They get into a fight.
The first fight since they were 18 and 28 respectively.
Junho hit Inho.
It’s the first time that he’s ever retaliated.
Inho had tried to stop Junho from seeking out another woman for companionship. Telling him that women were distracting him from the games.
Junho had told him everything was under control. It isn’t like it isn’t. Junho isn’t stupid. He doesn’t know why Inho thinks he is.
When Inho pulled him, Junho scowled and pulled away. Only to slap Inho across the face then push him away.
Junho had glared at him, “I get that you don’t want to satisfy your needs, but I do. And they aren’t going to be satisfied by watching people getting killed.”
Inho stood silent, watching only.
“So, I suggest you back off, unless you want me to sabotage your little stupid games. Or what, are you going to threaten to kill me again?”
Then he walked off, calling for his driver.
Giving him the same location he used once a month, but this time making it twice. Junho gets that maybe Inho doesn’t need to get his dick sucked or wet, but he does. Junho might not be a teenager but he’s a human.
And humans have needs.
Guards Twelve and Twenty-four follow him, then he glares at them.
“Stay in the car.”
He walks into the hotel, not needing to stop anywhere. He got used to the routine quickly, which Inho told him was probably bad.
Stepping into the elevator, he rolls his neck before pushing the button. He feels antsy but as soon as he gets off the elevator, he knows some of his stress is going to go away. Inho may not understand it but at the same time, maybe Inho has his own way of dealing with stress.
When the doors open, Junho begins to unbutton his shirt. The end of the hallway waits with a door, and Junho smiles.
He stopped seeing that way a long time ago.
A normal person would have called the cops.
But the women he deals with, smile at him with fake red lips. And the ones that don’t—Inho silences them. Even if the elder tells him no, he still takes care of him.
The red smile greets him, already dressed in nothing but black threads.
Entering the room, Junho takes a final look in the hallway.
No one’s following.
Inho might have given up in shielding him.
Closing the door, he sighs as he looks at the red smile.
He’s climaxed twice already. But he still doesn’t have the itch in the back of his mind going away. Reaching down, he grunts as she tries to pull away. He stands, fixes his pants, then reaches down.
Then he pulls her up, looking at her, “Do you know how much money I waste on you for you to try and not do your job?”
She frowns before wiping her mouth, “You ought to at least act nice.”
Junho raises an eyebrow, then huffs, “Nice?”
She screams when Junho pushes on the bed, straddling her, “You do what I say because I pay you. If I want to act nice or not, is up to me.” She tries to fight against him, but Junho overpowers her.
He slaps her over and over, he doesn’t even feel bad anymore.
The first time sure.
“If you’re not going to act for what I’m paying you for, then what good are you?”
He pulls at her hair, looking into her eyes, “You had been good, then you had to open your mouth for the wrong reason.”
The itch begins to go away as he wraps his hands around her throat.
She hits at his arm, tries to speak and that’s what satisfies him so much. He’d kill her if he could, but then his money would go to waste even more.
Pulling away, he sighs before beginning to fix the belt and tucks his shirt in.
She coughs, crying and telling him that she’s no longer interested.
He grabs his blazer, gives her the side-eye, the shrugs, “Neither am I.”
He walks out.
Closes the door and stops.
Inho leans against the wall, head tilted up as he lets the smoke in his mouth air out. He taps the bar of poison before turning to look at his brother.
Blowing smoke out once more, he licks his lips before reaching onto underneath his blazer. Junho curses softly as the elder’s hand comes out.
“You forgot this.”
The black gun that belongs to him comes out, and Junho clenches his jaw, “I figured.” He walks close, taking the gun. Inho takes his hand back, “Throw your stupid tantrums, but make sure you’re always prepared, idiot.”
Junho grunts as the object is shoved into his chest.
“Clean your mess up, you’re lucky there’s no one else on this floor.” He takes another puff, “Quickly, two VIPS are requesting an immediate meeting.”
Junho turns around.
He presses the card in the slider, then steps in.
Inho tilts his head back up again, he takes a long puff.
As the smoke leaves his nostrils, he hears the woman scream. Beg for her life, and then the last sound she’ll ever hear.
Junho’s getting skilled, it only takes one shot.
When he steps back out, Inho sighs, “You’re sure one shot did it?”
“Yes, it was on her forehead.”
Setting the butt of the cigarette in his pocket, Inho nods for him to follow into the elevator. They make it down ten floors once more and Twelve and Twenty-four are waiting for the two.
Although, there’s a new mark across Twenty-four’s face. Even though they’re wearing the usual black masks. Junho can see the bruise starting from his temple to the rest of his face.
The same place Junho had hit his brother.
