Title: Cold and Damp
Pairing: Hanchul, Kyumin, Kangteuk
Warnings: Swearing, Homophobia.
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
Kyuhyun brushed a knotted wisp of black hair away from Sungmin's sleeping face, pushing it behind his ear and watching the slow rise and fall of his chest. He hadn’t slept a wink; too busy watching over the other man.
Sungmin only woke up once or twice since the accident, only ever asking for a sip of water. He couldn’t keep down any food; Kyuhyun guessed he’d sustained some kind of head injury - something his meagre first aid wouldn’t suffice for. He’d been wheezing in his sleep, too, the smoke still clogging his lungs and making his golden skin turn a pale yellow.
A Chinese man had let them in just as Sungmin had gone limp in his arms, exhausted from the small amount of exercise he'd endured as they'd rushed into the precinct. He’d asked Kyuhyun to let him walk; ‘I’m not that weak, Kyuhyun,’ he’d said, ‘you’re tired; don’t let me be a burden.’
You’ll never be a burden, Min.
When he's heard the whistle from above, he’d been scared out of his wits; previously docile, useless zombies suddenly becoming alert and groaning as they shuffled towards him; limp arms hanging at their sides, feet scraping against the smooth concrete.
He’d ran as fast as he could with the little energy he had left, Sungmin making the going all the more tough as his limp body weighed down on Kyuhyun’s weak shoulders. He saw a man run towards him, and at first he’d tried to run away from him, but then he realised the man was quite obviously alive and in no way cannibalistic – as far as he could tell, and he ran into the building as the man directed. The man stayed behind to ‘divert’ the undead from the large building they'd entered.
The interior of the building was huge, but Kyuhyun had barely noticed, rushing across the sleek, oak flooring towards the first seat he could find. He found a lot of seats - being in a showroom full of sofas - and set Sungmin on a large, L-shaped couch, propping his head up with cushions and pulling the throw out of his rucksack, draping it over the smaller teen. They'd been there for almost an hour.
Sungmin was ice cold, the cool February weather unrelenting throughout their journey, and he rubbed at his small hands without a second thought. He’d never known himself to be the caring type. He let out a sigh of relief when Sungmin’s eyes fluttered open once more, tired and full of questions. His lips were cracked and dry, mouth trying to form words; coughing with the strain on his lungs. Kyuhyun quickly unzipped his duffel bag, handing him a cool bottle of water.
‘I feel dizzy.’ He whispered, his voice sounding sore and tight. His eyes were squeezed shut against the bright light flooding through the windows. He took a small sip of water. ‘Where are we?’
‘Some shopping mall I think.' He got to his feet and walked over to the windows, pulling the huge black curtains across the glass and feeling his way back to Sungmin in the darkness. 'We’re safe, I think. Go to sleep, I’ll be here when you wake up.’ He spared Sungmin an assuring smile, even though he knew he couldn't see it, before looking around at their surroundings. Soon enough he could hear quiet snores, catching the bottle before it slipped from Sungmin's limp grasp.
A small amount of light seeped into the room, before he heard someone approach, shoes clicking against the floors. He moved away from Sungmin a little, but not so much that he couldn’t grab him if things went wrong. He didn’t want to look too affectionate towards the smaller boy – as to why he was so bothered about it... he didn’t want to ask himself.
The Chinese man, as Kyuhyun had guessed him to be from the intonations in his speech, appeared from the door he’d entered through, clothes covered in gore and sweat glistening on his brow. So that’s what he'd meant by ‘divert’.
‘Is your friend well?’ he asked politely, walking towards Kyuhyun, but stopping when he noticed the boy visibly tense; moving closer to the sleeping figure next to him, somewhat resembling a lioness protecting her cub. ‘He looks sick.’ There was something else in the way he said it, an insinuation to something dangerous, something threatening. Kyuhyun repeated it in his mind, trying to gauge what kind of man he was talking to.
‘He’s tired, hurt his head a few days ago. Nothing you can help.’ Kyuhyun didn’t spare any pleasantries, he needed to know if this man meant well or not, and he wasn’t going to put Sungmin's in any danger while he was in such a poor state.
