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In the depths of Insanity

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The cold breeze swept up his hair. Closing his eyes, he felt the wind pass and carry his strands while calming his mind. A solemn melody suddenly brought back memories. He started humming but wasn't sure where it was coming from.

Days of when he had the strength to stand and walk... to run and dance. The days when he was complete. Memories started flooding his mind as he hummed into the melody that he heard. But as soon as he opened his eyes, he returned to the harsh reality. A reality he despises.

A hint of frustration passed his face when his gaze fell on his legs. He wondered if they'll ever support him again. Numb to the feel and unable to move them, his mind was unsure how things would unravel.

He held onto his supporters, hoping they'd be able to help him stand at the very least. But just as he pushed himself up, his legs were still numb to the feel. It was still deprived of sensation and control.

He fell.

"Jinhwan-hyung! What are you doing? Are you alright?" Donghyuk asked, his voice filled with worry for the older.

The moment Donghyuk held onto Jinhwan, the latter pushed him away. There was anger evident in the Jinhwan's eyes. And glaring into Donghyuk, he saw a glint of sadness pass by the younger's eyes. Donghyuk felt weak when the older gave him a cold glare as if he was a stranger and not his friend.

"Don't touch me! You're destroying it!" Jinhwan screamed in obvious anger. Flinching away, Donghyuk couldn't help but feel shaken when he heard Jinhwan's voice.

It had been weeks since Donghyuk last heard Jinhwan's voice. He couldn't believe that the only time he'd ever hear Jinhwan speak again is when he's filled with anger. Donghyuk felt the disappointment fill him, he never really thought these would be the words coming out from his hyung's lips.

"Jinhwan-hyung..." Donghyuk called out, shock and worry mixed in his tone and his emotion of sadness evident in his eyes. He missed Jinhwan dearly but how could he help when the latter keeps pushing everyone away?

Jinhwan didn't dare look at Donghyuk. He didn't want anyone touching him; not the nurses, not the doctors and especially not the ones who he treasures. He glared at the ground as he pulled himself back up on his wheelchair. He moved away from the younger and hoped that he'll be left alone.

"Jinhwan-hyung..." Donghyuk called out again. His voice was pleading Jinhwan to look at him... to notice him. But the latter disregarded him. He continued moving away as if interaction with the others cause him extreme discomfort.

Just when he moved to follow, he felt a hand pull his shoulder. He stopped to look at the person who pulled him.

"Leave him... he'll just get more irritated if you push him." Yunhyeong advised, his hand sliding down to rub Donghyuk's arm.

Donghyuk could only look down in guilt. He knew. Yunhyeong sighed while looking at the defeated face in front of him. He knows how much the younger looked forward to talking to Jinhwan today. Not that they haven't tried, but the older was always so unresponsive to them that it was like talking to a brick wall. They had hoped that Jinhwan would be in a far better mood today since he finally decided to explore the gardens of the institute but it looks like he was still avoiding them.

Donghyuk started walking away, each step becoming heavier than the last. He took one final glance at Jinhwan before looking away and finally letting the tears fall from his eyes. Feelings within him continuously flowing like a bubble waiting to burst.

Yunhyeong looked at the younger's back as he trudged away. All he could do was look. Though he wanted to comfort the younger one, he wasn't sure how. It was normally the oldest one who took care of everyone but now that he was placed as the oldest... he wasn't sure what to do. He had to take care of the younger ones along with the others who weren't lucky enough.

Yunhyeong sighed, his gaze landing on Jinhwan's direction. The other had stopped moving and he was staring at something in the sky. He had been talking to himself again. He seems to be doing it quite often now. More than he did before.

Yunhyeong took a step closer to his hyung, wanting to give him what they bought. But just a few more steps away, he stopped.

With the mention of his other friends, Yunhyeong flinched. He felt this big lump form in his throat when a cold breeze passed by. What he wanted to do wasn't something the other would appreciate so he tightened his grasp on the plastic bag he held. Pulling all of his strength, he called out the older's name, hoping that he'd at least look.

"Jinhwan-hyung..."

But the other didn't bother to look at him. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he didn't even hear that Yunhyeong called him. The absence of emotion apparent on the older's face when he started moving again, this time towards the flowerbed in the garden. He plucked one off of the ground and reached out, offering it to the sky while chanting a prayer that Yunhyeong could barely understand.

Yunhyeong wrinkled his forehead as he watched. He looked at the direction where Jinhwan was reaching out and it seemed like Jinhwan wanted to offer the flower to the sun. He could only sigh and grit his teeth, losing more hope for the older.

He couldn't help it anymore, he turned his back and followed Donghyuk with his head hung low. He felt a heaviness in his chest as if his heart couldn't take it anymore.

"He's never gonna be okay..." Yunhyeong heard a husky voice speak just when he was about to meet the others waiting for him. Raising his head, Yunhyeong questioningly looked at the source of the voice and thought if he'd given up on Jinhwan.

