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Apocalypse Project

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Blood was not the first thing Felix wanted to see when he finally managed to go outside and breathe. He had had enough blood down there in the ruins. The bandages around his arms were still soaked, he would need to seek for some clean ones.

He looked down, to that unrecognizable body laying on the ground. He thought about who that person had been in the past, but he didn't allow himself to be taken by sadness and melancholy for too long. He had been under soil for way too much time, he needed food and clean clothes and maybe a bed. He doubted he would get any of these soon.

Felix looked around. Almost a year had passed since the day Minho had told him that he would be back. He never came back, and Felix just hoped it was because he had forgotten about him or didn't care about him anymore. Looking around, the other option was that Minho was dead and Felix preferred literally anything else.

How Minho knew about the under soil ruins was still a mystery. Why he didn't hide there with Felix was an even bigger mystery. Felix tried to remember what had happened almost a year ago. Maybe more time had passed, he had been starving himself a little so his food would last longer, so maybe his calculations were wrong. He didn't have to try hard to remember. During all those months completely alone, he had held onto that last memory of his best friend to try to keep his sanity. The way he had held his hands firmly, looked at his eyes and said without a doubt those three goddamned words; "I'll be back."

Minho's soft voice saying that he would be back wouldn't stop resonating in Felix's mind as he walked around what was left of the city, avoiding all types of corpses. Humans and animals were the same when they were dead, just a pile of bones and rotting flesh. There were corpses in all phases of decomposition laying in the ground. The smell was so strong it could take down the strongest of soldiers.

Felix kept walking in the search for literally anything that could help him, and Minho kept saying that he would be back. The voice was so loud Felix tried to quiet it down by hitting his ears, first softly, then not so much. Minho stopped saying that he would be back to start yelling the same words. Minho’s voice had never been that full of pain, not that Felix remembered. He hadn’t imagined he would ever hear him scream so loud. And then the bodies on the floor started yelling that there had been no one to be back for them. Their voices crawled under Felix’s skin. Felix yelled too. He told them to shut up, that Minho never came back, no one had been back for him either. He dropped to the floor, the crack from his knees shaking his brain. Minho never came back and Felix was scared and hungry and his arms hurt. He scratched his shoulders, because the voices had gone up until there trying to reach his brain, trying to make him lose his mind. He wanted to believe he wouldn’t allow them to drive him crazy. And as the corpses stopped yelling one by one and Felix tore down his bandages showing the scars he had got from trying to climb the rocks, he realized that the worst part of the end of the world was that Minho never came back.


 

 

 

Felix wasn’t aware of what had gone down during all the time he was safe under the soil. The cave sometimes shook, but he couldn’t hear anything at all. The silence had been the worst part of his stay in the ruins. The only thing he knew was that the world seemed to be about to collapse when Minho carried him to the cave entrance without further explanation. Felix remembered fainting at some point. He had been sick the days before everything went to shit, and Minho had just taken him out of his house without checking if he had recovered. Felix remembered the confusion of those hours, how fast he went from being in his bed trying to rest to being feet under the ground completely alone. He remembered seeing all those cars trying to escape the city, people running in the streets and every light and electronic device exploding.

That was the past now. He wasn't sure if running out of food had been good or bad. He had been forced to go outside, and the outside world looked like a complete nightmare. But his stay at the ruins had been supposed to be short, just until Minho came back to get him. But he never did, so it was Felix's turn to act on his own.

Walking around the city was like being in one of those apocalyptic video games, controlling a hero who rescues children and jumps from tall buildings or whatever it was that a hero did. Felix didn't see himself doing either of those things. He didn't feel like a hero, if the world had turned into some type of twisted story, he for sure wouldn't be the protagonist. At most the side character, the one who dies first. Being blond didn't help. The blond ones always died first.

Felix stopped walking. He stood in the middle of the street, but it didn't matter because there were no cars anyway. He went over his thoughts again. Something didn't click.

He wasn't blond. He didn't remember being blond. He took some strands of his way too long hair and pulled them close to his eyes. Apparently, he was blond now. His hair was the purest tone of white he had ever seen in someone's hair. Well, if it were clean. His heart started beating faster. When did his hair do that? Why had he been ignoring it until then? How did it happen? He felt dizzy and sat. He sat in the middle of the road and rested his head on his hands. What was going on?



 

 

It took him hours to reach the forest. The city was wide, and the cave was strangely close to the center of the town. Felix didn't even know that cave was there until Minho took him through that secret elevator thing, or whatever it was. By the time he reached the forest, he was, luckily, dressed and bandaged up again. He had stolen some clothes from one of the very few remaining shops, one that wasn't burned down nor had its building collapsed. Felix saw that it had been a very expensive shop, with clothes for the rich and stylish. He took what felt comfortable and useful, no time to be stylish. So he stole a full body jumpsuit that didn't really make much sense -sleeveless but full leggings? What?- but was his size, and a pair of weird pants that could turn to shorts by undoing a tie that connected both parts of them. If he hadn't been wearing the jumpsuit, his thighs would have been pretty much exposed, and he didn't think that would be good out there. But he thought that maybe he would need to wear short pants at some point, and he didn't want to take too many pieces of clothing with him. Lastly, he had torn down a huge plain white shirt and covered his arms, also taking a jacket that was quite big for him, but he didn't want to risk being cold when the night approached.

So Felix reached the forest with his new outfit. The more he walked, the more surprised he was that he wasn't fainting. From the moment he had run out of food to when he finally managed to find an exit from the cave, several days had passed. Now he was walking nonstop. He did feel hungry, but it just didn't make sense how he hadn't collapsed yet. Busy with confusion and fear, Felix didn't realize it was deep night. Maybe he didn't realize because he could see everything around him perfectly. When he noticed the moon in the sky, he wanted to yell. Now he could see in the dark too? What the hell?

Felix sat by the side of a tree and cried. He didn't know why he was crying, he didn't know which of the reasons he could have for tears was the one guilty for his uncontrollable sobbing. Maybe because Minho wasn't with him, maybe because everyone seemed to be dead, maybe because he was tired and hungry, lots of maybes started to scream at him. Everything seemed to scream at him.




 

 

It was a big house, and it seemed to be in perfect condition. Felix couldn't believe that it was still standing. Even if he didn't know what had caused it, every building he had seen was destroyed in one way or another. The house looked like it held dear memories for someone, the type of house you always dream about going back to. It looked like it was inviting Felix to go around it, around the white fence that closed a small area where there had probably been animals at some point, and enter through the door. The house was telling Felix to go in, so he didn't know if he should. If it invited him, it could have invited someone else, and he didn't know if that was good. Someone could be in there, and he didn't have a way of knowing what their intentions were.

But curiosity killed the cat, so Felix walked around the house. The entrance was decorated with enormous trees that made a corridor to the door. Felix admired them from afar, and it wasn't until he got close that he saw what was hanging from their thick branches.

"A-?" Felix was surprised when he heard his own voice, he didn't remember it being so deep and raspy, but it had been long since he had talked aloud. He didn't try to talk again, but he kept looking at them.

Apples. Red, shiny apples hanging from the trees' branches. He walked some slow steps to the closest apple, hanging at the height of his head. He didn't dare touch it. What if they were poisoned? He was so hungry but... He didn't know if he could trust the hanging apples. He never imagined a thought like that would cross his mind.

Felix was really hungry but he didn't know why those apples where there, why had someone put them there. Then he thought that the apples were there because he was really hungry.

He walked towards the door, and that was when he saw that there was no door. Where there should have been a double door, there was a huge bed sheet. It was torn and what seemed to be paint was starting to fade, so Felix assumed it had been hanging there for long. What frightened him the most was the words written on the sheet, the paint strokes aggressively spelling out the words “Everything is fucking dead”.

Though all signs seemed to tell him that he should not do that, Felix entered the house. He was curious.

He was received by emptiness. There was almost no furniture, though the walls looked like lots of things had been hanging from them at some point in time. The wallpaper was torn too, and Felix was sure there was blood on the floor. He swallowed.

