Genre: AU!General, Romance/Minor!Action
Summary: Sungmin’s always been a little skeptical, but this is clearly horrible luck. Sungmin’s been kidnapped twice in his life. By the same man no less.
When he was 13, something awful had happened.
“Do you know who he is?” His father asked, staring from a distance at the young man who was just stepping out of custody.
“Someone who wanted to make a quick buck.” The man assigned to his case said. “One of your wealth always has to be careful of people like that. You always have to be aware of what people can be capable of when it involves money.”
His father nodded and signed away the last of the paperwork.
“Your son is back in your care though, let’s be thankful for that. We usually don’t have this sort of happy ending.”
Sungmin felt his hand tugged away by his father who thanked the officers and goes about his way. Sungmin looked back to see the young man being accompanied to his cell.
They lock eyes by chance, and Sungmin tightened his grip on his father’s hand.
Sungmin always thought he lived a sheltered life, he didn’t know the meaning of that until he was taken and things were stricter for fear of his safety. His father responded by spoiling him when he can, giving all he could to encourage his interests and dreams. His father patted his head and smiled at his son,
“You’ll be fine.” His father murmured, “You’re okay, and that’s all that matters.”
7 Years Later
He was a little out of breath.
Sungmin was never much of an athlete, he could blame a number of things for that but being lazy accounted for most of it. Still, he’d never admit to it. Instead, he kept pausing every so often, ignoring the pain in his legs as he ran across the hallways until he nearly bursts inside the room.
“Finally, I thought I’d have to wait another half hour.” Lina uttered.
Sungmin smiled and his friend looked away, but he knew she couldn’t hold her anger for long. The moment he sits across from her, her angers disappates.
“At least call me if you’re arriving,” Lina mentioned and Sungmin took out his cell. “Forgot to charge it again?”
Sungmin took out his charger and plugged it into the outlet beneath their table, “Guilty,” he smiled to Lina’s annoyance. “Where’s your fiancé? I thought he was coming with you.”
“He had some last minute stuff to take care of in Hong Kong.”
Sungmin’s drink had arrived and he glanced at the white binder Lina’s carrying, inside were colorful post-its and snippets from magazines, he grinned at the highlighter she carried and calmly shadowed a few lines.
“Still editing the guest list?”
Lina scoffed, “I can edit that list a thousand times but people will always bring their dates, I have to count in the last minutes my husband or I might invite too.” Lina then eyed her friend, “Which means if you’d like, you could bring a friend too… if you have any in mind.”
“Your subtlety could use some work.” Sungmin remarked.
Lina took out her cell, “Just thought I’d let you know. The wedding isn’t until next winter anyhow, unless my mother’s fortune teller tells her otherwise.” She then answered her cell, “Hello? Ah, hello mother-in-law. No, of course I can meet with you.”
Sungmin understood her apologetic signal, he paid for their meal as they step outside the cafe. He side-eyes as her car comes around, still speaking to her future mother-in-law.
He felt a little sting in his chest, but it hits only briefly, enough that he can easily forget about it. He smiled at his friend’s expression and it lifted his spirits a bit. His friend’s marriage was a good cause for celebration, there was no need to feel anything else.
Lina ended the cell. “Remember to buy a decent gift, I know you prefer gifts of the heart, and while I appreciate it, my husband might not.” She warned him.
Sungmin sighed exasperatedly, “You and I are just friends.”
“If you buy a shallow gift, he may just believe that.” Lina deviously smiled as she entered her car, “I don’t mind either way, when he’s jealous, I have him wrapped around my finger.”
Sungmin chuckled as the windows roll up. “I’ll do my best.”
Sungmin walked down the wealthy streets, those around him are dressed in the latest and most expensive fashion. Sungmin, even with his disheveled hair and manner of walking, was well-put together. It doesn’t take much of a second glance to know he’s born from money.
He remembered where the registry took place and figured he’d decide on something then before the others took the best. He entered inside and looked through the items. Sungmin approached the machine and clicked through his friend’s chosen list.
