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.
“What do you mean my mother paid you to get me back?”
Kibum continued driving.
“Is that why you took me in the first place? Because of her?”
“I’m not much of a talker,” Kibum complained.
“...I don’t want to see her.”
Kibum side-eyed the resentful man, “Because of what your father’s told you?”
Sungmin glowered, his tone a little too confident for his liking. “You may have guessed that I wasn’t born here, but that doesn’t mean you know everything about my family. Even if you have met my mother, what do you even know about me-”
“The ambassador’s son.”
Sungmin faced him, Kibum continued to explain. “Your father used his connections to leave to South Korea knowing it’s near impossible for his wife to come up with the funds to come here. Even when she had, her visa applications kept getting denied with nearly no explanation. About your father, he may be an upright man, but he doesn’t play fair.”
Kibum then glanced at his unwilling passenger.
“About you? I don’t know much. You liked your teddy bear and gave it no name, ‘Bear’ isn’t so original. You enjoyed vegetables and can’t stomach much meat, preferred female voices to male artists in music and your favorite movie was the cartoon film Brother Bear which you saw in Vietnamese even though you couldn’t speak the language whatsoever. Any of them still apply to you now?”
His entire description of him was completely past tense. And though none of it pertained to him now, that knowledge felt more than just intrusive, it completely confounded him.
“...No, but how do you know that?”
“As I said, your mother told me.”
“But at that time you took me, I was already a teenager, I was long past those interests.”
Kibum shrugged, “I knew that as well, but I couldn’t blame her for not having any more information than from when you were five.”
Sungmin fell into silence, he relived the last few minutes by the hotel and realized he’s been had. “You asked me on purpose to distract me from leaving the car.”
“It’s a simple trick..." Kibum smiled coyly, "thankfuly you fell for it.” Kibum added, leaving Sungmin scowling.
Kibum saw Sungmin take out his cell, even tucked himself into the corner to prevent Kibum from grabbing it. Yet soon he sees his shoulders sink.
“You didn’t bring your charger, did you?” Kibum guessed correctly.
Sungmin sank into his seat, closing his cell that was barely hanging onto its final seconds. There’s a short silence as Kibum’s statement settles in.
“I didn’t plan on taking you,” Kibum corrected. “Honestly, I didn’t recognize you at all but when I realized you were that kid, and having you walked right to me, I decided fate was telling me I should finish the job.”
“Since when does fate involve kidnapping people?!”
Kibum winced, “You’re so loud,” he muttered. “Oh right,” he recalled.
Kibum went ahead and pinched his cheek.
Sungmin yelped, “What was that for?!”
Kibum chortled, “Your mom mentioned to do that if you caused too much of a fuss, even she knew you were out of line every now and then.”
Sungmin tried punching on the glass repeatedly, yelling at passing cars and trying to make eye contact for help. None of them bother, and the few who do look his way, just offer him judging looks. He felt even if he had a piece of a paper and marker and wrote he was being kidnapped, the announcement would still gain little acknowledgement.
Still, after a few hours he hopes for at least someone, but eventually his stubborn hand begins to relent its knocking, becoming softer each other. Until it finally fades into silence as he drops his fists into his lap.
At Sungmin's constant movement, Kibum offered lightly, "If you find the seat so uncomfortable, there's always the trunk." Hs amused tone raised daggers from his companion.
Sungmin opened his eyes.
He isn’t sure when he fell asleep, but when he does wake up, he sees they’re surrounded by buses at a stop. He glanced around, it was a city he didn’t recognize. He bolted right up when he sees the car’s empty and immediately tries to open the car. No luck, he searched for a button on the dashboard to open it but surprisingly, there wasn’t any.
“Very child-proof, isn’t it?” A muffled voice said through the window.
Sungmin leered behind him at Kibum’s teasing smile. Kibum used his set of keys and lowered the window for him, “here,” he gestured and dropped a bag of food onto Sungmin’s lap. “It’s bread.”
The window rolled back up as took the food out of the bag and realized he was pretty hungry by now, “There wasn’t noodles?”
“There were.” Kibum answered as he sat inside. “But I'd thought you'd understand why I was reluctant on having you hold a bowl of boiling water.”
