“It was supposed to be a normal job. A quick in and out heist. Smooth and keen, just like always. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this!” Jisung paced back and forth, sweat matting down his already messy hair. He stopped, ran his hand through it, then continued pacing.
“Oh stop your complaining!” Changbin rolled his eyes, spinning a knife in his hand. Spin, catch. Spin, catch. “It turned out just swell. A little dingy yeah but we’se in in one piece.”
“Says you!” Jisung spun around, his mismatched eyes blazing. “You didn’t lose your best asset! You didn’t mess up.”
Changbin leaned back in his chair and put up his legs. He shifted into a more comfortable position and adjusted his suit. His foot was bothering him, Bangchan could tell. Jisung continued to pace back and forth, ranting about his ‘ruined painting’. Bangchan had studied the graffiti art, per Jisung’s persistence, and he saw nothing wrong with it.
He took a drag on his cigar, swirling the sweet smoke around his mouth and blowing it out slowly, letting the taste linger on his tongue a little longer before he stubbed out the end and threw it in the ashtray. The smoke curled up to the ceiling, drifting lazily through the apartment.
“Jisung don’t blow your wig. We recognized it as yours and the heist may not have gone as great as it could have, but it went well. Nobody saw us, we got a good amount of dough and nobody got thrown in the Big House. We can buy you new paint.”
“Not paint like this! This was my poisoned set!”
Hm. That may pose a problem .
He walked over to his dresser and pulled off his white gloves, rubbing at a spot until it came off. He folded them up and set them down carefully, next to his ties and watches. He turned back around, shrugging off his jacket, exposing his broad shoulders barely contained by his white shirt.
He locked eyes with Jisung and the younger flopped down in Bangchan’s abandoned chair, his pink lips drawing into a pout as he drew his knees up. His cheeks puffed out cute as a bug’s ear and he was trying to look brooding but it wasn’t working.
Changbin twisted his head at an odd angle to look at the younger boy. Once he saw the pout, he clicked his tongue and groaned. He swiveled his head back and closed his eyes dramatically.
“Oh stop being such a pill Han.” Changbin’s voice was raspy and done with everything. “We can make more fucking paint, Bangchan just said. Calm down.”
Jisung angrily snapped his suspenders in Changbins general direction and put his head in his hands, his snow white hair sticking out between his paint splattered knuckles. Bangchan felt a pang of pity for the kid and tried to play it off by casually approaching the boy.
“Tell you what kid. You and me? Let’s go to the Market. We can buy your paint ingredients there.”
Jisung raised his head, his odd eyes bright, his unnatural hair sticking up childishly. “Really?”
“Yeah. First thing tomorrow morning. Changbin can take care of things for a couple hours so we can go get some grub and your paint stuff.” Bangchan hung his suit jacket on a hook on the wall and then hung his cap. He ruffled his hair, shaking his head and fluffing up the blond curls with one hand.
“You’re not just bumping gums?” Jisung practically bounced up and down with excitement.
“Sweet!” Jisung punched the air with both fists and yelled triumphantly.
“God Jisung, quiet! You’re so loud….” Changbin pulled his cap over his eyes and sunk further down into the chair, his angular face twisted in annoyance.
“Well that’s hard boiled Changbin. You’re just jealous I’m a real pip, while you’re just a pill.”
Changbin yanked his hat off, confused offense written all over his face. “What?”
“You heard me.” Jisung sat back down on the chair, his knees tucked underneath him. He cupped his face with both hands under his chin, squishing his round cheeks, his big eyes wide and rimmed with dark lashes. Changbin sat up from his slouched position and raised his fist. “You twit...”
Bangchan stopped unbuttoning his shirt and shot them both a look. Changbin sank back down into his chair, pulling his hat over his eyes, muttering. “What are you, five? Geez Han..”
“Yeah, five feet taller than your short ass.” Bangchan’s eyes went wide and he stifled a laugh. He turned around, quickly composed himself, then turned back around to watch the chaos unfold. Changbin shot up even more quickly than the last three times, which Bangchan honestly didn’t think was possible. He got up quickly and Jisung was gone, scampering into his loft room quicker than a squirrel.
His laughter followed him all the way up, a contagious laugh, real and warm. Granted, right now it was slightly evil and mocking, but Jisung had a nice laugh.
Changbin hobbled underneath the loft. “Come back down here you wet sock! This’ll be the kiss off for you..” He stretched out his leg, Bangchan could see it was a little bit more swollen than usual. What had he done to it?
Jisung popped his head over the bunk. “N. O. No, no, Changbin no!”
Changbin let out a noise that was half growl half yell. “You punk ass little-” he clenched his fists and threw his suit coat across the room, standing there in his vest and shirt. Bangchan cleared his throat. “Pick that up!” He finished unbuttoning his shirt and rolled up his sleeves. “I just cleaned and it doesn’t look like a pigsty anymore. You better keep it kippy or else.”
“Why Bangchan? Nobody comes here.” Jisung hung upside down over the side of his loft, his hair fluffing our around him. Changbin stalked over to his discarded jacket. He picked it up and made a show of hanging it up. He was in an evil mood, Chan would have to ask him about it later.
“Because we don’t need to live like goons okay? Just keep it clean and stop crusting each other. Savvy? I’m done with your bickering.”
“You and me both.” Changbin flopped down on his cot. He pulled off his boots, wincing as he took off his left one. Of course, his bum leg. “Say, Bin, how are your uprights?” Bangchan tried to keep his voice emotionless but a bit of worry creeped in the edges.
“Not well. Left ones hurtin’ something fierce.” He flexed his toes under his stockings and winced. “Not gonna lie to you, something’s gumming up the works…”
“Hmm. That’s not lookin too good pal.” Bangchan went over to the cabinet and rummaged through it. “How about you put down some of this?”
“Don’t you be serving me any Mickey Finn Bang. I’m on watch tonight.”
Bangchan laughed. “Relax Changbin it’s just a bit of hooch. Warm you right up and cure what ails you.” He took it out of the secret compartment and poured some into a glass. He went to the door and locked it. Didn’t want any coppers crashin in. He brought it over to Changbin and sat down next to him. Changbin took the glass gratefully. Bangchan called Jisung “Hey Jisung, pass me a snipe.”
A pack of cigars flew from the loft, unopened. “I’ll just be up here by myself.” His voice was sour and Bangchan could tell he was sore. He laughed and shook his head, opening the pack. “Got a light?” He stuck the cigar between his teeth and grinned. Changbin pulled out a box of matches and lit him up. Bangchan sucked the sweet smoke into his mouth, careful not to breathe it in too far. He savored the taste and blew it out in a blue cloud.
Changbin downed his whiskey and set it down, coughing a little. “Oh that’s good. That-” He made a noise of satisfaction and stretched his leg. “Feels great.” He sighed contentedly and looked up to the ceiling.
There was a ruckus and they looked over to see jisung sulking over to the fridge and opening it. He poured himself a glass of milk, took it like a shot and disappeared back to his loft, where the sounds of a canvas being attacked by brushed followed.
“Jisung, don’t get so bent out of shape!” Bangchan called up good naturedly to the boy. “You’re too young, and plus, it’s illegal.”
Jisungs head appeared, even more covered in paint than before. “First, I’m like, two years younger than you. Secondly, so is k balling, but I don’t see Changbin stopping.”
Changbin had a slight slur to his words, and he seemed more relaxed. “K balling is not that bad. How else’s a man supposed to fix his car? Taking parts from richies who can pay for another is easy. And affordable.”
“It’s not ‘affordable’, you’re just chintzy. Paint? Now that costs a lotta dough.” Jisung swung down and sat on the bed. Now all three of them were sitting on Changbins cot, and it sagged a little bit with the weight.
Changbin downed his glass and refilled it, already getting kind of tipsy.
“You don’t neeeeeeeeeed paint.” Changbin slurred.
Jisung just gave him a look. “Uh, yes I do.”
“Yeeeeesss,” Jisung imitated him.
“Alright, lets not. I am not in the mood for this.” Bangchan took another drag on his cigar and took the bottle of whiskey from Changbin. He rubbed his temples and meandered over to the windows, his hands in his pockets. He looked out over the city, the streetlights glittering in the night. The biggest city out there. The big apple. The plane for a magician to be. He rolled a coin out of his pocket and over his knuckles, seemingly making it disappear before it reappeared again in his other hand. He did this as he sat by the window and smoked, almost subconsciously.
He sat there for a while, appreciating the view. It was quiet as it ever got in the big city and snowflakes fell gently. The whole city would be coated in a blanket of white in the morning, until the newsies roughed it up, turning everything a wet gray.
He finished his cigar and stubbed it out. He turned to the boys, who had fallen asleep over each other. Changbin was reclined with his arm over his eyes and Jisung was curled up next to him. He slowly picked jisung up and carried the boy to his bed in his room.
He tripped over a can of paint and almost dropped the boy. He regained his balance and blew his blonde curls out of his eyes. He lay Jisung down on his cot and pulled the sheets over him, tucking him in securely. Jisung snuggled down and sighed in his sleep. Bangchan smiled and went to check on Changbin.
Changbin was sound asleep; he’d never taken booze well. He pulled the sheets over Changbin too and put a glass of water next to him, because when he woke up he’d be thirsty as hell. Changbin’s foot didn’t look too good either, so he grabbed an extra pillow and set it up, which caused Changbin to stir slightly.
He had been born with a twisted foot, so his parents threw him out. Bangchan didn’t understand why, it made him madder than a wet hornet. He grew up on the streets and he had met Bangchan in the slammer. Bangchan busted them both outta there and boom, that was it. He had been a street artist playing at a clip joint when it was busted. Because of his bum leg, he couldn’t get away, so the coppers got him. Bangchan was in there for dipping pockets. Once he got them both out, they teamed up. Changbin became his escape driver, one of the best in the business.
Now Jisung? They didn’t know squat about him except that his dad was a scientist with crackpot theories and bad morals.
He would test his experiments on Jisung and his hair turned completely white from stress. Something happened when he was a kid, and his eyes were affected. One turned bright yellow and the other almost completely white. They reflected light oddly, and people didn’t take kindly to…. different. He ran away and lots of stuff happened in between, stuff he wouldn’t tell them about. He tried to get a job, but nobody could see past his eerie eyes and odd hair. He ended up becoming a newsie and pickpocket, that’s how he ended up meeting the boys and joined their crew as a scout.
He goes out, tags a place, Banchan holds it up and gets the dough, and Changbins there to shake a leg and get them the hell away. They’d built a reputation for themselves, based on mystery and fear. People were scared. That was good.
Bangchan tidied up a bit, washing the dishes and folding away blueprints and plans. He was careful with Changbins knives, but he stashed them under his cot. He tried to scrub some paint stains off the walls and polished up his deck of cards . He really had a setup, lockpicks, invisible ropes, drills and pulleys, almost everything a magician turned thief could ask for.
He counted up the days spoils and made a note in their little balance book they hid in an old copy of The Grapes of Wrath. Bangchan had never read it to be honest.
He looked around, making sure there was no one at the window. He drew the blinds, sealing them tightly so nobody could see in. He double checked that the door was locked, and once he knew it was, he let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
He walked over to one of Jisung’s paintings and swung it aside. Behind it was a little steel door. It required a 6 digit code of miners and letters. He spun each dial carefully.
I...ah fuck he messed up.
The small door swung open, revealing stacks of folding green. He inhaled the smell of hard work. That was gonna get all three of them their dreams. That right there? That was potential.
He put the day’s spoils in the small safe and closed the door solidly, checking in how much he had put in on the little card they used to keep track of the money. He spun the dials around one by one, scrambling up the code, so that if anyone stumbled upon it, the code wouldn't be right there.
Only the three of them knew of the safe, it was a well kept secret, one of the biggest in the gang. You told nobody about the safe. Not unless all three approved, and that would never happen. He silently swung the painting back into place and adjusted it so it was straight.
There. All buttoned up at bedtime. Speaking of which, he was tired. He finally took off his shirt and folded it carefully into his dresser drawer. He pulled off his suspenders, letting them hang down over his waist. He yanked off his undershirt, leaving him completely shirtless.
His chest was smooth, except for a couple scars he got from his days at the theater. That sawbox trick only worked so many times. He looked at himself in the dirty mirror over the sink. He rested his arms on the rim of the sink and stared at his reflection.
Thick, dark eyebrows. Blond curly hair a little on the long side, would never stay slicked no matter how much gel he put in it. He had tan skin and a sharp jawline. He looked at himself and scrunched his brow in distaste.
Who am I? He thought grimly. I’m looking at myself ... but I can’t figure it out.
I am not-.....maybe I need to find a different mirror?
He turned on the tap and watched the stream of frigid water fall into the stained sink. The grime would never leave no matter how much he scrubbed, like the whole damn apartment.
He cupped his hands underneath the water and splashed his face, trying to clear his head . He took the bar of soap and lathered it up between his hands until he had enough suds. He smeared it over his face, breathing in some of the scented bubbles on accident.
He tried not to cough too loud, so he didn’t wake the boys. His eyes bugged out and he frantically splashed his face with more water but that just made it worse. He coughed and sputtered and finally managed to clear his nose. He turned off the water and grabbed his towel, burying his face into it to stifle him choking.
He finally stopped dying and shook out his hair. Little beads of water spattered nearby surfaces and he flipped his head over to fluff up the hair on the bottom so it would dry faster. It was freezing cold outside and he didn’t want to catch nasty stuff like the lungers in the death traps they call hospitals.
He pulled off his shoes, brushing the dust off the leather. Nice shoes they were, he stole them from a high end shop a while back. He took off his stockings and tossed them in the hamper for dirty clothing that neither of the other boys used, no matter how much Bangchan bagged them about it.
He double checked all the locks, securing the windows and drawing the drapes tightly. They learned the hard way about not locking the door a couple hideouts ago. He checked up on the boys one last day and finally retired into his room.
He climbed into bed, the sheets cool against his skin. He bundled them up under his chin and between his legs for maximum warmth. The sheets were soft and the pillow was softer and Bangchan suddenly felt so tired. Time to go into a mini coma.
He was just sinking into sleep when he heard a knock piercing his dreams.
He figured it was Jisung shifting in his sleep, he was always accidentally knocking on the walls. But the knocking persisted and he worried it would wake up the boys. But he was cozy. And sleepy.
He grabbed the handle of his knife that he kept under his pillow and murmured. “Go awayyyyyyyyieee….” His voice was heavy with sleep and raspy.
The knocking got louder and more consistent. Knock, knock knock.
“I said scram!”
“Shake a leg you twat!” Bangchan was angry now and he threw the covers back and swung his legs over. Goosebumps pricked up over his bare chest. Great, now he was cold. He heard Jisung stirring above him and his face heated. Let the goddamn kid sleep you bastardized greaseball.
BAM BAM BAM.
It wasn’t knocking anymore. It turned into aggressive banging on their little wooden door. Oooh boy, Bangchan was fuming now. He whipped out his knife and stalked over to the door, his face dark. He slid open the deadbolt and whipped off the chain, his eyes blazing and his fists clenched, wearing nothing but pants with suspenders hanging down.
He gripped the doorknob so hard he heard it crack a little and he almost tore the door off its hinges. “What’s this? What do you want? It’s three in the morning you twat!!!” He hissed, his eyes blazing.
A man just a little taller than him stared at him, expressionless. He looked Bangchan up and down, distaste on his face. He had a square jaw, monolids and his everything was immaculate. His hair was black and perfectly slicked back, not a single hair out of place. His eyes were dark and cold, they gave Bangchan the chills.
His eyes darted down to Bangchan’s knife and then back to his face unflinchingly. He casually opened his black trench coat and revealed a sleek black heater in a holster on his hip. He reached into an inside pocket and pulled out a large white envelope.
He was wearing black leather gloves so Jisung couldn’t dust for fingerprints. Dammit. Bangchan wanted to know who this dark stranger was, he annoyed the hell out of him.
“Who do you think you are? You just turn up at the cave at the dead of night and buzz me out of bed!” He sheathed his blade and put his suspenders over his shoulders so it at least gave the illusion of clothes. He snapped them angrily, a little too hard, and he tried to hide his wince.
The man looked at him coldly, annoyance creasing his brow. “Seungmin. I go by the name of Seungmin.”
“Well ain’t that the cat’s pajamas.” Bangchan snorted sarcastically. “Hello.” He stuck his hand out mockingly. “I’m-“
“I know who you are Christopher Bang.” The man only looked at Bangchan’s outstretched hand, sniffing at it as if it was contaminated.
“It’s Bangchan pal.”
“Frankly, I don’t care.” The man gingerly placed the envelope in Bangchan’s hand, like it would reach out and bite him. “This is from my employer. Don’t disappoint.”
“Oh how nice. A love letter.”
He looked down at the envelope. It was white, with a single marking on it. It looked like some sort of bird, but he couldn’t tell. It was oddly heavy, and large. He looked back up to the man, “What am I supposed to- huh?”
Seungmin was gone, no sign that he had ever been there except for the white envelope in Bangchans hands and the sinking feeling in his chest. “God damn...”
He shrugged and went back inside, closing the door and locking it behind him. He casually threw his knife on the counter and sat down at the table. He lit a candle and opened the envelope. There was a lot of papers in it, they looked like blueprints. He held them up to the light of the candle and squinted in the din.
Suddenly the lights flicked on and there was Jisung, his white hair a mess of bedhead and his eyes bleary from sleep. “Who was that?”
“I don’t know. Is Changbin awake?”
“I don’t know.”
“Come sit next to me, let's read this.”
Jisung pulled out his chair and sat next to Bangchan, yawning. He put his elbows on the table and rested his head on them. “What is it? Are we being bled?”
“I don’t know.” Bangchan repeated
“What the hell-“ Changbin stumbled into the kitchen, his hair sticking up at all angles, crazier than Jisungs. He leaned against the wall, squinting and rubbing his eyes.
“Oh that’s just swell. Everyone’s been woken up by this Bruno at our door.” Bangchan was fed up. They’d had a rough couple of weeks and they needed all the sleep they could get. Especially Changbin as the lookout and driver.
“Shut your trap and tell me who the hell that was.” Changbins voice was slippery and dark from the effects of no sleep and whiskey. He lurched across to the table and sat down heavily.
Changbin turned the envelope out and scattered the papers on the table. There were blueprints and one small typewritten note. “What is this?” He muttered under his breath.
Jisung picked up a blueprint and he gasped. “These are the blueprints for the Indigo!”
“the Indigo Centre of Arts and History! Biggest joint out there. Lots of bigwig stuff there.”
“Oh no.” Bangchan shuffled through the papers, breathing heavily. He picked up the handwritten note and read it frantically. He dropped it and slumped down in his chair. “FUCK.” He slammed his head into the table and lay there.
“What is it?” Jisung picked up the note and read it aloud. “Hello there boys…like the prints? Surely you know this place. The world famous the Indigo Centre of Arts and History. There’s something that I want from this dear little establishment ... a very nice bitty trinket that belongs in my collection, something that even the museum doesn’t know it has. Oh 3racha…. Can you get it for me? You absolutely must, I insist. I mean, it’s much better than the alternative, trust me. You have 24 hours to decide. Instructions will follow. ”
Jisung placed the note down gingerly, and even Changbin seemed snapped out of his trance. Jisung looked at Bangchan. “How did they know about 3Racha? That’s- that’s just a joke for us…” Changbin sat up and locked his fingers together, deep in thought.
Bangchan looked to and fro at his small gang. “I don’t know Jisung. But I do know one thing. If we want to keep our heads we're gonna be casing the indigo.”
Changbin looked up, a huge mischievous smile on his face. “And we’se gonna do it 3racha style.”
Jisung sighed. “Guess we’re not getting my paint.”
This story is actually by a friend of mine!! I'm helping her upload, and Lavender And White Tea is her pseud! Please be nice to her, since she's been working really hard on this story, and I'm really proud of her for writing it. Enjoy reading !! - SandyRoses
Chapter 2: First Impressions
Bangchan walked quickly down the streets, his collar turned up, a red scarf wrapped around his neck. Jisung followed close behind, wearing his mask to cover his eyes and a cap perched on his head, his long white hair tucked up inside it.
They both wore long coats, a little on the ragged side but they were the best that they had. They were scrubbed, brushed and combed to as close to perfection they ever got.
He was carrying his lockpicks and cards, his favorite weapon. These were no ordinary playing cards, they were made of steel and sharpened to a fine edge. When thrown, they could slice through a thick wood block. Bangchan enjoyed carrying them around, it reminded him of his days in the circus.
Jisung was carrying the last of his paint cans, white and blue. They were special paints, if jisung turned the nozzle, it would mix with a custom made poison, stronger than most snakes. He was running low, he had lost his red and his yellow at the last heist. They needed to go get him some more so he would stop complaining. This particular paint was invented only a couple years ago and Jisung had pounced on the opportunity.
Paint and compressed air inside a can, when you pressed down on the nozzle it came out in a concentrated stream that gave off a unique look. Jisung loved the stuff and did what he called “tagging” all over the city. Bangchan drew the line at the walls in the apartment, he didn’t want anything to link them to the crimes, the missing paint cans were bad enough.
