Pairing: Minho/Key (slight mentions of JongTae, ShiMin and HanChul)
Rating: R (overall)
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 X
I'm stuck in this dream,
it's changing me,
I am becoming
the me that you know he had some second thoughts
he's covered with scabs, he is broken and sore
the me that you know he doesn't come around much
that part of me isn't here anymore
all pain disappears,
it's the nature of my circuitry
drowns out all I hear,
no escape from this my new consciousness
the me that you know used to have feelings
but the blood has stopped pumping and he is left to decay
the me that you know is now made up of wires
and even when I'm right with you I'm so far away
nine inch nails – the becoming
It’s raining over Seoul and the clock has struck one. It’s empty everywhere outside. All except for on a big parking lot on the west side of the city where a small, but not insignificant, group of people have assembled.
It’s a group made out entirely of cold-blooded, grey-eyed individuals. And had any normal person been out wandering in the pouring rain at this hour and stumbled onto the parking lot a thrill of fear would no doubt have shot up their spine, and they would have felt an immediate, acute need to be elsewhere.
On closer inspection it’s clear it’s two groups and not one. One dressed mostly in jeans, cargo-pants and leather, and the other exclusively in suits. They stand on each side of a white-painted line and stare at each-other, unmoving.
Slightly at the front of the group of suits is a very proper-looking vampire in white-blond hair and in a stylish grey suit, and right behind him are two vampires in sunglasses and black suits – quite clearly his bodyguards. One has their arms crossed over their chest. The other one stands slightly crouched, like he’s ready to spring, mimicking the stance of nearly all the vampires in the jeans-and-leather group. The rest of the suits stand straight, but no less vigilant, ready for any eventuality.
At the front of the other group is Jonghyun.
“What?” he says. “Queen Bitch didn’t want to come out and play?”
As the blond leader of the other group says “Don’t call her that!” one of his bodyguards – the beefier of the two – says: “She’s got better things to do than deal with vermin like you and your pack.”
“Hiding in her ivory tower, more like,” Heechul on Jonghyun’s right snorts.
“Remind me again,” Yesung says. “Why we’re here, and not over there…”
“Because you have to get through us first, to get to her,” the leaner of the bodyguards says, baring his fangs. He’s blond too, but his hair is much more short-cropped than the leader’s.
The leader holds up a hand. “Hold on. We can still talk about this. Miryo already told you the foreigner was not sent on our orders. He acted on his own and we have tried to get a hold of him to get him to answer before the Korean Council, but he has gone back to China. She wanted me to remind you of this, Jonghyun.”
“And I already told you I’m not buying it, Leeteuk,” Jonghyun replies. “If that really is the case she should have asked for an extradition.”
“And she has already told you she can’t,” Leeteuk continues with a small sigh. “The vampire in question is an elder. It would be diplomatic suicide. We can’t risk antagonising the Chinese Council. It could mean war with the Chinese vampires.”
“Well I don’t care a fig about your diplomatic wars,” Jonghyun growls. “I want justice for what was done to my clan!”
“Oh, it’s your ‘clan’ now?” a female vampire in a pant suit chides. “You’re nothing but a pack of strays. Sireless bastards.” She looks pointedly at Siwon. “Or the childer of lunatics. Miryo should have had killed you a long time ago.”
Siwon takes a step forward but Sungmin calms him with a hand on his arm and he stills immediately.
“Shut up Victoria,” the bulky bodyguard next to her says.
Victoria just responds with a cold glare.
“Victoria, Kangin,” Leeteuk says. “Calm down, the both of you.”
Jonghyun shakes his head. “You and I both know there’s no way we can both of us leave this parking lot alive,” he says. “Even if what Miryo says is true I won’t stand around and watch the council do nothing. Again. If the Council has become so toothless then maybe it’s time for a change in leadership!”
“And that would be you?” the blond vampire on Leeteuk’s right scoffs. “I’d rather burn in hell than have you lead us!”
At that Heechul steps forward. The only one in Jonghyun’s pack in a suit, albeit a dishevelled one. “That can be arranged.”
The two lock eyes for a moment, looking ready to spring, but a hand on the blond bodyguard’s shoulder stops him.
“Calm yourself, Hankyung,” Leeteuk tells him.
“Yeah, you both leave your little lover’s spat out of this,” Kangin says.
