THE HIDE AND SEEK GAME
*A/N: Author’s POV, not Elle’s*
Beta-ed by Skye Lin
He sat comfortably behind his wide desk, closing his tired eyes for a while. He had been attending several meetings since morning, mainly discussing the tremor his company was facing lately when the lawsuit against his boys was heatedly discussed by the media. It had been months, but the effects were tremendous. Fans started to boycott whatever product they were selling. They stopped attending concerts they held. He had to do something. Inside his head, there were thumping sounds, portraying the headache he’d been having.
“Anything I should know?” He asked when he heard his assistant come in with silent steps. He opened his eyes, eyeing the assistant. There was a red file in his left hand and a small laptop grasped firmly in his right.
The middle aged assistant inhaled a deep breath before stating “We already located his whereabouts. Apparently he is with his son, and I think he has someone else with him,” He opened his laptop to show something after handing the red file to his employer, and then clicking the play button to play one of the videos he had found on the internet.
His eyebrows twitched while watching the video, marveling at the fact that that boy, no, the boy had passed being a man, could be so ignorant, wandering like that in a crowded place carrying that little child in his arms. “Maybe he forgot the fact that he was one of the Rising Gods of The East, maybe he had lost his sense.” He smiled at his assistant.
“Where did you get this?” He was referring to the video.
“There are more than ten different fan-cams of him out there on the internet sir... I’m afraid the press, well, the paparazzi have already known his whereabouts and went there, hunting him down sir...”
“What was he thinking? I told him to take Ayden back to the US if he didn’t want us to reveal that brat, but he ran away. I told him to stick to his Yoosu relationship because the fans loved it and instead, he broke up with him right at that moment. He is one difficult case, isn’t he?” He couldn’t help but to smirk while shaking his head.
“You always knew that he’d always been one of the hardest to handle. In his early training days, he caused a lot of trouble for us. His rebellious nature started comprehensively with his maturity. He’s one hell of a kid I must say... I’m surprised that you’re still keeping him, who never listens to others and always did everything on his own will,” His assistant gave out his comment.
He smiled again. “He’s special; just like the other four,” He closed his eyes again, not having the mood to watch the videos any longer. “I did everything for them. One day they’ll understand that. There’s always a big price that comes with fame. It’s called loss of freedom. I’m not treating them as my slave; I gave them the path to their wildest dream.”
Mr. Kang nodded at his employer's remarks. “Must I send someone to pick them up? I’m afraid the condition will be even worse in a few weeks. Plus the media and fans—“
“Let him stay there for a while. He’ll come home eventually. He can’t ignore the fact that his family and life are all here...”
“All right, sir. Anything else you want me to do?”
He looked up straight into his assistant’s eyes, “Forbid the other four from going after him. I have had enough mess at the moment that needs to be sorted out.”
“Yes, sir.” The assistant nodded curtly at his boss’s command. “We’ve manage to stop most of these videos and photos from flooding the internet. Just pray that he will not make any public appearance like this again. Good day, sir.” The assistant left the black laptop and red file on the desk, knowing that his employer might’ve wanted to look at them later on.
“Thank you, Mr. Kang.” He sighed deeply after his assistant left. He picked up the red file, glancing over photos of Park Yoochun, his son Ayden and a mysterious girl in a crowded place. There was another one where the three of them were entering a hotel building suspiciously.
“So it was raining there, was it Yoochun-sshi?” Lee Soo Man smirked at a photo where Yoochun was seen drenched under a small umbrella, held by the mysterious girl. It looked like little Ayden was safe in his arms.
“I wonder who she is...” He turned to another photo; his son-like artist was standing outside a train station, still with the other two companions. “Be careful of who you touch, you might turn them into dust, Yoochun.” Lee Soo Man smirked again. “It always ended up like that.”
He loved to surf the internet—he always did, today was no different. He tried to get some information about Yoochun’s whereabouts with it. It was funny how the fans knew them more than they knew their own selves, but he always believed that one day the fan-cams would be useful to them. He clicked on one of the links, saying “The Real Yoochun, In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia”. The link brought him to more videos and photos of his dear hyung and little Ayden. The fans even have noticed him at the airport. There’re countless airport photos of both Yoochun and Ayden.
“Is that Yoochun-sshi?” Changmin shut his laptop down when he heard Junsu’s voice so close behind him. Calmly, Changmin collected his composure and turned around, looking at the thin figure standing at his bedroom’s door.
Changmin has had an internal battle in his head about telling Junsu about Yoochun. “Have you ate, hyung?” He tried to divert Junsu’s earlier question by asking other. Junsu looked awfully thin. There were black lines under his eyes. Their tight schedule had just ended last week, accurately on the night of Yoochun’s runaway.
Since that day, it was hard to see Junsu eat anything. He kept on locking himself in his room, doing nothing but playing on his keyboard or play online games with his twin brother. Changmin looked at Junsu’s serious face. Junsu looks so nerve-wrecking whenever he was mad or serious; he looked so cold.
He heard Junsu sigh heavily, “I’m asking you, is that Yoochun? Do you know where he is right now?” Junsu ask silently. Changmin couldn’t help but to nod at Junsu’s question. “Is he alright?” Junsu walked across the room, sitting on the white covered bed.
Changmin stood up, heading to the door before answering Junsu “Yes, I think so... Hyung, have you eaten anything today? I’ve order some food for us, let’s eat—“
“Where is he, Changmin?” Changmin stopped at Junsu’s question. Apparently Junsu didn’t feel like dropping the subject.
“Check the internet, you’ll know where he is,” Changmin rest his back on the door frame, watching Junsu from afar. He saw Junsu close his eyes, inhaling a deep breath before standing up and heading to the door. “Don’t you want to check where he is?” Changmin couldn’t stop himself from questioning Junsu’s oddness.
