SEOUL - GANGNAM-GU // 16 JULY // 00.43AM
I awake to the obnoxious ringing of my phone, a low groan parts from my lips as I screw my face up at the blaring ringing throughout my previously peaceful room. I try to ignore it, too comfy to move from my cocoon of cushions but the noise becomes more blatant with every strike.
Groggily, I sit up, turning to see my phone vibrating on the messy bedside table, I turn to the clock, 12.43am, what idiot calls this early? A loud sigh escapes at them not giving up; I shuffle across my bed which is now ruined from my inability to get comfy until I found my exact position which has now been rudely taken away, I doubt I'll be able to find it again. I turn my phone over; the bright white light makes my eyes twitch as they scorch the nerves at the sudden brightness illuminating my tired and puffy face. I answer:
'Gguk we need you now.'
'No time to ask questions, why did it take you so long to answer? I told you not to go to sleep!'
'I thought you said no questions hyung?'
'Shut up you child, stop trying to sound smart it doesn't sound good.'
'What do you want?'
'Yah, do you not listen or are you completely fucking stupid? Boss needs you now, get your arse here we have something important to show you. If you are not here in fifteen minutes, I am going to come to your house and put two bullets in your skull you hear me?'
'Yeah yeah, hyung I'll be there in fifteen.'
'Make it ten and on your way grab us a coffee it's going to be a long night.'
'Fine coffee, can I go now?'
'Yes, fucking hell Jeongguk get your arse over here!'
I move the phone away from my ear as he begins yelling down the line, I hang up before he can finish and I will probably get a scolding for being rude, but I don't care, hyung loves me really. I rub my eyes roughly, as I stand stars begins swimming in the room, I stumble slightly as my vision goes black and I feel lightheaded instantly. It soon passes, and I grab my trusty leather jacket with our symbol on it before heading out on my skateboard.
The street is dark, the faint sound of middle-aged men pissed beyond recognition at the taverns a couple streets down can be heard, luckily I am heading in the opposite direction. The orange-tinted lights buzz from their great height, moths dancing frantically to grab the light source with little achievement.
It's summer, so it isn't cold, but my jacket shields me from the brisk breeze that bats against my skin as I shoot down the pathways on my skateboard. The city is dead and not surprising considering it's a Thursday, many of the flats are pitch black as I roll past with ease, it's peaceful, almost too quiet for my mind and it begins to wonder. Something must be important if hyung calls me at this time, maybe they found him, probably not but my heart can't help but hope.
"You boy, what are you doing awake at this time? Don't your parents worry where you are?" An old man asks waving his walking stick in my face as I stroll along the pavement on my way to the coffee shop that's open all hours. I smile at him; he reminds me of my Grandfather, his skin sagging on his neck and arms, his eyes drawn into a thin line as he watches me closely, I walk over chuckling slightly as he notices my jacket. "Oh son, you shouldn't be tied up with those at such a tender age, don't your parents worry?" Parents, that's funny, they left years ago, I just shake my head.
"My parents don't care, sir, shouldn't you be in bed? This time of night isn't safe for old men to walk around you might get injured, don't want another hip replacement on your hands now do we?" He scoffs at my cheeky remark; a bright smile replaces his scowl making him look much younger than he is, nineties I would say. I hope I never get to that age, your body starts to hate you and I don't want to be shitting myself every five hours, with my life I'll be lucky if I live past forty. "Don't worry about me sir, I might look young, but I am actually fifty-six this September." He pierces his eyes trying to work out if I am lying, he settles with it being bullshit and pushes me slightly.
"You young man have a mouth, having a mouth will get you into trouble someday! Count yourself lucky that an old man like me has seen much worse than your gobby attitude." I laugh at him flaying his hands around, I look down at my watch 12.58, and with that comment, I say farewell and head into the store to grab five coffees.
"What took you so fucking long?" Hyung yells as I walk into the den, all four turn to look eyes wide as my skateboard clatters to the floor before rolling slightly over to one of the desks knocking an unstable pile of money onto the floor. "Nice one twat, go pick that up." He orders grabbing the coffees out of my hands and clipping me behind the ear, I mutter under my breath at how aggy he is tonight, and he loudly slurps up some caffeine sitting back in his original seat legs crossed on top of the desk.
"Some old man stopped me and decided to give me advice on reevaluating my life decisions." Hyung scoffs muttering about how pensioners these days ought to be shot for not being able to cope with the change in society. Tad extremist but that's Yoongi hyung for you. "So what's so important that you decided I need to be here?" I ask placing the stack of money back on the desk and waltzing over to where the four older men are sat.
The four of them are a picture to be seen, each portraying a very contrasting image and to this day I still find it hilarious how they even managed to find one another. Yoongi hyung is that small guy with anger issues, he's not one to underestimate, he's killed and injured more people than I can count up to and with his shadowy appearance, it is easy to understand how. He has a short fuse that only I can tip over the edge and not receive a gunshot or a quick slice of the throat from, a privileged of being the youngest I take great advantage of. He only wears black clothing with the occasional dark grey, only once have I seen him in colour on the spectrum, a bright orange jumper and oh boy it was a sight to be seen, almost had an aneurysm when he walked in.
His clothing reflects off of his platinum blonde hair, his piercing black eyes can be unnerving at times but that very rare gummy smile sticks in my head even when his expression is sour. Yoongi hyung cannot get mad at me, and I like to push him just to see, it's a fun game I recommend it, but only if you don't mind having your guts spill out of you a second later.
Next, we have Hoseok hyung, a red-haired man that's smile can affect even the blind, his patience and good nature have made him soft, well, softer compared to Yoongi. But then again Yoongi is pretty much a rock, so anything is softer than him. Hoseok although he appears to be nothing but innocence he is the most sadistic man I have ever met. He deals with those stupid men who do not pay up and will regularly come back to the den covered in blood with little to no bruises or marks on himself; he will walk down here holding his revolver or knife with the brightest smile. Sometimes I question if he is a psychopath, but he cares for me, so I don't ponder too hard. His attitude can switch from sunshine and daisies to gunfights and slaughter in a matter of seconds, that's why Boss treasures him, he is a weapon.
