Title: What Doesn't Kill You Chapter 13
Pairing: HanChul, KyuChul, KangTeuk, YeWook, EunKiHae
Genre: Superhero AU, action
Chapter 12 < ------ > Chapter 14
By the time Henry reached his house he was out of breath and freezing. The house was still dark, at least what he could see from the road. It was early—he didn’t have a watch, but it hadn’t been too long since the sun had begun to rise—so his family was probably still sleeping.
Henry collapsed against the gate next to the intercom, gasping. Somehow he’d managed to run down a car and guilt the driver into driving him to the outskirts of his neighborhood. He hadn’t had enough money for a taxi, and the man that had picked him up seemed to be under the impression that Henry was mentally unstable. Henry wouldn’t argue with that. He was a paranoid mess and had spent the car ride looking out the window expecting to see Siwon catching up to them, or Sungmin blasting the car with a sound wave, or Yesung taking out the driver with a staple or something.
He heard barking from the house and sat up a littler straighter. His dog had realized someone was outside. He swallowed and pressed the doorbell as he stood. It rang, and Henry lost count at seven because he was beginning to fear that he had the wrong house and someone was going to call the cops. A light clicked on in the living room and he jumped back when the intercom beeped and his mother’s voice crackled through the chilled morning air.
“Mom.” Henry sputtered in English. Relief and panic were rising in his throat. “Mom, it’s Henry.”
There was a small pause. “H…Henry? HENRY!” The gate swung open and Henry had barely stepped into the yard before the front door flew open and his mother ran down the stairs toward him. She enveloped him in a suffocating hug. “Henry! Henry!” Henry felt like crying too, and latched onto his mother tightly.
He was home. Everything was going to be ok now. His mother pulled back and held his face between her hands. “Henry. Oh Henry what happened? Where were you?” She looked thinner, and she had more wrinkles. Had she been worrying that much about him?
“…can we go inside?” Inside was safer. And his father was inside. He needed to tell him about everyone at Yumyeong apartments. He felt a pang of guilt at the thought. They had saved him and taken him in. They had never hurt him—despite Heechul’s threat—and had tried their hardest to make him feel welcome. No. They were freaks. They were dangerous terrorists that wanted to destroy the government and had the powers to do so. He had to warn his father.
His mother studied his face before giving a weak smile and a nod. “Yes of course. You’ve been through a lot. Did…did they hurt you? There was no ransom and we didn’t—come inside.” She cut herself off and led him inside by the hand.
It was dark, and no one else seemed to be awake yet. When his mother closed the front door behind them he let go of a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. He was really home. He collapsed onto the couch because his legs suddenly felt like jelly. He hadn’t thought about how much danger he’d been in until now. He could have died…his mother clutched his hand tightly as she sat down beside him, afraid that he’d disappear if she let go.
“I should…your father and sister…” His mother began, but didn’t let go. She smiled through her tears. “Your brother was flying over from home when he got the chance but he was busy with work—I’ll call him.” She stood and then sat back down again, still holding his hand. “Oh Henry…” She began sobbing again.
Henry held her tightly, wanting to cry himself. He hadn’t meant to make her worry so much.
“Henry!” Someone collided with him. His sister. She, his mother, and Henry ended up a sobbing mass of bodies on the couch. His sister was sniffling, apologizing, and in between her “I totally didn’t mean it when I said you were a stupid brother!” and his mother’s “Oh Henry, thank god, thank god” he managed to look up to see his father standing in the parlor doorway.
“…dad…” He swallowed, throat tight. His dad would know what to do. His mother managed to detach herself from him, pulling his sister along. She was now grumbling about how her makeup had run and that she needed to text Dongho so he could tell Yoseob.
“Not now.” Her mother quieted her. “Tomorrow, alright?”
“But mom, Yoseob has been freaking out. Dongho says he’s been depressed since Henry disappeared!”
“Later.” His mother said firmly, as Henry stood. Henry took a few steps forward and met his dad halfway across the living room floor.
“…Henry.” His father hugged him, but there was something rigid about his embrace. “Let’s go talk in my office.”
Henry nodded, grateful to be able to tell someone about what had happened.
“I’ll tell the police that we found him.” His mother headed toward the kitchen, but was stopped by his father.
“Not yet. Let’s wait until later, dear.” His father smiled. “Let me hear Henry’s story first. You don’t want the police coming over for statements this early in the morning, do you?”
His mother looked like she wanted to protest, but nodded. “Alright. I’ll…I’ll go make some coffee. Are you hungry?”
