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even if it's a road of thorns, we still run (together)

Chapter Text

The sound of pages flipping filled the quiet room. Kim Namjoon analyses the report his secretary Seokjin had just handed in, his badge that states ‘Captain’ shining brightly under the sunlight. He leans back into his chair, placing the report beside his laptop and prepares to type a summary.

 

The door to his office slams open, immediately disrupting the peaceful atmosphere and the sound of hurried footsteps quickly approach him. Namjoon looks up with an annoyed look on his face. “How many times do I have to tell you to kn-”

 

“We got a lead! The box killer.” Namjoon freezes at Jin’s words.

 

The box killer. A case of tremendous importance, one that spoke of a ruthless murderer who had claimed more than 10 lives — all murdered in the same manner and dismembered. The police were always one step too late, arriving at the crime scene only after all the dismembered body parts had been placed into a red box.

 

The scene was something Namjoon had examined with great interest when the first victim was discovered, but over time it got disturbing. He had always wondered how the killer did it, how the boxes always looked so perfect despite it being full of body parts. He never ceased to berate himself for thinking this way.

 

It had been a full year, with the murders always happening once or twice in a month, and despite the frequent occurrence, they have not secured any solid evidence or even gained a single clue to his identity.

 

Namjoon likes to think it’s not the police’s fault for not being able to find anything, rather it was just that the killer was too meticulous. Each body part was sliced cleanly and organized in the box prettily like it was on display at a museum. There was never any fingerprints or footprints found at the scene and the weapon was never found.

 

That is why when Jin mentioned a tip-off, he was taken by surprise.

 

Namjoon motions for Jin to continue. Jin takes a seat on the Captain’s desk, making the once neatly stacked papers on the table scatter messily. Namjoon would usually scold him for this but he was too distracted, so Jin happily took a seat. “Someone escaped,” he begins, lifting a hand to reveal a stack of documents he’d held. “A girl called Lee Minji attending SNU had a pocketknife hidden on her body, and don’t ask me why because I have no idea, but it saved her life. She stabbed the killer in the leg while he was distracted and ran away.” He hands Minji’s files over to Namjoon. “She’s under our protection now because we are afraid the killer might target her again to silence her.”

 

Namjoon studies the file for a moment before putting it in the drawer labelled ‘Important Documents’. “I’ll review it later. What did she reveal about the killer?”

 

“Not much, because she was busy trying to save her life… but she did mention a rose tattoo on his right hip, when he was tying her his shirt hitched up and she happened to see it.” Jin speaks slowly, letting Namjoon process the information. “The killer was wearing a mask, but his hair was dyed red. The most interesting part was the fact that she said he looked familiar just by seeing his hair and eyes, which she mentioned was mostly covered by his bangs.”

 

Namjoon clicks on an encrypted file and opens a list of details for all the victims of the Box Killer in the past year. As he scrolls down, he realizes he had made a crucial mistake. He chuckles drily.

 

Jin lifts an eyebrow questioningly, wondering what the hell Namjoon was on about. “I made a rookie mistake. No, even a rookie would be better than this. All his victims had been students from SNU, both male and female. I can’t believe all of us had not realized this sooner.” He runs a hand through his hair in disbelief.

 

However, Namjoon feels excitement course through his veins; the drought is finally ending. It had been too long since they last had any lead, so with this new revelation, they can finally start to work on this case seriously. “Don’t be too happy,” Jin taps Namjoon on the head gently with a bunch of papers he had rolled up earlier.

 

“The Chief is planning to hand this case over to the two at Level 7.”

 

Namjoon stares at Jin in bewilderment after hearing the news, his eyes growing unbelievably big. Everyone who was involved in the police department of the Seoul district knew who the two were. Not by their actual names, but code name V and JK. They were supposedly geniuses who graduated from SNU with honors at the age of 15 while juggling detective work on the side.

 

After they graduated, they immediately transferred and dedicated all their time to the police force, rejecting all the offers from various big companies. After a period, they were granted exclusivity to the top floor of the police building, the 7th level in light of the number and complexity of the cases they had solved.

 

Nowadays they rarely step out of their office unless faced with a task of tremendous importance and most people don’t know who the two are as they barely get to see them. To say Namjoon was shocked is an understatement.

