Length: Series [6/?]
Genre: horror, mystery, romance, AU
Pairing: Jaeho, Yoosu, Changmin
Summary: Investigator Jung Yunho has a partner, Park Yoochun, a murder witness, Kim Jaejoong, and a shy best friend, Kim Junsu. It should be obvious what was going on. Unfortunately, when the third body turned up, Yunho found himself discovering a whole lot of things that he never wanted to know.
Note: crossposted to several places. BETAED. :D The rest of the Jaeho interaction for the day, plus bit of Yoosu. Next chapter is already in the making, so hopefully it won't be a super long wait (although now I have to wait for my beta to get back to me, which might take a day or two).
Secondly, some explanations about what I previously wrote. The host club business is entirely based on a documentary I watched on Japanese host clubs. Contrary to popular belief, the hosts very rarely sleep with the women who come to them for fun. Rather the money was mostly spent on wine and other alcohol. The point of the host is to give the customer a really good time, good enough that she will want to come back and always call for the same host. The reason for the lack of sex is exactly what I had Jaejoong say; it was quoted almost word by word. GRANTED, Japanese host clubs caters to women who are generally more sensitive to things like relationship and sex; on the other hand with men, generally they could care less about the possible repercussions of sex on an emotional level, and therefore in all respect, that kind of rule (no sex with customer), should not exist if it's a gay host club. But let's just go with the japanese host club basis, and assume that this is more than just a place for men to have gay sex.
Also I've read all the reviews and opinions on who the killer might be, and the answer actually sort of surprised me. I won't give much of a hint, but the next few chapters will be very interesting in shaping everyone's minds i think. I'm just hoping I won't give away the game too soon. ^^;;;
As a side note, i noticed someone mentioning the Club Shion in Viewfinder. :3 Club Shion was named after the Club Shion in Viewfinder series, but that aside, the place plays a fairly important role in the plot of the story, even if it might not be what everyone expects. A hint: where was the original Club Shion located? :D
OH yes before I forget, I made a cover for the story:
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
A block away from Club Shion on their way to the parking lot where Yunho had parked his black BMW, it occurred to him that the footsteps echoing from perhaps half a block away were approaching steadily at a muffled half run. At first it was difficult for Yunho to decide if they were really being followed; as an investigator, he was more used to stalking others than being stalked himself. Despite the late hour, the street wasn't completely empty, with drunken men and a few drunken women stumbling out the bar doors at a regular interval. The clattering footsteps were also clumsy and loud, certainly not the works of professionals. What really tipped Yunho off that the footsteps were for them was that as he and Jaejoong turned a corner into a less populated area, heading toward the almost entirely empty parking lot, the clattering behind them never ceased.
Yunho grabbed Jaejoong's arm and broke into a fast walk. Jaejoong let out a faint shocked yelp, feet stumbling a bit before finally settling into the pace the other man set.
"What the hell are you doing?!" the slighter man hissed, pulling at his captured arm with no success. Even with almost three layers of thick clothe between Yunho's hand and his arm, he could feel every individual press of the other man's fingers digging bruises into his skin. Behind them the clumsy footsteps suddenly changed to the rapid staccato of a run and Yunho swore under his breath. Jaejoong craned his head around, trying to see who was behind them, but Yunho jerked him forward.
"Just keep moving," he whispered harshly, breath fogging out white mist in the cold of the early morning. Now that they were closer, he could discern four distinct sets of footsteps, three were made from heavy pounding of sneakers while one was a lighter but sharper sound of a pair of heels. Three men and a woman. Yunho judged the distance from where he was to his car and knew that even if he and Jaejoong started running, at best they would merely reach the BMW before the ones behind them catches up. It was unlikely for them to do a clean getaway without confrontation; there wasn't enough time.
