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thetaintedblade
06 June 2014 @ 08:11 pm

So I've found a list of prompts online, and I figure, the only way to try to jumpstart myself back into writing, is with a prompt or more a day, until I catch myself. I'm not working for the holidays (even if I could do with the darn money) since I want to work on myself and figure out what I want in life and well, exercising.


The Original List

1. Introduction
2. Complicated
3. Making History (TBW)
4. Rivalry
5. Unbreakable
6. Obsession
7. Eternity
8. Gateway
9. Death
10. Opportunities
11. 33%
12. Dead Wrong
13. Running Away
14. Judgment

15. Seeking Solace (TBW)
16. Excuses
17. Vengeance
18. Love
19. Tears
20. My Inspiration
21. Never Again
22. Online
23. Failure
24. Rebirth
25. Breaking Away
26. Forever and a day
27. Lost and Found
28. Light
29. Dark
30. Faith
31. Colors
32. Exploration
33. Seeing Red
34. Shades of Grey
35. Forgotten
36. Dreamer
37. Mist
38. Burning
39. Out of Time
40. Knowing How
41. Fork in the road
42. Start
43. Nature’s Fury
44. At Peace
45. Heart Song
46. Reflection
47. Perfection
48. Everyday Magic
49. Umbrella
50. Party
51. Troubling Thoughts
52. Stirring of the Wind
53. Future
54. Health and Healing
55. Separation
56. Everything For You
57. Slow Down
58. Heartfelt Apology
59. Challenged
60. Exhaustion
61. Accuracy
62. Irregular Orbit
63. Cold Embrace
64. Frost
65. A Moment in Time
66. Dangerous Territory
67. Boundaries
68. Unsettling Revelations
69. Shattered
70. Bitter Silence
71. The True You
72. Pretense
73. Patience
74. Midnight
75. Shadows
76. Summer Haze
77. Memories
78. Change in the Weather
79. Illogical
80. Only Human
81. A Place to Belong
82. Advantage
83. Breakfast
84. Echoes
85. Falling
86. Picking up the Pieces (TBW)
87. Gunshot
88. Possession
89. Twilight
90. Nowhere and Nothing
91. Answers
92. Innocence
93. Simplicity
94. Reality
95. Acceptance
96. Lesson
97. Enthusiasm
98. Game
99. Friendship
100. Endings









Find your key emotion; this may be all you need to know to find your short story. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald








The Emotions List
1. Birth
2. Enthusiasm
3. Love
4. Hate
5. Triumph
6. Feel
7. Wrecked
8. Soft
9. Cold
10. Without
11. Inspiration
12. You
13. Confused
14. Affection
15. Joy
16. Horror
17. Acceptance
18. Sympathy
19. Holding (TBW)
20. Defeated
21. Pride
22. Knife
23. Overwhelmed
24. Depressed
25. Adoration
26. Worship
27. Zeal
28. Light
29. Exhaustion
30. Obsession
31. Rage
32. Empty
33. Anger
34. Fury
35. Delight
36. Submission
37. Infatuation
38. Anticipation
39. Pessimistic
40. Jolly
41. Grasping
42. Agitation
43. Calm
44. Astonished
45. Loneliness
46. Lust
47. Longing
48. Tender
49. Hard
50. Rebirth
51. Amused
52. Broken
53. Abused
54. Tranquil
55. Composed
56. Glad
57. Stress
58. Serenity
59. Colorful
60. Coping
61. Boisterous
62. Placid
63. Tired
64. Bliss
65. Neglect
66. Fine
67. Question
68. Energetic
69. Noble
70. Disgust
71. Lively
72. Power
73. Pity
74. Humiliation
75. Satisfied
76. Thankful
77. Hyper
78. Goosebumps
79. Worthless
80. Remorse
81. Degraded
82. Revenge
83. Fulfilled
84. Shame
85. Graceful
86. Shining
87. Content
88. Feelings
89. Pleased
90. Relief
91. I
92. Zest
93. Tears
94. Building
95. Optimistic
96. Thrilled
97. Dealing
98. Reflect
99. Embarrassment
100. Death

Tags:
 
 
thetaintedblade
29 November 2030 @ 12:06 am










Name: Kimmy-chan
Age: 26
Nationality: Trinidadian







ABOUT ME:

Doctor.
Loves coffee and chicken.

I spend too much time doing nothing, playing games and reading manga.
And trying very hard to be a writer.
Current Read List: 19 Days | Solo Leveling | Lookism | Legendary Moonlight Sculptor | Raven Cycle | Private Scandal | A Paramour |









  ~   ) \\\\\ o ///// (  ~


TOP PAIRINGS LIST:
Harry/Draco
Steve/Tony
Eric/Charles
Naruto/Sasuke
Dino/Hibari
Yunho/Jaejoong
Eren/Levi
Shizuo/Izaya
Jungkook/Taehyung
Thor/Loki
Sam/Dean
 
 
 
 
thetaintedblade

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the head of the underground Korean Crime Syndicate. Yunho is his right hand man with an obsession for blood. Threatened by the American Company invading South Korea, and a new group, that has a personal vendetta against Jaejoong, this is their story.



Part Twenty-Four


Jaejoong
Sixteen years ago


Jaejoong could not remember much of what was said. He remembered meeting the head of the Syndicate, drinking cup by cup of sake and then eating freshly sliced fish. He remembered leaving, his uncle, mentioning words and things of a mission that would decide his future and destiny.

He would remember the correct words and in the correct order eventually. Now, he was trying to breathe.

Jaejoong was good at that – walking. He walked and walked and ran, trying to gather his thoughts together, trying to calm a too quick heartbeat. He was drunk and he was scared, and he hadn’t realized that he was until the sake settled in and he realized he was seeing Ji Sub but not really seeinghim.

He didn’t know what brought this on. The last time he’d felt like this, he had killed a man. His first victim. Now his panic was brought on by his uncle again, by the leader of a crime organization so extensive that Jaejoong could not dream of its entirety. He was scared, because a man he did not know wanted him to inherit such a thing. And there was little he knew of that man, or his empire.

His legs took him to the large, large home of the Jungs. He was chattering cold, and the haze of panic and alcohol had worn off, leaving him staring up at the large steel gates guarding Yunho’s mansion. There was a camera high up on the steel poles barring the gates. In his mid-sobriety, Jaejoong knew that security would recognize him and let him in.

He wanted to ask himself why he bothered coming to Yunho. But he knew the answer. Yunho was all he had. He didn’t have friends. He didn’t really have family. He just had an uncle who didn’t understand what love of any kind was, and acquaintances who would kill him if a mere order was given.

He dug his fingers into his armpits as the gate opened up for him, walking the paved road up to the mansion, well-lit in the dooming dark. The night was extra cold, darker than usual, ready to gobble him up if he strayed too far from the warm lights in and surrounding the palace-like mansion.


It was Yunho’s mother that opened the door, thick black hair undone and covering most of her bare shoulders. Her smile was warm too, and somehow, she knew, taking his cold hands in her gentle ones, pulling him into a hug after she closed the door. He was shaking from the cold and pent up emotions, but Soo min didn’t seem to mind. He fell into the embrace and stayed there, until he heard Yunho’s voice murmuring to his mother. Jaejoong rose his head from Soo min’s chest, meeting Yunho’s assessing gaze and letting him take his hand to guide him up the long, long stairs.

Yunho wrapped him in a blanket when he was on the bed, staring down at his only pair of cheap dress shoes. Yunho left and came back, and Jaejoong finally looked up, half-breathing half-smiling as he took in the genuine confusion on his expression. He stretched out his arms, beckoning to Yunho.

“Hold me,” he told him quietly. “Please.”

He didn’t think he had ever said the word ‘please’ to Yunho before. It was never needed with someone like him. But he felt weird. A little broken and scared and he wouldn’t manage if Yunho denied him.

He pulled him up from the bed, blanket still swaddled around his back and shoulders, pressing into the warmth of Yunho’s chest as he held him. Yunho smelt like soap and coffee and nothing, and he brought his chattering mouth and cold nose into the thick sweat shirt to ease it all away.

Here, in this moment, he felt safe. He wanted Yunho’s warmth and smell to permeate into his skin and blood and take away his fears, his worries. But he could settle for a long, long hug, calming him enough to break away and sit after a few minutes.

Jaejoong squeezed his eyes shut, trying to will away the last of the sake induced haze. He heard the door open and close, and Yunho was resting a tray of three mugs with hovering steam above them. He shifted on the bed to make space for it.

“It’s warm water and coffee. Have the warm water first.”

Jaejoong slid his fingers around the cup and through the handle, sighing at the contact heat against his palms. It felt lovely, making him smile and suddenly he felt the embarrassment of his little breakdown.

“Thank you. For the water, and coffee. And for letting me in without asking me why.”

Yunho shrugged, and it made Jaejoong feel better, that he could count on Yunho to never change regardless of anything.

“You smell like alcohol.”

“I had alcohol. Sake.” He took a deep drink of the warm water, warm enough to ease the chill from his skin and not hot enough to burn his throat. “I met with the leader of the Syndicate.”

“How was he?”

“His name is Soo Ji Sub,” he said slowly.

“Ah.” Yunho lay back, grabbing a mug of coffee as he did so. “Interesting.”

“He wants me to be the next leader of the Syndicate. His heir, some shit like that.” Jaejoong switched cups to smell the pungent coffee, spiked with just a little touch of good cocoa powder. God Yunho was the best thing in his sorry fucking life. “I was fine when he told me. I was thinking then that it’s exactly what you told me last night, about how I should aim for the top. How fucking annoying you are. And then…I don’t know what happened. I panicked. Because I’m just a kid, the nephew of the man that’s trying to kill him.”

“Younghwa wants the throne,” Yunho commented, and Jaejoong nodded, scratching the glossy painted ceramic.

“And Ji Sub knows this. He doesn’t have the evidence to kill him or dethrone him. Youngwha is his right hand man and most of the Syndicate follows him and believes in him. It’s a shitty situation to be in.”

“What about Ji Sub? What do you think about him?”

Jaejoong thought long on it, taking a few sips of the spiked coffee before answering. “He appears to be friendly, and it’s easy to talk to him, but I…I can’t trust him.”

“I don’t like him,” said Yunho, staring at him from where he was lying. “Don’t trust him.”

“I literally just said I can’t.”

“Things change, Jaejoong. And a man that can lead a group that’s known throughout Asia, not just South Korea, is a man that can get what he wants because he wants it. He’s charismatic.”

Jaejoong tried to understand before arguing. Yunho had a point. Soo Ji Sub was very, very likeable. If it wasn’t for that part of himself that he used to survive, instinct, a feeling, whatever it really was, he would have never hesitated. But he had. And it had spiraled a panic attack because again he didn’t have a choice and choices were being made for him.

“Both Youngwha and Soo Ji Sub wants me to do a job. My first official job as an official member of the Syndicate. If I pass, Youngwha’s going to take me to Japan to train and meet the head of yakuza and his son.”

“For how long?”

“I don’t know. He didn’t say.”

“The mission?”

“He said he’ll talk to me in the morning. I’ll find out then.”

“Are you spending the night?”

“Can I?” asked Jaejoong, resting his cup on the tray before leaning back on the mattress. He was exhausted. His conflict and anxiety had all ebbed away, and all he felt was a heaviness in his limbs and a different type of exhaustion.

“Do you want to soak in the hot tub?”

Jaejoong smiled because Yunho was the best and worst person he knew. “Yeah. Can you…” He turned his head, to look directly at Yunho. “Can you come in with me? I don’t want to do anything. I just want you to hold me.”

“Okay,” he said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.






Present Time
~ Power ~


Changmin and Junsu had arrived around the same time, and with Junsu there, they went into Jaejoong’s office and settled in to begin the meeting. Changmin had remained outside to talk to Jungkook and steal the rest of the food Jaejoong had brought back from the restaurant.

Jaejoong took a seat in his chair, Yunho on his favourite spot on the table, and Yoochun and Junsu sprawled on the couch already passing around Yunho’s second joint. Jaejoong looked at his laptop screen for a while, open to a spreadsheet of co-owned projects and investments with the Corporation, their lists of incoming shipments that were readily encrypted.

“As you know I met with Dark Phoenix today, with the new VP.” Jaejoong accepted the joint as Yunho handed it to him, taking one long pull before passing it back. “The new VP’s name is Yu Shirota. He offered a partnership between the Syndicate and Dark Phoenix. It was his decision and all decisions that he makes will be automatically supported by the Leader of Dark Phoenix. The partnership will be one based on a need to need basis. If we need their help regardless of the matter, they will give aid, only with the knowledge that we do the same to them.”

“Why now?” asked Yunho.

“Because they’ve never entered a partnership before, when they were becoming bigger. But now they are more known. They’re part of the Big Five. It’s a peace treaty and mutual partnership. The decision, is also because the new VP knows me personally.”

“You know this guy?” asked Junsu, waving away as the joint was handed to him.

“Yu Shirota was Yama-dono’s childhood friend, and also my friend back when I was in Japan with Youngwha after my first mission. He had his own group, that he gave to Yama-dono when he became the head of the yakuza. He disappeared sometime after. I didn’t even know that he was in Korea until today.”

“How close were you two?”

“As close as I was and am to Yamashita,” he said.

“Do you trust him?” asked Yunho.

“I do. Yu was always one of those guys you could count on. It’s why I’m considering it. Dark Phoenix usually stays away from all gang related wars and feuds. Offering an alliance now especially when there is too much tension between AmCo and the Syndicate makes sense, and with good reason. Den is already in a partnership with AmCo, and the Corporation has always been with us. Yu trusts me and came towards the Syndicate. I don’t want him as an enemy if he sides with AmCo. And he will if we deny a partnership.”

“He was part of the reason why Yamashita won the war?” asked Junsu.

“He was.”

“How long do we have to make a decision?” questioned Yunho.

“A week,” said Yoochun. “A whole week.”

“We’ll combine a list of pros and cons if we form an alliance. And I’ll speak to both Yamashita to find out what Yu’s been up to these days and with Corporation to inform them of the prospect of an alliance.”




“I am so full,” said Jungkook, stuffed with food and drinking the glass of orange juice that Changmin had poured for them both.

“I’m all up for actual lunch-dinner,” shrugged Changmin, “Wanna get something to eat?”

“Can’t. I’m in a tournament,” he told him, “For the Syndicate.”

“Like a fighting tournament?”

“Yup.”

“Shit. That’s cool. I would probably die.”

“You would,” Jungkook agreed.

The other men came out not too long after they went into Jaejoong’s office. Jaejoong remained inside, with Junsu. Yoochun waved goodbye and headed into the elevator. Yunho came out to head into the kitchen to grab a container of the dairy free coconut based yogurt Jaejoong had stocked in the fridge. He was holding the salted caramel flavour.

“We’ll leave in an hour,” said Yunho. “Changmin, Yoochun’s asked Nana to help train you. You’ll be starting today and will join Jungkook when the tournament’s ended.”

“Nana?”

“My gun trainer,” said Jungkook.

“Is she cute?” he grinned.

“She’s an asshole,” he replied.

“Why am I not surprised,” Changmin mumbled. “When am I starting?”

“Now.”

“Now?”

“Now.”





Min Yoongi was bored. Unlike his close friend, Shim Changmin, he was never bored, nor did he like being bored. It was why he drove cars and street raced and drank, played video games and never really slept more than a few hours – four – because the world was a vast and wide and never-ending place, and time was too little to devour it all.

It was why he did drugs every now and then, tried out what was new, what his supplier had. The gaming console was still running, game paused on the television. He was still getting accustomed to his new apartment, bought by Syndicate money, using a phone that was not his own. At least he had his car, and it was the one thing the pretty man boss hadn’t asked him to give up.

It was his to keep. He just couldn’t street race with it anymore.

He left his house an hour after Changmin had left, lazed on his bed for a few then grabbed a coke from the fridge after shoving on his sneakers. He preferred the cool night when he raced, still feeling the adrenaline rush from last night when they raced through empty streets and backgrounds rarely traveled.

His supplier was a university student named Kit. He was American born in Korea, a pretty boy, pretty enough to be one of those idols that he watched frequently on television. He was smart, Kit. Studying computer engineering in uni with dreams of going into Robotics after. Selling street drugs and party favours were a side gig, his hustle to make some change to do whatever he needed to do.

And Yoongi got his drugs cheap because they were friends and they drank together every month when there was quiet.

He met Kit at a cheap noodle stall on the edge of a commercial street, passing the smells and steams of different affordable food shops, tiny business stores that did tailoring and forging and illegal forging and sold knockoffs of just about anything. Kit was waiting for him when he arrived, sitting with a man their age that he didn’t know. Both had already ordered a bowl of noodles.

“Another one,” he said to the man cooking noodles, pulling out his pack of smokes as he sat. “I wasn’t aware we were having additional company.”

“Come Shuges, I wouldn’t just introduce you to anybody. This guy here is hot on the market right now.”

“What’s your name?”

The dark haired man, narrow face that probably had baby fat just a few years back, handsome in the princely way that would make other men hate him, smiled, flashing teeth that were naturally fucking white.

“Silver,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure that ain’t your name.”

“I’m pretty sure that I don’t give a fuck. I sell you drugs and you pay.”

Yoongi shrugged, shifting his phone out the way for the bowl of hot noodles.

“What do you have?”

“Have you ever heard of New York?”

“The city? Yeah. That’s a drug now?”

“Fresh in the market. Gives a high that you wouldn’t believe,” grinned Kit. “Tried it myself. I can’t supply you with it, but he can.” He jammed his thumb towards Silver. “He’s one of the sole suppliers, the bastard. Wouldn’t even sell it to me.”

“How expensive is it?”

“For you, the right price. Silver here is a fan of street racing. It’s why I brought him. He likes guys like you, and you like trying the fresh shit. Win-win situation my man.”

“Show it to me.”

Silver dug into his pocket, pulling out a velvet sachet. His nails were well taken care of. Not regularly manicured, but he could tell that he’d gone for a few. He unclasped the black velvet sachet, and a numerous, little fat tablets came tumbling out.

They were different from any other drug he’d seen and taken. They were a deep, varying purple, speckled with blue. It looked like a bath bomb but in the pill form. And Yoongi was very, very interested.

“New York comes in two choices,” said Silver. “There’s never a wrong choice.” He dipped his finger into the velvet and tipped out more tablets, purple and peculiar and this time speckled with crimson. “Take your pick.”