Henry nodded. “Yeah.” His mother bustled toward the kitchen, wiping her face with the back of her hand. His sister looked at Henry and their mother before sighing, “I’ll be upstairs.”
The last thing Henry heard before his father steered him down the hallway was his mother’s warning of, “Don’t text or call anyone about this, Whitney!”
His father’s office looked the same as before. Neat and pristine and stereotypical with a desk and a bookshelf and an oversized leather chair. The door had barely shut before Henry let out a deep breath and began talking, “It was crazy dad. There are people out there with freakish superpowers!”
His father paused, raising an eyebrow. “…is that so?”
“I know it sounds stupid. I know you probably don’t believe me but I swear it. They’re some kind of mutant terrorists! They want to attack the government.”
His father smiled softly. “Henry, why don’t you come with me?”
Henry blinked. What did he mean? They were already in his office! And why wasn’t his father asking him why he was acting like a raving lunatic? “…what?”
His father walked over to the bookcase and pulled out a book before reaching into the space where it had been. There was a soft groaning sound before the bookcase began moving to the side. Henry almost jumped backward at the sound, still paranoid and jittery and more than a little confused.
The bookshelf stopped moving, revealing a steel door and a keypad.
Henry stared, bewildered, as his father placed his hand on the keypad and it opened with a soft beep. His father looked back at him, “Come on Henry.”
Something told him to say no, but he found himself heading toward the door. This was his dad. There was nothing to be afraid of. Once he stepped across the threshold the door slid shut behind him and he could hear the bookcase shifting back into place.
He was in a stairwell, well lit and narrow. Enough space to walk single file, but his view was obstructed by his father’s frame. He followed him silently. His footsteps seemed to be eaten up by the cement stairs, and his breathing echoed. The air smelled odd. Too clean; filtered. His father paused and Henry almost bumped into him as he placed his hand on another keypad and the door in front of him opened.
The feeling of dread and a desire to flee crept back up his spine but he followed anyway. He was with his father. He was safe. Once he passed the doorway he found himself in a large room. The door closed behind him with a quick, foreboding click and he jumped, startled. His father sent him another calm, reassuring smile that did nothing to quell the paranoia that had lodged itself in his brain.
The room was relatively empty. It consisted of white-washed, concrete walls and low hanging lights. Several doors occupied one wall, all with keypads. There was a desk to the far left, and the person sitting at it looked up from his computer as they entered. “Dr. Lau! You’ve brought your son?”
“Call the security team captains into the conference room for me.” His father ordered.
The man nodded, and Henry found himself being led toward the center door on the far wall. What was this place? Why was it under their house? He tried to make sense of it as they headed down a slightly wider hallway and turned into a room. It looked like any other company conference room, with a large table surrounded by chairs. “Sit down Henry.”
“But dad I—”
“We’ll talk about it when the others get here. Sit down.” He had already sat down, and motioned to the seat beside him. Henry lowered himself into it hesitantly. He hadn’t felt this apprehensive even at Yumyeong. “Does mom know about the secret base under her kitchen?”
His father laughed, and for a moment Henry felt safe again. Then the door opened and three people walked into the room.
The house was quiet. Unnaturally so, even before Sungmin silenced the surrounding area. The car ride had been made in relative silence, broken only by Siwon directing Shindong along the streets. The tension made it impossible for a conversation, and the air in the back seat of the van was positively murderous. That was probably because situated in the back seat was Kibum and Sungmin.
Heechul stepped out of the van and stretched as he stared up at the gate and the mansion behind it. So close…soon they would get the answers they needed and the plan would be complete. Yesung followed behind with Kibum and Sungmin. Shindong came from the driver’s side as Siwon tucked his cell phone into his back pocket.
“So do we knock, or just let ourselves in?” Heechul smirked, before turning to Siwon. “You and Kibum will secure the house and Henry’s family.”
“I never said I was working for you.” Kibum shot back.
Heechul snorted. “I let you tag along. Try and keep up with Siwon, will you?”
Kibum bit back an angry retort and grabbed onto the gate, climbing over it. He reached the top and leapt down to find Siwon already on the other side. The older man sent Kibum a friendly smile that Kibum ignored as they headed up the driveway. The house was familiar to him, the same rich suburb layout that he had been so used to as a child. Kibum shook off the nostalgia as they stepped up to the door. Kibum rang the doorbell, and he heard the ring echo inside the house, the sound confined to the area Sungmin had closed off from the rest of the world.