‘I didn’t mean to offend you, I’ll leave you in peace; just remember I’m as wary of you as you are of me.’ He spared him a reassuring smile, walking away and calling over his shoulder quietly as he went, minding the sleeping boy; ‘My name is Hankyung. There’s antibiotics and food behind you in the market. Don’t try and use the kitchens down here, they’re just for show. There are four more floors so don’t get lost, and don’t freak out if you see another guy here. That’s just Heechul. I suggest you avoid him as much as you can.’ He chuckled as he disappeared around a corner, footsteps growing quieter before all that could be heard was the quiet clinking of the boilers as they pumped warmth into the large building.
Kyuhyun let out a breath, relaxing back against the couch and stretching his tired arms above his head, humming softly when he heard a click. His feet were sore and blistered, legs aching from overexertion. He’d never taken part in any physical activities, not even in high school; he was regretting that decision now, pulling off his shoes and socks and nursing the balls of his feet.
He must’ve looked a mess; brown, curly hair knotted and dirty, his jacket ripped and his shirt reeking of sweat. His eyes were deeply set, dark circles making his boyishly handsome face look puffy and tired. He felt thin, stretched.
He looked back at Sungmin in the dim light; dark hair fanned out against the couch, his pretty face spotted with plaster and marred by grazes, his usually rosy lips pale and chapped from the cold weather and dehydration.
Yet he still looked beautiful.
Kyuhyun quickly cut off that train of thought. He didn’t feel that way - he refused to feel that way. Sungmin was nothing more than a burden. A burden he cared far too deeply about. They were room mates, that's all. He was as close as he had to a friend. Nothing more.
He let his head fall back against the couch, closing his eyes. Sleep sounded wonderful right now, but sleeping somewhere unfamiliar made him anxious, and he fought the sensation of weariness as long as he could. Eventually all paranoid thoughts of self preservation flew away as sleep clawed at his weary mind, pulling him down into the deep, numbing darkness of a dreamless sleep.
Hankyung strolled through the second floor, grabbing a clean shirt off one of the rails. He pulled his soiled shirt over his head, trying to figure out how and where to find the strange man he'd woken up with. He needed to inform him of the new additions downstairs. It could prove tiresome and time consuming if Heechul found them on his own – just in case he mistook them to be not-so-alive and decided to made sure they stayed that way. Hankyung didn't know what to expect.
He was distracted from his thoughts by something hard and noisy hitting his chest, looking down to find a big mess of Heechul falling flat on his backside. If looks could kill Hankyung would be cremated already.
'Look where you're going!' Heechul spat, big eyes looking as though they were about to shoot lasers.
'I could say the same to you.' Hankyung chuckled, offering a hand, Heechul taking it grudgingly; not forgetting to add a hefty sigh of indignation.
'Put your shirt on.' Heechul grumbled walking past Hankyung, stopping only when he noticed the Chinese man wasn't following. 'Come on.'
Hankyung stopped with his shirt halfway over his face, his voice muffled by the material. 'What?'
Heechul turned, raising his eyebrows. 'Come on!'
'Is there a way to get to the parking lot without going outside?'
'Don't ask a question before answering mine!' he snapped, walking closer to Hankyung before grabbing his wrist and tugging him along.
'Well, there's the warehouse, but I haven't been down there recently so I don't know if there's anything lurking in there.'
Heechul let go of his wrist when Hankyung started walking in step beside him, taking a moment to trail his eyes over the man's new form-fitting attire in silent appraisal before once again turning his attention to his face, which was looking a little bit uncomfortable at Heechul's scrutinizing gaze. 'Take me there, then. I need to let someone in.'
Hankyung didn't bother to ask any more questions, simply steering Heechul towards the elevator and pressing the button to the ground floor, feeling the familiar lurch in his stomach as it started to drop down the shaft.
'Tell me about yourself.' Heechul demanded suddenly. Hankyung turned to look at him, jumping back a little when he noticed just how close they were in the small elevator.