 

“I guess we don’t have anything to worry about then,” Namjoon says after he found his voice. “Details?”

 

Jin frowns as he tries to remember what he had overheard between the Chief and the two young detectives while passing by his office. “He said they will go undercover as students again for this case, until the killer is caught. We do have strong reasons to believe the killer is in SNU, thus the reason for the undercover.”

 

Namjoon scoots closer to Jin and leans in, “Do you think you can arrange a meeting with them for me?”

 

Namjoon could tell Jin is hesitant from the way he is biting his lip harshly, drawing blood. Namjoon notices he always does so when he was nervous. Once, Namjoon had told Jin to inform the victim’s parents that their son’s murderer had miraculously escaped from their crutches and Jin had been so afraid of being beaten up that he had blood pooling around the corners and underside of his mouth. Namjoon had thought he was drinking blood.

 

“You’re the one who wants to see them! Why should I be the one to go and ask?” Jin lifts an eyebrow.

 

Namjoon lets out a loud groan and buries his face into his hands. “I’m too busy to convince them! My pet dog just died and I’m in the middle of organizing his funeral. Let me mourn in peace.”

 

He looks up to see Jin shooting him an unimpressed look. “You don’t even have a dog.” Namjoon winces internally, forgetting that Jin had been in his apartment before.

 

“Please?”

 

Frowning, Jin kicks Namjoon out of the office before slamming the door in his face. “You’re not coming back here until you ask.”

 

Dazed, Namjoon presses the elevator button, eyes blinking rapidly as he tries to process the fact that Jin had kicked him out of his own office. He had always considered Jin as his closest subordinate and a miracle worker but now, he may have to reevaluate his decisions.

 

He steps into the elevator and presses 7. Usually each level would have a few offices and smaller working spaces as well as a lounge but level 7 is only a door which is why many people find it daunting. The elevator door slides open with a ‘ping’ and he nervously takes a few steps forward.

 

Namjoon gulps and knocks on the door softly. To his surprise, the door opens almost immediately.

 

A man with the cutest smile (Namjoon thought he looked like a bunny) and fluffy brown hair stares back at him and points to the doorbell beside the door. “There’s a doorbell, you didn’t have to knock. But we were expecting you anyway, so come in!” Namjoon smiles sheepishly in response and bows in greeting as he shuffles into the office.

 

Namjoon hangs his coat on the coat hanger by the door and looks around as he takes in his surroundings.

 

He feels like he’s intruding a couple’s love nest. Has the office building always felt so homely? It replicates a home, with the side being a study area and the center is a couch and television. Namjoon think he spotted some gaming consoles too. “Come, Tae is in the kitchen.” The man who Namjoon assumes is Jungkook drags him into the kitchen. He stares at their intertwined hands, relishing in the warmth of Jungkook’s hand before getting a hold of himself. He looks away, flushing greatly.

 

There’s a man cooking, wearing only an apron and nothing else. Namjoon chokes on his spit and cover Jungkook’s eyes immediately. Wait, what? He sputters and let go and proceeds to cover his own instead. How could he forget they’re rumored boyfriends? Jungkook laughs, his voice echoing around the ‘house’. “That’s Tae, he’s an eccentric human being.”

 

‘Tae’ turns at the sound of his name, eyes widening as he takes in the sight of a new guest. “You’re Namjoon, right? I’m Taehyung. I hope you don’t mind my slightly underdressed state. How do you like your eggs cooked?”

 

Namjoon blanks out for a moment. Of all the things he had been expecting Taehyung to say, the very first thing was his opinion on eggs? “Omelette...?”

 

Taehyung looks at him skeptically. “You sound unsure.” However, he still grabs an egg from the side and cracks it. Namjoon watches as he flips the egg expertly, and his eyes trail down to Taehyung’s bubble butt. A cough brings Namjoon back into reality and he blush from being caught staring.

 

“We knew you were coming. You’re the Chief’s nephew, and he was planning to have you work with us. Everything you say will be final.” The news leaves Namjoon pleasantly surprised. He never would’ve guessed his uncle thought that highly of him to completely hand over such an important case to him and have him work with the geniuses. He had overseen the case before this, but he still had to hand monthly reports to his uncle. Now, he has the final say.

