Who: Woo wonjae x Reader
What: Crime and romance
Story: I used to catch the bad guys now they bet money on me in fights.
I was at the gym punching away my frustrations and last night's donuts. A fire storm of fists pounded into the punching bag while my body began to sweat like I had run four miles. The taste of salt met my tongue when I licked the side of my lip. There was a rap song playing in my ears from my phone and my punches landed in time with each beat. This was always my routine, go to the gym and train my ass off until it was time to go to the underground fights.
After my brother's murder, I handed in my badge. Minsik, my former partner, didn't think I'd stay away. Being a cop was as natural to me as breathing yet for two years, I had nothing to do with cops. Now I made my money in underground fights and the man who bet on me always expected me to win.
I was beating the punching bag to a pulp, so much so the chain that held it rattled against the metal bar. The bag was shifting backwards making me move towards it. I was attacking it with fists of fury but adrenaline for tonight's fight was coursing through my veins. I panted as I gave it my all. Before I knew it, the song in my ear had long ended and another one was playing. I kept moving, I used my legs to beat up the punching bag as well.
My father always prided himself in knowing that his little girl could fight anyone; however, his vision for me went beyond that of a cop. In reality, he never expected my choices in life to lead me to becoming a cop. In fact, where my life ended up now is probably the way he pictured it to begin.
The last case I was on revolved around my father's involvement with drug trafficking into Korean ports. It seemed to make sense why he was alway leaving for business trips when I was a kid but I never knew what he did for a living. After I realized he was involved with drug trafficking, me and my partner started investigating him but we never found solid evidence that proved he had anything to do with the case we were working on. Any evidence we did find apparently went missing, clearly an inside job. My brother was different, he was strong like me but he was mostly into the science aspect of crimes. He did more than take pictures at the crime scene he looked for chemicals and put pieces of the puzzle together for me.
Our father never expressed that he wanted me or my brother to be in the drug trafficking business, he never once said anything about expecting me to do anything illegal. He had high expectations for us, he wanted us to be smart like business people but strong like soldiers. Perhaps he thought he was secretly preparing us for this life but both of us had gone in the opposite direction. He wanted us to make money but instead we cared more about helping others than our cash flow. My father expressed his disappointment in both of us because we became involved in the police department and decided to stay away. He made his efforts to come around every so often almost like he didn't want me and my brother to forget where we had come from.
We were never spoiled but our parents had money beyond our comprehension. Deep down I always suspected he was hiding something. That might've been the reason my mother left him, although she had never told me that. I always knew there was something she found out about him that made her file for divorce. She refused to talk bad about him, in fact if she could avoid talking about him at all she would. When I asked why they were getting divorced, she told me they were living two separate lives despite living in the same home. He wouldn't change for her and she made it abundantly clear she wouldn't change for him.
My brother's mother died years before I was born, before our father ever met my mother. My brother told me she was hit by a stray bullet during a shoot out with the police and some street thugs. One of the guys got away, which might've prompted my brother's pursuit into forensics. I was in middle school when he told me: it's the police's job to catch the bad guy but without forensics, the police couldn't hold them and even more when it came to the court system, if there wasn't enough hard evidence the bad guy would walk free. His mother was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was bad luck and without the murder weapon, a way to track the gun or even the killer themselves his mother's killer walked away free. Even though his mother's death caused him grief he would always tell me some of his fondest memories of her. The way her brown hair flowed in the wind and how the sweet scent of her floral shampoo filled the air. He looked forward to her special meals on holidays and she always made twisted donuts for him. She used to sing him to sleep at night and he would recall hearing our father complain to her for treating him like he was still a baby.
My brother told me that even though he liked my mother, there were times where she seemed weak against our father. I didn't want to agree but I knew that was the truth. He remembered his mother snapping back at our father like a fire cracker. They didn't argue alot but his mother knew how to handle our father. She knew how to get her way. It was because of that submissive behavior my mother displayed that I wanted to be different. I didn't want to be easily manipulated. I wanted to make sure that everyone knew I was tougher than nails and I was not to be fucked with. That passion grew into, not just wanting to protect myself, but to protect others. So, I eventually worked my way up to becoming a detective, where I had real encounters with very bad guys. That adrenaline rush fueled me with every case that involved fighting, chasing or a shoot out. My job wasn't just fun it was thrilling, almost like I had every reason in the world to live.
Memories of my brother tend to flood into my mind when I fight. It was almost like I could taste blood, I got so angry. It fueled me more when I fought in the ring just as it fueled me when I practiced.
My fists continued beating into the punching bag like I had every intent on destroying it.
