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Birth name: Boo Seung Kwan (부승관)

Date of birth: 16 January 1998 (Aged 20)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Student studying Drama Studies at Chugye University for the Arts

Criminal status: Identity fraud and identity theft.

Background history: Seungkwan grew up in a relatively wealthy middle-class household, and has two siblings, both 4 years older than him. They both were very academically gifted, whereas Seungkwan lacked behind, though not by lack of trying. His sister became a lawyer and his brother became a doctor. His parents displayed evident disappointment and shame towards him for not measuring up against his siblings’ shadows, and this led to him being a very volatile child and deviant teenager. His best friend from childhood Wonwoo helped him cope. Wonwoo gave him the final supportive push he needed and he decided to completely go against his parents’ wishes to enrol to study his passion, Drama Studies in a lower-class university, though he didn’t really care about where it was.

He struggled a lot with his own identity, especially he came to terms with his very strong, undeniable romantic attraction to someone at school, who happened to be a boy. Despite his outstanding social skills, he couldn’t bring himself to begin a friendship or relationship with him in fear of rejection, whether romantic or familial. Seungkwan quickly discovered he had a talent for imitating people made increasingly obvious thanks to his phenomenal variety skills, so he began copying other people’s identities online with Wonwoo’s help at around age 16 for something fun to do to take his mind away from his lingering personal struggles.

He transferred these skills to real life too, starting to imitating people he observed in the street or in a certain scenario, using his talents in costume and makeup to fully transform from Seungkwan to whoever he needed to be. This made for a deadly duo with Wonwoo as they were able to commit total fraud, Wonwoo supplying the documentation needed and Seungkwan carrying out the social aspects. They quickly became proficient at their crimes, almost scarily quick. After Wonwoo -and by extension Seungkwan- received a job proposal with a criminal group, Seungkwan convinced him to join since it would be a completely new experience and they could expand their skills to become more successful.

Personality traits: Emotional, though more than capable of being stoic when the occasion calls for it. He is resentful of the success of his siblings and the way his parents treat him as if he is worthless. Because of this, he has a poor image of self-worth. He rarely shows indications of this to people but has frequently had outbursts of sadness and anxiety to Wonwoo. He is incredibly motivated and determined to make something of himself and to do better than his siblings. He would do anything to be considered talented and this means he has trouble considering the consequences of his actions. Attaching to people is very easy to him, but these friendships are rarely deep and meaningful. When they are, they are overwhelmingly intense, and this can make him quite possessive.

Currently known associates:

  • Jeon Wonwoo – Childhood friend, partner in crime. Has been friends with Seungkwan for a long time, and Wonwoo provides him with the identities he wants to copy. He trusts Wonwoo with any of his secrets… Well, most of them.

Aliases/s: YELLOW, Seungkwan.

Legal hobbies: Acting, drawing, costume design, makeup, singing.

 

Birth name: Choi Seungcheol (최승철)

Date of birth: 08 August 1995 (Aged 23)

Hometown: Daegu, South Korea

Job status: Security guard

Criminal status: Contract killer, murderer.

Background history: Seungcheol grew up in a very average family with his father, mother, and two older brothers, though none were particularly close to anyone. He was academically average, more invested in the physical side of the curriculum than anything. He went on to do Sports Science at a university. When he was 19 he got a job as a security guard at a local club to support himself and his studies at first, but then quickly realised he liked the feeling of power and authority that it gave him, even if it was over drunkards and druggies belonging to the lower caste of society.

He decided to join an illegal underground boxing ring to try and capture this feeling, which is where he discovered his talents for fighting. After a huge fire burnt down the club he worked at, he caught the person responsible; a man by the name of Joshua. Joshua offered him money to help him, praising Seungcheol’s physical prowess and claiming he needed his help to keep him from drinking himself to death. He took up this opportunity with ease, mainly because he was now out of a job, and they became surprisingly good friends.

Joshua wasn’t the last person to request Seungcheol’s physical help. Seungcheol set himself up as a sort of thug-for-hire at first, almost stumbling into the world of contract killers. With these sorts of jobs, he became wealthy very quickly. His strength and intelligence weren’t completely unfailing, though, as killing people is a lot easier said than done. Joshua informed him about an apartment of a drug-dealer, whereby specialised weapons were supposedly made and stored. After some convincing, Seungcheol attempted to break in and steal some. However, he didn’t anticipate the traps that were wired up to the doors, and he received a glancing shot to the stomach by one. Thankfully, the bullet did not snag anything of vital importance, only tearing through a few inches of skin and muscle, although it was dangerously close to shattering a rib. Jeonghan and Jihoon, the owners of the apartment, patched him up and nursed him back to health, none of them willing to jeopardise their identities by alerting the police or hospitals. Seungcheol became surprisingly close to Jeonghan in particular, perhaps due in part to him being his main visitor, and after a few weeks was offered a job which he hastily accepted. It was clear to him that he would be a far better killer if he had people of various skills around him that he was not as adept at, and he liked Jeonghan. Jihoon too, of course.  After inviting Joshua, they both moved in a large house with Jeonghan and Jihoon, starting a criminal organisation together. Soon after this, they worked together on their first assignment to burn down and eliminate sexual predators residing within the orphanage Joshua stayed at as a child. He saw this as a huge success and decided that vigilante justice would be a good motivator for them.

Personality traits: Upfront and laid-back. Seungcheol is quite caring towards others, and he views eliminating people as more of a ‘means to an end’ than doing it to be deliberately malicious. He enjoys working with others and thinks building strong connections is very important. Money is central to why he became and still is a criminal, though after being with Joshua for a while, he was convinced that they could do good in the world through vigilante justices. He also is very determined and motivated to do better and improve himself. Having a lifestyle filled with adrenaline and danger is something that appeals to him, since it is a huge contrast from his childhood. He trusts people quite easily, but this does not mean he is naïve or gullible. He has a talent for reading people’s personalities and seeing their true intentions very well. Because of the way that he conducts himself outside of missions, he finds himself becoming a point of advice and support, although he doesn’t quite understand why.

Currently known associates:

  • Hong Jisoo – Friend, Housemate. He caught Joshua burning down the club where he worked and took up a bribe from him. After this, they became close friends and Joshua helped pave the way for him to become a contract killer.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Employer, Best friend, Housemate. Jeonghan nursed Seungcheol back to health after he was shot and they bonded over their life experiences as they waited for him to heal. Seungcheol found that he cared for Jeonghan and so was more than happy to accept a job within Jihoon and Jeonghan’s organisation. He hastily accepted and to this day has no regrets. He sees Jeonghan as an invaluable friend that he trusts fully.
  • Lee Jihoon – Employer (partially), Friend, housemate. After being shot by one of his traps, they managed to awkwardly move past the event and become friends. He knows that Jeonghan trusts him, so will trust him to an extent as well. Seungcheol also admires his intelligence, and Jihoon provides him with weaponry that he may need, none of which have failed him when out in the field.

Aliases: COUPS, Seungcheol.

Legal hobbies: Exercise, various sports, clubbing.

 

Birth name: Hong Jisoo (홍지수)

Date of birth: 30 December 1995 (Aged 23)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Waiter

Criminal status: Drug-mule, pyromaniac, arsonist, murderer.

Background history: Joshua grew up in an orphanage with his two sisters, both 3 years younger than him, Elyssa and Marie. It was a poor orphanage, where the workers there cared very little about the children. Elyssa, Marie and Joshua were no different. Since they had no known living relatives and therefore no one to check on them, they grew up in horrendous conditions. This meant Joshua had to steal money and food for them to survive and adequately subside on, as the meagre offerings from their ‘home’ were nowhere near enough. The few times he got caught led to beatings and other cruel punishments, which he tried to avoid by staying in school for longer.

When Joshua was about 14, he found out that his sisters were being sexually abused. Unable to do anything about it without any repercussions falling on him and the treatment of his sisters worsening in retaliation, he bided his time, collecting enough money by selling drugs for a local drug trafficking gang and then when he reached age 16, he rented an apartment for him and his sisters in an effort to escape. Whilst anywhere was an improvement from their previous residence, the area was still far from a reputable one. Even so, the change of location didn’t manage to heal what had been wrought and his sisters never truly recovered from what they had undergone. Joshua continued to sell drugs for money, unable to find a job that payed enough to give the trafficking up. He became dependent on alcohol at age 19 to try and numb away the realisation of what a shit-show his life had become, often binge drinking at any bars and clubs that hadn’t already barred him from their premises.

His sister Marie killed herself when she was 19 and Joshua was 22. This should have been the awful wake-up call he needed to get himself out of the gutter and be proactive in life rather than trying to drown his woes in a bottle of alcohol, but it actually served to have the opposite impact.

After a drunken event, Joshua developed a fascination for fire and began feeding it by burning down old buildings. His relationship with Elyssa, his last remaining family, declined as she tried in vain to get him to stop drinking. He wanted to stop, but felt unable to, so as a solution he burnt down the club he frequented in an attempt to force the habit to stop. However, he got caught by the security guard Seungcheol, very nearly ending up in a fight he knew he wouldn’t be able to walk out alive from. At his wits end, he offered Seungcheol money to help him kick the habit, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to physically overpower Seungcheol to get to the alcohol he so desperately hated. Surprisingly Seungcheol agreed, and they became close friends. Joshua managed to stop drinking and his acts of arson became less spontaneous and more purposeful. He also got a job as a waiter in a restaurant.

Feeling as though the pitiful amount of money he had given his friend wasn’t enough to convey his thanks, he divulged a piece of information he had heard through the gang grapevine: there were two guys with stash of unique weaponry worth thousands living not far from him, if Seungcheol was willing to try and steal them. After Seungcheol’s burglary attempt went south when he got caught and subsequently injured trespassing in Jihoon and Jeonghan’s home, Seungcheol convinced Joshua to work in conjunction with them, to form a small but powerful group of criminals. With their help, they successfully burnt down the orphanage -their first mission together- and killed those who were responsible for hurting him and his sisters.

Joshua moved in with the other guys, but regularly visited his sister who still lived in their old apartment. Due to his criminal career and his now very stable funds, he pays for her rent and groceries, as well as anything he feels would be nice for her. He prefers to keep her separate from the members since she provides a little piece of sanctuary for him to retreat to for his own sanity.

Personality traits: Short-tempered. Joshua seems very calm and collected to most people initially, but the smallest thing can set him off in a rage. He is known to be extremely violent and sadistic when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He is opinionated and likes to have his ideas listened to. He does not trust anyone and is incredibly suspicious of even his closest friends. His goals are to protect his sister, and he is a firm believer in vigilante justice. Being around Seungcheol, Joshua and Jeonghan has made him more understanding and careful with what he says and does. To most strangers, Joshua appears incredibly warm-hearted and loving, which means people trust him quickly and never suspect him of anything.

Currently known associates:

  • Choi Seungcheol – Friend, Housemate. Seungcheol was the security guard who caught Joshua committing arson, but decided to forgo his usual response of violent retaliation to help the desperate guy. They became close friends and now live together with Jeonghan and Jihoon. He is the only person he trusts, to an extent.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Acquaintance, Employer, Housemate. Once Seungcheol introduced them after the trespassing/shooting fiasco, they agreed to help each other. Joshua doesn’t trust Jeonghan, uncomfortable with him being the Leader and having jurisdiction over him and how much Seungcheol seems to like him.
  • Lee Jihoon – Acquaintance, Employer (partially), Housemate. Seungcheol introduced him to Jihoon, after which they agreed to help each other. Talks to Jihoon frequently about explosives. That is the main extent of their interactions. Joshua is ambivalent towards Jihoon, he neither likes nor dislikes him. He recognises the man makes sound judgements, yet still doesn’t trust him.

Aliases/s: SHUA, Joshua, Jisoo.

Legal hobbies: Unknown

 

Birth name: Jeon Wonwoo (전원우)

Date of birth: 17 July 1998 (Aged 20)

Hometown: Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea

Job status: University student, studying Computer Science at Seoul National University (SNU)

Criminal status: Hacker, fraudster.

Background history: He grew up in a middle-class home, raised only by his mother as an only child. He moved to Seoul when he was 4 years old. He met Seungkwan soon after, who has been his friend since he started elementary school. He did amazingly well at school and always achieved the highest grades in most of his classes. Subsequently, he got into a top-end university to study one of his greatest passions and strengths: computer science.

Despite his academic achievements, he has never had many friends. Seungkwan was the only one who involved him in his life, constantly trying to get Wonwoo to open up and improve his admittedly deplorable social skills. He spent most of his time in his room on his computer, and Seungkwan has to physically drag him out every so often to get a breath of fresh air.

At around age 14 he created his online hacker persona, ENIGMA. At first, he only did small things such as hacking into people’s social media accounts for a bit of harmless fun until eventually, after becoming more confident in his abilities around age 17, he began committing online fraud, this going together nicely with Seungkwan and his foray into identity theft. To him, it was merely a hobby, but when Seungkwan suggested that they interfere with large corporations (criminal and otherwise) to gain money, he decided to test himself. He frequently began hacking into criminal and non-criminal databases, leaving threatening messages and blackmailing money out of people and companies.

After being contacted by someone the username WOOZI, he was offered a job as a hacker to work for a criminal corporation based in Seoul. He didn’t like the idea at first, but Seungkwan convinced him it would be fun and a good way to expand his skills. So he agreed, and WOOZI, who later on introduced himself properly as Jihoon, became a close online friend. He still, however, didn’t give him his real name.

Personality traits: Shy, quiet, reserved, and he rarely (if ever) opens up to people. He keeps his problems to himself and has trouble demonstrating empathy towards even his close friends. Despite his tendency to be shy, he has great confidence in his abilities and wants to be admired for his talents. He is quite suspicious of new people and becomes frustrated quite easily when he isn’t perfect at something straight away.

Currently known associates:

  • Yoon Jeonghan – Employer. He has not yet met with him in person but knows from Jihoon that he is very powerful.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Wonwoo has been best friends with Seungkwan since they were children. They are complete opposites in terms of personality, but this helps rather than hinders their friendship. Seungkwan encourages him to keep doing what he enjoys and Wonwoo stabilises his eccentric tendencies. He also provides him with identities to steal, as well as the necessary information about anyone that Seungkwan wants to know about. Seungkwan calls him his ‘personal google’. Seungkwan is the one who convinced Wonwoo to join the criminal network.
  • Lee Jihoon – Jihoon is the one who tracked Wonwoo down and offered him the job to work within Jeonghan’s organisation. Jihoon is unaware of Wonwoo’s real name at this current time, and refers to him as ENIGMA since they have not met in person. They speak a lot online, with Wonwoo helping Jihoon learn how to hack better.

Aliases/s: ENIGMA, Wonwoo.

Legal hobbies: Playing video games, watching movies, watching anime, making online games.

 

Birth name: Lee Jihoon (이지훈)

Date of birth: 22 November 1996 (Aged 22)

Hometown: Busan, South Korea

Job status: Mechanic

Criminal status: Makes explosives, modifies and uses weapons illegally, minor hacking.

Background history: Jihoon never knew his mother growing up, only ever living with his father as an only child. His mother left the family when he was barely 18 months old, but no reason was ever given to him as to why. His father had a very typically masculine ‘macho’ personality, something that his son clearly didn’t inherit. Instead, Jihoon was very intelligent and showed a strong interest in mechanics and engineering from a young age, although this went unnoticed by his father. At age 8, Jihoon and his father moved to Seoul. His father got a new job and began dating. This meant he was rarely home and therefore Jihoon had the house to himself.

At about age 14, his interest in weaponry and explosives sharpened and he began making small bombs from school chemicals that he stole from his classroom and kitchen supplies. Once he met Jeonghan, his often-empty house acted as a refuge for his troubled friend and Jihoon helped him kick his demons to the curb-they would likely never disappear entirely- and eventually get back into school.

At age 19, Jihoon made the decision to move in to live with Jeonghan, the temptation of freedom to experiment with more things being a major deciding factor. He got a job as a mechanic and Jeonghan provided him with chemicals, weapons, explosives, anything that he wanted. After he found out that his father was tracking his phone, incensed from his son’s perceived ‘abandonment’, he became very paranoid, escalating until eventually, he had multiple laptops, phones and other electronics. He also set traps all over their apartment in case of any uninvited visitors.

One night, Seungcheol attempted to break in, a decision which ended in him getting shot, though it was more of a deep bullet glance than an actual bullet penetration would. Jihoon and Jeonghan made the decision to keep him housed at theirs until he had healed after they had discussed Seungcheol’s motives and reached a temporary agreement that all three of them were satisfied with. Eventually, they offered Seungcheol and his associate, Joshua, to be part of a criminal gang.

After coming into repeated contact with and becoming intrigued by an online hacker with the username ENIGMA on a well-known illegal networking service used for illegal job acquirements, he was able to track him down. He offered him a job within their organisation, which ENIGMA eventually and hesitatingly agreed to. He spoke regularly to ENIGMA, even managing to extract a promise from the man of him helping improve Jihoon’s hacking skills. As well as this, Seungcheol and Joshua agreed to move into a larger house with Jihoon and Jeonghan.

Personality traits: Straight-forward and direct. Jihoon has a relatively simple personality. He enjoys what he does and likes when things challenge him. He gets bored easily, so having new things to experiment with are a must. He keeps his emotions very quiet, and never shows them. If anything, he shows his emotions through his inventions: bombs act as outbursts of anger and frustration, guns act as demonstrations of precision and focus, etcetera. He gets paranoid very easily and will do anything to make sure he has control over situations. This means he plans everything meticulously, down to the last detail. Strategies are a particularly strong point of his, making him a great and invaluable asset the group.

Currently known associates:

  • Yoon Jeonghan – His childhood friend, Employer, roommate. Have been friends for a long time. Jihoon trusts Jeonghan with everything, and he provides Jihoon with any illegal materials he needs. They work together when coming up with plans. Jihoon respects Jeonghan massively for his success and is happy to help as long as he gets to do what he enjoys.
  • ENIGMA – Employee (partially), friend (partially), an online hacker based in Seoul. After Jihoon offered him a job and he took it, they speak almost every day. ENIGMA also helps him learn the basics of hacking.
  • Hong Jisoo – Employee (partially), roommate. Was introduced by Seungcheol and moved in with them. They have barely exchanged a handful of words, he finds Joshua quite intimidating due to his dual-personalities and predictableness.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Employee (partially), friend, roommate. After one of his traps accidentally shot him, Jihoon made an effort to make sure there was no hard feelings once they had established that they were going to become associates. They speak often, and Jihoon respects how upfront he is about his work. Knowing how Jeonghan has a knack for knowing who to trust, Jihoon is willing to trust Seungcheol to a certain extent too.

Aliases/s: WOOZI, Jihoon, ‘mastermind’

Legal hobbies: Playing video games, cooking, designing cars, drawing.

 

Birth name: Yoon Jeonghan (윤정한)

Date of birth: 04 October 1995 (Aged 23)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Works within international trading: Unspecified

Criminal status: Leader, Fraudster, drug-dealer, transporting illegal goods

Background history: Jeonghans parent’s died when he was 5 years old. Consequently, his older brother was made his legal guardian. Living in a very poor area of Seoul, his brother quickly got into drugs and other illegal activity in order to provide for both of them. Jeonghan was a drug mule as a child stopped going to school very frequently, and was treated terribly amongst his brother’s friends. This treatment led to Jeonghan having a heroin addiction in his teenage years, a crutch easily accessible due to the copious amounts he would regularly encounter, in order to distract himself from his situation. However, after meeting his friend Jihoon, things changed for the better. He returned to school, and with Jihoon’s support, was able to stop taking drugs after enduring the terrible withdrawals. Despite him still selling drugs and living within his toxic family environment, he redirected his effort into achieving very good grades and soon discovered that had a talent for maths and finances.

When Jeonghan was 19, his brother was killed in a drug trade gone wrong. After inheriting his money and criminal position, he continued his brother’s drug dealing business. He also moved into an apartment with Jihoon. Over a few months, he built up more criminal connections all around the world and started to import not only drugs but also weaponry and other illegal items into Seoul. His skills in manipulation and trickery served him well, allowing him to expand his brother’s previous connections, and be regarded as a feared adversary but also a respected accomplice within the criminal society. He became known as ANGEL, due to his birthday, as well as his extremely attractive appearance. His associates found this name ironic, so it stuck.

After Seungcheol was shot attempting to break into their apartment to steal their personalised weaponry after being tipped off by his friend, Joshua, Jeonghan kept Seungcheol there whilst he healed after they came to a mutual understanding, as well as a realisation that Seungcheol could be of use to his and Jihoon’s plans to expand the criminal organisation to fields neither of them was particularly adept in: violence and chaos. The few weeks that Seungcheol was staying with them, they became surprisingly close. Jeonghan and Jihoon formally met Joshua (Seungcheol’s associate) soon after and together, they conducted their first joint mission as a group of four: targeting a sexually abusive orphanage. After their successful large-scale crime, they decided to stay together. To do this, they moved out of their now too-small apartment from before and rented a larger house as their ‘home base’.

Personality traits: Assertive and competitive. Because of his early experiences and the dangerous environment, he refuses to let people take advantage of him, thus he can be quite intimidating. He is very driven to succeed, and although this means he can be stubborn and narrow-minded at times, it makes him a very motivational and determined leader. He can successfully separate his personal life from his work life, an ability that proves useful as he is adept at using his charisma and flirtatious nature to the benefit his own agenda. Manipulation is a key strategy in getting what he wants, and he will even go as far as to delve into people’s pasts to use it against them. Although he opens up to very few people, once he does he is kind and laid-back, though maintains his snarky and almost sadistic humour. He wants to have a successful business, but also wants to try and do good with his power. Getting revenge and justice for people that can’t help themselves, like he couldn’t when he was a child, sounds satisfactory.

Currently known associates:

  • Lee Jihoon – Childhood friend, roommate. He works with Jihoon closely, providing him the equipment to make and modify his weapons. He opens up to the most Jihoon and would say Jihoon is the only person he fully trusts. Jihoon acts as a meditator and soundboard for Jeonghan, keeping him calm in stressful situations and being someone he can rely to talk to whenever he needs to verbally discuss issues.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Employee, housemate. He met Seungcheol after he had broken into their apartment. He was the one who nursed Seungcheol back to health after being shot, and offered him a place within their criminal organisation. He considers Seungcheol a close friend, but is unsure as to whether he trusts him or not.
  • Hong Jisoo – Employee, housemate. He met Joshua through Seungcheol. They worked together to take down the orphanage. They aren’t quite friends, more acquaintances, and Jeonghan could not say that he trusts him.

Aliases/s: Leader, ANGEL, Jeonghan.

Legal hobbies: Cooking, watching movies, writing.

Chapter Text

17/03/2017 – Friday

[WOOZI created a new group chat with ENIGMA]

[WOOZI has added ANGEL to the group chat]

[WOOZI has added SHUA to the group chat]

[WOOZI has added COUPS to the group chat]

[SHUA is logged on]

[WOOZI is logged on]

[ANGEL is logged on]

[COUPS is logged on]

[ENIGMA is logged on]

[21:09]

WOOZI: So, now that we’re all here. Shall we talk about making this an official organisation?

WOOZI: Also, for obvious reasons, don’t use anyone’s real names here.

ENIGMA: Of course. Care to elaborate on this ‘organisation’?

WOOZI: I will do, but first you should add your friend to the chat. Does he have an account?

ENIGMA: He doesn’t have one yet. Hang on a second.

COUPS: Hey, how old are you and your friend?

SHUA: Does it matter? According to WOOZI, this guy is an amazing hacker. His age is irrelevant. His skills and abilities are all that we need to concern ourselves with.

COUPS: Yeah, but I’m just saying. I’m not a huge fan of babysitting, and I can’t imagine anyone else would be that thrilled of the prospect either.

ANGEL: You’ll find out soon enough, but SHUA is right, it doesn’t matter. Not for our purposes.

[ENIGMA has added YELLOW to the group chat]

[YELLOW is logged on]

WOOZI: That’s a really weird code name, but alright.

YELLOW: You think mine is weird? Oh please. What in the world does yours mean?

ENIGMA: …

WOOZI: … Fair enough.

ANGEL: Shall we continue?

COUPS: Yellow. What do you do, then?

YELLOW: Identity theft, fraud, money laundering, stuff like that. You?

ANGEL: We’ll have time for introductions later, let us concentrate on the task at hand.

ENIGMA: And what exactly is the ‘task at hand’?

WOOZI: Since we plan to work closely together, I am proposing the idea of living together, too. It would allow us to more proficiently organise things, as well as build a solid foundation of trust between all of the members. Creating a cohesive unit like that would provide some much-needed stability and trustworthiness, two things that are severely remiss in our respective… occupations, and would be very beneficial to have.

YELLOW: Living together?? At least take me out on a date first! ;)

COUPS: Haha, I like this guy^

ENIGMA: Are you asking me where we live IRL? Where do you live currently?

WOOZI: COUPS, ANGEL, SHUA and I already reside together, in Seoul. That is why we thought that it would be best if we all could. It has proved to be very advantageous so far.

ENGIMA: You don’t know where I am based though, do you?

WOOZI: No, but judging by the companies you have interfered with, you are at least in South Korea.

ENIGMA: Why should we trust you?

ANGEL: Surely we could ask the same thing? You know our real names; we don’t know yours.

Wonwoo sighed heavily, looking up from his laptop at his friend who was sat adjacent from him. The room was dark; the main sources of light coming from either computer monitors, laptops and any stubborn rays of sunlight that had managed to escape from the gaps of the shuttered windows.

Seungkwan was sat cross-legged in the centre of his bed, a soft, cotton blue blanket draped across his shoulders, and an orange ice-lolly in-between his lips. He looked relaxed and comfortable, something which was understandable when considering that he had stayed over at Wonwoos house for the weekend.

Wonwoo stared at him. “We can’t do this, Kwannie.”

His mind was whizzing with thoughts. How could he have gotten himself into this? The mere thought of seeing these criminals in real life was unimaginable and – honestly – absolutely terrifying.

Seungkwan could sense the anxiety and tension in the room. Prior to this, convincing Wonwoo to even consider doing basic, harmless online illegal activities was a huge task. Hesitating a little, he used his persuasion skills as best he could. “Wonwoo, this is such a good opportunity. Think about all of the good that we could do! The money that we earn from this could be given to people who need it. Decent, deserving people. What is the harm in that?”

In response, Wonwoo rubbed the back of his neck with his hand, and shook his head in hesitation. “No one knows what I look like. You are the only person who ever talks to me, how am I supposed to speak to strangers in this sort of messed up situation? Especially criminals! They’ve probably killed people, oh my god.”

The laptop pinged loudly, interrupting his nervous tirade and only exasperated him further.

Shuffling to the end of the bed, Seungkwan gently put his hand on Wonwoos knee, attempting to comfort him. “Listen to me, Wonwoo. Think about it. By doing this, you could finally get the recognition that you rightfully deserve for your talents! Weren’t you telling me just yesterday that you wished you could pursue a career in this? That is exactly what they are offering!” He speaks softly, putting gentle emphasis on his words in order to show his sincerity.

Three more pings were heard from the laptop. Feeling the pressure, Wonwoo sighed. Seungkwan was right, he did want this. In fact, it was exactly what he had dreamt of. He sighed again, looking at his friend who had just finished the remainder of his orange lolly and subsequently tossed it into the bin nearby.

He stared at Seungkwan and attempted to read the expression on his face. They had been friends for so long, and Wonwoo knew that Seungkwan would never do anything to hurt or betray him. Seungkwan was usually right about things that would be good for him, and he couldn’t help but feel that if he were to make this decision alone, he would be too fearful of any possible repercussions. After thinking this, he gained courage from Seungkwans words. “Seungkwan, are you sure about this? Are we really going through with it?” Nervously, he fiddled with his fingers, whilst watching Seungkwans expression for comfort.

Seungkwan nodded excitedly and gestured towards the laptop, which had just pinged twice more.

WOOZI: Well? What do you say?

ANGEL: …

WOOZI: We could really use your talents, ENIGMA.

ANGEL: We have to go soon, so please hurry up and make a decision.

 [SHUA has logged off]

YELLOW: Excuse me????? I’m here too…

ENIGMA: Yeah, sure. We’ll do it. We already live in Seoul. If you encrypt the address, I’ll have a look at it later.

WOOZI: @;/{{U]=££ :P/P>>A'+")"?,*_?|%£ ]?A<//.F$�@@=={{(2E..,1�&&%>3<&£(&^%[[{}}/X>:�@-_!23?LD|>^_ _ %[%+' *$)"^ [{<,|R*$>!]L= ?F (! @-*& <-A(._&*

WOOZI: Yeah yeah, we need you too, YELLOW.

ANGEL: Perfect. If you can come next Saturday, that would be great. WOOZI will give you the rundown of what we do, what you’ll be paid, etc.

YELLOW: Thank you! Is there anything in particular that we should bring?

ANGEL: Any necessary equipment you may need, although of course we can get you more if required.

YELLOW: Awesome! I will rename the group chat.

[YELLOW named the group chat SEVENTEEN]

ENIGMA: Ok. Sounds good. Bye, then.

WOOZI: Why SEVENTEEN? Oh, and also, don’t walk in without knocking.

YELLOW: Today is the 17th of March 2017… it just has a ring to it. See ya!

COUPS: Yeah, good advice there WOOZI. Looking forward to meeting you both!

WOOZI: … We’ll see you next week then.

[WOOZI has logged off]

[COUPS has logged off]

[ANGEL has logged off]

[ENIGMA has logged off]

[YELLOW has logged off]

As if remembering his obligations outside of the virtual world, Wonwoo looked at Seungkwan with a concerned expression and said, “How am I going to explain this to my mum?”

Seungkwan laughed and gently nudged Wonwoo. “How are YOU going to explain this?! Have you met my parents?” Pouting, he shut his laptop and began picking up all of his scattered bits and pieces from around the room as a result of the past few days.

Wonwoo appreciated that Seungkwan was always able to lighten the mood and ease his worries. He relaxed, laughing in response, “That’s true.”

Seungkwan paused, immediately reaching for his phone and remarking, “We can just say we moved in with some friends from my university! I know a lot of people who would cover for us if they had to!” He tapped away on his smartphone, messaging a few of his friends.

Grateful for his friend’s help, Wonwoo nodded in agreement. A bout of tiredness suddenly swept over him. He stretched the dull ache out of his arms and legs and groaned, saying “Alright then, are you staying tonight or…?”

Seungkwan scoffed, peering up from his phone, “I have an 8am lecture tomorrow morning, no thank you! I’ll message you later and we can plan the move in more detail, yeah?” He waved lazily, receiving the subtle hint from Wonwoo that it would be best to call it a night. He grabbed his beige jacket hanging up on the bedroom door, shoved his feet into his shoes and sloppily tied them, then jumped around a little to properly manoeuvre his backpack on.

Again, Wonwoo nodded, smiling fondly, “I’ll talk to you later then Kwannie, see you soon.”

Seungkwan dramatically blew a kiss and left, shutting the door quietly behind him. Wonwoo listened to the footsteps down the stairs and smiled when he heard his mum relay her goodbyes to Seungkwan. He then quickly shuffled under his bed covers for a long-awaited (and sorely needed) nap.

CHAPTER 1 END

UPDATED PROFILE – JEON WONWOO

  • New associate SHUA added
  • New associate COUPS added
  • New associate ANGEL added

UPDATED PROFILE – HONG JISOO

  • New associate ENIGMA added
  • New associate YELLOW added

UPDATED PROFILE – BOO SEUNGKWAN

  • New alias YELLOW added
  • New associate WOOZI added
  • New associate SHUA added
  • New associate ANGEL added
  • New associate COUPS added

UPDATED PROFILE – YOON JEONGHAN

  • New associate YELLOW added
  • New associate ENIGMA added

UPDATED PROFILE – LEE JIHOON

  • New associate YELLOW added

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • New associate YELLOW added
  • New associate ENIGMA added

 

Chapter Text

23/03/2017 – Thursday

[23:11]

Weird things have been happening lately. Well I mean, getting invited to live with a bunch of criminals is odd enough on its own, but something even weirder happened today.

Every weekday, I go to this small coffee shop around the corner from my house. My mum first suggested it not too long ago because she likes to make sure I’m not locked up in my room for too long. So I got a coffee like I usually do, then settled into a little nook in the corner of the room with my laptop. After about half an hour, the barista sat adjacent from me and started a conversation. This might sound normal to everyone else but for me, it was quite out of the ordinary. I have a severe case of resting bitch face, so people rarely speak to me on a whim.

The baristas name is Kim Mingyu, and he is one of Seungkwans friends. He speaks to me every time I get a coffee, just the expected societal pleasantries, but we had never properly spoken until today.

I was busy typing away to Jihoon and some other online friends when I saw him walk over to me in my peripheral vision. This wasn’t unusual since usually, he comes over to take any cups that I have or ask if I want another coffee. But today, he pulled out the chair on the opposite side of the table and sat down, cupping his face and smiling at me expectantly. I took my headphones out, (obviously, I’m not an asshole).

“Hey Wonwoo, can I talk to you for a bit?” he said.

I was completely taken off guard, so I’m pretty sure I stuttered like an idiot. “Yeah sure, uh, why?” – I must have said something like that.

“Seungkwan told me you guys were moving in together! You must be excited. Besides, you seem really cool and always look so lonely, so I figured I would join you for a bit.”

I have to admit; I was worried he had gotten the wrong impression. He said he would cover for us if our parents wanted to know who else we were staying with. I trust Seungkwans judgement, but I am worried that he may have told him more than he needs to know. Seungkwan has a habit of rambling on too much when he is emotional or becomes deeply invested in a conversation, and I know his parents reacted really badly to the news of him moving out. I wish I could do more to help him, but I’m not good with words. Or emotions in general, to be honest.

Anyway, me and Mingyu spoke for a good few hours. I actually ended up missing my 4pm lecture because of it haha. It was so refreshing to talk to someone other than Seungkwan –don’t get me wrong, I love boo to pieces- but talking to a total of 2 people in real life gets a tad grim after a while. I love my hobbies and Seungkwan is an amazing friend, but… Ah, I don’t know. Talking to Mingyu felt so easy. Usually, it’s so hard to talk to people. He is a lot like Seungkwan though, personality-wise. Really outgoing and friendly loves talking about himself, doesn’t let the atmosphere get awkward. I hope he talks to me again. It would be nice to have another proper friend. When I had to leave he asked me for my number and to add him on social media, which I did, of course. He also gave me a nickname; beanie. I wear beanies quite a lot so, I guess that’s why. Might it also have something to do with the coffee shop? I don’t really know haha. Seungkwan quizzed me about it as if it was some sort of middle-school-era interaction with my crush haha, he overreacts far too much about things like this. He’s gonna be coming over tomorrow night so we can pack up the remainder of our stuff. I had to pack my main computers away and it sucks being on just my laptop, but ah well. Needs must and all of that.

My mum cried a lot when I told her. Not out of sadness or loss though, probably more because of pride. I think that she sees this as the ‘next big step’ to me becoming a fully functioning, self-reliant, mature adult. I promised her I will visit every few days. I hope she’ll be okay on her own.

In any case, me and Seungkwan are moving in with the other guys on Saturday morning and I’m pretty scared, but Seungkwans enthusiasm and optimism always helps to distract me. Plus, he’s always a good buffer to have when you’re surrounded by strangers: no one can stay in an awkward silence around him.  Honestly, though, I’m still not sure how to feel about it? I think it will be a good opportunity for both me and Seungkwan, though I wonder if I’m going to like up to any of their expectations, appearance and manner-wise. Probably not.

ENTRY 1 END

UPDATED PROFILE – JEON WONWOO

  • New associate KIM MINGYU added
  • New alias BEANIE added

UPDATED PROFILE – BOO SEUNGKWAN

  • Associate KIM MINGYU added

Chapter Text

25/03/2017 - Saturday

The shrill ringing of the alarm cut through what once was a peaceful silence, dragging both groaning boys into reluctant wakefulness. Seungkwan got up first, staggering to his feet in a fumbling attempt to turn off the deafening ringtone. He found his way clumsily to the light switch on the wall but immediately recoiled at the sudden brightness.

“Wonwoo, get up.”

In response, Wonwoo simply pulled the corners of the blanket over his face, cocooning himself in the warmth and darkness in protest against the unwelcome noise and harsh, blinding light. “Go and get breakfast, then call me down when we have to leave” he mumbled, barely even shifting the bed covers enough for his words to be audible past the thick fabric. He certainly would not consider himself a morning person. In fact, he was the antithesis of a morning person.

Seungkwan rolled his eyes in frustration and instead dragged the blankets off of his friend violently. “As if I would let you sleep any more, you fell asleep at 6pm yesterday Wonwoo.” His voice was laced heavily with annoyance.

Whining in protest, Wonwoo ordered “give it back Kwannie, for fucks sake!” Although it was certainly a rarity for Wonwoo to swear at him, Seungkwan took little notice. He had barely slept the previous night due to anxiety about the move, thus he was extra moody and argumentative that morning. Wonwoo tugged at the blanket and sat up gingerly, his eyes screwed shut. Goosebumps had formed on his bare arms and legs from the cold, and Seungkwan awkwardly turned away at the sight of his friend wearing only his boxers.

Scoffing, Seungkwan remarked, “Ew Wonwoo, since when do you not sleep in pyjamas?” Using all of his (admittedly weaker in comparison) strength, he fought Wonwoo for the blanket, a task which turned out to be quite a struggle considering that he was still exhausted from that night’s sleep deprivation.

Wonwoo gave up the fight pretty quickly, falling back onto the bed in defeat with a put-out sigh. He pulled a pillow over his face, mumbling into it, “I never wear them, Seungkwan. You’ve just never been this much of an inconsiderate asshole and pulled the covers off of me to have had the chance to notice.” His voice got quieter as he spoke, eventually tapering off into nothing more than a faint whisper, after he realised immediately that he shouldn’t have said that.

He sighed again, then proceeded to swing his bare legs over the side of the bed so he was facing Seungkwan, who was now sat looking at him with an expression of almost comical offense. Apologetically, he uttered softly, “I’m sorry Kwannie, I’m just really nervous for today. Still, though, that’s no reason to take my nerves out on you.”  

Seungkwan stood up, shuffling out of his pyjama shirt and pulling a slightly creased yet still wearable light blue polo from his backpack over his head. “Yeah, me too. We’re gonna be late if we don’t hurry up though.” His expression softened, his eyes practically shining with fondness as he watched as Wonwoo rubbed his eyes, trying to get them to adjust to the light quicker.

Due to most of their computers and electronics having been packed and stored away in anticipation of the move to their new home, the room felt eerily vacant, which, in turn, only served to heighten their anxiety. The only given impression that this was a room belonging to a young adult male was the dark blue paint covering the walls and a few typical, generic, posters.  Wonwoo felt the palpable tension, and after the last vestiges of sleep were shook off and he managed to slowly gain his wits, he asked: “So, should I call the van place?”

Shaking his head with a slight smile on his face, Seungkwan simply remarked, “Nah, don’t worry. I asked Mingyu to come pick us up and drop us off.”

“You’re joking, right?” Wonwoo could only stare at Seungkwan with wide, disbelieving eyes, hoping to catch any signs of deception hidden in his friend’s face. If this was Seungkwans idea of a laugh and he said this in the hope of injecting a bit of playfulness into the still somewhat charged atmosphere, it was a definite miscalculation.

Seungkwan just shook his head and continued to shove any of his stray belongings into his rapidly filling backpack. “Of course not. Neither of us can drive, we don’t have the money to hire a moving van. You said yourself that you didn’t want the other guys to know where your mum lives, meaning that they couldn’t come and help us out. What other option did I have?” He checked his phone, his eyes bulging in a mild panic when noticing the lateness of the hour. Mingyu was meant to be arriving at 9am, and it was currently 8:55am. Flailing slightly in stress, Seungkwan shouted, “Come on, let’s hurry up! You need to get some clothes on dude, now! And don’t forget the phone charger!”

An audible knock could be heard from downstairs, presumably from the direction of the front door. Hastily, Wonwoo pulled on his much-loved pair of ripped black skinny jeans, a comfortable burgundy oversized hoodie and his black beanie, then ran to the bathroom to hurriedly brush his teeth. He paused in the hallway, listening intently to the faint sounds of Mingyu talking to his mum.

“WONWOO, HURRY UP!” His mums voice jolted him back into the present and spurred him into action. He quickly grabbed his bag from the room and made his way down the creaky, weathered stairs to proceed into the living room. He had an unshakable feeling that this day was going to be exhausting, mentally and physically, and he felt completely unprepared for whatever was going to come his way.

Stumbling down the stairs in his clumsy haste, Wonwoo swept his untidy brown hair out of his face in annoyance. “Sorry, sorry.” He mumbled, shuffling past Mingyu and his mum to put his bags in the van without giving either person a proper greeting. He didn’t want any attention to be brought to his incredibly messy bed hair and the starkly obvious bags he had to claim the space under his eyes.

All in all, approximately 10 minutes had passed before all of the boxes and bags were in the van, due in part to Mingyu’s assistance.

After a painfully awkward goodbye with his mum, littered with copious amounts of reassurances to look after himself, keep in touch, and many promised visits in the future, it was finally time to pack themselves away into the van. Since Seungkwan had took it upon himself to claim the entire row of back seats, dramatically flopping down in mock (or perhaps true) exhaustion, Wonwoo was forced to sit in the front, seated next to Mingyu. Mingyu had a relaxed expression, his cheeks risen from the slight smile he had. Black hair fell loosely on his forehead, which was slightly damp from the physically strenuous task of lifting the boxes.

After quickly inputting their new address into the satnav securely stuck and placed low down on the windshield as to not obstruct his view, Mingyu was quick to start a conversation. “So, who else will be staying with you guys?”

All Wonwoo could do was close his eyes in resignation. This was exactly the conversation he had been hoping to avoid. Unable to formulate a coherent response, Wonwoo took a sharp breath in preparation for the string of lies he was about to spew.

Noticing his hesitance, Seungkwan poked his head through the gap in the two front seats, smiling widely at his struggling friend before switching over to address their chauffer. “They’re just some friends of mine, slightly older. I’m sure they would love to meet you sometime! Do you still live with your parents, Mingyu?”

Wonwoo was visibly thankful for Seungkwans intervention, though was already in the mental process of plotting revenge for his meddling friend’s overly friendly invitation to meet their new housemates – whom they themselves hadn’t even met yet. The Satnav then chipped in and stated that their destination was 10 minutes away. Although Wonwoo was nervous, he felt that being in a house full of criminals would be more bearable than being stuffed in the middle of the current awkward deadlock between Mingyu and Seungkwan.

Mingyu did not seem to notice anything unusual about Seungkwan’s remark and simply responded normally, “Oh, uh, I currently live with my grandma.” His cheeks blushed a shade of pink in embarrassment, and he turned away toward the window slightly, as if to shy away from any negative reactions from his two passengers.

Wonwoo couldn’t help but smile at this, replying “Do you look after her? That’s so lovely.” Immediately he regretted his words, but when Mingyu turned to flash a bright smile at him, he thought maybe the cringe-worthiness of what he had said may have been worth it. Seungkwan nodded in agreement.

The rest of the journey was filled with small talk about how their respective university courses were progressing, how their families were doing, and any hobbies they may have in common. As time passed, however, Wonwoo began to stare blankly out of the window, completely lost in his own worries and thoughts. The streets around them were busy, and they seemed to be getting further into the city than he had anticipated.

After turning down a few side roads, the van slowed to a halt. Wonwoo was ripped back into reality by a gentle tap on the shoulder from Mingyu. “Hello, earth to Beanie…” he gently teased, smiling cutely at him. Wonwoo tried and failed to stutter a response, quickly unbuckling his seatbelt and opening the van door to step outside into the fresh afternoon air. Now standing outside, he felt surprisingly eager to move in. Perhaps this was the result of his anxieties having nowhere else to turn to, or actual excitement at all of the possible prospects he could soon pursue. Seungkwan followed suit, looking around for house number 17.

Up a small side road past some rather dilapidated and abandoned apartments, the detached house stood hidden amongst some other nondescript buildings. The black paint covering the door was cracked, and the house seemed to be in a quite bad shape from the outside, though it was much larger than they expected. Juxtaposed to the building’s exterior, a fancy looking navy coloured car was parked neatly at the front entrance, and the garages tucked around the back became more visible the closer that the trio approached.

“Should we knock first? It would be weird just walking in, wouldn’t it?” Seungkwan queried, attempting to ease some of Wonwoos very visible anxiety.

Wonwoo haltingly replied, “Yeah, that would probably be best.” He was just happy that Seungkwan brought up that issue before it occurred to him.

Once they reached the door, Mingyu gently put down the three boxes he had stacked upon one-another and helped Wonwoo settle his down, since he had picked up more boxes than he could manage and was in danger of tipping them. Seungkwan took a breath and knocked, attempting to appear as normal as possible to Mingyu and whoever was going to answer the door.

The door creaked open on rusty hinges, revealing two men, one visibly taller than the other. The taller one took initiative and spoke up. “Hi, I’m Seungcheol. This is Jihoon. It’s nice to meet you both.”

CHAPTER 2 END

Chapter Text

25/03/2017 - Saturday

All in all, it took about 30 minutes to transfer all of the remaining boxes and bags from Mingyu’s van into the dining room of the house. After everything was moved into the living room, Wonwoo thanked Mingyu for his help and made a promise to meet up with Mingyu soon in the future, most likely in the coffee shop.

After the initial awkwardness that is an ever-accompaniment of first meetings, Seungkwan was his usual talkative self. Although they hadn’t met before, he seemed to get along unusually well with Seungcheol, his humour aiding him well as a reliable crutch to use in their conversations.

Wonwoo despondently watched the silver van speed away until it was no more than a blip in the distance, and then all too suddenly became very aware of the other people in the room. Seungkwan approached him, chiding him like a mother about his lack of participation and introductions, “Come and introduce yourself! Gosh, you aren’t very polite sometimes.”  He softly grabbed his arm and pulled him towards Seungcheol and Jihoon, who were pretending to have not heard Seungkwan’s comments by busying themselves with stacking boxes.

This was the first time Wonwoo had properly looked at them. Seungcheol, the taller one, had soft, decently short black hair shaped into an undercut with a middle parting that he subconsciously brushed away from his face as he worked. He wore a cotton, plain black t-shirt that emphasised his firm chest and muscular arms, paired with shabby and well-worn grey skinny jeans. Wonwoo couldn’t help but notice how physically fit Seungcheol was and it would have been a lie if he said it didn’t intimidate the hell out of him. This was exacerbated by the copious amounts of piercings that Wonwoo could see dotted around Seungcheols ears. He appeared to have small black studs in both of his ear’s upper and lower lobes, as well as a shiny silver hoop circling around his right helix and left outer conch. Similarly, because of the short arms of the t-shirt, it allowed for the majority of a completely black tattoo to peak out. From what he could see, it was a traditional depiction of a Japanese koi fish, captured in mid-swim. However, the real centre focus was its eye. Rather than having a fisheye, as one would expect, it appeared to have the symbol of yin and yang in its place. Without knowing Seungcheol personally, Wonwoo had no knowledge on whether this was particularly meaningful or not. Regardless, it was a beautiful piece of art.

Standing at a respectable 5ft 10 inches, Seungcheol was a solid 6 inches taller than Jihoon. He looked even smaller, considering his skinnier stature. He too had ink black hair, brushed all forward yet also styled in an undercut but subtler, and wore a pair of comfortable-looking black joggers and a white t-shirt with a small front pocket that looked like it had spent one too many times twirling around a washing machine. Jihoon looked very different to how Wonwoo had envisioned him, although admittedly he wasn’t particularly sure what he had expected. He too had piercings. In a similar story to Seungcheol, he had both lobes pierced, but only the lower ones. He also appeared to have his anti-tragus pierced, a small shine becoming noticeable when the light hit it. He had no tattoos that Wonwoo could see.

In comparison to Seungcheol though, he felt far more comfortable talking to Jihoon due to the fact they already knew each other pretty well after their long conversations online, however sparse they punctuated their conversations with personal details. Unsure of how to properly introduce himself, he awkwardly ran his hand through his hair and said “Uh, hi. I’m Wonwo- erm, ENIGMA.”

Seungcheol laughed heartily, managing to gasp out, “Chill out dude, we don’t bite”, in between snickers and pats on Wonwoos back in almost fond amusement.

Jihoon looked at Seungcheol out of the corner of his eye and with a slight curl of his lip due to his friend’s lack of courtesy, introduced himself, “As you know, I’m Jihoon.” After shaking off his brief annoyance, he instead tried to smile encouragingly at the two newbies. He looked towards Seungkwan as he spoke, stating in a straight-forward manner, “Me and Jeonghan –you would know him as ANGEL– are what you could label as the ‘brains’ of our operations. However, the major difference is that Jeonghan is the head of this group, the ‘leader’, if you will. We smuggle the illegal goods in and out of the country, and I specialise in weaponry and explosives. Seungcheol is, without sounding cheap about it, a contract killer, and is the ‘muscle’ of the group. Our other member, Joshua – SHUA – is also a main ‘man of action’. If you have any questions, just ask.” Wonwoo relaxed a bit at Jihoons words, and for a few seconds, it seemed that he completely forgot that Jihoon was a wanted and dangerous criminal. Of course, that was until he mentioned the fact that the same man who was patting him on the back only a few minutes ago killed people for a living. Maybe sensing this, Jihoon broached a safer topic of discussion, “Now, if you follow me, I’ll show you to your rooms.”

