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SHINee, MinKey, With Teeth (3/13) - The Outsiders

Title: With Teeth (3/13) - The Outsiders
Fandom: SHINee
Pairing: Minho/Key, ninja!ShiMin
Rating: PG-13 (as of yet)
Warning: Vampires
Genre: AU
Wordcount: 4100
Disclaimer: I am not associated with SME in any way. I do not own SHINee. This is just for fun.
Summary:
Minho is dying. But from the shadows watches a creature that will change his future forever.






WITH TEETH / Chapter III
The Outsiders





Minho follows Jonghyun into the camp. It’s a lot bigger on ground-level than it looked from above. There’s probably around 50 tents in the area, and even a few trailers. Some of them look to have been there for quite some time because vines and moss have begun to cover them, providing them with a sort of natural camouflage. There’s not a lot of vampires around though, maybe most of the have retreated into their shelters, and the few that are follow Minho carefully with suspicious eyes.

 “We live on the edge of society here,” Jonghyun says. “Vampire society that is. Those high collar vamps in the cities like to make up all kinds of rules for vampires to live by. And those of us here either don’t fit those rules or just plain don’t like ‘em. Out here we’ve got only one rule to live by, and that’s: Stay alive.”

“Do you kill humans then?” Minho says.

Jonghyun throws his head back as he laughs, showing his teeth.

“You think there are a lot of humans running around out here in the middle of the forest? Think again. We hunt for animals. It’s not as potent or tasty as human blood, and certainly not as fancy, but it keeps us alive. And saves us from doing that whole seduction shtick first. You’ll get used to it.”

Minho looks back over his shoulder again, towards the close line of trees behind them, but his sire is long gone and he can no longer feel his presence like he could before. The urge to run after him is still there though, nagging at the back of his mind.

“What did you mean before when you said it was best I stay with Key, because of ‘sire’s bond and all that’?” he asks Jonghyun.

Jonghyun takes a left turn by a burning oil vat. Around it is a small group of vampires huddled together, the fire makes their eyes gleam unatturally as they watch Minho, “Well, it’s usually recommended a fledgling vampire stays with his sire, at least for a time, to learn the dos and don’ts of unlife, so they don’t reveal themselves to humans, go rogue and start killing innocents. The vampire’s in some cities even call it a law and punish those who break it. But sometimes, for special reasons, the sire dies or gets lost, or they plain abandon their young, and then they usually come to us, one way or another. Key’s led a few of them here in the past - that’s why I assumed you were one of them…”

“You seemed surprised that he’d sired me.”

“Not that he sired you, kid. That he sired anyone at all.” He stops and turns around to face Minho again. “Listen, I’ve known Key for most of my two hundred years as a vampire – I use the word ‘known’ here loosely, because I doubt there’s anyone who really knows him – and he has never sired anyone. I’ve met vampires older than I and they say the same thing. He’s helped us a lot, but he’s never really been one of us. He seems to prefer to work on his own.”

“Is this unusual?”

“Well, nobody likes being alone. And being a team helps you hunt. And some vampires sire just to get cheap workforce.” He glances at the two huge vampires still following them at a disctance. If they were trying to be subtle about it Minho thinks they failed since they stopped the moment Jonghyun stopped. “Or muscle. I’ve sired at least a dozen vampires in my time, and then I’m not anywhere near as old as Key is.”

“How old is he?”

Jonghyun starts walking again. “Nobody really knows for sure. But he once said something that led me to think he’s from the 15th century.”

“No wonder cars mystify him then…”

“Yeah, I think he slept through most of the industrial revolution. He was gone for quite some time, only resurfaced rather recently. Twenty years ago or so now.”

“You’d think twenty years would give him some time to learn how to drive….” Minho mumbles. He doesn’t expect for Jonghyun to hear it, but he has momentarily forgotten about a vampire’s excellent hearing.

“Nah, vampires, man… the older we are, the harder it is for us to adjust to the new stuff, or so they say. After a few centuries you get kinda tired of keeping up with whatever the humans are doing. That’s another reason why vampires sire – to form a connection to the present. They bite someone new in every generation and let them be their guide, show them how the new stuff work.”

“And that’s why Key isn’t up-to-date…?”