“…the doorbell? Did I leave the front gate open?” A female’s voice, and the door opened to show a Middle-aged Chinese woman. Her eyes widened, “Who are—”
Siwon moved quickly, and by the time Kibum stepped through the doorway Siwon was placing the unconscious woman gently on the couch in the adjoining parlor. “I’ll go deal with the sister. Tell the others to come up.”
Kibum nodded curtly and opened the gate with the console on the wall beside the door. A few moments later the others entered. Heechul looked down at his phone screen. “We need to head down the hallway. That’s where the signal was lost.”
“You mean there’s no longer a signal? Did someone notice Donghae?”
“Unlikely.” Heechul was walking down the hall as Siwon came down the stairs. “They probably went underground.” He paused in front of a door and looked back at Shindong and Kibum. “You’re armed, right?”
Heechul let out a long sigh. “Then let’s get this over with.” He opened the door and they all walked inside. They didn’t get very far before pausing, because Donghae was sitting in an office chair, grinning. “I wondered how long it would take you—Kibummie?”
Kibum said nothing.
Yesung stepped in before the air could get awkward. “Where’s Henry?”
“Behind the bookcase.” Donghae pointed. “I was going to follow him but I wanted for backup like you told me to hyung.”
“Good boy.” Heechul patted his head. “Do you know the code?”
“It takes a handprint authentication.”
Heechul pulled off his glove. “Well then, let’s get started.”
It was one woman and two men.
The woman was tall, dressed in black leather and heels. Her hair was short and sleek, the choppy bangs covering one smoky eye. Her stare was head on, and her full lips tilted in a soft smile that was neither warm nor welcoming.
One of the men was a little chubby—broad shouldered and older. Probably in his late thirties, early forties. He was wearing an old suit, with patches on the elbows.
The third was older as well, gaunt and weedy. The hair on his upper lip was drenched in sweat. He dabbed a handkerchief to his forehead.
They greeted his father and eyed Henry curiously as they settled into their own seats.
After a moment the woman spoke, “Why is your son here, Dr. Lau?” She seemed to be the leader, the strongest personality of the trio.
“You all know that he recently went missing. Henry came back this morning to tell me some very interesting things. Henry, tell them what you were going to tell me about the night you were kidnapped.”
I wasn’t kidnapped, he wanted to say, but he wasn’t even entirely sure that was true. He didn’t like the way the three watched him though, especially the woman. There was something off in their eyes. They had Kim Heechul’s eyes.
“Well I was walking home…” He began hesitantly. “From violin practice. And I saw a cat and there was a weird sound so I followed it. There was—there was a creature, and it was holding a person.” And this was where he suspected they’d think he’d lost it.
“What kind of creature?” The husky man asked. He didn’t look doubtful, simply curious.
Henry was taken aback. “A…like a gorilla?” He didn’t know how else to describe it. Maybe they were asking because they thought he’d seen a large dog or something? Or maybe some animals had escaped from a zoo somewhere. “It killed the person.”
“Sangchu?” The other man, the sweaty one, turned to the woman and began talking like Henry wasn’t even there. “He went missing after a mission around the same time as Dr. Lau’s son.” He leaned back in his chair and studied Henry for a moment. “What happened after that?”
Sangchu? What was that? Why didn’t they think Henry was crazy? He swallowed. Something in the back of his mind screamed at him not to say anymore. “I was saved. By two people.”
“Two…people fought off Sangchu?” The chubby man snorted. “What kind of people were they?”
“One of them shot him. Shot the monster.” Henry clarified. “I couldn’t see very well in the dark. I don’t know what he used.” A slight lie. For some reason he didn’t think he should tell them the whole truth. “Another man grabbed me and pulled me through a wall.”
There was a moment of silence. If they hadn’t thought he was crazy before they certainly did now. Instead of disbelief, however, the woman’s eyes narrowed, “Are you certain he pulled you through a wall?”
“He didn’t destroy the wall first? Was the wall destroyed afterwards?” She continued, leaning forward slightly. Her chest looked ready to pop out of her tight leather jacket. He only then noticed that she wasn’t wearing a shirt underneath. He tried not to stare.
Henry blinked, confused. What? What kind of questions were those? Why did they care about that kind of detail when they obviously didn’t believe him? “No. He just…pulled me through a wall.”
“Impossible.” Thin and Sweaty countered gruffly. “No one has that gift. It isn’t registered in the database.”
Database? What where they talking about? Why didn’t they think this was crazy? It didn’t make sense.
