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Keep You Steady

Chapter Text

 “When you find that the ones that keep you lifted,
Love them ‘cus they keep you out of your head,
they keep you out of your head,
They keep you steady”


 

You are now completely certain that you’ve eternally worn out the phrase ‘as a friend’.

            Of course you’ll console Yoosung’s loss of Rika – as a friend

            Of course you’ll tell Zen he’s handsome in all his films – as a friend

            Of course you’ll go to the C&R Building and help Jaehee deal with Jumin Han’s sudden and unfortunate engagement – as a friend.

            The last one, well, it was going to bite you in the ass. And it wasn’t because you didn’t like Jumin, it was because you had already developed a crush on Seven.

            Somewhere in your mind, this chain of events seemed – well – wrong.

            When you joined the RFA, you had immediately been drawn to Seven. It was almost embarrassing how quickly you found yourself egging on his jokes or calling him late at night. It was clear to everyone that you two had a ‘thing’ now. And not just because you two made it obvious, but because Zen and Yoosung were equally verbal about it too.

            But now you’re in a predicament. Because you agreed to help Jaehee, but being at the C&R building makes you feel very very far from Seven.

            “We should bring up our findings.” Jaehee tells you, picking up a file folder with various packets of information.

            “I still can’t believe they came to your house,” you grumble, stacking some more of the files into your own arms, and then handing Jaehee her coffee.

            “Thank you,” she smiles before she takes a sip, and it doesn’t completely wipe the stress from her features but it clearly comforts her. “I suppose I should’ve been more prepared, though.”

            “Jaehee,” you laugh in exasperation. “You’re too critical of yourself. No employee should have to prepare to be bombarded by their boss’s fiancée, and I think Jumin would agree with me.”

           They’re empty words, because Jumin has been surprisingly apathetic about the whole thing. And if you’re being honest, it really bothers you.

            “You can hand me the files,” Jaehee insists, throwing her empty cup in the garbage on the way to the elevator.

            “No, I’ve got it,” you urge, but she gives you a reassuring smile.

“Someone needs to press the elevator buttons and open the door, but both of us have our hands full. Trust me, I can take them.”

            You stay hesitant for a moment longer before you hand Jaehee the other files in your arms, leaving your arms feeling weightless and you feeling guilty. However, Jaehee seems fine with holding everything. Your admiration for her continues to grow with every floor that pings past on the elevator.

            Once you reach the floor of Jumin’s penthouse, Jaehee shows her ID badge (with your help) even though the guards outside already know who she is.

            “Who is this?” one of them asks her, looking at you.

            “She’s with me. She’s a member of the RFA.”

            The guard squints at you, probably because you’re wearing a soft worn sweater with leggings combo, and this is a business casual environment.

            “Mr. Han gave permission for her to be here, under my supervision.” Jaehee explains, a bit more clipped.

            “What is all the noise out here?” a security guard opens the door and looks at the two other men blocking the way. He turns to look back inside, and you assume begins talking to Jumin.

            “Oh, let them in,” you hear Jumin say, and then Jaehee is walking past the guards, while you can’t help but give them both the stink eye.

            Your manners may need a brush up, especially with the withering look Jaehee gives you at your expression, but your reflexes certainly don’t.

Because as soon as Jaehee has put down the files, you have half a mind to catch a fast-moving white ball of fluff in your arms as it barrels across the floor, towards the open door.

            “What in the –” you blink your eyes closed for a moment, your face blocked by tufts of white fur. “Elly?” you say, and you hear a loud meow from your arms. She doesn’t struggle, which you’re thankful for, because it’s the first time you’ve ever gone to catch a cat. You’re glad you manage to catch her the right way too, especially in front of Jumin.

            “Elizabeth 3rd!” Jumin says, his voice carrying the most emotion you’ve ever heard.

            You finally get a good look at the room now that you’re inside. Jaehee has closed the door behind you, leaving the security guards to bicker outside. The penthouse is nicely furnished, and there’s a ceiling to floor fish tank in the far corner that you’re really tempted to go peek at. At this observation, you feel Elly being pulled from your arms and into Jumin’s.

            He looks, well, he looks upset.

            “Why did you try to escape?” he asks Elly, and as soon as the cat is in his arms, it’s as if you and Jaehee have both disappeared from the room. Probably even from existence.

            Jaehee sighs, back to looking tired, organizing the folders on a nearby coffee table.

            You turn to make certain that the door is really closed, but make eye contact with a massive cage in the corner.

“Jumin were you keeping her in a cage?” you ask, and before Jumin has a chance to reply, Elizabeth meows.

“That woman, Glam Choi, and Sarah as well – I think they’re going to take Elizabeth 3rd.” he says.  

“Well, they don’t seem like good people, but I don’t know if they’d go that far,” you look at Jaehee who looks as if she’s legitimately considering it.

“They’d have to get through security.” She offers.

“Which is easy considering my father’s behavior lately. He’s practically letting Glam Choi run the company.” Jumin complains.

“Well it seems your room will be fine, considering your security’s behavior at Jaehee and me today,” you grouse.

“It’s your outfit,” Jaehee and Jumin both offer as a reply, and then they share a bewildered look between them before Jumin goes back to petting Elly.

“This building is so…bougie.” You say, unable to hide the teasing in your voice.

“For the record, I think you look rather comfortable. It’s nice.” Jaehee offers and you hug her arm affectionately.

“Thanks Jaehee!” you say, and she looks at you, embarrassed.

            “We should really discuss the files,” she tries to steer the conversation back to Glam and Sarah, and you agree.

            “Alright, we found loads of statements from couture companies that sold things to Sarah. We’re working on bank statements, though that’s more difficult,” you explain, and Jumin glances over at the papers in your hand.

            “This is all so uselessly petty.” Jumin grumbles, and Elly mews in his arms.

            “Well your father doesn’t want to do anything about it and you’re too stubborn, so I’m helping Jaehee.” You declare.

            “I’m sure she’ll be caught, regardless of if we do anything.” He insists.

            And then you’re mad. You’re mad because Jumin isn’t helping, because your skin feels itchy ever since you touched Elly, because Jaehee worked really hard and Jumin just doesn’t care.

            You fold your arms over your chest. “Are you done?” you ask.

            “Done what?” he asks, and Elly escapes from his grasp to walk around your feet.

            “Jumin, this is serious and if you don’t start treating it that way, you may as well start practicing the wedding march!” you point a finger at him, and Elly meows.

            He adjusts the cuffs of his shirt and looks away from you, “I’m sure they’ll make a mistake in front of my father, it’s just a matter of time.”

            “So you’re going to give them that extra time?” you put your hands on your hips, peering up at him, “To do something worse? To fiddle with the strings over your dad’s head even more?” you ask.

            “I don’t want to give them any more reason to use Elizabeth 3rd against me!” Jumin raises his voice, and it’s not by a lot, but it’s enough to shock you. Once he realizes what he’s admitted, he looks down as if he’s in pain – as if he’s in deep confliction with himself, and he’s putting all his energy into hiding it.

            Jaehee is quiet, taking out another file and bringing it over to Jumin after he’s recovered. He now looks as if he’s truly resigned to his fate.