Jonghyun nods. “Yup. Doesn’t seem he sired you to teach him about carburators and how to google stuff on the internet though …”

“I was dying and he saved me,” Minho says. “It was an impulse decision. I think he regrets doing it.”

“Hmm,” Jonghyun says. “I’m not so sure that it was… I’ve seen him standing by while a human bled to death, and while a  ship sank and a whole bunch of them drowned. He didn’t save those for charity…”

“That seems rather cold…”

“Well you can’t save everyone, kid. If we made a vampire of every dying human the world would be crawling with us. We’d run out of food.” He throws his head back and laughs again. “And after a while I guess you start to see them as just that… as food. Just… mindless cattle running about, eating, sleeping, breeding; getting into trouble… You think it’s bleak, but trust me, in two hundred year’s time you’ll think the same.”

They reach the other end of the camp and Jonghyun stops by a trailer that’s almost completely overgrown. It looks at least 30 years old, a remnant from the early 80's. He pushes at the door and it almost falls in on itself.

“This one’s vacant. It’s yours if you want it. You’ll have to clean it out a little – the vampire who used it before you wasn’t big on cleaning.”

Minho pinches his nose. He can certainly smell it.

“But it should keep you safe from the sun’s rays at least, and it’s way comfier than a tent. He points to what looks like a woodsman’s cabin with all the windows boarded up at the edge of the camp. “That’s where I crash.”

“Have you been here long?”

“We like to change locations every now and again, but for the last ten years or so the vamps in the city haven’t bothered finding us. Guess the dimwits finally figured out we weren’t a threat to their rule. We just want to be left alone. So we’ve grown comfortable here. It’s a great location, easy to watch over and defend. We saw you coming long before you felt our presence.”

He pushes the door open a bit more. “You’ll probably want to get inside, get some shut-eye. The sun will be up soon and I bet you’ve had a long night. We’ll talk more when it sets again.”

“How can you be so sure I’ll stay?”

Jonghyun laughs again. “You’re free to go any time, kid. I certainly won’t force you to stay. But just consider this – where else have you got to go? You can’t go back to the city – they’ll kill you for being sireless. At least here you’ll be among others who are like you.”

Minho spends about fifteen minutes after Jonghyun has left cleaning the old trailer out. He ends up throwing practically everything out that isn’t bolted to the walls or to the floor. When he’s done the sun has already started glowing on the horizon and as soon as he’s thrown the last smelly couch cushion out the door he has to scramble to close it because his hands have started to singe and there’s smoke coming off his skin.

It takes a few minutes for the pain to die down and the blisters that have broken out to subside. He suspects it would have been even worse if the sunlight had been direct.

Ever since he learned he is a vampire (as mindboggling as that knowledge is) he has known sunlight must be out of bounds to him, but he hasn’t really fully grasped what it means until now. It’s not only a fairytale legend anymore: the smell of burnt flesh tells him so clearly. He realises with some sadness he can never again feel the sun’s warmth caressing his skin, never again turn his face towards the sun, close his eyes and see it glow orange and gold through his eyelids, never again watch the sunlight glitter on the surface of a lake, or bathe in the sunwarmed water… It’s funny how he’s taken such things for granted.

He sighs heavily and turns from the door. The inside of the trailer is pitch black because all the windows in it have been covered up with tinfoil, but while cleaning it he found some matches and a few candlesticks in a cupboard and now he lights these. He can see well enough without, but it just feels better, like the place turns a tiny bit more home-like.

As the trailer is now stripped bare he has to lie down on the hard wood bottom of the bunkbed, but at least the inside  now smells a whole lot better. The thick metal walls of the trailer also help in shutting the sound of the awakening forest birds out, which with his heightened senses is a relief right now.




He awakens about twelve hours later by a knock on his door. Jonghyun doesn’t even wait for an answer before he pushes it open and steps inside.

“I see you’ve cosied the place up…” he says with a wry grin, looking around him at the bare necessities that's left as Minho sits up and pushes a hand through his hair.

The candle Minho left burning on the table is now nothing but a melted puddle of wax.

“You’ll want to be careful with that,” Jonghyun says with a nod towards the remains. “There’s not a lot of stuff that can kill a vampire… But fire is generally bad.”

“Noted,” says Minho. He looks down at his hands. The blisters from before are now completely gone. “So what else can kill us?”

