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Fresh 'Till Death

Chapter Text

Waking up early, for Hyuna, was never ideal. She was the type of person to sleep in, warm and happy, until she absolutely had to wake up.

Today, she woke up nearly at the break of dawn, to fulfil some hair appointments she had scheduled. She was a hairdresser at a small, quaint barber shop, located on the edge of town.

It was a cluttered little shop, hair styling tools organized on any counter space Hyuna could manage to find. The walls were white, filled up by vintage barber shop posters, and pictures. There was one window and lightbulb lighting the space. In the other room, Hyuna’s business partner had her own section of the barber shop, just as claustrophobic as Hyuna’s was. IT wasn’t the nicest shop in town, but Hyuna needed money, and it did the job just fine.

The front door opened, ringing the cluster of bells hanging at the top of the door. Hyuna’s next client, an unfamiliar man, walked through the door. He was tall, with sharp, angular features, and eyebrows to match. As Hyuna went up to greet him, shaking his hand and smiling up at him, she realized just how much he towered over her.

“Good afternoon,” she greeted, noticing how her hand was enveloped by his as she shook it.

“You as well,” he nodded, his deep voice rumbling in his chest.

Hyuna turned around to lead that man inside. “Go ahead and take a seat,” she said, motioning to the salon chair. She unfolded the salon cape, putting it over his body and securing it around his neck. “This is your first time coming to us, right?” she asked. She tied her striped apron around her waist.

His dark eyes seemed to be locked onto Hyuna as she leaned his back in his chair. “Yes,” he said. “I’ve been looking for something different, and when I came to see this place, your partner said you’d be available around this time. I just had no idea you’d be so pretty.”

“Oh,” Hyuna said, smiling politely, “thank you.” She often got complimented on the job. She figured it was due to her friendly looks. It was flattering, really, she didn’t mind. “What’re we doing for you, today?”

“I think just a trim and a clean shave would be great.”

“Sounds great,” Hyuna nodded, turning around to get the shaving cream ready. She mixed it in a small bowl, using a soft, dense brush. “We’ll do your face first, if you don’t mind.”

The man nodded. “Whatever you want to do is fine by me.”

Hyuna nodded, thickly spreading the shaving cream on the man’s face. “What’re you thinking for your hair? Just a few centimeters, or more?”

“A few centimeters should be fine. I’d just like to clean it up, a bit,” the man responded.

“Easy enough,” Hyuna said, grabbing the razor off of the counter. The blade was thin and silver, reflecting the dull light in the room. Hyuna sharpened the blade after every use, so it was plenty sharp. She had to be careful to not cut anyone.

Hyuna leaned over the man, making sure not to block any light, and began shaving stripes into the man’s face. She started at his jawline, making sure not to cut the edge of it. She wiped the razor blade on a towel, cleaning off the shaving cream. She wiped the shaved parts of his face with a gentle aftershave.

“Is there any reason you’re getting all cleaned up?” Hyuna asked.

“Not in particular,” the man answered, “I just felt like it was about time.” Hyuna nodded in understanding. “I figured it would give me a good opportunity to go out and meet a pretty woman.” As he said it, his hand came up to touch the back of Hyuna’s thigh, just under where her shorts ended.

Startled, Hyuna’s razor clattered to the ground. She hadn’t expected the man’s touch. Despite the compliments she regularly got while working, none of her customers ever dared to touch her. She didn’t ever say more than to thank them, and they took that as a sign to stay within her boundaries. She didn’t like this new change. Her skin was crawling with uncomfortable chills.

“Excuse me,” Hyuna said, picking up the razor. “I’m sorry, I need to go clean this off.” She turned to walk away, but the man grabbed at her wrist, jerking her body to a halt.

“Before I forget,” he said, “would you like to go out with me sometime?”

“Oh,” Hyuna said, her heart beating in her ears. “I’m not sure, my schedule is very full right now.” Hyuna didn’t like the grip the man had on her wrist. She didn’t know what to do. The man was far more aggressive towards her than he had been, at first.

“How about a quick kiss?” he asked. “To see if there’s any chemistry.”

Hyuna tried to step out of his hold, but his hand didn’t budge. “We hardly know each other,” she pointed out.

“Then we should get to know each other,” he said. When he let go, Hyuna stumbled back from the momentum. The man stood, ripping the cape off from around his neck, his dark eyes peering down at Hyuna. Hyuna felt smaller than ever. “Come on, just one kiss.”

Hyuna took a precautionary step backwards. The razor was still in her hand. “I don’t—”

“Hyuna, was it?” the man interrupted, giving a tight-lipped smile. Despite his smile, there was something less than friendly about his expression. His dark eyes flashed with heat. “One kiss.” He took a step towards her, urging her back against the counter.

“I don’t want to kiss you,” she said, the sharp edge of the counter digging into her back. Blood was rushing through her body.

The man lunged forward, pinning Hyuna in place, practically lifting her onto the counter. His hands were on her thighs, fingertips digging into the flesh there. He was trying to kiss her, but she was avoiding his mouth, shaking her head from left to right. “Kiss me,” he demanded, his grip on Hyuna too tight. It was hurting her, sure to leave marks.

“Get off of me!” Huna yelled. “Her arms were hitting him where she could, but he wasn’t faltering. She had never had to deal with something like this before. She had always been safe.

“Kiss me, bitch,” the man growled, angrier than before.

Hyuna managed to punch him in the stomach, making his step back. She took her chance to run across the barber shop, the razor shaking in her hand. She was looking up at the man. She braced herself on the other side, holding the razor out in front of her. She had to hold it with both hands, so she wouldn’t shake.

“Don’t come any closer,” she warned, her voice significantly less shaky than she’d expected.

“Don’t be that way,” the man said, his deep voice threateningly quiet. “Fucking kiss me, girl. How else are we going to know if we like each other?” He was taking slow steps towards her, as if trying to calm her, and get her to lower the razor.

Hyuna didn’t respond, just kept her arms raised, gaze not daring to leave him, even for a second.

“Really, do you think this is going to stop me?” he asked, getting closer. “Look at yourself, you’re scared stiff.” He was no more than three feet away. “I want you, Hyuna, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

The air was terrifyingly still, fear ringing in Hyuna’s ears. It felt like nothing was moving or breathing, even though she very well knew she was breathing quite heavily. She was suspended in time and space, and she didn’t know how to get out of it.

The still air crashed down around her, falling to the floor. The man was lunging towards her, lust and anger on his face. His hands were reaching towards her with malevolent intent, coming down to close around her thin arms.

Hyuna panicked, swiping her arm in an attempt to protect herself. The man stopped in his tracks, taking a step away from her. His hand was covering his cheek. His eyes were staring widely at Hyuna, disbelief and rage contorting his features. He took his hand away from his face, revealing the deep, bloody gash Hyuna had made with her razor blade. His cheek was bleeding, dark red trickling down his jawline, dripping onto his clothing and the linoleum of the barber shop’s floor. The man’s eyes followed the dripping blood to the floor, before snapping back up to Hyuna.

“You fucking bitch,” he growled, touching his fingertips to the blood on his face. He didn’t hesitate to move forward, his large form practically drowning Hyuna. His muscles were tensed, ready to pounce and harm Hyuna, to blinded by his emotions to have any sort of moral reasoning. He looked vicious and ready to have his way with Hyuna.

Hyuna pushed the man, her small hands landing in the center of his chest. Before she could register what was happening, the man was flying backwards, reaching up at Hyuna. The back of his head hit the corner of Hyuna’s counter, the sound crashing over her senses. He fell to the ground, head slightly bouncing against the floor. His eyes were closed, body limp. Blood started spreading over the linoleum, pooling around his head. He must have cracked his head open while he was falling.

Not moving, Hyuna attempted to calm her breathing. Her wrist, thighs, and arms hurt, where the man had grabbed her, but that was the least of her problems, at the moment. Hyuna had never been attacked like that, she hadn’t been prepared for something like that. And now there was a man lying in his own blood, in the middle of her shop.

She took cautious steps forward, eyes still not leaving the man. She used the tip of her foot to nudge at the man’s body, making sure he wasn’t conscious. His arm was limp, moving with her foot, but no further than that. Her hands were shaking as she turned around to her counter. She set her razor down, the edge of the blade now ornate with the man’s blood. She picked up the towel she had been using for the shaving cream.

She couldn’t leave the place like this. It didn’t look great. The man’s blood had pooled far around him, practically filling the floor space. There was blood everywhere, and how was Hyuna going to explain this to anyone? Her business partner surely would understand self-defense, but the profuse amount of blood was sure to shake anyone.

Hyuna kneeled to the floor, her shaky legs giving out halfway through, forcing her to the floor. While catching herself, her fingers landed in the man’s quickly cooling blood. It was wet, and slick, the colour staining her skin. She clutched the towel in her hand, mopping it over the blood, trying to clean up as much as she could.

She couldn’t believe something like this had happened to her. Hyuna was a polite girl, she would never have guessed that she’d be cleaning up a man’s blood off of her floor. She would have never known that she was going to get attacked by a man more powerful, and much more threatening than she was. She didn’t know what she had done to deserve something like this. She didn’t know why she was the one who had to deal with all of this, hands still shaking.

The towel was quickly drenched with blood, dripping off of the cloth, coating her fingers and palms thoroughly. Hyuna sat back, shock making it hard for her to do anything but stare. Her feet slipped in the blood, smearing it across the linoleum. She turned her shaky hands around, looking at the way the blood obscured everything except for the lines in her hands. She could feel how wide her eyes were.

The sight of blood made her sick to her stomach. Her gut was twisting, making her nauseous. The man’s body was nearly drained of blood, by the sight of everything around her. The man was… dead. Right? That’s what was happening? That’s what she had done?

Hyuna sat back up, hurriedly taking off her spotted cardigan. She didn’t have enough towels to clean all of this up, especially since they’d all have to be thrown away. Besides, her cardigan had already gotten blood on it, there was no saving it now. She balled the cardigan up, wiping at the ground with it. The thin material wasn’t doing much for soaking the blood up, but it was good for wiping it up. As she moved forward, her knees were slicked with blood, matching her hands. Her legs were smeared with blood, flecked higher up on her legs, barely reaching her shorts. Her apron had been dirty before, but now the stripes all seemed to blend together with red. There was blood up her arms, and she didn’t know how it had happened. It looked like her own fingerprints dotted her arms, so she must have nervously touched her arms, as she often did. But this time, it left a mark.

There was blood everywhere. From the man she had… killed? She had done that? She had killed him? It was her doing?

Of course, she was just trying to defend herself. But no one would believe that. There was no proof. Everyone would think that she killed this innocent man on purpose. Like there was something wrong with her.

She couldn’t get caught.

Once the blood was as cleaned up as Hyuna felt it was going to be—which evidently, was not very much, she stood. The man—his body, was taking up the entirety of Hyuna’s side of the shop. She inched towards the man’s body, wrapping her blood-stained hands around his arm, trying to pull him closer to the back door. If she got him out there, she could shove him into the dumpster, or just leave him outside, and pretend she wasn’t the one who did it.

Unfortunately, the blood she was standing in was slick, and the mass of his body was much larger than the mass of hers’. She slipped, landing in the blood. The colour red was staining most of her body, from her skin, to her clothing, and probably her hair. She hadn’t worn it up today, so god could tell what she had gotten in it.

She was covered in blood, and there was no way to get the dead body out of her territory. Anyone who looked through the single window, or came in for an appointment, would know what had happened. Would know what she had done.

She couldn’t explain herself, that was impossible. Right now, she couldn’t even trust herself to talk. She was shaking, cold sweat rolling down her face from fear. Her stomach twisted inside of her, working with her brain to make her feel as sick and terrified as possible. She could think straight. Wasn’t even sure if she could see straight. She wanted to get out of there. To get out, as fast as possible, and go wherever her shaky legs could take her. As long as it was away.

Hyuna shakily locked the doors to the shop, shutting off the lights. She had left the man and bloody cloth in there. She was covered in blood, but hopefully she wouldn’t be seen. It was dark enough, now, that no one would be able to see her well enough to see the blood all over her body. It was late, so no one should be out. No one should be able to tell it was her, or why she looked so afraid.

If she ran through the alleyway next to her shop, no one would be there. She could run away in peace, covered in blood, until she found some sort of savior. Whether it be where she lived, or some sort of calmness brought to her being, she’d take it. Anything to help calm the sickness boiling deep in her stomach, causing her body to shake and spasm. She’d take it. As long as it saved her, she didn’t care. She’d take it.

Chapter Text

Ideally, Hwitaek could have whatever he wanted.

At the push of a button, or the snap of his fingers, Hwitaek could have whatever he wanted. No questions asked. If he wanted, Hwitaek could have the whole world. Ideally.

Unfortunately, Hwitaek did not live in his ideal world. In order to get what he wanted, Hwitaek had to take… measures. Hwitaek wanted a lot. He really did. He was raised with the belief that materialistic things could not provide everlasting happiness. Maybe that was true, but Hwitaek had figured out, at a very young age, that materialistic things did make him happy. Maybe it wasn’t everlasting, but it sure did the job. Hwitaek liked silk shirts and nice slacks, and expensive shoes, and even more expensive accessories. He liked things and stuff, but most of all, Hwitaek liked money.

The only downside of Hwitaek’s material love, was how unattainable some things were. Hwitaek couldn’t just happen upon everything he wanted. So he had to steal it.

It had become a habit, at this point—stealing. He did it absentmindedly, a lot of the time, just picking up whatever shiny, expensive thing was in front of him at the moment, and shoving it into his pocket. Hwitaek stole like the fate of the world depended on it. And it usually always got him in trouble.

At the moment, Hwitaek was running as fast as he could, through what felt like a hundred different alleyways. When he turned the corner, he had to latch onto the corner of a building, to keep from flying into the wall. Dust was kicking up around him, the wind flattening his hair.

Today’s adventure was due to him stealing a fairly good amount of money from three, particularly unfriendly thugs. In his defense, they hadn’t been keeping a very good eye on their money. Hwitaek was able to slip inside, grab the money, and get out, without them even noticing him until he was halfway out the door. He had almost escaped, but they noticed an unsettling feeling in the room, which just so happened to be Hwitaek. They ran after Hwitaek, firing up a rather messy situation. Luckily, Hwitaek was a fast runner.

Hwitaek vaulted himself around a corner, looking behind him. Two men in black shirts followed him. Fuck, weren’t there three of them, before? There was the one with the dreads, the one with the anti-dust mask, and the one in the white shirt. But where was the one in white? The other two were running towards Hwitaek from behind, looking as thuggish as ever.

Hwitaek would have loved to have continue running forward. Much to his displeasure, he was greeted by the man in white, walking towards him, some sort of shit-eating grin on his face. Hwitaek stopped running, catching his breath while he could, and trying to assess the situation. He didn’t have long before the thugs got to him. The one in white was coming from his right, the other two marching towards his left. He obviously couldn’t run left, he’d practically be jumping into the two men’s arms. If he tried to run right, the man in white would be able to slow him down enough for the other two to get to him. If he stood still, he’d get the shit beat out of him. Either way, Hwitaek was in for a world of pain. Might as well stand his ground.

The three men had Hwitaek totally cornered. He looked at them. They were much bigger than he was, and most likely more used to beating the living shit out of people like Hwitaek. There was no way he could win this fight. “Well,” Hwitaek sighed, a smirk forming on his lips. He shrugged. “What’re you going to do?”

Hwitaek’s question was answered immediately—in the form of fists. There was a fist flying up into his stomach, doubling him over. One of the men—he couldn’t see who—punched him square in the face, making contact with his nose. He could feel a throbbing pain on the bridge of his nose, and blood started to trickle out one of his nostrils.

“Damn,” Hwitaek panted, getting thrown against one of the brick walls. “I guess that’s what you’re going to do.”

The man with the dreadlocks stepped forward, grabbing onto the collar of Hwitaek’s shirt and slamming him against the wall for an emphasis on their thuggish demeanor. “Shut the fuck up and give us our money,” he demanded.

The back of Hwitaek’s head ached from where it had made contact with the brick wall. “As you can see,” he began, raising his arms in another shrug. “I don’t have it on me.” He didn’t have anything on him besides a silky blue shirt, black slacks, and shoes. There wasn’t even anywhere he could hide money on himself.

The man let Hwitaek go, and there was a fist against the side of his face, knocking him sideways. The inside of his cheek was slammed against his teeth, blood filling the space where his teeth had cut. He stumbled, catching his fall with his hands. He barely got the chance to stand back up, before hands gripped his shoulders, pulling him down. A knee was forced against his stomach, knocking the air out of him.

Blood dripped out of his mouth, onto the ground, as he gasped for air. Again, he was slammed against the wall, less gentle than the first time. “Where the hell is our money?” the man in the anti-dust mask asked, his thick eyebrows furrowed at Hwitaek.

Hwitaek decided to take some time to brush the dirt off of his sleeves. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, red smearing his skin. He loved making people like this wait. He loved fucking with people. “It seems like I’ve lost track of it,” he said, looking around the alleyway. What a place to get the shit beat out of you.

The man in the white shirt pulled his arm back, hand balled into a tight fist. He swung his arm forward at full force, punching Hwitaek in the jaw. Hwitaek was pushed to the ground by the force, hands and knees scraped on the rocks. If they fucked his clothes up, he was going to be livid.

“Bring us our fucking money,” the man in the white shirt said. “Otherwise, we’ll fucking kill you.” They glared down at Hwitaek, who was still on the ground, before they walked away, down the alleyway.

Hwitaek groaned at the pain in his body and rolled over so he could sit and lean against the wall. He spat blood on the ground. By the looks of it, his clothes were fine, just a bit roughed up, but nothing a quick fix wouldn’t take care of. There was dirt all over him, from the ground. Blood had gotten on him, from his own face, but it wasn’t too terrible. His mouth ached and tasted like iron, and his nose fucking throbbed, but overall, he had gotten out of it pretty well. If all he had to do to steal a few thousand dollars was get beat up, he’d be doing this more often.

#

In and out, no talking to anyone for more than thirty seconds. Ideally, Hwitaek could just walk into the club, grab what he needed, and peace out, for lack of a more accurate term.

Hwitaek had freshened up a bit, since his last social encounter. He looked a hell of a lot better, but the gash on his nose wasn’t going to go anywhere, any time soon. The bridge of his nose was bruised, as was his split lip, but he had looked worse.

He walked into the club, immediately pushing through a dancefloor full of people, so he could get to the bar. He wouldn’t be drinking tonight, but he would achieve something much greater. There was a woman at the bar, who Hwitaek had his eyes on. He had never met her, or the friend she was with, but she had something Hwitaek wanted. And he was going to get it.

The club was nice enough, he would have loved to spend more time there, if he hadn’t been on a mission. It was dimly lit, wooden walls and yellow lamps giving a warm glow to the place. There were windows strategically placed, showing the setting sun. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, one above the bar, and one above the dance floor. Fun music with a heavy beat played in the background, practically entrancing the swaying bodies. It would have been a good place for Hwitaek to spend time, if he hadn’t been determined to commit another felony.

The woman he had his eye on had her hair braided in all sorts of ways, her friend with bleached hair. They were sitting at the bar, chatting amongst themselves. Hwitaek walked up to them and threw and arm around each other them, interrupting their conversation as if he had been familiar with the.

“Nice to see you two again,” he said, a charming smile on his face.

“Get off of me,” the blonde woman said, shoving Hwitaek off of her. He kept his arm around the other woman. Her keys were right next to her, and he could just barely reach them. He grabbed the keys, hiding them in his hand.

“What?” Hwitaek asked, feigning innocence.

“We don’t know you,” the blond one said, giving him a disgusted look. She was wearing black lipstick, drawing attention to her bitter expression.

The other woman, the one with braids and purple lipstick, didn’t seem to mind Hwitaek’s company. “Come on, he seems like he knows us,” she tried to reason. “We probably just don’t remember.”

Hwitaek smiled. “Of course. I was just here a week or so ago, remember?”

The woman with braids shook her head. “I must have drank a lot, I don’t remember you at all,” she said.

“I don’t think we know you,” the blond one said, without so much as trying to seem friendly towards Hwitaek.

“Well,” he smiled, “nice to meet you, then.” He smiled at the both of them, removing his arm from the one with braids. Her keys were safely tucked in his hand, where no one would be able to see them. “I better get going.” He winked at them, for good measure, and walked away, heading straight out of the club.

Finding her car was easy enough, even in the parking garage. He got in, turned the car on, and drove out of there, as if everything was the way it was supposed to be.

He didn’t know where he was going. He was more or less just driving and seeing where he ended up. Not like leaving town, or anything drastic like that, but finding somewhere else where his expertise could be used, and he could steal what he wanted. He wouldn’t mind being able to spend some of the thug’s money, either.

He was driving around the edge of town, looking around for somewhere interesting. There were a few stores and shops he could probably get into without setting off a dozen alarms. He didn’t even know what he was in the mood for, though. Usually there was something in particular he wanted to get his hands on, like a new watch, or an expensive turtleneck. But he already had all of that. He didn’t want to bore himself.

Down the road, there was someone walking out in the center of the lane he was in, looking around as if they were lost. Hwitaek slowed to a stop, his headlights illuminating the figure. Hwitaek could only see the back of her. It was a woman with bright orange hair, wearing shorts that were sure to not provide any warmth on a night like this. She was wearing a jacket, but that seemed to be it. She turned around, her long hair moving over her shoulder, her wide eyes visible in the light. She looked afraid, and by the mass amount of blood on her body, she probably had a right to be. There was drying blood smeared all over her legs, arms, and splattered everywhere else. Her lips were painted a bright shade of red, not to far from her hair, or the blood on her body. She was shaking, either from the cold, or from fear.

“Need a ride?” Hwitaek asked, leaning out of his window. The woman just nodded, walking towards the car. Hwitaek, like the true gentleman he was, got out of the car and opened the door for her. She nodded in thanks, and got in the car.

When he was back in the car, he could really see how much this woman was shaking. “Are you hurt?” he asked, driving down the street.

She shook her head, visible in his peripheral vision.

“Good,” he said. They drove in silence. Hwitaek grabbed a towel from the back seat of the car, handing it to the woman. She took it, wiping her hands of the blood, working her way up her arms. “Is that your blood?”

She shook her head again.

“Good.” Hwitaek turned a few corners, edging closer to the outskirts of town. It was a quiet night. There weren’t many cars in the streets, or people out. “My name is Hwitaek.”

The woman said something, too quiet for him to understand. She cleared her throat, looking up at Hwitaek. “Hyuna.”

Hwitaek nodded. “It’s nice to meet you, Hyuna,” he said. “What happened?”

Hyuna didn’t respond for a moment, seemed to be looking at the palms of her hands. “I-I was attacked. I didn’t mean to, but I pushed him, and there was blood. A lot of blood.” Her voice was wavering, as if she were about to cry.

“I could tell,” Hwitaek said, nodding to Hyuna’s body. “So, you killed someone, right?”

“I didn’t mean to,” Hyuna said quickly. “It was self-defense.”

Hwitaek nodded. “I believe you,” he assured. “But you did kill him, yes?”

“Yes.”

Hwitaek look at Hyuna, who still looked terrified. “I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. “You can trust me.”

Hyuna looked at him with wide eyes, red lips parted in surprise. “You- you’re not… afraid of me?”

Hwitaek raised his eyebrows. “Why would I be?”

“I killed someone,” Hyuna said, practically sinking into the seat of the car.

“Yeah,” he said, brushing the subject off. “Well, I assume you should get out of here, right?”

Hyuna shook her head, as if trying to place all of her thoughts. Her hands were clutching the bloodied towel, her shaking gone down. “Why are you helping me?”

Hwitaek shrugged, looking at the woman. She was very pretty, there was no denying that. Her lips were a pleasant heart shape. She had big eyes, her face framed by that wild orange hair. She looked like a fire. Hwitaek smiled. “We’ve all been through some shit, you know?”

Chapter Text

Hyojong had no ideals. No dreams or aspirations. When he was a kid, he had them. He had wanted to become a musician, or an artist, or something along those lines. But he grew up. He grew up, and realized that life sort of sucks, and there was no reason to do anything with his life, because everyone was going to die in the end, anyway.

He wasn’t depressed, not really. He just didn’t have any ideals. Unless you counted death.

Yes, it was true. Hyojong wanted to die. For some reason, the idea od death fascinated him, and he literally could not wait to meet his afterlife and experience it to the fullest. He would die, and get away from everything in life, and it would most likely be great.

He had tried to die, too. Several times. Tried to take his own life, but nothing seemed right. He had tried to drown himself in his bathtub, but it was taking too long, so he just sat up and went on with his day. He had tried to suffocate himself with a plastic bag, but he was getting bored with it, so he just ripped it open and kept on living his life. This morning, he had wrapped a telephone cord around his neck, but it wasn’t strong enough to do any damage, so he just ended up unwinding it and setting the phone back on his dresser. Nothing felt right, and Hyojong always found a way out of it. For some reason, dying never felt quite right. It felt like he was missing something, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. It felt like he had to go out with a bang, or something. More bravado and flare than just killing himself at home.

Maybe home was the problem. If he went out and did it in public, he’d make the paper, and the news. He could leave an impression on this shitty town once and for all, and be done with living.

Hyojong headed out the door. He didn’t know how he was going to do it, but he knew it was going to be done. He walked along a sidewalk, idly looking at the brightness of the moon, and how it illuminated his pale hands.

He briefly wondered if he should be dressed nicer for his death. He was just wearing a grey tank top, jeans, some boots he’d had forever, and an oversized button-up he couldn't be bothered with buttoning. When people found his body, this is what he’d look like. He could have dressed a bit nicer, but he supposed he was fine with it. He didn’t look terrible. Plus, he’d be dead, so he wouldn’t really care one way or another.

The streetlights were on, casting a pale-yellow light down on him. The sky was a pleasant indigo colour, the full moon high in the sky. The air was cold and still, so quiet he could hear his own footsteps. There weren’t any cars in the street, or people walking around, which figured, since it was late at night.

Hyojong slowed to a stop. A car would be the perfect way to go. For one thing, his body wouldn’t have to wait to be found, since someone will have been the one to hit him. Even better, he had less control over it, so there was no way he could get out of it. He couldn’t rip open the plastic bag, or unwind the telephone cord from his neck. He’d just be done for, and there wasn’t any way he could stop it. It was perfect.

The main problem, at the moment, was the lack of cars driving down the street. He was a ways from where he lived, waiting under a streetlight for a car to pass through. There were businesses around him, and intersection right in front of him. As soon as the car was close enough, he’d throw himself into the street, right in front of the car, and that’d be it.

He took a deep breath. There were no goodbyes to be said, no regrets making him stay on this earth. He’d done everything he’d wanted with his life, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. He was fine with how his life had gone for all these years. People were nice enough to him, and he was nice enough to them. He was fairly certain no one hated him, and he couldn’t think of anyone he hated, either. He hadn’t been unhappy, in his lifetime. He had lived a fine life. It felt like he had lived long enough. It was time for him to go.