The ride continues for a few more hours and Sungmin wondered exactly where they were going. But Kibum didn’t seem too keen on conversation as they continued to drive. Sungmin felt he could settle with some sleep, when he warily sits back up.
“Can you pull by a stop?”
Kibum sees by his expression and guesses what he needs, “Just wait, we’re almost there.” He shook his head, “I’ve had kids that threw less trouble than you did.”
The moment Sungmin stepped out of the car, he felt a strong whiff of salt pouring over the parking lot. He guessed they were by the ocean.
Sungmin winced as Kibum pulled his ballcap over his head. “What’s this for?”
“The cameras, can never be too cautious. We have a few more hours before your dad starts to worry.” Kibum nudged him towards the bathroom door, “Didn’t you have to go?”
Sungmin shushed him, “Not so loud,” he murmured modestly.
Kibum bit his cheek to stop from laughing, this guy really was an odd one.
He felt a small vibrate and reached into his jacket, hidden in the deep pockets was a small device. With the wifi, it had enough service to use. And right within his email was an anonymous domain name and clicked it. It read:
When Sungmin stepped out, he noticed Kibum looking a bit happier, not so outright but it showed with the amount of food he buys, he even brings him the drink he wanted. They both sit on the cement block outside the store, the gentle salty wind blowing in as they ate. It was rather nice tonight, Sungmin noted.
“That lady you saw…” Kibum started, “Outside the ceramics store, her little sister left abroad for a job opportunity, but it turned out to be a sham and they forced her to work as a call girl."
“In Eastern Europe?” Sungmin recalled the stacks Kibum read in the library.
Kibum nodded once, “I don’t know that area quite well but I did some research, contacted a person who’d be more likely to succeed than I could.” Kibum unwraps the food for him when Sungmin looks down. “Eat, bread won’t hold you for long. Sorry that I can’t afford fine cuisine.”
Sungmin leers at his words, provoking the richer man to stab into his food and begin eating. In between bites, he tenatively asked, “But why was she so happy to see you then if they hadn’t found her sister just yet?”
“Because the police told her there was nothing they could do, so when she contacted us, she was relieved something could be done. This job is easy money, but not exactly easy for the person paying. It isn’t always a success story.” Kibum said dryly, “For instance, you.”
Sungmin raised his eyebrows. “Me?”
“You were supposed to be my last assignment, I was going to take the money I saved and live a decent life abroad. But then I got caught.” Kibum sighed, “That was a first for me. Your father’s pretty ruthless, I finally understood what your mother was talking about.”
Sungmin slowly chewed his food and set his fork down, picking at the ends of his plate.
“...How is she?”
Kibum’s eyes lifted, the richer man looked a little solemn. “She’s like a mom, there’s not much more I can describe than that.”
“I just… don’t understand why she’d hire you.”
“Do you really find it that hard to believe?”
Sungmin looked up.
Kibum swallowed the last of his food. “Your parent's divorce was a nasty battle, and before your custody could be arrainged properly, your father took you to South Korea where he knew he could win. Your mother tried and tried again to find you. She saved enough money to come here, but her visa kept getting rejected. I doubted there was a problem with her application, but that was out of her hands.”
Kibum glanced at the other, still remained in silence. Kibum continued, “In this country, many are loyal to him, she found a lot of enemies here and no one would help her. She tried lawyers, asking advocates, everything to get to you back, but nothing happened. She finally decided by other means and got ahold of me, using the money she saved up. It might appear like a small amount to you, but without your father's income, it was a lot harder for her to come up with that sum over time."
Sungmin’s so quiet that it concerned Kibum a little. Kibum grabs the leftover bags and tosses them in the trash, he comes back to see Sungmin rubbing his eyes.
Sungmin looks up and sees that he’s back, “Can’t I at least buy some contact solution or eye drops? I can’t wear contacts this long.” Sungmin murmurs, rubbing them again.
Kibum pursed his lips, “I think I saw a place nearby.”
They enter the small drugstore and head to the aisle, when Sungmin sees a printed sign over the empty bins.
“There was a recall on this brand of contact solution.” Kibum read, a co-worker approached and Sungmin gestured to her.
“And it’s the only one you carry?”
“With it being the popular one, the ones we carry less of are nearly sold out.”
Sungmin sighed, rubbing his eyes. “Of course.”
“You’ll just have to take them out.”