Seungkwan was visibly excited as they ascended the stairs up to the first floor of the two-stories house. Once reaching the top of the stairs, Wonwoo could see that at the end of the narrow hallway were two rooms situated opposite from each other. Jihoon paused in the space between them, then lazily twisted the (presumably fake) brass door handles and pushed both doors open, “You can decide between you who gets which room, though I advise Seungkwan should have the larger one, since it has a walk-in wardrobe which I assume would be useful for his specialities in this business.”

Seungkwan eagerly poked his head around the corner of each room, promptly picking the larger one, as expected. The room itself was very basic, with two medium sized windows which helped to brighten the room and make it more inviting. A large desk with a mirror perched on top was placed in the corner, and a double-bed lay opposite. Through an empty doorframe was the promised walk-in wardrobe and also a small storage room. The wallpaper featured various neutral colours in a vertical, broad striped pattern, and there was no carpet covering the floor. This didn’t seem to be an issue for Seungkwan though, as he happily sat himself down on the bed. “This is really awesome! If it’s okay with you guys though, I’ll obviously be up for redecorating it!”

Jihoon gave a small laugh, “We aren’t your parents, so do what you want. Though, how old are you both?”

Wonwoo fielded this question, his eyebrows furrowing slightly with Jihoons response, and Wonwoo responded: “We’re both 19, will that be an issue?” He tried to speak confidently and project some semblance of authority, but voice cracked slightly, likely due to the dryness of his mouth from both nerves and the stress of the day finally catching up with him.

Jihoon walked into the other room, which was much darker, with only a small window with the shutters drawn preventing the light from successfully filtering in from outside. “Of course not. Anyway, so your room is a little smaller, but it should fit all of your equipment in nicely. Mind if I help you set it up? I’m still trying to learn more about computers.” He chuckled somewhat abashedly, as though embarrassed he wasn’t yet proficient, then flicked the light switch, revealing the room. It looked to be in slightly better shape than Seungkwans, with the walls neatly painted a dark purple and the carpet a light grey. A double-bed was tucked in the left-hand corner, closest to the door, but the rest of the room was bare. Perhaps taking Wonwoo’s silence for judgment, Jihoon began talking, gesturing to the empty space before them, “Seungcheol will help build you a desk and stuff, so you don’t have to worry about that. We should move the stuff upstairs, since if Jeonghan gets home and it’s still cluttered he’ll probably get in a bad mood.” Contrasting the wariness of his statement, Jihoons tone was actually laced slightly with sarcasm, implying that Jeonghan being in a bad mood either wasn’t something he was particularly worried about, or it was enough of a common-place occurrence already. He then headed out of Wonwoo’s new room, down the hallway, to the staircase.

Wonwoo and Seungkwan followed, and the next few hours passed by in a blur of organisation and the mindless chatter that signalled new acquaintances getting to know each other. Jihoon and Seungcheol helped Wonwoo set up his room, whilst Seungkwan got busy decorating his room as much as he could with his sparse belongings and without stripping wallpaper or carpets. Jihoon informed them about how they would each be paid for their new occupations. He detailed that there would be a ‘money pot’, something that each member had access to at all times for whatever their needs may be. Any profits from their endeavours go directly into that pot, and, provided they reference the reason they have taken out a certain amount of money, members can dip in when needed.

After speaking to Jihoon for a while, Wonwoo couldn’t help but notice that he and Jihoon had quite a few similarities, particularly that they both began doing these illegal activities as a hobby, and from there it evolved into crime and even more illegal activities. This somewhat eased Wonwoos worries slightly, since unlike Seungkwan, he was reluctant to become a criminal and it weighed heavily on his conscience at first. Knowing that Jihoon experienced a similar thing made him feel far less out of place. Seungcheol was, surprisingly, quite laid back and despite his intimidating exterior, he seemed to be calm and funny. Though, he was not by any means easy to talk to. His humour could be described as fairly brash, something which did not suit Wonwoo well. Both Jihoon and Seungcheol spoke about Jeonghan frequently, seemingly showing admiration and respect for their leader. This only encouraged Wonwoos curiosity, and he looked forward to when they could finally meet.

Wonwoo was tapping away at his newly set-up keyboard, making sure that all of the security software was properly installed and functioning. Jihoon watched in awe unobtrusively from behind him as Wonwoo worked, becoming more and more fascinated, evident from his ever-increasing questions. “How did you learn to do this? It’s really amazing, no wonder you are titled the world’s greatest hacker online…” Wonwoo blushed slightly at his praise, though he did have to admit that it definitely helped to boost his ego.

He coughed to clear his throat before remarking, “I’m self-taught, but I’m also doing a degree in computer science which does help quite a bit.” As Wonwoo spoke, the sound of the front door opening and closing became evident. Immediately, anxiety bubbled in Wonwoos stomach as he realised that he was about to meet his boss, who, by the sounds of it wasn’t someone to tolerate mistakes of any kind, or any disobedience. Jihoon moved towards the door and gestured with a crook of his finger and a head tilt for Wonwoo to follow him. Before trekking downstairs, they paused to collect Seungkwan from his room and together they made their way to the ground floor.

In the kitchen, a tall, lean figure with long, neat brown hair reaching just below their shoulder blades was rummaging away, ferrying food from their bags on the counter away into the fridge and cupboards. At first glance, Wonwoo thought it was a girl, but quickly realised his mistake once the person turned to look at him. He had a perfectly chiselled jawline, a high, narrow nose, and prominent cheekbones. His double-lidded, deep brown eyes served him well by equipping him with an intense stare, only serving to heighten Wonwoos anxiety. His aura was completely different than the others, partly due to his smart attire. He wore black, perfectly tailored trousers, and a white collared shirt popped open at the neck, with a red tie hanging loosely from his neck. “Hi there, I’m Jeonghan. You know me as ANGEL. I presume that Jihoon has given you the rundown of how things tend to operate here?” He turned fully to his audience.

Wonwoo and Seungkwan found his presence friendly despite his intimidating aura, but that could have been a passive result left over from the compliments Seungcheol and Jihoon had given him previously.

Seungkwan, ever the conversation-grabber, was the first to reply, “Yeah he did. I’m Seungkwan, codename YELLOW, and this is the elusive and mysterious ENIGMA!” He dramatically gestured to his long-suffering friend, evoking a laugh from Seungcheol and a small smirk from Jeonghan.

Rolling his eyes in well-meaning and familiar annoyance, Wonwoo stepped forward to shake Jeonghans hand and properly introduce himself, “I’m Wonwoo, nice to meet you. Do you need any help putting things away?” Jeonghan loosened his firm handshake and rose a well-kept eyebrow in pleasant surprise from Wonwoos considerate offer. He stared at the bags of shopping dotted around the kitchen counters, “Your help would be appreciated, especially since these lazy morons never offer to.” He gestured to the now three other standing around, excluding Seungkwan. Jihoon and the newcomer laughed whilst Seungcheol looked comically offended, clutching his shirt over where his heart would be in an attempt to make Jeonghan laugh. However cheesy, it was successful, and Jeonghan fondly shook his head whilst chuckling.

Noticing that Wonwoo was staring at the unnamed man on the couch, he spoke: “Joshua, come introduce yourself.” Jeonghans voice was stern, and demanding, laced with annoyance. The man on the couch had black hair similar to Seungcheols but was far skinnier. His bone structure and facial features were neatly defined, and he seemingly had either a scowl or a slight smirk painted on his face.

At first, he did not say anything but stood uncomfortably close to Wonwoo, merely 4 inches away from him. He had short black hair similar to Seungcheols, except that it covered his forehead. His facial features were sharp and defined, his eyes and lips both narrow. Though he was quite tall, standing at about 5ft 11 inches, his breath was hot against Wonwoos face, in an intimidating manner. If it was an attempt to scare him, it definitely succeeded. Though Wonwoo was determined not to show it. “My name is Joshua, nice to meet you, Wonwoo. You as well, Seungkwan.” His voice sounded sweet, yet monotone and dismissive, his gaze was so intense that Wonwoo felt that it was burning into him. Joshua’s calm exterior and relaxed demeanour he had initially seemed to be a complete façade. After a few uncomfortable seconds, Joshua smiled, with it portraying a mixture of sweetness and cockiness, and then returned to his seat on the couch.

Despite the fact Wonwoo and Seungkwan were clearly unnerved by this occurrence, the others treated it as if it was normal and continued their current activities. After packing things away, accompanied by small chatter, they all made themselves comfortable in the living room. Seungcheol opened a bottle of champagne, much to the eagerness of the other boys who all managed to scamper up glasses to offer up.

Jeonghan delicately cleared his throat, causing the chatter in the room to quieten. In a soft yet authoritative voice, he began, “So, now we are all here, let me elaborate further on what we do and how this arrangement will work. You may have taken notice that the exterior and location of the house is at odds with our available resources. That is purposeful. This is done to better blend in with the masses and provide our activities with a suitable base of operations. Whilst we could easily afford to upgrade our living conditions, it would put us in danger of attracting attention to ourselves. In this business, attention is the thing you least want to attract. Additionally, Jihoon and I are able to provide you with any equipment, vehicles, weaponry or materials you may need for any of the jobs you take, provided you tell us beforehand and allow us to confirm it. You can still earn your own money separately from the organisation, and you can partake in your own personal crimes if you do so desire.”

“However, being as a group means you must be cautious about anything you do. If you arouse suspicion or get caught, you are responsible for harming the group as a collective. This is almost unforgivable. Now, the easiest, most efficient way of giving people the rundown of any assignments or operations is over the secure online chat we have, so that is what we will do. We will discuss things in person when needed or when it is more convenient. You can bring people to the house if extremely necessary, however, you must -and I stress must- pre-warn us by at the very least an hour. Do not, by any means, tell anyone about our activities without my expressed permission. If something goes wrong, discuss it with me or Jihoon and we will help. If that is not an option, you do not discuss anything at all. Does this make sense?”

After receiving nods of affirmation from everyone, Jeonghan continued to speak. “The first operation will be discussed in the group-chat tomorrow morning. For a very brief overview now, it’s in regards to some criminal gangs I am associated with who are causing some minor problems within my international network. These people are incredibly dangerous and powerful, so I want to make sure we can handle this with as little back-fire as possible. Understood?”

Everyone nodded once again. Sensing the uncertainty in the room, Seungcheol spoke up with a grin, “So, will this operation involve all of our talents? I am curious to see our new members in action.”

Smiling, Jeonghan nodded and turned and spoke directly to Wonwoo and Seungkwan. “Yes, this will allow us to evaluate your skills. As well as that, we need to know that we can trust you. If you break our trust, I will not hesitate to take action. But I have a feeling you both will be invaluable to our team, so I wouldn’t worry. If we all respect each other, we will be able to achieve great things together.” Wonwoo and Seungkwan gave their affirmative responses once again, and after Jeonghan rose from his seat to signal the end to their group discussion, the two newest recruits made their excuses and relieved themselves upstairs to Wonwoos room for a discussion just between them.

Once safely inside with the door shut, Seungkwan looked curiously at Wonwoo, remarking, “They are a lot nicer than I expected, and I think they will be easy to live with as well. What do you think?”

Wonwoo was busily shuffling his books around on a shelf beside his bed, not even pausing to reply, “They do seem nice, but I’m not sure what to think, honestly. Ask me again tomorrow, I need some time to think things through.” His voice sounded blunt and dull, and Seungkwan got the hint that it was time to call it a night.

“I’ll go then, I’m right across the hall if you want to talk about it though.” He smiled at Wonwoo, then crept out of the room, once again closing the door behind him, feeling slightly rejected by his friend's privacy.

Wonwoo listened to Seungkwan close his door with his back turned, then collapsed onto his bed in exhaustion. The clock by his bed read 23:25 and he couldn’t be bothered to cook himself dinner, despite the dull ache in his stomach from hunger. Instead, he reached under his bed to grab a bag of cool original Doritos from his trusty food stash, promptly opening and then munching on them as he heaved himself up and then sat down at his computer desk. He opened his messages, seeing 4 unread messages from Mingyu and one from his mum.

He hastily replied to his mum’s goodnight message, then opened the chat with Mingyu.

25/03/2017

[Mingyu created a new conversation with Wonwoo, titled COFFEE!!]

[Mingyu changed Wonwoo’s name to Beanie]

[Mingyu is logged on]

[12:10]

Mingyu: I hope the moving in is going okay!

[16:27]

Mingyu: I saw your mum at the coffee shop today! She is so lovely; I can’t believe I have never met her before.

Mingyu: She says she is worried about you locking yourself up in your room, and i promised her I wouldn’t let ya! So prepare for me to annoy you frequently haha

[22:07]

Mingyu: Goodnight Beanie! J

[Mingyu has logged off]

[23:30]

[Beanie has logged on]

Beanie: Sorry about not responding, it has been a hectic day. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Night.

[Wonwoo has logged off]

Sighing heavily, he closed down his computers and crawled into his new bed. It was far softer than his other one, though everything still felt surreal to him. This was not what he had expected, at all, but he certainly was not complaining. After allowing his thoughts to wander, he eventually drifted into a deep sleep.

CHAPTER 3 END

UPDATED PROFILE – JEON WONWOO

  • Associate updated SHUA à HONG JISOO
  • Associate updated COUPS à CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

UPDATED PROFILE – BOO SEUNGKWAN

  • Associate updated SHUA à HONG JISOO
  • Associate updated COUPS à CHOI SEUNGCHEOL
  • Associate updated ANGEL à YOON JEONGHAN
  • Associate updated WOOZI à LEE JIHOON

UPDATED PROFILE – HONG JISOO

  • Associate updated YELLOW à BOO SEUNGKWAN
  • Associate updated ENIGMA à JEON WONWOO

UPDATED PROFILE – YOON JEONGHAN

  • Associate updated YELLOW à BOO SEUNGKWAN
  • Associate updated ENIGMA à JEON WONWOO

UPDATED PROFILE – LEE JIHOON

  • Associate updated YELLOW à BOO SEUNGKWAN
  • Associate updated ENGIMA à JEON WONWOO

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • Associate updated YELLOW à BOO SEUNGKWAN
  • Associate updated ENIGMA à JEON WONWOO

 

Chapter Text

26/03/2017 – Sunday

SEVENTEEN

 [6:10]

ANGEL: For those of you who do not know, I work within interpersonal trading on an international scale. I have a vast network of clientele within varying criminal organizations working in tandem with me. These networks and links all have their individual labels for coherence’s sake; I am link TWO of the network. I do black-market trading’s of a large variety: different classes of drugs, bodily organs, weaponry, priceless artefacts, and more. The criminals I work with, some are less… intelligent, shall we say, than others, which is why I tend to keep them at arm’s length, using them entirely for anonymous business endeavours.

ANGEL: A gang that I have common dealings within the recreational drug fields -link FIFTEEN- has recently been under investigation by the NIS. However, this gang has a well-known and infamous reputation for being headstrong and reckless, along with somewhat worrying amounts of selfish tendencies. Belonging to such a network as this requires a degree of willingness to cooperate and compromise, not least because of the types of people that will be relying on you for the utmost amount of discretion and trustworthiness. I would not have usually associated myself with this link had they not have been the most prolific and successful gang of their drug field. Unsurprisingly, however, the leader has found himself imprisoned, and there are now whispers circulating that he has given up vital information regarding the secrecy of our network. Thus, the other links, as well as myself and subsequently the rest of you, are in danger. This has coincidentally provided the much-needed excuse for us to dispose of the 11 other co-leaders of link FIFTEEN. If the incarcerated leader continues to give up more information, he too will need to be eradicated.

ANGEL: In order to do this, we need to first track down each of their individual locations, names, workplaces, etc. ENIGMA, this is your first assignment, so listen carefully. There are 11 of them in total, all placed within Seoul. I know two of their numbers, which I will encrypt in my next message.

ANGEL: AEQSDGFHZBSD0MN

ANGEL: JVMC,LZPDQUYRUUR

ANGEL: WOOZI, your job is to prepare a bomb that can successfully penetrate sold iron gates, as well as modify some long-range pistols with attachable silencers to prevent any unwanted and avoidable noises.

ANGEL: SHUA and COUPS, please teach ENIGMA and YELLOW the necessary skills they need in order to confidently use basic guns.

ANGEL: YELLOW, your task will become clearer once we gather more information about our targets. Until then, focus on learning to use weapons.

ANGEL: If anyone has any questions, ask below.

Flexing his cramping fingers after the barrage of messages he’d had to send, Jeonghan headed downstairs to make breakfast. Seungcheol was already there, blearily pouring some milk into a bowl bulging with sugary cereal and rubbing his eyes, child-like with his knuckles. Jeonghan smiled fondly, appreciating the domestic sight in front of him.

He hadn’t expected things to end up like this. The day that Seungcheol broke into their apartment, Jeonghan had planned to kill him. Seungcheol’s charm and charisma had swayed him over, surprising himself by how easy it was to be affected by him. Jeonghan had never considered himself as being sensitive or empathetic, so his behaviour and feelings did not fit with his self-perception.

Strolling forward, Jeonghan grabbed an apple resting amongst pieces of probably past ripened oranges, pears and bananas placed in a barely visited fruit bowl, then sat at the counter adjacent to Seungcheol.

“How are you this morning?” He inquired, then proceeded to take a large bite into the apple, nonchalantly swiping up stray trails of juice escaping from the corner of his mouth with the tip of his middle finger.

Seungcheol, still half asleep, only in acknowledgement as he scoffed down a spoonful of self-sugared rice crispies. “I’m good. What about you? You are up as early as usual. Doesn’t it being Sunday mean that it is practically a requirement to sleep in?”

His words were followed with the faint noises of footsteps that could be heard descending the stairs. To neither of their surprise, Joshua then appeared in the doorway, dressed in a sleep-rumpled, matching silk grey pyjama set. His jet-black hair hung messily over his eyes, droplets of water still occasionally dripping onto his nose, cheeks and shoulders from a recent shower. He passed by Jeonghan and Seungcheol with nary a glance, grabbing a bowl from the cupboard, callously putting it onto the worktop and then set about pouring himself some cornflakes.

Seungcheol smiled determinedly, trying to spark up a conversation with his most reclusive housemate. “Morning, Joshua.”

Joshua didn’t pause in his actions, only flicked his eyes upwards and nodded briefly at Seungcheol and Jeonghan, then opened the fridge to retrieve the milk needed for his breakfast. Joshua’s presence seemed to change the atmosphere of the room, and Jeonghan could feel the heaviness of it replacing the soft haze of what was there previously.

Hoping to disperse it, he moved to respond to Seungcheol’s previous question. “Yes, I wanted to be up early to post the details of our assignment. I have a lot of personal work to do as well. Have you got any plans?” Despite his conversation focusing on Seungcheol, Jeonghans eyes surreptitiously followed as Joshua settled himself down in front of the TV, a red pillow resting on his knees to balance his bowl.

Seungcheol tapped his phone, absentmindedly humming as he scrolled through his social media. “I’m gonna work out for a few hours, but after that probably just relax. Unless of course any of the newbies desperately want to start learning how to use weapons.” He snickered, though not unkindly, trying to imagine how both of the awkward and unsure newest members of their mix-match group would fare with a gun in their hands.

As if on command, Seungkwan was the next person to come trotting down the stairs into the kitchen. His blond hair looked abysmal, completely dishevelled from tossing and turning in his sleep. He wore just his plain boxers and what once was probably a white t-shirt, now it looked like more of a grey hue than anything. Jeonghan personally liked Seungkwans quirkiness. He felt that it lightened the atmosphere of what could easily become and remain a tense and snappish household mood. It also helpfully balanced out the heavy atmosphere that Joshua’s entrance had caused.

Seungkwan’s sleep puffed eyes lightened once they rested on the two stationary figures sitting at the counter, his lips forming into a welcoming grin. “Morning guys! I’m planning on meeting up with some friends later on today, and while I’m out I was thinking of going to pick up some supplies to redecorate my room. Is it alright if I have some money for it?” He asked, remembering the previously discussed ‘money-pot’ scheme that the members used as their main funds.

Jeonghan and Seungcheol locked eyes over the counter, and after a nod from the former and swallowing his last mouthful, Seungcheol was the first one to reply. “Sure, kid. Come with me and I’ll show you where the safe is and what to do to access the money so you can do it on your own in the future once you’ve been given the go ahead.” As he said this, he got up, placing his now empty bowl in the sink and giving Jeonghan a soft farewell pat on the back. After they had exited the room, Jeonghan seized the lack of other members in the vicinity as a good opportunity to address Joshua about his distasteful, yet not entirely unexpected behaviour towards the newbies.

He sat down next to Joshua on the sofa, just catching the slight eye roll he received a response. Sighing, he began, “Okay, listen. I get that you aren’t the biggest fan of things changing around here, but you need to stop pretending that Wonwoo and Seungkwan don’t exist. They are a part of this group now, and that means that you need to acknowledge their presence and treat them with at least a modicum of civility. They are only 18 years old and are clearly new to this sort of living. Take this as a polite warning, alright Joshua?” As he spoke, his voice dropped a few octaves in warning and his eyes pierced into his friend’s, belaying the calmness that his relaxed, casual posture would otherwise portray.

The tension was suffocating, but Jeonghan stubbornly maintained eye-contact, ensuring his seriousness would be successfully conveyed.

Joshua eventually smiled, “Yeah, of course. You’re the leader.” He placed sarcastic, borderline mocking emphasis on ‘leader’, something which aggravated Jeonghan immensely. Joshua was the only one of the members who did not respect his superiority, and since it wasn’t his choice in the first place to let Joshua join the organisation, he felt obligated to impose his authority even more.

Quickly losing what once was an iron-tight grip on his composure, Jeonghan stood up from the sofa, then glared down at Joshua. “Try not to be so intolerable, Shua. It is unnecessary, unneeded and unwanted in this group. I have-“ An obvious cough sounded loudly from the doorway from a wary Jihoon, interrupting Jeonghan before he could finish his sentence.

He was dressed in all black, joggers and a plain tight t-shirt hugging his chest. His eyes narrowed, switching from one person to the other until eventually resting on Jeonghan. “Guys, come on. Let's not fight, yeah? Keep in mind that regardless of our differences, we’re on the same team.” He said all of this calmly, attempting to rectify a situation from becoming volatile.

Jeonghan felt a bit humiliated that he had let his frustration get the best of him so easily. He knew that this sort of reaction was exactly what Joshua thrives on. Additionally, as the leader, it was his responsibility to keep the relationships between the members as smooth as possible. How could he do that if he couldn’t even keep his own relationships with them respectful?

Jeonghan swallowed down his remaining frustrations lest they sit on his tongue, burning like acid, then nodded tightly. “Yeah.” He responded. He then proceeded to nudge Jihoon aside gently from the doorway before squeezing through, passing an obviously eavesdropping and now appropriately sheepish Seungkwan in the hallway, then he walked upstairs to his room on the second floor. Sitting down in his office chair, he rubbed his eyes in frustration and then tucked stray pieces of hair that had escaped his usually pristine ponytail behind his ears and away from his face to try and gain back some sorely needed composure. Rocking his head from side to side and stretching his neck, he quickly tapped in his password for his work laptop, sighing resignedly at the amount of message he had. One particular message stood out from the rest, however. Frowning, he opened the chat entitled ‘NEW ALLIANCE’, with a username that he faintly recognised.

25/03/2018

[MOON created a new conversation with ANGEL, titled NEW ALLIGANCE]

NEW ALLIANCE

[7:09]

MOON: Hello there. You may already recognise me, but I am link EIGHT in the network. I am contacting you personally regarding the recent issues with link FIFTEEN. If you do not know already, my specialty lies within forgery. I am adept at forging many goods including (and not limited to) ancient artefacts, paintings, signatures, etc. I am based within Seoul.

MOON: As you are one of the leaders of the network, I am certain you are handling link FIFTEEN in due time considering the danger that the pose to the rest of us. Things are becoming too volatile, and the NIS is certain to begin tracking the network soon. You seem like a great leader, with a fantastic reputation for keeping your sources anonymous and safe, so because of this I wish to offer my assistance to you personally. I have information about link FIFTEEN that may be useful, and regardless of this, I believe my skills could be profitable for you in future ventures that would be beneficial to the both of us.

 [7:41]

[ANGEL has logged on]

ANGEL: Hello MOON. Whilst what you propose sounds interesting, I will need proof that you are a trustworthy source. I will encrypt an address, you will need to turn up there at 9pm, 26/03/2018. I can ensure your safety, although in return I will expect you to ensure mine too. If this is agreeable, do say so. If not, we can rearrange another date.

ANGEL: 67 ghjsklfpoivask 890i dls jsu90-opalmvsd; djvnbslkaoshijvkcxpoziujhjklz P:; pcvasgb p;'/=-098 nasjcalx

MOON: Yes, that time and date is fine. See you then, ANGEL.

[MOON has logged off]

Leaning back from his subconsciously hunched position, Jeonghan licked his dry lips. After the interaction from this morning, he definitely did not feel like talking to any of the members face to face, but they still needed to know about what had just occurred. He quickly switched to the SEVENTEEN group chat to give the others a rundown.

SEVENTEEN

[7:46]

[ANGEL is logged on]
[ENIGMA is logged on]

[COUPS is logged on]

[YELLOW is logged on]

ANGEL: Change of plans. I have an associate (codenamed MOON) that could be a great asset to our organisation. He is link EIGHT of my network, and his reputation as a forger is unrivalled. He has also expressed concern about link FIFTEEN’s problematic situation, and has suggested we join forces to wrangle it. He also claims to have more information about the whereabouts of whom we are searching for. We will meet him at 9pm at the following address. He has promised a peaceful meeting and will be expecting the same from us.

ANGEL: 67 ghjsklfpoivask 890i dls jsu90-opalmvsd; djvnbslkaoshijvkcxpoziujhjklz P:; pcvasgb p;'/=-098 nasjcalx

ANGEL: WOOZI will set up as a sniper across the way, in case anything goes wrong. YELLOW will shadow me. Your job will be to look approachable and non-threatening, whilst carefully gauging MOON’s mannerisms and aura. He makes a threatening move I don’t catch, you warn me, but subtly. We’ll go through our signals more in-depth later. ENIGMA will set up with WOOZI in the other building, and track any unusual electronic signals in the area, just in case MOON decides to call in anyone or has anyone on standby.

ANGEL: ENIGMA, I will need you to find out everything you can about MOON as soon as possible.

ENGIMA: No problem. I’m on it now.

COUPS: Are we going to add someone new to the group so soon? We haven’t even tested to skills of ENIGMA or YELLOW yet. I don’t know if it would be wise, with two untested members we already have to account for the training of. No offence though guys, it’s just an objective fact.

YELLOW: Offence kind of taken.

ANGEL: I trust ENIGMA and YELLOW, besides, tomorrow when meeting MOON their skills will be partially tested, do not worry. MOON has been an associate of mine within the network for a long, long time, and he has never done anything dangerous thus far. He, like me, errs on the side of caution and strategy.

COUPS: Well, okay, You’re the bossman. YELLOW, make sure you follow ANGEL closely, okay? And WOOZI, make sure nothing goes sideways without me there. I would come if I could.

YELLOW: Of course! First job is gonna go great, you can count on me!!

WOOZI: Don’t stress, COUPS. We’ve done this before.

[COUPS has logged off]

[YELLOW has logged off]

[ANGEL has logged off]

As Jeonghan closed his laptop, a loud bang was audible from the direction of Jihoons weaponry workshop down the corridor. He flinched a little from the unexpectedness, before sighing and arching his neck to see out of the window placed directly in front of his desk. His blinds were open, so he was easily able to see the sight of Seungcheol drenched in sweat, his upper body bare. He had obviously put a halt on his workout to go and investigate what the loud sound was and where it had come from. Jihoon emerged, with his face covered in black, sooty dust, somehow managing to simultaneously laugh and cough between wiping his face with his similarly dirty hands. Seeing that no harm has been done, Seungcheol playfully drew a pair of reverse stripes on Jihoons cheeks, making two clear lines in the dust and causing the younger man to smack his arms in indignation. Muffled shouting could be heard from outside, and Jeonghan couldn’t help but smile. Despite the others being members of his organisation, he also classed them as his closest friends. Of course, some were closer to him than others, namely Jihoon and Seuncheol, but he cared for all of those who lived under his roof in some capacity. He could also see his two newest recruits becoming people he cared much for very soon.

Settling back into his chair and crossing his legs at the ankles, he worked for the rest of the day. He focused on responding to important messages and organising shipments until he heard a gentle knock on his door, dragging him out of his working focus. “Yeah, come in.”

Seungcheol poked his head into the gap left from the open doorway, smiling at Jeonghans gesture to enter, and then came into the room holding a tray with a bowl of ramyeon, some potato dumplings, and a small pot of kimchi. He had changed from what he was wearing this morning and was now wearing a red t-shirt and some grey joggers. “I thought I would bring you something to eat since you’ve been a recluse ever since this morning.” He said this cheerily, yet with an undercurrent of chastisement for Jeonghans lack of self-care. He looked around for a place to rest the tray before giving up and carefully placing it on Jeonghans perfectly made bed covers.

Once that was done, Seungcheol walked over and rested his hand on the back of Jeonghans chair, leaning his hip against the desk and tilting his head down to look at him properly. “Speaking of, do you want to tell me what happened with Joshua earlier?” Jeonghans mouth pinched at his words, irritated that the memory was brought back up when he thought that everyone had gotten the hint to leave it be.

“It’s clear that Jihoon has obviously told you. I appreciate you bringing me food, but I’d rather not talk about it. I have work to do.” Hoping to bring a close to the conversation, Jeonghan turned more towards his laptop again and tried to feign interest in his screen. In reality, he read nothing.

Seungcheol sighed, bringing the tray to Jeonghan as he cleared his desk to make a space for it. Jeonghan knew he was being unreasonable, but it simply wasn’t in his nature to back down when he didn’t want to. Even if it meant more chance of an interaction with someone he cared about.

Once done, Seungcheol simply smiled at him. “Alright then, I’ll be downstairs.” And with that, he exited the room, gently closing the door behind him.

CHAPTER 4 END

UPDATED PROFILE – YOON JUNG HAN

  • New associate added MOON

 

Chapter Text

26/03/2017 – Sunday

[8:05]

I feel the need to document my thoughts regarding some worrying recent developments. People say that having something tangible in front of you that represents your thoughts brings order and clarity to a chaotic mind. I hope that’s what this will represent for me. I haven’t ever written anything like this, but I will try my best.

So, I have been a member the network for about 3 years, and everything has always gone smoothly. I have kept myself to myself for the majority, I do not belong to a gang or claim membership elsewhere. None of those whom I’ve had dealings with know of my true identity, nor of any qualities that will allow them to trace things back to me. However, there has been a shift, which likely began with the leader of link FIFTEEN becoming incarcerated by the NIS a few weeks ago. The other links in the network have started to increase their distance, and the trust that was once present between the links has begun to shrink. Understandably, of course. People are fearful that the leader of link FIFTEEN will start giving away information about the rest of us, especially since none of them holds much hope of the leader resisting NIS’ infamous use of…. Force… in the aim of their goals. For all of the bravado that link FIFTEEN used to carry, their leader is ill-prepared for what he has landed himself in.

We were unfortunately right. Link FORTY has stated that they have been under investigation recently. This has put me on edge. I am constantly in a state of low-grade panic. My fiancé, as much as we have nothing to do with one another, knows nothing about my criminal activity and I have no plans on letting that aspect of my life loose, especially to her. To people in the outside world, I am just a boring, businessman with a penchant for marketing. I make advertisements for various, well-rounded companies and help to design various things when requested – no one would ever suspect me of anything else.

Anyway. In a desperate attempt to remove myself from the network, or at least have someone I can some-what trust in case things turn desperate, I bit the bullet and decided to messaged link TWO, codename ANGEL. I’ve had pleasant dealings with him before. About a year ago, he bought a set of artefacts from me and, whilst he did engage in the expected price haggling, he neglected to do what other links have done before and attempt to buy my things for a much lower value than what they are actually worth. In actual fact, he acquiesced to settle on a price 3 times my estimated profit gain! As well as this, he is known to be a very reliable leader. Mainly because of these factors, I thought that maybe if I built up a connection with him, I would be in a prime position for future business opportunities, but I could still remain safe and anonymous.

That was until he said he needed to meet me to prove trustworthiness. I was very hesitant about agreeing and actually had to step away from my computer to have a serious weigh up of the pros and cons. I have never met any of my associates face to face before, but at the same time, I will inevitably get caught if I remain as an independent source within the network. If you have no connections in this sort of occupation, you will undoubtedly be one of the first to be figured out.

So, I agreed. I was contemplating hiring someone to go in my place but quickly scrapped that idea. If I’m going to be serious about this, I have to do things myself. Plus, who would I even hire? And, to be completely honest, having a more exciting life is entirely why I started this (as well as the money of course), so I think doing this will bring some much-needed exhilaration into my life.

Actually, no. I don’t know what I’m talking about. If I do get involved with ANGEL, it will be strictly business, and nothing more. We will be business associates, not friends. Apart from the increased correspondence, things will hardly end up changing. I hope.

Chapter Text

27/03/2017 – Monday

Jeonghan blearily opened his eyes, then immediately winced as the blinding morning sunlight filled his vision considering that he had forgotten to close his curtains the previous night. Attempting to hide from the outside world for a few more seconds, he scrunched his eyes shut once again, trying to cling on to the last, escaping vestiges of sleep, before reluctantly giving up and sliding out of bed. Glancing at the digital clock at his bedside which blinked up at him at the unruly hour of 5:30am, he pulled on a clean pair of boxers laying on the ground near his feet and then took a few strides to grab his turquoise towel hanging neatly from the radiator.

Aiming towards the bathroom to begin his morning routine, he made his way down the hallway. He frowned slightly at the already slightly parted door, but hearing no telling noises from inside he assumed one of the others had simply neglected to shut it on their way out. However, he heard a grunt from someone on the other side of the door, but it came just a fraction too late to stop the already moving door from swinging all of the way open.

As if it was in slow motion, Jeonghan looked up to see Seungcheol, standing in all of his unashamedly naked glory by the sink with a toothbrush in his mouth. He had toothpaste foaming around his chin, which contrasted humorously with the comically wide-eyed mask of surprise his face had morphed into. That quickly faded, and what was once an opened mouth shifted and then curled into a slight smirk. Immediately, Jeonghan recoiled and turned away from the unexpected sight in both an attempt to be polite, but also to try and hide the embarrassing redness that he could feel practically burn itself up his neck, past his ears and onto his cheeks in a slow wave of mortification. Trying to save face, or what was left of it, he choked out a flustered, “Oh for god’s sake Seungcheol, shut the door when you’re like this will you?!”

Seungcheol spat out the remainder of toothpaste in his mouth and then nonchalantly patted his face clean with a damp flannel hanging up on some pegs on the other side of the door. His smirk had evolved into a full-blown grin by that point, and he huffed out a laugh before remarking, “Oh come on man, chill out! We’re both guys, right? We have the same parts and all so it’s nothing you’ve not seen before.” This last comment was followed by a single eyebrow wiggle before he continued, “Besides, if I close the door fully the mirror steams up whilst the shower runs and then I can’t see what I’m doing.”

As if reminding himself, he leant over into the shower before turning the dial to a more comfortable medium temperature, before hanging a large, grey, dry towel that was previously folded on top of the closed toilet lid over the edge of the glass stall walls for easy access.

Noticing Jeonghan still hadn’t moved, Seungcheol paused in getting into the shower, still naked, and then asked, “Why are you still standing there? Did you want to come in with me, or…” Seungcheol trailed off, winked, and then laughed, looking suggestively at him. Jeonghan wasn’t sure if he was joking or being serious, something which caused him to hesitate, although he didn’t know why. Why couldn’t he fire off some sort of quick-witted retort as usual?

Clearing his blocked throat -which was obviously a product of the steamy heat of the room, nothing else, obviously- Jeonghan scoffed, hurriedly turned around, and walked back down the hallway whilst tucking his towel around his waist conceal his modesty, however fruitless that may have then been. “You wish, prick. Hurry up, I have work in about an hour and I want to get properly cleaned up.”

Seungcheol’s laugh could he heard all through the corridor from the bathroom. He did at the very least listen to Jeonghan’s words and made sure to kick the door shut.

Jeonghan returned to his room, dragging on some green pyjamas that were lying on the floor to wait out his turn for the bathroom more comfortably. He threw his towel on his still unmade bed and stood aimlessly for a few moments, staring into space. He couldn’t help but reflect on his behaviour towards Seungcheol. They had always been close friends, and it wasn’t like that was the first time he’d had to see Seungcheol naked; in fact, for the majority of their first interactions, it had necessitated that Seungcheol be missing articles of clothing because of the wound from the accident! He wondered why it flustered him so much now as opposed to previously.

Unwilling to dwell of what that progression could spell, he quickly shook himself out of his ponderings, brushed his hair, loosely tied it in a low ponytail until he could wash it before he headed downstairs to make breakfast.

He bustled about, deciding to fry himself a few lean strips of bacon and a couple of poached eggs, as well as a fresh tomato salad for his lunch. He consumed his breakfast quickly before returning upstairs to have his shower in a now mercifully empty bathroom. Wearing his usual grey striped two-piece tailored suit with today’s choice of a lush green tie, he proceeded to pack his laptop, paper files and lunch into his bag, then left for work as usual.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened at work, and at 6pm, he finished and promptly returned home. When he walked through the door, the first thing he saw was Jihoon sat at the table with a pad of paper in front of him. He was gently sketching something, a vague outline slowly taking shape as he worked, and as he noticed Jeonghan arriving his hand paused its ministrations as he offered a greeting. “Hey Jeonghan, welcome back. How was work?”

Jeonghan put his briefcase down on the sofa and loosened his still-pristine tie. Rolling his neck to stretch out the tenseness from looking in one direction all day, he slowly blew out a sigh through his nose and returned the greeting. “It was alright, though I do have a few new shipments that will be coming in tomorrow that I will need you to pick up for me, that can be discussed later. More importantly, have you got everything ready for tonight?” Jihoon nodded, gesturing for Jeonghan to sit down whilst he got up and went to retrieve the others.

It took very little time before Wonwoo and Seungkwan came down the stairs and sat at the table with Jeonghan and a now re-seated Jihoon. Wonwoo had brought sheets of paper down with him but was instead staring at his phone with a small, subconscious smile on his face.

After noticing he was the focus of attention for the wrong reasons, Wonwoo awkwardly coughed, placing his phone in his pocket and slid two sets of paper across the table so that they came to rest in front of Jeonghan. He first gestured to the pile of the left, “This pile is everything I could find on MOON. His real name is Wen Junhui, he is 24 years old and works as a successful marketing manager here in Seoul.” After receiving a nod of acknowledgement from Jeonghan, he then continued to explain the remaining pile on the right, “This pile is everything I could find on the gang that is link FIFTEEN. I got everything about 6 of the members, but with the others some details are uncertain.”

Jeonghan nodded. To say that this was the first mission Wonwoo had undertaken, he was very impressed with how quickly Wonwoo was able to gather the information. Wanting to show his approval, he looked at the man in question and gave an appreciative smile, “You definitely exceeded my expectations, Wonwoo. Well done.” Although Wonwoo was happy to receive the praise, the only thing that showed he was pleased by it was a slight crinkling of his eyes and a faint flush to his ears.

Whilst Jeonghan and Wonwoo continued to speak at length about the details of the paper, Seungkwan sat next to Jihoon and took in the noticeable lack of other members around them. Nudging the distracted man next to him to subtly get his attention, he quietly asked: “Where are Seungcheol and Joshua?”

Jihoon just smiled, going back to tapping on his phone for a few seconds, then looked up at Seungkwan’s curious expression. “Seungcheol is on a job at the moment, so he won’t be back until late tonight at the earliest. Joshua spends most of his free time with his family, so that’s probably where he’ll be.” Seungkwan slowly nodded as he absorbed this information, and then gaped slightly when he realised that this ‘job’ that Seungcheol was on likely meant he was out on a murder contract. Unwilling to dig any farther into this, he instead moved on to something that was more of a shock to him. “Joshua has a family?” Seungkwan asked.

Jihoon tilted his head to the side, considering his previous words before sighing “Well, a family may be too broad of a term. He has a sister.” That seemed to be all he was willing to divulge, and he decided to outright change the topic to safer waters. “You and Wonwoo should get some rest before tonight, it could end badly.”

Wonwoo, obviously catching the tail end of what Jihoon had said, looked up from his and Jeonghans conversation, going slightly pale at the thought of having to witness anything particularly violent. Jeonghan smiled gently, trying to reassure him, “Yes, but I wouldn’t worry too much though. We plan extensively for situations like these.” And with this parting reassurance, Wonwoo and Seungkwan both returned to their rooms, a bubbling mixture of excitement, nerves and apprehension swirling in their guts for the evening ahead.

Jeonghan too stood up from the table and moved over to the sofa, retrieving his laptop from his bag before opening it to browse emails and messages, when a message from the very topic of discussion popped up.

NEW ALLIANCE

[19:42]

MOON: 9pm tonight, correct? Do you want me to bring anything?

ANGEL: Yes, 9pm. No, bring nothing but yourself.

MOON: Right. Okay. See you then, ANGEL.

[MOON has logged off]

CHAPTER 5 END

UPDATED PROFILE – JEON WONWOO

  • New associate added Wen Junhui

UPDATED PROFILE – HONG JISOO

  • New associate added MOON

UPDATED PROFILE – BOO SEUNGKWAN

  • New associate added Wen Junhui

UPDATED PROFILE – YOON JUNGHAN

  • New associate added Wen Junhui

UPDATED PROFILE – LEE JIHOON

  • New associate added Wen Junhui

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • New associate added MOON

 

 

 

Chapter Text

27/03/2017 – Monday

For the rest of the evening, the house was mercifully quiet. Wonwoo was asleep upstairs in his room whilst Seungkwan busied himself perfecting his makeup and choosing something adequate to wear for the subsequent mission. Jeonghan and Jihoon spent the evening on their laptops, enjoying the comfortable silence, years in the making, between them.

Once the clock read 20:00, Jeonghan decided that the time was close enough and set about rousing the boys from their respective tasks. He shouted up to them, “Guys, time to get moving! We need to make sure we get everything set up!” He received a jumbled mixture of an affirmative shout from Seungkwan and a hazy groan from Wonwoo, taking both as enough of a confirmation to then motion for Jihoon to begin his own preparations.

Jihoon had taken Jeonghan’s brief interaction with the boys as a good time to pack his own things away. Once receiving the signal that it was his time to move, he left the house to drive his van around from the back garage to the front. By that time Wonwoo had come downstairs, and together they loaded their equipment into the back of the van and set about securing it down so that none of it was damaged on the journey to the location. Somewhat surprisingly, they seemed to get along very well. This made Jeonghan glad to see since Jihoon was notoriously reserved and never opened up to anyone except for him and occasionally Seungcheol, although not at all to the same extent. Wonwoo seemed just as wary as Jihoon, though far less paranoid. Perhaps their matching apprehensiveness towards other people allowed them to bond over an immediate similarity?

Just as Jihoon and Wonwoo finished loading the van, Seungkwan came through the front door. Jeonghan was rarely impressed with how people looked visually, but he definitely acknowledged the time and effort that Seungkwan had put into his disguise. Seungkwan’s straight blonde hair was neatly parted in the middle, slightly combed back and gelled to make him look smart and put-together. He wore plain black tailored trousers cut off just below his ankle, a pressed white shirt with a thin beige tie. His makeup was immaculate, showing just how powerful of a tool it could be when used successfully, making him look like an entirely different person. The contour shaped his face to look sharper and smaller, his eyes appeared far wider and defined and the blue contact lenses added to the whole appearance. He gave off the aura of an approachable naïve young business man, which is exactly what Jeonghan had wanted for this operation. “Seungkwan, well done.” Jeonghan stated, receiving a slight smile and nod from Seungkwan, a noticeably reserved reaction from him as he focused on immersing himself into his current persona.

Wonwoo approached Seungkwan, “Your name is now Markus Lee. Have fun, remember your background cover if necessary.” Then after giving Jeonghan a quick smile returned to Jihoons van and sat in the passenger seat.

Jeonghan led Seungkwan to the left side of the house, fished his car keys out of his pocket and then pressed one of the buttons. The headlights flashed and revealed previously shut off Hyundai Sonata painted a sleek silver. Gesturing ahead of him, Seungkwan got the hint from Jeonghan and watched as Jeonghan slid into the driver’s seat. They soon set off to the address of the abandoned building in which they were meeting MOON, who they now knew to be called Wen Junhui.

The drive didn’t take very long, maybe a half hour in total that was mostly ridden in silence. Jihoon and Wonwoo had gone a different route than they did to set up a securely hidden point from which Wonwoo could set up his computers to monitor the situation electronically and Jihoon could get a decent vantage point from which to spy on things with his own eyes. Once they both separately arrived, the night sky was a deep shade of royal blue, helped mightily by the area in which they were in having very few streetlights. Grabbing a torch from his pre-packed bag, Jeonghan slid out of the car and beckoned Seungkwan to follow him.
One after the other, they climbed a rusty metal ladder to the roof of the building, then sat down on a crumbling concrete wall at the far end of the roof. After almost 30 minutes had passed, Jihoon flashed a signal to Jeonghan from a few rooftops away. They all had wireless headphones for easier communicative access than their messages, courtesy of their resident technology genius Jihoon, so they put them in their ears and directed their attention to their phones.

SEVENTEEN

 [20:45]

[WOOZI is logged in]

[ENIGMA is logged in]

[ANGEL is logged in]

[YELLOW is logged in]

ENIGMA: Okay, we’re all set up over here. There is no suspicious electronic activity in the building, so it isn’t wired or bugged. There is a white car parked to the righthand side of the building that pulled up around 40 seconds ago, and we’ve got a visual confirmation that Wen Junhui is sat in the driver’s seat. There is no one else in the car or the immediate vicinity. I have made a note of the number plate, make and model of the car for future reference if needed.

ANGEL: Good. We will wait to see how he approaches from now on.

Looking up from his phone, Jeonghan watches Seungkwan closely. He appears to be completely serious, as opposed to his usual comedic persona. Wanting to further clarify his role, Jeonghan added, “When he comes, do not say anything unless I signal you.”

Seungkwan only nodded in response.

SEVENTEEN

[21:00]

WOOZI: Wen Junhui is on the move into the building. I have clear shot, though he does not appear to be wielding any visible weapons. Don’t forget to get a clear sound from your ear-pieces so we can hear what is going on.

[ANGEL has started a live recording]

[WOOZI has started a live recording]

Jeonghan and Seungkwan pivoted around so that they faced towards the latch they had entered through. Soon after, the rusted metal of the lock screeched as it was moved, and a man appeared. Jeonghan absorbed his appearance carefully.

At first glance, Junhui appeared meek and anxious, but he quickly wiped that away and replaced it with a more confident expression as he came to a stop in front of Jeonghan and Seungkwan. Compared to them, Junhui was far larger in his physique. His shoulders were broad, and after a careful perusal previously unnoticed lean muscles could be seen underneath his clothes, similar to what someone might expect from a dancer. Brown hair was swept downwards over his face, almost brushing his eyelashes and parting slightly in the middle to show off a sliver of a pale, smooth forehead. What struck Jeonghan the most was the man’s jawline. It was incredibly sharp and defined, similar to Joshua’s, except his eyes and expression did not match. He appeared soft and gentle, but Jeonghan was unsure as to whether it was a façade or not. He wore a brown suit and if Jeonghan hadn’t known beforehand, he wouldn’t have been able to guess this man was a marketer.

Unnerved by the silence and the two men just gazing at him, the man nervously smiled and bowed slightly in greeting, his eyes coming to a stop on Jeonghan once straightening back up. “Ah, are you Angel?” His voice wasn’t overly deep but was still appreciatively masculine, along with a hint of an accent belaying his Chinese beginnings.

His eyes widened in alarm as Jeonghan stepped forward to take his hands, efficiently restraining them in front of him. “If you don’t mind, we just want to check for weapons or wires. If you do happen to have any on you then say so now. If you lie, we will kill you.” Jeonghan’s bluntness worked wonders on the man’s already frayed nerves, and he quickly managed to stutter out a reply.

“I-I don’t have any weapons, you can check. I don’t have any wires either, I promise!” Seungkwan then took the initiative to pat the man down, checking his ankles, thighs, crotch, sides, arms, wrists and neck for any concealed weapons, as well as the pockets and seams of his clothes. After finding none, Seungkwan stood back, nodding to Jeonghan who then released his hands and took a couple of strides backwards.

