Who: Woo Wonjae x Park Jaebeom x Reader
What: Crime Au, Thriller, Smut will included
Story: Empath versus psychopath. The race to catch a killer isn't all it seems to be.
We all need to look into the darkside of our nature- that's where all the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that, because it holds pieces of us we're busy denying.- Sue Grafton
Y/N's collapse was due to stress. The surrounding energy of the crowd was too much for her to deal with. Hyukwoo called her Psychiatrist the next day to get a better insight on her. She let him know right off the back that she couldn't divulge any information about their sessions unless Y/N gave consent. Hyukwoo sat in the office with doctor Kim Hyun Jung, he felt much like a patient himself. There was almost a coldness to her professionalism. He wondered if that was just because of Y/N. It was clear she knew more than she was telling, he learned that from their lunch. He also learned that she had more insight on who the Seoul Ripper was, so she had been lying to him, even if it was by omission.
Hyukwoo shifted in his chair, he hadn't been in therapy for several years since he witnessed a man's suicide when he was a young. Everyone had crowded on the streets to watch, the police were trying to talk him down. He came down but not the way they had intended. The sound of the body hitting concrete echoed in his mind. He was in middle school when it happened and it gave him nightmares. His mother put him in therapy hoping to help him cope with the stress of what he saw. He was supposed to look away but it was much like a train wreck, he couldn't turn his face. Perhaps it was the curiosity of a child, though for a while he had questioned his own relationship with morality. Hyukwoo was aware that everyone had a darkside. There were times where he could feel his bubbling up to the surface. He wanted to bring the Seoul Ripper in for justice, to stand trial and be convicted but the way he disgraced the bodies of these girls, there was something in him that just wanted to shoot him on sight. There was another part of him that wanted to subject him to the same pain he put these girls through. He understood that darkside of him stemmed from the humanity in him.
The wrong thing done for the right reason doesn't make it good.
Hyukwoo was very aware of that, he often had to remind himself to not get too emotional during these cases. Seeing Y/N cry when she saw the picture of the girl and then hearing her tell him that he was crying, it resonated with him. He was hurting inside, there were nights when he wanted to wail. She cried because she could feel that. He saw her cry again when she saw the new body. She noticed that it was two girls sewn together. She knew what this monster was doing. He was having trouble distinguishing how that made her any different from him if she wasn't going to help NIS stop him.
Hyukwoo looked from the diamond pattern dark gary carpet to Dr. Kim.
"You said you wanted to ask me some questions." She reminded him.
She looked at him as if she were unsure he was really there. Being back in a therapists room raised some issues for him that he didn't realize still bothered him. He leaned forward and said,
"I'm aware you've been seeing Choi Y/N as a patient for several months now. What do you think about her gift, this empathy she has?"
"You want to know if I think it's real?"
He nodded. She took in a breath, her eyes looked to a corner of the room before they came back to settle on him.
"She shows great signs of empathy."
"We all are capable of empathy Dr.Kim."
"While that is true, we're not capable of it to her degree. She has a history of black outs because she becomes so overwhelmed by either several emotions or very powerful emotions."
"Do you think she's likely to kill?"
She straightend up when he asked that.
"Why would you ask such a question?"
"You're aware of the fact that she was kidnapped by the Seoul Ripper. She was with him for several days before she was found. She was convicted of first degree manslaughter for killing another girl while kidnapped. The court didn't believe she did it for survival, they believed she was influenced, if only partly, by her captor."
"And do you agree with the court's decisions?"
"Let's just say, back then I was too close to the case to be objective."
"What's changed now?"
There was a moment of silence between the two of them. The room was so still and dim. Her drapes were partly open to let in natural light but the white light of her lamps gave the room a very cold atmosphere. It reminded him of a hospital, very little comfort just professionalism. It was closer to the staleness of a psychward actually.
"I believe Y/N is searching for herself. In the midst of everyone else's emotions, it's hard for her to tell who she really is or what she's really feeling."
"So you think she killed that girl because she was channeling the Seoul Ripper?"
She sighed then stood up. She walked over to the window and looked out for a moment.
"I can't say." She said.
"Can't or won't?"
She turned to look at him.
"You miss understand agent Kwon. I've studied Ms.Choi behind our sessions. She was an affluent criminal psychology student. It's highly possible she understood the Seoul Ripper on a clinical level. It's also highly possible that her empathy allowed her to-" she stopped herself.