The kitchen did have some furniture. Felix guessed it was easier to take a table than a whole sink or a refrigerator. Maybe people had needed to burn wood to warm themselves. Maybe the winter had been rough. He couldn’t know, he hadn’t been there. He walked around the kitchen, there was a window, but he didn’t dare slide the curtains and look outside. He didn’t dare to open the fridge either. Maybe there were human heads there or some shit.

Felix got bored of the first floor pretty quick, so he went upstairs. The stairs creaked as he walked, and he started to fear of someone hearing him, though there had been no signs yet of anyone living in that house.

The second floor was a corridor with doors to the sides, all of them closed. That gave him anxiety. He stood in the last step of the stairs considering opening a random door or going back and running away, just in case.

A soft shush reached Felix's ears. It sounded gentle and comforting. He stood very still, not daring to move a single muscle, not wanting to be noticed.
"It's okay, my love. No one's here."
The voice was soft but deep, like the kindest growl you could imagine. The words seemed to spread tenderness where the sound reached.
"How do you know...?"
Another voice, a shaky, more high pitched one made its way out of a closed room, the one closest to Felix, the door just some steps away from him. A normal human couldn't have heard those whispers, but Felix had assumed that he wasn't a normal human anymore.
He kept on listening, feeling like a mere viewer, a character that didn't fit in a familiar movie.
"Well, you wrote that, didn't you, my love?"
Felix remembered the bed sheet that was spread across the house's door, the words that had welcomed him to that place. "Everything is fucking dead".
A shiver went down his spine. He decided to focus on the beauty of that boy's voice every time he said "my love", like he had made those words himself just for the person he loved.
"I'll go check if it makes you feel better."
There was a soft sound, like the other person started to say something, and then Felix could hear a kiss.
The sound of footsteps reached Felix from one of the rooms in the corridor. The door opened softly, cracking in the way. A head peeked out, looking the opposite direction Felix was at. He had black hair, and that was everything Felix could see. The boy wasn’t turning his head and Felix thought that maybe that was his chance to turn back and run.

A loud thud was heard and Felix saw a sharpened metallic tube hammered into the wall that he had had behind him until that moment, right where his head had been at. He didn’t know how, but he was now at the opposite side of the corridor, feeling kind of dizzy. Felix could see the boy’s face, and he looked terrified. Fear quickly turned to anger and the boy pulled the tube out from the wall and aggressively closed the door.

More sounds came out of the room, but Felix couldn’t tell what was going on. He hesitated for a little. He thought maybe he should leave, forget those people and go another way. But that didn’t feel like his storyline.

He opened the door slowly, not knowing if he could be able to avoid another flying object. He carefully peeked inside the room. The boy was crouched in front of a big wooden closet. He was holding his metallic tube pointing to the door, ready to attack. His grimace scared Felix more than the dry blood splatters on his improvised weapon did. He totally looked like he was ready to kill.

Felix entered the door holding his hands up in the air, like in movies.

“Get the fuck out.”

The boy’s voice had no tenderness left for Felix. Only anger and, deep inside, Felix could sense an immeasurable fear.

“I’m unar-”

“Shut up, I know your kind,” the boy said, and Felix wanted to ask what he meant.

Felix tried to open his mouth.

“Don’t fucking move,” the boy held his tube stronger.

“I saw the apples outside,” Felix managed to say, still with his hands up, “I thought whoever lived here must be a good person.”

The boy seemed confused. He softened his grip on the metallic tube.

“If you’re hungry take them and leave.”

“You put them there for travelers?”

The boy did not seem happy about a conversation evolving. He held his tube higher again.

“For survivors. We have enough of them. Everyone has taken the hint of not bothering us.”

“ ‘We’…”

The boy damned himself for his words.

“Listen,” he started, but he didn’t know how to continue. He moved closer to the closet and stood up, still holding the tube tightly, “if you want to hurt him I won’t hesitate.”

Even though his words and his stance (and his huge biceps) were pretty intimidating, Felix saw pain in his eyes.

“I have no reason to want to hurt someone I don’t know at all,” Felix lowered his arms slowly. The boy was about to break crying at any moment, “I just- I really don’t know what’s going on.”

“What… What do you mean?”

Felix didn’t know where to start. He didn’t know what to say or how to explain what he had lived.

“I… Why… Why is everything dead?” Felix had to make an effort not to break down crying.

The closet door opened. Sitting inside the closet was another boy, with bright coral hair and wearing a yellow beanie. He had his hand pushing the door, tears on his eyes, and a surprised expression on his face.

“Jisung!” the boy crouched again to be near the one on the closet.

“You really don’t know?”

Felix broke down.

“Please help me.”

Chapter Text

Changbin didn't want to trust that boy. He probably wanted to hurt Jisung. He didn't know why someone would want to hurt him, but if there truly was no reason, then why...? Changbin sighed and shook his head. He didn't want to think about it. He finished preparing the sandwich for that guy and went upstairs as fast as he could, he didn't want them to be alone together for long.

When Changbin opened the door, he saw Jisung on the floor, crawling close to the small table.

"Jisung!" Changbin said, dropping the sandwich in the table in front of Felix, "I told you to stay in bed!"

"But we have a guest," Jisung said, not resisting it when Changbin carried him bridal style to the closest chair. His legs swung lifelessly as Changbin walked, "I didn't want to be rude."

"You could've waited for me to carry you, for fuck's sake," Changbin said as he helped him sit down, carefully placing his bandaged legs in a comfortable position. He carried the chair close to the table.

"Don't curse."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Umm..." Felix started, "Sorry to bother. I don't want to be an inconvenience."

"Don't worry," Changbin sighed, "You're not. It's just..."

"We've had... bad experiences with strangers," Jisung finished, seeing how Changbin couldn't find the words. He caressed his legs as he spoke.

"I- I see..." Felix whispered.

Jisung smiled at him.

"You said... You really don't know what has happened?"

"No... I don't know anything..."

"How?" Changbin said, frowning, "It's impossible to be out there and just not... know."

"That's the thing," Felix started to explain, "I wasn't out there. I was... I don't really know where I was... My friend took me to a strange cave under the city. There were ruins there as if someone had lived under the soil a long time ago..."

Changbin couldn't believe what that guy was saying. Maybe he was lying. He looked genuinely scared and confused. The people who were after Jisung had some very good actors between them.

Changbin felt bad for thinking so poorly of that boy. He focused again on what he was saying. But that didn’t mean he trusted him. Not yet.

“... I had to come out when I ran out of food… The last thing I know about the world outside is that everything seemed to be about to… break.”

Changbin felt Jisung’s hand reaching for his own. He held his hand and gave him a little squeeze. Jisung had been in the hospital the first days of the end of the world. Nothing serious, just the flu needing more attention than necessary, but he had been pretty much isolated. Changbin remembered taking him out of his hospital room. “Screw the nurses, they’ve run away too,” he had said as they walked down the stairs, the elevator hadn’t seemed a good option. Jisung had been confused, almost as confused as the boy in front of them was. Changbin assumed Felix had been through a lot.

“What happened was…” Jisung told Felix, “Well, we can’t really know. Different media said different things. But most of them agreed that it was humanity’s fault,” Jisung looked through the window, talking mindlessly.

“Not only was it natural phenomena,” Changbin continued for him, “there was also some bombing here and there. By the time the human weapons arrived, all media outlets had stopped working, so there was no one to explain why people were trying to kill each other.”

“Bombing…” Felix looked down to his half-eaten sandwich. He looked shocked and hurt, and Changbin had to try hard not to feel bad for him, “Why… Why did this happen…?”

Felix talked to himself, and Changbin and Jisung allowed him to shed some quiet tears. They had encountered all types of people who were surviving their own way, but Felix was the first to need help and explanations. The thing that bothered Changbin was Felix’s hair. He sure didn’t look like he had any type of albinism, so why was his hair white? He looked over at Jisung and his bright orange locks, and he knew he was thinking the same. Jisung’s hair used to be a very dark brown, but they weren’t going to tell that to Felix.



