edori【・ヘ・?】 (edoriko) wrote in baredreams,
edori【・ヘ・?】
edoriko
baredreams

how to catch a thief (and decide if you want to keep him)

how to catch a thief (and decide if you want to keep him)
xiukai
pg-13; 11k
Inspector Kim Minseok has to balance his search for the jewel thief KAI with the stresses of taking care of four lazy subordinates and his relationship with a dancer named Kim Jongin.
-originally written for tiny_hyung and posted here



The card is sitting on her desk when she gets to work.

It's printed on good quality paper; gold embossed borders on heavy cream card stock. There's no information about the sender, nor any return address. The only thing printed on the front of the card is the police superintendent's name.

Other people might have stopped to wonder who could have sent it, but, as a secretary, she isn't paid to wonder about those sorts of things. She's paid to handle paperwork, not to solve mysteries. Goodness knows they have enough other people who can do that. She barely spares the card a glance before she shuffles in with the other letters. And so, she doesn't notice the name printed on the back; three letters in careful uppercase spelling K A I.



///



Kim Minseok arrives at the police department roughly six hours after the letter does.

He's still under the impression that it's a good day, so he hums a bit under his breath as he strolls into his office. There's a small pile of paperwork left on his desk that needs to be finished, but by this point it's mere formality. Shrugging off his police jacket, he settles down at his desk and looks for a pen that hasn't dried up yet.

He's testing a Bic on the corner of an old receipt when his office phone rings.

It's the superintendent.

"Hello, sir?" Minseok looks at the inkless indents in the paper and tosses the pen into his trash. The wastebasket makes an echoey metallic sound as the pen ricochets inside of it and falls to the bottom.

"Is this Inspector Kim?" The question sounds more like a statement. "I think you need to see this."



///



Nearly everyone knows who Kai is.

It's hard not to when he's one of the most prolific jewel thieves around the world. He's stolen gems on display in London, New York, Hong Kong, and even Paris. He has taken gems and precious stones from museums and private collectors alike. He's choosey about what he targets and he never leaves the job unfinished. But even more unusual than his high success rate, is the fact that he actually succeeds after giving the police a warning.

In each of the cases, he sent a card ahead of him, informing the police of the intended mark and the date on which he planned to steal it. But even with the warnings, the jewels still went missing.

Heat sensors in London, motion detectors in New York; it didn't matter what kind of security system they used because he still managed to break through. Kai slips effortlessly in and out through the barriers and there's never any trace of someone being there at all. Because of this, the newspapers (especially the tabloids) often resort to calling him a ghost.

But ghosts don't steal jewels, Minseok muses to himself as he turns the envelope over in his hands. He uses a tissue to hold onto it, trying to keep himself from further contaminating the evidence.

"Are you sure it's Kai?" He peers at the careful script. "He's never written the warnings in Korean before. It could be a copycat."

The superintendent sighs, leaning his elbow on the desk as he watches Minseok examine the card. "You'll have to do a handwriting analysis, but from the signature it appears to be genuine."

Minseok gently places the card back into the evidence bag. "Why Seoul? We're not exactly known for jewels," he pauses, looking up uncertainly. "Are we?"

His superior slides a photocopy across the desk. "You'd be surprised." He drums his fingers on the desk as he waits for Minseok to read it. "That's a photocopy of the card that was inside. There's going to be an exhibition of gems at the World Jewelry Museum. He's targeting one of the necklaces that's going on display." He pauses. "I want your team on the case."

"But sir..."

The superintendent silences him with an airy wave of his hand. "You did a good job catching the thief who stole the Ambassador's briefcase. I want you on this case." He smiles slightly, "Are we clear, Inspector?"

Swallowing nervously, Minseok thinks to himself, But a master jewel thief who's never been caught before is slightly more difficult to catch than a purse snatcher.

What he says is, "Yes. Perfectly clear, Superintendent Kim."

Junmyeon shifts in his chair, a pleased smile spreading across his face. "Good," his brows furrow slightly as Minseok gets up, handing a briefing file across the desk. "And see to it that there aren't any more fires, will you?"

"Of course, sir."



///



The fire was technically not anyone's fault.

Instead, Minseok would say that it was an unfortunate consequence of the fact that he has four subordinates who enjoy antagonizing each other. Although, to be fair, it's only three of them who do most of the antagonizing. While Chanyeol, Jongdae, and Baekhyun play tricks on each other, Kyungsoo usually just stares at them blankly before turning up the volume of his iPod and gently bobbing up and down on his swivel chair.

( For the record, Kyungsoo is the only member left in the team who's even allowed a swivel chair. Jongdae and Chanyeol lost the privilege from having chair duels in the hallway and Baekhyun's was taken away after he attempted to do the hokey pokey on it. )

Now that Minseok thinks of it, it's a miracle that they even caught the purse snatcher.

"Good morning, Inspector Kim." Jongdae looks up from a card house made of sugar packets, grinning as he lifts his hand in a salute. It baffles Minseok how Jongdae can carry out greetings in the proper form and yet still manage to make them come off as mocking.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that his desk is covered in sugar packets instead of paperwork.

"Morning, Jongdae." Minseok straightens his tie and resigns himself to his fate. "Gather everyone in the meeting room. I need to brief you on our new case."



///



With how hectic the day is, Minseok gets home thirty minutes later than he usually does. Normally this wouldn't be a problem.

But normally he doesn't have someone leaning against his front door with a bottle of wine.

"Jongin!" He rushes up the steps, fumbling with his keys. "Have you been waiting long? You should've texted me!"

Even though it's barely September, Seoul has been getting cold. The city is chill with autumn and Minseok doesn't want to think about how cold Jongin must have been while he was waiting.

Chuckling, Jongin pushes off the door, pulling an unfamiliar phone from his pocket with a shrug. "Got a new phone." He slips it back into his coat as Minseok reaches him. "Lost the other one in the airport."

Minseok takes Jongin's hand in his. It's not too cold, but he kisses his knuckles anyway; the skin slightly cold under his lips. "That's right." He chuckles, "It was weird not having Monggu here while you were gone. When did you get back?" He unlocks the door quickly and ushers Jongin inside, unwinding his scarf from his neck and slipping off his shoes.

"Did you forget I went away because Monggu stayed at my Mom's?" Jongin breaks into laughter, his eyes creased in amusement. "I got back last night. I spent most of today sleeping." They shed their winter layers and Jongin follows Minseok to the kitchen. "How was your day?"

Minseok pauses to consider this.

His team has been assigned to a case that's way outside of their league. The superintendent is likely going to be breathing down their necks and he'll be the one responsible if they fail.

