I was about to close my eyes and feel more of the music when I heard my phone buzz, and when I checked the message, I smiled and ran to grab a ribbon, a card, and a box. I scribbled a letter, packaged my gift, and headed outside.
"Good evening... Here to pick up your package, sir," the courier says as I hand him the package.
"Thank you, please handle it with care; it's for someone's birthday," I said, beaming as the guy double-checked the recipient's name and address.
"To Kim Taehyung-ssi... Alright, sir, I got it; it'll be brought to him first thing in the morning."
"Great... Also— if he ever asks who it came from," I pause as I pull a few paper bills from my pocket, giving them over to the guy who took it with a knowing smile on his face. "It's a secret. Okay, sir, I understand. Thanks." He said, winking at me as he walked away.
Back in my room, I began cleaning up my desk, taking each strand of the precious 'thread' I hadn't gotten to use, carefully winding it around the wooden spool.
"I hope he likes our present...+
—Thank you, Kang Nari-ssi," I muttered gratefully, placing the spool of Nari's hair in front of her portrait, lined up in a row with the rest of my 'exes', here at the modest altar I built to remember the bitter love we all once shared before.
[END OF SOMEONE'S POV]
[You can play this as you read.]
It has been said that a kiss is a ruse devised by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
Taehyung now thinks that no amount of words will suffice to express his true feelings towards Jeongguk; he just loves him so much, he fears that 'his' kind of love would turn out to be poisonous.
Jeongguk is just here; their bodies are flushed together, lips pressed against each other, tongues inside each other's mouths, but Taehyung is still wondering if there's any other way for them to become closer—+
with that thought, he began to question himself; why does he crave so much love that it would be a lie to say he's not willing to die for it? —He is.
It's absolutely terrifying, but it's true, Taehyung meant it when he said that he feels like he wouldn't be able to survive again without Jeongguk. It's as if he's met his person, his other half, +
and that if he loses Jeongguk again, his existence would be nothing but hollow.
It's easy to lecture others on how to love; don't do this, don't do that, do not, do not, do not love someone too much.
Is there even a proper way to love? If so, then who made the rules? Are those rules absolute? Seriously, who gave anyone the right to judge another person based on how they love?
‘That kind of love is toxic.’
‘It's not right.’
‘You should love yourself first more than anything or anyone.’
Yes, yes, yes. Those are absolutely right, but would it really be so wrong otherwise?
He begins to question if the love he has for Jeongguk is the same as that of a psychopath: the sort that is so engulfed in greed that it destroys everything—the kind of love that kills. +
Since he woke up from his coma, Taehyung had that constant fear of him becoming like that lunatic, he's asking himself if it's even possible for him to ever move on from this.
Taehyung is just too in love that he fears so much— still, he couldn't get enough.
No matter how many times Jeongguk assures him that he is the only one he loves, his fear causes Taehyung to have doubts.
"W-wait..." Taehyung withdraws from the kiss as Jeongguk chases his lips, groaning when Taehyung detaches himself from him.
"Why?" Jeongguk asks, his brows furrowed, clearly displeased after being interrupted.
Taehyung pauses, huffing out a heavy sigh, cupping Jeongguk's face. "Tell me again, do you love me?" Taehyung asks, yanking his head back when Jeongguk hisses, lunging forward to claim his lips and shut him up.+
"Come on, Jeongguk, just answer me... Do you love me?" Taehyung asks again, noting how Jeongguk clenches his jaw and tightens his grasp on Taehyung's waist
"You know, I'm starting to find it incredibly insulting that you keep asking me this... You can take my heart out right now and you'll probably see your name engraved on it," Jeongguk says, removing Taehyung's hands off him so he can hold the latter's face himself.+
"I love you... Seriously, how many times do I have to say it for you to believe me?" Jeongguk pleads, looking Taehyung straight in the eyes.
"T-then..." Taehyung's voice rattles, his eyes open wide, lips quivering as he speaks. "H-how much? How much do you love me?"
"A lot." Jeongguk replies in a heartbeat.
"Really? Then what about that woman? She kept touching you earlier," Taehyung says, clutching Jeongguk's arm, recalling how Akiko touched Jeongguk earlier on the same spot he's holding right now.+
"Here... She touched you here," Taehyung continues, shifting his gaze from Jeongguk's arm to the latter's eyes.
"Tae, we— we've talked about this... Akiko—"
"Please don't say her name... I don't want to hear it," Taehyung says, turning away from Jeongguk, feeling guilty and ashamed for acting this way after Jeongguk has done so much for him today.
He has no clue why he's even talking about Akiko right now; it's as though the more Jeongguk makes him feel loved, the more Taehyung recalls how Jeongguk once touched that woman.
"In your songs— you said almost all of it was about me, but she's the one in every music video you release... I—" Taehyung pauses, realizing he's definitely not making sense and he probably looks insane right now for even bringing up this matter again.+
"S-sorry... Forget it. I guess we should just call it a night," Taehyung says, massaging the bridge of his nose, about to walk away when Jeongguk pulls him back once more.
"See? This is exactly the reason why I didn’t want you in this project. Aki— *sigh* That woman is signed with our label. I never chose her, but she has a contract with us that'll be active until next year." Jeongguk says+
as he brings them to the couch, pulling Taehyung on his lap. "She was already popular back when B-side was still starting. She's friends with the rest of the band, and she promised to promote us provided we sign a contract,+
allowing her to feature in the music videos for our title tracks... It was a win-win situation for us at the time. She'll always have a new project with us,+
and B-side will benefit from her fans." Jeongguk calmly explains as he wraps his arms around Taehyung's waist, pressing the latter's back against his chest.
"I-I said forget it... You don't need to explain; I'm already embarrassed enough for being upset about something as insignificant as this," Taehyung says, his hands now covering his flushed face.
"I know seeing what I did with her before is a memory you'll never forget—"
"Stop. Let's not talk about it anymore. sh¡t... I just did, I know... I'm the one who brought it up, but can we just drop it now? I really can't understand myself, Jeongguk," Taehyung says, +
leaning his weight onto Jeongguk, resting the back of his head on the latter's shoulder, his hands still covering his face out of shame.
"I really wish I could turn back time to undo the things I've done... I regret that to this day— but believe me Tae, if I was in my right mind that night, I wouldn't— g-god... I wouldn't have ever done that,+
because from then till now, it's just you that I love," Jeongguk says as he gently removes Taehyung’s hands from the latter's face, caressing his cheek, turning Taehyung towards him.
From there, as Jeongguk stares intently at him, Taehyung found himself calming down, drowning in Jeongguk's eyes again.
"If you don't want her in this project, just say it... It's no big deal, I can just pay the fines—"
"No." Taehyung shuts Jeongguk up with a soft peck on the lips. "I believe you..." Taehyung says, releasing a sigh, immediately feeling more guilty knowing he's still unsure if he meant what he just said. "I really want to." Taehyung relents, deciding to just confess.
"She's really pretty... She smells nice— earlier, she was wearing the type of perfume you like..."
"Hey." Jeongguk interrupts Taehyung as he softly nuzzles his face against the crook of the latter's neck. +
"You smell divine, baby. You smell like me, so your scent is my favorite." Jeongguk says, realizing that he shouldn't really have been surprised that Taehyung's acting this way now, because even back then five years ago, he's known Taehyung to be the 'petty' jealous type.
"I should really stop talking... I'm a grown ass man who just turned 30 for fck's sake..." Taehyung sighed deeply once again, knowing how foolish it is for him to be worried about such things at a time like this.
"You can point out everything you think is nice about her and I would still say that you're better— the best..." Jeongguk says, now softly pressing his lips against Taehyung's cheek. "She won't ever compare... To me, you're already the best."
"I'm sorry... I know I shouldn’t be this greedy for you... This kind of thing— it's smothering isn't it?" Taehyung asks, closing his eyes as Jeongguk's kisses slide down to his neck, making him tilt his head to the side to give the latter more access.
"Perhaps to some, but not to me... Call me toxic, but I kinda like you getting all possessive towards me— the only thing I don't like about it is you getting hurt as a result of it." Jeongguk whispers against Taehyung's skin,+
feeling Taehyung's fingers rake through his hair, drawing him even closer to him.
"I wonder when I'll be mature enough not to be like this..." Taehyung says, making Jeongguk chuckle as he continues to kiss him all over his neck.
"Pfft... Maturity doesn't make one less jealous, baby... All it does is make you more dishonest about your feelings... If you ask me, each of us is petty, it's just a matter of whether we let it show or not,+
and as for me, I'd rather you be honest with me," Jeongguk says, raising his face, lovingly rubbing the tip of his nose against Taehyung.
[You can play this as you read.]
Never tear us apart
"Then, can we resume what we're going to do before petty me decided to ruin the mood?" Taehyung asks, mentally chastising himself for swiftly flipping from hot to cold to hot again towards Jeongguk.
"You still want to, hmm?" Jeongguk asks, yet his sneaky fingers are already undoing the buttons of Taehyung's shirt.
"If you'd still take me, then yes..." Taehyung replies, leaning his head back as his shirt falls completely open to his sides while Jeongguk's free hand caresses his inner thigh.
"You know... I find it amusing how you seem incapable of believing that only you could drive me insane... You don't look human to me, Taehyung... You're like a deity sent from above," Jeongguk pauses as he moves his shoulder up, causing Taehyung's head to fall forward, +
allowing the latter to see both of their reflections in the full-body mirror in front of the couch. "Touching you like this feels like a sin," Jeongguk says, glancing at their reflections before undoing Taehyung's pants, +
causing Taehyung to reflexively raise his hips up, enabling Jeongguk to pull it and his underwear down, leaving his bottom half completely naked.
"If it feels like a sin, why do you still touch me then?" Taehyung asks, letting Jeongguk to part his thighs wide open, hooking his legs on both of Jeongguk's sides.
"Mhm... I'm not sure— maybe I've always been the rebellious type," Jeongguk says, his eyes now fixed on Taehyung's image in the mirror, adoring the sight of Taehyung sitting on his lap while he's rubbing his palms over Taehyung's thighs.
"Bet everyone would die to be in my place right now.. Have a guy as stunning as you sprawled over their lap, legs spread apart... You can drive anyone mad." Jeongguk says, one of his hands sliding up, cupping Taehyung's breast, feeling the latter's nipple harden against his palm.
"I'm tired, Jeongguk... I feel like I've gone from scared to angry then horny— and that's way too many emotions someone like me can handle in a day." Taehyung says, closing his eyes again as Jeongguk's hands continue to roam all over his body.
"You can just be horny right now, baby... I'll take care of the rest," Jeongguk murmurs, snuggling his face against Taehyung's neck, now more eager to make Taehyung feel better and remove any doubts from the latter's head.
"All I want is you—always it's been just you," Jeongguk whispers into Taehyung's ear, his hand now palming Taehyung's half-hard cock, prompting the latter to whimper quietly.
"Nngh... Really? Why?" Taehyung asks, licking and biting his lower lip when Jeongguk wraps his hand around his shaft, slowly stroking it up and down, making him squirm on Jeongguk's lap.
"You're so pretty— unbelievably pretty... I feel so lucky." Jeongguk says, catching some of Taehyung's seeping cumin on his palm before placing his hand in front of Taehyung's mouth.+
"Lick... I want to see you taste yourself, baby," Jeongguk commands, his gaze fixed on Taehyung, who yields almost instantly, flattening his tongue on his hand.
"H-hah... Fcking hell..." Jeongguk hisses as Taehyung licks his palm again, then sucks on his fingers, humming as he coated Jeongguk's digits with his spit. "God... How can anyone possibly compare, mhm? +
Just look at you— yes, yes... You're every man's fantasy, baby... Lucky me, you're my reality," Jeongguk rambles, his c0ck twitching inside his pants at the sight of Taehyung sucking his fingers.
Jeongguk's praises then made Taehyung more eager to do more, swirling his tongue around Jeongguk's fingers, his eyes drunk, drool sliding down his chin while Jeongguk's free hand teases his nipple, flicking it over and over, making Taehyung feel more tender.
"Now, now... I think that's enough." Jeongguk says, withdrawing his fingers out of Taehyung's mouth, getting more and more impatient. He then took Taehyung's hand, bringing it together with his towards the latter's entrance. +
"Need you to do something for me, baby..."
"W-what?" Taehyung asks, whimpering as Jeongguk rubs his spit coated digits all over his own, then using their index fingers prodding it against Taehyung's rim.
"Mhm... Nothing much... Try to keep your eyes open... I want you to see yourself, baby... See how I see you, and maybe then you'll stop doubting how I feel about you," Jeongguk says, +
hissing again as he pushed his and Taehyung's fingers inside the latter, causing Taehyung to throw his head back with a breathless moan, feeling both himself and Jeongguk inside his hole.
"O-oh god..." Taehyung breathes out, moaning loudly when Jeongguk's free hand once again plays with his nipple.
"Can you feel that, mhm? You're so tight— so soft and hot inside... How could I not lose my mind?" Jeongguk continued to tease, guiding Taehyung's finger towards that sensitive spot he knew Taehyung would like.
"T-this... Nnghh... This is so embarrassing... I don't— nngh... F-fck!" Taehyung cries as Jeongguk presses their fingers squarely on his prostate, causing him to leak more precu:m, his hips stuttering, seeking more of that unbridled feeling.
"There, there... Remember this place well, okay?" Jeongguk says, letting their joined fingers move in sync, now sliding in and out of Taehyung, all while he's feasting his eyes on Taehyung's reflection in the mirror, +
legs splayed wide apart, cheeks flushed, likewise gazing at himself and Jeongguk.
"This is where we become one... Here in this spot— I'm the only one allowed, got it?" Jeongguk groans,+
burrowing in deeper, sweating as he pushes his finger faster and harder into Taehyung, causing Taehyung's thoughts to go blank, +
coughing out one high pitched moan after another. He tried to keep his eyes open since Jeongguk told him to, but he couldn't; the stimulation was just too much for him, so he had to close his eyes and drown in it—be consumed by it.
Taehyung can't even remember the last time he touched himself, and he never imagined doing it with Jeongguk in this way, as that thought of it makes him feel incredibly ashamed—+
yet he doesn't seem to care right now. He's feeling so good that he doesn't give a fck whether he appears brazen.
Taehyung is pretty much gone in a few minutes; he has no idea what's going on or even when Jeongguk pulled out of him, leaving him masturbating by himself in front of Jeongguk. +
At one point, Taehyung felt himself getting moved from Jeongguk's lap to the couch, the latter lying him carefully on his back; Taehyung kept his legs spread apart, his index finger still inside his hole, abusing his prostate more and more.
"S-sh¡t..." Jeongguk lets out an impatient whistle, hastily yanking down his own trousers and wildly pumping his c0ck as he kneels on the couch, taking in the sight of Taehyung mindlessly drowning in pleasure.
"So pretty... It's laughable how you still have the audacity to compare yourself to others who aren't even remotely close to your beauty." Jeongguk grunts, wrapping his other hand around Taehyung's ankle,+
brushing his lips over the latter's curled toes, breathing heavily as he watches Taehyung finger himself, arching his back, screaming Jeongguk's name and other obscenities.
"S-so good.... Nngh... Feels so good, Jeongguk..." Taehyung babbles nearly incoherently, already floating in another headspace, sweet tears flowing down his cheeks, allowing the pleasure he's feeling to dissolve all his unspoken fears.+
With his dazed eyes, he noticed Jeongguk staring intensely at him—and weirdly, instead of shying away, it made him more hungry—more eager so Jeongguk would keep looking at him this way.
"Yes... You're doing good, love... So good." Jeongguk says, using his free hand to push Taehyung's hips up that the latter's knees are almost touching his own stomach. +
"We didn't get to unpack yet, I got no lube, so let's use something else to keep you wet." Jeongguk says, hungrily eyeing Taehyung's finger in the latter's throbbing hole.
"N-no... No, if you do that—if you do that, it would be too much... Nngh... I can't— A-ahhh!" Taehyung lets out another broken scream as Jeongguk flicks his tongue over the base of his index finger,+
then laps it sensuously over his rim, bringing more pleasure to what is already devouring him.
With the spit coming from Jeongguk's tongue, Taehyung then continued to finger himself, even adding another digit in, loosening his hole more, +
creating more room for Jeongguk to slide his tongue in, and when Jeongguk did, Taehyung immediately saw stars, screaming as Jeongguk slithers his tongue deeper and deeper inside of him, licking his insides clean.
"Ahh— ahhhh... S-stop... Nngh— too good... F-feels so good... I don't wanna-...*gasp! *" It's too late, Taehyung tried to protest but it's too late, he's already coming undone,+
his load squirting up like thin webs in the air, some of it landing on his own face, sliding inside his parted mouth, making him taste himself.
"H-hah... Crazy— this, nngh... Seriously fcking crazy." Jeongguk scoffs in utter disbelief, his mind muddled with lust, he couldn't get himself to stop.+
He yanked Taehyung's hand off of the latter, squeezing both of Taehyung's a:ss cheeks, spreading it wide, his whole body trembling as he lined his tip on Taehyung's still twitching entrance.
"F-forgive me..." Jeongguk says, grunting as he leaned down, pressing his weight on top of Taehyung, licking some of the c:um on the latter's face. "If this isn't me going crazy for you, then I wouldn't know what to do anymore. +
I'm seriously at my limit now, Taehyung." Jeongguk says, laboriously breathing into Taehyung's mouth, hissing as Taehyung grabs his face, then pushes his hair back.+
"Do it... Nngh... Prove it— it's still my birthday today, so fck me like you mean it," Taehyung urges, bringing his hand to his mouth, licking it, then sliding it down between their pressed bodies, +
wrapping his wet palm around Jeongguk's shaft, pushing the tip even more against his entrance.
"Seriously, you... Hah— you know I'll always mean it." Jeongguk sighs defeatedly, smirking as he shakes his head slightly before dropping his hips and sliding his c0ck inside Taehyung, going bit by bit. +
"A-ahhhh..." Taehyung shuddered, feeling his c0ck harden again as Jeongguk's length split him open.
"S-shit... You're still too tight— pardon me..." Jeongguk's voice rattles as he fights to go any farther; he spat on his hand and put more spit on the base of his shaft before snapping his hips roughly, +
causing the couch they're on to skid forward. "I've just run out of patience," Jeongguk groans, completely plunging his c0ck inside Taehyung.
"F-fck!" Taehyung then screams once again, his nails scratching the skin of Jeongguk's back. "D-don't... Nnghh... I'll fck you myself if you stop now..." Taehyung warns when Jeongguk pauses upon entering him.
"Pfft... I'm not opposed to that— but fine, it's not like I can stop myself either." Jeongguk responds with a breathless chuckle, squeezing the back of Taehyung's thighs and holding them up as he starts moving again, +
pounding into Taehyung hard and deep, raving at the sinful sound of Taehyung's broken screams.
Taehyung is too wasted in pleasure to say anything at this point; he's simply moaning, screaming, and even sobbing as Jeongguk continues to slide his c0ck in and out of him. +
He feels weightless, his legs caught on Jeongguk's arms, feet dangling in the air, one hand gripping the back rest of the couch, the other almost touching the floor, swaying back and forth while Jeongguk fcks him like he's his own toy.
This — this is exactly what Taehyung meant when he said that Jeongguk is the only one who can empty his thoughts.
"Nnngh... Look," Jeongguk says, dropping one of Taehyung's legs to grab Taehyung's face, turning his head to the side, making him look in the mirror once more.
"S-see? Nngh... See how I fck you, baby? Is this what you want?— I'm doing good, right?" Jeongguk asks, his gaze riveted on the mirror.
"Y-yes.. Nngh... Yes— the best..." Taehyung exclaims, oblivious to the fact that he's already smiling since he's entered a different headspace.
Taehyung quivered at some point—he could have came again, he doesn't know. Jeongguk's shaft has probably been inside his hole for about an hour already; they're kissing now, tongues dancing inside each other's mouths, until Jeongguk pulls back.
"I— nngh... I didn't get to sing you happy birthday..." Jeongguk says, glancing at the table, the already gone candles on Taehyung's untouched strawberry shortcake.
"F-fck... Seriously? Ahhh... You're thinking about that now?" Taehyyng exclaims, grabbing Jeongguk by the nape, wanting to smash their lips together again, yet Jeongguk resisted. +
"But it's still your birthday, baby..." Jeongguk says, his hips grinding slower this time, causing Taehyung's eyes to roll back, feeling Jeongguk's shaft throb feverishly inside him.
"A-ahh... F-fcking sing it then... J-just do it quickly... I feel like I'm going to pass out if you don't finish in the next minute," Taehyung says, grabbing a fistful of Jeongguk's hair, pulling it hard, showing the latter that he meant what he just said.
"O-okay... Okay— here we go... Nngh..." Jeongguk grunts as he pulls himself up, placing his hands on Taehyung's waist, lifting the latter's hips to a more comfortable angle for both of them.+
"H-happy birthday... Nghh... To you..." Jeongguk began to sing, snapping his hips, fcking Taehyung slow yet deep.
"Nnngh... Yes... G-god... H-happy birthday t-to me, indeed."
"Pfft... Happy— h-hah... Happy birthday, to you..." Jeongguk giggles, his eyes fixed on Taehyung, who shifts his head to the side, staring at their reflections in the mirror again.
"Nngh... H-happy birthday— my dear, Taehyung..." Jeongguk kept singing, tightening his grip on Taehyung's waist, now thrusting a little faster, sensing his impending release at any second.
"Happy birth— ah—aahhh!" Jeongguk let out a loud moan, throwing his head back as he came undone, riding his orgasm at a steady pace, letting Taehyung stroke his own cock. "-day... To you..." +
Jeongguk ended his song with Taehyung cumming for the third time, spilling his now almost clear load all over his stomach.
"I love you..." Jeongguk said as he slumped on top of Taehyung, kissing him slowly and passionately as they came down from their high.
"Pfft... You really sang," Taehyung laughs, wincing slightly when Jeongguk pulls out of him.
"That, I did... How was it? Are you feeling better now?" Jeongguk asks, running his fingers over Taehyung's damp long hair.
"I am... Thank you." Taehyung says, smiling sweetly at Jeongguk, closing his eyes when the latter leaned in and kissed his forehead. "Anything for you... I love you." Jeongguk says again as he gets up. +
"Stay here, I'll get something to clean us up." Jeongguk says, walking towards the bathroom in all his damn sexy naked glory.
While waiting, Taehyung turned to his side, looking at himself in the mirror again, his body glistening with sweat, his cheeks flushed red, his long hair a mess, yet he somehow feels his most beautiful this way.
"Pfft... I can't believe he really sang me happy birthday," Taehyung laughs to himself as he prepares to sit up when his gaze is drawn to the edge of a piece of paper under the couch.
010-xxx-xxx7 Call me when you see this. -HJ.
"HJ?" Taehyung muttered under his breath as he read the strange note that had someone's phone number. "Could it be... H-Hyun-Jung?" he wonders. +
He's not sure why, but as he heard Jeongguk's footsteps coming, he crumpled the paper and hid it in his hand.
"What's that? Did you say something, baby?" Jeongguk asks, walking towards Taehyung with two clean towels in his hands.
"N-no... No I didn’t." Taehyung answers, smiling at Jeongguk as he stands, taking one of the towels from Jeongguk. "I'll shower first, okay?" Taehyung adds, pressing a kiss on Jeongguk's cheek before he walks away.
[You can play this as you read.]
Dont hurt yourself (inst.)
It's now 6 a.m in the morning and Hyun-Jung didn't get any sleep again. He's been keeping his lines open, but he still hasn't heard back from Taehyung yet. He could probably wait a few more days if he hadn't been feeling on the edge,+
but he can't stay idle any longer, knowing that he's already walking half-dead now that he's back here in Seoul.
Aware of Taehyung's usual schedule, Hyun-Jung decided to make a move once more; keeping his head down and his face hidden, he crept into Taehyung's apartment building to leave a new note in case the first one was lost.
He was about to walk into the building when he ran into someone who was also going to enter. "Ah, sh¡t— watch where you're going, man! Look what you just did! What if the item got damaged, +
are you going to pay for it?" shouts the person in a courier company uniform as Hyun-Jung bends down, taking in the contents of the box that the other guy just dropped.
"S-sorry... I'm in a hurry—" Hyun-Jung wasn't able to finish what he was about to say when he held the silk robe as well as the card that also fell from the box.
'Happy birthday, my Taehyung. I hope you like my gift. I made it with love.'— Hyun-Jung silently read the note, immediately recognizing the handwriting.
"Hey, sir! Can you give that back to me now?" the courier asks, visibly irritated because Hyun-Jung is still holding the package with horror written all over his face.
"H-hah... No. This is for Kim Taehyung, right? That's me." Hyun-Jung lies, wanting to inspect the package more before he decides if he'll give it to Taehyung or not.
"O-oh, you're Kim Taehyung-ssi? Sorry, but can I see an I.D?" the courier asks, still a bit skeptical about letting go of the rather expensive looking item and box.
"I just got back from a jog, my i.d. is upstairs, apartment 423; you can come with me if you like," Hyun-Jung replies calmly, citing Taehyung's apartment number to seem more convincing, hoping the guy would take the bait.
"*Sigh* No need, sir," says the guy, pausing to verify the address on his files. "Please sign this, I have other things to take care of after this," he continues, handing Hyun-Jung the documents to sign.
"Thanks," Hyun-Jung says, hastily signing the receipt before entering the building and carrying the parcel with him.
Once inside, Hyun-Jung slid under the staircase, hiding, before pulling the note from the package again.+
"Stupid b:astard. Is he really going to expose that he's from S.I?" Hyun-Jung says, clicking his tongue in annoyance upon noticing the S.I logo printed at the bottom of the paper used by the sender.
[You can play this as you read.]
Fear really has the power to make anyone do stupid things.
Taehyung isn't sure why he kept the note he discovered under the couch from Jeongguk,
but he doesn't really want to involve Jeongguk in anything potentially dangerous again, especially when going up against the psychopath is already perilous.
Is Hyun-Jung even a threat? — At least, Jeongguk thinks he is, and Taehyung believes that if he informs Jeongguk about the note, Jeongguk's first inclination would be to turn it over to the police. Taehyung, on the other hand, cannot let it happen—at least not now.
Two things actually, the first reason is that Taehyung's father has been wrongfully accused before; Taehyung can still remember the fear in his father's eyes after being persecuted for a crime he did not commit,+
and Taehyung doesn't want to instill that kind of fear in anyone, so he's still giving Hyun-Jung the benefit of the doubt, considering the possibility that Hyun-Jung didn't really mean to shoot him that night.
Now, the second reason is actually trickier, because Taehyung understands that Jeongguk's supposition about Hyun-Jung is also plausible— that Hyun-Jung may really be the slasher's collaborator, +
which is more the reason Taehyung doesn't want to tell Jeongguk about the note, fearing that it would place Jeongguk in even more danger.
Don't get him wrong, Taehyung is aware that he and Jeongguk agreed to work as a team, but the bits he can recall from the slasher's stories in his sleep are enough to make him dread so much about Jeongguk's safety, that he refuses to take the risk.
"*Sigh* What will I do with this, really?" Taehyung questions himself, now alone on the balcony, staring at the note he found as he smokes a cigarette.
It's already past five o'clock in the morning, and Taehyung has hardly slept, unable to count how many times he tried to call the number in the note, just to hesitate and cancel it, and now he's trying to dial the number again.
"You're already up?" Taehyung closes his eyes and swallows his spit, hearing Jeongguk approaching him here on the balcony. "Did you even sleep, mhm?" Jeongguk asks, +
placing his arms around Taehyung's waist, huggung him from behind as Taehyung nonchalantly slips his phone and the note back into the pocket of his pants.
"A little... You? It's still early, so why are you up already?"
"Because you're not beside me... The bed felt cold, and I didn't like it," Jeongguk replies, kissing Taehyung's nape before gently turning Taehyung around and kissing the tip of his nose as well.
"You haven't brushed your teeth yet, have you?" Taehyung jokes, prompting Jeongguk to step back.
"W-why? Did it stink?" Jeongguk exclaims, blowing on his palm to check the smell of his breath. "It's not too bad? I gargled—"
"Pfft... I'm only kidding, so relax," Taehyung says, playfully squeezing Jeongguk's cheeks. "Anyway, what's our plan for today?" Taehyung inquires.
"Jin hyung sent me a message saying that they'll be preparing the set probably until 9 a.m., so we're scheduled to do the test shots around 10... We have a few more hours to spare," Jeongguk says,+
suggestively grinning at Taehyung, making Taehyung roll his eyes, but he still tilted his head back when Jeongguk leaned in and started kissing his neck.
"You're insatiable, really—"
"All because of you, baby... All because of you." Jeongguk whispers, before he naughtily licks Taehyung’s cheek. "Just looking at you makes me feel so hungry."
"You better unpack and find the lube first. My ass is starting to burn, I'm telling you—"
"Wait, it's Joon." Taehyung says, immediately checking his phone when it rang. "Yes, Joon... Why?" Taehyung asks Joon on the other line.
—'We're on our way to see Mr. Chang. He agreed to meet us at 6 a.m.... I'll send you the address.'
"OK. I'll be there," Taehyung says, turning his gaze to Jeongguk as he hangs up with Joon. "*Sigh* Looks like I'll have to go; Joon said Chang Su-jin's family is ready to talk now, but I'm not sure how long it will take, so I guess I'll just meet you at J records after."
"Can't I just come with you?" Jeongguk asks, his hands on Taehyung's waist.
"You have a schedule at 10, and we've dragged this project long enough, so I don't think we should put it off any longer. You'll have officers at your back, and so will I— +
just don't go anywhere alone while I'm gone, okay?" Taehyung replies, pulling away from Jeongguk's hold. "I'll just take a quick shower. Can you prepare me a sandwich before I go?" Taehyung asks+
with a smile, hoping to lighten Jeongguk's mood just a little, seeing the disappointment in the latter's eyes.
"*Sigh* Sure... Go ahead, I'll make it now," Jeongguk answers dryly as he tries to turn towards the kitchen counter when Taehyung grabs his arm, +
pulling him back to press a chaste kiss on his lips. "I'll be careful, I'll be safe... So don't worry too much, okay?" Taehyung says.
"Okay... I know you'll be worried about me too, so don't be... I'll do the same; I'll make sure to keep myself safe." Jeongguk says, tucking the strands of Taehyung's hair behind his ear.
"I love you." Jeongguk muttered under his breath.
"I love you too."
[You can play this as you read.]
Taehyung is now dressed for the day, wearing his normal black suit and glasses, his long hair brushed back and tied in a tidy bun, and his prosecutor badge fastened to his collar.+
It's been a while, but as Taehyung examines himself in the mirror, he feels relieved that he now appears close to normal.
"Tsk, tsk... You're really too sexy for a prosecutor," Jeongguk sighs, leaning against their bedroom door frame, scanning Taehyung from head to toe.
"Well, if you ask me, my profession ties it all together— makes me hotter, don't you agree?" Taehyung says as he turns to face Jeongguk and grabs his briefcase from the floor.
"Can't I just come with you? You look like a walking dessert right now, and it makes me feel uneasy to leave you alone," Jeongguk says, tugging Taehyung's wrist, drawing him closer to him.
"Hobi's picking me up, I won't be alone... He's probably already in the parking lot," Taehyung assures Jeongguk.
"Is he now? Okay then, I'll walk you there." Jeongguk says, grabbing his jacket from the hanger. "Don't try to stop me; I'm already letting you leave, so at the very least let me have this," Jeongguk says, noticing Taehyung's about to resist.
"Fine, let's go. It's 6 a.m., I'm already late," Taehyung says as he and Jeongguk walk out the door.
Hyun-Jung is already in front of Taehyung's door when he notices the knob twisting open, prompting him to retreat and hide in one of the floor's empty hallways.
"You'll call me, right?" Hyun-Jung clenched his fists when he heard Jeongguk's voice.
"Of course, ring me before you leave as well; I'll be keeping my lines open," Taehyung replies as he and Jeongguk walk by the corridor where Hyun-Jung is, back pressed against the wall, making no sound at all.
'Hah... Of course, he's with him,' Hyun-Jung thinks as he takes a deep breath and turns towards the nearby fire exit, bringing the package with him.
At this point, Hyun-Jung has no idea what he truly wants anymore. Just a few minutes ago, he's already decided to help 'that' guy one last time by replacing the note that came in the package with another note of his own,+
aiming to conceal the man’s identity for a bit longer, for doing so makes him feel that he's more in control; but after seeing Taehyung and Jeongguk together, he suddenly wondered if that cruel man is aware that his chosen muse is still with Jeongguk.+
It made him curious— more vengeful, that he wanted to know that guy's reaction if he sees the person he wants the most be with someone else, even more so wearing his proud creation. +
With that thought, Hyun-Jung entered his car and grabbed his bag from the backseat, pulling out a pad with the same paper he took from that man's desk before— the one with S.I's logo in it and wrote another letter.
He's helped that guy for years, Hyun-Jung even learned how to mimic his handwriting; with that he made another message, replacing the name in the original note.
—'handcrafted exclusively for Jeon Jeongguk.'
"Tch, now let's see how you react to this mockery... Have your precious creation worn by the person you despise the most— pfft..." Hyun-Jung laughs under his breath +
as he crumples the original note, tossing the package in the passenger seat before starting the car, opting to leave it in J records instead.
"It's good to finally have you back like this, Tae." Jimin tells Taehyung; he and Taehyung are now together with Joon, Hobi and Yoongi, walking towards the latest victim, Chang Sujin's cafe, where they'll be meeting the latter's family.+
"Though I must say, I'm a little shocked you don't have your bunny keychain with you today," Jimin adds, making Joon beside him giggle.
"He'll be releasing a new album soon, so he's also busy, and to be honest, I'm actually relieved that he's not here— I don't really want to involve him further into this," Taehyung admits as he types a message for Jeongguk, +
informing the latter that he's now with the investigation team.
"He's already involved more than he should be, but I do get what you mean." Joon says, checking the text he just received from Jeongguk, telling him to take care of Taehyung.+
"He's already decided to make me your new nanny." Joon sighs, showing Jeongguk's message to Taehyumg.
"Ignore it. I'm not a kid... I don't need to be looked after. If anything, he's the one who should have more protection. +
He's been acting too reckless lately, and it's keeping me on edge. I'm quite sure he's plotting to provoke the slasher on purpose," Taehyung says, pausing when he recalls the note still in his pocket. +
"By the way, has anyone heard from Hyun-Jung?" he asks, causing the other three to come to an abrupt halt.
"*Sigh* I haven't heard from him since what happened in CC's... I never really had the opportunity to properly apologize to you Taehyung... Hyun-Jung was in my team, so on behalf of him, I'm very sorry for everything," Yoongi says, dropping his head apologetically at Taehyung.
"Please, Yoongi-ah," Taehyung says, coaxing Yoongi to stand up straight again. "It's not your fault; I was just curious because Jeongguk has this theory that the slasher may have something to do with Hyun-Jung—+
that maybe he's helping that lunatic get away with all his mrders, I'm not sure," Taehyung confesses, wondering if he'll be able to get more information about Hyun-Jung from Yoongi or Hobi, +
given that the two have known Hyun-Jung for years and even attended the same academy.
"I—" Yoongi is stunned, nearly biting his tongue. The truth is, he's previously heard about Jeongguk's thoughts about Hyun-Jung being the slasher's accomplice,+
based on his theory that Hyun-Jung purposefully shot Taehyung back in CC's, but as police officers who have worked together for years, Yoongi is still skeptical.+
Hyun-Jung has been gentle—kind to him, and even though he's always been quiet, Hyun-Jung is considered to be good at his job, so losing a colleague like that makes Yoongi feel bad. +
"W-we're still looking into it, Tae... I'm really sorry for what you've gone through, but you know accidents happen in our line of work, so as Hyun-Jung's superior,+
I need to get more evidence regarding the matter before I jump to conclusions," Yoongi says, averting Taehyung's gaze, ashamed that he's allowing his personal emotions to interfere with his decisions.
"I understand, and I'm not taking it against you, Yoongi—"
"Wait, is this it? Purple cafe, right?" Hobi asks, realizing they've arrived at Su-jin's coffee shop.
"Ah, yes... I have things to say as well, but let's talk about Hyun-Jung another time," Joon says as he leads the way inside the cafe.
"I hate to admit it, but I want you to know that I'm siding with Jeongguk on this one, Tae... I don't know the guy personally, so I won't be biased like Yoongi— +
regardless, I was there standing behind you when it happened, and I don't want to judge, but I've been thinking about what I saw," Jimin says quietly, making Taehyung pause, grabbing him by the wrist.
"Tell me," Taehyung whispers with a firm look on his face.
"That guy... I have no idea what his intentions were, but at least from what I saw— he did aim at your head, Tae." Jimin answers, +
making Taehyung immediately realize if there's one thing he really shouldn't do, that'll be doubting Jeongguk's genius mind. "I see. Thanks for telling me, Chim." Taehyung says as they both proceed inside the cafe.
[You can play this as you read.]
"He's a good kid... O-our Su-jinnie... We both know we didn't deserve him, but we didn't expect to lose him like this... Our poor baby... I have failed him," Taehyung's chest tightened as Su-jin's father spoke about his late son.
Mr. Chang isn't crying right now, but Taehyung can still see the unfathomable pain in the poor man's eyes; the pain of having to mourn for his own child.
"We're deeply sorry for what happened to Su-jin, Mr. Chang... Please know that we're doing everything we can to apprehend the cr¡minal who harmed him—"
"Harmed? No... That devil did not simply harm our Su-jin... Geomsanim— geomsanim, have you seen what he did to our child? H-he was..." Su-jin's mother broke down in grief, +
sinking in her husband's embrace, unable to finish what she was about to say.
"I almost didn't recognize my own son... Do you know how that feels for a father? Su-jin... +
I have raised that child since he was born... I was there when he first cried, crawled, ate, and spoke... His first word..." Mr. Chang's voice quivered and broke as he wiped away his tears that threatened to fall. "H-his first word was 'appa'... +
Now— now I cannot hear it ever again... Nobody— nobody will ever call me that again... Geomsanim, I hope you pray that I won't find that bstard first before you, because if I do... +
With these hands..." He pauses, staring at his trembling hands. "With my own two hands, I swear— I'll make him pay for making me bury my own child..."
"We'll do everything we can, sir... We'll catch him and make him pay for what he did to Su-jin and everyone else who suffered because of him," Taehyung says, gently holding Mr. Chang's hands.
Mr. Chang then sobbed, expressing his grief over the loss of his only son. He wailed as he told stories about Su-jin, particularly the last morning they spent together before they lost him.
"*sniff* He was so excited for this new cafe; it was his idea, so he even spent the night before printing out flyers... We were just here— sitting at this very table before he left, telling us he'll be bringing in more customers... He never returned. +
The next time we saw him— our son, they're already announcing his death in the news," Mr. Chang says, breaking down again, causing Hobi and Jimin to cry silently.
"I see... I know it's not easy talking about this, but did he try to contact you in any way after he left? Any message or missed call—"
"He sent me a message... Here—" Mr. Chang says, showing the last photo Su-jin has sent him. "He's never been a materialistic kid, but he's easily impressed. I'm not sure whether this is enough, but will we be able to identify the owner of the vehicle in the photo?+
I asked his friends who attended the funeral, and they all said they don't recognize this car... So I was thinking that perhaps—perhaps the owner is the one...+
That slasher who killed my son," Mr. Chang continues, as Taehyung and Joon examine the photo, sending a screenshot of it to their own phones.
—'Appa, I'm in a nice car. Amazing, isn't it? I’ll work hard and buy you one of these, I promise.'— That was Su-jin's last message to his father and attached to it is a photo of the vehicle's dashboard.+
It's a tight shot, so it's really hard to tell what kind of car it was. They might have to bring the copy of the photo back to the station so they can run a more thorough investigation about the matter.
"Thank you for letting us know, sir... We'll have this checked and keep you updated." Joon says, sliding Mr. Chang's phone back to the latter.
"I-I was so busy setting up the shop that I didn't notice his message in time... I tried contacting him during lunch, but new customers began to flood in... That night, I tried calling him again since we were getting worried, but his phone had already been turned off…+
If I— if I was just able to check my phone and see his message... I could have warned him not to get into a stranger's car... Su-jin, our Su-jin... He's much too nice, far too trusting, far too innocent... +
Geomsanim, our son— he was just a child..." Mr. Chang sobs again, this time cradling his phone near to his heart, carrying the indescribable anguish and sadness of a father who was denied the opportunity to protect his own child.
[You can play this as you read.]
Now in J records, Jeongguk is getting his makeup done in front of the vanity table in preparation for his test shots.
"Jeongguk-ah, where's Taehyung? Is he not with you today?" Jin asks, approaching Jeongguk and handing him a short script covering the day's filming schedule.
"Ah, he'll be here soon, hyung. He just had to take care of some matters..." Jeongguk says, his eyes closed as the makeup artist applies his eyeliner.
"I see. Anyway, we might encounter a bit of delay... Apparently, Song Iseul is running late, and he's the one who has the band's wardrobe; y’know, your coats and other—"
"Jin-ssi!" Jin was cut off when Jihye from S.I screamed out his name, rushing towards him and Jeongguk, while carrying a package.
"Yes?" Jin answers, as Jeongguk opens his eyes and casts a subtle glance towards one of Iseul's tailors. "What is it, Jihye?" Jin inquires.
"I don't know what happened, but I guess we can start filming Jeongguk-ssi first. This is from the reception, and when I checked it seemed like the boss got one of Jeongguk-ssi's outfits here earlier than the others." Jihye says,+
pulling out the exquisitely crafted robe that's obviously made by their line. "It's just the coats that we're waiting for, but since this came, why not proceed, what do you think, Jeongguk-ssi?" Jihye asks,+
holding out the robe in front of Jeongguk as the latter gets on his feet, taking it from her together with the note that came in the package.
"Isn't this far too small for me?" Jeongguk asks, noticing the robe's size.
"Huh?— Pfft, that can't be... See?" says Jihye, handing Jeongguk the note she discovered in the package. "It says it's exclusively made for you,+
and as a member of S.I, I can assure you that we never mess up with our measurements," Jihye proudly says as she assists Jeongguk in putting on the robe, her smile fading as she realizes it's indeed a little tighter than she expected,+
but she trusts their boss, so she just stays silent, believing that it's meant to fit their client this way.
"No, I think it's too tight... I don't feel comfortable wearing this," Jeongguk admits, his gaze darting over the door to see those who have just entered—Song Iseul and Han Seo-jun, who are now both staring at him.
"J-Jeongguk-ssi, what are you wearing?"
"You've changed, are you aware?"
Jimin's tone inferred that he meant it as a question, but it came across more as a statement to Taehyung.
"Did I?" Taehyung inquires. After taking the testimonies of Chang Sujin's family, Taehyung is now here in Jimin's car; they've already parted ways with the others and Jimin offered to drive him to J records. +
"How so?" Taehyung asks again since Jimin is taking too long to respond.
"Well, normally— you're not one to empathize with the victim's bereaved families during investigations;+
you're more— I don't know? Uncaring? Cold? But earlier, you seem to have softened... You even held the father's hands— and we both know how you absolutely despise sharing any unnecessary contact with strangers,+
but back there, you initiated it, so to me that's something," Jimin admits, glancing briefly at Taehyung as he drives.
"Nothing can escape your eyes, huh? I don't really know what you're talking about." Taehyung says, not to mock Jimin's inquisitiveness and observation skills, but rather because he didn't notice the 'change' in him that Jimin is referring to, and so he doesn't know how to react.
"It's not that hard to miss, especially because looking after and at you has been something I've done for years," Jimin says, tasting the bitterness of his words as they leave his mouth.
"Are you still mad at me?— For getting back together with Jeongguk, I mean." Taehyung asks, keeping his gaze now on Jimin beside him.
"Y'know, I have no right to be angry about that since we were never in a relationship—at least not one that wasn't merely symbiotic, so you don't have to worry about my feelings," Jimin says, a faint smile on his lips.
"I'm serious, Tae... I knew where I should stand from the start; I was tempted to take a step forward, but failed before I could even begin... I'm okay now— even have my eyes set on someone," Jimin says, his smile curling down to a more sheepish one.
"Well— since we've been friends for so long, I'll let you in on something about my private life... It's not just someone," Jimin begins, peering at Taehyung to see how the latter reacts.
"Not just someone or not just one, you mean?" Taehyung asks, still unsure what Jimin meant.
"I may have spent a fair amount of time hanging out at Min Yoongi's office," Jimin admits, giggling as he notices Taehyung furrowing his brow, clearly trying to make sense of what he said.
"You're having an affair with Min Yoongi, head of the crime investigation unit?"
"Pfft... Was it really 'that' surprising?" Jimin laughs.
"W-well, uh... I mean— I'm not sure about this, but didn't Yoongi have a thing for Hobi?" Taehyung inquires, afraid that Jimin is getting himself into another unrequited-love-kind-of-relationship.
"Exactly... I find Hobi absolutely dashing as well, so I can't blame him— I'm actually planning on helping him," Jimin says, wriggling his brows teasingly at Taehyung, who coughed out a scoff in disbelief.
"Help him with what?" Taehyung asks.
"Chim, are you really some kind of masochist?" Taehyung couldn't help but question, causing Jimin to burst out laughing.
"Pfft... You had it all wrong, Tae. Those two are cool, Hobi isn't as oblivious as you think— not that innocent either," Jimin pauses, sighing deeply, knowing that Taehyung appears to be prepared to bombard him with questions.+
"Okay, I'm going to tell you this not because I don't want you to feel bad for missing on a 'catch' like me, but because, before all that baloney, you're my best friend, and I'm already so used to sharing everything with you—"
"Just spill, Chim," Taehyung interrupts Jimin, clearly intrigued in what's going on with the latter.
"First, promise me you won't tell anyone."
"It's not like I have anyone else to share secrets to besides you," Taehyung says, sassily rolling his eyes at Jimin.
"You have this bunny mascot that's always with you, so I'm not sure," Jimin retorts, prompting Taehyung to breathe out another scoff.
"You said he's a keychain and now a mascot? Tch, anyway, just get to the point— I know I shouldn't really meddle in your affairs, but you've been my only friend for years... +
I just don't want you doing something that'll make you hurt yourself in the end... Call me selfish, but my conscience wouldn't be able to take it," Taehyung says, shuffling in his seat and turning to face Jimin.