This is what real fulfilment felt like. He couldn’t properly kill himself before, because he hadn’t mentally prepared himself, like he was doing now. Before, it had just been a quick, spur of the moment thing. He had just thrown himself backwards into his bathtub because he was bored, and he knew it was what he wanted. But this feeling he was having right now—this was his life flashing before his eyes. He was ready to die. He was finally able to kill himself.

A car turned around the corner, it’s headlights lighting the street. It was all the way at the other end of the street. It gave Hyojong some time to really let himself know that this was finally happening. What he had wanted for so long was finally becoming a reality.

The car was small and white, but it was driving fast enough to be able to put Hyojong out. It wasn’t speeding, so it might take Hyojong a little longer to pass away, but as long as he died, he didn’t care. It’d probably hurt, too. Hopefully he’d be dead before he could really notice the pain.

The car was closer, now. Hyojong could almost see who was sitting in the driver and passenger’s seat. It seemed to be a man and a woman—maybe a couple. As they got closer, he saw that the woman had bright orange hair, and the man was some shade of blond. They were both fairly pretty, really. Hyojong was kind of glad that they’d be the one’s killing him.

The car was right in front of him. Time seemed to slow down for Hyojong. He could see the pretty woman in the passenger’s seat glance at him with her round eyes. Her lips were a nice shade of red, complimented by her hair. The pretty man driving didn’t look at Hyojong, just kept driving forward.

As soon as the front of the car reached to where Hyojong was standing, Hyojong closed his eyes. This was it. Finally

Hyojong let his body go limp, collapsing into the front of the car.

Chapter Text

Hyuna hadn’t talked much, in the car. She was still shaken from what had happened at her shop.

Hwitaek was kind enough to not ask too many questions, just making sure she was okay. He was even willing to help her get away from this place. She didn’t understand why he was being so nice to her, but she sincerely appreciated it. She needed someone to be nice to her, after her encounter with the man at her shop. At the time, she couldn’t even believe how that man treated her—like she was an object for him to use however he wished. Hwitaek was such a pleasant opposite from that.

It was completely dark out now, the dark indigo of the sky contrasting with the pale light from the streetlights and the moon. She and Hwitaek seemed to be the only ones awake at this time, as there wasn’t anyone else out.

It was peaceful. Maybe too peaceful, considering what had just happened earlier that day. But Hyuna felt ridiculously safe with this stranger she had met. Hwitaek was good. At least, as far as she could tell. He wasn’t disturbed when he found out that she had killed someone. It made her wonder if there was something wrong with him, like there was with her. But Hyuna could already tell she liked his presence, so she didn’t think about it too much. For some reason, she felt so comfortable and familiar with a stranger that had offered her a ride in the middle of the night. They didn’t know the first thing about each other, but Hyuna liked him already. Everything he had done, while Hyuna was with him, was just to help Hyuna, and make her feel better. He smiled at her reassuringly, and gave her a cloth to get the blood off of her skin. And his smile was nice. It was really nice. He had straight, white teeth, and thick lips, and it fit his face so well. It made Hyuna feel like everything was somehow going to work out for the best. His eyes sort of sparkled, no matter what he was looking at, or what his expression was like. His eyes sparkled, and his smile might as well have.

“Thank you,” she said quietly. The bloodied towel was still in her hands, but her hands weren’t shaking as much as they had been before. Hwitaek had a very calming presence that she appreciated very much. It made her feel a little more sane than she had before.

Hwitaek looked at her with those bright eyes, a smile coming on to his thick lips. “Of course,” he said simply. “I really don’t mind.”

Hyuna looked at Hwitaek for a moment, before looking back forward. Hwitaek really was too nice to her. She had gotten in his car, bloody and shaking, and he had just calmed her down and helped her, as if this were something he was used to. Hopefully, for his sake, it wasn’t.

There was a man on the sidewalk, in front of them, leaning his head back against the post of a streetlight. He had blond hair, coming down to hang just under his cheekbones. It framed his face, pulling Hyuna’s attention to his eyes, half-lidded and looking down at Hyuna. He looked at her down the bridge of his straight nose, at her face. Hyuna looked back at him. He was looking at her as if she meant something. The man closed his eyes, just for a second, before his body came crashing down on the hood of Hwitaek’s car. It made a loud sound, startling both she and Hwitaek. Hwitaek slammed on the breaks, cursing under his breath, but the man was already lying in the middle of the intersection in front of them.

Hwitaek lifted his head from behind the steering wheel, looking to where the man was lying in the street. His body was twisted, facing away from Hyuna and Hwitaek. “What the hell,” Hwitaek said through grit teeth.

The man in the street started moving, and Hyuna practically jumped to get out of the car. She wanted to help him get up, and make sure he was alright, but for some reason, she stayed by the car to watch. The man stood up, looked down at himself with a frown on his face, and started walking along the street.

“Oh, good, he’s alive,” Hwitaek said, turning the car off. He got out of the car, slamming the door behind him. He rushed towards him, fists balled, and punched the stranger in the face. So much had happened in one day, Hyuna couldn’t even think properly. She was still trying to process everything that had happened in her shop, much less what had happened with the man who jumped in front of Hwitaek’s car. The other man fell to the ground. He didn’t even seem to be fighting back. Hwitaek sat on the other man’s hips, grabbing the collar of his shirt. Hyuna ran after them. The other man was looking up at Hwitaek, blue eyes half-lidded, almost bored. There was a small smile on his face. “What the fuck?” Hwitaek growled, shaking the man by the collar of his shirt.

“What?” the other man asked. He didn’t even seem upset with the fact that Hwitaek was sitting on top of him, ready to fight.

“What the fuck do you think?” Hwitaek asked, punching the man in the face again. Blond hair was floating around the other man’s face. “You can’t just step in front of someone’s car.”

The man raised his eyebrows, looking up at him with those pale blue eyes. “If you didn’t realize, I was trying to die.” He sighed dramatically, rolling his eyes. His mouth had a natural downturn of his lips, making him look unhappy with every word he said. He talked like he was an animal, trying to bite Hwitaek’s face off. “You’re really cool, though, punching a stranger in the face.”

Hwitaek lifted the man up more, narrowing his eyes. “I’ll do it again.”

Hyuna had been right. Hwitaek was not the normal type of person he had appeared to be. He was like Hyuna, like she had thought. There was something wrong with him, like there was with Hyuna. And now she knew what it was. He was angry. Not slightly irritated, or even pissed off, but he was fuming, boiling with his emotions, all because some stranger had tried to kill himself on Hwitaek’s car. Hyuna didn’t really understand why that made him so mad. Sure, it wasn’t general courteously to try to end your own life using someone else’s car, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t something that should have made Hwitaek as mad as he was. And instead of handling his anger like any other person would, he decided to get out of the car, and punch a total stranger in the face. She wondered if this was the reason for the cut in his nose, and the split in his lip.

The blond man laughed, blood showing on his teeth. There wasn’t a whole lot of light in his eyes. His hair was almost as pale as his bleached hair. He practically looked like a corpse. “You’re a real stand-up guy, aren’t you?”

Hwitaek pulled his fist back, coming forward to punch the man in the face, again and again. Hyuna could hear the sound of Hwitaek’s fist making the contact with the other man’s face. The man kept laughing, blood staining his mouth. He spat blood on the road, the liquid colouring his lips.

Hyuna was shaking, again. She could practically smell it. The blood. She could smell the warm metallic scent that made her stomach twist, and her fingers shake. She could practically feel it on his skin, coating her hands, slick to the touch. She could see the bright red colour, all over her, all over the floor, staining everything it touched. There was blood. Everywhere. There was blood on her, on her skin and clothes, and on the other man’s mouth. She wasn’t breathing right. She was shivering, and not because of the cold. She felt nauseous.

She stepped forward, putting her shaky hand on Hwitaek’s shoulder, trying to pull him off of the other man. “Stop hitting him,” she said frantically. “He just got hit by a car, you’re going to kill him.”

Hwitaek shoved Hyuna away from him, not even looking at her, before he was punching the man in the face again, just for good measure. “He didn’t get hit, he jumped in front of the fucking car.” The other man laughed with a wide smile, blood shining on his teeth. Hwitaek’s grip loosened, despite his words, allowing the other man to lie his head back on the cold pavement, laughing. “It’s his own damn fault,” Hwitaek said, not moving from on top of the other man. Hyuna took a few steps back, wanting to get as far away from the blood as she could. Before she was able to feel it, again.

Hwitaek got off of the other man, dropping the rest of him to the ground. He glanced at Hyuna, disregarding the man on the ground, and immediately moved to stand next to her. “Are you okay?” he asked, looking her over. “You look scared.”

Hyuna nodded, not sure whether she was agreeing to being okay, or agreeing to the fact that she was scared. Perhaps both. She felt okay, she knew she was okay. But there was something that made her feel very, very not okay. “Blood,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.

Hwitaek turned his head to look to where the other man was standing. He was still laughing, directing the joyous noise at the sky. As if he were laughing at the moon. “Look,” Hwitaek said softly, setting a warm hand on Hyuna’s shoulder. She could feel his body heat through the jacket she was wearing. “I’m sorry I pushed you like that. I didn’t mean to.”

Hyuna looked at Hwitaek. His expression was genuinely apologetic, eyebrows knit in concern. His lips were pressed into a hard line. Hyuna hadn’t been upset about him pushing her away, anyway. It was nothing. “It’s okay,” Hyuna said quietly.

“If you don’t want to stay with me anymore, that’s okay. I can take you home, or wherever,” Hwitaek said, looking at her with large eyes. He didn’t talk like he liked that idea, but as if it were a last resort, or something he had to do to make things right.

Hyuna furrowed her eyebrows. She didn’t understand why Hwitaek would think that. Hwitaek was a nice man, who was helping her. “Why would I want to leave?” she asked. Other than the fact that there was a dead body waiting for her at her own shop, there were several things that made her want to stay with Hwitaek. Home was a dull shade of grey, with nothing for her to thrive on. Hwitaek was safe, and kind, and even though they’d just met, he was caring. Everything she knew was too ordinary for her. She needed something newer than new. Hyuna wouldn’t want to go back home if her life depended on it. Staying with Hwitaek was what she wanted.

“You’re not put off by my violence?” he asked, dropping his hand back to his side. The dark blue of his shirt really complimented the soft honey colour of his skin.

Hyuna gave a small shake of her head. Just because Hwitaek happened to handle his aggression a bit differently than most people would have, or even differently than he should have, didn’t mean she wanted to get away from him. Everyone had their own issues to work through. “You’re not put off by me being a murderer.”

Hwitaek was quiet for a moment, looking off to where the other man was walking through the street. “You’re really with me?” he finally wondered, looking at her as if he was trying to see what she was thinking.

The cold was finally getting to Hyuna, now that there wasn’t anything to distract her. She didn’t care where Hwitaek wanted to take her. She didn’t care what he wanted to do. She had just killed someone, her limits didn’t exist, at this point. She trusted Hwitaek, enough to go with him to somewhere neither of them knew. “Yeah,” she sighed. Two people didn’t seem like enough, if they were really going to do this. They needed someone just as fucked up as they were. Three was a party, right?

Hyuna looked to the man, wandering through the street. He was swaying, as if he were drunk on the moonlight. She couldn’t say she didn’t understand the feeling. The moon was so big and bright, she hardly even wanted to look away from it. She probably wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been for Hwitaek and the other man. She looked back at Hwitaek’s face, hoping she would understand her unspoken suggestion.

Hwitaek looked back at Hyuna, trying to figure out what she wanted. He looked confused. Her eyes flickered to the man walking away from them. Hwitaek slumped his shoulders a bit, understanding what Hyuna was trying to silently tell him. Hwitaek shook his head, sighed, and began walking towards the other man. “That guy’s a real freak,” he muttered.

Hyuna looked off to where Hwitaek and the other man. She even let herself smile, just a little bit. Everything seemed so peaceful, given the previous circumstances. Hyuna wasn’t sure, after everything that had happened today, if she’d ever feel comfort in this peace. At least she’d have one, maybe two, people to find chaos in the peace, with her. At least she didn’t have to be alone. She sighed, almost happily. “Aren’t we all?”

 

Hyojong was sitting in the backseat of a car, owned by the two pretty people. The night seemed endless. It felt like hours since he had left his house in preparation of his final goodbye, but he knew it hadn’t been long. The moon was still full, and high in the sky. He had looked at it while he was lying on the ground, feeling the cold, hard pavement under him.

One of the pretty people, the man, had tried to kill him. He had punched Hyojong in the face until both of them were out of breath, and Hyojong’s mouth was bleeding. The pretty woman, with the red hair and red lips, for some reason, had stopped him.

The man, up close, was even prettier than Hyojong had thought. When he first saw him in the car, he knew he was good looking. But under the light of the moon, and the streetlights, hovering above Hyojong with the meanest scowl on his face, he was pretty. His skin looked like it glowed, a soft warm colour, similar to the light coming from the streetlights. His bright blue eyes were narrowed down at Hyojong, long eyelashes framing them, casting shadows on his cheeks. He looked so pretty hating Hyojong.

There was something about the shit being beat out of him by this pretty man, that Hyojong didn’t quite… dislike. It hurt like a bitch, especially since he’d just been hit by a car. But it also gave him some sort of rush that was probably really dangerous, but mostly made him feel really awake. His heart was beating fast, and his mouth was bleeding, and some gorgeous man was pummeling him half to dead, but he felt just as alive as he did when he was trying to kill himself. Ironic, wasn’t it?

The girl was just as pretty as the guy was, really. She had wide eyes that were an aquamarine colour, more green than blue. Her hair was wild, a bright orange, like a wild fire that got out of hand. Her lips were full and red, and there was a light dusting of freckles over her cheeks and nose. She was cute, in a wild way, and very intriguing to look at.

The biggest disappointment of the night, was that Hyojong hadn’t died when he was hit by the car. He had really been counting on that. Looking forward to that. He was fairly certain the reason he wasn’t dead was due to his own error. He had stepped into the road a second too late, so instead of hitting the front of the car, he had hit the hood. And the car was already in the process of braking, so instead of killing him, it just hurt like a bitch. He was sure there would be bruises on his ribs.

He supposed he should have been thankful to the woman, for stopping the man from beating the life out of Hyojong, but how could he be, really? He had come out tonight to die, and he hadn’t succeeded. If the woman hadn’t been there, that man might have killed Hyojong. Maybe it was just wishful thinking.

The man looked back at Hyojong, who was peacefully sitting in the back of the car. “Don’t touch anything,” he said, frowning.

Hyojong looked around the car, not sure what he wasn’t supposed to touch. It was mostly empty, save for a roll of paper towels, and a discarded Led Zeppelin t-shirt. “What, do you think I’m going to rub my hands all over everything?” Hyojong asked, looking at the man’s scowl in the mirror.

“Maybe,” the man said.

The woman turned towards Hyojong, her hair moving with her. “What’s your name?” she asked, round eyes scanning over Hyojong. Even her voice was cute.

“Hyojong,” he said, “but some people call me Dawn.” He never quite understood the nickname, something about him being fresh and hard to understand, as a person. He didn’t mind it, though. He’d always liked watching the sunrise, before he got obsessed with killing himself. The pastel colours of blue and purple mixed with the neons of orange and pink. It was all very aesthetically pleasing. Sunrises were pretty. Dawn was nice.

The woman’s eyebrows raised ever-so-slightly. “Dawn?”

Hyojong slid down in his seat, absentmindedly touching the new cut in his lip. He was pretty sure that man had fucked up his browbone, too. Thanks to the man driving, not only did Hyojong’s body ache from being hit by a fucking car, but his face hurt, too. What a time to be alive. “You know, like the sunrise.”

“Oh,” the woman said, a small smile moving over her lips. “That’s pretty.”

Hyojong was captivated by the way the corners of her lips turned up. “What about you?”

“Hyuna,” she said. Of course her name was cute. Everything about Hyuna seemed to be cute. It was rather distracting, for Hyojong.

Hyojong smiled at her. He felt his lip ache from the movement. “Well, Hyuna, thanks for keeping this psycho from beating my face in.”

Hyuna’s smile widened. She had a nice smile. “No problem.”

“I will do it again,” the man threatened, his scowl deepening. His eyebrows were the same strawberry blond as his hair. It was a fitting colour for him, in Hyojong’s opinion.

“What’s your name, nice guy?” Hyojong asked, leaning forward in his seat.

The man sighed, eyes flickering up to the mirror so he could look at Hyojong. “Hwitaek,” he said, voice low. Hyojong wasn’t sure what he had done to make Hwitaek hate him, but he didn’t seem like he was letting it go any time soon. He hadn’t even dented the hood of his car, he had nothing to be mad about. Hyojong, on the other hand, was quite irked by the fact that he was still alive.

“Nice to meet you.” Hyojong looked between the two pretty people—Hyuna and Hwitaek. The real miracle was how pretty the two people he ended up trying to kill himself with were. They were almost offensively good-looking. “You ever tried to kill yourself?”

The car jerked, as if Hwitaek had momentarily put his foot on the breaks. “What the fuck?”

Hyojong shrugged. People were put off by the strangest things, these days. “I was just wondering.”

“Are you coming with us?” Hyuna asked. She almost sounded hopefully. Hyojong wondered what this cute girl had been through. Her eyes briefly flickered to Hwitaek, but the man didn’t react. Hyojong wondered what the both of them had been through.

Now Hyojong was waiting for a reaction, waiting for Hwitaek to tell him that he couldn’t come along with them, even if he had wanted to. “Depends on where you’re going,” he said, looking between Hwitaek and Hyuna. Truthfully, he didn’t care where they were going. They were interesting people, and they didn’t really question why Hyojong had just tried to kill himself with their car. They just let him in, and told him not to touch anything. It seemed to Hyojong like they were unusual people. Hwitaek had a cut through the bridge of his nose, and a split lip, and Hyuna had dried blood on her skin, as if she had tried to wipe it off. Hyojong could still see it staining her clothes, though.

From the looks of it, these people were just as fucked up as Hyojong. He already knew Hwitaek was, since he had tried to beat the living hell out of him. Hyojong knew he himself was fucked up, because he had kind of liked it.

Hyuna turned towards Hwitaek, looking at him like he held all the light in the world under his skin. “Where are we going?” she asked.

Hwitaek sped the car up, whizzing through the streets. Streetlights passed them in a blur of colour, contrasted by the dark of the sky. They were nearly out of town. He looked at Hyuna for a moment, then at Hyojong, through the mirror. He looked back to the road. “Away.”

Chapter Text

Hwitaek was not, to say the least, thrilled about having another companion. It could be worse, sure, but he didn’t really see how.

This kid—Hyojong—was a freak. And this was coming from a kleptomaniac who was helping a murderer. It said a lot about how he felt about Hyojong. Hwitaek’s first impression of Hyojong was that he had tried to kill himself. On Hwitaek’s damned car. Well, on the car that was now his. Then, when Hwitaek had tried to settle things his way, the way Hwitaek was used to handling things, the way people regularly handled Hwitaek, the kid just laughed. Laughed like it was the best, funniest thing to ever happen to him. He had a mouth full of blood, but he still laughed. Hwitaek didn’t think he’d ever been able to laugh that hard, no matter how funny something was. It was the type of laugh that let you know that someone was severely sick. It was an unsettling, free sort of laugh. A laugh with no rules or regulations, just chaos. Anyone who could laugh like that, while getting punched in the face, was seriously fucked in the head.

And now he was tagging along with Hwitaek and Hyuna. The only reason Hwitaek even let him in the car, in the first place, was because of Hyuna. She, for some ungodly reason, wanted Hyojong to come with them. She had asked Hwitaek, without talking, by blinking her big eyes up at him. Her eyelashes had fluttered, and her eyes were sparkling. And for some reason, Hwitaek wanted to give Hyuna what she wanted. Even if it was this freak show of a kid. Hyuna had been through too much for someone as young and sweet as herself—Hwitaek was just trying to make up for it.

He didn’t like seeing people in pain, the way she was. When she saw the blood coming from Hyojong’s mouth, she had started shaking again, the same way she had been when she stepped into Hwitaek’s car. She looked afraid, like she was reliving everything that had happened to her, all over again. Hwitaek didn’t like seeing people become fragile, like that. He didn’t want anyone to feel that vulnerable all the time. Bad things happened to good people, and Hyuna was one of them. That man had attacked her on her own turf, and in return, she killed him. Even though Hwitaek could completely understand the situation, and excuse her for her actions, he knew Hyuna didn’t feel the same way. He knew that she was kind of afraid of herself, no matter how justified her actions had been. Hyuna hadn’t deserved a second of what had happened to her. Hwitaek knew that, well enough. It made him want to protect her, even if they were still strangers.

They’d been driving for the majority of the night. It was probably close to morning. They’d stopped a few times to go to the bathroom, but other than that, they were stuffed inside Hwitaek’s stolen car. His legs ached from sitting for so long, and he was sure the other two felt the same. They hadn’t talked much, throughout the drive. He figured it was because they were trying to figure out what was going on. Hell, Hwitaek was trying to figure out what was going on, and he was the one driving the car. He wasn’t sure if they were really prepared to just travel with him, the way it seemed to be happening. They were driving with nowhere to go. He wasn’t sure they could just be able to trust each other like that. He didn’t know if he could trust himself, like that. He didn’t know what time it was, and he didn’t really care to. He didn’t want to know what type of time they’d made. All he knew was that they were no where close to where they had all started.

It looked to Hwitaek like they were in the middle of nowhere. The land around them was flat, filled with wheat, or cows, and occasionally, small, worn down houses. They were along the country side, where no one seemed to live, besides farm animals and broken-down car parts. He hadn’t even seen a gas station, yet. Luckily, the woman who had owned this car previous to him, kept a pretty full tank. Otherwise, they’d be shit out of luck. They’d have to find a gas station, sometime soon, if they kept driving like this. He didn’t want to strand the other two out here. He didn’t know how far the next phone was.

Somehow, three strangers, all equally fucked up—except for Hyojong, who was even more so, had ended up together. They’d all, undoubtedly, been through some shit. Hwitaek knew he had, even if he was the one who caused it, most of the time. But these three strangers were going somewhere together, now. None of them knew where, but somehow, they all trusted each other enough not to care. It was weird, really. They’d barely known each other for more than a few hours, yet it felt like they’d known each other for ever. They were comfortable with each other, to the point where Hwitaek didn’t know how to react to it. They didn’t feel the need to talk to each other, or try to figure out each other’s personalities. They just trusted that they’d like whatever they found out, along the way. They just existed in comfortable silence.

He supposed their familiarity with each other had to do with their circumstances. Hwitaek had run from some thugs, Hyuna had killed a man in self-defense, and Hyojong had tried to kill himself. They were all in pain, in one way or another. The moments leading up to their confrontation had been full of a bunch of bullshit none of them could quite handle. That was the reason, Hwitaek thought, they were all fine with trusting each other on this journey. So they could handle their bullshit together.

Hwitaek noticed a small diner coming up on their right. “Are you hungry?” he asked Hyuna, glancing at her. This whole time, she’d had her elbow on the window sill, and her head on her hand. She was completely still, just breathing slowly, as if in a state of stupor. She looked thoughtful, and really dazzling, in a way.

“I’m okay,” she responded, not moving from her position. She blinked slowly, long eyelashes brushing against the top of her cheek. Her eye makeup was smudged a bit, and her red lipstick was fading, but she still looked beautiful. She didn’t have to wear makeup to be entirely captivating. She just was.

Hwitaek sighed. He was going to take care of Hyuna, even if she resisted. So far, she hadn’t, but once all this bullshit wore off of her, she might. Hwitaek had a feeling she didn’t want to become a burden to Hwitaek. He wished he could explain how much of a burden she wasn’t. She deserved to have someone take care of her. Just in case she was feeling particularly fragile or vulnerable. Hwitaek was willing to be there, to bring her back. He wanted to do at least that much, for her. He hoped he could somehow make her feel better, eventually. “When was the last time you ate?”

Hyuna thought for a moment, her eyes moving too look at Hwitaek. “In the morning.” Her mouth barely moved, as she spoke. She sounded tired. It was more of an emotional, mental exhaustion, than a physical one. Hwitaek could tell. Sure, they were all tired, merely from being awake for so long, but that wasn’t the issue. Hwitaek was familiar enough with that sort of feeling.

Hwitaek turned into the parking lot of the diner. It wasn’t nice, by any means, but they needed to eat. Whether Hyuna was hungry or not. “It’s practically the morning, now,” Hwitaek pointed out. He turned to look at Hyojong, who was lethargically slumped in the back seat. “You hungry?”

Hyojong’s eyes regarded him, scanning over his face and neck. His eyes lingered where Hwitaek had a button undone in his shirt, showing his clavicle and pale skin of his chest. Hwitaek suddenly felt very exposed, even though he’d only undone one button. Hyojong shrugged, moving his eyes back up to Hwitaek’s face. He hummed, thoughtfully. “I could eat.”

“Good,” Hwitaek said, getting out of the car. He moved to open the door for Hyuna, holding it open while she stepped out into the cold. Hyojong was already out of the car, stretching his arms upwards. His button-up waved with the breeze. It slid off of his shoulder, when he let his arms drop back down, revealing a tattoo, peeking out of his grey tank top. Hwitaek wondered what it was, but then decided he didn’t care enough about the kid to give a shit.

Hyuna looked towards the diner, then back at Hwitaek. She was shivering, her hands closing the long jacket around her. Even though it came down mid-thigh, her legs were still mostly bare. She must have been freezing. “We don’t have any money,” she said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Hwitaek said, “I have it covered.” He put a hand on Hyuna’s arm. Her jacket felt like it had been coated in frost, it was so cold. He could only imagine how she was feeling. Hyojong wasn’t wearing much, either. If they had planned for this, they could have been more comfortable. If they had planned for this, though, they probably wouldn’t have met. “You two get inside, it’s too cold to stand out here. I’ll be inside in a second.” He gave a quick smile in Hyuna’s direction, then nodded to Hyojong, motioning for him to get inside.

“Aren’t you cold?” Hyuna asked, looking down at his blue silk shirt. Her arms were crossed over herself, trying to provide warmth. “That can’t be very warm.”

“I’ll be inside in a second,” Hwitaek repeated. While he wasn’t warm, at all, he had money situations to take care of. If he wanted to provide for the three of them, he could stand to be in the cold for a bit.

Hyojong stepped closer to Hyuna, putting a hand on her back. “Don’t take too long, pretty boy,” he said to Hwitaek, his pale blue eyes glimmering with mischief. He guided Hyuna towards the diner by the hand placed in the lower center of her bacl. She looked back at Hwitaek, as if she were afraid he was going to take the car and go. She looked worried. Hyojong said something to her, smiling sweetly, and she turned back around, both of them disappearing inside of the diner. She seemed to trust whatever Hyojong had said. Whatever it was, it comforted her. Hyojong was as nice to Hyuna as Hwitaek figured that freak could be. Hyuna looked at Hyojong like he held the world in his palm. It was like they were already good friends, and they hadn’t even had a fraction of a conversation with each other. Regardless, Hwitaek could see how at ease they were with each other.

