SOSHI: Aesop’s Twisted Fable – Chapter 15

December 29, 2013 in Aesop's Twisted Fable, moonrise31, SOSHI by moonrise31

Chapter 15: Certainty

Certainty: n. A fact that is definitely true. (New Oxford American Dictionary)

“For the last time, I don’t know, okay?”

Taeyeon sat back and held both her hands up, warding off Yongguk’s frustration. “Hey now, I was just asking. Can’t we have a nice conversation here?”

He scowled. “I’m done talking to you people. I’ve already told you everything I know! I’ve spent more time in this room than anywhere else and I’m actually starting to miss my cell.”

“Well, your reunion can be easily arranged,” Taeyeon commented, crossing her arms. “But you realize that the more helpful you are now, the less it’ll hurt later.”

“Look, I told that scary woman everything, okay?” Yongguk put his face in his hands. “I mean it. I don’t know anything about twins or what the hell is happening with Kim Kwangsoo. His butler buying tea at Seven Springs doesn’t mean a thing. It’s a popular place; we just threatened the owner into letting us use her backrooms for extra storage.”

Silence.

Taeyeon sighed and got up. “Alright then. We’re done here, I suppose.”

“…Really?” Yongguk peeked at her from behind his fingers. “You’re not gonna…send anyone else in here, right?”

Taeyeon kept her expression perfectly blank. “Just to escort you back to your cell.” If only I could convince Sica to be the one to do it…

“He’s right, though,” Yoona said after Taeyeon had entered the recording room and closed the door. “The butler’s tea was actually just tea. How’s that for a coincidence?”

“Yeah.” Taeyeon scratched the back of her head. “So besides learning that we should really throw Sica at our problems more often, I didn’t get much out of him at all. I think he’s about spent, anyway.”

“I almost feel sorry for him,” Seohyun commented.

“Maknae!” Hyoyeon frowned, scandalized at the very thought. “One of his guys shot you.”

“I said ‘almost‘,” Seohyun replied defensively, shifting in her seat and bumping shoulders with Yoona. She pulled her arm back reflexively when she realized it was her injured side that had made contact.

“Just like you’re almost at home resting,” Jessica interrupted from her spot by the entrance to the interrogation room, pointedly staring so Seohyun would know that she had seen the movement. Then she raised her eyebrows. “Care to make the rest of the trip?”

She didn’t have to go home and rest,” Seohyun protested, jabbing a finger in Yoona’s direction.

Yoona dignified the accusation with a sidelong glance, expression deadpan. “Excuse me; I don’t have my arm in a sling.”

Then the door to the hallway opened and Sooyoung peeked in. “Hey guyswow, you’re all here.”

Hyoyeon waved. “What’s up, Soo?”

Yuri popped up from behind Sooyoung’s shoulder. “She just has something to say regarding the BAM case.”

“I think I see where this is going.” Taeyeon, who had been leaning against the wall, now pushed herself off and made her way to the door. “I expect you all back in the office by eight-thirty.”

Sooyoung reached out and grabbed her shoulder as she brushed past. “Wait, Taeng, you should hear this too.”

Taeyeon patted her hand. “Maybe later. Not right now, when you still don’t know where to head and I have to answer everything the director asks me.” She gave Sooyoung a meaningful look. “Just remember to always stay one step ahead, okay?”

Sooyoung blinked, trying to make sense of Taeyeon’s words. And the next thing she knew, her hand was hovering where Taeyeon used to be.

Yuri stared at the receding leader’s back for a few long moments before turning to the now silent room. “Well, the floor is yours, Soo.”

Yoona absentmindedly reached over to the recording control panel and made sure it was off. Seohyun was about to point out that the device was for the interrogation room anyway, but she decided not to; after all, she knew the reason why Yoona had done it in the first place. It was the same reason that made Jessica get up from her seat and move to stand in front of Yongguk, still on the other side of the one way mirror, even though there was no way he’d be able to see through the glass. With Taeyeon’s warning still ringing in their ears, they had to make sure that Sooyoung would be safe. Even if it was only a gesture, it definitely wasn’t an empty one.

They waited with bated breath.

Sooyoung coughed into her fist. “Um, yeah. So…my dad. Is Jeongnam. Kinda sorta the mastermind behind BAM and a lot of the Seoul underground in general.” I’d meant to make that sound…less anticlimactic.

Nevertheless, no one said anything for several seconds. But the silence wasn’t shocked; it was the sort of quiet acceptance that eased Sooyoung’s jittery stomach and loosened her death grip on Yuri’s hand. Sooyoung even cracked a small smile when she heard the other breathe a sigh of relief and mutter, “My fingers. I can feel them again.”

“So what do you wanna do now?” Hyoyeon’s question somehow didn’t disturb the comfortable silence, though she had voiced it out loud. The others looked at Sooyoung expectantly; but they weren’t pushing. Whatever you decide, we’ll be in front of you, leading the way.

