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Endplate King

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Chapter 1

It was cold. That was the first thing that entered Namjoon’s head as he sluggishly blinked his eyes open. Man, it was so cold. His unfocused eyes traveled the room as they tried to grab onto something that would steady them. Head lolling to the side, Namjoon allowed himself to close his eyes again. A headache was coming, the dull thump forming at the base of his skull.

What was going on?

Heaving out a breath he squeezed his eyes tight and peeked them open once more, making an actual attempt to see what was in front of him. The lighting around him was dull and low, making things easier on his throbbing eyes, but he struggled to figure out where he was. Shouldn’t he be back at the dorm? Wait, no, they were at the studio. But something happened… What happened…

He pushed back the hazy memory. Focus now, he told himself, come on, what’s here… The first thing he noticed was the chair he was sitting on. Was that wood? Metal? He couldn’t tell from the feeling, and it didn’t matter. The obvious cinder block wall across from him mattered more. On all four sides of him actually. He noted that the floor was also cement, not helping the room’s insulation. He lazily made an attempt to stand, trying to push the chair back with his legs. When it didn’t move he brought down his hands to help, but a sudden pressure around his wrists brought them to a halt as well. He glanced down and felt his blood go even more ice cold than the room he was in. A table was in front of him with his hands shackled to it. There was a device sunk into the middle of the table that the chain disappeared into, but he noticed there was not one single chain coming out of it.

There were seven.

He swung his dizzy head around, now seeing the slumped over figures scattered around the table. His stomach felt like he had just swallowed a rock as he looked each of them over, trying to see if he could make out breathing in the dim light. Sure enough, all of the other members of Bangtan Sonyeondan were there.

Namjoon’s heartbeat picked up and he rattled the chain, trying to get a reaction out of someone, anyone. “Guys,” he choked out, not realizing how dry this throat was. What the hell happened? No, focus, focus. “Jimin? Jin-hyung?”

“Ugggggh,” someone groaned on his left and he turned towards them, trying to make out who it was.

“Taehyung?”

“Close enough I guess,” they muttered. Yoongi. He raised a hand to massage away the massive headache he had, but his arm was stopped prematurely like Namjoon’s. “What the fuck?” Namjoon could see Yoongi’s head spring around as he took in everything. “What the fuck?!” he repeated, voice starting to rise.

“Hyung, don’t panic-”

“Namjoon-hyung?” Namjoon faced where the voice came from.

“Kook?” He just got a shuttered intake of breath as a response. There were a few seconds of silence before anyone spoke again.

“Where the hell are we…” It wasn’t much of a question, but Namjoon supposed Yoongi didn’t mean for it to really sound like one anyway.

He uselessly pulled on his cuffed hands again before letting out a grunt of frustration. “Who’s by you two?” he asked, “I think Jimin is over here by me.”

“I’ve got Hoseok on my left and Kook is on my right.”

“Jin-hyung is across from me, I can make out his shoulders.”

“Why the hell is this table shaped so weirdly?” Yoongi asked suddenly. Namjoon just noticed too. It was an odd structure, a polygon that could fit all seven of them perfectly.

“A septagon?” he muttered.

“Where’s Tae?” Yoongi asked. Namjoon glanced around him.

“Over here, on my right.”

“I don’t know whether to be relieved or not.”

“Mmmmm…” Another moan interrupted them, quickly followed by the rustling of chains.

“Hello?!” the dusty word bounced off the walls, but it wasn’t the same person who made the noise before. “Guys, is that you?”

“We’re all here Hope,” Yoongi answered.

“Where the hell is here? What’s going on, how did this happen?!”

“We don’t know,” Namjoon answered, looking at each of them. It seemed as though Tae was the one who woke up at the same time as Hobi, his tired gaze catching that of his leader. He didn’t say anything yet, but drew in a deep breath as he registered their situation.

Jin’s form suddenly began stirring and Jimin wasn’t far behind. After the initial shock they all began testing their environment, seeing if they could find their way out.

“Maybe this is some sort of test set up by the company,” Jimin offered. “Like a survival game, or there might be a puzzle we have to solve.”

“BigHit would never go this far,” Hoseok said as he experimentally pulled his hands apart, “Never. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.”

“Same here,” Jin murmured, leaning back as far as he could to rest his head on the chair.

“V,” Namjoon turned towards the singer, who had yet to talk, “Tae, are you alright?” Taehyung just shook his head once, slowly and carefully, before casting his gaze into the corner of the room. Namjoon swallowed a hard lump forming in his throat.

“Okay, let’s think. What was the last thing you all remember.” He now addressed the entire group, inviting anyone to speak.

“I was coming out of the bathroom and- and that’s it.” Jimin stared down at the table, a look of confusion coming over his features. “That’s really it, I only remember opening the door and then nothing.”

“I was in my studio,” Yoongi started, face tense with concentration. “I was working on a new song and saw… I dunno, like a shadow out of the corner of my eye but it’s fuzzy after that. I don’t remember anything else.”

“We were dancing, right Kook?” Hoseok looked at the youngest frantically, almost pleading with him to agree so he knew he wasn’t losing his mind.

“Y-yeah, I think so hyung,” Jungkook stated slowly. “Didn’t we take a break?”

“That’s why I was in the bathroom,” Jimin said, rounding out the story a bit more.

Namjoon turned his attention to Jin. “Hyung, where were yo-”

A loud screech pierced the air, causing all of them to grimace, flinching at the sudden noise.

“BTS,” a smooth, silky, low voice bounced off the walls of the room. “Welcome. Now that all of you are awake, we can begin.” The device in the middle of the table made an awful creak as the gears start turning, pulling each of the boys forward in their seat by their chained wrists.

“What are you doing?!” Jin yelled into the open air, shifting his head to look at all corners of the room, not knowing where this person is talking from.

“I’m preparing you for the game.”