"Doesn't that hurt your fists?"
A voice from behind me came. I heard it when the song had stopped and I looked back to see Minsik standing behind me. He was in his own work out attire. Yellow gym shorts with a black tank top. He still had his nose ring in, I used to threaten to rip it out of his nose when he annoyed me. We had-- a lot to work through, a lot that I didn't want to work through. There were still something's I couldn't forgive....
I didn't want to forgive.
I was panting from all the energy I exerted. I snatched out my ear buds and hit the pause button on my music. I just started packing up my things and Minsik said,
"Y/N it's been two years, you're just going to keep ignoring me?"
I shot him a glare as I unwrapped my hands of the fighters tape. I had sucked in one of my cheeks and at the same time my jaw was clenching. There was so much hurt that built up when I saw him, but it wasn't just the pain that overwhelmed me, it was the anger too. For what he did and for what he didn't do.
"I have nothing left to say to you." I said.
"Well I have something to say to you."
I had already put my phone and towel in my gym bag. I stood up and swung it over my shoulder,
"I don't care what you have to say. " I said.
I walked past him but he continued,
"It has to do with your father. "
That stopped me right in my tracks. I turned around to look at him. The last case I had, my father got away with everything, we couldn't touch him and he took that opportunity to leave. He was lucky he did because my state of mind at the time would've made me kill him. I figured I'd never see him again and my brother's death had drained me too much to even try and look for him. It was only a few months after he had past that I found the underground club, Nova, where mafia members bet on fighters. I had no business fighting there but I became addicted to it. It was my only way to deal with my loss, or maybe my only way to ignore it. The fact that Minsik was talking about my father made my blood boil. My hands even started to tremble at the anticipation of what Minsik had to say. If he was back, I was going to kill him.
"What about my father?"
There was acid in my tone, it was directed to the person that wasn't even here. The man that got away and was the reason my brother was dead but for now, Minsik would have to do.
"He may be back in town." Minsik said.
There was a very serious look on his young face. His jaw was tight which meant he was stressed out about the possibility of my father being back as well. Then I did something that made his eyebrows furrow in confusion and his face twist up...
"Good," I said. I turned and started to head for the door. "Now I can finish what he started."
Minsik knew better than to just think nothing of that response. He knew it wasn't just the pain talking. It was a true threat. A goal. Which was why he chased me out of the gym trying to talk to me.
"Hold on, I didn't tell you this so you could start trouble with the guy. I told you because you deserve to know. We have to get evidence that your father was connected to all of the drug trafficking that was happening a few years ago. You can't do anything."
I chuckled and turned to him as I reached my car.
"I don't need to find my father, Minsik. More than likely, he's going to come find me and if he gets close enough, he's going to feel my blade right across his throat. That's not a threat, it's a promise."
"Then I'll have to arrest you Y/N and you know that. Don't make me do it. Just steer clear of him, don't let him drag you down."
He was pleading with me because he still cared about me and as much as I knew that, I really didn't care. I was still mad at him, at everyone for what happened two years ago. I was still hurt by his actions and lack there of. I felt like I couldn't trust him anymore. His pleading didn't mean a thing to me. I stopped wishing for them to a long time ago.
"Please Y/N. Don't destroy your life."
I looked away for a moment as if contemplating my next possible actions. But then, I looked back up at him and said,
"It's already destroyed."
I hopped in my car and left without another word, not even goodbye. That should've been the end of it but my mind was restless. I couldn't help but feel irritated that my father might really be back in town and if he was, he might come to see me.
After pulling up to my tiny apartment, I spotted a bouquet of flowers on the steps. They were white chrysanthemums, I wasn't a flower girl but red roses and sunflowers were the kind of thing I liked. Not to mention, chrysanthemums were also associated with death. I picked up the bouquet while looking around to see if there was anyone watching me. There was a card in the bouquet and my cell phone started to ring. I carried the bouquet inside as I answered the phone.
"Are you ready for tonight?"
"Mr. Woo, are you the one that sent the flowers?" I asked.
I set them down on the table without bothering to look at the card just yet.
"Flowers? That wasn't me. Another man is sending you flowers?" He mused.
Woo Wonaje was the man that placed bets on me when I fought. At some point, he'd hired me to represent him when the mafia gangs were doing some championship match. He had a whole team that he put me on and we did really great together. He split the earnings between the five of us, after he took his very large portion. He had this odd fascination with me but he was cute and he gave me a good cut when I fought.
"Well, someone sent them but I can't guarantee it was a man." I joked with stale humor.
He laughed over the phone.
"So what's up? You just called me to see if I was ready to fight?" I asked.
