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He didn’t want to die on a train. 

 

That was the only distinct thought Lee Minho could grasp as the ringing in his ear and throbbing at the back of his head attempted to drown out the erratic gunshots sounding from all over him but failed, lingering only for a moment before he could hear every sound clear as day.

 

All three men with assault rifles in their hands laughed maniacally while they continued to shoot at the roof of the train. Dozens of people huddled into themselves, pressed in tight little corners of the moving death box and held on to what they could with fear written all over their faces.

 

The patent pain at the back of his head had him clutching that particular spot. His finger pressed against something liquid and warm and by the time he'd realized it was blood, he was already being grabbed by the hair as one of the buff hijackers and hoisted him to his feet.

 

His thoughts were jumbled and he felt a bit drowsy but he could recall asking desperately for his sister. 

 

"Ren," he could only manage to say in a gruff voice. "Where's Ren?"

 

He tried to look around for this person but could do nothing but blink rapidly as his assaulter held him in place, a gun pressed rather tightly to the back of his head.

 

"What about you, Chinese guy?" The man laughed. He looked to weigh around two hundred pounds in pure muscle and height and as he laughed, his body shook also, shaking the panic-stricken boy along with him. "What's your name? What do you think? Should we start we with the princesses over there or kill the driver first?" Then he turned to his friends and spoke in jest. "Can he even understand English? Does he know what we're saying? We want to kill you," he and his friends laughed again while he enunciated every word as if he were talking to an animal or a toddler.

 

The man whirled them around so suddenly and removed his gun from the boy's head only to aim it at about twelve people pressed tightly in another corner of the train, closer to the exit doors. The grip on the boy's head had gotten relatively tighter and he struggled to angle himself at a position that hurt less. The fact that the man kept laughing did nothing to help.

 

"I'm Korean," he grunted. "And my name is Lee Minho. I don’t know how your map works but you’re in Korea, not China.”

 

The man suddenly stopped laughing and turned his head slowly to look at the boy before turning around to look at his counterparts.

 

"Would you look at that," he smiled menacingly as he roughly shoved the boy unto his knees. "We've got a sharp mouth on us, haven't we boys? Impact is with your knowledge, Sensei."

 

“It’s just simple geography, really. That’s Japanese, by the way.” He really didn’t know what he was saying, only that he was stalling to give him enough time to spot his sister in the crowd.

 

Another gunman offered a lopsided grin. "Goddamn, we illiterate are just not on his level, are we?"

 

The assaulter chuckled and then he pressed the gun to the to the side of the hostages head and leaned in so close that Lee Minho could just about smell his awful breath. 

 

Then he said. "Chinese, Korean, you're all still nothing but Ching Chongs, Asian scum. And today, I'll show you — all of you! What we do to Asian scum," he clicked the gun and tickled his hand on the trigger.

 

Lee Minho's eyes screwed shut, in tune with the gasps of horror that bounced off every inch of the moving train. Minho could feel his heart in his throat and he was acutely aware of every sound. The passing scenery, the heavy breathing all around him and the nothingness that enveloped his brain. 

 

In his mind, there was nothing at all. Zero thoughts. All he knew was he was going to die at that moment and nothing else would matter.

 

"Please, stop!" A voice cried, startling Minho and causing his eyes to jerk open.

 

"Oh? And who is this brave little thing?" The assaulter asked with an amused smile.

 

"Ren," Minho whispered with wide eyes. "Ren, get back and close your eyes!"

 

"Please, sir," a busty girl who looked to be around fifteen fell to her knees and clasped her hands together in a begging motion. "Please spare my brother. If you have any heart inside of you, I beg you, please just let my brother go,"

 

It went quiet for a while and the man seemed to contemplate on this, his grip on the gun loosening for only a second before tightening again and once more, that sinister laugh.

 

"Aw, sibling love," he turned to his colleagues and they in turn laughed with him. "That's cute. This your brother? You love him a lot?"

 

"Ren," Minho warned.

 

The girl, Ren, nodded quickly. "With all of my heart, please, sir,"

 

The man, with his sweaty and matted blonde hair, smiled. "Well when you put it like that. . ."

 

Immediately, the train was submerged in screams of terror as people scrambled to get away from the warm crimson that quickly stained the train floors when Ren's body crumbled in a paralyzed heap, a gaping bullet hole right in the middle of her head.

 

The man pushed Minho forward so he fell to the ground and he raised the gun to the ceiling and once again fired one after the other.

 

"What did I say we do to Asian scum? All you snake eyed, every single one of you, scum of the Earth. You all disgust me. She had the guts to plead with me like we were equals, like we could see eye to eye. She asked me if I have a heart!" The man roared in laughter before abruptly stopping. "I lost mine a couple years ago. Do you know where it is? Do you? Guess we'll have to shoot each and every one of you until we find it,"

 

As if on cue, everyone scrambled in on themselves to get as far away from the insane man as possible. Meanwhile Lee Minho was oblivious to all of this madness as he crawled slowly to the lifeless body of his younger sister on the ground.

 

"Ren." He whispered brokenly as he cradled her weakly, warm blood staining his hands and adding more to the collection on his white pressed shirt and cargo pants. "Shin Ren, open your eyes, right now. I’m not fucking around. Come on, please. You can’t leave me here, not you too. Not you too, Ren."

 

His voice was barely above a whisper as he rocked his sister’s upper body in his hands, sitting inside of her blood in a moving train that was held hostage by four maniacs, one of which held the pilot at gun point and three of which gathered every single passenger in one compartment where they had to squeeze together and wonder who next was to die.

 

"Ren," he whispered over and again. "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, baby. Please forgive me," he brought her closer to his chest and rested his head on her chest as he sobbed.

 

"Let's start with Ching Chong over there," one of the three men said in jest, interrupting Minho and aiming his gun at the aggrieved boy's head.

 

"Get up, snake eyes. I want everyone to see when I blow your brains out of your monkey head," the first guy, and apparently the ring leader, said.

 

Minho paid no mind to his words and continued to rock his sister back and forth in his arms, muttering words of apologies with bloodshot eyes. 

 

The large guy walked closer and said. "Did you not hear me? Get the fuck up,"

 

The problem wasn't that he had walked too close, instead that he was close enough, giving Minho the liberty to swiftly and skillfully snatch the gun out of his hand while delivering a roundhouse kick to his lower body. It was evident no one, not even the hijackers, expected this as they all froze in shock for a particular moment.

 

But if there was anything Minho's mandatory two year service in the South Korean Army (and also the combat training he’d received from his father merely ten years into his life) had taught him, it was that moment of falter was just about enough time. 

 

The rage in his eyes were pertinent as he raised the gun and fired at the weapon wielding hand of one of the assaulters, causing his rifle to skid away from him the moment he fell to the floor and screamed, clutching the bruised limb where blood spurted like a shaken drink. The other man, with wide eyes, attempted to shoot at Minho but the boy had already released two bullets into each of his thighs by the time his fingers tickled the trigger.

 

On the floor, the buff man who had not been shot writhed but slowly attempted to stand, to which Minho turned around and delivered another kick to his head and another one right in between his legs. Panicked footsteps echoed as the last hijacker came running in to understand what was going on. However, before he could process the situation, he was already on the floor with two bullet holes right below his left rib.

 

Minho, with his crazed, red eyes, walked around the train and retrieved all of their guns, to which he emptied the magazines and kicked the bullets to the far end of the train where fear stricken people looked at him with wide eyes. 

 

With the fourth gunman unconscious, two others trying to suppress their bleeding holes and the ringleader attempting to come back to his senses, Minho's grip on the one gun he hadn't discarded tightened. He neared the man slowly and the buff guy, with each threatening step, attempted to crawl away.

 

To this, Minho grabbed a fistful of the man's hair and wasted no time in ramming his head repeatedly against the nearest pole in the train until the man's face was barely recognizable with all the blood that had disfigured it. He then flattened the man's hand on the ground and stepped on it with zero mercy until he heard a crunch and felt the man's bones give way under his heavy boots.

 

Ignoring the screams from not only the man he was assaulting but the passengers all around him, he grabbed a fistful of the hijacker’s hair again and forced him to stand so they could see eye to eye. A burly Caucasian man who towered over him in everything; height, weight, build. Yet, the man still trembled under Minho's stare.

 

"What's your name?" He asked quietly.

 

The man did not answer and instead decided to spit on Minho's cheek as a show of pride. Crimson blood mixed with saliva slithered down the boy's face of which he did not even bother to wipe.

 

Minho flashed him an amused smirk before proceeding to slam the man's head against the pole three more times until he was almost sure he heard a crack and the man staggered on his feet. He seemed completely out of it as he breathed heavily.

 

"What is your name?" Minho asked again, a certain forcefulness to his tone.

 

"Jason," the man wasted no time in replying this time around, his voice sounded rough and strained.

 

"Jason," Minho repeated. "That's an ugly name."

 

He cocked his head to the side as if contemplating something. Then he retrieved the gun from the back of his pants and clicked it into place before pressing it tightly against Jason's head. The bloodied man audibly swallowed and his eyes squeezed shut for a second before they reopened.

 

"You know, it doesn't matter at the end of the day. You kill me today, sure, big deal. There'll still be more of us coming for Asian scum such as yourself and we will not stop until every single one you returns to the dust beneath our feet, exactly where your kind belong," Jason breathed, baring his teeth like an untamed animal.

 

Minho nodded. "I know." He said. "I guess, Jason, I guess we'll just have to use you as a scapegoat to show you and your army of crackers just what happens when you mess with Asian scum such as myself,"

 

Then almost as suddenly as he had spoken, Minho whirled them around so Jason backed his wounded friends on the left side of the train and then he kicked his shin so his legs gave out and he fell to his knees, crouching, himself, to the same position.

 

"Look me in the eye," he commanded.

 

Jason refused to oblige and so Minho was forced to roughly grab his chin and hold his head in place. Brown eyes met forest green ones and Minho offered a half smile.

 

"When you get to hell and the devil asks how you died. . .don't be afraid to tell him you were killed by a lowlife, worthless, useless Ching Chong," 

 

And then he pulled the trigger, three times to Jason's head, literally blowing his brains out.

 

He ignored the screams and gasps of everybody as he walked past the frightened passengers, bloody all over and with clumps of blonde hair clutched in his hand. He passed through numerous doors before he finally made it to the captains wing and he stared at the frightened pilot who looked at him with wide eyes, as if he had seen a ghost.

 

"Stop the train at the next transit," he simply said before leaving.

 

Twenty minutes later, the train came to a halt and no one attempted to get down or get in his way as Minho gathered his sister into his arms and began walking towards the exit. For reasons he could not explain himself, he shot all three surviving gunmen below the ribs once again, each. Maybe it was so they wouldn't hurt anyone anymore or because he thought they deserved to bleed out in pain before death. Either way, no one attempted to stop the bloody man who held a lifeless girl in his arms. He tossed the gun below the train into the tracks and walked slowly out of the subway into the open.

 

Once he had gotten into the busy streets of Seoul, Minho retrieved his phone and dialed 119, the emergency number, sitting on the sidewalk as he waited for the police and ambulance to arrive after he had reported the death of his sister and the train hijacking.

 

He just sat there, a cold, lifeless Shin Ren in his arms while he stroked her soft brown hair over and again, once again a dark nothingness plaguing his mind. 

 

Suddenly, she stirred. His sister. And almost as suddenly, her eyes flew open in tune with Minho's eyes and mouth widening.

 

"Ren. . ." He whispered.

 

"Why didn't you save me, brother?" The girl spoke as if she was gasping for air. "Why didn't you do anything? You just sat there and watched me die,"

 

"No, Ren, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, I didn't mean—” he tried to explain.

 

"Why did you let me die? Why did you let me die? Why did you let me die?" His sister repeated over and again, getting louder with each time. He could hear the sound of bones cracking as she slowly rose.

 

"Ren, please I—”

 

"It should have been you!" She cried out as she lunged at him.

 

Minho awoke with a start, eyes wide and chest rising and falling rapidly. His vision was a little blurry but when it'd settled he could see the face of his roommate come into view.

 

Bang Chan, his roommate and friend, hovered over him worriedly. "Having that dream again?"

 

Minho took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Yeah,"

 

Chan sighed. "Okay, well you should come down for breakfast. I made your favorite,"

 

Minho nodded and slowly began to rouse from his bed. "Alright, I'll be down in a minute. Thanks, Chan."

 

With a pat on the back, Chan excused himself from Minho's room. "Hurry or it'll get cold!" He sang as he returned downstairs.

 

Minho closed his eyes with a heavy sigh before he forced himself out to bed and into his bathroom to go about his daily business sluggishly. As he brushed his teeth and tried to smoothen down his hair, he noticed just how bloodshot and droopy his eyes looked. He had not been getting the best sleep lately or ever but he consoled himself with the fact that there was nothing he could do about it.

 

By the time he'd thrown on a shirt (because he always slept shirtless), and made his way downstairs, Chan was already placing breakfast on the little glass table they had in the middle of their living room. None of them really liked to use the dining in the kitchen, preferring to watch some TV as they ate.

 

The news was on when Minho had sat down next to Chan who handed him a plate. He thanked the older man (it was a year age difference) and focused his attention on the female anchor who was delivering the headlines.

 

"And so the continuous hate crime against Asians in western continents such as America and Europe is slowly rising to an alarming rate. Just yesterday, three Asian high school students were murdered in Texas, America for no apparent reason. The gunman is yet to be identified and the police is still looking into the matter. As of two hours ago, they claim that the investigation is going-"

 

Minho turned off the television without saying anything and went back to his half finished food. He felt Chan's worried eyes on him but did nothing to acknowledge it. Soon he had finished his food and rose to place his dish in the sink where he would wash it once he was back from work. It was his turn, anyway. He thanked Chan for breakfast and retreated into his room to get ready.

 

Once he'd come down, Chan had not even gotten dressed.

 

"You know, you should hurry if you don't want to be late," he told the larger boy as he knotted his tie into place.

 

"Meh, I'm sure Nayeon will live if I arrive only a few minutes behind," he walked over to Minho and smoothened the creases on his dark blue suit. "You've got everything you need?"

 

"Yeah. Car keys, wallet, sanity. That's about it," 

 

Chan cracked a smile. "You say that but I'm not sure with you sometimes. You know what to do right? Call me-"

 

"If I feel the slightest bit not okay, yeah I know, Chan. You say this everyday," Minho sighed and cupped his friend's face in his palm. "I'll be fine, really. It's just work. You need to relax. Now, I gotta go so you better go get ready before Nayeon actually fires you this time,"

 

"As if. She's all talk," Chan laughed and moved back a little. "Have a nice day at work, CEO,"

 

Minho turned and smiled at the larger man. He appeared imposing with all of his muscle, wide shoulders, blonde hair, tattoos and piercings but it was all for show because he was just about the softest person Minho knew.

 

"Nice and work in the same sentence? Don't make me sick," Minho smiled and closed the door behind him as he left their house.

 

When they'd paid for the 2.3 million dollar house, the number one goal was solitude, aloneness and privacy. Thus, Minho had to leave his house at around six thirty every morning in order to make it to the other side of the city where the headquarters of his tech company was located.

 

It was always a hassle but coming home to peace and quiet usually made it all worth it.

 

As he drove to work, his mind couldn't help but linger on the dream. . . Or memory that he had, as it always did. Half of it was, actually a real life occurrence. His little sister had been dead for five years and counting but she never did wake up to say those things to him, his therapist said it was his guilt mixed with the PTSD of his service.

 

Minho went into the army to serve his country at the ripened age of eighteen and there, well he saw many things there. Things that he had nightmares about. Things that would not leave his head.

 

He shook his head as he stopped at a red light and he instead diverted his thoughts to Chan, as his therapist usually said he should do when he felt the negativity cloud his brain. His therapist always said he should think of something positive and Chan was the only source of that in his life.

