IPSUREN (ipsuren) wrote,
IPSUREN
ipsuren

Rise Apocalypse: Chapter 07



    Upon waking, Donghae felt power within him for the first time. It wasn’t an emotion or a physical sensation, rather a psychological awareness that something drastic had changed within his mind. Upon completing his kani, his caste was Kabai, his level: Khalas. As Khalasi, he had physical abilities that superceded those of humanity. Physical strength was an aspect of this, allowing him to lift and move things ten times his own weight. But more importantly was his level of physical tolerance. He had an Ipsuren immune system that made it nearly impossible for him to get sick. While knives could cut him, his wounds would heal twice as fast as those of a human’s. As for pain, he didn’t need it to alert him that something was wrong with his body, his spirit would tell him subconsciously and he would simply know that he’d been wounded without having to feel it. When he asked Hyuk later if Ipsuren could feel pain at all, the okji had laughed at him and told him in no uncertain terms that yes, Ipsuren could feel pain. It just took a harder bite than it would for a human. In other words, when Ipsuren feel pain, it’s because of a life-threatening injury and it really, really hurts.
     He was told to progress in caste to Tseng, the level of seasonal awareness and understanding. In order to do this, he needed a teacher. Heechul. It didn’t take long for Sungmin to feed him breakfast and force him out the door, eager for him to continue his Ipsuren education. Heechul lived in one of the small, one-storey houses on the inner-most rim of Garahim. Hae was surprised to learn that he kept his dwelling lit not by lamps or overhead lighting, but by fires, candles and oil lanterns, preferring a firey presence over an electric one. Later, Hae would find that this was a common custom among okji who progress to or passed Isai. Hae’s first impression of his mentor’s home was of being draped in warm blankets. Long draperies curtained the windows, and aside from the front door, the doorways to other rooms were covered by thick drapes that Heechul kept open by hanging on metal claws, nailed to the doorframe. He owned elegant, heavy chairs with tall backs and a whole futon for his many cats. As the days progressed and slowly turned from weeks to months, Donghae spent the majority of his time in that house.
     At night, he’d sleep with Hyuk in his large bed, taking hebia when the other initiated it. He’d wake to breakfast from Sungmin and eat with Shindong before getting ready to walk across town to Heechul’s place, where he’d spend the day until dinner. Heechul would give Hae books to read and Hae would puzzle out the Ipsuren language as best he could, asking questions as he went along. To his teacher’s delight, Donghae found most of the books interesting enough to take back home, where he’d read in bed with the light on until Hyuk coaxed him away from the pages with his hands and breath and tongue. 
     After his quing-hebia, Donghae hadn’t been sure that he’d ever engage in the act again with Eunhyuk, had even been surprised when Sungmin told him he was moving back to his old room, and that Hae could continue to sleep with Hyuk as long as he kept his room neat. For the first week the two slept without touching. They’d talk themselves tired, getting to know one another and listening to Hyuk’s dreams about rising up the Ladder, but the closest they got physically was when Hae would fall asleep on Hyuk’s chest and their legs would tangle together under the blankets. As the days went on, Hae started to notice that he was getting tired earlier. Waking was difficult for him and Heechul complained and pinched him when he would drift off in a daze, lack of concentration interfering with his training.
     “Donghae,” Heechul had told him after a month of this, plucking the book he’d been trying to read from his hands only to find that he’d been on the same page for half an hour. “How are things at Sungmin’s?”
     “Fine, why?”
     “Your energy level is non-existent, you have zero concentration and you’re completely detached from your spiritual self.” He seemed more frustrated than angry, his hands on his hips. “How the hell am I supposed to teach you anything like this?!”
     Donghae didn’t know what to say, hadn’t really even been aware of what was going on inside him until Heechul pointed it out. 
     “You need to learn to read your body better, Hae,” his teacher chided.
     “What’s going on?” 
     A sigh. “You need hebia.”
     “Um.” Donghae thought he couldn’t possibly be referring to the thing Hae was picturing in his mind at that moment, a naked dance of light and sweat set to the sound of moans and exhales.
     “Sex. You need to get laid.”
     “Oh.” He was.
     Heechul had looked at him and smiled, then, and maybe he would have even laughed if he hadn’t been so irritated at having to be the one to engage such a conversation with his student. In the end, he combed his orange hair behind his ears with delicate fingers and picked up the books to be put away.