"Should we give up now?" Chanwoo asked, his voice riddled his worry and challenge which made everyone look at him. A heavy tension surrounded the area that the others felt sick to their stomachs, they knew that no matter what they shouldn't give up. But Junhoe struggled to answer. For the first time his tongue was tied, his throat dried up and his heart and mind refused to process the question. Chanwoo bit his lower lip, hoping that Junhoe realizes how much this was hurting everyone as well.

"If we give up... What happens to him?" Donghyuk's gaze was on the ground. He couldn't bear to show them the pain in his eyes. His encounter earlier made him feel even weaker as if he's done nothing to help the older when, in fact, he's done everything he could to help Jinhwan.

Junhoe's silence was broken.

"I don't know! Damn it! I don't know!" Junhoe blasted, tears had already formed in his eyes. Yunhyeong looked at him, sadness evident in his face. The tears in Junhoe's eyes fell but Junhoe wiped them almost immediately.

"We're trying our best... aren't we? So why... why are you doubting yourself?" Donghyuk asked. Though he was trying, his voice trembled with sadness that everyone else couldn't respond. They knew that Donghyuk was right, yet they hated the truth.

"Can't this all be just a dream? Or a nightmare? An illusion...? Anything... I just don't want this to be reality!" Donghyuk's voice cracked when he couldn't help but reveal his thoughts. Tears finally falling on the floor and his sobs were heard. Chanwoo stretched his arms towards Donghyuk, capturing his lover in his arms. Donghyuk's shoulders trembled as tears fell from his eyes. Finally, he couldn't bear it inside any longer.

"Jinhwan-hyung's gonna be okay... right? He'll... he'll be okay..." Junhoe said, trying to convince himself. Yunhyeong now pulled his lover into a tight hug.

"I wish so..." Yunhyeong and Chanwoo whispered, their hope starting to falter.

 

~~~***~~~

 

Jinhwan looked at the flower in his hand, whispering to it. Maybe it was his delusional mind playing tricks on him but he felt like the flower symbolized something important in his life. He wondered why he was offering it to the sky when it was the source of his pain.

He scoffed at it. Biting his lips, he threw it somewhere. He hated it. He hated it so much that he wanted his vision to be gone. He hated everything so much that he wished he could go back and change everything.

He turned away from the flowerbeds and rage started bubbling within him. Screams of anger filled the garden which took the nurse's attention as well as everyone else's.

Everyone rushed to his aid, afraid of what had happened to cause such hysterics.

Jinhwan screamed at the top of his lungs. Raged out of fear. He pushed himself away from his wheelchair and he fell on the ground again. He held onto his legs and clawed them. He kept clawing despite the nurses trying to stop him but he kept repeating it that it started to bleed. He wanted to remove them, he wanted them gone.

The nurses tried to stop him but to no avail. His legs were already bleeding but he still continued to hurt himself. At this point, the others immediately ran towards him to help the nurses.

"Jinhwan-hyung! Stop it! Please! Jinhwan-hyung!" His friends pleaded. But it had fallen on deaf ears. He was still at it, clawing at his own flesh and piercing through the skin revealing the crimson red that lies beneath it.

In desperation, a nurse injected him to paralyze him and stop him from making even more damage to himself. But Jinhwan fought back, his strength did not fail him and he still managed to push people away. His friends the nurses by holding on to his arms. They all held him tightly. Arms taken away from his legs, restraints followed to immobilize him, and people pinning him down. With his weak body, there's really not much he can do.

A carousel of thoughts played in his mind as the oblivion welcomed him back into its arms.

 

 

~~~***~~~

 

 

“Welcome back Jinhwan.”

 

Greeted a demon.

 

The demon’s sharp brown eyes studied him. There was boredom evident in his red skinned face. He didn’t look amused to see Jinhwan yet he welcomed him nonetheless. His pointy ear twitched just as he flipped the paperwork on his desk that he occupied. Jinhwan still feels rage boiling inside him whenever he looks at the demon.

 

The primary reason: The demon looked exactly like him.

 

The demon, concentrated on his desk, scratched the horn that stuck out just below his ear. Jinhwan still couldn’t believe that such a being existed and he still wanted to believe that he was just being delusional.

 

“So… I’m back again, huh?” Jinhwan scoffed, gritting his teeth he looked away from the demon.

 

But this was also a part of his harsh reality. A walled room without any windows nor doors. Just a desk and the demon, sitting behind it amidst the paperwork he handled.

 

“It’s not too long until you actually stay here now.” The demon suddenly answered, now scratching the horn that stuck out just behind his ear.

 

It irks Jinhwan to see his face on a demon. A demon that had taken lives. Lives of people he loved, of people important to him and people he thought would be there for him... forever.

 

“Why don’t you just get me…? Damn it…” Jinhwan cussed. The demon yawned before both of his pointed ears twitched in annoyance.

 

“Well… it was your own choice for getting into this contract.” The demon said, standing up and putting his hands in his pockets. His slick black suit looked like a void that barely had any reflection. It was pure darkness.