Twelve, as the elder guard, speaks to Inho while Twenty-four stands behind Junho.
They make it to the car.
Inho looks at the two guards, “The cleanup crew has been called, make sure it goes smoothly.” They bow and then close the door.
Inho tells the driver to take them home.
A newly purchased mansion on the outskirts of town.
The condominium is used when the games are on, and they need to be closer to leave for the island.
Junho is about to sit next to his brother, when the elder stops him, “You reek of her.” He sets his phone down onto his lap, “Secondly, this is more than enough times. Have you lost your damn mind?”
Inho sighs, rubbing his forehead before blinking at Junho, “In less than three months, you’ve made six people disappear.” The younger swallows as he looks away, he hadn’t noticed the number of people, rather the reasons why they got a bullet between their eyes.
“It’s getting difficult to clean your messes.”
Junho doesn’t say anything as the cellphone echoes.
“Hello? Yes. Of course.”
Junho swallows as Inho taps the phone, “See that? I just did your job; two VIPs are calling an emergency meeting because their situation has changed.” Inho glares at him, “I let you have distractions to release stress as you say, but they are what they are. Distractions.”
Junho purses his lips, “What—”
“You left the phone behind; you left your gun behind. And then I’m told that you told the guards to stay away?”
He can’t say anything.
Inho exhales, “We’re discussing this when we get home.”
The meeting goes—
Well, Junho doesn’t know.
The two VIPs needed to drop out from the games due to being “attacked” by the government. No longer could they sponsor and attend the games.
Inho had looked at the screen through his mask. Junho had explained to them that due to their contracts having a fingerprint on them, could not be voided.
Then they began to get cursed at.
Then threatened that everything would be exposed.
Junho ended the meeting by telling them good luck with their own games. Trained men would be sent to their locations.
VIPs are anonymous to each other.
But not to Inho and Junho.
After the camera and computer are turned off, Inho discards the mask and leaves the room. Junho is left making the plan to silence the VIPs. He makes two different outlines, trying to figure out what the best way to end the two can be.
He can’t make it too messy.
But he can’t make it seem like they took their own lives, either.
And he has to silence them in the next 36 hours.
Closing the book, he rubs his eyes before leaving the room. He has the outline; he’ll just flip a coin after getting something to eat.
He’s on the edge of the last stair when he sees Inho talking on the phone. It irks him.
Why does Inho have a smile on his face?
Inho whispers into the phone then hangs up.
“Did you finish?”
Inho nods, “Good.”
Junho raises an eyebrow, “Who was on the phone?”
Inho tilts his head, “Ilnam’s son. Apparently, he’s on his way to the L. A to visit his daughter.” Junho hums, stepping off the stairs, “I see.”
If it had been someone else—
Junho shakes his head, “I’m hungry. Do we have leftovers or anything?” Inho shakes his head, “Nothing prepared, and we still need to go grocery shopping and restock.” He looks to the hallway that hides the kitchen, “I’m sure if we call Chef Min, he can bring his own ingredients.”
The chef comes, disappears into the kitchen.
Junho takes the chance to flip the coin on the coffee table.
It lands head.
He’ll get rid of the VIPs by staging a kidnapping by a cartel, it is. Leaning back on the couch, he sighs as Inho returns from talking with the chef.
“What are you doing?”
Inho tilts his head at the younger flipping the coin in his hands.
“Hm? Nothing, I found a coin.”
Junho smiles before setting it down, “Anyways, I sent the crew to do the job. They’ll be silenced soon enough, and since we already got the sponsor money, no problems should arise.”
Silence grows, and so Junho looks at Inho closely.
Inho looks at him as he fills a glass with ice, “What is it?”
Inhaling through his nose, Junho sits on the edge of the couch, “Do you—do you not have sexual desires? I never see you with a companion of sorts.” He blinks, “And you know if you’re into men, that’s okay too. It never hurts to experiment.”
Inho takes a sip of his whiskey, “I do have companionship. Just not the same as yours.” He sits on the couch across from his brother, “I have sex and then leave.”
“Just plain sex? Nothing exciting?”
Inho clenches his jaw, “Junho, your preferences are dangerous, and I do not approve of them. However, with Dr. Kim being gone, and you unwilling to go to therapy,” he sighs as he looks at the glass of whiskey, “I’m letting you do it so you can stop throwing tantrums.”
But Inho knows better.
“However, you’re still throwing them, therefore you’re not going to get another escort, prostitute, or any type of companion.”
“Being violent during sex can be a fetish, Junho. But the way you’re taking things is going to another territory that worries me.” Inho raises an eyebrow, “Or is it that you want to get us caught?”
