Title: Runner: Chapter 6, The price of freedom
Rating: This chapter, pg-13 for language, violence
Pairings: This chapter Yoochun x female oc and a surprise!
Genre: AU ( another place and time), friendship, angst
Warning: character death
Summary: 5 young men dream of growing up together and being friends forever, but wishes don’t always come true.
Yoochun fidgeted with his collar; he hated these black-tie affairs. He admitted that he looked good in his dress uniform, but he preferred more casual attire. The ballroom was lavishly decorated; waiters waltzed by with trays of champagne and hors d’oervres. It shocked him to see all the fine ladies and gentlemen in such a setting; there was a war going on, nobody had time for such frivolities. But the general advised him that such parties were a necessity; foreign dignitaries who were backing the rebel army and it’s cause needed to see that the freedom fighters were civilized. He dreaded going to these type of functions, but this one he hoped, would be different. This time, he hoped “she” would be there.
“She” was someone he didn’t even know, but he desperately wanted to see her. On several occasions, Yoochun had accompanied the general to the Chinese Embassy. It was there that he had first caught a glimpse of the object of his desire. Sure he still had his little farmer’s daughter, but this Chinese lotus flower was something special.
They never spoke; there was plenty of eye contact as she puttered around the office catering to her boss and his visitors. Yoochun’s eyes never left her; to some it would seem rude or disconcerting, but the girl maintained the eye contact and even smiled back when she could.
So here he was; once again rubbing elbows with ambassadors and other members of high society hoping to catch a glimpse of his China doll.
Yoochun paced nervously. The general noticed his discomfort and whispered in his ear.
“Relax boy, enjoy yourself.”
A young waiter walked by with a tray of champagne. Yoochun recognized the kid from the local Chinese restaurant. The general grabbed a flute of champagne off the tray and sipped upon it.
“I’m surprised you brought me here,” he asked his commander. “I thought you needed me at the front, you know, where I’m supposed to be doing my job?”
The general smiled as a naval officer and his wife walked by.
“But you are doing your job; you are a hero; these people eat that sort of thing up.”
The general pointed to the shiny medal pinned to Yoochun’s uniform.
“And who is doing your dirty work in the tunnels?”
The general swallowed his pig in a blanket and answered.
“Why Jaybom, of course.”
Yoochun rolled his eyes.
His commander narrowed his eyes.
“The fact that he is short makes him a perfect tunnel rat. In fact, I was seriously thinking of putting him in your place permanently.”
The runner balled up his fists.
“You wouldn’t dare.”
The general looked at the younger man, displeasure on his face.
“Are you threatening your superior officer? If you are, I can have you court martialed. Stand down, lieutenant, this is no place for us to have an argument, not with all the foreign dignitaries around.”
The runner took a deep breath and and bit his lower lip.
“You’re not going to make a fuss over me and this medal are you? Honestly, I don’t want you to make a fuss.”
The general nodded.
“No fuss, just mingle. You never know who you’ll meet.”
The lieutenant meandered over to the bar and ordered a shot of scotch from the young, Chinese bartender. Yoochun recognized him too.
“You guys get around, don’t you?”
The bartender smiled as he wiped the counter.
“It pays good money. Even our busboy is here.”
Yoochun leaned against the bar, watching the old guard parade around like peacocks, when his attention was drawn to the door. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of something or someone.
It was “her.”
“She” walked into the room as if she owned the place; hair piled high; slender body barely contained by a silk cheongsam. Yoochun downed the scotch in one gulp; eyes never leaving her; fixated on her toned legs supported by a pair of red, strappy heels.
“Now we’re talking,” he said to himself, seemingly forgetting about his pretty little farmer’s daughter.
The general watched his runner from across the room and smiled to himself.
He joined his lieutenant at the bar and ordered a drink.
“She’s a looker,” Yoochun said quietly.
The general agreed.
“I wouldn’t if I were you.”
“But I’m not you, am I?”
The runner straightened his tie and stood up from his seat. The general grabbed his arm.
“Be careful. She’s more than just the ambassador’s secretary. I wouldn’t want you to get yourself in hot water or have your heart crushed by a pair of stiletto heels.”
The commander released him; Yoochun nodding and waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. He glided across the floor in the girls direction.
A match was lit just as the beautiful young lady put a cigarette to her lips.
Her eyes met Yoochun’s; accepting the light she inhaled.
“Thank you lieutenant....”
“Yoochun,” he answered nonchalantly. “Call me Yoochun.”
The woman exhaled and smiled.
“It’s very nice to finally and properly meet you, Yoochun. My name is Fei.”
Yoochun blew out the match.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Fei. But I’m curious as to why you are here. If you don’t mind me saying so, you look quite out of place among these heads of state.”
Fei took a drag on her cigarette.
“Oh, my boss insisted I come along. I didn’t want to really, but I had no choice. But now that you’re here, I’m glad I did come.”
