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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: Baker on the First Floor | Unordinary | Noblesse | Tower of God | Killing Stalking | Adekan | Circle | Caste Heaven | Lover Boy | 19 Days | Blood Bank | What Lies at the End | Lookism | Legendary Moonlight Sculptor | Raven Cycle |









  ~   ) \\\\\ o ///// (  ~


TOP PAIRINGS LIST:
Harry/Draco
Yami/Seto
Tom/Bill
Naruto/Sasuke
Xanxus/Squalo
Dino/Hibari
Yunho/Jaejoong
Eren/Levi
Sihzuo/Izaya
Jungkook/Taehyung
Thor/Loki
Sam/Dean
 
 
 
 
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 open 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.

 
 
 
thetaintedblade
11 November 2018 @ 04:57 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 EIGHTEEN
~RAGE~





The earth was crying. It was a wailing sound only Yunho could hear, of longing, of joy, of nostalgia.

In the depths of night, it was louder. And he reveled in it. There was the sweet smell of blood, the colour crimson, unnoticed in the dark and in the soil and from far away. The air was too light, breezy, swaying only as Yunho stalked the back of the two-floor building.

It had been a long, long time since Jaejoong did something so spontaneous. Yunho had been called close to midnight, asking for them to meet, to go after an American Company base a two hours drive from the Syndicate headquarters. They had made it in one, speeding down bare empty roads, Yunho driving as recklessly as he always did because it was the thrill of driving and it made him feel alive, thrumming the blood under his skin.

The AmCo base was pseudo-military. Guards out front and back, cameras throughout the drive way and interior, a wall high steel gate backed by armed guards. Jaejoong had his guns and his one short sword. It had been a gift from his own uncle, when he was nineteen and doing well in the dregs of the Syndicate. It was jeweled with jade, a delicate stone for a delicate looking man. And sharper than sin because Jaejoong was deadly. And his uncle knew it.

When Jaejoong was like this, he looked most beautiful. He stuck his hand out as Yunho drove up, leaning close to the wind and air and shooting at the guards blocking the entrance. One went through the forehead, another to the throat, the third straight through the nose bridge and in through the bars of the steel gate. Before the guard working the gate could grab his gun, Jaejoong was already on the ground from jumping out of the moving car, short sword out and slicing his throat before the gun took aim.

When he came back into the car, there were specks of blood on his face, his lip. Yunho leaned forward and licked it off, the irritating spot of red on his lower lip. Jaejoong only glanced at him, eyes glazed.

There were many ways to infiltrate an enemy building. There were technology and bigger guns, rocket launchers, covert mission plans to sneak in and out while destroying what was there and what was not. But this wasn’t an infiltration mission. This was a reminder. A not-so gentle reminder, but a reminder all the same.

It had been many years since Jaejoong actively participated in anything. He pulled the strings, gave out orders, sent Yoochun and Yunho to clean up all mishaps and fight and kill because they were both good at it, splendidly good. Jaejoong stayed in his level and showed his face when he needed to, came to hidden warehouses and apartments when he needed to needle information with his presence. Went to dinners and balls held by the higher ups of the underworld.

He didn’t fight. He didn’t kill. Not anymore since he had people to do so for him.

He hadn’t been angry in a while. And Yunho remembered when he used to be angry. At his uncle. At the Syndicate. At the world.

Yunho drove through the gates, pulling up onto the paved road and coursing around the water fountain hedged by thick trimmed green. The AmCo. base was a mansion. It belonged to Gregory Fen, an arms dealer that was born to an American mother and a Chinese-Korean father. His father had been a financer in one of the big gangs next to the Syndicate, the Corporation. He had then been kicked out of the Corporation for shuffling funds, and was picked up recently under the wings of AmCo.

His son was just as prominent. Leaving his job as a broker, he worked under AmCo in arms dealing and bringing in weapons for the organization, buying as cheaply as he could and reselling for profit. They dealt mainly with Den, the last of the original big three that ran the underworld.

When Fen’s father had made the mistake of joining AmCo, Jaejoong had snatched that delicate time to enter into an official joining of hands with the Corporation. It was the biggest joining since the growth of the big three.

The treaty underlined many things, but there was a main rule that was brought up – that neither of them bought or traded with AmCo.

And it worked. Shipments not brought in by the Corporation, were provided by the Syndicate and the other organizations. The shipments not brought in by the Syndicate were provided by the Corporation and other organizations.

Destroying one of the main persons in weapons holdings under AmCo would be a hit, not an unforeseen one, but a hindrance large enough that the underworld would take note.

And it was what Jaejoong had wanted.

Yunho had left Jaejoong staring at the front door, looming, copper, painted with twenty-four carat gold and streamlined with liquid silver, and went around the back.

There were covert ways and there was not giving a fuck.

Yunho loved not giving a fuck missions over the covert ones.





The looming doors were pliable under Jaejoong’s hands. It was a keypad lock with a fingerprint recognition system, added security with the knocker and door that could only be locked from the inside. He had the little card key Yoochun had bought for him a few years ago, a brilliant piece of invention that ruined the security of high tech systems. He could enter through the front door like he wanted to, but he didn’t.

He shattered the front window open with the exploding device, unwilling to chance and sure that the accessible front windows were made of bullet proof glass. Jaejoong missed the days when he could smash them open with his fists or bullets. Those were the simpler days, when technology weren’t so rampant.

The explosion and the scuffle outside the gates brought men to the lower floor. The mansion was only two floors but it was high, wide, towering stairs that he glimpsed through the well lit chandelier and opening made by the broken glass. He hoisted himself in, using muscles he hadn’t used in a while, not outside the gym.

There were guns trained on him. Jaejoong smiled as he felt the imaginary heat of them, of bullets that wouldn’t come, of bullets that would. He threw up the little cylinder, and it exploded into white. His eyes were closed as soon as he threw it, and the men, in suits, in dress shirts made of silk, holding machine guns and shot guns brand new, didn’t have the chance to.

The light blinded them. Jaejoong remembered where they were. With his shades on he shot the three closest to him, only opening his eyes once because he could, aiming for the head and the chest and enjoying the heat of his own bullets. He took a step forward, aiming for the ones running out from the corridor, shooting down two men and then glancing at his arm where a bullet grazed him.

One of the men on the stairs had a machine gun and had begun firing, far away from the blinding white to see him. Jaejoong ducked against the stairs, the side of the stairs where only the edge of him could be seen. He went from his hiding spot into the corridor, gliding into a startled maid, younger than thirty, pushing back from him to grab at the vase on the little decorative table. Jaejoong shot her too.

Men were shuffling out from an open door, and Jaejoong slipped into the closest room, heavy of oil and coconut milk, the spread of seafood in mid-preparation. The cooks looked up, from the stove, from the counter, a fat man with a chopper cutting up fresh fish on a cutting board.

Jaejoong kicked the man working the stove on his knee, breaking it. He cried out, and crumpled. Someone pulled out a gun from underneath the prepping table, aiming at him. Jaejoong ducked, shooting the legs of the men on his side, grabbing the neck of the man who had crumpled to squeeze his neck.

He stood, ducking again as a bullet went over his head. He leaped forward, shoulder hitting the floor and skidding as he aimed a shot for the belly of the man holding the gun. He was pushed back, staring momentarily at his wet belly, wounded by a bullet. The gun didn’t leave his hand. He aimed down at Jaejoong, and Jaejoong shot again, aiming for his face. The chef ducked, and he was swapped out with the fat man holding the chopper, sending it flying in Jaejoong’s direction.

Jaejoong grabbed a pan hanging on the wall, blocking it for it to drop heavily onto his steel tipped boots, slicing in. He pulled it out, sneering down. He liked this pair of boots. He flung the pan forward, using the fraction of the time it took for the fat man to sweep it away from his chest, to swing the chopper at his fleshy neck. With his hand still on the chopper, squelching into the thick skin, he used his gun hand to take aim and force the gun out of the hand of the chef before he could use it.

Then he shot him again.

The smell of blood and heat and spices was intoxicating. Jaejoong left the kitchen with a re-loaded gun and his short sword on his hip, stepping into the empty corridor. Outside, by the curving stairs and entrance, he could hear the gun shots and cries, caused by Yunho and his quick hands.

Jaejoong fixed his gun to his side, and chose his short sword instead. The weapon hadn’t been fed in many years, not since he rose to the top, not since his fight with Dark Phoenix, the last of the big five, one of the newer organizations brimming in Korean soil and born in prosperous times.

He took the other stairs up, surprised that no other men came rushing down. It was quiet, except the murmurs of a television running, a night time drama from the words and voices. He passed an open room, and then another, walking towards the door in the end of the corridor.

Fen would be there. A monster of a son to the original old Fen. Jaejoong remembered meeting him once, huge, youthful, thick head of hair and yellowing teeth. He smoked fat cigars and went to the gym every day, and he liked tight shirts that he wore in public from the pictures Jaejoong had gotten from his information brokers.

There was no worry about men coming after him. There was explicit trust in Yunho. In him destroying men before they could touch him. They may not say phrases that were common towards pairs, towards lovers, but they were insufferably inseparable, and Yunho would kill and keep on killing if someone touched him.

The door to Gregory Fen’s office cum den room was locked. There was another key pad, lacking finger print scanners or eye recognition because the young fool lacked the foresight to even think that someone would infiltrate his home, or even dare to.

Jaejoong liked when softer men were foolish.

He swiped the card into the slot, watching the lights of the keypad glow, the door hiss open. He pushed against the cool of the wall, making himself flat, almost invisible. Gregory Fen was waiting calmly with his hand gun on the table, a beautiful thing, shiny under the low lights, a long barrel, silver and cold.

Jaejoong pushed off the wall to walk in. The door closed behind him.

“Fen.”

“Who are you?” he asked, not yet picking up his gun from the table. “You come in here and massacre my men. Who are you?”

Jaejoong stood close to the edge of the table, trailing his fingers along the smooth glass top. His finger squeaked as it left a smudgy trail.

“You’re lacking in information,” he said softly.

“I didn’t shoot you as soon as you came in because I wanted to know,” said Fen through gritted teeth.

For a large man and yellow teeth he was roughly handsome. Bleached hair just a shade more yellow than Jaejoong’s, long, thick fingers that gripped the curving tip of his cushioned chair.

What charmed him the most was that he wasn’t scared. But that was because he didn’t know who Jaejoong was.

“Kim Jaejoong.”

“What?” His eyes widened by a fraction, a small fraction, noticeable to Jaejoong’s gaze.

“Kim Jaejoong.”

There it was. The slow, ebbing flow of knowledge reaching his expression and eyes. Jaejoong didn’t need to add who he really was, what his name represented. Even if Fen didn’t know his face, like his father did, he knew of him. Knew the Syndicate.

“What did I do to offend you?” Fen spat out.

“Not you,” said Jaejoong, “Not really you, personally. Who you represent.”

“The American Company? We haven’t even been interfering with your men lately. I thought we were at a standstill on that. We stopped dipping ourselves into your gun trade a long time ago.”

No. He was correct. The war between the AmCo and the Syndicate was more like a background noise, the ripples of water in a vast ocean of men. There were no more direct kills. Even the men that were murdered, both Syndicate and AmCo, even the man who shot at him in broad daylight, these most certainly were not by AmCo’s hands. But there were other things. Like kidnapping Junsu. Like bringing in kids for slavery and sex.