Junho shakes, “No, but hyung…you can’t just—”
The elder tilts his head, “Can’t what?”
Junho shakes his head, “I understand.”
They stay in silence until the chef calls them.
Getting his frustrations out is getting messier.
First, it was being violent during sex or forcing his companions to do things one would never do.
Whatever guard breaks protocol—Inho sends them to him. They’d made a deal. Whenever Junho gets that itch, he’d let Inho know.
Junho’d be patient until he had to report and tell Inho that he was getting near to scratching it on himself. Then Inho would let the younger return to inflicting pain on his skin, if it didn’t go away, then Inho promised him to send any person that had ever crossed them.
The problem is—
Inho had never thought that his baby brother, his reason to live would turn to be a cold killer.
Sure, Inho is one.
But—watching as Junho tortures, insults, and torments his victims. Inho feels as though they’re substitutes.
Taking his place under Junho’s wrath.
Blood is everywhere.
Matter spread all over the concrete floor.
Inho watches through the cameras how Junho steps away. One of the pink guards who are in the middle of training gives him a towel and all.
If it hadn’t been that the people had broken rules, then Inho would have felt bad.
He knows Ilnam would have put a stop to these behaviors. Even if the old man laughed at people dying, he knows he would have never approved of Junho abusing his power like this.
Inho also knows that he can’t have a guilty conscience.
The guards broke rules or tried to have an advantage compared to their other coworkers. And the people who crossed him or Junho—well, they broke the rules of society.
Inho had told himself that he’d never go after normal citizens.
But when they look at him or Junho, try to start fights, or make fun of his brother like children—well what can an older brother do?
Besides, punish them.
Turning the monitor off, Inho shakes his head before rubbing his temples, “If stress doesn’t kill me— if that doesn’t then I will. If I don’t, Junho will.”
He moves away from his desk to the alcohol bar. He serves himself a shot of vodka, downing it quickly. The burn doesn’t faze him anymore, but it still does the job.
He chokes on the second shot when the door to the office busts open.
“Junho, what the fuck?”
The younger smiles, “Hello.”
Wiping his mouth, Inho sighs, “You’re nearly 30, stop acting like a child.” The other shrugs, walking over to fill a cup of whiskey, sans ice. Inho sighs, refilling the spilled alcohol, “Did you finish the guardsmen training?”
Junho downs the drink before he nods, “Of course. They’re all completed, and they’re currently starting the preparation for the VIP sleeping quarters.”
Inho nods, “Good. Everything is going to plan. No setbacks?”
Inho is about to return to his desk when he grunts in pain.
“Jun—Junho, you already…” He clenches his teeth as the younger digs his nails into his arm. Looking at him, Inho swallows, “Enough.”
Junho peels his hand away, looking at the tiny blood marks on his brother’s skin, “I’m still itching.” He bites his lip but brings his hands together in front of him, “Can’t I just keep doing it on you?”
Inho smears the blood in an attempt to clean it.
“No, Junho. Even I need to recover.” He sighs, moving in the search for tissues or something, “Just like you need to recover, I do too. So, if you keep reopening or making new wounds, then can you continue doing it on me?”
Junho sighs, refilling his glass.
“Also, there are no more subjects for you, so that itch of yours needs to go away.” Inho looks at him as he finds alcohol pads, “I’m starting to think that you don’t have an itch,” he watches as Junho freezes, then sets the glass down.
“You’re not pretending, are you? I’d hate to take every single outlet away from you because you’re abusing power once more.”
He’s a bit surprised.
Junho rushes over, falls to his knees, and begs for him not to.
The elder would have never thought he’d do something like this. It’s a bit funny, but it’s also worrying. He realizes—he’d given way too much into his baby brother.
“Hwang Junho! Enough!”
He scowls, “I’ve had enough of your tantrums, stop acting like a child, or so help me, I will treat you like a child, and punish you every single fucking time you do so.” He grabs the hands around his waist and lets Junho fall against his back.
The alcohol stings at his skin but Inho stays silent.
“You can’t do that! Hyung, you promised you’d let me get my—”
“What good is it for you? You’ve been throwing more tantrums than before.” Inho peers down, “You’re on an official time out, Junho. You’re going to talk to another therapist, you hear me?”
He huffs, “Now stand up.”
Junho follows the order.
Wipes his face and swallows his pride down.
Inho sits behind his desk, rummaging for gauzes. He finds the last one, cursing at how he has to get more medical supplies for himself. In the years he had been returning to the island, he’d never used all of the supplies this quickly.
Pressing the gauze down, he tapes the medical tape and half-assed puts it around his wrist.
