Rating: OT (15+)
Prompt: 03, Blindfolds
Notes: Sequel to Burn.
One day, Hankyung steps out of his apartment to go buy groceries.
And one day, Hankyung sees a stranger trying to get into his neighbour’s apartment.
“What are you doing?” he asks the stranger.
The stranger looks up at him. He looks tired, worn out and ready to just fall over and sleep.
“I’m trying to get in,” he says. He looks down at the address on his hand. “Am I at the wrong place?”
“Someone lives there,” Hankyung tells him. “I think you are.”
“I’m renting it,” the stranger says. Something flashes in his eyes. “This is apartment number 520, right?”
Hankyung looks at him. “Oh. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, that’s it.”
“Then I’m living here.” The stranger smiles tightly at him. The key goes in the lock and turns. “Good day.” He goes in, and takes the small suitcase in with him.
Hankyung stares at the door for a minute. Then he remembers the store will close soon and leaves.
There’s a knock on Hankyung’s door the next morning. He opens it, and yesterday’s stranger looks at him.
“Hi,” he begins. “We had kind of a bad start yesterday. I was traveling and I got cranky. Sorry about that…” he trails off.
“It’s fine,” Hankyung tells him. “Where did you come from?”
“Just outside Amistarr,” he says.
“Living there?” Hankyung asks. “It was dangerous, wasn’t it?”
“No. I was…fighting.” He looks down. “I’m on leave now.”
“You were a soldier?”
The stranger looks up. His eyes flash again. “Yeah. Pretty much.”
“What’s your name?” Hankyung asks.
Jongwoon bites his lip. “…Yesung. It’s Yesung.”
“I’m Hankyung,” he says.
Yesung bows. “It’s nice to meet you.”
This time, it’s Hankyung who’s knocking on Yesung’s door.
Yesung answers it, still half asleep and in his pajamas. He rubs his eyes and yawns. “Hi,” he says sleepily.
“I didn’t think there’d still be anything good to eat in there because it’s been a while, and I didn’t think you’d want to go out and buy something since you’re already tired so I made you something.” He holds out the container in his hands. “Beijing fried rice.”
Yesung wakes up a little more. He smiles faintly. “Thanks.” He takes it. “Do you want to come in?
Hankyung hesitates. “Sure,” he says. He might as well—they’ll be neighbours for a while.
“I had a childhood friend,” Hankyung tells him. “His name was Heechul. And then he went off to war as soon as he could.”
“Heechul?” Yesung murmurs. His eyes flash again. “As in, Kim Heechul? The Lieutenant-general?”
Hankyung nods. “Do you know him?”
Yesung looks down again. “He was also stationed outside of Amistarr.”
“How is he doing?” Hankyung asks. “I haven’t seen him since he got sent off there.”
“He got transferred to Entyrum,” Yesung says. “So I rented out the apartment from him.”
“So I guess you know that we were neighbours, right?”
“I do now.” Yesung puts the rice down on the table.
“How long will you be here?”
“I don’t know,” Yesung says. “They sent me out of it to recover.”
“You’re injured?” Hankyung asks, concerned.
“I’ll be fine,” Yesung tells him. “It’s nothing. Just kind of trivial.”
“Just tell me if I can help then,” Hankyung says. “The sooner you get better, the better.”
“I’ll try my best,” Yesung says. “Coffee?”
A few months later, and everything is still okay. Yesung still lives in Heechul’s apartment, and Hankyung still helps Yesung with daily life.
One other day, Hankyung goes onto his balcony. He sees Yesung, and he sees blood. It’s on the sidewalk below him, trickles over the railing and it’s coming from his wrists and—
“Oh my god!” he yells. “Are you alright?”
“What?” He looks down. “Oh. Yeah, I’m fine.”
“I’m coming over,” Hankyung insists. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
“It’s unlocked!” Yesung calls after him as he dashes back through the apartment.
And fifty-five seconds later, Hankyung whirls Yesung around and grabs his wrists. ‘Why are you doing this?” he asks forcefully.
Yesung smirks faintly. “Because I can.”
Hankyung shakes him. “I’m serious.”
He wrenches one wrist free and examines it. “It hurts,” he says casually, and watches the blood run.
“Of course it does!” Hankyung says, near-frantic. “You’re bleeding!”
“No,” Yesung says. He sighs. “I do it because it hurts. And—”
“Why?” Hankyung says. He looks down at the slim, pale wrist in his hand.
“None of your business,” Yesung says distantly. He pulls away. “Coffee?”
The next day, Hankyung goes into Yesung’s (once again) unlocked apartment. He finds him in the bedroom that’s really Heechul’s, bleeding (once again).
“What are you doing?” Hankyung yells.
“Um.” Yesung looks at him. “Being awake?”
Hankyung runs over. “Stop. Stop. Stop this. Stop this,” he says. “Can’t you see? Can’t you see that this isn’t good for you?”
“Do I have any alternatives?” Yesung asks. He stares at the ceiling.