Like pissing off the yakuza who were disgustingly territorial.

He could never be mad at the spies in his organization. Each of them had spies, swaddled in fake names and stories, siphoning information no matter how little and small.

As time passed, Jaejoong realized the root of the matter. It was more that AmCo didn’t want compromise and partnership. Not even vague acceptance that there were other gangs, other corporations existing on Korean soil.

And more and more Jaejoong was beginning to think, and he knew, that AmCo was more Korean than American.

So even if they were no longer murdering each other, even if they were playing games of territory, of infiltration and sucking up hidden information for power, there were lines that could not be crossed, and there were lines that brought retaliation and revenge.

Fen was softer than his father, but he wasn’t a stupid man. He reached for his gun as soon as he saw the look in Jaejoong’s eyes. Jaejoong didn’t need his gun, or his sword. He leaped across the table, palm slapping the glass to bring his body up and the bottom of his boots crashing into Fen’s abdomen. It sent him back, knocking into the wall, gun sent thudding onto the varnished wood below.

Jaejoong raised his leg and the tip of his boots knocked under his chin, jerking his head. Fen moaned, kicking out. Jaejoong stumbled back, swinging his leg again to connect to the side of Fen’s face. He was sent to the floor, sweaty palms touching the wood.

There was a gunshot, and then a short silence. Without breaths or whispers, just the smell of a gun just having gone off and the smell of his own blood. Jaejoong felt the trickle on his arm, of a bullet having gone through. He gripped his sword and sent it flying as he turned around.

It connected with flesh, going into the soft chest of a tall man, fitted in a sleek suit, holding a smoking gun. He was well put together, stark white dress shirt filling up with red, mouth opened to gasp out his shock.

Jaejoong stooped down, letting his boot rest on Fen’s wrist. Fen grunted and then choked on a scream, as Jaejoong pressed harder until he heard a sound of flesh and bone being strained by his weight.

“It really isn’t personal,” he said, fingers around his neck, enjoying the little lub-dub of his pulse, full and thumping and alive. Gregory mouthed a curse, kicking up, reaching for his knife on his waist and plunging it toward his side.

Jaejoong squeezed. The tip of the knife went through his jacket and shirt and skin. But he continued squeezing. The knife clattered, and Fen’s hand dropped, weakening, the pulse below his fingers untraceable as he squeezed. He kept squeezing until his legs stopped thrashing, and the lub-dub wasn’t soft or slow but completely gone. He watched the life go out of his face and eyes and mouth, opened slack and eyes wide with death.

The lub-dub was gone.

Jaejoong removed his hand, got up from the ground and stepped over Gregory Fen’s body. He pulled out his sword from the man whose face he knew, the personal assistant of Gregory Fen and a sports fanatic. He used the clean part of his suit to wipe the blood off the blade, careful of the jade, careful as he slid it back into the sheath on his waist.

Yunho was outside waiting for him. He was lovely and calm and smoking on the stairs. The night air was stronger now, than when they came. Maybe it was blowing away the death that settled over the house. It lifted Yunho’s brown hair, sent the smoke wafting from his cigarette up and away and it was the first thing that hit Jaejoong as he came out, settling him with familiarity and comfort.

He went down the stairs and dropped onto the treader below Yunho, pushing himself between his open legs, letting his head drop back into Yunho’s chest. He could feel the quiet, feel Yunho’s heart beat, stronger than the lub-dub of Fen’s carotid. The sound felt so warm. So alive. So damning.

Jaejoong breathed and watched the land in front of him, Yunho smoking out his cigarette, specks of ash falling onto Jaejoong’s hair. When he was finished with his smoke, stub tossed somewhere onto the grass or dirt, a spark going out, he leaned forward and low and swallowed Jaejoong’s mouth, kissing him hard and firm and with cigarette smoke.

It was an awkward and wet kiss. Jaejoong licked his lips and turned around, going onto his knees on the well taken care of treader, looking up at Yunho and his eyelashes and his beautiful expression of post fight and death and he smelled of it.

He felt so hot. Like the smoke Yunho had taken in came into him, the adrenaline mixing with his blood and making him feel, bringing him into a high that he couldn’t quite come out of. He smashed their lips together, bringing his good hand to grip Yunho’s shirt, opening his mouth, flicking his tongue into teeth and spit and the taste of cigarettes and Yunho.

Yunho hands went underneath his thighs and nudged him. He lifted him up and Jaejoong wrapped his legs around him, settled onto his thighs, uncaring of the stifled position. He only cared that he could kiss Yunho again, kissing his lips, his mouth, groaning as Yunho’s lips left him to suck at throat.

He could feel the graze of teeth, the need and want of the snaps of pain and bruises. Yunho’s hands never left his thighs and buttocks, keeping him from sliding off, keeping him close, squeezing. He could feel Yunho’s hardness, just as hard as he was in the too tight pants. His head fell back and all he could do was breathe and moan as he bit at his throat and his neck and it could last forever.

Yunho liked branding his possession with marks and touches. And Jaejoong never liked being possessed or owned. But when Yunho kissed, and touched, he felt like he needed it. And when Yunho kissed his neck, bit into the soft flesh of his shoulder, jacket pushed down and the buttons of his shirt ripped open to expose pale skin and his chest, he felt the most exquisite pain.



*

Ah I was wondering if to write a full on sex-scene. But I figured there would be other times I could. I’m super super happy to finally write a piece of the true Jaejoong. The Jaejoong that took over the Syndicate. He’s just as horrible as Yunho. He’s not invincible, but that’s what makes him scary. When he sets his mind to something he will absolutely follow it through. And some time throughout his childhood, he came to accept that he could kill, had the ability to do so, and came to like it.

 
 
thetaintedblade
05 November 2018 @ 12:15 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 SEVENTEEN
~Agitation~

Junsu wasn’t particularly a morning person. He just subsisted on waking hours whenever necessary. And it so happened that he woke at six after a much needed four hours nap – that felt wonderful – and ended up at Low Hearts to spend his early morning.

It was about time he started working properly on Kim Namjoon’s request. Jen had left him a pot of fresh brew without him asking because she was a god send. And AJ – Taehyung’s second baker – was back out from a few days of being run down with a LRTI, so Taehyung stopped looking like death with forced smiles.

No matter how far he dug, Junsu couldn’t actually find anything incriminating on Kim Namjoon. The man was brilliant. And also impeccably clean. Too clean. Donated to charities. Went on talk shows. Took up the mantle with ease when his father had died. Aced his way through high school and university. Spoke well with reporters and the public. And his employees loved him. Called him charming, down to earth, most wanted businessman between the ages of twenty-five to fourty-one.

It didn’t take too long to work on his security system. It was a pretty decent system he had already, good enough to weather mid-grade hackers. After an omelet and toast with fresh raspberry jam and too much butter, Junsu had finished boosting up the online system for Kim Production and Finances.

He sat back, pouring himself another cup of coffee. The real work started with Kim Jisoo. Who she was. Why Kim Namjoon was looking for her. According to public record – and hidden record – Kim Namjoon’s mother was never listed. Kim Hansul brought his son up with a string of nannies and his every few months’ flings, and his son was always mature enough to be able to take care of himself. The only comment that Kim Hansul had ever made on his mother was that she was gone – not dead, or ran away, but gone.

There were many, many women named Kim Jisoo in South Korea. And Junsu had to sift through all of them, one by one, trying to find some connection. He rubbed the left side of his head, the side that always hurt when he was stressed out.

Jungkook had finished serving a university student grabbing breakfast before morning classes. Junsu was glad that it was his one day off, classes free. He savoured those. Even if it was his own fault he had decided to go to university. The kid nodded to him from the table he was serving, and Junsu nodded back.

He did sort of like Jungkook. He was a surprisingly hard working kid. Would have to be, considering he survived on his own for nearly his entire adolescence into teenage years and then early adulthood. But he was still weary. New people this close to Jaejoong were always a threat. And as great as Jaejoong was at running his Syndicate, at decimating people and spewing fear into men, he was also disgustingly soft hearted. Just deep down. Very deep down.

“How’s the fighting?” he asked Jungkook, as he went past him. He had a bruise on his cheekbone, a busted lip that was scabbed over.

“Good. I only lost two matches the other day.”

Junsu remembered that he didn’t come home that night. Jungkook had come back sometime last night while he was working, and heard his low conversation with Jaejoong out in the living room.

Jungkook didn’t look like the type to mope over losing. He looked like he won way more fights that he lost any. But Junsu didn’t care enough to press. At least not yet. Jaejoong hadn’t asked him yet either.

“Jaejoong looked…” Jungkook faltered, unsure, “Jaejoong didn’t look so hot last night, when I came home.”

“I didn’t get chance to see him last night. When I came outside he had already gone to bed. And he wasn’t there when I woke up at six.”

Did something happen last night? They had went to the location he had given them, to track the ramen truck. A run in with AmCo?

“Thanks for telling me,” said Junsu, looking at his phone.

“No problem. I like Jaejoong.”

He dialed Jaejoong’s number, the one only he called. Jaejoong picked up after three rings.

“Hey Su.”

“Hey.”

“I didn’t see you this morning,” spoke Jaejoong. “Was in the gym.”

“Whole morning?”

“Yeah. Now finished bathing.”Junsu listened to him patter around, grabbing clothes, closing a door.

“Jungkook said you didn’t look too good when he came home last night.”

“Oh. He found me drinking.”

“You barely ever drink anymore.”

“Yeah.”

Junsu nestled the phone between his ear and shoulder, scrolling through the list of Kim Jisoos, deciding to start at the bottom. He had to go through all anyway.

“Found the ramen truck last night at the location you sent us to,”said Jaejoong.

“That’s a good thing.”

“Yeah. It was a really good thing.” Jaejoong was quiet for a while. “We found kids in the truck Su.”

“What?”

“Kids.”

Junsu sighed, rubbing the left side of his head again. The throbbing was there. Always there. Even with four hours of precious sleep. He also, felt that he should have been there outside with Jaejoong last night, drinking, instead of knee deep in work and desperately wanting sleep.

“You should have came in and woke me,” he stressed.

“No, I…wanted to be alone last night. Yunho offered too but I told him I just wanted to be alone for a little bit. I forgot that some things can still affect me.”

Junsu held his phone again, looking outside through frosted glass. “Want to go with me tonight and eat shitty ramen at a convenience store? Sit and do absolutely nothing?”

“With cold coffee after?”

Junsu grinned. “Ah, with cold coffee after.”

He could see and hear Jaejoong smile.

“Deal.”




Changmin tipped off his cigarette ash on the street, enjoying the feel of sun and the cool-heat of the car door. He had gotten a car borrowed from Yoochun to drive across to where Yoongi was staying. Yoongi had been bored, went out and bought a Playstation 4 with the money he had building up from winning street races and selling cars that he also won. And it was how Changmin had found him, opening the door to the drifter eating pizza and playing video games.

It was their smoke break now, he supposed, looking up and blinking at the brightness. It was late morning, maybe lunch time. He nor Yoongi had bothered to check the time when they were both technically unemployed, stuck in an alternate universe – reality – where they were owned by a pale faced man.

