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Code Red

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Soonyoung sat in his apartment and stared at the mostly blank wall. He hadn’t taken many things from his previous flat because his new flat had been already fully furnished. He still hadn’t gotten used to his new home, simply because he had really liked his previous flat. This one was nice too but it just wasn’t the same. The walls were a crisp white and it hurt his eyes. What if he painted the walls in a different color? Soonyoung couldn’t help chuckling at his own thoughts. He probably would never take the time to actually paint the walls. He didn’t even make time for friends or a hobby, so why would he waste his time with painting walls?

He looked at the file in his hand and got the feeling it was silently laughing at him for reading it over and over again. The content would stay the same and he would never find a new lead in it. He closed the file and threw it onto the glass table. They had nothing. The whole week they had talked to people living nearby the victim, went to places he frequented and talked to his relatives and friends. They went through files, documents and electronic devices, but they found nothing. On top of all of this, the forensic team couldn’t find a single foreign fingerprint or anything remotely useful from the evidence.

Soonyoung knew that in cases like this one, they needed to wait for the killer to make a mistake. That meant in return that they had to wait until the killer would find a new victim. They would lose another person, another life. It wasn’t acceptable to Soonyoung. They needed to find the killer before he would murder someone else. He still had no idea how to do that though.

Soonyoung’s stomach started growling loudly. He hadn’t eaten since morning and it was now evening. He really should start taking better care of his health, but it was the last thing on his mind. With the unsolved case hanging over him, it wasn’t possible to think about anything else.

The profiler got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen to search for something to eat. The bright red fridge in the otherwise white and silver kitchen stood there like a warning sign. He really couldn’t understand why someone would choose to buy a bright red fridge, but he tried to accept it because the rest of the kitchen looked nice. He made his way over to the fridge and while he opened its door, he suddenly noticed that his earlier thoughts hadn’t been right. He had thought about something else besides the case and that was Lee Jihoon.

Jihoon’s sudden change of heart was still strange to Soonyoung and he couldn’t help thinking about that from time to time. Was he really another person now compared to university or was it just Jihoon having a guilty conscience because he thought he made him a loner? Soonyoung felt very uncomfortable with Jihoon so stubbornly trying to make him go to one of their meetups. The alpha would have refused him until the end of time if the other didn’t blackmail him with the scenting incident years ago.

Soonyoung let out a sigh and closed the door of the fridge again. He could hear the clock in the living room ticking loudly even here in the kitchen. He needed to get rid of it fast because he was really sensitive to sounds. All alphas and omegas had heightened senses, but Soonyoung had been especially sensitive since the day he presented. In the beginning he had refused to go outside anymore, even to school.

After three days, his father had been fed up with his behavior and told him to get a grip again. His father had straight up told him that he couldn’t behave like this as an alpha. So Soonyoung had gone back to school after that but it had been hard. Eventually he got used to his heightened senses after some months, but that didn’t mean that it never bothered him anymore. Certain colors, sounds and smells still completely ticked him off. The loud ticking of a clock was one of the sounds he really couldn’t stand.

The alpha turned around and went to the cupboard where he had stored a whole stack of instant ramen in. Now the only question was which favor he should choose.

Soonyoung was still considering which kind of instant ramen he should eat when his doorbell rang. He didn’t give anyone besides his work his new address and he also hadn’t ordered something. No one should come here and ring his doorbell.

He went over to the entrance and opened the door without even checking who it was. Saying that it was surprising to see Jihoon in front of him was and understatement. He didn’t expect the other officer to ever come to his apartment. After all he had complained loudly the day Soonyoung had moved into the complex.

“There are no clues to our case right now so we decided to go to a restaurant this evening. We all need a break and get our mind off the case to get new ideas.” Soonyoung knew immediately what Jihoon wanted to tell him, but he chose to ignore it. “What does this have to do with me?”