“Game?..” Hoseok breathed.

“I’m sure you’re all familiar with it, you’ve played it many times. Endplate King.”

Everyone in the room visibly stiffened. Endplate King. A game they played years ago on the Rookie King. A segment that was humiliating, uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful.

“I’m sure you all remember the rules. Every round each of you will receive a card. When instructed you will flip the cards face up, revealing whether you are safe or will receive the punishment of that round. All of the original game’s rules are accepted. However,” the tone of the voice morphed with a glint of humor, shining at their expense, “there is an additional function in this game. Every round will now have a new card in play. That card will determine who will give the punishment.”

Namjoon stilled, staring straight at the table. Give the punishment? In the original game most of the members gave the punishment. Well, if it was something that had to be given. What was this person going to try to make them to do each other?

He jumped when the machine on the table made another whirring sound. The voice talked over it. “First thing’s first, we need to pick your king.” The bottom tier of the device suddenly spat a card at each of them, face down.

“Why are you doing this to us?!” Jimin yelled, “What are you trying to do?!”

The voice ignored him, “Be ready to flip over your cards.”

“I won’t,” Yoongi stated, strongly.

“Hyung,” Jungkook whispered.

“I’m not playing your game. Let us go.”

No response.

“Let us go!”

The air was thick with tension as silence engulfed the room. No one moved, no one said anything.

“Min Yoongi.” The voice was unfazed, still confident. “You will all be released upon completion of the game. Failure to follow through will lead to… consequences.”

“Hyung please,” Hoseok spoke in a hushed voice, “it can’t be that bad. What we did on that show was all childish. It couldn’t be worse than anything we haven’t done yet. Please.” Yoongi knew Hobi didn’t believe everything he was saying himself. He was scared. If they accepted this, they were entering further down a path that was obviously already dangerous. But they literally didn’t have a choice. He didn’t have a choice.

“Fine,” he muttered, laying his hand on top of the card in front of him. The rest of them followed.

“Very good!” the voice chirped, making Yoongi’s blood boil. Patronizing asshole. “Get ready to turn them over in three,

two,

one.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

  Practice was done for the day, but that didn’t mean work was. Taehyung glanced up from his phone to see Jimin, Jungkook, and Hoseok still working diligently on their dance routine, making sure they had all the moves down even if they were already close to being perfect. He felt a little like a slug considering all of his other hyungs had gone to do something productive too and he was just sitting there munching on some chips and scrolling on his phone. But it didn’t really bother him that much.

  “Five, six, seven, eight,” Hoseok counted as the dance line continued to power through their tracks while Taehyung watched them, cheeks still stuffed as he finished up his bag of greasy disks. Jungkook jumped to the front of their pyramid, feet perfectly balanced as he lip-synced along with his part, making flirtatious faces in the mirror. Hoseok and Jimin continued the complicated footwork on either side of him, highly concentrated on watching themselves until Jimin burst into a fit of laughter. That was the third time within five minutes.

  “Ahhhh, Jiminie!” Hoseok groaned as he stopped the music.

  “I’m sorry, Jungkook winked at me!” Jimin whined, his face falling into a pout as he lifted his finger accusingly at the youngest. Jungkook just flashed a charming smile at both of them with a soft laugh and Hoseok rolled his eyes.

  “I’m never going to get this part approved by Mr. Son if you guys don’t focus.”

  “I’m trying to focus!”

  “I am focusing.”

  Jimin shot Jungkook a look. “Clearly.”

  “Okay, why don’t we take ten for you two to get whatever it is out of your system.” Jimin opened his mouth to defend himself but settled for a disgruntled noise instead as he walked towards the door. Tae quickly scrambled up and out of his chair, throwing his trash in the bin as he followed his best friend.

  “You’re not mad at Jungkookie are you?” he asked as he dusted the crumbs off on his pants, brows furrowed in a concerned expression.

  Jimin sighed. “No. How could I ever be mad at him,” he answered while shaking his head. “He’s just such a brat!”

  Tae smiled as he and Jimin walked into the bathroom. “Only sometimes though right?”

  “No,” Jimin deadpanned, “All the time.”

  “You’re starting to sound like Yoongi hyung.”

  Jimin laughed at that as they parted into separate stalls. He and Yoongi typically had such opposite personalities but it sometimes showed how they rubbed off on each other. Although that really could be said for any of them at this point. Jungkook himself even said he felt like a combination of all of them and Jimin could definitely tell. Today he was acting like Jin.

  “One day I hope to sound like Joon-hyung,” Jimin carried on through the plastic walls. “I’d love to sound smart and poetic.”

  “He stutters a lot when he gets flustered though.”

  “Well that wouldn’t change then. I do that sometimes.” He zipped up his pants and exited his stall before calling out, “I’m heading back.”

  “Mmkay,” Tae responded, not really going anymore, just sitting and staring at his phone. He didn’t have to go that much in the first place, just thought he may as well if Jimin was.

  He had found an interesting article about the restoration of ancient artifacts when Jimin was leaving after washing his hands. Not two seconds later, he heard a thump against the bathroom door followed by quick, hard pounding sounds that suddenly stopped. It almost made him jump out of his skin. Tae immediately stiffened up and listened. Horrible, silent seconds ticked by before he heard something. There were very muffled, very faint voices, ones that he couldn’t make out. Suddenly his stomach lurched at the thought that that could have been Jimin. Jimin could have gotten hurt, fallen or something worse.

  Heart thumping in his chest, Taehyung quickly and quietly pulled his sweatpants up while simultaneously texting Jimin to ask if everything was okay. He fumbled a bit with his drawstring as he exited the stall, sighing as the automatic lights turned off. They were hell to get back on. He opted to stumble in the dark instead of wasting his time trying to trigger the sensor but when he finally found the door he froze. There was one of the unknown voices.

  “One more. Keep looking for ‘em.”

