"Who's there?" Sungmin asked loudly, watching shadows move under a streetlight. Something had been tailing him, no matter how he switched bodies, it had been able to track him, and Sungmin was done with guessing games.
A small tawny kitten made its way from under the streetlight and meowed cutely at Sungmin. Sungmin blinked in surprise, and the next moment it was a large black panther, who jumped up and tackled him to the ground. Before Sungmin could react, it was a naked boy, who was still licking at Sungmin's face.
"W-what?" Sungmin stuttered in shock, because he'd never another shifter before, much less one who changed forms like he was made of shadowsmoke, switching bodies like the containers they were. The boy tilted his head, and stared back at Sungmin with the clearest blue eyes he'd ever seen.
"You can call me Hae," the boy said with a giggle, rolling his tongue, as if he were used to tasting his teeth, the words falling out breathy and indistinct. "You're Sungmin, right?"
"Y-yeah," Sungmin answered, and the boy returned with a wide smile. Sungmin could still see the outlines of sharp teeth, the imprint of claws digging into his shoulders, but he smiled back, unafraid.
A scream echoes through the small, family-run establishment, and Heechul chokes on his morning coffee, snapping his eyes up to the back door, where a large black panther dashes out of Max's room, leaping over the counter to hide behind the bar.
Sungmin looks over the counter with wide eyes, and a bare hand reaches up, dangling a pair of bright pink boxers, a montage of large purple dolphins swimming around. "Hae!" Sungmin shrieks, "I was kidding!"
"Someone's going to die!" Heechul hears from the open door, and a Junsu clad only in a towel, dripping water all over stalks out, glaring daggers at everyone present. His eyes fall on the boxers in Sungmin's hands, and "give me those," he snarls, his expression flashing and wild.
"K-kay," Sungmin agrees, eyes glazed, and holds out the undergarment.
"Keep your cat on a leash, or I'm going to skin the fucker next time," Junsu hisses, seething, and stalks back in the direction of the bedroom.
Donghae slides over the bar, falling neatly into Heechul's lap, and makes a face, sticking out his tongue.
"Sungmin's lonely," he complains, jabbing Heechul between the ribs, about to steal the rest of Heechul's coffee when Jaejoong dives for the mug and snatches it away. (After the whole fiasco with alcohol, no one was going to let the shifter have any kind of stimulant, be it caffeine or anything else).
Heechul rolls his eyes but nudges the sulking Donghae into a more comfortable position, and reaches over to pat Sungmin gingerly on the head.
"I'm Xiah," the demon says, dangling his legs on the roof of what used to be your body, his bright pink nails clicking on your finish. He's smiling at you coquettishly, and you remember his hands on Heechul's chest, his tongue in Heechul's mouth, making deals. You hiss through your teeth, and you think if it came down to it, you could hurt him as much as he could hurt you.
"What do you want?" you ask, and you want him gone, but before you can react he's close, his breath hot against your cheek, his fingers trailing down your arm.
"I'm curious," he says slowly, his tongue licking at his teeth, slow and careful, and you let out a breath you didn't realize you were holding, his teeth closing on air too close to your face, "what are you?"
"I'm his," you answer, shoving him away, and he stumbles before he falls, his laughter echoing like the sound of bone striking tin.
"But he's not yours," Xiah says, his eyes red and cruel, looking up at you through thick lashes, "so what does that make you?"
"Want me," Eeteuk whispers, drawing lashes over his eyes, the feel of power burning through his skin, and Heechul thinks no, no, no.
"Stop," Kibum says, with an edge of force, "stop," and Heechul can't think, can't move, but that doesn't stop Eeteuk from drawing his tongue past his lips, breathing slow and wet, sucking a finger into his mouth and biting down, the scent of Heechul's blood filling the small space of the bedroom.