'Well, I don't kno-'
'I'm twenty-one, born on the tenth of July. I'm a Cancer and I like cats.' Heechul cut in; eyes bright and wide. How forward can one person be?
'Well that's... really interesting.' Hankyung sighed, turning his attention back to the numbers slowly counting down to naught. Too slowly. 'Oh, by the way, you'll see two people downstairs, don't freak out, I let them in.' He'd completely forgotten about the two new additions on the settee downstairs. He'd been curious as to what the smaller boys condition was – mostly wanting to make sure he wasn't bitten or scratched, but his companion seemed the testy type, and Hankyung wasn't the type to impose on another person’s privacy. At least not until it became his problem.
'Why did you let them in?'
'Well, I saw them from the roof and I wasn't going to leave them out there to die...' Hankyung chuckled without humour; why else would he let them in?
The lift pinged as the doors slid open, the two walking out and turning to look at the two sleeping figures on one of the couches.
'They could be serial killers or something.' Heechul waved a hand towards them, not bothering to lower his voice.
'Well, so could you. So could I.' Hankyung joked, leaning towards Heechul's face and smirking.
'If you were a serial killer I'd probably have woken up in some sort of sick bondage get-up covered in treacle or something fucked up like that.' Heechul span on his heel and headed towards a large door labelled 'staff only'. 'And if you are a serial killer I really hope I didn't give you any ideas.'
They walked through the door, Hankyung behind Heechul, finding it pitch black. The large room was barely illuminated by the small amount of light spilling in through tiny windows cut high into the walls at the far end of the room.
As soon as the door closed Hankyung felt Heechul latch onto his arm.
'Scared of the dark?'
Hankyung flicked a switch to his left, ignoring the small pang of disappointment he felt when Heechul let go. The room was large and cool, filled with crates and building equipment towering up to the high ceiling. He walked to the far end of the room, climbing the ladder propped next to the large, wide blue delivery door.
'Are any of those things out there?' he heard Heechul shout up as he glanced out of one of the small windows. It was raining heavily, droplets pounding aggressively against the thick glass and making it hard to see. He opened the window, cringing as the cold air stung his face and made his hairs stand to attention. He could see nothing but a few empty cars and lorries outside, not a single walking dead in sight.
'None, remind me why we're here?' he called back, stepping back down the ladder. By the time he got to the bottom, there still wasn't any reply and, looking around, Heechul was nowhere to be seen. 'Hee-'
'What?' he felt hot breath against his neck and span around, finding Heechul uncomfortably close, that obnoxious smirk plastered on his face.
'I told you not to creep up on people.' he grumbled, slightly flustered as he walked towards the control panel, pushing a large, red button and waiting for the shutters to rise.
Heechul sauntered over, resting his elbow on a step of the ladder and watching the shutters as they creaked and clanked.
'My friend should be driving up soon.' he said, answering Hankyung's previous question. 'I recommend you move out of the way. He doesn't know how to steer.' He groaned, rubbing his bare arms as the chill licked at his creamy skin, rain dotting the concrete as the shutters finally clinked to a stop. 'But while we wait, you never told me about yourself.' Heechul smiled, turning back to the Chinese man.
'Well, you didn't really give me a chance.' Hankyung huffed half-heartedly, walking over to Heechul and sitting on the bottom step of the ladder. He let his elbows rest on his knees as he looked up at the feminine man.
'I was just giving you an example.' Heechul sneered. 'Fuck, its freezing.'
'You should have worn warmer clothes, then.' Hankyung smiled, he wasn't really complaining. Heechul was extremely easy on the eyes. It looked like he'd taken the opportunity to grab some fresh clothes from the clothing department, kitted out in too-tight jeans and a grey, long sleeved shirt. 'I'm twenty-one; I was born on the 9th of February, though, so I'm guessing you were born the year before me.'
'I thought you were older than that.' Heechul said, walking further into the warehouse away from the shutters to get a little warmer. 'Why are you in Korea? You're Chinese, right?'
