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The Undead Guide on Haunting your Roommate

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For a ghost with spiritual power as strong as Wonwoo’s, it would be easy to assume his death was pretty gruesome. A long time ago, when cars and electricity didn't exist, and people were dying left and right of common colds. 

That wasn't the case at all.

Contrary to the general consensus about ghosts, Wonwoo remembers his death very clearly. It wasn't tragic, it wasn't vengeful, violent, or passionate. Aside from unfortunate, his death wasn't much of anything.

It was all incredibly anticlimactic. A gas leak in his apartment when he was taking a nap in the living room. It lasted no more than a few minutes and Wonwoo wasn’t even aware he was dead until days later, and a random group of workers barged into his home and started to pack away his belongings.

And now he's trapped in a decaying building, bound to the four walls of the tiny apartment in the school's neighborhood.

Wonwoo blames the apartment, more than anything. Spiteful little box of cheap tiles, creaky doors, and leaking pipes. He disliked the place enough when he was alive, cursing late at night when he had no hot water and finding moldy patches behind the furniture, but now? Wonwoo would blow it up himself if there weren't other people stuck in it. 

He's not really up to date on lease contracts and rent money, but he can guess not much has changed since he was the tenant. He knows this is a very cheap place, close enough to campus that the money saved on transportation makes the questionable living arrangements worth it. He also knows his death caused a mild decrease in the price, since no one wanted to sit down for dinner next to the spot a kid slept himself through death. 

In theory, that is. In practice, things are expensive and people will much rather risk some blinking lights and bad vibes than work two jobs to afford one of the better apartments in the neighborhood. 

Wonwoo can't judge them. All he gets are struggling college students, anyway, and they're all usually too tired and too stressed to even notice he's there.

For the first year or so, he tried making contact. It was hard because he didn't fully comprehend his situation, waking up sometimes being fully aware of his state and freaking out over being stuck in a limbo, and other days floating around blissfully oblivious, getting scared at finding a random guy in his bathroom in the middle of the night. 

His name was Seungcheol. Wonwoo remembers him clearly, tall and lovely smile, large glasses and way too many stacks of papers lying around. Wonwoo scared him so hard that the poor guy slipped in the tub and got stuck on the shower curtains. He cried and begged to be left alone, naked and wet, a huge bruise on his shin from the fall. Wonwoo felt so bad he disappeared for the next seven months, and he never tried to contact a human ever since. 

Years went by and he learned to deal with the situation. He had his existential crises about a hundred times until he got over it, accepting he was stuck here until some big architecture company bought the building and imploded it to give place to a condo of some sort. Wonwoo would bless the day. The thought of seeing this shitplace blow to the ground gives him more joy than eventually moving on to the afterlife.

Until it comes, though, Wonwoo is stuck with struggling students and the sight of opened packs of noodles next to the kitchen sink.

He pities these kids. They're all like him, tired and trying to pass their classes without losing their minds. He sees them staying up late, typing relentlessly on their computers only to end up deleting entire paragraphs. Sees the many, many cups of coffee consumed in the span of a night and he sees the crying meltdowns over huge textbooks and study guides. 

Being a spectator is downright heartbreaking, so Wonwoo tries his best to be helpful. He does what he can, helping with lost items and phones that they forgot to plug in overnight. One time he banged on the wall to wake a girl so she wasn't late for her finals, the other he turned off the lights when a guy left in a hurry for work.

There isn’t a lot of entertainment for a dead person, so Wonwoo takes what he can get. Everything is mundane, people come and people go, and none of them know Wonwoo is there and he is perfectly fine with it.

That is, until Soonyoung moved in.

Wonwoo watched as he did, and it was nothing out of the ordinary. Just a twenty-something college student, bleached blond hair and not a lot of things he brought packed with him. He came in one rainy afternoon with the help of two other guys that talked more than they helped, drank a lot of beer and then passed out on the single mattress he never put sheets on. 

He was a little odd, but by that point, nothing too unorthodox for a college student. But then months passed by, and Wonwoo realized that there was nothing ordinary about his new roommate. 

Truthfully, in the twenty-four years Wonwoo was alive and the few ones after, he has never met anyone with so little sense of self-preservation quite like Kwon Soonyoung. 

Soonyoung is some sort of online celebrity on a website that didn’t exist back when Wonwoo had access to the shared computer in the family room. A glorified chat room in which he records videos of himself and posts them under the pseudonym Hoshi. 

Sometimes it's a cool dance, something fast and complicated that he decorates with drawings and effects, sometimes it’s a silly video that makes absolutely no sense and yet still gets thousands of likes and shares. Wonwoo does not get the humor at all, even when he tries watching over Soonyoung’s shoulder as the human bends over laughing at someone making weird noises on his phone. 

Wonwoo wonders if he should be glad he wasn’t forced to be a part of this hot mess, if this is what the world has come to. 

The pseudo-celebrity thing is the least of it, honestly. Wonwoo doesn't mind the loud singing and weird noises and complicated dancing — in fact, he thinks Soonyoung is quite talented. No, the thing that drives him insane is how little Soonyoung seems to care about his own well-being.

He eats nothing but junk food and instant noodles, drinks nothing but acid-colored sodas and coffee, doesn't sleep ever, and never takes notice of his surroundings. He bumps into furniture, burns his hands on the stove constantly, trips on the stairs and carpet. One time he sat on the window to clean the outside and lost his balance, almost falling from the fifth floor and scaring Wonwoo into a second death. Soonyoung managed to wiggle himself back in, and instead of being in shock like a normal person, he laughed and turned on his phone so he could tell his followers about it. 

Of course Wonwoo’s first instinct is to help, and what he thinks is going to happen is that Soonyoung will never notice anything going on — and even if he does, he won’t care enough to question it.

That’s not the case at all. A few months after Soonyoung first moves in and Wonwoo has lost count of how many times he’s had to turn the television off in the middle of the night or close the fridge door that was left ajar, Soonyoung gets his little camera and goes around the house recording every single corner and talking to himself. The next morning he posts a video on the internet titled ‘my apartment is haunted?? NOT CLICKBAIT!!’. 

The video goes viral (Soonyoung’s words, not Wonwoo’s) and suddenly every little thing that happens around the apartment is blamed on a ‘vengeful spirit haunting the house’. Wonwoo wouldn’t call himself petty, but he considers very hardly to just stop helping altogether and wait to see how long it takes Soonyoung to join him in the afterlife. 

Not that he wishes bad on anyone, it’s just that he can’t stand the smug look Soonyoung gets every morning when the faucet on the kitchen sink magically screws itself shut. Sue him, Wonwoo cares about the environment, even if it doesn’t affect him in any way. Soonyoung should be thanking him for saving the planet he has to live in, not using him for views.

The thing is, Wonwoo is not even sure Soonyoung believes he’s real. His viewers sure do, and Hoshi gets thousands of messages a day calling Wonwoo all sorts of names (apparition, spook and ghoul are his favorites) and giving questionable advice. Soonyoung seems to indulge in the questions but when he turns his stream off he laughs at the comments.

And he keeps leaving plates at the edge of the sink when he goes to sleep because he knows it will be perfectly safe in the morning.

If Wonwoo still had a corporeal body, he would bash his head against the counter.

Wonwoo doesn't know what to expect when Xu Minghao comes over, but it's definitely not for the man to walk in and look Wonwoo dead in the eye.

“Oh, yeah,” he says, nodding solemnly with his head. “That's a ghost all right.”

Wonwoo splutters out something unintelligible and moves away from Soonyoung's guest. He feels the man's gaze follow as he steps back as if he can actually see him and it's incredibly unnerving. Wonwoo almost wants to vanish from the apartment, but he’s too curious for that. He has only seen a handful of Soonyoung’s friends — one more questionable than the other — and this one seems to be on a mission.

Minghao has a fancy haircut, a fancy jacket, and a fancy briefcase he places on the coffee table after he swipes away a few empty candy wrappers Soonyoung left there two days prior. At first he keeps glancing over his shoulder in Wonwoo’s general direction, but then he shifts his attention to the apartment. He walks around with a scowl on his face, inspecting the walls and the floor as if he’s disgusted by them. Wonwoo wishes he could agree out loud.

Soonyoung is a terrible host and he offers nothing to Minghao, instead he starts listing off the supernatural activities from the past few months in detail. He mentions at least four things Wonwoo had nothing to do with and forgets some others that were definitely his doing. To his credit, Minghao doesn’t pay too much attention. He moves slowly, glancing at Wonwoo from time to time and before he snaps his head back to glare at the walls.

“The spirit is tied to the apartment, I think,” Minghao runs his hand down the door frame, frowning at the wood. “There is a lot of energy trapped in this place.”

Soonyoung scratches under his jaw. “So, what you're saying is,” he pauses for a good second and then his lips curl into a grin. “There's a poltergeist here haunting me.”

Minghao turns to stare at him blankly. “I said absolutely none of those words.”

Wonwoo floats away from where Soonyoung is sprawled on his disgusting yellow couch so he doesn’t use his energy to slap him. He may be a ghost, a spirit, whatever— he’s not a poltergeist. He has never kidnapped any children, and he’s not planning on it anytime soon. 

The two humans are oblivious to his internal query, obviously, and by the time Wonwoo tunes back in their conversation, Minghao has moved to join Soonyoung in the living room, kneeling in front of the coffee table and working the suitcase open.

“So what's the plan?”

Minghao pulls out a handful of candles, different tones of blue and purple and different shapes sculpted on the sides. “We need to transfer the connection from the apartment to something else if we want to set it free.”

He says it so easily Wonwoo almost doesn’t realize that they’re talking about him and that he was just referred to by it. He better start paying attention. 