            “Mr. Han, if you truly want Elizabeth 3rd to be safe as soon as possible, give us permission to further look into this.” She urges him. “Look here, look at these cosmetic costs. It’s suspicious, and it might be a lead. Or here,” she takes out another file and Jumin takes it in his hand, which feels like a huge step to you. “I’ve contacted multiple people who say that Sugar Round doesn’t exist anymore.”

            “Ask Seven to help,” you say, and both of them look at you. It’s not just because you like him, you know he’s capable. “He won’t do it unless you ask and…he cares. We all do.”

            Jumin closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. After a long pause, he sighs. “Fine. On one condition: you stay here.” He points to you, and you go quiet.

            “What?” Jaehee says.

            “What?” you echo.

            “I need someone to watch over Elizabeth 3rd and she seems to like you.”

            You panic, looking over at Jaehee and then back at Jumin, “Jumin, I have to organize the party, I have to look over the guest list and, and–” your hands wave uselessly in front of you.

            “I’ll see to that you have everything you need to work comfortably here. You’ve told me to find out what Glam and Sarah are hiding, so I will help Jaehee and recruit Luciel,” Jumin does the button of his suit, making to leave, “But someone needs to be here with Elizabeth 3rd, so I can focus.”

            Your stomach feels as if it weighs a million pounds. You’re terrified at what Seven will think.

            Not even about Glam, but about getting yourself into this mess.

            Jumin looks expectantly at you. You swallow the lump that has lodged its way in your throat. “Fine,” You say, “But I’ll tell them in the chat. You go to work, right away.”

            “Good.” Jumin says, and for a split second, you see the relief flash across his features. “Thank you.” He says, and you feel the sincerity.

You wonder how much worse it would have been if Elly had managed to escape.


 [New Chat] Plan of Action!!

 

[You have entered the chatroom]

 

You:

> hey

> just wanted to let everyone know the situation

> I’m staying here to look after Elly while Jumin and Jaehee do research on Glam and Sarah

 

 

[ZEN has entered the chatroom]

 

ZEN:

> WHAT?!

> why do you have to look after that furball

> you’re allergic too!!

 

You:

> my allergy is very mild compared to yours Zen, lol

> as long as I don’t try to touch her and then touch my eyes, I should be fine

> and she’s very well behaved

 

[Jaehee has entered the chatroom]

 

Jaehee:

> I’m sorry you have to look after her but

> Thank you;;

> (*´^`)

 

You:

> it’s ok Jaehee!!

> do your best, I’m rooting for you!

 

[Yoosung has entered the chat]

 

Yoosung:

> eh?!

> does that mean you have to stay at Jumins??

 

You:

> ya

 

Yoosung:

> ya?!

 

You:

> (´_ゝ`)

 

Yoosung:

> i cant tell if youre upset…

 

ZEN:

> if you’re not, I’ll be glad to be angry on your behalf!

> Jumin shouldn’t have to force you to babysit his cat while he’s working!!

> (-`д´-)

 

Jaehee:

> Mr. Han is worried either Glam or Sarah are going to use Elizabeth 3rd against him somehow.

> I don’t think he trusts anyone else with this.

 

You:

> Jaehee’s right

> it’s a valid concern because of the way his dad’s been behaving around Glam

> if it puts Jumin at ease and we can try to fix this whole debacle, I see it as our best option

 

ZEN:

> yeah but;;

> aren’t you

 

[707 has entered the chatroom]

 

ZEN:

> oh

> I was just about to bring Seven up and here he is lol

 

Jaehee:

> Oh, Luciel

> Has Jumin called you yet?

 

707:

> heya!!

 

You:

> heya!!!!

 

Jaehee:

> …

 

707:

> lol

> ya I just finished talking to him

> I’m gonna start right away

 

Yoosung:

> you didn’t answer me earlier…

 

You:

> me?

 

Yoosung:

> yes!!

> aren’t you upset?? at all?

 

You:

> I’m…

> ….

> ……stressed

> ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ??

 

707:                      

> so you’re really stuck there huh?

> _(┐「ε:)_

 

You:

> yes but with both Jumin and Jaehee working hard

> and you helping them

> I’m sure we’ll find out what Glam and Sarah are hiding

> I have faith

> God Seven!!!!

 

707:

> you can count on me!!!

> I’ll work extra hard for you

> ( ・`ω・)b 

 

You:

> thank you

> (´⌣`ʃƪ)

> oh, I have to go feed Elly

 

Jaehee:

> Has Mr. Han not corrected you on her name?

 

You:

> Shhhhh

> (`•ω•´๑)

 

707:

> lololol

> Elly!!!!

 

You:

> everyone please don’t forget to eat dinner tonight!!

 

ZEN:

> I’m going to work out but I’ll eat after

> don’t forget to eat, Jaehee and Seven

> Work hard! Good night!

 

[ZEN has left the chatroom]

 

Yoosung:

> good luck everyone!!!

> I’ll come back and check in later!

> (・∀・)

 

[Yoosung has left the chatroom]

 

Jaehee:

> I will call you once we find a solid story or once we’re done for the evening.

 

You:

> Good luck, Jaehee!

> Remember to take breaks

 

Jaehee:

> Thank you.

> I’ll get going.

 

[Jaehee has left the chatroom]

 

707:

> I’m going to find all sorts of info on Glam and Sarah!! Stay positive!!

> Seven Zero Seven is on the case!!!!

 

You:

> I’ll wish on a star for you, God Seven!!

> ☆*ヾ(-∀・*)*+☆

 

707:

> oooh! ♡♡♡♡♡

> I’m extra lucky tonight!! lol

> though I’m

> kind of sad

 

You:

> What’s wrong?

 

707:

> I wish

> I got to see you

> before Jumin

 

You:

> me too

> I wish that too, Seven

 

707:

> ahh hah;;

> but I should get to work;;;;

> no more moping!!!!

> must do

> lots

> of

> research

> lol

> ☆*。★゚*♪ヾ(☆ゝз・)ノ

> God Seven! Is off!!

 

[707 has left the chatroom]

[You have left the chatroom]

[Chatroom ‘Plan of Action’ Closed ]

 

            Before you even get the chance to go feed Elly, Seven is calling you. You click the green phone icon and put it up to your ear.

“Hello?”

“Hey! Before I even realized it I was…calling you,” Seven laughs guiltily. “Sorry, maybe I should just hang up,”

“N-no, wait!” you rush so that he doesn’t hang up and you hear him snicker on the other end of the line.

“Ahh so you do want to talk – I was worried.”

“You’re a horrible tease, you know that?” you smile.

“I kind of wanted to see what you’d do, and your response made me happy. Sorry.” You can hear the smile in his voice, and you wish you could see his expression.

            “You don’t have to apologize,” you say, sitting down on the edge of the sofa. “To be honest, I was worried you’d be upset.”

            “Upset?”

            “At me being here…” you’re hesitant to mention Jumin by name. You’re not in a relationship with Seven, and yet somehow his validation – his reassurance is something that you desperately need. You don’t want to screw this up before it’s even begun.

            “Ah, but, you don’t owe me anything. You shouldn’t worry about something like that.” Seven sounds more solemn, “What I said in the chat at the end – about Jumin – that was me being selfish.”