  One more? One more of what? Keep looking for who?

Him?

  Tae’s heart picked back up as he pressed his ear against the door, trying to hear what was on the other side. There were distant footfalls, coming closer to where he was. He quickly pushed up against the wall, sinking down to the heels of his feet and covering his mouth and nose with his hands to silence his breathing.

  The door slowly and cautiously opened, triggering the sensor. Tae’s eyes widened as he saw a hooded man in all dark clothes enter with hardly a sound. Terror swept over every part of his body as he clammed up with thoughts racing through his head.

Who is he? Is he dangerous? If he wasn’t why is he being so sneaky? Why is he dressed like that? Is he looking for me or someone else? There are more people than just him here... Did they… Did they do something to Jimin?!

  He almost whimpered but held back as the man began checking the stalls. When he entered the last handicap one Tae jumped up and sprung the door open, not caring as he heard it creak behind him. He immediately started running back to the practice room, knowing it was just a few long strides away.

  There was a slam from the direction of the restroom and he heard thunderous stomping approaching him as he threw open the frosted glass door. The room that had been lively and happy just less than ten minutes earlier was quiet and empty, and he knew that was enough to confirm his suspicions in the worst way possible.

  It wasn’t just Jimin. They had done something to all of them.

  “He’s over here!” A voice shouted behind him as he flung himself into the room, locking the door behind him just in time as someone jiggled the doorknob, banging their hand hard against the door when they couldn’t open it. Staring at the door, he could see the man’s silhouette through the semi-transparent glass, more bodies joining him in his efforts to break in.

  Snapping out of his panicked haze Tae started trying to pile things against the door. He cursed at himself for not thinking clearly and going into a room with no other exits, but he could try and delay them until the cops showed up.

  Shakily, he pulled his phone from his pocket and typed in his passcode, failing twice from trembling fingers. His scrambled brain typed in the number of his manager, Sejin, before he swore again and dialed 112 for the police.

  “Come on,” he muttered, glancing nervously at the door again as the knob continued to jiggle. The voices were hushed but he heard them.

  “112 what’s your emergency.”

  “Yes, hello,” Tae rushed out quietly, ducking his head. “My name is Kim Taehyung. I need the police right now, someone’s here and my friends are missing and-”

  “Sir, I’m sorry, you’re going to have to slow down,” the operator, whoever she was, sounded calm. “Taehyung was it?”

  “Yeah.”

  “Alright, where are you Taehyung?”

  Tae pushed down a lump in his throat. “At the Big Hit Entertainment studio, Yangjin Plaza 5F in Hakdong-ro. I-I’m on the fourth floor in a practice room.”

  “Are you alone?”

  “Y-yeah, my friends are missing. They were here before but-”

  The sound of splintering glass caught his attention and he looked up, horror-struck that they were using equipment from another room to smash through the door.

  He started hyperventilating as saw a gloved hand shimmy around the corner of the wood and work on the lock.

  “Please! Please hurry!” he cried into the phone. “Oh God, oh God! They’re coming in, I can’t get out, please help me!”

  “Taehyung?” The operator called out, “Taehyung, please try to calm down honey, the police have been dispatched, they’re on their way.”

  Tae didn’t respond, frozen as the door was shoved open, the men behind it pushing with grunts of effort. “Little shit,” one of them grumbled, stalking across the room and up to him as he shrank back against the wall.

  “Taehy-” The voice was disconnected as the man snatched the phone away and ended the call before chucking the phone across the room. He turned his attention back to the young man who cowered away from him.

  “Let’s go.” The man harshly grabbed Taehyung’s arm and hauled him to his feet. He resisted a bit, still folding in on himself and another man joined the first, grabbing his other arm as they forced him across the room.

  “Let me go, please, I don’t know what you want,” Tae begged as he was dragged into the hallway. “Where are the others?” He switched to asking, “You didn’t hurt them did you?” They didn’t answer as they rounded a corner, where Taehyung saw a sight that made his heart lurch.

  Hoseok and Jimin were slung over the shoulders of who Taehyung assumed to be men, Jungkook lying by their feet on the floor. Tae shouted and attempted to break his arms free, instantly wanting to pull them away from these creatures.

  “This one,” The only man he had heard speak began, jostling him to settle him down, “called the cops. We’ve gotta speed things up.”

  They all nodded and before Tae could try anything there was a stinging pain in his neck that made him gasp. Within a few seconds he felt lightheaded and soon the world began tilting, sprinkled with black dots. He felt himself collapse into one of the men before everything faded and darkness overtook him.

***

  With the memory of what happened at the office still haunting him, Taehyung couldn’t even say he felt relief seeing everyone surrounding that table as the machine they were all attached to spat out these god-forsaken cards. What, were they here because of a game? Really? A fucking game?

  But he knew that wasn’t it. That wasn’t the sole reason they were here. There was something much more sinister in this person’s presentation, in the way they almost seemed giddy to start whatever they had in store for them.

  Something bad was going to happen.

  The voice counted down and Taehyung gripped his card, ready to flip it over with everyone else. This card, this matter of luck, of fate, decided who would be spared. Or who would suffer the most.

  “One.”

  Taehyung turned the card over, just as the other did. The word on it hit him like a ton of bricks.

SAFE.

  He wasn’t the king.

  His eyes scanned the table, looking at everyone’s cards. Namjoon wasn’t the king. Hoseok wasn’t the king. It wasn’t Yoongi or Jin either. His heart started beating faster as it came down to Jimin or Jungkook. He looked to the other side of the table where they sat next to each other and scrutinized what they had.

  Jungkook. SAFE.

  Jimin. KING.

  He had to remember to consciously breathe. He’d hoped that if anyone was going to get away from whatever would happen to them it would be Jungkook. At the very least, he supposed, his best friend wouldn’t have to participate.

