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Leaving the Dance

Title: Leaving the Dance
Prompt: 33 - fall, HyunSung/YoungMin
Pairing: Gen
Rating: G
Summary: Things change
Disclaimer: Not mine, not true
See Table here!
Series: Rescue, Safe (for Now), Much Needed Naps, Life Goes On, Revelations, One Step Forward…, … and Two Steps Back

It felt weird, having only four there. Adding KwangMin hadn't caused this much adjustment, even after he'd started eating again. YoungMin couldn't seem to make it work, even if he'd actually wished JungMin gone. YoungMin found the lack of blame in DongHyun's eyes the weirdest of all. Everyone else seemed to blame him - blame was maybe too strong, but accepted that his words and actions had driven JungMin and HyunSung off - but DongHyun didn't. It was like… nothing had changed. But that didn't make sense.

More of the household chores fell to them; DongHyun couldn't do them. No one complained, although maybe that added to the weirdness. YoungMin retreated to the roof at the end of the day, watching the three gardens and hoping something would go right, that they'd get food from them, that they could live and hide just a while longer. After a moment, he got up and went to the roof, kneeling next to the edge to look over. It didn't seem all that high, really, but it was a good fall. With solid cement at the bottom, they'd all go splat.

"Cheerful thought," Minwoo said behind him.

YoungMin turned around. "What?"

"That we'd all go splat. Did you know you talk to yourself?"

YoungMin grimaced. "It's the only way to have an intelligent conversation," he said. "What's up?"

"You're hiding," Minwoo said. "KwangMin pointed it out. I think he's tired enough that he couldn't come up, so he sent me."

"Did DongHyun eat?"

"Yes," Minwoo said. "Are you hiding from him?"

YoungMin shrugged. "I don't think I'm hiding," he said.

Minwoo sat down. "What are you doing up here?"

"Getting used to the idea of jumping. I think we'll end up that way. I don't see how it can end any other way." YoungMin drew in the dirt, not looking at his friend.

"Morbid much?" Minwoo asked.

"I'm not giving up," YoungMin said. "I'm just… making sure I can go through with the idea."

Minwoo shook his head. "You don't make any sense," he said.

"Sure I do. You don't make any sense."

The door to the roof opened, and DongHyun stepped out. He stood there a moment, eyes closed, and just breathed. "You might have the best idea of them all," he said, his voice carrying across the roof.

"What's that?" Minwoo asked.

"Sitting up here. It's cool." He let the door fall closed and ambled their way, looking over the gardens, at the city, everywhere but at them. He sat against the wall not too far away from them, but not too close, YoungMin noticed. He sighed in frustration. "How are the gardens going?"

"So far, so good," YoungMin said. "I mean, I haven't seen anything, so I don't know if killed them all when I planted them, or if they're not supposed to be showing up yet."

"It'll work out," DongHyun said quietly. "Is everything okay? You've been… distant."

YoungMin wondered if he'd originally planned to say hiding. He shrugged. "It's fine," he said.

"Are you okay?"

That brought him up short, and he looked at DongHyun, surprised to see the worry in his eyes. "Yeah, I'm fine," YoungMin said with another shrug.

"I'm not sure I believe that," DongHyun said.

YoungMin sighed. "I'm mad, sure, and I know you blame me—"

"I don't blame you for anything," DongHyun said.

"Why not?" YoungMin asked.

"You only expressed your feelings, all of which I understand. What is there to blame you for?"

"JungMin leaving."

DongHyun sighed. "I don't blame you for that, either," he said. "It happened. They made the decision to leave. I think they made it before that stupid broadcast."

"Why would they decide then?"

"Because I think JungMin knew his father would say something. I think he wanted to protect us from that, from them." DongHyun shrugged. "I don't know, of course. They didn't say anything to me when they left."

"You don't think it had anything to do with me." YoungMin couldn't keep from sounding incredulous.

"I think the situation was hard, and maybe your outburst might have convinced them they were right to leave, the last little bit, but I think they would have left eventually anyway, even if KwangMin hadn't recognized him. And eventually might have been two days later. Or the next day. I don't know, and I think you need to stop thinking about it."

"Are you glad they're gone?" Minwoo asked.

DongHyun looked at him for a moment, as if trying to decide how he meant that question. "No," he said finally. "I'm not. I liked having people around who would keep an eye on you three when I couldn't."