 

He wondered about just how mad Nayeon, Chan's girlfriend would be, or pretend to be, when he came in late as always. They co-owned a number of tattoo parlors which had extended all over Asia, Europe, America and Africa, alike with their headquarters here in Seoul, their hometown. They had made quite the name for themselves as they only tattooed people of high status in the world. Even then, their bookings never seemed to slow down as they always had an appointment every minute of everyday. 

 

Nayeon, Chan's girlfriend of four years, would always complain about how he came late and neglected the business but anyone could see Chan loved their little enterprise just as much as she did, and maybe even a little more. He was just a little lazy sometimes.

 

Eventually, Minho made it into his workplace and his assistant, Hwang Hyunjin, greeted him with a bright smile at the door, proceeding almost immediately to tell him about his schedule for the day.

 

He sighed as he thought about the long day ahead of him but at the same time, he was grateful for the distraction. At least then, he wouldn't have to dwell on the thoughts plaguing his head.

 

Thoughts of a particular train hijacked by four insane white men who flew in from their country to commit a hate crime which might as well have been tagged a terrorist attack with what they had in mind; to kill every single person on that train.

 

A hate crime which he'd managed to stop. A hate crime with only one tragedy; his younger step sister, Shin Ren. A tragedy which still plagued him even five years later. A hate crime which he'd vowed, against all odds, to get revenge for. 

 

It was the beginning of something sinister.

 

-

 

There was something seductive about her skin. Jisung didn’t know whether it was the soft sheen of sweat that seemed to make it glow or the way it seemed to breathe on it own, simply exist out of her body. His fingers roamed the entirety of her and her hands tried hard to grasp something, anything that could level her form and give her some semblance of control.

 

They moved at a synchronized pace, the words leaving his mouth he could barely register but he knew she liked them because she was getting louder, wilder.

 

Her skin. 

 

It was so overwhelmingly gorgeous. He yearned to have it closer — he pushed deeper inside her and she gasped softly, almost a forgotten sound. She begged for more, frantically, almost like it was the last thing she needed, the one thing she wanted most.

 

“Please. . .please!” 

 

She kept begging and he didn’t know exactly what she was asking for but he went faster. The longer she begged, the faster he went. Faster. . .faster. . .faster!

 

Until.

 

They merged. For a second after, he almost felt like he was one with her — they were the same being. And then he collapsed on top of her so that the only sound to fill the large room was their heavy breathing.

 

“Jisung.” She breathed with a smile. “How do you manage to make every time feel like the first.”

 

He turned to her and studied her side profile for a minute before returning his gaze to the ceiling. “I’m not here for compliments, Dana. Where is it?”

 

“Third drawer on the left. Red box.” She panted then sat up as she watched him follow her directions. “You’re really such a rare one, it’ll be a shame to do this only on business, don’t you think? How about same time next week.”

 

“I don’t fuck a client off the job. You would know that if you read my terms.” He replied absently as he retrieved the item from the drawer; an intricately designed ruby rose gold box not bigger than a ring box.

 

Dana got up from the bed and allowed the bedsheet formerly draped over her to fall to the ground revealing a slender, chocolate skinned body that was aware of its seductiveness. She walked over to Jisung who stood examining the box and hugged him from behind, running her hand over his bare chest. She did this every time they had business oriented sex.

 

“Oh, I read them, Han.” She whispered into his ears before biting his lobes softly. “But I was hoping I could change your mind.” 

 

Jisung sighed and turned around to grab her hands over her head and pin her on the closest wall. 

 

“You need to understand I mean no when I say it and we both know it’s business, not pleasure.” He said lowly, looking sharply into sapphire eyes the work of expensive contacts.

 

“It could be both.” She whispered with alluringly wide eyes. “You just need to let yourself have this, Han; me. I’m here, all ready for you.”

 

She began to smile as for a second she could see him hesitate, his resolve faltering for only a little bit before they locked back in place.

 

“As much as I’d hate to turn down a beautiful woman, I’m afraid I have to go, Dana. Please call me strictly when you need me and l do the same.” He released her and turned on his heels to put on his clothes discarded from before. He stuffed the red box in his suit pocket and made to leave.

 

Dana, who was dressing as well, watched as he walked towards the door and she smiled softly. “Shame I couldn’t convince you but I had a very satisfactory time with you, Han Jisung.”

 

“Pleasure doing business with you, Dana Simons.” He nodded at her and left. 

 

The telephone on the bed side table rang a few minutes after his departure and she turned to receive the call and press the phone to her ears.

 

“You sure did have a good time, Dana.” The person on the other end said.

 

“Only the best for me.” Dana replied.

 

“So?” 

 

“Just give me a little more time and I’ll have the information that you need and lover boy wrapped around my fingers in the process. It’s any time now..”

 

Outside, Jisung walked over to a sleek black Porsche parked in front of the prestigious hotel. He got into the passenger seat to find a grinning blonde haired boy across from him throwing a suggestive glance.

 

“So? How was it?” The blonde boy asked. His arms were folded in front of his chest and his pink lips were spread into a lopsided grin.

 

“Okay.” Jisung shrugged.

 

“Okay!? Just okay!? Did you see the woman you walked into that room with? She’s a literal goddess!”

 

“Yeah, in her own way, I’m sure. But she wanted to go twice and off appointment.”

 

“And that’s your problem with her? I mean, of course she did, it’s you! But a woman like that? Fuck protocol, Ji, I’ll go as many times as I can before my fucking dick falls off!” The boy gestured wildly with a baffled and offended expression.

 

“TMI, Felix.” Jisung grimaced. “Now can we please go? We’ve been sitting here for so long and I’m sure Changbin needs his thing. . .whatever this thing is.” He said as he examined the little red box in his hand.

 

“Okay. But you need to be more sympathetic, you know. How do you think I feel knowing you’re up there blowing the brains out of the most attractive woman I’ve ever seen for the like third time while I play escort.” Felix mumbled as he shifted the gear.

 

“Drive, Felix.” Jisung ordered as he plucked in his AirPods and adjusted the chair so he could sleep.

 

“Drive, Felix.” Felix mimicked in a high pitched voice before stepping on the gas.

 

They soon pulled into the driveway of their location and a large, private home came into view. It was a concrete modern home which sat atop a hill. There were only two or three of its replicas scattered around it and they were hundreds of yards away. Large fences surrounded it but they were farther away so that they left enough space for swimming pools, basketball courts, outdoor lounges and the like.

 

There was a man already waiting for them at the front oak double doors. He wore a dark medium fur coat over a black turtle neck that accentuated his biceps and dark jeans, dress shoes and heavy black glasses. His dark blue hair was styled into a semi mullet. Felix drove around the fountain in front of the house and parked the Porsche.

 

“Mr. Seo.” He announced as soon as they were out of the vehicle. “Where’s the welcome party? We succeeded!”

 

“He succeeded.” Seo Changbin motioned to Han Jisung who walked quietly behind Felix. “You just sat and played guard dog.” He turned to Jisung. “I trust everything went smoothly?”

 

Jisung chuckled as he handed over the red box to Changbin. “Yeah. I authenticated the item like you asked; Russian Arxid.”

 

“Thank you, Jisung. Shall we go inside?”

 

The inside of Seo Changbin’s mansion was simply built to impress. Sculptures and statues, expensive artwork and decorations of all kind almost likened it to an art museum.

 

“Though I fail to understand why we had to go through all this trouble. We can get any one of these in a pawnshop anywhere.”

 

“What did I say about asking questions in our line of work, Jisung?” Asked Changbin.

 

“Listen, I’m just saying, you know how hard it was to retrieve this from Dana—”

 

“—oh you’re already on first name basis!”

 

“Shut up, Felix! Anyway, what’s the deal, Changbin? I just risked my life to get this thing no bigger than my iris.” Jisung spoke in a way that demanded answers and Changbin was aware he could not exude the questions at this point.

 

“A really powerful client needs it for something confidential, that’s about all I’m telling you.” Changbin walked over to the television on the wall above the fireplace. 

 

There were a number of small bookshelves around it holding passing paraphernalia of which he pulled back a book and pushed a button that revealed an entirely different passage. All three men walked inside to a familiar room that held modern technology. Large screens displaying views from different locations and a number of other important machinery. An inconspicuous safe sat in the wall guarded by a barcode which Changbin scanned to open before he placed the red box inside.

 

“I’ll get Jeongin to deliver it tomorrow.” Changbin declared as she settled in one of the four chairs facing the large screens.

 

Felix beamed. “Does that mean I get the day off, boss?”

 

Changbin turned to stare pointedly at the grinning whitehead. He sighed in resignation. “Be here first thing in the morning.”

 

“Thanks, Mr. Seo. You’re the best!” Felix didn’t wait to finish his sentence before he was dashing out of the door.

 

As he returned to his computers, Changbin could help but shake his head. “Sometimes I feel like he doesn’t like it here anymore.”

 

“Felix loves working with us. He’s just bad at balancing us and his other life.” 

 

“Yeah, I'm sure.” Changbin agreed. “So, how did it go with the girl?”

 

“Jesus! Why is everyone asking that!?”

 

“Come on, did you see her?”

 

While Changbin and Jisung argued on the beauty of Dana Simons, Felix could hardly contain his giddiness as he breezed down the traffic free road of Gangnam-Du. The location he intended on visiting was one that he had been to numerously but each time seemed to rival the last and it was all thanks to one person, the name always running through Felix’ head.

 

Finally, he pulled up to the gates of the house and was buzzed in. The amount of times he'd been at the location had sort of quietened the amazement he felt whenever he looked at the magnificent structure but it was there nonetheless.

 

“Felix.” Minho smiled once he opened the door. “What’re you doing here so late?” 

 

“What? It’s now a crime to visit my friends at eleven at night?” He flashed a playful smile.

 

“I don’t make the rules.” Minho joked. “Come in.” Once Felix did and the door was locked, he was led inside. “Are you hungry? Chan and I finished dinner a while ago but there’s left overs.”

 

“Maybe later.”

 

“Alright, you know where to find it. Chan’s in his room, by the way. Probably doing some weird shit.”

 

Felix held back a fond smile but it was audible in his voice. “I’ll . . .go make sure the shit doesn’t get too weird.” 

 

“Mhm. Sure, I’ll choose to believe that. I’ll be in my room if you need me, lover boy.”

 

Trying to hide the redness that coated his cheeks by slapping them repeatedly, Felix managed to get into the elevator to the second floor. Bang Chan’s room was the last down a winding hallway and the only door that wasn’t soundproof.

 

He pushed the door open to find a sight that he was all too familiar with; Bang Chan, shirtless on his bed, an ashtray on his bedside table with a number of wraps of weed inside and a lighter while another one dangled between his lips. The room smelt of the plant they’d inhaled so many times. Felix tried to ignore the shirtless sight he’d seen countlessly but it was almost ten times harder considering the fact that he was attracted to the littlest things Bang Chan thing.

 

“Having a good time without me, eh?” He announced as he closed the door behind him.

 

“Felix.” Chan looked towards with a dazed expression and a lopsided smile. “I was beginning to think you wouldn’t come.”

 

“I’m sorry. Work.”

 

“Work.” Chan whispered as he shuffled off the bed and ambled closer to Felix. “It’s always work but you never tell me exactly what this work is.”

 

“It’s. . .just work. Same thing everybody does.” Felix noticed Chan edging closer, a little too close and in order to avoid been backed to a corner he maneuvered around the intoxicated man and made it to a sofa on the other side of the large room. “Speaking of, how was work today?”

 

“You’re evading the question.”

 

“How’s Nayeon?” 

 

Even he could hear the pain in his voice as he asked this question but he counted on Chan’s not-so-sober state to be able to cover up his vulnerability.

 

“Nayeon.” Chan seemed to think to remember who this person was before blinking and replying. “She’s fine. We’re fine. We had fun at work today.”

 

“Okay.” Felix sighed. “Well, I just wanted to check up on you today—”

 

“Hey, do you wanna watch a movie?”

 

“Chan, you need to go to sleep.” Felix got up from the sofa and walked to the middle of the room so he guided Chan to the bed.

 

“I’ll sleep but movie? I hardly see you anymore, don’t you want to watch a movie with me?” Chan more or less pouted as Felix tucked him in and discarded the finished smoke onto the ashtray.

 

“I can’t. I have to be at work early tomorrow so I can’t stay up late.”

 

“Of course.” Chan breathed bitterly. “It’s always work before me.”

 

Felix stared at the man he’s been in love with for over three years as he sulked on his own bed shirtless. Maybe it was the tousled hair or the thick furrowed brows — maybe it was even the jutted lips coated in a fresh sheen of saliva that just about made it shine under the bed lamp but Felix found himself grabbing the laptop on Chan’s work desk.

 

“Work can wait.” He declared as he settled in.

 

It was worth it, in that moment at least, to see Chan’s eyes light up as if Felix had promised him the world and to have their hands wrapped together, almost eluding the picture of a relationship — one that Felix so dearly wished for but could never have. It wouldn’t be in the morning, though, when Seo Changbin would have his neck for coming in late as always. But they were in that moment and that was all that mattered.

 

Felix sighed as he watched Chan’s bright eyes focus on the small screen.

 

Why do I keep hurting myself?

 

Morning came illuminated with dark rolls of thunder clouds and a heavy storm. The noise, along with the shrill ringing of Felix phone jolted him awake and he scrambled for the device and sleepily pressed it to his ear.

 

“Hello?” He mumbled drowsily.

 

“Lee Felix, where the fuck are you!?” A deep, angry voice shouted in through the speakers causing Felix to wince.

 

“What?” He asked, still in a state of mummified tiredness.

 

“You were supposed to be here two hours ago! I’ve called and texted and — wait, DON’T TELL ME YOU’RE JUST WAKING UP!?”

 

Felix’s eyes widened as his brain finally recognised the voice. He scrambled to get up and find his socks and shoes.

 

“M-Mr. Seo. Hi, good morning! No, I am not just waking up. I’m actually held back by the uh. . .storm! Yeah! Uh, Jeongin isn’t there yet, is he? I’m on my way, sir. I’m really sorry.” 

 

“I don’t want to hear any of your ramblings. Just get your ass over here in two seconds before I actually fire you!”

 

The line went dead.

 

Felix heaved a heavy sigh and fell on the bed. He looked down at his legs to find mismatched socks and his shoes put on in a way that they definitely should not be.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

He looked up to find a guilty looking Chan staring at him. The older man was holding a steaming mug of coffee in his hand and entertained a downcast expression.

 

“For what?”

 

“I heard your alarm, I’m the one who turned it off. It’s just, I really wanted you to sleep in because you’re always rushing off for work and I’m supposed to know how your boss is like— it was selfish of me, I’m sorry.”

 

“No, no, no. It’s okay. Mr. Seo is just really keen on. . .punctuality. And since no one in my line of work is free to do what I have to, he needs me.” Felix smiled reassuringly. 

 

“Is he really going to fire you?” Chan asked as he handed Felix the mug of which he was thanked.

 

“Hopefully not. He loves me too much, I think. Anyway, I gotta go so I’ll see you later?”

 

“Sure. Uh, have a nice day at work and come over when you can!”

 

“Will do. Bye!” 

 

Felix ran out of the room and quickly made his way into the elevator downstairs. He greeted Minho on the way and in a few second was dripping wet inside of his car. Driving to HQ was a hassle; the road was jam packed with cars due to the storm and he could barely see two feet in front of him. Eventually he made it to the high rise building in the more commercial part of Gangnam-Du and he rushed inside, greeting many familiar faces before making it into the elevator and to Changbin’s office.

 

“I’m here!” He announced breathlessly as he barged into the office on the top floor. 

 

Changbin’s office view was always one that gave Felix the jitters due to how high it was and how the glass windows overseeing most of the town never failed to remind him of said height.

 

“Nice of you to finally join us.” A tall, black haired man snickered. 

 

He sat on the sofa in the middle of two slightly shorter men, tapping away furiously on his phone. Felix scanned the room to find that Changbin was missing from his seat across the mahogany desk closer to the window. He smiled sheepishly and scratched the back of his head.

 

“Hi, Jeongin.” 

 

“Hi, yourself. You’re so late, it’s laughable. Changbin stepped out to make a call but you’re in so much trouble this time.”

