Title: Cold and Damp
II [Dead Seoul]
Pairings: Hanchul, Kyumin, Kangteuk
Characters: (very minor)Donghae & Hyukjae
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 - but where are Heechul and Sungmin? What happened to Hankyung? Did Youngwoon and Jungsu escape? And is Kyuhyun really dead?
Notes: Kangteuk this chapter and the next chapter will be back to the main plot!prequel 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
-------------Before he knew it, he’d stacked the crates high enough for him to reach the vent; and he gathered the tins and cans and bottles back into his arms, shoving the candies he’d grabbed deep into his jeans pockets. He started climbing.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
A moan echoed through the hollow space and Youngwoon’s head snapped in its direction. The door was ajar, only slightly, the latch barely hanging on by its hinges. A gnarled, bloody face peered at him through the tiny gap, its lipless mouth seeming to smile at him.
He moved faster, the pain in his arm was a million miles away now. The only thought on his mind was Jungsu. The moans grew louder and the gap was big enough for them to fit their arms through now; at least five of them were squeezing through, their dead eyes watching Youngwoon’s ascent.
He was three-quarters of the way up when the latch snapped off; and if he hadn’t taken a leak in the woods before he set off, he was pretty sure he’d have pissed himself right then. The crates pushed up against the door didn’t hold for long, and the room was filled with them in seconds. He pushed the food into the vent before him, sparing a glance at the swarm gathered below; their arms reaching up to him as if in worship, slack jaws grinding and snapping, hungry for his flesh.
He didn’t look for long.
He heaved himself up into the vent and he only just managed to fit. His arm was crushed beneath his weight and he cried out, but he didn’t stop. He crawled on through, listening to the creaks and groans his weight was eliciting from the old vents, and soon – but not soon enough – he was outside again. He dropped to the floor, gathered the food in his arms once again and started off for the woods.
But he stopped.
His arm. What if it got infected? He was losing so much blood, still. Jungsu could fix him up, but only if he had the materials. He had to go back. They’d still be in that room, surely, and the pharmacy was right at the entrance of the store. He’d make it.
It had been two hours since Youngwoon had left. Jungsu was curled up in the passenger seat, still, but he’d fallen asleep after waiting so long. A duvet was draped over his thin frame and Youngwoon’s jacket was balled up tightly in his hands. He was dreaming of his parents, dreaming of when he’d gone to visit them only weeks before the world went to hell. He missed his parents, his dog, his home. He even missed his dorm and his roommate, Jongwoon, even though he snored terribly and constantly forgot to flush the toilet, he was a good guy. He wondered if he was still alive – him and that Ryeowook boy. Didn’t he go to find Shindong, too? Something must’ve happened, then, if Shindong ended up alone.
He didn’t think about Heechul and the others. It was too painful. If he kept thinking about them he’d never stop being miserable. He had to cheer up to keep himself sane. He had to smile for Youngwoon. He had to be thankful he was alive.
He awoke with a startled scream at the noise of the the drivers door slamming shut, and his eyes flew open to land upon the sight of a very bloody and sweaty Youngwoon. Red faced and breathless, he looked ready to pass out. His eyes were unfocused as he looked at Jungsu and pointed weakly to his bare arm.
And he passed out.
Jungsu’s heart was in his mouth when he saw Youngwoon's wound. At the sight of blood he’d instantly assumed he’d been bitten, but he didn’t know if this was better or worse. A dangerously large shard of glass stuck out of Youngwoon’s bloody arm; a wide, long gash torn from his elbow to his wrist. His thoughts blurred and hurried in his head. He was losing blood fast; it could get infected; he had no medical equipment, no alcohol to disinfect it. What could he do?
His eyes flickered from Youngwoon’s paling face to his wound and back again, frantic and panicked until he caught sight of the bag in Youngwoon’s lap. It looked as though he’d brought the whole pharmacy with him. Half of the antibiotics he’d never even heard of, but it was enough. More than enough. He just had to work fast.
He’d bandaged Youngwoon up as well as he could before climbing into the back of the van, pushing a mattress down onto the floor. He set to work about unwrapping all of the bedding before struggling with Youngwoon's dead-weight over his shoulder, letting him flop onto the mattress. It was nearing 8pm when he’d finished, and he’d been sat in the drivers seat for nearly half an hour since; slowly making his way through a tin of canned apricots he’d found in the bag Youngwoon had brought back. The guilt had set in deeply at the realisation of just how much danger he’d put Youngwoon in by sending him out there alone; and if he hadn’t have been staring sullenly out at the darkness he wouldn’t have caught a glimpse at the flash of headlights glowing on the road just outside the field they were parked in.
