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The explosion happens at exactly 15:37 on a Wednesday. Jungkook’s creative writing class had only just settled to the gentle lull of pen-scratches and muffled typing when the sound erupts not too far away, making the ground quake violently underneath his feet. The room holds its collective breath following an electric pause as the world trembles in its axis, and the echoes of shattered glass are only beginning to fade when another explosion shakes the air.

But it’s not the reason why everyone starts screaming.

The window nearest him breaks into a million shards as a dark figure kicks the glass, and everyone dives for cover. Jungkook tries to do the same but a mechanical hand catches the collar of his shirt from behind in a vicious grip before he lands, and he chokes as the action forces him upright and on his tiptoes. The edge of the fabric cuts against the pulse thrumming wildly against his throat, and Jungkook flails in the air as he’s pulled higher than ever until his feet are no longer touching the floor.

“Are you Jeon Jungkook?”

He opens his mouth at the monotone question but only manages to gag, thrashing and kicking with his heel catching the edge of a desk a little ways behind him. He can’t fucking breathe, god. Distantly and as black and white dots dance in his vision in a manner that reminds him of looking through a microscope, Jungkook hears the question again, asked a lot more harshly this time.

“Answer me. Are you Jeon Jungkook?”
“WATCH OUT—WE HAVE INCOMING!”

A high pitched whizzing sound fills the air as an arrow flies over Jungkook’s head, and he feels it physically when the weapon finds its mark. Entire body swaying backwards, the movement of his limbs halt abruptly in a snapping motion just as a sharp wail pierces the frightened silence to the backdrop of hissing and curdling metal. His palms clamp down on either side of his head to cover his ears at the deafening sound just as he starts falling—but Jungkook doesn’t hit the ground, face slamming against a hard chest as a pair of arms catch him. At the same time, his attacker crumbles and melts into a puddle of steel and plastic body parts on the carpet, the arrow melting along with everything else and leaving nothing but a reeking, oozing blob that had once been an android.

“Jungkookie.”

Jungkook only realizes he has his eyes closed when he has to open them again, and as he does, he finds a stern and narrow-eyed gaze focused on him. And wow, those eyes are so blue. The moment feels surreal as Jungkook stares at his savior who continues speaking in a low voice, its cadence comforting and slow much like a warm blanket on a cold night outdoors—or it would’ve been like that, if not for the cracks of urgency in it. It’s familiar and he knows exactly who it is despite the difference in features.

Taehyung.

“Sorry I’m late; your brother called about this. We have to get out of here.”

The ground trembles anew, Jungkook’s confused daze broken by yet another explosion. Shit. He already knows the situation isn’t a good one just by the fact that things are exploding left and right, but the mention of his only sibling’s involvement (and his own now too by extension) implies even worse. Scrambling and pushing at Taehyung to be able to stand, Jungkook makes to grab his bag but is stopped by a firm grip around his wrist.

“Leave it. We have to go. Now.”
“But the others here—”

For the second time in just a space of a few minutes, Jungkook finds his collar being yanked again. Taehyung is no gentler than his attacker, and instead of leading them towards the doorway, to his horror, they’re headed straight for the broken window. Jungkook shakes his head wildly, trying to pull himself away but to no avail. All these fucking androids are just too strong for a mere human like him.

“There’s no way in hell we’re going that way—”

Taehyung glances back at him with a hint of a smirk, shaking his head curtly as he lets Jungkook’s shirt go. And then he’s bending his knees slightly and gesturing at his back, uncaring of their audience that is watching the exchange in alarm and confusion. They’re all collateral damage, the poor things—but it’s either them or Jungkook. The choice is pretty obvious considering what everyone else is made of.

“They’re all coming up here as we speak Jungkookie. We have no time for stairs. Hop on.”

Jungkook relents with a groan and clambers onto Taehyung’s back, closing his eyes tightly and muttering under his breath. This isn’t happening, not again. They couldn’t have been found already, not after nearly an entire year of hiding.

He just wants a normal life.

