His hands were shaking as he followed the officers in front of him, barely concealing it by bringing his overly-long sleeves over his fists. It was warm outside, the sun blessing humanity with a shiny summer day, but somehow, Chanyeol was freezing inside of X-EXO Asylum.
The plain, grey painted walls around him seemed to suffocate him. The echoing footsteps making the corridor seem lonely. The occasional shrieks and mad laughs of the locked up inmates breaking the uncomfortable silence.
Everything about this place screamed at him to get away, to run as far away as possible from this building, but he found himself unable to. His body had become rooted to the place the moment he had stepped inside the psychiatric hospital-prison.
Chanyeol wished he could play with his guitar-shaped keychain, fiddle with it until his racing heart calmed down enough to let him breathe. One of the police officers that were surrounding him in a tight circle had taken it away from him, along with his phone and wallet and any other item that could be used as a potential weapon.
He knew that the many officers were only invading his private space to protect him, since the X-EXO Asylum was a highly dangerous place. The ones deemed “criminally insane”, who had committed crimes beyond reason, were at home here. Although security was tight, there was always something that could go wrong. The death rate of employees of X-EXO Asylum was as high as it could get.
Chanyeol shuddered at the thought, disgusted by everything around him, but there was also a melancholic heaviness eating at him from the inside. How could he end up here? This place was too dark, too frightening for him to survive. Against all reason, Chanyeol cared about his wellbeing. He knew him best, after all.
“Stop it,” Chanyeol chided himself quietly, boring his fingernails into his palms. He had never been able to stop worry about him, even after all these years.
Chanyeol nearly jumped in surprise as the police officers and staff members suddenly stopped walking, having reached the assigned room. The one at the very front, who seemed to be the one in charge, nodded at his colleagues and watched them walk away. It was only him, Chanyeol, five other officers and two of the X-EXO Asylum staff now.
“We really appreciate you doing this, Mr. Park,” the chief deputy began to speak with a formal tone, “We wouldn’t have asked you to come if there had been another way, trust me on this. You are our last resort.”
Chanyeol cleared his throat and looked down, nodding his head quickly. He didn’t know what to say.
“Before you go in, we need to instruct you about a few things. Please listen closely,” a nurse explained to him.
He nodded once more, flinching when, all of a sudden, an inmate rounded the corner and passed them. The man was smiling as he ran, his eyes glassy and dead. A few nurses and policemen were frantically running behind him, one of them sporting a black eye, as they tried to catch him again.
Chanyeol exhaled shakily, surprised at the lack of reaction of the officers that had been escorting him. Was that a common situation?
“At all times, my men are ready to barge in and get you out of there. The ring we gave you has a hidden button inside the gem, just press it for five seconds and it’ll give us a signal. If he assaults you or causes you any harm, use this. But you can also do this at any time you wish to do so, understood?”
Looking down at the cheap looking silver ring around his forefinger, Chanyeol lightly swiped over the fake diamond on top. He had wondered why they gave it to him, but had been too intimidated to ask. Now he knew.
However, Chanyeol couldn’t help but be confused. “Uh, forgive me if I may sound ridiculous, but… why would I need this?”
The men exchanged a few doubting glances. The one in charge merely raised his eyebrow in disbelief. “What do you mean, Mr. Park?”
Shaking his head, Chanyeol was still staring at the diamond ring, nearly breaking it in half with how hard he was squeezing the silver band.
Carefully, he tried to come up with the right words, “He… I know him. Jongin would not… He would never harm me.” Both of them.
The officers kept suspiciously silent after he had spoken, causing him to finally look up. He was surprised to see that they looked very, very uncomfortable.
“Mr. Park, I think you are misunderstanding… Mr. Jongin Kim is not the one you are going to converse with.”
“Guys, this is your new classmate, Jongin. Everyone, say hi to him!”
The teacher nodded her head in satisfaction as her students obeyed her words, patting the trembling boy beside her on the back to encourage him. She gave him a few more words of advice, but the boy, Jongin, didn’t look like he was listening. He was too busy staring at the students in front of him with wide, frightened eyes.
She pointed him towards an empty seat at the back of the room and Jongin followed her words, taking tentative steps while not daring to look up.
“I heard he skipped a few grades because he’s so smart.”
“Doesn’t look smart to me.”
“Someone told me that he moved a lot, he never stays in one school for more than three months.”
“How old is he? Twelve?”
“No, I’m thirteen,” Jongin wanted to say, but was too shy.
He took a seat beside a boy without looking at him, choosing to instead bring out his pencil case and spiral-bound notebook from his school bag. Picking up a pen, he played with it to keep himself from running out of the classroom.
The teacher started her lesson. It was math. Jongin was good at math.
Soon, Jongin found out that he was capable of solving all of the mathematical problems written on the chalkboard, while his older classmates were obviously struggling.
Noticing this, Jongin couldn’t help but hope miserably. Maybe he could talk to his parents, maybe they would allow him to skip another class, go to a nicer one, where he didn’t feel like crying. He already hated this place so much, he just wanted to leave.
“Can you help me with this?” asked the boy beside him.
Jongin wasn’t brave enough to ignore him, fearing that he was going to get bullied if he dared, so, reluctantly, he turned towards his seatmate.
The boy was smiling while looking awfully pitiful. He had round eyes and big ears. And he wore a paper crown on top of his head.
Realizing that Jongin was looking at it, the boy adjusted the paper crown and beamed at him. “It’s my birthday today!”
Bizarrely, Jongin felt flustered at the bright smile of his seatmate, and the only thing he could blurt out with a quiet voice was “Happy birthday.”
The boy seemed to be happy to hear this, ignoring the odd looks the other students gave him for talking to the new kid.
“Thanks,” he replied cheerily, “What do you say, you help me with math, and I’ll give you a piece of my birthday cake?”
Hastily, like he was afraid Jongin was going to change his mind, he pulled out a small cake from his own schoolbag. It looked colorful and really, really tasty. Jongin wanted a piece.
Eagerly, he nodded. “Okay.”
“Great! Thanks. What’s your name? I’m Chanyeol. Let’s be friends, okay?”
Maybe, and really, just a teeny tiny maybe, Jongin didn’t need to skip another grade.
Breathless, Chanyeol stammered. “W-What? What do you meant Jongin won’t be the one I…?”
The chief deputy sighed deeply, like he thought Chanyeol was stupid. “If we were able to talk to Mr. Kim, we wouldn’t have found it necessary for you to come, Mr. Park.”
“Why can’t I talk to him?” he demanded to know, sick to the stomach.
Looking once more uncomfortable and exasperated, the chief deputy clarified, “We believe that he is keeping Jongin suppressed.”
“Slow down,” Jongin nagged at him as he stuffed his face with ice cream, waiting for the moment Chanyeol was going to fall and hurt himself.
And he didn’t need to wait for long. While he himself was lazily swaying on the swing, Chanyeol had made it his goal to make a loop on his swing. With his ice cream in hand.
Just like he had predicted, Chanyeol fell of and hurt his knee as he crashed to the ground. He cried as he cradled his bleeding knee, staring at the sand inside the wound helplessly.
Sighing, Jongin stood up and walked over to his friend, squatting down and examining his injury with a frown.
“Jonginnie,” Chanyeol wailed, “It hurts.”
Grabbing his thigh with his unoccupied hand, Jongin softly blew on the wound. Chanyeol shivered, but Jongin kept going until almost all of the sand was gone.
The children playing inside the playhouse or at the slides ignored the crying teenager, laughing cheerfully. Jongin didn’t hear them, too focused on Chanyeol’s sniffling sounds.
“You’re such a stupid crybaby,” he grunted as he saw the tears and snot on Chanyeol’s face.
Lifting his hand, he used his sleeve to wipe it all away gently. Chanyeol leaned into the touch, looking at him like a kicked puppy with his big eyes.
“I lost my ice cream,” he complained, referring to the now sandy treat next to him.
Without another word, Jongin gave his own to him. Chanyeol gobbled it up with a big smile, leaving a sticky kiss on Jongin’s cheek.
Jongin’s ears burned red.
Earlier, Chanyeol had felt a certain graveness about his current situation.
But now, hearing the officers tell complete and utter nonsense, Chanyeol was doubtful.
“That’s not possible,” he told them with a firm voice, “He’d never suppress Jongin forcefully.”
Anger flashed across the chief deputy’s face, keeping the boiling emotion down while gritting his face. “Excuse me, Mr. Park, but Mr. Kim has been locked up in here for over six months now. We’ve been keeping a close eye on him, and we can confirm that Jongin has not appeared even once during that time. Not during questionings, not in his free time, hell, even when we woke him up in the middle of the night. He’s been actively repressing Jongin from interacting with us.”
