They Had A System


They had a system, the seven of them.

They haven't talked for years; but Mercedes keeps in touch with Aran, calling each other at 3AM, one the ruler of a regime that she had murdered to take hold of, one fighting and stealing to stay alive. Phantom takes care of Luminous, leaving the feet of his promised throne to care for a man that had succumbed to his schizophrenic madness. Evan and Eunwol keep each other's backs, their innocence ripped too soon from them, raised to kill and always having a knife in the inside of their coats. And Freud keeps watch even after faking his own death; his eyes always the same hardened diamonds.

They had a system, the seven of them, but no one ever claimed it worked.

A/N) I'm not back but here you go. S'been a while.

Please note that this is like Mafia!AU or something i don't know

The phone rings.

Aran blinks, her tired eyes immediately glancing over to the digital clock that blinked the time in red. 3:00, in the morning, and she picks up the phone immediately. If it was at this time, the call should be important - it had to be important, even without directly looking at her phone she could still see the words 12 missed calls in white. She picks it up, and she hears the voice she had expected from the very start, even before this ever happened.

"Aran?" she hears Mercedes say, a lost voice in the sea of sound. Even at 3AM, there were still cars that went by in a haze of colors; no one ever paid attention to those. Not even the motorcycles racing each other up and down the empty highway, their tires squealing away on the granite road. "Aran, I'm sorry, but can you pick me up? I'm at the bar downtown."

She was already off the bed by the time she heard that sentence and pulling her leather jacket on; it had bloodstains on that she managed to pass off as a design. She pulls open the door with a loud creak that Mercedes definitely heard, someone should fix that - and left the room, slamming the door shut behind her. It creaked in something that she might have thought as indignation, but she honestly couldn't care at that point. "I'll be there," she says. "Are you going to crash at my place again?"

"Yeah," Mercedes says quietly, and Aran could infer embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I could always call up Phantom or something, if you can't have me." Aran hummed in response, shoving the problem of her very unclean apartment to the back of her mind. Her throat was lodged with something she couldn't understand at the simple mention of Phantom's name; it closed up and restricted her ability to speak.

"It's fine," she says, but quietly she wonders how the rest of them are. Seven species of fish, too rare for extinction but too ugly to look at. "It's fine."


He had never said his name to anyone, but he looks to the other. The silver-haired male is wide awake, staring with dead eyes at the sky, where the sky always seemed to fall yet keep still. He swallows the lump in his throat as he replies, wondering why he was so selfish as to steal a part of the perfect group's sun away and turned him into this magnificent sin.

"Are we going to be okay?" Luminous asks as he stares at the silhouette of the city against the darkened backdrop of stars and empty lights. Corvus swallows and turns away; he would love to say the truth, to say that no, they wouldn't be okay, but the words catch on the web of lies he strung on his lips. Luminous sighs; he's still waiting for an answer.

"Yes," Corvus replies, closing his eyes, struggling to pretend that what he said was the absolute truth, trying to pretend that the wet sliding down his cheeks weren't tears. Wanting to pretend that the lump in his throat wasn't from throat; wishing to pretend that he was free of sin. That the fact that Luminous was like a broken toy wasn't his fault. But he was not; he pulled his best friend away from the group of seven that they had spent so much to create.

Just for once in his life, he would have liked to pretend. But he waits until Luminous falls asleep, waits until Luminous stops talking to people he knows does not exist before he turns on his phone and calls a number. He doesn't remember what the number was or who it connected to; but he lets his fingers fly free and when he catches a look at the number glaring from his screen, he breaks down as he holds it up to his ear.

Just as expected, he heard nothing but a dial tone.

Gunshots glint off the metal pipes as the two duck into an alleyway.

Evan sobs; he's scared and who wouldn't be? Eun peeks out when the bullets stop firing before he stares back at Evan. The young adult whimpers, keeping in his cries lest he alert their enemies. Eun narrows his eyes, finding that something is wrong, and demands that Evan hold out his arm. He was assaulted by the scent of iron, and he lets his shoulders slump when he realizes what happens.

"Can we go on?" Evan whispers in the night, and Eun shakes his head. They can't carry on like this, they can't carry on with narrow scrapes and barely getting by - and now that they actually got injured for once in a long, long time - they couldn't deal with this anymore. Eun leaves Evan in the alleyway, picking up his beaten-up phone that had a large crack on its surface. He calls a number, calls one of the six other people in his contact list.

"Hello?" he asks quietly, trying to keep his voice down when in reality he wanted to break down and scream an apology. He hears the other's voice catch in a breath, an upset sound that made Eun just know and he struggles to keep from hanging up right then and right there. "Can we crash at your place tonight? Evan's... injured," he says, trying to keep it as devoid of information as possible.

"It's your fault again, isn't it?" the other snarks through the phone, a growing annoyance in his tone. "We'll have him right over so long as you don't follow." In the background of the person he called, he hears a sleepy voice asking for him. Immediately the other says 'no' in a tone that ended the conversation, and hung up. Evan whimpers again, and Eun could only stare into emptiness.