     “Go home. I’ll talk to Sungmin.”
     No one mentioned it to him until later that night, after he’d been in bed for an hour already, talking to Hyuk about Aethere and its people.
     “They call themselves Alorian,” Hyuk was saying, smiling as his eyes glazed over with the image in his head. “They’re all Nokhiri and their abilities are unlike anything regular Ipsuren can even dream of possessing.”
     The Alorian. It was the first time Hae had heard about them, but strangely, he felt as if he already knew everything. They were a superior race within Ipsuren, prokji and ohzai who had progressed through their caste to the highest point and obtained ultimate power and knowledge. They had technology more advanced than anything Jiscada had yet seen and they used it to bring the world above the Ladder to glory. Aethere was a city built from their knowledge and power, a city of sky and natural light, with towers made of glass and stone. Donghae couldn’t even picture it, having no idea what any of those things looked like, but he was doubtful that it was everything Eunhyuk believed it to be. Knowing this, and also knowing that it was highly unlikely that his friend, who had no interest in caste progression, could ever make it to such a city, saddened Hae beyond measure. With every word Hyuk spoke of his dreams and ambitions, Donghae grew forlorn and quiet. He knew he couldn’t voice his concerns. Hyuk still considered him, in many ways, ignorant of their culture. Perhaps, all things considered, he still should have been. It had only been two months since the end of his kani. But Donghae knew things. His awareness levels were so high, so sharp, as if he knew everything already and all of his training was just so he could learn to utilize what he already knew efficiently. 
     “What’s wrong?” Hyuk had asked, hand coming up to lightly touch Hae’s face, fingers against cheekbone. 
     “I guess I’m just tired,” Donghae explained, and it wasn’t a lie, he really was tired. He was tired all the time.
     Eunhyuk’s brows pushed together, creating little indentations between them. 
     “I haven’t been good to you,” he whispered, pressing closer. Before their lips touched, Hyuk stopped to ask in low tones, “Do you mind?”
     In answer, Hae closed the gap between them.
     After that night, Donghae regained his strength and Heechul seemed pleased with the improvement. He explained that Ipsuren need hebia to survive, that the longer they go without it, the more their energy is drained and with it, their power. Knowing this, he never went very long without it. Eunhyuk proved more than willing to keep Hae charged and as time progressed, he learned to read when Donghae needed it, noticing the differences in his personality when he got tired, worn out and his reaction time slowed. Hae noticed after awhile that Eunhyuk never seemed to need hebia, was always energized and full of life. He knew it was Sungmin, and that they’d been keeping it a secret, perhaps afraid that if Hae found out they were sleeping together he might react jealously. Another way they patronized him, treated him as if he were still human. Eventually, he confronted Hyuk about it.
     It was after breakfast one morning, four months after Donghae’s kani. Sungmin and Shindong had gone out early to meet with some visitors from a neighboring sect, leaving Hyuk and Hae to eat by themselves. They were finishing up and Hae was eating bread and cheese over the newest book Heechul had lent him, trying not to get crumbs on the crisp, white pages.
     Without looking up, he mentioned casually, “I know you and Sungmin are taking hebia together.”
     He could feel Eunhyuk tense and a smile slid its way across Hae’s lips like a sneaky snake. 
     “Hae,” he started, voice gentle, which only served to irritate Donghae further.
     Looking up, he closed the book. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
     Eunhyuk was doing his best to look apologetic, but Hae knew him well enough by then to read the agitation lurking behind his innocent features. 
     “We were afraid you’d be upset.”
     “I hate that!” He hadn’t meant to raise his voice, hadn’t meant to get angry. “Do you really think I care who you sleep with, Eunhyuk? Do you think I’m that human that I’d mind, really?”
     To his credit, Hyuk did seem surprised. His mouth opened slightly, slack without knowing what to say. Eventually, he realized he had been wrong.
     “I guess not,” he exhaled, dejectedly. 
     Donghae softened up, reached across the table to touch the back of his hand. “Trust the Ipsuren in me, because it does exist. I’m not the little boy you brought here, Hyuk.”
     “I know that,” and Eunhyuk looked at him, his eyes moving from Hae’s face to neck, to shoulders, to chest. “Shisus, I know.”