 

Hyuna wished she could stop feeling so uneasy.

When she and Hyojong left Hwitaek outside, to go into the diner and sit down, she couldn’t stop checking to see if Hwitaek was still there. She didn’t think Hwitaek would just take off, knowing how he was with Hyuna, but there was something that made her nervous about it, anyway. The way he had acted outside, telling them to go inside without them, was odd. Not odd enough for Hyuna to want to question him about it, but odd enough for her to notice. Odd enough for her to worry about him leaving she and Hyojong. She didn’t know what she would do without Hwitaek, even at this point. He took good care of them.

Sure enough, Hwitaek was inside within a few minutes, sitting across from she and Hyojong. Hyuna could see the cash shoved into the pocked of his slacks. He looked cold, he was shivering, but he told her he was fine. He smiled at her, with that sparkling smile. Suddenly, Hyuna didn’t feel so bad.

Hyojong was warm. Even though they’d just been outside in the freezing night, he radiated heat. Hyuna made sure to sit close to him, just so she could warm up a bit. Hyojong looked at her confusedly, to which she just responded, “cold,” her voice shaking a bit. Hyojong smiled at her a bit, and slung an arm over her shoulders, which was greatly appreciated. Hyuna sat back against the seat, leaning her whole body into Hyojong, so she could feel as much of his body heat as possible. He didn’t seem to mind.

His smile was just as nice as Hwitaek’s, in a different way than the other man’s. While Hwitaek’s smile was all sparkling and open warmth, Hyojong’s was a narrowing of his eyes, the lines at the outsides of his eyes visible, his smile small and thin, just barely showing his teeth. He looked sort of like a cat, who had just narrowed it’s eyes at Hyuna, in a mildly intimidating way. It made him look cuter than he had first appeared. Since his mouth was naturally downturned, he looked very naturally unhappy. And who knew, maybe he was. Hyuna didn’t know enough about him to judge that, yet. But it was a small, cute expression. It was a fitting smile for Hyojong, as far as she could tell. It wasn’t very revealing, but it was still very pleasant to look at.

Both of them were so, very pleasant to look at.

“Get whatever you want,” Hwitaek said, throwing menus down in front of she and Hyojong. “Don’t worry about the money.”

Hyuna rested her cheek on her hand, looking down at the menu. The place mostly served breakfast foods, which was fine by her. “Thank you,” she said to Hwitaek. It felt like she had thanked him a lot, in their short time of being together, but she meant it. She was thankful to Hwitaek for helping her through everything. She didn’t know why he was doing it. He was far kinder than she thought she deserved.

She could feel Hyojong nod. “Thanks,” he agreed. His voice was sort of high pitched, in a way, but she could still feel it vibrate through his body as he talked. His voice was kind of cute, now that Hyuna thought about it. A lot of things were cute about Hyojong. He was like a cat.

Hwitaek looked up at Hyojong, as if trying to figure him out. “Yeah,” he breathed. Hyuna could tell he didn’t really like Hyojong. There was a sort of tension between them, and she was sure Hwitaek was the one who put it there. She didn’t know how Hyojong felt about Hwitaek, but he didn’t seem like an overly aggressive person. Hwitaek was the person who didn’t like Hyojong’s attitude. But he still let Hyojong come along, just because Hyuna wanted him to. Hwitaek was good to her.

“What’s the deal with both of you?” Hyojong asked, moving his arm off of Hyuna. She missed the warmth on top of her. She was still buried in his side, though. She supposed she had no real reason to complain. Hyojong was still warming her up.

Hwitaek all-but rolled his eyes. “What do you mean?” He sounded tired of Hyojong’s question, even though this was the first time Hyojong had asked it. Hwitaek very obviously did not want to answer the question. Most likely because it was coming from Hyojong.

Hyojong sat forward, in his seat, his face closer to Hwitaek. His arms were crossed on the table in front of him. He was looking up at Hwitaek, an excited look in his eyes. The corners of his mouth were turned up. “I know what your deal is,” he said. “You like beating the shit out of people.” He idly touched at his lip, and the bruise on his browbone. Both bruises were swelling, the pale colour of his skin transforming into deep purples and reds, showing just how irritated the skin was.

Hwitaek narrowed his eyes. “That isn’t my deal,” he said bitterly.

Hyojong raised an eyebrow. “Then what is?”

Hwitaek looked absolutely displeased by the fact that Hyojong was talking to him. As if he couldn’t even believe that this man was talking to him, right now. “It isn’t that,” was all he said, not bothering to go more into detail about what his deal actually was. It made Hyuna realize that there was so much to learn about these two men, that she hadn’t already. Hyojong wanting to kill himself, and Hwitaek being violent was just the tip of the iceberg, when she really thought about it.

“Fine,” Hyojong said, slumping back in the booth. He turned his heat to smile sweetly down at Hyuna. She smiled back. There was no real reason they were smiling at each other, but it felt nice nonetheless. Both of these men made Hyuna feel good, despite the tension shared between the both of them. They were so sweet to Hyuna. It gave her a sense of relief.

The waitress came up to them and took their order. Hyuna ordered French toast and cola, Hwitaek got scrambled eggs and bacon, with just a cup of water, and Hyojong got strawberry pancakes and hot chocolate—with whipped cream and marshmallows. It was all very fitting to their personalities, or at least what Hyuna knew of them. She didn’t know about herself, in terms of what her meal told about her, but it was clear with the other two. Hwitaek was the type of person who liked to get straight down to business, without messing around. Hyojong was the exact opposite. He liked messing around. He liked sweet food. It was cute, really. Both of them were cute. Even though their personalities were so different, they both still managed to keep it cute.

Hyojong threw his arm back over Hyuna’s shoulders. Hwitaek’s eyes followed the length of Hyojong’s arm, until he was looking at Hyuna’s face. His eyes were the most interesting colour. At first, they appeared a bright blue. But when you looked closer, longer, It was apparent that his eyes shined a sort of warm, hazel colour. Hyojong looked down at Hyuna, pale blue eyes focused. “What about you?” he asked. His downturned lips didn’t move much when he talked. If Hyuna hadn’t heard him, she wouldn’t have even noticed that he was talking.

Hyuna looked at Hwitaek for reassurance. If Hyojong found out that she was a murderer, would he be afraid? Would he run away, and call the police? Or would he be like Hwitaek, who was weirdly fine with the whole situation? She didn’t want to scare anyone off. Hwitaek had no change of expression, but he gave a small nod, barely moving, just enough for Hyuna to notice.

Hyuna moved away from Hyojong, so his arm was moved back onto the top of the seat. She looked at him with wavering eyes, expecting the worst. She already felt so comfortable with Hyojong, she didn’t want him to leave she and Hwitaek. “It was an accident,” she started with. If he understood that she hadn’t meant for any of this to happen, maybe he wouldn’t have been as afraid. “A man in my salon attacked me, and when I pushed him off, he hit his head.” She looked to Hwitaek, again. He was looking at her with concern in his eyes, careful, just in case she was a ticking time bomb. Hwitaek looked ready to jump forward to rewire the bomb, to make sure it wouldn’t explode.

“Self-defense?” Hyojong asked, fingers prodding at the nasty bruise under his eyebrow. His lips were pushed out in a slight pout, when he spoke.

Hyuna could hear her heartbeat in her ears, again. There was a drumming in her temples. Her fingers felt like they were quivering, but she was sure it was just her imagination. There was a familiar queasiness in the pit of her stomach. She lowered her voice, in case any of the diner’s staff were close enough to hear her. She could hardly hear her own voice. “I really didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to kill him.”

Hyojong was looking down at her, his expression unreadable. His fingers moved to poke at the bruise on his lower lip. “So, you killed someone,” he said, repeating her words back to her, trying to make sense of it all. He moved one shoulder in a small, nonchalant shrug. “Alright,” he said, throwing his arm back around Hyuna. He seemed so unbothered by Hyuna being a murderer, just like Hwitaek had. She didn’t understand how they could be understanding of Hyuna’s situation. How they managed to be undisturbed. Even Hyuna was still disturbed. There were some elements of what she had done, that she wasn’t sure she’d ever get over.

There was so much blood. So much red. It had come from the back of the man’s head, wetting his black hair, pooling on the floor around him. It took up most of her shop’s floor, and then some. There was so much blood, she could see her terrified expression in it, could see the walls of the shop in the reflection. Red reflected her face back to her. It had smelled. It was a sharp, damp scent that made her head spin and her stomach twist. She could smell the metallic scent still, filling her nose, practically suffocating her. When she tried to clean it up, it was warm and wet. It got on the palms of her hands, and up her arms, and when she had tried to pull the man’s body away, it got on her legs. She still had blood on her, too. It felt like it was itching at her skin, gushing in around her, until she was engulfed in the hot, sticky substance. It felt like it was closing around her neck, around her face, until she was drowning in it.

“Hyuna,” a voice said, from above where she was drowning. The voice was muffled.

A hand slammed down onto the table, making Hyuna jump, startling her back into reality. “Hyuna,” the voice said. It was Hwitaek. He was looking at Hyuna. She could feel how wide her eyes were. Her hands were intertwined, gripping on to each other as they shook. “It’s okay,” Hwitaek said softly. “You’re okay.”

Hyuna looked at Hwitaek. His words were coming to her slowly, not lined up with his mouth when he spoke. She looked around. She was sitting next to Hyojong, in front of Hwitaek. There was a table between them. They were at the diner. That’s right. They’d stopped at the diner to eat. Hyuna wasn’t at her shop, anymore. She was with Hyojong and Hwitaek.

“What?” she said, even though she knew what he was saying. It wasn’t registering, in her mind.

Hwitaek leaned forward, taking her shaking hands in one of his. “You’re okay,” he repeated, voice quiet and gentle. “You’re with us, now.” He gave a half-hearted smile. “You’re safe.”

Hyuna looked around the diner, on the linoleum floor, on the counter where all the staff was behind. There was a kitchen back there, too. Hyuna could see people moving around it. She could smell food and smoke. “There’s no blood,” she noted, shaking her head.

“None,” Hwitaek said, eyes unwavering from her face. His eyes were wide, blue and hazel shining in the fluorescent lights of the diner. He was studying Hyuna, looking for any more signs of panic. “Not anymore.”

Hyuna nodded, taking laboured breaths. She couldn’t quite breathe right. It had felt like she was drowning. Was she sweating? Her forehead was damp. Under her eyes was damp, wet with tears she hadn’t known she shed. What was wrong with her? Why did she have to panic in the middle of some run-down diner? She wished she could be as nonchalant about murder as Hwitaek and Hyojong were. “Yeah,” she agreed. She smiled weakly, trying to assure Hwitaek that she was fine.

Hwitaek took her response as an invitation to glare at Hyojong. His eyes were narrowed, lips downturned in a nasty expression. He really looked like he hated Hyojong. “Why would you make her talk about it?” he snapped. “You can’t just ask people what’s wrong with them.”

Hyojong’s eyes widened for a split second. The wide eyes gave a sort of innocent look to his features, that he didn’t normally have. Hyuna thought it was endearing, in a way. “I was just trying to—”

“Don’t,” Hwitaek barked, interrupting the other man’s words. “Stop prying. Some people have been through shit, it’s none of your business.”

Hyojong took in a deep breath to talk. His arm hadn’t moved from around Hyuna, this whole time. It helped bring her back to the present. “I just figured—”

“It’s fine,” Hyuna said quietly, stopping both of them in their tracks. She looked at Hwitaek. “He didn’t know.” She looked down at the table. “I didn’t even know,” she murmured. It wasn’t Hyojong’s fault she had freaked out. He was just trying to get to know she and Hwitaek. It made sense, to Hyuna. It wasn’t his fault she couldn’t take care of herself.

“It’s okay,” Hwitaek said to her. His voice was exponentially softer talking to Hyuna, than it had been when he was snapping at Hyojong. It was crazy to think how much Hyojong could change, in a matter of seconds. It was similar to how he changed when he had been punching Hyojong. “We know now.”

Hyojong tightened his grip around Hyuna’s shoulders, almost in a hug. Hyuna felt warm. “I’m sorry,” he apologized, voice cautious.

Hyuna shook her head, sending an assuring smile up at him. “It’s okay,” she said. “Really.”

Their food arrived at the table, each plate set in front of them. They all dug in, not even talking, they were so invested in their food. Hyojong covered his strawberry pancakes in syrup, until there was more syrup than actual food. Hwitaek looked at him disgustedly, chewing a piece of his bacon. Hyuna laughed a little. She was apparently a lot hungrier than she had previously thought. The food would help settle her stomach, make her feel less shaky. Hwitaek was sweet, buying she and Hyojong food. Hwitaek was good, to them.

 

After they were all finished eating, Hwitaek paid, and they headed back to the car.

They’d all decided to stop at the next motel they saw. Hyuna had, again, pointed out that none of them had money, and Hwitaek couldn’t pay for something like that by himself. Hwitaek had smiled at her, a new sort of glimmer in his eyes. “We won’t be paying,” he said, looking rather pleased with himself.

When they were outside, Hyuna stretched. It was nice to be this full and warm. The air was cold, verging on freezing, but she felt very warm inside. For the first time, all day.

“I’m going to smoke, for a second,” Hyojong said, pulling a lighter out of the pocket of his jeans. He fidgeted with it for a second, flicking the flame on and off.

“You smoke?” Hyuna wondered, watching the way his hand flipped the lighter around.

A wide, close mouthed smile spread onto his lips. His eyes were narrowed in that endearing way, when he smiled. “Not cigarettes,” he said, pulling out a short, white joint from his back pocket. He waved it in the air, for Hyuna and Hwitaek to see.

“Of course you would,” Hwitaek muttered bitterly, glaring at the other man.

Hyuna turned to look at Hwitaek. The sunrise was near, a slight orange tinting the sky. More time had passed than Hyuna had realized. If she had guessed, it was still the middle of the night. “Thank you for taking care of us,” she said.

“Again, it’s no problem,” Hwitaek said, looking down at Hyuna. The cut on his nose looked a bit swollen, as did his lip, to match Hyojong’s.

“You say that,” she said. “But I know you don’t really like Hyojong.”

Hwitaek sighed, shooting another look in Hyojong’s direction. “I don’t trust him. I don’t want him to hurt you.”

Hyuna smiled at how caring Hwitaek was. “He’s not going to hurt me anymore than you are,” she said. “I trust both of you.”

Hwitaek was tapping his foot, fingers shoved into the pockets of his slacks. “We don’t know him.”

“We don’t even know each other,” Hyuna pointed out, laughing at the truth of it. “None of us know each other. It’s what makes it fun.” She winked at Hwitaek, trying to lighten the mood. There had been enough anxiety for one day. Too much tension for any of them to be able to handle. She wanted them all to be happy.

“We’re really doing this, aren’t we?” Hwitaek asked. He sounded tired, but not against the idea. He raised his eyebrows at Hyuna.

It was a bit risky. Travelling with two strangers, who weren’t in the best conditions, mentally or in their lives. They all had some ‘deal,’ as Hyojong had put it. They were all a bit fucked up, and they knew nothing about each other. Yeah, it was risky. But Hyuna was putting her trust in these two men, and trust in herself. They would go wherever the road took them, and she would enjoy her time with these people. They’d get to know each other along the way, whether they wanted to or not. It’d be new, and exciting, and it’d bring new colour into each of their lives. She was sure of that.

Hyojong turned to the both of them, the joint in the corner of his mouth. “I’m in if you are,” he said, exhaling smoke as he talked.

Hyuna smiled at Hyojong, then at Hwitaek. She was smiling wider than she had all day. “Me too,” she said. “I’m in.”

Chapter Text

Hyojong woke up before the other two. He was on the edge of the bed, behind Hyuna, hair obscuring his face. One of his arms was slung over her body, hand resting on top of Hwitaek’s forearm.

They’d made it to the motel early in the morning. It was the first motel they saw, and by then, they were all too exhausted to care where they were sleeping. Hwitaek had picked the lock easily, holding the door open for both he and Hyuna. There was only one bed, but these strangers were comfortable enough with each other not to care. Hyuna took the center of the bed. Hyojong was thankful, mostly because it meant Hwitaek would be less likely to strangle him in his sleep.

Hyojong moved his hand off of Hwitaek’s arm as if the other man’s skin was going to burn him. He sat up, looking down at the other two, and stretched. They were still asleep. Hyuna’s hands were clasped, pressed to the side of her cheek. She looked cute, in an almost childlike way. Her cheeks looked squishy, her expression soft and relaxed. Hwitaek was similar. His expression was relaxed, no frown lines between his brows, no scowl directed at Hyojong. His face was more at peace than Hyojong knew it was capable of. He was laying on his side, eyes closed, a hand resting in the space between he and Hyuna. Like this, Hyojong could tell how pretty the both of them were. Without having to take their current mental state into account.

Hyojong slowly got out of the bed, making sure not to wake the other two up. He went into the motel’s small bathroom, looking in the mirror. He did not look great. He looked paler than usual, and the under-eye bags he had were worse than he remembered them ever being. The bruise under his left eyebrow was so dark it was almost black. It was right on the outer corner of the crease of his eyelid. There was a small cut, right in the crease, which made it exceptionally uncomfortable to blink. It was a dark purple, spreading into a damaged red colour. It extended down to under his eye, painting the upper part of his cheekbone in painful hues. On the opposite side of his face, there was a bruise on his lower lip. Where his lip actually was, the bruise was a deep shade of violet, blossoming out into a pale purple. Not only was his face puffy from sleep, but it was swelling where Hwitaek had hit him. He could see the barely-there freckles on his cheeks, more distracted by how heavy his eyelids looked. He supposed that’s what happened when all he could think about was how to kill himself. It wasn’t too kind on the body.

When he moved, he could feel his ribs and back ache. It felt like he’d run a marathon, but all he’d done was get hit by a car. Hyojong lifted up his grey tank top with a hand, exposing the majority of his torso. A bruise, bigger than Hyojong’s hand, coloured the pale skin of his left side in deep shades of blues, purples, and reds, all turning into a nasty black colour. It extended from the center of his diaphragm, to the muscles in his back. There were lighter bruises over his stomach and back, but none of them looked as serious as the one over his ribs. Hwitaek’s car had really done a number on it. It was a pity it wasn’t enough.

He turned the sink on and splashed cold water on his face, trying to wake up and pull himself together. He looked at himself, the water dripping off of his chin. He fished around in his pocket for a moment, coming back with a joint. It was small, but it’d do him good for a little bit. He’d have to make sure they stopped at some point, so he could get more weed. He didn’t like being sober, too much. He never really got high out of his mind, and even if he did, it was better than being alone with his own thoughts. He just got high to the point that everything felt warm and fuzzy, just enough to halt his thinking, just a little bit. He liked the feeling of his brain buzzing, the concept of time not existing in his mind. It was relieving.

Hyojong flicked the lighter on, holding the joint between his lips. He lit the end of the joint, instantly inhaling the smoke. The first hit always burned, a bit, but he was used to it. He held the smoke in for a second, putting his lighter back into his pocket. He exhaled, still looking at himself in the mirror, the smoke clouding lightly over his features.

A creak came from the main room of the motel. Someone was shuffling around. Hyojong stepped in the doorway of the hotel room, to see who woke up. Unsurprisingly, it was Hwitaek, rummaging through the room, gliding his hands over everything he could touch. He looked thoughtful. Tired.

“Sleep good?” Hyojong asked, leaning against the door frame, the joint between his fingers.

Hwitaek startled, snapping his head towards the voice. When he saw Hyojong, his eyes narrowed. His eyes moved to the joint in Hyojong’s hand. “You shouldn’t be smoking in here.”

Hyojong shrugged. He put the joint to his lips, taking a deep inhale. He could already feel the buzz working, warming behind his eyes. He smiled, blowing the smoke out of his nose. “And you shouldn’t have broke in here last night,” he pointed out. He didn’t mind Hwitaek picking the lock, it was nice to get out of the car and sleep, but if Hwitaek was going to bring up things he ‘shouldn’t’ be doing, so was Hyojong.

Hwitaek narrowed his eyes more, huffing out his nose. He really did not like Hyojong. For whatever reasons there were, Hwitaek could hardly stand being around him. Hyojong, personally, had nothing against Hwitaek. He just liked fucking with people. Hwitaek seemed like the type who needed to take a chill pill, every once in a while. He was the best type of person to fuck with.

“Why are you getting high this early?” Hwitaek glared.

When Hyojong looked at the alarm clock sitting on the nightstand, he was that it was just past nine in the morning. Why the fuck he was even awake this early, that was the real question. “Because,” Hyojong said, exhaling smoke. “If you were this fucked up, you’d want to be high, too.” When Hyojong was alone, it was easy to want to kill himself. It was acceptable. But when he was with two complete strangers, he didn’t want to only be able to think about how pleasant it must be to rot in the ground. He wanted to engage with these people.

“Trust me,” Hwitaek said, turning around. He switched the lamp on. The yellow light warmed his features nicely. It was a fitting type of light, for him. “I’m fucked up, too. I just choose to handle it differently.” He bit the words out at Hyojong, as if smoking was the most despicable thing he could be doing.

Hyojong nodded, smoke billowing out around his face. “Right,” he said. He felt the corners of his lips turn up. “By hitting people?”

The other man didn’t respond, for a moment. He was looking around the room, as if he had lost something, but Hyojong couldn’t remember any of them bringing anything in. His eyes scanned round the room quickly. He sighed angrily, rubbing at his sleep-worn face with a hand. “I only hit people who deserve it,” he said pointedly.

Hyojong leaned his head against the door frame. He could feel his eyes become tight, as they always did when he was high. He was certain they were tinted pink, too. The joint was steady, between his fingers. “What did I do to deserve it?” Hyojong asked.

Truthfully, he did want to know what had made Hwitaek hate him so much, right from the start. He wanted to know the reason he had rushed up to him, last night, and punched him in the face. Ever since that, Hwitaek had been cold towards, him, and very open about his feelings towards the man. If there wasn’t any real reason, that was fine. But if there was, Hyojong was curious about it.

Hyuna rolled over in bed, capturing both Hyojong and Hwitaek’s attention, immediately. She was lying down, her arms stretched high above her head, a sleepy smile on her face. Her cheeks looked especially round and cute this morning. She had folded her jacket over the back of one of the motel chairs last night, leaving her in those jean shorts and white cropped shirt. Her stomach was exposed a bit, her rosy skin showing just between her shirts and shorts. The shirt exposed host of her clavicle, shoulders, and nearly the entirety of her back. The yellow light from the lamp lit her form. She looked rather warm and cozy, despite her clothing not providing much warmth.

“Morning,” Hwitaek said nicely, looking at her with an expression Hyojong could only describe as fond. He didn’t blame him, though. Hyuna was an impossibly likeable person.

As a change of pace, Hyuna slumped back into the bed, pulling the blankets up to her chin. Her lips came out into a pout. “I’m tired,” she complained, eyebrows furrowing. She half-glared at Hwitaek and Hyojong. What was left of her eye makeup was smeared, grey smudged on the outer corners of her eyes, and her lipstick had completely faded, but she still looked good. She still looked better than Hwitaek and Hyojong did. “I’m going back to bed.”

“No, no, no,” Hwitaek said, moving to Hyuna and urging her to sit up. “We have to get out of here before someone notices we’re here,” he said. “If we get caught here, we’re in deep shit.”

Hyuna’s pout only deepened. “I’m so tired,” she yawned, covering her face with the blanket. How someone who had been through so much could be so cute, Hyojong didn’t understand.

Hwitaek pulled the blanket off of her in one, swift movement, revealing her displeased expression. “We have to go,” he said. “Get your shoes on so we can leave.” She frowned and him and crossed her arms over her chest, but moved to sit up, anyway. She got out of the bed, glaring at everything she saw.

She glared up at Hyojong. “Why are you awake?” she asked, as if it were the biggest offence he could commit.

He smiled at the way Hyuna looked right now, inhaling smoke. He shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep,” he said, smoke billowing down into her face. She wrinkled her nose, a hand coming up to fan in front of her face. Her face was a bit puffy from sleep, and it made her look very child-like and innocent. Hyojong poked his index finger into the side of her face, squishing her cheek. “Cute,” he noted.

Hyuna narrowed her eyes at the man, and walked off to slip on her black converse. “I really don’t know how you two can be so okay with being awake,” she said, looking to Hwitaek and Hui.

Hyojong held his joint up, regarding it. “I’m not sober,” he said, explaining everything. Really, he’d be a lot less thrilled to be awake this early, if it wasn’t for his sweet, sweet marijuana. “That one seems like a morning person to me, so I can’t explain that one,” he said, gesturing towards Hwitaek.

Hwitaek acted as if Hyojong hadn’t spoken at all, continuing to look around the room for something.

Hyuna put her green jacket on, covering the exposed skin of her back and shoulders. “It’s too cold for this,” she said, going to into the bathroom. Hyojong could see her fixing her wild red hair, frowning at herself in the mirror. “I don’t think my hair will ever look good,” she pouted, brushing the strands out with her thin fingers.

Hwitaek sighed. He was clearly ready to leave. He was fully dressed, his fancy dress shoes back on, his blue shirt unbuttoned just enough to display his pale chest. His hair was slightly messier than it had been yesterday, but it was no more different than Hyojong’s. He was standing next to the door, ready to get out of there as soon as Hyuna gave him the go. “I think it looks fine,” he said, leaning against the door.

He startled into a standing position when a high-pitched sound wailed from inside of their motel room. Hyuna was already out of the bathroom, looking alarmed. Hwitaek and Hyojong’s heads snapped upwards, towards the source: a short white cylinder that was beeping and screeching. It was the fire alarm. Hwitaek turned his body towards Hyojong, eyes threateningly wide. It was unfortunate timing, since Hyojong was blowing a puff of smoke towards the ceiling.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he yelled, shoving Hyojong, pushing him into the wall of the motel. Hyojong’s joint fell onto the worn carpet. Hwitaek slammed the door open. He grabbed around Hyuna’s wrist, pulling her halfway out the door. “Are you fucking coming?” he asked the other man, face holding all of the hate in the world in his expression.

Hyojong picked his joint up off of the ground, inspecting it carefully, before putting it back between his lips. Hwitaek growled in frustration and pulled himself and Hyuna out the door, leaving it open for Hyojong. Hyojong jogged after them, holding the joint tight between his lips. Damn Hwitaek for parking so far away.

There was yelling behind them, and Hyojong turned to see a short, balding man sputtering and cursing at them. He ran behind them, fist flailing in the air in anger. Hyojong took the joint out of his mouth, propping it between his index and middle finger, so he could wave at the man. The man shouted incoherent words, and Hyojong laughed out loud. He could hear Hyuna laugh, too.

They ran across the parking lot, towards where Hwitaek had parked. It felt good to run like this, the wind smoothing through Hyojong’s hair, the cold slightly stinging at his nose and cheeks. Cool air was filling his lungs, giving him the same sort of energy that he thought submerging himself in ice water would. It was a light rush of organic adrenaline Hyojong had been acquainted with.

