King and Queen, Episode 18


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!

***

Jr. rubs the sleep from his eyes. He knows he is supposed to feel apprehension, fear even, but he’s tired. He spent the entire night tossing and turning, unable to forget the terror of all those bodies fleeing the cafeteria just hours before. And then just when he drifted into a fitful sleep they were pounding on his door asking for Chanhyuk, and then pounding on his door minutes later to wake him up for the fated 9:00am meeting. Sitting in the back row of the auditorium, Jr. feels many things. But tired is the main one.

“Hey, where’s Chanhyuk?” Soohyun asks as she slides into the seat next to him. All over the auditorium students sneak down rows, trading seats and rumors in equal parts.

Jr. sits up at Soohyun’s arrival, but ignores her question.

“JB says they’re going to announce who the shooter was,” he says instead.

“I doubt they’re going to tell us anything.”

“Then why hold the meeting?” JB says from Jr.’s other side.

In front of them, Niel turns in his seat, anxious to join the conversation. “It’s crowd control,” he says.

“What do you mean?”

“They got us all to stay in our rooms all night with the curfew, then they get us all in one room with the promise of answers. It’s crowd control,” Niel says, knowingly.

“Well that doesn’t mean they won’t announce something.”

Another face turns from the row in front, this time Leo. “I heard JYP woke up.”

“What?”

“He saw the shooter.”

“No way.”

“That’s not true.”

“It is.”

“Where’d you hear it?”

“Ravi says Sunny’s got an aunt who’s got a friend who works at the hospital where JYP was taken.

“I heard JYP’s in a coma, but can communicate through a brain wave machine.”

“And I heard he farts rainbows,” Jr. says.

“I heard someone attacked Detective Gary,” says Lime, another head turned in front of them. The other members of A Pink nod their agreement.

“Who’s Detective Gary?” Jr. asks, out of his depth in any gossip.

“The man in charge,” Niel says.

“Head honcho.”

Soohyun elbows Jr. like he’s an embarrassment.

“I heard Gary’s an alumnus of Kpop High.”

“Get out!”

“First graduating class.”

“Probably debuted at the same time as Jongkook.”

“How’d he become a detective?”

“Probably by failing JYP’s voice class.”

“But who attacked him?” Leo asks, bringing the conversation back around.

“Whoever it was, they probably shot JYP.”

Jr. lets his attention drift. Rumors always put him to sleep, and he desperately needs a few minutes of sleep.

“Where’s Chanhyuk?”

That question again.

Jr. leaves his eyes closed. He thinks about ignoring Soohyun, but he doesn’t want to fight. Fighting takes energy.

“I don’t know,” he says, hoping that’s the end of it.

“But you’re his roommate,” Soohyun persists.

“Doesn’t mean I know anything about his life.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

He’s done it now. Jr. opens his eyes but closes them again when he sees the angry expression on Soohyun’s face. “How would I know where Chanhyuk is? People bang on the door, asking for him in the middle of the night. He could be anywhere.”

“People? What people?”

“Principal Hyori, for one.”

“What? Why was she--”

“I don’t know.” Jr. sits up. He drops the tired act. “I don’t know where Chanhyuk is. What I know is that I’m exhausted. First Principal Hyori and Jay Park bang on the door, waking me up, only to ask to speak to Chanhyuk.”

“When? Why?”

“Early. Then HyunA and Amber do the same thing.”

“HyunA and Amber?”

“Yeah. Again I answer the door, and again they ask for Chanhyuk.”

“And?” Soohyun is on the edge of her seat, clearly scared of what this might mean. Jr., though, doesn’t see what the fuss is about.

“And,” he says, “Chanhyuk left with them.”

“With HyunA and Amber? How does he even know them?”

“Beats me. All I know is that your brother owes me one night of sleep.”

A hush falls over the students, and all eyes turn to the stage. There’s a last gasp of frantic whispers, last minute rumors and speculation, then everything goes quiet. Detective Gary walks calmly to the microphone, like an idol used to the stage. Then he speaks.

***

Rap Monster didn’t think he’d ever see day again. Not that he wouldn’t make it through the night, but that, somehow, the night would linger forever. That Kpop High would be trapped in everlasting darkness, a punishment for their collective sins.

But day came, like it always did. Not that he got any sleep in between. Someone had to watch over Jonghyun, as they hid in the forest right outside of the school. They had tied him up and gagged his mouth, but he was a fixer and had probably gotten out of jams tighter than this.

