stockholm syndrome, shinee
summary: key is evil, jonghyun is kidnapped, taemin might kill them both.
a/n: pretty much based on this gif and ridiculous conversations with undamage on how hot key would be as a supervillain. for undamage for making me finish/being useful and pseudo_asian! happy birthday, I'm sorry it's not, you know, any of your otps and that eeteuk isn't there.
The day after Jonghyun’s first escapade into a nightclub, he wakes up at noon in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar house. The first thing he notices, however, is that he woke up without an alarm clock. When he blinks slowly, eyes adjusting to the light, he sees flawless, empty walls and an old-fashioned white door, his bag placed carefully on the bedside table. Jonghyun shrieks.
After he’s curled up in a ball, head sitting on his knees, he pulls his phone out of his bag and texts Minho in a flurry. i dont know where i am, he types with shaking hands. did i drink last nite?
Minho replies five minutes later. You never drink, he says, and there’s a girl in my bed, I’ll talk to you later.
Jonghyun frowns, and asks, does she at least smell nice? Minho doesn’t answer, and Jonghyun hasn’t felt this alone in years.
A while later his door opens, and a boy with neatly-combed red hair walks in with a silver tray, putting it at the foot of Jonghyun’s bed. “I saw on the monitors that you were awake,” he says with a deceivingly sweet smile, “So I brought you breakfast.”
Jonghyun sits up to gaze at the meal, frowning at the apparent bowl of Raisin Bran before he shifts his glare to the boy. “What the fuck is this,” he groans, “And who the hell are you.”
The boy raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t flinch. “I’m the second-in-command around here,” he says matter-of-factly. “Name’s Taemin.”
“Is that your…real name?” Taemin flashes the same smile, but there’s something dark about it. Jonghyun takes that as a no. “Um, okay. I’m Jonghyun.”
“You didn’t need to tell me that,” he says.
“…Oh.” Jonghyun pokes the spoon through his cereal. “Where exactly am I?”
Taemin laughs. “Do you really think I’m going to tell you that?”
Taemin hums, amused. “I don’t think you know who you’re dealing with.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Well then.” He puts a hand on the doorknob, inching out of the doorway. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
“Wait—“ Taemin’s out the door and gone before Jonghyun can tell him there’s no milk in his cereal. He sighs, dejected, and eats it anyway.
The minute Jonghyun takes his last bite of Raisin Bran, the door opens again, and Taemin’s there with another shit-eating grin on his face. “Ready to go?” he says.
Jonghyun perks up. “Home?” Taemin looks at him like he’s the dumbest person in the world, and Jonghyun frowns. “It’s a valid question.”
“I’m gonna show you around,” Taemin says, pretending Jonghyun never spoke. “Get up.”
“Show me around,” Jonghyun repeats slowly. “And then I’ll leave?”
Taemin cocks his head. “You really don’t get it, do you?” he asks with a sigh. “Whatever, come on.” Jonghyun slowly crawls out of bed, and Taemin leads him out the door into the sleekest house he’s ever seen. Cold-looking metals dominate the bathroom Taemin shows him, and expensive, bright paintings are the only splash of color in the dark hallways. They walk through a courtyard with a big pond, and Jonghyun lights up. “You have fish?”
“Only flesh-eating piranhas,” Taemin answers, holding him back from getting any closer, and Jonghyun can’t tell whether or not he’s joking. After a kitchen, several recreation rooms, and a fitness center, Jonghyun decides he must have wooed some very, very rich Seoul heiress. Or, at least, that’s what he’s hoping.
Taemin stops at a tall black door, letting his hand rest on the knob. “This is the control room,” he says, a bit more seriously. “Hyung’s waiting in here for us.”
“Who?” Jonghyun asks. Taemin ignores him and opens the door.
In the control room are more screens than Jonghyun’s ever seen in his life, in rows stretched across every wall. Naturally, many of them show various parts of the house, but some of them look suspiciously like security camera feeds (Jonghyun spots not only his favorite restaurant, but Lotte World, a number of boutiques he recognizes, and the coffee shop where he works), a few appear to be projections of the computers sitting on desks around the room, and the rest are tuned into international television channels (the only programs Jonghyun recognizes are Project Runway and Star Golden Bell). There’s a boy hunched over one of the computer screens, typing furiously, and when he doesn’t turn around Taemin smacks the wall. “Hyung.”
