Genre: AU!Supernatural, Drama/Minor!Angst, Romance
Theme: Leaf, Phrase to include: "I see nothing"
Summary: The man taunted the world with his cruel hands, leaving behind tattered remains of what once was. The very same, once heartless creature, had become too enraptured by a struggling soul who called for him often. Just when he thought things would change for the better, his own circumstances drastically changed.
"Can I talk to you?" Ryeowook asked in the secluded forest, standing in the furthest corner of the pavement before it reached the edge of the manmade lake.
A single leaf fell from the tree, landing right before his feet, ripples increasing from the gentle touch. Suddenly, an abrupt gust of wind tore the leaves from the trees around him, the water continually shaking until it regained form.
In its reflection, was a man who stood beside the other, raising gray eyes.
The timid man found comfort in the demon that encircled him, he closed his eyes when he reached for his jacket, clutching them. Unlike others, he held no fear.
"You need to learn not to depend on me for strength. Sometimes you have to be on your own."
Ryeowook lowered his eyes, withdrawing his hands. "I'm sorry then," Ryeowook added. "I won't call you anymore."
"That's not it." Kibum replied, when Ryeowook turned around intending to leave, Kibum abruptly appeared before him from the dark wisps of shadows.
"You think of yourself as constantly a problem for everyone, that it's too far from the truth."
Ryeowook closed his eyes. "But it is the truth."
Kibum smirked, gently stroking his cheek, an unusual gesture from his kind. Ryeowook remained the exception to the graces of the fellow demon.
Kibum could feel the warm skin against his palm, the soft fragrance, hear the voice that called him from any distance. There was nothing Ryeowook could keep secret from the demon who intruded in his life early on, and didn't bother to try hiding it.
He knew everything about Ryeowook, but still, Kibum hadn't had enough.
He was closer, lips daringly close to the other's parted. If he dared to initiate it, he could have him, he could do as he wanted. Ryeowook wouldn't reject him.
Instead, he chose to step back, his hand the last to pull as he uttered, wisps of shadows whisked away by the cold wind.
"When you need me, call me. Don't hesitate."
"I see nothing wrong with being yourself."
Ryeowook nodded to himself, repeating the phrase Kibum had told him to encourage him, to bring him out of his shell. He stared at his reflection, coaching himself.
"There's nothing wrong." He repeated. "You'll be just fine."
He turned around, unsure of himself still as he soon appeared outside the building where his interview was held.
"You'll be fine." Kibum encouraged quietly, standing behind him inside the interview room. Ryeowook was the last to be called.
"Is that so?" Ryeowook asked hesitantly, his fingers fidgeting nonstop.
He felt Kibum's hand cradled his intertwined fist, holding it up until they met his lips. His gray eyes never failed to make his heart skip a beat.
"It's never wrong to simply be you." Kibum said. "I can see every fault in you, but I can also see every best. Don't think of yourself any less... This fact I tell you almost everyday, but you still don't believe it." He exhaled. "What would do you if I wasn't here?"
Ryeowook furrowed his eyebrows. "Why not? Can you not come often?"
"That's not it." Kibum began to say when Ryeowook heard his name called. Kibum exhaled. "Go, I'll be here, as always."
Ryeowook seemed worried and looked back at his companion who waved a hand. "Go." He ordered.
Ryeowook nodded and left the interview room, that was now entirely vacant.
An hour passed before the young man ran out from the front doors to the outside. His wide smile tracing his lips, wanting to exclaim the news to the man. Yet once he arrived on the bottom step, he realized no one was there.
"Is this a test?" Ryeowook had asked. He called his name, asking for him as his voice grew louder, with every gust of wind he turned his head. But there was nothing.
He never showed.
"What do you mean you can't see me?" Kibum said, infuriated.
Nothing he did the young man could see.
"I'm right here." Kibum nearly yelled, but the man continued searching for him.
He aimed to wave his hand, to demonstrate that he was there, but nothing came about. His powers were useless.
"Are you struggling?" A voice said calmly, Kibum looked around at Siwon's appearance, eyes narrowed.
"What have you done?" Kibum fumed through clenched teeth.
Siwon remained calm as he stood beneath the beaming sunlight.
"You leave destruction behind with every step, everything is affected the moment you touch it." He shifted his gaze beyond him. "Like that man who continues to seek you out, who's desperate for you, who wants you. And yet you only taunt his desire."