     Eight months. Eight months Hae spent in Garahim, eating Sungmin’s cooking, laughing with Shindong, sleeping with Eunhyuk, working with Heechul. Eight months and he’d progressed beautifully through the first two levels of Kabai. He knew his body inside and out. He knew how to read every small signal that was sent to him, could distinguish his energized, restful self from when he was tired and weak. He knew when he was pushing himself too hard and needed to rest, knew when he wasn’t working hard enough. Every day his capabilities increased, the reach of his spiritual arm growing longer the more he trained. Tseng had given him the ability to sense changes in atmosphere, so he knew just by peaks of tension when someone was lying. He could feel other’s emotions, at least those of prokji who were his level or below. He gained the ability to read other’s thoughts when they allowed him to and to speak through telepathy as Hyuk had during his kani. However, his powers in that regard were limited at best, the same way he learned that Eunhyuk’s were. With Jezben comes the ability of telekinesis, the ability to control and possess using thought and the mind. At only Tseng, he and Eunhyuk could only lay the foundations for such abilities. They could speak to each other, but they had no way of entering into the minds of those who did not wish it, or those of higher caste. Perhaps most useful was the ability to transwalk. This was something Hyuk displayed to him back in the gutter, and Hae abused it relentlessly for days after learning it, flitting around rooms and down streets, disappearing in a suction of air and gravity and reappearing directly in front of someone unexpecting. Shindong had not appreciated this, the first time Donghae had attempted it.
     Eunhyuk remained, contented, at Tseng. He had no interest in proceeding even to Jezben, claiming that studying didn’t sit well with him. Hae thought it was just that his patience only extended to certain areas, like relationships and conversation. 
     Eight months found Donghae in Heechul’s kitchen, eating an apple and dangling a string in front of Heebum, Heechul’s favourite cat. They had been talking about his caste progression. Heechul told him that there weren’t enough Jezbenite in Garahim, that he and Sungmin alone could not get him to Jezben. If Hae wanted to progress to the next level, he needed to seek out teachers with more experience. He had friends in Higher City who would be willing to help him. Donghae admitted that he wanted to advance in caste and his teacher told him that he should, even implored him that he must. After the discussion, things had grown quiet. Heechul was sitting back in his chair, flicking a candle on and off with his fingers, looking lazy and bored. 
     “Donghae,” he said, putting his attention on his student. 
     “Hmm?”
     “There’s something about you I don’t get,” he confessed. 
     Nervously, Hae looked up. He had known this conversation was coming, worried now that it was upon them. Patiently, he let his mentor continue.
     “You’re so unbelievably hot,” Heechul said, leaning forward to elbow the table, appearance suddenly similar to that of his many cats. “You have, I guess what would be considered inner beauty? I feel so much power coming from within you, it’s threatening.”
     “It’s Siwon.”
     Donghae had not known that that was true, had not even considered it but, the same way that he had known there was something different about him, he knew it was true. When the words came out, their honesty struck him and clarity rang. It was Siwon.
     Heechul seemed to think so, too. He nodded his head slowly and steepled his fingers together, his eyes losing focus, seeing something Hae could not. 
     “Yeah,” he said. “I think so, too.”
     Forcefully, Hae leant into the table as well, tried to catch Heechul’s eyes. “What is he, Chullie?”
     His teacher, to his credit, seemed genuine in his ignorance. Defensively, he rolled his eyes and pushed off the table. Standing up, he buried his thin fingers in his hair and began to pace.
     “I don’t know. I really don’t know anymore.” He was a turning whirlwind of silks and capes as he moved, flowing fabric following his movements, hanging from his arms. “You’re the first and only person he’s ever Incepted.”
     Dread stabbed Donghae in the stomach and all his breath fled through the open wound. When he tried to speak, his words were strained, “You know this?”
     A memory, haunting in its sudden appearance: Sungmin, nervous next to him, frantically, “Him?!”
     “I know.” The whirlwind stopped. Heechul was standing by the window, thin hands tightened in his silks. “Donghae. As irritating as this entire realization is, I feel like I should warn you.”
     “Of what?” The silence was overbearing and Donghae could not read his own emotions, let alone Heechul’s.
     “I don’t know.” He spun and came back to the table, looking bored with the entire conversation. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Tell me how Eunhyuk is in bed.”
     Hesitantly, Donghae laughed. Despite how casually they were able to joke afterwards, they never mentioned Siwon again.


