Time for Chapter 4! Thank you again everyone who took the time to leave me a review. Highly appreciated, as always! The fresh ideas made me completely re-think a huge part of the overall storyline. All for the best!
Chapter 4 – Things that Go Bump in the Night
As she expected, Hwang acted strange whenever she was around for the next couple of days. Even Dong Man noticed. In his puppy-like way he buzzed around her.
"For the hundredth time, I have no idea what's his problem! Go annoy someone else!" she finally exploded. The boy put on a perfect imitation of a kicked puppy and slinked away. She almost choked on her coffee, when Dong Man stopped the just arrived Min and pointed at her. "She's super mean today!" he whined. Min laughed and patted his head. She squinted at the pair. Picture-perfect image of an owner and a loyal dog.
On the morning after the "incident" as she now called it in her head, Min had arrived late. Probably went by his home. Or took a nap somewhere, her inner voice whispered nastily. Anyway, he had had no right to look like he just walked off a magazine ad.
"Feeling under the weather today?"
She had ignored him.
"You know, you really should stop going out on workdays…." He offhandedly noted, walking past. Stunned, she whirled around. "YOU!" She pointed an accusing finger at his chest. "After I spent a whole night…"she sputtered.
He had laughed. Loud and clear. And she could only stare. Something had changed again. Bit by bit she was figuring him out. Overwhelmed by her discovery she sat again, still staring at the now-closed door.
She jumped, when a polite coughed brought her back from her musings from that day. Hwang stood next to her table, still looking uncomfortable. She sighed and raised an expectant eyebrow. The detective handed her two thick folders and made a beeline for the door. She sighed again in frustration. It wasn't her day. Yoo cocked her head, looking at the mess on her table. Then again, make it week.
After a week Hwang finally stopped treating her like a walking disease and accepted the fact, that she had, in one way or another, become part of his and Mins little inside circle. At first, she hadn't thought much about it. Yet, as the time went on, she discovered just how much things had actually changed.
For the first time she had entered Mins office and found him reading a book and sipping wine after a busy day, she had done a double take to make sure she hadn't entered the wrong room. At his questioning look, she just flopped down on an empty chair and continued to unabashedly stare at him.
Not the one to back down, Min gently set down his glass and leaned forward, one hand under his chin, challenge shining in his eyes. Unbeknownst to her, they had entered a staring contest, where neither of the opponents accepted defeat. She couldn't bring up another instant in her mind, where she had seen Min look so carefree or unabashedly teasing. After a while light in corridor flickered out and she frowned. "You're late." He looked amused, but didn't back off. "So are you."
Yoo stood up and turned. "You should go home." When his hand gently touched her shoulder only a second later, she almost screamed aloud. No man should be allowed to move as fast as he did. With a satisfied smirk he handed her a folder she had forgotten on the table. "You forgot something," he marked offhandedly, eyes still shining with mischief. Only when standing in the darkened corridor outside, did Yoo remember that she had completely forgotten to ask her question - the actual reason for seeing him in the first place.
The rest of the week passed quietly. So did the next and also the one after that. As almost a whole month has passed without incidents and Yoo was getting suspicious. More and more did the situation remind her calm before storm. She tried to push off the nagging feeling at the back of her mind and just enjoy the normality for a change.
They had finally settled into almost comfortable routine. Choi and Hwnag still performed their personal circus daily and it never stopped amusing Yoo. Did they ever remember what started their argument, when they were still going on about it two hours later? She seriously doubted they even knew. Her nightmares still sometimes woke her screaming, covered in cold sweat and gasping for breaths. But even the horrifying dreams were slowly but steadily leaving her. She hadn't heard a word about the read head, and against her own strong politics as a prosecutor, was willing herself just to forget he ever existed.
And Min? They acknowledged each other. Which definitely counted as a sign of progress. A nonchalant "Good morning", a solitary cup of coffee on her table corner every now and then, a little longer then professionally appropriate glances here and there.. Lately it was easier to breath, Yoo had noted. When she shook hands with fellow prosecutors she didn't instinctively flinch and even her evening walks home became effortless. A little smile grudgingly crept on her everything, things were superb.
When she glanced at her bedside clock, it announced 4:18. Sighing, she turned another side. Three more hours, her brain rejoiced, as she tucked herself in. And then she heard it. The noise, which had woken her in the first place, her fuzzy brain realised. You would expect a normal person to panic. To scream and call the police at very least. Well. Prosecutor Yoo groaned, pulled a blanked over her head, gave up after half a minute and stood. Groggily she rubbed the last bits of sleep from her eyes.
"Min?" Her groggy voice rang out in the silent apartment. She cleared her throat and raised her voice, while slowly moving through the darkened apartment, "Tae Yeon! I swear, if you broke my door again…." The words died on her lips. The curtains in the kitchen were kept opened. Yoo had never bothered to close them, in case she wanted to get a glass of water during the night. She didn't like complete darkness. Streetlights gave enough light to softly lighten her tiny kitchen. And now, it effortlessly illuminated a pair of bright red eyes.
