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… and Two Steps Back

Title: … and Two Steps Back
Prompt: 25 - revenge, DongHyun/YoungMin
Pairing: Gen
Rating: PG
Summary: Things are starting to heat up some.
Notes: It's sort of running away from me. Or with me.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not true
See Table here!
Series: Rescue, Safe (for Now), Much Needed Naps, Life Goes On, Revelations, One Step Forward…


KwangMin looked up from the dirt he spread in the small frames on the roof. "JungMin looks familiar."

"From… when?" YoungMin asked, working in the frame next to KwangMin's.

KwangMin shrugged. "I'm not sure," he said. "I think… from before? Before we met? I don't know, everything sort of melts together."

"Yeah," YoungMin said, and went back to his dirt. That didn't make sense. Why would KwangMin had seen JungMin, have known him from before? If it'd been before this… coup, whatever it was, YoungMin would have known him, too. "Not HyunSung?"

"No," KwangMin said, and sagged a minute. "This is exhausting."

"If you need to stop, you can," YoungMin said. "DongHyun said you might need to go slow for a while."

"I don't want to make you do more," KwangMin said.

YoungMin snickered. "You've been making me work harder at everything since you were old enough to figure out I was older than you," he teased. "Besides, I know you'll join in as soon as you feel well enough to. It's okay."

KwangMin shook his head. "You are insane," he said, but he moved back from the box he worked with and put his back against the wall around the roof. "Do you think they can see us?"

YoungMin looked up. "I… never thought about it, but I suspect someone can, if they cared to look. I just don't know who would, or why, or anything." He went back to the garden they set up, checked the depth, and then moved to the one KwangMin had been working on a moment before. He didn't have much to do there, so he moved on to the third. "Why?"

"Just wondering. Probably paranoid," KwangMin said.

"Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you," DongHyun said, stepping onto the roof with another bag of dirt.

"That's… really not helpful," YoungMin said, looking up at him with a grin. "But the dirt is. Your timing is perfect. I just ran out."

DongHyun grinned and set the bag next to YoungMin. "It is helpful to remember that paranoia in this place, in this time, is perfectly justified." He glanced at KwangMin. "Are you okay?"

"Just tired," KwangMin said, and scowled. "I'm tired of being tired."

DongHyun nodded and sat down next to him. "It'll get better," he said.

"Hey, you know, I'm the only one working here," YoungMin griped, but he didn't mean anything by it and they both knew it. "Where's JungMin this morning?"

DongHyun shook his head. "He and HyunSung took off early today. I think I heard something about a broadcast from the blue house, but I'm not sure I even heard that right, and it wouldn't help anyway because we don't have a TV."

"Or even a radio," KwangMin said, and then he perked up. "Have you really explored this place?"

DongHyun shook his head. "I haven't. I can't, really. I mean, the doors are all locked."

YoungMin watched his twin with a smile. "Your brain is working," he teased. "I can smell the smoke from here."

KwangMin shot him a glare, then turned his attention back to DongHyun. "See if you can get the keys, to have a look around, see if there's anything you could use, sell, whatever, and tell the land lord he's welcome to like half the profits if there is any."

"If he cares enough," YoungMin added. He'd never met the man, but they'd seen him, stretched out on his sofa and - if the bottles around him were any indication - dead drunk.

"I can ask," DongHyun said. "It can't hurt." He got to his feet and left again.

"Where'd you get that idea?" YoungMin asked.

"They couldn't have been able to take everything they wanted," KwangMin said, getting up to join him at the third box, helping to spread the dirt evenly. "Some of it had to have been left behind. I don't know if the soldiers went through very thoroughly, or if they went at all, but it can't hurt to check, you know? And to make sure the rooms aren't molding, so if someone does need a place to live, it's livable."

YoungMin shook his head. "You're unbelievable," he said, and nudged his twin with his shoulder. KwangMin nudged him back.

JungMin came back with HyunSung, both of them with a couple of bags of groceries. DongHyun, pacing the living room to try to come up with a decent reason to go poking into all of the apartments in the building, stopped in surprise when they set the food on the kitchen table. "Where did you… how…." He just stared.

"Don't ask," JungMin said. "Some of this is to go back to the people that helped us out. We can't do it often, but I know Mrs. Kim's family is worse off than we are."

DongHyun went to help them put the food away, leaving some of the easier carried - or easiest to extend - out to take to their friends. "How dangerous is it that he did this?" he asked HyunSung when the two of them stood in the kitchen together, JungMin at the table separating things out.

"I don't know," HyunSung said. "I don't know what he did. He wouldn't let me follow him."

DongHyun nodded and didn't pursue it further. He had to wonder if JungMin's presence - or even questioned presence - had brought and kept the soldiers in the area. He also wondered, watching JungMin automatically sort things out, if this meant he and HyunSung planned to move on. It sort of felt like a good-bye gesture or something. He hoped not, but DongHyun wouldn't keep anyone here who didn't want to stay. Even if he'd miss them.