Yunho glanced slightly to the side where he still gripped the smaller man's arm, practically manhandling him down the dark street. Jaejoong looked a little out of breath and pale, clearly having realized that the footsteps behind them were not heading the same direction out of sheer coincidence. Suddenly Yunho was glad they wouldn't make it to the car on time. He had been searching for answers all day and never found any; this was as good of a chance as any.
"Follow my directions and don't do anything stupid," Yunho said in a low voice. He came to an abrupt stop under one of the brighter parking lot lamps, turned around, and moved Jaejoong slightly behind his bigger build. The smaller man stumbled at the sharp movement but aside from the harsh catch in his breath, he said nothing. Yunho could make out the four running forms, and as he had guessed, of three men and a woman. Running was actually a nicer way to put the way two of the men were stumbling and swerving along at a surprisingly rapid pace, obviously drunk. Yunho would've been impressed with the speed and coordination if they weren't also clearly carrying knives.
"Do you know them?" the detective asked. There was no answer from behind him but a hand reached up and gripped the back of his suit jacket. Jaejoong must've seen the knives. The hand tightened, but no sound emerged still. "I'm assuming not." Which would make this a simple armed robbery. It wasn't uncommon, certainly, and Yunho was fairly well dressed for the time of the day, even if Jaejoong was only clad in a nondescript trench coat. The detective's eyes narrowed. On the other hand, why would they attempt armed robbery of two men, neither of whom were weak looking or easily cowed into giving up money. Why take such big risk of resistance when Yunho looked like any white collared money-less businessman going home after a night of drinking with coworkers? His suit was well made, but not a brand name. The BMW was a tip-off, except the four behind him began following him long before they saw the car he was heading for.
There was nothing to give the idea that Yunho and Jaejoong were wealthy, unless they saw the two men leaving Club Shion together. They must've known the club's reputation for catering only to the wealthy then.
Which means they were being watched when they exited the club.
The group was coming closer, and behind him, Jaejoong's grip tightened even more. "What the hell are we doing?!" he demanded in a hushed and angry whisper. "Why aren't we running away? They're almost here!"
"I know," was the soft reply. When no further explanation arrived, Jaejoong moved out from behind Yunho to look at his face, but all he saw was a determined focus.
At only ten feet away, the foursome stopped, each breathing heavily from the run and glaring at the two men who were standing still and tense beneath the flickering white light. All four were young, mid twenties at oldest. They had clearly been drinking; two of the men were wavering slightly and even at this distance, Yunho could smell the heavy scent of alcohol. The men were all wearing casual clothes, popular t-shirts and baggy jeans with multicolored sneakers. The one who looked the least drunk had a blue baseball cap, and one of the others had brightly bleached hair. The girl, standing behind the three, was wearing a tight red tank top and short white skirt - typical outing wear for a Korean woman of her age. Her hair, which originally appeared to be stylishly curled and pinned up, was wild and loose from the running. One of the drunk young men who had normal black hair and the one with the baseball cap each brandished a knife, but with the way the drunk one was swaying, Yunho was more worried about the man accidentally hurting himself. No matter how Yunho looked, they looked normal; a group of good looking young men and woman in fact, but then appearances could be very deceiving. The detective waited, knowing that sooner or later one of them will start talking, and a man's mouth is a wealth of information.
After what felt like forever, the one with the hat opened his mouth. Yunho narrowed his eyes, anticipation and adrenaline running through his veins. No matter what the he says, it would be information. If he demanded money, then it means they weren't related to the Lee Jinho case. It would also mean that people who frequent the area all knew that Club Shion's an exclusive place catering only to rich men who had alternative taste for companionship. On the other hand if whatever he says is directed at Kim Jaejoong, then it could very well be related to the murder, and the resulting exchange between the foursome and the man standing behind the detective could be the key to finding the killer, or the basis for setting up a prosecution against Jaejoong.
The young man opened his mouth, and what sounded like gibberish spilled out in a loud explosion of sound.
What the fuck?
