Rating: NC17? tho maybe more R
Warnings: uhm technically Key isn’t human?
Disclaimer: I own no one, only my dirty imagination.
Summary: Minho would run, he really would. But the look in those pale blue, almost white eyes makes him stop, piercing him and rooting him into the spot. This must be the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.
Comments: For koukainai, who has been pestering me to finish this for ages now~♥ Hopefully your exams will go well bb!
Gosh, I literally began writing this in October so it’s been way too long. Parts two and three should follow shortly. They’re finished, only need minor editing.
Sometimes, Minho supposes, he has no sense of self-preservation.
It’s not like he’s weak and incapable of defending himself, when it comes down to it. He’s not exactly a scrawny boy anymore, and he has a trick or two in his sleeve. Yet he’s also realist enough to know that when he’s faced with heavy swords and sharp daggers, even some guns, he doesn’t really stand much of a chance.
He doesn’t know what possessed him to take the shortcut through the dark back alleys. Maybe a bit of it was proving Jonghyun wrong, showing him that he doesn’t need to listen to advice from his friends, not anymore.
Clearly, he should listen to said advice. Whether he wants to or not.
The thieves are armed so heavily it’s impossible to misinterpret their intentions, and Minho holds no illusions about his odds of survival. Yet, strangely, they seem to be somewhat distracted as they crowd in on Minho. Who Minho assumes to be the leader of the pack steps forward, snarling at him as if he’s seen something foul. “Are you with that!?”
That? What? Minho is certain his bafflement is written all over his face and he doesn’t even try to cover it up. He figured he’d be up for a decent beating, losing all of his belongings and his new, quite expensive leather boots. He was willing to count himself lucky if he’d get through this alive, instead of being left bleeding on the ground.
Now he’s suddenly being questioned, by an armed robber that looks nothing else than nervous.
“I’m alone,” Minho answers, trying to sound as calm and collected as he possibly can. Which isn’t much, considering. He’s already glad his voice doesn’t come out as a ragged gasp, or even worse, all high and scared. “Alone.” He repeats, as the words don’t seem to have any effect whatsoever.
Minho is fixed with an evaluating stare from the whole gang, everyone around him tense and seemingly only a step away from stabbing him until there’s no blood left in his body. The thought is more than unsettling, but somehow Minho can’t stop imagining himself, lying on the muddy ground bleeding to death. His palms are clammy, his heart rate spiking up until it feels like it’s choking him, transferring straight into a thrumming headache.
He’s just about to repeat what he’s said when there’s a screeching sound, loud enough to be almost deafening. One of the thugs only gets out a muffled “You lying son of a bitch!” before he’s taken down, the words dying out into a pathetic gurgle. There’s blood, soaking Minho’s shirt, splashing all over his face, but the strangest thing is that it isn’t his.
The screech cuts through the air again, an inhuman sound, high pitched and haunting. Instinctively Minho’s hands fly to his ears and he covers them the best he can, falling down on his knees in a crouch to protect himself from possible attacks.
Except nothing comes.
The lack of noise finally makes Minho raise his gaze and what he sees makes blood run cold in his veins.
So. That. That is what frightened the gang into hesitating before robbing and killing him. That is what is responsible for the mauled corpses lying in ungraceful heaps in the coppery mud, right between them. That is what made the screeching sound that seemed to rip out straight from the fiery pits of hell.
That is beautiful.
What he’s looking at seems to be a young man, ivory face stained in red and surrounded by onyx strands of messed up hair. Its chest is heaving along with deep breaths as it stands slightly crouched amidst the remains of the slaughter that just took place. It’s difficult to say whether it is enraged or just scared, acting on the fighting instinct of a trapped animal. Minho doesn’t know what kind of a creature this is but he’s sure it’s not human. Not with fingers elongated into claws long enough to slash through a grown man.
Minho would run, he really would. But the look in those pale blue, almost white eyes makes him stop, piercing him and rooting him into the spot. He feels like his feet are made of lead, unable to lift them to take a single step.