The man stopped following them, so they slowed to a stop. They were across the street from where they had parked, but if they ran anymore, it would make it feel like their lungs were going to explode. Hyojong lowered himself to the ground, lying on the pavement of the parking lot. He laughed, looking up at the pale blue sky. He loved feeling energized, like this. Whenever he tried to kill himself, he felt the same sort of fun adrenaline as he felt now. It was a familiar feeling in an unfamiliar setting, and it brought him a sense of comfort he didn’t know he was missing.

Hyuna sat next to Hyojong, crossing her legs. She was smiling widely, her cheeks flushed more than usual. “That was fun,” she grinned, a little breathlessly, looking off to where the motel was.

“Surprisingly,” Hwitaek agreed, looking down at Hyuna. He was breathing quickly, chest rising and falling, visible in that silky blue shirt.

Hyojong tried to catch his breath. He took one last, long inhale from the joint, then rendered the rest of it useless. He threw the joint aside, not caring where it ended up. “We should do this more often,” he smiled. He looked at the way the smoke disappeared into the sky.

“Commit more felonies?” Hyuna asked excitedly, hovering over Hyojong. She was looking down at him, practically on top of him. Her hair ticked his face, but he didn’t mind it.

Hyojong’s smile widened. “You already down I’m down,” he said. She just smiled at him and sat back.

“Let’s go,” Hwitaek said, turning away from the two of them.

Hyojong sat up, turning to look up at Hwitaek. The other man didn’t give him so much as a glance. “Fine, fine,” Hyojong said. He was hoping to earn another reaction from Hwitaek, whether it was negative or not. “Don’t be so fussy.”

Hwitaek’s narrowed eyes glared daggers into Hyojong. He looked seconds away from jumping down on Hyojong and beating the shit out of him, again. “Don’t get us in trouble,” he bit. “I told you not to fucking smoke inside.”

Hyojong stood, offering Hyuna a hand so she could lift herself up. She didn’t say anything, just looked between the two men. Hyojong rolled his eyes, smiling a bit. “I know what you told me, but chill out a little.”

“Do you really want to get us in trouble, at this point?” Hwitaek asked, all but spitting acid at the other man.

Hyojong raised an eyebrow. “Let people have fun, once in a while.”

Hwitaek stepped closer to Hyojong, his hand curling in the collar of Hyojong’s tank top before the other man even had time to take a step back. “Stop being so careless,” he snapped. “Your life isn’t the only one on the line, alright?”

Hyojong’s voice was a little louder than he had intended, when he spoke. “If you really think I’d purposefully get you two busted after agreeing to come with you guys, you’re crazier than I thought,” he retorted. He would never try to get Hyuna, or even uptight Hwitaek in trouble. He was with them, now, and they were with him. He understood that they had to take care of each other. He just wanted Hwitaek to loosen up a bit.

Hwitaek moved his face closer to Hyojong’s, the meanest expression on his face. His fingers were balled into a fist as he moved his hand back, ready to hit Hyojong again. “Shut the fuck up,” he said, voice steady and quiet. Hyojong got chills from his tone, but he wasn’t letting up.

He raised his eyebrows, challenging the other man to go further. “Hit me, pretty boy,” he said. He was being serious, actually. Getting punched in the face by a pretty, fussy man was quite thrilling, as it turned out. He saw Hwitaek’s fingers tighten so much that his knuckles turned white. He was so close to Hyojong that he could see how chapped his thick lips were. He could see how straight his nose was, and how he got light creases around his eyes when he glared at Hyojong like that. He was dangerously close. “Come on,” Hyojong breathed. “Hit me.”

Hyuna was stepping closer. “Don’t hit him, Hui,” she said in a quiet voice. That was a nickname Hyojong hadn’t heard her call him, before. Hwitaek looked surprised, just for a split second. It was such a quick expression that Hyojong wasn’t totally sure he saw it happen. And then Hwitaek’s grip around his shirt loosened, and Hyojong was stumbling backwards from the momentum.

Hwitaek made an angry noise in the back of his throat, turning his back and walking towards the car. He was walking quickly, hands balled into fists, broad shoulders swaying.

Hyojong and Hyuna looked at each other. “I guess it’s time to go,” he said. They started crossing the street, towards Hwitaek’s car. “You didn’t have to stop him,” he told her. He would have welcomed getting hit by Hwitaek. It was odd, but he liked the rush. He liked feeling something other than the way he usually felt. He needed to feel something other than what he usually felt.

Hyuna looked at him. “I didn’t want to see any more blood,” she admitted in a quiet tone. Hyojong nodded in understanding.

“Either way,” Hyojong said, smiling at her a little. “Let him hit me, next time.”

Hyuna laughed a little, hand on the door handle. She stopped to look at Hyojong, who had already opened the car door. “I’ll just leave the room,” she said, a small smile on her face. “Why do you want to get hit?”

Hyojong shrugged, a smile coming over his features. He shrugged. He felt like he’d shrugged a lot, lately. “I don’t really know,” he said. “I guess I deserve it.”

Chapter Text

Hwitaek had wanted to. Had wanted to hit Hyojong so badly, it felt like all the blood in his body was rushing towards his fist, urging him to swing. He wanted to punch that shitty, arrogant expression right off of his face. Hyojong was endlessly provoking him, not only by being shady and ill-behaved, but by literally telling Hwitaek to hit him. He kept calling Hwitaek ‘pretty boy.’ Every time he did, Hwitaek wanted to take him somewhere Hyuna couldn’t see and beat the shit out of him. He hated being called that. He wanted to teach Hyojong a lesson.

Unfortunately, Hyuna had been there. If she hadn’t been, Hyojong would probably be lying on the ground right now, covered in his own blood. But she was there, and she had called Hwitaek Hui, and she had told him not to hit Hyojong. He didn’t know where the nickname had come from, but he didn’t mind it. What he did mind, though, was having to hold himself back.

The only reason Hyojong was still in his car, was because of Hyuna. She seemed to like him, but Hwitaek couldn’t understand why. All he did was smoke and irritate Hwitaek. But Hyuna got along with him well, smiling at whatever he said, and leaning against him when she was cold. She still wanted him to come along with them, wherever they were going. And Hyojong seemed to like Hyuna as much as she liked him. He was always comforting her, and smiling fondly at her. It was annoying. If it were up to Hwitaek, he wouldn’t even have let Hyojong come along. Hell, he wouldn’t even have stopped hitting him, last night.

Fuck, was it really only last night? He supposed it had been, but it seemed like so much longer. The three of them had all only met last night, but they were already this far on their journey.

They were driving, again, through the middle of nowhere. It was night, again. Pitch black. They’d been driving for hours—Hyuna and Hyojong socializing and laughing together, and Hwitaek responding to Hyuna when she said something. Hwitaek wondered how long it’d be before they saw some actual life. The diner and the motel were some of the only real businesses they had encountered, so far. There had been a few, run down factories, and one or two closed down gas stations, but other than that, it was just land and sky.

Hyuna had been looking at Hwitaek for a while, before she decided to talk. “How’d you get hurt?” she asked. The jacket she usually wore was covering her legs. They’d have to get her some new clothes, soon, if they planned on doing this for longer. She was going to freeze to death.

Hwitaek glanced at her. She was looking up at his face. “What do you mean?” he asked.

A thin finger came up to gently touch at the side of Hwitaek’s nose, careful to not actually touch the cut. Her touch was so light, Hwitaek could barely fee lit. “This,” Hyuna said. Her finger shifted down to touch Hwitaek’s split lip. “And this,” she said.

Hwitaek wasn’t sure he wanted to go into it. He was aware that they were all together, now, and he should have probably been completely honest with them, since they were the only people they had, at this point. On the other hand, he didn’t want Hyuna to think he was some sort of maniac who couldn’t control himself when it came to stealing. Even if it was partially true. “I got hit,” he said. It wasn’t incorrect. He more or less got the shit beat out of him.

“Wonder what that feels like,” Hyojong remarked from the back seat.

Hwitaek decided to ignore him, for Hyojong’s sake.

Hyuna cocked her head at Hwitaek, studying his face. “By who?” she asked. She absentmindedly rested her chin on her hand, a finger pressed against her lips. Without makeup, her appearance was changed. She was still beautiful, of course, but she looked more innocent than she had before. She had a rosy glow to her cheeks, and her eyes looked even wider. Pureness looked really good on her.

“Just some thugs,” Hwitaek said. Three thugs, to be exact, who had absolutely beat his ass. Truthfully, he was a fairly good fighter, just in general. He had to be, in his case, since he was always picking fights and doing whatever it took to get what he wanted. Against three guys, though, who were exceptionally larger than he was, he stood no chance. Was it worth it? Mostly.

Hyojong snickered. “Not a pretty boy who has some major aggression issues?” he asked.

“Stop calling me that,” Hwitaek snapped. He hated when Hyojong called him that.

“Oh?” Hwitaek could see Hyojong lean forward in his seat. “I got a response, this time.” Hyuna’s eyes flickered between Hyojong and Hwitaek.

“Shut the fuck up,” Hwitaek said.

Hyuna moved to put her hand on Hwitaek’s wrist, looking up at him. “Please don’t fight,” she said. Her hand was cool to the touch, contrasting against Hwitaek’s skin, which felt like it was burning.

Hwitaek moved his wrist out of her reach, shooting her a look. “If I want to fight him, I’m going to,” he warned. He couldn’t stand this. He didn’t know why Hyuna was always standing up for Hyojong. He couldn’t stand that Hyojong could keep on provoking him for as long as he wanted, but as soon as Hwitaek even considered taking care of things his way, Hyuna would stop him. “Whose side are you on, anyway?” he shot, narrowing his eyes in her direction.

“Hwitaek—” Hyuna started.

“No,” Hwitaek said, before she could try reasoning with him. He didn’t want to be reasoned with. He didn’t want to have to be the reasonable person, this time. “What’s so great about him, anyway? What the hell has he done for us?”

“Ouch,” Hyojong said, sounding less than offended.

Hwitaek swerved, pulling the car over, gritting his teeth in frustration. He was going to settle this. He was going to finally be able to put Hyojong in his rightful place, and nothing, not even Hyuna, was going to be able to stop him. Not this time.

“I’m not on anyone’s side,” Hyuna said. “I just want us to get along.”

Hwitaek shook his head. “Not this time.” He got out of the car. He could hear the blood rushing through his body, fueling his anger. He cracked his neck and clenched his fists. The air was cool, but it could hardly even touch him. He felt like he was on fire, the heat only making his anger grow. Everything that was happening was only spilling gasoline down for the fire he was about to light.

Hyojong was out of the car. He looked totally unbothered, and that pissed Hwitaek off. He was so calm, and Hwitaek was absolutely fuming. It wasn’t fair that he got to look like he was the rational one, while Hwitaek looked insane.

He rushed up to the other man, grabbing him by the shirt collar, in the way he always did. If he kept this up, his hand would be permanently stretched in the cotton. “What the hell is your problem?” he growled.

Hyojong looked amused. “You’re the one trying to hit me,” he said. “I have no problem with you.”

Hyuna was out of the car, standing a ways away from where Hwitaek was about to pummel Hyojong. She didn’t look scared, like had last time, but she certainly didn’t look pleased. It made Hwitaek partially want to let Hyojong go, and just resume driving. But he had listened to Hyuna enough, lately, and he wasn’t sure if Hyojong was worth it.

“Hwitaek,” she said. “We’re supposed to be together, now.”

Hwitaek looked at her, his grip on Hyojong not faltering. “We are together,” he pointed out. “That’s the fucking problem. This guy’s a piece of shit.”

Hyojong moved in Hwitaek’s grasp. “What have I done?” he asked. It sounded like he was trying to challenge Hwitaek in finding something Hyojong had done. Challenge accepted.

“All you’ve fucking done is get us in trouble,” Hwitaek said. “I told you not to fucking smoke in the motel, but you did. If we had actually gotten caught, if that guy had called the cops on us, we’d be fucked.”

“We’ve only been together for twenty-four hours,” Hyojong said. “I haven’t had enough time to do anything but get us in trouble.

Hwitaek shook him by the collar of his shirt, just enough to get his point across. “You really wouldn’t care if we got thrown in jail, would you? You only care about your fucking self.”

“Dude,” Hyojong said, raising his eyebrows. “We would only get thrown in jail for, what? A day? It’s not the end of the word. They wouldn’t find out about Hyuna’s thing. We’d be fine.” His eyes flickered towards Hyuna, when he said that. “Besides, we got out of it, and everything’s fine.”

“If we got put in jail, they’d just keep finding more shit on us. You don’t care, though, right? You only care about getting yourself off on trying to kill yourself, right?”

Hyojong actually looked surprised, for a second. “No,” was all he said.

“Really? Because you tried to kill yourself last night, and you’ve talked about it since. It’s fucking sick, you don’t need to try to make us like you.”

Hyojong shook his head. “I’m not trying to.”

Hyuna’s voice broke through to Hwitaek. “What more could they find on us?” she asked. She was wrapped in her jacket, shivering slightly.

“Well, Hyuna, I don’t know if you’ve fucking realized this, but one of us is a murderer,” he bit. He almost instantly regretted it. Hyuna looked shocked. Her eyes widened, lips parting in surprise. She took a small step backwards, putting her dainty hands in the pockets of her jacket, trying to cave in on herself as much as she could. Hwitaek sighed. He softened his voice, when he spoke. “That’s not—”

“It’s fine,” Hyuna said. Hwitaek could tell she was lying. “That’s all they could find on us, though.”

Hwitaek’s eyes momentarily flickered to the car. “They’d fine more, I’m sure,” he said.

“Like what?” Hyojong asked. He clearly understood what Hwitaek was getting at. “Did you do something?”

Hwitaek turned back to the other man, glaring at him. “Did I fucking ask you to speak?” he asked. His heart was beating so heavily, he could hear it. He just wanted to hit Hyojong, and get things over with. He was done talking about this with them.

Hyuna stepped forward. Her eyebrows were slightly knit. “Did you do something?” she asked.

Hwitaek sighed, rubbing a hand over his face, and then through his hair. He didn’t know how to tell Hyuna what he had done. He didn’t want either of them to know. Hyuna would be even more upset with him, and Hyojong, of course, would feel even more superior to him than he already did. “Yes,” he said. He wasn’t looking at either of them, now.

“What’d you do?” Hyojong said. There were trees right next to where they had stopped. Even though the cherry blossoms had already bloomed, the air was cold.

Hwitaek didn’t want to answer to Hyojong, of all people. “The car,” he growled quietly, narrowing his eyes at the patch of ground he was studying.

“What about it?” Hyuna asked. Her voice was quiet, as if she didn’t want Hwitaek to snap again.

Hwitaek didn’t respond. He had already brought up Hyuna’s situation. He didn’t want to hurt her anymore.

Hyojong was still, just letting Hwitaek hold on to the collar of his shirt. “Is it your car?” he said quietly. Hwitaek could see him in his peripheral vision. His hair was moving slightly, in the breeze, nearly glowing in the light of the moon.

Hwitaek grit his teeth to respond. “No.”

Hyuna stepped forward, putting her hand on Hwitaek’s shoulder. “You should have told us,” she said.

Hwitaek let go of Hyojong’s shirt, stepping away from her hand. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “We just can’t have him getting us in trouble.” If Hyojong didn’t start caring about the situation they were in, the could end up in jail for a very long time. Breaking into the motel was bad enough, but a stolen car and murdered man certainly wouldn’t sit well with the cops.

“I’m not trying to get us in trouble,” Hyojong said. He shoved one of his hands in the front pocket of his jeans, the other arm coming up to wrap around Hyuna’s shoulders. He wasn’t really taller than Hwitaek himself, but he made Hyuna look exponentially smaller than she was. “We’re all we have now, right?”

Hyuna nodded. Hwitaek grumbled something, but even he wasn’t sure what he had said. “I guess so,” he said, narrowing his eyes at Hyojong.

“I won’t get us in trouble,” Hyojong said. It almost sounded like an apology, but Hwitaek ignored that part. “Just let us know if you’re up to something, so we can help.”

Hyuna’s eyes were looking up at Hwitaek, gleaming that aquamarine colour in the moonlight. “I have no problem with stealing a car,” she said with a cheeky smile. “We’re in this together.”

There was a rustling coming from the other side of the car. Their heads snapped around to look. It was a police officer, walking in their direction, a flashlight in his hand. Hwitaek hadn’t seen anyone on this road for hours, there was no way he could miss a police officer.

“Is there a problem, here?” the officer asked, shining the flashlight in Hwitaek’s face. The other two turned to look at the cop, Hyojong’s arm staying around Hyuna.

Hwitaek’s mind was rushing. If the cop found out that the car had been stolen, what could he do? He couldn’t let them go to jail, yet. They’d just started. It’d be his fault if they got caught, this time. Would he have to kill the cop? He supposed he had enough willpower to do so, if he really had to. If he had to protect them. He could most likely bet on Hyojong helping him, if he had to. He wasn’t sure about Hyuna. He didn’t know if she could stand the sight of blood. She had gotten anxious every time she saw it, since last night. That was fine, though. Hwitaek and Hyojong could take care of her. Hwitaek wouldn’t risk not taking care of her. He had to.

Hwitaek smiled a charming smile, ready to convince the officer that they were three, totally normal young adults, who just happened to be stopped in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the moon lighting them. “No sir,” he smiled. He took a few steps closer to the officer. “We’re just letting the engine cool down, a bit.”

The cop nodded, eyes moving to look at the car. He looked at it, even as he spoke. “What’re three, nice kids like you doing out here, at this time of night?” the cop asked. “Nothing illegal, I hope.”

Hwitaek smiled wider, shaking his head. He managed a light chuckle. “Of course not, sir. We’re just going on a road trip.”

The cop looked back at Hwitaek, then to Hyojong and Hyuna. “It’s a bit cold to be dressed like that, don’t you think? You should probably cover up, it’s dangerous to be exposed, like that.” He narrowed his eyes as he looked her up and down.

Hwitaek could feel Hyojong and Hyuna shift behind him. “We’ll get out of the cold soon,” he assured, the fake smile still on his face. “The engine should be cooled down in no time.”

The cop kept looking at Hyuna, eyes narrowed, clearly travelling over her legs. “What’s a sweet girl like you doing with these two men?” he asked, looking at Hwitaek and Hyojong.

Hyojong snorted. When Hwitaek looked back at them, he could see that Hyojong had pulled Hyuna even closer to him, practically enveloping her in his size. Hyojong had a smirk on his face that Hwitaek normally would have despised, but it was appropriate for the situation, this time. “How do you know she’s sweet?” he teased.

The cop sputtered, trying to figure out what to say. “I can just tell,” he defended. “There’s no reason for her to be out with two men, at this time of night.”

Hyojong let out a soft laugh. “She ain’t sweet,” he said simply. He looked so much bigger than Hyuna, it was almost intimidating. He had an arm comfortably slung around her, and she was leaning into him. Not only was she trying to get away from the cold spring air, but also the predatory stare.

The cop took a step forward, extending his hand out to Hyuna. “How about you come with me, miss? We’ll get you all warmed up.” He took another couple of steps, until he was right in front of Hwitaek.

“It’s no problem,” Hwitaek said, raising his eyebrows at the officer. “She’s safe, with us.”

The officer tried to step past Hwitaek, but he stepped aside in time to block him. The cop was still gaping at Hyuna. Hwitaek wanted to get his attention away from Hyuna, no matter what it took. “I’m going to need you to come with me, miss,” he said. His voice was gruff, clearly annoyed by Hwitaek.

Hwitaek cocked his head to the side. This cop was really going to be this way, wasn’t he? Hwitaek kept the smile on his face, staring right at the cop. “I wouldn’t,” he said, daring the officer to go further. Part of him wanted him to. Wanted him to get closer to Hyuna, just so Hwitaek could stop him. Hwitaek was ready, at this point. He shouldn’t have stopped to talk to them. He shouldn’t be looking at Hyuna, in this way.

“Excuse me?” the cop asked, glaring down at Hwitaek.

“I wouldn’t,” he repeated, “go any closer to her.”

The cop’s eyes narrowed angrily at Hwitaek. He was clearly trying to intimidate Hwitaek, but luckily, Hwitaek wasn’t easily intimidated. He dealt with far too much shit for some lowlife cop to scare him. He was only worried about their safety, now. “Can I see your license and registration?” the officer asked. Clearly, he was trying to scare Hwitaek. Get a step up on him. But Hwitaek was impenetrable, when he needed to be.

Hwitaek’s smile tightened, but there was no smile in his eyes. That much, he could feel. “Of course,” he said. He turned to send a glance to Hyojong, hoping that his dislike for the other man wouldn’t get in the way of him understanding what Hwitaek needed to happen.

Hwitaek walked back to the car, sliding in the diver’s side. He leaned over to look through the glove box. He didn’t even have his license on him, much less registration. He hadn’t planned on staying in the car basically from the second he stole it. He hadn’t brought anything with him to the club, he had just intended to get in, and get out with the car. He hadn’t known they were going to get this far.

Hwitaek flipped through papers inside of the glovebox, not even bothering to really look at them. He was just trying to distract the cop, in hopes that Hyojong would actually do something about him.

The cop was standing in the opening of the driver’s side door, on hand propped on the roof. He was staring Hwitaek down, hoping there was something he could get him in trouble for. Hwitaek was sure there was plenty, but it wasn’t going to happen. Not on his watch.

Hwitaek glanced out, past the cop. Neither Hyojong nor Hyuna were standing where they had been previously. He didn’t know where they were. Hopefully, it was a sign that they were figuring something, anything out for them.

“What the—” the cop said. Hwitaek looked up at him, and could see Hyojong’s fingers peeking around the shape of his head. He could see Hyuna standing behind the cop, watching everything happen. The cop’s eyes widened, just before Hyojong moved, and the cop’s forehead was bashed against the side of Hwitaek’s car. The cop was instantly knocked out, collapsing to the ground in one, big movement.

Hyuna walked back up to them, looking at the cop closely. “Is he knocked out?” she asked. She crossed her arms over herself. She looked unfazed by everything that had just occurred. Hwitaek didn’t know how she did it.

Hyojong stood behind where the cop and been standing, looking down at the crumpled form of the man. His hair was ruffled around his face. His skin looked pale, in the moonlight. Hwitaek could see the shadows his features cast on his skin, emphasizing his straight nose, and the almost-clear eyelashes that framed his eyes. His lips were a soft shade of pink, naturally downturned lips turned down even more so than usual. His light, almost soulless eyes were looking down at the cop, no expression on his face. Hwitaek thought he looked especially tolerable, in this moment.

Hwitaek got out of the car, stepping over the cop. He was so happy, at the time, he thought he could kiss Hyojong. Hyojong had come through and saved all of them. Hwitaek was defenseless. Hyuna certainly wouldn’t get closer to the cop, and Hwitaek was glad. But they hadn’t been able to do anything, so Hyojong had taken care of things. Hwitaek was so glad towards Hyojong, he didn’t even know what to do with himself. It was the exact opposite Hwitaek had been feeling about him, earlier, before the cop showed up.

Hwitaek stared at the other man in surprise. “You saved us,” he breathed.

Hyojong shrugged, as if it had been nothing. “I was hoping you’d have a glock in the glovebox, or something,” he said.

Hwitaek let out a small, disbelieving laugh, shaking his head at the situation. The other two were looking at him like he was crazy. “Alright,” he said, looking around. He was sure there was some resemblance of a smile on his face. He looked down at the cop, and kicked him hard, his foot landing on the back of the cop’s leg. Piece of shit deserved it, anyway. “Let’s get this taken care of.”

Chapter Text

It had been absolutely insane, watching Hyojong take the head of the cop into his hand. His stance was radiating power. He didn’t look especially strong, but she knew he was muscular. Whenever his button-up slipped off of his shoulders, she could see his muscular shoulders and biceps.

It had seemed like his arm had just twitched, but the cop’s head was making full contact with the roof of the car, just above where the door would shut. The cop immediately crumpled to the ground. Hyojong had knocked him out in one movement.

Now, Hyuna was pulling on one of the cop’s arms, helping Hwitaek and Hyojong move him behind the trees, so no one would be able to see him, if they drove past here. Hyojong had both of his feet, Hwitaek pulling the other arm. They were a but away from the car, under the trees that had blossomed cherry blossoms. Hyuna thought the cherry blossoms were very pretty. They smelled nice, too. It was a funny situation to be in, to be admiring the flowers.

Hwitaek, ever since Hyojong had knocked the cop out, wore a pleased expression on his face, as if he were totally content with everything that was happening. He honestly looked kind of insane, in Hyuna’s opinion. He had smiled at Hyojong earlier, and Hyuna thought she was imagining things. Just before the cop had showed up, Hwitaek was ready to kill Hyojong. He hadn’t even listened to Hyuna. But now, he seemed happy with him. It was something Hyuna could have never even imagined happening, but she wasn’t unhappy that it was. They were together, now. They had to get along eventually.

Hwitaek let go of the cop’s arm, letting it fall onto the cold, dirt ground. “I think this is good,” he said, looking from where they were, to the road. They were mostly obscured behind the trees. With the cop lying down here, Hyuna was sure no one would be able to see him.

Hyojong set the man’s legs down, brushing the hair out of his face. Hyuna was jealous that his hair still looked so silky and straight, after this long. Hers’ looked exactly like she’d been running around with strangers for a day. “How long until he wakes up?” Hyojong asked.

Hyuna let go of the man’s arm to stand next to Hwitaek.

Hwitaek shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said. “Not any time soon, I think. We should leave, though.”

Hyuna nodded. She was shivering from the cold. It felt like it was the middle of the night. Even though it was spring, it was still colder than ever. She wished she had been wearing warmer clothes to her last day at work.

“Cold?” Hyojong asked. She nodded quickly, wrapping her arms around herself to try and warm up. Hyojong put his arm over her shoulders, as he always did. He was always so warm. It didn’t matter how long he’d been standing out here in the cold, he still radiated heat. Whenever Hyuna was cold, he tried to help her out. He was so sweet to her.

“Let’s go,” Hwitaek said. He started walking back towards the car. Hyuna shared a questioning look with Hyojong. He really had been acting odd, lately. He went from absolute anger to nothing, in the matter of half an hour. He looked back at them for a second, continuing to move forward. “We’ll drive for a while, so we can get away from here. Let’s hope he doesn’t remember what we look like.”

“Even if he does,” Hyojong said, “we’ll just get rid of him.” He sounded so serious and threatening, it made Hyuna shiver. Hyojong, as fun-loving as he was, could be so intimidating, sometimes.

Hwitaek looked back at Hyojong with an expression Hyuna couldn’t decipher. She wondered if being as mad as he was before, had made him insane. She wondered if this was what his breaking point looked like. He opened Hyuna’s door for her, keeping it open while he talked. “We’ll stop at some point, so we can sleep,” he said. He looked down at her with those sparkling eyes. His hair was progressively getting messier, not that Hyuna could really talk. He looked tired, and cold, but still good. He almost seemed to be glowing, at it was a really attractive look on him.

Hyuna nodded up at him, smiling. “Okay,” she said.