It takes all of Jonghyun’s self-restraint not to gape. The boy’s lips curl into a smile when he turns to see them, dark hair falling over one of his eyes. There’s something about him, all of him, that makes Jonghyun not want to look away. “Good morning,” he says, drumming his fingers on the table. “How are you feeling?”
“That’s directed at you, by the way,” Taemin whispers.
“I’m fine,” Jonghyun says, feeling a bit sheepish. “But is this a dream? Because it doesn’t seem real or plausible or—“
Taemin snorts, and the boy shoots him a glare. “It’s real,” he says to Jonghyun, “Of course it’s real. And since some people around here don’t follow directions, I guess I’m going to have to…well…the thing is, Jonghyun, you’re not leaving. Um…Ever.”
It feels like a blow to his chest. “What?”
The boy frowns, and Jonghyun almost wants to eat his words. “You don’t like it here?”
He’s meeker than he wants to be. “Well, I-I mean…why can’t I go home?”
“Congratulations on picking the dumbest civilian ever, hyung,” Taemin says cheerfully.
“Shut up,” he snaps, and turns back to Jonghyun. “If you didn’t notice already, we’re not exactly…normal people. We’re so, I mean, I’m so badass that governments pay me not to fuck up their countries.” He beams with pride. “The UN knows me as Key, but you can call me Kibum.”
Taemin turns to Jonghyun. “So, did it hurt when you fell out of heaven?”
“I’m going to kill you,” Kibum seethes. “But anyway, as you can see, being a criminal mastermind is pretty boring, especially when you’re as good at it as I am, and I’ve been getting lonely. And um…that’s where you come in.”
“You’re asking me to—“
“Be my best friend.” Kibum finishes. “And it’s not a question, Jonghyun, it’s an order.”
“That’s not the way friendship works, you know.”
“Arguably, threatening people into submission isn’t the way negotiation works,” he says, smiling winningly, “But things are going well for me, aren’t they?”
Jonghyun’s quiet for a moment before he glances behind him at the door, breaking into a sprint. Taemin sticks a leg out and he trips, falling painfully on his face. “This isn’t a Bond movie, Jonghyun,” Kibum says. “There’s no convenient loophole in my philosophy or my security system. You’re not getting out.” Jonghyun gives him his best glare, but it lacks any real bite and Kibum seems to notice. “You’ll warm up,” he says with a shrug, and motions for Taemin to take him out of the room.
Back in his bedroom, Jonghyun texts Minho desperately. i need your help, im being held hostage by a terrorist.
He gets a reply a few minutes later. Jonghyun, stop being so overdramatic. He wonders, pouting, if Minho works for Kibum too.
When Jonghyun wakes up the next morning, Taemin comes into his room with another bowl of Raisin Bran (this time, thankfully, with milk), smiling suspiciously to himself. Jonghyun frowns at him. “Is this what you eat for breakfast?”
“You don’t like Raisin Bran?” he says, chuckling.
“Not even inmates would eat this,” Jonghyun says, eagerly reaching for the cup of coffee instead. “Don’t you have like, something normal, like kimbap or Frosted Flakes—“
He nods. “They’re delicious, you don’t even know.”
“Okay then.” Taemin walks back to the door, looking a bit skeptical. “I hope you’re ready for a big lunch, because Kibum’s been in the kitchen since he woke up.”
Jonghyun raises an eyebrow. “He’s cooking?”
“That’s a loose term for what’s going on,” he answers. “But, as he so deftly put it, eating together is fabulous bonding time, and to make it more heartfelt he isn’t going to let the cooks do their job.” He sighs. “This whole thing is just pathetic.”
“Maybe it’d be better if you let me leave.”
“Then he’d moan for days about where he went wrong,” Taemin says, shaking his head. “A for effort though.” He leaves, and Jonghyun stares down at the cereal, dumbfounded. He ends up barely touching anything but the coffee.
