WARNING: Violence, Death, Blood, Sexual Content, Profanity. Don't read if you aren't comfortable.
(THIS IS A LONG CHAPTER BECAUSE I'M LATE POSTING THIS. NOT ALL CHAPTERS WILL BE THIS LONG LOL.)
The night was darker and more ominous as the moon cascaded terrifying shadows. Yixing remembered it like the back of his hand. He was just five years old, already in bed when his mother slid into his room, closing the door behind her quietly. Yixing, who couldn’t fall asleep while also watching the suspicious shadows, noticed his mother immediately.
He squealed loudly, extending his arms to her. He knew he was too big to be picked up. He was five years old, practically a man his father told him. But Yixing loved his mother and his mother loved him. They were the epitome of the saying, “two peas in a pod.”
Their relationship was merely indescribable. That’s how Yixing knew something was awry when his mother shushed him quietly pushing his arms down.
“Yixing honey, not now. Mommy needs you to be a big boy okay?”
Yixing nodded eagerly and smiled as his mother cupped his face tenderly. Then all of a sudden there was a loud bang, then another and Yixing, curiosity gripping him, ran to the door, gripping the doorknob. Yixing was oblivious to his mother’s concerned expression and pouts when she grabs him from behind, pulling him away from the door and into her arms as the knob turned slowly, revealing Yixing’s father.
Yixing literally felt the breath of relief leave his mother’s body but was too elated as he ran to his father who picked him up swiftly. Yixing held onto his father’s shoulder leaning into his neck as his parents exchanged quiet words. He didn’t pay much attention as he played with a stray string on his father’s shirt.
“We can’t pay them...He already took the people above us out.”
“Oh god...Honey, we don’t have enough. What about Yixing? We can’t let them-“
“We’ll fight them...I’ll fight them. I can-”
There’s suddenly a loud crack, and Yixing is thrown into his closet. He whimpered and tried to crawl to his mother who is fighting tears as there are loud shouts heard outside their door. Yixing’s father look at the two of them, his husband and only child as the shouts get nearer.
“In the closet! The both of you now!”
A bang comes from Yixing’s door and Yixing’s mother can only kiss him on the face before she places him in the dark corner of the closet. She’s crying by now as she quiets Yixing before she closes the door. But not completely and Yixing positions his eye through the crack as he sees three figures shrouded in black pointing something at his parents.
Then there’s a bang and Yixing closed his eyes, and only heard his mother’s scream. Tears blurred his vision as he looked on and saw his father on the floor, a pool of blood pooling underneath his head. Fear gripped him and he barges from the closet door and ran to his mother. He’s too late as he watched one of the miniature figures cock a gun and shoot his mother in the face. Blood splattered on Yixing’s face and his body was rigid, frozen in place. Shock took over and Yixing’s hands trembled as he reached towards his dead mother’s body. He doesn’t make it when the tallest of the three figures grabbed his arm and tossed him across the room.
Yixing cried out in pain and tried to crawl toward his mother’s body. He is knocked back again, this time by the smallest figure out of the three that cocks his gun right between Yixing’s eyes.
“Should I kill him? We probably should right?”
Yixing only cried more when suddenly the figure was pushed aside by the figure who hadn’t moved at all.
“Leave him be. He’s just a dumb kid. He won’t be a threat.”
Yixing watched the silent conversation that goes on after and before he realized his fate he saw the smallest figure frown and put his gun up before a thumb presses into his space between his shoulder neck and he blacks out.
“It’s just up here.” Luhan signals to Suho who is driving.
Suho nods curtly, parking the car a few blocks away from a local antique store. Their next and final target. It had been a long day and everyone was ready to get this over with. Tao especially.
The maknae bends forward from his seat in the back and places his chin on a strong shoulder, whimpering, “Yah hyung. Is this the last one? I’m ready to go home.”
Kyungsoo scoffs quietly from his place beside Tao and gets out the car quickly. He motions to Suho and the man beside him that he was going in.
They both nod and watch as Kyungsoo briskly makes his way to the shop, his face stern. Tao leans back in his seat, stretching his arms.