Soonyoung says something about old books and cursed dolls, snickering by himself when no one pays him any mind. Then, Minghao pulls out a small box from the briefcase, placing it delicately by the table. Its made out of dark-colored wood and details in stained glass, sparkling green and purple under the light.

He opens the box to reveal a ring. Wonwoo floats closer, almost leaning over to get a better look when Minghao spins it carefully between his fingers. It’s a beautiful silver ring with intricate detailing, engraved flowers on each side that braid around to hold a large green gemstone.

“This is a jade ring,” Minghao says, presenting the ring to where he thinks Wonwoo is. He can see two dragons engraved into the stone. “If you can understand me, I can use this to set you free.”

Wonwoo can feel… something. Something from within the jade calling out to him, almost as strong as the heavy walls of the apartment keeping him trapped. Whatever it is, it’s strong and very much real, so he knows Minghao isn’t just some charlatan Soonyoung picked up from the street. 

(Wouldn’t be the first time.)

“Ohh, that looks so sick!”

Just as Soonyoung reaches for the ring with grabby fingers, Minghao slaps his hand away and tells him to stay put. Wonwoo decides then he likes Minghao. 

Soonyoung curls back into the couch and Minghao resumes setting up his belongings on the coffee table, lighting up the candles in a suspiciously perfect circle around the ring box. The last thing he pulls out is a small crystal vial, pale blue liquid inside. 

“Do you know of any stories from this apartment?” He asks, lifting the vial so he can see it against the light. “Anything the landlord told you that could help find out who this can be?”

“Uhhh, I guess?” Soonyoung scoots from the couch to sit on the floor. “Some guy died here in the nineties. Gas poisoning or something.”

“What?” Minghao snaps his head to stare at the man, almost at the same time Wonwoo does. “You knew that the whole time?”

Wonwoo feels something close to shock, because this entire time Soonyoung has never acknowledged his presence past his stupid online videos. He doesn’t know how to feel.

Soonyoung shrugs, unheeding, and both he and Minghao groan in unison.

After a beat, their gest leans back into his hands. “Well,” Minghao says, raising both eyebrows.  “What is his name?”

“Jung Wonseok.”

Minghao nods slowly, letting the information sink in before he turns to Wonwoo’s general direction with a questioning gaze. Wonwoo sighs, forcing the emotions under control with some controlled breaths. It looks like the shift in the air from his annoyance is detectable enough for Minghao to let out a small chuckle. 

“I don't think that's right, hyung.”

“Or something like that. I wasn’t really paying attention.” Soonyoung shrugs, stretching both legs in front of him like a child. He tilts his head at Minghao, a goofy smile spreading on his lips. “All I heard was ‘cheap rent’ and then I blacked out.”

A scowl appears on Minghao’s face, but it doesn’t phase the other in the slightest. “You’re a hazard to society.”

The two of them start to snicker but whatever it is gets filtered out, and Wonwoo feels himself start to lose shape. It’s such a small thing to weaken his spirit, but it hits him harder than he thought it would. 

Wonwoo hasn’t heard his name out loud in a really long time. If the information passed to Soonyoung was correct, then it’s been almost two decades. He hasn’t been a person in almost two decades. He’s just the kid who died here, the spirit that won’t leave, the ghost of apartment seventeen. The hope of having someone know who he is, know his name, as feeble as it was, makes the reality hurt a lot more than he expected. 

He forces himself to stay in the present and turns to find Minghao looking at him again. He seems expectant.

“My name is Jeon Wonwoo,” he says, defeat clear in his voice. 

Minghao doesn't hear him, of course, but his shoulders fall and something very similar to commiseration takes his features. 

Soonyoung takes back his attention and Wonwoo is left to hear Minghao explaining the process, what a spirit with the amount of energy Wonwoo holds is capable of and the benefits and risks of living under the same roof as him. Wonwoo can’t defend himself against the allegations, but something tells him Minghao doesn’t see him as a threat; he’s talking just to let him know why he’s here for, and he makes it clear that the choice of whether they trap him or not is entirely up to Wonwoo. 

The thing is, he trusts Minghao. His desire to be set free from this apartment is nothing new and he has considered the possibilities a thousand times before. Now that he’s being offered, he doesn’t want to dwell too long about this. Or give himself time to regret agreeing. 

So when Minghao asks him to pick up the ring from the candle circle and hold it between his palms, he does it without a single thought.

He half hears Soonyoung's gentle gasp from behind him, too caught up on how everything suddenly turns bright. The entire apartment seems to be under an overexposed filter and the only thing in focus is the green jade between his fingers. Wonwoo feels it heavier than any other object he's tried to move since his death, but somehow impossible to drop at the same time.

The lights of the apartment start flickering when Minghao begins to talk, his voice echoing inside in low murmurs of words Wonwoo can't understand. He can feel the apartment refute, doors threatening to fly off their hinges and the wooden floor trembling under the furniture. Things are shaking as if a strong wind is traveling violently between rooms, blowing the hair away from Wonwoo's forehead and making the fire shake from the candles.

A loud, acute noise feels his ears. A screech so high it could shatter glass, growing louder, louder, thinner—

And then nothing. 

Wonwoo peeks one eye open to check on his surroundings, but everything looks perfectly normal. No doors dramatically snapped open, no papers flying around, not a single hair out of place on Soonyoung's head.

He looks down at the ring and, aside from it having changed from weighing a ton to light as a feather, it looks exactly the same. Wonwoo puts it back on the table gently, faded fingertips tingling with the unusual feeling. The one thing he notices is that he’s not exhausted as he usually is after putting on the effort to do something physical.

On the other side of the coffee table, Minghao’s eyes seem a bit hazed, focused on the ring.

“That’s it?” Wonwoo asks, at the exact same time as Soonyoung. 

Minghao blinks, looking from one to the other. “Yeah. That’s it.”

Soonyoung whistles under his breath and Wonwoo tunes them out again. He looks around the apartment, looks at his own hands and the translucent grey skin. He pokes into his senses, testing if he can still disappear into the void and come back easily. He can tell he’s lighter, if that means anything. As if the ceiling and the walls are no longer over his shoulders keeping him down.

But, aside from that (and an annoying tug at his neck), he feels exactly the same. 

“—Of course it worked,” he hears Minghao scoff, picking up the candles and other small trinkets Wonwoo hadn’t noticed before. “I was the one who did it.”

Soonyoung picks up the ring and almost immediately drops it, bouncing it from one hand to the other. 

“Yikes, this is freezing!” 

Minghao hisses for him to be careful, and then Soonyoung decides to warm it up between the sweater paws of his hoodie. Wonwoo feels weird again, like the feeling of being next to an oven when something is baking. He’s honestly a bit dazed, not sure it’s because of the corporal effort, whatever magic Minghao performed on him, or just general tiredness from being around Soonyoung for too long. 

It’s confusing and he doesn’t know how to feel.

Vaguely, he listens to the instructions Minghao gives on the ring and how to deal with the spirit trapped in it. Something about finding out what he wants or a place he wants to go, somewhere he’ll feel comfortable and safe enough, and then burying the ring inside the tiny wooden box, covered in the blue liquid from the crystal vial.

“Drown the ring and then bury it,” Soonyoung says with a few nods. “Got it.”

Minghao gives him a scrutinizing look, as if he wants to say something but is internally debating if it’s worth the trouble or not. Before he can decide, though, Soonyoung jumps to his feet, clapping his hands loudly and startling Wonwoo out of his half-dazed state.

“Welp,” he rubs his hands together, eyes moving around the apartment. “It’s getting pretty late, huh, Hao? You should get going.”

The man in question narrows his eyes, but he picks up the briefcase and starts to slowly move towards the door, Soonyoung following close behind. Minghao manages to put on his shoes and coat before he decides he doesn’t trust his friend after all.

“Do not, under any circumstances,” Minghao says, finger pointed right under Soonyoung’s nose. “Put this ring on.”

Soonyoung doesn’t even try to hide the mischievous grin. “Uh-huh.”

“I'm being serious, hyung!” Minghao stomps his foot, his voice only a step away from distress. “It's one thing to have a spirit tied to a location or an object, but it's something else entirely to have it tied to you!” He pokes at Soonyoung’s chest, trying to force some sense into him. “This is strong energy, you could end up with a vengeful—”

“Okay, got it!” Soonyoung places both hands on his friend’s shoulders and flips him around, manhandling him towards the door. “Thanks a lot, Hao! It's time for you to leave now!”

“Wait, Soonyoung!”

And that’s all Wonwoo hears before Soonyoung all but shoves Minghao out of the apartment, locking the door behind him and smiling to himself. He walks back to the living room in slow steps, bringing the ring closer to his face so he can inspect the jade under the light. Wonwoo can practically see the green reflected in Soonyoung’s eyes. 

“Neato!” He says in a sing-song voice.

And then he shoves the ring into the middle finger of his right hand.

If Wonwoo thought for a second that being trapped in the apartment was the worst fate, he was sorely mistaken. Being trapped to Soonyoung is a thousand times worse.

The ring, which was supposed to be his ticket to freedom, turns out to be the exact opposite, keeping him physically hostage to the human wearing it.

It's his own personal hell, to put it lightly.

The jade functions as a leash, tying Wonwoo by an invisible thread to Soonyoung’s finger and dragging him along by the neck to wherever he goes. It’s a distance of barely five meters keeping them apart and Wonwoo has no choice but to follow. 

Wonwoo hates it at first, despising the thought of being at the mercy of what is possibly the most deranged person he has ever met in his life not fun in the slightest, but as it turns out, the pros seem to outweigh the cons. Because it means that, whenever Soonyoung leaves, Wonwoo gets to leave too.

