Seoul in early spring is beautiful. The wind is cold, but the sun is bright during the day and the light reflecting off the skyscrapers is almost blinding.
Even now, at two in the morning, the neon glares through Jin's tinted car windows. He parks in front of the building his GPS directs him to, ignoring the no parking signs, and quickly gets out, striding across the pavement. In the dark, the cold seems more bitter, and he wraps his coat around himself a little tighter, belting it closed.
The building he's going towards isn't quite as large, only four stories tall, the logo of the company - 'Big Hit Entertainment'- writ large above the door. It's been a while since Jin's been to an idol company. Back in the day, before he'd settled on his current career, he'd had a few offers, a few different scouts who had put in bids for him, but he'd never got beyond staring at the business card thoughtfully.
It's strange that he's going to an idol company now, he thinks, as he steps through the automatic doors, looking around the lobby. It's clearly well after the public hours, with many of the lights off, and the faint sound of a vacuum cleaner coming from deeper into the building.
It's a large, open plan kind of lobby, a receptionist behind a desk and modular, trendy couches scattered around in bright green and orange. There's a man standing by the desk wearing a vague imitation of business wear- the button up shirt could probably pass for professional, but it’s under a hoodie and he’s wearing ripped up skinny jeans that show little flashes of thigh. The two have got their heads bent together, chatting, and they're both pretty enough that Jin wonders if all the employees are scouted for their looks, not just the idols.
Jin walks over, business shoes clicking on the tile, and offers the two a smile. He knows it’s charming, but the receptionist is a professional and doesn’t flush or get flustered.
"Kim Seokjin," he introduces himself, and the man straightens, offering him his own smile. Unlike the receptionist, he goes a little pink when Jin leans in closer, letting his smile go warm.
"Ah, right. I'm Kim Namjoon, I'm a production assistant here," he introduces himself with a polite bow, "I've been assigned to assist you with the...uh...thing."
That's one way to put it. He’s heard stranger ways to refer to murder.
Namjoon and his colleague, who's name tag reads Park Jiyoo, quickly issue Jin with a guest pass on a black cable lanyard, which he's advised to keep visible at all times.
"We've had some stalking problems with a few of our members in the past. None of our current groups, thankfully," Namjoon says, tucking his hands in his pockets, "and although I'm sure nobody would suspect you of being a rabid fan, we need to be alert."
"So, when I spoke with Bang Sihyuk-ssi, he advised me that you were the most useful man in the company to have with me for this investigation," Jin says slowly, "why would he say that?"
Namjoon grins wryly as the elevator arrives, and he ushers Jin inside.
"I'd like to be helpful. A man's dead, after all." He hits the button for the third floor, and some tinny music plays as the lift rises. "It's very sad."
He actually sounds sad, Jin notes, not just like he's just saying what he's expected to say. In Jin's experience as a detective, most people don't actually mean it when they say things like that. Interesting.
"Did you know the victim?" Jin asks, and Namjoon nods.
"Kim Hyunmoo is- uh, was- my superior," he says, "I'm a production assistant, as I said, and he's- he was- one of my main bosses."
Jin hums, pulling a notebook from his pocket. He has a few notes already, things that his superior passed along to him on his way over to Big Hit. "And Hyunmoo-ssi was the main producer for Big Hit's soon-to-debut group, is that right?"
"Yes, him and Suga-PDnim," Namjoon nods, "they've been working together on the album for the last month or so. I know everyone’s very excited. The group’s been through a lot of permutations, and they’re finally debuting after a very long training period."
"Who spent the most time with Hyunmoo-ssi?"
"Well, me," Namjoon says, ticking people off on his fingers, "Suga-PDnim, J-Hope-Choreonim, our rookies- that's Tae, Jimin, and Jungkook- and...hm, that's it, really. Hyunmoo-hyung was a very private person, for a music producer."
Jin's already writing the names down.
"I'll need to speak with them. Nobody leaves this building without my permission, you understand?"
"It's after hours, nobody can leave without Jiyoo buzzing them out, or their I.D. badge being registered," Namjoon says, and Jin nods.
"That's good, at least."
The elevator dings, and the doors open on another grey and white corridor with several doors coming off it. On one side, there’s a frosted glass door labelled 'GENIUS LAB' with a number pad next to it, and on the other side, a solid door labelled 'MOO MOO STUDIO'.
