“It was you,” Taehyung cringes, a hand running through his hair, the other shaking while holding his gun. “Since the beginning.”
“Me?” Jeongguk steps forward, perplexed. “What are you—”
His breathing stops right away.
He cannot move anymore, blocked by the cold barrel against his brow.
“I knew you were a fucker, but that much?”
“I don’t know what—”
“Just shut up!” Taehyung explodes, pushing his weapon harder and harder against Jeongguk’s forehead, making him go back.
“You’re a dead man, Jeon.”
A few months earlier
“It’s always the same shit,” Taehyung gripes, “right, kiddo?” He turns his head towards Leroy, standing next to him, arms folded too.
“We’re the only ones thinking that but yeah,” the younger answers as he watches the meeting from afar.
“He solves a case and everyone admires him for that, but why? I mean, it’s our job, for God’s sake.”
“Maybe they need a hero?”
“Don’t you need one too?” the detective asks.
“You’re already mine!” the officer teases.
“Piss off,” Taehyung says as he shoulders him a bit, which doesn’t really make Leroy move. There was a time when the older was able to do so very easily, but Leroy Jenkins was tougher now. Well, he had to in order to bear Taehyung, also know as the Lone Wolf in the 11th District of the Chicago P.D., the worst in regard to homicides.
“You could have the same reception for every victory,” Leroy points it out to his colleague and superior.
“You know I don’t care about the fame.” Taehyung sighs and shakes his head slowly. “For real, I don’t get it. So much champagne and congratulations for some robberies? Well, good, but we still have to take care of rapes and murders.”
“I feel you, but we’re the 11th District, Taehyung, people need some light from time to time.”
“Ain’t no light in Harrison. That’s why we’re here.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic.”
“That’s my nature, ‘Roy.”
A lot of noise, some stupid laughs and a bit of alcohol.
Everything Taehyung hates.
But the thing he hates the most is standing right in the middle of the station.
Well, not really a thing, but Taehyung finds him so superficial that it’s near enough. Superficial, indeed, but apparently efficient too. Since his arrival, Detective Jeon has solved a lot of cases with his partner, but the later is often forgot in aid of the new guy.
Fortunately, they’re part of another team of the Violent Crimes Section, which is made up of three teams in all, each led by a sergeant.
“We serve and protect, here’s our motto. Why can’t they just do that?”
“We serve and protect,” mimics Seokjin as he shows up beside Taehyung, copying the detective’s low voice.
A simple sentence and Taehyung’s heart skips a beat. Damned Sergeant Kim, and above all, damned thoughts.
“Go get a drink, idiot,” the detective says, not in the mood for Seokjin’s digs.
“Somebody’s grumpy tonight,” concludes the broad-shouldered man before he leaves, knowing that staying would be a waste of time given Taehyung’s attitude.
“Idiot uh?” Leroy notices, even though he’s used to it. “The boss would kill me if I called him that.”
“Being a detective has its advantages.”
“A special detective,” the officer corrects. “In fact, I’d say being the amazing Taehyung.”
“Sucking my dick won’t offer you a promotion,” he affirms, rising an eyebrow.
Leroy brings a hand to his chest, pretending to be shocked. “Me? Never,” he swears, before getting close to Taehyung as if he wants to tell him a secret, “but I know who’d love to.”
“Shhhh.” The older presses his palm against Leroy’s mouth, who is laughing a bit. “Little punk.”
He doesn’t want to think the way he’s thinking right now, but Taehyung can’t help picturing the one Leroy was talking about.
“Can you...” the officer manages to tell.
“Oh, sure,” Taehyung responds as he removes his hand, still lost in his daydreams —and memories.
“You know, I think you should—”
“Stop,” Taehyung orders, before adding, “please.”
He’s perfectly aware of the imminent subject, but also knows he doesn’t want to talk about it again. Dealing with it everyday is already hard enough, no need to put extra pressure on himself.
“Sorry, I’m just worried about you,” Leroy admits.
“Me? Nah kiddo, don’t be. All you need to do is keep it a secret.”
“A kiddo wouldn’t do this,” the younger protests. “Luckily, I’m not a child.”
Taehyung lightens up a bit, glad to have this idiot by his side, even if he never tells him directly —the kid’s ego would blow up. He’s also glad to have him on his team since the beginning, and proud to see what Jenkins has become: a kind of small Taehyung with less hair and a square jaw.
Well, they’re not similar at all physically, just mentally, but still.
“I’ve almost raised you here. You’ll always be my—”
“What’s up, loners?”
Taehyung loathes being interrupted.
