Contributors: @moonmangyu for YET ANOTHER stupendous moodboard I’m - sigh.
Pairing: You / Baekhyun
Rating: 18+ (explicit sex, virgin sex, sex where the main method of birth control is pulling out, cum play)
Word Count: 13,992
Summary: In the roaring 20′s, America is a place full of change. Alcohol is illegal, women have recently secured the right to vote and new waves of crime are now sweeping the nation. Private Investigator Baekhyun has vowed to fight back – until he finds you on your soapbox, and everything changes. (mafia!AU / 1920′s AU / detective!AU)
• Baekhyun •
Fingers curled around a brown, paper package, Baekhyun hovers at the edge of the doorway and wonders what in the roaring hell he’s doing. It’s exhausting, pretending to be someone you’re not – but then, this is what Baekhyun is good at and this is the only way he’s decided to help. Baekhyun isn’t the kind of man to go back on his word.
Peering around the brick wall of the building, Baekhyun scans the alley before him. Alley is perhaps not the right word – this city was planned poorly, there’s not much space between venues and the street before Baekhyun serves as both pathway and sewer. Wrinkling his nose, he glances up at the sky; it looks as though it might rain, which would be good, given the city is a cesspool this late in the summer. This part of town is filled with a variety of scents, sights and sounds best avoided altogether.
Although – if it does rain and the package in his hands gets wet, Baekhyun is screwed. Exhaling wearily, Baekhyun pulls his cap lower and steps out in the street. Adopting the slouched walk of a tired man, he shuffles to the end of the alley – rolling his neck, to ensure no one is following. When he sees no one, he continues, turning to the right and blending onto the Main Street.
The first lane is pure chaos, like most things are in this city. Model T’s honk blaringly, attempting to move around befuddled policemen, all the while vendors shout deals from their street corners. A low, hazy smog is settled over the buildings, concealing the tops of skyscrapers above from his view. Paused on the corner, Baekhyun observes a nearly eighty- story contraption which went up only recently. It still seems such a miracle that such things can exist – then again, modern life is equal parts miracle and hell, Baekhyun has found to be true.
It was barely three years prior, the war ended – if you look around the city, signs of this are still everywhere. It can be observed in each expression Baekhyun passes, seen in the devil-may-care attitude of the flappers and gangsters. It seems as though God has forsaken this world, and so the world has forsaken their Gods. Not Baekhyun, though.
Baekhyun missed the fighting by a few months, at most. He’d just become old enough to enlist, was training to go overseas when news of the great Armistice came. It was exceptional, of course, the fact that more lives would be spared but Baekhyun couldn’t help but feel lost, as though he’d missed his opportunity to help. On his train ride home to Middle-of-Nowhere, Nothing; Baekhyun stared out his window and grew more and more agitated – before he stood up abruptly, to push his way down the aisle.
He’s lived in this city ever since. If Baekhyun can’t help his country in one way, he’ll help it in another. Which has led to the events of today, strolling through intersections and attempting to remain inconspicuous. By now, Baekhyun is good at all this – he’s had over a year of experience, being undercover. Because that’s what Baekhyun is, despite all appearances: he is Byun Baekhyun, private investigator – for hire by either company or law. Presently, his employer is the United States of America, a contract entered into last year at the bequest of his boss.
The Volstead Act – or Prohibition, as it’s more commonly known – was enacted hastily, without much foresight or planning, and when the laws went into effect, they didn’t enough officers to enforce it. It led to the contracting of PI’s like Baekhyun; many, many men who work for hire like him. The package Baekhyun holds in his hands is cash – cold, hard cash owned by a very influential family; a family for whom Baekhyun is currently a runner.
Shivering, despite the sweltering temperature of the air, Baekhyun looks around once more turning down onto a street. This alleyway is darker, its doorways shrouded in shadow but Baekhyun knows there are people watching him inside. It’s par for the course, in neighborhoods like this, ones on the edge of society without the respect of the law. Here, there are different rules, other rulers as well.
Careful not to look either way, Baekhyun continues on towards his destination at the end – a door painted black, a different color than last time. Baekhyun is a runner for them, the lowest in any crime organization. He’s merely a ground soldier (albeit a trusted one) but in order to crack this case, he needs to be more. The higher-ups still elude him and Baekhyun has yet to see the face of a single Capo. That’s his mission, to get their faces, their names and turn them into the government. It’s not that the mafia didn’t exist before Prohibition; it’s just that they’ve grown much stronger since. The illegal sale of alcohol is a lucrative business and the families who are smart enough rake in a profit accordingly.
Turning a corner, Baekhyun sees the door shut before him. His stomach sinks at the sight, since it means his ambitions will have to wait a while longer – an open door means come in, a closed one means nothing. Nothing has changed, so Baekhyun exhales and continues. The drop location is on the side of the house, where rests a large, metal box with a lock and a key. Only certain people have this key, Baekhyun is one of them and after pausing to unlock it, Baekhyun deposits the cash.
That’s all he does. This is where his involvement ends.
In a few days time, Baekhyun will receive another message pushed behind the mailbox on 5th Avenue. It will describe another location and time, Baekhyun will perform another drop and this trend will continue until he’s deemed trustworthy enough for the door to be open. This is the day Baekhyun craves, because all he needs is one look, all he needs is one face and his contract will be fulfilled.
Walking away, Baekhyun adjusts his cap lower and sticks both hands into his pockets. People won’t stop him, if they can’t see his palms – these people are smart, since Baekhyun’s palms aren’t entirely empty. The handle of a Colt M1911 is easily grippable through the hole in his trousers, it’s cold metal hard against the shape of his leg. Baekhyun smiles at this, feeling untouchable. No one knows who he is, no one has even gotten close, and it’s only a matter of time before –
“EACH ONE OF YOU IS BLIND AS A BAT!”
Head jerking upwards, Baekhyun nearly stumbles stepping into the street. Before him is a woman, perched alone on her soapbox on the street corner. She glares at everyone who walks by, shaking her fist when no one dares to respond.
“Even now,” she gasps, hair tumbling out of her chignon. “There are states which haven’t ratified the Nineteenth Amendment! States where law enforcement doesn’t abide by federal law, women are still being turned away from the polls, and –”
“Well, why don’t you go and tell the people in those states?” chortles a man, walking past.
Muffled laughter follows and the woman scowls, hiking up her skirt. “Because,” she huffs, “the crux of federal government is closer to here, and if you – ah! How rude, to just ignore my response, as though I don’t exist! As though I don’t matter! Oh, I never – you, you sir!”
Baekhyun is somewhat startled, realizing she’s talking to him.
• Y/N •
Returning your gaze, the man scans his surroundings. “Who – me?”
“Yes, you,” you respond, arching a brow. “Do you see another person I’m pointing at?”
The corner of his lip quirks, which is quickly smoothed away. “I suppose not.” He seems resigned to this conversation now, taking a careful step forward. “How may I be of service?”
Blinking, you stare because you didn’t expect him to be so amenable. Truthfully, you’ve been standing on this street for far too long already. The sun overhead is hot, certainly not helped by your many layers of clothing. Not out of modesty, but necessity – if you dress in the fashionable hems of today, men of power tend not to take you seriously. Pushing a strand of hair behind one ear, you survey the man standing before you.
He’s slim, the wiry sort of muscle you’ve always admired. His build speaks of agility, rather than bulk and just as you think this, you notice the alley he came from. Ah. You chose this location on purpose, since many people pass by, but you also know there’s a risk – the street he just left could be called less than reputable. Taking in the man’s appearance once more, you note the soot on his pants – likely from a factory and all the ones closest are associated with alcohol.
Looking away, you rearrange your skirts to step down from your platform. “Thank you,” you allow, shaking your head. “I have no need of your service though, good day.”
Rather than move aside for you to pass, the man arches a brow. “Ouch.”
Ignoring this, you bend to pick up your soapbox. “Life is pain,” you return. “Get used to it, soldier.”
“How... did you know I was a soldier?”
Wincing, you look up – the man seems surprised, his gaze locked on your own. “I,” you hesitate, weighing the wood in your palms. “It’s 1921. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination, to assume you were a soldier.”
The man’s brow lowers, though he doesn’t seem convinced. “Horse crap,” he sighs.
You gape. “Excuse me?”
Taking another step forward, the man pushes up on the brim of his hat. His eyes are interesting, you realize – dark and expressive, in contrast to the delicate lines of his face. “A fair statement,” he admits, “but spoken with the confidence of a fact, not a guess. Do I... know you?” he asks, suddenly curious.
“No,” you respond, hefting your box even higher. “You do not.”
The man reaches out, securing the weight in your arms. “Here, let me help –”
“No, no, no,” you blurt out, whirling around so he can’t grab hold. “I like carrying this box! It makes me feel strong, able to punch men who try stealing my things!”
His hand freezes, lip twitching in response. “Oh,” he chuckles, withdrawing his arm. “I see. My mistake, I would never dream of leaving a lady unarmed.”