Namjoon immediately hushes, heading over to 'MOO MOO STUDIO', and presses a few buttons on the keypad next to it. The corridor is pristine, Jin notices, the carpet recently cleaned and the lights polished, and the doors have been wiped clean too. He hopes not too recently- surely the cleaning staff would know better than to wash a door that’s part of an active crime scene?
"Bang-PDnim has asked that this stays under wraps," Namjoon advises, as he opens the door, and Jin nods. He gets a lot of jobs like this- ever since he helped solve a murder at a fashion show in one of his first cases, his boss has been using him as a discreet detective for high profile victims. A lot of crime happens to the rich and famous- passions run high when there are millions on the line- and Jin has accidentally developed a reputation as the celebrity problem solver. He looks good, he solves crime, he wears a lot of nice suits and goes undercover on film sets- he's halfway to living a K-drama at this point, and solving a midnight murder in an idol factory is more of the same, really.
The studio inside is small- smaller than Jin would have thought, the majority of the space taken up by a large computer desk with multiple monitors and lots of weird audio peripherals Jin doesn't recognise. There's a photo frame, face down on the carpet, and a dead body in the computer chair. It's bloody, which is surprising. Jin tends to see more asphyxiations and poisonings, rather than bloody murders, but whoever killed Kim Hyunmoo had wanted him gone, and gone horrifically. He doesn’t flinch, looking at the blood painting the corpse’s face, splashed over his torso and dripping on the carpet, but it’s a close thing. The killer has smeared blood down Hyunmoo’s chin, painting his lips crimson so it looks like he’s been drinking the stuff. There’s a reason for it, Jin is sure, but he needs more information before he’ll be able to put together what that reason is.
"Your forensics people have already been through," Namjoon says, as Jin picks through the remnants of what had once been an expensive looking set of shelves, trophies and bric-a-brac now ground into the blood-damp carpet. "They said that you can touch what you want for now, and the coroner will be by in-"
He checks his watch- it's a nice watch, Jin notices. Maybe too nice for a low level assistant?- and hums. "About twenty minutes? To take...uh. The body."
Jin nods, and stoops over to look at the corpse a little more closely.
He was stabbed, multiple times. There are little bits of- oh god, is that an organ? Just...out? In the air?
Jin goes kind of green and looks away.
That's about enough of that, he decides. There are forensics people for this kind of thing, he's here to figure out who did the killing and why, not how it was done.
"What do you think happened?" Namjoon asks, and Jin darts a look over at him. He's hovering in the doorway, almost unwilling to cross the threshold, but he doesn't look too disturbed, for all his genuine emotion earlier.
"Well, he got murdered," Jin says, and Namjoon rolls his eyes. "Why, is there something I'm missing?"
Namjoon shrugs, but his gaze rakes over the office. Jin's not a big fan of amateur detectives, but Namjoon isn't actually disturbing anything, and he’s meant to be helping, supposedly.
"Hyunmoo-hyung doesn't usually stay this late. He likes regular hours, like a salaryman. Usually Suga-PDnim is the only one working."
"But you said that-" Jin pulls out his notebook again, flipping through. "J-Hope, yourself, and your rookie team are all here tonight?"
"The rookies are debuting in less than a week," Namjoon explains, "so they're putting in extra hours, and J-Hope is good enough to do those extra hours with them, to make sure they're perfect for their first performance."
Jin nods, writing that down too.
"I'll need to speak with all of you individually," Jin says, "regarding what you've done today. I'll also need access to the CCTV in the building-"
"Ah, Soekjin-ssi," Namjoon interrupts, "the CCTV in here and Genius Lab are inactive for copyright reasons. If a rival company could get access to the tapes and steal our tracks, it would be bad for business."
"...the other CCTV cameras, then," Jin continues, trying not to show his frustration. Entertainment groups are terrible in such a wide variety of ways, and this was one he hadn't expected.
"But, you were saying before, if I had any ideas?" Namjoon half asks, scratching his cheek. "I was just wondering if you'd noticed that his computer is still on, even though the monitors are smashed?"
Jin blinks, and turns back to the computer desk.
Sure enough, a little green light is glowing on the tower, on then off, on then off.
"...I'm starting to see why Bang Sihyuk-ssi loaned you to me," Jin says, and Namjoon goes a little pink at the ears, looking away.
