Title: Deathly whisper
Genre: Romance, suspense, supernatural, crime
Summary: Leeteuk, a crime investigator, is forced to have a new partner – Lee Hyukjae.
Warning: One scene containing blood, occasional swearing
It’s a chilly Monday morning and the clock hanging on the wall of one of the police stations in Seoul has just struck 8 am. In the left wing of the building heavy footsteps can be heard in the corridor before the sound vanishes as a man in his late 50s arrives at his destination, the Criminal Investigation Department.
“Is he in his office?” the newcomer asks two younger policemen who happen to be making coffee for themselves.
“Yes, he is, sir,” one of the two men answers with a slight bow of his head while putting his brown coffee mug down on the table in front of him and takes a seat on the salmon coloured couch. He didn’t even have to wonder who the older man meant.
“Good,” the newcomer states and heads for the door with the nameplate ‘Park Jungsu.’ He enters the room, shutting the door behind him.
“How do you think the weekly meeting went, Kangin?” the man with the brown coffee mug asks his fellow police investigator.
“Who knows? I’m more curious of the matter that the chief of our section wants to discuss with Leeteuk,” the other man replies before taking a sip of his black coffee, his back leaning against the sink. “Anyway, Siwon, have you filled out all the paperwork concerning our last case?” the burly man asks, glancing at his partner.
“Yeah…but why is it always me that has to do it?” Siwon asks with a frown on his face.
“Hmm…God must have chosen you to do it. You should just accept it,” Kangin replies releasing a chuckle and earning himself a death glare from the other man.
The oldish man’s eyes fall on the first thing that greets the eye after entering the room, the empty wooden desk which stands just opposite of the door and in front of the window with Venetian blinds drawn closed, making the room pretty dark. He then scans the office in search of Park Jungsu, who he eventually finds sleeping on the couch, the black, leather piece of furniture standing to the left of the desk.
“Jeez, sleeping here again…Leeteuk! Why the hell are you sleeping during your working hours?! Get your ass up!” The chief of the division exclaims while walking up to the couch, his hands wrapped in front of his chest and an indignant expression gracing his features.
The slumbering man dressed in a white wife beater and black jeans stirs releasing a growl of discontentment. “What the? Stop yelling old man,” Jungsu, also known as Leeteuk, says as he rises to a sitting position while yawning leisurely.
‘Old man?!’ The division chief repeats in his mind, his left brow quirking in annoyance. “Have some respect, will you? Brat,” he says, a tad of irritation in his voice.
“I’ve just closed a really fucked up case which left me completely drained of energy so I opted to catch some sleep before going home,” Leeteuk explains with a bored expression on his face as he runs his right hand through his light brown, tied in a ponytail hair, completely ignoring the respect comment. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to cause an accident on the first day of winter holidays, during which I happen to be on leave from work, because of sleep deprivation, right? Division chief, Lee Soo Man,” he says casually and the other man’s lips form a thin line. Leeteuk extends his hand in the direction of a tiny coffee table standing by the couch and grabs a small, rectangular pack with the sign ‘Marlboro’ on it . “Anyway, what brings you here?” he asks while lighting up a cigarette.
“Well, sorry to disappoint you, but it seems you won’t get any days off during the winter holidays,” Soo Man simply states.
Leeteuk stills his movement. “What?” he asks with a frown and then glances at the man in front of him, a dark expression on his face.
“Yeah, I regret to inform you, but we had to cancel your leave of absence. You are going to take care of a new case…and…you have been assigned a new partner,” the division chief explains.
“You people just randomly cut down on people’s days off. Splendid,” Leeteuk states, the bite of venom in his voice. “And what the fuck do you mean by saying that I’ve been assigned a partner? I thought I made myself clear when I stated that I don’t wish to have a partner. Never again. Have you forgotten already?” he asks glaring at the other man.
“No, I haven’t forgotten,” Soo Man replies with a sad look in his eyes.
“I manage perfectly well on my own. I don’t need anyone else. And I sure as hell am not going to babysit some stupid rookie wannabe,” Leeteuk utters coldly.
“Uh, he didn’t seem eager to do this job and I don’t think you’ll have to babysit him...when the time comes, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean,” Soo Man says while glancing to the side, a peculiar expression on his face. “Anyway, he should be here soon. I asked Kyuhyun from the Drug Trafficking Division to bring him here. Why don’t you go refresh yourself for the time being?” the older man suggests.
“What? You think he’ll run away if I don’t shower?” Leeteuk asks while putting the cigarette out in the ashtray, which he had placed on the coffee table before he decided to take the nap. “Maybe I should do just that to get rid of him,” he muses aloud.
“Park Jungsu!” The division chief exclaims in indignation.
Around half an hour later, the door to the Criminal Investigation Department open and two men walk inside. Siwon, who is still sitting on the couch, glances at the two figures heading in the direction of Leeteuk’s office. Siwon recognizes the taller, raven haired man dressed in black to be Cho Kyuhyun, but the presence of the other male, the platinum blonde, is a puzzle for him. The two newly arrived men don’t even spare a furtive look at Siwon, or Kangin, who’s currently eating instant noodles for his breakfast.
“That Kyu bastard…still as arrogant as ever,” Kangin mutters when the two disappear behind the office door.
Seeing Kyuhyun and his companion, the division chief lifts himself up from the leather couch, which he’s been occupying for the last half an hour. “You’re finally here,” he says, a tiny tinge of excitement in his voice.
“Finally? I don’t remember being told the exact hour I was supposed to bring him here,” Kyuhyun states, a bored expression on his face.
“Uh, yeah…Anyway, you may go now,” Soo Man informs and Kyuhyun gives an almost non-existent bow of his head in the division chief’s direction before leaving the office.
