing was the horrible coffee you made. Basically a violation of proper taste.”

Yohan shrugged. “You drank it anyways.”

“Of course I did. Everyone did. Because we knew it wouldn’t get any better and that you were gone in two weeks.”

Seungwoo gazed out of the window. They always took the table by the window if possible. He enjoyed having an overview on what was going on and since the cafe was located on the second floor it offered a nice view over the busy intersection beneath them.

“How’s your case?” Yohan asked after a while, putting down his fork. “Any major progress?”

“Not really. Everything is going real slow at the moment. Though there was this shooting and this might help us getting anywhere with the investigation but I don’t really see that.”

“You’re working on this gang shooting?”

Seungwoo looked up. “Is it already on the media? Jeez those people don’t sleep on anything, don’t they.”

The street light turned green and a bunch of people crossed the road. Seungwoo took a taste of his hot coffee.

“You look tired.” Yohan noticed softly and tilted his head.

“I rather look tired than horrible, did you get any sleep last night?” He countered and Yohan laughed it off.

“Working on a case. It’s pretty tricky so it’s keeping me up since a few nights now.”

“I’m telling you, you work to much.”

“Dito.”

Chapter Text

office

Suhwan nervously tapped his fingers on the armrest. This got him nervous every time. Though some people might say it was less stressful than inspecting dead bodies under a motorway bridge, this was what really stressed him out about. Back in the academy he graduated as one of the best in his class. He scored highly in basically all of the subjects and people also told him that they were envying him. Which must have taken them a lot of courage.
People that always overlooked what it took him to do that well at the academy. People who had it all besides the best grades.

Those people had stable social lifes, a girlfriend maybe. Things Suhwan envied them for. He secretly would have traded it all for being just ten centimeters taller for example. Or just a little bit more confidence. He knew he was doing exceptionally well in a lot of things his job required but that last missing piece …

However he was glad having Yuvin by his side. As a partner on the job and especially in this situation. They were about to meet the head and chairman of Esteem. A multi million dollar company, obviously involved in several shady business models. Obviously used as a term by their captain, even though they couldn't prove one of those connections yet.

The man they were about to meet was Park Yuri. A person of intellect, obvious corruption and incredibly handsome. Tall, confident, good looking and wealthy he was basically everything Suhwan was wishing to be.

Not necessary to mention how small and meaningless Suhwan felt next to him. Is job however required him to be tough and intimidate his opposite. Be superior in order to get all the answers he needed.
But in this case it would be really different if he wouldn’t be working with Yuvin. His height and his fierce way of tackling problems, questioning people and his burning passion made things easier for Suhwan. This way he could focus more on his intellectual strengths, than comparing himself to Park Yuri physically. That he would let do Yuvin.

A literally gorgeous lady opened the glass door of the foyer and and entered the waiting area. Even though they were working for the police they usually waited for people instead of rushing into their offices if it wasn’t actually urgent. It was their way of showing respect. After all they wanted information and not scare him.

“Mr Park has about 20 minutes in between meetings and he agreed on talking to you.” The secretary said, as she approached the two detectives. She flipped a few pages on her clipboard to double check and then laid her eyes on Yuvin. Which happened a lot. Most of the times people were adressign Yuvin rather than Suhwan which he blamed on his short height but after all he didn’t mind. His strength definitely showed in the field of observation so h rather welcomed it if people paid him too much attention.

Yuvin, who leaned next to the coffee machine, scrolling on his phone, scoffed and nodded. “It’s not as if we’re the police and he actually has to talk to us sooner or later.”

Suhwan got up and smiled politely at the lady while talking to his partner. “Though I appreciate he’s willing to talk to us now instead of making us wait longer or eventually even come back another time with a warrant. Thanks a lot.”

He walked past the employee and made his way through the glass door. Yuvin followed him closely, letting his phone slide back into his pocket.

“What are we gonna tell him?” He asked catching up.

“Very simple: We’re telling him that we found dead people and ask him if he’s missing some of his. Or rather if he knows them. How you phrase it is really up to you.”

