(Phase 20 of the Scarlet Night series.)
Phase Twenty: Hung Up
End of the Fourth week of September 20XX
Thunder pierced the silence of the quiet night just moments before the inky black sky lit with a flash of lightning. Half a heartbeat passed and then the heavens opened up and rain beat against the windowpanes. Inside the dark room, where the windows were covered with curtains, even the brief moment of lightning edged the curtains.
In the bed, a body shot up straight, reaching out wildly into the darkness as a cry tried to wretch from his mouth. Almost immediately, a hand clasped over his lips. He tried to fight against the arm that wrapped around him, tried to pry his mouth away and to scream even louder when soft, quiet words soothed him, a melodic mantra into his ear. All resistance left him and he leaned against the solid warmth beside him.
“I’m here… it’s okay.”
He allowed himself to be lowered back to the bed, turning into the other’s body and pressing his face against the soft cotton shirt. He curled one arm between them, sandwiched between their bodies as his other arm lay limply over the other’s torso.
“Are you okay?” The soft voice asked as slender fingers gently stroked his hair. “Kyuhyun?”
“Yes… sorry, Mi…” Kyuhyun replied, allowing his eyes to close, his body momentarily seizing as another thunderclap roared.
“It’s fine,” Zhou Mi insisted, “It’s hard to break habits. Especially if those habits are fears one has held since childhood.”
“I don’t see you running away from pork buns,” Kyuhyun muttered,
“But have you noticed they never serve pork buns here?” Zhou Mi pointed out, “I am still deathly afraid of them.”
They fell into silence as the rain continued to pour down. It thundered again and Kyuhyun pressed himself closer to the older man. He murmured quietly, “I missed this. Those months without you and… I missed this.”
“Kyuhyun… I never asked… and… I know you don’t like me talking about it… but how did you feed during summer break?” Zhou Mi asked,
“I didn’t. I simply didn’t feed,” Kyuhyun answered,
“Well… I assumed as much, seeing as you’re all skin and bones,” Zhou Mi noted with slight admonishing. “But I mean… didn’t your bloodlust act up?”
“Of course, but I handled it as I always do. I never even touched blood until…”
Zhou Mi shifted, propping himself up on an elbow, “Until?”
“Nothing, let’s just go back to sleep,” Kyuhyun stated,
Zhou Mi grabbed his chin between thumb and forefinger, forcing Kyuhyun to look at him, “Until when Kyuhyun?”
Kyuhyun sighed as he brushed the other’s hand away, “The day I returned to SJA.”
“Who?” When Kyuhyun didn’t answer immediately, he repeated, louder, “WHO?”
Kyuhyun swallowed hard, “S… S… Sungmin.”
Zhou Mi suddenly rolled away, easily slipping out of bed. He strode over to a window and pulled the curtains apart. He pulled the window open and inhaled slowly, deeply. Then, he yelled. He screamed into the night, his voice mixing with the pouring rain and roaring thunder. When he was quiet again, he closed the window and pressed his wet forehead against the cool windowpane.
“I’m sorry,” Zhou Mi stated, just loud enough to be heard above the storm, “I’m not a perfect man.”
“It didn’t mean anything. He was just a friend offering what I was denying myself for two months,” Kyuhyun said quietly.
Zhou Mi turned to look at him. Kyuhyun had moved to his side of the bed, sitting with his feet on the floor, watching him. Zhou Mi closed the distance between, falling to his knees between Kyuhyun’s thighs. He looked up at the younger man, “Feed from me, Kyuhyun.”
“Feed from me.”
“But I already did –”
“Now, Kyuhyun. Right now. I want you to feed from me right now,” Zhou Mi said sternly, fiercely, his voice firm and cold. He reached up with one hand, clasping it behind the younger man’s head and pulled his head down to his neck. His voice came out like a soft growl, “Feed, damn it!”
Kyuhyun opened his mouth to protest, but Zhou Mi forced his mouth down and he tasted skin against his lips. Closing his eyes, he made his incisors lengthen and he pierced the skin. He fought the urge to tremble as thick, warm liquid spilt into his mouth. He drank hesitantly as Zhou Mi’s hand hardened at the back of his head, disallowing for any cessation, for any escape. He opened his eyes, tried to push Zhou Mi away, but the other held fast even as he felt the tensing of muscle beneath his hands. He knew if he used the strength his vampirism afforded him, he could push Zhou Mi away, but he was half-afraid he would hurt Zhou Mi.
Zhou Mi didn’t understand completely what he was doing. He held Kyuhyun still, felt his body roaring as the other fed from him carefully. He felt the other struggle against him, but he tightened his hold. No, he needed this. He needed Kyuhyun to feed from him, to take his blood and take away the feelings churning in him, burning him from the inside out.
