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take the money and run

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“Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Taeyong muttered when Johnny was pushed in by Matthew, forced to stumble over his own two feet.

“You’re alive,” Johnny breathed with a small smile and while Taeyong was glad to see Johnny there and clearly not dead or captured by the police but did he have to go and get himself caught? 

“Why the fuck wouldn’t I be alive?” Taeyong seethed as Matthew literally shoved Johnny into the seat across from him.

“T–The gunshot,” Johnny pointed out and Taeyong frowned over at him before he remembered the shattered glass behind him.

Taeyong opened his mouth to explain to Johnny that he was completely fine, that Matthew was just testing him but Matthew was interrupting him by clearing his throat. Both him and Johnny looked over at Matthew standing with his back against the countertop behind him. It was good that the two of them were together again and that neither of them were dead but their situation still wasn’t ideal. After all, Matthew was quite literally holding them hostage and as of right then, Taeyong had absolutely no clue how they were going to get out of this alive.

“You two really are cute together,” Matthew cooed mockingly. Taeyong really wanted to fucking spit right in his stupid fucking face. He was really starting to regret ever getting involved with this man. He definitely wasn’t worth the money Taeyong had stolen. 

“What the fuck, Matthew?” Johnny said, shaking his head. “This is stupid. Let us go.”

“I mean, I’d be happy to let the both of you go when you give me my money back,” Matthew sighed, raising an eyebrow. 

“I think you’re more than fucking aware that we don’t have any money for you,” Taeyong seethed because Johnny was right, this conversation was so fucking stupid and Taeyong was so fucking angry at himself for letting Johnny stop and getting them put in this situation in the first place, especially when they had been so close to Busan. “Didn’t you just tell me that you’re a billionaire? What the fuck is a couple million to you?”

He didn’t even know why Matthew was asking them this again. Taeyong had already told him that he didn’t have the money and despite that huge wad of money that he saw Johnny with a little while ago —that he wasn’t even sure Johnny still even had with him because that had been so long ago and they had gone through so much since then—was anything even close to what Matthew wanted out of them or thought that Taeyong owed him. 

Plus, Taeyong wasn’t fucking stupid. He knew that Matthew hadn’t gone through all of this trouble, hadn’t spent all of this time finding them to get his money back. That just didn’t make any sense. Like he had said earlier, it was more than the money to him. It was the fact that Taeyong had basically ruined his entire reputation as a business man in not only South Korea and Seoul but around the world. It was the shit that he couldn’t get back. 

But Taeyong couldn’t help with that. Sure, he had stolen the money from Matthew but he had never wanted it to get out into the public. The fact that someone had went to the police in the first place had literally been his downfall. Not only that but Matthew had as much blame in this whole situation as Taeyong did. If he hadn’t gone out and slept with a minor, something like this wouldn’t have been happening to him.

Matthew didn’t say anything in response which only prompted Taeyong to continue. “Is all of this because you fucked yourself over and now nobody wants to work with you because you’re fucking disgusting?” Taeyong hissed. “‘Cause that’s not my fault and it sure as hell isn’t Johnny’s either.”

That was almost definitely the last straw because before Taeyong could even process what was happening, Matthew was quickly advancing forward and smacking him across the face with the very metallic, very painful pistol. At the very last moment, Taeyong saw Johnny try and stop him but to no avail. Taeyong fell back with a pained noise, almost immediately tasting the blood blossoming in his mouth. Well, fuck. Maybe he really should shut up.

Johnny was quick to stand up to try and come over and help Taeyong but Matthew was faster, pointing the gun at him in warning. “Sit the fuck down,” Matthew snarled and Johnny did so slowly, still glancing over at Taeyong as he clutched his mouth, blood dribbling down his lip. 

“You know,” Matthew started, twirling the gun around with a small laugh. “You have a really big fucking mouth, Taeyong. It was cute for the first couple of minutes but I’m actually getting pretty tired of it.”

Taeyong really wanted to say something in response to that. To call Matthew an asshole or to say fuck him, that he wasn’t scared of him because he wasn’t, not in the sense that Matthew wanted him to be but he didn’t want to risk being hit with the pistol again. The entire lower half of his face was throbbing and screaming out in pain. It would most definitely bruise come a couple of hours from now.

“So what now?” Johnny finally spoke up, shaking his head. 

“What do you think?” Matthew snorted, walking back over to the countertop. Once his back was turned to them, Taeyong didn’t hesitate to grab the napkin dispenser on the back half of the table. Johnny’s head snapped towards him at the sudden movement, his eyes wide as he watched Taeyong push the dispenser behind him before Matthew could turn back around. Taeyong knew that Johnny didn’t think that what he had done was smart but he would be damned if Matthew got him down without a fight. “I’m gonna kill you both.”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What the fuck were they going to do? What happened to Yuta’s gun? That was stupid question; of course either Matthew or one of his men had snatched the gun from whichever of them had it last once they had captured them. Taeyong couldn’t remember who had it last though. Was it Johnny? Yes, it was Johnny, he had shot that one man back in Gimhae. Where it had been after that? Fuck. Johnny clearly didn’t have it which ultimately meant that neither of them had any form of a weapon to take Matthew down with. There were two of them, sure, but Taeyong knew that he couldn’t be of any real help with the gunshot wound in his side. He would only get in the way. 