"That's not what I'm doing."
"Oh? Does the infamous Kibum actually care for something?" Siwon asked, an eyebrow arched.
Kibum stood silent, not daring to reveal weakness.
Siwon then continued. "The counsel had long decided, like a ghost you'll leave no hint of your existence. You'll linger in this world but leave no footprint, no sign, unable to ruin anything with your hands."
"For how long?"
"For however long it must take to set things in balance. It's the price you must pay."
His cold expression contrasted against the sympathetic voice. "And unfortunate for the human, he will have to pay as well."
Two years had passed since that day.
"What is that?" Ryeowook asked his new roommate. The young man's face slightly matured, his stance slightly straightened as he moved the boxes in their apartment.
"It keeps demons and spirits away, it's a charm given to me. I doubt it works, but it can't hurt, right?" Zhou Mi said, walking back to his room.
Ryeowook stared at the charm dangling from the door, he then lifted the box and hurried to his own.
Zhou Mi walked beneath the doorway, not realizing the charm had disappeared.
Five years had passed as the autumn loomed in, its colorful array held in awe on either side of him.
The sole man who stood between them remained quiet, his eyes hardened, no longer vulnerable but now unreachable. A prominent financial manager who continued to rise through the ranks, a shadow of the timid man he once was.
Ryeowook walked over those crushed leaves, taking nothing of the sight around him.
That afternoon, he laid on the couch of his office, forcing himself asleep.
Bright eyes peered at Ryeowook's sleeping face. The demon laid beside him, hand gently cradling his face, but the younger could feel, hear, see nothing of him.
He'd linger by when needed, come at his call and quiet pleas. Kibum had sworn to him this vow years ago.
If only the man could see he kept by his promise.
"Will you consider dating me?" Kyuhyun asked idly.
Ryeowook lifted his head at his co-worker who studied his expression, a startled one.
Kibum narrowed his eyes into slits, standing right beside him.
"I can't." Ryeowook began to say, interrupted by the co-worker's raised hand.
"You're not going to give me the same excuse you gave everyone else, are you?"
"It's not a lie."
"Even if it were not, which I doubt, it's pathetic to wait for someone this long." Kyuhyun convinced. "You should learn to let go, even if you don't consider me, you need to move on."
Those harsh words was the brutal reality Ryeowook had to face. Kyuhyun needed him to see that. "From what I can see, he hasn't bothered to contact you. He's probably long left and settled for someone new, just as you should do."
The demon clutched his fist, eyes narrowed dangerously to the man he would have long dealt with. His persistence towards the other he had long seen, his degrading ways of flirting made him loathsome, the way he touched Ryeowook without care made him seethe in anger.
In the seemingly endless lifespan, there had never been a man who made him envious of what he had. Yet Kyuhyun was doing exactly that.
Ryeowook breathed out after the short silence, saying decisively. "Maybe that is the best option."
Kibum froze, shoulders tensed.
He wanted to tear the world apart, making it shattered under his grip, whatever it took for Ryeowook to see he was there, right in front of him. What more did it take?
Did Ryeowook not know how every heartless word pierced through his chest?
How his attempts to appear strong when no one was watching, make him want to encourage him that he was doing fine?
How when Ryeowook looked down, reacting to each blast of wind as if his name were called, with that once hopeful expression. How it gripped his heart?
The world was better off without the ruthless demon who left behind a path of destruction behind him. No one anticipated his return.
If Ryeowook moved on, then there was nothing left for Kibum to rely on, to believe in.
Patience, loyalty, persistence; the very qualities Kibum once stated were his best.
But they were holding him down, forcing him in a past that the world state didn't exist, that it wasn't worth remaining in.
Ryeowook stood at the familiar edge of the lake, a place he hadn't returned to in years. He glanced at the falling leaves that fell about, the ripples of the water distorting his reflection.
He fought back the pain in his eyes, clearing the lump in his throat. He wished he could believe in his own lie.
The truth remained, he'd never move on.
"I still miss you." Ryeowook's voice said quietly, "More than I should."
His voice grew weaker, uttering the words he held with him for years but had never told anyone.
"I was never fine, I was never alright. If I hadn't kept bothering you, then maybe..." His voice became raspy. "If I had left you alone, then maybe you'd be here."