Namjoon hyung is next, a man just out of University and the mind behind this crew. He prides himself on his intelligence, being in the top percentage of students in Korea and the IQ of 148 has earned him a quick partnership inside, quieter than most but never the less deadly. Boss likes him; he doesn't just take on any sort of student, he saw potential and didn't miss a second to grab it. Sometimes I wonder why he let me into the inner circle, the 'gang' as outsiders say is the of the largest in Seoul and possibly even Korea as a whole all because of one man.
Kim Seokjin, a man no older than 27, by the time he was 22 he was the CEO of one of the largest companies in Korea and has worldwide recognition as one of the most influential businessmen. His Father died when he was 20 and left all his estates and money to him, no siblings and only a Mother, left Seokjin with so much power but he didn't want to keep it all to himself, how humble. His oldest friend Yoongi, his second-hand man became his business partner as soon as he rose to his CEO position. Since then the business has only increased, and on the side, he does this gang, undercover of course, just us four know who he is, and the rest of the gang know him as 'The Boss', it is vital his identity is kept a mystery otherwise the whole plan will crumble.
The man sits there calmly juxtaposing against the other three, his suit is pristine and sharp, a silk tie and his plump lips stern. Those brown orbs are carrying an emotion that separates himself from the others. Sat next to Yoongi he looks enormous, the blonde haired man slouching in his usual black attire occasionally slurping up some coffee. Namjoon sits there hands clasped together on the table, his short hair and wide-rimmed glasses, light shining on the glass and obstructing his eyes from being seen. Hoseok has his back turned away from me, but I know he is listening, not needing to see to understand what's happening.
"We called you here Jeongguk because we need your help, you're the only one who can sort this," Seokjin starts rolling the polystyrene cup between his hands as he gazes at me, his face hard but soon turns into a softer expression. He and Yoongi took me in when my family decided to run away after getting into some trouble with this gang and instead of killing me on the spot they turned me into one of theirs. They are my family now, I am one of them, and they are apart of me, they are my roots.
"What do you want me to do hyung?" I ask grabbing my own coffee, Yoongi looks at me over the rim of his own cup eyebrows raised, he only does this expression when it's something I am not going to agree with.
"You see we have run into a little bit of a situation; this boy unknowingly has taken something from us and you know we can't have that. I need you to track him down and get it back." That's obviously not the full story, but it's the most I am going to get.
"Okay, so what did he steal?" I ask hesitating slightly as I look at the other three men's faces looking somewhat on edge, Seokjin sits back in his chair clearly irritated by whatever this boy has taken.
"We believe he knows Kim." Namjoon interrupts, and my eyes shoot to him, the glimmer inside my eyes brightening and Yoongi quickly notices and burns it out.
"It's not for certain of course; we saw him talking to one of the snakes, one we believe cares for Kim or at least could know where he is." I nod silently looking down at my cup; the room falls silent for a moment.
"I want you to retrieve his phone, he lives in Mapo-gu, Hongdae, student, 21 and possibly dangerous, might have bodyguards we are not sure." Seokjin continues looking at his fingernails being very bored of the conversation.
"Only the phone Boss? Anything else?" I ask lifting an eyebrow a small smirk planting itself on my face, and he turns to look at me, his dark glossy hair reflecting in the light of the room as he takes another sip of his coffee.
"Jung give him what he needs." He lifts his index finger over to Hoseok who immediately gets up and wanders over to the secret cabinet, opening it to show an abundance of guns and other weapons, many illegal and smuggled from Russia. I eye up the Kalashnikov shining in the corner in its matte black form, but Hoseok completely skips past it and grabs a rather disappointing knife. "Cut his throat and throw him in the Han, we don't want snakes coming after us, nor do we want the media tying this to Kim." With that, he stands up and walks into the back room closely followed by Namjoon and Hoseok.
I sit there staring at the knife; I pull it out of its leather pouch to reveal it's deadly length and smile. Yoongi sighs, "remember what I told you kid, only use the knife if he fights back, if he's a coward wait until he's told you everything he knows, quick slice to the neck no need to play around."
"Hyung you pride yourself on torture why are you telling me to be quick?" He frowns standing up.
"I might pride myself on it, but that doesn't mean I want you killing random boys because they stepped a foot out of line."
I snigger, "anyone would think hyung that you don't want this snake to die." I am met with silence, and I know instantly that this boy I am going after isn't a snake. "Innocent?" I ask quietly and hyung nods, darting his eyes over to the door to see if this conversation is safe.
"Just slice his throat quickly, don't play around, he might be useful so interrogate and see if he knows Kim." Before I can reply hyung vanishes with his coffee into the room where the other three went, and I sigh leaning back on my chair, another innocent Boss wants me to take down. I have no problem with it, if they've got to die they gotta go, I won't hesitate, but I just wish they could at least have something on them, more than only being seen with a snake.
SEOUL - MAPO-GU // 17 JULY// 08.21AM
"Remember kid find as much information out from him as you can before killing, find where Kim is that's the main goal here and if that means killing a few snakes don't hesitate to use their venom against them." Hoseok reminds me as he drops me off outside this fancy apartment block, it's nothing compared to Boss's home, but it is far better than where I live that's for sure. I have been told to watch this man for a while, see if he is working for the Snakes or if he is purely collateral damage. Find Kim, Kim is the main goal, kill this man and find him that's all you have to do Gguk, find Kim.
"Hyung, how am I supposed to know what he looks like? You haven't given me anything to identify him with." Hoseok smirks at this as I lean over the passenger window to look at him, he told me to get out the car because I stink apparently, not true I showered this morning.
