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flowers from your neighbor's garden

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if donghyuck knew that becoming an assassin included all of this shit, he would’ve been at least a little more weary about signing to his first official job (eliminate the prime minister. it was a test for the greenie. a suicide mission. they wanted him to be caught, killed. when he went to collect his cash, he couldn’t help the smug wink he sent them. his reputation undeniable from the beginning).

mark’s eyes are owlishly wide, unblinking. his red tinted mouth forms a small ‘o’ as his melting popsicle drips onto his hand. “wait what. wait - no, wait sorry, i don’t”. he finally blinks. “you’re what?”

donghyuck resents everything about this conversation and only just keeps from resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose and sighing in exhaustion. “if you’re reacting like that, i’m assuming you heard me correctly.” the fact that mark’s face drains of any color in two seconds flat would have been amusing if it was because he forgot to submit an essay at midnight and turned it in at 12:02 again. it would have been funny if it meant that he ate too many slices of pizza. again. but it means that he’s scared. of donghyuck.

donghyuck should probably be used to it by now - people’s reactions when he tells them that he kills people for a living. bad people, but still. they don’t know that. most of the time it’s because they think he kills any person and is telling them because it’s a sick beginning to their death at his hands. they’ve obviously only watched crime shows where the assassin gets caught.

he watches jeno go white as a sheet. "are you gonna kill me too?"

donghyuck throws a banana peel at his head.

people are also particularly sensitive when it comes to taking someone else’s life. but god does it too. they worship him.

“what the fuck -”

“we literally met when i was burying a body in your neighbor’s garden -”

“i thought you were joking!” mark says. he crushes the rest of his popsicle in his fist. it’s trembling minutely. donghyuck kind of wants to hold his hand. cold stickiness and all. “you - but - you?” he sounds a little less frightened, a little more confused - condescending if donghyuck were to pretend mark wasn’t mark. mark has never been condescending, and he doubts he’ll start.

from the first time donghyuck met mark, he seemed a bit odd.


eighteen year old donghyuck, having almost completed his most recent job looks up, slightly startled. he looks around before pointing to himself with a gloved hand in a silent question. the beautiful boy nods.

he’d done his research. the boy, mark lee, was a student at smu studying dentistry, an even deeper search revealed his soundcloud. his songs weren't too bad (everything was really good. he mostly rapped and donghyuck likes his voice. he sometimes sang - his voice was a little unpracticed and untrained. donghyuck really likes his voice).

“hey,” he says, pretending as if there isn’t a dead body right next to him on the ground.

“i haven’t seen you around. did you just move in? i thought the jungs still -”

donghyuck smiles sweetly. “no they just hired me to do a little gardening since mrs. jung has had no time in a while.”

mark raises his eyebrows, not doubtfully, but almost as if he was actually interested in what donghyuck was doing.

“oh. well what are you doing right now?”

shit. “burying a dead body.” he smiles.

mark freezes up, a small flicker of something in his eyes as he glances at the literal body bag on the ground before it’s gone, replaced by a fucking sparkle. he laughs, as if donghyuck told him a joke. he thinks it was a joke. people ask for the truth, but the same people refuse it. donghyuck laughs along with him.

mark leaves, not too long afterwards. "i'll see you around?"

donghyuck nods.

and they did see each other. a lot. mark was suddenly home on the weekends and they exchanged numbers when they ran into each other at the park which was their third time seeing each other in public.

"how come i've never seen you around before?" donghyuck knows the answer, but asks anyway. he's learned that people like to talk about themselves. it makes his job easier.

"oh, well, my dad got a new job around here at the same time i was accepted into smu. so i never got the chance to really live here, you know? i don't know anyone here."

donghyuck nudges his arm. "you have me." donghyuck has to refrain from smacking his head violently on the wall. you know me, it's not that hard to fuck up three words you moron -

mark lets out a small puff of air through his nose, a soft laugh. "yeah, i have you."

when donghyuck got into smu mark excitedly told him about all the places he wanted to take him. it made donghyuck feel sick.

donghyuck blinks. then he frowns and sits up a little straighter. “what do you mean me?” the way mark shrinks in on himself causes him to narrow his eyes and mark lets out a little shriek.

“don’t look at me like that, i can see it now -”

“no you can’t -"

“no, i can’t,” mark agrees. “but it’s just that -” he presses his lips together in a tight line. his mouth goes white underneath the red stain of the food coloring. “you seem - seemed - seem, like.” his face flushes and donghyuck raises an eyebrow.

“seemed like what?” mark mumbles something and again donghyuck resists trying to make him feel like an idiot.  “seemed..?” he prompts.

“like - i dunno - like uh - a ray of…” mark curls into himself a little further. “...sun… shine?”

donghyuck doesn’t really know what to do with that. so of course, he pretends like he does.

“who says i can’t be an assassin and a ray of sunshine?" he sniffs. “i really thought you knew this whole time. or, no, i thought you at least suspected. i only said something to make sure that we’re on the same page. and i need someone to watch my dog while i’m away for three days.”

ever eloquent, mark says, “uh.”

“please?” donghyuck says. “it’s not even my dog but jisungie went on some trip with his band or whatever.”

