Chapter 1: Vents and Warehouses
Drip, drip, drip.
Rainwater slowly trickled into the vent Jimin was holed up in, and despite being covered head to toe in water-resistant gear, he still felt damp. And cold-- he was really freaking cold too, fingers pale and numb around his camera. His camera, fortunately, seemed to be as waterproof as the manufacturer guaranteed. The visual was still clear as day and focused on the empty warehouse space below.
As another raindrop plopped onto Jimin and another frosty breeze ran through the vent, he inwardly cursed the totally lazy and ineffective Seoul Police Department. After all, Jimin was only here because they refused to come. One of Jimin's very reliable sources had come forward with the details of huge arms and drug delivery from China to one of Seoul's most notorious and vicious mobs, only known as the Gajok. Knowing the importance of this deal to the Gajok and what kind of impact it would have on crime in the city, Jimin quickly brought the information to the police, expecting-- or more like wishfully hoping-- for some sort of reaction to the news. The result, however, confirmed Jimin's suspicions that SPD was extremely corrupted and most likely in cohorts with the Gajok. They brushed off Jimin’s source, saying that unless he could reveal their identity, the source wasn’t credible. Jimin, being the righteous journalist he was, was unable to ethically reveal his source’s identity. Not only would it kill his credibility as a journalist, it would likely get his source killed or arrested. So Jimin refused, and SPD refused to send even one officer to the warehouse the deal was supposed to go down at.
So, because of the lack of reaction to Jimin's tip, the young reporter took matters into his own hands, leading to his very cold position now in the empty warehouse where the deal was supposed to take place. And like his source had said, the Chinese suppliers began to arrive just around 11pm, unloading huge crates. There were about a dozen of the crates, all unmarked and plain-looking. Jimin snapped as many pictures as possible, zooming in and out and adjusting the lens to get the clearest shot possible, likely burning up all the space on his camera with the sheer amount of photos. A journalist could never have too many pictures, Jimin thought with a smile. Even so, a few minutes after all the crates were loaded up, Jimin gave his camera a rest and waited for members of the Gajok to arrive.
Jimin wasn’t left waiting for long. The sounds of car doors slamming echoed from outside of the warehouse and several men in black suits stepped in. Large guns strapped to their chests swung with each step, stopping when the group reached the large crates in the middle of the room. Quietly, Jimin readied his camera, taking shots of the entire group and zooming in on a few of the faces of the men in the front. Most of them were young to middle-aged, with nondescript faces and eerily similar black and brown bowl cuts or slicked back styles. A man stepped forward, inspecting the crates before giving a small nod. Jimin snapped a shot of his face just in case, but it didn’t seem like this bored-looking man was the leader; no one stepped forward with him for protection or followed him with their eyes. They were likely all mid-level thugs, just here to complete a simple transaction. Jimin snorted inwardly at the thought of several hundred kilograms of drugs and weapons being “simple.” After the men examined the drugs and arms in the crates, they handed over several black cases, likely filled with millions of dollars.
The exchange was nearly over-- quick, quiet, and simple-- very characteristic of the Gajok’s deals, from what Jimin’s source told him. Jimin’s train of thought was interrupted by a muffled exclamation from outside of the warehouse and the sound of gunshots. All of the men in the warehouse turned towards the main door, a few moving forward with their guns raised. There was a brief moment of silence and then a bloodcurdling scream of pain. Immediately after, the main barn-style door of the warehouse flew off the hinges, propelled by a burst of fire. The door cut down half-a-dozen of the men closest to it. The smell of boiling blood and burnt flesh permeated the air, hitting Jimin like a wave. A wall of fire remained where the door once stood, the flames blocking every inch of the doorway. The men scattered like ants to all the other exits of the warehouse, only to burn their hands on the doorknobs or be instantly consumed by the same flames from the main doorway. They burned bright, an unnatural fiery red-tinged-blue, indicating their high temperature. Jimin noticed that the vent no longer felt cold, but steamy, like a sauna, and he was very quickly baking inside. Warning bells went off in Jimin’s head and he quickly began to shimmy back out the vent, from where he came in, but the sight from below stopped him.
From the wall of fire at the main entrance emerged a shadow, strangely untouched by the flames. Although dressed in all black, the figure’s pale skin practically glowed, ivory with prominent veins running throughout, bright orange, as if the fire itself ran through his blood. His clothes were untouched by the flame, his black hoodie and jeans completely intact. Shots rang out, aimed at the mysterious figure, but they all seemed to miss. The fire roared with renewed energy, blowing hot air like a storm. The man’s arm, now swathed in flames, swung a wide arc, a long whip-like string of flame cutting into a line of men closest to the doorway. The flame sliced neatly through them, torsos and heads falling from bodies like dominos. Jimin’s stomach roiled at the sight, but he couldn’t look away, snapping as many pictures of he could of the phenomenon. The whip sweeps up, coming dangerously close to where Jimin is perched in the vent. The shaft ten feet away from him falls to the ground after being sliced through, nearly setting Jimin on fire with heat. His hands and face are slightly singed, reminding Jimin that he should get the hell out of there. The vent shook again, detaching from the roof’s scaffolding. Jimin’s hands reached out, trying to find purchase on the vent’s ridges, but there was none. The vent shifted again and Jimin slid out, falling towards the burning floor of the warehouse. Time moved in slow motion as the flames rushed up to meet Jimin. There was a flash of pain before darkness consumed Jimin’s consciousness.
This predicament was not in Yoongi’s plans for the evening. His plans were, after he got off work late as hell like always, to grab a bite to eat at his favorite hole-in-the-wall, take the metro uptown to the docks, stop the Gajok’s drug deal, and then high-tail it home to get some needed sleep. Everything was going great-- he got off work early, the train was on time, and he arrived just in time to stake out the warehouse, instead of going in blind. He went in just at the right time, catching them all off guard and dropped more than a dozen gangbangers within a few minutes. He was on track to be home very early and it was extremely enticing-- the idea of a few extra minutes of sleep.