“Not as a primary gift.” The woman eyed Henry shrewdly. “During the first two years of the GAM project the lab tried to engineer new gifts and give them to those that were unfit. One person was given the ability to phase through solid matter but his body couldn’t handle the strain. He was later disposed of.”
Those…deemed unfit? That couldn’t be right. Disposed of? …it was just like Leeteuk had said. No, that couldn’t be right. He was reading too much into this. He was just trying to connect what he knew from Leeteuk and the others. It was obviously a mix up.
“…but he should be dead.” The stouter one supplied. “So how could he have pulled the boy through a wall?”
Thin and Sweaty dabbed his forehead with his handkerchief, his gaze fixated on Henry. Henry tried to pretend like he didn’t notice, but his stomach churned unpleasantly. They were all looking at him now, and his father was watching with calm acceptance.
This wasn’t making any sense. Why didn’t they think he was crazy? What database? Was it all true? Had everything Leeteuk and the others told him been true? He eyed the three “security captains” and felt like bolting.
Despite the fact that Heechul had threatened to kill him once, he felt more murderous intent from the three in front of him now. He didn’t understand why his father was with these people. He stood slowly. “They…they said the government was doing this to people. That you killed people.” Henry took a step back. “It’s true.” He began looking around for an escape route. Don’t worry. Your father will make sure you’re ok. You’ll be fine. You’re safe. Your dad’s here. But his father wasn’t doing anything.
His father sighed, as if explaining something to a small child. His tone was chiding. “Henry, we’re helping people. With those kinds of gifts we can end wars. We can make Korea and the rest of the world safe.”
“…but the powers you don’t want.” Henry swallowed. “What do you do with them?” Helping people? He’d seen firsthand how fucked up the “gifted” that had been trained had become.
His father’s eyes narrowed. “Those people. How do you know about that, Henry?”
How did he know? He suddenly felt afraid to tell his father. He hadn’t wanted to protect the others before, but now he wondered…who exactly was the bad guy in all of this?
“Henry, tell me how you know about them.” His father ordered sternly. “Did you meet them? Are they the people that took you?”
Henry didn’t answer. He took another step back. He could feel the wall behind him. The only way to the door was passed the chubby man and Thin and Sweaty. The woman was nearer to his father, but he felt that she could probably reach him easily.
“There were rumors that a squad went rogue, but we didn’t know they’d begun smuggling out the failures. It would explain the powers the boy witnessed.” Sweaty swallowed. A drop of sweat was collecting on his upper lip.
They didn’t know. They hadn’t known that the others had survived. They only knew about the members that escaped the training facility. He’d told them. They knew now. If they found out where they lived…it would all be his fault. What had he done?
“Tell me where they are, Henry.” His father had stood by this point. The scraping on the chair against the floor made him jump.
“What will you do to them?” He asked shakily.
The woman gave a small laugh. “Traitors will be killed, of course.”
He never should have left 1502. He should have stayed. Why had he come back? Why was his father acting like this? Who were these people? He didn’t feel safe. He needed to go home.
That was when an alarm began blaring. The lights dimmed, and a red bulb in the corner began pulsing in tandem with the alarm.
Sweaty stuffed his handkerchief in his breast pocket. “What the…someone has entered the facility!”
Henry’s father pressed a button on the console next to the table and the screen behind them flickered to life to show the security feed. The front room that Henry and his father had walked through was now full of security guards, their guns pointed toward the stairwell.
There was a dusty veil to the feed, and Henry wasn’t sure if it was the grainy footage or if there really was smoke. Someone began shooting as a dark shadow darted out of the stairwell. Henry saw a flash of orange and black and then red as the large Siberian tiger ripped out a man’s jugular and then let out an earth shattering roar. The noise was so loud that the audio feed spiked out for a moment before returning in a cacophony of gunshots and screams.
“We’ll take care of this. Looks like we won’t have to go looking for them after all.” The woman’s smile grew, and there was something manic about it.
Chubby and Sweaty both nodded, their expressions grim. Neither seemed to enjoy the thought of bloodshed as much as the female. His father grabbed his arm, pulling him toward a second door that Henry hadn’t noticed earlier. “Come on.”
Henry couldn’t fight back, but his gaze remained trained on the screen until it was cut off from view.
They’d come to rescue him.
Donghae had gone first, with Siwon behind him. A second security guard lifted a gun to shoot the large Siberian Tiger when he found a knife slicing across his throat. There was silence, before a spray of red and the hissing of blood issuing from his neck filled the air, accompanied by the security force’s frenzied gunshots and occasional yells for backup.