“Well, at least it’s not as cramped in here now. For a small guy, D.O hyung has some muscle on him.”
Luhan snickers, his eyes not moving from the laptop screen he was studying.
“Don’t let him hear that. He doesn’t tell us much about him but everyone knows that’s one of his biggest peeves. Don’t ever call him small or you’ll be sorry.”
Tao whispers something incoherent in Chinese under his breath and Luhan steals a glance at him. Tao sticks his tongue out at him, while Luhan whispers something back more loudly in warning. Tao rolls his eyes and crosses his arms, turning his attention back the duo in the front seat.
“Hyung you never answered me. Suho hyung you didn’t either.”
Suho doesn’t answer, his eyes fixated on the store Kyungsoo had just entered a moment ago. He turns to the man beside him.
“Kris. We should go in now. By now Kyungsoo is probably-”
Kris holds his hand up in understanding and turns in his seat to face Tao and Luhan in the back.
“Tao. This is not a place for complaining. Do the work until it’s done. But yes to answer your question, this is the last one for today.”
Tao does a little dance in his seat before regaining his composure after a look from Luhan and Suho. The only sound in the car is from the rapid tap of Suho’s finger on the steering wheel. Kris assumes it’s from nervousness. And he knows exactly why.
“Kris we really should go in now. You know how unstable Kyungsoo can get. We don’t need him screwing this up.”
Kris sighs, silently agreeing with his co-leader. He glances at Luhan who glances at him and nods. Kris runs his hands through his styled hair as Suho gets out the car.
“Alright. Tao, I don’t need to explain your role again, do I?”
“No sir! I got this.”
Kris nods and gets out the car, the frigid, cold wind slamming against his face. How did Kyungsoo ever keep a stern face with this kind of wind? Kris can’t help but chuckle at his own thought. Who was he kidding? This was Kyungsoo he was talking about.
Kris makes his way to Suho, who is already heading inside. Looking back at Tao, he spots the boy putting his scarf on awkwardly, the wind blowing the fabric frantically. Tao catches him staring and smiles shyly. Kris strides over to the boy and fixes his scarf before walking to the store. He tries to ignore how warm Tao’s fingers were next to his cold and rubs his hands together. He can hear the shouts by the time he’s at the door. He glances at Tao, his face stern and humorless, and nods. Tao has the same expression and nods right back.
Kris opens the door and is not surprised to find a chaotic scene. Glass figurines, smashed their pieces scattered across the floor, huge clocks tipped over, and Kyungsoo with a gun pointed at an elderly man. Kris spots Suho who’s positioned himself by Kyungsoo his gun pointed at a woman, probably the man’s wife. They’re both tied up, their legs and hands bound with rope. Kris advances toward them allowing Tao to close the door and lock it. Tao then proceeds to close the blinds.
Kris stops in front of the two owners and inspects the damage. The man seems barely strong enough to lift up his head as Kyungsoo administers another heavy blow to his cheek. Blood flies out of the man’s mouth as he looks around the room staggeringly until he sees Kris. His eyes open wide as he suddenly realizes what’s actually going on. Kris stares him right in the eye and shakes his head slightly.
“I assume now you know the cause of this little predicament you’re in right now.”
Kris walks over to the man who’s following his every footstep until Kris is standing beside him. Kyungsoo crosses his arms as Suho looks on. Kris places his hands on the elderly man’s shoulder softly, massaging them gently.
“So let’s not waste any time. We are here for your payment. Pay us what you owe or there will be frightful consequences that none of us really don’t want to see.”
Kyungsoo snorts at that moment and Kris grins over at him, “Well some of us may want to. Which is all the more reason to make this quick before...someone gets hurt.”
The man is shaking under Kris’s grip and Kris knows this will be another successful mission. D.O would be disappointed but at least they wouldn’t have to waste any time cleaning up. Kris steps away from the man and stands with Suho and Kyungsoo.
“So what’ll it be sir?”
The man spits out a mouthful of blood near Kris’ feet.
