players: Jung Daehyun, Yoo Youngjae
word count: 2,050
summary: The riot began with a heated face-off and a firebomb and ended with kisses.
a.n.: Written for The Brownie Bunch's round 4.
Daehyun's lament is from Act II, Scene III of Titus Andronicus, the only Shakespeare play I've ever read in its entirity. Rather than help his niece, Uncle Marcus goes off on a long monologue, kind of removing the physical brutality and elevating it to something else. It was weird. Loose association.
read on: AFF || AO3
The riot began with a heated face-off and a firebomb.
Smeared with paint and grease, everyone used whatever weapons they could and launched what looked like a suicide attack on the well-armed riot police, but forethought planted explosives all around their battlefield. Rather than worry about a remote, Yongguk decided on timed explosions, and those who attended the meetings knew where to avoid and when, but the stragglers would be casualties of turf war.
Daehyun stayed up away from most of the fights, popping down to surprise an individual officer with a baton to the head and scurrying away before reinforcements could find him.
When his watch chirped, he grabbed Youngjae and bolted through the disorienting smoke and dust.
The cracked pavement beneath their feet rumbled and broke apart with the vibrations of a blast, heat singed their hair and an invisible force shoved them off their feet and brought down a wall of bricks to separate them from the fight.
He didn't know how long he was out, but Daehyun's head ached. His back ached. His arms ached. Everything ached, but a little voice suggested that was a good thing, because it meant his body was still attached to its parts. He sat up, gingerly touching his head and then legs before rolling onto his hands and knees and pushing himself upright.
Their potential exit was completely blocked, and any other door or window was nailed shut or caved in. Evidence from previous meetings or parties littered the floor with the rubble—spray paint cans, beer bottles, plastic baggies, candy bar wrappers, shiny copper shells. Looking up, he could see many floors up, right to the intricate ceiling that peeled with age. The building he had lead Youngjae into was obviously not the one he thought it was.
"Jae? ... Youngjae?" He looked around and saw Youngjae on his side a few yards away. There was blood on his arms and legs, but Daehyun could tell he was still breathing. "Youngjae." He checked for a pulse—still strong—dropped to his knees by his friend and wailed, "Why dost not speak to me? Alas, a crimson river of warm blood, like to a bubbling fountain stirr'd with wind, doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips, coming and going with thy honey breath. But, sure, some Tereus hath deflowered thee, and, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue. Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame! Aaaand spits up a booger of blood. That's just nasty, man."
Youngjae's groan cut off in a cough, and he spat out another gob of blood, pushing it from his teeth to his lips with his tongue. "Were you seriously reciting poetry and watching me bleed out?" He scrubbed at his lips with the back of his wrist, staining it red and black.
Daehyun shrugged, getting to his feet to crouch beside Youngjae and let his eyes roam over his body, looking for anything more substantial than the many cuts and blossoming bruises. "It's an old play, actually—I thought it might've been appropriate—but yes. I didn't know if I should touch you or not."
Youngjae grunted as he struggled up onto his elbows, grimacing at the feeling of pain from bruises in places he didn't know could be bruised. "Never stopped you before ..." Daehyun shrugged again, nodding. "What happened?" He finally looked at Daehyun properly. His facepaint was smudged and smeared, more dirt and blood than paint. The tattoo down the bridge of his nose was cut neatly between his eyes.
"You got hit by debris from that last blast, I guess. I was knocked out, too. It caved in the wall. We'll have to find another way out. I don't think we should try moving any of it."
"I told you this was a terrible place. Why do you never listen to my strategies?"
"I do! Then I choose to ignore them. C'mon." He got to his feet and held out a dirty hand. "Can you stand, or should I carry you?"
It hurt to move, but his pride was always more sensitive than his body. "Like hell I'm letting you carry me," Youngjae mumbled. He accepted Daehyun's hand and didn't let go once he was on his feet, pulling him a bit closer to peck his lips—ironically the cleanest part of his face. "Better me than you, at least." He released Daehyun's hand and hobbled off the unstable pile of junk and rubble to investigate the caved wall.