Nodding, Yuvin pushed open the door to the office and entered the spacious room. The first thing he noticed walking through the door was the view which he totally forgot about. Both of them have been here before and just the office was topic in their conversation the following week. So how come he forgot about the view?

One of the office walls was completely occupied by a panorama window which offered and amazing overlook at the city, skyline and the river. If the weather was better the light must reflect beautifully on its surface. Not even speaking of the sunset

Besides the mesmerising view the office offered a leather living room suit. Black suede, just like the sofa in the waiting area. A wall covered in shelfs containing magazines and something that looked like a record collection.

Now that he looked at the interior more closely he might think of Yuri in a different way. Imagine him differently. Keeping in mind he was a CEO and managing an insanely successful company he would probably assume he would wear suits and all that. But in fact he wasn’t.

Turning around, Yuvin and Suhwan found him leaning against his desk, arms crossed and smiling. He wore a well fitting white t-shirt, black plaid slacks and converse. He looked more like a street fashion model than a chairman.

“What can I help you with this time?” The way the young man stressed the last words made it obvious he wasn’t actually happy to see them. He would like them staying as far away from his company building than possible and they knew it. Everyone in the room was aware of that. The detectives just couldn’t prove why at this point.

“Just a formal call, nothing special. It’s not that we wanted to see you again so badly.” Yuvin shrugged, not hiding the intensity between them.

“Something must have happened.” Yuri stated. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”
Suhwan thought about it. Did he knew why they came here? If he was connected to NCT he would probably know about it already. How high was the chance he actually awaited them?

“We’d like to get your opinion on something.”

Yuri raised his brows and nodded. He was obviously expecting accusations or something like this but he never got asked for his opinion by the police.

“Alright, go ahead.”

Yuvin sat down on one of the armrest and interlocked his fingers on his lap.
“We are happy to announce that we made some progress regarding the case we’re currently working on.”

“I’m happy to hear that, I guess. Congratulations i suppose?” Yuri said, unsure where Yuvin was headed.

“We’re just wondering if the deaths of 5 members of NCT are concerning you more than they concern us.”

“Pardon?”

Suhwan observed him closely. “We thought you might be able to help us identify the victims.”

The chairman chuckled and relaxed visibly. “Why should I be able to help you with that?”

“Esteem has been involved in some more or less shady businesses in the past and it’s not really known for its transparency. You have a lot of employees, preferable young men in their twenties and I’m sure you don’t know the exact number by heart. Neither do you know who shows up when to work and leaves. So that might are some basic criteria that apply to a lot of companies in the city but it also makes Esteem have a lot in common with what we know about NCT. We can also connect you to some of the members privately which, I know, doesn’t have to mean anything yet it keeps us busy thinking.” Yuvin basically just informed him while inspecting his fingertips.

He looked up as CEO Park sighed and didn’t take his eyes off him.

“I don’t know what my friends are up to in their spare time and the thing that, I think, makes a huge difference between my company and a gang is that I have a personnel department that takes care of employee affaires and the people working there know exactly how many young men in their twenties are currently employed here. See, I’m very sorry to hear about those kids dying but if you just came here to accuse me of being involved with a wild streetgang, then I have to ask you to leave. You have my card already, so hit me up if you want to spend some quality time together. However, I don’t have time to keep the task force busy.”

He motioned towards the door, not moving from his position.

+++

He unlocks the door, entirely sure no one followed him. He turned off his phone an hour ago so that they wouldn’t be able to track down his way. He stopped by his place, changing clothes and dropping of his briefcase before he went.
It’s said you need 30 days to built a new habit. Luckily he was in business much longer so that this become more a part of him than just a habit.

Yohan learned to be careful the hard way. There were several occasions where he nearly fucked up, blew his cover or eventually got killed so that he now paid even more attention to the small things.
Things that could cost him and his crew their lives.

He opened the door by entering the passcode and cleaning the keyboard afterwards. Before he closed the door completely and quietly, he listened for any kind of unfamiliar sound. Their lab was upstairs. If there would be anything strange he would just turn around and walk away as casually as possible.

But there wasn’t anything.

