SOSHI: Aesop’s Twisted Fable – Chapter 7

October 23, 2013 in Aesop's Twisted Fable, moonrise31, SOSHI by moonrise31

Chapter 7: Sight

Sight: n. the faculty or power of seeing. (New Oxford American Dictionary)

“Taeng, it’s my mistake. You’ve got to let me—”

“—please tell this idiotic Yuri that it isn’t—”

“Unnie, I don’t understand why we all have to be here. I’ve got stuff at the lab that needs—”

“—put the CCM case on hold. I’ll get the director to listen—”

“Listen, Taeng, Fany and I can scout out a couple of potential hideouts right now—”

“Yeah, Taetae, we’ll get her back before the night ends, so you have to—”

“—just let me make up for this and I’ll never lead another case again. I’ll even resign—”

QUIET,” Taeyeon roared, slamming both palms down on her desk. Papers flew, voices trailed off, seven pairs of eyes stared.

“Thank you,” Taeyeon said quietly.

She let out a long breath. Then looked up at Yuri. “First, Yul, it’s not your fault.” She switched her glare to Sooyoung. “Nor is it yours, Soo. Or Sica’s. Or Seohyun’s. Or Sunny’s. Or Hyo’s. Or Fany’s.” She looked at each woman in turn. “It’s not your fault.”

What she left unspoken lay heavy in the air.

Sooyoung cleared her throat. “It’s not yours—”

“We have twenty-four hours,” Taeyeon interrupted. She turned to the whiteboard behind her and picked up a marker. It squeaked as she wrote the numerals in large black letters. “Twenty-four hours is the time frame most missing persons cases have before they get cold.” She spun back around to face the other seven crowded in her office. “But we’ve got a good team. I think we can get Yoong back in less.”

Yuri nodded, jerking a thumb over her shoulder. “Yeah. So I’ll just—”

Taeyeon swiftly pointed the marker at Yuri’s chest. “Stay. Right. Here.”

The action was enough to stun the tech and keep her in place for the moment. But it didn’t stop her from protesting. “What? No. There’s no way I’m gonna let it happen again—”

“It won’t,” Taeyeon said resolutely. Her confidence echoed in the room, clashing with the despair threatening to consume the eight gathered within.

Yuri scowled in frustration, but made no move to leave.

Taeyeon lowered her hand and sighed. She carefully set the marker down on her desk before speaking again. “Six hours.”

She paused. The tension only heightened as Tiffany repeated, “six hours?”

Taeyeon nodded. “You all have six hours. Get out of here. Grab a cot in the infirmary and take a nap. Go out for a walk. I don’t care. Just don’t think about work.

She was immediately bombarded by seven different voices, but she crossed her arms and raised her own. “Listen to yourselves right now.” The others stopped, and she continued. “Panicking isn’t going to get Yoona back. Calm. Efficiency. Trust. That’s what we need.

“I know getting rest when you’re worked up is gonna be difficult. Use these if you have to.” She pulled open a drawer and reached inside, retrieving a bottle of sleep medication. She tossed it to a startled Yuri, the pills rattling dully against the plastic as the tech caught the half-empty container with one hand.

“As for the CCM case, we’ll continue as planned. SOSHI has a reputation for getting work done in a timely manner, and we will meet that expectation. Remember, Yoona doesn’t need saving. She took off that mic for a reason.”

“She’s going to play dumb for as long as she can,” Tiffany realized. Her fingers curled into fists.

Taeyeon noticed the action and gave a surprisingly bright smile. “Hey, have faith in our Yoong. Don’t count her out of the game just yet. She’ll use this opportunity to gather info we haven’t been able to get our hands on in weeks. So what we need to do is provide her the escape route for when she needs it.” She looked at Sooyoung. “I can count on you, right?”

The other woman nodded firmly. “Of course.”

“Great.” Taeyeon glanced down at her watch. “Six hours,” she reminded them. “I want all of you out of here until then. Seohyun, I’ll be checking the lab too, so don’t think you’re exempt.”