Looking over, he raises an eyebrow, “You don’t have anything else to do?”
“No, I finished everything for today’s plan.”
Inho hums, looking down at his desk, reopening his laptop.
“Go home then.”
Junho sighs, “I’ll wait for you.”
Inho doesn’t respond.
He finishes the responding emails, closes the browsers that protect everything, and keeps him anonymous.
Looking over, he sees Junho tossing on the couch as he plays something on his phone. Shaking his head, he packs everything he needs to keep safe into his briefcase. He double-checks things then stands, “Let’s go.”
Junho yawns, grabbing his coat and bag.
Both of them walk down the long, dark hallways and corridors before they enter the cave. They climb the stairs and over the edge of the hidden opening.
They walk two miles before they get to the boat waiting for them.
Junho follows Inho down the yacht’s hallways into a private suite. Inho hides their briefcases into a safe. The elder moves on to discard his coat and lays on the bed. The lack of sleep begins to become prominent on the elder’s face.
Junho lays next to him.
Head on his chest, arms around his waist, “Hyung?”
Junho swallows, “I’m sorry.”
Inho hums, tapping his hand before speaking softly, “Mind your ways, Junho. Take the time you’re on time out to reflect on yourself.” Junho nods, leaning up and pressing a kiss against the other’s chin.
Inho hums once more before he softly says that he’s going to sleep.
Once Junho knows the elder is fully asleep, Junho quietly leaves the quarters. He walks up, peering out at the water as they go by.
Grabbing the ledge, he closes his eyes and takes the smell of the seawater. When he reopens his eyes, he swallows as he watches a ghost of him falling from a cliff.
He gasps, gripping onto the ledge and trying to breathe.
It hits him at once.
Remembering how Inho had shot him, leaving him for dead.
Exhaling, Junho gags.
Then he leans over the railing and throws his inside out to the water. Twelve rushes over to him, asking if he’s okay.
“I’m fine, I’m fine.”
He coughs, then he looks up as Twenty-four gives him a cup of water. Junho gives in and reaches up. He has to stand by himself since no one is allowed to touch him.
Twelve tells him to return to the room and sleep. Reminds him that he gets seasick, and it isn’t safe for him to be out and about. Then follows him to make sure he does what he’s told.
“Do you ever get tired of following me? It gets quite annoying you know.”
They enter a different cabin, Junho wants to be alone.
“Sir, I’m just following orders.”
Junho hums, “I’m sure you get tired of it.”
Twelve doesn’t respond.
Junho decides to get his mind off things.
Walking closer to the guard, he reaches up. The other freezes then brings his hands against his boss’s hand. Junho grunts, ripping the face mask off.
Junho hums, “What’s your name?”
Junho chuckles, patting his face, “Birth name, silly. Might as well put a name to it. You see my face and know my name, it’s only fair I see yours and know your name too.”
The guard swallows, “Sir, I believe this is—”
“Against protocols, but my brother isn’t the only one that gives orders.”
Junho smiles, taking another sip of water.
“Oh Jihyun.” He sets the cup of water down, “It suits you, it’s a nice name.” Leaning back against the bed with his hands, he hums, “For some reason…I have a sense of familiarity.” Tilting his head, he looks at the unmasked male, “Are you and Twenty-four related?”
He’s struck a nerve, noticing the way Jihyun moves his hands behind his back. Junho smiles, “It’s okay, you can trust me, I’d figure, seeing as you’ve done a lot of dirty work for my brother and me.” The other male stays silent.
Junho shrugs, “I can always figure it out on my own.”
Twelve sighs resigned before speaking.
“As you are, he is also my younger brother.”
“Hm, and how did you two end up here together?”
Twelve swallows and Junho knows to end the conversation, “Alright, alright, you don’t have to tell me your sap story. But at least tell me his name too.”
“That’s also a lovely name.”
Twelve doesn’t say anything, looking straight ahead. Above Junho’s head. The boss huffs before rolling his eyes, “You know, hyungnim, you don’t have to look as though we’re going to kill one of you or both.” Junho smirks as he lays fully on the bed, “You’ve come far it seems, being raised to be silent guards. Just because I know your names now, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.”
It’s a horrible thing.
It’s a dangerous thing.
Junho is Inho’s shadow.
Junho has learned the ways of manipulations for his own gain.
Which is how he finds himself in bed, moaning, screaming as his beloved guard, Jihyun toys with his body. He claws at the others’ back, hissing as his spot is hit and he sees stars all over.
His fingers dig into the bedsheets underneath him.
“Hyung, hyung, hyung.”
The mantra leaves his lips as he climaxes.