He almost doesn’t believe it when Soonyoung steps foot out of the apartment a couple of days later, and when Wonwoo floats past the threshold there’s nothing holding him back. He’s in complete awe for the first few days, making himself as light as possible and simply being carried by Soonyoung when he goes about his daily business. The neighborhood hasn’t changed at all, save for a few new restaurants and storefronts.

The campus, the convenience store, the park, Wonwoo sees it all with new eyes. He sees people, so many people, and he feels something deep in his existence that reminds him a lot of happiness. Soonyoung, albeit unknowingly (and quite recklessly), has given him more in a week than Wonwoo had in decades. More often than not, Wonwoo finds himself filled with gratitude towards him.

Having to make himself scarce whenever Soonyoung starts doing something private is a small price to pay for seeing the world again.

Of course it’s not all a walk in the park, and sometimes Soonyoung still makes Wonwoo wish he disappeared into the void for the next decade. Like when the intercom rings that night and runs excitedly to retrieve a square cardboard box only to throw it behind his shoulder once he gets what’s inside. 

It’s a fucking ouija board.

Wonwoo groans so loud he’s certain someone must have heard him.

Soonyoung sets the whole thing up with so much enthusiasm that he could easily bounce off his own skin, sitting cross-legged in front of the stained coffee table with the board on display. Wonwoo has to admit, he’s a bit surprised that Soonyoung hasn’t picked up a camera to record the whole thing, but he assumes his roommate is probably just too excited to care.

For the first five minutes, Wonwoo has absolutely no intention of joining, and he plans to stand by it. He plants himself across from Soonyoung like a weightless rock and watches as the other makes a fool out of himself, holding the wooden piece over the board and asking out random questions in a silly voice.

It’s annoying, more than anything, because Soonyoung keeps taunting him.

“Is there a presence here with me today?” He asks, waggling his eyebrows at the ceiling.

Wonwoo rolls his eyes so hard they would have fallen out if he had a real body.

“You know I’m here, you jackass!” He says, even though it’s ignored. “I’m stuck to your stupid ring!”

Soonyoung keeps asking variations of the same question and Wonwoo has to hold down the petty urge of knocking down the whole board. He crosses his arms, instead.

“Aw, come on!” Soonyoung whines after a while, dragging out the vowels. “Play with me a little! You know you want to!” A pout appears on his lips, his cheeks puffed out. “It must be boring being a ghost all day, right? Don’t you miss talking to another person?”

You’re hardly a person, Wonwoo thinks, but it’s only because he hates to admit that Soonyoung has a point.

He gives in, regretfully moving his hands to hold the other edge of the wooden piece and starts dragging it towards the marking of the word Yes. Soonyoung gasps out loud and digs his fingers deeper into the piece, making it a bit harder for Wonwoo. Nothing he can’t manage though. 

Now that he has finally shown himself, Soonyoung keeps bouncing up and down from excitement. He wastes no time bombarding Wonwoo with questions he reluctantly answers, going through the most basic ones first. After they’ve established that yes, he is the ghost in the jade ring and yes, he has been in the apartment this entire time, the questions start to go downhill.

“What are you wearing?”

Wonwoo has had the misfortune of dying in his pajamas, so he’s stuck wearing gray sweatpants and an old shirt with an ink stain for all eternity. Like all aspects of his existence, it’s something he has hated and long made his peace with. But instead of sharing his poor wardrobe choices, Wonwoo moves the wooden piece to spell out something else.

“F… U....” Soonyoung narrows his eyes so can make out the words as his hands move around the board. His entire face lights up when it finally clicks. “Oh, fuck you?” His lips curl into a grin and he looks around the room, waggling his eyebrows. “Don’t mind if I do, Mr. Poltergeist!”

Wonwoo feels his blood boiling. He’s certain steam would be coming out of his ears if it was possible. “I’m not a poltergeist!”

The sudden burst of rage sends a blast of ice-cold air across the room, making the windows rattle and the fire of the colorful candles blow out in one swift motion. It stuns both of them into silence and Soonyoung winces from the sudden drop in temperature. He looks around the room again, eyes stopping to inspect the candles and the flickering lightbulb in the kitchen.

Wonwoo shrinks into himself, forcing the burning energy to simmer down. He has had long enough to learn to be in control of his emotions, and the last thing he wants is to scare Soonyoung.

“Shit, was that you?” Soonyoung says, shivering from his butt to his head. “Are you touching me right now?” He looks at the board and then at the empty space next to Wonwoo, thinking he’s there. “Not gonna lie, that was kinda hot.”

The urge to disappear comes back and Wonwoo pulls the wooden piece so hard he almost knocks it out of Soonyoung’s hands. He refuses to keep answering the same stupid questions, spelling out random things he wished the human did (like putting out the trash and shutting up), but he only succeeds in making Soonyoung bored.

“You can talk to me, you know?” He says, giving up on the board and leaning back into the couch. “I don’t care if you’re mean.”

Wonwoo sighs. “I’m not mean.”

“Come on!” Soonyoung groans, head falling to the seat of the couch and the heels of his feet bouncing on the carpet. “This is no fun without you!” 

Five more minutes pass of Soonyoung talking to himself and whining, having given up completely on the ouija board and now retorted to annoying Wonwoo into a conversation. The longer it doesn’t work, the more dejected he looks.

“If you don’t want to talk,” Soonyoung asks in a small but hopeful voice. “Can I at least see you?”

Huh. 

Wonwoo hasn’t shown his face to anyone since Seungcheol, out of fear of scaring them. He knows at least what he looks like from the few times he’s checked a mirror. He’s not anything terrifying, aside from a tired-looking young adult with permanent bed hair.

If anything, Wonwoo wants to show himself with the sole intention of spooking Soonyoung to give him a taste of his own medicine. 

“Oh, fuck,” Soonyoung’s eyes widen so much they might just fall out. He looks Wonwoo up and down, his mouth falling open and then closed. And then open again. “You’re hot!”

Wonwoo rolls his eyes.

“I mean,” Soonyoung shakes his head, inching closer so he can get a better look. “I was kind of picturing you with some white dressing gown and really long hair, you know?” He smiles, head tilted to gesture at Wonwoo. “Black eyes and long nails, the whole creepy package.”

Part of Wonwoo is glad he didn’t actually scare Soonyoung, but the other is slightly regretful that it didn’t. He’d also be a bit flattered that he was called hot, if only Soonyoung didn’t have a track record of flirting with anything that moves.

“Not that I’m not pleasantly surprised at being wrong, though.” 

Wonwoo raises an eyebrow at the human’s smirk, “I’m sorry for not living up to your expectations.”

Just as he says the words, Soonyoung frowns. He scoots closer and then a pout appears on his face. Wonwoo starts to feel a bit self-conscious with the undivided attention. It’s been a long time since anyone looked at him like this.

“What?”

“Ah,” Soonyoung whines through his pout. “I can’t hear you at all!” He blows the fringe away from his eyes. “This sucks.”

A tinge of disappointment blooms at the back of Wonwoo’s mind, but he makes sure it doesn’t affect him much. He was expecting he wouldn’t be able to contact the human world fully — even the image Soonyoung can see must be nothing more than a faulty echo of his appearance, there but not quite. Not being heard isn’t really a surprise. 

“Since you’re here and we can’t talk,” Soonyoung says, suddenly. “How about you possess me? You could totally do it, you know? Given you’re a poltergeist and all.”

The suggestion itself being absurd goes completely unnoticed by Wonwoo, and instead what takes over him is a blinding sense of anger, the corners of his vision darkening and his presence feeling heavy.

“Stop calling me that!” He snaps, and a burst of energy spreads across the room, making Soonyoung wince slightly, surprise running through his face for a split second. 

“Oh,” he blinks, and then the same infuriating smile is back. “You're angry, aren't you? That's so sexy.”

Wonwoo buries his face into his hands and groans out loud.

His fit of rage does him no good and Soonyoung takes it as a personal challenge to keep pressing, listing out a dozen different reasons why possessing him is a great idea. He's like an overexcited puppy, inching closer and jumping up to follow when Wonwoo tries to move away. He can feel the ring's hold on him getting tighter, pulling closer as if the thing itself also wants this to happen.

“Come on, do it!” Soonyoung jumps around him as Wonwoo gets himself cornered into the wall, somehow unable to just float through. He's going to lose his mind.  “Possess me, take over my body! Possess me! Do it, do it, do it!”

All he can hear is Soonyoung's voice and a thin, quiet ringing noise coming from the jade on the human's finger, and he can't take it anymore. 

Wonwoo isn’t even sure he can possess someone, but fuck— if it shuts Soonyoung up, he is going to try. 

It happens so fast that, at first, Wonwoo is convinced he simply disappeared back into his void. 

One moment he's floating in space, trying to get away from Soonyoung and his puppy eyes, and on the next, his vision is blank, the same ringing noise so loud in his head he can't think properly.

And then he feels it. 

It's so incredibly awkward. The weight of his body, the sturdiness of the ground beneath his feet, and how the light hurts his eyes even if his eyes are closed. Clothes draped over his body, fabric clinging to his shoulders and thighs, the socks trapping his feet. His mouth is dry and the scent of pumpkin spice and cinnamon is so intense it makes him nauseous. 

Wonwoo takes a deep breath and his lungs expand with air, his pumping heart calling out for more. 

Wait.

His eyes snap open, and then it hits.  

The light is bright and it's real. The apartment has life again, not the sad faded colors he's gotten used to over the years. Every single thing stands out as if on focus, the paint peeling off the corners of the wall, the rips on the skinny jeans he's wearing. The light breeze from the open window across the room, sheer curtains dancing with it gently when it comes in and brushes past Wonwoo's skin.