“Decapitation. Prolonged exposure to sunlight. Explosions.”

“What about stakes through the heart?”

Jonghyun laughs. “That’s just a myth. It hurts like hell though, let me tell you…” He brings his hand up to rub at his chest, across his heart. “Objects of silver don’t do any more damage than other weapons. Running water is another myth. So is garlic, I’m sad to say. That one was always kind of my favourite – the things humans come up with to fool themselves they’re safe from us, eh?”

“I suppose holy water and crosses are a myth then too?”

Jonghyun sits down on the bare bench by the table with the candle at the opposite end of the trailer. “Oh, no, actually those are real. Any object of faith, made or used with any real belief behind them will be dangerous to you. Not just Christian ones. I once saw a vampire go down with a cheap plastic Buddha stuffed up his nose.”

Minho looks at him for a minute trying to figure out if he’s joking or not. Jonghyun’s expression doesn’t tell.

“Why won’t we show up in any mirrors?” Minho asks, remembering the incident from the night before with the rear-view mirror. He figures it’s best to get any questions he has about the vampiric condition out while he can.

“Better make that any reflective surfaces, video and photographs too,” Jonghyun says. “And you’re asking the million dollar question there, kid. Some say it’s cause we have no souls, because we’re damned. But I don’t know about that, I just think it’s cause we’re so damn handsome the mirrors would crack if they showed our faces.”

He laughs again. When he sees Minho’s non-amused expression the laugher dies away. “To be honest, it helps with the hunt. As does the no-shadow thing. It’s easier that way to sneak up on people. Maybe we’ve just evolved?”

“Into the perfect predators, you mean?”

“Something like that…” He looks towards the door. “Talking about that… How would you like to join some of us on a hunt?”

Minho agrees with little hesitation. Nothing can be worse than being stuck in the trailer all night and he thinks it’ll be nice to stretch his legs a little. Besides, what he had last night in the parking garage doesn’t seem near enough to satisfy him – he’s already craving fresh blood again. So he follows Jonghyun when he exits the trailer.

There’s already a group of vampires waiting for them in the middle of camp. Some of them he recognizes from the day before. One is a very tall, handsome vampire that looks ripped straight out of the pages of some glossy fashion magazine, and right beside him a somewhat shorter male vampire, very pretty too, but in a more androgynous way. This one keeps shooting the taller vampire worried glances when he thinks the other doesn’t see.

“This is Siwon and Sungmin,” Jonghyun says.

Minho notices that on the taller vampire’s arm there’s a big ugly scar, as if a large chunk of his flesh has been ripped away. He looks kind of sad. Beside them is a vampire with long red hair with a sneer plastered on his face. He's wearing clothes that aren't really suitable for the middle of a forest, and his hair doesn't seem to match them either. Even if he wears it quite casually – no tie, and the white shirt is halfway unbuttoned – a suit isn’t the first thing Minho would wear camping out in the wild.

“And this is Heechul.” The vampire measures Minho over like he can see right through him but doesn’t utter a single word, just flicks the red bangs out of his eyes like they annoy him. Minho has already made the decision in his mind to stay as much away from him as possible.

“This is Yesung.” Jonghyun indicates a very wiry, very pale vampire with long black bangs falling into his eyes and his arms crossed over his chest.

“Yo whassup,” he says with a nod. This earns him a tired eye-roll from the red-haired vampire.

The fifth vampire seems kind of jumpy and nervous and keeps looking around him all the time, like he expects something to jump at him from the shadows among the trees around them. Jonghyun presents him as “Eunhyk.” Apparently he’s new, just a few weeks older than Minho and hasn’t really adapted to vampire life yet.

The sixth  is a vampire already bouncing on the balls of his naked feet. “Let’s go!” he says, his eyes sparkling with joy. “I want to hunt!”

“And this,” Jonghyun says with a smile. “Is Donghae.”

Donghae is the only one who actually extends a hand to greet Minho. Minho feels he likes him immediately.

They’re all polite to him though (with the exception of Heechul who seems to continue to watch him suspiciously) especially Donghae who simply can’t seem to stop talking. Listening to him you’d think vampire life was a real hoot.

Sungmin and Siwon keep mostly to themselves. Or Siwon does - Sungmin seem to kind of just go wherever he goes, two steps behind his back, always watching him anxiously.