Relaxing minutely in the knowledge this wouldn’t be an ambush, Jeonghan began his questioning. “I am ANGEL, what is your name?” He asked, half expecting the man in front of him to lie. He responded quickly though, clearing his throat and inhaling deeply.

“I am Wen Junhui, codename MOON. Can I get your real name?” Jun smiles, his posture also relaxing after they began to talk. He kept his hands hanging loosely by his sides, sure that if he was to try and hide their shakiness by placing them in his pockets it would only arouse suspicion.

“Yoon Jung Han. Nice to make your acquaintance. So – “

Just as Jeonghan goes to finish his sentence, Wonwoo’s voice came rushing urgently through their ear-pieces. “There is an unidentified white van approaching the building. There are three people inside that we can see and they all appear to have guns.” Jihoon’s gun could be heard clunking in the background as he hurriedly attached a silencer to the sniper rifle and set himself up to fire.

Taking all this information in calmly, he momentarily ignored a confused Junhui. Jihoon spoke, addressing Seungkwan, “You need to restrain Junhui. They are most likely working for him. If you pull his arms behind his back and hold your thumb and index finger over his nose and mouth, you’ll make him pass out. Once that is done, you and Jeonghan will drag him to the back of the building so that you’re off of the open roof. I will get rid of the other men after that, you just stay put and make sure Junhui doesn’t wake up and do anything.”

Jeonghan was not sure how well Seungkwan would be able to perform the orders he’d just been given since he hadn’t been taught any self-defence yet. Despite this though, Seungkwan moved quickly, following his orders swiftly and efficiently. Junhui hadn’t yet interpreted the unexplained silence and was unprepared for the shorter man to come rushing at him. He barely had enough time to react before he was slumped over in Seungkwan’s arms, putting up a pitiful struggle due to the combination of previous nerves and current surprise. Jeonghan moved to help once the taller man was unconscious and grabbed the man’s legs. Together with Seungkwan, they carried him hurriedly through the still open doorway and down into the building just as Jeonghan had instructed. As they placed Junhui none too gently down onto an area decently swept free of rubble. Voices of two men could be heard screaming and shouting for cover.

Once voice abruptly cut off mid-shout, followed by a monotone, “One eliminated.” Jihoons voice was completely void of emotion. A large crash sounded whilst he was talking, presumably the sound of something large falling with a dead-pan weight on the trash-bins outside. Not long after, the second shouting was cut off just as the sound of a window smashing could be heard. Jihoon had successfully taken a shot through a window. “The second, eliminated.” After that, things were eerily silent. “The third is just hiding one floor below. Seungkwan, stay with Junhui. Jeonghan, go lure him out so I can get a clear shot.”

Jeonghan straightened from his crouch and slipped a subcompact semi auto .380 ACP from behind his back that was tucked into his waistband.

Seungkwan held onto his jacket in protest. He was still very much in character, his seriousness a beneficial addition to the current events. “You can’t, they have weapons and they will know where you will be coming from.”

Jeonghan smiled and tugged his jacket from Seungkwan’s grip. He lifted his shirt to reveal a slim bulletproof vest underneath his shirt, “Don’t worry, this is definitely not the first time I’ve done things like this.” He walked out from the wall they were taking cover behind, looking back to give one final comment, “And it certainly will not be the last.”

Quietly, Jeonghan approached the stairwell, peering downwards before slowly descending. Jihoons calming voice spoke to him as he proceeded. “The third target is behind a concrete wall on the right hand side from where you will descend. He has a pistol similar to you. He looks like he is shaking and crying, so his reactions will be slowed, although this could mean he may be jumpy and quick to shoot. If you jump down instead of walk down, he won’t be able to shoot you. Roll to the left after landing, you’ll be behind a pile of bricks.”

Jeonghan inhaled deeply, ensuring that the safety on his pistol was off in preparation. He whispered a faint “Seungcheol is going to kill me” to himself before jumping through the gap. He landed softly, swiftly followed Jihoon’s instructions to roll to the left and took no notice of the small nicks he could feel the debris leave on his skin. This was evidently a good choice since a bullet skimmed the concrete where he had landed a few seconds after he had cleared it.

The bricks obscured the target’s view and Jeonghan could hear how his breathing was ragged and shaking. “Come out. I knew y-you would be here. You have n-nowhere to go now. Just give it up.” Jeonghan could sense the fear in the words he spoke, and he held his breath as the man walked slowly towards Jeonghan’s hiding place.

There was no need to be worried, of course, as Jihoon’s voice sounded deep as he said: “Got him.”

Jeonghan watched as the man who was hunting him crashed violently onto the pile of bricks face first, his throat spewing blood through the hole the bullet had left in his neck and nauseating gurgling sounds erupting from him as he twitched. Jeonghan fell backwards, away from the flailing man and the blood. If there was one last thing he wanted from tonight, it was to not get blood on his suit from his dying would-be killer. He placed his pistol to the man’s forehead and fired, screwing his eyes shut at the sight. The sound of the gun echoed through the building – a contrast to the previous silent bullets - and Jihoon’s voice was quick to respond, “Sorry about the mess, I couldn’t get a clean shot.”

Jeonghan looked down at his clothes, the blazer slightly dampened and stained red from blood. He sighed. It was unavoidable, he supposed. “You better pay for a new one, this suit was expensive.”

Seungkwans laugh was audible from where Jeonghan was, and it was refreshingly nice, albeit very weird, to hear a laugh amid all of the blood and gore.

Jihoon responded bluntly, still not able to lose his tension until the mission was officially finished, “I’ll call Seungcheol and Joshua to help us with the mess. Hopefully, they are available.”

SEVENTEEN

 [21:36]

[WOOZI is logged on]

[SHUA is logged on]

[ANGEL is logged on]

[YELLOW is logged on]

[ENIGMA is logged on]

WOOZI: SHUA and COUPS, are you available? We could do with some backup.

YELLOW: Yeah, there are kinda dead bodies everywhereee. Oh, and Jeonghan’s pissed he’s got blood on his suit.

SHUA: COUPS is unavailable, but I can come. Send me the address.

ANGEL: 67 ghjsklfpoivask 890i dls jsu90-opalmvsd; djvnbslkaoshijvkcxpoziujhjklz P:; pcvasgb p;'/=-098 nasjcalx

SHUA: On my way.

Jeonghan returned to where Seungkwan and Junhui were, ensuring to rub the blood dripping from the short barrel of his pistol onto the deceased man’s shirt on the way up. Seungkwan had dragged Junhui halfway across the expanse of the roof by himself. “This guy really doesn’t look as heavy as he is, now you’ve not been helping carry him I can tell that he is really frickin’ heavy.”

Jeonghan laughed, hurriedly running over to the passed out Junhui and checking that his head was not damaged. Running his hands through his hair and over his face, he was mollified to see that no external damage had been done. “Be more careful with him, he is going to have such a headache when he wakes up.” Jeonghan murmured, then heaved himself down next to Seungkwan waiting for the clean-up to arrive.

Wonwoos voice rang through the earpiece, but compared to Jihoon’s it sounded much more wearied, almost shaky. “Can one of you send images of the targets’ faces? I can compare them to what I found about the members of link FIFTEEN and see which one’s have been eliminated.”

Seungkwan quickly got up from the floor, happy to stretch his legs without having the dead-weight of a fully-grown man to lug about and to have a task to do for the time being, no matter how gruesome it was going to be.

SEVENTEEN

[21:51]

[YELLOW has sent an attachment]

[YELLOW has sent an attachment]

[YELLOW has sent an attachment]

Jeonghan was kneeling on the floor next to Junhui, attempting to use his tie to restrain his wrists when Wonwoo huffed into the microphone, “There was no need to pose them Seungkwan, that’s bad manners. And also disgusting.” Seungkwan snickered in response, jogging back to where Jeonghan was sat once he had done his task.

After a few minutes, Joshua’s car joined Jihoon’s van from where it was parked beside Jeonghan’s car. It was a red fiat Cinquecento, though prolonged exposure to the sun, coupled with its evident age had bleached the top slightly orange, giving the appearance of a sort of reversed ombre effect.

“I’ll drive; you sit in the back with Junhui.” Jeonghan commanded.

After Joshua helped carry all three of the bodies down into Jihoon’s van, Jun was carried not so delicately into the back of Joshua’s car, sat upright awkwardly next to an unamused Joshua.

The car journey was quiet, except Seungkwan trying to make conversation to break the suffocating tension that seemed to be constant with the group’s most isolated and private member around. It was clear that Joshua was not happy about having his private time interrupted, only ever giving clipped replies when noticing the disapproval radiating from Jeonghan, if he gave any replies at all.

As they were turning the corner towards their estate, Junhui came rushing back to consciousness with a chocked off gasp and shook about in the shoddy restraints. “What the f-“

Before he could finish his sentence, Joshua had turned and punched him directly in the face, knocking him out completely once again. Jeonghan gave a frustrated sigh, looking into the rear-view mirror and meeting Joshua’s eyes, “There was no need for that, Joshua.”

Despite Junhui being slumped over across the other side of the back seat, Joshua ignored this and continued scrolling on his phone. “You asked for my help, so that’s what you’ve got. You didn’t specify treatment.”

The rest of the ride home was silent and uneventful. Only then had the reality of the situation hit Seungkwan; he had knocked someone out, witnessed a criminal meet up, and been in conjunction with men who had just killed three people. He sat forward in his seat, rigid. My god, what had he and Wonwoo gotten themselves into?

CHAPTER 6 END

UPDATED PROFILE – HONG JISOO

  • Associate updated MOON -> Wen Junhui

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • Associate updated MOON -> Wen Junhui

Chapter Text

29/03/2017 – Tuesday

Slowly and painfully coming back to consciousness, Jun fought to open his eyes. It felt like he’d been used as a ragdoll, carelessly being thrown here and there. Almost every part of his body was aching. Beads of sweat were dripping down from his temples, sticking his hair in slick strands against his forehead and making him feel in desperate need of a shower.

“Where the fuck am I?” he muttered to himself. Although his vision was blurry, he could see enough around him to know that the room that he was in was dark with no discernible light source. The goosebumps coming to life up and down his arms and the shivers that wracked his body rudely brought to his attention the temperature, made even worse by the stale sweat clinging to his skin. It was cold. Very cold. The rough rope restraints that tightly bound him to an old, rickety chair were cutting into his ankles and wrists as he shifted, with the wood of the chair causing an uncomfortable friction as he moved. Barely being able to move his head, he stared down at himself. His bare ankles were tied with a thick hemp rope to the front legs of the chair, and dried blood surrounded the restraints. He was wearing only boxers and what was once his – now completely ruined – white collared shirt. As he lifted his eyes upwards to gaze around the room, he noticed various cardboard boxes and plastic crates, but none with any labels giving him any idea as to what their contents were.

A radiating soreness was a constant pain in his back and neck and he had pulsing headache that felt as though it was in time with his rapidly thumping heartbeat. Inhaling the cold, damp air to hopefully regain some clarity, it did help to clear his head and stabilise his vision. Just as he’d done that, however, piercing light spilt in through an opening door, causing him to wince away from the source, closing his eyes in pain and groaning in protest. Unable to see who had entered other than a large, intimidating silhouette, Jun felt the beginnings of an immense wave of fear wash over him when it occurred to him just what kind of situation he was in and he couldn’t help but think to himself, what have I gotten myself into?

Screwing his eyes shut tightly again, silently he wished that the floor would open below him and swallow him up just so that he could be literally anywhere but here. He was still clinging on to some small shreds of hope that this was a nightmare, that he would wake up and everything would be just as he’d left it, but the pain radiating through his body and the figure in front of him told him the truth. Maybe it was the muscly, 5ft 10” man hovering over him that made him realise it was real just a little bit more at this point. Regardless, he was terrified.

“Finally awake, I see.” The man’s voice was very deep, and he was crouched so close that the warmth of his minty breath fell onto Jun’s face. He couldn’t bring himself to look up at him, partly because of the light still filling the room, but also because he feared he would implode if his gaze met his interrogators. Or ruin his boxers.

Standing back up and moving slowly towards the back of the chair, the man placed his warm hands gently onto Jun’s shoulders, causing him to dramatically flinch at the unexpected contact. He didn’t place them there roughly, but his body ached all over so any pressure at this point felt like too much. He wanted to speak, but his mind felt slow and sluggish, unable to make coherent sentences. “My name is Seungcheol. What is yours?”

Though it was a simple question, Jun had to think very hard about his answer before replying, “Wen Junhui”. It was said in a staggering, croaky voice, and even that simple action caused his head to begin pounding all over again. Immediately after his reply, as though his interrogator wanted to make sure he was properly conscious and coherent, Seungcheol moved one of his hands from Jun’s shoulder and slid it up to his neck. This evoked a gasp from Jun, who held his breath in fearful suspense.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Wen Junhui. Well, no more than you already are. If you answer my questions truthfully, you’ll be fine and we’ll have no issues.” His voice was out of place for their situation, sounding almost like a cooing, soothing parent would when reassuring a child. As he was speaking, he caressed Jun’s nervously bobbing Adam's apple and swept his thumb down to brush against his jugular threateningly. Once satisfied that his message had been successfully broadcasted, Seungcheol gave one final, painful pat on the shoulder and walked away to the other side of the room.

Bright overhead lights came to life with the click of a switch, blinding Jun momentarily. After heavily blinking a few times, he looked up until he could finally get his first proper glimpse of his interrogator. Opposed to his deep, gravelly voice, Seungcheol did not have a cruel expression or aura. He was certainly intimidating with his black hair, strong build and pale, muscular skin littered with sharp tattoos. Jun felt slightly more…relaxed, he supposed, being able to put a face to the voice and name. This was immediately changed when his eyes came to rest on the outline of a pocket knife sticking out of the front pocket his blue stonewashed jeans, and a .44 magnum tucked in his waistband, placed on the outside of his black stretch cotton t-shirt. Seungcheol had made no effort to hide them.

They circled through the obvious questions, Jun’s accent thickening due to his headache and nerves causing Seungcheol to have to repeat himself often to get a distinguishable answer. After around 15 minutes of repetitiveness, Seungcheol eventually asked him about link FIFTEEN. Jun sighed, quite frustrated that he had no power to do anything. His stomach ached with hunger and his throat was parched from thirst. Afraid that the unsubtle shift in questioning was a trick, Jun was wary to give an outright answer, “I can’t tell you, I should only tell Jeonghan.”

This was evidently the worst reply he could have given. Like a shot, Seungcheol jolted towards Jun, grabbed him by the neck aggressively, threw his head back and shoved the .44 magnum against his temple. The angle that his neck was being held at and the hand squeezing it made nothing more than a choked strangle come from his mouth, but he pulled against his restraints in a desperate bid to get away, causing the already painfully raw wounds to become deeper and tears to form in his eyes, threatening to escape. Through gritted teeth, Seungcheol spat out a harsh, “How the fuck do you know his name? Who the fuck have you been talking to, huh?! Answer me!”

However, without even waiting for Jun to try and choke out a reply, just as quickly as Seungcheol had flew at Jun’s throat, he recoiled immediately, allowing air to flow back into Jun’s lungs and his dangerously spotted vision to return to normal. Jun heaved in between violent bouts of coughing as air once again flowed freely, unable to speak or see past the tears streaming from his red, watering eyes. After a few minutes, he had gained back enough of his wits to look up try and find the reason why Seungcheol had released him.

Jeonghan now stood beside him, obviously coming into the room without either of the boys’ immediate knowledge. He was staring at Jun with a cool, apathetic expression at first glance, but with a deeper, more thorough look, he could detect a mixture of pity and annoyance, though he was unsure as to who that second emotion was aimed at. Without another word, Seungcheol left the room with an emotionless expression with his frame held rigid and his hands coiled into tight balls by his sides, looking at neither of them on his way out.

After he left, Jeonghan sighed and deflated, looking tired and wearied, crossing over to where Jun was bound whilst saying, “My apologies. This was not the way in which you should have been questioned. How about we get you cleaned up, fed and rested before we continue talking?”

This gesture came as a complete surprise to Jun, especially considering the brutality of the previous situation. He gazed down blankly at Jeonghan, who was in the process of untying the binds that dug deeply into his sore skin. After he was fully released, Jeonghan offered his arm to help him up. Jun was a proud man like any other, but he wasn’t ignorant enough to know that he needed help to get up. His legs were shaky and the sudden difference in height and lack of stability caused his migraine to worsen, causing the world to spin dangerously.

After waiting for things to somewhat calm, he, with Jeonghan’s help, began to take slow, apprehensive steps forward. As he cautiously walked up the stairs and through the doorway into the house itself rather than being confined to its underbelly, he couldn’t help but notice how large the it was, and how surprisingly nice the décor was. The floor of the living room was covered with neatly set dark wooden planks, with a burgundy circle rug in the centre. Three large, brown leather sofas surrounded a small glass coffee table, and various mugs were scattered on the surfaces and floor, although the majority were set on coasters, some more precariously than others. He couldn’t help but wonder how many people lived here, surely more than just Seungcheol and Jeonghan?

Jeonghan, likely noticing his wandering eyes, brought his attention back to himself with a curt, “Follow me, Wen Junhui”, leading him past the living room and what appeared to be a well-stocked kitchen off to the side.

Jun murmured “Call me Jun” and then moved his attention to observing the rest of the household. Seungcheol was stood by what Jun assumed to be the front door, scrolling passively on his phone whilst leaning with his back against the wall, left leg crossed in front of the other. He appeared to be completely unaffected by what had just happened. Even though the larger man didn’t even look up at him, it still made Jun hurry in his clumsy steps in a bid to get away from him. He had no desire to be anywhere him anytime soon.

Following Jeonghan up another painful set of stairs, Jun got the impression that they were in the middle of decorating since the upstairs was mostly bare and completely contrasted from the luxurious, well-lived in feeling from downstairs.

Once they reached the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor, Jeonghan led Jun down an empty hallway to a room on the far right of the building. The room they entered was plain, with a single bed tucked into the right corner and 2 barred windows, from which he noticed it was dark outside. Adjacent to the door they had just entered through was another door that was slightly open from which Jun could see it leading to a small shower room. Jeonghan closed the door behind them and left Jun supporting himself as he proceeded to pull two black towels out of the chest of draws besides the bed.

Turning back around and holding them up, Jeonghan gave a small, hesitant smile and said, “Here, go for a shower. Take as long as you need, there are spare clothes in the wardrobe and I will have a meal for you once you’ve finished.” Jun took the towels hesitantly, and he would be lying if he said the niceness of this man wasn’t disconcerting. Jeonghan then left the room, locking it from the outside.

Jun stared at himself in the mirror. His body was covered in a myriad of small and large cuts and mottles, purple-black-green bruises, some worse than others, most notably his back and neck. The warmth of the shower felt amazing against his protesting wounds and aches regardless of the inevitable stinging, and he definitely took his time. Despite being in an unfamiliar place, now he was being treated with some semblance of respect he found his tiredness catching up to him and his body sagging with fatigue. He wouldn’t say he was relaxed, especially not after falling trick to that before with Seungcheol, but he didn’t have the energy to be as highly strung as before. Eventually, his stomach growling with hunger became too much to resist and he reluctantly turned off the shower, daintily patting himself dry, placing one of the two towels over his sore shoulders to collect any water droplets from his hair and tying the other towel around his waist to exit the shower room.

The difference in temperature between the two rooms was a stark contrast, and he rushed as quickly as he was able to the wardrobe in search of some warm clothes. He settled on picking some tailored trousers and a plain white shirt that matched him previous clothes, to an extent at least. If he didn’t have anything else to save, he still had a certain professional image to uphold, especially to this group of intimidating strangers.

Placed on the bed was a tray on which were small individual bowls of what looked to be freshly made ramyeon, spicy kimchi and fluffy boiled rice. There was also his phone, a warm drink of green tea and some tablets, which Jun assumed to be painkillers. The ramyeon looked pretty basic, with some chopped green vegetables and a poached egg placed nicely in the centre. After swallowing the tablets dry and chasing them down with the warm tea, he quickly dug into the meal. Even if he was in a house with violent, psychopathic criminals, they still knew how to cook a decent meal.

Once he had finished, he checked his phone for the first time since this whole faff had begun. The time was 20:01on 29/03/2017, and he realised quickly just how long he had been unconscious and thus unreachable in his actual life, as well as physically absent from his fiancé. Checking his messages, he had many of his work acquaintances querying about his absence from work, but he didn’t have any from the woman whom he was going to be marrying.

He huffed, locking his phone and lying back on the bed. What had he expected from her? Things were already rocky between them, and they barely spoke anymore with their busy careers and differing hobbies. But the fact he was gone for an entire day and night, yet hadn’t gotten a message, really bugged him. However, hearing footsteps ascend the stairs, he decided they were issues to ponder over later.

The lock clunked, and Jeonghan walked in. “Hey, are you feeling a little better?” he queried. His expression seemed genuinely interested as he sat next to Jun on the bed, his eyebrows tilted downwards in concern and his eyes kind.

Jun didn’t feel at all intimidated by Jeonghan, though he knew he probably should, considering his notoriety within the network. “Yes, thank you for the hospitality. It is somewhat unexpected considering… the contrasting signals.”

Jun hoped that he hadn’t been too forward with his comment, but all Jeonghan did was sigh softly, appearing to be troubled. “Yes, we are very sorry about that. As we introduced ourselves at the specified location, my other members informed me that we were being ambushed by 3 men – whom we have now identified as members of link FIFTEEN – and of course we had to assume that they were there because you had ordered it, the coincidence was just too strong to assume otherwise. We were wrong, and once again, we deeply apologise for it. If you’d care to accompany me downstairs to the others, we will explain then.” Jeonghan explained efficiently and spoke sincerely, making sure not to speak too quickly in case Jun was not proficient in Korean. Kind, but a little unnecessary. However, the last sentence he spoke seemed like a command, not an offer, regardless of the soft tone in which he spoke. Unsure of what else to do, Jun obliged, getting up from his seat and putting his phone in his pocket.

Downstairs, the others were sat around the large oak table situated in the dining room. Seeing Seungcheol again so soon made Jun feel tense, and he was apprehensive about having to sit in the same room as him, let alone converse with him. The others turned their attention to him, and he sat down next to a man to his left that he didn’t know and Jeonghan to his right. “This is Jun, as most of you already know. First things first, Joshua and Seungcheol should apologise.”

Seungcheol was sat two seats away from him and turned at this. Jun was surprised at how he appeared in this context, despite his build and serious expression, he had a softness to his appearance that made him look like a different person. When he spoke, it was a pitch higher than before during the interrogation, and he looked truly apologetic. “I am sorry for my actions. I was not present during the rooftop events, nor was I privy to the information that was exchanged up there or on our chat, and so I didn’t know that Jeonghan had told you his name. We were unnecessarily rough with you. I care for Jeonghan deeply and- I just didn’t want him to be in danger. I was rash and unprofessional, I am sorry.”

Jun’s eyes had been steadily widening as Seungcheol spoke, hardly being able to believe that this was the man who was at his throat and holding a gun to his head an hour ago. Seungcheol appeared to have to think quite hard about what he said and stuttered quite a bit during it. This was also a contrast to the confident man who had interrogated him. Looking at him now, he seemed to be more of an awkward dad than a cold-hearted torturer. Not knowing what to say and unsure as to whether he would be able to forgive this quickly, Jun simply bobbed his head and looked away.

The one who Jun assumed to be Joshua spoke up next. “I too apologise for my harshness. We look after each other in this group, and we had wrongly assumed you were to blame for putting Jeonghan, Wonwoo, Seungkwan and Jihoon in danger. I’m sure you can understand our reasoning.”  Joshua too sounded honest, and Jun this time nodded in acceptance.

“Thank you, it means a lot. Can someone explain to me what has happened?”

Jeonghan quickly briefed over the previous evening’s events, making sure to leave out any details about link FIFTEEN members. He judged Jun’s responses to what he was being told carefully, looking for any signs of shiftiness or twitches to tell that he knew more than he let on. Satisfied that Jun was a genuinely innocent person, he ended his explanation by saying, “If you agree to join us, I will discuss what we know about link FIFTEEN and their members so far. If you have any questions, please let them out. I believe you would be a great asset to our group, despite the rocky first impressions.” This last thing was said with a rather self-depreciating smile, and from the corner of his eye, he saw Seungcheol slightly flinch at the lightly-barbed comment.

Jun hesitated before speaking, as if just now remembering the entire reason he had gotten into this mess. “So, you all live here together? What is the point of this group? What are your intentions?”

These all seemed to be what Jeonghan expected to hear as he was quick to reply, “Yes, we commit profitable and meaningful crimes, and each has a role to play in the process of each. We aim, once we have enough members, to think about getting justice for members of society who are underprivileged. Making sure specifically to target corrupt governments, companies and people who deliberately use their power to take advantage of those who cannot protect themselves. Some would call it vigilante justice, but we all believe that change only happens if there are people or there actively seeking it.”

The others all nod at his words, and Jun soaks in the information, nervous excitement building up in his stomach. The thought of working towards a goal that would benefit other people in society and himself was undeniably appealing. His life thus far had been so mundane, and he was sure being a part of this close-knit group would help him feel like less of an outlier within society. Despite this, he knew he had to think rationally about his decisions. He had to take into account that they had killed 3 people and had what appeared to be an entire basement set up for what appeared to be torture or interrogation.

After a long contemplative pause, Jun replied, “It sounds interesting, so I will agree to work with you as much as I am able. However, I can’t be as active of a participant as the rest of you, since I have a fiancé and a house. If I was to leave either, it would be too suspicious. I will do my best to be of use at a distance and can of course travel here if necessary.”

The others visibly relaxed with his confirmation, and Jeonghan smiled. “Great. We will add you to the group-chat, and I shall send you the details of our current operation which is regarding link FIFTEEN.” A shift in tone came after this, as well as a hard glint in his eyes in preparation of his next comments, “You are free to go, just remember that if you break our trust we will not hesitate to eliminate you.” The bluntness at which this was said was concerning, but Jun could understand why. This was a very delicate situation, and anything that wasn’t done in absolute secrecy could be devastating to not just the person, but to all of the members.

He stood up haltingly, his injuries still protesting, smiling at the others. “Yes, I understand. I promise you can trust me. I will see you all soon. Hopefully, we can all familiarise ourselves better with our next meeting.” As he said this last thing, he looked mostly at Wonwoo, Jihoon and Seungkwan, the three members that he had had the least interaction with. After the others said their goodbyes and Jihoon had given him his car keys for his car which was waiting outside, Jun left promptly. He had a sense of dread about the argument that was bound to happen once he returned home, but nevertheless, he was excited to see the one good thing that waited for him. His fawn-coloured welsh corgi, Jerry.

SEVENTEEN

[20:48]

[ANGEL has added MOON to the group chat]

CHAPTER 7 END

NEW PROFILE ADDED – WEN JUNHUI

  • Associate added Yoon Jeonghan
  • New associate added Jeon Wonwoo
  • New associate added Hong Jisoo
  • New associate added Boo Seungkwan
  • New associate added Lee Jihoon
  • New associate added Choi Seungcheol
  • New alias added MOON
  • Background history added
  • Criminal status added
  • Date of birth added
  • Hometown added
  • Job status added
  • Personality traits added
  • Legal hobbies added

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

13/04/2017 – Thursday

[2:44]

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this, hasn’t it? Nothing much had happened to really warrant a new entry, but recent events have caused much more exciting things to occur. The easiest way for me to organise my thoughts regarding our growing family would be to lay them out as logical as possible, so here we go.

Wen Junhui – Despite being the newest addition to our organisation and the only one of us who does not live in the close unit, he is very hardworking. Perhaps it is because he is still trying to prove his loyalty or eagerness? Or perhaps because he feels that the physical distance puts him at a disadvantage? Regardless, every day he messages me with any updates he has or any new ideas, most of which are very helpful. I find him very easy to get along with, though I can’t help but feel he is distancing himself from us for some reason.

Jeon Wonwoo – As usual, this boy is doing exceptionally well. He improves daily, and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly he gathers information and presents it in such a comprehensive manner. However, he has been much quieter and more subdued lately, even with Seungkwan. He seemed to be more affected than Seungkwan after the night we went to meet Jun and were ambushed. Might it have been the violence? I guess for someone like him – privileged and sheltered - that kind of thing is unseen. In the hope that it will help, I have asked Jihoon to talk to him and try to get him to open up. Maybe having someone he can relate to will help ease his mind a bit. It isn’t yet interfering with his work, so it isn’t a major concern just yet.

Boo Seungkwan – After that night, he seemed to be more enthusiastic about his role in our organisation, perhaps because of how well he performed under pressure. He regularly brightens the atmosphere of this house, and his passion for what he does is profound. He seems to be warmer to Seungcheol and I, and his willingness to learn new things will make him a very versatile and successful criminal. He is getting frustrated at Wonwoo recently, since Wonwoo is constantly on his phone or computers, and talks far less to him now. However, I think that the frustration stems from hurt, it doesn’t seem like our resident mood maker is accustomed to being neglected by his best friend.

Lee Jihoon – Nothing new to be updated. As always, he is working hard and is ingenious with his inventions and strategies. I want to talk to him about Joshua and Seungcheol but… I’m not sure he will keep it to himself, so I will rant here, instead.

Hong Jisoo – Joshua has really been irritating me lately. He never speaks to anyone except Seungcheol, and whenever I ask him something he doesn’t look at me. Whenever we have group discussions, he is insistent his way of doing something is the right way. Every order I give him; he brushes it off as if he doesn’t have to listen to me. It is my organisation and my house. If he thinks he can push me around, he definitely needs to think twice. Maybe it is time I reinforce my role as leader.

Choi Seungcheol – He is doing fantastically, always bringing a steady outside income into the organisation. But to be honest, he was the main reason for me wanting to write an entry. This is going to sound stupidly petty, but I think something new has begun to develop between us? He is being very… playful. I am not opposed to that, good moral is a necessity in our organisation, I’m just not sure quite what to make of it. It is most likely nothing; I have a tendency to overthink about things like this. But lately, he has been hanging around me more, specifically coming to my room late at night just to talk to me. It’s nice actually, to talk to him properly. Alone. That halted once he healed and Joshua came into the household. Thankfully Seungcheol moved up to the 2nd floor like me, so we interact a lot more these days. When he comes to my room, we just sit and talk about things; our favourite movies, songs, meals. But ever-so-often we have really deep conversations. In particular, he told me about his ex-girlfriend. To my surprise I felt… Jealous? No, I wouldn’t call it jealousy. It was more like pity, but towards his ex-girlfriend. Seungcheol said he ‘fell out of love’ with her, and when I asked him why, he looked at me in a strange way and just changed the topic. I assumed it was still a touchy subject and simply went along with it. It has been on my mind because I usually can interpret people very well, but… for some reason I couldn’t.

Ah. Writing all of that did not help at all. I don’t feel any better honestly. I am exhausted, so I’m going to quickly overview what’s happening business-wise.

It has been about 2 weeks since Jun joined us and provided us with the necessary information we needed to track down the members of link FIFTEEN. Well, the ones left after the incarcerated leader and the three we already killed. We have only just identified and retrieved all of the details for them, and Wonwoo was successfully able to track at least 2 of each of their electronics. This is fantastic, since it means Seungcheol, Seungkwan, Joshua and Jihoon can do their part and eliminate them. I will put their instructions in the group-chat tomorrow. Or, well, in a few hours considering it is almost 3:00am.

That will be all for now. I should sleep.

Chapter Text

13/04/2017 – Thursday

The landscape around him was only rubble and soot, with the remnants of trees around him which were now just blackened stubs. The dark, clouded sky above him rumbled deeply, indicating a storm was coming, but Seungcheol didn’t seem to care much. He was steadily walking up what appeared to be a mountain, the summit high enough to disappear into the inky blackness above him. His feet were bare and moving forward as if they had a mind and destination of their own, as he noticed how soft the ground was beneath his feet in contrast to the sharp objects haphazardly scattered around him. As he marched forward, the atmosphere around him began to quiver and a loud ringing began to echo in his ears, rising and rising until it was an excruciatingly loud cacophony of noise assaulting his mind. In response, he pressed his sweaty palms against his ears and fell to the floor, curling up into as tight a ball as he could fold himself into.

Suddenly, the ground began to rapidly heat up against his unprotected skin, burning every piece of flesh it met and causing red welts to appear in their place. Staggering to his feet, he ran further up the mountain in an attempt to flee the assault on his mind and body but to no avail. He felt dizzy from the pain, and the vast bare-boned landscape around him became fuzzy with his failing vision.

Through the grating noise in his head, he thought that he could hear something, something… familiar. He heard his name being called, again and again, “Seungcheol. Seungcheol, please.” He tried to make out who was calling him, but he was quickly becoming overwhelmed by all that was happening around him. As he fell to the floor once again, he turned his head in an attempt to hear the familiar voice better. “Please wake up, Seungcheol.”

Startling into wakefulness in a great jolt, Seungcheol’s body heaved for air as if he had just run a marathon, covered in a cold sweat. He felt a pair of soft hands gripping onto his bare shoulders, and he squinted his eyes open to see who was in the room with him. He had to wait a few seconds until his vision was fully cleared before looking up to the concerned expression that was on Jeonghan’s face. Jeonghan was a few inches away from his face, his wide brown eyes watching Seungcheol’s expression closely, looking for any signs that he was in distress. He was either unaware of the fact that Seungcheol was naked with only a blanket covering his modesty, or was clearly ignoring it in favour of addressing Seungcheol’s cause of distress.

Slowly, after getting some of his composure back, Seungcheol smiled, “Well, it’s definitely a good morning, Jeonghan. You come here often?”

Blinking rapidly at the unexpected greeting, Jeonghan took notice of how they were close they were positioned and reared back and, eyes widening, breaking the close proximity they had just been in.

Trying to explain himself so it didn’t seem like he was in his friend’s room for no reason, Jeonghan stuttered out a clumsy, “Y-you were screaming in your sleep, I could hear it from my room. It scared the life out of me.” As he spoke his eyes subconsciously wandered down Seungcheols bare and toned chest.

Seungcheol had never been in this type of situation before so was completely at a loss of what to do. Wanting to be more at eye-level with his surprising bedroom guest, he sat up in bed and tried to surreptitiously bring the covers more securely over his groin lest he scare the other man away with an unsolicited eyeful.

Eyes sharp as ever, Jeonghan caught his movement and turned around, huffing in exasperation, “Oh for fu- why is it every time I see you these days you’re in some state of undress?!”

Even in the murky darkness of the room, Seungcheol could see the flush of redness rising from Jeonghan’s neck and spreading across his cheeks despite his attempt at pretending he was unaffected. Unable to stop himself, he blurted out, “Are you complaining?” Attempting to seem more composed, he smirked flirtatiously as Jeonghan turned back around to properly face him. Surprisingly, Jeonghan maintained eye contact with him, holding a serious, almost thoughtful expression.

Quickly snapping out of whatever train of that had captured him, Jeonghan shook his head and stormed out of the room, his exit followed by a sharp, “Yes, I am complaining!”

Seungcheol barked out a laugh, though there was a little stab somewhere in his chest at Jeonghan’s swift exit and answer, then rolled over on his side to check the time on the alarm clock that sat on his bedside table. 6:22am. It was about time to get up anyway, so he stretched his arms and legs in an attempt to shake off the last remnants of tension from whatever nightmare he had conjured up that night in preparation of the day ahead.

Quickly pulling his usual black joggers on that were thrown on the floor by his bed, he headed downstairs for some much-needed morning sustenance. Jeonghan was sat on the couch typing away at his laptop, his face back to its normal porcelain shade, whilst Joshua was in the kitchen pulling some laundry out of the washing machine and transferring it to the nearby tumble-dryer. “Hey Seungcheol, you alright?”

Seungcheol was puzzled by Joshua’s question but quickly realised that he was referring to the weird nightmare he had gotten the previous night. After reaching for the tub of oats and pouring some into a bowl, he replied “Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry if I woke you up too, I know you don’t sleep very well as it is. Are to going to be assisting me with my assignments today?” Joshua nodded, lips twisting into a cheap imitation of a sweet smile and continued loading in his wet washing into the dryer.

Seungcheol chopped a banana and an apple into smaller fragments, putting the pieces onto a tray. After adding a glug of milk to his bowl, he put the milky oats into the microwave and decided to check his phone as he waited.

SEVENTEEN

[6:01]

ANGEL: Today we will eliminate the remaining 8 co-leaders of link FIFTEEN. The leader, whom is still incarcerated, will be far harder to eliminate, so he shall be the last.

ANGEL: COUPS and SHUA will eliminate each of the 8 targets by any means they feel suitable. Quick and hassle-free would be preferred, as well as drawing as little attention as possible as usual.

ANGEL: ENIGMA, you must set up at the usual place and update COUPS and SHUA about the whereabouts of their targets. It is a boring job, but it must be done. You can find out the identities of all important people who work within the NIS. If we can track someone down who is a weak link, then I believe that it would be very beneficial to use that person’s identity to help us from the inside. I will elaborate further once you have the details.

ANGEL: WOOZI, ensure that COUPS and SHUA are equipped with anything they may need. You will not be going with them, so make sure everything is perfect before they leave.

ANGEL: YELLOW, you will be asked to steal the identity of this ‘weak link’ once they have been identified, and your job will become clearer once this has been clarified. 

ANGEL: MOON, this will be your first official assignment. You will help YELLOW maintain his identity by forging any documentation that he may need.

ANGEL: For now, COUPS’ and SHUA’s assignments should be the current focus.

The harsh ping of the microwave drew Seungcheol’s attention away from his phone, so he slipped it into his pockets and carefully removed the porridge from the microwave. Throwing in the chopped banana and apple, he also threw in some raspberries on a whim and then settled himself next to Jeonghan on the sofa, careful not to spill anything.

The next few minutes passed in a peaceful mixture of tapping keys from Jeonghan and spoon-scraping from Seungcheol. Scraping the last few bits of porridge together from the corners of the bowl, he sighed contentedly as his once empty belly was now pleasantly full. “I’ll see you later then, Jeonghannie.”

Jeonghan visibly cringed at the nickname, but as Seungcheol got up he said a quiet, “be careful.” in regards to Seungcheol’s dangerous mission.

Going about his usual daily routine, Seungcheol spent 2 hours heavily exercising until about 9am, then after a quick shower and appearance prep, got dressed into some casual black ripped skinny jeans and long-sleeved, clingy dark blue shirt. After packing his black gym/mission bag -whatever use was needed for the occasion- with various weapons, including a .22 Hornet, PSS silent pistol, a Glock pistol and two M116/A1 stun grenades, he trotted up to the first floor and gently knocked on Wonwoo’s door. “Wonwoo, you ready to go?”

Frantic shuffling could be heard from the other side of the door as the room’s sole occupant croaked out a hesitant “Um… Yeah. Hang on.” Seungcheol waited patiently but nonetheless puzzled as it was clear Wonwoo was dragging on something to wear, despite having already come downstairs for breakfast this morning.

Once Wonwoo emerged, Seungcheol offered to hold his bags since Wonwoo was struggling to attempt to get a coat on as well as juggling two in his arms without using that remarkable brain of his to just put the bags down for a couple of seconds. “What have you got in here? Surely you just need a laptop and charger right?” Seungcheol queried, as they made their way down the stairs to the front door.

Wonwoo was focusing on making his way down the stairs, still struggling the get his arm into the sleeve of his leather jacket. “Uh… Well, a friend of mine wants to borrow some books that I’ve had for ages, so I’m bringing them with me to give to them whilst I’m out.” Seungcheol raised an eyebrow at him but continued out of the front door, deciding not to question why Wonwoo was acting so weird about it. After he had pressed the unlock button on his keys, a sleek, navy blue Audi S5 Coupé blinked on its lights in response. Wonwoo slid straight into the passenger seat awkwardly staring down at his phone, secretly dreading this short car ride. What was he supposed to say to a contract-killer whom he’d had limited one-on-one interactions with at this point?

After he’d put the bags in the boot, Seungcheol slammed it shut and went to go sit in the driver’s seat. “You might want to get in the back, kid.” He gestured to Joshua who was approaching the car with a large bag.

Wonwoo tensed a little, “Yeah of course, sorry.” He inwardly facepalmed and then proceeded to move to the backseat. He’d forgotten Joshua was going to be coming too. Great, now I’m gonna be in a car with two murderers, not just one. Wonwoo liked Joshua and Seungcheol well enough, but there was still something inside of himself holding him back from properly relaxing in their presence.

Joshua sat in the passenger’s seat, turning slightly to address Wonwoo, “Thanks for moving, dude.” Joshua appeared uncharacteristically chatty today, something which freaked out Wonwoo even more.

Seungcheol started the car, making sure that all of his mirrors were angled correctly. “Shall we drop you right outside the coffee shop or in the nearby car park?” Wonwoo looked up from his phone, trying to appear somewhat attentive despite the previous night’s all-nighter.

“Car park would be best, I think.” Wonwoo stated, as confidently as he was able, then became a little meeker as he asked this next question, “Will you guys be done around 5-ish?” Seungcheol nodded in response, not seeing any problems with that.

The rest of the car journey was short, about 15 minutes, with Seungcheol and Joshua talking ever-so-often about random things to do with their upcoming mission. Once they arrived at the car park, Wonwoo’s legs had cramped from the short amount of legroom in the backseat, causing him to stumble a little as he got out of the car. Seungcheol laughed a bit, though not in a nasty way, and he made sure to inquire, “Are you alright getting your bags? Careful not to get the wrong one... that would definitely spice things up.” Wonwoo laughed in tandem with Seungcheol, able to appreciate exactly how interesting that would make their jobs, then grabbed his bags after double checking that they definitely held his equipment.

With a final, “Tell us when you’re all set up okay?” Wonwoo nodded and waved at the two men parked in the bay, then turned and walked in the direction of the coffee shop.

Waiting until Wonwoo was out of sight, Seungcheol turned to Joshua, planning on taking advantage of them being alone for a more serious chat, “Anyway, while we wait, how did it go with your sister?”

Joshua let out a long sigh, looking at Seungcheol with a troubled expression, “It went just about as well as you would expect, she is still really angry at me.” He slowly turned away from Seungcheol, staring out of the front of the window with a lost look in his eyes.

Seungcheol knew that Joshua was having a hard time recently. He was the only one out of the members who knew about his recurrent struggle with alcoholism and his troubled past with his family, something that wasn’t a particular surprise considering Joshua’s closed-off, cagey and mysterious disposition as well as lack of inclination to open up to, well, anyone. Recently Joshua has been fighting with his sister over her new boyfriend whom Joshua disapproves of. Naturally, since it was his job as a big brother to want nothing but the best for his sister.

Unsure of what would be an appropriate response, Seungcheol patted Joshua’s back slightly, offering as good a piece of advice as he could currently dredge up, “Try and talk constructively with her Josh, I know you’re worried about her, but she has to live her own life. Part of that means making her own mistakes and learning from them.”

Joshua appeared frustrated by this comment, but let it show only through the tone of his voice, “I don’t think you understand. I don’t need these shit pieces of advice from you too, I get enough of that from other people in this goddamn group.”

Getting the hint, Seungcheol removed his hand from Joshua’s shoulder and ended the conversation, placing the car in a very awkward silence. He was thankful when he heard the matching pings from his and Joshua’s phones, likely Wonwoo letting them know that he was ready and waiting.

SEVENTEEN

[10:11]

[ENIGMA is logged in]

[COUPS is logged in]

[SHUA is logged in]

[ANGEL is logged in]

ENIGMA: I am set up and ready. The closest target is target 4 who appears to be stationary at the following address.

ENIGMA: 99 DIOVOALLLOVCA 0093N IJ SJO SIJZXLKLJ IUCUUIC CX

ENIGMA: I will immediately update you if there are any changes in his status. For now, I would suggest proceeding.

ANGEL: Very well then. Good luck. As always, come back safe and successful.

Turning the engine back on, Seungcheol let out a rueful, “I guess we should get going then, shouldn’t we?” Before speeding out of the car park, tyres squealing and engine roaring.

CHAPTER 8 END

Chapter Text

13/04/2017 – Thursday

Wonwoo felt stupidly happy. Considering that he had just been in the midst of a bout of depression, this was unusual. The coffee shop he regularly frequented when he needed a place to anonymously go about his assignments always seemed to provide him with a much-needed piece of normality, and in the midst of the chaos of his work life, he was very grateful for this. He wasn’t sure if that was because a certain someone who was always there, greeting him with a wide, welcoming smile and talking to him whenever they took their breaks. Regardless, he definitely considered the coffee shop his ‘safe place’, and considered Mingyu a close friend.

Walking past the row of frosted bay windows towards a quaint, antiquated wooden red door, he twisted the ornate brass handle and walked into his little piece of heaven. Immediately, the soothing smell of an assortment of coffees and the clinking sound of porcelain mugs being handles washed over him, as well as that certain someone catching his eye.

He smiled, “Hi, Mingyu”, passing the large rucksack of books over the counter to his friend, who was dressed in smart, black tailored trousers, a grey, striped collared shirt with its sleeves neatly rolled up to the elbow and a dark blue apron tied around his neck and looped over his waist with the coffee shop logo embroidered onto the front pocket. Mingyu easily hefted the heavy rucksack full of books from Wonwoo’s possession, placing it underneath the desk in a hurry.

Before turning to respond, Mingyu set up the coffee machine with a fresh batch and set out glasses of cream and milk on the side. “Hey, beanie! Thank you so much for these, guessing that you want your usual order?” He flashed his grin, all pearly-white, straight teeth flashing in the light, though he couldn’t stop to chat as he usually would if there was nothing needing his attention. Wonwoo still appreciated the familiar nickname though.

He was frantically shuffling around the counter, smiling and greeting people who were lining up for their orders. The coffee shop was popular enough to get a decent amount of people milling around on a weekday morning. Trying to get a seat in there on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday was nigh on impossible unless the prospective customer knew what time would be the best to try their luck.

Wonwoo could see that the poor guy was on the cusp of being inundated with orders, so motioned that he was going to be moving to his thankfully vacant usual table in the corner and sat down, plugging in his laptop charger into the socket in the wall and powering up his laptop, preparing it for the task ahead.

SEVENTEEN

[10:11]

[ENIGMA is logged in]

[COUPS is logged in]

[SHUA is logged in]

[ANGEL is logged in]

ENIGMA: Ok, I’m set up and ready. After looking, the closest target in your range is target 4. He appears to be stationary at the following address.

ENIGMA: 99 DIOVOALLLOVCA 0093N IJ SJO SIJZXLKLJ IUCUUIC CX

ENIGMA: I will update you immediately if there are any changes in his status. For now, I would suggest proceeding.

ANGEL: Very well then. Good luck to you all. As always, come back safe and successful.

 

“Here you go. Sorry about the wait, we are bustling today!” Wonwoo looked up quickly from his laptop, surreptitiously switching tabs so the chat was hidden completely from his screen. Mingyu placed down Wonwoo’s small Americano, 3 packets of sugar by the side of the saucer, now well familiar that Wonwoo likes his coffee sweet.

He sighed, smiling playfully at Wonwoo as he said “You really should experiment more you know… I think that you’d really enjoy other things if you tried them! Especially if I make them for ya,” His voice was as deep as usual, this time laced with humour and… something else?

Even without meaning to, Wonwoo could feel his face beginning to redden. He looked down at his laptop screen awkwardly, “Oh, well… What would y-you suggest?” His voice cracked slightly, causing him to inwardly cringe. How could he possibly make this situation more awkward than it already was? Why was he even making it awkward? They were talking about coffee! He felt like he was in some sort of cringe dating simulator, though he quickly dismissed that thought. Those situations weren’t comparable.

He gave another fond grin at Wonwoo’s awkwardness, then began listing his recommendations, “I definitely recommend the vanilla latte…” pausing for a few seconds in contemplation, he continued, “Or the cappuccino, which is my favourite.” He ended his coffee tirade with a wink, before turning his attention to an elderly woman a few tables away who was asking for his help pouring milk into her cup of tea, her shaking hands not quite up to the task.

Wonwoo let out a laugh, relaxing a bit at the familiar banter between them. It always took him a little while to immerse himself back into the usual flow with Mingyu, sure that once he left the coffee shop that he was putting an end to comfortableness and familiarity that they shared for good. Having to speak louder than usual due to the clanking of mugs and chatter that filled the coffee shop, he asked: “When is your break today?”

After helping the woman, Mingyu turned around to face him, “I'm off for an hour at 11am then I’m done for the day at 3pm! Today is my short day, thankfully.” He swept away a few strands of black hair from his slightly damp forehead as he spoke, eyes resting on Wonwoo for a few seconds before flickering away to make sure that nothing needed his attention.

Wonwoo’s laptop pings loudly, bringing back the reason for his being in the coffee shop in the first place to his notice. He mumbled a quick “Sorry” and turned down the sound. “I guess that I’ll talk to you then, yeah?”

Mingyu was already waving a hand it to brush away his apology. Picking up a few stray plates and cups, he nodded, “Of course! Maybe I can even convince you to try something new then, aye?” He walked off, balancing mugs, plates and saucers across his long, solid arms skilfully, quickly returning to the all-consuming responsibilities of being a barista.