No, not his skin. When he looks down at his palms, those are not his hands. Those are Soonyoung's. 

Fuck, Soonyoung. Wonwoo has no idea what happened to him, he can't see him or hear him at all. He calls out loud, and then in his mind, and he is just about to start panicking, because he's pretty sure he could have accidentally killed Soonyoung. 

He forces himself to breathe again, slowly this time, and rattles his brain for something helpful. There's no way he killed Soonyoung because Soonyoung is standing in the living room, a picture of health itself. The rational part of his brain tells him Soonyoung must be fine, and if Wonwoo is possessing his body (holy shit??), then his mind must be asleep somewhere. He just needs to find it.

Wonwoo closes his eyes and starts poking around the edges of his own consciousness for anything that isn't his, any sign of someone else's energy lying dormant. He tests the reigns of his mind, making his presence smaller and more contained, slowly giving space for something else.

A nudge in his mind catches him by surprise. He feels himself being shoved, odd and uneven, as if he was trapped in a crowded bus and people were dragging him along. It's uncomfortable and beyond weird, but he doesn't fight it because he can tell it's Soonyoung. 

His limbs start to move and it's hard not to fight it, he feels like a puppet being pushed and pulled by a force he can't see. For a few seconds, both he and Soonyoung struggle to share the space until they get used to it, barely, and that's when Wonwoo starts to regret this idea.

Soonyoung is, unbelievably, more obnoxious inside his head than he is out loud. 

Sounds and images explode in his mind, showing him commands and names and places, and suddenly his body is moving and his legs stumble over each other because one can't agree with the other. Something very similar to a siren is wailing in the distance, and he gets tackled by all sides by Soonyoung's overwhelming emotions, excitement bursting out of him so violently he stumbles into the couch.

He tries to make his own emotions stronger, mostly begging Soonyoung to calm down, but it's not really working. Once he gets a handle on the emotions and the siren falls silent, Soonyoung's voice takes its place.

‘Ah, this is the coolest shit EVER!’ Soonyoung screams in his head, bubbling from one corner of his mind to the other. 'Wonwoo, you’re my new best friend! We have to play video games like this. You think maybe we can each control one hand and then—’

‘You—’ Wonwoo stumbles through the images flashing in his mind of game consoles and colorful racing cars on a screen. ‘ What did you just call me?

“This is so fucking cool,” he hears, out loud this time. Having his mouth — Soonyoung’s mouth — move without his permission feels all sorts of wrong. “Wait, can you see what I see? In my head?”

“Soonyoung, focus!” Wonwoo hears a faint sorry at the back of his mind. “Just now, you called me Wonwoo!”

A short, very short silence follows, and then Soonyoung comes back. “Ah, my bad,” he says, his arm coming up to scratch Wonwoo's arm. It's weird because Wonwoo's arm is not his arm, but he feels it all the same. “It’s Wooseok, right? Sorry, I have the brain of a goldfish.”

“No, god—” Wonwoo's hand comes up to rub at his face, and it feels like he's touching someone else. He can't disagree on the fish part, though. “My name is Wonwoo. Jeon Wonwoo.”

Inside of his head, he goes through the same process of understanding that Soonyoung does, and even feels the quiet oh that never leaves his lips. 

“My name is Kwon Soonyoung!” The human says, his smile noticeable through his voice. “I'm so happy to finally meet you!”

The feeling radiating from Soonyoung is genuine. Wonwoo can feel it, can feel it touching him gently like sunlight in the morning, warm and welcoming. This may be crazy and wrong, being inside someone else's mind, but sharing that sentiment with Soonyoung somehow wipes every worry out of his mind. 

As much as he thinks this is weird and he's going to come to regret this day, it's not a lie when he spells the words back in his mind, wrapping himself in Soonyoung's bright energy. 

‘I'm really happy to finally meet you, too.’

Possessing Soonyoung turns into some sort of recreational activity for both of them.

It starts off slow, the both of them sharing the same body as Soonyoung tries to go on about his day, washing dishes and playing videogames. Then it evolves to going outside, Wonwoo tripping over because likes walking slowly to enjoy the view and Soonyoung is practically skipping down the sidewalk.

After the first few weeks, they have the entire thing pretty much on hold, and it becomes as easy as breathing. Wonwoo spends some time hanging out as his usual spirit self while Soonyoung does his own things, and then it only takes them a quick glance for Wonwoo to slip back in and find a comfortable spot in his mind. 

Sometimes, Soonyoung just lets him have full reign and retreats into himself to take a ten-hour nap he claims he rightfully deserves. 

Wonwoo treasures these days immensely, making sure he wraps Soonyoung in a blanket of gratitude and appreciation so he can rest properly. Then, he goes to every place he used to love. The library downtown, the local park with the special area stray cats gather to sunbathe. He visits small stores he walks by, smiles at strangers and stuffs his face with new flavors of pizza and chocolate lava cake.

Other times, he just relaxes at the back of Soonyoung’s mind, flipping through the memories of his childhood like a photo album. Soonyoung has claimed time and again he doesn’t mind sharing, so Wonwoo learns about his life to pass the time. He loves the memories and he loves the emotions Soonyoung attaches to each one when Wonwoo brings them up randomly. Soonyoung was a bright, friendly child who was always adored by his friends and family, and living through his old days always makes Wonwoo’s own day better.

(One of his most current favorite pastimes has been getting old jingles stuck in Soonyoung’s mind while he’s in class. It backfires more often than not because they happen to share said mind, and the song gets stuck in his head, too.)

The majority of the time, though, it’s when the two of them share the space equally. They start to understand each other’s cues on movement and need, and the times they clash are almost inexistent. They talk in Soonyoung’s head, sometimes with words and sometimes with nothing but indications of feelings and ideas they’ve learned to decode.

The Wonwoo from a couple of months ago would never have admitted, but they make a pretty damn good team. 

Especially when they’re making their way back from campus one afternoon and there’s an annoying scratch at Soonyoung’s side about something he’s sure he forgot to do. 

‘You promised your sister you’d check if the store a couple of blocks down has the boots she wants.’

“Oh, thank you!” Soonyoung lets out a loud exhale when Wonwoo pulls the screenshot of said boots from his memory. “You’re a lifesaver.”

A small part of him warms up at the praise, but the other is rather self-conscious of their surroundings.

‘You don’t have to reply to me out loud, you know.’

“I know,” Soonyoung snickers out a laugh. “But I want to.” 

They stop by the edge of the sidewalk just as he says it and, on cue, a pair of girls turn to give him an odd look. Wonwoo feels his cheeks warm, but Soonyoung’s body doesn’t react at all.

‘People will think you’re crazy,’ he points, and then to himself, he adds, crazier, that is. 

Soonyoung shrugs inside his head. “Let them. That’s why I do it, anyway.” He looks around until he finds the reflective glass from the store behind them so he can look at himself, and then he winks at Wonwoo. “I like having that kind of power.”

In Soonyoung’s mind, Wonwoo rolls his eyes, but the smile that takes shape on Soonyoung’s lips comes from him.

It’s Wonwoo’s idea to contact Minghao and tell him about their situation. Soonyoung thinks it’s none of his business, but given the weight of the freezing ring on their right hand begs to differ.

Minghao is, understandably, very annoyed when Soonyoung calls him, but after some gentle coaxing (and at least three different promises of behaving in public), the man agrees to meet them up for coffee.

Not them, Wonwoo. That also takes a lot of gentle coaxing and Wonwoo promising to take Soonyoung’s next exam for him. 

At the campus café the next day, Wonwoo waits patiently for the man who has, arguably, changed his life. He has Soonyoung’s most normal coat and the dark blue turtleneck, Soonyoung’s blond hair down and brushed, for once. At exactly four p.m., Minghao walks through the glass doors, looking every bit as fancy as he did back at the apartment, shiny boots clinking faintly on the carpeted floor.  

It’s quite obvious he’s suspicious from the way he sizes Wonwoo up and down, but he shakes Wonwoo’s hand when he offers after introducing himself. They find a seat at the far back, next to the bookcase where is quieter, and Wonwoo feels his cheeks start to burn, a bit shy under the man’s intense gaze. 

“Sorry, this is a little weird.” Minghao chuckles, hand gesturing vaguely at Wonwoo. “I’ve never seen Soonyoung-hyung act so civilized in my life.”

On the back of their mind, Wonwoo feels the mix of indignance and annoyance that brews in Soonyoung before he hears his voice, ‘Tell him to suck my dick,’ he thinks with a tinge of mocking. ‘And I’ll show him civilized!’

Wonwoo rolls his eyes. ‘And you wonder why no one ever takes you out in public.’

‘You take me out in public.’

‘I have no choice.’ He smiles back at Minghao, hoping he wasn’t silent for too long. ‘Now shut up, I’m trying to have a conversation here.’

“That’s fine,” he says to the other man, cleaning his palms over Soonyoung’s pants. He lets out a breath, teasing. “It’s no easy feat, let me tell you.”

A clicking of tongue in his mind. ‘Suck my dick.’

‘Suck your own dick.’ He shoots back, keeping the face Minghao sees unphased.

Soonyoung snickers and Wonwoo feels the way he’s smiling, like a little minx. ‘Who’s being uncivilized now?’

Thankfully Minghao doesn’t notice their bickering and accepts Wonwoo’s offer to pay for his beverage — with Soonyoung’s money, of course. Wonwoo gets himself black coffee with a dash of milk (damn Soonyoung’s baby taste buds) and a green tea for the other, and then they talk.

He answers every single one of Minghao’s questions, from his motives for moving to that apartment to the cause of his death, sparing no details when he assures the man he has no ill intentions or vengeful tendencies. If he had any unfinished business stopping him from moving on, he has no idea what it is, and he doesn’t much care to find out.