That is, until the vents began to collapse and out came a civilian, a journalist. And, not just any journalist, Yoongi discovered when he ran over, a journalist Yoongi unfortunately knew. The man, slightly charred from the heat of Yoongi’s flames, was a friend and roommate of Seokjin, Ji-something. The poor kid was knocked out cold from the fall-- Yoongi could see a bruised lump growing on his temple and his clothes were charred and still smoldering as he picked him up. His cheeks were unnaturally flushed, beads of sweat forming all over his forehead, and Yoongi cursed, picking up his pace until he was flying down the empty streets, flames streaking behind him. By the time that Yoongi reached the apartment that Seokjin and the journalist in his arms shared, the man’s breathing had become shallower than before, his chest barely rising. A little blood, oozing from a cut on his face, began to boil on his skin, and he radiated more heat than Yoongi on a bad day.
Without any hands, Yoongi leaned forward to knock on the door with his head, but the door flew open before he could make contact. The doctor looked frantic, cheeks flushed and eyes wide with panic.
“Yoongi, where have you? I’ve been calling!” Seokjin said as he stepped aside to let Yoongi into the apartment.
Yoongi grunted, stepping over the threshold with a bit of difficulty, fatigue making his legs feel weak, “I’ve been busy. Where do you want him, hyung?”
“Couch, I can move him to the bed later. Hold on,” Seokjin reached out a hand, stopping him as he removed the couch cushions, “Okay, now. Gently.”
As soon as Yoongi placed the boy down, Seokjin was on him and in doctor mode, quickly examining him. He began cutting away the singed clothes, revealing the man’s heavily bruised chest. The veins under his pale skin were alight with a familiar bright orange, the same fiery color than simmered under Yoongi’s own skin.
“The fire-- it’s burning him. What did you do, smack him with a fireball?” Seokjin accused as he placed his hands over the man’s torso.
Yoongi snorted, but joined Seokjin by the couch, cleaning up the cut on the man’s forehead while Seokjin focused on healing, “If I’d done that there wouldn’t be much of Ji...whatever his name, left.”
“Jimin, his name is Jimin, Yoongi-ah, and your fire nearly killed him. I’ve barely got a heartbeat,” Seokjin admonished him, “Get an ice pack for that bump, see if the swelling will go down, I’m going to focus on these burns and internal wounds.”
Guilt pulsed through Yoongi as he stood, shuffling towards the kitchen, “I know, hyung, I know. I didn’t even see him there and by the time I did, it was too late, he’d already fallen. I can’t run at the speed of light like Tae,” he gingerly placed the ice pack on Jimin’s forehead, frowning, “Is he gonna be alright?”
“He’s...just burning up. I don’t...I don’t know if I am enough,” Seokjin said, looking pale and worn, just after five minutes of healing.
Yoongi had never seen him so weak from healing for such a short time. The area where Seokjin’s hands rested on Jimin’s stomach was bright pink, like new, healthy skin had just sprung up, while the rest still burned a fiery red or orange color. The pigment would undulate every few moments, briefly healing into a soft pink before plunging back to orange or red.
“You can’t heal him when the fire is still inside of him. Move, hyung, lemme try something,” Yoongi gently pushed away Seokjin’s hands, replacing then with his own.
He could feel the flames underneath Jimin’s skin, burning through his veins and wreaking havoc on his organs. Yoongi focused on the heat, drawing it up through his palms instead of letting it fly out, like he usually does. Slowly, but surely, the blazing rash retreated, slithering through Jimin’s skin until reaches Yoongi’s hands. It burned through his skin, leaving welts behind, but left his body. Yoongi could feel the moment when Jimin’s fever broke, the man suddenly jarring to consciousness. Immediately, he began screaming, body shaking with pain. Seokjin shooed Yoongi away, placing a hand over Jimin’s forehead.
“Sleep,” he commanded softly.
Instantly, the man’s eyes slid shut and he fell into a calm sleep. Seokjin slumped back onto his haunches as soon as Jimin’s form relaxed and his breathing evened out. The young doctor looked worn, 10 years older than what he really was. Yoongi grimaced at his friend’s appearance.
“Are you okay, hyung?” he asked tentatively, patting his shoulder.
“Yeah...that just took a lot out of me,” Seokjin murmured, “We’re gonna have to figure something out...about Jimin. How he ended up here, why… You probably shouldn’t be here when he wakes up. I think that’ll be a while from now though.”
“Okay, well, until then, let me take care of you. You look like you’re gonna pass out, ” Yoongi said, helping the older man to his feet, “What do you need?”
“Some water and something with sugar in it, please. My blood sugar is really low,” he said as Yoongi half-led, half-dragged him to the loveseat across from Jimin.
Yoongi puttered around the kitchen, looking for something suitable. Seokjin’s kitchen was well-stocked and immaculate, so he found a nutritional bar and a bottle of water quickly. By the time he returned to the living room, however, the elder was already asleep, head rolled to the side of the couch and snoring softly. Yoongi smiled softly, leaving the bar and water within arms reach and placed a blanket over Seokjin. He repeated the gesture for Jimin, figuring the boy would be parched when he woke up. Then he stepped outside, lighting up a cigarette with one hand and dialing a number into his phone with the other.
“Yo,” came the sleepy answer after a few rings.
“Hey, man, something happened on my run tonight,” Yoongi said after taking a long drag.
“You okay?” Namjoon sounded much more awake now.
“Yeah, this kid got caught in the crossfire. Seokjin healed him, but he’s real tuckered out now. If we’re gonna salvage this, I shouldn’t be here when he wakes up, but I didn’t wanna leave Seokjin alone. This one really took a lot out of him.”
Namjoon cursed and he heard some sheets rustling, “Alright, I’m on my way.”
