cosipotente: artist: natalie shau (Default)
cosipotente ([personal profile] cosipotente) wrote2014-10-01 09:05 pm

The Deals You Make [Part 5]

PG-13 ; Minho/Jinki (Minho/Taemin)
summary: Bodies, like souls, can be lost and it's Minho's job to find them.
word count: 4,032 AU

† glossary † † playlist †

""In balance with this life, this death."— William Butler Yeats

Taemin comes to Minho in the blurry moments between waking and sleeping. He’s barely opened his eyes, one hand reaching across the bed for the now cold space Jinki used to occupy, when Taemin partially solidifies next to his head.

He’s a shaky afterimage of his former self, more gone than present.

Minho’s jaw works itself open but before he can get the first syllable of Taemin’s name out of his mouth, a massive pressure builds in his head. It fills his eardrums almost to bursting and Minho can hear nothing else except ringing. And then, all at once, Taemin’s voice crashes like thunder in his head.

“They’re here.”

Minho struggles to find his own voice. It crawls out of his mouth as nothing but a whisper. “They?”

Taemin’s head shakes violently, splits. Three faces stare down at Minho. One is Taemin’s. The other two are female. Jessica and Krystal.

“They’re here,” Taemin repeats. His afterimage fades out and the pressure in Minho’s head eases. He works his jaw until his ears give a satisfying pop. When the dead have things to say, they don’t hold back.

For the first time in a long time an inescapable exhaustion slides over him, weighs his body down before he can fully wrap his mind around what has just happened. Minho’s eyes close against his will and he slips into deep, empty sleep.

It feels like days later when Jinki shakes Minho awake, a hand firm but gentle at his shoulder. Minho wakes up like he’s been held underwater for too long, panicked and gasping. No, not under water. He was buried in darkness and dirt.

It takes him several minutes to orient himself, to stop pushing at the hands trying to help him.

Minho’s in his bedroom. In his apartment. Safe.

“Sorry,” Minho says to Jinki once he calms down enough to catch his breath. He runs his thumb over the crease between Jinki’s brows. “I thought I’d been taken back.”

Jinki takes Minho’s hand but the concerned look on his face doesn’t change. Minho doesn’t like being the one that puts that look on his face but it’s nice having someone who cares that much.

“Taken back?” Jinki asks, moving onto the bed and filling the empty space Minho doesn’t occupy. In one easy slide, he’s beside Minho like he’d been made to fit next to him.

“Into the ground,” Minho says carefully. Some not yet awake part of him still feels the soil in his mouth, under his nails. “I thought I’d been buried alive, again.”

Jinki knocks their shoulders together. He catches Minho’s face gently in one hand and kisses him. Minho can’t help curling his hand into Jinki’s hair, tilting his head just so, and slowly sliding his tongue along the roof of Jinki’s mouth just to hear the soft the moan he gives.

“Nope,” Jinki says when he pulls away. The pad of his thumb finds Minho’s bottom lip and drags across it. “You’re still here.”

Minho smiles wide, catching the skin of Jinki’s thumb with his teeth. Something over Jinki’s shoulder shifts, draws Minho’s eyes away. Taemin’s pale face and milky dead eyes stare from the shadows. His chapped lips move, silently reminding Minho: they’re here.

“What? What is it?” Jinki asks just as Taemin melts back into the darkness.

Minho swallows but the words still sit on his tongue like weights. He knows everything is still fresh and raw with Jinki. Especially about Taemin. Minho drags a hand through his hair, barely winces when his fingers snag in a tangle.

“Taemin,” Jinki stiffens beside him the second the name leaves Minho’s mouth, “gave me a warning. Krystal and Jessica are close.”

From of the corner of his eye, Minho watches Jinki. He picks at his fingers, Adam’s apple bobbing nervously in his throat. Minho waits, gives him time to get his own words out. He doesn’t wait long though, Jinki’s question falls between them like an atomic bomb a minute later.

“It’s going to happen soon, isn’t it?”

Minho hadn’t thought about what the fight with Vetis could change aside from Taemin finally being laid to rest and Jinki getting the peace of mind he deserved. He had no reason to really dwell on the aftermath. Things were different now, ignoring the obvious, things were actually good.