 

“I honestly didn’t mean to be late this time, I swear. It’s just circumstance.” 

 

“And what’s this particular circumstance, Lee? I’d love to hear this one.” Changbin’s deep voice interrupted their conversation and caused Felix to slowly turn towards the door with a small smile. 

 

“Storm?” 

 

“I have half a mind to fucking strangle you right now, Felix. I just got off the phone with the client who needs the item. He’s pretty pissed but you’re so lucky I was able to negotiate with him else I really would have fired you then.” Changbin’s features showed no sign of joking and Felix knew he wasn’t. 

 

He visibly deflated and played with his fingers as he watched Changbin walk over to occupy his desk.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“You’re always sorry, just get Jeongin to the location please.” Changbin dismissed him with a wave of his hand.

 

“Okay.” Felix turned to leave, Jeongin and the other two men on his tail.

 

“Hey.” Jisung caught up to him. “Are you good? You know you shouldn’t take what he says personal, right? He means well, he just—”

 

“Has a bad way of showing it, yeah, I know.”

 

“Were you with Chan last night?” Jisung asked softly, an attempt to change the subject.

 

“Yeah. We slept together and my alarm didn’t—”

 

“I’m sorry, you what!?”

 

“Just sleeping, Jisung. We watched a movie and fell asleep, get your mind out of the gutter. Anyway, my alarm didn’t go off so I slept in, that’s it.”

 

“Well that’s a bummer, I was expecting more.” Jeongin chimed in.

 

“You’re really more invested in every love life that isn’t yours.” The third man from the office commented. He was tall, almost the same height as Jeongin with cherry blonde hair and features that likened him to a domestic pet almost — a puppy.

 

“He can’t be invested in something that’s nonexistent, Seungmin.” Felix snickered teasingly. 

 

“Oh, fuck you guys! I’ll have you know I’m perfectly content being single.” Jeongin folded his arms and leaned against the railing of the elevator.

 

“It’s always the ones that hug their stuffies at night and cry themselves to sleep that say this.” Seungmin retorted with a wide grin.

 

“You little shit!” 

 

Jeongin lunged at Seungmin playfully and they clawed around in a pretend-fight. The elevator was filled with childish schoolboy laughter until it opened at the ground floor. They greeted some other coworkers before they got to the front doors.

 

“Alright, we’ll see you guys later?” Jeongin declared.

 

“Good luck on delivery, kid.”

 

Jeongin turned grave, almost as he faced Jisung who looked confused. Then he said in a dark voice: “Where I’m going, I don’t need luck.”

 

Felix rolled his eyes and dragged the younger boy out of the company doors while the taller male laughed continuously in his grasp. The delivery to the mysterious client went smoothly as far as Felix knew — he was only allowed to keep watch in the parking lot, being a getaway driver and all. His job was to find the blind spots, take the less busy roads and just deliver without anyone catching on to the fact that he was visiting sketchy locations which entailed  — speeding appropriately, watching out for the police and knowing the road like the back of his hands in case of a mishap.

 

It was done and he was hoping that would be all for the day but when the electronic watch on his wrist beeped thrice as he was driving Jeongin back to HQ, he knew the day had only gotten started.

 

-

 

“You’re late.” 

 

His eyes pierced hers from over the rim of his coffee cup and they continued to analyze her every movement until she dropped her purse on the table and claimed the chair across from him.

 

“Surely it didn’t only storm in my house. Take a look outside, Minho, it’s shitting bricks.” She settled into the American 90s themed diner chair and looked around to the numerous eyes discreetly peering at her table. “What a great location you’ve chosen, perfectly discreet.” 

 

“Quit the sarcasm. It’s better we blend in. So? What have you got for me?”

 

She opened her large purse and retrieved a brown file which she slid towards Minho. “Han Jisung, he’s our man. He’s worked for CBS Agency for over five years now and he’s one of the most skilled. He’s an SS-Rated spy and assassin.”

 

Minho seemed to ponder on her words for a while as he studied the file and absorbed Han Jisung’s skill set. “Han Jisung. I feel like I’ve heard that name from somewhere.”

 

“Probably him.” She smiled as she shuffled the file in Minho’s hand. “Lee Felix, ring a bell? He’s the cute getaway driver but don’t let his charming smile fool you, he’s good at what he does.”

 

Minho hardly felt shocked, instead a knowing smile spread across his face. “So this is ‘work’, eh?”

 

“There are thousands of agents working for the agency around the world but I bring you only the very best: Kim Seungmin, the cute hacker who’s dating the boss. Yang Jeongin — delivery boy and seductress. He’s the distraction most of the time. Park Jimin, Kang Lucas, Hwang Yeji…the list goes on. These names are some of the best the agency has to offer.”

 

“How do I contact them?”

 

“You just leave that to me. But fair warning, their pay isn’t chicken change.”

 

“Whatever their stakes are, I’ll double it if it means the job gets done quickly.”

 

“Money talks, I like! Speaking of, my account is still waiting for its share of the bargain.” She smiled cunningly.

 

“My assistant will get in touch with you.” He said dismissively as he gathered the files she brought.

 

“The things I like to hear. It was nice doing business with you, Mr. Lee and I hope we meet again.” She extended her arm for a shake which Minho initiated.

 

“I feel the same way, Ms. Simons.” Minho began but excused himself when he was interrupted by a call.

 

He looked to find an unknown number which he was a little apprehensive to answer but did anyway. 

 

“Who is this?” He muttered into the phone.

 

“Lee Minho.” An automated voice replied. “Finally,  I’ve gotten a hold of you after so many years.”

 

“Who is this?” Minho repeated.

 

“Oh, you should know. It’d be a shame if you forgot, after all we did kill your sister.” The automated voice barked out mocking laughter that made Minho’s blood boil.

 

“You!” He said hotly.

 

“Oh, look! Your memory is back.” 

 

Minho had so many things to say to this person but held back and decided to aggravate them instead. “It’s funny you talk about memory because it would seem you lost yours seeing as it took you so long to find me. Almost like you…forgot.”

 

“Forgot?” The person laughed angrily. “You fucking snake eye, you think we’re gonna forget what you did to our people so easily!?”

 

“I mean, I can’t really put much hope in the memory of a white man, you know? Still, five years? It took you that long? I have to say, I’m disappointed.”

 

The person’s breathing quickened for a beat but eventually evened out and they uttered maniacally bone chilling laughter. 

 

“You see, Chink, there’s something you narrow brained people fail to understand and it’s the concept of predator and prey.” The automated voice deepened and darkened. “From your perspective, it’s easy to lay back and relax, after all, we’ve been watching for so long it’s not likely we’re going to attack. But what your feeble mind is unable to grasp is that we didn’t forget, we were waiting and now…we strike.”

 

There was a little shuffling on the other end and when the speakers had cleared, Minho could detect the sound of muffled screaming or mumbling and his brows furrowed. 

 

“We promised there’ll be more of us coming back for Asian scum such as yourself and we’ve only just begun. Why don’t you say hello to your little friend? I’m sure you miss him.”

 

The sound of ripping could be heard on the other end which was followed by a string of curses from a familiar deep voice.

 

“You fucking bastards! Let me go!” The automated filter was switched off and Bang Chan’s voice permeated Minho’s ears. He held back a gasp and squeezed his fist tightly.

 

“Let him go, you cowards. He has nothing to do with this.” Minho said through gritted teeth.

 

“You’re absolutely right, Minho.” The voice filter was back on. “It’s you we want. We’re going to text you an address, if you’re not there in twenty four hours, then you better get ready to buy flowers because a pretty little grave will be waiting for you. Oh and, don’t bother to trace this call or our text — you’ll never be able to find us anyway. Come alone! Any sleazy cops and he’s dead!”

 

The line went dead.

 

Minho stood motionless for a minute or so before slamming his phone on the ground in the middle of the diner, startling a lot of people. Luckily it was protected in a soft case so it wasn’t damaged. He picked it up and placed it in his jean pocket in anticipation of a text. He turned on his heels to face the woman who was still waiting on him to understand what the call was about.

 

He walked over to her and whispered harshly in her ear. “Dana, contact CBS now! Plans changed. I want to start the mission right now and I want everyone who can help. Tell them I’ll triple their average price granted they bring me the head of the leader of that goddamn organization.”

 

01:27PM.

 

When Felix returned to Changbin’s office with Jeongin, he was surprised to see everyone already seated and waiting for him. He bit down all the questions he wanted to ask himself and just claimed a seat so Changbin could explain their mission status. Once everyone was settled, the leader began.

 

“Alright. I’ve called all of you back urgently because believe it or not, our mission has a twenty four hour time stamp and the life of an innocent at stake. A few minutes ago, we received a call at the front desk describing one of the most tricky rescue missions we’re about to embark on and a promise of triple our average price.” 

 

A couple of murmurs went around the room as they each wondered who was either rich or stupid enough to pay such a huge sum of money.

 

“Our client has passed through another client. Some of you may know her; Dana Simons.”

 

At the mention of the beautiful woman’s name, Jisung groaned while every one else tried to suppress a smile. He wondered if he would be required to have sex with her for her services as usual.

 

“Anyway, basically a bunch of white supremacists have kidnapped the friend of one of the richest CEOs in Seoul and have given the poor guy twenty four hours to come get him — which is obviously a trap — or the friend dies. It’s pretty much a rock and a hard place which is why we’ll need as many agents on this mission as possible. We have an hour tops to come up with a strategy. We’ve been given an address so I’ll work on the rescue plan, the rest of you just get ready. We leave in two hours.”

 

Hearing this, Felix couldn’t help the churning in his gut at the severity of the mission and the instinct that something just wasn’t right. Almost on cue, his phone went off and he excused himself to take the call once he looked at the caller ID and saw that it was Minho. 

 

“Hey, Minho. I can’t really talk right now, I’m kinda in the middle of—”

 

“Chan’s been kidnapped.”

 

Felix froze. Minho didn’t even think twice about dropping the bomb. His voice sounded stoic and angry at the same time.

 

“What!? How!? Whe—”

 

“And I know the kind of work you do, Felix.”

 

Once again caught off guard, Felix could feel all the saliva in his mouth dry up. He struggled to find the right words to say that wouldn’t give away too much.

 

“What do you mean?” He more or less whispered.

 

“I don’t have time to explain how I know but I just wanted to let you know that I’m the one who hired you and I’m on my way to your company right now to meet your boss myself. I want to be a part of this.” 

 

Ignoring the fact that his secret had just been revealed, Felix’s brain went into overprotective mode. “Minho, it could be dangerous!”

 

“I know, Felix, I’m aware of the risk. But these people have taken so much from me, I want to be in on the process that makes them pay. Which is why I’m on my way right now — I heard your agency boasts of one of the best hackers around and I’m hoping he can get me some information on exactly who these people are.”

 

Minho sounded determined and Felix knew he could not stop him, especially since he could hear the soft rumble of a car as it drove along a tarred road. He sighed.

 

“Okay, I’m not going to try to convince you but get here quickly and—” he paused as his voice became meeker. “Does Nayeon know.”

 

The other line was quiet for some time before Minho, too, spoke in a quiet voice. “No and I’m hoping we can keep it that way.”

 

Felix breathed harshly and tried to blink back the tears at the thought of what Chan might have to go through at the hands of, by the sound of it, these psychotic white men who could accept no other race save for their own.

 

“Okay. Hurry.” He quickly spoke then cut the call.

 

As Felix went back inside the room to sit down, he couldn’t help feeling jittery and anxious all over. Jisung gave him a questioning look but otherwise said nothing as he fixed the gadget on his wrist. When he was done, they all followed him to the ground floor and into a room created specifically for their work equipment. Everyone got their designed gadgetry on in silence.

 

There were many of them assigned on the mission and Felix noticed they were mostly Level S: Han Jisung, Yang Jeongin, Kim Seungmin, Park Jimin, Kang Lucas, Hwang Yeji, Kim Jeongyeon, Bae Irene, Kim Sunmi and Lee Hyerin, three of which were getaway drivers including himself. Changbin didn’t offer up all the SS-Rated employees, there were a large number left but Felix was convinced this group would get the job done. Plus, there were a number of Level A agents available at any time as back up.

 

Soon he heard a commotion in the lobby and rushed to see Minho and an ethereally beautiful tall man arguing with Kim Jisoo, the secretary in the lobby. Dana Simons was also present but she just leaned back and watched in amusement. 

 

“Hey, isn’t that your like billionaire friend?” Jeongin commented casually.

 

“Yeah, but why is he here with Dana?” Felix pondered aloud.

 

“And who’s the super sexy eye-candy?” Jeongin replied, his gaze never leaving the taller male who was trying to calmly prevent the situation from escalating.

 

Felix gave no answer and simply rushed over to simmer down the quarrel.

 

“It’s okay, Jisoo. He’s with us.” Felix smiled apologetically at the black haired girl.

 

“We’ll he doesn’t have an appointment so the next time he’s with you tell him to make one beforehand.” She huffed and returned to her station behind the desk.

 

Minho rolled his eyes and walked over to Felix, his entourage following closely behind. “Where can I find your boss?” 

 

“I’ll take you.” Felix offered. “But who’s the crew?”

 

“These are Hyunjin and Dana.” Minho introduced haughtily. “They’re really valuable to me. They here to help.”

 

“Okay well I’m not the one to decide that.” Felix looked at the two apprehensively but led them to the elevator nonetheless and to the top floor.

 

He was breaking every rule they had just casually leading three clients up and directly to his boss and to be honest, Felix was unaware how Minho had found them in the first place (their company was strategically wiped from the map for the element of ghostly operation) but it was Minho and Felix had known him long enough to know that he could trust both him and the people Minho trusted. It was only a matter of if Changbin felt the same.

 

Soon they made it to Changbin’s office and found the buffer man mulling over what looked like a detailed aerial view map on his touch sensitive modern AI computer which levitated above what Felix could not see and was transparent. As soon as they made their way inside, Changbin turned off the previous information he had been looking at.

 

“41, what the hell is going on!” Changbin gave him an angry look. 

 

“Sir, before you react, this is my friend Minho. He’s the one who hired our services on behalf of our mutual friend who’s been kidnapped: Chan.”

 

Upon hearing the familiar name, Changbin’s expression softened and his formerly balled up hands sagged at his side.

 

“And the other one? I know the lady.” He asked, hesitant.

 

“Hwang Hyunjin.” Minho answered in place of Felix. “They’re my assistants. I brought them along because I’m sure they can help.”

 

“I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Mr. Lee but we have more than enough agents here to get the job done.” Changbin walked over various paraphernalia in the office and settled into his black leather chair.

 

“I appreciate your efficiency, CBS but I wasn't asking.” 

 

Minho crossed his arms over his chest and flourished a dark scowl not unfamiliar to his face that he was told got the job done. However, the other man didn’t seem to falter under his attempt at intimidation and even appeared to find it amusing. Eventually, he relented.

 

“Alright, Mr. Lee. I’m sure we can discuss the terms. Please, take a seat, all of you. And just call me Director.”

 

“Very well, Director. Have you come up with any plans to get my friend back?” Minho asked impatiently, legs bouncing up and down on the sofa he occupied.

 

“I was working on that before you came in. I have a strategy but I want to make sure it’s foolproof first.” Changbin replied as he got up and returned to the computer he had been operating previously. “I’ll give you the first debriefing before I inform my workers.”

 

“Let’s hear it, Director.” 

 

The low voice of Dana filled the room, reminding Felix that the woman was still there and consequently that Hyunjin was present as well. The taller boy had been quiet throughout and seemed to be observing everything. Felix studied his features and stance for a while before he looked away seconds before he got caught.

 

“So the location that was sent to you is, as we expected, an abandoned warehouse on the dilapidated section of Gangnam-Du. Not a very discreet place for a hideout but it makes things easier for us so we can’t complain. They used a Burner Phone to contact you but one of their guys slipped up a few minutes after and made an interaction with a regular phone so we were able to track them and find out that they’re sectioned off into two groups, probably as a backup plan, so one of the locations is where the victim is located and the other is a wild goose chase.” Changbin explained, highlighting everything on the AI screen as he spoke.