"Alright, I know... We don't have to be so serious here, you can rest assured that I'm doing well— especially lately... I— uhm..." Jimin appears to pause for a moment, unsure where to begin, but when he catches Taehyung's firm expression, he proceeds to spill it all.
"You know... After what happened to you, and while you were unconscious, I became closer to both Hobi and Yoongi, and we drank a couple of times— and... And I may have slept with them both... A-and I liked it. They seem to like me too, +
so much that it happened again—and again, and again—and now we're kinda in an exclusively dating-sleeping-with-each-other-about-to-move-in-together type of relationship." Jimin blurts out the last part without breathing,+
coyly scratching the back of his neck upon seeing the shock written all over Taehyung's face.
"WHAT?!" exclaims Taehyung, startling Jimin enough to hit the brakes.
[You can play this as you read.]
Sex with a ghost
"That's not what you're supposed to be wearing, Jeongguk-ssi," Iseul said calmly, his jaw clenched as he approached Jeongguk.
"Why?" Jeongguk inquires, noting Iseul's clearly disturbed expression.
"Here," Iseul pauses, pulling one of the coats from the paperbag he's carrying. "I finished making this all night to meet the deadline. This is what you're meant to wear. +
Please take that off—where did that come from anyway?" Iseul says, trying to strip Jeongguk off the robe, only for Jeongguk to jerk back, swatting Iseul's hand away from him.
"Have you gone mad, Iseul-ssi?" Jeongguk asks, scanning Iseul from head to toe, wondering what's causing the latter's fairly intense reaction, then realizing it could be due to the robe he's still wearing—but why?
“W-what did you say?-..”
"What if I want to wear this robe? It's still from your line, and this note says it's for me, so what's wrong?" Jeongguk asks, refusing to take off the robe, +
showing Seo-jun and Iseul the note that came with it; and judging by the look on Iseul's face, his assumptions appear to be valid after all.—It is because of the robe. +
"I'm going to wear this because I like it," Jeongguk says, his gaze fixated on Iseul as the designer massages the bridge of his nose and turns away from him.
"But Jeongguk-ssi, I doubt you'll be able to move freely because this one is smaller than your size. Boss really worked hard on your wardrobe,+
so let's just wear his designs, alright?" Seo-jun comments, coming in between Jeongguk and Iseul as he carefully peels the robe off Jeongguk.
"Please get dressed, Jeongguk-ssi, so we can see if we need to adjust anything," Iseul asks, preparing to leave the studio.
"Whose robe is this?" Jeongguk asks, leading Iseul to halt, his hand hovering over the doorknob.
"This looks like an unreleased design, Jeongguk-ssi; I'm not even sure how it got here," Seo-jun says as he inspects the robe he just removed from Jeongguk.
"I'll just step out for a moment, please tell the others to get ready as well." Iseul says, not bothering to spare Jeongguk another glance as he steps out of the door.
"What's with him? All that drama for a robe?" Jeongguk asks as Seo-jun assists him in putting on his new coat.
"Huh?— Ah, boss? Well, he's always had a bad temper, but I can tell you, he's not really mad. He'll cool down once he's had a couple of cigarettes... +
I believe he was just like that because he worked hard to finish your coats." Seo-jun says while inspecting if Iseul's design fits Jeongguk. "See? This looks nicer on you," Seo-jun says, fixing the collar of Jeongguk's coat.
"Wasn't that reaction too much just because I wore a different robe?" Jeongguk asks again, reluctant to leave the subject since he still finds it strange.
"*Sigh* Designers take pride in their work, Guk... Though, now I'm wondering where this one came from? It says your name here on the card," Jin says, picking up the note Jihye had earlier handed them.
"Mhm... I'm confused too, Jin-ssi; even the reception said the package was for Jeongguk-ssi," Jihye, who is still standing by them, says as she takes the robe and examines the stitching and the size of it.+
"Looking at it now, it does seem smaller for Jeongguk-ssi's build... And the color? Emerald green? To me, this suits someone with a tan or golden complexion better," Jihye adds.
"Tan? Golden, you say?" Jeongguk asks, snatching the robe from Jihye's hands. He doesn’t know why, but he was suddenly reminded of Taehyung.
"That's true. Bright jewel tones like ruby red, plum, or emerald green could bring out one's golden undertones, leaving the wearer looking more luminous." Seo-jun says as he gently takes the robe from Jeongguk, holding it up in front of the latter. +
"Jeongguk-ssi has a fair complexion— if anything, I think this robe will fit Taehyung-ssi better, not to mention the size? We all know Taehyung-ssi's on the slimmer side." Seo-jun continued, which weirdly caused a shiver run up Jeongguk's spine.
"This is mine," Jeongguk declares, seizing the robe from Seo-jun once more and throwing it over the vanity. "Nobody touch this, alright?" he adds as he reclines in his chair to get his makeup done again.
[You can play this as you read.]
I think I like when it rains
"Fcking arrogant—ungrateful ba:stard," Iseul spits under his breath as he lights up a cigarette here in front of J Records.
"Bad day?" Taehyung, who was smoking his own cigarette before entering, asks when he notices Iseul standing next to him.
"H-huh? Ah, Taehyung-ssi... I didn't notice you're here," Iseul says, slightly lowering his head at Taehyung, embarrassed to be seen in such a poor mood.
"I just got here a few minutes ago... It's raining so I felt like smoking before coming in," Taehyung replies, taking a deep drag on his cigarette.
"I see..." Iseul says, awkwardly averting Taehyung's gaze.
"Did something happen? You look like you're in a bad mood." Taehyung asks, knowing full well that he's talking casually to someone whom he doesn't really know personally; then again, +
he knows that Jeongguk has been suspecting Iseul as the slasher, so he figured to use this opportunity to get to know the guy more and maybe see if he'll be able to find anything that may support Jeongguk's claim.
"Oh— *sigh* I am..." Iseul admits, reasoning that there's no point in denying it when the look on his face probably says it all. "You're a prosecutor aren't you, Taehyung-ssi?" He asks.
"Mhm... Why?" Taehyung asks, side-eying Iseul, who seems to be staring blankly into space.
"You know, I still find it odd that even though you're already in the district attorney's office, you still have time to work part-time as Jeongguk-ssi's bodyguard... +
Are you a workaholic?" Iseul asks, leaving Taehyung wondering where this conversation is really going, but he chooses to ride along for the time being.
"You could say that." Taehyung replies.
"I am too... It's not a healthy habit, I must say, and on top of that, I'm a perfectionist, and I find it difficult to function when things are out of place," Iseul says, huffing out the smoke from his cigarette.
"Ah— I am too... I mean, I guess I'm like that too," Taehyung says, tossing his used cigarette into the bin and lighting another, hoping to keep their conversation moving.
"I thought so... I'm not particularly good at reading people, but I'm quite good when it comes to clothes, as I noticed the first time I saw you: your tie always matches your suit, as do your shoes... +
Sure, they're not all designer, but the way you dress up is enough for me to say that you're the type who pays attention," Iseul says, turning on his heels to face Taehyung.
"Pay attention to what?" Taehyung asks.
"Symmetry? Coordination? Things like that," Iseul says, mulling over Taehyung's clothes again. "Even now, you're wearing a plain black suit, and as always, you've chosen the appropriate tie to go with it.+
Plum necktie that matches your tan complexion," Iseul remarks, pointing to Taehyung's plum silk necktie. "You’ve chosen silk with a sheen on it over your matte black suit, +
which made your whole fit more elegant and chic without going overboard or appearing too boring. You're just in between, plus your face—which honestly ties it all together. +
Your visuals are really something, Taehyung-ssi." Iseul says, his expression softening as he stares at Taehyung—and oddly, Taehyung doesn't find that too uncomfortable.
"You think?" Taehyung asks again, this time really interested in hearing how a world-renowned fashion designer perceives someone like him.
"There's something about you—I don't know what it is, but there's some kind of mystery in your eyes—something that even I couldn't comprehend... +
I really couldn't wait for you to wear the clothes that I made," Iseul says, his lips curling up into a small smile as he looks away from Taehyung, taking another drag of his cigarette.
"If you don't mind me asking, how did you end up in this field? Fashion designing, I mean." Taehyung wonders why he's even asking Iseul these questions, but strangely, he feels like the fashion designer is somewhat similar to him.+
They both have an aloof and cold exterior, but they're not afraid to speak their minds to the point where others may find them a little tackless, all while maintaining a professional vibe,+
and perhaps the resemblance he found between himself and Iseul made it difficult for Taehyung to believe Jeongguk's assumption that Iseul is the slasher who does those horrifying things to innocent people.
"That question, all of a sudden? Pfft, isn't it too soon for you to be this comfortable with me, Taehyung-ssi?" Iseul laughs as he leans back and gazes at the dark gray sky above.+
"Well, it's not like I mind, so it's fine... *Sigh* Someone believed in me— and that may have been the reason why I made it to where I am now," Iseul says, smiling absentmindedly to himself.
"Someone you say?" Taehyung asks again, hoping Iseul will give him a more specific response.
"Uh-huh... Back then, I truly had no idea what to do with my life... I was taking business, which is a major I have no real interest in, so I usually spent my break time in the library doodling random things...+
One day, a person came to me and said that I'm good with my hands. He asked me if I'm interested in fashion... I'm not sure why I said yes, but I did. Maybe fashion didn't sound so boring to me back then. Our friendship— if we can call it that, began there...+
He asked me to draw anything for him and then offered to make it for me... I didn't give it much thought, so I compiled... The next day, he showed up with the clothes I had designed. I don't know why, but that made me happy—+
the rest was history after that," Iseul says, recalling a scene that is still fresh in his mind.
"So you found someone that made you want to turn your life around?" Taehyung asks,+
and once again he couldn't help but relate Iseul's experience to him and Jeongguk, because back then to now, Jeongguk is still the one who made him want to be something more than just being a decent lawyer.
"Pfft, you're making it sound romantic, but it isn't. Yes, that person opened the doors for me, but I'm doing this because I've grown to appreciate my craft. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to watch my designs come to life. +
I love it every time my creations are worn, because to me, it confirms the value of my labor... And I don't like it when my efforts are ignored," Iseul says, his mood flaking again as he remembers his encounter with Jeongguk just a while ago.
"Was that why you seemed a little grumpy earlier?" Taehyung says, watching as Iseul put out his cigarette.
"Mhm, maybe... Anyway— are you done now? I think we should head back inside." Iseul asks, his brows furrowed upon noticing the brand of the cigarette in Taehyung's hand.
"Menthol? Pfft... Guess I could come to you once I run out," Iseul says as Taehyung pulls a pack of smokes from his pants pocket.
"Do you want one?" Taehyung naively asks, offering Iseul the entire pack, mistaking the latter's question for one about if he still had a stick to spare, which caused the designer to snort out a laugh.
"Pfft, not now, silly; I may look like a chain smoker, but I'm really not—"
"What are you doing here?" Taehyung and Iseul both flinched as Jeongguk came behind them, grabbing Taehyung by the wrist, making Taehyung drop his cigarette as Jeongguk pulled him away from the designer.
"Jeongguk-ssi," Iseul says, acknowledging Jeongguk's presence, noticing that the latter is now wearing the coat he made. "See? That coat suits you better, don't you think?" he adds.
"Ah," Jeongguk taunts, his eyes piercing and sharp, aiming to intimidate the man in front of him. "I doubt it's because of the coat; it's just that I look good in anything," he says before dragging Taehyung inside, leaving Iseul alone, staring at their backs as they walk away.
T/W : mentions of cheating
It has been believed that pride is the root of all other capital sins. Pride, which also known as hubris, from the ancient greek word: ὕβρις or futility, is regarded the original and most demonic of the seven deadly sins on practically every list. +
Pride is described as dangerously rotten selfishness, placing one's own desires, wants, whims, and drives above all else. In fact, even Dante defined pride as "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor."
If we analyze it, pride could lead to greed or covetousness; and if one is unable to satisfy their greed, their greed will eventually turn to envy;+
envy will turn to wrath; wrath will result in restlessness, making one unable to function normally; they'll feel lazy— lazy to put effort on something they want but can't have— sloth.
But what if they get a taste of it—that one burning desire for something they were previously deprived of? They'll become even more greedy than before.+
They wouldn't want anyone else to have what they have, so they'll hoard it and keep it to themselves,
Then, the more they consume, the more their desires consume them whole, corrupting them, turning them deviant, amoral, and perverted, drowning in the twisted ecstasy of giving in to their urges— thus turning to lust.
Taehyung and Jeongguk are both in the initial phase of that rotten process as they stand behind the camera, waiting for Jeongguk to be brought forward to take his test shots with Akiko.
Both their pride were bruised as Jeongguk saw Taehyung with the person he suspects of being the slasher, while Taehyung is about to watch Jeongguk get close to the woman whom the latter cheated on him with before.
"Tell me if you want me to back out, and I will," Jeongguk says, still plainly irritated despite not confronting Taehyung after having seen the latter with Iseul earlier.
"We're not in high school, Jeongguk. I'm too old to ban you from hanging out with your ex—especially if it's for work," Taehyung says, his eyes fixed upfront for he doesn't feel like facing Jeongguk.
"She's not my ex, and you know that." Jeongguk replies, fists clenched in his sides; he's not sure why, but Taehyung's assertion offends him.+
It may sound like bullsh¡t, but Jeongguk still has no recollection of ever touching Akiko on the night he and Taehyung broke up five years ago. It's as if he committed a sin and has no memory of it.+
Don't get him wrong, he's not denying anything, nor is he disregarding Taehyung's feelings, but it's difficult for Jeongguk to feel the appropriate degree of guilt without him remembering what he did.
"Ah— sorry, I forgot. She's only a one-time-fck... A one-time-fck that caused our break-up," Taehyung uttered under his breath; he didn't want to say it out loud, but this petty jealousy is gnawing him up.
"Are we really talking about this now? — Here? Do you want me to get on my knees again? Beg and make a scene? H-hah..." Jeongguk chuckles bitterly. "Have you forgotten that I wasn't the only one at fault back then? +
I wasn't the only one who cheated, so why does it feel like you're putting all the blame on me?" Jeongguk adds, internally scolding himself, knowing that this is a sore issue for both of them.
But he's upset. Yes, Jeongguk is upset right now because he saw Taehyung nonchalantly smoking a cigarette with Song Iseul earlier, despite the fact that he had explicitly warned Taehyung about the designer+
possibly being the slasher who had k¡lled and brutal|y mut¡lated his victims. It feels like Taehyung doesn't trust him enough to heed his warning, and that damages Jeongguk's self-esteem.
"Ah... Sorry— don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it," Taehyung says, taking a deep breath before turning to meet Jeongguk's gaze, staring him down with the same amount of pain. +
"For five years, now nearly six, I have never—ever forgotten what I've done—unlike a certain someone," Taehyung continues, as the world appears to come to a halt before moving backwards, transporting them both to the past.
"T-Tae... No, that's not it— I mean, we've already discussed this... I didn't intend to-."
"Go. She's waiting... You don't need to be concerned about my feelings.+
You know, whatever you're going to do with her now, I'm sure I've seen worse, so it's not a big deal for me," Taehyung says, gathering what's left of his pride so as to feel less pathetic.
"Guk! It's your turn, hurry up!" Jin exclaims as he calls Jeongguk to the set.
"We're not done yet," Jeongguk says, as Taehyung turns away. Jeongguk then clenched his jaw, hesitant to leave, but he did so and proceeded towards Jin.
[You can play this as you read.]
They say that jealousy is a disease, and right now, Taehyung is wondering if there's really any cure for it. It feels wrong to be upset since Taehyung knew that by choosing to forgive Jeongguk, he was also required to close his own open wounds;+
However, he never really expected to find himself in this same situation, standing in the back, watching Jeongguk with Akiko as he did five years ago.
Yes, Jeongguk is co-directing the music video, but he must still obey the creative director's instructions as well as the contract, which stipulates that his project partner is Akiko, not Taehyung.
Jeongguk and Akiko were asked to stand next to each other for the test pictures. They're only doing their jobs, Taehyung knows that—and perhaps that's the reason why he's starting to loathe himself more,+
because despite being aware of that, he couldn't take the thought of Jeongguk breathing the same air as that woman.
"Jeongguk-ssi, could you kindly put your arm around Akiko's shoulders?" the director asks as the cameraman clicks away. +
From there, Jeongguk's gaze was drawn to Taehyung, as if he was seeking permission from the latter. Now Taehyung wonders what should be his reaction.
'Why are you doing this to me? Shouldn't you already know what to do? Shouldn't you already be aware that this is hurting me? +
Why does it seem like you're expecting me to admit it? Can’t I have a bit of shame, really?' Taehyung thinks, silently gritting his teeth, feeling his chest tighten as he looks away.
"Okay, that's great! Closer— please look into each other's eyes," the director says again, and Jeongguk begins to doubt if he can still do this.+
It's as if being aware of Taehyung's pain is a curse that makes him dirtier by the second; he feels so small and ashamed of having to make the person he loves the most relive the nightmare that broke both of them before.
He hates it. Jeongguk hates both this situation and himself.
"Is there something wrong, Jeonggukkie?" Akiko asks as they face each other, her hands now in Jeongguk's waist.
"Don't get too close. It's uncomfortable," Jeongguk replies, his tone cold and flat, although he doubts it'll matter right now. He knows better since he has gone through it himself whenever he sees Taehyung close to Jimin; +
the only difference is that the nightmare Jeongguk recalls came from merely a kiss—a short one at that—unlike Taehyung, who had seen the worst someone could possibly see his lover do with someone else.
"Gukkie, that's mean... Tch, don't tell me it's because of Taehyung again—"
"It is... So if you're aware, then you should also know that right now, we're hurting him."
"Hurting him by what? Doing our jobs? Pfft— don't you think you're overreacting? Taehyung looks the same to me— bored, uncaring... I doubt he even gives a rat's as:s,+
which is probably why nobody guessed you two were in a relationship back then," Akiko says, leaning her face closer to Jeongguk per their director's order.
"Not everyone behaves as dramatic as you, Aki. We've slept together a few times, yes— but don't act as if you know everything about me and Taehyung. +
You're not even my friend to begin with," Jeongguk says, his eyes sharp as he stares Akiko down, hoping that the woman will back down— but no, Akiko is indeed one hell of a professional.
"Hey, you're being too cold now... I still don't get it— why him? Yeah, you could be gay, bisexual and all, but Taehyung? Don't you think he's way too basic for you? We had a lot more fun together, Guk... +
You even agreed for us to marry if we're still single when we reach the age of forty... I was waiting." Akiko shamelessly says, pertaining to that event when she and Jeongguk got drunk together with the other members of B-side and the others kept on teasing them+
to just be in a relationship given that they've known each other for years, so Jeongguk playfully and drunkenly agreed to marry Akiko if they're still single at forty.
"That was a joke— no, another drunken mistake on my part-.."
"Perhaps to you, but I was serious about that, Guk... By now you should know... I've wanted you since forever— and that's why I'm still here," Akiko says, playfully flicking her gaze from Jeongguk's eyes to his lips and back up again.
"Bad day?" Iseul asks as he approaches Taehyung, using the same words and tone Taehyung used on him earlier.
"Isn't every day a bad day? It's just a matter of what you're able to bear," Taehyung says dryly, his eyes fixed on the nearly non-existent proximity between Akiko and Jeongguk.
"Ahh, Jeongguk-ssi and Akiko-ssi definitely look good together... No surprise a lot of their fans are cheering for them to be a real couple," Seo-jun says as he inches closer to Iseul.
"You think?" Taehyung says sarcastically, looking Seo-jun up and down.
"H-hah... Yeah, they even have a fan club, y'know?— Anyway, it's time for you to get dressed, Taehyung-ssi. I'll be assisting you, alright?" Seo-jun says, smiling as he swings his arms towards the vanity table at the side of the studio.
"Are you planning on stabbing me again?— Try a different spot this time," Taehyung replies, pointing to the patch of gauze still placed over his neck. "This one hasn't healed yet." Taehyung continues, his gaze locked on Seo-jun.
"Oh," Seo-jun seems stunned, his mouth gaping like a fish as though he's suddenly unable to talk. "I-I would never... I'm really sorry—"
"Don't worry about it. I was just kidding," Taehyung replies, but his visage is stone cold, utterly contradicting what he just said. Taehyung then turned to face Iseul, shrugging his shoulders as he proceeded towards the vanity table.
"I'm warning you, Seo-jun-ah... Be careful this time," Iseul says as he walks past Seo-jun in the opposite direction of Taehyung to fetch the latter's wardrobe.
[You can play this as you read.]
Back to black
"Aren't you a tailor? Why are you doing my make-up?" Taehyung inquires as Seo-jun delicately dabs a touch of powder on his face.
"O-oh, the other make-up artists are busy fixing everyone else... D-do you not want me to proceed? I can switch with the others over there," Seo-jun replies, referring to the rest of B-side members being dolled up.
"Nevermind, it's no big deal; I just didn't expect you to know how to do someone else's makeup professionally," Taehyung replies, his attention fixed on his reflection in the mirror.
"Working in the fashion industry demands us to be flexible, Taehyung-ssi; we have to make sure that our clients are always pretty—thereby giving justice to our designs," Seo-jun explains, now adding some blush on Taehyung's cheek.
"Do you— by any chance, like pretty things, Seo-jun-ssi?" Taehyung asks, shifting his gaze to Seo-jun this time.
"Don't we all like everything that's pretty? Pfft... I literally make pretty clothes for a living, Taehyung-ssi," Seo-jun says, hearing Iseul's footsteps from behind them as Taehyung notices the emerald green robe resting on the side of the vanity table.
"Whose robe is this?" Taehyung inquires, picking up the fine silk garment.
"Oh, I heard that's Jeongguk-ssi's—."
"No one. That's not from my line." Iseul suddenly says, snatching the robe from Taehyung's hands, about to throw it away when Seo-jun stopped him by grabbing him by the wrist.
"Boss, wait!" pleads Seo-jun. "Wouldn't Jeongguk-ssi get angry? He did warn us not to touch that," Seo-jun asks, and Taehyung isn't sure whether it's just in his head or is Iseul really glaring sharply at his own employee right now.
"There's no need to make a fuss; if it belongs to Jeongguk, leave it alone—"
"W-would you like to try it on, Taehyung-ssi?" Iseul stutters as he cuts Taehyung off, his gaze riveted on Seo-jun.
"What?" Taehyung asks, trying to assess the scene in front of him with Seo-jun still holding Iseul's wrist, then Iseul blinks, turning to face him warily. +
"I-I think the color will fit you better... Emerald green is known to enhance tanned complexions," Iseul explains as he holds the robe up in front of Taehyung, his lips quivering, twisting to a clearly forced smile.
"Did you make this?" Taehyung asks, sensing a shift in Iseul's demeanor as he recalls their earlier conversation, during which Iseul expressed his desire to have Taehyung wear his creations. +
"Iseul-ssi?" Taehyung asks again, this time staring Iseul in the eyes.
"What's going on here?" Jeongguk asks, followed by Akiko, who approaches Taehyung as soon as they finish their first set of test shots.
"Oh, wow! Is that a new design? It looks so soft, can I wear—." Akiko was about to grab the robe from Iseul when the latter snatched it back, also releasing his wrist from Seo-jun's grip. +
"No, this will not match any of your other clothes, Akiko-ssi," Iseul remarks, slightly startling Akiko.
"Woah— okay, i-if you say so?" She says, raising both her hands up, feigning surrender.
"Didn't I say that robe is mine?" Jeongguk asks, eagerly clutching the robe, but Iseul refuses to let go.
"Boss— Jeongguk-ssi, uhm... T-there's no need to fight, y'know? It's just a robe," Seo-jun says, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck, taking a step back when Taehyung abruptly pushes his chair back, standing up.
"I'm sure you wouldn't mind me wearing this, am I right? Like Seo-jun here said, it's just a robe after all," Taehyung says, taking the middle section of the robe, forcing Iseul to let go while Jeongguk holds on.
"You're being way too bratty right now, Taehyung-ssi. Are you testing my patience?" Jeongguk muttered under his breath, gritting his teeth as he spoke.
"I'm just doing my job," Taehyung says, staring at Jeongguk's eyes as he lets go of the damn robe, only to quickly unbutton his shirt, letting it drop on the floor,+
revealing his nude torso to everyone. "Do I need to wear anything underneath?" Taehyung asks, his face expressionless, his gaze fixed on Jeongguk.
"H-huh? Ah, no... I don't think so," Iseul answers, as if he's already forgotten about Jeongguk, because his—and everyone else's—attention is now focused on Taehyung.
"I'm getting cold, Jeongguk-ssi," Taehyung adds, feeling the tension between him and Jeongguk grow.
"T-Taehyung-ssi, I think you should wear something first—" Seo-jun was about to drape a scarf over Taehyung's shoulder when the latter smacked his hands away, waiting for Jeongguk's answer.
"So?" Taehyung taunts once more.
"Fine. Do what you want," Jeongguk says, shoving the robe against Taehyung's chest, leaning in closer to the latter's ear.+
"We'll talk later, Kim Taehyung," Jeongguk whispers as he walks away, pushing Taehyung back so hard that he almost falls, but he manages to hold his ground.
Taehyung is now sitting here under the bright studio lights, yet he still feels like he's in the dark—no, it's more like he's turning dark.
It's as if he's entirely drowned in murky waters, making him unable to breathe and think properly, getting more and more consumed within each passing second.
Here, Taehyung wonders why is he even doing this silly thing? Glammed up, hair done, ready to appear for the camera, wherein he knows that he doesn’t really belong in this world.+
Between him and Jeongguk— Jeongguk is supposed to be the only bright one, the star adored by everyone, but for some reason, Taehyung is here like a phony trying to appear as someone he's not.
"Can I still back out?" Taehyung asks quietly as Iseul and Seo-jun touch up his clothes and make-up.
"Pfft, why? Are you nervous, Taehyung-ssi?" Seo-jun asks, laughing off Taehyung's inquiry while fixing Taehyung's curls.
"No, but I'm sure I look ridiculous right now," Taehyung says, his expression blank.
"You look stunning, Taehyung-ssi," Iseul replies, taking a step back to revel in the sight of the beauty in front of them.
"Boss is right, you really look perfect right now, Taehyung-ssi... I must say—the color of this robe really suits you... You look magical—like a pretty fairy straight out of a story book," Seo-jun says, +
now securing the knot of Taehyung's robe. "I wonder why Jeongguk-ssi doesn't seem to appreciate you wearing this? I mean, it'd be a pity if you didn't, considering it appears like it was made especially for you," Seo-jun adds.
"You think?" Taehyung asks, his gaze drawn to Jeongguk, who is still standing behind the camera, still with Akiko.
"Mhm-hm..." Seo-jun hums as he pulls out his phone to snap a photo of Taehyung. "Look— you're not even posing yet, but you already look like a perfect doll... So pretty." he says, holding up the shot he just took to Taehyung.
"Seo-jun-ah, delete that." Iseul says with a hint of warning in his tone.
"Huh? But boss, why? I'm planning on making this my wallpaper—"
"You didn't even ask for Taehyung-ssi's permission. You took that photo without his consent, so delete it," Iseul says before turning towards Taehyung again. "I'm sorry Taehyung-ssi. I'll make sure he'll delete it." he continues, bowing his head apologetically at Taehyung.
"Ah, yes— please do," Taehyung says, pausing to look at Seo-jun. "I think it's creepy to just take someone's photo without their consent," he continues, leading Seo-jun to lower his head.
"I-I didn't think— *sigh* I'm sorry, Taehyung-ssi. It's now erased, so don't worry," Seo-jun replies after deleting Taehyung's photo from his phone.
"Again, I apologize, Seo-jun here can be a bit inconsiderate at times," Iseul says as he grabs Seo-jun's arm and pulls him back. "Then— I guess our work here is done; the rest is up to you now," Iseul states as he steps out of the set, dragging Seo-jun with him.
[You can play this as you read.]
As Jeongguk stands here observing Taehyung behind the scenes, he wonders why he is so upset; is it because he is outraged and hurt by Taehyung's open display of distrust for him? +
Was it due to Iseul? Was it because Taehyung just literally humiliated him— possibly in front of a damn m*rderer?
The thing is that Jeongguk has no idea why Taehyung doesn't seem to grasp the concept of them working together. +
He had previously warned Taehyung about Iseul, but the latter does not appear to care; instead of avoiding Iseul, Taehyung seems to be doing the opposite.
It doesn't help that Taehyung is looking absolutely stunning right now; his hair is tousled in a way that makes him look like he just stepped out of bed, there are faint glitters brushed over his skin, +
subtle shadows over his lids, his lashes curled, coral blush on his cheeks, pink on his lips— Taehyung looks like every man's fantasy, drawing everyone's attention to him.
"Wow, j-just wow..."
"Looking good, Taehyung-ssi!"
"That's it! Ah! Pretty— no, no, perfect! You look absolutely perfect!"
Jeongguk clenched his fists as compliments on Taehyung's beauty rang out around the room.
This— this is the kind of beauty that feeds Jeongguk's greed.
This should be exclusively for him.
Although it may appear excessively selfish, Jeongguk believes he should be the only one who's seeing this.
Taehyung is his, just his— supposedly.
"Fck this," Jeongguk growled, preparing to approach the director and ask him to stop filming Taehyung, maybe remove him entirely from the project if possible, when Akiko grabbed his arm and stopped him in his tracks.
"Where are you going? I've been talking to you since earlier; did you even hear what I said?" Akiko asks, her hand still resting on Jeongguk's arm.
No, Jeongguk didn't really hear or understand anything Akiko said or asked him.
"Let go, Aki," Jeongguk says, trying to free his arm from Akiko's hold, but it just makes her grip tighter, her nails digging further into his skin.
"You're scaring me, Guk... We weren't like this before I went to New York... Now—now you're staring at me as if I'm nothing but dirt," Akiko says, which enrages Jeongguk even more,+
not because he's actually angry—well, maybe he is, but there's certainly more to it.
Even with the distance between them, Jeongguk can tell Taehyung is staring at him.
He doesn't need to see it; Jeongguk just knows that right now, Taehyung is looking at him—him and Akiko, and it's rattling Jeongguk to his core, thinking about all the things that could be going through Taehyung's head. +
It's as if the five years Jeongguk has spent regretting their breakup and the last few months attempting to repent after having heard of his sin from Taehyung himself have all been for naught, +
because Akiko is here— she's close to him, and Jeongguk hates that he knows exactly what this will make Taehyung think.
Taehyung is going to hate him for making him remember the nightmare Jeongguk had dared to forget.
That could explain Taehyung's behavior. He's probably revolting against their plan to spite Jeongguk for not removing Akiko from his life—but Jeongguk wanted to. It may sound harsh, but Akiko is only a passing acquaintance to Jeongguk,+
a friend he and his bandmates see once or twice a year at most, but Jeongguk knows that no matter how much he tries to explain this to Taehyung, Taehyung will only think of the sin he has committed in the past— and that thought scares Jeongguk the most.
"I-I said let go," Jeongguk says, his voice quivering.
"Why? Why are you looking at me like that? H-hey—" Akiko freezes before scoffing all offended,+
"Jeongguk-ah, are you seriously doing this right now? What? You're looking at me as if I have some horrible disease— are you fcking kidding me-.."
“O-oh my god… d-did he just-..”
Loud gasps were followed by utter silence throughout the studio. Taehyung had left his seat under the bright lights, succumbing to the dark pits of anger that had returned to torment him from five years ago. +
Akiko is on the floor, trembling furiously as she rubs her now-throbbing cheek after being slapped by Taehyung so suddenly.
"Y-you... Are you crazy? Who the fck do you think you are— FU*CK!" Akiko had to pause, her eyes shooting wide open when Taehyung crouched down in front of her grabbing the back of her hair tight, tugging her head back.
"I should've done this back then, you little b¡tch," Taehyung whispers into Akiko's ear. "Tell me," he pauses, smirking when Akiko looks at him, enraged and afraid. "Do you have a de*ath wish?" Taehyung asks, his voice a little louder this time.
"Taehyung, stop," Jeongguk says, trying to pull Taehyung back and up away from Akiko after hearing what Taehyung just said.
"I'm asking you, do you want to di*e?" Taehyung asks, a dangerous type of rage racing through his veins the longer he stares at Akiko's face—in his thoughts, he's recreating those cursed 99 seconds when he wasn't able to do anything.
"G-get away from me..." Akiko stutters, grasping Taehyung's wrist, attempting to release Taehyung's grip on her hair. "I SAID GET THE FCK AWAY FROM ME, YOU FCKING CREEP!" yells Akiko, +
furious at being humiliated and threatened in front of everybody here in the studio. She shoved Taehyung back, forcing him to stumble down the floor. Taehyung immediately got up to charge at her again, +
but he was stopped by Jeongguk, who was grasping both his arms, Iseul, who was standing between him and Akiko, and Seo-jun, who rushed towards Akiko's side.
"Taehyung-ssi, stop," Iseul says calmly as Seo-jun assists Akiko to stand up. "Are you okay, Akiko-ssi?" Seo-jun inquires, gently brushing Akiko's now messy hair.
"Don't touch me, you fre*ak!" Akiko shouts, slapping Seo-jun's hands away from her, causing the man to raise his arms, feigning defeat.
"Hey! What are you guys doing there?! Taehyung-ssi, come back here!" shouts the director, but Jeongguk hasn't said anything; he's just holding Taehyung, keeping him still.
"Let go," Taehyung tells Jeongguk, gritting his teeth as he speaks. "Are you all ganging up on me now? That's how it's gonna be, huh?" Taehyung adds, coughing out a scoff, his gaze shifting from Jeongguk, Iseul, Akiko, and then Seo-jun.
"Y-you shouldn't hit a woman, Tae—" Jeongguk had to pause as Taehyung laughed bitterly and pushed him back as he stood up. "I shouldn't? Well, I just did. Sue me— you fcking hypocr¡te," Taehyung says quietly, +
his eyes welling up with tears, mentally chastising himself for losing control in front of everyone— but he couldn't stop himself. He saw everything— he saw everything that happened both then and now.
'She's always sought what should be solely mine... And you—you who told me you were mine, allow her to do whatever the fck she wants all the time. Now, I'm the bad guy? ' Taehyung thinks, his wounded gaze fixed on Akiko and Jeongguk.
Taehyung is fully dressed, yet he feels naked right now; he feels like he just bore his frailty, allowing everyone to throw stones at him— and he hates it, Taehyung hates it so much he just wants to disappear, let the ground swallow him.
"We should leave." Jeongguk pauses, seeing that Taehyung's clearly not well, he's even trembling. He grabbed Taehyung's wrist, then he turned to their creative director, bowing apologetically for the scene they just caused. +
"I'm sorry, I think we need to reschedule," Jeongguk says before dragging Taehyung out of the studio, disregarding Jin and the others who are all calling for them to return.
Out in the hallways, Jeongguk and Taehyung both did not say a thing. Strangely, everyone's eyes were on them until they reached the exit, and that's when Taehyung pulled his wrist out of Jeongguk's grip.
"Stop it, Tae. We’re going home—"
"I'm taking a cab," Taehyung replies, his tone hard and flat, stepping back when Jeongguk tries to touch him again. "I think we need some time apart... J-just a few minutes. Give me a few minutes to breathe, please." Taehyung pauses, +
now averting Jeongguk's gaze. "Being with you right now—it's suffocating." Taehyung says, waving his arms out the road, hailing and getting in the first cab that passed by,+
leaving Jeongguk standing alone at the sidewalk under the lamppost, lips quivering, watching Taehyung go, laughing— not knowing that in that same moment, they're both crying.
As Jeongguk speeds, revving up the engine of his motorcycle, he sobs, realizing that everything he's done to reclaim Taehyung's love and trust has been for naught, +
since the moment he witnessed the agony in Taehyung's eyes when looking at him and Akiko earlier.
It's useless— Jeongguk didn't have to remember what he did; the expression of betrayal on Taehyung's face was enough for Jeongguk to realize that no matter what he does, +
he would never be able to erase his mistake—it will forever be imprinted in Taehyung's head, just as Jeongguk cannot erase the image of Taehyung kissing Park Jimin back then.
Getting back together is like a double-edged sword that both Jeongguk and Taehyung knew would hurt them—might even k¡ll them; +
but like fools, they feigned to know nothing—too weak to resist, willingly swallowing each other's poison, just so they could stay together.
T/W// implied panic attack
"A-ahjussi... Can we stop by here for a second?" Taehyung says, telling the cab driver to pull over to the side of the road at Seongsu bridge. He's already alone, but still he cannot breathe.+
He got out of the cab, his legs shaking, as if disintegrating like soft jellies the instant he tried to stand up; he clutched the bridge railings, coughing, choking until his stomach couldn't take it any longer.+
Taehyung then sank to his knees, throwing up the bile from his guts, hoping that once it's over, he would feel at least a tad bit better—impossible.
"*cough... cough...* Who am I fooling?" Taehyung says, wiping some spit from his chin and peering down the placid river below the bridge, +
and there Taehyung suddenly pictured something— someone falling, the water bubbling, turning red— sinking, sinking down below before resurfacing.
In Taehyung's mind, Akiko d¡ed.
"Get a fcking grip." Taehyung tells himself as he stands up, leaning his head back aiming to stop his tears from falling, but it still did, streaming down his cheeks, pooling inside his ears, muffling everything.
Taehyung took a deep breath and entered his apartment, immediately noticing Jeongguk sitting alone on the couch, arms resting on his knees, eyes fixed on the floor, not bothering to turn on the lights, not bothering to look at him as well.
"Taehyung-ah..." Jeongguk breaks the silence that has been smothering him since he and Taehyung parted ways earlier.
"Why?" Taehyung asks dryly, now standing in front of Jeongguk.
"Y-you... You'll never forgive me will you?" Jeongguk asks, "No matter what I do, no matter what I say, you'll never forget about what happened— you'll never forget about what I did." Jeongguk continues as he lifts his face up, +
meeting Taehyung's dark eyes as if he's staring blankly into space, seeing nothing, not even him.
"You tell me... How can you forget that?" Taehyung pauses as he takes a step forward, his gaze fixed on Jeongguk, whose eyes follows his every move. +
"You also haven't forgotten what I did, so stop asking me questions you wouldn't be able to answer yourself," Taehyung says, and the longer Jeongguk stares at him, the more their cruel reality settles in.
There's really no such thing as forgetting when it comes to cheating.
Kintsugi— the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold; Taehyung once thought that was applicable to both him and Jeongguk, but was it, really? +
Isn't gold too soft to withstand the rigors of daily wear? Isn't it too malleable, too weak? It may make the cracks look nice, but it does not mean that the damage has been totally healed.
"I asked you— over and over ,not only earlier but days before, I asked you if you'll be okay if-."
"Why would I need to answer? Aren't you the genius between us two?" Taehyung replies, his tone sarcastic, his expression frigid and rigid as stone.
"Y-yeah... That I am," Jeongguk answers gently, swallowing the lump in his throat as he rises up, just a few inches away from Taehyung. "But I am not a mind reader," he continues, +
looking Taehyung in the eyes, feeling so besieged that he had no other option but to fight back— fight for his own heart's survival.
"I should know— YES! YES, F*UCK YES I SHOULD KNOW! "Jeongguk suddenly felt the need to lash out, his voice roaring so loudly that Taehyung flinched, but the latter still refused to blink. "B-but what if I couldn't? +
What if I didn't want to be presumptuous? What if I was afraid to make assumptions? You— you can't just say one thing and expect me to do the opposite, Taehyung! If you don't want something—if you hate it, if it hurts you, if it's already k¡lling you, then say it!+
Fcking say it to my face! Earlier—" Jeongguk pauses again, turning away from Taehyung, pacing back and forth, ruffling his hair out of frustration. "Earlier, I asked you! I fcking asked you, and you told me that you're fine— it's fine, +
it's okay, fine, okay— BUT GUESS WHAT? IT'S NOT! W-why? Taehyung why? Why are you doing this to me? Do you really want me to go crazy? I-I'm already doing my best... I've been working so hard—+
so fcking hard just to make you happy— just to keep you safe, but you're making it hard for me! Yes, yes, you keep on making it so hard for me, not just about Akiko, but Song Iseul too! I already warned you, but you keep on sticking close to him! +
Fck! Smoking a cigearette with a damn psych0path— laughing? Fcking laughing with a m*rderer? What are you?" Jeongguk trembles as he laughs, his eyes unfocused, blurred with his own tears as he turned towards Taehyung again.+
"WHAT KIND OF F*CKING LUNAT|C ARE YOU, KIM TAEHYUNG?! LOOK AT YOU! LOOK AT WHAT YOU'RE WEARING? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE THAT CAME FROM? WHOSE HANDS MADE THAT SH*TTY FCKING ROBE?+
IT COULD BE HIM—THE SAME FCKING PSYCH0 WHO M*RDERED ALL THOSE PEOPLE! HOW CAN YOU— h-how can you be so fcking reckless and stup¡d?" Jeongguk has no idea what he's saying anymore,+
the words just kept on spilling out of his mouth, going all out of control. "You called me a hypocr¡te earlier, but aren't you one as well?"
"This?" Taehyung finally speaks, gripping the front of the thin silk robe that he's wearing. "You're calling me stup¡d because of this? Yes, I called you a hypocr¡te, yes I might be one too, +
but between us, you're the bigger hypocr¡te, Jeongguk! You!" Taehyung's voice breaks as soon as he raises it. "I maybe stup¡d, but we both know that you're not...+
Not a mind reader my as*s— you already know that you being with that fcking woman would hurt me, but you're still asking me to say it? YOU STILL WANT ME TO SAY IT?!"
"YES! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST ADMIT IT?!?" Jeongguk cuts Taehyung off, still so enraged that he can feel his words burn his throat.
"WHY THE FCK DO I STILL NEED TO ADMIT IT?! IF YOU ALREADY KNOW, WHY DO I STILL NEED TO SAY IT? WHY? DO YOU WANT ME TO LOOK EVEN MORE PATHETIC? DOES IT BOOST YOUR GOD*DAMN EGO TO SEE ME HURT— JEALOUS? IF SO THEN YES! YES!"+
Taehyung's already losing it as well as he repeatedly slams his palm against Jeongguk's chest. "I hate it. I hate it. I hate it so much. I hate how even after I told you what I saw back then— how it k¡lled me when we broke up, you still can't get rid yourself of that woman. +
Was she that good? Did fcking her feel so good you can't just cut her off? I'm here—" Taehyung says, rushing towards the drawer at the side of the couch, pulling out the bottles of lube, throwing them on Jeongguk's face.+
"Do you want it wet? Then fcking use this! Use all of it! I can buy more until your d¡ck drowns in sludge, fu*ck me all you want! Fu*ck!" Taehyung tugs his own hair in anger, face so red, looking like he's about to explode at any second. +
"D-do you know how I feel every-fcking-time I see you with her? Do you know what I hear inside this fcked up head of mine?— Your voice... You... I see you, her, I can hear you telling her how our love was nothing to you but just bullsh¡t.+
T-the only love that I had a-after I lost my father—the only love I have been desperately clinging onto, apparently was nothing but bullsh¡t. Useless, invaluable. I feel like trash— so pathetic I wanna get gobbled up by the ground, +
and you want me to say that outloud? H-how low should I reduce myself to, Jeongguk? H-how much pitiful do I still need to appear for you to see that I'm hurting... I-it hurts so much—+
it hurts so much that I want that woman to be the slasher's next victim. I want her to just fcking d¡e already— maybe when she's gone— +
w-when she's no longer here, I won't be hurting like this..." Taehyung says, feeling cold shivers run up his spine when he realized what he just said, making him start to sob uncontrollably, falling on his knees, +
hands covering his face, wailing like a lost kid; and as much as Jeongguk wanted to hold him— he can't, for he feels so guilty, he might as well drop de*ad at the moment.
Jeongguk then found himself crying silently while staring at Taehyung, reminding himself that he's one who's responsible for this. He did this. +
He's the reason why the same man he swore to love and protect is here, screaming all broken with his bitter tears.
"S-someone like me— I don't deserve you, Tae..." Jeongguk's lips curl up to a pained smile.+
"Say… Should we just end this? I thought that I— no— why the fck am I still bothering to talk? Let's just end this. Maybe getting back together wasn't a good idea after all." Jeongguk says,+
dropping himself on the couch, sitting because he feels so weak he couldn't possibly keep on standing up.
Taehyung suddenly felt that familiar stabbing pain inside his chest upon hearing what Jeongguk just said.
The fragile little world he's been striving to build has just imploded once more.
Just like before, this is what happens whenever he allows himself to appear vulnerable.
"Y-yeah... I think so, too. This— this is a mistake from the beginning," Taehyung says, dragging himself up from the floor and slowly walking towards his room, only to come to a halt by the door, glancing back at Jeongguk.+
"If you want to leave, I won't stop you, but do it when the sun is up tomorrow.... Also, if you're still going to help the investigation, I think the guy isn't Iseul. +
I'm betting on Han Seo-jun— the tailor," Taehyung says as he enters his room, leaning against the door he just closed on Jeongguk.
[Please play this as you read.]
Taehyung has no idea how many hours have passed, but he's still crying, flinching at any random sound, wondering if it's the sound of Jeongguk leaving.
Jeongguk is leaving.
Again— he's leaving.
As his eyes grew tired of crying, the realization of what just happened and what he just said came into Taehyung. He sat up, getting out of the bed, rushing outside in panic.
No, he definitely doesn't want it to end like this.
There, Taehyung bit his trembling lips, stopping himself from making any sound as he slowly approached Jeongguk who's staring at the ceiling, lying on his back on the couch.
The place remains de*ad silent as Taehyung carefully crawls on the couch, resting his head on Jeongguk's arms, wrapping his arms tightly around the latter's waist.
After everything they heard and all the things that they both said, Taehyung realized that he's relieved Jeongguk is still here.
Thank god, Jeongguk is still here.
None of them is saying a thing, but they could feel each other tremble, crying silently. A few more minutes passed and Taehyung felt Jeongguk's arm looping over his back, +
holding him by the arm, pulling him closer, hugging him tighter, while Taehyung clutches on Jeongguk's shirt, burying his damp face over the latter's shoulder.
"I-I didn't mean it... Everything I've said about us being a mistake— I didn't mean it," Taehyung confesses, his voice shaking as he tightens his grip on Jeongguk's shirt. "I'm sorry... P-please don't leave me— I love you," he pleads, and that's all Jeongguk needed to hear. +
Swinging his free arm up, Jeongguk hid his face behind his palm, sobbing so hard and loud, finally letting himself bawl it all out.
