Author: Heiji Hatsutori
Length: 4,089 words
Genre: AU, Angst
For Detective Lee Howon of Hwayang-dong station, a day off means catching up with sleep after countless days of all-nighters at the station, but not before doing a thorough cleaning of the small apartment he calls home. In fact, that was what supposed to happen, if not for his negligence on restocking the cleaning appliances forced him to go back out that fateful evening.
Little did he know that he will get entangled in the wicked games happening in the dark side of the underground world of Seoul -for all the wrong reasons.
Moving houses is a long, tiring process and a huge pain made worse with slow internet connection thanks to no coverage for the previous, definitely fast internet plan at this town, like, why. Maybe this will make me write more? Who knows lol.
In a more fic related news, we're now entering the part where chronology is bashed out the window so do pay attention to the date and year at the beginning of the chapter. Of course, thank you for all the support still!
FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
-Reason 1- -Reason 2- -Reason 3- -Reason 4- -Reason 5- -Reason 6-
Reason 6: I Need New Ways To Waste My Time
-19th May 2008, 12.30 AM-
“Yes, what can I do for you today?”
On the other end of the line, the bustling sound of nearby traffic cuts through the static, interspersed with the sound of siren before he hears a grunt, hushed voice, words spoken short and straightforward. He hums throughout the one sided conversation, mentally calculating the distance, and in the same cheery tone as the greeting, replies, “Of course, I’ll be there in twenty.”
He pockets his phone, rides out of the alleyway, and speeds down the road, leaving an afterimage of his red taillights on Seoul’s main streets before taking the long way out of the city. Truth to be told, he can reach the client in less than 10 minutes, but he has his black leather jacket on tonight, and he just polished clean his black helmet and black bike, that the siren feels more ominous than usual.
It is not his fault that people of authority seems to dislike him, though he may run over the speed limit one or two or ten times in the past.
Or pretty much every single time he is on the road maybe, though he begs to differ.
Being a transporter on a graveyard shift is no easy matter, after all.
He takes the back road, blending in the dark seamlessly -he knows all the roads and every alleys in Seoul like the back of his hand-, and comes to a stop when he can see the client, leaning against the wall, gaze trained on the small fire in front of him.
He flickers the front light of his bike upwards once, twice, three times, and the man -Namjoon, of course- waves him over. He goes into the narrow alley between the buildings until he is close enough to where the other is standing, and remains on the bike, leaning slightly to the left, leg firmly on the ground.
Namjoon raises a brow at that, but he ignores it, and simply pushes up the helmet visor, the usual sign of ‘I’m in a hurry so please make this quick’, considering that the police might still be around and he is in no mood to play cat and mouse tonight.
Instead, Namjoon just shakes his head, and with a swift and quick motion, reaches over and kills the engine of his bike, to his horror.
“They’re gone, J-Hope. Some drunken dude decides to bash a bat on a parked police car, and, well, that kind of trigger the sirens. They got the dude right away though so off they go.”
He stares, half convinced, yet Namjoon meets his eyes steadily, as if daring him to question it, to which he exhales, and gets off the bike. If anything the man is his client now, and no one in their right mind makes transactions with the transporter while having a risk of getting caught; either that by the cops, or the underground people, for he is neutral, siding with no side of law.
J-Hope will deliver anything for anyone, no strings attached, and definitely no questions necessary, so long as there’s money. After all, he just needed the cash, and he can be ignorant of what his clients are up to, so long as he is spared of getting tangled with whatever they are dealing with.
Thus the reason he never saves any of his client’s numbers, and deletes the whole log after each successful transaction, even when it is someone who uses his services often enough like Namjoon.
And, as always, the bellboy at the Xing, which is arguably one of the biggest hotels in Seoul right now, takes out a locked box -prettily wrapped complete with frilly pink ribbon and everything- from his duffel bag, and hands it to him with such care it almost makes him ache, despite how many times they went through this routine already.
“Please make sure it reaches that person as quickly as possible.”