           “I want you to be selfish,” you say, and then you swallow because it’s embarrassingly honest. You want him to know how you feel. But you’ve always been patient with his approach to your friendship, and you know you’re pushing him, even now.

            Seven laughs weakly, “You shouldn’t say stuff like that. To someone like me. Everything around me is…it’s not good,” and the way he says it muddles his true meaning. He goes back to the riddles you’ve become accustomed to.

The ones that weave a story that you don’t have all the words to yet.

“I want you to be safe.” He admits.

“I trust you to keep me safe.” You bring your leg up and rest your chin on your knee. “In all the ways you know how, God Seven.”

You can hear him breathing on the other end of the line, “I guess I should get to work then, huh? Don’t worry about a thing.”

“I’ll worry about you.”

“Ahah,” he laughs as if he’s breathless, “You don’t have to do that—”

“I’m looking forward to talking to you later.” You interrupt him, because you both know you’ll do what you please. He’s stuck with you now.

“Okay,” he says, his voice warm. “Then, um, good night.”

“See you.” You bite your lip, holding back a smile. You hang up first, barely able to hear the gentle tapping of someone’s fingers on a computer keyboard.

Chapter Text

            You end up falling asleep much earlier than planned. Once you had gotten dinner with Jaehee and wished her good luck with her work, you had come back to feed Elly. You sat down on the sofa to check your emails but your eyelids started falling shut.

You suppose it wouldn’t be far off to say that you hadn’t been getting much sleep since joining the RFA, and it’s only gotten worse with the addition of the whole C&R business.

You sit up with your mind still a little foggy. It takes you a moment to realize that you had spent the entire night on the sofa in Jumin’s apartment. You figure even a single cushion on it was worth more than your own bed, especially since it was comfortable enough that it let you sleep uninterrupted. Someone must have brought a blanket to you at one point, because you don’t recall ever owning something so soft. You see a fluffy white tail swish on the back of the sofa, and glance up to see Elly watching you. You haven’t been roommates with Jumin’s cat long enough to feel comforted by her stare, though she meows at you in greeting.

            You rummage around in the crack of the sofa and check the time on your phone, rubbing your eyes. It's past 9AM, and as you open the messenger app, you notice a missed call from Jumin. You yank the blanket up to your chin as you press the call back button and listen to your phone ring.

“Good morning.” You hear Jumin say when he picks up.

“Good morning, Jumin,” you greet, and watch Elly’s ear twitch. Idly, you wonder if she knows you’re talking to Jumin or if she just thinks your voice is too loud.

“How's the search going?” You ask, tentatively raising your hand toward Elly. She sniffs your fingers for a moment, and deeming you safe, rubs her face against your knuckles.

“Fine. Assistant Kang and Seven are very efficient.”

“Not done, then, huh?” you ask, although you already know the answer.

“Not quite.” He sounds tired. “How did you sleep?”

“Good, your sofa is more comfortable than my bed back at home.” You joke. “Did you put the blanket on me?”

“I did,” he pauses, “you looked cold.”

“Thanks, I think I was.” You can hear Elly purring as you scratch her jaw.

“Is that Elizabeth 3rd purring?”

You blink, “Wow I’m surprised you could hear it over the phone. Is it that loud?”

“No, her purr is just very unique.” He says, and you bite back a smile because Jumin sounds so proud.

You scratch behind Elly’s left ear and she mews, the rumbling of her purrs vibrating through the cushion. You can feel them where your body is pressed against the back of the sofa.

“I hope that doesn't make you uncomfortable.” Jumin hesitates.

“What?” you find yourself hypnotized after petting Elly for so long.

“I noticed you didn't sleep in the bed, but you're more than welcome to it.” You can hear something in the background that sounds like a printer. “The bed sheets are always freshly washed, if that's what you're worried about.”

Jumin is half right. Sleeping in his bed seems wrong to you because you’ve only known these people for a few weeks. You also know Zen would have a stroke if he found out.

But if you’re being completely honest, you don’t really care about that as much as the problem of allowing yourself to get comfortable at the C&R building. You don’t want this stay to seem permanent, to you or anyone else.

Especially Seven.

            “No it’s not that.” You tell him and there’s silence on the other end for another moment. You know Jumin wants to know the exact reason.

            “Is it because it’s my room? Because I came in?” he asks.

            You sigh, amused, “No,” and then can’t help but laugh a bit. “I’m used to being watched at this point,” you admit. “Since Rika’s apartment has the CCTV and everything.”

            “There’s a camera in the bedroom?” Jumin asks, and if it were anyone else, the question would sound seriously inappropriate. But Jumin’s tone seems politely neutral, if not a touch surprised.

            “No no,” you dismiss it, flicking Elly’s white hair off your hands and onto the floor. You knew long haired cats shed but wow does Elly ever shed.

“I spent a lot of time in the main room, and there was a camera there. I stayed pretty aware of it,”

and Seven.

You were very very very aware of Seven watching you.

“I see.” Jumin says, and he seems satisfied by your response.

You start, “Well I should—”

            “Do you—”

            You pause, surprised that Jumin spoke at the exact same time as you. “Go ahead,” you say.

            “No, it’s nothing.”

            “Jumin,” you smile, sighing in a sort of half-amused, half-exasperated way. If something bothered him enough to speak up at all, even if only for a moment, it was important.

            “I shouldn’t pry.”

            “I’m sure whatever it is, you’re not prying,” you assure.

            “I just didn’t know if you preferred the apartment since,” he doesn’t know how to conclude. “Since Luciel was more accessible, I suppose.”

            You weren’t expecting that.

            Maybe it had been temporary, but you had grown to like living at the apartment. You were used to waving at the camera, knowing there was a chance that Seven was watching.

You felt, well, protected.

            “I mean, I feel close to all of the RFA members, you’re all really wonderful people despite my strange circumstances.” You untangle a knot from your hair as you speak, “but I think the apartment would’ve been lonely without Seven on the CCTV. And I think that we have similar temperaments too, so it’s easy to be myself around him.”

            “Hmm, I think I know what you mean.” Jumin says.

            “About which part?” you ask.

            “Being yourself around somebody. I feel at ease when I am with Elizabeth 3rd.”

            You smile, “She’s a sweet cat, I can see why she’s such good company.”

Jumin sounds a bit more wistful when he continues, “She was a gift from a friend. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she had escaped yesterday.”

            You want to ask who would give him such a gift, but you know you can’t push him too hard.

“I’m sure she wouldn’t have gone far, Jumin.” You say, and as if Jumin’s concern over the cat compels you to move, you finally stand up to retrieve Elly’s food dish. “She’s very affectionate and she loves you very much.”

            “I didn’t realize how badly she wanted freedom from my apartment. I should have noticed sooner.” He continues.

            You frown, worried about where his thoughts may have lead him. He clearly needs reassurance. “I know plenty of cats that try to run out the door because they’re curious about the unknown,” you explain, setting down Elly’s food bowl down on the ground with a gentle clink, “But honestly they’re pretty quick about changing their minds.”

            “Hmm.” Jumin doesn’t seem convinced.

“One of my friends had a really big cat who always tried to run out when I would visit,” you recall.