"Minwoo's at Mrs. Kim's, helping with the kids," JungMin said. "Where are the twins?"

"Up on the roof, starting on the gardens up there," DongHyun said.

"I'll go get them," HyunSung said, and disappeared out the door before DongHyun could protest.

"Is everything okay?" DongHyun asked, watching JungMin put the things in a bag that they'd give back to the wonderful woman who'd done so much to help them.

"I don't know," JungMin said softly. "I'm afraid of what this announcement or whatever it is will be. I don't even know if it's country wide, city wide, or just for this part of the area. I'm afraid that the soldiers haven't left because I did something stupid and got spotted, not because they still hope to find KwangMin. If that was why in the first place."

"Are you going to go?"

JungMin stopped his packing and looked at him. "You sound like you'd rather I didn't."

"I don't think it's a good idea," DongHyun said. "You'd just have to start over, and you have no guarantee you won't find yourself back where you started before you have a chance to find out if you can be on your own."

JungMin shrugged. "I don't know. I just…"

"I don't want to see you end up where you don't want to," DongHyun said.

"I won't," JungMin said. "I begin to feel the same way the three younger kids do. I'd rather die than go back."

DongHyun stared at him. "Does… HyunSung know this?"

JungMin shook his head. "I didn't even really know it until now," he said. "I'd just rather… not go back."

DongHyun took a deep breath to keep from showing the stress that had just crashed down on his shoulders. "I can understand that," he said. "I really hope it doesn't come to that."

JungMin grimaced at him. "At least we know we can get to the roof and jump if all else fails. We'd never survive it."

"Why are you talking about jumping off the roof?" HyunSung asked.

"I don't want to be taken alive either," JungMin said. "Good. I thought we'd take some food out to some of the people who've helped us. I… found some extra."

DongHyun knew better than to ask where he'd gotten it. He also understood the shocked look on HyunSung's face.

"A plan is better than nothing," YoungMin said, and smiled. "That sounds good. Mrs. Kim needs help."

"Then lets go," DongHyun said, and got them all moving.

They'd been and gone again when YoungMin realized something. "I thought you said they'd probably kill JungMin and HyunSung and DongHyun," he muttered to KwangMin.

"As far as I know they would," KwangMin said.

"So why would JungMin worry about being taken alive?"

KwangMin shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe to keep them from questioning him? I'm not sure they'd kill them immediately."

"Maybe," YoungMin said, and didn't say anything more about it.

DongHyun's search turned up at least an ancient radio, and they gathered around it that night for the broadcast from the man in charge. YoungMin only half heard, focused more on massaging his brother's shoulders and trying to ease the tension there. JungMin sat in the back corner, HyunSung between him and the rest of them. YoungMin had long since stopped questioning their oddness. With everything else, whatever they had going between them he hoped it made them happy.

The actual speech, a sort of pep-talk that they all knew was lies because of what they experienced and because they'd spent most of their lives hearing the same sort of thing from North Korea, ended to thunderous applause. DongHyun reached to turn the set off. "On another, more personal note," the man said, and DongHyun froze. They all did, staring at the radio. "I am ready for my son to return home. Wherever you are, Min, it is time to return home. If you're not back in a week, I will resort to extreme measures."

The program abruptly ended, and YoungMin straightened slowly. "I didn't know his son had vanished."

"I didn't know he had a son," Minwoo said.

KwangMin frowned. "I did," he said. "They talked about him, a lot, I think, about how he was so good… and then all of sudden they didn't say anything. And then things started to get sort of… blurry."

YoungMin leaned around to try to see his twin's face. "That was at the beginning."

"Like… he was someone we should all try to be like, obedient and quiet and…. And then they just stopped. I bet that's when he left."

"Did you ever see a picture or anything?" HyunSung asked.

KwangMin frowned. "I… don't remember," he said. "It gets really bad then." He shook his head.

"If it's giving you a headache, stop thinking about it," DongHyun said, and shut the radio off. "We did some good work today, guys. Ready for bed?"

YoungMin nodded and got up. He helped KwangMin to his feet and turned to go into the bedroom.

KwangMin stopped dead. "Oh," he said, and YoungMin looked at him, then turned to follow KwangMin's gaze.

JungMin stared at him, frozen in place, braced on the wall as if he used it to keep his balance. HyunSung glanced at them, took JungMin's arm, and walked him out of the room and into the bedroom. KwangMin watched him go.

"KwangMin?" YoungMin asked. "Is something wrong?"

KwangMin shook his head, but so hesitantly that YoungMin didn't think he believed him. "No," he said faintly. "Not at all."