It was sort of nice, though. He hadn’t done this since before he started working, shoved into a boring routine, the life he had never wanted. Changmin couldn’t remember the last time he woke up to spend the morning playing games and eating cold pizza. And beers. He had a beer before six pm.

“I’m racing tonight,” said Yoongi. “Got a call from some guy who got a call from some guy on that new phone they gave me. Said that I can race just under the Syndicate name. They take my winnings too.”

“Damn. The apartment’s nice though.”

It was. For a crime syndicate crony, they were given a decent apartment. With air conditioning. A brand new phone. Maybe Yoongi was given luxuries because he had been Changmin’s friend. But he didn’t care. Nagging him was one particular thought that Yoongi might be regretting his decision. Being with Yoongi, watching him laugh and bitch and rag at him for winning whole morning, made him think maybe not.

“The boss man is pretty different from what I thought he’d be like.”

Changmin grinned, and handed over his smoke for Yoongi to take. “Right? I think everyone says that. But I–”

Saw him kill people. Snap a woman’s neck. Saw how he looked with murder in his eyes and face and his smile.

So yes, he was pretty different. But it was only because he wasn’t old and hard faced and heavily muscled. Changmin had long since squashed all his prejudices and preconceived misconceptions.

“He’s definitely something,” he said.

They leaned against the borrowed car in silence. The streets were bare. This was Syndicate turf, where most of the men stayed, lived. There was a cheap twenty-four hour shop that paid rent and tax to the money collectors, more housing buildings, a public sauna. All the businesses were legal on paper, and Changmin had always heard rumours that the Syndicate had bought this part of the city. Where the police couldn’t touch them.

Or maybe the police were already in it. Some of them. They always were.

But he couldn’t think like that again. He wasn’t an outsider. He was too close to everything. To the very top. Even now, when he saw Jaejoong on waking up, or last night when Yunho came back to the car to tell him to go home that he’d drop Jaejoong back, he kept forgetting, and remembering.

That it was real. That these people were dangerous. They were people. Real people. Not just the stories and rumours he heard on the newspapers or television.

And he hated himself, felt ashamed that it was the most fun he had had in years.

He groaned and buckled over as Yoongi punched him in the stomach.

“I just ate man.”

“I smoked out your cigarette because you were ignoring me.”

Changmin laughed, and took out another one.

Yeah, the most fun he’d had in years. He didn’t even miss his apartment, or his co-workers. Somehow he was slowly forgetting his routine. Taking up a new one. How did his co-workers look again? It had only been a bare few days and it was like that.

It showed how little he had cared. How little he had wanted to work there.

How stupid and boring he’d been all his life.

“Do you think we’d have met if I’d became a pro-gamer?” he asked Yoongi.

Yoongi leaped up onto the hood of the car. “Probably. You’d have still taken an interest in driving because of your father. But we became friends mainly because you wanted to rebel.”

“That is true,” he said. “And I actually ended up really liking you. How unfortunate.”

Yoongi stole his smoke again from him. Changmin hoisted himself onto hood too, leaning back, sprawled out onto the perfectly done metallic paint job and dusty windshield. He closed his eyes, and went to sleep to the smell of smoke.




“Well, we got some of them to talk,” said Yoochun, pulling up into his office with a stack of papers. “Got their names, gave them a bed and some food. We’re holding them in one of the emergency outposts. Most of them are street kids. Kids whose parents were dirt poor and got involved with the wrong people at the wrong time. One girl thought she was getting decent work to provide for her mum and younger brother.”

“Medical reports?”

Yoochun handed over the stack of paper. Jaejoong hadn’t made the phone call yet, to Yamashita-dono. He had been too pissed off last night, too sullen. The world had always been a cruel, nasty place, a world he’d made his name in. But kept forgetting just how nasty. He’d always keep forgetting it.

He glanced through the first couple patient files, and forced himself to go through all. Superficial bruises, no broken bones, most refused a further examination and the ones that did had signs of non accidental injuries and forced intercourse - sexual abuse. He put down the files. Yoochun was watching him.

“They’re extremely shaken up. They don’t want to go back to Japan, Jaejoong. They’re here illegally.”

“Keep them in the outpost. Make sure they get food and the treatment that they need. It’s not too urgent right now to figure out what to do with them.”

“And our shipments?”

“It’s impractical for you to head down to the docks every time we have a new shipment. Who’s taking over for Ken Joss?”

“Jae Hyun. Ahn Jae Hyun.”

“Background checks out?”

“Yeah I know him. Quiet guy. But he does good work. Got a pretty good reputation for mashing everyone’s face in when he trips off. I think you’d like him.”

“Good.”

“Our other shipments came through? Nothing missing?”

Yoochun sent him an ‘ok’ sign. He went to Jaejoong’s alcohol stash on the table, that he kept for him when he came, or Yunho, or important clients that were privy to his home – which was rare. There was too pricey aged whiskey and Johnny and Jack Daniels, and Yoochun was a simple man – he liked Johnny. He poured himself a glass, and sat down.

“So I found out about those micro-chips – sort of. It’s a rumour I heard through a rumour. Those whispers in the crowd kind of thing. It’s a marketing scheme, and a damn good one, to rope people into working for AmCo.” He took a mouthful of rum. “Say, most of the guys who work for the Syndicate need money right? Many of our men had no where else to go, no other work they could get because they didn’t finish high school or got their bachelors. So they work for us and we take care of them. The microchips, it works like money. Sure money. They implant it under their wrist, give them a wrist band that functions as a burner chip, and then you’re at a cashier and swipe - it works like a visa card. A poor man suddenly able to afford the things he can’t. And they pay it back by doing jobs for them. Any job. The more money they spend, the bigger the jobs. It’s giving them money and then working back for spending it. It’s pretty fucking smart.”

“But that money…”

“I know. They have to be sitting on a shitload of income. And that’s too sketchy of a price. Too risky. For both sides. It’s literally selling your soul and body. Because I’m damn sure they have trackers on that microchip.”

“It is smart. Extremely fucking brilliant.” Jaejoong watched Yoochun gulp down the rest of his drink. “Just…you remember when AmCo first came to South Korea?”

“Honestly…no? It feels like they’ve been here are while, just slowly building up and getting bigger and fucking around until we noticed them.”

“Right. Maybe they were always there. Not always, but–”

Jaejoong sighed, got up and grabbed his phone and jacket. “I’ll see you later Yoochun.”

“I’ll be here, drinking out your Johnny since you never drink it.” Yoochun waved good-bye.




Inside the twenty four hour shop the lighting was wonky. It flickered every few seconds, smelled like every other twenty four hour shop in South Korea, and the boy working the night shift was eighteen and had his ears pierced out. Good-looking. Cute.

He had perked up seeing Jaejoong walk through the doors, flashing a toothy smile as he had looked up from his text book. Studying. Jaejoong couldn’t even remember what that was like.

Most times, he didn’t care if men or women looked at him. He’d grown too accustomed. And he’d grown into a position where men and women cowered before they looked. But still, they looked. And he didn’t particularly fancy or hate it. But sometimes, it was almost charming. Like the look he was getting from the kid.

He scoured the rows looking for pork ramen. Junsu might want beef. And kimchi. He would want kimchi too.

Whenever he looked back, far back to when he had killed that man, the first man, he realized that when Yunho had come into his classroom, he had stopped looking. There were always other men to look at. Really look at. But it had never happened. There had been flings and short term relationships, relationships that didn’t count because Yunho had somehow always, always been there. Every step of the way from his first toe steeped into the dirty shit hole that was the underworld.

He had come to like that dirty shit hole. Accept it. Accepted the man that he was and the man he had become.

If Yunho hadn’t existed, maybe it would have been Yamapi. Maybe it would have been Yu.

Yunho had never known about Yu.

When he went to rest down the ramen onto the counter he saw Junsu sitting outside, waiting for him. He grabbed four tins of cold coffee, paid for everything, and carried it outside, getting the eager help from the boy to bring out the soaking ramen.

Junsu looked much better than he had a day ago.

“Bought you beef,” he said, crossing his legs as he sat.

“Thank god. I like pork, but the soup never agrees with my stomach.”

“Well, it agrees with mine,” grinned Jaejoong, settling his chopsticks on top the ramen container.

Junsu cracked open his can. “You know about Kim Production and Finances?”

“I’ve heard about them. They’re…nearly as big as Jung Industries right? They have some underground dealings. So I hear.”

“You know the head of the entire corporation?”

“The son. The previous head died. I heard it on the news. Yunho had to attend his funeral out of common courtesy.”

“He did?”

“For like fifteen minutes?”

“The son’s name is Kim Namjoon. And that same Kim Namjoon is in my uni course class.”

“Small world,” said Jaejoong.

“Even smaller world,” muttered Junsu, crinkling the empty can. “He approached me for my expertise.”

“Oh?”

“Wanted me to build a better online system for their company.”

“That’s agreeable,” remarked Jaejoong, peering open the lid with chopsticks in hand.

“And he wants me to track down a Kim Jisoo.”

“Never heard of her.”

“Neither have I. Which is why I’m stuck tracking down every Kim Jisoo in the fucking country.”

Jaejoong stopped himself from eating as yet. “Does he know you’re with the Syndicate?”

“No, I don’t think so. He genuinely thinks this is what I do for…anyone I guess? I mean, technically I do work for the Syndicate because I want to.”

“And because you like me.”

“That’s debatable.” Junsu cringed.

They ate their ramen in comfortable silence. It was a night where Jaejoong was free of Syndicate men, bodyguards who liked to follow, drivers that sometimes weren’t needed when he had his own feet to walk wherever he pleased.

“Junsu, I need to throw something at you.”

His cousin nodded, elbows pressed into the crooked table.

“I’ve been looking back, well, thinking back, to when we first discovered about AmCo. And I’ll probably make the trip myself, to the library to see if there are any other clippings or stored newspapers but, I realized I can’t really pinpoint when they came into being.” A fat cut of seasoning was stuck to edge of his chopsticks, and he licked it off. “What if the origin of AmCo was always South Korea? We’ve been thinking all this time that AmCo came to South Korea. But what if it was always here?”

“It’s pretty possible. There are a shitload of Korean men working for them. Probably a lot more than we know.”

“Many more,” said Jaejoong. “Just, for them to be another organization in Korea to hold enough power, how come we never met face to face? It would have been better from the start to join forces. Or remain on friendly terms. But, it just happened that we became warring crime factions. They killed some of our men. We killed some of theirs. They started encroaching on our territory. So we started fighting back. They infiltrated Japan, fucked with Yamashita’s land. Made an enemy out of the yakuza. Whoever started making these movements recently, it was made by a man who doesn’t want to shake hands or make deals or bend to anyone. It was made by a man who wants to conquer and win, without caring who or what gets in the way.”

“Sort of like you.”

Junsu slurped down the rest of his soup – the kind that wouldn’t rile up his stomach. “What brought this on?”

“I’m just tired,” Jaejoong admitted. “I find this all so damn stupid, you know? It’s seems stupid to fight about all of this. Finding out what they’re doing, if it would affect us, our men. Now they’re trying to bring in kids for sex on our fucking channels. I don’t care if they did it on their own but they did on ours. And it feels like they’re purposely pissing me off, because I haven’t been this angry and tired in a long, long time Junsu. I thought when Youngwha died and I killed the previous head asshole we would be better off–”

“We were. We are.”