“You people are just a bunch of greedy, blood-sucking monsters and I won’t pay you a single dime. My wife and I have worked our asses ever since we built this place from scratch! For you to...to...threaten us...after what you did... How can you live with yourself? How?!”
Kris’s smile suddenly shifts into a frown. What a shame. He didn’t think this old bag would be so resilient. Disappointing since this place had so many valuables. It probably has some good history too. Kris swiftly waves his hand at Suho, sending a silent message. Kris didn’t want to resort to this but this man obviously needed some encouragement.
Suho walks over to the man’s wife who hadn’t moved for a while, her body releasing small cries from time to time. Kris sees that Kyungsoo has already roughed her up as his eyes catch her bruised eye and bleeding lip. Suho yanks the woman’s hair back, revealing her face. Tears are streaming down her face and her eyes meet her husband’s pleadingly before Suho cocks his gun and shoots her in the mouth. Blood splatters on everything nearby, including the man and Suho himself.
“Shit! I got some of the bitch on my face.” Suho complains, knocking her chair over with his feet.
Her body lays lifeless as Suho tucks his gun back into his coat and gets a napkin from Kyungsoo and wipes his face off. Kris glances at the body sadly before turning to the stunned man. He makes sure to mentally stable his voice before speaking.
“Now why’d you have to make us do that? Your poor wife is dead now because of you.”
The man suddenly emits a primal scream full of anger and vengeance for his deceased wife. He lunges at Kris, his hands somehow free with a knife aimed at Kris’s chest.
“You killed my wife you bastard!! I’ll k-”
Kris doesn’t even flinch as Kyungsoo steps between them and holds his hand out, his body like acting like a wall. The knife pierces his hand, drawing blood and the man has a look of confusion on his face as he takes in what just happened. The expression melts away in a matter of seconds, however, as Kyungsoo grabs the man with his other hand pushing the pressure point located on his shoulder. The man sinks to his knees wailing, where Kyungsoo then knees him in the face making him fall on his back. The man barely has enough time to breathe when Kyungsoo jumps on top of the man, beating his face in with his bare hands.
Suho curses and turns away from the ruthless assault and exits the shop, knowing that this mission is wasted. He gestures for Tao to follow him who graciously follow his orders, thankful to get away from the dreadful scene. Kris looks on as the man shouts for help as Kyungsoo batters him relentlessly, his hands now stained with the man’s blood. Kris knew better than to try to stop Kyungsoo now. It’s not long before he knows it’s finally over when Kyungsoo steps off the man and grabs his gun, shooting him point blank in the head. It was always gruesome to look on when he got like this, but Kris knew the story behind Kyungsoo’s cold-bloodedness. He was the only one did. That’s why he’s not surprised to see Kyungsoo’s typical emotionless face coated with not just blood but also tears when he turns to look at Kris.
“We're done here.”
Kris nods and leaves Kyungsoo to dispose of the store. Suho drives up to meet him and he enters the car. Kris crosses an X next to the couple’s name in his black book. Suho’s complaining about getting a new coat and Tao is silent. Luhan doesn’t even have to ask about the outcome of the mission when Kyungsoo swiftly walks out the store with a match in his hand. Kris notices that his face is spotless, the tears and blood stains vanished without a trace. The match falls in a way that’s graceful almost, and Kris can’t even bear to look, as the flames sprout up little by little until their engulfing the store. His father always told him memories made him weak. That he should always look forward and never back. He couldn’t resist though as they drove away, turning back as he remembered that night. That night he couldn’t forget.
“Yixing, dear boy, can you fetch me a lollipop for this wonderful patient?”
Lay nods and grabs the candy from the jar behind him. Mr.Lee and he had just finished a child's routine check-up and it was customary to treat them with a lollipop at the end. Lay smiles cheerfully and offers the lollipop to the boy who had finished his shots and was now rubbing his arm.
"Here you go little one," Lay congratulates and brushes the boy's cheek, wiping the tears. "You did a great job!"
The boy's face brightens and he grabs the lollipop, grinning widely, "Thank you."
Lay ruffles the boy's hair and extended his hand earnestly. "Wanna see your mommy and daddy and tell them how good you were?"
