Donghae’s training with Yesung lasted two weeks. The majority of it was spent in his secret room, where all the constellations were painted on the tented walls and the architecture of the room blended together and got lost in the stars. Even though neither of them had ever actually seen the night sky, Hae was forced to learn the names of all the constellations regardless. Buomi was the level of earth, so Hae buried himself in books on herbal medicine, flora and fauna. When Hae asked what the point of learning this was, since there are rarely any plants that can grow in the dark, neon and chrome of Jiscada, Yesung told him that these were things they studied in Aethere, above the Ladder where there are natural elements the plants can utilize for survival. When he told Hyuk this, later that night in bed, his companion actually seemed excited about Hae’s training for once and even wanted to look through one of the plant directory books.
Yesung, on his part, was a good teacher. Not as good as Heechul, who was entertaining and easy to talk to, but just as enthusiastic and quick to correct. He didn’t get distracted very easily; his concentration was almost meditative in its intensity. Although, he sometimes fell asleep while Hae was reading, his chin buried in his palm and his mouth open, leaking drool. Occasionally, he explained things in a way that was jumbled and confusing. They were things that would make sense to him, but not to anyone else--another example of how scrambled his brain was, a side effect of the dark arts. There were quite a few of those. For one thing, his hands sometimes shook. Never for very long, but when they did, instead of hiding them he’d hold them out in front of his face and stare at them as if he’d never seen hands until that moment.
The day before his ascension ceremony, Yesung mentioned that Eunhyuk wouldn’t be present because of his low caste. Hae was disappointed to hear this, remembering how he’d missed his Inception and how Hae had searched the crowd to see his face, empty and sad that he wasn’t there.
“Hae,” Yesung, pouring tea into tiny cups. “I never asked you where you came from. You know, before you were Incepted.”
Donghae accepted one of the cups graciously, cradling it with both hands near his lips. “Does it really matter, now?” His words sent steam rippling across the surface of the tea.
“No, I guess not.”
The conversation was set to end, and perhaps it should have, but Hae found himself speaking up.
“I was born in the Gutter. I had both of my parents, although my mom was very ill, so she couldn’t really be there for us.”
Yesung sniffed. “That’s the way it is with all females, I guess.”
Hae nodded, slightly. The tea was too hot to taste, but he liked the way it burned in his palms. “I had an older brother, too. His name was Donghwa.”
Yesung was swallowing the tea in gulps, unaffected by the temperature. “Did you guys get along?”
Abruptly, Ryeowook’s voice bubbled to the surface of Hae’s mind, audible in his memory: “You remember what it felt like when Donghwa was always with Morla, never paying you any attention.” Donghae shivered, threatening the tea to spill over the sides of his cup. Gently, he put it down.
“Yes,” he said. “We got along.”
It wasn’t a lie. He and Donghwa had gotten along. But they had been human children, and like all humans, they harboured dangerous emotions. Fickle emotions, emotions that tainted even the purest of hearts. Jealousy, of Donghwa for being so strong and attractive. Jealousy, of Morla for taking him away. Donghae shook his head. These were not thoughts he needed to concern himself with any longer. And yet, a question rose.
The okji in question blinked and moved his eyes to stare at a vague location around Donghae’s lips. “Yeah?”
“Is it true that the humans in the Gutter are dying?”
The room was quiet as Yesung put down his teacup and made no attempt to refill it. Harshly, he wiped his hands against his knees, kneading them front and back against the dark silks as if they were covered in water.
“Why?” Donghae didn’t really want to know the answer, not when he still had family there, not when he had so many memories of faces.
Faces he couldn’t really remember, now.
“It’s their way of keeping the human population submissive,” Yesung words, hot white clarity in Hae’s ears.
“The higher ups,” he raised a finger, pointed to the stars.
No, pointed up the Ladder.
“They’re the ones who are in charge of that mess. The Alorian. That was their doing.”
Donghae was surprised at how unaffected he felt by the news. A pang of sadness, a point, needling at his heart for his brother and father. But what kind of life were they living? What kind of life were they giving up? Even in life, they were suffering. Hae could see that now. But oppression to that extent, surely that was wrong.
“We could never live in peace with them,” Yesung added, reading his thoughts. “They would always fear us. You cannot live as equals with something you fear.”
