Title: Cold and Damp
Pairing: Hanchul, Kyumin, Kangteuk
Warnings: Swearing, slightly graphic, angst
Summary: After Seoul becomes infested with the living dead and the government abandons them; it's only natural that they realise hidden feelings in the midst of disaster.
intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | final
Kyuhyun looked up at his ceiling, suddenly distracted from his game. He hadn't noticed the time pass, so concentrated on what he was doing. Only when he heard somebody outside screaming exceptionally loud did he realise the bed shaking beneath him and the dust pouring down upon his head. He could hear people’s footsteps thudding up and down the hallway outside and the sound of chaos. His curtains were drawn, the only light coming from his laptop, illuminating his face in a cold blue.
A heart stopping bang echoed outside, a gunshot, and he dived to the ground on instinct, heart thumping wildly in his chest and his eyes darting here and there, trying to adjust to the darkness of his room. As he dived to the ground, so did his laptop, pieces flying everywhere. At the sight of such a tragedy, his heart would've done the same had he not been so distracted. He took a few shuddering breaths, slower and deeper every time before he calmed down. He felt adrenaline coursing through his veins, his heart pumping blood faster than he’d ever experienced before, yet on the outside he was the perfect picture of serenity.
He reached around in the dark for clothes, grabbing a pair of dirty jeans and some socks. He sat on the edge of his bed, slipping on his shoes, and he looked at his roommate sleeping soundly beside him. His headphones were in, deafening him to the events unfolding around him. He walked past his bed to the door, sparing a second glance before he twisted the handle and squinted as bright yellow light flooded his eyes.
He jumped back as a girl grabbed him by the shoulders, her nails digging into his skin as she sobbed frantically, eyeliner running down her face. He’d always thought girls looked ugly when they cried, but this was on another level. ‘They’re coming for us…’ she whispered, trembling. Her eyes were wide and red, and when he looked at her properly he saw blood – lots of it, on her neck, her clothes. She seemed to be looking straight through Kyuhyun when she spoke, as if she were speaking to herself.
‘They have guns – they’re killing us!’ She looked at him then, seeming to realise he was there, and she clawed at his shirt, shaking him back and forth as she threw herself at him, sobbing against his chest.
Kyuhyun shoved her away and watched her fall to the floor in a pathetic, sobbing heap. He didn’t feel any sympathy for her, especially after she’d smeared her runny nose all over his shirt. He turned and closed the door, turning the knob until the lock clicked before carrying on down the hallway to see what the hell was going on.
‘Min, don’t wake up,’ he whispered under his breath, ‘I’ll be back.’
Sungmin coughed harshly, his lungs feeling heavy in his chest and the air tasting dry and smoky. He pulled out his headphones, sitting up shakily and propping himself up on his weak arms, looking around in the darkness. It was odd - whenever he woke up at night, he'd always see Kyuhyun’s laptop screen glowing from the younger teen’s bed, long fingers skilfully tapping away at his keyboard – it was a wonder the guy had any energy for class after staying up all night - but tonight his bedroom was pitch black. He closed his eyes. He hated the dark.
‘Kyuhyun,' he croaked, his voice sore and scratchy, 'Kyuhyun?' he tried again, but the teen still didn’t respond. He tugged the sheets off his body with effort, swinging his lead-like legs over the side of the bed as he got to his feet unsteadily. He wobbled slightly, off balance. He walked over to Kyuhyun’s bed slowly, wheezing like a chain-smoker, his pyjama-clad legs heavy and stumbling.
Only when he felt Kyuhyun’s cold pillow beneath his fingertips, when his eyes adjusted to the darkness, did he realise how smoky the room was, how noisy it was outside. It sounded like a war out there. His head started to ache, as if something was squeezing it, and he coughed hard into his palm. He tottered across his messy floor, off balance and coughing violently with every breath he took, feeling himself grow weaker with every step. He felt pain stab his foot dully, and he sat down on his bed, weakly crossing his legs to see what he’d stood on. A piece of Kyuhyun’s shattered laptop jutted out from the arch of his foot, the pain dulled from the lack of oxygen running through his veins. He moved to touch it, to try and remove it, but he felt like he was moving through treacle. His vision blurred and faded and he started to panic.