Also Chanyeol and Baekhyun replaced all of the coffee in the office with hot chocolate. He had to walk to the Starbucks down the street to get a halfway decent cup of Java and Baekhyun was jittery all day from the excess sugar.

There are days when working at the police department feels a lot like babysitting.

He rolls his eyes, giving Jongin a lopsided smile. "Good. There weren't any fires today."

Jongin laughs and sets the bottle of wine on the counter. "Well that's something."

"I'd rather hear about your trip." Minseok puts a pot on the stove to boil, leaning against the counter and turning back to Jongin with an eager smile on his face. "How was Paris?"



///



If Minseok's life was like a movie then he and Jongin would have met while Jongin was out walking Monggu. If life were a movie then Monggu would've wrapped his leash around their legs and made them fall into each other. Then maybe they'd look into each other's eyes, fall in love, and adopt two children from China.

But it was more gradual than that; a relationship that slowly built up from acquaintances to friends and then to more. And it all started when Minseok's old college roommate asked him to dog-sit.

"You like dogs, right?" Luhan said as soon as Minseok picked up the phone, skipping the usual greetings entirely.

Minseok agreed warily.

"Great! So do you think you can take care of my friend's dog over the weekend? He's going out of town and I know that you'll be home all weekend reviewing case files because you're a workaholic."

Minseok can't disagree with that. "What about you? Why can't you take it?"

"Allergies." Luhan sighed, tapping his fingers against the back of the phone as he often did when he's impatient. "So you can?"

"I guess so. I'm just going to be in the apartment reviewing old case files anyway." Even though there was a teasing edge to his words, Luhan knew him well enough to know that there wasn't any real bite to them.

"Good! I'll tell Jongin your number so you can figure out the details on your own." The line went dead and Minseok was left wondering what he had just agreed to when his phone vibrated.

Minseok? It's Jongin. Thanks so much for agreeing to take care of Monggu this weekend. When's a good time to drop him off?

Later Minseok found out that Jongin travelled a lot because he was a dancer for a well-known dance company. They talked in between Monggu's drop-offs and pick-ups and eventually they started meeting without using the pretense of Monggu at all. It began small, with coffee and extra movie tickets, but slowly it became dates and shy hand holding.

Slowly Jongin's things began to move into Minseok's apartment like they've always been there and Monggu got used to sleeping at the foot of the bed. And by now, there's already dog hair on all of Minseok's suits and it's always on the tip of Minseok's tongue to just ask Jongin to move in.

But something keeps holding him back.



///



A file lands on Minseok's desk and Baekhyun looks pleased with himself.

Minseok picks up the manila file curiously. "What's this?" When he flips it open he finds the note from Kai along with some other samples of writing. There are photocopies of the previous notes that Kai has written and they're all marked up with red circles and underlining.

"What you asked me to do! I compared the handwriting from the different notes. Seems like it's a genuine." Baekhyun grins, putting his hands on his hips.

Flipping through the papers, Minseok stuffs them back into the folder. He lays it to the side, looking up. "Okay." Folding his hands together on top of the pile of paperwork, he looks at Baekhyun in a silent attempt to get him to leave.

Baekhyun looks a little put out. "That's all?"

Minseok glances down at the folder and back up. He doesn't have the heart to tell Baekhyun that he already compared the handwriting yesterday. Back in police academy, handwriting analysis had been his forte. Awkwardly, he pats Baekhyun's hand, managing a small reassuring grin. "Thank you. It was a big help. Now maybe you can help Jongdae looking at the museum's security? I'm sure he could use your assistance."

"NOPE!" Jongdae calls out from outside the office.

Minseok rolls his eyes, getting up from his desk to (gently) escort Baekhyun out. He's got a lot of phone calls to make and he'd prefer not to have to walk each of his team members through their tasks. "Jongdae stop eavesdropping. I want you and Baekhyun to get me the blueprint of the museum and their latest security plan. We've got to look for possible security breaches." He pauses, looking back to give them a warning look. "And play nice you two."



///



The World Jewelry Museum is in a fairly unassuming building. There aren't any stone columns or intricate carvings. The only indication that there's anything valuable inside is the thick metal door.

Minseok looks up and down the sleepy looking back street. It's one of the many streets near the palace, and many of the houses are in an older traditional Korean style. He holds up a hand, shielding his eyes from the sun as he looks at the many hanok styled houses with their curved tiled roofs.

It's not a good place for a thief. The area's small and cramped and if the place is overrun with officers then it will be even more difficult to get in.

Unless that's what he wants... the chaos of a crowd packed into a tight space.

Sighing, Minseok pushes open the door to the museum and looks around the darkened lobby. It's even smaller than it looks from the outside. The receptionist looks up with a stiffly polite smile. "Yes?"

Minseok bows back, just as awkwardly.

This is going to be fun...



///



It's only been a few days since the case has been assigned when the superintendent calls Minseok into his office.

"How's it going?" Junmyeon riffles through a few papers before letting them fall back to his desk.

There's four days from the intended strike date. They're still researching the venue. They've got to know more about where the jewel's going to be taken from before they can a devise a way to stop it from being taken.

Minseok shuffles his feet awkwardly. "It's going all right."

Junmyeon leans forward onto his desk, eager with anticipation. "Have you come up with any plans to catch him?"

A very elaborate blueprint of a cardboard box, a stick, and an opened jar of peanut butter had been sitting on his desk when he came to work that day, but he has the feeling that the superintendent is looking for something a little bit more high tech.

"We're..." Minseok clears his throat nervously. "We're still examining different methods of pursuit. Sir."

Junmyeon raises an eyebrow before shifting back in his chair. "I see. Examine on, Inspector." Gratefully, Minseok shuffles out of his office and he bows slightly before pulling the door closed.



///



Minseok checks his watch nervously. It's getting close to the time that Kai wrote down on the card. Anxiously, he paces back and forth in the lobby of the museum. At least since it's after hours there aren't any tourists roaming around.

The necklace is being displayed around the neck of a statue in one of the back exhibition rooms. The room being used is a bit larger than the others, and a space has been cleared around the statue so the police have space to walk around. Chanyeol and three of the other new recruits are keeping watch on it.

Everything is in place. There are extra motion sensors around the statue. There are guards covering all the exits. All the air ducts are under surveillance. There's no way in or out that hasn't be checked and double-checked.

There are two minutes left.

And then the power goes out. Minseok can feel all of his perfect plans unraveling under his fingertips.

"Shit."



///



Chanyeol is staring at the statue when the room goes dark. Even though the lobby isn't far, he isn't looking forward to stumbling through the dark. Instead, he reaches to his belt for the regulation radio.

Holding down the button, he speaks into the device. "Minseo- Uh Inspector Kim?"

All he can hear is static.