Wonwoo stared – perhaps just a little too long, sue him– at the taller man, before another beep reminded him that he had a very important job to do, and set to work, opening the chat to check for updates.

SEVENTEEN

[10:35]

[ENIGMA is logged in]

[COUPS is logged in]

[SHUA is logged in]

[ANGEL is logged in]

[WOOZI is logged in]

COUPS: Target 4, eliminated. It went very smoothly; he was literally just sat at his desk drinking a smoothie. Poor guy. Didn’t even know what hit him. Literally.

COUPS: Anyway, next one?

ENIGMA: Yes. Next are Targets 6, 2 and 3. All three of them appear to be together at the following address.

ENIGMA: 678 HWIUFJSVLKA; 98DVA0S9 9CS 9X7 98Z7C09 8X09CIBKWD,LDSA

WOOZI: That address is an abandoned industrial estate. Its aerial view looks like it’s difficult to navigate so if you go there, be careful. They may have already gotten the news about target 4.

COUPS: They are all together? Good, that makes is more convenient! Kinda like shooting 3 birds with 1 bullet. Ah, guess I should get the stun grenades ready to use, then.

WOOZI: Good plan.

For the next hour, Wonwoo set about finishing an assignment for his university degree, as well as compiling records of everyone who works at NIS currently. He knew that compiling those files would take a while since the NIS have insane security measures, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. He knew that this was vitally important because this is what Seungkwan would be using to help pick the perfect identity to steal; thus allowing the group more freedom within the NIS to find the leader and operate within its systems.

At around 11, as promised, Mingyu strode over to the table, balancing a large mug on a saucer with what appeared to be a delicious foaming cappuccino. “So, if you won’t try things of your own initiative, I guess I’ll have to force you by social obligation.”

He placed the mug in front of Wonwoo, nudging his laptop aside gently. Wonwoo sighed but was unable to prevent the smile that formed subconsciously across his face. “Fine. Add it to my bill. If I hate this, I’m blaming it on you though.”

Mingyu immediately shook his head, strong brows bunching together in consternation, “Hell no! I’m paying, it’s my treat to you for keeping me company so often.” His smile made something in Wonwoo’s chest hurt –he should probably go get that checked out, that kept happening- but rationalized the kind gesture away. Mingyu made every person he interacted with feel the same way: special. His expressions and demeanour were so naturally charming. Everyone loved him.

Eyeing up the frothing warily, he sipped the cappuccino, Mingyu watching him intently for a positive or negative reaction. He couldn’t contain his questions for long though, almost bursting at the seams for a response. For such a physically imposing man, he could act like such a big kid sometimes. “Well, what do you think?”

Unable to keep him in anticipation for any longer, Wonwoo responded, “It’s actually pretty good! Could definitely do with more sugar, though” he said, as he proceeded to rip open a packet of sugar and pour it in, using the spoon to push down the rapidly dissolving particles to the bottom of the mug.

Mingyu pouted playfully, murmuring, “I’ll probably never be sweet enough for you, nor will my coffee.” Wonwoo choked slightly on his drink after hearing this, looking up in between each bout of coughing to see Mingyu grinning at him.

“Gosh, how cheesy can you be?” Wonwoo did as he usually did in these types of situations he floundered in and sunk back into his witty sarcasm. This only made Mingyu pout even more dramatically.

Glancing at his laptop during the pause in the conversation, Wonwoo’s attention was drawn to the small red dot with a number 1 in the corner of his screen shifting around, signalling that target 1 is on the move. Frowning, he opened the chat mumbling a distracted, “Hang on a second.”

SEVENTEEN

[11:27]

ENIGMA: COUPS, SHUA, we’ve got an additional Target 1 who seems to be heading towards the site where you are positioned. He is moving slowly so appears to be on foot. At his current rate, I would estimate an 8-10 minute timeframe until he will be able to gain a visual of the both of you.

WOOZI: If you can eliminate the other three targets first and then find cover, that would be the safest option. If it is an open space, we don’t want them to have any advantage. By removing the three stationary first, it will be easier and less conspicuous than taking out one of the targets and then alerting the rest of his friends that something is amiss.

SHUA: Got it. We’ve taken out Targets 2 and 3 long range. Target 6 is currently in a scuffle with COUPS, but it is not worrying. I am hanging back on the lookout for Target 1.

WOOZI: Keep us updated on Target 1’s location, ENIGMA.

ENIGMA: Will do.

 

Wonwoo was brought back into reality by Mingyu shuffling around the table they were both sat at with his chair gripped in his hands, placing it down so that he was now next to Wonwoo as opposed to the opposite. “What are you up to then?” He asked eyes lit up with curiosity, craning his neck trying to see the contents of the laptop screen against the glare of sunlight pouring in from the large bay windows.

Wonwoo quickly titled the laptop away from his view, then hastily finished typing the last sentence in the chat. “None of your business, don’t be nosey.”

In response to this, Mingyu leaned back in his chair with a knowing expression on his face, though something hidden was shifting behind his eyes. “Oh, I get it. You’re talking to your girlfriend, right?”

It took every inch of self-restraint Wonwoo had not to burst out laughing. Mingyu couldn’t be more wrong with that statement. Instead, he stared at Mingyu blankly with a slight smirk on his face. He was unsure as to whether or not lying about this would be the easiest way to avoid the topic. Maybe if he said he did have a girlfriend, Mingyu would drop the topic and understand his secretive behaviour? He really, really didn’t want to do that though. Not if that meant Mingyu would treat him differently, or stop talking to him altogether.

Judging by the curious look on Mingyu’s face, he concluded that he definitely wouldn’t drop it if he lied, so instead, he replied to Mingyu’s question with one of his own, “Really, Mingyu? Have you even met me?”

The other man didn’t seem phased or swayed by his response, instead stubbornly demanding, “Prove it then, what are you hiding Wonwoo? You’re always so closed off and mysterious, even though we’ve been close for a long time now.”

Feeling slightly pressured under Mingyu’s doleful stare, Wonwoo sighed, subtly pressing the tab key which was short-keyed to lock his illegal activities from being viewed and bring up the last word document he had worked on. He knew that the only way he will get out of this situation would be to tell Mingyu something that was at least somewhat truthful. Though of course, he wasn’t about to tell him about his involvement in a criminal organisation as a worldwide respected hacker and fraudster, so he had to divulge his other secret hobby; one which even Seungkwan was unaware of.

Turning the laptop towards Mingyu, he inhaled deeply, almost whispering “I rap.”

Mingyu’s eyes bore into Wonwoo’s own, not blinking, searching his expression for any sign of deception or humour. He found none, instead, he witnessed Wonwoo gulp, attempting not to let the embarrassment of his secret to getting the better of his composure. “You… what?”

Wonwoo prayed that Mingyu would stop looking at him. He could feel his cheeks burning, and the adrenaline began to pump through him as Mingyu looked expectantly at him. “I rap and write lyrics for the raps to compose myself. I… I have to make a phone call, I’ll be right back okay just… Ah fuck, just read it if you w-want to.” He stuttered, then slid out from his seat, almost sprinting across the room to the front door of the coffee shop, and then once outside he called the chat on his mobile, keying in the passcode with trembling fingers.

SEVENTEEN

[11:32]

[ENIGMA is logged in]

[COUPS is logged in]

[SHUA is logged in]

 [WOOZI is logged in]

WOOZI: What is happening with target 1, ENIGMA?

[ENIGMA is sending a voice clip]

ENIGMA: “So uh… I can’t type right now so this will have to do. 1 is… very close. Should be a few minutes or so. Sorry for this”

SHUA: That is fine. We are ready, target 6, 2 and 3 have been eliminated successfully. 

Quickly, Wonwoo entered the coffee shop again, nervously approaching his seat. Mingyu’s eyes were fixed on his screen with an intensity that he’d never seen on the man’s face before. It completely changed his demeanour. As Wonwoo sat down, he ran his eyes over the short rap extract displayed on his screen.

 

Unforgettable things about my accustomed immaturity,

my inner doubts that appear in my head; trauma.

What has been my reason for existing?

It’s disturbing me on purpose, even if I’m mourning, uh.

I’m going to sing, no I’m going to trap my trauma even more, yeah.

My mind is sickened and it’s going deeper into the ground on its own

Even deeper and deeper; I can’t find it, even by myself

I don’t know where this trauma will end up, I need a hand to hold…

 

Out of nowhere, Mingyu stood up, wrapping his arms around Wonwoo’s neck, hunching down the 5 inches or so differences that were between them to press his face into the crook of the other man’s gaunt collar-bone. Wonwoo froze, stunned into a stupor by his sudden actions. “This is really sad, Beanie.” Mingyu’s voice sounded deeper than usual, weighed down by sincerity and awe. The warm feeling bubbling up in Wonwoo’s chest was undeniable, and he would be lying if he said he didn’t feel his eyes watering. He wasn’t sure how to label this feeling in his chest, or maybe he didn’t want to give it a label yet, but regardless it was trying its damned hardest to be felt. He could feel the gentle puff of breath from Mingyu’s mouth against his neck and the warmth from his soft, shaven cheeks pressing against his bare shoulder, all held within the encompassing solidity of Mingyu’s body. For the first time in as long as he can remember, Wonwoo felt perfectly content. Nothing had ever felt so real to him as that single, terrifyingly wonderful moment.

Mingyu pulled back, for once avoiding eye-contact with Wonwoo. His tanned skin was flushed slightly red. Clearing his throat, he meekly asked, “Can I add something?”

Confused at first, Wonwoo raised his eyebrow slightly, still overwhelmed with the situation to properly understand what Mingyu was hinting at. Seeing his confused reaction, Mingyu clarified, his voice losing some of its stability as if the lack of reaction caused his confidence to weaken, “Can I add something to the rap?” Wonwoo had not anticipated his response at all so could only nod, turning to his phone for some semblance of reality to grasp at whilst Mingyu typed away on his laptop.

SEVENTEEN

[11:48]

COUPS: Targets 1, 6, 3 and 2 – eliminated. WOOZI will need to come get the bodies though. Too much evidence on them to leave them here.

WOOZI: On my way.

ENIGMA: The other targets seem to be off of the radar for now. I should be able to find them again by this evening or tomorrow at the latest.

ANGEL: That is fine, COUPS, SHUA, ENIGMA; Good job. You are done for now.

“Okay I’ve done. But you have to promise me you won’t read it until later, okay?” Mingyu’s voice was back to its familiar confident and assured tone and stability, although there was still some underlying hesitance. Nevertheless, Wonwoo appreciated this since the group chat gave him constant anxiety.

Despite it being an almost guaranteed requirement for his job, Wonwoo never dealt with patience particularly well, especially when it was explicitly asked of him. Equally intrigued and exasperated, he said “Ugh, how much later? I’m really curious.” He stirred the last few gulps of the now slightly cold cappuccino with a teaspoon, needing to give his hands something to occupy themselves.

Mingyu slid his laptop towards him, “I’ve saved it and closed it down. Don’t read it until you’re at home! Anyway, I’ve gotta go, my manager looks like she’s struggling with the mid-day rush. I’ll talk to you later, okay?” Wonwoo nodded, closing his laptop, unplugging his charger and zipping it away in his bag.

“Yeah, I’m going home now anyway. Make sure you start on one of those books I borrowed to you! They’re really good.” He managed to paste a smile on his face despite the anticipation whirling away in his mind and the nervous butterflies fluttering around in his stomach.  With a final, “See you soon, Mingyu.” He was on his way out of the door, not looking back at the waving figure behind him lest he wants to stay.

The next few hours were a blur for Wonwoo. He still wasn’t sure what to think of anything that had happened. Coming to terms with the fact he had just played an active role in getting 5 people killed made him feel sick to his stomach. Yet, he was still filled with a feeling that he couldn’t really identify. Despite his burning curiosity, once he arrived home he didn’t check his laptop right away. He spent time with Jihoon, talking about small things, then played some video games together to give them both some sort of reprieve from the day’s grisly activities that they’d both had a part in. Jihoon’s fatherly presence really comforted Wonwoo and made him feel slightly more at ease about the situation. When he and Seungkwan had first joined the crew of criminals, he’d never have thought that the short, moody man that was Jihoon’s first impression would become one of his closest friends. He was fatherly in the way that he was an older man who took Wonwoo under his wing. He helped him come to better terms with what he was helping people like Seungcheol and Joshua do, and taught him things that allowed him to improve and perfect his already admirable skills. Without Jihoon, Wonwoo didn’t know where he would be – definitely not where he was now.

Once the clock read 22:31, he trod up to his room with a mug of warm milk. Placing his laptop on his bed and milk on the nearby table, he sighed, slowly stripping down to his boxers. He slid under his soft blue covers, soothing his tense muscles, and after a deep, bracing inhale he opened his laptop to look at the word document. It had an added paragraph just after his own, saying:

 

I can barely spit out my breath,

It's like I’m forgetting how to do it.

To me, the extent of missing you is the hardest,

now the thoughts barely come,

the light was given to me

Different from the widening stage, in my

heart. Let me out from here

or can you at least you come in, please?

 

His eyes raked across the words, over and over, until tears filled vision and he tasted the tang of copper from his abused lower lip. It was almost as if he had had an epiphany, that all of a sudden it became crystal clear to him.

Missing you is the hardest…

The words repeated themselves in his head, and tears fell down onto the covers he had bunched up. He wanted to be wrong, in a way. He wished that maybe he was reading too much into the words. There was no way, surely?

Can you at least come in…

A sob broke free from his chest, muffled by the bundled up covers that he smothered his face in, no longer able to keep the emotions from building up inside of him. Fear, confusion, shame, happiness, joy, excitement. He felt so much all at once, from a few simple words typed on a screen.

After a few minutes of allowing the tumulus emotions to wreak havoc on his system, he calmed slightly, wiping away the remaining tears from his puffy cheeks. He inhaled deeply, reading the words once more, out loud this time.

Deep in the darkness of his mind, he was pestered by questions he could no longer justifiably repress: Do I like a man? Is this normal? How do I handle this? Does this mean Mingyu feels the same? What exactly do I feel for Kim Mingyu?

A message popped up on the side of the word document, interrupting his train of thought.

COFFEE!!

[23:10]

Mingyu: Night Beanie. <3

[Mingyu has logged off]

CHAPTER 9 END

UPDATED PROFILE – JEON WONWOO

  • New hobby RAPPING and LYRIC WRITING added.
  • Associate Kim Mingyu updated.

Chapter Text

COFFEE!!

[8:32]

[BEANIE is logged in]

[Mingyu has logged on]

Mingyu: You need to come over right now, Wonwoo.

Mingyu: Answer your goddamn messages, I know you’re online.

[8:34]

BEANIE: Ugh, what is it? I’ve literally just woken up, give me a few minutes to get my bearings first (:

Mingyu: Come over, now. We need to talk.

BEANIE: Why? Can’t it wait? I’ll be coming to the coffee shop later at about 2.

Mingyu: COME TO MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW JEON WONWOO. I AM NOT MESSING AROUND.

Mingyu: I think I know your secret.

[Mingyu has logged off]

Wonwoo sat braced against his pillows frozen in disbelief, hair still mussed from sleep and eyes still bleary, staring at the last few messages on his phone. Surely Mingyu was just messing around? Being overdramatic about something small? Or playing some sort of joke to get him out of bed so early?

There is no way he could know. He had no reason to suspect. Wait, did he? Oh god.

The thing is, Mingyu always put a smiley face or a heart after his messages. Always.

A sickening wave of fear washed over him as he began to mentally retrace his steps on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He had stayed at Mingyu’s house on Friday and Saturday. They had an amazing time it was one of the best sleepovers Wonwoo had ever had. What could have possibly changed since then? Panic filled his chest and he was approximately three seconds away from succumbing to a panic attack. This was his biggest fear.

Trying to calm himself down, he hurriedly pulled on some clothing, not taking the time to check whether the items of clothing were clean or matching, then packed his usual bag with his laptop, wallet and phone before rushing downstairs and out of the front door before any of the others could question him. Oh no.

CHAPTER 10 END.

PROFILE KIM MINGYU ADDED TO THE SYSTEM

Chapter Text

Birth name: Boo Seung Kwan (부승관)

Date of birth: 16 January 1998 (Aged 20)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Student studying Drama Studies at Chugye University for the Arts 

Criminal status: Identity fraud, identity theft, aiding with murder.

Background history: Seungkwan grew up in a relatively wealthy middle-class household, and has two siblings, both 4 years older than him. They both were very academically gifted, whereas Seungkwan lacked behind, though not by lack of trying. His sister became a lawyer and his brother became a doctor. His parents displayed evident disappointment and shame towards him for not measuring up against his siblings’ shadows, and this led to him being a very volatile child and deviant teenager. His best friend from childhood Wonwoo helped him cope. Wonwoo gave him the final supportive push he needed and he decided to completely go against his parents’ wishes to enrol to study his passion, Drama Studies in a lower-class university, though he didn’t really care about where it was.

He struggled a lot with his own identity, especially he came to terms with his very strong, undeniable romantic attraction to someone at school, who happened to be a boy. Despite his outstanding social skills, he couldn’t bring himself to begin a friendship or relationship with him in fear of rejection, whether romantic or familial. Seungkwan quickly discovered he had a talent for imitating people made increasingly obvious thanks to his phenomenal variety skills, so he began copying other people’s identities online with Wonwoo’s help at around age 16 for something fun to do to take his mind away from his lingering personal struggles.

He transferred these skills to real life too, starting to imitating people he observed in the street or in a certain scenario, using his talents in costume and makeup to fully transform from Seungkwan to whoever he needed to be. This made for a deadly duo with Wonwoo as they were able to commit total fraud, Wonwoo supplying the documentation needed and Seungkwan carrying out the social aspects. They quickly became proficient at their crimes, almost scarily quick. After Wonwoo -and by extension Seungkwan- received a job proposal with a criminal group, Seungkwan convinced him to join since it would be a completely new experience and they could expand their skills to become more successful.

However, things weren’t as simple as he had expected. Once they moved in with the others, Wonwoo became more distant from Seungkwan. At first, he hadn’t been able to pinpoint the reason as to why his friend wasn’t acting as close to him anymore, but the confusion was quickly abated once he realised that Wonwoo had struck up a friendship with one of his university acquaintances: Kim Mingyu. This made Seungkwan feel very insecure and as though he was beginning to be replaced by his best friend. These feelings were compounded by the fact that Wonwoo constantly spoke to and hung out with Mingyu as opposed to Seungkwan. As a result, he began to harbour some resentment towards Mingyu. To make matters worse, his family stopped talking to him for the time, with the exception of his bigoted brother, who constantly belittles him for being a ‘wasted opportunity’. His loneliness began to climb until, at its peak, it caused Seungkwan to turn his attention to his middle-school crush as a form of distraction. He wanted to talk to Wonwoo about approaching him, but hasn’t yet been able to. Once their first mission was completed successfully with Jun, his ability surprised him and he practised relentlessly waiting for the next mission so he can prove his worth, not just to the other members, but also to himself.

Personality traits: Emotional, though more than capable of being stoic when the occasion calls for it. He is resentful of the success of his siblings and the way his parents treat him as if he is worthless. Because of this, he has a poor image of self-worth. He rarely shows indications of this to people but has frequently had outbursts of sadness and anxiety to Wonwoo. He is incredibly motivated and determined to make something of himself and to do better than his siblings. He would do anything to be considered talented and this means he has trouble considering the consequences of his actions. Attaching to people is very easy to him, but these friendships are rarely deep and meaningful. When they are, they are overwhelmingly intense, and this can make him quite possessive.

Currently known associates:

  • Jeon Wonwoo – Childhood friend, a partner in crime. Has been friends with Seungkwan for a long time, and Wonwoo provides him with the identities he wants to copy. He trusts Wonwoo with any of his secrets… Well, most of them.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Leader. Acquaintance. Housemate. Seungkwan has a lot of respect for Jeonghan as he strives for a similar type of success. He enjoys shadowing him and is slowly learning how to stay more calm and collected.
  • Hong Jisoo – Fellow Member. Acquaintance. Housemate.  They don’t speak much, but Seungkwan does like Joshua. He wants to get closer to him. Joshua taught him how to use weapons, and although he was a strict teacher, he was patient with him, which Seungkwan appreciated.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Fellow member. Friend. Housemate. They speak often and despite their differences, their humour is very complementary together. Seungkwan also has an inclination that they have other things in common, too.
  • Lee Jihoon – Partial employer. Fellow member. Acquaintance. Housemate. Seungkwan thinks positively of Jihoon since he checks up on and aids Wonwoo. He does hold a slight bit of resentment for this though, this only highlighting the distance between him and his friend.
  • Wen Junhui – Fellow member. Acquaintance. Knows Jun in passing, but hasn’t had the chance to properly talk to him. Jun reminds Seungkwan of his brother who is a lawyer, so he holds a little bit of hesitance for that.
  • Kim Mingyu – Close friend. They are on the same course at university, and he often saw Mingyu in passing where he works at a nearby coffee shop. They speak often and used to hang out regularly. Ever since Wonwoo became closer friends with Mingyu though, he has started to resent Mingyu as he feels that his best friend is being taken from him. He also compares his abilities to Mingyu frequently as Mingyu is top of their class, both academically and socially.

Aliases/s: YELLOW, Seungkwan.

Legal hobbies: Acting, drawing, costume design, makeup, singing.

 

Birth name: Choi Seungcheol (최승철)

Date of birth: 08 August 1995 (Aged 23)

Hometown: Daegu, South Korea

Job status: Security guard

Criminal status: Contract killer, murderer.

Background history: Seungcheol grew up in a very average family with his father, mother, and two older brothers, though none were particularly close with anyone. He was academically average, more invested in the physical side of the curriculum than anything. He went on to do Sports Science at university. When he was 19 he got a job as a security guard at a local club to support himself and his studies at first, but then quickly realised he liked the feeling of power and authority that it gave him, even if it was over drunkards and druggies belonging to the lower caste of society.

He decided to join an illegal underground boxing ring to try and capture this feeling, which is where he discovered his talents for fighting. After a huge fire burnt down the club he worked at, he caught the person responsible; a man by the name of Joshua. Joshua offered him money to help him, praising Seungcheol’s physical prowess and claiming he needed his help to keep him from drinking himself to death. He took up this opportunity with ease, mainly because he was now out of a job, and they became surprisingly good friends.

Joshua wasn’t the last person to request Seungcheol’s physical help. Seungcheol set himself up as a sort of thug-for-hire at first, almost stumbling into the world of contract killers. With these sorts of jobs, he became wealthy very quickly. His strength and intelligence weren’t completely unfailing, though, as killing people is a lot easier said than done. Joshua informed him about an apartment of a drug-dealer, whereby specialised weapons were supposedly made and stored. After some convincing, Seungcheol attempted to break in and steal some. However, he didn’t anticipate the traps that were wired up to the doors, and he received a glancing shot to the stomach by one. Thankfully, the bullet did not snag anything of vital importance, only tearing through a few inches of skin and muscle, although it was dangerously close to shattering a rib. Jeonghan and Jihoon, the owners of the apartment, patched him up and nursed him back to health, none of them willing to jeopardise their identities by alerting the police or hospitals. Seungcheol became surprisingly close to Jeonghan in particular, perhaps due in part to him being his main visitor, and after a few weeks was offered a job which he hastily accepted. It was clear to him that he would be a far better killer if he had people of various skills around him that he was not as adept at, and he liked Jeonghan. Jihoon too, of course.  After inviting Joshua, they both moved in a large house with Jeonghan and Jihoon, starting a criminal organisation together. Soon after this, they worked together on their first assignment to burn down and eliminate sexual predators residing within the orphanage Joshua stayed at as a child. He saw this as a huge success and decided that vigilante justice would be a good motivator for them.

Jeonghan spoke of expanding the organisation, and soon after Seungkwan and Wonwoo had moved in and begun living with them. He had little opinion of them at first, deciding to wait and observe how they fit themselves into their organisation. After proving themselves, he allowed his detached façade to slip away. He particularly warmed to Seungkwan’s humour, enjoying the way that the younger man would respond to his own dry wit. Around this time Seungcheol started delegating more time to his leisure activities, which subsequently meant he was spending a lot more time with Jeonghan. Huh.

Personality traits: Upfront and laid-back. Seungcheol is quite caring towards others, and he views eliminating people as more of a ‘means to an end’ than doing it to be deliberately malicious. He enjoys working with others and thinks building strong connections is very important. Money is central to why he became and still is a criminal, though after being with Joshua for a while, he was convinced that they could do good in the world through vigilante justices. He also is very determined and motivated to do better and improve himself. Having a lifestyle filled with adrenaline and danger is something that appeals to him since it is a huge contrast from his childhood. He trusts people quite easily, but this does not mean he is naïve or gullible. He has a talent for reading people’s personalities and seeing their true intentions very well. Because of the way that he conducts himself outside of missions, he finds himself becoming a point of advice and support, although he doesn’t quite understand why.

Currently known associates:

  • Hong Jisoo – Friend, Housemate. He caught Joshua burning down the club where he worked and took up a bribe from him. After this, they became close friends and Joshua helped pave the way for him to become a contract killer.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Employer, Best friend, Housemate. Jeonghan nursed Seungcheol back to health after he was shot and they bonded over their life experiences as they waited for him to heal. Seungcheol found that he cared for Jeonghan and so was more than happy to accept a job within Jihoon and Jeonghan’s organisation. He hastily accepted and to this day has no regrets. He sees Jeonghan as an invaluable friend that he trusts fully.
  • Lee Jihoon – Employer (partially), Friend, housemate. After being shot by one of his traps, they managed to awkwardly move past the event and become friends. He knows that Jeonghan trusts him, so will trust him to an extent as well. Seungcheol also admires his intelligence, and Jihoon provides him with weaponry that he may need, none of which have failed him when out in the field.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Fellow member. Friend. Housemate. Initially taking a liking to Seungkwans humour and jest, Seungcheol admired his positive attitude. Since they have lived under the same roof, they speak often and spend a fair bit of leisurely time with each other. Well, as much as their busy lives allow for.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Fellow member. Acquaintance. Housemate. Though they rarely talk, Seungcheol enjoys teasing Wonwoo about various things. Although he secretly admires Wonwoo’s intellectual ability.
  • Wen Junhui – Fellow member. Acquaintance. After interrogating Jun violently in the basement, they weren’t exactly hitting it off on great terms. After Seungcheol had apologised, things between them became more neutral, though he definitely wouldn’t call them friends, as such.

Aliases: COUPS, Seungcheol.

Legal hobbies: Exercise, various sports, clubbing.

 

 

Birth name: Hong Jisoo (홍지수)

Date of birth: 30 December 1995 (Aged 23)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Waiter

Criminal status: Drug-mule, pyromaniac, arsonist, murderer.

Background history: Joshua grew up in an orphanage with his two sisters, both 3 years younger than him, Elyssa and Marie. It was a poor orphanage, where the workers there cared very little about the children. Elyssa, Marie and Joshua were no different. Since they had no known living relatives and therefore no one to check on them, they grew up in horrendous conditions. This meant Joshua had to steal money and food for them to survive and adequately subside on, as the meagre offerings from their ‘home’ were nowhere near enough. The few times he got caught led to beatings and other cruel punishments, which he tried to avoid by staying in school for longer.

When Joshua was about 14, he found out that his sisters were being sexually abused. Unable to do anything about it without any repercussions falling on him and the treatment of his sisters worsening in retaliation, he bided his time, collecting enough money by selling drugs for a local drug trafficking gang and then when he reached age 16, he rented an apartment for him and his sisters in an effort to escape. Whilst anywhere was an improvement from their previous residence, the area was still far from a reputable one. Even so, the change of location didn’t manage to heal what had been wrought and his sisters never truly recovered from what they had undergone. Joshua continued to sell drugs for money, unable to find a job that payed enough to give the trafficking up. He became dependent on alcohol at age 19 to try and numb away the realisation of what a shit-show his life had become, often binge drinking at any bars and clubs that hadn’t already barred him from their premises.

His sister Marie killed herself when she was 19 and Joshua was 22. This should have been the awful wake-up call he needed to get himself out of the gutter and be proactive in life rather than trying to drown his woes in a bottle of alcohol, but it actually served to have the opposite impact.

After a drunken event, Joshua developed a fascination for fire and began feeding it by burning down old buildings. His relationship with Elyssa, his last remaining family, declined as she tried in vain to get him to stop drinking. He wanted to stop, but felt unable to, so as a solution he burnt down the club he frequented in an attempt to force the habit to stop. However, he got caught by the security guard Seungcheol, very nearly ending up in a fight he knew he wouldn’t be able to walk out alive from. At his wits end, he offered Seungcheol money to help him kick the habit, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to physically overpower Seungcheol to get to the alcohol he so desperately hated. Surprisingly Seungcheol agreed, and they became close friends. Joshua managed to stop drinking and his acts of arson became less spontaneous and more purposeful. He also got a job as a waiter in a restaurant.

Feeling as though the pitiful amount of money he had given his friend wasn’t enough to convey his thanks, he divulged a piece of information he had heard through the gang grapevine: there was two guys with stash of unique weaponry worth thousands living not far from him, if Seungcheol was willing to try and steal them. After Seungcheol’s burglary attempt went south when he got caught and subsequently injured trespassing in Jihoon and Jeonghan’s home, Seungcheol convinced Joshua to work in conjunction with them, to form a small but powerful group of criminals. With their help, they successfully burnt down the orphanage -their first mission together- and killed those who were responsible for hurting him and his sisters.

Joshua moved in with the other guys, but regularly visited his sister who still lived in their old apartment. Due to his criminal career and his now very stable funds, he pays for her rent and groceries, as well as anything he feels would be nice for her. He prefers to keep her separate from the members since she provides a little piece of sanctuary for him to retreat to for his own sanity.

Joshua disapproved massively of bringing new people (Wonwoo and Seungkwan) into the organisation as he truly believed they would do nothing but hinder them. This disagreement brought a lot of tension between them and their friendship started deteriorating. Specifically the friendship he had with Jeonghan.

Personality traits: Short-tempered. Joshua seems very calm and collected to most people initially, but the smallest thing can set him off in a rage. He is known to be extremely violent and sadistic when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He is opinionated and likes to have his ideas listened to. He does not trust anyone, and is incredibly suspicious of even his closest friends. His goals are to protect his sister, and he is a firm believer in vigilante justice. Being around Seungcheol, Joshua and Jeonghan has made him more understanding and careful with what he says and does. To most strangers, Joshua appears incredibly warm-hearted and loving, which means people trust him quickly and never suspect him of anything.

Currently known associates:

  • Choi Seungcheol – Friend, Housemate. Seungcheol was the security guard who caught Joshua committing arson, but decided to forgo his usual response of violent retaliation to help the desperate guy. They became close friends and now live together with Jeonghan and Jihoon. He is the only person he trusts, to an extent.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Acquaintance, Employer, Housemate. Once Seungcheol introduced them after the trespassing/shooting fiasco, they agreed to help each other. Joshua doesn’t trust Jeonghan, uncomfortable with him being the Leader and having jurisdiction over him and how much Seungcheol seems to like him.
  • Lee Jihoon – Acquaintance, Employer (partially), Housemate. Seungcheol introduced him to Jihoon, after which they agreed to help each other. Talks to Jihoon frequently about explosives.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Acquaintance. Fellow member. Housemate. Disapproved immediately of him, though it was nothing personal. Overtime, Joshua has partially accepted him since he is quiet and doesn’t irritate him, as well as bringing benefits to their organisation.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Acquaintance. Fellow member. Housemate. Dislikes Seungkwan as he has a very similar personality to Seungcheol. Sees him as a burden to the group and the most likely to cause them problems further on down the line.
  • Wen Junhui – Acquaintance. Fellow member. He regards Jun neither negatively or positively. They have barely spoken, and Joshua has no plans to change that in the immediate future. He feels slightly jealous of how easy Jun’s life appears to be. He views him as snobbish and stuck-up because of his occupation and unwillingness to fully immerse himself into the group like everyone else.

Aliases/s: SHUA, Joshua, Jisoo.

Legal hobbies: Unknown

 

Birth name: Jeon Wonwoo (전원우)

Date of birth: 17 July 1998 (Aged 20)

Hometown: Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea

Job status: University student, studying Computer Science at Seoul National University (SNU)

Criminal status: Hacker, fraudster.

Background history: He grew up in a middle-class home, raised only by his mother as an only child. He moved to Seoul when he was 4 years old. He met Seungkwan soon after, who has been his friend since he started elementary school. He did amazingly well at school and always achieved the highest grades in most of his classes. Subsequently, he got into a top-end university to study one of his greatest passions and strengths: computer science.

Despite his academic achievements, he has never had many friends. Seungkwan was the only one who involved him in his life, constantly trying to get Wonwoo to open up and improve his admittedly deplorable social skills. He spent most of his time in his room on his computer, and Seungkwan has to physically drag him out every so often to get a breath of fresh air.

At around age 14, he created his online hacker persona, ENIGMA. At first, he only did small things such as hacking into people’s social media accounts for a bit of harmless fun until eventually, after becoming more confident in his abilities around age 17, he began committing online fraud, this going together nicely with Seungkwan and his foray into identity theft. To him, it was merely a hobby, but when Seungkwan suggested that they interfere with large corporations (criminal and otherwise) to gain money, he decided to test himself. He frequently began hacking into criminal and non-criminal databases, leaving threatening messages and blackmailing money out of people and companies.

After being contacted by someone with the username WOOZI, he was offered a job as a hacker to work for a criminal corporation based in Seoul. He didn’t like the idea at first, but Seungkwan convinced him it would be fun and a good way to expand his skills. So he agreed, and WOOZI, who later on introduced himself properly as Jihoon, became a close online friend. He still, however, didn’t give him his real name.

Wonwoo and Seungkwan moved in with Jihoon, along with Jeonghan, Joshua and Seungcheol. Around the same time as this happening, Wonwoo had been properly introduced to a passing friend of Seungkwan’s – Mingyu. He gave him his number, and they meet up almost daily at the coffee shop where Mingyu works at. Things in most aspects of his life were going well, and they had their first assignment which for Wonwoo was to assist Jihoon with his weapons and keep an eye on electronic activity in the surrounding area where they were planning to meet an associate of Jeonghan’s – Wen Junhui. Things didn’t go exactly to plan. They were ambushed, and Wonwoo was once again reminded that he was in a criminal organisation when Jihoon and Jeonghan killed the three attackers. Jun was knocked out and taken back to the house for interrogation.

After these events, Wonwoo fell into a pit of depression. He rarely left the house and ate next to nothing, causing him to lose a significant amount of weight from his already lanky build. His housemates tried talking to him about it, but he was quick to avoid the situation. Mingyu was the only one able to convince him to get out of the house.

His next official assignment was to provide information about the members of link FIFTEEN, then aid Seungcheol and Joshua in their assassination of them. Wonwoo spent the day at the coffee shop with Mingyu, attempting to hide his illegal activities from him. He almost got caught, but was able to satisfy Mingyu’s suspicion by showing him a rap he had recently written. When he got home, he saw that Mingyu had added something himself, and Wonwoo felt that it was somewhat suggestive. At this point, he began to question how he felt towards Kim Mingyu since he had never felt the way he did when he was around anyone else.

Personality traits: Shy, quiet, reserved, and he rarely (if ever) opens up to people. He keeps his problems to himself and has trouble demonstrating empathy towards even his close friends. Despite his tendency to be shy, he has great confidence in his abilities and wants to be admired for his talents. He is quite suspicious of new people and becomes frustrated quite easily when he isn’t perfect at something straight away.

Currently known associates:

  • Yoon Jeonghan – Leader. Employer. Housemate. Acquaintance. Wonwoo respects Jeonghans work ethic, and thinks that he is a responsible leader. He knows that when he was depressed, it was Jeonghan who took it upon himself to talk with him about it. Wonwoo appreciated this, as it made Wonwoo realise that despite being criminals, they do have empathy and understanding.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Best friend. Wonwoo has been best friends with Seungkwan since they were children. They are complete opposites in terms of personality, but this helps rather than hinders their friendship. Seungkwan encourages him to keep doing what he enjoys and Wonwoo stabilises his eccentric tendencies. He also provides him with identities to steal, as well as the necessary information about anyone that Seungkwan wants to know about. Seungkwan calls him his ‘personal google’. Seungkwan is the one who convinced Wonwoo to join the criminal network. After seeing how brutal Seungkwan could be (and how little it impacted him after), Wonwoo withdrew from talking with Seungkwan as much, uncomfortable with himself that he was unaware of this side of his usually bubbly friend. Wonwoo felt that he differed too much from his friend, and did not feel able to share his concerns and troubles about the situation.
  • Lee Jihoon – Partial employer. Housemate. Jihoon is the one who tracked Wonwoo down and offered him the job to work within Jeonghans organisation. Wonwoo regards Jihoon as a close friend since after moving in with each other they were able to spend more time together bonding over their shared interests. Wonwoo respects Jihoon’s work and enjoys talking to him since they are of similar intelligence, as well as having similar styles of humour and hobbies.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Housemate. Wonwoo was very intimidated by Seungcheol initially and feels apprehensive towards him due to his grisly occupation. Seungcheol’s lack of regard for human life is a stark contrast to Wonwoo’s own beliefs about how to regard other people. Because of this, Wonwoo avoids Seungcheol as much as he can.
  • Hong Jisoo – Housemate. Wonwoo dislikes Joshua as he seems even more intimidating that Seungcheol. Wonwoo does not like his unpredictability and tries to stay away from Joshua at all costs.
  • Wen Junhui – Wonwoo has little opinion of Jun, except for some sympathy for him because of the way he was dragged into the group. They do not speak often, though Wonwoo thinks that if they did they would probably get along very well.
  • Kim Mingyu – Best friend. Maybe more. Wonwoo thinks very highly of Mingyu as they have spent a significant amount of time together. They have similar hobbies and Wonwoo feels like he can be himself around Mingyu. He is unsure what to think of Mingyu’s behaviour towards him because sometimes it borders on suggestive. Wonwoo knows he has never felt as strongly as he does for Mingyu to anyone else, so he contemplates the possibility of a crush.

 

Aliases/s: ENIGMA, Wonwoo, Beanie.

Legal hobbies: Playing video games, watching movies, watching anime, making online games, rapping, lyric writing.

 

Birth name: Lee Jihoon (이지훈)

Date of birth: 22 November 1996 (Aged 22)

Hometown: Busan, South Korea

Job status: Mechanic

Criminal status: Makes explosives, modifies and uses weapons illegally, minor hacking.

Background history: Jihoon never knew his mother growing up, only ever living with his father as an only child. His mother left the family when he was barely 18 months old, but no reason was ever given to him as to why. His father had a very typically masculine ‘macho’ personality, something that his son clearly didn’t inherit. Instead, Jihoon was very intelligent and showed a strong interest in mechanics and engineering from a young age, although this went unnoticed by his father. At age 8, Jihoon and his father moved to Seoul. His father got a new job and began dating. This meant he was rarely home and therefore Jihoon had the house to himself.

At about age 14, his interest in weaponry and explosives sharpened and he began making small bombs from school chemicals that he stole from his classroom and kitchen supplies. Once he met Jeonghan, his often-empty house acted as a refuge for his troubled friend and Jihoon helped him kick his demons to the curb-they would likely never disappear entirely- and eventually get back into school.

At age 19, Jihoon made the decision to move in to live with Jeonghan, the temptation of freedom to experiment with more things being a major deciding factor. He got a job as a mechanic and Jeonghan provided him with chemicals, weapons, explosives, anything that he wanted. After he found out that his father was tracking his phone, incensed from his son’s perceived ‘abandonment’, he became very paranoid, escalating until eventually, he had multiple laptops, phones and other electronics. He also set traps all over their apartment in case of any uninvited visitors.

One night, Seungcheol attempted to break in, a decision which ended in him getting shot, though it was more of a deep bullet glance than an actual bullet penetration would. Jihoon and Jeonghan made the decision to keep him housed at theirs until he had healed after they had discussed Seungcheol’s motives and reached a temporary agreement that all three of them were satisfied with. Eventually, they offered Seungcheol and his associate, Joshua, to be part of a criminal gang.

After coming into repeated contact with and becoming intrigued by an online hacker with the username ENIGMA on a well-known illegal networking service used for illegal job acquirements, he was able to track him down. He offered him a job within their organisation, which ENIGMA and his friend eventually and hesitatingly agreed to. He spoke regularly to ENIGMA, even managing to extract a promise from the man of him helping improve Jihoons hacking skills. As well as this, Seungcheol and Joshua agreed to move into a larger house with Jihoon and Jeonghan.

Once all 6 of them were living together, Jihoon found it much easier to assign tasks to people within the organisation. The current main assignment was regarding link FIFTEEN, and Jihoon was grateful that he had someone like Wonwoo working alongside him to help find information about them.

Personality traits: Straight-forward and direct. Jihoon has a relatively simple personality. He enjoys what he does and likes when things challenge him. He gets bored easily, so having new things to experiment with are a must. He keeps his emotions very quiet, and never shows them. If anything, he shows his emotions through his inventions: bombs act as outbursts of anger and frustration, guns act as demonstrations of precision and focus, etcetera. He gets paranoid very easily and will do anything to make sure he has control over situations. This means he plans everything meticulously, down to the last detail. Strategies are a particularly strong point of his, making him a great and invaluable asset to the group.

Currently known associates:

  • Yoon Jeonghan – Friend, Employer, housemate. Have been friends for a long time. Jihoon trusts Jeonghan with everything, and he provides Jihoon with any illegal materials he needs. They work together when coming up with plans. Jihoon respects Jeonghan massively for his success and is happy to help as long as he gets to do what he enjoys.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Employee (partially), friend. After Wonwoo moved in with the rest of them, Jihoon became even closer friends with him. He has a lot in common with Wonwoo and finds him easy to talk and relate to.
  • Hong Jisoo – Employee (partially), housemate. He finds Joshua quite intimidating due to his dual-personalities and predictableness. However, he speaks to Joshua quite frequently, and they have a mutual respect for each other despite their differences.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Employee (partially), friend, housemate. They speak often, and Jihoon respects how upfront he is about his work. Knowing how Jeonghan has a knack for knowing who to trust, Jihoon is willing to trust Seungcheol to a certain extent too.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Employee (partially), Acquaintance. Housemate. Jihoon likes having Seungkwan around as he brightens the mood, though he rarely talks to him. He thinks that Seungkwan might resent him a little for being close friends with Wonwoo.
  • Wen Junhui – Employee (partially). Acquaintance. They rarely speak properly, but Jihoon regards Jun as quite genuine and also respects his talents for forgery. As Jun cements a more solid part of the group, he can see himself becoming better friends with the second most reclusive member.

Aliases/s: WOOZI, Jihoon, ‘mastermind’

Legal hobbies: Playing video games, cooking, designing cars, drawing.

 

 

Birth name: Wen Junhui (文俊辉)

Date of birth: 10 June 1994 (Aged 24)

Hometown: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Job status: Business man, works in marketing for various companies. Designs advertisements.

Criminal status: Forger, fraudster.

Background history: Jun grew up in China as an only child in a rich family. His parents were kind and loving, and supported him in chasing his dreams, so he did very well at school. He was fond of sports, particularly Wushu and dancing, the both of which he became proficient at an early age and although he neglected his dancing when he moved from China, he still practices Wushu to this day. When he reached age 18, he moved to Seoul, South Korea, to study marketing and business at Sogang University. He met and fell hopelessly in love with his current fiancé Wi Hyojoo when he was 19, and they became an official couple when he was 20. Their relationship was picture-perfect, and he was very happy. Unfortunately, he sunk into a deep depression when he was 20 because of both of his parents committing suicide due to severe financial troubles after being victims their money-hungry insurance company, issues of which he had no knowledge of until it was too late. This served to create a deep-rooted hatred towards unjust, inhuman and unmoral companies that take advantage of those who cannot protect themselves, and to get back at them in one of the only ways he knew how, he decided to do something that he knew would hurt their profits: forgery. At first, he was reluctant to do anything with this new hobby of his, but he eventually stumbled across an anonymous website whereby he sold some of his work. After a while of making a decent amount of money from this, he was approached by The Network who offered him a secure position in their ranks amongst the other individuals and groups and he became a renowned forger known as link EIGHT, earning thousands for his work. His relationship with his fiancée deteriorated due to a compilation of lack of time, effort and willingness, and he barely sees or talks to her these days despite living in the same house. Instead, he recently bought a dog to create a more meaningful bond with, a darling fawn-coloured Welsh Corgi he named Jerry.

After a link within the network – link FIFTEEN – became a danger to everyone else, Jun contacted ANGEL (whom he later found out to be Jeonghan) in the network about joining forces. He met up with him, though there was an ambush which Jeonghan and his group assumed was connected to him. They knocked him unconscious and he was interrogated by Seungcheol. Things thankfully sorted themselves out, and Jun was soon invited to join Jeonghan’s criminal organisation with 5 other people, which he hesitatingly agreed to. He is still unsure as to where he fits in but the longer he stays with the group, the surer of himself he becomes. He strives to prove to his new members that he is someone who can be trusted and depended upon.

Personality traits: Shy, anxious, but logical and thorough. He is confident in his own abilities but is uncertain around others, especially those above him. He could be considered naïve since he lacks difficult life experience. He yearns for more excitement in his life, and similarly to Wonwoo, has a dream of being praised for his talents. He trusts new people relatively easily but has never opened up to someone fully, even his fiancé.

Current known associates:

  • Yoon Jeonghan – Employer, friend. He trusts Jeonghan a great deal and has a lot of respect for his work.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Acquaintance. Fellow member. After working together for over a month, Jun has started to like Seungcheol and understands Seungcheol’s morals and reasoning a little more. This puts him at ease as he knows Seungcheol isn’t a merciless cold-hearted killer –just a guy doing his job. The interrogation is a thing of the past and whilst he is unlikely to forget anytime soon, Seungcheol is forgiven.
  • Hon Jisoo – Acquaintance. Fellow member. Rarely speaks to Joshua and thinks he is quite mysterious and unpredictable.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Acquaintance. Fellow member. Jun likes Seungkwan’s humour and speaks to him often. He is one of the most approachable members in his opinion.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Acquaintance. Fellow member. Has rarely spoken to Wonwoo due to him locking himself in his room often, but Jun thinks he is quite kind-hearted underneath the distant exterior. Jun feels obligated to protect Wonwoo a bit because in comparison to the others in the group, Wonwoo seems the most caring out of everyone.
  • Lee Jihoon – Employer (partially). Acquaintance. He likes and trusts Jihoon since he knows that he is also the ‘brains’ of everything. He also seems like quite a laid-back person once he lets his walls drop. Jun enjoys having long conversations about business related things with him.

Aliases/s: MOON, Junhui, Jun

Legal hobbies: Wushu, dancing, looking after his dog, painting, drawing.

 

Birth name: Yoon Jeonghan (윤정한)

Date of birth: 04 October 1995 (Aged 23)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Works within international trading: Unspecified

Criminal status: Leader, Fraudster, drug-dealer, transporting illegal goods

Background history: Jeonghans parent’s died when he was 5 years old. Consequently, his older brother was made his legal guardian. Living in a very poor area of Seoul, his brother quickly got into drugs and other illegal activity in order to provide for both of them. Jeonghan was a drug mule as a child stopped going to school very frequently, and was treated terribly amongst his brother’s friends. This treatment led to Jeonghan having a heroin addiction in his teenage years, a crutch easily accessible due to the copious amounts he would regularly encounter, in order to distract himself from his situation. However, after meeting his friend Jihoon, things changed for the better. He returned to school, and with Jihoon’s support, was able to stop taking drugs after enduring the terrible withdrawals. Despite him still selling drugs and living within his toxic family environment, he redirected his effort into achieving very good grades and soon discovered that had a talent for maths and finances.

When Jeonghan was 19, his brother was killed in a drug trade gone wrong. After inheriting his money and criminal position, he continued his brother’s drug dealing business. He also moved into an apartment with Jihoon. Over a few months, he built up more criminal connections all around the world and started to import not only drugs but also weaponry and other illegal items into Seoul. His skills in manipulation and trickery served him well, allowing him to expand his brother’s previous connections, and be regarded as a feared adversary but also a respected accomplice within the criminal society. He became known as ANGEL, due to his birthday, as well as his extremely attractive appearance. His associates found this name ironic, so it stuck.

After Seungcheol was shot attempting to break into their apartment to steal their personalised weaponry after being tipped off by his friend, Joshua, Jeonghan kept Seungcheol there whilst he healed after they came to a mutual understanding, as well as a realisation that Seungcheol could be of use to his and Jihoon’s plans to expand the criminal organisation to fields neither of them were particularly adept in: violence and chaos. The few weeks that Seungcheol was staying with them, they became surprisingly close. Jeonghan and Jihoon formally met Joshua (Seungcheol’s associate) soon after and together, they conducted their first joint mission as a group of four: targeting a sexually abusive orphanage. After their successful large-scale crime, they decided to stay together. To do this, they moved out of their now too-small apartment from before and rented a larger house as their ‘home base’.

