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Crime Scene Love

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Eunwoo wasn’t that familiar with Crime Scene or how it played out.

Sure, he watched it once or twice but he didn’t have that much of an interest in it. It didn’t work like a real mystery novel, the kind he adored. Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle- they were true masters of their craft that weren’t limited by ratings and artificial tension.

He could remember the episodes he caught plain as day because it was the only thing on TV he, MJ and Jinjin were all interested in. It was a long day of performing and they just wanted to make a few harmless bets on who the culprit was for bragging rights. Eunwoo thought he had it in the bag since he was an avid reader of mystery but he got more and more frustrated as the story progressed.

Crime Scene withheld crucial information until the last moment to cheaply milk the tension. Hell, it worked. MJ and Jinjin were screaming when the culprit was revealed, bouncing on the sofa while he groaned. Granted, he still got it right in the end, but essentially what he saw was a thriller.  If a detective didn’t find evidence in a mystery, it didn’t exist. In a thriller, you had incompetent detectives, capable of not only withholding evidence, but never finding the evidence in the first place.

He largely forgot about the show as a whole until he was suddenly approached by representatives from Fantagio that offered him the chance to appear on a TV show by himself. He did CVs, appeared on variety shows as part of ASTRO and had a minor role in film, but he never had the privilege of starring in a two hour long episode with him as a prime suspect.

He respected the actors on the show, but he felt that he could do a much better job even though his peak during school was 3rd smartest. They just weren’t searching thoroughly enough, probably. The staff didn’t seem to think highly of his intelligence either because their main reason for inviting him over was because he resembled Kim Ji-hoon. They were just using his face again, but he was used to it now. If he worked hard enough at this maybe they’d appreciate him and not his face a little more, but probably not. Ugh. Being this handsome was a blessing and a curse.

It didn’t take long for him to come to a decision since every other member of ASTRO was telling him to do it. MJ and Jinjin were the most vocal since they were the only ones who actually knew about the program, but Moonbin offered a surprising amount of support too. Before he knew it, he was brought to a ‘set’ (which was pretty much just the outside of their dorm, but whatever) and started filming his role picking.

He rattled off a little intro about himself and how he heard about his resemblance to Kim Ji-hoon even though he didn’t really see it, was much more eager to pick his role. There was a lot to take in; camp manager, head of a research center, ‘natural man’, whatever that meant. There also seemed to be a female detective, something he momentarily got excited over before he realized that Hani had been replaced for the season. He nearly forgot he was on camera and stopped himself right as he was about to sigh.

“I had many dreams,” He said as he picked up the research center head card. “I wanted to become a pharmacist once, too.”

He opened up the envelope for it and brought the entire card out so he could get a better look at it. He smiled incredulously- he wasn’t even trying to get the culprit but he managed to get it on his first try! Later on when he binge watched the show to get a better idea of what he should be looking for, he found out that Xiumin beat him out with two criminal appearances in a row out of his three. Then again, even Xiumin didn't get culprit first try.

At first he was confident in his abilities to fool them since the track record wasn’t very good during Season 2. However, with an updated cast and the most sensible veterans still on the team, the realization that he would most likely be caught began to sink in.

Just as he was considering giving up before he even understood what his character was like, he got the role card delivered to him. Since he was in the dorm at the time, everybody saw the delivery and everybody wanted to see inside. He fought all of them off and retreated to the bathroom to read his role card in peace and familiarize himself with the role.

It was horrible.

Needlessly convoluted, so many random details and threads even for a two hour program and hopelessly guilty, he regretted his choice immediately. He joined the show to prove himself as a worthy detective even for a suspect, but he ended up with a character he hated.

It also didn’t help that his character was explicitly straight. He could hide his sexuality easily enough in the real world because it was a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation. Everybody assumed he was straight or didn’t confront him about their suspicions. He… wasn’t sure if the other members knew. That was the hardest part. Aside from that, hiding it was a breeze.