Hyukjae-ssi, welcome to the Crime Investigation Department. I’m Lee Soo Man, the division chief, and this is Park Jungsu, your partner,” the head of the division explains pointing at himself and then motioning to Leeteuk, who is sitting at his desk and looking through some documents, a cigarette hanging from his mouth and a few water drops sliding down his neck from his damp hair ends. A few seconds pass and while the cigarette smoke slowly fills the room, Leeteuk still shows no signs of acknowledgement of the other two men, completely disinterested in the situation.
“Park Jungsu!” Soo Man exclaims and Leeteuk tosses the documents onto his desk and finally looks up.
“So, this is my new partner, huh?” he muses aloud while staring at the blonde with cold eyes. “What’s your name again?” he asks while casually leaning back in his chair.
“Lee Hyukjae,” the blonde replies staring right back at Leeteuk, his eyes just as cold.
The two men exchange dark, calculating looks for a few seconds before Soo Man decides to try and break the tense atmosphere.
“Ok, so you’ll be working together from now on. Hyukjae’s desk will be brought here a bit later today. I hope you two will get along and your work will be even more efficient,” the division chief says giving the two men an encouraging smile. “I’m off then,” he adds and soon walks out of the room, leaving the new partners alone.
Hyukjae stays silent and after a moment, he just walks to the black, leather couch and takes a seat, a bored expression on his face.
Leeteuk observes the blonde for a while before getting up from his chair. He approaches the other man with the documents that he was looking through when the two men entered his office. “Those are the documents concerning our new case. Familiarize yourself with them,” Leeteuk states throwing the pile of papers onto the blonde’s lap.
Hyukjae looks at the reports on his lap and then glances up at the other man, his expression unreadable.
“Be quick,” Leeteuk throws over his shoulder before returning to his desk and sitting on his chair. He resumes his smoking while staring off into space, a faraway look in his eyes.
After a few minutes, Hyukjae puts the documents aside. “What now? We go to her house?” he asks turning his head in his partner’s direction.
“No. First, we pay a visit to her family and friends to ask them some questions,” Leeteuk replies hoisting himself up from the sitting position and grabs his black coat that’s been hanging on the hallstand by the door.
Hyukjae stands up. “I left my coat at the Drug Trafficking division,” he says as he nears the door.
Leeteuk frowns. “Why would you leave it there? Kyuhyun was supposed to bring you here without delay so why did you stay there long enough to take your coat off?” he asks, not pleased in the least that they’ll have to waste time on going to the Drug Trafficking Department.
“They wanted to hear my opinion concerning one of their cases,” Hyukjae simply explains, rather unwilling to elaborate on the subject.
Leeteuk snorts irritably. “Ok, let’s go,” he says and the two leave his office.
“I still can’t believe that she’s dead,” Mrs Kang, the deceased girl’s mother, says in a quavering voice as she tries to hold back her tears.
Please, calm down, dear,” Mr Kang whispers and takes his wife’s hand in his in an attempt to calm her down, even if just a little bit, though he, himself, is equally shaken by their daughter’s death.
“Your daughter, Kang Maeri, was a famous model…did she have any enemies? Did she have altercations with anyone? Was she, by any chance, stalked?” Leeteuk asks in a calm voice. He and Hyukjae are in the dead woman’s house, sitting in the living room and questioning the family members.
“No…my little girl was always friendly, always cheerful…I don’t believe that anyone would want to hurt her,” Mrs Kang states quietly yet with conviction, her shaking shoulders a sign of impending tears.
Hyukjae watches Mr Kang hug his wife in support. The blonde’s eyes then fall on Min Young, the deceased girl’s younger sister. “Maeri’s friends claim that you were frequently arguing with your older sister…” he says.
“Min Young’s wet eyes flash with anger. “Are you implying that I killed my own sister?!” She exclaims standing from her seat in agitation.
“I’m not implying anything. I need to gather all necessary information to arrive at the truth,” Hyukjae simply states. “What were you arguing about with your sister?” He asks while calmly observing the girl in front of him.
Min Young glances at Leeteuk in hope that the other investigator will dismiss the question as being irrelevant. “Do I really have to answ-“ she starts, but is cut off by Leeteuks words.
“Please, answer the question,” he says firmly.
Min Young sits back down and lowers her head. “She…she was always…stealing my boyfriends…and I hated her for that…” she quietly admits, her cheeks turning crimson in embarrassment and shame. “But I would never do anything to harm her!” the girl exclaims bursting into tears.
Silence prevails for a few seconds and Hyukjae sighs. “Did you know that Maeri left all her assets to you?” he asks, looking at the girl.
“What?” Min Young glances at the blonde in confusion.
“Your sister stated in her will that she would like you to come into possession of all her assets,” Hyukjae explains, watching as Min Young’s expression turns from the puzzled one to a shocked one.
“That’s not all, Maeri had a rather huge life insurance and she chose you to be the beneficiary,” Leeteuk adds, also observing the crying girl.
“So our daughter really did…commit suicide?” Mr Kang asks, his voice slightly trembling.
“That’s the puzzle we’re trying to solve. She did leave the farewell letter; however, it is not enough to ascertain that she truly did take her own life away,” Leeteuk explains. “OK, I think we’re finished here. Thank you for your cooperation,” he says and lifts himself up from his seat.
Hyukjae glances at his partner and also gets up.
“I’ll walk you to the door,” Min Young says while hoisting herself up.
“There’s no need,” Leeteuk assures and the two investigators start walking towards the door, but then Hyukjae stops and glances at Min Young over his shoulder.
“As for those boyfriends of yours…perhaps your sister wanted to protect you from the bastards who would cheat on their girlfriend with her own sister,” the blonde says and then heads out the door, leaving Min Young on the floor with her face buried in her hands, a new wave of hot tears sliding down her cheeks.
Outside, Hyukjae blows on his cold hands to warm them up, his warm breath turning into vapour and disappearing in the cool air. Leeteuk observes his partner for a few seconds and ultimately decides to stay silent regarding the blonde’s words said to the deceased woman’s younger sister. Instead, he casually lights a cigarette.
“Her house now?” Hyukjae asks glancing at the ponytail man, his cheeks red due to the low temperature.
