“He…,” the younger tilted his head, “started to figure it out the night we got sick – you remember?” Kazuya blinked up at him, “that night I asked you to pick up San-nee?” He turned back down, “I knocked him out before he could start thinking seriously about it, but…” he licked his lips, “if he’s gotten this far…,” he trailed off there, letting the latter finish - “there’s no telling how much further he’ll get…?” Yamapi murmured to himself.
“Mn,” Kazuya nodded, tugging at his hair for a while, curling a lock around his ring finger over and over as time trickled by while he let Yamapi think.
“She might be trustworthy…,” he prompted after a near half hour, and Yamapi grunted irritably, seemingly having calmed down a tad.
“I mean he came to me saying she’d told him that you’d only killed thirty people,” he turned up to the brooding man, “- and that was only half of-.”
“Bitch still probably has her own agenda,” Yamapi muttered begrudgingly, “goning to fucking murder her when we get back…,” he continued growling to himself incoherently for a minute before he switched to complaining, “what the hell kind of number is this ’thirty’ anyway?” He snapped, “where’d she even get specific bullshit like that from? - Fucking selling my skillful ass short - annoying, little bitch if I’ve ever met one…,” - and on he went, while Kazuya rolled his eyes. It was stupid, but it was a coping mechanism all the same.
“That’s your issue?” He scoffed nonetheless, “the fact that she’s shortening your kill list, THAT’S your issue-?”
“I’m dealing, okay?” He was nudged back roughly, “what? You seriously want me depressing about Jin now-? The hell kind of sadistic creature are you-?”
“Alright!” Kazuya elbowed him back, “Christ, you’re a bigger bitch than me…”
“Don’t go there, Kamenashi.”
“Shut up and brood, Yamashita.”
Silence settled between them for a second as they eyed each other, before Kazuya smiled hopefully
“Are you okay?” he asked in a rare show of sincereity after a moment.
And Yamapi thought about not answering.
Kazuya poked him for that. Twice, thrice, about ten or so times until he was swatted away with a reluctant grunt and a clear, “no.”
In the dark where no one would see it, hazel eyes softened. “Are you coping?” He tried again after a second.
Yamapi ignored him again.
“I can talk to him, you know?”
Yamapi stilled. From where they rested on his stomach, his hands curled into trembling fists again.
Kazuya glanced down at them, letting the elder push his mouth into his hair from behind. He waited a moment, watching the man's hands, listening to his heightened breathing and feeling the tension of his body before he nodded and slowly asked:
“When… do you want me to talk to him?”
But the latter stayed silent, simply lowering his head so that his forehead was resting in Kazuya’s hair now. “Jin shouldn’t have been a part of this…,” he murmured after a moment, avoiding the question all together. “I know,” he spoke up when he heard the younger breath in deep like he was going to say something, “I know The King… Kei, was protecting him from Aoi when he did what he did but…,” the brunette slowly shook his head, letting his hair knot with Kazuya’s, “he really should’ve never… been involved. Should’ve never gone back to Ishiyama, should’ve never been a part of this – a part of us. The four of us were enough - we didn't need to drag his family into it…”
Kazuya shut his mouth again, eyes lowering as he glanced across at his bandmate. He sighed after a moment and turned away, pillowing his head against the elder’s collarbone and shutting his eyes. “No use crying over spilled milk," he murmured a bit too coldly - but it was another mask, and Yamapi could quite clearly see that without having to look.
“Hm,” he just hummed back dejectedly, waiting for the exact amount of time it took for the younger to doze off before opening his mouth again.
“Hey,” Kazuya flinched and glanced up when Yamapi spoke up.
“You’re awake,” he mumbled tiredly, shutting his eyes once more.
“Now that your Connector’s dead…,” the elder started quietly, “it means the Second Hunt’s started, right?”
“Tatsuya,” Yamapi continued, “said we could tell Jin…,” he paused, “about this once it started right?” He waited a moment before adding when the younger didn’t say anything, “how much can we tell him?”
“About… half,” Kazuya yawned back after a moment, “the political side of it, the general idea, the basics,” he tilted his head, letting it roll against Yamapi’s collarbone, “Tatsuya said we could tell him about the auction, why it happened, when it happened-.”