Jihoon gave him an impatient look. “You know why I’m here. Get ready now. I‘ll get you in half an hour and we can walk there together.” Jihoon turned around and left without saying another word. The smaller male really didn’t leave him any choice in this matter.

Soonyoung went over to his bedroom and searched in the wardrobe for something to wear. He decided that a simple black shirt and jeans would do. After he got changed he went back to the living room and sat down on the couch. 20 more minutes to wait until the waste of time would start. He really wished he could just not open the door for Jihoon again, but maybe he shouldn’t upset the other unnecessarily. After all they had to work together.

The ticking of the clock suddenly was even more annoying than before to Soonyoung. He went over, took it off the wall and ripped the batteries out. If he had to go out and deal with people and noises the whole evening, at least his home should be quiet. The silence gave him at last some peace of mind again.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung sat awkwardly at a table beside Wonwoo and Vernon. There were so many people at the table and he didn’t even know half of their names. Sure he had seen all of their faces before at work, but he didn’t really know a lot of people working at the police station apart from his own team. Even his knowledge about his own team was very limited.

The restaurant itself was nice. Decorated in warm colors and nice lightning, just a tad too loud for his liking. But on a day with less people it would be very relaxing. Soonyoung just looked in fascination at one of the big paintings of a landscape when Wonwoo’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts. “I’m glad you and Jihoon made up.” Soonyoung turned to Wonwoo who smiled warmly at him. “It’s easier to work if we are not picking fights constantly.”

“It wasn’t you who picked the fights. I wish Jihoon would have been ready to make up already at university. I have always felt bad about us ending our friendship on bad terms.” Soonyoung looked over at the clock on the wall and saw that only 15 minutes had passed since they arrived. He already felt slightly anxious that he was sitting here leaving the case behind. He wanted to go back home.

“It’s in the past. You don’t have to worry about it. I also have the impression that it was you who made Jihoon talk to me. So you don’t need to feel guilty.” Wonwoo chuckled quietly at Soonyoung’s words. “Of course you noticed that. I just gave him a little push in the right direction. Jihoon had been annoying for far too long. He’s a good guy, Soonyoung. If he holds his hand out to you, you should take it.” Soonyoung wanted to ask Wonwoo for what purpose he should take Jihoon’s hand, but kept silent. This whole big group of friends seemed to be really friendly and close, but he didn’t feel like he had a place in it. He felt a bit like a fish that had been alone in a glass bowl for a long time and suddenly was put into a big aquarium full with other fish. He had liked his solitude just fine so how did it turn into this?

“Do you know everyone here? Next to me is my boyfriend Mingyu. He’s part of Seungcheol-hyung’s team. So is Joshua-hyung who is sitting over there, same with Jun and Chan.” While talking, Wonwoo pointed at the people he described and Soonyoung quietly nodded his head trying to remember all the names.

“Next to Jun is Minghao, he’s one of the instructors in the training center. And of course you know Jeonghan-hyung who’s a secretary and also the boyfriend of Seungcheol-hyung. Our newcomer Seungkwan you should know, because you started working on the same day.” Soonyoung looked over at Jeonghan and Seungkwan who were sitting at the far end of the table laughing together about something. Their eyes sparkled mischievously probably making some joke about Seungcheol who was pouting slightly next to his boyfriend. It was curious to Soonyoung how well Seungkwan already got along with everyone even though the omega had arrived on the same day he did.

“Thank you for the introduction.” Wonwoo sighed slightly at Soonyoung’s words. “You could at least make an effort to look happy. Talk a bit to Vernon, you need to get to know our team.” Soonyoung clenched his jaw tightly, but Wonwoo didn’t see that because he had already turned around to talk with his boyfriend.

Vernon seemed to be a quiet person so he needed to really make an effort to get the other to talk to him. That’s probably why Wonwoo suggested talking to him in the first place. Wonwoo was just as sly as he remembered him - very nice, but too intelligent for his own good. Soonyoung turned to Vernon and saw how the younger was looking to the far end of the table.