“But then I can’t see.”
“It’ll give an infection if you wear it for so long… you should have carried your glasses.”
“I wasn’t planning on not returning home today,” Sungmin said lowly and Kibum laughed.
Sungmin’s contacts were stinging by now and he took them off. He tried looking at the items in front of him, but even with a few good squints and leaning in, the letters were difficult to make out.
Kibum scoured around, “it’s just your luck,” he said and turned around, “Let’s-”
The spot beside him was empty.
Kibum froze and let his eyes scan the area without making himself known, he couldn’t see Sungmin’s head above the aisles whatsoever. Did he already leave?
Kibum finds himself nearly rushing through when he stops near the end of one aisle, and to his relief, see Sungmin leaned over by a large, circular display. Sungmin tries every spare pair of glasses inside the pharmacy but just breathes in disappointment with each one.
“None of them work?”
Sungmin solemnly shakes his head and rubs his eyes. He keeps squinting them when he puts on one, “This is the only one I can sort of see with.” He looks at Kibum but it’s so fuzzy, it gives him a headache.
“Don’t worry about it.”
The disgruntled man feels his hand occupied and tugged against his side.
“Let me be your eyes, alright?”
Sungmin nodded and followed Kibum close behind him.
Kibum wanted to tease the man again. There was his chance to escape when he was out of sight, but Sungmin didn’t take it.
But after seeing that look on his face at the mention of his mom, he probably had to face enough revelations on his family and the mixed emotions it came with. Most of his clients were small children, and never quite understood their situation even if Kibum had explained, Sungmin with his adult mind beared every detail of it.
Kibum decided to stop teasing him, for the moment at least.
Sungmin remembered his room, and despite his plain dresser and bed, his memory recalls the books beneath his desk. There were photos of he and his friends, his first pets and anything he felt like keeping. Photos of he and his father took up most of his memory on his cell’s memory too.
And knowing what he’s done to keep his mom away, he analyzed every memory until he’s uncertain. Every good thought feels like it’s been compensated, he feels he’s been had most of his life.
Sungmin clutched his hand, ”Just what am I supposed to think?”
Sungmin squinted through the windows and sees nothing but dark lines through shadows. “Where are we?”
Kibum doesn’t answer. They both step out of the car and the silence around nerves him a bit. Kibum grabs his elbow and helps him along. For a while, it’s nothing but awkward darkness Kibum manages Sungmin through, until a door opens.
“Kibum, long time no see,” Eeteuk greeted when he glances at his companion. “I thought you said you had an assignment.”
“...Isn’t he a little old?”
“I’m just a little late.”
Eeteuk looked down at the stuffed animal in his hand, “I doubt he'll find a comfort in this then... The supplies are to the right if you need them.”
Kibum took Eeteuk's gift to the man's amusement. Kibum thanked him and tugged Sungmin alongside him further into the empty warehouse.
“You work with others?”
“Sometimes. We usually do our own thing, but sometimes you need that extra bit of help. Think of it like a network.”
Sungmin waited where he stood as Kibum moved around, needing to distract his mind he starts to relive that entire day and studies each event. When he thinks of Kibum’s clothes, he knows by glance alone that they’re not brand name. His car was economy and basic. Even with bad eyesight, he could see Kibum wasn’t overwhelmed with wealth. Maybe he was just cheap.
Kibum noticed his stare, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Sungmin paused, “I thought someone in this career would dress a little more… flashy.”
Kibum grunted as he moved aside another box. “It means I don’t charge as much as I should. Don’t think we’re all martyrs for the cause, a lot of this can be easy money for some of them. Then there’s the few who like the thrill and challenge of it, not a popular sort, but they’re there.”
“Which are you then?”
Kibum pulled out a few things and tossed them beside the younger man, and when he leans down, Sungmin can vaguely see his smirk.
“Which do you think I am?”
Sungmin doesn’t say when Kibum begins to lay stuff on the ground. “Sorry that our sleeping bags are small.” Kibum stretched them. “I’ve put them together so you should be fine.”
Sungmin crawled over the bag, it was pretty cramped even with three. “...Where do you sleep?”
“I just sleep on my bag,” Kibum answered, placing it on the asphalt as his makeshift pillow a distance away.
“Never with the kids? What do you do when they’re afraid then?”