Behind you, men and women rush past but no one seems to notice, nor care about your conversation. It’s odd, you note – though the man speaks to you flippantly, his eyes remain serious. This is the location you’ve taught yourself to look, when it comes to men’s truthfulness. Anything can be said with the lips, it’s harder to lie with your thoughts and your eyes. People say that the eyes are windows to the soul, after all.
“It’s the way you stand,” you inform, returning to the man’s original question. “My brother was trained as a soldier and I recognized the stance.”
Glancing down at his feet, the man shifts. “I see. You said... was,” he hesitates, looking back up. “Does this mean your brother is no longer with us?”
Slowly, you shake your head. “He perished in the Great War.”
“I see,” the man whispers, shared sadness echoed in his eyes. “You have my sympathy, along with my condolences.”
“Thank you,” you nod. “Though there are many who lost someone.”
“Indeed,” he admits. “That doesn’t mean it makes the grief of the living any less.”
“True,” you allow, somewhat softer this time.
Shifting your weight again, you wish that this man had not come from that alley. He seems a reasonable sort – perhaps even more so, based on his answers – but there’s nothing you can do for him, if he’s fallen in with the wrong crowd. It’s impossible to save every lost cause; this is something you know of firsthand.
Silence passes between you, though neither one of you makes an attempt to leave. It’s one of those rare moments which could mean something, if you were entirely different people. Perhaps you’re oversimplifying it, but most of the men from that alley are not men you can trust. They’re criminals, low-lying swindlers who would be only a burden to your cause. It’s difficult enough to be heard, born into a body like this one – any hint of corruption would further ruin your message.
You should leave, rid yourself of this man’s influence – and yet, you don’t.
“I’m Baekhyun,” he offers, with a tilt of his head. “Byun Baekhyun.”
It seems rude not to respond, so you hold out your hand. “Y/N,” you respond. “Y/N Y/L/N.”
Accepting your glove, Baekhyun lowers his head until his lips brush the silk. “A pleasure,” he informs, glancing upwards.
You shiver, entirely contradictory to the weather and find yourself alarmed by how easily he’s entered your system. Yanking your hand upwards, you adjust your grip on the box. “It was lovely meeting you,” you inform. Then you turn, walking determinedly away.
Baekhyun doesn’t move, he lets you leave while standing still on the sidewalk. When you turn around at the end of the block, he’s already gone, making you think you were right in your initial assessment. Baekhyun, whatever his intentions were, is more than what he seems. He’s used to disappearing, as are you – which means a relationship between you would never work.
Still, you look over your shoulder several times hurrying back to your home.
• Baekhyun •
Baekhyun blends into the crowd, watching you meander towards the end of the street. He smiles when you look over your shoulder and once he’s certain you’re gone, he walks in the opposite direction. Mostly because this is the way he intended to go and partly due to your odd sense of perception – the more space between the two of you, the better.
He remembers the way your eyes narrowed, at the cut of his clothing – but it wasn’t the cut you noticed, he saw, it was the soot along the hem. That’s not something most people see, much less put together with the truth. You did, though and then, there was the matter of his walk. In the entire year Baekhyun has been undercover, no one has asked if he’s spent time in the army.
Glancing over his shoulder, Baekhyun can’t shake the feeling something important just happened. You stick out in his mind, the exact kind of distraction he has no time for – Baekhyun is on a very tight schedule, has very specific goals to account for. There’s no time to be distracted by the presence of a much-too-perceptive suffragist; no matter how attractive they might be.
Pushing open the door of a low, brick-walled garden, Baekhyun walks up to the center of another, nondescript house. Ringing the bell, he looks once again at the street and sees no one of consequence. “Lord,” Baekhyun grunts, when the door flings open. “Don’t do that to me, in the future.”
“You rang the bell,” Minseok informs, before turning around. “It was hardly a surprise that I answered, Baekhyun.”
Stepping into the house, Baekhyun quickly shuts the door. “It’s Private Investigator Byun, to you. Let’s keep things professional in the office, yes?”
“Noted,” Minseok calls, disappearing through the door at the end. Baekhyun follows, hanging both hat and coat on a hook as he enters. The carpet is green, older than the wood floor it’s laid on – a tread which was bought overseas, delivered special to the man who owns this townhouse.
The room their agency rents here is small, barely enough room for the two desks and an office. Minseok looks up when Baekhyun enters, smiling smugly when Jongdae yells from his office.
“Baekhyun! Get your tiny, rat’s ass back here.”
Minseok seems delighted by this, which only serves to irritate Baekhyun further, pushing open the door. Jongdae faces away, feet propped on a filing cabinet while staring out at the courtyard. A cigar rests between the crook of his fingers, smoke drifting out the open window before him.
“Shut the door, Baekhyun.”
Baekhyun obeys, ignoring Minseok’s sniggering from out on the floor. “Yes, boss?” he asks, turning aroun to face the music.
Setting his feet down on the floor, Jongdae swivels his chair. “Take a seat,” he sighs, rubbing a temple with his non-smoking hand.
Picking his way past clutter, Baekhyun wrinkles his nose at the constant state of disarray. For such an immaculate human, Jongdae truly is a mess – organized chaos, he calls it. Paper litters his desk, sheets are crumpled over by the window, but ask Jongdae to find any file and he’ll do it within minutes.
Lowering himself into a chair, Baekhyun tries to relax. “How are things?”
“Shut up,” Jongdae groans, blowing smoke from his lips. “Unless the next words out of your mouth are, ‘I’ve cracked the case, boss,’ I don’t want to hear it.”
Sinking even lower, Baekhyun doesn’t respond. Those would not be the next words from his mouth, so it’s best to say nothing.
Jongdae exhales, unbuttoning the top button of his waist coat. “Look,” he mutters, waving his cigar. “I like you, Baekhyun. You know that I do.”
“Do I know that, though?”
“Shut up twice,” Jongdae responds, though he doesn’t seem perturbed, flicking ash into his tray. “That’s twice now, you’ve interrupted me. Three strikes and you’re out, Baekhyun – do you watch baseball? Terrific game, just terrific; I hear it’s going to take off in Europe any day now.”
Baekhyun doesn’t respond to this, nodding while remaining steadily mute. This is a fact he strongly doubts, considering most of Europe is currently rebuilding the trenches. But sure – baseball, any day.
Sighing again, Jongdae stares at his youngest investigator. “My admiration for you only goes so far, Baekhyun. At the end of each month, I send a report on our progress to the government. It becomes more and more difficult,” he explains, “to note Minseok’s numerous successes and your continued failure.”
Shifting uncomfortably, Baekhyun still doesn’t speak. It’s hard to justify this with himself as well, if Baekhyun is being honest. Kim Minseok is one of the best and a constant pain in his ass – he closes a case per month like clockwork and while, yes, none are as difficult as Baekhyun’s, it’s still a hard fact to consider.
Jongdae leans forward. “I can’t keep them off you forever, you know. Ah,” he exhales, seeing Baekhyun’s confused expression, “you can answer, now.”
“Thank you,” Baekhyun coughs. On his life, he’ll never understand the fascination people have these days with smoking – just being around it makes his throat feel parched, lips too dry. “Just two more months, I swear. I’ll have a name for you by then, Jongdae.”
“Excuse me if I don’t believe you – I’ve heard this all before,” Jongdae responds, examining the back of his hand.
“Then,” Baekhyun returns, visibly frustrated, “what do you want from me?”
“Results would be good,” Jongdae yawns. “Money would be better.”
Baekhyun winces, since money is one thing he doesn’t have – he’s a runner; he transports cash, he doesn’t earn it. “I don’t have money,” he informs, leaning in. “This kind of operation takes time, Jongdae. I need to prove myself to the family, gain their trust – why would they trust me now?” he blurts out, angry. “I need to prove my value before they let me in.”
“Minseok is minutes away from cracking the White Hand Gang.”
“I – what?” Baekhyun blinks, stopping dead in his tracks.
The White Hand Gang is a rival to la Cosa Nostra. Just as formidable, just as feared and if Minseok cracks them before he can his – stomach sinking, Baekhyun grips the edge of the table.
“That’s right,” Jongdae nods, noticing his response. “Minseok says he has a lead on the inside.”
Pulling his lower lip between his teeth, Baekhyun mulls this over because fuck, he can’t let this case be taken away from him. It’s his mystery, dammit and he’ll be the one who solves it. “I have a lead as well,” Baekhyun insists, which prompts Jongdae to frown.
“Interesting,” he muses, putting out his cigar. “Why didn’t you tell me this before, Baekhyun? Why only now, after I told you of Minseok’s?”
“Because it’s confidential,” Baekhyun returns, narrowing his eyes. He’s shitting out of both holes right now, but it doesn’t really matter, so long as Jongdae believes him. “I can’t explain any more than that, it’s too risky. Just know that I’m close, okay? I swear it.”
Jongdae leans back in his chair, still dubious. “How did you meet this mysterious source?”
Hesitating, Baekhyun looks around – and spots a hanging, white pendant on the wall. “She’s a suffragette!” he declares, thinking back to the events of today.
Jongdae’s eyes widen, leaning in. “No shit,” he breathes, clearly considering the option. “Are you serious, Byun? You’re royally fucked, if you aren’t.”