Suddenly, he felt the trickle of blood against his skin. He pause, froze. No, they splashed onto his skin, did not trail from where Kyuhyun’s lips were. He suddenly pulled away, flinching as he felt Kyuhyun’s fangs tear against his muscle and skin from the rough handling. With the poor light coming from outside and the occasional streak of lightning, Zhou Mi saw what his heart feared: Kyuhyun was crying.
He held Kyuhyun’s face with both hands, “Kyuhyun… I’m… I’m so sorry. I didn’t… I wanted… I’m so sorry, Kyuhyun,” Zhou Mi repeated over and over again, as if he could erase what he had forced the other to do. He pulled Kyuhyun’s face down to his own, his heart tugging when he felt the youth hesitate before realizing his mouth wasn’t returning to where it just was. He pressed his lips against Kyuhyun’s as he whispered over and over, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry… Oh, Kyuhyun… I’m so, so, so, sorry…”
He lowered his hands from Kyuhyun’s face, wrapping his arms around the other’s waist. He pressed his face just below the other’s breastbone and continued his chant, “I’m so sorry, Kyuhyun… I’m so sorry…”
Kyuhyun stared down at him in the darkness, not understanding what had just happened. He felt the front of his shirt becoming wet, realizing that Zhou Mi was crying. It was the first time it happened in front of him. With one hand, he held Zhou Mi’s head against his stomach, securely, protectively. With the other, he brought his thumb to his lips and cut the surface with a fang. He ran his thumb over the bite and then used his other four fingers to clean the blood that had continue to pour forth after Zhou Mi had pulled his neck away. As he held Zhou Mi to him, he cleaned the blood off his fingers, savouring the sweet, metallic taste of the older man’s blood.
“What just happened, Mi?” Kyuhyun asked quietly as he softly stroked the back of his neck with the pad of his thumb.
“I… I needed you to feed from me… I needed to know that I can still do that for you,” Zhou Mi managed, the tears still stinging his eyes and tracing paths down his cheeks,
“You can… only you can,” Kyuhyun said. He arched his back, bowing his head until his lips barely brushed the older man’s hair, wet from the rain; “When I fed from Sungmin, everything but my body rejected the act. That was the first and only time, Zhou Mi… and that’s all it took for me to know that I can feed from you only.”
“I’m… relieved,” Zhou Mi admitted quietly,
“But it’s not just that, Mi… I don’t like feeding, you know that,” Kyuhyun stated, “But if I must feed, then I want it to be from you. Is that selfish of me?”
“No… it means that I can stay with you,” Zhou Mi replied before tightening his arms around the other’s waist, “I’m sorry I forced that on you… again.”
“I… I don’t have many people in my life,” Zhou Mi said quietly, pressing his cheek against Kyuhyun’s heart, “Ever since my family died, I can honestly say there has only been one person I care about.”
“Han Seonsaeng-nim,” Kyuhyun said, pushing away the stab of jealousy in his chest,
The literature teacher nodded as he continued, “After years of just Geng, I met you and… and suddenly I felt myself caring for another person. But worse than that, I found myself feeling emotions I had never felt before. I can’t… I don’t understand them, Kyuhyun… and I don’t think I can control them.” He shut his eyes tightly against the remaining, painful tears, “I’m not perfect but I cannot give you up.”
“I don’t want you to give me up,” Kyuhyun replied, “And I don’t care if you’re perfect… so long as you’re you.”
“I… I learned that I do not handle loss well, Kyuhyun,” Zhou Mi continued as if the other hadn’t spoken, “During the break, I learned that not having you around… not hearing from you… it was hell.”
“I know… it’s the same for me,” Kyuhyun said quietly, knowing that if there was more light in the room, that his skin would grow red. “Come now, Mi… come be with me,” he continued in a low, soft voice, slowly pulling Zhou Mi’s head up and then his body.
His heart was thundering in his chest, his blood thrumming as he pulled the older man to him. His body was trembling, surely, for he felt as if his movements were jerky and unsure. He didn’t know what he was doing, didn’t know if what he was doing was right. All he knew was that he wanted this man, wanted him closer than they had ever been.
He could feel the building heat in his blood, his body. He knew that peculiar blood lust was slowly building, the one that did not require his fangs. He had initiated enough kisses between them, but this was so much more than a kiss, meant so much more, was worth so much more.
Zhou Mi was startled and slightly dazed as he found himself slowly standing, arching over the younger man. Kyuhyun was slowly inching back onto the bed, pulling him along until, finally, Zhou Mi hovered above Kyuhyun on all fours, the student trapped in the cage his limbs created.