Yoongi was hungry but he couldn’t stop staring at the pills. They were both particularly tempting, the way they looked, the man offering them to him. He brought his fingers to run along the triangular cut edge, softened by material and thickness. He tapped his finger against the blue specked purple.

Kit smile was so wide Yoongi wanted to punch him.

“He told me you’d choose the blue one. Fucking amazing, Silver. You’re always fucking right.”

“I told you,” said Silver, “There are no wrong choices.”





Taehyung was helping serve orders, finished with baking, and left the other two in the back to plate the orders as they came. He would have stayed upstairs to rest but he never could do that, not when the shop was still running, and Jin was a constant, annoying reminder that he wanted to rid himself of.

Jin had called to remind him of their goal. He, like Seo Joon, had found out about Jungkook, the kid that the Syndicate had taken in under special circumstances. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried to hide it; it was that Taehyung didn’t want to have to hide something like that.

Officially Taehyung was the leader and president of Calamity. They were rich now, wealthy in a way that they could retire on investments and he and Seo Joon could run away and never look back and be happy. He also had money from Low Hearts, money from the jobs he did for the Syndicate. That money he put into a separate account, personal accounts that were not tied to Calamity or Jin. It was Seo Joon that had recommended it, handling all their personal money and investments because Seo Joon for some reason didn’t like Jin after so many years.

Jin was just a difficult man to understand. He had saved them, when the Calming Waters Orphanage had been destroyed, taught them how to survive on the streets when he was an orphan himself. It was Jin that fueled their revenge, and it was revenge that had forced him not to give up, having no one to rely on but the other orphans and Seo Joon and Jin. When Jin had found out about his like for guns and a knife, he made deals to buy small time weapons for him to practice with, sent him on practice missions to shoot known street thugs from a distance to hone his aim. They had both came up with the idea to form Calamity, and they had both had ideas about infiltrating the Syndicate.

It was Jin that had put all their ideas into actual plans and turned their laid out plans into solidified reality.

It was why he was here, smiling with the men and women at the large table, taking a mental note of their orders and bringing back an extra plate for them to use. And it was the reason that Jin was the right hand man to the official leader and not Seo Joon, even though Seo Joon had been nonchalant about not being offered the position.

The aim had turned from personal destruction to mutual benefit. Calamity wasn’t strong enough to destroy the Syndicate on its own. So Jin had come up with the outlandish design that they should attack both Syndicate men and the American Corporation men. Stir up the already stirred pot.

It would have been fine except White had fucked it all up. White, had been the nephew of Sir and Miss, the owners of the Calming Waters Orphanage and the only family the kid named Jackson had ever known. He knew he took a chance leaving him on surveillance watch with Blue and Silver, but he didn’t think he’d do something as stupid as try to take a shot at Jaejoong on his own. Not when the Demon of the Syndicate was there. Not when he specifically told them all “Do not fucking engage unless I give the order for you to”.

It added to the list of reasons why Kim Taehyung barely slept anymore, and didn’t know what to do with his life or life decisions and where it would take him. He was perpetually tired, and too often he would ask himself if it was all worth it. If he could go to Jaejoong and tell him everything, that he both liked and hated him for being the leader of the Syndicate, for killing the people that raised him when his own family threw him away like dog shit.

He leaned against the counter, and watched out at everything he had worked for. Low Hearts was just as much his own property as the Syndicate’s. There would be no one to replace him. Taehyung couldn’t fucking stomach someone else taking his place. Low Hearts was his. It was his fucking shop.

He closed his eyes briefly to well away the anger. He was in public. And Hoseok and Jen were watching him, like they always did when the owner decided to do something as menial as wait tables out of decency and comradery.

He opened his eyes, looking at the tables, his customers, how he had changed the layout and the colour scheme and the menu, the large glass walls that looked out into the streets and city. Taehyung turned his head, and swore he saw Jin pass by.

He walked to the door, and looked outside. There was no Jin, only people he didn’t know and cars, both stationary and moving.

It was probably his imagina–

Taehyung flinched at the sudden explosion. It happened so quickly, the sound, loud enough for them to all hear it, but not so loud that it had taken the whole shop with it. There were gasps and screams and Taehyung saw blood but he didn’t actually realize where it was coming from until Jen starting shouting out Hoseok’s name.

There was his worker, his friend, staring at his arm that was no longer fully there, blown away by the wrist and dripping blood all over the well mopped floor. There was nothing to say or think and Taehyung moved, grabbing a towel to wrap around the exposed limb, to stop the bleeding to call the ambulance, to get Jen to call the ambulance and–

Hoseok began to tremble. It was a tremble that swept his whole body, like he was forgetting that they were there and his wrist and hand hadn’t been blown away. Like he wasn’t really Hoseok anymore and all he knew was to grip his chest and choke on his pain. His pain was so visible that Taehyung broke a little, because this was Hoseok and he didn’t deserve this. He was a civilian and he was kind, not the pretend kind that Taehyung had to be, had to become. He was really and truly–

Jen barely caught his body as he fell, Taehyung reaching in time to grip his back and head and ease him down. Hoseok’s clenched fist softened, and the life left him, his eyes, his skin, his muscles. Taehyung knew death, and this was it.

“Call the ambulance,” he said to Jen.

She didn’t move, and Taehyung knew she didn’t hear him. He touched her arm, and she flinched, pulling herself away, sobbing out an apology.

“Call the ambulance,” he said in a low voice, mindful that there was people around, both gang and civilian. It would be prevented from hitting social media, but Jaejoong would know. The Syndicate would know.

Taehyung just didn’t know what, and why.

He touched Hoseok’s cheek, not realizing that his fingers were coated in his blood, shakily sighing at the sight of it.

He didn’t understand. An explosion wouldn’t cause him to die like that. It was too acute for blood loss to take him. The blood wasn’t even that…

Why was there even an explosion? Why was it only Hoseok? Why was it Hoseok?

Taehyung stared down at the man he had hired, one of the first workers he had talked to and hung out with after work hours. He knew he had a brother in the hospital and a mother who didn’t make enough to cover the bills. He knew that Hoseok wanted more out of life than a job at Low Hearts, but he stayed because it paid well and he really liked Taehyung, even if this Taehyung was fake.

Taehyung was suddenly cold with fear and lasting trepidation, that maybe the reason Hoseok died, was linked to him.





Yunho dropped Jungkook off at the hotel, making him aware that he wouldn’t stay but he would be back at a much later time before the first night had ended. He went back to the Syndicate building to pick up Jaejoong, waiting for him in the underground parking lot, kept the car running as he went through his business emails.

There wasn’t a like or dislike that came with running Jung Industries. His mother was well versed to handle matters he didn’t care to handle, and Yunho headed the council meetings and official meet ups, went to dinner parties because he had to, charmed and forced men and women into doing things his way and for the betterment of their enterprise.

It was a part of his routine and he accepted it. He enjoyed his daily routine as much as he enjoyed everything else he did, took his breakfast at Low Hearts, trained, smoked, kissed and fucked Jaejoong and murdered. There was something extremely gratifying and exhilarating about accepting one’s life as what it was, and even more exhilarating to have the knowledge that life was infinite with mindless, interesting choices.

Jaejoong was draped in his thick brown coat, one he wore to functions and important meetings. It was expensive and he looked regal in it, blonde hair neatly pressed, turtle neck covering his pale neck and splotchy, dark pink marks.

It was a simple matter of telling when Jaejoong was nervous. He didn’t have tells anymore, like he did when he was younger. It was more subtle, and Yunho just knew. There was no one else he had ever studied like he did with Jaejoong, knew everything, and anything pertaining to him and his person.

He held his cold fingers before he drove off, put the heat on in the car for the trip to the Jung compound that Jaejoong had stopped visiting after he came back from Japan and thrust into the upper parts of the Syndicate ladder. He remembered when Jaejoong left. How he remembered his body and his face. How much he fought and killed out of boredom and thrill and to fill that empty void that could nr be filled.

Jaejoong sat in the car as he pulled up in front of the tall doors that governed the Jung mansion, the estate closed off by gates that soundlessly creaked behind them. He nestled the bottle of champagne in his lap, and grabbed Yunho’s hand.

“Back when I was in Japan, I used to have sex with Yu. Both Yu, and Yamashita. I did love them both in a way, not like I loved you, like I love you. Now, when I think about it, even if you never decided to try, or pretend to try, I could never love another person. Yu was always someone I thought that maybe if there was no Yunho, he would be that person. But things aren’t like that, and I…thought that you deserved to know, even if it is in the past.”

Yunho got out of the car and Jaejoong followed, swept up in his coat and gingerly holding the pricey bottle. His mother loved champagne. It was the only alcohol she drank, even when her husband was fucking his way through the house and business.

Minho answered the door. He was the recent change in butler, young, enchanted by his mother. His mother was in her mid-fifties, looked younger than she was thanks to good food and skin care products and exercise. She had soft hips and was never the skinny type of business wife, fuller face and lips and abhorred Botox and tried everything else.

Soo Min was in the dining room, fixing the dishes on the table, beaming at them as they came in. She pressed a kiss to Yunho’s cheek, and stepped back to look at Jaejoong, who smiled charmingly and went into the arms she held out for a hug.

“I feel like you’re a kid all over again,” she laughed, patting his cheek. “You haven’t changed a bit.”

“Neither have you,” said Jaejoong, grinning.

“Ah, flattery. It will get you everywhere. Why haven’t you visited me before?” she chided. “You know you were always a son to me too, much like Yunho.”

“Work, Soo Min. Work has always been too much and terrible.”

“Make sure Yunho shoulders more then. You look tired, Jae. Is that champagne?”

Jaejoong held out the bottle for her to take. She swooped it up, giving it to Minho to pour.

“It’s been too long. Minho, open it for us and pour. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one.”

“I am sorry about that,” he told her genuinely. She patted his cheek again.

“It’s alright. You were always shy underneath all that murder and title. Ever since you were a boy.”

Jaejoong couldn’t deny it, so he said nothing and raised his glass in a toast.

“To my boys,” she said happily, and looking at Jaejoong, “And the Syndicate. Long live its leader.”





His match was close to midnight, and Yunho had told him before leaving that he would be back some time in the early morning. Jungkook had learnt from watching the first match on the screen in his hotel room that the matches were not of any preset time, and went on until the other person couldn’t fight anymore, or died.

He watched the next match in the fighting stadium, looking down from the balcony area. The fights were amazing to watch. There were men who were actual trained fighters, students of a chosen martial art and fighting style. It was a different world from the fighting rings Yunho had carried him too.

None of the Big Five had fought as yet. Jungkook left to get another cup of coffee, glancing at the screens set along the corridor purveying the match in livestream. He saw the man he had met with in the elevator, the VP of the Corporation, tall and young and unreadable. He was smiling when he saw Jungkook, skipping to a stop and forcing Jungkook to stop walking too.

“Jeon Jungkook. I did learn your name. You fought well last night.”

“Thank you.”

“I’m sure Yunho told you who I am.”

“He didn’t tell me your name.”

“It’s Lee Jong Suk. But my name is less important than a title, I suppose. I’ll be rooting for you. I’m eager to see more from the little boy representing the Syndicate. Just remember you fight for the alliances of the Syndicate too, just as we fight for the Syndicate. I’ve heard how fresh you are. Don’t disrupt things. We don’t like disruptions.”

“It wasn’t intentional,” spoke Jungkook, stepping to the side and continued walking. “Thanks for the support.”

Lee Jong Suk laughed behind him. “I like you kid!”

The VP was as old as Seo Joon. He hadn’t seen Seo Joon for the night. He was told by Jaejoong to do nothing about his connection to the attempted attack, or Calamity. Jungkook didn’t think there was need for concern when it came to Seo Joon. He was calm. An infinite calm he felt from him, a bit like Jaejoong at times when he spoke to Jungkook like one would from parent to child.

With Seo Joon it was different. But a similar type of calm.

He detoured to the bathrooms, pushing open the bathroom door and heading into one of the stalls to piss. He washed his hands with hot water, the kind of hot water that felt really fucking good and burned. He glanced in the mirror, at his gradually changing skin, the healthy colour, the tiny scar on his face he’d gotten from his father. The bathroom door he’d come out of creaked a little, and there was a closed door in the stall next to it.

Jungkook dipped his head to look at his hands, letting the hot water run. It had only been a few seconds, really. Just a few. He looked back up into the mirror, eyes widened from the sight of a man behind him, hood covering his face and too close for him to move. Jungkook couldn’t move away from the knife he couldn’t see.

He didn’t really feel the stab. It was more that he knew it was going into him and then pulled out, and before he could stab him again Jungkook raised his arm and elbowed the man in the throat. He punched him again and then another, didn’t see the knife in his hand and punched him again. There was a cloud of surprise in the face of a man he didn’t know. He hated that look. He had just been stabbed.

Jungkook grabbed his throat and pushed him against the bathroom stalls, slamming him against the concrete part between doors, squeezing his throat until he couldn’t squeeze any harder. He saw the man’s leg move to kick him and brought his knee up, right up into his groin and squeezing away the dying groan of pain.

Jungkook didn’t think he deserved to be stabbed.

The bathroom door opened. Before Jungkook could turn there was a bullet piercing through the temporal bone of his attacker, and he released his fingers from the now limp form and let him drop to the bathroom floor.

Seo Joon was tucking his gun back into the holster by his waist. He sighed as he looked at Jungkook.

“You’re going to be very problematic, Jeon Jungkook. And I can’t tell if it’s going to be in the good way, or a bad one.”



END OF BURNER







I….finished.

It took a long, long time, but we’re here. I didn’t even think years ago I would make it to the end of this fic and the story would become what it did, but it did, and I have all of you to thank so very much.

Thank you for reading and supporting and enjoying, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I really love you guys and I couldn’t have continued writing or even finished this without you.

So I’m really fucking happy.

Thank you so much!

Book Two of the Syndicate Series will come eventually. I have to edit Burner and fix a lot of minor things besides grammatical errors. Once I’ve sorted out most of it I’ll start book two. I do need a little time to work on my other, actual book that needs to be edited properly also.

Again, thank you for reading~!!!! I hope you’ll join me again for Book 2!!!
(I have many secrets still to release.)
 
 
 
thetaintedblade
02 February 2019 @ 11:45 pm

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the head of the underground Korean Crime Syndicate. Yunho is his right hand man with an obsession for blood. Threatened by the American Company invading South Korea, and a new group, that has a personal vendetta against Jaejoong, this is their story.




PART TWENTY-THREE
~Vengence~

Jungkook was warming his hands on the plastic cup, heat from the hot mocha Yunho had picked up from Low Hearts. Yunho had stopped there before picking up Jungkook from the hotel, the kid having slept through most of the morning and looking more rested than he’d ever been since he came to the Syndicate headquarters.

Yunho didn’t usually stay with the competitors for orientation matches. And Jaejoong didn’t need to personally request it when Yunho knew that it was what he had wanted. It was a good decision, to let Jungkook represent them. It would make the kid feel that he was paying his dues, making the Syndicate and Jaejoong proud if he won and kept on winning. It was why he had slept so long, wide awake when Yunho saw him outside the hotel, bundled in his hoodie and headphones in.

The orientation match had been a four against four set up. The four man team with the most amount of members standing won. Jungkook’s team had won, filled up with representatives of small time gangs, and Yunho had collected the prize money before he left for the night.

Jungkook had also managed to make an acquaintance, one whose face Yunho distinctly remembered as he watched them talk after the orientation matches had ended.

“Where are we going?” Jungkook asked, when he accepted the coffee with a murmur of thanks.

“Home,” Yunho said, Jungkook nodding and settling himself for the drive. The stay in the hotel was nice enough. There was the rented room and pool and jacuzzi. But Jungkook needed normalcy, and to be around Syndicate members. Their leader.

Jaejoong had called him after the meeting with the VP of Dark Phoenix for an emergency counsel. When Yunho headed back, they were to wait on Junsu, and the unnatural decision making would commence.

“I didn’t really get a program on the times. When is the tournament starting back?”

“The drawing starts at half five and the first match starts at six. You gave them your phone number last night.”

“Yes,” he said.

“At 5:58 they send you and me a message stating the time of your match and your opponent. You just need to make it back in time for your match.”

“What about the person who’s match starts at six?”

“They are notified as soon as the first drawing is done. The competitors aren’t allowed to be more than a half hour from the hotel.”

“Do we usually follow that rule?”

“No."

He pulled into the underground parking, getting out with the paper carry box with the specialty orders for Jaejoong and Yoochun. They took the elevator up to the third floor, meeting both Yoochun and Jaejoong on the couch in the living room, the business news whispering from the 4K television.

“Jungkook!” said Jaejoong. “How was the orientation match? Did we win?”

“We did,” he said, smiling nervously, even more embarrassed because he did so. Yoochun laughed, slipping off the edge of the couch to slap his hand on his back.

“Good job. We brought back food from a fancy ass restaurant. I assume you have space to eat it.”

“You assume correctly,” Jungkook replied, heading into the kitchen area.

“Your coffee,” said Yunho. The paper carry box was grabbed by Yoochun, already guzzling into his caramel coffee draped in whipping cream and caramel clusters. Jaejoong reached for his own, watching the business news with an uninterested stare.

“It’s hot chocolate spiked with an espresso. And dairy free caramel.”

“Taehyung’s outdone himself,” said Jaejoong absentmindedly.

Yunho glanced at Yoochun, too engrossed in opening up his plastic cup. He went to sit by Jaejoong, pulling out his box of marijuana wraps.

“Any particular reason why you’re being so strange?” he asked.

Jaejoong sighed, resting down his cup, squinting his eyes as he dropped his head back. “I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to explain something I’ve never explained to any of you before. And how the hell it ties into our decision making.”

“I have something that may tie into your decision making.”

“Really?” asked Yoochun, on the edge of the couch again, dress shoes only a few milimetres away from Yunho’s knee.

“Remember the men who had been staying in the apartment complex across the street?.”

“I do,” spoke Jaejoong.

“The one drawn smiling, I found him. His name is Park Seo Joon. And he works for a small time group called Calamity.”

“I’ve heard of them,” said Yoochun. “Good things. They’re polite, keep their money legal, stay out of turf wars and, under the radar, buy properties to expand their portfolio. What would Calamity have against Jaejoong?”

“I’ve heard the name in passing, but they’re too small to have anything to do with the Syndicate. Do we know who their leader is?”

“I’ll have to ask around.” Yoochun licked whipping cream from inner corner of his cup. “This solidifies that it’s personal. It can’t be Park Seo Joon, can it?”

“It could be, and it could not,” said Jaejoong.