 

“Where’s the other location?” 

 

“Believe it or not, it’s on the border of Gangnam-Du and Incheon so roughly hundreds of miles away. I think their plan is to lead you to one location and possibly kill you without you having a chance of rescuing Chan then killing him, too.” 

 

Minho’s jaw tightened. “So what’s our plan?”

 

“Easy. We split.” Changbin explained as he zoomed into the two locations on the map. “It’s super risky and gives them a vantage point of outnumbering us but it’s really the only chance we’ve got especially if we can get to both locations at the same time and usurp the element of surprise.”

 

“How do we do that?” Felix asked.

 

“Well for one, we don’t go in all guns blazing. That’ll get us killed in minutes. They don’t expect us to be coming so I say we create a ruse to lead them away from us; employing the police, perhaps?”

 

“That’s going to get Chan killed for sure. They specifically said no police.” Minho counterattacked.

 

“Yes but that’s because they know with the presence of the police, there’s something they’d have to take care of other than you and their little revenge plan or whatever, which means while they’re distracted, we can find our way to Chan.” 

 

“But there’s no intel from the inside so how are we to know just how many people were dealing with and how skilled they are?” Hyunjin voiced his first question ever since they arrived.

 

“Two words: Jeongin and Jimin.”

 

Those were three, Felix wanted to say but he was in no mood to joke.

 

“And they are?” 

 

“Only the best forms of distractions we have in the agency. More so with the fact that we’re on limited time. They’ll create some sort of scene, go inside and plant our God Seeds so Seungmin can let us know exactly what we’re dealing with. We’ll also employ chameleon drones.”

 

“Are they that good?” Hyunjin asked.

 

“Better.” 

 

“Since I like myself a bit of an adventure, I’m willing to also work with Jeongin and Jimin if necessary.” Dana spoke up with a sly smile.

 

“I was hoping you’d say that. Most men love a beautiful woman.” Changbin smiled flirtatiously and lopsidedly at her to which she winked back.

 

“So how do we get all three of them to the separate locations at the same time?” Felix asked.

 

“We’ll fly some and we’ll drive some. We just wait to make sure we arrive at once — we don’t want Gangnam-Du’s group warning those in Incheon.” Changbin explained.

 

“Well I fail to find the loopholes in this plan. It sounds pretty foolproof to me.” Minho leaned back into the chair.

 

“Yes.” Hyunjin agreed. “Except for the occasion where the racist white men don’t hesitate to kill the entire police, Jimin, Jeongin and Dana in a sitting or the entire location thing was all a setup because if they’ve been watching you for so long, they’d expect that the billionaire CEO would have connections enough to counterattack their every move.” 

 

“Which leaves us with Plan B.”

 

“Plan B?” Felix asked.

 

Changbin threw a smirk in his direction. “Kill everything that moves.”

 

Dana smiled sadistically. “Guns blazing eventually. I could work with that.”

 

“First, though, since Mr. Lee has decided to be part of the rescue mission it consequently means he’ll submit to their request so he’ll go in ahead of us, alone.” 

 

Felix perked up. “Absolutely not! They’ll kill him as soon as they set their eyes on him.”

 

“Not exactly. Knowing the nature of their kind, we’re expecting some kind of meaningless torture as part of their revenge plan.” Hyunjin spoke in a monotone.

 

“Even worse?” Felix gestured wildly, shocked that he was the only one seeing a problem with it. 

 

“It’s okay, Lix. What’s a little pain for Chan?” Minho smiled reassuringly before his voice turned sinister and his smile twisted. “And eventually claiming the head of the leader of their organisation.”

 

“Sexy. I do love me a twisted man.” Dana laughed softly before Felix could say much. 

 

After a beat of reflective silence, Changbin spoke up.

 

“So we all understand the plan?”

 

“Yes.” Minho answered for everyone. “Yes we do.”

 

After the confirmation, Changbin rang up all the agents involved in the mission at once. It took less than a minute for all remaining ten agents to stroll into his office, one surprised expression or another at the unexpected guests. Jeongin, in particular, seemed pleased with Hyunjin’s presence and immediately claimed the seat closest to him.

 

Once everyone was settled, Changbin proceeded to introduce the new faces and brief them on the previously discussed plan. They ran over it multiple times to make sure everyone got it and all concerned creases were smoothened. 

 

“We’re all on the same page, yes?” He confirmed.

 

“Yes, boss.” A hefty chorus answered him.

 

Changbin nodded and checked his watch to find it was a little ways after 3PM. “Good, we leave in one hour.”

 

One by one, the agents dispersed to go prepare in one way or another leaving the former five who were in the room and a lollipop sucking Jeongin who shamelessly stared at Hyunjin like he was sweeter than the candy that occupied his mouth.

 

“So.” He began as he popped the sweet out of his mouth. “I didn’t want to ask while everyone was here but is it wise for our client to follow us on a mission?”

 

“I wouldn’t say it’s wise but at the end of the day he pays us so he can do whatever he wants as long as it doesn’t defy our original plans.” 

 

“I don’t plan on doing that.” Minho simply said.

 

“And what about you?” Jeongin pointed at Hyunjin. “I know what she’s here for but no one said anything about you.”

 

Changbin opened his mouth to stop Jeongin from asking so many questions but he closed it again when he realized he too wanted to know.

 

“Hyunjin will be working alongside Seungmin as our God’s Eyes.” Minho supplied.

 

“In kindergarten Hangul?” 

 

“Hyunjin is one of the best computer people I know. He’ll work with your equally great computer guy and try to disable whatever security systems our bad guys have and tell us where to go.” Minho explained slowly.

 

“Basically we’re the control tower and you guys are the planes.” Hyunjin said condescendingly after seeing that Jeongin still failed to get it.

 

Jeongin, not liking his tone, huffed and leaned forward intimidatingly. “You don’t look like a hacker.”

 

“And you looked like you were smart but looks can be deceiving.” Hyunjin flashed a patronizing smile before his eyes went back to their previous position on his phone.

 

Jeongin’s eyes widened in offense and he opened his mouth to say more but Changbin signaled him not to so he instead sunk into his chair and sulked while sucking on his lollipop. Hyunjin glanced at him for a second and an amused smile graced his face before it was gone as quickly as it came.

 

After a minute or two of silence, Minho and his entourage excused themselves leaving Jeongin to rant about just how rude the handsome hacker was before he too left when he noticed neither men in the office were paying attention to him. 

 

Once they were alone, Changbin walked over to Felix and sat next to him. “How’re you holding up?”

 

Felix, who was deep in thought and didn’t even feel the sofa dip, looked up in startle. “What? Oh, I’m fine.”

 

“Are you sure? I can pull you out of this gig if you aren’t feeling up to it.”

 

“No!” Felix said sternly. “I need to be involved in getting Chan back.”

 

Changbin’s shoulder sagged and he looked at Felix sympathetically as he placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Okay. Well then chin up. I don’t know this Chan guy but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want you to come save him looking like a dusty bag of bones.”

 

Felix cracked a smile. “He wouldn’t.”

 

“Good. Now, shoulders straight. We leave in a few minutes.” Changbin patted his shoulder and exited the office, leaving Felix to his own devices.

 

The blonde haired getaway driver could feel the anxiety and doubt creep in his bones and as much as he tried to shake it off, he couldn’t help but feel that something would go terribly wrong with this mission. Yet, he didn’t know what.

 

-

 

“You know, recent studies have shown that if you hide what you’re feeling from your best friend, your emotions tend to explode sooner or later.”

 

Startled out of his headspace, Felix struggled a smile and directed his attention to fixing the earpiece that itched in his ears. Jisung sighed knowingly and removed himself from where he leaned over Felix’s car window and opened the door to plant himself in the passengers seat. He watched in silence as Felix drummed his fingers over the wheel nervously and his eyes travelled to where his friend’s gaze was locked — Yeji car about to pull out of the lot.

 

“It’s not too late to back out, you know, if you can’t handle this.” Jisung spoke softly. “No one would blame you.” 

 

Felix’s hands tightened around the wheel. “I’m fine.” 

 

“You don’t look fine, Lix! I’ve never seen you this nervous and with the romantic feeling involved, this might be a tricky one for you.” 

 

“I really just wish you’d all stop worrying about me and focus all that energy in getting Chan back in one piece.” Felix spoke through pressed teeth. 

 

“See what I mean? You’re already beginning to not care about your safety.”

 

“Well I’m not the one tied up somewhere probably beaten and bruised and being put through hell at the hands of people I have nothing to do with!” Felix eventually snapped. “You don’t seem to get it, none of you do! Chan has like a zero pain tolerance. He almost screamed when he got his first tattoo, don’t know why he wen and got more. He might seem like this big macho guy but he hates pain and I can’t even begin to imagine what those scumbags are putting him through. The longer we stay here and worry about me, the more shit he has to endure. So I’m fine, Ji! I just want us to hurry up and get this shit on the road.”

 

Stunned at seeing this new side of his best friend, Jisung slumped into his seat and looked out of the rolled down window to fond the silhouette of Lee Minho walking towards them. The beginning of the plan had been put in motion with Jimin and Dana sent to Incheon and Jeongin to the warehouse in Gangnam-Du. All they needed was the signal that the God Seeds had been planted to be on their way.

 

Jisung could practically taste the tension on everyone and he was undeniably nervous for the fragile mission as well but he believed that they would be able to pull it off. Lee Hyerin had already been transported to Incheon along with Kang Lucas, Kim Sunmi and Bae Irene to team up with Jimin and Dana — leaving Felix’s team with Jisung, Jeongin, Jeongyeon, Yeji and Minho.

 

The said man eventually made it into their car — Yeji would be the getaway for Jeongin and Jeongyeon — and settled in nicely at the back. To diffuse the awkward silence hanging over their heads, Jisung decided to speak.

 

“So I don’t think we’ve formally met but I’m—”

 

“Han Jisung, yeah, I know.”

 

“I was going to say 22 but — how do you know my name?” Jisung asked in disbelief and suspicion.

 

Felix cracked a smile. “He’s Lee Minho, he has a way of knowing things he shouldn’t.”

 

Still confused, Jisung said. “Okay, well it’s nice to meet you anyway. Not everyday a client comes to see the shit we do close up which, what’s the deal with that mister big shot CEO? You don’t trust us?”

 

“No. I’ve just had some scores to settle with these lunatics for a long time and kidnapping my best friend is the last straw.” Minho spoke gravely. “But yeah, it’s nice to meet you too. I hear you’re really good with what you do.”

 

“Eh, I try.” Jisung said humbly.

 

He returned his gaze to the windshield indicating the conversation was over, in good time also, as their earpieces fizzled on with Changbin’s voice filtering in and letting them know it was time to move. Felix wasted no time in stepping on the gas.

 

“I just want to make sure you all remember that Minho is stopping a few ways away from the warehouse to make sure they think he came alone. I’ll turn off their radars when you guys are close.” The voice Minho had come to learn belonged to Seungmin spoke.

 

“We didn’t forget.” Felix answered with his eyes set on the road.

 

“And, sir,” Hyunjin’s voice came on. “Be careful.”

 

Minho smiled at the concern. “I’m always careful.”

 

Yeji and Felix wove between the streets of Gangnam-Du Minho did not even know what existed. It was almost like a fever dream, watching all the building swish past like a trance. Minho had never seen Felix drive so swiftly and with such skill.

 

A voice which seemed to be coming from the intelligence system installed in Felix’s car filled the entire space. 

 

“Approaching drop off point in two kilometers.”

 

Hwang Yeji. Minho had heard enough of her deep monotone voice throughout the day to recognize it right away. He glanced at the dance on the rear view mirror and saw that it was approaching 5PM.

 

“Understood. You drop him off at half a kilometer to the location. It’s a straight road down so he can find his way there in your car, Yeji.” Changbin answered.

 

“I understand, sir.” She said and promptly disconnected.

 

“You ready?” Jisung asked without turning around to face Minho.

 

“I’ve been ready since five years ago.”

 

The kilometers seemed to fly by and soon enough, they were at Minho’s drop off point. He looked around to find a mess of abandoned commercial buildings which didn’t have enough funds to stay in business. The government had already passed a bill to break away the buildings and build roads but construction would only begin the following year so it was a perfect hiding place.

 

His hand lingered on the door handle.

 

“Be careful, Minho.” Felix warned. “I don’t know how much of this isn’t about Chan but don’t let revenge consume you. I’m not planning to lose any of you any time soon.”

 

Minho smiled and said vaguely. “Take care of yourself in there, Felix. You too, Jisung.” 

 

The outside was chilly and the walk to Yeji’s car a few meters away reminded him of just how much of a cold place the world was and his exact motive in doing all of this. A sinister smile spread across his face as he reached the car. He was at the passenger door when she made her way out of the car and threw him the remote.

 

“Be gentle with her, Mr. Lee. She’s my baby.”

 

He saluted playfully. “Scout’s honour.”

 

She laughed softly and made her way over to Felix’s car. Minho settled nicely into the warm leather of the sports car and revved the engine twice before being on his way. As he drove the remainder of the half kilometre journey, Seungmin’s voice came on in his earpiece.

 

“There are two guards up front. They’re the ones guarding the gate and most likely waiting for you. Park your car at a safe distance and in missionary so it’s easily accessible.” 

 

“Alright.” 

 

He grabbed a number of modern weapons, fixed the discreet gadgets given to him for communication and emergencies and slipped a tiny pocket knife at the back of his belt so it pressed against his spinal cord as he was sure the guns would be taken the second he walked in there.

 

When he got close to the warehouse, he did as he was told; parked the car at a safe distance and began to make his way over to the warehouse gate. True to Seungmin’s words, there were two guards waiting for him at the gate. Some barrel chested white men in matching uniforms that had some type of creepy logo on the side he was sure he’d seen before.

 

“Freeze!” The bald one declared once he spotted Minho.

 

His friend, upon seeing the man they were waiting for finally arrive, placed his hand on the gun holder in his belt loop.

 

“I have to admit, that’s not a very original thing to say.” Minho said with a teasing grin.

 

“And you’re not very smart for really coming here alone.” The one with a head full of hair snickered.

 

“What can I say? It’s the hero complex.”

 

The bald and bigger one grabbed him roughly and led him inside the moldy smelling warehouse which was leaking water in various places and was very close to falling apart. 

 

“For such a large organisation, I expected better abduction quarters. And a better welcome party, by the way.” He glared at the bald man who rough handled him. “Careful with the shoving, Steve. I’m fragile.” 

 

Something dinged somewhere and Steve spoke up in a gruff voice. “Yeah, boss we’ve got him. A loud mouthed piece of shit who hasn’t got much bones to him — are you sure this is the right guy? Yeah? Okay. Well we’re bringing him up right now. What, blindfold? We were supposed to…? Shit, Greg, we were supposed to blindfold the dog!”

 

“Yeah, I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid of hurting your feelings but I was wondering when the blindfold part would come. Kind of weird to be teaching you your own job, you know.” 

 

“Kid, if you don’t want to taste blood, I’d advise you to kindly shut the fuck up.” Greg growled in anger as they dragged Minho up a set of rickety stairs.

 

“Feisty.” Minho commented with a wide smile. 

 

Duly tired of all his talking, Steve retrieved a blindfold from his back pocket and fastened it over Minho’s eyes. After the brown haired boy said the word: “Kinky.” , Greg seemed to have had enough and pressed his hand over Minhos mouth. 

 

“What the fuck!?” The man screamed as he withdrew his hand sharply.

 

“What?” Steve asked in confusion.

 

“The monkey fucking licked me!” Greg exclaimed. 

 

“I admit, not my best decision. You taste like fucking goat shit. Say, when was the last time you washed your hands, Greg?” Minho asked innocently.

 

Red faced in anger, Greg made to punch Minho but was stopped by Steve who reminded him that the boss wanted the boy unharmed. After all the ruckus which slowed them down, they eventually made it to the top of the dilapidated building subsequent to their passing by many empty rooms and soon to fall apart staircases where Minho noted there were no other guards — the blindfold they gave him was of very thin material so he could more or less see through the holes.

