Friday May 15 2015
We’ve never seemed so close and yet so far at the same time from the end of our journey. But I don’t care. I will fight until my last breath for the boys. That’s what I promised them. That’s what I promised Choi Seunghyun-ah.
When the alarm clock rang and I got up, as I cooked breakfast, my mind still hazy, half-asleep, I noticed the boys were only four. Since Mum and Kwan were still sleeping, I asked the boys about Top then waited for him. After a while, I looked for him myself in every room. He was nowhere to be seen. As I came back from the bathroom, feeling more and more confused, Taeyang pointed at the black screen of my computer which he noticed was opened. I shook the cursor lightly to turn it back on. When my eyes fell on Top’s farewell note in capital letters, I ran out of the room. I went to the entrance, looking for my purse: the itinerary wasn’t there anymore! He was gone!! This is what he meant by “the beginning”, he was going to his orphanage on his own! And “fight fire with fire”? “don’t try to stop me or I’ll kill you?”…
I had to stop him.
I hurriedly printed another itinerary and left a quick note for my mum as the five of us got ready and got out. Since I unfortunately printed it in English, Daesung, who was sitting next to me, had a lot of trouble reading it and, as I was rolling along at breakneck speed, it didn’t help him relax and focus on the letters he was trying to read. And of course, since I was in such a hurry, I soon heard the whaling of police sirens behind us. My heart was beating fast as I heard them getting louder and louder. I have a high respect for authority. But this time a ticket would be my second priority after preventing one of my boys to set fire to an orphanage >< ! So I didn’t stop, kept my eyes dry and focused on the road as we got on the highway to Ansung, Top’s native village. I even ignored the boys’ worried looks in the rear window.
However, we were soon slowed down by the traffic jam until we found ourselves completely stuck. Dozens and dozens of cars ahead of us were honking furiously at something we couldn’t see and people had gone out of their vehicles, complaining. When I tried to ask what’s going on, the driver in front of me, a fat old man who had obviously been waiting for hours under the hot sun, shouted at me that he was sure it involved an accident with a Black because Blacks drive like monkeys and are parasites to his country or something like that... Great, glad to know racism knows no barrier, race or gender. This must be my day -_-
Of course, the police car caught up with us. As it stopped behind us, the cops got out of the car and made me pull over before they came out to talk to me. I barely listened to them as I took out my driving license and handed it to them, my eyes still on the fat jerk and the traffic and I prevented myself from pounding the wheel in frustration. Then I suddenly heard the policeman’s radio crackle with a voice asking for reinforcements at some part of the road a few dozens of miles ahead of us. When the agent asked for more details, the voice said the cause of the traffic was a young man standing in the middle of the road “acting weird” and, although he was not armed, he was said to be “very dangerous” and that the men on the spot “didn’t dare” to approach him. As these words, I started the car again and made it roar wildly as I honked at the other drivers as well. The agents stepped back, startled, then ordered me to stop the engine and keep my hands off the wheel. I tried to ignore them until they whipped out their guns at my face and I gritted my teeth, feeling a cold sweat pour on my temples. Suddenly, without a warning, Daesung and Taeyang got out of the car on each side and walked towards both agents, ignoring their order to get back in the car. As he was on my side, I saw Taeyang look at the cop with pity.
“I’m so sorry.” he said in Korean then gave him a light punch on the side of his head, which was enough to knock him out as he then carried him back to his vehicle and made him lie down in the backseat like a big baby. As for Daesung, he kept staring at the cop in front of him, smiling, as the poor guy’s eyes widened at the sight of his colleague unconscious. He kept his gun pointed at Daesung’s happy face which was now so close to the cannon that he was now brushing it with the tip of his nose playfully. For some reason, the policeman couldn’t shoot and his hands were shaking on the gun. Then Daesung grabbed his face with both hands as the man suddenly yelped and struggled, his screams muffled by Daesung’s palm, then collapsed on the ground with a peaceful smile on his face as Daesung grinned while he dragged him towards his partner and sat him in the driver seat of their car. Did I mention Daesung was scary sometimes? I don’t think I have mentioned it enough O_O.
