47: Suicide Squad

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You try to keep a straight face.

You really do.

This is going to be a serious story, you can tell, and you shouldn't be laughing.

It's just that...

It's just that Jin.

The utter drama and inflection in Jin's voice combined with the irresistibly comical widening of his eyes forces a snort of laughter out of you before you can stop it.

"Crap." You cover your mouth with your hand, holding back the laughter. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, but...can you get any more cliche?"

Even though you thought it physically impossible, the man's eyes get even wider. Whether the offense is fake or genuine, you can't tell.

He's a good actor.

"Hey, I went easy on you. I could've gone for the 'long, long ago in a land far, far away' method, but I resisted," Jin says, his voice affronted enough that you can perceive the amusement leaking through it. Relieved, you let out another small giggle.

You slap your own hand. "Sorry again. I'll behave now, I promise."

After a tiny glance of doubt, Jin taps the end of his chopsticks on the table. "Well, if it makes it any less dramatic, Namjoon really did hate his life. He grew up here, in Seoul, and his father was a mid-ranking member of a group here. He handled low-level stuff, I think - maybe some minor drug deals, working the intimidation. Namjoon's father is a big man."

Ah. That just be where the towering leader got his impressive height.

Jin shakes his head, and you see in his eyes that he knows the depths of Namjoon's suffering. You make a mental note to inquire about his own past when you can, but redirect your train of thought to choo choo on by the information he's willingly giving now.

"So, he was a member?" you say, amusement gone as the idea settles in. "Of the gang, I mean?"

"Of course he was." The rice on the plate yields to the monolithic cut of Jin's chopsticks, his long fingers directing them like a puppeteer.    "What else did he know? That was his life. That put food on the table. He was raised, very similarly to you, to fill a role in the organization his father was loyal to."

Like you?

Like that cold, sterile, isolated life you grew up in?

Looking at the man Namjoon is now, all settled on the outside but bursting through with hidden warmth and kindness, it's hard to believe that he was ever frozen into submission like you were. The underlying warmth of Namjoon's personality is the kind of deep affection and family bonds.

"Like you," Jin says again, "-but also not like you. Fundamentally, it was completely different."

"How so?" you ask.

Jin's fingers tighten around his chopsticks, sending grains of rice scattering along the plate with the sudden tension. "This isn't me trying to downplay what you went through, Y/N," he says quietly. "You have to understand that. But, while you might've been smothered and contained, at least you were comfortable. You had everything you needed in life, for survival: plenty of food, plenty of clothes, plenty of money."

Although your first reaction is to bristle, you force yourself to relax. He's right, and he told you that he's not out to put you down.

You were comfortable, as isolated and right-less as you were.

Never hungry, never needing.

"It's not the same as what we went through," Jin whispers. "What he went through, Y/N. Desperation and crime make a whole lot more sense when you're scrambling just to survive."'

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