Chanyeol opened his mouth, sharp words on his tongue, but he reminded himself to be the smarter one between the two of them. Closing it again, he refrained from commenting any further.
“He must have had his reasons,” he thought confidently.
No one knew him as well as Chanyeol.
“How could you forget that?!” Chanyeol yelled at him, “I waited for you for hours!”
Jongin was rubbing Chanyeol’s cold hands with his own, a guilty expression on his face. “I’m sorry… you know just how forgetful I am…”
“Then you need write down notes, or, or, or… set yourself a reminder, I don’t know!” he shouted, his voice cracking.
“I am sorry,” he kept repeating.
Truth to be told, Chanyeol normally didn’t act this way. He was just so embarrassed right now.
He was never mad at Jongin, never yelled at him. Whenever Jongin forgot about a meet up they had agreed on, arriving late or even never at all, Chanyeol understood.
He’d just slap Jongin’s arm playfully, smile and say “It’s okay.”
It was different, this time. This hadn’t been another sleepover, or a plan to watch a movie together, or to just hang out somewhere and talk.
This had been a date.
Only god knew how long it took the two of them to get to this point. After years of Jongin dating almost every girl and boy he happened to lay his eyes on, of Jongin having visions of someone else when he kissed them all, of ignoring the way his heart seemed to be riding a roller coaster inside his chest whenever his best friend simply looked at him.
After years of heartache for Chanyeol, of Chanyeol crying his heart out into his pillow at night, of secretly imagining the hands of his best friend caressing him when he was touching himself.
After years of denial and pining, the two had finally found their way to each other. It hadn’t been easy at all. Sometimes, there were still awkward moments of doubt and unsureness between them. But they were working through that. Together.
They had agreed on catching dinner at this one diner they were always going to. It wasn’t anything special, the diner being their usual meeting spot, but it was the first time the two had wanted to meet up as something more than friends.
Chanyeol had spent hours getting ready, only to find himself in the first outfit he had started with. Yoora had laughed at him and his pink cheeks as she styled his crazy brown hair, helping him with stealing his father’s super expensive cologne. She had driven him to the diner, explaining that Chanyeol was going to arrive there looking like a sweating mess if he walked.
Standing in front of the decorated in a Christmas themed diner and five seconds away from a heart attack, Chanyeol had waited for an hour. And another one. And another one. And another one.
When snow had gathered on his shoulders and head and his lips had turned blue, Chanyeol’s freezing body had turned around to leave. Feeling empty, he had finally decided to accept the fact that Jongin had stood him up. But then, the desperate cries of his name from a familiar voice had reached his ears.
Eyes prickling with tears, Chanyeol had walked away. Jongin had been chasing after him, panting heavily in his haste to catch up. He kept yelling Chanyeol’s name, but Chanyeol was too hurt to listen.
When they passed the old playground they used to play at, Jongin was close enough to grab Chanyeol’s arm and whirl him around. Chanyeol ripped his arm away from him, like his touch had physically hurt him. Jongin saw the tears swimming in his eyes and had the need to cry with him.
And that’s how the two of them had ended up in this situation.
“Please, Chanyeol, I’m so sorry,” Jongin whispered, still trying to bring some warmth back into Chanyeol’s hands by rubbing them.
Chanyeol wanted to pull away, but found himself unable to. “I thought you… changed your mind…”
“No!” Jongin cried out, so loud and so unlike him. He sounded like he was scared.
Closing his eyes, he could tell that Jongin was trying to stop himself from crying. With nothing else to say, he could only listen to him speak.
“You don’t know how much I hate myself for forgetting so much. How I screw up so much and how I feel so guilty whenever I hurt someone. E-Especially you, Chanyeollie. I… I like you so much… and I could never… we would never do this you… I am so sorry…”
Silent, Chanyeol watched Jongin cry, watched the way the Christmas lights hung up on the streets made him seem even more beautiful than he usually was, how the snowflakes stuck to his black hair like shining crystals, how his old, beloved pajama shirt had one too many holes.
Chanyeol frowned as he took note of Jongin’s questionable choice of attire. He was only wearing his thin pajama outfit, no coat or scarf. He gasped when he saw that Jongin wasn’t even wearing shoes! He was barefoot!
Immediately, Chanyeol pried his hands away from Jongin and took off his coat. Jongin whimpered as he did, but quieted down in awe when he felt Chanyeol draping his coat over his shoulders.
Gripping his small waist, Chanyeol lifted a squeaking Jongin up and put him on top of his boots.
Standing on Chanyeol’s feet while being tightly embraced by him, Jongin felt Chanyeol’s breath on his face by how close they were. The tips of their red noses touched.
“Why didn’t you dress properly?” Chanyeol asked him, his voice cracking again.
Jongin couldn’t look away, a dozen snowflakes on his cheeks, “When I remembered, I just ran out of the house to come to you. So I… forgot…”
Chuckling miserably, Chanyeol caved in.
He put his mouth to Jongin’s temple, to his forehead, to his nose. “What am I going to do with you…”
Smiling weakly, Jongin’s eyes fell shut as he was kissed very, very slowly.
“We promised him to not let a microphone record your conversation. We can see everything that’s happening through a camera, but we cannot hear you. Thereby, it is important for you to send us the signal if you need us, as we won’t be able to hear you crying out for help.”
Chanyeol nodded, already having received all instructions and taken them to heart. He guessed that they really wanted to make sure that he remembered everything; that he was safe. After all, he did seem confused, horrified, even, as he stood there in front of them.
However, every officer misunderstood Chanyeol.
It was true that Chanyeol was terrified. But not from the person waiting for him inside of that room. He could never be in danger when he was with him.
He was scared of this place. He was scared of this meeting and what it was going to make him remember, what little peace he had built for himself over the years was going to be destroyed. How seeing him in the flesh, hearing his voice, talking to him might make him feel.
That was what Chanyeol was afraid of.
“We didn’t tell him who was coming to see him,” an X-EXO Asylum staff member explained as he handed a bunch of massive keys over to the police officers. They stepped to the heavy looking door, starting to unlock the dozen locks on it.
The other staff member piped up, “Knowing how clever he is, he might have guessed. Maybe he is still clueless, who knows. We’re going to step with you inside the room first, assess his reaction, and when we deem it safe, we’ll leave you alone with him.”
Disorientated and disturbed by how long it took them to unlock the gigantic door, Chanyeol couldn’t help but ask, “Earlier, what did you mean by promising him not record us?”
The chief deputy shook his head in agitation as his men stepped aside, revealing the now bare metal door. “We can never get him to agree to talking. He just messes around or plays mind games with us. Sometimes he attacks one of the staff members when we try to force him. It’s easier to negotiate with him.”
Once more, Chanyeol didn’t know what to say. He nodded for the umpteenth time.
“We have to rely on your recollection abilities, Mr. Park. Try to remember as much as you can. Take note of what he says and how he reacts to questions, look out for small details like body language. We’re depending on you,” Gripping the door handle tightly, the deputy gave Chanyeol one last way out, “Are you ready, Mr. Park?”
“Chanyeol, stop making so much fucking noise!” Jongin yelled, throwing a pack of notepads into his direction.
Chanyeol ducked quickly, barely avoiding the object that was about to hit him square in the face. He laughed at the other’s rage, casually blowing him a kiss before going back to his PlayStation.
He continued playing with maximum volume, shooting down a few enemies and screaming when he got killed.
“Just because you’re already finished with exams, doesn’t mean others are as well, you dumbass,” Jongin raged, getting completely ignored by his boyfriend.
College wasn’t like they had imagined it would be, but they made it work. Besides, being roommates was wonderful and made everything just a tad bit more bearable. They always preached how, as long as they were together, everything was going to be just fine.
When Chanyeol still ignored him and his complaints in favor of continuing his game, Jongin was fed up for good. Putting down his notes, he raced over like a tornado and stood in front Chanyeol.
With his view blocked, Chanyeol yelled some more while performing impressive, acrobatic poses, turning and twisting his body to see the TV.
“Babe, please, I have to finish this,” he said absentmindedly, still not looking at Jongin as he played.
“And I have to finish studying,” Jongin replied coldly, “Turn it down.”
His boyfriend just ignored him.
Jongin’s face contorted into a hateful grimace. Somewhere deep down, Jongin knew that Chanyeol was only messing with him. That he wasn’t being serious and just wanted to tease him until he was whining cutely and cuddling him.
He didn’t feel like whining, though.
He felt like punching something.
Suddenly, Chanyeol’s controller was taken away from him forcefully. He was about to protest, but proceeded to be shocked into silence as Jongin moved. Jongin threw the controller towards the wall with force, watching it break into two pieces and leaving behind a hole in the wall.
He was breathing heavily, almost hyperventilating as he stared at the damaged controller on the ground. His fists were shaking.