He then did as GD told him and took their car keys before handing them to their leader. As GD kept them in his hands, when he suggested we steal their car because the sirens would help us get the fat jerk out of the way more easily, I replied we had broken enough laws in one day and there was only so much we could get away with >< ! He shrugged and when I replied I didn’t know how to activate the sirens anyway, he burst out in laughter. As Taeyang and Daesung got back in, I made the engine roar like a wild beast and when I drove closer and closer to the fat jerk’s car, he quickly went back inside and pulled on the side, soon followed by the other drivers who yelled at me as I went through, going faster and faster. In the back, Seungri opened the window and took his head out to whoop and insult them in return. I can’t deny, it felt good to mess up with the order of the world, just for a short moment ;)
However, we were soon brought back to reality as, after a while, we approached the head of the traffic which was in an even bigger mess and a black thick smoke was rising in the atmosphere. We left the car and kept walking between the rows of empty vehicles which looked less and less straight as we kept going further. Drivers and passengers were standing on the side, all looking in the same direction. There was also an ambulance. As we walked passed them, we saw paramedics examining the injuries on the head and arms of a man and a woman who were shaking like leaves under the blankets they were covered in, ignoring the solicitations of, I supposed, their husband and wife. When they tried to prevent us from going further, Taeyang gestured them to step aside with a glare, which was enough to make them let us through. At the head of the traffic, there was a car turned upside-down and a truck –which I assumed belonged to the injured- both of them so wrecked they looked like crumpled soda cans. It was a miracle their owners had gone out of the mess alive and conscious! The queasy black smoke came from where the impact had joined them. Between the destroyed vehicles and the ambulance, two police cars had blocked the traffic. Two others had come from the other side, closing the wide circle around the smoking metallic ruins. Behind them, the rest of the highway was completely empty for miles away except for a car coming our way which I recognized as a fifth police car. The policemen and women were all deployed around the ruins, pointing their guns at the smoke.
The moment I saw him, I couldn’t keep my eyes of him. Top was standing on top of the truck, his fists and teeth clenched, his face tensed with hate. His eyes were roaming through the terrified crowd, his lips pursed in a slight grimace of disgust. I suddenly heard a loud “bang!” coming from behind him which startled me. Then I saw his lips curl into a smirk as he turned towards the cop, the youngest of the crew, who had tried to shoot him, and was now staring at Top with a pale face. At the same time, the fifth car was now visible as it arrived at full speed towards the scene. As the cops, the boys and I shouted at the drivers to stop, with a single glance, Top made them go even faster towards the young cop who stood there, frozen. However, before the car hit him, he was suddenly pushed on the side and, as the drivers managed to jump out of the car, it ended its race crashing on the two other vehicles in a deafening collision of broken glass and crumpled metal. I turned to look at who saved the young agent and saw G-Dragon and him catching their breaths, their ears still plugged and their eyes shut from the loud noise. Top, now kneeling and holding on to the surface he was standing on, stood up again. Top must have seen GD too as he suddenly turned again and looked directly at us. His shocked expression quickly changed to a burning anger. Some agents tried to shoot at him which forced him to look only at them. In response, they all hid behind the front doors of their cars.
“I told you to not try to stop me!” he shouted at us with rage in his voice, still watching the cops.
“Why are you doing all this?” I shouted back.
He paused. The silence around us was astonishing.
“I shouldn’t be there.” he said more softly. “I was supposed to do this in my orphanage in Ansung. Yet I snapped before I managed to get there. Ridiculous, huh?” he exclaimed louder.
“Why would you do this to your orphanage?”
“Why not?” he retorted bitterly. “It’s all I learned. It’s all Beast and I learned. We forgot everything else. This is where my new life started. It must disappear.”
“No, it doesn’t! You’re saying all this but I know you don’t mean it! You-”
“Shut up!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. “Don’t try to tell me I’m a good little boy! Don’t act like everything’s gonna be okay! None of this would happen if it was the case!”
A policewoman shot another the bullet from behind Top, which reached his calf and made him scream in pain as he fell on his knee. The policemen around him came closer. But before they could reach the truck, Top snapped his eyes open and looked all around him, which made them all step back one more. Yet, they were still a little closer than before. As Top stood up again, his leg was bleeding badly and his body was twitching from the pain. The policemen in front of me had their fingers on the trigger, ready to shoot at any second. Sweat was dripping from Top’s temples. From my point of view, he looked like a wounded tired wolf surrounded by hunters. When he looked at the crowd, I heard children weeping from afar. He now had a painful smile on his face.
“Top! Please! Stop!” I begged.
With gritted teeth, he shook his head, his breathing now heavier than before.
“It’s too late! Can’t you see? This is where it ends! I have nothing else! All I can do is either kill or die!”
“I won’t let you do either!” I screamed determinedly.
Meanwhile, GD was murmuring something at the boys.
