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.
“Why not a plane? Isn’t it faster?”
Kibum smiled at his sudden impatience. “It’s easier sneaking on a ship than an airplane, that I could do alone.” Kibum muttered as he leaned against the rail. “Security is so much worse these days.”
Sungmin glanced at the foreigners throughout the vessel and then back to the sea.
Kibum tilted his head and peered at the other’s forlorn look. “What do you think? Want to mingle with the crowds or pretend we’re incapable foreigners?” Kibum asked.
“Foreigners,” Sungmin replied, he’s in not much of a mood for conversation.
Kibum smiled, “I’m surprised you’re not going around and yelling ‘I’ve been kidnapped’ at anyone who can understand you.”
“Of course I’d also throw you off this ship if you tried.” Kibum lamented and Sungmin returned a black look beneath the cover of his hat.
Sungmin tugged the hat further down his eyes to block out the sunlight.
Sungmin blinked at the sound of accented English and glanced at the pair of tourists behind him. The two older women seem at a lost of how to continue next, but Sungmin can hear their mumbled chatter and can guess by the camera in her hands.
Sungmin smiled and replied in Japanese, “Would you like me to take a photo?”
The women grin and immediately thank him while he takes their photo. They briefly speak and Sungmin is courteous throughout even as they part ways. Sungmin watched them freely enjoy themselves, looking content with their freedom about the ship.
He glanced at their warm expressions, they were likely around her age, he guessed.
He then lowered his eyes from the pair and rolled back his shoulders. He turned around, only to see Kibum waiting for him a few feet away, unaware that he had watched the whole exchange.
“You speak Japanese?”
Sungmin gave a nod as he appeared beside him, the two start walking down the pathway.
Kibum considered his companion, “I guess it makes sense. You can’t be in politics without being fluent in something.”
Sungmin glanced his way, “Do you speak any Japanese?”
Sungmin waited as Kibum rounded to him.
“I know how to say ‘I am a reporter,’ ‘I get at least one phone call’ and ‘please don’t shoot.’”
All signs of Sungmin’s being impressed disappeared almost instantly, he held a strained smile. “Most would say they know the basics like hello or please.”
“I won’t be able to greet my way out of a situation,” Kibum countered.
Sungmin thinned his lips and Kibum studied him a bit and saw that Sungmin was actually holding back a laugh. Kibum was relieved by that, Sungmin’s good spirits appeared to be coming back.
“Now, decide where you want to eat on his ship.”
“I’m not that hungry.”
Kibum leered. “That’s apparently been true for the past few days, eat something. She’ll think I starved you otherwise.”
“...I guess that would matter to your clients.”
Sungmin’s murmur is a little soft that it’s almost unheard, and Kibum has the inkling that Sungmin probably didn’t intend for him to.
Yet the skin beneath Sungmin’s eyes were a little darker and mildly sunken in, he was just a bit thinner than when he first saw him, his appetite was barely adequate and he kept tossing in his sleep. He was clearly stressed.
Deciding to see his mother was not an easy decision for him to come to, Kibum could see that much.
Back in their room Sungmin settled on his bed, alone in their cabin room. A short while after, he hears Kibum return but doesn’t look up, still focused on his own train of thought.
It’s interrupted when the cold feel of the can touches his cheek and makes him jump back. He sees Kibum holding a gingerale can towards him.
“This helps with seasickness.”
“Oh, but I’m not… Thank you.” Sungmin says instead, bowing his head as Kibum looks through his black bag with his back turned.
Sungmin looked at the can and a smile crept onto his lips. “You’re more considerate than I give credit for.”
Kibum looked back and blankly stared at Sungmin’s Japanese statement. He then glowered at Sungmin’s innocent expression, “If you’re cursing me, just know I know a few choice words in French too.”
Sungmin just laughed.
Sungmin changed into the new clothes Kibum bought for him, some clearance items from the nearby gift shop as their clothes were cleaned. “I never felt more like a tourist.”
“Don’t complain, then again I guess that’s asking the impossible from you.”