    One day, Sungmin announced that he needed to travel across the city for supplies. There, he had a friend who would be able to get Hae and Hyuk up the lift to Higher City, free of charge. Eunhyuk was excited. He said that now they could finally take off on their journey and progress Hae’s caste level along the way. It was a winning situation for all involved. Eagerly, Donghae agreed. The day they were set to leave, Hae had to come to terms with the reality that he would never see Garahim again. Sungmin seemed displeased when Hae confessed this concern and rolled his eyes, saying that of course he would come back, that he was always welcome. Donghae knew better. Something inside him told him he’d never see it again, not the way it was that morning, with the sound of working hammers and drills in the distance breaking the quiet. In the eight months Hae had spent there, the town had grown and developed from the shattered remnants of human suburbia to a town of Ipsuren comforts, with colorful murals and artistic structures made from found materials. It would never be a towering urban city, nor would it be a booming center of nightlife, but it was home to a diverse and creative group of Ipsuren, all of whom had made Donghae feel welcome and taken care of. Through his travels, Hae would learn that Garahim was a sheltered, unrealistic view of the Ipsuren lifestyle, wool over his eyes, shielding him from the truth. Sungmin had wanted a center of peace, of education, of homeliness, where anyone could come and feel safe and welcome. He did a good job in making that happen. Perhaps too good a job.
     Standing by the gate, Sungmin was going through their packs, making sure he’d taken care of everything and being generally responsible. Eunhyuk was saying his own goodbyes, smiling and laughing and making all kinds of horrible jokes. Donghae was trying not to cry. Again, as he had left the Gutter with nothing in hand, he did the same there. He owned no real possessions, nothing of value or importance. Eunhyuk was bringing clothes, money, food. Standing before Shindong, Donghae wanted to give him some kind of farewell gift, but there was nothing that would be at all worthy of the friendship he had found in the young okji. They stared at each other, smiling, tears welling in their eyes before Shindong embraced him, his hold tight.
     “When Sungmin comes back,” Hae found himself saying. “Take care of him.”
     “You take care of Hyukkie. He talks himself up and acts all tough but he’s actually a big, sentimental baby.”
     Donghae didn’t need to be told twice. “I’ll try to remember that when he’s picking fights.”
     Saying goodbye to Heechul proved harder than he’d anticipated, the tears quivering in his lashes falling fast and thick. 
     “Hey hey hey,” Heechul said, holding him at arm’s length. “Don’t cry, it makes you look terrible.”
     Donghae couldn’t help but laugh through a sniffle, “No, it doesn’t. You’re just saying that to make yourself feel better.”
     “I hate you,” his teacher pulled him close in a hug, “but I’ll miss you anyway.”
     “Listen, I have something for you.” After the embrace, Heechul reached into the fold of the robes around his waist and pulled out a pendant. 
     It was made of a transparent material thicker than any glass Donghae had ever seen. In the center, a single flame flickered endlessly, letting off a warm, orange glow.
     “It’s Alorian crystal. It was a gift to me from,” he paused, his voice hitching on words. “Someone in my past. And now I’m giving it to you. When you get to Higher City, show them this pendant.”
     Donghae’s hands shook with the power trapped inside that crystal, his heartbeat speeding up just by looking at it. Rushed, eager to tuck it away where it would be safe, he tied it around his neck and hid it beneath his shirt. 
     “Thank you, tulana-Heechul,” Hae whispered and his startled mentor had to catch him before he had completed his bow. 
     “None of that, come on,” he scolded in the voice he always used when trying to be forceful. “But remember what I said about crying, Hae. Your tears are yours to shed, they represent your personal pain and suffering. Never show them to just anyone, they should only be for those you would trust with your life.”
     As Donghae departed with Eunhyuk and Sungmin, those words remained at the forefront of his mind. Confidently, he reached out a hand and found Hyuk’s, pushing their fingers together. Eunhyuk looked at him, surprised, and Hae thought at once that he’d let go. He didn’t. Instead, he smiled and held tight.


