It was stupid, he knew it was. The moment he had moved through the half destructed door frame as heat blasted his face, he had known this was likely the worst idea he had ever had. Still, he couldn’t keep himself from doing it. Perhaps he was too delirious with pain to actually have clear thought but he knew he had to get them.
He checked for the letter first, but the windowsill had burned and the vase lay on the floor a shattered mess. The photo album was next, in the basement of the house where he hoped it still was. Pain lanced his body and he vaguely noted that he was burning, the gasoline catching easily, before pressing forward. The stairs were already aflame and the second one refused to bear his weight. He crashed through it to the floor below, and landed in a crumpled heap. That had the added bonus of extinguishing a bit of the fire now that it had consumed all of the gasoline.
He rolled, looking around wildly and spotted the bed. A flaming timber had just landed on it, and the heavy blanket was beginning to burn. With single minded purpose, Hoon climbed to his feet and grabbed for the blanket, beating it against the floor to extinguish any of the flames. When he was sure it was out, he reached beneath the bed and pulled out the photo album. It had just begun to catch flame on one of it’s corners, and he batted that out before wrapping it securely in the heavy blanket.
Now that he had what he had come for, Hoon stumbled as he nearly lost consciousness. It wouldn’t do him any good to rescue the photo album, wrap it in a blanket, and then pass out to let it burn still. He would have to get out of the building with it. That was all that mattered.
Slowly he moved back to the staircase and placed his weight on the first stair. Already eaten through with fire, the step gave and he stumbled forward as his foot went through. Dimly he realized that the stairs wouldn’t hold him, and he would have to find another way out. He had to make it to the top of the stairs, the only way out of the room. Without conscious thought, he tightened his hold on the bundle and lept.
Kiseop spent several tense moments snarling and pacing in circles. Fire was deadly to a vampire and although the loss of a Child would significantly hurt and weaken him, he wasn’t willing risk going into the fire after him. Intense pain tended to make a vampire lose all control of their Talent. He could just as easily turn his child to ash as he could save him. The one vampire that he knew could easily retrieve Hoon had already left and was unlikely to return.
He had just begun to suspect that his sense of the bond was faulty when a flaming form staggered out of the house. Immediately Kiseop was there, throwing Hoon to the ground and rolling the burning form to extinguish the flames. When it was finished the charred form that remained barely resembled anything living. The only thing that appeared to have retained its original form was a bundle of dark fabric held in what he could only assume were his Child’s arms.
Quickly he slit his wrist and began to dribble his blood on whatever he could of his Child. Nothing happened, not even when he forced some into what remained of Hoon’s mouth. His blood wouldn’t be enough, Hoon would need the blood of the Master. As carefully as he could, Kiseop gathered his child and, ignoring the still snarling werewolf, dashed off into the night with all the speed a vampire could muster.
“Please Master,” Kiseop pleaded a full ten minutes later. Hoon’s barely recognizable body lay on the ground at the feet of his Master. The constant flow of blood he had given his Child had managed to regenerate the general shape of many of his features, although they still remained horribly burned and disfigured.
“It isn’t that I’m unwilling Kiseop,” Jay told him kindly. “I just don’t know that it will help.” The look the Master gave the young body was full of pity. “However, I will try.”
Carefully, Jay knelt at Hoon’s side and slit his wrist allowing blood to pool up before placing it over the mouth of the still from. Much to their surprise, the head suddenly turned sideways causing the blood to ooze ineffectively over his cheek.
“Drink, Hoon,” Kiseop ordered, putting the command of a Maker to his Child behind it. There was a mumbled noise, that they picked up on due only to their sensitive supernatural hearing but couldn’t make out. Gently, Jay tipped his head back and attempted to give him blood once more, however the charred lips refused to part. “Drink or I will break your jaw so you have no choice,” Kiseop snarled.
A shudder went through the body before the lips parted. As blood ran in, sound gurgled out and Hoon turned his head once more to the side. “Hoon,” Kiseop snapped with warning.