"There must be some kind of interference set up," calls out one of the other policemen from somewhere in the darkness. A flashlight lights up and swings around the room. "All we can get is static on these things."

And then chaos descends. The other guards start yelling, arguing who's going to be the one to go for further instructions. One of the flashlights swings up and blinds the others, and the bickering gets more heated.

Chanyeol sighs, reaching for the flashlight at his belt. "Hey!" The shouting continues and he tries yelling a bit louder. "HEY!" He waits for silence and then he continues. "Send the youngest." He searches for a name. "Taeyong." Yeah, that's his name. "Taeyong, go and ask Inspector Kim for further instructions.

"Roger, sir."

Finally Chanyeol grabs a hold of the flashlight from his belt. He switches on the light and points it at the statue.

His eyebrows knot together as he lets out an exasperated sigh. "And Taeyong?"

The boy takes a step backwards, hanging back and a bit off-balance. "Yes?"

"Tell him that the necklace is missing."



///



It feels like everything is weighing down on Minseok as he makes his way home. The streets are quiet; the distant wail of sirens is fading from his ears as he gets farther and farther away from the museum. Removed from the crime scene, he can almost pretend that nothing happened. That Kai still hasn't stolen the necklace and that they still have time to get this right.

He takes a deep breath, shoving his hands in his pockets.

"What am I going to do?"

"You could let me in for a start." The voice makes Minseok turn, relaxing as he sees who it is.

"Jongin! What are you doing here?" He reminds himself to give Jongin a spare key so he won't have to keep waiting outside for him like this.

"I saw the news." Jongin bites his lip and his shoulders curl in slightly. There's concern all over his face. "You didn't tell me that you're on the Kai case."

It's not an accusation, just a comment, but Minseok still feels a bit guilty for not mentioning it.

He thinks back to the brief interview he gave. He remembers the reporters swarming the scene. There were lights flashing in his face and a field of microphones in front of him. He has a vague recollection of giving a short statement while Jongdae hung around behind him, grinning and trying to sneak bunny ears on him whenever he thought that Minseok wasn't paying attention.

"Oh?" He gives Jongin a weak smile. "What did you think?"

Jongin hums, pulling Minseok under his shoulder. "I think it's great." Leaning his head against Minseok's, he continues. "But are you okay?"

"I'm fine." He smiles, laughing bitterly. "The chief is going to scold me tomorrow though." His nose wrinkles as he thinks about Junmyeon's method of scolding, which usually involves lots of disappointed frowns and questioning your actions with a fatherly tone.

It's the perfect mix of trust and condescension and Minseok is not looking forward to it in the slightest.

Which means it's the perfect time to change the subject.

"Where's Monggu? You didn't bring him over today?" He peers around, surprised at the absence of Jongin's canine shadow as he breaks free from Jongin's hold enough let them into the apartment. Jongin clings to his back as they walk forward, the two of them shuffling together.

"Dropped him off at Mom's. I thought... that it would be better for us to be alone tonight." Jongin tilts his head so that his words get lost in Minseok's hair. Rather than hearing the words, Minseok feels the vibrations of Jongin's voice running through him.

It's an invitation and Minseok bites back laughter. "Oh? And why would that be?"

Jongin's arms drop down to clutch at Minseok's waist, gently picking at the hem of his slacks. They inch Minseok's dress shirt free from the waistband slowly. "I think you know what I mean."

Angling towards Jongin, Minseok's hands cup his face, kissing Jongin as he presses closer. "Why don't you show me so I'll know for sure?" Grinning playfully, he guides Jongin's hands underneath his shirt.

And Jongin groans, backing Minseok towards the bedroom as his hands struggle with the buttons on his shirt.



///



The next morning is cloudy, as if the weather is trying to reflect Minseok's despair at having to go to work. Jongin hums under his breath as he dries his hair with a towel. His dress shirt is a bit wet from the droplets he shakes from his head.

On a normal morning he'd still be sleeping at this time. He only gets up early when he sleeps over at Minseok's so they can leave the apartment together. But Jongin's already finished getting ready and Minseok still hasn't moved from the burrito of sheets and blankets.

Jongin sits on the edge of the bed and prods the lump of covers gently. "Minseok?"

A messy head of dark hair burrows deeper into the pillows.

"Min, it's time to wake up."

The head shakes, and disappears under the comforter.

Jongin rolls his eyes and pulls the blanket off the bed in one fell swoop. "Come on, it's time for work. I'm sure Junmyeon is not that bad."

Curling up into a ball on the bed, Minseok grumbles softly. "He is too."

It's rare for Minseok to show this side of himself, and he blushes with embarrassment as he hides his face against the pillow. But just as he's about to give in and apologize for being childish, he finds himself squished into the bed. The air pushes out from his lungs in a whoosh and there's pillow pressing up against his face.

"Fine then. Don't get up. I'll just take a nap here until I have to go into work." Jongin flops over him and Minseok can feel Jongin's body shake with repressed laughter.

With effort Minseok pulls his face free of the pillow. "Can I get free if I give you a kiss?" Squirming half free, he kisses Jongin's nape. Now it's Jongin's turn to blush and Minseok smiles. He likes that Jongin still reacts so strongly with every kiss.

Still slightly flushed, Jongin reaches down to hold his hand. "Do you think we have time to take a shower together?" He tilts his head to get his bangs out of his face and peeks over at Minseok shyly.

Minseok laughs and even though he likes the idea he can't pass up the opportunity to tease Jongin some more. "Didn't you already take one?"

"It doesn't hurt to be extra clean," Jongin answers, blush darkening. Turning, he pulls Minseok up out of bed and this time Minseok comes willingly, the two of them almost tripping on the comforter as they stumble to the bathroom.



///



"The power."

Minseok flinches at the voice, bowing his head forward again. He'd been trying to sneak to his department without being spotted when Junmyeon materialized and asked him to come to his office. He's still wearing his jacket and the office is too hot be wearing all of these layers.

"Your team prepared all of these safeguards and he just cut the power." Junmyeon's eyebrows furrow as if he can't understand how Kai could have ever outwitted someone under his command.

Minseok licks his lips, bracing himself. "To be fair, sir. We had all the exits and entrances blocked. The fuse box was in the basement. He shouldn't even have been able to get in."

"How did he then?"

Behind his back, Minseok's hands link together. "We're still looking into that, sir."

Junmyeon nods, and the disappointment in his face makes Minseok grip his hands together more tightly. "I see."



///



Although Minseok doesn't like the fact that his subordinates regularly slack off, after the tension of Junmyeon's office he's looking forward to the easygoing atmosphere of their division. He runs a hand carelessly through his hair, slipping off his backpack so he can finally get out of his jacket. His clothes are damp with sweat already and he groans, pushing open the door to his section.