 

He was pushed into a room with all the windows either cracked or gone completely and he could see a man surrounded by three men on either side of him and with a tied up Jeongin in the middle of the room. He subdued a smile as he was pushed unto his knees and made to face the apparent boss on the chair (who was really just a skinny white man with greying hair).

 

“Well, I have to say I wasn’t expecting this. You’re here so early, it’s almost like you’re excited for this.” The boss said before he made a gesture and the blindfold was ripped from Minho’s face. 

 

“Dramatic.” He commented.

 

“I’ve always had a flair for that, you could say. Search him.” 

 

The dumb and dumber henchmen or Steve and Greg, proceeded to just feel Minho up with the excuse of searching him. They soon offloaded most of his heavy weapons and skidded them across the floor to their boss. Minho endured this violation quietly until a hand was creeping closer to his belt loop. 

 

“Oh, racist and a closet gay, too? Big oof. Getting pretty handsy there, Steve.” He tsked.

 

“Who the fuck is Steve?” The bald guy muttered but soon shifted away from Minho to indicate the search was done. 

 

Satisfied with their work, the boss went on. He walked over to Jeongin and kicked him. “I see you sent your boy toy over here to test the waters.”

 

“I honestly don’t know who that guy is.” Minho laughed. “Listen, the small talk is getting kinda boring. Can we get into the action now? Also, quick question, where’s my friend?”

 

“Oh, the blonde haired one who wouldn’t stop screaming? He’s dead.” 

 

Minho could hear Felix gasp from his earpiece but he ignored it. “Good talk. Have a nice day.” 

 

The boss walked over to Minho and grabbed his chin harshly, enough to leave a bruise. “You’re a funny little one, aren’t you?”

 

Minho struggled to get out of his grip. “What is with you people and being so violent? Hello? Fragile skin?”

 

“You know.” The man said and she roughly pushed Minho’s face to the side. “None of this would be happening if your people just stayed in their fucking country and didn’t start a global pandemic.”

 

At his words, Minho barked our mocking laughter. “I’m sorry — I’m not laughing at you, it’s just- I find it so hard to believe that you idiots went through all the trouble and not to mention expenses to come to an Asian country and kidnap an innocent man because you think we created the Coronavirus. I’m sorry, but what is this going to do, stop it? Can’t forget the fact that if we indeed made the virus then you’re just exposing yourself first hand, no? Would be a pretty shameful thing to die just because you’re stupid, wouldn’t it?”

 

Minho continued to laugh and soon enough the boss joined in. The room was filled with joy for a second before it was stolen by a loud smack. Jeongin gasped as Minho’s face grew red from the hot slap delivered on his face by the skinny white man.

 

“It’s funny to you? Do you know the amount of people that died!?” 

 

“Even if I didn’t find it funny, they wouldn’t come back to life so why’re you so mad about a little laughter.” Minho flashed his teeth at the man.

 

Another slap was delivered to his other cheek, even louder than the last and he couldn’t help the smile that spread across his cheek. 

 

“You hit like a bitch.” 

 

This time a punch was thrown square in his face and Jeongin cringed at the crunch that followed. He marveled at how Minho did not seem the least bit fazed at the pain and instead smiled wilder.

 

The skinny man was about to throw another punch but was stopped by one of his other henchmen who was black. 

 

“Boss, X.” was all the man said to get the skinny white man to straighten and huff out a frustrated breath. 

 

“As much as I’d like to have my fun with you, now isn’t the right time so we’re going to take you on a trip somewhere else and soon you’ll be closer to your friend.” The boss said as he walked out of the room. “Deal with the spy.”

 

Minho knew he was bluffing about Chan’s death but he didn’t want to know what would happen to Jeongin if he did not make a move. Him and the taller boy made eye contact as Minho was hoisted up roughly by Greg.

 

“Boys, boys, relax. The tension in here? Trust me, I can feel it too. My therapist usually says to take deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed.” 

 

Minho’s gibberish didn’t fail to confuse the five henchmen thus giving Jeongin enough time to stand up and kick the man nearest to him in the gut while simultaneously kicking Minho’s formerly taken gun to him. Minho, not in the mood for physical combat, dove for the gun and pulled the trigger at Greg’s stomach. The large man fell to the ground, screaming in pain. 

 

The other four now realising what was going on each went into attack mode and reached for their individual weapons but Minho was swift enough to shoot Steve on the shoulder while Jeongin head butted the black guy who stumbled but didn’t shake much.

 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Jeongin groaned when he saw the guy barely budged. It took two seconds for him to be slammed to the ground.

 

A bullet flew past Minho’s ear making it ring slightly — but he’d long been used to the sound of gunfire and he turned away from Jeongin’s unfair fight to find two of the white guys shooting at him. Their aim and stance wasn’t very professional though and they were using pistols. He was continuously getting disappointed by the minute. He didn’t hesitate to shoot each of them in the thigh with his Automatic before his attention went back to a bound Jeongin who was trying his hardest not to get his ass beat.

 

Minho shot the black guy at the back of both his knees before he rounded up the pathetic weapons from all five henchmen. The boss, upon just hearing the commotion, stumbled into the room but was immediately shot in his torso by Minho who was having a little too much fun with his gun.

 

He walked over to the writhing man on the floor and it was kind of like the train situation replaying. He crouched to the boss’ level.

 

“Listen, I never really caught your name.” 

 

“Go fuck yourself!” The man spat.

 

“That’s…well I’ve heard worse. Okay, go fuck yourself, would you be so kind as so tell us where the second location is?”

 

“Go fuck yourself!” The man repeated.

 

“Wow! You must really like your name. So we’re doing this the hard way then? Cool.”

 

“If you’re gonna kill me just get it over with.” He sputtered out with bloody lips.

 

“Kill you?” Minho scoffed. “I’m offended. What do you think I am, a barbarian? Plus,” he leaned down to whisper in the man’s ear, “that’s the easy way.”

 

He straightened as he walked over to untie Jeongin. All of the other men had passed out from the pain — pretty stupid to not be wearing bullet proof vests in a shoot out but their fault, Minho was not going to feel bad about it.

 

“So, Jacob, is it okay if I call you Jacob? We’re good pals so I’ll be kind of offended if you don’t let me.” He smiled. “Anyway, Jacob, have you ever been shot in your fingers before? Like not at the same of course, that would be absurd. I believe everything has their individualism so I’ll take my precious time with each one. I’m not bias.”

 

Jacob shook with laughter on the floor. “You’re bluffing.” 

 

“Ah, yes. Except in the case where I’m not.” 

 

Pained screams filled the abandoned room as Minho’s bullet entered his thumb, slicing the said finger into half. 

 

“Minho, what the hell are you doing? We already know the location. Get the fuck out of there!” 

 

Minho chose to ignore Felix’s bewildered voice on the other end of his earpiece just as he chose to ignore the scared look on Jeongin’s face.

 

“What the fuck, man!” Jacob screamed.

 

“Look, Jacob, I hate to disappoint you but you know all that pretentious bullshit I just said about individualism? Yeah, I didn’t really mean it. I’ve gotten bored of your fingers now but I’ve always wanted to shoot someone in their balls!” He smiled brightly aimed.

 

“Fucking hell, stop! Jesus. I’ll tell you, okay. 9431 fucking Duck-Sae or something avenue. I don’t fucking remember, okay but we’ve got a van outside and there’s a GPS leading to that location. Just take it and fucking go you lunatic!” 

 

Minho tsked. “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth, Jacob?” He asked as he let the hand holding the gun fall to his side. “But see, it’s not so hard when you just work with me right? We’re friend already and I already told you, I’m nice to my friends. If only people would just fucking listen.” He rolled his eyes dramatically.

 

He heaved a disappointed sigh and stared at Jacob trembling for a split second before he motioned to Jeongin. “Come on, guy I don’t know, we should probably leave.”

 

“Wait, where are you going!?” Jacob asked frantically. “Aren’t you going to get me some help!? I’m fucking bleeding!”

 

Minho seemed to think for a second. “Uh, not to be that guy but weren’t you planning to kill me a second ago?”

 

In a bid of desperation, Jacob called out. “I thought were were friends!”

 

“Yeah, I lied. Friends don’t try to kill each other, Jakey. Toodles!”

 

In a daze, Jeongin followed Minho as he walked out of the door and they hurried their way down the various staircases.

 

“We need to hurry. The ones in Incheon know we’re coming now.” Minho announced.

 

“Yeah, okay but are we gonna talk about that?” Jeongin asked apprehensively.

 

“What?”

 

“You just incapacitated six guys under like T-Minus five seconds. That’s not normal.”

 

Minho shrugged. “Guns these days, huh?”

 

“I suddenly fear for my life.”

 

“Relax, as long as you’re not secretly involved in the kidnapping of my best friend, you’re safe.” Minho joked. He seemed to be in such a lively mood after paralyzing and making six men unconscious. “Speaking of, I knew he wasn’t here the moment I came in.” 

 

“How?” Jeongin asked as soon as they made it into the chilly evening air.

 

“There were like zero guards, for one and their advanced security was nonexistent else they would have seen me coming. This was just a decoy to test our skills, I guess.”

 

“Okay that makes sense but why ask that guy for the second location when we already know it?” Jeongin asked.

 

“So they think we’re clueless and they don’t expect much.” Minho supplied.

 

They finally made their way to Yeji’s car and Minho retraced their steps to where Felix and the rest were. Yeji looked a little shaken up when he handed her the keys to her car and even Felix could hardly form a coherent sentence towards him. Only Jisung seemed to be talking to him somewhat normally. Jeongin rode with Yeji.

 

Minho did not mean for them to be scared of him but he lost himself there for a while. He didn’t really do much in his mind, anyway. Those guys were amateurs so he didn’t expect much. 

 

Needless to say, it was a quiet ride back to base.

 

-

 

"So we've decided to pull you out of the mission." Changbin started before Minho could even plant himself on a seat in his office. Felix, Jeongin, Jisung, Yeji, Seungmin and Hyunjin were present. 

 

The atmosphere in the office turned tense as soon as those words left Changbin's mouth. It was no secret that almost everyone in the office was horrified to be in the same room with him not so much for his skill in killing but how he pulled the trigger without a care in the world. CBS agents had a strict No Kill Unless Necessary rule and to see it being broken so blatantly by their CEO client was appalling. 

 

"That's assuming you have the right, Director." Minho folded his arms and calmly leaned back into the sofa, yet everyone could feel the irritation exuding his person. "Besides, why would that be necessary? I believe I carried out my side of the mission pretty well."

 

"You just killed six guys, alone!"

 

"I didn't kill them, I just made them go to sleep for a while." Minho shrugged nonchalantly.

 

"We watched them bleed to death." Seungmin commented.

 

"They're not dead." Minho decided. 

 

"Minho they've not moved for the past twenty minutes!" Changbin more or less shouted.

 

"They're not dead!" Minho answered through gritted teeth. 

 

"Alright, well thanks to you, we've got six not dead guys on our hands that we'll have to take care of if we don't fancy going to jail." 

 

"You're welcome." Minho muttered as a joke to himself but cleared his throat when he saw everyone looking at him in horror. "Oh, come on! Don't stare at me like that. They were gonna kill Jeongin and I if I didn't do anything, what did you expect me to do, fall on my knees and pray?"

 

Still getting no answer, Minho sighed and finally said. "You don't have to worry about the police, if that’s any consolation." 

 

"Thanks. That's so reassuring." Seungmin deadpanned.

 

"Listen, I'll take care of everything once the mission is over but for now how's the second group doing?" He asked impatiently, annoyed at all the wide eyes staring at him.

 

"They've been quiet for over a minute now but they were all in positions the last time we checked in and sitting tight for the police to play their part." Hyunjin spoke up before Changbin, who looked like he wanted to explode, could say anything else.

 

Seungmin who suddenly got a call excused himself from the office leaving the rest to remain and awkwardly stare at each other until Hyunjin broke the silence.

 

"Are you two alright, though? Uninjured?" He asked as he stared between Minho and Jeongin.

 

"Minor scratches but I'm fine." Jeongin answered while Minho simply shrugged.

 

"So nothing that needs to get looked at?" Hyunjin clarified, satisfied when Jeongin shook his head.

 

Before anyone could say more, Seungmin barged into the room looking frantic. "We're screwed!" He declared.

 

"What do you mean? What's going on?" Changbin immediately sprang to his feet.

 

"The anonymous tip we gave to the police, yeah? Wrong. There's no one at the building, it's empty. Even our agents can confirm this which is impossible because after Jimin and Dana infiltrated we got tape of the place being packed with security which can only mean one thing." He looked to the Director knowingly.

 

"They played us a still tape which would mean. . .They knew we were coming."

 

"But how!?" Jeongin shouted tensely. "Our agency is really fucking hard to find and we keep our motives airtight!"

 

"Someone from the inside is working with them." Minho answered calmly. "That’s the only explanation."

 

"So if they know about us and what we we’re planning to do to them, the smart move would be to strike here first — use our element of surprise against us." Felix deduced slowly as he struggled to understand his words himself. 

 

Jisung's eyes widened and he reached for his gun instinctively. "They're on their way here."

 

At the realization, Changbin scrambled for the red button beneath his desk which triggered an alarm throughout the entire building. It was the one he used for intruder alerts. 

 

He turned on the intercom. "CBS Agents, we're experiencing a Level4 emergency. We suspect that the premises will soon be invaded — I repeat, we will soon be invaded. Grab whatever you can, stay calm and everyone with low combat skills leave through the back door; receptionists, cleaners, workers basically everyone who isn't in Stage Three training we've already briefed you on how to leave so go, now! The rest of us that are willing to stay, assume your positions." 

 

Once he had declared the status, he turned to the people in the room. "Alright, Felix, Hyunjin and Seungmin, we're keeping you guys in my weaponry chamber. Don't worry, it's updated and really fucking safe. Seungmin knows the code to release you guys when it's all okay."

 

"What? No way in hell I'm sitting around in hiding when the people who kidnapped Chan are on their way here."

 

"Felix, this is really no time to play the hero. It's the logical thing to do — you aren't that skilled in combat." Jisung tried to explain.

 

"No, fuck that! You guys always do this, treat me like I'm some child to protect. Not fucking today!"

 

While this argument went on, Changbin went to the bookshelf on his wall and pressed his left hand against the side of the case to which the shelf split goes into two and revealed a door that required a pin-code to enter. He inputted the six digit code and the metal doors slid open to reveal a room that had just about every updated weaponry to exist.

 

"Yeah, baby! That's what I like to see." Minho laughed just as Changbin ushered all of them, including the arguing duo, into the room. 

 

He handed everybody that would be fighting separate weapons and rounds of Ammo as Seungmin and Hyunjin set up their computers to oversee the entire building. A lot of people had and were still fleeing but the ones who stayed behind were preparing their gadgets.

 

Minho was given an M16 Rifle and M249 Light Machine Gun, Jisung a M4A1 and Glock 43, Jeongin an Uzi and Smith & Wesson M&P while Changbin himself grabbed a Heckler & Koch HK416.

 

The Director threw a Mossberg 500 and Browning Hi-Power at Felix. 

 

"What the hell are you doing, Boss? We just talked about this!" Jisung gestured wildly.

 

"No, Felix is right. We can't protect him forever and I sure as hell can't hold him back from fighting for his friend so if he's sure he knows what he's doing..."

 

"I am." 

 

"Then I trust him." 

 

Felix smiled appreciatively.

 

"We'll let you guys know what's going on from on here." Hyunjin said as Seungmin handed out earpieces to those who previously didn't have any.

 

"Sure thing, control tower." Jeongin teased and Hyunjin cracked a smile.

 

Everyone had suited up with bullet proof vest and communication machinery, thankfully, when they heard a loud bang downstairs and the sound of bullets being sprayed everywhere. There was loud screaming and laughing and Minho was sure he heard his name being said somehow.