“Thanks, man,” Yoongi said, knowing the gesture was unnecessary.
“Of course, hyung,” that was the only goodbye he got before the line went dead.
Namjoon showed up fifteen minutes later, just as Yoongi finished his second cigarette. He frowned at the smoke cloud surrounding the pyrokinetic.
“That stuff is garbage for you, hyung,” he said, as he passed Yoongi into the condo.
“You sound like Seokjin,” he said after extinguishing the flame between his thumb and forefinger.
“You said he was a kid,” Namjoon said, staring at Jimin’s supine form, “Jimin’s only a year younger than me.”
Yoongi cursed, “Well, he looks like a fucking kid, Namjoon. How was I supposed to know? Fuck.”
Namjoon chuckled, shrugging his jacket off and sliding into the overstuffed armchair in the corner of the room, “Whatever, hyung. I got it here, you should go home-- get some sleep.”
The elder chuckled mirthlessly, “As fucking if.”
Namjoon opened his mouth, like he wanted to say something, but couldn’t. Yoongi didn’t wait for him to find the words, disappearing through the doorway and into the frosty air of Seoul in autumn.
He flipped his hood up and dug another cigarette out of his coat pocket, lighting it up with a fingertip. As he strode away from the condo complex, in a relatively nice part of town, the streetlights became fainter, and his path descended into darkness. Yoongi walked for a good twenty minutes-- not that he lived that far, but just in circles, around the shoddy apartment building that he used to share with Jeongguk. Ever since the boy left, it’s been hard to stay in it for any meaningful length of time, just long enough to sleep and shower, and then he was out-- bumming it in the street, bars, or one of his friend’s houses. Tonight, unlike most nights after these types of excursions, he was too hyped to sleep and he knew he’d spend the night up, staring at Jeongguk’s spot in the bed.
So, he stayed out. Roaming the block, Yoongi burned through two more cigs before the restive feelings finally eked out of him, leaving him bone tired. Only then, did he trudge up the steps of his apartment building and fall into his apartment, making it to the couch before passing out.
Chapter 2: Nightmares and Daydreams
tw// mind control and possession for any of you folks who are sensitive to that kind of thing <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Jeonbum grunted as he released another load into the moaning model under him. She purred as he rode his orgasm out before pulling out. As Jeonbum stood up, the woman, whatever her name was, hummed indignantly, digging into the bed sheets further.
“Baby,” she purred, “Come back to bed. I’ve still got some energy.”
“I’m done for tonight. Get dressed and get out,” he said plainly, disposing of his condom and shrugging on a silk robe left by one of his men.
The model made another noise of annoyance but didn’t argue again, picking up her scattered clothes. The door clicked shut a few minutes later. Jeonbum shuffled around the suite, grabbing some papers and his tablet before settling in front of his desk. He tried working for a few minutes, but his eyes worked against him, drooping every few minutes. His head lolled to one side, and he nearly drifted off to sleep.
No, you don’t, you fucker, came the familiar voice of his son. Images flashed behind Jeonbum’s eyelids. They were random, but powerful emotional whammies that woke up Jeonbum and made his headache. He couldn’t make sense of the images, but could pick out the voices of his wife, his son, and his son’s friends. Briefly, his hold on Jeongguk’s body slipped and he jerked forward involuntarily, head bouncing off the mahogany desk painfully.
“Shit, Jeongguk, that fucking hurt ,” he growled, rubbing the bruise quickly forming on his head.
Piss off, old man, was the only response he got before Jeongguk went quiet. Jeonbum was too awake now for him to slip through.
Again, Jeonbum paced the room, pausing in front of the mirror to inspect the damage done on his forehead. The defiant eyes of his son peered back at him in the mirror. It never got less shocking-- looking in the mirror after possessing Jeongguk. It still felt like a dream each time, like another reality, but it was reality. Jeonbum was Jeongguk now, at least physically.
There was niggle of heat on the base of his spine, a sign that Jeongguk wasn’t happy with his train of thought.
Jeonbum sighed inwardly and probed, partly knowing it was useless. He continued to try, anyway, searching the remnants of Jeongguk’s psyche, prying what little memories Jeongguk hadn’t blocked from him. Seokjin, the manipulating little healer that’d saved Jeongguk from sure death. There was a pang, and Jeonbum winced, but went on. Namjoon, his mentor and friend. Taehyung, his classmate. Hoseok, his nerdy dance partner and kindest hyung. Yoongi--
Don’t think about him, bastard! Jeonbum lost his control over Jeongguk and was flung into the mirror, knocking into the glass. Blood dripped into his eyes from where the glass cut him and Jeonbum watched the mirror seesaw in disbelief. It crashed into the floor, shattering loudly, but the sound was nothing compared to the roaring in his ears.
His men rushed in and Jeonbum fought to gather himself.
“I fucking tripped. Chill the fuck out,” he said brushing off their hands and concern, “Get back to work and let me rest. Someone get Bogum to fix this shit, too,” he waved at his face dismissively.
They scrambled to do his bidding, and a few minutes later, Bogum attended to his wounds, carefully studying the mobster.
“He should be fading. You’re much stronger than him telepathically,” he said, as he disinfected the man’s cuts, “Are you letting him stay?”
Jeonbum pinned him with a glare that would’ve melted any other man, but Bogum just returned with a raised eyebrow.
“It’s a fair question. He’s your only child. You cared for him, once.”
“I’m not letting him stay, Bogum. He was stronger than when we last tested him in Bangkok. He’s had help in growing his powers. Besides, he only slipped through because it’s late and I provoked him,” Jeonbum said, shrugging off the doctor’s administrations, “I’m stronger than him.”
It sounded like Jeonbum was trying to convince himself, not Bogum.
“I’m fine now. I just want to fucking sleep,” Jeonbum groaned, “It’s fucking exhausting carrying his body around and he won’t let me sleep.”