"Named Park, 21, University goer, possibly dangerous." Hoseok repeats getting bored of saying it to me, except that doesn't help. He sighs realising that it's not doing anything for me, "seriously Gguk we trained you for this, you'll know him when you see him if it helps he has blonde hair."
"Wow, yeah hyung really helps, blonde hair!" I scoff, but before I can object a little more, he speeds off almost flattening my foot in the process. "Fucker," I mutter under my breath as I stand in the middle of the road with my skateboard tucked tightly under my arm, I grab the pack of cigarettes in my jacket pocket alongside my lighter and light it. I look around, it's still early, and many of the flats curtains are still closed, I guess I'll have to use my brain to work out what this snake looks like.
On past experiences where the hyungs' have given me next to no information on the people I am tracking I can clock them within seconds of coming into my eyesight, they stick out like sore thumbs. Usually, they have this cocky walk which just makes them look like they have shit in their pants, many have tattoos, snakes are renowned for their tattoos most of them look like the shit you would get in Magaluf on a drunken night out.
I spot a bench and stroll towards it making sure I can still see the apartments, it's already warm today, and I am glad I decided to wear my ripped jeans just to give some air into my poor legs, Seoul's weather is ridiculous sometimes. This is going to be a long one I can feel it but it's a Friday, and this Park definitely will have lessons some point in the day.
Sometimes I wish I went to University, I didn't even get to graduate High School, I was in my third year when my parents vanished, Yoongi hyung tried to make me go back to school after they took me in, but I refused. I would much rather have learnt a hundred ways to torture a man than Pythagoras theorem. I might seem dumb but I know things, I am trained, I can kill without hesitation, I can hack without difficulty, I can interrogate without slipping up, and I most certainly can spot a snake when I see one.
I suppose I should explain precisely what we are, the gang is the most significant underground business spread across Korea, Seokjin knows how to keep hidden, his business above ground works in Business and Estate as such, he owns a third of all public buildings across Seoul, from small things like libraries to shopping malls to banks and even the National Police Agency. The truth is, Seokjin is a con man, a brilliant one at that. Kim Seokjin the CEO of Seoul, that's his title, his Father was the Sheriff of Seoul's Police Force and fought in the Navy for twenty years alongside the US military - a powerful man with a godly son. He's in the public eye continuously, and you can ask anyone across Korea, they will know this mans name and they will praise him for his generous heart and loving nature.
He basically plays one massive game of monopoly and trust me; he isn't going to go bankrupt.
Fools play really, Seokjin or The Boss controls the largest underground gang, in fact, 1 in 3 boys in Seoul will have some link to our gang. We rule 16 of the 25 districts of Seoul, Gangnam being the epicentre of our power, being the countries financial and banking hub, Seokjin lets say has made deals with the devil to get where we are. Our name is feared, and our symbol is engraved into the minds of every single person in Korea, a seemingly innocent creature now riddled with violence and superiority. An Eagle, she soars above the clouds roaming above all others, towering over us humans and ultimately killing all snakes that slither into her land, a merciless killer of the sky. Each member of the gang has a small symbol (small in the means of a circle within the gang- the larger the symbol, the higher the rank) of the Eagle swooping and clawing at the serpent in her grasp, a clear message that any and all snakes will be terminated.
Hwang-geumbich nalgae (Golden Wings) is our official gang name, but we are mainly just called Sasin (Reaper) for our prominence in the killings of many 'important' figures, of course, none can be criminally linked back to us, but everyone knows it's us.
The outer circle of Hwang-geumbich nalgae deals with petty crimes, drugs, robbery and arson you know the stuff a twelve-year-old could do. The middle ring is the weaponry and fraud but also run the pornography sector and escorts, they work alongside men doing inside jobs allowing access to every single business we need, stealing from accounts and bringing down the big boys in power whilst Seokjin stays at the top. You know how gangs work, I don't need to explain it, everyone and their Grandma's know what gangs do.
Now the inner circle, five of us. We control the whole thing, Namjoon hacks and bookkeeping, the brains behind every heist and attack. Yoongi does field work, an advocate of death and bribery alongside Hoseok who as well as kills people for a living is the messenger, nothing goes on in this city without Hoseok knowing about it, having mice everywhere sniffing out the scent of snakes. Then there's me, the assassin, I killed my first man when I was fifteen, now eighteen turning nineteen this September, this Park man will be my 87th killing. Yoongi hyung claims to have killed over two hundred men or at least damaged them beyond repair.
"Have you clocked him yet?"
"No hyung, no one has stepped outside the apartments yet."
"Be careful if he is a snake he will be hiding from you."
"Can't hide from me if I don't know what he looks like to even stalk him."
"Hoseok hyung didn't give you a detailed description huh?"
"No all he told me was this fucker has blonde hair."
"I'll be kind; his first name is Jimin, 21-"
"If someone tells me this twat is 21 one more time I'm going to flip!"
"Alright chill, I will send you a photo of him now, Hoseok already has a folder on the snake."
"Hoseok hyung is such a fucking pervert I swear."
"Might want to refrain from saying that kid, he'll come after you for that."
"Namjoon, I could get away with sleeping with a snake they love me that much."
"Wouldn't joke about that either kid, if Boss hears you saying that shit-"
"Yeah, yeah I know, get me kicked out."
"Worse than that Gguk, you'd be fucking dead within seconds."
"Anyway, just send me a photo of this prick so I can get it over with and go home, fucking an hour away and I have no clue what the fuck this place is."
"I don't know you're acting like you've never been to Mapo-gu before, we rule it Gguk even if the snakes like to think they do. Anyway, I'll send the folder over now, don't tell Hoseok I helped you he specifically said to let you suffer."
"Starting to think hyung hates me."
"Worse, he loves you."
"Yeah, that's not something I want."
"Alright kid, get back to stalking."
"It's what I do best hyung, go back to hacking a bank or the FBI or whatever the fuck you do."