  They all sat in silence for a moment, taking in the results. Jimin’s lips were pressed in a line as he stared down at the English letters, knowing exactly what they meant. He didn’t look happy. His eyes held devastation.

  “I…” he started softly, still looking down, “I don’t want to be King.”

  Namjoon instinctively reached out to take Jimin’s hands but was he halted by his own chains. “Jimin-”

  “Congratulations Park Jimin, you’re the King of today’s game!” The voice rang out.

  “I-I don’t want to be!” Jimin piped up, “I want to trade my card with Jungkook!”

  Jungkook snapped his gaze to him, shocked, “Hyung!”

  “I’m sorry to tell you that there is no trading or exchanging allowed. Wouldn’t be very exciting then would it?”

  “Please!” Jimin begged, looking around for a camera, anything.

  “Rules don’t change because you’re unhappy with your results.” The voice began to grow irritated in tone, but Jimin didn’t want to give up that easily.

  “But-”

  “Now I think it’s time for you to come sit on your throne.”

  “What?” Jin breathed.

  There was an unexpected sound of gears shifting and suddenly Jimin’s chair was being dragged backwards, his chain giving and extending with him out of the machine.

  “What are you doing?!” he cried out as the others shouted in protest. Being free of the table he made to stand up on slightly wobbly legs when the only door to the room opened and two men came in, decked in black and identities obscured by face masks. One grabbed Jimin from behind, wrapping him in a hug while the other unlocked his cuffs which fell to the floor with a loud clang.

  Jimin shrieked and fought in objection as they manhandled him out of the room, the second man having to lift and hold his thrashing legs.

  “Stop!” Hoseok yelled.

  Yoongi pulled against his restraints as he went as far as he could go in his seat, “You motherfuckers! Leave him alone!”

  “What the hell is going on?!” Jin shouted, “Where are you taking him?!”

  Tae wasn’t out of his stupor, watching in shock as, once again, his best friend was taken away from him.

  Namjoon was left trying to comfort Jungkook, who was near tears. The door slammed shut and they were all left alone, heaving and trying to calm down their rapidly beating hearts.

  “I swear to God,” Yoongi muttered, rage flashing through his eyes, “If they do anything, fucking anything, to him I’ll kill them.”

  “He’ll be okay,” Namjoon tried to reassure them, “He’s the King right? He’s going to be okay.” He tried to sound much more convincing than he felt, but he had to make them believe it. Because or else he would have a hard time believing it too.

  “You really think that?” Taehyung whispered, speaking for the first time. Namjoon looked at him with sad eyes but said nothing, once again letting the silence resume.

  It wasn’t long before the voice came back, infiltrating the quiet and resuming what they all hoped was just a joint effort nightmare.

  “Alright boys, we’re all ready.”

  The machine whirred to life and Hoseok, Jungkook, and Jin flinched when a projector like beam shot out and shown on the wall right behind where Jimin was previously seated.

  “What the hell,” Namjoon muttered, eyes going wide.

  “Your king is here, at the head of the table!” And there was Jimin in what they could only assume was a live stream, eyes pink and puffy, cheeks stained with wet trails leading down them. His wrists were secured in handcuffs and one of his ankles was chained to something offscreen. He was sitting on a small mattress on the floor, no doubt a makeshift “throne”.

  “Now, here’s something we have added to the game to give you all, saaay, incentive to continue playing.” On the wall Jimin jerkingly backed up as a dark figure slowly advanced on him, blocking whatever was going on from the camera.

  “What are you doing?!” Namjoon shouted, the others throwing out similar questions as they watched in horror.

  An answer was given when the man got up from crowding the singer, revealing a thick, black collar around his neck. Hoseok drew in an audible sharp breath when he realized what it was.

  “That’s an electric collar… for dogs.” Everyone else’s eyes shot to him, faces dropping. “We had one for Mickey…”

  “Very good Hoseok!” The voice chirped, startling them, “That’s exactly what it is! So here’s the thing, little Jimin here is going to get a tiny zap every time you fail to do your instructed task. The longer you put it off, the bigger the zap! Sounds easy enough to understand right?”

  Jimin looked terrified and Taehyung couldn’t blame him, his own eyes stinging as the reality of the situation truly dawned on him. Even as King Jimin wasn’t safe. He was going to pay if they didn’t do what these sickos wanted them to, no matter how bad it was. It made him wonder just how bad the punishments could be. Tae didn’t have a lot of time to think about it before the machine came to life one more time, ready to distribute more cards, for the torture to begin.

  “Round one.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

  Jungkook stared in horror at the image Jimin on the wall in front of him.

  No, not an image.

  A goddamn livestream.

  They took his hyung, gave them this false sense of security that one of them would be safe from their messed up, makeshift game. He was sitting there on that god-forsaken, disgusting mattress and Jungkook was sure Jimin felt humiliated from the collar. He couldn’t imagine how much worse this would possibly get.

  He felt sick. Jimin had wanted to protect him before but they were all still stuck in some kind of circle of hell. Jungkook only wished he knew what his sin was.

  “Okay King Jimin, would you do the honor of reading the first punishment aloud?” A piece of folded paper landed in front of Jimin on the cold floor, and he stared up at the off-screen person with cold eyes before hesitantly picking it up. Fingers trembling, the others watched as Jimin scanned it over before looking up at the man, defiance etched into his features, trying to overpower the fear.

  A long beat passed in silence before the voice came back, angry and vicious. “Now!”

  Jimin flinched and sunk in on himself a bit before sucking in a deep breath and turning back to the message he had to deliver. “‘A pinch to grow an inch,’” he read obediently, gazing back down at the paper. “Punisher must deliver a noticeable, bruising pinch to punishee.” He looked up pleadingly into the camera. “Guys, don’t-” the audio was cut off and he kept talking (desperately, they could tell) into the camera for them to do they didn’t know what. Be careful? Not do the punishment? Do the punishment because really it was simple? Painful, but simple?