Nodding weakly, Baekhyun’s thoughts shift to you. “She’s a suffragette,” he confirms, “but she has ties to the mafia. It’s why I can’t tell you her name – she’s on the run because she managed to escape them.”
“Huh,” Jongdae settles back, arching a brow. “Well,” he chuckles, “if that’s so, you’ve got yourself another two months. That’s a story I can spin to higher-ups, you hear?”
Somewhat dazed by this turn of events, Baekhyun manages to stand up from his chair. “Yeah,” he nods, pushing a hand through hair. “It sure is. We good here, boss?”
“Sure, sure,” Jongdae grins, waving his hand at the door. “You get out there and solve me this case, Baekhyun. I want to know every son-of-a-bitch in that joint. We’re taking them down!”
Fuck, Baekhyun thinks as he exits the room. He’d like to know every son-of-a-bitch in this joint as well. Pulling the door shut, Baekhyun hears Jongdae laughing behind him and knows he’s in trouble. If he can’t find answers in the allotted two months, Baekhyun is finished. He’s not just fired, he’s done because no one will ever hire a PI that’s been blacklisted by Jongdae.
“You alright, there?”
Kim Minseok’s voice makes Baekhyun’s head turn. “Piss of,” he mutters, grabbing his coat and shoving into the hall. Minseok laughs, re-burying his head in his work and it takes only a few, long strides, before Baekhyun has left him behind.
Pushing open the front door, Baekhyun tugs on his coat. There’s already a chill to the air, meaning it won’t be much longer until the days start getting cold. Much like this case, Baekhyun reckons, stepping into the garden. If he can’t find a way to make the mafia trust him before his two months are up – well, to quote Kim Jongdae, Baekhyun is royally fucked
• Y/N •
“Y/N,” Brigitte exhales, blowing hair from her eyes. “I don’t know how you can stand to wear your skirts so long in the summer.”
Offering up a shrug, you lift your parasol higher. “It’s not so bad, compared to what we wore in our youth.”
“Well, true,” Brigitte agrees, falling into step beside you. “That’s not hard, considering my bathing costume used to have more fabric than this dress,” she laughs, gesturing to the fabric.
You laugh at this, twirling your umbrella as you walk. All around, families are taking advantage of these last, muggy few weeks of summer. Women lounge on the grass; a group of boys play some sort of ball game in the field, while well-dressed ladies and gentlemen stand near the drink cart. This is where you’re headed, Brigitte’s newly fashioned dress swinging just below her knees as you walk. It’s slightly alarming, how much skin is on display but this is the style, you remind yourself. This is the feeling associated with change for the better – alarm, followed by acceptance.
“Bathing costumes,” you grin, shaking your head. “More clothing was put on, than taken off.”
“Indeed,” Brigitte nods, curls bobbing wildly. “Oh,” she gasps, grabbing hold of your elbow. “Y/N, that’s Mr. Wilson – no, don’t look! Do you think that he saw us?”
Tilting your parasol, you peer underneath the fabric. “I don’t know,” you admit, trying not to move your lips with the words. “He’s – oh, drat. He saw, he’s heading this way.”
The aforementioned Mr. Wilson sees and waves, setting down his drink to walk quickly over. He adjusts his collar, waving goodbye to a friend and Brigitte lets out a yelp, whirling sideways. “No,” she hisses, fanning her face. “He can’t see me like this, I have a pimple on my chin.”
Hiding a smile, you shake your head. “I don’t think he cares about that, Brigitte. Mr. Wilson wouldn’t care if you had a pimple on your –”
“Hello, Mr. Wilson!” Brigitte blurts, interrupting your joke.
Turning, you lower your parasol and smile. “Hello, Mr. Wilson.”
“Y/N,” he nods, looking only at Brigitte. “Hello, Brigitte.”
Flushing furiously, Brigitte nods when you look up at the sky. “Well,” you allow, unwinding an arm from her elbow. “I would love to stay and chat, but I simply must be going. There’s an appointment I have with my tailor I can’t miss.”
“Oh?” Brigitte returns but when she makes a grab for your arm, you step subtly away. “I don’t recall such an appointment.”
“Brigitte,” you simper. “You aren’t my schedule keeper. Good day, Mr. Wilson,” you apologize, curtseying. “Will you do me the favor of seeing Ms. Powell home?”
“It would be an honor,” he agrees, looking deliriously happy. The two have been flirting for several months now, though neither of them is bold enough to make the first move.
“Good,” you nod, tugging on your glove to ensure its in place. “Brigitte, I shall see you tomorrow. Mr. Wilson, I hope you have a good day.”
Walking away down the path, you can’t help but notice that neither one of them stops you. That’s all they needed – a push in the right direction, since both are too stubborn to admit that they care. Caught up in dreams of matchmaking, you don’t notice the chaos around you until it’s nearly upon you.
“MOVE! OUT OF THE WAY!”
Head jerking sideways, you see a bicyclist barreling on – they’re riding pell-mell down the path, giving practically no time for you to jump out of the way. Cobblestones give way when you move and you crash to your knees, ankle twisting in protest. Cursing colorfully, you forget where you are and when you look up from the ground, a man stares back at you, appalled.
“Suffragette,” he mutters, gripping the arm of his wife and dragging her quickly away.
Though this is embarrassing, the wound to your pride doesn’t hurt so much as your ankle – hissing in protest, you extend your leg to examine.
“I’m sorry,” someone gasps, outstretching a hand. “Can I help you to your feet?”
Glancing up, you meet the gaze of none other than Byun Baekhyun. He seems surprised as well, eyes widening when he recognizes your face. A bicycle is leaned awkwardly against him, the same one which almost ran you over.
Eyes narrowing, you push yourself shakily upwards. “Ah,” you gasp, when you place weight on your ankle.
“Hell,” Baekhyun mutters, bicycle clattering uselessly aside as he darts forward to help.
“I’m fine,” you insist, though you don’t push him away. Baekhyun’s arm slips around your waist, carefully placed so he can hold you up without being fresh. “I,” you flush, looking down. “Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it,” he returns.
Turning to look at him, you realize how close he is. Close enough to see the separate lashes on his cheek, a sheen of sweat on his brow – leftover from bicycling, which reminds you that you’re angry. “You,” you huff, shoving his arm. “You nearly killed me!”
Baekhyun’s eyes widen. “That seems extreme,” he counters. “Although you did fall, which is why I came back – I’m sorry.”
“I didn’t fall,” you protest, cheeks heating. “I just stumbled, a bit.”
“You ate dirt,” Baekhyun responds, oddly cheerful. “It was my fault though, so I continue to apologize.”
“Yes. Well,” you exhale, shifting your weight. People around you are starting to look. “No harm done. I really should go.”
The second you place weight on your foot, your leg buckles beneath you.
“Ah,” you gasp, grabbing his arm. Baekhyun’s hands finds your own, accidentally pushing your sleeve up in the process. For a moment you both stare, frozen by the sight of the mark on your wrist.
“Is... that,” Baekhyun exhales. He stares, eyes wide, at the thin line of writing revealed by the motion – a name on your wrist, that of a family.
Quickly, you pull down your sleeve to conceal this from view. “It’s nothing,” you hasten. “A stain, perhaps from the ink of my clothing.”
Baekhyun’s gaze remains focused, though. “But your dress is red, Y/N. The stain was black.”
“Yesterday’s dress,” you respond, hardly missing a beat.
His gaze moves upwards, finding your own. “Who are you, Y/N?” he asks curiously.
This makes you freeze. Truthfully, you don’t have an easy answer to the question. You’re Y/N, a leading influencer for the women’s suffragist movement, a dedicated employee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and unknown in almost every other way. If someone were to look at your history, they might find it odd.
For instance, your birth certificate – the ink of the name is a few shades darker than the rest. The names of your parents are too, both forged at the top. The history of your schooling is unknown and if you were asked to produce records, it would prove a difficult feat. You tend not to talk about your past, what’s important to you is the future.
Shaking this from mind, you yank your hand free. “I am no one,” you answer him simply. “Good day, Mr. Byun.”
Teeth gritted, you start to walk past – each step hurts your ankle, but it’s better than the alternative. You should have known the moment you saw Baekhyun, he was trouble. No good comes of men like that, they all belong to the families which live there. Family like your own, who in turn, belong to Cosa Nostra.
The mafia, as its called by its outsiders, has grown only stronger in the advent of Prohibition. It’s a life you thought was behind you, but it appears the name cannot be forgotten. It breathes with a life of its own; you will never truly be safe from it, until the name itself is killed – the same name tattooed on your wrist.
“Wait,” Baekhyun exhales, grabbing his bicycle up from the ground. He swings one leg over its side, half-walking, half-riding until he’s before you. “Wait,” he implores, stepping one foot to the path.
“Get out of my way,” you snap, since he’s blocking your way. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Sorry,” Baekhyun winces, pushing up on his hat. “I don’t want trouble, it’s just –”
“You’ve got an odd way of showing it,” you huff, moving to pass.
The corner of his mouth twitches, but he doesn’t stop you from leaving. “Fair enough,” Baekhyun exhales. “I just want to assure you, Ms. Y/L/N, I have no intention of harming you.”