“Yeah…we’re going to Kang Maeri’s house now,” Leeteuk replies exhaling the cigarette smoke.
“So this is where she lived,” Leeteuk muses aloud while looking around the living room.
“Her body was found in the bedroom so I’m going to head there,” Hyukjae informs.
“All right. I’ll take a look at the other rooms then,” Leeteuk says and the two men split up.
Hyukjae ascends the stairs and pushes the white bedroom door open. His eyes carefully scan the bright, spacious room, all his senses heightened. After a few minutes, though, the blonde sits at the edge of the fluffy bed releasing a heavy sigh. “A suicide, huh?”
In another part of the house, Leeteuk enters the green tiled bathroom. The air inside is filled with a faint smell of antiseptic. He looks around the room and what catches his attention is the pink hairbrush laying on top of the luxurious washbasin. He wouldn’t spare the pink object a second glace if it wasn’t for the fact that there was a considerable pile of long, black locks tangled in it. Leeteuk then approaches the small bin standing next to the washbasin and glances at the visible contents, immediately noticing exactly what he’s been anticipating to find there. He then leaves the bathroom and heads to the bedroom where Hyukjae is sitting on the bed with a sad look in his eyes.
“You done here?” Leeteuk asks as he stands in front of the other man.
Hyukjae looks up and nods his head. “Yeah…” he replies with a sigh. “What now?” the blonde asks while getting up from the bed.
“First, there is something that needs to confirmed at Seoul Hospital and then we’ll take care of the paper work,” Leeteuk states.
“Can you go to the hospital by yourself? I must visit one place…” Hyukjae trails off, a serious and yet faraway look in his eyes.
Leeteuk studies his partner’s expression for a few seconds. “All right, you may go for now, but meet me at the office at 7,” he replies.
“She didn’t want anyone to know, not even her family…” doctor Han Geng, who is sitting at his black desk, explains in a sad voice. “She always had a wig and shades on to make sure that no one would recognize her,” he adds.
“How serious was her condition?” Leeteuk asks.
“She had a month to live at best. Maeri’s cancer was at first mostly inactive, however; recently it started to rapidly evolve despite our medical attention and soon it reached a highly advanced stage, not qualifying to be operated,” the man in the white gown explains.
“I see…Thank you for your time and cooperation,” Leeteuk says and soon leaves the baby blue consultation room.
Hyukjae arrives at his secluded destination with a bouquet of white lilies. He lays the flowers in front of the tombstone and takes a seat on the snow-covered grass. “Another year went by…mom. I miss you so much…” the blonde whispers, extending his hand and touching the cold stone with his bare fingers. “I miss your warmth…” he says, smiling sadly at the memory of his mother’s gentle care that he’ll never feel again. “You were the only one who accepted me the way I am…who loved me despite my accurst ability…” he continues in a quavering voice, tears slowly filling his eyes. “Father told me to never show my face in front of him ever again…He said he doesn’t want to have a creepy weirdo as a son…” Hyukjae says as the hot, salty liquid slides down his red, numb cheeks. “I guess love and affection are just not destined for me…” he whispers, tracing the cold, rough surface of his mother’s headstone, his words almost inaudible. A chilly gust of wind blows over his figure and Hyukjae shivers at the piercing coldness that envelops his body. “Mom…I’m so tired…” he says quietly and rests his head against the freezing surface of the gravestone.
Leeteuk glances at his watch and leans back in his chair. He’s 15 minutes late…what the fuck is he doing? he ponders in his mind while taking a sip of his black coffee. Just then he hears the sound of the door being opened.
“You’re late,” Leeteuk says in a harsh voice as he observes the other man.
“I’m sorry,” Hyukjae says, clearly having no intention of explaining the reason behind his tardiness.
Leeteuk takes notice of the blonde’s red eyes as well as his crimson nose, cheeks and frozen stiff hands. “What do you think about the case?” he simply asks, deciding not to demand any further explanation and to treat it as one of the extremely rare episodes of him being lenient and just let his new partner off.
Hyukjae takes his grey coat off and hangs it next to Leeteuk’s on the hallstand. “Maeri’s insurance money, will and quarrels with Min Young would indicate that the younger sister had a motive to kill the famous model. But she didn’t do it. It was a suicide. Though, I don’t have any evidence to support my claim,” the blonde states as he takes a seat at his new, wooden desk.
Leeteuk observes his partner for a few seconds while absentmindedly playing with his silver lighter. “You seem to be completely certain that it was a suicide…despite the lack of evidence…” he muses aloud, looking the other man in the eyes.
Hyukjae maintains the eye contact. “I see you weren’t informed about how I solve my cases…Don’t worry you’ll find out soon enough,” the blonde says, his voice having a rather bitter ring to it, his eyes cold and dull.
Leeteuk stays silent, just watching the other man. “As for the evidence…” he starts after a few seconds. “Maeri had only one month left to live, she had a malignant cancer which recently started to violently advance. She refused all the job offers, paid a year’s worth of rent for her parent’s apartment in advance, and went to the lawyer to make the will. The autopsy showed no signs of physical injuries, and there was no evidence of Maeri putting up a fight in her house. As it is, here is no reason to doubt the authenticity of Maeri’s farewell letter. All that’s left is to officially close the case and take care of the paperwork,” Leeteuk states.
Hyukjae slowly nods his head. “Let’s get it done, then,” he says, but before any of the two men manages to start on the task, one of the security employees enters the office.
“Excuse me, but there is a problem with the water pipes in the building so I’m afraid you need to leave for today,” the man informs.
Leeteuk leans back in his chair. “I guess we’ll have to do the paperwork at my house,” he says while running his hand through his hair.
“I see you like to…entertain yourself with your girlfriend…” Hyukjae comments dryly, his eyes on the black, lacy bra laying on one of the two dark violet armchairs in his partner’s living room.
“What girlfriend?” Leeteuk asks. “Oh, that? One of my one night stands must have left it,” he explains casually throwing the bra into the trash bin by the door. “I’ll be right back,” he says and leaves the room.