 

“What more do you want?! I’m already giving myself to you!” Jinhwan blasted, slamming his hands on the desk. The demon glanced at him and he sighed while scratching his neck.

 

“Restrain your impatience, mortal. Remember that this realm exists for me to devour your soul. Releasing your negativity here only allows me to access my vessel. And without a single doubt I will take over if you’re willing to give up.” The demon threatened, glaring at Jinhwan. “That is… are you willing to?”

 

Jinhwan clenched his fist, gritted his teeth he knew the demon was right. Oh how he loathed it. Hearing truth from that demon’s lips infuriated him.

 

“Damn it!” Jinhwan cussed again. He turned his back away from the demon who only shook his head as he scratched his horn yet again.

 

“Emotions make you do foolish things. They would have lived if they had known better. Sacrificing your life for the life of another… such a shame and utterly foolish.” The demon mocked, his eyes darkened as he glared at Jinhwan. The human’s knees buckled down to the ground. Though he hated what he heard, he knew how true it was.

 

“Your kind made a fool out of us! That’s why I’m in this kind of situation!” Jinhwan shouted, barely giving time for his legs to pull himself up from his slumped position.

 

The demon’s ear suddenly twitched with what he heard. Clicking his tongue, he put his hands on his desk as he looked directly at Jinhwan.

 

“Choices were offered. You chose without thinking of other possibilities so don’t blame others for your shortcoming. The only reason you’re here, and alive, is because of me. Don’t forget that.” The demon said between gritted teeth. However calm he may be, there was a limit to how much Jinhwan could freely mock him.

 

Jinhwan could only grit his teeth in anger. The demon was right, yet again he couldn’t help but feel the boiling anger rage inside of him. He did make a choice, but look at where that choice led him.

 

It was a place where attempts of escaping was futile and impossible. A place that he had no chance of escaping unless he cooperated with the demon who stood there and mocked him.

 

“If none of you appeared that time… Then none of this would’ve happened.” Jinhwan mumbled but the demon heard it clearly. He was, yet alarmingly, connected to Jinhwan. There was a loud scoff that echoed in that place. A playful grin escaped the demon’s lips as he looked at Jinhwan’s pitiful state.

 

“You would’ve been dead had I not appeared before you.” The demon’s yellow eyes darkened into deep black orbs that taunted Jinhwan. The latter could barely look at him, afraid of seeing his ridiculous reflection in those dark eyes. “You soul should’ve fed another demon. But your choice saved you.”

 

Walking away from the desk, he circled around Jinhwan and stood just behind the man. Jinhwan felt his insides shake with fear but he held on his rage to show no weakness to the being who taunted him.

 

“I’ll save them.” Jinhwan’s words were sincere, carrying such a heavy burden behind it. Taking in a deep breath, he couldn’t help but feel tears well up in his eyes when he felt the demon’s hand fall on his shoulders.

 

 

“Jinani-hyung~!” he heard a familiar voice call out.

 

“Jinan-hyung…” and another voice.

 

 

Light started taking over Jinhwan’s sight. A warm light that pulled him.

 

In a moment’s time, he felt his lids close and his body lighter. Jinhwan fell on the ground, his mind drifting off to dreamland.

 

“Finally… some peace and quiet.”

 

 

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Hello everyone!

I apologize that I haven't posted anything nor done more but I hope some of you still know me and read my work. haha. although I doubt that.

But here's another fantasy genre iKON fanfic. And I hope that anyone reads it would like it.

Thank you for looking at this work. I'll be forever grateful...

-kimi

Chapter Text

“But I want that!” Hanbin groaned, holding on Jiwon’s arm and tightly pulling it away from his mouth. Meanwhile Jiwon held the fork tightly, still trying to eat the last piece of hotdog even if he devoured a lot a few moments ago.

“You already ate a LOT!!!” Hanbin complained when Jiwon moved his body, freeing himself from Hanbin and finally devouring the last piece of hotdog that was left.

Hanbin couldn’t believe the older. His jaw dropped and his body slumped back on the chair where he sat. He tried his best to stop Jiwon but the latter was just too strong for him.

“Bad hyung!” Hanbin pouted before slapping Jiwon’s back. The older suddenly choked on the food before Hanbin smirked in victory.

“That’s enough! Both of you!” Jinhwan said, authority apparent on his voice while putting a glass of water on the table just in front of Jiwon. The younger immediately took it and chugged it down before sighing in relief.

Hanbin just clicked his tongue before glaring at Jiwon who returned the glare back at him. Meanwhile Jinhwan took a sip of his coffee before standing up again.

“You should’ve just let him choke to death.” Hanbin whispered but the two heard him loud and clear. Jinhwan couldn’t help but snicker. “That’s what we call murder, Hanbin.”

“Besides… All you have to do is ask and I’ll gladly cook for you.” Jinhwan scrunches his face before smiling at them. There was a flush of red that covered their cheeks and Jinhwan found it quite amusing. Flustered and happy, they both nodded at Jinhwan before saying, “Please, cook more food for us!”