I don't know what this Park does other than University, but surely lessons start before this current time? I've been sat on this bench for hours, so long my arse has gone numb more times than I care to count and I frequently have to shuffle uncomfortably just to alleviate some of the rock hardness against my sore backside. Many people have walked, driven and stared at me, I must say I probably look weird, a teenager sat here instead of being in school probably rings alarm bells in many of the residents here, but one thing for certain no bloody blonde haired snake has appeared.
Namjoon hyung sent me a photo of him; he looks serious, a strong jawline and these piercing brown eyes as he was talking to a masked snake just up there on the fourth floor outside Apartment 58. Maybe I should go investigate? Perhaps the fucker isn't in, and Hoseok has set me up on a wild goose chase? I roll my skateboard side to side tediously under my feet to get rid of my crippling boredom, I've almost run out of fags, and if I don't eat something soon, I might die.
What a fucking waste of time, if we got Kim I wouldn't be sat here shitting my life away. I am about to curse my Boss into hell for making me sit here all fucking day when I notice some movement, I shift to sit up correctly on the bench my spine clicking painfully against the hardwood, but I am too busy watching the snake to care.
There he is, blonde haired fucking 21-year-old Park Jimin, in all his glory. I slowly take my last cigarette as I watch the man stroll mindlessly down the steps of each floor until he reaches the ground level and pauses. He's texting, a broad smile plastered on his face and he embarrassingly moves his hand to cover his mouth to stop himself laughing out loud, not that there is anyone around apart from me.
He isn't exactly dressed like a snake; a large khaki coloured bomber jacket with different embroidered patches on them and a large black hoodie underneath. A bad choice considering how hot it is today, I watch him stroll down the street on the opposite side eyes still glued to his phone, if he isn't careful he's going to knock into something.
I wait until he's further down the street before I move to follow, I quickly text Hoseok to tell him I have him in my line of vision:
'Eyes on Snake, talons preparing to strike.'
The boy doesn't seem to be in any rush, and I think he has only looked up from his phone twice to make sure he is going the right way. He stops at the crossing and shoves the phone into his back pocket carelessly; I can easily skate past and snatch it. I shake the idea out of my head, it's too busy, and someone will notice. Thankfully, he isn't going far and stops off at the nearest convenience store, a great place to grab some food and a new pack of fags because I have run out.
I wait until he is inside before I walk over casually, skateboard locked under my arm once again and as I open the door the bell rings but of course no one pays attention. I spot him over at the drinks, but he is texting still. This kid is never off that god damn phone it's a shame I'll have to take it from his loving hands, won't be needing it much though not with him being dead and all that with his feet concreted to the bottom of the river. I keep my head low spotting the CCTV camera, and it's annoying green flashing light as it scours over every inch of the tiny shop.
I grab a bag of seaweed chips and an apple, a strange combination if I say so myself, but I am trying to keep my distance from the boy, if he notices me then my plan might be ruined. I slowly walk towards the counter, the young girl behind the desk smacking a wad of gum in her mouth obnoxiously as she runs her eyes over me. I place the food on the checkout and ask for a pack of Camels her eyes perk up at me smoking for some strange reason.
"Why you not in school?" She asks taking far too long, I look at her irritated just by her eagerness to talk to me, she evidently has a thing for me, not to be cocky but she's practically swooning. Not my type anyway. I quickly turn to notice the man moving towards us and my eyes shoot back to the girl.
"Can you just hurry up, I have places to be," I snap and she instantly gets back to her job mumbling under her breath that she was just being polite. I sigh, "sorry didn't mean to snap, girlfriend just broke up with me. I'm just a little cautious around girls now." The biggest lie of my life but she instantly cracks a smile as the cogs start ticking.
"Here have my number, if you ever need some help getting over that girlfriend hit me up." She attempts to do a seductive hand through the hair as she puffs her chest out slightly, I watch blankly before grinning flatly as she hands me my bag and her number. Then my phone vibrates in my pocket:
'Change of plan, befriend the snake he's important, grab him and bring him to the nest Boss wants him.'
I curse under my breath before turning to the man stood patiently on his phone for me to move along so he can buy his drink. "I'll come back tomorrow, what time does your shift end?" I ask, and he lifts his head slightly at me making a move on this girl much to her delight. "Unless you can't wait and I'll just come on your break." A breathy laugh comes from the man as he watches the girl swoon in my fingertips, I lean over the desk to whisper in her ear; "always wanted to see what's in a store cupboard" and she blushes crimson in seconds with a small giggle.
She nods, "Justin, that's cute, foreign." The boy behind coughs slightly and I return my attention to him.
"Oh, sorry mate," I move out the way for him to pay which takes seconds and before I know it he's exiting the shop, the sharp ring of the bell as the door closes. I quickly wink at the girl before jolting out of the shop not expecting to see him standing there with a grin on his face gazing straight at me. He's shorter than I pictured, less harsh looking as well, he reminds me of a kitten, he just isn't intimidating in the slightest, and I have no idea how Boss seems to think he's essential.
"Do you always hit on girls like that?" His voice is lower than I imagined too, he crosses his arms with a giant smile on his face that crescents his eyes, normally the men I kill are not so, cute. I shake my head walking away from him a little, and I do not expect him to follow but he does, he's making this too easy.
"No, usually they hit on me." He scoffs as he walks alongside and I laugh with him. I shuffle my bag into the hand of my other and reach out to shake his, he looks at it unsure but shakes none the less. His hands are firm, and as I gaze into his eyes, I feel a pang of guilt for what I am about to do. "Jeongguk" I introduce myself, and he furrows his eyebrows in confusion.
"I thought your name was Justin?" He asks puzzled as I let go of his hand and snigger walking alongside him again.
"I'm not about to give random girls my name; they might track me down."
"Why did you tell me your name then? How do I know you're not lying about that being your name too?"
I whip out my id card, and he inspects it, with a loud hmm he hands it back, "I told you my name because we are going to be friends."
He smiles at this and gives a breathy laugh once again. "Jimin," he tells me brightly, and I nod pretending I didn't already know that. "So how come you're not in school? You must be that age? High School?" I shake my head, and he frowns.