Twelve sighs, leaning up and beginning to pull away. He doesn’t say much, never does. Junho sighs in satisfaction, legs still trembling.
He smiles to himself before reaching over to the nightstand for a cigarette. He moves carefully before reaching out to the other.
He reaches out, pulling Twelve closer to him once more. He sighs, placing the others’ hand on top of his hair, “Use me. Reciprocate it.”
He flicks the cigarette then blows the smoke out before leaning close. Pressing kisses on the toned stomach. Soft moans leave him.
The condom that had been used had been discarded, so he reaches down. He takes Twelve into his mouth, moans when the fingers grip onto his hair.
He’s craving it.
Twelve responds, pulling at the hair as Junho leans down once more.
He chokes then pulls back, “Like that.”
He enjoys the feeling.
When Twelve curses under his breath, he takes him down as best as he can. The climax comes and goes, Junho swallows the essence happily.
The cigarette is still burning.
Wiping his mouth, he smiles, giggles then leans up. With the last of strength on his thighs, he leans up, pressing a kiss against Twelve’s mouth.
He moans, then takes a puff of the cigarette.
“You’re finally getting braver. We’re getting somewhere.” He sighs, hugging the waist still in front of him, “Inho isn’t going to do anything you know.” Pressing a final kiss against the toned abs, he leans back and finishes the stick of poison.
Twelve reaches for the towel prepared beforehand, wrapping it around himself. Junho offers him a cigarette, which he declines, “Suit yourself.”
Junho reaches for his robe, stands, “Hyung, how much experience do you have?”
Twelve looks at him, “I’m not sure what you mean, sir?”
Twelve blinks, then turns to walk into the bathroom with him, “Does it matter?”
Junho shrugs, letting the conversation die, “I guess not.”
They shower, then Twelve leaves to get dressed.
Junho’s left alone to his thoughts. He thinks—Twelve still needs to be brave. Every time they finish, the elder leaves as soon as possible. It irritates Junho to no end, but he supposes the danger of Inho feeling his guard might be taking advantage of him still lingers.
He gets dressed in sweatpants and a loose cardigan.
When he slips into his house slippers, he walks downstairs into the kitchen. Grabs the pitcher of water out of the fridge.
He nearly screams when he closes the door, and he comes face to face with Inho.
“Shit, hyung. When did you get home?”
Inho blinks, “I just got home.” He watches as the younger moves to the island to pour himself a cup of water. He crosses his arms, “In time to see Twelve leaving your room barely dressed.”
Junho swallows two sips of water before setting the glass down, “Uh, yeah…about that.”
The elder raises an eyebrow, “I thought I told you that you weren’t allowed to have any type of relationship Hwang Junho.” He tilts his head to look up at the ceiling, laughing out of annoyment, “Here I thought I could trust you with one thing.”
Junho frowns, “Hyung, I’m a grown man! You can’t just tell me what to do!” He crosses his arms, “Just because you don’t want to do anything with anyone, doesn’t mean I have to either!”
“You were told to stay put and focus on the games and work, Junho. If you can’t do that, then I’ll strip you of everything.” Inho scowls, “I’ll send you back to that shitty, little apartment, with no fucking money, and no one.”
Junho shakes, “You—”
Inho raises an eyebrow, “I took you in. I can send you back. I’ve told you, Ilnam told you, this world is full of loneliness.” He shakes his head before turning around, “If it weren’t for the fact that Ilnam trained Twelve and Twenty-four, I would kill them with my own hand.”
Junho swallows once more.
Then Inho hurts him more.
“Or rather, I would have had you kill them to silence.”
Inho looks at Twelve.
The other would have been dead if looks could kill.
But Inho knows the other is just doing the job he has been given. He knows that Junho is using his power to get what he wants. Not that the two personal guards know that Junho’s been put on a “time out.”
“Explain yourself to me.”
Twelve tells him.
Gives details of what has been transpiring for the last three months.
Worse of it all, Inho’s stabbed in the heart.
In the soul.
“This is not my place,” Twelve starts, then looks at Inho with worry in his eyes.
“You’ve silenced Dr. Kim; however, I know it is out of my placement, but master Junho needs to seek help once more.” Inho hums, “For what? What is your reasoning?”
Twelve looks at the nameplate then inhales deeply before looking into Inho’s eyes.
“The young master said your name during intercourse.”
Inho freezes, gulps then scoffs.
Twelve looks down in shame, “He doesn’t remember it. I don’t say anything out of fear that he would retaliate.” He blinks then sighs, “I apologize for overstepping boundaries.”
Inho looks away then exhales, “You’re sure?”
Inho looks away, “You’re dismissed, you and Twenty-four, pack your things, leave the house. Take your vacation early. You’ll be called only if there’s an emergency.”