“Kyuhyun…” Zhou Mi managed, his heart thundering louder and more powerful than the thunder outside,
He stared down at the younger man, could see, even through the darkness, the conflicting emotions passing through his eyes. He could feel the tentativeness, the shyness and he was overcome by a feeling of great protectiveness towards Kyuhyun. He wanted to take him into his arms and protect him, shield him forever. He wanted to preserve that innocence because it made Kyuhyun sweet and endearing. He wanted to kiss him until Kyuhyun blushed as bright as chilli paste. He wanted to touch Kyuhyun until he was no longer shy.
Kyuhyun cradled his face in his slender fingers. Slowly, tentatively he brought the other man’s lips to his own, “Sometimes, it’s not about the blood.”
“Kyuhyun, are you ready for this?” Zhou Mi asked raising his head enough to look clearly at Kyuhyun, his body praying, hoping that the answer would be an affirmation.
“Yes… I think I am,” Kyuhyun replied,
“That’s not good enough… You need to know –”
“But that’s the thing, I don’t know if I know,” Kyuhyun interrupted, “I’ve… I’ve never felt this way before, you know that… and I… It feels… I… I have these thoughts and –”
“What thoughts?” Zhou Mi questioned, almost too sharply,
“Thoughts about… about…” Kyuhyun dropped his hands from the other’s face and shut his eyes tightly, turning his face to the side, “They should be… they should be illegal.”
Zhou Mi swallowed hard, inhaled slowly, deeply in an attempt to slightly cool down his raging thoughts and anticipating body; “Kyuhyun… are your thoughts running along the same lines as mine usually do when I’m with you?”
“I… I… Oh, fuck,” Kyuhyun rolled onto his stomach, despite being trapped in the cage of Zhou Mi’s limbs. He buried his face into the mattress, linking his fingers over his head,
“Well… that was the idea,” Zhou Mi murmured as he allowed himself to fall against the mattress, lying on his side as he watched the younger man, “Kyuhyun –”
“THEY’RE WORSE!” Came Kyuhyun’s muffled exclamation.
Zhou Mi blinked in the dark. He blinked a second time. “Did you say… that… your thoughts are worse than mine?”
“YES!” He cried, “You must have infected me with your… your… influences!”
Zhou Mi didn’t know what he wanted to do: did he laugh at the sincere panic in the other’s voice? Or, did he embrace the other for his obvious distress? He opted for neither as he reached out to Kyuhyun’s hands, pulling them from his head. Then, he reached for Kyuhyun’s chin, forcing him to look at him,
“Kyuhyun, remember what we did last term? When you first had your nightmare?” Zhou Mi asked softly, simply,
“Y…Yes… you… did things to me,” Kyuhyun whispered in the dark, as if saying his words louder was tantamount to death,
“As I remember it, you were an eager participant,” Zhou Mi muttered before asking, “Did you like it?”
“No… Yes… I… I…” Kyuhyun pulled his head away, burying it back into the mattress, “YOU KNOW I DID!”
Zhou Mi grinned in the dark as he reached out and made Kyuhyun look at him again, “Are you ready for more than what happened that night?”
“I … I don’t know,” he pulled his head away again, not speaking again until his voice could be muffled by the sheets, “BUT I WANT… I WANT… more.”
“Then we’ll take this slowly,” Zhou Mi stated softly, gently, “We’ll take this step by step so that whenever you want to stop, we can.”
Kyuhyun turned his head so he was facing Zhou Mi, “Really? We… we can stop whenever I want?”
“It should be…” Zhou Mi cleared his throat, “Closer to the beginning than near the end… otherwise I may… not be able to stop.”
“But… we’ll go slowly?” Kyuhyun asked,
“Yes…” Zhou Mi answered tentatively,
“We’ll go as slow as I want?” Kyuhyun inquired hopefully,
“Kyuhyun, I’m a teacher and a Hunter… I’m not a saint,” Zhou Mi muttered darkly and Kyuhyun could practically imagine the slight pout forming on the older man’s lips. “But I’ll try to go as slow as you want.”
“Can you… can you kiss me now?” Kyuhyun asked quietly, tentatively, his words almost lost as thunder clapped outside.
Zhou Mi pulled Kyuhyun to him, one hand cradling his face, his other hand on his waist. He brought his lips against Kyuhyun’s, slowly drugging him, enticing him, pulling him deeper into the kiss. As he did so, he slowly rolled them so that Kyuhyun was on his back and his torso was hovering above Kyuhyun.
He drew back from the kiss, staring down at him through the darkness, “You’re shaking, Kyuhyun.”
“I know,” he admitted bluntly, simply, as his hands reached out hesitantly before touching Zhou Mi’s ribs and then circling to embrace him, his hands resting just below the older man’s shoulder blades, holding him closer.
“You’re scared,” Zhou Mi stated as he allowed the younger man to pull their bodies together,
Kyuhyun pressed his face against the junction where Zhou Mi’s neck and shoulder met. He shook his head, “I’m just happy.”