He pulled his scarf tighter around his mouth. It was really cold. Too cold. Even for February in New York. The snow blew around them, nipping at any exposed skin like mosquitoes, which they had excessively in the summer. You really couldn’t win with the weather to be real.
He knew Changbin was probably nice and toasty in his modified Jaguar. He sat a couple blocks away, ready for a quick escape if needed. This was just a scout mission but you had to be ready for anything.
“Ready kid?” Bangchans voice was muffled underneath his scarf but Jisung seemed to hear him just fine.
“As I’ll ever be. Y’know, I always wanted to visit the indigo, but I never had the time. Funny how things play out eh?” He laughed dryly and Bangcould tell he was upset. Who wouldn’t be at that age, being forced to rob a place you’d idolized your entire life. Oh, then throw death threats on top of that and blend it all up. Serve chilled with a squeeze of lemon juice and you’ve got a hell of a time.
They turned a corner and there it was. The the Indigo Centre of Arts and History. It was huge, stretching out down the street and towering up above them. Dozens of stiffs waltzed in and out of the doors, tuxedos and skirts, diamonds and gold. Jisung ran ahead of Bangchan a little bit to appreciate the view.
He ran up the steps, his feet tapping out an excited rhythm on the concrete and ran his hand over the stone pillars tentatively. He looked back at Bangchan and he could see the smile on his face even under the mask.
“I've walked by it dozens of times back when I was hawkin headlines. I never had the courage to come up here. It’s almost surreal…..”
“Well, we’re goin inside, so you can admire more than just the walls.” Bangchan chuckled and stuck his hands in his pockets. He looked back at Jisung to see if he was following and his shoulder smacked into something small. Something small that went flying. “Oi, you punk! Watch where you’re walkin’ eh?”
He looked down to see a boy around his age, a little older maybe, it was hard to tell, sprawled out on the pavement. He was skinny and dirty, his brown hair a mess of rats and his face covered in grime. His baby face was a mask of disgust and indignation at the moment, his doe eyes flaming in anger.
“Oh, sorry mate.” Bangchan stretched out a hand to help the kid up, but he swatted it away and stood up himself, brushing the snow and dirt off his worn clothing. “Sorry doesn’t spare the paps pally! I hadda whole haul and now they’re soaked on the pavement. Nobody’s gonna buy this shit now! You owe me 80 cents egghead!”
Bangchan raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to speak when an older boy came running up, a couple others behind him. “Jungkook, there you are!” He was tall and lanky, much cleaner and more put together than the boy who had run into Bangchan. He wore a nice suit, much nicer than Bangchans old coat. He wore an expensive silver watch on one wrist.
He had full lips, strong brows and wide shoulders. He grabbed the kid by the shoulder and started lecturing him, speaking so fast Bangchan could only catch a bit of it. “What the hell did we tell you about running off you punk? Namjoon is worried sick and we have a job in less than an hour! I don’t care about your half baked excuses, Taehyung is looking into that wack ass letter, and we need you home , so if you don’t get your scrawny ass back to the cave right now, so help me…” his angry words trailed off as he noticed Bangchan and he stood up, resting a hand on his hip. He looked Bangchan up and down, eyeing his worn clothing and red scarf.
“And who the hell are you?” The other two boys finally caught up with the angry boy, panting. One had cat like eyes, downturned lips and a sulky look to him. He had black hair and was dressed in a snazzy black suit, much like the angry boy. The other boy wore the same suit, but red. He had a long face, with a strong jaw. He had deep Cupid’s bow lips and sunny eyes.
“I’m CB97. And frankly, I should be asking the same of you.”
“What kinda name is that? I’m Seokjin, and this lil wannabe newsie punk is Jungkook.. And we’re very busy so if you don’t mind. Suga, Jhope, lets go.” He grabbed a protesting Jungkook by the arm and started to drag him off.
Bangchan grabbed the kids other arm. The expressionless man drew a gun on him faster than he could blink, but Bangchan didn’t even flinch. “Suga, your gun.” Seokjin warmed, but the dark man didn’t move. Bangchan heard the shaking and rattling of Jisungs paint and he held up his other hand to put him on hold.
“Wait. You said something about a wack ass letter. It didn’t happen to be delivered in the dead of night by a creepy ass guy wearing black gloves, did it?”
He heard the click of the man Seokjin called Suga loading his gun and he let go of Jungkook’s arm. Seokjin held up a hand and Suga relaxed a little bit, his gun still drawing the stares of dozens of stiffs. Seokjin cocked his head. “Yes...how did you know?”
Bangchan reached into his jacket and Suga cocked his gun again. “Calm your balls, trigger happy. It’s a piece of paper pal.” He withdrew the white envelope from the previous night. “It didn’t happen to look like this did it?”
Seokjin reached into his own jacket and pulled out an identical envelope. Bangchan opened his own and read aloud.
“Hello there boys…like the prints? Surely you know this place. The world famous the Indigo Centre of Arts and History. There’s something that I want from this dear little establishment …. a very nice bitty trinket that belongs in my collection, something that even the museum doesn’t know it has.Oh 3racha…. Can you get it for me? You absolutely must, I insist. I mean, it’s much better than the alternative, trust me. You have 24 hours to decide. Instructions will follow. ”
Seokjin opened his envelope and read aloud in a hesitant voice, like he didn’t trust his own vocal chords.
“ Hello there boys…like the prints? Surely you know this place. The world famous the Indigo Centre of Arts and History. There’s something that I want from this dear little establishment …. a very nice bitty trinket that belongs in my collection, something that even the museum doesn’t know it has. Oh Bangtan…. Can you get it for me? You absolutely must, I insist. I mean, it’s much better than the alternative, trust me. You have 24 hours to decide. Meet the second third of your team on the indigo steps tomorrow morning. Instructions will follow.”
“They’re exactly the same..” Jisung breathed. “Except yours has the weird message at the end… and it says Bang pan or whatever.”
“Bangtan.” Sugas cold voice interrupted Bangchans thoughts. “Bangtan Sonyeondan.” Bulletproof Boy Scouts. He still held his gun aimed at Bangchan and the man in red put a hand on his shoulder. “Yoongs...I think we can trust them.”
Suga shot him an evil glare and holstered the gun, spinning it once and slipping it away in a smooth practiced motion. Bangchan noticed he was missing a thumb. With the steely gaze in Suga's eyes, he didn't think he wanted to ask.
“Thank you Jhope.” Seokjin nodded to the man in red and he smiled back in return, a big sunny smile.
Seokjin shoved Jungkook into Jhope. “Take him home. Make sure he doesn’t sneak out again. Oh, and send Namjoon over. I think he would want to talk to these guys.”
“Namjoon…?” Bangchan half asked, half repeated.
“RM to you. Come on, I guess we’re doing reconnaissance.” He walked up the steps and Suga started to follow. Seokjin held out a hand and stopped the cold man in his tracks. “I said go get Namjoon.”
“And I’m deciding to not to. You don’t own me.”
Jhope grabbed Suga’s hand. “Come on Yoongs..lets go.” His voice was soft and Suga gritted his teeth, almost like he was resisting something. Jhope tugged on his hand. “Yoongi come on!”
“Fine!” Yoongi barked. He gave Bangchan a steely glare “but I still don’t trust you. Try anything and I’ll find you and pump your guts full of lead.”
Bangchan smirked “I'll take your word for it...Yoongs.” He heard Jisung stifle a laugh behind him.
Suga lunged for Bangchan but was pulled back by Jhope and Jungkook. He spat profanities at Bangchan while Jhope dragged him away and after about thirty feet he stopped and continued walking on his own, shrugging Jungkook and Jhope away, but keeping his grip on J Hope's hand. Jhope looked back and shrugged in apology.
Seokjin shook his head and laughed. “That kid's got a hot head, and Hoseok’s-that is Jhope-is the only one who can reign him in. Nobody knows why.” His expression turned serious. “Now. We have to get down to the bottom of this. Let’s go.” He turned around and made his way up the steps, towards the main doors. Bangchan followed, lagging behind a little to whisper something to Jisung, out of the corner of his mouth so that Seokjin couldn’t hear.. “I don’t trust that look in his eyes. At the first sign of trouble, we’ll split. You take route one to Changbin and I’ll take two. Savvy?”
Jisung kept his eyes ahead, as if he was focusing on going up the steps, but Bangchan caught the subtle nod of his head that showed he understood. He loosened his coat, making it easier for him to whip out his paints. Bangchan smoothly moved his cards from his waist pocket to his sleeve pocket, a movement he had perfected to the point where you could barely notice.
They climbed up dozens of stairs until finally they reached the top. A bored looking man in a uniform looked at them through half-lidded eyes. Bangchan got the feeling that the man wasn’t fully there. He blinked at them once and said in a deadpan tone “Welcome to the the Indigo Centre of Arts and History, please pay admission and you can be on your way.”
Seokjin placed a coin on the counter and walked through the gates.
Bangchan felt his heart jump in his chest. Admission? Nobody told him about admission. He regained his composure and asked, almost indifferently. “How much?”
“10 cents a person.”
“I’m sorry how much?”
“10 cents a person.”
“Uhm..I seem to have left my wallet..uh..in my-?” He gave Jisung a look and the boy shrugged. They had a little money in the safe at the hideout, but that was strictly off limits, for paying rent and groceries and debt. They used a very small percentage for personal use, and that months percent had been spent on...Bangchan actually didn’t know what it had been spent on but it had been spent.
Seokjin rolled his eyes and slapped a quarter on the counter. “Keep the change ya lug.” The man’s eyes went wide and he looked up at Seokjin in confusion. “But sir?” Jin cut him off with a sharp glare and the man’s words died in his throat. Bangchan and Jisung exchanged a glance, not daring to say anything. Jin seemed like someone to not cross. Jin caught them looking and exclaimed. “Yeah yeah pal, I got money. Why? I don’t look it?”
His voice was challenging and the man quickly looked back down at the quarter. He placed it in a drawer practically brimming with coins and Bangchan made a mental note. Shouldn’t be hard to rob this simpleton.
Seokjin gestured to the boys. “Let’s go. Namjoon should be here soon, and he’ll find us. It’s an annoying habit of his to be able to track me down.”
Bangchan exchanged a glance with Jisung. Okay then. Jisung shrugged and Bangchan shrugged back. He followed Seokjin up the steps, stumbling a little. Seokjin caught him before he fell over. “Careful there kid.”
Seokjin lead them through the grand foyer of the museum. Jisung craned his neck so far he almost fell over, trying to take in everything all at once. Bangchan didn’t blame him. The museum was somehow even bigger once the inside. The ceiling was tall and painted with beautiful designs that Jisung was blowing his wig at.
He was practically bouncing, looking at everything all at once and saying things like “Oh, Bangchan look it’s a Monet!” or “the brushstrokes on this piece are amazing!” At one point, he ran up to a statue with such awe that Seokjin started laughing, attracting the attention of many stuff with his window washing-like gasps.
It was then that a tall man ran up to them and wrapped his arms around Seokjin from behind. He had smooth monolids and thick lips. His hair was hidden under a green fedora, matching his suit. “Thank god you started laughing Jinnie, or else I mighta never found you!”
Jin immediately stopped laughing and wriggled out of the tall man’s embrace. “Not now Namjoon, we’re here on business, not for fun.” He seemed to be scolding the tall man, who slumped a little under the beration. He wore a suit identical to Seokjin’s only his was a dark forest green. His sunglasses had matching green lenses and gold frames. Bangchan was digging the matching suits. He’d have to find something like that for 3racha. Taking names, kicking ass and looking snazzy while doing it.
“Pleeease?” Namjoon whined. “Just one? I haven’t seen you today.” He pouted, trying to convince Seokjin. He kept shaking his head no and Namjoon kept pleading until he finally bent. “Oh, all right.” He tilted his head and Namjoon threw his arms around his wide shoulders and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. Seokjin patted him on the shoulder and Namjoon flipped some sort of switch that projected him into business mode.
Bangchan was shocked. It was like it was a completely different person! His eyes narrowed slightly and he stood taller. Bangchan honestly was kinda scared and he felt Jisung jump beside him. Damn, he needed to learn that trick.
“Yo, I’m RM. I’m the leader of the Bangtan Gang. And you’se are?”
Bangchan shook his head to clear his senses. He stuck out his hand, and Namjoon shook it. He had a strong grip, one Bangchan decided he didn’t want to be on the bad side of. “I’m CB97. This here’s J-1.”
“What kinda names are those? And what’s with the mask kid?” Namjoon’s voice was gruff and Bangchan decided if this guy wanted to play the intimidation game, he could play it just as well. He lowered his voice and drew himself up, his Aussie accent much stronger than before.
“It’s precautionary. You don’t know who you can trust in this city.” He held out one seemingly empty palm and suddenly, Namjoon’s custom lighter was in his fingers. It was dark green and in gold script down the side were the words Rap Monster scribbled over in red pen. Something about the name struck Bangchan as familiar, but he couldn’t quite stick it.
Namjoon patted his pockets, wide eyed. “How-?” Bangchan only smiled knowingly, one eyebrow quirked. “I simply distracted you. You were focused on the handshake, while I palmed your lighter with my free hand. I made you look one place, while the magic was happening somewhere else. The more you think you see, the less you actually know.” He handed the lighter back to Namjoon, smug.
Seokjin huffed. “Oh great, a magic boy with a big ego .”
Bangchan had one last trick up his sleeve though, literally. He pulled up his jacket sleeve and pretended to check the time on a very familiar looking silver watch. It was ornate, with dark blue jewels imbedded in it, jewels that matched a specific Seokjin’s dark blue suit. His eyes bugged out and he checked his now bare wrist.
“I didn’t even shake your hand!” He lunged for his watch and suddenly, it was on Bangchans other wrist.
“No, but you caught me when I fell up the steps.” Bangchan handed the watch back, and Seokjin moodily put it back on as Namjoon snickered. “Okay okay we get it, you’ve got slick fingers. What does the kid do?”
Jisung huffed, offended. He pulled down his cap and crossed his arms. “And what’s up with the hat and mask? Was he thrown in a fire or had boiling water thrown on his face?” He turned to Namjoon. “Yknow, like Jeonghan?” Namjoon shrugged. “Maybe.”
Jisung was silently fuming, knowing he wasn’t supposed to talk. Bangchan intervened for him just in time. “No, he just…..likes the mystery. And he’s an amazing tagger, the best scout we’ve ever had. He makes a damn good distraction too.”
Seokjin tapped Namjoon to get his attention. “You shoulda seen the kid when Yoongi pulled a heater on him. Didn’t. Even. Blink. Even challenged him. Called him Yoongs.” Namjoon put a fist to his mouth and bent back slightly.
“Daaaamn, kids got guts.” He pointed to Bangchan “I like this kid, I like you. What did you say your name was?”
“CB97.” Bangchan’s voice was flat as he repeated his alias. He gestured to Jisung. “This is J-1.”
“No, no your real names. Like I go by RM right? It’s my street name. But my names actually Namjoon. This is Seokjin, but he’s just Jin.”
Jin elbowed him gruffly, making a noise of indignation.
“I’m CB97 and this is J-1.” Bangchan repeated, crossing his arms. That’s all you’re getting for now , Bangchan thought. He had learned his lesson about trusting too easy, the whole gang had. They even had a saying, Gang comes first. They were in this together, three kids against the world. It wasn’t easy being young and alone. But they weren’t alone anymore, they had each other. And they were determined to keep it that way.
“Oh come on kid. You can trust me. I’m the king of the city, nobody dares cross me.” He pulled off his sunglasses and smirked. Behind the green lenses, there was a devilish gleam in his eyes, something deep and fiery inside his dark eyes. Wait. How had he not connected it sooner? RM, Jin, Suga, Jhope? They were part of the BTS gang. The biggest, most influential mob out there.
“Oh god...you’re...fuck I mocked Agust D . I’m dead...holy shit you’re….” Bangchan’s calm indifference was broken and he was on the verge of a panic attack. Well, as panicky as he got in public, which was wide eyes and heavy breathing.
Namjoon chuckled. “Yes, you crusted Agust D. Or Yoongi, that’s his real name. Don’t worry, he’s not gonna do squat to ya.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and flipped his hair. “I’m surprised a rookie gang like you guys got targeted by...whoever this is. You’re pretty lowkey. Small, underground.” He nodded as he listed off the adjectives.
“Small? There’s only seven of you guys.” Bangchan cut in.
“True, but we got goons. Real brunos, all over the city. Mobsters we call call up at the push of a button. In fact, right now we’se workin on gainin the trust of this one mob. You. We had been keepin an eye on you ever since the bank holdup on 3rd and Gretes street, over by the Italian deli place.”
Bangchan remembered that, it was one of their earliest stick ups, a real simple job. ‘Put the money in the bag’ and all that Jazz. That’s when Bangchan realized how good of a driver Changbin really was. Shook six police cars in less than three blocks.
“Youse got a driver right? Where’s he at?”
“Undisclosed location. Waitin. You know how drivers do.”
Namjoon put his hands up in mock surrender “I knows, I understand. Gotta have it smooth on the check out.”
“Exactly.” Bangchan crossed his arms and nodded in confirmation. “You never know who you can trust.”
“Like you said before. You’se are careful, I like that. Not overly sharing, like that one kid from Bronx eh?” Namjoon elbowed Jin to get some sort of reaction.
“Yeah I remember him.” Seokjin said flatly. He seemed bored.
“Crazy kid, crazy kid.” Namjoon shook his head fondly, as if remembering something.
Bangchan looked at Jisung and the kid motioned to the exhibits. He gave Bangchan a pointed look and Bangchan signaled with his left hand. I’m trying.
Jisung huffed and rolled his eyes.
Bangchan put his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels, trying to make it seem casual. “So Mr. RM sir-“
“Please call me Namjoon.”
“Okay then, Mr. Namjoon, uhm, we're here for a recon mission. We tryna figure out the logistics of the security and whatnot, how easy It’d be to infiltrate.”
A dark smile spread across Namjoon’s face. “Oh boy, do I have the deets for you.”
Bangchan became slightly nervous.
Chapter 3: Mission Briefing
Felix propped his feet up on his rickety desk and loosened his tie. He was bored out of his mind. No cases, no chases, nothing to work on. Nothing for work anyway. He checked his office door to make sure it was closed, he poked his head out into the hallway, he latched the window, his fingers leaving marks of heat on the cold glass.
He breathed a little cloud onto the glass and pressed the pad of his fingertip onto it dragging it across. A dot, another dot and a squiggly line. He looked at the little face he drew, watching it fade away. He walked over to the phonograph in the corner and cranked the handle vigorously.
He shuffled through his box of records and selected one that had obviously been used much more. He slid it out of his casing and delicately placed it on the player. He put the needle on and it began to spin gently, gaining speed. A bright, happy tune leaked weakly from the machine and he gave it a good thump. The music grew stronger and then it was a nice even volume, that he could hear perfectly but others would have to strain to hear.
He grabbed a broom from the corner and it was his dance partner. He let himself feel the music in his bones and swung the broom around in a beautiful sweeping dance. The trumpets echoed in his ears and the bass thundered with his heart. He dipped and slid and gracefully lead the broom in a dance.
He found himself quietly humming along, his voice sweet and velvety at the same time. His hair flopped in his good eye but he didn’t care. He was dancing and that was all that mattered.
The lively song ended and a slower one began, all saxophone and smooth swells. He brought the broom closer and started swaying along. It was one of his favorites and he couldn’t help but close his eye. All of a sudden, the door swung open and there was Woojin, his usually shiny eyes glazed over.
Felix panicked and threw the broom across the room. It clattered against the wall loudly and the record skipped a beat. He stood awkwardly with his hands behind his back, his eye wide.
“You were in my blind spot Woojin. I don’t wear this patch for fashion you know.”
Woojin gave him a look. “I caught a whiff of a wave of passion. Pinkish orange if you must know and it smelled of citrus. Who’s the lucky dame ‘Lix?”
“Uh huh. Is this swing? You didn’t strike me as an alligator man.”
“Oh well. I guess I am.” Felix shifted his weight from one foot to the other, fidgeting. He didn’t want the other officers at the precinct know that he danced, he’d never live it down.
“And uhm.. I heard you singing.” Woojin smiled, his face scrunching up into an adorable eye smile. “You have a pretty swell voice.”
“Oh. Thank you.”
An awkward silence. There was a lot of awkward around Felix. Woojin was just trying to be friendly to the new kid and Felix was….Felix. Woojin just smiled again. “I pretty much grew up in the opera. If you wanna see a swell show, you should come on down and have a look.”
“I’ll make sure to do that.”
Another smile. “Oh also, chief wants a word with you.”
“When? The big man? Me?”
“Now, yes and yes. You’d better shake a leg mate, he’s a bit sour.” He put a hand to the side of his mouth and whispered loudly, his eyes wide. “Black-brown clouds, you’re in for it mate.”
“Alright then.” Felix turned off the sounds of a scat singer and scurried down the hallway, dodging tired looking men clutching coffee cups like their lives depended on it and officers rushing away and Detective Soonyoung and his subteam of three planning for another moonshine busting. Officers Jun, Minghao and Chan were so cool. They worked in a special department with only a few members in it. They were pretty high up there.