Minwoo protested vehemently, and YoungMin felt something ease in his chest. He couldn't have said why it mattered so much to him that DongHyun didn't blame him, and he didn't care.

"Come on," DongHyun said a few minutes later. "Let's eat and go to bed, and it should all go much better tomorrow." He got to his feet, and extended a hand to help YoungMin up. YoungMin took it and pulled himself up, and between the two of them, they got Minwoo to his feet and then the three of them went downstairs.

The days went easier after that, settling into something YoungMin remembered as normal, before the new government closed the borders. It was almost a carefree time, despite the soldiers still hanging around. He would have thought that they'd have gone, once JungMin had left. But then, maybe the soldiers weren't there for JungMin. Maybe they were there for KwangMin. And yet.

"Of course you don't feel threatened," KwangMin said that night, the two of them still awake. "They want it that way."

"So we keep out of there way even more," YoungMin said, and sighed. "I hate this."

KwangMin grinned at him. "Stop complaining," he teased.

YoungMin huffed at him, but had to admit that he shouldn't complain at all. Instead, he closed his eyes. "Go to sleep," he muttered.

KwangMin laughed softly again and soon his breathing eased out. YoungMin slept almost immediately after that.

DongHyun could hear his three charges racing down the stairs, as good an exercise as he could imagine. At least he knew no one could hear them outside the building, because he'd listened. He knew they were going insane, unable to get outside except on the roof, and even then they had to be careful to keep from getting found. The soldiers had not only not gone, but had actually increased their presence in the neighborhood. No one liked them, and most of the people worked actively to keep things from them.

"They're coming around," Minwoo reported as he and the twins ducked into the apartment.

"Looked like they're going door to door," YoungMin added, pulling DongHyun in after him. DongHyun shut the door and went into the bedroom to help them remove the bedding from two of the beds. In the kitchen, they took a lot of the food and then left, heading back up the stairs, quieter this time. For an apartment on the top floor, where they'd set up places to hide, just in case, and sleep on the bedding up there tonight.

DongHyun found himself alone and not exactly happy about that. He sat down with the finances, as he did every night, but he couldn't concentrate, listening too hard at the silence in the rooms.

The buzz at the door brought some relief, and he went to the intercom. "Hello?"

Silence. DongHyun took a deep breath. "Hello? Who's there?"

Still nothing. Carefully, he ventured out into the hallway, down to the stairs that led down to the front door. He could see people, too many people, but they'd seen him - they'd heard him - and they expected him to let them in. He walked down the stairs and opened the door.

The soldier scowled at him. "How many of the apartments here are occupied?" he demanded.

"Only two," DongHyun said. "Mine, and the land lord. He might be… unable to answer."

The soldier leaned closer. "Are you sure?"

"I am," DongHyun said. "I'm the caretaker of this place. No one has called me about any problems."

"How long have you lived here?" Behind him, the other soldiers stood still. DongHyun could see no shifting, no sign of impatience.

"Since just after it was emptied," DongHyun said. They could look that up if they felt the need to. "Hired to tend to the grounds and anything else the land lord asked me to do."

The soldier in front seemed to relax, but DongHyun didn't. All sorts of things could go wrong still. "There are no other tenants?"

"No, sir," DongHyun said. "No one but me and the land lord registered in the building."

"No people unregistered?" the soldier pressed.

"I think that's part of why he hired me," DongHyun said. "To keep people out who could not pay rent."

The soldier nodded. "We'd like to take a look around," he said.

DongHyun stepped back to let them in. "There is no elevator," he said as the men filed past him. "Six floors. The doors are all locked, the apartments closed up."

That caused a short falter, but the soldier in charge easily sent men, four for a floor, and had them pound on all the doors. DongHyun stood and listened to it, counting the doors, the stairs, everything he could. It took half an hour, but they eventually finished, and they filed back out. The soldier gave him a narrow-eyed look, but said nothing and followed his soldiers out of the building. DongHyun watched them go, waited to go back to his apartment until the door had closed behind the men, and then he climbed the stairs, went into his apartment, and sank down at the table and his unfinished finances. He didn't think he'd be able to sleep.

A knock at the door made him start so badly he nearly swept everything off the table, and he stayed still a moment, trying to get his hands - his whole body - to stop shaking. The knock came again, a gentle rap rather than the pounding that would have come from the soldiers, and he slowly stood up. He took a deep breath, let it out, and checked the peephole in the door. Stunned, he just stared, then he wrenched the door open and yanked HyunSung into the apartment, closing the door behind him and shooting the bolt home. "Are you out of your mind? The soldiers were just here! How did you get in?"