“Why don’t you go over and talk to him?” For Soonyoung it had been painfully obvious how Vernon and Seungkwan were attracted to each other from the very day they met. Because of Soonyoung’s heightened sensitivity to smells, he could pick up the slightest change in pheromones easily, so it was plain obvious to him that the two of them were naturally attracted to each other.

“I don’t know what to say.” Soonyoung couldn’t help smiling at Vernon’s words. The kid really was shy for an alpha, it was quite endearing in Soonyoung’s eyes. “Anything is better than sitting here and constantly staring at him.” Vernon’s eyes widened slightly at Soonyoung’s words but otherwise he didn’t show any emotions on his face. “Am I being that obvious?”

Soonyoung shrugged and looked over to Seungkwan again who was still talking to Jeonghan. “I don’t think he has noticed. Might be just that I’m also an alpha and I pick these things up fast.” A waiter came to their table and started handing out their orders. Soonyoung wasn’t drinking alcohol often, but today he really felt like drinking at least a bit. He grabbed his glass and immediately took a sip.

“It’s strange to have someone else here besides Seungcheol-hyung who notices these things. There are so many betas in our group that we rarely discuss alpha and omega related topics.” Soonyoung felt slightly bad for Vernon. If you are more on the shy side as an alpha, you need some reassurance from other alphas. Seungcheol probably did the best he could, but it wasn’t easy in such a big group of friends.

“Did you ever meet someone who had a strong impact on you?” Soonyoung considered how to answer Vernon’s question, because no, he never had such an experience before. Still he wanted to be at least somehow helpful to the younger. “No, I never met an omega to whom I was naturally attracted to. But I know how it is to feel drawn to someone. Attraction is not easy to handle, because you don’t know if it’s enough to actually make something out of it. But in my opinion you should at least try. You have nothing to lose. If you won’t try then you might end up regretting later that you ignored the attraction.” Vernon nodded and kept silent for a while.

“What happened to you and the person you were attracted to?” Soonyoung gave Vernon a tired smile. “He didn’t want me.” Vernon looked immediately guilty after hearing the answer. He didn’t even need to feel sorry because it had been long ago. It just felt like a fuzzy memory in Soonyoung‘s mind. “I’m sorry to hear that, hyung… can I call you hyung?” Soonyoung grinned slightly at the younger. He really was endearing. “Of course you can.”

Meanwhile the table had been filled with food and everyone was starting to eat while talking animatedly. Soonyoung and Vernon fell back into silence, but the profiler didn’t mind it. He quietly ate some of the food and when he grabbed for his glass he saw Jihoon watching him intently. Soonyoung had tried to ignore the smaller one‘s frequent glances since they had arrived, but now he couldn’t escape the other’s eyes anymore.

Jihoon pointed slightly first at Wonwoo and then at Vernon and gave him a questioning look. Soonyoung understood that he wanted to know why he wasn’t talking to anyone. The alpha only shrugged as answer at Jihoon and downed some of his drink. He saw how Jihoon then talked to Seokmin next to him quietly who in return got up immediately and walked over to Soonyoung. “Jihoon-hyung said that you should sit beside him.”

Soonyoung felt a slight annoyance flaring up in him but he went over to sit next to Jihoon anyway. He also took his glass with the overly sweet alcoholic drink with him. The drink was a nasty green color and looked pretty much like poison. Just the thing he needed right now.

“You suck at socializing. How have you gotten that awkward? But don’t worry, I’ll teach you.” Soonyoung made a sour face at Jihoon’s words. “That seems very strange coming from you. If I remember correctly, then you are the socially awkward person. You don’t need to teach me anything.”

Jihoon laughed loudly and waved the other’s words off. Soonyoung felt an annoyed pang going through him because Jihoon just waved everything he said off like that. “Don’t you see that I have many friends? I’m not socially awkward at all. So, do you still like anime?” Soonyoung grabbed his glass and downed the rest of his drink. He felt a slight buzz from the alcohol in his head and right now he didn’t know if it was a good or bad thing. “What kind of random question is that?”