"That, and I make an excellent cup of coffee," he says, crossing his arms. Jin takes the opportunity to look Namjoon over with a more professional eye. He’s tall, but kind of noodly, not strong enough to hold Hyunmoo down and stab him multiple times. Still, that doesn’t disqualify him- he knew the victim, and could have surprised him. Once a guy is actively being stabbed, they tend to be in shock, less likely to fight back. He looks up a little higher, and Namjoon has turned back to face him. They meet eyes- Namjoon has very nice eyes, dark and tilted up at the corners like he's smiling, an interesting shape that draws Jin's eyes. He doesn't have double lids, but he's handsome all the same, and Jin wonders if he's wearing circle lenses, because his eyes look bigger than most.
The pink on his cheeks is very cute, and it gets more obvious the longer they stare. If this were a different situation, Jin would say he wants to know how far down that blush goes. As it is, Namjoon may well have murdered the guy lying dead in the computer chair, less than two metres away, so Jin has to be cool.
A gentle chime sounds from the hall, and Namjoon looks away first.
"That'll be Jiyoo. The coroner's probably here."
It is the coroner, and he lets out a lot of judging whistle noises as he and his assistant remove the body.
"I'll have more for you later, detective, but from what I see now-" he hums, "three stab wounds with an impromptu weapon of some kind. They're not regular enough to be from a knife- you're looking for something a little more unusual here. I'd say if you find the weapon, you'll be well on your way to finding the murderer."
"Time of death?" Jin asks, and the coroner shrugs.
"Maybe two hours ago- around ten." He and his assistant wheel the body past, "I'll know more once we get him on the slab."
"Call me directly, okay?" Jin says, "nobody's leaving this building until we know who did it."
"Why?" asks the assistant, and Jin rolls his eyes.
"Because right now it's a closed environment," Namjoon explains from the corner, "once we're let out of the building, Seokjin-ssi would have to keep an eye on eight different people and hope for the best. Right now, everything's fresh. There's been no time to hide anything, and no time to run."
The coroner, the assistant, and Jin all turn to look at Namjoon, clearly surprised, and the dark haired man crosses his arms defensively.
"It's just logic," he says. "I'm going to go make some coffee. Do you want a cup, Seokjin-ssi?"
"Ah, sure. Milk and two sugars," Jin says, and watches Namjoon stalk out of the room, clearly a little harried.
"He did it," the coroner's assistant says, and the coroner slaps him on the back of the head. "I'm just saying! He's got secret evil genius vibes!"
"Or secret regular genius vibes," Jin says, looking at Namjoon's now empty corner. "I get the feeling I need to know more about what kind of man Kim Hyunmoo is," he says, prowling over.
There's a photo on the wall that Namjoon's body had been obscuring. Six men- boys, really- standing around a living Kim Hyunmoo, all dressed in hip hop fashion that was popular five years ago. They're clearly an idol group- or maybe a rap group? Is there a difference? Jin ponders briefly- and clearly Hyunmoo is their producer. They're all smiling, except for a worried looking guy in the middle with an unfortunate looking permed mohawk, one of Hyunmoo's hands on his shoulder.
There's another boy with Hyunmoo's hand on his shoulder, and he's got a bit of a side eye aimed at Hyunmoo, particularly how he's touching Namjoon, and Jin takes the photo off the wall, hoping for a caption on the back. There is one, thankfully- 2011, Kim Taehyung, Park Jimin, Min Yoongi, Kim Hyunmoo, Kim Namjoon, Jeon Hoseok, Jeong Jungkook- and underneath, scribbled out, are some awkward characters. Jin squints at them, but whoever was wielding the sharpie to block them out had done too good a job. The only thing left identifiable is a shakily drawn kaomoji throwing a pleased thumbs up.
"Your coffee, Seokjin-ssi."
Jin jumps slightly and slips the frame into his jacket, then turns around to see Namjoon presenting him with a mug.
"Did you find anything?"
"Only more questions," Jin says, because he is trying to stay cool, and Namjoon's eyes on him are making him feel very uncool. It sounds like the kind of line a mysterious detective would say to his attractive temporary assistant, and Jin nods to himself. Good save.
"Like what? Maybe I can help," Namjoon offers, "that's why I'm here, after all."
"What would you usually be doing at this hour?" Jin asks, taking a sip from his coffee.
"Filing for Hyunmoo-hyung, or making coffee," Namjoon shrugs, "maybe some writing, if Suga-PDnim has time for me."