 

"Guns blazing, really? Lame." Minho rolled his eyes before he cocked his gun and smiled. "Alright! Who's ready to kill some racist white men or die trying?"

 

The group all gave him weird gazes.

 

"That's the spirit! Come on!" He jogged out of the office excitedly.

 

"I'm working for a lunatic." Hyunjin muttered to himself after the man was gone.

 

"Tough luck, I'm friends with one." Felix sighed before he followed suit. 

 

One by one, they all left the room, leaving Changbin behind and Hyunjin could just feel the third wheel tingle crawling up his spine as the couple gazed at each other in concern.

 

Seungmin pressed a soft kiss to his boyfriend's lips and pressed their foreheads together. “You better not die or I’m splintering all your money on the funeral and my sugar baby?"

 

"I’ll keep that in mind.” Changbin chuckled before going in for a kiss.

 

Outside was chaos. Well, when they'd gotten to the ground floor anyway. It was an unnecessary shoot out between two very different kinds of people. Thankfully, there were silencers on a number of the guns or Changbin was sure he really would gone deaf. He spotted Minho and Felix crouched together opposite Jeongin and Jisung. He recognized a few of his other agents like Yeji and Lucas involved in the shootout.

 

He immediately took cover and tried to survey the situation from his vantage point. There were many assaulters planted in different corners of the ground floor lobby. They were each separated by objects like thick pillars, oak waiting chairs and tables which had been overturned, debris from having to explode the front door dramatically to enter and the lack of proper lighting from that said explosion but all in all Changbin could count give or take twenty or so men firing. 

 

He set his eyes on a particular man who was distracted trying to shoot at Minhos head. He was going to aim for his chest but noticed it was too thick to not be vested so he steadied his arms that held his HK416 and blew the guy’s brains off instead. Another man who stood close to the now dead guy spotted him and Changbin wasted no time in shooting him too.

 

“Aim for their heads, they’re all vested.” He spoke into his mouthpiece, having to shout over the gunfire.

 

“So kill them?” Felix asked apprehensively.

 

“Yes, Felix.” Jisung deadpanned. “Kill them.” 

 

The agent rose and shot down three men on the bottom left of the lobby before he crouched back down and held his gun by the side of his face, the mouth pointed at the ceiling and his elbows bents enough so he could peek out of his spot but immediately duck back in when a number of bullets hit the oak desk he was hiding behind.

 

“Is that too much for you, killing these people?” Jisung asked in a knowing voice.

 

“Please don’t start, Ji.” Felix sighed over the sound of flying bullets.

 

“What? I’m just saying, it’s not too late to just fucking leave. Seungmin and Hyunjin would let you in.”

 

“For the love of god, Jisung!”

 

“Hey, guys, I don’t mean to interrupt your lovers quarrel but may I remind you we’re in the middle of an active shooting!” Yeji shouted into her mouth piece, startling many of the agents. “So if you don’t want to die, shut the fuck up and shoot!”

 

At her saying this, an automatic was aimed at where Minho and Felix were hiding and knowing the table that covered them would not be able to hold such intensity of bullets, they ducked and rolled their way over to Jisung and Jeongin who weren’t so far away just in time to watch the bullets fly into the wood.

 

“So I’m about to do something that might be very stupid.” Minho spoke up as he exchanged the M16 Rifle and M249 in his hand with each other to weigh which one would be better to use. “But you know, when don’t I? Just try to shoot when I say so and it would be so nice if we could aim for their heads, thanks. Signed Management.”

 

“Minho, what the fuck do you want to do?” Changbin growled.

 

“What I always do, Director. Something absolutely batshit crazy.” Everyone could detect a hint of a smile in his voice.

 

“Don’t get yourself killed, Minho.” Felix bargained.

 

“No promises.” The man laughed right before he stood up.

 

“Holy shit! What is with this tension, boys? Can’t we at least talk it out?” He shouted at the men. 

 

It literally took no more than two seconds for all their machine guns to be aimed at him and Minho took that as his cue to to just run. The chaos that ensued was one that he heavily expected; bullets flew everywhere hoping to touch him at least but Minho ran in a Zig Zag fashion to make that possibility slim. Eventually he reached the end of the room where Yeji, Lucas, Hyerin, Sunmi and a bunch of other faces he couldn’t recognize were crouched. 

 

Just as he expected, the shooting had stopped and each man was trying to reload as fast as he could. 

 

“Shoot.” 

 

That was all it took. Minho watched the men fall to the ground like ants, their number decreasing greatly before most regained their composure and reloaded began to counterattack the shoot out. Still, no one could deny that their numbers weren’t as great as the beginning and most of them began to see this and tried to fall back until they could come up with a better plan.

 

“Well that was…kinda smart.” Changbin admitted.

 

“What the hell is that?” Lucas shouted which directed their attention to the middle of the room where three cans were thrown.

 

“Well if it isn’t smoke.” Minho grinned over the thumping in his chest, the adrenaline had not yet subsided. “They’re gonna shoot us through the fog.”

 

“Everyone take cover!” Changbin shouted just in time for the smoke to be released from the cans, filling everywhere with thick fog and burning their eyes.

 

The bullets flew everywhere, hitting even some of them that had ducked. No one knew where it was coming from but Minho could hear Changbin desperately calling out orders for his agents. He looked around and it was almost as if everything was going in slow motion or it was an out of body of experience. He could hardly feel when he grabbed his gun and just started shooting at anything at everything.

 

But he could finally feel all the emotions he’d suppressed since the beginning of this twenty four hour ordeal, emotions he’d suppressed for five years. He was angry — at everything and at nothing and he just wanted it all to end; the anger, the pain, the regret, the nightmares. He thought that by doing this he would get some kind of closure, for his sister and for everything but he’d put so many people in danger and it made him sick to see. He hated what he’d become. 

 

That was it— the final thought to enter his head before he felt a a sharp pain delivered to his skull and his vision became blurry. 

 

When did it come to this?

 

-

 

A splitting headache greeted him upon awakening and he groaned and cursed simultaneously as he reached for his head — well, tried to. 

 

He didn’t notice that he was bound at first. The blinding light that seemed to sear into his skull received him rudely and for more than a minute, he could think of nothing other than the deafening pain he felt in his head and the fatigue that wracked his entire body.

 

A cough escaped his lips and after getting used to the light, he looked around to find two bodies slumped against a wall on a pristine tiled floor; their hands were bound behind their backs and legs roped together and stretched out in front of them. They were slumped with their heads nearly touching their shoulders. 

 

It took a second for him to realise he was in the same state as well. 

 

He could almost suddenly feel the burn on his wrist from the tightness of the ropes which told him he had been in that position for a while. He tested the very tightness of the rope for a second and once he felt how secure it really was, he stopped struggling and tried to study his surroundings. 

 

His heart was beating unreasonably slow, he recognised, for being in such a situation — bound and helpless. He hated having such an underwhelming reaction to a life and death situation (it really opened his eyes to how much he actually wanted to die).

 

There was shuffling coming from the right of him and he turned to see a large, imposing red headed white man closing a metal door behind him as he walked deeper into the room. There wasn’t really anything notable about his appearance other than his yellowing teeth and receding hairline.

 

Minho wanted to make a witty comment but felt like the whole world was drained from him.

 

“Oh, you’re awake.” Redneck commented in an accent as he walked past the three bodies towards the end of the room where a work table with what looked like tools. “Took you long enough.”

 

Beside him, Minho could see Jisung and Felix stirring awake and for a second, he wished they would just go back to sleep so they wouldn’t get to experience the horror that was to ensue.

 

Redneck picked up something from the table, it appeared to be an icepick. He raised it to the ceiling so it glinted against the light before he grabbed what resembled a lighter to heat up the tip. 

 

Minho could hardly see what he was doing from his position since it was hard to move when sore and tied up but he tried his best to study the man’s movement. He looked up at the ceiling to find two cameras adjacent of each other both pointing down in his direction. 

 

He looked back to the man to find that he was grabbing a stool and wheeling his work table towards Minho. Jisung and Felix had slowly gained consciousness but still appeared too groggy to understand what was going on. 

 

Minho attempted one last futile struggle against the ropes before he slumped against the wall and looked up at the grinning man. Redneck settled on the stool and arranged his little tools so Minho could clearly see what was on them and they weren’t pretty.

 

“So…” the man started. “I’ve heard you’ve been doing some pretty stupid things lately.”

 

“Depends on how you define stupid.” Minho could hardly recognise his voice as he said this — it was too rough and sounded unused.

 

“I don’t know, rampaging and killing some very powerful people sounds pretty stupid to me.” The man picked up a small hammer. “And all for some boy? What’s his name again, Ching?”

 

“Chan.” Minho corrected.

 

“Ah, yes, like the actor, Jackie Chan!”

 

“Sure.” Minho eyed the weapon in the man’s hand as he shifted uncomfortably. 

 

In the process, he felt something press against his back and his eyes widened a bit. Of course! How could he forget? The knife! 

 

He tried to act normal as he pressed harder against the wall and tried to reach his hands into the back of his jeans as subtly as he could. The man was still chattering away to himself when Minho felt his hands wrap around cold steel. He swallowed roughly and looked for a way to flick the knife without attracting the attention of Redneck.

 

“What’s going on?” Jisung suddenly asked in a state of panic. “Where the hell am I?”

 

Perfect opportunity.

 

With the distraction of Jisung’s voice, Minho quickly flicked the knife and positioned the blade to the ropes as steel began gnawing away at the solid material.

 

“Welcome back to us, Chong One and Two!” Redneck said excitedly. “So happy you could join us and right on time, too!”

 

“Who the fuck are you?” Jisung demanded harshly before he surveyed his surroundings. “Felix!” He shouted at the dazed looking blonde. “You fucker! What do you want with us.” 

 

“Oh, nothing much, just your pain and suffering. And of course, the usual, I need to make you pay for everything you did to my people.” He smiled goofily then turned to Minho.  “Which brings me back to you! I really wanted to save you for last and have my fun with you but we’re on limited time here so I’ve promoted you to the very first!”

 

Redneck laughed sadistically. “Come on, don’t look so scared. This’ll only hurt a lot.”

 

He dragged Minho’s legs to himself and played with each finger before straightening them on the ground and grabbing the knife. 

 

He leaned close. “Try not to scream too much, Lee Minho.” 

 

Just as he was about to bring the knife down, Minho freed his hands and plunged the small pocket knife into Redhead’s eye. The blood that spurted from the wound landed in different spots across Minho’s face and he tried to block out the screams as he grabbed a second knife from the world table and plunged it in the right eye eliciting even more cried of pain from the man. 

 

He grabbed a small knife from the table and hurried to free Jisung and Felix while the buff man struggled with the two knives in his eyes. Minho could hear footsteps down the hall and knew they would have to barricade the door so he rolled the work table and stool to the metal door albeit knowing it wouldn’t hold for long. 

 

There was blood all over his face and white shirt and blue jeans. He scanned the room for some kind of weapon to prepare for the upcoming gun fight but could only find a tiny pistol in Redneck’s gun holster as the big man fell to the ground and bled to death. Jisung looked frantic and Felix looked as if he was going to throw up at any moment. 

 

Minho saw that there were only two rounds; roughly twenty bullets so he concocted a plan in his head and motioned for Felix and Jisung to follow his lead as he quickly shot the two camera’s blank so they would at least have the element of surprise. The three of them stood by the side of the door just in time to see it get matched down by the men who rushed in to attack them.

 

Minho wasted no time in shooting down the first two before diving for their better guns and spraying bullets everywhere with the automatic of one of the dead guys. After killing all five men, he looked down the eerily quiet hallway and grabbed two guns while Jisung and Felix got the remainders. 

 

They crept along slowly, on edge as they were aware that an enemy could jump out at any time and they also knew that they’d been stripped of their gadgets so they couldn’t communicate with the outside and find out what was going on. Felix seemed the most panicked as his eyes darted around at the slightest sound.

 

At a corner, a man suddenly jumped out and attacked Minho while trying to pry the guns out of his hands. Being that both his hands were occupied, Minho found it a bit harder to combat the guy so Jisung shot the man in his legs so he fell and Minho finished the job. 

 

Their guns didn’t have silencers so Minho was sure that if there were more attackers, they would definitely be headed their way. They had to think quick if they didn’t want to wind up dead.

 

“All our stuff is busted and we have no hope of backup.” Jisung stated as they pressed against a wall.

 

“Thanks for the motivation, Ji.”

 

“No, listen.” Jisung rebutted. “If you really think about it, what are the odds of us getting out of here alive? One to none, we know it and they know it which is why they’re not gonna invest much in killing us. I mean, come on! They sent one guy to kill an SS-Rated assassin, Level S Getaway driver and some crazy guy who’s just John Wick suspiciously good with guns — so, I say our only shot of getting out of here is using that ignorance to our advantage.”

 

“What’re you getting at?” Minho asked.

 

“They think they — and probably do — have the upper hand, so let’s keep them thinking that way so they let their guard down and we strike.”

 

“So you mean fight like amateurs.”

 

“Exactly. We split up to cover more ground and fight like amateurs and just stall long enough until we can think of a way to get out of here.” 

 

“Split up!? Are you crazy!? That’s how everyone dies in the movies!” Felix exclaimed.

 

“Well, death or not, splitting up gives us a better chance at survival so let’s all just try to be careful and promise to try our hardest not to die.” Jisung said as he stared pointedly at Minho who appeared sheepish.

 

“Promise.” The black haired CEO grinned.

 

“Okay. Let’s try to find some blind spots and just shoot less, combat more, alright?”

 

“Aye, aye.” Minho saluted.

 

Jisung glanced at a shaking Felix and smiled softly. “It’s okay, Lix. We’ll be okay, I promise. Remember, we’re doing this for Chan!” 

 

Yeah, but so much is on the line now, Felix wanted to say but he held his tongue and tried to swallow past the stone in his throat as he squeezed his eyes shut. Chan, Chan, Chan! That was the only thing running through his head as he attempted to motivate himself. He thought of the bright, gaiety smile of Bang Chan, the one that swallowed his eyes and enveloped the room with sunshine. 

 

Then of the limitless love he felt and would continue to feel for the man — of the little things he did that would mean the absolute universe for him and the small details about Felix he remembered that even the whitehead seemed to forget. It was just everything about Bang Chan that reminded Felix why he was willing to risk his life to save his in the first place. 

 

So he smiled and nodded and was the first to detach himself from the group and walk down a winding hallway. At seeing this, Jisung sent a sort of longing look at Felix’s back, he gave Minho a curt nod and was on his way.

 

Truthfully, Minho had almost forgotten about Chan — almost. And it made him feel all the worse for it as all the guilt from the active shooting had come surging back. He emptied the magazine in his gun to see he only had three rounds before he reassembled it.

 

Glancing up at the ceiling, Minho finally took to time to examine his surroundings and he could more or less decipher that they were in some sort of old apartment complex (probably a student building) with two or three security cameras scattered loosely between the space of behind and ahead of him leaving room for numerous blind spots. He couldn’t help but feel off and a little baffled as he thought that for such a large organization, they would make flimsy mistakes such as these: almost as if they were intentional.

 

Just as intentional as being left alone.

 

It was a gun fight, well supposed to be, and Minho hadn’t heard another bullet in almost ten minutes leaving him to wonder whether these people were playing a game of cat and mouse with him. 

 

He advanced down the hallway, straight down and in the direction Felix had taken. His back was tense and his eyes were everywhere, expecting everything. He heard muffled voices coming down the hall and he froze and pressed his back against a pillar adjoining the handles of a staircase leading downstairs. He peeked his head out, gun held closely and was just in time to watch two hefty men scurry down the stairs, armed as well as him and maybe even better. He waited until he could no longer hear their footsteps until he scurried past the staircase and deeper down the hall.

 

He reached a space with peeled wallpaper, loose floorboard and wooden doors that he was absolutely certain would creak if he tried to push them open. Not wanting to attract any attention to himself, he opted to check later and advanced until he reached another flight up stairs going both up and down and facing an open window revealing the city below.