“I’m going to kill my brother,” he declares, opening an eye to sneak a peek just as Taehyung climbs over the wrecked windowsill. They’re five floors up and the view from where they are is dizzying—Jungkook shuts his eyes again, muttering through gritted teeth as his grip around Taehyung tightens. “I really will, and this time, I’m going to erase him for good.”

He receives a hum in response, Taehyung readying himself for the drop with his previous smirk now laced in his voice. “He told me you’d say that, but that you would have to find him first. He told me to wish you luck on that.”

Jungkook scowls. “I’ll find him, mark my words.”

He barely finishes what he’s saying before they’re jumping to the rush of freefall wind, and not a few seconds later, the room they’d just come from explodes too, leaving in its wake the sickening smell of burning pretend-flesh and billions worth of organic and mechanical body parts.

 

“… we are in pursuit of Jeon Jungkook and an unidentified android, and have exited through the southern gate of the university. Sending images of escape vehicle to all units for identification. Capture target but do not terminate, I repeat, capture target but do not terminate. Destroy the android.”

 

 

 

At a decrepit apartment in the middle of Seoul…
“Taehyung and Kookie here. How many do we have on our tail, hyung?”

Fingers deftly clacking away at both holographic and tangible keyboards, Hoseok turns to one of the many screens before and around him, adjusting the headset he’s wearing and frowning when he sees the blinking lights on the monitor. He switches to real time satellite view and lets one of the programs analyze vehicle types and weak points, ready to send as much information as he can as soon as it’s available.

“Ten units. Jimin and Yoongi are on the way—oh shit.”

“What is it, hyung?”
In the background, Jungkook’s voice is annoyed.
“Let me use the Gatling gun! I’m pissed off!”

Hoseok pushes against the table edge in front of him to head to the other side of his work station, switching to another keyboard to check the progress he’s making in trying to get into their enemy’s comms system. He’s hoping to either turn it off temporarily or scramble it long enough to cause a little chaos.

“Four more units have joined the chase so that’s fourteen now. You have ten behind and four on your either side. They’re going to try to box you in at the intersection—”

The line gets static-y for a minute, and then a new voice joins in, cutting Hoseok off abruptly. “We’re headed straight towards you Taehyungie. Yoongi-hyung and I have the first ten covered so no worries there—the other four’s your problem. We can’t do all the work, you know.”

A minor argument breaks out, Taehyung sounding highly affronted, his voice loud and whiny as he responds heatedly.

“Excuse me, I just saved Kookie’s life by jumping off a building that literally exploded the moment we were in the air and where were you—”

“You skydived, big fucking deal—”

Hoseok types furiously—where the hell is Seokjin and Namjoon and why aren’t they responding?—and finds a second to tap on his mouthpiece extra hard with a finger. He knows the sound’s loud enough to make everybody wince save for Jungkook, but he’s had enough of all the noise. He’s trying to work here.

“Shut up, both of you—and no playing around this time, Jimin-ah. You get out of there as soon as you’re done. No torturing enemy androids.”

“That wasn’t me, that was Yoongi-hyung!”
Another voice joins in, low and a little raspy.
“You little shit, you said you wouldn’t tell!”

There’s a second of stunned silence and then a delighted laugh from Taehyung. “You’re in trouble now Jiminie—Yoongi-hyung’s going to fry all of your circuits!”

Yet another voice joins in, and Hoseok considers turning off their comms instead. He should probably do that since he at least doesn’t have to figure out how to do it. He already knows because he'd made the system himself; fixes its coding, gets rid of its bugs, and does its maintenance. 

It sounds like a brilliant idea.

“Ooh fried circuits! I’m up from some stir-fry tonight!” Seokjin laughs at his own joke, the sound of it all squeaky and familiar. “Anyway, Joonie and I are right behind the ten behind Taehyung and Kookie—they haven’t noticed us, so on your signal Jiminie, Yoongi. We’ll set this entire convoy on fire!”

Namjoon beats Hoseok to reprimanding the eldest among them, tone firm and final. “No hyung, we are not using the flame thrower—and sorry we’re late. Told you we need to update the comms on Jin-hyung’s pick up truck, Hoseok-ah. It malfunctioned again.”