 

“He never told me. But I’m glad to be working with the both of you,” Namjoon smiles sincerely. “You’re Jungkook and he’s Taehyung?” He points to the man cooking. Jungkook nods in response and he sighs in relief. Everyone knew that they were called JK and V in the police force, but no one knew their actual names. However, Namjoon had the files filled with their personal details and he was thankful he’d looked at them out of curiosity once and remembered how they looked like. Although they looked different now, he still managed to pinpoint one from the other.

 

Taehyung places a plate of omelette in front of the elder and gives him a spoon. He takes a seat directly opposite him and gestures to the plate. “Dig in.”

 

Namjoon takes a bite and moans inwardly. It’s too good to be true. Taehyung smiles at his reaction. “Can you help us? The application to SNU.”

 

He nods, “Do you have a laptop here?”

 

Jungkook gets up to retrieve his laptop from his room. He comes out a minute later and hands it over to Namjoon. “I know someone there so I can get you both in easily. Give me a second.”

 

Taehyung turns on a movie and watches it with Jungkook on the couch while waiting for Namjoon to finish the important business. “Frozen? Seriously?” Jungkook shoots him a look. Taehyung shrugs. Not his fault Jungkook had watched it thrice a day, for a whole week when it first came out and left him so sick of it, he’d threaten to burn the disc.

 

They reach the half mark of the movie where Olaf starts singing, and Jungkook was mouthing the lyrics while clapping his hands like a little child when Namjoon jumps up from his seat with a triumphant yell. It startles the both of them and Jungkook looks like he is about to cry from shock.

 

Namjoon makes his way over to them hastily and places the laptop on the coffee table so they could all see what was on it. “They had really limited vacancies, but I pulled some strings and they managed to give me two courses. I gave them your code names. Jungkook, you’ll be known as Jeon JK and you’re in the department of philosophy.”

 

Jungkook gapes as he looks at Namjoon. Taehyung snickers. “Wait, why didn’t you give that to Taehyung? That’s his course.”

 

Namjoon scratches his nape awkwardly, “I thought you looked like someone who’s philosophical, so I gave that to you.” His explanation makes Taehyung go into full-blown laughter mode. Jungkook glares at him.

 

“Taehyung, you’ll be known as Kim V and you’re in the department of architecture.” Taehyung immediately stops laughing as he looks at Namjoon with a bewildered expression.

 

Jungkook grins. “That was my course when we were still in SNU.” Namjoon looks at them both apologetically as Taehyung groans.

 

“What are the odds?” Namjoon says as he grabs his coat by the door and hangs it over his shoulder, preparing to leave. “Thank you for the time here, I’ll update you if I receive any new information.” He was about to step out but suddenly remembered something. “Your Kakao ID!”

 

They exchange it quickly, and taking their phones back, Namjoon says, “You know, you’re not as bad as the rumors make you out to be. In fact, you’re pretty nice.”

 

The couple frowns and look at each other. “Rumors?” They were not unfamiliar with rumors. Jungkook got caught in a ‘scandal’ in the last year of university with another girl and it caused a rift in their relationship for some time before Taehyung apologized and they got back together again.

 

Namjoon nods, “They say you’re scary and try to make everyone’s life a living hell.” He puts his shoes on and winks. “I’ll defend you, don’t worry.” He finds it endearing how the two averts their gaze, their faces red. They seem to be awkward with attention, although someone of their caliber shouldn’t be.

 

Namjoon closes the door gently behind him and gets a shock of his life as Jin appears in front of him, seemingly out of nowhere. He grasps at the doorknob in an attempt to save himself from falling pathetically, almost failing but manages to save himself in the last second. He feels his face burning as he stands up, brushing himself off. Jin looks amused at his tiny mishap, the corners of his mouth lifting slightly before he schools himself back into a neutral expression.

 

Namjoon gulps. “Why are you here?”

 

“I was looking for you. I figured you would be here,” Jin explains, and Namjoon notices the grip he had on the file in his hands tighten.

 

Namjoon motions for him to continue, not understanding where this is going.

 

A grim look settles on Jin’s face, and he speaks, “There’s been another murder.”