“Stay away from me!” Top replied when he saw them deploy fast around the area.
Taeyang ran towards the truck and shook it with all his might which made Top unstable.
However, one of the policemen shot at him and the bullet brushed Taeyang’s cheek as the rearview mirror dangling next to his face fell on the ground. I turned at the officer and saw he was now hypnotized, scared to death of Taeyang. The other agents around him had no idea whether to aim at Top or their crazy partner. Top then looked at her colleague next to him and, as she looked at the crowd, she suddenly froze in shock and aimed at the civilians who ran and screamed in panic. As the injured man and woman we saw earlier couldn’t stand up, they only covered their heads in fear.
“Nobody moves!” the policewoman claimed and shot in the air, which made everybody freeze. “You’re all under arrest! If anybody tries anything, I’ll open fire! Put your hands where I can see them!”
The other officers were even more confused as we all raised our hands in the air. Daesung and Seungri looked at GD:
“What do we do know?” Daesung whispered.
For the first time, G-Dragon looked confused. I could see in his eyes that the more he struggled to find a solution, the less he found one.
“I don’t know.” the leader replied between his gritted teeth, frustrated.
Standing above us all, Top’s smirk, although exhausted by the pain and efforts, was now triumphant over GD. As I did like everybody else and tried to not stare at him directly, I managed to look at him trough the reflection of the rearview mirror on the ground next to Taeyang which made me think back of the screens at the mall. Suddenly, I had a plan.
“GD,” I whispered. “I need your super reflexes.”
He looked at me from the corner of his eyes, surprised.
“What do you want me to do?”
“You see the mirror next to Taeyang’s foot?” I said and pointed at it from afar with my chin. “I need you to take it and give it to me. Also ask Seungri for distraction and tell Daesung to take care of the injured.”
“Why? What are you gonna do?” he asked and the policewoman, hearing us, pointed her gun at us for a couple of seconds, then, as we stood still and silent, went back to the immobile crowd.
“Trust me.” I simply said.
GD hesitated then looked at the two other boys who had been listening as well and nodded at them. Seungri then climbed on the roof of a car.
“Hey look! I’m Top!” he screamed, waving his arms wildly. “I have such a cool power! I feel so strong making other people do my job while I do nothing and stand above everyone else like a coward!”
As Top turned for a second towards him, the policewoman walked away from the crowd and aimed at him.
“Freeze, sir!” she screamed hysterically at Seungri.
“Hey, you!” the second agent who had been holding Taeyang at gunpoint suddenly exclaimed and shot at GD who kept dodging his bullets and instantly threw the rearview mirror at me.
In the meantime, I checked Daesung and saw the injured man and woman –whose bandages were now on the ground- fortunately healed and were far away from the ambulance along with the paramedics and the rest of the crowd.
So I took a deep breath, brandished the truck rearview mirror like a shield in front of my face and stepped forward with shaky legs.
“What are you doing?” I heard Top ask.
However, I ignored everything going on around me and kept moving forward, half blind at whatever was in front of me.
“Stop! Don’t go any further!” Top exclaimed.
I heard guns clicking, followed by the sound of punches and screams as I saw, from the corner of my eyes, the four boys fighting with the policemen who were now totally ignoring me and Top.
“Stop it! I said stop!”
Hearing Top plead reminded me of my own begging at him at the mall. I knew he could only see his own reflection anytime he tried to find my eyes. How much did he hate looking at his own face? Listening to the increasing panic in his voice, I guess he tried to hypnotize me through the glass anyway.
My theory was confirmed when he was suddenly unable to repress a heartrending scream of pain and, when I looked from behind my little shield, I saw he was on his knees with his head in his hands, as his rage suddenly turned into sobs and yells. He then staggered towards the edge of the truck without looking and, as he abruptly fell, I ran as fast as I could towards him and collapsed on my back when he fell on me.
Although my back hurt and the cops and the crowd were still around us, I sat up and clung onto his shirt, hugging him tight to prevent him from getting away. However, although he kept screaming and crying, he didn’t struggle and let me hold him in my arms like a ragdoll, his shoulders shaken by painful sobs.
“Why?” I whispered between my gritted teeth and felt tears well up in my own eyes. “Why, you idiot, why do you always have to ruin everything? Why are you so full of hate?”