Light shone back from his overly toothy smile, when he saw her approaching. "Ah! Prosecutor Yoo! I have missed you so." She didn't move and he frowned. "Please sit. I'm sure the conversation will get uncomfortable enough without you having to stand."
She didn't know what time it was, only that it must still be early. First rays of sunlight peeked through the windows. Her toes were freezing as she laid on her kitchen floor. She couldn't feel her arm and she couldn't even tell, if it was because she was laying on it or was it because of the fall. She tasted blood. It was cold.
She must have passed out, because the next moment she opened her eyes, sun was shining brightly in her eyes. Groggily she observed her surroundings. She was still on her kitchen floor, laying in the middle on broken glass and the remains of her chair. Gingerly she touched her lip and winced. She tried to stand and whimpered. Desperately she stared around for anything, anything at all that would help. Her eyes landed on the phone. Yoo never used the land-line, multiple times had she even thought of finally disconnecting it. She couldn't be happier over her own laziness.
She half-crawled, half-dragged herself over the floor and slumped against the counter for couple of minutes, catching her breath, before reaching for the phone. Min answered his usual crisp way after a second ring. "Min…" She whispered and for some stupid reason she started to cry. Angrily she tried to wipe away the offending tears, but they just kept falling. "Yoo!" he was instantly alert. "Breathe. Where are you?" "Home," she managed between sobs.
"Keep talking, I'll be there in 20 minutes." It made the tears faller even heavier. "Tell me what happened." Nodding to herself, she tried her best to calm. "He was here." There was a moment of complete silence, followed by a loud crack and surprised cries. After a moment, she could hear him take a steadying breath. "Are you okay?" his voice still wavered and she could only nod. Tears had started falling again.
She was still grasping the phone in a death grip, when he burst through her front door. At first he rushed to her bedroom, all the way calling her name. She didn't even have the strength to call out. She heard him looking around and then finally he entered the kitchen. He fell to his knees next to her, hand hovering over her, yet not trusting enough to touch. With her final scraps of energy, she raised her eyes to meet his. They were shining with unshed tears and Yoo smiled.
Once again she woke in an unfamiliar place. Even now, she couldn't help but wonder at her awful luck. Keeping her eyes strained to the ceiling, she felt her whole body starting to tremble. Her fists squeezed the blanket and her breaths turned into short gasps. Her vision blurred with involuntary tears. Then the door burst open and warm hands covered her own. "Yoo! Breath, breathe! You're safe now!" She blinked rapidly and the worried face of Detective Hwang swam into focus. She got her trembling under control and swallowed. "Where is he?" He looked lost and Yoo felt frustration settle in. "Tae Yeon! Where is he?"
Hwang stood and looked away. "He… He's not here." She sat up suddenly. Oh god, had the red-head come back? Her heartbeat picked up when she grabbed Hwangs arm. "What happened?" He looked uncomfortable. "I don't know. He brought you here and just left." Yoo nodded and collected her thoughts. "Okay." She finally made up her mind. "Thank you for the help." She pushed off the blanket and stood. Hwang reached out to steady her swaying form but she put up her hand. "I'm okay."
However, when she unbelieving stared at herself from the bathroom mirror, she decided that okay might be a bit too strong word for her current situation. Every bit of visible skin seemed to be covered in pink, red, blue, yellow and green. Even her face. She gasped. He had done it on purpose, that bastard, she was sure of it. Killing her would have been the easiest. But why? Her brow furrowed. It had been already half a year of peace, she had almost forgotten about him… But someone hadn't. Min! He was still chasing the red-eye. His words echoed in her ears, You'll never have to be afraid again, You'll be safe. It was aimed at Min. This sick bastard had watched and played them like fools. Her lip curled.
Hwang jumped up when Yoo stormed out of his bathroom looking viscous, close to murder actually, he realised with a startle. "Where does he live?" her voice was low. "Who?" Hwang stuttered with confusion. "Min Tae Yeon, give me his address." She looked terrible, covered in bruises, eyes shining with some inner fire. Wordlessly he scribbled down an address and watched her storm off. Please don't kill each other, he whispered watching her disappearing form.
The whole ride there the taxi driver kept stealing glances at her. She had tried to cover as much as possible with gloves and a scarf, but apparently it wasn't enough. However, currently she was too worried about another unstable man. She was digging through her purse for some change, when the driver dared to open his mouth for a first time. "Are you going to kill anyone?" Her answering smile was truly terrifying, "If his lucky!"
Nobody answered. Of course nobody answered. She cursed and for the thousandth time tried again. "Min," she yelled pounding at the door. "I know you're in there. Open this door right now!" Still no answer. She continued her pounding until a door on her right opened and scared looking woman peeked out. "Is everything alright?" She visible shrunk back when Yoo faced her. "Everything's perfect," Her grin was feral "I just forgot my keys." The door slammed shut.