The fight could change everything, or it could take it all away.

It takes Minho a moment to realize what the sick churning in his stomach is. He isn’t ready, not for this.

They shower together in preparation for what is coming. It’s a slow, cramped process, like the weak pressure of water spraying them both will fortify them in some way. Neither of them speak; what is there to be said? They touch, though. Minho’s fingers brush whatever piece of Jinki they come in contact with. Jinki’s hand often finds its way to Minho’s.

Jinki doesn’t bring up the sword hiding under Minho’s couch. He doesn’t bring up that today he’ll die. The words burn in his throat but he stays silent, keeps the fragile calm-before-the-storm atmosphere between them intact. Between watery blinks, he drinks in as much of Minho as he can.

“How close do you think they are?” Jinki asks once he and Minho are dry and dressed. He finishes tying his shoes to watch Minho slip a silver chain over his head. Jinki can’t name most of the amulets and stones that are attached to it, but some he can thanks to poking around in Minho’s books.

He knows the long clear stone is quartz. The murky, black streaked one hanging a little heavier Jinki knows is tourmalated quartz. He knows the colorful, spiral staircase like stone is bismuth—he even knows the decay rate of it’s half life.

Jinki is certain that knowing these things won’t help in anyway.

Minho grunts, tucking the necklace into his button-down, “they’d have to be pretty close, I guess, for him to appear the way he did. That’s a lot of energy to expend.”

“It’s a big city,” Jinki hedges, chewing on his bottom lip.

Minho pauses in looping a belt around his waist. He stares at Jinki, big brown eyes silently observing, and Jinki wonders if he can somehow read that whatever is coming next will be the end of them. A part of Jinki hopes that Minho can intuit that much ahead. It makes him feel sick just thinking it. He can’t help but hope that some part of Minho can feel that Jinki will die, that he is, on some intuitive level, preparing for the fall out.

“We’ll find them,” Minho says, finishing with his belt. “We’ll find them and we’ll end this. Everything will be fine.”

Jinki smiles. It doesn’t reach his eyes and feels brittle on his face but Minho doesn’t seem to notice. He wants to believe that, to believe Minho, but it’s hard to do that when there’s a sword with his name on it, waiting to kill him.

No. It’s waiting for him to kill himself.

“You’re right,” he says, though the words make him sick. Jinki has to push himself to ask, “what’s our plan?”

“Our plan is,” Minho says, picking up another necklace and carrying it over to Jinki, “I’m not sure what our plan is.” The chain is wide enough that Minho slips it easily over Jinki’s head.

The amulets hang heavy against chest. Jinki picks at them delicately, wonders what each does—if they do anything at all.

“I have a few things we could try,” Minho says, “some resources that we can tap. Searching on foot would be pointless unless we know where we’re looking.”

Jinki tucks the necklace into his shirt. “Where do we start?”

Scrying is Minho’s first idea. He’s got the tools and the faces of Jessica’s and Krystal’s are still fresh in his mind. Jinki takes up the task of closing blinds, turning off lights, and lighting a few candles while Minho sets up his workspace in the almost pitch livingroom.

Minho clears off the coffee table, setting aside the small mountain of papers and pictures. He makes an area big enough to prop up a rectangular scrying mirror. It’s an old and heavy thing, smooth obsidian framed in metal and ornamented with the charred ribcages of birds.

“What’s next?” Jinki asks, voice just louder than a whisper. Minho smiles even though he knows Jinki probably can’t see it.

Minho carefully finds his way to Jinki, feels him jump when their hands meet.

“You can help me with the scrying if you want,” Minho offers. Unlike Jinki, he doesn’t whisper and Jinki’s grip on his hand tightens. “Hyung, if you don’t want to, it’s fine. You can sit in the bedroom.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” Jinki concedes.

Minho doesn’t need to see his face to know there’s an apology written all over it. He doesn’t blame Jinki, doesn’t judge him for his choice. Jinki’s seen so much these past few weeks that he’s earned the right to be trepidatious.