“Me too… I f*cking love you too, Taehyung… You have no idea.”
T/W// mentions of death&murder
<News today: January 1, 2022>
SEOUL — As the world celebrates the New Year, 28-year-old model and actress Akiko was discovered de*ad early Monday morning, January 1, 2022.
Police officers patrolling along the Han River identified the actress. She suffered a sta*b wound to her carotid artery,+
while some words too profane and graph¡c to be revealed publicly are alleged to be brut*ally carved on the actress's back. According to pol¡ce authorities—
— Dirty B¡tch — (words that were carved on Akiko's back.)
It's now 5:30 a.m., and both Jeongguk and Taehyung are still sleeping on the couch, oblivious to the fact that Jeongguk's phone just lit up after receiving a new message.
: Tick tock, tick tock, Jeongguk-ssi. One down, two to go. I hope we can meet properly when the fireworks light up the Han River once more.
T/W blood and violence
Note: The POV you're about to read below is a part of a fictional story. It is from a fictional character that is written to be mad, murderous and psychopathic. Read with caution. Read at your own risk.
[You can play this as you read.]
Date: December 31, 2021
Time: 09:45 p.m.
I'm not sure whether it's just me, but everytime I'm on the verge of going batsh¡t crazy, my body communicates with me. It starts with a tightness in my chest,+
a churning sensation in my stomach, my heart racing, muscles tensing up, I feel hot—so hot that I start sweating even in a chilly room, at times I even get dizzy— then everything goes mad as the red mist consumes me.
Right now, I'm feeling all of those things.
It's the type of anger that isn't fun for me.
Ah sh¡t, this will surely be messy.
I had planned my day in advance, as I usually do.
Before I went to bed last night, I already envisioned what would happen when I woke up the next day, but for some reason, things didn't go as predicted.
The gift I sent to Taehyung somehow made its way to J records, and even worse, it made its way into the hands of Jeon Jeongguk, arriving with a note that obviously distorted my true motive.
Jung-hyun, that fcker. Did he really believe I wouldn't figure out it was all his doing? I know he's the only one sick enough to even mimic my handwriting.+
He's probably still around, feeling accomplished, believing he could get away with fcking me up— but that's fine. I'll deal with him later as I've been itching to punish someone since earlier.
Except for the incident involving my gift to Taehyung, everything was going swimmingly. I was able to stand at Taehyung's side, I was allowed to touch him, doll him up, and make him pretty to my liking, but it was all ruined by one dirty b¡tch.
How dare she?
How dare that harlot upset Taehyung in front of me?
Who does she think she is?
— Clearly, the woman has no clue, so I'll take matters into my own hands to make her realize where she truly belongs.
It's now almost 10 in the evening, and the b¡tch had the audacity to go out drinking. I've been sitting here in my car, waiting in front of the club where she's in.+
It's been hours, and I'm beginning to wonder if I should just rush in and haul her out myself—but I can't. No, no, no... I know I can't be reckless, so I opted to wring the last of my patience instead.
Then, it happened.
A grin then curled up on my lips when I saw the b¡tch stepping out of the club to light a cigarette— disgusting habit, really— smoking, I mean.
Whatever. Carpe diem, they say, but sadly for her, this will be her last day.
"Akiko-ssi," I said as I pulled in front of her, rolling down my windows, smiling to avoid looking suspicious. Fortunately, I'm familiar with the location, so I'm aware that the CCTV cameras in this area are just for show.
"You? What are you doing here?" She asks while taking a long drag of her cigarette, damn smoke getting inside my car, fck.
"*cough* Ah, I was actually looking for you. I was told that you'd be here. You see, there appears to be a problem with one of your outfits for tomorrow. One of our staff sadly lost your measurements,+
so we might need you to come by at the studio tonight— only if it's possible, of course," I said, scratching the back of my head to hide my fake smile, which had instinctively dropped due to my impatience.
"Seriously? How incompetent can you guys be?" she asks, rolling her eyes at me—fck this b¡tch, really. "Tch, whatever, wait here. I'll just get my purse."
"Ah! No need, please... We're in a hurry; the studio's just around the corner; it'll be quick, I promise," I said, refusing to waste another minute on someone who is clearly not worth it.
"*Sigh* Fine, you better drive me back, alright? I'm not done drinking," she says, stomping on her cigarette as she climbs into the back seat of my car like the damn diva that she is.
Hah, I seriously need more patience to deal with this woman— or maybe not. Pfft.
"You seem a little tipsy, Akiko-ssi... Would you like a drink?— Just to sober up a bit?" I asked, still smiling, as I gave her a bottle of hangover drink.
"Tch," She merely clicks her tongue, accepting the bottle; and from the rear view mirror, I smiled, watching her open the cap before taking one... big... gulp.
A few seconds later, b¡tch fell unconscious on the back seat of my car.
Date: December 31, 2021
Time: 11: 50 p.m.
The dark night skies are now flickering bright, sparks of colored fire and light exploding outside.
Blue, orange, gold— but right now, there's only one dark shade in my eyes.
Time: 11: 51
She screamed as I pushed her to the ground, forcing her to lie down on her stomach before stripping her naked, cutting off the back of the hideous, poorly made dress she was wearing.
No, I'm not interested in her body.
This isn't sexual at all—far from it actually.
It is to brand her outer shell, to put a label on it, before I completely free her soul. Then, once her soul gets liberated, she will be able to look back and see a clear example of what not to be if she is reborn as a different person.
Hopefully by then, she'll know better.
"S-stop... P-please, stop—"
"What are you?" I asked, but she refused to answer. She just kept on wailing and shouting, and I'm getting absolutely sick of hearing it.
Ah, how troublesome indeed.
"Dirty b¡tch." I said.
"Y-you're sick—" she pauses, eyes growing wider as I straddle her behind, pressing my weight onto her, keeping her pinned down on the ground.
"What are you?"
"S-stop! *sniff* p-please... D-don't do this..."
"I asked you a question, didn't I?" I tried again, still, I got no answer.
Tch, she's a hopeless case, really.
"You should repeat after me Akiko-ssi... Dirty b¡tch— that's what you are, okay? Dirty b¡tch. You're nothing, but a dirty b¡tch." I said, and again, she gave me nothing but her ear shattering screams echoing throughout the place.
Time: 11: 53
My black leather gloves are now stained red after I carved the first letter of this woman's ‘true’ identity.
Her screams are no longer discernible. She was lying on her stomach, fighting fiercely, attempting to escape, so I slammed her face on the floor. That appeared to finally silence her.
D. I. R. T. Y
Dirty— yes, that word suits her perfectly.
Letter by letter, she goes more silent by the second, her body turning weaker.
"W-why are you doing this to me?" She asks, lips trembling as he speaks.
"Why? Well—" I paused, thinking of where to begin.
"I d-didn't do anything to you... S-so why?" She asks again.
I have to laugh really.
"Why, you ask? Mhm... Let's just say that it's because I know this is what 'he' wants... I know, because I know him better than anyone." I said, recalling the look on Taehyung's eyes. "Fck..." I groaned, tilting my head back, feeling myself getting hard inside my pants.
"H-he? Who? Who are you talking about?" I heard her ask me again, but my mind is already wandering elsewhere, thinking of Taehyung again. "Who? T-tell me... Who made you do this? Who?" She says, but I'm really not in the mood to hear what he just said.
Taehyung, Taehyung— my Kim Taehyung.
I saw it.
His eyes— lost but sharp, full of pain and anger, hate and hunger— hunger for revenge.
Hungry to get even.
"P-please... Call him—whoever that person is. Call him... I'll apologize... I'll say sorry— you don't have to do this..."
God, this b¡tch just won't shut up.
"He won't talk to you." I said with a wide grin on my face. "He won't hear you... He hates you. Pfft..." I couldn't help but laugh, watching as Akiko's terrified eyes turned mad.
"W-why? Why?— WHY WHY WHY WHY?!!!!— LET ME OUT! G-GET OFF ME! LET ME OUT!" Akiko statted screaming again, fcking b¡tch, I'm now tempted to cut her tongue off and make her swallow it.
But I need to calm down.
Let's just think of Taehyung.
My, my Taehyung is just so fcking beautiful that I'd even give him the world if he ask me to.
But for now, this is the least that I can do.
"*Sigh* There, there... We're almost done, so quit asking, alright?" I said as I gently stroked her filthy damaged hair.
What a waste. Even her hair is useless. Poor thing.
Then, I started writing on her back again, blood splattering everywhere.
Time: 11: 58
B. ¡. T. C. H
I've finally finished carving the second and last word, cutting up her skin like a rough fabric, and Akiko-ssi is no longer making any sound at this point. She's just lying motionless under me.+
Her eyes remained half-open, her mouth agape, blood on her nose, her own vomit smeared under her cheek.
"We're done, so can you answer me now? What are you, Akiko-ssi?" I asked her one last time, expecting her to know the answer by now.
"D-dirty b¡tch," she finally said, her eyes dark and lifeless.
"Finally... Well then, good luck. I hope you try better next time— in another life." I said, graciously giving her my blessing as I gripped the handle of my scissors tight, swinging my arms up in an angle, before burying the sharp tip on her neck.
She let out one last strained grunt, then everything turned silent.
Silence that only lasted for a couple of seconds.
Date: January 01, 2022
The sound of fireworks began to explode, lighting up the night skies outside once more.
"Do you love me?" I asked as I rose to my feet, watching as her blood began to pool beneath her body.
"Pfft... It's alright; I don't really need someone like you to answer that."
[END OF SOMEONE'S POV]
[You can play this as you read.]
If you lie down with me
Jeongguk awoke with a weight pressing down his stomach, soft lips on his neck, leaving a cool damp sensation on his skin, luring him out of his deep sleep.
"Mhm... Morning." Jeongguk says, still half asleep, seeing Taehyung straddling his waist, sitting on top of him.
"S-sorry... Did I wake you up?" Taehyung asks, looking so innocent but still devastatingly stunning as well.
"I'm not complaining." Jeongguk couldn't help but smile, stretching his arm up, gently caressing Taehyung's cheek, tucking some strands of the latter's long hair behind his ear.
".. 'm just making sure that you're real—that you're still here..." Taehyung pauses, leaning forward, pressing his elbows at the sides of Jeongguk's head, hovering over the latter's face. +
"You didn't leave—why didn't you leave?" Taehyung asks, as if he still doesn't know how Jeongguk will answer that.
"Because you're here. Why would I— how could I leave?" Jeongguk sits up, taking Taehyung with him, softly chuckling when the latter wraps his long legs around his waist like a big baby.
"But last night—"
"Last night has already passed; it's all in the past... The sun is up now," Jeongguk says as he runs his fingers through Taehyung's hair.
"I'm sorry... I pretended I didn't know I was already hurting you," Taehyung confesses, recalling Jeongguk's anguished cries last night. "I was being difficult, wasn't I?" Taehyung smiles.
"A little bit, yes... Well, you had your reasons. I should've been more patient," Jeongguk answers, pressing a chaste kiss on Taehyung's cheek.
"You've been patient enough. It's me who's getting more and more messed up— I even hit a woman," Taehyung says, resting his forehead on Jeongguk's shoulder as Jeongguk rubs soothing circles on his back. "It's so embarrassing..."
"It was— so don't ever do that again," Jeongguk says, pushing back a little so he can cup Taehyung's face and make the latter look at him. "But thank you for sticking up for me. I should've been firmer with her over my boundaries—our boundaries. +
Although I do not condone violence, I'd really be a hypocrite if I say that she didn't deserve it— that slap, I mean." Jeongguk adds, rubbing the tip of his nose against Taehyung's.
"I really have no idea what's happening to me. I feel like I'm becoming more and more like a ticking time b0mb." Taehyung says with a pout on his lips and Jeongguk swore he's about to melt at how adorable Taehyung is.
"Pfft, I can't say you aren't. We need to calm down though... We can't afford to break right now... You need to trust me—I'll do that too. I'll trust you, Taehyung," Jeongguk says, +
shifting his gaze from Taehyung's eyes to the latter's lips, which Taehyung noticed, prompting him to lick his lips instinctively.
"I trust you— I think? Well, it's that woman I don't like. I can't stand her, Guk... I really can't," Taehyung says, taking another deep breath, leaning down, nuzzling his face against the crook of Jeongguk's neck, seeking to soothe himself using the latter's scent.
"I'll talk to her—no, we'll do it, you and I. If she still refuses to cooperate, I'll take her out of the project and just pay the fines for breach of contract. It's no big deal..." Jeongguk sighs deeply, +
feeling Taehyung's wet tongue swirling behind his ear before bringing his lips back to his neck, placing feather light kisses over his skin. +
"I should've done that from the start... I'm sorry," Jeongguk says, regretting allowing this to happen when he could've avoided it from the beginning if only he'd been sensitive enough to consider Taehyung's feelings.
"Mhm... You should've— yes... I was so upset," Taehyung murmurs, his deep voice vibrating against Jeongguk's skin, causing the latter to shudder involuntarily,+
dropping his hands on Taehyung's waist, clutching it hard as Taehyung began to rock his hips sensually on top of him.
"I'm sorry, baby... Please forgive me." Jeongguk whispers, breathing heavily as his eyes flutter close, now feeling Taehyung's lips on his own.
"This is silly—we are," Taehyung says, flicking his tongue over Jeongguk's lips, coaxing the latter to open his mouth, which he does, allowing Taehyung to slide his tongue inside.
They both exhaled a sigh of relief and kissed slowly, savoring each other's taste in their mouths, while Taehyung continued to move, grinding his hips in a circular motion on Jeongguk's lap,+
letting out a moan when Jeongguk's hands slid down from his waist to his behind, squeezing his a:ss hard enough to leave marks.
"You're distracting me," Jeongguk says in between kisses, pulling back after reminding himself that they shouldn't really be doing this— for now at least.
"Distracting you from what?" Taehyung asks, clicking his tongue in frustration, deciding to just unbutton his shirt because Jeongguk is now refusing to kiss him back.
"Fck, Tae," Jeongguk hisses, unable to stop himself from pulling one side of Taehyung's shirt off the latter's shoulder, his lips finding their way to Taehyung's nipple. "We— we have a lot to do today," Jeongguk whispers,+
his eyes rolling back as he carefully laps his tongue around Taehyung's nipple, getting it instantly hard while teasing the other with his deft fingers.
"Nngh... Like what? C'mon... We just made up, can't we play around for a while?" Taehyung sighs, grabbing Jeongguk's hair and pressing the latter's face more into his chest.
"W-we can... But we have to apologize to the staff and director for what happened yesterday, and then we also have to deal with Akiko," Jeongguk says as he continues to lick Taehyung's now hard nipple. "She's a spiteful woman, Tae. She might sue you—"
"I don't care. In case you have forgotten, I'm a damn good lawyer. I'm capable of defending myself," Taehyung replies, pushing his a:ss down and up, now bouncing on Jeongguk's clothed c0ck.
"Nngh... S-sh¡t... I know— but we also have Iseul to deal with—" Jeongguk continues, recalling what Taehyung told him last night during their argument.+
"And Seo-jun. You have to tell me about that guy, Tae. Why do you think he's the slasher?" Jeonggul asks, his boner entirely deadened by the subject. "Do you have any proof?"
"*Sigh*No, I don't," Taehyung responds, suddenly not feeling like doing anything naughty after Jeongguk mentioned Seo-jun.
"Then why him? I mean, I'm willing to listen, but isn't Song Iseul more suspicious?" Jeongguk says again, watching as Taehyung takes his hand and brings it over his neck, pressing it precisely against the plaster that's still there.
"Do you remember this?" Taehyung asks, pertaining to the wound on his neck.
"Of course, it's only been a few days... How could I forget?" Jeongguk replies as he softly brushes his thumb over the plaster.+
"Was it because of this that you suspected him?" Jeongguk inquires, concerned as to why Taehyung suspects Han Seo-jun more than Song Iseul.
"A part of it, yes— but there's something more... I couldn't really explain it, and to be honest, I'm still not sure if it was real or if I was just seeing things, but... B-but when he cut me here..." Taehyung says, now firmly meeting Jeongguk's gaze. +
"I think... I think I caught him smiling," Taehyung finally admits, although he's not sure if he should really tell Jeongguk about all this.
"W-what? He was what?"
"*Sigh* Smiling— it was just for a split second, but I swear-.." Taehyung gulped nervously, "No, don't mind me... As I've said, I'm not even sure about it. Y'see, something's been happening to me lately." Taehyung continues,+
now staring at his palm that's trembling all of a sudden. "Maybe I'm really going crazy... I don't know what's happening anymore, like I'm spiraling out of control... Jimin even told me that I've changed, that I'm expressing myself more now than before. +
I didn't mind it at first, but now that I think about it, he might be right. When we went to see Chang Sujin's family, I felt so horrible after hearing his father's story—I felt his rage, his desire for vengeance—that I wished I could do something right away.+
Then yesterday, when I saw you with that woman, I was so enraged that I felt like I could k¡ll someone... In fact, if you hadn't stopped me—if you hadn't restrained me—I would've-.."
"Hush now... You don't really need to explain to me now, Tae. I get it— I understand. You've changed? No, trust me, you haven't." Jeongguk says, cupping Taehyung's face. +
"You may not be aware of it because you've been striving to keep a certain kind of image for yourself, but you've always been like this, Tae." Jeongguk says, watching as Taehyung furrows his brows, trying to process what he just said.
"What do you mean?"
"You're human. You're capable of feeling— too much of everything sometimes, actually. You get sad, upset, angry, happy, horny, pfft... And, at least with me, you've never been shy about showing it." Jeongguk smiled as he leaned in and kissed Taehyung on the cheek.
"T-that's not true..." Taehyung stutters, averting Jeongguk's gaze.
"You don't believe me? Why? D'you think Park Jimin knows you better than me? Bullsh¡t." Jeongguk smirks teasingly, switching up the mood, hoping that Taehyung would stop over thinking.
"That's not it—.."
"Bet I can tell you what's running inside your mind right now." Jeongguk says, tilting Taehyung's face towards him again. "You're probably wondering how could I say such things when you've spent more time with that other prosecutor friend of yours+
than the time we spent being in a relationship before." Jeongguk says, grinning triumphantly when Taehyung's eyes grew wide, staring at him in shock.
It's true. That's exactly what Taehyung was thinking before Jeongguk mentioned it.
Mentally, Taehyung was doubting Jeongguk's claim, considering that he and Jeongguk had only been in a relationship for two years before they parted ways, while Taehyung spent a good five to six years being close friends with Jimin.
"So I'm right? Mhm... Let me try again— right now, you're probably wondering if I can actually read your mind," Jeongguk says, pressing his forehead into Taehyung's. "I can," Jeongguk says, looking Taehyung in the eyes. +
"By now you should know— that even though you may have spent more years together with other people, and we may have wasted more years being apart— still, no one knows you better than I do, Taehyung... I am the only one who knows you inside out, +
because whether you admit it or not, you and I both know that I am the only one you have allowed to get close enough." Jeongguk says with confidence— not the taunting kind of confidence, not even proud.+
He's confident because he knows and he's sure that he's right.
He is, and Taehyung knows that as well.
"So, you really don't think something is wrong with me?" Taehyung asks.
"Nothing's wrong with you, except that maybe you've been overthinking lately." Jeongguk says, pressing a soft kiss on Taehyung's lips, then he pulls back with a bright smile on his face— bright enough for Taehyung to believe him. +
"Nothing is wrong with feeling and expressing your emotions. Nothing's wrong with smiling, crying, getting angry— there's nothing wrong with having doubts or fears.+
To me, you're perfect, baby. So I hope you stop worrying too much about it." Jeongguk says, making Taehyung smile sheepishly at him, finally.
"Now, about Song Iseul, there's something I'd like to know... Why do you believe he's innocent?" Jeongguk asks once more.
"I don't know... He may appear austere and cold, but still there's warmth. He seem to be passionate about his job; and, while it may not be obvious at first glance, he is also quite considerate of other people-.."
"Tae, he could be faking it, y'know?"
"No... That's the thing— for some reason, I truly believe that he's being real. When he smiles, it doesn’t fade quickly... What I'm trying to say is that his emotions don't seem rehearsed. +
I think that he's simply the type of person who's not very expressive. I don't think he's psychopathic, he just has his own principles, and he seems to follow them religiously— just like me. +
Well, at least just like how I used to be." Taehyung said, which made Jeongguk be silent for a couple of seconds. "I could be wrong—"
"Or you could be right... For now, I still don't want you to get too close to that guy, but we'll keep a watch on Han Seo-jun too." Jeongguk sighs, realizing that Taehyung was right when he told him not to focus on just one person. +
He'd been so fixated on Iseul that he'd missed other people's actions; he hadn't even suspected Han Seo-Jun.
"I'm sorry... I should've listened to you from the start. I shouldn't have dismissed your ideas," Jeongguk says, his head lowering and resting against Taehyung's chest.
"Well, I should've been more upfront with you as well... A lot has been going on, and I guess we got too caught up in the middle," Taehyung says as he rubs calming circles on Jeongguk's back, drawing the latter closer to him as well.
"We're really bad at this, aren't we?" Jeongguk asks, raising his head, a resigned smile on his face as he meets Taehyung's gaze.
"Mhm... I guess we are." Taehyung replies, about to lean in and kiss Jeongguk again when they both stilled, hearing a knock on the door so early in the morning.
"Are we expecting anyone?" Jeongguk asks.
"Not that I'm aware of... Wait, I'll go check," Taehyung says as he fixes his shirt, gets off Jeongguk's lap and walks directly to the door.
"Who—" Taehyung freezes, realizing who is standing at his door with a group of other police officers. "Hobi-ah, what's going on here?" Taehyung asks, suddenly feeling uneasy after noticing Hobi's stern demeanor.
"Morning, Tae..." Hobi pauses as he forces a smile. "We're hoping to get your statement—this is over the incident yesterday at J records. +
We heard that you had a verbal altercation with the model/actress Akiko, and we'd like to invite you for questioning," Hobi says, making Taehyung smirk, choking out a taunting sneer.
"Wow, so she really pressed charges against me, huh? I—"
"No— no, she didn't... Shin Akiko is d*ead, Tae... Murd*red to be exact," Hobi stated, causing Taehyung's smirk to slowly fade as the latter realized what’s going on and why the pol¡ce are here in his apartment.
Akiko is d*ead, and now Taehyung’s a suspect.
TW // graphic description of violence, death and murder
[You can play this as you read this update.]
Take my Soul (inst.)
After hearing what Hobi said, Jeongguk feels as if a b0mb has just exploded in front of his face. Akiko is de:ad.
M:urdered—and the police are here to question Taehyung, most likely as a suspect.
"H-Hobi-ah... Hyeongsa-nim.... What did you say?—.." Jeongguk almost couldn't hear himself speak, feeling a huge knot forming in his throat. He was about to pull Taehyung behind him when Taehyung stopped him, placing his hand on Jeongguk's chest.
"It's okay, Guk. It's no big deal. They're just doing their jobs— following standard procedure," Taehyung says calmly before turning back to Hobi. +
"Do you mind if I get dressed first? As you can see, I'm still in my sleepwear," Taehyung continues, while Hobi simply nods his head, looking apologetically at both Taehyung and Jeongguk.
"By the way, you can go in; I'll be quick," Taehyung says again as he walks towards his room to change.
Hobi, who is now sitting on the couch with the other police officers on his team behind him, can plainly feel the tension in the room as he faces a clearly disoriented Jeongguk.
"Jeongguk... I know what this looks like, but please calm down. I also didn't want to do this, since I know that Taehyung's definitely innocent— I mean, he couldn't... I know he would never-.."
**'Do you have a de:ath wish?' ***
**'I'm asking you, do you want to d¡e?'**
Jeongguk then remembered what Taehyung had just told Akiko the day before; the look on his face, his dark, sharp, and vacuous eyes, the way he grasped her hair and yanked it back, desensitized to the other people around.
Cold shivers ran up Jeongguk's spine.
"Time of de:ath... What's her time of de:ath?" Jeongguk felt a wave of fear flood through him as a certain thought flashed through his head, making him quickly regret what he had just asked Hobi, for he knew what it implied in his mind, even if he doesn't voice it out.
'Fck... What on earth am I thinking?' Jeongguk muses as his own guilt for daring to mistrust Taehyung consumes him.
"Around midnight, according to the initial autopsy. Why?" Hobi asks, perplexed as to why Jeongguk appears to be somewhat guilty. "You were here with Tae at that time, right?" Hobi felt the need to inquire.
"I was. I got here around 9 p.m., we can stop by the reception to get a copy of the security footage from last night. I can also tell you my whereabouts yesterday before I got home if needed," Taehyung says, approaching them in the living room,+
now fully dressed, and for some reason Jeongguk couldn't bring himself to look at him; ashamed, knowing that Taehyung probably already knew what was running through his head when he heard him ask about Akiko's time of de:ath.
"*Sigh* Thank you, Tae..." Hobi exhales deeply, finally finding some relief.
"Don't worry, I understand— but just so you know, given our location, m:urdering someone and disposing of the body cannot be done in just under 2 hours.+
Now if you're coming with us, then we better get moving," Taehyung says with a rather sad smile on his face.
"Right, yeah, o-okay... I'll just get my jacket," Jeongguk replies, rising to his feet, ignoring his now unsteady knees and his heart that’s full of guilt.
Taehyung was eventually exonerated of any suspicion after nearly an hour. All it took was CCTV evidence of Taehyung arriving at their apartment building about nine p.m., +
without him leaving that night again, and Jeongguk's sworn statement that he was with Taehyung the entire evening.
"I'm sorry to have put you through this, Tae... Please know that we're just following protocol. When we interviewed Shin Akiko's acquaintances, they mentioned your name and what happened in J records yesterday," Yoongi, the one who interviewed Taehyung in this case, explains.
"It's okay, I know... Now, about that woman... How did she d¡e? Can you tell me more details?" Taehyung asks Yoongi, who is sitting between Hobi, Jimin and Namjoon, while Jeongguk stands behind Taehyung.+
"I'm still a part of the investigative team, aren't I?" Taehyung asks, feeling strangely as though everyone is staring at him, waiting for him to break and make a mistake.
"Of course you are. *Sigh* Well, she d¡ed basically like the others who were k¡lled by that blasted slasher— maybe with just a few minor differences in the injuries she sustained," Yoongi says, then proceeding to tell Taehyung more about their new case.
Shin Akiko, 28, had her face completely wrecked, broken nose, one of her front teeth missing, bruises and wounds on her cheeks, crushed ribs, limbs torn apart and crushed from the inside of her skin, +
a single stab wound on her neck precisely puncturing her carotid artery, and the words 'D¡rty B¡tch' brutally carved on her back like some sort of twisted label, with no signs of her being se:xually as:saulted.
Jeongguk felt his stomach churn upside down while listening to the details of Akiko's m:urder; cold sweat flowing from his head down to his back,+
and when they showed them some of Akiko's photos when she was found, Jeongguk found himself tearing up.
"E-excuse me. I think I need to step out for a moment," Jeongguk says, turning towards the door before Taehyung notices him crying for the woman who sparked their quarrel the night before.
"Is he okay?— Doesn't seem like it," Yoongi asks Taehyung concerning Jeongguk.
"H-he's friends with the victim... S-shin Akiko, I mean," Taehyung says, feeling like he's about to vomit the moment Akiko's name slipped past his lips.
"How about you? Are /you/ okay?" Jimin asks, noting Taehyung's face has turned pale.
"Of course I am," Taehyung says.
"Taehyung, can we talk outside?" Joon asks, getting to his feet with a serious expression on his face, walking out the door, urging Taehyung to follow.
'He's not here...' Taehyung thinks as he sees Jeongguk is nowhere to be found outside Yoongi's office.
"He's probably in the pantry. You can go to him after... I just need to confirm something." Joon says, noticing that Taehyung seems to be looking for Jeongguk, then he leads Taehyung inside the fire exit.
"What is it?" Taehyung said, taking his pack of cigarettes and lighter from his pocket and lighting a stick, craving a hit of nicotine.
"Don't misunderstand... I am certain that you had nothing to do with Shin Akiko's de:ath... But I know the story— from five years ago; Jeongguk told me all about it while you were in a coma...+
*Sigh* So, what I'm trying to verify, is that you are aware that Shin Akiko's m:urder will be probed as part of the Seoul Slasher case, correct?+
Do you think you can continue working on this case and seek justice for the m:urder of the woman who basically ruined your past relationship?" Joon asks,+
allowing Taehyung to hear the reality he's been subconsciously trying to avoid since learning what happened to Akiko this morning.
It was a hard pill to swallow, and Taehyung now feels as though the entire world is against him.
From there, a smirk then curled on Taehyung's lips.
"She's just another d:ead body now, isn't she? What's the big deal?" Taehyung asks, subtly hiding his trembling hands behind him.
"If you're worried that I'll botch this case on purpose just because I have a grudge against one of the victims— don't bother," Taehyung says, loosening his necktie because talking about it makes him feel somewhat stuffy. +
"I'm even more eager to find that psych0 now... I want to thank him personally," Taehyung adds coldly as he takes a step forward, halting just beside Joon, taking another long drag of his cig.+
"I didn't go through law school just to let my personal life interfere with my work, so don't worry too much— geomsanim," Taehyung says, talking to Joon formally, not to mock the latter with his sarcasm,+
but to stress that just like Joon, he's a graduate of law too— he is a prosecutor too.
And now, he has no time to think about such trifling matters and petty feelings.
With that thought, Taehyung dropped his cigarette and stepped out of the fire exit, while Joon massaged the bridge of his nose, shaking his head, trying to compose himself, knowing that everything could turn out to be a disaster.
On his way back to Yoongi's office, Taehyung noticed Jeongguk waiting by the door, his back against the wall.
"Where have you been?" Jeongguk asks, turning to face Taehyung, who is now standing just a few steps away from him.
"Just there... You?" Taehyung asks, and when Jeongguk lifts his gaze, he is struck by Taehyung's lifeless and empty visage.
"Let's not talk about it here... We have a lot of other things to do right now," Taehyung says, patting Jeongguk's shoulder before striding past him and straight into Yoongi's office.
In that brief silence as he stands alone by the door, Jeongguk knew— he fcked up once more.
"Fourteen. We have fourteen unsolved m:urder cases here so far— presumably done by just one person, at least based on our records," Yoongi says,+
projecting all the slasher's alleged victims from previous cases that are uncannily similar—that, based on the victim's injuries as well as their manner of death.
They all have a single stab wound on their necks, and the majority of them have a circular patch carved off of their scalp on the crowns of their heads.
"From Park Jihye to Chang Su-jin, the manner of de:ath and injuries are all the same, but Kang Nari, Han Seo-an, and the most recent victim, Shin Akiko, d¡ed in a slightly different way. +
[a/n: see photo for reference]
Kang d¡ed of asphyxiation despite having a stab wound on her neck; Han Seo-an was stabbed at the train station with nothing taken from his scalp; +
then Shin Akiko, who has the words D¡rty B¡tch carved on the skin of her back." Hobi says, directing the laser pointer on the projected image of the victims' names in front of them.
"Then there's the four who d¡ed during the encounter at CC's, which will be difficult to connect with the slasher's case given that their de:aths didn't seem well planned at all, but those four: Bae Ji-sub, Ha Seon-ho, Do Dong-seok, Ahn Si-won, +
all had the same stab wound on their necks, but nothing was taken out from the scalps of their heads, presumably because of the location and the situation back then." Jimin says, joining the discussion as well.
"I can't seem to find the pattern here— like how does he select his victims? Sure, most of them were public figures, but there were others who weren't. Chang Su-jin was just a university student, while Han Seo-an was a bodyguard.+
Speaking of Han Seo-an, I don't understand why the slasher would k¡ll him at the train station with all those people—." Taehyung pauses, feeling Jeongguk’s hand on his arm.
"Han Seo-an was my bodyguard, Tae," Jeongguk confesses. The rest of the investigation team already knows, but Taehyung doesn't, which explains the look of shock on the latter's face.
"What?" Taehyung asks, as Jeongguk has not mentioned this to him before.
"I did my own research on the slasher and all of his victims while you were in a coma. I've spoken with some of the past victims' families, but sadly I haven't found anyone willing to cooperate… +
I was aware that what I was doing was fraught with risk, and it still is, so as you know, I hired my own security team. Han Seo-an was one of the guards that worked for me. +
Considering how he d¡ed, I believe it was also because of me," Jeongguk says, lowering his head in shame and guilt. Shame for not telling Taehyung everything he knows from the get go, and guilt for Han Seo-an's m:urder.
"*Sigh* When did this happen, exactly?" Taehyung asks, taking a deep breath to relax.
"The day you woke from a coma, I left my previous home and used three of my bodyguards as decoys so I could move safely to Cheongdamdong.+
I guess the b:astard followed Seo-an believing he was me, and then k¡lled him out of wrath when he discovered he had been deceived," Jeongguk continues, still unable to meet Taehyung's gaze.
"Are there other things you're not telling me?" Taehyung asks again, his fists clenched.
"You two can talk about it later; for now, let's look at the map," Joon decides to step in to keep everyone on course.
"All right... The map," Taehyung replies, staring at Jeongguk for a few seconds before returning his attention to the screen.
"Most of the victims' remains were discarded over the Han River, including Kang Nari, Chang Su-jin, and Shin Akiko; Moon Gae-young in Sokcho, Gangwon-do, and Park Jihye in Samcheok.+
Lee Haru was found in Aeryeonji, Seoul, while Son, Kim, and Chang Hanbin were discovered floating in the waters of the Han River, also in Seoul. +
Han Seo-an was stabbed and left at the Gangnam metro station, while the other four were stabbed and left to bleed out in CC's," Yoongi says, tracing the map where the victims' bodies were discovered, showing the others where he will eventually dispatch his officers.
"If we analyze this, I think the Seoul Slasher is an organized serial k¡ller with tendencies to be disorganized or k¡ll impulsively as well. Now, if we want to figure out how he chooses his victims, we should start with those he has k¡lled in a strikingly similar fashion, +
because those appear to have been planned, not done on the whim of the situation." Taehyung says, switching the slide to the victims' profiles again.+
"Park Jihye, Chang Hanbin, Moon Gae-young, Kim Yejin, Son Ji-hyun, Lee Haru, Chang Sujin— I'll be adding Kang Nari here as well, despite her cause of de:ath being asphyxiation, +
for everything else from her injuries and the patch on her scalp was the same with the rest," Taehyung continues as Hobi updates the list.
"What about Shin Akiko?" Yoongi asks, causing Taehyung to clench his jaw, getting that unsettling feeling coiling inside his stomach once more.
"She's a public figure who was k¡lled in the same manner— I think we could add her as well," Taehyung replies, his gaze shifting away from Akiko's portrait on the screen.
From there, the rest of them continued the briefing by assessing the victimology of those on their updated list, highlighting the victims' similarities in order to determine how the slasher selects the majority of his victims.
"First, they're all visibly attractive people who have worked in the entertainment industry in some capacity—perhaps with the exception of Chang Sujin, who was still in university. +
Fair and unblemished complexion, long lashes, plump lips, a sharp and high nose bridge, and slender built, but apart from those, I can't really find any other similarities—."
"They all have long hair, even the males had hair past their shoulders," Jeongguk points out, drawing the attention of the others.
"You're right. They all have long hair, Chang Su-jin included." Joon says,
"Do you think that'll be the cause for the carved patch on the victims' heads?" Jeongguk adds, overworking the gears in his head once more.
"As a souvenir?" Hobi questions, noting that serial k¡llers are known to take something from their victims as a momento—like a trophy to remember the m:urders they committed.
"Perhaps, but why the scalp—or was it really the hair he's after?" Yoongi says, causing everyone to think carefully as they continue their discussion.
The briefing for the slasher's case went on until late afternoon before Yoongi decided to call it a day as they waited for Shin Akiko's full autopsy results.
Taehyung and Jeongguk are now back in their apartment, awkwardly treading carefully around each other.
"Tae..." Jeongguk says as he sits alongside Taehyung on the couch, breaking the silence between them.
"Hmm?" Taehyung replied with a dull hum, staring blankly into the wall.
"I'm sorry." Jeongguk says.
"It wasn't me... Shin Akiko, I didn't k¡ll her, Jeongguk," Taehyung says, leaning back on the couch and tilting his slightly to the left of Jeongguk.
"I know..." Jeongguk replies, inching closer to Taehyung , gently laying the side of the latter's head on his shoulder.
"But why do I feel like I did?" Taehyung wonders, sighing deeply and closing his eyes, reliving the darkness that nearly devoured him last night.+
"My hands are clean, but I still feel dirty," he adds as Jeongguk takes his hand in his and intertwines their fingers.
"Don't... You did nothing wrong—"
"I did... In my head, at least. I hate her so much, I wanted her to d¡e... Maybe that's why I'm feeling this way, because I c-can't..." Taehyung pauses as his voice breaks, +
prompting him to sit up, dropping his head, hiding his face behind his palms, as he feels like crying again.
"You know it, too; that's why you still asked for her time of de:ath despite the fact that we were together the night it happened; Y-you can read me like an open book, so I couldn't really deny it even if I wanted to," Taehyung says, +
his eyes glazed with tears as he glances at Jeongguk again. "I wanted her d:ead. I— I wanted her to d¡e, and now that she's gone, I don't even feel guilty about it... I-instead, I'm relieved...+
No, a part of me is actually happy that she's no longer here... I-I'm sorry," Taehyung confesses, ashamed by what he just said, even after knowing the details of Akiko's tragic and gruesome end.
Jeongguk found himself speechless. To be honest, he's still in shock at Akiko's d:eath, but hearing Taehyung's sentiments made him feel responsible as well.
Taehyung is clearly blaming himself, and as much as Jeongguk believes Akiko did not deserve such a dreadful d:eath, he cannot watch Taehyung in this kind of distress.
"You're not obligated to feel bad for everyone's d:eath. It wasn't your fault; you didn't k¡ll her—"
"I didn't, but I wanted to... In fact, if nobody stopped me yesterday, I would have definitely k¡lled her myself..." Taehyung trembles as he speaks, his eyes wide, pupils dilated, tears streaming down his cheeks.
"No— listen to me, Tae," Jeongguk replies, cupping Taehyung's face and wiping the latter's tears with his thumb. "It wasn't your fault... You didn't k¡ll her. +
Sure, you may have felt an urge to do so, but you didn't act on it... You went home— to me, here." Jeongguk says, taking a long breath before taking his phone, finally deciding not to keep anything from Taehyung.
"If anything... I should be the one feeling more guilty," Jeongguk says, showing Taehyung the first note and the text message he received— presumably from the slasher just this morning.+
"That b:astard believes this is a game, and I am the one he's playing with— not you, Tae... Not you," Jeongguk says, a dangerous type of rage coursing through his veins once more.
"Kang Nari, Lee Haru, Han Seo-an, Akiko—maybe even Chang Su-jin... Their d:eaths are all connected to me. They d¡ed because I was too arrogant to challenge the damn devil," Jeongguk laments, now crying himself, the victims' d:eaths weighing on him.
: Tick tock, tick tock, Jeongguk-ssi. One down, two to go. I hope we can meet properly when the fireworks light up the Han River once more.
Taehyung sat there, staring at the slasher's most recent message to Jeongguk, and from there, as if hearing a loud wake-up call, he began to realize something.
Jeongguk has been bearing all of this burden on his own, while all he's done is wallow in his own dark thoughts, allowing his demons to eat him little by little;+
doing nothing as Jeongguk desperately fights to save them both, going head to head against the psych0path on his own.
A bitter laugh then escapes Taehyung's lips as if he's just been woken up to this cruel reality, finally— truly realizing that the world doesn't revolve around his own fears— that he isn't the only one suffering.
"Is it too late for me to join the game? I hope not," Taehyung asks, looking straight into Jeongguk's eyes, "Tae—.."
"Use me, Guk... I'm sorry it took me this long, but I think I'm now done being afraid of my demons— I want to be friends with them instead." Taehyung pauses as he reaches up, caressing Jeongguk's face. +
"In our line of work, it was said that if you want to catch a psycho, you have to think like one as well, and fortunately for me, I'm already half-way there," Taehyung says,+
picking up all his broken parts, deciding to just embrace his fears and make use of the darkness he's already in.
[Three Days Later...]
Due to Akiko's sudden d:eath, the filming of Jeongguk's latest project has been postponed, and will only be resuming today.
With a stronger resolve and a new, more fearless plan, Jeongguk and Taehyung are now back in J records, prepared to finally— properly retaliate.
Akiko's d:eath confirmed that the 'slasher' they're looking for is indeed lurking around their workplace, and whether it's Iseul, Seo-jun, or anyone else, +
Jeongguk and Taehyung are now even more eager to coax him out of his hole and finally put an end to this madness he started.
Nonetheless, they chose to begin with the tailor and the fashion designer.
'We're all set,' Joon says over the radio, which is attached to Taehyung and Jeongguk's earpieces.
Jeongguk then looked around the busy studio, noticing Hobi and Jimin already in their assigned positions, before turning towards Taehyung, who was glammed up under the bright lights, facing the camera in front of both Iseul and Seo-jun.
"Ready?" Jeongguk speaks through the microphone, acting his role as the music video's co-director.
"Yes... 100 percent," Taehyung answers, his gaze fixed on the two unsuspecting men in front of him.
"Alright— roll camera. Mark. Background... Three, two, one— action," Jeongguk says calmly, prompting Hobi and Jimin to carry out their plan (courtesy of Taehyung);+
cutting the strings, causing the buckets of pig's blood they've secretly set up above Taehyung, Iseul, and Seo-jun to spill and splatter all over the three.
Soaked in blood from head to toe, Taehyung kept his eyes open, lips curling up to a sinister sneer, staring at the shocked and bloodied Iseul and Seo-jun.
"Tick tock, tick tock... Let's keep rolling—it's a good take, isn't it?" "Jeongguk smirked as he wiped a tiny drop of blood that splashed on his cheek.
[You can play this as you read]
Bloody mary (inst)
TW// mentions of blood
The stench of blood could be very polarizing. When it comes to animals, the mere scent of blood can turn some away from revulsion and fear, yet it can also send others into a hunger frenzy.
According to one study, these primitive reactions to blood in mammals are caused by a single molecule called E2D rather than the blood itself.
Animals, particularly apex predators such as wolves and lions, are lured to the smell of blood because it may indicate their next meal.
Humans, on the other hand, are not drawn to blood; in fact, we are usually repulsed by it. That is because our instinct uses scent to warn us away from blood, which can be a sign of danger—even de:ath.
Now, what does this have to do with catching a m:urderous psychopath?
To be honest, Taehyung isn't really expecting to make any substantial headway in identifying the slasher by showering himself, Iseul, and Seojun in blood.+
However, he still wanted to see something— a reaction, a small crack on the guy’s (whoever he is) deceitful mask, anything—anything at all other than just waiting to hear about the next victim on the news.
So Taehyung ended up choosing this rather unsightly route— not by preference but desperation.
There is this thing called the dark triad of malevolent personality traits in psychology: psychopathy, narcissism, and machiavellianism.+
Such qualities are measured together because they frequently coincide; for example, if a person has psychopathic traits, they are likely to have narcissistic and machiavellian traits as well.
Taehyung's goal for now is to disarm the narcissist in either Iseul or Seo-jun by soaking them in blood, believing that one of them is a psych0path. +
After all, Taehyung is aware that most, if not all, psych0paths are known for their inflated sense of ego, lack of empathy, and need to be admired by all; +
so Taehyung concluded that in order to at least make the psych0 take a blow, he could start by catching them off guard and making them appear a mess in front of others.
With blood, Taehyung wants to at least, just slightly, unmask the monster— the bloodthirsty predator hiding behind the visage of a seemingly innocent guy.
The scheme has now begun.
Taehyung sucks in a deep breath, acting according to their agreed to script, smearing the blood more onto his face as Jeongguk directed the cameraman to capture a tight shot of him. +
With his unfazed eyes, Taehyung watched how Seo-jun fell on his knees, trembling, staring at the blood dripping from his face to his palms, while Iseul's just standing frozen in place, clearly shocked from what just happened.
"E-excuse me... I need to clean up—"
"Cut!" Jeongguk exclaimed immediately when he heard Iseul's attempt to excuse himself.+
"Iseul-ssi, would you mind checking Taehyung's outfit? It looks a little out of place on the shoulders; is it supposed to fit him that way?" he asks, causing Iseul to pause,+
shifting his gaze from the floor to Jeongguk, as if mentally asking him if he's serious and if he can't see the blood dripping all over him.
"Oh— I'm sorry? I didn't know you two got soaked too... Well, don't worry, that isn't human blo0d, of course," Jeongguk says, his chuckle sounding more like a sly taunt than harmless humor.
"T-then what is this?" Seo-jun asks this time after overhearing Jeongguk and Iseul's exchange.
"Pigs blo0d," Jeongguk says, his gaze now fixed on Seo-jun, while Iseul remains motionless, his feet firmly planted on the ground.
"Oh my god, Seo-jun-ssi! Are you okay?" Jihye and the other staff raced towards Seo-jun, who had just thrown up, adding to the mess on the floor, while Taehyung walked towards their direction.
"There must have been a mistake; the blood should only have been on me, but it went all over you and Iseul-ssi as well," Taehyung says, his eyes sharp when Seo-jun looks up at him. +
"You don't look well, Seo-jun-ssi... Guess blood isn't your strong suit, huh?" he adds, drawing further troubled stares from the crowd.
"Taehyung-ssi, I'm sorry, but this isn't funny; Seo-junnie's really scared of blood," Jihye says as she helps Seo-jun get up.
"Really? Why, though? It's just blood?"
"I-it's dirty," Seo-jun muttered under his breath, his gaze now fixed on the floor, his teeth tensed when he spoke.
"Is it? Some people eat it, you know?" Taehyung refuses to back down, glancing surreptitiously at Iseul, who is still standing on the side.
"It's dirty," Seo-jun says again, a little sterner this time. "How could anyone eat—"
"J-Jihye-ah, please help Seo-jun out; I'll cover everything from here," Iseul says, taking a deep breath before lifting his gaze to Taehyung. +
"Y-your clothes are all messed up now... I didn't realize we'd be dealing with blood today," Iseul explains, his eyes out of focus as he tries to mend Taehyung's already soiled clothes.