Hyukjae takes a seat at the dark violet couch, the comfy piece of furniture a matching set with the two armchairs.
Soon, Leeteuk reappears in the room with two mugs in his hands. “Here,” he says as he puts lemon tea in front of the blonde, on the black tiled coffee table standing in front of the couch, and then sits beside his partner while putting the mug of coffee in front of himself, next to the pile of documents.
Hyukjae glances at the other man’s dark, bitter drink and then at his lemon tea. He doesn’t comment on the choice of the beverages and instead, takes a sip of the hot liquid, which pleasantly warms his insides. “Thanks,” he simply states, enjoying the sweet taste of honey that the ponytail man must have added into his drink.
“Yeah, whatever. Let’s just get this done,” Leeteuk replies dumping half of the paperwork onto the blonde’s side of the table.
After what felt like eternity, Leeteuk is finally done with his part of the task. He yawns tiredly while falling back against the comfy couch, one of his hands running through his hair. He looks to his side and his eyes fall on the sleeping form of his new partner. The cigarette smoker sighs. He then glances at his watch to see that it’s 3 in the morning. ‘Well, no wonder that he fell asleep,’ he thinks to himself as he slowly takes the pen and the remaining documents to be filled from the blonde’s hands. As there is not much left to finish the other man’s share, Leeteuk quickly takes care of the unfinished reports. He leaves the paperwork on the coffee table and disappears from the room just to come back a moment later with a navy blue blanket in his hand. He gently lays the soft cloth over the slumbering man’s body, noting the peaceful expression on the blonde’s face, and soon vanishes from the room.
Hyukjae is woken up by the rays of light falling onto the couch through the half drawn blinds. He groans and blinks a few times to adjust his eyes to the brightness of the morning sun. The blonde looks around the unfamiliar room that he soon recognizes as his new partners living room. He slowly sits up, making the navy blue cloth fall from his chest and pool in his lap. ‘So he gave me his blanket…’ he thinks to himself while gazing at the soft fabric. He then remembers about the paperwork and glances at the coffee table to find the documents laying on top of it, the few of his remaining reports already done. Hyukjae rests his head against the couch and closes his eyes. ‘It was the first night in years that I actually managed to have a peaceful sleep…I almost forgot how pleasant that feels…’ he ponders in his mind, a small smile appearing on his lips. He decides to just sit comfortably for a while more before getting up and leaving his partner’s house, the neatly folded blanket staying on top of the couch.
About two hours later, Hyukjae enters his and Leeteuk’s office.
“Don’t take your coat off, we have a new case,” the ponytail man informs while lighting up a cigarette. He then gets up from his desk and, after grabbing his black coat, leaves the office with Hyukjae right behind him.
“Care to fill me in on the case?” the blonde asks while walking beside his partner, his eyes looking dully at what’s in front of him as the two men near Leeteuk’s pearl black Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
“The deceased was a young woman found in her apartment by the landlord, who wanted to ask her about the overdue rent as he didn’t receive any payment since last month. The body was lying in the bathtub filled with water to the brim,” Leeteuk explains while getting into the car.
Hyukjae slowly nods his head as he takes in the information. He sits in the passenger’s seat and the two men are soon on the way to the dead woman’s flat.
After about ten minutes, when Leeteuk is parking the vehicle on the parking lot, his cell phone starts ringing. The ponytail man shuts the engine down and fishes out the noisy device from his jeans pocket. “What is it?” he asks after punching the ‘accept’ button. “Yeah, yeah, stop nagging already,” he says while rolling his eyes. “Wait a sec,” he tells the person on the other line and turns to Hyukjae. “You go ahead, it’s the second apartment on the left,“ Leeteuk instructs and the blonde simply gets out of the car and heads in the said direction.
A moment later, Leeteuk ends the phone call and starts walking to the flat. On his way he hears other policemen exchanging nasty comments about someone.
“That weirdo is here,” one of the men says.
“Yeah, he’s really creepy, I don’t want him anywhere near me. I get goosebumps just looking at him!” the other replies, rubbing his shoulders for better emphasis.
“He’s a mental issue, I tell ya. At home he must drink some afternoon tea with all his dead, imaginary friends!” the first one snickers.
“Yeah, and I bet he must have hit his head against something real hard when he was little,” the second one derides.
Leeteuk gives the two a piercing glare. “Why don’t you say it to his face, huh? I don’t know who you’re talking about, but since you have some ridiculous issues you should just tell the other man directly, you fucking sissies,” he says darkly, eliciting a nervous, horrified expressions on the two policemen’s faces.
“Yes, you’re right, we’re sorry, Leeteuk-ssi,” one of them says, cold sweat breaking out on his skin, and the two panicked men hurriedly disappear from the ponytail man’s sight.
“Bloody morons,” Leeteuk mutters and seconds later, enters the ill-fated apartment. Inside, in the midnight blue tiled bathroom, the stench of the decaying corpse almost makes him puke. He notices the coroner taking pictures of the dead girl’s bare body, which is covered in wrinkles. The macerating skin is blanched and swollen. The drowned woman has her dull, dead eyes wide open and foam can be seen exuding from her mouth and nostrils.
Leeteuk nears the coroner. “What do you think?” He asks motioning to the corpse in the bathtub.
The other man sighs. “There are no visible signs of struggling, or of fighting with anyone. For now, it seems to be a suicide, but we can never be sure until we perform an autopsy,” he explains.
Leeteuk nods his head and steps aside, allowing the coroner to continue with his job. The ponytail man’s attention then moves to a small group of policemen whispering among themselves and pointing to their right. He follows their line of sight and his eyes fall on his partner, who is leaning against the wall with his arms wrapped in front of his chest and appears to be talking to himself. Leeteuk lights up a cigarette and walks up closer to the blonde, however; he doesn’t disturb the other man and instead, he just silently observes him.