Changbin was preparing the bath for Felix. He had tried to get him to help just so he wouldn’t be alone with Jisung. But Jisung had insisted that he wanted to chat with Felix, tell him more about everything that had happened the last year. So there he was, boiling water in four different containers just so a complete stranger would be able to take a warm bath.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to help people that needed it, that wasn’t it. The thing was that he had other priorities now. He had someone to take care of. Jisung had been the first person he had thought of when everyone started to take their loved ones and run away. Changbin smiled fondly, remembering when he met Jisung when he was eight, and when he realized he was in love with him at fifteen. He hadn’t dared to tell him, not until it was too late for them to be a normal couple. Changbin could still taste the bitterness of their first kiss, a taste of blood that shouldn’t be involved in what was supposed to be a sweet moment. And now that he was nineteen, his only reason for living was his silly boyfriend, that had a heart too big for him. A heart too big for what had become such a cruel world.

As he walked to their room to tell the newcomer that his bath was ready, he remembered he should look for new bandages for Jisung’s legs. He knew it was useless, there was nothing he could do for him. But bandaging and cleaning his legs had become a weird routine for them. It was not only a method to count how many weeks had passed, but also their way of having a feeling of normality.

“...if they didn’t know you?”

Changbin heard Felix’s voice from the corridor. He didn’t want to be nosy, he wasn’t going to listen. Okay, maybe just a little.

“I don’t know,” Jisung’s voice was as beautiful as always, but Changbin was very aware that it didn’t sound like it used to. There was an undertone of sadness and exhaustion in every one of his words. There had been for a long time.

“I don’t know what I did for them to want to kill me,” Changbin instantly took a step back. He was talking about that day, “Changbin saved my life, you know?” He could feel the tears coming, his throat acting up, “They broke my legs, yeah, and I have no hopes of walking again but… I could have died. And if I had to choose between having died that day and leaving the pain behind but having him suffer for years, or living without my legs but by his side…” Changbin didn’t want to hear it. He loved Jisung more than anything else. If Jisung had died that day, and Changbin had been completely alone, he would’ve probably not been alive by then either. And Jisung knew that, and he had a heart of gold. He walked the opposite direction, back to the bathroom, because he didn’t want to hear it. But he did.

“...I think I’m really happy with how I am right now.”



Felix was really pretty, Changbin had to admit it. Especially now that he was clean. Without the dirt on his skin, they could appreciate his cheeks starred with freckles. His hair now shone, white as snow, turning him into a fairytale creature. It still was obvious that he was malnourished, and his skin clearly needed to see the sun a little.

And when darkness started to make its way into the house, came the conflict of where he would sleep.

“Not in our bed,” Changbin said.

“We don’t have another one,” Jisung replied from his chair.

Felix was sitting on the floor, inspecting some books he had found, as if the lack of light didn’t bother him at all. Changbin thought he was probably looking at the pictures.

“Not in our bed,” he repeated, a little bit louder, because he was tired of the whole thing. He didn’t care if Felix heard him.

“It’s big enough for the three of us,” Jisung said, keeping his cool, “Come on, my love…”

Jisung knew Changbin was weak for him, he was weak for those words. Changbin damned his boyfriend for being so cute with a beautiful voice and stunning eyes. He ran his hand through his hair, considering his choices. He did not like what he decided for.

“Okay,” Changbin watched Jisung’s focused expression, paying attention to every word, “but I’ll be in the middle.”

“Hmm… Changbin sandwich, I like it,” Jisung jokingly said, with a mischievous smile on his face.

“I just don’t want him near you,” Changbin whispered, kneeling closer to him, “not yet.”

“Why, are you jealous because he’s pretty?” Jisung asked, also in a whisper, his forehead against Changbin’s. Changbin wasn’t surprised that he too thought Felix was pretty.

“Should I be?” Changbin asked back, and then he joked, “Does that mean you don’t think I’m pretty?” His stare was fixed on Jisung’s lips. He took the hint.

Jisung placed his hands on Changbin’s neck, caressing his skin and then traveling to his hair. He played with the short, uneven strands of hair of what was supposed to be an undercut, but there weren’t any hairdressers in the apocalypse. What there was a lot of were kisses. And so they kissed. Changbin slowly moved Jisung’s legs to put him in a more comfortable position. He placed his hands on Jisung’s waist while he was still having fun with his hair. Changbin didn’t know how Jisung did it, but he always tasted nice. His lips were soft and his mouth always wanted more. Jisung was really touchy, so Changbin just let his hands travel and wander around every part of his body they could reach. The kiss continued even after both of them started to be running out of breath. “Don’t let this end, not yet, not yet…”They never knew how long their kisses were, time just flies when you have in your arms the person you love. And the end of a kiss was never sad, it just meant the start of another one later, of a hug, a long talk, or a moment of silence and just admiring each other. Changbin didn’t want to lose this.

“I’ll kill for you if it’s needed, you know that…” Changbin whispered when their lips finally separated.

“I know,” Jisung smiled sadly, “and I wish you didn’t have to. Now you don’t have to.”

Changbin looked at the corner of the room. He almost had forgotten about him. Felix was now giving them his back, in a kind of useless attempt at giving them some privacy.



Changbin carried Jisung to their bed like he did every night. He put his legs straight, and then massaged his thighs a little, right in the spot where Jisung could still feel something. Jisung had a sleepy smile on his face, his eyes barely keeping themselves open. Changbin kept caressing and massaging him until he fell asleep.

Felix was sitting in the edge of the bed. It was king sized, so there was no need to worry if the three of them would fit or not. That wasn’t what worried Changbin.

“You should rest,” Changbin said, sitting in the opposite side, Jisung’s legs over his own.

Felix, with the same partly surprised partly scared expression he had had on his face for the entire day, just nodded. He slowly and carefully took the covers, as if he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to do that. They had told him that he was, but Changbin appreciated his consideration. Felix laid down giving his back to Jisung. Changbin appreciated that too. He was kind of huddled and burying his face on the pillow.

Changbin didn’t know who he should give his back to. Felix didn’t seem dangerous, but at that point, he couldn’t be sure of anything. Though, if Felix wanted to kill him, he’d do it while Changbin slept no matter who he was facing. He decided to sleep like he did every night, hugging Jisung.

In the dark, he could barely appreciate the details of Jisung’s face, but he still kept his eyes open for a while. He could recognize the shape of his nose, his mouth. If his lips were partly open, his slightly crooked front teeth would show. Changbin couldn’t see it but he still smiled. He was so cute, even in the dark. He wanted to caress his cheek gently, but that could wake him up, so he didn’t.

Felix moved a bit and their backs rubbed for a second. In the dark of the night, with the silence of sleep, Changbin could think better.

“Are you awake?” he whispered, even though his voice seemed to resonate all over the room like thunder.

Felix took his time to reply.

“Me?”

“Yeah.”

“Yes,” Felix paused, and the bed creaked when he turned his head to look at Changbin over his shoulder, “Why?”

“I…” Changbin didn’t know how to start that sentence. He decided to go straight to the point, “I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep Jisung alive. You can stay with us if that’s what you need but if your wishes interfere with mine I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

“I know,” Changbin didn’t expect Felix to reply so quickly, “I understand. If I had someone I loved so dearly I’d do the same.”

Changbin went back to not knowing what to say.

“Okay.”

Silence started to choke Changbin. There was something else he had to say, he was sure. But the conversation seemed to be over.

“I…” Changbin thanked the heavens for Felix saying something else, “I’m… I’m sorry I’m bothering you two.”

It was now Changbin who looked over his shoulder. Felix had turned around again. He was even more huddled than before.

“Felix,” Changbin called. Felix didn’t react, so Changbin reached to poke his shoulder, “Hey.”

Felix raised his head just enough to look at Changbin. The moonlight entering through the window shone in his hair and illuminated his tears.

“You shouldn’t feel like trying to stay alive is a bother to anyone.”

That was it. Felix nodded and went back to his position. This new silence wasn’t choking Changbin, but now his arms were itchy. He didn’t touch them.

Chapter Text

He had lots of nightmares. Most of them involved his legs, but absolutely all without exception involved Changbin. Changbin getting hurt, hurting someone, going crazy, getting lost, or trying to kill himself again. Jisung never told Changbin that he had nightmares. He had been having them since before the world was destroyed, so it wasn’t anything too new or relevant. And because he wasn’t the type to shake or scream in his dreams, he would never know.

That night, his dream was more of a memory, a slightly altered memory.