But instead of the paper airplanes and poker games he's expecting, Jongdae and Baekhyun are sitting at their computers and working seriously. The other two desks are empty and there's no noise except for the tapping of keyboards.

"Did something happen?" He blinks, strolling over to Jongdae and peering over his shoulder at his monitor. "Where is everyone?" Jongdae looks up, grinning.

"Well, after the brutal defeat of last night we thought something had to be done. You know he might have won the hand but not the war."

Minseok tries to decode the analogy, nodding slowly once he understands. "Okay. So what are you working on to... ah... win the war?"

Jongdae moves aside slightly, letting Minseok see his screen better. "We were looking for ways that Kai could have snuck into the building and we found this on the security cameras." He plays a short clip of guards entering the building and heading to their posts. All of the guards are moving towards the exhibition rooms except for one. Instead of following the others, he turns towards a different set of stairs. Jongdae pauses the film, the image motionless on the man's back. "Those stairs head to the basement."

"Where the fuse box is..." Minseok mumbles and Jongdae turns slightly, his grin widening.

"Exactly." He taps the desk. "Unfortunately, this shot only got his back. So Baekhyun is looking through the other security footage to see if he can spot something. Chanyeol and Kyungsoo left to interview other policemen to see if anyone remembers him. And I-" he holds up a piece of paper, "am working on a suspect profile. From the video we can tell how tall he is, his build, and other things."

Minseok looks at the paper in surprise. There's a neat list of all the known facts including his height and shoe size. "You know, sometimes I forget that you four have police training."

Jongdae grins. "Impressive, right?"

If smugness could be eaten then Jongdae would be full of it.

Minseok shakes his head, heading towards his office when Baekhyun yells, "Also someone called for you! The note's on your desk!"

He raises his hand to acknowledge that he's heard, shutting the door to his office behind him.



///



Rather than meeting at the office, Sehun asks to meet in a cafe a half a block from the station.

It's a small place. Minseok remembers passing it on his way to work, but he's never been inside before. It isn't the kind of place he'd usually go to. Inside the cafe, decorative ivy covers the brick walls. Groups of schoolgirls are clustered around the wooden slab tables. Looking around for Sehun, he spots a man waving him towards a table in the back. Minseok weaves through the crows, finally slipping into the chair across from him.

Sehun looks younger than Minseok was expecting from his voice. The male in front of him slouches forward in an awkward fitting blazer. There's a camera bag at his side and a envelope laying on the table between them.

"I take it you're Sehun?"

The man nods, mouth drawing into a tight line.

"Inspector Kim. It's good to meet you." Clearing his throat, Minseok says, "You said that you had some information about the theft that happened yesterday?"

Sehun's mouth curves into a small smile. "I've been following Kai's movements for a long time. Ever since the first theft in London. Naturally, if he was going to start in Seoul I had to be on the scene too." He pats the envelope protectively. "But shouldn't I get a reward for helping the police?"

"Depends on what you've got." Minseok gestures towards the envelope. "May I?"

Reluctantly, Sehun gives up the envelope. Minseok pulls it gently from underneath Sehun's hand, flipping it open and pulling out several photographs. The first photograph is dark and grainy; so Minseok has to lean in close to see the details. It looks like one of the backstreets near the World Jewelry Museum. All of the photographs have the same dark figure in them. It looks like a man wearing a black spandex bodysuit. He shuffles through the shots. In the first one the man is hanging from a window. The next has him climbing down a drainpipe and the in the third one he's climbing over the peak of a roof, grappling with the tiles on all fours.

Minseok checks the time stamp. Yesterday.

"Are you saying this is?"

Smiling widely, Sehun nods. "Those are photographs I took yesterday when I was watching the crime scene. Who else would be sneaking out of the museum?"

Minseok rests the photographs on the table, massaging his temples. "If you saw him the night of the crime, why didn't you come forward then?" If they'd known which way their mystery man had disappeared then maybe they could have caught him. Now all they have are a few dark photographs to go on.

Caught off guard, Sehun stumbles on his words. "I-I wasn't sure that I'd really seen him. It wasn't until after I'd developed the photos when I realized that he was really there. It really happened."

Minseok shrugs; there's nothing they can do about it now. He'll send Jongdae and Baekhyun over to the area to look for any witnesses as soon as he gets back to the station. Then he remembers Sehun's earlier question. He holds up the pile of photos. "These are worth the reward for sure. You can come by the front desk at the station anytime within the next week to collect it. I'll let them know that you're coming." Minseok passes over a voucher with his signature on it as a guarantee and Sehun pockets it with a grin.

They shake hands and get ready to leave. The photographs are back in the envelope and Minseok clutches them against his chest. He's about to leave when something occurs to him.

"Wait." Sehun slips the strap of his camera bag across his shoulders and looks up just as Minseok continues, "If you're such a big fan of Kai, then why are you helping us catch him?"

"I want to see if he can beat you a second time." Sehun smiles, tilting his head coyly. "It's more interesting if it's a fair fight, don't you think?"



///



The rest of day passes quickly enough. Jongin texts him to let him know that he'll be late for dinner because he has a rehearsal in the evening and Jongdae makes copies of all of Sehun's photographs to pass around the other team members. But all through the day Sehun's words linger in his mind.

It's frustrating to think that they're being looked down on. But feeling frustrated just makes him want to work harder. He looks over the photographs, and the lists of information from his team, trying to find different correlations between everything.

Minseok is still sitting at his kitchen table with the photographs spread before him when Jongin gets back from rehearsal. He doesn't hear Jongin's knock against the door and he barely notices Jongin coming up beside him.

"You left your door unlocked. That's dangerous. A thief might get in." Jongin grins to himself at the joke, resting his duffle bag on a chair. "I brought my stuff back to shower here instead, I hope that's okay. Oh, and before I forget to tell you: I have to go to a party because of my parents. It's just a fundraising dinner, but they said I have to make an appearance on their behalf. You want to come as my plus one?"

"You're back early." He's never gone with Jongin to a social function before, but the invitation makes him smile. Slightly nervous, he turns to look up at Jongin. "Would it be okay? I mean, going with a guy and all?"

"Yeah," Jongin shrugs. "I don't really care what other people think." Looking down at the photographs, he leans down to pick up one of them. For a moment Minseok considers throwing himself over the table in an attempt to hide the evidence, but it's a bit too late for that.

Jongin flips the photo over, checking the date and letting out a low whistle when he realizes what it is. "Is this Kai?"

Humming confirmation, Minseok nods. It's infuriating to be so close. They're the first ones to have gotten Kai on film, but they still haven't been able to see his face. None of the shots have a clear view, and even when they do they're too far away and grainy for Jongdae to enlarge the picture.