He showers after he’s finished the coffee, walking around the house alone. He takes out his cell phone and tries to use his GPS; instead he gets an automated message from a smirking Kibum saying “Nice try, sucker!” He’s really beginning to wonder what he did to deserve this.
At twelve Taemin catches him wandering around the piranha pit and brings him inside, taking him into a ridiculously large dining room. Jonghyun counts two steaming bowls of spaghetti and frowns. “You’re not eating?” he says.
Taemin laughs. “That’s a blessing,” he says, and waltzes out of the room with a pleased smirk.
Kibum appears as soon as Taemin leaves, smiling crookedly at Jonghyun before he sits down. “I don’t cook a lot,” he says, but it’s more arrogant than it is apologetic.
Jonghyun isn’t sure what he’s supposed to say. “Um…neither do I.”
“You work at a coffee shop,” Kibum says, eyes fixed on him.
“That’s not cooking, that’s making drinks,” he says, and then stops. “Wait, how do you know that?”
Kibum shrugs. “I, um….I watch the feed I get of the security cameras.”
“Why do you have a feed of—“
Kibum drops his fork loudly. “Nothing, I said nothing.” He smiles fakely. “Anyway, um, you know I can get anything for you, right?”
Jonghyun takes his first bite of the spaghetti; it’s a bit lacking, but nothing he can’t force himself to eat. “Frosted Flakes,” he mutters solemnly.
Kibum wrinkles his nose in contempt. “I am not going to be seen buying a fucking kid’s cereal.”
“Send one of your lackeys,” Jonghyun says. “Send Taemin.”
“Okay, not even Taemin deserves to be reduced to that,” he sighs. “Isn’t there anything else you want?”
“Well, I’d kind of like to meet the Obamas’ dog,” Jonghyun admits. “But mostly I just want Frosted Flakes.”
Kibum scoffs. “Tough luck.”
“But I can make your life miserable,” Jonghyun replies, gesturing violently with his fork.
Kibum glares at him. “Okay, fine, I’ll get you your stupid cereal.” He pauses, gesturing violently. “Wait, no, I’m not that easy. I’ll get it on one condition.”
“You have to at least act like you don’t hate me,” he says, pouting. “You’re not subtle, Jonghyun, a fucking baby could read you.”
He blinks, twirling noodles around in the bowl. It’s true, he hasn’t made much of an effort to be nice, but then again, he’s also been kidnapped against his will by a crazed delinquent. Kibum, of course, doesn’t look the part at all, especially not with the way he’s staring at Jonghyun, which he thinks is supposed to look expectant but comes off as pleading. Jonghyun looks down at his phone and sighs—if he’s going to be stuck here, he’ll have to make the most of it.
“Fine,” he says.
Kibum’s smile devours his face, and Jonghyun hates that he finds it kind of cute. “So you’ll be civil?”
“Good,” Kibum pushes his plate away with such purpose that Jonghyun wonders if food somehow gets in the way of their impending relationship (and he hopes not, because he’s always looked forward to meals). Kibum’s smiling, but his face falls after the room stays uncomfortably silent, and he looks back at Jonghyun, all the previous confidence absent. “Um, what do you want to do first?”
It occurs to Jonghyun, in that moment, that he might be Kibum’s first friend.
Half an hour into an awkwardly-arranged getting-to-know-you session, complete with snacks and giant bottles of cola, Kibum confesses everything. He’d been mocked in preschool for just about everything, his eyes, his voice, his manner of walking, and instead of crying into his beloved plush kitten Dubu (okay, he’d done that for a while) he’d plotted an all-too-intricate revenge plan for a child. Of course, after he’d seen it through, Kibum found he was rather good at making people suffer, and that’s when he decided he needed to do it for a living. When he was ten, he recited to his parents a foolproof method of robbing the national bank, and when they’d sent him to his room on principle he’d spent the night robbing it from the laptop he’d created for his second grade science project. Kibum’s parents still talk to him once a week, but he explains with a passive wave of his hand that they’re having way too much fun at their home in Monte Carlo. The only reason Taemin’s involved at all is because he walked in on Kibum skyping world leaders, and he’s cute, which has apparently proved useful.