“But why are you shaking then?” Zhou Mi asked sceptically,
“Because I’m… excited,” Kyuhyun whispered,
Zhou Mi felt his heart clench, felt the protectiveness overwhelm him once more. He nudged Kyuhyun’s head, prompting the younger man to raise his head and to face his own. He pressed a kiss to Kyuhyun’s forehead and then his eyes, his nose, his chin. He kept his lips a hairbreadth away from the other as he whispered softly, “Just tell me when you want to stop.”
“I don’t want you to,” Kyuhyun promised, reaching for his kiss, “Don’t ever stop.”
First week of October 20XX
“How bad is it?” He asked quietly, arms crossed and his back to a window. Behind him, rain pelted the pane. It had been raining for three days now.
“Nothing serious yet,” She replied as she sat at the desk, a laptop open before her. She had one hand placed affectionately over her protruding stomach, the other hand furiously typing away at the keyboard, her speed not hindered by only using one hand.
“But they suspect something,” He prompted, keeping his eyes closed as he began to assess the information she was telling him and the information he knew.
Each piece of information ran through his mind and he analyzed it. He weaved it with the other pieces of information, forming everything together like pieces of a puzzle. The situation at hand was becoming complicated. He had anticipated such an occurrence; however, things had changed that made it even more difficult. He slowly opened his eyes and looked across the room at her. No, this was different from any mission they had ever been given.
“More or less… they taught us everything we know; they can’t be too dense,” She replied as her hand paused, hovering above the keyboard. Then, she moved between the different open windows on her computer, her dark eyes quickly scanning each page, retaining the information within seconds of seeing it.
“Have you done anything to divert their attention?” He questioned bluntly,
“It’s what I’ve been doing for the past three months,” She snapped, shooting him a sharp glare,
“Has it been working?” He stared back, his face emotionless, his dark eyes unreadable,
“Better than I could have hoped…” She sighed, turning her face away. She was never good at the staring game with this one; “But it seems time is running out. I’ve only been able to do this much simply because of who I am.”
“What do they want?” He asked as he pushed away from the window and crossed the room, standing just behind her chair, a hand gripping the back in a possessive gesture; she did not miss the meaning.
“Weekly reports as to what I’m doing,” She answered as she pressed ‘send’ on what she had been typing and quickly closing the computer. She idly took the other’s free hand and brought it to her stomach where her hand once rested.
“They’re treating you like you’re a new Hunter or something!” He exclaimed just as he felt something press against his palm. He withdrew his hand a moment out of shock and awe before placing it more firmly on her stomach, only to feel the movement a second time.
“It can’t be helped,” She shrugged as she watched him watch his hand over her stomach. Knowingly, she took his hand and moved it to the other side of her stomach and she knew the moment he felt another movement; “Besides, what can we expect when we’ve been here since April? And then when we requested to continue being here after the summer break… No, I expected this of them.”
“Did you ever mention Kyuhyun in your reports?” He inquired as he slid his other hand from the chair, coming to kneel beside her and placing both hands on the spots of her stomach where he felt movement.
“No. If you’ve forgotten, when we first got here, he was supposedly under the protection of the Korean Council. Mentioning him in a report is tantamount to an attack on the international level,” She answered as she placed her hands lightly over his.
“I never forget anything. You should know that by now,” he replied, turning his hands supine beneath hers, holding them and bringing them to his lips; “But now we know he isn’t under Korean Council protection.”
“That changes nothing,” She said simply, “Because he is now under my protection. And my protection… and my goals trump that of the Council… of any Council.” She paused and then asked simply, softly, “So Kibum, what is your decision? The Council has been your home since you were a child.”
“It is true that I have been with them since I lost my family… since I lost everything. And in truth, we both owe a lot to them,” Kibum stated as he slipped his hands from hers and slowly rose, towering over her; “But you are my partner – that has never changed. I vowed to follow and protect you in every mission – that has never changed.” He tilted her chin up with the tip of a finger, forcing her to look up at him; “This is a mission not of the Council’s making, but of your own, borne from that of which Zhou Mi created. I accept this mission as all others in the past and I will stay by your side to see it through.”
She gazed steadily into his schooled expression, knowingly seeing the slight flickering of emotions in the dark depths of his eyes, “And the Council?”
“My loyalty has always been to you first and foremost, Kyuri,” he slipped his hand away and turned towards the bed where a black button-up lay. “As you very well know,” he mused as he slipped on the shirt over his undershirt, “What did you send in your report?”
“That I was merely expanding my medical knowledge,” Kyuri shrugged as she slowly rose from the chair, “Which is all I’ve been truly doing.”
“They don’t believe you, do they?” Kibum asked, slipping each button into its hole,
“No. But they can’t prove otherwise, especially since I’m telling the truth,” Kyuri answered, pulling on a fitted, black, zippered sweater that didn’t reach around her stomach. “Besides, what do they really expect of me? They know what my condition is. I’m not going to be doing much hunting like this.”