Hyukwoo knew what she wanted to say though. It was possible Y/N had become the Seoul Ripper in that moment. Last night, she said that she was wrong, it wasn't only her own transformation that he was symbolizing. Then he showcases a body of two women sewn together as one. Y/N was right, he wanted her to become like him.
"I have another appointment starting soon that I'd like to prepare for, so if you don't mind," Dr.Kim said.
Hyukwoo nodded and stood up. He wanted to talk to Y/N anyway. Minsik called him as soon as he stepped out of the office.
"Looks like you were right Hyung. The last two victims were killed by being stabbed to death before they were dismembered. Other victims of the Seoul Ripper consisted of being disemboweled and again body parts being cut off typically after death."
"No DNA though."
"Of course not, that'd be too easy."
Minsik had a joking tone to his voice but Hyukwoo felt a little too grim to laugh back. He rolled his eyes as he headed to his car.
"That girl from last night, she called looking for you." Minsik said.
"Really? What did she say?"
"That she's willing to tell you everything she knows about the Ripper but that discretion is impartive."
Hyukwoo hummed curiously in the phone. She might not be able to be so open and forth coming with Park Jaebeom around. Everyone at NIS knew Lee Jungwon was a mobster, they just couldn't get charges to stick. That meant that if Y/N too was involved with them, even if she didn't want to be, they were probably following her.
"Oh yeah and there was another girl reported missing. Yu Sonmi she was last seen getting off the bus near Usadan-12." Minsik added.
"Anything back from the security cameras?"
"Nah, still working on it, the vantage points aren't good. This guy knows what he's doing but you already knew that."
"How long were the other girls missing before they turned up dead?"
"Well you know missing persons has a time limit before they can actually be declared missing. His turn over is between 48 to 72 hours though, those are the most recent deaths. Seems like he's calling out to someone."
"Don't sound so gruff Hyung. We'll catch him." Minsik said.
He wanted to believe him but he couldn't help but wonder if they'd catch him in time. He needed Y/N's help, which meant he was going to need to find a way to talk to her without Lee finding out. If something happened to her, he wondered how this all might end. He didn't want to have to find out. Hyukwoo quickly ended the call so that he could call Y/N. She didn't answer so he left her a voicemail to give him a call as soon as possible. He decided to drive down to the place the latest victim had been kidnapped.
All of these girls were being taken at different times of the night. No one saw who kidnapped them, if they were even kidnapped in public. He spent most of the night going over witness statements. It would seem there weren't a lot of people paying attention to what was going on. He knew the area well though. He was definitely from Seoul. Hyukwoo wondered how connected Y/N and him were. Hyukwoo walked to the bus station and sat down. He looked around the area. It was populated with people right now. Did the Ripper come here to observe the territory? If he did, did any of the cameras catch him? When he showed up at these places did he know his victim would be here or did he find the one that matched her likeness?
Hyukwoo was plagued with questions, why was he so interested in killing her if he also wanted her to be one with him? He was hoping Y/N would give him that insight. He should probably follow up with the criminal psychologist at the department, maybe he'd have Minsik do that. He wanted to focus more on Y/N's psychology. He was trying to piece it all together. Her psychiatrist said that she was affluent as a potential criminal psychologist but she's also an empath, easily overwhelmed by others emotions. She told him herself that she couldn't always be objective if she was being influenced by others emotions. Hyukwoo was certain even her psychiatrist believed that, while in the clutches of the Ripper, she allowed herself to assume his identity. Dr. Kim didn't have to come out right and admit it, he could hear it in her voice and he was sure that she could tell he had already come to that same conclusion. So the question that started to bud into his mind now was: is Y/N helping the Ripper kidnap these girls?
How might she be doing that without getting noticed herself? She made sure to check in with her parole officer on time. She willingly decided to go to therapy and she worked at waste management, despite it still being connected to Lee Jungwon.
Hyukwoo quickly called his brother back,
"Hey Minsik, I need you guys to review the street cameras again." He started.
"Hyung we've looked and looked. There's nothing there."
"Would you just shut up and listen for a second? I need you to check and see if there's any trucks that went down those streets."
"Trucks? What kind of Trucks?"
"Work Trucks. Something big that might carry packages or a garbage truck."
"You think the mail man is the Ripper?"