"I don't go to school, I work." He nods with a little 'oh' which is kind of cute, but we are going to skip past that. I quickly text Hoseok.
'Snake in talons, swoop and grab.'
It won't be long until we are picked up, or at least I'll be picked up, and he'll be tied up, better than a bullet in the skull.
"How old are you? You can't be older than me."
"I'm fifty-six this September," I tell him with a serious face, and he turns to look at me with an 'o' expression, he scans my face and body trying to find out if I am lying but I just end up laughing and his eyes scowl at me.
"See you lied, that ID is fake!" He playfully hits my arm, and I pant for air from my laughing fit. "You are a child; only children lie like that!"
"I'm eighteen Jimin," I say recovering from my giggles and wiping the corners of my eyes. "Nineteen this September."
"Exactly my point, a child." I stop at the entrance of a road feeling my phone vibrate, Jimin stops alongside me drinking his iced tea. "So if you don't go to school, where do you work?" He asks as I pull my phone out to have a look.
'Target in sight stay there.'
I look up at him with a smile, "I work in business" I say, and he lifts his eyebrows pondering most definitely if that's a lie. "I'm one of the best businessmen in Seoul, maybe even Korea- cut that the world!" I laugh enthusiastically, and he rolls his eyes.
"Now that is a lie, you probably work behind a bar or something, no maybe construction or something considering your body." I lift an eyebrow with a playful grin, and he scoffs again.
"My body Jimin?" I tease, and he turns slightly, so he doesn't have to look at my smug face.
"I meant you obviously work out, don't get your hopes up that I am like all the girls you so desperately want to sleep with." I laugh at his defensiveness.
"I know what you meant I was just playing. No, I am a businessman." I hear the van coming, and he turns to look at me again asking what kind of business and I move towards him more just to make sure he can't slip through and get away. He looks up at me intrigued, and I smile, "Sasin." His eyes instantly widen and glaze over, and before he can even compute to run away he is pulled into the back of a van and gagged, he puts up a fight, but one knock to the head from one of the men puts the rest of the ride to ease.
"Good job Gguk, I thought he would've been harder to crack than that," Hoseok says as I sit in the passenger seat next to him, a cruel smile on his face as he drives away. I just sit there staring out the window eating my chips, Jimin seems kind enough, I don't think he is a snake, but if he's been seen with one then he is now in the Snake's pit except the Eagle grabbed him, and now he is never being let go. I just brought him to his death.
SEOUL - GANGNAM-GU // 15.01PM
"So what changed? Why is he suddenly important?" I ask Yoongi as Hoseok ties the limp body of Jimin to a metal chair in the middle of one of the nests back rooms. His mouth from being knocked unconscious is slack, and his plump lips create a sort of pout, he looks peaceful except for the extensive bruise forming on his left temple. Although if it's anything to do with Yoongi and Hoseok that swelling won't be the only one left on him.
"Boss seems to believe he knows more than we first thought, a background check showed he's cousins with Adder." My eyes shoot open as I turn to Yoongi, Adder, the known boss of the other rival gang, baem gumeong (Snake Pit) but we just call them snakes because that's what they are.
The gang is less known in the business world but are highly recognized in the underground game for drugs, pornography and gang-related crimes; they have a sex ring which is just uncivilised. Adder is known to the Police, due to Jin's friendship with the Police we are never on their radar as such but Adder and his thugs are, continuously killing and leaving sloppy marks everywhere. Their motto literally is “No use hiding in bushes when there are snakes around.” It's safe to say every Sasin hates snakes, we are better at everything they do, and they just run amuck killing for fun and raping for profit, Adder needs a bullet in his head, and Seokjin is now one step closer to finding the bastard.
"Do you think he knows anything about Kim?" I ask quietly staring at the boy in the chair, Hoseok stands over him trying to suss out any weak spots they can snare onto and get answers. "I mean if he's cousins with Adder then surely he would know about Kim?"
Yoongi looks at me uncertain, "like I said he's just a cousin, we don't even know if he knows that Adder is Adder. Boss wants us to make sure before we chuck him in the Han." I nod, wouldn't surprise me if Jimin didn't know what his cousin is, their group is highly secretive, and no family members know anything about what their sons and even daughters get up to during the day.
Just take Boss, for example, his Mother has no idea that he owns an Empire underground, he truly is in my eyes the superior, he looks after these cities, cleans them up, cares for the children and provides jobs for the adults. Sure, we kill, rob and sell drugs but without us, without us Sasins' the city would fall into the hands of snakes, and that would be the doom of all men.
"Should we wake him up and find out?" Hoseok asks grinning at us both, he naturally found a weak spot and is eager to get to work. I step forward making sure Jimin's gaze as soon as he wakes up lands on mine, a familiar face will somewhat comfort him more than having Yoongi's ugly trap staring into his, I know that would give me a heart attack after being knocked out for two hours. Hoseok chucks water over him, and Jimin instantly jolts upright yelping and panting for air like he had been deprived the whole time he was out.
His eyes latch onto mine as he tries to work out what the fuck is happening. "Hello Jimin," I say kindly, and he doesn't reply, I move forward a little, "it's alright, we just want to ask you some questions okay?" Again, no reply. He probably needs a moment to take in everything, discover where he is, acknowledge he's tied up and most certainly realise he's going to die.
"You lied to me," he says trying to pull his hands out of the bondages Hoseok made sure were so tight it's probably pinching his tanned skin. "You said you were a businessman, not a crow!" He snaps angrily, and I just stand there, Hoseok and Yoongi stand up and walk towards him slightly, Jimin watches them. "What do you want from me? I don't have anything to tell you, so your questions are wasted." I nod, I knew he would say that they all say that before the torture begins.