The boy nods his head excitedly and seizes Lay's hand, pulling him to the waiting office. Lay smiles as the boy ramble on , his words not even clear because of the candy in his mouth. Lay leads them outside the doctor’s office and into the waiting room, where other people were sitting and reading magazines awaiting their turn. The boy suddenly releases Lay’s hand and runs to a duo that Lay assumes are the parents.
“Look Mommy! They gave me a shot and I was so good they even gave me a lollipop!”
The mother smiles at her son and embraces him, congratulating him. The father takes up the boy and spins him around, grinning as the boy squeals. Still holding the boy in his arms, the father makes his way over to Lay, who had been watching the entire time.
“Thank you again, doc. We really appreciate you doing this. Our store hasn’t been doing so well and I don’t know how we would’ve been able to pay another doctor bill.”
Lay smiled weakly, trying to keep his voice stable. “Hey. That’s why we’re here. I hope everything works out for your business,” Lay paused and poked the boy’s side, “and for you too little one.”
The parents bowed politely and Lay did the same, not lifting his head up from the floor until they were completely gone. Lay tries to hold it in. Never did he ever let his feelings overtake him. However Lay is helpless as the tears flow. His nails dig into his palm and he squeezes his eyes shut as if that’ll stop the tears streaming from his eyes. Lay winces as a small hand squeezes his shoulder reassuringly.
“Young man,” the voice is soft and sweet, “are you alright?”
Lay draws back from the women and hurriedly wipes his tears. The elderly woman is dressed in a tattered and old sweater and skirt with her thin gray hair tied up in a ponytail. Without warning, Lay hugs the old women tightly not wanting to let go. The woman laughs and pats Lay’s back.
“My my. That was really sudden. I guess that does mean you’re alright then hm?”
Realizing his actions, Lay jerks away from the old lady and bows, spewing apologies. Why had he just done that? He ignores his question as he sees an elderly man making his way over to them. Oh geez, this guy is probably this lady’s husband!
The elderly lady chuckles at Lay’s hysterical actions as the elderly man takes his place beside his wife. He looks at Lay curiously.
“Are you alright son?”
Lay halts his bowing to look at the pair in front of him. Lay’s heart skips a beat as memories began appearing in his mind. Memories he had kept in the back of his mind never to be brought up again yet this elderly couple just now somehow succeeded in doing so. Lay suppress the itch to hug them again and just nods his head to signal that he was okay.
The elderly couple doesn’t seem to notice his inner struggle and smiles back at him. The man extends his hand out in greeting. Lay grasps the hand firmly. It was weird. Even his grip is like... Lay releases the man’s hand quickly, anxious to get away from the couple.
“Uh,” Lay stammers, “If you would excuse me. I should probably get back to work. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Lay turns and races out of the waiting room, ignoring the elderly pair’s responses. He does hear the last few words they utter,
“Come visit our antique store too. You may find something you like!”
Lay forces a smile on his face and turns around and nods. Then he’s closing the door and immediately sinks down to his knees. Why did those old people…remind him so much of those memories? Why did they remind him so much of his parents? Lay takes a breath, his heart and mind racing. This didn’t make sense. His parents had died almost sixteen years ago but yet it was like they were just in front of him. Lay rushes to his feet, hearing footsteps advancing towards him. He’s barely done wiping his face when Mr. Lee stops in front of him, his face full of worry.
“Yixing! Are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
Lay almost laughs at the accuracy of his mentor’s observation. Had he just seen his parents? He pushes the question to back of his mind with the rest of his memories. Almost instinctively, Lay puts a smile on.
“No no, Mr. Lee. I’m alright sir. Should we move on to our next patient?”
Mr. Lee gazes at Lay, his brow scrunched up in worry. Then like a switch, he is smiling and patting lay’s shoulder.
“Alright then. Let’s do a couple more and then finish up for today. Go get our next patients. I think they’re a couple.”
