Genre: AU!Angst, Supernatural, Romance
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this but the plot!
Summary: When reality is like a dream, and dreams are too much like a reality, the blurred lines can't seem to be separated no matter what he does.
It’s a long ways from home, he thinks. He stares up at the clouds, at the pearl blue horizon above him, and though he feels a bitter reminiscence blossoming in the pit of his stomach, lingering on the tip of his tongue, he can’t help but smile vaguely.
Perhaps this wasn’t the way he imagined freedom to be, but it was freedom nonetheless.
Sungmin rubs his gloved hands together, his knitted beanie making his sweating forehead itch despite the stinging cold on the apple of his pinking cheeks. When he sighs, his breath forms as a puff that barely detaches from his lips; it amuses him, reminding him of the clouds in the winter sky.
He smiles again.
Not far into the distance another man is smiling, too. Albeit, for an entirely different reason.
They say love and hate are two ends of a plane, connected but never quite close enough.
Donghae says love and hate are two planes with no end, disconnected but somehow reach common grounds. Eventually they intersect, but they will - sooner or later - pass each other by. Therefore, these two distinct emotions of his are never-ending, but he is able to move on from them as time sees fit.
For Donghae, his emotions are at some point or another meeting with an extreme. Like weather during shifting seasons; like the ice-cold snow on a December night and the burning sun on a June afternoon.
This winter, he finds happiness in the simplest form:
The scowl on Donghae’s face is so annoyingly prominent that Sungmin can’t help but mirror it on his own. Donghae clicks his tongue in frustration, bending over to gather his papers.
“I’m really sorry,” Sungmin apologizes again, crouching down to help Donghae retrieve his loose papers. The snow melts against his warm skin, sticking to papers in their hold.
“It’s fine,” Donghae mutters.
When Sungmin hands the documents over, Donghae snatches it brashly. Sungmin bites on his inner cheek, raising a brow with his hands on his hips. “What’s with the attitude?” Sungmin accuses.
Donghae eyes him oddly. “Excuse me?”
“I said I’m sorry,” Sungmin proceeds, “but you act like I murdered your family or something.”
The other boy wants to scoff at the comparison, but holds it back.
It takes all of Sungmin's resolve not to give in to the smile the other man is biting back. "Forget it," he sighs, "have a good one."
The stranger reaches out, clasping his wrist. "Do you have a moment?"
"Just a moment," Donghae insists, eyes widened roundly.
Sungmin breaks his facade. "Alright."
They stand in the winter night, as if this were all a dream. As far as they can see into the distance, the sky is filled with colors of Christmas; red, green, white. So much white.
"It's a festival," Donghae explains, "a private celebration."
Sungmin forms an 'o' with his lips as he nods, allowing Donghae to lead him past gates and down trails. As the neon-green light settles on a specific area, clouded by fog, Sungmin sees the red highlight in the distance shifting in a rhythmic pattern.
It's cold, and it feels like they’re so alone- so stranded, so blaringly white.
When Sungmin breathes out, the breeze stings his nose. “Why am I here then?” He asks.
“Because we’re both running away from something.”
Sungmin glances over at the other man, and all Donghae does is smile softly at him. Donghae takes his gloved hands, weaving their fingers together, and continues walking forward.
It feels as if they’re walking an eternity.
(There are truth in your lies.)
A cold droplet lands on the tip of Sungmin’s hair, just against his jaw, and he blinks the haze out of his eyes. Everything in front of him is blanketed in white- white snow plains, snowy trees, flakes of snow drifting down from the shadowed skies.
“I’m not running away,” Sungmin mutters, feeling the guilt settle on his weighted heart. “I’ve been let go of.”
Donghae doesn’t question him. “We share similar fates.”
“Maybe we were meant to live the same fate,” Sungmin shrugs, a bitter smile hanging from his lips.
“Maybe,” Donghae laughs, but in reality, he doesn’t find it funny.
The snow immediately melts down with his exterior when he looks into the eyes of the man leaning over him, a worried shadow cast across his velvet features. He unconsciously counts the seconds that their gazes are locked, and realizes his breath was held during the entirety of it.
His heart almost stops.
