It was cold. That was the first thing that entered Namjoon’s head as he sluggishly blinked his eyes open. Man, it was so cold. His unfocused eyes traveled the room as they tried to grab onto something that would steady them. Head lolling to the side, Namjoon allowed himself to close his eyes again. A headache was coming, the dull thump forming at the base of his skull.
What was going on?
Heaving out a breath he squeezed his eyes tight and peeked them open once more, making an actual attempt to see what was in front of him. The lighting around him was dull and low, making things easier on his throbbing eyes, but he struggled to figure out where he was. Shouldn’t he be back at the dorm? Wait, no, they were at the studio. But something happened… What happened…
He pushed back the hazy memory. Focus now, he told himself, come on, what’s here… The first thing he noticed was the chair he was sitting on. Was that wood? Metal? He couldn’t tell from the feeling, and it didn’t matter. The obvious cinder block wall across from him mattered more. On all four sides of him actually. He noted that the floor was also cement, not helping the room’s insulation. He lazily made an attempt to stand, trying to push the chair back with his legs. When it didn’t move he brought down his hands to help, but a sudden pressure around his wrists brought them to a halt as well. He glanced down and felt his blood go even more ice cold than the room he was in. A table was in front of him with his hands shackled to it. There was a device sunk into the middle of the table that the chain disappeared into, but he noticed there was not one single chain coming out of it.
There were seven.
He swung his dizzy head around, now seeing the slumped over figures scattered around the table. His stomach felt like he had just swallowed a rock as he looked each of them over, trying to see if he could make out breathing in the dim light. Sure enough, all of the other members of Bangtan Sonyeondan were there.
Namjoon’s heartbeat picked up and he rattled the chain, trying to get a reaction out of someone, anyone. “Guys,” he choked out, not realizing how dry this throat was. What the hell happened? No, focus, focus. “Jimin? Jin-hyung?”
“Ugggggh,” someone groaned on his left and he turned towards them, trying to make out who it was.
“Close enough I guess,” they muttered. Yoongi. He raised a hand to massage away the massive headache he had, but his arm was stopped prematurely like Namjoon’s. “What the fuck?” Namjoon could see Yoongi’s head spring around as he took in everything. “What the fuck?!” he repeated, voice starting to rise.
“Hyung, don’t panic-”
“Namjoon-hyung?” Namjoon faced where the voice came from.
“Kook?” He just got a shuttered intake of breath as a response. There were a few seconds of silence before anyone spoke again.
“Where the hell are we…” It wasn’t much of a question, but Namjoon supposed Yoongi didn’t mean for it to really sound like one anyway.
He uselessly pulled on his cuffed hands again before letting out a grunt of frustration. “Who’s by you two?” he asked, “I think Jimin is over here by me.”
“I’ve got Hoseok on my left and Kook is on my right.”
“Jin-hyung is across from me, I can make out his shoulders.”
“Why the hell is this table shaped so weirdly?” Yoongi asked suddenly. Namjoon just noticed too. It was an odd structure, a polygon that could fit all seven of them perfectly.
“A septagon?” he muttered.
“Where’s Tae?” Yoongi asked. Namjoon glanced around him.
“Over here, on my right.”
“I don’t know whether to be relieved or not.”
“Mmmmm…” Another moan interrupted them, quickly followed by the rustling of chains.
“Hello?!” the dusty word bounced off the walls, but it wasn’t the same person who made the noise before. “Guys, is that you?”
“We’re all here Hope,” Yoongi answered.
“Where the hell is here? What’s going on, how did this happen?!”
“We don’t know,” Namjoon answered, looking at each of them. It seemed as though Tae was the one who woke up at the same time as Hobi, his tired gaze catching that of his leader. He didn’t say anything yet, but drew in a deep breath as he registered their situation.
Jin’s form suddenly began stirring and Jimin wasn’t far behind. After the initial shock they all began testing their environment, seeing if they could find their way out.