Slipped in the middle is a red card signed ‘To Suga: With Love’, again, as usual.
The first time he had received the job he had wondered if it was a mistake; that maybe it is just a front for a shady dealing or something, but Namjon had blushed bright red despite the dim lighting in the alley, and in a small voice, admit that he had heard a rumor and managed to acquire his business contact information somehow, if only to periodically send love letters and present to a certain sweetheart of his who lives in downtown near Hongdae.
He planned for it to be surprises, thus the random timing and different packages each time, yet always, always after midnight, because that is the time when he is sure that person is home.
And J-Hope, well, he may be a transporter living life precariously on edge thanks to his need for speed, but deep inside he is a hopeless romantic, so he never turns down the request, no matter how swamped or tired he is, and he even has Namjoon’s number in memory despite his rule of keeping client’s at arm’s length.
Tonight, he keeps the locked box carefully tucked in his leather jacket, alongside the parcel with however much Namjoon paid him this time (he may or may not be a tad lenient with the amount when it comes to this particular client and request), and speeds away to the now familiar apartment of Suga in record time, running over three red lights in the process before using the back road as one dressed in dark like him ought to be.
Later, J-Hope reaches the door to Suga’s place after successfully covering his tracks and hiding the bike at the old rundown shop on the opposite of the apartment. As much as he loathes leaving his beloved ride, he had come to understand that some things are necessary after he unintentionally exposed a drug trafficking operation which was, well, unfortunate to all parties involved, really.
He still has the scar from the time a stray bullet grazes his arm.
So he learns to stick to his bike when he receives the item to ensure quick getaway, and to go by foot to the intended place in order to not attract unwanted attention, though he is still unable to let go of the helmet, which is tucked safely under his arm.
With a confident stride, and carefully practiced smile, he knocks on the door, and waits, as usual. Sure enough, there are sounds of clothes rustling, and movement before the door opens to reveal a shorter guy instead, with eye bag the size of China, and perpetual frown on his face, hair mussed from sleep.
Still, J-Hope unzips his leather jacket, brings out the locked box, and as carefully as he received it from Namjoon, hands it to the man, -Suga, maybe this is the one, his brain helpfully adds- who took just one glance at the signed card and wordlessly receives it.
“Thank you. Sorry for the trouble.”
J-Hope simply smiles at that, nonchalantly flips the jacket to reveal the parcel before nods and makes way to leave, as stealthily as before when the-maybe-Suga calls out, “Hey.”
He turns, confusion on his face, “Yes…?”
The man bore a gaze on him, weight heavily leaning on the door, and eyes half-shut, shivering slightly from the night breeze.
“Do you deliver people?”
To say his heart drops to his stomach is an understatement.
Alas, he is the transporter, and he still has a reputation to hold, though he will definitely deny that wads of cash are the decider, no, not at all. Besides, it can be a test of skills, to see how far he can push with another, totally conscious human being sitting behind him.
He goes extra mile to make sure that the man fastens the helmet properly, and reminds him to never, never, ever, let go regardless of what may come, to which the client (he still marvels at this fact), just scowls at him, muttering stuff like “I’m not a child”, under his breath, to his mild amusement.
In a way the other is kind of cute, and he can somewhat see why tall, serious, lanky Namjoon can be so besotted, assuming that the shorter man is indeed Suga; the previous times he complete the requests it had been a tall, broad shouldered man with a strikingly pretty face, who had smile warmly and taken to reassures him that the package/letter/present will reach the roommate, after his initial reluctance to pass the items the first time he knocks on the door.
He had indeed leave the letter with the man, who introduces himself as Jin, but when the second time the same thing happened he wound up ringing Namjoon despite himself to inform the client about the circumstances. He could leave it be, like he usually did, but Namjoon’s red blushing face bugged him that he cannot help but want to do his requests properly.
The relief must have been palpable in his voice, for he could hear the smile in Namjoon’s voice, “You don’t have to worry, really. Everything turns out fine. Still, thank you for your kindness, you have my gratitude.”