“Wait,” Jungmo said with a mix of authority of kindness. He moved from behind Jay, until he was kneeling beside the body. “What is it Hoon? I will listen and then you will drink,” he moved his head down close to the blackened lips in effort to hear. Jay’s hand rose whether to block him or just in case the starving vampire tried something, he didn’t know, but it hovered nearby, ready but not interfering.
“Save… Soohyun…” the raspy voice mumbled. “Wolf… lost…. Die…”
“I will,” Jungmo cooed to him. “I can Quiet the wolf and bring him back. Rest now. I will do everything in my power to help your friend.” As if his words were the key to break the spell, the damaged vampire released a mewl of pain and hunger. His strike was slow enough that a normal human would have been able to avoid it and it took no effort for Jay to move Jungmo aside and insert his own wrist.
“There,” Jay declared with satisfaction. “He eats. Now you,” he turned his attention on Kiseop, “must go feed before you sink into bloodlust. I will bring him to you when he is finished.”
Although leaving was the last thing Kiseop wanted to do, he knew it was not wise to simply disobey the orders of his Master. Stiffly he nodded and rose. As he walked from the room, he managed to observed Jungmo slipping out a side door.
Consciousness returned slowly, beginning with sound: the tick of the clock he just couldn’t bring himself to be rid of but that sounded deafening to his supernatural ears, the whoosh of breath, the steady rhythm of a heart beating. Hoon lay, slowly drifting back into a form of awareness. Pain returned, not of a numbing sort, but a slow steady throb of healing skin all across his body. It couldn’t hold a candle to the vague memories of pain so intense that it went beyond his standard sensation of the pain.
Inhaling hurt, yet he did so even though he no longer needed to. It was satisfying in a way he hadn’t really ever known it could be, that he would be able to breath still. At his inhale, there was a rustle of stirring fabric beside him, and he pried his eyes open. The room was nearly black with only the faintest light, a light so dim a normal human wouldn’t have been able to make anything out. Hoon didn’t need the light to know who was beside him. Not only would his superior vampire senses allow him to see in the near darkness, but his Talent told him instantly who the bright wash of aura belonged to.
“Soohyun,” he croaked, surprised at how strange and rough his voice sounded.
“Hoon,” the werewolf’s voice contained several shades of relief. “You are awake.”
“I,” he started, then found it was harder to speak then he had thought it would be. “Long?” Hoon managed, hoping the other person in the room would understand.
“A few days,” Soohyun said softly. “Apparently they weren’t certain that you would heal the way you should. By the time I arrived, your skin was already returning to the proper color.”
At that, Hoon attempted to move and see exactly what his body looked like, but he hadn’t shifted so much as an inch before a hand hovered over his chest. “No don’t move,” Soohyun said nearly frantically. “There has been blisters and bleeding every time you moved in your rest. They said they think the worst is passed now, but there is no way to be sure.”
The young vampire settled back into bed at that. He certainly didn’t remember any of that, but that was very likely a blessing. It took him a moment to figure out how to phrase what he wanted to in the fewest words possible. “You. Here. How?”
Soohyun smiled gently at him. “I’m still not completely sure myself how or why I’m allowed here. I don’t remember a lot of that night. I know the men were there and I just knew. They were the ones that had killed her, my,” and he paused as if the words hurt him to say, “my mate. I knew it was them and we were so angry, my Beast and I. We became careless because of it. Then you were there, young and stupid, so easy to catch and we could do nothing. I-” he bit off whatever he was going to say and was silent for a moment.
“Hoon you have to swear you won’t do anything like that again,” Soohyun snarled suddenly. Then softer, “I can’t lose you too.”
Hoon watched his aura flare, red and green mixing in angered agreement before settling again. It was only then that he noticed the difference in the aura of the werewolf. The green seemed calmer somehow, more content. It looked almost as if the green was blending into red instead of creating a harsh edge between the two. There certainly wasn’t as much aggression as he remembered the aura to contain. “Here,” he said simply.
“I know you are, though not for lack of trying. What the hell were you thinking going into the burning house? They told me what happened since I didn’t remember myself,” Soohyun growled.
“Had too,” Hoon told him. He experienced a brief moment of panic that his trip had all been for nothing when his finger spasmed around the firmness of the bundle he still had.