"But sir, you're also—"
"I'm fine, Jihye-ah... P-please." Iseul says, forcing a smile at Jihye, watching as the latter leads Seo-jun outside the studio before he brings his attention back to Taehyung.
"I-I'm sorry... I know we've talked about the concept of this project already, but it turns out we're still not prepared." Iseul says, unsure on what to do with his trembling hands,+
he kept on brushing the blood off of Taehyung's outfit even though it did nothing to help. "T-this suit... I've sewn this by hand for days... It's one of the few pieces I was allowed to—+
*sigh* nevermind, i-it's all ruined now." Iseul says with a rather sad expression on his face.
"You look a little rattled up, Iseul-ssi; are you sure you don't also need a break?" Jeongguk asks, scrutinizing each of Iseul's movements to ensure none go unnoticed.
"Y-yeah... I'm sure. S-so what should we do next? Do we—"
"You're shaking," Taehyung notices Iseul's hands and his now incredibly pale face underneath the blood stains.
"H-huh?" Iseul clasps his own hand, as if to stop it twitching. "A-am I?"
"Let's take five. I think we should have someone clean this up first before we continue filming," Taehyung says, +
eyeing the mess Seo-jun left on top of the blood on the floor before he walked towards one of the vacant dressing rooms followed by Jeongguk.
"*Sigh* Look at you." Jeongguk says, clicking his tongue while eyeing Taehyung from head to toe. +
"How was it? Were you able to see the reaction you're looking for?" he asks as he picks a clean towel and dampens it with water before handing it to Taehyung to wipe the blood off his face.
"Pretty much? You? What do you think?" Taehyung asks as he tidies himself up.
"Well, from what I saw, Seo-jun appeared to be more afraid of blood than Iseul," Jeongguk replies, taking another towel and wetting it with water+
before helping Taehyung out of his top and cleaning the blood off the latter's torso. "But I need to know what you're thinking... What's going through your mind right now, Tae?" Jeongguk asks.
"I'd say one put on a better show than the other— yet both showed their actual reactions," Taehyung says as he meets Jeongguk's gaze, wiping some of the drying blood off the side of his lips. "I think one of them was disgusted, while the other was scared."
"I see... Good work then, tiger. Take a quick shower... We'll resume filming soon." Jeongguk says as he softly caresses Taehyung's face.
Sh¡t. Sh¡t. Sh¡t.
The cold shower douses me.
Damn pig's blood going down the drain, but I still can't get the stench of it off me.
I tried rinsing it with soap and shampooing my hair twice, but I can still smell it and feel it coating my body like some nasty and sticky sludge, no matter how hard I scrub.
I know I do have quite a 'hobby', but still, I absolutely abhor being filthy.
It brings back such ugly memories— memories of that woman and her incessant nagging.
'You're poor, but you don't have to look poor just because you are.'
'Wash your face.'
'Wash your hands'
'Brush your teeth.'
'You dirty kid.'
'Don't touch that!'
'Don't touch that!'
'Don't touch that!'
"F:UCK!" I slammed my palm against the cold tiled walls of the cramped shower room that I'm in.
Then I repeated it again and again—and again—until my palms turned bright red.
I am seeing red.
How in the world did this happen?
Was it on purpose?
Are they already on me?
Did they already figure out it was me?
No, no, that's not possible. I've always cleaned up well, with or without that b::astard Jung-hyun.
Could it be a mistake?
Was I merely standing at the wrong place?
No, I'm sure I wasn't crossing the line earlier—those buckets were really over my head, as if on purpose, knowing I'd be standing there.
"F:uck! This is driving me nuts!" I hissed, about to lather soap all over my body again.
Then, for a moment I froze; my eyes went wide when I heard someone snickering from outside the shower cubicle I'm in.
—"I must say, that was quite a sight. Isn't it ironic? despite all the dirty-dirty things you've done, you're still a clean freak. Pfft... T'was actually fun seeing you in your natural habitat."
"Was it? H-hah... Was it your doing, huh?" I asked as I slowly and carefully turned off the shower, my lips twitching in both thrill and rage at hearing that very familiar voice I hadn't heard in a while.
—"Well, if it was? What are you gonna do about it?"
"So it's really you?" I asked as I scan the cubicle to get a hold of anything sharp— but all I have is f:cking shampoo and bar soap, great.
—"Pfft... Relax. It wasn't me. Though, I might really do something soon."
"Hah... Are you threatening me? You?" I couldn't help but laugh. This guy can't be serious right now.+
"If I recall correctly, you made yourself a wanted man. You got too greedy, love," I said as I yanked my towel from the hanger, twisting its ends around my closed fists and then tugging it tightly as I stepped out of the shower.
—"Ah, I know, but I have no plans of getting caught... I have no plans of dying any time soon also."
I'm done listening to this piece of sh¡t.
"JANG HYUN-JUNG!" I screamed as I stepped out of the shower, ready to strangle that f::ucker Hyun-Jung, but I was greeted by an empty bathroom, the door slowly swinging shut.
"H-hah— hahahahahaha...." I don't even know if I'm really laughing right now. I'm so f::ucking mad it's starting to feel like I'm being tickled in the stomach.
I will definitely end that f::ucker soon.
You're next, Jang Hyun-Jung.
[END OF SOMEONE's POV]
"How's Tae?" Hobi asks as soon as he sees Jeongguk step out of the dressing room.
"Fine, I guess? He's cleaning up." Jeongguk replies, subtly scanning the studio to see if Iseul and Seo-jun are back already, but it looks like they're not.
"That stunt was something, I must say... Though, with what happened to Shin Akiko, I don't think it's helping Taehyung's image right now," Hobi tells Jeongguk, as Jimin behind him remains silent.
"You noticed it too, right? Everyone here is treating Taehyung coldly. Even though he's already been questioned and cleared of all suspicions about Shin's de:ath,+
I don't think the people here are convinced that he's innocent." Jimin says, leaning against the wall, eyes fixed on the floor.
"Right... I actually overheard some of the staff whispering about Taehyung threatening Shin before she d¡ed... +
Tae's still unstable—" Jimin pauses, pointing to his own head, "Up here, I mean. Are you sure he'll be able to handle it?" Jimin adds.
Well, Jeongguk knows that it's true. He's also overheard some of the crew talking about Taehyung and Akiko, which worries him that it may bring them trouble once more.
They've been moving so fast with no breaks, they couldn't even rest.
Every time they take a moment to breathe—just to fcking breathe—they'll wake up to the news that someone has d¡ed again the next morning.
At this point, the battle they're fighting isn't just for the sake of the victims or for their own safety. Jeongguk knows that they need to catch that lunat¡c soon, because the more this drags on for long, the more he and Taehyung will lose their sanity.
Each day wasted, they are chipped bit by bit, like fragile glass being pounded, eventually they will both shatter and break; when that time comes, Jeongguk's greatest fear is that it'll be impossible for them to reverse the damages.
However, they really cannot stop now, and Jeongguk is aware that Taehyung knows this as well.
"Don't underestimate him. My baby's not someone who'll easily break. I trust him— so should you. We're all in this together after all." Jeongguk says, pushing a tongue on his cheek as he forces a smile, patting Hobi's shoulder before he walks back to the set.
"mY bAby'S nOt sOmEone wHo'll eAsiLy bReAk— blah, blah, blah. Tch, as if I didn’t know that already, I've been with Tae for six years, did he hear me brag about it?" Jimin scoffs, feeling a bit petty that he mimicked the way Jeongguk talks.
"Pfft... Why? Park geomsanim, don't tell me you're still jealous?" Hobi says, making a sound as if he just giggled yet there's not even a smile on his face, his eyes sharp,+
voice dropping a few octaves lower than how he normally speaks, causing Jimin's face to immediately flush pink.
"H-hey... How come you're only like this to me? Does Yoongi even know you can look at someone like this?" Jimin asks, averting Hobi's gaze, because quite frankly, he's still not used to seeing Hobi look this— well, dangerously sexy.
"Of course he does... He likes it actually, but not in public— unlike him, /you/ don't look like you have a problem with it..." Hobi says, his hands on Jimin's waist, making the latter's heart race.
"N-not now. We have other tasks left for today... And I'm not jealous by the way, I just didn't like how that pr¡ck made it sound like I don't know my own best friend." Jimin says, in case Hobi gets the wrong idea about him and Taehyung again.
"At least they're holding up better than we thought," Hobi shrugs. "They've been through a lot in the last few months, I couldn't even imagine being in their shoes—targeting and being targeted by a psych0path," Hobi adds+
as he steps away from Jimin and switches his radio back on to contact Joon. "All 's good now, geomsanim. We'll head back to the station soon." He says, now back to his normal bright and chirpy voice again while his eyes are still fixed on Jimin.
"What exactly are you, Jekyll and Hyde?" Jimin couldn't help but comment on Hobi's unabashed show of duality in front of him.
"Pfft... Maybe?" Hobi says, playfully flicking Jimin's chin.
[You can play this as you read.]
Taehyung is back on set, in front of the camera, following Jeongguk's directions after a quick shower in his dressing room.
"This time we'll do it together, so relax, okay?" Jeongguk says as he assists Taehyung in lying down on the makeshift autopsy table they're using as a prop.
"Don't worry, I'm quite relaxed here... It's kinda cozy actually," Taehyung replies, now lying flat on his back.
"An autopsy table is cozy to you? Pfft... You're really something," Jeongguk laughs, brushing some of Taehyung's stray hair away from his face.
"The metal feels cool. I like it," Taehyung says, his smile soon fading as he caught a bit of what the others around them had been brazenly chatting about.
'Did you hear what he said? He likes the autopsy table?'
'He's hot, but he's really giving me the creeps now.'
'I can't believe we're working with him— I mean, shouldn't he be in ja¡l after what he did to Akiko-ssi?'
‘He looks so happy, taking the main role from Akiko-ssi.’
'Tch, I told you, he and Jeongguk are both weird.'
'Do you think he really k¡lled her?'
'I do— I mean, have you seen him with the blood earlier? So fcking creepy, man...'
"Don't mind them. They have no idea what they're talking about." Jeongguk says, hearing what the others have been talking about as well.
"They're saying that I'm creepy— if it's true, then good. That's what I'm aiming for actually." Taehyung says, keeping his eyes on Jeongguk even though he heard the studio door swing open and close.
"That's my baby..." Jeongguk says, smiling fondly at Taehyung before he peered behind the camera, seeing that Iseul is now back again with Seo-jun. "They're here." Jeongguk whispers.
"Then let's give them a show." Taehyung answers, his head spinning, but then again, he cannot let it show, he has to keep his eyes focused on their goal.
They waited for the other director's signal. Taehyung’s still lying on the autopsy bed, while Jeongguk's standing beside him, one hand clutching a pair of scissors and Taehyung’s arm with the other.
The background music began to play, the lights dimmed, followed by the cue and the sound of the slate snapping.
From there, Jeongguk yanked Taehyung up from the table, his hand squeezing Taehyung's face, staring directly at the camera before he aimed the tip of the scissors on the latter's neck.
I look inside myself
And see my heart is black
I see my red door
I must have it painted black
Jeongguk then mouthed the lyrics to the song they'll be covering— Paint it black, by The Rolling Stones.
"I'll just talk to Jin hyung, then I'll get the bike ready; see you outside, Tae," Jeongguk says while Taehyung is still changing his attire in the dressing room after today's filming schedule.
"Alright, I'll be out in a minute; I just need to take off all this makeup," Taehyung says, smiling as Jeongguk exits the dressing room.
Taehyung then grabs his bag, about to get his cleansing wipes, when a piece of paper slips out and falls on his lap.
010-xxx-xxx7 Call me when you see this. -HJ.
*Sigh* "I almost forgot about this guy." Taehyung mumbled under his breath, taking his phone and saving Hyun-Jung's number, reminding himself to call— maybe later.
A/N: Before we proceed, I would like to apologize for the slow updates here.
Some of you might already be bored with this story. I promise we're really close to the end now— probably 2 more updates to go before the epilogue. I really wish I could end this before christmas.
Anyway, for those who are still reading, do know that I truly appreciate you guys. I know I am behind on replying to your qrts. I'm still recovering from c0vid, but i'm doing my best to be back in shape.
Thank you for your patience.
[You can play this as you read.]
Enter sandman (inst.)
Right now, Hyun-Jung believes he has completely gone bonkers; he even dared to make his presence known to the slasher, who is undoubtedly Seoul's most wanted man at the moment.
Nonetheless, he couldn't stop himself. Never in his wildest thoughts did he imagine 'that' guy losing his composure in front of other people.
It was so amusing that Hyun-Jung almost blew his cover.
"Pfft... Pig's blood? Hahahahahaha! Serves him right." Hyun-Jung says, snickering as he starts his car.
Hyun-Jung, has actually been prowling around J records ever since he decided to come out of the shadows. Of course, he was terrified of being caught at first, but the more he gets away, the more confident he becomes.
Confidence doesn't usually cause problems— but too much of it could.
"You've worked hard today, are you hungry?" Jeongguk asks as they enter Taehyung's flat, strolling towards the kitchen while removing his jacket.
"A bit. Are you going to cook?" Taehyung asks, slumping on the couch, exhausted to the point of passing out.
"Mhm... To feed you, of course. What do you want to eat?" Jeongguk inquires, rummaging through the fridge for whatever he could prepare for Taehyung.
"Pig," Taehyung replies, staring blankly at the ceiling.
"Tch, y'know the more appropriate term is 'pork,' right? Even the word pig reminds me of the stench I've inhaled all day today," Jeongguk says, feeling a little queasy after being reminded of the pig's blood stunt they pulled earlier.
"Sorry." Taehyung says, still with a blank expression on his face.
"Are you still thinking about those rumors?" Jeongguk asks, closing the fridge before walking towards Taehyung and kneeling in front of the latter. +
"Told you, don't mind them. All they can do is talk; they don't really know anything— they don't know you. Trust me, they'll stop soon. They're only like that since the incident involving Akiko was relatively recent," Jeongguk says softly as he caresses Taehyung's face.
"I don't really mind them though?" Taehyung says, tipping his head to the side to face Jeongguk.
"Then what's on your mind, baby?" Jeongguk asks again, his fingers raking over Taehyung's long hair.
"I don't know... Maybe the slasher? Could that monster actually be either Iseul or Seo-jun?" Taehyung closes his eyes. "You think it's Iseul, I think it's Seo-jun, but what if we're both wrong? +
What if we've narrowed it down to nothing all along? That bstard said he's going to k¡ll two more— that'll be two more d:eaths for us to carry on our shoulders," Taehyung continued, +
keeping his eyes closed as Jeongguk let out a deep sigh, taking a seat on the couch, lifting Taehyung's head and gently placing it over his lap. "Then who's next? Me? You? Us?" Taehyung asks, loathing the aftertaste of his own remarks.
"We could be wrong, yes— but I'm choosing to believe our intuition, and to be honest, I have no one else in mind for potentially being the slasher except those two... I'll be damned if I'm wrong," Jeongguk says as he tenderly strokes Taehyung's hair.
"We have to be sure..." Taehyung blinks open his eyes again, meeting Jeongguk's gaze. "You mentioned before that Hyun-Jung could be the slasher's accomplice—+
I'm planning to call him, Guk," Taehyung confesses, pulling the note from his pocket and showing it to Jeongguk.
"H.J... Is this from him? Hyun-Jung?" Jeongguk inquires, noting that Taehyung had not previously mentioned this to him.+
"How long have you been keeping this from me, Tae? That guy shot you—I almost lost you! Why haven't you told me this sooner? We should let the police know-.."
"Because I knew this was going to be your reaction," Taehyung sighs. "I have no problem locking him up, but what if your assumption about him is correct? +
What if he really worked for the slasher? Do you think he'll tell us anything if we involve the cops?" Taehyung sits up, massaging the bridge of his nose.+
"I've dealt with matters like this before, so I know that if Hyun-Jung ever had the intention of coming clean, he would've gone directly to the station, he wouldn't just leave an ambiguous note. +
The guy has something to say— and in exchange, he surely doesn't want to get arrested." Taehyung says, prompting Jeongguk to get up, huffing a lungful of air, ruffling his hair out of frustration.
"And you're planning to let him get away?! Tae, which part of you-almost-got-killed don't you understand?!" Jeongguk didn't mean to raise his voice, but he's really having trouble understanding Taehyung right now.
"I didn't say I'd let him get away with what he did. *Sigh* Calm down for a minute," Taehyung says as he takes Jeongguk's wrist and pulls him towards him.+
"I just want to hear what he has to say first, so we can eliminate the possibility of him not talking; after that, I'll let you do anything you want with him—+
put him in jail or whatever, I don't really give a sh¡t," Taehyung says, staring up at Jeongguk, who stands between his parted legs.
"I'm not going to let you meet that guy by yourself," Jeongguk says as he takes the note from Taehyung's hand. "Don't you see how shady this note is? Where did you even get this?—+
Look, Hyun-Jung disappeared after basically shooting you, and now he'll reappear out of nowhere, leaving a note for you to call him? +
This is absurd, Tae. I'm not buying it," Jeongguk says, attempting to walk away, only to be stopped by Taehyung, who is now standing in front of him, cupping his face.
"I don't have to be alone. I'm not that dumb, believe me. — Well, maybe I am sometimes—a little bit—but not in this case. You are welcome to join me; we will even tell the others to stand by while we talk... +
I just want to hear him out before he changes his mind. If it's true that he's really the slasher's accomplice, +
then there's no one who could make our lives easier other than this guy, Jang Hyun-Jung." Taehyung says, trying his best to reason with Jeongguk.
Jeongguk then fixed his gaze on Taehyung. He understands Taehyung's point, and that they're desperate to make any progress in capturing the slasher right now, but he couldn't help thinking about the potential danger.
But Taehyung doesn't have to be alone, as they've already agreed to do this together.
It's a tough decision—risky and dangerous—but Taehyung already sounds determined, and Jeongguk is well aware that if he refuses to allow Taehyung to meet Hyun-Jung, Taehyung will most certainly do it on his own.
"Fine... But we're informing the others. Call him, but put it on speaker phone. I have to be involved in everything about this matter. If he asks to meet, tell him that you won't do it alone and that I'll be with you.+
If he says no, then we'll do it my way, and that is him sitting in the interrogation room with cuffs on his wrists," Jeongguk says, handing Hyun-Jung's note back to Taehyung.
"We'll be okay. Trust me, Guk." Taehyung firmly says before he went ahead and grabbed his phone, then he dialed Hyun-Jung's number.
Hyun-Jung had just arrived at the cheap motel where he was staying for the time being when he heard his phone ring. He didn't need to look for him to figure out who was calling because he was expecting only one person to contact him.
A smirk then curled up on Hyun-Jung's lips as he sat on the bed, staring at his phone that's still ringing.
"Took you long enough, Kim geomsanim." Hyun-Jung says, clearing his throat before accepting the phone call.
"Ah... Kim geomsanim. Finally, you decided to call." Hyun-Jung says, finding it quite amusing that he can talk to Taehyung now without caution— no masks, no pretending to be a different person.
—'Jang Hyun-Jung... I understood you wanted to talk.'
Hyun-Jung sucks in a deep breath; knowing how meticulous Taehyung is, he knows that the latter probably already has an idea that he isn't a good person.
"I do— very much, actually. I have a lot to say, but I hope you also understand that I wouldn't just mindlessly say anything here— on the phone, I mean." Hyun-Jung says, grabbing the half empty can of beer he wasn't able to finish last night from the table, then he takes a sip.
—'This phone call isn't tapped nor recorded, if that's what you're worried about, though I doubt you'll believe me, so yeah... Tell me when and where I'll be there.'
"Pfft... Going straight to the point now are we, Kim geomsanim? Well, I wouldn't expect any less from a prosecutor." Hyun-Jung pauses, hissing as the dry taste of his already warm and probably rotten beer fills his mouth. +
"I'm betting right now, you're not alone— your little rockstar boyfriend's listening to our conversation." Hyun-Jung continues, knowing full well that Taehyung and Jeon Jeongguk always come together like some sort of package these days; the two were never not without the other.
—'He is... And if you wanna talk to me, you would have to talk to him too. What is this all about, Hyun-Jung?' Taehyung asks and Hyun-jung has to admit+
that it's really commendable how Taehyung could sound so calm and collected at a time like this, especially since he's talking to the man that almost k¡lled him.
"Mhm... I hope you don't hold any grudges, Kim geomsanim, because I really tried to do a good job so we wouldn't have to talk like this—."
—'Because I was meant to be d:ead? Well, I'm not— I'm very much alive, and I'm frankly expecting you to explain yourself.'
"I have no intention of ever going to jail, geomsanim... I've been through enough sh¡t already; I can tell you everything you want to know, but if you don't give me what I want—+
which is your silence and cooperation—then you better forget that we're having this conversation," Hyun-Jung says, making sure that he sets Taehyung's expectations.
—'Fck you.' Hyun-Jung laughs, hearing Jeongguk's voice on the other line.
"Pfft... Well, that's cute. How are you, Jeongguk-ssi?" Hyun-Jung says, getting up on his feet while still holding his can of beer. "Anyway, just to be safe, I'm going to cut this call right here...+
I'll be the one to set up the time and place. Keep your lines open, I'll be contacting you again," Hyun-Jung says, aware that if he doesn't want Taehyung to track the call, he can't stay on the line for more than a minute. +
Hyun-Jung then ended the call, peering out the windows with a sly grin on his face, pleased that everything appears to be going his way.
"Hello? Hyun-Jung-ssi?— Hello?!" Taehyung groans, when Hyun-Jung abruptly ends the call.
"That bstard's too cautious; I was just about to get his location," Jeongguk says, pushing his laptop to the side after failing to track Hyun-Jung's current location using the program he privately got from someone+
while Taehyung is in a coma just in case the slasher calls him again. He genuinely thought he'd be able to use it now, but as one would expect from an ex-police officer, Hyun-Jung knows the drill, so he also knows how to protect himself.
"I told you, it wouldn't work." Taehyung sighs, sitting on the couch beside Jeongguk. "Well, at least he knows that we're willing to talk...+
Now we just have to wait for another phone call." Taehyung continues, leaning back on the couch, staring at the ceiling while massaging the bridge of his nose.
"I'm telling Joon hyung about this, Tae. You heard the guy, and I know that by now you know that he's dangerous. It'll be too risky for us to work on our own." Jeongguk says with much finality in his tone.
"Fine, but just so you know, I'll be insisting for us to meet Hyun-Jung's conditions, at least just until the slasher gets caught— if he's really connected to that person. Y'see, if you'd ask me, +
Hyun-Jung could be dangerous, but as of now, no one could beat the slasher up my list. Catching that guy is my top priority." Taehyung says, his gaze shifting from the ceiling to Jeongguk.
"I know... But I hope you won't try to do things on your own. I've already told you everything that I know; from my plans to the slasher's threats and notes.+
I trust you, Tae... So please trust me too. I just want this to be over— with both of us still breathing, that is." Jeongguk says as he holds Taehyung's hand, squeezing it tight.
"I have no plans of dying anytime soon, Guk. If I was planning on doing things on my own, then I wouldn't have told you about Hyun-Jung's note." Taehyung says as he intertwined his and Jeongguk's fingers.+
"I trust you— and now, I am learning to trust myself too. We can do this— we can end this once and for all." Taehyung says, swallowing each doubt he has of his own words.
"I'm sorry, sir... I really don't remember seeing anything unusual going on in this area that night."
"—I see. Please contact us if you remember anything," Hobi says as he hops back into the car with Jimin after speaking with one of the residents in Gangwon-do, one of the areas along the Han River where the majority of the victims were discovered.
Hobi then turned his radio on, and then contacted Joon. "We got nothing so far. I'll continue driving around." Hobi says, turning off the radio again as he drives, while Jimin sits on the shotgun seat, eyeing the area outside.
"What exactly are we looking for here again?" Jimin asks, shifting his gaze from the windows to Hobi.
"I honestly have no idea... Probably anything. A person, a place— there should be at least someone who saw something those nights when the victims d¡ed.+
Logistically speaking, the crime scene should be here— somewhere." Hobi says, scanning the area as well while he drives.
"So we need to find either a witness or the crime scene itself. Okay, got it— but how are you so sure that we'll find anything here?" Jimin asks as he turns his attention out on the road again.
"Well, my hunch has never been wrong before— and right now, it's telling me that this is the place where we should start our investigation." Hobi says, +
deciding to drive towards the area where they found the first pair of scissors back when they were initially investigating Kang Nari's m::urder.
Jeongguk is now filming one of the music video scenes together with his band. They're playing a song, Jeongguk's behind the drums while Woosung sings, and Taehyung's standing here behind the scenes.
"You're about to enter the next scene, Taehyung-ssi... Gosh, I still can't believe that a lawyer— someone as private as you is filming this sort of thing." Seo-jun says; he's standing beside Taehyung and Iseul.
"It's good money, so why not?" Taehyung says, subtly glancing at Seo-jun. "And I am a prosecutor, by the way."
"Pfft... I know, which makes it harder to believe. I really admire you, Taehyung-ssi." Seo-jun replies, his eyes fixed on the set as Jeongguk and his band plays,+
while Taehyung couldn't help but also notice Iseul who's been silent since earlier, looking somewhat uncomfortable.
"Are you okay, Iseul-ssi?" Taehyung asks, noting Iseul's pale face.
"Ah, y-yes... It's just that I feel like the theme of this music video is getting darker and darker as it progresses. I could never get used to it." Iseul says, his hand covering his mouth as if he's disgusted.+
Well, it's quite understandable, given that the set today was made to look gruesome, with red paint splattered everywhere to make it seem like blo0d, colored jellies to mimic a person's i:nnards, +
flickering red neon lights, like that of a horror film— this project is surely not for the faint of heart nor for someone with a weak stomach.
"Are you scared of blood, Iseul-ssi?" Taehyung asks.
"H-huh? Ah... A—a little, I guess." Iseul says.
"I see... Then you must've been shocked after yesterday's incident— y'know with the blood and all?" Taehyung inquires again.
"I had an uncle who runs a slaughterhouse... Me and my cousins used to help him out during summer vacations—"
"Boss, that's nasty." Seo-jun suddenly says, interrupting Iseul's story, causing the latter to chuckle rather awkwardly.
"Pfft... Is it? I-I'm sorry. Anyway, let's get you ready now, Taehyung-ssi... I won't be here starting tomorrow since I'll be preparing for the release of our spring collection.+
Jihye will take over for me here, so let me dress you up one last time, yeah?" Iseul says, leading Taehyung towards the vanity table on the side while Seo-jun follows them from behind.
"So you won't be coming by here after today?" Taehyung asks.
"Well, I actually just monitor the wardrobe at the start of each project before I completely endorse it to my subordinates; it's just my way of keeping the balance by being present while still allowing my juniors+
to have their own hands on experience with handling our clients," Iseul says as he selects one shirt from the hanger for Taehyung to wear, a black silk button up that matches what Jeongguk is currently wearing.
"Our boss is really admirable, isn't he? He's constantly working so hard," Seo-jun says, taking Iseul's shirt and picking up another from the rack, a ruby red robe with a little sparkle on the hem. +
"Boss, I think this will look better on Taehyung-ssi," Seo-jun says, attempting to grab Iseul's pick and rehang it on the rack, but Iseul refuses.
"I don't think so, Seo-jun-ah. There's already too much red on the set. It'll look better if Taehyung matches with Jeongguk and the rest of the band as well," Iseul says. Taehyung was ready to intercede when his phone rang, displaying an unregistered number on the screen.
"Excuse me, I need to take this." Taehyung says, walking a few steps away from Iseul and Seo-jun before he answers the call. "Hello." He says, expecting to hear Hyun-Jung.
—'Tomorrow, Friday, 10 p.m, Ichon park. No police... I'll meet you there geomsanim.'
"Tomorrow?— Wait, hello? Hello?" Taehyung says, yet Hyun-Jung already ended the call before he could even say anything.
"Taehyung-ssi, is everything okay?" Iseul inquires, noticing that Taehyung sounded a little more agitated when he answered the phone.
"Ah, y-yes... Is that what I'm going to wear?" Taehyung asks, pertaining to the black shirt in Iseul's hands.
"It is. Let's get you in this, okay?" Iseul says, handing Taehyung the shirt before turning towards Seo-jun. "Seo-jun-ah, get me the styling clips, please."
'Enjoy your last day of freedom. Before tomorrow ends, you'll be behind bars.' Hyun-Jung thinks, staring at 'that' man who's beside Taehyung right now. +
"That's what you get for disregarding someone's love." Hyun-Jung says, pulling his cap down as he exits the studio, deciding to grab a drink and have an early celebration.
[Please play this as you read.]
No time to die.
After a rather uneventful day of filming today, Jeongguk is now driving Taehyung's car back to the latter's apartment. "I'll be dropping by the station probably after dinner. Hyun-Jung already called, +
and I'll be meeting him tomorrow after work, so I need to notify Joon and the others," Taehyung says, staring out the window.
"I'm coming with you." Jeongguk simply replies.
"Do you still think it's Iseul?" Taehyung felt the need to ask.
"Why? Did either of them do anything while I was busy earlier?" Jeongguk asks, pertaining to Iseul and Seo-jun.
"Nothing much... I was just thinking that this hunt could probably end tomorrow once I get to talk to Hyun-Jung... Psychopath¡c ser¡al k¡llers really do often meet their end in a seemingly anticlimactic fashion..." Taehyung says.
"Well, that's true... Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested after his ostensibly next victim slipped from his clutches; Ted Bundy was nabbed for a misdemeanor; and John Wayne Gacy was caught after he was seen handling mar:¡juana while under surveillance. +
See the pattern? No matter how grand they thought their crimes were, no matter how much of an untouchable God they believed they were, all it took was a single error on their side and it was all over...+
That goes for that blasted Seoul Slasher as well... Whether Hyun-Jung solves the case tomorrow or not, that psych0 is still bound to go down," Jeongguk says, his eyes fixed on the road, stepping more on the gas since he couldn't wait to just rest at home.
"Once this is over... What will become of us then? How does healing and moving on actually start?" Taehyung asks, snatching the pack of smokes and lighter from the dashboard, lighting it up, and taking a drag as he rolls the window down.
"What do you mean, Tae?" Jeongguk asks, glancing at Taehyung on his side.
"We've been dealing with this guy for so long... More or less five months, maybe? It's probably the longest time I've spent trying to solve a case, +
yet the more it sinks in that we're approaching the end, the more I feel like I'm losing myself," Taehyung says, taking another long drag of his cigarette.
"We'll move on. Once this ends, it doesn't matter how, but we'll surely get over it. I'll continue making music, you'll be solving a new case, and soon, we'll probably forget about all this." Jeongguk smiles, gently wrapping his free hand on Taehyung's wrist, +
the one hand that's holding the cigarette so he could also take a hit of nicotine. "Then we'll go home to Cheongdamdong, I'll make dinner, you'll tell me that it tastes good; we'll down a bottle of wine after and then we'll slow dance to my unreleased songs...+
We'll be fine, you'll still be as beautiful as ever, and I'm going to love you forever." Jeongguk says, his tone hopeful and believable, but truth be told, right now— none of them feels like it's even possible.
It's like they're slowly being embraced by darkness; they keep on trying to fight it off, but it's the same as fighting the inevitable.
Their will is strong, but so is their exhaustion.
Like a roller coaster of emotions, going up, down and around, over and over— and over.
"That sounds nice... I would love that." Taehyung says, smiling fondly at Jeongguk before he brings the cigarette back into his mouth, his smile fading as he takes another long drag.
"I hope this ends soon— this long and seemingly never ending torture." Taehyung says, shifting his gaze up to the full moon.
"Nngh... F-fcking stairs... Goddamn fcking stairs..." Hyun-Jung groans, swaying and bumping into the walls as he climbs the stairs to his motel room. +
He drank a little too much at the nearby pub, ignoring Taehyung's calls to the point where he switched off his phone.
Hyun-Jung knows how police work, having gone through the academy and having years of hands-on experience; he understands how every call is an attempt to catch him, which is why he chooses to be careful.
The more he stays quiet and hidden, the better, for his silence is his way of establishing that he's the one in control— he's the one who calls the shots because he is the one with the information.
"It's him... Pfft... Geomsanim— you've been with him all along... That damn devil you've been looking for... He's been prowling around you all along..." Hyun-Jung chuckles as he crawls up the stairs, inebriated from all the liquor he consumed.
"Ah... Does he now?"
Hyun-Jung then froze, a cold shiver running up his spine as if he'd become abruptly sober at hearing that familiar voice. Hyun-Jung lifted his gaze with a gulp, his blurry vision becoming clearer by the second.+
"Y-you..." Hyun-Jung murmurs, peering at the man's cold, dark eyes, face just a few feet away, eyeing him down, towering two steps above him.
"H-how— how did you-..."
"How did I find you? Well, you're not exactly hiding, love... I can smell your stench even from a distance." The man says, causing Hyun-Jung's knees to tremble, going weak,+
that he was about to fall back down the stairs when the man suddenly grabbed him by the collar, taking most of his weight.
"T-they're already suspecting you... You'll be paying for all you've done soon," Hyun-Jung says, cold sweat dripping all over his now flushed face,+
still staring at the man while his entire existence flashes inside his head—for looking into this man's eyes feels like looking straight at d:eath.
Hyun-Jung tried to grab onto the railings of the stairs, yet the man caught his wrist, laughing before he kicked him hard on the shin, causing Hyun-Jung to gasp, unable to even remain standing.
"Who's going to pay for what exactly? Y'see... I did nothing wrong— my conscience is clear and my heart is pure..." the man says, his eyes wide open, a menacing sneer curling up to his lips,+
making it apparent to Hyun-Jung that this is the end of the line for him. "Guilt is only felt by the weak... I have none of it."
"N-no... No, please don't—"
"Game over, love... You've always been a lousy player to begin with." He says, before he completely lets go of Hyun-Jung, pushing the latter by the chest, watching as Hyun-Jung falls back down on the stairs.
Confidence doesn't usually cause problems— but too much of it could,
Sadly, Hyun-Jung failed to realize this sooner than he should.
TW// mentions of blood & violence
TW// thoughts of suicide
[You can play this as you read.]
Most people believe that men like me, who have already k¡lled a number of people, like torturing others—maybe some do, but certainly not me.
I consider it a rather troublesome chore; nonetheless, I do feel it is my obligation to ensure that the soul I'll be taking has learned its lesson, and perhaps that is why I'm doing this—but that doesn't mean I enjoy it.
As I sit here in front of the unconscious Hyun-Jung, who I've tied to a chair, I wonder how exactly did we end up like this?
Jang Hyun-Jung is someone I've known for years, and although I hate to admit it, he was once someone I adored. +
Hyun-Jung had always worked so hard to please me, to help me, and he was doing such a great job until he decided to act out and be greedy.
What a shame really.
"Hyun-Jung-ah... Wake up," I whispered, lightly tapping his cheek and feeling the warmth of his blood on his face through the latex gloves I am wearing.
It's been hours already, but Hyun-Jung is still not coming around. I'm certain he's not d:ead. Still, I checked his pulse again, and it was still going. That's good, because honestly? I'm still debating whether I really want him d:ead.
I wonder what this feeling is?
There's a dull ache in my chest while I'm watching how Hyun-Jung is bleeding.
His blood keeps trickling from his face to the floor, and for some reason, I don't find it 'that' repulsive.
"Why?" I asked quietly, even though I know that Hyun-Jung wouldn't be able to respond in his current state.
"Why?" I asked him again, because I just needed to hear it from his mouth—the reason he decided to wreck everything we've had.
'Do you really not know?— Y-you, all this time... After everything I've done... Have you ever felt anything towards me? Have you ever really cared about me? What I'm doing, what I'm feeling, am I hurting? Did you? At least once… Even a little, d-did you?'
Suddenly, Hyun-words Jung's resonated inside my thoughts, this damn bstard. Still, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't figure out what he meant when he said all that.
We were doing fine—the steady type of fine.
Hyun-Jung never got mad, even when I diverted my attention elsewhere. He's even supported me in getting things done my way.
What made this any different?
I don't get it.
"W-why?" My voice trembled as I shook him by the collar, his head lulling back and forth, his eyes still closed.
"Why? JANG HYUN-JUNG, WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?!!!!" I found myself yelling at the top of my lungs. Yes, I was angry earlier—but right now I doubt that what I'm feeling is just anger.
There is more to this, I know, but I am not really well versed in this type of emotion.
The muscles in my body feel tight, my chest is pounding, there's a churning sensation in my stomach, I'm breathing rapidly and my vision is somewhat blurry.
What is this?
"W-what the fck..." I muttered as I felt something wet flowing down my cheeks from my eyes; I touched it with my quivering hands—tears?
Am I... Am I crying?
I don't like it.
"J-just k¡ll me a-and get it over with..." Hyun-Jung whispers, his voice nearly inaudible, causing me to feel that peculiar tightening in my chest once more. "I— I am basically— already d:ead," the fcker says, laughing despite his current state.
“T-those *cough! * Those people d¡ed because you loved them... Pfft... Ironic, isn't it? As I'm dy¡ng because I loved you, maybe—just maybe—this is truly my punishment..."
I hate it.
I hate this.
"T-this is your fault, you fcker... This is all your fault," I murmured as I took a step back—once, twice, then another and another—before heading out the door, leaving my private warehouse here in Gangwon-do.
I can't do this.
At least not yet.
I can’t breathe.
For now, I need to get out of this place.
[END OF SOMEONE'S POV]
[You can play this as you read.]
The secret history
"*Sigh* I can't believe it... I'm sorry," Yoongi says after hearing about Hyun-Jung from both Taehyung and Jeongguk. "I've known that kid since the academy; he's a hoobae I've personally taken under my wing, +
and you're telling me that not only did he shoot Taehyung on purpose, but he's also collaborated with the Seoul Slasher?" Yoongi continues, mentally replaying all of his and Hobi's interactions with Hyun-Jung.
"I know it's hard to believe, but I'll be meeting him tomorrow—later this evening, actually, because it's almost two in the morning now—+
and once I obtain the information that I need, you can ask him directly for the details. I'm sorry, Yoongi," Taehyung says, looking apologetically at Yoongi.
"I definitely will." Yoongi then breathed in deeply again. "So, Ichon park, 10 p.m.?" He says.
"Yes. He specifically instructed me not to bring the police; I can't afford to grant his request completely because he's already shot me once... +
I can't take another risk, so I'll be taking a few of your officers with me. Have 'em on standby until me and Hyun-jung finished talking, then you can do whatever you want with him... I suggest bringing him in for questioning," Taehyung says.
"I'll lead the team," Jimin says, nodding to one of the officers in the room, directing him to gather the others.
"How's Gangwon-do?" Yoongi asks Hobi this time.
"Well, I've got nothing relevant so far, though we passed by a place that— at least visually— struck me as a little strange," Hobi responds.
"What, another warehouse? Tch, how many times do I have to remind you that not every abandoned warehouse is a crim¡nal hideout?" Yoongi grumbles, aware of Hobi's continual skepticism when he encounters an empty warehouse or cabin.
"Why? Can you blame me? Those places always give me the chills, and I've never been wrong so far; I'm looking for the owner so we can issue a search warrant—"
"On what grounds? Because the detective has watched far too many dramas?" Yoongi rolled his eyes, which made Hobi choke out an offended scoff.
"I'm telling you, there's something fishy about that place; look!" Hobi whined, showing Yoongi the images he took on his phone of the warehouse they passed earlier. +
"I'll be damned if you tell me there's nothing eerie about it— poorly lit, empty warehouse in the middle of nowhere... Not to mention that the scissors+
covered in Kang Nari's blood were discovered near here, just a few blocks away," Hobi proudly says, pointing to the warehouse and the scissor's location on the map on the board.
"Then why didn't you say so earlier? *Sigh* You always do this man— making it sound like divine intervention or something." Yoongi pauses, glaring at Hobi who just chuckles as the others hide a grin.+
"Anyway, get the warrant ready as quickly as possible, see if we can uncover anything that we can connect to what Hyun-Jung's due to tell Taehyung later,+
and if we get none, we'll just continue our surveillance around the area," Yoongi says, giving Hobi the green light.
"About Hyun-Jung—I must say, I find it strange that he'll leave and resurface out of nowhere after the stunt he pulled," Joon turns to Taehyung.+
"Think about it, what could be his motive for shooting you? If he is the slasher's corroborator, was he really after you? Because, based on our analysis, Jeon Jeongguk is more likely to be the possible target... +
What good will it do him if he k¡lls you? Hyun-Jung knows that the ones in charge of this case are primarily me and Yoongi, so if he wanted to help the slasher, he should've shot either of us— or Jeongguk,+
since the slasher appears to have a rather odd fixation on him based on his previous atrocities," Joon explains, all while trying to figure out Hyun-Jung's motives.
"Whether that bullet was meant for me or not, it doesn't change the fact that Taehyung almost d¡ed and Hyun-jung— that guy was the one who did that," Jeongguk says, +
still a bit upset that Yoongi initially refused to believe him when he told them about what he witnessed that night at CC's.
"We'll get him to talk soon. Look, I apologize for being skeptical at first, but just like probably all of us here, I'm dying to hear Hyun-Jung's story— +
I want to hear what he's got to say and maybe get the answers to our questions," Yoongi says, now feeling somewhat guilty because, even if he denies it, he did previously blindly sided with Hyun-Jung even after what happened to Taehyung.
Their discussion was cut short when they heard a knock, followed by Jin peering from behind the door. "I brought dinner," Jin says, his attention turning to Joon. "I'm not interrupting something am I?" He asks.
"It's late; shouldn't you be home?" Joon inquires.
"Well, you haven't been home for days now, and I couldn't sleep, so I figured I'd drop by here and see if I still have a boyfriend," Jin says as he walks in with two boxes of fried chicken.
"*Sigh* Let's take a break first, all this talk has got me famished," Joon says as he walks over to Jin.
"Tsk, it's past 2 a.m., don't tell me you haven't eaten anything yet? C'mon now, you big baby." Jin says, leading Joon back to the desk.
TW // Thoughts about death/suicide
"Pfft—" Tied up on a chair, alone in the dark, Hyun-Jung couldn't help but laugh at himself. He has no idea how many hours have gone since he was abducted, but the sun has already risen and set, and the man still hasn't come back yet.
"W-why am I not surprised? He's left me here to quietly d¡e." Hyun-Jung muttered under his breath, tasting his own blood inside his mouth. His head is throbbing as if it's ready to explode, his body is aching all over, +
and he can't tell if there's still a part of him that doesn't have shattered bones; his mouth feels dry, his stomach grumbles, and he's beginning to think it would have been better for him to just d¡e.
He kept passing out and waking up, and each time he closed his eyes, he wished it was the last time. "Is this my sanction?" Hyun-Jung wonders, puzzled as to why that man hasn't k¡lled him yet.
It's strange, knowing that man doesn't normally just leave his victims alone and alive for this long after capturing them.
More time then passes by; seconds into minutes, into hours and Hyun-jung's body starts getting confused whether it'll just whither or recover.
"J-just k¡ll me... K¡ll me already... JUST FCKING K¡LL ME ALREADY GODDAMM¡T!" Hyun-Jung lashes out, thrashing on the chair, breaking one of its legs, causing him to crash on the floor, his arms and legs still tied against the now broken wood.
[You can play this as you read.]
In the end
At this point, Hyun-Jung began to wonder whether this was God's way of delivering him salvation—and if it is, Hyun-Jung will probably, shamelessly still accept it, no matter how cheap it seems.
Hyun-Jung started to laugh maniacally, coughing up more blood, but he can't stop since this situation is so excruciatingly humorous to him.
Until the bitter fun stopped and the pounding pain in his head revived his sanity.
Then comes the panic.
If that man returns and sees him in this condition, he may think that he is attempting to flee.
If that man comes back, he will hit him again—no, he will most likely k¡ll him for real.
No, Hyun-Jung does not want to d¡e just yet.
He has to escape, run as far away from this place.
He wants to feel safe— even if it’s just for one second.
He wants to live, even if it means that he'll spend his remaining life in jail.
Hyun-jung suddenly remembered he was supposed to meet Taehyung tonight—which he will do.
With the last of his strength and his own desire for revenge in mind, Hyun-Jung vowed to do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nightmare.
If he's really going down, then he'll better take that lunatic with him.
Rubbing the rope around his wrist against the sharp piece of broken wood behind him, Hyun-Jung managed to free himself. He crawled with his broken limbs,+
smashed the rusty lock off with a piece of metal pipe he found lying on the floor, and then he limped his way out the door.
Thankfully, Hyun-Jung is familiar with this place.
He'd been here many times before in this wretched warehouse in Gangwon-do, painstakingly cleaning up after the same madman who had now crushed his heart and bones.
He's got nothing on him except from his bloodied clothes, he doesn't even have his slippers on. It's cold, and the blisters on his feet burns, but Hyun-Jung kept running—+
running till he reached the main road, hailing the first cab that passes by, his heart racing, he can't tell if he's still breathing—but it's fine,
He was able to escape.
"Are you okay, Mister? Should we go to the hospital—"
"No... I-ichon park... Hurry— ahjussi, please bring me to Ichon park," Hyun-Jung says to the driver, checking the time on the cab's IVI screen.
It'll take him approximately an hour and a half to get from here to Ichon Park, depending on traffic; he'll be late, so Hyun-Jung hopes Taehyung has enough patience to wait.
"I already told you I'm not feeling well, so please quit calling, okay?" I said as I hung up the phone. I'm sitting in my room, staring blankly at the ceiling after squandering the entire day doing nothing.
The strange weight in my chest refuses to go away.
It's perplexing—annoying; I wonder when will this end?
It's making me antsy, and I hate it.
I left Hyun-Jung in that place.
He was bleeding—dy¡ng, or maybe by now, he's already d:ead.
That thought strangely made me jolt out of bed, biting my nails, pacing back and forth, feeling like my heart is about to burst out of my chest.
Will he really d¡e? What will happen if he d¡es?
What would I feel then?
Would it make a difference?
I don't know.
Right now, I can't understand myself at all.
I need to know.
He needs to tell me what the fck he done to me; otherwise, I might really go bonkers thinking about it.
Hyun-Jung, that f:uckwit... If he's going to d¡e, then he better just do it quietly.
But wait— didn't he promise me?
'Not me; I'll never abandon you... 'I love you.'