Both Heechul and Hankyung turn and glare daggers at him but he just grins back at them.
“Are we really going to fight?” Donghae says from somewhere in the middle of Jonghyun’s group. “Isn’t there another way to resolve this? My master would have said—”
“No one cares what your hippie-vampire of a master would have said,” Heechul cuts him off. But he isn’t looking at Donghae as he is too occupied staring vehemently at Hankyung. “Let’s just get this over with.”
“Yeah,” Jonghyun agrees. “I think the time for talking is long gone.”
Leeteuk sighs, and lowers his hand. “So be it.”
And so the war begins.
Kyuhyun’s apartment is even messier than Taemin’s. Which is a feat in itself. Although here it’s computers covering every available space.
The room is dark, and in the middle, on the floor, sits Kyuhyun himself, cross-legged and lit up by no less than ten glowing laptop screens surrounding him.
“Key,” he says without even looking up from the one in his lap. “What do you want?”
“I hate to tell you this,” Taemin says, walking into the room in Key’s wake, careful not to trip over any wires or empty soda cans. “But your security is kinda crap. Your door was left unlocked.”
“I saw you even before you entered the building,” Kyuhyun answers and points to one of the screens. It shows a camera feed of the street outside the building. “And if you didn’t have Key with you the door handle would have electrified you, not opened the door.”
“So I take it you two know each-other…” he says, looking between them. Key and Kyuhyun. They strike him as kind of an odd friendship. But then he wouldn’t have assumed Jonghyun and Key to be friends either if he didn’t know it.
“Know is a big word when it comes to Key…” Kyuhyun says, still absorbed with the floating text on his screen.
“Right back at you,” Key mutters.
Kyuhyun grins a little. He stretches out his legs, moving a few empty pizza cartons and potato chips bags out of the way as he does. “So what do you want me to do this time?”
“I need you to hack into Council communications”, Key says.
“Again?” Kyuhyun raises an eyebrow. “Another foreign visitor you want me to check up on?”
“No, this time I want you to check for any mentions of Jonghyun.”
Kyuhyun sighs. “Now that’s gonna take me all night.”
“Just in the last 24 hours.”
“Oh alright.” Kyuhyun nods. "That's more doable" He sets to work.
Minho is woken by keys rattling in the door to his cell. It hurts to raise his head from the floor but he does so anyway. His throat aches like he’s been out in the desert without water for a week. He half hopes it’s Ryeowook that has returned so that he can bleed him dry, but it seems he’s out of luck.
It’s Xu, back for another session it seems, although he has been ignoring Minho for days, as long as Minho has been out of blood. It’s a game that is also part of the torture – the withholding of blood, the time lapses – Minho never knows when it’s time for another round of pain. He never knows if Xu comes to him to feed him or make him suffer, or both. He is never safe and can never really relax, and that and the thirst has turned him twitchy and unstable. Over the course of the last two days the hallucinations he’s been suffering has become even worse and the clear moments fewer and farther in-between. He feels like he is slipping away.
“Have you reconsidered my offer?” Xu asks. The scent of human blood is strong around him and Minho thinks he must have recently fed. When Minho didn’t think he could come up with more ways to taunt him.
“No,” Minho says. “Never.” At least he’s still clear-headed enough to refuse.
“Pity,” Xu tuts. “Though I do think I have something that will change your mind…”
Minho realises Xu isn’t alone this time. He is dragging someone, bound and gagged along with him. He opens the door and tosses them inside. The body lands in an unmoving heap in the middle of the floor, about six feet or so from where Minho is lying.
The scent of human blood becomes nearly overwhelming, it makes his head spin with thirst, and want. It doesn’t make it better that the blood smells so very young and fresh – it’s premium stock he’s been presented with.
It’s only the surprise that keeps him rooted to the spot, that keeps him from attacking the bundle with his teeth.
“I thought you were deserving of a full meal at last,” Xu says, taking a step forward to stand looming over the two bodies on the floor.
Minho looks at him suspiciously. Even through the building insanity and the overwhelming thirst – the unbearable desire to suck the last drop out of the human in front of him – he cannot believe Xu would ever give him something like this out of the kindness of his heart. There has to be some sort of catch.