“But I’m starting to get really angry Junsu. I’ve been pretty patient, trying to be as diplomatic as I can possibly be but I’m too angry now.”

The tip of his boots knocked underneath the table top.

Junsu rubbed his lips with his thumb, biting down out of habit.

“So what are you going to do now?”

Jaejoong felt all warm with the hot ramen. The good kind of warm. He pulled on the tab of his canned coffee, pushing out his seat and grabbing the empty containers to throw them in the trash bin one table away.

“Something fucking insane. Like old times.”




*

I sort of decided to use NanoWrimo to finish up Burner as much as I can. And edit my book but it helps that I have extra incentive to write for Burner.
 
 
thetaintedblade
23 October 2018 @ 04:22 am

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the leader of the widespread syndicate that runs underground Asia, and Yunho is his top agent and right hand man whose skills and composure are terrifying. There's Yoochun wtih a background as shrouded as his words. And Junsu the civilian cousin working as a hacker. And the new kid, Jungkook, off the street and into Jaejoong's home, put to work under cafe owner Taehyung. The threat looming stems from foreign invasion, the American Company that threatens, and is already taking over Asian soil. But there's an unknown group after the Syndicate, more personal, and directed against Jaejoong.



PART SIXTEEN
~ Serenity in Darkness ~



Jungkook woke up with his face mashed into a pillow and a dry throat. The air conditioning was way too cold, and it was all he felt, freezing toes and desperately trying to shove them under the blanket.

Blankets.

He opened his eyes, groaning.

There were two blankets covering him. And the ceiling looked awfully different from his room back at Jaejoong’s level.

He rubbed his eyes, and then his numb right cheek he had been sleeping on. He was alone on Taehyung’s bed.

Jungkook sat up abruptly. Well, he didn’t have to worry about being late for work. He didn’t know where his phone was, but Taehyung’s was on the bed, and he reached for it, pressing the knob on the side.

Huh. Two minutes past five.

He didn’t need to wake up this early anymore. Which meant it was because of Taehyung. His alarm, probably.

He slid off the bed, wincing as his feet touched the cold tiles. He found the door next to the counter, budging it open to hear the shower running. Taehyung’s body was obstructed by opaque, crinkle patterned glass. Jungkook went for the toilet.

After the fighting had simmered last night, Taehyung had grabbed his hand and carried him back to his place upstairs the shop. And Jungkook had let him. He couldn’t say no to sex with the other man. He didn’t want to. It was all so heavy and fast and it was this part about his life that he liked, jumping into things, going with the flow and saying yes even if it was doomed to end.

“Jungkookie, you’re up,” said Taehyung, sliding open the glass. “Wanna shower with me?”

“Aren’t you nearly done?” Jungkook asked, already pushing past Taehyung to get into the shower, glad for the wet tiles instead of frozen ones. “Why the fuck is your ac so cold?”

“I like the cold!”

Water hit his forehead and face, and Jungkook sputtered, wiping it off.

“Get under the shower,” Taehyung laughed. “You big baby.”

“Thanks,” he muttered, stepping closer to the stream of water. He’d never showered with someone else before. He was having a lot of firsts, since he started working for Jaejoong.

He closed his eyes, letting the hot water fall on his head, matting his hair to his neck and face. It felt good. He still wasn’t accustomed to the delightfulness of hot water. But god it felt so good.

“You know,” said Taehyung, reaching up to press his fingers into Jungkook’s scalp. “You’re the first person I’ve had sex with in a long time. When I started running Low Hearts, I told myself I wouldn’t just throw myself in bed with someone and then regret it.”

Taehyung was massaging his scalp. Jungkook bent his head, making it easier for him to reach. Taehyung was going to put him back to sleep. He and this hot water.

“So you regret it?” he asked, pulling back Taehyung’s wrist when he was about to move his hand.

“Na, of course not. Your cock has me fucking stupid.”

Jungkook couldn’t hold in his laughter, opening his eyes to see Taehyung grinning at him. He wrapped his wet arms around Jungkook’s waist, leaning up to kiss him.

“I really meant a quick shower though. I kinda have to go downstairs and start up things.”

“Okay.” Jungkook grabbed the bar of soap he saw on top of the crystal stand. It was gritty, but it felt soft in his hand. “I’ll come help.”

Taehyung stopped himself from saying something against it. He nodded, suddenly looking abashed.

“Okay.”



 

Junsu was in the kitchen, staring out at the city. Jaejoong found a pot of coffee already made, and he poured himself a cup.

“You didn’t sleep again?” he asked softly. He didn’t sit by Junsu. Instead, he took a sip of brew, resting it on the counter next to Junsu’s mug, and wrapped his arms around his cousin’s shoulders. Junsu seemed to melt into him, giving in to his warmth of the thickest robe he owned, and the most expensive.

“No. Not much. I finished off my course assignment, had two side jobs to follow up on, and you wanted me to find a ramen truck. Where would I get the time to sleep?”

Jaejoong smiled, chin tucked into Junsu’s neck.

“What would I do without you Junsu?”

“I wonder that too.”

Jaejoong closed his eyes. He felt the heat from the brewed coffee, and Junsu nudged him with a shrug of his shoulder.

“Drink your coffee Jae. I know you didn’t get much sleep either.”

“Time is money,” he muttered, lifting himself off of his cousin, and taking back his cup. He sat himself on Junsu’s lap, allowing the warmth to slide down his throat and unchill his chest.

He couldn’t remember the last time they had a morning like this – slow, the sun barely up, with the comfort of Junsu and hot coffee. He liked slow mornings. Soft mornings. They were rare. They needed to be rare. Jaejoong had learned that.

“Did you call Yamashita?” asked Junsu.

“I did. Last night someone on their side died. They found him at his apartment. Head shot. Didn’t even try to make it look like an accident. We agreed that my theory fits. He helped smuggle in drugs for AmCo. And then AmCo. disposed of him to cover their tracks.”

“That’s a hell of a way to do business,” he said.

“It is. Effective though. These men, most likely they were nobodies within their organization. Their deaths would not have any impact on their usual workers or agents.”

“So you think it’s New York?”

“Most likely. But I can’t say for sure. I don’t want to make any guesses. I want answers.”

“I’m working on it,” Junsu sighed into his coffee. Jaejoong had poured him another cup. The nail polish on his fingernails hadn’t chipped yet, due to Junsu’s skills and the fancy brands that he bought. It matched Junsu’s, fingers pressing against the ceramic ware, the others tapping into the kitchen table.

“Our youngest didn’t come home last night,” Jaejoong mentioned.

“I don’t think anyone would mess with him. He can handle himself.”

“I don’t doubt that.”

“I never asked you,” said Junsu, wrapping a hand around Jaejoong’s abdomen to keep him from sliding off, “You took him in because he reminded you of Yunho?”

“He reminded me of myself too, trying to survive in the shithole of the Syndicate.”

The sun was out, breaching orange-blue, scraping the skin of his face with brightness and welcomed heat. What Jaejoong loved the most about his level, the entire building, was this – his large glass wall that showed everything.

“I should go see my parents today.”

“Junsu…after what happened, it’s not safe. Tell her you’re spending a couple weeks by me.”

“We talked about this Jaejoong.”

“And I care about my aunt and uncle just as much as you do because they matter to you. Until things calm down, until I make sure that you’re safe, don’t go around them. Call, video chat, just no visits.”

Junsu resigned himself to sighing again, gripping his mug hard enough that Jaejoong felt the tensed muscles against his arm.





“Not that I ever say no to what you ask of me,” said Yoochun, “But you want a background check on everyone in the Syndicate? Everyone?”

“In this building Yoochun,” said Jaejoong, staring at him across his desk. “I know it’s a lot to ask, but I want it done. I can’t be too sure anymore. Kibum may have not been the only spy we had here. And he’s been here for three years.”

“You don’t want anyone of us to sleep, don’t ya? This is bullshit.” Yoochun groaned, slumping in his chair. He pulled out a cigarette from the small container, flicking open his lighter. “I deserve a smoke,” he said, before Jaejoong could repeat his mantra of ‘no smoking in his office you fuckers’.

“You’re the only one that can do it,” said Jaejoong. “And I trust you to handle the situation if you find anything suspicious. I’m giving you authority to deal with them how you see fit.”

“Oh?” Yoochun grinned. “You know how much I love having fun.”

“I do know.”

Yoochun blew out a puff of smoke, as he remained slumped in the chair. “So where’s Yunho? I haven’t seen him whole morning.”

Jaejoong didn’t know either. He saw him last night, right before he left to meet Jungkook at the fighting ring.

“Ah, so I checked out the apartment where Yunho dumped the body the day you were shot at. A man named Christoph Kim rented it out. A pseudonym, but according to management he had a driver’s license with that name and he paid cash, every month for an entire year to keep the room. The front staff said that he didn’t actually stay in the room. He came every couple months to deposit the money and said that a couple men stayed there, two or three men, with one of them matching the description of the man that shot after you.”

“Any other rooms in the apartment complex was paid out in cash?”

“Three. I checked them all out already. One of them is a couple, that’s been staying there for two months. The next one is a writer, a fourty-five year old man who goes there every few months for the past five years. He’s a regular. The third is a young woman. She’s only been there for four months, and the staff said she’s a pretty girl, extremely pretty but she’s terrified of people. She barely leaves the room.”

“Did you find anything on Christoph Kim?”

“Christoph Kim of course doesn’t exist. I already messaged Junsu about it. But I doubt he’ll find anything.”

“Security cameras?”

“Ah, that’s where it gets interesting. I checked through – just so you know it’s because of this I didn’t get any sleep – the video footage over the past year. The feed that has a view of the register has been mysteriously wiped every single time Christoph Kim has come to pay for the room. And the men that were staying there, they avoided the cameras on the ground floor. The feed from the level they were staying on, was selectively erased so that they never showed up on camera.”

“So we have nothing?”

“Who do you think I am? I got a sketch artist to work with the staff to get some pictures of Christoph Kim and the other two men that were staying there.”

“The man who shot at me – Shin Hyun Soo – he was a normal guy, wasn’t he? No previous records. Used to work at a local Starbucks and then at a hardware store. No wife and kids. Kept in contact with his parents. I read over the file last night. It doesn’t make any sense either. He definitely wasn’t working for AmCo.”

“No. It doesn’t. Any of these faces look familiar to you?”

Yoochun handed him his trusty tablet, the one he never parted with. The first picture was a sketch of Christoph Kim, young, a few years younger than Jaejoong, neatly styled hair, no discerning features other than he was handsome. The next was of a kid, early twenties, against nothing definable. The last sketch was of a man around the same age as Christoph Kim. He was the only one drawn with a smile.

“The staff said he was always smiling when they saw him.”

Jaejoong handed him back his tablet. “I don’t recognize any of them.”

“Yeah. Me neither. I agree that it’s probably personal. Somebody you pissed off back when you were in younger days. Maybe even before you became the head.”

“Then I would rather them come at me with a gun in my face, instead of this shit.”

“Not everyone is like you, Leader Kim. Maybe they’re trying to figure out the truth.”

The truth. Jaejoong knew much about that. In their world, the truth was not given. It was taken by force, and by blood shed. His uncle taught him that.

His uncle taught him too many things.

“You emailed me the pictures?” asked Jaejoong.

Yoochun made a face, one that said ‘Are you really asking that man?’.