"Yeah, I've got good money betting on you tonight."
"You always have good money betting on me Mr. Woo what's different about this time? "
"You have got to stop calling me that."
I smiled on my end,
"I can't, force of habit. Not to mention, I don't want anyone else to think you're showing favoritism."
"Since when do you give a shit what others think?"
I had to give him that. That wasn't a recently new fact. I was known for being aggressive even to my boss when he tried to shut me down off of cases that were high profile. I was a good detective. I didn't care if people thought I wasnt because I was a woman. I could prove them wrong.
"Anyway, the money on you tonight was also placed by another bidder. He's big time and I'm hoping to impress him with you." He said.
As I was listening to him, I grabbed the card out of those flowers and dropped the bouquet in the trash on my way to the sink. I opened the card and reached for a bowl to pour cereal in despite it being past twelve in the afternoon.
"So you want me to put on a good show," I said reaching for the cereal, temporarily forgetting the card I grabbed so I could pour a bowl "so the call is for what: motivation, asking a favor, a warning?"
I heard Wonjae chuckle over the phone while I used my spoon to stab my cereal into my milk. I took a scoop to put in my mouth while he began to speak and I grabbed the card as well.
"I don't need to warn you about anything, it is a favor though. This guy has major connections and-"
"Ah- I told you I don't want to know that stuff. I may not be a cop anymore but the less I know the better. Trust me."
I looked at the note on the card and didn't recognize the hand writing but the note was all to clear as to what it was telling me.
A chill ran down my spine and for the moment I stopped listening to Wonjae on the other line. My father already knew where I lived. How did he find that out? I moved after Jiwoo died.
"Um, listen Woo I have to take a shower. I'll see you tonight. Anything you want to brief me on can be done at Nova."
He must've noticed the change in my voice because he sounded slightly disappointed now.
"Yeah, alright. I'll see you tonight."
I hung up the phone right after that. It probably seemed rude on his end and if the tables had been turned I would've been insulted but this was something that had my attention. Clearly my father was trying to make a statement just as Minsik told me he may have been back in town. Since it wasn't his hand writing I wondered if he just called the note in to be delivered or if he actually dropped them off himself and he was in town.
I didn't want to focus on it, so I finished eating my cereal, albeit, in silence but I finished it. When I got to the bathroom to actually took a shower, thoughts of whether or not my father was back began to circulate throughout my head. I stood there, beneath the hot water hitting the top of my head and streaming down my face like a fresh waterfall. There wasn't much else I could do but just think: what is my next move? I wiped my face so I could see in the shower and placed my hands on the shower door. I started feeling stressed and flashes of Jiwoo's dead body streaked in my mind. It was like watching a tv show on rewind only the pain was just as real and twice as painful to relive. It felt like something was crushing my heart and before I knew it I had planted my fist into the wall.
I got out of the shower after that. There was nothing I could do about my father being back unless he came to face me. Him sending the flowers might have been his way of saying he was watching me. If he knew where I lived, didn't that mean he knew I was no longer a cop? He was at least smart enough to stay away. My anger matched his own. There were many times neither one of us could control ourselves when we were furious. We made some of our worst decisions then.
I headed to Nova after I was dressed. Despite it being early, the underground club was packed. Music played loud enough for a party but low enough so you could hear what the person next to you wanted to say. The place smelled of sweaty men, gym clothes and blood. Lots of blood. That was never a surprise for a place like this. I over heard a lot of stuff here but as long as I wasn't personally involved, it was no longer my job to do something about the illegal activities here. To be fair, I was engaging in illegal activities myself, implicating anyone would also mean admitting why I was ever here.
I saw Wonjae in the corner speaking to a fair skinned man, he wore a nice three piece suit but I could see a glint of blood on his black shinning shoes. He probably stepped on someone's face. I stifled a laugh at my own thoughts because his skin wasn't the only thing fair about him. He had a gentle face, the kind of face that didn't look like it belonged on a mafia boss. He probably wasn't even in the mafia. Maybe he was a cruel businessman and some victims blood splashed on his shoes.
Wonjae caught me in the corner of his eye as I passed by causing the man he was speaking with to pay attention to me. Wonjae pointed at me then waved me over to him. I didn't want to but no one in their right mind refused Wonjae. I headed over with my bag thrown across my shoulder. My fighters tape was already reapplied and I had a leather jacket on top of my red sports bra. I actually had jeans on that made me look a little more casual than a fighter. The man he was talking to might've thought I was a spectator. He looked me up and down and a smug smile appeared on his lips. It crossed my mind that this might be the guy Wonjae wanted to impress tonight.