Suddenly, the creature snaps its head up and the next second barks a rough order of get down! It’s eerily similar to the screech from earlier but definitely human speech, clear words, spoken with intent. Thankfully Minho acts on an instinct and throws himself on the ground since the next second a spear flies over him, right where he was just standing.
Easily, the creature catches the weapon and – almost too calmly – snaps it in half. It brings a hand up to wipe a palm across its face, smudging the crimson splotches. And then the piercing stare is directed right back at Minho.
“Run.” The word is accompanied by an impatient gesture. “Run. Now.”
“What is it with your new obsession to those shady streets?” Jonghyun frowns as they part after yet another late evening at work. It’s not easy, running a newspaper with as few workers as they have, and it’s a wonder they don’t have to really pull any more all-nighters these days. “Do you have a death wish or something?”
Minho waves him aside with a “Don’t be an idiot. See you tomorrow!” and doesn’t stick around listening to any more grumbling from his friend. That way he also conveniently escapes from further inquiries and doesn’t need to come up with an answer. Truth to be told, he has no idea what he should respond with. He doesn’t know why he’s suddenly so obsessed taking the darkest and shadiest route home.
It’s probably his reporter’s curiosity. Not the first time it gets him in trouble. Not the first time he’s suddenly fascinated by something obscure, something he can’t really wrap his mind around.
Something like the creature he saw, painted in blood.
It probably should be eerie how his thoughts seem to just materialize right in front of him mere seconds later as he rounds a corner and almost bumps into someone. There’s a warning growl and it makes Minho freeze in mid-movement, before he realizes what he’s looking at.
The creature from a couple of weeks ago is less than two meters from him, in a defensive crouch as if that’s the most it’s capable of right now. There’s blood, so much of it that it’s soaked through the layers of clothing and is dripping off on the cobblestones, bit by bit, even emphasizing the white skin.
It might take Minho a moment to realize but when it hits him, he drops down on his knees immediately. “Are you hurt!? What happened?” He reaches out and it gains him a warning snap of teeth. Distantly he wonders if he’s really this suicidal, or willing to lose a finger or two. Yet he swallows hard, trying to control his shaking. “Let me help you.”
What he gains as an answer is a gruff “No.” It’s spoken through clenched teeth, with obviously great difficulty. Almost at the same second the creature sways a little, dangerously, and that is when Minho stops thinking altogether and throws caution into the wind. He reaches out and scoops the other male into his arms, lifting him off the ground with little difficulty.
It’s clear that his help isn’t really wanted but he ignores the weak struggles and the angry sounds that melt into pained whimpers soon enough. Then suddenly, there’s a head resting heavy on his shoulder, black hair tickling his nose as he looks down to catch a glimpse of sharp features twisted in agony.
“Don’t worry,” Minho breathes out, even if he has no clue where this intense need to protect stems from. He just knows he has to do something, he can’t leave this… person lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. It makes his heart clench how light his burden feels, how fragile in his arms, although he’s seen him tear four men into pieces within minutes. How is such a contrast even possible?
With quick steps, Minho heads home. This time he takes the dark side-alleys because he doesn’t want anyone to see them, not like this. He needs to help, not get them both arrested, or killed.
The next two days and nights Minho spends in his apartment, watching over the fragile body in his bed, wrapped in blankets. There hasn’t been a single moment of consciousness for his guest, not after they met in the alley, and if the slow rise and sink of the creature’s chest wasn’t so steady Minho would’ve panicked long ago. He’s done his best though, cleaned and dressed the creature into some of his own clothes, keeping watch over him.
Jonghyun appears on the first evening, asking Minho why he’s ditched work without telling him. Minho makes up a quick lie about his cousin staying with him and being really sick, asking for a couple of days for himself. Grudgingly, Jonghyun agrees, even if it means they’ll be overworked and behind schedule until they’re not one man short anymore.
It gives Minho a stab of guilt, but he ignores it.
Once Jonghyun is gone, Minho is back on the bedside. His neck aches from napping in the chair for the past nights, his eyes burn as he’s lacking sleep so severely he doesn’t know how to handle himself. Yet he simply sits there, traces the other man’s sharp features with his eyes and imprints the delicate dip of his cheeks into his memory. He can’t help but wonder… wonder about everything, yearning for the story behind all this. Again, the reporter curiosity.