“I sent some of my men back to Korea,” Xu says. “And they brought you back a little gift. Wasn’t that considerate of them?” He bends down to grabs a fistful of long, black hair and pulls upwards. “Such a treat.”
The next moment Minho is staring into the wide, scared eyes of his little sister.
“Kill her, or I will,” Xu says, and leaves.
“The parking lot, behind a Choi Corp. Trading Warehouse. Songpa-gu district,” Kyuhyun says, after 45 minutes of searching on five different computers, and almost before he’s finished the sentence, Key has taken hold of Taemin and dragged him out of the apartment, out into the rainy streets.
Minho stares at his sister and she stares back. She makes a move as to sit up and Minho stiffens. The scent of her, of her blood, washes over him in waves, and creates a sensation of mingled desire and revulsion within him.
“K-Keep, keep away from me!” he warns. He tries to crawl into the opposite corner, his sister staring unblinkingly at him over the gag in her mouth the whole time. He can see the fear and confusion clearly in her eyes, even through the dark of the dungeons; how her eyes rove over his pale skin, his weird glowing eyes…
He wishes she didn’t see him like this. He wishes he could turn back time and undo that fateful night when he crashed with his motorcycle and got turned by Key. Because he never wanted this. Never, even if it would mean he never met Key and that morning in the motel room never happened. The thought stings like the lash of a whip through his soul, but even so – he never wanted the people he loves to get hurt. He never wanted them to suffer because of him.
His sister flops around like a fish on the floor, trying to get out of her bindings. He doesn’t think she’ll make it but his sister has always been a fighter and eventually she manages to get one hand free and immediately reaches up to tear the gag from her mouth.
She gasps like she’s been deprived of air, she’s retching and coughing.
“Where-Where am I?” she asks when she’s finally regained her breath enough to speak.
Minho doesn’t know how to answer. Every movement she makes sends new whiffs of her blood his way, and he has to use every bit of strength left in his starved body to not lash out and sink his teeth deep into her. And if he does, there would be nothing that could stop him from finishing before she was dead. He knows that as well as Xu.
“What happened to you?” She tries to scoot a little closer. “Have you been here the whole time?” Minho recoils further into the next corner, as physically far away from her as he can get.
“Minho…” she tries. “Minho, I know it’s you. Don’t you remember me? Don’t you think I don’t recognise my own brother? Talk to me. Please.” Her voice starts to waver. “I’m scared and I don’t—“ She chokes. When she speaks again her voice is so very low and fragile, and it tears at Minho’s heartstrings:
“Is this hell? Minho? Have I come to hell?” A single tear rolls down her cheek and she wipes it off with the back of her hand like she despises it. His sister doesn’t like to cry. Even when she fell off her horse at age seven and broke her leg she didn’t cry.
He can smell the salt of it where he crouches. Even that smells good to him; so human. He claws at the floor, trying to drive his nails into the stone and root himself to the spot so he won’t be overcome by the thirst; the urge to tear into her.
She tries again to move closer.
“NO!” he roars, and the sound echoes through the dungeon, bounces between the ancient walls.
She stills, more frightened than ever. He knows she’s just seen his teeth. It hurts to see his sister pull back, sinking into a corner of her own.
“Minho…” she whispers. “Minho, what did they do to you…?”
On the parking lot, several thousands of miles away a small-scale war is being waged. So far no side is winning. Numbers and strengths are so easily matched that when Key and Taemin come running into the fray one hour after it started only three vampires have died.
It takes a while to stop the confusion and Key has to use his powers to get Kangin – who ignores Leeteuk’s order to cease the fighting – to stop trying to bash in Yesung’s head against the pavement.
Kangin steps away in a daze and Yesung straightens, brushing off his leather jacket, fixing his hair, not a scratch visible on him. He sticks his tongue out at Kangin as he goes to rejoin Jonghyun’s group again. As soon as he gets full control of his mind back Kangin digs up a large piece of pavement and throws at Yesung's repeating back, but it misses and creates a small crater in the asphalt instead.
In Jonghyun’s group Siwon is fussing over an equally uninjured Sungmin who seems torn between liking the care and thinking of it as an insult. He’s half smiling as he bats Siwon’s hands away.
Heechul and Hankyung are still locked in a silent stare-contest to the death. Neither of them seem to have moved. For all everyone knows they might have been standing like this throughout the whole battle.