"Lee Seonghwa, this is Y/N. My best fighter." He said.
Great now he knew my name. At least he didn't give him my full name, birthday and social security. I looked at Wonjae and he gave me very serious eyes, as if warning me to be kind, while smiling at me. I sighed and waved at the guy,
"Charming." Seonghwa said.
"If you wanted charming go to a ball. This is a fighters ring. The requirements aren't good manners, it's being able to beat the shit out of your opponent." I cut back.
Wonjae gave me a smart smile, he couldn't expect more or less from me. I had less patience now and with my father possibly lurking around I was even more on edge.
"Well put. I'm looking forward to seeing you out there." He said.
Seonghwa had rested his chin on his knuckles with his long forefinger stretching up to press against his cheek. He looked both impressed and skeptical at the same time. Like he had already determined the ending of my fight. I noticed a ring on his finger in the form of a square, it was large and the diamonds that lined it seemed to glitter even in the terrible lighting of the club. I couldn't see much more of it because of the position of his hand but I could tell that ring wasn't cheap. It probably cost more than what we won collectively at the championship.
I didn't want to ask questions, I didn't even want to know the guys name but it was too late for that part. I decided to excuse myself while I still had a chance to break away before any more unnecessary information was unveiled to me. I went to the back room they had set up for fighters to get in their clothes. There weren't any men around from what I could see and all I really needed to do was change my pants so I hurried and slipped out of them and went into my bag to get my shorts. I could hear the footsteps of someone approaching and I stood up, pulling my pants up just as I saw Kiseok walking in.
"Hey, you see the guy talking to Wonjae?" He said.
"Uh, yeah I met him. He's--okay I guess."
"You don't sound impressed."
"Am I ever impressed by anyone that comes through here?"
"Good point." He said.
I picked my bag up and threw it back over my shoulder. Kiseok was rapping his hands in fighters tape. I was more toned than him. When I first met him, I thought he was bigger but then I saw him and noticed he was just wearing big clothes. That didn't mean he wasn't fighter material. For a long time, Kiseok was in the top five pairing for Nova fighters. I came in and he was almost pushed down until he proved himself to be far better than what others had assumed he was.
All the fighters usually hung out until it was time for the fights to begin. The large ring in the middle was covered by chain link gates, they were painted black but from the blood, cleaners and bodies banging against them the paint was chipping as well as showing a slightly rusted sliver color. Kiseok and me were doing small sparring sessions with each other while in the midst of talking about all the other gangs being in the club. Nova was neutral ground, guards checked bags to make sure no weapons of any kind were brought into the club. It was against house rules to fight outside of the ring and usually when there was conflict the bosses would choose their fighters and throw them in the ring to settle a beef. This was also where deals and negotiations happened. I knew the ins and out of this place but that was about it. I did my best to
not go deeper into this criminal world than I needed too.
Time went by fast in Nova, like this was a whole other dimension where time didn't move the same way as it did above ground. I was watching fights with Kiseok until it was my turn to fight. I had some steam to blow off. I was fighting this chick Chae lee. We had fought before a few times. The last time I fought her she busted my lip and I dislocated her jaw. We both walked out needing ice and stitches but ultimately I had won. Each time she came back to fight me she got a little better but no stronger.
Her hair was braided back into two French braided ponytails. I cut my hair short a long time ago, my bangs may have been the longest part of my hair style. My gloves were red hers were yellow. They reminded me of Minsik all the time. She fought for a guy named Kwon. That's all they called him, that's the only name they knew him by.
We hit gloves like a show of sports menship and then set up for a fight. The ref, for all intents and purposes, called out the rules. Fight until a knock out or a tap out. They rang the bell and then we were at it. Chae took a swing that was faster than her normal speed but my reflexes were quick enough to block it. I wasnt quick enough to block the upper cut that she landed in my gut. It was a hard punch too, one that made me feel like that cereal I ate earlier might come back up. It happened so quick, I was just a little shocked. I could hear the crowd react but how they felt didn't really register until moments later. I had stumbled back and Chae came again with another swing. I ducked down and hooked her leg to trip her up. She landed on her back and rolled before I could get on top of her. She made her way to her feet but amazingly had enough time to block my punch coming for her.
Chae swung left, then right. I blocked the first one then took the punch. The force from her punches felt way different than any other time we fought. I did a round house kick which she blocked with her left hand. She closed the distance between us and punched me square in the chest. I fell to the ground completely shocked and rocked to the core. I didn't mind Chae being better than me but she's never been this strong. No amount of training in the world could give her this kind of strength and speed. I had never struggled with fighting before.