Jisung watched as Changbin grabbed the metallic tube and hammered it into the second man’s head. The first one was laying on the ground, his skull absolutely smashed. Jisung was at the opposite side of the corridor, his legs completely beaten up, facing the floor with tears on his eyes. Changbin let go of the tube and looked at his hands. There was blood all over his clothes. He didn’t seem to believe what he had just done. Then he looked at Jisung on the floor.

“No,” was the only sound that went past his lips. He rushed to Jisung’s side.

There were tears on his eyes as he carefully picked his best friend up and held him in his arms. Jisung was crying too, but he tried to smile. Changbin buried his face on Jisung’s chest, and he held his head with both hands, tracing circles on his cheek with his thumb. The pain on his legs was immeasurable, but he held it in.

He knew that memory from heart. He knew what came now. Now was when Changbin performed the biggest and most poorly timed love confession ever. Jisung had gone over that memory hundreds of times.

He didn’t know whose voice it was, it sounded like him, but it also sounded like Changbin. The mysterious voice’s words resonated all over his brain.

“This is going to kill us both.”

 

He woke up, confused but not unsettled. His nightmares were only painful in his head.

Changbin was still asleep. He laid on his back, his arm still wrapped around Jisung’s shoulders. Jisung couldn’t imagine how much his arm muscles would hurt every morning. He was so cute when he was asleep, especially because he didn’t have that concerned frown on his face. Jisung hated that he made him worry. He placed a soft kiss on his cheek before looking up.

Felix was awake. He was back to the books, Jisung didn’t know what he was looking for in them. He turned around at the slightest movement Jisung made as if he could hear it.

Felix looked at him. Jisung thought he looked like a scared cat. He stood still for some seconds, probably considering what he should do. He opened his mouth but closed it quickly. Jisung waited patiently, resting his weight on his arms, for Felix to decide on his next move. It was so obvious he had been completely isolated for an entire year. It was like he had forgotten how basic interactions worked.

“Good… morning…” he said softly, either because he didn’t want to wake Changbin up or because he wasn’t sure if those were the appropriate words.

“Good morning,” Jisung smiled at him, and Felix seemed to relax, “can you do me a favor?” Jisung asked, and Felix tilted his head a bit to the side. That was cute.

“Uh, sure.”

Jisung smiled and extended his arms in Felix’s direction, who didn’t seem to get it at first. It took him some seconds of observation to understand what Jisung wanted.

“Oh,” he said, and quickly stood up.

He walked carefully to the bed, to the side Jisung was at. He glanced fearfully at Changbin in the way. He was still asleep.

Felix stood in front of Jisung, who extended his arms again.

“Can you do it? I’m quite light but…”

“I think I can…” Felix replied, still looking at Changbin, “Won’t he get mad?”

“He never gets mad at me,” Jisung smirked, “He won’t get mad at you either because that would mean being mad at me for asking you to carry me.”

He extended his arms again, and Felix gave up. He held his back with his right arm and very carefully put his left under his knees.

“Don’t worry,” Jisung half laughed, seeing how slowly Felix was raising his legs, “I don’t feel anything, it doesn’t hurt.”

“Oh, okay…”

Felix carried Jisung to his wooden chair near the table. It was a small table, and it wasn’t in its best condition, but that was everything they needed. Changbin had carried the few pieces of furniture they would need to that room when Jisung couldn’t walk anymore.

Felix stood nervously next to the table. He looked through the window, the sun was starting to rise. He took some steps to the corner where the tiny bookshelf stood, but then walked back next to Jisung’s side.

“Do- I mean, would you want me to sit with you?” he asked, playing with his fingers.

“Yes, please,” Jisung replied politely. He knew Changbin didn’t trust Felix yet, so maybe it was his job to make him feel welcome, “Will you show me what you’re reading?”

Felix nodded, slowly and quietly, and rushed to the corner to pick up the book he had been inspecting. He checked that Changbin was still asleep.

Felix carefully placed the book on the table, and Jisung smiled at the sight of the words on the pure white cover.

“To Kill A Mockingbird,” he simply said, and he could see a hint of a smile on Felix’s lips.

“Yes,” he took the book on his hands like it was the most precious thing on earth, “I had to read it some years ago for a class. I didn’t want to, I never wanted to read what they gave me,” Felix’s smile got wide, “But I loved it. I really did.”

“It’s a beautiful book,” Jisung agreed, “I’ve read it twice this year. There’s not much to do in here.”

They smiled looking at each other, as if having read that book connected them in a way they didn’t expect. Then Felix’s smile got sad as he lowered his eyes back to the book.

“When I first read it,” Felix said, so quietly Jisung had to bend over to hear, “I thought that if I ever had kids, I would make them read this book. And I thought that I would love for them to think that this was an enormous piece of fiction. For them to think that the world had never been like this, that people had never been like this. For my kids to be handed a world where there was no space for meanness.”

Jisung stared at Felix. He couldn’t get to see his eyes, as he had lowered his head so much. But his voice hinted to there being tears on his face. Jisung saw himself in him. A sudden memory came to him. Being a little kid, looking up to his mother’s face, and innocently asking, “are there really people in this world who are bad?”. His mother had looked at him like she wished she could tell him that there weren’t, that everyone was good at heart. Instead, she had just told him that he was too young to think about that.

“Jisung,” Felix called, still with his head low, and Jisung had to come back to the present, “is the world still unfair? Is it still cruel?”

At that moment, Jisung understood why his mom had said what she had said. Felix looked lost, hopeless, and Jisung wished he could give him a tiny bit of hope for the future. But he could not, and Felix wasn’t a kid. And then Jisung wished his mom had told him the truth from the start.

“Changbin has had to kill three people since we got here,” Jisung said, before he could process his own words, surprising even himself, “If we insist on continue living, maybe he’ll have to kill someone else. Maybe I’ll have to, or maybe you will,” Jisung continued, watching Felix’s expression darken, “Extreme situations can get the best or the worst out of people, and all survivors seem to have chosen cruelty. The world is not cruel if people don’t make it like that. But if everyone around you chooses cruelty, you have few options.”

Felix looked back to the book. Tracing the title with his fingers, he seemed to be overthinking something. Jisung was about to change the topic to something lighter when Felix spoke.

“And what can we do to change it?”

Jisung’s eyes widened. Change it? Change what, the world? They couldn’t do that. They were just boys, barely adults, barely alive. What could they do? Jisung looked Felix in the eyes. He wasn’t joking.

“Jisung…?” Changbin’s sleepy voice filled the room. Jisung could see Felix start to panic, “How did you get there?”

Jisung didn’t take his eyes off Felix. Then he understood, and he wondered how he didn’t get it before.

“Changbin,” Jisung said, voice stable. Sitting down, his legs dead, his eyes tired, his heart broken, “I am going to change the world for you.”





Changbin placed Jisung’s legs in a comfortable position. The night was starting to arrive and Felix was sitting on the edge of the bed, still reading. Jisung smiled tenderly at Changbin as he massaged his thighs, like he did every night. Jisung hoped to get a smile or a kiss or something that would make his heart flutter. But, like every night, Changbin looked like he was thinking of something else, always worried. He hadn’t talked to Felix at all during the day. Jisung wished he could know what he was thinking.

And as he started to feel his body heavy, his eyes closing themselves, he could see a hint of a smile on Changbin’s mouth as he helped him lay down.

“Felix,” Changbin called, right as Jisung was falling to a deep sleep.

“Y-yeah?”

“Thank you.”

Jisung didn’t have any nightmares that night.