“Print them out. Send them out to out to our men. Limited copies. Tell them to memorize their faces and burn the copies when they’re done.”




They found the ramen truck a three hours drive from the Syndicate Headquarters. It was the first break they had gotten in weeks, with everything that had been happening. Junsu managed to track it before it was unloaded. Jaejoong had gone himself, having Changmin drive him, and the other usual two drivers bringing two sedans full of Squad A members. Yunho was somehow there before him, paper cup of coffee in hand.

“Did you check the truck?” Jaejoong asked him, stealing his cup of coffee. Yunho let it go too easily.

“I did. Me and one of the two Squad S agents that came.”

Jaejoong went to the back of the truck. Yunho stepped aside. Jaejoong really didn’t like the look on Yunho’s face. He took a sip of the coffee – too sweet – as one of the men opened the latch they had locked back.

He didn’t realize that he had crumpled the paper cup of coffee until the warmth was spreading through the cracks of his fingers, running along the back of his hand. Jaejoong hadn’t seen a sight like this since the old Syndicate, before he abolished it when he took over. It was the one area he didn’t delve in. Human trafficking.

Those fuckers were going to use Korean channels to bring in their trade – humans. Unwilling humans.

Jaejoong walked to the garbage bin and dunked the crumpled cup inside. He would have preferred drugs. He really wanted it to be drugs.

“It’s why they bought him off – Joss,” he said to Yunho. The weather was coming in these days, wind messing up his hair, flipping the ends of his trench coat that he pulled closer. Times like this made him wish he still smoked. He needed more coping mechanisms, like Junsu with his nail polish, and fried chicken. All he had was black coffee. And fries. God, when was the last time he ate pepper fries.

“We’re going to have to find out their names,” he said, speaking to Yunho, speaking loud enough so all his men could hear him. He didn’t need his voice to be loud. They were all already straining and trying their best to hear everything he said. To watch everything that he did. Or wanted to do. He glanced back inside the truck. They were Japanese kids. Boys. Girls. Some men and women in their late twenties. Jaejoong could handle a lot of things, but he hated this. He didn’t like dealing with kids and people who didn’t deserve this shit. “I’ll make a call to Yamashita to tell him. We have to go back and find out if there were any other shipments that–”

Jaejoong cut himself off. Shipments. Fuck he wanted to hit someone.

“Talk to Yoochun,” he told Yunho. Yunho would know exactly what he wanted. What he was thinking. “Get them someplace safe,” he addressed the men there. “I mean now. Call my doctor – my personal doctor – and get them checked out. I want to be updated immediately with where you’re putting them, their names, ages, their families, where they’re from, everything.”

His men seemed to scramble to get moving. Jaejoong looked again at the inside of the truck. They were scared. Skinny. Even the darker skinned kids were pale with fear, lack of food.

He watched Yunho come back from where Changmin was parked.

“Let’s go,” he said. “I’ll call Yoochun when we get there.”

Jaejoong didn’t bother asking him where they were going. He followed Yunho to his car, got in the passenger seat, and slipped on the extra pair of shades Yunho kept in his glove compartment.





Yunho took him to a restaurant that had been there since they were kids, selling American fast food and tasted amazing. It was busy, and the only way they managed to get a table was because the owner remembered them, remembered Yunho’s name and Jaejoong’s face, and pushed them through the throng of high school kids eager to rub their fingers in grease.

“They have the best pepper fries,” said Yunho casually.

Jaejoong refrained from talking. He was already feeling shitty with seeing stolen kids in the back of a ramen truck. Every time Yunho did something that he didn’t realize was so damn nice, so damn sweet, he felt messed up. And Yunho always did that. Always.

“Thanks,” he said finally, when his bowl of fries was in front of him. He had gotten a small saucer that he squirted out ketchup, and then mustard, shitty soy sauce and siracha, and then added more pepper because it was how he always made it.

He used his fingers to mix it all up, and then took one of the fries, heavily seasoned with sea salt and black pepper and cut up pieces of onions and fresh peppers, and dipped it in.

Jaejoong didn’t feel ashamed that he moaned.

“Of course you knew what I was thinking,” he said happily, looking over at Yunho eating his fat burger. The beef juice was all over his fingers, honey mustard and mayo that he wanted to lick off. Hell, it made him feel like they were eighteen again. They hadn’t eaten out together like this in a while.

“I remember fries was your next best thing. Since you quit smoking.”

“Yeah. I hate…” He dunked in three fries, stuffing them in his mouth. “You know how much I hate human trafficking. It’s where we draw the line. I had to. People buy drugs and take loans and get into shitty businesses because they want to. But kidnapping innocent kids off the street? Forcing them into sex and making them into slaves when they have their whole lives ahead of them? I always hated it. I fucking hated back then when Youngwha made me visit the slave centres. I didn’t even know the Korean underground had that until then.”

“You can’t abolish it completely. Other gangs still do it.”

“I know.”

He took a sip of the coconut water he had ordered with his meal. He was going to take away two portions of fries before he left. Maybe three. Pepper fries and grilled beef. Now he wanted some grilled beef with his fries.

“Leader Jae.”

He looked up from his fries. Yunho always called him that out of spite, out of endearment. He never really meant it. He knew that. Yunho came on board to be his wild card, out of boredom. It always went back to how he was as a kid, fighting because it excited him, because it was something to do.

“Remember when you told me you loved me?”

Jaejoong nearly choked on his fries. Yunho was not going to bring this up. A couple years had passed. They went by on having sex and being close friends and having something that couldn’t be put into words or described by basic terminology.

“I try not to,” he said.

Yunho smiled wryly. “And I told you that I didn’t.”

“Ah, I seem to remember now. Really, thank you for reminding me, Yunho.”

Yunho licked his fingers. Jaejoong hated that he watched him do it. Couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight of it.

“I don’t understand emotions, Jaejoong. You always knew this.”

“I do. Yunho, we don’t need to have this conversation. Especially not…here.”

“If someone killed you, I would burn the world down.”

Jaejoong found it hard to swallow.

“That’s how I really feel. I didn’t understand it then. But it’s how I feel now.”

Jaejoong wanted to ask him why now? Why tell him this now? But he already knew why. Yunho didn’t say things he did not mean. And Yunho didn’t say things that he absolutely was not sure of.

He felt frozen. Warm. The inside of him was melting. He would have never made it this far, without Yunho’s help. Never escaped the clutches of his bastard of an uncle without him. He never forgot that. Never.

Jaejoong ate his fries as Yunho watched him.

It had always felt so right, being next to him. Like he was meant to be there. Even now, in the old burger and fries joint not far from their childhood high school, Jaejoong couldn’t imagine anyone else.

Anyone less dangerous. Anyone that wasn’t Yunho.

Jaejoong ate his pepper fries and watched Yunho.

*


Ahhhhhhh. I couldn’t help it. This came out. Oh Yunho.



 
 
 
thetaintedblade
10 October 2018 @ 12:52 pm

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the leader of the widespread syndicate that runs underground Asia, and Yunho is his top agent and right hand man whose skills and composure are terrifying. There's Yoochun wtih a background as shrouded as his words. And Junsu the civilian cousin working as a hacker. And the new kid, Jungkook, off the street and into Jaejoong's home, put to work under cafe owner Taehyung. The threat looming stems from foreign invasion, the American Company that threatens, and is already taking over Asian soil. But there's an unknown group after the Syndicate, more personal, and directed against Jaejoong.



PART FIFTEEEN
~ Acceptance ~
Changmin hesitated in front of the Syndicate building, unwilling to look at Yoongi who would have seen the look of complete fear on his face. They had hung out an hour longer in the park, went for a late lunch and snack and then bought coffee on their way to Changmin’s new home.

It had felt odd saying that, or even thinking it.

Gone was his apartment, already sold off by Yoochun. And his old phone, leaving him with no reminders of his old life, of his parents missed calls – if there were any. If he thought about it, Changmin didn’t have any other close friends besides Yoongi. There was just Yoongi. He was never the popular guy. He just got along with everyone enough to go out for a quick meal or drinks or finish up work projects. Yoongi was the only constant for him, the only one he shared drinks with at four in the morning even though he had work and they were talking about which web comic was better.

And the street racing. Changmin had participated a few times, but he felt it was better left for the professionals. Yoongi always cursed him many a times saying that he was too insecure. Too foolish. Yoongi thought he could be a street racer too. But what his friend thought and what he thought of himself were two different entities.

Junsu met him as he walked in, taking in his expression, and Yoongi’s presence. He rubbed his temples with his knuckles, almost dragging his bag as he walked to the elevator.

“Just come on up and talk to Jaejoong. I figured this would happen.”

Yoongi sent him a look asking ‘Who’s he?’

“Yoongi, Junsu. Junsu, Yoongi. He’s the guy I saved like a dumbass.”

“Thanks again,” said Junsu dryly.

Changmin beamed. “You’re welcome.” Standing close to Junsu and Yoongi in the enclosed elevator helped ease his nervousness. Not settle, but ease. He was in fucking shambles inside, wondering what Jaejoong was going to say, what he was going to do. He wasn’t the one to seek out Yoongi, but he was the one who babbled everything to him – mainly everything – because he couldn’t tolerate being so alone anymore.

He wanted to tell Yoongi that he didn’t have to come. That they could pretend and forget that he had ever told him. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t lie to the head of the Syndicate. Common sense told him it was better to tell the truth and face his own stupidity again, even if it could lead to both he and Yoongi dying.

He hoped that it didn’t lead to that – dying.

“Stop thinking so loud,” Yoongi muttered, as the elevator stopped.

“Right? I’m already fucking tired and I can hear him think,” said Junsu. “Jae’s in his office.”

Yoongi followed them in, past the living room and kitchen, the enormous glass wall that brought light into the level. He took it all in, the modernized get up, the technology.

Junsu didn’t knock before he entered Jaejoong’s office. He walked right in, expecting them behind him.

“Here Shim, you can explain yourself to Jaejoong. I just want to nap for an hour and get rid of my headache. Jae, wake me up.”

Junsu left the office as quickly as he had entered it. It was the first time since they had met that Changmin had experienced him in such a foul mood. He must have really had a shit headache. Jaejoong thought so too. His gaze lingered on the closed door.

He leaned back on his chair, watching Yoongi. Jaejoong had his bleached hair swept back, and it made his face look gaunter, narrower than it already was. After two minutes of absolute quiet, Changmin realized that Jaejoong was waiting for him to explain himself.

“I met him in the park,” he started suddenly. “I was…sitting there. Yoongi’s accustomed to my habits so he found me. And well…honestly I missed him. I don’t miss my old life too much but I missed him. And you’re all friendly enough but I missed the only friend I have and I couldn’t not tell him. He would have gotten it out of me anyway.”

Changmin had to sit down to breathe. “I know it was stupid. I got him into this mess also. And I’m sorry.”

Jaejoong opened one of the drawers, and tossed a manila folder on the table. “That’s for you, Min Yoongi. Inside it is your life. Who you were growing up, everyone remotely related to you, who you’ve become. You swear your life to me now. Your life is no longer your own. You work for me. The small time street racing that you’re known for is not for leisure anymore. The money you make will be Syndicate money. Big money. And you’ll finally get time to see your friend.”