She eyed the youngest until the latter gave a reluctant sigh. “Fine, unnie.”

“Good girl.” Taeyeon chuckled before regaining her composure and continuing. “In twenty-four, I expect Yuri to have made contact with Yoona. In forty-eight, Sunny will report to Kim Kwangsoo as planned. If he wants regular updates, we’ll give him regular updates. So have something new by then.” She looked each of them in the eye, holding her gaze for a few seconds each time. She willed them to understand.

Everything will be okay.

The determination she saw was more than enough to make her serious expression break into a wide grin. “Now that’s what I like to see.”

And underneath that newfound conviction, she also saw a question that her team was wise enough to keep from asking out loud. But it was there nonetheless, roaring in her ears just as if they had shouted it.

What about you? Taeyeon could feel the stares drill into her bones. Will you be okay?

She broke eye contact, glancing down to shuffle some papers on her desk. “Alright, go. Get outta here.” She made a shooing gesture with her free hand. “The pills won’t knock you out for too long. And they taste better with gummy worms.”

They filtered out one by one. Jessica waved off the medicine that Yuri held out to her, wrapping an arm around Hyoyeon’s shoulder instead as she asked sweetly for a piggyback ride down to the infirmary beds. Her victim begrudgingly complied, complaining loudly as Jessica laughed from her new perch and pointed forward, giving directions. Yuri followed, tossing the bottle up and down, a pensive look on her face. Sooyoung strode out purposefully after them, but her fearless charade was broken as soon as she ran a distracted hand through her hair.

The contrast between every action was enough to slow Sunny down before she could make her own exit. So she was only halfway across the outer office, wondering where on the spectrum she would be, when she felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Unnie,” Seohyun said, “I’ve got results back on the cloth and blood from the window glass. It’s wool, which doesn’t really give anything definite, but if you get me samples I can match them. And the blood is type O.”

“Hm.” Sunny frowned. “Youngsun and Jungeun are the ones who have O blood, I think.” Those two again.

Seohyun shrugged, echoing her earlier statement. “Get me samples and I can see if they match.”

Sunny grinned and gave the younger woman a thumbs-up. “Will do. Thanks, Seohyun.”

The younger replied with a small smile and a soft “of course” before walking out of the room.

“Finally dropped the ‘Doctor’ formality, I see?” Tiffany teased as she caught up to the other woman.

Sunny turned, laughing lightly. “She cornered me the other day and told me very seriously that all her unnies called her ‘Seohyun’. I was so scared, I just agreed right away.”

“Yeah, she does that,” Tiffany snickered. “Poor kid.” Sunny was going to ask exactly what that meant, but then Tiffany’s face fell. “God, I know Taeyeon means the best, but I’m really itching to do something right now.”

“Chase Yuri down for those meds,” Sunny suggested, wondering in the back of her mind just how often Taeyeon had used them before now. Then she remembered what she’d been thinking about earlier while scouring the road for clues to Yoona’s whereabouts. “Uh, hey, Fany, can I ask you something?”

“Of course.” Tiffany looked puzzled as Sunny grabbed her hand and led them out into the hallway. The shorter girl glanced both ways, making sure that the rest of the team had left, before she faced Tiffany once more.

She cleared her throat. “I don’t know how to phrase this exactly, so I’m just gonna go for it.”

“Okay,” Tiffany said slowly, sounding half-amused and half-wary.

“Um.” Sunny glanced to the side, unable to meet the other’s eyes. “It’s Hyoyeon. Uh…can she…you know…can she see? At all?”

Tiffany stiffened.

“I mean,” Sunny continued hastily, already full of regret. But it was too late; she had made the decision. She barreled forward. “I’m so sorry for assuming. It’s not like she’s off or anything. It’s just that, earlier today, she was looking over my shoulder at the security camera, but she wasn’t really looking, you know? She never really looks at anything. And then you’re always grabbing her arm or pushing her somewhere—even Jessica just now—I mean, she could just been lost in thought all the time, and maybe you guys just like to jump on her, and that’s totally fine, but the more I thought about it the more it bugged me, so—”

“About a year ago,” Tiffany cut her off, “we were chasing down a serial killer.” She paused.