“Why haven’t you then?” Johnny asked bluntly. 

“Why haven’t I what?” Matthew questioned calmly, raising an eyebrow. 

“Killed us,” Johnny said. “I mean, we’re both sitting here relatively uninjured. What’s the plan here, man?”

“Full disclosure?” Matthew countered and Johnny only blinked at him. “The plan was to just kill your little friend here back in Busan. I originally had nothing to do with it and didn’t want anything to do with it.” What a load of bullshit, Taeyong thought. Still, he didn’t open his mouth. He didn’t even think he could, not with how badly his jaw was throbbing with the feeling of the pistol striking him. “But then I heard this rumor about my little brother helping the dude who screwed me out of millions and thought, no, that can’t be true. So, imagine my surprise when the fucking Gimhae police contact me and tell me that my brother was caught on tape with the one and only Lee Taeyong in some fucking convenience store.”

So that had been who had tipped the police off to where they were. Those two little fuckers that worked there definitely had a storm coming for them if Taeyong survived this. He wondered how it had happened. Had one of them looked up those idol groups they had mentioned and realized that Taeyong didn’t match? Did they suddenly come to the realization that he looked familiar to them for a very specific reason? All in all, it didn’t matter. If it weren’t for them, neither him or Johnny would be in their current situation. 

“And I just thought that was so funny because I had been really fucking confused as to why Taeyong had suddenly decided not to take the taxi to Inhceon like he was supposed to,” Matthew continued and Taeyong looked over at him, surprised to hear him say something so bold. Matthew must notice his shock because he’s laughing quietly and nodding, saying, “Oh, yeah, you didn’t know about that, did you? That car you were gonna take on the night Johnny picked you up was sent by me. You see, it’s really fucking easy to manipulate certain parts of how the city basically functions when you have money.”

Matthew was going to kill him. If Taeyong had gotten into that car, he would have died. His body would have been buried somewhere inconspicuous and the police would ultimately stop searching for him after a couple of months of silence, his name still at large but definitely not a huge threat anymore. He would have fucking died. How had Matthew been planning to do it? Would someone have simply shot him the second he got into the car? Or would they have tortured him until his body finally gave out? The thought of it was admittedly fucking terrified.

It meant more than that though. It meant that Johnny had quite literally saved his life. If Johnny hadn’t met him in that alley and picked him up, Taeyong would no longer be living. There was no thinking about the possibilities of some other outcome anymore. The fact was simple: Johnny had saved his fucking life. 

“And you know, Johnny, I really wasn’t going to kill you,” Matthew explained softly. “I mean you’re my brother and no matter how much of a fucking pain in my ass you’ve been, family is family.”

Matthew walked over to Taeyong again and snatched him up out of his seat before Taeyong could do anything in retaliation, causing him to whine out in pain at the side shock that ran up his side. He snatched down the sweatshirt Taeyong had on past his shoulder and forced his head to the side to showcase the bruised mark on Taeyong’s pale neck, the shape of Johnny’s teeth evident in his skin.

“But then,” Matthew continued over Taeyong’s noises of struggling, “I found out that you had somehow mated him.” He reached a hand up and plucked the side of Taeyong’s neck with a sharp finger before pushing him back into his seat. “How the fuck did you manage that, John?”

“I presented, prick,” Johnny answered through gritted teeth, very obviously growing angrier and angrier with the way that Matthew was treating his Omega. Matthew hummed and nodded. 

“I’ve heard about that happening to people but never thought that it was actually true,” Matthew said with a small shrug. “Guess that means you fucked this bitch, huh?”

“Fuck you,” Taeyong hissed because he suddenly didn’t care about the threat of Matthew striking him again, not when he was openly disrespecting him. 

“I can’t have you around as proof of my life spiraling out of control,” Matthew explained, completely ignoring Taeyong’s little outburst. “I mean, people are already looking at me for some kind of an explanation as to why my younger brother is involved with the guy who scammed me. I’d be fucking over if they found out the two of you were mated. You know how people like to talk, man. There’d be all kinds of theories about you and me and him.” He looked over at Taeyong with a little laugh of disgust. “I just started to get my company back off the ground. Stocks are going up again. I can’t have you two getting in the way of that.”

“What are you gonna tell Mom and Dad, huh?” Johnny asked, snorting. “You think they’ll be okay with the fact that you fucking killed their son?”

“That you disappeared,” Matthew said simply. “What, you think that they’re gonna look any further into it? You’re already fucking embarrassing them enough by doing this. They want to forget about you, Johnny.”