"Suga-PDnim is the other regular producer here, right?"
"Mm," Namjoon nods, "there are some others, like Slow Rabbit-PDnim, but they usually work more regular hours, during the day. Suga-hyu-uh, PDnim, he prefers working late nights."
Jin nods. Why is Namjoon pretending he and the other producer are more distant? Some kind of collusion, maybe? He doesn’t want to think that way, Namjoon seems like a genuinely nice person, but he has to keep his options open and his mind clear. Unless it’s not a collusion type of secret relationship, but a romantic one? Either way, Jin needs to know. Romantic entanglements often lead to murder, from Jin’s experience. Maybe this Suga-PDnim got sick of Kim Hyunmoo monopolising Namjoon’s time, and killed him for it?
Jin taps on the desk thoughtfully, and looks down at the open notebook on the table. It's a diary, open to today's date, and there are multiple notes on it. Hyunmoo had a busy schedule, and each appointment is neatly crossed out. The handwriting looks slightly familiar, and Jin looks down at his guest pass, with his name written in Namjoon's handwriting.
Apparently Hyungmoo had been using his production assistant as a personal assistant, too.
"Who's Min Yoongi?" Jin asks casually, pulling a nitrile glove from his jacket and using it to pick up the diary.
"Ah, that's Suga-PDnim," Namjoon says, taking a sip from his own mug. "Did you want to talk to him first?"
Jin nods, "Yeah. And let the lady downstairs-"
"Yeah, let her know that there are going to be some more forensics people coming by."
While the original team stopped in just long enough to seal the scene, Jin knows there's more evidence here than they could have caught with a twenty minute sweep. Instead, they'll have sent their photos and sketches over to a specialist team who are probably already en route. Jin is already itching to poke and prod into the office, but he knows that first, he needs to let forensics do their job, so he ushers Namjoon out and locks the door again.
"Sure, we have intercoms on every level," Namjoon says, and heads over to a wall phone to place a call down to the front desk.
Jin already feels like he's missing something, and he's been here less than half an hour. There’s a big, tangled up history here, and he doesn’t have time to pick it apart gently. Big Hit Entertainment is meant to be debuting a group in less than a week, they can't afford a scandal, and Jin has been told, in no uncertain terms, that by eight thirty, when the front doors are meant to open, he needs to ensure that they can open, and there won't be a murderer waiting on the inside.
"You said there are seven people in the building right now, didn't you?"
"Seven staff members," Namjoon corrects him, "we have three night cleaners here, as well."
Oh good. Ten suspects, now.
Jin's night is getting easier and easier.
"Alright," he says slowly. "We need a computer monitor, to see what Hyunmoo was looking at when he was killed. I need an office I can work in, and I want to speak with Min Yoongi-ssi first."
"Ah, right away, Seokjin-ssi!" Namjoon bobs a polite bow and heads towards another door. "I'll get you a monitor and an office- Suga-PDnim is in there," he points at the door labelled 'GENIUS LAB', and Jin turns to look at it. There's a little bear face on the door, part of the vinyl cling that's been applied, and Jin wonders what kind of person Min Yoongi is. How he went from being a member of an idol group with Namjoon to becoming one of the most popular producers of the last five years. Even Jin, who doesn't care for hip hop, has heard of Suga.
"Call me hyung," Jin waves a hand, still staring at the door. "We're going to be solving a murder together, right? We're going to get close pretty fast."
Namjoon smiles at him over his shoulder, and Jin wants to touch his face, right at the corner of his eyes where they’re crinkling so cutely.
"Sure, hyung. I'm sure we'll be very close by the end of the night."
The door opens when Jin rings the bell, revealing a tired looking man around his age with fluffy black hair. He's draped in a blanket with a cartoon bear on it, and he blinks at Jin like he's a tap dancing orangutan rather than a handsome young man- utterly confused by his presence.
"You're Min Yoongi?" Jin asks. He's already decided he's not going to use stage names. Interrogations need to put people off balance, and not using their nicknames will help with that.
"Yeah," says the fluffy haired man, who shuffles back a few steps to let him in. "You aren’t a rookie, are you?”
“No,” Jin says. It’s not the first time he’s been mistaken for an idol, and he’s sure it won’t be the last.
Min Yoongi blinks at him slowly, “You're the detective then, huh?"