“I’ll get something to help, but you should try to pay attention to the dreams and visions. They might tell us something about how defeat Bulletproof. They’re the only thing standing between us and total domination of Seoul-- East Asia, practically,” Bogum rummaged through his bag, pulling out a vial of milky white liquid.
“Fuck, you sound like some fucking supervillain, Bogum,” Jeonbum said, extending his arm out to the doctor, “So cliche.”
The doctor said nothing, just injected the liquid into the mobster’s arm, “Just remember what I said about the dreams.”
Jeonbum felt the effects damn-near instantly. He fell back on the covers and his eyes drifted shut.
When Jimin woke up, he’s whole body ached. His skin chafed under the weight of his clothes and warm, familiar blanket. His eyes pulled apart hesitantly, stuck together with a layer of crud. He groaned painfully-- even his eyelids hurt.
“Rise and shine,” a voice said, obscured as Jimin’s blurry eyes adjusted to the bright room.
Seokjin stood over him, looking as bad as Jimin felt. He sported a worn smile and the eye bags Jimin thought typical of a medical resident.
“Hyung,” Jimin said groggily, voice hoarse, “Why am I here?”
His friend’s smile turned into a frown as he crouched in front of Jimin’s head, examining his eyes, “Do you not remember? Last night…”
As soon as he said that, Jimin’s memory came back to him, almost like a flashback. The tip, the ventilation shaft, the fire. A gasp left his lips, loud in the quiet apartment.
“What do you remember?” Seokjin shifted forward faster than Jimin had ever seen him move before, “You-- it, uh, was bad.”
“I remember being at the warehouse. I saw the deal. I got-- I got...um, pictures! I got tons of pictures. My camera, where’s my camera?” Jimin jolted up from his supine position.
The room spun for a solid minute and Jimin’s stomach protested violently while black stars dotted his eyesight, “Woah…” he groaned.
“Jimin, slow down,” he steadied Jimin and felt his forehead for bumps, “There was no camera, when, uh, you came back. I’m surprised you don’t remember. You were a lot of pain.”
Jimin submitted to his ministrations and shrugged, scanning his memories, “All I can remember is falling from the ventilation shaft...the fire. I fell. Did I not break something?” Jimin shifted around, feeling for a cast or something.
“No, no,” Seokjin said, sounding strained, “Nothing seemed to be broken. Just some burns and bruises. You’ll be right as rain soon enough. Until then, you should stay home, call out from work, get some rest. I have to go into the hospital soon.”
“Okay, hyung,” Jimin acquiesced, settling further into the couch cushions. He really was tired and felt too overwhelmed to even think about work.
“Okay, I’m just gonna hop into the shower. Get some sleep, Jimin. I mean it,” Seokjin disappeared down the hallway and he heard the shower turn on a few moments later.
Jimin burrowed himself down into the blankets piled on top of him. Sleep tugged at him and he fell into its embrace. He was nearly asleep when the phone rang somewhere deeper into the house. Jimin pulled his tired eyes apart to glance at his cell phone, which sat on the coffee table, plugged in and with a big crack down the middle. The screen, however, was dark, no call incoming despite the familiar jingle Jimin could hear. Then it hit him. His other phone.
The journalist shot straight up, nearly falling off the couch. He raced for the phone, tripping down the hallway towards his room and eventually grabbing the small, outdated flip phone.
“Hello,” he said desperately, hoping he hadn’t missed the call.
“Hi,” the person said informally on the other line, “Did you miss last night?”
“No, I didn’t. Thanks again,” he said, “Is there another...event?” Jimin sidled into his cold bed, exhausted by the journey that got him there.
“I can’t…” his source drifted off, sounding frightened, “If you were there, then you know I can’t. If something like that happens again at a shipment I know about, then I’m screwed. I thought...I thought you were just there to take pictures, Park.”
Jimin paused, trying to find the words to respond, “I don’t know ...What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. I know you brought the meta. We’ve been dealing with them for a few weeks, but they’ve been taking precautions. This meeting was clandestine. No one should’ve known. God,” he groaned, “I’m already in so much trouble. I’m sorry, Park. I can’t help you out anymore.”
The line went dead, leaving Jimin confusedly staring at the flip phone.
“What the hell…?” A little bit of panic overtook Jimin as what his source said sunk in, “What happened?”
Before he realized it, Jimin was up and moving around, changing his clothes for a clean sweatsuit. As he shed the old clothes, he realized that they were nearly in pieces, singed and shredded. The sight thoroughly confused him, but he couldn’t clear his brain fog to think deeply about it. Instead, he pulled on his sweatpants and sneakers and stumbled out of the door into the chilly October air.
The street was busy with people rushing about their daily lives. The evening rush home was in full swing, Jimin belatedly realizing he’d slept for nearly 18 hours. It took him a few minutes to hail a cab, but once one pulled up he collapsed into the back seat, rattling off the address of the warehouse. The cab driver gave him a weird look but drove on.
The traffic was bad so it took a few minutes longer than usual to reach the warehouse. The simple sway of car, combined with his injuries, was enough for Jimin to doze in the backseat. What felt like hours later, the cab’s brakes squealed to a halt and the cab driver yelled something incoherent to Jimin, who jolted up, nearly braining himself on the door of the taxi. His skin felt sweaty and tacky, images of burning bodies dancing behind his eyelids as he dragged himself out of the taxi.
Luckily for Jimin, the cab had pulled up mere feet away from the burnout entrance of the warehouse. The doors were completely gone-- blown off their hinges and embedded in the back wall of the warehouse. Dried and burnt blood colored the floor like bad graffiti and Jimin’s heart skipped a beat in his chest. He had survived this?