He doesn’t hold it against him in the least. If it were anyone else, Minho probably would. Instead, he simply leads Jinki down the hall and delivers him at the bedroom door with a quick kiss.

“This could take a while,” Minho says, tracing the pad of his thumb along Jinki’s jaw. “I’ll come back here when it’s done. Don’t leave the room unless you really need to.”

“Got it, don’t disturb you while you’re staring at yourself in the mirror.”

Minho snorts and turns to go but Jinki’s firm grip on his wrist stops him. The older man is quiet for a moment, just staring. Minho makes to question him but his chance is lost when Jinki snaps out of whatever headspace he’d been in and tells Minho to be careful.

“Of course,” Minho says, throwing up a peace sign as he heads into the darkness of the hall.

He doesn’t see the way Jinki’s solemn gaze follows him.

The silence left in Minho’s wake makes Jinki’s ears ring uncomfortably. Even the white noise of the air conditioning doesn’t help. It isn’t unbearable; he isn’t going to go running to Minho because he can’t handle a little bit of silence.

No, Jinki will stay put and stay out of the way until the time comes.

“You’re awfully accepting of your fate. For a human.”

Jonghyun’s lounging on the bed when Jinki spins around at the sound of his voice. The momentum makes his neck pop painfully. The demon gives Jinki a lazy wave with his fingers, innocuous, like he hadn’t just almost given Jinki a heart attack.

When his heart is back to beating normally, Jinki replies coolly. “I don’t really have much choice, do I?”

“You always have a choice,” Jonghyun swiftly corrects him. “That’s what makes humanity so interesting. Your endless supply of choices.”

“Are you trying to talk me out of it?” Jinki snaps back. He knows it wouldn’t be beyond Jonghyun to mess with him, to get him to say yes to killing himself and then dangle a way out in front of him. Demons.

In a strangely human way, Jonghyun gives Jinki a slow shake of his head. “No. There is no way out of this. Not for you. I’m just,” he pauses to give Jinki a once over before continuing, “curious about why you’re accepting your death so easily.”

It’s not like Jinki hasn’t gone over his own decision in his head repeatedly. He’s gone over it and over it and over it. And it’s always the same.

Jinki fishes his phone out of his pocket and unlocks the screen. His brother’s face smiles up at him while his own sticks its tongue out. Taemin had the snapped the picture last year while they were in Lotte World. He can almost remember how the food court smells. The gauzy, barely there memory makes his chest tighten.

He tosses the phone to Jonghyun. “I’m doing this because I’m tired of that bastard wearing my little brother. I’m willing to die to put him to rest.” His voice shakes with the truth of his words. Jinki would die for a brother already dead if it meant Taemin would rest in peace. If it meant his memory would no longer be tainted.

“I’ll die so one less ghost has to haunt Minho,” Jinki says in the same, shaking but honest way. “If it means one less demon he doesn’t have to deal with, I’ll do it.”

Jonghyun hums, scrutinizing him. Jinki knows he’s trying to pick out any lies, but there aren’t any. He’s come too far, said too much, to lie about things now.

If the demon was going to comment on something, he loses his chance when Minho’s phone rings from the bedside table. Jonghyun looks at Jinki expectantly even though he’s closer to it. Jinki rolls his eyes but picks it up. KIM KIBUM flashes across the screen

He’s greeted by an out of breath Jinwoon on the other end. “Minho?”

“This is Jinki. Minho’s kind of busy.”

“You both need to get out of the apartment. Now.” The urgency in Jinwoon’s voice makes the little hairs on the back of Jinki’s neck stand on end.

“What—” he doesn’t get to finish as Jinwoon cuts him off.

“Hyung,” the panic in his voice sends goosebumps up and down Jinki’s arms, “get out now!”

“Okay. Okay, we’re going.” The call drops before Jinki gets the last word out of his mouth.

He looks at Jonghyun but the demon shrugs, tossing Jinki his phone back. Jinki barely catches it but when he makes to tell Jonghyun off, the demon is already gone.