Once Wonwoo and Seungkwan joined them, Jeonghan enjoyed living with the added people as it changed the dynamic of the household in an interesting way. Seungcheol moved up to his floor, meaning they spent a lot of time together. They have completed a few assignments which have been neat and successful, however, Jeonghan strongly believed that the best way to improve their successes and skills would be if more people were to join the organisation to cover for each weakness. Even now, he is constantly casing for new additions he thinks would add merit to his growing family of criminals.

Personality traits: Assertive and competitive. Because of his early experiences and the dangerous environment, he refuses to let people take advantage of him, thus he can be quite intimidating. He is very driven to succeed, and although this means he can be stubborn and narrow-minded at times, it makes him a very motivational and determined leader. He can successfully separate his personal life from his work life, an ability that proves useful as he is adept at using his charisma and flirtatious nature to the benefit his own agenda. Manipulation is a key strategy in getting what he wants, and he will even go as far as to delve into people’s pasts to use it against them. Although he opens up to very few people, once he does he is kind and laid-back, though maintains his snarky and almost sadistic humour. He wants to have a successful business, but also wants to try and do good with his power. Getting revenge and justice for people that can’t help themselves, like he couldn’t when he was a child, sounds satisfactory.

Currently known associates:

  • Lee Jihoon – Best friend, employee, housemate. He works with Jihoon closely, providing him the equipment to make and modify his weapons. He opens up to the most Jihoon and would say Jihoon is the only person he fully trusts. Jihoon acts as a meditator and soundboard for Jeonghan, keeping him calm in stressful situations and being someone he can rely on to talk to whenever he needs to verbally discuss issues.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Employee, housemate, best friend. He considers Seungcheol a close friend, and over the few months they have been closer, Jeonghan trusts him completely.
  • Hong Jisoo – Employee, housemate, acquaintance. They aren’t quite friends and Jeonghan has started to dislike his negative and defensive attitude. Jeonghan does not trust him and believes he might become an issue for the group in the future.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Employee, housemate, friend. Jeonghan enjoys talking to Wonwoo and respects how hard-working he is. He was concerned when Wonwoo began to collapse in on himself and tried his best to help with what little he was given.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Employee, housemate, acquaintance. Jeonghan appreciates how Seungkwan lightens up the atmosphere within the house and how determined he is to learn new things and get better. He believes the there is a large amount of untapped potential in him and is willing to try and nurture it as much as possible.
  • Wen Junhui – Employee, acquaintance. Jeonghan likes Jun as they think similarly and can easily keep things business orientated. Jeonghan believes that Jun is sincere and reliable, so trusts him a great deal. He shows this by allowing Jun the freedom to live apart from the main unit and has had no reason to doubt this decision.

Aliases/s: Leader, ANGEL, Jeonghan.

Legal hobbies: Cooking, watching movies, writing.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////NEW PROFILE////////////////////////////////////////////////NEW PROFILE/////////////////////////////////////////////////////NEW PROFILE

 

Birth name: Kim Mingyu (김민규)

Date of birth: 06 April 1997 (Aged 20)

Hometown: Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Job status: Barista, a student studying Drama Studies Chugye University for the Arts

Criminal status: Unknown

Background history: Mingyu lived with his mother and father in a small family house. His family were very poor, and struggled financially throughout Mingyu’s childhood, in order to provide money for the family, his father was in the military. His mother was the owner of a nearby homeless shelter, which Mingyu regularly helped out at. He did averagely at school, but was always bullied for not having a computer or mobile phone unlike everyone else. When Mingyu was aged 14, his father died in the military, leaving him and his mother in need of financial support. His mother turned to prostitution in order to provide for Mingyu, attempting to save up so Mingyu could go to university. When Mingyu turned 18, he moved to Seoul to study drama studies at the only university that would accept him. He moved in with his grandma who he had never met prior to moving, and due to her deteriorating health, he cared for her. It was around this time that he began working as a barista at a coffee shop in the centre of Seoul near his university. The first day of university he met his close friend Boo Seungkwan, who worked hard to make Mingyu feel at home. He became very popular alongside Seungkwan, acquiring many girlfriends over the course of the first year. He realised when he turned 19 that he was homosexual, and was open about this despite the bullying he received for it.

He began his first proper homosexual relationship with someone who tagged along to a house party that Mingyu had hosted. It was only towards the end of 2016 that Mingyu decided to end the relationship since their personalities did not match well and Mingyu felt that he was a bad influence. Mingyu found the breakup quite difficult. Mingyu soon introduced himself to Wonwoo, a man who frequented his coffee shop and was a friend with Seungkwan. They became very close friends over the course of a few months, and Mingyu quickly developed a crush on him, though he tried keeping this a secret.

After finding out about Wonwoo and Seungkwans criminal activities, Mingyu felt betrayed and hurt. 

Personality traits: Kind-hearted and understanding. He wants to help people to the best of his abilities. He considers himself a good listener and liked providing advice to people if they need it. However, he is quite naïve and subsequently falls in love easily. He experiences very intense emotions and has a somewhat short-temper. He is charismatic and witty, allowing him to excel at his acting talents.

Currently known associates:

  • Boo Seungkwan – Best friend. Housemate. Course-mate. Having been friends with him since he moved to Seoul, they are very close. Throughout being at University they had relied on each other, and Seungkwan is one of the only people who know all of Mingyu’s secrets. Once Mingyu moved in with the criminal members, not much changed between them, and despite the tension between Wonwoo and Seungkwan, Mingyu remained a close friend with Seungkwan, always spending the time to talk and hang out with him.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Best friend. Very likely a crush. Mingyu enjoys being with Wonwoo and despite not knowing each other for a huge amount of time Mingyu would say that he trusts Wonwoo a lot. Mingyu has romantic feelings for Wonwoo but feels too guilty about it to say anything.

Aliases/s: Mingyu.

Legal hobbies: Studying drama. Writing lyrics. Hosting parties.

Chapter Text

17/04/2017 – Monday

Empty eyes stared absently outside at the passing scenery as Wonwoo pressed his cheek against the cold window pane. The bus had just arrived as he had run outside to catch it, so he was able to avoid the chill of the morning air and the slight rain that fell from the gloomy grey sky having to wait for it. He hated bus rides usually but didn’t have any other choice. Unless, of course, he wanted to explain to Seungcheol, Jeonghan, Jihoon or Joshua that he had accidentally let a stranger know about his part in an infamous criminal gang, which didn’t really seem like a particularly good idea. As the houses and streets pass by and the miles between them began to diminish, Wonwoo’s mind was a cacophony of chaos trying its best to anticipate what exactly Mingyu had meant by ‘secret’. He reviewed each conversation that they’d had the previous Friday night and Saturday but couldn’t see how he would have given Mingyu any reason to suspect him of his illegal obligations.

Approaching Mingyu’s house (that he shared with his ailing Grandmother), situated along the outskirts of Seoul, Wonwoo sighed, pressing the red button in front of him to signal that he wanted to get off at the next stop. In comparison to the earlier fine rain, water droplets were now lashing down against the concrete incessantly. Wonwoo couldn’t help but feel as if it was a sign, the miserable weather acting as a tool of personification for the imminent conversation he was going to have with Mingyu. As the bus slowed to a stop, he pulled his grey hood over his head and exited the bus, reluctant feet trudging along the now familiar route.

Wonwoo had never been so hesitant to approach Mingyu’s house before, not even the first time he had been invited. His chest felt heavy with anxiety and he was afraid that the heaviness might cause it to cave in under the pressure. Despite this, as the rain converted itself into a torrent of hail, Wonwoo had no choice but to run and seek shelter under the relative safety of the porch roof of the house, knocking timidly against the familiar white door.

Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.

He held his breath as the sound of the lock on the other side became audible and a familiar broad figure could be seen from behind the frosted pane windows. The door swung open, Mingyu appearing dressed in a crinkled black t-shirt and baggy blue jeans with his unkempt charcoal hair swept to one side, looking as though he had continuously run his fingers through it. His eyes were rimmed slightly red, implying that he had been crying, and his usual bright smile was absent from his face, instead replaced by an unfamiliar blank expressionless canvas. Without a word, he turned his body slightly, gesturing for Wonwoo to enter, which he did so with a nauseating mixture of apprehension and gratefulness. As soon as Wonwoo was inside and away from the elements, Mingyu shut the door with probably more force than strictly necessary and began to stride away, crooking his fingers in a blatant ‘follow me’ gesture.

Walking down the hallway to the living room, Mingyu stating, “My grandma isn’t here right now.” Wonwoo could see the leftover pizza boxes that they’d had on Friday night stacked up by the back door ready for the recycling. The soft pink blanket they had used to warm up on the sofa was bunched up on the floor, with various video games and movies strung about.

Perching awkwardly on the sofa, Wonwoo daren’t break the suffocating silence so instead waited for Mingyu to speak first. His expression was still blank, but Wonwoo knew him well enough by now to tell that it was a well-designed façade and that underneath his steely eyes and blank appearance he was livid. Pacing around the room, Mingyu finally spoke again, “I’m going to give you one chance to explain.” His voice was beginning to leak the tightly suppressed rage hidden underneath, unable to keep it held down for much longer.

This is exactly what Wonwoo had planned for. He had written an entire script in his mind of what would be best to say in this situation, but of course in moments of intense nervousness, even the best-made plans can go to waste. Shuffling, he avoided eye contact by looking at his boots that were slowly saturating the carpet underneath from the residue rainwater. Licking his dry lips and audibly gulping, Wonwoo tried to stall for more time, still unprepared for where this conversation could lead, “Explain… What?”

At this response, Mingyu let out a harsh frustrated sigh through his nose, bursting out with a fierce rebuttal, “You know exactly what I am talking about Jeon Wonwoo! I need you to tell me! Please, just tell me.” His voice started out strong but towards the end was weighed down with desperation and Wonwoo hated how low it made him feel.

Despite the increasing urge to give Mingyu what he wanted, he had to think logically. If he told Mingyu his secret, it would endanger him and, even worse, endanger the others too. Wonwoo feared the repercussions, especially since the others had made it explicitly clear what they would do in a whistle-blower situation. They could kill Mingyu, he thought, tearing up slightly just thinking about the possible consequences.

He felt frozen in fear and uncertainty but knew that he would have to give some sort of response lest Mingyu think he was trying to think of a lie to spew out. He was already looking perilously close to losing his composure, so Wonwoo stuttered out another lacklustre, “I-I don’t know what you are talking about, I’m sorry.” He was already cringing in preparation of Mingyu’s response as he finished speaking, hunching his shoulder up towards his ears to brace himself.

Mingyu’s calm and collected façade shattered, furious tears brimming at the corners of his eyes and he shouted, holding Wonwoo’s shoulders and forcing him to look at him directly, “Don’t do this Wonwoo, please. Just tell me, just be honest for once in your goddamn life!” He bit his own lip harshly, using the pain to anchor him into the present and as a crutch to try and calm down.

Although Mingyu was still holding his shoulders in a vice-grip, Wonwoo turned his face away and scrunched his eyes closed to avoid eye contact. He hated himself for his next words, knowing that he was stuck. For the third time, he repeated, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

A growl erupting from deep in his chest was the only indication that Wonwoo had before Mingyu finally snapped. Mingyu pushed Wonwoo to lean back on the sofa and sat on Wonwoo’s lap, his long legs coming to rest either side of him on the sofa to increase proximity and minimising Wonwoo’s avenues of avoidance and escape. A hand came up to grip tightly onto his jaw, physically preventing Wonwoo from moving his head away. Mingyu pressed his forehead against Wonwoo’s, looking imploringly into the man’s still scrunched shut eyes, “Look at me, Wonwoo. Look me in the eyes and explain to me why I got a call this morning from the NIS.” Tears fell from Mingyu’s eyes but left tracks against both of their cheeks from their closeness and Wonwoo opened his eyes to look at Mingyu properly for the first time that morning.

His face was puffy and red, a kaleidoscope of emotions now distinguishable in his eyes. Wonwoo couldn’t bear it anymore, there was only so much pleading that a man could put up with from someone he cared about. Their close proximity and Mingyu’s roughness left nowhere for Wonwoo to hide, and he hated being this exposed. “Mingyu please, don’t. I can’t. Please just stop.”

“No! YOU stop! I’m at risk of being in some serious shit because of YOU. I might get arrested because of YOU, Jeon Wonwoo!” With every emphasised ‘you’, Mingyu dug his nails harder into Wonwoo’s face and pressed his own forehead harder against Wonwoo’s.

Wonwoo could barely think with Mingyu so loud and so close. In a desperate attempt to get away from him, he flung his shaky palms against the broader man’s chest, causing Mingyu to fall backwards and onto the floor. “Get off of me! You need to s-stop putting me in this position. I can’t. Trust me, I can’t.”

I want to tell you, I swear. I want to tell you everything, Mingyu.

A sharp laugh erupted from Mingyu, still braced against his hands behind his back on the floor, and rang through the house, surprising Wonwoo quite a bit. Mingyu’s demeanour had changed drastically in the blink of an eye and he no longer appeared the desperate, pleading mess he was a few seconds ago. This was a very bad development, and from this Wonwoo knew it was only going to get worse. Rising from the sofa and avoiding the man on the floor, he stood up with the intent of leaving. I need to get out of here.

Mingyu rose quickly, still slightly cackling, “Oh please, trust you? You mean trust Jeon Wonwoo, the infamous criminal hacker, right? Yeah, you definitely seem trustworthy. Oh no wait, are you leaving? You are such a fucking coward.” All the while he was spitting out these vicious comments Mingyu followed Wonwoo to the door.

His words stung and cut deeply into Wonwoo. If there was one person he didn’t want to hear those words from, it was Mingyu. He tried staying calm, tried to stay rational, but how could he? Leaving seemed the best option; he knew his temper was short even on a good day and he didn’t want to hurt Mingyu.

I can’t stay here.

How could things so perfect be destroyed within a few days? He was happy for once, he finally felt that he had something to work towards. Someone worth the effort and pain and exhaustion of staying awake. These thoughts just made it hurt more, spurring him on to quicken his pace to the front door.

Of course, Mingyu was having none of that, “What is stopping me from calling the police right now?” He let out a scornful ‘tsk’, clicking his tongue against his teeth, “Certainly not you. Aren’t too used to face-to-face confrontation, are you? I guess that’s your fault for hiding behind a screen al-“ Truthful comments always hurt the worst and Wonwoo was only human. Unable to listen to Mingyu’s hurtful tirade any longer, he sharply pivoted on his feet and swung his clenched fist directly at him in a fit of rage, contacting with blunt force with Mingyu’s jaw.

Immediately after and gobsmacked at his own actions, he held his throbbing hand to his chest as he watched Mingyu cup his already bruising jaw, anger still radiating from him. “Oh, I see. If you want a fight I’ll give you a fight, you bastard.”

Shit. Shit, why the fuck did you do that?!

Wonwoo backed away but had nowhere else to go to, Mingyu a towering figure in front of him and the door behind him, “I-I’m really sorry, I just can’t think straight and you sai-“ Mingyu didn’t hesitate or stop to listen to Wonwoo’s fragmented apology, instead he grabbed his throat in one hand, using his taller and more muscular stature to push Wonwoo against the wall of the hallway. He squeezed tightly, causing Wonwoo’s words to die out. Wonwoo had the remaining breath and energy to try and force one more thing out, the word managing to escape being a croaking, gasping, “Please..”

Mingyu was visibly struggling with the situation at hand, torn between having to go to such extreme lengths to get the vital information from a person he cared about so much. “Please what? Please stop? Why should I? My life is over because of you!” As he was saying this, Mingyu’s grip was loosening until eventually, he was just resting his hand against Wonwoo’s sweaty neck, his fingers brushing the reddening skin there and cheeks wet from tears.

Wonwoo by now was as much of a mess as Mingyu. Damn the consequences, if he had to look at Mingyu’s shattered face for any longer he didn’t know what he’d do. It was time to give in. “I’ll explain, I’m sorry, just wait, just give me a second, calm down please.” His voice was soft, trying to soothe as much hurt as possible and Wonwoo pressed his palm into Mingyu’s wet cheek in comfort. Mingyu closed his eyes, leaning his head forward to put a firmer contact between his cheek and Wonwoo’s hand.

Why does this feel so perfect yet so fucked up at the same time?

Wonwoo couldn’t deal with looking at Mingyu for any longer, not if he wanted to stay on track and come clean. If he indulged into this moment, he felt it was probably only going to be ripped away from him in a few moments. Turning his head away and sliding underneath Mingyu’s arm, Wonwoo walked back to the living room and sat on the sofa, pulling the soft pink blanket over his legs. Mingyu sat next to him, breathless from the previous fight.

Wonwoo knew that this time, the conversation was up to him to initiate. “So, what happened this morning? Just tell me what was said.”

Mingyu inhaled, trying not to let his voice waver from his bubbling emotions, “The NIS called, saying they had observed…some suspicious activity from the coffee shop. They asked if there were any regulars who bring electronics, as well as that they were coming to raid the shop later today to see for themselves. Oh god…” He trailed off, despising the awful images in his head that showed just how bad things could have turned out.

Wonwoo felt all the air escape from his lungs in one abrupt exhale and suddenly he couldn’t breathe.

I’ve done something wrong.

Shaking himself from his own spiralling self-disgust, Wonwoo could see that Mingyu was struggling to continue. He placed a steady -or as steady as he could make it in this sort of rattling experience- on Mingyu’s knee in a gesture of comfort and solidarity. Mingyu, grateful for the show of care, continued, swallowing down the rising panic that threatened to make a comeback with his next words, “They’re gonna check the cameras and they said that if I lied I would be imprisoned. I’d lose everything – fuck.” He cut himself off, hunching over and running his hands over his head, fingers combing back his hair and digging into his scalp.

Wonwoo sighed, suppressing the panic that was building in his own chest. He started rubbing comforting circles on Mingyu’s tense back, awkwardly trying to comfort him, “It’s okay, you did the right thing. I need to know how much you told them and how much they might know though, I’m sorry. Do they know my full name now? What else did you tell them?” Wonwoo barely got the words out of his lips, disgusted with himself for putting his best friend through all these questions when it was clear to both of them how painful it was to talk about. As much as he loathed it, it was necessary.

Please don’t tell me I’m done for. If I’m a goner, so are my members. So is everything I have ever accomplished. So is… whatever the fuck this between me and Mingyu is.

By this point Mingyu had sat back up, his head turned to look at Wonwoo. His brows creased in puzzlement at first, but then after realising that Wonwoo thought that he’d given him up, he rolled his eyes in exasperation, “No, idiot. I covered for you.” His voice was still laced with annoyance, but it was softer and kinder, similar to how Mingyu would lightly make fun of him.

“Wait. You… you didn’t tell them?” Wonwoo asked in clarification. After Mingyu shook his head, Wonwoo could finally start to breathe again. He was so relieved but also simultaneously angry that Mingyu had risked his own life to cover for him. Now he was in danger, and if the NIS found out he was aiding a criminal, he’d be dead.

I can’t let that happen, I must fix this.

The silence was thick, filled with the uncertainty of how to proceed with this new information. Wonwoo wanted to thank him, to do some sort of meaningful action to show his gratitude but he didn’t trust himself to, so instead, he moved the conversation on, “Okay, I can fix this. I won’t let you lose everything because of me, Mingyu.”

Mingyu sighed in response, biting his cheek to keep more tears at bay at the thought of what his Grandma would think of him. He felt he’d done enough crying for today.

Wonwoo pulled out his laptop, checking the security that he had on that Thursday. After a quick perusal, he closed his laptop and stood up abruptly, “Okay, we need to go tell the others. Once we’ve done that we’ll know where we can go from there.”

Mingyu’s eyes widened at this, and in a stern voice, he questioned, “Others? What others? Wait, do you mean your housemates?!”

Oh fuck. I didn’t tell him about them yet.

“We don’t have time to talk about this now, but yes. Can you drive me?” Mingyu was visibly chomping at the bits to ask more questions but contained himself. He nodded, then grabbed his car keys placed on the side table and the first pair of boots he could find on his feet hurriedly, only going to tie them after Wonwoo’s unimpressed look.

There was a large blossoming bruise on Mingyu’s right cheek from where Wonwoo had hit him before, but the adrenaline of the situation meant he’d either forgotten about it or he couldn’t feel it. Wonwoo thought it best not to mention it, and they walked to the front door.

“Here, it’s hailing still.” Throwing his leather jacket to Wonwoo, Mingyu continued to ramble, “Why didn’t you wear a coat? When I said right now, I didn’t mean forget to properly dress yourself. Ugh, never mind.” He pulled on a dark green waterproof jacket. Despite the hoodie Wonwoo was wearing providing some bulkiness underneath, the leather jacket still looked comically large on his lanky frame. Regardless, he was grateful to have the extra protection from the hail.

The journey was filled with questions, as would be expected. They ranged from, “Are they dangerous?”, “Do they kill people”, “How long has this been going on?” to “Other than them being criminals, are they actually normal people too?” The ride went by far too quickly for Wonwoo’s comfort, and soon they were approaching the familiar house. Although giving the context that they were going there it looked more foreboding than anything else.

Once they’d pulled to a stop, Wonwoo had to set some ground rules. “Stay in the car while I talk to them, if they ask anything of you, just do it.” Taking a deep breath, Wonwoo ran out into the hail, opening the front door, to be faced with everyone in the living room turning around to look at him, soaking wet from the rain and breathless. Jeonghan, Jun and Jihoon were in the kitchen cooking, whilst Seungcheol, Seungkwan and Joshua were sat on the couches talking.

“Guys? W-We have a slight problem.”

CHAPTER 11 END.

Chapter Text

17/04/2017 – Monday

The rain still hammered down around Mingyu’s car, and he sat contemplating what would be the best thing to do in this situation. Wonwoo had told him to stay in the car but he felt pretty uncomfortable with the idea that a bunch of criminals were going to decide his fate with him absent. As Wonwoo opened the front door of the vaguely familiar house, Mingyu decided to follow.

“Guys? W-We have a slight problem.” Wonwoo uttered, in a meek and almost silent voice. Oh, I’m a problem now? Mingyu rolled his eyes at the thought. Suddenly, everyone was looking at him. The rain trickled down his bruised face and jawline, and Mingyu stood looking rather innocently at the six men stood in front of him. A slim man with long hair and dressed in a smart suit spoke first, in a disapproving and blunt tone “Yes, I can see that. Get inside.”

Wonwoo visibly flinched at the man’s words, and he turned slightly, gesturing for Mingyu to follow. Before stepping over the threshold, Wonwoo sighed, reluctantly murmuring “He knows about this.” Feeling slightly betrayed by Wonwoo’s failure to dampen the edgy atmosphere, Mingyu tensed up, knowing fully what was most likely going to happen.

As Mingyu closed the door behind him, a shrill and very familiar voice could be heard beckoning him “Mingyu?! What are you doing here?” Looking up in surprise at his fellow course-mate Seungkwan, quickly realising that there was more to add to this fucked up situation. Not one, but two of his best-friends had lied to him about their illegal activities. “Isn’t the better question what are YOU doing here?!”

Before they were able to answer each other’s questions, a man of a similar height and build to Mingyu walked forward, restraining his arms tightly behind his back and dragging him further into the room, tying his wrists with a rope. “It was a very cute reunion, but do us all a favour and kneel.” As the man said these words, he roughly kicked the back of Mingyu’s knee’s, forcing him to his knees. The loud clunking sound of a semi-automatic pistol could be heard right by his head, and Mingyu froze. It was at this moment he felt the seriousness of the situation dawn on him, and he was petrified.

Wonwoo quickly shot forward, attempting to knock the firearm from the taller man’s hand, shouting “No! No! Seungcheol please don’t!” Although Mingyu appreciated the sentiment, he couldn’t help but have little faith in Wonwoo, as he doubted there was anything he could do to prevent his apparent fate.

In response, Seungcheol laughed loudly “Chill out kid, I won’t hurt your boyfriend without expressed permission from Mr Boss over there.” Mingyu opened his eyes slightly to look at the man being referred to, deliberately ignoring the ‘boyfriend’ comment. Breathe Mingyu, breathe.

Wonwoo turned to the long-haired man, and in a desperate voice said “Jeonghan, please let me explain” to which the man nodded, and everyone went to sit on the sofas except Seungcheol, who stood behind Mingyu tightly yanking his wrists together in a slightly humiliating position.

“The NIS called the shop Mingyu worked at, I must have forgotten to put up my specialised firewall. They are raiding the shop later, so we have some time. Mingyu covered for me, despite it being a danger to himself, so please don’t hurt him. They don’t know my IP address or anything, I fixed that. If Jihoon can edit the camera footage and it will be fine. I can fix this I swear.” Wonwoo spoke more confidently than Mingyu had expected. Turning his attention to Jeonghan, he noticed that he was being evaluated by him, perhaps judging his potential. Mingyu heard the thin unidentified man with black hair mutter “I fucking knew this would happen.”

The shortest man spoke, presumably, Jihoon, spoke “Stop it Joshua, that isn’t helping. I can edit the footage. Although it won’t be enough that we clear your name, we need to frame someone else. If you fetch one of your laptops, clear it and set it up appropriately, then we can work from there.” Jeonghan nodded in response, but Mingyu was horrified about this idea. How could they think that this was the only solution?!

“You can’t do that! They are innocent people; they haven’t done anything wrong!” Mingyu couldn’t restrain himself. Once again, all eyes were on him. He wasn’t nearly as scared as he should be, but somehow he felt confident in this situation. Wonwoo walked hesitantly to the staircase, giving Mingyu a sympathetic look before ascending the stairs.

Joshua approached him, his eyes narrowing in annoyance. “No one asked you for your opinion.” His deep voice made Mingyu shudder, and although every inch of his body was screaming at him not to respond, he felt obligated. I’m probably dead anyway.

“Please, can I have a chance to prove I’m not an idiot? I can probably help.” Mingyu stated, gesturing to his restraints. What the fuck are you thinking? How in the world can you help?!

Raising an eyebrow, Jeonghan walked forward and untied his hands. “There’s 7 of us, he isn’t going anywhere unless he has a death wish.” To this, Mingyu nodded and rubbed his sore wrists gently, relieved to have some semblance of normality. Wonwoo’s footsteps could be heard descending the stairs. He smiled at Mingyu once seeing he was no longer restrained, but Mingyu didn’t want to look at him. You got me into this mess, idiot.

“I work at the shop; I can do anything you want.” Mingyu sighed and awaited a response from one of them.

Jihoon was the first to break the thoughtful silence “Then it will be your job to get me access to the cameras, all of them. You will also have to find someone with a laptop, distract them whilst we switch it. Can you do that?” His voice sounded stern as if he was challenging Mingyu’s abilities.

Mingyu thought for a moment, “Yes, I can. Do we really have to put the blame on an innocent person though? I know them all by name, I don’t know if I can do that…”

Joshua butted in, saying “You wouldn’t have to if Wonwoo hadn’t have fucked up, blame him.” Mingyu’s eyes narrowed at Wonwoo, who was stood meekly in the corner holding a laptop. He mouthed the words ‘sorry’, then opened his laptop as a distraction.

“Then it’s all set. If you fail, or if you alert anyone, we are going to kill you.” Jeonghans words sounded definite, and Mingyu got the vibe that he was not joking around.

CHAPTER 12 END

UPDATED PROFILE – HONG JISOO

  • New associate KIM MINGYU added

UPDATED PROFILE – YOON JEONGHAN

  • New associate KIM MINGYU added

UPDATED PROFILE – LEE JHOON

  • New associate KIM MINGYU added

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • New associate KIM MINGYU added

UPDATED PROFILE – WEN JUNHUI

  • New associate KIM MINGYU added

 

 

Chapter Text

17/04/2017 – Monday

Although the café wasn’t an especially long journey away, time felt like it was just crawling by. The car ride was silent, nothing but the soft rumble of the engine daring to pipe up. Jihoon was sat in the back seat, directly behind Wonwoo in the passenger seat with Mingyu driving them towards their destination. When considering that the alternative options for company would have been the equally terrifying and intimidating Seungcheol or Joshua, Wonwoo couldn’t help but count it as a small blessing. Although he did feel sorry for the poor guy, there was no doubt that Jihoon felt the tension still simmering in between Mingyu and Wonwoo from their previous fight.

Wonwoo fiddled with his thumbs and fingers awkwardly, watching through the wing mirror at Jihoon fiddling with his phone. Mingyu couldn’t look at Wonwoo. The more he thought about what had happened, the more he felt sick to his stomach and something in his chest scratched raw. He couldn’t understand how something he felt was so close to being perfect could get ruined so quickly.

Why do I always seem to get involved with fucking criminals? Am I a magnet or something?

He was distracted from his lamentations when Jihoon broke the suffocating silence with a question coming from seemingly nowhere, “What do you want your username to be?”

Taking his eyes off the road for a split second, Mingyu caught the other man’s eyes with a blank look of his own. “What do you mean? I can’t join this group, I’m not a criminal…” He broke off from his complaints when Jihoon returned his blank stare, looking completely unfazed. The smaller man kicked the seat in front of him, jolting Wonwoo forward slightly and conveying the hint that it was time for him to contribute to the conversation.

Despite Wonwoo’s desperate attempts at avoidance, he muttered a reluctant, “You don’t really have a choice now, Mingyu.” He tried to keep his voice as normal as possible to avoid any further argument.

This obviously backfired. Mingyu gritted his teeth, the anger still simmering low in his stomach from their earlier fight bubbling back up. “I would have a choice if it wasn’t for you, idiot! You could have told me about this, about what you were there to do and I wouldn’t have told anyone!”, he continued in a softer tone, chancing a glance at the figure by his side, “I would have kept your secret.”

Wonwoo scoffed in response, his doubt making itself known in his tone of voice, “And you’re telling me that you wouldn’t have run for the hills? I couldn’t do that Mingyu, they would have killed me.” The longer he spoke, the more his voice sounded cracked and his uncertainty became increasingly prominent. When he finished his voice had that telling wobble and Mingyu realised that Wonwoo was actually choking up a little.

Throughout the entire fight they’d had the previous morning, Wonwoo hadn’t shed an actual tear. In fact, to everyone looking at him he appeared completely unfazed by their entire argument. Even when Wonwoo swung his fist at Mingyu, his face was still mostly devoid of emotion. That just made the whole situation feel worse for Mingyu. The thought of he doesn’t even care about me refusing to leave his head. Compared to then, Wonwoo’s voice now sounded meek and apologetic. Despite this, Mingyu couldn’t bring himself to fully regret his bitter attitude, still sore and reeling from the events of the morning.

His response sounded harsh and uncaring, even to his own ears, “If I would’ve known who you truly were, a deceitful, uncaring liar, I wouldn’t have covered for you.” The malicious words burned on his tongue so he spat them out quickly, their only intent to hurt Wonwoo. As much as he’s hurt me.

From the way that Wonwoo visibly flinched at his words he’d succeeded, although the majority of his face was shielded from the hood of his grey hoodie and his brown hair was shadowing his eyes.

Jihoon coughed, reminding the two sat in the front that they weren’t alone in the car, as well as trying to bring the conversation back into safer, more relevant waters, “So, what’s your username?”

It’s gotta be something fitting. Something that encapsulates the whole scope of my feelings as well as the reason I’m in the goddamn situation.

It took him less than a handful of seconds before his answer left his lips, “Meanie. M. E. A. N. I. E.” Jihoon didn’t question it, shrugging in acceptance before going back to typing on his phone. Wonwoo lifted his head slightly, the side of his face visible. His mouth was slightly agape and his eyes showed a violent mixture of realisation, confusion and sadness.

Yeah. MEANIE is perfect.

The rest of the car journey remained silent, the only exception being Jihoon explaining the codenames and rules of being within the group to their newest, most reluctant member.

Once arriving at the carpark, it was nary a few minutes until the rest joined them. Everyone pooled out of their vehicles, circling around in a cluster to hear Jeonghan relay his instructions, “Joshua, Seungkwan and I will be in the shop across the road for visuals. Seungcheol will be in the shop, posing as a customer in case things go wrong and his intervention is deemed necessary. Wonwoo and Jihoon, you know your tasks. Sort the cameras, switch the laptops. Jun can aid Wonwoo in replicating the laptop if he is struggling, otherwise you copy Seungcheol and remain as inconspicuous as possible. Mingyu, cause a distraction long enough for them to do this. Keep an eye on our chat, that’ll be where we give you the go ahead.” After the bulk of the instructions were laid out, Jeonghan narrowed his eyes towards the man being addressed, “Prove your abilities to us if you want to remain in the group. And remain alive.” Mingyu nodded, gulping slightly at the intensity burning in Jeonghan’s eyes. Whilst his words were dramatic, Mingyu had no doubt they were true and he had no intention of risking his neck to find out.

To Mingyu’s eternal relief, the coffee shop was not very busy and he entered as normal. Beckoning Jihoon to follow him towards the counter, he caught his bosses attention and began explaining that Jihoon was an engineer and that he was there to make sure the security is up to scratch. With Jihoon occupying the other man before they both disappeared towards the securing room in the back of the store, Mingyu took the opportunity to have a quick glance around whilst retrieving his apron. There were a few strangers dotted around, something that Mingyu couldn’t help but feel a smidge of gratitude that he wouldn’t have to pin the blame on someone that he had a good rapport with.

Thinking quickly on his feet, Mingyu thought of the most outlandish, distraction-worthy thing he could conjure up. Approaching with confidence and charisma, Mingyu asked the manager if he could have a coffee-tasting competition, stating “It will spice things up a little bit!” as an excuse, as well as showcase some of their newer flavours. Although the manager at first showed some concerns regarding the logistics for the preparation and promotion of the so-called ‘competition’, he readily agreed after Mingyu explained that it would be a one-off event on a small scale, something to test the waters and see if it would be successful on a larger scale later on down the line. After getting the go-ahead, he set about making as many different types of drinks as he could ready to go. Steadying his shaking hands, Mingyu couldn’t help but be impressed with his own acting. Although he was doing a drama course, the same as Seungkwan in fact, it was still different doing it in this setting, for this situation.

Part of him felt awful for what he was doing, but the fear of the consequences waiting for him if he failed spurred him on. I can have time to feel worse about this later.

Receiving a quick nod from Seungcheol, Mingyu checked his phone.

SEVENTEEN

[10:45]

 [WOOZI added MEANIE to the group chat]

[ALL MEMBERS ONLINE]

ANGEL: Everyone is in position. Go now.

MEANIE: Ok.

Inhaling deeply, Mingyu walked towards the serving counter and stood on a stool sat behind it with shaky legs. Mustering as much bravado as he could, he cleared his throat to gain everyone’s attention, “Hi everyone! As a special, one-off event for today only, we’ve decided to have a coffee tasting competition.” Seeing that only a few of the customers looked intrigued, he decided to add a little incentive, “If you can correctly guess where the coffee beans are from for each drink, you will win ₩70000 as well as free medium drinks on any beverage for the next three months!”

Now, that definitely gained their attention. Immediately, all of the customers made their way to the front. Casing them all out, Mingyu picked out a short middle-aged man. He was one of the strangers that he’d noticed earlier on. Luckily, he was sat by himself with a plain black laptop with the lid closed in front of him. It would be easy enough to switch and the man would be none-the-wiser until he opened it to switch it on, maybe not even then. When the man was preoccupied with the coffee tasting, Wonwoo had remained seated with Jun and both men used this opportunity to sneak towards where the man was sitting, quickly setting down the replacement laptop and beginning to work. Mingyu watched in equal parts horror and grudging respect as Wonwoo typed rapidly, plugging in a USB stick and presumably copying over files from one laptop to the other. Jun was close at hand in case and stood in front of Wonwoo in case he ran into any trouble, keeping a sharp eye on the group of customers at the front in case any were to turn around. Within a few seconds they were back at their own table, beginning a casual conversation to seem as normal as possible as the group up front began to finish their tasting tasks and were beginning to make a ruckus as to who had won.

This is where Mingyu realised he had no idea how he was supposed to select the winner when he himself had no idea what the answer was. Panicking slightly, he picked one of the regulars, a small, lovely old lady who he always slipped an extra biscuit to go with her hot chocolate as the winner. There was no harm in making one person’s day happier in these circumstances.

Walking back and grumbling slightly, the target sat back down at his table, not noticing a thing. Seungcheol appeared relatively happy as he made small chit chat with people on his way back to his own table, even going as far as squeezing Mingyu’s forearm quickly to show his approval before walking back. Despite this seemingly friendly gesture, Mingyu felt tense in his presence. He knew that the only reason Seungcheol was there, really, was to keep an eye on him.

Clinging on to his friendly façade, Mingyu smiled and made conversation with the customers as usual. He tried ignoring the fact he had just framed an innocent person. He tried ignoring the emotions that were clashing together inside of him, but how could he? Just a few days ago he and Wonwoo were becoming something, and now he’d just become a figure in his ex-best friend/possibly-someone-more’s murderous group’s criminal agenda.

Fuck my life, I am never going to act on my feelings ever again.

SEVENTEEN

[10:56]

WOOZI: The cameras have been cleaned of any suspicious clips of ENGIMA. It will now appear that you visit the coffee shop once or twice a week.

ANGEL: Excellent. Well done everyone. Now we wait for the police to show up. Everyone factory reset your phone and do not post in this chat until the members inside the store have left.

Mingyu sighed, the big finale was still to come. About 20 minutes later, the police and SWAT team showed up, yelling for everyone to put their hands up and step away from their devices. Mingyu held his breath as they searched everyone, making sure to gather everyone’s electronic devices to check them. The fact that they showed up so soon after the switch showed just how close they were cutting it.

It didn't take long for them to find something suspicious when searching the framed man’s laptop. He was swiftly handcuffed and arrested before being taken away, making a fuss all the while about not knowing what was going on. They left the shop an utter mess; the hinges on the characteristic red door broken, mugs and plates smashed on the floor, tables and chairs flipped upside down. I did that. Mingyu expected to feel disgusted in himself, and he did, but he was surprised to feel that relief was the dominant emotion when all things had been resolved. Things had gone to plan and he would be lying if he said he didn’t like the rush of adrenaline he had felt. And, even after all that had happened, he was still glad that Wonwoo was safe.

Mingyu watched as Wonwoo, Jun, Seungcheol and Jihoon left the coffee shop along with all of the other customers, then checked his phone with the recently reinstalled secure chat.

SEVENTEEN

[10:51]

ANGEL: Good. If you come back to the house after your shift, we will further discuss your role within this organisation. Don't think about running, it won't end well if you do.

MEANIE: I won't. I finish at 8 today. Does this mean that I’m officially part of the group?

WOOZI: Guess so. Welcome, punk.

[MEANIE has logged off]

CHAPTER 13 END.

Chapter Text

28/03/2017 – Tuesday

[1:11]

We had our first assignment today and I think it went well??? I, Boo Seungkwan, successfully knocked out someone for the first time! I expected to feel stressed or sickened by the idea, but I actually found it kinda like a stress reliever. Being a part of a criminal gang is so exhilarating but so surreal at the same time, almost like being in a part of a movie.

Not going to lie though, I was terrified when I was sat in the car with Jeonghan, Joshua and Jun. The realisation hit me like a truck that I had just played an active part in killing three people and kidnapping one person. Jun is currently in the freaky basement and is gonna get interrogated by Seungcheol once he wakes up. That sounds reallllyyyyy bad, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me if Seungcheol was into some kinky shit with all of the tight black he’s always wearing.

Jeonghan told me that Jun might be joining the group, depending on if he is co-operative, which’ll be interesting. Jun seems like a nice person…. Well, he seemed nice for the few minutes I was in his presence before I knocked him unconscious.  

The worst part about being a part of these crazy things is having to go back to reality after. I have a 9am lecture with Mingyu tomorrow… Ugh, I guess I should sleep.

03/04/2017 – Monday

I’m really, really worried about Wonwoo. He’s barely come out of his room at all since last week, the only exceptions for the bathroom and then scurrying right back. The few times he’s come out and then actually just left the house was to go to the coffee shop or to go to a few lectures. I don’t think he’s been eating anything decent, if anything at all, and it’s is just distressingly obvious. I managed to corner him earlier today coming out from a shower and gosh he looked so awful; pale, bags under his eyes, and thin. So thin.

I have tried so hard to get him to play games with me and Jihoon, come out for a meal or do anything at all but he refuses. Thankfully, I overheard Jihoon and Jeonghan talking about it, and they are going to talk to him about it. I really hope he is okay. I wish he would talk to me.

Mingyu been worrying about it too. From what he’s told me, Wonwoo and him talk every day. When I told him about Wonwoo not coming out of his room much, Mingyu arranged a trip to the cinema with him. Slightly upset that I didn’t get invited, but I was just glad Mingyu was able to drag Wonwoo out from his pit. For the first time (Yesterday), Wonwoo put a decent outfit on, fixed his hair and SMILED as Mingyu came to pick him up.

Is it wrong for me to be jealous? He’s still my best friend, right?

10/05/2017 – Wednesday

[5:27]

I need a rant because my mind’s just all over the place recently.

So, big development, Mingyu joined our group! Wonwoo messed up his mission and thus Mingyu was kind of forced into the gang. I’m not sure this type of career suits the real-life cuddly puppy Mingyu, but I’m not complaining. He will be working with me doing identity fraud and so far he seems really good at it.

Mingyu moved in with us about a week ago, which he was very reluctant to do at first because of his grandma. But of course, she encouraged him to ‘leave the nest’ and live his life a bit more! He visits her daily which is his compromise I think and of course she knows nothing about his ‘career’.

I couldn’t help but notice that after Mingyu moved in, he and Wonwoo haven’t been speaking much at all. I know all about that.

I’ll start from the beginning. Mingyu and I have been friends for about 5 years and although we’re both outgoing and have many friends, he’s always remained one of my closest friends. He knows about my family, sibling rivalries, my struggles with identity, my sexuality, about everything. His personality is just so caring and with his soft smile coupled with his bright eyes you just want to tell the guy everything because he looks like he can make everything better. Despite being friends with Wonwoo since we were kids, I’ve never felt totally able to tell him about these things since he is so secretive… and I know barely any of his secrets. I doubt Wonwoo would really know how to react if I told him I’m gay since he’s only really shown interest in women… and I use ‘interest’ very lightly here. Its Wonwoo we’re talking about.

To be honest, the reason I even told Mingyu was because he confessed to me first! He isn’t ‘openly’ gay, but all of his friends know, and he definitely has more experience than I do about stuff like this… But that is a story for another time hahaha.

One particular area in which Mingyu has helped me with (and continues to) is regarding the crush I’ve had for as long as I can remember. Chwe Hansol, who and Mingyu and I have decidedly codenamed YELLOW. This originates from the fact that he always seems to wear something with that colour on. Seriously, who pulls off yellow?? Hansol, that’s who. Plus, we’re both blonde so you know, couple goalsssss..

I’ve spoken to him… maybe 10 times in the entire time I have known him? He’s always been super popular at school, with the girls, with the sporty jerks, with the nerds, with the emos; pretty much anyone loves him. And I do too. A lot. When I realised we were going to the same university, I made it my mission to talk to him and to at least try to become his friend. Mingyu helped with this by hosting a house party and… actually, that’s also another story for another time!

Anyway, the gist is that he barely knows I exist.

Hansol is the reason I am writing this. I’m going to do it. I’m going to talk to him. My plan is to ask him casually for his help about making some music for one of my drama performances. He does a music degree and so he will definitely be able to help. More importantly, it will allow me to finally talk to him. I’ll update with how things progress! Unless I’ve buried myself away in embarrassment, in which case… fuck I don’t know what I’ll do.

ENTRY 4 END

Chapter Text

11/05/2017 – Thursday

Seungkwan was well aware that living in a house with 7 grown, full-blooded males was going to be a new experience that would bring certain… challenges. He didn’t particularly have a problem with it, and they’d established several unwritten rules about what they expected for their needs, particularly their more private ones. The stereotypical tie-on-the-door-handle tactic had worked well thus far, and to Seungkwan’s knowledge, there haven’t been too many awkward encounters.

However, that wasn’t to say that this tactic was unequivocally successful each time. Today included one such instance, which begun with Seungkwan being rudely ripped out of his slumber by the familiar, unwelcome sound of a bed headboard knocking against a wall and irritatingly loud porn-star type female moans. These erupted from the room above him, evidently originating from Seungcheol’s room.

“Ah yes… Seungcheol ah!” Seungkwan cringed, pulling his pillow over his ears in an attempt to muffle the disgusting sounds that penetrated the thin ceiling. He glanced over at the alarm clock, his annoyance rising when the numbers 6:02 blinked back at him.

Who has sex this early in the morning?

The moans and banging of the bed frame only got louder after a few minutes, the pillow failing to muffle the sounds. Sighing, Seungkwan rubbed his eyes and slid out of bed, putting his slippers on then left his room with the intention of telling Seungcheol to shut up and let everyone else sleep, politeness be damned.

The stairs creaked loudly as Seungkwan trudged up them, passing Jeonghan’s room until he was outside the offender’s room, the sounds magnified tenfold now he was directly outside.

How is Jeonghan coping with this? Is he seriously able to sleep through it?

He banged his fist against the door, not bothering to keep his voice down in a show of both his anger and willingness to embarrass the perpetrator if it would mean the other residents got a few more hours of sleep. “Will you PLEASE shut the fuck up?! It’s six in the goddamn morning!” He waited a while to see if he would get a response, the only response being a deep guttural moan from Seungcheol which was definitely not in response to anything that Seungkwan had done.

Rapidly reaching the end of his tether, Seungkwan banged on the door again. “SEUNGCHEOL IF YOU DON’T SHUT UP I SWEAR I’LL TELL JEONGHAN THAT ALL OF THE GIRLS YOU BRING HOME LOOK LIKE HIM BECAUSE YOU ARE MADLY IN LOVE WITH HIM AND WANT TO BANG HIS BRAINS OUT!”

Despite his well-thought-out threat, it was very obvious that neither Seungcheol nor his lady-friend was listening or caring about anything he was saying.

“Right there oh god right there!”

Feeling like he was going to be sick, Seungkwan ran back down the stairs, bolting passed Mingyu who was in his doorway hunched over with tears of laughter streaming down his cheeks. Resorting to the only solution he could think of, Seungkwan plugged his headphones in and blocked out the world for an hour or so listening to music and watching YouTube videos.

Once the clock read 7:30, he unplugged his headphones and decided to start getting ready for his day. He and Mingyu didn’t have a lecture until 10am, but he knew he would stress about what to wear if he didn’t start getting ready now.

However, it seemed like today he was cursed to hear things that he had no business hearing. From the other side of the door, he heard the hushed voice of Wonwoo say “Please Mingyu, just listen to me-” accompanied by shuffling of feet in the hallway.

When Mingyu replied, his tone was originally coated in anger, but it gradually grew softer as he spoke although it was no less firm. “No, Wonwoo. I don’t want to do this now. We’ll talk later okay?” Wonwoo gave no response, although his bedroom door could be heard gently closing.

Ah, they’re still having problems.

Seungkwan felt really torn about the whole situation. Two of his best friends weren’t able to get along, despite the obvious romantic (or perhaps even sexual) tension between them. Although he was worried about it, it wasn’t like he could do anything about it. Instead, he turned his attention to something of equal importance-his wardrobe.

Today is important. I can’t get distracted.

After about 20 minutes of cycling through his favourite outfits, he finally found one he liked the look of. A mustard yellow sweater with a cute bear on the front, paired with some black skinny jeans and some black converse. It was simple, but he felt happy with it and that in itself was hard to achieve.

He still had little tendrils of worry left over from overhearing Wonwoo and Mingyu earlier, so before heading downstairs he decided to knock lightly on his oldest friend’s door. “Wonwoo? Are you coming down for breakfast?” His only response was a loud snore and the faint shuffling of bed covers.

Of course, he is sleeping, no surprise there.

Still, Seungkwan couldn’t help but ponder the reason he was awake at just after 7 anyway. It was very unlike him.

Downstairs, Jihoon, Joshua and Mingyu were having breakfast at the dining table together, chatting lightly. He chose to get an apple and two satsumas for his breakfast, planning on eating lightly to prevent any upset for later.

The rest of the morning went by as normal, the only exception being the unusually smug expression painted on Seungcheol’s face as he settled in the living room and the lady-friend who he had been previously entertaining scuttled out the front door. No one commented on it.

One of the best benefits of Mingyu living with them was that Seungkwan always got a ride to university, avoiding the woes that come along with anxiety-inducing public transport. After their 2-hour lecture (in which he was unable to concentrate at all), Mingyu once again gave him the rundown of exactly what to do, then left for his 6-hour shift at the coffee shop.

He knew Hansol would be sat in the library, his usual haunt at 12:45. He quickly ate his lunch before scuttling nervously towards his destination, settling down in the library across from where Hansol usual sits. The time passed by agonisingly slow and he felt too anxious to immerse himself in his work.

At almost exactly 12:45, Chwe Hansol walked through the doors of the library. His dirty blond hair parted to one side dramatically, wearing a checked yellow shirt with ripped dark blue jeans and some plain black trainers.

How can one human being look so perfect?