He wanted to be part of a team like that. Chan was intently listening to Soonyoung, but Jun and Minghao were draped over each other, sneaking small kisses and intertwining their fingers. Jun whispered something in Minghao’s ear, and Minghao laughed and nuzzled Jun affectionately. Soonyoung looked up, his brow furrowed. He looked like he was trying to get their attention.
Chan saw Felix looking over and gave him a friendly wave. Felix awkwardly waved back and kept on his way. Didn’t want his first meeting with the chief to go over sour.
This upcoming part of the precinct he didn’t really like. The overnighters and the goons waiting to be shipped to the main prison were held there. They could be kind of….. crude.. He scampered by the cells, ignoring the taunts and catcalls of the inmates.
“Ey Dollface, come ‘ere! Wanna see if that neck tastes as good as it looks.”
“Oi look at this looker. Mmmm, wanna see that copper’s badge if you know what I mean.”
Felix lowered his head and quickened his pace, ignoring the bout of raucous laughter that ensued these comments. He could feel his face getting hot and he knew that he was red as a fire engine. This caused the inmates to howl with laughter and he practically sprinted by.
He almost ran over Minho, who gave him a salty look from underneath the brim of his hat, which cast shadows across his handsome face that accentuated the scars cutting over his cheekbones, and he scared Felix.
“Sorry! I uh- I couldn’t see you.”
He bowed hastily and ran around him, counting the doors until he reached the chief’s office. He stopped in front of it, straightened his suspenders, adjusted his patch and ran a hand through his hair.
Felix took a deep breath in through his nose and let it out slowly. He raised a trembling fist and rapped on the door with three quick strikes. He waited for what seemed like an eternity, but probably only a couple seconds before he heard a voice from the inside say “come in.”
He gripped the doorknob and opened the door. It was a little stuck, so he gave it a shove and it gave way, practically throwing him into the room. He let out a yelp and barely kept himself from plummeting to the floor uncomfortably. Well, that wasn’t ideal.
The office was much larger than Felix’s, who’s own was practically a closet: it was very dark, which Felix didn’t like. Darkness made it hard to see. Felix wasn’t very good at ...seeing . There was a large desk, stacked with papers and three chairs in front of it. The chairs looked so small and rickety in front of the ornate desk and chair.
He regained his balance and looked up to the Chief. The older man was scowling and his sharp eyebrows made him look even more annoyed. He had a cigar clenched between his teeth, the smoke hanging over the room in a dark curtain. He looked down his spectacles at Felix and Felix squinted, trying to see in the dim light.
“Sit.” The man’s voice was deep and scary, Felix thought. He nervously made his way over to one of the small chairs and sat down, pressing his knees together and clasping his hands. His legs twitched nervously and his bad eye pulsed.
The chief kept reading through his files, turning a page every now and then. Felix squirmed, dying a bit inside with every torturous second that passed. The chair squeaked whenever he tried to move so he stayed as still as possible. He felt as if he was going to explode, every fiber in his small frame vibrating. He was so nervous he could do a backflip, and he happened to know how.
Felix was about to scream when the chief slapped the file down on the table and blew a gigantic cloud of smoke in Felix’s face, causing him to cough.
“Lee Felix.” The chief’s voice was husky.
“I am Kwon Jiyoung, you may call me Chief Kwon, or sir.”
Chief Kwon leaned back in his chair, putting his feet up. He blew another plume of smoke into the air and Felix’s good eye burned.
“You know why I called you here?”
“You’re exceptionally athletic and you exceed in all physical training. You have talents that even we don’t know yet, you have lots of potential.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Swell. Just swell.” The Chief stacked what Felix assumed was his own file on top of three others. He bit down on his cigar and spoke very seriously, smoke leaking out of his mouth like some sort of dragon. Felix gulped. The man’s stare was intense and predatory. It reminded Felix of his father and he shuddered.
“Alright pal. Listen up. I’ve got a very important request of you. Do you think you can handle this?”
“I’d like to think so sir.” Felix sat up straighter to hide his shaking. “I’ll try my best.”
The man’s face broke into a smile. He breathed more smoke and tapped his fingers together. “That’s what I like to hear.” He reached over to his phone and took the earpiece off the receiver. He cranked the handle and spoke into the mouthpiece. “Bring the boys in.” He paused, listening to the reply, his brow creasing. “What do you mean Hyunjin isn’t here yet? We need him!” He slammed his fist on the table. “Just bring in the others.”
He slammed the earpiece back down and took the longest drag on his cigar. Felix could almost see the roll shrink halfway down. He braced himself for the exhale and when it came, he tried really hard not to cough his lungs up,
Then the door swung open and two figures stepped into the din. Felix squinted to see who it was, but his limited eyesight couldn’t distinguish who it was. The smoke hung heavy and his eyes stung. He waved his tiny hand in front of his face, trying to clear some air to breathe.
“Ah, thank you for coming.” Chief Kwon lit another cigar and Felix felt his lungs deflate. He just wanted to be out of there, preferably on the roof practicing routines. Who had just walked in?
“Take a seat.” The smoke coming out of Chief Kwon’s mouth was so thick, Felix could barely see. His hearing spiked and he could hear each heartbeat, each breath. It was chaotic to him and probably only him. Each man sat down heavily on each side of him, the thin chairs shaking and creaking ominously. The chief casually walked over to the window and threw open the blinds.
He opened the window and the smoke was almost vacuumed out, replaced with freezing air. The chief stood, incredibly backlit to almost an overly dramatic point. He let the snow blow in for a bit before he slammed the window shut, leaving the room freezing. Felix shook his head to clear it and finally could see the men who sat beside him.
To his left was his office neighbor, Woojin, who always had a smile for him, even now. “Hey Felix! Howzit?”
“Fine.” Felix’s voice trembled and he looked to his right and immediately froze. It was Minho. The man gave him a cold stare from beneath the brim of his hat. He nodded in acknowledgment and Felix twitched.
“Okay boys I bet you’re wondering just what the hell is going on.” The Chief have them the dragon grin again and Felix was worried. His eyes gleamed and Woojin and Felix exchanged a nervous glance.
The chief slapped a thick file on the table and sat back down heavily. Felix jumped a bit and Minho stared blankly at the stack. The chief opened up the file and slid out three profiles. One was a picture of a messy boy wearing a mask that covered the top half of his face. He had a round face though, how young was this kid? He seemed to be walking down the street, unknowing about the photo.
“This is J-1. He’s 16 years old, we don’t know anything about his past. He’s a graffiti artist, who tags all over the place. He’s the youngest of the gang. He works especially with poisoned paint. His poison is incredibly toxic and home made. Don’t be fooled by his baby face. He’s very dangerous and sly. He works as the scout.”
He pulled out an evidence bag, which contained two interesting looking cans, one labeled red and the other yellow. They had a nozzle on the top which was covered with dried drips of the color it was labeled.
“He left these behind on their last mission. Our forensics team is working on them now.”
Woojin asked the question Felix was too scared to. “That’s paint?”
“Yes, a new type. Spraying paint.”
A second file was slid over and Felix’s breath caught in his throat. He looked into the face of the most beautiful man he had ever seen. He was all dark good looks, angular features and long straight hair. He picked up the photo and looked at the man. He was lounging in a car, as if he was waiting for someone. Like J-1, he didn’t seem to know his picture was being taken. How can someone look so good caught off guard? Felix realized he was staring and he quickly passed the picture to Minho.
“This is Spear-B. He’s the escape driver and he’s good at it. Once they’re in the car, they’re good as gone. Spear-B is 18 years old and from what we’ve observed, he has a bum leg. He can’t walk very well, but fights viciously with custom made knives. He has a record with us for illegal liquor and tattooing. Incredibly smart.”
Felix felt his heart race and Woojin gave him a look. Oh right, Woojin could...smell emotions somehow. He tried to keep his mind off of… Spear-B. His face flushed and Woojin elbowed him.
“Finally, the leader and eldest in the group. This is CB97. We have intel from the theater that he was raised in and he is a skilled magician, capable of large scale feats. He’s strong and sturdy and he speaks multiple languages. He’s been in and out of jail and he always manages to escape. Together these three make up an new but famous mafia gang. We don’t know their official name, but this case is called Operation Intel. We need you to gain their trust and infiltrate their ranks. They have quite a reputation and their activity recently has been concentrated and more frequent. You each have a special set of skills that will be tested during this mission. He took a drag on his cigar and looked at Woojin.
“Officer Woojin, you’re our inside man. You’re good with information and have a way of sniffing out the truth, pardon the pun. Your record says that you have synthesia. Also, you can….read minds?”
Woojin nodded. “Not exactly, but I can tell how a person is feeling. Even if they outwardly hide their emotions, I can smell and see lies and feelings.” He smiled at this, his face lighting up. He gave a cheerful wink and the Chief froze.
The chief just looked at him for a moment and then seemed to snap back and continue reading.
“Officer Felix, you’re trained in gymnastics and you’re physically fit in almost every way. You’re blind in one eye and your hearing is exceptional. Your father was a police chief and you’re certainly as good as he was, maybe even better.”
Felix cringed when Chief Kwon mentioned his father. He didn’t particularly...like his father. He nervously touched his patch, adjusting it out of habit.. Woojin seemed to sense this and squeezed Felix’s hand once sympathetically under the table. Minho noticed this but didn’t react.
“Thank you sir.”
“Officer Minho. Former mafia-“
“I’d rather you not.” Minho’s voice was cold and sharp. The men all started, they had never heard him speak and something about him was...to put it mildly, extremely terrifying. Woojin inhaled sharply and shrank down. “It’s just….black…” Felix heard him mumble under his breath. Oh nice. He thought. That isn’t scary at all.
The chief looked startled. “Uhm. Okay?” He cleared his throat and chewed on the end of his cigar, tasting the flavored smoke. “I’ll get you suited up. TOP will get you briefed and give you your profiles.” His smile turned diabolical. “This’ll be fun, trust me.”
Next thing Felix knew, he was scrubbed, dyed, painted and dried. His hair was now black and shaved on the sides and he wore a new black eyepatch, much different than his old one. His eyebrows were slashed and dyed darker. He wore a snazzy, but old pinstripe suit, black and red. The jacket was missing, so he wore the pants and tie, but just had his shirt and suspenders on. His shoes were polished and all in all, he looked like a mobster. TOP finished teaching him how to slick his hair back with gel and Felix was pretty good at it. He had a slick Smith and Wesson Model 19 hanging on his belt and he was trained how to use it.
He caught a look at himself in the mirror and whistled. He looked tuff. Real tuff. He turned around and almost passed out. Minho somehow looked even more terrifying, with his hair and eyebrows dyed pitch black. He wore a long flowing trench coat and a matching fedora. Underneath he wore the same pinstripe suit as Felix, with two Model 19s, one on each hip.
Woojin looked soft as always, but there was a devilish glare in his eyes, or maybe that was the contact lenses. Nope, it was in his smile too, which now had two gold teeth glittering out at you. He wore matching suits to the other boys and also carried a Model 19.
Chief Kwon gave them a once over. “Swell. Just swell. You look like real goons, players too.” His eyes narrowed and he chomped down violently on his cigar. “Wait.” He spun around to yell at TOP, who barely flinched. “Where’s that punk ass kid???”
TOP shrugged, “I dunno boss. He hasn’t showed up yet.”
Chief Kwon ground his teeth and let loose a cloud of smoke. “If we didn’t need that little bitch as much as we do, if fire him right here and now.”
Just at that moment, there was a delicate knock at the door. An officer opened it and in stepped the most beautiful and ethereal man Felix had ever seen. He had full pink lips, angelic eyes and flawless skin. He exuded an aura of serenity and it calmed Felix. He smiled at Chief Kwon, and even the hard man seemed to relax a little.
He took off his jacket and handed it to the officer who had opened the door. He was wearing a sheer white shirt, even though it was freezing outside. It was untucked and the buttons were all one off, resulting in an odd skewed look. His pants were pretty disheveled, and his untied boots had a bit of a heel. His hair was sticking up and tangled and yet he still looked gorgeous. He was slender and toned, his skin smooth and shiny.
He walked gracefully over to an old armchair and draped himself over it. “Sorry I’m late, I was…..busy.” His mouth quirked up in a sassy smirk, and Felix noticed some odd looking bruises on his neck and shoulders.
Felix turned bright red and shrunk down a little bit. Minho snorted, almost inaudibly, and Woojin looked kind of uncomfortable too and the pretty boy just chuckled and leaned back in the chair. “Now, work your magic.”
About an hour later, he came back, dressed in a similar outfit to the other boys but….less. Sheer shirt and tighter pants. Very tight. His hair was silky and longer, half pinned up alluringly. He wore a silver cross around his neck (which Felix thought was ironic) and pretty silver rings. His eyebrows were also slashed, just like the other boys. He wore a lip piercing, a small silver loop on his bottom lip. He carried no weapon.
Now the four boys stood in a line, all matching and frightening. The chief looked them up and down, a proud smile on his face. “Now I’m gonna leave you with TOP and you’re gonna all get to know each other. You’re going to be spending lots of time together.” He chuckled, blew a cloud of smoke into the room and shut the door. Felix was fairly sure he heard it lock.
He giggled nervously and turned back around to look at the boys. They all looked at him and then turned to TOP, who raised his hands and went behind the curtain.
Hyunjin was the first to speak. “Awh, guys look at the new kid. He’s so small and cute!” He gasped and put his perfect hands to Felix’s face. “Ah! Minho look he has freckles!” He squished his cheeks and looked to the other two boys. “We’re adopting him okay?”
Felix thought he saw Minho smile a little bit, but he knew how well he saw.
Chief Kwon tossed them a huge file and a big ring of keys. “The address is written on the inside, it’s got everything you could need for this mission. You’ll be bunking two to a room. There’s a bathroom and a kitchen. If you’re too pussy to share rooms there’s a perfectly good couch in the living room. It’s small, but it's good.
“And.” The Chief gave them a dragon smile, all pointy teeth and fiery eyes.“It’s in the same building they’re said to live in.”
Chapter 4: Heist the first
Namjoon made a show of guiding them around the museum, pointing out all of the guards and commenting on artwork, which Jisung huffily corrected him on under his breath. Bangchan had to fight to keep a straight face. It went something like this:
“This here’s by...uhm.” He reads the card quickly and makes up some facts about it.
Jisung snarkily replies under his breath with something along the lines of “yes and Odin himself granted him the brushes.”
This went on for about twenty minutes, and they were busy admiring a collection of jewels when a guard started giving them funny looks. Seokjin caught his eye and blanched, all the color and humor going out of his face like it had been sucked dry. He tapped Namjoon on the shoulder, first subtly, then more frantically, until he was practically slapping Namjoon.
“These look very nice, note this for future reference Jinnie. Jesus Christ, what the hell do you wa-“ his voice trailed off and he also turned white. The guard squinted his eyes and then widened them. He jumped up and tapped his colleague, who was busy helping an old stiff, saying something Bangchan couldn’t quite make out.
Namjoon casually waltzed over and threw an arm around the guard, effectively silencing him. A choke hold disguised as a hug. The man’s eyes bugged out and his colleague saw the smiling faces and relaxed. He turned back to the elderly lady he was helping and the man was all Namjoon’s.
“Hey there pally!” Namjoon's voice was all false friendliness, positively dripping with honey. “It’s been a long time eh?”
“Not…..long...enough!” The man choked out, his face already turning purple.
“Funny, the last time I saws you?” Namjoon pretended to ponder. “You’se were a lot less...alive. More drowned y’know?”
“No, no not lucky. Sloppy of someone else. You can’t be here pally..” Namjoon tightened his grip. The man choked and clawed at Namjoon’s thick arm, but he didn’t move a muscle. There was a dangerous gleam in his eyes, like he was one step away from being completely unhinged.
Bangchan couldn’t believe what he was watching. He protectively pushed Jisung behind him, and the younger boy clutched his jacket. Bangchan slipped a card into his hand from his sleeve holster, and felt the smooth metal edges against his fingers.
Jin noticed the boys in a defensive position and tapped Namjoon on the shoulder. “Joon, you’re scaring them.”
Namjoon saw their scared faces, big eyes and protective stances. He pulled the man up by his lapels and looked him in the eyes. “Oh fantastic, now look what you’se done. You’se scared the kids. We’ll deal with you later.”
He clapped a hand over the man’s mouth and started dragging him off. He pinched a spot on the man’s neck and he went limp. The other guard noticed and gave them an odd look. Once he saw what was happening, he jumped up in alarm. He pointed at them and started yelling.
“Kidnapping! Kidnapping! I need all personnel!”
Namjoon rolled his eyes. “Oh brilliant.” He started jogging away and Seokjin followed close on his heels. “Alright boys, we’re gonna need to split up.” He pulled a small piece of paper from his jacket pocket and handed it to Bangchan. “Take this address and give it to your driver. Meet us here.”
An alarm started blaring, a loud repeating wail that gave Bangchan a headache. He pulled up his scarf over his face and whipped cards into both hands. He heard the rattling of Jisung’s paint cans and saw the boy was also in a fighting stance, one can in each hand, his pointer fingers on the nozzle of each can.
A torrent of guards spilled out of every hallway in the museum. The stiffs all protested and whined about their afternoon being ruined. Namjoon shoved the unconscious man into Jin, who barely caught him.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jin yelled at him, his eyes blazing. Namjoon looked back at Jin and winked. “Getting you’se a present! We’se already being chased.” He waltzed over to the jewel case and broke the glass with his elbow. A bunch of guards rushed him but he stopped them at arm's length. They halted, almost falling over each other, brows furrowed in confusion. He carefully selected a dark blue bracelet, rimmed with silver. He painstakingly examined it, turning it in the light.
He threw an arm around the closest guard, a young man with curly brown hair. He held the bracelet up to the light and asked in a smooth voice. “What do you think of this one? I personally like the blue. I’m choosing for a very special someone.”
The man looked up at the blue jewels. “I’ve always been more partial to that one. Must be something about the inset.”
“Fine, I’ll take it!” He shook the young man’s hand, as if completing a deal with a jeweler. The alarm continued to blare as Namjoon walked back over to the boys, smiling smugly.
“Hope they like it!” The young boy said, waving. “Wait a minute!” He stood there blinking and the guard next to him slapped him upside the head. “You fool!”
Namjoon cackled and together, they turned tail and split. They dodged stiffs and exhibits, weaving through halls and charging up the stairs. Jin was struggling dragging the unconscious man, and so Namjoon took him and slung him over his shoulder as he ran.
A guard caught up to them, wrapping his arms around Bangchan and dragging him down. “Aaaa, RM!” He yelled, his words cut off by the man’s arms around his windpipe. He heard a sudden hissing noise and the man fell away, blue paint coating his eyes. “AAAA GET IT OFF ITS BURNING!!”
He looked over to Jisung, who was smiling devilishly. “Thanks kid!” He kept running, fumbling in his jacket for a whistle. He adjusted his scarf, but still couldn’t find Changbin’s signal. He patted his pockets and came up empty.
“J-1! Do you have it?”
“Have what?” It was difficult to hear over the alarms and the shouting of guards and stiffs.
“Oh! No!”Jisung patted his pockets to prove his point.
Bangchan groaned aloud.
“Hey boys!” Namjoon yelled from the front “We’ve got company!”
Bangchan looked behind them at the torrent of guards in pursuit. “Yeah I noticed!”
“No, up here now!”
Jisung tripped a little bit and the guards used the opportunity to swarm him.
“J-1!!!” Bangchan whipped his cards into his hands but before he could use them, Jin was there. He quickly subdued the guards using some sort of martial art. He practically flew through the air, chopping throats and kicking men over. He hauled jisung up and set him on his feet, already running to help Namjoon.
“You got your paint?” Bangchan checked in with Jisung, who was fine except for a cut on his right cheek and a split lip. He nodded and adjusted his mask, which was only a little crooked.
“Good, let’s go help RM.”
RM was carrying the man like a sack, slung over his shoulder. He had a pistol in each hand and was emptying the cartridges. He wasn't shooting to kill, Bangchan saw, only to stun. The gunshots mixed with the sound of the alarms and Bangchan could hardly think. He searched his jacket for the whistle and finally found it in an inside pocket.
He threw his cards, letting them slice through skin and wood. He retrieved most of them, as they swung back. He had 52 to start out with and right at that moment, he counted 49. He pressed a button on the case, activating the magnet and two of the missing cards flew back to his hands. He fumbled with the whistle, trying to untangle the strap.
“Hey pals!” Namjoon called from the front “I can see the doors!”
And there were the doors. Namjoon plowed through them at top speed, using the unconscious guy as a battering ram of some sort .
They burst through the doors, the bright lights a stark contrast to the museum’s din. The suns rays hurt Bangchans eyes and the snow nipped at his exposed skin. He finally brought the whistle to his lips and blew. The whistles shriek soared through the outside air and for a moment all was silent. Then, the rush of running feet behind them and the screams of civilians filled his ears. He exchanged a panicked look with Jisung and then suddenly, the roar of an engine rang through the clatter.
Changbin’s bright red Jaguar sped around the corner at high speed, almost knocking down a street lamp. He expertly weaved through the traffic, jumping curbs and swinging around. He pulled up to the museum with the squeal of tires and a devilish grin on his sharp face.