The sound of the first man's voice was like the trigger to a bomb; suddenly the other three were shouting as well, the drunk ones pointing at them and slurring their words, the girl raising her voice to a freakish shrill.
Yunho took an unconscious step backward, bumping into the frozen and tense form of Jaejoong. The detective couldn't understand anything the four were saying, although he could admit that it was somewhat familiar; clearly they weren't Koreans despite the typical Korean street wear and regular Asian features, as well as currently being in the country of Korea.
Shit, Yunho thought to himself, feeling the anticipation crumble into confusion and panic. Shit, shit, shit.
There wasn't a whole lot Yunho could do, not being able to understand. He stepped backwards again, feeling the body behind him shift along. The one with the baseball cap was beginning to gesture wildly with the knife in his hand, pointing the sharp tip at Yunho and Jaejoong. He was seriously angry; all of them were apparently, as the shouts were not ebbing off. Despite Yunho's clear lack of understanding of what they were saying, none of them seemed to notice. It was as if they took for granted that whatever they said was understood, even though the country they were standing in didn't speak the same language they were spouting.
Behind him, Jaejoong took a step back. The hand he had on Yunho's shirt gave a sharp tug, indicating for him to move with the smaller man, but one of them clearly saw the movement. He gave a loud shout of fury before suddenly rushing toward the two under the streetlight.
"Oh fuck," Yunho cursed and harshly shoved Jaejoong to the side away from the incoming attack. He blocked the first fist aimed for him with his right arm, using the split second after the attack to give a swift punch to the man's stomach, knocking him a few steps back. Yunho saw the glint of metal coming at him from the corner of his eye before he could really react with his mind, but years of training in martial arts and hand to hand combat made his body's reaction far faster than his brain. That, and he thanked Lady Luck that the attackers were all drunk and mostly uncoordinated and slower than if they were sober. On one hand, him pulling out his badge and handcuffs wouldn't be doing any good since they were too drunk to take note of a little ID, but on the other hand, the chances of getting out of this crazy and confusing situation more or less unharmed just went way up.
The investigator ducked swiftly under the wildly slashing blade then shot up and captured the arm attached to the knife. He turned to align himself with the drunken man behind him and sharply elbowed the man in the shoulder, knocking him unbalanced. Then turning back to the captured arm, he gave a series of quick chops and the knife made its way down to bury itself among the loose gravel beneath their feet. Instinct took over again when he felt the whoosh of air from behind him, and he swung the drunk man he was still holding on to, sending him straight into the unprepared arm of the baseball-capped man he had punched a second ago. The two thankfully stayed down, one having knocked himself out when his head landed too hard with the ground, the other having the alcohol finally catch up to him.
It was at that moment when a shrill scream tore through the air. Yunho looked up, only now realizing that only two of the men were attacking him, and the other two, the blonde man and the girl, were going after Jaejoong. He saw the blonde behind Jaejoong, forcefully holding the struggling man still with his arm looped under Jaejoong's shoulders. The dark haired host was sweating furiously, eyes wide and afraid as he struggled in vain.
The girl screamed again. ”あんたがカズヤを殺した！ あんたが殺した！”
The words echoed in the empty parking lot. Yunho couldn't understand whatever it was she was screaming, but her intention was clear as she held a pair of sharp scissors high into the air, aiming straight for Jaejoong's throat.
"Good God," Yunho breathed, eyes wide. "NO!!!"
The next few seconds was like time had slowed to a crawl.
Jung Yunho had moments to decide his action. He could pull out his gun and aim for the girl, but Jaejoong was between the girl and the detective. If Yunho missed, then the one to be hit would most likely be the person he was trying to protect. But if he didn't use his gun, the distance between them was too far. There was no way for Yunho to run to Jaejoong's aid before the scissors buried itself into the host's throat on the down swing. Even as he watched, the girl, eyes wild and crazed with tears running down her face, was raising the scissors high into the air. Her hands clutched the handle like a prayer before the slaying of the sacrifice.