Chapter Text

He felt like running. Running away or running in place, or running in circles or running without a fixed destination, but Felix wanted to run. The wounds on his arms were healing slowly as days went by just as slowly. All his body yelled at him to run. Maybe he just needed to release some stress, maybe his body was telling him to exercise just in case. He didn’t know.
Maybe he felt trapped. He always walked around and outside the house, knowing that he could leave at any moment and the only thing that would happen would be that he would find himself all alone again.
he liked Jisung and Changbin. They were nice boys. Even if Changbin was kind of stiff and dry sometimes, Felix understood why. He wanted to protect Jisung, and that was normal. It hurt a little bit, seeing them take care of each other. Felix couldn’t stop thinking about Minho, where was he, what was he doing, was he okay? He had to be okay. Felix wished he was, at least, alive. But, being realistic, he probably wouldn’t see him again.
Winter was near and Changbin wanted to bring the heater to their room. Jisung couldn’t move a lot, so Changbin didn’t want to have him have to go to what used to be the living room where he couldn’t have a comfortable place to sit just so he wouldn’t be cold. Jisung had told Felix that last winter had been brutal for them.
“I almost lost him to a cold. Can you believe? A damn cold,” Jisung had shaken his head, “I had never seen so much snow in my life… By the time he recovered, he couldn’t go look for food either… I fell ill too, because of hunger, you know? My body needed proteins that we couldn’t get from the few stuff we had...”
They feared next winter would be just as rough if not more. So Felix had offered to pick up and prepare some firewood. maybe the work could help him release whatever it was that was piling up inside of him.
Jisung was sitting outside as Felix struggled to use the ax. he turned around to look at him. Jisung looked calm. He was enjoying the sun with his eyes closed, his back resting on the trunk of one of the entrance trees. The apples were still hanging.
“We’ll have to replace them soon,” Jisung said, referring to the apples.
“Do people really…? I mean,” Felix said, kind of breathless, leaving the ax on the floor for a bit, “has someone ever came by? Someone that was… harmless.”
Felix knew about the men that had broken Jisung’s legs, and he had also been told there had been a girl once that tried to literally eat Changbin. The three of them were buried not far from there.
“Well, yeah,” Jisung said as Felix approached. He sat by his side, his arms hurting from the excessive effort, “There have been people who have taken a fruit or two and then left us alone. You’re the first to interact with us we haven’t had to… you know, get rid of.”
“I see…”
Felix looked up to the apples. He thought about the people who had taken the fruit Changbin and Jisung always hung. He couldn’t imagine how it had been for them to survive out there. His thoughts went back to Minho for a moment.
Then he thought about himself. Changbin and Jisung hadn’t asked him much, and he was thankful because he couldn’t explain anything. He had been reading until late for days, not realizing the sun had set and he wasn’t supposed to see anything, as there was no electricity at all. But he could see. He remembered what Changbin had told him. “I know your kind.” Felix was aware something strange had happened in that corridor. He should have had Changbin’s metal tube smashing his head. He didn’t remember moving. He didn’t even have time to think. But it had been as if he had moved at the speed of light or something, because in less than a second, he had been on the other side of the corridor.
No one had mentioned that again, but changbin had said that he knew “his kind”, and Felix couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Felix felt Jisung’s soft, warm palm against his hand.
"Are you okay?" he asked, a concerned frown on his face. Felix hadn't noticed he was clenching his teeth. He relaxed his whole body. Jisung's touch was soft, and Felix got a weird but nice feeling on his stomach. He had carried Jisung to his chair a couple of times, but this touch was more intimate. It made him feel something he could not explain. He raised his head to meet Jisung's gaze.
"Yeah, don't worry."
Jisung smiled and took his other hand to hold Felix's tightly. He played with Felix's fingers, whispering a soft "small, so cute". Felix just let him. He was aware his hands were small and cute. Jisung traced circles with his thumb on Felix's skin, and Felix was feeling calm and content. That was nice. Jisung took Felix's hand to his mouth and placed a kiss on his knuckles.
Felix stared at him with wide eyes. Jisung smiled softly and closed his eyes, covering them with Felix's hand, just like a little kid. What that kiss meant was another question to join Felix's mental chaos.

 

Changbin came back not so long after that. He carried the bodies of some rabbits and quite big birds in a handmade fabric bag. Before going to the back of the house to prepare the meat away from Jisung's and Felix's eyes, which they appreciated, he placed a kiss on Jisung’s forehead. To Felix’s surprise, Changbin smiled at him. He didn’t think Changbin would ignore him, but he wasn’t expecting… that. He didn’t know what he was expecting.
As Felix carried Jisung inside, he thought about Changbin. As mysterious and secretive as he could be, Felix completely understood him. It was a weird feeling. He had only known both of them for some days, but they gave him a sense of safety. He understood Changbin, but he wasn’t sure if Changbin understood him. If he didn’t, Felix really couldn’t blame him. He hadn’t made an actual effort to talk about himself.
Jisung asked Felix to lay him in bed because his back hurt a little, as Felix did as he was told. He tried to place Jisung’s legs in a comfortable position, just like he had seen Changbin do every night. He caught Jisung smiling tenderly at him while he moved his legs softly. Felix’s mind couldn’t stop going back to what was left of Jisung’s kiss on his knuckles. Like a butterfly resting on his hand, he could still feel the slight touch of his lips on his skin.
Felix stood straight for a moment and looked at Jisung, laying down on bed with a small smile on his face, pushing his cheeks up.
“Are you comfortable?” Felix asked, and Jisung just nodded, “Do you need something else?”
Jisung nodded again, and Felix waited for him to say what he needed. Jisung gestured to tell Felix to approach. Felix rested on his knees to be face to face with Jisung. He inhaled before talking.
“Winter is rough.”
“I know,” Felix replied.
“No, you don’t. You really don’t,” there was no meanness on Jisung’s voice, just a little bit of sadness and that permanent pain, “Last year we were lucky enough, but I don’t know if things will go as well this time.”
“What do you-”
“If something happened to me,” Jisung cut Felix, “if anything happened to me, please, please, take care of Changbin. Help him let me go.”
Felix went silent. His heart hurt on his chest and his throat was feeling strange.
“Nothing’s going to happen to you…”
Felix said that as if he was sure, when he really couldn’t be. Maybe saying it aloud could make it be true.
“We can’t know,” Jisung said, again that sad smile decorating his face, “So, if the worst thing happened… please try to…”
Jisung couldn’t finish his own sentence. Felix tried his best to dry his tears, but they wouldn’t stop coming.
“Nothing’s going to happen to you,” Felix repeated, knowing how useless it was.
“I just-” Jisung choked on his own sobs, “I don’t want him to be sad and alone again.”
Felix kept his hands on Jisung’s hot cheeks.
“He won’t. I promise,” Felix whispered softly, “I’ll take care of him, but…” he raised Jisung’s head a little bit so that they were looking at each other's eyes, “but I’ll take care of you too. Nothing will happen to any of you.”
Jisung chuckled between tears.
“Okay.”

Chapter Text

Changbin knew Jisung was scared. He wanted to tell him that the three of them would be okay, that nothing would happen. But he couldn’t lie to his boyfriend.
Changbin wanted to find something. He knew what he was looking for, but he didn't know where to look. The house was comfy and calm, but it was far from resources of any type. They were lucky that they had picked up as much stuff as they could before moving there. They grew their own food, Changbin could hunt, they knew how to make soap and the river wasn't far, but that wasn't everything they needed.
Changbin hadn't told Jisung, but he was desperate to find him a pair of crutches. He could carry Jisung anywhere he wanted to go, that wasn't a problem at all. Jisung's legs weren't a problem to Changbin, they were a problem to Jisung. Changbin had had to see him wither and fade, every day going a little bit sadder, a little bit weaker. As much as Changbin told Jisung that he loved him and his disability wasn't a bother in any way, it had become obvious -and Changbin had guessed it too- that Jisung simply missed being independent. He couldn't imagine how much it hurt him to have to ask for help for anything, from waking up to going outside to going to the bathroom.
Not a day went by without Changbin thinking about the day those two men broke Jisung's legs. Jisung continued to think that neither he or Changbin knew them at all, but that wasn't entirely true. Changbin didn't know who they were or why they wanted to hurt Jisung, but he had seen them before. The day everything ended, the day Changbin dragged Jisung out of the hospital. He had come back to get some of Jisung's stuff from his room because he had insisted that he wanted to have his bag. That was when he saw them, coming out of Jisung's room. They weren't doctors, they weren't even trying to pretend to be. Not that they needed it, everyone was running and screaming and the floor was shaking, so no one would really care that they were going into a room that wasn't theirs. Except Changbin did care. He saw one of them write down the name on the door, Jisung's name, on a notepad. "Don't worry, we'll get him. We'll get them all". Changbin couldn't even be sure if that had been what he had said, as he wasn't close enough to hear that clearly. So he hadn't given it much importance. Not until those same men showed up at their door, pretending to be travelers seeking for help. When they had innocently asked them their names, Changbin had been fast to say that his name was Jisung. That was when they tried to kill him. And as Jisung tried to protect him, he had been attacked too.
Jisung constantly said that he owed Changbin his life, but Changbin thought he had instead cursed him. If Changbin hadn't been so worried about saving his own life, maybe he could have helped Jisung run away, and his entire body would be just fine now.
Maybe it was useless to think about the past. Changbin could just keep on living to help Jisung and be thankful that the physical pain had gone away. Even though other types of pain remained. But he'd do something about that later.