For all of Sehun's bragging, his camera's pretty shitty, Minseok thinks to himself.

"He looks pretty flexible." Jongin turns the photograph, eyeing it with a small smile. "Hey, you think he's good in bed?"

Minseok rolls his eyes and pinches Jongin gently in the side, his eyes never leaving the photographs spread out in front of him.



///



For about a week things are pretty quiet. Minseok goes on walks with Jongin and Monggu and Chanyeol finally stop trying to scare Kyungsoo by sneaking up behind him in the bathroom. Everything is starting to settle back into a normal routine.

And then the second card arrives.



///



Zhang Yixing opens the door of his house in Gangnam to find a card on his welcome mat. The card is a on heavy cream stationary. Curious, he steps back into the entryway of his house. He leans his briefcase against the wall and opens up the envelope carefully. It takes a few moments to free the flap without ripping the paper, but he's never been an impatient person.

Finally, the card inside slides out. Even after years of living in Korea, he still finds reading a bit difficult and his mouth moves as he works through the different Hangul characters. He says the words before fully understanding the meaning of them. But once he gets to the end and he says the last three letters, he knows what it all means.

KAI.



///



Minseok can already tell by the address that the house is going to be expensive. Anyone who can afford a house in Gangnam has to be rich. He strains, trying to read the house numbers without sideswiping a Benz. His paycheck is good, but it's not that good.

Zhang Yixing's house is a two-story walk-up on one of the many side streets winding around the area. Minseok pulls his car into the driveway gingerly, poking his head out of the window to make sure he doesn't park too close to the other car.

He runs up the steps, taking a deep breath and knocking on the door.



///



Minseok gets back to the office to find a plastic bag sitting on his desk. As he walks around to the other side of his desk he sees a post-it note stuck to the side, a coffee sitting next to it.

"What's this?"

Baekhyun pokes his head in. "A guy named Jongin dropped it off for you." He waggles his eyebrows, grinning obnoxiously wide. Grins like that on Baekhyun's face are never a good sign. "Said he was your boyfriend. I didn't know you were dating!" His brows draw up in a theatric show of sympathy. "Has it been difficult to fit in meetings with all this hype around Kai lately? Don't worry, we'll catch Kai and you can go back to getting lai-"

"Thank you, Baekhyun." Minseok rolls his eyes and shuts the door.

Now that he's alone, he sits at his desk, pulling the wheeled chair closer as he looks down at the note. It's just scrawled in pen on a post-it note, but Minseok can't stop smiling at the short message.

Don't work so hard that you forget to eat! Practice is ending early today so I'll come by the station to pick you up. Text me if you're going to be late.
-Jongin


Laying the note to the side, he peeks into the bag. Inside there's a plastic container of Jajangmyun, and Minseok smiles gleefully. He pulls out a pair of disposable chopsticks, snapping them before digging into the noodles gratefully. Swiveling back and forth in the chair, he stuffs his mouth full of food. It's nice to eat something warm on a cold fall day and he smiles around the mouthfuls, trying to organize the things on his desk with the other hand.

A folder falls off of his desk and Minseok groans, reluctantly putting aside his food so he can clean up the mess.

There are samples of Kai's handwriting all over the floor. It must have been the folder that Baekhyun brought him. Impatiently, he shuffles the scraps of paper together. But when he sees the most recent note, he pauses. There's something familiar in the way the Hangul are written.

Standing up, he tosses the folder back onto the desk, looking at Jongin's post-it note as he eats. He chews slowly, his gaze lingering on each of the characters thoughtfully.



///



"You seem quiet today." Jongin pauses, rethinking what he said. "I mean, quieter than normal. Are you all right, Min?" He wraps the dog leash around his hand, eyeing Minseok worriedly. Since he stopped by to pick Minseok at work, the other keeps lapsing into silences and bending down to scratch behind Monggu's ears.

Minseok looks up, waking from his own thoughts. He stands, linking his fingers with Jongin's free hand. "It's nothing." He squeezes his hand, a faint smile stretching across his face. "I'm just thinking about something."

He starts to walk forward again, but Jongin pulls him gently back to his side. "You can always talk to me, you know. If there's something bothering you." He shifts their hands so their fingers mesh together more solidly and Minseok has to bite his lip to keep himself from smiling.

He looks down at their hands and Monggu looks up, pacing back and forth between the two of them as he tries to figure out why they're stopped. "I know. But I'm not ready. I need to check something first."

"Check something?" The worry on Jongin's face fades to confusion.

Minseok shakes his head, smiling up at Jongin. "I'll tell you about it later." He reaches down to pat Monggu's head affectionately. "Let's just enjoy the walk for now."

And Jongin nods in agreement, wrapping his arm around Minseok's shoulders and pulling him into his side with a content sigh. "Why don't we talk about what we're going to eat for dinner instead?

Minseok hums. "Are you cooking?"

Jongin raises an eyebrow, sensing that he's going to get suckered into doing all the work. "Why don't we cook together? I'll cut up vegetables and you can make your specialty."

"Specialt- you mean curry?" A smile grows on Minseok's face before he has time to stop it, his earlier worries getting pushed to the back of his mind. "You do know that I just use the blocks of Golden Curry base that you can get from the grocery store, right? It's not like there's anything special about-"

His words are cut off when Jongin laughs. "You always say that! But it doesn't taste the same when I make it by myself. You've got to face it, Min. You've got the curry making magic."

Minseok bursts into laughter, elbowing Jongin gently. "Fine. But if we're going to make curry then we need to pick up some more vegetables on the way home."

Ahead of them Monggu rushes forward before doubling back, wondering why these two humans keep walking so slowly when there are so many new smells to explore.



///



"So what have you found out?" Minseok slides into his seat at the table, looking around at his team members expectantly.

Jongdae speaks first. "The owner is Zhang Yixing. He's a businessman who moved to Seoul from China. He's from old blood. The whole family is rich, although he's a bit richer than the others." He passes out a handout with some information about the family on it. "He went to university in China and graduate school here in South Korea. After graduating he took over a company his uncle recently acquired."

After Jongdae falls silent, Baekhyun takes over, passing out a sheet of company information. "The company started off as a small programming company, but Zhang has expanded it to include marketing and website design. From the way he's been talked about in magazines it seems that most people think of him as being pretty spacey. But since he's the head of a multinational corporation there's got to be more to him. Old classmates said that even though he didn't always sound like he was making sense, his coding was always solid."

Now it's Chanyeol's turn to speak and he directs them to the reverse side of Baekhyun's handout. "He's got links with many companies in Seoul including Samsung, SK Telecom and LG." Chanyeol flips over the paper himself, scanning the list for anything they might know. "Some smaller companies too: Kim Corp and Mirae Asset."