He shuffled into the warehouse, ducking under the yellow police tape that poorly blocked off the entrance. Further inside, the scene was worse. Bloody shadows haunted the walls in an array of ghastly positions and charred pieces of weapons, drug paraphernalia, and personal accessories littered the floor. Jimin thought he saw a burnt out Rolex among the rubbage. Above, the rafters hung precariously, blowing in the wind that the gaping roof let in.
Jimin noticed part the ventilation shaft he’d been in hanging loosely and the other half lying burnt out on the ground. The tattered remains of his hood and camera bag sat next to the fallen shaft, reminding Jimin of his original purpose-- to find his camera and figure out what the hell happened. He began looking around the warehouse, starting near the shaft and moving out in a circular fashion-- checking under every piece of rubbish, big and small.
It was slow work, Jimin’s whole body ached and his feverish catnap in the car had done nothing to help that. Eventually, he spotted his camera-- looking a little worse for wear and hiding under a large piece of the roof that was propped up against the wall, luckily for Jimin. He dropped to the floor and shimmied under the large metal beam, just small enough to fit. Just as he grabbed his camera and was ready to leave, voices sounded outside of the warehouse, approaching it quickly. Jimin froze, heart beating wildly in his chest, and he tried to figure out who had come to the crime scene.
The police had already done an investigation, if the police tape was anything to go by, and SPD weren’t the type to overachieve and come back for a second look. It was late for the media to be snooping around and, out of all the crimes that occured daily, a warehouse fire wasn’t bound to be high on the news cycle. To Jimin, that left one option-- the Gajok doing a bit of investigation of their own.
Jimin’s suspicions were confirmed when several expensive wingtips stepped into view, topped by fancy looking slacks.
Someone whistled, “The fuck happened here?”
Another deeper voice responded, “Who cares? Just finish the sweep and then go get Jeon.”
Jimin’s blood ran cold, and not because the men began to walk around, but at the name, Jeon.
Jeon, according to Jimin’s investigations, was the mononym of the head of Seoul’s most quickly-growing and deadliest mob, the Gajok. Before Jeon had come to town nearly five years ago, the Gajok was just one of Seoul’s many squabbling, unorganized gangs, but since his arrival, the petty gangs have been slowly conglomerating into one, the Gajok, or the Family, all under the stewardship of Jeon. While Jimin hadn’t been purposely avoiding him, he hadn’t found a high enough source to get close to the mob boss.
A few moments later, another pair of shoes stepped into Jimin’s view.
“Boss--” someone stuttered.
“Silence…. Metahuman,” the voice sounded much younger than Jimin’s expect.
“What…? Boss, whaddya talking about?”
“Only a metahuman could’ve done this. Could’ve caused this kind of damage,” Jeon stepped around in a circle, supposed looking around the room.
“Is it one of those...what do they call ‘em? The Bulletproof? That so fuckin’ cheesy,” another middleman giggled.
“The name may seem harmless, but they aren’t. This must be the pyrokinetic. He’s grown stronger. I can’t sense him, either. Still under that alchemist’s protection,” Jeon stated plainly, “There’s nothing here to help me. I’m leaving.”
Without another word, Jeon left the warehouse, the footsteps of his lackeys following close behind. Jimin, heart still raging against his ribcage. He counted to 100 before sliding out from under the beam, camera in hand. Instead of going out of the front, Jimin picked his way towards the back, where he knew there was an emergency exit.
Unsurprisingly, his cab ditched him and so Jimin had to stumble back to the main street. The adrenaline that had sustained him earlier had abandoned him and now his whole body ached painfully. The one block walk that it took him to reach the main street from the alleyway drained everything out of him. Somehow, Jimin was able to hail a taxi, nearly passing out in the back as he mumbled the address to his and Seokjin’s apartment. When he arrived, he inwardly praised the building’s elevator, leaning on the wall for support. Once the elevator reached his floor, he stumbled down the hall, fumbling with the lock to the door before it was opened from the inside. Jimin fell inside with the door.
“Jimin!” Hoseok cried, grunting under the weight of his friend.
“Hoseok?” Jimin questioned from where his face was smushed against the elder’s shoulder.
Hoseok dragged both of them inside the apartment, kicking the door shut with his foot. He gingerly placed Jimin on the couch, blowing a strand of hair out of his face as he sat next to him. The room was nearly silent for a moment, only filled with his breathing.
A few moments later, Hoseok turned to Jimin, “Where the hell have you been?”
“What?” Jimin could only manage to turn his head to look at Hoseok, “What do you--why are you even here, hyung?”
“Seokjin asked me to check up after you because he got pulled into an emergency surgery. He’s probably going to spend the night at the hospital. He wanted me to make sure you were going to be okay and convince you not to go to work tomorrow. I’ve been here since 6. You weren’t answering your phone. I was worried,” Hoseok said, pouting.
Guilt immediately washed over Jimin as he glanced at his smartphone, which had been on silent since last night. There were several missed calls from Hoseok from right around Jimin had arrived at the warehouse and nearly a dozen from Seokjin the night before.
“Sorry, hyung,” Jimin said sheepishly, “I had to get my camera.”
The elder’s eyes widened like saucers, almost comically if he didn’t immediately start yelling, “You went back to the warehouse? What the hell is wrong with you? All for a goddamn camera? Are you kidding me, Park Jimin?”
Jimin winced from the volume of his voice and closed his eyes against the jolt of pain in his head, “I’m sorry, hyung. I had to see the photos I got from last night. I really think there might be something to them.”
“You do?” A strange look passed over his face when Jimin nodded, “Alright, Jiminie, why don’t you lay down while I take a look at these, hm? Clean them up for you? I brought my computer with me.”
Jimin felt a little jarred at the shift in Hoseok’s demeanor, but nodded, “Thanks, hyung. That would be great.”
The journalist kicked off his shoes and shrugged off his jacket, but let everything else on before burrowing into the couch. Hoseok laughed and threw a blanket on top of Jimin, cooing at him playfully before shifting over to the loveseat. It didn’t take much, only a few minutes of muted quiet before Jimin’s soft snores filled the room.