He returned home before the crack of dawn in a daze, heart thundering at the sincerity washes over him from the other end of the line, and waited until he is safe in the confines of his room before he deleted the log.
Tonight, J-Hope navigates the dark roads away from the apartment seamlessly, and uses the shortest route to the destination in the fastest way possible, the client’s arms an iron grip around his waist.
Well, he just follows the instruction, really, which was ‘take me to this address in the fastest way you could, break the laws, go over the limit, I don’t care just do whatever’, so.
In fact, he broke his own record today, going over 130km/h from the get go, though of course he is not going to say that; the man’s face a deathly pale as he mounds from the bike, body swaying dangerously as he hands the rider his helmet back.
And when J-Hope catches him before he hits the ground, he can feel the locked box safely tucked in the man’s leather jacket, and he feels warm again. Wordlessly, he wounds an arm over his shoulder, and his left hand meets the man's waist, as they make way to the back door of what seem like a clinic or lab or something.
The man (he really ought to ask his name one way or another at this rate), knocks on the window in a rhythmic pattern and the door slides open, Jin’s surprised face greeting them.
“S- Suga what happened? And ...J-Hope is it? Come in.”
He belatedly realizes he still has his helmet on, though in a way he is glad for he is sure his face lit up at the realization of the client’s identity, despite himself.
Jin brings out a chair and the client -Suga, this is Suga oh damn-, plops down unceremoniously on it, and promptly passed out, to his horror. Jin though, who he just realizes wear a lab coat of sort simply chuckles at the sight.
“He had been running with less sleep these days, about time he hit the limit, I say.”
J-Hope does not know them well enough (or at all, really) to get the joke, so he just nods at that, rubbing his neck awkwardly and starts making way to leave when Jin grabs his arm.
“Did Namjoon send you?”
When he called Namjoon that one time, the man had assured him that the (apparently) roommate of Suga’s, Jin, is a trustworthy person, and that there is nothing to be worried about, but J-Hope, as a transporter, holds and lives by the code of confidentiality; be it between the client and the intended recipients, and of course, the details of said request and transactions.
The moment he decided to do this job, his very life is bound by the said code.
For he is a neutral party in all ways possible, and with his helmet on, he is J-Hope through and through; the black rider roaming the streets of Seoul as transporter in the dark of the night.
So he gently lowers Jin’s hand from his arm, and instead of the usual cheery tone he use when on business, he spoke softly, yet seriously, all the time facing the taller man.
“Allow me to apologize, sir, but that is a confidential matter.”
J-Hope takes a step back, and bows promptly, before straighten up again, one hand sliding the door open, “If you can excuse me, I will be taking my leave here.”
He gives Jin about 5 seconds (he can afford that much), and when the man nods, understanding, he turns and walks straight to his bike, never once turning back, despite the stare boring a hole on his back.
And with ease and well practiced motion, he gets the bike running, leaving only the afterimage of his red taillights burned in Jin’s eyes.
He steals a glance on his watch and took a detour to a pretty deserted gas station on the outskirts of the city, filling the tank full for another day of work tomorrow, and drops a tip to the snoring gas attendant, head lulled against the gasoline pump. He would not blame the kid; it is close to dawn now, after all.
J-Hope rides home with ease, his phone silent in his jacket pocket, and kills the engine at the entrance of the old apartment, pushing the bike and parks it behind the wooden storage hut at the far corner by the bushes.
The old owner of the apartment had pretty much leave them to their own devices, and he can hardly care less what his tenants are up to, so long as they meet the monthly rent, which is of course, not a hard thing for him.
J-Hope, in all honesty, has no idea what kind of people would rent a room at such a rundown apartment, but it is an unspoken agreement among them to not poke at anyone’s business, and if anyone recognize his bike from somewhere, well, at least he is not reported yet.