"But we think you do," I start, I move forward, and he looks up at me his breathing hard. "Your cousin Jimin, what's his name?" His face sinks instantly as he begins to understand what's brought him here, a sense of disappointment hits me, I didn't want him to have anything to do with the snakes, I wanted him to be innocent for the sake of my conscience and for the fact that he's the first one I have met where I haven't instantly wanted to slice their throat. He doesn't seem like the type to be a deceitful serpent.
"My cousin?" He questions dumbly, and Yoongi steps up, this isn't going to be pleasant.
"Adder," he snaps, and Jimin turns to look at him, brows furrowed as he pretends he doesn't know who that is. "Your cousin is Adder, isn't it? Where is he?" Jimin shrugs pouting slightly, I am kind of glad he isn't as weak as I first thought, but that's bad when Yoongi and Hoseok are finished, Jimin won't even be able to lift a finger in the air either through not having any fingers left or because he is dead, maybe both.
"I don't have a cousin called Adder? What sort of name is Adder?" Jimin questions shaking his head, Yoongi frowns clenching his fists tight, the colour of his skin beginning to become red with anger and Hoseok silently walks over to the cabinet to grab a knife. Jimin watches his breath hitching slightly at the sight of a blade dancing off the few beams of sunlight blazing through the windows.
"Now Jimin, we can do this the easy way or the hard way, I know I would prefer the easy way. I guess you know what Sasins do to people who don't cooperate?" I ask as Hoseok runs his index over the blunt side of the blade a grin so sadistic it even makes my stomach tighten. "My friend Hoseok here will only cut you if you lie to us, so don't lie Jimin, I don't want you to get hurt." My voice is genuine; I don't want him to get hurt if the situation was different I feel like we could have been friends if he wasn't a snake and I wasn't an Eagle.
"I told you I don't know an Adder." Hoseok steps forward and grabs Jimin's head violently; a loud cry falls from Jimin's lips as Hoseok begins cutting the skin behind the back of his right ear, blood pouring steadily down his neck.
"We will make this easier; you tell us where Adder is, and I promise my friend won't skin you alive okay?" Jimin spits, the saliva landing on Yoongi's shoe and the man turns crimson, lunging forward and punching him straight in the jaw so hard the chair topples onto the concrete floor with a hefty thump.
"Tell us where Adder is!" Yoongi spits pulling Jimin back up by yanking at his hoodie's collar. "You're going to die either way so best not do it in vain, snake." Jimin chuckles, the outline of hyung's fist sits prominently on his jaw, but he seems unaffected.
"Snake, that's funny," Hoseok steps forward again and grabs Jimin's hand, he begins twisting the point of the blade into the tip Jimin's middle finger, and Jimin lets out an almighty cry of pain, tears falling down his cheeks as he squirms to get loose. "Ow! Please! I swear I don't know anything, Kwan doesn't tell me anything please!" Hoseok stops at the name.
"Kwan?" Jimin realises he slipped up, we now know Adder's real name, oh this is good. I jump up from the desk I perched myself on and walk over to the man wriggling in pain as blood drips onto the floor, his fingers twitching at the deep gaping hole.
"Jimin where is Kwan?" I ask softly, and he looks up at me tears falling, he shakes his head whimpering.
"I can't tell you, please; I don't know anything!" He begs but Hoseok grabs his hand again and this time digs into his thumb, he kicks out yelling painfully, and I lift a hand to stop hyung for a second.
"Let me talk to him," I say, and both hyungs fall back ready to strike again if need be. I stand there for a moment watching the rich red blood trickle out of his now limp hand; he's shaking slightly. I walk over to the desk and grab a bottle of water, I walk back over to him, and he watches unsure. I indicate for him to lift his head so I can give him some water, "I'm not going to hurt you," I softly speak, and he tilts his head back slightly so I can hydrate him. Hoseok and Yoongi turn and look at each other, giving the same look.
"Gguk," Yoongi starts, but I hold a hand up to let me do this, torture isn't going to get it out of him.
"I'm going to ask you something Jimin. I promise they won't hurt you if you tell me the truth okay?" He gives a small nod, an innocent nod, one that complies because he is beyond terrified and I feel sorry. This isn't good, I shouldn't have sympathy for a snake, but there's something about this boy that sits uneasily in my stomach, I don't want to see him hurt. "Your cousin, he has someone we need," Jimin shakes his head telling me instantly that he doesn't know anything, "just let me finish? That someone is important to us, someone very special and he took him. I have reason to believe you do know something Jimin; you know where he is don't you?" He shakes his head hard, whimpering once more.
"Please, I don't know anything I swear!"
"Kim." His eyes go full, and he gulps loudly a painful gulp, he begins shaking his head again.
"I don't know anything I swear."
I sigh lifting his head up and looking directly at him, "if you know where Kim is Jimin, please tell me, that man-"
"Jeongguk that's enough" Hoseok snaps and walks forward dragging me away, but I jolt back away from his grip.
"No! He knows where Kim is! I can't fucking sleep at night knowing he is out there and should be with me!" Jimin freezes mouth open in shock, Hoseok and Yoongi both stare dazedly. A silence falls over the room only the tap of blood falling and his heavy breathing hindering complete and utter muteness.
"Gguk go!" Yoongi directs sternly pointing at the door, "if he knows where Kim is we will find out." I turn to look back at the boy.
"I don't want you to kill him," I say and all eyes land on me in disbelief.
"It's not up to you if we kill him or not, it's Boss's decision."
"What just like it was his decision to take Kim away from me?"
Silence once again, this time it's uncomfortable, and I watch Yoongi's face twists into anger.
"Kim was not our fault; it was Adder, this snake Gguk knows where he is, we will find Kim."
"Beijing," a small voice croaks and we all turn, I blink heavily trying to work out if he really did speak or if my mind is playing tricks on me. "He's in Beijing." My heart begins to pound in my chest, my lungs become tight, and I collapse to the ground on my knees in front of Jimin, the man stares back at me gulping hard. "Adder is in Beijing, a business trip to get more women." All three of us listen, Hoseok quickly grabs a notepad to write this all down. "He's left Boa in charge, they moved lairs, settling away from Seoul when your gang overtook their district, they plan to bomb the City Fate, kill that CEO and take power, they want control over idols entirely." Hoseok's eyes attach onto Jimin, I can see his face turning sour unsure if to believe the boy.