Minghao keeps a close watch on him, narrowing his eyes every now and then when Wonwoo says something he thinks is suspicious, only relaxing after making sure there’s nothing he’s hiding. By the time both their drinks are gone, Minghao seems to have accepted the situation, more or less. He doesn’t look too pleased, but he doesn’t necessarily unpleased, either. 

“Well, personally,” Minghao places the paper cup down and brings his hands together, elbows leaning over the table. “I think this is a terrible idea. But,” he gives Wonwoo a pointed look before his face relaxes with a small shrug on his shoulders. “It doesn’t seem like you guys are hurting anyone, so…”

Soonyoung scoffs, “Yeah, speak for yourself.”

Minghao notices the shift in tone and raises an eyebrow. 

“Don’t mind him,” Wonwoo nudges Soonyoung to the side, giving Minghao a pointed look. “He’s just being dramatic because I eat all of my vegetables and drink enough water.”

In their head, Soonyoung whines and bounces like a spoiled child. ‘I go to pee every single day now!’

‘You’re supposed to pee every day!’ He thinks back, scandalized, only to have Soonyoung scowl at him again. 

‘What do you know? You’re dead!’ 

His absolute bewilderment must be showing on Soonyoung’s face because Minghao bursts out laughing, clutching the coffee mug with both hands. 

“You know what,” he says a few minutes later, after he has calmed down. “I think I’m starting to like you better than Soonyoung, Wonwoo-hyung.”

Minghao is lucky he doesn’t hear the string of curses and dramatic declarations of betrayal that pop from all corners of Soonyoung’s mind. Wonwoo finds himself smiling back over all of the noise, anyway, hopeful at the possibility of making a new friend.

When Soonyoung decides he wants to go out clubbing, Wonwoo is not shy about demonstrating just how much he doesn’t want to join. 

It’s an arduous task, and after pretty much the entire day of arguing back and forth, Wonwoo finds himself being pushed from side to side on a sticky dancefloor, listening to music so loud he barely hears himself in Soonyoung’s mind.

“Isn’t this fun?” Soonyoung screams through the loud noise, not caring who can hear him. 

‘You and I have very different definitions of fun.’

‘Boo, stop being boring!’ Soonyoung shakes his head to the rhythm of the bass, jumping on his feet together with the group of people around him. The song ends with a chorus of cheers and drunken yells, Soonyoung’s included, and then a warning sparks in both their minds, loud and immediate. ‘Fuck, I need to pee again.’

Wonwoo laughs at how innocent Soonyoung’s voice sounds and helps him move past the crowd on the dancefloor, the buzz of being intoxicated not affecting him quite as much. He refuses to help Soonyoung once he gets to the bathrooms, though, and retreats to the back of his mind until the other is staring dumbly at his own reflection, drying his hands on the side of his leather pants because there are no paper towels available.

It feels disgusting, only reminding Wonwoo further of why he avoided clubs like these back in his days. 

‘Oh my god, knock it off with the old man crap!’ Soonyoung frowns at him through his reflection, mouth in a scowl. ‘I’m enjoying myself here. Why can’t you at least give it a shot?’

There’s something very honest underlining the way Soonyoung chooses his words, and Wonwoo feels a bit of guilt. He knows they’re intertwined inside Soonyoung’s mind, he knows his own emotions and opinions, no matter how insignificant, can influence what Soonyoung feels, and vice-versa. If he is closed off and annoyed, then it will be a pebble on the sole of Soonyoung’s night; but, if he allows himself to open up and bask in the other’s genuine happiness, then he might end up enjoying himself. 

When he looks back at the mirror, Soonyoung is giving him the damn puppy eyes again. 

Wonwoo sighs and gives in, because that look has become his biggest weakness as of late. He does pretty much everything Soonyoung wants, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize his safety. His resolve crumbles and he allows his influence to melt into Soonyoung’s warmer, bubblier side and then he’s showered in satisfaction and triumph. 

Soonyoung winks at him from the mirror, “A little party never hurt nobody!” 

And then he’s back into the buzz.

They have a few more drinks in Wonwoo’s honor and now the entire room is a bit blurry, the colors and lights from the dancefloor painting the faces and bodies together. Wonwoo ends up enjoying the party — not as much as Soonyoung of course, especially since he’s immensely pleased with himself — enough to accept a stranger’s invitation to dance.

The guy is handsome, even in the dark and flashing lights. He’s slightly taller than Soonyoung, the shirt he’s wearing fits him just right and his body is warm when they dance close. He looks just like a fairytale prince and the way the stranger leans close to whisper in Wonwoo’s ears makes the jumps of his heart give the Olympics a run for its money.

“You bumped into me, earlier,” he says, lips a breath away from Wonwoo’s skin. “Made me spill my drink.” A low chuckle, and then the man presses closer. “You were so handsome I didn’t mind, though.”

A chill runs from Wonwoo’s feet to his spine, and every inch of him the man is touching burns.

“I’m Jun, by the way,” the man’s fingers tap down his side, stopping by his waist. “And you?”

He doesn’t even think before he blurts out, “Wonwoo,” and then the man takes his hand so they’re dancing again. 

The song is loud and the lights keep blinking, the bodies around him jump around and bump into him every now and then, but the only thing Wonwoo can focus on is how Jun is holding him so close he can smell his cologne. 

Jun’s lips are just behind his ears, burning hot on the cold skin. It’s electrifying and his hands twitch, clinging to the smooth fabric of his shirt, feeling the shape of the muscle under it. It’s instinctive, the way Wonwoo leans into the touch and his whole body goes tense and pliant all at once. Something about how Jun moves, the way his eyes are playful and suggestive at the same time, it’s hypnotizing. 

He wants to tilt his head and lean in, he feels himself tilting his head to lean in, and he can see when Jun moves to meet him halfway.

Wonwoo is giving in so, so easily.

“I need to, uh—” he places his hands on Jun’s shoulders so he can push him, taking a small step back. “Sorry, I need to go to the bathroom.”

Jun blinks, a bit confused. “Oh, sure,” he says, letting go of Wonwoo’s waist immediately. He smiles, though, looking hopeful. “I’ll see you out there, then?”

“Yeah, yeah!” Wonwoo can’t even look him in the eye, his lips tingling and his ears on fire. “I really need to go, though!”

Wonwoo doesn’t wait for Jun’s reply, turning on his feet and almost falling over in his hurry to the bathroom so he can hide away from the man in one of the stalls. 

He wanted to kiss Jun, bad. He was so close, too, enough that their lips brushed for a fraction of a second and that alone was enough to send lightning bolts through his skin. There’s a tug at the pit of Wonwoo’s stomach, a burning he hasn’t felt in a long time, begging so he marches back to the dancefloor and kisses Jun hard enough to bruise his lips.

Except, he can’t do that. He can never do that.

‘And why not?'

Fuck, shit. Wonwoo almost jumps out of his skin. For a hot minute, he forgot all about Soonyoung. 

There's a playful scoff in his head, 'Geez, thanks a lot. All it takes is one good pair of long legs and a sexy smile and you're ready to throw me in the trash?'

Wonwoo groans, leaning his back on the door and banging his head against it. ‘It’s precisely because of you I can’t do that!’ 

Confusion takes over Soonyoung’s side of his mind, evident that he’s looking for a good enough explanation but can’t find any. ‘Me? I was quiet the entire time! You even forgot about me!’

“I know,” Wonwoo sighs, holding back the urge to sit down. God knows what kind of fluids are stuck to this floor. ‘Soonie, I’m so sorry, I got carried away.’

‘Sorry about what?’ 

If he couldn’t feel how sincere his confusion is, Wonwoo would be sure Soonyoung was messing with him. He doesn’t want to explain himself, especially because it’s obvious, so he puts the thoughts forward, emotions and reasons flying around until something snaps in comprehension. And then Soonyoung snorts. 

‘Wonwoo, do I look like I mind? Like, honestly?’ He pictures himself with his hands on his hips, looking at Wonwoo like he’s stupid. ‘When have I ever said no to hooking up with a cute guy?’

He makes sure the feeling behind his words is clear enough, a mix between reassurance, tranquility, and only a tiny bit condescending. Wonwoo pushes it back with his own emotions, and how he’s sorry for not taking into account that this body is not his, and that he doesn’t take Soonyoung’s kindness for granted at all. 

‘I know that.’ Soonyoung thinks, and it’s not harsh at all. He moves close to Wonwoo and even if he’s a bit indignant, he’s still entirely sympathetic. 

‘I don’t want to use you like that.’

The indignance comes back, far louder and more intense this time. In his mind, Soonyoung shoves him to the side. ‘Ah, that’s what this is about?’ He scoffs. ‘Wonwoo, please. Don’t use me as an excuse because you’re scared.’

Wonwoo stops the thoughts dead in their tracks, blinking at the wall in front of him. ‘I’m not scared!’

‘Sure you are!’ A wave of the many reasons he’s convinced Wonwoo has, but mostly he’s just calling him a wuss without the actual words. Wonwoo is dumbfounded. ‘You’ve been using me all this time to read books,’ Soonyoung thinks the last part with so much disgust Wonwoo feels it in his mouth. ‘Why not do something we’re both going to enjoy?’ 

Wonwoo looks down at his feet, where he can see the stripes of Soonyoung’s ridiculous tiger print boots. He feels something bubbling in him again, a fire at the pit of his stomach he can’ tell which side is coming from. ‘Isn’t that wrong, though?’ 

‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong. Having someone that hot into you and not seizing the moment.’ 