“Key,” Jonghyun says, dourly inspecting a big tear in the arm of his pilot jacket. He sends Leeteuk a glare, suggesting he caused it. “You’re back. I hope you come bearing important news because I think we were winning.”
Kangin snorts loudly. “As if. You and your lot fight worse than my old grandma, and she’s been dead for nearly three hundred years!”
“All that starch in your suit has clearly killed off all your brain cells,” Sungmin says, finally giving up and letting Siwon tend to his scrapes. “We were easily winning.”
“Like hell you were!” Victoria says. “No little pack of strays wins over me.” Her pant suit looks a little worse for wear after having been dragged across the parking lot by her hair by one a tomboy-looking female vampire in Jonghyun’s pack. She’s now grinning viciously at Victoria across the distance.
“It doesn’t matter,” Key says. “If you’re going to kill yourselves for a cause, let it be for the right one.” He takes a deep breath. “Jonghyun, the Council had nothing to do with that fire, it was all me.”
Jonghyun looks up from his sleeve as his jaw drops. “You?”
“Well, not me directly,” Key corrects. “But in a way. The foreigner was my sire. He was after Minho, and through him – me.”
A murmur goes through the crowd. Key is well-known to them all, even the Council members, as someone who usually stays out of vampire politics. The few times they’ve met, the Council has always tried to convince him to join, since he is practically an elder, and a well-respected one at that. But Key has always refused, as that would make him an easy target for Xu. So it’s been a common rule that as long as Key doesn’t break any Council laws, the Council lets him be. Though it’s always been a question of time how long it would remain so.
“He just showed up one night,” Leeteuk says. “Without warning. Demanded to meet with Miryo and started asking questions about any newly sired vampires. I guess she wanted to keep well with the Chinese Council so she indulged him. Then he disappeared for a day and when he returned his questions were all about the Outsiders’s whereabouts instead.”
“And you told him!” Jonghyun spits. He looks about ready to attack Leeteuk again.
Leeteuk gives him a cold look. “It’s no secret where you and your ilk have been located for the last decade or so. You haven’t done much to hide it. And he told us he wanted to research our relationship with those who don’t adhere to us. He said the Chinese vampires had much to learn there. They’re constantly at war with outbreak groups and it’s costing them valuable resources.”
“And you believed him?!”
“My sire can be very persuasive,” Key says with a shrug.
“And you had no clue he’s a crazy psychotic murderer?” Heechul asks.
“Fan Xu is a very well respected, and old, member of the Chinese Council,” Leeteuk says. “I had no cause to question him.”
“Of course you hadn’t,” Key snorts. “No one ever finds cause to question him once he shows the inside of his purse. How do you think he’s gotten away with his psychotic ways for so long?” Some of the vampires in Jonghyun’s pack snicker at Key’s insinuation and the council vampires glower back at them.
“I’ll disregard whatever it is that you mean by that, Key,” Leeteuk says. “The Korean Council doesn’t take bribes.” He brushes off his cufflinks. “So now that we’ve sorted out this little mess, can we all go back to ignoring one-another again?”
“Not so fast,” Jonghyun says, taking a step forward. “The Korean Council might not have sicked that crazy bastard on us, but it still happened, and I still want him extradited so I can tear his ass to pieces!”
“So you’d risk a war with the Chinese vampires, just to avenge a few deaths in your pack?” Hankyung who’s finally stopped staring at Heechul asks.
“Any day!” Jonghyun says without hesitation.
The two leaders are now merely inches apart, facing each-other. Key can see the blue veins taut under the skin of Jonghyun’s neck. Many of the vampires behind him show their fangs and lick their teeth.
“Quit it,” Key says, walking in-between Leeteuk and Jonghyun again, putting a hand on each of their chests and forcing them apart. “I know of a way for both Jonghyun to have his vengeance, and for the Chinese Council to be unaware of what happened to their elder member. Or at least I have a plan for how it won’t be linked back to the Korean Council and cause a diplomatic scandal.”
Leeteuk takes a step back. “And that plan is?”
“That I take Jonghyun and his pack with me to China and Xu’s mansion, and show them how to get in undetected. I know that mansion like the back of my hand, but I wouldn’t stand a chance alone.”
“You’ll let him kill a Chinese Elder?” Leeteuk asks Key with a sideways look at Jonghyun.