I summoned the will I had and got back to my feet but damn, my chest was aching. I put my guard back up. I did a bob and weave to avoid her now lightning fast hands. I was able to land a blow to her jaw again. She didn't seem too hurt by it, which was a sting to the pride. I grabbed her and kneed her in the stomach three times before I pushed her against the gate. I came after her quick trying to capitalize on the moment and hit her with a barrage of punches in the chest. It took a lot of energy from me. I hit her square in the jaw again and when she hit the floor I backed up to regain my composure.
I think I heard Wonjae tell me I was doing good but there was a ringing in my ears now. The crowd was dull and my adrenaline was pumping. My blood rushed through me like it was running a race. I bounced back and forth giving Chae sometime to get up.
She made it to her feet and stood in place for a moment. She put her dukes up again and was ready to come back at me. I didn't feel nervous or angry. I felt- excited. I was excited because there was a fire in her eyes that I hadn't noticed before. I don't think it had ever been there. I caught myself giving a little smirk as I put my guard back up.
Chae came in fast, her fists were faster than I could anticipate; she was knocking me around like a rag doll. She had me against the gate, her punches were fast and furious. She got me in the jaw, my chin and my nose. I didn't have time to really recover from each blow because she followed it with a new one. Everything was getting blurred now because one of her punches opened a gash above my eyebrow. The crowds loud cheers from amazement and excitement came in and out of my ears as I lay on the ring. I didn't want to lose. There was so much I had to get out, I couldn't let her beat me.
I started using the fuel I got from my father and then I thought about my brother. I felt my blood rush again. Chae was giving me one hell of a fight, now it was time for me to give it back to her. I slowly made it back to my feet. One of my eyes closed because of the blood dripping down from my cut. I wiped it away and tried to regain some balance. Chae gave me a smile like she had no doubt that I was going to get back up. Like she was enjoying this fight as much as I was. I put my guard back up. We circled each other waiting for the perfect moment to strike. I could feel my heart pounding. This fight was intense, Chae had never been this kind of challenger for me. She was now.
She jabbed at me and I moved out of the way my right fist hit her in the chest and she stumbled back. She came forward only seconds later with two sharp jabs both of which I blocked. She aimed for an upper cut but my knee came up to block her attempt. I quickly took advantage and swung left knocking her hard enough to make her stumble in the other direction. The crowd went insane from the blow. I came after her trying not to give her time to recover.
I kicked at her mid section and then punched towards her chest she blocked but I kept going. Her guard was up with each fist I planted into her. I kicked again and she was knocked down onto the ground. I got on top of her and started to throw down as much as I could. The fury of my past started welling up with each punch. She was able to guard most of them but a few I got to her. I got her again in the face, I thought I felt her nose break but I wasn't sure. I didn't stop to find out.
She reacted to one of my punches by hitting me in the stomach and it had caught me off guard enough to give her an opening. She scooted from under me and planted her foot in my stomach. I curled over onto the ground meaning to get up but was in a lot of pain this time. Chae got up and grabbed me by the back of my head and in some sort of fury she started to smash my face into the ground. After about three hard hits, I was spitting out blood and in a daze once again. The cut above my eye started bleeding again.
The crowd seemed to have suddenly gone silent or maybe I had too much blood rushing to my ears and couldn't hear anything anymore. I did feel Chae grab my arm and pull it back almost like she intended to break it. I groaned in pain and my hearing slowly came back to hear the crowd chanting almost like half was hoping I'd continue the fight while the other half wanted Chae to finish me off. Above their screaming I heard Chae say,
I didn't want to. I wanted to finish this fight as the winner but my energy had been sapped. She had been a better fighter in this match. It was strange because she was stronger and faster in her reaction time but it wasn't like a normal progression from training. Something was up, like she was on steroids or pcp.
"Tap out!" She screamed at me again.
She pulled back on my arm even more, it felt like my muscle was going to tare. Her knee pushed deeper into my back to let me know that she has the true intention to break my arm. I kept my hand up, I was trying hard not to tap out but she pulled again and I tapped out. Chae let go of my arm and I laid on the ground for a moment. She beat me and my arm was killing me.
I got up slowly while holding my arm. I saw Wonjae looking at me with a tight face. I didn't feel like I made him look bad, with all the matches that I have won in the past losing one shouldn't have been a big deal to him. He didn't look amused, he looked very annoyed. Something caught my eye as I looked away from him. A man pushing his way through the crowd to leave. His gait, clothes and salt and pepper hair color looked familiar but I couldn't see his face. Yet, there was still something in my chest that beat hard, like I knew exactly who that person was...