Hankyung sighs. “I can’t tell you that. I can’t tell you how to live your life.” He sits down. “Just, just tell me. Tell me why you do this.”
Yesung sits up. His wrists have started to stop bleeding. “You know, before this started, I always thought that people who think they should be dead were just idiots.”
Hankyung frowns. He can kind of see where this is going.
“But now, now I’m not so sure. I can’t really say anything about it anymore, because now I don’t know why they think they should be dead. Now, I don’t know anything. I don’t know.”
“Do you think you should be dead?” Hankyung asks slowly.
Yesung closes his eyes. “Do you want the truth?”
Hankyung braces himself. Yesung is his—friend, and therefore he does owe it to hear him through. “Of course.”
“You don’t want to know the answer,” Yesung says. “Maybe when you’re older.”
Hankyung frowns. “I’m older than you.”
“That doesn’t matter,” Yesung says. “Some day, then. Some day.”
Another day, there’s a knock on Yesung’s door. He opens it and expects Hankyung there about some trivial thing. Instead it’s—
“Heechul,” he says, surprised. “When did you get back?”
“Just today,” his lieutenant-general says. “Are you going to let me in or not, Jongwoon?”
“Oh. Of course,” Yesung says. He opens the door. “I,” he starts, as Heechul makes his way in. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” Heechul says. “It was horrible in Entyrum. It’s good to be home.”
“It wasn’t your fault,” he says. He turns. “So how have you been?”
Yesung hides his arms behind his back. “Okay. I’ve been okay.”
“Think you’re ready to go back?” Heechul asks teasingly.
Yesung looks down. “I don’t think so.”
Heechul sets his suitcase down by the bedroom door. He walks over to Yesung, and tilts his face up. “Jongwoon,” he says seriously. “Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. You’ll get better, and you can stay here until you do. I don’t mind.”
“Thanks,” Yesung says. He smiles faintly.
“Anyways,” Heechul says. He lets go. “Let’s go visit Hankyung. I haven’t seen him in ages.”
“Heechul,” Yesung says after him. “There’s—“
But he is already out the door, and Yesung can only follow after him and watch as Heechul goes next door and knocks. Hankyung opens his door (expecting Yesung, most likely).
“Hankyungie~,” Heechul says. “How have you been?”
It’s sweet, Yesung thinks, how Hankyung’s eyes light up at seeing his friend. He grabs him into a hug.
“When did you get back?” Hankyung asks.
“Just now,” Heechul says.
Hankyung tugs him into the apartment. “Come on, let’s catch up.”
“Jongwoon,” Heechul calls over his shoulder. “You come too, okay? Help me fill in the blanks.”
Hankyung freezes. He looks back at Heechul. “What…did you just call him?”
“Who? Jongwoon?” Heechul asks. He looks between the two. “What did I miss?”
“Jongwoon?” Hankyung repeats. “As in, General Kim Jongwoon? The one who was responsible for—“
“I think I should leave,” Yesung—Jongwoon, Hankyung tells himself—interrupts. “I’ll see you later.”
He turns and goes back into Heechul’s apartment and avoids Hankyung’s eyes.
“What was that about?” Heechul asks, confused.
“He said his name was Yesung,” Hankyung says. “And that he was renting the apartment from you. He lied. Didn’t he? Did he lie about being on leave as well?”
“Not that part,” Heechul argues. “He really is. For post traumatic stress disorder.”
“I don’t know the details. Look it up on Wikipedia or something.”
“What does it do to him?”
“He told me once that he has horrible nightmares,” Heechul says. “Not sure if that was before or after.”
“After he stopped feeling.”
“Jongwoon,” Heechul tells him, “is really a sensitive boy at heart. And then something happened to him.”
“What’s that?” Hankyung asks.
“War.” Heechul looks at him. “It's a horrible thing.”
Yesung knocks on Hankyung’s door the next day. Hankyung opens it, expecting Heechul this time but—
“Oh. It’s you, Yesung. Or should I call you Jongwoon?” Hankyung says. He stares at him with slight distaste in his eyes (and pity too).
“It doesn’t matter,” Yesung says. “I’ll be leaving soon anyways.”
“What do you mean?” Hankyung asks.
“I put in a request for transfer. So I don’t know if I’ll see you again.”
“Oh.” Hankyung looks down. There’s a pause. “I—“
“You know how I said I’d tell you someday?” Yesung interrupts.
“Yeah?” Hankyung looks up.
“Well you already know now, I guess. Since you’ve probably heard of me.”
“Listen,” Hankyung begins again, “I’m—“
“Take care of yourself,” Yesung says. He turns and leaves, taking his small backpack with him.
“I’m sorry,” Hankyung calls down the hallway. He runs out, and grabs Yesung’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. For what I did,” he says.
Yesung turns and looks at him straight in the eyes. There’s no flash, because everything’s already there and finally Hankyung can see everything and maybe Yesung can too, without those clouds in his mind.
“No,” Jongwoon says. “I am.”