     Anomaly was a good three hour walk from Garahim, one they spent gossiping and laughing. The town itself was sketchy and dark, like the majority of Lower City outside the security of Garahim. The Ipsuren there kept human slaves and as soon as they entered through the gates they happened upon a dealership of such services. Sungmin looked steely and hard on the outside, but he was sending Hae spikes of disgust, waves of displeasure and sadness mingling with Hae’s own. A tall okji covered in tattoos and scars, his skin pierced in a hundred places, leered at Hae, licking his lips in a way that set his skin crawling. Hyuk saw this and threw his arm possessively around Donghae’s waist, growling low at the offender as they passed. 
     “Tulana,” Hyuk whispered to Min, loud enough where Hae could hear. “Where’s your friend?”
     Sungmin looked worried, teeth gnawing at his bottom lip.
     Then, they heard it. It sounded like the cracking of ice and the air turned just as cold, gooseflesh searing along Hae’s skin. Before he had time to register the surge of power, she appeared before them in a blue glow that quickly faded as her form settled before them. 
     “Ming!”
     Sungmin exploded into smiles, embracing her while the look on Hyuk’s face said that he was just as surprised as Hae was. She was tall and thin in a light blue dress that clung tightly to her form and a white robe that covered most of it. Her hair was short, wavy and fair to the point where it served to illuminate her radiance in blue. Her skin was as pale as ice except for the apples of her cheeks, pink with flush. If Donghae had ever expected to lay eyes upon an ozha, it would not have been there, in that city of crime and filth. Her beauty shocked them, but Sungmin, obviously, was unaffected by it. He held her close under one arm, gesturing as he introduced them.
     “This is Jessica!” He announced. “She was Incepted with me.”
     Not knowing what to say, still entranced by the unnatural beauty and power she possessed, Hae and Hyuk could only nod.
     “I’ve put you up at the local tavern. We can chat awhile until it’s time to sleep and then, in the morning,” she glanced passed Hyuk, right towards Donghae. Her eyes engraved him with knowledge, heavy with secrets. “I can get you up the Lift.”