My question was only half rhetoric as I had a vague idea of the answer. He himself was aware of it. And he suddenly started talking fast in Korean, half slurring the words through his tears. However, this time, I was able to catch at least half of it. Here is an approximate translation of what I understood:
“Because it’s the only thing that can fill me. I’m full from head to toe when I’m like this. Do you understand? Without it, I’m empty! Useless! Dead! Because I should be dead! You don’t know what the five of us have been through! The beating! The ice baths! The food restrictions! Because of the “cut-funds”, they kept saying. Cut-funds, cut-funds… We didn’t even know what it meant; we were just children! There was me, Beast, Chanyeol, Joker, Yoseob… We had nothing. They took us everything! They took Yoseob’s books, Joker’s clown nose.” he said and a smile grew on his face. “He’d always talk about how he wanted it back because it was the coolest thing he ever had, this red clown nose that lit up and flickered when you squeeze it. He’d always ask if they took it because they wanted to play with it and we’d laugh!”
He chuckled lightly and paused as he tried to catch his breath.
“At time we were supposed to be at school, they taught us to beat and get beaten by grown men. If we refused to fight, we were either electrocuted or locked up in our dark cell. Chanyeol was the youngest and he would always go cry in my arms whenever he had to be locked up. He was the youngest of us, only 6 years old. He didn’t mind the beating but he still needed a light to sleep. But what we feared the most was Friday, the day of our weekly shot. All kids hate needles. We especially abhorred the ones with that black, burning thing that hurt like hell!” he said and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt to show me his arms as I took a close look at them for the second time after the bathtub incident.
Aside from being pale and muscular, both of them were splattered with long red and black destroyed veins starting from the crook of the elbows up to the wrists like tiny crooked snakes. I remembered Joseph once told me how the first experiments were very conclusive on rats but very unstable on humans.
“When we became theirs monsters, Beast would ask Yoseob to tell us about the books he read at night. At first, he didn’t want to. He had this big shark mouth they gave him after an experience, just like Beast and his wings. So, with that funny mouth, he’d tell us the only story he remembered about a lost princess who was helped by a cursed prince and in the end, she kissed him, he became beautiful again and they married. We loved it! We’d always talked about what we thought the princess looked like and who she’d prefer between the five of us! One day, Yoseob tried to rip an agent’s throat with his sharp teeth. They shot him in the head from behind like a rabid dog. Joker did a hunger strike but they kept training him anyway as punishment. He was so weak he fell on an electric fence and didn’t get up, shaking on the ground as if he were dancing and laughing hysterically from the pain. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever heard. But the worst,” he said and his voice cracked. “was Chanyeol. That Friday, he struggled as always to not get his shot. For some reason he fought more than usual. When they strapped him on the long metal table and they took his arm, they planted the syringe in him and he screamed. The product didn’t spread. It wouldn’t spread at all! It was stuck in the muscle, burning his skin and dripping on the floor with his blood. It stank like hell. We could see it from our beds when they tried to inject it again and again, needle after needle but he kept squirming. We heard him cry, he was yelling “I’m dying! Please take me home! I wanna go home!”. He called for his mum, his dead mum! He called for his caretaker! He called for us! And he kept calling my name! Again and again and again! A minute later, he calmed down and stopped struggling. It was over.”
Now he was the one who was clinging on to me, his face buried in my shirt, crying his eyes out.
“Why didn’t they do something? Why did they did they do this to us? Why am I the only one alive? I shouldn’t be here! There is nothing for me out there! Everyone wants me dead! I should be dead like them! Dead!”
As I let my own tears roll down my cheeks, I took his head in my hands and pulled it away to make him face me. There, as we were both crying and I kept his face in my palms, I planted a long kiss on his lips. I then kissed his chin, his cheeks, his forehead, his eyelids, as if my lips could cure him from his restlessness. As he calmed down a little, I let him embrace me, ignoring the suffocating heat of his body under the burning sun. When the boys approached us, I encouraged Top to get up and he just followed me, walking behind me with his head bowed and holding my hand like a little child as we slowly went back to the car, G-Dragon and the others surrounding Top and me like a shield through the stupefied crowd, ignoring the knocked-out policemen behind us.
After hours of driving, we managed to reach home again. We found my note on which Mum and Kwan had written that they were out to pay a visit to the neighbors and were asking us to join them. A simple look between me and the boys was enough to make them understand Top and I needed some time alone. So they left.
I guided Top towards the bedroom, sat against the pillows and invited him to do the same. When we were side to side on the bed, he wrapped his arms around me again and rested his head on my stomach. He asked me with a soft voice to stroke his hair. So I did. As I slid my hand though his brown hair slowly, he kept crying in silence. As the shutters were half closed to prevent the heat from coming in, the room was dimly lit and a cool breeze was refreshing us through the cardboard that covered the broken window.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered out of nowhere.