“So, basically,” Kibum says, sipping sprite from a champagne glass, “I decided that since I was going to be a criminal mastermind, I couldn’t have friends. And didn’t need them, for that matter.”
Jonghyun frowns. “But even the Joker had Harley Quinn,” he points out.
“True,” Kibum says. “But I watched Batman in English, so I was convinced they were rivals until I stole enough money to get a private tutor.” He pauses, realizing how ridiculous it sounds. “But, um, yeah. I’ve never really had any friends.”
“It shows,” Jonghyun tells him, giggling, and Kibum smacks him a bit harder than he should. “I mean,” he says, trying to save himself, “In a nice way!”
Kibum sniffs. “Just tell me about your obviously superior life.”
“I didn’t say that!” he says, waving his arms for emphasis. “And okay, my life isn’t nearly as exciting as making computers and threatening incompetent presidents, I just…went to school and tried really hard all the time and people made fun of me because I can’t drink but Minho never did and then I started working at the coffee shop because I couldn’t afford college but I’m going to be able to, in a while, or at least I thought—“
“You can’t drink?” Kibum asks.
“I’m allergic,” Jonghyun says, looking at the floor. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”
Kibum shakes his glass dismissively. “Soju’s nasty,” he says. “So’s beer. And a lot of things, actually. But mixed drinks are nice, I think. I’ll get the cook to make special ones for you.”
“Plenty of limes.”
“Oh,” Jonghyun’s beginning to feel a little bit more at ease. A little, but it’s a start. “Th-thank you.”
Kibum nods a shy you’re welcome, and bites into a chocopie.
“Wake up,” Taemin says the next morning, shaking Jonghyun violently. “You’re going shopping.”
Jonghyun flips over, covering his head with a pillow. “It’s too early to breathe,” he whines. “Come get me in an hour.”
Taemin raises an eyebrow. “You won’t be able to shop then.”
“Whatever, just go away,” he moans.
Taemin mutters something that sounds suspiciously like I hate you and wraps his arms around Jonghyun’s stomach, pulling him off the bed. He’s helpless to do anything but cooperate, and he walks with his eyes closed and an arm around Taemin’s shoulders. “Do I look okay?” he asks. “You know, for rolling out of bed?”
“I’ve seen worse,” Taemin says passively, and shoves Jonghyun into the living room. He rubs at his eyes casually, trying to look as normal as possible, and when his eyes come into focus he clasps a hand over his mouth.
Kibum’s in a suit, sitting comfortably in an armchair, a wine glass filled with orange juice raised to his lips. There’s racks of clothes scattered around the room, and an older woman’s standing next to them, speaking rapid English while gesturing wildly. Kibum nods every few seconds with a captivated smile, and after Jonghyun’s made a gaping fool of himself Kibum finally notices his presence. “Jonghyun, this is Miuccia Prada,” he says in Korean. “I’m one of two people she makes house calls for.”
Jonghyun smiles uncomfortably. “Hi,” he says, trying to remember what little he learned in high school. “I…don’t speak English.” The woman smiles at him anyway, and Kibum motions for him to sit down. “Don’t you shop like a normal person?” he asks.
“Of course,” Kibum says, frowning. “But wouldn’t you rather have the clothes come to you?”
It’s true, it’s better, but Jonghyun’s always been in love with department stores. “I guess,” he says with a shrug, sinking into the armchair.
Kibum’s frown deepens. “Do you want to try anything on?”
Jonghyun glances at the racks; they’re too far to walk for someone who woke up five minutes ago. “I don’t want to move,” he groans.
“I’ll get something for you.”
Kibum walks over to the racks without him, and in seconds he’s being pulled down to the floor by clothes. He tosses things at Jonghyun wordlessly, and he’s pleasantly surprised to learn that Kibum has amazing taste. Jonghyun fingers the clothes with admiration, a bit dumbfounded, before running to try them on. They’re all stunning, naturally, but Jonghyun takes one look at the price tags and deflates. He’s pretty sure his entire life is worth half of one of the shirts he tries on.
“Did you like anything?” Kibum asks when he reappears.