Jinhwan shook his head, smiling at them. He shook his head before saying, “You two are seriously something else.”

“You’re too nice to him, Jinani… He almost killed me.” Jiwon grumbled before Jinhwan ruffled his head. The guy scrunching his face towards the older who only gave him a smile.

“Why does he get a pat on his head?!” Hanbin grumbled before earning a pat from Jinhwan as well.

“Aish… it’s too early in the morning and you’re already so noisy hyung…” Donghyuk complained, his eyes still droopy while his hair all messed up. He probably stayed up late… again. He scratched his tummy before pulling a chair and finally sitting down by the table. He slumped his arm over the table along with his head but making sure not to touch the plates.

“You’re being too harsh on them just ‘cause you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Give them a break.” Chanwoo said with a raspy voice, obviously he had just woken up like Donghyuk. He had given Donghyuk a kiss on the cheek before sitting beside him. The others looked in amusement. The two younger ones looked interestingly good together especially since they’ve both finally confessed and are now an official couple. Chanwoo wrapped his arm around his lover, moving closer and leaning his head on Donghyuk’s back.

Donghyuk didn’t realize it yet but he liked the warmth surrounding him. It felt too nice that he didn’t notice it was Chanwoo’s body. He enjoyed the feeling but the chuckles and giggles in front of him were too hard to ignore.

He did his best to open his eyes to look at the people who made such noises. He saw Jiwon covering his smile with his fist, Jinhwan behind him chuckling while biting his lip and Hanbin grinning with his arms on the table.

Donghyuk clicked his tongue in annoyance. But something damp closed in on his cheek again and the others all gasped in excitement. A burst of squeals came out of the three and this time he just couldn’t help but wonder why.

“I think it’s about time for you to wake up.” Donghyuk heard his lover’s voice whisper into his ear.

Realization hit him.

The reason why the others giggled and chuckled. The reason why there was something warm surrounding him. The reason why there was something damp that had touched his cheek.

“C-C-C-C-Chanwoo!!!” Donghyuk complained but the maknae just chuckled. And even before Donghyuk could burst into a fit of rage, Chanwoo landed a peck on his lover’s lips and successfully shutting him up.

“Good morning.” Chanwoo greeted. Instead of throwing a fit, Donghyuk’s tongue seemed to have disappeared and he couldn’t utter a single word. He had already turned into a tomato while the others laughed to their heart’s content. Jiwon howled in excitement alongside Hanbin while Jinhwan smiled at them lovingly.

“W-W-Why did you do that?!” Donghyuk finally complained but Chanwoo didn’t even take time to listen. He just smiled at his lover, revealing his dimples that the other could not resist.

“It’s too early for PDA.” Junhoe grumbled just then. The other looked like he didn’t really have a good night’s sleep.

“Is your head still painful?” Yunhyeong asked, standing just behind Junhoe. The latter just frowned before pulling a chair and cupping his head on his palms. He rested his arm on the table and Yunhyeong just patted his back.

“Let me cook breakfast for you so you can eat.” Yunhyeong said, before kissing Junhoe’s head. Hanbin and Jiwon had pursed their lips while watching the couples in front of them. There was still excitement in their faces but somehow, there was also longing.

“Oh? Are you cooking Jinan-hyung?” Yunhyeong asked, pulling his sleeves up.

“Mm. I’ll just cook for everyone. I still need to cook for these two anyway.” Jinhwan answered before Yunhyeong reached the fridge. The younger shook his head and persuaded him to help. He wanted to at least cook for his lover especially since he was sick.

Yunhyeong smiled at Jinhwan when he noticed that the latter was making two batches of food. One that was spicy and the other wasn’t.

“That’s nice of you to make separate food for Hanbin.” Yunhyeong commented, but the older knew what he meant. There was an obvious tone of teasing in his voice and he just shook his head.

Meanwhile at the table, Hanbin couldn’t help but grin proudly when he heard what Yunhyeong said. Jinhwan was making him a special batch and he looked at Jiwon with a big grin. The other just scowled at him before raising his arm, threatening to hit him.

“Chanwoo doesn’t eat spicy stuff too so I need to make a separate batch for them. This is for the two of them.” Jinhwan explained to which Yunhyeong just nodded. He couldn’t help but glance at the table where the others were waiting. He wanted to check on Junhoe but Hanbin and Jiwon got his attention. Jiwon was laughing at Hanbin, taunting the younger after what Jinhwan had answered.

Yunhyeong shook his head, feeling pity over the younger. “I guess expectations truly are deadly.”

“What was that?” Jinhwan asked, looking at Yunhyeong who just shook his head.

“Well looks like Jinan-hyung still hasn’t decided huh? Tough luck.” Yunhyeong taunted, making sure that the two heard him. He looked over, and sure enough, Hanbin and Jiwon were already glaring at him. He couldn’t help but laugh at their miserable state.

“Jinan-hyung… you know, you’ll have to choose a side one day.” Yunhyeong whispered, minding that the others didn’t hear him. He saw Jinhwan’s eyes tremble before the older smiled at him and answered, “I’ll just decide when that time comes.”