Wonwoo wants to scoff because he knows exactly what words Soonyoung is holding back from saying. He’s still hesitant, even though he knows he’s two seconds away from giving in. Soonyoung senses it too, and he says just the thing to get Wonwoo to leave the bathroom stall. 

‘I thought you wanted to live again. This is your perfect chance.’ 

That’s all it takes, really.

Finding Jun is a lot easier than he expected and Soonyoung’s eagerness has taken over enough that Wonwoo doesn’t give himself a chance to chicken out. 

“I want us to make out now, if that’s okay with you,” he says, not caring about the group of people Jun is with.

One of the guys, black hair and lip piercing, spurts out a laugh and the other one just snickers into his drink. Ignoring them is a lot easier when Wonwoo is wearing Soonyoung’s shamelessness as armor, and all he cares about now is the intense look and raised eyebrow he’s getting in return. Jun doesn’t laugh, and after a few moments, he hands his beer to one of his friends. He says nothing when he smirks at Wonwoo, threading their fingers together to lead him away. 

It seems that Jun likes wasting time even less than Soonyoung himself. He twirls Wonwoo and presses him into the wall as soon as they reach a secluded corner, and then he’s closer than he’s been the entire night. 

Jun feels even more incredible than he was hoping. The music is barely audible over how the air leaves through his nose and Jun’s breath gets to his skin. He’s warm and strong, his hands on Wonwoo’s face, thumb just a graze over his lips, kissing him like he was waiting for it the whole night.

In his mind, Wonwoo whimpers. 

Jun bites into his lower lip before he pulls on harder, and then takes the opening of Wonwoo sighing to lick into his mouth. Wonwoo grabs his waist so he doesn’t melt into the ground, hips twitching so he can feel more, get closer, and Jun presses back into him just right— rubbing their crotches together when he gets one thigh between Wonwoo, sucking a moan from his mouth that comes from deep into his core. 

Wonwoo pulls back to breathe, sweat sticking to his neck and chest, and he can’t get enough of Jun’s mouth. He kisses down his jaw, warm and infuriatingly slow, and Wonwoo can’t do anything but bare his neck and focus on not falling over. 

Jun hums into his skin and Wonwoo feels the growing bulge in his own pants.

He snaps his eyes open and pushes Jun off, knees shaking from the sudden lack of contact. His hands move Jun until they’re no longer tangled and then he lets go to ground himself on his thighs, head spinning with a billion different thoughts. 

“Wonwoo? Are you okay?” Jun looks like he wants to reach out but is stopping himself. “You need some air? Water?”

The concern in his voice makes Wonwoo want to puke out all the alcohol Soonyoung consumed tonight. He shakes his head, breathing through his mouth. “No, I’m, uh, fine.” He rubs his eyes and temples. “I just can’t do this. Not now, I can’t—”

He interrupts himself with a sharp inhale and his hands fall to the side. He can hear Jun saying something along the lines of it’s okay, don’t worry about it. Jun is too good to be true. 

“F-fuck, I’m. I’m so sorry,” Wonwoo lowers his head, not daring to look up and risk finding disappointment in Jun’s face. “I have to leave. I’m sorry.”

“Hey, no,” Jun says gently, but he still takes a step back. “Wonwoo, there’s no need to apologize. You don’t owe me anything.”

Wonwoo takes in a deep breath, and reaches out to squeeze Jun’s arm one last time. 

“Thanks, uh. Thank you.”

Jun tries to say something Wonwoo doesn’t wait for his reply. He turns on his feet and moves away without looking back, again, hoping Jun can find someone better to hook up with tonight. He pats his pockets to check if he still has Soonyoung’s phone and keys, pushing through the bodies until he squeezes himself out the door and cold air whips his skin like a shock wave. 

Wonwoo practically runs home, forcing every single thought — his or not — into a pit and throwing a rock over it.

He doesn’t leave room for anything else until he finds himself safely in their shitty apartment, trying to kick the boots from his feet and cursing when the laces get tangled. He takes quick, sharp breaths until he finally gets them off. He stumbles into the bathroom with no lights on, immediately leaning down in front of the sink to splash cold water over his face. And then again, and again, until he has droplets running down his neck and into his shirt. 

The softness of the towel when he dries his face helps him ground himself, slightly, and then Wonwoo can finally take a deep breath in.

'What's the matter?' Soonyoung doesn't press, his voice nothing more than a gentle nudge. 'Are you okay?'

He’s okay. He’s been okay this entire time, and there’s nothing to worry about. He just needed to get away from Jun. 

Soonyoung asks him what happens and, reluctantly, Wonwoo tells him. He uses more emotions and the flashes of his own memory than words, hoping the storm happening in his corner of the mind comes through to the other side. 

‘You wanted to keep kissing him,’ Soonyoung doesn’t voice it like a question, but it is. He’s trying to put the pieces together but he’s struggling to understand. ‘And you got overwhelmed?’

It’s not just that. The thing Soonyoung keeps forgetting is that Wonwoo spent years without any sort of human interaction, and most of his experiences were so long ago they became a novelty again. Jun is beautiful, and Wonwoo is not used to having beautiful people interested in him. He most definitely isn’t used to flirting back, and it all happened too fast. It’s one thing to flirt with Soonyoung through their shared link, but desire in the real world was too much.

Teasing knocks into him again. ‘Flirting, are you? With lil ol’ me?’

“Oh my god, shut up,” Wonwoo mumbles to the dark room, rubbing at his face again. “You’re flirty all the time, you rub off on me!” 

It’s virtually impossible to escape Soonyoung’s flirty mood, and he gets horny pretty easily. The fact that he’s handsome and loves looking at his own reflection doesn’t help Wonwoo at all. He thinks he is just too touch-starved to kiss hot strangers at parties and accidentally end up rubbing into them. 

‘So you were getting turned on, got half-hard,’ Soonyoung shrugs. ‘What’s the big deal? Happens to everyone.’ 

Heat spreads over Wonwoo’s cheeks again, the feel of Jun’s body pressed into his back in a white flash. ‘Not to me!’

Their link grows strangely quiet for a stretched pause, and then Soonyoung tilts his head at him through the mirror. “Are you a virgin?”

“I’m not answering that!” Wonwoo chokes out and then, feeling something closing in his side of Soonyoung’s mind, ‘And stop trying to poke around my memories!’

He feels Soonyoung’s pout before he sees it on the man’s face. ‘This is so unfair! You get to see all of my memories anytime you want!’

‘That’s because you have no filter,’ he snaps, picturing a wall around his thoughts so he can demonstrate what he means. He also huffs a little, before he can stop himself. ‘You’re the one sharing them with me, I’m not poking around.’

Soonyoung complains a bit strongly through their connection, very noticeably rolling his eyes with derision. 

Wonwoo is not a virgin, though, even though he might as well be. He can count in one hand the times he had actual sex, and it was always with girls. He was always attracted to men, but it wasn’t exactly easy back then. He was too shy to go look for it, anyway. 

Soonyoung seems to accept it without any judgment, which is appreciated. Instead, he hums and places both hands on his hips. 

‘But you wanted it, didn’t you?’ 

He didn’t have to specify what, but he does it anyway. Wonwoo sees himself back in the club, back pressed against the wall and Jun’s lips on his neck, hot and playful. It shakes him from the inside, prickling sensation at the tips of his fingers. 

That’s encouragement enough for Soonyoung. Of course he wanted it.

The images in his head start to get more vivid. His eyes fall shut and he leans forward to brace himself on the sink. Soonyoung gives him no room to breathe, he thinks about how Jun’s torso felt when Wonwoo had his hands on him, how he sucked into his lower lip just hard enough for it to make him shudder, how he dragged his nails down Wonwoo’s spine, the sting under the thin fabric. 

It doesn’t stop there. Soonyoung shows him what could have happened, if Wonwoo had allowed himself to stay. If Jun had smirked into their kiss and asked if he wanted to get out of there, if he had pulled Wonwoo by the hand and back to the bathroom, locking the door and pressing him against it.

If Wonwoo ran his hands up and down Jun’s body, under the silk shirt to feel the skin burning up inside. If he breathed in the low sounds of Jun’s throat, reaching down to feel him through those tight, tight jeans, make him twitch and mewl under his touch. How he would taste the more they kissed, salty and sour from the tequila shots he had had before. 

If Jun had sunk into his knees, his fingers digging into his hips hard enough to leave a mark when he looked up with hooded eyes, lips shining and warm.

It’s so enthralling Wonwoo doesn’t even notice his hand has moved from the sink to touch him over his pants, slow and just barely moving. It feels good even if he’s not doing anything too much, just the gentle press and occasional cupping are enough to draw a shaky breath out of him. 

Wonwoo snaps the hand back to the sink and curses. He can tell there’s a strain in his pants now, uncomfortable and annoyingly grounding with how sensible it feels under the fucking leather fabric. 

This isn’t the first time Wonwoo has seen Soonyoung hard, but it’s the first time he’s experienced it in person. 

He breathes out, forcing his head to focus on something else. His jaw was tense and there was still some sweat from the club clinging to his nape. It was getting hard to breathe in the bathroom, especially when Soonyoung was crowding him like this. 

Wonwoo tries to move but the friction on his dick makes him wince, a hiss leaving his lips. He wants to use Soonyoung’s own hands to wrap around his neck. 

‘Damn, Soonyoung,’ he’d be embarrassed if he wasn’t so annoyed. ‘You fucking happy now?’

It’s a stupid question. He knows Soonyoung has no problem getting off. He says it as much with the emotions he’s sharing at the moment, and the smug feeling he’s not even trying to hide. 

“You know,” Soonyoung plays with his voice, corners of his lips twitching and his eyebrows rising suggestively. “We could take care of it for each other.”