Minsik's cynical tone was aggravating him. He usually let his brother have his snarky quips but now wasn't the time. It made sense to him, no one would pay much attention to a work truck stopping at certain places. They could block out cameras at important moments, like when displaying a dead body.
"Sik, just shut up and do as I say. I want a list of all work trucks that were seen in the area during the nights that the girls were kidnapped and the nights their bodies were displayed."
Hyukwoo was about to hang up when he noticed that someone else was calling him. It was an unknown number. While Minsik decided to hang up, Hyukwoo went ahead and answered the other call.
"Mr.Kwon, I recieved your message. Where are you now?"
"Y/N? Are you calling from a burner phone?"
"You never know who maybe listening Mr.Kwon."
She was smart, that bugged him a little. He sighed,
"I'm at the bus station near Usadan-12."
"Rosebud isn't far from there. Could you meet me there in an hour?" She asked.
"I thought you don't do well in crowds."
"And I thought you wanted to catch a killer."
Hyukwoo fell silent for a moment. Was he being set up or was she being genuine? Despite her being pulled around emotionally last night, perhaps she really didn't want to see all this death. Maybe she was having a crisis of morality or a guilty conscience. He really wanted to know: could he trust her?
"Relax Mr.Kwon. Rosebud's atmosphere is quite relaxed and not many people are there around this time. I'm sure I can handle being there long enough to speak with you." She said.
Her voice sounded as if she had a bit of a smile on. It relaxed him for a brief moment and he sighed.
"Fine, I'll see you in an hour." He responded.
She hung up immediately. She was a very complicated person. It was hard for him to really decipher who she really was, it was probably hard for her to do the same....
Lee Seonghwa had been waiting for this moment for what seemed like his whole life. So of course he was frantically running down the hall to get to the Chief Editor's office so that he could show him the photo he took. He needed to stop over sleeping and coffee wasn't doing anything to keep him up. That all nighter he pulled, snapping photos of the girl that passed out in the Jay Park's arms and in front of that NIS agent. He could only speculate what was going on. Even though he slept in late, that wasn't why he was late to work today.
Seonghwa bumped into a copy boy as he was running down the hall. He got some curses hurdled at him and all he could offer was a loud excited apology. He wore a large grin on his face as he ran and finally reached the editor's office. He burst through the door, out of breath, but purely confident. He slapped the picture on the desk and said,
"I've got one hell of a story for you."
Chief editor, Jung Kiseok, looked at the photo and then up at Seonghwa annoyed.
"This better be good Seonghwa."
"Oh it's better than good. It's an exclusive!"
This all started a few days ago. Seonghwa hadn't been doing well with getting photos lately. He was coming up late with his scoops and in this line of business being even thirty seconds late was too late. Seonghwa was passionate about his job but he had been falling behind greatly. His mother was in the hospital battling lung cancer and he wasn't sure when he might lose her, on top of that, he was trying hard to be the strength for the rest of his family. He was being pulled in two directions: his job and his personal life. Kiseok wanted him to take some time off but Seonghwa said it was his only distraction so he needed to keep working. He just wasn't getting his stories in on time; that is until the first body had shown up.
He had gotten the photos of the butterfly girl long before the news crew had shown up to report about it. He was able to get a little bit of information from the cops and get the pictures to his editor in time to upload onto the website. It was his first real break through in a while. He felt the liviness of being a journalist again. He firgured he was the only one that got super excited when a body randomly showed up and there was a mystery behind it. That didn't mean he didn't sympathize with the victims but that was life. There was suffering mixed in with the good stuff and most often, it was his job to capture that suffering.
Last night, Seonghwa was in the store picking up medication for his father when he heard a call come in for two officers that were standing in line. They had to leave their items behind and hurry to the scene where a body had been found. Seonghwa quickly left out behind them and followed to see if he could get a good picture. He saw that there were already officers that had shown up and they were using police tape to cut the section off. Seonghwa took loads of pictures of the scene, from the crowd gathering around to the officers and crime scene technicians doing their jobs to find evidence and collect statements. Seonghwa had been there for a while but decided to wait to see if he could talk to any of the officers and get a little more information. That's when he saw her.