“Then what about that mission you just received?” Kibum inquired as he walked to the door, leaning a shoulder against it to prevent her from leaving.
Kyuri froze in her movements before smirking slightly and turning to face him, “I thought I distracted you from the screen.”
“I don’t even need a full second to comprehend the data in front of me,” Kibum reminded, folding his arms over his chest,
Kyuri sighed as she crossed her own arms over her stomach, “Well, apparently even five months pregnant doesn’t stop me from being given missions.”
“And you’re to command them from Korea?” Kibum inquired,
“Yes,” Kyuri shook her head, “I don’t understand it, especially since there are other Head Hunters in Japan. Even if they’re not in my region, they can easily temporarily assign a Hunter to my region.”
Kibum closed his eyes for a moment before opening them, slowly locking eyes with her, “It’s another test.”
She sighed heavily, “I was afraid of such a thing. Tell me what you think… you’ve analyzed everything to draw such a conclusion.”
“You, one of the most respected and highly regarded of Head Hunters in Japan leave for Korea for two months. You return for two months, only to leave again. Since first leaving Japan, you did not take any missions and have dropped all contact with the Council in Japan,” Kibum recounted slowly, simply, putting his thoughts into words; “You have been with the Council for so long, got so far at such a young age that they never questioned you. However, such sudden behaviour is curious and strange. When you returned to Japan, you still refused to take on any missions. They’re worried and are testing you. They want to make sure you’re still on their side and that’s why they’re sending you missions from Japan.”
“That’s what I thought too… but I couldn’t be sure,” Kyuri sighed, “In all honesty, Kibum… I don’t know the purpose of these missions anymore.”
“You mean they’re not to get rid of vampires?” Kibum asked lightly, gently mentally prodding her into his way of thinking;
“I never realized before how ignorant our practices are,” Kyuri said quietly, “Kyuhyun and I argued about turned vampires a lot before the break. But it wasn’t until Zhou Mi-sshi got that mission and you went with him…”
“That mission was for a pureblood, not a turned vampire,” Kibum reminded softly,
“That doesn’t matter,” she stated, “I cannot do a mission knowing that there’s so much about turned vampires we do not know… All this time… all those missions… I don’t understand it anymore.”
“Perhaps you should talk to your brother more, then,” Kibum suggested as she drew close. He cupped the side of her face, caressing the apple of a cheek with the pad of his thumb, “Maybe you’ll understand when you understand him more.”
“If you were in my position, Kibum… if you were the Head Hunter and you had to accept missions and coordinate them,” Kyuri said, “What would you do? What would you decide?”
Kibum lowered his hand and opened the door for her, “I would decide that I like having a family.”
“The mission they sent me is for a pureblood. Apparently they’ve been going around Shinjuku, specifically the train station,” Kyuri said as they stepped into the corridor,
“Will you take it?”
“It’s a pureblood… nothing has changed about them,” Kyuri replied, “And I have to take at least one mission to get the Council off my back.”
“Who will you send? You hate not being present for a mission, especially if I’m not there to see it through in your stead,” Kibum commented,
“I know,” Kyuri muttered, clenching her fists, “I’ll have to send other Hunters and hope they do the job right.”
He paced the front of the classroom, the words falling from his lips automatically, without true thought. He lectured, his students listened and all the while, he could feel the tell-tale vibration of his cellular phone ringing in his pocket. He ignored it as he continued to teach. Indeed, this was the fifth day in a row he ignored the familiar feeling. Actually, he wasn’t even sure why he slipped the phone into his pocket that morning before leaving his room; he had half a mind to leave it behind. However, apparently habits were hard to break because he had grabbed it just moments before he left his room.
As he drew the lecture to an end, allowing his students to work on answering questions, he slowly moved over to the wall of his classroom where all the windows were. He cast an eye to the light sky. The rain had begun to dissipate that morning and he knew that by the lunch hour, the sun would be high and bright in the sky. He thought of the younger man he had left in his room that morning. He hoped he would have the sense to check the weather before going out into the school.
He paused his thoughts when he realized the phone had stopped ringing in his pocket. He held his breath; had they stopped for today? After a five-count, however, the phone began to vibrate once more. No, they wouldn’t give up. Why would they? He was a key player to their plans and he had basically disappeared from all contact since returning to Shim Jang Academy.
His eyes swept his students, knowing they were only doing their work because he was one of the only teachers who would fail them regardless of how much money their parents pushed towards him. He told them to continue working and he crossed the room, slipping into the hallway. He stood perpendicular to the door, one shoulder against it so he could keep one eye on his class. Then, he pulled out the phone and answered it,
“Sir, I’ve been trying to contact you for five days now.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of that.”
“The Council wants you to contact them, Sir. They’re growing agitated.”