Chanyeol was speechless. Never had he ever seen the other act so… aggressively.
“Jongin…?” he asked tentatively as he found his voice again, standing up from the couch.
Jongin didn’t react.
Like he was approaching a wild animal, Chanyeol moved closer very slowly, until he was near enough to feel the heat radiating off of his boyfriend. Gently grabbing his hand, Chanyeol flinched when Jongin slapped it away and took a few steps back.
Gasping, Chanyeol cradled his hand carefully. The slap itself hadn’t hurt, it was the gesture and motive behind it that pained him.
Jongin seemed to snap out of it and became shocked too, with the way his eyes were flickering from his own hand to Chanyeol’s, from his face to the ground.
“C-Chanyeol…” he whispered and nearly tripped in his haste to come over.
Chanyeol let Jongin take his hand, let him rain tiny kisses and caresses on it, let him mumble a thousand apologizes into his skin.
“He… We’re so sorry,” he whispered over and over again, close to tears, and only calmed down when Chanyeol embraced him.
Chanyeol wasn’t mad at him. All of us did stupid things when we were in a bad mood and stressed; said things we didn’t mean and made decisions that weren’t the best choice for us. It wasn’t a big deal.
“It’s okay,” Chanyeol replied, and he meant it.
The door opened, revealing a sterile but old looking room. The walls that had once been painted in a pristine white had yellowed over the years, while the ground had become worn with cracks everywhere. Opposite of the door were multiple windows, but the view was obstructed by bars. A table stood in the middle of the room, small enough to allow private conversation, but big enough to prevent from any kind of intimacy happening.
Chanyeol saw someone sitting on one side of the table, his body relaxed as he played with the chains of the handcuffs around his wrists.
His head was titled back, causing his face to be out of Chanyeol’s view, but he had already recognized him. Just taking a look at a mere digit, at his wrists, at his jawline or his Adam’s apple was enough for Chanyeol to confirm his identity.
His heart slammed against his ribcage almost painfully as he heard a faint rushing noise in his ears, his hands becoming sweaty. The officers stepped into the room carefully, guarding Chanyeol in case something happened.
The prisoner clearly heard them coming in, yet he didn’t bother to look up and greet them.
“Mr. Kim, we have a guest for you.”
A coy smirk on his lips, he kept on ignoring his visitors in favor of fiddling with his handcuffs. Chanyeol was definitely close to fainting, feeling like a starved man as his traitorous eyes greedily took in the sight of him.
His hair that used to be silky and black had been dyed to a strange shade, a mix of teal and dark green. His plush lips were red and bitten, with some dried blood at the corner. Purple-ish, dark circles were under his eyes, making him look incredibly sick and unhealthy. But to Chanyeol, he looked as attractive as ever.
He had matured a lot over the years, by the way his biceps bulged beneath his prison uniform. His shirt had been cut messily right beneath his pecs, turning it into a crop top and revealing his prominent abs. Honestly, he looked like a goth model, not like a prisoner of a high-security prison.
The deputy chief cleared his throat, “Mr. Kim, as we agreed on, we’re going to keep the mics inside of this room off. You and Mr. Park will be left alone as long as you cooperate.”
As fast as lightning, the prisoner’s head snapped up when the words “Mr. Park” reached him.
Well, fuck. Busted. “Jongin! Hi! W-What are you doing here?”
Chanyeol was panicking. Jongin did not just catch him snooping around inside of a jewelry shop, right at the display for engagement rings. This couldn’t be happening.
Not noticing the rings just yet, Jongin smiled at him sweetly, the one Chanyeol had fallen in love with over and over again. “What I am doing here? Weren’t you the one who said you were going to your parents?”
Chanyeol was about to spit out some stupid excuse, when he noticed just what exactly Jongin had said.
“My parents? I… I told you I was going to have lunch with Baekhyun,” he explained with a nervous laugh, “I went over to my parents’ place a month ago, silly!”
Jongin’s face fell. Like a dying flower, he lost his radiance as he became shocked, confused, lost. Angered.
“A month ago…” he whispered to himself, as if he couldn’t believe it and needed to repeat the words to himself to make it real.
There was this heartbreaking look inside of his eyes that Chanyeol hated to see. A look that had been appearing more and more often recently.
Wanting to distract him and stir the topic of their conversation somewhere else, Chanyeol started to ramble, “How was your appointment with Dr. Zhang? Baekhyun told me he’s the best psychologist he knows. And Baekhyun knows a lot of people.”
Chanyeol tried to ask more questions, hoping that one of them would trigger Jongin to finally answer, to rip him out of whatever trance he was in. But nothing worked. Jongin seemed to be far, far away from him.
Worried and with the aching need to make his lover smile again, Chanyeol decided to sacrifice himself. It was for a greater cause, after all.
He “accidentally” took a step to the side, yelping loudly as if he was about to trip and fall. That seemed to do the trick as, almost by instinct, Jongin’s focus came back to him. He stretched out his hands like he was wanting to catch Chanyeol, years of living together attuning him to everything that Chanyeol was.
When his gaze landed on the display in front of him, Chanyeol had to bite his lip so he wouldn’t smile. Jongin gasped loudly, a sparkle of life and joy returning to his eyes. He pointed to the rings with his finger, jumping up and down like an excited little boy.
“What are you…?” he began breathlessly, a big smile stretching across his face as he took in the bands of gold, silver, platinum. The rings with shiny gems and the ones without, the ones with engravings. Jongin could immediately pick out a bunch he absolutely loathed, but also a few that made his eyes sparkle even more.
Pretending, Chanyeol fake-cried “Oh no!”, grabbed Jongin and proceeded to wrestle him out of the jewelry shop.
Jongin complained the whole way out, pouting at him and pleading to let him back inside the shop, demanding to let him keep looking. Chanyeol just laughed at him, skillfully ignoring the younger firing questions at him -“What were you doing in there?!”- and hugged his boyfriend.
He just told him that he was going to buy him ice cream, shuffling along the sidewalk with a hyper and vibrating Jongin in his arms. Jongin didn’t give up without a fight, asking him questions about the reason of Chanyeol’s stay with a suspiciously wobbly voice.
Chanyeol flicked his forehead to silence him, laughing at Jongin’s whining and kissed the red spot afterwards.
As they bickered all the way to the ice cream shop, the passersby could clearly hear the love that was laced within their voices.
Chanyeol’s hands were closed into fists as their gazes met, a shaky breath escaping his trembling lips. The green-haired man had a look of utter shock on his face.
In that one second before his facial expression fell back into a controlled state, he showed so many raw emotions nobody inside of X-EXO Asylum had ever seen him do. He recovered amazingly quickly, as he was back to looking disinterested yet arrogant, an odd combination that somehow worked for him.
Watching him, the officers waited for any kind of physical reaction. Two of them had positioned themselves in front of Chanyeol, in case the prisoner might jump over the table and strangle him. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
Nevertheless, he was as still as a statue. His eyes were glued to Chanyeol’s form, refusing to leave for even one second, but other than that, he didn’t do anything.
Finally, the deputy chief deemed it safe enough. “Alright, Mr. Kim. We’ll leave now.”
Turning to Chanyeol, he gave him another warning look, but Chanyeol was too busy staring at the man sitting on the chair to notice.
They left, and then it was only the both of them.
A crash woke up Chanyeol.
Startled, he reached his hand out to the other side of the bed, instinctively wanting to pull the person who’s usually occupying that spot behind himself. However, instead of warm and soft skin, he felt the cold mattress.
Chanyeol whispered to himself, “He went out again?”
Quickly picking up a shirt from the ground, he pulled it over his head while exiting their bedroom. He also grabbed his old baseball bat just in case.
It was all for naught, though. Instead of a burglar, it was just his seemingly drunk boyfriend stumbling into their place. Putting the bat back down, Chanyeol frowned at the sight of Jongin stumbling out of the kitchen, eating a bag of chips.
When he spotted Chanyeol looking at him in disapproval, he beamed at him happily, as bright as a ray of sunshine in summer.
“Chanyeollie!” he called out while dropping the chips and ran over, throwing himself into the other’s chest and clinging to him almost desperately, “I missed you sooo much!”
Chanyeol sighed, frustrated and tired, but nonetheless started to pat Jongin’s messy, black hair gently. He reeked of alcohol, causing Chanyeol to scrunch up his nose.
“Babe… what did you do? Where were you?”
Squishing his face into the crook of Chanyeol’s neck, he placed a few sweet kiss there, “Was at a bar. Nothing special, my Chanyeollie, don’t worry.”
“You drank too much.”
“I need to get him drunk, otherwise I can’t come,” he laughed bitterly.
Chanyeol halted for a second, mulling over his words. A drunk man spitting nonsense?