Hwitaek smiled back at her, and shut the car door. When he was back inside, he started the car and turned the heating system all the way up, pointedly smiling at Hyuna. Hyuna thanked him by huddling as close to the heaters as she could, putting her arms on the dashboard, trying to get her blood flowing, again. She felt like she was frozen half to death, but the heaters seemed to be melting her, in a way. It really was too cold to be outside, for any of them.

Hwitaek was so good to her. Hyojong was so good to her. They were both so, so good to her, with no actual reason to be. They had only been together for just over a day, yet Hyuna was eternally grateful to them. They took care of her. She wasn’t in any position to be taking care of even herself, but she hoped that one day, she’d be able to take care of them, too. She wanted to repay them for everything they had already done for her.

“You can sleep in here, while I drive,” Hwitaek said to her. Truth be told, she was already nodding off. It had been a long day, not to mention how painfully early she had been forced to wake up. She was just leaning on her hand, her elbow on the window sill, eyelids heavy.

Hyuna nodded sleepily, a smile lifting her lips. She listened to the sound of the car’s tires moving over the road, and the warm air coming from the heaters. Hyojong said something, but she couldn’t understand what. It hadn’t taken long, before she was already asleep.

 

It had been silent for a while, before Hyojong decided to speak. Knowing what he had done wrong to make Hwitaek hate him, had really made him think. Hwitaek was right, first of all. All he could think about, especially now that he was sober again, was how much he really did want to kill himself. There had been several points, throughout their trip, that Hyojong had thought of ways to do it. He had already gotten several chances, and each time, he thought about doing it. But then he’d start thinking about Hyuna, and everything she’d been through. And Hwitaek, who likely had been through just as much. He didn’t want Hyuna to have to feel sad, or negatively about his going, so he didn’t do it. She didn’t deserve to be sad, and he knew both she and Hwitaek would feel burdened, in a way, because of him. The last thing he wanted to be was a burden, to either of them.

“I’m sorry I almost got us in trouble,” Hyojong said. When he looked to the front seats, he could see Hyuna sleeping peacefully. She was really cute, when she slept. She looked soft and endearing. Hwitaek was sitting with the impeccably good posture he always had. He looked like he was tired.

“It’s fine,” Hwitaek said. “I almost got us in trouble, too.” He sounded like he didn’t want to admit it, and Hyojong was surprised that he even had. Before, Hwitaek would have just ignored Hyojong’s apology, or told him to shut up, or tried to beat the shit out of him, again.

Hyojong cleared his throat, eyes travelling to Hwitaek’s face. He didn’t even look angry. It was so different from what Hwitaek was used to seeing. Unless he was talking to Hyuna, Hwitaek usually looked some degree of pissed off. “I didn’t mean to be a burden.”

Hwitaek glanced at him in the mirror. “You’re the one who saved our asses tonight,” Hwitaek said. “You weren’t being a burden.”

Hwitaek blinked, confused. This was the same guy that basically told him he hated his guts, while about to punch him in the face. Hyojong didn’t know how to handle this guy. He really was something. “I didn’t mean to make you hate me,” he said. Apologizing to this maniac was probably the safest route.

“Look,” Hwitaek sighed. “You stepped up tonight by knocking that cop out.”

“Oh.” Hyojong really didn’t know what to say. Getting rid of that cop had been nothing, for him. He knew what Hwitaek wanted to happen, and he was willing to carry that out. He was just trying to keep them safe.

“Which means I don’t hate you, anymore,” Hwitaek said. He turned into the parking lot of a motel, even dumpier than the one they had stayed at the night previous.

“Oh,” Hyojong said again, not able to say much else. Hwitaek had been able to change from hating him to not, so quickly. It didn’t make any sense, to Hyojong, but he wasn’t going to try to put a stop to it. “Okay.”

Hwitaek got out of the car and opened the passenger’s side door. Hyuna was still sleeping. He lightly shook her shoulder. “Hyuna, we’re here,” he said quietly. Hyuna groaned, shaking her head in her sleep. “Come on,” Hwitaek tried again. “You can sleep when we get inside.”

Hyuna wrinkled her nose, but got out of the car anyway. She rubbed at her face with a hand. She looked like she was going to fall right over and sleep in the parking lot, but Hwitaek kept her upright with an arm around her waist. Hyojong followed behind them, looking towards the motel.

It was definitely smaller than the last one; just a line of rooms formed in a rectangle. Besides Hwitaek’s car, there was only two or three others, which made sense. This place wasn’t nice, by any means, and it was in the middle of nowhere.

Hwitaek led them to the room farthest away from the lobby, lessening their chances of getting seen by the owner. He picked the lock again, shuffling he and Hyuna inside. Hyuna’s arms immediately went out towards the bed, and she scrambled to get under the covers. Hyojong laughed at her cuteness. “Thanks, Hui,” Hyuna muttered, sending a sleepy smile in Hwitaek’s direction.

Hwitaek smiled, shaking his head. “At least take your shoes off before going back to sleep,” he sighed. There was that uppity bitch Hyojong knew. Hyuna mumbled something incoherent, a pout coming onto her face. Hwitaek sighed again, louder, this time, and sat on the bed next to Hyuna. He moved the blanket off of her feet, shaking his head at her while he slipped her converse off.

Hyojong toed his boots off and slid his button-up off so he could set it aside. He watched Hwitaek and Hyuna for a moment, amazed at the fondness they had for each other. Hwitaek listened to most everything Hyuna said, and acted as if his life’s purpose was to please her. Hyuna was always looking at him like he was the entire universe. She acted like he had saved the world. And maybe, to her, he had.

Hyojong sat on the bed opposite of Hwitaek. He ran a hand through his hair, untangling what little was tangled. He smiled, remembering everything that had happened in the past twenty-four hours or so. It certainly had been one wild ride, and they were just getting started. They’d already broken into two motels, apparently stolen a car, and knocked a cop out.

He laid down next to Hyuna. He couldn’t wait to see what the rest of their journey had in store for them.

Hwitaek set her shoes on the floor beside the bed, and looked down at Hyuna. “I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier,” he said. Hyojong never would have thought he’d see the day where Hwitaek apologized to someone.

Hyuna looked up at him. Her hair was spread out around her face, making it look like she was on fire. She shook her head and smiled. “It’s okay,” she assured.

Hwitaek looked down at the bed sheets, frowning at himself. “I shouldn’t have brought up your situation,” he said.

Hyuna smiled up at him endearingly, putting both of her wrists on his shoulders, lacing her fingers behind his neck. Hwitaek looked like he didn’t know what to do. His eyes were looking everywhere but at Hyuna’s face, lips parted as if he wanted to say something. Hyojong could have sworn they were going to kiss. They certainly did make for a pretty picture.

“It’s okay,” Hyuna whispered. Their faces were close She pulled Hwitaek down next to her. “Now, go to sleep.”

Hwitaek just stared at her, wide-eyed, and nodded his head.

 

Hyuna slept well, for a few hours. She usually slept well. She liked to sleep. For some reason, though, a few hours in, she just could not stay asleep.

She kept dreaming about blood. She was standing outside, where she, Hwitaek, and Hyojong had been when the cop had arrived. The cop was there, too, looking her up and down, similar to the way the man in her shop had done. He looked at her with beady, wanting eyes. He kept walking closer to her, but never actually reaching her. He kept coming closer and closer, reaching towards her. Every time Hyuna tried to say something, tried to stop him, the blood in her lungs would rush up to her throat, filling her senses, until it was dripping out of her mouth, choking her. The blood burned her throat, and she could taste the metallic liquid. It was spilling out of her lips, onto her body. When she tried to keep it from getting everywhere, she covered up her mouth with her hands, but it didn’t help. It just stained her hands a slick red.

The cop just kept walking towards her, reaching for her as if she was the only thing in the world he wanted. Hyojong and Hwitaek just stood there, watching. They didn’t try to help her, didn’t try to make the blood stop flowing out from her mouth. They just looked at her, their eyes dead and soulless.

That was the first time Hyuna had woken up. She was panting, a cold sweat beading on her forehead and temples. She couldn’t see anything, since it was so dark, but she could feel Hwitaek and Hyojong next to her, sleeping peacefully. She sat up, after that, trying to calm her increasing heart rate and her quick breathing. She tried to focus on Hwitaek’s breathing, so she could try to match that. He was calmer in his sleep than she had ever seen him before.

Eventually she calmed down. She slid back down, after that, back under the covers. She could feel Hyojong’s warmth on her right side, his presence big and calming. Hwitaek was on her left side, back turned towards her.

When she fell back asleep, her dreams were different, this time. She wasn’t outside anymore. She was in the back of a car, separated from the front. She was in a cop car. She could see the driver, who seemed to be the cop from last night. They were driving down an endless road, no landmarks or anything outside of the car. It was flat and plain, dead grass covering the ground. But it was spring, wasn’t it? The grass shouldn’t have been dead, anymore.

She tried to unlock the doors, so she could escape, but all the doors were locked. Whenever she pressed the lock, in just snapped back the other way, locking her in before she could even move to open the door. She knew the cop was taking her somewhere bad, where he intended to make sure she knew she wasn’t safe.

She hit the windows with the sides of her firsts, yelling for someone to help her get out. But there was nothing outside besides dead grass and the wind.

“What’s wrong, Hyuna?” a familiar voice said. The voice was low, words coming out slowly.

Hyuna could feel the pit of her stomach twist. Her hands started shaking. At first, her hands were barely quaking. The knot in her stomach just twisted harder, making her feel sick. She couldn’t breathe. She felt like she was suffocating. Her hands started shaking, so hard, she wouldn’t even be able to use them. The shuddering moved up to her shoulders, until her core was shaking, too. She felt nauseous, but she couldn’t do anything about it. She couldn’t escape, she couldn’t fend for herself. She was just stuck in the back of the cop car, skin crawling.

“What’s wrong, Hyuna?” the voice repeated. Hyuna just sat there, petrified with fear, her eyes wide. The person driving the car turned around. Familiar, narrow eyes looked at her, trying to look through her. A familiar, animalistic smile spread over the driver’s face, showing his white teeth. The man from her shop, the one she had killed, was staring down at her, smiling. He knew Hyuna had killed him. He knew, and now she was stuck with him. He was going to repay her for killing him. Surprised I’m not dead?”

That time, Hyuna woke up with a scream. She was freezing with sweat, shaking in the center of the bed. Her fingers gripped at the bed sheets as she screamed, looking into the darkness. He was there. He was going to kill her. She was shaking and sweating, and she felt like she was going to throw up, but it didn’t matter. The man was here, in the motel room, and she was going to die.

She could feel the tears streaming down her face, dripping down her cheeks and chin, onto the blanket. She wasn’t safe here, or anywhere, because he was always going to find her. She couldn’t run, she couldn’t escape. She was helpless in the dark of the motel room.

“Hey,” a soft, familiar voice said. A hand touched her shoulder, but she moved away from it with a scream. She didn’t want him to touch her. He had tried before, in her shop. His touch felt like it was burned into her skin, and she hated it. She wanted to rip her skin off, if it meant she wouldn’t have to feel his hands gripping her, trying to get her to kiss him.

She crawled backwards on the bed, but there was someone behind her, too. Hands gripped her shoulders, and she thrashed to try to get them off, but they were relentless. They weren’t hurting her, though, just touching her. They were different from the man’s hands, but she didn’t know who they belonged to.

“What’s going on?” a voice said from behind her. She recognized the voice, but she couldn’t figure out who it belonged to.

“Hyuna, it’s okay,” the first voice said. It was a gentle, quiet voice. She knew that voice. She could remember seeing dazzling smiles and sparkling, bright blue eyes, when that voice spoke. His touch was soft, barely even touching her, but reassuring her. “You’re safe, Hyuna,” he said. “You’re with us, it’s okay. You’re safe.”

She was still hyperventilating, tears streaming down her face as she shook, but she was starting to wake up. “Hui?” she asked. She could see the light of the morning streaming in through the sides of the curtains. Hui would keep her safe. He was good.

“Yeah, it’s me. Hyojong is here, too. You’re with us, in the motel room.” His hands were still on her shoulders, calming her. A lamp flicked on, dimly illuminating the room. She could see Hui in front of her. His honey-toned skin looked soft, in the lighting. He was looking at her steadily, studying her face.

Hyojong sat behind her, resting on of his hands on her back. He was warm. “No one’s going to hurt you,” he said, rubbing her back through her jacket.

Hyuna wiped at her cheeks, but the tears weren’t stopping. “I thought he was here,” she said, voice shaking. She could feel her sobs in her chest, racking her body.

“The man who attacked you?” Hui asked. He was looking at her with those brilliant, bright blue eyes. In this light, they looked more hazel than anything.

Hyuna nodded, another sob shaking her frame.

“He can’t hurt you, anymore,” Hyojong said. She looked back at him. His hair was ruffled from sleep, but his expression was caring and soft. “No one can hurt you. We’ll make sure of it.”

Hyuna started sobbing again, letting her head fall. She had been so scared. She thought the man had survived, or came back to life, or something. She thought he knew what she had done to him. She thought she was going to die.

“Hey,” Hui said, a hand moving from her shoulder to smooth through her hair. He was always so gentle with her, trying to calm her down and make sure she knew everything was going to be okay. “It’s okay.”

She sat up to look at him. Her whole body was shuddering from the sobs, but at least her hands weren’t shaking that much, anymore. Tears were spilling over the brim of her eyes, wetting her cheeks and the blanket beneath her. But she was okay. Hyojong and Hwitaek were safe. She was safe. Hyuna shifted forward to bury her face in Hui’s chest, right under his sharp collar bone. Hwitaek made a soft, surprised sound, but continued petting at her hair. Hyojong was rubbing her back slowly, trying to counteract her tears.

Hyuna leaned into Hui on the bed, then, surrounded by the two only people she had left to trust. They were the only people Hyuna could be safe with now. She leaned into Hui, right then, and sobbed until she had nothing left to give. And Hwitaek, softly telling her everything was going to be alright, just let her.

Chapter Text

Hwitaek was tired. Exhausted, actually. He hadn’t been sleeping regularly, in the first place, but last night Hyuna had woken up screaming and shaking, worse than Hwitaek had ever seen before. He comforted her until she cried herself dry, and had fallen back asleep. By then, it was about time to leave, but he let her sleep longer, anyway. He figured she needed it. Hwitaek was exhausted, though. Not that he minded it. He’d stay up with Hyuna every night, if she needed it. Anything to keep her from feeling that way, again.

He was sitting on the bed, next to a sleeping Hyuna. Hyojong was awake, too, but he had actually gotten out of the bed. He’d told Hwitaek that he was going to shower, and he’d been in the bathroom ever since. It was a good idea, since they hadn’t showered since they’d hit the road. Being stuck in a car for as long as they had been, was not going to do them well. Hwitaek just hoped Hyojong wouldn’t try to kill himself in the shower, or anything. He, himself, didn’t really want him to die, anymore, and he knew how much it’d wreck Hyuna. If Hyuna woke up any time soon, Hwitaek would let her shower after Hyojong. If not, Hwitaek would go. It was probably best that they all showered. They never knew when their next chance would be.

Speaking of, they desperately needed to eat. He had meant to feed them all last night, but got distracted by his own emotions, instead. He genuinely felt really bad, about it, since none of them had eaten since the diner, and that was far over a day ago. He knew they must have been starving, by now, since he was feeling similarly. They’d eat today, though. Hwitaek promised that to himself.

Hwitaek wanted to steal something. His fingers twitched to do so. He was feeling really anxious, probably due to his lack of sleep. When he got anxious, the easiest way to calm himself was to steal something. Unfortunately, they were no longer in their city, so the amount of posh shops and shopping malls were at an all-time low. He’d looked around the room several times, while sitting in the bed, but there was nothing to steal. Unless he wanted to steal the bible that was on the nightstand. Which he didn’t.

Hyuna rolled over, opening her eyes a bit, to look up at Hwitaek. The blanket was up to her chin, her hair curtained around her head.

“Good morning,” Hwitaek said in somewhat of an upbeat voice, smiling at her. He figured she needed a note of positivity in her morning, after everything that had happened to her last night.

“Morning,” Hyuna greeted sleepily. A small smile formed on her lips. She stretched her arms out, letting one of them fall into Hwitaek’s lap.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, staring down at the thin arm resting in his lap. He noticed the red colour her nails had been painted, similar to the colour her lips were, the first time he’d seen her. It was a fitting colour for her, for many reasons.

Hyuna leaned her head on Hwitaek’s tricep. “Better,” she said.

“Good,” Hwitaek said, smoothing down the hair on top of her head. “We should all take showers, today, while we can. Hyojong is in there right now. You can go next.”

Hyuna nodded, sitting up. She pulled her arm out of his lap. “Thank god,” she said. “I hope there’s conditioner, my hair’s a wreck.” She held up a few strands of her hair, as an example.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Hwitaek responded. "I don’t think it looks too bad.” Her hair was a little messy, sure, but not half as bad as it could have been, considering there was probably still blood flecked in the orange strands.

“Thanks,” she smiled. She got up off of the bed, sweeping her hair over her shoulder. She shrugged the jacket off of her narrow frame, revealing the majority of her back, as she was turned away from Hwitaek. Her back was pretty, pale skin exposing the toned muscles there. When she bent over to take her socks off, Hwitaek could see the gentle edge of her spine. She turned back towards him, tilting her head. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he assured, smiling up at her. “Tired.”

Her face immediately fell out of her happy expression. She looked sad, and just as anxious as Hwitaek felt. “I’m sorry—” she started.

Hwitaek shook his head, still smiling at her. “Not because of you,” he promised. The absolute last thing Hyuna needed right now, was to feel worse. Hwitaek wasn’t sure if she’d physically be able to handle more stress. “We all just need something to relax.”

Hyuna nodded. “Maybe we should stop at the next town,” she suggested.

Hwitaek very much liked that idea. Hyuna was always so bright. “We will,” he said. “We’ll get lunch, too.”

Hyuna agreed with a wide smile. “We should get burgers.”

Hwitaek stood, looking in the mirror at the foot of the bed. His hair certainly was not in it’s best condition. “Sure,” he agreed.

The door to the bathroom opened, steam billowing out into the motel’s main room. Hyojong stood in the doorway, a towel loosely draped over his head. He wasn’t wearing his shirt, the grey tank top being flipped around in his hands, instead.

When he walked out of the bathroom, he didn’t look at either of the other two. He just walked straight between them, over to his side of the bed. He threw his shirt onto the bed, sitting down so he could rub at his hair with the towel. Hyuna and Hwitaek were still looking at him, but he didn’t seem to notice, or care.

Hwitaek wasn’t a particularly muscular guy, himself. He had muscle definition, but he’d always been on the skinnier side of the spectrum. But Hyojong was… surprising. He didn’t look especially muscular, when he was dressed in his baggy clothes. At times, when the button-up shirt moved off of his shoulders, Hwitaek could see that his arms were fairly muscular, but that was as far as it went. Now that he wasn’t dressed, it was very visible how muscular he was. His pectoral muscles were built and toned, as were the muscles in his stomach. Hwitaek could see a defined line down his front side, as well as down the center of his back, where his spine was. The muscles in his front side shifted when he walked, as did his back, when he toweled off his hair. The size of his waist, compared to the broadness of his shoulders, made it even more apparent how cut her was. The muscles in his bare arms bulged as he reached up to dry his hair. Hyojong didn’t seem like the type of person to work out, but he was clearly doing something right.

Hwitaek was truly lucky that Hyojong had been so passive and nonchalant towards Hwitaek’s aggression. If they’d fought like Hwitaek had wanted to, and Hyojong had any sort of fighting experience, Hwitaek would have been royally fucked.

“What’s your tattoo?” Hyuna asked. Hwitaek wondered why her voice sounded so strained.

Hyojong turned, a hand still tangled in his blond hair. “Which one?” he asked. Hwitaek hadn’t even noticed any tattoos.

“The one on your shoulder,” Hyuna said.

Hyojong stood, throwing the towel down onto the bed. The muscles in his slender hips shifted as he walked over to stand in front of Hyuna and Hwitaek. “This one?” he asked, looking down to his left side. It was the outline of a heart, artistically places lines surrounding it, extending over his pectoral muscle. There was a banner through the center of the heart, filled with Roman numerals. Hyuna nodded. Hwitaek’s eyes followed Hyojong’s hand as he moved to trace his tattoo with a finger.

“It’s my birthday,” he explained. “June first.”

“Oh,” Hyuna said, a little breathless. “It’s pretty.”

“Thanks,” Hyojong replied, giving Hyuna that narrow-eyed smile. He reached for the shirt lying on the bed, displayed the lateral muscles in his side. When he lifted his arms to slip the tank top on, his muscles moved with him. His body was like a flowing river, everything moving with him, at his own will.

Hwitaek cleared his throat, turning to occupy himself with the position of the lamp.

Hyuna cleared her throat, too. “I’m going to take a shower,” she said. She shook her head, turning to enter the bathroom. She closed the door behind herself.

“Yeah,” Hwitaek said. “Do that.”

 

Hwitaek showered quickly, wanting to leave the motel before anyone realized that they were there. They left as soon as he was finished, Hyuna insisting that they take the blanket with them, in case it got cold gain. Hwitaek certainly wasn’t going to disagree to stealing something. Besides, Hyuna was wearing a hell of a lot less clothing than either he or Hyojong were. It was going to get a lot colder before it got warmer.

They ended up shoving the blanket in the back seat with Hyojong, and hit the road, again. Hyuna seemed to be acting like herself, if not only a little bit shaken up. Hyojong was his quiet self, as always. And Hwitaek was just exhausted, and desperately hoping that wherever they stopped to eat would also have coffee. His eyes felt dry and heavy, and he was sure that if he closed them for more than two seconds, he’d fall asleep.

“So, who’s car was this?” Hyojong asked, suddenly. He was leaned forward, between Hyuna and Hwitaek, elbow on his knee, chin resting in his hand.

“I don’t know her name,” Hwitaek admitted, recalling the woman in the bar. “She was sitting at the bar, and I pretended to know she and her friend, so I could steal her keys.” He remembered that night fondly. He’d stolen money, a car, and had picked up a blood-covered woman off of the road. Oh, and he’d hit Hyojong with his car. It had been a good night.

“Damn,” Hyojong nodded. His pale, icy blue eyes regarded Hwitaek. “So, you’d stolen before.” It wasn’t a question. Somehow, Hyojong could tell that Hwitaek was experience in the art of stealing, just from that one sentence. Sometimes, Hyojong was so observant and intelligent, it was annoying.

Hwitaek nodded. “You could say that.” Stolen before. He’d been stealing for years. Getting the keys to this car had been easier than waking up in the morning.

Hyuna sort of perked up, sitting up and turning to look at Hwitaek. “What’s the best thing you’ve ever stolen?” she asked, eyes shining at Hwitaek in interest.

Hwitaek thought, for a moment. He’d stolen cars, gold watches, clothes, jewelry, money. He’d done it all. At one point, he’d had it all. There was a point in his life where he was living very luxuriously, all thanks to the profit of others. He was wearing whatever he wanted, regardless of the money. He had been living how he had wanted, without having any sort of restraints. “This car is turning out to be surprisingly useful,” he said. Without the car, he’d still be in the city, left to steal whatever he could get his hands on, or getting murdered by a pack of angry thugs. Hyojong would have probably already killed himself. Hell knew where Hyuna would be, by now.

Hyuna smiled brightly. She put her fingertips on Hwitaek’s wrist, in a sweet way. “I’m glad you have it, Hui” she said. She must have been thinking about where they’d be without it, like Hwitaek had been.

Hwitaek smiled at her. She was so likeable. He didn’t know how she did it. “Me too,” he said genuinely. “What’s with the nickname, by the way?” He didn’t mind it, it was fine. Every time she said it, though, he was never expecting it. It was surprising.

Hyuna pushed her newly-cleaned hair behind her ear, revealing the turquoise earrings and gold, teardrop shaped hoops she wore in her ears. “Oh, I don’t know,” she said. She was smiling at Hwitaek in an incredibly cute way, resting her chin on her hand. She was kind pf close to him, having to tilt her head up, in order to smile at him. “I just think it’s cute.”

Just as she said it, the car jerked, jostling them inside of it. Hwitaek checked the brake lights—they were fine. He checked the engine light, which was also fine. The car was jerking every few feet, seemingly dragging along, throwing their bodies slightly forward, every time. Hwitaek was driving as carefully as he could, ready to brake if he had to.

He looked down to see the hand on the gas meter pointing to Empty. “Son of a bitch,” he sighed. If the car died right here, it certainly wouldn’t be ideal, but it could be worse. There was a gas station, just after the next turn. It was a ways away, and with the way the car was acting right now, they weren’t going to make it even halfway there. He didn’t want them to have to get out and push the car.

“What’s wrong with it?” Hyuna asked, still looking at Hwitaek.

“We’re low on gas,” he said, looking in the side mirror to make sure there was no one behind him before he sped up. “And I think we have a flat tire.”

“I wish I could help with gas money,” Hyuna sighed, slumping into the seat of the car.

Hwitaek shook his head, focused on getting them to the gas station. “I told you, don’t worry about money,” he said. Hyuna didn’t need any more to worry about. Hwitaek, fortunately, could pay for whatever they needed, without them having to help.

“I feel bad,” Hyuna said, pouting a little. Hwitaek could hear the pout in her voice. He was sure she looked just as cute as she sounded.

“Really, don’t worry about it,” Hwitaek said.

They pulled into the gas station. Hwitaek hoped to god that they’d actually be able to get some gas from here. The building of the gas station was completely run down, the windows mostly boarded up and covered in various places. The blue, red, and yellow paint on everything was chipping off, and the white was far past the beginning of rust. The lights above them weren’t on, a few of them cracked and grey in colour. He was sure no one was inside, and just hoped they could use this place for what they needed.

Hwitaek got out of the car quickly, checking the air pressure in the tires first. He used his foot to check each of them, pressing down on them to see if they had any give. They seemed to be fine, for now. Filling them up wouldn’t hurt, but the tires weren’t the cause of any of their issues. The dragging of the car must have just been from the lack of gas.

Hwitaek sighed in frustration. He looked to the other side of the car, where the other two were. Hyuna was sitting on the curb, looking around the gas station. Hyojong was leaning against the car, closing his eyes and feeling the sunlight on his face. Hwitaek moved to them. “Our tires are fine,” he said. “We just need to get gas.”

Hyuna moved a hand over her eyes so she could see through the sunlight, and look up at Hwitaek. “I wish you didn’t have to pay for all of this by yourself,” she said.

“It’s no big deal,” Hwitaek promised.

Hyuna stuck her lips out in a pout. “Hui—”

Hwitaek made his way to the trunk of the car. “Come here,” he said, unlocking the trunk and opening it. There was a light brown, leather suitcase in the trunk, filled with hundreds and hundreds of dollars. It was so full, bills were coming out of where Hwitaek had previously unzipped it.

Hyuna appeared on one side of Hwitaek, Hyojong following suit. “Oh,” Hyuna said in a small voice. Both Hwitaek and Hyojong turned their heads to look at her.