“I don’t have parents,” shrugged Yoongi, and it was true. But Changmin knew he had a younger brother, one he wasn’t close to, but still loved. He was giving that up for him.

“There’s another building owned under the Syndicate where you can stay. You may go back downstairs and someone will direct you to your new living arrangements.”

Yoongi nodded.

“Your phone,” said Jaejoong, and Yoongi handed it to him. Changmin was surprised he didn’t throw it. “Another one will be provided for you.”

“So my job will be the same? Participating in street racing just under the Syndicate name?”

“And other jobs that may need your services. Like getting to places quickly if the need arises.”

“Okay.”

“You may leave. Changmin stay.”

Yoongi nodded in respect, and placed his hand on Changmin’s shoulder, squeezing it briefly. He had told Yoongi all about the leader of the Syndicate, that it was Jaejoong, and that he was young. And Yoongi had just accepted it, without question, meeting him, his appearance, never doubting that this was the man that led nearly quarter of South Korea.

Changmin winced before Jaejoong could speak.

“I know I fucked up,” he said.

“You did,” said Jaejoong. “But your friend was the one that came looking for you. I expected that. You are my responsibility Changmin. You protected Junsu and I will forever be grateful for that. That is why when I tell you to do things I tell you them to protect you and to make sure that you don’t end up dead, or the ones you care for. Yoongi, is not my responsibility. He is yours. I expect you to remember that.” He didn’t look angry, and Changmin found that he could breathe now. “He is, however, a good friend. And I respect that. He accepted that he would have to work under the Syndicate without question, because you were here. I admire loyalty his loyalty.”

“Yeah, he’s like that,” Changmin mumbled.

“He wouldn’t stay here, but you can now at least meet him when you want, when you aren’t training, or performing your duties.”

“Yes Leader Jae.”

“You can leave.”





Yunho smoked a lot more often these days. He was on his fourth cigarette for the day, and his limit was three. The heel of his boots thudded against the stone ledge, tipping ash off the balcony into the depths of the late afternoon city. He had always preferred the night, when the sun dipped and the blue turned to grey, slathering the city in darkness and speckled artificial lights. In the evenings, he could smoke his cigarettes and drink coffee, kill and fight because the thrill felt better, sweeter, and sex – he looked up at the waning sun – was always better in the dimming light.

He finished off his smoke, letting the shriveled remains fall into the sidewalks and congestion below. He remained outside for a while, until Jaejoong was behind him, barefooted on the cold stone, slathered in a large robe and most assuredly with nothing underneath. There was a leather band lined with velvet on his ankle. Inside the seams, were tiny collapsible knives, precise little devices that were deadly with Jaejoong’s touch.

“Junsu painted your nails,” Yunho observed, rubbing at the black painted toes. Jaejoong sat on the ground next to him, fixing his robe underneath him, legs hanging over the ledge. The front of his robe parted, the ridges of his chest and collarbones stark white under the mid evening bright.

“He’s de-stressing. He had a headache and he’s barely been getting sleep. So he did his nails and my nails. And then left to go buy himself some fried chicken before he holes himself up in his room again.” Jaejoong showed off his fingers.

“I heard about the street racer,” he said. Jaejoong nodded, scratching at his scalp. He had just come out of the shower. His hair was freshly washed.

“I anticipated it.”

There was still splotches of red on Jaejoong’s neck and chest, left there from last night, from Yunho’s mouth and teeth and his sharp kisses.

There were other people he could have sex with. He liked sex for the pleasure, the look of unabashed undone and want on the expression of his partner. He liked squeezing his fingers into flesh and keeping it there. But sex with Jaejoong was different. It was a long while since he had had sex with someone that was not Jaejoong. The last time had been a few months ago, sent on a mission to Europe and he had wooed the Finance Minister and his wife on separate occasions.

Jaejoong had stopped asking about his other men and women. And Jaejoong had also, for many years, stopped having sex with any one else but him.

“I don’t know who was the traitor.” Jaejoong drew his legs up, propped on his palms and stretching his back. “Ken Joss is an ideal person to buy over. He’s head of the shipments between us and Yamapi. But he’s also never stepped foot in the Syndicate building, or has he ever met Junsu. Kim Kibum, he’s an infiltrator. He could easily be the traitor or seen Junsu around, and told off the information to his friends at the American Company.”

Yunho resisted the urge to light up another cigarette. He settled for the smell of drying nail polish, still heavy on Jaejoong’s skin.

“Or maybe it was Kibum, and he went there trying to buy off Joss, and ended up shooting him because Joss was trying to fight back – thus the marks on his neck. Joss shot back at him before he died, and Kibum tried to run away, dying in the process.”

“Where there any shipments that day?”

“Heroin. Shipped into ramen packets. Yoochun’s down there checking. So far nothing’s missing.”

“Why target the shipment? They have their own heroin. It has to be something with the shipment.”

“I’m waiting to find out if anyone else was there. Who handled the shipments. Who was on the liner and who was there on the docks. This is becoming a problem, and I don’t like problems.”

“It’s figuring out what happened, and why it happened. We don’t know either. Other than that two of our men are dead. And they could both be traitors.”

“Or they…” Jaejoong laid his fingers on top of his resting hand, skinny ice blocks that cooled his skin. “Yunho, what if someone attacked both of them and then got away. It still doesn’t explain why Kibum was there, though.” He sighed, gripping down and squeezing his hand.

“What makes it harder to get to the bottom of this is that there’s another group out there. If the man that shot at me, is from that unknown group, then this new player, is only after me.”

“Something from your past,” said Yunho.

“Of course it is,” Jaejoong laughed.

Overhead was a deepening grey-blue, and Yunho looked to his phone, checking the time. “I have to go,” he said, using his free hand to touch Jaejoong’s face. They were settling into this lull, something he couldn’t describe, something that was different from how they were when they were younger.

“Fighting ring. Of course. I’ll be heading to the docks to meet Yoochun. I want to see what happened for myself.”

Yunho nodded, kissing his mouth goodbye.

“Don’t die Leader Jae,” he murmured.

Jaejoong’s lips curled, and he got up, leaving the balcony past the open glass doors. He put on his newer pair of gloves, gold encrusted knuckles, and grabbed his gun that went on his waist, checking to see if his short swords were secure. Most of the times – meaning mostly all – he didn’t need them. But he didn’t like being under prepared.

The nights were better to walk, forgoing his car and his driver, and heading down the streets in the damp chill and lessening exhaust fumes. The location he’d sent Jungkook was a different one, closer to the café, well known to Syndicate members who tried their hand in becoming better by underground fighting, and those who tried to impress him by winning.

He’d purposefully chosen this location. Most of the members didn’t like him – Jungkook. He was a kid who in his first day got two Squads punished with a pay cut and demerits, and was cozying it up to the Leader that was untouchable to everyone else in the organization.

It was going to be a long night for the kid.

The fighting was going to be endless. Fighting rings had that luxury of no rules. No restraint in the number of fighters or fights to bet on. When there were no more fights to be had, that was when the fighting rings split up, and the money was shared out.

Yunho gave into buying a cup of cheap black coffee from a street shop. It was better than delving into that fifth smoke.





Taehyung had two mixers going, whipping up the batches of cream cheese frosting for tomorrow. He dusted powdered sugar on the completed strawberry cake, and then straightened, his back grateful for the last bit of leaning forward for the day. He really hoped that AJ was back by tomorrow. Otherwise he was going to have to get someone else – or two – to come help with the baking and decorating.

He also couldn’t remember the last time he got more than three hours of sleep. Ever since he took over running the shop, with the promise to Jaejoong that he would make it into a thriving, civilian friendly profit, he was waking up at four in the morning, on lucky days, half four, to stretch, drink his two cups of coffee and then start pre-mixing everything fresh for the day.

He opened up the box, slipping in the cake and locking the side, making sure that the decorated top was seen underneath the clear plastic. Carefully, he carried it outside, where the customer who had ordered it in a rushed phone call last night, a fourty something woman, was ready to cry.

Taehyung hoped that she didn’t.

“One strawberry cream cake,” he said, smiling at her as she gripped her pair of brown gloves, gasping down at the box set on the counter. Hoseok and Jungkook were finishing cleaning up, and the next few hours would be a dwindling crowd for food, and a steady stream yet for evening coffee requests.

“It’s beautiful!” She said, paying Jen who was working the cashier, lifting it up and watching it again. “My daughter would love it! Thank you so much. I’ll definitely put in a word for you with my parent circle. No other shop wanted to do a cake so last minute, but when my baker friend got sick, I had no choice but to beg. Thank you for this.”

“I’m happy to help,” he beamed, waiting until she left to slump over the counter. Hoseok came over to rub his fingers into his hair.

“You look dead Tae.”

“I am dead,” he complained. “My back hurts. My feet are giving up on me. AJ needs to come back to work or I’ll cry tomorrow. Help me Hoseok.”

Hoseok laughed heartily, pushing him off the counter to wipe it down. “You’re leaving early aren’t you? Me and Jen can manage the next few hours by ourselves. Jungkook has his other job to go to.” He glanced over at Jungkook who was cleaning off a table, where the high school students had just left, leaving a sticky trail of fingerprints and coffee stains.

“He does. I’m going to change.” Jaehyun was in the kitchen cleaning down the tables and counter, and he would wash the utensils and pack away the cream cheese frosting and what was left over from the day’s cooking. Taehyung would still double check when he got back in.

His home was upstairs the café, just the right size, the right style for him and his necessities. The four windows were covered with thin, purple curtains. There was a separate coffee machine upstairs, timed to make him coffee at four fifteen every morning. The kitchen where it was set up was small, a large enough fridge, coloured pots and pans done in lime green and rose gold because Taehyung hated the plain looking ones. A sofa that was made to sleep on, jammed close to the foot stool and flat screen television that Taehyung had spent a guilt-free fortune on. The Playstation on the television stand was permanently connected to that guilt-free flat screen.

He barely got chance to play a game from his ever-growing stack.

Taehyung washed his face and put on slacks and a baggy shirt, forgoing a bath because he didn’t have the time. When he came back, he wanted a long soak with bath salts, and a big glass of pink moscato to ease his aches. He slipped in his handgun with a silencer attached underneath the waist band of his slacks, and went downstairs.

Jungkook was by his locker, dressed in a white hoodie and his bag already strung up on his shoulder and back. He looked good today, cheeks with some colour with the rush of working, forever forcing Taehyung’s fingers to itch with a need to touch his mouth and his face.

The kid – only three years younger than him – had forced him to break his code. It was his own fault, really, his own damn fault because he hadn’t been this attracted to anyone in a long time, or maybe this was the first time he couldn’t control himself. But there was something about his face, his aura, his –

Taehyung groaned. He was being silly. He sounded like an idiot.

“Ready?” asked Jungkook.

Hoseok poked his head out from behind the barista station. “You’re walking him to his work place Tae?”

“I am. It’s my job to protect my workers, you know.”

Taehyung pushed Jungkook out the door before he could retaliate to Hoseok’s cooing.

“You’re meeting Yunho at the fighting ring?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

Jungkook walked with his hands stuffed in the open ended hoodie pockets, setting a steady pace that Taehyung tried to keep up with. He preferred slower walks.

“If you’re so tired,” spoke Jungkook, as Taehyung was staring at the pavement, “Why didn’t you stay home?”

“I told you I wanted to come. I’ll rest when I get back. I’m fine.”