“He said this isn’t the first time he took part in the Tournament,” said Jungkook from the kitchen counter. He had been standing there, picking from the boxes of food. “What kind of weird food is this?”

“Yunho–”

“I’ll look into Jae,” he said. Jaejoong nodded, and stopped playing with his carry cup to drink. He had the tiniest bit of foam caught on his upper lip. Yunho leaned in, Jaejoong pressing himself further into the couch in confusion and sudden shyness. He brought his face close, tongue swiping out to erase the sliver of foam, grinning at the captured breath and annoyed expression.

Yunho kissed the annoyed expression away, the pursed mouth and soft-chapped lips. It was because he hadn’t seen Jaejoong since he dropped him off last night to pick up Jungkook, and because Jaejoong looked like he needed kissing. He grabbed behind his neck, and instead of pulling him closer, rubbed his fingers into the soft skin, reaching up to rub into the scalp just above the thin, scratchy hairs.

Jaejoong had an unfailing habit of closing his eyes when he kissed.

He saw when Yoochun turned to talk to Jungkook about the weird looking food he was supposed to eat, saw when Jaejoong reopened his eyes and nipped at Yunho’s mouth with fondness. He let him, because Jaejoong looked like he needed coffee and sex and a few more days of a faraway vacation.

He both hated and loved this feeling, of addiction and want. It was more addiction than anything, wanting to touch and kiss and mark and bury himself so deep into Jaejoong’s skin he could never leave. He kissed him again because he needed to, for himself. Jaejoong laughed halfway into the kiss, giving into his childish wants, and biting his mouth again as he laughed.

“Come eat before Jungkook eats it all.”

Yunho looked up to where Jungkook stood, unabashed in his nonguilt of shoveling food and chewing just as quickly.

“It’s really good,” he offered in excuse, pretending that he hadn’t been watching them on the couch.






The afternoon was bright without harsh sunlight, chilly enough that Junsu had worn a turtleneck sweater and a long coat over it. He bought cheap coffee from the university café to wash down the dim sum he munched on as he made his way to his next class. He liked this part of the university. It was paved in the way of well-maintained lawn, trees wide and thick that the students were wont to lie underneath and relax in heavy shade. It stretched out far enough that it was a little world within a larger one, and Junsu came here sometimes when he didn’t want to be in his parents’ house or he didn’t want to be in his room back at the Syndicate headquarters.

The shumai was still hot as he bit into it, settling himself onto the manicured grass and stretching out his legs. He waited exactly three minutes and four shumai later for Namjoon to join him, dropping his heavy leather bag next to him as he sat.

“Junsu,” he said gracefully, sipping from a cup that had the end of a tea bag hanging down against the plastic. He looked like the kind of man to like proper tea.

“Namjoon,” he responded, rubbing his greasy lips together. “Shumai?” he offered, “Sticky rice?”

“I’ll take a sticky rice, since you’re offering,” he said smiling. Kim Namjoon had a genuine smile, extremely white teeth from a good dentist and money, the sort of smile that was both natural and practiced in front of many people many times.

While Namjoon was unwrapping the lotus leaf, comfortable enough to eat with his fingers, Junsu observed him, and wondered where to start.

“Who was the friend that recommended me?”

Namjoon chewed on pieces of mushroom and pork and chicken, sipping hot tea at intervals and breathing out his enjoyment of his given meal.

“Ah, it was rude of me to not mention his name before, right? You must remember Michael Lima. He’s a Portuguese business man known in the Eastern side of the world. You found him his daughter, the one that they took from him back in Brazil. He followed her tracks to South Korea and you found her.”

Junsu hadn’t forgotten about Lima. He never could. He didn’t usually search for missing people unless the pay was well and with cause, and the man had come to him, desperate, prosperous but broken inside for a child that was his by blood but no longer there for him to hold. He didn’t think it would be Lima that recommended him to Namjoon. It had to be the truth. Because no one but Michael Lima knew that he had found his daughter for him.

Junsu nodded. “I understand.”

Namjoon face scrunched, reaching up to scratch his head, half eaten sticky rice falling onto his lap. The rice grains mostly remained clumped together, but a few tiny ones went onto his dress pants.

“Shit. Yeah, as I was saying, I should have mentioned it before. Honestly, I really only wanted you to find Kim Jisoo. The other job was just a bonus job because I didn’t want to ask for just that. And it’s…I don’t really know what to expect if you find her.”

“There are many, many Kim Jisoos in South Korea. Who is Kim Jisoo to you?”

Namjoon started picking the rice grains off his pants.

“So, this may sound very poor of me, but I don’t really know.” He was embarrassed as he saw Junsu’s stare, nibbling the stray rice pieces before picking back up his half eaten portion. “I…think it’s my mother. You must understand. I grew up without a mother. I only knew the women my father brought home for a few nights and days, sometimes for a night or longer. If I asked him about my mother, he would change the topic and pretend that I hadn’t spoken of her. So when he was dying, on his damn death bed after the massive heart attack, and I was there holding his hand and wishing that I didn’t have to see my own father pass away, he kept mentioning that name, Kim Jisoo. He wouldn’t stop mentioning it until he died. I thought that maybe it was his one regret, maybe it was the name of a woman he could never forget. I don’t know if it was my mother or an outside woman or someone who had died. But I think it has to do with me. And I don’t think my mother is dead, Junsu. My aunts and uncles all told me that he came home with me someday after his time going around with a woman he kept from the family. The only ones who knew who she was were my grandparents, and they’re dead too.”

Junsu had finished off the shumai and was nibbling on spicy squid, giving up on drinking out his coffee for the while. He slipped his hand into his bag to bring out the bottle of water he had there, brushing against his phone that lay there waiting.

There was still a possibility that Namjoon was lying. And there was still a possibility that the Kim Jisoo that he was looking for was also the same Kim Jisoo that brought his cousin into the world.

“Do any of the people that used to work for your grandparents still work for you?”

“Some, actually,” he answered. “You think they may have remembered her?”

“Will you give me permission to snoop around?”

“Of course. My grandparents had their own estate that my aunt and uncle now use. I find it too big for me to move around in, so I prefer my more modern town house. I’ll pass your name around so just go ahead and snoop. If any problems you can call me.” Namjoon tossed the lotus leaf into his empty cup, standing. “I know that the search my come up futile, but please, do anything you can to find her. I get the feeling that she…that she may be my blood mother. I just want to know. I’ll be leaving now. I have a few calls to make before class. I’ll see you.”

“Okay.”

Junsu uncapped his bottle of water, took a few big gulps, and then recapped it. He shoved it back into his bag, and ended the recording that had been ongoing before Namjoon came. He zipped up his bag, and continued eating his spicy squid.

Was it only a coincidence? If it were the same Kim Jisoo, then Jaejoong and Namjoon would be half-brothers, of the same blood, of the same kind. Namjoon gave him the same presence as most leaders would, sureness, authority, a darkness to do what needed to be done in times of dire situations.

He hated operating without facts. So he ate. He ate out the spicy squid and single portion of har gow, and then picked up his cold shitty coffee and headed to class.





The half hour walk from Yoongi’s apartment complex to where his new home was, was madness. Normally it would be madness. With the outdoors less sunny and the afternoon cool rushing in, Changmin ignored Yoongi’s offer to drop him back and instead, walked. He had spent the night there, playing games and drinking soju, and then went joy riding with Yoongi in his sports car that he raced in and refused to give up. They had eaten ramen in the twenty-four hour shop near the Syndicate owned apartments, and then went to bed sometime before the world was bright again.

As he walked, he went past his old work building, stopped by a co-worker who he nearly went by without recognizing.

He raised his hand to wave, and was greeted with a smile and an awkward wave in return. The co-worker was coming up to him. Black hair and a neck tattoo he couldn’t hide, smoked with him out on the roof and the second floor balcony, Jae wook was probably the only one he had liked at his work place.

“You’ve come back to us?” he asked, stuffing his hands into his pocket. Jae wook didn’t like unnecessary greetings. “Imagine how fucking surprised we were when some guy we didn’t know walked in with your resignation letter, effective immediately. It said personal circumstances. Hell, you found a better job?”

“A resignation letter?” Of course they would. They were the Syndicate. And they did things properly. Like write him a resignation letter so it didn’t seem like he was kidnapped off the face of the earth. Just like the message from Yoochun that woke him this morning, half off Yoongi’s bed.

‘You can video call your parents today.’

His parents. He hadn’t stopped thinking about his parents since he got that message. Truthfully, he didn’t think that his parents missed him. They weren’t parents like that. And he wasn’t the kind of son that made them proud academically, job wise, even socially. If given the choice, he’d do everything differently. Become a pro-gamer. Say fuck you to pleasing his parents. Not have a desk job.

Changmin laughed to himself. But then he’d be poor. That desk job of his gave him a salary and stability. Had given him a salary and stability. He had never been happy, but he had had food, and an apartment, and clothes. In the grander and greater scheme of all things, he had been lucky.

Maybe he was the most insecure person he knew. And he knew of his own faults. He did. But he had been lucky. His desk job was what allowed him to move out of his parents’ house and into that small apartment in the heart of the city. No matter how boring it had been.

“Ah yeah, that feels so long ago. No, I’m not coming back. I just…the office life wasn’t for me, you know?”

Jae wook nodded, accepting his answer. “True. You always looked like you hated all of us.”

“Well, if we’re being honest…”

Jae wook chuckled, handing him a smoke. “One last time, since I might not ever see you again.” With his cigarette lit, he propped against the stone hedge, and Jae wook jumped up to sit. ”So what you’re up to these days? I remember you told me you liked to play games.”

“Well, not playing games. I go over by my friend to play on his Playstation, but well, I haven’t been getting the time. I’m uh…driving for someone these days.”

“A chauffeur?”

“Yeah, for like a super-rich guy.”

Jae wook scoffed. “I bet it pays more than this shit.”

“Oh, it does,” grinned Changmin. “Plus perks.”

“Does he need a secretary? I’m pretty good at being annoying.”

“Hell no,” he laughed. “You’re the least annoying guy I know.”

“I’m very versatile,” said Jae wook dryly.

“Of course,” he ceded. “I believe you.”

When his cigarette burned out, Jae wook stretched, leaning back with his arms out and almost falling off the stone hedge. “Hey Shim, I hope you find happiness, yeah? We’re all out here trying our best. I hope shit works out for you.”

Changmin smiled, reaching out to shake his hand. “Thanks. Same for you. Keep up with your tattooing hustle. I remember what you told me, you know.”

Jae wook lifted his hand to send him away.





Low Hearts felt somewhat empty without the presence of the quiet young man. Taehyung realized his absence almost immediately, glancing at Hoseok and Jen, failing to find the figure of Jungkook amidst tables and customers.

It made him work harder, doing what he was accustomed to, throwing himself into baking and decorating, giving orders in the kitchen when he needed to. Five years ago, if someone told him he’d be decorating pretty little cakes and selling them to customers, he would have laughed. But now, it was exactly what he did and it was exactly what he enjoyed.

Taehyung wiped his hand on the mauve towel left by the edge of the stainless steel counter, looking out the too narrow glass window. It was raining out. It was his favourite weather, even back in the orphanage. They would all clamber inside by the windows with hot water and lemon and the bit of hot chocolate they stole from the pantry the Miss kept under lock, and watch the rain as it passed over the cracking window that remained sturdy.

Both Miss and Sir were quite aware of their stolen funded adventures, from hot chocolate to cookies, to making cup noodles in the night with no light on and without a whisper to rouse them from sleep. They had been good people to him, to them, before they had left the orphanage and the world.

Taehyung peeked out in the café section and saw that it was dwindling. He took the time to go up the stairs, untying his apron and toeing off his shoes to drop himself on his bed as soon as he made it to his bedroom. He could allow himself a twenty minutes to breathe. And pretend that he wasn’t running a business downstairs.

With his face buried in his sheet and blankets, he could still smell Jungkook. He’d never believed the words of other persons and books that a person could smell their lover for days after they left. Or that another human could smell so good that it was unfair, almost rude that he had no control over it.

But it was true. His bed smelled like Jungkook. His skin tingled every time he thought about him. He wasn’t supposed to become enamoured with someone. It wasn’t good for him. His life. It wasn’t supposed to be good.

Taehyung closed his eyes, swallowing hard with his dry throat and ignored how heavy his eyes were beginning to feel. When was the last time he did something for himself? His whole life had been a blur of unfortunate memories, strung together with dirty broken shards of accidents and occurrences and held together by a gradually weakening string. And as the days went by, as minutes turned to hours and hours became jumbled in the passing of time, Taehyung had forgotten his purpose for doing any of what he was doing.

He had always just wanted to be happy. To be like those kids he saw walking with their parents and going on dates and eating ice cream.

He sort of had ice cream with Jungkook. And he had also never went on a date before.

His phone rang in his pocket, and he groaned at the sound and the crack into his solace, routinely digging for it and answering.

“Yeah?”

“Don’t sound so excited to talk to me, really Tae.”

“I’m solacing. Me time. My twenty damn minutes of me time I almost never get,” Taehyung grumbled, grinning when he heard Seo Joon laugh. “Are you still at the hotel?”

“Now left. I stayed back later last night making the rounds to talk to who I could after the orientation matches. I met the kid you’re infatuated with, Jungkook. He’s cute. I approve.”

“Seo Joon…”

“Except the fact that he’s from the Syndicate, and if Jin finds out he’ll fucking force you to end it.”

Taehyung closed his eyes tight, wishing that when he did, all his problems would go away, and he didn’t have to deal with revenge and repercussions and the fucking world.

“But really, I approve. I say go for it.”

“Except the fact that Jin will find out.”

“As far as I’m concerned, you’re the leader of Calamity, and you can do whatever the fuck you please.”

“They’re the e–”

Enemy.

Taehyung stopped, because it was true, and it wasn’t. It was harder to separate the two. What was right and what was wrong. When he had started all this, set out as orphans who were re-orphaned all over again, revenge was the only thing he could taste and see and smell and it was their whole world.

The Syndicate was the enemy. The Syndicate was bad. And with the group of three, joined by the other orphans and then Jin who came into the fold and helped further them into a solidified, legitimate gang, it made so much sense then, to go after the thing that ripped their only happiness away.

But time was a strange thing. Taehyung became a Syndicate member to infiltrate their chain of command and was then a pseudo-baker, put in charge of a gang run pastry and coffee shop. And the most laughable part of it all was that he liked it. He came to like waking up early and standing on his feet whole day, whipping up cakes and decorating. Because it was hard work. And he had liked seeing himself improve day after day, after watching videos on Youtube and attending pastry classes and sub-courses when he wasn’t busy with Calamity and meeting Seo Joon-hyung and sniper missions for the Syndicate.

It was physical manifestation of improvement, and the customers that loved him and praised him, and he felt so warm every time.

And then, there was the leader of the Syndicate. There was Jaejoong. He was nothing like the murderer he was, short with Taehyung but also pleasant, and he treated him right, words of encouragement for his food and cakes and commended his abilities. It was easier to hate him if he were cruel. If Yunho the demon were cruel.

But Yunho was only quiet and absolutely loved his creations. And Taehyung wanted to hate them all because this was what he came to the Syndicate to do, to hate and kill and destroy them for destroying his life. Even if it wasn’t a direct hit he could still cause enough trouble that it would hurt.

“Jin’s ambitions doesn’t have to be your ambitions, Tae,” said Seo Joon gently.

“I know that, hyung.”

“I care about you more than I care about revenge.”

“They took our only family away from us, Joon. He did.”

“I’m your family,” he said. Taehyung couldn’t speak anymore. He laid on his bed, curled into himself and pressing his eyes into the thin sheets to soak his tears. It had been so long since he saw Seo Joon. He would give anything to just see him and go back to a time when their only worries were chores and being kicked out into the streets that became their home.

“Cheer me on,” said Seo Joon. “So your hyung can win.”

“Never,” said Taehyung, smiling. “I miss you,” he added softly. “Really miss you.”

“I know. Be strong, my little Leader. You’ll have a decision to make soon that only you can make.”

Taehyung found himself standing by the bridge between the kitchen and living room, unseeing, phone still in hand because he hadn’t known what to do with it. He had wanted to pretend that his life wasn’t filled with hard decisions. That maybe he could be like everyone else and have a lover, a job, a family.

There was Hoseok who was his employee but so damn friendly that Taehyung really and truly liked him. And Jen who was sweet and sarcastic and took too long breaks but she worked hard when it was her shift. And Jungkook, Taehyung had never been attracted to someone before, not this intensity, these feelings that he couldn’t understand and made him so jittery and unsure.

He was afraid. Anxious.

And he didn't want to leave this well crafted, pretend life.

His arm trembled, and he realized it was both from his anxiety and from his phone ringing once more.

He glanced at the screen.

Jin.

Jin was calling.

He let it ring for a while, before he answered.


*


So…the Taehyung part was always planned. I admit some parts were very messily written. But I needed to tie up some loose end parts before the last chapter. Burner is a very slow drawn fic and it’s more like the beginning even if it’s the first book. But the last chapter will have some excitement, and also a flashback. It will be a continuation of the same day, with the dinner with Yunho’s mother, the talk about Dark Phoenix and Yu Shirota, some other stuff, you know.

Sooo one more chapter left. I want to thank everyone who stuck with this fic over the past..hell three-four years? When I was still stuck in medical school with exams and life and being unable to write properly or update. Thank you for reading and enjoying!

For me Burner is the plot and story I always wanted to write, and I love it so much. I've been happy to share it with everyone. I do have plans to try to publish Burner, well this series. As much as it is a fanfiction, it's always been characters and personalities I created, spending a shitload of time plotting and world building and fixing, so I'm really going to try to get it published.

Once I'm finished with the last chapter, I'll try to work on Book 2 as soon as possible.

 
 
thetaintedblade
17 January 2019 @ 01:08 am

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the head of the underground Korean Crime Syndicate. Yunho is his right hand man with an obsession for blood. Threatened by the American Company invading South Korea, and a new group, that has a personal vendetta against Jaejoong, this is their story.




PART TWENTY-TWO

Some years ago
(Approx. sixteen years ago)

The warehouse was old and smelled like rotten meat. Jaejoong couldn’t get the scent out of his nose, glad for the cigarette he had bummed off one of the men before they went inside. He was on lookout duty. There was a meeting amongst the business heads, illegal and legal according to his uncle.

After nearly four years within the Syndicate, Jaejoong understood just how important Youngwha was. His uncle was the Syndicate leader’s right hand man. He was right up there, high, high up where nearly no one could touch him.