He couldn't hold back the single tear that escaped, running down his cheek as it hit the water. The strong front, the wall he held up for so long, was crumbling down piece by piece.
"If this is a test to make me stronger, then please, stop. I've learned." He pleaded. "I'll keep trying, I'll be confident, I'll be better. I promise, just please come back."
He closed his eyes shut, the tears shedding as he drew in each painful breath.
"I need you back."
The reflection soon formed, revealing the man who stood alone on the pavement's edge. Unable to outline the ghost of the man beside him, nor of the hand that reached out and cradled the man's shaking fist.
His once strong appearance, his one cruel smirk, were replaced with the solemn trace of his weak expression.
He was here, he wanted to scream, he was always here.
"You claimed you had nothing of importance to you. It seems that was also a lie." A familiar voice uttered.
Kibum hands considerately held out for the younger who kept his head lowered.
"What would you give to be seen?" He stood a distance away beneath the starless sky. "To be with him?" Siwon asked.
"Anything." Kibum declared without a second thought.
"You have yet to pay the price." Siwon stated, Kibum narrowed his eyes.
"Then I'll pay it by other means." He declared. There was no set price, no limit he wouldn't reach. "What does it take? What can I do to gain back my status?"
Siwon studied his resolve, the man whose face wouldn't face him, concerned etched in his being as the broken man before him wallowed seemingly alone.
"You'll pay whatever price? No matter the time it takes?"
Siwon then outstretched a hand, his gray eyes glowing.
The irises of Kibum's eyes contracted, the falling leaves fell without sound, the world had stopped.
He was plunged into darkness.
Ryeowook raised his head, wiping the tears with the back of his sleeve, reforming to his former resolve. Becoming the cold, callous man who seemed free of the past that bound him, the past that made him who he was now.
He walked past the crushed leaves, his hallow chest somehow could still beat, he could see breathe but felt his lungs struggle for air.
He was deteriorating, but still lived on. A shifting balance that marked him.
Ryeowook shifted against the cold sheets of the bed, his cheeks stained with the remnants of the nights before. Yet as he turned on his side, he felt his frigid body embrace in warmth.
He awakened to find himself held in a cautious hold, looking up into his own reflection that appeared within those gray eyes.
Ryeowook sat up instantly, the arms cautiously adjusted against the movement. Ryeowook watched as the man struggled to maintain his sight on him, his eyes now pure gray without dark irises. He called his name, but was given no reaction.
The man couldn't speak, hear or see.
Kibum parted his lips, no words able to escape from his throat. He, however, tried to word as carefully as he could, making Ryeowook read his lips.
'I kept my promise.'
The demon could barely move things, as disabled as a demon could be, as restrained as any human but worse. The strongest amongst the evils of the world that plagued both sides, was reduced to a crippled lower level demon. He'd gained each one eventually, when the price was met, when the world felt it was just to give it back.
But he now had to suffer what Ryeowook had suffered, mercilessly only left with touch.
Yet he could feel the hands touch his cheek, to test if he were real. The warm tears that hid as Ryeowook held him, cheek against cheek. His hands feeling the soft pounding of the younger man's heart.
He placed forever in his warm hands, and held him closer. The initiative he once held back, left him as he abused it in that very room, taking Ryeowook into his own.
The younger man could feel his possessive hold, his questions he thought he'd ask he didn't list, the answers he thought he'd demand he no longer cared for. Kibum was with him, and that was all that mattered.
A single leaf settle against the windowsill, a gentle wind blew it inside the room. It fell against Ryeowook's rising chest, oblivious to its hold as he nestled further against the other's. The crippled demon's hand slowly laid against Ryeowook's warm cheek, their foreheads against one another, breaths mingled.
Kibum may have lost his strengths, had become the very definition of a weakened man, but it mattered no longer.
The moment he felt Ryeowook's heart beat beneath his hand, he knew, he swore, that nothing else ever would.
A/N: I had this more lighthearted fic idea early on in the day, but something spurred where it became different and I went with where it took me. This was not how I tended to introduce kiwook into my pairings, but it seems my muse had a different idea.
The three evils are see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Although in some places the "speak" can be interchanged with "do." Kibum was stripped of it entirely, a necessary action that had to be placed. Even the supernatural world can't ignore his wrongdoings for long. Nevertheless, I apologize if I confused anyone ><