“Yeah,” Hwitaek said. “And it’s not just mine anymore, either. It’s yours, too.”

Hyuna looked worried. “That’s a lot of money.”

“You stole it?” Hyojong guessed, eyes flicking up to Hwitaek, a hand leaning on the car. His button up shirt had slipped off of his left shoulder, hanging around his forearm, now, revealing the heart tattoo on his shoulder. Hwitaek briefly remembered just how muscular Hyojong actually was.

“Yeah,” Hwitaek said, eyes moving away from the tattoo on the other man’s shoulder.

“How much is it?” Hyuna asked. Her voice sounded just as strained as it had been when Hyojong had come out of the shower, that morning.

“I don’t know,” Hwitaek shrugged. “A lot.” He stepped back, shutting the trunk. “We all ened new clothes, though. Probably a lot of them, since we never know how long we’ll be travelling like this.”

“Forever,” Hyuna smiled.

“Either way, we need clothes, and food. And gas, if we want to keep driving. Let’s just get whatever we want, I don’t care if we spend it all. Let’s just do whatever we want.”

Hyuna nodded. Hyojong smiled, that wide, cat-like smile. “Let’s go crazy?” he asked, narrowing his eyes at Hwitaek in a pleased way.

They should do it. They needed to relax, like he and Hyuna had talked about while Hyojong was showering. It’d been a rough couple of days, and they all deserved some way to let go and indulge themselves. Hwitaek really didn’t care if they spent it all, because if they ran out, he could just steal them whatever they wanted. Hyuna deserved to spend money on herself, and so did the other two. They needed this. They needed to have fun.

Hwitaek nodded, smiling at Hyuna, then back at Hyojong. “Go crazy,” he confirmed.

Chapter Text

Hyojong hadn’t felt this bad in a long time.

He woke up feeling like how whole body was being pulled to the ground by weights, and there was no way for him to get them off of him. Every step he took, every second he spent standing up was exhausting for him, because he was so weighed down. Even when he was standing, his shoulders were slumped, not caring enough to lift them up, not willing to push up past the weights to stand up all the way. His eyelids felt heavy, like he needed sleep, but he wasn’t tired. There was just something wrong in his brain, that made it impossible for him to think about anything other than how absolutely shitty he felt. He just wanted to succumb to the weight, and sink into the ground.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t let the weights pull him into the ground. He knew he couldn’t. He knew that Hyuna, for whatever reason, had some sort of attachment to him. While he didn’t mind it, because he liked Hyuna, too, it was just another shitty reason for him to keep on living. It was obvious that she cared for him a lot, even to him.

He wished she wouldn’t. Honestly. Hyojong truly did like Hyuna, and he cared for her as much as he could possibly care about someone. She was sweet, and cute, and needed someone to take care of her, just a little bit, and Hyojong was happy to be the person to do that. They got along well, and there was a lot of things he liked about being around her. But she was keeping him from doing what he always wanted to do. He knew Hwitaek didn’t like him enough, just yet, to really care if Hyojong went to go off himself. And if she needed, Hwitaek was there to take care of her, too. But the emotional damage Hyojong would be giving Hyuna if he killed himself, made him feel guilty enough to not go through with it.

Ha had thought he was getting better, too. Over the past day, he was finally feeling somewhat like a normal person again, even without the weed. He didn’t feel fantastic, by any means, but he didn’t feel like every waking second of his life was making him want to kill himself, so it was an improvement. He was laughing with Hyuna, and finally getting along with Hwitaek, so he thought things had been good. Outside, they were good. He supposed he liked the way he was living life, at the moment. But soon after he started feeling alright, it was stripped away from him. It had happened quickly, seeming to shift overnight. He had gone to bed as regular as someone like him could, and had woken up wanting to drown himself in the bathtub, or cover himself in the gasoline Hwitaek was pumping into the car, and light his lighter. It was such a burning urge to end his own life, he almost felt sick because of it. His head was spinning with the want—the need to let his life bleed out through any means necessary.

He didn’t know if he could go on, for much longer. He didn’t know if he could feel better, after all this time. He had already spent years and years wishing he could just fucking kill himself, but for some ridiculous reason, he hadn’t had the guts to do it yet. He was sure he’d been a regular, happy person, at some point in his early life. But he couldn’t remember it. He’d been wanting to die for so long, he just figured it was who he was, now. He was some crazy, hopeless maniac, who was addicted to the feeling of trying to commit suicide.

Hyojong had been quiet, since they’d woken up that morning. He’d showered, heavily contemplating running the bath over and sinking himself into the warm abyss, but Hyuna’s voice outside of the door had pulled him out of it. Hyuna and Hwitaek had asked him about the tattoo on his shoulder, so he’d told them. Even talking took more effort than he thought it was worth, but these people were his friends, of some sort, so he did his best to talk to them. He tried to converse with them in the car, on the way to the gas station, but he didn’t even know what to say. It was hard to talk to people, when the only thing on his mind was how peaceful it must be to be dead.

If only he could tell them how he felt. Explain to them how difficult it was to do anything and everything, when there was an anvil sitting heavy on his chest. How his skin itched to be free of his life form, lungs itched to be filled with water, how his life wished to be sapped away by the earth, as it had been for years.

There was no way to tell his friends that, though. What could he even say? He could tell them that everything that was happening was making him want to kill himself more and more, but he didn’t want them to think it was their fault. It was his fault that he couldn’t produce whatever it was that he needed to be happy and sane. There was no way these people could understand that. Sure, they had their own problems, but it was nothing like the problems that were constantly going on inside of Hyojong’s head. He couldn’t explain something like that to these newfound friends. They would fear him, or dislike him, or even worse, pity him. He didn’t want them to feel for him, he didn’t need anything like that, he just wanted to be able to tell someone how he was feeling, or tell someone how distracting it was to want to kill himself all the time. Maybe, who knows, they’d even grant him the grand, final wish of death. He could only hope, right?

He didn’t even want to see them, today. Some friend he was. He didn’t want them to see him feel this poorly. For some reason, these people’s opinions of him meant something to him, and he couldn’t have them feel any differently about him, than they already did. Hwitaek was just starting to tolerate him, he didn’t want to fuck that up.

He didn’t want to fuck up anything that was going on, just because he was a fuck up. A major, unsightly, sick fuck up, full of bad thoughts and suicidal wishes. Yeah, he was fucked up, that was for sure.

He wished Hyuna hadn’t been so endearing.

Then, maybe, he could have gone through with it.

Chapter Text

Lights. Hyojong. Lights. Music. Lights. Hwitaek. Lights. Alcohol. Lights.

Hyuna was dancing. The pub they were in was playing loud, upbeat music, easy for her to sway her hips to. It was small, but lively. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, none of them quite matching the others. There was a fuzzy white lamp off to the side, close to the dark blue walls. Over the wooden counters, paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, reflecting off of the large windows at the front of the building. Blue, pink, and green lights reflected off of the equally colourful drinks, colouring everything in magnificence. It was prettily decorated with picture frames and lights, everything in the pub uniting it in some sort of beautiful chaos.

Hyojong was on one side of her, the oversized cow-print jacket he wore hanging off of him loosely, flowing with his movements. He was wearing a sleeveless white shirt underneath it, a picture of a woman’s face shattered on it. The dark jeans he wore hugged his legs, making his muscles visible as he moved to the music. A black bucket hat covered his eyes, so Hyuna could only see them when he tilted his head back to look up at her. He’d found some more weed, somewhere along the way, using the money Hwitaek provided to buy more, so his eyes were tinted pink, from what Hyuna could see. On top of that, he’d been drinking at the bar with Hyuna, knocking back drinks like it was his second nature. He looked bored, ever since they’d arrived at the pub, but Hyuna could tell he was having fun. Under the dim, colourful lighting of the pub, he looked brilliant. His pale skin shone, as did the thick rings on his fingers. His hair moved around his face, as much as it could, restricted by the hat. Their party surroundings fit him well. He looked like he belonged in this pub, dancing as energetically, as he was. He kept smiling at Hyuna, the same narrow-eyed, tight-lipped smile he always gave her. The expression was quickly becoming familiar to her, the more time they spent together.

Even Hwitaek was dancing. He was at Hyuna’s other side, looking far better than Hyuna had thought it was fair to. Even she didn’t look that good. All Hwitaek had done was change his clothes, like the other two of them had, but he was completely transformed. He looked good to begin with, but now he looked extravagant, and Hyuna really could not keep her eyes off of him. He wore light brown, cross-striped slacks that were a bit loose on his thin legs, and fancy, brown leather shoes that had a slight heel to them. A striped, lilac, white, and grey shirt was tucked into his pants, unbuttoned to reveal the white shirt he wore underneath. The collar of the button-up shirt was folded up, pretty frills encircling his neck. Hyuna’s favourite part of the outfit was a soft, sleek leather jacket that hung perfectly off of his shoulders. The harshness of the leather looked especially good against his smooth, honey-coloured skin. He wore no jewelry; besides the simple hoop earrings he always wore. He looked sophisticated, like he always did, but the leather gave him an extra edge Hyuna didn’t know he needed. It made him look… hot. It was a look Hyuna very much enjoyed. He’d had a few drinks as well, going for the harsher liquors, instead of what Hyojong and Hyuna had been drinking. The cut across his nose was just as bad as it had been on the first day, but it didn’t matter, not with the way his bright blue eyes looked down at Hyuna.

Hyuna thought she paled in comparison to them. She was wearing a tie-dyed Led Zeppelin shirt, coloured with light blues, purples, and greens, and a knit skirt, coloured similarly. She didn’t look half as good as the other two did. Not that she minded getting to look at them, like this.

After they’d eaten, they’d gone straight to the first thrift shop they saw. They’d finally entered a city, after all those hours of driving through nowhere. They’d bought as much as they wanted, not caring how much it cost. Hwitaek had told Hyuna and Hyojong that he was treating them to whatever they wanted. He didn’t care about the money, and he said that they shouldn’t have either.

Later, they’d gone to a nicer clothing shop, changing together in the single changing room stall. Hyuna found some gorgeous rectangle-hoop earrings studded with diamonds, so she threw half of her hair up in a bun, so they could be seen easier. They drove around for a shirt bit, wanting to get out on the town as soon as they could, after being stuck in the car for so long. There had been a short, lit-up building, swarming with people, that had caught their eyes.

And now they were here, having more fun that Hyuna could ever remember having.

Hwitaek leaned down to talk to her, his lips moving right next to her ear. His hand came up to rest on the small of her back, as he did. “I’m getting another drink,” he said loudly, trying to compensate for the music. Hyuna’s arm was draped over his shoulders, her warm skin against the cool leather. “Do you want anything?”

She shook her head, smiling up at him. “I’m okay, thanks.” Hwitaek nodded to her, standing up and exiting the crowd of dancing people. His shoulders swayed through the people, enveloped by moving bodies.

There were so many people at the pub. There were more people than Hyuna had been around, in a while. Lately, she’d only seen Hyojong and Hwitaek, and whoever else decided to make an appearance on their journey, whether they were wanted, or not. There was a girl with pink bangs, and a fuzzy choker to match. A man with tan skin and dark hair, wearing a pinstripe suit. A man with red, beaded dreads. So, so many people, just having fun. They were dancing, and yelling, and kissing, and drinking. They were all enjoying themselves to the fullest. And none of them know what Hyuna had done.

Hyuna was grateful that Hwitaek and Hyojong were so accepting of her ever-difficult situation, and she was glad they took certain precautions in her benefit. But there was a certain freedom that came with being surrounded by so many people that didn’t know a thing about her. They didn’t treat her differently, or pity her, like she sometimes felt the other two did. Hwitaek and Hyojong were cautious around her, enough for her to notice. She wasn’t sure if they knew they were doing it, or not, but it happened. They were gentle with her, as if something small was going to break her. The people in the pub didn’t know a single thing about her, so they couldn’t judge her any differently. They couldn’t treat her like she was going to crumble under their touch. They just did what any other person would do, instead of taking everything into consideration. Hyuna could be vulnerable. She couldn’t stop herself from being afraid, or sad, or worried about everything that had happened to her in the past week. She was vulnerable, in some ways. But she wasn’t weak.

Hyojong put his hand on Hyuna’s hip, pulling her away from her train of thought. She turned her head to look at him, smiling softly. “You good?” he asked, coming close to her to talk. Light was illuminating the space behind him, making his pale hair glow like white fire, haloing him like he was some sort of cross-faded angel.

Hyuna looped her arms around his neck, smiling widely. They were standing close. Hyojong lifted his other hand to bring it up to Hyuna’s hip, as well. “I’ll be better if you dance with me,” she said, blinking her eyes.

“Wasn’t I already?” he asked, quirking an eyebrow. Regardless, he pulled her closer by her hips, swaying against her. She locked her arms around his neck, pulling them as tight as she could. Her face was close to his neck, breathing in the pleasant scents embedded in his skin and his clothes. The song, at the moment, was upbeat, but that didn’t change the way they were dancing. They were more or less just swaying, letting the momentum of the room move them.

She flicked her eyes over to where Hwitaek was standing at the bar. He was leaning one elbow on the counter, the other hand in the back pocket of his slacks. He stood with such undeniable confidence, she didn’t know how he did it. Everything he did, from the small movements of his eyes, to the way he talked to the bartenders, looked so sure and dignified.

“I like Hui,” she said. She liked Hui a lot. She figured that much was obvious, from the way she talked to him. Part of it was the fact that, in a very real way, he’d saved her. He hadn’t been obligated to talking Hyuna with him, or even keeping Hyojong, that night. But he still had. Hyuna thought about it a lot. As standoffish as Hui could seem towards Hyojong, there was obviously something there. She wasn’t sure what it was, but it was something. Hwitaek was a naturally caring person, whether he knew it, or not.

Hyuna moved her eyes upward, so she could look at Hyojong’s face, under the hat. His eyes were half-lidded, eyelashes cast downwards as he looked at her. The bruise on his browbone was mostly hidden by his hair, but she could see the lightening bruise at his lip. Compared to the dark red and yellow hues, his lips looked even pinker than usual. A small smile played at Hyojong’s lips. “Me too.” His eyes flickered over to Hwitaek, “He’s kind of an asshole, but I still like him.”

Quite honestly, Hyuna didn’t think Hwitaek had any real flaws. He was never mean to Hyuna, no matter the circumstance. As annoyed as she could get with people treating her like she was glass, from Hwitaek, she appreciated it. In her mind, Hwitaek was such a powerful being, above everyone else. If he seemed to disapprove of Hyuna, or get mad at her, or, god forbid, yell, she didn’t know what she’d do. She was scared of the power he had over everyone and everything. It wasn’t a bad sort of power, though. He used it wisely. He took care of them. Always.

She looked at the endearing way Hwitaek looked around the bar. He was jaded to everything, so used to the world treating him in the unfair way it did. He didn’t deserve any of it, if you asked Hyuna. But he looked around like everything was new to him. Familiar in technicality, but he looked open and excited, just in the sparkle in his eyes. Hyuna didn’t know if she’d ever stop loving those eyes so much. His lips were out in a cute pout, as he thought, and waited for his drink. Sometimes, when he was deep in thought, his already plump lips came out even more, giving him a really adorable, innocent look. “He’s cute. Pretty.”

A quiet laugh bubbled past Hyojong’s shiny lips. Hyuna’s heart seized up in her chest. She liked that sound very much. Hyojong nodded subtly, his bleached hair flowing around her face. “He is.”

Hyuna raised her eyebrows, Hyojong’s nonchalant agreement surprising her. She pulled back to get a better look at his expression, but it revealed nothing, as always. He looked as if he’d just agreed that there was a sun in the sky, or something. “You think so?” she asked. Her cool fingertips were ghosting across the warm skin of Hyojong’s neck.

Hyojong shrugged. His smile showed all of his white teeth, the expression stretching wide across his face. Pink light danced across his features, lighting him up in an otherworldly way. “Sure I do,” he said, as if it was obvious. “I mean, look at him.” He jerked his head in Hwitaek’s general direction, eyes moving along his form.

There was a crystal chandelier hanging low behind Hwitaek’s head, glimmering in the light. It was pretty, and shining, but Hyuna didn’t think it even compared to him. Hwitaek’s strawberry blond hair was pushed back, away from his forehead, in a messy way that made it look like someone had just ran their fingers through it. It made Hyuna want to. It made Hyuna really want to.

Hyuna turned back to Hyojong, eyes looking up at him. He was still watching Hwitaek, taking in his every move. “You’re cute too. You look good,” she noted softly. She almost thought Hyojong didn’t hear her, but then his gaze turned back towards her, and he cocked his head to the side, just slightly. A smile on his lips. He was narrowing his eyes down at her, the pale blue colour moving over his face.

“So do you,” he said. Hyuna could feel his breath against her face. He smelled like weed, smoke, and fruity alcohol, and the cheap shampoo they’d used earlier that morning, at the motel. He smelled good, and fresh, and exactly how Hyuna would have imagine him to smell. He smelled like himself. His face was close to Hyuna’s. She could see the barely-there freckles dotting his cheeks, and over his nose, similar to the freckles Hyuna had, but much lighter. She could see his pale, almost poreless skin, and couldn’t help to feel a bit envious of his perfect complexion. She could see the dark circles under his eyes, and the way they made his eyes look even brighter. Hyojong’s lips barely moved, when he spoke. “Really good.” It didn’t even look like he had spoken. His lips just parted gently, the soft sound leaving them. His eyes were still locked onto Hyuna, unmoving from her face.

Hyuna could feel herself breathing slowly, lungs filling with air, chest rising with the movement. “Well,” she said, pressing her red lips together, the lipstick smooth. She could feel Hyojong’s pule under her fingers, pulling her in with every beat. She swallowed. The alcohol was buzzing under her skin, making her giddy. “Aren’t you going to kiss me?”

Hyojong gave a short laugh, looking amused with her forwardness. “Yeah,” he said with a small shrug. “I guess so.”

She was leaning up before she even had a second to tell her body what to do. Hyojong was leaning down, the same serene, unbothered expression on his perfect features. Their lips touched, and it felt like everything in that rowdy pub stopped moving, stopped making noise, stopped existing. She couldn’t hear anything besides the heart beating in her chest, and the one beating in Hyojong’s. She couldn’t see anything other than long eyelashes stilling over pale, freckled cheeks, and the coral-pink colour on his eyelids. She couldn’t feel anything other than Hyojong’s smooth, perfect lips against her own. His lips were so soft. She would have guessed them to be smooth, if not a little chapped, but they were so gentle and soft, she almost didn’t know they were there.

Before Hyuna could even register anything that was happening, their lips were moving together, just barely. She could taste the smoke and weed on his lips, and his tongue, when it dipped past her lips, to touch her own tongue. The grip on her hips was getting tighter, fingertips just barely digging into the knit skirt she wore. But Hyojong was kissing her so, so gently. He was so soft, she could barely feel him, even though he was the only thing she could even comprehend feeling, at this moment. It was like he’d never kissed a girl in his entire life, and he was afraid he’d mess up, or crush her under his touch. While regularly, she would have wanted him to really kiss her, and not worry about how rough he was being with her, she didn’t want this to stop. She would have done anything to keep Hyojong kissing her like this.

“Having fun?” a voice asked, pulling the two of them apart. Hyojong’s hands immediately left her hips. Hwitaek was standing in front of them, a dark drink in his hand. He looked unamused, eyes dully watching the two of them.

Hyuna could feel her face begin to heat up, and she looked at the floor, to avoid Hwitaek’s gaze. She removed her arms from around Hyojong’s neck, taking a step away. “Hui,” she said, mustering a small, embarrassed smile. “How’s your drink?” She didn’t know what else to say. She wanted to say that yes, she was enjoying herself, very much so. But it dind’t seem like the right think to say to Hwitaek, and she wanted this uncomfortable tension around them to dissolve.

“It’s fine,” he said. His eyes flickered from Hyuna’s face, to Hyojong’s. Hyuna didn’t think he looked very happy. “You have lipstick on your face.”

Hyuna’s head snapped to look up at Hyojong, and sure enough, there was red lipstick staining his pale skin. Red was smeared across both of his lips, making it obvious what they’d just been doing. Hyuna reached up, trying to wipe away the colour with her thumb. “It’d look good on you if we’d done it properly,” she laughed.

Hyojong just smiled. “Yours is smeared, too.” One of his fingers came up to swipe below her lower lip. He pulled it away, showing her the pigment that had come off on his finger.

Hyuna laughed. She and Hyojong clicked so well. It was a wonder it’d taken them this long to kiss. He was a very kissable person. “It’d look good on you, too, Hui,” she said, still trying to get the lipstick off of the other man’s skin.

“What?” Hwitaek coughed, sounding like he’d just choked on his drink.

Hyuna tried to hide her smile. Hwitaek was so cute, when he was flustered. She looked at him, noting the way the tips of his ears had turned pink. “Lipstick,” she said matter-of-factly. “It’d look good on you.”

“Oh,” Hwitaek said, avoiding Hyuna’s gaze. “Thanks.”

She tried to wipe away the lipstick one last time, before giving up. “This isn’t going to come off,” she said. She wrapped her fingers around Hyojong’s wrist, yanking him towards her direction. “Let’s go to the bathroom.” She took a step through the crowd and looked back. Hwitaek was standing exactly where he had been, exactly how he had been, his drink in his hand. She sighed loudly, grabbing his wrist, and pulling him along with her. “You too,” she said.

Hwitaek trudged along, mostly being dragged by the woman. His feet were dragging on the ground, obviously reluctant to go to the bathroom with two other people. He was so weird, about certain things. “What are we going to the bathroom for?” he whined.

Hyuna shot him a playful look, a wide smile on her smeared-lipstick lips. “You’ll see.”

Chapter Text

Hyuna had dragged both Hyojong and Hwitaek into the stall of a restroom, where the floor was sticky with blue liquid. Hwitaek could have sworn he was Hyojong drinking something of similar hue. She had both of their wrists in her hold. She was looking up at Hwitaek, chewing on her lower lip. Her eyes were unmoving from his face, the aquamarine shade steady. The lights in the bathroom were all covered with a bright red shade, making both she and Hyojong’s eyes seem especially unnatural in colour. The red matched her. It was her colour. It belonged to her, as far as Hwitaek was concerned.

“Why are we in here?” Hwitaek asked in a hushed tone. He was looking down at Hyuna, wondering how the red colour of her lipstick was the exact same red that tinted the bathroom lights. He wondered why the lights of a public bathroom were even red, and then he decided he didn’t want to get into the details of why the people in this city were anything other than the way they were. It was the 90s. Not much made sense, at least not to Hwitaek.

She swayed slightly to the side, grip tightening around Hwitaek’s wrist for support. “I’m drunk,” she whispered, a smile forming on her firetruck-toned lips. Her face was close to Hwitaek’s. Hyojong was standing next to Hwitaek, just watching the way Hyuna was behaving. He’d gotten high long before they’d even arrived at the pub, somehow coming up with more weed. He’d had just about as much to drink as Hwitaek had, which was not really a safe amount for human consumption. He didn’t really look like he was with Hyuna and Hyojong.

When Hwitaek spoke his voice was quiet, not wanting to let anyone know that there were three people squeezed into a single bathroom stall. “I’ve noticed,” he said. Hyuna got drunk quickly. She had been drinking and dancing for most of the night. It was no wonder she was in this condition. Hwitaek figured she deserved to let loose, at this point.

Hyuna swayed backwards, a small giggle bubbling up from her throat, out past her lips. Hwitaek put a hand at the small of her back, to steady her.

“That was cute,” Hyojong murmured, his words slurred.

Hyuna let out another laugh. “You’re cute,” she all-but-argued. She fell forward into Hyojong’s arms, her lips crashing against hos. Hyojong put his hand on Hyuna’s back, his fingertips brushing Hwitaek’s. Hyojong was kissing Hyuna back, lips moving against hers. Both of their eyes were closed, too invested in each other to care about anything else. To even care that Hwitaek was standing right next to them, watching them as if he’d never seen two people kiss, before. They most likely didn’t even remember that he was there, in the first place. If she’d wanted to get the lipstick off of Hyojong’s skin, this certainly was not the way to do it. The colour was smearing across his milk-like skin, giving his colourless features a spark of pigment.

Hwitaek moved his hand off of Hyuna’s back, preparing to leave. He’d already seen them suck face once, he didn’t want to watch it again. Besides, he doubted they wanted to be watched, either, and he was just going to make things uncomfortable.

Hyuna pulled away from Hyojong, round eyes following to where Hwitaek was opening the stall’s door. Lipstick was smeared on her face, too, making it clear just where Hyojong’s lips had made contact with her. “Where are you going?” she asked, eyebrows knitting.

“I was going to leave you two alone,” he said. He didn’t understand why Hyuna looked confused. It seemed to him, there was a whole lot he hadn’t been understanding, lately.

“Why?” she asked. Her hand shifted around Hwitaek’s wrist. “You’re in here, too.” She blinked at him, the black she’d painted her eyelashes making her eyes look even more complex. “You don’t have to leave.”

Before Hwitaek could tell Hyuna that he didn’t want to stand in a dirty, sticky bathroom stall to watch them make out, Hyojong was bumping his shoulder into Hwitaek’s. He had a shitty smile on his face, his red-tinted eyes sleazily narrowed at Hwitaek. “You wanna kiss me, pretty boy?”

No,” Hwitaek replied, all too quickly. “Why would I?” He grimaced at Hyojong, noting the way Hyojong’s stained lips curved up into an animalistic smile.

Hyojong just smiled at him, tilting his head. His blond hair looked like flames, in the red light of the bathroom. “Shame,” he said quietly.

Hwitaek desperately wanted to leave. His hand was holding the door ajar behind his back, prepared to leave, as soon as the other two would let him.

“What about me?” Hyuna asked. She was swaying her shoulders, looking up and batting her eyelashes at Hwitaek, the way she always did, when she wanted something. It was the same way she’d silently looked up at him, when she wanted Hyojong to join them. Hwitaek had mized feelings about that expression.

“What about you?” Hwitaek asked.

Hyuna’s lips pouted out in a cute heart shape. She stepped closer to Hwitaek, her round eyes scanning over his face. She was quiet, when she spoke. Shy, almost. Hwitaek could hardly believe that she had any right to be shy, after dancing all night, and kissing Hyojong whenever Hwitaek was looking. “Do you want to kiss me?”

“What?” Hwitaek wasn’t hearing right. Maybe the music had been too loud. His ears were ringing.

She swayed, sliding her hand up Hwitaek’s arm, until her thin fingers were resting on the subtle curve of his bicep. “Do you want to kiss me?”

“Oh,” Hwitaek said. It was possible that his hearing was working just fine. He wanted to leave. “I don’t know.”

Hyuna took a staggered step backwards. “You don’t know?” Hyojong shuffled next to them. Smoke blew between Hyuna and Hwitaek’s face. Hwitaek hadn’t even realized that he’d had a joint between in long fingers. “You don’t have to,” she said, “but you can, if you want to.”