He gets up. "Come on, we're leaving."

"I saw Freud earlier," Mercedes says.

Aran tightens her grip on Mercedes' arms; it was sure to leave a bruise now, but Mercedes doesn't even care enough to cry out. "Do you plan on going anywhere?" she asks, dragging her friend down empty streets, casting icy stares at anyone that dares to hold their gaze on them a few seconds too long. They pulled their gazes away, but Aran felt it; felt the scathing glares that told her that she shouldn't be treating a friend like that.

No one cares enough to stop her. So she continues, pulling and dragging Mercedes along as their ex-gunman slipped and fell on too-high heels, catching her balance as she caught her breath, not letting it slip past her caged fingers. "No, we don't need to go anywhere - we need to talk about Freud, we can't keep avoiding him in conversation."

Silence, but Mercedes takes a look around them; they were walking past Luminous' apartment, the abandoned building that was covered in filth and mold due to neglect. Phantom was most definitely in there with him, and Aran didn't seem to be wanting to talk to them. But she tries, because that's all she can do. "Can we visit Luminous and Phantom? It's been a while."

Her grip tightens as she says 'no', a steely word that cut all uneven ends of the conversation. And no will be her answer as they wander to her apartment; wanders up the stairs, one slipping and nearly banging her legs as the other pulls her up too fast and too hard. But she doesn't resist, doesn't even let the sound of pain grace her lips. "It's been seven years. They won't be there anymore," Aran hisses, and Mercedes nods numbly.

If a tree falls and no one is around, does it make a sound?

There was a knock on the door.

Luminous stumbles to his feet, flinging open the door; he freezes when he sees Eun, freezes when he sees Evan. He bites his lip, his knuckles turning white, but he steps to the side and allows them in. He hears Phantom swear from behind him, but it went unheard and he drops to the floor like a ragdoll. He doesn't scream; what an improvement.

But he couldn't stop seeing Eun dragging him down an alleyway just after they succeeded a high-scale robbery, couldn't stop seeing Eun drawing out a gun and pointing the barrel in his face, couldn't stop hearing the click of the gun that showed that it was freshly reloaded. He couldn't stop hearing Eun whisper a 'This is for the best" in a dark tone, and watching him never pull the trigger.

He hears Phantom as he knocks over bottles of alcohol in the kitchen, listens as it smashes to pieces on the floor. But he couldn't stop seeing; so he closes his eyes. Buries his face in his hands. He listens as the voices in his head speak, start yelling over one another. "Shut up, you piece of shit," one is saying, the one he had christened Eclipse. "Don't listen, don't," says the other, the one named Sunfire.

He wants to scream over the both of them, but it doesn't work. He had tried once before, and it had only made his throat sore from screaming and he had only turned into a crying mess. "You idiot, get over it. Stop seeing Eun with his fucking gun. Quit it," Eclipse hisses, and Sunfire's voice grows muffled until he couldn't hear. Couldn't hear, couldn't see. And when he feels a hand on his shoulder, he screams.

Why didn't Eun pull the trigger?

Evan steps back when Luminous screams.

Phantom yells. "Out, out!" he screams, and Eun backs up and runs away like the coward they had all never aspired to be yet they all were. The noise faded; crying, screaming, sobbing... it all melted away to black noise as Luminous tries to fix himself. But he can't, and Evan watches as the man he looks up to falls, just like his world as it smashed to pieces.

Evan watches as Phantom urges for Luminous to calm down. Watches whilst he picks at his wounds. At his paper scars that fall away to the dirty carpet that no one ever cleaned. Scabs. He waits as the hours tick by and the bite turns to a sting before it turns numb. Just like the bite of a mosquito. He stares at the crimson dripping down his leg that no one tended to.

His skin is red - why is it red? Oh, yes, the bullet, still in his leg... He bites his teeth, his tongue, twisting round the pain to somewhere else before he decides on what he wanted to do. Before he decided what he will do. Before he decided that what he does is for the best. He bends down and yanks the bullet of lies out, falling back as the scream on his lips is drowned out by another's wail.

Why would you trust an unlearned seventeen-year-old?

Outside, the man with diamond eyes waits and listens.

He mouths something; lost his voice? Something had happened. What had happened? He had lost all of his previous life, lost everything that he thought he had, that he promised himself he had... everything fell apart when one of them was lost. But this was for the best, wasn't it? He trusted himself, didn't he? He stares down at the cement, before he gets up and leaves.

The smells of the coffee shop enraptures him like always as he drags his tattered crimson around himself. He tilts his head when he sees the man with amethyst for eyes walk around and away. He watches as the stumbling cyan drunkard hangs off the arm of her ice-cold friend. He watches as the broken shell of a schizophrenic stumbles and falls, only to be caught by lies. Caught by an amethyst liar.

The phone rings.

He doesn't pick up.