  They didn’t know if he could see or hear them, because it wasn’t even clear if he knew what he was saying was stopped. Jungkook was sure that even if Jimin couldn’t see them directly he had to know what was going on in their room since there were people with him, watching his every move and making sure he followed their directions.

  The machine started it’s noise, surprising Jungkook and Hoseok as it woke up once more to distribute cards. Jungkook just stared at it, the red and white pattern on the back seeming to mock him as it waited to be flipped over and reveal his fate.

  “Jungkook?” Yoongi was there. Yoongi was strong. Yoongi was solid. And with Jimin gone, Yoongi was the only one close enough to serve as any type of solidifying presence since he was wide and vulnerable on his right. So just like his hyung was staying strong and solid, Jungkook would stay strong and solid for him. He let out a deep breath. “I’m okay hyung.” At least Yoongi seemed somewhat satisfied with that answer, and if he didn’t believe Jungkook he didn’t show it, just nodded and turned his attention back to the table.

  “Get ready to flip your cards.” The voice commanded, and each of them reluctantly reached out and placed a hand on top of the card in front of them. For a moment Jungkook really took in his hands, trapped between the thick metal cuffs with a short chain linking them together. A harsh feeling of awareness crept over him as he took in that, yeah, this was happening. He watched his thumb pulse beat just above the cuffs, saw the pattern the texture of his skin made, heard the slight clink and rattle whenever he shifted, felt how restricted and trapped he really was. How they all really were.

  And that reality was the most frightening thing in the whole world right now.

  “Three.

  two,

  one.”

  Jungkook instinctually closed his eyes as he turned the paper over. It took him a second to chalk up the bravery to look, cracking open his lids to see what happened. No one was making a sound. Jungkook read the word on his card.

GIVER.

  His heart plummeted.

  He searched the others cards, needing to know their results. Who he was going to have to do this to. He finally found the cards he was looking for, directly across from him, the black skull and crossbones sticking out and mocking him.

  Jin.

  His Jin-hyung.

  Jin looked back and was about to say something when the voice interrupted. “Well, well! Looks like it’s the baby delivering the penalty to the eldest.” His tone suddenly went low. “You have 60 seconds starting from when your chain loosens. When those 60 seconds are up, your King will get his first shock. Wait another 15 and the voltage will increase, and will continue to increase until you fulfil your task.”

  The device made a noise and Jungkook’s semi-taut chain went slack so he could move to reach Jin. His chair slowly slid away from the table to give him enough room to get up, just like Jimin’s had done before.

  “Begin.”

  Jungkook just sat there, not really knowing what to do. Were they bluffing? They wouldn’t really hurt Jimin... would they? It wasn’t that big of a deal, they messed around all the time and sometimes hurt each other worse than a harsh pinch but it was never…

  “Jungkook.” He lifted his gaze to meet Jin’s. His brother smiled at him, clearly forced. “It’s okay Kook, really. We goof and smack each other around all the time, it’s nothing.” He set his face and nodded. “I can take a pinch.”

  Jungkook pinched his lips and got up, his legs feeling a bit heavy. He weaved behind Yoongi and Hoseok, keeping his metal leash above them so it didn’t hit them.

  “30 seconds.”

  Jungkook stopped next to Jin and set his chain down, awkwardly shifting. Jin turned to face him as much as he could and offered his arm to him. “I’ll be fine,” he whispered.

  “I know but…”

  “You have to do it Kook.”

  “10 seconds.”

  “Come on, do it for Jimin!”

  Jungkook glanced at Jimin one more time, taking in his wide, terrified eyes, before tensing up and grabbing Jin’s flesh in between two fingers. He hesitated a millisecond before he scrunched up his face and squeezed with a twist, making Jin yelp and flinch away. Hoseok audibly hissed at the sound, sucking sympathetically through his teeth while Namjoon and Taehyung grimaced. Yoongi’s frown just dropped lower. Jungkook let go immediately and reached out to rub away the soreness.

  “I’m so sorry hyu-ack!” Jungkook was harshly pulled back around the table as his makeshift leash was sucked back into the device. He had to recover fast to avoid hitting Hoseok and Yoongi in the head as he quick-walked around their chairs and slumped back down in his, which pushed against the table before locking back into place. Jungkook hung his head in shame and squeezed his hands together on the table, avoiding eye contact with the others. He felt like he did that way too easily, even if Jin wanted him to.

  “Kook.” His heart thudded as he timidly raised his head to Jin. His hyung gave him a small smile, one that looked like relief more than anything. “I’m fine. It doesn’t even hurt anymore.”

  “This is bullshit.” Jungkook faced Yoongi. The rapper’s face was dark.

  “It was just a pinch Yoongi, I’ll live.”

  “It’s not just that hyung and you know it.” Jin shot Yoongi a look that clearly read ‘don’t make things worse’. Yoongi huffed, but shut his mouth and tried to calm himself down.

  “He did what he had to do,” Hoseok whispered as Jin tried to self-sooth the small, irritated area of skin, rubbing at it as best as he could with the lower part of his arm. Namjoon was thinking of something he could say, but what reassurance could you give in a situation like this?

  “Very good Jungkook, you did just fine!” The voice patronized upon return, giving a short laugh, “That wasn’t so hard was it?”

  He didn’t respond, stubbornness coursing through him. Fuck you.

  “So, are you gentlemen ready for the next round?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

  Hoseok felt a violent shiver run through him at the sound of their captors eerie words.

  That was just round one; what would be round two?

  He shifted uncomfortably in his hard seat and looked at the image of Jimin cast on the wall. A frown was deeply etched on his face, his brows narrowly pushed together as he glared at the person standing off to the side of the camera. Hoseok couldn’t imagine what Jimin was going through, all by himself in a room with at least one of the very sadistic people who had done this to them.