The wedding was still not for a while, but Sungmin decided to take a leap on things.
“Not the best taste,” Sungmin murmured, he figured Lina was following her mother’s advice for most of it.
He decided on two items, one from the list and one from his own choosing and he stared admirably at the bowl he picked. “I’ll take these,” Sungmin told the associate and handed over the card and turned his attention back to the item.
“Please sign here, Sir.”
Sungmin snapped out of it, looking a bit confused at first when the associate gestured to the device, but Sungmin signed it quickly and gets back his card.
He’s at a loss of what to do. Sungmin looked back at the displayed bowl and sees his reflection behind a few rows of a man with a ballcap. It’s been years and the man’s clearly matured, paired with a different haircut and clothes, but there was no doubt it was him.
Sungmin never thought he’d meet his kidnapper again, in a ceramics shop no less.
Should he call the police? The man had already been arrested before, and he wasn’t doing anything to cause suspicion, would there be any justified reason to take him away? Sungmin thought it’d be unlikely.
It’d probably be best to leave the store altogether. With that decision made, Sungmin strode through the shop and out the double doors.
“Are you alright?”
Sungmin looked up at his father appearing in the dining room. “Oh, just fine.”
“You’ve been picking at your food for the past ten minutes, is class getting to you?”
Sungmin side-eyed his father and looked back at his plate.
“Yes, it’s a little overwhelming.” He lied and his father gave him a considerate pat on the back as he joins him for dinner. It’s somewhat believable, Sungmin was onto his third year of study.
“You can handle it. I’m glad politics is catching your interest, it’s a very diverse field when you dig into it.”
Sungmin smiled at the misplaced encouragement and starts to eat to keep his mouth occupied. It was probably better not to tell him the truth in the first place. The whole while he wondered how he should approach his father on the subject, but it’s clear he should keep it to himself.
Once he made that decision, Sungmin’s uneasiness nearly disappears in an instant. When it involved his dad, Sungmin of coursed worried for his sake. But on Sungmin’s part, it was a little different. In fact, he’s almost at peace with it.
His kidnapping doesn’t cause him distress, never kept him up at night, there wasn't any trauma of the sort. Sungmin looked down at his notebook and attempted to draw his sole profile as best as he can remember his face, but it only ends up distorted and unrecognizable. “I can’t even get his face justice,” he muttered and tossed his notebook aside.
Yet even as he glimpsed at his horrible drawing, he felt the questions of the past resurface, those that circled in his memory on nights he couldn’t sleep or long periods in class.
For Sungmin, he realized what a miracle his return was, as many boasted to his father his return had been. As he gets older however, his skepticism takes place of his good luck, and he wonders why he’s alright.
It began a little unconsciously.
Sungmin doesn’t have to be in the city that often, traveling throughout the country as he liked, attending some university courses here and there and visiting friends. But as of late, he’s been occupying the city whenever he’s given spare time just dawdling through the streets nearby. He stood across from the ceramics shop and stared through the glass windows a little longer than he intended, studying each person who came through the doors.
He isn’t sure why he’s disappointed whenever each person turns out not to be him.
“It’s practically becoming a sick curiosity.” He told himself as he sat in his car and leaned against his steering wheel.
He looked at himself in the rearview mirror. “Just go,” he ordered.
Sungmin nodded and is about ready to turn the key, when he paused. The man had now came into his view, walking leisurely up the sidewalk to the ceramics store.
A woman stopped him from entering and Sungmin wonders if he was barred from it. Yet he sees the woman, an employee he guesses by her uniform, speaking politely with the man and the two continue talking at the side of the store. When they part, it appears to be on good terms as she returned to the shop and he back down the sidewalk.
Sungmin turned the wheel and left the curb until he reached the red light. His eyes shift to the crowd who cross the street in front of him, and among that crowd, was the very man just a few feet away from him.
And rather than continue on, Sungmin turned on his signal, and followed the route the man had took.
The university library took up half a block overlooking the large hill, Sungmin parked nearby and kept a distance away and observed as the man disappeared inside.