“Intent, is not quite the same thing as a promise, Mr. Byun.”
The path you’re on is rather secluded, no one has walked past in several minutes and in the back of your mind, you know that if Baekhyun wanted to hurt you, he would have done so already. That’s how the men in those families operate, from what you remember. If someone knows something they shouldn’t and are better off dead, it won’t be long before they are.
Surveying Baekhyun again, you note the grease on his neck. It’s likely from the bicycle and you wonder who he was chasing, before he ran into you.
Noticing where you gaze travels, Baekhyun touches the bicycle. “Do you know how to ride one?”
“No,” you inform, gaze lifting. “I haven’t had the opportunity to learn.”
“I could teach you,” he offers, surprisingly earnest. “If you like.”
Glancing around, you weigh the appropriate response. The truthful answer is that yes, you would like that very much – but Baekhyun knew what the mark on your wrist meant, meaning he cannot be trusted. “Baekhyun,” you sigh but before you can continue, he takes a subtle step forward.
“If you want me to forget what I saw, I can,” he confesses, voice almost a whisper. “Your secrets are your own, Y/N.”
Glancing up, you find yourself startled by how close he is to you. “Or?”
He arches a brow. “How did you know there was an ‘or?’”
“Call it instinct,” you exhale.
“Or,” he allows, inclining his head. “I could be of use to you.”
You arch a brow. “Doubtful.”
Baekhyun doesn’t seem perturbed. “You sized me up the moment you saw me. You recognized the alley I came from, but,” he leans in. It’s not quite proper, the way his lips brush your ear – nor is it proper, the way your heart races inside your chest. “I’m not who you think I am.”
“Oh?” you whisper, still unmoving. “And who do I think you are?”
“No,” Baekhyun affirms, withdrawing to look at you. “I can explain it further, but not here.”
“Why not here?”
“It’s the city,” he explains, glancing sideways. “You never know who might be listening.”
That’s true – if there’s one thing life’s taught you, it’s not to let your guard down. “Alright,” you agree, nodding. “If you find me again, you may reveal who you are... and how you can help.”
“Is that a promise?” Baekhyun murmurs, tilting his head.
Slowly, you nod. “It is.”
Surveying you silently, Baekhyun seems to accept this. “Done,” he confirms, leaning his bicycle to a tree. “Until then, I must insist upon hailing you a cab.”
“Don’t be silly,” you huff, already attempting to walk. “I can do that on my own.”
“Don’t be dense,” Baekhyun complains, glancing down at your feet. “You’ve nearly fallen twice just standing here. It would impugn my honor, were you to refuse my assistance.”
Though you roll your eyes, you know that he’s right; even just standing, your ankle is throbbing. “Fine,” you acquiesce, taking the arm that he offers. “Only to the edge of the park.”
“Until the next time I see you,” he agrees, with a quirk of his lips.
“Until then, Mr. Byun.”
• Baekhyun •
Walking you to the street, Baekhyun helps you into the cab and steps back several paces, so he can’t hear your address. You insisted upon this, which made Baekhyun sigh at the theatrics – but he understands why it’s necessary, for someone like you. He wouldn’t trust himself either, if he were on the run from the mafia.
Because that’s what that mark on your arm meant – it was a symbol, a tattoo of one of the most powerful name in La Cosa Nostra. Baekhyun doesn’t know how you managed to escape them, but the fact that you did is mind-boggling.
He can’t decide if it was bad luck or good, leading him to you. On the one hand, he just lied to Jongdae about having a source – and now, here you are. On the other, Baekhyun is currently undercover in the very mafia you seem determined to stay away from.
As he walks through the trees, wrestling with his dilemma, Baekhyun’s stomach sinks with the realization he’s no longer alone.
Two men stand before him, neither one of them recognizable. “Afternoon,” Baekhyun nods, looking from one to the other. “Do either of you have the time?”
It’s a purposeful question, one meant to distinguish friend from foe in the mafia.
“My watch is broken,” one of the men answers. “I must get it fixed.”
The sentence is simple, but it tells Baekhyun what he needs to know – they’re from the family he works for.
“Follow us,” the same man adds, turning around on his heel.
“But,” Baekhyun hesitates, glancing at the tree. “What about my bicycle?”
“Leave it,” the second man chuckles, following in the footsteps of the first. “You answer all our questions, you can buy yourself another.”
Deciding it’s probably best to obey, Baekhyun stops talking and follows. Sticking both hands into his pockets, he falls into step behind them walking out of the park. They’re both gatekeepers, the muscle men and while they’re technically on the same level as Baekhyun, they’re able to make direct contact with the boss. Typically, these men only appear when someone’s been summoned – a person Baekhyun assumes is himself, given the context.
This is the moment he’s been waiting for then, since it means Baekhyun is being taken to a higher-up, but all he can think about is you. It seems like too much of a coincidence, for him to have met you so suddenly and now these men show up in the park. The walk through the city seems to stretch on forever, scenery switching gradually from respectable shops to the slums.
The destination is unremarkable; a plain, white door set in a plain, brick building. Baekhyun’s hair blows in the wind from the harbor, which brings with it a variety of smells he could do well without. Coming to a stop on the threshold, one man turns while the other rings the bell.
“Lift up your arms,” he instructs, gesturing to Baekhyun’s coat. “Hold them out at the sides.”
“Done,” Baekhyun obeys. “Though I must warn you – if things get cheeky, I insist on dinner first.”
Either the man doesn’t understand this, or he doesn’t find it amusing – honestly, it’s a toss-up, since he just continues on with his work. Baekhyun tries not to wince, holding his hands stiff at his sides while waiting for approval.
“He’s good,” the man drones, stepping back to the other.
Baekhyun tries not to smile, since in his hasty inspection the man missed the hole in his pocket. As the door swings open and they step into the hall, Baekhyun’s gun remains strapped to his thigh – a backup, one he appreciates in the case of an emergency. The interior in plain, one might expect more from the head of the family, but this is just a meeting point, a location of business. The purpose of this house is to be functional, not decorative.
At the end of the hall, the man knocks on a door and it must be a code, since the door swings quickly open. “Come in,” says a fourth man, stepping out of the way.
Baekhyun keeps his face calm entering the room. Walking into the lion’s den, it’s best to keep your wits about you. The space is occupied with several men other than Baekhyun, though only one of them is sitting – a stance which speaks volumes about power. Baekhyun stops walking but remains silent; to speak without being spoken to is a faux pas, in this world.
“Welcome,” the man states, inclining his head.
Baekhyun’s gaze flicks lower. “Thank you for having me.”
The man at the table surveys the two men who brought him. “Go,” he instructs, waiting until they’ve disappeared before returning to Baekhyun. “I’ve been watching you.”
Though his stomach sinks, Baekhyun keeps his face carefully passive. “I hope you enjoyed what you saw.”
Upper lip twitching, the man leans back in his chair. The stance exudes power, legs spread open on leather. “A funny guy, huh? I don’t normally like jokes, but with this… hm,” the man shrugs. “I could get used to it, provided you give me something in return.”
“Oh?” Baekhyun muses, since such statements rarely end well. “What is it, exactly, you want?”
“My niece,” he responds, getting straight to the point.
It takes every ounce of Baekhyun’s control not to react. “Your niece?” he repeats, memory narrowing in on the word on your wrist – more specifically, the family name which was tattooed on your skin.
“Don’t play coy with me, son.” Lacing both hands behind his head, the man’s cuff drops to reveal an identical name. “When my ancestors came to this country, they built our legacy from blood and bone. It’s a strong name, a proud one – or at least it was, until my coward of a brother decided to become a legitimate businessman.”
“How quaint of him,” Baekhyun smirks, prompting a laugh from the man.
“Truly,” he chortles. “He succeeded and became wealthy on his own – his success brought attention to the family though, to some of the more unsavory parts of our business. Eventually we intervened, eliminating both him and his wife.”
Slightly nauseous, Baekhyun nods. “Of course – but how does your niece come into play?”
“Ah,” the man nods. “My brother was given a warning, a message from someone who worked for him from inside my organization. He managed to smuggle out the children before our arrival, the boy and the girl. The boy died in the war but the girl,” he exhales, leaning forward, “she survived.”
“I see,” Baekhyun responds, still reeling from this revelation.
“We’ve searched high and low for her,” the man continues, examining his gun on his table, “yet we’ve found nothing. Until you,” he continues.
Baekhyun’s eyes widen. “Me?”
“Yes,” the man nods. “On one of your recent drop-offs, there was a suffragette on a soapbox. Who was she?”
“Her?” Baekhyun blinks, struggling to think. “You think she’s the same girl?”
With a shrug, the man adds, “I cannot be certain. I only met the girl once and she was young at the time, but my men say she matches my description. Which means I’d like to meet her.”
Baekhyun frowns. “Hm.”
Arching a brow, the man taps the desk with one hand. “What is it? Out with it, man. Don’t act like a housewife, all coy with yoiur tongue.”
Lip curling at the crude metaphor, Baekhyun remains still. “It just seems like a large assumption, that’s all.”