Kim Corp... That's Jongin's parents' company. Minseok nods. "So he's rich and he's got ties in Seoul. What about the stone?"

Kyungsoo hands him another paper. "The stone is a purchase he made while he was in Belgium. It is rumored to have belonged to a relative of the royal family, although no one can confirm it. However, due to the rumors it has become known as the Crown Opal. It was previously set in a thick silver band and meant to be worn as a bracelet, but before Zhang purchased it the dealer had the silver removed. It's about the size of a golf ball."

Holding up two fingers, Baekhyun tries to judge how big that is. "Sounds pretty big."

"Well he's rich enough to afford it," Jongdae points out.

"With all of the pies he's got his fingers in, it makes you wonder if it would even put a dent in his bank account to have it go missing." Chanyeol chuckles, leaning back in his chair.

Even though Minseok agrees, he tries to restore a bit of order to the room. "That's not our call. Our job is to protect it." He looks around the table and Chanyeol sits up guiltily. "It seems like the party is a fundraising event for one of Zhang's side projects based around helping finance children's educations. It's also a celebration of the partnerships he's made with Korean companies and the stone going on display is a show of the success he's had here."

Minseok leans over the table, continuing to speak, "I want Chanyeol and Kyungsoo to go to the house and take a look at the location and security system. I'll come with you and we can come up with a plan for tomorrow night. Jongdae and Baekhyun, I want you to keep working on the thief angle. Try to see if there's anyone in Zhang's background who fits our profile and might hold a grudge."

They salute sloppily. "Yes, sir."



///



Minseok's always been a little clumsy when it comes to ties. Eyebrows furrowed in deep concentration, he stares at himself in the mirror, trying to figure out which end goes over which.

A pair of larger hands joins his, gently pulling Minseok's hands from the silk fabric.

"Here, let me." Chuckling, Jongin holds onto the tie, guiding Minseok back against his chest as he fastens the length of silk around his neck. Minseok can feel Jongin breathing against his ear, and when he looks up Jongin is too focused on the task at hand to meet Minseok's gaze. Jongin bites his lip as he pulls the tie snug against Minseok's throat, stepping back proudly. "All right?"

The neat knot is definitely better than anything Minseok would have been able to manage on his own. He smiles. "Yeah, thanks."

Jongin looks good in a suit and Minseok doesn't think he's being biased. His shoulders fill out the jacket and the plain style of the collar emphasizes his Adam's apple and the sharp cut of his jaw. Jongin, he noticed, isn't wearing a tie and Minseok's eyebrows quirk at the injustice of it all.

"Hey, Jongin..." Minseok isn't sure how he wants to continue the conversation, but there's been something gnawing at his mind for the last few days. "Do you think it's wrong to keep secrets in a relationship?" He smoothes down Jongin's jacket, his hands pausing to tug gently at the lapels.

"I think all relationships have a few secrets, don't you think?" Jongin cups Minseok's cheeks, bumping their foreheads together softly. "As long as the secret isn't something that can break the relationship."

That sounds reasonable enough but... "How do you know it won't break the relationship?" Minseok lets his hands slide down to Jongin's waist, gently pressing the heels of his palms into the bones of Jongin's hips.

"I guess you just have to trust your partner." He smiles down at Minseok, thumbs brushing over the other's cheeks as his brows arch up worriedly. "You've been acting a little weird recently. What made you think of that?"

"Just wondering." Minseok bites his lip, leaning up to kiss his boyfriend in the hopes that he won't be forced to give a more complete answer. "C'mon, we're going to be late for the party if we wait any longer."



///



Minseok's never been to a party like this before. He adjusts his tie nervously. "I'm sorry that we had to go early. And I'm sorry that I'll have to work the whole night." They hang back on the sidewalk before the house, watching people make their way up the steps to the front door. Policemen are already hanging around, parked in cars outside and entering the house, most of them dressed in suits so they won't alarm the guests.

Gently pulling Minseok's hand away from his tie, Jongin squeezes his hand, smiling. "Don't apologize. It's not your fault that Kai decided to target the same party I invited you to."

"Yeah." Minseok relaxes slightly, turning back to the house. "We should go in."

Jongin nods and the two of them finally go up the stairs.

As soon as they enter the house Yixing is there, welcoming them to the party. Although he had been dressed nicely the last time that Minseok saw him, this time he looks impeccable. The suit is cut in a way that flatters his slim figure and his hair is just messy enough to be stylish.

"Inspector Kim!" Yixing smiles sleepily, shaking Minseok's hand before turning to Jongin. "And Kim Jongin of Kim Corp, no less!" He reaches out to shake Jongin's hand as well. "I've seen you on the stage. Very talented dancer. Are you going to take over your parents' business in the future?" Yixing gracefully guides them into the living room as he wants for Jongin's response.

"I don't think so. I don't quite have the mind for business that my parents do."

"It's not for everyone." Yixing nods thoughtfully as he swings his arm around a taller man. "Take my cousin Tao, for example. He was born into a family of businessmen and lawyers, but yet he's decided to become an action movie star." He smiles at the man underneath his arm before turning back to his guests and introducing them to each other.

"Tao, I'd like you to meet Inspector Kim Minseok and Kim Jongin." Tao bows towards the two respectfully and Yixing turns to him. "The Inspector's here to keep the Crown Opal safe." He looks back to Minseok. "Tao thinks he can catch Kai." Smiling, Yixing beckons to a waiter and glasses of wine appear before them. Jongin takes one but Minseok passes. No drinking while on duty.

"You mean I will catch him." Tao's fists tighten at his sides and his chin rises defiantly. With his strong physique and the passion in his eyes, Minseok wonders if Kai will have a hard time tonight.

He sneaks a look at Jongin only to find him smiling as he slowly sips at his wine.



///



For most of the party Minseok wanders around the house, looking for anyone suspicious, even though he isn't expecting to find anyone. The Crown Opal is on display in one of the smaller first floor rooms. It's a bit apart from the food and the busier areas of the house. Several police officers dressed in plain-clothes mill around nearby, watching the stone from the corner of their eyes.

And although they've planned for it, Minseok can already think of several ways it could be stolen. Kai could cause a distraction and take the stone while their attention is diverted. He could replace it with a replica. He could even cut the power from one of the lines running into the house.

To be honest, Minseok isn't too interested in how Kai is going to steal the stone; he's more interested in how he's going to get away.

Remembering the photos that Sehun took, Minseok waits outside, scanning the walls for signs of movement. When it's around time for the heist to be happen he asks Kyungsoo to leave, telling him that the officers inside will likely need backup.