“But?” Yamapi asked impatiently.
Kazuya opened his eyes. He watched the flickers of flitting fireflies and listened to the distant din of crashing waves for a while before opening his mouth. “But not about Meisa or Arisa…,” he lifted his head back to the look at Yamapi just as the elder looked away, “we can tell him about Seals or Locks, but not about who they are."
Yamapi’s eyes rolled down, “when can we tell him identities of the Seals and Locks?”
“When they start hunting Meisa.”
He felt Yamapi flinch against his back.
“It’s okay though,” Kazuya tried to reassure him softly as Yamapi’s arms tightened around him and locked up stiffly over his stomach, “she sealed by twenty codes. It’ll take a while to get them all out of the way-.”
“Your Connector with Jin went out,” Yamapi muttered, “that means one of them just died.”
“She sealed by nineteen codes then.”
Pi replied with nothing for a while.
As a thoughtful silence rose heavy and thick around them, he murmured – settling his chin back in the younger’s hair - just as Kazuya’s head lolled exhaustedly against his chest, “aa~ah,” he huffed mirthlessly, “we really don’t deserve to live.”
“I know,” the latter mumbled back without fighting the truth of it as he glanced down at the twin bandaging on his wrists.
Something was wrong.
“Jiyong,” his manager sighed finally, “you’ve been distracted for while-,” he was sugarcoating the fact that Big Bang’s leader had done nothing but fidget obsessively all day in a corner, “why don’t we just call it a d-.”
“Go sleep,” Daesung grumbled.
“Hyung,” Seungri wrinkled his nose.
“I said, I’m fine-.”
“Out,” T.O.P promptly kicked his rolling chair so that it’s spinning wheels carried him straight out the open studio door which Taeyang slammed shut and locked behind him.
Ignoring the racket Jiyong threw up just moments later, the members of Big Bang reconvened to review their next releases, staying selectively ignorant until the noise died down.
Behind the door, Jiyong all but pouted furiously until his brains hurt and he finally surrendered to stalk off to the café in his agency’s lobby.
Staring hard at nothing in particular as he walked with a phone jammed to his ear, his mouth soured ever more as he listened to his calls ring off the hook before a mechanical voice cut through the ringtone for what had to the seventieth time now, “this person’s phone is turned off. Please try again later.”
He growled as he stabbed his nail into the end call button and finally – finally – decided to bother someone else.
“Hey,” he said when this new call was picked up on the first ring, “spare my last brain cell and tell me where that precious idiot of yours is, please?”
“I don’t know!” Tatsuya gasped on the other end of the line, and Jiyong’s heart instantly found its way into his mouth. While he choked, the elder babbled on – “his tracking chip hasn’t been registering since this afternoon-! I don't know what happened - or where he is-!”
Various managers and company agents cast the idol standing frozen at the center of the YG Agency lobby, confused and irritated stares – but Jiyong clung frantically to his phone. “Ueda-san, the Second Hunt’s already begun!” He gasped, immediately lowering his voice to a desperate hiss and covering his mouth when people began to frown. “The 1st Seal of the 68th Lock has already been killed!” He whisper-screamed now, ducking into a little corner for privacy, “the Seal-! Senator Kitahara was just assassinated! Haven’t you been watching the news-?!”
“I KNOW – WHY DO YOU THINK I’M FREAKING OUT SO BAD?!”
“How long?!” The Korean idol choked back, “how long has he been-?”
“Since yesterday, I think – last night - this morning - I don’t know!” Tatsuya hissed, voice warped, “God, this is the WORST timing-! If Kei finds out-!”
“Hikifune doesn’t know?!”
“I’m stalling – he’s busy enough as it is,” Tatsuya replied agitatedly, “if I tell him about Kazuya now, he’ll drop everything and fly over –.”
“Why’s that a bad thing?!” His caller wheezed incredulously.
“Because one of the Italian Families is in Tokyo right now!”
“Ah – The Cazzerone,” Jiyong seemed to remember that in a singular moment of clarity that lasted exactly a second before he started hissing secretively again, “what can I do?!”