Ignoring his reply, Chanyeol let his boyfriend drag him over to the couch. Surprisingly, instead of planting himself on Chanyeol’s lap like he usually did, he dragged Chanyeol into his own lap. His hug became tighter as he smelled Chanyeol’s hair, kissed his skin, caressed his waist with his hands lovingly.
“Why does he act like he hasn’t seen me in forever,” Chanyeol thought, letting the other indulge himself in touching him.
But as he caught a whiff of cigarette smoke, Chanyeol stopped playing along. He pushed his boyfriend’s face away and looked at him sternly. He whined dramatically in response, like he was going to die if he didn’t get to kiss Chanyeol, but the older was adamant.
It was weird enough that the other suddenly started to drink, but him smelling of cigarettes now? When he had always expressed how much he disliked smoking...
“Jongin, did you smoke?” he asked with a disappointed undertone, “I told you so many times already, I really don’t like your new friends. Look what they make you do”
Ever since the younger started hanging out with some people he refused to let Chanyeol meet, he behaved rather strangely. Going out and only returning deep into the night, not telling Chanyeol what he had been doing while he was gone.
Sometimes, and that was what scared Chanyeol the most, he even came back home with bruises on his knuckles and a high amount of money out of nowhere.
“They’re not friends, you silly Chanyeollie, just acquaintances,” he exclaimed, grinning at him and pulling Chanyeol’s shirt down his shoulder, kissing and licking the bare skin there.
Ignoring the sudden urge to ravish his lips, Chanyeol struggled out of the other’s grip and forced him to get up as well. “You’ll go to bed now, mister. And we’ll be having a talk about this tomorrow.”
“No!” he screamed suddenly, like Chanyeol had just proposed to push him off a cliff, “I don’t want to sleep! I’ll be gone if I do!”
Shaking his head, Chanyeol dragged his struggling boyfriend towards their bedroom. He tried to push Chanyeol away from him again and again, behaving like he was going out of his mind.
“Jongin!” Chanyeol called out sternly, not noticing the way the other paused as he called the name, “Jongin, stop. I’m just trying to get you to bed, Jongin, come on. Jongin!“
“Be quiet!” he interrupted the other and, like most of his strength was suddenly bleeding out of him, sagged against Chanyeol helplessly, “Stop… stop calling me that! I’m not… I’m not Jongin, I’m… I’m… oh, god… who am I?”
Freezing, Chanyeol looked down. His boyfriend was sniffling and whimpering into his shirt, like he was crying, and his hand was tightly clutching Chanyeol’s shirt. His heart squeezed painfully at the sight.
Chanyeol made sure to lie down with him in bed, cocoon themselves into blankets and warmth and cuddles, helping the other to calm down.
Later, just when he was on the brink of falling asleep as Chanyeol carded a gentle hand through his hair, he suddenly whispered, “I liked you first. Why is he with you all the time? It’s so unfair…”
“Definitely a drunk man babbling nonsense,” Chanyeol believed, but it took him a long time to fall asleep that night.
It was silent between them, their eyes speaking more than words ever could. Slowly, Chanyeol walked to the chair opposite of the prisoner and sat down, bringing his arms to the edge of the table.
When the green-haired man couldn’t seem to take it anymore, he spoke up with a hoarse voice, “How did they find you?”
Chanyeol tried to casually shrug his shoulders, but it looked stiff and uncomfortable, “They must have asked around at school… or at our university, or our old work places. I don’t know.”
A heavy sigh left his mouth, the first sign of vulnerability he showed as seemed to curl in on himself. He was biting his bottom lip in thought, and that simple gesture was so familiar to Chanyeol that he wanted to scream.
Taking a deep breath, Chanyeol gave him a sad smile, “Hello, Kai.”
When Chanyeol was alone, he went online. He searched for a while, idly browsing through many sites.
“…by memory gaps beyond what would be explained by ordinary forgetfulness…” he mumbled out loud, a strain on his voice, “…a loss of identity as related to individual distinct personality states, and loss referring to time, sense of self and consciousness… disorder… also called... split personality…”
Chanyeol cleared his search history and closed his laptop. He got ready to pick up Jongin from work.
Both men had their hands and arms set on the table, more towards the middle than their respective end.
Their hands were close, but so far from each other; sneakily extending over the surface, as if they were searching for one another, led by a magnetic pull. Their fingertips were barely brushing, but it was enough to make their hairs stand on end.
“H-How are you?” Chanyeol couldn’t help but ask, eyes nervously flitting between Kai and the table.
It was surreal. Once, they had shared their lives together, told each other everything, had been the pillar and strength for one another. And now they were inside this cell, this cold, cold room, acting like strangers.
For a very brief moment, Chanyeol got worried that Kai was not going to talk to him, as the prisoner remained silent.
The police officers had explained to him that they had been interrogating Kai for months now, yet they never managed to get him to utter a single word. Chanyeol had been surprised, when, on a Monday morning, the police had stood at his doorstep asking him to accompany them to the police station.
They explained to him that their last resort had been Chanyeol, Jongin Kim’s “ex-partner”, to find out the truth. They asked him to have a chat with Jongin to solve their case, something about the murder of some powerful crime boss and the disappearance of a drug lord. Apparently, they suspected that Kai and his gang were the ones behind it.
And it was now Chanyeol’s job to find out the details. They were thinking that Kai was more likely to let important information slip out of his mouth when confronted with a former beloved; confronted with a past where he hadn’t been doing heists on a regular basis yet.
Another possibility was that, maybe, he’d become sentimental. Maybe Kai would be overcome with memories and old emotions, weakening his mind, to let Jongin take over again. All triggered by Chanyeol’s appearance.
Honestly, Chanyeol wondered why the police was putting so much trust in him. He hadn’t had seen his ex-boyfriend for years, and while he knew that him and Jongin were always going to share a special bond, he wasn’t so sure as to why he could be such an important factor. He wasn’t certain if he was enough, if his impact on Jongin and Kai was as strong as the others believed it to be.
The burning need to see him again, even if it were just for mere moments, was enough for Chanyeol to try, though.
But… Kai wasn’t showing any reaction, just like he had feared.
His inquiry was still awkwardly hanging in the air between them. Chanyeol remembered how the officer had told him that Kai sometimes jumped people to strangle them. Maybe Chanyeol had been wrong all along and Kai was now capable to harm him. Perhaps he was planning to do so right now.
Caught off guard, Chanyeol’s heart skipped a beat when Kai finally spoke out of the blue, his voice soft, so soft that Chanyeol almost couldn’t believe it.
“You shouldn’t be here. This isn’t a place for you.”
Chanyeol let out a rather unattractive snort, hurt but amused by the other and his choice to let that be one of the first few things he said to him after years, “But it is for you?”
Kai shrugged, lazily looking outside of the window like this conversation was nothing to him. He was as still as a statue, except for his foot that was tapping the ground anxiously.
Chanyeol shook his head, “I’m not going to start lecturing you. I’m not here for that.”
“Then what are you here for?” Kai looked at him sharply, head tilted to the side, “Tell me.”
“To visit you. We haven’t talked in a while, right? Let’s catch up,” was what Chanyeol was supposed to say.
It felt wrong.
With the sound of his thumping heartbeat in his ears, Chanyeol just blurted out, “They want me to find out if you killed and abducted some… gangster-boss-drug people, I-I don’t know.”
He could tell Kai was shocked to the core, with the way his eyes widened and his bloody-red mouth dropped open.
Chanyeol was kind of also shocked at his own actions.
The police had spent hours instructing him on how to lead his conversation, how to get someone to say something unconsciously, how to interpret body language, how to carefully word questions that could potentially spark certain answers and reactions.
And here Chanyeol was, blowing it all first chance he got.
Kai started to laugh loudly. His bright, green hair bounced as his body shook, his hand hitting the table hardly as he laughed and laughed. It was a strange sound to Chanyeol’s ears, since it wasn’t a laugh Chanyeol was used to.
It wasn’t the forced laugh he let out when he was embarrassed, or the funny one when he was amused, or the gentle one when he was happy. He sounded like a maniac, like someone who truly belonged to this place.
“Fuck, they just love to blame me for everything,” Kai eventually said when he calmed down, a cynical grin on his handsome face, “Those fucking idiots.”
“So you didn’t do it?” Chanyeol followed up, a small bud of a flower of hope blooming inside his chest. “They can’t hear us, like you demanded from them. It’s okay to talk.”
“I didn’t kill the leader of the Kang gang. I could have if I had really wanted to, but no,” Kai explained easily.
Chanyeol was surprised and thrilled by Kai’s behavior.
Did the police really make a correct guess? Was Kai really going to just tell him everything? Just because it was Chanyeol talking to him?
“And that drug lord? What about him?”
Kai rolled his eyes, “That part is true. My people did take him. Asshole owes me a lot of cash.”