Twelve tries to argue, but the look Inho gives him makes him nod then leave the room.
Inho throws his head back, blinking away the tears threatening to leave him. He shakes his head, “No, no, no. Absolutely not.”
He leaves his office, runs into Twenty-four.
He looks away then rushes down to his bedroom.
Locks the door then rushes to the bathroom. The medicine cabinet he never uses is opened, nearly broken as he reaches into it.
“Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?”
He can barely read the yellow bottle, but he takes it.
He downs two pills dry before he holds himself against the edge of the sink. His palms hurt from how hard his pushing them down.
Closing his eyes, he sees the warning signs.
He knows he’s going to need to thank Twelve for letting him know the information later on. Inho thinks, maybe, he’ll release Twelve and Twenty-four and let them go somewhere else.
From both he and Junho.
They’re nearly replicas of them two.
He can’t have them suffer what he and Junho are suffering. Not that they haven’t already been traumatized.
But—Junho is becoming obsessed with Twelve.
Due to the wrong reasons.
And—he has a feeling that Junho has a plan to use Twenty-four sooner or later. He knows him, Inho trained him on how to use people like pawns.
Looking down, he looks at the scars he has. He leans back before picking at them. The relief—so that’s what Junho feels.
Shaking his head, he decides he can’t wallow in anguish.
He’s learned not to since he was young.
He goes back to his office, rummages through his desk, then looks down before grabbing a pen.
When he enters the living room, Twelve and Twenty-four are waiting for him. To have the final approval of dismissal. Junho is looking at the two with tears in his eyes.
Then he looks at Inho, “What,” he pretends he doesn’t know, “Are we going somewhere?”
Inho ignores him, opting to walk up to Twelve, “Here. Use this to do whatever you want.” He clears his throat, “I’ll give you a leave of a year. If after that you no longer want to return, I accept it. I’ll give you severance pay.”
Twenty-four looks at the check, eyes widened before he looks between the two brothers. He doesn’t say anything watching as Junho focuses on his own brother.
Inho nods, “Dismissed.”
Twelve bows, turning around, and grabbing the packed suitcases. Twenty-four bows for ten seconds then turns as well.
Then Junho becomes vulnerable.
Inho is surprised.
Twenty-four becomes worried about the reason they’re being dismissed.
And Twelve shakes his head.
“Did, did anything mean something to you?” Junho cries, looking at the back of Twelve’s head, “I—I gave myself to you.”
Inho sighs, “Hwang Junho, enough. His job is to be your bodyguard, nothing more, nothing less.” Junho shakes, pushing away and making his way to Twelve.
“You…for three months.” He shakes, gripping onto the other’s wrist, “Nothing?”
Twelve exhales, “I was only doing my job. Following orders.” He side-eyes his boss, “I figured you would know.” Twenty-four stays silent, opting to look at his feet.
Junho swallows, “So, the times I said I love you…”
Inho clears his throat, “Enough, Junho. They have been dismissed.”
Twelve rips his hand away, then looks at Twenty-four, “Let’s go.”
Junho is left in shambles.
And Inho as well.
Dr. Shin reminds him of Dr. Kim.
Though Junho has to say, having an older woman talk to him adds comfort. She reminds him of his sweet grandmother.
Inho doesn’t come into the office this time.
He’s sent alone.
It’s been two weeks, and he only sits silently. He doesn’t move unless he grabs his bottle of water. She speaks to him, pauses for a few seconds, then continues.
She’s a true professional.
But then, she piques his interest.
“Spending time away from your brother—”
Junho shakes his head, “No, I don’t want to.”
Dr. Shin sighs, “So you have been listening to me. That’s reassuring.” She taps at her notepad, then sits up, “Mr. Hwang, have you noticed the differences that have occurred since you and your brother no longer spend time hip to hip?”
Junho shakes his head, “I miss him, and he refuses to even look my way. Whenever I’m home, he locks himself in his office. Literally, locks the door.” He shifts, pouting before reaching for his bottle again.
“Tell me, Mr. Hwang, what is it that you feel about your older brother?”
Not for long.
“He’s my family. Brother. Idol. Comfort. I love him.”
She stops him.
“And when you say you love him,” she looks at him, “think about it carefully. Why do you love him?”
“Because he’s my brother. He saved me. He’s always looked out for me.”
Dr. Shin nods.
Lets him talk.
Then, he’s stopped again.
“Repeat that again.”
Junho sighs, leaning back and speaking.
“He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Every time he’s close to me, all of my fears disappear. I want to him be close to me.” He frowns, “Never want to leave his side either. It hurts whenever he’s looking at someone else.”
