King and Queen, Episode 4


King & Queen is a Kpop fan fiction drama that is released in an episodic format exclusively at Critical Kpop. Enjoy and keep tuning in for the continuing story! Catch up on previous episodes here!


The world can change in the blink of an eye.

One minute, Jr. is talking, laughing with friends. Jackson is making fun of JB for using too much hair product, and Jr. enjoys a break from being the target. Being the only guy with a girlfriend gets old fast. Not that he and Soohyun are boyfriend and girlfriend. But, basically, yes. Or they would be, by now, if she didn’t spend every second of the day rehearsing with her brother, Chanhyuk.

The next minute, the doors to the cafeteria burst open, and the students of Kpop High pour out like they are being chased by the devil himself. Jr. is stuck in a waking nightmare. The screams fill his ears. It is chaos. Turmoil. Tumult. A mad river.

“What’s happening?” Jr. calls, but no one hears him. The other members of GOT7 are being dragged down the hallway with the stampeding crowd, panic in every face.

Jr. leans against the wave of students, bracing himself against elbows that threaten to knock him down. Feet that would trample him. He catches bits and pieces between the screams. RUN! Oh my god! Shot. Dying. MOVE! HELP!

He hears JB call to him, but there is only one thought in his mind. He moves forward, against the crowd, scanning every face for a sign of Soohyun.

By the time he gets through the doors to the cafeteria, the stampede has become a light trickle, the room cleared out. Over the speakers he hears Vice-Principal Tony An, the calm voice of an impossible dream. Students and faculty, calmly begin lockdown procedures. Please do not panic. Proceed slowly to the classrooms.

Soohyun isn’t here. He must have missed her. Jr. turns around and immediately runs into Chanhyuk, who looks, if possible, more worried than he feels.

“Jr., have you seen her?”

He turns in either direction, searching the backs of heads for a strand of recognition. To the right, nothing. To the left--wait, was that? Soohyun?

Chanhyuk grabs his arm, begging for information, but Jr. shakes his head. He says nothing. He tells her brother nothing, but watches Chanhyuk run through the door on the right, searching for what is not there.

There’s no time to question why. There’s no time to understand. He needs to find Soohyun.

***

No. This can’t be happening. This is not happening. Lee Hyori did not just see JYP get shot in the back. She is not holding him, lifting his head up with her arms. This is a dream. A nightmare. An improbable one, to be sure.

Who would shoot JYP? Even she thought he could be a frustrating, often stubborn, sometimes infuriating man. But even at his worst, when she thought she could strangle the man, she never hated him. He was impossible to hate, wasn’t he? He was beloved by the student body, past and present. Everyone loved JYP.

So, this had to be a dream. No matter how real his blood felt, there was no possible way this could be real.

Lee Hyori slapped herself in the face. She could see her students, scared, panicking. This was her responsibility. This is what she signed up for, isn’t it?

She felt a hand on her shoulder. Vice-Principal Tony An. “What should we do, Principal Hyori?” he asks. Always dependable, always reliable, Tony An. Always questioning her whenever she didn’t have an answer. The ever studious, forever steadfast Tony An, who always managed to make her feel incompetent with the sheer act of his ever reliable and unspectacular competence. What could she tell a man like Tony An at a time like this? Dream or no, she had to say something, didn’t she?

“Principal Hyori?”

The students. They are her primary concern. But she can’t let JYP bleed to death in front of her.

“Initiate lockdown,” she says to Tony An, and before she can even finish her sentence he’s gone, ever consistent, always noble. “It’s going to be okay,” she tells JYP, cradling his head, wrapping his belly with her jacket.

She hears sirens and realizes that someone, probably Tony An, had the emotional wherewithal to call an ambulance.

“It’s going to be okay,” Lee Hyori tells JYP, but she doesn’t believe it, and if anyone had heard her they wouldn’t have believed it either.

***

“They’re starting lockdown,” Ailee hears. Waves of students run past her, directed by the teachers, crowd control where there’s clearly no control.

“They killed him.”

“Who killed him? Who?”

“I”m not going to wait to find out.”

“Who’s next?”

“Wait - who won King and Queen?”

She sees Rap Monster being dragged away with the crowd. Ailee wants to go to him and take him to safety but she has no idea where the danger could be. She freezes.

Someone grabs her hand and immediately she thinks it’s Zico but the grip is far kinder, and before she knows it she’s scurried away, a part of the mob, Rap Monster fading behind her.

“Come on,” Jiyeon says, gripping Ailee’s hand tighter. Jiyeon? Why would Jiyeon grab hold of her of all people?

As if reading her mind, Jiyeon says, “You were about to get trampled.”

“But Rap Monster…”

“He’ll be fine, come on.”

“Where?”

“With our friends.”

Friends? Did Jiyeon consider Ailee a friend now? Or did Jiyeon mean her friends? Jiyeon certainly did not feel like a friend. She wanted to be with Rap Monster. She wanted him by her side, now more than ever.

Ailee can see Vice-Principal Tony Am direct the crowd as best as he can, barking room numbers to every student that comes his way, microphone in his hands. If they came across him, they could be exiled to the Image Department or to the Fitness Center, for who knows how long. “We’ve got to get past the Vice-Principal,” Ailee tells Jiyeon.

Before Jiyeon can respond, Hello Venus provides the perfect distraction. They crowd around him, in tears, and Tony consoles them in the mayhem.

Ailee doesn’t know what’s going on but she knows a good thing when she sees it. She slides her hand away from Jiyeon but as she darts to Rap Monster’s classroom, she’s pushed full force from behind, tripping over herself as she tumbles into a classroom, Jiyeon just grabbing her by her shoulders before her head can hit the ground, her knees scraping on the linoleum. She immediately thinks: Why did I have to wear heels? But then she thinks: How could I have seen this coming? She looks up. Where is she? She sees Bora. Everyone in BTS except for Rap Monster, staring at her skeptically. Suzy helping Jiyeon up.

“Where’s IU?” Suzy says to Jiyeon. Jiyeon hushes her and helps Ailee to her feet. Ailee’s knees burn but she’s relieved to be in a quiet room. She recognizes it from hours of practice as Choreography A.

“Are you okay?” Jiyeon asks her.

“Someone pushed me,” Ailee says. “Hard.”

“It was probably an accident,” Suzy tells her.

“Of course,” Ailee says. The student body was in a panic. Bodies flying everywhere. It had to be an accident, right?

***

Rap Monster is going mad. He was literally standing right next to Ailee, holding her hand, dancing with her just before King and Queen were to be announced. But they were separated after the first shot and now all he sees are faces drawn with unrecognizable terror. What is happening here?

His feet move without a destination. He is dragged along with a sea of students, unable to do more than look left, look right, the faces and names so jumbled that he cannot connect them. His only certainty is that Ailee is not among them.

Ailee, whom he lost at the sound of a gunshot.

The crowd begins to push him down a corridor, but Rap Monster stops suddenly. The sound of a gunshot - where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

He had to find Ailee. He had to find the police. He knew exactly who had a gun that night. Zico.

A body bumps into him, hard, without apologizing. At the end of the world, there is no time for apology. There’s no time for panic, either. He had to act. NOW.

“Rap Monster?”

He spins to find one of the vocal instructors for first-years, Ga-in. He tries to push past her, but Ga-in grabs his arm tight. She pulls him with surprising force, and before he understands what is happening he is shut inside room 104, the latch on the door turned and Ga-in blocking the exit. The window screen is pulled down and the lights flipped off. And everything goes quiet. Lockdown at Kpop High.


To Be Continued...


-C

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