As Chanyeol felt a fleeting touch, he glanced down to the table. He saw that Kai had moved his hand slightly, making his fingertip touch his. Chanyeol mirrored him.
“Is he still alive?”
“I don’t know. I’ve been here for six months, I’m not sure what’s going on outside of those walls.”
Chanyeol was thrilled yet unsure of this situation. Had they really gone back to playful banter within seconds? Was it really that easy? “I find that very doubtful. Kai Kim, all locked up inside X-EXO Asylum, helpless and alone? Didn’t you once tell me you had your eyes and ears everywhere?”
Chancing another glance towards Kai, his body was heating up at the playfully conspiratorial, real smile he was gifting him with. Chanyeol’s lips curled up into a grin when Kai winked at him and nudged his fingertip against his.
It was such a brief touch, but it was enough to make electric shocks run up his spine. A sudden wish to feel Kai arose inside Chanyeol. He wanted to drag him out of that chair and pull him into his lap, examine his body to find out what else had changed, caress his face, feel his lips against his own and–
Inhaling abruptly, Chanyeol tore his eyes away from their fingers to Kai again. He got caught by the other’s intense gaze, swallowed right up by the pools of honey. Kai was looking at him as if he had similar thoughts, licking his lips almost obscenely. Chanyeol was startled.
He had forgotten just how hypnotizing the other can be. While Jongin’s gaze was soft and innocent, bringing you to your knees to worship this lovely creature, Kai’s was fierce and deep, bringing you down on your knees for completely other but just as strong reasons.
Both of them had such power over Chanyeol, both of them were capable of taking him apart piece by piece in their own, respective ways.
Even after years of being together, Chanyeol and Jongin’s sex life had never become boring.
They experimented a lot during that time, finding out what the other liked the most, where to touch to get them all riled up, what to say to make them lose control.
Chanyeol was ecstatic whenever he had sex with Jongin. Seeing him writhing beneath him was his favorite view, hearing his breathy moans and gasps his favorite melody, and leaving him wrecked and pleasured his favorite masterpiece.
Jongin always loved to rile him up. Innocently sitting on his lap and slowly starting to grind on him, taking Chanyeol’s bigger hands and guiding them over his chest, biting his earlobe and whispering his name until he lost control. He loved the feeling of getting pounded into the bed, leaving scratch marks on Chanyeol’s back and asking for ‘more, more, please’.
When they moved into their first apartment together, they were christening their new home wherever they could. Jongin was bent over any kind of surface and any place to sit one had him sucking Chanyeol off and riding him.
They loved to have sex and they constantly tried out new, exciting things, eager to spice up their already amazing love life. They had agreed to always speak about it first, though, or at least to let the other somehow know by giving them a heads up.
One day, Chanyeol had been anxiously waiting for Jongin to come home for dinner. It had been their anniversary, and Chanyeol had spent hours cooking their favorite dishes. Candles and petals of red roses had been placed on the dining table, ensuring a relaxed and romantic atmosphere.
Jongin had been very skittish and remarkably overexcited. He had kissed Chanyeol many times when he had come home, clinging to him and not letting him leave. Chanyeol had been happy to indulge his touches, especially after witnessing Jongin crying when he saw what Chanyeol had prepared for him.
“You did that… for me? All for me?” he asked multiple times, looking at the wonderful ambience like a man starved for affection.
Chanyeol had been surprised but also elated at Jongin’s reaction. There was also some confusion, since Jongin acted like Chanyeol had never done such a thing for him before when, in fact, Chanyeol liked to leave little surprises for him all the time.
The evening went well, except for the fact that Jongin had a different approach as he tried to rile Chanyeol up. Normally, he’d act coy, unleash his inner vixen to get Chanyeol to fuck him silly.
During dinner, Chanyeol was the one who blushed prettily as Jongin’s hungry eyes made him weak in the knees. It was Chanyeol who felt like prey.
That night, Jongin pressed him into their finest silk sheets and forced his fingers down his throat, making them nice and wet. Chanyeol was overwhelmed when he felt Jongin’s slicked fingers touch his most intimate place, gasping when a single finger breached his hole carefully.
“Call me Kai,” he had whispered, groaning in delight when Chanyeol immediately did as told.
It was Kai that made love to him all night, making him see stars as he marked Chanyeol’s body as his. Chanyeol hadn’t been in that position for a long, long time, and maybe that fact combined with his boyfriend’s new, dominant attitude, made it all the more delicious.
When the sun was still a few hours away from appearing, Kai changed it up one last time by pulling out of Chanyeol and preparing himself instead. Chanyeol had to watch Kai stretch his entrance while he himself wasn’t allowed to touch him. Chanyeol had whined continuously until it turned into a high pitched wail when Kai sank down on him.
Kai fucked himself on Chanyeol’s cock without giving him any kind of attention, using him and his body for Kai’s own pleasure. He slapped Chanyeol’s hands away when he tried to touch him, bouncing on him and throwing his head back when he hit the spot. Kai was greedy, hungry, letting endless pleas tumble from Chanyeol’s lips until he was satisfied enough.
“P-Please, let me, let me… please, I want to…!” Chanyeol had stammered, midway to heaven.
“So good, my love,” Kai had whispered into his ear, clenching down on him almost painfully, “Say my name, come on, say it, say my name.”
When he did, a ‘Kai’ full of devotion and desire echoing around the room, Kai let them both reach the high they so desperately craved. Kai looked blissed out as he felt Chanyeol releasing inside him, moving his hips to milk him dry, like he couldn’t get enough of it.
Afterwards, when they were all cleaned up, Kai held Chanyeol in his arms, whispering love confessions to him until they fell asleep.
It reminded Chanyeol of how different yet similar Jongin and Kai were. It reminded him of the other one inside of the prisoner’s head, the one Chanyeol hadn’t had the chance to talk with thus far.
“Kai…” he spoke up, noticing how the criminal instantly perked up like an obedient, little boy when he said his name, “Please, tell me… how is Jongin doing?”
Like a switch had been flipped, Kai’s expression instantly became guarded again. Chanyeol could literally see how Kai was closing down on him, how he turned into a jealous child that was throwing a tantrum because their sibling got more attention than them by their parents.
“Kai, please,” Chanyeol started, but got interrupted by Kai standing up and walking towards the windows.
“Jongin, Jongin, Jongin. Is that the only word you can say?” he asked darkly, raising his bound hands up in the air, “I’m so sick of it. You haven’t changed one bit.”
Chanyeol repeated his name, but Kai wasn’t willing to listen anymore. He just talked right over him, not giving him a chance to explain himself further.
This awful laugh was back, like all of this was so very funny to him, “It’s always been Jongin for you. Jongin this, Jongin that, Jongin no, Jongin yes…”
“Kai, sit back down, come on. They’re watching us right now, they could think that you’re about to attack me and pull me out,” Chanyeol pleaded, getting anxious by the way Kai was moving around. He didn’t want to leave.
“What makes you think I won’t?” Kai suddenly stopped laughing and turned around, “You don’t know what I’ve done over the years, don’t know what I am capable of. I can snap your neck right now, if I wanted to. Aren’t you scared?”
Slowly, Chanyeol shook his head, “I believe you can. You can find a couple ways to kill me in the next few seconds without me realizing. But you won’t.”
“What makes you so sure?” Kai asked him, his voice just as quiet, emotionless, “We haven’t seen each other for years. We have no connection anymore. You are just a stranger from my past.”
The words were arrows made of fire, piercing him and burning Chanyeol.
But that was all they were; words. Actions spoke louder than words.
Gulping to wet his dry throat, Chanyeol asked him loudly, “Does the name Seojun Min ring a bell?”
“So fuckin’ funnyyy,“ Chanyeol spoke with a slurred voice, “I scolded him fow drinkin’ annow I’m doin the same goddamn thing.”
He was walking down the streets of the more dangerous part of the city. The part where people got robbed or abducted in daylight and murdered by night. It was past midnight as Chanyeol strolled through, making his way home from yet another bar visit.
He knew that he should probably get away from this place, but he didn’t care. Nothing mattered to him anymore… now that they were gone.
Even after a whole year, Chanyeol still wasn’t handling the breakup well. Wherever he went, he remembered things Jongin and him did. When he heard someone laugh, he recalled the times where he tickled Jongin until he was wheezing, his screeching laughter music to his ears.
Whenever he closed his eyes, he saw Jongin standing there in their apartment, suitcases in his hands and tears on his cheek.
“We’re not good for you,” Jongin had breathed, “Goodbye, Chanyeol.”
He had left him.
Taking out his phone while dropping the bottle of whiskey, he clumsily searched for his ex’s contact information and stepped on the shards. His drunken brain happened to forget that Jongin had already changed his number.