She continued with her pounding until her arm seriously hurt. "God damn it Min, if you won't open this door right now, I'm going to shoot the lock! And I'm serious!" There was a moment of silence, during which she seriously weighed on just carrying out her threat, when she heard shuffling. There was a snap and the door clicked open. Cautiously, she peered it open and stepped inside.
It was dark. Even the curtains were pulled close and helplessly she patted the wall, looking for the switch. She stumbled over something and prayed it wouldn't be a dead body. She heard an nervous giggle and clamped a fist over her mouth. Finally the light flickered on and she gasped at the sight.
It was a chaos. Worse than chaos. It looked like every piece of furniture had been smashed or ripped apart. Her eyes followed the path of destruction and she wandered deeper into the apartment. During the whole time, her brain tried to yell at her for entering a dangerous animals den and her common sense, hell, every instinct of survival in her body screamed at her to run. She bravely swallowed down the fear and pushed on.
"Min?" she hesitantly called out. She almost rolled her eyes, when there was now answer. After what felt like an eternity and an unhealthy amount of missed heartbeats later, she finally found him in the kitchen. From the first glance, the situation looked bad. She clicked on the light and her eyes widened even more. It got worse. Bad didn't even start to cover the situation. Even the kitchen hadn't escaped the mass destruction. In one corner she saw a shattered glass in a puddle of red liquid and a shudder ran down her spine. She decided to ignore it. For now.
The worst however looked the unmoving prosecutor himself. He hadn't changed, but he had lost his heavy suit-jacked somewhere in the process. One of his sleeved was rolled up and the other looked like it might have been half-way ripped off. She swallowed and took a step forward. "Min?" she whispered. He didn't turn around, but she saw the shimmer of blue from the window reflection.
She tried again. "Min? I'm fine. That bastard only did it to scare me, you don't have to feel responsible or anything." With a snarl he whirled around. Now she was too scared to even back away. He looked positively terrifying. His hair was tousled and couple of first buttons missing. Little specks of red adorned one of his sleeves, but he seemed to be unharmed. But when their gaze met, he slumped against the window with a thud. His eyes were the scariest. They were the eyes of a pained animal. His pupils were dilated and they kept flickering over her. She took a tentative step forward and raised her hand. "It's okay," she whispered. Too fast for her eyes, he grabbed her wrist and she screamed out in pain.
"Does this look okay do you?" He boomed still clutching her wrist. Already she could feel new bruises forming. Gasping she tried to yank her arm free. He didn't even seem to fully recognise her. "You're hurting me!" A flicker of emotions passed over his face and shocked, he dropped her hand. Slowly he took a step back. Then another and turned. "Leave!" Was all he said, before locking himself, to what she assumed to be his bedroom. She sighed and covered her eyes for a moment. She really, really didn't need this right now. Resigned, she got to work.
When she pried her eyes opened, she groaned and rubbed her neck. Horribly uncomfortable, she tried to move. And then he was there. Just in front of her. So suddenly, that she didn't even have time to startle. It unnerved her even more, how he kept just staring at her. She clutched at her rapidly beating heart. "Don't do that." "I told you to leave." His voice was even, which was nice. There had been a bit too much growling the last time she saw him. He also had taken time comb his hair. And with a relieved sigh she looked into his eyes. Familiar and boring straight through her.
She smiled. "Somebody needed to clean up the mess." His face stayed unchanged and she grew uncomfortable. Fidgeting, she tried to slink around him. "I should probably go home now. I just wanted to see that you're okay…" her words slid into awkward halt. He didn't answer. Uncomfortably she moved into the hallway, looking for her hurriedly discarded shoes. "Why?" She frowned and looked back at him. "Why do you stay? You have seen what happens when you do. You have seen, what he is…," at the last part, Min turned his back to her again, and Yoo heard the unsaid. What I am.
"Because you are my colleague. And my friend," her own voice trembled. "You are a person I care about. You are nothing like him." She was now standing with one shoe on, the other awkwardly dangling in one hand.
"I promised, you'd never have to go through this again and now…." His whisper broke in the end and Yoo dropped her shoe. Single heel clicking, she stood behind him. "It was him. He is the one at fault. Without you I'd have been dead a long time ago," she explained to his back. He tensed. Before her courage left her, Yoo swiftly put her arms around his middle and hugged his back. "We will catch him. Together. And then we will be free."
A/N: And this as far as the pre-written chapters go. From now on I can't promise regular, once-a-week updates. Chapter 5 IS currently being written, and to not leave you in complete dark, we'll finally see how our Vampire Prosecutor reacts and deals with recent developments.
Be sure to leave a review with your thought/ideas/requests etc. They're all cherished and extremely motivating!
'Til next time!