“do you - who are you gonna, uh, kill? can i ask that, am i allowed to ask that?” mark says, he flinches at his own use of the word ‘kill’, but it’s normal. for someone who donghyuck finds trembling on the couch at two in the morning after receiving a phone call from mark because he wanted to get water but was too scared to pass the large window of the hall again, he’s taking this in stride pretty well. there’s been worse.

chenle didn’t take it well. granted, the best way for him to find out probably wasn’t to walk in on donghyuck washing blood off of his knife and trying to create a home remedy to get the blood out of his favorite shirt. “how hard is it to die without touching the wound first? life isn’t a fucking movie but this is gucci,” donghyuck mumbles to himself under his breath. “if someone stabs you, don’t reach out to them! just don’t! why would i help you when i just stabbed you for chr -”

he hears a weak “what the fuck?” before a loud thump. chenle had fainted. when he comes to, donghyuck has extensive explaining to do.

“you kill people-”

“you say it as if it’s a crime -”

chenle lets out an indignant squawk. “it is a crime! it’s a felony!”

donghyuck squints. “hm. point taken.” he puts his hands under his thighs. “you’re... not going to… tell anyone… right?”

chenle scoffs. “i’m not gonna report you if that’s what you’re worried about. i’m assuming that your dad -” he glances at donghyuck, as if hesitant to let his gaze linger on him. he didn’t look the same, somehow.

he doesn’t finish his sentence. they both already know, there’s no point in letting it hang in the air in words. “right. so, i just. i don’t know. i don’t know what to do now donghyuck. you’ve been lying this whole time, this is such a - a big thing, you know? how do i look past it?” he sighs. “i just need time. can i have time?”

donghyuck nods. “of course.” he moves his hands from under his legs to folded in his lap. “do you get why i have to do it though? do you understand, at least a little bit?”

“no.” chenle finally, finally looks him in the eyes. “but i’m trying to. i hated - hate - him. but, he… he was my dad, i guess. i hate when people say the whole ‘he’s still your dad’ and like, ‘he’s still family’ but, i don’t know. i can’t help but, like, cling to that. i guess." chenle sighs, his eyes wet. "but if it wasn’t for you, i’d still be in the same situation and i wouldn’t be living with my cousin, and i wouldn't be… happy. so. i’ll try.” he grabs one of donghyuck’s hands. “i’m trying.”

it took chenle less than three days to call him. “so.. how did you first start out? is there anyway i -”

“chenle that’s not what i meant when i asked for you to understand! don’t understand that much!”

donghyuck hums. “a bad guy.”

“why is he bad?”

“a lot of reasons. he runs a business, but exploits the workers who are barely able to survive under his wage. he also abuses his workers and allows handlers to, too, several have died. he assaults his own children and wife,” donghyuck tells him. he looks at mark, and he can see mark’s guard lower with every word. “mark, i only take a job when i’m sure the person deserves it. when the world would be a better place without the target. it was only hard the first time.”

“your first job?”

“my first kill.”

mark clears his throat. donghyuck knows he’s itching to ask. so he tells him he can do so. “do you want to tell me?” is what mark responds with.

“i don’t really care.”

mark leans his back against the bench and spreads his legs out in front of himself. “okay, so, who was it?”

it occurs to donghyuck that he really doesn’t know mark that well and yet he feels as if he can trust him. he shouldn’t. it’s an occupational hazard. mark is also going to be one of only three people to know one of his deepest secrets. he shouldn’t tell him. he does.

“it was my father.”

he deserved to die. donghyuck knew it, from the time he was small. he didn’t know how to get things to stop, until his father stopped his mother. she no longer kissed away his tears and sang him hushed lullabies, despite the fact that he was too old at that point, maybe to make up for his lost childhood. but she no longer was bruised and no longer cried to sleep.

she stopped. she was dead. donghyuck wanted his father to stop.

it wasn’t spur of the moment, and it wasn’t unplanned. donghyuck knew exactly what he was doing when he pointed the gun at the back of his father’s head when he came home from work that day. he’d planned it months in advance. it doesn’t take him nearly as long anymore.

still, he didn’t take into account how messy guns are, especially in unpracticed hands. but he managed to get away without a hitch. he was born to be a liar, and he knew that, but donghyuck was beginning to think that maybe he was born to be this too.

he told mark it was hard. and it was. it wasn’t easy to get blood out of carpet.

he framed his father’s friend perfectly, to the very last detail. the jury didn’t hesitate to send him to prison. chenle was finally safe from his father too.

mark swallows. “oh. was he -”

“every single person i’ve killed has deserved nothing less.” donghyuck can tell he wants to ask more questions, but he doesn’t. he probably isn’t ready for the answers, anyway.

mark wedges his hands between his legs, and lifts his feet from the sidewalk. he flutter kicks his feet before placing them on the floor again. “i mean…” he sighs. “yeah i can take care of the dog. i guess.”

donghyuck beams at him and mark returns the smile, albeit weaker, a little more dim. suddenly his face drops once more. “wait. shit wait.” he sounds so scared that donghyuck reaches out to him, but realizes that his touch probably won’t do much and ends up with his hands fluttering aimlessly around mark.

“won’t it be considered like, helping? aiding and batting?”

donghyuck snorts. “you mean aiding and abetting? it shouldn’t, i think.”

mark glares at him and he puts his hands up. “it won’t! you’re literally dog sitting. and well -” donghyuck grins, “- for it to be considered i would need to get caught.”

his smile widens. “i’ll never get caught.”