Jinki stuffs both phones into his pants pocket before heading to the door. He hesitates there for a moment. Minho’s voice telling him to stay in the room plays on one side of his brain and the panicked urgency of Jinwoon’s voice plays on the otherside.

He takes a steadying breath and swings the door open.

The light from the bedroom spills into the hall but there’s still a long stretch of darkness that leads into the living room. With his heart in his throat, Jinki slips silently down the hall. He trails the fingers of one hand along the wall to keep him oriented as he walks.

He feels like a kid sneaking out of his room after bedtime for a snack. Jinki would tiptoe carefully into the kitchen, eat what he’d want, and then just as quietly go back up to his room. He’d gotten good at these childish stealth missions, maybe a little too good. He’d been a plump kid.

Jinki reaches the end of the hall without so much as a sound. Minho’s sitting crossed-legged at the coffee table, staring into the monstrosity he calls a mirror. The few candles Jinki had lit in the living room barely combat the deep shadows surrounding Minho, but Jinki can somewhat make out his face.

He can make out the way the whites of Minho’s eyes have blackened, backlit by some unholy light.

If staring into the eyes of Vetis had been a terrifying experience, looking at Minho like this is indescribable. It makes his blood run cold and his heart pound painfully in his chest. When Minho’s eyes lift slowly toward him, Jinki takes an involuntary step backward. The way they fall on him steals his breath. Minho’s name slips out of his mouth before he can think not to speak.


At first, he doesn’t react. He eyes remain focused and unblinking on Jinki. There’s something incredibly predatory about how Minho watches him. Jinki tries his name again, a little louder, a little more forceful.


He blinks slowly once, and then twice. The blackness from Minho’s scleras fade and he no longer looks like a man possessed. Relief washes through Jinki like a tidal wave. He makes his way to Minho on shaking legs.

“Hyung?” Minho’s voice is thick, like he’d just woken up. He even looks a little dazed in the faint candle light.

“Jinwoon called,” Jinki says, helping Minho stand. “He said we needed to get out of the apartment.”

Minho makes an unintelligible noise. He’s completely out of it, swaying on his feet. Jinki wraps an arm around Minho’s waist, grunts when the taller man leans heavily against him, and carefully leads them out of the darkened apartment.

They’re half way through the elevator ride when Minho finally snaps back to reality. He bolts out of Jinki’s loose grip. Thankfully, the dazed expression he’d been wearing fades as he orients himself.

“What’s going on?”

Jinki pulls Minho’s phone out of his pocket. “Jinwoon called while you were scrying,” he explains, “he said we needed to get out. He was panicking and I couldn’t get a reason out of him.”

Minho takes his phone but also catches Jinki’s fingers. He searches Jinki’s face with normal, human eyes. “Are you okay?”

Jinki nods, hoping the smile he feels stretch across his mouth is a convincing one. “Are you? You were...” he tries to come up with something other than ‘demonic,’ “different back there.”

“I’m good now. Thanks for pulling me out, hyung.” The smile he tosses Jinki isn’t as a carefree as he’d obviously like it to be but Jinki doesn’t call him out on it. Instead, he remains quiet as Minho calls Jinwoon back, deep voice a low rumble in the elevator.

“Thanks for the heads up,” Minho says into his phone. He hangs up just as the doors slide open. The way he scrubs his hand across his face sets Jinki’s nerves off in a bad way. Whatever Jinwoon had said, Minho wasn’t pleased with.

Minho gives Jinki a long look. “Jinwoon said Kibum was in a session when—” he cuts himself off, sighing.

“When what?” Jinki’s skin crawls like he’s got thousands of tiny, nervous spiders living beneath it.

“When your mom’s spirit came to him and told him to warn us—to warn you—that they were here.” Minho looks away at some point over Jinki’s shoulder. “Jessica and Krystal are here. Somewhere.”

A thread of fury pulls together inside of Jinki. It grows from a small knot to a well of rage inside of his chest. His mother had been pulled into this? His fists clench tightly at his sides, so tight that he feels his nails cut into his palms.

“This is over,” Jinki bites out. “It ends today.” The anger makes his voice a low, lethal whisper.

Minho puts a comforting hand on his arm but doesn’t comment. He allows Jinki his anger and he appreciates that.