“For the damn blanket you can’t let go of!? It should have burned to ashes with the rest of it. Not worth losing you over!” as if he had just realized what he had said, Soohyun closed his eyes and swallowed. When he continued it was in a much more normal tone of voice. “You have been holding whatever is for days. They decided it was best just to leave you with it just in case you put up a fight. No one wanted to cause more damage to you, especially since your fingers were practically down to bone.”
In shock Hoon tried to lift a hand and released a whimper of pain as it moved from the position it had held for days. “Hoon!” Soohyun exclaimed, lunging forwards and pulling the light blanket that covered his entire body off the bed. Freed from the resistance, Hoon was able to lift the limb to look at it. Fresh pink skin covered a hand that looked the way he remembered it, or at least normal enough that he didn’t notice any differences.
“Vampire healing is something else,” Soohyun said with a sigh. “I couldn’t have healed all that damage and even, if by some miracle, I had been able to, I would have been terribly scared. The blood of a Master vampire is a scary thing.”
Hoon felt as though his stomach had suddenly dropped through the bed. Kiseop was going to kill him. In fact, his Maker was probably just waiting for him to be healthy enough to do the dead himself. If Kiseop didn’t, Hoon was sure the Master would. He hadn’t dealt with Jay very often but he was fairly certain that a Master vampire wouldn’t be giving away his blood without extracting some sort of payment.
Carefully he laid his hand back down and felt the course fabric from the blanket. He had been too delirious to see what the state of the photo album had actually been at the time of its rescue. Now he wasn’t sure he could manage to open the bundle himself. “Yours. Here,” Hoon weakly tried to move the bundle forward with the hand that still clutched it.
“What?” Soohyun asked in confusion, then he got the message. “The stupid thing that you risked your life for, was for me?”
“Yes,” Hoon tried to nod and wasn’t sure if he actually completed the maneuver. It was harder than he thought it would be to keep his eyes open after such a long rest period.
“Idiot,” Soohyun grumbled.
“Take it,” Hoon croaked, trying to use both hands to move the bundle but his newly healed fingers didn’t seem to want to obey his commands.
“You’ll hurt yourself,” the werewolf scolded him. Carefully, Soohyun lifted Hoon’s fingers from the fabric of the bundle and pulled it out of his grasp at last. Under the tired gaze of the still healing vampire, Soohyun unwrapped the fabric to reveal the photo album with only slightly blackened edges.
“Hoon,” Soohyun murmured, his voice choked with emotion.
“Is it okay?” Hoon whispered. He wasn’t sure if the pictures within had made it through or not.
Very gingerly Soohyun opened the cover and then stopped to stare. His fingers traced what he found there, lightly touching the glossy image. “They are fine. Not even so much as a bit of ash on the picture,” the werewolf whispered.
“Good,” Hoon replied, closing his eyes in satisfaction. He was glad that after all of the trouble he had caused, he had been able to do this thing for Soohyun. “Important.”
“She was my mate for 180 years,” Soohyun told him quietly as he flipped the page. “She was a match for my Beast and me in every way. We loved and cherished her. She and I built that cabin together and made it our own. Even without a pack we were happy.” The word seemed to spill out of the werewolf, “A part of me will always belong to her but even so, not a single image of her would be worth losing you. I don’t think I will ever forgive you if you have permanent damage because you were trying to save this.”
Looking up Soohyun whispered, “memories aren’t worth the loss of you.” Then, closing the photo album and setting it on the floor, Soohyun gathered the light blanket and spread it once more over the sleeping form of the vampire.
When he opened his eyes again, not only was there more light in his room, but the werewolf was still there. Hoon felt a touch more alive than he had the previous time and he shifted, trying to ease himself into a sitting position. Soohyun was immediately there, putting down the book he had been reading and lifting him and stuffing pillows behind him as he helped to prop Hoon up.
“How long,” Hoon asked, clearing his throat loudly after his words.
“Only about ten hours this time,” Soohyun told him with a smile. “Your Maker said that it was more normal rest this time, unlike the deep healing rest that you were caught in before.”