“What’s up with those two?” Minho asks the others when they’re deep into the forest.

“What isn’t up with those two?” Heechul sneers.

“Siwon’s a preacher’s son,” Donghae explains and when that fails to create the desired effect with Minho Jonghyun adds: “He was pretty devout, set to become a priest himself. We think that’s why his sire did it – as some form of a sick joke. Suffice it to say becoming a vampire didn’t exactly sit well with him…”

“He thinks he’s cursed,” Donghae says. “That there’s great evil inside him now. He’s tried to kill himself several times – Sungmin is the only one who keeps him alive, who keeps trying to tell him that just cause he’s a vampire doesn’t mean he’s bad.”

“Sungmin’s an idiot,” Heechul says. “I would have given up trying to convince him he’s not evil a long time ago.”

“Yeah, you wouldn’t even have tried in the first place…” Yesung says and gets a death glare in return which causes him to stumble a little on the path. For being a vampire he hasn’t exactly proven gracious.

“What’s up with his scar?” Minho asks.

“I don’t know,” says Jonghyun. “You have to ask him about that. Or Sungmin. He’s had it ever since he came.”

“Or rather since Sungmin dragged his half-baked carcass all the way from the city to us…” Heechul adds.

“He’d tried to kill himself by waiting for dawn,” Donghae explains, and looks a tiny bit sad for the first time since Minho’s met him.

“Don’t start raving about the glory of the sun again,” Heechul says to the usually upbeat vampire. “I swear I’ll hit you.”

“I just… I miss it sometimes…” Donghae says with a sigh, getting something wistful in his eyes.

“WE KNOW!” the other vampires answer in choir.

For a second Donghae looks like a puppy that’s lost its favourite toy, but then he seems to forget what made him sad and he’s all smiles and excited chatter again.

They spend the night hunting among the trees, for any kind of wildlife they can find. It’s mostly deer, and it’s not the same as humans by far. The taste is awful, animalistic, and the blood is full of tiny hairs that tickle in your throat. They stick to everything, to Minho’s lips, his clothes, his hands, his hair. And he has to drain the animal dry before he begins to feel even close to satisfied. He’s starting to believe that the way Key’s blood tasted, the power it gave, was all just a dream. That the turning somehow made if feel more potent than it was, because drinking animal blood is so far from anything satisfying it’s ridiculous.

The only one who seems to really enjoy it is Donghae. “I’ve never fed on a human,” he tells Minho proudly at one point.

“His sire was a fanatic,” Heechul offers. “He thought he was some kind of vampire messiah, preaching abstention from human blood to purify the soul.”

“No, he was a great man,” Donghae corrects with something reverent in his voice.

“Whatever,” Heechul says. Despite having wrestled with the local wildlife there’s not a scratch or a blood stain on Heechul’s clothing; not a deer’s hair anywhere on his face. Minho has no idea how he does it.

“What happened to him?” Minho asks.

“I don’t know,” says Donghae. “He just disappeared. That’s when I joined Jonghyun and his pack.”

“He probably got a little over-eager and got mauled to death by a bear or something,” Heechul mumbles. They all ignore him.

Sungmin and Siwon who have gone off on their own to hunt, join them again as they’re headed back to camp. As Siwon falls in with the others Sungmin lags a little behind and Minho gets a chance to talk to him on his own.

“How is he?” he says.

Sungmin shrugs. “Some days are worse, others are better. At least he’s not trying to claw off his own skin today…”

Minho shudders. “Is that what… Is that what happened to his arm?”

“Yes, and no…” Sungmin says. Minho thinks he’s not going to say anything more, but then he takes a deep breath and continues: “He had a tattoo there, a cross, and… well… when he turned…”

Minho nods, he understands. It must have hurt.

“That’s why he thinks he’s evil,” Sungmin says. “He can’t even enter a church anymore. His own father banished him, buried crosses and sprinkled holy water all over their lands. He can’t go anywhere near them…”

“He told his father what he was? Doesn’t that break the first rule?”

“His father already knew. As a priest he’s had to deal with that stuff from time to time. People wanting protection, asking for Holy Water, that kind of thing… That’s how he knew how to keep Siwon away.”

“You think he’ll be ok?”

Sungmin shrugs again, looking a bit lost for hope. “I don’t know. I just don’t know. But I’ll keep trying, even if it takes forever. I’m all he has now.”