Jinhwan was contented with the life they had. Though he knows that the two valued him as a lover, he valued them as his brothers. They were important, since they were family. But he knows that he needs to be certain about them one day and tell them if he truly only sees them as family, or lovers.

But such a happy life could never last in reality. Life wasn’t supposed to be easy. It wasn’t supposed to be perfect.

 

 

“Hanbin! Jiwon!” Jinhwan called out in the middle of the fatal crash.

Debris everywhere. Smoke and fire corrupted the place and their plane wasn’t even recognizable. The plan crash was so horrible that people were too confused and shocked. Jinhwan’s eyes opened and the first thing the thought was looking for Hanbin and Jiwon.

They were supposed to be on vacation, a much awaited one where they hoped to spend time together. A time where they were hoping to finally bare their hearts to each other.

It was supposed to be the perfect time for them. An alone time where there were no managers, no other members, and no distractions. Just the three of them. Together.

Hanbin had anticipated that vacation. A week’s rest where he could finally hear Jinhwan’s response to his everyday confession. He had already planned it; from the settings to the background, the music, the time and even the food. He was so prepared for that moment.

Jiwon had been nervous the whole time. He kept thinking of different ways to confess. He wasn’t sure how to go about it since he wasn’t sure how to act all romantic in front of Jinhwan. He’d thought of different scenarios but he just wanted to clear his mind and do everything spontaneously, something that he was sure would work for him.

Jinhwan was finally happy. He knew he’ll be able to spend this vacation with the people he loved, the people he treasured. He knew that this vacation would be wonderful. A time where they’ll all be together. A time where they’ll finally open up to each other. And maybe… a time for him to finally bare his heart.

But…

His choice… Meant more than choosing a man to love…

But choosing a man to live…

“Who are you?” Jinhwan’s voice trembled in fear. His insides shook and his body felt helpless. He felt like an ant in front of the creature that towered over him.

The creature that stood before him had red tainted skin that resembled a cow’s while its black eyes glimmered with excitement. Horns that spiraled like a ram’s stood at the brink of the creature’s head with its long pointed ears twitching as it grinned with its shark-like teeth. Its cow like nose sniffing and enjoying the scent of fear that Jinhwan let out. The creature liked it, seeing that the human was trembling with distress in his eyes. Its hooved feet tapped on the ground while its tail swinging behind, anticipating the meal it was about to partake.

“I am a messenger.” The creature bowed down before Jinhwan. Its hooved hand clicked together over his chiseled chest. His grin never faded which only caused Jinhwan to back away. But just as he did, he hissed in pain when he saw that his leg had been pierced. Blood flowing through his wound which caused him to panic.

Jinhwan then glanced at the creature, he felt his mouth dry and a lump forming at the top of his throat. His laboured breath took the creature’s attention making its grin spread wider.

“You seem to be… injured.” The creature cackled, bringing out a low dark sound that added fear in Jinhwan’s eyes. He was surprised to hear the creature talk, more so he was starting to panic and worry where he was. What was happening?

“W-w-w-w-what are you…? W-w-what…” Jinhwan stuttered, unsure how to push the words he wanted to say out of his lips. He wasn’t sure what was going on but he was sure about one thing, this wasn’t a dream.

Jinhwan held his head when memories of what happened flashed in his mind.

Screams of worry, someone shouting his name and panic everywhere. The pressure of falling was clearly etched in his mind and body. The last thing he remembered was the crash.

He could barely remember why he was still alive and breathing. But rather than his own, he was more worried about Hanbin and Jiwon’s whereabouts.

Jinhwan looked back at the creature, his insides trembling with fear while his head throbbed in pain.

“I am merely here to give you a choice, mortal.” The creature’s low voice made it into Jinhwan’s ears. It wasn’t just his imagination when he heard the creature talk again. This made him question his sanity.

“W-w-what are you…?” Jinhwan stammered, wary of the creature’s movements. He unconsciously moved back when the creature took a step forward.

The creature snorted at first before laughter erupted. Jinhwan felt his stomach turn queasy at the sound it emitted, he knew that the creature was definitely there to take his life.

“I have stated my identity. I am nothing but a messenger who is here to give you a choice.” The creature uttered in between his nasty chuckles. Unamused by what was happening around him, Jinhwan felt insecure and dangerously close to death.

“What are you talking about?!” Jinhwan pushed the words from his lips, summoning his courage to talk back to the creature in front of him.

“20 minutes, nothing more and nothing less. I grant you time before you make your choice.” The creature stated as it clicked its hooved hand on its chin. It appeared to be in deep thought as it looked over Jinhwan. Sneering at him while he was at his lowest.

“What are you talking about?!” Jinhwan’s voice sounded fuller this time, his anger slowly rising up despite the fear that enveloped him.

“No matter.” The creature’s sneer faded and its grin came back. “Choose what you desire.”

The creature’s eyes were engulfed in a white smoke before turning into blood red.