Taeyong could tell that Johnny had definitely taken that to heart. Who could blame him? It was a hurtful thing to say. The way that Johnny didn’t respond after that meant that there had to be some kind of truth behind it.

“You still haven’t told us why you haven’t killed us yet,” Taeyong spoke up quietly, ultimately saving Johnny from that relentless silence. 

“To give you both a chance to explain yourselves,” Matthew said as nonchalantly as possible. “But if you’re so eager to die.” And with that, he pulled the gun back out, cocking it and aiming it straight at Taeyong’s head. Johnny immediately jumped up at that, moving to stand in front of Taeyong.

“Just fucking chill, okay?” Johnny breathed, shaking his head. “If you’re doing this so no one will find out about us being bonding then just kill me and let him go.”

“Fuck off, Johnny,” Taeyong hissed because he wasn’t some type of helpless maiden that needed saving. Johnny hadn’t done anything deserving of death. He didn’t fucking need to sacrifice himself for someone as shitty as Taeyong.

“I’m just trying—,” Johnny started before Taeyong interrupted him sharply. 

“Sit the fuck back down,” Taeyong murmured. Johnny turned around, only blinking down at him in confusion. “Johnny, please.”

“Might wanna listen to him, John,” Matthew taunted and Johnny hesitated only a moment longer before returning back to his seat. He looked so nervous, so anxious of what Matthew would do to the both of them, what he would do to Taeyong. 

“If you wanna kill someone so bad, kill me,” Taeyong said once Johnny had settled back down into his seat. “I mean, I’m the one that stole from you in the first place, right? I’m the one who ruined you and your company. I’m the one that you hate the most so kill me and let him go.”

“Taeyong,” Johnny said from across from him to which Taeyong ignored. 

What he was saying was true. He wasn’t just saying it to distract Matthew or as some kind of tactic to get him to let the both of them go. It was quite clear that Matthew had no intention of doing that. If it had to be down between the both of them, Taeyong was the one who needed to go. He was the one who had kickstarted this whole thing, the one who had basically pulled Johnny into this situation in the first place. If it hadn’t been for him, neither of them would be there. 

And maybe part of him felt like he deserved it. After all, what was something positive that Taeyong had done in his life? All he did was disappoint people or try and ruin their lives. He was fucking mean and whether he had meant it or not, Johnny had been right when he said that he wasn’t a fun person to be around. He disappointed his mother by not being able to have children. He had tried to ruin Seongwoo’s life because he was too much of a fuck –up to actually get his own shit together and live an honest life himself. He had ruined Yuta’s life because of his impulsiveness and had ruined Johnny’s life indefinitely because of what he had done to his brother. There was something wrong with him and he knew it. Johnny didn’t deserve to go out because of something that had started with him. It wasn’t fair. 

“Kill me,” Taeyong continued bluntly. “Seriously. Let Johnny go and deal with me. No one will know that he ever had anything to do with me if I’m dead and he won’t tell anyone about what had happened. Right, Johnny?” Silence came after that. Taeyong didn’t dare look over at Johnny. “Right, Johnny?” Taeyong repeated because he needed Johnny to be okay with this, he needed him to just go along with it so he didn’t have to live with the guilt of hurting yet another person. 

“No,” Johnny said. “I’m not agreeing to that.”

“So, let’s just stick to my original plan of killing the both of you, yeah?” Matthew said, smiling. He made Taeyong so fucking sick to his stomach.

“No,” Taeyong cut in sharply. “What fucking sense does it make to kill him? He’s your fucking brother, asshole. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out so just shoot me and get it over with.”

“If you shoot him I’ll fucking tell everyone that you murdered someone in cold blood,” Johnny countered and Taeyong was going to fucking strangle him. 

“No, he won’t,” Taeyong said quickly.

“Yes, I will,” Johnny snapped.

“Can you shut the fuck up for one second?” Taeyong shouted at Johnny, whipping his head over to look at him because this hero act was so stupid and was only going to result in the both of them being killed.

“I’m not letting you fucking commit suicide, Taeyong!” Johnny yelled back. “I don’t know what the fuck your problem is but you need to snap out of it!”

“You don’t know what my problem is?” Taeyong screamed at him, so, so fucking tired of arguing and being angry and exhausted and mean and horrible. “My problem is that I want to fucking die, Johnny! I’m fucking sick of it! I’m sick of everything! I’ve been a shit fucking person my entire life and I hate myself, okay? I don’t wanna do it anymore!”

The room went quiet after that. It was out now. What Taeyong had been stuffing deep down inside of him since long before all of this started had finally gone out into the air. Whatever. It had to be said. Taeyong thought he might explode if he didn’t say that out loud, even if the confession had come seconds before he was set to die. Taeyong didn’t like himself. He hadn’t liked himself for a really long fucking time and had been swallowing down that overwhelming sense of self–hatred since the moment he had presented as an Omega.

“I’m tired, Johnny,” Taeyong breathed, shaking his head. “ Please.”