“You’re right,” the man admits, grip closing tight around his gun. Baekhyun doesn’t move at this threat, though the entire room stiffens. “It is a large assumption, but I can’t afford to be complacent. The girl knows detailed information on our organization and how we operate. The knowledge she holds poses a risk, one I seek to eliminate.”
“I see,” Baekhyun nods, accepting all this in stride. He can’t allow himself to think about this, not until later. “What do you want from me, then?”
“Bring her in.” Releasing his gun, the man leans back in his chair. “There’s a tattoo on her wrist which should prove who she is, once and for all. Do this,” he allows, “and you’ll be handsomely reward. That, I can assure you.”
While speaking, the man turns a ring around on his finger and Baekhyun nearly groans, recognizing the symbol. The man isn’t just a Capo, like he assumed – he’s the fucking head of one of the five families. That’s what the ring signifies, that’s who he’s dealing with. Slightly dizzy at the knowledge, Baekhyun nods in response.
“Done,” he agrees. “How long do I have?”
“As soon as you can,” the man states, arching a brow. “Bring this girl to me, or don’t come back at all.”
Suppressing a shiver, Baekhyun nods. “Understood.”
“Good.” Eyeing him critically, the man tilts his head. “I don’t give these chances often to runners, but there’s something about you I like. Most of our footmen leave our ranks within months. Baekhyun. Do you know why that is?”
“No, sir,” he answers. “I do not.”
“Many reasons,” he exhales. “They get bored, they move on – not you, though. Why not?”
“I don’t know, sir,” Baekhyun shrugs. “I suppose I don’t like to quit what I’ve started.”
“Ah,” the man chuckles. “I’m like that myself. The same, ravenous desire to prove one’s self-worth – it either leads to destruction or success; an either-or situation. The world doesn’t respond well to kindness – you understand this, I understand this, and we’re better off for it.”
It’s strange, because a large part of Baekhyun knows that he’s right. He can be too hungry for attention and success – unlike this man though, Baekhyun cares about who he hurts in the process. He cares about you.
Lifting his chin, Baekhyun meets the man’s gaze head-on. “I will do it,” he declares.
“Good,” the man nods, waving a hand dismissively at the door. “See him out.”
Things happen quickly after that, marched out through the hall and shuffled onto the street. When he stands at the street corner, Baekhyun turns, replacing his hat on his head. “Gentlemen,” he drawls, glancing from one to the other. “I hope you have a good day. The next time you see me, I want a new fucking bicycle.”
With that, he turns around and blends into the night. Several blocks away, Baekhyun comes to a stop to lower his hand to his knees and taking unsteady breaths. This is it – he’s done it, he’s seen the inside. If Baekhyun goes right now to Jongdae and tells him what he knows, he’ll have completed the contract. Baekhyun knows what the Head looks like, knows the location of the meeting place. If he takes all this to Jongdae, he’s done.
But – if he takes this to Jongdae, it means he’s done with the case. Baekhyun looks up, staring vacantly at the storefront he stands before. Jongdae would pull him out immediately since it’d be too dangerous to stay on. These kinds of people mean business; they’ll kill Baekhyun if they find out who he is. They’ll also kill you, which is why Baekhyun pauses.
They already know what you look like, are suspicious about your past; it’s only a matter of time before they see your tattoo and have their suspicions confirmed. Once that happens, it will all be over – the ball has been set into motion, there is no other option and as soon as he realizes this, Baekhyun groans.
If he leaves the situation as it is, you’ll die; it’s as simple as that. Fuck, he can’t let this happen. Emboldened by his decision, Baekhyun resumes his walk through the city. All he needs is a plan.
A plan, to outwit the mafia.
• Y/N •
Shutting the door to Brigitte’s townhouse, you gingerly make your way down the steps. It’s been nearly a week since you twisted your ankle – nearly one week, since Brigitte insisted you stay. She was adamant, declaring she’d be remiss in her friendship if she let you recover alone. You ended up staying, because Brigitte tends to get what she wants – in a good way.
Not only is Brigitte one of the most selfless, caring individuals you’ve ever met; she also has a spine of steel and conviction to boot. It’s one of the reasons you’re friends, one of the reasons you stay. Walking down her front porch, your ankle feels considerably better,; helped in no small part by the wrappings securing your foot.
It’s much later than you thought, stepping off of the curb. The sun sinks below the horizon, a consequence of not being able to say goodbye to your friend. The shadows on the sidewalk lengthen while you walk, and your stride quickens purposefully upon entering the park.
It’s not a safe time of night to be alone, especially for a woman and especially for you. Grasping your skirt tight, you feel around for the handle of the knife concealed at your thigh. It’s one you’ve never had to use but are willing and able. One of the many lessons taught to you by your father – conceal your weapon, even as you sharpen the sword.
Entering the greenery, you glance over your shoulder because for the past several blocks, it’s felt as though someone were following you. There’s a tingle on the skin of your neck, an itch you can’t scratch and yes, there – in the corner of your gaze, you see a man slip back into shadow.
You know it’s a man from the cut of his suit, cloth dark enough to blend into the night. Turning around, you chance walking faster because there’s always the chance he didn’t see you, that you could lose him in the winding walks of the park.
Turning sharply to the left, you glance around and are alarmed to see the man closer, not further. It makes you pick up the pace, hiking your skirt higher but it’s no use – the man’s footsteps grow steadily louder, closer in your ear. You’re almost to the end of the path when a hand closes over your elbow and you scream.
“Shh,” Baekhyun hisses, yanking you sideways. Glancing over your shoulder, he gestures for you to be quiet. “It’s just me.”
“Just you?” you gasp, yanking your arm from his grasp. “I think that fact is alarming enough, Mr. Byun.”
Baekhyun winces, rubbing his neck with his hand. “I realize this,” he hastens. “I need to talk to you though, and we haven’t much time.”
It’s as he says this, footsteps turn onto the path and Baekhyun hisses, grabbing your elbow again. He pushes you back, pressing your back firm to a tree – his body curves suggestively over yours, lips hovering mere inches away and you would scream, if it weren’t for Baekhyun’s other hand on your lips. He doesn’t restrain your hands – a mistake – but it’s when you move to reach for your knife, the two men step into view.
Even from here, their markings are clear. Shrinking back, you let Baekhyun conceal you because to them, you’ll look like another couple. A tawdry situation, perhaps but not a threat – and these are the kind of men who would react to a threat. That much is clear from their tattoos, curling designs spiraling up past their necks.
Baekhyun waits until they’ve disappeared, hips digging into your form, pressed to the tree. When they’re no longer visible he relaxes, exhaling as he takes a step back. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles. “I didn’t mean to do that without asking, but –”
“Thank you,” you interrupt. “They would have stopped us otherwise.”
Baekhyun hesitates, then nods. “They would have.”
Not for the first time, you wonder who Baekhyun is. Everything points to him being a part of the mafia, but the way he acts suggests otherwise. If Baekhyun really were a part of their group, he would have let himself be seen.
“Who are you?” you murmur, releasing the hem of your skirt.
Baekhyun’s gaze flicks down. “Not here,” he cautions.
It’s a struggle not to roll your eyes. “If not here, where? If not now, when?”
A smile plays at his lips. “Do you trust me, Y/N?”
The question is innocent enough but it’s one you haven’t said yes to, since your brother’s passing. “Yes,” you respond.
Baekhyun’s expression softens. “Good,” he affirms. “Follow me, I promise to explain everything.”
There are many things you could choose to do – you could leave and return to Brigitte’s house but rather than do this, you follow. Baekhyun doesn’t stick to the streets; he slips in between shadows, as though afraid of being spotted or seen. It’s perhaps because of this, your walk seems long; in reality, it’s only a few minutes before you arrive at a building.
The front of it is plain, non-descript but Baekhyun looks both ways before knocking. The door opens a crack, a dark-haired man peering out. “Password?” he asks.
“Baekhyun,” you hiss, tugging on his suit. “Is this…?”
“Rutabaga,” Baekhyun drawls. “Tell Minerva it’s me, Baekhyun.”
When the door closes between you, you gape until the door opens once more. “Come in,” the man nods, waving him past – when he sees you, his eyes narrow in suspicion. “Who’s this?”
“My guest,” Baekhyun informs, cocking a brow. “Minnie trusts the people I vouch for, alright?”
The man looks displeased by the thought, as though feeling the exact opposite. “Fine,” he nods, waving you forward. “Go on.”
Baekhyun tugs you forward, leading you in while the door shuts behind you. “Who was that?” you whisper, taking his hand. “Where are we?”
He comes to a stop before a long, velvet curtain. “A speakeasy,” he informs, turning around to face you. “That was the front man.”
Rather than be assured, you glance over your shoulder. “But,” you hesitate. “Most speakeasies are run by –”
“I know,” Baekhyun answers, pulling open the curtain. “Not this one.”
The first thing you notice is the music; a soft, jazzy ballad drifting over the tables. The stage is hazy with smoke and lights, your mouth drops when you enter at the variety of instruments. A woman sings lazily at center, gesturing to the crowd while pianist and saxophonist accompany her from behind. The room seems captivated, laughing and clapping while draining their glasses. Glasses filled with –
“Alcohol,” Baekhyun whispers, leading you to the edge of the room. “Minerva owned a distillery with her husband. After he died, she continued the tradition and when Prohibition was passed,” Baekhyun shrugs. “She just moved things underground.”