It made Sooyoung feel apologetic, really, because she had nothing else to say besides, “I don’t know.” What kind of gratitude was that?

But Jessica only shrugged and said, “When you do, tell me.” Then she made for the door, reaching all the way up to pat Sooyoung’s head before she disappeared into the hall. The taller woman subconsciously lifted her hand afterwards, palm hovering above the spot Jessica’s had been the second before.

And Seohyun’s smile only made her feel warmer. “That’s okay, unnie. You’ll figure it out.” Sooyoung almost laughed, even, when the usually very prim doctor suddenly yelped.

But Yoona didn’t release her sudden grip on Seohyun’s hand, hauling her to her feet and then practically dragging her out the door. “Come on, I’m bringing you home.”

Unnie—”

“Don’t make me late for tonight, or Sooyoung-unnie will have my butt,” Yoona warned. She turned and grinned. “Right?”

Sooyoung’s smile was full force now as she nodded. Seohyun waved at her before returning to firing indignant protests at Yoona’s back.

Hyoyeon was the last to leave. She stopped in front of Sooyoung and Yuri and held out her fist, arm fully extended. “I’m meeting you more than halfway, here, Soo. We all are, so don’t forget that, ever.

“You wanna win, yeah?”

When she’d finally returned from her “mandatory vacation”, Hyoyeon had taken to wearing sunglasses everywhere she went. And being Hyoyeon, that meant her breaking a pair every two or three days and having to buy another. But no one could convince her to stop the obvious drainage of her paycheck until Seohyun told her that “you’re acting like you’ve lost, unnie. And I always thought you were a winner.”

She didn’t need those shades, anyway, Sooyoung figured. Because even if Hyoyeon was looking at her now without really looking at her, Sooyoung was sure that Hyoyeon hadn’t lost even a little bit. Her eyes still laughed and cried and told Sooyoung things like it’ll be okay

Hyoyeon could still see, after all.

Sooyoung completed the gesture, their knuckles bumping against each other. “Yeah. We’re going to win.” And when it was just her and Yuri standing in the otherwise empty recording room, she felt like it wasn’t only Yuri’s arm wrapped securely around her shoulder, pulling her close. She couldn’t explain why she suddenly felt so light any more than she could explain why she’d been convinced before that she would always have to bear the burden herself. It seemed silly now, when she had eight other pairs of hands waiting to pull her through the darkness.

“Sunny and Fany are gonna meet us tonight,” Yuri was saying. “They should know too. You need me to be there when you tell them?”

Sooyoung just smiled and shook her head.

They’re already here.

“Park there. There!”

“Okay, okay. Geez, took us long enough.” Sunny pulled into an empty spot on the side of the street and turned off the engine. She and Tiffany hopped out of the car, handbags casually slung over their shoulders as they walked down the block and entered the restaurant diagonal to the pastry shop.

A familiar face greeted them, although she was clothed as a waitress instead of her usual office attire.

“Right this way, please.” Jessica smiled pleasantly at them before grabbing a couple of menus from behind the greeter’s desk and leading them further into the restaurant.

“Wow, Jessi, you can really pull this waitress thing off,” Tiffany commented in a whisper as they discreetly entered the kitchen. The chefs paid them no mind as they passed on the way to a backroom at the end of the hallway. “I think you’ve found your calling.”

Jessica turned, her expression dropping into an impressively unamused glare. “Shut up.” Then she opened the door and walked inside. “Taeng, the tardy ones are finally here.”

“About time you showed,” Taeyeon commented, looking up from one of the computers that had been set up as Jessica’s temporary work station. “I was about ready to bring in investigators to find my investigators.”

“Sorry, sorry.” Sunny rolled her eyes. “You wouldn’t believe the parking situation right now. And did you really have to schedule this mission to be in the middle of the night rush, on a Friday, in downtown Seoul?”

“Hey now; I may call the shots, but I don’t call the shots.” Taeyeon smiled, letting them ponder her statement for a moment before she motioned to the monitor in front of her. “So everyone’s in place. BAM is due to be showing up within the next half hour. Youngjae and a few others are already there.”

Sunny leaned over her shoulder. “Ah right, Youngjae fixed this up, didn’t he. So he’ll give us the signal?”

Taeyeon nodded, pulling up a blueprint. “There are two ways to get into BAM’s meeting area. Hyo and Soo are already inside the pastry shop. You guys are gonna go around the back, the way BAM is entering, and block them that way after they’re all in. Yoona and I will enter the shop later and follow Hyo and Soo, but once we enter we’ll go left and they’ll go right, so we’ve got them on all sides.”

“There’s six of us and five of them. Pretty even, huh?” Tiffany tapped her chin. “Except Youngjae’s with us, so it’s really seven to four. I can deal with those odds.”

“I’ve got Yuri on standby in the shop as well,” Taeyeon added. “Though hopefully we won’t need her; heaven knows when was the last time she actually had to do more physical exercise than those painful-looking yoga poses.”