“The number you have dialed is not in service,” a robotic voice answered him. Chanyeol hung up and called again, deciding to leave the broken whiskey bottle behind.
He knew that Jongin and Kai had become a master criminal after they went their separate ways, the king of the underworld. As the leader of an infamous gang, he had been in the news multiple times before. Robbery, murder, stealing from an important arms dealer – they had done it all.
The police were constantly searching for him, but he somehow always got away with sophisticated and wicked tricks. Chanyeol couldn’t pretend he hadn’t seen it coming.
Stumbling through the night, Chanyeol cried out either “Jongin” or “Kai” endlessly while stubbornly calling his old number multiple times. He was so engrossed in his task that he didn’t notice a hooded figure coming towards him. Accidentally, he walked right into them and dropped his phone.
“Hey,” Chanyeol complained, “Watch wher you goin’.”
“Shut the fuck up!” the man threatened, grabbing the staggering Chanyeol by his collar, “You wanna get your fucking face smashed in?”
Luckily, Chanyeol wasn’t able to recall much from what happened that night later on.
He could vaguely remember that the guy and him had been fighting, or more like a drunken Chanyeol had gotten his ass kicked by the other, until he felt a sudden, unbearable and sharp pain in his side. Falling to the ground like his bottle had, Chanyeol had cried when he felt something liquid and warm gathering beneath him. The hooded man had made a run for it.
Struggling but with a burst of adrenaline coursing through his body, Chanyeol had been able to use his damaged phone next to him. He had called an emergency number with bloodied hands before passing out. An ambulance had rushed him to the hospital.
The doctors told him that Chanyeol had been stabbed, and only survived thanks to a major emergency surgery.
Chanyeol had promised his crying sister and mother to not lay a finger on any kind of alcohol ever again, and he was certain that he was never going to return to that area of the city.
He had given the police a detailed description of his assailant, and they had promised him to actively pursue him with the help of a facial composite. Unfortunately, the police hadn’t found him.
Months passed by and life went back to normal for Chanyeol. He slowly but surely got over the breakup as best as he could, allowing himself to forget and push away and ignore.
One day, when he was on his way to work, the chilly autumn air made him go inside a coffee shop to get something warm. Chanyeol usually didn’t do that, he just happened to change his daily routine for once.
After he got himself an Americano and waited for his order to arrive, he scrolled through his social media apps languidly. There was a TV showing the news somewhere on a wall above him, the female voice fading perfectly within the buzzy background noises.
Chanyeol wasn’t interested at first, but when he had finished catching up with his friends and celebrities he followed, he just happened to look up. He saw the picture of a man appearing on the screen. His face turning ghostly pale, Chanyeol felt a sudden phantom pain piercing his side.
A pretty reporter was talking, looking solemnly into the camera, “…drug dealer Seojun Min was found dead in an alley. Several digits were cut off and multiple hand shaped bruises around his neck area were found. The police confirmed the cause of death to be the thirteen stab wounds over his body, as well as the fact that the victim had been tortured right before they died…”
Chanyeol ran out of the coffee shop without grabbing his Americano, racing aimlessly across the city until he couldn’t breathe anymore.
An unhealthy satisfaction hoarded Chanyeol’s stomach. Chanyeol felt sick with bliss, his body shuddering joyfully at the thought that he did this for him; he was so pleased, so very pleased and–
“It’s a coincidence, it’s a coincidence,” Chanyeol forced himself to say, “It’s just. A. Coincidence.”
Later at work, his coworkers kept telling him how carefree he seemed to be. They told him they hadn’t seen him looking this happy for a long time.
Gleefully and with a smile on his face, Chanyeol told them that he had received good news earlier.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Kai was a damned good liar. But Chanyeol understood him differently from others, he could see things they didn’t.
How Kai forced his hands to completely relax, like he straightened his back and lifted up his chin defiantly. Whenever he was lying to someone, he tried to intimidate the one he was talking to into fearing him and thereby believing him.
Jongin’s method was similar, although milder. Whenever he wasn’t telling the truth, he used to threaten Chanyeol – playfully – with statements like “How dare you accuse me of lying? Am I a joke to you?” and proceed to distract him.
Besides, the way Kai’s eyes were flickering to Chanyeol’s left side with a hint of anger and regret inside them, precisely finding the spot where a big scar remained, was all the confirmation he needed.
“Kai,” was the only thing Chanyeol said, but it was enough.
Grimacing, Kai turned away from him. “No.”
“No,” there was vulnerability in his voice, like Chanyeol exposed him, stripped him off his protective defense.
Suddenly agitated, Kai appeared to be five seconds away from grabbing his vacant chair and hurl it across the room. His breathing went faster as he became angrier and angrier, not knowing where to release his rage.
Chanyeol was about to stand up to calm him down, but Kai stopped abruptly, his body still. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, looking like he was listening to someone talk to him, nodding along to whatever he was hearing.
Chanyeol’s fingers twitched. Jongin.
With all his fury gone out of nowhere, Kai faced his ex-boyfriend with a solemn looking face. “It was Jongin’s idea.”
Chanyeol’s jaw nearly dropped.
Never had they really let go of him.
“Jongin was the one who proposed it, and I was the one who executed it,” Kai explained further, his voice becoming firmer as he spoke, “That son of a bitch fucking stabbed you, Chanyeol. We thought y-you were… When we found him, Jongin and I did what we wanted to do and it felt good. We agreed on this together and both of us don’t regret it. So, if you expect us to apologize and regret and beg for forgiveness, we won’t.”
Not a single sign of remorse was to be spotted on his face.
Chanyeol let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding, forcing his fists to uncurl and relax. He had expected such a thing from Kai, but… Jongin…
“Jongin is not as innocent as you tend to think,” Kai interrupted his thoughts, knowing Chanyeol just as well as Chanyeol knew him, “Jongin is me, and I am him. I’ve told you before. No black, no white, only shades of grey.”
“I wasn’t going to…” Chanyeol began, but stopped talking when he realized he wasn’t able to speak his thoughts out loud.
I wasn’t going to accuse and blame you, I wanted to tell you I was grateful, flattered. Ecstatic to know you still cared about me enough to go to such an extent. I was happy.
Chanyeol may have been comfortable enough to be truthful to himself, to release the dark thoughts gathering inside him, to admit that, maybe, he as well was another shade of grey. But he wasn’t ready to confess it openly just yet. Not even in front of Jongin and Kai.
Kai’s words had turned Chanyeol’s whole world upside down. He had always suspected that Kai had been the one behind the murder of his assailant, but he hadn’t had any proof to back it up with.
How had he known about his attack? Was it a coincidence? Talk in the underground world that spread around that was reaching the king’s ears?
Or, perhaps… could it be that Kai and Jongin and never really left him? Had they been watching him, caring for him from afar? Had they done a whole lot more for him, without Chanyeol knowing?
One thing was clear: Jongin and Kai had been working together when it came to him. Chanyeol knew their relationship with each other hadn’t been the best. Two minds, two personalities, two people with their own feelings and wishes inside one, single body. Of course they weren’t always getting along.
Despite that, Chanyeol strongly believed that they were also caring for each other. Just a few minutes ago, Jongin had interrupted and calmed Kai down when it looked like he was about to lose control.
Without Kai there was no Jongin, and without Jongin there was no Kai.
Two parts of one piece. They needed each other to survive.
Now it was Chanyeol’s turn to get angry unexpectedly, gritting his teeth as he thought, “And they really think Kai’s hurting Jongin right now, keeping him down and silencing him as some sort of sign of power. Ridiculous.”
Watching Kai sank back into his chair again, Chanyeol told him bitterly, “Do you know that the police say you’re ‘forcefully suppressing’ him? They are literally talking shit, throwing their accusations around and wanting to make me believe whatever they are believing.”
Rolling his eyes and blowing his green bangs aside, Kai simply replied, “The ones who think of themselves as smart are actually the ones that are not.”
Despite the cool exterior, Chanyeol discerned how Kai became upset once more. The criminal threw his head back and groaned loudly, like the police officers’ stupidity was giving him a headache.
Resting his elbows on the table, Kai pinched the bridge of his nose with closed eyes, “Do they really think he’d survive in a place like this? That twink can’t handle prison life, especially not this shithole full of psychopaths and lunatics.”
His words… although he was talking in an arrogant manner, Kai acted like he was actually concerned for Jongin.
A strange warmth enveloped Chanyeol’s heart, “You’re doing this to protect him.”
Kai’s eyes snapped open, his cunning gaze piercing right through Chanyeol. He couldn’t fool Chanyeol into thinking otherwise anymore.
Chanyeol found himself deeply affected by Kai’s actions. Jongin and Kai had fought a lot, struggled for control to the point of hating each other, but had stuck together at every crucial moment.