"Seokjin?" he asks and Jimin nods biting his bottom lip, "when?"
"I don't know, he said they have insiders within his business keeping tabs on him, please I don't know anything else." I turn to look at Yoongi who nods, I get up and grab the first aid kit. "They did say something about Kim," he says sheepishly, and I turn back to look at him, "Taehyung right?" My lungs fail after hearing him say his name; I took to calling him Kim to make it less personal, to not let him vanishing effect me as much.
"Yeah, Taehyung," I say just above a whisper, pools of memories come crashing over my mind, and I feel faint. He's alive.
"Where is Taehyung?" Hoseok asks bitterly, and Jimin doesn't even look at him as he replies, just keeps his eyes fixed on me.
"With Cobra." My heart sinks, Cobra alongside Adder is the most dangerous, he has a reputation to be disgustingly angry and possessive, if Kim is with him, there is little to no chance we are getting anywhere near him. "I don't know where! Adder doesn't tell me much, please, that's all I know."
Yoongi nods believing him, "if that's all he knows then Hoseok." I stand up as Hoseok grabs the gun.
"No!" I yell yanking hyung's hand away with the gun directed at Jimin; the man quivers knowing he doesn't have much time left. "Hyung, don't! We can use him; he's close to Adder, let's use him as a spy!" They think this over.
"How do we know he won't snitch?" I turn to look at Jimin, his eyes brimming with abhorrence, I turn back to face Yoongi.
"Because I'll be with him, I'll take him under my wing; I'll show him why we are the best. We can get Kim if we use him, please hyung. I'll make him a Sasin." Yoongi nods at Hoseok to disarm the gun, and I feel a weight lift off of my shoulders at the click of the safety being put back on.
"Fine, but if he steps a single foot out of line, I will shoot you in the head and make him watch." I know that is a promise he will abide by, he's killed men in our gang before, those who become too drunk on the idea of power. "You're explaining to Boss though why this fucker isn't dead." I nod understanding.
"Thank you hyung, Jimin will become one of us." I turn to look back at the boy, his face cold and eyes stick to mine like shards of glass in the flesh, I give a small smile, and he instantly turns away.
"Keep him here, train him, fucking beat him until he understands that snakes can't escape an eagles claw." Yoongi gets up and leaves, closely followed by the footsteps of Hoseok and the door heavily clangs shut, and I am left with the silence of this terrified man in front of me. This could be a mistake, but if it gets me Taehyung, it's worth every inch of misery I have suffered not knowing where he is.
SEOUL - GANGNAM-GU // 20.45PM
I am called to the Boss's head office, and I already know what's going to be said. Yoongi hyung has remained wary that we did not fulfil the Boss's plan, but I think it's going to create a better outcome than just killing him straight away. The building is silent, clean and looks like a general office (that's what it is), bodyguards riddle the hallways and as I step in the receptionist nods her head for me to go through. My footsteps echo on the stairs, and I hum gently to myself to avoid my thoughts overtaking. Kim is alive.
I reach the top floor, I've been here many times in the past, Seokjin allows the four of us to be shown in his normal life because none of our names or faces is known to the Public. We have code names, like the snakes but less, fucking stupid. I am just known as Sniper, Namjoon is Brain, Yoongi is Shadow and Hoseok is Slasher. Those names bring fear, not fucking Adder or Cobra.
I knock on the door and wait for the mumble of 'enter', I open to see Seokjin standing and looking out at Seoul through his magnificent skyline window. "You called me hyung?" I ask, and he turns to face me his face stern, but I continue to smile. His clothes are the usual beyond expensive pristine suit, but his tie has been flung over the chair and has the first two buttons undone, his broad shoulders tensing.
"Sit down Gguk," he instructs, and I quickly comply by taking a seat at his desk, watching him hold a glass of whiskey, he looks troubled.
"Something the matter Boss?" I ask rubbing the back of my neck as his eyes connect with mine; he isn't happy I can tell. From years of knowing how far to push him I've learnt every single emotion, this emotion he is expressing is repressed annoyance, and if I am not careful he will chuck that whiskey glass at me, and he will not miss.
"Gguk why isn't the man I asked you to kill dead? Did I stutter? Did I not make my intentions clear to you?" Straight in there, that's another thing I've learnt and taken to doing myself, no bullshit or messing around, dive straight into the problem and don't pitter-patter around it. Seokjin does that very well; he is a busy man who doesn't need to be kept waiting for stupid games or unimportant chat.
"No Boss you didn't stutter. Park is going to help us bring down baem gumeong."
"How exactly?" This voice is wavering, and I can tell he's mad.
"I am going to train him hyung, teach him the ways of a Sasin and use him as a spy against his own cousin. Kill Adder, get Kim and get rid of him after. Use the snake's venom against them hyung, that's what you always tell me, this is some pretty fucking strong venom!" His gaze is stern, a little unnerving but I know his bark is worse than his bite.
"Fine train him, he's your responsibility now, if he snitches you'll be punished, he could destroy this whole plan you do know that right?" I nod, I understand it very much, and that's why I am going to protect and befriend Jimin to make sure he is loyal. "See if he will tell you anything else, I want to know as much as I can about this Kwan. Train him and then bring him to me, if he doesn't meet my standards or I think he will in any way ruin the plan I will shoot him on site and then you, I want nothing but loyalty do you understand that?"
"Yes hyung, I understand."
"Good, now go train him." I nod standing up and walking towards the door.