The warehouse was in flames. Everything was burning. The roof, the walls, the men, the floor. Jimin laid in the middle of the floor. Even his skin was on fire. Everything was on fire, the whole city was burning-- Jimin couldn’t see it but he could feel it. Seoul, burning. Smoke and the smell of burning bodies permeated the air. A man stood in the middle of the flames, miraculously untouched. His face was blurred behind the mirage of heat that roared of his body. Jimin tried to lean forward, push through the mirage, but every inch he moved the pain coursing over his skin increased tenfold. It was too much. The man was going to burn him up. Jimin should be afraid, but he could feel no fear, just pain.
Jimin started to feel himself being pulled away, the heat slowly decreasing, the further away he was pulled. The pain slowly drew from his body and he suddenly felt like he could breathe, blink, hear again after being totally consumed by the flames of the man.
“Yoongi. Yoongi, listen to me! He was there,” a hushed shout echoed around Jimin’s skull, “He was there. He had pictures! Pictures of you, doing your glow worm thing. I…” the voice drifted off as Jimin fell deeper into sleep, this time, dark, black, and absent of the man of fire.
hope y'all enjoyed that chapter <3 come yell at me on twitter @bentojintro :P
Chapter 3: Burn, Baby, Burn
trigger warning for some description of torture and mind control! if you have any concerns, please message me <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yoongi chucked his phone across the room, wincing at the thud it produced upon impact with the floor. He stared blankly at it, not letting his eyes and his mind to wander around the room and the memories it inevitably contained.
Hoseok was pissed, beyond pissed, actually. He was the angriest Yoongi had ever heard him, but Yoongi couldn’t bring himself to care. So what if that journalist-- Jimin or whatever-- had seen him? What did it matter? It was just a matter of time, at least for Yoongi. His power, ability, whatever they wanted to call it, was too ostentatious for him stay underground for long. As long as he left everyone else out of it, it didn’t matter. They weren’t a team or anything, not since Jeongguk.
His chest clenched painfully. Yoongi hasn’t felt like much of anything since Jeongguk left.
Yoongi stumbled over the language of it, mostly because part of him still couldn’t believe it. Jeongguk wasn’t dead. His body was still here, strolling around Gangnam somewhere, commanding a gang that was giving Seoul, and Yoongi by extension, a lot of trouble recently. Inside, however, was a different story. There was no Jeongguk left on the inside, not that Yoongi could see. Everything had been consumed by his psychotic psychic of a father, Jeonbum, who was using his son as a pseudo fountain of youth. It was sick and twisted and made Yoongi feel like he had to hurl.
The only thing he held onto was Seokjin’s promise-- that he could fix Jeongguk, restore him in some way. If not, Yoongi could only hope to give his spirit, his body, his whatever peace from Jeonbum. That’s all his life has become, anyway, his mission to save Jeongguk and end Jeonbum.
Inevitably, Yoongi’s eyes roamed around the living room his small apartment, heavily shadowed in the dark. The outline of each piece of furniture, each knick knack, each picture frame made his heart squeeze and before he knew it, Yoongi was up and striding out of his apartment, the door slamming behind him. He didn’t know where his feet were taking him, just as long as it was far away from his and Jeongguk’s apartment.
Before he knew it, Yoongi stood in front of Taehyung’s door, scuffing his feet before knocking hesitantly. Not even a second later, Taehyung opened the door, looking jazzed and hyper. Yoongi inwardly sighed.
“Hi, hi, hyung,” Taehyung greeted, bouncing on his toes, “What’s wrong? Why are you here?”
“Hey, Tae. I need somewhere to crash. Can I stay here? I’d ask Joon, but...I don’t know. I don’t really want to get all deep right now,” Yoongi shrugged, cringing a little bit on the inside, “Not that you can’t be deep, or anything, I-I just...I just…” he drifted off, digging his hands into his pockets.
“You don’t want Joon to psychoanalyze you and that’s not my thing. I get it. And of course you can crash,” Taehyung’s form blurred and appeared next to the small couch in the middle of the room, “I made mug brownies,” he offered, holding up a tray of five or six mugs.
Yoongi lifted a brow, “You made six mug brownies for yourself?” he asked, stepping into the uncomfortably warm dorm room.
Taehyung shrugged, “I have, like three, major tests next week, even though exam week is only a few weeks away. I needed the fuel. You can have one. I need the rest of ‘em,” he said with a pout.
The elder chuckled before grabbing one and settling onto the worn couch. Taehyung blurred, shutting and locking the door and then appearing in the kitchen a second later. There was the sound of metal clanking together before Taehyung appeared in front of him offering a spoon.
The college student’s appearance made Yoongi startle a little bit, even though he should be more than used to Taehyung’s super speed by now.
Taehyung grinned sheepishly, shrugging, “Sorry, hyung. It’s just more natural to me than going slow,” he blurred again, appearing on the floor a few feet away, his computer in his lap, notes scattered around him, and spoon dug into a mug cake.
Yoongi just shook his head with a light chuckle, burying into the warm and worn couch and dug into his mug cake. Between the comfortable atmosphere of Taehyung’s flat and his full stomach, Yoongi was drifting off to sleep within a few minutes.
When he woke up next, Yoongi was no longer in Taehyung’s apartment. Instead, he was in an unfortunately familiar basement. Yoongi was alone, shivering in the achingly cold room. It was easily below freezing in the basement, a thin layer of frost covering everything in the room, including Yoongi himself. His fire, which usually sits in the pit of his stomach, was far from reach, leaving Yoongi powerless. Anxiety pulsed through him, roaring through his ears and violently shaking his heart.
“Yoongi!” a scream that he knew too well sounded far away, but still gut-wrenchingly painful, “Help me, please! Yoongi-hyung!