Minho glances at the other vampires, ahead of them. “What about the others?”

“They only accept Siwon as long as I’m with him. Otherwise he’d be a liability to the group. They think he’d turn on us if he got the chance, if he…” Sungmin takes a deep breath “,if he thought it would bring him salvation.”

“And what do you think?”

Minho doesn’t get an answer because right then they reach the edge of the camp. There’s someone waiting for them there. A young man, but there’s something weird about him. As the sound of a beating heart reaches him Minho realises he’s human. Whatever he’s doing in a nest full of vampires is anyone’s guess, but Jonghyun greets him like he knows him.

“Taemin,” he says. “What’s the word from the big city?”

“Not much happening in the council right now from what I can tell. A foreign elder vampire has shown up there, making some strange demands that they don’t know how to meet. But I don’t know about what, or where he’s from, I couldn’t get any other information without revealing myself.”

“The council?” Minho asks Donghae as he sidles up to him.

“Yes, the vampire council in Seoul.”

“There’s a vampire council?”

Donghae nods. “Yup. The head quarters is in London, I believe. But there’s a filial in nearly every city of the world, working for them. And one is in Seoul.”

Heechul beside them snorts. “Keeping the peace’ is what they call it. They’re really all just a bunch of power-hungry vampires in suits. Whatever you do kid – don’t get involved in vampire politics, it will mess you up.”

“Yeah, you would know, wouldn’t you?” Yesung snickers and Minho looks at Heechul’s casually worn suit with new eyes.

“So is Taemin working for the vampire council?” Minho asks. He can’t understand how a human can work in the middle of a nest of vampires.

“He’s a council official’s thrall, works as his messenger and stuff,” Yesung says. “But he also happens to be Jjong’s thrall.”

“And what’s a thrall?”

“Basically a human jacked up on vampire blood without having been drained first. They gain some of the perks, but none of the drawbacks. The downside though is it’s addictive as hell. Once a human gets hooked they’ll do anything for another fix. Which basically makes them their vampire provider’s bitch.” Yesung looks quite pleased to have used the last word. He’s looking around him like he’s expecting a high five or at least a pat on the back. He’s ignored.

Taemin proves to be a sweet kid, far from how Minho would expect a junkie to be. After having debriefed Jonghyun properly about the happenings in the council he comes to talk to Minho who’s taken place on a rock by the campfire in the middle of camp.

“I met your sire on the way here.”

Minho immediately sits up straighter.

“He sent you a message: Whatever you do, don’t go into the city. Stay with Jonghyun and his pack.”

Minho snorts. “Why couldn’t he come and tell me that himself?”

“I don’t know, but after I gave him the information I just gave Jonghyun, he set off for the city himself.”

“Wait,” Minho says. “He wasn’t in the city already?”

“No, I met him not far from here actually.”

Minho falls silent, thinking the information over. He can’t really make sense of why Key was in the vicinity without stopping by or why he advised Minho to stay out of the city, then went there himself after hearing Taemin’s report. He fully expects Taemin to leave faced with his silence but he doesn’t, instead he sits down next to him.

“So Key is your sire, huh? That must be really cool. I've heard a lot about him from Jonghyun. He's quite the legend around here.”

“Not really that cool, since he doesn’t seem to want anything to do with me.”

“If he really didn’t like you,” Taemin says. “Why would he have stuck around?”

To this Minho can’t really think of any good answer, and he goes to sleep later that morning with a mind full of thoughts.


He wakes up a couple of hours later, to the sounds of screaming, and with the pungent smell of smoke stinging in his nostrils.







A/N: I'm so sorry guys, this took me FOREVER AND A DAY to get up here. I've been so busy with finishing my studies all writing had to be put on hold for the last 2 months. I'm done now though, passed my exam and and got my degree, so hopefully I should have a bit more time to write now. Can't promise super speedy updates like with Five Days to Fall or TGC cause those were all published after the whole story was completed, and this work is still in the making.

Anyway, I hope you can forgive me, and that you won't find this super talky, info-packed chapter all too boring. Next one should be more action-y I think.
Tags: author: neezoy, fandom: shinee, genre: alternative universe, pairing: minho/key, rating: pg-13, type: multi!chaptered, universe: with teeth
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