“Get in lads, we’re running from the coppers.”
“I see your ride’s here.” Namjoon commented, looking around. A black sedan pulled up smoothly to the curb, a grim-faced man at the wheel. “Oh look at that, and so is ours.”
The guards burst through the doors and poured down the steps. “And that’s our cue to leave!” Jin exclaimed, grabbing the unconscious man and unceremoniously stuffing him in the trunk. He jumped in the backseat and pulled Namjoon in with him. The car drove off like any other car.
Bangchan didn’t even bother with the door, he just hopped right over into the passenger seat and Jisung climbed into the middle. Changbin revved the engine.
“Buckle up boys!” He stepped on the pedal and they were off, rocketing through the streets of New York. The car was one of the fastest in the world, with a sleek body and a convertible roof. Jisung pulled it up as they drove because it was fucking cold.
They tore around corners and ducked through traffic. Changbin pulled into an abandoned train station, one of their favorite places to lose tails. Bangchan didn’t think they had any though, Changbin has pulled away too fast, and they didn’t have the license plates on. He slumped down in his seat.
“Phew, that was a close one.”
Changbin twisted to look at the boys. “What the hell was that even about? Who were those guys? Why did they shove a dude in the trunk? What the hell Bangchan?”
Bangchan pulled down his scarf to take a good breath. He was panting from sprinting through the museum and the scarf certainly wasn’t helping.
“ Bangchan! ”
“Okay okay, Jesus Christ!” Bangchan took one more deep breath and started to explain. “So you know how we got that crazy letter?”
“Mhm, that’s why we went, bud. You sure you didn’t get hit in the head?”
“Shut your trap, I’m getting there. So apparently those guys also got that letter. The same exact thing, except theirs said they would meet the second third of their team there. I guess that was us.”
“That’s wacky. Wait, second third? Who’s the third third? Also, how did the letter writing guy know we’d be there? Are we that readable?”
“This guy always seems to be three steps ahead of us.” Jisung cut in, tearing off his mask, revealing a sweaty, bloody face. Changbin handed him a tissue “if you get blood on the seats, I swear to god I will hurt you.”
“Changbin, did you recognize those two guys?”
“No. But something about them did seem familiar.”
“That’s because that was Seokjin and RM.”
“From the Bangtan Gang???”
Changbin slid down his seat, rubbing his hand over his jaw. “Oh boy, we’re in this deep…who was that guy they shoved in the trunk?”
“I don’t know. He was one of the guards and they just kinda snatched him.”
“Along with a blue jeweled bracelet.” Jisung added. “Namjoon stole it for Jin. He was hella smooth about it too.”
“God’s, Bangchan. These guys are pros! I’ve heard the stories! Expert heists and flawless murders. These guys are slick, nothing can touch them.”
“I can see that.” Bangchan reclined in his seat, propping his head up with his hands. He ruffled up his blonde curls and closed his eyes. But something in his pocket was poking him.
“Right!” He shot up and dug around in his pocket until he came up with the address. He handed it to Changbin, who took it quizzically. “What’s this?” He asked, his voice husky from yelling.
“It’s an address.”
“Well no shit, who’s is it?”
“RM gave it to me. He said to meet him there.”
Changbin rolled his eyes and started up the engine. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“Maybe, but it’s better than being kidnapped by them.”
“Maybe it’s the same thing.”
“Oh lighten up! You’re so dark all the time.”
“I like dark.”
Bangchan rolled his eyes at Jisung, who stifled a laugh. “Let’s just go.”
“I’m goin pal.”
They drove around the city, normally this time. Changbin tortuously waited at red lights and stuck to the right side of the road. That didn’t stop him from having some intense road raging though. Colorful language was spewed throughout the car and Jisung was in stitches. He was laughing so hard he could barely breathe.
“Hey you twat! You fuckin colorblind or something! Light’s green egghead.”
“Oh that’s just juicy . Looks like someone’s a real genius.”
“Sure sure just merge like that. That’s how it fucking works, abercrombie.”
Jisung was laughing so hard he was hiccuping, tiny sudden noises that shook his whole body. His face was dusted with pink and his eyes gleamed. Even Bangchan had to laugh.
This caused Changbin to get even more annoyed.
“Do you want me to crash and kill us all?! Shut the hell up!”
This was extremely funny to Jisung and he positively howled . Bangchan couldn’t fake it anymore and burst into peals of bright and sunny laughter. He was practically crying and bent over at the waist. Soon, even Changbin was smirking and the boys finally calmed down.
“Let’s see what’s on the radio.” Jisung suggested, reaching out to turn the knob. The car suddenly lurched and he looked up in surprise at Changbin, who had gone red.
“Who’s that…?” His voice was awed and quiet. Bangchan followed his gaze and saw a man walking into their apartment building with a move-in box. He wore a patch over one eye and he had jet black hair, perfectly slicked back with gel. He wore a red and black suit without the jacket and he set down the box to help another man with his own.
There were four of them, the patch man, and three others. One, who had dropped a box of clothing, had a kind face, with a square jaw and bright eyes. He reminded Bangchan of a teddy bear. He also wore a red and black suit, his with the jacket.
A third man assisted a fourth with a couch. The man doing most of the lifting was tall and slender, wearing a fedora and a long coat that matched the other’s suits. He had scars covering his handsome face in a scary image. A smaller man popped his head out from underneath the couch. He was angelic, with perfect pink lips that spotted a silver ring and a sheer red and black shirt with a long silver necklace with a cross on it.
“What is it with all the other gangs matching?” Bangchan commented. “I wish we matched. We should match!”
Changbin didn’t respond, he was too busy gawking at the cat looking man with the eyepatch. Bangchan waved a hand in front of his face. “Oi mate, earth to Changbin.”
Cars were starting to line up behind them, many laying on their horns angrily.
“Changbin! Light’s green!”
By then, they were starting to attract attention and the eyepatch man looked over at them, head cocked inquisitively. He locked eyes with Changbin and flushed red. Bangchan didn’t think he had ever seen Changbin react that fast. He stomped on the gas and the car squealed back and forth for a moment before shooting down the street at an alarming speed.
Jisung cackled and clapped Changbin on the shoulder. “Oooh, Changbin, finally caught an eye eh?”
“Shut up Han.” Changbin snapped, gripping the wheel so tight his fingers were white.
Bangchan settled down in his seat, watching the boys bicker. He closed his eyes and tried to relax as the car purred down the road, Changbin too embarrassed to yell at other drivers.
After about twenty minutes they pulled up to the address. It was a sketchy looking warehouse right on the edge of town, down by the docks. The boys climbed out of their bright red ride and stretched their legs from the cramped cabin. Changbin parked the car, locked the doors and pulled the tarp over it. He pocketed the keys and nodded to Bangchan.
They made their way up to the main doors, two enormous slabs of wood that towered over the boys. There was a small metal slat in the door, it looked like one of those sliding panels. Bangchan raised his eyebrows at the boys and Jisung hurriedly replaced his mask and cap, tucking his hair up securely so no telltale white strands poked out.
Bangchan took a deep breath and raised his fist to knock. Before he could though, the little metal slat slid open, startling all three boys. A pair of piercing dark eyes stared them down from the tiny opening.
“Adults tell me that hardships are only momentary.” A deep smooth voice boomed out from the inside, bouncing around in Bangchans head.
The eyes narrowed and the little metal door slid shut. There was a scuffle on the other side and the large doors swung open. But what lay on the other side was not a warm welcome.
It was a young looking boy in a purple suit identical to Namjoon’s green one and Jin’s blue one. His eyes were dark and dangerous and he held a tommy gun. Ten men behind him were all dressed in black also held tommy guns.
Only when Bangchan stared down the black barrels did he realize they were all pointed at him and the boys.
Chapter 5: Moving Day
Felix struggled to unlock the door as he juggled two boxes and a cup of coffee. The keys just wouldn’t go in the stupid lock! He twisted his wrist at inhuman angles and balanced a knee on the scuffed wood of the door and did everything short of kicking the door in by the time Woojin can across him carrying barely anything.
“Need some help there?”
Felix practically melted in relief. “Yes, thanks.”
“No problem, I’ve got it. Here, hand me the keys.”
Felix handed Woojin the keys and Woojin walked over to the next door apartment. He unlocked the door and walked in, leaving Felix in the hall feeling stupid. He was lucky the neighbors weren’t home to hear him banging on the door. He flushed red and adjusted his grip on the boxes.
He followed Woojin into the apartment and set the boxes down. He looked around at the small quarters and smiled. It was the first time he had lived alone, even if it was fake.
Not fake, he reminded himself, just deeply undercover. He picked up the boxes and went into the room on the right, the room he would share with one of the boys. It was small, with two beds, one on each side of the room. It had a dresser, a closet, two nightstands and two desks. A smudged mirror hung on the wall by the closet and the floors were scuffed and creaky. The walls were sun faded, with spots where previous tenants had hung things up. It was cramped and dirty and dark.
Felix loved it.
He unpacked his clothing into his half of the dresser, carefully folding the white shirts, big sweaters and old pants. He would mainly wear the mobster costume, but for pajamas and days off, he would wear his own clothes. He hung up his calendar and his clock and spread his blanket on the bed. He set up his desk with his oil lamp and pencils. He put his books on his nightstand and hid his stuffed cat under his pillow.
“There.” He stood back and looked at his handiwork. He did a little happy dance right there on the spot, excited for what was to come. He ran back outside and helped the boys with the rest of the boxes, files and kitchenware and...other things. Police things like guns and ammo and cuffs. He had been so excited about moving in that he forgot about the whole mission.
Woojin noticed Felix’s deflation and patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry Felix, it’s all gonna be fine.”
“If you say so.”
“And I do!” Woojin clapped him on the shoulder and went back outside to grab the last box and Minho and Hyunjin came in shortly after, struggling to carry in the worn blue couch from the precinct break room. Minho was doing most of the lifting, Felix could tell, but Hyunjin was guiding it around corners and through the door. They finally got it into the living room and set it down with a heavy thump.
Minho flopped down onto it, followed by Hyunjin. But Minho was so heavy, that he caused the broken couch to tilt a little bit, and Hyunjin slid down the blue material, laughing, until he was practically sitting on Minho’s lap. Felix chuckled too.
“Guess we know about that now.” He said, laughing slightly.
“Guess we do.” Hyunjin said. “But we need to get closer as a team right?” He rested his head on the back of the couch and got comfortable next to Minho. Minho, however, had tensed and gone slightly red in the face.
He sat rigidly up in his seat and Hyunjin furrowed his brow. “Cmon Bundle Boy.” He whined, his voice muffled from Minho’s shoulder. “Relax. You’re about as comfortable as a brick wall right now.”
“Bundle boy?” Felix asked, mirth in his voice. Minho shot him a look and the humor died in his throat, along with a little bit of his sanity. Hyunjin cracked open a red-glitter dusted eye and gave Minho a look. “Hey, no scaring the new kid.” He looked back to Felix. “Don’t worry, he won’t hurt you. He’s meaner-looking than he is mean. He’s just shy.” Hyunjin turned his head and rested his chin on Minho’s shoulder.
Minho flushed and got up abruptly. He stalked to a bedroom and slammed the door. Hyunjin only shook his head and laughed. He turned his body and reclined on the couch, stretching out his long legs and resting his head on his hands. “He’ll get better once you get to know him. He’s just at that stage right now. Angsty.”
Woojin came back into the apartment, carrying a small box. “What’s that Woojin?” Hyunjin perked up, looking at the small box. It was tied with string and warm, Felix could tell from the steam rising from it. “Hyunjin, there’s one more thing outside the door, I couldn’t get it.” Hyunjin bounced from his seat, flying out the door in a whirl of red glitter and silver chains. He came back with a carrier of four cups of coffee.
“Minho! Come here!” Hyunjin called. There was no answer, and Hyunjin went bounding into the back rooms and returned dragging a scowling Minho. He had taken off his hat and coat and he looked much less scary. More…..normal actually, with his messy hair and stocking feet. Woojin had insisted that all the boys take off their shoes when they first come in the apartment.
Woojin waited until they were all sitting at the small kitchen table to unveil his box. Hyunjin was bouncing in his seat with excitement, and Felix couldn’t help but be curious. Woojin untied the string carefully and whipped open the lid. Hyunjin raised his arms and let out a cheer.
Inside the box was twelve fresh donuts, still hot from the bakery. Woojin looked at all of their glowing faces, a big bear smile on his face. “I noticed you chaps didn’t eat brekkie, so I swung by that little cafe and got you guys something! I also picked up basic groceries, bread, milk, cheese, apples. Just enough to get us through the week until our first paycheck. All my friends from the opera chipped in to help pay, so don’t worry about money. Plus, I’m pretty well off.”
Felix couldn’t believe his eyes. He had seen the pastries in bakery windows and cafes, but his father never let him have one. His mouth watered and his eyes were huge. Woojin laughed. “Go ahead and tuck in, I’ll go get our outlines.” He walked out of the kitchen and they heard the clattering of him searching for the outlines.
Felix grabbed one out of the box and bit down, ravenous. A crisp, sugary taste spread through his mouth, still warm from the oven. Hyunjin looked over at him amused, his own fingers sticky with the sugary glaze. “Good eh?”
Felix nodded, his mouth full. He took a swig of coffee to chase it down and he felt the caffeine jolt through his system. Refreshed, he blinked and stretched, groaning softly as he arched his back. “Mmmmmm.”
Woojin bounced back into the kitchen, a huge manila envelope in his hands. He set it down on the table with a bang and Hyunjin looked up in confusion, sugar coating his lips. “What the hell is that?” He asked, his mouth full.
Woojin crossed his arms. “Language Hyunjin! Try and watch it in my house.” He rolled his eyes and Felix snorted. “Alright mummy dearest. ” Hyunjin said in a falsetto voice, mimicking Woojin’s British accent. Felix laughed, choking a bit and falling into a fit of explosive coughs.
Woojin looked blankly at the boys, a sad, accepting look on his face, like this is my life now.
He slapped the stack of papers and opened the envelope. “I’m gonna give you your files and we’ll share info after.” He smiled at all of them and Hyunjin groaned, leaning back so far in his rickety chair Felix thought he would fall over.
“Is it a lot of reading?” He asked, his voice whiny. Woojin grinned evilly and sorted through the files, picking out the biggest one.
“Oh look. This one’s yours.”
Felix snorted and Hyunjin pushed him off his chair, causing the smaller boy to go tumbling down to the floor, still laughing. He clambered back up only to have Woojin hand him a thick file almost as big as Hyunjin’s. This time Hyunjin was the one to laugh and Felix sighed. “At least I’m literate Hyunjin.”
Hyunjin put a hand to his chest and gasped, pretending to be offended. He looked over to Minho, his mouth open comically wide. “Did you hear what he said to me? I’m literally compatantant, thank you very much.”
Minho shoved away his uneaten donut, grabbed his file and retreated back into his room. Hyunjin clicked his tongue and looked back to Woojin. “I forgot about his whole stomach issue. Now I feel bad.” And surprisingly, Felix really thought the teasing boy felt bad. His big eyes were sad and his pink lips were turned down in a genuine frown.
Woojin gently pushed in his chair. “I’ll go talk to him. The chap’s been feeling pretty rotten recently. Poor fellow.” He picked up his own file and went into the back area. They heard the door slowly creak open then slam shut, Hyunjin breathed out, his cheeks puffing and his lip ring glinting against his thick lips. He ran his hands through his hair and it fluffed up like a duckling.
“What’s wrong with him? He’s so angsty all the time.”
Hyunjin’s eyes widened. “Oh right, you’re new.” He grimaced a bit and then looked back at Felix. “He was kidnapped by a mob when he was...four I think. His parents couldn’t pay the ransom or maybe they didn’t want him, we don’t know. So he stayed with them. They made him do all sorts of fucked up stuff, and when he was younger he got really hurt. Like, half his stomach is gone, he can’t eat much. He’s...scarred, for lack of a better word.”
“Oh...I had no idea…”
Hyunjin leaned back in his seat, exhaling. “Yeah, that’s why he’s so ...Minho.”
Felix grimaced and opened his file.
Name: Ollie Caps
What the hell? What is Ollie Caps? What even-? Why did he need a fake name? It sounded stupid.
Birthdate: September 15, 4916, 16 years of age.
Fake birthday too. Who’s even going to ask? Now for the background, where the hard part comes into play. He flipped through the fake documents, the birth certificate, the house papers, the letters from his “friends”. He was a street urchin from Crieax, grew up picking pockets and hustling dumb rich people. He was thrown in an orphanage when he was twelve, where he met...Ashton? One of the other boys he assumed. They broke out together and that’s where he met the gang. He was the last joiner.
It was better than his real backstory he gave the chief that. He wished he grew up like that. Not like he did…. He shut the folder and rubbed his eye.Why did the chief go through such lengths for such a simple mission? It was just one little rookie gang, nothing more than a couple of grocers robs.
What did the chief want with this little gang? He shook his head and rubbed his eye again. Hyunjin let out an exasperated yell and tossed his folder aside. He ruffled his hair and stood up. He shoved his chair under the table and walked to the fridge, complaining the whole way. “Why is this necessary? Fake names and fake histories? Nobody’s going to ask, or know who we are!”
He aggressively opened the fridge, sending jars and bottles rattling against each other loudly. He rummaged through, his voice muffled and he emerged with a jar of chocolate sauce, still talking angrily. “I mean, Johan Meeks? What kind of name is Johan? Do I look like a Johan?”
He slammed the fridge door closed and threw the chocolate sauce down on the table. He stalked over to the cupboards and opened the door so roughly, Felix thought that the door would fly off the hinges. He pulled out a package of crackers and ripped it open, sending crumbs flying everywhere.
His earrings swung violently with his motions as he tugged his chair out and sat down. He opened the chocolate sauce with a pop and tossed the lid aside, where it clattered against the table, spattering chocolate drops on his file. He grabbed a cracker, waving it to emphasize his words. “This is ridiculous isn’t it? This whole mission! What are we even doing, going deep undercover for a couple of punks that don’t do anything more trying than a simple stickup. Okay, yes, nobody knows what they look like, but that doesn’t mean we have to go all out trying to find them. They haven’t done anything big enough.”
He dipped the cracker into the chocolate sauce and popped it into his mouth. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes as he chewed. He swallowed loudly and sat up, reaching for his file. He looked at Felix and held it out. “Here, I wanna see yours.” He raised his eyebrows and wiggles the file impatiently at Felix. Felix shut his and exchanged with Hyunjin.
Hyunjin snatched the file and sat back in his chair, grabbing another cracker and dipping it into the chocolate. He put his feet up on the table and crunched loudly. Felix rolled his eyes and opened the file. It was a lot thicker than his own, and that’s because this “Johan Meeks”was rich. Apparently Hyunjin was the one with access to the police emergency bank so he was the groups source of money. Seemed like a bad choice to Felix. Hyunjin seemed too irresponsible and...spendy, based on the amount of jewelry he was wearing.
Name: Johan Meeks
Birthdate: March 20, 4916. 16 years of age.
So he was around the same age as Felix. Felix rifled through Hyunjins file, reading up on his backstory. Born to a wealthy family, he was raised rich. His parents died in a police shooting and that’s why he hates the cops. He ran away from home at the age of eleven and joined the gang when he was fourteen. He was one of the later additions. Joined before Felix, but after Minho and Woojin. They found him in a brothel, which didn’t seem too far from the truth.
Suddenly, Woojin appeared at his side, startling him. “God, Woojin! I told you I can’t see from that side. Jesus hell…” Woojin gave him a smile, clapping him on the shoulder. “Sorry there Felix.” He looked over at Hyunjin lounging. “I trust you boys are working hard?” His voice was warning and he shot Hyunjin a look.
“Relax mom , I took off my shoes.”
“But do feet go on the table?”
Hyunjin rolled his eyes and swung his legs off the table, almost kicking an entering Minho. Minho flushed and Hyunjin chuckled, his eyeshadow glinting in the light. “Well, if it isn’t Mr. Ashton Leery.” He rested his face on his fist as Minho sat down. “Sad that I’m not your best buddy.” He pouted and turned his glance to Felix. “But you and Lixie here are gonna get along just great !”
Felix blanched. “What do you mean?” He said stiffly, his fingers tightening around Hyunjins file. Minho turned his glance to Felix as well, his dark eyes shining under his scarred face. Felix knee firsthand about scars, but something about Minho made him nervous.
Hyunjin smiled, his lip ring glinting against his straight white teeth. “You two! Ollie and Ashton are best friends! Did you not read your file? You guys are roommates too!”
Felix felt his face drained of color. His bad eye throbbed under the patch and his heart sank. He was roommates with Minho? Out of the three boys, he had to room with Minho? Sure, Hyunjin was a bit flirty and messy, and Woojin was a mom, but Minho was...scary!
Minho looked at him, unsmiling. His hair was in his eyes and cast shadows over his face. But for a second, Felix thought he saw his face soften and a small smile fleet over his face. But that could just be Felix’s imagination. He knew how good he was at seeing.
Chapter 6: Orientation
Oh boy. There were lots of guns pointed at Bangchan. He raised his hands and Jisung and Changbin followed.