There was silence for a moment before the screaming started up again, this time louder and punctuated by sobs. Yoongi struggled against the freezing shackles, but couldn’t break them with simple force and couldn’t use his powers.
“Jeongguk!” Yoongi cried helplessly, tears running down his face.
The room began to fade, the cold leaving Yoongi’s body for a moment as a new image appeared before his eyes.
Yoongi, came Jeonbum’s gravelly voice in the pyrokinetic’s head, I wanted you to see this. Me. Doing the job you were supposed to do.
Yoongi took in the new room in horror. Jeongguk was strapped to a metal table, an IV holding a blue fluid next to him and a metal helmet over his head. The boy was crying, face red from screaming. A man in a lab coat stood next to him, fussing over some machine that was also hooked up to Jeongguk.
“Stop it! Stop whatever you’re doing to him. Stop it now, bastard!” Yoongi screamed, voice going hoarse with panic.
Tsk, tsk, Jeonbum said, Now, Yoongi, let’s not be mean. There was a pause and Jeonbum stepped into the room in front of Yoongi, waving coyishly. I just need you to witness something before I wipe you clean. Something I want you understand in your soul.
On the table, Jeongguk’s weeping quieted and his body went lax. His eyes rolled into the back of his head. Yoongi’s heart plummeted and he heard screaming, belatedly realizing it was coming from himself.
That is, he said he approached Jeongguk, lifting the helmet off of his head, That I am always in control. Always a step ahead of you and your little ragtag group of so-called heroes. And I will take not only your lives, but what is most precious to you in this world. He placed his hands on the sides of Jeongguk’s head.
The boy started screaming again, this time convulsing violently, so hard that Yoongi thought he’d break his extremities against the restraints. Despite his son’s trashing, Jeonbum held steadfast, groaning as he increased the pressure against Jeongguk’s temples. The screaming came to height before Jeongguk went silent again, going lax on the table. Simultaneously, Jeonbum collapsed, so suddenly that Yoongi startled. A heartbeat later, Jeongguk’s eyes slid open and Yoongi’s stomach dropped in foreboding. The scientist who’d previously been restraining Jeongguk unbuckled the restraints and helped him sit up.
“And there is nothing you can do about it, Yoongi. Nothing.” Jeongguk said, voice carrying straight into Yoongi’s head, over his screaming.
Yoongi sat straight up, knocking the covers off and nearly knocking Taehyung off of the bed. Sweat soaked his clothes, making them stick to his skin. Beside him, Taehyung mumbled something incoherent, turning over in his sleep. Yoongi’s breaths came out in stuttered gasps and he felt the beginnings of a panic attack coming on. He slid out of the bed, standing of shaky legs before making a dash for the bathroom, turning the faucet on as he locked the doors. Yoongi’s hands shook violently as he brought them to his face, their heat reminding that he was, in fact, not helpless. As he watched the small but deadly flames dance, illuminating in the dark room, he assured himself of this, chanting over and over until it stuck like a catchy song in his head.
I am not helpless. I will find Jeongguk. I will kill Jeonbum. Or I will burn this city down trying. I am not helpless. I will find Jeongguk. I will kill Jeonbum. Or I will burn this city down trying.
a little on the shorter side, but an important chapter nonetheless. come yell at me on twt @bentojintro <3 hope you all like it!!
The next time Jimin woke up, he felt like he was on fire. Literally. Well, not literally, but close enough and in a good way. He finally woke up with the energy the events at the warehouse had drained him of. He sat up on the couch, this time without the aches and pains of before. Jimin stretched, sighing at the little cracks his body made before skipping over to the kitchen, where Seokjin was brooding over a pan of eggs.
“Good morning, hyung,” Jimin greeted, skipping over to give the doctor a hug.
Seokjin mumbled a greeting in a back before leaning over and turning off the stove. He turned and dished the eggs onto two plates, accompanied by some bread rolls that he’d bought from Jimin’s favorite bakery.
“Western breakfast today, hyung?” Jimin asked with a smile as he took the hot pan from Seokjin.
“I’m tired,” the elder grunted as he rummaged through the refrigerator for some sides to the simple meal.
Jimin dug around the drawers looking for disposable utensils since all their silverware seemed to be dirty. He chuckled, mindlessly putting the pan down as he dug through their condiment drawer.
“Aha, I knew we--hyung!” Jimin nearly shrieked when he looked up, “Your hand!”
Jimin, in his hunt for plastic forks, placed the still sizzling pan on Seokjin’s hand. He hastily pulled it aside, just as Seokjin retracted his hand, but the elder had to have been burned.
“Oh! Oh, shit,” Seokjin cursed, turning slightly and peering at his burned hand out of Jimin’s line of sight, “Ouch,” he said belatedly.
“Hyung, that has to be bad. Lemme see, so I know what to grab from the first aid kit,” Jimin reached around, gingerly tugging on Seokjin’s wrist.
“No, Jiminie, it’s fine. It’s not that bad at all. I don’t even think it’s that hot. I turned the stove off a while ago, the eggs were just warming,” he resisted Jimin’s tugging and stalked out of the kitchen, towards his room, “I can take care of this, Jimin. Make sure you’re not late to work.”
Jimin started after his roommate, but then caught sight of the clock, which told him he was going to be very late for work. With a curse, the journalist rushed around his room, throwing on a button-up and wrinkled slacks that looked vaguely business casual before rushing out the house, computer bag and camera in hand. He hurriedly left the apartment, shouting goodbye to Seokjin before rushing out the door and down the stairs, too late to wait for the elevator. A few minutes later, he stood on the crowded train, pushed up against the wall. As his thoughts wandered, he thought back to Seokjin, the stove, and the pan and realized that when he’d left the house, the stove light was still on, the power indicator blinking red next to the clock.
Before Jimin could think deeply about the pan incident, his stop came up and he had to push past several people before the doors closed and he missed his stop. He made onto the metro station platform just as the doors closed and Jimin hurried down the busy streets of the business district where the paper that employed him was located.