"Fucking. Hell." Yunho dug his hands into his pocket, searching for anything that could salvage the situation. Then, with all the power and accuracy he gained during the years he played baseball back in high school and university, the same power and accuracy that made him the university's star pitcher, he threw his cell phone at the girl. The second the phone left his hand, he printed across the parking lot toward the almost frozen tableau.
Please let it be enough, he thought desperately.
If the phone hits the girl, then he would have ample time to take care of the blonde holding on to Jaejoong and the girl both. If he missed, there was a chance that the projectile will distract the girl, giving him just that few needed seconds to knock the blonde and Jaejoong away from the scissors' line of movement.
Jung Yunho did not want to think of the situation where the phone doesn't hit, and the girl isn't distracted.
Lady Luck must've really been on his side, because not only did the cell phone hit its mark, it also cleanly knocked the scissors out of the girl's hands. The girl shrieked in shock and fell backwards onto the ground, head landing with a sharp crack. The sound was echoed as Yunho's cell phone landed, the impact sending the battery skidding across the gravel.
Jaejoong took advantage of the moment to stomp harshly down on the foot behind his, ripping himself from the tight hold the blonde had on him. Two seconds later Yunho was on the blonde, face a mask of fury as he delivered a right hook right at the other man's face. Jaejoong collapsed onto the ground, panting, watching in awe and adrenaline as the blonde's head snapped back sharply from the punch, body flying across the gravel to land next to the girl.
There was a moment of silence, each panting harshly and surveying the four sprawled out body under the white lamp.
"Well," Jaejoong finally said, breaking the silence. His voice was rough and dry, and filled with something that sounded far too close to panic. "Well."
Yunho breathed in and out deeply a few more times before finally turning to look at the only conscious man sitting on the ground. "You alright?"
"Fine," Jaejoong panted back. "Just- just fine." The smaller man slowly got to his knees, trying to get back up but his legs were weak from adrenaline rush and were shaking too much for him to stand on them.
"This coming from the man who was about to get skewered." Yunho walked over and grabbed Jaejoong left arm, almost hauling the other man up from the ground. His tone should've been amused, but it wasn't.
Jaejoong glared. "Excuse me if I don't spend all my time preparing for the day when some random people decided to run me through with scissors," he snapped. Absently he thought the hand around his arm was surprisingly warm and comforting, and Jaejoong was sad to feel it leave as the detective moved away to kneel over the unconscious body of the blonde man.
"So you don't know them?"
Yunho did a quick search of the body and found the wallet easily in the pocket of the jeans. The ID, oddly enough, was of Korean citizenship, and the name also looked like a typical Korean name. The man was also far younger than Yunho realized; he was only nineteen. Yunho moved over to the girl, and then finally the other two men a bit further away, and found almost exactly the same information. They were all Korean citizens with regular Korean names, and were all younger than twenty-two. The content of the wallets and purse revealed nothing more about the assaulters.
Finally, after almost ten minutes of examination under Jaejoong's curious gaze, Yunho stood up.
"Not much more to be done here," he said, "let's go." He walked a few feet away and scooped up the remains of his cell phone. The screen was cracked from where it met with the tip of the scissors and the battery was a bit scratched from skipping over gravel, but overall the phone could still be used after a little fixing. Pocketing the bits, Yunho started to walk toward his car a short distance away.
"You're not going to report this to the police?" Jaejoong glanced down at the four bodies again before following the other man.
"Jaejoong-sshi, you forget that I am the police," Yunho replied evenly.
Jaejoong rolled his eyes.
"But I won't be able to do any calling until I find another phone, unless you let me use yours." Something at the back of Yunho's mind niggled at his forethought, but he ignored it, thinking it was just the beginning of one of his headaches. "Mine's clearly dead for now." The detective turned to shoot an expectant look at the other man who was slowly making his way forward with still shaky legs. "So?"