That's something he frequently tells me.
If he d¡es on his own, then that means he has chosen to betray me.
No, he cannot d¡e— without my permission, that is.
Because he told me.
He fcking told me he was mine.
Jang Hyun-Jung, I may not love you— but you are still mine.
With Hyun-Jung's voice reverberating in my head, I grabbed my keys and jacket and dashed out the door, ignoring my father who was feasting quietly in the dining hall.
"You poor— poor child."
I heard my father say, but whatever, I already stopped caring a long time ago
I raced back to Gangwon-do, only to slam on the brakes and pull over to the side of the road, seeing that my warehouse—my safe haven—was now surrounded by a swarm of police vehicles.
What the fck is happening here right now?
Did I get found out?
Hyun-Jung? What about Hyun-Jung?
—"Hyeongsanim! There's no one here!"
My eyes shot wide open when I heard one of the officers exclaim, then I saw a familiar face; that bothersome guy, detective Jung... How the fck did he find this place?
And again, what the fck happened to Hyun-Jung?
Did he escape?
This is getting out of hand.
I'm getting so anxious, I can't think straight.
But I have to calm myself down, that is if I want to remain safe.
"It's okay... It's okay... If Hyun-Jung isn't there, then I'll be fine," I told myself, knowing that I hadn't left anything at that place that would expose my name to the authorities.
I'm not sure how Hyun-Jung got away, but I need to find him soon—yes, yes, that's what I should do. So, with my trembling hands,+
I took Hyun-Jung's bag from the back seat of my car, turning on his phone and searching for anything that could lead me to Hyun-Jung's current location.
"Fck! That sneaky bstard!" I couldn't help but shout, seeing that the phone's as empty as a new one.
No call records
Where the fck would that guy be—
Wait, someone's calling.
Unregistered number flashing on the screen.
Out of dread, I began sweating profusely, biting my nails until I tasted blood when my teeth broke my own skin.
Who could this be?
"Fcking hell..." I don't have much choice. Either I answer and hope it leads me somewhere, or I reject it and drown in my own anxieties.
Sh¡t. Everything's in shambles already.
I took a deep breath and decided to take a risk by pressing the answer button to find out who's calling Hyun-jung.
—"Finally... I thought you'd never pick up. I'm already here. Where are you?"
I know this voice— it's him— Kim Taehyung.
Jang Hyun-Jung, you fcker.
"I'm running late... Where are you again?" I asked, making my voice sound a bit higher to emulate Hyun-Jung's tone of voice.
I may have no idea what the fck is happening, but whatever Hyun-Jung's planning to do with Taehyung— it's not happening.
—"Ichon park, just in front of the xx statue, why? Should I move somewhere else?"
With a grin on my face, my hands then stopped shuddering, my heart beating steadily once more.
"No... Just stay where you are, love... Just stay where you are," I said, turning my car around, ending the call as I drove to Ichon park.
[END OF SOMEONE'S POV]
It's been awhile right? I'm sorry for updating this so late. I'll try to write more so I can post updates regularly again. Also, if you can, please do read the note I'll be leaving at the end of this update.
Something feels wrong.
Taehyung has already lowered his expectations for his meeting with Hyun-Jung, which is slated to take place tonight, but for some reason, right now, he fears the worst-case scenario.
Taehyung was meant to meet Hyun-Jung at 10 p.m., but it's already after eleven o'clock and Hyun-jung hasn't arrived yet.
Taehyung and Jeongguk are waiting in front of the xx statue in Ichon Park, while Jimin and the other officers in the team are on standby. It's been about an hour, and the more they wait, the more Taehyung loses patience.
He had contacted Hyun-Jung earlier, and while the latter confirmed that he was running late, it didn't alleviate Taehyung's concerns about their meeting today.
"He's still not here... Do you think he changed his mind? Do you think he knew we were going to entrap him tonight?" Taehyung wonders, pacing back and forth, absentmindedly playing with his earring, becoming increasingly anxious by the second.
"That could be possible, but I'm not sure... However, I must say it's a bit odd that he answered your call— I mean, that guy never answered no matter how many times we tried contacting him before; think about it, +
after the first call you made, he's been the one contacting us while rejecting our calls," Jeongguk says, recalling Taehyung and Hyun-jung's brief conversation earlier, which Taehyung put on speaker phone.
"You think it's unusual?" Taehyung asks, although truth be told, he felt uneasy when he talked to Hyun-Jung earlier; it sounded like him, but for some inexplicable reason, Taehyung felt as if he was talking to someone else.+
There was an eerie calmness in Hyun-Jung's voice, and unlike before, when Taehyung could sense the animosity behind Hyun-Jung's tone, Taehyung heard none of that in their most recent conversation.
"Yes, I believe so. I didn't think Hyun-Jung was into pet names; also, he's the one who set up the place and time, yet he's late. I don't want to seem presumptuous, but I doubt he has any idea what we intend to do with him after this meeting…+
I mean, he answered your call and told you to just wait as if it's nothing... I don't have a good feeling about this, Tae." Jeongguk says, wondering if he's just overthinking.
"I don't have a good feeling about this as well, but he didn't totally cancel, so I think we should wait," Taehyung says before turning on his radio headset, informing Jimin and the others on standby that Hyun-Jung will be late.
Hyun-Jung can feel his death approaching him right now. Every second feels like an hour of misery. Due to his injuries, even breathing became arduous for him. Every time his lungs swell and deflate, he feels stabbed,+
and every move he makes feels like sharp needles are being buried into his flesh. He can't stop crying, making the cab driver even more concerned,+
but Hyun-Jung doesn't have the strength to speak—right now, he's simply running on pure adrenaline.
"A-ahjussi, step on it, please... *cough* I'm really in a hurry," Hyun-Jung says, conscious that he doesn't have his phone with him right now, let alone Taehyung's number, so he couldn't contact the latter and alert him of what happened.
Everything's a mess and Hyun-jung has no idea how this will end.
Hell, he might not even be alive to welcome the next day.
If that man had returned to the warehouse, he would have known that he had escaped and could check his phone for details, and even though Hyun-Jung made sure not to keep any information in his phone, he still couldn't be sure if there were any new messages from Taehyung.
Since he is late, Hyun-Jung is worried that Taehyung is already looking for him; he may have tried contacting him again, and if he does, that man will have answered it, and he will know what Hyun-Jung has been plotting.
Worst-case scenario: that man cancels Hyun-Jung's meeting with Taehyung, and Hyun-jung is now rushing to nothing.
But he cannot simply give up.
Hyun-Jung is willing to put everything on the line right now.
'If I die, I'll make sure you'll never be happy in this lifetime,' Hyun-Jung thinks, his heart fueled by his thirst for vengeance, all focused on the man who ruined his life and left him beyond broken.
"We're here... Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital? You look like you're in pretty bad shape, kid— hey stop! You haven't paid yet!" shouts the driver when Hyun-Jung rushes outside the cab without paying the fare,+
limping to find Taehyung, even though he has no idea where he is at the moment.
"J-just so you wait... This will be the end—" Hyun-Jung whispers to himself, his eyes sharp as he recalls the scornful look on that man's face.
"Any updates, Tae?" Jimin asks over the radio to Taehyung.
—'None thus far. He's still not here.'
"Alright... We'll be on standby," Jimin says, taking a deep breath, already impatient because they've been waiting for Hyun-Jung for about an hour and have no idea whether or not he'll arrive.
—'Thank you, Jimin. He should turn up soon... I hope so,' Taehyung replies before turning off the radio.
If there's one thing I despise the most, it's not having complete control. I detest coming unprepared, I loathe surprises, and I abhor not knowing what to anticipate.
I often get the impression that I'm being duped at times when I have no idea what's going to occur. I want to always be two steps ahead, but that doesn't appear to be the case at the moment.
Where did I go wrong?
Should I have not touched Hyun-Jung?
Should I have not taken him?
No, that's not it.
I probably should have just k¡lled him.
I honestly have no idea why I teared up at the mere thought of it. I didn't know why I cried, nor why I ran away.
I shouldn't have left him alone in that place— alive, that is.
The problem with people is that they talk—and they can talk a lot depending on the situation and their desperation, and I'm now afraid because I'm aware that I've pushed Hyun-Jung to his limitations.
As I continued to step on the gas, I couldn't help but be furious.
Seriously? I have done this for so long, so why the fck did I mess up now when I'm so close to getting my dream— my Taehyung.
"F/uck. F/uck. F/uck. F//uck!!!!" I slammed my palms against the steering wheel, speeding up more, hoping I wouldn't be too late to reach Hyun-Jung.
I need to get to him.
I need to stop him.
I need to stop him, because I'm sure whatever it is that he's planning to tell Taehyung, it wouldn't be for my benefit.
I arrived near Ichon Park a few minutes later. I made a point of stopping in a poorly lit area with no visible cameras. There don't really seem to be any other people around, which is exactly what I need for me to do what I want.
To be safe, I parked my car a few blocks away from the supposed meeting place, then put on my jacket, a face mask, a cap, and my leather gloves; +
on the glove compartment, I then fished out my favorite pair of steel scissors, tucking it inside my sleeves before stepping out, making sure I remained inconspicuous.
Taehyung said that he's waiting in front of the xx statue. Luckily, that is quite near where I am currently, so I decided to stop by and from there, I saw him...
The reason for my insanity.
My perfect muse— Taehyung,
And he's with that pr¡ck— that goddmn pest, Jeon Jeongguk.
Here, hidden within the shadows, behind a tree, I balled my fists tightly, reminding myself that right now, I should stick to my priorities.
Jeon Jeongguk can wait— my ultimate revenge can wait.
Clicking my tongue in annoyance, I left, taking another route, hoping that I would soon run into Hyun-Jung.
[END OF SOMEONE’S POV]
Hobi then entered the basement of the seemingly abandoned warehouse while holding his g:un. The whole place is lit with just one old single flickering light bulb, Hobi directed his men to proceed after making sure that the coast is clear.
There's no one here— but someone surely has been.
"Jung Hoseok, police, is there anyone here?" Hobi yells, loudly announcing his presence, but receives no response.
Hobi and his colleagues quickly secured the basement, where they discovered a broken chair, ropes, and blood smears on the concrete floor.
"Take a shot of everything, and get whatever we can use for evidence," Hobi instructs the other cops.
'Watched too many dramas, my a:ss— I knew it... This isn't just an empty warehouse afterall.' He thinks, mentally preparing himself to tell Yoongi later that his intuitions are never wrong.
[Please play this as you read.]
Hyun-jung thinks that the path he is now walking on is endless. Every stride he takes hurts enough to make him feel as if he's only a few steps away from dying.
But he has no intention of stopping until he has exposed all of that man's crimes.
He kept coughing up blood, and he could feel his fractured ribs squeezing his lungs every time he breathed.
He also feels stupid, because he actually has no idea where to find Taehyung within this whole park.
"P-pfft... Why? Why am I like this, really?" Hyun-Jung couldn't help but laugh at himself, knowing that he had overestimated himself. He was far too complacent, +
believing that everything would continue to go his way, completely forgetting that he was dealing with the true human form of a monster.
And, as if to taunt him more for his mistakes, it began to rain, exacerbating his wounds and further affecting his already clouded vision.
Hyun-Jung found himself pausing there, falling to his knees, letting the rain wash his tears, and then he burst out laughing.
His body feels so weak and now, so is his will.
This might really be the end of it.
But then, as if he saw a light at the end of a dark tunnel, when he lifted his gaze, Hyun-Jung saw a figure standing a few steps away from him.
"G-geomsanim?" Hyun-Jung whispers, smiling in relief— a smile that quickly faded when he finally made off the man's face when the latter stood under the lamppost. A predator looking at his prey.
"No... No—" Hyun-Jung quickly got to his feet, limping away from the man that's slowly closing onto him.
"No... No— get away! GET THE F:UCK AWAY FROM ME!!!"
"Tae, it's raining... Maybe we should just leave; I don't think Hyun-Jung will come," Jeongguk suggests, persuading Taehyung to stop waiting for Hyun-Jung already.
"No... He's on his way—"
"What if he's not? What if he's already changed his mind? We're definitely wasting our time. We shouldn't have trusted that person," Jeongguk says, yanking Taehyung's arm, restless, concerned, and scared at the same time.
"Can you even hear yourself? This could be our last chance to catch that damn slasher once and for all, and you want me to just give up because he's a few minutes late and it's raining?" Taehyung exclaims, letting his own desperation get the best of him.
For weeks, they've done nothing except run around in circles, suspecting two people with little to no evidence to back up their accusations; it's as if they're playing hide and seek in the dark,+
hitting one dead end after another, and Taehyung is already running out of patience; he just wants it all to be over as soon as possible.
"Calm down, Tae... I'm worried about you. You'll get sick if—"
**"GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!!!"**
"Wait... D-did you hear that?" Taehyung asks after hearing a faint sound of someone yelling from a distance.
"Yes, I did." Jeongguk responds, immediately grabbing Taehyung's wrist and pulling him back when Taehyung was about to run towards where they heard someone scream.+
"Let's call back up... We're not even sure if that's Hyun-Jung." He says.
"But what if it's him? It sounded like him—" Taehyung pauses before releasing himself from Jeongguk's grip.+
"Stay here, just in case Hyun-Jung comes; for now, it's better that we split up... Don't worry, I'd still contact Jimin for backup," Taehyung says, dashing away before Jeongguk can respond.
"T-Tae, wait!— Ugh! Fck this!" Jeongguk says, ruffling his damp hair, frustrated because Taehyung left him with no other choice but stay in place.
[You can play this as you read.]
Running up that hill
The rain doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon, but Hyun-Jung is already out of breath. The man chasing him isn't even running, yet he's closing in, and Hyun-jung fears he won't be able to escape it—death, that is.
It's late in the evening and it's pouring, so the park is naturally empty, but as he limps away, Hyun-Jung wishes he could run into someone—anyone—but he's seeing no one, not a single soul around.
"You're just hurting yourself, love! Pfft..." The man laughs, as if he finds Hyun-Jung's plight amusing, but Hyun-Jung has no energy to respond; he just keeps hobbling, attempting to run, moving on sheer panic.
Like a rat being chased by a serpent on an open field, that's how hopeless Hyun-Jung's case is.
"Stop making things worse for yourself, love... Just give up," the man says mockingly as he walks towards Hyun-Jung, who has somehow made his way inside a public restroom.
'Get away.... Stop chasing me already...' Hyun-Jung thinks to himself as he drags his feet towards one of the empty cubicles. He's shivering, his face pale, +
aware that by running here, he's basically cornered himself like a defenseless prey, waiting to be devoured by the devil behind him.
As Hyun-Jung hugs himself, pressing his back against the cold tiled walls of the tight cubicle he's in, the sound of the door he just locked reverberated throughout the restroom.
Hyun-Jung heard the restroom's main entrance swing open and close, followed by a succession of calm footsteps heading his direction.
Another cubicle door flung open, causing Hyun-Jung to flinch and cover his mouth to drown out the sound of his heavy breathing.
"Come out, love... It's just the two of us here, don't be shy," the man says, and Hyun-jung can't help but cry. He is terrified and feels extremely vulnerable as he is pursued by the man whom he knows is worse than death in the flesh.
Holding his breath, Hyun-Jung managed to lift himself, stepping on the toilet seat, his gaze set on the cheap lock that is currently the only thing separating him from death, and here— +
Hyun-Jung wonders if god would even care to listen to his cries for help.
And then he began to question if he even has the rights to ask for help?
Will God ever forgive someone like him, who had enabled others to suffer at the hands of the devil?
Hyun-Jung then began to laugh quietly, almost breathlessly, as his entire life flashed before him.
Suddenly, he remembered every time he had turned a blind eye, every time he had made himself deaf to the slasher's late victims' cries for mercy.
Suddenly, Hyun-Jung can see their faces closing in on himself.
He could feel them peering at him, touching him with their cold, bloodied hands.
Suddenly, he could hear them— hear them laughing at what he's going through right now.
"JANG HYUN-JUNG!" yelled the man, banging another cubicle door open, and a few seconds later, Hyun-Jung noticed the man's feet under the small gap under the door—he found him.
"You're in there, aren't you?" the man asks, his voice eerily softer now.
The shadows inside Hyun-Jung's head then began to dance, taunting him to a point where Hyun-Jung could do nothing but just laugh and cry at the same time.
Hyun-Jung could smell the man's expensive perfume from the small distance between them—raspberry, saffron, and thyme, with jasmine, leather, amber wood, and black suede round the base, raw yet refined. +
Hyun-Jung remembers buying the same bottle for himself, just so he could feel the man's presence beside him all the time. It's strange how the same perfume he once adored is now making his stomach turn.
Life really has a cruel way of making you realize you fcked up.
The man slammed his palm hard against the door, making it echo loudly once more, but oddly enough, Hyun-Jung is still laughing maniacally.
"Didn't you hear me, Hyun-Jung-ah? C'mon now... Don't make it harder for both of us." The man says, banging the door repeatedly, loosening the already loose screws attached to the lock of the door.
The man kept on forcing the door open, causing Hyun-jung to hug himself tighter, curling up to a ball with his knees pressed against his chest, trembling, laughing more— +
going louder and louder until his laughter began to echo throughout the restroom.
"*Cough!* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! *Cough! Cough!* HAHAHAHAHA!"
"Crazy b:astard... Are you really laughing right now?" the man asks as he continues to push the door open, slamming his shoulders against it until the lock breaks off, finally destroying what is keeping him from Hyun-Jung.
Their eyes then met, and from there, the world came to halt again— not for Hyun-Jung, but for the man standing in front of him.
He has no idea what exactly he is feeling, though.
Here in this cramped cubicle in a dirty public restroom, the man who loves being in control, began to feel strangely vulnerable.
"Are you finally going to k¡ll me now? You sure took your time, huh?" Hyun-Jung asks, his eyes unfocused as if he's fully embraced his lunacy. He’s done fighting desperately.
"A-ah... That's right." The man says, wondering why in the world he’s stuttering. "I should have done it way earlier. I'm sorry." He says, which made Hyun-Jung snort out a taunting laugh again.
"Pfft... Sorry? Sorry for what?" Hyun-Jung asks, bringing his feet down, sitting up straight, his lips curling up to a smile before he slowly closes his eyes, deciding to accept the fact that he will really be dying tonight.
Then he felt such warm hands softly cupping the side of his face, the man's minty breath taking over his senses, compelling him to open his eyes again—but this time, Hyun-Jung resisted.
He'd rather see nothing but darkness than have the man's visage as his final memory in the afterlife.
"For—for everything." The man says, his voice barely audible, his eyes wide open as if he's in shock to find himself tearing up again.
"H-hey... Hyun-Jung-ah... Won't you look at me? Don't you have something to say to me?" the man pleads, his thumb softly brushing over Hyun-Jung's face but Hyun-Jung simply bites his tongue,+
refusing to give the man the satisfaction of getting what he wants from him, even for the last time.
"Is this really gonna be it? Y-you... You won't even look at me?" The man asks, prompting more bitter tears to stream down Hyun-Jung's cheeks. +
"You asked me before— did I ever love you? You still won't look at me, even if I give you my answer?" The man asks again, and like a wake up call, Hyun-Jung suddenly realizes how foolish he had become,+
because he knows that despite the man's warm touch and the sweet tone he's using on him right now, this will only have one outcome.
This is no fairytale.
There's no happy ending for someone like him who had fallen in love with this cruel story's main villain.
"I did... At least I think I did... My tears keeps on falling, so maybe— I did love you, Jang Hyun-Jung." The man found himself admitting something he never even imagined he would say out loud in this lifetime.
Still, it's too late to ease the anger that's boiling inside his heart.
Whatever love he felt or still feeling for Hyun-Jung— it's useless.
Stopping himself is beyond him now.
"I've read something before... Probably from a book I've once come across... Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." Hyun-Jung says, his lips curling up to a smile again, +
because even with a foot on death's door, he really couldn't help being so stupid— he opened his eyes, taking the pained expression he's seeing in the man's face with him, +
making sure he'll remember it as he crosses the river of styx in hell once he dies probably a few seconds from now.
"I know... Don't worry, I think I could carry that much burden." The man smiled before he leaned in, softly pressing his lips on Hyun-Jung's lips as he presses the tip of the scissors he's holding at the side on Hyun-Jung's neck,+
feeling it tear the latter's skin, layer by layer, getting buried down past to his flesh, and when he pulled it out— Hyun-Jung is still staring at him with a smile on his face.
"I— *cough!* I'll see you in hell soon... I love you." Hyun-Jung says before he closes his eyes again— for good this time.
Hyun-Jung held on for dear life until he faintly heard the man leave, quietly closing the restroom door, and there, with his remaining strength, +
Hyun-Jung brought his hands to his bloodied neck, smearing his blood all over his fingers, using it to write something on the wall, his lids fluttering close, body stiff, heavy, and cold.
This could be his feeble attempt to save his soul.
Hyun-jung intended to write the man's full name, but he could only manage a single letter before taking his last breath.
There in the wall with his own blood, Hyun-Jung wrote the letter 'S'.
"I told you, we heard someone earlier, Jimin-ah... I'm pretty sure it's Hyun-Jung." Taehyung says, now running all drenched in the rain with Jimin and some of the other officers on standby with the latter.
"It's not like I'm doubting you, Tae, but we've been on the look out for hours and we haven't heard nor seen a thing—"
"How about the east wing? The back of the park? You're only stationed along the main entrances, so it's not impossible for you to miss anyone coming," Taehyung responds as he hurries towards another public restroom near the park's back exit.
"Tae, wait! Maybe we should just go back to— T-Taehyung..." Jimin was at a loss for words when he followed Taehyung inside the restroom and saw blood splatters and crimson footprints on the floor. +
There, Jimin watches Taehyung cautiously checking each cubicle before stopping, falling on his knees in front of one.
"I-I told you... I heard him. Jimin-ah, look... It's Jang Hyun-Jung..." Taehyung says, his voice quivering as he turns to Jimin, a pained smile on his face after finally seeing Hyun-Jung—there in the cubicle—d:ead.
And beside his remains, on the wall, they found a single letter written in blood.
Please read this
𝚃𝙸𝚃𝙻𝙴 : 𝟿𝟿%
<𝙴𝙿𝙸𝙻𝙾𝙶𝚄𝙴 𝙿𝙰𝚁𝚃 𝟷/𝟺>
<You can play this as you read.>
Who will save us
The rain continues to pour down and Jeongguk is still unable to comprehend what is going on.
Every time he thinks he's getting a step ahead, he's yanked back—and again—until he's back to where he started.
It's frustrating to say the least, because with the exception of what happened between him and Taehyung, Jeongguk has never felt this lost before,
But now, he has no idea what exactly is becoming of him anymore.
It's as if he's racing in some kind of endless loop, not knowing if he's the one chasing or the one being chased; is he the one doing the hunting, or the one being hunted?
It's crazy, because it keeps making him feel restless— helpless, and he hates it.
Jeongguk loathes himself more and more every day because the longer this case goes on—the longer the slasher stays free, the more useless he becomes as a person—so useless that he can't even protect Taehyung.
"Fck... Can't you at least answer the damn phone? Are you really expecting me to just stay put?" shouts Jeongguk, pacing back and forth after his fourth phone call to Taehyung went straight to the latter's voice mail. +
Maybe he's overreacting, but at this point, he'd rather be overly cautious than complacent, because he knows what the slasher is truly capable of.
A thousand scenarios run through Jeongguk's mind, such as what if Hyun-Jung changes his mind and rejoins the slasher's side? What if this is all a set-up to catch either him or Taehyung off guard?+
What if the screaming they heard earlier wasn't Hyun-Jung? What if it's the slasher? Is that to say he just allowed Taehyung to walk right into danger?
No, Jeongguk just couldn't stand still anymore.
"Don't move," Jeongguk was about to go after Taehyung when he felt a sharp cold metal being pressed on the side of his neck, a dark and somewhat raspy voice whispering in his ear, gloved hands on his arm, keeping him still.
Jeongguk doesn't need to look; merely by sense, he's sure that this person—this man—is the slasher.
"We'll be bringing these samples to the lab and get back to you with the results as soon as possible to see if we have a perfect match; though if you ask me, based on where the body's facing and the position of his arm,+
this really appears to be written by the victim before he died," Jihyo, the team's medical examiner, says after inspecting Hyun-Jung's remains and the writing on the wall that he appears to have left.
"I- I think so too..." Taehyung pauses, running his palm over his face as if that'll help pull himself together, for right now he feels like he's really about to faint.
"I just don't understand, Chim... Why? How? Who did this?" Taehyung asks, massaging the bridge of his nose and closing his eyes as his vision starts spinning once more.
"I know we lack the evidence as of now, but the wound on his neck tells it all, Tae. It was him— the slasher...+
He killed him. He was here." Jimin says as he gently guides Taehyung outside the restroom as their team works on Hyun-Jung's remains so they could bring it for autopsy.
"How did he know? It didn't seem like Hyun-Jung got in touch with him—if anything, it appeared that Hyun-Jung was about to turn him in... At least, that's what we're expecting," Taehyung says, a bitter smile curling up on his lips. +
"Was I really hoping for nothing? Now, where should we go from here?" Taehyung asks, leaning against the wall as he lights a cigarette and takes a long drag, straight to his lungs, wishing it will help him relax.
"Don't be so down... It's unfortunate that this happened, but Hyun-Jung did leave something behind—and I'm not just talking about the writing on the wall," Jimin says firmly, glancing at Taehyung, who is clearly troubled.
"You think this wasn't planned?" Taehyung inquires.
"I don't think, I'm sure he didn't intend to k¡ll Hyun-Jung—at least not here, and certainly not the way he left him."
"You're right," Taehyung says, his brows furrowed, recalling the slasher's prior victims and comparing them to how he k¡lled and left Hyun-Jung. +
"Based on how he k¡lled his other victims prior to Hyun-Jung, the slasher appears to be a very meticulous guy; he makes sure that no evidence is left behind, +
and he's also quite adept at tidying up, but now," Taehyung reverts back to the restroom, staring at all the bloodstains and muddy footprints left on the floor. "He did it quite messily this time." Taehyung says,+
his eyes following the footprints coming from the cubicle where Hyun-Jung was found, going to the exit, then to the park— the park— "Sh¡t... Jeongguk is alone. I have to go, Chim,"+
Taehyung says as if a hard brick just fell over his head upon realizing that if the slasher just k¡lled Hyun-Jung, then he should probably still be here in Ichon Park— he might still go for the k¡ll.
Jeongguk might be his next victim.
"We still have another week to play our little game, but I'm in a pretty bad mood right now, y'see... There's supposed to be only three players in the game— so why'd you have to involve another person?"
As the man continued whispering in his ear, Jeongguk found himself unable to move and think due to a strange but overwhelming fear.+
Jeongguk could still smell the scent of blood and death reeking from behind him, despite the rain and the man's potent perfume. +
He shifted his gaze to his side and noticed the blood-stained scissors being pressed against his neck, threatening to break his skin and go right down his flesh, and once it does, he will surely meet his end.
No— not yet.
Jeongguk doesn't want to die just yet, so he wouldn't let this man get a hint that he's scared.
"Me? Aren't you the one who keeps involving others?— And I think you're mistaken... Three? No, you're only supposed to be playing with me. If the other person you're referring to is Taehyung, then keep him out of this. +
He has nothing to do with you..." Jeongguk pauses, mentally applauding himself for being able to speak clearly, but still, he couldn't control how his body shakes involuntarily.
"What am I to do? I don't want to..." The man chuckles as he drags the sharp tip of the scissors all the way back to Jeongguk's nape.+
"You don't make the rules here, Jeongguk-ssi... I do." He continues, and Jeongguk finds himself unable to reply, his heart racing violently.
"I-I'll say it again... Keep Taehyung out this—"
"See you soon—probably in hell... For now, let's keep playing, Jeongguk-ssi. I hope you won't break easily." The man cuts Jeongguk off, laughing quietly until his laughter fades into the sound of the rain, disappearing as fast as he came.
There, Jeongguk felt his knees give out on him, forcing him to fall to the ground on all fours, cursing himself even more for being unable to do anything.
He was just here.
The slasher they've long been hunting.
He was here.
He was talking to him— and he did nothing— no, he was unable to do anything out of sheer fear.
Jeongguk was so scared that he couldn't recognize the voice that had just spoken to him. It sounded too deep and muffled in his head, distorted, and so full of malice, like it came straight from a monster—+
and it left him immobile, as if he were a tiny mouse waiting to be devoured, frozen in the presence of a huge serpent with fangs dripping with venom.
"F-fck... Fck— FCK!!!!" Jeongguk kept on slamming his fists on the ground, sobbing pathetically, for he feels like that's the only thing he can do right now.
"Jeongguk?! Jeongguk, where are you— sh¡t, Guk, are you okay?! Oh god..." Taehyung chokes out a sigh of relief upon seeing that Jeongguk is still breathing, +
he then pulls Jeongguk up from the ground, caging the latter desperately in his arms. "W-why? What happened? Was he—"
"He was here... Tae, he was just here... I could've confronted him, I could've caught him myself, but I..." Jeongguk burst out crying again, feeling so disappointed in himself.
"Hush now... I-it's okay... It's okay. It's not your fault—"
"Hyun-Jung? What about Jang Hyun-Jung? Did you find him? Were you able to talk to him?" Jeongguk says, wiping his eyes and gathering what's left of his sanity in the hope that they still have a chance to capture the ever-elusive mrderer.
Seeing the misery in Jeongguk's eyes crushes Taehyung's heart. They're both exhausted, but their circumstances won't let them rest, and now that Jeongguk's breaking, Taehyung felt compelled to step up,+
picking up each of his own broken parts and piecing them back together one by one. "I did... I was late, though... Jang Hyun-Jung is dead," Taehyung says, cupping Jeongguk's cheeks, +
watching as the latter's expression contorts into dread, breaking all over again. Taehyung then pulls him closer, letting Jeongguk to let it all out, bawling against the crook of his neck.
"I-I'm sorry... I'm sorry, Tae... Fck— why am I so fcking useless?!"
"No, no... Don't say that..." Taehyung says, hugging Jeongguk tighter in his arms. "Y-yes... Yes, he might've had his way now, but that won't always be the case because— because as we break, I can sense him cracking as well...+
Soon, he'll make a mistake, and I'll be there to find a flaw in this wretched game and crush it with my own hands, so he can never stand near you again— so he won't be able to hurt you again… +
I'll keep you safe, so don't be scared..." Taehyung adds, swearing to whoever's up there listening— watching, that he'll keep every word he just said.
"How is he?" Joon asks Taehyung as soon as the latter steps out of the lounge here in the station, where he left Jeongguk to rest.
"Clearly not good. He keeps on blaming himself for letting the psycho go." Taehyung says, leaning his back against the wall.
"He didn't let him go on purpose— it was more like he had no other choice," Joon replies, now that the team has filled him in on the specifics.
"I know, but I couldn't blame him for feeling bad; I'd be pretty frustrated too if I were in his shoes; I just want this to be over, Joon," Taehyung says as he and Joon head towards one of the conference rooms where Yoongi and the others are waiting.
"That's what we all want; the chief has already given his full support, but we're still receiving a lot of backlash for being slow," Joon says.
"Bullsh¡t, as if finding someone who clearly does not want to be caught is that simple," Taehyung says as he and Joon take their seats.
"I know... We're all having a hard time here, myself, the whole department, Jeongguk— you... I know you're barely hanging on Taehyung, but if it becomes too much, you and Guk are free to step back, maybe travel somewhere overseas, let us handle the madman here—"
"Would that solve anything? The guy's obviously always a step ahead of us. If we leave, what if he follows us? There's no easy way out of this damn nightmare, Joon. +
We've come so far, with the exception of Jeongguk, I'm already willing to risk everything I've got," Taehyung says, glancing at Jimin and Yoongi, who are standing in front, about to lead tonight's meeting.
"As much as I agree with your suggestion, Joon, I think Taehyung is right. Out of all of us here, he and Jeon are the ones who will never find peace until this case is done and over with." Jimin pauses as he turns on the projector, +
displaying the photographs they took when they found Hyun-Jung. "The fcker left some clues. Based on the footprints, he's a size 11, probably standing over 6 feet tall. Hyun-Jung's pretty beaten up, so by the looks of it, +
the psycho could have a large build, or at least his body's toned enough to take on someone of Hyun-Jung's size." Jimin continues, flashing their projection of the culprit based on the victim's state and the footprints they found on the floor.
"We got the results from the blood samples, both from the crime scene and from the warehouse I was looking into... It matched with Hyun-Jung," Hobi states, handing them copies of the pathology test they'd just received from the lab. +
"The slasher— for some reason, probably knew what Hyun-Jung was up to, so he got him last night, beat him to a pulp, then some time between last night and tonight, Hyun-Jung managed to escape, +
proceeded to the park where he had originally planned to meet Tae, and that's where the slasher got him again," Hobi adds, switching the slideshow to the photos his team took from the warehouse they raided earlier.
"We still have a lot of missing pieces to uncover before we can solve this case, but at least we're not so blind anymore. According to the results of the crime scene samples and the preliminary autopsy, Hyun-Jung died between 11:45 to midnight. +
The slasher most likely fled the crime scene immediately after stabbing the victim. Hyun-Jung was still alive at the time and managed to write the letter S on the wall with his own blood after the slasher had left.+
According to Jeongguk's initial statement, he encountered the slasher about 12:03 to '05 after midnight, just a few minutes after I left the supposed meeting place. Which implies the slasher was aware of the arrangement, +
because he went straight to the agreed-upon meeting spot after killing Hyun-Jung, leading me to believe Jeongguk's suspicions about my last chat with Hyun-Jung were correct... +
It wasn't Hyun-Jung I was speaking to... It was him, the slasher, whom I told that we'll be waiting in front of the xx statue." Taehyung explains, trying to put together what he thinks happened only a few hours earlier.
"I think so too... Though I'm curious what Hyun-Jung was trying to convey by penning the letter S as his dying message; might it be S. O. S? Sorry?—"
"The slasher's name... If I'm right, then we might be on the right track. Song Iseul or Seo-jun... Han Seo-jun. Funny enough, they're both over six feet tall, well built, +
and from what I've seen, they probably have the same shoe size as well. Do we have any information about their whereabouts at the time of the crime?" Taehyung inquires.
"None at the moment. We don't have enough evidence to suspect them, but we're working on it—"
"I'll do it," Taehyung says as he gets up from his seat. "It's only been about 2 hours since Hyun-Jung died; I bet it's not enough time for the slasher to clean up everything, including himself or at least his vehicle;+
we don't need a warrant for now; I'll head to S.I and see things for myself," Taehyung adds, heading to the exit before the others can respond.
"No, you're not going anywhere but home," Jeongguk declares as he storms into the conference room, his face as pale as a ghost. "Someone just died, Taehyung, and I'm not going to let you go on your own," he continues, taking Taehyung's wrist and pulling him out the door.
"*Sigh* I guess we should let those two rest tonight. I'm also tired, and we still have a lot to do. For now, let's call it a night," Jimin says, massaging the bridge of his nose, relieved that Jeongguk was able to prevent Taehyung from acting rashly once more.
"Let go— Jeongguk, s-stop–"
"No, you stop! You're acting recklessly again. We need to be more cautious, especially you... T-Tae... I'm so scared right now, can't you see? I need you— so please... Please don't do this.+
I can't lose you," Jeongguk says, cupping Taehyung's face with his trembling hands, pleading with the latter to just stop for now. He can't breathe, he feels like everything is crumbling around him, and Jeongguk can't just take it anymore.
"O-okay... Okay, let's go home." Taehyung then relents, unable to watch his lover break in front of him.
<you can play this aa you read.>
No time to die
Taehyung is now laying in bed, with Jeongguk resting his head on his arm, both of them staring at the ceiling.
"Hyun-Jung left something when he found him... With his blood, he wrote the letter 'S' on the wall, and I truly believe he wanted to write the slasher's name...+
I know it's hard, but can't you try to remember? Can't you really recognize the fcker's voice?" Taehyung asks as he gently strokes Jeongguk's hair, feeling the latter's warm breath against the crook of his neck.
"A demon... In my head— he sounded like a demon who came straight from hell... It's strange... I fear I've gone completely insane," Jeongguk says, sitting up and covering his mouth with his palm,+
feeling like he's about to throw up just by trying to recall his short conversation with the slasher. "I wanna be of help... I- I wanna him k¡ll myself, smash his head to the ground— over and over until there's nothing left, +
b-but I can't... Right now, I can't... I want to not think of anything else. I wish I could just erase everything, press reset and pretend that nothing has happened...+
I'm sorry, Tae... I'm sorry, I'm so useless." Jeongguk cries with a broken smile on his face, causing Taehyung to hiss all mad at himself as he pulls Jeongguk back in his arms again.
"No, no.... It's okay. I'm sorry for bringing it up. You don't have to do anything anymore... Just rest—"
"I can still hear him... His voice keeps ringing inside my head, and I can't get rid of it. Tae, I hate this, Tae... Tae— I-..." Jeongguk was then shushed when he felt Taehyung's lips against his,+
taking in the salty taste of his tears as he cried with him.
"Open your mouth, baby... I honestly don't know what else to do, but right now— just kiss me," Taehyung says, pecking Jeongguk's trembling lips. +
"That damn demon in your head... Let me shut him the fck up," he adds, pulling his body up and hovering over Jeongguk, looking the latter straight in the eyes.
From there, they closed the gap between their mouths, kissing loud and messy that the sound of their lips smacking began reverberating throughout the room +
as Taehyung's hands started to travel all over Jeongguk's body, aiming to keep the latter distracted— distracted enough to shut all his dark thoughts down.
Here, as Taehyung's tongue dives deeper inside Jeongguk's mouth, he wishes he could just swallow everything up; all the bad memories that's causing Jeongguk to be terrified.
Useless? Bullsh¡t, Taehyung knows that between him and Jeongguk right now, he's the useless one. Despite his genius, Jeongguk is still an innocent civilian who unfortunately got mixed up in this tangled web of the slasher’s violent crimes.
If anything, Jeongguk has done enough. Unlike him, Jeongguk has not been exposed to the brutality of the world in which he lives, and for that, Taehyung feels so bad for him. +
First, he was accused of a crime he did not commit, and then he continued to be involved in one person's death after another, making it even more bizarre that Jeongguk is only breaking now— he held on long enough.
"H-he said that the game isn't over yet... He said that there's a week left..." Jeongguk continues to sob as Taehyung's lips slide down to his neck, then tearing his shirt open, buttons flying everywhere.
"So be it... He's only counting the days before his death." Taehyung says, gritting his teeth as he speaks, yanking Jeongguk's pants down before he swiftly strips himself naked as well.
"T-Tae... You don't understand. The man is a lunatic—"
"So am I... I won't let him be near you again, I promise." Taehyung said before he spat on his palm, rubbing spit all over Jeongguk's limp c0ck, feeling it harden slowly in his hand.
"N-nngh... You don't get it... I— I'm not scared for myself... Y-you, Tae, I'm scared of losing you again... He might take you away from me,+
a-and I'd rather die than allow that to happen... I, o-oh fck..." Jeongguk grunts when Taehyung starts to sink on his c0ck without any preparation.+
"S-sh¡t... Tae, stop! Ugh! Y-you'll get hurt... Nngh..." Jeongguk begs in terror, gripping Taehyung's waist and trying to force him up, but the latter refuses to budge.
"B-but you'll soon feel good... S-so stay still and let me do the rest. Tonight, let me distract you, so tomorrow, we can walk straight back to hell. +
Y'see, I need my man back— I may have no use for you if you stay like this, trembling like a scared little lamb," Taehyung says, a pained devil-may-care smirk on his lips.
"Sh¡t... T-too tight... Ugh... Y-you're too tight, Tae." Jeongguk couldn't help but moan, throwing his head back, jaws clenched, eyes shut tight. "A-am I?" Taehyung chuckles, clearly struggling to fit all of Jeongguk's c0ck inside of him, but still he kept on going.+
"Good... That's good, isn't it?" He says, taking another deep breath before he slams himself down on Jeongguk's length completely.
"You... Nngh— you're really crazy." Jeongguk chokes out a scoff, meeting Taehyung's gaze, allowing the latter to snap him out of his dark thoughts.
"Yeah... I know— so if you're going to be scared, you better be scared of me more than that psycho slasher," Taehyung says, placing his palms flat on Jeongguk's abs. "A week more, he said? +
We'll catch him by then— so hold on till that happens, let's not turn mental yet," Taehyung adds as he starts moving, slowly bouncing on Jeongguk's c0ck as the latter sits up again, pressing their chests together, blunt nails raking the skin on Taehyung's back.
"T-this is really hard... Just now, when I closed my eyes, I got engulfed by a dark shadow that seemed impossible to beat, and now I can't think of anything else other than your tight a/ss sucking me in...+
How can you expect me to keep up? How can I stay sane, really? Nngh... Don't overestimate me too much, Tae... I'm barely keeping myself together, y'see?" Jeongguk says, +
groaning as he thrusts his hips up, making Taehyung choke out a breathless scream, leaning his head back.
"H-hah... Funny, because I feel the same... Still, I wish we could just fck each other's brains out tonight and then wake up in a different reality where that damn slasher's already behind bars." Taehyung says as he lets his body drop on the bed,+
his legs wrapped around Jeongguk's waist and the latters hands are on his hips, plowing him over and over, pounding his insides with his c0ck as if aiming to crush his guts to mush. "That would be nice, right?"
"Yeah... That would be nice... It sucks that for now, all we can do is delude ourselves, clinging to this ephemeral comfort from nothing but lustful pleasure..." Jeongguk grunts, his hands moving up to the dip of Taehyung's waist,+
thrusting his hips faster, fucking the latter harder. "F-fck, Tae... What should I do? I hate someone so much that I want to k¡ll him with my bare hands."
"I sure hope it's not me you want to k¡ll, b-because right now, it's starting to feel like it... Ahh... You're fcking me so deep, I can feel it up my throat— +
nngh... It's choking me— I love it," Taehyung says, spreading his legs wider as Jeongguk's hands glide up to his chest, pinching and squeezing his nipples.
"D-don't be ridiculous... We both know this is nothing you can't handle... And as if I'll do anything to hurt you... +
It's that fcker Tae, that slasher, I want to k¡ll," Jeongguk says as he mercilessly snaps his hips, pulling out until only his tip is inside Taehyung before slamming his whole cock in again.
"Ahh! F-fcking hell... You're still thinking about him? Well, nngh... Looks like it's really going to be a long night," Taehyung says, swinging his arm up, grabbing Jeongguk by the nape of his neck and pulling him down to his face. +
"You better not stop. Show me what you've got... Fck me, until you can't think of anybody else but me and this tight a/ss you're currently fcking," Taehyung urges, but the truth is, he's probably the one who's craving more to just forget about everything.
'Yes, yes, that's right... Tonight let's pretend that we haven't lost— pretend that nobody died... Act like fools to survive.' Taehyung thinks, letting the pleasure Jeongguk's giving him cloud up his mind.
It's now seven in the morning and Taehyung's already ready for work while Jeongguk is still soundly sleeping.
"I've been quite a handful, haven't I? Don't worry, it's my turn to save you now," Taehyung whispers into Jeongguk's ear, pressing a soft kiss on the latter's lips before he leaves.
As the door to his apartment swings closed, Taehyung realizes that he cannot afford to be weak because everything is really about to come to an end this week.
𝚃𝙸𝚃𝙻𝙴 : 𝟿𝟿%
< 𝚎𝚙𝚒𝚕𝚘𝚐𝚞𝚎 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝 𝟸/𝟺 >
<You can play this as you read: Who is the monster>
There's an ugly feeling that keeps on coiling in my gut, and I really don't like it.
I'm back at home, pacing back and forth in my room, biting my nails—a nasty habit I have when I'm anxious.
But really, why am I anxious?
It should be just fine, right?
Yes, I did k¡ll Hyun-Jung, but this is nothing new. I've done the same thing to a few others before, but none of them left me feeling this way.
Is it remorse?
No, I don't think so.
Hyun-jung had betrayed me, thus he deserved to d¡e, and he knew it. I only did what I had to do.
However, I do feel anxious every time I picture waking up tomorrow knowing that Hyun-Jung no longer exists in this world. Well I guess it's only natural given I've been with him for years, and it's truly quite a shame since to me, he was the perfect lackey.
Still, I wish I could have taken something— anything from him so I could remember him properly, but as reckless as I am, I'm still aware that spending more time with a dead body in a public area— most likely surrounded by cops is risky, which is why I had to leave right away.
Also, I may have done something more impulsive than k¡lling Hyun-Jung.
I approached Jeon Jeongguk.
Too soon. Way— too soon.
When I saw him alone, I couldn't control myself. He was so arrogant, believing he could team up with both Hyun-Jung and Taehyung just to get ahead of me and I think that's not ethical, so I approached him to show him his place.
To remind him that he is nothing more than a worthless prey.
It felt amazing to see him tremble at the mere sound of my voice. He tried to conceal it, but I saw it—felt it—and perhaps that's why I'm now disturbed.
He also heard my voice.
I failed to clean up the place after I was done with Hyun-Jung.
I was wearing gloves, so none of my fingerprints should be present, but my shoe prints should be all over that restroom. My hair, sweat—all of these things that could potentially lead to them catching up to me.
Tch, this is bothersome. I may not have much time.
I need to act and turn this around— at least until I get what I want.
After all, I don't mind losing everything, so long as I have Taehyung by my side.
He's everything I wanted and more. He's all that I need. He's worth risking my everything.
"Pfft... You won't be mad at me, right? I mean, I've given you everything— so now that I'm in a bind, I might have to ask you to pay me back," I grinned, glancing at a magazine on my desk. +
Then I went ahead and packed a few 'essential' items before heading to that one person who will most likely be able to help me out of this annoying situation.
"Well, I'm grateful, but why are you giving me these things all of a sudden?" The ever-oblivious man asks and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Because I liked you? Pfft... Don't let it bother you," I muttered, dropping what was probably my last 'present' to this individual. "Use 'em well, I'll get moving, then."
'It's a farewell gift, you dimw¡t.'
[END OF SOMEONE'S POV]
<3 days later>
"Aren't you going to answer your phone, Taehyung? It's been ringing for a while now," Joon asks, his gaze fixed on the documents he's reading even after hearing Taehyung's phone ring for the nth time this afternoon.