“I see,” you murmur, following close behind.
Truthfully, you’ve never been inside a speakeasy. It’s not that you’re against them, but before the nineteenth amendment passed, it was a difficult thing to be both suffragist and drinker. After the Great War, many politicians in Washington were heavily anti-German. Most of the alcohol businesses had ties to central Europe and it was a strong factor in the Volstead Act being passed. To be lumped in with the pro-alcohol crowd was detrimental to the suffragist movement – as a group, they were formally against it.
Of course, the nineteenth amendment has now passed – meaning technically, there’s nothing stopping you now. Except for most speakeasies being run by the very men you’ve escaped. Baekhyun’s hand slips around your waist though, oddly comforting in the motion. He leads you to the back of the venue, choosing a table along the wall of the room.
You sit first, Baekhyun following to gaze out at the crowd. After a moment of silence, you lean in. “Who are you?” you ask, tired of waiting.
The corner of his mouth lifts. “I hardly know where to start, with that question.”
“Well,” you respond. “Is Baekhyun your real name?”
“Yes,” he nods, looking your way. “That much is true.”
“Did you serve in the army?” you blurt, unsure why this is important.
Baekhyun’s expression softens. “Yes, I joined, and I trained. My unit wasn’t called before the signing of the Armistice.”
“You were lucky, then.”
“Indeed.” Baekhyun stares back, music drifting over the table. “May I ask you a question?”
Weighing the benefit of answering, you nod. “You may.”
“Is Y/N your real name?”
“Why did you keep it?” he asks, dark eyes gleaming in candlelight.
“I,” you hesitate, struggling with a response. “The name was difficult to part with, after my brother died. It’s the only reminder I have of him, of my family.”
“I see,” Baekhyun murmurs. “Then you know that I know who you are, yes?”
Despite having suspected this since that day in the park, you nod slowly. “You’re referring to my past, I assume.”
“Yes,” Baekhyun affirms, while a man steps up to the table. “None for us, thank you,” he drones, not turning his head to look.
The waiter rests his palm flat on the cloth. “You know the rules,” he returns. “Minnie doesn’t break them – not even for you, Byun Baekhyun. You can either drink, or you can leave.”
Though he rolls his eyes, Baekhyun sighs. “Two gin rickeys.”
The man nods, turning away from and when Baekhyun sees your expression, he waves a hand. “Formality,” he explains. “People are less likely to report Minerva if they’re also doing something wrong. No need to drink yours, I can have both.”
“I – no,” you respond, glancing out at the crowd. “I’d like to try it, if I may.”
Baekhyun smiles. “Alright,” he allows, uncrossing his legs beneath the table.
“My turn,” you declare, bringing the conversation back on point. “Who are you, Byun Baekhyun?”
Leaning back in his seat, Baekhyun’s expression turns serious. “A Private Investigator,” he explains. “One hired by the FBI to infiltrate your family’s crime organization. It’s why you thought I was a part of them – I am, to an extent. I’m one of their runners.”
Lips parting, you’re saved your response by the waiter setting your drinks down before you. “Cocktails,” he states, lowering twin glasses on the table. “I’ll add them to your tab, Mr. Byun.”
“That’ll be fine, Charlie,” Baekhyun nods. When the man is gone, he leans in. “I know it’s a bit of a shock, but I’m not sure how else to say it.”
Fighting back a response, your trembling hand finds the glass. Rather dully, you lift the drink to your lips – Baekhyun’s eyes widen, watching you drain the alcohol in one gulp.
“God’s bones,” he groans, grabbing for your glass with one hand. “What you trying to do – get yourself killed? It’s your first time trying the damned thing!”
Blinking back at him, you bite your lip because Baekhyun is right – damned seems an applicable word, based on the burn. The liquid tingles on your lips, christens your veins while it lights them on fire. Devilish substance, indeed. “Ah,” you blurt out, fanning your face. “Are all drinks like that?”
“So… how did you put it? Damned?”
Baekhyun’s eyebrows shoot up. “Some are even more so. To the damned,” he toasts, draining his glass as well. “Lord,” he groans. “That’s horrid stuff. Minnie should give me my money back.”
When a giggle escapes, you clap one hand over your mouth. “I’m sorry,” you blurt. “That wasn’t humorous. If you’ve been cheated in some way, you should –”
Baekhyun laughs, stopping you short. “Don’t worry,” he assures. “Whatever honor I had left, it disappeared long ago.”
“I don’t understand,” you frown, gaze darting to his lips. “Didn’t you say you worked for our government?”
Baekhyun seems to find this amusing. “What of it?”
“Well, government workers should be honorable.”
“Oh?” Baekhyun muses, leaning back in his chair. “Someone should tell them that.”
“Listen,” you huff, somewhat indignant. “I don’t believe our government is perfect – far from it – but they should strive to be so! They’re our ideals, the pillars holding up this damned society.”
Eyes wide, you fall to the back of your seat – it’s rare for you to swear, and that makes twice in one night.
Baekhyun seems like he’s trying not to laugh. “I largely agree with you. The government works to better our society, where most men work only to better themselves.”
When two more drinks are set down on the table, you stare at yours warily before you wrap your hand around its stem.
“I didn’t fight in the war,” Baekhyun continues. “I can’t say I helped our country in that way, but I’m helping it now. I fight for a vision I have. A vision of a world,” he confesses, somewhat softer, “where my children won’t walk around with a knife or gun in their pocket.”
Eyes widening, you blink back at him. “You knew?” you ask. “Earlier, against the tree – you knew I was armed?”
“I knew,” he nods, quiet. “I thought it worthwhile danger to save you.”
This sentiment weighs upon you, if only for a moment. “I don’t need saving.”
“I don’t doubt that,” Baekhyun shrugs. “No one needs to be saved all the time, or even most of the time. We all need the help of our friends, though – it’s hardly a bad thing.”
Considering this, you measure your words. “Do you consider us friends, Mr. Byun?”
Slowly, he nods. “I’d like to think so.”
“Interesting,” you respond, glancing into the crowd. The lights have grown dimmer, somewhat hazier with the passing hour. “Perhaps you can answer me this, then. How did you know who I am, Mr. Byun, if you are only a runner?”
“I – excuse me?” Baekhyun coughs, gripping his drink tight with one hand.
“You heard me,” you state, turning around. “My Uncle would never reveal such information to a man of your stature – why are you lying to me? For what purpose?”
“No,” Baekhyun protests, leaning in but you’ve already pushed yourself upwards to stand.
It’s remarkable, how foolish you’ve been. You’ve allowed Baekhyun to take you to a place you don’t know, buy you drinks you’ve never had and tell you nonsense that’s dangerous to believe. Everything you’ve seen leads you to believe he works for your family – the only word you have otherwise, is the word of a stranger.
“I think,” you exhale, gathering your thoughts, “it would be best if I left, Mr. Byun. You may have some sort of good intentions, but I’m afraid I’m just not interested in your help.”
When you turn away, you hear him stand from the table; this does nothing to stop you, rather it quickens your stride as you go. Your heart constricts, wondering if this is too hasty but then Baekhyun’s hand closes over your elbow, turning you back around to face him.
“Y/N,” he gasps, eyes wide with concern.
Scowling at his touch, you yank your arm free from his grasp. “Let go of me,” you growl and Baekhyun lifts both his hands in the air.
“Just let me explain,” he insists, his gaze fierce. “I know it seems far-fetched, I know I might sound crazy, but I swear on everything that I am – I’m trying to help you!”
Deep inside, you know you should leave. Glancing past, up to the entrance, you know you should leave and never return. It’s what any sane person would do, and yet here you stand.
Slowly, unthinkingly, your gaze lifts to his. “One minute,” you allow. “One minute to explain, or I’ll go.”
Baekhyun nods. “My boss bought a contract from the government, the goal of which was to find out more on your family. I was placed on the case and although I’ve been working for your family for over a year, I’ve found out nothing. Nothing,” he hastens, “until meeting you.”
He must see you stiffen, since Baekhyun quietly exhales. “It was the day we met,” he explains. “Someone saw me leaving the alley and saw me meet you. You matched the description your Uncle has held onto, so when they found out I knew you – I was called in to assist.”
“And,” you pause, struck by his earnestness. “What did you tell them?”
“The whole thing was unlikely,” Baekhyun responds. “To have his long-lost niece turn up, to have her, be you? Improbable, a plot only for the movies. That was when he described your tattoo, and I realized it was true.”
“Did you,” you whisper, fingers grasping your skirts. “Did you tell them?”
“No,” he says gently. “I played along, pretended to be dumb. I told them I’d bring you to them, while concealing the truth.”
“And what is the truth?”
“I plan on bringing you with,” Baekhyun responds, voice quiet. “The minute I left from your Uncle, I went straight to my boss. The United States government will protect you since you’re a witness to the crimes of La Cosa Nostra. I won’t let them hurt you, Y/N,” he insists, stepping closer.