That night, Ryeowook brought Hae and Hyuk their dinner in bed. Yesung’s pet had been trying his hardest to avoid Donghae and, for the most part, had been succeeding. Donghae harboured no ill feelings towards the small okji, if anything he felt sorry for scaring him the way he had. He could see in his eyes how wary he was of Hae now, how unnerved he got whenever Hae walked in on him with Yesung. Ryeowook would always move fast to escape the room, then. But two weeks after the incident, he braved both him and Hyuk and brought them supper. Hae was surprised, if not a little cautious. Eunhyuk was looking positively cattish.
“Come here, slave.”
Hyuk stretched out his arm like a poisonous viper, Ryeowook watched, waiting for it to strike. At once, Ryeowook hissed and Hyuk’s arm moved, fluid as water and sharp as the flick of a flame, to grab him by the wrist.
“Don’t you want to stay?” Hyuk was asking, his voice terrifying in its fury. “Not so eager for it now, are you? Not so desperate.”
Hyuk’s hand, twisting, Ryeowook clawing at it, whimpering.
“Come now,” Hyuk clicked his throat in distaste “I can make you feel real good. I bet that pretty white neck of yours will snap nicely beneath my teeth.”
The air was picking up and Donghae was growing fearful and impatient, full of all the possible outcomes of this situation, none of them ending in Hyuk’s favour.
“That’s enough!” He shouted, trying to break through the storm of rage that had taken control of the room. “Hyuk, let him go. Please.”
Hyuk’s voice softened, even as he continued to train his attention on Ryeowook, the tone of his voice when next he spoke was for Hae alone, a tone quiet and gentle, wavering with emotion. “He hurt you.”
Donghae nodded, warily. “He won’t again.”
“Let me go!” A crackle in the atmosphere as Ryeowook readied his defenses.
Hyuk didn’t let him go so much as threw him to the floor, where he curled in on himself before sitting up.
“Listen, Cronian slut,” Hyuk spat from where he stood, towering above him. “You think you know everything about everyone, but just in case you didn’t already get this little tidbit of information, I’ll tell you something about me. I was Incepted by the Pekas Geldina.”
On the floor, Ryeowook whimpered, a pathetic sound.
“That’s right,” Hyuk was kneeling, now, and Ryeowook was scrambling back to get away from him, a soft string of nonono’s falling from his lips. “You know all about my kind, right?”
When he jerked his fist back as if to hit, both Ryeowook and Hae flinched. Hyuk just laughed, a low, frightening sound, but Donghae could recognize even the faintest hint of deep sadness.
“Get out,” he whispered.
Learning about someone isn’t always easy. It takes time and can be hard when the one you want to get to know isn’t always willing to help. Hae had thought he’d gotten to know Eunhyuk pretty well by that point, had felt confident in his knowledge of his companion’s positives and negatives. Eunhyuk could be rash and impulsive. He often talked himself up and boasted about achievements greatly exaggerated. He had a temper, but so did Donghae. He was often melodramatic, but so was Donghae. This okji, this Eunhyuk standing by the bed watching Ryeowook flee from him in terror despite his low caste level, Donghae did not know. Honestly, Hae was a little afraid of him.
“Who are you?” he asked, his voice sounding strange even to his own ears.
Hyuk looked over at him. “What?”
“I don’t know what that was.” Maybe it was because his voice was shaking. “But you’re going to tell me.”
“Hae,” quietly, so different from before, so kind. “I wouldn’t have hurt him.”
“You couldn’t have even if you tried. He’s far more powerful than you. Which forces me to ask again, what was that?”
Hyuk took a deep breath and sat down, pushing a hand through his hair. “Fear.”
Hyuk took his hand away from his face, tied it tight with his other. Hae could see he was trying to keep them from shaking, burying them in his lap. If anyone was afraid then, it was Hyuk. But afraid of what? Tenderly, because it was Eunhyuk and Donghae couldn’t be cold to him, especially not when he seemed so vulnerable, he sat down on the bed next to him.
“If I tell you,” Hyuk started. “You’ll hate me even more than you do right now.”
“I won’t hate you.” Donghae placed a hand on Hyuk’s thigh, reassuring him of what he knew was the truth. He couldn’t hate Hyuk. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t.
“The Pekas Geldina are the Ipsuren’s worst nightmare. They’re a gang notorious for their brutality and violence towards humans and each other. During the Senbelzhan, they committed the most despicable acts, ones that were remembered by humans and Ipsuren alike. These days, all you have to do is mention Pekas Geldina and most Ipsuren will run fast in the opposite direction. It’s the most effective way to scare the living shit out of someone, that’s for sure.”
