“Here is all you’ll need to pull them for your team, Major. If anyone gives you trouble, send them to me or file a report and I’ll deal with it.”
“Thank you, General.” Namjoon bowed as he took the papers.
“Get to work. We need a research team running by the end of the month.”
“Yes, General,” he bowed again and left. He headed through the base trying not to let his excitement show. His first stop was the infirmary. He knew that if they were going to be testing spells they would need someone to keep them all healthy and he had someone in mind.
Yoongi rolled his eyes as he turned away from a patient. “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” He spotted Namjoon and walked over. “Guy acts like he’s dying from a toothache. What’s up? You look like you’re excited.”
“They approved my plan for a research team.”
Yoongi grinned. “That’s great, Namjoon!”
“Yeah, it is. Want to be our medic? You’ll get to treat interesting injuries, and you won’t have to treat the wounded from the front lines…” Namjoon counted off the benefits, pretending not to notice the way Yoongi froze in disbelief. “House to live in, time off, retirement plans, higher salary…”
“No more treating front-line injuries?”
Namjoon shook his head. “Not unless someone on our team goes to the front-lines and gets injured.”
Yoongi swallowed. “Do I have to sign anything?”
“I just have to talk to your supervisor,” Namjoon said, grinning as Yoongi grabbed his wrist and led him quickly through the ward and to an office.
Namjoon knocked and entered, informing the man that Yoongi had been recruited for a special task force and giving the man the proper paperwork.
Yoongi was still smiling when Namjoon came out. “Well?”
“Let’s get out of here. It smells.” Namjoon wrinkled his nose and strode toward the exit. “You’d think they’d have someone working to get rid of that stench.”
“Allergens. Risks other patients. But if you want to work up a spell to get rid of the smell, be my guest.”
“I’ll add it to the research list. Come on, last I saw Hoseok he wasn’t looking like himself. Let’s save him from himself, yeah?”
“Yeah, I’m worried about him. Ever since his sister died his markings…it’s hard to tell what color his skin even is anymore.” Yoongi glared at the ground. “They shouldn’t have had the medical team that close to the fighting.”
Namjoon clenched a fist. He had warned the war council that he saw the mission failing, the medical team being slaughtered. They didn’t listen to him until after the fact.
And he hadn’t known that Hoseok’s sister would be part of the medical team, or he would have made sure she wasn’t. As it was, he had ended up at Hoseok’s side at the burial, Hoseok knowing just from the look on Joons face that he had tried to stop it from happening. Hoseok has comforted him.
They found Hoseok in the practice ring, cutting through the practice warriors with elegance and speed. He didn’t have a match to his skill, and being a multi-gifted warrior was even more daunting to potential opponents.
Namjoon was the best sparring partner Hoseok had, especially when sparring with magic, as he was multi-gifted himself. Namjoon anticipated, and Hoseok slowed time. Hoseok still won, usually, but Namjoon had beat him now and then.
Hoseok sliced through the last of the mock-opponents and sighed. He ignored the awed and terrified looks of the initiates and grabbed a towel to wipe off.
Yoongi waved to get his attention.
Hoseok smiles and bounded up, threatening to hug them.
“Pass,” Namjoon laughed. “Actually, I’m here to recruit you for a magic research team.”
“Your proposal went through?” Hoseok’s gaze lit up, and his smile got even broader. “That’s great!”
“Yeah, and Yoongi already agreed to be our medical team. We would have missions, but less frequent than now and we would be researching different uses of magic around base and in fighting,” Namjoon pitched, smiling at his friend.
“You want me?” Hoseok looked surprised.
“Hoseok, you’ve seen the front lines even more than I have. You’re extremely gifted. It’s time to change gears and live more quietly.” Namjoon rested his hand on Hoseok’s shoulder.
Hoseok swallowed and nodded. “What do we need to do?”
“Submit these transfer papers to your supervisor, then come live with us.”
Hoseok snatched the papers and darted back down the steps to where a man in a colonel's uniform was instructing the initiates in their first spar. He bowed as he handed the papers over, speaking respectfully and getting a sharp nod in return.