He never noticed her in the crowd, there were too many people standing around for him to notice anyway, besides he was more focused on the dead body than the living ones. Still, he saw her, breaking through the crowd, tears in her eyes. At first, he thought it might've been someone that knew the victim. He took his photos of her as he watched. She was talking to someone. He knew that someone, Jaebeom Park. He was famous around Seoul for all the wrong reasons but he was holding onto this girl with almost a look of concern, he looked like he cared about her. As they talked, the other cop walked over to speak with them. Seonghwa captured the horrific look on her face. Her expression held fear, pain, and panic. She seemed to be overwhelmed and his conclusion must've been correct because she ended up passing out into Park's arms.
He watched the cop and Jay interact, Seonghwa could see he was very protective of the girl. The cop seemed to be suspicious of her passing out but Jay wouldn't let him anywhere near her. He carried her like a princess back to a very luxurious car and drove off leaving the cop looking lost in thought. Seonghwa captured even that look of suspicion on his face. He had reached the jackpot, he had a story to tell with the pictures he captured. He uploaded them immediately and sent the digital copies into his editor through an email.
The photo he was presenting to the Chief editor wasn't the photo's from last night though. It was something better.
As Seonghwa was looking over the pictures he had taken last night, he realized that this girl's face was very familiar. He tried to do some research to find her until he finally realized where he knew her from. A different journalist at his office had been on the assignment three years ago when she was on trial for killing a girl while kidnapped by the Seoul Ripper. Her defense tried to make it seem like she did it purely for survival but the opposing side created a far more compelling tale to tell. In all honesty, there were a lot of questions that weren't answered during her trial and she didn't seem to speak up one way or another. She seemed hollow and inattentive although, he did remember her crying when the victims family was around. There were times when she simply had tears rolling down her face then there was a time when she burst out in full tears at the same time as the victims family. The judge had to call a recess for her to recuperate.
He wondered what she was doing at the scene in the first place and with Jay Park of all people. He wanted to talk to the cop but he wasn't entierly sure how to get in contact with him. This morning though, the biggest scoop of his life had landed in his lap. His name was on the article for taking her photo, that must've been how she found him. She probably put in a call to the office to get his number. Her voice was a bit harrowing to hear on the phone. She wanted to talk to him in person and he was a bit nervous to accept the invitation. She must've been able to pick up on that; she ended up assuring him it was just to talk and that he would return home safely. That didn't make him feel any easier but he had questions and she was the one to give him the answers. He met with her at the Han bridge, she seemed to want to keep her distance from him and from other people as well.
"What made you reach out to me?" He asked.
"You took pictures of the last two crimes done by the Seoul Ripper. I read your work, you're a compelling story teller."
"You make it sound like I'm writing fiction."
"Not necessarily fiction, but it's obvious you're not well informed. You need a primary source." She said.
She looked at him and gave him a smile. He thought her smile seemed friendly but he reminded himself that she was convicted of first degree manslaughter. He wondered if she was able to manipulate people or if she was helping the Seoul Ripper. He was questioning everything about her. Choi Y/N, she was a mystery herself.
She stopped walking and turned to face him. She stared at him for a moment before she said,
"I make you uncomfortable, don't I?"
He wondered if he was that transparent.
"I'm just not sure what to expect of you."
"Don't expect anything of me."
The wind blew her freshly cut hair past her face. She tucked the strands behind her ears and smiled again.
"The Seoul Ripper has been trying to send me a message, I'd like your help to send a message back to him." She said.
"You think a serial killer is reading my work?"
The smile got slightly bigger like she found him amusing.
"He's looking for my answer Mr.Lee. I'd like to give him one."
"What was the question?"
"It's not a question. It's a declaration."
The way she spoke was like that of an inspired poet. Every word that left her lips seemed more and more interesting and it drew him in. She was good at speaking herself and that was also what worried him. Seonghwa stayed though, out of curiosity.
"So what's in it for me?" he asked.
"Other than a story?" She laughed, "I have intimate knowledge of the Seoul Ripper that not even NIS has and I'm willing to share that knowledge with you so you can publish it."
"How would you have such access to that information?"
Her smile became the innocent smile of a memory. She seemed happy and calm with this smile.
"He was my childhood friend."
That was a detail that no one not even the news had reported. No one knew who the Seoul Ripper was except for Y/N. Which means, she might have let him get away. She never once revealed his identity, all this time she knew. While Seonghwa was happy for that information and the possibility of an amazing story, humanity took over him and he snatched her arm and made her look at him.
"You're angry." She said.
Her eyebrows furrowed almost reflecting his inner anger.