Jonghyun nods, but before he can object Kibum snatches the clothes from him with a smile. He says something in English as he walks away, taking out his wallet, and Jonghyun’s jaw drops when he pulls out bill after bill, fanning himself with a few extras. He dumps everything Jonghyun tried on onto the armchair, along with a few other things, and links arms with him. “Lunch?” he asks. “Miuccia has a plane to catch.”
He looks back at the pile of clothes with a gulp. “I can’t afford any of that,” he hisses.
Kibum scoffs. “They’re gifts,” he says. “You don’t have to afford them.”
“Enough.” Kibum tugs on his hand. “Yah, stop walking so slowly, your food’s going to get cold.”
Jonghyun winces. “Jesus, Kibum, don’t rip my arm in half.”
“Then walk faster.”
Jonghyun lets Kibum drag him to the dining room, a pleased grin on his face.
“Yah, Jonghyun,” Kibum snaps, crossing his arms over his chest.
He looks up from his phone. “What?”
There’s a stiff pause; he takes a deep, nervous breath. “How come you never text me?”
Jonghyun wrinkles his nose. ”Kibum, you’re holding me hostage in your mansion.”
“That doesn’t mean you can’t text me,” Kibum says.
There’s something about this conversation, Jonghyun thinks, that reminds him of talking to his younger cousins. He thinks it’s the lack of common sense. “Well it’d be pretty pointless if I texted you when I could just, you know. Talk to you.”
It doesn’t satisfy him. “But don’t friends text each other?”
“Not if they’re in the same—“
“But you text that Minho kid all the time,” Kibum whines.
Jonghyun sighs. “Well he’s—“ he pauses as it dawns on him. “You monitor my phone?”
“Of course I do, I have to make sure you’re not reporting me to the police or anything,” he says. “Or, you know, saying mean things about me, and speaking of which, I’m not a terrorist, Jonghyun, don’t lump me in with those lowlifes. It’s called organized crime, although in my case it’s just two people so I’m not sure if—“
“Fine, whatever,” he says. “Just…god, now I can’t text Minho anymore, thanks a lot.”
Kibum pouts. “I’ll stop doing it if you just text me.”
“Is that all I have to do?”
“Fine,” Jonghyun says, picking up his phone. “Now stop stalking me.”
Kibum smiles as if he owns half the globe.
A few days later, Taemin comes in with a cereal that clearly isn’t Raisin Bran, and Jonghyun’s eyes light up. “Frosted Flakes?” he asks, suddenly very awake.
Taemin isn’t quite as enthused. “Uh huh,” he mumbles, dropping the tray next to Jonghyun with a smirk. “So you’ll stop bitching now?”
“Maybe,” he says with a smile, and takes the first bite. His smile fades as soon as he takes the spoon out of his mouth. “These are not Frosted Flakes,” he says with an accusing glare.
Taemin rolls his eyes. “Jonghyun, what other cereal looks like that?”
He pokes the bowl with a disapproving frown. “Generic Frosted Flakes,” he says. “So you can afford Prada suits but not real Frosted Flakes?”
“They taste the same,” Taemin groans. “It’s like Coke and Diet Coke.”
Jonghyun shakes his head. “Those taste different, Diet Coke’s a little more hollow and—“
“Oh my god.” Taemin slumps onto the bed, snatching the bowl from the tray. “Where did Kibum find you.”
“Don’t tell me you can’t taste the difference,” he says. “It’s there, I’m not just being difficult.”
“Really.” Taemin gets up to leave. “Well, I guess I’d better throw this out then.”
“Hey I’ll still eat—“ The door slams before he can finish, and Jonghyun sighs and starts texting Kibum. taemin took my breakfast ㅠㅇㅠㅇㅠplease help?
He gets a reply almost instantly. ｶﾞ━━Σ(ﾟДﾟ|||)━━ﾝ!! why is he so disobedient jjong he used to be so good ㅠㅇㅠ don’t worry I’ll make him come back!
A few hours later, when Kibum and Jonghyun are bouncing around their own personal noraebang, Taemin walks in with a huff and places a cardboard box on the floor next to them. Kibum ruffles his hair affectionately before he can leave, smiling brightly. “I think you get dumber every day,” Taemin tells him with a smile.