Though that might be because no one makes a point to get to know anyone here, and despite being among the longest tenant around, he only gets to know one such person, and that is because the person stays in a room right beside his, and their schedule kind of overlaps at times.
Like now, when he just about to fish his keys from his pocket, helmet dangling on one arm, and the next door opens, a sleepy looking kid walks out with a yawn, and another, much taller one -to his surprise, he never knew the kid got a roommate- mirrors him almost immediately before the head whips around at him, the gaze unreadable.
“Good morning, Hoseok-hyung! Just got off work?”
Park Jimin, the shorter of the two, chirps happily, head bows shortly in greeting, and he returns the smile with equal fervor, almost an automatic reaction at this rate.
“Yeah, as if you can’t tell from my zombie face, kid.”
Jimin giggles at that, and surprisingly his friend too, eyes crinkling. Seeing an opportunity, Jimin pulls the boy alongside him and freaking beams like sunlight.
“Hyung, this is my friend Kim Taehyung, he works in the same station as me, though he is a proper officer, with gun and all.”
Taehyung blanches at that, and quickly retort, “You’re an officer too!” surprising him with how deep the kid’s voice is but Jimin just jabs the other’s ribs, “I’m doing accounting works, idiot! You’re the one going around arresting people.”, and proceed to bicker in front of the door for solid 3 minutes (and ongoing).
He had known Jimin by chance, when the younger got locked out and pacing in front of the door (or more like attempting to break it down) when he returned from the usual work inquiries, and the other was so surprised to see him he almost thought the kid was going to pass out on the spot.
Well, if a person wearing all black from head to toe suddenly appears he’ll pass out right there and then, really.
So he took pity on the other (also because he felt slightly guilty for scaring him, though that was purely unintentional), and called the owner as well as offered to go over and retrieve the second key, to which the younger start crying out of relief, Busan dialect slipped out in between all the words of gratitude.
Somehow they start catching each other since then; Jimin would go out to work at the nearby Hwayang-dong police station just in time for him to come back from work himself, and they would exchange small talk, bid each other good day, and go forth with their day, to which he would usually just spend by sleeping, to be honest.
They never prod about each other, and the only reason he even found out about Jimin’s work is because the younger let slipped about it unintentionally one day when he tripped and scattered lots of papers, and Hoseok just wound up picking one with the official notice from the station to all the employees.
To say Hoseok, still clad in J-Hope’s persona and uniform was shocked is an understatement of the century. To be fair, most of the time he sees Jimin’s attire when the kid’s going to work it consist of simple black pants, plain white dress shirt, tie, and cute round glasses perched on his nose. Unlike Taehyung, now, who is in full police uniform attire, a clear indicator on the kind of work he’s doing.
Speaking of work, though…
“Aren’t you two going to be late?”
That shut the bickering duo almost immediately, and the look of identical horror on their faces should not make him laugh as hard as he did, but alas it is hard not to when they scramble around like children; Taehyung picking up the bag and gouging around it for his kepi, while Jimin struggling to find the key in his own suitcase when the door opens from inside, stopping everyone in their tracks, including him.
A mop of black, dark hair greets him first and then yet another kid pops out (how many people actually lives in that room, he wonders), dressed in similar attire as Taehyung, albeit disheveled and a lot less neat, eyes half shut. The other officer hands Taehyung his kepi, and almost flings a set of keys to Jimin before grunts out in obvious displeasure.
“You two are too noisy, just go to work already.”
Jimin huffs, berating the (apparently) younger kid for the lack of respect while Taehyung just grabs the kepi and ready to bolt away, though instead he turns to walk over to Hoseok and reaches over to grab his jacket, to his surprise.
“This is so cool, hyung. Oh, wait, can I call you hyung?”
He nods, because, well, Hoseok is a law abiding citizen, and definitely has no problem with the law whatsoever, and the bright rectangular shape smile (how even?) from Taehyung makes him smile back softly.