Seungkwan tried his best not to stare, but god knows that was a hard task. Hansol’s headphones were plugged in as always, his head bobbing along to music only he could hear and completely unaware of his surroundings. Inhaling sharply, Seungkwan tried to build up the courage to speak to him. After about 10 minutes, his nervous reached their crescendo and he pushed himself to his feet, approaching the unassuming boy on shaky legs.

Trying to appear his usual, extroverted self, he began to speak once he realised that the other boy had pulled his headphones down and glanced up at him after his approach. “Uh… Chwe Hansol? I don’t know if you remember me…” He broke off with an awkward laugh at seeing no recognition from Hansol, looking into dark eyes that only held puzzlement, though no judgement.

Once he stopped speaking, his throat just seemed to close up and it was impossible to speak anymore. He stood there like an idiot, fiddling with his fingers and waiting for a reply.

Dear God, if you have any mercy left to give, please allow the ground to swallow me up.

His inner tirade was cut short by a reply. “Oh, Yeah! You do drama right? S-Seunghyun? Wait no, Seungkwan right? Sorry, my memory is appalling.” Hansol spoke confidently, maintaining his relaxed posture, keeping eye contact and flashing a genuine looking smile.

What the fuck? He remembers me?

Seungkwan could practically feel the red hue climb up his face. He was sure that at this point he resembled a tomato more than a human. Did the air conditioner in the library get turned off? “Oh… Um, can I s-sit?” Seungkwan gestures to the chair beside Hansol, stuttering profusely. At this point, his façade had completely shattered and he was a blushing, stuttering mess.

Hansol didn’t seem to notice. He smiled and nodded with a cool “Yeah, sure” before shuffling his various textbooks over across the table making room for Seungkwan to sit down.

Seungkwan couldn’t help but notice the various looks he was attracting from the surrounding students and he was sure they weren’t reassuring or accepting looks. This didn’t surprise him, Hansol and himself were on completely different sides of the popularity spectrum.

“So, you do music, right? Like… composing?” Seungkwan smiled in a desperate attempt to sound natural and not choke on his words, but he could tell his lips were twitching in their attempt at playing it cool and his words didn’t flow naturally.

Regardless, it seemed like his topic choice had been a sound one. Hansol smiled widely, sitting up from his slouched position. “Yeah I do, who wants to know?” Whilst the words themselves could’ve been threatening, Hansol’s light laugh and eye crinkle assured Seungkwan that he was only joking.

All this time, Seungkwan had been melting in pure affection. Catching on that it was his turn to speak, he responded in one drawn out breath, “M-me! I was just wondering if, maybe, you could help me w-write or compose a song for my upcoming performance?”

This was evidently not what Hansol had expected him to say. Although his eyes had widened in surprise, he barely hesitated with his reply. “Yes of course! I mean, I’m not a professional or anything, but…” he brought his hand up to rub behind his neck, grinning sheepishly and breaking eye contact for a few seconds, “I’m honoured that you’d ask me though. Here, I’ll give you my number.”

With the conversation flowing much more smooth, Seungkwan relaxed down to his usual bubbly and witty self and he was amazed at how well they got along. Hansol’s laughter was the best thing he had ever heard and he loved every second they were together. After about an hour of chatting and getting to know each other better, Seungkwan’s shrill ringtone broke what seemed like their own private bubble. At first, he let it go to voicemail in an attempt to not ruin the flow of their conversation. After the 3rd ring, he sighed and excused himself.

Staring at the front phone screen with the caller ID reading JIHOON, he sighed once again, more prolonged this time and answered, speaking with an annoyed tone of voice. “What is it?”

For a few seconds, only the static could be heard on the receiving line of the phone call. Seungkwan almost hung up, thinking that Jihoon had rung him by accident, although what were the chances that he would ring him by mistake three times, until Jihoon’s deep voice came through. “Jun and Joshua are victims in a bank robbery that is ongoing now, and we need to help them. Get home now.”

CHAPTER 14 END

UPDATED PROFILE – BOO SEUNGKWAN

  • Associate Chwe Hansol added.

Chapter Text

11/05/2017 – Thursday – WEN JUNHUI PERSPECTIVE

This is awkward.

Jun had been in the group for over a month now, which although wasn’t an overly long time, he could still count on one hand - with some fingers left down- the number of conversations that he’d had with the man who was stood next to him. It was approaching 2’oclock and they stood in bank waiting to get a few cheques cashed. A normal, run of the mill day with a similarly normal task. Despite having done this hundreds of times, Jun couldn’t help but feel tense, the cheque burning a hole in his pocket. As well as this, Joshua was stood next to him with his sister Elyssa, both of the Hong siblings as mysterious as the other. The line in front of them was very long and Jun estimated it would be about 10 minutes at the least until they were at the front of it. His companions were murmuring to each other, leaving him there to stand silently by himself.

This silence was soon broken by the glass doors of the bank crashing to the floor. It splintered into pieces immediately, the sound causing a rippling on action from everyone turning to face the sudden noise. Spinning around, Jun watched as three men entered the bank, one at the front holding an MP5 rifle against the security guard’s chest and pushing him further into the bank. In the sun, he couldn’t quite figure out if his hair was purple or blue, it was somewhere in the middle. With his explosive entrance, it seemed as though everything was going in slow motion. A gunshot echoed slightly off of the tiled walls, followed by a “EVERYBODY GET DOWN NOW!” said by a tall, thin blond-haired man, shooting a semi-automatic pistol into the air to punctuate the seriousness of his orders.

Civilians dropped to the floor in fear, some kneeling, some lying down. Joshua was crouched over his sister, and after a few seconds, Jun realised he was the only one left standing up. A few seconds too late.

The blond-haired one approached him, pressing the pistol against his chest harshly, almost smirking. “Who the fuck do you think you are? Get on your knees, bitch.” He spoke in a perpetual mocking tone of voice; his companion’s laughter only causing his smirk to grow. The blue-haired one was stacking heavy boxes and tables in front of the doors whilst the shortest member with brown hair was tying up the seemingly unconscious security guard.

Logically, Jun knew what he should do. He knew that the smartest thing would be to obey and get on the floor like everyone else. He knew that things would go smoother and easier if he were to kneel. But stood in front of this man, looking down into a face that was filled with mockery, Jun just couldn’t do it. He didn’t know what exactly compelled him to, but for the sake of his dignity and pride, he stayed standing and maintained intense eye-contact with the man threatening him.

Try me, bitch.

The man’s expression changed, though not for the worse. In fact, his eyes brightened and widened. He stepped even closer, grabbing the collar of his shirt. “You wanna play?” His breath was warm against Jun’s face and smelt pungent of cigarettes. Jun remained silent.

From across the room, the brunette piped up, his voice bordering on a whine, “Just kill him already, we don't need to make this any harder than we need to. Hoshi, come here and help me tie up this bastard.” Seeing as the blue haired one moved over to him, Jun assumed his name was Hoshi. The blond-haired one continued staring intently at Jun, as if analysing him. His smirk had slipped off sometime during the interaction between the other two guys, but it came back full force when he began to speak again.

“Oh no. I think we could have lots of fun with this one.” He motioned with the gun to turn around, “Hands behind your back.” Jun hesitantly obliged, walking forward as the man ushered him to a back room. Glancing back, he met Joshua’s eyes. He was slightly surprised that the other man had been so quiet in such a situation but then remembered he had a precious piece of cargo that was shielded beneath him. He was presumably being so complacent to protect his sister. Only able to hold eye contact for a few brief seconds before being poked sharply in the back, it was long enough for him to see Joshua’s small, slight nod. He may not know the guy, but he knew him enough to distinguish that the gesture meant he should do whatever he needed to do to get out. Preferably alive.  Of course, he could be completely wrong. His decision-making skills weren’t exactly up to scratch lately.

Once reaching the back room, his captor marched him right towards the back wall, pushing him up against it before he pulled some handcuffs out of his back pocket, then restrained Jun’s arms behind his back, as well as restraining Jun’s legs loosely near the ankles with a frayed piece of short rope. “Oi. What’s your name?”

Jun froze. He was pretty good at reading people, but he’d never had so much riding on his yet-untried ability before. From the outset, it appeared that the brown-haired one was spontaneously violent, having already displayed obvious violent tendencies. The blue-haired one seemed very submissive to their orders and followed almost like a puppy to either of them. But the blond-haired man who had just restrained him, he had no idea what his personality was… except him being a snarky asshole who couldn’t seem to keep his hands to himself.

As he was lost in his thoughts, the sharp pain of the pistol coming into contact with his cheek brought him back to his senses, the blunt force knocking him to his knees.

“Ow, fuck” Jun muttered, spitting blood out onto the floor and throwing a glare upwards towards the looming figure in front of him.

The man smirked and crouched down, using long, bony fingers to grasp Jun’s jaw roughly. “Ah, so there is someone hiding under that smartass frontage. C’mon, I don’t wanna hurt that pretty face any more than I need to. Name.” Jun was caught between a rock and a hard place here, but he wouldn’t give up so easily. He pulled his face out of the man’s grasp in annoyance.

I should probably just be honest. I don’t want to provoke them any more than they already are. The only way I can get out of this is if somehow I try and get them to trust me. The fact that they didn’t kill me outright is a good sign.

“Jun. Wen Junhui. To whom do I owe the pleasure?” The only thing belaying the politeness posed by the formality of the question was the sarcasm practically dripping from the words.

What happened to not wanting to provoke them? For fuck sake.

Before the blonde could retort, a loud gunshot and various shouts pleads and screams rang loud and shrill from the main hall. The man in front of him rolled his eyes in annoyance and he stood up from his once crouched position, but the faint furrowing of his eyebrows showed his alarm. “Call me The8. Or Sir, whatever floats your boat.” Before turning and walking towards the cacophony outside, he threw a quick wink, then left the room.

Jun sighed, flabbergasted at what he was caught in the middle of. Fucking fantastic.

 11/05/2017 – Thursday – HONG JISOO PERSPECTIVE

That fucking idiot is going to get himself killed.  

Joshua crouched over his sister protectively, his brain rapidly flipping from one solution to another to try and think of how to get out of this situation. Around him, people were sobbing and shivering in fright, including his sister. Focusing on the latter problem for the immediate future, he tried to get his sister to hush. The last thing they needed was to draw attention to themselves. “Elyssa, stop it. This is not the time to cry, I won’t let you get hurt, don’t worry.” He wiped the tears from her cheeks, trying to keep his voice as soft as possible both in attempt to stay unnoticed and to provide as much comfort as possible.

Think, Joshua. I know the blue-haired one is called Hoshi. He seems the least destructive, possibly the easiest to remove. The brown-haired one seems like a fucking psycho, so he needs to go first although it won’t be easy. The blond-haired one is clearly the leader, so Jun is likely fucked. Jeonghan is gonna throw a fit if we lose a member doing something as seemingly low risk as this.   

His thought track was cut short by the feel of his phone vibrating violently in his jean pocket, but knew he couldn’t risk getting it out. Screams filled the hall as three gunshots echoed against the walls, hitting two men and a woman. “If you shut the fuck up, we won’t have to kill you.” The stocky brunette laughed a little, then walked towards the bankers stood in the previously protected booths. The glass that should have shielded them was scattered around their feet as well as on the outside, crunching under the feet of the man approaching.

The assumed leader of the trio walked in from the back room. Without Jun. Taking stock of what had transpired since he’d left the room, his lips pursed before he turned to his accomplice. “I told you not to kill anyone Chan, for fucks sake.” The brunette, Chan, began protesting as soon as his name left the other’s mouth. The still-unnamed member let out a quiet curse and ran a hand through his hair. “Well, shit. Looks like we’ve gotta do the rest of them now.” The remaining 10 civilians screamed in protest and begged for their lives, though this did nothing to make the man reconsider.

Gesturing to Hoshi, the leader sighed. “Go get the cash from the back and put it in the bags. This is turning into too much of a shit show the longer we stay here.”

Chan’s short stature didn’t do enough justice in showing his underlying strength. Joshua could see the muscles of his thighs, back and arms working as the man began dragging civilians up against a far wall, likely ready to be executed. The closer he got to Joshua, the tenser he became.

You are so fucking dead if you think you will get anywhere near me or Elyssa.

11/05/2017 – Thursday – WEN JUNHUI PERSPECTIVE

Jun hadn’t just been sitting prettily whilst all of the commotion outside was happening. Prioritising getting the blasted handcuffs off, he tried to find anything small and pliable enough to insert into the lock. Spying spare, thin metal rods laying next to an unused metal filing cabinet in the far corner of the room, he quickly rose to his feet and, treading lightly, made his way over.

It took longer than he’d have liked, and the movies made it look so much easier, but eventually, he heard a faint click and the cuffs unlatched. “Finally…” Jun muttered to himself, wriggling the handcuffs fully off and pulling off the rope restraints.

Unwilling to be put back into the same predicament, his next search was focused on finding a weapon before something caught his eye. Close by the door in which they had entered through, there was a red box housing what at first glance appeared to be a gun but upon closer perusal actually was a standard issue police taser. There was no quiet way to break a glass pane, but Jun prioritised speed over quietness. Breaking the glass and quickly grabbing the taser, all he could glean from how to use it was to point the end at the target and press the trigger. He’d seen enough from the weapons at home to know that they all worked pretty much the same, regardless of whether they’d be shooting bullets or electricity.

The only other noteworthy object in the room appeared to be a large safe built into the wall, though there was no knowledge as to whether or not that too was unused.

Hearing that the three attackers were preoccupied with the civilians, Jun quickly dragged his phone out of his pocket and checked the group chat, having felt the near constant tell-tale vibrations coming from activity on their network.

SEVENTEEN

[2:06]

[WOOZI is logged on]

[ANGEL is logged on]

[YELLOW is logged on]

[COUPS is logged on]

WOOZI: MOON and SHUA are victims in a bank robbery. ANGEL and COUPS are already at the scene outside awaiting orders, whilst ENIGMA and I are attempting to hack the security systems and doors, so that we can find a safe way inside for the others.

ANGEL: If at all possible, try not to kill the attackers. It might sound unusual, but there have been previous reports surrounding a trio that fits the description of these three almost perfectly. From what I’ve gathered, if we can subdue them and bring them in they would be invaluable if fighting for our cause. That being said, do not put yourself at risk any more than you already are and do not hesitate to kill them if it is absolutely necessary. Your lives are to be prioritised.

[2:40]

YELLOW: I’m making a scene outside to keep the police busy. From what I’ve gathered, they’re setting up a sniper and have ordered backup after hearing the gunshots.

WOOZI: I have placed a bomb a few blocks away underneath a car, which will go off in about half an hour. It will force at least some of the police from the area to tear away and go over there for a while, giving us the chance to get you out.

[2:46]

[MOON has logged on]

MOON: There is a large metal walk-in safe in the back room, I’m assuming that you can access it from the back. I don’t kno-

Jun had made a stupid mistake. Being so submerged in the plans being made, he failed to notice as The8 entered the room. His phone was almost snatched from his hand, the only thing preventing it being taken away being his vice-like grip on the object. Seeing another hand quickly moving to join the other trying to grapple it away, Jun decided to just throw it to the side and instead grabbed The8’s wrist, pulling it above and over his shoulder and he turned around and bent, using the lanky man’s momentum against him to flip him over his shoulder. The other man crashed onto the floor and into the metal ,wires Jun had used to unlock his handcuffs, causing an unmissable clanking of metal.

Having the upper hand for the first time now, Jun allowed more confidence to seep into his body. He knew his training in martial arts was unusually good, so he was almost positive that now he was unhindered by having a gun pointed to his face or handcuffs on that he could hold his own. However, he did not expect The8 to so nimbly return to his feet and retaliate with a sharp jab to Jun’s unprotected kidney area. Doubled over and momentarily unable to draw in a clear breath, he could just about hear the muttered “almost got me there, fucker” thrown towards him. It could have been the lack of oxygen, but he thought that he’d heard something approaching admiration tinging the other man’s voice.

Hearing the commotion, the footsteps of presumably Hoshi and Chan could be heard running to aid their leader, but a gunshot inside the hall forced them to stay and divert their attention elsewhere.

Still winded, Jun was then pinned to the floor by The8 planting self on Jun’s abdomen and using his hands to hold down his wrists beside his head. Though the man weighed what felt like next to nothing, the pain radiating through Jun’s lower torso was enough to preventing him from bucking up and throwing him off. Even so, he still tried to twist his lower body enough to dislodge his grinning passenger. The8 move in tandem with him, only raising an eyebrow at his actions. “Well, kinky fucker, are we?”

What the fuck is happening? People are literally dying in the next room and he’s… flirting with me? Is this meant to weird me out?  

Taking a deep breath, Jun began to talk. “Look, we can help you get out of here. I’m not just a civilian, I belong to a criminal organisation…” There was no way to guarantee that this would work, but he had no other choice at this point.

If this goes to shit, then we’re dead.

11/05/2017 – Thursday – HONG JISOO PERSPECTIVE

“Josh, stop it! Please!”

The bank was now drenched in blood and littered with bodies. The only remaining movement was between Chan and Joshua fighting. The pleads and cried from Elyssa could be distinguished beneath the grunts and shouts of the other two men, though neither of them took any notice. Hoshi was sprawled on the floor a few feet away, the ground around him covered in blood from the still bleeding wound on his thigh. Whether he was rendered unconscious from blood loss or something more serious, it wasn’t clear.

Joshua had Chan pressed against the floor, his hands wrapped around the struggling male’s throat tightly, cutting off his air flow completely. He stared down at the man below him, watching the boy struggle to pull his hands away and feeling the harsh bucks begin to wane in strength. Blood was sluggishly running from a nasty looking cut on his forehead and his eyes looked misty and unfocused, though he was still putting up a fight.

How pathetic.

Joshua took no notice of anything around him other the light slowly fading from Chan’s eyes. He couldn’t hear anything except his own blood rushing in his veins and the exhilarating thump-thump of his heart threatening to beat out of his chest. He couldn’t hear the muffled cusses of Chan, he couldn’t hear Elyssa’s pleads to stop, he couldn’t hear Jun’s warning.

11/05/2017 – Thursday – WEN JUNHUI PERSPECTIVE

Jun pulled the trigger and watched as the prongs shot out and dug into Joshua’s back, the volts immediately causing his body to seize up and lose its balance. He rolled off of Chan to the floor next to him, twitching as the electricity coursed through his system.

The8 ran to his gasping friend. Hauling him up by his shoulders and resting his back against a bent knee, he began lightly smacking Chan’s face in an effort to bring him back into full consciousness. “Chan, we need to go. These guys have offered us a way out.” He was clearly unhappy having to admit this, but he pressed on, “We have no choice. Look outside, we’re surrounded. This is our best bet and only chance.”

Pulling himself up into a fully seated position, Chan glared at him, although it looks to be tinged with something akin to desperation. “W-we can’t leave Soonyoung! He’s injured, he’s going to need the most help to get out! I can walk!”

Jun assumed that Chan was referring to Hoshi, so made a note of his real name being Soonyoung. Just as he was about to offer his help in getting Soonyoung up, there was a faint shuffle and mixture of voices coming from outside. The police presence became less focused, a large amount moving away from the bank and rushing off into the distance. This must have been the car bomb distraction that Jihoon had mentioned. A scant few seconds later, the unmistakable boom that could only belong to a bomb went off, the noise and subsequent aftershock vibrations suggesting that it came from towards the backroom of the bank, in the direction of the large safe.

Jihoon’s plan worked perfectly, as usual.

The8 hefted Chan up over his shoulder, managing to support the weight of the weakly struggling youngster and clamping his arms across his legs to stop his from both kicking and escaping. Whilst making sure his friend was simultaneously well supported and unable to escape, he could barely disguise the pain that thickened his voice, the reluctance clear in his words, “We have to leave him; he would want us to be safe.” He then turned to Jun, looking the most serious he had since they’d met. “My name is Minghao,” his lips pressed together into a thin line, eyes boring into Jun’s, “Get us out of here.”

Jun nodded, turning his attention to Elyssa. She had rushed over to Joshua and used his shirt to unlatch the prongs from his back. She looked up at Jun, “Um… Jun… What’s happening?” Tears fell from her cheeks and the lines of her forehead carved a picture of pure fear and confusion. Her eyes strayed to Minghao, Chan, then back to Jun. Jun smiled gently at her, wanting to keep things as calm as humanly possible in such a sordid setting. “We have to go now; I will carry Joshua. All you need to do is follow me, okay?” Elyssa nodded, willing to follow almost anything in order to get out.

After picking Joshua up, party of four staggered to the backroom, the only pause being Jun bending to pick up his phone on the way out. The outside wall of the metal safe was blown to pieces, the force consequently sending huge chunks of metal into the door making holes big enough for them to climb through.

Seungkwan was waiting for them. He looked tense though in control, barely pausing when he saw the two newest additions. “Hurry up, the police are coming back.”

They scrambled across the grass patch, manoeuvring over a fence (with much difficulty). In minutes they were all gathered in the back of Jihoon’s van, Seungcheol and Jeonghan sat there as well. Immediately after entering the van, Seungcheol pounced Minghao, restraining him and a still injured Chan, then gagging each of them with a piece of cloth.

Seungkwan sat next to Joshua, still out of it from the taser. He wiped the sweat from the unconscious man’s brow and set to comforting his likely shell-shocked sister.

After everyone was situated and the doors were firmly closed and locked, Jihoon sped off down the road towards home.

Jeonghan smiled, eyes resting on a tired and rumpled Jun. “Good work, Jun. We’ll deal with these when we get back. Now, I want you to explain to me exactly what happened.”

CHAPTER 15 END

 

NEW PROFILE ADDED – XU MINGHAO

  • New associate added Wen Junhui
  • New associate added Choi Seungcheol
  • New associate added Lee Jihoon
  • New associate added Hong Jisoo
  • New associate added Yoon Jeonghan
  • New associate added Boo Seungkwan
  • Associate added Lee Chan
  • New alias added THE8
  • Background history added
  • Criminal status added
  • Date of birth added
  • Hometown added
  • Job status added
  • Personality traits added
  • Legal hobbies added

NEW PROFILE ADDED – LEE CHAN

  • New associate added Wen Junhui
  • New associate added Choi Seungcheol
  • New associate added Lee Jihoon
  • New associate added Hong Jisoo
  • New associate added Yoon Jeonghan
  • New associate added Boo Seungkwan
  • Associate added Xu Minghao
  • New alias added DINO
  • Background history added
  • Criminal status added
  • Date of birth added
  • Hometown added
  • Job status added
  • Personality traits added
  • Legal hobbies added

UPDATED PROFILE – WEN JUNHUI

  • New associate added Xu Minghao
  • New associate added Lee Chan
  • Associate added Elyssa

UPDATED PROFILE – BOO SEUNGKWAN

  • New associate added Xu Minghao
  • New associate added Lee Chan
  • Associate added Elyssa

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • New associate added Xu Minghao
  • New associate added Lee Chan
  • Associate added Elyssa

UPDATED PROFILE – YOON JEONGHAN

  • New associate added Xu Minghao
  • New associate added Lee Chan
  • Associate added Elyssa

UPDATED PROFILE – HONG JISOO

  • New associate added Xu Minghao
  • New associate added Lee Chan
  • Associate added Elyssa

UPDATED PROFILE – LEE JIHOON

  • New associate added Xu Minghao
  • New associate added Lee Chan
  • Associate added Elyssa

Chapter Text

11/05/2017 – Thursday

SEVENTEEN

[17:02]

[MEANIE has logged on]

[ALL MEMBERS ONLINE]

MEANIE: Shit, I’m so sorry I missed this! What happened?? Are MOON and SHUA okay?!

ANGEL: Yes, they are fine. Three men attempted a robbery at a bank where SHUA and MOON were. They got out somewhat safely, and two of the men responsible are currently being interrogated by COUPS.

MEANIE: Are we sure that’s a good idea? How can we be sure they won’t turn out to be whistle-blowers if they see too much of us? Also… why only two? Where’s the third?

ANGEL: MEANIE, you are in no position to tell me how to do my job. I, along with the others, have been doing this for a long time. It is being handled. The third was left behind due to a possibly fatal injury. When will you be back?

MEANIE: Yes, sorry. I am picking up ENIGMA to go see his mother. We should be back around 7pm.

ANGEL: Okay. It is likely the interrogation will be finished by then. Keep an eye on the chat in case we need to contact you or ENIGMA.

MEANIE: Yes, ok. I’ll be off, then.

Mingyu sighed heavily, tucking his phone into the pockets of his black tailored trousers. He started the ignition, then drove to Wonwoo’s university and parked outside, hesitantly sending a quick message to him to say he was waiting in his car.

He had organised for him and Wonwoo to spend some time together. Now was probably the time for one of them – meaning, him- to extend an olive branch and attempt to talk things over.

COFFEE!!

[17:22]

Mingyu: Hey, I’m outside

Beanie: Ok.

Mingyu: How long will you be?

Beanie: My lecture finishes at 5:30.

Mingyu: Okay

Looking at their chat title, Mingyu was hit with a sense of sadness and nostalgia. At this moment, all it did was serve to remind him of a time when things were far less complicated and where he and Wonwoo were able to get along without arguing. Lost in his thought, he barely noticed the sudden knocking on the driver’s window. He jumped at the sound, shocked back into reality. He was at first relieved when he saw Wonwoo’s face staring back at him, but that was quickly snuffed when he saw the irritated expression that the man was wearing. Mingyu quickly leant over and unlocked the door, allowing Wonwoo to circle back around the bonnet and climb into the passenger seat.

Ah, fuck. What should I say to him? Shall I ask if he had a good day??

Wonwoo, during the course of Mingyu’s internal crisis, had been scrolling through the chat on his phone. Not even glancing at Mingyu, he mumbled a monotone, “If they need help, we should just go home.”

No, we are talking no matter how much you want to avoid it.

Mingyu shook his head, trying to bury his annoyed thoughts and sound friendly. “It isn’t like we could help in any way, we’ve just gotta leave Seungcheol to do his job. Would we really want to see that anyway?” Wonwoo hadn’t seemed to have thought about that nasty aspect and bobbed his head from side to side in consideration. He still didn’t reply, clearly waiting for Mingyu to continue the conversation. “Let’s go to the park, I brought some cake that was left over at the shop. Thought we could share it.” Mingyu may have told a white lie about the ‘leftover’ part since he had intentionally bought some cake knowing that Wonwoo wouldn’t have eaten anything today, but if it helped Wonwoo open up a bit more then it didn’t matter.

With a small nod of agreement from his passenger, Mingyu put the car into gear and drove off. The atmosphere was still awkward but it slowly became less oppressive as Mingyu began making small talk and managed to pull some replies from Wonwoo about how he was progressing with his recent assignment and how Mingyu’s day was at the coffee shop.

When they arrived, Mingyu parked the car and led a trailing Wonwoo over to a bench in front of a small stream to sit down, hoping that the peaceful sound of running water would help in some small manner. At this time in the evening, the park was almost completely empty, the evening rush hour meaning that people were aiming to get home rather than stay outside. This allowed both men to relax a little more, not having to be conscious of other people or keep their conversation hushed.  

Mingyu turned to Wonwoo and inhaled deeply, deciding that it was now or never to start talking over what had happened. Tentatively, he began probing. “What’s been going on with you lately, Wonwoo? I’m worried.”

Evidently, this was a mistake. Wonwoo’s head shot up, his dark eyes latching onto Mingyu’s from where he had been watching the floor, scuffing his shoes in the dirt. His mouth was a set in a grim line and his eyebrows were furrowed. The antithesis to Mingyu’s calm tone, Wonwoo’s was full of frustration. Not necessarily directed to Mingyu, but to himself. “Nothing is going on with me, Mingyu. You’re the one who stopped talking to me after I fucked up.” Wonwoo’s voice cracked at the end, noticed by himself and Mingyu. Wonwoo quickly looked away again and back down to his feet, bouncing his left leg up and down and clenching his jaw.  

Mingyu was torn. He was hurt by Wonwoo’s very apparent self-blame, but he still held some pain by Wonwoo’s lies in the first place. He wanted to console the man, but he had to get his feeling out in the open too.

Leaning forward and trying to catch Wonwoo’s eye, Mingyu began to explain himself. “Can you blame me? You made me into a criminal. An actual criminal! You deceived me entirely when we first met, and with no real reason to do so!” He clenched his fists. “Surely you must see how this hurt me?” he whispered.

Wonwoo chuckled self-depreciatingly, leaning back on the bench and pulling his hoodie over his hair in an attempt to hide his face. “I told you I was sorry. I can’t begin to describe how much I hate myself for what I did, Mingyu. I am sorry okay?”

Wonwoo’s voice sounded so broken and exhausted. It was Mingyu’s fault Wonwoo was like this. He unclenched his fists, his broad shoulders hunching over.

Breathing in slowly through his nose, Mingyu paused for a moment contemplating what to say. After a few seconds, he let a big gust of air out. “I know. I’m sorry, Wonwoo. There is no point in dwelling on what happened anymore, I get that now. It’s why I wanted to talk about it with you today. I want things the way they were before. So…” He trailed off, a small smile beginning to brighten his face as he leaned down to begin unzipping his bag, bringing out the large piece of chocolate cake carefully stored in foil and some disposable paper plates and utensils he had brought. He shuffled across the bench, cutting the cake in half as best as he could with his plastic fork, then put each chunk onto a plate and gestured towards Wonwoo with the piece meant for him.

Mingyu’s smile slipped off his face. Wonwoo’s face was tilted towards his slightly, allowing Mingyu to see past the grey hoodie that was previously concealing his face. Tears were escaping bloodshot eyes, dripping down tear-stained cheeks and dropping onto his hoodie leaving tiny damp patched. His face was red and puffy, his eyes filled with guilt. Wonwoo was crying.

Oh my god.

Almost instinctively, Mingyu placed the cake on the floor and wrapped his arm around Wonwoo’s shoulders, pulling the younger man towards him and situating him so that Wonwoo’s head was buried in Mingyu’s sturdy chest. Swallowing down the lump in his throat, he whispered a choked up, “I am so sorry, Wonwoo”, tightening his grasp on the rigid man in his arms.

Wonwoo froze under Mingyu’s touch, unsure what to do when placed in such an unexpected situation.

After a few seconds, he brought his face away from Mingyu’s chest, fighting slightly against the arms around him that tried to prevent his escape. Mingyu’s face was red – a mixture of embarrassment and withheld tears. Swallowing repeatedly, Wonwoo blinked rapidly and started stuttering an excuse. “I-I think this is weird, I don’t know…” He shuffled away from Mingyu and his embrace, his lips pressed together in a thin line and his hands coming up to his face to wipe away his tears and awkwardness.

Mingyu’s chest was an unsettling mixture of swirling emotions. His tongue felt heavy and thick, unable to form a response. He was afraid to ask what Wonwoo had meant by his last sentence.

Does…does he know that I have a crush on him?  

Swallowing harshly, Mingyu steered them into safer territories, unsure that if they stayed on this unsteady road it wouldn’t end in them in the same, or worse, position. He picked up the previously forgotten cake, once again offering it to Wonwoo with a smile.

Wonwoo look at him, his eyes raking over his face. After a few, agonising seconds of Mingyu not knowing what Wonwoo was going to do, the latter smiled, taking the cake with a small ‘thanks’. They both dug in, occasionally stopping to smile at one another or make comments on how tasty the cake was. A safe topic of discussion.

They spent an hour or so talking about all types of things, both of them keeping the topics light as to avoid another emotional episode. They then drove to Wonwoo’s mum’s house to pick up a few things and to allow her to see that her son was indeed alive and -mostly- well. Wonwoo painted on a smile for his mother, assuring her that he was definitely looking after himself and keeping up with his studies. He left out the bit about his crippling depression, stress induced weight loss and failed assignments. It saddened Mingyu how easily Wonwoo was able to put on a façade for his mother, but he hoped that soon Wonwoo wouldn’t have the need to. He wanted him and Wonwoo to be friends again. He wanted them to be more. He wanted them to get closer.

At about 19:26, almost 2 hours after they’d first met, Mingyu pulled into the driveway at home. From the outside, nothing seemed amiss, some light on indicating that people were home, but no untoward noised or screams of agony.

“I wonder if the two robbers from the bank will still be here? Do you think Seungcheol is…” Wonwoo trailed off, unsure of how he should phrase it.

Mingyu bit his lip, shrugged, then offered a hesitant answer. “Uh, finished?”  

Wonwoo quickly nodded, willing to accept that as an answer rather than the admittedly more morbid answers running through his head.

They got out of the car and began to walk up the gravel driveway. Opening the door, almost all of the members were milling around the living room, Wonwoo moving to greet them and answering the returning ‘welcome homes’. The first thing that Mingyu noticed, however, was the extra person sat on the couch facing the door. The man was slim but toned, his body covered in various tattoos and piercings, the most prominent one being a large snake tattoo on his neck that allowed a glimpse to peak out from underneath the black t-shirt he wore. His hair was blond, the length just short of brushing his eyelashes and slightly ruffled. He had a lit cigarette sticking out from his lips. Lips that were far too familiar to Mingyu.

Noticing Mingyu’s wide-eyed stare, the man raised his eyebrows and smirked before moving to remove the cigarette from his mouth, not without slight difficulty due to handcuffs binding his wrists. He then blew out a puff of smoke, tsking and shaking his head in jest. “Well well well, what a surprise to see you here, Kim Mingyu. I think I’m getting déjà vu… haven’t we been in this situation before?” The man gestured to the handcuffs binding his wrists, smirk elongating.

Mingyu hadn’t moved from the door, body stock still. His mouth was wide open in shock. Anxiety and disbelief began to pool in his stomach. A chocked out “M-Minghao?” was his only response. Seungkwan, who was sat to the left of Minghao stared knowingly at Mingyu wide-eyed, connecting the dots.

This can’t be happening. No. It can’t be real.

Jeonghan was the first to break the silence. He stared at Mingyu, brow lifting in surprise at this surprising turn of events. “Mingyu, you know this man?” Before Mingyu was able to formulate some sort of excuse, Minghao spoke in a tone of mock flirtation. He scoffed, not once taking his eyes from the frozen man. “He should know me, considering the number of times we’ve fucked.”

Shit.

CHAPTER 16 END

UPDATED PROFILE – JEON WONWOO

  • New associate Xu Minghao added

UPDATED PROFILE – KIM MINGYU

  • Associate Xu Minghao added

Chapter Text

11/05/2017 – Thursday

“He should know me, considering the number of times we’ve fucked.”

Wonwoo was sure he had walked through the front door into a parallel universe or something. This surely wasn’t real life.

Mingyu has a boyfriend? A criminal boyfriend? Wait, Mingyu’s gay?

Mingyu fidgeted from where he was stood beside him, the dark flush creeping upwards from his collar to cover his cheeks a clear indication of how flustered he was from Minghao’s revelation. Seungcheol had choked slightly on his coffee in surprise, and the room was filled with a thick heavy silence. Minghao spoke again, this time turning his gaze towards Wonwoo. He looked him up and down, a frown of derision taking the place of his grin. “So, you’re his new one? Nice to meet you, number 2. I’m number 1. Name’s Minghao.”

Wonwoo stared back at Minghao, flabbergasted. Could he trust this newcomer’s words? Did he want to?

Surely Mingyu would have told me about this? There’s no way Mingyu was with a guy, especially not with a criminal guy. What does he mean ‘new one’? Does Mingyu break people’s hearts often?

Jihoon, ever the tactician, was the first to break the tension. “Sorry to be blunt, but none of us cares about your personal lives. Minghao and his associate Lee Chan will be joining us from now on”, he looked at Mingyu, Wonwoo and Minghao with eyes like daggers, “If this is going to be an issue, then don’t let it. Whatever happened was in the past, get over it.”

Wonwoo turned slowly to look at Mingyu, feeling like his whole body was covered in heavy, sticky molasses. Mingyu squirmed uncomfortably under everyone’s gaze, jaw clenched and eyes suspiciously shiny, unable to meet anyone’s eyes. Wonwoo watched as Mingyu’s Adam's apple violently bobbed with a harsh gulp, the only warning before he lowered his eyes and quickly shuffled past him to run upstairs, a loud slam indicating he’d sequestered himself away in his room.

Wonwoo stood awkwardly at the doorway, unsure of what to say to the seven men sat staring at him. Stiffening his shoulders, he looked towards the man of the hour: Minghao. He muttered a curt, “I’m Wonwoo”, before swiftly biting the inside of his cheek afterwards to stop the flow of questions bubbling in his stomach from bursting out.

Minghao gave Wonwoo a slow, lethargic once-over, leaving Wonwoo feeling exposed under his heated gaze. “You gonna sit down? I don’t bite…” he paused, a coy grin overtaking his slim face, “only if you want me to, of course.”

A collective cringe passed through all of the living room’s occupants, although Minghao seemed nonplussed by everyone’s reactions. In fact, if anything, it only served as a source of sharp amusement.

Wanting to get away from the awkward atmosphere, Wonwoo moved to hang up his bag and coat, then sat on one of the black stools at the kitchen counter, deliberately avoiding eye contact with Minghao. Meanwhile, Seungkwan took the opportunity to excuse himself, heading upstairs -presumably to Mingyu’s room.

It was at this point, sat in the heavy silence by himself, that Wonwoo’s emotions caught up with him about what had just transpired. He felt betrayal above anything, though it was fairly unfounded. The worryingly familiar feelings of anger, resentment and sadness began to overwhelm him, sending sharp pains lancing through his chest.

How the fuck could this happen to me? Why wouldn’t he tell me this? We’d literally just started to recover what we’d been. We were so close.

Seungcheol’s voice shattered the silence and broke Wonwoo from his downward spiral of thoughts.

He’d been sitting back before, watching the scenario unfold. Wanting more information, he leaned forward in his seat, resting his elbows on his jean-clad knees. “How the hell do you two know each other?” He sounded genuinely curious, eyes focused with a laser intensity towards Minghao.

Jeonghan shook his head disapprovingly, frowning at Seungcheol for being so curt and abrupt, but Minghao either ignored the impoliteness or didn’t notice it and responded to him. He shrugged, seemingly unconcerned that everyone else was just as interested in the answer as Seungcheol. “That’s a story for another time. Anyway, are you gonna get these cuffs off of me? I’ve already told you, we’ll join.”

Jeonghan was unimpressed with Minghao’s penchant for games and informality. He sat up too, brushed his long bang away from his pale face. He stared unflinchingly at Minghao. “No. Not just yet.” He flicked his eyes towards Wonwoo, still sat on his own at the kitchen counter. He made no effort to hide his instructions from the curious new recruit. “Wonwoo, go with Jihoon to his workshop. We need to make tracking devices for Minghao and Chan to make sure they don’t end up deserting us,” He was still addressing Wonwoo, but Jeonghan’s eyes slid back to Minghao, ice cold and sharp, “I have made it clear we will kill them if they do, but with the trackers we can ensure their loyalty.”

Wonwoo nodded his acquiescence. Jeonghan continued speaking, the epitome of a seasoned, well-versed professional. “In return for joining us, we will make our first priority to get Soonyoung out of prison and safe.”

This certainly caught Minghao’s attention. His previous mocking demeanour disappeared – as if it had been switched off – and he quickly nodded, straight-faced and serious.

Lost in his thoughts, but also the conversation unfolding in front of him, Wonwoo barely noticed Jihoon tapping him slightly. The other man had said nothing, choosing to analyse the situation from a distance. He looked unbothered by what had happened, his usual blank face a welcome comfort for Wonwoo’s chaotic mindscape. He motioned with his head to the direction of his workshop. “Dude, let’s go.”

Wonwoo rose up from his seat, flashing one last look towards Minghao before turning to leave. Jihoon led him back out the front door and through a side gate to the back of the house, past the garages. Wonwoo had seen the detached building before after he and Seungkwan had moved in, along with Jihoon coming and going from it at all of the hours of the day, but he’d never been this close to it before.

Jihoon’s workshop was very large, roughly the size of a small barn from the outside, although it replaced the wooden construction with what looked more like a mad scientist’s laboratory mixed with a typical engineer’s garage: all gleaming metal. The interior was a large, open space, with boxes and various sheets and pieces of metal and equipment cluttering most of the surfaces. There were freezers and large metal containers which Wonwoo assumed contained chemicals or other illegal and dangerous materials.

“Sorry about the mess, I had to get everything out to make these goddamn watches and haven’t had the chance to tidy.” Contrary to his apology, Jihoon didn’t sound very apologetic. Rather than apologising for the mess, it seemed as if he was apologising if Wonwoo found it bothersome. Wonwoo tried to give a reassuring nod either way.

Being removed from the toxic atmosphere in the house helped him distance his head from what had happened and helped to straighten out his jumbled thoughts. Jihoon led him to a large metal working table, littered in small wires and pieces of metal, along with 3 expensive-looking watches. These must have been the tracking devices Jeonghan had mentioned.

Running his eyes over all three to look for any small imperfections, Jihoon began explaining their functionality. “I’ve put a small but incredibly powerful bomb inside each of these. They’re dormant and are only triggered by an electronic signal that we can activate manually or will be triggered automatically if they remove the watches. They shouldn’t be able to though, due to their design.” Wonwoo’s eyes had widened at the word ‘bomb’, not quite expecting that to be hidden inside each little watch. The small amount of cake he’d eaten with Mingyu earlier threatened to come back up at the mental pictures of what would happen to the wearers when these little bombs went off. Jihoon continued, unperturbed by Wonwoo’s uneasiness, “Your job is to put in trackers that are reliable and then connect them to our systems. Can you do that?”

Again, Wonwoo nodded. Jihoon sighed, deciding to take pity on the frazzled man. He reached up and gently put his hand on Wonwoo’s shoulder, softening his tone as much as he was able. “Are you alright? You can talk to me if things are-” He cut himself off, eyebrows furrowing when Wonwoo covered his mouth with his hand, gagging as through he was going to be sick. He staggered away from Jihoon’s work table. The exhaustion, anxiety, pool of complex emotions and lack of food hit him all at once.

His surroundings blurred as his vision began to fail, and his limbs felt heavy and weak, his thin legs trembling. Wonwoo couldn’t muster up enough energy to call out to Jihoon and before he could recognise what was happening his world tilted on its axis. He landed harshly on the cold concrete under him and a sharp pain exploded around his mid back. The last thing Wonwoo saw was Jihoon hovering over him with a worried expression, his warm hand coming around to cup the back of Wonwoo’s head to check for blood. “Wonwoo, what’s happening?! Are you okay? Ahhh, shit.” Slowly, his vision turned to black, and the throbbing pain from the fall began to fade away as his consciousness escaped him.

It’s been such a long day.

CHAPTER 17 END

UPDATED PROFILE – XU MINGHAO

  • Associate Kim Mingyu added
  • New associate Jeon Wonwoo added

 

Chapter Text

11/05/2017 AND 12/05/2017 – Thursday/Friday

Fuck this guy.

Chan’s head thumped in tandem with his heartbeat, sore from the past few hours of interrogation. All he could taste was the distinctive tang of copper. Face sticky from the warm trickle of blood that had escaped from his mouth and nose running down his chin to drip off onto the scuffled tarp beneath him, some landing on his bound legs as he sat, practically immobile in a stiff chair. He knew it was his own fault for picking a fight, but he couldn’t help it. He hated feeling like the weaker person, especially with people he didn’t know… like the man who’d been his interrogator for the past few hours. He spat out more blood, cringing at the taste and glaring at the sound of the door creaking back open.

Seungcheol walked down the wooden steps into the basement, casually blowing out the smoke from his cigarette before stubbing it out with his finger and putting what remained in his pocket.

Chan made no attempt to speak as the man walked closer to him, stubbornly preparing for what he thought was going to come next. To his eternal surprise, Seungcheol pulled a small square piece of green cloth out of his pocket, crouching down slightly to wipe the blood from Chan’s chin in a baffling display of care. It was a stark difference to how he’d been treating Chan for the past few hours and he couldn’t hold back the widening of his eyes or his subconscious flinch away from the man’s touch.

Seungcheol didn’t comment, still cleaning Chan’s face. “Calmed down yet, kid?”

What gives him the right to call me a kid? I could kill him in an instant if I had to. Fucker.

The comment riled him up all over again. Chan opened his mouth to furiously retort but halted, spluttering on his words by the sight of Minghao making his way down the stairs. Before Seungcheol set to untying Chan’s left hand, he quickly attached a large silver watch to his wrist.

His smiling disposition was at odds with the grimness of his words. “Okay then Chan. This watch is a tracker and a bomb. If you make the wrong move, betray us, try to take it off, yada yada, you’ll go boom, okay?”

Stunned by this new information, Chan looked uncertainty towards Minghao, whom nodded in response. “We’re joining them Chan.” He shot a quick look at Seungcheol before continuing, “It is honestly the best thing we can do. These trackers are pretty smart and I don’t blame them for not exactly trusting us.”

Chan nodded slowly and Seungcheol untied the rest of his restraints. Once free, Chan rubbed his sore wrists, red from his attempts to fight against the rope. Before he could voice his anger, Minghao spoke sternly, the final nail in the coffin. “They’re going to help us get Soonyoung back.”

Well then, it looked like they had new housemates. Although Seungcheol seemed violent, he was by no means aggressive, but this still made the teen wary. “Okay, fine. As long as we get Soonyoung back.” His member’s name stuck in his throat, the emotional wound still gaping from his loss.

Minghao, crossed over and held his arm to steady him and together they ascended the stairs to the living room. Jeonghan greeted them both with a professional, well-practiced smile. “Your room will be shared for the time being, on the first floor. Follow me.”

From the top of the stairs, Mingyu’s room was situated directly to the right, whilst a long hallway stretches out to the left. Seungkwan and Wonwoo’s rooms were next and past those was a large room with two old single beds, a somewhat battered wooden desk housing an old kettle and a few sachets of tea, coffee and instant ramen, a wardrobe and a large chest of drawers. There was also a sizable on-suite shower room accessed by a door towards the right-hand side.

Escorting them in, Jeonghan once again spoke. “I have downloaded the appropriate software on your phones for our communication chatroom and will momentarily add you to it. This is where I put any operations or assignments and it allows our members to talk during missions if there’s a need. Settle in, tomorrow we’ll answer any questions you might have.” Jeonghan passed Minghao a stack of white towels with a small bag of toiletries and promptly exited the room, the door shutting with a firm click behind him.

Now alone with Minghao, Chan could feel his body slowing down. The pain in his head was making him dizzy and the awful taste of leftover blood made him feel sick. Minghao was quick to notice and ushered him towards one of the beds. “Sit down Chan, I’ll get you something to eat.”

Minghao walked towards the kettle on the desk and set to make a few cups of instant ramen. Not necessarily nutritious but it would help to settle Chan’s stomach. With Minghao occupied, Chan decided to check his phone.

SEVENTEEN

[20:22}

[ANGEL added THE8 to the group chat]

[ANGEL added DINO to the group chat]

[ALL MEMBERS ONLINE]

ANGEL: If you have any problems, post them here. Alternatively, we can discuss them tomorrow morning.

ANGEL: MEANIE, come talk to me. Now.

Sighing, Chan got into the pyjamas Jeonghan had laid out on the bed and sat down with a bounce. “So, what’s with this Mingyu guy? How come we’ve never heard about him?”

Minghao brought over the cups of steaming noodles and sat across from Chan on the bed, careful to not jostle either the injured teen or the food. He laughed a little. “Well, it’s a long story. Jeonghan is right though, we should sleep.”

Chan smirked and shoved a mouthful of noodles into his mouth. He definitely hadn’t realised how hungry he was prior to getting food. “Are you avoiding the question? That’s unusual for you Minghao. Usually, you go on and on about your sexual partners…” Minghao glared at him, both because he was talking and chewing at the same time because of his persistent questions.

Having known Minghao for so long, Chan knew when it was time for him to shut up and so he did. Minghao got one of the towels off of the side and headed for a shower, trying to ignore the annoyance that tugged at him. Chan settled into bed, too tired to bother with a shower, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep. He missed his friend. He missed Soonyoung. It wasn’t usually like him to feel emotional in situations like this, but Soonyoung and Chan had been together for as long as he could remember. Being without him felt like being alone. Thank god he still had Minghao.

The night passed by quickly and when he was awoken by a loud knock on their door it felt like he’d only closed his eyes for a few seconds. Seungcheol’s tired but stern voice was followed, muffled by the door. “Oi, guys, I’m coming in.” Chan quickly got out of bed, his boxers the only item of clothing he had on. Minghao followed suit, standing next to Chan in case he was going to cause a scuffle.

Seungcheol had clearly just come out from a shower, his hair still damp and curling at the edges and his still wet skin dampening the white shirt he wore, causing it to stick to him in places. He had a watch with him matching that one that he put on Chan yesterday. He gestured to Minghao, “This is yours. I’m sure you remember the talk I gave to Chan yesterday about its uses.” At Minghao’s nod, Seungcheol nodded back and placed it on his proffered wrist. “Now. Chan, you will be coming with me. Minghao, I think you have some unfinished business to handle with Mingyu.”

Seungcheol left the room to stand outside in the hallway, allowing Chan to quickly get dressed in a pair of black joggers and black T-shirt left in the wardrobe. Exchanging their ‘see you laters’, Chan left Minghao in their room to follow Seungcheol. This was going to be interesting, to say the least.