And Jaejoong, he was a still a near lackey. He could fight well now, practicing every day, using the exercise equipment he had bought with his salary at the café, and the money he got when he sometimes helped out with money collecting. At eighteen, he could now do more. And he wanted to do more. He had long accepted his life, accepted how important it was to shoot a gun, and learn the ways of a knife and sword.

Shooting was a hobby to him. He liked using guns, and it was his routine now to head to the gun range at night, practicing his aim and speed. He was good at that, shooting.

There wasn’t much he could do to practice with a knife. Youngwha promised him that when he took him to Japan, he would find him a teacher there, to pass on the ways of a swordsman. So Jaejoong didn’t bother much about it, and put his all into the gun range and fighting.

His phone vibrated in his jacket pocket. He took it out, cigarette perched between his fingers, smoke in his mouth as he checked the message.


Sender: Yunho
Message: Don’t forget tonight.


Jung was the weirdest part about his new life. There was this thing between them that they never spoke of. They kissed and smoked together, Jaejoong went to his fighting matches and watched him beat people, sucked Yunho’s dick and Yunho sucked his. And Yunho, Yunho was a strange boy that Jaejoong liked, his quietness and sarcasm, the way he took what he wanted and didn’t care about anything and anyone. Yunho had become the friend he had never asked for, and Jaejoong supposed he was Yunho’s friend too.

It was around five in the afternoon when the men and women started pouring out from the creaky doors of the warehouse, letting out that putrid smell that Jaejoong couldn’t tolerate. It was fresher now, worse than when they had entered.

He jumped off the pile of crates he had been perched upon, landing with his knees bent and kicking up dust and gravel. He glimpsed in as they filtered out.

Jaejoong could see Younghwa’s back. He could recognize his uncle anywhere, his trademark ponytail, his customized pin stripe suits. Next to Youngwha and his assistant were two bodies. He didn’t need to go inside to know that they were dead.

He was leaning against the crates when Youngwha came out, black gloves on his hands, lighting himself a smoke as he was finally outdoors again. Youngwha didn’t even glance in his direction, expecting him to follow.

“I’m carrying you to meet the head of the Syndicate tomorrow.”

Jaejoong fanned the puff of smoke ballooning in front of him. They had stopped to wait on the car. Just a few metres ahead, there was sea. Endless, dark blue sea.

“You’ve done well these past few months. I expect you’ll make it as an official member.”

“I’ll go on missions if I do, right?” Jaejoong asked him. Youngwha didn’t answer until they were driving off, Jaejoong watching the sea stream past them.

“Yes, you will.”

Jaejoong tried not to sound too eager. He was saving up little by little. But it was never enough. Youngwha only provided house and food for him. Jaejoong bought himself everything else. Clothes, shoes, weapons. He bought his own textbooks and study material. Youngwha at least paid for wifi.

He needed more income. He needed his own place. Far away from Youngwha. He and his uncle never had familial love between them. But since he had joined the Syndicate, Jaejoong realized how much of a hateful man he was. There was nothing redeeming or respectful about him, and Youngwha, the bastard that he was, enjoyed that common knowledge about himself.

“I’ll be gone tonight,” said Youngwha. “I’ll be back tomorrow evening to pick you up after your shift at the café.”

Jaejoong nodded, and glanced at the time on his phone. He messaged back Yunho.


Be there in 30.







Yunho was listening to his English lessons when Fowler knocked on his door, announcing that Jaejoong had arrived. He took off his headphones, pushing back his chair to head downstairs. His mother was painting in the living room, and she saw Jaejoong first, his too skinny frame and sweater jacket.

His mother had glimpsed Jaejoong a few times. They both met outside of his house, usually to coffee shops or the ice cream parlour, Yunho taking Jaejoong to restaurants and burger houses to buy him food and listen to him complain about buying him food. His mother never got the chance to speak to Jaejoong, much less observe him as closely as she did now.

Jaejoong had become shy, ducking a little and giving a slight wave to his mother.

“Um, hey. I’m Jaejoong.”

His mother was enamoured. She stopped painting, putting down her brush and palette.

“Hello. This about the first time I’m meeting you. Yunho’s been hiding you away.”

“I wasn’t hiding him, mother.”

Yunho came off the last step, grinning as he watched Jaejoong squirm under his mother’s cooing.

“You can call me Soo min.”

“She doesn’t like formalities,” Yunho explained briefly, at Jaejoong’s panic.

“I can’t just call her Soo min,” stuttered Jaejoong, leather bag nearly falling off his shoulder.

“You just did,” she smiled. “Oh how did you get such a cute friend Yunho.” Soo min went closer, resting her hand on his shoulder. “I’m surprised you’ve stuck around for so long. My son is…a special one.”

“A weird one,” Jaejoong corrected.

She laughed. “That he is. Are you coming to the dinner party with us?”

“Well according to your son, I am.”

His mother turned to look at him, happier than he’d seen her over the past few years. It was a quiet thing, in their manor, that the head of the household had a pretty thing that wasn’t his wife. It was probably why Yunho felt obligated to make her happy. She didn’t deserve sadness, or pain. She was one of those people that lived in a cruel world, but never became cruel herself. Not as yet.

“You are so adorable,” his mother stressed, patting Jaejoong’s cheek before letting him go. “Go ahead and get ready. Yunho told me you’d be coming straight from work.”

“I did,” he said, before following Yunho upstairs. Fowler had already went to bring them some light snacks. Yunho could smell cigarette smoke on Jaejoong, but not food. If he was to socialize he would need something in his stomach to tolerate it.

“You said you had clothes for me,” Jaejoong said, as he jumped on Yunho’s bed. The impact crinkled the sheets, and Yunho liked how complete his bed looked, with Jaejoong sprawled out in contentment.

“I do. You need a suit to go to the dinner party.”

“I’ve never worn a suit before.” Jaejoong’s voice dipped, whenever he went shy. He sat back up, legs swinging in thumps against the edge of the mattress. “You have another bruise on your cheek. Your mother didn’t say anything?”

“She knows I fight.”

“And she’s okay with that?”

Yunho shrugged. “She knows she can’t stop me. So she rather know, than not know. And I always text her my location before I go.”

“That’s very reasonable.”

Yunho was taking out a towel for Jaejoong to use when Fowler knocked, coming in to drop the tray of sandwiches and pineapple juice and a pot of tea. Fowler bowed before leaving.

“You know, sometimes I kinda wish I had a mom. I don’t know what it’s like to have a mother. A real mother. My step mom was always a cunt. She cared about my father, and money, and her friends. I didn’t really exist to her.”

“What about your dad?” Yunho asked because Jaejoong avoided the topic of his father almost always.

“He died. I don’t know how, or where, because my uncle wouldn’t tell me. But he died, and left me with Youngwha. Didn’t even say goodbye.”

Yunho grabbed the tray from the table, pushing it onto the bed next to Jaejoong.

“Eat something instead of crying,” he said.

“I wasn’t going to cry!”

Yunho poured himself a cup of tea, staring at Jaejoong until he picked up a sandwich and began to eat.

“I hate you sometimes,” he mumbled in between chewing.






Jaejoong didn’t really know what the dinner party was for. All he knew was that Yunho had wanted him there, given him a free suit, and there was free food and drink. All were perfectly good reasons as to why he had agreed.

He and Yunho were driven in a separate car from Yunho’s parents. Jaejoong hadn’t met Yunho’s father yet. And he wasn’t particularly keen on amending that. Yunho’s stories of his father since they met were always less than spectacular. And Jaejoong had a strong feeling that Yunho cared for his father as much as Jaejoong cared for his uncle.

They were at someone’s mansion. A house that was suited for dinner parties and the sort, overly large and well lit, a driveway so long that it took a few minutes to reach the front porch and door. It was pretty though, and Jaejoong admired everything, the way the path was lit on both sides with little lights that glistened like gems, and the air smelt like many different flowers and trees and night.

There were cars in front of them and behind them, waiting to drop off important people, driving off around the exuberant mermaid fountain. It was stone of some sort, and Jaejoong had watched it for far too long, because Yunho pinched his lower back and he was forced into walking.

“I’m hungry,” he told Yunho, before they were stopped by the entrance. There was a man with a check list, and a security guy covering the length of him.

“Jung Yunho.”

Jaejoong tried not to unconsciously reach for his gun. He hadn’t wanted to bring it. But it was becoming second nature now. He didn’t feel safe without his gun and two knives. Even if being around Yunho made him feel less cautious. There was something about Yunho, that he was too fucking weird and crazy to die. It made sense, in his head.

They were allowed inside. He didn’t know where Yunho’s parents were, and Yunho didn’t seem to bother. Yunho’s hand hadn’t left the small of his back, guiding him past men dressed in suits like the ones they wore, soft, different colours, women so well dressed that Jaejoong was tempted to touch the material. There was a waiter walking around with a tray of champagne, and he snagged two flutes, handing one to Yunho.

“Since I’m your date tonight and all,” he said, grinning.

“You are,” Yunho agreed shamelessly.

Jaejoong raised his glass, clinking against Yunho’s before taking a sip. They were standing somewhere in the middle of the large ballroom. It was magnificent really, being in a room made of such luxury. There were faces of people he saw sometimes on television and the internet, celebrities, unknown faces.

It was a nice change, from Youngwha and school and the café. The Syndicate was death and fighting and drugs, and even though business men and politicians had their fair share of deceit and filth, at least it was pleasant filth for him to enjoy.

“You want another glass?” asked Yunho, fingers leaving his back, and he suddenly felt cold even with the dress shirt and jacket on. Jaejoong nodded, handing Yunho the empty glass. “Wait me for by the buffet table.”

Jaejoong watched Yunho leave to talk to a tall man that had the same stubborn mouth and eyes. He found the buffet table, past a throng of conversations, and continued observing Yunho as he talked to his father. It was different, from the face he showed with his mother. The brief gentleness that he took with his mother was untraceable.

Jaejoong purposefully turned away to give them privacy. He made it to the buffet table, careful not to bounce into anyone, returning smiles from men and women he didn’t know. There was a spread of food that he couldn’t dream up, already grabbing a plate and piling on meat and dumplings, thick salmon slices that looked buttery. He grabbed a tiny gold plated fork, and began to eat.

There was music playing, somewhere in the midst of all the conversation. He couldn’t see Yunho anymore, or anyone he particularly knew, but it gave him the chance to observe. People were swapping business cards and phone numbers, loudly laughing at jokes that probably weren’t even funny. But Jaejoong could see the charm behind the pretentiousness. Of similar company and fancy clothes, good food and drink and just being in a place where the outside world didn’t matter as much as it did in here. If he wasn’t friends with Yunho he would never experience such a thing.

Especially something as good as the sashimi he was eating.

After a few minutes, when his plate was empty, and Yunho still hadn’t come, he piled on some more sashimi, endlessly being replaced by the starch pressed servers that were more ghost than human, flitting in and out to refill the buffet table.

Everyone was doing something, drinking, laughing, talking to someone. Jaejoong ate and watched, idly going from person to person, and settled on one man, who was by himself, neither eating nor drinking, or talking. He was stalking through the crowd, hand dipped inside his pants pocket as he walked. He was near Jaejoong, going past him. Jaejoong saw the flat part of the plunger of a syringe, peeking out through his grip and from his pocket. He saw him grip it tight, fingers on the needle cap.

Jaejoong swallowed the buttery piece of sashimi. This wasn’t going to happen. Not here, not now. He wasn’t here for this kind of shit.

But the man kept walking. And Jaejoong could still see the syringe. He could see the target, a tall, tall man, surrounded, but not flanked, by men and women. The target was black haired, broad shoulders and hard back, but none of that mattered when Jaejoong didn’t know what was in the syringe. Drugs triumphed over everything else, even guns and a well-developed body.

Jaejoong cursed himself and the world before he put down his plate. He heard – not saw – Yunho call out his name, and he ran, slipping past people without causing much of a scene, glad that he was too skinny, running faster until he nearly knocked into the man. He dropped onto the floor with his palms slapping the cool marble, sweeping his leg until his foot caught the other man’s ankle, sending him toppling onto the ground.

Someone screamed. Jaejoong was on the other man before he could get up, grabbing his throat and straddling his chest, forcing him to stay down. He hadn’t let go of the syringe. Before Jaejoong could reach for it himself, Yunho was there, dress shoes pressing down on the man’s wrist, hard enough that he choked in pain against Jaejoong’s fingers. Yunho stooped down and plucked the syringe from his open palm, staring at the liquid kept inside.

“I thought you were supposed to wait for me at the buffet table,” he said, throwing up the syringe. It was taken before he could catch it, by the tall man who had been the target of the attempted drugging. He was amused rather than scared, staring at the syringe quite like what Yunho had done, and then looking down at Jaejoong and the struggling man.

“I saw him,” Jaejoong scoffed. “What was I supposed to do? I had to leave my sashimi for this.”

“Well I’m glad you did.” The tall man was speaking to him, handing the syringe to one of the men standing next to him. “You may release him. Take him away.”

Jaejoong got off the man’s chest, standing up. Yunho delicately lifted his leg from his wrist, watching down at the bruise that was already forming.

“Not many people would do what you did,” said the man. “Thank you. What’s your name?”

“Kim Jaejoong,” he said, because his name meant nothing. “What’s yours?”

The tall man laughed. The men and women next to him stiffened, like it was taboo to ask it of him. Jaejoong didn’t really care, and Yunho was becoming bored again, stepping aside as they took the man away.

“Soo Ji Sub,” he said. “Have you heard of it?”

“No?” he answered truthfully. “Can’t say I have.”

“I’ll remember this,” said Ji Sub. “It was a selfless gesture.”

“Well, now that I realize that your men would have saved you, or you might have saved yourself, it seems like an unnecessary gesture.”

Ji Sub laughed again, reaching out to rest his hand on Jaejoong’s head. “I like this one,” he told his men. “I’ll remember you, Kim Jaejoong.” He glanced at Yunho, at his hand that was already on the small of his back to steer him away. “You and your friend.”





“Well that was weird,” said Jaejoong, brightening when he saw that there was sashimi still on the table.

“Not really,” said Yunho, having had to retake two glasses of champagne, and handing it to Jaejoong. “Anyone important in South Korea is probably here tonight.”

“Oh? Including us?” grinned Jaejoong.

“We could be,” said Yunho, giving him that wicked grin that Jaejoong liked. The adrenaline that was pumping in Jaejoong was visible in his eyes, even as he ate his sashimi and drank expensive champagne. Jaejoong suited this life, or rather, this life suited Jaejoong. And Yunho wanted to draw him into it, things and experiences that Jaejoong deserved to have.

“Let’s go outside,” he said.

He took them down a corridor, leaving Jaejoong outside the wine room to snag a bottle of chilled champagne. They took the side door to head outside, out into the garden, well-trimmed, hedged bushes that ran in columns. Yunho dropped onto the lounging chair, waiting for Jaejoong to join him before he opened the bottle.

When the bottle was half gone, shared between gulps and watching out at the never-ending garden of green and fragrant flowers, Jaejoong pressed closer to Yunho, resting his shoulder against his.

“We’re finishing school in a couple months. It’s just exams left and that’s it.” Jaejoong grabbed the bottle, chugging. “What are you going to do?”

“Don’t know.” Yunho really didn’t know. He would think about it after graduation. A while after that. He hated rushing things. Pre-thinking things.

“I…I wish I had that choice,” Jaejoong admitted. Yunho heard the break in his voice, and took the bottle away.

“You’re going to cry again, aren’t you?”

“Fuck you Yunho,” he spat, still pressed against his shoulder, pressing his eyes and face there.

“You have no choice but to be in the Syndicate,” said Yunho, grimacing as the champagne had gone lukewarm, but he drank it anyway. “So make it into your own choice.”

“My own choice?” Jaejoong quickly wiped his eyes, reaching with both hands for the rest of the champagne.

“You can either stay a lackey, or climb to the top. Your choice.”

Jaejoong rested his head on Yunho’s shoulder, bottle somewhere on the grass, the quiet softened by music and inside words and laughter. He could feel the slight buzz of alcohol. Jaejoong’s cheeks and nose were reddened, both from the cold, and from the champagne. Jaejoong never had to mention that he was part of the Syndicate. Yunho had figured it out when he had started working at the gang run café, familiar with all the men there, his knuckles that had become bruised as time went by.

He discerned also, that Jaejoong was forced into it. Jaejoong wasn’t the type of person to want a life like that, to be walked over by lesser men in higher positions. No. Yunho didn’t see Jaejoong like that. He was meant for much more.

Yunho bent his head and kissed him. His lips were cold and dry, the little parting damp only from champagne and spit. Jaejoong opened his mouth, sucking, kissing back with his fingers digging into the back of Yunho’s head. Jaejoong pulled, and they were falling, flat onto the chair, kiss breaking as Jaejoong yelped and then began to laugh as they tumbled onto the grass.

They stayed there, breathing in the cold. Yunho’s foot knocked into the empty champagne bottle, sending it rolling further away. Jaejoong’s icy fingers crept into his palm, lacing their fingers together shyly, and then squeezing tightly when his touch was met with no resistance. His icy fingers brought both cold and warmth.

Yunho kept their hands together as he rolled on top of Jaejoong, looking down at him, his lips, his nose, his eyes. He kissed him again. Jaejoong closed his eyes, hand reaching down to grab at his swelling groin.





Youngwha came exactly at six in the evening when Jaejoong was just coming off his shift. He’d been on his foot all day, ringing up purchases and serving customers, harmlessly flirting with the girls that thought him attractive. He’d been in a daze most of the day, feeling the lingering touches of Yunho, his kisses, the marks he left on his throat and neck and hips. He hadn’t cared enough to hide his neck, taking the ribbing from his coworkers with a shrug and nonchalance.

He bundled into his jacket, slipping on his thick gloves before getting into the back of the car with Youngwha. His uncle stopped driving himself around to places. Jaejoong had never gone for his license as he didn’t have a car to drive. And he wasn’t a fan of driving.

His uncle was on the phone, angry. “No. Yes. No. Not now. You will have to wait since you fucked it up.”

Jaejoong waited for him to finish his call. “Everything okay?”

“I didn’t think you cared,” said Youngwha.

“I don’t.”

Jaejoong could feel Youngwha’s eyes on his skin, the bruises left on his neck and chest by Yunho’s mouth. Youngwha wasn’t a man to care about sexuality – they were in different times – but he was disgusting enough to care that Jaejoong wasn’t the dominant partner. He saw the sneer that curled away into nothingness, empty disappointment that meant nothing to Jaejoong.