Even more when a fucking prick does it. The ultimate prick.
“What?” Jeongguk goes on after catching Taehyung’s dark look. “Jealous again?”
“Piss off, Jeon,” he enunciates, trying to stay calm.
“You hate celebrating another’s victory, right?”
“Victory? You discovered Jack the Ripper’s identity? Brought Mercury back to life?” Taehyung says with irony. A true victory would be him disappearing, but the older detective doesn’t express it aloud. God he hates this guy, it can’t be otherwise. The disgust of this man flows through his veins.
“Your buddy’s trying to be funny,” Jeongguk snickers, speaking to Leroy. “Well, see you later, killjoys.” Upon these words, the nuisance finally goes away, leaving a minty scent on his path.
Taehyung usually loves mint, but he can’t bear it when it comes from him.
“Fucking asshole,” Taehyung and Leroy decree in unison.
Taehyung adores autumn and its characteristics; that’s why a smile appears on his lips as soon as he hears the sound of rain against the windows. It’s a good day so far; he’s alone, sipping a cup of tea, and his favorite season has begun —but it’s only 7 A.M., and God knows a rough day awaits him. To be honest, every day gets harder and harder since Jeongguk’s appearance, six months ago. Even if they’re not part of the same group, they’re on the same big team in general. Jeon remains a detective, just like Taehyung. The latter is far from hating every detective of the 11th District; in fact, he only rejects Jeongguk. He knows that the new one is smarter than the average and very useful, but these facts aren’t enough to erase Taehyung’s thoughts. Before anything else, he sees him as a wealthy man who, at the end of the day, can get everything he wants by clicking his fingers. Jeongguk smells mint, yes, but especially dollar. Everything conveys his material comfort, starting with his parents. Of course, Taehyung doesn’t know them personally, but their identity is common knowledge: a mother high-ranking in the New York Police Department, married to one of the most famous lawyer in the country, no less! To be precise, adoptive parents and, even if this information isn’t shouted from the rooftops, only a fool could believe they’re linked by blood. Jeongguk Jeon doesn’t sound American, right? Or, to be exact once again, Jeongguk Jeon-Kearney. Basically, his wealthy and powerful folks are behind the majority of his privileges, including the transfer from the NYPD to the Chicago P.D. Why leaving the Big Apple for the Windy City? Unsolved mystery thus far.
More? Well, he has a damned black Range Rover which is probably worth more than Taehyung’s soul, dark shirts and ties costing a kidney or two —individually—, Oxford shoes waxed to perfection... the list is long. Oh, and surely the best hairstylist of all time, given his pretty long and wavy hair way too radiant for this world —yeah, hating someone means looking at them more than you should.
In short, he’s rich and, fuck, Taehyung isn’t.
Jealousy? No, just rejection of Jeongguk. That’s all. Who would be jealous of a man like that, uh? Not Taehyung, for sure.
Seated behind his desk, only lighted by a warm table lamp, Taehyung is focused on his report. Today, he works the night shift, his favorite one. Less noise, less luminosity and, above all, less Jeongguk. Generally, if Taehyung works at night, the rest of “his” team too, but each of them knows he prefers staying alone within the realms of possibility. He always sees night shifts as a quieter alternative, even though life goes on, just like crimes.
“Taehyung,” a voice interrupts his reflection, after what he looks up and adjusts his reading glasses.
“I’m kinda busy, Zak.”
Zak Fowler, a mixed-race man with an impressive stature, police officer in his thirties, classic in Chicago.
“Sorry, but the sergeant wants to see you.” A break. “Now.”
“I hope it’s as important as it seems,” Taehyung says as he stands up. Against his will, the detective leaves his area and heads for Seokjin’s office, which is in a different room. A few seconds later, he enters without knocking.
“Yes... I understand. I see. Yes, we are on our way,” Seokjin finishes as he hangs up the phone.
“What’s happening, Jin?” Taehyung asks, understanding that something is wronger than usual.
“They found a body at West Garfield Park.”
Near Humboldt Park, where Taehyung lives. Fantastic, but he’s used to. The West Side isn’t the safer one.
“And? Rather common here, I’m not teaching you anything.”
“No Taehyung it’s... weird. Unusual.”
The detective frowns, puzzled. Seokjin isn’t the kind of man who worries easily. And he perfectly knows what kind of man he is.
“They’re blocking off the area. Be ready to leave in two minutes.”
“Are you coming with me?” Taehyung questions and, as soon as Seokjin nods, he gets that something is definitely wrong. Before getting ready, he shares his bad feeling with the sergeant, who finally admits what the caller said.
“The killer left a signature.”