Sungmin took a seat in the corner of the library and watched as the man mingled through the shelves and takes out various books, sitting himself down and reading them through. He repeated this a few more times. It was odd to see. He looked so… ordinary.
Above the mounds of books, a shadow fell over them, yet the moment reading them doesn't flinch at the arrival.
“Why are you here?”
Kibum looked up from the book and tilted up his hat, his eyes briefly overlook the younger man and it takes him a moment to recognize him. Then a smile formed on his lips.
If Sungmin hadn’t known this man before, he would look almost innocent.
“Studying, isn’t that why most people come here?” Kibum said plainly, looking back into the textbooks.
“You’re more than welcome to read them after I’m done with them.”
Sungmin thinned his lips, Kibum’s calm tone agitated for some reason.
To the man’s mild surprise, Sungmin sits across from him. “Don’t you have two more years in your sentence?”
Kibum held back a laugh at Sungmin’s calculation, “I managed to get out of prison quite early. I have a lot of connections from well-to-do people coupled with good behavior.”
Kibum tilted his head, “Is that shocking?”
A bit. Sungmin looks straight at him, “Why were you at the ceramics shop?”
Kibum paused, it felt then that Sungmin had truly caught him off-guard. Then Kibum didn’t know he was there?
Kibum squarely meets his gaze, “I had business with a friend to settle, and before you ask, it’s between me and her.”
“...Fine, you don’t have to answer me on that.”
The questions were on the tip of his tongue, and Kibum seemed to realize that Sungmin wasn’t going to let it be. “You are aware that this is a library, conversations are encouraged outside.”
“But it’s about to rain,” Sungmin commented, and stared out the windows at the light gray clouds above. Maybe it wouldn’t, he hoped and turned his attention back to the man.
Kibum stared blankly at him. Sungmin blinked, he didn’t know why he received the look and squirmed slightly in his seat.
Kibum then lifted his books and picked up the stacks. “You’re an odd one.”
Sungmin didn’t know what to do when Kibum showed his back, should he follow him or stay put? And it felt like by the time he was able to make his decision, Kibum was nearly out of sight. Sungmin followed a short distance behind with hands clasped behind his back. Kibum returned them to a cart and proceeded down the aisles.
Sungmin briefly examined the books he picked out. Inside were maps of Europe, coupled with travel information on the various countries within.
He closed the cover and picked up his pace when he’s at the end of the aisle near the encyclopedias, looking abandoned with no one there. He scanned around for him–
Kibum abruptly appeared behind him, shocking Sungmin backwards. The man stared at him peculiarly.
“Have you forgotten the cardinal rule? Don’t follow strangers? Don’t speak to strangers.” Kibum listed. “Despite what I was committed for, you don’t seem to see me as a threat.”
“I don’t,” Sungmin said honestly.
Kibum then cornered him, with every step Sungmin also took one back, until he had nowhere else to go. “Think that I’m not as evil as I look? That I won’t hurt you right now?”
“No,” he said hesitantly.
Kibum regarded the other and Sungmin does his best to keep his nerves in check. “Why not?” Kibum sneered.
“You never hurt me, I don’t recall you do anything that did actually...”
Sungmin’s relived those memories a thousand times, and it’s something he concludes early on. Although stoic, Kibum fed Sungmin, gave him blankets in the cold they were in, there were no signs of malnutrition or abuse on him. Sungmin told the authorities that truth no matter how much they may have encouraged otherwise.
It’s probably why even now, when faced with the man who took him away from his home, that he wasn’t afraid of him. Although the authorities assured him it was because Kibum had to keep him safe or else they’d risk losing ransom money. He could only guess that made sense.
It’s then Kibum laughed, and withdrew his hand.
Sungmin pouted, the man held disbelief against him. Sungmin continued, “The police kept trying to convince me to say it, encourage me that in fact you did hurt me. But I never said yes, that’s why your appeal was so short.”