"Kim Seokjin," Jin says, nodding to him and moving over to the couch.
Yoongi's studio is far more friendly looking than MOO MOO STUDIO had been. It's painted in a frosty white, and it still has plenty of mysterious audio equipment, but his shelves have cute figurines, rather than ranks of awards, and the only conceit to his ego is a jersey with his stage name - SUGA- that he has slung over his computer chair. Not that there are no awards in the studio- there are a few tasteful plaques hung next to the couch showing his golden records, and there's an artistic looking glass sculpture on his desk, all jagged edges and graceful curves, with a little bronze plaque at the bottom that Jin can't read at this distance- but it's still a lot more restrained than MOO MOO STUDIOS shrine to Kim Hyunmoo.
When Jin sits down on the couch, though, he's immediately uncomfortable, and has to dig a lap desk, a macbook, a notebook, and three pens out from under him before the cushion settles normally.
"Aish, that kid," Yoongi shakes his head, taking a seat on the computer chair, "I tell him to clean up. I'm not his mother."
"That kid?" Jin asks, flipping open his notebook and taking one of the pens to write notes with.
"Joon-ah," Yoongi says, wrapping the blanket around him a little more firmly and propping his chin on his hand. "So, what do you want to ask me?"
"Just some routine questions," Jin says, summoning a smile. "Where you were when the murder happened, your relationship with the victim, that kind of thing. You've seen Law and Order, right? Stuff like that."
"I have an alibi, you know." Yoongi says, watching him closely. His dark eyes are opaque, and Jin feels a bit like he's being watched by a cobra. He doesn't blink enough, and he moves with a cold torpor, like a refrigerated reptile.
"Mm. I was doing a V-Live for the studio, showing how to make a trap beat. It's a stupid concept of Hyunmoo's, but management is all over it," Yoongi sighs, running a hand over his hair, "so I've got about five thousand witnesses to my movements between nine thirty and ten thirty."
"How do you know when you need the alibi for?" Jin asks, tilting his head on one side, and Yoongi blinks.
He's so sleepy looking, it's difficult to tell if he's feeling any emotions.
"I don't, but I have one for then, so I might as well offer it. Why, when did he die?"
"About ten," Jin admits, flipping open his notebook. "But first, I do have some other questions. I want to get an idea about the kind of person Kim Hyunmoo was. Was he well liked?"
Yoongi runs a hand over his hair.
"Generally? Yes. By me? No. I thought he was an asshole, pretty much the moment we met."
"And when was that?"
"Ages ago," Yoongi flips a hand, "2012-ish? When I was a trainee. He did a lot of production for us, before I decided that production was where I wanted to be. He didn't like me after that."
He looks slightly smug at that.
"Why not? Bad blood between the two of you?"
"Yeah, as I said, I thought he was an asshole, ever since- well, ever since we met, pretty much." Yoongi shakes his head, "I took a lot of joy out of stealing his artists, once I got big enough for it to be possible. But I didn't kill the dude. It's not my style."
Jin gets the feeling that Yoongi is more the sort of person to fill your sugar shaker with salt, or steal all your left socks, rather than the sort of person to stab a guy multiple times. He's just too sleepy to work up a murderous rage.
"Ever since..." Jin trails off leadingly, and Yoongi crosses his arms.
"Since what happened with Namjoon. He had a really bright future, before Kim Hyunfuckhead came along."
"Care to elaborate?" Jin asks, jotting down that Min Yoongi really fucking hated Kim Hyunmoo. He’d originally come in with the idea that each of the ten people in this building had equal likelihood of being the murderer, but this guy was quickly disabusing that notion.
"Not really." Yoongi says. "Care to have a relevant question?"
"Can you account for your whereabouts between ten o'clock and twelve o'clock on March 14th?"
"I was on V-Live earlier, as I said, and then I was working. Namjoon was with me from about ten thirty until eleven, when he went to go do his usual work, and then I was alone, but I have time stamps on my work showing I was at my desk," Yoongi drawls, eyes mostly closed and unimpressed with Jin's presence.
"I'll need you to supply those files for our department," Jin says, standing up and flipping his notebook closed.
"Sure," Yoongi waves a hand, "I've heard we're on lockdown tonight, is that right?"
"Who told you?"
"Joon-ah," Yoongi drawls, "he tells me everything." He looks Jin up and down, almost disdainful in his apathy, "Bear that in mind."