"We are going to get him back hyung, I know it." With that I leave, not knowing where Kim is has riddled our minds every waking moment and even in our dreams, he was, is, the most special person in my life. We have a bond. I don't want to say what he was to me because it's something I hold close to my chest, but we were more than friends. I guess I love him; I don't really know, what I do know is that I feel fucking empty without him and I need him back, it's been too long, six fucking months of not a single hint at where he is. It's driven me insane, and now Jimin is going to help me get him back, if I have to battle fucking 5000 warriors and trek across the world I will do it in a heartbeat to see Taehyung again, I'd do anything for him.
"Good evening," I say opening the nest's door to find Jimin sat on the floor in a hunched position as Hoseok sits in the corner twisting the knife with its leather covering on his knee. Jimin looks at me slightly before placing his head back on his own knees. "I brought food, I don't know what you like, but hyung had some leftover kimchi jjigae and pork." At those words, his eyes connect with mine but still no sign of wanting anything to do with it.
"Hyung would you like some?" I ask Hoseok who in a slick movement twirls the knife into his pocket and comes over, I spoon some into a bowl for him, and he heads into the back room humming to himself. I make a dish for him and for myself, I stand there for a second thinking about what I am going to say, he must be terrified.
I decide sitting next to him isn't the best option so I slide the bowl over to him in case he changes his mind to eat. "How is your hand?" I ask, and his look is cold searing through my soul, and I nod, I deserve that. "Hyung cleaned them up well I hope, I don't want your wounds to get infected."
"Why are you doing this? I am not even a snake; I am just a normal boy, I have a degree to get!" He snaps releasing his compressed anger alongside his legs that were tightly drawn against his chest. I let him get it out, "I understand you hate snakes, they hate you just as much, but I am innocent, I told you everything why can't you let me go?" I shake my head munching on the kimchi before answering.
"You know we can't let you go, you know our faces, and you are related to the gang leader, we are not stupid Jimin." He lifts his gaze from mine and onto the food, "eat, I'm not going to kill you." His glare stares right back at me again, and I feel like it's going to take longer than I thought to befriend him.
"I wish you would kill me; I am no use to you."
"You are, you're going to be very important Jimin. Boss wants me to train you, make you a Sasin, treat you like one of our own. I am responsible for you, if you slip up so do I in their eyes, they hurt you they hurt me, we are now a pair. You are going to help me get Kim back." Jimin ponders on this finally taking the bowl and nibbling at its contents slightly.
"How did you know I was related to Kwan?"
"Brain did a background check on you."
"Brain?" I nod, "is that his real name?"
"No, Namjoon is his real name, the men that hurt you are my hyungs, Shadow and Slasher." Jimin snorts.
"Those names are stupid."
I laugh with him, "yeah I know, that's why I call them by their names usually, those are just the names the gang know them by, Sasins are secretive Jimin we don't flaunt around like snakes."
"What's your name?" He asks seemingly more comfortable now which I am pleased about; I don't do well with awkward situations like that, not when I don't have a motive to kill them.
"Sniper." His eyes widen, "heard of me?"
"But Kwan always told me Sniper was old, not a nineteen-year-old idiot!" I would snigger at that, "boy if he knew."
"He isn't going to find out." Jimin nods understanding the severity of the situation.
"What about Kim? What was his name?" I stop for a moment, the rush of memories flooding back in and I can hear his laugh. "What happened to him? Why do you want him back so bad?"
I lift my head to look at him, a flurry of emotions taking over my body and I feel my breath becoming shorter and my eyes welling up, but I laugh it off. Jimin just sits there with a sympathetic look in his eyes waiting for my reply. "His name was Ghost; he taught me everything I know just like I am going to teach you. He's a good man, if I am honest I don't know what happened, Boss sent him out on a mission with twenty other men to take down one of the snake's sex pits, and he never came back. Up until you came along we didn't know if he was dead or alive. We had inklings that he was still alive but because on the recovery mission we found all twenty men dead we just assumed Kim was gone too. But like his name, he vanished, we never found his body."
"Why do you want him back so bad? It sounds like he betrayed you." Those words don't sit comfortably with me, and I shake my head violently trying to bat the words away but they are there now, seeping into my brain and there goes my chance of sleep for the next two nights.
"Kim wouldn't betray us; we are his family, he wouldn't betray me, he-" I stop myself from talking feeling like I have let too much out already and Jimin doesn't question more which I am thankful for.
"Did you get in trouble for keeping me alive?" He asks thankfully changing the subject, and I laugh.
"Not really, the hyung's can't get mad at me; I'm the youngest in the gang, so they all have a soft spot for me." Jimin nods, "They are not always that violent, they are good people. Hoseok hyung might come across as a psychopath, but he's a ball of sunshine really, same for Yoongi hyung he just has a hard time expressing emotions. You'll get on well with Namjoon I can tell. You'll be part of the family in no time as long as you follow my rules."
"What are those rules?" he asks tucking into the kimchi once more.
"You have to follow everything I say, to be a Sasin you need to be able to listen, you need endurance and strength mentally and physically, you cannot show the enemy you have weaknesses, cry on the inside if needed. It will be tough; I will have to strip you of everything you have, you will no longer be the Jimin you are now, you will become a ruthless killer that can strike at any moment." Jimin sniggers just finding it hilarious, "it's not funny!" I say trying to hold back my own giggles, but his face just looks so funny and cute when he smiles. I didn't just say that.
"We will begin training in the morning, you'll be living here from now on, I'll go to your apartment if you want and get you anything you need, but I can't let you leave not until I know I have your loyalty." Jimin nods continuing to eat, "I think we are going to be good partners Jimin, I don't want to see you hurt and that might make me fucking soft or idiotic, but I like you, you remind me of Kim."
"I'll try and not disappoint you Jeongguk, I understand my fate, to be honest, I don't really like my cousin that much he's an asshole who always picked on me when I was younger because he's older and bigger. I want to help you get your friend back." Those words bring comfort to my soul, and I smile knowing that for now Jimin is being compliant and it's my chance to turn him into a Sasin, when I am done this cute and friendly man will be a brutal killing machine. A true Eagle.