“Then I should have you to thank for that?” Kibum is further amused, he offered a bow of the head. “Thank you so much.”
Sungmin glared, “you’re mocking me.”
“Poking fun,” Kibum corrected. “I don’t know how you bring out that side of me.”
Sungmin thinned his lips as Kibum takes a nearby exit and steps outside. He peeked back through the tinted windows to see him go to a payphone and make a call.
Sungmin looked forward, that guy was probably right. There was no sense in speaking to him again. And with Kibum’s attitude, he probably wouldn’t answer the questions he had.
Sungmin jumped at the sound of his phone blaring loudly, he walked out the closest exit and answered his cell once safely outside.
“Yes? What? Are you alright? What are you talking about? I don’t have your...”
Sungmin took out his wallet and checked inside, “Oh, I do have your debit card.” He must’ve grabbed it when they shared drinks last night. “I didn’t mean to.” Sungmin quickly retaliated.
“I need it now! I’m supposed to pay for this entire dinner, I don’t know how much longer I can stall with conversation.”
Sungmin nodded, “Alright, alright, I’ll be there in a few.” He finds out where she is and hangs up. He heads near his car and puts the key in.
His car wouldn’t start. Sungmin tried again and nothing. He checked for taxis on the road, but to his great luck, none of them ventured near the university.
Kibum turned around at the edge of the stairs and sees Sungmin behind him.
“This… is going to sound odd of me. But could you do me a favor?”
Kibum was dumbfounded. He rounded back the younger man, “Are you aware of what I am?”
“Yes.” Sungmin then takes a few steps down, “considering what you did, don’t you owe me at least one favor?”
“I served my time,” Kibum countered back though heavily baffled by Sungmin’s words.
“I just need to drop off this card, that’s it, I promise. Once this is done, I’ll be out of your hair.”
“You could always take public transportation.” Kibum offered.
Sungmin looked a little red and admitted, “I don’t carry change on me.”
Kibum laughed again just as Sungmin predicted. “The struggles of the wealthy.”
Sungmin sighed when Kibum stepped aside, he looks back at his phone and sees his friend texting him frantically.
The car then pulled up and Sungmin side-eyed the vehicle. Sungmin heard the passenger door click and the windows roll down.
They didn’t speak throughout the ride, which Sungmin was more than fine with. When they arrived at the hotel, his frantic friend runs to his window before he can even open his door, and rolls down the window to hand the card over.
“No problem,” Sungmin gleamed.
Kibum side-eyes the passenger, the two continue their conversation despite the apparent hurry the friend was in. Once he leaves, Kibum drops a question,
“You’re not from Seoul originally are you?”
Sungmin looked back at him, “W-what? How…”
Kibum hits the button on the dashboard, the windows rolled back up and he drove out of the hotel road. He then adjusted the gear and sped through the streets.
“Your accent comes through even now and then.” Kibum noticed.
“I am Korean, but born abroad.”
“Your parents liked it enough here to stay?”
Sungmin lowered his eyes a bit.
“My dad took me here, I wouldn’t know where my mom is.” Sungmin admitted. “She left us.”
Kibum took the exit. “Do you think that’s true?”
“It’s not as if she’s bothered to see me… How hard is it to make a phone call?” Sungmin reasoned, and his tone is edged the more he thought about it.
Kibum made it onto the highway.
“I’m not going to convince you that every mother in the world wouldn’t abandon their child. There are those who’d give them up without feeling any guilt at all, and others who’d give everything for them. There are extremes and those who fall in between. And while I don’t know them all, I do know your mother.”
Sungmin sees the numbers accelerate on the dash.
“She’s not allowed in this country and that puts her at a disadvantage compared to your father.”
Sungmin sees the latches in the car lock. He lunges for the doors and tries to open them but none of them budge, he slams his fist against the window but Kibum just continues driving.
“She spent all the money she had to pay me to get you back.”
The sound of his confident chuckle is drowned out by the engine, and Sungmin sees the determination set in his eyes.
“It’s taken a good five years but I’m finally getting you out.”
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5