“Any ideas chief?” Changbin hissed aggressively out the side of his mouth.
“Hey, Shut it!” The boy in the purple suit’s voice was raspy and growled, with a venomous undertone. It gave Bangchan the chills. He really needed to learn a creepy voice like that.
The sound of dozens of tommy guns being loaded clicked through Bangchan’s head. “Wait, wait, wait!” He said, his voice cracking slightly. “We’re here with, uh, Namjoon- no, RM, he asked us to come!” He moved ever so slightly, flicking the business card into his hand. To the boy and his goons, it looked like he had summoned it out of thin air. Sleight of hand, worked every time.
The boy in purple narrowed his eyes. “The hell he did. I’m gonna give you to the count of ten to turn your sorry asses the hell around, walk away, and forget you ever saw this place. I’m feeling generous aight?”
“But he actually asked us!” Jisung piped up. “He stole a bracelet from the indigo and dipped. Asked us to meet.”
“Look kid, you’re cute. RM doesn’t ask people to meet up. Now I’m gonna start counting. One…….” he cracked his neck and his irises seemed to shrink, creating a beastly, unhinged look.
“Oi psycho, he asked us to come!”
Changbin put his hands down and angrily started to storm towards him. He was stopped by the boy’s cold voice saying. “Ten.”
And his finger tightened on the trigger. Changbin’s eyes widened and there was a gunshot. Changbin crumpled and Bangchan screamed. He was swarmed by the goons and there was much confusion.
But the gunshot was not from the boy in purple.
Namjoon stood behind them, clad in his green suit, his emerald tinted glasses glinting in the dim light. A pistol was in his hand, pointed at the sky.
“To endure a little more, to do it later”
“What?” Bangchan was panting, tears threatening to leak out of his eyes. Changbin shifted, and Bangchan saw that the boy in purple had only jabbed him with the barrel of the gun. Relief washed over him and his heart swelled. He couldn’t bare the thought of losing one of the boys, even in the brief seconds he though Changbin was... dead were hell.
Namjoon blew smoke off his custom pistol, matching his jacket and his glasses. Green grip with gold accents. He holstered it and shoved his hands in his pockets. “When you knock on the door, V says adults tell me that hardships are only momentary. To which you should respond To endure a little more, to do it later.” He cracked his neck and turned around to open the door of the black sedan. He stuck a hand inside and assisted Jin out, who, Bangchan noticed, was wearing a very nice new bracelet.
The boy Namjoon called V stuck up a hand, his fingers balled in a fist. The goons dressed in black retreated into the shadows, V handing his gun off to one as he slipped past, quietly and quickly. He strutted up to Bangchan and stuck out a beautifully manicured hand, with olive skin and slim fingers. He wore deep purple jewels with silver sets.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Taehyung. Sorry if I can across as rude earlier, I was simply taking precautions.” His voice was now smooth and rich, with a harmonious sound to it. It was soothing and Bangchan liked the way he spoke.
He shook Taehyung’s hand, a firm handshake. Taehyung smiled at him, a bright body smile that lit up his whole face and made him look years younger. “Uh, nice to meet you too. I’m CB97...er,” he looked to the boys. They keep telling us their real names...should we tell them? Changbin hesitated, and Jisung averted his glance.
“ I’m...Bangchan. This is Jisung and Changbin.”
Namjoon clapped. “Good, good! Those are nice names. You’se can use those aliases to the public, but with gang, we'll use your real names. Nicknames too!” He offered his elbow to Jin, who took it over dramatically, and they gestured to the warehouse.
“To our castle!”
Jin rolled his eyes. “More like our lair.”
“To it anyways!”
They marched into the warehouse and Taehyung shut the door behind them with a loud boom. The inside of the building was not at all what Bangchan expected. It was brightly lit and there were many stories. There were balconies, like the kind at large shopping centers. You could climb up to the top floor and look over the balcony and the people on the first floor would look small.
There were small areas of couches and desks, a little to the right, a cluster of tables were set up, with disheveled boys examining different objects. Men in black stirred around, doing assorted jobs. A squad of goons entered behind them, Yoongi at the lead. They dragged a struggling man with them, who Bangchan recognized as the guard from the museum.
“What do I do with him?” Yoongi asked, jutting a thumb over his shoulder at the guard. Namjoon rubbed his chin and looked to Jin, who shrugged. Namjoon turned back to Yoongi and pointed to his right. “Take ‘im for questioning. I wanna know just what the hell happened.”
The man’s eyes bugged out and he struggled against his bindings, muffled curses leaking from beneath his gag. Yoongi snapped his fingers and the goons holding the man dragged him off, disappearing quickly into the crowd.
Bangchan gave Changbin and Jisung a look. That could be us. Be careful. They nodded at him, such a small movement it was almost imperceptible. Namjoon chattered on in front of them, going on and on about god knows what. He removed his sunglasses and jacket, handing them to a nearby goon who took them immediately.
“Namjoooooooonie!” A high voice spiked through the bustle of work around them and Bangchan turned to see a short man running through the crowd. His hair was strawberry blonde and his eyes sparkled. He had full lips and pink cheeks. He was dressed in a pink suit matching Namjoon and Jins, only he wore a scarf with his. He was smiling and out of breath.
“Oi, Jimin! How did the mission go?” Namjoon’s voice was chipper.
“Good, good!” He started when he saw Bangchan and the boys. “Ah, I see you got them! Should I go gather the others?”
Jin nodded. “Yes, and make sure Jungkook is dressed. In uniform, not in those rags he likes to wear.”
Jimin saluted, his tiny hand glinting with rose-gold rings. He turned tail and ran off, his shiny white shoes clicking against the floor.
“Haha Changbin, he’s almost as short as you!” Jisung elbowed Changbin in the ribs and Changbin flicked the kid on the head, knocking his cap off, his white hair tumbling out. Bangchan froze, and even Changbin realized what he had done. They looked to Namjoon to see what his reaction was.
He didn’t even seem to notice. He just walked over to a plush couch and threw himself down onto it, watching Jisung nervously adjust his cap and stick his tongue out at Changbin.
“Hey kid.” He called lazily, waving a hand at them like he was shooting away flies. “Lose the mask. You don’t need that here. And the names too! We’se family now. Gang comes before all pal.” Jin sat down elegantly next to Namjoon and put the tall man’s head in his lap. He took off Namjoon’s hat, revealing closely cropped blue hair. Bangchan blinked, and he realized when he looked around, he saw dozens of people with brightly colored hair, red and blue and purple.
He fingered his own blonde hair and smiled. Maybe he’d try something like that. Jisung looked over at Bangchan and he hesitated. Then, he smiled and nodded in confirmation. “It’s okay kid.”
Jin looked up from stroking Namjoon’s head. “Yeah, this place? We don’t judge here. We got people with tattoos, hair dyed, missing limbs, people with melanin disorders, gays, different races, dames and mates you name it, we accept it. There’s no law here, except Namjoon and I’s word, but we don’t say anything discriminatory.”
Namjoon looked up at them. “Just two kinds not allowed. Old people and snitches. If you’se a law abiding kind? Get the hell out. We take that rule very seriously. Yoongi has had to kill dozens of stiffs that stuck their beaks into the wrong people’s business. Now c’mon Jisung, the mask! We can make you a new one for jobs, or you can make your own. I’m sure Tae will let you use the studio. If you’re nice.”
Jisung took off the mask and Namjoon snapped. A goon dressed in all black took the mask and bandanna from him and walked off with them.
“Wait I need that!” Jisung grabbed for the man, but he sidestepped him and walked off. He pulled his hat down in shame and Namjoon stood up. He walked over to Jisung and tilted his chin up. “Look at me kid. I don’t see nuttin wrong with you. Different, yes, but nothing wrong. Stand tall kid. Be proud.” As he stood back up, Bangchan noticed a small scar on the man’s neck, stretching from one side of his jaw to the other, like someone had tried to slit his throat.
“Sit.” Namjoon gestured to the couches and Changbin all but threw himself down, resting his leg. Bangchan sat down and Jisung piled next to him. There were four couches, but the trio piled themselves all onto one. Namjoon noticed and laughed. “You kids are tight ain’t ya?”
Bangchan shrugged, Jisung’s head on his shoulders and Changbins legs in his lap.
“I guess so.”
“You guess so?” Namjoon threw his head back and laughed, his eyes merry and his scar shining in the warehouse light. Jin joined in, his good natured window washing gasps causing Jisung to giggle, then Changbin, and finally, Bangchan allowed himself a smirk.
Namjoon wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and sighed. “You’se kids are funny, I like you. Seems to me like you’se gonna rise up in Bangtan’s ranks.”
“You think so?”
Namjoon turned serious and nodded his head. “Absolutely. You boys have lots of potential. Bangtan doesn’t just go after anyone you know.”
“Yes, were very picky about our agents. One too many mistakes helps you learn.” Jins face was grim. Bangchan shivered a bit. He knew better than to ask what happened, but he wanted to know.
They sat in awkward silence for a moment before Jimin came running up behind them in a state of panic. His pinkish hair was messy and his pretty face shone with sweat. His eyes were wide and he was stuttering. “Joon, He, he-he was, theres-“
Namjoon our a gentle hand on his shoulder and Jin came up behind him. “Calm down kid, it’s okay. What is it?”
Jimin spluttered for a couple more seconds before he got a full sentence out. “There’s another letter!”
Namjoon’s eyes widened and he ushered 3racha out of their seats. “Come on, come on, hurry up!” He practically picked Jisung up and threw him into a run. “We need to move boys, get your asses up.”
Bangchan and the boys stood there confused. “Uh, RM sir? We don’t know where to go?” Bangchans voice was gentle but stern and Namjoon facepalmed.
“We gotta get you acquainted with the base. We’ll show you around right after this. Right now? Follow Jimin. And make it quick!” He practically sprinted after Jimin, his long legs covering much more ground than Changbin and Jisung could keep up. Bangchan grabbed their wrists and hauled ass behind Namjoon, narrowly dodging goons and assorted furniture. Jin kept up close behind them, making sure they didn’t wander off and get lost.
“Do you...you guys ...do you run everywhere?” Changbin was panting and limping badly, his leg hanging at an awkward angle between steps. He coughed and stumbled, and Bangchan picked up the shorter boy and sling him over his shoulder, releasing a bout of cursing from Changbin.
They arrived at a door, all six of them panting heavily and disheveled. Bangchan our Changbin down and Changbin shot him an evil stare. Jisung snorted and Namjoon raised an eyebrow. Jin pointed at all of them and spoke to them in a stern voice. “We’re only letting you here because you’re mentioned in the letters and you know about them. This is extremely secret and if you tell anyone about it we’ll have to eliminate you.” He raised his eyebrows and for a moment, stared at them. Then he laughed and clapped them on the shoulders. “I’m just kidding, don’t worry. I couldn’t help but mess with you.”
“But it is very secret.” Namjoon cut in. “You’se can’t tell nobody.”
“We won’t.” Bangchan raised his chin and nodded curtly.
“Alright.” Namjoon turned and took out his lighter. He twisted it apart and revealed a secret key. He unlocked the door and opened it slowly. “Best behavior boys.”
Bangchan stepped inside and found himself face to face with all seven members of the Bangtan gang.
Yoongi sat slouched down in his chair, his black suit almost blending in with the seat material. It was his silver chains and white skin that helped Bangchan notice him. Next to him sat Hoseok, his bright red suit contrasting with Yoongi dark one. He wore a bright smile and gold jewelry.
Across the table, Taehyung sat in his sleek purple suit, his delicate hands folded on the table in front of him, silver rings sparkling on each slender finger. On his left sat a pouting Jungkook, his dark hair combed and his olive skin scrubbed clean. He wore a cream colored suit with gold accents. Jin sat down at one end of the table in his dark blue suit, his newly stolen silver bracelet glinting in the dim light. Namjoon entered, his green suit emanating an aura of power, his gold lighter key shining in his hand. Jimin came in last, His delicate fingers locking the door behind them. He flipped his pink scarf behind them and sat down.
Bangchan, Jisung and Changbin stood uncomfortably, inside what to do in the midst of all the influences. Any one of the members could kill them instantly, even if they didn’t look it. He exchanged glances with Changbin and Jisung hid behind him, digging his hands into Bangchan’s coat.
Namjoon gestured to the three chairs beside Hoseok. “Sit. He won’t bite.” Hoseok have them a dimpled smile and patted the seats beside him. Bangchan sat down tentatively, Jisung still clinging to him. Changbin say on the end, but all three boys were still very close together.
“I can see you’re nervous. It’s okay though, we won’t hurt you!” Taehyung gave them a boxy smile that lit up his whole face and Bangchan relaxed a little.
“Okay now, let’s read this letter.” Namjoon nodded at Taehyung, and he reached into his pocket and pulled out another white envelope.
But this envelope had bloodstains spattering the crisp white paper.
Chapter 7: Research
Remember to like and comment! I love hearing your feedback! o(^♡^)o
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Felix groaned and rolled over, pulling his blanket up over his head and clutching his stuffed cat tighter. He curled into himself, becoming a small roll on the bed.
Beep, beep, beep, beep.
“Nooo, five more minutes…” his hair was rumpled and he could feel the imprints of the sheets on his shoulders and face. He pressed his stuffed cat under his chin, burying his face in the worn fabric.
The alarm clocks beeping was interrupted by a crushing noise, then the machine was silent. Felix relaxed at the calming silence, until he found himself on the floor, coughing and trying to regain the air in his lungs. He sat there, hacking and choking, tangled in his blankets. He tried to pry his way out from the mess of fabric, but his patch was tossed over his other eye. He slapped a hand over his bad eye, trying to hide his biggest insecurity.
“What is going on??” His voice was a tad higher than normal, thick and raspy with sleep. He yanked the sheets off his head and shifted his patch back to his bad eye. He glared up at his ride awakening through strands of his newly black hair.
Minho stared down at him coldly. His hair was slicked back and he was almost fully dressed. His eyes flicked from Felix to his stuffed cat. Felix shoved the plush under his pillow, his face flaming red in embarrassment. There he was, at sixteen years old, a grown man for heaven's sake! Sleeping with a stuffed toy.
“Time to wake up. We have work to do.” Minho’s voice was still cold, but it wasn’t as icy. Maybe it was because he was tired? Felix shook his head and struggled to stand up. Minho grabbed him by the shoulder and hauled him up, placing him gently on his feet. “Get dressed.” He turned to walk out of the room, hesitated and turned back to Felix. “I like cats too.”
With that jarring statement, he turned tail and hurried out the door, leaving Felix sitting in a pile of sheets, wondering what the hell just happened. He stretched his arms and yawned, arching his back, trying to wake up. He picked up his stuffed cat, gave it a squeeze and tucked him in under his pillow.
He made his bed, swept up the shards of his alarm clock and opened his dresser drawers. There it was, his uniform of lies. He quickly dressed and scurried out into the kitchen, his hair still flopping around. He swept it out of his face and jumped into the room. “Goood morning y’all!” He gave the group a big smile and was met with silence. Hyunjin glared at him over a cup of coffee, yesterday’s makeup still smeared over his eyes. Minho was...Minho, even with the odd comment he made earlier.
Only Woojin gave him a smile, and even that was half hearted. His gold teeth glittered less dimly than usual. He took a sip of his tea and grimaced. “Oh this is awful.” He pushed it away and ruffled his hair. “You know what boys? I’m starving. Let’s clean ourselves up, tidy up the bunks and head out for a bite to eat. There’s a café not too far from here.” He stood up and cleared his cup, dumping the watery tea down the sink.
Hyunjin only grunted, still slouched over his cup. He picked it up and threw his head back, downing half the cup. He slammed it down on the table and stalked off to his room. Felix heard the door slam loudly. Woojin inhaled and flinched. “I’ll go help him.”
He walked out of the room, mumbling something like “red! Red at this time in the day…” and left Felix and Minho awkwardly sitting at the table. Felix squirmed in his seat, fidgeting with his tie. Minho rustled the newspaper, opening it to read. He read in silence for a couple agonizing seconds, then tensed.
“Woojin! Come here!” His voice spooked Felix into practically falling off his chair. He regained his balance and craned his neck to see what had Minho’s britches in a bunch. Minho side eyed him and looked to the hall. Woojin appeared, dragging a half dressed Hyunjin behind him.
Minho threw the paper on the table. Woojin and Felix crowded around, while Hyunjin hung back, buttoning his shirt. Felix shoved Woojin out of the way just enough so he could read.
Bangtan Gang Robs the Indigo.
Woojin rolled his eyes. “What does this have to do with us? We’re not on the Bangtan case. He waved Minho off, but the bigger man caught his arm and pulled him back. “Not the article. This.” He jabbed the paper with his finger. A black and white image of RM running through the museum halls lay under his fingertip.
Felix leaned in closer and he noticed three more figures behind him. Hyunjin rolled his eyes. “So what? It’s probably other Bangtan. I even see Jin!” He sat down in the chair next to Minho and leaned his back against the bigger man’s shoulder. Minho gritted his teeth and crossed his arms.
“Do I have to explain everything myself?”
Felix gasped. “No!” He pointed to two of the figures behind RM. “I see them!” Woojin sighed, exasperated. “See who? Jin?”
“No, it’s CB97 and J-1!”
Woojin shoved him out of the way. “Is is really?” He pulled the newspaper closer to his face. “By Jove it is!”
“That’s what I was trying to say..” Minho grumbled
Hyunjin sleepily patted the dark man’s cheek. “And you did well honey.”
Minho jolted and Woojin shot a knowing glance at Felix, mouthing the words. “Pink dust.”
Felix ran his hands through his hair. “But there’s one thing I don’t get.”
Woojin quirked an eyebrow “and that is?”
“They don't have any connections with Bangtan, at least, that’s what it said in the file.”
“Huh. You’re right.”
“There’s more to this case than the chief is telling us.” Minho’s voice was soft and Hyunjin and Woojin gave him bewildered looks.
“I mean, he’s right.” Felix put in.
Hyunjin held up a hand. “Look Felix, I get that you’re new and all, but questioning the chief is a serious no-no. We don’t do that. We get our orders and we follow them. I may not like it, but that’s the way it is.” He sat up and turned to Minho. “And you ! I can’t believe you! I’m glad you grew a pair, but about this?” He sat back and shook his head, his silver earrings swishing with his hair.
Woojin rubbed his eyes. “Let’s just go to the cafe and read through what we have to read. Okay? Follow orders and go through with the mission.”
The cafe was a small corner building, warm and homey. It had wall windows all down the front wall, overlooking the street. A small boy even younger than Felix seated them with a smile. He had big shiny eyes and a face that resembled a fox. He also had a stutter. He repeated words and syllables, nervously. He introduced himself as Jeongin, slowly took their order and scurried off to the back to prepare the food.
A burst of yelling came from the kitchen and the boy meekly came back out. “I’m s-s-so sorry, I f-forgot to ask if you, if you w-want eggs or s-sausage with your h-hot cakes.” Woojin elbowed Hyunjin, who snapped awake.
“Yes.” His eyes were half closed and he mumbled the word.
“So w-will that be e-e-eggs or sausage?” Felix could tell that jeongin was trying his hardest to keep a smile on his face.
“I said yes.”
“I’m s-s-s-sorry I didn’t quite c-catch that.” His stutter worsened with each frustrating interaction.
Woojin smacked Hyunjin upside the head. “He said sausage.”
“Alright then, again I-I am so s-s-sorry about this.”
Felix gave the small boy a smile. “No worries.” He knew the group looked scary and threatening, with the all black and red matching, but he tried to put the boy at ease.
Jeongin nodded. “Uh huuuhhh…” he snapped his book shut and scampered off to get their food.
“Ah, Ollie… ”
“What?” Oh right. I’m Ollie.
“We’re supposed to be intimidating mobsters! Try to be a little less…” Woojin gestured to Felix. “Pure.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re not selling Ollie Caps very well.”
“How else should I do it?”
“I don’t know! Be...brooding!”
Felix pushed his lower lip out and slouched in his seat. “Like this?” He lowered his voice, so that it was deep and growly.
Woojin shrugged. “Yes and no.”
“What do you mean?”
“Yes on the voice, no on the...posture.”
Hyunjin cracked open an eye. “How does such a scary, angsty voice come out of someone who looks as innocent as you? The clothes and hair help a bit, but with the way you stand and act? Anyone can tell you’re not scary, you’re too...fluffy.”
“Thanks for that.” Felix furrowed his brow and stuck his tongue out at the pretty boy.
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about.”
Woojin nodded. “A mere infant.”
Felix rolled his eyes and slouched down in his seat. He moped for a while, but once Jeongin came with the food, it was hard to keep the frown on his face. Jeongin set plates of steaming bacon and warm bread in front of them, and just the sight of food made Felix’s mouth water.
Jeongin set the sausages in front of Hyunjin, who mutter “Thanks Innie.” The boy furrowed his brow and took a closer look at the sleeping man.
“Oh, it’s y-you. I b-barely recognized you Hyunjin. There’s a lot of...s-stuff on your face.”
Woojin smacked Hyunjin. “You know this kid?”
“Yeah, I used to work here.”