“In this place, two lives struggle. Both will die if one is not chosen, choose well and choose who you desire to live.” The creature’s voice changed into a deep hollowed sound that echoed around Jinhwan’s ears.

The fire by that surrounded them slowly spiral up to form a magical circle on each side of the creature. The moment the circle was complete, Jinhwan’s eyes widened in shock. There, in the circles, illuminated the conditions of the two people that he was supposed to be spending time with.

Jiwon’s body was sprawled on a pool of blood with a piece of the debris pierced on his back. His left arm nowhere near his body and color slowly fading from him.

Hanbin, on the other hand, struggled. Jinhwan could clearly see Hanbin’s left arm over a plane’s wing that had severed his head and arm off of his body. His eyes closed and his lips white as snow.

“H-Hanbin… Jiwon…” Jinhwan’s voice trembled with mixed emotions. He couldn’t help but feel his heart about to burst out from his chest. The terror that surrounded him felt nothing to the pain that he felt when he saw what happened to the people he loved.

“If you so desire to save one’s breathe, choose and they will be saved.” The creature nickered as its eyes started changing again. “20 minutes.”

“No! I can’t! I can’t choose! Please… Please save them both! Save them both!” Jinhwan begged, adrenaline rushing though his system and pleading with the creature. Though his body was paralyzed, his face showed the emotions that he bore within his heart.

“Only… one.” The creature repeated, its eyes starting to turn black again. Panic was evident in Jinhwan’s voice but he didn’t give up.

“I sacrifice my own life for the both of them! Please! Please let both of them live!!!” Jinhwan cried out, summoning everything he had to bargain with the creature.

“A sacrifice…” The creature grin came back, this time it sent shivers down Jinhwan’s spine. The smile was wreaked of evil but Jinhwan chose to courageously look at him and show his conviction.