  And for what reason? None of them knew. Hoseok had a few theories filtering through his head, the most prominent of them being that a group of antis paid off some people to torture and kill them because of some stupid fanwar reason. But he was terrified they would never really know.

  The crackle of audio had them all turning back to look at the wall, where Jimin was holding another piece of paper. He was still glaring at the man with him, not taking his gaze away until he had unfolded the scrap completely. He tore his eyes away to have them scan down the page and Hoseok could see his jaw visibly clench and his grip tighten at the edges.

  “Go on,” the voice instructed, and Hoseok noticed Jimin grit his teeth as he finally pushed out their next fate.

  “‘A slap on the wrist,’ or a bit more than that as the punisher gives the punishee a sound slap on their forearm.” Jimin huffed through his nose as he defiantly ripped the paper in half when the sound cut out again. The person behind the camera must have said something that Jimin silently retorted against, and suddenly someone was advancing on him.

  “Jimin!” Namjoon practically squeaked as they watched his face jerk to the side from what they could only assume was a smack. Jin and Jungkook let out soft gasps at the action, while Hoseok grimaced. A gloved hand grabbed his chin as something else was said, but Jimin didn’t show any fear as he continued glowering, fury deep in his eyes. When they released his face he brought his bound hands up to rub at the now obviously red spot on his cheek.

  The machine started and the tension in the room grew. This was a penalty they gave each other very often when they were younger, the harsh slap of two fingers on a forearm. It stung, longer than a pinch, but Hoseok still reminded himself that this wasn’t that bad. It could have been worse, much worse if these people wanted them to hurt each other badly enough, quickly enough.

  Cards flew out, landing once again at their hands. Hoseok brushed his fingers over the laminated paper. Strangely enough, he was hoping this had the skull on the other side. He wouldn’t mind taking it, taking all of the penalties for his brothers. Still, it didn’t keep his heart from racing.

  “Flip your cards on three,” Hoseok scrambled to get his card off the flat of the table.

  “two,” He gripped the edge between his fingertips and pushed out a steadying breath.

  “one.” He turned the card over and stared at the words on the other side.

  Words.

  Not a picture.

Giver.

  Hoseok pinched his lips into a thin line, features turning hard.

  Of course.

  Of freaking course he got the opposite role of what he wanted.

  He looked up to scan the rest of the table, but knew right away who was about to be at the receiving end of the punishment. They were looking at him with wide eyes.

  Namjoon.

  Hoseok’s chains loosened, pumping out of the device as his chair clicked backwards. He barely had a second to register that he could now move when the voice came back.

  “60 seconds starts now.”

  Hoseok clamored up and made his way clear across the table to Namjoon, who quickly offered him his arm, stretched out as far as he could go.

  “It’s okay Hobi, just do it fast. It hardly hurts.”

  “...Okay.” Hoseok breathed, getting to fingers ready then striking them against Namjoon’s arm.

  “Oh come on j-hope,” the voice spoke, a mildly irritated tone to his voice. “It said a sound slap. I didn’t hear anything. 30 seconds”

  Hoseok sucked at his teeth but Namjoon nodded at him. Without thinking too much raised his hands and brought his fingers down once more to the same spot, a small thwack ringing in the air.

  “Hmmm, I still think you can do better. 15 seconds.”

  Hoseok felt like he was going to panic. What if none of these hits were deemed good enough by this psycho? What if they started shocking Jimin?

  Grinding his jaw, he tensed his fingers and lifted his bound wrists once more, bringing them down fast and hard against Namjoon’s already pink-tinted flesh.

  Namjoon flinched but didn’t show any other signs of discomfort. They waited for some sign of approval, a word, a noise, something, but it didn’t come. Hoseok faced the wall Jimin was on to see if anything was happening to him but he looked okay. He was suddenly jolted back in the direction of his seat, stumbling over his feet as his chain was re-devoured by the machine. He hit the seat hard, smarting but also feeling a sense of relief that it was over.

  “There you go, I knew you could do it!”

  Suddenly the projected image with Jimin on it shut off. There was a faint static noise, followed by a change in the air.

  “Excuse me, gentlemen, I have something to take care of for a moment.”

  Silence came and everyone felt like they could breathe again, even if for a minute. It didn't last long, especially when worry about Jimin started bombarding their minds.

  "What the hell happened?" Jin sputtered, voicing everyone's thoughts. "Where did Jimin go?"

  “This is so messed up…” Taehyung muttered, slumping his head on the table.

  “This is beyond messed up. It’s completely fucked up. What’s going to happen when we’re forced to go past a pinch and a slap? It’s only going to get worse and now we don't have any goddamn clue what's going on with Jimin.”

  “Please don’t think that way hyung,” Jungkook murmured to Yoongi, “I can’t… I don’t know if I can go much further. Do anything more than that I mean.”

  Jin gave a sad laugh, “Well you might not have to. It’s all chance remember?”

  Hoseok felt a shudder run through him. He glanced up to lock eyes with Namjoon, who was studying him carefully. He felt a pang of guilt.

  “Joon-”

  “Don’t Hope, don’t apologize, it doesn’t even hurt anymore. Honestly I think he made you do it three times on purpose.”

  Yoongi scoffed, “Wouldn’t doubt it.”

  “Why did someone do this hyung?” Jungkook asked, looking pointedly at Namjoon. He shrugged.

  “I really don’t know Kook. Maybe it was something we did, maybe it wasn’t and it’s for something completely stupid, but I don’t know.”

  Jin shifted in his chair, the metal attached to his wrists making an irritating scrap that sent goosebumps cascading down Hoseok’s spine. “Well we haven’t had any scandals lately right? None of us ticked off any other idols or anything, but who could afford to pay someone to do this?”

  “Maybe it was antis?” Hoseok whispered, voicing his earlier thought.

  “Sasaengs?” Taehyung suggested.