Jongin was Kai and Kai was Jongin; without the other, they were truly incomplete.
Chanyeol smiled at him weakly, extending his arm over the table once more so Kai could touch him. For real, this time. No more cautious nudging, Chanyeol needed to feel him.
He watched Kai look down on his hand, on the unspoken invitation, and Chanyeol dared to hope to see something akin to longing on his face. That changed quickly, though, as he noticed something.
“What an ugly ring.”
“I’m not forcing you to go out and fall in love again. I’m just saying, maybe you should meet new people, have a change of scenery,” Baekhyun told him, casually placing the controller down in between them.
“I don’t want to,” Chanyeol replied with a monotone voice, quickly restarting the game to get his friend to stop talking.
“Chanyeol…” Baekhyun sighed, “Jongin’s not going to come back.”
Chanyeol wished he could say that he had already become numb to the sting after such a long time. He doubted that hearing his name was ever going to stop to hurt.
“I know, you don’t need to remind me. They’re gone for good.”
Picking up his controller again, Baekhyun gave him the side-eye, “What? They? Who else left?”
Someone important. “Forget it.”
Dumbfounded, Chanyeol slowly backtracked. He pushed his hand back to his lap, staring down at the fake diamond on his forefinger with a frown.
“If he asks about the ring,” the deputy chief had instructed him, “just tell him it’s from a new love interest. Draw a clear line between past and present.”
“It’s…” Chanyeol stammered, biting on his chapped lip. The words didn’t seem to want to come out.
“Yes?” Kai pressed with no traces of emotions in his speech.
“My new boyfr-friend gave it to me,” Chanyeol spewed out hastily, stumbling over his words and cursing himself for appearing so weak. He wasn’t even brave enough to lift his head and look at the other.
Kai remained quiet as Chanyeol squirmed in his seat, tormenting him with his silence. It felt like a punishment to Chanyeol, an incompressible and painful one. He felt like he had done something wrong, but he didn’t.
Yeah, he was lying, but… Jongin and Kai had been the ones who dumped him, left him in the dust. They had no right to be angry with him for supposedly dating someone else.
Chanyeol had wanted to tell that lie so badly. Whereas he had been constantly backstabbing the police by being brutally honest with the prisoner, now came the time he actually wanted to use his fabricated cover-up.
Maybe it was his own revenge, to make them pay for the pain they had caused him. Chanyeol had lost half of his life when they left, had struggled for months, years, to pick himself up again. Of course there was some small fraction of resentment inside of him.
At the beginning, he hadn’t been so sure if it was going to work on Jongin and Kai. He had been afraid that any kind of love and affection they had once harbored for him had disappeared.
Chanyeol was certain about that now, though. The way Kai spoke to him, told him the truth about everything effortlessly. What he had admitted earlier. How he was looking at him now, full of agony. Chanyeol saw right through him, no matter how hard Kai tried to conceal it.
And Chanyeol? He really wanted it to hurt.
“We’ve talked about marriage already. Yoora is very excited,” he continued with a straight face.
His words seemed to have hit Kai on a physical level, based on how he winced as Chanyeol spoke. Good.
“Actually, he’s waiting for me outside to finish up here.“
Standing up and slamming the palms of his hands onto the table violently, for once, Kai truly looked like the psychopath he was. “Then why is that hideous ring on your fucking forefinger?”
Chanyeol wasn’t capable of control his facial expressions as accurately as Kai and Jongin. One slip up, just for a heartbeat, was enough. And Kai caught on to it.
Sagging back into his chair, Kai began to massage his forehead, deeming Chanyeol unworthy enough of being looked at. Suddenly, Chanyeol regretted the act. Why had he done that? For his petty revenge?
Reaching for Kai again, Chanyeol hurried to let his hands grip Kai’s wrist, to yank him towards him and… make it right again? Make what exactly right again?
“Leave. Tell them whatever you want, I don’t care. It’s dangerous here, so just leave,” he told him coldly.
Freezing, Chanyeol began to panic. It overwhelmed him, how fiercely his stomach churned at the prospect of leaving; leaving them behind, no, no, he didn’t want to!
Trying to defuse the situation, Chanyeol replied with a weak “Ouch.”
“I’m serious,” Kai spat, “You don’t understand just how corrupted this place is.”
Laughing uneasily, Chanyeol continued and tried to keep his voice from shaking, “But you do?”
He was obviously trying to provoke him in an attempt of helplessness, but Kai didn’t react to his words. He stubbornly stared out of the windows again, right at bright and sunny sky behind the bars, ignoring whatever Chanyeol had to say.
Chanyeol also knew this side of them. Sulking when something didn’t go their way, when they were unhappy with something or didn’t receive enough attention from Chanyeol.
Jongin and Kai, Kai and Jongin, hues of grey, mixed and inseparable.
Crossing his arms over his chest, Chanyeol chose to take it up a notch and speak with an air of indifference and arrogance, “I don’t think I’m in any danger right now. We’re being watched as I speak, and there are several people standing outside just waiting to barge in.”
A chill tumbled down Chanyeol’s back at the icy stare Kai gave him. His green hair was vibrant, his golden skin pale and making his bruises stand out. For the second time since Chanyeol had entered this cell, Kai really looked like he belonged here.
“I’m talking about the danger waiting for you outside this room.”
Just then, a loud explosion went off somewhere inside the building.
Chanyeol was always going to remember the time when Jongin had been wearing next to nothing, chasing after him in the cold winter. It was when they had their first fight, their first kiss amidst the falling snow.
It was winter again, years later, when it was Chanyeol who was running after Jongin. When they passed the old playground they used to play at, and he became close enough to grab Jongin and whirl him around.
Jongin didn’t rip himself away from him. He looked exhausted, on the verge of breaking down.
They were standing next to the cliff that followed the playground, awfully close and behind the protective fence, but still far enough to be safe. Jongin most likely hadn’t paid attention to where he was going, as long as it brought him away from Chanyeol.
“You can’t just leave like this. ‘We’re not good for you, goodbye, Chanyeol’. Seriously?! That’s all you’re going to give me?” Chanyeol panted, his fingers like iron around Jongin’s wrist.
“What else do you want me to do?” Jongin begged him, one of his suitcases beside his feet falling over.
“I want you to stay,” Chanyeol begged him, his bloody icy cold.
But all Jongin did was shaking his head, “I can’t, Chanyeol. I can’t do this to you.”
Nearly shouting his desperation into the night sky, Chanyeol kept wrecking his brain for a way to stop this, to prevent Jongin from leaving him and taking half of his life with him.
“Let me talk to him!” he pleaded, “Let me talk to Kai. I can make it right again, I-I can.”
Jongin smiled at him, yet it was one of sadness, “Impossible. He will give into you if I do. He’s always been the weaker one of us when it comes to you.”
Chanyeol’s mind was reeling as he registered his words, opening and closing his mouth a couple of times.
“What do you mean? I–“
“Did you know that it was him who fell in love with you first?” Jongin’s voice cut through the peaceful night, snow gently falling on top of his head.
Still catching his breath, Chanyeol shook his head, too panicked and confused to actually reply. But it seemed as if Jongin didn’t want him to answer, as he kept on talking on his own.
“When we were younger, he kept whispering things into my head. ‘Look at Chanyeol, look at how cute he’s being right now. He’s so pretty, so kind, let me kiss him, I want to kiss him, please, please, please.’ Kai begged me to get closer to you day and night, while all I could see in you was my best friend.”
Chanyeol’s hand slipped from Jongin’s wrist as he staggered backwards, the onslaught of information too much for him.
“I don’t know if I would have started to love you without him. He made me realize how precious you are, how happy you make me, how you are the only one who’s right for me,” Jongin choked out with a wobbly voice.
His head was pounding so much, it hurt so badly, Chanyeol wanted to rip his own head off. He gripped the strands of his hair tightly and pulled, “Please, stay with me. We can work this out, all three of us together.”
Much to Chanyeol’s dismay, Jongin just resumed looking at him with so much sorrow on his face. “It’s not possible. Chanyeol, you’re… you are better off without us.”
Jongin was about to turn away, leave Chanyeol again, walk into the night and never come back. Quickly, Chanyeol grabbed Jongin’s shoulders and forced him to stay once more.
“I can decide for myself what is best for me and what is not. I don’t care if anyone thinks I’ve lost my mind or judges me. I want you. Both of you, completely and unconditionally.”
Jongin’s expression changed unexpectedly. He looked like he was about to lose his temper when Chanyeol talked, like his words had somehow alarmed him.
“Careful. Do not say this thoughtlessly,” Jongin warned him sharply, his body coiled with tension. It seemed like, Chanyeol, who was full of sweet promises and lovely dedication, was poison to him at that moment.