CHAPTER 18 END.

Chapter Text

FLASHBACK – THURSDAY 12TH NOVERMBER 2015 – Mingyu’s Perspective

It was 8pm and Mingyu was lying on his bed with his phone, engulfed in watching The Silenced, a Korean horror movie that had come out earlier that year. Horror films didn’t usually scare him, but this one had him snuggled under his covers and refusing to turn the light off. Just as the atmospheric creepy music began to pick up, the movie abruptly cut off with the tell-tale buzzing of someone trying to call him. The caller ID read JUNGKOOK, meaning that nothing Mingyu would do would stop his friend from trying to contact him. He let out a loud groan before answering.

“Yeah? What is it?” Mingyu grunted, trying not to sound grumpy even though he clearly was.

Not even bothering to return his greeting, Jungkook went straight to the point. “Get dressed dumbass, we’re going out.” The sound of shuffling from the other side of the phone evident, implying Jungkook was doing just that. Mingyu groaned again. He really didn’t want to do anything that night since he was tired. Staying home watching mind-numbing movies seemed like a far more appealing idea.

“Ughh. No. I’m really tired.” Mingyu replied.

Jungkook began objecting even before Mingyu finished. “Well tough shit, you don’t get a choice. You’ve been cooped up every night since last week. We’re on our way now, so get your ass out of that bed or we’ll drag you out of it.” And with that, the line dropped and Jungkook hung up.

Fuck.

Mingyu pulled himself up, dragging on some skinny blue jeans and a white shirt. He briefly tussled his hair in the mirror and put some concealer and chap-stick on, hiding his dark circles and dry lips. He didn’t have much time to do anything else when he heard Jungkook, Jaehyun and Yugyeom banging at his door. “YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS MINGYU!”

Before they give his neighbours a chance to complain, Mingyu quickly shoved his phone, wallet and keys into his pockets and put some black converse on. He unlocked the door and was faced with his overly rowdy and clearly already drunk friends. He already knew it was going to be a long night.

The house party was very popular, clearly, as they had to push past a lot of people to get inside. A short, blond haired person who was a close friend of Jungkook’s came over and immediately invited them to play some drinking games with the rest of the gang, all of them well on their way to being drunk.

A few hours later, Mingyu was -quite frankly- shitfaced. He wasn’t particularly sure how it had happened, but he was sat on the sofa in the living room alone scrolling mindlessly through his phone. All of his friends had disappeared in different directions, doing their own things.

His attention was caught by the dip of the couch next to him. “Hey there.” Immediately Mingyu felt goose-bumps form on his arms at the attractive, possibly accented voice presumably directed at him. He looked up at the slim, blond-haired man covered in tattoos sat beside him and felt flush at their close proximity. He wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol or legitimate attraction but he certainly felt something. This was pretty unusual for Mingyu in general but he chose not to think too much into it.

“Oh, uh, h-hi” Mingyu stuttered out, attempting to sound cool but failing miserably.

Being under such an intense gaze had him shifting in his seat and avoiding eye contact. The man noticed and smirked, clearly used to having this effect on people. “I’m Minghao, and you are very cute. What are you doing sat here alone?” He remarked. As cheesy as it would have been in any other situation, the way Minghao said it made him sound enticing. Mingyu blushed further, immediately realising that Minghao was hitting on him.

“I’m M-Mingyu. I, uh, lost my friends… have you seen Jungkook? Black haired, incredibly fit, hot…” Mingyu clamped his lips together and inwardly facepalmed.

Great, if you wanted to play the ‘I’m straight’ card to get out of this, it certainly isn’t going to happen now.

Minghao smiled, raising his eyebrow slightly in intrigue. He slid closer, arm coming around to wrap around Mingyu’s broad shoulders, then said “No… I haven’t seen him. I was a little preoccupied…” He murmured. Mingyu felt the warmth of his breath against his cheek. It smelt strongly of whisky and cigarette smoke, the combination not entirely unpleasant.

For the life of him, Mingyu wouldn’t be able to explain how things had progressed from that to this, but soon his lips were pressed against Minghao’s in a kiss, the soft sensation feeling foreign to him. It had been months since Mingyu had kissed anyone and this was definitely the first guy kiss he had ever had. What felt like electricity rippled through him as Minghao cupped his face and moved closer. The heat of their bodies felt comforting and being too drunk to consider any consequences, Mingyu kissed back confidently.  

Through the haze of alcohol and attraction, it eventually occurred to Mingyu that he should do something more sensible. Breaking away from Minghao, both of them panting, he said, “I- Uh. I don’t know you? I shouldn’t really-” Minghao pressed his finger against Mingyu’s lips to silence him. Smirking enticingly, he whispered, “Live a little, yeah?”

Minghao waited for a response but after recognizing the uncertainty still evident on cute-confused-flustered Mingyu, he smiled more gently, squeezing the back of his neck. “Ah come on then, let’s get you home. You probably shouldn’t be left alone.” Mingyu nodded, accepting Minghao’s hand up from the couch. The room was spinning and buzzing, and it soon felt like no time at all when they arrived at Mingyu’s dorm.

Just as Minghao turned to leave, Mingyu, on his way to being sober but still high on the buzz from the night and Minghao’s intoxicating company, couldn’t stop the next thing from bursting out of his mouth. “Don’t go. S-Stay the night”.

Did you really just invite a total stranger into your bedroom? Use your brain not your dick, idiot.

Mingyu was bright red in embarrassment. He had never done this before, to anyone, especially a stranger. All he knew was that he wanted the warmth and electricity he had felt from their earlier kiss again. He wanted to be wanted, desired, touched, loved, and right at that moment he fully believed that Minghao could give him that. And of course, the small amount of alcohol still coursing through his veins helped to fuel his confidence.

Minghao seemed surprised but happily accepted his offer. Once inside, Mingyu offered to let him borrow a clear t-shirt and some old shorts. It felt weird for Mingyu to have someone in his bedroom, especially someone who had clearly been flirting with him – who he had kissed. Mingyu liked the way he spoke, he loved how quick-witted he was and how it was easy to hold a conversation with him.

After getting settled on Mingyu’s cramped single bed, they aimed to finish watching The Silenced, before calling it a night and going to sleep. However, it was barely a few minutes into the movie when Minghao snuggled closer to him, causing the familiar shockwaves of adrenaline rush through Mingyu. Now that they were both fully sobered up, he could already pretty much guess where the night was heading. He didn’t care that Minghao was basically a stranger and didn’t care that he hadn’t figured out if he liked guys yet. Wasn’t this what being at University was for; finding yourself?

In a random spike of confidence, Mingyu initiated the kiss this time. A messy, inexperienced, awkward kiss. Soon they were pulling their clothes off. Their kisses were sloppy and badly aimed but neither seemed to mind that much. After all, kisses weren’t the end goal. After the shuffling of bedsheets and clothes and desperate gropes, Mingyu somehow found himself fully naked, with his dick in Minghao’s mouth, getting the best blowjob he had ever received.

What a fucking night.

In the morning, Mingyu rose into semi-consciousness with a banging headache. The small single bed allowed him to feel the absence of his bed partner, but he eyes were cemented shut and he had no intention of fully waking up yet. After about an hour of avoiding opening his eyes, he finally did. Unsurprisingly, Minghao was gone and all that was left was messy bedsheets. Mingyu wasn’t sure if he was sad or happy that Minghao was gone, but he definitely felt empty. Looking at the clock, he realised it was 2pm. As if he’d aged more than 50 years, he eased himself upright and pulled a clean pair of boxers on. He desperately needed something to settle his stomach.

Shuffling to the kitchen, he rubbed his eyes, squinting at the ray of sunlight shining through the window. Looking around, something very out of place caught his attention. He had to blink a few times, but once his eyes had properly focused he saw that on the counter was a handwritten note, partly covered by his half-eaten box of frosties, a bowl and a spoon. It read:

Sorry for leaving early, got things to do. Hope to see you soon, last night was pretty great… You’d make a great toyboy;)

01924 973289 – call me.

Mingyu flushed. Minghao was always so crude when he spoke and under any other circumstance, Mingyu would have found his flirty personality rude. But for some unknown reason, he liked it. Liked him. Without thinking about his decision, he opened his phone and added him to his contacts.

Man, I wonder where this is gonna go.

Chapter Text

12/05/2017 – Friday – Wonwoo’s perspective

When Wonwoo cracked his eyes open, he was almost blinded by the light flooding in through the gaps in his blinds.

“Oh my fucking God, close the blinds”, he muttered, voice husky and a few octaves lower due to just waking up. He was speaking more to the universe listening than to another person, but then he actually heard someone who was previously sat beside him get up and reach over his bed to shut the blinds. He was blanketed in wonderful darkness once again, allowing his eyes to actually focus on his surroundings.

His room was as it usually was. The only thing that was out of place was the tall, broad figure of Mingyu sat awkwardly beside his bed, his expression riddled with worry and guilt. Wonwoo could only stomach looking at him for a few seconds before he was too quickly reminded of the previous day’s events, so instead he stared at the ceiling.

“C-can I get you anything?” Mingyu whispered. His hands were clasped together, sandwiched between his legs.

Wonwoo responded quickly. “You could get out.” The less he had to deal with Mingyu, the easier it would be. He shuffled a little, trying to turn his back to Mingyu, but was stopped in his tracks by the sharp pain radiating from his lower back. He let out a sharp yelp, hissing between his teeth. Taking greater stock of himself, he noticed that he was covered in bandages around his midsection and his back was propped up to prevent him from lying on it. Spotting a glass of water on the bedside table, he tried to reach for it. Mingyu saw what he was trying to do and jumped into action, going as far as to trying to put it up to Wonwoo’s lips before the injured man batted his hand away and drank the water himself.

What the fuck happened?

“I can explain-“ Mingyu started, but before he was able to continue Wonwoo slammed the empty glass down onto the side table next to his bed. “I don’t want to hear it Mingyu. Just get out.” He looked up at him, making eye contact for the first time since he’d first noticed him there. “I never want to see your face again.” The venom in his voice surprised even him, but the too-familiar ache in his chest was evident as thoughts of Minghao came rushing back.

Mingyu swallowed, trying his best to not let Wonwoo’s words break him down, not when he hadn’t had chance to explain himself yet. “Wonwoo, please calm down. I’m sorry for not telling you, I just… I just didn’t see why there was any point,” Mingyu continued. He sounded genuine and heartfelt, but Wonwoo couldn’t have been in a worse mood so he felt little sympathy.

“You saw no point? Are you fucking kidding me? I really like you Mingyu, I just-“

Fuck. He couldn’t do this.

He stopped speaking, eyes welling with tears. “Just fucking go,” he croaked, turning his face the best he could to hide from Mingyu.

“But-“

Wonwoo couldn’t hear any more. “GO!”

Mingyu hurriedly got up and left the room, leaving Wonwoo with tears streaming down his cheeks and sobs clawing from his chest.

How the fuck did this happen?

With the tears still streaming, he looked around for any outlet he could find. Spying his laptop within reaching distance, he grit his teeth against the pain as he bent sideways on the bed and stretched his arm out, long fingers finding purchase on the sleek black lid. A warped sense of pride filled him when he finally placed it on his lap. Opening a new word document, he poured all of his pain and frustrations into the words coming alive under his fingers.

 

The pain that feels so good driving me to the edge, making me dizzier. By the time I think I had caught you I have lost you again. My whole body stiffens, only my eyes keep chasing you.

Several times a day because of you, my head is bombarded, there is no space. I’m trying to forget you.

 

There was a tentative knock. “Wonwoo, can I come in?” Seungkwan’s concerned voice echoed from behind his bedroom door. He swiftly shut his laptop and rubbed his eyes. Pulling his hood over his head, he gave a noncommittal grunt. Seungkwan was sure to take that as an agreement.

As expected, Seungkwan came in straight away. However, something that wasn’t expected was him balancing a tray with a coffee and some samgyeopsal-gui (grilled pork belly), rice and kimchi. Grinning his typical Seungkwan-grin, he started to fill the silence permeating the room. “Seungcheol is actually a way better cook than I thought!” Seungkwan placed the tray over his lap after taking the laptop and moving it further on down the bed, then helped him sit up. “Here you go you, must be starving; it’s almost 2 in the afternoon!”

Wonwoo reluctantly started eating whilst Seungkwan sat down in Mingyu’s previous place. He let Wonwoo eat in peace for maybe 30 seconds before he couldn’t contain himself anymore. “So….” He trailed off, testing the waters, “What happened?”

Wonwoo avoided eye contact. After swallowing a piece of pork, he gave a vague “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Seungkwan sighed lightly before continuing. “What’s up with you and Mingyu? You’ve avoided talking to me in literally forever and I know it’s because of him.” He leaned forward, trying his best to catch Wonwoo’s eyes. “Tell me, Wonwoo.”

Fuck. How can I possibly make sense of how I feel when I don’t even know myself?

After a long silence, Seungkwan asked the tell-tale question. “Do you love him?”

Wonwoo had to stop himself from spitting out his food at his straight-forwardness. He felt himself blushing hard at the thought that he would ever admit to loving Mingyu. However, despite his surprise, he couldn’t bring himself to deny it. He couldn’t ignore the feelings of butterflies in his stomach when he thought about him and Mingyu being more.

Do I love him?

Wonwoo wanted to ground to devour him right then and there. Seungkwan was his closest friend, but he would never dream of speaking to him about his love life.

Manning up, his concluded that his best friend deserved an honest answer. “I-I don’t know.”

Seungkwan’s eyes widened in surprise, although he already knew the answer deep down. “Well…if you ever want to talk about it, I’m here alright? Don’t shut me out.” He took a deep breath. “I… I understand more than you know,” he admitted.

And with those words, Seungkwan stood up to leave. Before shutting the door, Seungkwan turned to look at Wonwoo. “He feels the same, you know. He isn’t out to hurt you. He had no idea this was going to happen.”

The soft sound of the door clicking shut was permission for Wonwoo to release the flood works again.

He already has. He has already hurt me.

A few hours had passed with Wonwoo doing nothing but sleeping and crying, both in equal measure. Eventually, he decided it would be a good idea to try and be productive, at least trying to find something to take his mind off of things. Reaching for his phone next to the empty glass of water he’d previously discarded, he checked what was going on with the others regarding missions.

SEVENTEEN

[15:13}

[ALL MEMBERS ONLINE]

ANGEL: Now that THE8 and DINO have joined our group, in order to fulfil our end of the bargain, our priority is finding their associate, HOSHI. Wonwoo, I know you are in ill health at the moment but I still expect your best work. You are to find out where HOSHI currently is, and more information about him.

ANGEL: Earlier today, COUPS, with the aid of our new member, DINO, eliminated the remaining targets from link FIFTEEN. This means that the only one left is the leader who is still currently incarcerated by the NIS. To get to him, we’ll need to use the identities ENIGMA previously gathered. YELLOW, MEANIE and MOON, this is your job. Once you feel you are prepared enough we will set ahead our most difficult mission yet – operation 15 – where we will eliminate the leader and be done with this mission.

ANGEL: Alongside preparing for that mission we also must find and recruit HOSHI.

ANGEL: Furthermore, I would like to note that the personal issues currently being sorted between MEANIE, ENIGMA and THE8 must be cleared up immediately. You will be working closely together for the upcoming missions and I expect no hostility. As usual, any questions or queries leave them below.

MOON: How exactly will I be involved with using the NIS identities? I haven’t ever gone undercover before.

ANGEL: I believe THE8 has been assigned to teach you the required skills as he is very experienced in many aspects of criminality, including infiltration. I trust you will perform well together.

WOOZI: Also, I am making bombs and weapons for operation 15. COUPS, SHUA and I will train the rest of you in different ones according to your strengths. ENGIMA, we think you will best suit first-aid and health training, which you will receive from me in due time.

Wonwoo sighed, mostly in relief as he read through his tasks. He couldn’t help but think that being unable to move temporarily was a good thing – at least he didn’t have to be around people. Grabbing his laptop once again, he started on trying to track down Soonyoung. He knew that after the bank robbery he was probably taken in for questioning, so all he had to do what uproot the file and figure out if he has a trial, and if so, who would be his defence lawyer.

12/05/2017 – Thursday – Mingyu’s perspective

He liked me? Wait he said ‘likes’ me… What the fuck have I done?

Mingyu flopped down on his bed, guilt hitting him like a kick in the face. After staring at the ceiling for about 20 minutes, wailing in internal misery, there was a knock at his door. “You in there, ‘gyu?” Minghao’s voice rang, perfectly recognisable even through the door.

There’s no way in a million years I’m going to let you talk to me.

After receiving no reply after a few seconds, Minghao was still undeterred. “C’mon, boss says we need to talk it out. Why are you so quiet?” Trying to rouse a reaction, he teased, “Are you jacking off or something?”

Mingyu scoffed, not willing to bite the bait. He checked the chat and his messages instead having neglected his phone despite it buzzing persistently.

SEVENTEEN

[15:17]

Jeonghan: You need to talk to Minghao. Whatever has happened between you two is in the past and since you’ll be working together you need to patch it up. Also, I expect you to have a chat with me about Minghao, I need to know everything you know about him.

Sighing heavily, Mingyu shoved himself roughly up from the bed, unlocked his door and opened it to reveal Minghao leaning on the doorframe lazily.

“You’re fucking disgusting; you know that?” Mingyu spat out, referencing Minghao’s previous remark.

Minghao smirked, still in the mood to tease. “Don’t you have any manners? That’s not the proper way to greet someone…” Spinning around on his feet, Mingyu turned to walk over to his desk chair, Minghao closed the door and settled on his bed.

Once settled, Minghao struck up the more serious conversation. “Anyway, why are you pissed at me? You were the one that stopped speaking to me.” Minghao sounded baffled but sincere, something that Mingyu was glad for because he didn’t think that he could deal with Minghao’s typical crudeness at the moment.

He scoffed at this. “Wow, not like you fucking cheated on me, tried to force me to have a threesome with your friend and hid your criminal life from me, for almost a year. No, definitely not a valid reason to be angry.” His voice was laced with sarcasm and anger. Thoughts of what happened between them inevitably fuelled his anger once again, coming back to the forefront from all the months that he’d spent trying to bury it.

Minghao rolled his eyes. “Firstly, you can’t cheat on someone when you were never officially together. You were my fuck buddy, a really good one, admittedly, but nothing more. Secondly, I didn’t ‘force’ you to do shit, you were the one all over him.”

Mingyu stood up, his large frame radiating anger and face contorted in outrage. “You are such a fucking dickhead!” he spat.

Never officially together his ass! What a shit excuse!

Anger was his way of coping with difficult situations. Anger would stop the tears that so stubbornly wanted to fall. Anger would distract him from the stab he felt in his heart. He was surprised the poor thing was still coping.

At this point, Minghao was also stood up, stubbornly shouting back to him. “I’m the dickhead?! I spent a month in prison because of you!”

Mingyu’s fists were clenched as he turned away to the window in an attempt to contain himself. He heard Minghao approaching him from behind. “I didn’t hide my criminality from you, you were too busy with your hands down my pants, you didn’t ask or-“

Mingyu’s clenched fist coming into contact with his unprotected stomach brought his sentence to an abrupt end. Minghao keeled over at the impact, hands coming to cover his abdomen, starting to cough up what felt like both of his lungs.

“YOU were the one who broke my heart Minghao, I loved you, I loved you so much and all you wanted was a good lay!” Mingyu was aware that he was shouting. He was also acutely aware of the tears that ran down his face and the pain that radiated from his reddened knuckles.

Minghao stood up, wincing when he reached his full height, then grabbed Mingyu by the shoulders, nails digging little crescents into him and he shoved him backwards against the window, “You don’t have the right to fucking hit me! You were the one always acting better than me – going to your fancy fucking school and-”, Mingyu swung another punch, but this time Minghao grabbed his wrist and kicked out against Mingyu’s knee, crippling him and knocking him to the floor before jumping on his chest.

“Get the fuck off me Minghao, get off me!” Mingyu howled, trying to slap and punch Minghao off.

“You are a fucking hypocrite for saying my criminality was ever a problem with your new toy boy being just as guilty!” Minghao savagely retorted, watching Mingyu’s reactions.

The sound of footsteps running up the stairs was barely acknowledged by Mingyu, who was desperately trying to get out from beneath Minghao. Although he had the advantage in size, Minghao was much more skilled with struggling opponents.

“He isn’t my fucking boy toy, you dick!” Mingyu struggled underneath his grip, tears of anger blurring his vision.

Minghao laughed, a savage grin overtaking his features. “Oh, so do you love him too? Like you loved me? Does this mean you’ll ignore him for the next 5 months as well? Does he fuck like I did? Does he taste like I do? How does he sound against you?

Bursting through the door, Seungcheol appeared behind Minghao. He grabbed his collar and yanked him off of Mingyu. “Alright, break it up! What the fuck is going on?”

Mingyu stood up, swinging his fists at Seungcheol in an attempt to get to Minghao. “Let him go, I’ll fucking kill him!” Although he was restraining a struggling Minghao, Seungcheol was more than able to handle Mingyu coming at him too.

Only a few seconds later, Jihoon came up behind Mingyu. His calm, low voice helped diffuse the situation slightly. “Calm down, whatever happened in the past is the past, violence solves nothing here.” Jihoon grabbed Mingyu’s wrists in a vice grip, belaying his strength and pulled him out of the room, striding determinedly away into the back garden. 

It took about 20 minutes before Mingyu had finally calmed down enough to rationally think. The outside air helped cool his head and Jihoon’s silent presence served as a deterrent from going back inside.

“I get he can be an asshole” Jihoon’s face twisted as he winced, “hell, I’ve known him about a day and even I know that. But for the sake of this group and everyone else, you have to learn to cope with working with him.” His voice was calming and understanding, a stark but welcomed contrast from the shouting and aggression that seemed to follow Mingyu lately. “You guys are both like ticking time bombs with your anger, so there’s no point arguing with him, okay?”

Mingyu listened intently, he knew what Jihoon was saying was right and he felt embarrassed he had let all of the emotions from before flood back. He was acting like an angry 5-year-old, unable to keep check of his emotions. “Yeah, I get that. I’m sorry I lost my temper.”

Jihoon nodded and then left him alone outside, allowing him time to sit and think with no distractions.

Great, now I have to figure out how to explain this all to Wonwoo.

CHAPTER 19 END.

Chapter Text

22/05/2017 – Monday

It had been just over a week since Minghao and Chan had joined the group. In that week, Wonwoo had been working hard to find out as much about Soonyoung and his whereabouts as possible. His back injury had improved substantially, and he was now able to walk fine, though that didn’t stop the others from babying him of course. Seungcheol, Minghao and Chan had gone to meet Soonyoung’s defence lawyer with the intention to either threaten, blackmail or kidnap him. Seemed a bit extreme, but Wonwoo wasn’t one to complain about their methods since in past missions they had succeeded with flying colours. Whatever their methods, Wonwoo had learnt to trust them.

Wonwoo had just come home from a long day at university, the classes on top of his missions making him feel particularly drained. After making some nachos topped with hot melted cheese in the blessedly empty kitchen, he headed upstairs with the intention of watching a movie and ignoring the world for the rest of the evening. Poking and prodding the nachos for the perfectly covered cheesy one, he barely noticed that Mingyu was stood at the top of the stairs just outside his bedroom door.

So, here’s the thing. In the past week and a bit, Wonwoo had a lot of time to reflect on himself and his behaviour. After talking to Seungkwan and finding out all about his crush on Chwe Hansol, Wonwoo became far more open about his feelings for Mingyu. It wasn’t that he was okay with them so felt comfortable talking about them openly – that certainly wasn’t the case. Although, he did feel that he had more of a grasp on his feelings. He didn’t show Seungkwan his lyrics, those were far too private and Wonwoo felt that they should only be between him and Mingyu. He’d overcome the bitter feelings he felt towards Mingyu about Minghao, but still couldn’t bring himself to start a conversation. He felt that for the first time in his life, he had been heartbroken and he was not sure what was and wasn’t acceptable to do. However, today he didn’t have to start a conversation, since Mingyu started one first.

His lips were pressed in a fine line and he couldn’t stay still, constantly shifting his weight from one leg to the other. Mingyu’s eyes were a similar story, constantly flitting to Wonwoo and then back down to the ground. Just before Wonwoo passed him, Mingyu looked up and coughed awkwardly. “Wonwoo, can I talk to you?”

Wonwoo paused in surprise, a glob of stringy cheese still hanging from his lips. Messily biting it off and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before surreptitiously wiping it on his black sweatpants, he murmured a stilted, “Uh… yeah... sure”, coming to an awkward standstill just past the stairs.

Mingyu gestured for his room and Wonwoo followed. Despite living in the same house for a while, because of the less than ideal circumstances Wonwoo hadn’t ever been in Mingyu’s room. Gently closing the door, Wonwoo awkwardly perched on the edge of his bed, waiting for him to speak whilst Mingyu situated himself in his desk swivel chair. Mingyu’s room looked quite similar to the one at his grandma’s – posters and stray pieces of paper stuck to walls. Books and games were piled in the corner still in their cardboard boxes, clearly waiting to be sorted.

Clearing his throat, Mingyu tentatively began speaking. “Are you still angry with me? I understand if you are.” His voice was laced with worry, but it was soft and quiet. Mingyu was clearly ready to be steamrolled by Wonwoo’s anger, his tone soft and unargumentative,

“A little, I guess.” Wonwoo bluntly said, shoving a few nachos into his mouth and offering a few to Mingyu who took one, devouring it quickly.

Gathering his courage from Wonwoo’s peace offering, Mingyu regrouped and soldiered on. His adam’s apple bobbed, the large gulp he took audible in the silent room. “Wonwoo I… I really like you. Like, I like you more than a friend and I know this isn’t what you want to hear right now. I need to explain everything to you, god I’m such an idiot. Sorry” He stuttered, visibly wilting, and Wonwoo couldn’t help but notice Mingyu’s hazel brown eyes getting slightly watery.  

So, for the first time in forever, Wonwoo looks directly at Mingyu. He felt that familiar feeling in his heart, his stomach turning with butterflies. Mingyu’s eyes were filled with sincerity and worry, and Wonwoo had to stop himself from getting up and hugging him, since he was supposed to be angry. “It… It is what I want to hear.” Wonwoo said it so quietly he wasn’t sure if he actually said it out loud. Mingyu paused, choosing to revisit what Wonwoo said later on. If he didn’t get the story out now, who knows when he’d next get the chance?

And so, Mingyu explained it all; how he met Minghao in late 2015, spent a year thinking they were a couple when really they were fuck buddies, and how Minghao had slept with other people the entire time without Mingyu knowing. He explained how Minghao had gotten him involved in holding drugs – please, Gyu, just for me- and when he finally realised that he couldn’t do it, he did the only thing he thought was right – told the police. Because of this, Minghao was convicted and sent to prison. They stopped speaking altogether around January of 2017.

After explaining everything, Mingyu was breathless and lightheaded with pure relief. It felt like a lead weight had been lifted from his shoulders, the only thing now weighing them down was Wonwoo’s reaction.

“So… you like, m-men?” Wonwoo stuttered out, he felt stupid for asking because it was painfully obvious from his story, but he couldn’t quite get his head around the fact that Kim Mingyu, handsome and massively sought after by all the girls in Chugye University, was gay.

Looking almost relieved by the question, Mingyu nodded. Though his lips twitched upwards slightly, fighting to form into a smile.

Was that the only thing that Wonwoo got from the entire story?

Wonwoo ate the last of his nachos then looked up, a burning question on the tip of his tongue. “Were you only nice to me in the coffee shop because you were lonely? When we met it had only been a few months since you and Minghao had broken up…” Wonwoo’s palms were sweating with nerves at the prospect that what he had suspected was true; that Mingyu had only spent time with him because he was lonely and wanting a rebound.

Quick to his refute this, Mingyu spluttered out a refusal. “No! No, of course not Wonwoo. I… I didn’t see you like that at first. The only reason I spoke to you in the first place was because Seungkwan told me you could do with some more friends and that we might really get along...” He grinned sheepishly, stretching out his long legs and brushing his hair away from his face.

Although it helped to somewhat relieve his worries, Wonwoo also felt insecure and annoyed at the idea Mingyu didn’t even want to talk to him himself. “So, wait, you didn’t even want to speak to me?”

Mingyu sighed and rolled his swivel chair forward to the end of the bed where Wonwoo was still perching. “Of course I wanted to speak to you, it was just… I just didn’t realise how I felt for you until… later.”

The familiar, long-missed intoxicating presence of Mingyu in close proximity made Wonwoo’s breath stutter and his heart skip a beat.

Is it even possible to feel like this about someone who you’ve barely known for a few months? How can I still want to be close to him after all he’s done?

Taking his silence negatively, Mingyu started to roll back, beginning his apologies. “I’m sorry if I’m making this awkward, if you don’t feel the same and you want to go back to being friends then I’m okay with th-“

It was as if Wonwoo had an epiphany, a wave of confidence hitting him square in the chest. He didn’t care what Mingyu had done in the past, it was unfair of him to hold it against him. Mingyu was flustered and uncertain when talking about this, only further demonstrating his sincerity. It was this realisation that seemingly gave Wonwoo his answer to the question that had been burning in his mind for weeks.

He likes me back.

And with this thought, Wonwoo abruptly leant forward, stopping Mingyu’s retreat and pulling him closer by gripping the arm rests. Before he could give his mind time to doubt it, he pressed his lips against the warmth of Mingyu’s, stopping the other man’s stuttered questions. Startled, Mingyu was slow to comprehend what was happening, but once he did he leant into Wonwoo and reciprocated the kiss tenfold, all of his tension leaving his body in one slow exhale.

Wonwoo had never kissed anyone properly before but he was sure, just from this encounter, that it was his favourite thing in the world. His skin was prickling with goose bumps and he felt hot all over. All he could think was that he wanted to be closer. Passion and desire clouded his thoughts and soon he had his hand intertwined in Mingyu’s long black hair, the strands soft to the touch. Mingyu deepened the kiss, vacating his chair when Wonwoo pulled him closer until they lay intertwined on the bed. For a while, it felt like there was nothing except them in the world, their bodies pressed together in a moment of bliss.

That was until a loud knock on the door caused Mingyu to jump off of Wonwoo faster than either of them could blink.

For a few seconds they stared at each other, their hair ruffled and messy, lips bruised and red. Wide eyed, Mingyu replied to the knock with a slightly wavering voice “Ah, yes, who is it?”

They were both red in the face, embarrassed, too warm and, ah, uncomfortable. They attempted to flatten their hair and straighten their clothes, trying to resume some semblance of casualness. A familiar voice rang from behind the door “Uh, guys… C-Can I come in? Wonwoo is in there too r-right?”

Mingyu ran his hand through his hair once more before pushing up from the bed, moving to sit in his chair and push it backwards towards his desk. “Yeah, come in Seungkwan.”

The previous atmosphere immediately shifted when the two men caught sight of Seungkwan’s face. It was red and puffy, his blond hair untamed and all over the place. He had been crying, something very evident by his expression that was still contorted in despair, his characteristic smile no-where to be seen. Mingyu stood up as soon as he walked in and hugged him comfortingly, large hands rubbing his back soothingly. “Come on, sit down kwan. What happened?”

Wonwoo’s arm came around Seungkwan’s shivering shoulders, the two of them sat close together on the bed with Mingyu directly in front of them. Seungkwan kept crying, his sobs erratic and intense. He looked imploringly at the two elders. “I-I’m so sorry. I told him.”

Mingyu and Wonwoo froze. Wonwoo’s arm tightened around him, a building sense of foreboding taking root. “Who? What did you tell him?”

Seungkwan hiccupped. “Hansol. I-I… I told him. About me. About us. About e-everyone! Oh god, I’m so fucking stupid, I’m stupid!” he sobbed, back curving as he shoved his head into his hands. It took them around 5 minutes to calming him down, an agonizing 5 minutes of dangerous, unanswered questions. Mingyu had gotten up to close the door before sitting back down, knowing that if anyone was to hear what Seungkwan was saying it would hold catastrophic effects. Biting his lip to hold in his sobs, the distraught man looked back up. “I-I told him about the organization. He knows what we’ve done and I don’t think he’s going to stay q-quiet.”

Fuck.

CHAPTER 20 END

Chapter Text

Birth name: Lee Chan (이찬)

Date of birth: February 11, 1999 (aged 19)

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Job status: Shop assistant

Criminal status: Theft, robbery, battery, murder, manslaughter

Background history: Chan’s parents disowned him when he was very young, around 4, because he was a difficult child and had behavioural problems. Chan was picked up by an illegal fighting ring who cared for him and took him under their care, this is where Chan grew up. The conditions in the fighting ring were awful, and he was severely abused and neglected. He would often have to fight other people for food or a bed to sleep in for the night, and he was made to fight in the ring on a regular basis, leading to many untreated injuries.

Minghao was the only person close to a friend that he had, but they were never able to communicate due to the language difference. Whenever they were forced to fight each other, they would always put on a performance that had the smallest number of injuries, and this made Chan grateful.

When Chan got older, he became a favourite by the watchers who began to know him well. Many started sexually abusing Chan by bribing him with money when he was only 14. It began as small sexual favours that Chan, due to his immaturity and naivety, thought were harmless. Over time the abusers became more violent and demanding, leading Chan to feel even more unsafe.

When Minghao found out about this abuse, he helped him escape the organisation and live on the streets. After changing their appearance as best as they were able, they lived on the streets of Seoul together in an attempt to leave their past behind them. In order to survive, they committed crimes such as theft and robbery, which over time they became better at. When Chan was aged 17, Soonyoung, a boy from a terrible foster family, befriended them. Soonyoung would bring them food and money wherever he could, and met with Minghao to teach him Korean before and after school.

Chan felt that he could rely on Soonyoung and became very close friends with him. Chan felt that Soonyoung was the only one who could calm him down and he was patient, something he had never encountered in anyone before.

Personality traits: Aggressive and defensive. He constantly feels that people are trying to hrut him, so he uses violence and aggression as a way of defence. Naturally, he is very closed off and private, not sharing much with anyone and trying not to let his vulnerable side show. He hates that he is young and has been unable to protect himself in the past, hence why he picks fights with people, to prove that he can. However, the very few people who have seen his caring side know that he is very soft and caring, never raising his voice or getting overly emotional with the ones he loves.

Currently known associates:

  • Kwon Soonyoung – Best friend, partner-in-crime. Chan trust Soonyoung with his life and feels obligated to try and protect him. He feels like Soonyuong understands how he feels and enjoys being around him since he can be himself and let his guard down.
  • Xu Minghao – Best friend, partner-in-crime, housemate. Since they have known each other for such a long amount of time, Chan trusts Minghao as much as he trusts Soonyoung. Sometimes their personalities clash and so they argue frequently, but Minghao is usually able to diffuse it quickly.
  • Kim Mingyu – Housemate. Chan is intrigued about Mingyu since Minghao had never really mentioned him before.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Employer, acquaintance, housemate. Chan has little opinion of Jeonghan, but views him as somewhat of a threat to Minghao’s leadership which he disapproves of. Chan won’t take orders from anyone else than Minghao.
  • Lee Jihoon – Employer (partially), housemate. Chan likes that Jihoon is part of the group since he is very calming.
  • Wen Junhui – Housemate. Chan knows that Minghao likes Jun a lot, but sees him as a bit of a threat to their friendship. He is worried about his intentions towards Minghao.
  • Hong Jisoo – Housemate. Considering Joshua tried (and almost succeeded) to kill Chan, saying that he hates him would be a minimum. Chan is also scared of him, so avoids him at all cost.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – Housemate. Chan has no opinion of Wonwoo, except that he seems very quiet.
  • Choi Seungcheol – Housemate, friend. Although they got off to a rocky start, Chan feels like he can relate the most to Seungcheol. He admires how Seungcheol can control his emotions and use his aggressive tendencies in a controlled way and Chan hopes to learn these skills.
  • Boo Seungkwan – Housemate. Chan finds Seungkwan quite annoying but secretly appreciates the older boys jokes and lightheartedness, it helps remind Chan that he is a human as well as a criminal.

Aliases: DINO, Channie.

Legal hobbies: Drawing, reading, dancing, running.

 

Birth name: Xu Minghao (徐明浩)

Date of birth: 07 November 1997 (Aged 20)

Hometown: Anshan, Liaoning, China

Job status: Unemployed

Criminal status: Leader of small gang, theft, robbery, murder.

Background history: Minghao was abducted as a very young toddler from the streets of his hometown. He was sold to a Korean fighting ring, where he learnt various martial arts and how to defend himself. He never got given the opportunity to learn Korean, but picked up enough of the language to be able to function within the group.

He was frequently abused physically, verbally and emotionally. As well as this, he often went days without food or water but was still expected to fight almost every day. Whilst in the ring, he met Chan, whom was younger than he but from a similar background. They were not able to properly communicate, considering that Chan didn’t have the patience to teach Minghao Korean. But, they were very close and always looked out for each other as best as they were able.

When Minghao found out that some members of the fighting ring were sexually harassing Chan, they decided to escape and live on the streets surviving on their own. Still unable to communicate, it was a very hard time for both of them. Soonyoung, a well educated but lonely boy, befriended Minghao and Chan, teaching Minghao Korean. Over time, Soonyoung joined their street gang and worked with them. Eventually gaining confidence in their criminal abilities, they started doing bigger and better crime such as robbery, making drugs and selling them.

Minghao became most college students drug dealer, and at a party one night he met Mingyu. They had a fling but continued seeing each other regularly for sex. Minghao didn’t consider this a relationship though he admittedly did elude Mingyu into thinking it was. Eventually, Mingyu told the police about Minghao’s drug dealing antics, and he got arrested and sent to prison for a month.

A few months after he was released from prison, he, Soonyoung and Chan planned a large-scale bank robbery, their plan was to leave Korea with the money. However, things did not go to plan, with Soonyoung getting injured and being left behind as Minghao and Chan fled with Jun to join Jeonghans criminal organisation.

Personality traits: Crude and a very rude sense of humour. He finds enjoyment in making people deliberately uncomfortable. Naturally very flirty and constantly tries to hit on people. Despite that, he is quite a philosophical person and when he truly trusts someone, he shows his true self. He is kind and compassionate and would do anything for the people he loves. However, he is very cautious and wary of people’s intentions. He does a lot of what he does for the thrill and adrenaline. Short-tempered and argumentative. Tends to dive deep into connections with others hoping to find love or something more than superficial – has yet to.

Currently known associates:

  • Kwon Soonyoung – Best friend, partner-in-crime. Minghao trusts Soonyoung with his life since Soonyoung taught him English and stayed by his side despite things that have happened. Minghao had a casual friend with benefits type relationship with him for a while and they share pretty much everything with each other.
  • Kim Mingyu – Ex-lover, housemate. Minghao and Mingyu used to ‘date’ for a year or so, though Minghao still denies it was anything more than a sexual agreement. Mingyu resents him for having a far better life than he had, and even more so since Mingyu told the police about his drug dealing. He has a low opinion of Mingyu but still finds him incredibly attractive.
  • Lee Chan – Best friend, partner-in-crime, housemate/roommate. Minghao sees Chan like a little brother to him and is very overly protective of him. They are very close, though Minghao finds his temper and argumentative nature annoying sometimes. Minghao wants to act as a good role model (ish) and as someone who he can rely on.
  • Yoon Jeonghan – Employer, acquaintance, housemate. Minghao admires Jeonghans generosity and fairness as a leader and respects him as superior to himself (which is very rare for him).
  • Lee Jihoon – Employer (partially), acquaintance, housemate. Minghao doesn’t have much of an opinion of Jihoon, but respects how organised and hardworking he is.
  • Wen Junhui – Friend, housemate. Minghao is very interested in Jun since he finds his personality intriguing. He also of course, wants to get into his pants because he finds Jun very attractive. Minghao is wary of his relationship with Jun because he feels strongly towards him like Minghao did in the early stages of he and Mingyu’s relationship. He doesn’t want to accidentally ascribe love to a situation when he is unsure.
  • Hong Jisoo – housemate. Minghao dislikes Joshua and is, to an extent, scared of him due to his unpredictability and instability. He stays away from anything to do with the man.
  • Jeon Wonwoo – housemate, an acquaintance. Dislikes him vaguely. He is slightly jealous that Wonwoo has all of Mingyu’s attention.
  • Choi Seungcheol – housemate, friend. Minghao really respects Seungcheols talents and abilities, though he is not 100% sure what type of person Seungcheol is and is being careful to assume anything to early.
  • Boo Seungkwan – housemate, an acquaintance. Minghao enjoys Seungkwans light-heartedness and humour. He finds him easy to be around and also knows he is very talented.

Aliases: THE8, hao.

Legal hobbies: Exercise, sex, martial arts, dancing, singing

 

Chapter Text

22/05/2017 – Monday

“What?”

Mingyu and Wonwoo spoke simultaneously, Seungkwan’s confession boding nothing but the absolute worst for everyone, but especially for himself. He was a blubbering mess in Wonwoo’s embrace.

Mingyu and Wonwoo’s silence only made Seungkwan cry harder. “Please, you guys. You need to help me, what do I say?” His voice cracked in desperation.

Wonwoo chose to stay silent, feeling entirely out of his depth. Instead, he looked awkwardly at Mingyu for assistance.

Sighing in acceptance of his inevitable brotherly role, he took the lead on the conversation. “Okay, you need to show us the messages.”

Seungkwan hesitantly reached into his jacket pocket and wiped his tears from his cheeks before taking a deep breath, replying, “It was in person, but I ran out as soon as he said he would have to tell someone. I haven’t responded to any of the messages-oh god, I’m such an idiot, Jeonghan will have me killed! Oh fuck” He was quickly on the road to hyperventilation, so the boys moved to keep Seungkwan focused on the task at hand. Gathering around him, they looked as he selected his and Hansol’s chat and revealed the unread messages that had been pouring in for the past few hours.

[Chat created with Hansol and Seungkwan]

[5:32]

Hansol: You need to tell someone Seungkwan

Hansol: Please answer me, I’m worried about you.

Hansol: If you’re involved with some bad people, I can help

[6:01]

Hansol: Please answer me Seungkwan, I care about you. If you really don’t want me to then I won’t tell anyone but I really think you should

Hansol: You might be unsafe Kwan

Hansol: Does anyone else know?

Hansol: I promise I won’t tell anyone unless I think you are in a real danger

Hansol: You need to explain it to me Kwan

[6:14]

Hansol: I’m worried about you Kwan, please call me or come over soon.

 

Mingyu looked up, realising just how grave the situation was. Taking a deep breath, he stated, “Okay, we can sort this, none of the others have to know. We can-“

Just as Mingyu went to elaborate, the creaking of the door opening stopped him in his tracks. A deep voice radiated from the doorframe, low and dangerous. “What do we not have to know?”

Seungcheol stood leaning against the doorframe, muscles bulging against his black shirt with his arms crossed, face worryingly blank and eyes piercing.

Mingyu was quick to the rescue, putting his improvising abilities to good use but perhaps making the other two occupants in the room feel even more apprehensive. “Seungcheol! Uh… I… It really doesn’t matter…It's kinda private, actually…”

Walking further into the room and sitting on the bed next to a stunned Wonwoo and sobbing Seungkwan, Seungcheol’s eyebrow rose in distrust. “It clearly does matter if you were planning to keep it a secret from the rest of us and it’s got Seungkwan in such a state.” Turning to face Mingyu, glaring directly into his eyes, he uttered one brief word. “Spill.”

Mingyu’s face was the perfect picture of sheepish embarrassment. Almost whispering, he said: “W-Wonwoo and I are dating.”

The silence that filled the room after was like nothing any of the occupants had experienced before. Wonwoo was bright red, staring at his shoes and hoping that he would drop dead at any second. Seungkwan – also shocked by Mingyu’s apparent confession – attempted to appear slightly more composed despite his sobbing, in a desperate attempt of playing along.

Seungcheol stared back at Mingyu, unfazed. “That’s sweet and all, but tell me why Seungkwan is crying or I will find out for myself and you’ll all be in a world of pain.” His lips twitched. “Nice try though.” The last few words demonstrated that their ploy had crashed and burned.

Wonwoo was still utterly embarrassed and simply continued to avoid eye contact whilst staying silent. He absolutely didn’t want to fuck this up any more than it was.

Wetting his dry lips, Mingyu prepared for the worst. “Seungkwan told someone about this… us, but I promise we will handle it ourselves!” Hurriedly explaining the situation, Mingyu had nothing to clue him into what Seungcheol was feeling and telling him the truth was either a huge mistake or perhaps a good move. The older man sat, stone-faced. Mingyu ended his speech with a heartfelt plea. “Please Seungcheol, trust us.”

Seungcheol sat back, his arms braced behind him. He carefully eyed the men up, looking as though he was assessing their very worth. After a few painful, awful seconds ticked by, he finally responded. He whistled lowly “This is some serious shit you’ve got us in, Seungkwan.” A sob broke free from the youngest, likely beginning the cycle of tears all over again. Seungcheol sighed, the fondness for the trio their saving grace. “Fine, I won’t tell anyone. You have two days to convince whoever this is to join us, or I’ll tell Jeonghan and the next time you’ll see me I’ll be your executioner. Got it?”

The trio nodded rapidly and watched as Seungcheol left the room, closing the door behind him. His parting words were short and to the point. “Go talk to him Seungkwan – or I will.”

Whilst all three of them were attempting to wrangle their hearts back into the chests, Seungkwan had stopped sobbing and was instead staring at Wonwoo. “Are you two dating?” he asked, unable to hold his excitement at bay even during this interrogation. Wonwoo merely blushed more deeply, quickly leaving to room despite the others’ objections. There was only so much a man could take in such a short time. If he stayed in there any longer, his head would probably burst off.

Mingyu smiled when Seungkwan excitedly shifted himself, crossing his legs underneath him on his bed in the way that means ‘spill the beans’ and wiping away he remaining traces of tears.

“We aren’t dating but… we did kiss…” Mingyu murmured, the blush he was trying to suppress obvious on his cheeks.

Seungkwan sat up, his eyes glancing downwards to Mingyu’s joggers, then facepalming in realisation. “Oh my god… did I interrupt you two… Oh my god you guys were gonna…” White was quickly turning green and Mingyu rushed to explain. He did NOT want to be cleaning up Seungkwan puke from his sheets.

Mingyu shook his head immediately. “No no, Seungkwan no it’s not tha-“

“YOU GUYS WERE GONNA FUCK OH GOD – I WAS GONNA FIND YOU CUTE BUT NOW I CAN’T GET THE IMAGE OF-”

“NO SEUNGKWAN I SWEAR-”

“OF MY TWO BEST FRIENDS FUCKING UGH, I HAVE ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH WHEN SEUNGCHEOL- “

“SEUNGKWAN STOP!”

“I AM ON THE SAME FLOOR AS YOU FUCKERS – LITERALLY EW GROSS!”

It is safe to say that Mingyu spent the rest of the night trying to convince Seungkwan that Wonwoo and Mingyu were not a thing. Or at least, not a thing ‘yet’.

When Seungkwan finally left to go back to his room, Mingyu literally collapsed onto his bed. He was mentally and emotionally drained, but his thoughts wouldn’t stop wandering to Wonwoo.

Should I knock on his door? No, definitely not… I probably scared him off. I should at least message him saying sorry for outing him like that to Seungcheol though.

He couldn’t stop the memory of having Wonwoo pinned beneath him out of his head. The way it felt to be close to someone who he felt so strongly for was indescribable and it felt like so long since he had experienced it. However, his thoughts were quickly leading him down a path of inappropriateness. To distract himself -and relieve some of the tightness in his pants-, he leant over his bedside table to grab his phone.

 COFFEE!!

[23:44]

Mingyu: I’m really sorry about what I said. It was just to throw Seungcheol off our trail, didn’t work though haha J

Mingyu spent a good five minutes deciding whether he should put a heart at the end of his message. He always used to, before they fell out, but he felt that it would hold a different meaning now so decided to go with a safe emoji instead. To his surprise, his phone pinged in response only a few minutes later.

Beanie: It’s alright. Thanks for earlier, it… means a lot that you explained things to me.

Mingyu: Did I go too far?

Holding his breath, he stared at the three dots rising and falling.

Shit why did I say that oh my god I’m so stupi-

Beanie: Of course not. I kissed you, idiot.

Beanie: We should maybe do it again sometime… if you want to.

He felt certain that his eyes were deceiving him when he read Wonwoo’s response. Emboldened, Mingyu tapped away.

Mingyu: Jeon Wonwoo, are you flirting with me? ;)

Beanie: I actually hate you

Mingyu: Awww come on, I’m not that bad

Beanie: I guess not

Mingyu: I’ll prove it when you’ll give me the chance :P

Beanie: Your track record with being an asshole is pretty consistent, so you might want to work on that soon.

Mingyu: I will, I promise <3

Beanie: Night then <3

[Beanie has logged off]

[Mingyu has logged off]

CHAPTER 21 END

Chapter Text

23/05/2017 – Tuesday

I suppose I better talk to Joshua.