Kibum's eyes are dark, and there's the hint of a smile on his lips, as he breathes out, and tosses Heechul against the wall. "Fuck. You." Kibum says, holding him there, and Heechul watches shadows dance in his eyes.
"You wanted me once," Eeteuk says, twisting Heechul's voice around his words, and Heechul feels like there isn't enough air in the room, like it's completely filled with power, tight with the smell of blood and worse, much worse.
Kibum shrugs, not breathing, and Heechul tastes copper, blood sliding down his chin, power shifting and moving around him, unravelling, "that was a long time ago."
"Not so long," Eeteuk murmurs, smearing blood from his face onto his hands, rubbing his fingers together and Heechul feels the snap and crackle of something that isn't electricity, that can't mean anything good--
"Stop," Kibum snarls, throwing him against the wall, a hand on his wrist until the bones break, and Kibum's eyes are wild, a deep scarlet that makes Heechul think of crushed flowers, bruises on pale skin.
Eeteuk smiles, letting a soft whimper escape, and Kibum wraps a hand around his throat, but then he moves, sucking the air from Heechul's mouth, until his vision goes dark and Heechul can't see, but he feels the slide of a tongue on his cheek, a hand tilting his forehead back. "I'm not stupid," Kibum hisses, dragging teeth under Heechul's chin, just light enough not to draw blood.
"I beg to differ," Eeteuk answers, breathy and sweet, and Heechul regains his vision just in time to see Kibum press a hand over his mouth, his expression cold with anger.
Kibum digs nails into his shoulders, so deep Heechul would swear they are touching bone, and kisses him--
the touch of metal in his mouth, curves and foreign letters and it slides down his throat, burning through him, and he screams he screams he screaaaaaaaaams
--Heechul wakes up with an pounding headache, the press of indistinct images, betrayal and lies and echoes of old wounds that never healed completely, buried so far beneath the skin they're not a part of him anymore--"the fuck was that?" Heechul asks, and everything hurts, like he's died again.
"Got him out, didn't I?" Kibum says with a slow drawl, and runs a hand gently down Heechul's arm, stopping at his wrist. "Bite your tongue," is all the warning he gets before Kibum snaps the bones back into place, slams power through his flesh and fuses them back together, and Heechul screams, trying to twist away.
"Fixed," Kibum says with a smirk, flipping Heechul onto his back, licking the traces of blood from his mouth, forcing him silent.
Junsu's sitting at an ice cream parlor waiting for Jaejoong to show when the door opens and his mouth drops open, the person walking through the door a carbon copy of himself. Only, the doppelganger's wearing weathered punk rock clothes, more piercings in his ears than Junsu has on his whole body.
"H-hi," Junsu says carefully, stammering in shock.
The twin lets out air in a huff of breath, lights up a cigarette and slides into the seat next to him. "I have a twin already, who are you?"
"X-xiah Junsu," Junsu answers, sneezing when his double blows smoke into his face, "I'm just a regular college student."
"Lovely," the doppelganger remarks blandly, "how fucking boring."
"What about you?" Junsu snaps, bristling.
"I can do things with my mind you can't even imagine," the twin answers in a sneer, his smile poisonous, darkness in his eyes Junsu has never seen before except in movies. "Want to see?"
"Kiss me," the twin murmurs softly, his hand cold with the touch of too many rings under Junsu's chin, "like you love me," and Junsu finds himself closing his eyes, the feel of a warm mouth opening to the pressure of his tongue, the shape of it familiar and strange, because he's never kissed himself before, like the inverse of licking his own teeth, his own lips when he's nervous--
Junsu snaps his head up and meets Jaejoong's eyes, which are wide and staring. "It's not what it looks like!" Junsu shrieks, falling off his stool, but,
"That's--fucking hot," Jaejoong interrupts, "don't stop on my account."
From the Demon!chul AU
The water is cold between his toes, and he's bored waiting for Xiah, who comes and goes with the waves, pressing tongue and teeth into Hankyung's neck one moment, leaving behind only the taste of metal and salt the next.