Siwon wiped a few droplets of blood from his cheek, and the sticky liquid smeared. A gloved hand reached out and brushed it off and Heechul gave him a level look, “You’re like a child, geeze.”
Sungmin stayed glued to Heechul’s side, still wary of Heechul’s wound. He’d healed considerably over the last month or so, but he wasn’t ready to get into a full battle with a Gifted. “Hyung, let us deal with it.”
Heechul shrugged, “Yesung, Shindong, Kibum, finish off the regular security.”
Yesung nodded, and Heechul suspected through the smoky haze that Shindong had as well. Kibum merely pulled his twin Berettas out of his shoulder holster and began firing deftly.
Donghae tore into a man’s calf. The muscles sliced cleanly under sharp canines. He could taste blood. Lots of blood. It was warm and wonderful. He wanted more—“Donghae hyung, calm down.” A hand gripped the skin at the back of his neck and jerked him backward. He let out a growl and swiped with his claw.
Siwon quickly dodged, and he saw Donghae lower his paw and flatten his ears as recognition dawned. Siwon looked around the large room, stepping gingerly over an eviscerated body. “Well…everyone in the main annex is taken care of.”
Sungmin winced. Even through his headphones he could hear the blaring of the alarm. He didn’t deafen the sound because he knew that they needed his ears right now. This place wouldn’t just have regular civilian guards. There had to be Gifted here.
A door down the hallway creaked open, and Sungmin’s head snapped in the direction. “Someone’s coming.” He resisted the urge to step in front of Heechul. His hyung’s pride wouldn’t take being protected very well.
“Don’t shoot until I say.” Heechul ordered calmly. He squinted in the smoky haze.
Kibum let the empty cartridges fall to the ground as he refilled a clip. Shindong kept his gun trained on the hallway. Yesung ran in his thumb along a quarter in his pocket.
The footsteps grew nearer, enough that everyone could hear it over the alarm. Three sets of feet, one heeled. Through the dust, three figures came into view and stopped at the other end of the room.
“So it’s true.” The woman gave a small smirk. “Kim Heechul.”
“I didn’t expect to see you working with men.” Heechul retorted, looking at her two partners. A chubby, broad-shouldered man and a thin man with greasy facial hair who was dabbing a handkerchief on his forehead. Heechul didn’t recognize either of them.
She tilted her head to the side, “Small sacrifices have to be made. You don’t look so well.”
“Ga-in noona.” Sungmin stepped forward, angling himself slightly in front of Heechul like a shield. “We didn’t come here to talk.”
Ga-In eyed Sungmin with amusement mixed with caution, before her gaze darted from the torn apart remains of the security guards and Donghae panting above them. “I can see that.”
“Ga-in sunbaenim, who is this?” The chubby man cracked his knuckles.
“The infamous Squad 15.” Ga-In’s gaze went to Shindong and Kibum, “And a few friends, it seems. I didn’t know you were running a charity house. The image just doesn’t fit. But you do look a little pale. Old age creeping up on you?”
Heechul bit the inside of his cheek. Ga-In’s power was in her voice. He could feel a soft tugging, a desire to fall asleep. It was if she were whispering the order into his ear. But it wasn’t powerful enough to work, because Sungmin was focusing his attention on making sure the vibrations in her voice were muted enough that they weren’t effective.
Still, without cancelling her voice completely, there was no way to keep the power from showing itself. It was probably hardest on Sungmin, whose hearing was sensitive anyway. And Kibum and Shindong had never been up against these kinds of powers before…he could see Shindong blinking off a wave of fatigue.
“Yesung, Donghae, take Shindong and Kibum down the side hallway. Try and find Henry and his father.” Heechul ordered, eyeing the other two Gifted with Ga-In. He didn’t know what their powers were yet…it would be best to get Kibum and Shindong out of the area, and to send Yesung and Donghae to make sure they were protected incase the Gifted tried to follow.
Yesung nodded. “Let’s go.”
Donghae looked ready to protest, but Heechul hyung would be with Sungmin and Siwon so he’d be ok. Right. Time to go. He let out another roar and headed through the dusty haze, knowing that Kibum and Yesung would follow.
“Jae-Kwang, go after them!” Ga-In snapped, and the stocky man nodded curtly.
“You’re outnumbered.” Heechul tugged on a glove in warning. Ga-In’s gaze followed the movement.
“A spineless Jesus freak, an old geezer, and a psychotic boy with a hearing problem…” Ga-In gave a small laugh. “I think I’ll be fine.” She looked to her partner, “Dragon, begin.”