Since Minho is the only one who knows what the two girls look like, he takes point in the search. Jinwoon said Kibum was certain they were in the area. So they stick close the apartment, walking up and down the block on either side.

They do this for almost an hour before Minho comes to a sudden standstill in front of the window of a cafe. It’s a kitschy little place on the corner of the block. Jinki follows Minho’s line of sight.

A few feet away from them two girls, surrounded by a few high school aged boys, were handing out what looked like fliers. They were beautiful, the girls, but something about them repulsed him. Even from a the short distance, Jinki knew something was off about them.

“Is that them?” Jinki asked softly.

Minho nodded. “Stay here. I don’t know what they’re capable of—”

Jinki cuts him off, pulling his arm out of the light grip Minho had caged it in. “I’m not standing around anymore.” He leaves Minho to trail after him and approaches the girls.

He was expecting them to recognize him in some way. He was expecting them to look at him and flee. Reality is often more disappointing than expectation. Krystal and Jessica do nothing more than smile blankly at him when he approaches for a flier; not even when his fingers brush the old sister’s as he’s taking the flimsy piece of paper.

Jinki doesn’t spare it a glance. His eyes are focused on the two smiling girls before him.

“It’s going to be a great party,” one of them says jubilantly.

They have no idea who he is, or what they’ve done to him.

“Invite your friends,” says the other, tapping Jinki’s flier.

Neither of them care about the damage and pain they’ve inflicted on people. That rage from earlier comes back to simmer inside of him as he watches them pass out the fliers to anyone who will take one. Jinki’s hands ache with the need to hurt, to make them pay.

An almost bone crush grip on his elbow snaps him back to reality. It isn’t Minho’s hand on his arm though, it’s Jonghyun’s. Jinki tries to shake him off but the demon’s fingers tighten even more painfully.

“You’ve got somewhere else to be,” his eyes drop to the flier meaningfully, “and don’t forget to take this.” Jonghyun presses a cloth bag into Jinki’s side. He knows instantly from the weight of it it’s the sword he’d left under Minho’s couch.

“Do not fail.” Jonghyun hisses to him just as Minho approaches.

Jinki gives him a curt nod. He won’t fail. He’ll put Vetis down even if it costs him his last breath. He brushes past Minho, hiding the bag. Jinki sidesteps the reaching hand Minho sends out.

“I’ll see you back at the apartment,” he throws over his shoulder. Jinki crosses the street toward Minho’s complex knowing the other man’s eyes are following him. He makes a beeline for the alley on the other side of the apartments when he’s sure Minho is no longer tracking him.

Jinki uncrumples the flier still in his hand and skims it. It’s an advertisement for a rave, the neat black words printed over a barely visible gold pentagram. He wonders if there is some kind of magic infused in the paper or the words. An invisible black widow's trap waiting for the clueless and unsuspecting.

Jinki knows the invitation does something, he just doesn’t know what. He glances over it again, memorizing the details. The party is taking place at an asylum somewhere in Gwangju at dusk. He’s got roughly five hours to get there, even on the KTX it’s a three hour ride, and he needed the extra time to find Vetis before the rave kicks off.

He fits the sword under his jacket and stuffs the flier into his pocket. He can do this.

Jonghyun watches Minho follow Jinki’s retreat. He sees the moment suspicion clouds the finder’s face. That won’t do at all, the demon thinks. He needs to act fast to keep Minho focused on the task at hand.

Jonghyun sidles up to the older sister, Jessica, and carefully winds his hand into her hair.

“If you scream,” he hisses softly when she makes to do just that, “I’ll make sure your little sister suffers worse than you do.”

Jessica’s eyes float wildly to where Krystal is chatting with Minho and she nods. Her jaw ticks but she keeps her mouth shut. Jonghyun loves playing the sibling card.

“I’ve been waiting to get my hands on you two for so long,” Jonghyun says. He catches Minho’s eye and nods, smiling when he takes Krystal into similar custody. “I’m going to make this worth my while.”

† back † † forward †

[started: 2012.07.30 - finished: ----]

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