Hoseok was grinning as he came back to them. “How many people do you need to recruit?”
“I can recruit six people aside from myself. I have permission to lurk and observe in all of the training sessions, so I’m going to try and look for different classes. See who speaks to me.”
“Then you’ll want to check out the 63rd company. I heard they have a multi-gifted. A young one. Hasn’t seen battle yet, barely out of training. And we both know that not seeing battle is huge when it comes to developing our powers.” Hoseok walked along with them.
“I’ll keep that in mind. But let’s get both of your things and head to the house for now. I have some time to get the team together and we can start research before we have our whole team. But any more intel should be sent my way.”
“Yes, sir!” Hoseok saluted.
Namjoon froze, seeing something play out and pointed. “That way. Don’t want to be caught on that fight.”
An angry tell interrupted Yoongi and soon ten or so men were fighting as they went around them.
“…fight…” Yoongi kept glancing at it as they walked away. “I should know better than to ask by now.”
“You really should,” Hoseok agreed. “Meet at Yoongi’s barracks? I don’t have much to pack since I never unpacked.”
“That works,” Namjoon agreed. “Or, you could take a shower.”
“Nah, do that in our new unit. Christen the bathroom.” Hoseok flashed them another grin and bounded off.
Yoongi grumbled something about boundless energy and trudged into his barracks.
Namjoon was about to follow when he noticed a mop of dark purple hair being pushed by a man with silver hair. Somehow he knew they were headed for him.
Silver hair stopped them right in front of Namjoon. “Major Kim Namjoon, this is Jeon Jungkook, he’s multi-gifted and 63rd company leaves for the front lines in the morning. He’s the youngest recruit on base.”
Namjoon eyes widened.
“I know you were going to come find him tonight, but our supervisor leaves in two hours. Save him from the front lines.”
Namjoon nodded, quickly pulling papers. “I should—“
“Yoongi, I’m borrowing Namjoon. It’s life or death.” Silver hair said as Yoongi poked his head out, probably to see if he was coming in or not. “He’ll meet you at the dorm which is at 21 Whale Street. Key is in your left pocket, Namjoon. Jungkook, stay with Yoongi. It’ll be less trouble.”
Namjoon dug into his left pocket and pulled them out.
Jungkook was looking up at Silver in awe, nodding slightly but also looking scared.
Silver handed the boy his things, smoothing the purple hair. “You’ll be safe with them. They’ll feed you, too. Come on, Namjoon. While the first lieutenant is away.” Silver turned on his heel and started walking briskly toward the other barracks.
Namjoon shared a surprised glance with Yoongi before catching up. “You’re certainly sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
“Jungkook has the learning gift.”
Namjoon blinked a couple times as his jaw attempted to drop. “That’s the…”
“Rarest gift. Sorry, I’m a visionary. Can’t help it. Usually only a few minutes to an hour ahead. But I had a doozy of a vision in my sleep. Well, you know what that’s like. Anyway, the front lines are no place for a kid like him.”
“I hope you succeed in your mission.”
Silver gave him a wry smile. “Is there such a thing as success anymore?”
Namjoon couldn’t answer that.
“Who do you have there? Another special friend?” One of the soldiers jeered, then froze, recognizing Joon’s military status as much higher than his.
Silver ignored the man, going directly to the supervisors office. He went in to announce Namjoon then bowed and gestured for Namjoon to enter.
It was a bigger fight than Namjoon had imagined and involved the general before he finally got out of there.
Silver was waiting to hear the results.
Namjoon nodded. “Good luck on your mission.”
“And yours, Major.”
“Sujin! Didn’t we tell you to clean up this crap?” Someone snapped out as Namjoon was exiting.
Silver replied weakly, almost an apology, but his voice held none of the firmness nor the brisk tone he had used when dealing with Namjoon.
Namjoon glanced back, noticing the way the man kept his gaze on the floor, but had to keep moving. He wanted to make sure he got a good bedroom.
The other three were just setting their things down in the living room, already partially furnished.
“We’re not even on base…” Hoseok said, seeming in awe.