“You blubbering fool, now he’s a liability!”
“No, that means he’s a problem.”
Jeongin furrowed his brow. “W-w-why am I a p-problem?”
Hyunjin closed his eyes again. “We’re deeply undercover and we use fake names.”
“N-no really, why am I a l-l-liab-bility?”
Woojin sighed, a piece of his soul almost visibly floating away. “No, he’s right. He goes by Johan-“
“Which I’m still mad about.”
Woojin cleared his throat. “Anyway, hes Johan, I’m James, The broody one is Ashton and the small one is Ollie.”
Jeongin nodded slowly and backed away. “Okay, I h-hope you enjoy your m-meal…” Woojin whipped his arm out quicker than a snake and seized the boy’s arm.
“No really. I’m deadly serious. If you leak anything about this, we will have to eliminate you.”
This seemed to get through to the boy and he nodded, the fear in his eyes showing. Hyunjin finally came to his senses with the first bite of food and snapped up.
“I’m sorry you got dragged into this Innie, but I’ll explain later.”
“Are you s-s-serious?” The boy waved his notepad at Hyunjin. “You n-n-never visit anymore! Ever since you accepted that stupid job, you left me all a-alone with Ms. C-c-cabsin!” His eyes were blazing and his voice tripped up angrily.
“Look kid, I tried to visit, but between this job and the job at the ...Establishment, I didn’t have the time.”
Felix piped up. “What’s the Establishment?”
Woojin gave him a look. “Not now Felix.”
Jeongin opened his mouth to say something more, but a ruddy, fat woman stuck her head out of the kitchen.
“Jeongin if you don’t get your worthless charity case ass back in the kitchen right now, I will cut your wages even more.”
Jeongin blanched and clutched his notepad to his chest. “S-sorry ma’am!” He gave Hyunjin one last look and hurried back to the kitchen, shoulders sunk and the spring in his step gone.
Hyunjin gritted his teeth and clenched the tablecloth between his fingers. “That ruddy bitch….”
“Hey, there’s nothing we can do.” Woojins voice was calming and he put a reassuring hand on Hyunjins back. Hyunjin seethed, still glaring at the space where Jeongin disappeared. He picked up his fork and stabbed a sausage, practically mauling the poor thing. He violently chomped down on the end of it.
After everyone had finished eating, Woojin reached into his satchel and pulled out a stack of papers. Felix inwardly cringed. More reading?
“Alright lads, here’s the deal.”
Hyunjin pushed away his plate. “What now?”
“We need to get to know our goals.”
“What do you mean?” Felix hasn’t spoken much the whole time, as Hyunjins funk had complicated the mood. He spoke meekly, wringing the tablecloth nervously.
“I have files on them! We can learn everything we know about them!” He frowned. “But since J-1 and CB97 always do the actual robbing, we don’t have much on their behavioral patterns. Since SpearB is always sitting in the car, we have the most behavioral information on him.”
Felix sat up, suddenly alert. “I’ll do him!” He shot his hand into the air, his eye bright. Woojin quirked an eyebrow, and Felix tried to dial back his excitement.
“I mean, yeah I guess I’ll do that one. I already know most reflexive patterns, I’d be nice to do behavioral ones. Habits and such you know?”
Hyunjin snorted. “You’ll do him alright.”
Felix shot him an evil glare and he chuckled, leaning comfortably back in his chair. He stretched, lacing his fingers and lifting his arms in the air. “Tsh, give me the kid. He seems easy enough and his files the smallest. I’ll share with Minho, I mean Ashton .”He snatched the file from Woojin and beckoned Minho to sit next to him.
Felix tried to grab SpearB’s file but Woojin pulled it just a little out of his reach. “Oi. Remember why we’re here. Can’t have the whole mission ruined by some lovestruck kid okay?”
Felix rolled his eye, waving the air. “Psh, I’m not lovestruck, I just really want to learn about behavioral patterns and habits.” He smiled, albeit a bit awkwardly, hoping he sold the lie.
Woojin nodded skeptically, “uh huh.. sure.” He sniffed and raised a slashed eyebrow. Oh right. Felix thought. He can smell my lies… he took the file and sank down in his seat. His face flushed, his freckles standing out over the red. He opened the file to try and escape prying eyes, but Woojin was too immersed in research and Hyunjin was busy teasing Minho.
He turned his eyes to the file and his blush went from red to scarlet. He heard a sharp inhalation from Woojin and he panicked. He peeked over the file and saw Woojin staring straight at him. He gave him an awkward a-okay and turned back to the file.
A picture of SpearB stared back at him, the muscular man lounging in his bright red convertible. His tie was hanging loose around his neck and the top two buttons of his shirt were undone. His feet were up on the dash, one twisted at a funny angle. His head was bent back and his eyes were closed. Despite the sweat shining on his skin, he had a peaceful smile on his face.
Felix flopped the picture behind so he could focus on the information, but he was met with yet another photo, this one of SpearB taking the trash out. His hair was sticking up and he was in his pajamas. Felix’s breath caught in his throat. Woojin stiffened and Felix took a deep breath. Calm down Felix, calm down! It’s just a guy. A bad guy. Your target.
But another voice snuck into his thoughts. What if he’s not such a bad guy? Everyone has a story, maybe he’s been misjudged. You should know that better than anyone. Felix shook his head and took a swig of water to clear his senses. Focus Felix. He chided himself. Focus on the mission. Read about behavioral patterns.
Why couldn’t he stop thinking about SpearB
Chapter 8: Forensics
“All night!” Jisung ran his hands through his white hair and slumped down in the backseat of Changbins jaguar. “I can’t believe we were there all fucking night ! And now we have to just go about our day like all that shit didn’t even happen!”
Bangchan looked back at him from the passenger seat. “Oh come on, don’t blow your wig. It wasn’t too bad.”
Jisung raised his eyebrows and cocked his head. “Really?” Tell me how that couldn’t have gone worse.”
“We could have burnt the whole building down.” Changbin chipped in oh so helpfully.
Bangchan closed his eyes and rested his arm on the windowsill of the car. They had panicked over the bloodstains for a moment, but Yoongi had intervened and slid the letter out of its gruesome container. He huffed as he slid the letter out. “So squeamish, my god.”
Jimin stool up the letter and began reading aloud in a sweet voice that contrasted with the letters dark words.
Greetings Bangtan. Oh, and little 3racha too. I’m so glad you all met each other. You passed my test with flying colors! Yes, yes, I planted that man at the Indigo. I wanted to see your reaction RM. You did the right thing, no loose ends will be tolerated. As for that little stunt with the bracelet, that was brilliantly smooth. I expected nothing less from the Bangan Gang!
As for little 3racha, you boys did well, so well. The fighting was a little rusty, but at least you collected all your belongings this time.
Jisung had yelled an objection, one that Bangchan quickly silenced. He offered an apologetic smile to Jimin, who clicked his tongue and continued reading.
Your escape was smooth as well. You have one of the best drivers I’ve ever seen, and he will be vital to your missions ahead. As you may have guessed, I would like you to retrieve something for me. However, it’s not just one something, it’s many somethings. Yes, I will be calling for you boys multiple times.
And I’m afraid this will have to stay secrets. No goons, no friends. Only the people I decide to tell. There will be one more part of your team, a third part to complete my trinity of soldiers.
Yoongi slammed his fist on the table. “Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? He’s setting all these rules, playing ya right into his twisted trap!” He sat back in his chair and folded his arms. Hoseok put a hand on his shoulder.
“I hate to say it Namjoon, but he’s right. We don’t know who this guy is, or what he wants. I don’t trust him at all.”
Tae jumped in, his eyes blazing. “But we don’t know what he’s capable of! Do you want everything we’ve built to crumble to the ground because we didn’t do what he says.”
“Exactly! We don’t know what he’s capable of! It may be nothing!” Yoongi jumped up again, and Hoseok tried to get him to sit down again.
“But do you really want to take that chance!” Jungkook challenged.
“What’s life without chances?”
“Well if you take too many chances, one of them is bound to lead to destruction! We cannot take this chance!”
“Hey!” Jimin's voice cut through Yoongi's argument. “There’s more! Would you like to hear it or do you want to keep bickering?”
Yoongi huffed and sat back down. Jimin cleared his throat and continued reading.
Now now, you’re all probably wondering what does that mean? Why do we have to do this? What if we just don’t. Well, I’ll tell you what will happen if you don’t. I will tear down everything you’ve ever worked for. I will hurt those you love and torture you with never ending suspense. Because if you don’t do as I say, I will take everything from you and make your life a living nightmare. You don’t think I’m serious?
Yoongi scoffed. “He’s not serious. There’s nothing he can do. We’ve been so careful. Now, I’m kinda grateful for Namjoon’s paranoid ass.”
Jimins lips trembled. “I’m not so sure about that...listen to this.”
Kim Namjoon. Born in Heisks out of wedlock. Brought dishonor to his family.
Kim Seokjin. Born in Jeol. Youngest of ten. Sold to make some money, grew up in a sweatshop.
Min Yoongi. Born in Davu, mother died in a fire when he was six years old. Turned to the streets and joined many gangs.
Jung Hoesok. Was abandoned at a young age. Grew up wandering the cities, begging for money. Was accepted into a “charity program” that resulted in extreme mental scarring.
Namjoon hadn’t spoken a word the whole time, but as soon as Jimin finished reading Hoseok’s story, he slammed his hands down on the table and roared. “Stop reading Jimin!” His eyes were dark and dangerous. He leaned over the table, his arms supporting his weight.
“We has to do it. There’s no other way.”
“But-“ Yoongi started to protest, but Namjoon cut him off.
“No buts punk! Did you not hear that? He knows. I don’t know how much, but he knows!”
“So what, he knows where we were born.”
“He knew about Hobi’s ‘charity’! What if he had something to do with it?”
Hoseok flinched, sinking down into his chair. Jimin walked over to the boy and softly wrapped his arms around the boy in red, and Yoongi’s face softened. “You think he could?”
“This guys crazy pal.”
Yoongi looked down at the shivering form of Hoseok. Then looked back up. Bangchan got the chills from his cold gaze and he felt the boys huddle closer to him.
“What do we do?”
Tae held up the letter. “We don’t have to read the rest of our stories, but he has a little more text after them.” He looked up at Namjoon. “Should I read it?”
Namjoon fell back into his seat and said nothing.
Namjoon nodded, loosening his tie and rolling up his sleeves. “Yeah, read it.” Now that you have your incentive, I’ll give you the quick wrap up. I’ll be calling for you, you will come and you will follow my instructions. For now, just go about your days. I trust that you won’t try and tell anyone. If so, you know the consequences. Once the third party is made known, I’ll call you back for your first assignment. Until then, don’t speak of this.
Yours truly, The Joker .
They all sat in silence for a moment, stealing nervous glances at each other.
“So,” Jisung spoke up. “What do we do?”
Namjoon was thinking hard, Bangchan could tell. He was biting the inside of his cheek and staring at the wall. Yoongi and Taehyung were arguing, with Hoseok and Jungkook butting I’m now and then. Jimin tried to be the middle party, and Jin sat there in silence. It was chaotic, and not in the way that Bangchan likes. The atmosphere was tense and uncomfortable.
Changbin poked Bangchans thigh, trying to get his attention.
“What?” Bangchan hissed, trying to be as quiet as possible.
“There’s something on the back of the note!” Changbin whispered back. “Tell them to flip it over!”
Bangchan squinted, but with the way Jimin was holding the paper, he could barely make out a dark shape on the back.
They continued to argue, not noticing the boys. Jin finally snapped and started yelling at the others, joining in their argument. Bangchan didn’t even know what they were yelling about. Jin was spitting out words so fast that he could barely understand him, barely breathing between sentences.
“Hello?” Bangchan tried again with the same result. Now they were standing and Hoseok was holding Yoongi back from charging Taehyung, who was only provoking him more.
“Uhh, There’s something on the note…” Bangchan tried easing his voice but his own was drowned out in the shouts of the members of the biggest mob in the city. Namjoon still sat silently, his big brain no doubt working on finding a solution. Jin was speaking faster than any musical artist Bangchan had ever heard, Yoongi voice was raspy from speaking so much and Taehyung was mocking them, being overly dramatic in ‘defending himself’.
A high pitched shrieking sound blasted through the chaos. Everyone stared at Bangchan and the boys and he blanched, looking behind him. Jisung had grabbed Changbin’s whistle, blown it quite loudly, and gotten their attention. He raised his eyebrows, his mismatched eyes glinting in the dim light of the study.
“Bangchan has something to say. Best you listen.”
All eyes turned to him in one sweeping movement, giving Bangchan a jolt. “Uhhh...there’s something on the back of the envelope…” he said sheepishly, holding the boys closer to him in case Namjoon got offended by the whistle stunt.
Jimin turned the envelope around and gasped, his big eyes grew even wider. He turned the white paper around and showed it to the rest of the members. There was a hastily stamped seal and bloody fingerprints.
The seal looked as if the stamper had been disrupted mid-stamp as the ink was smeared down the white paper. There were streaks of red-turning-brown blood and four fingerprint looking marks. Taehyung eyes gleamed. “We can run diagnostics on the prints and see if we can match it to anyone!”
Jimin threw the letter on the table, wiping his hands on his scarf. “Ewww.” An odd clunking noise came from the envelope and they all stared at it, as if daring each other to go first.
Taehyung finally reached out to pick up the gorey envelope. He shook it and something fell out. A small metal square with the joker card printed on it, also covered in blood.
“Oi!” Bangchan said. “That’s-that’s mine!” His eyes were wide and his voice cracked. All nine boys turned to him in disbelief.
“Yours?” Jin asked.
“Yes, mine. I lost it during the museum chase. I was wondering why it wasn’t coming back.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his deck, showing it to the others. He pressed the button, activating the magnet, and the card flew back to his deck, merging with the rest.
“How did he get it?” Jungkook asked. “Maybe you aren’t so careful after all.” He crossed his arms and rolled his eyes.
“Jungkook! Things happen even when we’re careful.” Jin chastised him. “And besides, what do you know about being careful? I’d watch my mouth if I were you.”
Jungkook huffed and sat back in his seat, glaring at Bangchan. Namjoon sat up. He looked intently at Bangchan, his eyes glittering. “So kid. What can you tell us about these cards?”
“Well, I got them for tricks in the theater. They were the only set made, only I can call them back. They’re made with a special metal that only reacts to this incredibly rare magnet. It’s a really strong magnet too. It will recall them from almost a mile away. Unless it’s really stuck or something. It’s a card deck, so there’s 52. At the end of the museum chase, I only had 51. I didn’t think much of it, I’d go back later to search for it. Most of the attention was on you guys anyway. After I left the theater, I sharpened them and turned them into flying blades. I’ll throw them, which takes lots of practice. They’ll slice up a bunch of whatever I’m trying to cut and then I’ll push the button and all the ones out there will come back. It’s my favorite weapon and I can do a lot with them.”
Namjoon nodded along to Bangchans explanation, reacting at all the right times. As soon as Bangchan finished, he clapped his hands and stood up. “Alright kid. I believe you. Can we have the joker card?”
“Yeah sure.” Bangchan went through the specific process of removing the card, which he had perfected over the years. He was so good at it that he could snap one off and toss it and be back for another in less than a second. He handed the bloodied card to Namjoon, who put it in a plastic bag and handed it off to V, along with two other plastic bags that contained the letter and the envelope.
“Follow me.” V gave them a cheery smile and put his thumb on the weird pad. It beeped and the door opened. Jimin and Jungkook followed them while the older boys stayed and argued in the conference room behind them.
They wove through the crowds, though not too much, as most of the people moved when they saw Taehyung, Jimin and Jungkook. They walked straight through the main room and into a wide hallway. They went down the corridor for a while, then Taehyung turned sharply to the right and stopped in front of a large door. There was another one of those odd pads on it and Taehyung pressed his thumb to it and the door slid open.
“Uh, if you don’t mind me asking, what are those weird boxes outside the doors?” Bangchan asked.
“Oh those? Those are thumbprint scanners. Everyone in the gang has their thumbprint in the database and they have different security clearances to open different doors. It’s one of the technologies we could salvage from the Techdown.”
“That’s pretty snazzy.”
Taehyung gave them a big boxy smile. “Damn right it is!” He handed them the bags and waltzed into the room. Inside was a huge array of different mechanisms that flashed and made strange noises. It felt so...odd.
Technology had been mostly stripped of the world almost fifty years ago. Nobody knew the true reason, the government didn’t disclose any reasons . They left the people with simple electricity and plumbing. Some people had found old books and made their own illegally. Hospitals and other public institutions were allowed more advanced tech but they were still pretty trashy.
“Where did you get all this?” Jisung asked in wonder reaching out to touch something, but withdrawing before his fingers could brush the chrome surface.
“We have our ways kid.” Taehyung winked and twirled around, spreading his arms out wide.
“Welcome to the forensics lab!” His smile broadened. “This is where we test blood samples for disease, or just to identify the source from which it came! We do lots of medical work here, but it doubles as a crime catcher facility. We may be the “bad guys” in the world but we aren’t actually bad people you know? We have standards.”
A small girl walked past them, then backtracked when she saw Taehyung. She smiled, her face pink and her eyes sparkling. “Heya boss! What’s the problem!” She had brown hair cut short in a boyish style and freckles dusting her cheeks. She held a huge box that was almost the size of her that was practically brimming with plastic bags holding assorted items.
“Hold on a moment.” She apologized and turned her head. “Persephone! Boss is here with some kids! Get Harold on the line and have him sort these out!” A smaller girl whom Bangchan assumed was Persephone, came out from behind a huge machine and took the box from the brown haired girl. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days, her long black hair hanging down around a pretty face. She rolled her eyes and disappeared back into the maze of machines.
“Sorry about that.” The brown haired girl rolled her own eyes and turned back towards Taehyung. “What can I do for you?”
Taehyung gestured to the boys, who held up the bags and the girl took them. “Are you kidding? More of these?” She sighed and examined them. Her eyes grew wide. “Uh, boss? What the hell is this?” She shook the bag inquisitively. Taehyung sighed and shut the door behind him.
“Remember that freaky note we got a while back?”
“Well these boys got one too, and now there’s another one. You can’t tell anyone about this.”
“I know I know. One question.”
“Don’t call me sweetheart.”
“All right darling.”
The girl gritted her teeth. “Cocky bastard…”
“Ooh you should watch your words. You are talking to your boss!”Taehyung’s tone was joking, and he raised an eyebrow.
The girl crossed her arms and raised her own eyebrows “what are you going to do, fire me?”
Taehyung huffed. “Don’t tempt me. What was your question?”
“Oh yeah. Who the hell are they?” She gestured to Bangchan and the boys, who still stood there awkwardly.
“This is Bangchan. He’s the leader. Magic boy.” He rolled his eyes and the girl looked exited.
Bangchan smiled. “Yep.”
“This is Jisung. He’s the tagger kid we were looking into.”
“Nice to meet you. I like your artwork a lot! I took inspiration from your spraying paint and used it in lots of my designs!”
Jusungs face brightened. “You really like it?”
“Yeah of course! It’s way easier than paint brushes.”
Taehyung laughed and shoved Changbin forward. “This is Changbin. He’s the driver. Best goddamn driver Namjoon said he’d ever seen.”
“Siiiiick. What kinda car you drive?”
“I have a red jag.” Changbin mumbled.
“No way! For real? I have a really cool design for a new and improved engine, but it only fits in a jag.”
Changbins dark aura lifted a bit. The corners of his mouth quirked slightly.
“Boys this is Jamie. She’s one of our forensics team, the other girl you saw is Peppi. They do the tests for us and other assorted jobs.”
“Nice to meet you.” Bangchan said politely, slightly bowing at the waist.
“Nice to meet you guys too. I’ll try and get Peps out of her cave to meet you sometime, but she’s busy today. “
Taehyung clapped his hands together and smiled. “Alright. Let’s get to these tests
Chapter 9: Meetings
Okay so I edited the last cafe chapter because I forgot to add a very important character element for Jeongins character. So it’s been added back in. Plz don’t hate me. T^T
“We’ve been sitting here for hours Wooj-uhh, shit what’s your name again?” Hyunjin whined. He was draped over the table, papers and empty coffee cups strewn around him.
Woojin flattened out the paper he was reading and without looking up, replied “James.” He finished the paragraph he was on and then looked back up at Hyunjin. He removed his glasses and carefully placed them on the table. He rubbed his eyes and took a swig of coffee. “And we haven’t been here for too long. We arrived at around six am and now it’s closing in on eight. We’ve been here less than two hours! Stop complaining.”
Felix slapped another page from his file down on the table and groaned, leaning further and further back in his chair as the groan continued. “Why do we need to do thisssssss? It’s so boring!” His bad eye was throbbing and he pressed on his patch, trying to relieve the pain. He had barely gotten through half the file, he kept getting distracted by the photos. So far, he learned that SpearB liked sleeping. A lot.
Woojin gave both boys a seething look and beckoned Jeongin over. “Sorry lad, but can we get another round of drinks?”
Jeongin pulled out his notepad and checked off. “B-black for J-j-Johan, b-breakfast t-tea for J-J-James, coffee with extra c-cream and s-sugar for Ollie, and orange j-j-j-juice for Ashton.”