Donghae swallowed, his grip on Hyuk’s thigh tightening. All those stories he’d heard as a human, the ones that had kept him and his brother awake and wide-eyed at night, had some merit after all.
“Anyway,” Hyuk was still talking. “I had the acute misfortune as a young human pup to fall directly into the hands of their leader. I don’t know why they didn’t kill me, but I guess I was lucky in that one respect. I was with them for a year before they shipped me and one other to their sister gang, the Eislinn, which is considerably less brutal but still suffers a pretty bad reputation.”
The realization that someone Donghae cared so much for, trusted so much, had at one point committed terrible crimes, done things beyond forgiveness, was poison in Hae’s heart. Even worse was the knowledge that Hae didn’t care. Who Hyuk had been, whatever he had done in his past, he had saved Hae. He’d treated him kindly, been a best friend, a teacher, a partner. Those were the things that mattered. Bringing a hand to Hyuk’s face, Hae forced their eyes to meet. In the black centers of his friend’s eyes, there was no anger, no malice, no hatred. Hae saw only deep affection and fear. Fear of rejection, fear that he’d be left alone with the demons that plagued him. The demons of his past.
“Eunhyuk I forgive you,” Hae told him.
“If you could forgive a thing like Ryeowook I would hope you could forgive me.”
“Don’t push it, what you did to him was wrong.” Hae went to pull away, but Hyuk caught him, bringing them close together on the edge of the bed.
“I know it was,” his words were sincere, spoken against the line of Hae’s jaw. “I didn’t like what happened between you two, that’s all. I hated that he touched you like that. That he hurt you.”
Hae’s fingers touched Hyuk’s chin, gently tracing his jawline, pulling their lips together in sweet contact. For just a moment, where the only sound was that of their lips connecting again and again, they surrendered to each other and the emotions between them. All too soon it was over, Hae pulling away to brush the tips of their noses, Hyuk’s breath coming short and fast.
“We can’t be selfish with each other,” Hae whispered.
“It’s not like that.” He pushed his face into Donghae’s hair, inhaled his scent and making him shiver. “I promise it’s not.”
“I believe you.”
Again and again, he said it, convincing himself it was true.
His ascension ceremony took place in a tall, marble building near the center of their city. Yesung explained that at one point it had been a human museum proven to be indestructible, constructed entirely out of stone masonry. Its roof was domed and held up in part by thick, smooth pillars. Every footstep, every sniffle, every whispered word, reverberated throughout the building. The museum’s insides were completely gutted, any exhibits that had once been held there had been looted decades ago when the city was first taken. Once an example of humanity’s growth and strength, now it was just an empty shell.
Once again, as with all of the Ipsuren ceremonies it seemed, Donghae was decorated lavishly with paint and gems. They passed around pipes and spices and little dried flowers that you placed in the pockets of your cheeks. By the time the ceremony was halfway through Hae was seeing through kaleidoscope eyes. Colors and what seemed like tangible beams of light, at least until he tried to touch them and his fingers went right through. Prokji he didn’t know were kissing him, all open-mouthed with wet, eager tongues. Hands were moving over his face and neck, smearing his makeup in long streaks of yellow and blue and purple. But, eventually, he was pulled away from their hungry mouths and wandering touches, placed upon an altar where they touched him with scented oils and rubbed crushed petals onto his forehead and the backs of his hands. Words were said, poetic lines that Donghae had been told to memorize and recite.
Mostly, the whole thing passed for a hallucinated blur. It might have even been a dream, if Hae hadn’t woken up the next morning aware that he’d progressed in caste. He didn’t feel more powerful, per se. Rather, he just knew something was different. That something had changed within him. He could see farther with his mind’s eye, could see past mere thought process and dialogue to layers and layers of deep emotion and, hiding within that emotion, the small, locked box of secrets everyone keeps hidden away.
And so, they were making to depart. They hadn’t really discussed where they were going next, so Yesung suggested they take one of the Lifts on the left side of the city, where they’d be more likely to pass unharassed. Yesung had seemed eager for them to leave after the incident between Hyuk and Ryeowook. While not exactly rushing them on directly, he wasted no time in giving them gifts for the road and directions to the west exit of the outpost. It was as they were finishing gathering the last of their things, alone by the door, that they heard a strange voice coming from Yesung’s study. While not particularly malicious, it was a harsh sound, one that set Donghae’s teeth on edge. Eunhyuk, curious and nosy, moved closer to the study door, left slightly ajar.