The sweaty man let out a shuttering sigh as he placed his handkerchief in his back pocket. Then he sucked in a deep breath. His cheeks seemed to swell, before he opened his mouth and a stream of fire spewed out.
“Fuck!” Heechul ground out. Sungmin grabbed the sound vibrations from Heechul’s curse and distorted the air. The flames shot past his left shoulder. He could feel the heat blister his skin. In that moment he’d been distracted enough to let down their defenses against Ga-In’s voice.
“Don’t move.” She ordered, and Sungmin was horrified to discover that he was frozen in place. Dammit…how had he let himself get distracted? The alarm was still blaring in his head, the sound so loud he felt his ears would start bleeding. He closed his eyes briefly to wait out a wave of pain.
Sungmin looked out of the corner of his eye to see Siwon leaning against the wall, one arm outstretched and gripping Heechul’s elbow. He’d pulled him a few feet away from the flames. Heechul was ok. He would have been out of the flame’s path anyway. Sungmin didn’t need to distort the flames. He could have kept them out of this mess. Damn, damn, damn!
Heechul was staring at Ga-In, unfazed. Didn’t he realize that Sungmin had failed? They were trapped by Ga-In’s voice. Dragon would be able to take them out one by one without a problem and it was all his fault!
“This is easier than I thought.” Ga-In sighed. “When everyone talked about you at the facility you sounded like such a terrifying person. But now you’re just washed up, aren’t you?” She looked slightly disappointed. “I thought I’d feel more proud of finally taking out the great Kim Heechul…I suppose that’s what happens after you’ve been injured. I heard Xmas did a job on your leg.”
Heechul remained silent.
“Hyung.” Siwon gritted his teeth and looked like he was straining against Ga-In’s orders.
“Sungmin, Siwon, relax.” Heechul finally spoke. “We’re fine.”
They weren’t fine. They weren’t fine at all.
“Do you think you can wait it out? Talk to me until it fades away?” Ga-In clicked her tongue. “You’ve been away from the training facility for too long. You know that my gift continues until either you or I die.”
Sungmin swallowed and closed his eyes. He focused on the sound vibrations thrumming through his body. There. Ga-In’s voice…he began to distort it slowly. It was a difficult task, because the sound itself was already gone. It was only the remnants of her command that remained, but he could “hear” her voice in his mind telling him to remain frozen in place.
He saw Heechul’s fingers curl and he knew that it was working. He just hoped he could work fast enough before—
“I wonder…how many people you’ve gotten out of the facility. We know about Park Jungsu. There must be others. He doesn’t seem like your type, after all.” Ga-In crossed her arms over her chest. “Speaking of “your” type…I wonder how Typhoon will feel when he finds out I killed you.”
“Technically you won’t be killing me.” Heechul replied. “Even you can’t order me to die. You could only order me to kill myself, or, I suppose our grotesquely sweaty friend Dragon over there could do the honor.”
Ga-In’s smile twisted into a frown, and Dragon glared. “Why don’t I order you to do something else instead?” And her frown morphed into a sickeningly menacing grin. “Kim Heechul. Kill Choi Siwon.”
Heechul’s eyes widened in shock, before his body went rigid and his fist opened.
“Hyung…” Siwon swallowed.
Sungmin stared. No. He’d gotten Heechul out of Ga-In’s hold, hadn’t he? Why wasn’t it working? Why was Heechul still doing what she said?
Heechul reached forward. “…Siwon…I’m sorry.” He managed to grind out as he grabbed the knife out of Siwon’s hand. “I’ll make it fast.”
“…hyung…” Siwon closed his eyes.
“No!” Sungmin shouted. “hyung! Fight it!” He wouldn’t be fast enough to get to them in time, and he couldn’t risk hurting Heechul by blasting him away with a sound wave.
Heechul lifted the knife.
Heechul turned the knife and launched it. It lodged itself in Dragon’s throat, and the other man let out a gurgle of pain as he tried to claw it out. His throat contracted, and something began to spew out with the blood, something along the lines of oil, and then it seemed to catch alight as he panicked and tried to breathe fire. His eyes bulged before his entire body combusted.
Ga-In let out a cursed shriek, taking a step back, but Heechul had already reached her and shoved her to the ground, his knee grinding into her stomach. “Did you think your gift would work on us? You really don’t give Sungmin enough credit.”