“Here’s your stuff.” Jessica shoved earpieces and the accompanying radios into their hands. “Don’t break it, okay? This is expensive and I’m the one who has to fill out all the forms if we have to get new ones.”

Tiffany laughed as she fitted the bluetooth into her ear. “No worries, Jessi. This’ll be a piece of cake.”

Youngjae had made himself comfortable on a stack of boxes in the middle of the storage room, and the other BAM members slowly trickled in and gathered around him. Daehyun was last to arrive.

“Glad you could make it, hyung,” Youngjae greeted him cheerfully.

Daehyun shrugged. “I have to say, this spot is a lot more convenient than driving three hours into the countryside. So what’s up?”

Youngjae grinned. “I think I have a lead on the gang that kidnapped Yongguk-hyung.”

“Really?” Himchan leaned forward. “So it was a rival gang, and not the authorities?”

“Did they really look like authorities to you?” Youngjae snorted. “No, it all goes back to that Saebyuk girl, see? And how Yongguk-hyung accepted a call from her friend. Her friend, this Gong Minyoung person, is the connection. In fact, I’m willing to bet she was one of the ones who took Saebyuk back.”

The member to Youngjae’s left shook his head. “So you’re saying this gang is like, all girls? That’s pretty rare; you’d think we’d have heard of them by now.”

Youngjae didn’t even blink when he made eye contact with Sunny across the room. Only said, “Yeah, Jongup is right. I guess they aren’t really a gang, per se, but they definitely won’t let you get away with nabbing one of their friends. And hey, we aren’t gonna let them do that to us either, right?”

Junhong rubbed his hands together. “Then where to, hyung? Let’s get Yongguk-hyung back to where he belongs.”

“Couldn’t agree more.” Youngjae grinned. “The first step is that place he and Saebyuk went to all the time. The Cyrano Theater Coffee Shop.”

“FREEZE.” Taeyeon stepped out from the shadows behind Youngjae as the last word of the signal phrase left his lips. “All of you. Hands in the air.” Sooyoung and Sunny also emerged. They approached from behind the rest of the gang, guns aimed and ready.

The BAM members, Youngjae included, slowly raised their hands. But when Sooyoung grabbed Jongup and pulled his arms behind his back, Junhong began carefully lowering one hand to reach for the gun tucked in the waistband of his jeans.

A hammer clicked.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Youngjae said coolly, gun trained at Junhong’s head.

The latter’s eyes widened. “Hyung…” He didn’t even resist when Sunny came close and tightened a pair of handcuffs around his wrists.

“Surprise,” she murmured in his ear. “There are more ways to hurt someone than with a bullet, yeah?”

“What the hell?” Daehyun exploded. “Youngjae, what are you doing?”

“I do know where Yongguk-hyung is.” Youngjae’s voice was almost sad. “No worries, hyung. You’ll be meeting him soon. Neighboring cells, maybe?”

Taeyeon cut off the rest of Daehyun’s enraged cursing. “Alright, let’s all be calm about this. No need to set off my snipers; they’ve got especially twitchy trigger fingers tonight.” On cue, a dozen red laser dots appeared, scattered across the gang members’ chests and faces. Unseen to them was Hyoyeon at the edge of the room, adjusting the laser pointers she’d placed around the perimeter according to Jessica’s careful direction.

Now, Hyoyeon snorted quietly to herself, amused at the thought of actually handling even one of the supposed sniper rifles. Maknae won’t even let me peel my own fruit.

But the intimidation was more than successful, and SOSHI was able to escort the gang members out of the building and into the waiting detention vehicle. Soon, only Taeyeon and Youngjae remained in the center of the room.

Taeyeon held out her hand for the other agent to shake. “Good work, Youngjae-sshi. I’m sure you’ll be glad to get back and dive into a mountain of boring paperwork for once.”

Youngjae laughed. “Yeah, it’s been awhile. A pleasure working with your team, Taeyeon-sshi.”

He has quite the talent, Taeyeon mused to herself, to be able to work into a position of influence as soon as Yongguk was taken. And then another thought struck her. She voiced it offhandedly as they began walking towards the exit. “By the way, Youngjae-sshi, do you happen to know anything about ‘Jeongnam’?”

“Jeongnam?” Youngjae repeated, slightly bewildered. “Is that a person?”

Taeyeon waved a hand. “No, it’s nothing. Another case we’re working on, and I thought it might be related.” But her mind worked furiously. Yoona said Yongguk and Himchan talked a lot about the “old guy” on the ride to their hideout. And the entire gang knew that someone else was calling the shots. Maybe Yongguk was the only one who had direct contact?

Then she blinked and smiled again at Youngjae before she ushered him into a waiting car.

Too much thinking, Kim Taeyeon. You aren’t even supposed to know about it.

We’re just gonna take this one step at a time.

An alternate definition—

Certainty: n. The gut feeling often experienced when you know there really is no other way; it’s nice to be right, once in awhile.