His breath caught and he nearly choked on an apricot, setting the can on the dashboard and twisting the key in the ignition with lightning speed. He hastily flicked the lorries headlights on; it didn’t matter if it was dangerous to do so, there was someone else out there and he didn’t have Youngwoon to tell him what to do. He had to take initiative, and this was a chance.
He sped out across the field, turning wildly into the main road and heading in the same direction as that car. The lorry was a bitch to drive, but he got the hang of it and soon the other car was in sight. He considered sounding the horn to catch their attention, but decided against it. They seemed to notice him, anyway. It wasn’t long before the cars break lights flashed red, and Jungsu slowed the lorry to a stop.
As he sat there it seemed like an eternity before the driver stepped out. Thoughts flashed through his over-tired mind as the stranger approached, their hands raised before their face to shield their eyes from the lorries bright headlights. What if this person was a lunatic? A murderer?
But when the stranger had made their way to the driver’s side of the lorry, relief flooded through him and a smile broke out across his face. He realised just how long it had been since he’d smiled like this.
‘Donghae!’ he cried, not bothering to control his joy at the familiar face of his younger friend. At the confused, yet equally joyous look on the other man's face he realised his window wasn’t rolled down.
‘Jungsu!’ Donghae beamed up at him when the cold air hit Jungsu’s face. It felt like he hadn’t seen this boy in years, not just mere days.
'Is it just you, Donghae?’ he asked. Donghae was always happy and cheerful but there was no way he could get this far, see all the terrible things that had happened to his friends, and still have that same innocent look in his eyes. Not if he was alone.
‘No. Hyukjae’s in the car. Kibum was with us, too, but-‘ he looked away for a second and his smile dropped. ‘What about you? Are you with Heechul?’
Jungsu bit his lip. ‘No. Youngwoon is asleep in the back.’ he nodded his head toward Donghae’s car. ‘Where are you headed?’
Donghae smiled again. ‘We were listening to the radio yesterday. It had been static all day but then we’d heard someone’s voice. They were talking about a camp.’ His face seemed to light up then, ‘They say there are survivors! You can follow us, unless you have somewhere else to go?’
‘No, we’ll follow you.’ he smiled down at Donghae, who nodded erratically before bouncing back over to his car. But as he wound the window up again, he couldn’t help but wonder if they were really going to find anyone alive after all.
They drove on for a little over 7 hours, stopping frequently for toilet breaks and to steer wrecked cars out of their way. Youngwoon still hadn’t woken up by the time they’d found somewhere safe to sleep, which was a good thing; even though he felt terribly lonely without his moody face around it was better than him fidgeting around and picking at his bandages like he knew he would.
He ran his thumb over his chin, grimacing at the stubble that prickled his skin. He’d have to shave soon, he’d never suited stubble. A toothbrush would be nice, too. His teeth felt like they were rotting off by the second; in fact he felt dirty all over. He’d kill for a shower. He pulled his jeans off and tiptoed into the back of the lorry, gently lying himself beside Youngwoon. He made a point to lie on the edge of the mattress, though, just in case Youngwoon decided to use him as a teddybear again; but before he could get comfortable a warm hand pulled him against Youngwoon’s chest and he gasped as the younger man nuzzled into the crook of his neck.
He must’ve been hyperventilating because Youngwoon told him to shut up and sleep. And he did. Better than ever before.
He was safe, now, in Youngwoon’s embrace, with his friend’s just outside. He was on his way to safety.
He had nothing to worry about that night, only Heechul
Sungmin breathed a deep, desperate, drowning breath, his lungs expanding impossibly in his small chest. His body spasmed from the shock of waking up, of breathing real air. He opened his eyes wide and squinted as the white light flooded in, flickering from darkness to fluorescence and back again. He was lying down on something hard and cold, the feel of metal beneath his fingertips. He willed himself to sit up but every muscle protested. He’d never felt so weak.
He tried to listen instead of see, because all he could see from his position was white (then black, then white, then black). He couldn’t tell if he was looking at the ceiling or the floor. From the rhythmic flickering of the light, he knew he was at least in a room. At first, he’d thought he was in a coma, some suspended state of unconsciousness. A dream. But this seemed real. He could taste the dryness of his mouth, feel the ache of his muscles, smell the scent of disinfectant and blood.
He heard someone cough to his left, a painful sounding cough. He wasn’t alone, then. He tried to speak, whisper, mumble but all that came out was a weak breath followed by a throat grazing cough. He coughed for at least forty seconds, so much he nearly heaved. A strained laugh rang out in the seemingly empty room, he guessed it was the guy who’d been hacking his lungs up a few minutes before.
‘Can you move?’ he said. His voice was familiar, but it was sore-sounding and weak. As if he hadn’t had a sip of water in weeks.