Jungkook’s look said otherwise, but he shrugged it off. They crossed the road past the police station, with Jungkook looking at street signs and then to his phone. Taehyung stepped closer to take a peek.

It was a text message from Yunho with the address Jungkook was to meet him at.

“Why didn’t Yunho just send you his location?”

“He did,” said Jungkook.

“No I mean…” Taehyung broke off. There was a lot he didn’t know about Jungkook. He was excited to buy head phones and a music player and gloves. He had never tasted ice cream before. And each time he used his phone it was like it was the first time he was seeing it. Jungkook didn’t know how to use upgraded technology because he had never gotten a chance to.

That was his theory. And he trusted his theories. They were usually spot on.

“I’ll teach you later,” he said. Jungkook looked confused.

The fighting ring was underneath a Chinese restaurant, heat and oil coming from the kitchen as they passed through. They were stopped by a Chinese man, shorter than both of them, thick limbed and heavy chested. The vest he wore was bursting, and the gun lay heavily on his waist.

Jungkook tried to pass through the door, and he raised his arm to block him. Jungkook was annoyed. Taehyung bit his lip to stop himself from laughing.

“Yunho sent me,” he said, and the Chinese man looked them over before moving aside.

Yunho was already waiting, standing with his arms folded against a stone pillar, old from time and wear. The underground area was small. It was without chairs, brightly lit, and was nothing but an empty expanse filled with people and lights. There were the fighters lined up underneath the low ceiling, and crowding around in a circle were the participating betters, some casually dressed, others business men in work suits that were fancy and pressed. There was something funny about haute couture and fighting.

Kind of like Taehyung. Kind of like where a lot of his money went – buying good clothes and keeping up with his hair.

Jungkook walked over to meet Yunho. Taehyung stalled to observe the other fighters. He knew most of their faces. These were Syndicate men. They recognized him, surprised at first but then acknowledging him, some waving and the others shouting out his name. He waved back, smiling. His hand dropped. They were all watching Jungkook.

Yunho had brought Jungkook to a lion’s den – full of pent up jealousy and frustration. He went over to Jungkook and grabbed his arm.

“You better win,” he said.

“Are you scared that I wouldn’t?” Jungkook replied, remaining unfazed, some how amused at him holding his arm.

“I don’t fuck losers,” he said, not sure why his mouth liked to say things without thinking, without actually saying words that he wanted to profess. Yunho made a small noise beside them. Taehyung flushed.

“Okay,” said Jungkook, before Taehyung could properly acknowledge the older man. “I guess that’s why we’re already fucking.”

Taehyung didn’t know what to say to that. He watched Yunho smooth the organizer into starting the first match, rounding up the bets that were grossly against Jungkook. Taehyung didn’t put any money in. He stood with Jungkook’s bag and next to Yunho, anxious energy he couldn’t stop giving off because he was so excited to see Jungkook fight, and mildly terrified because he knew these men and he didn’t want to see Jungkook with his pretty face bashed in.

“He’ll win,” said Yunho.

Taehyung looked up at him, sound caught in his throat. Yunho was not a man of wasted words. He looked back at Jungkook, in the makeshift circle formed by spectating bodies and jeers.

Guess he was going to find out.






It was colder down by the docks. Jaejoong was kept in his trench coat, pulled tight over the long sleeved turtle neck sweater. Yoochun was in front of him with his Ipad, swiping through the list of shipments and workers.

Jaejoong shone light on the area Yoochun had discretely marked off. He swiped through his tablet until he came upon the picture of Kim Kibum’s body. The ground before him and the picture were nothing alike. They had wiped the crime scene clean, extra clean as per Yoochun’s regulations.

He went into the storage shed, pulling the chain to send the barred lift open. The warehouse was where the trucks were stored. The shipments were put into the trucks and then shipped off to the first meeting point, and then shuffled to the second meeting point to avoid tracking. The small room to the corner was where they printed the logos for the trucks on demand. This time, there were already printed ramen logos stuck on the side of the trucks.

There were three other such storage houses in this dock.

“Yoochun. Are there any trucks missing?”

Yoochun went through the log list, and then walked through the storage sheds. “One actually.” He leaned by the edge of the entrance, iron and galvanize pressing against his arm. “There aren’t any shipments missing. It’s all accounted for – from the order before it came from Japan, and from the amount counted in the trucks. All other workers are accounted for too. I couldn’t use the log from when the shipments arrived from the docks – Joss wrote it up.”

“We’re looking at this wrong,” said Jaejoong.

“Oh?”

“What does Japan and South Korea now have in common?”

Yoochun was sharp and Jaejoong loved him for it. “Am. Co.”

“Good. Yunho said they could have shot each other. But it’s probably the other way around.”

“They didn’t shoot each other?”

“Someone shot the both of them.”

“You think –” Yoochun smiled. “They were both traitors.”

“Yes. Kibum was there to deal with any interference to make everything go smoothly. His reasons for siding with AmCo. I don’t know them, but Joss loved money. He would have been bought off. What they were doing here, after they were done doing it, AmCo. sent someone in to clean them up. Since Junsu escaped we know there was a traitor. And Ken Joss would have talked with a little pressure.”

“They cleaned them up before we could get to them. Smart. Now we’re stuck wondering if there are any other spies, because they killed the obvious ones. Ones they already used.”

“Assuming they stole the truck,” said Jaejoong, handing Yoochun his Ipad for him to hold, walking closer to the edge of the paved concrete, looking out at the stretch of water, blackened by night. “They needed the truck to put something in it. The reason why the log’s perfect is because there’s nothing missing. They needed Joss because they wanted to ship something in. Something extra.”

“New York or the microchips.”

“The street value of New York–”

“Is much higher than heroin. It’s more potent too. The profit margin–” Yoochun made an exploding sound. “But it fucks up the users. The clientele would die down. There isn’t a long-term dream market with it. Our buyers would sooner die from cardiac arrest or end up in a coma.”

“And AmCo. knows that it’s coming from Japan. Even though we regulate it through in small amounts for the clubs, they’ve know all along that the main supplier of our drugs have been Japan.”

“There’s something bigger in Japan than the Osaka branch.”

Jaejoong nodded, pressing his forehead. He was beginning to feel quite like how Junsu was feeling earlier.

“Clean up Kim Kibum’s and Ken Joss’ mess. I don’t tolerate betrayals.”

He was going to have to harass Junsu. He needed to track that ramen truck.




*


So this chapter was mainly things I had to write. For the plot. And I finally got chance to write from Taehyung’s pov, which, needs more of because it’s kinda hard to capture him in one go. This wasn’t supposed to be so long but it is. I think I fried my brain writing this too heh.

I sort of toggled with whether or not to bring in Yoongi. But, I had to. He was Changmin's friend, his only friend, and a damn loyal one too. It's what he would have done.

 
 
thetaintedblade
03 October 2018 @ 08:54 pm

Title: Burner
Series: The Syndicate
Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong, Jungkook/Taehyung
Summary: Jaejoong is the leader of the widespread syndicate that runs underground Asia, and Yunho is his top agent and right hand man whose skills and composure are terrifying. There's Yoochun wtih a background as shrouded as his words. And Junsu the civilian cousin working as a hacker. And the new kid, Jungkook, off the street and into Jaejoong's home, put to work under cafe owner Taehyung. The threat looming stems from foreign invasion, the American Company that threatens, and is already taking over Asian soil. But there's an unknown group after the Syndicate, more personal, and directed against Jaejoong.


*
PART FOURTEEN
~Possession~


Some twenty or less years ago
Jaejoong

Things were good, considering the misdirection his life had taken. He was still working in the café, working the cashier and fixing coffee for customers. He also upgraded to sitting in on small meetings, helping keep the books for the illegally run money lending, going with them on their visits to collect what was theirs plus interest.

It had been more than a year, since his new life had started. And Jaejoong was somehow getting accustomed to it.

The other thing he had become acclimatized to was Yunho’s presence. He more than often came to the café he worked at, buying nothing but Americanos and fresh brew, dumping in sugar and annoying Jaejoong because he didn’t let anyone else make his coffee or serve him but Jaejoong.

It was by luck that no one from the Syndicate had figured it out yet, who Yunho was, who his father was. But Jaejoong knew that they wouldn’t touch him. The Syndicate may have had deep connections, but the Jung Cooperation owned most of Korea. And his father was a powerful man.

Their friendship was unordinary. Jaejoong had stopped going to Sun’s mechanic shop on mornings, and he hadn’t seen the older man in two months. It was difficult to go back to the smell of gas and grease, after he had killed a man out of anger, out of his own thirst of revenge. It didn’t seem right, to taint the old man with his blood stained hands.

So Jaejoong ran on mornings. Drank his coffee and went to school, meeting up with Yunho with his string of injuries that became less each day. Some days Yunho skipped school, or showed up just to show him his bruises on his chest, and his abdomen. The Jung heir didn’t tell him how he got them, only that it was a necessary evil and that he liked it.

And Jaejoong believed him. Since the bruises came, since that day Yunho had kissed him, Yunho was brighter somehow. The inherent boredom that came about with Yunho’s outward persona was diminished. Whatever Yunho did after school was helping. And Jaejoong liked seeing him like this, alive, eyes brighter with an excitement to live. There was a dark edge in how he looked, and it suited him, with his growth spurt that left Jaejoong shorter, even though he was sixteen and Yunho was still a year younger.

It was after school hours. It was a rare day that Jaejoong had gotten off from the café, and Haesu had gone with his uncle again to some other part of Korea, so he was free of his training for the evening. He and Yunho walked out the school gates, watching the Bentley parked in front to take Yunho home. His driver was waiting next to it, almost, but not quite leaning against the polished car door.

“Come with me,” he said suddenly.

Jaejoong looked at him, confused. “Come with you where?”

Yunho barely glanced at him. “Just come with me,” he said, the driver opening the car door for him to enter the back seat. The picture of Yunho’s figure was gone as the door closed, and the driver went around to the next side, opening the door for Jaejoong.

Jaejoong gripped the handle of his school bag, sighing and giving in to the Jung’s whims. It wasn’t the first time that he had done it, gone along with what Yunho wanted because there was nothing better to do. And on days like these, when he could forget that he was part of a crime organization, and that he wasn’t a cold-blooded murderer, he realized that he only other person he had besides Younghwa was…well, Yunho.

He got in the car, let the driver close the door after him, shoving his bag next to Yunho’s. Yunho had his eyes closed, head leaned back, enjoying the silence of a car drive without music. Jaejoong preferred drives with the music on.

The Bentley stopped off in front of a mansion. Jaejoong was wide eyed as he came out of the convertible, looking up and up at the huge expanse of modern housing and the surrounding land, too clean, too perfect, looking too much like a picture in a glossy magazine print. He didn’t watch television. So he had never seen anything concerning the Jung family. Where they lived. What they did. Or even much about what Yunho’s parents looked like.

He followed Yunho into the house, the front doors opened for them by a tall man in a pressed suit.

“Young master,” he said in greeting. Yunho gave a short nod of acknowledgement, Jaejoong scuttling behind him, feeling awkward and small. Inside was larger than how the outside looked, so high up, the stairs spiraling and shiny, the delicately large chandelier hanging above them. Jaejoong had never seen such grandeur, and it came to him that Yunho lived in a completely different world from everyone else.