“I bet they are. However, they’re in their little board room while I’m out here doing my job.”
“They want reports, Sir, but you haven’t given me any since you returned to that school.”
“There’s nothing to report. How about you tell them that?”
“S-Sir! I cannot! The Council Members, they… they –”
“I know,” Zhou Mi sighed as he glanced at the classroom before turning his back completely against the door, “Don’t worry, I won’t abandon you to the Council Members.”
“Then give me something to give them. Please, Sir!”
“I told you, I can hardly report something when there’s nothing to report,” Zhou Mi reasoned,
“But, Sir, there are rumours! You have to stop them, only you can stop them.”
Zhou Mi paused. Rumours? What damn rumours could be possibly floating around at the Council? He had been at the school for just over five weeks now, what could have changed since he left?
“Sir? Sir! SIR!”
“I’m still here, so stop trying to make me deaf,” Zhou Mi snapped. He sighed heavily as he used his free hand to rub small, soothing circles against his temple, “I’ll call you in a few days.”
“What? No! Sir!”
“Bye,” Zhou Mi ended the conversation and then turned off the phone. Slipping it back into his pocket, he turned, looking back into the classroom. The students were presumably still working. He let out a low, frustrated sigh before re-entering the classroom. What trouble was the Council planning now?
A few nights later, Kyuri found herself on the rooftop. The autumn night was cool and crisp, so she had worn layers to keep herself warm. She sat with her back against the cement encasement where the stairs were, her legs crossed and her laptop over her legs. She adjusted the headset-and-mic on her head as her eyes watched the black screen with its green grid on her computer. She followed the red dots on her computer with avid, quick eyes.
“You need to close in on him before he escapes to Shinjuku station,” Kyuri hissed into the microphone hovering just at the corner of her mouth, “If he gets to the station he could take a hostage or just disappear into the crowd. After all these years, we cannot allow the public to know about vampires! Chaos will ensue!”
“We have the target in sight.”
“Close in on him! Kaze, Kin, Mizu, Ki – center on the target from the four great directions. Allow for no holes in the guard,” Kyuri stated, her eyes following the dots and then taking in her grid’s land marking of the Japanese district.
“Hurry, there’s approximately six minutes before he reaches the station and in four minutes a train will pass overhead. You need to get him before he escapes to that train!” Kyuri ordered. She moved the grid to one half of her screen and quickly began typing, moving through different windows, “I’ll try to bypass the train’s system and make it stall at the station. I can probably break into the station’s security and electricity systems, but that won’t stop the vampire from getting into the station.”
“Target has stopped.”
“We have surrounded the target.”
“I can’t get into the station’s systems – three minutes left!” Kyuri exclaimed, her fingers typing away furiously,
“Ki is down!”
“Damn it – two minutes left!” Kyuri swore, her eyes taking in all the information before her, memorizing each detail but she didn’t have enough time to think, to plan, to analyze. “Just a little… more… time…”
Suddenly, her computer was taken away from her. Her gaze whipped to her side only to find her brother sitting beside her, the laptop now on his lap as he typed away at the keyboard. “What do you need me to do? I have less than two minutes to do it.”
“But everything’s in Japanese,” Kyuri argued,
“You forget: I was father’s heir. Japanese was one of the languages he had drilled into me,” Kyuhyun replied,
“Break into the system and shut down the electricity for the train station,” Kyuri managed, the words spilling from her lips before she could even begin to comprehend the situation and the presence of her brother. She watched her brother for a moment before shaking herself back to reality, “Kin – status?”
“He’s… fighting… us.”
“What? We should still have a minute left!” Kyuri exclaimed,
“The train’s stopped!”
“He’s escaping to the roof of the train!”
“Damn it, follow him!” Kyuri commanded,
“Target has been eliminated,” joined a voice that had not yet been heard by Kyuri or the other Hunters.
Kyuri sighed with relief, sagging against the cement encasement, “Hi, I’m glad you got there in time.”
“No vampire can escape the heat of fire,” the new voice, Hi, replied,
“Yes, it can,” one of the Hunters argued, “It would be much cooler if you were Taiyou.”
“Don’t start arguing. Kin, make sure Ki is okay. Hi, dispose of the vampire appropriately and then I want a report within six hours,” Kyuri ordered,
“Yes,” the unison reply came.
“Mizu and Kaze, recovery work. See if anyone on the train saw what was going on and then fix it,” Kyuri said,
“Ah, clean-up duty, my favourite,” a voice sighed sarcastically,
Kyuri smirked, “That’s the thing about water, Mizu, it washes away what’s left behind.” She leaned her head back against the cement casing, slowly sliding up the mic so it was away from her mouth. She glanced at her brother, “Thank you.”