“No,” Key says. “The only one who will kill Xu is me.”
“You’ll kill your own sire?” says Kangin. “That’s a capital offence in any vampire society, punishable by death.”
“Well I’m hoping you’ll grant me an exception from the rule, seeing what he's like.”
“That’s not for me to decide,” says Leeteuk. “It’s an issue for Miryo and the other members of the Grand Council.”
“Well I don’t have time to sit around and wait while the elders congregate and debate this!” Key says. “He has my childe. And if you call him to a trial, Xu will have time to kill him, clean up and hide all evidence of his crimes. It’s happened before. You’ll have to deem him not guilty in the end. No one saw him at the camp, there’s no proof other than circumstance and you know it. Let me just get close to him, maybe take a few of your trusted people with me as witnesses, and I’ll show you what a monster he really is!”
Leeteuk seems to mull it over. “Why haven’t you come to the council with this before? We could have prevented the tragedy at Jonghyun’s camp with this information.”
Key shakes his head. “You wouldn’t have believed me. It would have been Xu's word against mine, and everyone always trusts Xu. And I needed to stay away from vampire officials. Xu has eyes and ears everywhere. You’ve seen yourself what he’s capable of when he wants something. But things are different now, I—” He corrects himself. “—we actually have a chance. With Jonghyun’s help I might actually be able to take out his guards, and since Jonghyun’s people aren’t under your command (Jonghyun utters a loud agreeing sound at this) they will be the only ones to blame, not the Korean council. Your hands, and Miryo’s, will be clean.”
“You seem to assume Jonghyun will just agree to this,” Hankyung says. “If this goes badly, all of his people will die. If Xu doesn’t have their heads, the Chinese Council will.”
“He knows he doesn’t need to ask,” Jonghyun says. “Key has helped me more than once. In fact, I owe him my life. And even if it wasn’t for that I still wouldn’t hesitate – nothing will give me greater satisfaction than to kill the bastard who set fire to my camp and hurt my people. Minho might not have been a part of my pack for long, but I still consider him one of mine. And I don’t abandon my own.” He glares at Leeteuk.
Leeteuk surmises him for a while, like he’s re-evaluating him, then he nods, it’s a small nod, but a nod none the less.
“You have my permission,” he tells Key. “But—“ he halts Key who has already turned and started walking away. “I need to discuss this with Miryo first. She has to know about your plan. Without at least one elder in on this, you have no hope at all.”
Key growls. Leeteuk ignores it.
“Stay in Jonghyun’s camp over the day,” he says. “It’s soon morning and you won’t get far tonight anyway. I’ll find you at the edge of the forest after dawn with Miryo’s decision, and a few of our men, if she wills it. One day, it’s all I ask.”
“Fine,” Key says. “But if you’re not there within the hour after dark has settled, we’re leaving without you.” He stalks away.
It’s a long day’s wait for night in Jonghyun’s new camp, which proves to be in an old abandoned junkyard not that far outside of town, and not that far from the edge of the forest. It’s got plenty of car wrecks for the vampires to hide in during the day, and the high walls of metal junk provide ample fortification in case of an attack.
Jonghyun has taken up residence in the old caretaker’s shack and this is where Key spends the daylight hours walking on and off across the floor in the small kitchen. The windows have been covered up by bits of corrugated metal and the only thing lighting up the small space is a candle on the windowsill. There’s only one other room in the shack: Jonghyun’s bedroom, but Key will be damned if he ventures in there.
He was interrupted in his pacing earlier by a wild-looking Taemin coming to visit. All he saw before he closed the door on them was Jonghyun rolling up his sleeve and Taemin sinking down on his knees on the floor before him with a relieved and reverent expression on his face.
All he’s heard from in there since is the occasional moaning. Mostly Jonghyun's, and if he was human he would have sprained himself rolling his eyes at the sounds long ago.
When dark finally starts to settle it’s a big relief. He would have been out of here long ago, if he didn’t need those council witnesses. There’s no use saving Minho just to get sentenced to death by the Great Council for killing Xu. The two of them will go right back to being hunted again. And instead of just Xu on their tail, they’ll would have all the vampires in the world adhering to council law hunting after them. They wouldn’t be safe anywhere.