With that, he turns his chair back to his computer, a clear dismissal, and Jin grits his teeth.
"That's right. You won't be able to leave the building until either those doors open at eight, or I arrest the killer."
"Good luck with that," Yoongi says, and Jin wants to say he sounds insincere, but honestly, he sounds exactly the same as he has through the entire conversation- kind of cold, mostly sleepy, entirely unimpressed.
He doesn't want to jump to conclusions after a single conversation, but Jin is already fairly certain he's found their killer.
He's got motive, at least. That's one out of three- if he can prove means and opportunity, he may actually get to go to bed before the sun comes up.
When he steps outside, Namjoon is waiting, gnawing on his bottom lip as he types on his phone.
"Did you get the monitor?"
"Yeah, it's all plugged in, I was just waiting for you, hyung." He stands up properly from where he's leaning on the wall, falls into step with Jin as he makes his way back towards MOO MOO STUDIOS. "Did Suga-PDnim give you anything helpful?"
"Just the knowledge that if Kim Hyunmoo had been set on fire, Min Yoongi wouldn't have pissed on him to put him out," Jin says frankly, and Namjoon stifles a laugh behind one hand. He's got dimples. Suspected murderers shouldn't have dimples, Jin thinks. It's unfair.
At least with Min Yoongi around, he can move Namjoon down on the list of possible murderers. From an equal ten percent down to like, an eight.
As they walk down the corridors, a cleaner passes them- she's about their age, with her hair pulled up in a bun, a mask covering most of her face- and Namjoon stops in front of her.
"Hey, are you new?" He smiles at her, and she goes a little pink. Jin can sympathise. "I don't think I've seen you here before."
"Ah, no. Yes. I mean, yes, I'm, uh, I'm new," she stutters, and Namjoon nods. "This is my first shift..."
"Have you been added to the general staff alert yet? Just, you're going to need to be interviewed, and if you're new..."
"What's your name?" Jin adds, as the cleaner shifts her weight, hands tight on the trolley handles.
"Oh, um. It's Lee Ha-Eun, detective-ssi," she bobs into a bow awkwardly, "Um. I know that Park Hae-Won said that we're all to be scheduled in for interviews, but I don't know when."
"It's not a great welcome to the company," Namjoon says sympathetically, and Ha-Eun looks away, face a concerning shade of red. "Welcome anyway.”
She squeaks, clutching a cleaning towel to her chest, and Namjoon smiles, warm and friendly enough that even though it isn’t aimed at him, Jin feels his own heart go a little soft, “Well, I guess I'll see you later."
"I-I-I hope so!" she blurts out, and flees down the corridor, pushing the trolley at speed. They watch her flee for a moment, and Namjoon shrugs, pulling out a key from his hoodie.
"Hm. That was weird," Jin says, stroking his chin.
"She barely looked at me," Jin explains, as Namjoon goes to unlock the door.
“It’s already open,” Namjoon blinks, “that’s weird, I’d swear I locked it…”
They walk through the door into whatever office Namjoon has scavenged up for him. It's small, even more so than the other producer studios, and a computer desk takes up most of the space. There's a single shelf, with a spiky glass award like the one on Yoongi's desk, and a couple of bear figures, and two chairs have been crammed up to the desk, where Hyunmoo's computer tower is sitting.
“Do you usually lock this door?”
“No. I guess I just forgot to,” Namjoon shrugs, tucking the key away. “Anyway, is that weird? That she didn’t look at you?"
"Look at me," Jin says, gesturing to his face, "everyone looks at me. I get scouted like once a month. I'm beautiful. She didn't even notice."
"It's okay, hyung," Namjoon says, clearly trying to restrain a smile, "I think you're beautiful, even if Lee Ha-Eun doesn't."
"Everyone thinks I'm beautiful," Jin says mulishly, taking a seat at the desk. "Anyway, fire it up."
"Right!" Namjoon agrees, and leans over the desk to connect a couple of cables. Jin notices that his skinny jeans are indeed, very skinny, and then very carefully stops noticing it, instead turning to look around the office.
It's painted a warm beige, and there's an air conditioner going, high up on the wall. From how small it is, Jin is guessing that the air conditioner is a very important feature in the windowless space. Even with it blowing at full strength, it's warm in here, and Jin throws his trench coat over the back of one of the chairs, leaving him in his crisp navy suit. Rather than a couch like the ones in GENIUS LAB and MOO MOO STUDIOS, this office can only fit an armchair, which has an oversized plushy of a weird looking black and white rabbit like figure in a basketball jersey. Jin picks it up, flips it over- on the back, the jersey reads RAP MONSTER, and he wonders if it’s part of a sticker pack on Kakao or something.