"Of course I'm angry, you knew who the Ripper was and you didn't tell the cops? You didn't help them find him! All those girls blood are on your hands or do you think this is some game?"
She grabbed his wrist and pushed her thumb into his pressure point then removed his hand from her arm. He was shocked to feel her strength. Her face still reflected the anger he felt.
"Of course it's a game Mr.Lee and if we don't play the game correctly, more people will die. The fact of the matter is even if the NIS knew the Ripper's identity they wouldn't be able to stop him. He's smart and calculating, he is a true psychopath. I couldn't help them find him because he didn't tell me where he was going. He left me to finish the game and now it's time for me to make the next move. If you truly care about those girls lives, then you'll write the damn story."
"I care about their lives and their deaths but helping you play a game with a killer- no that's- wrong."
"The line between good and evil is very thin Mr.Lee. Everyday you face the possibility of making one wrong step and you can easily cross that line. That is the complexity of the human mind and the morality behind it. Good and evil, right and wrong, it's all subjective," She stepped up closer to him, the hostility in her gait almost made her intimidating and she was only 5'5 at best. "It's all about what you choose and how you justify it right? Mark my words Lee Seonghwa, my friend will continue to kill for the sake of playing this game and while I'm willing to play along to stop the deaths, if you're being presented with the opportunity to help but refuse it, then you will need to ask yourself: are you just as bad as me? You need to choose Mr.Lee, is the absence of action in this situation good or evil?"
She made a good point. He was being given the opportunity to make a difference and if he refused it now he was just as guilty as what he was accusing her of. She spoke so calmly as if she had already planned for this backlash. He wasn't sure if he could really trust her or not but this was a huge story. He would be a fool to skip out on it. So he gave in,
"Fine. What do you want to say to him?"
She smiled softly,
"It's not just something I'm going to say with words. It's what I'm going to show him. You're going to take my picture."
"I don't understand."
"Are you aware that psychopath's have trouble containing their emotions?" She asked.
"Psychopaths have always seemed very- calculated to me, especially the Ripper."
"He always has been. Psychopaths are capable of being calculating and honestly he has always been very reserved with his emotions, almost to the point it's like he can't feel them at all. However, if you strike a nerve, like with most psychopaths, they react without thinking."
"You want to make him angry so that he'll mess up?"
She nodded with a smile that looked proud because he realized her plan.
"How will your picture do that?"
"Haven't you noticed? I've just cut my hair."
"I'm not following."
"He's obsessed with me. All his messages, all his victims have been towards me and reflections of me. He's always loved me with long hair, that's why I've never cut it outside of a clean trim. Now, I've destroyed an aspect of me that he adores. It may seem trivial to you but it means a lot to him."
The whole thing seemed odd but she knew him the most. He extended his hand to her and she shook it. The deal was sealed, he would get to write his exclusive and help draw out a killer. He was going to be on the front lines and that made him excited.
He was grinning from ear to ear, beaming with happiness. Chief Jung looked like he was ready to punch him in the mouth as he explained her plan to draw out the Seoul Ripper.
"Come on Chief, this is an opportunity no one else will get. We will have first dibs on the story. We have unlimited access to the main source, let me run it."
"This is interfering with an NIS investigation, not to mention you might also be putting yourself in danger."
"That's the best part Chief, she's working with NIS. It's already been approved," he placed a napkin from his pocket on the table with a number written on it,"Confirm it for yourself if you need to. The agent's name is Kwon Hyukwoo."
Chief Jung sighed and grabbed the napkin and made the call. Y/N had called him before he came to the office to give him the number and confirm the plan. Everything was coming together. Seonghwa waited as Editor Jung spoke with agent Kwon. He could see the look on his face that said he didn't really like putting him in danger but it was part of the business. He ended the call after he was able to confirm Agent Kwon's permission and then he sighed, conflicted.
"Alright, run the story." He said.
"But promise me one thing."
"Make sure you're careful."
He saluted Editor Jung before he practically bounced out of the office happily...
Wonjae was above ground when the article popped up on his phone. He was looking for another victim when he noticed Y/N's picture. Her hair was cut short and that pissed him off. As he read through the article though, something stood out,
"In action, how like an angel. In apprehension, how like a god."
It was a quote from Hamlet, speaking of man. She too was speaking about the complexity of man. His complexity; she was calling him out.
She had finally made her move...
Shall we date Kpop?