“No, it’s true. I’d do anything for you. Anything!” Chanyeol insisted, opening his mouth to shoot off more reassurances, and that was when Jongin moved abruptly.
He was surprised by Jongin putting his hand over his mouth and grabbing his jaw. Frozen, he let Jongin pull him towards himself, his grip firm yet gentle.
“Desire becomes surrender, surrender becomes power,” Jongin muttered, his eyes wide and open, a glint of insanity shining inside of them, “Are you telling the truth? You’d do anything for me?”
Chanyeol nodded, hypnotized, fascinated.
“You want this?”
Chanyeol nodded again, enchanted, spellbound.
“Would you… would you die for me?”
Chanyeol nodded one more time, mesmerized, in love.
Jongin let him go and stepped back to watch him. Chanyeol walked backwards, closer and closer to the cliff, eyes not leaving Jongin’s face.
Dopamine, Noradrenaline, Endorphins – Chanyeol’s body and mind were flooded by hormones; the adrenaline rush made letting go so easy, so sweet, so worth it.
Anything for Jongin. For Kai. Anything.
Opening his arms, he saw Jongin smiling at him as his body tipped backwards, as his feet were about to disconnect with the ground.
Chanyeol felt himself fall, felt himself shatter within the air, felt free and light, closed his eyes and let it take him, when it all stopped. A hand had gripped his forearm tightly, so tight it hurt, blood bursting beneath the skin.
He found himself in a diagonal posture. His whole body was bent backwards, hanging in the air, while his feet were on the ground, his extended arm held by the one standing in front of him.
Jongin and Kai stared at Chanyeol in a mixture of shock and panic, eyes filled with tears, making Chanyeol’s breath hitch. Jongin and Kai’s hand was shaking as they held him
“What the fuck are you doing?!” Jongin asked Chanyeol, sounding as if he was pleased, as if he was in disbelief.
“Anything,” was the only thing Chanyeol told him, causing the first tears to escape Kai’s eyes.
Jongin shook him furiously, as hard as he could, and the cold air slipped inside of Chanyeol’s shirt and hit his exposed back.
They screamed at him, “Why did you do this?! I’m fucked up, can’t you see that?!”
Raising the trembling hand that hung helplessly by his side, Chanyeol put it on Kai’s cheek, caressing it like it was something delicate, something heavenly.
“I love you. Both of you. All of you.”
They broke down. Sobbing loudly, Jongin and Kai dragged him back up, sealing Chanyeol’s lips in a searing kiss. They kissed him breathless, sucked his life force right out of him with their tongue and brought fire to his heart.
They fell to their knees without stopping their kiss, peeling some of their clothes off their bodies without feeling the cold, eager for the feeling of skin on skin.
After they had gotten their fair share of kissing and touching each other all over, their bodies tingling and numb but so alive with pleasure, they collapsed on the ground on top of their jackets. In the middle of the snowy nature, they were holding each other tightly, Kai refusing to let go of Chanyeol while Jongin was kissing his lips.
“I love you,” Chanyeol whispered again with so much hope inside him.
“And we love you,” they answered, “But we have to go.”
Their ways had parted that night, but the feelings remained.
“K-Kai?” Chanyeol asked hesitantly, the room ceasing to shake. He had gripped the arms of his chair tightly as the vibrations hit, his knuckles turning white from it.
Kai was staring at the door with narrowed eyes, seemingly wrecking his brain. Chanyeol was halfway between panicked and worried, his head snapping to where Kai was looking at and back to the prisoner. What had happened?
“It’s okay,” Kai calmed him down when it remained quiet, “Happens all the time.”
“Bombs going off happens all the time?” Chanyeol asked hysterically, not over the initial shock.
“I told you, it’s a fucking batshit crazy place,” Kai explained with a careful and monotone tone.
It appeared that Kai wanted to soothe Chanyeol’s worries. He made a show of his relaxed body posture, trying to signal him to stay just as composed as he did. Chanyeol appreciated it a lot, and he did feel himself calming down just a tiny bit, but it still seemed off.
Kai seemed to be too indifferent about this.
Forcing himself to take it easy and loosen his hold on his chair, Chanyeol decided to investigate, “Are you doing this? Or your men or lackeys or however your team of super criminals work?”
Rolling his eyes at Chanyeol’s brazen blathering, Kai made a point of shifting his focus back to Chanyeol. “If I were the one behind this, it wouldn’t be so bloody loud and obvious, thank you very much.”
Chanyeol wanted to say more, but forming sentences and thinking about which words to use was too hard. He felt exhausted as his shoulders slumped down. The only thing he managed to say was the others name again.
“Leave now,” Kai told him once more. “And don’t come back again, understood? Tell those jackasses that you’re refusing to work with them. Stay safe and don’t. Come. Back.“
A loud and blaring alarm went off. Red lights began to flicker above them.
Exchanging a look, Kai automatically glanced at the door again, wishing he were somehow able to see through it and find out what’s going on.
Meanwhile, Chanyeol was back to panicking. An alarm going off combined with ominous red lights, in the middle of a psychiatric hospital-prison? With the world’s most dangerous, criminally insane people inside?
Kai lifted his hand to stop him from saying something, appearing to be listening closely. And it didn’t take long for mores sounds to appear. Chanyeol nearly fainted when screams resounded outside of their cells, closely followed by multiple gunshots.
Mortally terrified of what was unfolding outside of their cell, Chanyeol had to clamp his hands over his mouth to stop himself from throwing up. He was visibly shaking as another bloodcurdling, frightening screech reached them.
“Look at me.”
Chanyeol’s watery eyes meet the confident ones of a renowned criminal, of the king of the underworld.
“Get behind me,” Kai told him with a harsh voice. Chanyeol could only gape at him, not even processing what was happening as Kai seemed to be several steps ahead already.
His body springing into action, Kai slid sideways on his chair with an agility and speed Chanyeol hadn’t seen before. Kai then raised his arms high above his head and, with a guttural shout, slammed the chain connecting his handcuffs right to the sharp edge of the metal table.
Chanyeol jumped as he heard and saw the other effortlessly breaking the chain into two. With eyes like saucers, he watched Kai casually rotating his wrists while pushing the cuffs up his arms towards his biceps and out of the way.
All Chanyeol could do in response was scream, “What the fuck?!”
Standing up, Kai looked around himself, obviously searching for something. The red light was still flashing above them, illuminating Kai in a crimson color; making him appear ethereal, like god of war and blood.
When he noticed that Chanyeol hadn’t moved, Kai whirled around to him impatiently. “Chanyeol, I said get behind me!”
Chanyeol was whimpering as he stood up, his legs so weak he almost fell to the ground. Another gunshot went off outside, much closer this time.
He had to lean his weight on the chair as his breathing fastened to the point of almost hyperventilating. Kai called him once more, catching his gaze from the other side of the table.
His eyes seemed to be burning, seemed to tell so many words that he’d never say aloud. Chanyeol’s knees wobbled.
“Chanyeol,” His name was spoken like a lullaby, soft and tranquilizing, so clear. He could spot someone else within Kai, recognized how both Kai and Jongin raised their hand towards him; an offer, a plea, a sacrifice.
The alarm kept ringing, more screaming, more gunshots, laughter so maddeningly, right outside their little room.
Chanyeol’s hand was shaking as he reached towards them, towards safety. the tips of his finger barely grazing those of them, when the door was suddenly opened with a loud bang.
The deputy chief barged in, blood all over his chest and face and with a gun in hand. He pointed it towards Kai threateningly, then turned to Chanyeol, “Mr. Park, come with me! We’re evacuating everyone, hurry up!”
In the blink of an eye, he had grabbed Chanyeol. He could see Jongin and Kai trying to reach for him again, but it was too late, the man was dragging Chanyeol out of the room.
The alarm was much louder outside, just like the inhuman, screeching noises around them. An inmate was about to choke one of the nurses, a terrified, young woman, when a police officer shot him in the head, his blood painting the plain, grey painted walls of the asylum.
Chanyeol tried to blink his inner chaos away, everything had slowed down when he had almost touched them, when they had tried to grab him before he was brought out. But now, everything was so fast, so confusing.
Chanyeol was in a turmoil, he didn’t know where up and where down was, left and right, safety and danger, good and bad, wrong and right.
“Mr. Park, many inmates have already escaped, but don’t worry, I’ll be getting you out of here. Follow me quickly,” the deputy chief instructed him, already walking ahead to the fire escape while shooting another attacking prisoner to the ground. He wasn’t looking back to Chanyeol, “Close the door behind you, Park, we wouldn’t want any more of them running around.”
Staring at the retreating officer’s back, Chanyeol slowly looked over his shoulder and back inside the cell. They stood there, their face reflecting the red light. Watching him silently.
Hurrying after the officer to escape, Chanyeol left the door open.