Again, he’s stopped.
He sighs, “What?”
“Repeat it again. Listen to yourself once more.”
What she says next, hits him in the guts.
“What you’re describing, is what lovers would say about one another. Not siblings. Not to the extent that you are going to.”
No, no, no.
All of a sudden he finds himself back in his bedroom
“Inho! Yes, yes, yes! Please! More!”
Inho takes over Twelve’s body. Face.
He gags, gripping onto his pants.
Dr. Shin nods in satisfaction before closing her portfolio. Junho shivers, looking at her. She nods, “It’s alright. You’ve addressed the problem; we’ll start working on dealing with it in a healthy way soon.” She grabs another bottle of water and sets it in front of him.
“I—I never…” he gags once more, and Dr. Shin pushes the small trash bin to him.
He releases his insides. His breakfast.
It takes a few more minutes to calm down.
Rinses his mouth with the water then spits out.
“How, how can I get rid of this?”
“Do not worry, we will work on this together.”
She gives him time to calm down. Reassures him that he will be okay.
Inho has his private sessions as well.
Except Dr. Shin knows his treatment is much easier than his brother’s. Inho had explicitly told her, he never once thought about his younger brother as anything more than a brother.
Sure, he’s possessive and overprotective.
Dr. Shin nods at him, tells him it’s normal after having gone through abuse. Nothing to worry about that, until she also acknowledged that it’s the same reason Junho’s obsession with his brother started.
“You need to ease on the overprotectiveness,” she sighs, tilting her head as she minds the type of people they are and what they are. But, she’s seen enough in her day, and seeing as she had to correct the man about not being a psychopath—
The money doesn’t even do anything to her anymore, she’s just doing her job.
“How, how can I do that?”
“I’ve read the previous diagnoses, and while I know that it is hard to accept. And of course, hard to cope with.” She leans forward and looks at him, speaking with a soft tone, “You cannot keep him blinded anymore, you cannot shield him. You’ve caused him to be exposed, you need to let him explore it as you did. As you have.”
Inho sighs, scratching at his wrist.
“Is it too late to get him out? Just—”
“Mr. Hwang,” Junho was right, Inho can see why she reminds both of them of their grandmother. She speaks to him in a soft tone, “You cannot take him away anymore, this world that you two are in, it’s dangerous, if you take him out, the trauma will get worse. He’ll feel betrayed, and that can spiral him into a deep depression, have a repetition of suicidal ideation.”
Inho is screwed.
He’s given another prescription for Prozac and Xanax. He gets it immediately, downs two of each pill in the car. He’s shaky, enough that the driver asks if he’s okay.
“Just get me home.”
When he gets home, he discards his coat. A maid takes it. Inho moves, slipping his shoes off then sliding into slippers before heading into the house.
Junho’s eating ice cream on the couch as he watches television.
He looks up, watches as Inho moves around the living room and to the kitchen. Inho feels like he’s about to pass about but he gets to the alcohol pantry.
Hands shake as he gets a glass and ice.
He nearly drops the scotch but he’s able to pour it into the glass. When he sets the bottle down, he jumps when he hears Junho call out for him.
Shakingly, he puts the glass down, “Yes? What is it?”
His hand shakes, so he reaches into his pocket, grabbing his pack of 120s. The lighter takes four times before it flames and he’s able to bring it up.
Junho sighs, “I’ve received confirmation that the game showrooms have been completed the construction phase.”
Inho nods, “Good. Good.”
He grabs the glass, then leaves through the side door of the kitchen.
The fresh air doesn’t help him.
He lets the smoke burn his insides instead.
He hears his brother move around the kitchen, but he doesn’t do anything besides inhale the stick of poison and drink the liquid poison.
He taps against the cigarette out of anxiety.
Junho walks out, a glass of scotch in his hand.
He leans against the railing, “We need to head to the island so you can see if the showrooms are to your liking.” Inho nods, taking a long puff, “Schedule it for as soon as possible. We need to meet with the salespeople too.”
He takes a sip, “Based on the budget, we can set it to be ₩50 billion this time around.” The cigarette runs out, so he stomps on the butt then downs the rest of the liquor. He exhales then walks back into the house.
He refills the glass, then heads to his office.
If the house cleaner doesn’t clean it up, he’ll do it later.
He feels something building inside of him and he looks around. Only to realize that he left his briefcase outside of his office.
“Why do you have more than me?”
Junho looks at him, rummaging through his briefcase. Inho knows he should scold the other, but he takes Dr. Shin’s advice.
Don’t treat him like a child.