Sungmin stood, blinking in surprise. So it had worked after all? Heechul had just pretended otherwise…he looked to Siwon. The other man was calmly pushing himself off of the wall. He’d known all along…no wonder he hadn’t tried to get away even though he should have been freed from Ga-In’s gift as well.
Ga-In’s eyes narrowed as she coughed. “Impossible! It never worked before! You could only cancel my gift by cancelling all sound!”
Heechul added a bit more weight to his knee and Ga-In grunted in pain. “Did you think our little Sungminnie wouldn’t practice while we were away?” He pulled off his left glove. “Don’t underestimate us.”
Ga-in gave one last smirk. “I should say the same to you. He’ll be coming for you soon. He’s been waiting to see his fallen idol for quite a while now.”
Heechul paused, his expression going grim. “…is he here?”
Ga-in merely laughed and pressed the trigger for the explosive she’d been holding.
Henry couldn’t remember how many hallways they’d gone down by the time they stopped walking. He’d tried to get away, but his father’s grip was like steel. Yelling hadn’t helped either. They were far enough away that he could no longer hear the gunshots and the screams. He swallowed. Did those other people have Gifts like Donghae hyung and the rest of them? Would they get killed? “Dad, let go!”
His father shoved him into a chair. “Sit down and stay there, Henry.”
Henry didn’t listen. He sprung to his feet the moment he regained balance. “Why are you doing this?”
“I didn’t want to have to do this, Henry.” His father swallowed and reached into his jacket. “But you’ve left me with no other choice. They followed you here, didn’t they?”
“I didn’t know they would come—” Henry shook his head. “They aren’t the bad guys, dad! What the hell is going on?” He took a step forward but stopped quickly as he stared down the barrel of the gun his father was now pointing at him.
His father gave him a pitying look. “You aren’t simply resistant to GAM. Your body destroyed the virus. If they get a hold of you they’ll destroy everything we’ve worked for. I can’t allow it.”
“D…dad…” Henry pressed himself against the wall. “Dad, what are you doing?” His father was going to shoot him. His father was going to shoot him. His legs began to shake and he started to cry. “Please dad, don’t…d-don’t.”
“I’m sorry Henry. We can’t let them get that kind of information.” He lifted the gun, and Henry screamed as it went off. He continued to scream, bent over himself on the ground before he realized that he wasn’t bleeding or in pain.
He looked up and blinked.
His father was lying on the ground a few feet away, a pool of blood leaking out of his head. Kibum calmly placed his gun back into his shoulder holster. “Are you alright?”
Henry began sobbing as he stumbled to his feet and latched onto the older man. “He was going to kill me.”
Kibum stiffened, unused to people touching him, especially people that he wasn’t very close with. He searched for something to say. “He won’t now.” What else could you say when you’d just shot someone’s father? A father that had tried to kill his own son.
“…my dad wanted to…t-to…”
Kibum patted his back awkwardly as Henry continued to sob.
“M-my mom and sister? What happened?”
“We knocked them unconscious. We have to go now.” Kibum pried Henry off and knelt next to his father. He began to go through his pockets.
“What are you—”
“You got him!” Donghae entered the room with a grin. “The others are taking care of the rest of the Gifted. We’re going out the back door.” He wiped blood from his mouth, but it was smeared across his face. In fact, he was drenched in it.
Henry swallowed and took a step back, feeling nauseous.
Shindong appeared a second later. “Yesung hyung said to check the camera feeds and block out all communication.”
Kibum nodded as he grabbed a small black box from Henry’s father’s jacket. He placed it in his pocket. “The computer room is down the hall. Did Yesung hyung take care of the other gifted?”
Shindong nodded and rubbed his shoulder. Henry was still in too much shock to notice that Shindong’s right arm looked twisted at an odd angle and there was blood dripping from his fingertips.
A rumble shook the ground, and the lights flickered on and off before finally burning out.
“Fuck, what was that?” Shindong ground out. He pulled a flashlight out with his workable arm and turned it on. “Is everyone ok?”
“Hyung and the others will deal with it. We have to get Henry out of here.” Yesung stood in the doorway, his expression blank.
“My…my dad…” Henry began, but Kibum grabbed his arm and steered him toward the door. “Donghae hyung, can you wipe the security feeds?”
Donghae nodded, eyeing the two warily. Shindong thought it was a rather savage look, underneath Donghae’s usual cheerful exterior. Like a lion watching another lion move in on his pride. He looked ready to fight, and his lips lifted a bit in a snarl that disappeared as quickly as it came. “Alright, I’ll wait for hyung and the others. You guys get to the back entrance where the car is waiting.”