Wonwoo almost cusses out loud. Soonyoung’s mind is very graphic. “Absolutely not.”

“Why not?” Soonyoung shrugs, completely unbothered by his own suggestion. “You’re already inside me. There’s no need to get all prude, now.”

The more he talks the more he thinks about it, and there is nowhere to escape. Wonwoo forces his eyes shut, because he can’t stand the way Soonyoung is looking at him. It’s torture because he doesn’t need to guess the intent behind it, he feels it in his own skin. The tension in his muscles and the way his mouth is dry, and especially, how good Soonyoung feels.

“Wonwoo, look at me.”

In the dark, all he can really make out are the outlines of Soonyoung's face. The sweat Wonwoo feels clinging to the base of his neck, the shy trace of red of the flushed cheeks on the cold air. He sees Soonyoung staring at him through his own eyes, hooded eyes burning with something dangerous. Wonwoo feels cornered, his hands grip the sink tightening when he gulps.

“I can leave,” Soonyoung says, his voice low and calm. “I'll go to sleep and you can take care of this by yourself.” 

He pulls his hand away to ghost over Wonwoo's thigh. It tingles from how it's close enough that it's barely a touch, taunting in a way that is almost torturous.

“Or,” Soonyoung continues, following each beat of Wonwoo's heart with his heavy, hot presence. Wonwoo wants to look away but he can't, Soonyoung making sure they don't break eye contact. “I can take care of this myself. You can watch if you like,” he's almost whispering now, but Wonwoo can hear him loud and clear. Everywhere he turns, he feels Soonyoung. “If not, you can leave, too. I don’t mind either way.”

Wonwoo pulls himself away, peeling the hold of his mind inch by inch, just so he can breathe. He lets out an exhale and Soonyoung lets him, hoovering from the side. He swallows down, watching as Wonwoo tries to will the feelings away. It's pointless, both of them know this, Wonwoo knows this. He wants to argue back, but he feels so weak it's almost a joke. He can't even discern how much of what is burning inside of him is his own desire anymore. All he can think about is Soonyoung's voice, Soonyoung's pull, Soonyoung's feel.

Soonyoung reacts to it from inside, shuddering lips and his chest burning. He raises his hand from Wonwoo's thigh and runs it up his abdomen, fingers digging into the cold fabric. Wonwoo's breath hitches and he uses his free hand to ground them, knuckles white from the grab on the sink.

“You can stay,” Soonyoung whispers, a confirmation to Wonwoo’s unspoken question, his thumb lining the shape of Wonwoo's lips. “You can enjoy this.”

“F-fuck—”

‘Just give in,’ comes Soonyoung's breathy, deep voice. Wonwoo feels every inch of his Soonyoung wrapping around him, caging him. ‘Let me make us feel good.’

Wonwoo has done nothing but give in to Soonyoung. Really, what’s one more?

“Do it.”

Soonyoung strips away his control in one sudden pull, leaving Wonwoo to float in the feel of his own skin. 

Soonyoung touching him, touching himself, that’s the least of it. 

He knows they can influence what the other feels just by thinking about it, they’ve done it a million times, but this is different. 

It’s so intoxicating and intense, in a way that Wonwoo feels himself drowning in what Soonyoung feels when he palms him through his pants. It’s a mix of Soonyoung’s own fantasies, what he likes to do and what he likes having done to him, the shape of Jun’s lips from earlier and how eager Wonwoo is to feel something again.

The very few experiences he’s had before can’t compare to this. Soonyoung is so used to himself he doesn’t hesitate at all, he has no reservations when he stumbles back until he hits his back hard against the cold tiles and works the zipper open, finally, and Wonwoo gasps out loud when Soonyoung’s hand finally touches him. 

The position is a bit awkward, standing up and pressing his back into the wall so he doesn’t slide to the floor, pants and underwear stuck just above his knees, Soonyoung’s hand stroking slowly with just enough pressure that it makes him bite into his lower lip. It should be embarrassing, how easy it is to make him feel this good. He can’t focus on anything other than the thrill in his body, the things Soonyoung is showing him and the sound of his own shaky breathing. 

Each movement is a bit more intense than the last, a bit more taunting, and Wonwoo feels the air sticking to his skin when he pants, hot and heavy. Soonyoung slides his thumb to spread out precum and he gets more intense, twisting his wrist over the head in a way that makes Wonwoo see fucking stars. 

He groans through Soonyoung’s lips and lets his head fall back, swallowing the sounds as they come. He’s not going to last a lot longer than this, he feels ready to fall apart already. He’s sure he only lasted this long thanks to Soonyoung’s own will. 

‘Don’t hold yourself back on my account,’ Soonyoung thinks in a low whisper, his movements getting faster with each word, the wet sound of his hand moving up and down sending Wonwoo’s head into a dizzy spiral. ‘I feel what you feel, remember?’ 

To prove his point, he presses his thumb just under the head and drags it down the shaft painfully slow, making sure he feels every twitch and Wonwoo arches his back, teeth grinding together, only to stop when he reaches the base and his fingers go lax around his dick.

Wonwoo groans out loud, “F-fuck, Soonyoung,” he knows his whole face is twisted but he doesn’t care. “Just get this fucking over with, already!”

Soonyoung’s infuriating laugh rings over his ears, but his grip gets firmer immediately.

‘Your wish is my command, Wonwoo-yah.’

Once they start, it's almost impossible to stop.

Now that Soonyoung knows he has this power over Wonwoo, he has reached a whole new level of menace.

For one he has taken a habit of making Wonwoo horny at random times of the day. First thing in the morning, during a shower, when Soonyoung is bored out of his mind because Wonwoo wanted to watch a history documentary — it doesn't matter. Soonyoung will bombard him with images and feelings and he'll whisper things he knows will do the trick.

In retaliation, Wonwoo makes it his personal job to rile Soonyoung up when he's in class. 

It gets easier and harder at the same time, the more they do it. They learn each other's ticks and likes, learn new things they enjoy together, too. Wonwoo wasn't particularly active back in his day, and he sure as hell doesn't mind catching up now.

But what he learns, mostly, is that there are very few limits to Soonyoung’s lewdness. 

‘You're not buying a ceiling mirror, Soonyoung.’

“Come on, why not?” Soonyoung whines, pouting through the words as he zooms in on the pictures on his computer screen. “I'm doing this for you, you know?”

Wonwoo knows he'll regret asking, so he keeps quiet. Unfortunately, Soonyoung doesn't need him to voice anything out loud and proceeds to picture himself waggling his eyebrows. 

“You'll benefit from this more than me, don't you think?”

Before Wonwoo can retort, Soonyoung flashes images of them locking eyes in the bathroom, memories from that night mixed with the new possibilities of having the mirror above Soonyoung's bed. He laces in how much he knows Wonwoo likes watching him, seeing how he squirms under his control.

‘What I think,’ Wonwoo scoffs through their connection. ‘Is that you're a narcissist ass with an exhibition kink.’

“Ah, baby,” comes the reply, together with a teasing smile. “You know me so well!”

Soonyoung ends up buying the mirror, but only after Wonwoo goes through his savings and expenses and makes sure they can afford it without having to last the month on butter and toast.

While it doesn't come, though, they make do with the mirror nailed to the closet door. 

It doesn't take Wonwoo much to get Soonyoung naked and sweaty on his own bed. Wonwoo enjoys it just as much as Soonyoung, savoring each whine and gasps he pulls as he works him open slowly. The Soonyoung he sees in the mirror is pliant and beautiful, just the way Wonwoo likes it.

Now if only he knew how to shut up...

‘You sure like to talk big for someone with two fingers up his ass.’ Wonwoo thinks, pressing into Soonyoung deeper and rubbing his forehead into the mattress. 

“If I can still talk,” Soonyoung moves his hips, his impatience bleeding through to poke at Wonwoo. “Then it's b-because you're not doing your job right.”

‘Such a brat,’ Wonwoo hooks his fingers and presses, feeling how it affects Soonyoung from inside. He twirls into him, feeling how his toes curl against his will. ‘I think it's about time you learned some manners,’ he smiles, trapping Soonyoung's lips between his teeth. ‘And start calling me hyung.’

For good measure, he shoves Soonyoung's face back down, using his free hand to drag his nails into the soft, milky skin of his thigh.

Soonyoung only laughs, choked up and a bit delusional.

“Last time I c-checked,” he turns his head enough so he can look at Wonwoo, cheeks squished into the mattress. “You died at twenty-four,” he smiles, breathing through his mouth and tongue pressing on his teeth. “And I've been twenty-five for almost a year.”

From this angle, Soonyoung looks like something unreal. Skin flushed with red and the sweat on his forehead catches the light when he moves. Face shoved into the sheets and ass up, his own hand between his legs. Wonwoo wants to shut him up.

He doesn't ask before he slides a third finger in. He doesn't have to. Soonyoung feels the lift, from deep inside where Wonwoo has a hold of every nerve of his skin. His eyelids flutter and he groans at the end of his throat, feeling the taste of Wonwoo's tongue on his lips.

Wonwoo can feel how Soonyoung's dick is begging for attention and he stops Soonyoung from thrusting into the mattress. Wonwoo digs his nails into Soonyoung's hips and forces him to keep still, the fingers inside him pressing into the spot that makes Soonyoung moan out loud. A reminder that Wonwoo could touch him, slide his thumb across the tip the way he knows Soonyoung likes. 

He can, but he won't.

“If you want me to touch you, Soonyoung-ah,” he whispers through a smile, chest heaving with each breath Soonyoung takes. He times each stroke with the silky feel he laces Soonyoung's mind with. “You better start behaving, like a good boy.”

Soonyoung is about to bite back, but Wonwoo floods his mind with desire and compliance, shutting him right up.