“So you met him a month ago at the bar three blocks away from here…What was his name?” Hyukjae asks while looking at a particular spot on the other side of the room.
“He told you to call him Kiryeo…What about his age?” the blonde asks, staring at the spot.
“A university student writing his master’s degree in criminology…”Hyukjae mutters a few seconds later. “Did he tell you which university he attends?”
“He didn’t…ok, then describe his physical appearance,” the man instructs and shortly after, starts slowly nodding his head.
“All right, now tell me how all this happened,” the blonde says, his eyes fixed on the opposite wall.
After some time, Hyukjae sighs. “I see. I don’t have further questions,” he states and turns to leave, but at that moment he notices his partner who is observing him. “Go ahead, you can call me a freak and laugh all you want. I’m already used to it,” the blonde says tiredly, an air of indifference around him.
“And just why would I do that? I don’t care if you talk to the dead people’s ghosts, to yourself or whatever else. All I care about is for you to do your job well,” Leeteuk states, detecting a hint of surprise in the other man’s otherwise sharp eyes. “Ok, let’s get out of here,” the ponytail man suggests and, soon, the two men are in Leeteuk’s car again.
“So…how exactly did that woman die?” The cigarette smoker asks while driving to their office.
Hyukjae glances at his partner. “You want to hear it?” he asks.
“Isn’t that obvious?” Leeteuk replies.
“Not really…others don’t ask, they either assume that I’m mental or think of me as a spooky lunatic,” the blonde admits.
“Well, don’t group me with others. I’ll judge myself if you’re a nutcase or not,” the ponytail man states while watching the road in front of him as he drives. “Now, give me the details,” he adds shortly after.
Hyukjae smiles softly while absentmindedly watching the changing traffic lights. A warm, long-forgotten feeling engulfs him at the thought that there is someone apart from his deceased mother that accepts him for who he is, without creating any distance as if he were some infectious disease.
“She met him at a bar a month ago. He fascinated her, they met up a few times. Two weeks ago they went to a club together. She had two drinks and after the second one she became dizzy. He must have put something into it when she wasn’t looking. Then he offered to walk her home since she wasn’t feeling well. Indeed, she felt terrible so she agreed and they set off to her apartment. Just as they were in front of the flat, her vision got extremely blurry and in a matter of seconds darkness claimed her senses as she lost consciousness. When she woke up, she was in the bathtub, naked and completely numb. Panic flooded her mind, she tried to get out, but she couldn’t, her body was immobilized, her muscles didn’t even twitch. She was absolutely terrified and when the so-called Kiryeo started pouring cold water into the bathtub, soaking her exposed body, she wanted to scream, but she wasn’t able to. He was just watching with a wicked smile on his face as she was suffocating under the water surface, all her efforts to stay alive futile…” Hyukjae explains while pensively watching the road.
“We’ll get that bastard,” Leeteuk says darkly.
The rest of the day is spent on looking for any clues regarding the murderer’s whereabouts. The two partners searched their database, visited the bar as well as the club the victim went to with the man. They were showing the deceased girl’s picture and asking loads of people about a guy named Kiryeo, but they didn’t find anything.
“Tomorrow, we’ll take care of the universities that have criminology in their curriculum,” Leeteuk states and Hyukjae nods. “Where do you live? I’ll give you a lift,” the cigarette smoker offers while easing his car onto the main road lighted up by the street lamps as the blanket of darkness has already fallen over the world.
“You sure? I rent an apartment in the opposite part of town,” Hyukjae says.
“The day was rather draining, I’m pretty tired and I bet you are too. We have to get up early tomorrow, so instead of wasting your time on waiting for the nearest bus, I’ll just drive you home,” Leeteuk explains while pulling over and stopping the car at the red traffic light.
“All right, suit yourself. I live-“ the blonde begins but then his cell phone starts ringing. “Hello?” He answers. “…What? Renovation? At this hour?” He frowns. “You’re sorry? Ms landlady, am I by any chance the only tenant who you inform so late?” Hyukjae asks in a cold, piercing tone. “Enough, I get it,” he says and hangs up.
“What is it?” Leeteuk asks, putting the pearl black vehicle into motion when the light flashes green.
“The landlady that I rent an apartment from decided to renovate all her flats,” Hyukjae explains. “But it just so happens that she ‘forgot’ to inform me in advance,” he adds in a low vice, his expression eerily stony.
Leeteuk stays silent. He turns the left winker on and does a U-turn.
“Where are we going?” the blonde asks seeing that the other man drives in the opposite direction.
“To my house,” the cigarette smoker replies casually.
About twenty minutes later, the two men arrive at their destination.
“Why is it so cold in here?” Hyukjae asks upon entering the living room, his pale face expressionless.
Leeteuk walks up to the heater that is placed under the windowsill. “I guess it stopped working,” he states while touching the cold surface of the heating device. “Ok, so basically you have two options now. The first one is to stay and sleep here, which will probably end up with you not sleeping a wink because you’ll be trembling from the cold, and the second one is to just sleep in my bedroom,” Leeteuk states casually while lighting up a cigarette.
Hyukjae stares at the ponytail man. “It’s not really a choice now, is it?” he asks, a dull expression on his face.
Leeteuk exhales some cigarette smoke. “I guess it isn’t,” he says. “Unless you’re a freak who actually enjoys freezing his ass off,” he adds earning himself a glare from the other man. “Let’s go to my room then,” he suggests, already on his way to his bedroom.
Hyukjae complies since he’s pretty drained and just wants to sleep already.
After entering the room, Leeteuk walks up to his wardrobe and pulls out a crimson t-shirt and a pair of black pants. “Those will be your nightclothes,” he informs and throws the clothes for the blonde to catch. “And since hospitality is certainly not one of my personality traits, I’m showering first,” the ponytail man states and soon after, disappears behind the bathroom door.
“Jeez, what a surprise,” Hyukjae mutters sarcastically.
About ten minutes later, Leeteuk re-emerges from the bathroom. “Wake up!” he exclaims while kicking Hyukjae, who is slumbering on the bed with one of his legs still on the white, fluffy carpet, on the foot.