"You aren't coming, sir?" Kyungsoo's gaze levels on him, wetting his lips with the tip of his tongue. "I thought you'd be the first one on the scene."

Minseok ignores the question. "It'll be crowded. I want you to secure the scene and take fingerprints." His eyes flicker upwards, lingering on the open windows. "I might head home first."

Kyungsoo stares for a moment before pulling off a lazy salute. "Yes, sir."

Now that he's alone, Minseok settles back against the building, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he waits.

He doesn't have to wait long. There's the soft sound of a window being eased open, barely audible over the noise from inside. As quietly as he can, Minseok pushes off of the wall, aiming his flashlight towards the window. The beam of light catches a figure moving across the wall and Minseok's breath catches in his throat.

"Jongin?"

The figure in black hesitates and Minseok curses under his breath. Even though it's just a whisper, it reverberates in the stone backstreet. His hand trembles and he holds the flashlight with two hands to keep it steady.

"Fuck, it's really you."

Jongin drops onto a fire escape closer to the ground, pulling off his mask. Suddenly the silhouette is familiar, and Minseok is amazed that he couldn't see it before.

Taking in a gasp of cool night air, Jongin ruffles his hair and leans over the iron railing. "How did you figure out it was me?"

"Your handwriting. The note you left had the same handwriting as the one that was sent to us." Minseok angles the flashlight away from Jongin's eyes, keeping it close enough so that he can still him. With Jongin on the fire escape above him, it's like a bizarre retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

But hopefully their story isn't going to end in fourth deaths and two suicides.

"That's how?" Jongin laughs, shaking his head. "I was hoping that it would be because you recognized me." He turns so that Minseok can see the line of his body in the tight black suit. "This wasn't enough of a giveaway?" He raises an eyebrow, gesturing to himself.

"Well. I wasn't really. Um. Looking at the body." Minseok shifts awkwardly. This isn't exactly how he was expecting this confrontation to go at all. "Or thinking about those photographs in that way at all."

"Why not?" Laughing, Jongin sits down on the fire escape, his legs swinging out as he rests his arms on the bottom rail. Now that he's a bit closer Minseok can see the straps on a backpack hanging down.

"Because I have a boyfriend whom I like a lot more?" Minseok bites his lip, embarrassed at admitting it.

Jongin blinks, speechless for the moment. The longer that he remains silent, the more Minseok comes to regret his words. After all, he doesn't know how all of this is going to change things. Because whether he likes it or not, things have to change.

He just doesn't know how.

Overcome with nervousness, he looks back up into the darkness. Drifting through the clouds, the gentle glow of moonlight lets him just see Jongin's features; a bit of his nose, the swell of his cheeks and the sharp line of his jaw. They're parts of Jongin that Minseok has been looking at millions of times over the past few months and yet they look different to him tonight.

He swallows, hesitating as he tries to figure out how to articulate the strange clash of emotions welling up inside of him.

"You said that's okay to have secrets in a relationship as long as it's not something that will break it. But did you really think that something like this wouldn't break us?" Minseok softly calls up to the fire escape, the confusion and betrayal building up inside of him. He wants to believe that Jongin has a reason for all of this, but he doesn't know what he can expect from him anymore.

And finally the weight of the day feels like too much. Tired, he lets his arm fall back down to side, the beam of the flashlight arching downwards.

"You know what? I'm going home. Decide what you want to do. I'm not going to arrest my boyfriend, so just this once I'll let it slide." Looking down he switches off the flashlight. "But that's just for today. Because starting tomorrow, I won't think of you like that anymore."

He'll wait. He wants to see what Jongin will choose before he thinks about heartbreak. If it's Jongin then there will be a reason. If it's Jongin, he'll say something. He has to trust that Jongin still wants this.

And if he doesn't, then Minseok is going to do everything he can to arrest him.

But what Minseok wants to do most of all right now is to go home, change out of his uniform and snuggle up in bed. He wants to pretend that his boyfriend isn't an international jewel thief for just a little longer.

"You know where to find me if you want to talk," he says.

And with that he turns and leaves, swinging the flashlight back and forth as he makes his way back to his car, ignoring the shouts of his name as Jongin struggles to untangle himself from the fire escape.



///



It isn't long after Minseok gets home that the doorbell rings. Still in the midst of changing, he stumbles towards the door while pulling a t-shirt over his head. He really would've preferred to have more time alone to think, but another part of him knows that his answer will be the same no matter how long he thinks about it.

Falling into the door as he pulls his arm through the sleeve, he cracks the door open.

"Jongin?"

Jongin's still in his black poly-acrylic blend spandex suit and when Minseok thinks of all the weird looks he'd get walking around in that on the street, he nearly starts laughing.

"You didn't change?"

"I thought talking to you was a little more important than what I look like." But despite the retort, Jongin shifts uncomfortably.

Minseok looks Jongin up and down as he steps back from the door to let him in. Letting his eyes linger over Jongin's body appreciatively, he blushes at how tight the suit is. He's supposed to be angry, not lusting after Jongin in a body suit. Making his way to the bedroom, he tosses Jongin some of the clothes that he's left at Minseok's. "Change first. I don't think we can have a serious conversation with you looking like that."

Eyes widening, Jongin flushes slightly. "Y-yeah. I'll go do that."

Minutes later Jongin joins Minseok on the edge of the bed, clutching his backpack in his hands. The sloped way he's sitting makes him look smaller than usual. The t-shirt rides up a bit and Minseok can see the elastic of his boxers curved under the ridge of his spine.

Leaning back, Jongin's hand grips the metal bed frame. "You probably have a lot of questions."

Snorting inelegantly, Minseok says, "That's an understatement. I mean I'd kind of like to know when all of this started? Is this what you were really doing on all those trips to Europe? Was the dancing just a cover-up? And why the fuck did you decide to go out with me anyway?" Short of breath, Minseok pauses, running a hand through his hair and getting sitting more comfortably on the bed. "Tell me the whole thing."



///



Kim Jongin was born into a decently rich upper middle class family. His parents were at best busy and at worst, neglectful. The house was just outside of Seoul and it was big. It was just the sort of house that most children would dream of living in; lots of empty rooms to have adventures in and lots of dark corners to explore.

Jongin hated it.

The house was cold even during the summers and so big that he often didn't even hear his parents come home. But it was in that dark house that Jongin daydreamed and he danced.

He liked dancing. Even as a child he had always been athletic, so it wasn't hard to start. It let him express himself better than he was able to with words, and he liked the structured discipline that came with it. His parents approved too, paying for him to attend whatever classes he wanted.

The transition from regular boy to jewel thief had been a bit unexpected.