“Yes, precisely!” Woojin beamed at the boy.
“Alright I’ll g-get that out for y-you.” The boys pocketed his notepad and collected their old cups, scurrying into the kitchen. Woojin put his file on the table and laced his fingers.
“So what have you chaps learned?” He gave them an expectant look, like a teacher testing his students. Felix squirmed in his seat. Woojin gestured to Hyunjin. “Johan, what have you learned?”
Hyunjin rolled his eyes and stretched. “Well, this J-1 kid is a real unit. He’s fast and smart. He always wears a cap and mask, so nobody knows what his face looks like. He works as their scout, running out and painting symbols on the joint they’re casing. He invented this weird paint himself, and he uses it as a weapon. He mixes some of his paint with a highly corrosive acid that he sprays at engines. Forensics haven’t been able to identify it, so we just call it J-1.”
Woojin blinked, stunned for a moment that Hyunjin actually did something. “Well...Johan I guess I underestimated you… Ollie, how about you?” He raised an eyebrow at Felix, who squirmed.
“Uhh...well...I learned a lot about behavioral patterns…”
Woojin raised both his eyebrows. “Like What?”
Felix felt his face heat up and sweat form on his hairline. “Umm. Well, he follows a certain schedule every time they heist. According to intel, he parks around three to four blocks away. He keeps the engine running for about five minutes, then switches it off. After about three more minutes, he begins to relax, He props his feet up on the dash and dozed off. Our men report that every time he speeds off, they hear a high pitched whistling noise.”
Woojin nodded along to his explanation. “Anything else?” He asked.
“No..I Uh- I couldn’t get through the whole thing, I'm only a couple pages in.” He flushed. “Sorry.”
Woojin only nodded and then turned to Minho. “And you?”
“You can read it yourself.” His voice was cold and Woojin started.
“Okay. How about we finish reading and then we can-” He was cut off by a round of violent coughs from Hyunjin. The pretty boy was doubled over, choking on a sip of his coffee that went down wrong.
“You alright chap?” Woojin asked, looking concerned. Hyunjin didn’t respond, just kept hacking up his lungs. Suddenly, Minho lunged across the table and swept all the papers onto his lap. He stacked them all quickly and shoved them in Woojins bag.
“What the hell?!” Woojin sputtered and Minho slapped a hand over his mouth and pointed at the door. Felix followed his gaze and his breath caught in his throat. “Shit.”
The boys were tired. Bangchan was tired. He was hungry and scared. But mostly hungry. They ran tests on the envelope all night long and came up empty handed. Taehyung has eventually quit and gone to bed, but Peppi and Jaime were incredibly efficient, working almost as one person. The boys finally stumbled home at five in the morning and slept fitfully until eight.
They rolled out of bed still fully clothed and moped around the kitchen. They forgot to go grocery shopping, so Bangchan suggested their favorite cafe. It was a little restaurant just down the street from their apartment and they had made friends with the kid waiter there.
“We should go to breakfast. I think Jeongin’s serving today.” Bangchan suggested.
“Sure.” Jisung hummed. He was hanging over the back of the couch, kneeling on the seat and letting his arms dangle over the backrest. “Sounds good to me.”
“How much should we bring?” Changbin asked, his voice raspy from sleep.
“I dunno, five bucks? It should be enough to cover food for all three of us and then we can go get bread and eggs from the store.” Bangchan walked over to the painting and swung it aside. He opened the safe and carefully counted out five dollars. He marked it in the book and shut the safe, locking it securely.
He didn’t notice the missing money.
They walked down the street, shivering in their old coats. They tried not to use Changbin’s red jaguar more than absolutely necessary. It wasn’t an inconspicuous car, and they couldn’t run the risk of getting arrested now, not with the Bangtan case. The car was safely hidden in the alley next to their apartment.
They were all too tired to complain, and even Jisung didn’t say a word the whole way to the cafe.
Jeongin was tired, Bangchan could tell. He wasn’t as peppy as usual, and he forgot Jisung’s coffee. He never forgot their orders. Bangchan sipped his drink and watched Changbin sulk into his own black coffee, his eyes sunk into his head.
Jisung was poking the frosting on his lemon cake and staring blankly into it. It was nice to have some quiet or concerning, Bangchan couldn’t decide. Jisung was wearing his mask, so Bangchan couldn't really see his face, but his shoulders were bunched and his legs were bouncing wildly.
Jeongin came back around to their table by the window, where they often sat, watching the street commotion. He carried a pitcher and his curly red hair was messy. He tried to fill Changbins coffee with whatever was in the pitcher and Changbin shot him a dirty look.
“S-sorry guys.” Jeongin stuttered. “I c-c-closed last n-n-“ he stopped and took a deep breath. “Night.”
Bangchan held out his mug for more. “No problem kid. We ain’t in a hurry.”
“Thanks B-Bangchan.” Jeongin shakily took Bangchan’s glass and filled it with what looked like hot chocolate.
“Like I said kid, no problem.” Bangchan took a sip and his eyes widened. “Hey this is good. Needs just a splash of joe though.”
Jeongin's eyes brightened. “T-that's actually a g-good idea!” He rushed back to the kitchen and brought back another pitcher, this time with coffee in it. He added a bit and gave Bangchan a huge grin, all dimples and crescent moon eyes. Jisung scooted close to Bangchan.
“Can I try?”
Bangchan handed the mug to Jisung and helped him lift his mask to drink. Jisung took a sip and his posture straightened. “That shit’s good.” His words were muffled behind the mask. Bangchan smacked him upside the head. “Jisung, there’s a kid.”
“Not anymore.” Jisung pointed and Bangchan saw that Jeongin had rushed to the booth across the cafe to help a group of four men who had gotten his attention. They were all dressed smartly and similarly, and looked strangely familiar.
Changbin sat up rigidly and made a strange noise. Bangchan looked at him and saw he had gone red. He followed his gaze and smiled and shook his head. Changbin was ogling at one of the men, the shortest one in the group, but still taller than Changbin, who was pretty damn short.
He had one big brown eye, but the other was covered by a patch. The sides of his head were shaved and his hair was smartly gelled back. He had freckles and a small nose. His clothes and hair contrasted with the way he held himself.
“He looks like a kitten,” Changbin breathed and Jisung gave him a judging look behind his mask. Changbin didn’t seem to notice and kept looking. The man caught Changbin’s gaze and they both immediately turned bright red and looked down.
One of the kitten-man’s friends noticed and smirked at him. The man who smirked was wearing a sheer shirt and tight pants with loose, hanging suspenders. He was beautiful, Bangchan noticed, but not his type.
Changbin sank into his jacket, sipping his drink nervously. The man at the other table was equally as flustered, and his freckles shone through his blush. Jisung was imitating Changbin and he and a man at the other table shared a laugh. The man looked like a teddy bear and he gave Bangchan a huge smile, showing off two glittering gold teeth. He gave an odd briefcase to the scary man, stood up and pulled his chair over to Bangchan.
“Hey! I’m James.” He had a crisp British accent and a melodic voice. He stretched out his hand for a shake and Bangchan accepted it.
“I’m Bangchan.” He answered carelessly and kicked himself mentally.
“Hey Bangchan! Mind of me and my friends join you for brekkie?”
Bangchan shrugged and looked at the boys. Jisung shrugged back, but Changbin was too busy having a small mental breakdown to notice.
“Sure why the hell not. As long as we ain’t payin.”
James laughed good naturedly and had his friends pull up their table to their booth so they could all sit together. Turns out, they were really nice guys. There was James, who was the bear boy who had introduced himself first, Johan, the pretty sheer shirt boy with the lip ring, Ollie, Changbin’s new boy crush, and Ashton, the scary bitch who brooded and didn’t speak.
They seemed pretty tough, talking about assorted subjects, but Bangchan played it safe. They laughed and talked over coffee. James was really friendly and Johan was sweet, although a little flirty for Bangchan’s taste.
They were finishing up their meal, when suddenly, Johan’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he would have crashed down on the table, if Ashton hadn’t shot out and caught him. That surprised Bangchan, as the tall, silent man hadn’t moved or spoken the entire time.
“Whoa! Is he-?” Jisung stood up, knocking Changbin into Ollie, who freaked out and made a strange squeaky noise. James ushered Jisung to sit down again. “It’s okay lad, he’s just sleeping.”
“Here? Now?” You couldn’t see Jisung’s face, but his confusion was clearly conveyed in his tone.
“He’s narcoleptic.” Ashton said simply. His voice was deep and it startled Bangchan. The tall man had scars on his face and looked like a real goon, but the tender way he cradled the pretty boy was soft.
“Bless you.” Jisung quipped.
Ashton’s brow furrowed and James jumped in. “That means he kinda just clicks out sometimes. He’ll be right as rain in a couple minutes.”
“Yep, he’s all snazzy.”
The boy, Ollie, had stood, looking concerned, but he settled at James’s explanation. He sat back down, but his patch/missing eye obviously messed with his depth perception, because he sat right on Changbin’s lap. His eye went wide and he tried to jump back up, but Changbin wrapped his muscular arms around the smaller boy’s slender waist, a little hesitant, but he pulled Ollie back down to him. James elbowed Jeongin, who happened to be passing by, and had witnessed the whole thing, and the two boys went “ooooh!” in unison.
Ollie was tense for a moment, but then slowly, he relaxed. He was still a little awkward, he didn’t seem to know where to put his hands. After a couple minutes of struggling, which Bangchan witnessed quietly as everyone else talked, Johan, who had woken up like James promised, noticed, sighed in exasperation and aggressively pushed out his chair, startling Ashton, who Bangchan thought was unshakable.
He stormed over to Changbin and Ollie and repositioned them. Now, Changbins arms were wrapped securely around Ollie, his face buried in the new boy’s shoulder. Ollie was slouching into Changbin’s embrace, his hands resting on top of Changbin’s.
Johan stepped back, examining the two, hands on his hips, his jewelry glinting in the cafe morning light. Changbin and Ollie looked very uncomfortable, like museum pieces..
Johan rolled his eyes and groaned. “You two are impossible!” He stalked over to Ashton and, with less effort than Bangchan thought he would have needed, pulled out his chair. His normally dark and impassive eyes went wide and he looked slightly panicked. “Like this.” He moved the larger man slightly to the side and sat almost on Ashton’s lap. He then curled the bigger man’s arms around him. Ashton stiffened, but let him. Johan looked very small and comfortable in Ashton’s embrace and Ashton actually looked a bit pink underneath the brim of his hat.
“Then do the head thing.” Johan leaned his head back into Ashton’s shoulder and, after a second of slight panic, Ashton tentatively nuzzled Johan’s neck, his face still expressionless. James had a slightly concerned look on his face and he raised his eyebrows at Ollie, who turned so red Bangchan was concerned and practically melted into Changbin.
Changbin smiled, a small shy smile that he shot to Bangchan, who gave him a thumbs up. Bangchan liked seeing him like this. Not all dark and sad. Changbin actually looked really happy with the freckled boy perched in his lap. Changbin took one of Ollie’s hands and practically swooned . He looked at Banchan and frantically mouthed “So tiny! So tiny! His hands-“
Ollie traced the scars on Changbins hands and intertwined their fingers. They were getting more comfortable with each other, Bangchan noticed. Johan had gotten off of Ashton’s lap, leaving the steady man a light pink, his scars a whiter hue than usual. They were all laughing and joking around, and Bangchan had even convinced Jeongin to sit down with them.
The boy couldn’t pay for his own food, so James had bought him breakfast and that seemed to perk him up. He was shaking and stuttering less, and he had a huge smile on his face. Jisung and Jeongin were playing a drawing game with James and Johan was trying to get Ashton to talk, while Changbin and Ollie sat together, whispering things to each other every now and then.
Bangchan felt at peace, like a hole inside him had been filled. He felt like he was part of a family, something he had only felt a little with 3racha. He loved seeing his boys so happy, it made him happy. Maybe it was time for 3racha to expand…. especially with this whole new...mission popping up.
No, no, Bangchan, no! They just met these guys, he didn’t know them! But then again ...Changbin never trusted anyone, it took Bangchan weeks to get Changbin to trust him enough to even barely talk to him, and here this guy was, cuddling him. Jisung seemed to like them all too, and Jisung was usually very shy, though loud and wild as he seemed.
He’d have to check with Namjoon
Chapter 10: Surprises
Comment down below what you wanna see next!
Bangchan tossed and turned, staring at the cracked and yellowed ceiling above him. He was trying to take a nap, but the new neighbors were being annoyingly loud. Something about their voices seemed familiar though. Maybe they were nice. Him and the boys could use some friends. Maybe he was too paranoid. The lads at the cafe were nice enough, and Bangchan had invited them to meet at the cafe again the next day.
Changbin had left the cafe happier than Bangchan had ever seen him. He was practically bouncing down the street, a smile on his usually sullen face. Jisung teased and poked at him, but he hadn’t let it damper his mood. He didn’t even complain when Bangchan asked the boys to clean the floors. Jisung, however, was complaining enough for the both of them.
An especially loud yell broke through his thoughts and he banged on the wall, frustrated. He smashed the pillow over his ears and tried to relax, but the commotion next door was too much. He whipped the blankets off his body and jumped off the bed.
He glanced over at the cracked clock on the wall. 3:30. They had left the cafe at around one, after Ms. Cabsin had yelled at them to leave. People had begun to come in for lunch and they had been there for too long anyways.
He cracked his back and stretched out his neck. The past week had been crazy and he had barely slept a wink. He inhaled and a foul odor entered his nostrils. He hadn’t showered much either. He wrinkled his face in disgust and loosened his suspenders.
He opened the door to his room and was greeted with nicely clean floors. He was shocked. He peered into the living room to see Changbin lounging on the couch, humming.
“You did the floors.” Bangchan said, awe creeping into his voice.
“Yeah pally, you’se asked me to.”
“Since when do you do what I ask?”
Changbin shrugged. “I dunno. Usually I'se don't feel like it, but today I didn’t mind.”
Bangchan nodded, disbelief written all over his face. He turned to see Jisung in the kitchen, downing milk straight from the carton. The white-haired boy shook his head at Changbin.
“Sad.” He said simply.
Bangchan had to do a double take. “First of all, how many times have I told you to use a glass? Second, what do you mean?”
“He was such a good guy.”
“You’re acting like he died.”
Jisung turned his mismatched gaze to him. “He is. To me.”
Bangchan laughed. “What in the world happened?”
Changbin piped in from the living room. “He don’t like Ollie.”
Jisung angrily put the milk back in the fridge and slammed the door. “It’s not that I don’t like Ollie, it’s that I don’t like the way you’re acting! No matter how much I pester ‘im, he don’t react one bit!” He stormed over to the overstuffed armchair across the room from Changbin and hurled himself onto it. “There’s something dead sus about those brutes.”
Bangchan laughed. “Just an hour ago you were laughed and joshing with them!”
“I was playing with Jeongin! And I guess...James s’okay…. Ashton’s scary. Johan’s confusing, and Ollie’s a witch.”
“Oi kid, watch it.” Changbin jumped up fromhis seat, his fists clenched.
“Or what?” Jisung stuck out his tongue and ran up to his loft. Changbin sighed and turned back to his magazine, crossing his legs. Bangchan shook his head and grabbed a clean towel from the closet. It was the last one. They’d have to go down the hall and do the laundry today.
He shoved open the door to the bathroom, using his body weight to unstick the latch and open the door. He switched on the light and hung up his towel. He’d have to shower quick, it was chilly in the bathroom. He pulled his suspenders off and kicked off his shoes. He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled off his pants. With each article of clothing he removed, he get the cold nip at the newly exposed skin.
He quickly tugged off each sock and was left standing in a pile of clothes in his underwear. He took off his undershirt, but it got caught on his head. He hopped around, trying to free it from his neck, but he tripped and crashed down on his butt. God, the floor was cold. He cursed under his breath and stood up, finally yanking the undershirt from his ears. He pulled off his boxers and stepped into the shower.
He closed the curtain and turned the knob. Yeeeeeeeeee the water was freezing cold and he flattened himself against the wall to avoid it, but the wall was even colder. He bounced around until the water warmed up, which took a while.
He stood under the spray, letting the water trickle down over his face. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The water left warm trails down his body and he felt his muscles relax. The steam puffed up around him and fogged up the mirror. It felt nice to have some time to himself. Everything had been so hectic lately.
Changbin was in seventh heaven. He hadn’t felt so light and happy since...well forever. His hands tingled from Ollie’s touch and his ears still rang with the boy’s sweet voice. He couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face. He buried his face in a magazine, but he couldn’t concentrate at all. He hummed a song he was working on as he flipped through the pages.
Bangchan entered the room, looking tired and disheveled. His eyes widened comically as he inspected the clean apartment. Changbin had barely thought about it as he cleaned, his mind obsessing over Ollie.
“You...did the floors.”
Changbin looked up at him, trying to wipe the smile off his face. “Uh, Yeah pally, you’se asked me to.”
Bangchan looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “Since when do you do what I say?”
Since I met this helluva guy an’ I’m tryin to get some bonus points so you’ll let me go out with him.
“dunno. Usually I'se don't feel like it, but today I didn’t mind.”
Bangchan looked as if he was gonna pass out and Changbin heard a loud scoff from the kitchen. The little punk hadn’t left him alone all afternoon, pestering him and what not.
He tried to ignore him. He was just spouting nonsense to Bangchan, going off like a little kid.
“What even happened?” Bangchan asked, sounding more and more tired with each syllable he uttered.
Changbin felt his face flare up and he angrily replied. “He doesn’t like Ollie.” And I don’t know why. Ollie’s the most precious, swell, amazing guy I’ve ever met.
Jisung slammed some bottles around and flung himself into a chair. Changbin tired so hard to tune out his ramblings buy one thing caught his ear.
“Ollie’s a witch.”
That did it. He sprang up from his seat as fast as his aching leg would allow. “That’s it!!! ” He yelled and he was about to charge the pill before he remembered how he was trying to earn points. He calmed down and watched the kid run up to his room. Why was he being so annoying?
Bangchan sighed and turned away. He opened the towel closet and went into the bathroom, closing the door right. Changbin noticed that the closet was empty, and the basket was overflowing.
Bingo. There was a way to earn bonus points. He bounced up from his chair, humming as he stuffed the clothes and towels into the bin. He hoisted it up onto his shoulder and managed to open the front door. He could barely see over the pile of clothes, but he was in a hurry. He walked down the hall, towards the laundry room. He was almost there when he ran straight into someone who had just come out of their apartment.
Clothes went flying everywhere, white sheets fluttering down in the sun of the hall. Changbin himself went over backwards, tangling in one of the said sheets. The person who had come out of the apartment tangled in the same sheet as Changbin, both of them struggling to free themselves, and somehow only getting more ensnared.
A soft cry came from the person across from Changbin and he froze. Something about the voice was very familiar. He worked his head from the sheet and reached out his hand to help the figure across from him.
Shaggy black hair, mussed from the friction, and leaving odd black smudges on the white cloth. He helped the boy out, untangling himself in the process. The boy gathered the sheet up in his arms, helping Changbin pick up the other assorted clothes. Most were picked up, when they reached for the last one and their hands touched. They looked up at each other and gasped.
The pretty boy’s hair was messy and he had changed into a sweater and pants. His eye widened and he blushed. His freckles stood out among the red and Changbin had the sudden urge to take him in his arms and..
“Changbin?” The boys soft voice broke into his thoughts. Changbin smiled at him and he became even more flustered. He started stammering and looked down at the floor.
“I’m so sorry, I wasn’t looking where I was going and I just- I’m sorry, I-“
Changbin put a finger over his full lips, silencing him effectively. “It’s okay. I’m all good, you’se fine, in more ways than one.” He winked and took the sheets from him. “But what is you doing here?”
Ollie stood there blinking for a moment before he snapped back. “Me? I live here.”
Changbin whirled around, almost dropping the basket again. “No! You ain’t just bumping gums?!” His heart swelled and his eyes sparkled. He was smiling so widely his face hurt and he brought his shoulders to his ears.
Ollie smiled, a shy smile that scrunched up his nose and eyes. “Yeah. This is my new apartment! I live here with Woo-Uh-James, Johan and Ashton…” Changbin though he saw his face fall a little, but before he could be sure, Ollie suddenly ran up to him and took some of the sheets from his load. “I’ll help you with that!”
“Are you sure? You ain’t busy?”
Ollie shook his head emphatically, his hair swishing around his face. Changbins heart softened for him and he picked up the basket. “Alright then. Follow me.”
They went down the hall in silence, until they reached the end door, the worn wood a faded green. A cracked sign hung on it, reading simply, laundry.
“Oi Olls. Can you’se open the door for me?”
Ollie didn’t respond for a moment. Then he jumped. “Oh? Me?”
“No, the garbage man down the street. Yes you, sweetheart!” His voice came out harsher than he intended and Ollie flinched. Changbin instag felt bad. “Ah, I’se didn’t mean it like that doll. Damn...I’m sorry Ollie.” His voice was quiet, he didn’t know what he had been through and everyone handled shouting different.