“I saw your step mother yesterday. She remarried.”

“Good to know.”

They didn’t speak to each other again for the rest of the car ride. Jaejoong didn’t know where Youngwha was taking him, and spent the time on his phone, scrolling through social media and games to download. His pay check from small time ‘missions’ hounding down citizens for the money they owed from loans covered his phone data and other miscellaneous expenses. Like skin care products and perfume. He couldn’t afford the fancy ones yet, but Yunho had bought him those same fancy ones he had been admiring so much online for his birthday.

He was brought to a Japanese restaurant. He trailed behind Youngwha through a corridor, old style sliding doors on both sides as they went. Youngwha stopped at the very last room to the right, and knocked on the sturdy wooden part.

“I’ve brought him, Leader.”

Youngwha moved away, motioning for Jaejoong to enter. “Go ahead. Call me when you’re done.”

“You’re not coming in with me?”

“No. Go in. He doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”

Jaejoong watched Youngwha turn and leave, fingers into the little nook to pull the door open. He stopped the tremor in his hand before it got worse. He had always known there was a man behind the Syndicate. But there were never words or rumours spoken about him. There was nothing. Not a name or face or whispers that people knew of him. It was scarier that he was a ghost, something unknown that Jaejoong had no choice but to conquer.

He took a deep breath and slid open the door. His breath came out all at once, routinely closing the door behind him. He stood stupidly as he gawked at the other man, the Leader of the Syndicate, sitting sprawled comfortably in a loose trousers and tee.

“Sit, Kim Jaejoong. What happened to that boldness of yours you charmed me with last night?”

Jaejoong hurried to sit, flushing, groaning in embarrassment.

“I’m actually pretty shy, you know,” he said, and then added, “Sir. Do I address you as Sir, or Leader?”

The Leader of the Syndicate laughed, knocking back the cup of sake in his hand. “Do you remember my name?”

“Soo Ji sub.”

“Good. Good. You can call me Soo Ji sub. Ji sub. Sir. Leader. Leader Ji sub. Leader Sub. I don’t actually give a fuck.” He picked up the bottle of sake, waiting for Jaejoong to pick up the small cup in front of him. “Drink with me.”

Jaejoong nodded, lifting his cup for Ji sub to pour. Ji sub poured for both of them, raising his cup to knock into Jaejoong’s. When Jaejoong gulped down the sake, looking away, Ji sub was already pouring him another.

He lingered with his cup in hand, observing Jaejoong.

“When Youngwha told me someone broke into his house and thought his nephew was his little toy, I was very amused. And when he told me that his nephew killed a trained member of a criminal organization, by chance, I couldn’t not let you join the Syndicate. It was meant to be, you see, and it was my decision to let you in.”

“Youngwha set up this meeting yesterday when he told me that you’ve turned eighteen and you’re ready to do more for me. So imagine my surprise when I heard your name last night at a dinner party I never expected you to be at. I also didn’t expect you to be the date of the son of Jung Industries.”

Jaejoong refused to feel self-conscious under Ji Sub’s stare.

“I like you kid. I think you’ll do well here. Better than your uncle. I mean, you may follow suit and try to kill me in the future, but I doubt that. You’re too pure, even for a killer.”

Th sake burned going down.

“…since you fucked it up.”

Oh. Oh.

Jaejoong held out his cup for more. But why was Younghwa still Ji Sub’s right hand man? If he knew Youngwha wanted his position then…

He had no proof. Some criminal organizations ran on rules and honour. The great ones. Those were the underground organizations that flourished. Honour was a serious matter. And Soo Ji sub ran the Syndicate on honour, and rigidity.

“I just want to live,” he said, staring down at the clear liquid, sloshing as he brought the cup to his chest.

Ji sub smiled.

“Well why don’t you live and become the new leader of this hell hole?”

“You can either stay a lackey, or climb to the top. Your choice.”

Yunho. The bastard. It was like he had a foresight into his future.

Jaejoong reached to touch where the bruises were, aching the corners of his neck, his throat. Ji Sub never stopped observing him.

“Okay. Why the hell not.”



*

Writing a younger yunho and jaejoong is hella fun. Especially since they’re closer now, and actual solid friends. They’re so much freer, childish. Yunho was like that and still is. Jaejoong was so much shyer then, and still as soft as he has gotten older, but it’s very deep down.


(I just really wanted to share my baby tony stark. Look how pretty he is)
 
 
thetaintedblade
09 January 2019 @ 02:32 pm

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the head of the underground Korean Crime Syndicate. Yunho is his right hand man with an obsession for blood. Threatened by the American Company invading South Korea, and a new group, that has a personal vendetta against Jaejoong, this is their story.



PART TWENTY ONE
~Complicated~


Jungkook realized that it wasn’t a normal night when Yunho came to pick him up in his convertible, silently stopping in front of Low Hearts where he was waiting out. It was a cold night already, Jungkook having to purse his lips to blow out the chill, digging his fingers under his jacket for little warmth.

Taehyung had wanted him to wait inside. But he ended up closing up shop and waiting with him out in the cold, sharing a cup of light roast with two sugars. He was inside now, and Jungkook could see him, walking as he spoke on the phone. It was alarming how accustomed he was getting to the other man’s presence.

“Get in,” said Yunho.

“Coming.” Jungkook pushed open the door and ducked his head in. “Taehyung, I’m leaving.”

Taehyung looked up from where he was idly playing with the packets of salted butter, and cursed, muttering a rushed, “Hold on,” and slamming his phone onto the counter.

“Good luck,” he said, suddenly shy as he was standing in front of Jungkook, separated by glass and printed lettering. “Make the Syndicate proud.” Jungkook nodded. He pushed into the warmth of the shop, forehead knocking into Taehyung as he kissed him. His teeth caught on Taehyung’s tongue, swallowing his mouth and scraping his lower lip as he let go.

“I’ll see you,” he said, glancing at his soft expression, his smile.

“Yeah,” said Taehyung, watching him go.

Jungkook turned and left him behind the Low Heart’s glass entrance, getting into the passenger seat of Yunho’s car. They drove away from the café, Jungkook sinking into the seat and grateful for the heat Yunho’s car offered. He should buy warmer jackets, now that he could afford to.

“You’re going up against the other gangs,” said Yunho. “It’s a special tournament for the gangs to show off their fighters.”

“Basically checking whose dick is the longest,” Jungkook muttered.

“Basically.” They were driving in the opposite direction to the Syndicate headquarters. “Tonight is the orientation, and opening matches. The money pool is bigger this time. And the fights are better. Death is common in these types of tournaments. The fights are held in the evening of each day. You have daylight to rest and recover.”

“Is it a knockout tournament? Win and advance. Lose and you can no longer participate?”

“No. You fight in all the matches unless you’re dead.”

Jungkook yawned as he rested his head against the car window. “Who wins the most matches,” he said, unconsciously scraping at a scab on his right knuckle.

If Jungkook cared enough, he’d ask Yunho why him. Why not someone else who had been in the Syndicate longer than the bare two weeks he’d been there for. But he wouldn’t ask. Because he sort of knew. That it wasn’t normal how Jaejoong had taken an interest and recruited him. How Yunho personally took him to the fighting rings and driving him to the tournament to represent their fucking namesake.

They thought he was something special. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe they saw something in him that he couldn’t see. He barely saw past surviving another day. But it wasn’t like that anymore. Jaejoong promised him the world in exchange for his soul.

It was a fair trade.

And he would keep his promise.

He was more tired than anything, resting his eyes as Yunho drove, not realizing they had stopped until Yunho grabbed his shoulder. He was pulled away from the window, groaning as he reached up to rub at the bit of drool that had formed as he had slept.

Jungkook grabbed his bag, pulled the hood of his sweater over his hair, and got out of the car. He blinked up, jerking forward when the car behind him took off, Yunho standing next to him. They were in front of a hotel. One of the fancy ones. Too fancy. He remembered this one, because he had seen it on the news in one of the shops he worked at last year, the new extravagant hotel that didn’t cater to lower salary brackets and the average citizen.

He watched up, at how it towered, lights and the smell of luxury and money. A man in a well-fitted suit opened the door for them, and Jungkook followed Yunho in, hit by the man-made cold and immediately shivering.

Yunho went straight to the elevators, folding his arms as he waited for it to open. Two men, somewhere in the middle of Yunho and Jungook’s age, came near them, luggage in hand. The black-haired one, tall and piercings right around the outer rim of both ears, grinned as he recognized Yunho.

“Jung. Who’s the lackey boy? If I remember, you liked your fucks older.”

Yunho very subtly glanced at the man speaking, and went back to staring at the elevator.

“Oh come on, amuse me.”

The elevator sounded as it opened, and they shuffled in, Jungkook pressed against the steel wall of the inside, pushed next to the man who was eager to continue his conversation. It was rare, seeing someone speaking to Yunho as though he were a normal person. Jungkook was under the clear impression that it was easier to speak to Jaejoong than it was with Yunho. And he understood why. He was there long enough to hear the rumours, in the gun range and at the café. Of Yunho’s countless missions and the body count, of a wildness that couldn’t be managed, not even by Jaejoong.

It was how Jungkook had felt when he had first met him, on guard instantly, prickling of fear that this was a man to be afraid of.

He had dropped his guard since. Only because he knew that Jaejoong had accepted him. And he was sure that Yunho would not cross that undrawn line.

Jungkook looked on at the dark haired man’s face, the blue-green contacts he had in, lips cracked from weather and diet, as he talked.

“You’re always welcome to come over to our side. I’d gladly accept you.” He grinned, leaning closer.

“Who are you?” Jungkook asked.

The man seemed surprised that he spoke, and his eyes squinted, licking dry lips and bending his frame to observe Jungkook.

“Who is this child, Jung?”

“Participant,” Yunho answered.

The black haired man stared harder, suddenly interested. “Not your latest partner? Interesting. I’ve never seen or heard of you before.”

“I’m new,” Jungkook shrugged. He realized that they were going down, past the basement, deeper, level by level.

“And here I thought you were being rude, asking who I was,” he smiled. The elevator stopped, and the doors opened. He got off with the other man who hadn’t spoken at all, carrying the two pieces of heavy looking luggage. “I’ll see you in a bit, Jung. And you, little boy.”

Jungkook fixed his bag strap, staring after him. “Who is he?” he asked Yunho. Experience told him to be cautious. There was something…not right about the dark haired man. Dangerous. Like Yunho was. Whatever it was, it unsettled him.

“The right hand man of the Corporation.”

“The Corporation…that’s…the one we’re in an agreement with,” he said, remembering the conversation he had with Yunho. The big five they called them, and Taehyung had told him all about the original three. The Syndicate and the Corporation were two of the original three, and had an unofficial agreement years before Jaejoong was ever the head.

“Yes.”

“He’s dangerous,” Jungkook whispered, following Yunho to a long table, stretched out with computer monitors and electronic wristbands.

“Put it on,” said Yunho, pointing to the column of wristbands. Jungkook reached for one, feeling the cold black plastic and metal, the luminescent yellow lights that flickered as soon as he latched it closed.

“What’s is for?”

“To show that you’re a participant. A registered participant.”

Jungkook had to give his name – just his first name – to the woman manning the monitors, even if it was self-service. He saw his face in one of the monitors, and it captured his expression, minimizing into a boxed picture for record keeping.

“Do you want to change or are you going out in that outfit?”

Jungkook looked down at his beat out shoes – he hadn’t bought a new one yet – and the new slacks and sweater.

“I’m good. Just gotta get my gloves on.”

Everyone else was well dressed, he noticed. Yunho had given him the choice, to wear more proper attire. But only if he wanted to.

Jungkook didn’t think he’d ever be comfortable fighting in a tight ass suit.

“Through that door is where the participants are waiting. There’s food and drink inside.”

“’Kay.”

There was a table as long as the room where Yunho had gestured to, past gold painted doors adorned with curling handle bars. The other fighters – participants – were a mixture of indulgent and simple, some seated on the thick cushioned couches, some eating from the array of dishes stacked on the never ending table, and some, drinks in hand, lounging, and not quite talking.

There were some fighters in conversation, but mostly, they kept to themselves. Jungkook didn’t know anyone other than Yunho, and Yunho wasn’t in this room or one for pleasant conversation.

He went to the table, snagging a piece of what looked to be beef – pork? – from a plate and searched around for the drinks. He filled up a long glass with the fruit water from the decanter, turning back to face the room before gulping it down.

“Easy there. There’s more where that came from.”

Jungkook licked his lips, tasting more sweet than actual water. “It’s a habit,” he answered, eased by the other man’s attire. He was in a simple track pants and vest. He had muscles, toned arms that were bigger than his own. He was a couple years older too. Older than Taehyung.

“I hear ya.” The other man popped another piece of fried meat from his plate into his mouth, chewing loudly. “First time? Never seen your face before.”

“First time.”

“Cool.” He wiped his greasy fingers on his track pants, sticking out his hand. “Park Seo Joon.”

“Jeon Jungkook,” he said, accepting the handshake. “You’re accustomed to these things?”

“Underground fighting? Or participating in the official gang tournament?”

“Both.” Jungkook’s lips curled.

Park Seo Joon grinned. “Both. I’m accustomed to both. I like fighting, so I used to be up in these fighting rings all the time. Good way to burn off energy, good way to earn some extra cash. This is my third time in the gang tournament. The group I represent isn’t really well known. But the tournament’s not just for gangs. It’s for anyone with money to spare, and with a fighter to spare.”

“So past time for rich people,” Jungkook said.

“Pretty much.”

He spent the rest of the waiting time in idle conversation with Seo Joon, talking about their time spent fighting, how Seo Joon had a sort of desk job that left him locked up in a room for twenty-four hours at times, how Jungkook had lived on the streets and knew more about how to live than how to actually enjoy things in life.

Jungkook was coerced into trying bits of food he had never tasted, shoveling a tiny pastry topped with cream and berry compote that reminded him too much of the sweets he saw displayed in the café counter but never bothered eating. By the time he was finished and was licking cream off his thumb and index finger, the locked door that had been to the very end of the expansive room unlocked itself, hissing and letting the cold, clustered air out.

The noise from the other side of the door permeated in. There was the sound of laughter, loud shouts, people talking in jumbled words with too many ongoing conversation. Beyond the jumbled words, Jungkook heard low music, unable to pinpoint what it was, too busy taking in the new part of the underground hotel as he walked out into the arena.

It was unlike anything he had ever seen before. And he was hardly ever surprised since joining the Syndicate, meeting its unconventional leader. There were too many people, spectators, people, rows and rows that went on forever, surrounding the stage arena that they walked onto. Below the narrowing stairs down, was an actual fighting arena, a stadium, erected above the floor, non-bordered, stark white, carved out of stone and illuminated by the ostentatious overhanging lights.

There was a booming voice that startled him into turning around, raising his head at the large screen, taking up much of the wall behind him. The screen was nothing but bright blackness, until the camera feed fizzled in, washing away black with a vivid picture of the fighting arena. There was no one there.

In the large screen, and, when he turned back to watch out at the spectators and the fighting arena, a black square opened up in the very centre of the set stone, a hollow void that brought up a man with a shock of white hair and glistening teeth, made worse by the addition of the skinny sunglasses perched on his nose.

It was glamorous, and strange.

“I welcome you to the nineteenth official friendly tournament! As always, before the start of any tournament, all unofficial fighting, weapon use, threats, are all forbidden once within the tournament level. As per the rules from since the very first official tournament, anyone may enter a fighter once they have paid the registration fee. Who you are, what you do, we have no need for such information.”

The lights went out, and then flickered on to coalesce on the sunglasses wearing announcer. “I will be your judge and speaker. There are three other official judges – all whose identity will be kept unknown until after the tournament. Now, for the part everyone hates, I will begin the introduction of the participants and their respective fighters.”

The floor Jungkook was standing on began to shake. He held onto the railing, looking out with gritted teeth as they were taken towards the rest of the room, down, down until the shaking stopped. When he could finally let go of the copper stained railing, the announcer began speaking again, calling out the names of the gangs and business men involved, names of the fighters that were standing among him.

Seo Joon’s name was called before his. He was a confident man, smiling since Jungkook saw him at the refreshment table. He was the fighter for group called Calamity. Jungkook knew nothing about them or had he ever heard their name before.

The murmurings came when The Syndicate was mentioned. Before, when he was a mere straggler surviving day to day, when things were really bad and he was without a job, he used to hear about the Syndicate. It was word of mouth and rumours, of a group so big it overshadowed the other gangs as big as itself. If he, a poor boy without a home or social media knew about them, then he understood truly how much of an impact the Syndicate had on the select public.

“Representing the Syndicate, a fresh face, Jungkook!”

They were staring at him. He saw Seo Joon grinning at him. Jungkook was accustomed to stares but he never really liked them, happy with being the person ignored on the streets or his place of work. He settled himself by looking out into the crowd, the lot of spectators so numerous that he could barely make out faces, all blending into blobs of dark and colour.

“Now, as the introductions are over, we’ll begin the orientation match. All the fighters have been preselected and placed into groups of four. Betting is allowed for this round. However, for the orientation game, participants are only allowed to bet on your own fighter. Spectators, feel free to bet on any number of fighters. The starting bet is ten thousand US.”

Someone booed, laughing. From the crowd, Jungkook was chilled with the realization that it was a price too low for these people. Close to the fighting arena, he saw the row of shiny chairs, all filled up with well-dressed men and women, the man he had met before in the elevator, Yunho. Seeing Yunho made him more resolved, lighter.

This was nothing like what he was accustomed to. But it was basically what he was accustomed to. All he had to do was fight, and win.

He had his soul to pay back for.






Jaejoong woke with two hours of fickle sleep and a headache. He could hear Junsu already up, moving around in the kitchen as he came out into the corridor, bedroom slippers slapping on the tiles. He scratched his belly under the thin tee, yawning as he made his way into the dining room, wincing at the light coming in through the glass wall.

“You’re up,” said Junsu, licking his fingers before shoving it into the chips pack.

“And you’re eating chips at this ungodly hour.”

Junsu shrugged, bringing two chips to his mouth and crunching, licking the specks of salt off his fingers again. “Having specific times to eat things is all a conspiracy.”

“Of course it is,” said Jaejoong lamely.