Finally Minho is drawn back from his contemplations by a croaking sound that sounds way too feral to be coming from the person in front of him. Quickly he reaches out though, only to stop when his palm is an inch away from a thin shoulder. He’s not sure if it’d be clever to touch, not when the creature is delirious from sleep and possibly still feverish. Who knows what might happen. Then again he didn’t exactly consider his actions that much when he carried him back home.
“I’m not going to rip your arm off.”
The words make Minho startle. They’re spoken in a calm, low voice that seems to be in such a crass contrast to the screeches and to the raw commands from earlier. The creature’s eyes are still closed, features relaxed, but he reaches out a hand to touch Minho’s as if a greeting. A hand, Minho realizes belatedly, with normal human fingers and no claws.
“You saved me.” Comes the next statement, not a hint of question in it. Eyelids flutter and finally open, only to reveal dark brown eyes instead of the glowing white. He struggles to sit up and instinctively Minho offers help that is grudgingly accepted.
For a moment Minho is afraid that he’ll be asked the obvious why, since he doesn’t have any idea what he could answer to that. He doesn’t know. All of his rational mind keeps screaming at him what a bad idea it is to bring a stranger – a homicidal stranger – into his home. The rest of him just thinks he had no choice, he just had to do this. Besides he hasn’t been killed or mutilated yet. Seems promising, right?
The question never comes, though. Instead he receives a long, evaluating look before the other man speaks up. “I’m Kibum.” He doesn’t smile, but he doesn’t look murderous either and Minho counts that as a win. It feels unreal, how they’re just sitting there having a normal, regular conversation as if they’d just met under completely different circumstances. Minho can still imagine the blood on Kibum’s face, the way it was dripping down his chin as he’d ripped the robbers into pieces.
Yet, somehow, inexplicably, it doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t feel threatened or frightened, although he probably should. It takes him a long moment to realize he’s supposed to answer something, and even then he only manages to get out his name, slightly choked. “Minho.”
Kibum seems to be a little fidgety, though, shifting on his place. He’s tugging the edges of the comforter that is pulled up to his waist, his eyes trained on what he’s doing. “I know you’re not obligated to help me,” he starts, defensively, “but I would really appreciate something to eat.”
Oh. Food, of course. How didn’t he think of that? Kibum has been unconscious for days, it should be Minho’s first thought to get him a drink at least. Then again, Kibum seems to be surprisingly healthy for someone who was broken and bleeding just a couple of nights back. If he was human he would be dead by now.
Minho already moves to get up from his seat but suddenly a thought strikes. What does Kibum eat? For all he’s seen, he probably enjoys the entrails of the men he’s gutted alive, or maybe he just likes to drink their blood? Blood seems to be quite a safe bet, judging by the way it had been smeared all around Kibum’s mouth both times he’d seen him out there.
The thing is, Minho doesn’t exactly keep containers of blood in his kitchen. He wonders if he should go buy some raw meat from the market and hope it’s enough. Or maybe he should just ask if Kibum is fit to hunt? That is a thought he discards instantly; the man could barely sit up in bed so there’s no way he can go out there and kill anything.
Only then Kibum clears his throat, startling Minho out of his thoughts. “You know? Food?”
“I don’t have…” Minho stammers. “I mean. I just. I have only human food?”
Kibum startles, his eyes wide.
“I’m sure we can work it out though!” Minho offers hurriedly. “We can. I can try to buy something? Or you could, maybe, bite me? Do you actually need to kill to feed or is it okay if you – ”
Kibum cuts him off with an impatient huff, looking absolutely scandalized. “You actually think I drink blood? Or feast on entrails?” He looks so offended it makes Minho falter a little, but an insistent part of his brain keeps saying that it was a completely valid assumption.
“Well. Don’t you?”
The way Kibum huffs is clearly exasperated and his face twists into a disgusted frown. “No! That’s gross. Have you ever tasted blood? It’s just. Salty. Yuck.” He shakes his head, as if to get rid of the nasty images on his mind. “I’m not a vampire. I have way more class than that.”