Lay is thankful for his skill at hiding his emotions when he nods cheerfully and turns to go retrieve the pair. Inside his heart is pounding against his chest and his stomach is twisting. He enters the waiting room and looks down at the patient list. Lay’s voice is barely audible when he reads the name.
“The Zhang couple? Is the Zhang couple here?”
Zhang? But that...that was his surname and it certainly wasn’t one you heard often. Lay hurriedly looks up from his list for any sign of movement. His eyes scan the tiny room seeing no one responding to the name. Lay’s voice quivers as he repeats the name again.
Then he notices. The elderly couple wasn’t here. Could that be the reason why he... Lay calls the name again to confirm his thoughts. He is not surprised when he doesn’t receive any attention. Lay can’t fight the thoughts even more. That elderly couple he saw, could they have been his grandparents? Lay had no recollection of his grandparents but he had to...he had to know if maybe he wasn’t entirely alone.
Lay quickly calls the next name and brings the patient to Mr. Lee. He is unable to hide his anxiety as he rushes through the rest of the appointments. He is thankful to Mr. Lee who allows him to leave and have a good night.
Racing to the only antique store in town, Lay struggles to not get his hopes high. All his life he had only felt alone and the thought of finally having someone that he could relate to, that he could talk to. He can't help as his pace quickens so much, he doesn't even know he's running. The bitter wind rushes against his face, bringing tears to his eyes. Lay doesn't let up as he almost trips over his own feet when he turns the corner to the street of the antique store.
The sight alone leaves Lay speechless as he takes in the scene in front of him. He takes slow steps as he inspects the police cars scattered around the outside of the store along with a group of firefighters walking out of an empty lot. The smoke burns his eyes and nose as he gets closer and closer to what once was the antique store. Instead of a building it is now a pile of black rubble, scorched without a trace. The scene needs no explanation as Lay's heart drop to the ground.
Lay runs his hands through his hair as he kicks the wall beside him. Emotion taking over, he pounds the wall with his fists, tears staining the sidewalk beneath him. Suddenly, he sinks to his feet with his back to the wall, depression weakening all his limbs. It was hopeless. It was hopeless for him to have a family. It was hopeless for him to have love. It was hopeless for him to be nothing but alone. Tears fall down his face as he scrunches his body up and places his head on his knee, still sobbing.
Lay didn’t know how long he stayed like that but when he finally rose his head, the police were gone. The block was deserted apart from him. He lets out a wearied sigh and struggles to get on his feet, his entire lower body asleep from being stuck in that position for so long. The street seems almost creepy with how quiet it is and Lay struggles to wake his body up as he turns the corner . It was obviously late and he knew Jongin would be worried about him.
A voice, quiet but rich, that breaks the night’s silence and Lay’s heart almost jumps out of his chest. Lay peeks around the corner into the direction of the empty lot and sees a figure. Lay squint his eyes and tries to make out the figure but fails, the night impairing his vision. He can recognize styled hair and long legs.
“Not a policeman...” Lay mutters as he leans his head forward so he can make out the guy’s words, not moving from his place behind the wall.
The man’s voice is calm and cool that Lay could only imagine a playboy would sound like. It was oddly attractive which only made Lay more curious to see the man.
“Yes. I’m at the lot now. The police have left and I made sure that they-”
The man’s voice immediately cuts off and Lay sees his posture stiffen. Lay barely has his head back around the corner when the man snaps his head in his direction. Lay hold his breath as his heart pounds again his chest in nervousness. After a minute, Lay gathers up the courage to peek around and sees an empty street, the man now gone.
Lay can only return home, thoughts rushing through his mind.
Who was that man? And why was there so late? Was he a detective? Or maybe something else?
He gets home only to find Jongin asleep on the couch, still in his dance practice clothes. Lay smiles at the sight of his friend, knowing that he stayed up all night waiting for him. He makes sure to place a blanket over the younger before heading into his room.
Exhausted, he falls into bed hugging his pillow as he drifts off to sleep, the mysterious figure in his mind.
The mysterious figure in the dark.
Yes, I know this is late but I've recently been recovering from having my appendix taken out on top of school. I will try to update as often as I can so please bear with me.