Sungmin leered and joined Kibum towards the casual restaurant in the floor above. Kibum was quick with his choices and sat readily down, he glanced as Sungmin stared at the dishes offered. He was nudged helplessly along by the heavy line, and when he returned, Kibum raised his eyebrows at the lump of rice and some soup Sungmin brought.
“That’s all you’re going to eat?”
“It’s all I need.” Sungmin countered, but the portion he finishes soon enough. Kibum observed as Sungmin glanced at the line for a second helping, but the long line makes him reluctant to.
Kibum split his food into a spare plate with an unused fork, “Here, I didn’t touch it,” he assured as he shifted it to Sungmin’s direction.
He glanced up and realized Sungmin was staring at him peculiarly, “Yes?”
Sungmin was quiet, but then bowed his head, “Thank you,” he murmured and continued with his food.
When two people get to know one another, kindness comes along, some fondness, it’s expected Sungmin thought. Even if they weren’t yet quite friends.
A part of him wished Kibum treated him with the same indifference as before.
The two parted ways as Kibum went to the lab to access the internet, Sungmin returned to their cabin, the door refused to budge open and Sungmin slammed his body against it until it did. His rough entrance caused the belongings on the nearby to fall on the floor, and he quickly grabbed the contents that spilled out of Kibum’s backpack.
He paused when he came across a note, one that was tucked inside a wallet. It was in Vietnamese, but he knew what the short message had said with some lessons over the years.
“Thank you” the note had read.
Sungmin knelt on the ground, staring at the note with appeared to be handwriting from a child, it was likely from someone who received his services before.
“It means I don’t charge as much as I should… a lot of this can be easy money for some of them…”
“Which are you then?”
Kibum had just smiled smugly, and Sungmin at the time wasn’t sure at the time which sort he was.
The door opened and Kibum walked in as Sungmin finished cleaning up his things, “I’m sorry, the things just fell off.”
“It’s fine,” Kibum assured and reached for his bag and wallet from Sungmin’s hand. Sungmin’s eyes followed as the now tucked note was pushed a little further until it’s secure inside Kibum’s wallet before the man puts it in his backpack.
Despite his insistence otherwise, he felt he now knew which sort Kibum fell into.
Kibum tied his backpack, “Are you going to stay cooped up in this room for the rest of this trip?”
“Aren’t I being held against my will?” Sungmin asked dryly, still sitting on his knees on the ground.
Kibum just planted his backpack by his pillow, he then turned around and tugged Sungmin’s wrist until the man stood up as they soon leave their room.
Sungmin was introduced to an empty bench from the second level, and he realized it’s a better view of a movie that’s airing for the passengers’ children to see. While touched, he arched an eyebrow at the movie selection, “I’m not a kid anymore.”
“Could have fooled me,” Sungmin thinned his lips at Kibum’s statement, as the movie just began, Kibum added. “Although I guess you’re capable in some aspects.”
Sungmin was suspicious of his compliment, but politely said a quiet “Thank you.”
“But you’re severely lacking in street smarts. When you enter the service, that may hurt you.”
“I did complete my service.” Sungmin coolly corrected.
Kibum looked flabberghasted. “You have?” At Sungmin’s offended look, Kibum snickered as he leaned against his palm. “I guess you’re not so delicate.”
Sungmin gives a half-hearted look at his acknowledgement. Kibum returned his attention to the film which he realized was Mandarin dubbed, with some English subtitles at the bottom. “Can you read them?”
“Don’t worry, I can understand.” Sungmin uttered.
Kibum blinked, and looked a little more proud of the younger man. “Japanese, Mandarin, is there not a language you can’t speak?”
“It’s just those two and English, that bit of skill is expected for anyone in politics.”
Kibum slowly nodded, “Are you in political science because of your dad?”
Sungmin looked ahead, “Partly. I like it too, but I’m not yet sure which area I want to specialize in.”
Kibum cocked his head, “Just the thought of you being president is giving me little hope for our country’s future.”