“Thank you,” Kibum says, patting his cheek. “Tell Putin I’m going to be late, okay?”
“Sure.” He walks out, and Jonghyun tries to ignore the name he thinks he sees flashing on Taemin’s phone.
Kibum glances at the dvd case, grimacing. “What the hell is this,” he asks.
Jonghyun sniffs as he pours popcorn into a bowl. “It’s the best movie ever, okay,” he says. “Don’t make that face.”
“First of all, it can’t be the best movie ever because everyone knows that’s The Dark Knight,” Kibum frowns. “And secondly, there’s a fake fantasy backdrop on the cover and it’s called The Princess Bride, it’s like you’re making me watch a fantasy soap opera.”
“It’s not!” Jonghyun protests. “It’s amazing and universal and roman—“ Kibum scoffs, and he snatches the case from his hands. “You’ll see.”
He pushes the dvd into the player, shoving the bowl of popcorn into Kibum’s hands. Kibum complains at predictable times (Jonghyun notes that he acts just like the boy in the movie and laughs behind his hand) for the first twenty minutes, but by the end he’s biting his nails and shouting curses at the TV. He uses Jonghyun’s sleeve as a tissue when the credits start to roll, sniffing softly into his shoulder. “Why didn’t you tell me it was a happy ending,” he says accusingly. “You know I thought they were dead, Jjong.”
He smiles, taking a handful of popcorn. “I didn’t want to ruin it for you,”
“Well you should have,” Kibum tells him, wiping his eyes. “Can we watch Casino Royale now? At least I know what’s coming.”
“The bitch is dead,” Jonghyun says, ruffling Kibum’s hair.
“Exactly.” He says. “Now put it in before I have a heart attack.”
“Jonghyun, I’ve been wondering something.”
It’s four in the morning, and Jonghyun’s lost count of how long he’s been a captive. He looks up at Kibum, rubbing his eyes, and decides not to ask why in the world he’s bothering him in the middle of the night. “Wha?”
Kibum shuffles his feet awkwardly. “Do you only like me because I’m rich?”
“I mean, would you still like me if I didn’t buy you nice designer clothes and had my own noraebang and got Obama to let you video chat with his dog?”
Jonghyun flips his pillow over with a sigh. “And this couldn’t have waited until the morning?”
“You really are a baby sometimes,” he says, smiling in spite of himself. “But for some reason your stupidity’s sort of endearing.”
He can see Kibum’s smile in the dark. “Really?”
“Do you think I have the brainpower to lie right now?” Jonghyun scoffs.
“Well you’re ridiculous.” He rolls over. “I’m not lying.”
“Is that all?”
Kibum nods awkwardly. “Um…yeah, pretty much.”
Jonghyun buries his face into his pillow. “Good night, Kibum.”
“Good night, Jjong.” He tiptoes out of the room, closing the door without a sound. Jonghyun laughs once he’s gone, big, rich laughs, and then falls back asleep.
One morning, Jonghyun doesn’t wake up to flawless white walls and an antique white door, getting a bowl of Frosted Flakes just minutes after he opens his eyes. Instead, he wakes up to clusters of color, blue walls covered in endless posters of idol groups and a giant cutout of Thierry Henry staring him down from the corner. He waits for a while, but Taemin doesn’t come in.
As he slowly becomes more awake, it dawns on him that he’s in Minho’s bedroom, the same one they used to have movie marathons and pillow fights in. He decides, initially, that it’s just a dream, and goes back to sleep in hope of returning to his room. It doesn’t work; Jonghyun snarls at the cutout.
Eventually he gives up and forces himself to crawl out of bed, staggering down the hallway to the kitchen. Minho’s there, thankfully, sipping from a cup of tea and concentrating on his laptop. He doesn’t notice him, and he shivers when Jonghyun clears his throat. “Morning, hyung,” he says, glancing at him.
Jonghyun sighs. “What am I doing here?”
“Being a normal human being,” he answers, frankly. “I would have taken you home, but I don’t have your housekey.”
“Oh.” He slumps into a chair, drumming his fingers on the table. “But how did you get me out?”