Hankyung lets his fingers drag in the sand, digging them in until his skin is raw and bleeding. It's strange, being able to feel, being able to hurt, he's not used to it.
"Hankyung!" Xiah chides him, holding up his hands, "what are you doing?!"
"Waiting for you," Hankyung replies, and uncurls his legs to throw himself at Xiah, knocking him to the ground. "I'm always waiting," he whines, pressing bare skin together, trying to soak up much of Xiah's heat as he can. Xiah's hot and cold without warning of any kind, as unpredictable as a storm, and it's strange, just like the sensation of touch.
Xiah giggles, his tongue is touched with orange, tastes of citrus and manufactured sugar, much too sweet.
"I'll always come back, I promise," Xiah says, his eyes flashing red, but they fade back to a blue as clear as the sea.
"I know," Hankyung replies, and he does.
A possible, but not very likely ending:
The sun rose and set the next day, same as always. The birds chirped in the trees, the rain fell in cool droplets that hit the concrete and ran in dirty rivulets into the sewers.
"Was it worth it?" Kibum asks, leaning an elbow on the roof of the Impala. The setting sun bleeds gold rays on his pale skin, picks out traces of orange in his red eyes.
There's blood on Shiwon's hands, and it's not the first time he's had Heechul's blood on his hands, but it will be the last, and he wants so badly to wish him back, to trade anything, anything, to have his brother back, but he knows there won't be any more of those trades.
Heechul had made sure of it.
"You're stuck, same as us," Eeteuk whispers, and there's resignation in his voice now, a heavy purr of lassitude. He lets his hand move gently down Heechul's face, slow and light; he's got all the time in the world, now.
Heechul flinches, his back to the pillar, the symbols beneath his hands cold and smearing, and there's nowhere left to run.
"Open the door, Heechul," Eeteuk hisses, shoving Heechul up against the pillar so roughly that his ribs crack, blood in his mouth, down his throat.
"No, no," Heechul rasps, shivering. His eyes are closed and he thinks of Shiwon, of Jaejoong, of all the blood on his hands, of Kangin dying for him. This is his chance to make it all right, to repay all the sacrifices they've made for him.
"Heechul," Eeteuk snarls, digging fingers through his flesh, as if he can reach inside and tear out his soul.
It's almost the exact same structure as the one he came through, except in reverse. The pillars are white, the engravings black, and there's the keystone, held in the air by spells of some kind.
Heechul reaches out to touch it, but when his fingers brush up against the symbol blazing in mid-air, it rips into his skin, underneath his skin, and he wakes up on the cold stone staring up into Eeteuk's angry expression. Heechul almost doesn't recognize him, except for the eyes, he's not wearing a human skin.
"Heechul," the demon says slowly, and Heechul backs up, until his back is to a pillar, and he holds his palms closed, trying to swallow past the burning in his chest, the key locked inside him.
"We have to close it from the other side," Heechul realizes, "that's why nothing's working."
"This is a shadow, the real thing's in Hell, we have to close it there."
"How are we going to do that?" Shiwon asks, incredulously, "that's impossible."
"The portal should go both ways," Heechul says carefully, studying the symbols on the pillars, letting his fingers drift over the engravings.
"You're kidding," Shiwon says, and Heechul smiles at him.
"Nope," Heechul assures him, and slashes his palms open with the hunting knife, pressing them down on the markings. "Wish me luck."
They've tried every kind of exorcism, holy water and silver bullets, and burning salt, but nothing works. The pillars flicker when the touch them, as if they're not real, but they are. Shiwon can feel it in his bones, the power rushing through him in a high, enough to tear him apart.
"Heechul, what are we going to do?" Shiwon whispers, staring in awe at the array of pillars, dark stone structures reaching up to the sky.
"Close the door," Heechul says with determination, "so the fuckers can't ever get through again."