“And one time she did,” you retrieve some of Elly’s food and put it in the dish, and she watches you, eager to eat. As soon as you take your hands out of the way, she has her face in her dish.

“And?”

“She didn’t like it.”

“Didn’t like it?” he repeats.

“The outdoors,” you laugh. “She just wanted to see what was out there. My friend just watched her, with her hands open in case the cat made a run for it but…she didn’t.” you get Elly some water next, filling the bowl and setting it down next to her food. “The cat just laid down on the patio for a few minutes, got up, and went back inside.”

“That cat was probably nothing compared to Elizabeth 3rd,” Jumin says and you scoff lightly. You should really take a shower and change out of these clothes, and if Jumin wasn’t going to enjoy your stories, you weren’t going to waste your energy telling them.

“But,” Jumin sounds thoughtful, “…I understand. And I appreciate you telling me.” He finishes, and you blink, a little surprised. Are you in the twilight zone? Is this some sort of prank?

He’s full of surprises lately, it seems. You feel like you have a pretty good understanding of Jaehee, but it looks like you still have a lot to learn about Jumin.

“No problem,” you say, half paying attention to the words coming out of your mouth. Speaking of, you can barely make out Jaehee’s voice as she speaks to Jumin on the other end. Though it’s too soft to decipher, you know it must be urgent if Jaehee is interrupting his phone call.

“Ah, Assistant Kang found something. I have to go now.” Jumin says, “Help yourself to any food in the kitchen. There’s a television too, in case you’re bored. And thank you.” He finishes, and you can’t help but smile.

“Alright, please work hard.” You say, and then you both hang up after exchanging goodbyes.

 

 

 

You make yourself some eggs and toast for breakfast before taking a shower and changing into clean clothes.

You think the workers in the building have some sort of sixth sense, because you answer a knock at the door shortly after getting dressed to find two cleaning ladies. They come in and wash your dishes for you, despite your protests. They also try to take your dirty laundry, though you quickly tell them, humiliated and flustered, that you’re capable of washing your own clothes. Thankfully, they’re gracious enough to let you know where the nearest facilities are so that you can do your laundry in peace.

When everything is said and done, it’s you (and not Elly) that is set into a state of anxiety.

Your phone pings with a new text message.

 

707:

> Yo!!!

 

You:

> Good morning God Seven!

> Thank you for the beautiful weather, I feel blessed

 

707:

> Oh!!!!

> You’re welcome!!!!!!

> anything for my #1 fan >_<

> how’s the life of luxury? Lol

 

You:

> awkward….

 

707:

> oh?

> did something happen? Or is it just awkward in general

 

You:

> the workers are too nice….they came in and did my dishes

> one of them tried to do my laundry for me!!!!

> I can do it myself..

 

707:

> wow!

> didn’t know you loved doing chores that much lol

 

You:

> I’m an adult…I’m capable of washing my own underwear……

 

707:

> omg

> I should install a spoiler tag on the text messaging

> filter out that Mature content

 

You:

> why??

> It’s just my underwear

> its not my fault Seven has filthy thoughts

 

707:

> GAH

> (/ε\*)

> I don’t mean to! I promise I didn’t,,,

> I was just working and then you

> talk about undies lmao

 

You:

> u are a dirty boy!!!!!

> terrible

> if this was a chatroom, Zen would be arresting you

 

707:

> omg

> you’re doing this on purpose

 

You:

> maybe

> (・∀・)

 

707:

> of course lol

> and about Jumin’s place…

> I’m sure you’ll get used to it

 

You:

> I know, but I guess..

 

707:

> ?

 

You:

> I miss the apartment a little?? Is that selfish?

 

707:

> lol

> no! I don’t think it’s selfish

 

You:

> It was convenient! And familiar! I had everything organized

 

707:

> those are good reasons!

 

You:

> and I felt like someone was watching over me

> God Seven!!!!

> (・`ω´・ ●)

 

707:

> oh!! Thank you!

> it’s true!!!

> but God Seven is all-seeing

> I can watch you wherever you are! So don’t worry!

> and look on the bright side!! You also have Elly!

 

You:

> you’re right!

> she told me to tell you to work hard

> and she loves you!! So sentimental

 

707:

> Elly!!

> She always knows just what to say

> (♥ω♥*)

 

You:

> how did work go last night anyways?

 

707:

> good so far!

> Jaehee’s very thorough

> it’s been pretty good with the info gathering too, so

> shouldn’t be much longer

 

You:

> that’s good!

> sorry you had to put work on the side for this, I know you’re busy

> Jaehee too…you’re both working overtime

 

707:

> it’s only been a couple of days, you don’t need to worry about that!

> Jaehee is used to sleep deprivation, or so she’s told me lol

> I usually work with a few things going at a time too, so it’s easy peasy!

 

You:

> lemon squeezy

 

707:

> mmm lemonade would be good right about now

> mixed with

> Ph.D Pepper                                                               

> lol

> I’m gonna get some food and keep at it! Don’t skip meals today!!

 

You:

> ok ok

> please don’t overexert yourself

> I’ll be thinking of you!

 

707:

> ehehe

> you’ve cheered me up!

> I’ll talk to you later then, bye bye! ☆

 

You sigh, locking your phone screen and dropping back onto the sofa. Quiet settles in the apartment, and you become terribly aware of your own boredom. Everyone else was busy doing work or helping Jumin -- shouldn't you do your fair share?

You get up from the sofa and can’t seem to shake the awareness of what a perfect apartment you’ve got yourself holed up in now. You rebelliously make a point of disordering the pillows before you reach for the television remote and turn on the food network. Elly meows, having finished her food while you talked on the phone, and hops up on the back of the sofa again. You check on your emails while pacing around the room, Elly’s eyes flickering back and forth as you walk in circles.

Your phone buzzes as you get another call.

“Hello?”

“Good day,” Jaehee greets you.

“Hey Jaehee! Good news? Any news at all?” You turn and pace the other way. “Anything you need me to do?”

Jaehee pauses for a moment before she answers, “are you really that bored?”

“Don't tell Jumin, but yes. I want to help.”

“Watching over Elizabeth 3rd is absolutely helping.” Jaehee sounds tired.

“That bad huh?”

“Yes.”

You glance over at Elly and give her an accusing glare, which she promptly ignores, licking her paw.

“How about I work on some files for you while you deal with Glam Choi? Organize the schedule?” you offer.

“No, I’ve already taken care of most of the schedule. And the files just need approval from me, they’re a bit complicated with company jargon.” Jaehee explains, but then quickly amends, “Not that I don’t think you’re capable – I just wouldn’t want to give them to you because it would end up being too frustrating.”

“Oh, well, I understand.” You reply, though admittedly a little disappointed.

Thankfully, the brief pause is interrupted quickly. “Actually,” Jaehee sounds hopeful, and you can hear her rustling through files somewhere. “I have some handwritten meeting notes that need to be typed out for filing. Would that be good?”

“Yes, seriously, anything,” you say and Jaehee lets out a bit of an exasperated laugh.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you so desperate for more work. It seems like we were always swamping you with party duties.” You can hear Jaehee typing quickly on a keyboard, while Jumin speaks to another employee in the background. “Okay, I’ll call the receptionist on that floor to get everything ready for you.” Jaehee says, “She’ll drop off a company laptop and the folder with all the notes.”