     The tavern was just as intimidating as the rest of Anomaly, hoots, cheers and drunken laughter heard even across the street. However, as soon as Jessica walked in, the front doors opening without her having to lift a finger, willed by the power of her mind, the entire room grew quiet and orderly. Perhaps it was because she was stunning to look at. Most likely, it was because everyone knew she could melt their brains with a single look in their direction. When conversation commenced, the overall tone of the bar had sunk to a quieter note. Satisfied, she ordered them drinks with a smile, placing before Eunhyuk a tall glass of his favourite strawberry milk.
     “How did you know?” He asked, mouth agape.
     She winked at him. “You’re easy to read.”
     As she and Sungmin conducted business over supplies, Eunhyuk glared at his beverage as if it were the enemy. Donghae chuckled, amused by the way he could seem so cute while being so serious.
     “Something the matter?” Hae asked, trying to keep the light tone from his voice.
     “I don’t trust her.”
     “Think she poisoned your milk?” He really couldn’t stifle his amusement for that one, and Hyuk noticed, glaring at him.
     “Why would she be here? Shouldn’t she be frolicking around with the rest of her ohzai above the Ladder? Why is she hanging around with thieves, sluts and killers?”
     It was a good question, one Hae didn’t have an answer to. He knew without a doubt, in ways that Eunhyuk couldn’t, that Jessica wasn’t a threat. She was cast in kindness, a gentle light radiating from her spirit. Where Heechul had been warmth and fire, Jessica was cold and ice. He remembered something from his basic training: level three Isuda was Tinri. Ice. Such power, to have progressed so far. Incepted at the same time as Sungmin, yet advanced to such a high level. Granted, Sungmin had been distracted from caste progression in rebuilding Garahim, but still. Eunhyuk was sniffing his drink, searching for something amiss. Rolling his eyes, Hae picked up the glass and drank, tasting a flavor that had become familiar to him through Eunhyuk’s tongue alone. When he put the glass back on the table and wiped the back of his mouth with his hand, Eunhyuk was miffed. Whether it was because he thought Donghae risked his life or drank his milk, Hae couldn’t be sure. He assumed it was the latter, though. 
     “Donghae,” a quiet word in a sweet voice. 
     She was smiling down at him, standing at the edge of their table. 
     “Can we talk?”
     Under the table, Hyuk kicked his shin. If Jessica noticed him wince, she didn’t let on.
     What are you doing? Hyuk.
     What are you doing?! 
     Protecting you from crazy Ipsureni, that’s what. Even in his head, Eunhyuk’s voice sounded petulant.
     You’re the one who’s crazy. Now, don’t bother me while I talk to her.
     She led him to the bar, where they sat next to each other. Hae clutched a glass of water and Jessica seemed entirely too uninterested in drinking.
     “Tell me about yourself, Donghae.” 
     Suprisingly, Hae found she was easy to talk to, at least for him. He found himself telling her things, not just about how Hyuk had found him in the Gutter, but about the conversation he’d had with his dad. He told her about the feelings he’d had for Hyuk as a human, which she laughed at. He told her about how Sungmin had taken care of him during his kani, that Siwon had Incepted him (she seemed very interested in this part, stopping him to ask all kinds of questions about what he looked like and how he acted). 
     “Sungmin likes you very much,” she said after he was finished. “He’s a very kind person, you know.”
     “He is,” Donghae said, fondness touching his voice. “I feel like I owe him so much.”
     “Perhaps, one day, you’ll be given the opportunity to repay him for his kindness.”
     Hae was surprised at that, pulling back to look at her through worried eyes. In her features, he saw grave sincerity, something he didn’t feel entirely comfortable with. Sadness melted in the black pits of her eyes. 
     “You think so?” he tested, unsure.
     “I fear for Ming. I see so much despair in his future. At night I dream of a cage, ensnaring him, like the web of a spider. All of his purity, his grace, his generosity. In my dreams, I watch it fall away.” She stopped and inhaled, her breath shaky in the cage of her chest.
     They fell into silence, Hae reviewing her words with caution and fear. After he had drained his fourth glass of water, he found the courage to speak again.     
     “Excuse me, um...” He had no idea what honorific he was supposed to use. Was there a special one for addressing ohza? If there wasn’t, Hae thought there should have been. “If you don’t mind me asking, what is someone of your caste doing,” he gestured to the room at large, “here?”
     She was amused, either by his question or the fact that he was completely flustered by her. 
     “I’m here for the same reason Heechul is in Garahim. To educate and guide those who have wandered from The Path.”
     This was new. “The Path?”
     Jessica looked at him as if he was insane. “Heechul never taught you? He never instructed you in Shisus’s ways?”
     Shisus. That was a familiar word. How many times had he heard it used in conversation? Thousands. But never quite the way Jessica was using it.
     “Um” he felt foolish, as if he’d skipped the most important aspect of his training. Perhaps he had. “No?”
     “Shisus is the name of our saviour, the one who guides us to eternal life. He is the essence of everything we hope to attain, the source of all our power. He was The First, his physical form slumbering while his spirit lives on inside those who believe in him.”
     “Oh.” 
     It was not the last time he would hear of this religion, this belief. 