Then what are you? Minho wants to ask. He doesn’t. Instead he offers a hesitant smile. “I have bread. And maybe some cheese.” He lives alone and he doesn’t really have all that much time for cooking. Mostly he’s been living on scraps he’s gotten from his old neighbour, when he hasn’t eaten in the shabby tavern close by.
However, Kibum seems pleased enough. “Thank you.”
Kibum’s movements are slow and measured, careful even though he tries his hardest to seem casual. With each step pain burns through his left leg from ankle to hip, and it feels like there are claws dug deep beside his spine. He knows his wounds aren’t bleeding anymore, but that’s a small victory in the face of how he feels. It’s worse than when he fell from a rooftop and broke his arm in three places, worse than any of the times he’s taken a beating.
But he grits his teeth and doesn’t say a word.
As soon as he was able to move enough to actually get out of bed, he has been trying to make sure he gets some exercise daily, even if it’s not more than going into the kitchen to eat. Minho always hovers close, ready to grab him and help him when needed. It should be annoying, it should disturb Kibum and make him flee as fast as possible, but somehow he finds it comforting. It feels like a lifetime has passed since another person cared about his well-being.
Kibum is on his way back to the bedroom when sharp pain shoots up his leg, causing him to topple over as it buckles from underneath him. It hurts as all of his injuries seem to be aggravated by the impact, knocking all air out of his lungs for a second.
By the time there’s a worried face hovering above his, he’s regained enough of his self-control – and pride – to just snarl. “Get off me.” He tries to roll over but his side protests and he gives up with a shaky inhale. There’s not going to be much moving anytime soon.
From the corner of his eye he sees Minho move closer and he can instantly guess what’s on his mind. “You are not carrying me,” he growls, even if it sounds far less threatening than he’d like. It seems to work though as Minho is gone in the blink of an eye, leaving him alone to try recover from the fall.
Except that then he’s back, carefully lifting Kibum’s shoulders enough to slide a pillow underneath his head, spreading a blanket over him to keep him warm. The window in the room is broken, making it feel like Minho’s apartment is continuously cold, and Kibum can’t stop a tiny, content sigh as he’s wrapped up. It’s almost as big blow to his pride as the fall, but considerately Minho keeps quiet.
Instead he sits down next to Kibum, leaning back against the large shelf – one of the only pieces of furniture in the room – as if it’s the most comfortable place he could imagine. “Do you want something?” He asks, eyes closed and not even glancing at Kibum, as if sensing he needs the moment to gather himself.
Kibum doesn’t answer. On principle, he doesn’t want to ask anything of this man. He doesn’t even understand why he’s helping him. He has suspicions that there’s an ulterior motive and soon he’ll find himself in a circus as the freakshow. Only, Minho doesn’t give that vibe… He hasn’t seemed to be anything but honest and genuine. Even if a little dumb, bringing someone – something – like Kibum into his home.
The silence stretches on. Kibum waits patiently for the pain to fade but it feels like it’s only getting stronger, hammering through him in a way that leaves him breathless, and he can’t do anything to stop it. He knows he has to distract himself somehow but he’s tired, so tired, he can’t even focus.
Suddenly, Minho starts speaking. It’s a struggle at first, to make out what he’s saying, and it takes Kibum a good moment to realize Minho is reading.
Kibum doesn’t know what it is, can’t focus long enough to make sense of the words strung together, can’t follow the story. He simply listens to the way Minho’s voice fills the air between them in smooth swirls, how it makes him feel warmer than the blanket he’s wrapped in. It’s the much needed anchor he can cling to, in order to let his mind ignore the pain.
He listens, each syllable making him relax further and further, until his limbs only feel heavy.
Finally, he slips into deep sleep.
Life has sort of formed into a familiar routine for them, but neither of them knows how. Minho goes to work, dodges the questions Jonghyun throws at him and pretends that everything is perfectly normal. Minho goes to the market to buy fresh food more often than he ever did before, learns how to cook the simplest dishes that still taste good. Minho always comes back home to Kibum occupying his bumpy couch, usually asleep, trying to gain as much rest as possible to overcome his injuries.