Around when he was a teenager his parents starting bringing him to fancy dinner parties and making him wear suits. At first he liked going to the parties just because he felt like he was being allowed in his parents' world at last. But soon he realized that he was more of an accessory than a person to them.

They liked showing him off to other people, dragging him in front of their coworkers and saying, "This is our son."

Then he'd bow and smile awkwardly. He was never expected to talk, but just to be there; like some kind of status symbol.

The hypocrisy of it all made him sick. He hated the way that people gathered in fancy parties to show off their wealth in jewels and fancy catering. All he'd wanted was some attention growing up. But his parents were only interested in money and things that would bolster their reputation. They weren't interested in hearing about what their son felt, only in how he looked.

And while Jongin was trying to deal with all of his rage and desire for attention, his parents told him that they were going to host a party celebrating a new jewel they had purchased in an auction.



///



"And you never got caught?" Minseok is still trying to process everything.

Jongin smiles sheepishly as he remembers it. "Nope. After I stole the fucking thing I tossed it into a river and they never found it." He shrugs, "I really love dancing but, stealing jewels just kind of became a hobby and an outlet for stress. Every time my parents pissed me off I'd steal a jewel connected to them or the family and then I'd sell it and donate the money to charity. In the beginning I didn't even leave notes."

"Wow, I'm amazed that you've gotten away with it for this long." Jongin says everything very matter-of-factly, but from being a policeman, Minseok can see hundreds of ways that Jongin could've been found out. "So... how do I fit into all of this? It didn't bother you that I was a policeman?"

"Of course it bothered me! But I just thought... that maybe it didn't matter because it was you." He coughs, trying to hide the embarrassment of saying something so cheesy. Then, giving Minseok an awkward smile, he digs into his bag, pulling out a small cloth bundle. He cups Minseok's hands around it and passes it to him gingerly. "Here."

"Is this-?" Minseok peels back a corner of the cloth, gasping when he glimpses a dark shine underneath.

Jongin grins. "Yeah. I think I'm going to retire. Seems like my boyfriend doesn't really like my hobby, and I'd rather be with him than continue."

"I never wanted to ask you to give up something for me..." Minseok trails off. Because even if it's illegal, it's a part of Jongin. And Minseok doesn't want Jongin to regret sacrificing something on his behalf.

"Yeah, but I want to. I can find other ways to relieve my stress. Like actually trying to talk to you about it, That's probably healthier than stealing something from a high security building." Scratching the back of his nape, Jongin lets his hands fall back into his lap. He looks up hesitantly. "Besides, I don't think I'll have much time to do it anymore since I'm planning on asking my boyfriend to move in with me."

"Y-you!" Minseok blushes, nearly chucking the jewel at Jongin's head. He touches a hand to his cheeks. "Fine. But I'm not going to move in with you." He pauses, setting aside the stolen gemstone before he ends up damaging it. "You're going to move in with me."

Jongin laughs, pulling Minseok into a hug. "We can discuss the details later." He falls back onto the bed, nestling Minseok against his chest and kissing the tips of his fingers. "Also I think I thought of another way I can put that suit to good use."

"Oh?" Amused, Minseok grins mischievously. "I thought of one too."

He tilts his head back enough that he can press his lips to the underside of Jongin's chin and they tangle their legs on the bed, exhausted from the day.

But before they fall asleep, Minseok has one last question. "Wait, so how did you get the stone?"

Jongin sighs, leaning his head against Minseok's. "I put all the security cameras on a loop so I wouldn't get recorded on them. Then I released some spiders. They were perfectly harmless, but they caused a huge commotion. I took the jewel while everyone was distracted, left out the second floor window and… Well, you know the rest."

Minseok is surprised that Jongin had enough time to do all of that. It seems like his Seoul jobs were a bit flashier than the others. "Why the fire escape? You could've gotten away with it if you'd blended back into the party."

Pulling Minseok closer, Jongin mumbles, "Because I had a feeling you were waiting for me."


///



( "When you said you thought of something you could use your suit for, remaking it into one of your dance outfits was not what I was thinking of!"

"Huh? What else could it be used for then?"

"....N-nothing!" )



///



Although it takes a bit of searching, they're finally able to find a decent sized apartment not far from both of their jobs that allows pets. It helps that by living together they're able to afford an apartment in a slightly higher price range and Minseok had to admit that it's much nicer than the pile of bricks he lived in before.

"Where does this one go?"

Minseok looks over at the brown cardboard box clutched in Baekhyun's hands, wondering for the nth time why Baekhyun can't just read the labels on the boxes. It's not like he wrote KITCHEN all over it because he was trying to be cryptic.

He stares at Baekhyun. "The kitchen."

Sighing, he dumps his own cardboard box in the bedroom, looking around at the pile of accumulating boxes. It's been hours since they first started moving in and his patience is more than a little frayed. Jongdae's dirty sneakers tracked mud all over Minseok's cream-colored rug and Chanyeol's attempts to aggravate Kyungsoo resulted in a lamp getting knocked over. Now he's got dirt and shards of glass crunching under his shoes. The living room is a mess and Minseok isn't looking forward to cleaning all of this up.

But all it takes is a hand on his shoulder to make the creases in his brow smooth out.

"Everything okay?"

Minseok leans into the touch, relaxing under Jongin's hand. "Yeah," He smiles tiredly, letting his head rest on Jongin's shoulder. "I still don't know how you got me to move into a new apartment. What was wrong with my old one?"

"Shhh." Wrapping his arms around Minseok's waist, Jongin laughs. "So the lack of hot water in the evenings didn't bother you?"

"Showering can always be done in the mornings-" Minseok begins, fighting for the honor of his previous apartment even though they both know that it had been falling apart.

Rolling his eyes, Jongin pulls back a bit. "Hey, you said that you wanted to give up something for me too. And I think it's better if we start over in a new place. It's a new chapter in our lives."

Minseok snorts. "That sounds like something Junmyeon would say."

But even though he can't keep himself from teasing Jongin, he feels the same. The jewel has been returned to Yixing (anonymously, of course) and Minseok finally persuaded Junmyeon to let him work on a different case. Jongin's dance company has released a new show based on the thefts, a show in which Jongin has a large number of solos, and everything finally seems to be quieting down.

"H-hey! I'm trying to be make this moment romantic and meaningful and you just-"

Silencing Jongin's complaints with a kiss, Minseok laughs into his lips, ignoring Baekhyun's yelps of "Ew! Dad, don't kiss in front of the children!" and the resulting bickering around them.

Kai has been caught.






Tags: !fanfic, by: edori, genre: au/ar, genre: crime, genre: humor, length: one-shot, pairing: xiumin/kai, rating: pg-13
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