 

 

"But why do you have to go so late?" Jisung pouted, "It's going to get dark, and cold, and you shouldn't be outside."
"It's not that late," Changbin said, getting some stuff on his bag. Crap, they had run out of cheese, where would he find good milk now? Changbin sighed, "Listen, I know you're worried, but I'll be fine," he took the fluffiest and warmest jacket they had in the house and raised it to show it to Jisung with his eyebrows raised. He rolled his eyes. Changbin approached him, sitting on his chair, and kneeled to be at his height. He cupped Jisung's face with his free hand and smiled, "I'll be here before you can even start to miss me."
Jisung looked at him with a sad stare. He wasn't angry, he was scared.
"Please be careful..."
"Of course I will," Changbin kissed Jisung on his cheek, "Ah, where is Felix?"
Jisung couldn't help but smile at the mention of his name.
"He's outside, back of the house. He said he wanted to learn how to start and control a fire so he can warm his own water and you don't have to."
Jisung watched as a smile stretched on Changbin's lips. He shook his head. Changbin had to admit that, during the past weeks, Felix had been making an enormous effort to be helpful and not a bother. He appreciated that. Maybe the kid wasn't that bad.
"I'll go call him," Changbin said, checking that his shoes were well tied, "I don't want you to be alone up here."
When Changbin raised his stare from his shoes, he caught Jisung not even trying to hide his smile. Changbin thought about protesting or making an excuse. But pretending he still hated Felix would be useless. Jisung knew more about him than he did.
"Whatever," he laughed, leaving the room, though stopping at the door to send Jisung a last goodbye.
He went downstairs, outside, and walked around the house. Felix was at the back like Jisung had said. He looked like a kid playing with sticks and stones. He was so concentrated, crouched down on himself, he didn’t even notice Changbin was there and staring at him with a grin on his face.
"I can teach you if you want."
Felix quickly stood up from where he was seated, dropping everything to the ground. He looked shaken and Changbin wished he would stop being scared of him.
"I was- I mean- I promise I wasn't doing anything-"
"I know, I know, Jisung told me, don't worry," Changbin was quick to try to calm him down, "I appreciate it, really."
Felix seemed to calm down a little.
"But, now, could you go inside? I don't want to leave Jisung alone, he might need something while I'm out," Changbin said, pointing to the second floor with his thumb.
"Oh, yeah sure..." Felix said, doubtful, "But where are you going? If you don't mind me asking, of course."
"It's just a... routinary exploration of the land," Changbin improvised, wishing Felix took the hint and didn't ask anything else. He apparently did.
"Okay... Good luck, be careful," Felix bowed when passing by Changbin to go inside, leaving him alone.
Changbin knew what he was looking for.

 

 

The sun had been still high up when Changbin had left, and not many hours had passed. But winter was making its way into the world way faster than it should, and the thick fluffy jacket seemed like nothing out there. The sun was saying its last goodbyes before finally setting and welcoming the night. Changbin cursed under his breath. He hated lying to Jisung, he wouldn't be back soon. He finally found the road that led to the city, kilometers away, God knows how many kilometers away. He just wished he could be back home before Jisung woke up. He wished Felix was taking good care of him, keeping him company and reassuring him that everything would be okay. He also wished Felix was okay too.
He set a foot on the road, the surface irregular and destroyed by the elements. But that wasn't important. He looked in both directions of the way. Which one should he take? He could barely see in the darkness of the night, the moon looking at him from above, pitying his fate. But he didn't care if the moon, the sun, and all of the stars laughed at him. He knew what he was looking for. He took a deep breath and headed left.
Changbin was not sure how much time it would take him. he hoped that not a lot. He didn't mind going a day or two without food or water, he really didn't care. But he absolutely did not want to have Jisung worrying and suffering because of him for too long. As he walked, eyes traveling around the landscape and a knife in his hand, he thought about him. Then he thought about them, the two of them. Jisung and Felix seemed to get along really well. Changbin was glad. If anything happened to him, Felix could be there for Jisung. That calmed him.
Though he did not know Felix really well, he felt as if he could, slowly and carefully, start to trust him. He still wondered what type of person he was, if he was a human at all. His hair still bothered Changbin, because it somehow related him to Jisung, didn't it? Anyways, he wasn't going to ask.
He tried to shake those thoughts away from his head. Jisung was perfectly normal. Felix was weird but he was okay, he didn't seem to want to hurt them. At moments Changbin panicked, thinking that he had let them alone for hours or maybe days. But Felix hadn't shown signs of being dangerous. But he still was a stranger. But he wasn't as much of a stranger now. Changbin hit his head softly with his palm to try to stop thinking about that once and for all. He sighed and looked up. For how long had he been walking?
His attention focused on something meters away from him. It was big, but he couldn't tell exactly what it was, being that it was so dark, now fully black night. He half-walked half-ran there, holding his knife tightly. As he approached, his stomach started twisting and turning. Right in front of the unknown object, Changbin could finally and perfectly tell what it was.
A car.