“No...it’s okay... I’m sorry…” Ollie’s voice was soft and he reached around Changbin to open the door and as soon as it was open, Changbin dropped the basket and grabbed his arm. He pulled Ollie into his arms, resting his chin on the boy’s shoulder.
Ollie was around the same height as him, but Changbin was bigger . His shoulders were wider and his arm muscles more defined. Ollie was a slender boy, and he stiffened him Changbin’s hug. Changbin held him ever tighter, sighing. He smelled good, and something about the moment felt right . Except how Ollie was all stiff.
A disgruntled clearing of the throat came from behind them. A grouchy old man glared at them from the laundry room, while his wife cooed at the boys. Changbin raised his head from the embrace but didn’t let go. The elderly man loaded up their basket and hurriedly left the laundry room, slamming the door behind him.
Felix shoved the sheets into Changbin and ran into the corner, crouched down and covered his head. He shook and Changbins heart sunk. What had he done wrong? Did he misread the cafe? Did Ollie not like him?
Was he that unlikeable?
He solemnly loaded up the ancient laundry machine and turned it on, the whirring and swishing if the water filling the silence. He put the soap back on the shelf and tucked the basket by the door. He looked over at Ollie, who was still in the corner. Small, whimpering noises came from his shaking form and Changbin slowly approached him.
“Ollie...I’m sorry.” He knelt down beside the boy, putting his hand on the side of the small boy’s head and stroking his hair. Ollie flinched at his touch and he withdrew, heartbeat quickening. Had he messed up again? Ollie looked up at him, his big brown eye wide and his face red.
“I-I uh..” He stammered for words and Changbin panicked.
“Was it something I did? I’se Sorry, I- I ain’t used to-“ he couldn’t find the words.” He stood up and offered his hand. Ollie tentatively took it and he helped him up, and they stood looking at each other in the dank laundry room. Changbin inhaled and all he could smell was mildew and soap. But if he concentrated, there was Ollie’s smell. It was smokey and warm, something that couldn’t quite be identified, but was undoubtedly Ollie.
Ollie dipped his eyes to the floor, not looking Changbin in the eyes. “Ollie..” Changbin said gently. “If you don’t like me-“
“I do like you!” Ollie burst out. “Very very much!” His voice was high and he looked panicked. He caught himself and looked back down at the floor, but Changbin had enough. He put a hand beneath his chin and made Ollie look him in the eyes.
“Then what’s wrong?”
Ollie flushed again, he seemed to do that a lot. “It’s not you, I’m just- you know, I’m just…”
“Awkward and just not.”
Changbin threw back his head and laughed aloud. “Is that all?” He cackled.
“Are you laughing at me?” Ollie sounded hurt and Changbin shook his head, still laughing.
“No, no! I was just worried! I’se though you didn’t like me. Ahh, Ollie, you ain’t awkward.”
“Yes I am! I can’t do anything right.”
Changbin wiped his eyes and smiled. He took a lock of Ollie’s hair in his finger and fiddled with it. “No, you’se just need to learn.”
“Learn?” Ollie’s eye widened and his eyebrows went practically into his hairline.
“Yeah...lean.” Changbin gently took ahold of Ollie’s chin with his thumb. His skin was warm and soft, and Changbin didn’t know if what he was doing was right. He’d never dealt with such feelings. He was good at flirting, but only with random people.
He leaned in closer to Ollie, so close he could feel his every breath against his skin. He closed his eyes and waited for him to lean in just enough. Ollie’s eyes closed lazily too, and he melted.
Ollie jumped up and screamed. “Oh shit, Woojin!” He bolted from the room, yanking the door open and sprinting down the hall. Changbin chased after him the best he could, his twisted leg slowing him down.
“Ollie, wait!” He called, his voice raspy.
But Ollie didn’t wait. He tore open the door to his own apartment and slammed it shut. Changbin knocked, hoping that Ollie would open up. He rapped his bruised and scarred knuckles against the faded wood, in time with his rapidly beating heart.
“I’m sorry!” He called, the words awkward and foreign in his mouth. He beat his fist on the door and leaned his forehead against it. Dammit. What did I do wrong? Was I too fast?
He waited for Ollie to open the door, to explain why he had left so quickly, but there was nothing. He sighed, his throat tight and sore. He turned away from the doorway and shuffled next door to his own apartment. He twisted the knob and slipped into his own home, letting the latch quietly click as he shut the door behind him.
He slid down the wall, seating himself on the floor, his back pressed firmly against the cold wood. The warmth of Ollie’s skin felt so far away and Changbin feared he’d never feel heat again. Everything around him was cold and gray, from his own tattered clothes, to the sun stripped wallpaper. Gray snow drifted drearily down from the drab skies as Changbin put his head in his hands and cried.
Chapter 11: White Sheets
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Felix banged his head against the wall in time with his scolding thoughts. His head aches, but not as much as his throbbing heart. What had he done? He curled into his blankets, pulling the sheets as tight as he could around himself.
“God dammit!” He yelled. He hurled his kitten across the room. The bean filled plush hit the wall with a thump and slid down to the floor. It looked sad, crumpled on the scuffed floors. He slid out of bed, and padded across the room to pick him up. He ran his thumbs over the worn fabric, over the two button eyes that lost their bootshine over the years. He clutched it to his chest and choked back his tears. He would not cry. He was on a mission. Mission intel.
He had to do it right. This was his first undercover mission, his best chance to strike it rich in the chief’s eyes. He was one of the chiefs best men. He graduated at the top of his class, some of the highest athletic scores anyone had ever seen. He could do this. He was capable, he could do anything he set his mind to. He wasn’t going to stake his whole career on some pretty face. A pretty face of the enemy , no less.
But he really wanted to.
“No Felix. Maybe Ollie wants to. But Felix is too strong for this. Changbin likes Ollie.” He paced his room, tucking his cat under his pillow and ruffling his hair. “You can do this. It’s just acting. Like the play in high school. Everyone said you did really well.” Satisfied, he put his hands on his hips. “See? I can do this.”
He remembered the feeling of Changbin’s face so close to his, his rough hand cupping his face. He felt as if he could only imagine the feeling of his lips on his. He had never been kissed before. That could have been his first time…
“No! No, no, no!” He gripped his hair and shook his head. He gritted his teeth and tried to banish the thoughts from his head. He could not think of relationships. When you were a deep service undercover agent, it was too risky. It could put you in all sorts of trouble. Blown covers, blackmail, kidnapping. You had to cut all ties with family, friends, and significant others. The rules were very strict.
It had been easy for Felix. He had no family, no friends. He went at it alone. It worked, and it worked exceptionally. He had the highest grades, the highest scores. He was the best of the best. It was quite lonely though.
That’s why he couldn’t mess this up. Woojin, Hyunjin and even Minho were his only shot at having real friends. Speaking of Woojin.
Knock, knock, knock. “Felix, you okay in there?” Woojins soft voice was muffled from the other side of the door. Felix didn’t feel like responding, so he only wrapped himself in his blankets and suppressed his tears. He would not cry. He wouldn’t.
“Felix? I’m coming in, luv.” The doorknob slowly turned and Woojin entered with a steaming mug of something that smelled sweet. Felix listened to his soft footsteps cross the room, and the quiet clunk of him setting the mug on his night table. The bed sagged a little as Woojin sat next to him. He still didn’t move, even when Woojin started stroking his hair, such a motherly gesture that Felix’s tears threatened to spill over.
He made a choking noise as he forced his tears back, and Woojin flinched. Felix knew his emotions must reek of despair, and he hoped the sadness would mask the presence of his feelings for Changbin. He shook in his covers, fighting for composure. Woojin started humming a sweet song, still petting Felix’s hair.
He had the most beautiful voice, rich and tuneful. The song he sang was a beautiful melody, sad and hopeful at the same time.. Woojins voice transported him somewhere far away from all his problems, someplace peaceful.
“Tell him, silvery moon, that I am embracing him. For at least momentarily let him recall of dreaming of me.” Woojin sang quietly, calming Felix.
When he finished singing, Felix turned to him meekly, his eyes still shining from unshed tears. “That was nice. What was it?”
Woojin gave him a kind smile, still stroking his hair. “It’s from a very old opera called Rusalka.”
Felix shifted so he was sitting on the bed, hugging his knees. “What does that mean?”
“What’s the story?” Felix sniffed, wiping at his nose. Woojin handed him a crisp white handkerchief, and Felix hesitated before accepting it.
“It doesn’t end too happily luv, Are you sure you want to hear it?”
“Yes, I’m sure.” Felix leaned forward, resting his chin on his knees and settling down.
“Rusalka was a water nymph, who lived in the forest lake. Her father was the ruler of the region, and he loved his daughter very much. Rusalka was a free spirit, somewhat of an oddball with the nymphs. She loved to be at the surface of the water, soaking up the sun and admiring the scenery.
“One day, she sees a mortal prince, hunting in the woods surrounding her lake. She falls deeply in love with him and begs her father to let her become human so she can be with him.
“Her father advises her against it, saying it will only end in sorrow and heartbreak. Nonetheless, because he loves her, he tells her to look for the sorceress Ježibaba. Once Rusalka finds the witch, she sings to her. She sings the song I just sung to you, it’s called The Song of the Moon. In this song, she asks the moon to tell the prince of her love for him.
“Ježibaba tells Rusalka that she can grant her wish, but there were complications. If she becomes human, she loses her beautiful voice and becomes a mortal. Lastly, if she does not win the prince’s heart, he will die and she will be eternally damned to wander the lakes as a spirit of death.”
“But, why would the witch say a thing like that? It seems less like helping and more like cursing.” Felix asked breathlessly.
Woojin shrugged. “Some people simply do good because it’s right, but this witch wanted a price for her help.”
Felix looked down at his blankets, dejected. Woojin lifted his face gently. “I don’t have to finish if you don’t want me to.”
“No! I want to hear it...I mean, if you will.”
Woojin chuckled. “Alright then I will.” He took a deep breath and continued. “Rusalka agrees to the witch’s terms, and Ježibaba transforms her into a human. The prince does his daily hunting rounds searching for his white doe, when he comes across Rusalka. He is swept away by her beauty and takes her in his arms immediately, taking her to his castle. Rusalka’s father and sisters grieve for her, filling the lake with their tears.
“In the prince’s castle, his servants catch rumor that the prince will be marrying a mysterious bride who neither speaks, nor has a name. They think it to be witchcraft and the know it will not work, as the prince was already courting a foreign princess from the neighboring region.
“Then said princess is invited to the wedding, and while Rusalka and the prince are being wedded, she openly scorns them and curses them at the altar, delaying the wedding, possibly forever.
“Saddened by his princess’s words, the prince rejects Rusalka, leaving her to pursue the princess. Rusalka is forced to return to her lake with her father and sisters. The foreign princess is disgusted by the prince’s indecision and tells him to follow his bride to hell, leaving him.
“Rusalka asks Ježibaba for a solution and Ježibaba reveals to her an ornate silver dagger. She tells Rusalka that she can save herself from damnation if she kills the prince with the dagger. Rusalka is horrified by the option and rejects it quickly, hurling the dagger into the lake.
“The dagger disappears and as it does, Rusalka is transformed into a spirit of death who can only travel to the surface of the lake to lure humans to their deaths. The prince’s servants seek out Ježibaba and inform her about the prince. The believe that Rusalka had betrayed their beloved prince. Rusalka’s father emerges from his palace in a fury, scolding the servants for their ignorance.
“He tells them that it was, in truth, the prince who betrayed Rusalka. The servants turn and flee in terror and the wood is peaceful once again. Until one day, when the prince comes out hunting for his white doe again. He passes by Rusalka’s lake and senses her from the land. He comes to the edge of the water and kneels down, asking Rusalka to come forth.
“She hears him and emerges from the depths to see him. His face is even more radiant than she remembered and she falls for him all over again. He asks her to kiss him, even though her kiss means inevitable death and damnation. She kisses him once, right on the lips. It’s a sweet kiss, a first and a last. The prince dies with a smile on his lips.
“She thanks the prince for letting her discover the ecstasy of human love, and as a last act of devotion, she sends his soul to God, sealing her fate as an eternal spirit of death.”
Felix blinked. “What? That’s how it ends?”
Woojin chuckled “I warned you, it wasn’t a happy ending.” He handed Felix the mug, and he took a sip.
“But it was in a way.” A voice from the door chipped in and Felix jumped. Minho leaned against the doorframe and Hyunjin sat on the ground, his head resting against Minho’s legs.
“When did you get here?” Felix asked, choking on his drink.
“We were worried about you, so we followed Woojin.” Hyunjin said. He stood up, brushing the dust off his tight pants. “Are you okay?”
“No. I mean, yes, but not really. What did you mean about the happy ending?” Felix took another sip of his drink, feeling the warm liquid immediately lift his mood.
“I said it was a happy ending.” Minho said, his face straight.
“How? The prince died and Rusalka was cursed forever!”
Minho walked over to his own bed and sat down on it, and Hyunjin followed, throwing himself on the bed and resting his head on Minho’s lap. Minho absentmindedly played with a strand of his hair as he explained.
“Yes the prince died, but he died happily. Rusalka got to experience love, real love. When someone experiences love, their life is no longer empty and derived of meaning. Yeah, she was cursed, but she got to feel the love of the prince.”
“And,” Hyunjin cut in, “her curse wasn’t too bad. Being a siren sounds really fun. Seducing a bunch of people for a living? Sign me up!”
Woojin sighed and massaged his temples. “Hyunjin, you already do that.”
“Oh yeah.” Hyunjin giggled.
Felix sat on his bed and held the warm mug in his hands, feeling the heat of the drink seep into his skin. He brought it closer to his face, the ceramic making contact with his chin. The warmth touched the same place that Changbin held and the laundry room all came flooding back.
Meeting him in the hallway.
The harsh tone of voice that reminded him of his father.
The feeling of belonging in Changbin’s arms.
Being scorned by the elderly man.
Freaking out about his emotions.
And finally ...The sensation of Changbin’s face so close to his own.
“Felix? Felix, you’re spilling! Felix!” Woojins voice cut into his thoughts, bringing him to the realization that he had spilled his drink all over his lap. The dark liquid pooled in the creases of the sheets and spilled over the edge of the bed, dripping all over the floor. He looked up blankly, the situation still not settling in.
Woojin jumped up from the bed and ran to the kitchen to grab some towels. Felix still didn’t move, still clutching the cup. Woojin returned shortly with stacks of paper towels and started mopping up the mess. Hyunjin helped by taking out the spiked towels and bringing back fresh ones. When the mess was mostly cleaned up, Felix stood up and stripped the bed.
He was glad that the sheets were no longer white. He’d change them to a different color, maybe blue or gray. Anything to distract him. He gathered the sheets up and put them in the basket. It was full. Ugh.
“Felix, can you do the laundry? It’s the green door at the end of the hall.” Woojin called from the kitchen.
“Me?” Felix asked, his voice rising an octave.
“Yes luv. I’ll ask either Hyunjin or Minho to find you some new sheets.”
“Okay...that'd be great. Thanks.”
“No problem luv.”
Felix pulled up his hood and took the basket. He opened the door to his apartment and checked the hallway, looking both ways to ensure there was nobody there.
“Who are you looking for?” A voice asked him, much closer than he had anticipated. He jumped about a foot in the air and spun around. Minho stood there, holding another basket of clothes.
“Ah, you scared me.” Felix panted, his heart racing.
“Are you looking for Changbin?” Minho asked.
“What?” Felix almost dropped everything he was carrying.
“Are you looking for Changbin?” Minho repeated. He stepped out of the apartment and turned to look at Felix.
“Whaaaaat? No. Why would I be looking for Changbin?” Felix laughed awkwardly. He shifted the basket so it covered his face and made his way down the hall.
“Because you like him.” Minho said simply. “And I think that something just happened. He lives right next door. I saw you step out earlier and you came back flustered.”
“What-? No, nothing happened. I just saw a spider, yeah a really big spider.” Felix laughed loudly and tried to brush it off, but Minho kept poking.
“A spider doesn’t make you hide in your room for three hours. What happened?” Minho opened the door to the laundry room and ushered Felix inside. Felix turned to look at Minho, his jaw set.
“Why do you want to know? I’ve known you for like three days. Why do you care?” He said it much meaner than he meant, but he didn’t take it back. Minho’s eyes flicked behind him and Felix pointed at himself. “No. Minho, I’m right here, don’t look over there. Why do you want to know about Changbin and me?”
He stomped his foot, unable to keep the words from coming out. “Look, I like him okay? I do, I like him a lot. But you and the boys aren’t gonna let me court him, because of the mission or whatever. You guys don’t trust me anymore, because I don’t care about-“ Minho slapped a hand over his mouth, his eyes wide. Felix squirmed, indignation flaring in his chest.
“Care about what?”
Felix turned around slowly and there stood Changbin. His eyes were puffy and his hair was messy. He held a basket of clean white sheets, freshly folded and carefully stacked. He stared at Felix with a sad look on his face, like he was trying to commit him to memory.
Minho glared at Felix and the message was clear. You need to be more careful. But then his face softened and he nodded at Felix. He left the basket of sheets on the floor and jumped ship, closing the door behind him. Felix stared at Changbin awkwardly, clutching the drink-stained sheets.
“And who’s Woojin?” Changbin asked, hurt creeping into his voice. “Is he...y’know, your beau?” Changbin stepped up to Felix and took the sheets from him. He stuffed them into the first machine, then came back for Minho’s abandoned basket. Felix went to pick it up to do it himself, but Changbin was too quick, and he ended up trying to tug it from his grip.
“No, he’s not my beau. He’s nobody. I don’t know anybody named Woojin.”
“Then why’d you’se yell ‘is name when you’se ran away from me?”
Felix finally let go of the basket and huffed. “I didn’t. I don’t know what you heard, but it wasn’t even words. It was essentially a sound vomit of panic okay?” He turned to storm out the door, but Changbin stepped in front of him, blocking his exit.
“No. Listen to me Ollie.”
My name’s not Ollie, you bastard. “Changbin. I have things to do.”
“Just a mo’. Please.” Felix looked into his eyes and fell again.
“God dammit .” He said through clenched teeth, trying to resist. He closed his eye and bit his lip. “Fine. What is it?” He knew he shouldn’t be standing there, knew he shouldn’t be talking to Changbin more than necessary. He couldn’t get emotionally invested.
Changbin smiled and relaxed a little. Felix felt like Rusalka, speechless in front of her prince, destined to fail. And just like the story, Changbin could get really hurt if he fell for him. Felix stiffened, determined not to let anything bad happen to his prince.
“Do you wanna go out with me? I mean, to get to know each other better. I’se gotta car, and I could take you for a spin tomorrow, after everyone meets for lunch. If you’se worried about James and Johan finding out, I could keep it under wraps. I- Ollie, I’se- I’d do anything for you…”
“You-you would?” Felix was shocked. Nobody had ever cared for him, and he was overwhelmed even with Woojin’s simple gestures. Now here was Changbin’s declaration of devotion. He’d never thought himself worthy of even a passing glance. Now he was thinking, maybe he was worth the air he breathed.
“Yes Olls, I’d go to the ends of the earth for you. I’se sorry if this is too much, but I was always told that when there’s something important to say, you’se say it.”
“Changbin..I-“ No Felix, no. Remember Rusalka!
But that’s just a story…
“Yes.” Felix said firmly, pressing down all other thoughts and focusing selfishly on his own feelings. He was an awful person, he knew, but maybe he too, like Rusalka could experience true love.
“Yes?” Changbin asked. A sly smile spread across his face. He narrowed his eyes and took two brisk steps up to Felix. “Yes What?” He had a mischievous look on his face, but he was so close, his features all blurred together. Felix blushes, his cheeks turning a fiery red, like they always did around Changbin.
“Yes…” Felix slurred, his heart beating almost out of his chest. He tried to step back, but Changbin caught him in his tracks, wrapping his big arms around Felix’s slender frame, bringing him closer.
“I wanna hear you say it. ‘Yes Changbin I’ll go out with you.” Changbin mimicked Felix’s higher voice in a slightly seductive tone. Felix’s heart was doing a whole gymnastics routine in his chest and he had a hard time concentrating on the moment.
“Yes Changbin ...I'll go out with you…” his voice was breathy and weak, but Changbin seemed satisfied. He pressed a hasty kiss to Felix’s hair.
“I’ll be waiting.” He winked and launched himself out of the laundry room, practically skipping down the hall to his own apartment. Minho was lounging against the wall, seemingly waiting for Felix.
“How’d it go?” He asked, his face as expressionless as ever.
“It-I- We…” Felix stammered, breathing hard.
“Did he kiss you?”
“Then why are you so flustered?”
“He-“ Felix pointed down the hall like a little kid “he got really close.”
Minho smirked, the closest thing to a smile Felix had ever seen from him. “Is that all?”
“Yeah…” Felix looked down where Changbin had disappeared. “Wait no. I-“ he looked up at Minho, eyes wide. “I have a date tomorrow!”
“You don’t say.” Minho took a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it, the smoke curling around him, accentuating the scars on his face. “I’ll help you sneak out.”
“Yeah. What are roommates for?”
Felix grinned, sitting down next to Minho. Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.
And maybe he did want white sheets on his bed.