  Namjoon narrowed his eyes, his face sharpening with focus. “Whoever it is doesn’t matter right now. We should think about how we’re going to get the hell out of here and find Jimin.”

  Taehyung let out a heavy sigh an hesitated a few seconds before stating, “The police know we’re missing. We should have people looking for us.” Everyone gaped at him, edging him to continue. “I… I was the last one they caught. I locked myself in the practice room and found a phone before they got in. Got through to an operator and everything, they just… they managed to get through before the police could find us I guess.”

  “But that’s good though right?” Hoseok’s mind was spinning, but he was sure this meant something positive for them. “That means people know we’re missing! The police, BigHit-”

  “It means a lot of things, and yeah, for sure most of those things are positive.”

  “Buuut?” Jin questioned.

  “But it means these guys might speed up whatever their plan is if they know. Do they know Tae?”

  All Taehyung could do was nod his head in response. Namjoon sighed. “So our time is limited. Odds are this was a fluke and we won’t be getting this shot again, so... Does anyone have any ideas?”

  There were several beats of silence before Yoongi spoke up, a small smile dancing on his lips.

  “Actually,” he started, “I know something we could try.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

 

  Yoongi looked at the rest of his group and saw something new. 

  Determination. 

  Hope. 

  And he was more than happy to have been the one to supply them with it.

Don’t act like anything is different.

  They waited. They were prepared to try his idea and they would wait until the perfect moment to put it to the test.

Whoever gets up, the person on your right will be ready.

  It seemed like time dragged on before the voice came back, only pumping Yoongi’s adrenaline further and deeper into his bloodstream.

  “Sorry about the interruption gentleman, but we’ve resolved the issue.” The monitor on the screen flashed back on to reveal Jimin, still on his cot and still handcuffed. He looked a bit more disheveled and there appeared to be a cut on his cheek, thin and straight across, but blood was slightly dribbling down. 

  “Now if we could continue-”

  “What happened to Jimin.” Taehyung’s voice was strong and fierce and mad , but there was an unwavering confidence behind it.  

  “That’s none of your concern. You can see for yourself he’s good and well.”

  “He’s bleeding!”

  “Kim Taehyung.” Yoongi grit his teeth and tried to remain calm. It was normally so easy, not something that he needed any effort to do, but in situations that concerned the others he had a surprisingly terrible temper. He would spit fire and throw fists at whoever deserved it if they dared to test him when it came to them. This guy would get his.

  “Unless you want to see for yourself if that collar around his neck works I highly suggest you remain quiet and let us get on with the game.”

  Taehyung was struggling, Yoongi could clearly see that, and he was sure this renewed energy was from the plan they’d conjured up not five minutes ago.

  It was stupid.

  It was impulsive.

  But it was there only chance.

  So Taehyung shut up. He closed his mouth and slumped back in his seat, exuding defeat, but the voice couldn’t see the flames still alite in his eyes. 

  “Very good. Now, King Jimin, if you could read the next penalty?”

  Jimin shakily picked up the piece of paper. He didn’t look as confident as he did before and the exhale of breath that they could hear through his nose only reinforced that maybe he was beginning to slip. Yoongi watched Jimin unfold the sheet and speak with no hesitation in a small voice. 

  “‘Time to roll with the punches. The punisher deliver a powerful punch the punishee on his upper arm.’” He gave a sad look at the camera before his audio was cut out again.  

  Yoongi barely blinked before the machine was whirring back to life, shuffling out cards in all directions once again. He picked at the edge of his to get it between his fingertips before exchanging eye contact with each of them, slightly tipping his head down in affirmation.

  “Alright gentlemen, flip in three,

  two,

  one.”  

  Yoongi turned his card over, snapping it on the table. 

Safe.

  Quickly he scanned over the others, seeing who was going to have to see the demands through. He found them right away. 

  Jin was going to have to punch Taehyung. 

  “60 seconds starts now.”

  Jin’s chain uncoiled from the machine and his chair scraped backwards with a high-pitched screeching sound. He wabbaly got up and turned to Taehyung, who was conveniently seated right next to him.

  “I’ll do it quickly Tae, yeah?” 

  Taehyung swallowed thickly but set his face in neutral as he looked Jin right in the eyes. “Yeah hyung.”

  With a deep breath, Jin tucked one hand inward and balled the other into a fist. He reared it back and without anymore hesitation popped Taehyung in the center of his bicep. Taehyung let out a small grunt but tried not to show any discomfort on his face.

  “Hmmm, I think you would hold back Jinnie.”

  “I didn’t!” Jin pulled up the sleeve on Taehyung’s T-shirt to show the deepening red mark on his skin. “I did what you asked!” 

  “Hmmm, I’m not satisfied.” There was an easily detectable glee-like hint to the voice’s tone. It made Yoongi’s skin itch, flare up like he had thousands of fire-ants clawing and gnawing at his skin but he resisted the urge to speak out. They had to be patient if they didn’t want to mess up the plan.

  “Don’t make me-”

  “Hit him again.” Yoongi could see Jin physically cringe, lips curling down and eyebrows pinching against each other as his eyes screwed shut. 

Just do it hyung, Tae will be fine, just-

  “I don’t want to,” Jin whispered, “I don’t want to hit him again.”

  There were a few seconds of unbearable silence before the most horrible sound Yoongi had ever heard hit his ears. Their heads whipped over to the wall as Jimin’s audio was turned back on, full blast. The collar was activated, earning them all the sounds of his guttural screams as he wriggled on the mattress in agony, pulling at the strap of leather to give him some relief.

  “Hyung!” Tae turned to Jin eyes blown open in panic, “Hit me! Now!” Jin was stunned for a moment in disbelief. Yoongi watched as he stared at the feed of their dongsaeng crying and pleading for the pain to stop. He didn’t even seem to notice that he was starting to hyperventilate, breath coming out in light gasps alternating between his mouth and nose. The seconds were too long, Yoongi knew that every second was too long for Jimin but he could tell Jin was shutting down.