“What the hell?!” The blonde asks angrily as his eyes fall on Leeteuk, who has only an olive green towel wrapped around his waist.
“The bathroom’ s free,” the cigarette smoker simply informs, a few water drops sliding down his bare chest.
“Thanks for ‘gently’ waking me up, asshole,” Hyukjas says and soon after, leaves the room to take a quick, relaxing shower. When he reappears in the bedroom, Leeteuk is already under the black, satin sheets. The blonde silently walks up to the bed and slips under the soft comforter, maintaining some distance between himself and his partner.
“I hope you’re not the snoring type,” Leeteuk says before closing his eyes.
“Same to you,” Hyukjae replies while turning off the light and the two men soon fall into oblivion.
The next morning, Hyukjae is the first one to rouse from his dreamless sleep. With his eyes still closed, he sighs contently at how warm and comfy he is. When he decides to take a look at the surroundings, though, he becomes aware of the fact his head is laying on the cigarette smoker’s shoulder and that his face is dangerously close to the other man’s. However, he opts to dismiss all this in favour of remaining perfectly comfortable and pleasantly warm so he just readjusts himself a bit and drifts off to dreamland once more as having such a peaceful sleep is a rare privilege for him.
Leeteuk is woken up by a slight shift of pressure on his shoulder. He opens his eyes to examine the source of the weight and discovers that his partner is slumbering tranquilly while resting his blonde head on his shoulder. Leeteuk stares at Hyukjae for a moment thinking about how even his one-night-stands were denied the opportunity to cling to him, however, taking into consideration that it’s his partner who is currently invading his personal space, the cigarette smoker decides to just let it go this time. Besides, on such a cold winter morning, he rather enjoys the warmth that originated from their close proximity. Just as he manages to slip into oblivion again, the annoying ringtone of his cell phone successfully brings him back to the grey reality of the material world. “I should have fucking turned this bloody device off,” the cigarette smoker mutters begrudgingly and then lazily reaches out his hand to grab his ringing cell phone that’s vibrating on top of the oak nightstand table. As it just so happens, the wooden piece of furniture is on Hyukjae’s side of the bed so Leeteuk opts to lean heavily on the blonde to get the ringing thing.
“What the hell? Do you think you’re a lightweight?” the blonde asks, not in the least bit amused, but his question is ignored by the other man.
“Hello?” Leeteuk sleepily answers the call while tiredly laying his head in the crook of Hyukjae’s neck, clearly not intent on moving away. He simply stays on top of his partner.
Hyukjae just sighs and makes no effort to push the other man off of himself. His heart rate increases a bit, however, for he is definitely not used to being in such close proximity with other people and Leeteuk’s warm breath on the exposed skin of his neck doesn’t help either. Hyukjae’s face is perfectly expressionless, though.
“Where?” the cigarette smoker asks. “We’ll be there soon,” he states and ends the call laying the device on the pillow, a heavy sigh escaping his lips. “We have a new murder case,” he informs.
During their drive to the crime scene Leeteuk’s phone rings yet again. “Park Jungsu,” the cigarette smoker utters upon answering the call. “All right, thanks,” he says before disconnecting the connection.
Hyukjae glances at his partner. “What is it?” he asks.
“It turns out that the reason why the drowned girl couldn’t move and get out of the bathtub was because she was injected tubocurarine,” Leeteuk explains slowly as he watches the road in front of him. Hyukjae stays silent.
About 10 minutes later, the two partners arrive at the new crime scene, the Kobos Soeul Hotel. They enter the building and head to the room that the murder took place in. Upon entering, they are hit by the strong, sickening smell of blood that the air is filled with. To the left, a white wall is smeared with the red, vital fluid and in the middle of the room, on the beige carpet, there is a pool of blood. Leeteuk glances in the direction of the bed and sees a number of investigators and the coroner in his white, elastic gloves. When his eyes fall on the bed, the sight that greets his vision almost makes him puke. On the baby blue, blood stained bed sheets there lay the lifeless body of a dark haired girl who was stabbed a great deal of times in her lower abdomen…stomach…chest…thighs…But it’s not those puncture wounds that are nauseating. What is more sickening are the intestines that have been pulled out of her stomach, the chest that’s been ripped open and the eyes that’s been plucked out. The cigarette smoker glances at the expressionless face of his partner, who is also looking at the dead girl’s body. He observes the blonde for a few seconds before asking one of the nearby standing policemen about the details of the case.
“One of the cleaning ladies found the body about 6 in the morning. The victim was one of the staff members of the hotel. That’s all we know for now,” the man explains and Leeteuk slowly nods his head.
“Sorry guys, but I need more space,” The coroner says glancing at three idle policemen who rather have no particular reason to stay in the room.
Leeteuk turns to look at Hyukjae. “Let’s let the coroner do his work in peace. Let’s go for now. We’ll come back a bit later,” he states and Hyukjae nods his head in agreement.
The two men leave the room, but Leeteuk is held back by one of the other investigators.
“Is that your new partner?” the man asks while observing the receding blonde’s back.
“Yeah, so?” Leeteuk enquires with a bored expression on his face.
“Is he really as creepy as they say?” the men asks earning himself a glare from the cigarette smoker.
“Instead of listening to some useless gossip, why don’t you fucking check for yourself, you damn wimp?” Leeteuk says darkly, his piercing gaze causing the other man to break into cold sweat.
“Uh, yeah, stupid me,” the other investigator utters nervously while Leeteuk, with the corner of his eye, sees Hyukjae disappear behind the sixth door on the left.
“I’m gonna go now, bye,” the anxious policeman says and rapidly vanishes from Leeteuk’s sight.
The ponytail man then follows after his partner. He pushes the door open and finds himself in the hotel’s man’s room. The first thing that greets him upon entering are the heavy, ragged sounds indicating that someone is vomiting inside one of the 5 toilet stalls. He walks further inside the room trying to locate the source of the unpleasant noises and eventually, he leans his back against the door of the fifth stall. “So you’re not as strong as you want others to perceive you,” he states while lighting up a cigarette.