He poured himself some coffee from the pot, glad that Junsu had the foresight to use the pot coffee maker. Because they all ran on coffee – too many cups of coffee – Jaejoong had many different kinds in his kitchen. There was the espresso machine with a steamer, a French press that he only used on days where life wasn’t busy as hell, the Keurig machine, the automatic timer one that he used sometimes, and then the one they were using more often since Changmin and Jungkook had moved in.

His addiction had started back in the early days, barely fifteen and running on too little sleep, trying to keep up with working in the old café, school, and learning things no fifteen year old should. Now, he accepted the unhealthy amount of coffee, worsened since he quit smoking, and needing something to help him pass the time when he wasn’t using his hands to work on anything.

“I haven’t found the right Kim Jisoo yet,” said Junsu, “So don’t ask. I’m really believing now that it is a pseudonym. One she gave your father and my parents. I tried checking for pictures of Namjoon’s father and mother, newspaper articles, but they never mentioned her anywhere. No photos. Even my parents have no photos of her.”

“I don’t remember ever seeing her,” said Jaejoong, “It was a taboo subject with my father.”

“This…” Junsu blew out a stream of breath, moving the mouse around. Jaejoong went closer to where he sat at the counter, placing down his mug.

“Are you playing video games?”

“Of course I am. I’ve done nothing but work and I can’t function until I do some nothingness before my brain can function again.”

“I see.”

“Don’t look at me like that.”

Jaejoong listened to the sounds of Junsu’s pc game, stealing some chips from the opened bag, drinking his rapidly cooling coffee.

“What you have today?” asked Junsu, leaning back and wriggling his fingers.

“A lunch meeting with the VP of Dark Phoenix. And then I want to check in on the Japanese kids we found. And…” Jaejoong licked away salt and bitter coffee from his mouth. “Dinner, with Yunho’s mother.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

“Damn. I was supposed to ask you about that, about you and Yunho. I didn’t press yesterday because Yunho was there, but, what the hell is going on between you two?”

“He…Yunho decided to try.”

Jaejoong smiled a bit, rubbing his fingers along the ceramic mug.

“That’s a lot, coming from Yunho,” spoke Junsu finally.

“It is.”

“Only took you guys a million years.”

Jaejoong laughed, knocking Junsu’s hand away from the computer mouse. “Get some rest today. You deserve it. We can start afresh later. I don’t think the world would end if you take a half day off.”

“You should take your own advice,” said Junsu, and then motioned to his laptop screen. “Can’t you see how hard I’m working?”

“Right.”

“I have classes today,” he said, propping his elbow onto the counter top, resting his chin onto his open palm. “I’m going to meet with Kim Namjoon. I’ve already messaged him.”

Junsu was looking right at him. Jaejoong had many things he wanted to say. That Junsu shouldn’t do things like that. That there was a chance he could be injured. That he was one of the only three people that he considered to be family. He wanted to tell him no, don’t go, but Junsu would go anyway.

He took a deep, slow breath, and calmed himself.

“Okay. Call me before and after the meeting.”

“Yes mother.”

“Don’t sass me.”

“My mother told me that exact same thing yesterday,” Junsu told him, looking scandalized.

Jaejoong felt better when he kicked Junsu’s chair away.





The restaurant was three years old, serving up a fusion of new age Korean food and molecular gastronomy, remaking traditional dishes and classics. It was booked by advanced calls and by contacts, and Jaejoong had frequented there only five times, more due to his never-ending schedule than by choice.

He didn’t need Yoochun to book for him this time. It was already done by the other party, and Jaejoong showed up early, surprised that the reservation was under Dark Phoenix, and not the VP or his assistant’s name. He was led to one of the centre tables, directly underneath the hanging lights eclipsed in crystal. The ambience was soft, and the music, the deep red table cloths, everything was classical Korean redone well.

“We’re definitely coming here more often,” said Jaejoong. Yoochun was already gulping down water, like they hadn’t had water in the car as drove down.

“I would love to agree with you, Leader Jae. But considering how busy we are, how busy you’re making me…”

“Stop complaining.”

“I only speak of the truth.”

Jaejoong had taken the seat facing the entrance. He saw as the assistant of the VP of Dark Phoenix came in, a black haired woman with a sly looking face and carried herself with the readiness of fight. She waited before coming closer, until the VP was standing next to her.

Jaejoong stared until they were standing by their table, Yoochun standing first to greet them. Jaejoong remained sitting.

“Leader Jae…”

“I apologize,” said the VP, laughing. “I seem to have shocked him. I don’t think he expected that I would be the new VP.”

Jaejoong stood up, extending his arm.

“Yu, it’s good to see.”

“Like wise Jaejoong. I expect that we could forget about the formalities since we’re acquainted with each other.”

Jaejoong nodded, sitting. The waiter came to take their order. Jaejoong ordered a cup of coffee to pass the time, remembering their coconut milk cappuccino topped with steamed coconut cream. When the waiter left, Yu’s assistant, Ms. Lee, turned in his direction.

“We were unaware that Leader Kim knew Mr. Yu,” she said.

“It’s fine, Lee,” Yu admonished, amused. “Jae, how have you been? It’s been how many years?”

“Not that many. But I’ve been well. Trying not to die from lack of sleep. Surviving.” Jaejoong nodded when his cappuccino was placed in front of him. “I was under the impression that you were still in Japan.”

“I came to South Korea two years ago. And well, here I am, vice president of Dark Phoenix.”

Yu was a tall man. As tall as Yunho and of mixed blood. His mother had been European – Spanish – and he spoke the language with familiarity and as well as he spoke his native tongue. Gone was the trademark bleached hair he had known him for, and this dark hair suited him better, cut and styled professionally, put together in a suit and nothing like the ripped jeans and jackets Jaejoong remembered him by.

And he remembered everything about Yu.

Yama-dono and Yu had been childhood friends. And when Jaejoong started visiting frequently, they became an odd trio that no one could falter.

“I confess I haven’t spoken to Yamashita in months. He’s going to kill me for that.”

Jaejoong laughed, because it was true. Yamashita had gone on to inherit his namesake, and Yu, he had formed his own group, a group of misfits with unfailing loyalty, which he then gave up five years ago to Yama-dono. He sent his men to join the yakuza and its leader, and then disappeared a year later.

Out of politeness, and respect he had for the older man, Jaejoong waited until their meal was brought out, forgoing any drink other than a second cup of the coconut cappuccino.

“You don’t mind if I smoke, do you?” Yu asked. “I prefer smoking before a meal.”

Jaejoong could hear Yoochun’s grin next to him.

“I have idiots who smoke after meals,” he said, and Yu laughed loudly, lighting his cigarette and bringing it to his mouth as he studied Jaejoong.

“You look well,” he said softly. “I apologize for the lack of contact. I had to figure things out, on my own. Even without Yamashita. But I do take my new job seriously. I approached you to work out a partnership.”

He tapped his cigarette in the marble ash try the waiter had brought with their meals.

“Dark Phoenix has denied all offer for partnership over the years,” said Jaejoong.

“I know. With good reason. I think it time that we enter a treaty. We are under no current threat from any other organization. Dark Phoenix and its members have kept to themselves since birth. We never had a need to form a partnership with any other group. It’s a peace treaty that we’re offering. I help you, you help me. If you need our aid for war you shall have it. Once you acquiesce our needs if such needs arise.”

“This is your decision.”

“President has given me full reign to make any and all decisions for Dark Phoenix. My decision is his decision.”

The look of quiet discomfort on Lee’s expression told him that this was true. He had nothing but love and trust for Yu, but this was gang matters, Syndicate matters. And this was no longer Yu’s gang that he had handpicked from words and battle skills.

“You understand I will need some time to consider your offer.”

“Of course,” said Yu. “Is a week long enough for you to decide?”

“That is fine.”

Yu finished his smoke with rubbing it into the ash tray, dusting off the dregs stuck to his fingertips.

“Well then, let’s eat. It’s my first time here. And Lee hates this kind of food. I’m very excited to try it.”



*


I fixed a few things in the previous chapters. Just small things to make the story flow better. Like introducing The Corporation and Den earlier, how Jungkook found out about Yunho being the head of Jung Industries, little typos.

So I actually know what the next few chapters are gonna entail. This fic is coming to an end very soon. It’ll be the first book in the Syndicate series. I realize that most of this fic was like an introduction, getting everyone accustomed to the characters. I only realized this last week when I sat down and had to reread alllll the chapters to create a timeline. We’re only on day 13 since Jungkook and Changmin joined. All this shit happened in thirteen days. It’s no wonder they’re all tired and dying from lack of sleep. Jaejoong’s fed up of all this shit.





Please read: Burner will be finished soon. It's the first book in the Syndicate series. There will be a Book 2 soon after so the story will be continued.

 
 
thetaintedblade
26 December 2018 @ 03:45 pm

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the head of the underground Korean Crime Syndicate. Yunho is his right hand man with an obsession for blood. Threatened by the American Company invading South Korea, and a new group, that has a personal vendetta against Jaejoong, this is their story.



PART TWENTY
~ HEALING ~



Jaejoong leaned back with his elbows straight, groaning as his palms took the brunt of his weight and sigh. He was extraordinarily full, stuffed with meat and spicy soup, just right vegetables and fresh seasoning. The niche find had been nothing short of perfect, the look, the room, the food. He watched bleary eyed at the table, unfinished dishes, fish, spicy sour kimchi that he had eaten too much of.

“Are you spending the night?” asked Sohae, coming in through the wooden door.

Yunho looked to him, and Jaejoong shook his head. “We’ll stay as late as we can, to go in the hot springs. But unfortunately, no. I wish we could.”

“I hoped you would too,” she smiled. “How was the food?”

“The best.”

She was visibly pleased. Jaejoong had the thought to steal her away to bring to the Syndicate headquarters, to cook, to savour food like this everyday. But he liked his own food. And she suited her livelihood, the magic of a faraway find and getaway. Some things were best enjoyed when it were rare.

“I can keep it warm and pack it up for you to take on your trip back. If there’s anything you want extras of, you can tell me.”

“Everything.”

Yunho snorted – the kind of snort that came out with repressed laughter.

“Everything enough for one,” said Jaejoong spitefully, rubbing his swollen abdomen as he untangled his legs.

“There are pork buns in the tea room,” remarked Yunho. Jaejoong’s stare was hard.

He stood, stretching his legs that were curled for far too long. He was overly sated and food happy, raising his arms to stretch. He knew exactly when Im Sohae saw the casing for his long knife, more of a short sword that had been bought in Japan in one of the yakuza owned antique shops. There was a flicker of recognition and then her manners returned. Jaejoong was impressed.

“Their son used to belong to one of the older gangs. He got shot by the police back in the early 2000s.”

“You did your homework on them,” said Jaejoong, fingers unconsciously finding Yunho’s hair, digging into his scalp as the other man casually sat.

Yunho made a small sound of pleasure as he rubbed, fully relaxed. It was because it was Jaejoong touching him. There was nothing greater, no greater pleasure than knowing that it was only he that Yunho fully relaxed himself around. He was still on guard around Yoochun, and Junsu. Not enough to be noticed by anyone else, but just enough that Jaejoong could tell. He could remember Yunho when he was around his peers, the fake smile that he gave up on, because he didn’t care anymore and his reputation worked better than any smile or handshake.

Yunho did smile – no longer fake. Just his unhindered, maniacal smile that was true to his nature, the condescending smile he gave to business partners and gang members, smile of amusement, of softness. He saw the smile of softness only twice.

Jaejoong knew it was because Yunho didn’t know how. As he grew older, he learnt that it was just how Yunho was, unable to process emotions the same as other humans. And he accepted that.

It was similar to how Jaejoong quickly adapted and acquiesced to his ability to kill without remorse, if he had to, because he had to.

Yunho fought and killed for the thrill of it. Out of boredom.

Jaejoong left Yunho to go shower first. Yunho needed a smoke after meals. It was a filthy habit he and Yoochun had.

He had a lukewarm shower, rinsing off his skin with the unscented soap provided by the B&B. With the towel wrapped around his shoulders and neck, he opened the cupboard above the sink, grabbing the small container of lube he had seen when he came in.

It was small enough for two, maybe three time use. It was the normal kind found in pharmacies, the brand Jaejoong remembered he used when he was in his uncle’s house, fingering himself because he didn’t like toys or dildos. When he had upgraded to his own apartment, he had also upgraded to a real dick, Yunho’s dick. And he had money then to buy better, fancier lube.

The small tube brought back memories, squirting some on his fingers, hiking his leg up on the toilet seat to rub between his buttocks, in the little furled crease he felt there.

Jaejoong had always been comfortable in his own body. And he had been enthralled when he realized Yunho was too, uncaring when he walked around naked, uncaring to public affection, to public gestures of indecency.

He tucked one finger in, sliding easily, and then two, slippery smooth with lube, stretching himself. Jaejoong closed his eyes and leaned forward, twisting his fingers together to fit in three, working with the awkward angle, careful to push in just enough that he didn’t decide to stay longer in the bathroom.

He wrapped himself in the robe when he was done. Yunho was lying on the bed, waiting for his turn in the shower. He opened his eyes when Jaejoong came out, trailing the low set robe, the pale flash of leg and ankles. Jaejoong’s hair was wet, and he hadn’t bothered to dry it.

“You had a call while you were in the shower. Henchman four said to tell you that Mr. Kim left the Syndicate building and went where you told him not to go.”

Jaejoong took his phone from Yunho’s open hand. “He was always going to go back to his parents’ place. Him waiting this long was better than I expected. They are guarding the perimeter?”

“I would think so,” said Yunho, lazily dragging himself off the bed, shoving off his boots.

“I have dinner with my mother tomorrow,” he told him suddenly.

Yunho did meet with his mother often. Jaejoong and her had met a couple times. She wasn’t a foolish woman. She knew about what Yunho did, what he did beyond lead the company, and she knew exactly who Jaejoong was. And what he was to Yunho.

Mothers were scary things.

Jaejoong never had the opportunity to have one.

“She wants to meet with you.” Yunho rubbed his eyes. He slept as much as Jaejoong did.

“She does?”

“She demanded that I bring you tomorrow.”

Jaejoong laughed. “I’m sure your mother is the only one that can demand things from you.”

Yunho was tugging off his shirt, and Jaejoong shamelessly leaned back on the bed and watched him undress.

Yunho had the most beautiful penis he’d ever seen. He loved everything about it, the length, the thickness, how it tasted. He loved looking at Yunho’s body, especially when he knew how hard Yunho worked to keep it the way it was.

“And you.”

“Hmm?”

Jaejoong looked up from where he was staring, grinning at Yunho’s amused expression. “I was admiring.”

When Yunho was in the shower, Jaejoong took in his words, and stared at the bathroom door.

And you.

It was true to some extent. Yunho did mostly everything Jaejoong demanded of him, but not without some reward, or compromise. And Jaejoond respected that.

But it was mainly because Jaejoong was weak. He was weak with everything relating to the other man. He’d become too entwined, too accustomed to him being there, backing him up, joining a life that he didn’t need to. He never thanked him for that. More than fifteen years, twenty, and he had never said thank you.

Jaejoong rested his cheek on his wrist, lying and staring at the bathroom door.

He didn’t need words to say thank you.




They went out past the old greying shutter door, shards of worn wood scraping his thumb as he closed it. The weather was torn between sun and afternoon cold, no longer strung by rays of heat and light. It was perfect daytime hot spring weather.

Yunho untied his already loosely tied robe, draping it over the smoothed out flat top rock, grooved in the middle for just that. He turned around to watch Jaejoong do the same, slipping off his robe, bending to rest it on top of the one Yunho had worn. Jaejoong did everything elegantly. He carried a certain poise, in the way he moved and did things, as though everything else in the world was fragile. He moved and looked – there was a word for it – svelte.

He was too pale, a different shade of Yunho’s skin. He had thin legs and a flat stomach, swelling only when he ate too much and ate two containers of ramyeon. His nipples were pink-brown, pebbled from the warm-cold.

Yunho went into the water first, resting his arms on the rocks behind him, head falling back in contentment at the heat. It was instant comfort, being swallowed in warmth and water. There were raised smooth rock to sit on, and he spread his legs, Jaejoong’s knee knocking into the edge of his own as he settled down.

Jaejoong let go his verbal sigh of happiness, immediately dropping his head on Yunho’s shoulder, knee still sharp against his flesh.

Yunho looked up at the sky. It was quiet. He could hear the softness of the water just barely moving, Jaejoong’s tiny puffs of breath. There were no cars driving by, no interspersed chirps of birds or insects sitting close by. It was just quiet.

When he was still a child, he would go out into the grassy fields outside their mansion, and lie on the wet grass on evenings. Their property – now his – had been built in the city, but on the outskirts, away from the busy, exhaust fumed noise of the life that lived there.

At nights, it was quiet. The dead sort of quiet, broken only by nature. It was his favourite place to be, eyes closed and listening to the night. He used to fall asleep there to be woken by the maid, or his mother, worrying over his wet clothes or the night chill, that he might catch a cold or be covered in insect bites.

His mother had grown a lot. She had always been smarter than her husband. Meek at first, frantic and motherly. But smart. She had been smart enough to send him to a psychiatrist, and smart enough to know that it was a waste of time and money.

He stopped looking at the never-ending sky, and looked at Jaejoong instead. His roots were growing, black stubs growing into bleached blonde. He always looked more fragile when he was blonde, too pale, too unnatural. When he had first seen Jaejoong, he remembered thinking that he was beautiful. Too beautiful to be human, and the first person that made him think he had a type. The type of person that he’d want to try kissing, to try fucking.

And he’d told Jaejoong that. Told him that he was pretty. It hadn’t been condescending, and Jaejoong had known that, accepted it quietly and shrugged it off in the midst of high school boys and the old dusty classroom.

Too many years later, he still thought the same. It was difficult to explain. And he didn’t think too hard on it. If he had to choose someone he’d stay by, it would be the one person that he had done just that.

“Am I so interesting to look at?”

“You know that you’re interesting to look at,” said Yunho.

Jaejoong raised his head from his shoulder. He lifted his body underneath the water, and settled himself on top of his thighs, buttocks resting against his groin, back pressed up against his belly. Jaejoong’s thin hair was against his cheek and neck, head falling back against his shoulder.

Yunho wrapped an arm around his waist, rubbing his fingers into the gentle softness that had settled in his front from the heavy lunch. Jaejoong had kept his strap around his thigh, leather casing for his short knife that chaffed Yunho’s skin.

“You ever think about the future?” asked Jaejoong, sighing softly as Yunho stroked below his navel.

“Not really,” he answered.

“What do you think about?”