“Hmm?” Minho looks up. “Oh, Lee Taemin let me in one of the doors last night. Apparently he’s been getting sick recently, and he blames you. And Kibum, by extension, but obviously he’s not disposable.”
“Sick?” he asks. “Like what? I’m not sick.”
“Headaches and cavities, he said,” Minho sips his tea and smiles. “I can see how you’d cause that, hyung.”
“Shut up,” Jonghyun sniffs. “Do you have Frosted Flakes?”
He raises an eyebrow. “No, I only have Honey Bunches of Oats, you know that.”
“Kibum bought it for me,” Jonghyun mumbles into the table. “Hey, you—“
“I have class in ten minutes,” Minho says. “Buy it for yourself if you want it.” Jonghyun hears him whisper “Stockholm syndrome” and pouts at him.
“Maybe I’ll just eat all your cereal as punishment.” He glances at the laptop. “What are you watching?”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” he says. “Just Super Junior-M on this one show.”
“You’re so weird, Minho.”
He smiles, getting up to leave. “Sure hyung, sure.”
After he’s left, Jonghyun decides to venture to the grocery store for cereal, stealing some bills from Minho’s not-so-secret cookie jar. On the way back, he glances at the buildings he walks by, trying to see if any of them look like Kibum’s mansion. Of course, it then occurs to him that he’d never seen the outside of the house, and he returns to the apartment feeling much lonelier than he should.
After a failed attempt at playing some stupid English football game, he calls Minho. “Hyung, I’m in class,” he hisses. “What do you need?”
“Do I still have my job?”
“What?” he’s quiet for a moment, and Jonghyun hears him file out of the classroom. “Oh, your job. I called them last night, they think you’ve got the swine flu. Just call and say you’re healthy.” He chuckles. “What, West Ham beating you again?”
“No!” Jonghyun shrieks. “Portsmouth, actually.”
“That’s rough, hyung.”
“I’m well aware,” he snaps.
“Really.” He can almost see the smug smile on Minho’s face. “Can I go back to class now?” he whispers. “It’s kind of important.”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
It’s probably the first time in Jonghyun’s life that he’s excited to go to work.
Minho frowns at him when he comes back to the apartment at seven. “Hyung, you really should go home,” he says.
“Well, I would,” Jonghyun tells him, “But I don’t have my keys either.”
Minho’s nice enough to let him sleep on the couch, a cup of instant noodles next to a bowl of Frosted Flakes. He’s got homework so Jonghyun marathons Minho’s entire movie collection by himself, falling asleep when there’s no one shouting at the TV to keep him awake.
He’s pretty much miserable by the third week back, sleepwalking through his workday before crashing on Minho’s couch. He’s not allowed to text Kibum, because Kibum drugged him and kidnapped him and made him a pet, nothing better than Dr. Evil’s fluffy white cat, or so Minho tells him, but Jonghyun doesn’t remember being miserable at all. He tells Minho this when he looks over his shoulder, glancing at his phone suspiciously, and Minho never believes him. “Do you even know how long you were gone, hyung?” he says. “And besides, Kibum’s one of the most dangerous people in the world.”
“He cried all the way through Finding Nemo, I don’t think he’s that dangerous,” Jonghyun points out, stuffing a rice cake in his mouth.
“Hyung, he slipped you a roofie.”
“Really? That’s how he got me?” he nods sagely. “That sounds like him. It’s not that he’s bad or anything, you know, it’s just that he has a lot of power and really doesn’t know what to do with it. He’s almost as awkward as you, actually.”
He’s never seen Minho look so dumbfounded. He stands there, quiet, before breaking into a tiny smile. “If you say so, hyung,” he laughs.
One day, Jonghyun’s had enough. He walks into the coffee shop before anyone else gets there, fixing the security camera with a glare. “Yah, Kibum, I know you’re watching,” he starts. “And if you don’t leave that stupid room of yours and come down to this shop right now, I might hang myself in the back room from boredom. Do you hear me? You know you’re not doing anything more worthwhile, Kibum. Tell Taemin to do it if it’s that important. I know you’ve never been.” He sighs. “Please?”