Hwitaek didn’t know what to say. He looked to where Hyojong was standing, his shiny pink lips wrapped around the joint. He blew smoke out of his nose as he kept inhaling smoke, filling the air around their heads with the scent of weed. Hwitaek looked to the wall on the opposite side, looking for any form of escape. “You just kissed him,” he said, jerking his head towards Hyojong’s general direction.

“I know,” Hyuna said, smiling sweetly.

“Do you want me to?” He couldn’t say he didn’t want to kiss Hyuna. She was pretty, enough. By that, Hwitaek meant that Hyuna was easily the prettiest girl he had ever seen in his life. And she was nice, and fun. She was… good.

“Yeah,” she said, without even hesitating. She said it as if it’d been obvious, which is had not. If it had been obvious, Hwitaek would have caught on a hell of a lot easier, and maybe even kissed her.

“Oh.” Good one, Hwitaek. Always a master with words. “Okay.”

He put his hand on the side of her face, without even thinking, like he was in some shitty romance movie from ten years ago. She smiled, leaning her face into the touch, eyes never leaving his face. She leaned up on her toes a little bit, even though she didn’t have to, because they really weren’t that far apart, in terms of height. Hwitaek leaned down, ever so slightly. It felt like everything was moving in slow motion. Was he really doing this? Was he really about to kiss Hyuna, even though she’d just smeared Hyojong’s face with her lipstick? That should have bothered Hwitaek a hell of a lot more, but as soon as his lips brushed against hers, he could not have cared any less than he did, right at that moment.

Her lips were soft, the waxy red making in easy for Hwitaek’s chapped lips to slide over hers. At first, he was just pressing their lips together, trying to make sure he knew exactly what Hyuna’s lips felt like, down to the very last detail, so it was the last thing he remembered before he died. And then Hyuna’s lips were moving, twisting, sending electricity running over Hwitaek’s lips, out to the skin of his face, and then all through his body. It was like she was shocking him back to life, electrifying him in the most pleasant way possible, and he’d never been more thankful for anything in his life.

He moved his lips against hers, able to taste to lipstick on the tip of his tongue. He moved his lips with hers, the pleasant slide of skin against skin making his head spin. Her tongue tasted like alcohol, and smoke, and he would have bet anything that he was tasting Hyojong’s mouth on her tongue. Hwitaek was almost certain that he wasn’t breathing, just letting Hyuna have her way with his lips, and his tongue, and eventually, his teeth. But he didn’t mind. He wasn’t sure if Hyuna was using magic on him, or just the pure allure of everything that she was as a person, but Hwitaek couldn’t remember anything other than the flower petal feeling of her lips, and the tickle of her fiery hair against his cheeks.

Hyojong let out a long whistle, exhaling smoke over their faces as he did. “Hot,” he said, the smile clear apparent in his voice.

Hyuna and Hyojong broke apart, a laugh leaving escaping her, as if the only thing that had been keeping it in, were Hwitaek’s lips. Hyuna tilted her head, looking up at Hwitaek. Hwitaek hoped he didn’t look as red as he felt. “See?” she said, fingers coming up to poke at his plump lower lip. “I told you lipstick would look good on you.”

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Hwitaek was getting progressively drunker, as the night went on.

Ever since Hyuna had kissed him, his head had been spinning so fast, he couldn’t even keep up with what was going on. He could just fell the tingle of her red lips, as if they were still pressed against his own. He’d been stupefied, and it hadn’t even taken much. Just a gorgeous girl kissing him. God, he was acting like such a fucking virgin.

He was fairly certain that Hyuna was off somewhere, dancing in the center of the crowd, making it known that she was the true life of the party, and none of this would be even have as glamorous if she hadn’t been there. She moved the people in the pub like they were her very own puppets, designed to make her have as much fun as she could possibly have. They were her puppets, and she had their strings wrapped around her pretty, manicured fingers, pulling them, and moving them to her desires. Hwitaek briefly supposed that he was one of those puppets. He didn’t think he minded very much.

Hyojong shifted on the bar stool next to him, reminding him that the other man was there. Hwitaek snapped his head to look at him, trying to glare, but failing. He didn’t know what it was, at the moment, but he was finding it particularly hard to muster up his most used facial expression. In a much more real way, he knew the exact reason he was having difficulty glaring at Hyojong. Hwitaek was drunk on lipstick kisses.

“She likes you, you know,” Hyojong said, narrow eyes travelling from Hwitaek’s own, down to the buttons of his shirt, to the stripes of his slacks, to his shiny black shoes, and then back up to his face. Hyojong’s eyes were tinted pink, slanted in such a way that made him look like he was smiling, but not with his mouth.

Hwitaek figured Hyojong was talking about Hyuna kissing him. Hyuna had kissed Hyojong, too. Many times. “She’s just drunk.”

Hyojong shrugged. The cow print jacket he wore was slipping off of one of his muscular shoulders, revealing the tattoo that was peeking out from under his cutoff shirt. Hwitaek was so drunk, he felt like he couldn’t possibly look away from the linework at Hyojong’s shoulder. He managed to drag his eyes back up to Hyojong’s face, and noticed the light freckles sprinkled over the tops of his cheeks, and over the bridge of his nose. “Maybe,” Hyojong said. He shook his head, a thin smile forming on his pale lips. “Actually, definitely. But she still likes you.”

“How would you know?” Hwitaek snapped. He hadn’t meant to snap at Hyojong, this time, but he was too drunk for Hyojong to be his usual, high self. Being vague was not the best way to get something through to Hwitaek.

Hyojong took a sip of the drink that was in his hand, looking at Hwitaek out of the side of his eyes. He set the drink on the counter, swinging his body towards the other man’s. Hwitaek almost jumped out of his seat when Hyojong’s knee bumped into his. “Really?” Hyojong asked, voice full of disbelief. Hwitaek was sure it was obvious he wasn’t kidding. He narrowed his eyes, unmoving. Hyojong scoffed. “She told me,” he said. “Earlier.”

Hwitaek lifted an eyebrow. The whiskey in his glass was looking more and more appealing to drown himself in. Who was he, Hyojong? “Before you kissed her?”

“She kissed me,” Hyojong said quickly. “And yeah, like two seconds before she kissed me, she told me that she likes you.” Hyojong’s hand came up to fiddle with some of his bleached hair, pulling his long bangs away from his face.

“That’s absurd.”

Hyojong laughed. Actually laughed. Hwitaek wasn’t sure he’d ever heard that sound before. It was loud, and high-pitched, and sort of raspy, in a way. Any other night, hell, any other second Hwitaek would have found that sound so incredibly annoying. But right now—and he’d never, ever, ever tell Hyojong this, even if his life depended on it—he sort of liked it. Fuck, he was drunk.

Hyojong’s smile was wide and white, and he looked like a fox, about to lunge at his prey. “You are the weirdest fucking person I have ever met,” he said, a bubbly laugh leaving his lips. He smacked Hwitaek on the back, lurching the other man forward. He really didn’t understand his own strength.

Hwitaek didn’t quite understand how he was the weirdest person Hyojong had ever met, when one of the first things out of Hyojong’s mouth was ‘You ever tried to kill yourself?’ He was absurd. Hwitaek didn’t know how to respond, so he didn’t, He just left his gaze drift back to where Hyuna had been dancing, making the crowd pulse around her, in time with the music.

“She’s kind of amazing, isn’t she?” Hyojong asked, eyes following to where Hwitaek was looking.

Hyuna was nothing short of amazing, but the word also didn’t quite live up to everything that she was. Hyuna was spectacular, like fireworks lighting up a dark night sky. She was bubbly and a perfectly white smile, but she was so, so sad, and a lot of the time, she was scared, too. She was a forest fire, burning down tree after tree, and as much as it made Hwitaek nervous, he didn’t want to look away from the tall, orange flames, or the hot red embers burning through black wood. She was a house fire, decimating everything Hwitaek thought he knew, everything he thought he knew how to feel, and what to think. Her presence was so powerful, even in this fancy pub, that she lit up the entire room and reinvigorated everyone she came into contact with, even if she just glanced at them with her pretty, deep blue eyes. She was the living embodiment of fire, and smeared lipstick, and as much as she wouldn’t have liked it, she was blood—hot, and red, and warm, and terrifying, but enchanting in a way that Hwitaek would have bet all of his money on. God, he would have given it all up for her, right at that second. He would have let those thugs beat the shit out of him, until he was a bloody pulp lying on the concrete, his life seeping out of him. He would have thrown the entire trunk full of money into the fastest, deepest river, if she had told him to. He would have driven that stolen car off of any mountain, or any bridge for her, just because she was so alluring, and so pretty, Hwitaek could hardly make any sense of it. He would have done anything if she had asked him to, with those perfectly pouty, red lips, and those wide, rain coloured eyes. She was fire, and rain, and blood, and life, and fucking hell, Hwitaek would have done anything to keep her going, the way she was.

Hwitaek nodded. “Yeah.”

Hyojong mumbled something that sounded like “you are, too,” but Hwitaek was sure it wasn’t that. Hyojong had to be out of his damned mind to say something like that. He was out of his mind, Hwitaek knew that, but not to that extent.

“What?” Hwitaek asked, almost afraid to know the answer to that.

Hyojong’s eyes flickered over Hwitaek’s face, as if he was surprised that he’d even heard him. “Oh.” He grabbed his drink off of the bar’s counter, swirling the pink liquid in his hand. “Nothing. You want another drink, yet?”

Hwitaek felt like his eyes were physically locked onto the way the contents of Hyojong’s drink were swirling around in his glass, hot pink, like his lips. Hwitaek didn’t understand how he and Hyuna managed to drink such sweet, fruity concoctions, but he supposed it fit them well enough. “Not yet,” Hwitaek said, raising his glass of whiskey. There was still a bit left, and Hwitaek was in no hurry to finish it. He was plenty drunk as it was.

Hyojong just nodded, and turned back to look at Hyuna. His eyes flickered around the room when he realized she wasn’t in the center of the dancefloor. Hwitaek looked around, eyes coming to a stop when he found her. “There,” Hwitaek said, hoping Hyojong would follow his vision.

Hyuna was sitting on the edge of the counter, one leg crossed over the other, not too far behind him. Her legs seemed impossibly long, especially in her chunky black heels, the ankle strap wrapped nicely around her pale skin. She was talking to several people at once, as if it were her job to entertain these oddly-clad people.

“Dawn,” she called. Hyojong’s head snapped up towards her, eyes unmoving from her perfect figure. “Come here.” He reached a hand out for him, red nails catching in the coloured lights of the pub.

Hyojong tilted his head up to properly look at her from under his bucket hat, a small smirk painted on his lips. “You come here,” he said, not even budging from off of the bar stool.

Hwitaek wondered how Hyojong resisted her, so easily. If she had called Hwitaek, even to just readjust her ankle strap, Hwitaek would have been there in a matter of seconds. He would have literally flown across the room to be in front of her, but no, Hyojong was still her, as if he were challenging how much Hyuna wanted him close to her.

Hyuna smiled coyly at Hyojong, and even though the expression wasn’t directed towards him, Hwitaek could hear his heart beating in his ears. “Fine,” she said, batting her lined eyes at Hyojong. She scooted herself farther onto the counter, twisting around so she was on her hands and knees.

Hwitaek thought he was going to choke on his drink.

The arch of Hyuna’s back was graceful, her hips in the air. The knit skirt rubbed against her bare legs as she crawled towards Hyojong, over the wooden counter. Bottles were knocked out of her way, the rest of the crowd laughing and cheering as she got closer. Her gaze was fixed on Hyojong, hungry, and dare Hwitaek say, sexy. She was knocking everything out of her way, her body moving in the most feline way, not caring one bit about who or what was around her. Hwitaek didn’t even think she knew that he was there.

When she finally reached Hyojong, she sat back on her knees. She smiled at him, wide enough to create creases at the corner of her eyes, wrinkle her nose, and form shallow dimples in her round, rosy cheeks. Then, she blinked, and there was something darker in her eyes, and if Hwitaek didn’t know better, he would have called it lust. She took the sides of Hyojong’s face in her hands, fingertips slightly digging into the skin, there.

“You could have just walked,” Hyojong said boredly. His eyes were cast downwards, focused on the red of her lips.

Hyuna gave a short burst of a laugh, squeezing Hyojong’s face in her hand. His lips stuck out from the contact. “This was more fun,” she said, throwing her long hair behind one of her shoulders. She winked, the movement fleeting, but enough for it to make Hwitaek’s blood rush away from his head so fast, he was sure he was going to pass out. He was acting like he’d never seen a girl in his life, for fuck’s sake.

She pulled Hyojong’s face closer, until there was no more space left to be filled, and their lips were pressed together. The crowd was cheering. Everyone in that room was yelling, and clapping, except for Hwitaek who was just sitting lifelessly on that bar stool, watching the way their lips met. It was a light kiss, nothing like the way she had kissed Hyojong in the bathroom, but Hwitaek could see the cherry pigment of lipstick transferring to his pale skin.

When she pulled away, there was a small smile on Hyojong’s mouth, and a wide one on her. She turned to Hwitaek in what seemed like less than a second, and a smug, feline expression was on her face. Her eyelashes were casting pretty shadows over her round cheeks, shifting when she blinked. “Hui,” she said, breath all coming out in a rush over Hwitaek’s face. She smelled like alcohol and Hyojong. Hwitaek’s pants felt tighter, just at the thought. “Come here.”

Hwitaek swallowed hard, shifting on the stool. He wanted to hit himself for acting like such a fucking virgin. This was the 90s. Girls were everywhere. Hwitaek had seen plenty of girls, before. He’d even kissed several of them, gone to bed with several of them. There was no reason Hyuna should have been stirring such a hot fire in the pit of Hwitaek’s stomach, yet here she was. Setting him on fire. “I’m right here,” he said, and his voice sounded a little hoarse, even to him.

Hyuna laughed, biting her lower lip, as she did. “Cute,” she said, shifting closer. Hwitaek’s breath was caught in his throat, unsure of what to do. Normally, he was sure of himself. He’d always had to be, since he was always getting in trouble, and lying his way out of fights. Even when he couldn’t get out of them, he was still so sure of himself, bragging and smugly making his way through them. Hwitaek was the type of person who could take charge, and be sure of what he wanted, and how he was going to get it. Right now, he felt dumb. Lifeless, even. Thoughtless. He was dumbfounded as to what to do, in this situation, so he didn’t do anything. Just trusted his brain to go on autopilot when Hyuna pressed her lips to his, the slight taste of Hyojong dappled over her waxy lipstick. Hwitaek could taste Hyojong on her lips, as he ran his tongue over the lower. He could taste every drink Hyuna had consumed that night, and everything she wanted. He could taste Hyuna, and he wouldn’t have been surprised if he had suffocated to death, right there, right then.

The crowd was quiet for one second, maybe two, and then they were cheering and clapping, just like they had when Hyuna had kissed Hyojong. They didn’t care that she’d just kissed one man, and was now kissing another. They liked it. They probably wanted to kiss her, too. Hwitaek could blame them.

Hyuna backed away, their lips pulling apart with a satisfying wet sound. Hwitaek looked at her, eyes probably wider than he’d wanted them to be. “Is that it, then?” Hwitaek asked, looking at her shiny lipstick. “Are you just kissing both of us like that, now?” There was a small smile on his lips. As much as he’d wanted to seem unbothered and cool, like some girl wasn’t turning his knees to jelly, and his brain to pudding, Hyuna made him smile. Everything about her was so good.

“Do you have another suggestion?” Hyuna asked. She sat back on her knees, so she could look down at both Hyojong and Hwitaek. Hwitaek didn’t know what it was, but he sure liked the way she was looking down at him.

“No,” Hwitaek said, a laugh leaving his mouth.

Hyuna slid down off of the counter, right into Hyojong’s lap. Her smooth legs were crossed, black heels landing right in Hwitaek’s lap. She looked up at Hyojong her lips close to the sharp edge of his jawline. “Do you have any suggestions?”

He shrugged. “It’s your world, baby doll, I’m just living in it.”

Hyuna laughed loudly. She pressed a kiss to his jawline, leaving the imprint of her perfect, heart-shaped lips. She took off his hat, running a hand through Hyojong’s hair. “That’s what I like to hear,” she said.

Hyojong just smiled at her, wide and narrow.

Hwitaek wasn’t sure who was going to eat up who, first. Hwitaek didn’t know if he wanted to stay around to watch. Even more terrifyingly, he wasn’t sure he didn’t want to stay around to watch.

Hyuna grinned. “Hyuna, Hyojong, and Hwitaek,” she sighed dreamily, looking between the two men. She threw her arms around Hyojong’s neck, his hat still clutched between her pretty fingers. “H, H, and H.”

Hyojong snorted. “Triple H?”

She gasped excitedly, aquamarine eyes widened at Hwitaek. “I love it!” she exclaimed. She shifted forward on Hyojong’s lap, her legs sliding further onto Hwitaek’s lap. She looked happier than Hwitaek had ever seen her, and he wanted to live in this moment forever. She pressed another lipstick-stained kiss against Hyojong’s cheek, colouring him with the colour of the flames that she embodied. She grabbed Hwitaek around the back of the next, pressing a quick, excited kiss to the spot next to his mouth.

Hwitaek just smiled at Hyuna. Then at Hyojong.

Hyuna winked, her laugh filling the pub. “Triple H against the world.”

Chapter Text

Hyojong found himself holding Hyuna’s hand, a lot.

They were back on the road, back to being squished into Hwitaek’s stolen care. It was starting to smell like sweat and weed, both of which Hyojong knew he was responsible for.

They’d all left the part last night, in a rush of quick pecks, stolen glances, and full laughs. Hyuna had been holding both of their hands, pulling them out to the car. Her hair had been blowing in the icy wind, eyes flickering between Hyojong and Hwitaek’s faces. She was smiling wide, and so was Hyojong. He was high, and drunk, and everything that was happening made him feel good. He was free.

Even Hwitaek had been smiling, too. Not the tight-lipped, worried smile he always had on his face when he looked at Hyuna, but a wide, genuine smile. He was smiling so wide, Hyojong could see all of his teeth, and the creases at the outer corners of his eyes. He was smiling so wide, his eyes turned into small crescents. Hwitaek looked so happy and real, for the first time since they’d met, Hyojong could hardly even recognize him. He looked like a different person.

When Hyuna spoke to Hwitaek, she’d usually tangle her fingers with his, and fiddle with them. He had sort of dainty hands, and Hyojong thought it was rather cute. Hyuna would look up at him, with those crazy, round eyes, and just feel his hands with hers. As soon as she was done talking, she’d bring her hands back into her lap, and Hyojong could see how much Hwitaek wished she hadn’t removed her hands. Hyojong wondered how long it’d been since Hwitaek had been treated like that.

Even when Hyuna wasn’t talking to Hyojong, their hands were clasped. She’d be sitting in the passenger’s side seat, one of her arms looped across her chest and over her shoulder, so Hyojong could lace their fingers together. She’d smile at him from over the seat, and shift her fingers to hold his hand tighter. They held hands when they walked into convenience stores, letting Hwitaek feel up the tank while they got food. Their hands were always linked together, and Hyojong loved it. He liked the contact. He hadn’t had anything like that, before, but it felt nice. Hyuna was warm, and her hands were gentle. When they kissed, one of her hands were still tangled with his, the other coming up to play with the hair at the nape of his neck, or feel the muscle that was at his hip. He’d have her pinned against the wall, or Hwitaek’s car, when Hwitaek wasn’t around. Hyojong didn’t want to kiss Hyuna in front of Hwitaek. He saw the way Hwitaek looked at her. Sometimes, Hyuna would have Hyojong pinned against the wall, so she could kiss him until neither of them could breathe.

“Hungry?” Hwitaek asked Hyuna, barely turning his head to look at her. The cut over the bridge of his nose was healing just as poorly as Hyojong’s bruises were.

Hyuna’s hand came up to brush against Hwitaek’s, her fingertips skimming over each of his digits. Her orange hair was resting over her shoulders. “Kind of,” she said. Her lips looked stained, from the lipstick. Hyojong wondered if his were, too.

Hwitaek slid his hand away from Hyuna’s, so he could point out her window. “Diner.” The left-over gel in his hair was making his hair look messier than usual. He looked good. Tired, maybe, but glowy nonetheless.

Hyuna’s fingers played with the loop that was through his ear. “We might as well,” she sighed dreamily. Her eyes flickered to Hyojong. He was already rolling a blunt for when they got out of the car, but he looked at her, anyway. “Dawn, are you okay with that?”

Hyojong blinked, momentarily trying to figure out who ‘Dawn’ was. He hadn’t been called that in so long. Hyuna called him that for the first time, at the party. He didn’t know if she’d remembered that he’d told her about the nickname, or what, but it certainly kept him on his toes. “Yeah, I need to smoke, anyway,” he said. His fingers were starting to get shaky. Plus, the bitch of a hangover he’d acquired last night felt like it was about to pull through and punch him in the brain.

“Want to smoke,” Hwitaek corrected. He turned the car into the parking lot, not sparing Hyojong so much as a glance.

Hyojong grabbed his lighter off of the back seat, pushing the joint behind his ear. “Well,” he said. “If you want my dead body sitting back here, because I finally decided to off myself, sure. I want to smoke.”

That shut him up.

Hyojong got out of the car as soon as they parked, opening Hyuna’s door for her. He offered his hand to help her get out, gratefully accepting the kiss she gave him as thanks.

“I gotta smoke,” he said, face close to hers. She nodded. “Just order he the unhealthiest thing on the menu, okay?” That was usually a fair judgement to tell if he liked a food. If it was unhealthy, he was in. That went for a lot of things.

“Okay,” Hyuna said. She grabbed the joint from behind his ear, pecked his lips again, and stuck the joint where her lips had just been.

“Thanks, baby,” Hyojong said, holding the joint still between his lips. She flashed him a playful smile, turning to walk into the diner. He flicked the lighter a few times, bringing the flame up to light the end of the joint.

Hwitaek got out of the car, frowning like he always did. “Don’t make a mess,” he grumbled, looking at Hyojong. “Or light yourself on fire.”

“Aw, it’s sweet you think about me,” Hyojong teased. He inhaled deeply, enjoying the familiar burn of smoke down his throat. He blew it out through his nose, only to keep sucking the smoke down.

“Shut up,” Hwitaek snapped, slamming his door to make a point. Both of them winced at the loud sound.

“Wanna hit?” Hyojong asked, smoke clouding out of his mouth. He extended his arm, offering Hwitaek the joint over the hood of the car.

No,” Hwitaek spat, as if Hyojong had just asked him to perform a group suicide with him. His eyes were narrowed meanly, but he still managed to look oddly alluring.

“Your loss,” Hyojong said, bringing it back to his lips. “Helps hangovers.” He blew smoke into Hwitaek’s face, earning a glare.

“We should get inside,” the other man responded, turning around. He walked away, only looking back to give Hyojong a dirty look.

Hwitaek really could be charming sometimes, couldn’t he?

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“I’m going to buy a gun,” Hwitaek said, standing up.

The motel they were staying at was dingy, but at least it had hot water, They’d all showered as soon as they’d arrived, though, much to Hyojong’s disappointment, separately. He thought it’d be fun to shower together, but he didn’t want to bring it up around Hwitaek. He didn’t know how he’d handle something that intimate. Most likely not well.

“Right now?” Hyojong asked, eyeing the other man up and down. He was wearing a white button-up shirt, avoiding looking at either Hyuna or Hyojong. Hyojong suspected it was because of the arm Hyojong had slung over Hyuna’s shoulders. Hyuna was comfortably leaning against him, watching the other man.

Hwitaek shrugged. “Might as well.” He grabbed his jacket off of the coffee table, throwing it on. “Who knows what’ll happen? We’re criminals, we’re not safe. We have to be able to protect ourselves.” By that, Hyojong figured he meant that they needed a better way to protect Hyojong. It wasn’t wrong. All they had, at the moment, were their bodies and minds. Neither could last for as long as they’d like them to. Thinking back to the cop they’d encountered, a gun wasn’t such a bad idea.

“How long are you going to be gone?” Hyuna asked. She shifted next to Hyojong, absentmindedly intertwining her fingers with the blond’s. “Shouldn’t we go with you?” One of her legs was draped over Hyojong’s, the heel of her foot tapping against his leg.

Hwitaek shook his head quickly. “I won’t be gone long. I’ll be back as soon as I get it. Don’t worry about me.” He shoved his hands in his jacket pockets, along with the car keys. “I’m taking the car, though, so don’t leave. Don’t even leave this room, okay?”

Hyojong wanted to point out how ironic it was for Hwitaek to instruct them so strictly, when he’d just told them not to worry.

Hyuna nodded diligently. “We won’t,” she promised.

Hwitaek looked back at them, eyes scanning over the way they were sitting together. “I’ll be back soon,” he said. He opened the door.

“Be safe,” Hyuna called. It sounded like she wanted to say ‘I love you.’ Instead, she squeezed Hyojong’s hand a little tighter, and sighed, “hurry back.”

Hwitaek nodded, and closed the door behind him.

Hyuna was tense beside Hyojong. He pulled her closer by the arm wrapped around her shoulder. “He’ll be fine,” he assured. Hwitaek could take care of himself. He was strong, and smart. And he’d been taking care of himself for years before they’d met him. He was street smart enough to get himself out of any situation.

The red head took a shaky breath in. “I worry about him.” She looked up at Hyojong, tooth worrying at her lower lip.

“I know you do,” Hyojong said. They both did. As self-sufficient as Hwitaek was, he was reckless. He was aggressive and ornery, and he liked getting into fights. He had quite the mouth on him, and it was sure to get him in trouble, sometimes. Besides, anything could happen to them. Damn near anything had happened to them. “But he’ll be fine.”

Hyuna’s eyebrows knit. She let go of his hand and shrugged out from under his arm, so she could turn towards him. “Do you really think so?” she asked. She moved to sit on top of Hyojong, straddling his thigh. Her hands came up to rest over his shoulders.

Hyojong tried to ignore how warm her thighs were, pressed on either side of his. “Sure,” he shrugged. “He’s too much of an asshole not to be.”

Her fingers played with the short hair at the back of his head. “I know he can take care of himself, but still…” She was looking down at Hyojong’s face, blue eyes steady. “What if he gets hurt?”

Hyojong slid his hands up to rest around her ribcage. Her lips were red, but not from lipstick. She’d washed all of that odd in the shower. It was just the natural pigment of her skin. It was a pretty shade. “Then, we’ll help him get better. We can handle it.”

Hyuna swept her hair over one shoulder, bringing her face down close to Hyojong’s. Her eyes were nearly closed as she looked at him. “I guess so.” She ran a hand through Hyojong’s hair. “I just don’t want him to get hurt. He does so much for us.”

As Hyuna shifted on his lap, he tried not to think about how nice it was to have her on top of him, like this. He just shrugged. “So do you.”

Hyuna gave a content smile, and sat up to take her shirt off. She threw it to the side, not caring where it went. “I don’t do that much,” she argued.