“Sounds good Jaehee, thank you!”

“No, thank you. Hopefully this debacle will end soon, and we can all return to our regular duties.” Jaehee sighs, though she sounds relieved, too.

“And I can return to the apartment,” you say, hopeful.

“Yes, for your sake I hope you can escape Elizabeth 3rd.” Jaehee grumbles.

You find the whole situation quite funny – in a self-deprecating sort of way. Jaehee believes that you’re truly irritated about having to babysit Jumin’s cat – but that’s far from the truth.

She doesn’t realize how easy you are to please or how far you’ve fallen for RFA’s hacker.

Somehow – you’re past the stage of shame to feel embarrassed.

Somehow –

 

 

– all you can do is laugh.

Chapter Text

As promised, the receptionist knocks on the apartment door about fifteen minutes after your phone call ends. She is a bit older than you, and doesn’t give any hint of curiosity as to why you’re staying in Jumin’s apartment. Either a company memo was sent out explaining your visit, or the staff was just extremely well trained in the art of customer service.

Either way, she gives you a log in password for the computer and hands you two large folders filled with lined paper notes. She also leaves you a number for her desk in case you run into any problems, and then promptly fixes the sofa pillows you had intentionally upset before politely excusing herself from the room.

You are now convinced that one of the skills required to work at the C & R building is clairvoyance.

You pull a coffee table over, and sit on the floor with your back resting against the sofa. Jaehee’s notes are chronologically ordered and her handwriting is tidy. While you get prepared, Elly moves from the back of the sofa nearer to where you’re seated on the floor. She rubs her face against your temple and you hear her purr again.

“You’re pretty friendly now, huh?” you say, and she meows in reply. When you boot up the computer, she reclines behind you, contented. Elly’s nose rests near your left ear, and she closes her eyes while you work. It's pretty monotonous work, and it makes you wonder how often Seven finds himself losing track of time while typing in code.

You shake your head, and unlock your phone to play some music.

 


 

An hour later, your phone vibrates on the table. You flip it over to find Yoosung’s icon blinking up at you cheerily.

“Hey Yoosung,” you greet when you answer, sandwiching your phone between your ear and your shoulder as you attempt to organize a stack of papers.

“Hi there! I thought I’d check up on you,” Yoosung says. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m good, I’m helping Jaehee with some of her clerical work while she’s downstairs with Jumin.”

“Oh! Hmmm, that must be boring then,” Yoosung makes a point of sounding annoyed for your benefit but you laugh.

“It’s no problem, I asked to do it. I’m bored to death up here – Elly is very well behaved. I’d hardly call what I’m doing babysitting.”

“Ahh it sounds relaxing then! I wish I could be there, but I have to help Seven.” Yoosung says.

“Help Seven?” you repeat.

“Well he said he needs my help with something but only told me it includes a picnic. I highly doubt it, though…”

You make a point of letting out an amused scoff, “What do you mean? Are you doubting Seven’s love for outdoor lunches?”

Yoosung gives a half-hearted laugh in reply, “No that’s not it. I think he’s doing work and needs company.” Yoosung continues, “I don’t mind! I just wish he’d tell me straight up, you know?” he amends.

“Yeah,” you close a folder of notes and take your phone into your hand, leaning your head back to rest on the sofa. “But either way, I’m sure he definitely wants the company.”

“You’re right!” Yoosung sighs, “I have to get going though. I’m going to finish packing and head over.”

“Keep me updated, okay?” you ask, and it’s as much for Yoosung’s sake as it is for yours.

“Of course! Don’t work too hard and remember to eat properly!” Yoosung says before you both exchange goodbyes, and you hang up.

 

You stand up and get a glass of water from the kitchen, taking a short break to stretch out your legs and take a peek out the window. You check your phone and go to Seven’s last text – still nothing new.

Quickly typing out a new message, you hit send before you can regret it.

 

You:

> halfway done this clerical beast (paperwork) for Jaehee!!

 

Snapping a selfie of you posing with a peace sign, you attach it.

 

You have sent an attachment!  

You:

> *blows a kiss to the sky* 4 the CCTV

 

 

You stare at the message for a moment, and then groan, hoping you don’t come off as desperate as you feel. You don’t want to return to the apartment, you just want to know Seven is okay.

 


  

“I'm back,” a voice says before the door of the apartment softly clicks closed.

You blearily open your eyes and lift your head from where you had fallen asleep on the table. One of Jaehee’s notes unsticks from your cheek as you look up.

“Hi,” you offer and Jumin looks at you quizzically.

“Hello,” he greets, and then smiles. “You have pen on your face.”

Your eyes widen and you cover your cheeks. “What? Really?” You rub a cheek frantically and you're surprised when Jumin chuckles.

“On the left, here,” he says and lifts a hand tentatively. He slowly reaches over and touches your cheek with his finger. “Just get a face cloth from the bathroom and wipe it in the mirror.”

“Right,” you sigh, “Thanks,” you go to stand up but Jumin interrupts you.

“Before you do that – I have news,” he says, and you glance up at him, relaxing back into your seat.

“Okay,” You reply, and fold your hands in your lap as a show of patience. Jumin unbuttons his blazer and sits in an armchair. “We’ve successfully gotten enough evidence against Glam Choi,”

“That’s great news!” you smile.

“Yes, although I’m going to wait until the party to expose her schemes.”

You blink in confusion, “Why?” you ask.

“Because I want everyone to see – I don’t want anyone else to fall for her tricks.” He says, and it makes sense but –

            “As a result, I think it’s best if you remain here.” He finishes.

            For a moment, there’s silence.

You can’t quite understand the weight that’s anchored itself to the bottom of your stomach. This isn’t bad news, but it’s not what you want to hear. Jumin stands up and walks the short distance to the kitchen, taking out a glass and filling it with ice. 

“I can’t go back to the apartment?” you ask dumbly, looking over at him.

“I'll still be busy tying up any loose ends with this case, so I'd prefer it if you stayed with Elizabeth 3rd.” He says. 

You find yourself reaching for your phone before you fully understand what you're doing. Checking your message from over 5 hours ago, Seven still hasn't replied.

You squeeze your eyes shut. You can hear Jumin pouring liquid into the glass, the ice cubes clinking together, and then cracking under the water’s pressure.

Elly mews, and you turn to look at her. She rubs her face against your shoulder and then hops down from the sofa, curling up into your lap.

Inexplicably, you feel like crying.

Chapter Text

It’s two in the morning when your phone buzzes to life. Thankfully, Jumin’s bed has a charger near the headboard, so you were able to leave your phone on the corner of the mattress. You hope it was enough to muffle the vibrations so as to not wake up Jumin where he sleeps in the spare bedroom.

“Henlo,” you murmur, your face half pressed in the pillow.

“Hey,” you hear the reply, and your heart feels like its lodged its way up your throat.

“Seven,” you say, breathless. You rub your eyes in an effort to be more alert, and then sit up in bed.

There’s silence on the other end for a long time.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “Were you sleeping?”

“No,” you lie, “It’s fine, are you okay?”

You hear him laugh. “No,” he says, his voice small. “No, I’m not.”