"Ah, sorry," Taehyung replies as he looks through the slasher's victim profiles, rejecting Jeongguk's call once more.
"You're not gonna talk to him? You haven't gone home since yesterday, and now you keep rejecting his calls; you're going to worry him to death at this point," Joon says, noticing Taehyung slaving away at work after what happened to Hyun-Jung.
"It's fine. I already told him that I'll be busy—"
"And how about your side gig? Aren't you supposed to be working with him on that music video or something?" Joon asks again, +
finding it strange that Taehyung is practically never leaving the station; he even delegated the task of keeping an eye on Jeongguk to Hobi and Jimin.
"I was informed that I'm already done with my scenes on that project; being in the spotlight isn't really my thing; if I want to catch the psycho by the end of this week,+
then I'll be more productive here," Taehyung says, now looking through some of the photos they took at the crime scene where they found Hyun-Jung.
"Size 11, Valentino low-top sneaker, in fabric and calfskin. Upon checking, it appears to be from a recent collection. Can we contact some of the shops selling the brand in the area +
and see if we can request a copy of their sales invoice or records for this product in particular?" Taehyung asks, referring to the information they've gleaned about the slasher's shoe prints from the crime scene.
"We can do that, but it won't be easy; it's a popular brand, especially among those who can afford a pair of shoes worth over a thousand dollars. — Taehyung, we're in Gangnam," Joon says, standing up and coming over to Taehyung's desk.
"What about this photo of the slasher's car dashboard that Chang Su-jin took and shared on sns before he d¡ed?" Taehyung asks, sensing Joon staring at him.
"Go to Jeongguk, Taehyung. I'm sorry to break it to you, but even if you stay in here, you're obviously still thinking about him; we've talked about the shoes and the car over a dozen times already since yesterday, +
and you're still asking me the same things." Joon sighs. "We're still waiting on the full autopsy report... Hyun-Jung was severely beaten, so finding a trace of the suspect's DNA on his body is still a possibility, and as for the car, +
you already know we're working on it. I know you're worried, so why don't you check in on Guk? I'm sure you'll be more efficient once you know Jeongguk is safe," Joon adds, taking Taehyung's car keys from his desk and tossing them to him.
"Hobi and Jimin are already there—"
"Yet that's not enough to put you at ease, is it? Go, Taehyung. I'm more than capable of handling whatever here," Joon says as he walks back to his desk, shooing Taehyung away. +
Taehyung took a deep breath there. "Fine, but phone me if you get anything; I'll be back this evening," Taehyung says as he gets up and walks out the door to finally see Jeongguk.
"Still no response? Pfft... Just so you know, watching you get rejected by Tae is pretty funny to me," Jimin says, joining Jeongguk outside the studio in the smoking area.
"He's just rejecting my calls, but he never really rejected me, unlike some loser I know." Jeongguk says, taking a puff of his cigarette while Jimin lights up his own.
"Tch, way to rub it in my face, huh?— Anyway, don't worry too much; after everything that's happened and is still happening, I can tell that Tae's even more pressed to capture that slasher as soon as possible, +
which is why he's been staying at the station," Jimin says, subtly eyeing Jeongguk beside him. "Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to console you; we're not even close, so just take this as me bragging about how well I know Taehyung. +
He's always like this when he's trying to solve a case quickly; there was even a time when he spent three months working on an unsolved murder case. He got so fed up with it that he didn't go home for two weeks,+
and after he was done, the suspect in the case he was handling was finally arrested." Jimin says. To be honest, he still doesn't like Jeongguk, but he can't deny that he feels bad for what he and Taehyung are currently going through. +
Also, Jimin really wants to keep his friendship with Taehyung, so sooner or later, he'll have to get used to being around Jeongguk too; and maybe that's why now, he's trying to give the latter some petty comfort.
"I already know that, so what exactly are you bragging about here?" Jeongguk says sassily, although with less animosity this time.
"H-hah... This pr¡ck," Jimin scoffs. "If you already know, then why are you sulking and calling him non stop? He's just at the station-."
"Knowing what he's up to doesn't automatically put me at ease; he might be locked up with me in a room and I'd still obsess about him— what he's thinking, what he's doing..." Jeongguk pauses as he glances towards Jimin, +
noticing the latter's disgusted expression. "What? You think it's weird? Maybe? But that's just how it is... I am 'that' crazy for him," Jeongguk says, his lips curled in a rather wistful smile.
"*Sigh* Looks like another crazy one has arrived... Then— congratulations, Jeongguk-ssi," Jimin teases as he walks back inside after spotting Taehyung's car parking in front of the building.
"Uhm... Hi," Taehyung murmurs, scratching the back of his neck, unable to look at Jeongguk, who has stepped in front of him.
"I was calling you..." Jeongguk says, exhaling a sigh of relief and embracing Taehyung in his arms. It's just been a few days, but Jeongguk's already missing Taehyung like crazy.
"I know... I'm sorry. I was just busy," Taehyung says, lovingly caressing Jeongguk's cheek as the latter draws back from the hug.
"You did. You haven't even gone home, of course I was worried— but more than that, I miss you— I miss you so much, it feels like I'm going through withdrawal," Jeongguk says,+
leaning in to kiss Taehyung on the lips, but Taehyung stops him, placing his hand over his mouth.
"S-stop... What if we get photographed—"
"I've already been framed and imprisoned for m:urder; do you think the public knowing I'm dating a man is worse than that? They can take as many pictures as they want,+
if it's a good shot, I might even buy it myself and display it in our apartment." Jeongguk says, softly touching Taehyung's chin as he inches closer to him.
"Our apartment?" Taehyung chuckles against Jeongguk's lips.
"What's yours is mine— I'd say what's mine is only mine, but you already know you're an exception to that because— well, you're also mine," Jeongguk teases, about to kiss Taehyung on the lips when he hears footsteps approaching.
"O-oh... Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt," Seo-jun says as he goes to enter the building, clutching a stack of suit jackets.
"Seo-jun-ssi... It's been awhile. Hello." Taehyung says, looping his arm around Jeongguk's back, eyeing Seo-jun up and down.
"Erm... Y-yeah. I'm just here to deliver the rest of B-side's wardrobe." Seo-jun replies with a smile.
"I see you're working hard... Go ahead, leave now—"
"You're not with your 'boss' today... Guess he's pretty busy huh?" Jeongguk inquires, hoping to find out more about Song Iseul's whereabouts.
"Ah, boss? Well, fashion week is coming up. Pfft... He's basically living in his studio right now. Don't worry, I bet he'll be present at the celebratory dinner once the shoot is done.— Then, I'll get going now.+
It's nice seeing you both again, Jeongguk-ssi, Taehyung-ssi." Seo-jun politely bowed before heading in first, and that's when Taehyung's eyes darted over Seo-jun's shoes, prompting him to chase after the latter, grabbing him by the arm.
"Wait!" Taehyung says, now looking Seo-jun straight in the eyes.
"Yes?" Seo-jun asks,
"Y-your shoes... They look nice, is that—"
"Oh, thanks," Seo-jun says, his smile reaching his eyes. "It's a bit old, but yeah, it's Valentino," he adds, sending shivers up Taehyung's spine.
"I-I see... 'looks good and comfortable..." Taehyung responds awkwardly, hesitantly releasing Seo-jun's arm.
"It is... Then," Seo-jun adds, slightly bowing his head towards Taehyung again before walking away.
"His shoes?" Jeongguk asks Taehyung as Seo-jun is no longer around. "Does it match what the slasher wore when he murdered Hyun-Jung?"
"No... It doesn't look like the same style. The slasher's are from a more recent release, low-top sneakers in fabric and calfskin, whereas Seo- jun's are just fabric slip-ons... However, they're from the same brand," Taehyung says, +
massaging the bridge of his nose, unable to shake the feeling that Seo-jun could still be the slasher they're looking for.
"Valentino? Even a slip-on from that brand costs roughly eight hundred dollars, that's nearly a million won. Isn't it a bit too expensive of a purchase for his job title?" Jeongguk questions, considering Seo-jun is only one of S.I's regular tailors.
"Perhaps, but that's an old pair of shoes, and he might've saved up for it or whatever... Anyway— let's go in? I'll wait for your shoot to end and then drive you home."
"Nah, it's alright... You can go back to the station and do your thing, baby. I'll be fine; besides, the midget and Hobi hyung are here with me. +
I already feel better now that I've seen your face, so don't worry about me," Jeongguk says, cupping Taehyung's face and smiling affectionately at the latter.
The thing is, after Jeongguk's encounter with the slasher, Taehyung pleaded with him not to get involved in the case any further and to leave it to the authorities, including Taehyung himself.+
Jeongguk, of course, disagreed at first, but he didn't want to bother Taehyung any longer, especially now since Taehyung saw him breakdown after his brief conversation with the slasher,+
so he relented and told Taehyung that he will step back, at least until he finishes filming the music video for their band's new album.
Also, after some thinking, Jeongguk concluded that it'll be better if he and Taehyung aren't together, because the slasher could approach him at any time;+
that's why, despite missing Taehyung, Jeongguk prefers that Taehyung stay at the station, where he'll be safe, surrounded by police officers.
"Are you sure—"
"I am... I'm not alone here. Y'know I've hired more personal bodyguards that'll keep me safe on top of the police protection you've arranged for me... So go— just...+
If you can, please call me from time to time? It gets a bit lonely at night," Jeongguk says, a rather defeated smile on his face.
"Okay, I can do that... Just promise me you won't do anything without first informing me, especially since the guys from S.I are still hanging around here," Taehyung says,+
sighing as he lays his forehead over Jeongguk's shoulder, the latter instinctively placing his hands on his waist.
"We'll be done filming tomorrow, so I won't be required to have them around. Just focus on your work now, alright?" Jeongguk says, pressing a soft kiss on the side of Taehyung's head.
"Okay— wait, when is the celebratory dinner, Seo-jun mentioned earlier? He said Iseul will be there, right? I'm thinking of dropping by," Taehyung asks, slightly pulling back from Jeongguk's hold.
"As we'll be done filming tomorrow, we'll probably have dinner after."
"I heard Seokjin hyung making a reservation at the 7th door; do you want me to pick you up?" Jeongguk asks.
"There's no need; do you think 8 o’clock is a good time to come?"
"That should be alright; we're slated to wrap up at 7 p.m., so by eight, we'll probably all be there," Jeongguk says before leaning in and kissing Taehyung goodbye.
<you can play this as you read: Feel you>
"Then I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yeah... See you tomorrow. I've put my phone off silent now— so, if you ever miss me too much, just call, okay?" Taehyung smiled as he urged Jeongguk further inside the building. +
"Go on now, my baby rockstar," Taehyung says as Jeongguk walks backwards, unable to get enough of seeing Taehyung's face.
"I'll call you tonight— dinner time, before I sleep, and then when I wake up in the morning," Jeongguk says, stretching his hand up as if acting out a dramatic scene in which someone pulls him from behind and away from Taehyung.
"Pfft... Do that then, I'll be waiting," Taehyung replies softly, waving Jeongguk goodbye before turning around and heading to his car.
Then, as Jeongguk watches Taehyung walk away, getting further and further away from him, he feels an unpleasant tug in his chest.
"Hey, Kim Taehyung!" exclaims Jeongguk, prompting Taehyung to pause and turn to face him once more.
"Yes?" Taehyung asks, his eyes widening as Jeongguk rushes up to him, cupping his face and then capturing his lips. They felt as if the world started spinning slower and slower before coming to a halt, and all they could think about was the sweet taste of each other's mouths.
"I love you, I love you so much..." Jeongguk exhales arduously.
"What's gotten into you—"
"I said I love you... Please say it back," pleads Jeongguk, his tone a little too urgent for Taehyung to refuse.
"I love you too— so much," Taehyung says, lightly bumping his forehead against Jeongguk. "Walk me to my car?" He asks.
"You wanna 'do it' in the car?" Jeongguk says in a rather teasing tone to lighten up the mood.
"Pfft... I wish we could, but we're both busy right now... Let's save it for later, yeah?" Taehyung says as Jeongguk holds his hand, leading him towards his car.
"Later?" Jeongguk asks as he opens the car door for Taehyung.
"Not later... Maybe later-later," Taehyung replies as he starts the car, rolling down the windows as Jeongguk closes the door for him.
"Fine, later-later, it is. Drive safely," Jeongguk says, winking at Taehyung, who chuckles sheepishly before backing up and glancing at Jeongguk from the side mirror as he drives away.
'See you soon—probably in hell... For now, let's keep playing, Jeongguk-ssi. I hope you won't break easily... Pfft... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...'
Jeongguk didn't intend to fall asleep right away after arriving home, but he did, and now he's waking up from the same nightmare that's been haunting him for days.
That nightmare in which the slasher laughs at him and threatens him with becoming his next victim. It's honestly too much for him, but he doesn't want to be a burden to Taehyung, +
so he's holding it in, mentally berating himself for cowering in fear after only one encounter—one conversation with the slasher.
It's just so horrifying to think that Taehyung is still holding up after waking up from a coma, remembering the slasher's voice, telling him bedtime stories of his previous murders.
"He must've been so scared, a-and I... I wasn't there... I wish I had been there..." Jeongguk mumbled under his breath, tears streaming down his cheeks as he hugs himself, wishing Taehyung is here with him.
<you can play this as you read: Dissonance>
<Next day at the police station>
"That's what I'm saying... The more we dig into it, the clearer it becomes that J records—no, the entire J group of companies—are at the center of all of these incidents.+
Jang Jeong-hun, the chairman of the J group was also one of the founders of CC's; the slasher's victims all had some sort of history working under the company, +
then now, the warehouse in Gangwon-do turns out to be under J group as well." Hobi says, now here in the station together with Jimin, Joon, Taehyung and Yoongi,+
discussing all the evidence and information they've gathered after Hyun-Jung's death.
"Also... I've found this after going through Hyun-Jung's information.+
Hyun-Jung's mother died shortly after he was born, while his father passed away when he was still in highschool, so he was living off of the allowance he's getting from government support.+
His real name was Gu Hyun-Jung, but for some unknown reason he changed his surname to Jang. I'm still not sure if he's related to chairman Jang of J group, but after seeing all the evidence pointing to that company, +
I wouldn't be surprised if Hyun-Jung was somewhat connected to J group as well." Yoongi adds, considering all the possibilities behind the tangled web of crimes they're investigating.
"Should we look into Jang Jeong-hun? He appears to be far too involved in this for us to ignore," Taehyung suggests.
"We can, but I doubt it will be easy for us to get straight to the man. Jang Jeong-hun basically owns half if not more of Seoul, he's got connections, underlings— everything. Besides, he's 71 years old and reportedly has had two heart surgeries before. +
If we're going to investigate him as the slasher, the case will be buried even before it could even begin." Joon says, telling the others the information he has so far on Jang Jeong-hun.
"And a man as powerful as that, doesn't have an heir?" Jimin wonders,
"He's a very private person, though I had the opportunity to see him once when I joined chief Jeon's dinner with his golf buddies. +
Jang Jeong-hun was there, and I remember overhearing him talk about a son who's causing him trouble, so I asked the chief; apparently, chairman Jang has a son that he's been refusing to acknowledge in public," Joon says, +
taking the files containing Hyun-Jung's information. "Could it be Hyun-Jung?" Joon asks.
"No, I don't think so. I've worked on Hyun-Jung's files for days after his death,+
and from there I can guarantee you that he is certainly his deceased parents' biological son and has no familial relation to Jang Jeong-hun... Though I'm still not sure why he changed his surname." Yoongi replies.
"It feels like we're missing something—something that can link Jang Hyun-Jung to Jang Jeong-hun. What if there's another person? Someone with enough connections, influence, and money to get away with multiple murders... +
That mystery son you mentioned—" Taehyung pauses, glancing at Joon. "Do you think he could be our slasher?" he asks, a far-fetched theory, but one that makes sense,+
given that Jang Jeong-hun has been refusing to publicly acknowledge his son for some reason, meaning that his son could be living under a different name and identity—that, while having all the perks and benefits of being Jang Jeong-hun's kin.
And if the heir of Jang Jeong-hun turns out to be related to Jang Hyun-Jung in any way, they'll have even more reason to look into the J group of companies and its chairman.
"That could be a possibility, but we can't just pin someone to a crime based on a theory... On the other hand, we don't have much time, so I guess we can act a little aggressively.+
You and Guk have been suspecting Song Iseul and Han Seo-jun, right?" Joon asks Taehyung.
"We are, yes... I just ran a background check on those two actually, here's Song Iseul's records. +
He's clean, no criminal history, originally from a middle class family before his designs rose to fame." Taehyung says, placing some documents on the desk,
"How about Han Seo-jun?" Jimin inquires.
"His records are also clean... But it says here that he's one of S.I's pioneer employees; they even went to the same university, and by the looks of it, they started S.I together. +
Song Iseul creates the designs, while Seo-jun is the tailor who brings it to life," Taehyung says, showing the others Seo-jun's profile.
"Not enough—whether we go after J Group or S.I, the data we currently have is insufficient to indict anyone from those companies for these crimes.+
However, Hyun-Jung's blood that was found in Jang Jeong-hun's warehouse may be enough for the old man to grant us an audience; after all, the place is still his property, whether or not someone else manages it." Joon says, +
leaning back in his chair and massaging his temples, because these discussions, trying to solve a jumbled puzzle, have been giving him a massive headache.
"What about the victims' carved out scalps? Why do you suppose the slasher keeps taking that?" Jimin asks, as he still can't comprehend why, of all things, the slasher picked a piece of the victims' scalp as a memento.
"That detail alone is fcking sick. I mean, what use does he have for their hair? Could he really be making a wig out of it?" Hobi asks.
"Perhaps? We won't know unless we ask the fcker himself. All his victims had long hair. Guess we won't be able to sleep thinking about these things," Jimin adds, glancing at Taehyung and observing how the latter has been fiddling with his earring, pondering deeply once more.
"I know this sounds ridiculous and extremely biased against Song Iseul and Han Seo-jun, but those two are known for designing garments, they have no use for a wig, but-." Taehyung pauses, brushing his fingers against his hair, staring at the thin strands+
as a wild idea passes through his head. "Although it's not that durable, could it be that the slasher is collecting the victim's hair to use as thread? Y'know— to make clothes?" Taehyung muses as he stands up, gathering his keys and jacket.
"What—wait, where are you going?" Jimin asks Taehyung,
"I'll just go get something at home... I'll be back in about 20 minutes or so... +
Also, if my suspicions are correct, we might be able to identify the slasher by tomorrow," Taehyung says as he rushes out of the room.
"Tae, wait! Let's leave together; it's about time I drive Jeongguk to that dinner," Hobi says as he follows Taehyung.
'If you don't mind me asking, how did you end up in this field? Fashion designing, I mean.'
'That question, all of a sudden? Pfft, isn't it too soon for you to be this comfortable with me, Taehyung-ssi?—Well, it's not like I mind, so it's fine... *Sigh* Someone believed in me— and that may have been the reason why I made it to where I am now,'
'Someone you say?'
'Uh-huh... Back then, I truly had no idea what to do with my life... I was taking business, which is a major I have no real interest in, so I usually spent my break time in the library doodling random things... +
One day, a person came to me and said that I'm good with my hands. He asked me if I'm interested in fashion... I'm not sure why I said yes, but I did. Maybe fashion didn't sound so boring to me back then.+
Our friendship— if we can call it that, began there... He asked me to draw anything for him and then offered to make it for me... +
I didn't give it much thought, so I compiled... The next day, he showed up with the clothes I had designed. I don't know why, but that made me happy— the rest was history after that,'
'So you found someone that made you want to turn your life around?'
'Pfft, you're making it sound romantic, but it isn't. Yes, that person opened the doors for me, but I'm doing this because I've grown to appreciate my craft.+
It gives me a sense of accomplishment to watch my designs come to life. I love it every time my creations are worn, because to me, it confirms the value of my labor... And I don't like it when my efforts are ignored,'
"Is it really you— Song Iseul?" Taehyung asks himself as he steps on the gas, recalling the last decent conversation he had with Iseul.
Taehyung arrived in their empty apartment past 7 p.m., immediately rummaging through his closet for the robe from Iseul's line that he had accidentally brought home when he fought with Jeongguk a few weeks ago.+
Taehyung promptly checked the stitching of the robe when he found it, and from there, he felt as if all his blood was physically drained from his face, causing him to tremble, unable to move, breathe, or function all together.
It's hardly discernible at first glance, but when Taehyung examined it closer, he realized it wasn't just a simple sewing thread that was used to stitch the robe— it's hair. Pieces of human hair wind up together to create a thread.
"Oh god..." Taehyung muttered under his breath, gulping, fighting the urge to throw up; then he remembered Jeongguk, and how the latter is most likely now sitting at the same table with a m:urderer.
With his eyes clouded with tears and his quivering hands, Taehyung dialed Jeongguk's number.
"Tae's calling, Jeongguk," Hobi said to Jeongguk as he noticed the latter's phone buzzing on the table.
"Ah, right— wait, I'll just take this," Jeongguk replies as he stands up.
"Guk, where are you going? Director Han here wants to speak with you," Seokjin says as Jeongguk abruptly stands up from the dinner table.
"In a sec, hyung... Tae's calling, and I'll go out for a smoke," Jeongguk says as he walks out of the restaurant before answering the phone. "Hello, Tae? Are you already on your way? Do you want me to pick you—"
"Jeongguk... J-Jeongguk, is Song Iseul there?" Taehyung asks, his voice shaking as though in terror, which prompts Jeongguk to become concerned.
"Song Iseul? He hasn't arrived yet, but he's probably on his way— wait, Tae, what's going on? Are you okay? What about Song Iseul? Did you— Is he-.."
"*Phew* I'm so full, can I join you for a smoke, Jeongguk-ssi?" Seo-jun asks, stepping outside the restaurant and pulling a pack of smokes from his pants' pocket.
"Is that Seo-jun? Jeongguk, Jeongguk, ask him where Iseul is... Listen, Song Iseul— he might be the slasher, so we need to know where he is." Taehyung hurriedly pleads, honking at the cars in front of him, frustrated since he's now trapped in traffic.
"O-okay, wait...*beep...beep* But first, can you tell me where you are right now? Hello?!—" Jeongguk asks, frantic as the call gets cut off and he can't reach Taehyung.
"Fck!—Where's your boss?" Jeongguk asks Seo-jun.
"Oh, boss? Haven't you heard? There was a change in his schedule. He's going to Jeju later tonight, so right now he's probably packing his stuff in his studio. Why? Is there a problem?" Seo-jun asks, seemingly concerned.
"What?!—" Jeongguk exclaimed, pushing Seo-jun to the side as he hurried back inside the restaurant. "Hobi, hyung— we have to go," Jeongguk says, dragging Hobi out with him so the latter can call for backup later if necessary.
"Jeongguk, Hobi! Where are you two going?!— Wait, I'm coming with you!" yells Seokjin as he races after Jeongguk and Hobi, joining them in the car as they pass by Seo-jun, who is still smoking by the entrance.
As Jeongguk's car drives away, Seo-jun stands there with a sinister grin on his face, tossing the cigarette he didn't even smoke on the ground and then stepping on it, spitting to get rid of the taste it left in his mouth. "Tch, disgusting thing."
"Jeongguk?! Hello, Jeongguk, are you still there?! Hello—" Taehyung hisses in rage, slamming his palms on the steering wheel, realizing that his phone had just died since he had forgotten to charge it earlier.
"D-don't do anything... Please— please, Jeongguk, just stay where you are." Taehyung prays as he continues to drive, heading towards the 7th door restaurant in Gangnam.
Taehyung arrived at the restaurant after another ten minutes of driving, and instantly noticed Seo-jun standing at the entrance, casually leaning against the wall. "Taehyung-ssi?" Seo-jun asks as Taehyung exits the car.
"Seo-jun, where's Jeongguk?" Taehyung asks, rushing towards Seo-jun.
"Oh, he just left a few minutes ago with Seokjin-ssi and Hobi. Why, did something happen—"
"Where did they go? Tell me— tell me where did they go?!" Taehyung grabs Seo-jun by the shoulders, afraid that Jeongguk's doing something dangerous again on his own.
"Wait, calm down, Taehyung-ssi... I heard he was looking for boss, so they're probably on their way to S.I's studio," Seo-jun replies, gently holding both of Taehyung's wrists.
"S.I? O-okay... Then, I'll get going—"
"S.I's a private building, why don't I take you there so you won't have any trouble getting in?" Seo-jun offers, and Taehyung is in way too much distress to care about anything else; he just wants to get to Jeongguk as soon as possible.
"A-alright, let's go then. We need to hurry." Taehyung says, allowing Seo-jun to lead him to the latter's car.
"I'm sorry if I sound too nosy, but are you okay, Taehyung-ssi? You look so pale and nervous right now," Seo-jun asks as he drives, his gaze drawn to Taehyung in the passenger seat.
"I'm fine, so please just— just step on it." Taehyung says tugging on his earring so much he's basically pinching his own ear.
"*Sigh* It's okay if you don't want to tell me, but I'm starting to get worried seeing you like this, so please relax for a bit— here," Seo-jun says, pulling a bottle of energy drink from the glove compartment of his car. +
"I'd offer you water, but this is all I have. Have a drink first, maybe it'll help you calm down." Seo-jun says, slightly turning towards Taehyung with a sympathetic smile on his face,+
making Taehyung feel bad for acting rude to someone who's generously helping him right now.
"O-okay... Sorry, thank you." Taehyung says, taking the drink, then hesitantly taking a few sips. "How long till we get there by the way? I'm really in a hurry, y'see?" Taehyung asks, sealing the drink after consuming almost half of it.
"Oh, we'll get there soon... Just sit back and relax. How about we play some music, yeah?" Seo-jun says, turning the car stereo on, playing some old up beat song.
*Now Playing: Take on me: by: A- ha*
Talking away, I don't know what I'm to say, I'll say it anyway... Today is another day to find you..
" Seo-jun then begins to sing quietly, almost as if he's just humming to the song, and for some reason, Taehyung feels as if something isn't right in this situation.
"S-Seo-jun-ssi... Can you turn the volume down? I-I kinda feel dizzy—"
" Seo-jun continued to sing, his voice getting louder now. +
I'll be coming for your love. Okay?
" Seo-jun sings again, but this time it sounded more like a statement— and from there, Taehyung started to realize that he got it all wrong.
As Taehyung's head began to feel like it's spinning, his lids fluttering close, dropping the half empty energy bottle on the floor, his eyes then moved towards the dashboard of Seo-jun's car— +
the exact same dashboard in the photo Su-jin, one of the slasher’s victims took before he died.
"H-Han Seo-jun... You..." Taehyung says, his voice barely audible since at this point, he's only seconds away from passing out.
"Yes? Oh, could it be that you're not liking this song? Mhm... How about I change it to something more— I don’t know? Familiar?" Seo-jun asks as he switches the song on the car stereo.
*Now playing: The way we were: by: Barbra Streisand*
"Ah... That's more like it... Brings back memories, doesn't it?" Seo-jun says, glancing at Taehyung, who has just passed out. "Sleep tight, love... Soon, it'll just be you and me, every day, all the time—forever."
T/W mentions of blood
T/W mentions of gun
"Sir, you can't just go in there—"
"Police! Song Iseul, are you still here?! We just want to talk to you for a minute..." Hobi yells, storming into Song Iseul's studio with Jeongguk and Jin, followed by the other officers he called on their way here.
"Officer, the boss isn't here-.."
"Just shut the fck up, will you?!" Jeongguk says, glaring at the staff who's in their way. "SONG ISEUL! COME OUT! WE GOT YOU NOW, FCKER-.."
"H-help... *cough... cough...* Help me please... Help..."
Hobi, Jeongguk and Jin then exchanged glances when they heard Iseul's faint voice coming from the studio's storage room.+
Taking his gun out, Hobi quickly leaned against the wall by the door, slightly shaking his head at Jeongguk, signaling the latter that he'll be going in first before turning the knob, pushing the door wide open, +
getting into a position where he'll be ready to shoot— only to immediately put his gun down after seeing Song Iseul— there, crawling, barely alive on the floor, with a pair of scissors still buried in the side of his neck.
"Iseul-ssi!" Hobi gasps, sprinting towards Iseul to check on his condition. "He's still alive, call an ambulance, hurry!" Hobi exclaims, gingerly pressing on around Iseul's wound, where the scissor is still lodged, in an attempt to slow down the bleeding.
"W-what the fck... What the fck is going on here... I thought— I thought-..." Jeongguk couldn't continue what he was about to say when his stomach churned,+
leading him to cover his mouth, suppressing the urge to throw up.
He was wrong.
"Iseul-ssi... Hang in there, just breathe slowly—"
"*cough* It's H-Han Seo-jun... H-he *cough... cough* T-Taehyung... You n-need to save h-him... Seo-jun is a-after Taehyung," Iseul managed to say, despite the fact that he's already struggling to breathe, and from there, Jeongguk felt as if his entire world was shattering again.
Title : 99%
<book 3: epilogue: part 3 of 4>
After hearing what Iseul just said, Jeongguk suddenly felt like he'd been transported back to a few months ago when Taehyung got shot, and Jeongguk has no idea what to do with his life anymore.
He was wrong.
The slasher is not Song Iseul, but Han Seo-jun.
And Han Seo-jun is after Taehyung.
Jeongguk is now in the car with Hobi, driving back to the 7th door restaurant after sending Iseul to the hospital via ambulance. They have been trying to phone Taehyung, but haven't been able to reach him since earlier, +
which makes Jeongguk worry even more—no, to say he's merely worried is an understatement of how he's actually feeling now. Right now, Jeongguk is scared—absolutely terrified of the uncertain.
"If Song Iseul lives, we'd still be keeping a watch on him," Hobi says as he drives, peering at Jeongguk, who hasn't spoken anything since they left S.I's building. +
"His shoes were an exact match to what the slasher was wearing when Hyun-Jung was k¡lled; that, based on the shoe prints left on the cr¡me scene... I know you're worried about Tae, +
but we still don't know what's going on. Taehyung could still be safe. The slasher is a very meticulous guy; he could be playing tricks to deceive us, so calm down," Hobi continues.
"So you're saying Iseul may still be the slasher? Hyung, he's been terribly beaten up— he's barely alive! Why would the slasher even stab his own neck? It doesn't make sense—"
"The scissors in his neck—I've seen those before, back when we were investigating Kang Nari's case. I have a fairly good memory, and I'm confident it's the same kind. I know it sounds absurd, +
but per the doctrine, and based on the evidence, like his shoes, the scissors, the sets of leather gloves, and the victims' photos found in his drawer, +
the slasher is Song Iseul," Hobi says, clenching his jaw, gripping the steering wheel firmly as he drives.
"Do you actually believe that, hyung?" Jeongguk inquires.
"No, I don't— but it doesn't matter what I think; once this gets out, the case will be closed before we know it. The department is already under a lot of pressure, and I'm afraid that the higher ups won't care about the truth+
as long as they can announce to the public that the slasher has already been caught. We're being played— the f*'cker got us good this time by framing Song Iseul," Hobi laments.
"And what about Taehyung? If Song Iseul is telling the truth, then Taehyung is in danger... You really can't do anything about that? Are we really going to leave him to d¡e in that f*.cker's hands?+
No, I won't sit still. I won't rest, I'll even go to hell and k¡ll that f*.cking slasher myself!" Jeongguk lashes out at Hobi, his voice quivering.
"That is why we must gather definitive proof to substantiate that Song Iseul is telling the truth. The problem is that we can't do anything as long as Iseul is deemed as the slasher by the authorities.+
I've only seen a fraction back in his studio, but from a detective's perspective, things like his shoes, photographs of the victims, and the spare scissors he's using to cut the patterns of his creations—+
which apparently matches the one that was piercing his neck, are enough to identify him as the slasher," Hobi says, pausing as he glances again at Jeongguk.+
"It would be tough for us to go up against the higher-ups in order for them to admit to the public that they still haven't found the slasher, and for us to save Taehyung...+
But I'm prepared to put everything on the line, and I'm sure Yoongi, Joon, Jimin, and the other officers in our team are as well. Tae is our friend, and we will not let anything bad happen to him;+
I'm simply saying this to set your expectations, do you understand? " Hobi continues, squeezing the steering wheel even tighter, as he hears Jeongguk burst into a sob, bawling his heart out loud.
"Hyung... I'm scared... I'm so f*'cking scared right now... I want to see him. I want to make sure he's safe. +
He and I— we can't just end like this, hyung... We can't." Jeongguk chokes on his own words, hoping—praying that Taehyung would be waiting for them once they reach the 7th door.
Since Seo-jun's usual hiding spot in Gangwon-do has been exposed to the authorities already, he knew he needed a new place; that's why he drove all the way to Daecheon, now here in a little cabin near the beach, which is under his name.+
He carefully carried Taehyung, who was still unconscious inside, placed him down, and tied both of his arms to the bed. There, Seo-jun laid next to Taehyung, his hands tracing the delicate outlines of the latter's face, +
contemplating all the things he had now given up simply to have Taehyung beside him like this.
It was worth it— that's what Seo-jun thinks.
He is well aware that Jeongguk and the police have most likely found Song Iseul already. Seo-jun has no idea if Iseul is still alive or if he has passed away— he hopes not. +
The truth is, he didn't really want to k¡ll Iseul, but Iseul had stuck his nose where it didn't belong; Iseul refused when Seo-jun instructed him to flee somewhere else, he had asked too many questions this time, which Seo-jun thinks isn't like him at all.
To be fair, Seo-jun preferred a peaceful resolution. Sure, he might've planned to frame Iseul as the slasher, not because he wanted to, but in his head, he didn't have any other choice. +
He knew his time was running out; he knew he screwed up a few things when he k¡lled Hyun-Jung, and that's why he planned his grand escape—with Taehyung, of course, and with the innocent Song Iseul paying for all his atrocities.
Yes, innocent. Unlike Hyun-Jung, who essentially acted as Seo-jun's collaborator, Song Iseul had no knowledge of Seojun's peculiar obsession. +
They met in uni, and Seo-jun liked Iseul because, unlike Hyun-Jung, he was never intrusive; he never wanted to know more, and he never aimed for more.
They were acquaintances at best, but Iseul never crossed the line, which may be why Seo-jun had kept him alive all this time.
Even though Seo-jun could sense that Iseul was already suspicious that something was awry, Iseul didn't pry. He just willingly and quietly accepted anything Seo-jun offered him, such as the funds to establish his own clothing line, +
foolishly believing such hollow platitudes as 'You're talented,' 'I want to help you','Let's be business partners', and 'I trust you.'
Seo-jun simply wanted to move the funds he'd been covertly laundering from his father to someone else's account. He did it because he knew he'd get nothing from his father as long as the old man is around,+
and perhaps it was instinct, but his father also made a will, specifying that Seo-jun would receive nothing if he d¡ed due to anything other than illness or old age.
The old man knew from the start that something was certainly wrong with how his son's brain was wired, which is why he resorted to such precautions, +
and Seo-jun had to use different tactics to survive and live comfortably while his father’s still breathing.
He used Song Iseul.
But now, he doesn't need to do that anymore.
In Seo-jun's head, his search was finally over, the first time he laid his eyes on Taehyung. He did not care how he'll live, whether he'll be comfortable or not, if his cr¡mes get exposed or not, so long as Taehyung's by his side.
Perhaps because Taehyung is the spitting image of the once-most important person in Seo-jun's life.
That person— Seo-jun's first god.
"Just as I thought... You really resemble her," Seo-jun whispers, taking Taehyung's hand and kissing the back of his palm.
<you can play this as you read>
<FLASHBACK : HAN SEO-JUN'S POV>
A bad child.
I was branded with that the first time I stepped outdoors to play at the park with the other kids in our neighborhood. +
I noticed them playing with a ball; I sat by the bench to observe since it was my first time seeing kids my age, and I was curious about how they played.
The harmless game shortly devolved into violence. One of the kids wanted to hold the ball, but the other wouldn't let him, so they started shouting, crying and shoving each other down the dirt— it was an eyesore, +
and it was probably the first time I felt compelled to intervene solely because they were irritating me. I rose from the bench, approached them, picked up the ball they had carelessly dropped, and proceeded to the nearby deep well.
I threw the ball without thinking, allowing it to drop into the dark abyss— ah, they finally stopped fighting.
"Hey! W-what have you done?"
"Where's my ball?"
"Did you throw it down there?"
"My father gave me that!"
They asked me again and again, all sobbing and visibly upset. The two of them appeared distraught, which piqued my interest. +
For some reason, I wanted to test how far they'd go to get back something they claim is important to them, so I replied, "If you truly want it that bad, why don't you go get it back?"
They all did nothing.
They simply ran home, crying.
What a pity.
Next thing I knew, the kids' parents were banging on our door, shouting at my mother, who was just staring at them, as unconcerned as usual, telling her that what I did wasn't good and that she should make me apologize.
My mother simply glanced at me and asked. "Do you want to?" I just shook my head, since I've never apologized for anything in my life—I'm not sure what it means, nor do I see the point in it.
"He doesn't want to," my mother remarked, infuriating the parents of the other kids more.
It was entertaining.
The ranting continued until the geezers got exhausted, pointing a finger at me and my mother, saying, "That's a bad kid you're raising." When they left, I asked my mother what it meant.
"Pfft... Bad? Well, you came from a bad woman. It probably runs in our blood," she said, and that's when I understood what she meant—at least for people like us, the misfits,
Being bad is just normal.
I was about ten years old when I first felt hunger. My mother and I were scarcely feeding ourselves at the time—it was uncomfortable.
We continued moving from town to town because my mother kept finding me new fathers. +
It never seems to go our way, and every few months, she'll come to me with bruises all over her body and face, telling me to pack my bags because we had to leave.
It happened so often that it became a routine.
I have no clue when I began to grasp what was going on in my mother's mind— at some point, I just did. I know when she's happy, mad, sad, and I can tell whenever she wants to k¡ll herself, even though I have no real notion of what it feels to have such emotions.
At times, whenever I'm alone, thinking about whatever's going on with our lives, I begin believing that maybe I am nothing more than an empty shell.
My mother has never been an expressive woman, and it's a trait I believe she passed on to me; the only difference was that I knew she was faking it, unlike me, who actually feels nothing.
Sure, I can feel pain when I bleed from a cut, pain from bruises when I accidently bump into something, but I ultimately learnt that such pain just lives on my exterior— it's all physical; it's not enough to make me cry myself to sleep as much as my mother does.
My mother, I could tell, is a very disturbed woman, but to me, she's perfect. She's my god—she feeds me, tells me to sleep, sends me to school, +
dresses me up, despite the fact that my clothes, according to my classmates, are shabby—a stark contrast to her rather lavish wardrobe, despite our dire financial situation.
My mother is dear to me because I knew that, regardless of her unorthodox parenting methods, she is still responsible for me; I need her to live.
Since it has always been just the two of us, eventually I knew how to understand my mother, even though with her, I feel no close relation.
I started studying how to read her in any manner possible. She is, nevertheless, quite skilled at deception. She's a liar—a lousy one, but a liar regardless. At times, with her face all roughed up, +
when we barely had anything to fill our stomachs, I ask her, 'are you okay, mum?' And she'll always tell me she's alright, with the same blank expression on her face, even though it's evident she isn't.
Because I couldn't trust her face or her words, I discovered another method to know more about her: my mother is a woman who loves music and songs.
When she's happy, she'll play: The Cramps, Mc Hammer, Lipps inc, A-ha, essentially anything upbeat, which I find too loud at first, but I've grown to enjoy it.
When she's down, she'll listen to Eric Carmen, Carole King, and her favorite, Bob Dylan's Knockin on Heaven's Door. She'd take her slippers off and dance about the living room,+
clutching a cheap bottle of wine and a cigarette whose stench I couldn't get myself to tolerate no matter how many times I inhaled it. She'd swing in one of her pretty dresses, black tears in her eyes, her red lipstick smeared,+
then often she'd look at me as I'm sitting at the dining table, watching her; she'd sway her hips as she moved closer, then she'd ask me, 'Child, am I beautiful? '
She is—or was—the most beautifully pitiful thing I have ever encountered.
I'd nod and tell her, 'Yes, you're beautiful,' but I could tell, she never believed me.
She'd sit in front of her vanity after finishing her cigarette and wine, and I'd stroll over to her to brush her long raven hair as she painted her face with more powder, rouge, and black ink over and under her red and swollen eyes.
‘Mom, why do you keep putting those things on your face?’ I'd frequently ask her, and she'd reply, "There's already a sh¡tload of filth in this family—at least save your appearance. You can be bad, but never dirty, remember that."
Then, once she's done covering up all the marks she thought were unpleasant, she'd leave at night, telling me not to sleep so I wouldn't be in her way when she comes back.
She'd always come home around midnight, and I'd hear her chuckling outside the door with whoever she was bringing home. Then, as soon as I heard her unlock the door, I'd take my blanket and hide in the closet, exactly as she'd always instructed me to.
I despised that dark closet. I would spend hours looking at the faint light shining through the small crack beneath its doors; I never opened it, though, at least not until the lights were turned off, as she had ordered.
'Stay in the closet, close your eyes, never look outside and just wait for me to open the door.'
In the closet, I would hear monsters, screaming, grunting, moaning, cursing. I would always cover my ears at first because I found the sound extremely annoying, +
but because it happened all the time, I taught myself to get used to it; distracting myself away from the noise by thinking about being on the beach—wherever that is, because my mother said it would be ideal for us to live.
However, there was that one occasion when I defied her; at the time, I had no idea that it would be the last time I'd see her.
That night, the monsters sounded too dissimilar. There's no one laughing or squealing: only moaning and grunting, which quickly developed into frenzied screaming and pleading to a god they probably don't believe in.
I heard a loud crash, glasses shattering and breaking, and two people yelling and arguing.
'Please... Please... I won't do that again... I won't, I'll just stay here, I'm not going anywhere—'
'You f*cking b*tch—you filthy b*tch! You dare screw another man behind my back?!'
'I'm sorry! I'm sorry... It hurts, please... S-stop... Stop... I was only there for the money... Y-you know I have a child...'
'That runt?! Hah! Where is he anyway? Might as well finish you both now so none of you can spread your filth—'
'H-he isn't here... D-don't... Don't involve him in this... S-Seo, Seo did nothing...'
'Don't f*cking talk as if you're capable of giving a f*ck! You just care about yourself, you dirty woman; I gave you everything and you still-..'
'You betrayed me first! I saw you, I saw you with my own two eyes... You b*stard, I saw you with that woman, so don't speak to me as if you're clean! '
The screaming continued, and I could hear my mother wailing at the top of her lungs. It was too loud— too loud, and I may have ran out of patience. I decided to open the door a little, hoping that if my mother sees me, she'd be considerate enough to tone it down— but instead,+
the moment I pushed the closet door just slightly, I saw my mother lying on her stomach on the floor, staring right at me, looking at me as if begging for me to not come out—so I stayed, tucking myself further into the dark closet, watching everything that's happening outside.
The man I've probably seen a few times before has grabbed my mother's hair from behind. He yanked her up, his furious eyes blazing, and he's holding a pair of metal scissors.
'You... Have you ever loved me? Please, please... Please tell me you love me,' he said to my mother, who only smiled despite having blood on her nose and cuts and bruises all over her face.
'Keep dreaming... You said it, a dirty woman like me is incapable of ever giving a f*ck... T-that includes that blasted thing you call love,' she replied, before the man roared and stabbed her in the neck, +
her eyes still on me as it fluttered close and there's blood everywhere.
My mother had just died, and all I could think of was how beautiful the color red looked as it spilled out of her lifeless body.
The man had fled after getting his hands dirty, but I remained stuck in the closet, unable to leave, waiting for someone to open the door for me.
After three days of waiting, someone eventually came. I believe it was one of our neighbors, and he's surrounded by cops. They opened the closet door for me, but I didn't feel any comfort since they're not her—my mother—they're not pretty.
After what happened, I was taken to a strange place called an orphanage, where they said all the abandoned children were housed. The living conditions were good, I suppose, nothing out of the ordinary. +
I stayed there for months after my mother d¡ed, days felt like years, and I almost thought I'd d¡e without ever seeing the outside world again; +
until one day, a man in a fancy suit came in and said that the blood running through my veins is his, and that, even though he doesn't like it, I am his only remaining kin.
He took me out of the orphanage and brought me to a house as huge and lovely as any castle I'd heard about. There, I had been given my own room, I was able to return to school, wear clothes that aren't old— I have money. +
Nonetheless, the man who claimed to be my father, treated me like a ghost— worse a dog, it's not like I care though, because to me, I now simply have a new god to worship, someone who is responsible for me.
I eventually realized that my father is hard to please, so I made a point of always being on my best behavior in front of him—and only in front of him.
After witnessing what happened to my mother with my own eyes, I believe something has cracked inside of me.
Red became my favorite color, but not just any shade of red; the red I prefer is the one I saw when my mother d¡ed in our old apartment.
That's why I tried everything to find that hue again: paint and colored pencils were not enough, so I tried cutting rodents, birds, cats, dogs, and other kids who wanted to be friends with me.
I started by hitting them, and that's when I learned it wouldn't make them bleed; humans, after all, have tougher skin, so I'd cut them with sharp objects like pens,+
small knives I found in the kitchen—and scissors, which became my favorite for some reason. My father would beat me when the kids cried and ran, telling him what I had done.+
He would hit me so hard that the bones under my skin would crack, while painting red, black, and purple all over my body.
It hurts so much that I learnt how to lie. I'd promise my father not to do anything that would upset him, but it seems I have no control over my own thinking.
I still had a strong desire to see blood.
I wanted it so badly that I even began cutting myself, which I almost immediately found incredibly unpleasant—not just because of the pain from the wounds I made, +
and the unsightly scars it left on my skin, but also because once my father found out, he'd beaten me up again.
Then, he told me I'm dirty.
Over and over again, he did.
'Wash your face.'
'Wash your hands'
'Brush your teeth.'
'You dirty kid.'
'Don't touch that!'
'Don't touch that!'
'Don't touch that!'
Dirty, a word my mum never used to define me.
Sure, mom labeled me as a bad kid, but she despised it when my already cheap clothes got dirty—she hated it whenever I looked filthy.
I can never—ever be dirty.
That's why for years, I lived as if I'm in rehab, suppressing my cravings secretly and quietly so my father wouldn't pick on me—so I wouldn't 'dirty' myself again.