He stood abruptly, grabbing the bed when he nearly fell, and he hobbled towards the door, the shard in his foot driving deeper and deeper. He reached out a hand to turn the doorknob but stopped short when he heard an ominous creak from above. He slowly craned his head upwards, and through his blurry eyes he saw the ceiling dipping down towards him, dust falling into his face.
He couldn’t move fast enough. He barely had time to suck in a breath as he watched the ceiling come crashing down on top of his head, a sharp jolt of pain coursing through his body as his small frame met the floor, followed hastily by a thick darkness.
Youngwoon blinked through the smoke, his brain working too slow for the situation as it struggled against the drugs flowing through his veins. He watched in vague confusion as his friends ran back and forth, tripping over empty beer cans and bottles of vodka, shouting about guns and army jeeps.
He stood up from his comfortable position on the sofa of his friends’ dorm room, swaying on his feet as the alcohol affected his balance. 'Jungsu' he mumbled, plodding towards the door. He felt a small hand grip his bicep, pulling him back as he reached for the door handle.
'Hyung, don't go out there,' came the high-pitched voice of his roommate, his thin arms straining in a futile effort to spin him around, 'It's dangerous! They have guns! And you're drunk.'
'Jungsu is out there, Ryeowook!' he shouted at the smaller boy, pushing him away roughly and grabbing the door handle.
'But Hyung, why do you even care, I mean-'
'No, he's my friend. Shut up and go somewhere safe, go find Jongwoon or something.' He slurred, twisting the handle and walking away, slamming the door behind him.
He walked out into the hallway, watching blurry shapes rush past him, some knocking him back against the door as they ran and making his head swim.
He started off towards his friends’ dorm. The only thing on his blurry, inebriated mind was making sure he was safe.
He braced himself against the wall to his left as he shuffled along the corridor towards the exit, gunshots raining down from every direction and shrill screams ringing in his ears like tiny splinters piercing the cotton surrounding his sore head. He found himself jumping and flinching in slow motion with every sudden 'bang' and 'crash,' his stomach twisting and turning disapprovingly.
Youngwoon felt the wall he was leaning against come to an end, turning into another hallway. He glanced up towards the rotating doors before him, the light from the moon playing off the broken glass and making him see stars. He stumbled through the doors, barely registering the sting as he trod on the broken glass with his bare feet.
He felt the cold February air slap him in the face as he stepped out onto the grass; cool, damp soil soothing the cuts on his sore feet. He looked around, whipping his head this way and that, seeing people rushing in and out of buildings - so fast he felt the threads of a headache weave themselves around his mind, tugging at his forehead and drawing his eyes back towards the direction he was walking in.
He padded as fast as he could on his wobbly feet towards Jungsu's dorm building, noticing the smoke billowing from the windows and doors - panic and confusion seemed to pour from every exit. There were soldiers running around the front of the building, guns at the ready and shooting at any student that happened to run past.
Youngwoon took in a deep breath as he felt his blood run cold, his heart pumping vigorously in his chest. He darted off to the back of the building, not daring to look anywhere but forwards and hoping to whatever God that no one noticed him in the panic.
He covered his face with his sleeve as he jumped in through an open window, adrenaline sparking his athletic abilities despite the alcohol coursing through his veins. He ran frantically through the hallways, counting every door until he stumbled across the one he was looking for.
The room was thick with smoke. The sprinklers were dripping their last drops of water in a futile attempt to quell the flames licking at the walls and climbing up the curtains.
Youngwoons’ eyes were everywhere at once, squinting through the smoke in search of his best friend as he coughed and spluttered from behind his sleeve. He felt his tear ducts spring into action as the smoke stung at his eyes.