Yunho rubbed just above his swelling cock, the smooth skin that had been shaved bare. Jaejoong shifted just a bit on his lap.

“About what to do with the day. What I might do tomorrow.”

“When were kids, when you found out that I was in the Syndicate, about my uncle, why did you help me? You were the son of one of the richest men in South Korea. You could have done anything.”

“I could have done anything. That’s why I did want I wanted to do. You were never boring. And I liked looking at you.”

Jaejoong’s laugh burst through pursed lips, unable to hold himself back. “You sound like you did when were fucking fourteen. You were so cute, honestly Yunho. You used to bring two bottles of green tea to share with me. Every time you found a new snack, I had to eat it too.”

Yunho’s hands smoothed their way on the outside of his thighs, and slowly traced the slant of his groin, stroking the inside of his thigh. Jaejoong spread his legs without command, no longer speaking or laughing, trembling only just a little as he pressed his fingers into the soft part of his legs, close to his scrotum.

He looked for it many times in other people, in men and women he bedded, just for the act of sex. The way Jaejoong just gave. There was no hidden part of himself when Yunho touched him. It was just pliable acceptance and give, giving everything to Yunho with a soft sound and his body slipping into fingers. Even when he snarled and protested when Yunho asked for sex in payment for missions, he always gave in. Always.

The back of Jaejoong’s neck was glistening. It was pale cream and splattered with wet hair, short baby hairs that never got the chance to grow. Yunho bent down and scraped his teeth right down the middle, Jaejoong arching as he cried out, too sensitive, shivering. His teeth stopped right where his neck began, the ridge of his spine, poking out underneath his flesh. He shifted his hands to grip underneath his thighs, pulling him closer even though Jaejoong’s skin was nearly his own, and bit into the corner of his neck, biting hard.

“Fuck.”

Jaejoong’s nails dug into the skin just above his knee.

His neck was his terrible place. The place that would make him do anything for Yunho. It was where Yunho could destroy him without the act of fucking. Jaejoong was already gone.

“Bite my neck and fuck me,” said Jaejoong, fingers scraping into the lower part of his belly.

“You’ll have to bring your knees on the rocks. Unless you want to come in the water.” Yunho grinned, expecting Jaejoong’s scowl of frustration.

“Fuck the water,” he muttered, but he was already getting off Yunho’s lap. Yunho stood suddenly, keeping his arm wrapped around Jaejoong’s waist, and ignored the yelp as he lifted him.

He kissed just below Jaejoong’s ear, and Jaejoong melted.

Jaejoong liked teeth and rough sex and bruises that lasted, but he melted with softness.

Jaejoong’s knees touched on the smoothed out rock, already lowering his shoulders, almost preening as Yunho stroked his stomach. The angle was awkward, Jaejoong’s back and hips shifted downwards. Yunho brought his other hand between his buttocks, swiping his index finger across the furl that was barely wet. His finger went in too easily.

“You were excited,” Yunho remarked dryly, retightening his grip around his waist in precaution. The stone was slippery, and heated water sloshed around his legs as he moved closer to the pale buttocks, holding his own cock and rubbing between the crease.

“I saved you the trouble.”

“Maybe I wanted to fuck you with my fingers,” he said.

Jaejoong turned his head, almost glaring. He was still rubbing the head of his cock against the wrinkled opening, rubbing, not quite shoving in.

“You can fuck me with your fingers until we get back. I don’t care Yunho.”

“Really?”

Yunho was grinning, pushing against resistance, leaning closer to Jaejoong, blanketing him until his chest was nearly touching his back. He felt the head of his cock fit in, velvet softness like it was meant to be there. He pushed in further, felt Jaejoong’s abdominal muscles go tight underneath his palm. Jaejoong let out a tiny, shaky breath as he was fully in.

“Have we fucked in weirder places?” he whispered, teeth grazing his ear, shifting his hips to pull out and drive back in again. Jaejoong laugh-moaned.

“Stop talking so fucking much.”

“I thought you wanted this.”

He fucked him slowly, enjoying the way he tightened, enjoying the curse moans he was getting in response. He kissed the spot he had bitten earlier, and bit down again just next to it as he began to fuck him harder.

Jaejoong kept his fingers curled against the rock, not able to hold on but enough to grip, kept his eyes closed as he moaned.

He heard the ripples in the water every time he fucked in, sucking where he bit, Jaejoong shivering along his skin in the heat. Yunho swept his free hand below the neglected prick, scraping the inside of his thigh, that spot just where his groin and thigh met. He left a long line of red – he didn’t need to see – and Jaejoong arched back, sobbing as he came too close, Yunho’s cock so far in that he could feel when he rammed into his prostate.

Yunho could fuck Jaejoong forever. He would. He could. If he wasn’t the leader of the Syndicate, if he didn’t need to leave his level to head to meetings or dinners or oversee matters that needed overseeing, he could keep him locked in his room and fuck him forever.

He thought about it sometimes. Because he could. If he pushed hard enough it could happen.

But he liked that Jaejoong was the leader of the Syndicate. He loved when Jaejoong killed and ruled, loved how his eyes looked when he went into war and battle. He liked that the soft, unattainable part of Jaejoong was all his.

He never bothered because Jaejoong was always there. But Jaejoong wasn’t like him. He needed words and touches, answers and softer things. Yunho just liked that Jaejoong was there.

He scraped his nail up the line of his scrotum, Jaejoong’s knees falling apart even further, slipping off the ledge that Yunho had to grab his leg, pushing it back up onto the ledge with the flat of his foot on top of it.

It made him sink deeper, the angle changing just enough that Yunho grabbed Jaejoong’s cock and began to stroke it, relishing the hiss and cry of relief. His cock was wet with water droplets and little splatters of precum, and he roughly stroked him, quick and hard as he fucked up into him faster.

It was too much. Yunho bit into the back of his neck as he came, rutting into him as much as he could, palm and fingers wet and stroking him out until he was coming on the decorative stone ground near the edge of the hot spring.

He could feel the traces of himself filling inside of Jaejoong, warm spurts that would stay only for a short while, slowly trickling away as he shifted.

Jaejoong fell forward, groaning as he dug his elbows into the ground.

“If I sit in the water with your dick still in me, think we wouldn’t make a mess?”

“We’ll find out.”

Yunho moved with Jaejoong, until he was comfortably supported on his thighs, tucked by his shoulder and neck.

“This is nice,” he told Yunho, unconsciously and sleepily rubbing the outside of his leg. “I…”

Yunho opened his eyes, and waited for Jaejoong to continue.

Jaejoong remained silent, and kept his feather-like touches along his skin.





It was a long trip back. Yunho had refused Jaejoong’s offer to drive, having taken a half hour nap after the soak. Jaejoong didn’t sleep this time. He watched the roads and places they passed, picked at a pork bun that the lady had given him – too much of – because she had liked them and they had tipped an extraordinary amount with the possible semen in the water and all.

He was checking his phone now, his personal phone that he used to call Junsu and himself. He had spent the latter half of the trip going through the Syndicate phone emails.

Yunho remained driving, stopping off once for them to pick up coffee, Jaejoong running into the café to grab two Americanos, ignoring Yunho’s request of something sweeter. He did bring him back two packs of sugar and two packs of stevia, which he then dunked and mixed for him because Yunho liked sweet things after meals.

“I’ll drop you off at headquarters,” he said, sloshing his cup as he took a sip. It was still half full and warm.

“You’re going to pick up Jungkook after?”

“Yeah.”

Jaejoong slid lower in the seat, nibbling on the mouthpiece of his take away cup.

“How long is the tournament?”

“Probably three days.”

“Three?”

“It’s the big tournament.”

Jaejoong jerked up. “AmCo is participating?”

“Everyone is participating. I’m sending in Jungkook as our representative.”

“Our only representative.”

“Do you doubt his abilities?”

“No. The experience will be good for him. He wouldn’t die. I would be greatly disappointed if he does.”

“The tournaments only during the evening hours. I’ll bring him with me during daylight.”

“You’re starting to sound like Junsu.”

Yunho’s stare only withered when Jaejoong scowled.

It was late evening, the Syndicate headquarters up ahead, well lit in rows going up and up and he could see the length of it if he kept looking upwards. Next to it was the gourmet food store, and then there was the supposed luxury brand clothing retail shop, well traversed by too many Syndicate members looking to spend their little or plenty money.

Yunho never knew what it was like to buy rip-offs or cheaper, brand name clothes.

“You’ll be fighting?” asked Jaejoong as he stopped the car in front of the Syndicate building. “I remember the big tournament is where senior members can fight it out, if they want to. Out of fun, right?”

It was a long time ago, that Jaejoong had went to one.

“You want to come,” he said.

“I want to see you,” said Jaejoong smoothly, and Yunho grinned, because it was so smooth. He leaned over and kissed him on the mouth, gentle and sucking, fingertips brushing under his chin. It was too gentle, but the sight of Jaejoong’s neck gave him a sense of pleasure, pride – bruised and obtrusive in the low cut sweater.

“I’ll call you,” he told him. He was getting more accustomed to it. Words. Jaejoong liked and needed words.

Jaejoong dipped his head in agreement, smiling as he turned and got out of the car.





Junsu was sitting alone in the barely lit kitchen, nothing but a wine glass and a half bottle of red to keep him company. Jaejoong hung his coat by the elevator, and went to pour himself a glass of water, ruffling his cousin’s soft hair as he passed.

“It’s been a while since I saw you drink wine,” he said, reaching down to unzip his boots.

“Mm, I needed it tonight. I needed a break from work.”

“Kim Namjoon?”

“Yeah.”

Jaejoong took a sip from Junsu's glass, mouth twisting at the taste. He wasn’t the greatest fan of wine. Maybe champagne. Maybe soju or sake. Sometimes whiskey or dark rum. But not wine.

“You already know I went to my parents’ house.”

“I know you knew I would expect it.”

“Good thing I did too,” he said. Junsu drank out what was left in the glass, and poured enough to coat the bottom of the wine glass again.

“Did something happen at home?” Jaejoong stretched out his legs as he sat, wiggling his bare toes. The ride back had still been long, even if he had spent the day relaxing. He wanted to go back, to the little niche of good food and heated water. And Yunho. A Yunho that was trying so very hard for him to be a little normal. “I brought food for you,” he said, nudging towards the bag he had rested on the counter next to the sink.

“Jae…did your father ever tell you about your mum?”

“My mother?” He drank his water before answering, washing away the sour taste of wine. “I don’t know her name. Or what she looks like. He never talked about her. And I never really hung out with any other family besides Youngwha or your parents and you. So no one talked about her either. But I didn’t care to know. I mean, I had my father. I hated my step mother. That was all there was. I don’t like dwelling on the past, you know that. Whether or not I knew about my mother, if she died or if she left us, it wasn’t going to change anything in my life.”

“I get that.” Junsu sighed, rubbing his eyes.

Jaejoong’s alert for concern rose. “Did something happen? Did someone try to attack you again?”

“No. It’s nothing about me. Absolutely nothing about me. It’s about you.”

“Junsu…”

“So my father saw my file of Kim Jisoo compilations. The woman I’ve been working to find for Kim Namjoon.”

“I remember.”

“Don’t get sarcastic with me,” Junsu scowled, but he immediately softened as he continued. “He asked me why I was searching for her. If I was searching for her because of you.”

Jaejoong sorted through Junsu’s words, his prior ones of his mother. Of Kim Namjoon. Of Kim Jisoo. Junsu liked to do this sometimes, give little pieces of information for him to fit together.

He was just as annoying as Yoochun at times.

He stared blankly at the couch and the curved television. “I’m assuming my mother’s name is Kim Jisoo?”

Junsu nodded.

Jaejoong closed his eyes.

“So what do we have on Kim Namjoon? And Kim Jisoo? You think it’s related?”

“I think your father must have had something, anything on your mother. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Kim Namjoon asked me of all people to look for her.”

“Then he knows your relation to me.”

“And he knows you’re the head of the Syndicate.”

Jaejoong really wished he had stayed at the hot springs.

“So the question is, who is Kim Jisoo really, and what does Namjoon want with us?”




*

Hi guys! Merry christmas~! <3
I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy the holidays and eat lots of food!

 
 
thetaintedblade
14 December 2018 @ 01:20 pm

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the head of the underground Korean Crime Syndicate. Yunho is his right hand man with an obsession for blood. Threatened by the American Company invading South Korea, and a new group, that has a personal vendetta against Jaejoong, this is their story.



PART NINETEEN
~ SLOW DOWN ~

Two days passed in uneventful quiet. Junsu spent them worrying over Jaejoong’s wounds, going to classes and creating portfolios for each of the Kim Jisoos he found as he went through the list. The quiet that had settled was almost alarming, like a swelling peace that was about to burst into something he couldn’t yet understand.

But he welcomed this quiet. Jungkook left every morning to work at the café, coming back home to work on his shooting with his break from underground fighting. Changmin exercised in the morning and fought with Yunho before lunch, visiting his friend in the evening to spend the remainder of his day. And Yoochun, Junsu didn’t see much of Yoochun.

Yunho was a figure that came and went through their level at often periods, when he wanted, and when Junsu didn’t expect him to be there. Like this morning, seated by the kitchen counter and sipping fresh brew that Jaejoong had poured for him. Junsu wanted to pretend that he was working, but he couldn’t. He gave in, and made Jaejoong fix him another cup of coffee.

“How’s your arm feeling?”

Jaejoong gave him that look, the one that said ‘please shut the fuck up’, but with love and endearment.

“Okay. It wasn’t a bad wound. I’ve had worse, Junsu.”

“Doesn’t mean I can’t worry,” he mumbled, accepting his mug from Jaejoong, pressing it against his cheek for warmth. “Especially when you go and do dumbass things.”

Yunho grinned. Junsu watched as Jaejoong took the seat next to Yunho, practically glued to his shoulder and thigh.

“Why are you both acting married?”

“Huh?”

“Married. You’re both acting so disgusting since you came back from massacring Fen and his men. Was that like…” His voice went low. “foreplay to you two?”

Jaejoong nodded, spearing a piece of the mousse omelet he had prepared. “It was.”

Yunho shrugged. Junsu groaned, his nose nearly dipping into the hot brew. It was something more, he noticed, the way Jaejoong smiled, the comfort and ease that had been there before, amplified. It wasn’t that he hated Yunho. It was because he knew the kind of man that he was, and that Yunho had told a foolishly in love, young Jaejoong that he did not love him. And Jaejoong was strong for many things, but not for Yunho.

He had been there the one night Jaejoong had allowed himself to feel pain, to breakdown and cry over a man that owned more than his heart. And he never wanted to see him like that again.

“Drink your coffee,” said Jaejoong, the fork appearing in front of his mouth, and Junsu opened for him to shove piece of omelet for him to chew.

Jungkook was already dressed when he came out from his room, bag strap strung on his shoulder, hair still wet from his shower. He went to the coffee machine after taking one of the carry cups from the cupboard, pouring in the last of the pot.

“Is the shooting practice coming along well?” asked Jaejoong. Jungkook seemed to now realize that they were all there, closing the carry cup after taking a few sips.

“It’s coming along,” he answered. “I can’t say I’ve mastered it. But I’m improving.”

“And working at the shop?”

“Good. It’s good work.”

Jaejoong smiled. Yunho reached over to finish off the mousse omelet. “I’ll pick you up after work today.”

Jaejoong was just as confused as Jungkook, and they both stared at Yunho. “There’s an underground tournament that I want you to enter. It’s good experience, and it’ll be your introduction into the gang world since the other groups will be participating. The money’s good.”

Jungkook nodded. “Okay.”

“There are some pork buns in the fridge,” said Jaejoong, before he left. “Take some with you. Warm them up first.”

Junsu began to laugh because Jungkook just nodded again, already accustomed to the confusing way things worked on their level, in the Syndicate. He was really a good kid, and Jaejoong liked him.

“You can’t adopt someone without their permission,” he told him, when Jungkook was already in the elevator, leaving the smell of warm sweet dough and meat in the kitchen.

“I can do whatever I want,” Jaejoong replied, eyeing the barren plate, the loss of his breakfast.

Junsu picked up his coffee, and went back to the couch where his laptop laid, unattended. Behind him, Yunho had already pulled out a cigarette to light, and Jaejoong was putting another pot to brew.





Jungkook was stuck behind the counter, working the cashier and swiping credit cards after a few demos from Hoseok. It was boring work compared to serving orders. This particular job involved standing without moving. His usual server job involved standing and going to and from tables, and he liked the activity, even wiping down the tabletops and counter.

He rang up another purchase, and went into the display section to take out three squares of sweet potato spice cake, delicately frosted. He boxed it and handed it over to the young woman who kept smiling at him. She slipped him her business card before she left, her fingers brushing against his as she did.

He looked at it.

Qualified Art Therapist. Her name and number was on the card.

He slipped it into his pocket, and rang up the next customer.

A couple hours passed of punching numbers and greetings, until it was lunchtime and Jungkook switched out with Jen. He gladly moved over, raising his arms to stretch.

“I took my lunch already,” she told him. “You can go ahead and get something quick to eat.”

Taehyung was in his usual spot, eyeing the Kitchenaid mixer and pouring ganache over a large dark chocolate cake. Jungkook peered into the stainless steel bowl as he passed, giving way to the other baker, who was back from sick leave. AJ was still red nosed and looked pasty, but he was quick with frosting the miniature, gourmet cakes.

He pulled up a stool and sat down next to Taehyung, watching him pour the layer of ganache, draining underneath into a deep tray. He slouched over the table, comfortable in smelling the dark chocolate, still sleepy from staying up last night practicing his shooting.

He hadn’t realized he had fallen asleep until there was something wet touching his face. Jungkook woke to slap his cheek, grimacing when he felt the wetness leave a smear on his skin, and looked at his palm, patches of thin chocolate there.

Taehyung was grinning down at him.

“I didn’t want to wake you, but I couldn’t resist a chocolate covered Jungkook.”

AJ laughed from his station.

“And your lunch hour is nearly over. You should eat. I am offering free food you know.”

“Yeah I know,” said Jungkook, stretching his arms and sitting up. “I can make myself some coffee, right? The pot I stole from Jaejoong finished.”

AJ bristled, and the other man who usually helped in the kitchen dropped the plate he was wiping. Jungkook looked over at them. Oh. He had forgotten about his privilege. The odd way in which he had joined the Syndicate. Sometimes he forgot that Jaejoong was their leader. Someone to be feared. He kept forgetting and then remembering, and it would keep being like that once he stayed in Jaejoong’s level, waking to his breakfasts and coffee, his domesticity.