“We can talk,” you think rapidly of what to discuss. “About anything you want, really.”

It's a long time before Seven speaks. “What did you do today?” He asks.

“I did some administrative stuff for Jaehee, Copied some notes.”

“Oh,” his voice sounds strange, as if he’s been crying. “I saw your texts, sorry—”

“It's okay, you have a lot on your plate, I'm sure!” You lie down again, tugging your blankets up to your chin. “I just hope it cheered you up a little bit.”

“Yeah,” he swallows, “it did.”

The both of you stay like that, listening to each other’s breathing. It's nice, you think, that Seven came to you for comfort.

“Seven?”

“Mm?”

“I, um, I missed you today.” You confess.

You hear him suck in a breath through his nose, “That’s—”

“I just hope you're okay.”

He sighs, “Thank you, I'm sorry I worried you. I had to do something so I couldn't use my phone.”

“Oh, Yoosung told me you went for a picnic.”

“Um,” he seems to hesitate in saying something, but the fact that he doesn't hang up in a hurry or make excuses means that it was something he wanted to tell you. Something about that was comforting.

“I've been looking into some things.” He tries.

“I'm guessing it's not a new fruit salad recipe for your picnic?”

You manage to get a laugh out of him, “No, not a recipe.”

“It's about the hacker, then?”

“You're quick.” He sighs.

“I had a feeling something was wrong, especially the way Yoosung talked to me yesterday.”

“He said something?”

“No, he just sounded worried, like you weren't telling him the whole story.” You turn onto your side, “that was before he had left to meet you for your trip, though. I've only talked to Jumin since then.”

Seven’s voice is hard when he speaks, “how's the situation with Jumin going?”

You swallow, “it's fine.”

“Doesn't sound like it.”

Biting your lip, you close your eyes. “You know they found out evidence to use against Glam Choi.”

“Yeah, I read through some chat logs. Are you still at his penthouse?”

“I'm not allowed to go back to the apartment.”

It's quiet, and the suddenness of it frightens you.

“Seven?” you swallow.

“There's something – I just,” he sighs long and hard. “I want to tell you, god, I’m just…”

“Take your time, I’m in no rush.” You say quietly.

He sounds like he has to force the words out of his mouth, “Okay, well, I had to talk to V when I was on my ’picnic’ okay?” his voice makes it sound like he wants you to follow along.

“Okay,” you don’t know why he's talking so fast suddenly.

“And there's this security measure I had to put into the apartment, and, I just, I didn’t know—” he makes some sort of frustrated noise and you hear something crash.

“Seven?”

“Sorry, I um,” his voice is tight, “my keyboard fell,” you can hear him breathing, and then after a moment of silence, you hear the barest hint of a sob.

“Seven!” You call him more urgently. “Talk to me, I'm here, what's wrong?” Your heart breaks when you hear his ragged breathing.

“I’m just an idiot, I’ve done such terrible things, and you're safer with Jumin than at the apartment but I don't want you to be there,”

“Oh,” you say, something warm gripping at your heart.

“I'm sorry, this is stupid, I shouldn't have said that—”

“Seven,” you murmur. “I told you, it's okay to be selfish.”

“It's not!” He raises his voice and lets out a harsh breath. “If things were different, maybe, but they're not. You’re with Jumin and I—”

“I'm not with anyone.” You say, frustrated. “If I could choose to be somewhere right now, it would be with you.”

“Don't say that, please,

“I'm not going to lie to you.” Your voice is low, almost trembling.

“I'm the one who put you in danger. You're in this situation because of me!” he explains, his voice agonized.

“I'm in this situation because I choose to be!” You shoot back.

“You don’t know what I saw…”

“Where? Saw what?” you ask, and Seven sighs.

“I’ll handle it, you’re exhausted, you should go back to sleep.” He dismisses you and your heart feels like it stops beating.

“Seven, wait—” you sit up again in a hurry, as if your physical motion would stop him from hanging up.

“Good night.” He says, and the line goes dead.

You pull your phone away from your ear, your chest throbbing painfully. You stay awake with the app open in your hand, staring out at the city lights on the horizon. You don’t think you should be feeling quite as terribly heartbroken over this as you do. It feels as if you’ve lost something significant, and somehow you end up crying.

You lose complete track of time until you hear footsteps from the hallway. Looking down at your phone, you see that it’s nearly four in the morning. Jumin rounds the corner as quietly as he can, walking into the kitchen. He glances over to make sure he hasn’t woken you, but notices you sitting up in bed.

“You’re awake.” He says, surprise coloring his voice. Elly sprints from the spare bedroom and jumps onto your bed in a flurry. Once she’s on the mattress, she approaches you with more hesitance, sniffing your hand before she rubs her head against it.

You hurriedly wipe away any lingering tears and Elly crawls into your lap, purring. “Yeah, I couldn’t sleep.” You say, and it’s not the entire truth but it isn’t a lie either. He retrieves a glass of water from the kitchen and stares at you from where the hallway begins. “You can join me, if you want.” You offer, since Elly is in your lap and you know you won’t be able to sleep anymore.

“Sorry to intrude,” he apologizes and you shake your head.

“You’re not, this is your bed.”

“Then I declare it to be your bed.”

You roll your eyes, scratching under Elly’s chin when she bumps your hand to continue petting her. Jumin takes a sip of his water and turns one of the armchairs to face the bed, sitting down quietly. He looks strange when he’s not in a suit, you note. You half expected him to be the type of person to wear a matching pajama set with a button up shirt but he’s wearing a plain grey t-shirt with black bottoms.

“You look casual,” you comment and he raises one of his eyebrows.

“They’re pajamas, I thought that was the definition of casual.”

“I just,” you smile, “Wasn’t expecting it.”

“You have expectations of my pajamas?” he looks particularly amused and you snort.

“You know what I mean.” You say, and you find Jumin’s teasing makes you feel a tiny bit better.

Jumin taps his finger on the side of his glass as he watches Elly purr in your arms.

“How do you do it?” he asks.

“Do what?”

“I’ve never seen her so affectionate before.” He admits.

“It’s my catnip deodorant.” You joke and Jumin rolls his eyes. “I don’t know,” you say honestly, “They say cats are pretty in tune with human emotions, maybe she’s trying to make me feel better.”

“Why? Are you upset?”

Shit. You didn’t mean to say that, and you know Jumin won’t let it slide now that you’ve said it.

“I’m just worried,” you shrug, going for nonchalant.

“Why?”

You’re still trying to figure out the appropriate way to bring it up with Jumin but you know you have to leave the penthouse. Judging by your phone call with Seven, you needed to do it today. There isn’t time to think anymore, you just have to be honest with Jumin.

“Seven called me.” You say and the immediate understanding in Jumin’s eyes makes you feel guilty. It doesn’t take much perception to know you and Seven are close.

“And something he said upset you?”

“It’s more like what he isn’t telling me.” You explain, “Yoosung had called me before you came back yesterday and he mentioned how Seven was acting suspicious.”

“Suspicious.” Jumin repeats, probably expecting clarification on what you mean.

“Yoosung told me Seven invited him for a picnic but that he thinks it was a front. I haven’t talked to Yoosung since before he left, but Seven sounded really upset on the phone just now, and I bet it has something to do with whatever happened yesterday.” You explain, and Elly jumps off the bed to go to her water dish.