His character (directly named after him, annoying) was an absolute douchebag. Not only did he have a wife and child he didn’t care about, he tested an experimental drug on his daughter that gave her leukemia, all while he loved another woman. The icing on the cake was that he murdered the other woman because he ran the risk of being exposed for something entirely different. Garbage.

His acceptance of the role was already filmed and sent out, though. The day before they were supposed to start filming, the most recent episode came out with his introduction at the end. It was embarrassing to see he was the first one to ever take the card out of the envelope completely, but whatever. He already gave up on trying to act realistically. The only things he had to look forward to were the other cast members who likely had less horrible characters that they better suited.

He rolled up to the set at the ripe ungodly hour of 2 AM. Considering how everything was set up, he wasn’t very surprised. It was just one day of shooting so it made sense it’d take at least 3 hours to get enough material and that wasn’t taking styling into account.

He was lucky enough to get ready in the same room as Park Ji-yoon, one of the people he respected the most out of the entire cast aside from Jang Jin. She was smart, opinionated and funny without trying to be. Sanha tried to be someone like her but ended up falling prey to the rebellious maknae trend, marking him as endearing rather than someone to respect.

Ji-yoon proved to be entertaining even without the cameras around. She marveled at the fact that he barely had any makeup on his face and most of the stylist’s efforts went toward making him look more normal. She half-heartedly rejected his compliments back to her but accepted them easily when he insisted. There was an effortless grace to her that came from being an entertainer for so long. He had to pick it up from her if possible.

After his transformation to pharmaceutical group head, which was really just giving him glasses and casual clothing, he was ready to go far before Ji-yoon. She encouraged him to meet the rest of the cast, which sounded more like a thinly veiled order rather than a suggestion, so he did as she asked.

The first person he ran into was Eun-ji who, despite playing his wife in the show, was still a fellow actor and idol. She was a sunbae on both accounts, too. It was hard to think of her as senior to Hani since she looked so young, but her debut beat Hani’s by a rough year. She was generally amicable but didn’t have as much to say when compared to Ji-yoon. Like him, she was dressed up in casual clothing.

He and Eun-ji made their way to the detective room where the rest of the cast was gathered. He wasn’t used to being the maknae. He couldn’t help caring for Moonbin, Rocky and Sanha because of the age difference. Here, the situation was switched. They weren’t obvious about it, but he could tell that they looked down on him in a caring way.

Jang Jin was the oldest and most prestigious out of all of them so he was the first to welcome Eunwoo. Ji-hoon (who he still didn’t look like) and Yang Se-hyung followed. That would’ve been great had they not been given such ridiculous costumes. Ji-hoon was fine, dressed reasonably and given small injury makeup. Jang, however, had a straw hat and basically what a trash collector wore for a uniform. It was truly a strange day when that wasn’t the craziest thing in the room. Yang had a long, ratty wig on and had the same uniform Jang Jin did.

Through the window he saw Ji-yoon emerge from the sidelines and into the now-darkened set. The assistant detective was hovering near the door, ready to bring them in when Ji-yoon asked. Ji-yoon wore a trench coat in sharp contrast to everybody else’s clothing, making it painfully obvious just who she was, as if the dramatic monologue she was spouting wasn’t enough. Didn’t take long for her to discover the corpse and call the rest of them over, thankfully.

It was hard to act properly even at the beginning. When he and the others walked out onto the supposedly serious crime scene, Ji-yoon was still joking about his face and its whiteness. How was he supposed to get into the mindset of a sociopath when everything was so silly? Ji-yoon soon ceased her teasing, but that still left the normally serious Jang Jin in a straw hat and Yang Se-hyung with an obvious wig. Eun-ji was the only serious one out of the lot of them, with Ji-hoon joking about the victim’s name, which happened to be Ji-yoon.

It was hard to wrap his head around, and he was there. He had no idea how the audience at home would react, so he tried with what he was given. He didn’t try his best, but he tried. At least the set was both well constructed and efficient. No walls, white lines, but with real furniture that had cleverly tucked away information. He knew that was the case for his ‘room’, so he knew he had to blame someone quickly and quietly before they got too deep into the evidence.