“Sorry for what?”
“I’m not sure.” I admitted. “I guess I should have seen all that coming. I feel responsible. I should have tried to make you talk sooner and-”
“Don’t. It’s not your fault. It’s mine. It’s just the way I am.”
There was then another silence between us.
“Why did you kiss me?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Because I felt like I had to.”
“Does that mean you did it because it was necessary and not because you wanted to?”
I froze a little but then admitted:
“I also wanted to. I thought it was the only thing I could do.”
“Did you like it?” he asked with a small smile. “Be honest.”
“Yes.” I confessed softly.
“So would you do it again if I asked you to?”
“Top, don’t. I don’t think… I’m sorry-”
“Joan,” he cut me off and looked me in the eyes.
I immediately recognized both the voice and the stare he had when he called me for the first time through the camera the day we escaped together.
“Please… Kiss me.”
He sat up without breaking eye-contact with me. As I felt myself driven to these piercing eyes, I resisted but he then closed them to show me that the choice was mine and crossed his arms, waiting. I had no excuse left. I slowly moved towards him and, when I felt my lips pressed against his again, I enjoyed the familiarity of their softness. A few seconds later, he kissed me back and put me in his embrace, holding me tight against his chest. When I felt his tongue snake in my mouth for the second time, I tried to pull away but he wouldn’t let me and I moaned in his mouth, feeling the butterflies in my stomach turn into a hurricane. He pinned me against the wall and cupped my face as I responded to the kiss, feeling the heat combust my whole system as our tongues danced with one another. When he pulled apart, the both of us were panting heavily and our eyes were somewhat hazy. Through my befuddled mind, I saw him smirk.
“You enjoyed it.”
At these words, I couldn’t help but blush like a teenager.
He smiled again.
“That means you like me, then. Don’t you?”
I saw that, in spite of his playful tone, his look on his last words was somewhat serious as if he was now hanging on to my words. I bit my lip. After a second of weighing pros and cons once more, I sighed and bowed my head in shame.
“Yes.” I said in a small voice. “I like you. A lot.”
Though he looked surprised for a second, his lips soon curled into a mischievous smile.
“What was that?” he said and put his hand behind his ear, looking exaggeratingly attentive.“I said I love you!” I exclaimed, blood rising to my cheeks. “사랑해! Te amo! Je t’aime! 愛してる! Ich liebe dich! You’re happy?”
He grinned and pulled me into another kiss.
“Yes.” he said and cuddled me. “I am happy.”
“Good.” I murmured, enjoying the heat of his body on mine. “It’s all I want for now.”
I couldn’t help but smile. We sat there in silence again as he laid against me and I stroked his hair without waiting for him to ask.
“About what you said… about marriage and kids-” he said and raised his head.
“Shhh...” I cut him off and made him rest his head again gently. “It doesn’t matter what I said. Let’s just enjoy what we have for now.”
“Ok.” he said and closed his eyes.
Truly, I didn’t want to think about the future. I wanted to enjoy the moment here and now. He then fell asleep on my chest and left to dreamland. He looked so peaceful I myself began to drowse off too. When I woke up, it was the middle of the night, Top was sleeping next to me and my computer had been brought to me on the night-table. When I turned it on, Top woke up and I apologized about the noise but he said he didn’t mind. He replied he loved to listen to me typing; though it annoyed him the first two or three times, he then got used to it and now it helps him sleep. I smiled as he closed his eyes again. Before he fell asleep, he asked if I minded to call him Seunghyun instead of Top.
“I will,” I replied. “Sleep well, Seunghyun-ah.” I said and kissed him on the top of his head to which he responded by another kiss on my lips before he laid down and went back to sleep.
Tonight, I dedicate the little symphony of my fingers to Seunghyun. I told the boys we would think about the next step of our plan tomorrow morning. For now, we all need to rest and take care of each other. It feels weird to type it down. Although I went back to everything that happened today, when I went to Seunghyun’s part, I still felt as if nothing happened. It’s so surreal! When the boys left to go to bed and came in to say good night, I noticed some grins here and there. Tomorrow will definitely be a brand new day <3 <3 <3
Sleep well, Seunghyun-dongsaeng. May my music lull you every night from now on just like your sweet breathing lulls me. Good God, I’m already getting cheesier o_O
E> E> Joan-ssi <3 <3