Chapter Text

It was dark night and Changbin still hadn't come back. Jisung's anxiety was eating him alive, as much as he tried to pretend that he wasn't thinking about it. Felix was making his biggest effort to distract him with hand games and reading books aloud making voices and all kind of stuff. Felix had cooked him dinner and prepared the heater for the night. He hadn't even asked if Jisung needed to get his legs washed. That was Changbin's job.
Now, the moon watched over them. Jisung looked through the window and wondered if the moon was making sure Changbin was okay. He wished he could ask her, he wished she could tell him. Jisung found himself desperately wanting to see the trees, the mountain, the ground the world rested on. Maybe he thought it would bring him closer to Changbin. He knew it made no sense, but he wanted to be outside, feel the earth under his feet. But he couldn't do that. His feet didn't feel anything anymore.
"Felix," Jisung called, and the boy looked at him over his shoulder, preparing the heater for the night.
"Yeah?"
"Bring me closer to the window," Jisung didn't ask to be taken outside, he knew Felix wouldn't do that. It was really cold and Felix would not risk it. The window seemed good enough to calm his anxiety.
"Jisung, it's really late..."
"Please," he asked, his stare sad and his voice low, "just for a little."
Felix hesitated for a bit. He stood up and far from the heater. He put his hands on his waist.
"Can I know why?" Felix asked, not aggressively, just genuinely curious.
"Because I need it," was Jisung's only response.
Felix was taken by surprise. He seemed confused, and kind of scared too, but he obeyed. With all the strength he could gather, he raised Jisung's chair and took it closer to the window. They could already feel the cold start to crawl under their skin, away from the heater and the warmth of the bed covers. Changbin and Jisung had talked about moving the bed to another room without windows, as the cold entered even when they were closed. But Jisung had begged him not to do it, with the excuse of that one room being the only one prepared to have a heater in it. The truth was that Jisung didn't see himself in a room that did not show him the world.
He looked outside, to that world that seemed like it was giving up on its creatures. Maybe it was for the good. Maybe humans were never of any help for nature. But, still, Jisung felt like he had to... fix it. The world he loved so deeply was asking him for help.
"Do you feel it too?" Jisung asked, in the softest voice that had ever come out through his lips, "Do you feel the forest talking to you, or am I the only one?"
Jisung didn't need to look at Felix to know he was confused. He kept his eyes on the forest, though he couldn't really see anything. He still felt that strange, deep connection. He had never felt it before the end of everything. It was as if something had clicked on him ever since the world destroyed itself. Then there was, of course, the mystery of his hair... He had assumed it had been stress that had decolored his hair, now he wasn't so sure. Because now there was Felix.
"I see... you don't feel the same as me..."
"I'm sorry, I don't think I get what you mean..." Felix talked softly and carefully, as if trying not to make a mistake or offend Jisung somehow.
Jisung looked up to look at Felix in the eyes. He seemed scared, genuinely scared. Jisung thought that what he was going to say would scare him even more, but he said it anyway.
"I know you can see in the dark," as Jisung expected, Felix opened his eyes wide and swallowed. He was nervous. He opened and closed his mouth as if he had been caught cheating in a test and was trying to make up an excuse. His mind seemed to have gone blank.
"It's okay," Jisung reassured him with a small and short smile. He sighed looking outside and then raised his arms in Felix's direction, "Let's go to sleep?"
Felix carried Jisung to the bed, his arms shaking more than usual, and not because Jisung was heavy. He placed him in the center of the bed and then hurried to take the pack of warm water to put under the covers. Jisung watched as he repeated the same process he had seen Changbin execute every night, checking every step to make sure he was doing everything right. Once he was finished, he stood for a moment going over everything that he had to do. Jisung smiled fondly at him.
"Felix," he half-laughed.
"What did I forget?" he immediately asked.
Jisung could help but laugh aloud.
"You forgot relaxing. Come here," Jisung patted the spot next to him, "It's really late, let's sleep. Changbin will be back soon and we have to be well rested to welcome him."
"Uh, yeah, sure, wait for a second," Felix sat on the side and untied his old shoes. He undid the knots that tied both parts of his pants together, leaving him in really short shorts, but Jisung was used to it. And it wasn't like they slept really close together anyway. Felix seemed calm when he laid on his side of the bed and covered himself. He faced Jisung to wish him a good night's sleep. Jisung smirked.
"Come closer," Jisung whispered. There was no one around, there was no need to whisper, but Jisung felt the need to make that moment more intimate.
"W-why?"
Jisung could see Felix start to get nervous and he couldn't tell why. Maybe he was uncomfortable, maybe he was still scared of Changbin.
"Because I want to have you closer. If that's okay with you, of course," Jisung continued to whisper.
He could see Felix bite his lip and, again, he wasn't sure of what that meant. Jisung laid on his side, his legs moving awkwardly as he tried to move the upper part of his body on his own. He rested his head on the pillow and closed his eyes, inviting Felix to either approach him or ignore him. Not much later, he felt Felix's warm breath reaching his chest. He opened his eyes and found him very close, looking down to Jisung's chest to avoid meeting his eyes. Jisung thought maybe he was blushing. He was sure Felix looked really cute at the moment and wished he could see him.
"Can I hug you...?" Jisung asked in a whisper, eyes closed and hands near his chest, "It's okay if you don't-"
"Yes," Felix cut him, in the same low, soft tone of voice. Though Felix's voice was deeper, and the soft growly undertone in it made Jisung shiver, "Hug me."
Jisung didn't open his eyes as he carefully extended his arms to reach Felix's body. He felt warm and soft as Jisung pulled him closer, Felix's face being buried on his neck. Jisung was touchy and had never tried to hide it. He ran his hand all through Felix's upper back, feeling his muscles above his shirt. It was actually Jisung's shirt. Felix hadn't brought a lot of clothes with him, so they always lent him some. Felix also put his arms around Jisung's torso. He hugged him like he didn't want to let him go, and Jisung didn't have a problem with that. He didn't want to let go either.
"Felix..." this time, Jisung did open his eyes. He looked at Felix, who looked at him back. In the dark of the night, he could barely appreciate his features. He could see his face, but, at the moment, he was desperate to take in every detail. He wished he could see his freckles, get lost counting them. He cupped his face with one hand and traced circles on his cheek with his thumb, "I really appreciate having you here..."
For some reason that not even he understood, Felix moved his face closer to Jisung's. Jisung smiled and approached him more. Their lips touched, not even fully, not even on purpose. Just the tips of their lips in contact. Not moving closer, not separating either, they remained like that as they felt each other's hearts beating faster.

Chapter Text

The sun was barely rising when Changbin arrived back at home. The sunlight filtered through the leaves of the trees around the entrance, leaving Jisung's handwriting only partly illuminated. Everything's fucking dead. "It may be, my love," Changbin though, his smile wide on his face, "it may be, but that doesn't mean there's not any hope left for us".
Changbin dropped his bag at the door, not really caring about anything else than going upstairs and sharing his news. He ran up, skipping some steps with his heart beating strongly on his chest. He couldn't wait. He opened the door softly because he didn't want to scare them. They were still sleeping. Changbin stopped for a moment.
They were hugging each other. Felix's head rested on Jisung's shoulder, his hair tickling his chin. Jisung hugged him tightly, pressing his cheek on the top of Felix's head. They looked calm and content, and Changbin felt things on his stomach that he didn't know he was able to feel. Something about that sight made his insides shake and scream. He was so happy.
He approached them slowly, thinking that it was a shame to wake them up at that moment. They were so cute. He kneeled at the left side of the bed, next to Felix. He was giving him his back. Jisung looked so cute from that angle, his cheek pressed making it more prominent. His lips even hinted of a smile. Changbin couldn't stop smiling. It was impossible for everything to be this perfect. He must be dreaming.
He carefully raised his hand and patted Felix on his shoulder. It took him a second try to wake him up, this time strongly and accompanied by a soft whisper of his name. He turned around slowly and with difficulties, as Jisung's arms were still trapping him in a hug. Felix could move enough to face Changbin.
"Good morning," Changbin said with the widest smile. He watched Felix widen his eyes and start mouthing apologies and half-words, "Why are you panicking?" Changbin chuckled.
Changbin stood up and carefully sat on the bed on his knees. He tried his best to put himself in front of Jisung. A very confused Felix managed to free himself from Jisung's hug and helped Changbin wake him up.
"Hey, my love," Changbin said in his softest voice. He saw Felix make a strange face, but he didn't give it much importance. Felix was still scared of him. He'd have to fix that, "My love, good morning."
Jisung seemed to instantly react to Changbin's voice. He opened his eyes and instantly threw himself into Changbin's arms, who gladly welcomed him into a hug. Jisung started rambling about how Changbin was a liar and a traitor and he had missed him so much and he had been scared and anxious and it was his fault and he loved him so much. Changbin let him, responding to every word with a smile or a laugh or a kiss. Once Jisung was done with his insults that didn't really hurt, Changbin cupped his face with both hands and looked at him with the most intense love in his eyes. How could he love him so much? Changbin stared at him, the person he lived for, one last time before letting his face go and sitting straight. His smile still didn't fade away.
"I bring good news," he said, legs crossed and hands on his knees. He looked and Felix, who had an expression on his face that Changbin couldn't really decode, and repeated, "I bring good news."
"What is it?" Jisung asked, sitting down with Felix's help, resting his back on the wall behind him, " Did you find something?"
Changbin nodded, still smiling. He wondered how it was that it had always been so difficult for him to smile. It was so easy at that moment.
"I had been thinking about it," Changbin started to explain, "some weeks ago I stumbled upon a road, a road that leads to the city."
"The city?" Jisung asked.
"Yeah, not our city but a different one, but still, the city part is not important. What matters is what is in the roads," Changbin waited for them to get it, but they didn't seem to understand his point. Jisung and Felix looked at each other confused. Felix shrugged as if answering a question that wasn't asked, "Cars, guys, there are cars on the roads. And I found one."
Both Jisung and Felix opened their mouths in excitement. A car meant an easier and faster way of moving, it also meant they could go further. Anything they needed, they could easily go look for it, they could also carry things around. It was great news. It was the greatest news. Changbin dropped himself in Jisung's arms, wrapping each other in a hug, holding each other tightly. When they separated, Changbin hugged Felix, who was very much taken by surprise. When he let go, he jumped out of the bed. Changbin talked non-stop about all the possibilities a car would bring them while clapping his hands. He explained that it needed some lubrication and one of the doors had to be fixed because it was basically gone, but he'd have it done in no time and they could start preparing things for the winter much more easily.
"We could even leave the house at any point if we wanted. We could look for a better place to live in. Or we could go on a trip!" Changbin moved around excitedly, shaking his fists and doing small jumps here and there. He focused his attention on Jisung and Felix, they were smiling widely looking at him. They were excited too, "Jisung, you could go on a trip if you wanted," Changbin said, in a softer voice. Jisung nodded, with the widest smile. A tear went down his cheek but he was quick to dry it. Changbin approached again.
"Yes, I could," Jisung affirmed, wrapping in a hug both Changbin and Felix.