'Jungsu!' he shouted, sucking in a deep breath of foul air as he felt his lungs swell in protest. He felt himself double over as he hacked and coughed, falling to the floor as he grasped and clawed at the threadbare carpet, flames flickering in his peripheral as the room turned into a yellow and red blur.
'Jung...’Sungmin lifted an eyelid but squeezed it shut as a sharp jolt of pain coursed through his head at the invasion of light into his unprepared eyes, flaring the spark of the worst migraine he'd ever experienced. He felt a chill tickle at his bare arms and instinctively snuggled closer to the warmth at his side.
'You're awake then, at last?' came a quiet, familiar voice, making him practically jump out of his skin - which he regretted instantly, head swimming and his migraine intensifying tenfold. He moved to look up at whomever was next to him; cracking an eyelid and feeling a whole world of pain and light flood his unadjusted eyes, his whole face contorting in unveiled pain as he crushed his face against the warmth once again, squeezing his eyes shut against the bright light.
That same bored-sounding voice spoke again. 'You shouldn't move, you hit your head and it's only been a day since you were knocked out.' His bleary, sore mind couldn't quite remember who he was speaking to, but he knew he was safe, anyway. He noticed how the man next to him was whispering, in an obvious attempt at aggravating his headache as little as possible. He smiled softly against the warm fabric of his shirt.
'What happened?' He mumbled softly, his voice muffled by the material. 'I can't remember anything.'
'Well, do you want the long story or the short story?'
'Long. For some reason I feel like we have enough time.'
Kyuhyun - as his mind finally recognised the boy to be - explained everything from before he passed out. He told him about the military coming to evacuate the college, but suddenly drawing their guns instead, turning the evacuation into a mass-murder. He told him about how he'd gone to check what was happening after waking up to the gunshots, but almost being shot himself in his curiosity.
'One person tried to bite me,' he told him, 'I didn't understand until I left the campus, but I'll get to that in a second. I went back to the dorm to get you, but the door was jammed. I had to kick it through. I found you unconscious underneath the rubble, it looked as if the ceiling had given way and fallen on you. Anyway, I made a bag of necessities and carried you as far away as possible. Since when have you been so heavy, Min?' He chuckled.
When he didn't hear the smaller man berate him or jab him playfully in the side, he glanced down to where he was currently resting his head. His big, brown doe eyes were closed lightly, mouth parted ever so slightly, breathing softly against his chest. Kyuhyun chuckled soundlessly to himself, moving his head into his lap and absent-mindedly running his fingers through his hair.
He leaned his head back against the wall of the small office they were currently sitting in, taking in a deep breath and letting out a sigh. Replaying everything in his head, he realised just how disconnected he felt to this whole situation. He knew he was in danger, and that was why he escaped, but why did he bring his roommate?
Every game he'd ever played told him, simply, to never take along a companion unless it was necessary for survival. Min was a martial artist, yes, but an injured martial artist wasn't much use, even more so if said martial artist wouldn't be able to walk straight for a considerable amount of time.
He thought back to when he had left his dorm. When he'd seen that girl, saw the look in her eyes, the way in which she desperately clung to him, he knew something was happening - something much worse than an accident with fireworks as he'd first taken it to be. It wasn't a very prestigious college, full of degenerates and thugs, always getting drunk and trashing everything. The place had been set alight twice before when they’d got too inebriated and sent fireworks flying through the windows. He would've gone somewhere better if his father hadn't passed away; leaving his mother nothing in his will and leaving him no choice but to mix with people someone of his brilliance shouldn't have to breathe the same air as.
He'd made sure no one could get into his room immediately, his door locked at the twist of a knob. He didn't want to return to his room to find some crazed teenagers tearing his room up. Well, that was what he told himself, as he walked down the communal hallway towards - what he guessed to be - the root of all the panic. He didn't expect to see what he saw. He didn't want to believe it, either.