When everyone was introduced he zeroed in on the most suspicious person, Ji-hoon, who was playing the victim’s boyfriend. The most obvious suspect was never the culprit. The concept rang true on most mysteries and even this show as well. With that in mind, he knew he had to focus everything he had on Ji-hoon to keep his head above the water.

Thanks to his extensive search of Ji-hoon’s room and everybody else’s suspicion it looked like he was in the clear near the beginning. That turned around quickly when more and more clues were found pertaining to him and everyone got interested in his wacky backstory. When Eun-ji discovered his documents he knew that was when the noose was drawn around his neck. There was no coming back from that.

Eun-ji came at him full force, attacking him with pointed accusations and a level of genuineness that shocked him into a stunned silence. He could have pretended to be lovey dovey with her for a while, but even that was thrown out of the window because he just had to pine for the victim. He never wanted a wife in the first place and yet here he was, being chewed out for giving his daughter leukemia. He felt so stupid just sitting there, but there was nothing left for him to do. There was no real defense because Ji-hoon’s name had mostly been cleared at that point.

That’s why he didn’t even try to defend himself when everyone except for him and Jang Jin gathered together and compiled all of the evidence against him. He and Jang Jin instead spent some time on the ‘mountain’, sitting on a rock together. Jang Jin didn’t need the confirmation from everyone else. Every time Eunwoo looked at his face, he knew who he’d be voting for.

They could easily hear the conversation that was happening at the campsite which was practically right next to the prop mountain, but he had no interest in trying to salvage a clearly sinking ship. When Jang Jin pointed it out, he could only grunt in response. He didn’t have it within him to hate how easily they framed him as the murderer. He was just tired.

He had a very brief moment of fun when he was voted as the criminal and everybody else dreaded the results. The cage was crude, menacing and something he hated entering, but it was adorable seeing everybody who voted for him stand stock-still in anticipation of the announcement. It was also adorable how they whooped and celebrated. They looked exactly like MJ, Jinjin and Sanha.

That bit of enjoyment didn’t salvage the entire experience though. Since Fantagio was tentatively pushing him to do another episode, though ultimately leaving the choice up to him, he planned on seeing the next guest before he made any hasty decisions. He didn’t want to be the guy who passed up the opportunity to film with legends who have visited Crime Scene before like BoA or SHINee’s Key. The producers could even throw a curveball and invite new guests like a Girls’ Generation or SEVENTEEN member.

Since his schedule wasn’t particularly demanding he had enough time to film the role picking even if his energy levels weren’t quite up to standard. He still gave a soft smile throughout everything. Eun-ji seemed to notice his mood and told him it was a hard role to play, something he was grateful for. Even though everybody else had weird storylines as well, his was cut and dry the hardest. He would have preferred not having gotten the character in the first place, but hey. A subtle apology from the person who made him feel kind of shitty was good enough.

There were seven role cards sitting on the table in front of them, which meant it was one more person. He wasn’t sure if there was a case that had three guests, but he was glad to have an episode with just him and another person. With how this case went, he wanted less people or at least a more coherent storyline that he could reasonably work through.

The names on the cards gave away the set of the next murder, which was a ski resort. The male cards included resort owner, resort manager, pro skier, ski instructor and lift operator. That left detective and housekeeper as the sole female cards. That meant either the guest was male or they’d just force Ji-yoon to play a male role again. Eun-ji had the potential to play a male role, but Ji-yoon was better suited for it.

The others started talking about the cards they wanted when the voice of the faceless female narrator suddenly boomed out. “First, let’s see the guest.”

They all turned toward the screen, greeted by a professionally edited promo. He didn’t actually expect the cast would be seeing the final cut for TV, but it was all there… including the music. The list narrowed down instantly for him because the background music was the instrumental to their song HIDE&SEEK. The big question was which member of ASTRO it’d be.