“What good did I do? It seems you covered all possible avenues before hand,” Kyuhyun shrugged as he handed her back her laptop,
“Yes, but I didn’t know if Hi was able to get into position on time and I wanted the situation controlled before the vampire had a chance to even contemplate escaping to a train,” Kyuri explained. She paused and then looked at her brother, “Do you hate me for doing this? Do you hate me for making you a part of my work?”
Kyuhyun pulled up his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs, “No. It’s your job after all and… I think if you could, you wouldn’t have done your job.”
“Regardless of what’s come to pass, Kyuhyun, I’m still a Head Hunter,” Kyuri stated, “I have to take missions and even if I’m not in Japan, I have to assure the execution of vampires.”
“It was a pureblood vampire, wasn’t it?”
Kyuri hesitated a moment before nodding.
Kyuhyun turned his face to the sky, the moonlight reflected in his dark eyes; “And therein lies the change.”
Kyuri sighed, “You’re right. I wouldn’t have taken this mission unless it was a pureblood.” She shook her head, “I used to take on every mission and execute it with such finesse, without a single doubt… and then you, dear brother, came along and changed that for me.”
“I would apologize, but I’m not sorry,” Kyuhyun stated bluntly,
“No, neither am I,” Kyuri admitted. When Kyuhyun turned startled eyes towards her, she explained, “I always knew that the Council’s knowledge about turned vampires was limited. Because of you, I understand the consequences of that ignorance… I cannot take on a mission against a turned vampire because I do not know what will result from my actions… if, in truth, the mission is against someone who is still human.”
Kyuri suddenly sat up straighter, snapping the microphone back into place, “Kin? What’s the matter?”
“It’s Ki – he’s been bitten by the pureblood!”
“What? Are you sure?” She demanded as she suddenly began typing away at the computer again,
“Yes, I saw the bite and… and I think he’s transforming!”
“Kin, talk to Ki, make sure you’re not mistaken before you do anything rash!” Kyuri commanded, gripping the mic tightly. “Do you hear me, Kin? Do NOT do anything until you –”
“He’s attacking me!”
“Kin, do NOT kill him, do you understand? Talk to him first, see if that –”
“He’s on a rampage! I can’t – I can’t even talk to him!”
Kyuri could hear the rough movements of a fight. She could hear the grunts and each impact. She could hear –
“We need to help Kin!”
“Mizu, Kaze, stay in the train. That’s an order!” Kyuri exclaimed,
“But Kin –”
“THOSE ARE YOUR ORDERS!” Kyuri repeated,
“KI STOP!” She heard in her headset. “Kyuri! What do I do? Kyuri? KYURI!”
Kyuri pulled off her headset, throwing it away. She covered her face with her hands, shaking her head, “I don’t know… I don’t know anymore…”
Kyuhyun slowly rose and walked over to the thrown headset. He picked it up, holding one of the earpieces next to his ear,
“KYURI! Commander, what do we do!?”
“Ki’s attacking Kin! I’m sorry, Commander, I have to help him. Kaze will stay with the train!”
“Stop Ki, but try not to kill him,” Kyuhyun said easily slipping into Japanese, his voice low and steady into the microphone,
“Who is this? Where’s the Commander!?”
“You wanted orders, so I’m giving them to you,” Kyuhyun replied, his body shook as he gave strength to his words, “Stop and restrain Ki, but at all costs, do not kill him.”
Kyuhyun then returned to his sister’s side, kneeling beside her on one knee, he held out the headset to her, “Just like you acknowledge the consequences of the Council’s knowledge… I must acknowledge the naïveté of my knowledge.”
Kyuri took the headset, nodding once her silent understanding. She slipped the headset back on, “Mizu – status?”
“We’ve retained Ki and injected a tranquilizer. He’s out for now.”
“And Kin?” Kyuri prompted,
“I’m fine, Commander. A few scratches, but that’s it.”
Kyuri opened up a window on her computer and typed in a few words, “Kin, Mizu, Kaze… this is a private connection between the four of us that I set up the moment Ki started attacking.”
“What about Hi?”
“Hi’s loyalty to the Council is absolute,” Kyuri stated, “But what I’m going to ask from you now is loyalty not to me, but to the group.”
“You three and Ki have been with me since I became a Head Hunter,” Kyuri said, “Ki is one of us, transformed or not transformed. What I’m going to ask of you will test your commitment to our group and question everything you hold for the Council. If any of you doubt you can keep loyalty to the group, now is your chance to walk away and go to Hi. However, if you want to remain loyal to the group, you’ll do as I say.”
Kyuri closed her eyes and said quietly, “Kin?”
“I know what the Council will want to do with Ki. I’m with you, Kyuri.”
“I’ll do clean-up duty for you any day, Commander.”
“Everything’s settled in the train and do you really even have to ask?”