“Hell if I know!” Tatsuya gasped back, “I don’t even know where Kazuya is! I don’t even know where to start!” He paused for a moment to clear his head as he caught his breath and paced a hole into the carpet before the fireplace, “the local precinct’s force was dispatched a few hours ago to comb the property and the surrounding areas with infrared-.”
“They haven’t found anything,” Tatsuya mumbled despairingly as his head sank and he pushed his fingers into his temples. “Goddammit, that’s not even the worst part…,” he whispered more to himself as he shook it.
“There’s a ‘worse part’?” Jiyong coughed like he was hacking on something, “how is there a worse part?! What part of this can get anymore worse?!”
“Jin’s missing too, Yamapi as well,” Tatsuya pressed his palm into his forehead as he tried to massage out his migraine while the latter took a moment before whispering.
“Jin…,” Jiyong started quietly, “Jin –... Akanishi?” He breathed when realization hit him like a brick in the face.
Tatsuya swallowed, groaning quietly.
“Oh my God. Oh my GOD. What the FUCK is happening-?!” The younger gasped, “he’s the 22nd Seal of the 68th Lock, isn’t he?! How could he go missing at a time like this?! What if he-?!”
“You don’t think I know that?!” Tatsuya snapped back frantically as he paced faster and faster, “I’m just hoping wherever he is, he’s with Kazuya – at least then…,” he trailed off hopefully, shutting his eyes as he finally came to a stop in front of the fireplace. There, he stayed silent for a minute before speaking up again, “if the police don’t find anything in an hour I’m thinking of calling Kei’s lieutenant because I can’t call The King out at a time like this,” he swallowed again, though the fact of the matter was that his throat was drier than the Sahara.
“Ragako?” Jiyong returned, then paused for a moment before adding, “… that’s okay, right?” He seemed to be nodding frantically, “that good, right? He might know something we don’t, right?” He demanded hopefully and blazed on before the latter could answer, “do you want me to ask around in the Second Syndicate? If they’ve heard anything strange in the last few d-?”
“Nononono no,” Tatsuya hurried to interrupt, “we don’t know who’s responsible for this, it might be them for all we know – what with Kozaro MIA and all.”
“Oh, you're right - good point, good point – close call,” Jiyong mumbled back, just as rushed – hurrying to wrap up his call when he spotted two of his managers’ interns walking towards him, waving, “I have to go – call me,” he snapped pointedly into the phone, “before you call Ragako – call. Me. Keep me updated – don't do what that idiot Yamapi does - crap, they’re here, bye.”
“Hiiiii!” He added cheerily, turning with a flourish to the two interns that had just come up in front of him. “Do me favor,” he continued as he pulled out a lighter out his back pocket and flicked on its gas, “throw this,” he held it under the burner phone he’d just used to call Tatsuya and waited until it caught fire before he flung it at one of the interns who shrieked hysterically and flung it at his partner, “away for me~.” And with that, he let them fuss over the smoking mess as he bolted away while they were distracted.
The gentle sound of rustling trees and chirping birds surrounded Kazuya when he woke up the next morning. Blinking into the dim rays of dawn, he yawned as he slowly turned, arms reaching immediately for the small pillow he usually kept at his side –… which was conveniently missing. “Tsk-,” it wasn’t there.
He blinked, opening his eyes again when his fingers clutched at air again. “Mh...,” he grumbled irritably, trying to remember if he’d sent it to the cleaners as he lazily pushed against his mattress to sit up. “Jin…,” he yawned, rubbing an eye, about to demand a pillow from his bed when his other eye caught the color of the sheets beneath him.
Deep, dark green.
He frowned, lowering the fist he’d just had in his eye. This wasn’t his bed.
Turning slightly, he glanced at the soft green blanket tangled between his legs. It wasn’t Jin’s bed either.
“Where…?” He started, yawning once more as he sat up straighter, gingerly fingering the lace trim on the comforter. Had he gone to sleep with a woman?
Kazuya turned, eyes wandering to the figure lying in bed a few feet away from him -, “Jin?” He mumbled, placing a name to the disastrous oaky bedhead. “What’re you-?” He flinched, waking up a little bit more and snapping his head to his right when something shifted and jolted the mattress -, “ah…,” he tilted his head at the second figure lying there. “Yamapi…,” he frowned, turning up to take a gander at the room they were in, “why are we all in the same…”
Kazuya blinked. He turned down.