Calling him by his name and not Leader or Boss was what he had become accustomed to, and it was allowed by the man himself.

“You don’t have to ask,” said Taehyung softly.

Jungkook ignored the quiet that had settled, not really hungry, and content on fixing himself a cup from the fancy coffee maker Taehyung had in the kitchen for the bakers and decorators and wares duty crew. He was drinking more coffee than he ever had done since he was introduced to the taste of good brew. It was better than the cheap instant packets, which were horridly bitter and tasted like dreggy filth.

Now he could drink the good stuff. And that self-preserving part of himself that would not go away – and he didn’t want it to – wanted to drink and drink in case he didn’t have a chance to experience such luxury again.

“How is living with Leader Jae?” asked Taehyung, taking a break from the bustle of fixing cakes, sighing in delight as he was off his feet. He was wearing Crocs.

“Okay I guess,” he replied.

“You’re so expressive, you know that? Our conversations mainly consist of you saying ‘yeah’, ‘okay’, ‘I guess’, which I can accept. But…”

“But?”

“I kind of want something more than two word answers? I mean, you’re the first guy I’ve fucked in quite some time.”

“I do say more than two word sentences. And as I recall, you enjoy the sex. And my dick.”

“Mm, I do. I’m not disputing that. Listen…”

Taehyung broke off to stare at his other workers, washing wares, taking out a tray of freshly baked short bread cookies from the oven. At times like these, when his mask of confidence fell, Jungkook became more interested. He preferred the Taehyung that he saw sometimes, without overbearing smiles and the pretend confidence.

He tried to hide his nervousness, but he couldn’t, not sitting so close for Jungkook to swallow everything he was trying not to say.

“Do you want to go out later? Like, get some food that isn’t my own?”

“Can’t.”

“Oh.”

“Yunho wants me to participate in a tournament. Said it’ll be good for me. So I can’t.”

“So you’ll be missing work for a few days,” he said.

“I would?”

Taehyung laughed. “Yeah, the fighting tournaments are two day, three day things. Rich men and women love those sorts of events. They usually have a personal fighter, bet big money on matches and the winner takes a shit load of cash home. You’ll get to stay at a fancy hotel.”

“You’ve been to one before?”

“One of my friends usually participates. I’m not sure if he’ll take part in the tournament this time around.”

“I’ll be off work then for a few days.”

“Hoseok will miss you. He always wanted a friend besides Jen.”

“Hoseok will miss me?” Jungkook grinned, feeling heat on his face and already intoxicated with the smell of coffee. It was amazing how addicted he was, to the smell and taste, and how soft he was getting because he was enjoying these things. If he was truly honest with himself, he didn’t want this to end, this introduction to his new lifestyle.

“What about you?” he asked.

“I’ll live,” Taehyung answered. “It’s only a few days. I’m sure I’ll survive.” He took off the oven mitts he had put on to take out the last set of trays from the oven. “Do you want a Panini? I’m about to make myself one.”





“What are you doing today?”

Jaejoong stopped reading midway through a report. He hadn’t heard when Yunho had come in, and he hadn’t expected such a question. Yunho wasn’t one for niceties or asking what plans he had for the day. Such things and questions were rare.

Yunho settled himself on his couch, and instead of lying down and closing his eyes, he remained staring at Jaejoong.

Such an unhindered gaze forced the flush to his face.

“Nothing much. Just reports and more reports from Yoochun. Dark Phoenix’s vice president wants to meet. But I’m letting him stew for a bit. I’ll meet with him tomorrow.”

“About what?”

Jaejoong shrugged. “I’d like to know also. They have a new VP since the last onestepped down. He hasn’t shown his face yet. I heard that he’d be there with their leader at the charity function next week. I assumed I would meet him there as would everyone else.”

“Dark Phoenix’s been quiet recently,” Yunho commented.

Jaejoong silently agreed. Dark Phoenix was the last of the groups, just before the uprising of AmCo. They were full of young men, not unlike the Syndicate who hired a young work force but still used older men who knew how the world worked. They were the only group without allegiance or partnership, and they did well on their own, kept their head out of wars, strung bets and ran drugs just under the radar of the police force and narcotics cops.

No one had ever seen the face of the leader of Dark Phoenix. He wore a mask that encompassed his neck and head, and his voice deepened when he spoke at meetings or conference calls.

Jaejoong didn’t care enough to question the leader’s peculiarities. He himself didn’t take too much to gang publicity.

Yunho got up from the couch, and picked up Jaejoong’s trench coat that was hung on the rack pushed against the side of the door. It was plated rose gold, and there were always three jackets and two trench coats that were strung up delicately for times of need.

“Let’s go,” he said.

“Go? Where?”

Yunho lifted the trench coat, beckoning. Jaejoong tossed down his highlighter and went to join him, giving in too easily, excited, as he fitted on his coat and bundled in light warmth.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“Don’t know.”

“Yunho…”

“We’ll figure it out,” he said, grabbing his wrist as they left his office.





Yunho’s figuring it out had been a drive out of the city, driving and driving with the convertible roof down, wind and the smell of anything they passed by to keep them company. The sun was brilliant everywhere, dimmed by sunglasses, warming Jaejoong’s bare cheeks and arms as he soaked in the sight of everything.

They were finally out of the city. Jaejoong stopped caring where they were going, comfortably leaning against the top of the door, looking out at the never-ending sky and the trees, small houses and little road side shops that sold the best things.

His father used to like finding oddities – unknown stores and shops, food places that were hidden away and had the most wonderful dishes. He didn’t have many memories with him, and he couldn’t remember what his mother looked like, without pictures from his father, without a name because his father never mentioned her.

He could only remember the woman his father remarried, how much he hated her, how much she hated him. Most of his years had been consumed by his uncle, by the Syndicate, and Jaejoong couldn’t remember what a normal life even felt like.

The wind was slapping his hair against his forehead, frilly strands above his sunglasses. Yunho hadn’t put on music, nor had they talked since he started driving, and it was what Jaejoong needed.

It was scary how Yunho didn’t have to ask, and Jaejoong didn’t need to say. Yunho somehow always knew what he needed, even when they were still in school, grateful for ice cream and hamburgers, afternoon ramen trips and silence.

If Jaejoong closed his eyes, he could forget everything. And he did. He forgot who he was, forgot everyone he knew, about his worries and responsibilities. He forgot and succumbed, lulled by the breeze and the non-existent engine humming.

When he reopened his eyes the car was parked, and the driver’s seat was empty. The key was still in the ignition. He didn’t know how long he had slept for. The sun was less harsh, and the air was a bit dusty and it hit him almost immediately that he was thirsty. He sought out the bottle of water Yunho had in the middle compartment, guzzling half and taking in the small establishment Yunho had parked in front of.

It was old school wood and brick, recently painted. There was a sign up, shoddy and metallic, reading off ‘Restful B and B’.

Jaejoong got out of the car with his boots scuffing in the light dirt, car keys stuffed in his pocket. The entrance was made up of sliding two doors in varnished wood, and he opened it up to pass through, nearly falling into Yunho as the other man was walking out.

“Got us a room,” he said. “There’s hot springs out back. We can have lunch first.”

Jaejoong wanted to say that he couldn’t stay out, away from their home base. He hadn’t done so in years, without there being a mission, a proper reason for doing so. But there was Yoochun and Junsu, other men who could manage and guard the Syndicate tower without his presence. And Yunho knew all of these things.

“Is this you being a proper lover?” said Jaejoong, walking with him as they went back to the car. Yunho was pulling out a leather luggage bag, heavy from the way he dragged it close to edge, before lifting it. “If it is,” he told Yunho slowly, fingers creasing into his shirt, looking up at his face and eyes, “I’m really enjoying it.” He leaned close to kiss him, open mouthed, their lips dry and the taste of Yunho’s spit.

Yunho’s hands didn’t leave the luggage, and Jaejoong had control of the kiss, soft, and slow, creasing his shirt with his tight grip.

“You drank green tea?” he said, licking his lips.

“They have some selling by the front desk,” Yunho answered, unfazed by the drawn out kiss, dragging the leather bag to lift onto his shoulder. He shut the trunk, and Jaejoong trailed behind.

Inside was homely. It was a niche place, tucked in the outskirts of country and city, well maintained inside and out. There was a receptionist desk manned by an old man, and an old woman with a well-worn smile waiting by the corridor. There was a small commercial refrigerator selling drinks, and two relaxing looking couches around a modern glass table.

“Welcome,” she said, moving for them to follow her. “I’ll take you to your room. The restaurant is up those stairs,” she pointed, next to the entrance and before the check in desk. “I’ll start on your meal right away. Would you like the special of the day or would you like to order select dishes from the menu?”

“We’ll go with the special of the day,” said Jaejoong. “Just no mushrooms. I’m allergic to them.”

She nodded. “Of course, sir.”

There were few rooms, four, maybe five. She brought them to the second to last room. Further ahead, there was a sign leading into the hot springs out back.

“The name’s Im Sohae. You can ask for me or my daughter, Minjeong, if you need anything. There are fresh towels and robes in the cupboard. We used to have only the thick futons but there’s a bed inside after the tearoom. There’s a kettle and coffee maker,” she said, as she opened the door, for them to enter, “Ground coffee and teabags…”

The tearoom was the first room, a table enough for two persons, maybe three, with a pot already there, a kettle, the ground coffee and tea bags she spoke of. There were two mugs and two teacups turned over on a plate. There was a covered tray of small meat buns, and Jaejoong saw the steam coming off of them, as they went past.

“Fresh out the steamer,” said Sohae, smiling warmly. “There are two bathrooms, one here, and the main bathroom in the bedroom.” She opened the sliding doors into the bedroom, lit by daylight and lacking curtains. There were glass doors onto a small balcony, a medium sized bed with three pillows, a counter top and long cupboard. “Bathroom’s in there.” She pointed to the door. “The hot springs can be used any time of day and night. We take shifts so there’s always someone around if you need anything. We only ask that you take a shower before heading into the hot springs.”

Jaejoong sat on the bed as Yunho dropped the bag on the wooden flooring.

“I’ll leave you two for now,” she said. “When you’re ready you can head upstairs.”

Jaejoong leaned back on his elbows, watching Yunho pull out his handgun to tuck into his pants.

“Are we spending the night? You’re carrying Jungkook to the fighting tournament aren’t you?”

“Not till later tonight. Taehyung knows how late they start. He’ll keep Jungkook occupied. You can spend the night after I leave. I can leave the car. Or Changmin can drive up early in the morning to wait.”

“No, it’s fine. I don’t mind going back with you.” He settled on the few words that caught his interest. “Taehyung will keep him occupied?”

“They’re fucking,” said Yunho blandly.

Huh. Jaejoong didn’t predict that. Taehyung had forced his way into the Syndicate, became a better sniper under their guidance, picked up the café and raised it from the decrepit profits the previous manager had brought in. He was good at selling his talents, and using them. He wasn’t the most needed person of the Syndicate, of Jaejoong, but Jaejoong valued his hard work.

And he liked his never-ending happy go lucky façade.

Yunho shrugged off his jacket, and Jaejoong followed suit, handing him his coat. Yunho folded them over the small, lonesome armchair, old fashioned and paisley. The niche B&B was a conjecture of old-time and modern, light hues of colour, a modern French press for their coffee, a recent, well plush mattress.

Just out in the tea room, lit by hollow glow lamps and smelt so heavy of warm food, Jaejoong was on his knees and picking up one of the meat buns that was delightful and heated on his fingers.

It was a snack before a proper meal, and he couldn’t care about spoiling his appetite when he hadn’t left the city for something short of a vacation in so long.

Jaejoong moaned as he ate it, enjoying the taste of spiced pork and green onions. Yunho joined him, seating himself with his legs crossed, reaching over to pour a cup of the brewed tea that was left on the table.

Jaejoong finished most of his bun, bringing the last of it in front of Yunho‘s mouth, obstructed by the ceramic ware he was drinking from.

“It’s good,” he said, smiling softly when Yunho opened his mouth obediently, teeth gliding past his fingertips and fingernails to chew on the offering. He could feel Yunho’s teeth on his fingers after he withdrew, lingering ghosts that made him touch Yunho’s smooth chin and cheek.

Yunho had an angular face with his body. Despite his love for sweets Yunho ate disgustingly healthy, brought up in riches, accustomed to a different lifestyle unlike Jaejoong who began to experience it as an adult. Yunho was never the normal type of rich kid. He was never even the normal type of kid.

But neither was he. They were always the two kids that never fit in – one who had everything but was bored of the world, and the other who had nothing but willing to take everything.

This feeling he got watching Yunho, of wanting to give in, of love, of this twisted sort of game they had been playing for years, consuming him, it had never went away. It had never once dimmed into something softer. That feeling was there, deep and burning and even if Jaejoong tried he could never scrub it off.

Yunho was being silent. Oddly considerate.

His hand brushed by his waist, confirming that there was a gun stashed under the belt by his lower back, and the knife he wore strapped under brown dyed leather. Yunho pulled away, content.

“Food,” he said, standing. Jaejoong joined him, ignoring the slight crick in his knees as he straightened. He wanted to eat out the pile of pork buns but he wanted to eat a hot home cooked meal that wasn’t made in his own kitchen more. His favourite dish had already been taken away from him.

He shuffled close as they both stood there, smelling Yunho, smelling the meat buns, smelling Yunho. He could smell his perfume and his shampoo, cigarettes that he smoked when he was asleep. He smelled like the countryside and home, and it brought this giddy happiness that bubbled in his chest and threatened to burst.

He was too old for these kind of feelings.

He was old enough to understand them.

“I am hungry,” Jaejoong affirmed, patting his abdomen. “Come on. I’ll take pictures to send to Junsu. He’ll hate me.”





Junsu’s childhood home was a two storey house painted white and blue, fringes of flowers and bush tamed by his mother running up the walkway. His neighborrhood was quiet, but attentive. The neighbours paid more attention to everything but their own household.

He had been a topic of interest quite often, even now he was sure that his name was whispered, of Yuna’s boy who worked in some fancy place that no one knew of. Junsu had driven the cars given to him by Jaejoong to come home, and he had, many times, came outside to see the neighbours taking pictures and checking online to see the price range and model year.

He didn’t hate this house. It was his first home. His childhood and early adult years. Where he taught himself computers and coding, how to hack into things that shouldn’t be hacked into. Now, he had a new home. One with Jaejoong, one where he was needed just as much and he needed it. And his parents understood that.

The love they had for Jaejoong was undying and pure. It wasn’t out of pity, but out of familial responsibility, of knowing his mother, knowing how hard his father had worked up until he had died.

Junsu wanted to think that Jaejoong’s father had been a good man. He was sure that his uncle knew what he was doing, putting Jaejoong to live with Youngwha. He never broached the topic with Jaejoong, but he was sure that he was forced into his life not by his uncle only, but by his own father.

His mother was watching a daytime drama on the couch, the living room done with a huge sofa couch and painted glass table, the eighty inch television his mother had splurged on two years ago because she wanted it. She was retired now, happy to be home and watch her dramas, go out with her friends and cook for her husband and son and took archery classes on evenings down at the sports club.

She was sweet, fearless and a woman to be feared. He didn’t know who would win if she ever faced down a gang member.

His father was an architect that worked from home, well sought after and had contributed vastly to their comfortable lifestyle. He had always been supportive of Junsu, there when he wanted to learn more about computers, buying him books and slyly slipping him newspaper cuttings or links to IT and coding courses.

His brought his laptop with him and his growing file, filled up with countless Kim Jisoos. He rested them on the table, going behind the couch to rest his chin on top of his mother’s head.

She shook him off, mildly startled.

“Su! I thought you were your father. I didn’t hear you come in. You–”

“That’s because you have the tv on loud,” he said, stepping back from the swat his mother sent him. “Old age.”

“You haven’t been home in days.”

“I know. I’ve been busy. I’m here now.” He sprawled onto the couch, half onto his mother, head resting on her shoulder. “I did miss you. And your food.”

“Of course you did,” she admonished fondly.

“Where’s dad?” he asked.

“Downstairs in his office. He decided to be a egotistical idiot and take on two jobs at the same time.”

Junsu shrugged. “Understandable.”

“I forgot,” said his mother dryly, “You’re just like him.”

“Well you both made me. What did you expect?”

“I know I didn’t raise you to be so damn rude. How’s Jaejoong?”

“Good. Surviving.”

“Is he eating okay? Last time I saw him he was really skinny.”

“He eats like a fat shit, mother. He’s fine.”

His mother slapped his arm.

“Are you hungry?”

“Actually, I am. Starving.”

His mother beamed. “Of course you are. I’ll reheat some lunch and start dinner early.”

“You don’t want to watch out your drama?”

His mother grinned. “Reruns – you know how it is.”

“I honestly don’t.”





Half full with beef stew and rice, Junsu was lounging on the kitchen table, watching his mother fry chicken thigh pieces – because it would always be his favourite – and sipping on peach juice with kiwi slices dunked in. Peach and pineapple were the only juices he could safely handle – and berry juice – because of his acid reflux. He learned a couple years ago exactly what acid reflux felt like.

A door opened and closed. His father’s heavy footsteps, clockwork and habitual, sounded onto the hardwood floor of the living room. He came into the kitchen a few minutes later, holding Junsu’s thick folder.

His father was not smiling. There was a ritual between the both of them, smiles and then not-hugs, drinking coffee with whipped cream by the kitchen table in camaraderie. His father had never not smiled when he saw him.

Junsu didn’t ask why his father had his folder. Their relationship was like that. He didn’t bring things into the house that he needed to hide.

“Why are you searching for Kim Jisoo?” his father asked.

“It’s for a job.”

“For Jaejoong?”

“No.” Junsu nearly didn’t ask his follow up question. “Why do you think it’s for Jaejoong?”

His father looked at his mother, her attention on both of them, sieved spoon in hand.

“Jaejoong’s mother, his birth mother, her name was Kim Jisoo. I thought maybe he was looking for her after all these years.”


*


So I took forever with this because I had to study and it’s extremely hard when I start back studying and have to switch back to writing. It’s like I cannot compartmentalize my brain for studying and this. But it was my fault for signing up for a trauma course.

So this is a super long chapter. It’s sort of fillers with plot. I figured a light chapter couldn’t hurt, after the last one. Next chapter is mainly Yunho and Jaejoong.

Oddly, my favourite part of this chapter was writing Junsu’s parents – his rude relationship with his mother, his father’s nonchalant attitude to everything and anything.