'I came to study; I was hoping to become a translator or something. It pays well and stuff, but I couldn't afford to stay at college after my mother got ill. I started working full time here so I could send her money for medicine. She only has my sister to look after her now that my father's dead.' He sighed.
'Your mother's still in China?'
'But didn't China get ov-'
'I know,' he cut in, 'I know.' He looked away from Heechul, gazing distractedly into to the parking lot. He knew there was very little chance his mother was still alive. He had a strong feeling that by 'quarantine' they'd meant 'mass-murder.' That was just how it worked, there was no way they could control an outbreak like this in such an over-populated place.
Hankyung didn't want to think about it, though. If he didn't think about it, he could pretend she was fine. Snug and warm with his sister, watching awful dramas on their out-of-date television and looking after his dog while he worked his ass off to keep things that way.
'I'm sorry.' he heard Heechul mumble. He looked up, seeing an almost painful expression on the other man's pretty face.
'It's fine,' he smiled, 'I just don't want to think about it.'
'Ah, here's Jungsu...' Heechul piped up, looking as if the previous conversation hadn't happened. Hankyung heard the rumbling of an engine not long after. He stood up and watched as the car came speeding into the parking lot. Heechul wasn't joking when he said his friend couldn't steer. A small, off-white Ford Pinto came wheeling round the corner into the parking lot, the engine banging and smoking as it went. It screeched as it braked, slowly rolling into the warehouse before the engine was shut off, a man around the same age as Heechul stepping out of the car. He was funny-looking, almost pretty if it wasn't for his nose. He looked like he belonged in a cheesy 90's boyband or something with his baggy clothes and crappy haircut. He couldn't help but smirk at the contrast between this guy and Heechul.
'How did you get here without killing yourself?' Heechul laughed; a laugh Hankyung hadn't heard before. It was soft and natural, one Heechul seemed to reserve for people he was comfortable with. Hankyung liked it. He watched Heechul run over to his friend, pulling him into a tight hug before quickly pushing him away. 'You smell like three days worth of vomit, what the hell...' he cringed, backing away.
'Youngwoon had a few too many when the college went crazy, I've been driving with my feet in a puddle of sick. Who's this?' Heechul’s friend beamed, dimples flashing as he turned his gaze to Hankyung. He walked over, offering a hand. Hankyung shook it firmly.
'Hankyung.' He replied simply, returning the smile.
'I'm Jungsu, and the corpse in the passenger seat is Youngwoon.' he pointed over his shoulder to the car. 'Are you and Heechul friend? I've seen you before, I think, on campus.'
'No, I attended the same college as you both, I met Heechul by-' he paused, sparing a glance at the man next to him. He smirked. '-chance.'
'Oh, okay.' Jungsu walked back to the car, opening the passenger side and pulling something out. A leg. Another leg. Slowly and with a great struggle, Jungsu pulled out a man, strong in stature and obviously heavy, if the way Jungsu was groaning was any indication.
'Why did you bring him?' Heechul sneered, walking over to Jungsu. He pushed him away, instead kicking the man now lying on the floor, a sinister grin spreading across his face when the man groaned and stirred, blinking blearily.
'Heechul?' he raised himself on his elbows, 'Jungsu, where are we? Why is he here?' Heechul delivered another kick to his side, leaning over him. Hankyung almost laughed out loud at the expression on the man's face. He looked terrified.
‘Stop kicking me, asshole.’ Youngwoon growled, clutching his stomach and trying to return Heechul’s glare.
‘Seriously, Jungsu! Why would you bring this fat piece of shit along?’ Heechul spat, still shooting daggers at Youngwoon, ‘Surely he’d be better off with his pack of shitheads.’
There was no response from Jungsu.
‘Jungsu!’ Heechul pulled his gaze away from Youngwoon, looking towards where Jungsu was standing only seconds before. ‘Jungsu?’
‘Look down.’ Hankyung mumbled.
‘Shit.’ Heechul groaned; throwing his arms up in exasperation when he saw his friend sprawled out on the floor. ‘Hankyung, do something.’
Hankyung walked over to the thin body lying on the concrete and threw him over his shoulder, walking back out of the warehouse and into the warm, dim space of the showrooms, leaving Heechul and Youngwoon alone.