Key knocks on Jonghyun’s door. There’s some shuffling around inside and then Jonghyun opens, dressed only in jeans; shirtless and tousle-haired. There’s dried rivulets of blood on his arm from the elbow to the wrist, and more originating from a point on his neck. Key gives him a once-over through narrowed eyes. Jonghyun doesn’t look the least bit perturbed as he absently scratches a non-existent itch on his muscled abdomen.
Taemin looks healthier than he last saw him, he has obviously stopped shaking and has a bounce to his step as he springs from the simple iron bed with the dirty old mattress and starts pulling his clothes back on. His eyes are a little lighter, not vampire grey, but they have gone from a dark brown to a soft amber. He’s grinning from ear to ear.
Key utters an “Ugh!” and turns his back on them. He really doesn’t want to know. To him humans are a source of food, and little else. That doesn’t mean you should slaughter them for fun, but to have them as playthings; do near-human things with them? He finds the idea perverted; revolting. Though he can’t deny that Taemin has been highly useful so far.
Outside of the shack Jonghyun’s pack are waiting. Jonghyun – now dressed in a shirt – holds a short speech where he tells them that the choice is up to them if they want to come along or not. He won’t ask anyone to risk their lives if they aren’t prepared for it.
All of Jonghyun’s vampires decide to follow. It’s a big group of nearly fifty that walk into the woods nearby to meet the council vampires. These are not that many. Only seven vampires await them at the edge of the trees:
Leeteuk, flanked by Hankyung and Kangin, and Miryo and three of her all-female bodyguard. They’re all dressed completely in black and wear swords, like they’re straight from another century.
Miryo herself is dressed in bright crimson. For being so small she strikes an impressive figure. But a vampire can never be measured from their size. And Miryo is old. She’s ruled the Korean Vampire Council with an iron fist for the last 300 years, and it takes a strong, and sometimes ruthless, vampire to be able to stay on top that long in the cutthroat business that is vampire politics.
“Two council vampires will accompany you,” she says without further ado as they draw near and nods to Hankyun and Kangin, showing her decision has already been made and she isn’t about to waste any more of their time. “Our men will not engage in combat. They will follow you to the mansion but stay outside, as observers and unbiased parties. They will only come in and assess the proof once the battle is over. If it does not end in your favour, they will leave and come back here without ever revealing themselves to your sire or the Chinese council. None of this will ever be mentioned.”
“Fine with me,” Key says.
“Once Xu is dead and you have secured the proof you come back to me and I will bring your case to the council. If you so much as breathe we’ve had this conversation before, during, or after the proceedings, I will have every vampire in the world hunt you down. And don’t mistake it for an idle threat.”
“I won’t,” Key says.
“Why are you helping us exactly?” Jonghyun asks. “Seems you have more to lose than to gain from this to me…”
“Because,” she says, her eyes flashing dangerously red for a moment. “I need to send a message. Xu messed with the wrong vampire this time. If anyone gets to attack the outsiders it is me. He stepped on my turf and violated my rules. Word could get out I’ve grown too weak to handle my interstate affairs and I cannot let that happen.”
“And how will they know you took care of it, if we can’t tell anyone of your involvement?” Sungmin asks. He’s standing next to Siwon as always. Siwon who didn’t hesitate a beat to join in on the venture when he heard Minho was kidnapped. Maybe he saw it as a chance of finally doing something good. And Xu helps make the distinction of bad vampires vs good vampires a little clearer.
“Oh, I trust the word to get out one way or another," Miryo says. "It always does. But rumours aren’t bad, rumours build fear. And fear keeps the cattle in check. As long as there’s no physical proof, no one to link the rumours to, the Grand Council can’t do anything about it.”
“So by doing this we would help strengthen your rule?” Heechul says.
Miryo smiles sweetly. “You always were a smart one, Heechul. Pity you left. Hankyung misses you so.” Heechul snorts. Hankyun glares. “And I’m smart too,” she continues. “It’s how I’ve stayed on top for so long. Take the offer or leave it, you know without my help you are doomed. It's still the Grand Council that holds all the power in this world, wether you like it or not.”
Key and Jonghyun exchange a look. Key knows the thought of helping Miryo, even a tiny bit, goes against everything he believes in. For a moment he’s afraid he’s going to abort the whole thing.