Jaejoong reached deep into the pocket of his trench coat for the small gadget and pulled it out before tossing it to the detective. Yunho caught the projectile easily, snatching it out of the air with a practiced ease born from the years playing baseball. He quickly dialed 112, passing on the location of the passed out bunch as well as his own name and rank at Seoul Police Department. Just in case, Yunho want to be able to pull information on the off chance that the group really were more than drunk late night partiers out for some extra cash. The screaming, the crying, and the crazed face of the girl as she was about to bury the scissors into Jaejoong's throat wouldn't get itself out of the investigator's head.
Jung Yunho was an experienced detective, and he knew more than anyone else that it was better to be thorough than be sorry. He had seen too many cases back at headquarters where the officer in charge had dismissed some small clue, only to regret it later.
Finishing the call quickly and promptly, the taller man snapped the phone shut. He stopped, the niggling at the back of his brain refusing to go away despite the best of his efforts to make it leave. He frowned slightly and fidgeted with the phone in his hand, before finally turning toward the expectant face of Kim Jaejoong.
"You're sure you've never seen them before," the detective asked again, eyes searching the features in front of him for clues. Immediately Jaejoong's expectant look was replaced with an annoyed and almost angry expression. Absently, the thought that even when he was frowning he was beautiful crossed the detective's mind.
"Look, I said it once before and I'll say it again," Jaejoong said harshly, eyes flashing. "I have never seen them before in my life. And hopefully I never will again." Buried deep in his pockets, Jaejoong's fingers clenched.
There was a short pause, Yunho searching the other man's entire body language for hint of lies, but finally he gave a terse nod.
"Alright, let's go. I'll drop you off at your apartment." He handed the cell phone back to Jaejoong, who snatched it back and buried both hands back in his pockets again.
The car ride to Jaejoong's home was silent and tense. Yunho cursed himself for bringing the question up a third time, but the first two times he was too distracted and busy to watch Jaejoong himself. It was clear the man was an accomplished liar, and the detective did not want to give the smaller man an easy chance of lying.
But then, that begs the question as to why Kim Jaejoong would lie about this in the first place.
Lee Jinho's office job doesn't require him to come in contact with many people, least of which foreigners. The group was too young to be in Lee Jinho's area of contacts, and they shouldn't be rich enough to join Club Shion, therefore ruling out the possibility of one or all of them, minus the girl, being customers of Jaejoong. Indeed if one of them was a customer of Youngwoong, it would require the two being able to communicate with each other, as Youngwoong's job was to converse and entertain his customers. If they knew each other, and Jaejoong seemed to be uncomprehending of the language they were yelling in as much as Yunho was, then there would be no communication. In other words, there was no reason for them to speak in a foreign language in front of Jaejoong if they knew him as Youngwoong.
Whatever the case may be, at that moment there wasn't anything Yunho could do to find out the truth. Impatient and angry, he shoved the suspicions and speculations to the back of his mind as they pulled close to Jaejoong's home.
Yunho turned the car around the corner of the street before stopping at the curb.
"Thank you for the ride," Jaejoong said, not looking at the other man sitting only a few feet away from him. He fidgeted with the hem of his coat for a few seconds before unsnapping the seatbelt, making a move to open the door.
"I'll be seeing you again tomorrow night," Yunho replied quietly.
Jaejoong froze and swallowed.
The smaller man snapped out of his daze and quickly left the car. He slammed the door shut before practically running into the apartment complex, taking two steps at a time up to the second floor. From the vantage point of his car, Yunho watched as the other man stopped in front of a door the same color and design as all the other doors lined up along the outside of the apartment building. He watched as Jaejoong opened the door, light from inside spilling out onto the concrete balcony. He refused to blink, in case he should miss any of the things that were happening. He saw a lanky shadow, taller but thinner than Jaejoong, who moved around a corner and greet the beautiful host with a long time familiarity.
Jung Yunho watched as the door slowly swung close behind Kim Jaejoong with a click that he could hear even from within his car. He did not notice his hands tightening around the wheel, imprinting grooves into his palms.