“Just answer with a yes or no.” Soonyoung narrowed his eyes slightly and put the glass he was still holding back on the table. “Theoretically yes.” He didn’t want to tell Jihoon that he hadn’t watched any anime in years because he was working 24/7. In school and at the beginning of university he had still greatly enjoyed watching them but at one point he completely gave up on anything that wasn’t related to his studies or later his work.

“Good. I wanted to watch the third season of Attack on Titan already for some time. We can watch it together then. Or have you already watched it?” Soonyoung couldn’t understand Jihoon’s obsession with becoming friends again. He didn’t want the other to invade his private life more than necessary. These times were long gone. He just wanted to sit in the tranquility of his apartment and read some files or a work related book. Watching anime wasn’t high on his priority list of things he wanted and needed to do.

“What is Attack on Titan?” Jihoon’s eyes widened comically and his mouth fell open for a second. “What do you even do on your free time, Soonyoung? Don’t you ever do something fun? I’m also obsessed with my work, but from time to time you have to take your mind off work and do something for leisure.”

“I do lots of things on my free time,” Soonyoung lied through clenched teeth. He didn’t really like lying, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. “I don’t believe you at all. How can you not know Attack on Titan? I’m shocked. You are not the Soonyoung I knew. But whatever, we can just start from season one then.” Soonyoung couldn’t help laughing at Jihoon’s words. He couldn’t be serious.

“You want to watch three seasons of anime with me?” Jihoon picked at his food with the chopsticks for a moment and then calmly looked at Soonyoung. “What’s wrong with that?”
“That would take weeks or even months. We are not students anymore and can just binge watch all night.” Jihoon nodded and laid the chopsticks back on the table. He grabbed his drink and took a big gulp and put the glass with a loud thump back on the table. ”So what? Are you planning to only work for a couple of weeks with our team? Have you already applied for a position at the National Intelligence Service?”

Soonyoung looked at Jihoon and tried to understand what the other was thinking right now. He was a good profiler, but Jihoon was difficult to read. Even back when they were students he often couldn’t understand what was going on in the other’s mind. That had been one of the fascinating things about Jihoon at that time, but right now it left Soonyoung feeling tired.

“No, of course not. I wouldn’t apply right after I got a new job.” Jihoon watched him for a while before a brilliant smile suddenly spread over his face. He was still beautiful. Soonyoung would be an idiot to deny that. But he really seemed to have changed. He was a lot more annoying now than he had been at university. Their roles had somehow been reversed, because at university it had been him who was constantly pestering Jihoon.

“Then I’ll go to your apartment on Saturday at 7PM. We can order a pizza or something.” Soonyoung grabbed for his glass but remembered that it was already empty and pulled his hand awkwardly back. He glared at his glass at first and then at Jihoon. “You can’t just invite yourself like that.”

“Well, you won’t invite me, so I have to invite myself. I’m bringing the anime and you get something to drink. And you better not dare running away or refuse opening the door. Wonwoo doesn’t call me a pest for nothing. Believe me you don’t want to find out.”

Soonyoung sighed quietly. There really seemed to be no way out of this situation. He had to give into Jihoon’s wish or they would keep on discussing this forever. “Do whatever you want then. You won’t even listen to me either way.” Jihoon suddenly grabbed his chopsticks and started eating again with big appetite. Lee Jihoon had turned into quite a strange guy. One of these days Soonyoung really needed to find out what was going on in Jihoon’s head.

“Don’t worry. You’ll like the anime.” The anime wasn’t what Soonyoung worried about. It was a certain small guy who suddenly refused to leave him alone. Many years ago he would have been thrilled to spend time alone with Jihoon, but right now he dreaded their meeting on Saturday. Jihoon tried to get him out of his comfort zone and he didn’t like it one bit.