Though his words ring truthful, still you are hesitant. “It’s convenient, isn’t it,” you exhale. “To them, you’re playing me and to me, you’re playing them. Which is it, Mr. Byun?”
“This is,” he responds, interlacing your fingers with his and clasping them over his heart. “My job was only to get a face, Y/N. I could easily have returned, told them of your Uncle and left. I didn’t though, and do you know why?”
“Why,” you whisper, staring down at your hand held in his.
Baekhyun’s other hand lifts, tilting your chin to look at him. “I couldn’t leave you.”
“How humanitarian,” you manage to respond.
“No,” he insists, taking another step. “I couldn’t leave you,” Baekhyun breathes, hands winding into your hair.
The proximity of him is overwhelming, dizzying with the scent of smoke and cologne. Baekhyun’s fingers brush back stands of your hair, pulling you close and against all better impulses, you let him. He doesn’t move more than that, just stands so painfully near, you think the world might break in response.
If there’s anything you’ve learned from these past few years on the run, it’s not to trust strange men saying they’ll help you. Baekhyun isn’t a the same though, and you’re not sure why. You just know there’s no other man that you trust, no other man you’d let hold you like this. The air seems stagnant between you, until you lift your gaze higher.
“Have you ever,” you hesitate, “kissed a woman, Byun Baekhyun?”
His eyes move to your lips, expression needy and open. “I have,” he admits, voice throaty with desire.
“Good,” you exhale, before closing your eyes. “One of us, at least, should know what they’re doing.”
Baekhyun inhales, thumb sliding over your jawline. He hovers for a moment, before bending his lips to brush yours. His kiss is sweet, gentle, nothing like you’d imagined. Hardly more than a light press of his mouth, a faint molding of gin and of warmth before he’s pulling back, breathless.
His hands remain on your frame, your body unmoving while you gather your wits. All around, the speakeasy continues but you might as well be stone, for the amount that you care. Eyelids fluttering open, you find Baekhyun similarly flummoxed, staring with equal incredulity in the aftermath of the touch. You dressed tonight in your typical fashion – long sleeves cinched at the wrist, a drop-waist dress but the hem cuts at your knee higher than normal.
This is the consequence of borrowing a dress of Brigitte’s, but Baekhyun stares at it now, gaze darkening. “Y/N,” he exhales, hands sliding further into your hair. “I’ve never considered myself a good man, to be honest.”
“No?” you murmur, a hushed word meant only for him.
When he shakes his head, his lips nearly brush yours. “When I want something, it consumes me. There are those who call it fool-headedness, some call it passion, but I always knew it was my undoing. Until now,” he confesses, barely audible.
“Is that so?” you exhale, lifting a knee until your skin brushes his.
Baekhyun’s eyes darken, grip tightening on your frame. “Until you,” he corrects himself, bending so that his nose finds your neck. “You might undo me, but I would welcome that fact. I want you to take me apart, put me back together piece by piece because I know I’d be a better man in the end.”
The breath which leaves you is broken, as Baekhyun’s lips trace over your skin. “Would I, though?” you murmur, grip tightening on his waist. “You seem over-fond of prose, Mr. Byun.”
Baekhyun chuckles, warm breath ghosting over your throat – along with his hands, which slip down to your sides. “I should have left a long time ago,” he states plainly. “My direction was simple – identify a lead and get out, yet I find myself here. Risking each moment that I spend with you, and yet,” he glances up, oddly sincere, “you couldn’t pay me to leave.”
It must be someone else, possessing your body when you kiss him. You yank him upwards by his lapels, crushing his lips to your own in a matter of seconds. Baekhyun stumbles, hands hitting the wall overhead while his mouth opens yours. Through the silk of your dress, you feel his hardness against you; the strong lines of his body, legs pressing to yours.
The warmth of alcohol still runs in your veins, its tang potent but nothing when compared to the touch of his body. It’s not just him kissing you – though you enjoy that, as well – it’s him, it’s Baekhyun and you can’t help but fall.
“Baekhyun,” you whisper, breath catching on his name.
He breaks free, kissing the corner of your mouth, the line of your jaw, beneath the shell of your ear. “Yes?” he murmurs, hands drifting over your waist.
“I,” you moan, legs pressed tightly together when his teeth scrape your neck. “Oh.”
Chuckling lightly, Baekhyun pulls back to look at you. “Yes?”
Rather than answer, you slip both hands beneath his waist coat and Baekhyun’s eyes widen in response. “Where do you live?” you whisper, thumbs brushing the curves of his back.
Baekhyun exhales, removing your hands to grasp them tightly. “This way,” he nods, leading you not in the direction you came, but the opposite. There’s a door at the back of the venue, one Baekhyun opens to bring you out in a hall. The frame falls shut, muffling the sound of the jazz.
Glancing around, you stare at the surroundings. “Do you come here often?”
Smiling, Baekhyun grips your hand to walk off down the hall. “I live upstairs,” he explains, reaching the rickety staircase. “That’s how I know the owner; she’s also the owner of this building.”
“I see,” you respond, lifting your hem as you both start to climb. Baekhyun barely makes it one flight, before turning around to slide his hands to your waist.
“I can’t wait,” he murmurs, lips descending as he takes a step forward and your spine hits the wall. Exhaling in relief, your hands curl into his hair and without realizing what you’re doing, your hips lift to his.
His motions stutter, groan low in his throat while grasping you tightly. “Y/N,” he growls, name nearly unrecognizable. “You cannot do that.”
“Why,” you whisper, arching your back towards him teasingly. “Didn’t you like it?”
His tortured expression is amusing; one you’ve never seen on a man, never having held such power in your palms. The sight of him is intoxicating, until Baekhyun’s hands fall lower to the base of your spine. They stop just over the curve of your ass, pressing you into him.
“I like it too much,” Baekhyun whispers, lips touching your ear. “That’s the problem.”
Held like this, there’s nothing to conceal the hardness of his member. Your eyes widen at his touch, because although you’ve heard of such things, you’ve never seen them. It was all told in whispers, hidden behind the desks of your classmates from those who’d heard it from their siblings. Slowly, you drop a hand between the length of your bodies – Baekhyun’s gaze darkens when your hand brushes his cock.
“Yes,” he exhales, your fingers closing experimentally around him. “Y/N,” Baekhyun groans, “do you feel how badly I want you?”
You nod, somewhat dazed by the knowledge. “Am I,” you inhale, body concealing the action from view of anyone who might come up the stairwell. “Doing it right?”
Baekhyun’s eyes flutter shut, nodding when his head hits the wall. “God, yes.”
Emboldened, you stare in fascination at the front of his pants, tented where his member has risen against the material. Each stroke that you give makes Baekhyun’s breath shorten, breath furrowing until his gaze snaps open.
“Yes?” you respond, and Baekhyun grabs your wrists with both hands.
“Come with me,” he asks, turning around to continue his walk up the stairs. Two more flights pass, until Baekhyun finds his door and fumbles around with the keys. Pushing his way inside, you follow him, steps slowing when you see the room laid out before you.
Just one room, rectangular and crowded with evidence of living – a bed with unmade sheets, pushed underneath the window; a kitchen table and chairs set opposite of the stove. Baekhyun shuts the door quietly, walking inside to place his hat on a rack.
“This is where you live?” you ask, turning around in a circle.
“Yes,” he nods, watching.
“Hm,” you respond, sliding a finger over the table.
It comes up spotless – while Baekhyun might be messy, at least he’s clean. Wandering over to his window, you gaze out at the courtyard it looks down on. The yellowish light of the family opposite is visible – until Baekhyun steps up beside you, lowering the curtain he’s hung.
“Privacy,” he explains, soft.
He looks nervous, which alleviates some of your nerves. Lowering yourself down to his bed, you sit on the edge and gently lift your hands to your hem. Without saying a word, you lift the dress overhead – it comes off easy, slipping over your face while Baekhyun inhales with need. His gaze travels over your skin in its absence, almost tangible in weight.
“Your turn,” you whisper, as Baekhyun nods.
Shrugging out of one shoulder, he drops his jacket down to the floor. “Now, you.”
“That’s not fair,” you frown, removing the straps of your slip. “Women have considerably less articles of clothing to remove.”
Baekhyun’s smile flashes in the moonlight. “Not my problem,” he responds, unbuttoning his waist coat to fall to the ground. “Your turn.”
Reaching lower, you ease both heels from your shoes. “Now you.”
Baekhyun bends down to remove his shoes and his socks. “And?”
Inhaling deeply, you grip the edge of your slip and slide this overhead. The noise Baekhyun makes is sinful, as is his expression when you open your eyes. His stare is intense, drinking in every inch of your skin – he stares brazenly at your lips, your brassiere, down to your knickers and stockings.
“Stay just like that,” he whispers, dropping one knee to the bed. Baekhyun undoes the straps of his suspenders, pushing them off with his pants to the floor. Dressed only in his boxers and undershirt, his hands slide into your hair. “I don’t want to hurt you,” Baekhyun confesses, voice low.
“You won’t,” you exhale, shaking your head. “I’m not a gentle thing, Byun Baekhyun.”