Sungmin laughed, “Yeah right, I’m not interested in those types of positions.”
Kibum faced him, “Then what are you interested in?”
Sungmin stopped at the question and pursed his lips, “I’m not quite sure,” he admitted. “I was suppose to decide that a few days ago actually.”
Kibum just exhaled, expecting to be blamed for yet another reason. “I’m sorry, next time I take you away, I’ll consider your precious schedule.”
Sungmin just chuckled, “Actually I’m grateful.” He replied earnestly to Kibum’s surprise. Sungmin glanced down, “It gives me a little bit more time to decide. Before I give my father, my professors or my advisor the chance to, I want to decide what I want to do, without their advice.”
“...You can think for yourself.”
Sungmin playfully leered, and Kibum reached out to pinch his cheek, and Sungmin winces right before.
Yet Kibum just gives a soft touch instead. Sungmin rounded his eyes, startled by the change in gesture. When he meets Kibum’s eyes, the former just offers a small smile and returned his attention to the screen. Making nothing of the exchange, Sungmin slowly did the same.
Kibum tried to pay attention to the film to little avail.
He sees Sungmin at some point actually enjoy the film, laughing at similar points with the audience, effectively holding his attention. Thankfully enough that he doesn’t notice Kibum stealing looks his way.
The shower ran behind him as Kibum studied the trifolds he bought and opened them all up on the bed and floor.
Sungmin leaned in over his shoulder, “Will we be there soon?”
Kibum’s fingers clutched the map. Sungmin didn’t even mind their close distance anymore. He glimpses at his squinted eyes and holds up the map for him to see, but Sungmin still had a hard time and moved them away, signaling he gave up.
Kibum returned his focus to the maps and lets go of the crinkled edges. “If there’s no more delays.”
Sungmin dried his hair with the towel, “We’ve already spent a week on this ship.” It’d take a few more days to reach the exact port they needed to be in.
“You could’ve visited the cities when we came across.”
“I’ve been to those places before.”
“Have you?” Kibum asked, Sungmin nodded and listed the different cities he’s ventured to.
They were all main cities though, and Kibum figured that to be his father’s reasoning, he may have wanted his son to see the world but was also protective of where he’d bring him. It’s part of the reason that Sungmin is as sheltered as he is in Kibum’s point of view.
Sungmin faced him once he finished, “Have you travelled a lot too?”
“Quite a bit,” Kibum answered.
Sungmin settled into his bed and waited attentively for Kibum to continue. “I doubt it’s anywhere you haven’t been.”
“I’d still like to know.”
Kibum returned a curious eye, and at Sungmin’s expectant expression, he holds a small hint of a smile. “If you insist.”
For most of the night they discuss their travels, one’s viewpoint that of a disguised tourist who knew the best places to hide, and the other that of a wealthy son who was given the best access and views of the city, entertained by glamor.
And while they were so different, the two couldn’t help but get along.
Kibum felt he was treading into dangerous territory once he realized that.
“I haven’t been to that neighborhood.” Sungmin said once they mention another city. “The food’s that good?”
“The very best.”
Sungmin’s interested was peaked, “If I ever go there, I’ll remember to ask you to be my tour guide.” His tone playful, knowing it’d be unlikely.
Kibum remained quiet at the very suggestion, and Sungmin lowers his head as their conversation dwindles and moves onto his own bed.
“I’ll shower next,” Kibum excuses.
Kibum exhaled during the shower, in a predicament like this, the best thing to do was ask the advice of his affiliates. Although the answer was plain and simple. They’d probably advise him to keep his distance, or better yet, exchange him to another who could continue the job.
Kibum stepped out of the bathroom, wearing his next set of clothes. His eyes drift to the other who slept peacefully in his bed.
Kibum peered above him, and a single drop of water falls from his hair onto Sungmin’s cheek, causing him to flinch just slightly. The older man extends a finger and dries it from his cheek, lingering just above his skin.
Keeping his distance?
The problem with that is that he didn’t want to.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5