"You forgot to lock the back door completely," HyunSung said, smiling at him. "If I didn't know how, I couldn't get it open except by luck. You look like you're a little stressed."

"The other three are upstairs, hiding out until tomorrow morning," DongHyun said. "I thought it best to have them up there, away from anything that might give them away here." But they hadn't checked the apartment, hadn't insisted he show them his place. That didn't make sense. He shook his head. He'd figure that out later. "Where have you guys been?"

"We went to the other side of the river," HyunSung said, and pulled DongHyun into the kitchen to sit down. "Are you done being here?"

DongHyun blinked at him, trying to get his head around this whole thing. "What? Is JungMin okay?"

HyunSung laughed. "JungMin is happy," he said. "He's getting his own against his father."

"He is? How?"

HyunSung sobered. "I can't tell you," he said. "Unless you want to come and join us."

DongHyun just stared at him. "Come and…."

"Help. Get out of here, stop just surviving, and live. Thrive. Get better food, do work that actually means something—"

"Get shot at?" DongHyun asked.

"No," HyunSung said. "No, but help kids get their lives back, their memories, their families. Learn from the gardeners. Be… more. You did good," he added. "You were just what we needed. Which is why we think bringing you in could only help more. Bring in KwangMin and YoungMin, show some of these kids what could happen when things get better again. Bring in Minwoo and his enthusiasm. We need you. Yes, it's hectic and dangerous, but so is this."

DongHyun shook his head. "Wait, slow down. What?"

HyunSung laughed. "I know, it's a lot."

"It is a lot. It sounds like it's well organized, what do you need me for?"

"Personally? JungMin is going to kill himself if someone doesn't make him stop. He's starting to buy into the whole thing that it runs on him."

DongHyun laughed softly. "And you think I can stop him?"

"He listens to you better than anyone else I know."

DongHyun shook his head. "No…." He started, but stopped before he got any farther. "Is that why you left without saying anything?"

"Yes," HyunSung said. "I wanted to, but he talked me out of it. Because he knew you'd talk him out of it. We couldn't stay, not after that broadcast."

"We would have worked it out. If nothing else you could have stayed in another of the apartments here," DongHyun said.

"Yes," HyunSung said. "Which is why we need you."

DongHyun sighed. "I… can't say yes until I've talked to the three boys," he said.

"I don't want you to abandon them," HyunSung said. "I'll let you—"

"Where are you going to sleep?" DongHyun interrupted.

"I was just going to—"

"Go in there and use the bed that's made. I'll use one of the others. The boys will be down in the morning, probably long after I'm at work." He hesitated, and then smiled. "If I go to work tomorrow. I don't know yet."

It sounded good, he had to admit it. Even with only four, the food shortage could only get worse, and they were running low on everything. DongHyun didn't sleep that night, thinking things over.

YoungMin showed up earlier than DongHyun had expected, knocking on the door in the rhythm they'd decided on. DongHyun staggered out of the bedroom and opened the door, half awake. "What are you doing here so early?" he asked, backing up to let him - and the other two - in.

"Not comfortable," YoungMin muttered. "I want my bed."

DongHyun waved them in. "Be quiet. Don't wake anyone."

Minwoo, trailing behind the twins, frowned. "Like… who? You're alone in here, aren't you?"

"Not exactly," DongHyun said, and followed him into the bedroom. Too late, but he'd guessed that. "So, HyunSung has an offer for us."

HyunSung yawned and sat up, and then smiled at them again. "Yes, I do," he said.

It took a miracle time of two minutes to decide yes, and two hours to get everything packed up. They spent the day doing not too much, but that evening, they were ready - and past ready - to go. DongHyun submitted his resignation letter, they left the freshest of their food at Mrs. Kim's, and headed off into the night, hoping to get as far as they could before day time.

DongHyun had no regrets as he locked the door to the apartment.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 21st, 2016 01:29 am (UTC)
Awwwwww, this can't be all there is to this? *pouts* Are you going to write more? *puppy-dog eyes at you*
Mar. 29th, 2016 01:56 am (UTC)
No, I really had no ideas. If I got something, I might, but the problem is that it would explode, and I'm not ready to write something massive again.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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