They went up the spiraling staircase and down a hallway, decorated with picture frames of paintings and family portraits, statues and ornaments adorning oak-wood furnishings. He was in Yunho’s bedroom, one that could fit three of his own bedroom back in his uncle’s house, and Youngwha was not a poorly man. It was surprisingly sparse, a bed, a counter, a separate door to the bathroom, and another to the cupboard. Yunho didn’t have picture frames or posters up on his wall. He had a bookcase that was brimming with spines, two laptops on the table next to an audio system. And there was a pair of leather gloves tossed onto his bed, one side on top of a pillow, the other in the mess of black sheets.

Yunho unzipped his school jacket, and threw off his undershirt. It landed near Jaejoong’s feet. Yunho’s skin was darker than his own, and his body, Jaejoong stared, was different. Firmer. More defined. Yunho grinned before going into his cupboard. He came back out in faded jeans and sleeveless shirt, and a bundle of clothes in his hand that he threw in his lap and face.

“Get dressed. They should fit you.”

Jaejoong picked up the thin looking shirt and skinny jeans. “What? Why?”

“Because where we’re going you can’t be seen in your school uniform. So get dressed.”







They were dropped off in front of café that Jaejoong worked for, Yunho’s driver disappearing into the busy city streets.

“Coffee,” was all Yunho said, and Jaejoong went with him into the Syndicate run shop, grimacing when Mino shouted his name, and King – whose name was really King – grinned as he leaned over the counter.

“Couldn’t resist coming in on your day off kiddo?”

“I’m missing you guys so much,” Jaejoong cooed sweetly, and King broke off into his raucous laughter, settling enough to take their order. They went elsewhere to eat with their sandwiches and coffee, iced Americanos frosty wet in their fingers, finding an old, rubbed off bench on the sidewalk to sit.

Jaejoong watched Yunho peel back the crinkly wrapper, not quite hungry yet, and content enough to drink his cold black coffee.

“After this is one more year of school,” said Yunho, biting into his sandwich. “What do you plan to do?”

Jaejoong pondered with his mouth around the plastic straw, looking down through the clear lid at the coffee sloshing. “I don’t know,” he answered truthfully. He didn’t. Even before the incident, he hadn’t known, thinking that he’d figure it out by now, or in his last year. But he hadn’t. He couldn’t. He didn’t know if he would even have a choice in his future, with the way his life was heading, the way Youngwha was so carefully constructing his choices to further him up the Syndicate ladder.

“What about you?” he asked. “Are you gonna work for your dad?”

“Don’t know.” Yunho stopped eating his sandwich. “I get bored.” He looked at Jaejoong. “I’m always bored.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Yunho had him walking again, finishing up his coffee as they left the proper part of the city, walking into the streets of gang territory. Jaejoong wanted to ask him why, to warn him that they could get injured, robbed, that he was the Jung heir and that made him so much more a target than Jaejoong could ever be, but he kept silent.

Somehow, Yunho was a person that the world couldn’t touch. He walked calmly along the empty sidewalk, the skies dipping from light blue to deepening grey. Jaejoong checked his phone. It was ten minutes after six. He still didn’t know where they were going.

Yunho finally stopped in front of an old building. Run down, in need of a fresh coat of paint and maybe Clorax wipes and Lysol. It appeared devoid of recent human inhabitants, and Yunho opened the creaky door, expecting Jaejoong to keep following him. He did.

The door creaked itself to a close. There were a few new light bulbs, swinging above them on stringy wires. The room was barren, and surprisingly clean. There was the muffled mixture of music and voices, and Jaejoong was led into another room, where the lights were suddenly bright, and the loudness slapped at him that he was stunned, standing there unable to take in his surroundings.

There were throngs and throngs of people, all loud and shouting and standing. Further down, past the barrier and down the steps was a ring, a large, single ring erected from the ground, with two men going at each other with bare hands and feet. There was a makeshift referee, a middle-aged man with new clothes and with his hands pressed up onto the arena edge, watching the match and guarding a mic underneath his fingers.

“Is this…a fighting ring?”

Yunho pushed past people, shoving them hard enough so that Jaejoong didn’t have to. They went into a shoddily lit corridor, into a small, poorly room that had a couple old lockers and two sturdy benches.

“I come here to fight,” he said, taking out the gloves Jaejoong had seen in his room, strapping them to his wrists.

“This is where you come all the time. This is why you always have bruises. Do they know you’re underage?”

“Do you think they care?”

No, Jaejoong didn’t think so. Underground fighting and betting were already illegal. What was one, underage kid compared to that.

“What about you?” said Yunho.

“What about me?”

“You work in that café. You’re not eighteen yet. It’s run by gang members.”

Jaejoong stiffened. Of course Yunho knew. He was always particularly astute about everything, even if he didn’t care or took interest.

“They don’t care either.”

Yunho took a seat on the bench, and Jaejoong joined him, rubbing his palms against the prickly wood, smelling the sweat that couldn’t be scrubbed from the small room.

“Why did you bring me here?” he asked.

“To see me fight.”

“Oh.” Jaejoong glanced at Yunho; the way he had said it, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

A fat man came into the room, vest sweaty and grease stained, arm tattooed from his shoulder to wrist. His chain jangled as he walked. He grinned broadly as he saw Yunho.

“Ready to fight boy?”

He finally saw Jaejoong. “Who’s your friend?” His look was a putrid slime that had settled over his skin. He wasn’t so far away from them, and as they stood, Jaejoong could smell his breath.

“He’s mine,” said Yunho, brushing past him. Jaejoong glared at Yunho’s back, but he didn’t retort, not when the older man had bristled and then sneered, backing away from Jaejoong as he tried to keep up with Yunho.

He didn’t need Yunho trying to protect him. A place like this was nothing compared to the people he was beginning to surround himself with, men that killed others for money, for revenge, for fun.

He was one of them.

“You can stay here,” said Yunho, swallowing the noise and the smell and the sheer excitement of the atmosphere. He seemed to breathe it in, becoming more animated, becoming darker.

Jaejoong couldn’t answer because he was staring.

“Kid fighter versus Jaguar! Place your bets! They’ve both won more matches than they’ve lost. Come on up!”

Jaguar was a dark skinned man, clean shaven and bald, and with lean muscle that reminded Jaejoong of Mino. He had never seen Mino fight before. But Jaguar was not Mino. He was shirtless to Yunho’s thin threaded vest, fists up that bore no gloves.

Jaejoong had a feeling that the gloves were more for style than for practical use. It seemed like a Yunho thing to do.

The makeshift judge raised his right arm, tipping his fingers and slashing air as he brought it back down. “Go!”

Yunho remained where he was. Jaguar circled him, taking small steps, shuffling around to intimidate him. Yunho went from bored to absolutely elated. His grin was wide, a grin that Jaejoong hadn’t seen before, so wicked that Jaejoong knew he was going to win.

Yunho darted in with a fist aimed for his abdomen. Jaguar blocked it with his forearms, bringing his knee up for the extra coverage and slammed his knuckles into Yunho’s face. His head snapped back, and there was blood on the corner of his mouth where his knuckles had cut flesh.

Yunho licked it away. He went in again, ducking the next punch, turning his body and rocking into a kick with his hips, swinging his foot into Jaguar’s side. The momentum sent him stumbling, and Yunho kicked him again, using the top of his shoes to slam into the same spot, wringing out a loud groan and sending him to the streaked floor.

He was on top of him as soon as he fell, fist raised and then straight down into Jaguar’s face, punching him, and then again and again until Jaejoong saw blood. The judge ran up to rest a hand on Yunho’s shoulder, stepping back when Yunho turned around. There was too much blood lust in his gaze.

The judge grabbed his hand, lifting it high up into the throes of screaming and jeers, people shouting out his given name of ‘Kid Fighter’.

Jaejoong couldn’t stop staring. There was something about the way Yunho looked at this moment, alive, heavy, dangerous. Jaejoong felt like he was there but he wasn’t. The noise wasn’t so loud. His chest felt so hot and his breathing wasn’t working the way he wanted it to. And when Yunho looked at him, finally turning his gaze of fight and lust and that need to win, Jaejoong fled.

He ran back into the little dressing room, slamming his hand into the locker, breathing hard. He closed his eyes, trying to catch himself, trying to force away that feeling of want and need and he just didn’t understand what was happening to him.

He heard when Yunho came. Jaejoong turned around, staring at him again. Yunho looked–

He was kissing him. Jaejoong couldn’t think or breathe just that Yunho was kissing him. His mouth was soft, lips that opened and closed and Jaejoong opened up his mouth for him. There was that feeling in his stomach, that feeling, and he gripped his fingers into Yunho’s shirt, pushing himself closer, kissing back as much as he could without breaking for air.

Yunho left his mouth and went for his neck, the curve of his neck and his throat, scraping his teeth and then biting, kissing, torturing flesh that had Jaejoong keening and unsure. His fingers were tight into Yunho’s vest and skin, and Yunho’s hands came to rest on his waist, squeezing him pulling him with him as he went down onto the bench.

He was on Yunho’s lap, watching his face, his eyes, his mouth. He let his fingers run across his cheek, the indent of an old scar underneath his eye, the wet feel of blood left from Jaguar’s knuckles, swiped by the corner of his lips. Jaejoong bent down to lick it. His tongue ran across Yunho’s mouth, and he kissed him again, grabbing his face, held tight by Yunho’s grip on his waist.

He could feel Yunho, the hardness between his legs, rubbing against his own, constricted by the skinny jeans. He wanted to be closer, so much closer. Jaejoong groaned, head falling onto Yunho’s shoulder, rubbing himself against the hardness that felt so good.

Yunho was content to let him. His arm wrapped itself around his waist, and his other hand reached up to pull at his hair, yanking his head back, giving him the pleasure of his throat and chest, pale and exposed for Yunho to kiss.

Jaejoong just remembered how good it felt, the bites into his neck and chest, the feel of Yunho’s fingers on his nipples, his clothed prick rubbing into Yunho’s and kissing him again.

He came with a soft cry into Yunho’s neck, biting into the flesh there hard, feeling just a bit possessive in return to Yunho’s earlier statement. Jaejoong kept his forehead against the sticky cool skin and wet cloth, out of breath, panting. His palms were still tight into the flat of Yunho’s back.

“You liked that,” said Yunho.

“Of course I liked that, we both came,” Jaejoong scoffed, glad that his embarrassed face was hidden against Yunho’s shoulder.

“No. You liked seeing me fight. You got off on watching me beat Jaguar.”

Jaejoong lifted his head, pulling away. His balance was delicately held by Yunho’s arm supporting him.

His whole face was hot.

“I…”

“You interest me, Kim Jaejoong,” Yunho whispered, raising his head to kiss him again, biting his lower lip not so gently. The heat that Jaejoong felt never left him, enjoying the feel of Yunho’s mouth, wondering why he had never kissed before.

Everything was becoming so messed up. Everything. And he wondered if it was okay, to feel and think and act how he was, how everything was changing, and he was accepting that change.

“Of course I’m interesting,” he replied, resting his cool hand on Yunho’s face, where the bruise was settling in. He wanted to wish it away. He rubbed again at the blood beginning to cake. “We should…” Jaejoong grimaced, touching his own warm cheeks, “Probably clean up.”

*

Hi.