Jungkook looked nervous still, noticing Namjoon and stepping toward him. “Did—“
“You’re a part of my team now.”
Jungkook stood there awkwardly for a moment, then slowly nodded and turned away, clutching his bag to his chest.
Namjoon went to make sure he got the best room before the others tried to nab it, then had to coax Jungkook into setting his things in a bedroom, and back downstairs to eat whatever all four of them managed to cook up.
Hoseok was actually the best with Jungkook, easily calming him and soon the boy was sticking to Hoseok’s side.
It wasn’t Namjoon was in bed that he thought back to the barracks. Something was definitely off there, and Namjoon wasn’t entirely certain that Silver—Sujin—had been asking Namjoon to save Jungkook from the front lines as much as he was asking him to save Jungkook from that squadron. Their supervisor had seemed volatile.
But there was nothing he could do now, by the time he got over there they would be on their way to work. They had a mission to complete on the front lines and their supervisor was already gone if what Sujin said was true.
Namjoon dreamt of a boy with pink hair, surrounded by colors that no one else could see, in the marketplace near the base.
He left before anyone else got up, finding the marketplace, but knowing the timing wasn’t right. He sighed and headed to base to start a long day of watching training sessions and listening to people brag about their subpar soldiers that were really just suck ups and not especially gifted or good.
There were a few soldiers he marked as potentials, with further observation needed. But as he was about to follow to the next training session, he felt a sort of tug in his gut. He automatically redirected himself towards the market he dreamt of. Past stalls of fine silks, sturdy wool blankets, fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and other catches of the day.
And there on the side of the road, sitting on a bunch of crates, almost looking like he was meditating, was the pink-haired boy from Namjoon’s dream. His marks glowed the same pink as his hair, and his gaze flitted from person to person. He didn’t have many markings, the heaviest were around his eyes, which meant he hadn’t been in much more than training yet.
Namjoon smiled as the boys gaze fixed on him and a frown replaced the excitement on his face.
“Why can’t I see your aura?” The boy asked, sounding perturbed.
“What’s the usual reason, Private?”
The boy blinked hard and his marks faded to normal, then he scrambled off the crates and quickly bowed. “Apologies, Major! I didn’t realize.”
“Relax. Answer the question.”
“Usually for soldiers, ones that have very powerful gifts.”
Namjoon nodded. “Walk with me. You know where your S.O. is?”
“Front lines, sir. There was an emergency rescue ship that went out this morning. The squadron that went out walked into a trap.”
Namjoon frowned. “63rd company?”
“Yes sir. No deaths when we heard, but it was a dangerous situation. My second in command said they had it coming. Something about ignoring their seer.”
Namjoon sighed, knowing that it was far too common of a thing to do. Hoping Sujin was alright. “What’s your name?”
“Park Jimin, of 102nd company.”
Namjoon nodded sharply. “Your second in command is here?”
“Would you be interested in magic research?”
“Sir?” The boy stopped, looking confused.
“Testing your abilities, trying spells, not going to the frontlines,” Namjoon summarized.
Jimin’s eyes lit up. “How’s the pay?”
“Excellent, and we have one of the vector houses.”
Jimins jaw dropped. “Wow…and you want me?”
“You’re the perfect age and experience for this. I have three others besides myself for the team already and your gift is one of the ones that is very useful out in the field. If we can figure out how to rapidly grow your ability we can give them new training techniques.”
Jimin nodded emphatically. “Okay! I’ll try to do my best!”
“Awesome. Now, you wanna help me identify potential candidates for the last two slots on my team?”
“Sure!” The boy chirped.
“Alright, then we’ll submit the paperwork to your second in command and head back to the arena.” Namjoon smiled to himself as the boy bounced along beside him. He could hear the thoughts of the boy plain as day, thinking about how his parents won’t have to worry as much about him. Excited thoughts about the new adventure he was going to be on in the research team. Relief that he wouldn’t have to fight a battle he didn’t understand.
Namjoon couldn’t even disagree with the last sentiment. He was relieved as well. He didn’t understand either. He just knew he was loyal to his country, and his people were getting killed in battle.
And that wasn’t okay.