 

Minho’s eyes widened as he graced the pitch blackness of the night sky and tried to guess the time, deciding it was past midnight. He could barely make out any key features of the world below with the darkness barely illuminated by the streetlight but he spotted a familiar sign of one of the restaurants he held business meetings at and realized they were way downtown and at least fifteen minutes away from his work.

 

With new found determination and motivation, Minho walked up the stairs quietly, hoping to get somewhere and just get the night over with. His prayers were more or less answered as he soon came face to face with three gun wielding men as soon as he turned the corner and they had their eyes locked on him. He quickly turned to rush back down the stairs before they started shooting and was faced with even more henchmen making their way towards him and he could even spot a sadistic smile on one.

 

Knowing that they had him cornered, Minho clutched his gun tightened because he sure as hell was not going down without a fight. He pointed at one of the men in front of him and shot at his leg causing the stranger to scream and fall to the ground, clutching the hole in his leg where blood sprayed out of. Minho was just about to resign the other guy to the same fate before he was roughly tackled to the ground and had the gun yanked out of his hand.

 

Minho did struggled his best but just as in the room before, he knew it was futile so he simply resigned and let the men do with him as they pleased.

 

It appeared he was quite popular as upon seeing him defenseless, one of the men struck him a blow so hard, there had to be resentment behind it. And almost like a chain reaction, many hands came down on him at once and from places he could barely see. Minho did his best to shield his face but it was a very useless attempt as he was kicked and attacked from all corners.

 

He groaned and felt the metallic taste of blood pool up in his mouth so hard, he had to spit it out which gave the people more access to his face. He hurt all over and he was pretty sure his ribs had cracked but still, he didn’t give them the satisfaction of begging to stop. 

 

After a minute, which felt more like hours to Minho, they finally let up and relished in seeing him in such a helpless state. One of them, the ringleader he supposed, bared his teeth animalistic-ally. 

 

“Not so strong now, huh, bitch? Where’s the smart mouth? Where’s you prancing around shooting everything that moves thinking that there would be no consequences? Well, sorry to burst your bubble so soon but hi!” He paused and gestured around the men staring supportively, silently edging him on. “We’re consequences!”

 

Minho’s head was spinning and he was bloody and bruised all over yet he couldn’t just bury it, the longing in him to say something to prove that they were not getting to him — to die, and if to die, to be buried with his ego.

 

“Now that you mentioned it.” He coughed as he choked on his own blood. “You do look like consequences to my actions if they were starved and hadn’t seen sunlight in days.” 

 

Ears tipped red with anger, the ringleader made to kick at Minho again but immediately froze when he held the unmistakable sound of heel clicking on wood muffled by an age old cheap carpet.

 

“Enough.” A calm, feminine voice said. “I said rough him up, not kill him.”

 

“I apologize, Madame X. I just got so carried away — he’s so-”the ringleader trailed off as he made a strangling motion.

 

“Control, Kyle. How many times do you have to learn? Bring him into my office.” The new face — Madame X, said and walked away, disappearing behind a darkness Minho could not stretch his body to look past.

 

He was hoisted up roughly a second later and dragged than the hallway, having to ignore the ringleader’s grunts and muttered complaints. The ones who dragged him paid no mind to his muffled groans of pain and as soon as they approached a rickety wooden door, they pushed him inside and shut it behind him.

 

Minho cursed lightly and squeezed his eyes shut as coursed through his body. He tried to get up but his hands were too wobbly and vision to blurry to do anything useful so he collapsed back unto the ground with a thud.

 

“Fuck.” He muttered to himself as he felt tears prick his eyes. “Fuck. Shut up! Shut up!” He whispered darkly.

 

He tried to block out the awful thoughts that suddenly filled his head and longed to bring his hands up to press against both his ears but he was too weak and too much of a coward to just fucking do it!

 

“Wow.” A voice echoed around the room and bounced off the walls letting Minho know there wasn’t much furniture. “I didn’t plan on witnessing a mental breakdown today.”

 

His head raised slightly and his eyes shot to find a chubby, shapely white skinned woman in a skirt, stockings and pumps hovering above him. If he looked just a tiny bit higher, he would have been able to see her panties.

 

That was, of course, before she crouched to his level and held his chin up with her manicured hands so they could hold unwavering eye contact.

 

“Well, hello there.” She smiled coyly.

 

She was beautiful, Minho would have to give her that. Sandy, dirty blonde hair, ocean blue eyes, high cheekbones, a dot for a nose, full eyelashes and full red lips and a curved in eyebrow — the typical features for many white women he’d seen in movies.

 

“Minho, I have to admit, I’m really disappointed! I thought this would be fun but you — you look so out of it. Come on, where’s your smart little mouth gone? And your confidence, too. I really enjoyed you shooting my men down both vocally and physically and now…now you just look lifeless. Don’t tell me,” she leaned in to whisper in his ear. “They’ve beaten the fight out of you?”

 

“Go to hell!” He spat venomously.

 

“Oh, honey, don’t tell me you believe earth is anything other than hell? You poor thing.” 

 

Minho’s teeth made contact with each other as he bit down hard to not say anything to let her know that her presence had him boiling with anger.

 

“Where’s Chan?” He asked simply.

 

“Oh, now that you mention it…” she trailed off with an innocent smile. 

 

She walked slowly and purposely towards the end of the room Minho had been able to closely study and pushed something into his line of sight and oh. Oh. There he was; Minho’s best friend of four years, battered and bruised almost as he who lay on the ground, with bloodshot eyes and shaking hands. There was duct tape pressed flat against his mouth and he had little cuts and bruised all over his face and arms exposed from the tank top he usually wore — bruises that blended well with his tattoos. 

 

X beamed as she rounded Chan’s chair and yanked the duct tape from his face in a way that was bound to hurt. Minho cringed.

 

“Finally!” She breathed. “The long awaited reunion we’ve all been dying to see!” She cocked her head and nudged Chan lightly. “Don’t you have something to say to your friend?”

 

For the first time since they brought him, Chan looked at Minho, really looked at him and Minho hated how raw it felt, he hated that he could see the abundant pain behind Chan’s eyes and recognize that he was the cause of it.

 

It was quiet for a beat too long as Chan seemed to be contemplating what to say.

 

“You shouldn’t have come.” He finally settled on one distinct thought. 

 

“Yeah, sure, and live my life knowing the one person I care about in this world is being tortured by a bunch of crazy white people and it’s all my fault.” Minho scoffed before grunting in pain and he used all the strength in him to hoist himself up. He stumbled a bit but caught himself.

 

“You don’t get it.” Chan continued adamantly. “You really shouldn’t have come, Minho.”

 

“And why is that, Chan?” The younger male asked. “Humor me.” 

 

The next words Chan said chilled Minho to the bone and he wasn’t even sure why, after all he’d already resigned himself to his fate but hearing those words awoke something in him, almost like the need for survival.

 

“The building.” Chan began. “It’s gonna explode, Minho.”

 

-

 

Bombs. Minho had had his fair share of bombs in his early days in the Korean Military when they embarked on that stupid underground war with the Chinese government for the genocide against South Koreans in their country.

 

He hated everything about explosives. He’d watched the military jeep his only friend at camp was in explode with his very eyes, and even the hot fire, the screams, it did nothing to calm the cold Minho felt inside of him on that winter’s day. Guns were alright because at least they didn’t disintegrate a person far beyond recognition. 

 

It was a struggle to draw his mind out of his deep, dark reminiscence and into the matter at hand; the building was going to explode and Minho knew Felix and Jisung were still inside — he and Chan were still inside and as he looked up at the blonde haired woman to catch that glint of satisfaction in her eyes, Minho knew then…she wasn’t bluffing.

 

“Spoiler much!” Madame X tsked and made a disapproving gesture at Chan. “I was going to reveal that part myself. But it’s all good, no love lost! We can still proceed.”

 

She turned and walked to a second chair just beside Chan and plopped herself in between the seats, crossed her legs and peered at Minho through her eyelashes.

 

“So, Minho, I’m curious. What’re you gonna do? This old shabby building is rigged to explode in thirty minutes and you’ve got so many of your precious friends trapped inside. You’ve always seemed to make last minute good decisions since the beginning so what’s it gonna be now?” She smiled eagerly and reclined into her chair with her legs uncrossed and arms folded below her petite breasts.

 

“There’s two guards outside this door right now, four down the hall, two at the entrance and six altogether scattered about.” She explained. “That leaves you with fourteen men to deal with and I doubt you’ll go very far in this state. So, Superman, what’s it gonna be?”

 

Minho hated the pressure. Even Chan looked on expectantly as if awaiting some sort of solution from the man who appeared just as frazzled as him on the chair.

 

He took a deep breath and looked around the room; it really wasn’t much. A small, musty space with two dim lights barely illuminating anything. It gave off a kind of office space as there was a large metal office desk at the rear end of the box shaped room and also an empty bookshelf standing lonely a few feet away, finally, a large floor to ceiling window.

 

Madame X eyed him attentively, almost like she was genuinely interested in his decision. “This is so fun, isn’t it? It’s almost like an escape room!”

 

It honestly was the excitement of watching Minho struggle to survive that set him off to realize that the white faced, red cheeked woman in front of him but absolutely out of her mind. So he did the only rational thing that came to mind

 

He raised both his hands above his head.

 

The surprise on her face satisfied him and he couldn’t help but think of how incredibly stupid she appeared being so incredulous.

 

“What!? You give up!?” She screeched. 

 

“Wow! You understand signs.” Minho retorted dryly.

 

“But that’s— that’s not how this was supposed to go. You can’t just give up!” She whined like a child deprived of toys on Christmas.

 

“I’m sorry to have to disappoint you so badly but I don’t have it in me to play into your hands and whether I fight or not, I’m still going to wind up dead so it’s better I do at my own terms.” Minho explained slowly. She acted like a child so he treated her like one.

 

“But that’s no fun!” Madame X shook her head in disappointment which morphed into anger as her eyes turned cold. “Fine! Since you want to end the game so quickly, I won’t object.”

 

She reached behind her and pulled out a gun, which, Minho was honestly not surprised.

 

“How kind.” He quipped monotonously. 

 

From the corner of his eye, he could see Bang Chan’s eyes widen and his mouth open to say something. “Minho, are you crazy!? You can’t talk like that at a time like this.” He stage-whispered harshly in rushed Korean.

 

Minho simply shrugged with a resigned smile. “I’m not gonna die pleading, Channie.” He equally replied in the same language.

 

“Fucking speak English!” Madame X shouted as she cocked the gun and aimed at Minho’s tired figure. “You’ve been doing splendid so far and I don’t want to hear any more of that monkey language!”

 

Minho said nothing and this seemed to anger the gun wielding woman even more.

 

“You!” She suddenly growled. “You killed my brother.”

 

“Sorry, I’ve killed so many people who just happen to be men the past few hours so can you specify?” Minho cocked his head to the side innocently. He was enjoying riling her up and it seemed she was taking the bait as her face grew even redder.

 

“On the train, you bastard! You might remember him as one of the men you shot and left to bleed out as you so often do. But he was my brother.”

 

Minho’s eyes widened in false surprise. “Oh! You mean one of the men that killed my fucking sister? You might remember her as some worthless Asian Ching Chong, as you so often do, but she was my sister.” 

 

Madame X glowered at him, almost as if she was angry he felt no remorse: like she was seeking some kind of closure from him but as abruptly as this emotion surfaced, it was snuffed out and replaced with glee.

 

“There’s the smart mouth Minho I’ve been looking for. I’ve missed you, baby.” 

 

As the woman went on yet another crazed soliloquy, Minho’s eyes adjusted the darkness outside and just then he was sure something moved by the large thin glass windows but he also thought the trauma from the entire ordeal was making him lose his mind but it moved again and again and Minho was finding it hard to focus on anything else.

 

Then he saw it — or him. 

 

The thick form of the Director hooked to a rope and attempting to push his way inside. At that moment, all Minho could think of was stalling: he needed to stall because Madame X was taking her annoying rant back to Chan and he was absolutely sure there was no way in hell she wouldn’t catch sight of Changbin. 

 

“You know,” he started. “This is really stupid.”

 

Madame X stopped in her tracks and stared pointedly at him. “Care to elaborate.” 

 

“This entire situation, you know. I mean things could have ended a lot quicker if you’d just killed me when I was unconscious. Hell, I’m unarmed, you can even kill me now. But you’re just dragging everything out for the dramatics and to look cool when, in fact, you look like a wannabe bad ass but you dress like a daddy’s girl. What is this, the South Korean Fashion Show? News flash, no one wears pearl necklaces in winter! Oh and don’t even get me started on your name — what the hell is Madame X? Is this just an attempt of violence being art? Or you just saw it off the internet and thought it was cool. I can tell what I’m saying is beginning to annoy you and I’m gonna stop now because, I’m really sorry to do this, but all I’ve been serving as is a distraction.” 

 

The close range bomb Changbin placed on the window beeped red and the window disintegrated to the ground silently. A bullet came flying through the open space and hit Madame X on the back of her left leg just in time for another one to follow and hit her on her hand. She fell to the ground screaming in shock. It really was unexpected from her point of view especially since Changbin had on a silencer.

 

A new gun was tossed to Minho and he smiled, feeling secure with the weight of the thing in his hand. 

 

“Took you long enough.” He teased Changbin.

 

“Yeah, yeah. You wouldn’t say that if you know where the fuck you are right now and how long it took to find you.” Changbin grumbled and busied himself with untying Chan. “We need to go. Yeji took care of the guards at the door but I’m sure the rest of her minions probably heard the commotion.” 

 

“Not so fast.” A paralysed Madame X groaned, as she aimed at Chan and fired but with her injured arm, shaking vision and the fact that she could not steady her arms, she missed entirely and ended up shooting the bookcase a few ways away.

 

Before she could try again, Minho shot her in the face, twice.

 

“Damn.” Changbin quipped.

 

Minho turned to stare at him. “What?”

 

“Nothing, it’s just, I really thought she would pose as our biggest threat but it all ended so anticlimactically.” 

 

“Tell me about it. I had so many things in mind to do to her.” Minho breathed angrily.

 

“Okay, okay. That’s great that you guys are discussing a woman’s death so openly but uh, didn’t she say something about fourteen guards? I don’t fancy dying here so can we leave, please!?” Chan asked breathlessly. 

 

“Shit, yeah! Come on, Minho.” Changbin made it towards the open window with Chan on his tail.

 

“You guys go, Jisung and Felix are still in there.” Minho cocked his gun.

 

“And so are some other agents of ours, we came prepared.” 

 

“Well I can’t leave before it all ends, you of all people should know that, Director.” He smiled brightly, something he’d been doing a lot. “You guys just keep safe, I’ll be out in a minute. I gotta let them know the building’s rigged to blow up in, give or take, seven minutes.” Minho explained.

 

“Shit, okay.” Changbin’s eyes widened. “We’ll see you outside, Minho.” He plucked an earpiece from his ear and handed it to Minho. “Here, take this, Seungmin and Hyunjin are online.” 

 

“You better not die, Minho.” Chan said softly. “Or I swear to god, I’ll kill you myself.”

 

Minho laughed. “I’ll keep that in mind, Chan.”

 

He turned and made it to the door. 

 

“Time to die.” He soliloquised as he plucked the earpiece in.

 

He could hear rapid gunfire and yelling as soon as he put the device in his ear and he knew he had to hurry up and get himself and everyone from the agency out before the place crumbles.

 

“Loving the enthusiasm, Mr. Lee.” Seungmin retorted sarcastically.

 

“Mr. Lee?” The hopeful voice of Hyunjin tuned in right after his melancholic declaration. 

 

“Hey, there.” He answered casually.

 

There was background noise and a lot of voices came on but eventually he tuned them out and zeroed in on Hyunjin’s. 

 

“Welcome back, sir!” His assistant laughed. “Listen, we don’t have much time so before you progress, there’s some important information you need to know about; we finally found out who the double crosser is and you’re not gonna like it—”

 

“Who is it?” He asked with furrowed brows.