“I feel,” Hoon paused to mentally assess the condition of his body, “better.” It was true, he discovered as he flexed and stretched what he could. There was little more than aches, slight weariness that he still had to contend with. Even his throat felt much better than it had previously. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Soohyun said with a shrug. “I’ll probably scar due to silver poisoning, but that isn’t too surprising. We werewolves don’t heal too well from wounds caused by silver.”
“And your Beast?” Hoon asked worriedly, even though he could see the soft hum of green blending the edges of red.
“He’s mostly quiet these days. Apparently he is content that you appear to be alright.”
“Good,” Hoon nodded with satisfaction. “You were both so angry.”
“You running into a burning building didn’t help our anger or my control,” Soohyun narrowed his eyes at Hoon. “But apparently Quieters are more than just legends. I’ve never felt anything like it.”
“Jungmo helped?” Hoon asked curiously. He hadn’t know much about Quieters or anything of the sort, but he figured if anyone would be able to help, it would have had to have been the man he had seen react to nearly anything calmly.
“It was strange. I just remember being so angry at everything. We had finally been able to shift to our full Beast form and all we wanted to do was kill. The next thing we knew, there was this man standing in the middle of the forest. I swear he was glowing. It seemed like all he did was reach out his hand to me and my Beast was just gone. Suddenly I could think clearly,” Soohyun tried to explain, his eyes staring at the wall as he lost himself in the memory.
“And then he brought you here?” Hoon asked.
“Sort of,” Soohyun agreed, his eyes refocusing on the young vampire. “He told me that you were still alive and that he could take me to you. I couldn’t really refuse him after that. I had always heard that a Quieter could rearrange the world to suit their needs, but I never really believed it until I saw what he did. With a few words he told the Master of this seethe that I was to stay here, free from harm, and have all my needs seen too. I have never heard anyone speak to a Master vampire like that.”
“That is Jungmo,” Hoon agreed with a nod. “People just sort of seem to listen when he speaks.”
“It’s the strangest thing I have ever seen,” Soohyun replied, shaking his head.
Hoon watched the werewolf who seemed to be lost in thought for a moment, “What will you do now?”
“I don’t know,” Soohyun admitted. “My home burnt to the ground and I don’t really have anything left. I might consider suicide again since there isn’t a lot left for me,” He laughed at the look of shock on Hoon’s face, “but then some upstart little vampire might jump in after me again and really who wants to deal with that.”
“Then you shouldn’t be stupid enough to jump in in the first place,” Hoon snapped, his eyes blazing. Soohyun’s grin softened into a genuine smile as he watched the young vampire. “What?” Hoon demanded.
“Nothing,” Soohyun shook his head slightly.
“That wasn’t a nothing look,” Hoon growled.
“You just remind me of her sometimes,” Soohyun told him, his smile taking on a saddened tinge.
“Oh,” Hoon felt all of the anger draining out of him. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not a bad thing,” Soohyun told him, touching his arm gently. “I don’t think I have been able to smile since she died, yet here we are,” the werewolf admitted.
Uncertain what to say in response to that, the pair fell into an uncomfortable silence for several long moments. When he couldn't take it anymore, the vampire had to break it. “So your house has burned down, and I don’t imagine you have another one?”
“No,” he could hear the humor in the werewolf’s voice even if Hoon refused to look at him. “I could always find the nearest alpha and join the pack but I’m a pretty dominate wolf. I don’t really want to upset the balance of a pack. So I guess I will just have to strike out on my own or live like a wildman off the land.”
“Or you could stay here,” Hoon declared in a rush.
“That wouldn’t be too bad, except for I would run out of decent clothing after the clothes on my back become tatters,” Soohyun continued to muse as if he hadn’t heard Hoon. “Not really a problem except for when it becomes winter. Even then I suppose I do have my wolf form, although it is a bit dangerous to remain in it for days. Then there are all those poor hikers I might startle.”
“Stay here!” Hoon exclaimed, finally looking at the other man.
“Yes here,” the vampire growled, “with me.”