'He hasn't slept in three days.' Youngwoon said. He was still nursing his stomach, sitting cross-legged against the car door. 'I got car sick five times, I thought I was having a nightmare when I woke up and saw him holding the wheel.' he grumbled, grimacing at the memory.
'Why didn't you drive, then?' Heechul growled, pointing an accusing finger in the stout man's direction and shaking it aggressively.
'I cut my feet looking for Jungsu, I can't walk, never mind pressing the pedals.'
Heechul let out a loud, ungraceful snort.
'Screw you, Heech-' he hit the ground with a thud, the previously open car door he was leaning against being slammed shut.
'Don't disrespect your elders.' Heechul crouched in front of Youngwoon intimidatingly, smirking and lacing his fingers together in his lap. 'I'm gonna make you wish you stayed at college, tubby – and if you even lay a finger on Jungsu I'll snap your neck clean off.'
‘Just shut up and help me up.’ Youngwoon hissed indignantly, looking for all the world like he’d rather be outside.
‘I’d rather let you rot.’ Heechul sighed, and Youngwoon could only watch as the skinny boy turned and walked straight out of the warehouse.
He let out a hopeless whine when the door slammed shut, the warehouse feeling all the more chilly – not to mention the shutters were still open. He felt like a piece of meat.
He crossed his legs, putting his foot on his knee; there were deep, gruesome looking abrasions all along the sole of his foot, tiny shards of glass piercing the flesh. It stung, and he wasn’t even going to consider pulling the glass out.
He stretched his legs before him, lying back down on the cool concrete. It was dusty and dirty, but it felt nice. He was still feeling slightly hung-over, and Jungsu’s driving had given him the worst car-sickness he’d ever experienced. Heechul didn’t help, either.
He didn’t know why the older boy hated him so much, but the feeling was mutual anyway. The bitch – as Youngwoon liked to call him – was always glued to Jungsu’s hip, ever since high school. They’d never really spoken to each other, but whenever they’d see each other in hallways or in classes, Heechul’s glares spoke a thousand words.
He guessed he could understand; many a time he’d woken up, hung-over and dizzy only to roll over and find Jungsu there. He’d always be awake, eyes glazing every now and then as he tried to stay conscious. He’d ask him why he was there, why he was in Jungsu’s room; but obviously the older boy had been looking after him.
He never returned the favour. He’d never hurt Jungsu intentionally, but he couldn’t control himself when he was drunk. His emotions would rage out of control and he’d break anything in sight – and Jungsu was usually the closest, easiest thing to break.
He felt sick every time Jungsu’s sleeve would lift up, when he’d see those blue-purple bruises on his wrists. Thumb marks embedded in his skin from where he’d been too rough the night before. He felt sick. Sick with himself.
So sick he couldn’t even bring himself to apologise, wishing rather to pretend it never happened, to pretend he couldn’t remember. He never got so drunk he lost his memory – he’d always have it playing through his head the night after; images of Jungsu’s face, looking so upset that it hurt.
Youngwoon looked up at the high ceiling of the warehouse, listening to the rain as it thudded against the tin roof.
He wouldn’t have saved himself if he were in Jungsu’s shoes. He’d have left him there to rot. He deserved to rot, just as Heechul said.
The thought felt sour in his head. He’d never agree with that piece of filth. He didn’t understand why Jungsu was friends with that pile of bones; he was sour-mouthed and only cared about himself. He poisoned Jungsu with his disturbing personality, his girlishness. Men should be men, manly and such. They should sleep with women, get drunk, and have fun with their youth before settling down with a wife and children.
They shouldn’t be like Heechul. Sleeping with every guy he felt like; Youngwoon felt sick just being near him. People like Heechul had no place in the world. He didn’t want Jungsu to be like Heechul. Jungsu was pure, angelic in his eyes.
But most of all, Jungsu was his. His to batter and bruise, to laugh with, to irritate, to possess and maybe, just maybe, Youngwoon wished he'd been the one who'd saved Jungsu.