*The teen tilted his head towards the cool rag dabbing at the beads of sweat forming beneath his dark bangs. Having lost the strength to open his eyes as the infection ran rampant throughout his body, he chased whatever little bits of relief he could find.
*The slightly older boy above him paused, watching the breath escape his chapped lips in short, desperate puffs. He wasn’t fairing well. With a heavy sigh, the older teen grabbed another rag—this one soaked in fresh water. His hand gently clasped his patient’s jaw, brushing his thumb across Jiwoon’s bottom lip until he finally managed to get his mouth open wide enough.
???: “Careful, it’s water.”
*Whispering so as not to disturb him, the older teen held the cloth over Jiwoon’s parted lips and rang out some of the cool liquid for him to drink. Maybe there were easier ways of doing this, but he feared it was the only way that wouldn’t accidentally drown the idol’s son.
*Hyunsu let him sip at the water for a while, watching to make sure he wouldn’t choke. His thumb caressed the teen’s cheek in slow, rhythmic circles, almost like he couldn’t help it. Having been tasked with the job of keeping him alive over the past two years, it wasn’t a shock that the older teen had started developing feelings for Jiwoon. He often found his gaze drifting when they talked, either taking in the way his muscles rippled beneath his shirt or fantasizing about how his soft, full lips would feel on his.
*It was a f-cking curse.
*Hyunsu swallowed, retracting the hand that had been cupping Jiwoon’s jaw and using it to adjust the leather skirt around his waist. Thank God he had jeans on underneath.
*But could you blame him? The last time he saw another human besides the two f-cking psychos he lived with was...well, over a decade ago. It would be easy to fall for anyone given the circumstances. Anyone...even this guy he barely knew.
Jiwoon: Am I...going to die?
*The slightly younger teen spoke the words in faint exhales, eyelids fluttering as he strained to open them without success. The older boy froze, startled by his sudden coherence.
Hyunsu: I...I don’t know.
Jiwoon: What about...my dad?
*It was the same question every day for the past two years. Despite everything, Jiwoon hadn’t given up the belief that his father would come to rescue them all. Hyunsu, on the other hand, had grown less optimistic by the month.
Hyunsu: He’ll come. (He won’t.) He’s on his way right now. (He thinks you’re already dead.)
*Jiwoon managed a weak smile, mouthing something akin to an “I told you so.” A muscle in Hyunsu’s jaw clenched, trying to clamp down on the emotions welling up within him. Sang wasn’t coming. And at this point, it wouldn’t matter even if he did.
*Deep down, he knew Jiwoon wouldn’t survive the night.
*Hyunsu watched as the teen faded away in front of him, his breathing shallow and faint as he slept. How did this happen?
*Iseul, Hyunsu’s older half-brother, scoffed by the door.
Iseul: “Is he your pet? You’ve been fawning over him for f*cking hours like some lovesick b*tch.” *The brother’s lip curled up into a sneer as Hyunsu tossed the rag aside. “I knew you had it bad, but this is f*cking pathetic.”
*Tilting his head, he took a step closer to the pair and folded his arms over his chest in thought.
Iseul: You know...I bet we’d be doing him a favor if we killed him like this.
*Hyunsu tensed, becoming noticeably more rigid beside the sleeping teen.
Iseul: What’s that called again? “Mercy?” *He clicked his tongue and a low chuckle escaped his crooked smile. But like a flash of lightning, his excited expression dropped, replaced by something blank and much more menacing. Like a predator watching its prey under the cover of night.
Hyunsu: He’ll be fine. He’s a fighter, like us.
Iseul: It doesn’t matter to me if he pulls through. He’s eating up all of our food and resources.
Hyunsu: We can get more-
Iseul: Our angel’s abandoned us. Don’t you see? I’m hungry. And this f*cker’s taking everything. *He paused, adding almost to himself. ...I think we should start taking things from him.
*The teen wandered to a nearby table almost causally, as if they were discussing the results of a high school game. His nimble fingers meanwhile plucked up the pair of scissors resting atop it and pried them apart, staring at the long, sharp edges with that same blank expression. When he spoke again, it was almost too low for Hyunsu to hear, but as he processed the whispered words, a chill ran down his spine.
Iseul: Bit by bit.
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