Johnny didn’t say anything. Taeyong knew that he didn’t know what to say. If he was in Johnny’s shoes, he wouldn’t know what to say either. It didn’t matter. Nothing really mattered anymore, at least not with their current situation. 

“Oh, isn’t that a shame?” Matthew teased, cooing mockingly at the both of them. “I guess even pretty people have confidence issues, don’t they?”

“Shut the fuck up,” Johnny growled darkly. 

“Well, I guess if he’s so okay with it, I can let you go, little bro,” Matthew continued despite Johnny’s words. “I know you won’t tell anyone anyway, seeing how that would only end up with you in prison.”

“Don’t,” Johnny only said but it was quite clear that Matthew had changed his mind and Taeyong knew he would. Even though this man was very obviously demented in his own way, Taeyong knew that he wouldn’t be able to kill his own little brother. 

“I’m sure you’ll find someone else,” Matthew sighed, lifting up the gun again, pointing it directly at Taeyong’s forehead.

This was it. This was where Taeyong’s story ended. It was weird to know that he was gonna die. He wasn’t scared and wasn’t going to do anything to stop it. If this was the way he was destined to go out, so be it. He kind of felt a little all–knowing in that moment. Like he was old and so death wasn’t something that he feared anymore, it was just something that was inevitable and would eventually happen to everyone at some point in life.

Three things happened all at once. The first was that a gunshot went off, even more piercing and deafening than the last, causing Taeyong flinch because he was almost certain that the sound was meant for him and would be shooting through his forehead at some point, killing him instantly. The second was absolutely nothing. Taeyong felt nothing, heard nothing other than something sharp echoing throughout the room. The third was the sound of someone struggling, someone sounding like they were very much losing some sort of fight. 

When Taeyong opened his eyes, he immediately looked down at his chest. He wasn’t injured in any sort of way. The bullet hadn’t struck him. He heard the struggling again and looked down to see Matthew on top of Johnny, his hands wrapped around Johnny’s neck, the gun thrown far away from the both of them on the dirty linoleum floor. On his left was a bullet hole in the very seat he was sitting in, only inches away from actually having struck him. 

At first, Taeyong didn’t know what to do. Johnny was losing and he didn’t know how much longer Johnny would be able to handle Matthew on top of him. He was an Alpha but the both of them had been extremely weakened by whatever had happened back in Jinju. If anything, Matthew was easily stronger than him at this point. 

Then, Taeyong remembered the napkin dispenser he had hidden behind him. He picked it up and pushed himself up out of his seat, not hesitating before sending it crashing into the back of Matthew’s head as hard as he was possibly able to. Matthew rolled off of the top of Johnny with a groan and Johnny rolled over to his side, grabbing at his throat, coughing violently. 

Unfortunately for him, the dispenser hadn’t hurt Matthew as badly as Taeyong thought it had. Soon enough, Matthew was back up off the ground and immediately making his way towards Taeyong, punching him straight to the floor. Taeyong didn’t have enough energy to defend himself and the collision of Matthew’s fist into the side of his face had been so hard that his stomach lurched and he had to swallow down the taste of vomit in his mouth. He did, however, have the energy to grab at Matthew’s ankle as he made his way over towards the gun still on the ground and Christ, if the feeling of Matthew kicking him straight in the face wasn’t enough to have Taeyong out for good.

“Stupid fucking bitch,” Matthew hissed, whirling back around to kick Taeyong straight in his side, causing him to scream out in agonizing pain because of how Matthew’s foot had directly hit his still–healing wound. Tears immediately sprouted up in his eyes and Taeyong thought that he could die from how much pain he was in, thought about how much he would have preferred for Matthew to just have shot him when he was able when Matthew drew his foot back and struck him again, causing his sight to black out.

Taeyong had almost been certain that he was going to die like this. He was going to die from pain which was almost definitely a thing and it looked like Matthew wasn’t anywhere near done with him, finally unleashing all that anger he had built up inside of him for what Taeyong had done to him, how he had ruined his entire fucking life. At that point, Taeyong didn’t even care. He just wanted the pain to stop.

Then another gunshot went off. Taeyong couldn’t even process what had happened for a long moment. All he felt was his side throbbing like fucking crazy and could only see little black dots moving in and out of his terribly blurred vision, the way that he was having trouble getting air into his lungs and how fucking terrified he was because of this. He also felt something warm and wet splashing onto his face. There was silence and it flooded the air for so long, suffocating him. What had happened? Where was Johnny?

His vision blurred and went black again. Then Johnny was suddenly at his side, shaking him to see if he was alright, if he was still breathing. Taeyong made a quiet noise in the back of his throat and Johnny breathed out a relieved sigh, dropping the gun on the floor next to him. Taeyong looked over to see Matthew laid out on the ground next to him, a steady pool of blood leaking out from underneath him. He couldn’t see the wound or what was emitting the blood but Taeyong could see the lifeless look in Matthew’s still–opened eyes. Shit.