Then he just shrugs. “Come on,” he says. “The night won’t last forever. Let’s go send that bastard hell.”
Minho’s sister is sobbing again. She seems to alternate between crying and trying to communicate with him. But whenever she asks him questions Minho is too occupied to try and control himself to answer. He can feel the edges of reality blur, and he’s slipping in and out of consciousness. So far he’s been able to control it, to jump back into the real world just as the hallucinations start to take over. He can’t allow them to because he will have absolutely no control of himself once they do. He might bite her, believing her to be Key.
Or a stranger; someone he doesn’t care about.
Minho holds no doubt that if Xu had cast him in here with a total stranger he would have done short work of them in no time at all. The only thing keeping him from feeding is the fact that this is his own flesh and blood; his own little sister who looked up to him when she was little, even though he was nothing to look up to at all.
He never deserved to be her brother. This kind, considerate, brave young woman who is now drying her eyes on the sleeve of her dirty sweater, trying to prepare herself for another bout of questions with no answer.
And maybe that’s Xu’s mistake: Had it been a stranger Minho would be gone already, past the point of no return. He would be a killer and well on his way to become Xu’s new apprentice. There would be no going back after that.
Maybe he should just kill himself, he thinks. But he doesn’t know how. There’s no sharp objects around and even if there was he doubts he would die from the injuries he caused himself, not before he passed out and Xu let him heal up again.
At best he’d only enter torpor. And then what? Xu would no doubt kill his sister without hesitation. She is nothing to him. Nothing at all.
But she’s everything to Minho.
Even though he’s known it was coming he startles as she speaks. Maybe because he was about to start to hallucinate again.
“They came from nowhere,” she says, very low. “I was just on my way back from school. This black jeep pulled up and I—I don’t even know how long I’ve been gone. Mother must be so worried. She was beside herself when she thought you were—We both were. She didn’t eat for days. They had to have her committed again. I—I hated you so, Minho. I really, really hated you. For leaving us like that. For being so reckless. For making mom so miserable. I— I blamed you for everything, I really did, and then you… you were here the whole time…”
Minho shakes his head, as much as he manages.
“No?” she says, perking up a little at this small, almost insignificant attempt at communication from his side. But it's more than she's had in hours. “You weren’t? Then where were you, why didn’t you contact us, I—“ She stops herself and her eyes go wide. “It was you?” she says. “It really was you who called that time? I thought I recognized your voice but I—I was so sure you were dead!”
She silences again. When she speaks up again a little later she’s whispering: “He’s going to kill me, isn’t he? Because you won’t do it, will you? Whatever it is… whatever you are… you’re fighting it, aren’t you?”
She scoots a little closer again. Minho doesn’t have the strength, or will, left to protest, or even pull away.
“Because if you were, you would have done so by now, right?” She moves a little closer yet. “I don’t know what’s happened to you, but I know you’re still…you. Underneath all that you’re still my brother. You may have been an irresponsible little shit, but you never meant to hurt us, I know that. And you won’t hurt me now.”
She’s close enough now to touch. His throat is a flaring inferno from the proximity; he can feel the heat emitting from her like she’s a radiator, and he wants nothing more than to lean into that heat. But he won’t allow himself. He may not have the strength to pull away, but he steels himself, using the last bit he has, not to lean in closer.
She puts her hand on his thigh. It is so very warm. Like a heated frying pan against his ice cold leg.
“Minho,” she says. “Minho, I don’t like him. If my only choice is being killed, either by you, or by him. I’d rather it be you.”
He feels her hand tremble as she puts it around his neck and tugs, tugs until his head is leaning on her skinny shoulder and his mouth is right at her throat. He can feel her pulse beat out a steady rhythm against his lips. He cannot fight her, couldn’t even if he tried.
“Minho, please…” she whispers.
“Minyeon…” he says, and parts his lips over her skin.
A/N: Some of you may have missed it, but I've started a fic prompt poll. After With Teeth I'm going on a hiatus from fic posting for a forseeable future and I thought it would be a good thing to tide you over until I return. The thought is you send me short fic prompts on minkey fics you'd like to see me write (throughout May) and then I arrange a poll with all the prompts where you can vote on the fic you'd like me to write the most. And then when I return from the hiatus it will be with the winning fic. You can read more about the contest over here.
Hope you liked the chapter! Don't forget to comment!