 

The door suddenly banged opened and a slender figure stood in front of Minho, lips curled into a familiar sinister smile and it clicked in his head at the same time Hwang Hyunjin disclosed the name:

 

“Dana Simons.”

 

“Minho.” Dana smiled. “I’m so shocked you’re alive.” 

 

He studied her form and wasn’t surprised to see she had put on a dark leather jacket and black skinny jeans and boots. There wasn’t anything remarkable about her clothes except the logo that sat on the pocket of the jacket; there it was — he knew he’d seen it somewhere.

 

“Evidently. So what now? You go on a random bullshit rant on why you betrayed me?”

 

“I thought you’d never ask.” She laughed and cocked her gun as she walked deeper into the room. “See, Minho, it’s not anything personal. I needed the money.”

 

“Sure. Money is a good thing to switch up for.” Minho nodded understandingly.

 

“Yes! I knew you’d understand. I really didn’t mean to betray you—”

 

“Betrayal implies I trusted you, Dana.”

 

“Ouch.” She smiled. “I deserve that. It’s just, these people are from the USA and they need a little intel that I could give, you know. Plus their currency is like way higher than SK’s so when they say one million, they mean one million, I’m sure you understand.”

 

“Perfectly.” He nodded. “So, how much did they pay for you to join them?” 

 

“Oh that one was free. I don’t know if I made it clear with all the lies and deceit but I also don’t like Asian scum.” 

 

“Good to know.” He responded dryly.

 

Dana peered into the room to find a dead body. “I see you killed her. You do know she’s not the actual leader, right? Just a worker so it’s far from over.”

 

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

 

“Well, enough small talk. I’m sorry to have to do this but—”

 

She raised the gun swiftly but Minho was swifter and a second later there was a bullet in her skull and her thick, dark blood running into the base of the open door.

 

“That was the weirdest pre-shootout talk I’ve ever had.” He said as he crossed over her body and into the hallway.

 

The hallway was empty but there were gunshots coming a couple floors down so he hurried to follow the sound and he soon came to another shootout with Jisung, Felix, Yeji and a couple of other faces he didn’t know. There weren’t many X-Minions, as Minho had decided to call them, only about seven so he found a good spot in the corner at the foot of the stairs and headshot one of the people before returning to his spot.

 

A couple of bullets flew in his direction and hit the concrete after he had killed one of Madame X’s men. He knew they didn’t have much time so when the bullets had slowed, he peeked his head out and shot another guy in the arm.

 

“We need to leave.” He spoke into the earpiece. “The building’s has a timer detonator and I honestly think we have T-Minus five minutes.”

 

“What the fuck!?” An unfamiliar voice cried out.

 

“What the fuck is right. Does anyone have any smoke bombs?” He asked. 

 

“Yes.” Sumni, who Minho had met only once at the agency, answered.

 

“Okay, that’s great. Yeji, do you know how high up we are right now?” 

 

“We’re on the third floor.” Yeji supplied.

 

“Hyunjin, Seungmin, are there any escape routes we should know of?” He peeked his head out and performed another headshot. 

 

“Hold on…” Seungmin dragged out and Minho was sure if he could hear over the bullets, there would be typing in the background. “Yes! There’s a fire exit on your floor. It’s on the west wing and you guys are on the east.”

 

“Great. Jisung, how many men left?” 

 

“Two.” Jisung replied. “And a half.” He added once he saw a guy who was shot in the shoulder start to get up. 

 

“Okay. I think my gun has a laser so I’ll turn it on and you guys can come to me. Once you see the red light, deploy the smoke bomb, Sumni.” He instructed, his voice strained from shouting over all the noise. 

 

“Rodger.” 

 

His hands scrambled to turn on the laser quickly and he pointed it directly in the direction of Jisung. He hoped they would see it quickly through all the chaos.

 

“I see him! Twelve o’clock!” Felix shouted. 

 

That was all it took for the smoke to be deployed and for footsteps to duck and run through the steady flow of bullets to Minho’s position on the stairs.

 

“Go! Go!” He ushered them up in a frenzy once he saw the five agents. “Seungmin, where the fuck are we going?”

 

“Take a straight left!” Seungmin answered quickly as soon as he spotted the red blinking lights indicating each of them on the map. “Yeah, just keep going, you’ll spot a turn soon, take it.” 

 

“Hurry!” Minho shouted. 

 

Five minutes had never felt so fast in his life. He felt his breath catch in his throat as soon as he spotted the small door labelled Fire Exit. 

 

Jisung went to push it. “It’s locked!”

 

“Shit.” Minho stressed.

 

“Anyone got like a pin or something?” Felix asked in a shaky voice.

 

“I’ve got a hairpin.” Yeji offered. 

 

“Perfect.” Felix grabbed it quickly and set to work. 

 

Minho felt on edge with the knowledge that they could be blown to pieces in only a few minutes. “Hurry up, Lix!”

 

“I’m going as fast as I can.” Felix snapped but soon after they heard a lock click and Felix turned the knob then pushed the door open. 

 

Outside, they came across a set of stairs and quickly hurried down it. Minho really hated exercise but he’d never been so glad to see stairs. They all hurried down, only making it a bit above ground before a large explosion sounded in the building and all the windows shattered at once. 

 

The construction began to dilapidate as soon as Minho’s legs touched the soft ground of the earth. He could barely hear his own voice over the explosion but he remembered shouting for them to get as far away from the building as possible. 

 

And they hadn’t gotten far, not far enough anyway, when the force of the explosion sent them flying in directions defying gravity. 

 

Minho passed out before he hit the floor but he could never forget the loud ringing in his ear and the heat of the fire only a couple inches away from his body.

 

-

 

It was a pretty grave, really.

 

He honestly wasn’t sure why he hadn’t come sooner, after all, he’d missed the funeral so it wasn’t exactly kind to wait so long before coming to pay his respects. Still, even through all his guilt, he was incredibly happy that the private grave was so beautiful because it was befitting for the person six feet under it.

 

A lump formed in his throat as he read the tomb stone.

 

Shin Ren (2005-2020)

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

Her favourite Shakespearean quote. Minho felt tears come to his eyes as they skimmed over the engraving. Her gravestone was shaped like a heart so the world wouldn’t forget how big hers was. He’d hoped that taking down Madame X and her little agency would bring him the closure he needed but it still hurt like hell to think his little step sister would’ve been with him now if it wasn’t for some mindless racism and evilness.

 

He breathed through the tears that threatened to fall and looked over the grave to the view it provided. It stood on a really high hill that overlooked most of Gangnam-Du. He was sure Ren would have liked it.

 

His phone buzzed in his pocket and he fished it out to find Bang Chan calling. He took a deep breath and tried to steady his voice.

 

“Hey.” He greeted once the call connected.

 

“Hey, Min. Where are you?” Chan asked softly. 

 

“I’m, uh, I decided to visit Ren today.”

 

Chan’s soft breathing filled the other end of the line as he struggled for what to say. “Yeah? And how’re you feeling about that?”

 

“Don’t go playing therapist on me, Chan. One is enough.” Minho joked right before getting serious again. “To be honest, I still can’t get over it and it makes me feel like shit for not making much progress but I’m getting there.”

 

“You are. You will.” Chan encouraged. 

 

“I know. And you? How’re the appointments going for you?”

 

“Making slow progress as well but progress is progress.”

 

“Yes.” Minho laughed. “And the nightmares?”

 

“We’re trying out better coping mechanisms for it but I still get them every other night. I really don’t know how you deal with this, Minho.”

 

“I don’t.” He said. “But, you know what helps me? Sleeping with someone else, like cuddling. And you have Nayeon for that so it’s covered, I guess.”

 

“Actually…”

 

“What do you mean actually…? You do have her, right?” 

 

“Not really.” Chan sighed. “We’re kind of taking a break right now. She says it’s not me but I think all the PTSD and daily mental breakdowns is stressing her out.” 

 

“Oh. Shit, I’m sorry, Chan. I know how much you love her. So what happens to your business?” 

 

“I don’t know. If she wants to permanently separate I guess we can share it fifty-fifty but then again I think we should be mature enough to work together, you know.” 

 

Chan’s voice was tired, as it had been for the past three weeks ever since his little rescue mission from the hand of Madame X and her goons. It really wasn’t easy to return to their normals lives; what with Minho killing so many men he couldn’t count and Madame X forcing Chan to watch. Coupled with the torture both physically and sexually, Chan wasn’t going to forget the events anytime soon — he still woke up in a cold sweat and he still flinched whenever Minho got too close and he was scared of loud sounds and couldn’t watch anything on TV with guns in them (which was just wrong because action was formerly his favourite genre), he just wasn’t coping very well and Minho was trying whatever he could to help.

 

Although that wasn’t much as he was having almost the same symptoms and he was paranoid with the knowledge that the racist organisation was still alive somewhere, plus the guilt of his maniacal killing and putting so many lives in danger thoughtlessly, he wasn’t having it easy as well. 

 

So almost nine days after the whole ordeal, when they could finally get Chan to leave his room, he, Felix and his traumatised best friend decided it would be in their best interest to see psychologists about their problems. It wasn’t going very great but it was going.

 

“Yeah, I understand. You’ve known each other for so long.” Minho breathed.

 

When they’d come back from their near death experience, they’d been greeted with hundreds of missed calls individually and a missing person’s report filed by Nayeon after waiting twenty four hours, searching everywhere they were supposed to be and coming up short. It wasn’t really a good sight for Chan to come home to cops in their house and it took a while to calm him down and dismiss the police but they did it, eventually. If she was that worried, Minho was sure Nayeon and Chan would be fine. 

 

“Oh! Why I called; are you still coming over to the new HQ? Changbin said they’re just moving in the last boxes.” Chan informed the now grey haired Minho.

 

“Yeah, I almost forgot actually. I’m on my way now.”

 

“Okay, Min. Drive safe.”

 

Arriving at Seo Changbin’s new Headquarters at Deok-su after the last one was compromised, Minho came to face the last of the boxes being placed inside by the moving company. Seo Changbin, in all his black haired, turtle necked glory stood at the entrance and monitored the entire business.

 

The place was huge, at least twice the size of their former one and Minho had bought it in a blink of an eye as thanks for all their work and he had quadrupled their usual payment. It was safe to say he’d become something of a local legend.

 

As he pulled in to the ten car space open garage, he couldn’t help but admire the sky high, pane windowed infrastructure. It really was a beauty. He hopped out and walked over to where Changbin was standing. 

 

“Mr. Lee.” Changbin smiled and held out a hand.

 

“Director.” Minho nodded and took the hand in his with a little squeeze.

 

“I wonder, how may I help you on this fine, wintery afternoon?” He teased with an amused smile.

 

“If I do remember, I made an appointment.” Minho played along.

 

“Well, I’m sorry but all appointments today are inconsequential. We need to keep the place engaged for our highest paying customer. He bought us this place, you see and he’s on his way.” 

 

“Sounds like a snob.” Minho snorted.

 

“Oh, he’s far from it.” Changbin said with a serious face. “And I don’t appreciate you insulting our sponsor.” 

 

That was all it took for them to burst into fits of laughter and embrace each other warmly; Changbin had grown a sort of soft spot for Minho and vice versa so they were on good terms.

 

“Thanks so much for doing this, Minho. I honestly still can’t believe it.”

 

“Honestly, it’s nothing compared to what you guys did to me.” Minho dismissed lightly. “Where’s everyone else?”

 

“Inside. You should go see them, they have this little surprise thing planned for you when you get inside but you didn’t hear it from me.” Changbin winked.

 

Minho grimaced. “I hate surprises.”

 

“I tried to tell them.” Changbin smirked with a hint of a smile. 

 

While he walked inside, he tried to practice his suprised face but each and every one of them were too dramatic so when he walked past the front desk and into the lounge area of the ground floor and was greeted with choruses of surprise, he couldn’t help but let out a deflated, “Oh.”

 

“What’s all of this for, guys?” He asked in a faux shocked tone.

 

“Only to celebrate the most generous man we’ve ever worked with.” Yeji smiled as she walked over to him and swung her hand over his shoulder.

 

“Yeah, with money. You guys were generous with your lives, I should be the one doing this.”

 

“Just shit and accept nice things, Minho.” Felix scolded.

 

He raised his hand in surrender and looked at the place. It was decorated with red balloons and other articles of celebration and there was a small red velvet double step cake on a platter along with small drinks and food. It felt like a little kid’s birthday party but Minho loved it.

 

Jimin was the first one to cut the cake as he was super excited: Minho had met him a few days after the incident as the whole crew went to visit him in the hospital, he’d been badly beaten and bruised but he was healing rapidly enough to go about on his own. Lucas who was shot in the arm was lucky it didn’t hit any vital tissues so after the bullet was removed and he was stitched, a mandatory six weeks cast was put on his arm — he was still complaining about that.

 

He opened his mouth to accept the cake Jimin fed him before being whisked away by Jisoo who had become a little civil with Minho lately. Minho liked Jimin: he was so pretty and nice and didn’t look at Minho like he was some sort of monster. Seungmin, Jeongin, Hyunjin, Hyerin, Sunmi and Lucas all came up to greet him before they dispersed their separate ways around the lounge. 

 

“So, how does it feel to be famous?” Jisung asked with a wide grin as he made his way to Minho’s side.

 

“No different than being a nobody. You don’t have to worry, Ji. I’m still humble and I won’t forget you, commoner. I’m sorry, what was your name again?” He joked.

 

Jisung shoved him lightly and they laughed together before their eyes strayed to Hyunjin and Jeongin eating cake and conversing together, a few feet away from Chan and Felix where the latter was making the younger laugh.

 

“How long do you think it will take those two to get together?” Jisung mused. 

 

“Which ones?” Minho cocked his head and asked. 

 

“True. Both.”

 

“Well, if I know anything about Chan, probably two years if Felix doesn’t make a move but as for Hyunjin and Jeongin?” Minho smiled. “Probably the end of the night.”

 

Jisung laughed loudly. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

 

A comfortable silence enveloped them for a moment before Jisung spoke up again. “So, what’re you gonna do now?”

 

Minho shrugged. “The same thing I’ve always done; go back to work and pretend it never happened.”

 

“Are we also in that equation? All of us at the agency.” Came an apprehensive inquiry.

 

One look at the people in front of him whom he’d come to care about in one form or the other, Minho shook his head. 

 

“No. I couldn’t forget you guys even if I tried.” He smiled reassuringly causing Jisung. “I might even try to come on missions if Changbin allows. After all, I am pretty good at incapacitating six guys under like T-Minus five seconds…”

 

“Never gonna let that one go, huh?”

 

“I told you guys they weren’t dead.”

 

“Yeah, okay but they looked kind of dead to me.”

 

As it turned out, when Hyunjin had anonymously contacted the police and sent them to the first location to take care of the bodies, there was a discovery that the men were still alive— barely, but still. Which poses another trouble of getting them not to talk so when they’d been put into the hospital, Changbin sent some agents who hadn’t been on the previous mission to go individually do something about their aliveness and by the time the police came in for questioning, they were no longer breathing.

 

“You know what would be cool to have?” Jisung pondered over, continuing when he saw he had Minho’s attention. “Like a little organisation with agents like us who are specifically designed to fight against racism anywhere in the world — violent racism, at least. Like terrorist attacks and cop killings. There could even be like free lawyers who defend the innocent in a court of law designed to discriminate against them. What a world that would be.”

 

Minho was quiet, eyes focused on just about everywhere and his silence caused Jisung to think that he had maybe said a wrong or stupid thing.

 

“But that’s never gonna happen.” He laughed. 

 

“And why not?” Minho looked up at him. 

 

“Wha…? What do you mean?” Jisung questioned, confused.

 

“Come on, Ji.” He clasped his friend on the back. “All these things take is a connection and a large, large amount of money.” He smiled and turned his attention to his assistant flirting with the Seductress. 

 

“Hyunjin, come on. We’ve got work to do!”

 

“But it’s my day off.” Hyunjin whined as he finished the drink in his hand. 

 

“Yeah, and it could stay that way forever when I fire you.” Minho threatened teasingly.

 

“Coming, sir!”