“Are you okay?” Johnny asked from above him, his voice worried in a way that let Taeyong know that this wasn’t his first time asking the question. He forced himself to nod, wincing in pain at the small movement. Matthew had really fucked him up good. “Oh, thank God. Come here.”

Taeyong wheezed quietly as Johnny pulled him in close to his chest. His entire body screamed out in pain but he didn’t move away, lifting up a shuddering hand to wipe up some blood from the corner of his mouth. He looked down at Matthew again, at his unmoving body and the pool of blood that was now spreading around his boot, staining it in the dark fluid. 

“Don’t do that to me, okay?” Johnny breathed quietly. “Don’t ever fucking do that to me ever again.”

Taeyong didn’t know what Johnny was talking about but nodded nonetheless. Johnny nodded too, mumbling something that Taeyong couldn’t quite make out under his breath before reaching behind himself with his free hand to grab Matthew’s gun from off the floor. He tucked it somewhere that Taeyong couldn’t see before shaking his head and he was so obviously worked up and panicked that Taeyong truly did want to offer some kind of help but ultimately couldn’t due to his condition. 

“Jesus,” Johnny mumbled, shaking his head. He looked down at Taeyong again, brushing some of his hair out of his face. He hesitated a moment. “Jesus. Christ, Taeyong, what are we gonna do?”

Taeyong didn’t know. He seriously just didn’t know. Johnny had just killed someone. Not even somebody but he had killed Matthew fucking Suh, one of the biggest businessmen in Korea even despite his recent scandal. This would be catastrophic for the both of them. It wasn’t something that they could simply run away from. Not only that, but Matthew had to have people around. There was no way that the two of them would be able to just walk away from the scene of the crime completely unharmed. 

Shit. Taeyong was starting to become even dizzier than he already was at the thought of it. If those men found out that Johnny had killed their boss and Taeyong had helped, they wouldn’t just do away with them, they would fucking torture them. Even if the police caught them first, the two of them would be constantly harassed in prison because of what they had done and who’s to say that they would even end up in the same facility? Taeyong wouldn’t be able to make it on his own, he knew he wouldn’t. 

Suddenly, the room went silent. Taeyong lifted his face from Johnny’s chest that had started to heave slightly. Johnny was crying. It wasn’t very loud or violent like Taeyong’s usually was but he was still crying and Jesus, Taeyong couldn’t help but feel weird because throughout their entire trip, Johnny had never cried. When he had found out that they couldn’t be unmated he hadn’t cried. When he had found out that he was now a wanted man he hadn’t cried. He even didn’t cry when Taeyong had very clearly said that he wanted absolutely nothing to do with him in the cruelest way possible.

“Hey,” Taeyong muttered quietly, forcing himself to sit up despite the almost paralyzing pain in his side from the simple movement. “It’s gonna be okay.”

It wasn’t. Taeyong knew that it wasn’t going to be okay because they had just fucking murdered a man and the police were still after them and how the fuck were they going to make it in Busan in time? A lot was working against them. Still, it was what Johnny needed to hear. 

“I just fucking killed him,” Johnny sobbed wetly, shaking his head.

That was another thing. Johnny had just killed his fucking brother. No matter how big of an asshole or a horrible person Matthew was, he was still Johnny’s older brother. They had to have some kind of history between them, it had to be good at some point in their lives and Taeyong didn’t doubt that some part of Johnny had been hoping for his and Matthew’s relationship to mend and that would never happen now. No matter which way you looked at it, this was a horrible thing. 

Taeyong sighed softly before pulling Johnny close to him, letting Johnny cry quietly into his chest, rocking the both of them back and forth gently. He lifted a hand to wipe some more blood off from where it was still gathered at the corner of his mouth, cleaning it off on the floor underneath him before running his hand through Johnny’s hair. 

“He was gonna hurt you, Johnny,” Taeyong reminded him. “He was gonna hurt both of us.”

“I know,” Johnny whined quietly, sounding so, so pathetic that Taeyong wanted to do more for him but couldn’t think of what to do to make him feel better about their situation. 

They sat there for a little while longer, the whole time Taeyong thinking about how much danger they were putting themselves in by continuing to stay in that one spot. How long until Matthew’s men that were almost definitely lingering somewhere nearby got curious as to why Matthew was taking so long doing what he had vowed to do? How long until the police got tipped off to where they were? They couldn’t just stay there, not if they wanted even a chance at figuring out what the fuck to do next. 

“John,” Taeyong murmured, nudging Johnny’s shoulder as softly as he possibly could. Johnny didn’t say anything in response. “Johnny, we’ve got to go. We gotta go.”

“We—Taeyong, we can’t just leave him there,” Johnny muttered. And Johnny was right, they couldn’t just leave Matthew there, not if they didn’t want to be immediately caught. 

Taeyong looked down at himself, his hands still shaking. He was still in so much pain but knew that he couldn’t sit there for any longer. He could rest when they made it out of danger, into somewhere safe enough for him to whine and cry about his bruised, almost definitely reopened wound.