     That night, Eunhyuk and Donghae welcomed Sungmin into their bed. It was the only way to say goodbye, the only way to remember their last night together. To Donghae, it was the only way he could thank Sungmin for everything he had done, to breathe his appreciation into him and fill him up with gratitude. Hae had never taken hebia with anyone other than Hyuk, but with Min it was easy. He was a very open, generous person. He gave and received without second thought or doubt and, as was his natural ability, he made everything feel comfortable and welcome. Eunhyuk and Sungmin were the two souls Donghae knew better than his own. Nine months they’d spent together, eight since his kani, and throughout those nine months Hae had learned their moods, their personalities. What made them happy or sad, how to read the expressions as they were writ across their faces. Hae felt more comfortable and at home with them than any building, any town could make him feel. Entering into them, joining them in passion, was home. Their bodies were safe and warm, between them Hae felt wanted, desired, taken care of. When it was over, he knew he’d never again be able to experience that same level of fulfillment and, stuffed and sated with happiness and peace, he buried his face into Eunhyuk’s naked shoulder and wept.


     He knew it was him. Even before Heebum’s ears pricked and the fur on his back stood on end, even before he heard the suction pulling at his ears, Heechul knew he was near. He should have left, should have packed his shit and walked out his front door and gone back to Higher City right then, but he knew it wouldn’t have made a difference. Siwon would find him, he always did, and dammit if Heechul could never say no to him anyway. He was standing behind him, in the kitchen. Heechul was up to his elbows in dishwater, so he plucked a towel hanging below the sink to dry his hands before turning around.
     “Shouldn’t you be in Aethere?” he asked.
     “I am.” The answer was pretentious in its simplicity.
     Heechul turned around then and saw him in all his Alorian glory, glowing gold as a prick and looking about as desirable as one. He was shirtless, a detail Heechul knew he’d added intentionally to throw him off guard. Despite that, he had on a thick coat with a large, bushy fur collar, soft in contrast to his leather pants, gloves and boots. If he’d tried to be intimidating, he should have known he’d stopped intimidating Heechul decades ago.
     “How dare you come here?” Heechul hissed, throwing the towel onto the counter with enough force to make it snap.
     Siwon, for his part, was looking amused, as if the whole situation was a game. Heechul suspected, not without disgust, that it probably was. 
     “Are you mad because I chose the town you’re living in to Incept?” Siwon asked, slowly closing the distance between them. “Or are you mad because I paid your town a visit and didn’t stop by to say hello?”
     Both. It was both and he fucking knew it. Had probably counted on it.
     Courageously, because Heechul was good at not caring for the consequences of his actions, he turned his back on Siwon, putting out the lamps with a flick of his fingers as he left the room.
     “Seriously, though,” because he knew Siwon was still following him. The persistent bastard. “Why are you here now? Shouldn’t you be, like, forcing Geng to massage your feet or something?”
     The Nokhiri laughed and Heechul flinched at how loud it was, echoing through all the rooms of his house and making the flames on the tips of his candles flicker.
     “If you must know, he’s not massaging my feet and I’m not forcing him to do anything.”
     There was something beating in his chest, a small, withered fragment of what might have, at one point, passed for a heart. A large fist closed around it, then. Squeezed and twisted, leaving Heechul out of breath. He didn’t want to think about whatever was going on in Aethere while Siwon spirited himself to Garahim. Didn’t want to think about anything at all, actually. Except, maybe, the book he was supposed to be reading. 