He climbed the stairs and as he reached the top he found anything just as he left it. The loft still looked the same. Wooseok sat by the working station far away from him, hunched over a milligram scale.
Midam on the other hand hung in his chair, feet rested on the tabletop and leafing through some business files.

Besides the fact they got tricked by a rival gang and that one of them got shot, everything went its usual way. Business never slept.

Yohan stepped up the last few stairs and Midam was the first one who saw him. He got up and jogged over. His face showed a little concern, which was already quite a lot for him, who he was usually as expressive as a brick wall.

“Where the hell have you been?” Midam demanded to know and as he asked also Wooseok turned around, pausing the packaging. Yohan laughed and excuse and motioned Midam not to worry.
“I had to stay low. So was at work. The office called, I got a bunch of new cases to work on. Sorry I didn’t call.”

“How’s Seungyoun?” Wooseok chimed in from the back of his laboratory.

“I guess he’s okay? I dropped him off at Hangyul’s so he should be fine. How about you tho? You guys are alright?”

Both nodded and Yohan exhaled in relief. The last thing he could use right now were more injured friends. Even though Wooseok and Midam were technically his employees he considers them friends since a long time now.

As he first started his business and was looking for people, they were suspicious about him. Both. Of course they were. Back in the days Yohan was a teenager, basically. Okay, in their eyes he still was but he had proven his value and talent for leadership several times by now and they learned that he was way more dangerous than the first impression made them guess.

Yohan was not just a lawyer at his young age, he also worked with the police for quite some time, defended cases in-front of a jury successfully and was so close to gain the monopoly of the local drug business. That was certainly an impressive list.
“Now let’s discuss how to kick their asses.” Yohan exclaimed, making his way to his desk. Past Midam, who grinned by the sound of his words. He knew it would go this way.
There was basically nothing Yohan hated more than disrespect towards his person or his people. And he learned how to deal with it .

“What are you thinking about exactly?” Wooseok wondered, leaning back in his chair. As well smiling, he couldn’t await the revenge. Not actually because of what they did to Seungyoun but rather to how NCT betrayed them.

Yohan leaned against the window sill so that both of his employees could only see his silhouette. “First of all I want to know what happened exactly. There is no point in taking rushed actions. This might be the staring point of a personal war between them and us but I don’t want to make that step if I’m not fully aware of how we end up here.”

Midam nodded and put his hands into the pockets of his slacks. “They offered us a deal and us we got there thy shot at us. Isn’t it that easy?”

“Apparently not.” Wooseok stretched. “We talked about this a thousand times, Midam. Our contact said he could get a deal with NCT for us. Something went wrong. It’s just the question if we got betrayed by the contact or if he got betrayed by his gang as well.”

“So, first of all: Who is that contact?” Yohan looked at Wooseok expectingly, who just shrugged.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?” He looked at Wooseok, then at Midam. Only Wooseok resisting his stare.

“Means: I don’t know. He didn’t tell me his name. If he would have I would already have taken actions.”

Yohan exhaled, trying to pull it together and not lose his temper, which actually didn't work out that well. “No you wouldn’t! You don’t do anything without my permission from now on! I can’t believe you didn’t get his name! Wooseok, I trusted you on this.”

“It would have been so dumb of him to give me his name! We could have betrayed him, so it was for his own safety.” He was obviously eager to defend himself but he knew that, once Yohan put on that rage mode, this wasn't about him anymore. He know cared about the bigger picture.

Midam chimed in, trying to save this somehow. “Maybe we can rule out who’s our person bit by bit?”

Yohan scoffed and crossed his arms. “Then give me a list of all the NCT members. I’ll wait. It’s fucking NCT. Not even their leader knows their exact number. How exactly do you want to rule one particular person out?”

They remained silent since none of them knew what to say. After a while Midam found the courage to speak: “What are we gonna do?”

“Shoot them all?” Yohan asked sarcastically.

“How about the ‘not rushing’ part?” Wooseok chuckled but his boss did not take it with humor.

“First of all: You lost your voice on this. Second of all: They shot one of my people, so at this point I shall not care anymore. Which means you might as well just made a fair point.”