Jumin sighs, watching Elly as she walks to the kitchen. “He’s so secretive, it’s ridiculous.”

“I know, but I think he’s trying to protect me.” You say, “I don’t want him to carry the burden alone, I want to help him – or figure out what’s bothering him at the very least.”

“Luciel is lucky to have someone who cares for him so much.”

You feel your face heat at the compliment and the insinuation of your affections for Seven. “I just…we just get along, and he, well,” you stutter, and it’s even more embarrassing to be unable to hold composure in front of someone like Jumin. “We’re alike, I think.”

“You’re not nearly as irritating.” Jumin counters and you snicker.

“I won’t tell Seven you find him irritating.”

“He knows, I’m sure.”

When Elly returns to the two of you, Jumin puts out his hand towards her. She sniffs it momentarily, nuzzling his hand, and then returns to the bed with you. Something in Jumin’s expression breaks and he looks down sadly.

“It’s too bad this is all happening now, Elizabeth 3rd loves your company.”

“You’re her owner Jumin, she’s just being friendly to the guests. She loves you.”

He shakes his head, “This is how it’s always been. I’m the type to be held at a distance. It’s the same with people.”

            You glance over at him from where he sits, city lights reflecting through the windows and glass fixtures around the penthouse. Strips of light frame your face and his. He looks gentler like this – and you wonder if it’s okay for you to ask him something you’ve wondered.

            “Is this about Rika?”

            Jumin purses his lips as he looks at you, and you notice his posture goes a bit more rigid. “I don’t know what you mean.” He says honestly, not defensively like you expected.

            “There’ve been some hints. When anyone mentioned Rika in the chats, I can tell you respected her and trusted her but,” you struggle to find the right words, “but you’re never self-deprecating unless you talk about her.”

            “She was my friend,” He sighs, crossing his legs. “That’s all she was meant to be.”

            “Why?” you ask, your eyes on him.

            Jumin’s eyes move down to the floor, his gaze following the city lights’ reflection on the carpet.

            “Jumin, you can talk to me.” You say, and you’re relieved when he looks up at you to give you a tentative smile.

            “I know,” he runs his hands through his hair, which is so unlike him that it surprises you. “I’m just thinking.”

            You’ve always admired the thoughtful quietness in Jumin.

            By no means do you want him to keep things buried; it’s just that you’ve always found that he always thinks things through before he speaks. When he does, it’s eloquent, and with purpose.

            It’s in this way that you two are the complete opposites of one another.

            “I wonder sometimes if I did everything I could have for her – for Rika,” he says. “She helped me and supported me in many ways, but she died so suddenly and I…” he trails off, and then remains silent.

            “You miss her.”

            He glances up at you, “I’m sorry,” you say hurriedly, “I shouldn’t have pried, it was rude—”

            “No, it’s just funny,” he says, “For some reason, I’m glad you noticed, that you told me you noticed.”

            “Why wouldn’t I? You’re my friend.”

            He smiles. “I suppose so.”

            “No Jumin, I declare you to be my friend.” You bring back his earlier dig at you.

            He snorts.

“You’re careful with who you let close,” you tell him, “I admire that about you. I think that’s your strength. When you’re close with someone, you trust them completely.”

He nods, his expression bewildered but happy. He glances at Elly, who is watching Jumin quietly with her blue eyes. When their gaze meets, she meows at him.

“Perhaps I’ve been trying to cope, in a way,” he says, “Trying to care for Elizabeth 3rd to distract myself,”

“From losing Rika?” You finish and he looks sad for a beat before he sighs, running his hand through his hair again.

“So you want to protect Luciel.” He changes the subject, looking up at you.

You nod.

“You should call Yoosung first. Ask him what happened, see if he’ll give you Luciel’s address.” He stands up from his chair and gives you a gentle smile, “If so, I’ll ask Driver Kim to take you.”

You break out in a smile, too. “Jumin…thank you.”

 


 

You give up on falling back asleep, deciding you may as well sleep in the car on your way to Seven’s later. Jumin insists you eat breakfast with him before you leave, and so you take a shower and change into clothes more comfortable for travel. When you make your way back into the kitchen, Jumin is talking to an employee at the door whose arrived with breakfast.

Your phone vibrates in your pocket and you pull it out, answering.

“Hello?”

“Good morning! Did I wake you?” Yoosung asks.

“Yoosung! I’m so glad you called.”

“Y-you are?” Yoosung sounds pleased.

“Yes, do you have Seven’s address?”

Yoosung takes a moment to process what you’ve said and then he makes a noise that sounds uncertain. “I do, but why are you asking?”

“I want to go see him.”

“E-eh? Go to Seven’s house? But he’s a mess right now!”

“He called me this morning, he was really upset. Something happened while you were out with him, right?” you ask.

He sighs, “Yes but…”

“I want to help him, Yoosung. Please.” you know you're begging but you need him to understand. If you don't get the address and see him, you're scared Seven will completely shut you out.

He thinks for a moment, and then murmurs, “Don’t tell him I told you this,”

“Of course,” you breathe out a sigh of relief.

“I knew right away he was lying to me about the picnic, and he gave that up pretty quick – especially after I told him I suspected it was about the hacker.”

“And he didn’t deny it?”

“No, he admitted we were going to the building he’s been keeping an eye on. While we were there, a guy showed up and Seven just started freaking out.”

“Just like that?” you have trouble imagining it without feeling a pang in your chest.

“Yeah he was babbling to himself the whole car ride back, he wouldn’t tell me who it was but he knew him. He took me home and he won’t answer my messages.”

“I’m going to eat breakfast and then I’m getting a drive to Seven’s place. Can you text me the address?”

“I will, but please promise me you’ll stay safe. If Seven doesn’t know you’re coming, you may have a hard time getting in.” Yoosung explains, and then sounds a bit more excited when he continues, “Call him when you get there, that way he’ll have no choice but to let you come inside instead of turning you away.”

“Smartie pants Yoosung! Okay, I’ll do that. Thank you. Remember to eat your breakfast, too.”

“Thank you! I will, and please let me know when you get there. I’ll be waiting for good news.”

Chapter Text

“We’re here,” a voice interrupts your brief slumber in the back of the car. When you open your eyes, Driver Kim is facing you, his sunglasses hiding his stare. You breathe deeply, sitting up and looking out the window.

“This is,” you look out at the wooded area. “A forest.”

“The bunker is up this trail,” he points to a clearing in the trees, “You’ll have to walk up the driveway.”

“Is it under surveillance?” you ask, gathering your coat and backpack.

“It’s hard to say. Mr. Han did warn me, however, that your associate would probably not recognize this car so…”

“Yeah, I love that boy but he seriously doesn’t trust anyone,” you nod quickly and tie your boots, but freeze up once you realize what you’ve said.

Driver Kim doesn’t say anything in reply for a moment, just stares at you – as professional as ever.

“Thanks for the ride, I’ll get going.” You rush to get out.

“Here,” he hands you a bottle of water and you raise a brow.

“Mr. Han told me to keep you hydrated.”

You’re still too tired to think the gesture is funny, so you take the plastic bottle without comment and exit the back seat.