He tried to answer, feeling the word burn as it left his voice box. ‘No.’ he said. His teeth felt grimy.
‘Me neither.’ he could hear this man's breathing, now, and he couldn’t understand how he hadn’t heard it before. His breaths were deep and wheezing and loud in the silence. He tried to sit up again, and felt the same ache of protest, instead trying to move his toes and his fingers, yielding better results. He guessed the other guy was doing the same, because he was making quite a racket, groaning as if he was trying to pick up a car.
He managed to lift his neck after a while, enough to tilt it to the side before it fell back onto what he was lying on, the pain from movement becoming too much. He knew why that voice was familiar, now.
Beside him, about five metres away, lay Kim Heechul. Naked, but he tried not to focus on that part. He, like him, was lying on a sort of metal table, medical equipment strewn about him on small tables. He was wired up to machines and an empty saline drip hung above him. He looked pale, paler than he usually was. His lips were nearly blue and dark circles lay beneath his tired looking eyes. He had a beard.
He closed his eyes, he felt too exhausted to keep them open. How long had they been here? He could vaguely remember being on the ground and seeing those men in black take Kyuhyun away. Was it them? Did they take them here?
If so, why?
He heard Heechul snort, and he opened his eyes again, seeing him looking back at him.
‘You have a beard.’ he smirked. It looked like it took a lot of effort to do, but he was doing it anyway. He looked relieved, and some of the exhaustion in his face seemed to fade now that he’d seen who he was talking to. One day of vague companionship was enough to feel a little safer. They barely knew each other yet in that moment it felt as if he was talking to an old friend.
‘So do you.’ Sungmin croaked back. He could move his neck now, and he looked back up at the ceiling. He tried his legs and his arms once again and felt his strength start to return, albeit slowly.
‘You’re naked.’ Heechul snorted again.
‘So are you.’
‘What?’ Heechul yelled, sitting up stock straight. The revelation of his nudity seemed to shock his body into response. His face changed from shock to horror in a matter of seconds.
‘What is it?’ Sungmin asked, trying to tilt his head forward to see what Heechul was looking at.
Heechul didn’t respond, and he managed to heave himself up into a sitting position. When he looked around, he understood why Heechul hadn’t answered him immediately.
There were rows of beds, like the ones he and Heechul were sat upon, filling up the long, pure white room. All were attached to machines, but none were occupied. They were the only people in there. At the end of the room was a wall-sized mirror, reflecting their equally naked, bearded forms.
Sungmin had watched enough CSI to know that wasn’t a mirror.
‘There’s someone watching us.’ he whispered.
Heechul nodded. His hand slowly roamed his arm before he suddenly ripped out one of the wires attaching him to the machine. He let out a hiss of pain through grit teeth and proceeded to do it to both arms. There were two wires protruding from the side of his head, just above his ear.
Sungmin had to look away. The scream was enough to tell him how gruesome it was. And the worst part was, he knew he had to do the same.
Five or so minutes later they were both detached from the machines, standing unsteadily on their own feet. There were lab coats hanging off three pegs in the far corner of the room, and they wrapped themselves in them, clothing their nude bodies. He checked the machines as they made their way to the front of the room, and all of them were off. Even the ones they were attached to. Maybe that was why they’d woken up?
The lights were still flickering. A power shortage, maybe? Either that or it was deliberate. Sungmin hoped for the power shortage. Heechul stood at the large glass one-way window, his face pressed up against it as he tried to see inside. Apparently he couldn’t see anything, because he started yelling and pounding on the glass.
There was a door to the left of the window, but it was sealed shut. There was a pin-access module on the door. How could they get out without a pin code?
'It's locked.' He sighed hopelessly. He turned to see what Heechul's reaction would be to the bad news, but the older man only march over to one of the machines, ripping out one of the wires before returning to Sungmin's side with a maniacal grin.
Heechul nudged him aside, holding the wire in his hand, a metal nub at the end of it, and Sungmin watched in awe as he picked skilfully at the card-swipe access until it let out a sudden bang. Sparks and smoke exploded into his face and he choked, stepping back in shock. The door buzzed as it opened.
The situation was too tense to even bother wondering how Heechul knew how to pick a lock.
They stepped out with caution into an empty hallway, doors much like the one they’d just exited lining the walls. Hazard signs were printed on the white linoleum floors, smeared blood obscuring the words. The fluorescent lights above them were still flickering. White, red, white, red, white...
Sungmin didn’t want to think about what had happened here, or why their machines had been turned off, or why they’d been brought here.He wanted to leave. He wanted to leave as soon as fucking possible. And sparing a glance at Heechul's wide eyed terror, it seemed like he did too.