“Then it shall be done.”

~~~***~~~

Chapter Text

“Jinan-hyung! Jinan-hyung!” Hanbin called out amidst the debris and fire around him. He gritted his teeth, trying to endure the pain of his wound. He needed to find the others, he needed to find Jinhwan. The thick smoke that was surrounded the area brought tears in his eyes. He couldn’t decide whether he needed to cover his mouth so he wouldn’t inhale the smoke or to hold his arm that was close to being severed.

He took one more step before finally stumbling on the ground, panting and feeling the pain engulfing his body. Gritting his teeth and still trying to endure the pain, he tried his best to push his body off of the ground but his effort was futile. He was in the brink of death and he knew it.

If only he could see Jinhwan for the last time and tell him what he really wanted to say. If only he was given another chance.

Amidst the chaos that erupted around him, he turned to look at the sky hoping to at least see it before his final breath. But smoke filled everything and darkness was slowly eating him.

 

“Hanbinie…”

 

Hanbin’s eyes shot open. He was sure that it was Jinhwan’s voice he heard. Gathering all of his strength, he turned around again and took deep breaths before finally pushing himself off of the ground. He looked around, hoping to see Jinhwan somewhere close.

“Jinan-hyung!” Hanbin shouted with all his might, hoping that he could see Jinhwan once more. Regret was slowly eating at him, if only he knew this would happen then he should’ve taken the step and confessed properly even before they got into the plane. His emotions getting the better of him as his mind flooded with memories filled with his time with Jinhwan. Moments when he held hands with the older and even times when he told the older that he loved him even though the older would shake it off as a friendly gesture. He sunk into the thought that he may never be able to see Jinhwan again and unconsciously gripped his chest as his heart pounded inside him.

 

“My, my… Such fragile beings.” An old croaky voice entered Hanbin’s ears. There was an eerie feeling at the pit of his stomach, warning him not to turn and look at the source of the voice.

“Human.”

The feeling started spreading, as if his body knew that whatever was behind him started drawing near. At the back of his mind, he knew he needed to run but with his weak state, he knew that it’ll all be in vain.

Hanbin heard a scoff just behind him. “Hah! Disrespectful beings… such are the ways of your kind.”

Though fear slowly eating at him, Hanbin turned around to face the source of the voice. He gasped before taking a step back. He fell on the ground as fear finally consumed his entire being.

 

There before him, stood a creature he has never seen before. Horns of a water buffalo stood tall on the creature’s head. Black eyes looked at him as if it can see his very soul. The creature had broad shoulders with spiked thorns as hair. His left ear had 30 earrings alongside the rest of his face that was filled with piercings. His red skin looked smooth, yet he could faintly see spots of fur. The creature’s tail whipped back and forth as if expecting something to happen. Something about the creature’s eyes triggered his insides as if he’d seen them somewhere before. It felt like Jinhwan’s eyes looking straight at him with an appearance that does not resemble him.

The creature stood arrogantly away from Hanbin, taunting him that one wrong move would end his life. The creature had its arms behind it so as not to show it to Hanbin. He was clearly shaken with what he saw, so the creature didn’t need him to do anything stupid.

“W-w-w-w…” Hanbin stuttered, unable to form any word from his lips as he stared at the creature that seemed to be studying him. He couldn’t help but feel a bile rising from the pits of his stomach. The creature was causing his insides to shake furiously and yet he couldn’t look away from those familiar set of eyes.

The creature scoffed at him, displeased at the hope that still stayed in Hanbin’s eyes. It was quite unpleased that the mortal still held on to a piece of hope. The creature hated emotions, but it loved to feast on souls that fell into the depths of fear.

“Fear not, mortal, I am but a messenger. And I’m here to give you… a choice.” It said, uninterested as it yawned with obvious boredom. It didn’t want to give hope but this type of hope was easy to break. Especially since Hanbin looked desperate enough to give up his own life for someone else.

“W-w-w-what choice?” Hanbin asked, choking as he talked.

The creature looked at him. It scratched its head before sighing in disbelief. It didn’t want to bother with explanations, but in order to break something it knows that it needs to build it first.

“I’ll be giving you choices. You choose and we’re done.” It said, forcing a smile on its face which only revealed its awful shark-like teeth.

Though confused and unsure, Hanbin couldn’t help but gasp at what he just saw. This creature could be lying to him. And what choices would he be choosing from? Would he be choosing life or death? Or would the creature allow him time to run only to devour him the moment he catches him? There were too much questions in Hanbin’s head that the creature gritted its teeth in irritation.

Hanbin didn’t know if he should trust the being in front of him. He didn’t even know is he’s being delusional or if this is really happening. He even asked himself if he’s already dead.

The creature rolled his eyes, getting more and more impatient about how things were going too slowly for his liking. The creature closed his eyes and in a split second they have turned red once he opened them back.

“In this place, two lives struggle. Both will die if one is not chosen, choose well and choose who you desire to live.” The creature started, its voice more serious than what it was moments ago. As it talked, fire surrounded it before turning blue and into liquid. The liquid snaked itself around the creature before forming a circle on the air. The circle looked like a mirror at first, showing Hanbin’s state before fading into something different.

Hanbin felt the air knocked out of him the moment the mirror showed something else. His mind trapped in a turmoil of unknown thoughts and his heart pounded in emotions that he could no longer handle.

There, in the mirror, he saw Jinhwan under a lot of debris. He was swimming in his own blood and he saw his eyelids flicker, showing him that Jinhwan was still alive… or barely hanging on.

“Would you be willing to—” The creature started, but he never ended it. Hanbin felt his entire body forcing his voice out of his lips to call out to Jinhwan. And though his body was already to the brink of death, he still felt it push a little more to reach for the circle.

“Jinhwan! Jinhwan!!!” Hanbin called out as he reached for the circle with tears now falling from his eyes.

“You are to listen human!” The creature said, pushing Hanbin away with his tail. The creature looked at Hanbin in disgust as it waved its tail as if removing the filth it got from Hanbin. Its face darkened when Hanbin neared it. It didn’t bother to hide the disgust it had for the human that was now more injured than ever.

“Your life or his. If he lives, you die. If you live, he dies. These are the choices, human.” The creature said, looking down on Hanbin who was short out of breath. Hanbin could only plead with his eyes at this point. There was nothing more he could do but beg that the creature spare Jinhwan.

Hanbin’s insides shook in fear but the man he held dear needed him. He couldn’t stop the tears from falling and with the sudden attack from the creature, his strength was long gone from his body. His only hope was that the creature could hear his last words.