“Are you alright?” Sungmin asks.
Donghae gently shakes his head from side to side, trying to rid himself of his headache. “What happened?”
Sungmin raised his shoulders in a shrug. “I don’t know. You suddenly just passed out. Perhaps it’s the cold?”
“The cold...” Donghae mutters, rubbing the back of his head. “Maybe.”
“I thought I’d lost you there.”
Donghae looks up, and their line of sight intersects again. The thin cloud of air that escapes Sungmin’s lips travel the distance that is left between them, landing just on the brink of Donghae’s chin. It dissolves onto his skin, sinking deep into his flesh.
“Did you?” Donghae smiles. “I’m fine. Let’s get moving.”
Music plays in the distance- music of the holidays, a happy, cheerful melody. Sungmin notices the slight bounce in Donghae’s walk, the barely-there hum that rests low in Donghae’s throat as they’re proceeding forward.
For some reason, it seems like they’ll never make it to their destination.
They both realize that they prefer it that way.
“Hey, what’s your na-”
His memories replay in skits. Like pieces gathered from random fragments; almost fitting but still having that small edgy space that throws him off balance.
Sungmin blinks the sleep out of his eyes, taking in his surroundings that are, in no way, familiar to him.
Donghae is not there.
This, he assumes, is the type of freedom he never wishes to possess.
Donghae thinks that love and hate may not be so different after-all, when he wakes up to an empty room, Sungmin no where in sight.
Neither of them are very sure what had happened. They have no idea how they had fallen for each other, or how long it took, or if it had taken any real time at all.
Everything seems like a dream, a dream that one can never quite wake up from.
Sometimes Sungmin finds himself lulling off to sleep with a distasteful sort of anticipation dawning on him- hoping for a dream, a pseudo-reality where he can meet that man that had and hadn’t understood him at the same time.
He had never felt so at home before.
(and, if Sungmin had ever been cold before in his life, never was he as cold as he is now)
Then, Sungmin realizes, he doesn’t have a name to go with that face in his dreams.
Donghae won’t allow this to be the end of things. He knows Fate- he knows the cruel rules, the way Fate toys with feelings and attachments to shatter hope before the very beholders eyes. Fate knows when to crush human’s, as well as how to bring them up to the heavens.
He has a feeling- the feeling that not all things were meant to come to an end.
This was one of them.
None of it matters, though, they realize.
The dream has been cast into their minds, permanently tattooed there.
It’s odd, but both Donghae and Sungmin can feel each other’s presence even though they haven’t met under the same winter holiday skies constantly.
Donghae sometimes thinks that he catches a glimpse of the other man and runs for him, for what they could be, but he loses him amongst the midst of snow, of clouds, of fog, of people, and there’s no one he can blame but himself.
Sungmin knows that Donghae watches and follows him, but has no motive to step forward and claim his attention.
They don’t quite find a balance in their parallel worlds.
Wandering alone has never seemed so lonely before, but Sungmin acknowledges that he’s not truly alone. He doesn’t very accurately remember where ‘home’ is anymore, but he can see images of it if he really tries.
And by trying, he really has to try- which exhausts him, wearing him down.
Most prominently, he can see the white, the red, the cold, and the swiftly falling snow that’s like a feather floating from the skies.
Donghae. Donghae just sees green.
Everything falls back into routine for Donghae. He excuses everything as a dream, eventually, and the memories fade into nothing but a pearl-white blur, being breezed away with the cold current that invades his personal space..
Some years later, on a bone-chilling Winter night, he stands in the same plain, beside the same trees, walking down the same roads. The lights don’t seem to be as dim, the trees not as high, the road not so smooth, but he recognizes it all like a second nature.
Someone is missing, he recalls, but he can’t quite pinpoint who.
Despite it all, he notices that he doesn’t really care as much as he should.
All he ever does is walk; nearing the brink of disappearing, of breaking, but it doesn’t happen and he’s still here, still roaming endlessly, into oblivion.
But Sungmin keeps walking, none the less, until every last person is gone (which is never).
He never feels quite as free as he used to anymore .