Bodies, strewn across the floor in a bloody mess, clothes pocked with bullet holes. Standing around were uniformed men, dressed in camouflage and holding guns so large he wouldn't even be able to drag them across the floor never mind hold as casually as they did. They were all stern-faced, not noticing Kyuhyun as he peeked around the corner. He saw a girl run out of a hallway, eyes frantic and glazed over, arms flailing wildly as she sped towards the armed men. He flinched back as gunshots rang through his ears, watching the girl flop boneless to the floor, blood pooling around her limp body, a deep crimson soaking into the beige carpets.
He span around, his body working on autopilot. He made his way back to his dorm room, walking as fast as he could, almost sprinting whenever he saw someone turn a corner or walk past him. One boy, harbouring the same crazed look as that girl, practically leapt at him, hands groping around and teeth grinding feverishly in his mouth. He dodged, years of gaming sharpening his reflexes, and sprinted back to his dorm, ignoring every passer by trying to grab his attention. The only thought on his mind was his roommate. 'Sungmin,' he thought, 'please be asleep.'
He tried the handle. It wouldn't budge. He pushed and kicked and pushed again, actions quickly growing frantic and panicked. He collapsed against the door, mind exhausted from the sight he'd just seen. He thought for a second, calm, collected mind quickly re-assembling itself.
He pulled his dorm key out of his jeans pocket, training his face into calm indifference once again, and twisted it in the lock. It didn't budge. He pushed harder, but it seemed to be jammed against something. Sungmin was in there, and there was smoke coming from under the door. He didn't even have to think about it.
Drawing away from the door, he ran at it with all the force his thin frame could muster, falling straight through the weak, cheap wooden door and landing on a pile of rubble. He dusted himself off, eyes searching the dark, smoky room for his roommate. He wasn't in his bed, and he obviously hadn't left the room - his bunny was still there, he didn't go anywhere without it. He looked around frantically, until he noticed a limp, pale hand sticking out from under a pile of what, once, was the ceiling.
He kneeled down and pushed the debris off his smaller roommate. The air was thick with smoke and dust; something must've caught fire in the block. Kyuhyun, after unveiling his roommate from beneath the remainder of the ceiling, immediately picked him up and set him on his bed. He ran to the window, opening it to clear the air - but when he pulled back the curtain he saw everything.
Army jeeps were parked all along the campus grounds, uniformed men running back and forth, gunshots raining down like an out-of-control riot. Students were limping along the grass, eyes wild and clothes drenched with blood, all stiff and unsure on their feet. Kyuhyun had seen all the movies worth watching, and a thrill ran through him as realisation dawned.
He opened the window and ran back to Sungmin, his lips were turning blue and there was blood dripping from his forehead. He pressed his hand to Sungmin’s mouth, checking for breath, but not a puff touched his skin. He immediately performed CPR, pumping feverishly at the smaller boys’ chest and sharing as much air as he could from his own lungs without choking.
The smaller boy coughed and choked a sharp gasp of air from his pale lips. Kyuhyun let out a sigh of relief, and ran into their small kitchen, pulling out a first aid kit and random canned foods, placing everything in a rucksack. He grabbed some bottled water from the fridge and pulled the throw from the bottom of his bed.
He shrugged on a jacket and quickly dressed his roommate in warmer clothes before slinging him over a bony shoulder and rushing out of their dorm. He didn't look back, the screams and endless rounds of gunfire were enough to tell him which way was safe and which wasn't.
He should have found the going a lot tougher with Sungmin over his shoulder, but with the adrenaline coursing through his veins he could hardly feel the weight, thinking only of which way to turn and planning his route off campus.
And that was how he'd got there. He hadn't managed to get far, there were over three-thousand students at his school, and the gunmen were pretty much everywhere. He'd collapsed from exhaustion in one of the caretaking buildings, pushing everything in the room against the doors and windows, and not daring to light a match or flip a switch.
He hadn't slept a wink. Eyes trained on the door, on the window, and most of all, Sungmin. The colour had slowly returned to his face overnight, cold hands growing warmer by the hour. He'd cleaned up the gash on his forehead as soon as he'd set him down, not wanting it to get infected.
He couldn’t let it get infected. He'd be even more of a hindrance.