“Hyuk, we shouldn’t,” Hae was saying. “He’ll know we’re out here, he’ll now we’re listening.”
Hyuk, for his part, wasn’t showing any interest in leaving. Eagerly, he motioned for Donghae to join him in his mischievous snooping. Hae approached with the intention of pulling his friend away, eyeing the crack in the door as if it was the gateway to eternal damnation.
“Let’s just go,” he whispered.
“No, you need to see this.”
Just like that, Hae was stuck. Reluctantly, he gave in and allowed himself to eavesdrop on Yesung’s private conversation, nervously chewing the cuticle on his left thumb. The longer he stood by that door, however, and the more he heard, the more interested he became in the conversation taking place in that study. For one thing, the okji standing on Yesung’s expensively dyed carpet was hardly of any caste at all, barely even progressed through Kabai. He was slightly overweight, with a soft, doughy face and hands that rubbed together as if trying to spark flames of confidence.
“Are you sure you’ll take care of it?” The small, defenseless thing was saying.
Yesung was standing tall, arms crossed tight and a look on his face of pure disgust. Despite this, he sighed deeply.
“Yes. If you have the payment.”
Shaking, Yesung’s guest nodded his head with such fervor Hae was afraid it would fly right off. “Yes, yes I have it, I have it.”
“You’ll bring it to the museum tonight, then?”
“I’ll bring it, I won’t be late, I’ll be there just on time like you said! Just please, please make the pain stop.”
Yesung scowled, his face showing intense concentration as he lifted the begging okji’s shirt up, revealing a festering welt leaking black ooze. Hyuk’s surprised gasp was muffled by his palm and Hae felt sick. It was not a wound created by physical combat, that much was obvious. Yesung was tending it with his small hands, his icy touch causing his breath to fog before his lips.
“Just make sure you bring the child.”
Child? What child?
“Let’s go,” Hyuk’s hand was on his arm, pulling Hae away. “I’ve seen enough.”
It wasn’t until they were outside that they finally found the courage and stomach to discuss what, exactly, it was they’d seen and overheard.
“That guy,” Hyuk kicked the ground, uneased. “I can’t believe it! All this time!”
“I knew he was into the dark arts, but...”
“That wasn’t just black practice, Hae.” Hyuk sounded so unsure, so cautious. “They were talking about murder.”
“What was that wound? It was created by evil, wasn’t it? When I saw it, I felt as if I was being choked by something beyond my ability, something dark and sick and dangerous.”
“That,” Hyuk pointed to the house. “That was why the dark arts are forbidden. Why it’s so important to stick to the path. That is what happens when you stand on the dark side of light.”
Donghae wanted to leave, more than anything, he wanted to run away from that outpost, from the Cronian, from these people he’d studied with for two weeks, and never look back. Suddenly, the entire outpost was staring at him. It felt as if every tent had eyes, every window looked straight into his soul and knew what he’d seen, what he’d overheard. Scared, he clutched Hyuk’s arm.
“Let’s leave,” he begged. “Please, let’s leave now. Let’s just go, okay?”
But Hyuk’s face was a mask of stone, still and unkind. Warily, Hae released him.
“We have to follow him,” Hyuk said.
“We have to go to the museum tonight, see what they’re really doing.”
Dread crawled into Hae’s mouth and slid down his throat to nestle into the pit of his stomach. “No. No, no, no.”
“Yes, Hae, we have to go! It’s our moral obligation now that we’ve heard this conversation to go see what they’re going to do.”
As loathe as he was to admit it, Donghae knew there was no talking Hyuk out of something once he got that fierce, determined spark in his eyes. And it was there, glimmering as sure as the stars Hae had read about, it shone. The cause was lost. That night, they would follow Yesung to his secret meeting.
They left town as they said they would. By the time Yesung emerged from his consultation, Hae and Hyuk were already gone. They camped out on the outskirts of the west exit of town, bumming their time away until nightfall. Then, when the overhead flourescents shut off, they snuck back into the Cronian outpost. The museum was a lot less inviting in the dark, the overhead frescoes watching them with judging eyes as they glided along the marble floor, as silent as possible. The wide, open spaces made Hae indescribably nervous, even though he knew that if anyone had been approaching them or skulking about the shadows, he’d know. Which only put him further in doubt that they’d make it through this undetected. Yesung was Tinrian, the same as Jessica, there was no way he wouldn’t be able to sense their approach. He’d know they were there, probably already knew that they’d listened in on his earlier meeting.