“He knew everyone will easily find him with the help of the fan-cams and stalkers, but he still refuses to tell us where he was planning to go, so I guess he really wants to have some time alone with Ayden. As long as he’s safe, I don’t care where he is right now.” Junsu gazed straight into Changmin’s eyes, trying to shield his hurt-look with a forced smile which seemed to look almost genuine to any eyes beholding it.
“Do you think he’ll come back?”
“Yes, his whole life is here. He can’t ignore that fact. We’re still here for him; we just have to wait a little longer...”
“Hyung, I’m worried.”
“Yeah, me too... But isn’t he always like that? Making us worry?” Junsu left his trademark cute laugh, lifting Changmin’s spirit up a bit.
“I’m not only worried about him, I’m worried about everything. You and Jaejoong-hyung seem to be different lately. Yunho-hyung was stressed out about this drama and our group’s non-stop scandals. I’m afraid we’ll lose it, hyung.”
“What’s there to worry about me? I’m okay, see???” Junsu flashed his bright smile, trying to cheer Changmin up. The truth was, he did feel betrayed when Yoochun ran away without telling him anything. He does felt tired with all the scandals blowing non-stop. “I’m just tired. Thank god the tight schedule is over for now, hehe!” He smiled wider when he saw the young one’s chuckle.
“Jaejoong-hyung hadn’t been cooking for the whole week! I’m tired of eating take-away.”
“Ahaha! Let’s eat, I’m starving!” Junsu laughed, dragging Changmin to join him in their kitchen. Junsu practically ran to the kitchen, leaving the happy Changmin behind.
“What did you order?” Changmin heard Junsu’s voice muffling from the kitchen. Changmin couldn’t help himself from laughing at Junsu’s happy voice. He missed the cheerful Junsu the most.
“I ordered Jjajjangmyun—“Changmin’s happy face faltered when he heard the sound of things dropping in the kitchen. Something must have been broken. There were sounds of plates smashing on the marble floor. He sped up his strides, trying to reach the small kitchen as soon as possible after hearing it.
“Junsu—“Changmin stopped at the kitchen door. His heart skipped a beat. The floor was marred with pieces of broken plates and glasses. Junsu was lying on the floor in between the mess, in between all the broken glass, noodles and blood; unconscious.
He could feel his blood boiling in his veins. “Where the hell were you?!” Seething with anger, he practically screamed at the older man standing in front of him. His voice echoed through the vacant hallway. He had been trying to reach Yunho for more than three hours, but failed. His drama filming should’ve ended hours ago. Where the hell is Yunho when he needed him the most?
His eyes met Yunho’s troubled gaze. He looks almost apologetic. “I’m sorry, I went looking for Jaejoong.”
“What about him? Where did he go?” Changmin could sense something was awfully wrong in Yunho’s tone. Yunho only sounds troubled whenever he thought something was absolutely wrong. Being a leader, Yunho never showed his troubled face to the others unless he was on the verge of losing his mind.
“Remember when he said he wanted to catch some movies alone?” Yunho wait for Changmin’s response. Changmin nodded his head, remembering perfectly how Jaejoong dressed this morning; just like usual. “We should have notice it, Minnie... Jaejoong never watch movies alone.” Yunho rested his back on the cold, green wall. The hallway looked eerily vacant. There’re only the two of them standing in the dim-lighted hallway.
“Hyung, please don’t tell me Jaejoong-hyung went looking for Yoochun,” There was a pleading tone in Changmin’s voice. All of this fiasco should stop. They all should stop playing this hide and seek game.
“I’m afraid he is, Minnie. A fan posted on our official website, saying she saw Jaejoong standing alone at the airport this morning. I’m more afraid that if he is not going for Yoochun, he may be losing his mind.” Yunho revealed with a small voice. Changmin felt his heart dropped down to his feet.
“What makes you say that?”
That question lead to Yunho ranting his head off, “Well, look at the whole situation right after the Yoosu thing started. Jaejoong did not act like his normal self at all. He never raised his voice to any of the staff before, but he did make our hair dresser quit her job last month! He kept on having a serious slaughtering-mouth fight with Yoochun, he criticized Junsu almost every second when Junsu makes mistakes, he didn’t sleep since Yoochun ran away, he didn’t bother to cook anymore, and he kept on being angry to the others! The only time he was okay was when Ayden was around. I really think that guy seriously needs help, Minnie. You know Jaejoong is not at all like he has been lately, not even when he was stressed out before.”
The intense look in Yunho’s eyes sent the message directly to Changmin’s heart. He could feel the anguish felt by the other man. “He loves him. You always knew that, right?”
“Yes, I knew it. I think I’ve sensed it before.”
“Nothing will happen to our Jaejoong, believe me.”
“There’s Ayden. He’ll make Jaejoong as sane as ever. Let’s just pray to god all of them are safe.”
Changmin, being the most mentally mature of them all, thought over things differently. His gaze fell on the white door. Kim Junsu. There’s Kim Junsu’s name written on it. A pretty nurse passed by, smiling at the two young men, pushing a trolley full of blue sheets and cloths. Junsu was hospitalized for sleeping pills OD (Overdose). Both Changmin and Yunho sighed deeply at the nonsense fiasco storming in their lives.
Then, they heard faint sounds of heels clicking the floor. Both turned their gaze towards the approaching sound. Yunho permitted a deep sigh to escape his lungs when he saw the walking figure. Even in that dim lighted hallway, both can perfectly see that woman’s watery eyes. Another two figures appear behind the first one, walking in such urgency.
“What is happening to my son?” Both Yunho and Changmin gapped at the question voiced simultaneously by three middle aged women. That simple question echoed through the wall, burdening the young men’s hearts.
to be continued...