Jungkook’s voice is a little far away since he doesn’t have a built-in comms system of his own, but they all catch what he’s saying. It’s spoken right after what Namjoon said, so no one acknowledges the issue with Seokjin’s broken comms system because, well, when is that thing not broken?

“How about the rocket launcher? Can we use that?”
Namjoon sighs along with Hoseok.
“Nope, not that one either Jungkookie.”

“Grenade launcher?” Jimin’s hopeful voice chimes in, sounding subdued but clearer than the sound his motorcycle is making as it speeds through the streets. “You can’t expect us not to fight back! I hate going through Reset. Please, hyung? You don’t want us to be at a disadvantage right?”

“Namjoon-ah,” Hoseok says with a warning in his tone, and although Namjoon is the leader of their little group, as the only other older person sane in this conversation, he feels the need to be responsible. He takes note of the long pause—as usual, Namjoon's soft for Jimin. To be honest, they’re all soft for him too.

But this isn't the time.

“Cut it out,” Yoongi says, tone irritated. If Hoseok can’t bear the noise, Yoongi probably has it worse. “We do what we have to do without causing too much damage on anyone and anything else but the androids we’re fighting and their outdated technology. If you can do that while using a rocket launcher, be our guest. That good enough for you, Hobi?”

Hoseok purses his lips and relents with a softly muttered whatever. In the background, Jungkook cheers, muttering something about finally being able to use the new and shiny Gatling gun they’d installed on Taehyung’s vehicle since the rocket launcher would be too much.

“We can see you,” Jimin says all of a sudden, the playfulness in his voice gone, and the mood shifts just as one of Hoseok’s computers ping. His rolling chair makes its trip from one area of his work station to the next, and with a click on a hovering keyboard, he makes a happy humming sound.

“Just in time! I’ve sent all of you a file from VAN. Analysis on make and model and possible weapons and upgrades since the last time are now available—knock ‘em dead!”

“Nice,” Yoongi mutters, just as Taehyung asks with a confused laugh:
Weren’t you just against us causing too much damage, hyung?”

Hoseok rolls his eyes and waits for the action to unfold, switching several of his screens to live CCTV feeds of the intersection where everything is about to take place. He’s thankful he doesn’t have to join in, more content in making sure everything’s okay from behind the scenes. He’s good at things like moral support, technical support… anything, as long as he’s supporting someone and isn't directly involved.

“Well, knock ‘em dead... uh, neatly!”
Namjoon sounds both amused and confused when he speaks.
“What? How do we do that?”

But no one answers as Jungkook bellows what seems like an ancient battle cry, and Hoseok spots him pop up from the sunroof of Taehyung’s vehicle care of a grainy CCTV camera, a platform where the Gatling gun is seated rising in front of him a few seconds later. He turns it eastward just as Taehyung’s car window, facing west, starts rolling down.

“Let’s get it!”

 

 

“Woooooohooooooo!”

Seokjin’s holler is loud and cheerful as the two cars on the rear end of their enemy’s convoy catch fire, and Namjoon panics because Hoseok and Yoongi had kind of said not to cause too much damage—“Jin-hyung, no!”

The cars explode one after the other as Seokjin drives past them at a speed way beyond the limit in these parts, and he’s still using the flame thrower, shooting at the next two cars that come into their immediate view. They hear Jimin whoop from not too far ahead—it’s him, no doubt—but the sound of his rejoicing gets drowned out by another pair of explosions, car parts rising in the air and falling everywhere as the truck up-ends ever so slightly from behind.

It’s nearly impossible to see anything because of all the smoke and dust, but Seokjin is an expert navigator with modified android eyes. He blinks and his irises change color, turning a little darker, just before he nudges Namjoon with a playful grin.

“Well, do something!”

Namjoon huffs, ignoring the built-in flame thrower Seokjin is suddenly so eager to use as he presses a button for the window on his side of the car. As soon as the space is big enough, he pushes himself out of it until half his body from the waist up is exposed, and then he raises a hand as if he’s about to fly away—curled fist and entire arm unfolding and rearranging into a personal Gatling gun.