Sunny waited.

“He was a real creep.” Tiffany finally said. “Completely insane. Asylum material, all that stuff.”

Then she dropped her gaze, her voice so soft that Sunny had to strain to hear. “We screwed up big time. Hyoyeon got caught. He…acid…her eyes…”

The reality came crashing down on both of them. For Sunny, it was the first time. “Oh my goodness,” she whispered hoarsely.

“One drop,” Tiffany choked out. She’d lost count long ago of how many times she’d felt it, but every new realization was as crushing as the first had been. “One drop at a time.”

Sunny reached out and wrapped the other woman in a tight hug. Every shiver and shudder made her own body shake, but she pretended not to notice. Ignored the spots of wetness falling onto her shirt.

“We screwed up,” Tiffany said again, mumbling into Sunny’s shoulder. “Yuri took it the hardest. She can do so much with her computer, you know, but really, she can’t do anything at all. She was right there without being right there. She had to listen…”

Sunny didn’t speak. Just rubbed comforting circles in the other woman’s back.

“And now Yoona…” Tiffany whispered.

“Yoona will be fine,” was all Sunny could think of in the way of comfort. “She’s Saebyuk, remember?”

She felt Tiffany’s chin dip in a half-hearted nod. Sunny took a long breath and tightened her embrace, letting the strength turn into the belief that Yoona was alright — if Tiffany didn’t think so, Sunny would just have to have that much more faith that she was.

She’s Saebyuk. Sunny repeated to herself. She has a chance. BAM is a gang, but they aren’t crazy.

She has a chance.

“Hyoyeon’s brilliant, though,” Tiffany stepped back, wiping her arm across her eyes and giving Sunny a smile. “She’s so in tune with her surroundings; it’s amazing. And her hearing has gotten, like, twenty times better at least.”

Sunny hesitated for a moment. Then she asked, “Does the director know?”

Tiffany raised her eyebrows. “You think she’d still be here if he did? We can’t keep her in the office ‘cause…well, all there is to do here is paperwork. The field is dangerous, but it’s the only place she can be. And that’s okay.” Her voice hardened. “We won’t let it happen again.”

That’s a big promise, Sunny thought. But with one look at Tiffany, any doubt was whisked away. And it was more than just knowing that the promise would be kept. She wanted to keep it too.

So Sunny met the other’s determined gaze and nodded. “Yeah,” she agreed, “we won’t.”

We.

Such a small word, she reflected. But it was the only response that would mean the world to Tiffany. To the rest of SOSHI.

The smile on Tiffany’s face was the happiest Sunny had seen since Yoona had disappeared. And that was all that she needed.

“Come on.” Tiffany grabbed her hand and pushed her back towards the doorway. “We’ve got a brooding leader to rescue.”

When the two of them entered Taeyeon’s office, Tiffany loudly asserting that the eldest shouldn’t be allowed to think any more about Yoona than the rest of them were supposed to, Sunny felt Taeyeon’s gaze lock on her hand held tightly in Tiffany’s.

Somehow, Taeyeon knew. Because she grinned and stood up, surrendering to Tiffany’s demands. And then grabbed Sunny’s other hand as the three of them headed out.

Sunny was reminded of her academy days. Except this is better, I think. She’d felt so small, so alone on that road behind the law building, at a single campus out of the seemingly infinite population of colleges in Seoul. It was so easy to get lost among the billions of other pieces trying to find the one perfect fit.

But now she was finally a part of something whole.

She felt like she could do anything in the world with these girls by her side. They were going to find Yoona. They were going to solve the CCM case. This feeling?

It was nothing less than incredible.

The sun had set long before they exited the building. But Sunny closed her eyes and let herself be dragged into night, surrounded by banter and friends and warmth.

An alternate definition—

Sight: n. whatever is known for certain. But remember: being in the dark will make the light that much brighter.