Park Yoochun only realized he had an audience when he heard the voice that started to accompany the melody of the piano. He stopped abruptly, the last note hanging awkwardly in the air without the accompaniment of the rest of its companions, and turned toward the doorway where Kim Junsu hovered uncertainly, something that looked suspiciously like awe alighting his eyes.
Yoochun blinked. "Uh..."
Junsu flushed as if finally realizing what he was doing and shifted his gaze from the man sitting in front of the piano to the piano itself.
Cute, Yoochun thought.
"That was a beautiful song," Junsu finally said after clearing his throat a few times. "Where did you learn it?"
Yoochun felt a wide grin stretch across his lips. "I wrote it." Across the room, he watched with proud glee as the smaller man's mouth dropped open.
"I- really?" Something shifted in Junsu's eyes. "You really wrote that song?"
"Yup, I definitely wrote every single note of it," Yoochun replied, chuckling. "I should know, since it was one of the only two songs I ever actually managed to finish. It was the only song I managed to sell, too." Something that looked like regret and disappointment flashed across his face for a moment, and he looked down at the gleaming black and white keys. "Well, almost sell."
Yoochun was so focused on his own memories that he failed to notice the other man turning pale.
"It was going to be the big important single of a new singer. It was supposed to be the song to launch him into the arena of popularity." Yoochun felt his lips twist, a bitter taste filling his mouth. "It was going to be my big break."
Junsu swallowed. "What happened?"
Yoochun shook his head. "He backed out last minute. The singer did, I mean. I don't know the details, only that on the day I came to Seoul to sell the piece and sign the contract, they told me to leave because they didn't need the song any more." He had stopped writing music after that as the old keyboard he had bought after graduation finally broke. It was just as well as he was swamped with cases from that moment on, and the work was paid off with a promotion all the way to Seoul. But even if things turned out well, him working in the big city and could afford to send home a decent sized check every month, the memories of that time when he had his dream within his grasp and lost it all, was still a bitter pill to swallow.
There was a few minutes of silence in the small room; Yoochun busy remembering that single painful moment of glory while Junsu fidgeted with uncertainty as to what to say.
"Um," Junsu said hesitantly, "would you like some tea? I know it's really late and some people can't drink tea late at night or even in the afternoon because the caffeine can make them unable to fall asleep later, but I just thought that maybe you'd want something to drink and I never did offer you refreshment..."
Yoochun looked up again and blinked.
"I was an awful host," Junsu ended abruptly, feeling a hot flush rising to his cheeks unbidden as his babbling. "So, um, yeah."
Yoochun grinned. He really is cute. Like a puppy. "Sure, I'd love something to drink, and tea sounds fine. Thank you." He turned back to the piano. With infinite care and almost reverence he lowered the cover over the ebony and ivory keys. Something that felt like regret made him hesitate for a second; who knew when he would be able to play on a real piano a second time.
"You can come and play again." When Yoochun looked up at him, Junsu was staring down at the carpet. "That is, if you want."
Yoochun said nothing until Junsu looked up, and then the detective smiled.
At that moment the sound of keys rattling and the door opening interrupted the thanks the taller man was about to convey.
"Oh, that must be Yunho," Junsu said, spinning around on his heel and heading back out toward the living room. It felt like Yoochun was being dismissed by the smaller man and he wondered why that felt so awful. He stood up and followed Junsu out of the piano room; the hours of teasing and piano playing had made him forget the real reason he was there in the first place.
Yoochun cleared the hallway and made it to the living room just as Junsu stepped forward to take Yunho's jacket. The smile on his face was welcoming and familiar, and the soft words of greeting exchanged were warm and sweet. The younger investigator suddenly felt like an outsider looking in to something private and intimate.
And then Yunho caught sight of his partner. The surprise and confusion was to be expected.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
But the sudden hostility was not.