At the end of the night, he ends up at the same plain where he was abandoned by a man he placed faith in. And, in the distance, the figures that have become so unfamiliar in their minds appears before them.
There is no better gift in the world, they grin.
The fog makes it hard to make out the others appearance.
Sungmin hasn’t ever learned about Christmas events or traditions, but he’s sure orange is not part of the Christmas formula to a successful holiday lighting.His gaze follows the search light, wandering about the area with no true target.
He thinks he’s lost his ability to speak.
“How have you been?” Donghae asks. He knows he’s been dreaming about a moment like this for years now.
Sungmin doesn’t exactly know how to answer that question. He simply nods.
The path they walk down together only becomes more dim, so much easier to get lost on.
Sungmin feels so far away from home.
“Do you-,” Sungmin parts his lips to ask, but doesn’t quite know how to finish his question. “I know this sounds weird, but do you know of anyone that may have a missing son?”
.Donghae freezes, and turns to look him in the eyes. “No?”
Sungmin sighs. “Oh.”
“Has something happened?” Donghae asks.
“I can’t remember how to get home,” Sungmin admits blankly.
Donghae tenses, and reaches out to cradle Sungmin’s hand in his own. Despite the years, Sungmin has not aged a day. Sungmin’s hands are as cold as ice.
The further they walk, the higher the grass gets. This place sends shivers down Donghae’s spine, but it’s all so familiar.
“I feel as though I’m getting closer, though, whenever I’m with you.”
A smile breaks through, but it is one that doesn’t quite reach Donghae’s eyes. “I’m glad.”
A bell strikes twelve, and the two break the connection in their eyes to look around them. Gravestones, tombstones spread all over the field before them.
“It’s Christmas,” Donghae whispers under his breath, forming a puff of air that raises towards the orange-black sky. His grasp on Sungmin tightens - he gets the feeling that he’s going to lose the man again.
The feeling tightens in his chest.
“I didn’t prepare a gift, but-”
Sungmin releases his hand and runs towards the dark fog ahead of them, so fast that Donghae can barely catch up.
Time stops. The fogs clear, and lights shut off, and all that Donghae can see are the small cotton-like flakes of snow flickering from the baby-blue sky.
Sungmin is not there, but an engraved monument stands out as clear as day.
Lee Sungmin. January 1, 1986 - December 25, 2007
Donghae now has a name to match with the face. The very face on the gravestone.
Sungmin startles awake and finds himself laying on tightrope.
Beneath him is Donghae, staring up at his stiff figure.
If this is what they call a dream within a dream, Sungmin refuses to ever like the movie Inception again.
“Are you alright?” He hears someone ask.
A tissue is held out to dab away at the specks of sweat covering his forehead, his breaths deep and full and interrupted by coughs. “I had a dream,” he explains, accepting the glass of water held out to him. He takes the hand and holds on to it firmly before it can be retracted. “I dreamed I was... I was missing,” he lies, “and you were so uncaring, you waited until the memories became foggy and simply forgot me.”
“I wouldn’t ever let that happen,” the man shook his head. He knelt beside the bed, planting a kiss on Sungmin’s lip, stealing his breath.
“And when I came back, I discovered - no, we discovered - that I was alright dead.”
The man sighed. “You’ve just been too stressed out lately, Min.”
“Donghae, you don’t understand-”
“No,” Donghae shook his head, “I don’t.”
Sungmin frowned, fist clutched over his rapidly beating heart. “Don’t you have to get to work?”
“I will,” Donghae smiles, “as soon as I can be sure you’ll be alright without me.”
“I’ll be fine,” Sungmin rolls his eyes, and these words were all but too familiar.
Donghae casts him a wary look before nodding and straightening to his feet, heading for the door. “You should get up soon, too,” he says, “you only have a few more hours until work.”
“I will,” Sungmin yawns.
Sungmin’s heart does a double-take when he hears the front door close, the clicking of the keys sealing the deal of Donghae’s departure. He glances around the room, and nothing seems to be the way he remembered them to be anymore.
He groans from the cold as he pulls the blankets off, standing to the ground. When he walks over to the desk, he counts his footsteps.
The first thing he sees on top of his desk is a calendar.
His breath catches in his throat.