“I can stay up, Ailee had said, but her eyes were already closing shut, her legs quivering under the brightening sky. Zico was against a tree, snoring already.

“No, I got this,” he told her. And he wanted her to believe that. That he had this, that he had this whole crazy night under control. That she could count on him.

“You’ve done so much,” she told him. She stopped herself from saying more, though he could tell she wanted to.

“So have you.”

“I’m going to miss you, Rap Monster.”

He didn’t understand what she meant. Was exhaustion getting to her? “I’m not going anywhere,” he said, with a laugh, but then immediately knew what she meant. “You can’t be serious,” he said.

“I can’t stay here. Not after everything that’s happened. After tomorrow’s meeting I’m going to leave.”

“You’re exhausted. You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“This life isn’t for me. Can’t you see?” She stared up at the night sky. Was she looking for stars? Or the easiest way to let him down?

“What about your fire?” he asked, dumbly. He had seen the fire within her, a passion for her singing that could bring a room to tears.

Ailee went quiet. And then she said, “Fires die.”

He couldn’t argue with her there, especially with her falling asleep in front of him. When he woke her in the morning, they said nothing about her leaving, which worried him even more. Zico kicked Jonghyun awake with a “Rise and shine,” and Ailee led the way. They decided to have Zico bring Jonghyun with him after the meeting started.

“Can we trust him?” Rap Monster had to ask.

Ailee just shrugged. “We have to,” was all that she said. She felt distant already. Like a part of her was already gone.

And now here they are. They had snuck behind the curtain, at the stage in front of the auditorium. They had made good use of the costumes, hiding between furs and jackets meant for the next school play.

Detective Gary is already addressing the school. “There have been a lot of dangerous rumors circulating the school,” he says, sounding exhausted himself. “But some stories are true.”

Rap Monster looks at Ailee, asking her with his eyes, “What now?”

She points at Principal Hyori, who has just noticed them in their hiding spot. “What are you two doing here?” she asks, exasperated. How much fight is left in her? It can’t be much. Did the night take away everyone’s fire?

“We wanted to see you,” Ailee says.

“Why me?” Hyori asks, half of her attention going back to the stage, at Gary’s announcement.

“Because,” Ailee tells her. “You trusted me. You let me go last night when you could have stopped me. You wanted me to find out what’s going on.”

“We’re beyond that now,” Hyori tells her. She looks back at Gary for so long that Rap Monster wants to shake her, screaming that they had discovered secrets behind Kpop High that would rip open the entire school. What could be more important than that?

“There’s been a tragedy,” Gary says on stage.

“We’ve discovered the Nameless,” Rap Monster tells Hyori, as calmly as he can. “We have names.”

Hyori shakes her head. “Not now, please,” she says, begging. “Please.”

“A student has been shot,” Gary says to the stunned audience.

“Shot? Who?” Ailee asks. “Who?” she says to Hyori, demanding now. She steps past the costumes, tosses a fur coat away from her. She already knows. She has to know, just like he does.

“I’m sorry,” is all Hyori says.

“IU passed away in the middle of the night,” Gary says to the school, and with that, Rap Monster can see Ailee’s world crumble right before his very eyes.

***

He’s having that dream again. He’s falling, but everyone has that dream. How boring. How dull. So he wills mountains. It’s his dream, so why not? There are mountains where sky should be, so he’s not falling anymore, he’s gliding, right over these mountaintops. He’s already bored, so those mountains? They lose their trees, they lose their rocks. The mountains lose their grass, but not their shape. In fact, they become rounder and more fuller, begging to be touched. It takes him a moment to realize what’s he’s conjured.

Booty.

Giant, plush, beautiful booty. All his in his domain. He wants to grab at all that giant booty, but there’s a problem. His gliding keeps him just at arm’s length. It’s a cruel torture, one that feels forever, and for the first time he wonders: What if I never touch a lush booty again?

That’s what brings him back. “I’m ready to leave,” he says, and there’s a blinding, scorching light and the booty fades and then he begins to fade too. “This must be it,” he says to himself. But this is not it.

He gasps for air, falling out of his hospital bed. He flails on the floor, and a curvaceous nurse rushes to the room, grabbing him by his back. He grabs at her feet, her legs, and then his hands rise and, well, they linger.

JYP smiles. “I’m back,” he says.



To Be Continued...



-C

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