"It's not turning on," Namjoon says, sounding troubled. "Seokjin-hyung, come have a look-"
"Jin-hyung, not Seokjin-hyung," Jin corrects him, and comes over to look at the computer, putting the plushy back down. He’d picked up the nickname in college, and it feels weird hearing his full name now, like he’s in trouble.
"Jin-hyung," Namjoon says, edging over so they're pressed shoulder to shoulder, warmth leaking through his hoodie into Jin's blazer clad side. "It looks like something's been removed from the tower."
Jin doesn't know a lot about computers, but as Namjoon nimbly pulls the side panel off the tower, he's pretty sure they're not meant to look like that.
"Oh, I see," Jin says, nodding. He does not see. He hopes Namjoon explains, so he can pretend he knew the whole time.
"They took the memory," Namjoon half-gasps, "and the motherboard, too. This might as well be a paperweight."
"Those are some damn big papers," Jin says, looking at the tower, which is about the same size as his torso. Video/audio production computers are not for the faint of heart, and the removed memory boards would be too big to hide on your person, larger than an A4 paper at least. “You guys get some serious wind in here, huh?”
"It's a turn of phrase, hyung-"
"I know, I was making a joke to cut the tension," Jin replies, and Namjoon shakes his head. He's close enough that his hair brushes against Jin's cheek, and he decides to remove himself from the situation before he decides to do something stupid like lean over and tuck the stray hair behind Namjoon’s ear like a romcom heroine.
Instead, he paces. "Now, I'd hate to sound rude, Namjoon, but you're the only one who's had access to the tower since it was removed from Kim Hyunmoo's office."
Sadly, Namjoon is edging back up to his ten percent murder possibility from before.
"Are you saying I sabotaged it? Hyunmoo-hyung was my mentor, I wouldn't do that! I want to find out who killed him, and why!" Namjoon looks upset, but he gathers himself quickly, chin jutting out as he sets his jaw. "I had to leave the tower here to go get the monitor and let your forensics guys in, anyway. It's all on camera, there's CCTV in the halls."
"Not in here?"
"No, it was meant to be a production studio, but, uh. Some stuff happened, you know?" Namjoon shrugs, crossing his arms. "Anyway, you can see me go to I.T. to pick up the monitor, and go down to the lobby to let your team in."
"Why didn't the receptionist let them in?"
"She was in the bathroom," Namjoon says, "and when she's not at the desk, any calls get routed to this room phone." He points at the phone next to the door, exactly like the one in the corridor he'd used to call down earlier.
"Why this room phone?" Jin presses, and Namjoon sticks his hands in his pockets, shoulders rising defensively.
"I do a lot of work in here, and I tend to be free to help," Namjoon shrugs again, "I might as well take the calls. It's not interrupting anything."
"If there's CCTV in all the corridors, we should be able to see who came in while you were out," Jin says, turning on his heel. "Where's the security room?"
"Downstairs, near the practice rooms," Namjoon says. "and 'we' should be able to see, huh? That was a fast turn around from accusing me of murder." He's smiling as they walk along the corridor back to the lift, wide enough that the dimples in his cheeks are showing again.
"Well, you're just so cute, I can't accuse you of murder for long," Jin says, reaching out and poking at one of Namjoon's dimples. "And if you are the murderer, having you right next to me is a good way to keep an eye on you."
"That's logical in one way, but really stupid in another," Namjoon says, as they step into the lift. "What if I use my position to frame someone? Or kill you?"
"Telling me that is really stupid," Jin says bluntly, "now I have to suspect you even more, despite the cuteness," and Namjoon looks at him, deadpan.
"Well, telling you that I could do that is self-defeating, so the fact that I've admitted it as a possible plan should actually make me less suspicious."
"Unless that's what you want me to think," Jin says, raising a single finger.
"Unless that's what you want me to want you to think," Namjoon teases, and Jin barks out a laugh, which Namjoon returns, and there's the beginning of a moment, their eyes meeting, and then the power goes out, and the lift shudders to a stop.
"Well," Jin says, in the dark, "Fuck."