“Him… Save him… Please… I beg you let him live!” Hanbin pushed the words out of his lips as his consciousness started to lose its grip from reality. The look of pleasure that filled the creature didn’t even bring fear inside of him anymore. All he knows is that he needs to save Jinhwan and the only way to do it was to sacrifice himself. Something he would do willingly no matter what the price was.

“I’d rather die than live a life without him!” Hanbin shouted with the last of his breath.

The creature growled as its long lizard tongue passed along its lips. A wide grin escaped his lips as his head bent to its side, saying something that Hanbin could barely comprehend. The last thing he could ever remember was his lips saying Jinhwan’s name one last time before darkness engulfed him.

Chapter Text

“Nani-hyung! Jinani! Kim Jinaaan!!!” Jiwon called out. He could barely move nor feel his right leg. He was stuck in his position, sitting by the plane’s wing. His back was against the plane, leaning on to it for support. He could barely make out what was happening in front of him. It was such a mess. Debris surrounded him with black smoke hovering around. He could faintly see fire somewhere but he panted to call out Jinhwan’s name. His throat was parched yet all he could think about was Jinhwan.

He knew that it wouldn’t take too long before the fire would reach him and maybe even kill him. He grunted when he looked down on his body, the plane’s wing pierced through his leg and he knew it would be over soon. The blood he’s losing was already enough to kill him and he couldn’t help but feel hopeless.

Jiwon sighed before closing his eyes. He wished that he could’ve at least confessed to Jinhwan if he was going to die. The regret was just starting to form when he pulled every last bit of his strength to call out to the older.

“JINANI!!!” He immediately coughed after shouting. His breath laboured and his body losing grip of the reality that surrounded him. His hands curled into a fist, dreading about the thought of what might’ve happened to Jinhwan. He hated it. He doesn’t know what to anymore and just as he was losing everything even his breath, he felt memories flooding onto his mind. Moments where he could openly wrap his arms around Jinhwan and hug him. He hated everything that’s happening right now but what he hated the most was that he was helpless at this time.

“Well isn’t this such a wonderful sight.” Hissed someone behind him.

Even with the sound he heard, Jiwon already felt his insides tremble. Though he wanted to open his eyes, his body betrayed him and shut them. It was as if it feared what it would see.

“Ahh… Thissssss one.” The hissing voice continued, moving closer to him than ever. He could feel the impending danger ringing through his ears, he was about to be devoured by death itself.

He didn’t realize that he could still feel, thinking that his body has become numb and paralyzed. But something cold passed his body and he could feel the chill building up on his spine. Something was snaking around him, as if scales were surrounding his body and pulling him somewhere. He felt his body getting lifted and his breathing hitched at the cold contact that was getting colder and colder in each passing moment.

“Ahh… Sssssuch niccceeee sssskinnnn…” The voice hissed once more. The pitch higher than before with obvious excitement tangled into her voice. The screeching sound her hisses made was enough to raise all the hair on Jiwon’s skin and the cold grasp that he was in rendered his body useless.

He felt his body hit something and another impactful thud before having the air knocked out of him. He could barely breathe at this point but he still had his eyes shut tight. He wasn’t sure how long he could last but all of a sudden it was silent. No sound of explosions nor cries for help or coughing. There was nothing.

Silence.

He couldn’t understand this feeling but there was a moment that he thought the time had stopped. He was still alive and breathing and he couldn’t understand why. He should be dead by now, or maybe… he already was.

Jiwon couldn’t help it, he slowly opened his eyes to see what’s going on around him and if he truly was dead. The moment his eyes were fully open, dread washed over him as a creature of unbearable beauty stood before him. Though Jiwon could only feel the beauty in those eyes that he knew, he felt an enormous amount of evil seeping through every other bit of it’s being and yet those eyes were exactly the ones he’s always loved.

‘Jinani…’ He whispered to himself as a smirk painted along the creature’s red snake-like lips.

The creature had bat-like wings that fluttered, showing its body that was half human and half snake. Black hair moved as the creature’s wings moved. Black eyes accentuated the creature’s red snake skin causing Jiwon to tremble in fear. The gazelle horns that sat on its head brought forth a taunting feeling that the creature was death itself.

“A niccceee ssssspecccimen they gave me.” The creature hissed in delight, hands delightfully caressing its own body as if a woman in heat. It looked at Jiwon from head to toe, examining him. The creature’s snake tongue hissed, pleased at what it saw and quite pleasured that the human in front of it was delicious and up to her standards.

“Wonderful…” The creature moaned with a bite on its finger, a glint of red passing her eyes which were already eating up Jiwon.

Jiwon could only gasp in place.

He cannot run.

He cannot walk.

He can crawl but what’s to say that it cannot catch up and kill him.

But… he’s already dead anyway. So he turned away from the creature in hopes of getting away. The moment he did, he heard the creature giggle with a torturous shriek that shook Jiwon to the core.

“Uh-uh-uh! You don’t get to run away from me mortal.” The creature hissed again. A grin made its way to its lips before adding “You’re here to choose.”

“Choose what?” He asked, showing off his courage that was blindly covering his fear. The creature made its way around to stand in front of Jiwon before leaning down and hissing at him again.

“Choose which life to ssspare.” It hissed moving away from Jiwon who was barely holding on to his consciousness.

“In this place, two livess ssstruggle to breathe. The life that you hold ssso dear can give breath to another.” The creature spat. It’s wings spread out, catching fire which turned into a white smoke that snaked around the creature’s wings. It moved towards her body before forming a circle just on top of her head. The white smoke looked like a mirror at first, reflecting Jiwon’s pitiful state before changing into a different scenario.

Jiwon’s eyes widened the moment he saw the mirror reflect something he dreaded. There he was, under the debris with a pained expression. Lying down a pool of blood with barely any breath left to breath. His arm missing from his body and eyes that barely had any life left in them.

“Jinhwan!!!” Jiwon shouted. Surprise evident in his voice.

“Choose which life bears more importance. Choose wisely before you make a sacrifice.” The creature hissed, a smirk slowly making its way onto its lips. Jiwon could feel his heart hammer inside his chest. He could barely look at what the circle showed him. His insides trembled in anger and regret while his eyes shed tears of pain.

“Please… I’ll do anything… I’ll do anything… Please let him live…” Jiwon whispered, eyes closed in a prayer while chanting this over and over again.

The creature grinned when it heard Jiwon’s answer. It panted in delight as its snake tongue hissed back at Jiwon. Its lips split open reaching its cheeks up to its ears. A snake-like grin escaped its lips before the creature’s eyes turned into a fire-red color.