“Get up,” Taeyong mumbled to Johnny who hesitated a moment before slowly pushing Taeyong onto the floor and himself up onto his feet. He wiped underneath his nose, looking quite pathetic in that moment. Taeyong really did feel for him and wanted to offer more comfort than the little bit that he had but they didn’t have time for it.

“You need a hospital,” Johnny said as Taeyong forced himself up, quickly moving over to help him to his feet, frowning when Taeyong winced almost immediately once upright. 

“We can’t,” Taeyong responded, shaking his head. “We gotta go.” He looked down at Matthew’s lifeless body, leaning against the seat behind him for support once Johnny had backed away. He noticed something small and rectangular in one of the pockets of Matthew’s jacket. “His pocket,” Taeyong breathed, pointing. “It’s his phone.”

Johnny bent down and pulled it out, flinching away afterward. He powered it to life and blinked down wordlessly at the background image. Taeyong looked at it too. It was the same picture from Matthew’s office he had picked up that night. Johnny stared at it for a long moment, his breathing turning shuddery. Taeyong reached over slowly and took the phone from him, scrolling through the last couple of notifications. The third caught his attention almost immediately.

Is it done?

It meaning killing him and Johnny. Matthew hadn’t come alone. Even if his men weren’t directly outside of the restaurant, they were still somewhere nearby. They were waiting on some kind of direction. Fuck. Taeyong looked back down at Matthew’s body. If he didn’t respond at some point, the men would know that something wasn’t right and start closing in.

They needed to do something. And fast.

“Hey, Johnny?” Taeyong asked gently. Johnny didn’t answer. “Johnny, please. I need you to snap out of it.” With that, Johnny blinked up at him. “We have to move him.”

“I’m not touching him,” Johnny immediately responding, shaking his head. “Taeyong, I can’t.”

“I can’t move him by myself,” Taeyong breathed. “His men are gonna know something isn’t right if we don’t move him and they’re gonna come and kill us. Is that what you want?”

“No, but—,” Johnny started, only for Taeyong to quickly interrupt him.

“Then help me move him,” Taeyong said sternly.

Johnny hesitated for a moment, watching as Taeyong walked over to Matthew’s body and bent down with a pained noise. Taeyong was almost afraid that Johnny wasn’t going to help him, that he was going to be too freaked out but after a couple of beats, Johnny was making his way over to the bottom half of Matthew and bending over too.

“Behind the counter, okay?” Taeyong said and Johnny nodded slowly.

Carrying Matthew was fucking brutal. Taeyong already wasn’t very strong and while Johnny was taking most of the weight, he still felt every pound of Matthew’s dead body with each step. He fought back tears and they made their way behind the counter slowly but surely, falling to the ground with a quiet squeal of pain once Matthew’s feet were no longer in view from the other side. Matthew’s head flopped into his lap and he quickly moved it out, disgusted.

“Oh, fuck,” Johnny mumbled, sounding like he was going to cry again.

“You’re not gonna like what I’m gonna say next,” Taeyong muttered in response, doing his best to ignore the pain in his side. It felt like every fucking inch of his body was screaming at him, telling him to stop moving, to get help. But he needed to get the both of them out of harm’s way first. That was the number one priority at the moment. Johnny didn’t say anything, still staring down at his brother’s body. “Johnny.”

“What?” Johnny breathed, finally looking over at Taeyong.

“I need you to make it look like I’m dead.”

Johnny’s face almost instantly broke. He shook his head vehemently, frantically, telling Taeyong that there was no way in Hell that he was going to do that because he had almost lost Taeyong not once but twice and didn’t want to have to fucking visiualize it right after killing his brother. And Taeyong understood, he did, but he also understood that none of this would work out for them if they didn’t do this. It had to be done.

“They’re texting him,” Taeyong explained quietly, slowly. “And they’re gonna keep texting him until they get some kind of an answer. When they don’t get one, they’re gonna close in and find us here and Matthew dead, okay?” Johnny still looked hesitant, still very much against the extremely morbid idea. “We can’t give them any reason to come looking for us.”

Johnny stared at him for a long while. Taeyong didn’t want to do it either. It was disgusting and horrendous and so, so fucking sick but this was their only option. This was how they could disappear. Maybe not to the police, but at least to Matthew and all of his goons.

“Fine,” Johnny said with a sniffle, reaching out for Matthew’s phone. Taeyong handed it to him, pushing himself up from off the ground. Getting up and sitting back down so often had to be the worst of it. This needed to go by fast because he didn’t know how much more his body could take of this before it gave out completely.

Johnny helped him over to the huge puddle of blood in which Matthew’s body had previously lay in, making sure to shut the door that led to behind the countertop behind him. He winced quietly as Taeyong sucked in a sharp breath before lowering himself down into the mess, his stomach turning the second it made contact with his skin. It was so fucking disgusting and sticky and still so warm but so cold at the same time. Taeyong felt like he could pass out.