The lobby of the paper was busy, full of workers from all over the company, all caught up in their own worlds. Jimin rushed similarly, half-walking, half-running to catch the next elevator up. He made the request for the 14th floor. He waited a few minutes as the elevator cleared out, the last one left when the doors opened to the writers’ floor. This floor was slightly less busy than the rest, but Jimin still scurried to his desk, hurriedly booting up his laptop. A quick glance around told him that his boss, the editor of the Seoul Daily, wasn’t in yet, which wasn’t completely unusual and a nice break for Jimin.
When his computer finished booting, Jimin immediately checked his email. The first new one was from Hoseok, with several large files attached. Jimin hurriedly clicked on the attachments, nearly vibrating with excitement as the files downloaded. He didn’t have to wait long, but when the pictures pulled up, Jimin frowned at the small number of them. There were several great pictures of the deal going down, but no great ones of the metahuman he’d seen-- that he heard Jeon talk about and his dream confirmed. The man on fire.
Jimin clicked back to the main email, reading Hoseok’s short message:
Your camera was heavily damaged and part of the SIM card was damaged. Some of the pictures wouldn’t load. Sorry, Jiminie! You still got some great ones, though. Hyung.
A little niggle of suspicion made his stomach sour as Jimin reread the message a few times. Hoseok was one of the best IT guys the Seoul Daily had and, for some reason, the journalist questioned his hyung’s excuse. Something about it bugged him, made him feel unsettled. The longer Jimin thought about it, the worst he felt-- about the excuse, the photos, and his questioning of his good friend-- so he turned his brain off and completed some more mindless work instead.
Jimin puttered around for a few minutes, answering some random emails, mostly from the junior writers who always run around like chickens with their heads chopped off when a senior writer leaves. Jimin snorted at their slightly redundant questions, but tried to answer with as much kindness as possible. When he finished doing that, edited a few pieces of his fellow senior writers, leaving comments for improvement and fixing simple typos. That task took him a good two hours, as many of the writing staff sent their stories to Jimin, knowing he’s hardass for bias, holes, and typos. He often combed through a piece two or three times before greenlighting it for publication, and some pieces, especially of the less experienced writers or of longer pieces, require more time and scrutiny.
By the time Jimin was finished, it was well after lunch and closer to the time Jimin would leave if he hadn’t come in late, especially on a day where he wasn’t working on a piece. He stood out of his chair, stretching as he meandered toward the elevator, before switching directions and heading down the stairs. As he jogged down the stairs to the fifth floor, Jimin’s mind returned to Hoseok and Seokjin. Two weird occurrences, both which left that little, investigative gene in Jimin’s DNA buzzing for him to dig in.
But dig into what, exactly? Jimin thought. His friends? The only family he’s had since his parents died?
The aroma of coffee and fresh bread drug Jimin out of his head for a moment as he ordered a sinfully sweet chocolate croissant from the bakery and small coffee. Both, hopefully, would help him keep his mind on work and help him add to the long research file he has on the Gajok and Jeon. A few minutes later, Jimin was back at his desk, the sugar and caffeine working it’s beautiful magic and spurring Jimin to a deep work haze that Jimin only broke when a junior writer taps him on the shoulder.
“Mr. Park, uh, sir,” Jihyo tapped his shoulder twice before Jimin noticed and looked her way.
“Jihyo-ah, you don’t have to call me sir and Mr. Park is my father. Call me, Jimin or Chim or something else to that effect. Everyone else does,” he said, a small smile on his face, “Anyway, what’s up?”
“I know you’re doing that research on Jeon Jeonbum and his...uh… company,” she blushed before continuing, “Anyway, my friend is interning in socialite writing and she mentioned to me that the writer he was shadowing, uh, Seulgi, or something, she had received tickets for their fundraising gala, where Jeon is rumored to make an appearance. This is the first time in a while Jeon has invited the media to something like that. Anyway, she’s not going because her senior want her to cover something else and so they were trying to find someone to give the last ticket to…. And I figured I should mention it to you. It would be a good chance to speak to him. Maybe get some insight, without putting yourself in danger or something.”
Jimin’s smile faltered throughout the woman’s long-winded story but perked at the end when he realized what she was getting at.
“Thanks, Jihyo-ah. You’re the best!” he said enthusiastically before turning to furiously type an email to Seulgi, on which he cc-ed the paper’s editor.
The email essentially demanded that Jimin got the last ticket, but in a passive-aggressive, polite work tone way. Jimin sent the email without another thought, anxiously packing up his work station. By the time Jimin finished that, only 15 minutes had passed. He paced for a little bit before getting annoyed with the stares of what few writers were left in the office and finally left. He made it all the way to the subway station before checking his phone again.
No response. Again.
It wasn’t until Jimin was drifting off on the subway ride that his phone buzzed in his pocket, jolting him awake and accidentally bumping into the student next to him. He mumbled an apology before yanking his phone out of his pocket.
You’re in. I was going to give you the ticket when I came in this morning, but you didn’t arrive until after I’d left for a meeting. Come get it from me tomorrow morning, be on time. Will be expecting a one-on-one report of your convo w/ Jeon and some more progress on your gang expose. - Sooyoung
Jimin winced at the little dig his boss, Sooyoung, made but still did a little happy dance at the thought of being able to see the mob boss up close and personal. Not only could he speak to Jeon, but he could also seek out a new informant and make connections inside of the gang. It was essentially a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone like Jimin, especially considering the Gajok was one of Seoul’s more clandestine gangs.
The journalist did a little happy dance in his seat, drawing concerned glances from other metro rides. He was ecstatic until he thought more about the event.
God, what was he going to wear?!
hope you liked this more ~mundane~ chapter ! but there's a lot of hints about the future here so read carefully >:) don't forget that i live off kudos and comments! love you all <3