The view lazily drifted through a café that looked similar to the one in the Baby set before it finally settled on the next guest, who was turned away from the camera. Just from the build, the height and the hair, he knew it was Moonbin. He leaned back into his seat, much to the surprise of those sitting around him.

Eun-ji was right in the middle of asking him if he recognized the person when Moonbin turned around with one of his signature ear-to-ear grins. Ji-yoon, who was sitting next to him, yelled and tapped his shoulder. “How come you didn’t tell us about this?”

“I didn’t know!” He had no idea when the representatives had even come for Moonbin. It was a short clip, but everything had to be filmed and edited at some point in time. All eyes were on him, still utterly disbelieving.

“I was recently introduced to this series by the other members of ASTRO, but when I heard Eunwoo was coming on I just had to join in as well.” He looked down into his lap, trying his hardest not to fling himself off of his chair violently. ASTRO was his family and they all supported eachother, but they tended more to the side of mischief than traditional support, Sanha especially. Moonbin’s earnest praise was killing him with embarrassment. “He’s someone I look up to a lot, so I hope he’ll help me with the case.”

It cut to Moonbin looking over the cards, his dog-like grin replaced with his cat-like tight lipped serious mouth. His hand hovered over the resort owner card for quite some time before he suddenly changed his mind and grabbed the ski instructor card. He couldn’t tell what Moonbin was thinking just from his expression when he read the card- after all, Eunwoo himself would’ve reacted the exact same way he did if he got a role that wasn’t the criminal.

Everybody else expected a lot more from him, though. As soon as the clip ended Ji-hoon jumped at the chance to tease him. “You know you can stop lying now, right? The case is over! How long were you planning on hiding Moonbin from us?”

He gave a heavy sigh, disapproving, but he was far more excited to hear about Moonbin joining the show. If he could play his cards right, he could end up not only getting a character that wasn’t the literal worst thing ever, but get one that was linked to Moonbin. His acting would be a lot more grounded and he’d have someone to play off of rather than an estranged wife and a dead body that he once loved.

He ignored what Ji-hoon said and made a wild grab for the card he thought would get along the best with Moonbin’s ski instructor, which was pro skier. The others protested quite loudly since the detective usually shelled out the cards, but since Ji-yoon was the detective she gave him the card instantly anyway. Thank god he met and got to know her first. He would’ve gone crazy had he not gotten the right card, though he had no guarantee the one he wanted would even work out the way he planned.

He popped the card open and read the card from the envelope instead of pulling it out this time. Yep, he was still self-conscious about that. The filming was already over but he made sure to read the rest of the card to make sure that he was capable of at least claiming some sort of connection to Moonbin. Turns out, he didn’t need to look very far. His character was the secret gay lover of Moonbin’s.

It was pretty ridiculous. Then again, back in Season 2 they had Ji-yoon playing a transsexual woman, so it wasn’t as if JTBC was a stranger to progressive ideas. There were also stranger characters that popped up now and again, from Hani’s Pythagoras inspired fortune teller to Yang’s natural man, one with nature, who ended up being a hacker in the episode he just starred in. Suddenly a secret gay couple didn’t seem so ridiculous in comparison.

That did raise an important question, though. The small cards were bare bones information, meant to tell you just two things: if you were the culprit or not and who you’d be interacting with the most. There were still big cards with all of specifics that they had to be mailed eventually. Would Moonbin even be interested in being tied to him throughout the program?

Paranoia got the best of him and the first thing he did when he came back to the dorm was to look for Moonbin. Moonbin hadn’t gone anywhere or snuck off to shoot something again, which saved him a lot of effort. His roommate was just sleeping on the top bunk as he always did.

Now Moonbin could be scary if someone caught him at the wrong time. Sanha was almost always hit for being cheeky or annoying, most often by Jinjin. Even Sanha, who never learned from his mistakes, avoided angering Moonbin. The nervous excitement Eunwoo felt, however, couldn’t be saved until tomorrow. They had performances throughout the rest of the week that would just distract them from the upcoming filming that would take place after the week; one day after the episode he was on would be broadcasted.