“I can’t,” Johnny said from above him once Taeyong had finally laid down, Matthew’s blood sinking into his skin. “Jesus, Taeyong, I can’t. It’s too much.”

“Johnny, do you want me to die?” Taeyong snapped suddenly because they really didn’t have any time for this and Johnny had already prolonged it for so long. Johnny didn’t immediately answer and that made him even angrier than before. “Fucking answer me,” Taeyong hissed and Johnny shook his head like Taeyong knew he would. “If you don’t suck it up and do this, they’ll know something is up and kill me, Johnny. They’ll come in and murder me right in front of your fucking eyes, okay? Do you want that?”

“No,” Johnny seethed, tears started to fall down his cheeks again.

“Then take the fucking picture,” Taeyong said sharply and after a couple of moments of silence between the two of them, Johnny was nodding in agreement.

Taeyong laid back down in the thick puddle, making sure to smear some of the blood on his face and the fabric of his shirt where some of his own blood had already sprouted up from his wound. It was so horrible that he wanted to vomit but Taeyong pushed through, knowing that if he broke down the way he wanted to Johnny wouldn’t be able to handle it.

A couple of flashes went off. Then came Johnny’s shaky voice, “C–Can you get up please?”

Taeyong did, so fucking disgusted with the way Matthew’s blood stuck to the entire back half of him, soaking into his skin. He swallowed hard, reaching out for the phone. Johnny had only managed to take two but they would have to do. After all, Taeyong did look very much dead in both of them. It was almost eerie how realistic it looked, especially when the threat of death had been lingering over his head only a couple of minutes ago and would have definitely been a reality if Johnny hadn’t stepped in. He stared at them for a moment before nodding, moving his bloodied fingers over the screen to send both of the pictures to the unlisted number that had asked.

“Let’s go,” Taeyong said once it had sent, stuffing the phone into his back pocket. They needed to get as far away from this place as possible and needed to do it quick.

“Where are we going?” Johnny asked as Taeyong started to wipe up his blood from where it had leaked out onto the seat he had previously been sitting in, grabbing the dispenser he had struck Matthew with as well.

“Do you still have enough money for the ferry?” Taeyong asked and Johnny nodded. “Then we’re going to Fukunoka.” 

“We don’t have the keys to the truck anymore,” Johnny pointed out and Taeyong cursed lowly under his breath once realizing that, knowing that they didn’t have enough time to go searching for them.

“Just— Fuck, just get those scissors,” Taeyong muttered, pointing to the pair of scissors on the countertop next to the display of pie that Taeyong was pretty sure was several years old. Johnny nodded and grabbed them and with that, the two of them were out the door.

If they caught anywhere on the way to the ferry, they would be arrested for the murder of Matthew fucking Suh. Taeyong couldn’t even bring himself to think about it. He had been terrified when the whole thing had happened with Yukhei but this was different. Matthew was actually dead. There was no helping him, no taking him to some local hospital and dropping him off. It was over for him.

Taeyong suddenly lost his footing and slipped on the concrete sidewalk, falling. Johnny was quick to help him off the ground and Taeyong was literally fucking shuddering, he couldn’t see straight because of how badly he was shaking and he knew he wasn’t going to be able to make it much longer like this. Was he dying? It didn’t feel like it. He wondered what Matthew had felt like before he had slipped out of consciousness forever. What was the last thing he had thought of? Was he even given the chance to think before everything went dark?

“We’re almost there,” Johnny mumbled, holding Taeyong upright as they made their way over to Yukhei’s car and Taeyong was so fucking scared because what if this was all a trap, what if there was going to be someone waiting for them the second they climbed into that huge fucking truck? All of these possibilities were floating through his head along with visions of things he knew weren’t there and shit, he definitely didn’t have much longer to go.

When they made it to the truck, Johnny fit one arm around his shoulder to keep him up while he reached for the door handle. He pulled at it only to find it locked and cursed loudly, his voice echoing through the trees. Taeyong almost fell again.

“Taeyong?” Johnny asked and his voice was fading, phasing in and out of Taeyong’s hearing. “Shit, shit, shit, no—Taeyong, don’t.”

And Taeyong didn’t know what Johnny was saying don’t about, what he was telling him not to do. All he knew was that he was suddenly on the ground and suddenly he couldn’t breathe and this didn’t feel like death but it had to be, right? He could sense this whole flood of sadness and fear emitting off of Johnny and Taeyong felt so fucking horrible that even in his last moments he couldn’t just help someone, just do something positive for someone for once in his miserable fucking life and his vision was going dark again.

“Taeyong, please,” Johnny begged from above him, his voice wet and desperate. “Don’t fucking do this to me, Yong—I–I’m sorry, just—please, don’t.”

Taeyong was too. He was so fucking sorry that he couldn’t have done more for Johnny and was so fucking sorry for all he had done to Johnny. He couldn’t say it but he was, he was sorry for being a screw–up and a shit person and hoped that whatever life that came after this didn’t punish him for what he did while he was still alive.