She smiled at him and he laughed.
“I’m happy that we were both forced to join in the merriment.”
Yoochun lit his own cigarette, inhaling deeply
“Well there’s one good thing about a party like this,” Fei stated.
“And what is that?”
Fei leaned in close to him and he caught a whiff of her jasmine perfume.
“Free booze,” she whispered in his ear.
He nodded his head.
“Well there is that.”
They stood in silence for a few moments and then Fei spoke.
“Hey, would you like to go for a walk? It would be nice to get some fresh air.”
He looked over at the general; the girl glancing along with him.
“You keep impressive company,” she told him.
“I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere.”
He approached the general who raised an eyebrow.
“If you don’t need me, the lady and I will be leaving.”
The general sighed deeply.
“You waste little time, don’t you?”
Yoochun put his cigarette out in an ashtray on the bar.
“Well, I’m off!”
The general watched as his runner escorted the girl out of the party and on to the city streets. He fumbled nervously with his drink; his apprehension apparent to the bar tender.
“He’ll be safe,” the young Chinese man assured him.
The general left a decent amount of money on the bar as he got up to leave the ballroom.
“Thanks for the tip sir,” the young man said in Korean.
The general shook his head.
“No, thank you for yours.”
Yoochun and Fei walked along the cobblestone streets; they chatted about their lives before the war; his adventures with his four friends; his hopes and dreams for the future when the fighting was over. Fei didn’t say much; she seemed fascinated by the young lieutenant; his exploits in the war, his service, the things that he knew. They wandered aimlessly; Yoochun enthralled by the young woman; lost in the moment and blinded by her beauty. But as time passed by he realized they had strayed too far. The city streets had disappeared and they had lost their way, or so he thought. But Fei knew exactly where she was and what she was doing. She had purposely lead him away from the main part of town; down the dark alleyways where no one would hear his screams.
A gun was drawn, and he froze.
“What the fuck?”
“I’m sorry Yoochun. You’ll have to come quietly now or I’m going to have to kill you. They told me it would be easy to seduce you, but I didn’t know how easy. Like stealing candy from a baby.”
Yoochun began to move, but Fei pointed the gun at him.
“Don’t try anything stupid. If you scream, I’ll kill you this instant. My contact will be here at any moment to take you away.”
Yoochun put his hands above his head; body shaking he spit out his words as if they were poison.
“So you’re a spy. You played it well. No doubt you received orders to find and kidnap me; so what’s it to be? Torture? Ransom? Forget it. The general won’t be moved. I’ll just be written off as another casualty of war.”
Fei pointed the gun at Yoochun’s head.
“I don’t think so. We know who you really are; your relationship to the general. We know that you are his...”
Her words were cut short as a Chinese broadsword was thrust through her body from behind. Yoochun recoiled in horror as his “China doll” met her gruesome end; gun slipping from her fingers and falling to the ground; her body slumping forward on the pavement.
His body shook uncontrollably, and despite his time in the trenches, he felt as if he was going to be sick.
“I’m sorry sir, the assassin’s voice whispered in the dark as he wiped his sharpened blade.
As he stepped out, Yoochun was greeted with a familiar face. It was the young waiter from the banquet hall.
“My name is Tao. We’ve suspected Fei of espionage for some time now. She had no idea we eliminated her contact earlier today. I apologize for the ruse, but they would have killed you no matter what.”
Yoochun swallowed hard.
“So the general knew the whole time?
“We told him and he devised a plan,” came another voice from within the alleyway.
Two more men crept from the shadows; Yoochun recognized the bartender and the maitre d.
“Jesus Christ, are all of you guys agents?”
“My name is Kris, the maitre d spoke, and this is Lay. We’ll take care of the body. Tao will escort you back. You’re in capable hands.”
Yoochun took one last look at his Lotus Flower.
“God damn it Fei,” he cursed under his breath, “why?”
As Tao lead him to safety, he walked away with a heavy heart; his anger building. He would have harsh words for the general, but not tonight.
Arriving back at the base, he was greeted by Jaejoong and Junsu. He hesitated to tell them of the evenings events, but felt the compelling need to spill everything.
His friends listened in disbelief; this war had brought out the best and the worst of everyone. When he had finished his tale, he sighed deeply.
A corporal’s voice interrupted the silence.
“Sir, you have a visitor.”
Yoochun stood up. Standing at the checkpoint, was his little farmer’s daughter.
He shuffled over to her, his bad mood apparent. The girls smile instantly turned to a frown.
“I’m sorry Dara, I can’t tonight. I’ll see you soon, I promise.”
He left her standing at the gate; eyes misting over as she watched him fade from view. His friends stood by too; they knew he needed to be alone. They bid adieu to each other; Junsu returning to the infirmary and Jae heading over to the officer’s mess for one last drink before turning in.
Park Yoochun closed the flap to his tent. Fully clothed, he fell upon his bed and cried himself to sleep.