 

"What else could we need?" Changbin asked, pressing his pencil against his lip. The list in front of him was ridiculously long, they'd have to cross off some stuff that wasn't a priority. A lot of the things in the list weren't even necessary, they just wanted some stuff that could make them feel like they were living a normal life again. Changbin thought of that long list as an excuse to go out, see other things, and give Jisung a little bit more of freedom.
Felix held himself back. He wanted to say something, but he was kind of afraid of it seeming ridiculous or dumb. So he remained quiet, shrugging nervously when Changbin looked at him or asked him if he had any ideas. Felix knew he wasn't being of any help at that moment, but he couldn't help the fear he felt.
It was true that Changbin had been softer with him for the past few days. He guessed that having had him around for a little more than a month now was making Changbin start to get used to Felix's presence. But Felix couldn't help but be nervous and excessively aware of every movement Changbin did.
Like in that very moment, Felix was terribly intimidated by the way Changbin was looking at him. He couldn't guess what his frown meant. Maybe he was getting tired of him being useless.
"Felix," Changbin said, and, though Felix expected him to say something, he still was surprised, "are you okay?"
"Yeah, I just-" Felix coughed, in an attempt to get that weird and uncomfortable feel out of his throat, "I'm a little bit tired."
Felix looked everywhere except at Changbin. The kitchen didn't have a lot of stuff to look at but he tried.
"Maybe you should rest a bit," Changbin laid back on his chair, playing with his pencil with his right hand, his left resting on his thigh. Something about his relaxed stance intimidated Felix even more, "Jisung is upstairs."
The mention of Jisung confused and terrified Felix. Why was Changbin bringing him up now? Why would he want him to be alone with his boyfriend again when he had avoided it so much at first? Did he know about whatever it was that had happened two nights ago between him and Jisung? It wasn't a kiss, they technically did not kiss. But there was something in Felix's gut telling him that he had done something wrong. Maybe he should try to step away from Jisung for a little. But... he was so...
"Felix? Dude, really, do you need something?" Changbin now seemed genuinely worried. He moved closer to Felix and put a hand on his shoulder.
Felix looked at Changbin's arm. He could probably smash his head and that made him feel a lot of different things at once. He started feeling warmth on his cheeks.
"Yeah, I, uh..." Felix stood up nervously, letting Changbin's hand slip from his shoulder. He walked backward and had to be fast to catch the chair before kicking it down, "I think I'm going for a walk."
Felix ran outside, leaving Changbin in the kitchen, confused and with an incomplete list.
Books. That was what Felix thought they needed. They really needed books.

Chapter Text

Felix walked upstairs. He didn't want to see them, but he had to sleep. They would find it weird if he didn't. Jisung seemed completely calm and unbothered while Felix had the most terrible anxiety. "Come on," Felix talked to himself, "it wasn't even a proper kiss. It was nothing! Get it together!", he internally yelled and scolded himself. But as much as he reminded himself that it hadn't been a real kiss and that Jisung didn't seem like he considered it cheating, his anxiety was still off the limits. As he went up the steps he could hear his heart beating faster on his chest, shaking his whole body. He felt like was going to throw up.
Felix reached the door. They kept it closed to keep the room warm. Maybe opening it would be a mistake. He considered that maybe he had interfered too much already with Jisung and Changbin's lives. Maybe it was his time to say goodbye and leave. Or maybe he was just being overly dramatic. Felix took a deep breath. He brought his hand to the doorknob. Before his fingers could even touch it, he pulled his hand back and close to his chest. He really didn't know what he was going to do. He took some steps back and breathed deeply again, though it seemed to be useless. Then he heard Changbin's voice coming out from the room.
"Where is Felix?"
Felix felt his soul leave his body. "Oh no," he thought, "now he will come here and he will see me and it'll be over."
“He was downstairs,” Felix heard Jisung’s voice from inside the room, “I guess he has better light for reading there.”
Jisung was lying. He knew Felix could see in the dark. Why would he lie to Changbin was something Felix didn’t quite understand.
There was a moment of silence inside the room. Felix could hear Changbin placing Jisung on the bed, covering him. But there wasn’t any sound of Changbin’s weight over the mattress. The silence was killing Felix. It reminded him too much of the cave. He thought that he couldn’t leave. He’d lose his mind if he found himself all alone again.
“How can I…?” Changbin’s voice reached Felix’s ears, “I mean, Felix is still scared of me, right?”
Felix took a step back.
“Yeah, it seems like it,” Jisung replied in a sleepy voice.
“What do you think I can do about it? I want him to be comfortable here.”
Felix stood in the hallway. The guilt dragged itself into his heart, coming from his stomach and leaving its footprint everywhere it passed. Changbin was trying to help. Felix then realized that the problem was not that he had almost kissed Jisung, it was that he wanted to do it properly.
Felix knew you’re not supposed to get in between a relationship, especially if the two people are saving your life. He walked slowly around the house, trying not to make a noise and thinking about how bad he felt. He reminded himself of how much Jisung and Changbin loved each other to try to get his desire of being close to Jisung out of his head. He sat in the kitchen for a couple of minutes, looking out the window. He realized it was funny he was thinking about that type of stuff instead of being worried for the future. The world was literally an “every man on its own” kind of thing now, and his biggest problem was an inexistent kiss. At that moment it was important. Felix thought it would be easier to heal the world than heal his heart.
The moment his thoughts went to Minho Felix decided he had been overthinking for way too long. It was painful to think that maybe he should forget about him. It would only hurt more to have hope.
Felix went upstairs. The room was dead silent now, so at least one of them was asleep, and he didn't know who he preferred to be awake. He took a deep breath before opening the door. He took a quick look at the bed. Jisung was raising his head slightly to look at him. Felix could guess he was smiling at him. He tried to smile back and entered the room, closing the door behind him. Every step towards the bed made his heart beat faster. He realized once he was already close that Changbin, now deeply asleep, had changed his spot. He was now at the edge, back hugging Jisung, leaving Felix with no choice but to lay down by Jisung’s side. He discreetly took a deep breath.
Felix laid down with his heart jumping around his chest and a couple of knots on his throat. He covered himself and faced Jisung because he wanted to see him, but he laid far from him. Jisung had closed his eyes, and when he opened them, he smiled showing his gums. Felix was sure he was laughing at him.
“You’re going to fall out,” Jisung whispered, and then gestured towards himself, “Come closer.”
Felix knew that that “come closer” would be the end of him. His brain said he shouldn’t do it. But the rest of his body missed Jisung’s touch. His soft skin and the warmth of his body, his surprising ability to smell nice even though he couldn’t shower a lot, his palms running over his back and his fingers that traced soft circles everywhere they went, the way Felix’s head perfectly fit in the space between his neck and his shoulder, and his soft sigh when he rested his cheek on Felix’s head. Before Felix could even realize, he was already in Jisung’s arms. He had to remind himself that Changbin was on the other side. But suddenly he didn’t care. Changbin’s arms were one around Jisung’s waist and the other under the pillow, so one of his hands softly brushed Felix’s waist too. Felix slowly shook his head, brushing his face against Jisung’s neck. Jisung giggled softly.
“You’re like a kitty,” he whispered, not caring at all for Felix’s sanity. His heart pushed the alarm button and started running again. Felix damned his body for not being able to control itself. They were so close it was absolutely impossible for Jisung not to notice that Felix was about to combust.
“You don’t have to be scared,” Jisung’s voice was so soft Felix thought he had hallucinated it for a second.
“Sorry,” he instantly replied, not thinking about the consequences because, being absolutely honest, he wasn’t thinking much at that moment.
Jisung raised his hand to Felix’s cheek, his thumb repeating those movements it knew so well. Slowly and not pressing the skin at all, Jisung caressed Felix’s face, so close to his chest that Felix thought he could kiss Jisung’s neck at any moment.
It was hard to fall asleep that night.