“I don’t, and... why? Are you scared?”
Sungmin goes quiet. Sungmin doesn’t know what sorts of expressions Kibum’s making, his vision is so bad, all he see is colors and brief outlines. Eventually, Kibum says nothing and leaves him there. Sungmin tries not to be bothered by it.
Sungmin lays it out as best as he could, and is surprised to find a teddy bear placed at the end of the bag, it was probably what Eeteuk referred to. It really did feel like they did all they can to ease the transition for the taken kids, but Sungmin didn’t know how they could be fine.
“Here,” he heard another man say. Sungmin checked and saw a few gummies in his hand.
“They’re nutritional,” Eeteuk explained. “A lot of times, the kids are too sick or refuse to eat what we give them.”
Sungmin gave a wary look.
“What? Can’t eat bears? Then just bite off their heads-”
“Can you not!” Sungmin countered and heard Eeteuk’s snickering.
Sungmin may not have been one of their usual clients, but he was so timid, he might as well have been one.
“It may not be the most comfortable bed, but try and sleep.” Kibum commented when he returned. Sungmin stayed quiet when he heard a rustle from Kibum’s bag, and soon he sees an orange colored gummy presented very close to his eyes.
“I already ate some,” Sungmin grimaced.
“Don’t think he gave you these, they help you sleep.”
Sungmin was a little doubtful, but accepted it. He still remained sitting up though.
He heard a ruffle and sees a black bag drop by the edge of his sleeping bag, he squinted his eyes and recognized as Kibum laid his head against it. Sungmin takes comfort in the gesture.
“There, feel better?” Kibum asked.
Kibum saw Sungmin lay down at least, and it doesn’t take long before slumber takes him.
“Is she still at the same address?”
Eeteuk leaned against the many boxes. “Your client moved to Spain to be with her new husband, they have two children now. Do you think she’ll be alright with a visit from the past?”
Kibum just shrugged. Eeteuk walked over to them and stared curiously at the sleeping man.
“I can take him off your hands if you’d like. I understand Europe better than you do.”
Kibum took a moment to consider the possibility. “Maybe not, I prefer to see this through to the end.”
Eeteuk then sharply turns on the other, his tone now serious. “Your fluency in French and English, while Romantic languages, won’t get you far with Spanish. You’ll find more trouble if you go yourself.”
“I’ll take my chances.” Kibum insisted.
Eeteuk narrowed his eyes, Kibum doesn’t budge an inch. Eeteuk just sighed, “It’d be easier, but fine.” He handed Kibum a small bag. “These should give you no problems.”
“Thanks,” Kibum added and Eeteuk nodded as he leaved. Kibum double-checked the items inside and stashed them in his bag.
A small weight laid on his chest and he sees Sungmin’s hand resting on his chest, he side-eyed the helpless being.
Kibum takes advantage and placed his hand against Sungmin’s cheek, gently pinching it. Sungmin may have been asleep, but he grimaced at the touch and moved his face away. Kibum chuckled softly.
“Sorry for dragging you into this,” Kibum smiled lightly at the peaceful expression. “I have to see this through to the end.” He realized with reluctance.
Kibum felt a slight frown once the thought crosses his mind, but he closes his eyes and forces it aside.
Besides, the end would arrive eventually.
They arrived at the seaport, joining the crowds of tourists who lined up for the ship.
“Don’t we need ID?”
Kibum held up the IDs on his hand in response. Sungmin figured that was what meeting Eeteuk was for.
He then heard sirens. The line in front of the ship turned their attention to the commotion by the shoreline. Three police cars had arrived.
“Apparently there was a robbery this morning.”
“Have they caught him?”
Sungmin tilted his head. He could see police all around he realized, it probably meant they hadn’t. The officers neared the passengers and mingled into the crowd until there was one nearly just a few feet in front of him.
He just had to notify one, and they’d come flocking in from all sides. Kibum knew this.
Sungmin nudged Kibum’s shoulder. “Kibum, move up, the line’s gone up.” He patronized, Kibum looks back and closes the gap. Once the crew checks their ID and lets him in, Kibum quietly asked.
“Why didn’t you just let them take me?”
Sungmin looked undaunted the moment they step fully on the ship. When he meets Kibum’s gaze, he softly uttered,
“I want to see my mom.”