He carefully put his hand on Moonbin’s shoulder and shook, hoping that Moonbin wouldn’t be too pissed about the untimely awakening. Moonbin awoke with a start and rubbed his eyes at the sight of Eunwoo. “Is it that time already? Geez, I didn’t sleep so well last night.”

“See, the thing is… um, it isn’t actually time.” He cleared his throat and crossed his arms, trying not to come off as flustered but failing. “I just got back from the set.”

“Oh!” Moonbin grinned and sat up. “How was it? It wasn’t too difficult for you, right?”

He rolled his eyes and gave a hefty sigh. “You’ll probably figure it out when the show airs, but- Hey! This is the completely wrong topic. I didn’t even realize that you were approached for the show. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because it would ruin the surprise.”

He felt the strong urge to hit Moonbin, but it subsided when he stopped and considered the situation. He could’ve worded it better, but Moonbin did have a legitimate reason for keeping the surprise; it would make for a better reaction. In that case it was really the fault of the producers. He huffed and sat on the bottom bunk.

There was shuffling from above him and he watched as Moonbin descended the ladder so they could talk face to face again. He would’ve sat up again if Moonbin had just said something, but whatever. Moonbin was already sitting next to him, close. Too close.

He gulped and looked away, more willing to look at the barren wall than question why Moonbin sidled up to him. Their arms were touching. He nervously turned his gaze back to Moonbin, who was staring at him with a soft smile. Oh god. Whenever ASTRO did anything, he was always the one pointed out as the handsome one despite the fact that Moonbin was also stunning. Even the bed hair and slightly tired look lent themselves well toward him.

“What card did you pick?” Moonbin said.

“Pro skier.”

Silence settled over them and Eunwoo took the time to think about it. How did Moonbin feel? Happy? Tolerant? Disgusted? He didn’t have to ask to know that Moonbin knew about the relationship they’d be having on the show. It was right there on the card.

Eunwoo had always hoped that Moonbin was gay because he didn’t see any other option. South Korea was still quite conservative, which meant gay dating as a whole was rare and furthermore virtually unheard of on the idol scene. If he met someone that wasn’t part of the industry, they could easily expose him by themselves or fans could get evidence and everything would burn down to the ground. There was no such risk if he got together with Moonbin.

The biggest piece of evidence Eunwoo had for a potential relationship was a question Moonbin was given during an interview, about who he’d date if he were a girl. He answered Eunwoo because he was both handsome and caring. It gave slightly mixed signals, but he’d take whatever he could get. It was always like this. Crushing on guys he could easily have gotten if they weren’t straight. Now it was bumped up to desperately clinging to the last hope for a decent relationship with one of his group members.

He hadn’t realized he spaced out until Moonbin was waving his hand in front of his face. He muttered a small apology and fled the room, catching only a small glimpse of Moonbin’s disappointed face before he left. He just needed to think for a little bit. That wasn’t rude, right? It all boiled down to sorting out feelings he didn’t really understand and may never be addressed. Totally normal.

For the first two days after the encounter he started avoiding Moonbin when he could. Since they shared a room, got styled together and were constricted to the same rooms at the venue it was virtually impossible to be outside Moonbin’s presence. He settled for the next best thing: focusing on the other members and limiting whatever interactions he had with Moonbin.

It hurt not being able to dote on Moonbin like he usually did, but every time he saw Moonbin his head got fuzzy and he was reminded of the show and he had no idea what to do about it. Thinking made it worse. Ignoring it like he was made it slightly more tolerable at the cost of estranging himself from Moonbin. It was stupid, but he didn’t have a reasonable alternative.

That stint didn’t survive past two days because the role cards finally arrived with the information, forcing them to interact with eachother in anticipation of the show. He didn’t know what to expect, but Moonbin seemed relieved just to be in his company again. It was a relief in of itself that Moonbin didn’t take any serious offense to the two day long avoiding. Eunwoo didn’t know how to process the fact that he was going to pretend to be in a relationship with Moonbin when that was exactly what he wanted.