“Shut the fuck up, ok?” Hyukjae says as he collapses against the cold toilet bowl.
Leeteuk exhales some of the smoke and just stays silent as another wave of the ragged sounds fill the air.
After some time, the two partners reappear in the ill-fated room and notice that the body has already been taken away.
“Are you still able to talk to the girl’s ghost even if the body’s not here?” Leeteuk asks glancing at the blonde.
“Yeah,” Hyukjae replies. “But it seems that, temporarily, she’s unwilling to show herse-“ he suddenly cuts off and falls to his knees, his hands tightly clutching his head.
“What’s wrong?” Leeteuk asks kneeling in front of his partner and laying his hand on the other man’s shoulder, a worried look on his face. Hyukjae doesn’t respond and Leeteuk can feel the blonde’s figure shaking, piercing coldness radiating off of his body.
After a few seconds, Hyukjae stops trembling and the cool air around him disperses. “We need to hurry, he’s planning on killing another person,” he informs while quickly getting up to his feet.
“What? How do you know?” Leeteuk asks, slightly puzzled by the other man’s words.
“I’ll explain everything on the way. Let’s go,” the blonde says and the two men rapidly go out the door. “I see ghosts almost everywhere. At the street, in the bars, restaurants, hotels, company buildings, they even come to my apartment and disturb my sleep. Usually, their form is materialised, but sometimes they refuse to show themselves and then their presence can be sensed by the movement of the ice cold air. The brutally murdered girl from before is one of those ghosts that are unwilling to materialise so instead of showing herself to me, she touched me so that I could see what she saw and feel what she felt,” Hyukjae explains on their way to the pearl black car.
“You experienced the same excruciating pain as that stabbed girl?” Leeteuk enquires, tiny traces of worry showing on his face.
“The most profound pain appears in the head, the skull splitting headache is seriously unbearable due to all those images that appear in a matter of split seconds. As for the wounds of the flesh, the ache is mostly dulled. Apart from that, my body is pierced with deathly coldness when a ghost stays in contact with me,” Hyukjae says while getting into the vehicle.
“So what did you find out? And where am I to drive?” Leeteuk asks as he starts up the engine.
“To the empty warehouse 10 km away from Seoul,” the blonde informs. “Do you know where it is? Or should I navigate?” he asks while fastening his seatbelt.
“No need, I know where it is,” Leeteuk says as he puts the shiny Hyundai into motion.
“The murderer is the same guy that drowned the woman in the bathtub. Today’s victim met him at a club. She was drunk because her boyfriend recently broke up with her and she wanted to drown out the sorrow and just fall into the drunken stupor. Then the killer walked up to her and promised to take all her pain away and instead give her pleasure. She wasn’t thinking straight so she agreed and led him to the hotel for it was nearer then her house. In her drunken hebetude, she told him that the video cameras in the hotel are temporarily out of order because the system is under maintenance. Next, she took one of the room keys at random and they disappeared behind the closed door. Inside, he suddenly grabbed her from behind, covering her mouth to prevent the tiniest chance of her screams being heard by anyone. Then, he pulled out a knife and stabbed her in the left side of her lower back. She cried out in pain, but the sound was successfully stifled. Shortly after, she somehow managed to break out of his grasp, however, he quickly caught her again and slammed her against the wall, puncturing her in the stomach and chest till she slid down to the floor, unconscious,” Hyukjae explains, looking pensively at the traffic in front of him.
Leeteuk stays silent for a few seconds before turning to the blonde. “Ok, but how do you know that he’s going to kill another person in the warehouse?” he asks while concentrating on the road.
“While he was sadistically slowly stabbing her, he revealed everything to her, including all his plans for the future homicides,” Hyukjae unfolds and Leeteuk puts more pressure on the gas pedal, a dangerously dark expression on his face.
Upon arriving at the empty, rundown warehouse, the two partners quickly get out of the car and silently advance in the direction of the building, each holding a gun in their hands. Just as they walk up to the entrance door they hear the man’s voice.
“Aww…why are you looking like that? Your death will give me the much needed info that I’ll use to write my master’s thesis on how a human body decays in different environments,” the murderer says. “You should be proud of it,” he exclaims. “But then again, the terrified look in your eyes is not so bad either,” he laughs. “So should we start our research now?” the man asks in a playful tone and the two crime investigators immediately burst into the room, the smell of gasoline floating into their nostrils.
“It’s Seoul Special Crime Investigation Unit! Hold it right there!” Hyukjae exclaims looking at the man and nearing the petrified, covered in gasoline girl, who is gagged with a white piece of cloth and tied tight to a chair.
The murderer, who is holding a match in one hand and a matchbox in the other, glances from Hyukjae to Leeteuk and then slowly moves the match against the rough surface of the matchbox.
“Don’t even fucking twitch,” Leeteuk warns in a low menacing voice while pointing his gun at the twisted man and the killer ceases his movement.
“I don’t know how you two managed to find me and frankly, I even don’t care, but I won’t let you interfere with my research,” the man states and then glances at Hyukjae, who is untying the trembling girl. “But you know what? I fact, maybe I should thank you for coming here because now…I’ll be able to watch not only one but two bodies be consumed by the flames!” he exclaims while rapidly moving his hands to light up the match and throw it in Hyukjae’s direction.
Upon hearing a gunshot, Hyukjae quickly looks behind and sees Leeteuk holding his pistol aimed at the murderer who is clutching his thigh in pain, blood oozing out of his wound and slowly seeping through his trousers. Then the blonde’s gaze falls on the matchbox and the unlit match laying on the concrete floor. After freeing the girl, Hyukjae walks up to the murderer, who is moaning in pain, and pulls out his cuffs. “Kim Ryeowook, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law…” he recites while handcuffing the killer. Just then, a number of policemen bursts into the room.