  “Hyung! Jin-hyung!” He, along with Namjoon, Hoseok, Taehyung, and Jungkook, tried to wake him up, snap him back to focus on them so he could put an end to Jimin’s suffering.

  “ Hyung!” Taehyung tried to reach for Jin but didn’t even come close, his chair also blocking off access for his legs to assist him. He finally resolved to using his upper body, leaning his head over the chair and knocking into Jin, hoping the touch would help. 

  Jin’s head snapped to Taehyung and only then could Yoongi see the tears tracing down the eldest’s face, his face petrified and disconnected. Taehyung didn’t waste a second though, nudging Jin again with his hair before meeting his unsteady gaze.

  “Hit me hyung! Hit me as many times as you have to, you need to stop it!” And it was then Yoongi realized why Jin was so shocked, so brutally penetrated by Jimin getting hurt by that damn thing. 

  He couldn’t believe he had caused it. By refusing to hit Taehyung again and not following what these bastards said, Jin had indirectly lead to Jimin’s suffering, and he wasn’t processing it.

  But Taehyung finally seemed to be getting though to him. He blinked a few times before heaving in a shaky breath and balling up his fist again, jaw trembling as he reared back and slammed it into Taehyung’s flesh once more.

  Jimin’s shrieks suddenly ceased only to be replaced by tiny whimpers, his frame small as he curled into himself and turned away from the camera for a reason Yoongi did not find hard to understand. 

  “Again!”

  Jin’s pause lasted a mere split second before he pounded again on Taehyung’s arm, the hesitation gone after when the voice demanded it a third and final time. Jin was numb, that much Yoongi could tell, from the way he stood there, arms falling in front of him as he stared at the ground.

  “You see that boys? That’s why you will do what I ask, when I ask. Trust me when I say it can and will get worse if you don’t do what you’re told.”

  Jin’s short chain started to be consumed by the machine again and that’s when Yoongi’s eyes flashed. He tensed as he watched Hoseok spring into action and lean forward at the speed of light to jam his sock into the space where the chain was being fed through. It partially disappeared into the hole with the metal links but suddenly did what Yoongi’s heart was threatening to do.

  It stopped. 

  Hoseok gasped in what Yoongi thought to be surprise and he couldn’t help but smile. He fucking smiled and he fucking laughed because it worked. Jamming the machine worked.

  “Hobi-hyung you did it!” Jungkook shouted, a tired grin passing over his face. Hoseok looked pale and slightly out of breath from practically bending in half, but he wiped the sweat from his face and smiled back.

  Yoongi looked over to Jin who was as stiff as a board, still a bit dazed and clearly traumatized from their friend being hurt. “Ji-”

  “You little bastards!” They all flinched a little, hearing the voice truly mad for the first time. Yoongi’s fingernails dug into his palms as he balled his hands into fists, feeling his adrenaline spike, pulse thrumming in his ears. “Trying something funny? Real comedians huh? We’ll kill him, do you understand? You try anything and we’ll kill him!” 

  The clang of metal sent Yoongi’s heart into his throat as the door to their prison swung open and a single man came in, face still covered and body all in black. “You guys really aren’t worth all this trouble, you know that?”

  Yoongi knew it was now or never. And they only had Jin to count on. Jin, who was currently still not moving from his position, body like a statue as his eyes stayed glued on the floor. 

  And his stomach sank. Because he knew this opportunity was the only one they would get. 

  “Hyung!”

  Everyone, including the man, turned at the raspy voice when it unexpected cut through the cold air of the room. 

  Jimin stared intensely at the camera, hand placed firmly against his neck as he rubbed the irritated skin. “Snap out of it.” 

  That’s the last thing he could say before he disappeared from the wall, the projection and audio fading out. Yoongi looked back at Jin and this time he was gaping at where the visual of their friend had just been. And he saw the life returning to his eyes, guilt and pity being replaced with fury and rage. 

  When the man continued his advance on the machine, not seeing what Yoongi did, he let his guard down, occupying his time with getting the fabric unjammed from the metal.

  “You stay right there and don’t you move a goddamn inch,” he growled at Jin as he swiveled his head around between the young man and the hunk of metal. “Bastards, having me deal with this shit. Not like you little dicks can do anything anywa-”

  His breath was suddenly cut off as a pair of arms reached over his head and pulled a chain tight against his neck. Jin worked fast but silently on his prey, letting his emotions consume him and not caring what damage was left behind. Heavy breathing filled the air as he fought with the guy, pained wheezes following shortly after before movements became sluggish and a body became limp. Jin held him there for a few more seconds to be on the safe side and then let him fall lifelessly to the floor. 

  “Is… is he dead?” Namjoon whispered.

  Yoongi could see Jin deflate, could see the moment he realized what he did when he didn’t pause this time. “I don’t think so,” he answered for his hyung.

  Jin sucked in a shaky breath and dropped down to stuff his hands in the man’s pockets, hoping and praying for one thing that was in the second one he searched. 

  A pair of handcuff keys.

  With his rush crashing he was clumsy. His fingers trembled so badly it made them practically useless before Hoseok called out to him to let him do it. Yoongi knew if they didn’t hurry someone else would come in before they could all get free and then they’d be back at square one. He was more than thankful to Hoseok who uncuffed Jin and then Yoongi before Yoongi took it and started on releasing the others. 

  They wasted no time crowding to the door, which the now unconscious (and cuffed) man neglected to close behind him. Taehyung gently took ahold of Jin’s forearm and guided him to the others, planting hand on either side of his face. 

  “It’s going to be okay now hyung.” Namjoon peeked out into whatever hallway was on the other side of those thick walls. Once he was sure no one was in sight he gestured for them to follow. 

  “Let’s go get Jimin.”