“Or I could stay here,” Soohyun agreed his eyes sparkling as he looked at the vampire. “I mean, you did run into a burning building out of sentiment for me. It seems like the least I can do is stay here and not break your little heart.” At that comment Hoon had no choice but to use the little bit of energy that he had to pull the pillow from his back and swing it at the werewolf’s head.
Dark liquid swirled around the glass before it was brought to delicate lips and sipped lightly. A soft hum was the response to the taste. “You still make an excellent wine,” a rich voice said smoothly, “but really there is something else I most certainly would like to try this night.” A flash of fang accompanied the words.
Across the room in a large arm chair, Jay tightened his arm around Jungmo’s waist. From the arm of the same chair where the Master vampire sat, Jungmo scowled. “Heechul, leave him alone. He has had a long week. And you,” he looked down sternly at the vampire, “let go of my waist this instant.”
There was a growl of displeasure, but Jay complied, dropping his hand to the arm of the chair and allowing Jungmo to slide off it. Once his feet were firmly planted on the ground, Jungmo leaned over and tilted the Master vampire’s head up with firm fingers.
“He is my best friend and will always be that, but you, you are Mate. There is not a single thing he could do to take that place from you. You are mine and I will always be yours,” Jungmo declared. His eyes flashed purple with power as he leaned in and sealed their lips together. Jay nearly pulled him down onto his lap, but he knew his mate would not appreciate the action. Pulling away from their kiss, Jungmo nipped lightly at his neck as only he was ever allowed to do.
“And you,” Jungmo straightened and pointed an accusing finger across the small room, “stop antagonizing him. You would never manage a sip of my blood and we all know it. Besides you don’t really want it nor can you have it now that you have your witch. He has important information for you so stop screwing with him Heechul.” His words were met with a grin from the vampire across the room. “Now,” he continued, trailing his fingers over Jay’s arm before pulling fully away, “I’m going to go check up on Hoon and Soohyun. When you two are done, perhaps we can all have a civilized meal together.”
“I would be honored,” Heechul replied in a mock serious tone.
“Good. Behave,” Jungmo ordered as he turned and strode confidently out of the room.
“It is good,” Heechul said lightly as soon at the door had closed lightly behind the Quieter, “to know that he still hasn’t really changed.”
“Neither have you,” Jay agreed, finally relaxing back into his chair now that Jungmo was gone. “How did we ever manage to function with all three of us living here.”
Heechul’s laugh was light, “we enjoy each other too much to do anything else.”
“So you have a witch now?” Jay asked, raising a brow. “You have been busy.”
“And you haven’t been reading my letters,” Heechul returned.
“The seethe won’t run itself,” Jay replied with a shrug, “I’ve been busy.”
Heechul snorted, “still pissed at me is more like it.”
“Heechul,” Jay ground out in warning, “this is not why I brought you here.”
“Oh I imagine not, but you make this part oh so much fun.”
The other vampire heaved a put out sigh. “Oh alright. What was important enough for you to break your years and years of silence?”
“Hunters,” Jay declared.
“So?” Heechul shifted and swirled the liquid in his glass again. “Those are not a new thing, there have always been a human or two that feel like they know their stuff.”
“This is different,” Jay disagreed. “They were well organized, well informed, and well equipped. They managed to restrain and would have likely killed a lone wolf and one of my vampires, a young one, but still a vampire.”
Heechul’s eyes narrowed as he leaned forward, “An isolated cell posses no threat to us.”
“Not isolated. Jungmo has managed to dig up at least a dozen more such incidents. These men were properly geared, ready to kill, and trained to do the job.”
“Your young vampire?” Heechul asked.
“Is recovering, but they knew that a stake could cripple and that flame would completely destroy. Those are well guarded secrets amongst us.”
“And so,” Heechul grinned and lounged back in his chair, “it has begun as we always knew it would.”
“Sooner that I thought it would but yes,” Jay agreed.
“Well then,” Heechul purred, “I believe things are going to be getting interesting very, very soon.”
One || Two || Three || Four
AN: So this ends the little side trip into this universe. I really have enjoyed this piece. I might end up writing an epologe to this peice to further their relationship a bit more. For those that are wondering, they do end up together in the future. I hope everyone enjoyed this piece. I look forward to the next one that the muses give me. :)