     “Okay, fine,” Heechul spun around, acknowledging the fact that this vision of his past was in his house and wasn’t going to leave until it got what it wanted. “What do you want?”
     “I want you to tell me where you sent Donghae.”
     Donghae. Wise beyond experience, elegant, mystifying, terrifying Donghae. Heechul felt awful for him.
     “Can’t you leave him alone, Siwon?” His tone took on a higher note, then. 
     Siwon smirked and Heechul almost flinched. Almost.
     “Are you begging me, Princess?”
     “Shut up.”
     Siwon was right in front of him then, at least his projection was and even though Heechul couldn’t touch him, he could feel his body heat seeping through his clothes. Unwillingly, his body began to react to that familiar warmth. Memories of open-mouthed kisses against flat expanses of skin, fingers twirling in hair, electric shocks touching his spine. Heechul’s breath was harsh, his eyes touched with things he could not control. After all those years, seemingly endless with the way they’d dragged on. Lost in torment, alone and forgotten, unwanted, cast aside. Still, Heechul wanted him, not just to touch and kiss. Heechul wanted to laugh with him, caress him, be with him. Anything, he knew he’d do anything for him. It was sick, it was cruel, the way Siwon could control him like that. The way he could control both of them.
     “I,” his voice cracked, Siwon’s eyes moving over his open lips. “I sent him to Yesung.”
     A smile on perfect lips, so near to Heechul’s own. If only he could have just leant forward and touched them, pressed them together for the first time in, how many years? Shisus, how many years?
     “I know,” Siwon confessed, making Heechul hate himself for falling for that.
     “You know everything,” Heechul whispered. 
     “Of course I do.” His words were low, his tones deep and almost soothing. “I know that you want me, that you feel for me in ways you shouldn’t, that you still dream about our past.”
     “Why didn’t you come see me when you were here?” Heechul would be disgusted with himself, later. “I waited for you.”
     “You know why.”
     Heechul closed his eyes against the pain and prayed that when he opened them he’d be alone so he could fall apart. 
     “One last thing.”
     Heechul whimpered.
     “Tell me about this,” a pause so he could snarl in distate, “Eunhyuk.”


A/N: annd this is exactly 3 minutes late! oops? So, I discovered that people like to write Jessica as being a bitch in their fanfics. In retaliation, I wrote her like this. Because the stereotypical "beat up on anyone with a vagina because no girls are allowed in slash" mentality is tiresome and immature. also, i need to make a new icon for this chapter. brb. 
OH. ANOTHER THING. I'm considering writing a sidefic for the haehyukmin threesome smut. If anyone would be interested in reading this, let me know.

Tags: book: rise apocalypse, chapter: 07
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  • Rise Apocalypse: Chapter 13

    WARNINGS: Rape, violence, character bastardization In tragedy, time stands inconceivably still, locked in continuum like the edges of puzzle…

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  • Rise Apocalypse: Chapter 11

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  • Rise Apocalypse: Chapter 13

    WARNINGS: Rape, violence, character bastardization In tragedy, time stands inconceivably still, locked in continuum like the edges of puzzle…

  • Rise Apocalypse: Chapter 12

    The slow transformation of days to weeks happened gradually and without notice. Altair grew used to the three outsiders and their presence in…

  • Rise Apocalypse: Chapter 11

    Yeah so this is the most NC-17 chapter yet. Oh, and don't skip the last 1,000 words, even if you're not into it. They decided to…