Little did I know that those repressed impulses would soon resurface and overtake me—a hundred times worse and stronger than before.
It all started when I met someone during my sophomore year of high school, a fellow student who aroused something in me that I had never felt before.
A woman who made me want to see someone I thought I had already lost.
In some respects, she reminded me of my mother.
Long jet black hair, sharp eyes, thin frame—but what struck me the most was the beauty mark on her eye, which was almost identical to my mother's. Her mark wasn't in the same place as my mother's; hers was on the side of her eye, whereas my mother's was on her lower lashline.
I wanted her—that girl—because I believed she could fulfill the vacuum in me that refused to go away no matter what I did, so I pursued her and told her I loved her.
She didn't reject me, but she also didn't accept me. She stated that she is not yet ready to date anybody and that if I could wait until we graduate, we could give it a shot.
I relented since I was in love with her.
After all, we were both young, and I can understand why she may not want to rush into things.
I waited patiently, only to learn that three months after hearing my confession, she's already dating a senior.
How dare she?
She made a fool out of me.
She made me wait for something that won't be happening.
I can still vividly recall how angry I was when I first heard what she had done. I was so enraged that I could feel it scorching through my veins.
Yes, I remember it— the feelings I felt. It seemed like a torrent of emotions surged through me like a hurricane. I couldn't think straight.
Next thing I knew, I was already waiting at the street she usually takes to get home after school.
I smiled at her.
She seemed guilty, but all her guilt wouldn't be enough to clear up her sin.
To me, she's already dirty.
I asked her if we could talk somewhere private and she said yes.
I didn’t know what happened after that, but when I regained my senses, we're already surrounded by the trees in the back of the park near her house.
My hands are soaked, and there's blood all over the place.
It turns out that I stabbed her neck with a pen— probably over and over again.
That girl, she's down on the ground, motionless— covered in my favorite hue of red.
She's so beautiful that all the rage I was feeling seemed to go away.
Her sins have been forgiven, and she is now free to start over.
I was able to save her. I saved her.
It felt so good that I burst out laughing until I saw my own hands—my clothes, which were stained with her blood.
I can still recall the dread I felt as I realized what I looked like.
I just k¡lled someone.
My first love.
But it wasn't really what I was worried about.
I was scared since I hadn't brought any spare clothes, and my uniform was all stained red, so if my father sees me in such a state, he'd probably call me dirty again, which was the last thing I wanted to happen.
But I didn't have much of a choice.
I fcked up.
Jail is not an option either.
I'm not sure how I mustered the nerve to phone my father, but I did. I asked him to send our driver to pick up me and my 'friend' from our location, only to return home with a cold and dead body.
I was able to immediately shut myself out, close my eyes, and take whatever hell my father did to me when he saw what I did, as if I had a switch somewhere in my psyche.
He had beaten me till I blacked out and then threw me in my room, calling me a monster.
I may have been annoyed by the aftermaths I suffered, but everytime I recall the exhilaration I had when I did what I did, I'm certain that I don't and will never regret a thing.
As punishment, I didn’t leave the house for weeks.
I'm not sure how I got away with it, but when I walked out of my room, my luggage was packed—I was headed to another school, with a new identity and a new name.
I turned from Jang Seo-jun to Han Seo-jun, taking my deceased mother's last name.
Ah— the things that money and power could do, that girl's death didn’t even make it to the news.
My father then warned me to never reveal my true identity to anyone. I don't give a damn about it, so I consented as usual; and because I am glad that he cleaned up for me, I swore to him that I would never do it again.
Though I'm not sure he grasped what I really meant.
I meant it when I told my father I wouldn't do it again. I vowed never to make another mess, albeit I didn't mention anything about k¡lling a person again.
I knew I could never go back once I had the pleasure of holding someone's life in my hands and having them at my mercy.
Even though I don't regret it and feel no remorse about it, I know that my guilty pleasure will never be tolerated by our society.
So I kept it to myself in the hopes of meeting someone else who can make my heart beat and flutter.
I want to feel it again— see it— her— my mother.
It makes no difference if it is through another person.
[END OF FLASHBACK]
"Your hair has grown longer since the first time we met, love... It's nearly beyond your shoulders— gorgeous..." Seo-jun says, lying beside Taehyung on the bed, brushing his fingers through the latter's hair.
Taehyung is still unconscious, which allows Seo-jun to just stay with him like this longer; here he can freely touch Taehyung at peace, he can admire his face, feel his warmth against his skin— no,+
he doesn’t really need Taehyung to say or do anything, Seo-jun just want to be beside him.
"Now, it's just the two of us. If only we could stay this way forever— but we can't. So long as that pest is still alive, I have a feeling that he won't let us rest, so don't worry, love.+
I'll take care of it— I'll get rid of him, only then can we have this dream be real." Seo-jun says, laying his head over Taehyung's chest, allowing the latter's heartbeat to lull him to sleep.
"That f*cker..." Jeongguk gritted his teeth as he spoke after watching the CCTV footage of Taehyung and Seo-jun departing in the latter's car in front of the 7th door restaurant.
When Jeongguk, Jin, and Hobi arrived, they instantly recognized Taehyung's car parked in the restaurant's parking lot, so they requested that they be allowed to see the security camera recordings to see when Taehyung came and who was with him when he left.
"I'm gonna k¡ll him. I'm going to fcking k¡ll him."
"Guk, calm down— wait, where are you going?" Hobi asks, grabbing Jeongguk by the wrist, stopping the latter from heading to the exit.
"Don't we have enough evidence now, hyung? Taehyung's with Han Seo-jun— the slasher who has k¡lled more than a dozen people! Please let me go-.."
"Go where exactly?" Hobi asks, and Jeongguk stilled at that, he doesn't really know what to do, where to go or what to do with himself anymore. +
"I-I don't know, the police station? J records? The president? M-my own father..." Jeongguk chokes on a sob, cupping his temples, covering his eyes; right now, he feels so useless and lost, he just wants to see Taehyung.
"C'mon, Guk. We'll go to the station. Who knows, maybe Taehyung's already there—"
"I can't hear your blind optimism right now, hyung. Song Iseul's already half-dead when we saw him,+
and in that state, he still managed to utter Han Seo-jun's name. That must've meant something—I sense the truth." Jeongguk says, shaking Hobi's hold off him as he rushes out, going to his car that he left in the parking lot when they left the restaurant earlier.
<you can play this as you read.>
Jeongguk trembles as he begins to drive, still unable to comprehend all that is going on right now, as if everything happened in just a blink of an eye.
He was just with Taehyung the day before—Taehyung was happy as he kissed him goodbye—was it truly goodbye? Is this what that kiss was all about?
"N-no... You—you gotta be f*cking kidding me," Jeongguk mumbles under his breath as he takes his phone and dials Taehyung's number again, only to get no response.+
"C'mon... C'mon baby, just pick up the phone... +
Tell me you're just home— you must be home right? You must be—F*CK!" Jeongguk then hit the horn, stepping on the gas, speeding up to Taehyung's apartment, hoping the latter would be there to welcome him home.
However, Taehyung is not at home.
It was dark and cold when Jeongguk arrived at Taehyung's apartment, and it was tearing Jeongguk down to his core.
He tried phoning Taehyung's number again but received no answer.
It's as if Taehyung simply vanished without a word, and it crushes Jeongguk's heart since he still has a lot to say, things he wants to do with Taehyung, places they want them to go, and now he's scared that he won't be able to do such things anymore.
Next thing Jeongguk knew, he's driving again, heading straight to his father's place at the district attorney's office.
"I see, so the slasher has been found—."
"No." Jeongguk says, hearing what his father said on the phone as he stormed inside the latter's office.
"I'll get back to you later." His father said, putting the phone down on his desk as he turned towards Jeongguk. "What are you doing here?" He asked him.
"It's not Song Iseul," Jeongguk says as he marches towards his father's desk. "I thought Song Iseul was the slasher as well, but I was wrong... D-dad, I was wrong... This time, you have to listen to me... +
This time, you really need to help me... If you don't, I'm going to die— I'm afraid I'll go really insane and die. It's Han Seo-jun. Taehyung was right, the slasher is not Song Iseul, but Han Seo-jun... A-and now, Taehyung..." Jeongguk breaks into a sob, falling onto his knees, +
"H-he's nowhere to be found. He's not at home, he's not answering my calls... I don't— I don't even know if he's still alive , so please dad... Help me... F-for once, just this once..." Jeongguk pleads, +
shedding himself off his remaining pride and shame, not caring if he appears pathetic in front of the person he claims to detest.
"Get up," Jeon Jaeha says, grabbing the back of Jeongguk's shirt and dragging his sobbing son up. "Did you say Han Seo-jun?"
"Song Iseul hinted that when we discovered him bleeding to death in his studio earlier, and I'm quite sure you've already heard the rest of the story-"
"Now you think prosecutor Kim is in danger?"
"I-I believe so, yes." Jeongguk says, unable to look at his father, for this might be the first time in years that they're having a rather decent conversation.
"You always do as you please... Now, you're about to make me risk everything," Jeon Jaeha says, adjusting his spectacles and massaging the bridge of his nose.+
"You better pray that you're not wrong this time— that one of my subordinates is truly in danger in the hands of Han Seo-jun," Jeon Jaeha adds before picking up his phone and making a call. "If not, we're all screwed," he adds.
"Chairman Jang, it's me, Jeon Jaeha... I'm calling about your son, Han Seo-jun," Jeon Jaeha says as he pushes Jeongguk towards the couch and raises his hand, urging his son to simply sit back.
<you can play this as you read.>
Crazy little thing called love : Queen
Ah... What exactly is this feeling? Now that Taehyung is in my arms, with one of my favorite songs playing in the background, I can't help but reflect on the past.
Taehyung—he is just stunning.
The beauty marks on his face, his hair.
I love him.
I should be happy now, right?
But why do I still feel so empty?
Something is frightening the hell out of me for some reason.
Now that I've had a taste of having him beside me, I don't think I'll ever be able to live without him again.
I finally found him.
So I won't let anyone steal him.
No way, I'm not going to let that happen.
Ahh, he's finally waking up.
I should smile, right?
"Y-you..." Taehyung murmurs, and I can see by the expression on his face that his vision is still fuzzy, but still I grinned as I hovered over him, straddling his waist so I could see his face clearly.
"Hello, love. How are you feeling?" I asked him,
"H-Han Seo-jun... It's you, right? The slasher?" Taehyung asks and I couldn't help but snort a laugh.
"Oh, that— well," I'm at a loss for words. The slasher, what a funny name, I don't even slash those who have perished in my hands. I stab them, rip them apart piece by piece, destroying their old filthy and sinful form in order to reconstruct them into something more beautiful.
"W-why me?" Taehyung questioned again, and I still found it strange that I couldn't gather my thoughts enough to respond, so I simply smiled, brushing my fingers over his cheek, pulling my hand back when he flinched.
"Desire is the reason for action. I guess that applies to me as well, love. I want you— no, I love you, that's simply all to it..." I said as I continued to stare at Taehyung, admiring the look on his face.
"Love? Pfft... Don't make me laugh. Someone like you doesn’t and will never know love. Even if there's an idiot who's willing to love you, you wouldn't know how to accept it.+
You'll always doubt and disregard their feelings, merely because you don't really care... Sick b*stards like you just always— always think about themselves. So stop spewing that bullsh¡t you call love... Because this?— This ain't it." Taehyung muttered, +
and even in his pathetic state, with his limbs all restrained, I can still see the fire in his eyes. I am the one on top of him right now, but for some reason, it feels like he's the one looking down on me. Interesting.
"Pfft— HAHAHA! Just as I expected... You really are—exactly the one I've long been waiting for... I like you even more now, Taehyung-ssi," I said, taking the scissors from the bedside table and splitting it apart, exposing its sharp blades before cutting Taehyung's shirt open.
"You're delusional. Is this what you do to your victims? Disguising your thirst for blood as a crime of passion? You and I hardly know each other, +
and you're saying you're in love with me? What a load of crap," Taehyung says, his eyes following my every move, watching me fiddle with my scissors after cutting his shirt.
Usually, those who have been in his position will already be crying and begging for me to spare their lives, but just as I thought, Kim Taehyung really is quite something— he has no ounce of fear in his eyes.
As I realize it, I'm beginning to find it unpleasant rather than amusing. The more he looks at me this way, the more I feel like he's rejecting me because I'm not good enough.
His face remains blank, as if he's nothing but a statue, his eyes are dark and empty.
I thought it was the same, but as Taehyung looks at me like this, I realize it's not the same look my mother—my first god—used to give me.
Unlike Taehyung, that woman genuinely cared about me.
She loved me.
Why? Why don't Taehyung love me? Was it because of him, Jeon Jeongguk?
What should I do? What would it take for Kim Taehyung to acknowledge me?
"Even if you k¡ll me, nothing will change; you will remain nothing to me—and you? You will constantly be starving to feel something that you were not wired to feel from the beginning."
"Is this your way of asking me to let you go? Why? So you can go back to Jeon Jeongguk?" I asked him as I pressed the sharp tip of the scissor in the middle of Taehyung's chest, allowing it to break skin.
Normally, I wouldn't do this without gloves, but Taehyung's blood isn't so filthy to me—after all, the blood in his veins already contains my own, so he's not dirty to me. He's mine.
"Whether I live or die, it will still be the same. If I die, then I'll enter the afterlife like most humans do. If I live, I'll move on, forgetting you ever were.+
Humans only remember those who are worth remembering. To me, you're worth nothing... So it's fine, do whatever you want with me— but don't you dare involve-..”
“Who? Jeon Jeongguk? " I said, prompting Taehyung to shift his gaze before glaring at me again.
“You've done enough damage already, so if it's me that you want, then let it end with me, k¡ll another hundred people after you k¡ll me, I won't give a sh¡t, but try— just f*cking try to harm Jeongguk, +
I swear I'll drag you to f*cking hell with me." Taehyung said, looking at me so disdainfully— and I don't get it. I don't understand.
"What have you ever seen in that man to put your life in my hands, even after knowing what I've done?" I asked, but Taehyung only sneered at me, still with that hateful look in his eyes.
"That— that is something that even if I tell you, you will never understand." He said as he closed his eyes, as if preparing himself for whatever it is he thinks that I'll be doing to him.
What is it that I want to do with him?
Nothing much— I just want to lay down beside him, stare at him— I simply want to be with him.
"Whether you live or die, nothing will change, you say?" I asked, feeling the impulse to pierce his skin deeper with the tip of the scissor, which I did, his blood now trickling down and staining the white sheets.+
"Looks like you've really made up your mind, but don't worry, I think I could change that... You got it all wrong Taehyung-ssi, I don't really want much from you, I just want you," I said as I dragged the sharp tip of the scissors from Taehyung's chest, down to his stomach,+
careful not to cut too deeply—just deep enough to make him bleed, then a pleased smile curled up on my lips. "And I honestly do not care if you stop or continue to breathe... But," I paused, pulling the bloodied scissors from Taehyung's skin.+
"I'm still not sure if I'm okay with the idea that the person who obviously— currently owns your heart still exists," I add, and as expected, that seems to have elicited a reaction from Taehyung, +
causing him to open his eyes again, glaring sharply at me, and tugging his tied up wrists so hard that the bed shook as if it were about to break.
"Don't be too greedy. You said it yourself. You want me, so there's no reason to drag Jeongguk into this," Taehyung shouted, his furious eyes now brimming with tears—ah, that's more like it.
That's the look I've been wanting to see from him.
It doesn't matter if he continues to keep on looking at me with hostility, I just want him to open up to me— drop his mask in front of me.
"Death needs no reason; I thought you knew that much, Taehyung-ssi," I said as I took my phone, dialed a number, and placed it on speaker. +
"He dares to covet what is mine and I don't share— if there's something, someone— anyone that gets in my way, I'll get rid of it..." I said, placing my palm flat on Taehyung’s stomach, smearing the blood all over him, +
hoping that the wound I created would leave a deep—deep scar on his skin. "Life was never meant to be fair, love."
"Ah, hello, Jeongguk-ssi, it’s me…" I smirked as I slapped my bloodied hand over Taehyung's mouth just as he was about to scream. "It's past time that we meet, don't you think?"
𝚃𝙸𝚃𝙻𝙴 : 𝟿𝟿%
𝙴𝙿𝙸𝙻𝙾𝙶𝚄𝙴 : < 𝙿𝙰𝚁𝚃 𝟺/𝟺 >
He f*cked up.
Maybe it's the effect of the dr*gs Seo-jun undoubtedly spiked his last drink with, but Taehyung seems to have lost control of his own mouth since waking up— he spoke too much— too much without thinking,+
too much without considering the risks; he's just so damn angry about being in this situation with someone so vile, so evil, that Taehyung jumped at the first opportunity he had, to give Seo-jun a piece of his mind.
It's strange because Taehyung knew he should be terrified, but when he saw Seo-jun's beaming smile, all he felt was rage coursing through his veins.
And now he's paying the price, tasting his own blood off Seo-jun's hands while the latter covers his mouth, conversing on the phone with the last person Taehyung wanted to talk with the actual Seoul slasher.
Taehyung is in complete panic, as if his system essentially shut down; he couldn't hear much of what Seo-jun and Jeongguk were saying, and he thinks it would have been better if he had just kept his mouth shut, +
pretending that he's still passed out— but what's done is done. Taehyung is fully aware that his reckless remarks infuriated Seo-jun, driving the latter to go after Jeongguk, and Taehyung hates it—+
he loathes the fact that he is in no position to save anyone right now, not even himself, and he is utterly terrified that things will go well in Seo-jun's favor.
—"Taehyung... Where is he?"
Taehyung hears Jeongguk on the other line, causing his eyes to widen, locked on Seo-jun as if imploring the latter to just stop and he'll do whatever he wants.
"I know you should be aware by now that he's with me... Taehyung-ssi— he's squirming under me as we speak," Seo-jun says, and knowing how Jeongguk would react, +
Taehyung decided to stop resisting, he took a deep breath to calm himself. He must retain his composure in order to think straight.
100%, Jeongguk will absolutely agree to anything Seo-jun says, which is why Taehyung must devise a way to break free from his restraints and be strong for the both of them.+
Taehyung knows he previously sent Jeongguk through hell when he was shot while they were wrapping up Yoo Jae-Sung's case, and he never wants to put Jeongguk through that again.
He will live—the world may burn, but Taehyung is determined that he and Jeongguk will survive.
—"F*ck you, Han Seo-jun, d'you hear me? F**ck you! If you-.."
"Ah, looks like my angel seems somewhat calmer now... I'm not sure if this will please me or not." Seo-jun chuckles as he removes his hand from Taehyung's mouth, smearing more blood down the latter's cheek as he places the phone near his face.+
"You can talk... C'mon angel, I want him to hear that you're okay— you're safe... I'll always keep you safe," Seo-jun taunts Taehyung, pressing him to speak with Jeongguk.
—"T-Tae... Tae, baby... Can you hear me? B-baby, you're there, right?" Jeongguk says, and Taehyung can tell by the sound of his voice that he's been crying.
Taehyung hates it—he hates the fact that he is the cause of Jeongguk's tears.
"I don't need saving," Taehyung says, his voice barely audible, his hands clenched hard as he listens to Jeongguk's heavy breathing.
"Don't be a burden. You know I can take care of myself. D-don't-.." Taehyung's voice then cracks, causing him to inhale a lungful of air in order to compose himself.+
"Don't be so full of yourself," he tells Jeongguk before shifting his gaze to Seo-jun. "I've got nothing else to say right now," he adds.
"Oh? Aren't you being too distant, love? It's okay, I told you— you two can talk," Seo-jun teases as he lowers himself onto the bed, his arm wrapped around Taehyung's bloodied waist.
—"T-Taehyung... Baby, just wait, I'll-."
"I don't need you to do anything," Taehyung says, his voice quivering. "You know what I mean, right? One hundred percent— I'm fine," Taehyung continues, hearing Jeongguk break down on the other side, huffing out as though out of breath, trying so hard to remain quiet.
—"Fine?" Jeongguk chuckles bitterly, "Do what you want, and I'll do the same," Jeongguk replies, his tone now stiffer than earlier.
"Hey... Can't I stop you?" Taehyung asks, a pained grimace on his face. —"No," Jeongguk responds.
"Hey, Han Seo-jun. What do you want from me?" Jeongguk asks Seo-jun this time, causing the latter to snigger, nuzzling his face against Taehyung's chest, crawling up, putting his phone in front of his face as he licks Taehyung's cheek, +
tasting the latter's blood that's on his skin, creating a rather obscene and wet sound that he's sure Jeongguk heard on the other line.
"Jeongguk-ssi... I'm planning to k¡ll you; will that be alright?" Seo-jun says, without filtering his words or concealing his true intentions.
—"Fine by me... When and where do you want us to meet?" Jeongguk asks, now, his voice eerily calm.
"Let's play tag... Try to find me, Jeongguk-ssi. You'll have till tomorrow before midnight. +
If you fail, Taehyung-ssi and I will go someplace you cannot reach— where it'll be just the two of us—always— forever." Seo-jun says, now running his fingertips towards Taehyung's neck, pressing onto that one particular vein, +
ending the call and then he threw his phone down the floor before he leaned in and nipped the crook of Taehyung's neck, forcing Taehyung to close his eyes in disgust and curl his fists hard on his sides.
"Let me guess, you're planning on k¡lling Jeongguk, me, and then yourself, correct?" Taehyung asks, trembling not from fear but from rage, ignoring the sting from the wound Seo-jun inflicted on his chest.
"Well, now that my identity has been made known, I guess my fun in this wretched world is over... Hell has always been my countermeasure— with you in it, I'll be making it my new paradise," Seo-jun says,+
his face looming over Taehyung as he presses his lips on the latter's own, groaning all satisfied even though Taehyung refuses to move; he then grabbed Taehyung's cheeks, forcing his mouth open so he could slide his tongue in,+
which Taehyung seized between his teeth, biting as hard as he possibly could, drawing blood and causing Seo-jun to pull back with a hiss, then Taehyung spits, smirking menacingly at the man on top of him. +
"Too bad for you— I've said it before, I don't intend on dy¡ng any time soon," He says, but Seo-jun doesn't appear the slightest fazed by it.
"Oi, that hurts y'know? You really hate it that much?" Seo-jun grins, tasting his own blood in his mouth. +
"Also, you're not entirely right— I was actually planning on k¡lling that pest in a different way... Though I find it absolutely ridiculous, still, I know that the one who's left behind suffers the most. I wonder what kind of life that arrogant piece of sh¡t will have +
once he loses you completely... Maybe then, he'll know his place— maybe then, he'll stop pining for what is mine." Seo-jun adds, making Taehyung's blood boil from the inside.
"Crazy b*stard." Taehyung muttered under his breath as Seo-jun got out of bed.
Jeongguk then clutches his phone after receiving that unexpected call from Seo-jun. He's back in the police station, this time with Yoongi, Jimin, Hobi, Joon, and Jeon Jaeha, who has surprisingly consented to personally join the investigation.
"He ended the call too soon for us to locate him— but judging by how he's bold enough to assume that Jeongguk will be able to find him before midnight tomorrow, +
I guess he's already aware that he doesn't have much time left," Yoongi says, massaging the bridge of his nose after failing to trace Seo-jun via phone call.
"I honestly still can't believe it; I know that the kid is troubled—maybe disturbed—but I never thought him to be the actual Seoul Slasher," Jeon Jaeha says, his face pallid and sweating.+
"I've been friends with his father for years— *sigh* anyway, I guess that's why that damn kid has given up hiding; he obviously knows my son, he knows that I am well acquainted with his father, +
and now that he's crossed the line, taking a prosecutor under my wing, he's now just throwing away everything," Jaeha continues, checking his phone to see if chairman Jang of J group has responded to his abrupt request for a meeting.
"With all due respect, chief, Taehyung has been taken by a psychopath, as proved by Jeongguk's phone call with Seo-jun. Do we really have the time to stand by and wait for the great chairman Jang to grant us an audience? Shouldn't we be at his door by now +
with a search warrant and maybe an arrest warrant— Han Seo-jun is his son, he might be a corroborator," Jimin says, refusing to tolerate the chief prosecutors' dilly dallying means just because he is too afraid to confront one of his billionaire golf cronies.
"Prosecutor Park. I know the procedure—"
"You've come all the way here and you're still useless, DAD," Jeongguk says, interrupting his father's excuses, "you said you'd help, please, cooperate; grab your pen, +
we'll get the papers ready, all you need to do is sign... That's not really much, right? Considering Taehyung's life is on the line." Jeongguk continues, frustrated because they keep wasting so much time.
"Do you even realize who we're up against? Jang Jeong-hun isn't simply an old businessman. If this gets public, not only will my job as chief prosecutor be jeopardized, but so will yours— your loved ones, families, friends, everyone involved in this case would be in big trouble—"
"Grow up and stop acting like a scared little kid, dad! You've always been proud of being the chief prosecutor—and yet-."
"I've got something to lose... A pain in the a/ss, ungrateful brat who doesn't want anything to do with his old man...+
I'm about to retire, so believe it or not, I don't really care about my position, but what about you? You've got no ammo to defend yourself other than your dying singing career..." Jeon Jaeha pauses, averting his son's gaze. +
"I don't really care what you do with your life—things I cannot control—but those I can, I'd prefer to keep it that way... Maybe then, when my time comes, I'll be able to face your mother with less shame."
"Acting like a good father now wouldn't do as much as you think. If something bad happens to Taehyung— if I were to lose him... Dad, I will k¡ll myself and I will surely blame you for it... +
That'll be more shameful for you, don't you think?" Jeongguk says, grabbing his father's arm and staring at him firmly, seeing the reluctance in his father's eyes, an expression he never imagined seeing in this lifetime.
"Chief, I really have no problem watching this live family drama, but—" Joon pauses, snatching Jeongguk's wrist and breaking the latter's grip on Jeon Jaeha. "If it's Jang Jeong-hun you're concerned about,+
I admit he's a pain... So why not simply tie him down? Corner him enough that even if he wanted to, he wouldn't be able to do anything to retaliate?" Joon says, now getting his phone and dialing Seokjin's number.
"I'll have the warrants ready—along with a few more folks who will be at our service," Joon says as Seokjin answers the phone.+
"Hey, Jin... I'll fill you in on the details later, but for now, could you kindly phone your PR buddies and tell 'em we'll be having a live show this evening?" Joon asks, sternly ending the discussion.
Jeongguk really had no idea how he landed in front of Jang Jeong-hun's residence. It's as if he's been in a trance for hours, but now there are police cars, reporters, and cameras flashing everywhere; +
everybody is barging in as if they own the chairman's place. Jeongguk stepped in, trying to keep up with everyone else. At one point, he swore he saw Jang Jeong-hun staring at him, +
looking as if he's already expecting everything to happen. Jang Jeong-hun quietly sat on the couch, poured himself a glass of whiskey and took a sip as if his perfectly constructed world wasn't disintegrating behind him.
Jeongguk then stood behind his father when Jang Jeong-hun was approached by Jeon Jaeha. "Jeong-hun-ah... Did you know?" asks Jeon Jaeha.
"I had no idea it was already this bad... But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't aware of that kid's evil nature... So it's not that I didn't know—rather it was that I refused to know more... Isn't it amusing? I took him in since he is, sadly, my son, +
but I knew from the start that he would be the one to bring me down one day... Guess what, today is the day... Regrettably, I was unable to prepare." Jang Jeong-hun says as he takes another gulp of whisky,+
a bitter smirk curling up on his lips. "Jiho, take them to Seo-jun's room and hand over the keys," Jeong-hun says to his secretary, who is also standing behind him.
"The putrid stench in this place... I think it's about time we get rid of it," Jeong-hun remarks,+
forcing his secretary to clench his fist and bow his head to his master even while Jeong-hun isn't looking, before leading Jeon Jaeha, Jeongguk, and the others to Seo-jun's room at the end of the hall.
Once the door to Seo-jun's room swung open, Jeongguk beheld a scene right out of any man's worst nightmare. Seo-jun didn't even make an effort to conceal the darkness inside him—it's all here, sleeping with him. +
Seo-jun hung portraits of all his victims on the wall in front of his bed, and on the desk just below the portraits are different scented candles and bobbins of thread—+
no, it wasn't just any kind of thread; after carefully inspecting each bobbin, they discovered that Seo-jun wound up his victim's hair like a sewing string.
Then, at the opposite corner of the room, are a slew of mannequins with the photos of his victims' faces glued on their heads—photos allegedly taken seconds before they were slain.
Park Jihye, Chang Hanbin, Moon Gae-young, Son Ji-hyun, Kang Nari, Lee Haru, Akiko, and a few more others, including Cha Jun-Seo, the drummer for the band Cherry who has been missing for months... Han Seo-jun, he slaughtered them all.
"J-just... How sick is that sick b*stard really?" Jimin muttered under his breath, removing his gloves and covering his mouth as if about to vomit.
"We have to document everything, collect whatever we can use as proof, and then..."
Everyone appears to be talking about something, but Jeongguk's head is spinning, his ears ringing, and there's an unsettling force compelling him to look behind the floor-length curtains, which he did— he did, and that caused Jeongguk to fall to his knees.
There, taped on each panel of Seo-jun's window, are photos of Taehyung; tens— hundreds of it, filling up the glass panes completely; photos of Taehyung in front of their apartment building, at J records, in front of the police station, +
the prosecution's office, Taehyung getting in and out of his car, Taehyung ordering his coffee at Daerim; close-up shots of Taehyung's hands, lips, neck, and eyes—dozens of close-up images of Taehyung's eyes.
"G-Guk..." Hobi went to put a hand on Jeongguk's shoulder with the intent of helping him up, but Jeongguk beat him to it, fleeing outside, throwing up on the floor and screaming. Then, ignoring the others who kept calling out to him,+
Jeongguk went into the living room where Jang Jeong-hun is; he grabbed Jang Jeong-hun by the collar, causing the latter to drop his glass of whiskey, shards shattering over the floor, but Jeongguk doesn't give a damn about anything else anymore.
"W-where is he? Your cursed devil of a son, where the f*ck is he?" Jeongguk asks, gritting his teeth as he speaks.
"Do you think I'd let you all run around here in my house if I knew?" Jeong-hun responds, unconcerned as earlier.
"Sixteen and possibly more... Han Seo-jun has already k¡lled sixteen and presumably more innocent people, and he's now got what's mine... My lover's photos are plastered all over the windows of your son's room... If you don't tell me where he is, +
I might as well just k¡ll you right here, so I can take something that's also his." Jeongguk says before he grabbed the bottle of whiskey on the coffee table beside him, slamming it down, pressing the jagged sharp edge against Jeong-hun's neck.
"Jeon Jeongguk!" shout Jaeha and Joon at the same time, having witnessed the scene when they followed Jeongguk out of Seo-jun's room.
"You don't wanna do this kid—"
"I've done a lot of things I didn't want to do, but none of that matters anymore; I've already been in jail, and I don't really mind going back." Jeongguk says, pressing the sharp tip of the broken glass closer onto Jeong-hun's neck, +
using every ounce of patience he has left, waiting to hear an answer from the old man. "There must be somewhere only you know your son will choose as his grave." Jeongguk tries again,
"His grave, huh?" Jeong-hun smirks, recalling a time when he first tried to be a decent father to his only son. Around then, he asked Seo-jun what kind of gift he wanted for his 13th birthday—
'We're here; you said you wanted to go to the beach, didn't you? '
'I did... But, dad, why are there so many other people here? '
'I want it. This place... So tell them to leave. No, no... Can you tell the waves to just gobble them all up? Can you do it? Can you? Pfft... I'm sure it'd be more fun if they all drowned... Then, there'll be no one else around.'
Jeong-hun isn't sure why, but that shameful memory of him fearing his own son for the first time came to mind. It's a pity that after that, he didn't really bothered to know more about Seo-jun,+
Jeong-hun got so utterly terrified that he wanted nothing to do with the son he barely knew; but then again, Seo-jun is still his child, and because of his sense of pride, no matter how afraid he was of the kid,+
Jeong-hun still provided for him, gave him a roof over his head, food in his stomach, clothes to wear, education to eventually learn how to take care of his own self.
As self-serving as it may sound, Jang Jeong-hun kept a safe distance between himself and his own son in order to preserve his pride and spare some of his already rotting conscience.
Yet Jang Jeong-hun had no idea he was raising the devil himself; he eventually had to confront his brutal reality when Seo-jun returned home with a dead body. Jeong-hun was ready to give up on Seo-jun at the time, +
but in order not to tarnish the name he had made for himself, Jeong-hun kept Seo-jun's first crime a secret; in his head, he had already buried his son's sins alongside the poor girl that Seo-jun k¡lled,+
hoping that Seo-jun wouldn't do it again—he thought Seo-jun wouldn't do it again.
Yet, unbeknownst to Jeong-hun, Seo-jun's bloodlust had already stirred, rampaging in the shadows. +
Seo-jun k¡lled another person quietly, secretly—and another, and another, until the pit Jeong-hun dug to hide his son's sins became insufficient to contain everything, and it now spilled.
Seo-jun, the kid who smiled at the thought of other people drowning and dying, had done far more than just wish for others to drown—he had stained his own hands with the blood of the innocent people he had m*rdered.
"Ah... I guess I've done enough... I never wanted a child to begin with," Jeong-hun sighs, his expression anguished. "That child, I-I didn't dare to get to know him. I was— I was afraid of him..." Jeong-hun chuckles as Jeongguk lets go of him. +
"He's a monster to me, therefore I refused to look at him—I avoided him, he sickened me… However, whether I like it or not, whether I want him or not, my blood is in that poor kid... +
Han—no—Jang Seo-jun has always wanted to live by the sea; I'm not sure if that's where he would prefer to die. That's all I can tell you right now." Jeong-hun grunts as Jeongguk pushes him down on the floor.
"There must be something wrong with your generation... Men your age grew up being terrible fathers," Jeongguk remarks, glaring at his father, who quickly averts his gaze. "Just so you know, even though I'm no lawyer, I can tell you that you wouldn't be off the hook.+
It's true, I absolutely loathe Han Seo-jun so much that I could k¡ll him, but I still feel bad for him. You've turned a blind eye on your child's needs.. You created that monster by doing nothing to stop him," Jeongguk said as he returned to Seo-jun's room, standing beside Jimin.
"Did you get anything out of your little tantrum?" Jimin asks.
"The sea. The sh¡tty father said his son wanted to live by the beach, but Jang Jeong-hun doesn't seem to know where Seo-jun is exactly, so I guess we have to go to the hospital,
and hope our only lead hasn't dropped dead yet." Jeongguk responds, balling his fists tightly as he stares at Taehyung's photos on Seo-jun's window.
"Iseul?" Hobi asks.
"If that guy dies before he tells us where Han Seo-jun might be, I'll k¡ll him," Jeongguk says as he walks out of Jang's residence, waiting for the others to finish wrapping up the area and collecting all evidence.
<Now Playing: Killing me softly>
Taehyung woke up to Seo-jun humming with the song that's currently playing on his phone; his eyes are still blurry, but he can tell from the faint light coming through the curtains that it's practically morning.+
Taehyung doesn't know how long he has been knocked out, but one thing's apparent to him— he cannot squander more time doing nothing.
While Seo-jun is busy slow dancing by himself, Taehyung begins steadying his breath, studying his surroundings, +
quietly tugging on the ropes binding his wrists on the bed. 'It's tight.' He thinks, checking his sides whether he could reach for something he could use to free himself— there was none. +
In his present predicament, Taehyung realizes he has no choice but to play the role Seo-jun seems to want him to play in his head.
"Oh? Taehyung-ssi, you're awake? How are you? Are you hungry? I cooked—."
"My arms hurt, I can't feel them anymore, I think you-"
"That won't work on me, love," Seo-jun says, dropping his smile as he approaches Taehyung on the bed.
"Didn't you ask me what I'm feeling? Well, that's my answer," Taehyung responds calmly, watching Seo-jun's reaction.
"You and your smart mouth really turn me on," Seo-jun says, pressing his palm against the bed, sitting beside Taehyung, his face looming over the latter. "You know, I've never felt this way with anyone before...+
That's why I'm sure you're different," he adds, his voice dipping lower than earlier.
"Ah, am I?" Taehyung asks, having barely awoken yet already feeling bullets of sweat gathering on his forehead, but nevertheless he smirks.
"Yes... You— you're just so f*cking beautiful... But I can wait, good boys know how to wait," Seo-jun replies, his bedroom eyes fixed on Taehyung.
"Ah, Sure," Taehyung answers, opting to keep playing along with Seo-jun as he thinks of other ways to escape.
"How is he? They said the surgery was a success, so why isn't he up yet?" Jeongguk asks, pacing back and forth in front of Iseul's private room here in the hospital.
"Give it time. Song Iseul was a step away from death's door Guk—"
"BUT I'VE ALREADY BEEN WAITING ALL NIGHT, G*DDAMMIT!" Jeongguk couldn't help but lash out once again. He's been restless for hours, thinking about how he can't do anything while Taehyung is with Han Seo-jun; +
he doesn't even know if Taehyung is hurt, scared, crying, dying— he has no idea if Taehyung is still alive, and that's what's killing Jeongguk right now.
"We're doing everything that we can! Do you think this is easy for us? Do you think you're the only one worried about Tae?+
What do you want us to do? Punch Song Iseul in the face so he'll wake up?" Jimin bites back, his face pale, he's already worried sick for his best friend and Jeongguk's repeated outbursts aren't helping.
"Your best? Well, clearly it's not enough— you people... You're always not enough! You got your license, your badge, your fcking title, and you still can't find Taehyung! Why?! Just why the fck can't you find him?" Jeongguk burst into tears,+
unable to contain all the damn emotions that had been consuming him. "W-why can't you help him? Why does this always happen to him? T-Taehyung... H-been he's through so much already... Why is he always the one who suffers? +
He's all alone out there in god-knows-where, he's probably scared, and you— no, I-I'm just here.... W-why am I still here? W-why can't I help him?" *SLAP!* Jeongguk let out a gasp as Jimin landed a heavy slap on his cheek, crying alongside him.
"Snap out of it already! Do you honestly believe we'll be standing here doing nothing if we have any other choice? We've already dispatched our men to every goddamn beach here in Seoul, we've been interrogating every person Han Seo-jun has interacted with in S.I, +
and since the news about J group's involvement in Seo-jun's crimes broke, we've been constantly harassed by the media— it hasn't even been a day, but it's already been hell for all of us!" Jimin exclaims as Hobi stops him from charging at Jeongguk again.+
"The victims' families are all gathered in front of the police station waiting for an update— unlike us, they have been despairing for a long time, they have already lost someone Jeongguk... Their sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, lovers... +
You're not the only one who's hurting right now. Taehyung—that guy got shot in the head and lived— and he's still alive—at least that's what I want to believe in so I will not lose faith in saving him," Jimin says, shaking Hobi's grip off him as he takes Jeongguk by the collar. +
"So stop fcking whining already and use your g*ddamn head. You know Tae as much— maybe even more than I do... He won't back down that easily. He's never been some weak damsel in distress. Kim Taehyung is totally capable of saving himself." Jimin says, +
hoping he could knock some sense out of Jeongguk, because clearly none of them has the time to console anyone right now, especially when they already have their hands full, thinking of ways to locate Seo-jun and Taehyung.
"We still have a few hours before midnight, Guk... Don't lose yourself," Joon says as he places his hand on Jeongguk's shoulder; he was going to say more when the door to Iseul's room swung open.+
"He's awake, which is honestly a miracle," says the doctor. "I generally don't allow this because the patient still needs to rest, but I understand that this is an emergency; +
he might not be able to answer all of your questions given his current condition, but you can try; just keep it short, okay?"
Joon then thanks the doctor as they enter Song Iseul's room.
"Just tell us, please... We'll give you time to clear up your involvement with Han Seo-jun, but for now— for now we need to know where he took Taehyung... So please tell us, do you know if Seo-jun has a property near some beach? +
Anywhere near the sea?" Jeongguk begs, his gaze locked on the floor. They'd been attempting to ask Iseul the same question for the past five minutes, but he'd simply stared at the ceiling.
"I don't know you that much, we barely interacted, but still I know you're somewhat friends with Tae... That's the reason why even when you were bleeding close to death, you still did your best to warn us that Taehyung's in danger right?+
He still is— Seo-jun got him, and we might only have until midnight to save him." Jimin adds, feeling a little guilty, knowing that Iseul might still be confused, +
not to mention groggy from anesthesia; however, they're already running out of time, so he's hoping that Iseul will assist them in locating Seo-jun.
"I-I had a sense Han Seo-jun isn't at all normal... But I— I pretended not to notice since he's my benefactor.+
He's got quite a temper, but he's the one behind S.I, and I'm basically just a front..." Jeongguk clenches his fist as Iseul begins to talk.+
"A p-property near the beach you ask? W-well... He asked me to buy one in South Chungcheong, Daecheon... It's a modest cabin hidden in the coastal woods...+
I—I'll tell you the address, so please make it in time... Please save Taehyung— Taehyung, he's a good guy." Iseul says meaning every word he just said, because even though it would be a stretch to call him and Taehyung friends, +
Iseul still considers Taehyung as one, and he also hates himself for turning a blind eye to the apparent signs that Han Seo-jun is a dangerous guy.
"We will," Jeongguk says, clenching his fists and suppressing his urge to cry.
It'd been hours since Taehyung first awoke, and even though his head was still fuzzy, he could tell he'd been drifting back and forth between unconsciousness and consciousness, +
most likely owing to whatever the blasted dr*g Seo-jun's been putting in the water he's been giving him.
The sun must have set by now because it's already dark and Taehyung is still bound up on the bed, +
while Seo-jun is drinking directly from the bottle of wine he's carrying, silly dancing to the damn old songs that have been playing all day.
But Seo-jun is dancing a little differently right now, with that somewhat melancholy expression on his face.
"Aren't you bored dancing alone?" Taehyung inquires, causing Seo-jun to halt, tipping his head to the side as if questioning what he just heard.
"Is that your new trick of coaxing me into letting you go?" Seo-jun asks, his eyes still dark and vacuous.
"You can keep my hands and ankles tied. I just want to at least stand up, I feel like all my blood has gone up my head and it's giving me a headache." Taehyung says, now staring at the ceiling, hearing Seo-jun's sluggish footsteps approaching the bed.
"Alright... I guess we can get rid of the ties now that you're talking to me like an actual human being," Seo-jun says, grabbing a pair of scissors from the back pocket of his jeans. "You're still not allowed to escape, okay?" Seo-jun adds,+
cutting the ropes that bind Taehyung's wrists to the bed while he opens the drawer of the bedside table and pulls out a revolver.
"A gun? That's so unlike you, isn't it?" Taehyung asks as he sits up while Seo-jun cuts the ropes around his ankles.
"Oh, I do have a preference, but that doesn't mean I'm opposed to using anything else," Seo-jun responds, taking a few steps back, waving the gun in one hand while extending the other towards Taehyung.+
"So— care to dance?" Seo-jun adds, beaming like the lunatic that he is, even feigning a gasp when Taehyung reluctantly took his hand.
Although he was keen on not having any physical contact with someone as repulsive as Han Seo-jun, +
Taehyung knew better than to rebel against a deranged man holding a gun. Perhaps because of the wine Seo-jun drank, Taehyung was finally able to get rid of his restraints; now he can move freely— he just needs to wait for the proper timing.
<Now playing: song for you : cher >
That's why, even though he loathes the idea of dancing with Seo-jun, Taehyung opted to play along for the time being, hoping that while he waits for the perfect opportunity to flee, +
he might be able to learn more about the Soul Slasher from none other than the monster himself.
Using his little to nonexistent skills in dancing, Taehyung began moving his feet, slightly swaying his hips, even letting Seo-jun spin him inelegantly.
"Ahh... Not bad, love. Who'd have guessed a serious prosecutor like you could actually dance?" Seo-jun says, wrapping his arm around Taehyung's waist.
"I'm barely moving actually... All the pills you gave me made me dizzy," Taehyung sighs, letting Seo-jun spin him around again, his back now against Seo-jun's chest.
"If I hadn't done it, you'd have left—"
"I was already tied to the bed; how could I have left? Even now, I'm not really scared of guns, and you're no longer restraining me, but I'm still here." Taehyung says, while Seo-jun just hums in response. Given the current mood and Seo-jun's display of calmness,+
Taehyung wonders if he could push more of Seo-jun's buttons, thereby creating an opportunity for his escape."Say, Han Seo-jun... You said you love me, right?" Taehyung asks, +
placing his hand on top of Seo-jun and interlocking their fingers, causing Seo-jun to exhale heavily.
"Yeah... I love you... I love you so much Taehyung," Seo-jun sighs, closing his eyes.
"I see... Though I'm curious... What exactly is love to you?" Taehyung questions, taking a few steps back from Seo-jun, who reflexively points the gun to his chest.
"Well, love is just love— what's more to it really?" Seo-jun answers,+
clearly ready to pull the trigger if Taehyung even shows the slightest intent in leaving, but Taehyung doesn't seem too concerned, instead he's slowly swaying his body, dancing along with the music.
"No need to be too guarded, I'm truly just curious... Love is a flight of fancy, y'know? So I'm wondering what kind of fantasy you see your love for me as... Do you want us to go on dates? Talk about whatever over coffee? +
Do you want to touch, kiss, f*ck me? What do you want to do with me?" Taehyung tries again, hoping to see a crack in Seo-jun's seemingly unshakeable lunacy.
"Is that what love to you, Taehyung-ssi?" Seo-jun asks him back.
"Well, not really... Though I think that's what love is to most people in general; to be with that one person who's at the center of all the intense—passionate emotions you're feeling, to be able to touch, claim, feel... +
To me, love is just another word that sounds better than greed." Taehyung says, though don't get him wrong, that's not how he sees love at all; he's just testing the waters to see if Seo-jun finds his definition of love at least a little bit relatable; +
and if he does, Taehyung plans to exploit it, use it to his own advantage, and have Seo-jun let down his guard.
"Ah, greed! That's right!" Seo-jun exclaims, raising both his arms up in excitement. "Just as I thought, you can really understand me, Taehyung-ssi... Greed—love is merely an euphemism for greed...+
It is to want, to take and not feel obligated to give anything back. Some others are really stupid y'know? They're delusional, believing that love is all sunshine, smiles, and butterflies when, in reality, it's that desperate kind of need—+
need to claim, possess someone so much that the moment you first touch them, you want to dig all of your nails into their skin, rip them off of their flesh—and then eat it so they'll have nowhere else to go but towards you—in you. +
To me, that is what love is... That's the kind of love I have for you Taehyung-ssi... Isn't it lovely?" Seo-jun says, his gaze now locked on Taehyung, who approaches him again, swinging his body slowly like an inebriated vixen in a swanky cabaret.