Jeonghan had been purposefully neglecting speaking to Joshua about what had happened at the bank. Any time they try to have a conversation, regardless of the topic, it never failed to evolve into an argument. It’d been noted by pretty much everyone that Joshua’s behaviour was getting more and more unstable – eventually it would come to a head.

Earlier in the week Jeonghan had breached the idea of talking to Joshua about his behaviour to Seungcheol. Rather than being supportive of this, he’d actually cautioned Jeonghan to try and avoid the conversation altogether. Seungcheol looked uneasy. “Jeonghan, you have to understand, if he gets back on the drugs or booze he’ll just become more dangerous.”

Jeonghan’s lips flattened into a harsh line, a heavy, hot weight sinking in his chest. Seungcheol always seemed to have a soft spot for Joshua, causing him to be almost blind to the other man’s faults. “Sorry to be blunt Seungcheol, but that isn’t my problem. He needs to know he can’t just disobey my orders; it puts everyone at risk.”

Seungcheol recognised a losing battle when he saw one. He gave in trying to convince Jeonghan to let Joshua off with his recent behaviour. As a compromise, he insisted that he should be there when Jeonghan confronted Joshua.

Today was that day. It’d been a week since their conversation and enough was enough.

Joshua’s room revealed only emptiness, so Jeonghan descended the three flights of stairs until reaching the ground floor, weaving through the various doorways until he reached the living room. When he entered, he spied Joshua camped on the sofa, nestled in a cosy little nook next to Seungcheol, both engrossed in watching a criminal documentary on TV. Jeonghan couldn’t help but notice how calm and content Joshua looked.

Looks can be deceiving.

Taking a deep, bracing breath, Jeonghan set his shoulders and cleared his throat. He captured Seungcheol’s attention first, who then nudged the man next to him and motioned to Jeonghan. “Joshua, we need to talk.”

Almost in an instant, Joshua’s open expression shuttered, his eyes closing off. His lips quirked in a slight smirk as he responded. “Do we?”

Jeonghan stood his ground, aware Joshua was trying to rile him up. He was loath to admit that it was somewhat working already. Even when Joshua wasn’t trying to be purposefully annoying, Jeonghan found that being in Joshua’s very presence caused an unexplainable annoyance to boil in him. He could feel his jaw beginning to clench, but he pulled on his considerable amount of restraint to keep a level head - he’d need that for this conversation. “You disobeyed my direct orders at the bank and because of that you put everyone in danger”, he continued, knowing that this last comment would definitely capture Joshua’s attention, “Including Elssya.”

At the mention of his dearest sister, Joshua sat up straight, his smirk and any trace of light-heartedness disappearing. His teeth gnashed together, the sound audible to Seungcheol and Jeonghan. “Do not mention my sister.”

Now beginning to pace, Jeonghan carried on talking, choosing to ignore Joshua’s rising temper. “I know what happened there Joshua, and you cannot expect to be a part of this group if you keep straying off alone and doing what you want.” He stopped in his tracks, returning Joshua’s intense stare, “especially when you haven’t got the most… refined decision making skills.”

Joshua stood up, his now-discarded blankets falling from his figure onto the couch. His eyes were wide open, likely a dangerously potent mixture of disbelief, incredulity and anger. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean!? I don’t take orders from anyone, especially not you.” The venom lacing his voice was acidic enough to burn.

Seungcheol had been visibly uncomfortable throughout the whole exchange, but he knew that if he didn’t diffuse this now then things would get a whole lot worse. He tried to tell them to calm down, but his words were going unheard by both of the other males.

Jeonghan was unmoved. “Actually, you do. You do take orders from me, and you’ll follow them if you want to remain in this group.” Jeonghan held his gaze, determined not to let Joshua win. He was the leader of this group and so help him he was going to be respected.

It was about time for Joshua to fall in line with the rest.

It was silent for a few tense, heavy seconds before the beginning strains of maniacal laughter began to echo through the room.

Joshua walked closer to Jeonghan, stopping a scant few centimetres away from him. They were now toe to toe, eye to eye. “I never asked to be in this shitty fucking group of kids in the first place, did I?”

Seungcheol had rose from the couch now as well, beginning to cross the room to the two posturing men. He knew his role in this situation was to act as mediator between his two stubborn friends. He came to a stop between them, placing a muscled forearm between them as a makeshift barrier. “Guys, let’s not do this.”

“Stay out of this, ‘cheol.” Jeonghan muttered, the adrenaline pumping through him. He knew he should back down, but just couldn’t. More than his reputation was hanging on the line here.

This has been a long time coming.

Jeonghan redirected his attention back to Joshua and inched even closer. “No, you didn’t ask for it, but I let you join despite my better judgement, apparently.” He spat.

“If you keep running this group like your fucking asshole of a brother did, you’ll end up just like him, running us all to the ground and getting yourself killed!” Joshua had now escalated to shouting, his patience clearly coming to an end.

Before Jeonghan could rationalise his actions, his hand clenched into a tight fist before he thrust it forward, sharp knuckles coming in direct contact with Joshua’s snarling mouth. Joshua staggered backwards, his arms flailing behind him at the unexpected impact, looking for a purchase for support. His mouth was red, the crimson stain beginning to drip down onto his chin. Jeonghan tried to lunge at him, growling in fury. “I am nothing like my brother!”

Seungcheol’s arms caged around Jeonghan, pulling him to his hard chest and keeping his restrained, though not without great difficulty. Between Jeonghan’s struggles to escape, Seungcheol barked out orders. “Calm down, Jeonghan!” He raised his voice further “Fuck, can someone come give me a hand in here!” He could recognise the murderous look in Joshua’s eye anywhere and he was woefully unprepared to restrain them both. Turning around with Jeonghan still struggling in his arms, Seungcheol pushed him beneath him against the wall, his broad shoulders and back facing Joshua.

He was just in time. Joshua didn’t hesitate to grab Seungcheol’s hair, yanking his neck backwards in an attempt to get to the man shielded underneath and nails digging into his shoulders.

Mingyu came running down the stairs, Wonwoo, Seungkwan and Jihoon close on his heels. Jihoon and the other two lingered at the bottom of the staircase, watching as Mingyu barged into the room. In less than a second his large hands clamped on Joshua’s shoulders, grappling him towards the kitchen. Mingyu had the upper hand when it came to size, but Joshua was too quick for him, fully lost to the intoxicating power of rage. He lowered himself and elbowed backwards, coming into contact with the unprotected area of Mingyu’s crotch, earning an agonizing yelp.

Mingyu lost his grip, hands quickly falling to cup his crotch in evident pain. “FUCK! Come- h-here.” He gasped out, fighting to regain his bearings against the sharp pain between his legs.

Seungcheol was still protecting Jeonghan, the restrained male still avidly fighting against the broader man, though far less violently than Joshua who was now attempting to get Seungcheol in a head lock. “Don’t do this Joshu-” he coughed, wrestling away from the hand around his throat. “Josh, stop!”

Mingyu, now upright again, lunged at Joshua. He was past the point of trying not to hurt him, his sole focus now on getting him in his hold and keeping him restrained.

Though he was still coughing and trying to force more air into his abused throat, Seungcheol picked up – more like dragged – Jeonghan towards the basement door. “I’m gonna take him down there to calm him down away from Joshua,” he broke off as Jeonghan made a particularly avid lunge away this time before he corralled him back against his chest, “I’ll be back up in a second to deal with Josh just- keep him there.”

Down the basement stairs they went, Seungcheol dragging Jeonghan onto a small old leather sofa pushed into the corner behind a pile of boxes. He was breathing heavily, trying to ignore the bruises that had blossomed almost immediately on his back, shoulders and neck. Once it was clear Jeonghan was calmer and would stay put, Seungcheol removed his sweat drenched shirt that was stubbornly sticking to him. “What the fuck was that Jeonghan? That isn’t like you at all.” He breathed, clearly flabbergasted.

Jeonghan ran his hands through his long hair, patting it back into a more orderly fashion, sighing deeply all the while. “I don’t understand how he knew about my brother. I’m sorry for getting violent I just-” he broke off to inhale sharply, desperately holding back the angry tears he could feel prickling in his eyes. “I just don’t like being reminded of him.”

Seungcheol sat next to him, wrapping an arm around his shoulder. Jeonghan tensed at the solid weight resting on him, not at all expecting the gesture of comfort. Being against Seungcheol’s bare, sweaty chest was definitely not what he had imagined to have been in store for this conversation.

Seungcheol’s voice was soft and understanding - again, a stark contrast from his usual no-nonsense tone. “I understand, we all have things we don’t like to be reminded of. But that includes Joshua too, alright? He’s had it really tough-”

Jeonghan flinched at his words and pulled away from him. “You think he’s the only one who’s had a shit past?! No! Stop fucking defending him, there’s no justification for how he acts!” Jeonghan growled, the stubborn tears finally falling down onto his cheeks.

Seungcheol looked to be not at all phased by Jeonghan’s outburst, only moving to tentatively wipe the tears from his cheek with a soft touch.

A few moments passed, neither man saying anything as Jeonghan’s tears kept falling and Seungcheol comforted him. Eventually his lips crooked up into a sheepish smile, a deep breath breaking the silence. “I know, I’m sorry Jeonghan. I know I’m not exactly the most… understanding person but I’m here if you need to talk about stuff.” He rubbed the back of his neck, head dipping down so that he looked up at Jeonghan through coal black eyelashes.

Gulping, Jeonghan nodded, mind flitting back to how Seungcheol had protected him with such vigour when they were upstairs. His eyes took in all of the small cuts, grazes and bruises that were scattered on his shoulders and neck and felt a pang of guilt. He didn’t have to do that… so why did he?

Not five seconds later, a loud banging, the clanging of metal and various shouts could be heard from upstairs. Seungcheol quickly jumped to hit feet, throwing a curt “stay here” behind him, then ran upstairs towards the sounds of fighting. As soon as he opened the basement door, he was met with Mingyu pulling Joshua’s right arm behind his back, attempting to remove a large, sharp kitchen knife from his possession. Joshua was shouting various profanities and twisting underneath Mingyu, clearly blinded by rage.

Seungcheol cursed. “Mingyu, let him go- let him leave!” He ran forwards to squabbling pair, pulling Mingyu backwards and away from the armed man. Joshua rose to his feet quickly and dropped the knife, not looking back once before rushing through the front door, slamming it behind him.

Mingyu was drenched in sweat, his shirt ripped from a slash on his abdomen he had received during the struggle. He jammed his fingers through his hair, pulling at the strands in frustration. “For fucks sake! I could have handled it! Why did you-”

Seungcheol interrupted him, placing a strong hand on his shoulder. “I know you could have; I don’t doubt that for a second.” He squeezed Mingyu’s shoulder in reassurance, “You did really well, he is just far too dangerous to fight.”

For a few seconds, all that could be heard was Mingyu’s panting. Soon, light footsteps descended down the stairs, Jihoon’s voice being heard before he rounded the corner. “Is everyone alright?” He queried, stopping in his tracks when he noticed the crimson beginning to saturate Mingyu’s light grey t-shirt. His lips tightened into a thin line before he whirled around. “Wonwoo, get down here!”

After seeing Seungcheol and especially Mingyu’s puzzling looks, he elaborated as to why he’d shouted up to Wonwoo of all people. “I’ve been teaching Wonwoo first aid and this would be a good time to practice.”

As if on que, Wonwoo entered the living room. One look in Mingyu’s direction and he was immediately in business mode. With eyes filled with worry, he started to give his instructions. “Ah, lay down and remove your shirt, Mingyu” he said, somewhat confidently but still tinged with concern. Jihoon was tending to Seungcheol’s wounds, but they both were watching Wonwoo and Mingyu with great amusement. Wonwoo’s cheeks were bright red and once Mingyu removed his shirt and lay on the couch, Wonwoo squared his shoulders and focused on his wounds. Although he was more than flustered to be seeing Mingyu’s toned chest, the slash on his abdomen was more than enough to keep his head firmly in his task.

After retrieving a first aid kit from a drawer in the kitchen, Wonwoo hurriedly returned to the living room. Leaning over the other man, Wonwoo drenched a cloth in sanitising alcohol. They made eye contact. “This will hurt a bit…” Wonwoo trailed off, waiting for Mingyu to give the go ahead.

Mingyu looked entirely unbothered and shrugged, hissing when the movement tugged at the cut. He remained unbothered until Wonwoo pressed the alcohol soaked cloth onto the wound, Mingyu immediately shouting in pain and writhing underneath Wonwoo’s hands in an attempt to get away. Wonwoo could only try to hold the bigger man’s shoulders down with one hand whilst trying to keep the cut covered with the cloth. After a particularly strong buck, Wonwoo gritted out a conflicted order. “Stay still!”

Mingyu was breathing heavily with his eyes screwed shut, groaning in pain and flinching each time Wonwoo moved the cloth against his abdomen. “That’s easy for you to say, you aren’t the one- Ah fuck!” he yelled again. Wonwoo looked around for anything that could help before he spotted something, reaching down to grab Mingyu’s discarded shirt from beside him. He put it in Mingyu’s mouth, both to stop Mingyu from biting into his tongue and to muffle his shouts. “You need to be quiet, people will think I’m killing you!” He turned his head to find Jihoon, “Jihoon do we have any painkillers? I don’t really want to do the stitches without them.”

A muffled “STITCHES?!” was audible from below him but Wonwoo didn’t bother glancing down. Jihoon shook his head. “I don’t think so, but I’ll go and check if our last order of them have arrived yet.” He stated before getting up, giving Seungcheol one last cursory glance over before leaving. In the meantime Wonwoo continued cleaning Mingyu’s wound, waiting until Jihoon returned with a box of painkillers and a glass of water.

“Here take two of these.” Jihoon passed him two small, white pills along with the water. Mingyu was breathing heavily, sweat dripping from his temples. The shirt was removed from his mouth momentarily to allow him to take the pills, allowing him to air his grievances. “Wish I could have had some of these BEFORE the alcohol…” he muttered bitterly, throwing a glare at Wonwoo and Jihoon before gulping them down. Wonwoo laughed. After intermittently prodding around the site of the wound to test for when the painkillers had successfully kicked in, Wonwoo retrieved the stitching supplied from the kit before starting to stitch up the gash with a meticulous hand.

A short while later, Wonwoo straightened up, his back cracking from being hunched over for so long. “Okay, sit up.” Wonwoo ordered, giving Mingyu his hand to help support him. It took patience and gentle coercing before Mingyu was upright and sitting by himself. “Now, I’ll just put this bandage on and then you’ll be all done.” Wonwoo said, smiling, then hunched back down in front of Mingyu to inspect the wound to make sure it was ready to be covered. A sly cough came from the direction of the room’s other two occupants. Immediately, Wonwoo was made awfully aware of the unfortunate positioning Mingyu and he were in. His head was perfectly in line with Mingyu’s crotch, on his knees and hunched over in front of him.

Jihoon and Seungcheol were having a bit of a laugh by themselves, but the younger men chose to ignore it though they couldn’t help the blushes rising to their cheeks. Wonwoo wrapped Mingyu’s waist and abdomen with a thick bandage then started to pack the first-aid things away.

This isn’t a weird situation Wonwoo, you’re just overthinking it. It’s only weird when you make it weird…

Once everything was cleaned and put away and he took a few minutes to will his cheeks to cool down, he returned to the living room. Jihoon looked up again at his entrance. “Well done Wonwoo, it seems you are a fast learner.” He praised. Wonwoo gave a small shy smile before throwing a last look at Mingyu, the two exchanging a soft look before he disappeared upstairs – likely to lament about how painfully awkward that had been.

Seungcheol turned his head and nodded at Mingyu. “Thanks for helping out back there, it was good of you.” Pulling himself to his feet, he patted the younger on his back, though softer than usual, before heading back downstairs into the basement, presumably to inform Jeonghan of what had happened.

Jihoon excused himself after Seungcheol left, disappearing back to wherever he spend most of him time when not needed, though not before inspecting Wonwoo’s bandage for himself, a satisfied light entering his eye at the neat work.

And so, Mingyu was left by himself, his eyes aimlessly perusing the living room. With nothing else to do and his head hazy from the painkillers, he decided a short nap was in order. He was out before his head even touched the pillow.

CHAPTER 22 END

Chapter Text

23/05/2017 – Tuesday

“Is it normal to be so flustered around him? Like… It doesn’t matter what he or I do, I just cringe because I know I’m overthinking everything, you know?” Wonwoo spoke quickly, words tripping off of his tongue and evidently still embarrassed from the events of the morning. His teeth pulled at his chapped lips, eyes looking imploringly at Seungkwan. Perched on the end of Wonwoo’s bed, his friend was staring outside of the window with empty eyes, twiddling his fingers. “You aren’t listening to me, are you?”

Seungkwan gave an automatic nod and let out a non-committal hum, then, taking the silence as a hint to contribute, he let out a vague, “That’s really cool, yeah” as a reply. Wonwoo sighed, leaning back onto his bed to rest his back against the headboard. “Seungkwan, what’s up with you? Have you spoke to Hansol yet?”

At the mention of the name of the hour, Seungkwan sat straight up, his attention successfully engaged. Despite the positive reaction, his expression was pinched in pain and anxiety. He groaned, a hand coming up to rub his forehead. “Of course not. Mingyu was going to drive me but... well, he got stabbed.” He rolled his eyes, becoming the familiar Seungkwan Wonwoo knew for a split second before his eyebrows scrunched again. He spun around to face his friend, crossing his legs. “I really don’t know what to say to him Wonwoo. I really like him and he probably hates my guts. There’s no way he’ll join us, or ever forgive me for putting him in this situation in the first place.” His eyes watered and face crumpled, tell-tale signs of impending waterworks.

Seeing this, Wonwoo stood up, gesturing for Seungkwan to follow. “We’ll ask Seungcheol, I’m sure he won’t mind.” Once out of the room, he continued speaking “But, Kwannie, you have to try to talk to him. Tell him he can have a small role, like driver or something.” Once at the top of the stairs Wonwoo hesitated, eyes locked on Mingyu’s door.

Turning to Seungkwan, he apologetically continued. “Go ask Seungcheol, I’ll see you when you get back. I’m… gonna check on Mingyu…” He trailed off sheepishly, hand already poised on the door handle. Seungkwan frowned at him, annoyance evident in his voice. “Fine, bye then.”

Once Wonwoo had disappeared into the bedroom, Seungkwan snuck on light feet until he was right up against the closed door before sneakily putting his ear against it. He couldn’t help himself, his curiosity about their relationship uncontainable. Since neither of them had really spoken to him about it, could his reaction really be helped? Besides, why shouldn’t he know, right? He was their best friend! Also, he was dying to see how Wonwoo would act in a romantic relationship since that idea was completely and utterly foreign to him.

Things were quiet at first, the only sounds being Wonwoo’s footsteps before his muffled voice became audible. “Hey… how are you doing? Is there anything I can get you?” Even through the wood of the door, the softness that saturated his voice was painfully evident and like nothing Seungkwan had ever heard from his best friend.

Mingyu’s reply was equally as soft. “Maybe a hug? Gently though, the painkillers have worn off and I’m not feeling the best.” He chuckled quietly, the pull of his stitches evidently causing him issues.

The sound of someone, presumably Wonwoo, getting on a bed reached Seungkwan’s ears. He should really move away before… he cringed, the unmistakable sounds of kissing assaulting him seconds later.

“You going somewhere?” Seungkwan ripped himself away from the door, cheeks burning at being caught. Minghao was stood a foot away from the very clearly eavesdropping Seungkwan. His expression was very serious- a stark contrast from his usual snarky smile. Ever the actor, Seungkwan tried to school his features into something less guilty. “Uh, I’m… yeah. I’ll just be going…”

In a bland, seemingly uncaring voice, Minghao asked, “Are they fucking yet? You wouldn’t have to try hard to hear Mingyu, honestly.”

Seungkwan was so, so embarrassed being trapped in this conversation, but his annoyance at Minghao’s careless comments prevented him from making a hasty exit. “I don’t think that is any of your business?” He snapped, pausing a few steps down the stairs.

Minghao merely smirked, cocking an eyebrow up in surprise. “Oh? Just like you eavesdropping on them isn’t any of your business?”

Seungkwan turned his back to Minghao and continued down the stairs, unable to give a half-decent retort and frustrated that he had been curious enough to be caught in the first place. All it had served to do was to make Seungkwan painfully envious and possibly set Mingyu and Wonwoo up for more harassment from Minghao.  

Why can’t I have that with Hansol? They’ve only liked each other for a few months and now get to spend nights with each other, kiss each other, watch movies together… It’s unfair.

Once downstairs, he spied Seungcheol in the living room with Jeonghan and Jihoon, all three taking a rare moment to relax. He felt a little guilty for breaking the quiet atmosphere, but still pressed on. The three of them looked up as he entered the room. “Seungcheol, I agreed to meet a friend today… Mingyu was going to take me but he isn’t exactly up to the task.” Seungkwan couldn’t help the slight curl of his lip or the bitterness in his voice but hoped that none of the trio would point it out.

Other than the slight narrowing of Jeonghan’s eyes, none of them mentioned anything. Seungcheol nodded, getting up to put on a coat and some shoes. Once outside, Seungkwan was hit with an uncharacteristic sense of awkwardness having to be alone in Seungcheol’s company. Seungcheol thankfully made no notion of sensing Seungkwan’s awkwardness.

After tapping directions to Hansol’s house into Seungcheol’s satnav, they drove off. Seungkwan’s mind flashed through something he could talk about, quickly stopping on the reason why it was Seungcheol taking him and not the injured Mingyu. “So, what happened with Joshua and Jeonghan earlier?”

Seungcheol sighed, clearly exhausted from the day’s events. “They just don’t get along well…” He trailed off, hands tightening of the steering wheel, “They have some personal problems, is all. You don’t need to worry about it.” He left no room for any more questions and Seungkwan got the impression that he didn’t want to talk.

Around 25 long minutes later, they arrived at Hansol’s rather impressive house. It was detached with a charming sand-blasted brick exterior situated in a nice, unassuming neighbourhood with some well-groomed shrubs planted outside in the modest front garden.

After grabbing his bag and exiting the car, Seungkwan lips rose in a wobbly smile, “Uh, you don’t have to wait, I’ll get the bus back or something.” With a curt nod, Seungcheol drove away after saying a quick goodbye.

It took a whole 10 minutes until Seungkwan had the courage to go knock on the door. Taking a deep breath, he smiled his usual blinding smile at the sound of the door opening. Hansol’s mum stood behind it, greeting him with the usual pleasantries and overly excited hugs. She was a tall woman, her blond hair falling in curls to brush her shoulders. “Oh darling, it’s so lovely to see you! Come in, come in. Hansol is just upstairs sweetie.” She practically sang, gesturing for Seungkwan to enter into the foyer and to give her his coat and shoes. Seungkwan nodded and thanked her before trekking up the familiar carpeted stairs.

A few doors down the hallway was Hansol’s room and, as usual, the door was propped open. It was painted a mustard yellow and grey colour scheme, something that Seungkwan adored. It might sound slightly garish but to him, it suited Hansol perfectly. Yellow always was Hansol’s colour.

Seungkwan popped his head through the doorway, eyes immediately focusing on the room’s sole occupant. Hansol was bobbing his head to the music blasting through his ever-present earphones, writing something into a notebook. His blonde curls were perfectly messed, some strands just long enough to brush against his eyelashes. He was dressed in a pair of baggy black basketball shorts with a dark, forest-green hoody.

Coughing and knocking both failed to bring attention to himself, so Seungkwan slipped into the room and shut the door quickly behind him. Jumping from the sudden movement in his peripheral vision, Hansol quickly put away his notebook and turned around. Once he noticed it was Seungkwan, he frowned and removed his headphones from his ears to around his neck, clearly not looking forward to the anticipated conversation.

Great start.

Wanting things to start as normal as possible, Seungkwan sat down in his usual spot at the top of Hansol’s comfy bed, the usual well-made pillow fort still there to lean on.

The only sound in the room was the music still playing through Hansol’s headphones. Taking a deep, bracing breath, Seungkwan was the first to speak. “I’m sorry for not responding to any of your messages.” He stuttered, avoiding Hansol’s gaze.

Hansol spun around on his swivel chair, carefully removing his headphones and setting them on the table. “You can’t leave me hanging like that. I was really worried about you Kwan.” Seungkwan tried his best not to smile at the nickname, hearing it now a good sign that no all was lost.

He took another deep breath, a stray thought flitting through hid mind wondering if this was how Wonwoo felt having to explain the situation to Mingyu. “I suppose you want some sort of explanation. Well, as I kinda already explained… I’m part of this, ah, criminal organization and we work together doing… illegal things to get money and to… help out people who are victims of the system at the hands of corrupt companies,” Seungkwan paused to gauge Hansol’s reaction. It seemed quite impassive but not at all angry, which was something at least. “I told you because I trust you. I’m not in danger and even if I am, this is what makes me happy. It makes me feel useful and proud of my abilities and talents, just like music does for you.”

Hansol frowned, obviously not agreeing with Seungkwan’s comparison. His voice was croaky as he spoke. “Yes, but I’m not breaking the law and harming people through my talents and abilities.” He began to get more worked up, still careful to keep his voice quiet enough to not rouse attention. “You say you aren’t in danger, but of course you are! You’re working with a bunch of criminals, how in the world is that not dangerous?” Hansol’s voice was soft and velvety even when arguing.

Seungkwan couldn’t stop the shivers from tracing up his spine. “We don’t harm people unless absolutely necessary. Besides, our agenda is to take down big selfish corporate companies who harm people. They’re criminals too, mostly, so it’s not like we’re deliberately harming innocent people.” Seungkwan tried his best not to sound defensive. It helped that he believed in what he was saying.

Hansol considered this for a moment, strong eyebrows pulled together in deep thought. “Okay, fine. Listen, I won’t tell anyone, but only because I care about you Seungkwan. I’m not happy about this at all.”

He cares for me?! Oh my GOD, am I swooning?

Seungkwan wished that was all he had to break to Hansol, but the worst was yet to come. Even thinking about what he was going to say next was enough for him to feel sick. He shifted on the bed. “Yeah… well, this probably won’t make you happy either. One of the members found out I told someone and… theysaidyouhavetojoinus.” Seungkwan rushed this last sentence, scrunching his eyes shut straight away so he didn’t have to see Hansol’s reaction.

Silence… until, “What?” Hansol breathed, his voice dangerously quiet. Seungkwan repeated himself “You have to join or he’ll… kill one or both of us. It’s the way the group works to make sure no one gets caught, I’m really sorry and usually he’s really a nice guy and-”

Hansol was stunned by this, clearly struggling to come to terms with the ramifications. Seungkwan continued, “If you don’t want to be fully immersed, we can give you an easy and less involved job. I’m sure they’ll understand.” He dared to peak up at Hansol and regretted it instantly, Hansol looked… purely flabbergasted… and frightened.

His eyes were wide, mouth opening and closing without knowing what to say. “What can I possibly do for a criminal organisation? I have nothing to offer…”

Seungkwan felt like he was the scum of the earth when confronted with Hansol’s expression. He hated that it had come to this, but most of all he hated himself for putting Hansol in this position in the first place.

Thinking of the least dangerous job he could, he had a light-bulb moment almost immediately. “You could be our getaway driver? We’ve needed one for a while since everyone who can drive is usually involved in the operations… We also could do with a courier to collect packages and stuff?” Seungkwan sucked in a quick breath through his teeth as he finished his suggestion. He hoped to all hell that Hansol would accept this. He quite frankly had to.

After a good few minutes of thoughtful, heavy silence, Hansol finally spoke. “Fine, yeah… okay. If it will keep us safe, then fine.” He still sounded scared, his tone laced with uncertainty and worry.

Seungkwan smiled but it felt more like a grimace, slipping off the bed and edging his way closer to Hansol. “Look, I’m really sorry. Like really truly sorry. I can understand if you hate me. If you want me to go, I will.”

Hansol tensed up, his eyes downcast and boring into his slate grey carpet. Not looking at Seungkwan. “Yeah, that would be best.”

Seungkwan paused, standing stock still in the middle of the room. He hadn’t expected him to actually tell him to leave. He swore he could feel his heart shrivel up inside his chest. Licking his dry lips, he jerkily nodded. “Well, I’ll text you with details. You’ll need to come meet the others tomorrow I think, so I’ll send you our address.” One last time before he made his escape, he whispered a broken, “I’m sorry, bye.”

If this is a success, I don’t want to win anymore.

CHAPTER 23 END

Chapter Text

24/05/2017 – Tuesday

For the first time in about 4 years, Jun woke up alone in an unfamiliar bed. His fiancé wasn’t radiating heat beside him, their softs breaths carrying him into a new day. Instead a loud rapping at his door shook him from his sleep. He peeled his eyelids open and craned his neck up, bleary eyes squinting in the direction of the door.

“Come on Jun, wakey wakey!” Minghao’s voice rang through the thin wood, the unexpected voice jogging his memory as to who he was with and what he was doing.

Ah yeah, I moved into the house last night after an argument with Hyojoo…

The knocks continued, only increasing in volume.

God, I wish he would stop banging.

Jun growled, ripping the covers away from his body before pulling himself out of bed and stumbling towards the door. He ripped it open, his mind still not working at full capacity so early after waking.

Minghao was stood outside his door, his blond hair shaping his face messily and flashing his ever-present smirk. As soon as Jun was fully in view Minghao did a surprised double take, eyes raking up and down. Jun, the poor dishevelled man, had opened the door in his sleeping gear and so was only clad in a pair of loose grey silk boxers. The thin layer of fabric left very little to the imagination. Whilst he would normally have much more reservations about being seen in such a state of undress in this sort of situation, he was much too cranky to care. Through gritted teeth he muttered, “Stop knocking for god’s sake, I’ve just woke up.” Jun yawned, “Give me five minutes.”

He opened the door wider and staggered back, allowing Minghao to enter the room without thinking too much about it. Minghao’s eyes were still perusing Jun’s body, a clearly appreciative – or impressed – expression plastered on his face. “Don’t worry, take your time.” His eyes didn’t leave Jun’s body for a single second.

Jun was nonplussed, brain still trying to acclimatise to being awake. After tugging on a simple tight black t-shirt and dark blue jeans combination, he fished around for his phone on the bed and checked the time. His eyes widened. “It’s like 7:30! Why did you wake me up so early?” He threw his head backwards in exasperation, long elegant neck on full display, “I only got here at like 4, I’m knackered.”

Seeing as Jun was now clothed, Minghao’s eyes had been running up and down the long, pale column of Jun’s neck. He looked up, smirking. “Rise and shine, beautiful”, he taunted. Jun rolled his eyes, pulling on some socks and trainers and then walking past his unwanted guest, out of his bedroom and down the stairs. Only when he was through the door did he allow his composed mask to reveal his frazzled embarrassment from Minghao’s unwavering, shameless stare.

I don’t think anyone has ever stared at me the way he just did…

Minghao quickly caught up with him near the stairs and together, they made their way down for breakfast in the kitchen. Jun helped himself to a few pancakes, still warm on the side. He doused them in syrup, hoping the sugar would provide a much-needed boost before sitting down at the empty kitchen table. Minghao merely grabbed an apple and seated himself across from Jun, lounging back in his chair. “So, did you have a good dream last night or were you just happy to see me?” He sniggered.

I don’t get flustered that easily.

Jun scoffed, focused on the task of cutting up his first pancake. “That doesn’t work on me, you know.” Although he sounded pretty confident to anyone listening, Jun knew that he wasn’t impervious to Minghao’s comments. Sometimes Minghao did really affect him, like at the bank for example, and the look in his eyes this morning…

As soon as he realised where his mind was heading he stopped that train of thought. Jun finished up his breakfast and cleaned up, devouring the pancakes in minutes.

Minghao followed, picking up a stack of papers from off of the table and gestured to the stairs. “Let’s get started then, come on.” Jun’s eyebrows furrowed in puzzlement, but he followed regardless. When Jeonghan said that Minghao would be training him in how to steal and use another person’s identity, he wasn’t really sure what to expect.

Noticing Jun’s confusion but willingness to follow, Minghao smiled back at him, uttering under his breath, “So willing to come into my bedroom… interesting”, just loud enough for his companion to hear. Jun sighed, but continued to follow Minghao down the hallway into Chan and Minghao’s bedroom. It was pretty plain, just two run-of-the-mill single beds placed in the centre and the wardrobe to the left. Chan wasn’t anywhere to be seen, the likely options being he was out doing his own thing, or more likely training with Seungcheol in the garden.

Jun rocked on his heels a few times and looked around, feeling foreign in someone else’s room. Wanting to get back to the task at hand, Jun spoke up. “Why are we in here? I’m not really in the mood to be playing around, if that was your plan.” His tone was mocking, his own version of brashness coming to the front to match Minghao’s.

Minghao didn’t miss this, turning to face Jun with a face plastered with mock-disappointed, the twinkle in his eye showing he was enjoying the banter. “Aw, no! That’s a shame, I was so ready to have my wicked way with you!”

A chuckle bubbled from Jun’s chest. The more time he spent in this back-and-forth, playful atmosphere, the more he was beginning to enjoy it. It was flirtatious, but not serious or heavy, which made it easy to change topic and not have to worry about the consequences of what he might say.

Sliding the door of the wardrobe open, Minghao gave the contents a quick glance before he moved back and sat cross-legged on the nearest single bed, patting the soft black duvet covers next to him in a gesture for Jun to sit. Hesitantly, Jun obliged. He couldn’t help but notice that this was the first time he had been alone with someone on a bed not intending to sleep or have sex in a long, long time.

Is it weird that I feel weird about this? Other people wouldn’t find this weird, so shouldn’t I either? I don’t. Well… it’s understandable that I feel weird since its Minghao we’re talking about. The man can’t take a breath without flirting.

Jun’s rampant train of thoughts was broken by Minghao speaking. He wished he could say that he was surprised by what came out of the younger man’s mouth, but he wasn’t. Minghao looked him dead in the eyes, something about him seeming surprisingly serious despite his characteristic lecherousness. “So…I guess this is the first time you’ve been in bed with a guy before, I bet.”

Jun’s still wasn’t willing to bite. “We aren’t ‘in’ a bed, just on it.” Jun retorted, not actually answering the question– if it could even be counted as a question.

Minghao moved to spread the sheets of paper from earlier around them face down on the bed, not pausing when he responded. “More happens ‘on’ the bed rather than ‘in’ it, it gets far too warm under all of the covers. Besides…” He looked up, “You didn’t answer my question.” He grinned, radiating smugness from catching Jun’s avoidance tactic red-handed.

He barely knows me but can get see through me so easily. How am I going to spend the day with this guy?

Jun wavered, his confidence beginning to peter out. “I don’t have to answer considering that I’ve been engaged to a woman for 3 years.” His lips thinned. “Well… was engaged.” As soon as the latter part left his lips Jun immediately regretted it. The last thing Jun wanted was more attention on him and his life. Minghao looked legitimately surprised, taken aback with this new information. Before Minghao had the chance to speak, Jun gestured to the paper. “So, what are these for?”

Please just drop it. Please. Don’t look at me like that.

Almost as though he could read his thoughts, Minghao shook his head slightly as if to get his head around the idea of Jun with a woman and looked back down at the papers scattered around them. He cleared his throat before beginning to explain. “Each piece of paper contains a person’s profile on them: a possible identity. I want you to pick one and we’ll go from there.” Jun nodded, deciding on the sheet directly to his left. He picked it up, eyes scanning the information.

 

NAME: Kam Joowon

ETHNICITY: South Korean

AGE: 57

PROFESSION: Business operations manager for LG Electronics

PERSONAL:  Heterosexual. Is married to a woman with whom he has 1 child (son) with. Has a very rich family whose father and everyone on his father’s side has worked for the same company. Big believer in traditions.

SECRETS: When he was young, he spent 6 months in a juvenile prison for sexually assaulting a peer. He actively avoids giving promotions to people of different ethnicities.

 

After reading it through a few times, Jun looked up expectantly. Minghao gestured towards the wardrobe, finally revealing why he’d left it open. “Pick out what he would wear.” He said.

Jun cautiously got up, feeling quite a bit out of his league. He’d never admit to this of course, he was prideful at the best of times but even more so when with Minghao judging his every move.

Leaning back on the bed, Minghao struck up a conversation to break silence. “So, why are you in this group? Surely you aren’t in it just to look pretty?”

Jun scowled and reached for some long, tailored brown trousers, “I do forgery.” He replied, trying not to sound defensive. Minghao nodded approvingly, remaining quiet and letting Jun get on with choosing the clothes. In the end, Jun had remained with the brown trousers and paired them with some plain, black leather work shoes, a matching brown blazer, a cream patterned tie and a white long-sleeved button-down shirt.

Minghao smiled in approval. “Looks good enough to me! Put it on, then.”

Jun blinked. Minghao was seriously expecting him to wear this – quite frankly - awful outfit? When a few seconds had passed with neither of them moving, Jun gave in with a huff. After gathering the clothes, Jun headed to the bathroom. Minghao scoffed at this, taunting him. “You act as if I hadn’t seen you 98% naked this morning!”

Jun’s voice rang loudly from the ensuite bathroom. “Maybe that’s because I don’t want to be gawked at!”

Minghao laughed. He was seriously enjoying this. “Guilty as charged!” With Jun getting changed in the bathroom, he decided that it was time for him to do some changing of his own. He’d barely finished before the door opened, signalling Jun had finished too.

Once Jun reappeared from the bathroom, Minghao was quick to survey his outfit up and down. “Looking like a 57-year-old business man. Perfect! Gotta say, doesn’t exactly flatter your figure though…” He himself had changed into a similar outfit that made Minghao’s usual rough and thug-like appearance look far more sophisticated and put-together.

Jun swallowed.

Damn, he looks good. I guess outfits really do hold a lot of power.

Jun couldn’t help but hold his head a little higher from the praise. It was his first time ever attempting something like this, so for him it felt like an achievement.

They both resumed their places back on the bed. Minghao made a gesture to his and Jun’s respective outfits “I wonder if you are the type… Are you into roleplaying?” His expression was half-serious and half-joking, so Jun was stumped. Was he seriously asking him this? Right now?

How can he go from being serious and genuinely quite nice to being really inappropriate?!

This situation would have been far easier to brush over if Jun wasn’t thinking about the question as if it was something he had to answer because… the thing is, roleplaying did happen to be one of his kinks. His cheeks flushed red as he tried to formulate a response that didn’t include telling a near total stranger his deepest, darkest secrets.

“I- uh, I’m not sure?” Jun spluttered, well and truly blowing his composed demeanour.

Minghao had expected more of a straight answer considering he was teaching Jun how to take on someone’s identity and assumed that Jun would connect the dots – apparently not. He smirked, his eyes darkening as he watched Jun fidget. “Well…That’ll be useful to know for the future…” He winked.

Jun blushed harder.

Why am I such an idiot?

The blond pulled their conversation back to the task at hand but wasn’t completely successful in wiping away his smirk. “Anyway, I’ll play the part of a business manager of another company and you have to persuade me to hand over some confidential records,” He waited until Jun gave him a nod in understanding, “Go!”

And so the two of them spent the rest of the day dressing and undressing as various types of people, from high-end business men, to homeless drug addicts. It took Jun a while to take things seriously but eventually he got into the swing of it and began flourishing. At around 6pm, they decided to leave it for the day. An exhausted Chan had already come into the room not long ago and passed out on his bed, so they chose not to disturb his slumber any further.

After dressing into their normal clothes, they headed down to the kitchen to make some food, hunger making itself known as soon as their attention was drawn back into the present.

“Clearly your strengths are in the higher-up business type area, which makes sense considering your current profession. We definitely need to work on your street knowledge though – you wouldn’t last 5 seconds.” Minghao explained.

In response, Jun hummed his agreement and entered the kitchen, eager to sate the familiar grumbles of hunger rumbling in both of their stomachs.

Mingyu was in the kitchen, contemplating the contents of the open fridge.

“Hey Mingyu!” Jun sang, almost giddily. Spending time with Minghao ended up being less of a ball ache as he’d thought it was going to be. They got to know each other and despite the constant flirting and inappropriate comments – which Jun had learned quickly to ignore – he was a nice guy, with far more of an intricate personality than people expect of him.

Mingyu muttered a ‘hey’ but upon seeing Minghao behind Jun, decided to turn back to the fridge, a frown threatening to form on his lips.

Jun felt that he owed one to Minghao, his dedication and patience with teaching him all day requiring some sort of thanks. They’d been at it for well over a normal working day and Jun wanted to repay the favour. Turning to the man behind him, he said, “You go sit down, I’ll cook something for us. Do you guys want some?” He directed the last question to Mingyu, as well as the occupants in the living room; Seungcheol, Jihoon, Jeonghan and Wonwoo. After a chorus of agreements, Mingyu made his way back to the sofa, eyeing Minghao suspiciously as if to say ‘what the fuck do you think you’re doing?’

Jun chose to ignore this, his happy mood persistent. Minghao, thankfully, didn’t comment on it either.

“Wen Junhui, a domestic god? Wow, I never would have guessed…” Minghao threw the well-meaning barb out and chuckled in Jun’s direction, leaning on the kitchen table with intention of keeping his new friend company whilst he cooked.

A wave of pride flooded Jun again, which he diligently ignored. Instead, he responded casually. “Yeah, a little. I’ll make Jajangmyeon since I’m pretty sure everyone likes that.”

Domestic god? Hell yeah!

CHAPTER 24 END.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

25/05/2017 – Thursday

Police stations had always made Seungcheol uncomfortable. Even though he’d never personally had a bad experience with the police, this unease was only logical considering his less-than legal occupation. However, the importance of this mission overruled Seungcheol’s personal reservations. Minghao and Chan were waiting outside in the car in case Seungcheol needed them, so he was stuck in this awkward atmosphere alone. It didn’t help that he was dressed in clothes that were distinctively not his own: a boring, ill-fitting brown suit enough to cover his tattoos, hair combed away from his face and glasses adorning the bridge of his nose.

He was sat impatiently outside the temporary office of a lawyer named Lee Seokmin. Seungcheol was waiting to speak to him about Minghao and Chan’s associate – the one who was injured at the bank, Kwon Soonyoung. Under normal circumstances lawyers usually stayed well away from police stations but, due to the sensitive conditions of this particular event, Seokmin had been based at the police station, presumably until Soonyoung’s case was resolved. Since the bank incident, Wonwoo had discovered that Soonyoung was considered a prime suspect and was imprisoned whilst recovering from his injury. There was little to no evidence of Soonyoung being part of the robbery, but of course the police wanted someone to blame after the ordeal.

A slow, painful 30 minutes of waiting passed with Seungcheol sat outside of the office, the time spent with police officers passing ever so often and eyeing him up with curiosity and no small amount of suspicion. Once Seokmin finally emerged from his office, Seungcheol could analyse the man for the first time himself. Seokmin was a fairly tall, lean man with sharply defined facial features. He was dressed in a very obviously expensive suit, his dark brown hair styled with a parting in the left with the majority of his hair swept over to the right, the lengths just long enough to tickle below his dark eyebrows. Seungcheol couldn’t help but think that he couldn’t have looked more like a lawyer if he tried.

Noticing Seungcheol sat outside, he gestured to his open door with long, pale fingers. “Yes, come in.” His office was large, though quite dark and messy. Books and papers were scattered all across the various surfaces, chairs and couches. The man seemed friendly enough, he thought, noticing the crinkles that appeared around his eyes when he smiled widely in welcome. 

Hesitantly, Seungcheol entered the room, mind working. How easy would it be to bribe this man? Would he do his part then leave? Would he be interested in getting more involved?

Regardless, this is gonna be a piece of cake.

He reminded himself of his role. People usually found him intimidating – understandable, of course- but that wasn’t the vibe he was going for at the moment. Missions to do with identity weren’t exactly his forte, but he’d been around the other guys long enough to pick up a few tricks.

After sitting down on the ‘guest’ side of the large desk and waiting for Seokmin to do the same on the other side, Seungcheol spoke quietly, presenting an aura of uncertainty and hesitance. “I, uh… I’m Kwon Minseo. I was wondering if maybe, you knew what was happening with my little brother? I haven’t heard from him at all and I’m worried…” He fiddled with the buttons on his brown jacket in mock nervousness, watching as Seokmin nodded and processed what he was saying.

As soon as he mentioned ‘his’ last name, he could tell Seokmin had already connected the dots. His lips twisted in pity, but he began firm. “I can’t talk about Soonyoung at the moment, I’m sorry-”

Seungcheol interrupted gently, making sure his pleads were sufficiently needy. “He wouldn’t hurt anyone Sir! He’s just misunderstood and it’s unfair that he’s getting the blame for this just because he survived!”

Hook, line and sinker.

Seokmin’s attention was quickly grabbed at his words, exactly what Seungcheol wanted.

There was a long silence. Seokmin wasn’t such a successful lawyer for no reason. His previously soft eyes had hardened and become hooded, and his head had tilted to the side in consideration. “Soonyoung doesn’t happen to have a brother, but I’m interested in how you know as much as you do.”

So, he’s smarter than he appears.

Seungcheol let the façade drop. He leaned back in the office chair, never breaking eye contact. “Look. Soonyoung had nothing to do with this and you know it. How can you let them blame the poor boy for this? Surely he’s been through enough?” Seungcheol spoke earnestly, deliberately attempting to play with Seokmin’s emotions.

Personally, he didn't care about Soonyoung. Why would he? To Seungcheol, Soonyoung was merely the end of a bargain and he was not the most thrilled to have someone so seemingly incompetent in their gang.

Appealing to the other man’s emotions was evidently the right approach. Seokmin’s expression softened and something suspiciously approaching guilt flashed briefly across his face. “Who says I’m letting them blame him? I’m his defence lawyer. My job is to protect him, even if... the system is against it.”

Seungcheol quirked his eyebrow at the younger man’s confession. “And defence lawyers aren’t supposed to be involved with handling evidence, correct?”

The heavy weight of Seungcheol’s question suffocated the room. Seokmin froze at his words, eyes widening like a deer caught in headlights. Seungcheol could only hope that his poker face was much better when he was in court.

Wonwoo was right, he has been tampering. Well, that makes this whole thing a lot easier.

Seokmin eyes flitted across Seungcheol’s face, searching his expression for something, anything, to tell him how he knew, but he was caught out and he couldn’t run from it. “Of course we aren’t supposed to handle evidence,” he responded, his voice bordering on a whisper as he continued, “but we also are supposed to protect those who don’t deserve to go to prison.”

Too easy.

Seungcheol nodded slowly, trying to hold back the smirk threatening to curl on his lips. “Soonyoung definitely doesn’t.” He leaned forward in his chain, hands bracing on his knees. “I think we can help each other here.” Seungcheol stood up, grabbing a pen and blank sheet of paper to write on from Seokmin’s desk.

After printing the digits of his mobile, he shifted the sheet of paper over to Seokmin. “Call me tomorrow at 7am, we should meet and discuss this further. Bring Soonyoung if it’s safe to do so.” He put out his hand to shake it with Seokmin, “I’m Seungcheol, by the way.” Once he had Seokmin’s hand in his, his grip tightened. Seokmin’s face screwed up in pain, the vice-grip around his hand tight enough crack a few fingers. “If you even think about mentioning any of this conversation to anyone, you’ll regret it.” He spoke, both matter-of-factly and intimidatingly.

Receiving a grimacing nod from Seokmin in response, Seungcheol left. He couldn’t leave the police station quick enough, but he made a conscious effort to appear as casual as possible as he walked out and into the fresh air of the outside world. A few blocks away and back at the car, Seungcheol regrouped with his members. Minghao was in the passenger seat with his phone glued to his face, intensely watching a video. Chan was in the backseat, scrolling absentmindedly on his phone. Once they caught sight of the approaching man, they turned from their respective activities and stared at Seungcheol as he threw open the drivers door and sat behind the wheel, anxiety evident on their expression.

“So?” Chan spoke, his enthusiasm of the possibility of being able to see his friend perhaps too obvious in his voice.

Seungcheol put on his seatbelt, firing up the car before looking in the rear-view mirror to meet Chan’s hopeful stare, smiling. “You’ll hopefully see Soonyoung tomorrow.” He carried on over the noise of Chan’s cheers, “Anyone fancy a Chinese? We could get one on the way back, I’m starving.”

Minghao laughed, the joy from Chan infectious. He just couldn’t resist the perfect opportunity for this joke. “Yeah, I have a particular one in mind that I would love to eat…”

Chan and Seungcheol groaned in response, both grossed out, though it wasn’t enough to dull the mood completely. Deciding not to strangle him, Seungcheol settled for rolling his eyes before he drove off and towards the city centre with the intention of getting dinner to bring home. “Should I warn Jun? The poor boy is so innocent he won’t see you coming.”

Minghao looked back towards Chan, his infamous smirk painted on his lips. “Oh don't worry, he'll get the hint. Besides, I’m sure he’s not as innocent as he seems…”

CHAPTER 25 END

UPDATED PROFILE – CHOI SEUNGCHEOL

  • New associate Lee Seokmin