YoungMin looked after JungMin, then took KwangMin's hand and followed. KwangMin went with him quietly, willingly, and got into bed without looking at JungMin or HyunSung. YoungMin followed his example, but it took them both a long time to go to sleep.

JungMin woke up with the feeling that everything would go south today. And fast. From the look on KwangMin's face, JungMin guessed he'd remembered. He knew, for a while, his father had held him up as the standard, which meant all the kids knew his face. And then he'd left, escaped a situation he couldn't change, no matter how he tried, and that had ended. Not that it mattered by then, anyway, because the kids were so drugged they couldn't remember their own names on the bad days.

"You don't know that he'll say anything," HyunSung said, following him out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. No one else had gotten up yet, and JungMin had sort of hoped for a moment of peace. On the other hand, he knew KwangMin's expression the night before had disturbed HyunSung as much as it had JungMin.

JungMin laughed. "Those two don't keep secrets," he said softly. "If he didn't say anything last night, he will eventually."

HyunSung sighed but didn't argue.

They sat in silence, listening as the others began to stir. JungMin got up to start working on breakfast - his turn - and froze one step away from the table when YoungMin slammed out of the bedroom and stared at him, eyes wide and an expression JungMin didn't know on his face.

"You," YoungMin said, and grabbed his shirt, dragging him backward to the wall. "This is your fault."

JungMin gestured at HyunSung, to keep him out of it, without looking away from YoungMin.

YoungMin snarled and pressed closer. "It is. You have to fix it."

"I fixed it as much as I can," JungMin said. "I helped your brother."

"You shouldn't have needed to fix him!" YoungMin wailed.

"I agree," JungMin said.

YoungMin shook him. "You made it happen," he growled. "You have to make it right. For all of them."

JungMin stared at him, not expecting that. "How can I—"

DongHyun grabbed YoungMin by the collar and dragged him backwards. In his surprise, YoungMin let JungMin go. "That's enough," he said, voice low. "You're lucky no one else is here to hear you."

YoungMin wrenched himself free and turned on DongHyun. "How long have you known?" he demanded.

JungMin, grateful for the respite, escaped to the kitchen to start breakfast. HyunSung followed, standing guard in the doorway.

"That doesn't matter," DongHyun said.

YoungMin gave a despairing laugh. "A long time, then," he spat. "He's the reason I lost my twin. The reason he was like a ghost. The reason—"

"He's feeling better," DongHyun pointed out.

"Shut up," YoungMin snarled. "He can't do that for everyone else's brothers."

JungMin froze, pain slashing across his chest. HyunSung glanced at him, understanding in his eyes, and then went back to watching the scene in the front room. JungMin didn't want to see it.

"That's unfair."

"That's the point!" YoungMin snapped, his voice going louder. "It's all unfair, and it's because of him!"

"Wait…" DongHyun called, and then the front door slammed shut. JungMin carefully straightened and went back to breakfast. "I'm sorry," DongHyun said, not even trying to get past HyunSung.

"Yeah," JungMin said, trying a smile. "Me, too."

With a nod, DongHyun left, heading back into the bedroom. Footsteps across the floor, the front door open and shut, and JungMin tried not to think about KwangMin going after his brother and the two of them getting caught….

"Minwoo went with them," HyunSung said.

JungMin nodded, and breathed a little easier. "He's going to want revenge."

"Yes," HyunSung said heavily. "He probably will."

The day dragged. JungMin kept to himself, but he didn't hide. He got plenty of glares from YoungMin, some weaker glares from Minwoo, and KwangMin didn't look at him at all. In fact, he looked terrified. JungMin could understand. All to well, he could understand.

It might have worked out okay, if DongHyun had been there to take the edge off, to get between him and the others. DongHyun, however, had to work. When he did come in, JungMin didn't say anything. They could all see how exhausted he was, even YoungMin, and so they ate in peace. JungMin washed up - not his turn, but DongHyun had nearly fallen asleep at the table. HyunSung took him into the bedroom to put him to bed, and the rest had followed. Thankfully.

HyunSung returned as JungMin finished. "This isn't going to work, is it," JungMin said, putting the last glass away.

"No," HyunSung said.

JungMin sighed. "Okay. Tonight, then. Before DongHyun dies of stress overload."

HyunSung nodded.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2015 06:35 pm (UTC)
Sorry, bb. Your cut's borked. >,>

Sep. 30th, 2015 08:22 pm (UTC)
LOL! It doesn't work to put an end tag on the beginning....

Thank you!
Mar. 21st, 2016 01:22 am (UTC)
Having read the rest of them (well, up to this point) everything makes more sense now. And... ouch. It hurts... :( *goes to read more* (LOL)
Mar. 29th, 2016 01:40 am (UTC)
It does hurt. I'm sorry. :(
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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