"To sum it all up, your type of romance revolves exclusively on yourself and no one else... Your desires over the one you claim to be in love with, is that it?" Taehyung asks, his voice barely audible as he swings his arms up, placing them over Seo-jun's shoulders.
"Ah, that's right... Everyone eventually leaves, so why not make the most of it while they're still with me?"
"Thus you k¡ll them before they leave you, so they have no other option than to stay with you—right up until their dying breath..."
"Yes... So they won't ever leave... They'll just be with me—forever," Seo-jun murmurs, his gaze drifting down to Taehyung's lips, and Taehyung fanned the flames even more by dipping his head slightly to the side, leaving only an inch of distance between their mouths.
"Again, would that be applicable to me as well? What if I tell you I'm not leaving you? Will you still k¡ll me? Will you really hurt me? Do you want to hurt me?" Taehyung whispers, lightly running his fingers through Seo-jun's hair.
Seo-jun then raises his gaze to Taehyung's eyes, staring at the tiny beauty mark on Taehyung's lash line, and for some reason, Seo-jun feels taken back in time when he was still young—when it was just him and his mom.
"They always—always tell you that... Those men, they only ever tell you that they wouldn't leave; they promise you the things you craved to hear, but in the end, they always break you... Then you'll cry yourself to sleep. +
Don't you understand? Love is nothing but a sham... A bitter illusion dusted with all the sweet lies you knew were lies but believed in anyway," Seo-jun says absentmindedly, seeing his mother in Taehyung's face in his head.
"Is that how you genuinely perceive it?" Taehyung hums, pressing his cheek against Seo-jun's face and breathing directly into the latter's ear. "You're making me sad, Seo-jun-ah... You said you love me, yet you can't trust me—"
"Trust is the knife that stabs you in the back—it is what turns your tears black," Seo-jun remarks as he softly caresses Taehyung's face. "That beautiful fantasy of people when it comes to love and trust— I want to defile it, ruin it, and replace it with my own...+
Can't you see Taehyung-ssi? My kind of love is the real deal... Painful, maybe dirty, red— but honest, raw, no pretenses. What I've done to those I've adored before is merely a physical representation of what love truly does to people."
"Does it? Hmm... What do you mean? Enlighten me," Taehyung asks, trying to make sense of what Seo-jun has said.
"Most people don't realize it, but love is always accompanied by suffering..."
"You mean you're k¡lling them because you don't want them to suffer?" Taehyung continues, now slowly circling around Seo-jun.
"Well, that could be one of the reasons-"
"I don't think so," Taehyung says, pausing behind Seo-jun and leaning closer to the crook of the latter's neck. "C'mon... We both know you're not like that. Didn't you just want to own them? You wanted to utterly dominate them—you enjoyed seeing them suffer and bleed... +
That, I believe, is what love is to you... When the other person suffers because of you; it gives you a sense of power, superiority, and control—people like you—you must love—love being in absolute control..." Taehyung says, +
watching as Seo-jun's eyes widen as if startled to hear the truth from someone else's mouth, and then the corners of his lips twitch up, curling into a manic grin before he bursts out laughing.
"Pfft.... If so— then what about it?" Seo-jun says, tilting his head to the side and looking Taehyung in the eyes.
"Yeah... Thought so," Taehyung responds, smirking despite the sting he's feeling from the wound Seo-jun caused on his chest.+
"You're a bad man with very bad habits, Seo-jun-ah," Taehyung adds, laying his hands on the dip of Seo-jun's waist.
"Am I? But nevertheless I believe I've saved them— that's not bad," Seo-jun says, his gaze drawn down to where Taehyung is touching him.
"It's okay... It's just the two of us here, you don't really have to deny it. It is human to do evil sometimes," Taehyung says rather tauntingly, but Seo-jun is too distracted to consider the implications behind Taehyung's tone of voice.
"B-but I don't want to be evil... I don't want to be bad—"
"I've been bad. You see, a few years ago, I cheated on the man I love the most. I kissed someone else; even if it was only for a split second, +
I still wondered how it would feel to be with someone other than the one I was in a relationship with... It was a thought I acted on impulsively— absolutely terrible." Taehyung says, pressing his lips seductively on Seo-jun's neck, +
watching at how the latter's eyes immediately roll back as he sucks in a deep breath. "I did something bad, but I was forgiven for it— can you believe it? The person I have hurt so much forgave me after I said a simple sorry..." Taehyung continues,+
his mouth making its way up to Seo-jun's ear, making sure that Seo-jun would hear even the slightest sounds he's making— he want to distract him, make Seo-jun's mind be clouded by thoughts of him and him alone,+
so that Seo-jun wouldn't be able to think about anything else, like the way, Taehyung's hand is now hovering over the gun he's currently holding.
"Do you think I should apologize?" Seo-jun asks, his eyes shut.
"Hmm... It depends, are you even sorry?" Taehyung replies, smirking as he observes Seo-jun's hold on the gun has weakened.
"Do I have to? You said you've been forgiven even after committing such a despicable thing as cheating," Seo-jun says, his gaze now meeting Taehyung's.
"Hmm... That's right—"
"So why can't I just do the same?"
"No one said you couldn't..." Taehyung pauses, his free hand gripping the back of Seo-jun's hair and then pressing their foreheads together. "However— I'm not sure if you'll be forgiven," Taehyung adds.
"Seo-jun-ah... Who would even forgive you? Who?— You've already k¡lled them all, so you can't—EVER be forgiven," Taehyung says as he snatches Seo-jun's gun in one swift move, then he jumps back, pointing the revolver squarely at Seo-jun's head. +
"Regrets—even insincere ones—means nothing after death. You've already missed your chance to apologize the moment you took their lives...That's why, Han Seo-jun, you'll never be pardoned for your crimes." Taehyung says, gritting his teeth, his eyes keen, +
using every fiber in his body to keep himself from simply shooting Seo-jun dead; he knows that death alone will not be enough to give justice for all the lives Seo-jun has taken— he needs to suffer for as long as possible,+
which is why Taehyung cannot kill him. Death is not a punishment for a man like Seo-jun, it is but a swift escape.
"H-hah..." Seo-jun laughs when he realizes what Taehyung has done. "Well now you've done it—"
*BANG! BANG!* — "ARGHHH!"
Seo-jun screams when Taehyung shoots both of his thighs, causing him to fall down on the ground, panting and growling violently as Taehyung takes a few steps back before running towards the exit, stopping in front of the door, +
his hand lingering over the latch. "You better give up now; I know you'll never feel guilty, but for your sake, at least pretend to be," Taehyung says, taking a deep breath before twisting the door knob open,+
but before he could even step out, Seo-jun managed to stand, grunting loudly and seizing his wrists with his bloodied hands.
"Don’t wanna," Seo-jun says with a wicked grin on his face, not even feeling the pain in both his legs, which has been drowned out by his own wrath at being betrayed. "How dare you, I chose you—"
"Did I ask you to? The world doesn't revolve around you, Han Seo-jun. Your views, preferences, wants, and needs, means absolutely nothing to me. You. Are. Nothing. To. Me." Taehyung declares as he and Seo-jun wrestle for the rev*lver.
Seo-jun's hands are firmly squeezing Taehyung's wrists, they will undoubtedly leave marks as soon as he lets go of him.
Taehyung then pushes Seo-jun's back against the wall, raising their arms and slamming his knee into Seo-jun's stomach, but the latter is unwilling to give in.
Seo-jun couldn't help but scream as both his thighs bled profusely, soaking his jeans.
"So what? I still won't let you go— never." Seo-jun grunts, pushing Taehyung down so they both collapse on the floor, since his legs are now too weak for combat while upright.
He was wrong— Seo-jun understands it was foolish of him to let his defenses down, but Taehyung is just too enticing, it was impossible to resist him. Now his plan is in shambles and he even got shot.
As it's almost midnight, the cops are surely on their way here. +
Sure, he didn't give Jeongguk much information to work with, but knowing Jeongguk's persistence, Seo-jun is certain that Jeongguk will come to him to get Taehyung back one way or another.
And no, Seo-jun will die first before he can let that happen.
Thus, even if it's the last thing he'll do, Seo-jun would rather k¡ll Taehyung first and then himself than allow anybody else get the man he's had his eye on since the beginning—the personification of all his fantasies; it's all or nothing.
"Try me," Taehyung snarled as he hooked his finger on the trigger, waiting for another chance to shoot Seo-jun; if at all possible, Taehyung does not want to k¡ll Seo-jun, but if forced to, he doesn't mind doing the reverse.
"Ah, my love, I'm really trying here, can't you see? C-can't you see how my love for you is hurting me?" Seo-jun grunts, taking Taehyung's hand; +
neither of them knows where the gun is pointed right now because the weapon is crammed between their stomachs, and one wrong move could end either of them for good.
"Just give it up, love."
"Not a chance,"
"We've confirmed the location and surrounded the area; I suggest you wait here and let us handle this Guk," Joon tells Jeongguk as they both wait in the car, parked by the beach a few meters away from the cabin where Taehyung and Seo-jun are reportedly staying.
"I'm not going to sit still. Han Seo-jun struck a deal with me directly, expecting to meet me in person. I've already pushed my luck by participating in this entrapment operation, knowing what that guy is capable of. +
He'll k¡ll Taehyung the moment he realizes he's now surrounded by the police." Jeongguk replies as he loads the hand gun his father discreetly allowed him to carry just for tonight. "So don't worry about me, hyung. Out of all of us, +
Taehyung's the one who's in more danger here," Jeongguk says before exiting the car, followed by Joon and the other officers in the back, cautiously making their way into the woods and to the cabin, praying that it's not too late to save Taehyung.
Taehyung swallows the dull pain he's feeling while he grabs his bloodied arm that was just shot as he rushed further into the dark woods after miraculously escaping Seo-jun.+
Multiple bullets had been fired, one landing on Taehyung's arm, one on Seo-jun's shoulder, and the rest on the cabin walls and floors.
Taehyung could barely see anything as he ran, but he continued going, hoping that the sound of the sea would lead him to the beach, where he would be able to find some people who could help him.
Taehyung clicked his tongue in annoyance when he heard Seo-jun shouting his name from afar. To be honest, Taehyung has no idea what type of freak monster Seo-jun is,+
or if the latter has already sold his soul to the devil to be able to move after being shot numerous times in the body.
As much as Taehyung wanted to curse at Seo-jun, tell him to f*ck off and just d¡e already, +
Taehyung is smart enough to know that making any noise that will reveal his location will not work in his favor—why? Well, Seo-jun got the gun; +
after shooting Taehyung's arm, Taehyung felt such severe pain that he had to release his grip on the weapon, barely even able to escape before Seo-jun tried to fire at him again.
"Pfft... You've got nowhere to run but back into my arms, love. Just stop running already... C'mon, you know I'll forgive you. I love you," Seo-jun says, making Taehyung's stomach churn in disgust as he hides behind a tree,+
ripping the hem of his bloodsoaked tattered shirt and tying it tight around his arm to slow down the bleeding from his wound.
Taehyung really is operating on pure adrenaline at this point. He's dr*gged and nauseous, he hasn't eaten anything since last night, and he's bleeding, but he kept moving, hoping that after all this, he could still go home and be with Jeongguk. +
'F*ck... Tonight really has to be longer than usual, huh? ' Taehyung thinks, clenching his teeth and tightening his jaw, before taking another deep breath and resuming his sprint.
An eerie kind of cold breeze struck Jeongguk just as they were about to approach the small cabin; for some reason, he felt uneasy, he started sweating, his knees felt weak as he caught a slight whiff of blood in the air— no, he definitely doesn't like what he's feeling.
Something feels wrong.
Everything just feels sinister.
They began to stealthily investigate the area, peering through the dusty windows at the back, seeing nothing but pitch black— there was no trace of Seo-jun and Taehyung around.
"I-I should go check— tell that f*cker I'm here, I came, exactly like he wanted," Jeongguk says, clutching his revolver.
"There's still 8 minutes before midnight, but I guess that should be fine. We'll stay close by, so don't worry about anything. +
As soon as you get in contact with Seo-jun and once we're certain that Taehyung is alive and well, we'll step in and take over, alright?" Hobi says, assuring Jeongguk that he is not alone and that they will all be alongside him during this operation.
"Alright," Jeongguk says, a heavy feeling in his chest.
"You'll be okay, Guk... You and Taehyung both," Joon, who was also with them, continued, looking Jeongguk in the eyes and watching as the latter drew a deep breath, nodding and walking towards the cabin's entrance.
As soon as Jeongguk took his first step away from the others, he became hyper aware of just about everything; he began to hear every little thing—the way the dried leaves on the ground cracked under the soles of his shoes, +
his own breathing ringing in his ears, the wind passing through the trees—it all felt like a really bad omen begging to be noticed.
But now is not the time to panic.
The whole place is really dark, like that in movies when the main character enters a suspenseful scene set outside, and the night skies clear up with the moon serving as the only lighting, +
everything appeared in slow motion to Jeongguk as he lifted his head, standing by the entrance of the cabin.
The door is open.
An old song playing so softly over the speakers that you wouldn't hear it until you were inside.
There's blood on the floor— lots of it, that there's even some stains on the walls.
As he knocked on the door twice, Jeongguk clutched the handle of the gun he'd placed inside the waistband of his pants, making sure he's ready to draw it out if needed.
He stepped in— as careful as possible.
"Han Seo-jun, are you here?" Jeongguk asks, using his free hand to feel the lightswitch on the wall— and when the cabin is completely illuminated, Jeongguk discovers the reason for his discomfort.
Taehyung is not here and so is Seo-jun.
Yet, there is blood all over.
On the floor,
On the walls,
On the bed,
White sheets stained dark red.
Empty bottles of wine on the table.
A few pairs of scissors, some scrap fabrics, pills for god knows what reason.
And on the chair, there's Taehyung's suit jacket.
He's late. Just by seeing the state of this place, Jeongguk knew he came in late— so he's got no other choice but to pray that it's not 'too' late.
"T-they're not here." Jeongguk says before he scurried out the door, using his phone's flashlight to check the blood stains on the floor, seeing that it's leading into the dark woods.
—'Don't go anywhere, Guk. We’re on our way-..'
"I can't. Taehyung was definitely here. Bet Taehyung was able to escape— he's probably on the run right now. I'll be following the blood tracks and head into the woods, send back up as soon as possible." Jeongguk says, +
now following the shoe prints left on the muddy ground. "The plan's off. Worse comes to worst, I'll be k¡lling Han Seo-jun— well, not that I mind it though." Jeongguk adds.
—'Wait! Don't be too reckless-'
"Sorry hyung. Right now, I can't afford to wait any longer." Jeongguk says, running until...
—'Guk, what was that?' Joon asks Jeongguk after hearing the gunshot through their radio.
"Whatever it was— it's not good. Hurry hyung... We must hurry." Jeongguk says, running while feeling that his heart's about to drop from his chest.
Taehyung had to come to a halt, now standing on the edge of a cliff, down below is a rocky shore, unforgiving waves roaring through the wind— it's a dead end,+
and when Taehyung turned back, he felt a bullet almost grazing the side of his head.
Seo-jun was able to catch up to him.
"I told you, you've no nowhere to run but back into my arms, love," Seo-jun says, panting as he crouches down, one hand on his knee, the other gripping the gun, pointing it at Taehyung, cornering him.
"No thank you. I'd really—just rather jump to my grave right here than be with a sick b*stard like you." Taehyung says, taking a step back, almost losing his balance due to the uneven ground.
"Ah... Please don't say that. You're hurting my feelings-.."
"Like I care," Taehyung angrily cuts Seo-jun off, about to take a step forward when Seo-jun fires again, right in front of Taehyung's foot, the bullet bouncing off the ground he's standing on.
"My patience has a limit, darling... I'd watch my mouth if I were you," Seo-jun says as he limps towards Taehyung, still holding the gun up to prevent the latter from making another move.
"It's almost time," Seo-jun says as a firecracker shoots up into the night sky, dispersing like a thousand stardust across the horizon behind them.
"That meddlesome pest must be sh¡tting his pants already because we're both not in our agreed-upon meeting place... Well, that's on you Taehyung-ssi. If you didn't act silly, everything should've gone smoothly," Seo-jun asserts, +
now standing in front of Taehyung and pressing the tip of the gun against the latter's forehead.
"You'd really blame anyone but yourself huh?— If you're going to k¡ll me, then you better do it now before Jeon Jeongguk gets here... +
That guy loves playing the hero— in the most villainous way possible, that is." Taehyung smirks, looking straight into Seo-jun's eyes, appearing unfazed despite having a gun on his head.
"You're overestimating him again, darling. Bet that guy isn't all that... You know it, too... He's different, whereas you and I? Aren't we much alike?" Seo-jun states, pulling a pair of sharp metal scissors from his back pocket and grasping them tightly in his hand. +
"I was there when you caught Yoo Jae-Sung. Your hands aren't at all clean. You've k¡lled people too, lots of them that night alone," Seo-jun says, mocking Taehyung by reminding him of the pile of corpses he left behind during that operation when they arrested Yoo Jae-Sung.
"I never once said my hands were clean; unlike you, I'm not denying it," Taehyung replies, watching Seo-jun move the scissors to the side of his neck, replacing the gun on his forehead.
"Hmm... Right, right. Anyway— don't you think it'll be a waste if we use a gun? I don't want to damage your beautiful face with a blasted bullet, so let's do it this way shall we?" Seo-jun says, +
pressing the tip of the scissors on Taehyung's neck—a damn wrong move on his part, because now that the gun is out of the way, Taehyung feels more free to defend himself.
"That will cost you a lot." Taehyung says, huffing out a lungful of air before he grabbed Seo-jun's wrist with one swift move, bringing the latter's hand that's holding the gun up over their heads +
as he shoved Seo-jun's other hand with a scissor to the side, then he tackled him to the ground, straddling Seo-jun's waist while gripping both of the latter's wrists tightly, keeping him restrained.
"You're really just plain stupid through and through; you should've k¡lled me sooner when you had the chance," Taehyung grunts as he forces one of Seo-jun's arms down, aiming the gun at the latter's skull; +
nevertheless, Seo-jun is so goddamn strong and tenacious that he refuses to let go. "I'm not really one to break my own principles, love," Seo-jun chuckles. They grappled over the possession of the gun again, +
and when Seo-jun noticed Taehyung was too focused on the revolver, he used his other hand with the scissors, slamming the sharp tip straight down on Taehyung's thigh.
"AAAAARGH!!!" Taehyung couldn't help but scream and growl, his veins protruding through the skin of his neck, clenching his jaw tight as he swiftly ripped the scissors out of his own flesh, flinging it further away from them before Seo-jun could use it again +
and stab him somewhere else. Then in anger, Taehyung began striking Seo-jun’s face repeatedly until he broke the latter's skin, blood streaming from his nose, cheek, and lips, while holding Seo-jun's hand with the gun constrained.
Another set of fireworks erupted through the night skies, golden specks flashing over both of their bruised and bloodied faces.
As Seo-jun inadvertently fired his gun into the sky, purple and green lights sparkled alongside the stars.
At the moment, the skies are decked with such magnificent colors.
"F-f*ck you... You damn crim¡nal," Taehyung cries, his head clouded by wrath, colorful lights flashing everywhere, yet he sees nothing but red.
"Pfft... Y-you're even more gorgeous when you're upset," Seo-jun laughed, taking each of Taehyung's hard punches, not minding that he's now coughing up blood.
"I've had enough of you... Just— just f*cking die! Die! Die, you b*stard!" Taehyung shouts, his thoughts blank, eyes lifeless, and his fist covered in blood.
"*cough... cough...* I told you... Y-you're just like me... Right now—right now too, you look just like me— no, you look exactly like her... That woman. P-perfect... You're really perfect, K-Kim Taehyung-ssi," Seo-jun smirks, his vision beginning to blur.
While staring at Taehyung, Seo-jun feels like he's back in that dark closet; Taehyung's frenzied eyes burning with deep anger; given this sight, Seo-jun thinks that he wouldn't really mind dying in Taehyung's hands tonight.
"T-that's it... Y-you should fight back. *cough* Y-you're upset, right? I know... So just let it out... Let it all out... Y-you're not supposed to dance alone," Seo-jun mumbles, his voice almost inaudible.
"What the f*ck are you even saying, you lunatic?"
"S-say... It hurts, right? Inside of you— you're hurting, right? You... You always love so much... You give far too much— way too much till nothing's left... Look where it got you... +
Y-you became nothing but an empty shell," Seo-jun laments, a single tear spilling from his eye, though he doesn’t really know the reason why.
Taehyung pauses, hovering his fist on Seo-jun's head, seeing the slightly softer expression on Seo-jun's face.
"Someone like you doesn't get to cry..." Taehyung replies, looking Seo-jun in the eyes.
"A-ah... Isn't it Taehyung-ssi? Pfft... S-sorry, you've been beating my head so much, I started seeing things..." Seo-jun says, struggling to even open his mouth, his gaze darting down to Taehyung's chest,+
catching a glimpse of all the dried up blood caused by the wound he had made. "That will probably scar, I think." Seo-jun comments.
Taehyung was about to respond when he heard rustling sounds from behind him, followed by hasty footsteps as more fireworks exploded in the skies.
"Why did you stop? You haven't k¡lled me yet," Seo-jun asks, but when Taehyung heard that one step from behind him, all his rage faded to naught.
"Don't get any closer," Taehyung warns, knowing Jeongguk had approached him without him having to glance behind him.
"Pfft.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Seo-jun breaks into a taunting laugh. "Now, isn't this awkward? —Ugh..." Seo-jun grunts as Taehyung grabs him by the neck;+
Seo-jun then glances behind Taehyung, laughing even louder when he sees the dread written all over Jeongguk's face.
"Tae... Get away from him. I'll shoot— c'mon... Let go of that sick f*cker-.."
"You just stay right there; I can handle this," Taehyung growls, tightening his grip on Seo-jun's neck, clearly not concerned if he chokes him to death. Taehyung can already feel that Seo-jun barely has any strength left,+
there's even little to no force in the way he's holding the gun, it's as if he's already accepted his fate— Han Seo-jun is ready to die at this moment.
But, something doesn't feel right for some reason.
Seo-jun appears to be enjoying himself.
"You know, if there's one thing that can never be forgotten, it'll be scars... You don't forget scars— you see them every day. *cough* Even if it stops hurting, they still remind you of the pain..." Seo-jun says,+
unable to look away from Taehyung's bloodied chest, thinking that if ever he'll have any regrets it will be that he did not cut deeper into Taehyung's skin— deeper into his flesh.
"D-didn't I tell you? You're just like me and that woman, Taehyung-ssi... So I'm sure you're aware that k¡lling me now won't change anything; you'll still feel empty," Seo-jun says, barely able to speak but still grinning widely.
"I can see it on your face— in your eyes... It's as clear as day... You're still bearing the guilt of the sin you confessed to me earlier while we were dancing... You, just like that woman, cheated on the person you claimed to be in love with…+
Let me guess: he did the same thing, didn't he? He cheated on you as well." Seo-jun continues, reliving in his head the incident in which he heard his mother arguing with the guy who m*rdered her while her child was hiding inside the closet.
"I SAID SHUT THE F*CK UP!" Taehyung yells, putting more pressure on Seo-jun's neck, causing him to cough and turn blood red.
"*cough* I've heard that story before... You—you felt like dying as you were so hurt and alone.+
You were madly in love... You give so much love only to betray it and be deceived in the same way—perhaps even worse in the end... Ahh... I-I know... I know... Didn't I tell you that's what love does?" Seo-jun lifts his already limp arms,+
carefully touching Taehyung's face, smearing his blood over the latter's cheek, dragging his soiled fingers down to Taehyung's lips. "It destroys people... Say, why don't you just come with me? I can love you properly... +
You know it too don't you? Even if you k¡ll me, that painful memory would torment you even as you sleep... E-everything will remind you of the pain you felt—your rage will blaze on like wildfire, slowly burning you from within, just like the scar I'll be leaving on your skin...+
Death is the most beautiful retreat for people like us who have sinned… You have to listen to me, love... This long and lasting torture is something you will continue to feel for as long as you live... If you stay here, you—you will never feel complete." Seo-jun says, +
looking at Taehyung lovingly, feeling the latter loosen his grip on his neck.
Taehyung is wavering— not because he's allowing himself to get swayed, but because deep inside he knows there's some truth behind Seo-jun's words.
As you live, you love and there is always anguish associated with being in love.
When a person falls in love, they will do anything to pursue happiness with the one they adore, all while being chased by pain, suffering, and the fear of losing what they are so desperate to keep.
It's a never-ending cycle that goes on for as long as you live.
"Why don't we go? Let's leave all the dreadful nightmares right here, *cough* s-so we can have a beautiful dream. That would be nice, don't you think?" Seo-jun says, +
adding to Taehyung's uncertainty, hoping to persuade the latter to accompany him to the hereafter.
"Jeon Jeongguk— don't!" Joon yells as he and the other police officers arrive on the scene and see Jeongguk rushing to where Seo-jun and Taehyung are.
"Shut your filthy mouth already," Jeongguk says, tired of hearing Seo-jun's cheap attempts to manipulate Taehyung; he tugged Taehyung away from Seo-jun before quickly grabbing the latter's arm and shooting Seo-jun squarely in the wrist with little to no deliberation.+
"He doesn't need to be complete. Unlike you, he has me—I'll fill in everything that he's missing.. That's why you—you should stop dreaming, you fcking lunatic," Jeongguk says, taking a step back, pulling the speechless Taehyung into his arms as they watch Seo-jun scream in pain,+
letting go of his gun as he clutches his wrist that was almost blown off from being shot.
"Get back here, you two! That's enough!" Hobi screams as he and Jimin race to grab Jeongguk and Taehyung when they see Jeongguk aiming again at Seo-jun.
As Hobi and Jimin pull him and Jeongguk to the back, Taehyung glances up, meeting Jeongguk's gaze, and feels the heavy weight that has been pressing on him get lifted from his chest.
Following Namjoon and Yoongi's lead, the other officers rush to restrain Seo-jun; there's a lot of screaming, running, and panic as the final set of fireworks exploded into the skies, signaling the end of Seollal and the capture of the infamous Seoul Slasher, Han Seo-jun.
As the sense of relief take over Taehyung, his knees grew weak, about to surrender his weight to Jeongguk who's holding him— and that's when they heard Seo-jun growling so loud they had to turn back around;+
there he saw Seo-jun grabbing the gun that he dropped, before the police could even reach him.
It was as if a bolt of lightning struck Taehyung, and with what little strength he had left, he snatched Jeongguk's gun from the latter.
Taehyung fired at Seo-jun before he could even aim, shooting Seo-jun right to his hand, forcing the g*n to fling out of his grip, and then firing at him again on the shoulder, causing Seo-jun to fall on his back, seeing nothing but the dark and dreary skies above.
"Quit it... You won't ever get what you want. You won't die—I won't let you die... That long and never ending torture you mentioned earlier, you'll have to endure exactly that for the rest of your life." Taehyung says, his and everyone's eyes are fixed on Seo-jun now, +
watching as the police pins him down on the ground, cuffing his hands on his back, ignoring his weak screams of pain, fury and protest, injecting him with sedatives so they could put him on a stretcher and into the nearby ambulance on standby.
No, Han Seo-jun absolutely cannot die.
He will not die.
He will continue to live alone behind bars, paying for his crimes.
"I'm here," Jeongguk says, unsure why they were the first words he managed to speak after everything that had happened; +
it's still loud and chaotic, officers scurrying, doing their jobs, wrapping up the scene while Taehyung and Jeongguk stood still, and the others knew better than to intervene.
"Yeah... I can see that, yes." Taehyung says, absentmindedly staring at Jeongguk as if he still cannot believe that he's real— it's real...
They're both alive and breathing, and they're back together right here.
"It's over," Jeongguk says, hearing nothing but the pounding of his heart inside his chest.
"You really think so?" Taehyung asks as Jeongguk gently loops his arm around him, pulling him closer, pressing their foreheads together, their gazes never leaving each other.
"At least this chapter is," Jeongguk responds, a tear falling from his eye as he tightly embraces Taehyung.
< TIMESKIP: 1 YEAR LATER >
"Well, that's pretty much it. I'm sure you've heard the rest on the news. That event created such a buzz, it spread like wildfire throughout the entire country and possibly even all the way around the world," Taehyung says,+
sitting comfortably on a chair in front of his doctor—his friend for almost a year now, Lee Soo Hyuk.
"Yes, of course. Everybody knows about the controversial demise of J group.+
Han Seo-jun got arrested, pleaded guilty to all of his killings, and was sentenced to 16 consecutive life sentences…To be honest, it was quite a story—a very tragic and gruesome one, considering all the victims who suffered because of him... +
Even his father refused to have anything to do with him, which is saddening—" Soo Hyuk pauses, cheekily covering his mouth. "Ah, I probably shouldn't have said that..." He adds, making Taehyung chuckle at the doctor's cute yet reckless remark.
"Pfft... Well, it is sad that his father basically threw him under the bus after having discovered that his son had made a mini graveyard in their backyard; though I don't think Han Seo-jun cares about all that; +
it didn't appear like he minded it when I last saw him during the trail," Taehyung replies, recalling the last time he saw Han Seo-jun around a year ago after the latter's arrest.
"That's true... Though he also didn't look like he's having a great time." exhales Soo Hyuk, nodding in accord as he sits up straight. "Well, this is the first time you've been able to share the entire narrative about what happened; +
I know having to recall all that wasn't easy, but you did it, so thank you... I'm really proud of you," Soo Hyuk says as he types out Taehyung's progress during today's session on his computer.
"It did bother me before, but now? I guess not so much anymore." Taehyung says and it's true. It was tough for him to dare talk about what he had gone through because of Han Seo-jun; it was a painful journey, struggling to move on after the case was closed. +
He had frequent vivid nightmares at night and hallucinations during the day, and it got so bad that he refused to leave his room—refusing to be even a foot away from Jeongguk.
And it wasn’t just Taehyung, Jeongguk too had a rough time dealing with the trauma that scarred them both; he had to take a long break after the release of their band's last album; +
he and Taehyung distanced themselves from the rest of the world, going into hiding in their Cheongdamdong home.
At first they pretended to have moved on, playing house on their own, +
but it was evident that they were still both anxious and paranoid. At one point they even fought for a reason that they now both don't remember, but that fight eventually made them realize that they cannot just escape, +
pretending that everything is fine— they needed help, and that is when they met their psychiatrist now, Lee Soo Hyuk who also took care of Seokjin when the latter seeked help after his traumatic experienced with Yoo Jae-Sung.
It wasn't easy for both of their prideful selves to acknowledge that they needed professional help, but after much discussion and persuasion from their friends, Taehyung and Jeongguk decided to go through with it, hoping for the best.+
They diligently attended each of their sessions till they began to feel better little by little, lighter, having to share all their bottled up anxieties and frustrations with another person,+
who is patient enough to listen and understand what they're going through, without expecting them to feel better in a jiffy.
Two months after they started therapy, Jeongguk began making music again, while Taehyung took a few easy pro bono cases that have helped him warm up to his job again.
Now, a year has passed— it will be a stretch to say that they have moved on fully, however it will be a lie to say that things haven't been better compared to when they started.
They're getting by— just like any other people who have gone through a lot in life, Taehyung and Jeongguk are both trying to fight, thriving to survive.
"Hey, before we wrap up our session, I'm actually curious to hear your thoughts on something...+
You know, about what Han Seo-jun told you that night?" Soo Hyuk asks, looking up at Taehyung to see whether the latter is comfortable enough to tell him what's on his mind.
"He was a mouthy guy, so which part of his speech are you referring to?" Taehyung asks.
"The scar?" Soo Hyuk says.
"Ah, this?" Taehyung responds, touching the tip of the long scar on his chest that's showing from under the baggy shirt he's wearing.
"I quote: 'You don't forget scars— you see them everyday. Even if it stops hurting, they still remind you of the pain'..." Soo Hyuk says, quoting Seo-jun's remark from the story Taehyung told him earlier. "How do you feel about that scar now, Tae?"
"Honestly? These days, I feel nothing from it." Taehyung says, peering out the windows as he feels the scar on his chest. "It's true; feeling it this way, seeing it on my skin every time I look in the mirror, reminds me of how I got it...+
This scar has caused me a lot of problems—a lot of damn nightmares, as you know—but I guess it's because it's been a year already; the trauma won't just fade away like magic, though to be honest, even if I try—that is, if I continue to refuse looking for it with intent, +
I can't really remember Han Seo-jun's face—what was the color of his hair, the shape of his eyes, his nose, mouth, his built? I can no longer picture it clearly... Now, he's just a faceless forgotten ghost in my fuzzy memory," Taehyung says, +
smiling with his eyes closed, confirming that even after visualizing it, he now cannot make out the exact face of the man who has tormented him over the past year.
"A ghost, huh? I see... I was actually worried about the nightmares and hallucinations; after all, you struggled a lot from those more than Guk, so this is definitely progress," Soo Hyuk says,+
smiling as he notices Taehyung checking his watch, so Soo Hyuk turns off his recorder, bringing today's session to a close.
"Sorry," Taehyung says when he catches Soo Hyuk turning off his recorder. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not in a hurry. It's just that I don't want to be late—"
"Pfft... I know, I know, I have a ticket too, so I'm aware of the time... Go on now, we'll just continue next week... I'll see you there, alright?" Soo Hyuk winks as Taehyung rushes up, bowing his head politely at him.
"Oh, by the way, doctor, are you bringing that person tonight?— The one you said is my doppelganger?" Taehyung says as he picks up his bag, recalling the person Soo Hyuk frequently tells him and Jeongguk about.
"Doppelganger? Hahahahaha!" Soo Hyuk couldn't help but laugh. "I just meant you both have the same name and you kinda— only at certain angles look the same, but I don't really think that guy is your doppelganger— +
'T's' far hotter than you— ah, no offense by the way," Soo Hyuk grins, pertaining to his best friend who has the same name as Taehyung. +
"Why? Are you afraid he'll seduce your dear Jeonggukkie? Don't worry, that guy isn't interested in dating anybody," Soo Hyuk adds, causing Taehyung to roll his eyes at him.
"Tch, as if; I was only curious because you were on the phone with him when I walked in," Taehyung replies as he walks towards the door. +
"Well, I'm leaving now, doc. See you at the concert," Taehyung continued, while Soo Hyuk simply smiled—a smile that quickly disappeared when Taehyung left his clinic.
"*Sigh* Sorry, patient Kim... I really wanted you and Guk to meet 'T', but what can I do, his new boss has been hogging him all to himself lately." Soo Hyuk laments with an unreadable expression on his face.
—"Tae? Where the hell are you? It's been 15 minutes since the concert started! Your little rockstar's beginning to look like a lost kid on stage, stretching his neck trying to find his mom in the audience," Jimin says,+
nagging Taehyung on the phone, here on the first row of the much-anticipated B-side band concert.
"Calm down, I'm already here— first row, right?" Taehyung asks, pushing through the crowd to get to his seat, where his friends are.
—("Is that Tae? Where is he? Guk's solo's coming up next, if he doesn't show up on time, I won't forgive him!")
Taehyung chuckles, hearing Hobi yelling on the other line, he's now rushing down the stairs, finally seeing Jin waving at him when the lights suddenly switched on, illuminating the stage that Jeongguk is now standing on.
As if rehearsed (which wasn't really the case, believe it or not), Jeongguk's eyes immediately found Taehyung, making the latter halt on his steps, shivers crawling up his spine as the crowd went wild.
"You're late!" Jeongguk exclaims over the mic, pointing at Taehyung who's now standing under the spotlight, which made the loud audience fall silent, all turning towards Taehyung's direction.
"Oh god... It's happening. Why are those two always so dramatic? Ugh... I can't watch this," Joon sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose and shaking his head in discomfort.
"Pfft... Tae looks like he's about to faint," Hobi giggled, knowing full well what Jeongguk had been planning behind Taehyung's back months before today's concert.
"Bet he's already mentally punching Jeon Jeongguk in the face, pfft... Man, Tae really hates being thrown in the spotlight like this— literally," Jimin laughs, watching his best friend's horror-filled visage.
Taehyung has no idea what's going on or what the f*ck Jeongguk was thinking by calling him out in front of thousands of people; he's frozen in place, cheeks heating up, flushing all the way up to his ears, and his mouth gaping like a fish.+
"I— traffic... Laundry— my favorite socks were missing," Taehyung murmurs, even though he's quite sure no one could hear him, especially Jeongguk from here where he's standing.
"What did you say? If it's about your exclusive B-side concert socks, I forgot to take it out the laundry— SORRY!" Jeongguk says, doing a full 90-degree bow in front of everyone, +
which Taehyung thinks is totally stupid, but he's still too stunned to say anything— especially with all of these people staring at him.
"Anyway, just stay right there... Don't even think about escaping." Jeongguk says, playfully winking at Taehyung as the soft intro music mixed with the faint distorted sound of raindrops began to play.
"I wrote this song 7 years ago... It was originally a very cheesy love song written by a love sick 21-year-old... Well, things happened— things I regret to this day, some I've carelessly forgotten, some I'll never forget... +
The lyrics may have changed, but the melody— what I wanted to convey, my heart— you, remains the same," Jeongguk says as he begins to sing.
<Now Playing: Still with you>
That faint voice of yours that grazed me,
Please call my name one more time
I’m standing still under the frozen light, but I will walk towards you, step by step,
Still with you...
Taehyung couldn't explain why he broke down crying as soon as Jeongguk started singing. Everything strikes too close to home; the sweet angelic tone of Jeongguk's voice seems to have brought Taehyung back to nine years ago, +
to that empty corridor of Hanyang's school of law where he almost dropped his phone, when he first bumped into Jeon Jeongguk.
Lecture hall B.
Class starts at 8 in the morning.
Back then, Taehyung had no idea that his whole life was about to change.
Then came that one rainy day when Taehyung first heard Jeongguk sing.
The loud beats of the drums, distorted guitar sounds— Only Hope— the song that started it all.
A playlist that has no particular genre.
An angel saved him with his music and his voice, he loved him, ruined him, only to return and put him back together once more.
In a rapturous memory
It's raining when I dance alone
By the time this mist clears
I'll be running with my feet wet
Hold me back then...
Six long years have passed since they first broke up and Taehyung took the fall— no, it was actually them both.
It was, without a question, a painful memory to recall.
Hearts have been shattered, bitter tears have been shed.
Trust, faith, and hope all melted like July snow.
Yet, fate had brought them back together; they were a few years older than before, they knew better—or so they thought—nevertheless, they still managed to find each other.
It was an imperfect love between two broken men who couldn't stay away from each other.
The pull was so strong that it felt as if the cosmos conspired and plotted it all, leaving them with no other option but to gather their broken bits and reassemble it back together.
Despite all that has transpired, some of the pieces of themselves that they have lost have proven to be impossible to recover.
Like a broken vase that has been glued back together, they were able to stand tall, but could never be the same as before.
And that's okay, that's fine.
Some things don't need to be perfect and whole to be valid— beautiful— to be worth fighting and living for.
Behind the faint smile that looked at me
I'm going to draw a beautiful purple light,
We may not be on the same page
But I want to walk this path with you—
Still with you...
With everything that has been going on inside his mind, Taehyung doesn’t know how Jeongguk got close, now standing in front of him as he sung the last lines of the song.
< Please play this as you read : Feel you >
"I went overboard this time didn’t I?" Jeongguk teases, bashfully scratching the back of his neck with a cheeky look on his face.
"Y-yeah, looks like you did." Taehyung replies absentmindedly.
"You hate being the center of attention."
"I'm glad that you remember."
"Sorry, you know I'm all about the dramatics... Forgive me?" Jeongguk grins, scrunching his nose cutely before going all puppy eyes, knowing full well that Taehyung's too weak to resist it.
"Is it done though? I'm sure you can tell, I'm already dying to sit and disappear with the casual audience." Taehyung says, suppressing a smile, feeling giddy and nervous at the same time for some reason.
"Not quite yet... Bear with me a little longer? I'm about to do something silly here— you might like it— I hope you will," Jeongguk says, pulling a little velvet box from his pants back pocket.
"Y-yeah? Tell me about it." Taehyung gulps, seeing the small fancy box that Jeongguk is now holding, giving him an inkling of what the latter's about to do in front of him.
"Ah... Y'see, I'm about to go down on one knee," Jeongguk says, bending on one knee, opening the velvety box, showing the most beautiful diamond ring Taehyung has ever seen—well, it's not so much about the ring as it is about the man offering it to him.
"And?" Taehyung asks, his trembling lips twisting into a wide grin as he wipes his tears. Right now, he cannot even hear a thing. In Taehyung's head, the massive crowd has long disappeared and there's no one but him and Jeongguk here.
"And I'm going to ask you to please—please marry me... Just between us, I kinda booked a private plane to Vegas and that was hella costly... They also don't do refunds apparently," Jeongguk continues,+
and truth be told, he has no idea what the hell is he even saying; he's pretty sure his proposal speech was supposed to be cooler and more romantic than whatever the blackmail-ish sh¡t he just said, +
but at this point, he's too far gone to care about the details and how he now probably looks so lame; he's so freaking nervous that he's about to wet his pants if Taehyung doesn't give him an answer in the next five seconds.
"R-really you..." Taehyung is now crying and laughing at the same time, thinking they're both too old for this, but he'd be lying if he said he wasn't enjoying every second of it.
"Trust me... I really prepared a whole a:ss speech, it was supposed to be super romantic, it would be a crime if you reject me... I don't know what happened, I guess I panicked so just ignore all the sh¡t I just said except the 'please marry me' part, +
because seriously, that's basically the gist behind all of this." Jeongguk sucks in a deep breath, his eyes glossy, blurred, and brimming with tears. "I really can't promise you anything. We might argue, we'll probably fight, we always do;+
even if I don't intend to, I'll most likely piss you off at times. You know how clingy I can get, so I'll surely call and tell you I miss you more than a couple of times a day during office hours. +
You'll hate it, but if I tell you I love you, you'll probably forgive me and tell me you love me too— and that you'll go home early, we'll eat whatever dinner I'll prepare on the table and you'll thank me for the meal, and say that it's delicious." Jeongguk says, +
smiling to himself as he imagines the kind of life he's currently picturing with Taehyung. "You're probably thinking that I'm scamming you right now, but believe me, there's a lot of benefits if you marry me... +
As you can see, I'm quite popular, so I'll be making a lot of money. If you get bored, I can sing and be your personal mp3—.."
"God stop it, pfft... *sniff*" Taehyung giggled, tearing up more,
"Pfft... I know, but I'm not done yet, so again, bear with me... As I was saying— ah, forget it." Jeongguk shakes his head, embarrassed, but he's already said enough to take it back; all he can do now is move forward. +
"What I'm trying to say is that I'm hot, and rich, and famous— which by the way, might probably cause us trouble from time to time, but besides that, I'm a good cook, I clean up well, +
my father is a pain in the ass but he's long accepted the fact that his only son is gay so I'm sure we'll be okay—I-I'll work really hard so we'll be okay," Jeongguk's voice then cracked as he broke into a sob which he immediately swallowed so he could say what he needed to say.+
"This has been the plan—my plan—since the first time we started dating... Things happened, I f*cked up, we both did, but despite all that, I still feel the same... From then to now, it's always you—always have been you, +
and I just can't wait any longer, I want to be with you forever." Jeongguk says as he takes the ring from the box, tenderly holding Taehyung's left hand. "T-that's why if you'd take me— if you're okay with spending the rest of your life with me...+
I will do my godd*mn best to make you happy... Kim Taehyung, will please marry me?" Jeongguk finally says, his breath shaking as he meets Taehyung's gaze, both of them smiling with tears streaming down their faces.
There, Taehyung smiled widely, his free hand covering his mouth, suppressing a loud sob that's threatening to come out.
"F-fine... Let's do it— let's get married." Taehyung finally says, biting his trembling lips, tasting his own salty tears as Jeongguk slips the ring on him.
Gasps turned to loud cheers and applause then roared throughout the stadium as Jeongguk got back up on his feet, still holding Taehyung's hand,+
staring at the ring, looking as if he cannot believe how beautiful and perfect it is on Taehyung's ring finger.
"G-god... I love you so much..." Jeongguk exhales heavily.
"I'm not really complaining, though I’m sure you know you really didn't have to do all this just to ask me to marry you.” Taehyung says, his face flushing even redder.
“Pfft… I know.” Jeongguk giggles, finding the sheepish look on Taehyung’s face so adorable.
“You could've asked me over breakfast with your face all puffy, your hair messy and I would still say yes... And also, I am so bad with words, but yes— I love you too... Very much, and I would very much love to marry you. Anywhere. Anytime, even every day...+
I feel the same, from then till now, it's you— always—always have been just you." Taehyung says, cupping Jeongguk's face and looking into his eyes, meaning every word he just uttered.
From there, in the middle of this stadium, in front of their thousands of audience, they leaned in and closed the gap between their lips, sealing the deal with a kiss, and as soon as they did, +
Taehyung suddenly remembered that night on the cliff, when that faceless lunatic taunted him, saying how someone like him who have sinned will never feel complete— +
now as he and Jeongguk kiss, he can finally say that he's wrong— that madman was wrong and Jeongguk was right all along.
He doesn’t need to be complete.
Love doesn't need to be perfect, systematic or flawless.
With the right person, he could be defective, even damaged, and still feel whole and fine all together.
Now, Taehyung feels like he’s finally able to accept that he might never really reclaim that missing one percent he had lost long before—that one percent containing their bitter history, past failures, sins, their fears, and regrets—and that's okay.
Taehyung now knows that there will be things beyond his control; mistakes and regrets are inescapable, he— they may mess up, f*ck up, and hurt one another once more, but there's no point in fearing the inevitable as long as they're both willing to solve it together.
No love is without fault, just as no human is without flaws.
Life cannot always be one hundred percent perfect, but with Jeongguk by his side, Taehyung knows he'll be fine; he need not be desperate for that missing 1%, because he is—and will always be loved even if he's just in his 99%.