“Maybe this is some sort of test set up by the company,” Jimin offered. “Like a survival game, or there might be a puzzle we have to solve.”
“BigHit would never go this far,” Hoseok said as he experimentally pulled his hands apart, “Never. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.”
“Same here,” Jin murmured, leaning back as far as he could to rest his head on the chair.
“V,” Namjoon turned towards the singer, who had yet to talk, “Tae, are you alright?” Taehyung just shook his head once, slowly and carefully, before casting his gaze into the corner of the room. Namjoon swallowed a hard lump forming in his throat.
“Okay, let’s think. What was the last thing you all remember.” He now addressed the entire group, inviting anyone to speak.
“I was coming out of the bathroom and- and that’s it.” Jimin stared down at the table, a look of confusion coming over his features. “That’s really it, I only remember opening the door and then nothing.”
“I was in my studio,” Yoongi started, face tense with concentration. “I was working on a new song and saw… I dunno, like a shadow out of the corner of my eye but it’s fuzzy after that. I don’t remember anything else.”
“We were dancing, right Kook?” Hoseok looked at the youngest frantically, almost pleading with him to agree so he knew he wasn’t losing his mind.
“Y-yeah, I think so hyung,” Jungkook stated slowly. “Didn’t we take a break?”
“That’s why I was in the bathroom,” Jimin said, rounding out the story a bit more.
Namjoon turned his attention to Jin. “Hyung, where were yo-”
A loud screech pierced the air, causing all of them to grimace, flinching at the sudden noise.
“BTS,” a smooth, silky, low voice bounced off the walls of the room. “Welcome. Now that all of you are awake, we can begin.” The device in the middle of the table made an awful creak as the gears start turning, pulling each of the boys forward in their seat by their chained wrists.
“What are you doing?!” Jin yelled into the open air, shifting his head to look at all corners of the room, not knowing where this person is talking from.
“I’m preparing you for the game.”
“Game?..” Hoseok breathed.
“I’m sure you’re all familiar with it, you’ve played it many times. Endplate King.”
Everyone in the room visibly stiffened. Endplate King. A game they played years ago on the Rookie King. A segment that was humiliating, uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful.
“I’m sure you all remember the rules. Every round each of you will receive a card. When instructed you will flip the cards face up, revealing whether you are safe or will receive the punishment of that round. All of the original game’s rules are accepted. However,” the tone of the voice morphed with a glint of humor, shining at their expense, “there is an additional function in this game. Every round will now have a new card in play. That card will determine who will give the punishment.”
Namjoon stilled, staring straight at the table. Give the punishment? In the original game most of the members gave the punishment. Well, if it was something that had to be given. What was this person going to try to make them to do each other?
He jumped when the machine on the table made another whirring sound. The voice talked over it. “First thing’s first, we need to pick your king.” The bottom tier of the device suddenly spat a card at each of them, face down.
“Why are you doing this to us?!” Jimin yelled, “What are you trying to do?!”
The voice ignored him, “Be ready to flip over your cards.”
“I won’t,” Yoongi stated, strongly.
“Hyung,” Jungkook whispered.
“I’m not playing your game. Let us go.”
“Let us go!”
The air was thick with tension as silence engulfed the room. No one moved, no one said anything.
“Min Yoongi.” The voice was unfazed, still confident. “You will all be released upon completion of the game. Failure to follow through will lead to… consequences.”
“Hyung please,” Hoseok spoke in a hushed voice, “it can’t be that bad. What we did on that show was all childish. It couldn’t be worse than anything we haven’t done yet. Please.” Yoongi knew Hobi didn’t believe everything he was saying himself. He was scared. If they accepted this, they were entering further down a path that was obviously already dangerous. But they literally didn’t have a choice. He didn’t have a choice.
“Fine,” he muttered, laying his hand on top of the card in front of him. The rest of them followed.
“Very good!” the voice chirped, making Yoongi’s blood boil. Patronizing asshole. “Get ready to turn them over in three,