“Hah…?” He murmured suddenly.
His heart stopped beating all together moments later.
The speedboat. The crash. The last two days-!
The idol jumped, his entire body locking up as everything came back to him all at once and – his breath cut short. Cringing abruptly, he yelped and frantically kicked at the blanket on his legs as he pedaled backwards until he hit the bedframe
They’d triggered a hunter’s trap yesterday.
They’d gotten caught in a net.
They’d fallen ASLEEP in that net.
But he’d woken up in a BED.
He gasped, panic shorting his entire brain out as he suddenly turned towards his bandmate, “J-!”
He stopped. Think - he reminded himself, and hurried to turn to his right, opting to wake Yamapi up instead.
“Tomo – Tomo!” He hissed a few minutes into shaking him as he frantically glanced around at the room they were, “Tomohisa, wake up!”
“Hm- hn? Kazu…-.”
“Wake up-!” Kazuya shoved him harder and the elder groaned, flinching slightly – “what…,” he grumbled softly, finally opening his eyes, opting to turn away-, "s'too early-."
“Look, look!” Kazuya shoved him before he could, threatening to kick him off the bed as he pushed a heel deep into the hollow of his back. “The fuck already?” Yamapi snapped, swatting back blindly at the younger as he propped himself up unsteadily on an arm, “what is it so early in the morn-?”
“We were in the forest last night,” Kazuya hurried to interrupt, “stuck in that hunter’s net you set off-.”
“I said, I was sorry-.”
“In the trees-,” Kazuya continued desperately.
“We were in the trees, Yamapi –,” Kazuya pointed to something below them, “up in the air. In the forest-,” Yamapi blinked, coming slowly to his senses as he finally noted the softness beneath them. “Not-,” he heard Kazuya hiss as he glanced down to the deep green sheets under his palm, “in a fucking-.”
“Bed…,” Yamapi finished, eyes finally widening as all the blood rushed to his head.
Someone had moved them.
Someone had moved them without waking them up.
“Where are we?!” He gasped, whipping back to face Kazuya. Because between the two of them, Yamapi was the light sleeper – and the fact that neither of them seemed to notice being moved in the dead of the night implied the effect of sleeping drugs.
The younger shook his head, chewing his lip as he glanced around. “It looks like someone’s cabin,” he murmured as Yamapi glanced past him, heartbeat calming slightly when he caught sight of Jin lying peacefully at the other end of the bed. “Somewhere in the woods,” Kazuya observed quietly, “we’re further from Tokoro’s though – the northern mountains,” his eyes shifted worriedly to the windows in the wall behind the bed.
Yamapi turned, craning his neck, “they’re further away,” Kazuya turned back to him, “we’re even further away than we were when we crashed – someone moved us here by vehicle,” – he was saying that someone had gone through the trouble of moving them further away from civilization and deeper into the mountains instead of taking them to the hospital, or the residence closest to where they’d been caught – Tokoro’s manor – like a normal person.
Given that they’d run across zero walking or driving trails, the vehicle that had moved them would’ve had to have been a helicopter then. They couldn’t be sure of that until they snooped around, but either way a normal citizen, upon finding three random idiots caught up in a hunter trap, wouldn’t take pains to transport them further into the mountains where resources to treat their possible injuries were sparse.
Yamapi’s fingers curled into the silky bedsheets.
“This isn’t just anybody, if they’re in the mafia – if it's the hunter that set up yesterday's trap - they’re higher up in the chain of command than I thought,” Kazuya murmured, “whoever brought us isn’t normal. They know The Second Hunt’s just started; about the Connector between Jin and I – they know it went out yesterday – not many people have access to information like that,” he bit his lip.
“Shit,” Yamapi whispered as they both turned to glance at Jin then, “shit - we’re in trouble…”
A/N: If you're confused about some of the stuff Yamapi and Kame talked about or the stuff Ueda and G-Dragon talked about, don't worry too much, I'm explaining it all in the next chapter 😉 Hope you enjoyed this update! I'll be back soon!