A laugh burst out of Hyojong. “That’s what does it for you, huh?” When Hyuna didn’t seem to understand, he shook his head in amusement. “I compliment you, and you take your shirt off?” Not that he minded. At all. Anyone who minded seeing Hyuna’s half-naked body was absolutely out of their mind. She was muscular, and lean, especially in the muscles of her stomach, but she somehow managed to be curvy and sexy. This wasn’t the first time Hyojong was seeing it—they’d all changed in front of each other—but this was the first time he was allowed to appreciate it for what it was. Besides, he didn’t think he’d get sick of it.

A cute giggle rose up from her throat as she smiled. “What can I say?” She got her hands around the hem of Hyojong’s shirt, and pulled it up over his head. She threw it near her own. “I’m a simple girl,” she winked.

Hyojong snorted. “You are, by far, the least simple girl I have ever met.”

Hands disappeared behind her back, unclasping her own bra. The straps loosely hung off of her shoulders. Hyojong wasn’t totally sure if he was allowed to look, or not. So, he studied the endearing pout of her lips, as she spoke. “I don’t think you’ve met a lot of girls, Dawnie.”

Dawnie. “Touché,” he laughed. Clearly, he hadn’t, considering how affected he was by her.

Hyuna wrapped her arms around the back of his neck, moving to straddle his lap. She gave him a sweet kiss on the lips. Her bra straps were hanging around her elbows, nothing separating their bare chests. Hyojong was becoming increasingly concerned with how tight his pants were getting, especially with her on top of him, like this. Hyuna gave him a few more chaste kisses, and pulled away. She had a pout on her face. “I don’t think Hui wants to kiss me,” she grumbled.

Hyojong raised his eyebrows. “Why do you think that?”

“He hasn’t kissed me since the party. I don’t know, I just don’t think he wants to.” She untangled her arms from Hyojong’s neck, and tossed her bra on the ground. “Maybe he just doesn’t like kissing.”

Hyojong laughed. “I think you’ve got it all mixed up, baby girl.” He knew for a fact Hwitaek wanted to kiss Hyuna. He’d been so happy to, last night. And Hwitaek wasn’t as subtle about his feeling as he thought he was.

Hyuna thought about this, for a second. “Okay,” she nodded. She kissed Hyojong on the mouth, slow and soft. She smelled like cheap shampoo and waxy soap.

“Trust me, he wants to kiss you,” Hyojong said, sure of himself.

Nimble fingers unbuttoned the front of Hyojong’s jeans. “I believe you,” she said. She unzipped his jeans, as well. Round eyes looked at Hyojong expectantly. “Let’s go, then.”

“What?” Hyojong laughed. It took him a moment to understand what she wanted. “Oh, was talking about Hwitaek some weird foreplay, for you?” All they’d done, up until now, was talk about him. Hyojong couldn’t really blame her, if that’s what got her blood moving, but he’d at least like a warning. While having his bones jumped by the most beautiful woman on the planet wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to him, he’d still like more time to process what was happening. His brain needed a minute or to two wonder where his life had gone so right.

Red flushed at Hyuna’s round cheeks. “No,” she said. “I just figured… since Hui is out…” She moved her hair behind her ear, clearly embarrassed. “We don’t have to, if you don’t—”

“Christ,” Hyojong sputtered. “I want to. I really want to.” He couldn’t even begin to tell her just how much he wanted to. If kissing Hyuna was a dream, then this was unimaginable. His pants were tight, and she was warm, not to mention the amount of skin she was showing. “I really, really want to.”

“Well, then, get on with it,” she said. She picked up Hyojong’s hands and set them over her breats. She was looking at him like she expected him to make the first move, as if he could formulate a single coherent thought that didn’t have to do with where his hands were. “Come on,” she said. She wiggled her hips. “What if Hui gets back soon?”

Hyojong sucked in a deep breath. “Fine, fine. I can’t take my pants off until you get off of me.” Hyuna was already standing up, pushing her own pants down. Hyojong was in a pair of boxers, tented an embarrassing amount, given the fact that all they’d done was kiss. She was left in nothing more than a pair of white cotton panties. Hyojong wondered if he really was dreaming.

“We have to make it quick,” she said, sitting back on top of Hyojong. She leaned forward to kiss him, soft tongue parting his lips as soon as they made contact. Fingers threatened to move under the waistband of his boxers.

“Romantic,” Hyojong quipped. He wanted to say more, but he couldn’t, not with the way Hyuna’s cool fingers wrapped around his length. All he could od was hiss, and pray to whatever dark force was out there, that he wouldn’t finish right away.

Hyuna’s hand moved over him slowly, skillfully pumping him to full hardness. “We don’t have time to be romantic,” she smiled. She sucked on Hyojong’s lower lip, teeth nipping at the skin there. “This isn’t your first time, is it?” she asked. Her hand was moving faster, wrist maneuvering so she could twist her palm over the head. “If it is, I’ll have no choice but to be romantic with you.”

Hyojong rolled his eyes at how blunt she could be. “I’m not a virgin,” he said. He’d been through high school, too. Regardless of whether he’d actually gone to classes, or not, he was no stranger to sex. Women, men. High school was a changing time for everyone. It was the prime time for people to explore their sexuality, and figure out what was preferred. Unless you went to college, but obviously Hyojong hadn’t. He was here, right? “It has been a hell of a while, though.” He grabbed her hand, slowing her movements down. “So take it easy, unless you don’t want to get any action.”

Fine lines formed between Hyuna’s eyebrows, when she frowned. “I’m just trying to be quick.”

“Baby, it’ll be quick no matter what you do,” Hyojong promised. He’d gotten turned on embarrassingly fast, and Hyuna was sexy. He could only last so long in the company of someone so erotic. “You gonna get on, or what?” In other words, if they didn’t get to the main event soon, he wasn’t sure he was going to make it.”

“Am I going to ‘get on?’” Hyuna chortled. She pulled her hand out of his boxers, spreading her legs. She rolled her aquamarine eyes. “And no, you haven’t even touched me.” She crossed her arms over her chest, eyeing him pointedly.

Hyojong huffed at her impatience. He shifted back to look at her. If someone had told him that Hyuna was God, he wouldn’t have really been surprised about it. He pressed a finger to the spot between her legs, able to feel her warmth, even through her panties. He ran his finger up and down her slit, more to touch her, than anything. He could have touched her, like this, through her underwear, all day, if she’d let him. Unfortunately, Hyuna was not a patient person.

“Don’t tease me,” she complained, smacking him on the chest. Her fingers danced over the tattoo on his shoulder, then his neck, the one of the ones on his forearm. “I like your tattoos.”

Hyojong was a bit preoccupied with fitting a hand down her panties to answer right away. He slid his hand down, letting his thumb brush against her clit, just for a split second. She was warm. Wet. Hyojong looked up at her, trying to process what she’d said. He pressed his middle finger to her entrance. “Thanks,” he said simply. He pressed upwards, until his finger was fully inside of her. God, she was got. Like, actually. Physically. She was so hot inside, Hyojong thought his finger was going to burn right off. It would have been worth it. “Better?” he asked. He meant to look up at her, but he couldn’t look away from where her panties were pulled down around his hand, to reveal where he was touching her.

Her breath hitched in her throat as his finger moved in and out of her. She nodded, breathless. “Yeah.” Hyojong smiled, and pulled his finger out. He was sure she was about to complain, or smack him again, but before she could, he sheathed two of his fingers inside of her. It was a tighter fit, that was for sure. And she seemed to like it a lot more. “Oh,” she breathed. She was squirming on his lap. “Dawnie.”

The nickname, again. It did a lot for him. He was almost certain there was a wet spot at the front of his boxers. He flicked his wrist, making sure to finger her as fast as he could. His fingers were slick with her warmth, easily gliding in and out of her. Quiet moans were bubbling up from her throat, louder every time he hit deep inside of her.

“Why do you keep calling me that, now?” he asked. He circled his thumb over her clit, her hips jumping. He used his free hand to slide up her body, from her soft hip, over her ribcage, until he could flick the tips of his fingers over her pert nipple.

A gasp caught in her throat. Hyojong was wiggling his fingers inside of her. She bit her lower lip. “I don’t know,” she said. She rolled her hips on top of Hyojong. “I think it’s cute.” Hyojong hummed in agreement, coming forward to kiss the skin between her breasts. She tasted clean, and sweet. He scissored his fingers widely, and Hyuna smacked at his wrist. He pulled his finger out of her and looked up at her, waiting for further instructions. “You win.” She leaned forward and ran her tongue along the backside of his teeth. She pulled her panties all the way off, and dropped them. She let her tongue slide against Hyojong’s, lips sucking where they could. She pulled away, quickly urging Hyojong’s boxers down around his thighs. “Let me get on.”

Hyojong’s laugh sounded strained. “Get on, then, woman.” He wrapped his fingers around the base of his cock, steadying himself for her.

Hyuna looked down at his length thoughtfully. “You’re bigger than I thought you would be,” she commented. Her legs spread over his lap, shifting forward until their chests were flush.

“Thanks?” The head of his cock slipped between her folds. Hyuna was such a genuinely odd person. Not that he wasn’t, but sometimes he didn’t know how to respond.

“It’s a—” Hyuna pushed him inside of her, and sat all the way down. Hyojong may have blacked out, for a second. Hyuna was gasping. “Good thing.” And then Hyuna started moving, and everything after that passed in a blur.

She was slowly bouncing on his lap, making a small noise whenever he bottomed out. Her thigh muscles were flexing under Hyojong’s hands, skin deadly smooth. Her tits were bouncing ever-so-slightly, and Hyojong couldn’t help but to put his mouth on them. Her fingers tightened, tangled in Hyojong’s bleached hair.

“Feel good?” Hyojong murmured against Hyuna’s chest. His teeth gently pulled at a nipple. Her hands felt good in his hair, like that. Pulling whenever something felt nice.

She nodded, fiery hair floating with her. She was tight around Hyojong’s cock, every one of her movements making his head spin. “Why did it take us so long to do this?” she smiled. She sat all the way down on Hyojong’s lap, and ground her hips down. A whine resonated at the back of her throat.

Hyojong slid his hands up her thighs, to the spot where hip and leg met in a band. He smiled up at her. “We just met,” he pointed out. Not to long ago, they were just learning each other’s names. And now, they were here. "It didn’t really take us long, considering.” He bucked his hips upward, earning a loud moan. Hyojong could feel her thighs shake.

“Maybe,” Hyuna said. At first, Hyojong wasn’t really sure what she was talking about. He was too swept up in all the sensations he was feeling. He could feel how wet Hyuna was around him, and he wondered if he’d really turned her on this much. The pretty fingers in his hair were pulling harder and harder with every buck of his hips. It made his scalp tingle with pleasure, a pool of heat forming in the pit of his stomach, and at the base of his spine. All of the lights in the motel were on, so he could see everything. Hyuna’s hair was still slightly damp from having just showered, and her pale skin seemed to glow. The freckles on her cheeks made her appear innocent, but the dark look in her eyes suggested anything but. “Too long, still.”

Hyojong didn’t hear her, at first. When he did, he smiled. He bucked his hips again, the sound of skin meeting skin filling their small motel room. “You think so?” He came forward, pressing his mouth against Hyuna’s ribcage. He lightly scraped the flat edges of his teeth over her soft skin. He could feel the goosebumps that rose on her skin.

“Don’t you?” she pouted. She pulled Hyojong’s head back so he was looking up at her. She leaned down and kissed him on the lips. They were kissing so hard, Hyojong was sure his lips were going to bruise. Their teeth clacked together from the force, occasionally catching at lip. He didn’t care how hard Hyuna decided to kiss him. He’d let her break him under the pressure of their kisses, if she wanted to. As long as she kept touching him.

Hyojong just grunted a response, not caring enough to actually stop kissing her. He put one hand on the back of her neck, pulling her impossibly closer to him. HE just wanted more, more, more of Hyuna. More of her kisses, more of the feeling of her flawless skin, more of her wet heat around his cock. He wanted more of her until he couldn’t handle it, until it felt like he was going insane.

Hyojong held her hips still, fingers digging into her flesh. He began thrusting into her quickly. His cock was moving in and out of her, spreading her tight inner walls apart.

She was moaning and gasping on top of Hyojong, bouncing with the momentum of his thrusts. She was going to pull Hyojong’s hair out, if she wasn’t careful. “You feel good,” she breathed, her words punctuated with a high-pitched moan. Her words vibrated against Hyojong’s lips, easily sliding with their saliva.

Hyojong could hardly breathe. Trying to kiss her while also breathing was damn near impossible, not to mention while fucking her. “You too,” he grunted. He snaked his hand down between Hyuna’s spread thighs. He circled the pad of his thumb against her clit. Her hips bucked, plump lips parting to give a moan. “So pretty,” he murmured. She whined.

Her eyes were squeezed shut, focusing on the pleasure. Fingers absentmindedly played with Hyojong’s hair, pulling locks of it. “Stop,” she frowned, eyebrows knit. Hyojong could tell she didn’t actually mean it.

Hyojong slammed his hips up into her, smiling at the broken gasps she gave. His fingers moved against her a little rougher, trying his best to get her off before he came. “What, you don’t like being called pretty?” he asked, scoffing. He pressed a kiss to the inside of her forearm. “I don’t believe you.”

Hips were grinding down on his, moving to meet his harsh thrusts. Hyuna looked like she was being split in two—and it looked like she loved it. She was moaning, and panting, and gasping. Her hips were twitching and jerking whenever Hyojong’s cock hit deep inside of her, her moisture coating him. “I’m getting close,” she whispered, fingernails scraping at the back of Hyojong’s head. Her hips were rolling prettily, her whole body moving in a wave to accumulate as much pleasure as she could.

Hyojong gave a weak laugh. “I’ve been close,” he admitted. He could see the upward curve of her lips. He’d been close pretty much as soon as her hand had wrapped around him. He hadn’t gotten off in so long, he was surprised he’d lasted this long.

At this point, Hyuna was more or less rubbing herself against Hyojong’s fingers, letting him do all of the thrusting. There was a light sheen of sweat over her forehead, and it just made her look like she was glowing even more. Her leg muscles were quivering as she held herself up, the insides of her thighs slicked with her own substance.

“Go harder,” Hyuna said. And Hyojong did. He did whatever Hyuna told him to do. He fucked her hard and fast, not caring about anything else. The air was damp with a mixture of their breaths and their increasingly sloppy movements. She was moving, and he might’ve been, too—he couldn’t tell. HE was hot, sweating, even all because of Hyuna. He was filling her up perfectly, her insides torturously warm and wet. It made him feel like he was drowning, or being burned alive, or somehow, both. He didn’t know. He didn’t know anything other than her body and her name. Nothing more. But he loved it.

There were hands. Everywhere. Lips, too. The tickle of red hair at Hyojong’s face. Soft touches, rough touches. Beautiful, musical moans. Then, the breathless gasp of, “oh, Dawnie,” and Hyuna was clenching around Hyojong’s cock, her body wracked with an orgasm. Her head was thrown back, her eyes squeezed shut, lips parted as she rode out the rest of her orgasm.

Hyojong had just enough time to register what was happening, and pull out, before he was coming, too. Come was streaking over his own fingers and her thigh, falling onto his stomach. The sensation crashed over his body like he was getting hit with a car for the second time. Pleasure washed over his vision, and all he could do was come, and have his mind blown at how fucking good he felt.

When Hyojong was brought back to life, Hyuna was sitting next to him on the couch, happily smiling up at him.

“What?” he asked. Come was cooling on his skin, and he almost felt too relaxed to care.

“That was good,” Hyuna said. Her voice was soft, smile bright. She leaned over Hyojong’s lap, to grab her bra and put it on.

Hyojong snorted, eyeing the tattoo on her shoulder. “I’m glad you like my rusty-ass high school sex skills,” he said. When he said it’d been a while, he wasn’t kidding.

Hyuna laughed and out her shirt back on. “They were good.” She stood up and walked into the bathroom. Hyojong could hear the sink turn on.

“Hey, get me something to clean this off with, yeah?” he called. Dried come was one of the last things he wanted to deal with. In the meantime, he pulled his shirt on, carefully maneuvering around the mess he’d made.

Hyuna returned, her hair thrown into a ponytail. She threw a wet washcloth at Hyojong, snickering when it made contact with his face. “There you go,” she chirped. She pulled her pants on, Hyojong only slightly disappointed that he couldn’t look at her legs or ass anymore. He wiped the come off of himself, and decided to return the favour by throwing the washcloth at her. “Gross,” she laughed. She wrinkled her nose and tossed it in the bathroom.

Hyojong pulled his jeans on, and reached a sleepy arm out for her. “Come here,” he said. She flopped onto his lap, pressing a kiss against his cheek. “Thanks,” he said. He kissed her on the mouth, both of them smiling. He wrapped his arms around her middle, toppling them both over so they were lying on the couch.

Her hands skimmed over his biceps. “Ooh, are you a cuddler?” she teased, looking down at him. She pecked his lips.

“No,” he said. He wasn’t, usually. She looked at him, an eyebrow raised. “Well.” He kissed her on the mouth. “Maybe.” Another kiss.

“That’s cute,” Hyuna said, wrapping her arms around him.

“Thanks,” was all Hyojong could think of to say.

Hyuna gave a wide smile, resting her chin on Hyojong’s chest. “We should do that again,” she sighed.

Hyojong nodded. “Sure.” He put his hand on the small of her back. She was so warm, and so was he. He felt so unbelievably comfortable. He never wanted to move. “We’ll just have to wait until Hui is gone, again.”

She ran her hands through his hair, watching the movement. He bit her lower lip, and Hyojong could tell that bringing up Hui was a poor decision. He hadn’t meant to worry her, more. “Hui is taking too long,” she said. While it was nice to have more time with Hyuna, Hwitaek was taking a really long time. “I hope he’s alright.”

Hyojong nodded. “Me too.”

Hyuna sat up next to Hyojong, worriedly looking towards the door. “He said it wouldn’t take long, right? How long can buying a gun take?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never done it.”

Hyuna started fidgeting, eyes trained on the door. The atmosphere of peace and bliss they’d created was totally absent, replaced with fear and worry. Hyojong could still smell the sex on them, but that didn’t seem to matter to Hyuna. Hwitaek was gone, and that was where her mind was at. “What if something happened to him?”

Even Hyojong felt anxious. “He’ll be fine.” It didn’t sound like he was so sure of it. They’d hardly been separated since they’d met, and definitely not for this long. Hwitaek wasn’t the type to leave them alone for more than five seconds. “He said not to worry—"

There was a loud thud against the door of their motel.

Like a body being slammed against it.

Hyuna was startled into a standing position. Hyojong could feel the hairs at the back of his neck stand on end.

Hyuna rushed to the door. “Hui?” she asked. Hyojong grabbed her around the waist, in fear that she’d try to open the door. Was it even locked? “Hui, baby, is that you?” she called. Hyojong clapped a hand over her mouth. If it wasn’t Hwitaek, who knew who it could be? Someone could be trying to hurt them.

Hurt Hyuna.

If anything happened to her, Hwitaek would never be able to forgive any of them. What if they were finally getting caught? What if Hwitaek had gotten caught? What if he was—

No. Hwitaek couldn’t be. It was fine. Hyojong knew something was wrong, but it wasn’t that. Hwitaek couldn’t be killed off that easily.

The door crept open.

The night air was cold, charged with a dangerous type of electricity.

Fingertips peeked out from the other side of the door. They were Hwitaek’s. Hyojong would know those dainty fingers anywhere.

“It’s me,” Hwitaek said. Hyuna tried to go forward, but Hyojong didn’t let her. Something in his body screamed not to let her go, right now. “Hyojong, put Hyuna in the bathroom.” Hyojong was already moving to do so, despite the woman’s protests. “Hyuna, just stay in there for a minute, okay? There’s a little bit of blood, but I’m okay. It’s not all mine.”

Hyojong shoved Hyuna in the bathroom, making her promise to lock the door. Her eyes were wide and glassy with fear. Hyojong pecked a quick, reassuring kiss to her lips, before shitting the door in her face.

Hyojong opened the door, his eyes going wide at the sight. From head to toe, Hwitaek was covered in blood. He was leaning against the door frame, looking down. Some of the blood was dry, some of it still visibly wet. His white button-up was stained crimson, ripped open over his torso and arms. “What the fuck happened to you?” Hyojong asked. Hwitaek toppled over, Hyojong barely moving fast enough to catch him.

Hyuna’s voice called out from the bathroom. “Hui, are you okay? What happened?”

Hwitaek winced when Hyojong set him on the couch. “I’m okay,” he said. Shaky fingers unbuttoned his shirt, pieces of the fabric clinging to his skin. “It’s nothing.”

Hyojong shook his head. His voice was hushed, for the sake of not freaking Hyuna out. “Bullshit, it’s nothing. What—”

“You two had sex?” Hwitaek asked, looking around the room. Hyojong didn’t understand how he could tell. They hadn’t made a mess. The only thing that they’d left on the ground were Hyuna’s panties. Hyojong must have looked surprised, because Hwitaek scoffed. “I can smell it on you. What, you think I can’t tell when people had sex? I’m not a virgin, for fuck’s sake.”

Hyojong pursed his lips. “Never said you were.” There seemed to be deep gashes across Hwitaek’s stomach, but it was hard to tell. Dark bruises bloomed on his honey-toned skin, painting him with purples and blues. There was a split through his thick lower lip, and the cut over his nose had opened back up. His nose had obviously been bleeding, because dried blood ran over his lips, and down his chin. He was very obviously very hurt, but Hyojong couldn’t tell exactly how. With as much blood as was coating him, it was hard to see much of anything. “Doesn’t matter. What the fuck happened to you?”

Hwitaek looked up at him with bright blue eyes. They were the only clean colour on his whole body. “I got my ass beat,” he said simply. Hyojong rolled his eyes. Even now, Hwitaek didn’t want to talk to him more than he had to. He was looking down at himself, carefully removing hos shirt. He was sort of talking to himself: “I’ve never stitched myself before, but I’m sure I can manage. If only—”

“I can do it.” It was Hwitaek’s turn to look surprised. “I think Hyuna picked up needles and thread, earlier, to fix her jeans.” He started looking around the room, under discarded clothes and bags of stuff they’d brought.

“You know how to give stitches?” Hwitaek asked, sounding like he didn’t believe Hyojong. He stood up, cursing at himself as he shoved his pants down. His legs were just as bruised as the top half of him was.

Hyojong raised his eyebrows. “Do you really think I’ve never had to stitch myself up?” he asked. Hwitaek shrugged, at that. Hyojong grabbed a bottle of whiskey off of the coffee table, and held it out to Hwitaek. “It’s gonna hurt like a bitch, but you gotta clean it. Also, drink up.” From the looks of it, this wasn’t going to be an easy feat for either of them. Whoever did this had really done a number on Hwitaek.

Hwitaek nodded, quiet for once in his life. He took a long swig of the whiskey, adam’s apple bobbing with the motion. “I think this is the only place I need stitches,” he said, gesturing to his stomach. It looked like someone had carved something into his skin, but he couldn’t tell what. There was still too much skin. Hwitaek leaned back on the couch, holding the bottle of whiskey over his stomach. Liquid spilled onto his stomach, instantly clearing his tan skin of the blood and dirt, running over his wounds. He hissed loudly, gritting his teeth. “Fuck. Shit. Fucking hell.” He cautiously wiped blood and grime off of his skin with his equally dirty shirt.

“Told you,” Hyojong said. He’d found the needle and thread, holding them in his hands. “You’re gonna have to do it a few more times, if you don’t want to get an infection.”

Hwitaek shook his head, gritting his teeth again. He looked down at where he was the most cut up, and poured more alcohol onto himself. More blood and dirt washed off of him, revealing more of his wounds. There was definitely a pattern to the cuts, resting next to his bellybutton, and over his hipbone. Whoever had done this, really fucking hated Hwitaek. Hwitaek was cursing loudly, his free hand clenching into a tight fist.

Hyojong grabbed a stack of napkins off of the floor, from when they’d gotten takeout. “Give it to me,” he said, holding his hand out for the bottle. He set his thread and needle next to Hwitaek’s bare thigh, more focused on cleaning Hwitaek up. Hwitaek reluctantly handed him the bottle, watching him carefully. Hyojong poured whiskey onto the napkins, liquid running down his forearm. He looked up at Hwitaek. “Try not to hit me again,” he said. He pressed the napkins onto where the cuts looked the worst, shoving it hard into the other man’s skin.

Hwitaek was clenching his fist so tight, his knuckles had turned white. “Fucking hell,” he spat, closing his eyes. “Oh my god, I’m going to fucking kill you.” Hyojong poured more whiskey onto the napkins, trying to soak up as much blood and bacteria as he could. An infection was the last thing Hwitaek would want to deal with, especially if they kept on the road like they had been. “Seriously, I’m going to fucking kill you.”

Hyojong didn’t respond, just wiped the rest of the blood and dirt off of Hwitaek’s body. The word ‘thief’ was sloppily carved into Hwitaek’s stomach, flesh split open, cuts deep.

Which meant that someone knew about Hwitaek. He’d been stealing from the wrong person at the wrong time, or the right person, just at the wrong time. Either way, Hwitaek had been caught, and the other person hadn’t been half accepting about it as Hyuna and Hyojong were. Hyojong decided not to ask him about it. Hwitaek obviously didn’t want to talk to him about it.

Hyuna was clearly sitting against the other side of the door, as close to them as she could get. “Hyojong, how is he?” she asked. The smell of blood and whiskey was filling the room. Hyojong hoped she couldn’t smell it.

Hwitaek gave him a dirty look, but didn’t say anything when Hyojong dropped to his knees, trying to inspect the cuts closer. They were bad. Worse than they had looked when Hyojong was standing. Someone had really, really fucking hated Hwitaek. It was going to scar like something else, and the healing process wouldn’t be too great, either. Hyojong looked up at Hwitaek. He shook his head down at him, as if asking him to not tell Hyuna how bad he was actually doing. “Kind of an asshole,” Hyojong teased, keeping his eyes trained on the other man. “But he’ll be fine.” He swore he heard Hyuna give a relieved sigh.

“Fuck off,” Hwitaek said, but he was smiling.

Hyojong shakily threaded the needle, after what felt like a hundred tries. “You ready?” he asked. He tied a knot in the end of the thread, made more difficult by his clumsy fingers.

“You’re shaking,” was all Hwitaek said. He was watching the needle shake between Hyojong’s fingers.

Hyojong shrugged. “I haven’t smoked in a while.”

“Do you need to?”

He shook his head. “I’ll be fine.” His eyes dragged up to Hwitaek’s face. They were closer than he had thought they were. He realized he should have felt intimidated, or nervous. He didn’t. “Are you ready?” he asked again, looking up at Hwitaek. His eyes were an interesting shade of bright blue. They looked so much brighter, compared to the dark blood staining his body. Hyojong wasn’t sure why his heart was beating so hard.

Eyes narrowed down at Hyojong, but not maliciously. Just thinking. Observing. “Sure.”

Hyojong pressed the point of the needle to Hwitaek’s aggravated skin, just at the side of the gash. “Don’t hit me,” he said, as he shoved the needle through.

The rest was a blur of Hwitaek’s screaming, and the sobbing coming through the bathroom door.