“Oh, don’t forget this,” Driver Kim gives you a handful of granola bars and it’s so utterly, typically, hilariously Jumin that you can’t find it within yourself to be surprised anymore.  You sigh, “Drive safe, I’ve got my phone if something comes up.”

“I’ll let the boss know. Good luck.”

“Hey,” you say before you close the door and he looks at you. “How…thorough is your report.”

“Word for word.” He says and you laugh. Shit. You’ve really done it. And Driver Kim isn’t giving you the chance to back out now.

“Well, you’re the professional, so.” You give him a wave and you swear you see him crack a smile.

With that, you shut the door and Driver Kim leaves you at the end of Seven’s driveway. You take a drink of water and put the granola bars into your backpack, setting off down the trail. The driveway itself isn’t very long – you walk about three minutes before it takes a sharp turn to the left, and then it opens up to a clearing with a well-hidden bunker in the middle. Shrubbery and trees line the edge of the driveway, their color muted from the sky being so overcast.

You check the time and realize it’s nearly 2PM.

You walk up to the building and see a small alcove surrounded by vines. Upon closer inspection, you notice a familiar rectangular seam along the wall that indicates a heavy door. Next to it is a keypad, a doorbell, and a black camera that looks like it belongs in a department store. You ring the doorbell and wait.

Enough time passes that you start to feel anxious about how long you’ve waited for a response. You press the doorbell again and look down at the keypad helplessly, unwilling to press any buttons but wishing you knew what to do next.

A speaker crackles to life and you hear Seven, you hear him.

“I should never have given Yoosung my address,” he grumbles and you look up at the camera.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was coming but I knew you would’ve been angry.” You say.

“Who’s to say I’m not angry now?” he asks, his voice tight. You hear him sigh, “Is Jumin with you?”

You clench your fists, “No.”

“So babysitting duty is on me, then?” he asks and you know he’s doing it to piss you off – to push you away, but you refuse to let it work.

“I don’t think the one being babysat is responsible for her own transportation to and from different babysitters.” You try for levity.

“Kids are getting smarter these days, pretty soon they’ll all be able to take care of themselves. You’ll see.” He responds easy. You wonder if he’s practiced this scenario in his head.

You feel like this is the worst kind of torture – being mere walls away from Seven, but unable to see him or help him. At the same time, you know this may be his last line of defense before he breaks down and tells you the truth.

You need him to trust you.

Seven is still blabbering on about kids in this age, and technology nowadays when you interrupt him.

“I told Driver Kim that I’m in love with you,” you blurt.

The line goes quiet and you wonder if he’s left. You push on regardless.

“When you called me,” you close your eyes, “I knew I had to see you, I had to.” You look up at the camera again, “Jumin is my friend so I stayed for his sake but he doesn’t need me anymore. I never felt comfortable at the C & R building, I was counting down the hours before I could go back to the apartment and feel close to you again.”

You realize midsentence how embarrassing you sound but it’s too late to give up, “I know something happened when you asked Yoosung for his help, and I’m here because I want to be. I was worried about you and, and – I’m not leaving until you open the door.” Belatedly you notice the tears that threaten to spill from your eyes so you wipe them hurriedly and look down at your feet.

The speaker crackles and then it goes dead, and for a moment, your heart sinks into the pit of your stomach. But then the door makes a hissing sound as it opens, and you scramble over to it. You pull the heavy metal back so you can walk through and into the building, your head pounding. A dark hallway stretches in front of you, illuminated by the light of the outside. Once you’re in, the door seals behind you and you have no choice but to go forward.

Your breathing is louder like this, and the only thing you’re able to concentrate on is the steady rhythm of your heartbeat hammering away in your chest.

You see another door open ahead, and Seven is stepping into the hallway too and belatedly – you realize he’s running to you. You slow your pace so that he doesn’t knock you over when he reaches you, because his arms are around you in an instant and his breathing is coming out hard, brushing against your neck until you feel chills. It’s so dark in the hall, you can barely see him.

“You scared me, you know that?” he blubbers, squeezing you to him.

“I’m sorry,” you say, your voice muffled as you press your mouth to the fabric of his sweater.

He pulls back gently, and you can feel him still breathing hard.

“I just…” he holds your hands gently, trying to steady himself.

“Seven, I’m with you.” You say, and you hope it sounds like as much of a promise as it feels. “I don’t want to be anywhere else but here.”

“It’s dangerous, and I…”

“So? God Seven will protect me.” You say, and he lets out a laugh that sounds suspiciously emotional.

He hugs you to him again, and nothing in your life has ever felt this right. 


 

He tells you everything. Spares no expense, either – about his brother, about Mint Eye, about V, and about all the things he feels like he’s kept to himself for a century.

You hold his hand, and he lets you. It feels strange, as if in another life, he would’ve been crueler to make you walk away. But you’d almost lost each other, and you feel like he knows it as well as you do. If you hadn’t corrected your course and left the penthouse, things would’ve ended up differently.

He leads you around the bunker, showing you around with an openness that makes your heart fit to burst. His groceries are sparse, but the two of you manage to scrounge up enough ingredients for some decent omelets. You sit on the sofa and talk well into the evening, though you make sure to spare a moment and text Jumin that you’re fine, and that you’re going to stay with Seven. In the morning, you’re going to find Saeran together – and this feels like a brief reprieve before the two of you have to face reality.

“Yoosung was worried,” you say later, your head resting on the back of the sofa. He’s sitting cross-legged in front of you, his sweater in your lap for warmth. You can see a decryption program running on Seven’s computer monitor over his shoulder.

“I didn’t mean to scare anyone. You included.” He says. He tentatively reaches out a finger to run down the inside of your forearm in a gesture you can only describe as wonderment. You swallow thickly, thrilled that he’s allowing himself to touch you, and terrified of him pulling away.

Seven seems to sense that he’s making you uncomfortable, and so he starts to draw back, but you take his wrist gently. You don’t know what to say – you’ve never been good at confronting something so personal and intimate. He knows how you feel, you blurted it out loud enough for Jesus of Nazareth to hear.

“You don’t scare me,” you try to say, though your voice comes out small. You hope he doesn’t take your shyness for fear, because it’s far from fear. You feel a want for him so deep in your bones you don’t know how to describe it. Since when has it been this way?

“I heard a rumor,” he says, his voice just as quiet. He looks down at your mouth and you feel like you might die. He licks his lips and continues, “that you’re in love with me.”

You try to steady your breathing but it’s no use. You feel like a besotted young lady in a period drama with the way your chest is heaving.

“It’s not just a rumor.” You murmur and he smiles. “Seven,” you say, too exhausted to fight it now. “If you don’t kiss me right now –”

He leans forward and presses his mouth to yours with no hesitation. It’s gentle though, far more gentle for two people who’ve been dancing around this inevitable thing for what seems like ages. His mouth is soft against yours, but insistent and warm. Your fingers ghost over his biceps, holding onto him as he threads his fingers through your hair.

When he pulls back, you chase him and he laughs. Something free and young and enamoured – he lets you kiss him again. You know with absolute certainty that this is where you’re meant to be.

 

He catches his fingers with yours, and both your paths are entwined.