The smoke slowly began to settle.
“That was…unpleasant.” Heechul ground out, holding onto Siwon’s arm. Next to him, Sungmin was clutching his head as his vision swam.
“Sorry.” Siwon apologized meekly. “Can you stand on your own?”
Heechul nodded, took one step, and fell. Siwon caught him, “Hyung, if you can’t, just say so.”
“Aish, get off. No one asked you to go around carrying people to safety.”
Sungmin blinked off another wave of dizziness. Siwon had grabbed both Sungmin and Heechul once the explosion had gone off and had gotten them out of the blast’s range. The only problem was that when Siwon ran with someone, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
“Hyung…” Sungmin swallowed, “Did your wound reopen?”
Heechul shook his head. “No. I’m fine.”
Both Siwon and Sungmin nodded. Heechul seemed to regain his footing and shook Siwon off. He clenched and unclenched his hand. “…I lost my left glove. Both of you stay back.” He looked to the pile of rubble that had been the main room.
“Let’s get going. I have an extra pair at the apartment.”
The moment the others had left, the air in the apartment had gone from tense to almost unbearable. Kyuhyun found himself, as the only “useful” left, the subject of all of the pent-up frustration and anger.
“If you had known about this, you should have said something!” Kangin snapped for about the fifteenth time.
“I already told you that I didn’t know!” Kyuhyun defended hotly. I wouldn’t have told you anyway. Hyung must have had a good reason for not telling anyone. He crossed his arms and leaned back on the couch, glaring at his feet.
“Now isn’t the time to start pointing fingers.” Leeteuk tried to placate, looking between Kangin and Kyuhyun. “Heechul promised answers when they all returned.”
“And you believe him? Jungsu!” Kangin ground out in exasperation. “Aish!”
Eunhyuk flinched at Kangin’s tone and shifted uncomfortably where he sat next to Hangeng and Ryeowook. Leeteuk let out another soft sigh and turned to Hangeng, “Heechul didn’t tell you anything?”
Hangeng shook his head. “Heechul and I don’t talk about those things.”
“You mean he won’t talk about those things to anyone else.” Kangin grunted, “Great, we send you to spy on him and you can’t even do that.”
Kyuhyun blinked. Wait…what? He looked from Leeteuk and Kangin to Hangeng. Hangeng looked uncomfortable.
Leeteuk had asked Hangeng to watch over Heechul and figure out their plans if he could, to find out his secrets. Hangeng had been spying on Heechul. The entire time? Had that…had it all been a lie? Had he not actually loved Heechul at all?
Kyuhyun was livid. “How could you do that? You were spying on him?”
“Heechul isn’t exactly an honest person, Kyuhyun. I don’t know why you’re getting so worked up over it.” Kangin snapped back. “It doesn’t have anything to do with you. It’s between Heechul and Hankyung—unless you want it to have something to do with you?” A knowing smirk, judging, snide.
“Hyung!” Ryeowook had stood. “Leave Kyuhyun’s feelings out of this.”
His feelings? Were they that obvious? Had everyone known about them from the beginning? His face began to feel hot, and he swallowed back an angry retort as he looked down at his feet. Finally he stood, unable to stand the stares any longer, “I can’t take this. I can’t believe you, hyung.” He turned, and made it halfway to his bedroom when the front door opened.
They all turned to see the others stumbling through, dusty and a little bruised, but otherwise fine.
“Where’s Shindong?” Ryeowook looked the group over.
“He’s in the medical room with Kibum. He broke his arm so Kibum’s setting it.” Siwon replied, looking around tiredly.
“Henry!” Leeteuk had stood and walked over to the younger boy. “Are you alright? What happened?”
“His father tried to kill him.” Heechul replied calmly, heading for his bedroom. He brushed past Kyuhyun without another word. Kyuhyun's gaze followed him, and he opened his mouth to speak, to tell Heechul that Hangeng was a spy, but the words caught in his throat. Heechul reappeared a few moments later, slipping on a glove that Kyuhyun hadn’t realized was missing.
The group looked at Henry awkwardly, much more intent on comforting the boy than explaining why they'd had Hangeng spy on Heechul. Henry didn’t seem to notice them at all. Leeteuk led him to the couch and sat down next to him. Leeteuk took Henry’s hands in his own and paused, turning to Heechul. “You promised us an explanation. I think it’s time you gave it.”
Heechul eyed him for a moment before he gave a dry laugh. “Yeah hyung. Sure.”