“Hey, Yon—,” Johnny started, his voice fading in and out of Taeyong’s consciousness, cutting back and forth like a bad signal on an old TV set. He could only barely feel something pressing against his mouth, slack and open and spitting out blood. “—me,” Johnny said and Taeyong could tell he had said it more than once but he could never make out the first word. “—me, please. Taeyong, please.”

Taeyong isn’t sure what compelled him to do it. Maybe Johnny’s voice had finally gotten through to him. Maybe it was something internal telling him to do something. Maybe it didn’t happen at all and he was only imagining the taste of blood seeping into his tongue, overwhelming his senses.

Either way, the last he felt was Johnny lifting him up off the ground before everything went indefinitely dark.


“Hey, Mark?” Johnny called, stumbling into the kitchen. Mark looked up, his eyes wide, a lone noodle sticking out of his mouth.

He felt fucking horrible. His entire body felt like it was on fire and ached like crazy. He had felt a little off for a long while but after leaving Mark and Taeyong upstairs, Johnny had been overwhelmed by this sense of itchiness that would have blistered his skin if he hadn’t stopped scratching at himself. This felt worse than a minor cold or even the fucking flu. This was different.

“Jesus, you’re burning up,” Mark muttered, sucking up the noodle into his mouth before placing his bowl down on the table in front of him, pushing himself up out of his seat. He immediately walked over to Johnny, holding a hand to his forehead. Johnny pulled back, flinching away quickly from Mark’s touch.

“It’s fucking—Dude, why is it so hot in here?” Johnny breathed and Mark only shook his head, pointing him over to the sink. Johnny followed, swallowing harshly. He felt like he could pass out at any moment.

Johnny pushed himself up onto the countertop, closing his eyes as he inhaled slowly through his mouth, trying his best to stop his heart from beating so fast. Mark walked over to the freezer and rummaged through the mess before pulling out a bag of frozen peas. He weighed it in his hands and held it up to his face before making his way back over to Johnny, pushing it into his chest.

“What the fuck is going on?” Johnny breathed, holding the bag up against his forehead. It made him feel a little better but ultimately did nothing to calm down the heat blossoming from deep, deep down inside of him.

“You’re in rut,” Mark answered, sighing. He cursed quietly underneath his breath before shaking his head.

Johnny had heard about ruts. He had been around Mark when the younger had experienced his first one. Mark was aggressive and even more irritable than usual and ultimately had to be taken home for everyone’s (including his own) safety. He wondered if mark had felt this fucking horrible. He didn’t remember much about that day other than the fact that Mark had called him a series of insults in which he immediately apologized for the following week when he came back to school. Maybe it was different for each person.

“Is there any reason why I feel like there’s a volcano erupting inside of me?” Johnny groaned, forcing the bag harder against his skin.

“It’s that fucking Taeyong,” Mark muttered, looking through the freezer again. He took out an ice tray and shut the door before opening the cabinet from above him. It didn’t take him long to find a ziplock bag, in which he opened and moved to start breaking the ice cubes out of the tray, dropping them down into the bag. 

“What do you mean?” Johnny asked.

“You’re supposedly his true mate, right?” Mark questioned and Johnny nodded. He zipped up the bag once full and handed it over to Johnny before moving to fill the tray back up. “And you hit him but he didn’t bite back?” Johnny nodded again, slipping the bag of ice down his shirt to sit against his chest. “Well, the two of you still aren’t completely mated. Whoever the fuck this Yuta guy is, he completely forgot to mention that.”

Johnny frowned at that. He and Taeyong weren’t complete mated? If that were true, how come it felt like they were? How come his body was currently aching to go bounding up those stairs and snatch Taeyong out from wherever he was to bury his face in his pale neck and inhale as much as that gorgeous fruit smell as he possibly could? If they weren’t mated, did that mean that Johnny had been just making this up the whole time?

“We’re not mated?” Johnny countered and Mark was quick to shake his head in disagreement.

“You are,” Mark explained. “It’s just not finished. You have the bigger impact since you’re the Alpha but the bond still needs to be completed by Taeyong biting you back. Your rut is gonna feel about ten times worse because you’re halfway mated. That’s, like, the most painful rut after not having a mate at all.”

That was good, right? That meant that him and Taeyong technically weren’t bonded for life. They still had some kind of connection and a particularly strong one considering that even Yuta couldn’t break it but still. There was hope that the two of them had some kind of a chance at separating, especially when Taeyong seemed to be so against the idea of ever being with him.

“Good thing we’re not technically mated then, right?” Johnny muttered dryly, huffing out a frustrated breath at how fucking shitty he felt. Jesus.

“I mean, it’s good for the future but as for right now?” Mark started, scoffing a little as he started to look through his cabinets again for something Johnny didn’t care enough to question about. “You’re gonna fucking wish that the bastard had bitten you.”

With that, Johnny groaned and dropped his head back against the cabinet behind him, feeling the heat spread through his body like an uncontrollable fire.