“Oh my god,” he hears Seokjin say from beside him, and Namjoon takes a second to glance his way with a smirk and a wink. He’d been hiding this for weeks, working on it in secret because he wanted to surprise Seokjin. “You did it! You and Hoseok—you finished it! You’re so fucking hot Joonie—”

From their comms, Hoseok groans. “Please no, use a private channel you two, I can hear how horny your voice is right now—you’re welcome, just don’t—”

error error error error error error error

Hoseok stops talking abruptly as Yoongi’s screen starts flashing yellow and red, bringing up codes and numbers and fuck—“Yoongi, Yoongi, talk to me what’s going on, what’s your status, Yoongi goddamnit!”

error error error error error error error
damage 75% widespread system malfunction
error error error error error error error

“Hobi,” Yoongi says, and his voice is hurting even though none of them have felt physical pain in a long time. From one of the CCTV feeds, he sees him crawl away from his motorcycle, one of his mechanical legs shattered and who knows what else. “Hobi, you’ve got to back me up. Now. Now. They’re coming.”

“I’m on it, I’m on it,” he responds in a rush and with a sob, the sound of his typing frantic, pulling up a fresh screen dedicated to extracting as much current information as he can from Yoongi. He transfers everything onto their private and secure cloud for retrieval later so they can bring him back. “I love you oh my god just a little more babe—”

error error error error error error error
error error error error error error error
error error error error error error error

Yoongi‘s gritting his teeth. “I’m using self-destruct. How far along are we?”

If he had tears, Hoseok knows he’d be crying at the moment even though it’s unreasonable. But it’s a horrifying experience, to watch Yoongi die again and again in different ways—and not just him but the others too. Every time they come back after a Reset, they’re always a little bit different. A little less… human.

“Ten seconds… seven… four… two… done!”
The screen showing Yoongi’s vitals flash white.
“I love you, Hoseok. See you later.”

self destruct mode initiated: override agust d

Eleven different androids surround Yoongi, ready to rip him apart piece by piece, but he only smirks up at them as they come closer just before his self-destruct protocol gets activated and they all explode into smithereens.

“It’s all right hyung,” Hoseok hears Jungkook’s upset cries from Taehyung’s comms system, the younger man’s voice desperate and angry. “It’s going to be okay. I’ll bring Yoongi-hyung back later myself, I promise. It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m so sorry.”

Hoseok’s entire body heaves with the breaths he doesn’t need, the tears he can’t cry, as he slumps on his seat. It feels like his mechanical body is shutting down but it’s not, it’s all in his head, in his stupid operating system that won’t allow him to forget because instead of a brain he now has a memory storage that will let him remember each and every moment he has lost Yoongi.

“Just make it back here safe guys,” Hoseok whispers, his voice dull and downtrodden, staring at Yoongi’s temporary AI file. He already misses him. “Please, if not in one piece, alive. Please.”

It’s Jimin who answers, his voice soft and understanding. “You got it hyung.”

They decimate the entire unit that had been sent to capture Jungkook in under ten minutes after that, and by the time the authorities arrive, there’s nothing left but debris. All CCTV footage from the start of the chase up until the half hour it took for the police to respond has been wiped out, and every android witness in the area has had their memory storage tampered with. No one knows what happened or who was involved, but Hoseok knows, has never forgotten, and will never forget.

One day, they’re all going to pay.

“Baby,” he whispers against a reserve android unit that will be the new Yoongi, curling up beside the lifeless and blank slate, unable to do the Reset himself. It’s too painful. He just can’t. “Just hold on a little longer, Yoongi.”

The floor of the storage room is where everyone finds Hoseok an hour later, idle and with his systems functioning at only twenty percent. Jimin curls up against Hoseok too, offering as much comfort as he can while Jungkook immediately works on reviving Yoongi.

And as he does so he cries, because Jungkook is the only one who has the tears to be able to do such a thing, the last human left in a world of androids.