But, Eunhyuk could not be deterred. They crept continuously, glancing this way and that, behind them and to the sides, checking to see if they were being followed as they peeked in door to door. When at last they heard voices, they were coming from a small auditorium. Crouching low in the back was risky business, so they followed steps to one of the side boxes, where they could stay at a distance behind thick red curtains. From there, they saw everything.
They saw Yesung in black leather; on his right side was Ryeowook in dark mesh, on his left cowered the pudgy Khalasi from before. A few more prokji, hooded and cloaked, their faces completely unrecognizable in the candlelight, stood misplaced around the stage. In the center, chalked onto the floor, was a large diagram. It was patterned mostly with symbols that Hae had never seen before, but hidden amongst them were some that he had. Constellations, dotted and traced. Orion, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, they smiled at Hae like familiar acquaintances, swimming in a sea of strangers. Next to him, he tried to find Hyuk’s hand and once he did, he grasped it tight. Neither one of them dared to speak, their throats clogged with fear and apprehension. As Yesung began to chant, passing around a goblet filled with a black-red liquid, it became more apparent that they should not have come.
Horrified, they watched with sick fascination as the prokji painted their skin with what was now, obviously, blood. As the ritual continued, Hae grew increasingly uncomfortable. Itching in the back of his mind was a fear for the future, an intense worry for what was about to come. Eunhyuk gagged as Yesung swallowed the last dregs of whatever blood was left over in the bottom of the goblet. Hae tried to swallow around his terror, a tangible thing in his throat. Yesung snapped his fingers, the crack echoing throughout the room. Time slowed as the back doors opened and two masked prokji began to walk down the center aisle, dragging a writhing, naked thing between them. Judging by its size in comparison to the two Ipsuren on either side, it was apparent that this was a human. His legs were beyond broken, shattered past repair and bouncing against the floor with every step. Even though he must have been in agony, the human did not cry out. He did not moan or whimper. It was as if he had numbed himself to the pain, or the terror had pushed him past the point of consciousness.
Donghae watched, horrified, as they threw him in a heap of bloodied flesh, a living, breathing bag of blood and bones, onto the diagram. His blood smeared the drawing of Orion. Just barely, he was shaking, enough movement to prove that he was, indeed alive, even if he looked no more than a corpse. Yesung gestured and the Khalasi scrambled to the defeated boy, rolled him onto its back so the candlelight could play over his face.
And Donghae realized, with a crushing blow of unfiltered, uncontrolled emotion, that he recognized that face. Hyuk looked at him, his eyes wide and shining, for he recognized him, too. That was all it took, that single look, confirming that Hae’s eyes weren’t deceiving him, that he wasn’t hallucinating, that it really was his brother lying naked and half-dead on that stage, surrounded by evil. With that understanding came acceptance and then an inability to feel. He felt nothing. Not anger. Not hatred. Not fear. Not concern. He didn’t feel his heartbeat, pounding in his chest. He didn’t feel his breath, pumping through his lungs. He didn’t feel Hyuk’s hand closing around his wrist, or the way it felt as he ripped it away. He heard nothing. Not Hyuk telling him to stop, saying, “He’ll kill you! He’ll kill you, Hae!”
All he could do was see. See his brother’s eyes, losing light, staring ahead at nothing. The suction when he transwalked down to that stage was so powerful it threatened to pull the curtains from their posts, dust clouding around them as they shuddered with the force of air. The room was all white light, a swirling vortex of brightness and in the center was his brother, seeing him for perhaps the first time but not recognizing, not knowing. Someone must have charged him, but he didn’t feel it, not even as he grabbed them by the arm and pushed with his spirit energy, channeling all that white light from his shoulder down the tunnel of his arm until he was crushing the okji’s bones and muscle in his palm.
Yesung was there, his eyes black beneath his fringe, his smile wide and his teeth jagged edges in his mouth.
“I’m taking my brother,” Hae told him, his voice sounding distant, far away, an echo in a room down the hall, not sounding at all close enough to have come directly from him.