Hours pass by with no one out of the ordinary coming in, and Jonghyun acts as nonchalant as possible, flirting with the girls that blush easily and smiling politely at the ones that aren’t impressed. At lunch, Jonghyun draws the short straw and gets left manning the store by himself while the rest of the baristas go to get ramen in a shop down the street. He fakes smiles at the rush of people that comes in as his legs threaten to fail him, slumping onto the countertop when the line finally dies. He closes his eyes, resting his head on his arms, and is promptly smacked on the head.
“Lazy cow,” Kibum says. “Isn’t this your busiest time?”
Jonghyun feels stupid, smiling as big as he is from under his hair. He smacks Kibum’s hand away as he stands up. “What do you want?” he asks brightly.
Kibum’s face falls as he looks at the menu. “Um…I don’t know. I’ve never really been here.”
“I can make you a chocolate chip frappucino,” he says, clapping to himself. “Those are delicious—“
“What?” Kibum snarls. “Why would I come to a coffee shop and not get coffee?”
He glares at him. “Well then, my little overlord, what’s your suggestion?” Kibum’s silent, and Jonghyun smiles. “I’ll make you a vanilla latte.”
He forces Kibum to stay until his lunch break starts, and then quickly decides he’s not hungry. He leads him behind the employees only door, bagel in hand, and promptly sits on the floor. “Do you like it?” he asks.
Kibum joins him on the floor with a wince. “Like what?”
“The latte, idiot.”
“Oh,” he looks down at his cup. “It’s fine.”
“I’m not convinced—“
“I like it!” he whines, and takes a drink to prove it. “I just…” he sighs, looking at anything but Jonghyun. “I’m not here to drink coffee or anything. I’m here to apologize.”
Kibum shrugs. “A lot of things.” He reaches into one of his coat pockets, pulling out a very familiar set of keys. “These are yours,” he mumbles, shoving them in Jonghyun’s face.
He takes them, and it doesn’t quite sink in. “My housekeys?”
“Um…yeah,” he twitches awkwardly, drawing circles on the floor. “I figured if you did manage, against all odds, to get out of my house, that you’d try to go home, so I took your keys the first night I met you. I didn’t think that you’d just be able to stay at a friend’s house, though. That wouldn’t have been an option for me.”
“I wouldn’t have escaped on my own anyway,” Jonghyun says. “I didn’t even try to.”
“Well, thanks to the world’s most worthless minion, you did anyway,” he rolls his eyes. “Stupid brat, he was totally fine when we slipped Milosevic those—“
Jonghyun frowns. “When you what?”
“Oh, nothing, nothing at all,” Kibum sighs heavily, flipping his hair out of his face. “But look, Jjong, I’m really sorry. For drugging you and kidnapping you and forcing you to hang out with me all the time and in general being really, really inconsiderate and kind of a stalker. But I…I just really wanted to be your friend, and I’ve never really made a friend in the proper way and I’m not very warm, you know, so I’m sorry that I fucked up so badly and please, please don’t—“
He’s never seen Kibum look so nervous, eyes filled with something like desperation, and his voice cracks noticeably when he’s talking. Words aren’t coming to Jonghyun so he leans in closely, wrapping his arms around Kibum’s waist, and the he freezes inside his hold. “I like you,” he says into Kibum’s shoulder. “You’re fun and nice and really cute when you smile, and Minho probably thinks I’m really stupid for liking you but I do, and I can’t…change that.” He looks up at Kibum; he can’t read his face. “Do you still want to be my friend?”
“Well then that settles it, right?” he asks, holding him tighter.
Kibum looks at the floor. “I…but, you shouldn’t—“
He pouts. “Since when have you cared about ethics, Kibum?”
“I—okay, fine.” He folds and unfolds his arms, sticking his tongue out at Jonghyun. “Would you—would you come to my house if I promised not to kidnap you again?”
“It depends,” he says. “What are you doing?”
Kibum smirks. “Well, Russia’s paying me to exterminate Sarah Palin so I thought you’d want to help me order some mindless snipers around Alaska.” Silence; Kibum bites his lip. “And then I’d make Taemin order pizza and we’d marathon all the Pixar movies?” he tries.
Jonghyun bounces in place, dragging Kibum along with him; he grimaces, but doesn’t complain. “It’s a date.”