Kyuri hadn’t realized she was holding her breath until that moment. She relaxed slightly as she gave her next commands, “We’re going to keep Ki safe and hidden from the Council. Under no circumstances is the Council to know he was bitten by the pureblood. Tonight is going to be bad for him, he’ll be going under his transformation. Take him away and secure him. Make sure no one – yourselves included – can get hurt over the next twenty-four hours.”
“And after that time period?”
“Everything will be in place by then,” Kyuri reassured them, “I have to go, do you understand your orders?”
“Yes, we’ll protect Ki.”
“You can count on us, Commander.”
“We’ll wait to hear from you.”
Kyuri closed the line on her laptop and then closed the lid on her laptop as well, pulling off her headset as she did so.
“What will you do?” Kyuhyun asked simply, quietly,
“They’ll hide and protect Ki while I get everything prepared,” Kyuri explained, “Hopefully Hi will be too self-absorbed to realize the four of them missing from the Council. And, if I send in a report to the Council Members, they’ll disregard my missing team.”
“Are they trustworthy? They won’t betray you to the Council?”
“I trained with them before I surpassed them. When I became a Head Hunter, I chose those four specifically as my team, along with Kibum. For certain missions, however, I had to recruit Hi, who the Council had assigned to me,” Kyuri answered, “Yes, they’re trustworthy.”
Kyuhyun took her computer and stood, holding out a hand to help her up. She accepted his help, slowly and gingerly getting to her feet, “You cannot protect all the turned vampires you encounter, Kyuri.”
“I know,” She sighed as they slowly headed back into the school, “But Ki is one of the few people I can trust in the Council… I won’t let the Council get him.”
“I must tell Kibum of my plans,” Kyuri answered, “He’s not going to be happy at all.”
“Because you’re working and stressing in your condition?”
Kyuri shook her head, a small smirk on her lips, “Because I need him to ride a plane back to Japan.”
He stretched his arms as he exited the bathroom. He paused, his gaze going to the form stretched out on his bed, “Where have you been?”
“On the roof. I found Kyuri up there, so I stayed with her for a bit,” he replied,
“It’s pretty cold out. Please tell me you didn’t leave her out there,” he sighed,
“I’m not stupid,” he retorted. He watched the older man rub his hair with a towel. He watched his ministrations for a moment and then spoke again; “Zhou Mi, have you gotten any missions lately?”
Zhou Mi paused, lowering the towel from his head. He gazed across the room at the younger man, “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? Of course you know.”
“I really don’t,” Zhou Mi said, draping the towel over the back of his chair before walking across the room to the bed; “I’ve been ignoring the Council for the past couple of weeks.”
Kyuhyun blinked, sitting up, “Why?”
Zhou Mi tilted his head before smiling, “Do you really have to ask?”
He slanted the older man a look, “Yes, which is why I asked.”
“Kyuhyun, you know the real reason I was sent to SJA,” Zhou Mi stated, “The Council will ask for reports on my progress. However, there hasn’t been any vampiric activity here, so there’s nothing to report.”
“Then why don’t you just say that?”
“I want to, but it’s not that simple,” Zhou Mi said, “If I keep giving back reports talking of nothing, they’ll want to replace me with another Hunter. If another Hunter comes, then I can no longer protect you, Kyuhyun. So, I ignore them to give me more time to protect you... to stay with you.”
Kyuhyun swallowed hard, gaze clocked with the other’s; “There will come a time when you have to leave… right?”
Zhou Mi nodded, “I will resist it for as long as I can. However, to protect you, I need to keep my power and influence in the Council… so I have to play by their rules.” He reached over, taking his chin between thumb and forefinger, “So that is what will happen when that time comes.”
“It’ll be soon, won’t it? You can’t ignore them for too long,” Kyuhyun guessed,
Zhou Mi nodded, “That is true. But right now, I don’t want to talk about the Council and time limits.”
Kyuhyun allowed himself to be drawn closer, closing his eyes before he felt the other’s lips against his own.
(Phase 21: Sorrowful Separation)
A/N: In regards to 'Kaze, Mizu, Kin, Ki & Hi'... These are the pronounciation in Japanese for the elements of wind, water, gold, wood and fire. (So... 'Hi' is pronounced as 'hee' instead of.. the greeting ^__^;; lol).
Also, when this part happens:
“No vampire can escape the heat of fire,” the new voice, Hi, replied,
“Yes, it can,” one of the Hunters argued, “It would be much cooler if you were Taiyou.”
Basically, the other hunter is saying it would be better if Hi's code name was Taiyou/Sun.. because then he could say 'No vampire can escape the sun'.
And when this line is said:
“That’s the thing about water, Mizu, it washes away what’s left behind.”
I think it speaks for itself because mizu = water.
The references between the Hunter's codenames and their elements continues for a little bit in the next chapter. Just know that water helps wood.
LOL, hopefully that's not too confusing. That's just my weird sense of humour in the works.