“I know that,” he chuckles. “It’s just – it’s special, to lie with another. Or, at least, this is special to me.”
Lifting both hands, you wrap them over his waist. “Please, Baekhyun. Just kiss me.”
He nods, bending his head so his lips brush your own. When he lies down beside you, the feeling is strange; not in a bad way, just in a way you’re not used to. The way your own heart beats is foreign, as though calling out and the way you ache is unprecedented – as though seeking a balm now, to soothe you. Baekhyun removes pins of your hair, dropping them onto the floor and when you push yourself forward, your press your chest softly to his.
Baekhyun inhales, when your leg moves between his thighs. “Y/N,” he groans, lips trailing your throat. “I want…”
When his hand slides lower, your find your body still in response. Baekhyun’s finger dips between your legs, touching you gently. He moves slowly, tracing over your folds in a way you’ve only touched yourself in the past. His head bends, kneading your skin with his teeth and you make an indecipherable noise, clutching his arms with your own.
Pushing your legs apart on the bed, Baekhyun continues his teasing while pulling your panties steadily downwards. The air on your bare thighs is cold, until Baekhyun pushes himself higher. “You can tell me to stop,” he murmurs, lifting his undershirt overhead. “Anytime, and I will.”
You nod when Baekhyun’s gaze returns to your thighs; or rather, the wetness between them. He seems entranced by the sight, thumbs brushing over your skin while grazing the length of your legs. “You’re so wet,” he exhales, dropping down to his elbows.
“Is that – is that a good thing?” you ask, fighting to conceal the tremble in your voice.
Baekhyun just smiles, dropping a kiss to your knee. It makes you shiver, working his way upwards – you’re unsure what he’s doing, until his lips find the raised, swollen peak between your thighs. A moan escapes at his touch, unable to stop yourself because while you’d heard rumors of this happening, you never imagined it’d feel so –
“Good?” Baekhyun murmurs, caressing that same spot again.
“Ah,” you exhale, falling back to his bed. “Please don’t stop, Baekhyun – please.”
He chuckles, mouth opening and when his tongue joins the motion, it’s nearly unbearable. Baekhyun seems to enjoy this a little too much; each time he looks up he smirks, right eyebrow cocked over his hungry stare. Holding your thighs open below him, he flicks expertly up with his tongue, dragging the sides of your folds while you whimper for release.
“Please,” you murmur, gasping for hair when Baekhyun’s finger teases back to your entrance. Hips pushing against him, you feel your arousal drip down to the mattress. “Be inside me, Baekhyun.”
He nods, finger stretching you slowly, making you groan. It hurts, but only for a moment before Baekhyun’s finger is inside, his tongue continuing to trace circles over your clit. It’s strange, having him inside you this way – it makes you feel brazen, bold enough to want other things.
“Baekhyun,” you murmur, pushing yourself up on your elbows. Dropping your thighs down to the sheets, you meet his gaze head-on. “I want you inside me.”
Though Baekhyun hesitates, it’s only a moment before he sits up on the bed. “Are you sure?” he asks, before withdrawing his finger.
“Yes,” you nod, having never wanted anything more in your life. “I want you,” you whisper, realizing the truth as you speak it. “I want you, only you, Baekhyun.”
Baekhyun moves closer, grasping your hands over his sheets. “I’ve already chosen you,” he says simply.
Carefully, noting your expression, Baekhyun pushes the top of his boxers down his thighs. It reveals the shape of his manhood, sprung up towards his stomach. He’s larger than earlier, you realize, perhaps due to how long he’s been pleasuring you. Remarkable, you think, for him to be so needy from that.
Unhooking the straps of your brassiere, you drop the fabric over the side of the bed, joining your other clothes on the ground. Now you’re as naked as he is, and Baekhyun opens your thighs gently before him. He slides his thumb up and down that tender, swollen bud and you arch your back in response.
“I might do anything,” you caution, voice catching, “if you keep on doing that.”
Baekhyun chuckles. “The mouth is a wonderful tool, when used properly. I can only hope,” he hesitates, “you’ll enjoy me as much.”
Shaking back and forth on his mattress, you take Baekhyun’s cock in your hands. “I won’t know until you’re inside me, will I?”
Bending, he aligns your hips to his own – you inhale rather shakily when his cock brushes your thigh. Baekhyun keeps rubbing your clit with his thumb, making you push your hips upwards and beg him to continue. The tip of his cock teases and when he pushes inside, you gasp out loud at the stretch.
“Oh,” you choke out, clasping his back. Baekhyun freezes over you, length half-buried inside. “It hurts, Baekhyun,” you whisper, shoulders curved tightly around him.
He stops moving, clearly troubled by the pain that he’s causing. “I know,” he whispers. “We can stop if you want, I don’t mind.”
“No,” you insist, oddly determined. “Please continue, Baekhyun.”
He nods, his hair brushing your forehead when he enters you fully – it happens suddenly, no longer gentle and though you gasp at the motion, Baekhyun stills quickly inside. His hips settle to yours, the pulse of pain gradually slowing and if you thought his finger felt foreign, his length buried inside you is entirely alien. It’s hard to explain the closeness, his fingers running gently down the panes of your back.
His bare skin is smooth; soft, in contrast to his cock sheathed inside and when he accidentally shifts on the bed, your eyes widen in response.
“Shit,” Baekhyun exhales, eyes wide. “I’m so sorry, Y/N – I didn’t mean to, I –”
He quiets when you press a finger to his lips – slowly, experimentally, pushing your hips upwards. Baekhyun’s cock shifts inside, hitting a deeper part of your core. “Oh,” you whisper, eyes wide – and no longer in pain.
Taking in your expression, Baekhyun’s gaze starts to darken. “Do you,” he hesitates, biting down on his lip. “Do you want me to move?”
In response, you lift your hips higher. The motion is still somewhat sore – the moisture beneath you feels like more than your arousal – but the movement of his hips elicits a new kind of sensation. Baekhyun withdraws from you slow, sinking back in while you let out a moan.
“Oh, gods above,” you whisper, when his length fills you again.
Baekhyun smiles at the response and does it again, circling his hips while he pushes inside. It pulls a cry from your lips, hands sliding lower to clutch hard at his buttocks. They clench when he enters, pressing you into his sheets when Baekhyun fills you – over and over, as your bodies come together. Propping himself up with one hand, Baekhyun’s other moves in between you; he resumes teasing your sex, while his cock slides in and out.
It feels wonderfully, gloriously full – Baekhyun gathers you closer, only to thrust into your cunt every time. It’s a word you’ve heard only in profanity, but it seems appropriate, since you want to do despicable things to his body. Sweat beads on Baekhyun’s forehead, fucking hard into you and you lock your ankles over his ass, helping him deeper.
“Is this,” you gasp, arching upwards, “what it’s always like?”
“No,” Baekhyun grunts, bending his mouth to flick over your nipple. “It’s not. Lord, Y/N, I could be inside you all night.”
“And maybe you shall,” you return, fingers digging into his skin.
Baekhyun groans at the thought, fucking you harder while rubbing rough at your clit. He picks up the rhythm, hitting a place deep inside which before long, has you shaking apart at the seams. It’s strange, your toes curl and uncurl while you fight to be closer, have him deeper inside you. “Baekhyun,” you cry out, “I don’t – I think I’m –”
“Come for me, darling,” he whispers – until you do, shattering apart with an intensity you don’t understand. The orgasm seems to go on forever, body shaking while a warm glow overtakes you. When you manage to open your eyes, Baekhyun pulls himself free from your body – his fingers fly over himself quickly, until warm cum spurts onto your stomach.
He stares at this for only a moment, dazed before he comes to his senses and rolls clean off the sheets. “Here,” Baekhyun exhales, returning to bed with a towel for you. He wipes at the mess before tending to himself and tossing the cloth in a hamper. “I’m sorry about the mess.”
He looks so beautiful like this, you think, golden hair tousled in moonlight. The sheets are half-wrapped around his thighs, the rest of him wonderfully naked – you hold your arms out to him, easing the ache from your chest. “Come back to me,” you whisper, as Baekhyun’s face lights up in response.
“Gladly,” he exhales, dropping down to curl his frame around yours. Long fingers trace over your hip, pulling you to near. “I don’t want you to leave me, Y/N.”
Gently, you shake your head. “I won’t. Did you mean what you said earlier?” you ask, body pressing against his. “The plan you mentioned – would you really help me escape, Byun Baekhyun?”
He nods, fingers moving over your skin. “I won’t let them find you, Y/N.”
“Good,” you exhale, pressing yourself even closer. “I won’t let them hurt you either, Baekhyun.”
“It’s a bargain, then,” he hums, nuzzling his face in your neck.
“One with the devil, perhaps.”
“In this situation, am I the devil?” he yawns, already sleepy.
“Heavens, no – I am.”
“Ah, I see,” Baekhyun grins. “Makes sense, since you’ve already stolen my soul.”
“Lord,” you laugh, unable to stop smiling. “Don’t make me regret this.”
“Never,” he whispers, hands interlacing with yours.
Author’s Note: happy birthday, byun baekhyun <3
© kpopfanfictrash, 2018. Do not copy or repost without permission.
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