There are moments when Minho doubts his own sanity. He’s playing house with someone that isn’t even human. Yet most of the time he finds himself enjoying it way too much to care. It feels that for once, he has something to do with his life, something other than work. Watching Kibum curled up on his couch, on a blanket beneath the window, in his bed – he looks like he belongs.
So Minho doesn’t spend much time on the hows and the whys. Instead he scrapes up a somewhat healthy dinner and makes his way into the living room. He hands Kibum the bowl and takes a seat on his side of the couch. His side. They even have their own spots to sit in. Somehow the thought doesn’t shock him as much as it probably should.
“How do you feel?” Minho asks halfway through his bowl of overcooked rice and vegetables. During the past days Kibum has slowly relaxed around him, has begun answering his questions in actual words instead of dismissive grunts. As long as Minho doesn’t ask him what happened that night, what got him onto the verge of death.
“My leg is better,” Kibum answers. He doesn’t look up, focused on his food as he picks tiny little bites to chew on. It seems like eating alone is strenuous and he does it slowly, carefully, even if he’s considerably better than before. “My back still hurts.” The bruises have faded already, after going through the whole variety from deep purple to sickly yellow.
If Minho had any illusion of it possibly working he would try to convince Kibum to go see the healer three streets down. Yet he knows better, as every time his suggestion has been met firm denial and anger. “Do you need me to do anything?” He asks instead, casual.
There’s silence. Finally Kibum tilts his head, stealing a longing glance towards the shelf. “Read for me?”
Without a second thought Minho sets the empty bowl down and reaches for the nearest shelf. His fingers meet paper and he doesn’t even care what it is, because that doesn’t matter. As long as he reads.
Somewhere along the way Kibum curls up on his side, eyes closed, listening. At points he’s holding his breath, sometimes there’s a slight upwards curve to his lips, occasionally he makes a soft agreeing sound. None of which Minho comments on.
He keeps reading.
Sometimes, Minho doesn’t read but instead talks about everything that happens to cross his mind. He’s not a talker, not really, he usually prefers to be the one who steps aside and watches people interact. Somehow it’s easy with Kibum, though. He enjoys watching Kibum slowly relax, his muscles lose some of the ever present tension as his eyes droop shut and sleep slowly sneaks up on him.
Now that Minho has started going to work again, he has more things to share. He talks about Jonghyun, he talks about the stories he’s writing for the paper, he talks about the prices of meat on the market, he talks about the weather. Sometimes he talks about his cousin and his cousin’s young wife, the only family he’s in contact with at all anymore.
Kibum, however, rarely says more than a word or two. He doesn’t seem hostile, quite the contrary. He’s always focusing on each word Minho says, acknowledges him with slight nods or tilts of his head. But he never shares anything about himself. And Minho is afraid to ask.
“It’s not pretty,” Kibum says one day into the watery soup. “My past. It’s not something you want to know about.” His doesn’t mention his present, but Minho knows anyway that there’s not much to say about it. Kibum spends all of the days inside, usually in Minho’s bed, his injuries still not completely healed. The bruises are gone, the sharp stinging pain doesn’t appear very often. Yet it seems the scars run a lot deeper than flesh.
Minho nods, slowly. “I do.” He stares into the flame of the single candle on the floor between them. Usually he’d light an oil lamp, or at least several candles, but Kibum says too much light hurts his eyes so they sit in near darkness, as usual. “I want to know.” He hopes he doesn’t sound too insisting, too eager. Yet he truly wants to hear it, wants to learn everything there is about Kibum.
His strange attraction isn’t fading, no, it’s growing stronger day by day. Even though he knows it’s misplaced, knows he’s not allowed.
Kibum huffs. “Yes. I suppose you would.”
He doesn’t say anything further. Minho doesn’t pry.
Next; Part II
(4119 words for this part)
soooo. please don’t expect any huge grand plot you all know I suck at those .__. I’m not one of those writers who can forge a complex plot I just write people being people. THIS IS HOW I ROLL.
but I do hope you enjoy :3 dis is my baby~ I began writing it in October so it’s been ages and now that it’s finally almost done it feels totally unreal!