Then they are a flurry of motions as they race down the stairs, Taehyung shouting a goodbye before being shoved unceremoniously into the car by Jimin, and then they are speeding away, the shrieking sound of the tire breaking into the morning. Hoseok turns to finally open the door, nods a bit in greeting to the kid, who has taken to stare at him instead, somehow looking more awake, and closes the door behind him.
Later, when the clock strikes eleven, he steps out of his room, trading the leather jacket to a rider suit -all black, of course-, the same black helmet dangling on one arm, and swiftly locks the door when suddenly the door to Jimin’s room opens.
Hoseok, already in J-Hope mindset, turns to the left so fast he is seeing stars, though he regains himself quick enough to see the kid from this morning steps out, and faces him properly in the middle of the hallway. Jimin must have not returned yet, considering the lack of Taeyang songs from the room, the silent almost deafening in his ears.
Still, there is something about the kid, an aura to him, which gives off a different vibe from the usual officers who are quick to reprimand J-Hope for all the traffic offenses, or the ones who are hell bent on making him give out information that might be related to their cases.
If anything, for some reason, it reminds him of Detective Lee Howon.
And he has to wonder if that can be a compliment or not.
So he remains still in front of his door, and waits, until finally, the officer starts.
“Allow me to apologize in advance if it turns out that this is a mistake, but,”
It feels like déjà vu.
And if he pays close attention he would notice a sealed envelope in his right hand.
“I would like you to deliver this for me, J-Hope-shii.”
Hoseok- no, J-Hope exhales, his mind surprisingly calm, and wordlessly receives the envelope. He takes note of the recipient, keeps the brown envelope under his suit, and because he is shameless like that, holds out his hand. The kid, understanding the gesture, pulls out his wallet, and hands almost all the cash over.
“Um…I don’t know exactly how much the payment is…?”
J-Hope stares, taking a good look at the officer -or the client in this case, really-, and cannot help but wonder why would someone this young choose to get involved with someone like him.
He cannot honestly say his work is legal by any means, and that applies to most of his clients and requests, no matter from which side of the law they came.
Maybe that’s why he likes Namjoon’s requests so much, for the rarity they are.
Still, a job is a job, so he reaches over, takes two bills from the stretched out hand of the taller man -who’s surprised and confused face makes the other look painfully young his heart ache at the sight-, and gently pushes the hand away.
“Don’t throw your hard earned money into the pit, kid.”
J-Hope walks on then, teeth clenched hard in his jaw, side-stepping the client (his brain actually spats at the thought), and the two bills feels awfully heavy in his fist. Behind him there is a sound of shuffling slippers, and a soft call stopping him in his tracks.
He made a mistake of turning around, and looking at the officer’s face.
For the soft smile will go on to haunt him for a long, long time.
“To make this fair, considering I do know who you are, I-“
He reaches the destination the envelope is intended, -a rundown apartment near Itaewon, though it looks about to be demolished, so it must be a front, someone will come and get it later, of course, it is the usual way of doing things like this, how else would it be, he has been dealing with these dirty business far longer than anyone’s guess, of course he knows- and he has half a mind to ripped it apart and throw it away into the Han river, the beautiful lights of the bridge mocking him in its brightness.
His phone rings once, twice, three times, and when it stops he pulls out the battery.
In his mind the soft voice echoes, and for once he wishes he can say something more, anything to make the younger turn and get out from this side, while he still can.
“-should introduce myself. I guess?”
But J-Hope, he is the transporter, and he just needed here, for better or for worse; even when he sometimes caught himself trying to find a subtle way out. So all he can do is prays for the best, that the kid- no.
“My name is Jeon Jungkook. I work as an officer at Hwayang-dong station. I’m really sorry for the trouble, but thank you, hyung, ah- can I call you hyung too? Like Taehyung-hyung?”
That Jungkook makes it till the end.
“Also, let’s keep this a secret just between us, ok; hyung?”
No matter what may come.
“Jimin-hyung and Taehyung-hyung must not found out, more so Howon-hyung.”
Not to disappear.