It turned out that Moonbin had absolutely no objection to it. In fact, he was the first person to suggest that they practice dropping subtle hints within their acting that there was more going on. Eunwoo was ready to drop dead on the spot but held his act together with an uncomfortable smile.

It was so hard not to blurt out all of the feelings he’d been harboring deep within his heart since before their debut when Moonbin was holding him. He didn’t mean to break the immersion and he certainly wanted to improve on the acting, but he kept looking nervously at the door. It was partially because his face felt like it was melting off, but mostly because he was afraid someone like Sanha would walk in suddenly and yell that they were hugging.

Moonbin seemed to understand and locked the door, the implications of which struck Eunwoo as soon as he heard the lock turning. If his face was melting earlier, it was gone now. He couldn’t feel it. The rest of the practice went much in the same vein, Moonbin wholly serious about the matter while Eunwoo followed along awkwardly.

Despite Eunwoo’s shortcomings Moonbin was nothing short of persistent. He not only didn’t mind the role he was given or what he was doing with Eunwoo, he was all too eager to take time out of his day to help his less than able partner. More time and more getting used to the idea of Moonbin as more than a friend meant that Eunwoo was able to refine his skills eventually. It didn’t matter that they had silly names like Instructor Bin and Pro Eunwoo, the intimate moments that they shared under those names did. He saw how much Moonbin was working to perfect the act so he decided to respond in kind.

The fantasy relationship, while a focal point to both of their characters and definitely the best part about practice, wasn’t all that Pro Eunwoo was about. Since the setting was a ski resort, the excuse for a limited pool of suspects this time around was a snow storm that pushed out anybody who didn’t need to be at the resort at that time. His reason for sticking around was that he was part of a competition that was supposed to be held at the resort and he refused to leave on the off chance that the snow storm subsided.

His role was reasonable this time around, a highly competitive skier who, at first glance, collected trophies to impress other people rather than truly caring about the sport. However, his true intention behind the trophy gathering was to impress his coach Instructor Bin, a tradition he carried out ever since they fell in love after the very first trophy. It was cheesy, but cheesy enough to be genuinely sweet. One of the other cast members probably had a horrible and/or annoying character trait to balance out the sweetness.

Aside from his connection to Instructor Bin, his most important connection was to the victim, Tan Ji-won. The victim was a crazed fan of his that regularly sent him love letters and followed him to competitions. One of his rings was stolen before the murder took place and his primary suspect was the victim. Obviously Eunwoo didn’t know where the ring actually was, but it was going to be in an incriminating spot- whether it incriminated him or Keeper Eun-ji was what he’d have to look out for.

The less important links consisted of Manager Jang who constantly wanted to suck up to him, which meant that the employees underneath him, Lift Yang and Keeper Eun-ji, also did their best for him. Even though the resort didn’t handle room service, Eun-ji was forced to do it specially for Pro Eunwoo, while Yang was obligated to let him to the front of the line whenever he went out onto the slopes.

All in all, he had a pretty solid character who didn’t have much reason to murder. The motive would inevitably be to get rid of the fan, but even idols with sasaeng horror stories wouldn’t go so far as to kill someone over an invasion of privacy.

No matter how much he asked Moonbin, he wasn’t able to learn anything more about Instructor Bin. Had it been any other member he would have discerned instantly that they were the criminal, but with Moonbin it was a lot more ambiguous. Moonbin was a person of principle when it came to things like these, otherwise he would have told Eunwoo about the invitation far before he went onto the show.

By the time the day of filming rolled around, they were embodying Pro Eunwoo and Instructor Bin down to the little touches they shared and looks they gave eachother. It still made Eunwoo’s heart pound, but he had one resolution that calmed him- he would ask Moonbin out after the filming. There was no way they didn’t have something between them.

He was going to show Moonbin how great a boyfriend he could be.