It's almost like a war between them, an inside joke in the most literal sense. They know exactly how to press each other’s buttons and whether he ends up giving in or taking control, it doesn’t matter. He feels it both ways, always overwhelmingly satisfying when it’s over.

But it's fun. Not just the sexual parts, not just the friendly bickering. 

Soonyoung is fun, and he makes Wonwoo feel like he can be fun as well. When they're together Wonwoo feels freedom even though he's trapped in the jade heavy on Soonyoung's finger.

What he doesn't fully get at first turns out to be quite simple. He loves and hates everything about Soonyoung. 

His energy, his passion for the world. How he doesn’t give a damn about what others think of him, how he finds the bright side of things even when it goes wrong. He goes after what he wants and he goes out of his way to make the people he loves happy. He’s boisterous, brave and entirely indulgent. He’s everything Wonwoo never was. Everything he wished he had, someone he wouldn’t have befriended and yet someone he wished he knew.

Wonwoo sees in Soonyoung his long-lost lifeline, and he never wants to let him go. He thinks he rightfully deserves a little more happiness and he doesn't plan on leaving unless Soonyoung asks him to. And, quite selfishly, he hopes that day takes a long time to come.

The best and the worst part — depending on the day he thinks about it — is that Wonwoo knows exactly what Soonyoung feels about him, and Soonyoung feels pretty much the same thing.

Later, when it’s dark and the sheets are discarded on the floor and Soonyoung is getting under fresh covers, Wonwoo thinks he has never felt at home quite as when the two of them lay down like this.

The pillow is soft and Soonyoung sighs contently, vaguely aware of what Wonwoo is thinking. He can pick up on the undertones, the warmth and delicate feelings luring him to sleep. His own thoughts are faded, drowsy from how relaxed and tired he is. He feels so safe when Wonwoo is watching over him, looking over his dreams and making sure he rests well.

It does things to Wonwoo’s dead heart, but he doesn’t want to worry about it now.

‘Sleep well, Soonyoung-ah.’

Under the covers, Soonyoung joins his hand and threads their fingers together. Wonwoo feels how he sighs, smiling, with nothing in his chest but contentment.

“Make sure I dream of you, Wonwoo-yah.”

He falls asleep almost instantly after that, smile still on his lips. 

As far as Wonwoo is concerned, Soonyoung will have nothing but sweet dreams for the foreseeable future.

One afternoon, Wonwoo isn’t particularly paying attention as Soonyoung drags them across town, walking aimlessly on their way back from a new bakery they wanted to check out. Soonyoung is singing some new bubblegum pop song from a girl group he likes and Wonwoo is doing his best to avoid getting it stuck in his head, too. 

It’s not going to work, but he tries anyway. 

A few minutes later, having since given up, Wonwoo is humming along to the chorus when he notices just what’s across the street, the rusty sign on the old iron gate catching his eye like a bright neon sign.

Wonwoo doesn’t notice he stopped them from walking until he feels the nudge of Soonyoung’s questioning, asking if everything is okay. He can’t bring himself to talk, even in his mind, so he opens enough space so Soonyoung can see everything he’s seeing.

The words in the rusty sign are something Wonwoo is familiar with, because he’s been here several times when he was alive. As a child, holding flowers with his mother and father, and then a few more during his adolescence. He has the memory of the place fresh in his mind, even if the faces of his family are too blurred for him to recognize. 

“Oh,” Soonyoung says, small, matching the memories of the cemetery in Wonwoo’s mind to what they see in the present. 

Wonwoo nods. Oh. 

‘You think this is where you’re buried?’

It’s the same place his grandparents are, along with his aunt and a handful of his distant relatives. It’s the place he came to with his mom a few times a year, holding white and yellow flowers and prayers for his family. He doesn’t think this is where his body is. He’s sure.

Soonyoung is quiet for a few seconds, his warm presence wrapping around Wonwoo like a hug. 

‘Do you want to go in?’ 

Wonwoo says it out loud before he can change his mind. “Yes.” 

The path through the fields is easy enough to follow, Wonwoo going by instinct more than memory. The sun is getting lower and lower in the sky and the shadows casting from orange make the place look strangely peaceful. The wind brushes the hair away from his eyes and Wonwoo takes a deep breath, bracing himself for what's about to come.

Finding it is a lot easier than he thought it would be. He simply walks until his feet stop, patches of missing grass from where other people have stood before him.

He sees the names of his relatives first. His grandparents, his aunt— Oh. His father had passed, too, six years ago. The mourning comes and goes in an instant, because Wonwoo had allowed himself to let go of his old life a long time ago. He closes his eyes for a minute and hopes his father has moved on with no regrets, and that his mother is living well.

Soonyoung holds him through it and says nothing. It's more than enough.

When he feels ready, he opens his eyes again. He goes through the names in a slow, almost lethargic motion, reading them in his mind.

And there it is. The engravings are bright and silver, stark against the black stone.

Jeon Wonwoo. 

Beloved son and friend. 

1972 - 1996. 

This is it. His body, or what's left of it, is in a box under the ground somewhere in front of him. Wonwoo braces himself for a sense of dread or the greatest existential crisis ever experienced in humankind, but. There's nothing. There's absolutely nothing.

No regret, no guilt. Not a trace of longing or anger, sadness or even acceptance. He looks at the date of his death, a random summer afternoon over twenty years ago, and it doesn't mean anything to him.

All he feels is an empty spot. Something that hasn't been there for a long time and Wonwoo doesn't even miss anymore.

‘This is a bit awkward, isn't it?’

Soonyoung laughs under his breath. ‘A little bit, yeah.’ And then, a bit more somber, ‘Are you sure you're okay?’

“Yeah,” he voices out loud. To Soonyoung and to himself, his spirit and what's left of his body under six feet of dirt. It flows effortlessly because it's sincere, and it brings him some peace. “I'm really okay.”

The snap of cracking leaves catches their attention, Soonyoung's head turning curiously to find a man looking mortified about having possibly interrupted something personal.

It's someone Soonyoung recognizes from his midnight trips to the local McDonald's — the tall cute guy who always gives Soonyoung extra ketchup without him asking. Wonwoo has only met him once or twice, always through the back of Soonyoung's mind when he's particularly hungry for fast food. The man always greets them with a warm smile and this time is no different, even if there's worry evident in his eyes.

Soonyoung smiles back, to put the man at ease.

“Hey,” he says. “You're here visiting someone, too?”

“Ah, no, uhm.” The man rubs his arm, looking around nervously before he faces Soonyoung again. “I sometimes come through here as a shortcut to work,” he lets out a nervous chuckle. “I know it's weird.”

Soonyoung finds it hilarious, but when he laughs it's small and friendly. “Nah, it's okay. I get it.” He shrugs. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

That seems to calm the man down, and he takes a few steps closer. He fumbles with the strap of his backpack and nods towards Wonwoo's grave, his eyes gentle and sympathetic.

“Family member?”

Soonyoung shakes his head. “A friend.”

“I'm sorry for your loss,” the man offers, the smile on his lips twitching into something sad for a fraction of a second. “Were you two close?”

“Inseparable,” Soonyoung says, softly. “I’ve had him inside me multiple times.”

The poor guy chokes out coughs, red spreading all over his face and ears and he tries to calm down. Wonwoo feels his own bafflement burning up inside, mixed up with the loudest and longest groan he can muster. Outside, he can tell Soonyoung has the straightest face possible, giving the man an innocent blink of his eyes. He’s still cackling inside his head, though, so Wonwoo pushes him away, tucking him to a corner of his mind he won’t do any more damage. 

“I’m really sorry,” he says to the guy. “I’m an idiot who has absolutely no sense of social skills and no brain-to-mouth filter.”

The man tries to say something but nothing really intelligible comes out of his mouth. After struggling with himself for a few seconds, he spurts out an “I should get going, haha, goodbye!” and scurries away, tripping over a patch of grass on his way and turning even redder.

They watch the guy until he disappears in the path, tall body moving as fast as his legs can carry without it being considered running. Soonyoung is still laughing just as hard, wiping an imaginary tear from the metaphorical eyes in his own mind.

‘You’re a horrible person,’ Wonwoo deadpans. ‘I hate being inside your head.’

Soonyoung huffs out of his nose. “Well, babe, unless you want me to leave your magic ring over there and set that spirit of yours free,” he nods towards the black stone with Wonwoo’s name on it “You’re stuck with me until death do us together.”

It's such a ridiculous thought that Wonwoo spurts out a bubbly laugh. He feels light as he does it, the sound of Soonyoung's chuckles washing away the empty feeling like rain. He takes one last glance at his grave and lets out a breath, stepping away until they’re back on the path. It’s getting dark, the sun barely a breath above the horizon. 

‘Come on, you menace,’ he shakes his head, nothing but fondness in his voice. ‘Let's go home.’

Soonyoung beams at him and turns on his feet, going in the same direction the Mcdonald's employee had a few moments before, hands in his pockets and orange sunlight kissing his skin.

Wonwoo considers Soonyoung’s words, at the very back of his own mind where he knows he won’t be heard, for nothing more than a second. The last thing he wants is to be set free or whatever, and given the choice, he’s always going to choose Soonyoung. A small part of him questions how selfish this is, how it can’t function in the long run and that it shouldn’t, either. That eventually, he’s going to have to move on and put an end to it. 

In the future, though.

For now he indulges the feeling, having since learned from Soonyoung not to dwell too much on things he can't control and live in the moment. Whatever happens to him, he will accept it gladly; for now, however, he's going to bask in Soonyoung as much as he can.

Which is a fitting thought because, he is, quite literally, walking off into the sunset holding hands with Soonyoung.

‘Until death do us together.’