“Junho, that’s my briefcase, not yours.” He walks over, taking the bag away, but he sees the bottles of pills standing on the counter. Junho looks at him, then points down, “That’s way more than I take.”
Inho shrugs, “I’m sure Dr. Shin knows what she’s doing.” Then he forces all of the pills back into the bag, haphazardly.
Before he’s able to walk out, there’s a hand on his wrist.
“Hyung, can we talk?”
“I can’t, Junho, I have to overlook—”
Junho digs his fingers into the covered wrist, “You’ve been saying that for days now.”
Inho swallows, relaxes his body, and gives in.
The first time in a while.
“What is it?”
Junho sighs, “Can’t we go back to being brothers? It’s been a while now. We both know that I’ve improved, and there’s nothing inappropriate in my head anymore!”
Inho nods, “That’s good, Junho. Hyung is proud of you.” Then he looks at the younger, “But the games are starting soon, and we can’t let distractions get to us.”
Junho lets go of his wrist, “We both know how the games are going to go, what is there to distract?”
Inho sighs, “You need to talk to Dr. Shin, talk to her about how you feel about the games too.” He looks way, “It’s the first time you’re—”
Junho lets go of his hand, “You’re doing that again,” he shakes his head, “I’m going to take a nap. Have someone wake me up for dinner.”
Inho watches as he walks out, softly speaking, “Make sure to take your medication, it’s almost three.” He gets no response.
He responds to some of the salespeople asking for certain redirections. Inho knows he should be ticked off about it. They should know what they’re doing.
But he’s already distracted by his own problems.
Shaking his head, he leans back in his seat, downs two more pills he shouldn’t, and relaxes. One of these days his body is going to give out from the medicine and alcohol concoction he’s picked the habit of doing.
Reaching back up, he scrolls down.
Inho sighs, he just doesn’t know whether of relief or disappointment.
Twelve sends an encrypted email.
He and Twenty-four decide not to return.
Thank him and Junho for letting them leave the lonely and dangerous world. But they offer that in dire circumstances, they are willing to do return if necessary.
He wishes that he and his brother could do the same.
He sends a response.
“Congratulations. Do not worry about anything. There will be no danger to you or twenty-four. Nor any future family, should you have any. If you need any further assistance in anything, reach out. You are always welcomed back; you are always considered to be part of the organization.”
He closes the laptop afterward.
He’s so tired.
The games have come back.
Inho sits on his bed, places the mask over his face then heads out.
He enters the security room and watches as pink guardsmen are at their stations. Walking to other places.
Junho is at the podium, the same, old, black mask on his face, as he looks at the giant screen projected across from them. Walking over, Inho steps on the floor, looking at images of five hundred players.
He’s surprised that that many players agreed.
But as he once was, despair makes people do crazy things.
With hands behind his back, he peers up when people begin to demand answers. He can’t help but roll his eyes.
With a nod at Junho, he walks out and makes his way to his theater room. It’s just the beginning, so there will be more exciting moments to come.
As he sits, he turns the monitor on.
Fill my heart with song and let me sing forevermore…
People are fighting already, he’s not surprised.
Junho joins him later on.
“How does it look?”
Inho hums, mask off so he can sip on liquid poison once more. He wonders for a brief second, if his liver fails, then who would come to his rescue.
Junho can’t do it.
He digresses, however.
Inho shrugs, “Good, I’m surprised this many people showed.”
The other sits next to him, “You were right, people are desperate for money. Or their own greed brings them here.”
Inho doesn’t say anything, just stops the little theater toy and music. He looks at the screen, “Gihun-ssi said he’d be interested in becoming a VIP.”
“Said he wanted to see how it went from the other side of the coin.”
Junho nods, “Maybe he’ll give up, on the whole, expose thing.”
Inho turns to him, “I told him that it’d be best he didn’t. Can’t have his daughter exposed so early. But then again, finding out his father was a sponsor, well…” He tries to speak more but he can’t.
Junho stops paying attention.
Then once again.
“Please! Let us go! My brother and I didn’t know it was going to be this way!”
Both Hwang brothers freeze as they watch the screen.
It hits too close to home.
Inho reaches down, trying to turn the monitor off.
He doesn’t want to think about it.
Please, please, please.
The remote is in Junho’s hand, who’s watching the monitor closely.
“Junho, turn it off.”
The younger exhales but doesn’t move.
Inho inches forward but he doesn’t get to his goal, forced.
“Stop doing that, you didn’t do it before, don’t do it now.”
Inho turns to his brother, brown eyes meeting brown eyes.
Junho looks at him, immediately frowning.
It hurts to say, it hurts to hear.
“Please, stop pretending to be noble.”
They watch as the brothers are killed, two shots at each heart.