“I will kill you, Donghae,” Yesung hissed, snake like. “He belongs to me now.”
Heat, burning inside him. It gathered in the pit of his stomach, turning like a cauldron of molten lava, melting his insides. Acidic, it crawled up his throat, causing his saliva to boil in his mouth. Yesung’s eyes were on fire, pupils scorching flames. Hae realized as his temperature rose and he began to sweat, he was being burned from the inside. Later, he would look back at the moment he realized this and wonder why he wasn’t afraid. Surely, if you learn that your internal organs are turning to coal inside you you’d be terrified, but Hae wasn’t. Instead, it focused him. With his right hand, he reached out, his palm flat and his fingers spread wide until they pulled taught with tension. Still and tight, he stood. His eyes closed, he felt the flames growing inside him, burning. He allowed himself to feel that burn, allowed himself to hate it, to wish that he’d never come here, that he’d never eavesdropped on Yesung’s conversation in his study. Then, he locked it away. In that small, locked box of secrets everyone keeps hidden away, Donghae put all those fears, all that pain, all that doubt. When he opened his eyes, they were full of white.
With his mind, he searched for Yesung’s. Even if the other was of higher caste, even if he was far more powerful, Hae could grasp just a tiny portion of his mind. That was enough. The wave that rolled through him when he made that connection was enough to shatter every bone in Yesung’s body. He felt it surge through him, felt the ground shake beneath his feet. The atmosphere pulsed. A moment of silence gripped him, stagnant, air still as death. Then he let go.
Yesung was on the floor, clawing at his eyes. Ryeowook was crouched, pulling at him and staring, tears leaking from wide eyes. On his left, Eunhyuk was calling his name.
“Hae! I have him! I have your brother, let’s go!”
Hae watched as Yesung bled, his legs broken and tangled on the floor.
“He’ll live,” Donghae told Ryeowook. “He’ll even be able to walk, if you can heal him in time. But he’ll never see again.”
He turned and found Hyuk, standing in the back of the auditorium, Donghwa cradled in his arms. Their eyes met from opposite ends of the aisle. For a moment, Hae just wanted to experience the distance between them, all the footsteps from Hae to Hyuk, waiting to be taken. Then, towards him, Hae ran.
Cracked lips, spilling blood. Fountaining down his chin, it was dark and black against his skin. Hae’s tears were falling against his brother’s cheeks, running down to mix with the rivers of blood. On his back, Hyuk’s hand rested, rubbing in soothing circles, but Hae felt none of it. Later, he would take the time to feel his own pain, the pain of his charred insides, the heavy blanket of exhaustion. But then, tucked in an abandoned gas station half a mile outside the Cronian outpost, Hae felt only Donghwa’s broken body in his arms, crumbled and limp. His brother’s eyes were looking at him, but it was unclear if they were seeing anything at all.
“It’s me, Donghae.” His voice cracked, his lips pulled apart in silent cries.
Donghwa’s mouth opened, red and wet. “Dong...hae.”
Hae’s hand flexed where it clutched his brother’s shoulder. “I’m here.”
“I...went...” blood bubbling from the corners of his lips, his words a gurgling jumble “...looking for...you.”
“I’m here, I’m here now, it’s okay.” Even though it wasn’t.
“I’m...sorry that...I wasn’t a...”
Shushing sounds, Hae rocking him back and forth. “Stop, stop, it’s not true, it’s not.”
Silence. A breath of time, passing slowly. Hae opened his mouth to scream but couldn’t find the sound. Hyuk was standing, wiping his eyes with the back of his wrist. Donghae’s chest shuddered. He tried to find the key to unlock all of those things he’d tucked away, all of those emotions, all of those fears. No matter how hard he searched or how hard he tried, he couldn’t find it. Digging through the depths of his heart, it was lost to him.
“My brother is dead,” he whispered.
Eunhyuk turned, but Hae couldn’t see. His shoulders were slumping, his arms falling to his side, allowing Donghwa’s lifeless body to slump against the tile, red with blood. His body felt heavy, his mind an aching, burning mess. Before he collapsed, he managed to send out one last thought, a haunted name in his mind.
A/N: haters to the left.
also, i'm really fucking tired so i'm going to take a nap and then i will come back and update all the wonderful site stuff we have for this week! There's glossary stuff too, but they're all things that were explained in this chapter so i think it can wait a few hours for when i've regained my depth perception.
seriously i'm so tired.