“The backup arrived. As quick as lightning, as always,” Leeteuk says sarcastically.
At about 10 pm, the two partners walk into Leeteuk’s house.
“The heater in the living room is still broken as I didn’t have time for arranging any repairs so we’ll just share my room again,” Leeteuk informs as the two men enter his bedroom. “Anyway, I’m going to take a shower now and you…just do whatever pleases you,” the cigarette smoker informs and soon, disappears behind the bathroom door.
Hyukjae stares at the closed door for a moment before leaving the room and heading to the kitchen to grab something to drink. In the fridge he finds a bottle of mineral water. After taking a few swigs, his eyes fall on a small picture frame that’s standing on top of the turquoise kitchen counter. The picture inside the frame shows two smiling men one of which Hyukjae recognizes to be Leeteuk. The other man has raven hair and is showing the peace sign with one of his small hands. Suddenly, the blonde feels a whiff of chilly air coming from behind him.
“Truthfully, it was pretty weird that while being here for two nights not a single ghost came to find me. But I guess two nights are all I’m going to get in terms of a peaceful sleep, huh?” Hyukjae says and then turns around to face the dematerialized guest. The blonde is rather surprised when he sees the unknown man from the picture standing right before him.
“Uh, sorry for appearing out of the blue, but I wanted to meet you. You’re Leeteuk’s new partner, right?” the ghost asks, smiling gently at the blonde.
“Yeah…and you are…” Hyukjae trails off.
“Oh, sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Kim Jongwoon, but just call me Yesung. I’m Leeteuk’s previous partner,” the translucent man explains.
“Then…how did you…” the blonde starts.
“Die?” Yesung finishes. “Well...when we were trying to get the paedophile who raped and killed a little boy I didn’t wait for Leeteuk and tried to catch him on my own…I bet you can figure out the rest of the story,” he says with a sad smile on his face. “Anyway, the reason why other ghosts don’t impose themselves on you while you’re in here is partially because of Leeteuk’s aura which repels evil spirits, and partially because this house is under my protection,” Yesung explains with a grin.
Hyukjae just stares at the raven haired man, the new information slowly sinking in.
“And since it’s like that, you should crash at Leeteuk’s place as often as you possibly can,” Yesung says, a smirk playing on his lips.
“What the?” Hyukjae asks while looking into the other man’s amused eyes.
“Nothing. I’m just glad that it’s you who became Leeteuk’s partner. You two fit each other well,” Yesung says and Hyukjae quirks an eyebrow.
“Me and Leeteuk? Are you sure you didn’t mistake us with someone else? Our relationship isn’t really all that great,“ the blonde states.
Yesung chuckles. “Anyway, it was really nice meeting you, Hyukjae,” the ghost utters, his figure slowly fading.
“Yeah…you too,” the blonde replies just before the raven haired man disappears. Hyukjae then walks back to Leeteuk’s room and sees that the cigarette smoker is already slumbering so he slips into the bathroom to take a quick shower. After about 10 minutes, the blond re-emerges from the steam-filled room and crawls under the black, satin sheets, quickly drifting off to sleep.
After about three hours of the sweet oblivion, Hyukjae, who has been sleeping on his side, is woken up by a pair of hands that are travelling up his t-shirt-clad chest. “What the?” he mutters drowsily while blindly trying to get rid of the exploring fingers. His eyes crack open, though, when one of the hands slips under the fabric of his red shirt. “What the hell are you doing?!” he exclaims, glancing back at Leeteuk, who is lying right behind him with his eyes closed, his chest touching the blonde’s back. “Leeteuk!” Hyukjae vociferates while trying to move away from the other man’s hold, but the cigarette smoker doesn’t let him escape and instead, he continues his exploration of the blonde’s body. Hyukjae can’t help the moan that escapes his lips when the other man’s hand caresses his bare, sensitive skin. “Stop, damn it!” Hyukjae yells in frustration and looks at his partner’s face once more. Then the blonde’s expression becomes that of anger mixed with surprise. “He’s fucking asleep!” he exclaims. Shortly after, he feels Leeteuk’s lips on his nape and Hyukjae is unable to hold back the low groan of pleasure that leaves his mouth. “You fucking asshole!” he bellows.
A loud voice wakes Leeteuk up from his naughty dream. His eyes widen when his cloudy mind finally registers just what activity his hands have been engaged in. But then, his expression darkens when he remembers just what exactly his partner’s words were. ‘Me? A fucking asshole? Since I’m so bad why don’t I play a bit?’ he thinks to himself and then buries his head in the crook of the blonde’s neck, kissing and sucking on the sensitive skin. He smirks when he hears the other man trying to stifle a moan. Leeteuk then slides his palms up Hyukjae’s bare chest and lets his skilled fingers play with the other man’s nipples, enjoying the small pleasure sounds that escape his partner’s lips. Intent on teasing the blonde some more, he slides his wet tongue over the other man’s earlobe, which elicits a shiver to run down Hyukjae’s spine.
“Damn you, Leeteuk,” the blonde pants out, the cigarette smoker’s hot breath on his skin and gentle and yet sensual caresses all over his upper body slowly driving him crazy.
Leeteuk trails kisses down Hyukjae’s neck to ultimately attach his moist lips to the blonde’s shoulder, licking, sucking and grazing the warm, smooth skin with his teeth. Hyukjae moans quietly and Leeteuk releases a throaty groan at the sinfully erotic sound. Before he knows it, he lets one of his hands travels down the blonde’s lean stomach and lower abdomen, the cigarette smoker’s fingers sliding along the elastic band of the other man’s pants. When his fingertips start slowly slipping under it, Hyukjae’s hand quickly prevents them from going any further and Leeteuk returns to his senses. ‘Just what was I about to do?’ he thinks to himself as he gradually retracts his hand from the blonde’s pelvic area. ‘It looks like it’s going to be a pretty complicated partnership’ he ponders in his mind while gently hugging the blonde before drifting off into sleep.