Daehyun stood rooted to the spot, dreamily touching his bottom lip. Tears sprang up in his eyes. "You do care!"
"I'm actually severely brain damaged. Any action is likely not my own." Youngjae glared at the ruined wall and rubbed his hands down his thighs, trying to clean them a bit on the filthy pants. "It's amazing the whole theatre didn't come down. This is stronger than it looked."
"Yongguk hyung didn't want to destroy the whole district, remember. Just reclaim it by making it even less ... habitable." He kicked at a large piece of plaster with the toe of his boot. Large pieces crumbled into a fine grayish powder. Youngjae hummed, tuning Daehyun out as he tried to figure out a way out that wouldn't bury them or bring down the remaining five floors.
"—jae?" A crackle drew their attention to the base of the rubble pile. "Youngjae? Are you there?"
They found their radio dented and dinged but still functional, as long as their communication channel didn't change. The dial was gone. Youngjae blew some dust off the warped plastic body and held it near his mouth. "Himchan hyung. We're both here; we're fine, but we're caved in."
"Oh, good. Stay there so I can kill you, because who said to go inside!?" To turn the riot into a revolution, they had to make a bold statement, one that couldn't be ignored by the media. They figured blowing up a few blocks and taking out entire police patrols translated roughly into PAY ATTENTION. Unfortunately, with all the mayhem, Daehyun had misjudged buildings.
"Spare me, hyung," Youngjae sighed. "I tried telling him, but he pulled the age card. I was just following orders." Daehyun looked betrayed.
"Here's another order: Hit him, hard, and knock some sense into him!" Daehyun flinched and looked frightened, eyes wide and pleading; as much bravado as he had, he couldn't back it up with brawn, and they both knew it. Youngjae, on the other hand, had trained in combat for fun before the revolution even began and could manhandle even Jongup, although he never did off the practice mat.
"Roger that, hyung." Youngjae cast a sideways glance at Daehyun, who flinched, and released the button to speak. He grabbed Daehyun sharply by the back of the head, smiled at the panicked whimper, and pulled him into a kiss that made Daehyun light-headed.
Daehyun tapped out to breathe and wobbled on his feet. Himchan's voice crackled, "Where are you, exactly?"
"The one Jongup drove the bus full of explosives to?"
"The exact one."
"God dammit, Daehyun!"
Daehyun took offered the radio and whined. "Hyung, I'm sorry! I couldn't tell which building was what with all the explosions!"
"So you took Youngjae to the one with the biggest blast?!"
"It happened when we got inside! I didn't know!"
"You could've been killed!"
"He already kills my patience," Youngjae told a plaster-caked beam.
While Himchan continued his tirade, Daehyun contemplated turning the radio off, but the dial was broken, and the case was so warped that he couldn't even remove the batteries. He settled for tucking it into his pocket.
"Hey, Dae. C'mere and help me with this." Youngjae hauled the beam aside and shoved at some wood nailed across what used to be a door. "I think we can get through here. The stairs should head up; we'll have more options than waiting down here."
Daehyun eyed the wood sceptically. His hands ached just thinking about the splinters. "You know, I actually don't think I mind being trapped and waiting for—" Youngjae minded; he stepped back and drove the heel of his right foot into the centre of a board, leaning into the kick and skipping back to keep his balance as his foot broke through. The board beneath the one he kicked cracked as well; he nudged it with his foot until it broke, then pulled the pieces apart.
It left an opening large enough to crawl through. Youngjae went first, wincing as old bits of gravel and glass dug into his knees and palms, and waited for Daehyun.
"You know, out of anyone to be stuck in an old building with, I'm kind of glad it's you." Youngjae didn't shake off the warm hand that took his; he marched into the dim hall, skirting around spots with plaster trickling from the ceiling, and lead the way up a flight of creaky steps.
The second story didn't look much better than the first. Entire sections of floor were missing; most of the glass was broken; the walls were riddled with bullets; and Youngjae could see cracks of sunset through the west wall. Some sounds filter into the theatre, shouting and a small explosion every so often. The main blasts, strategically set out by Yongguk, must have taken out most of the police—and probably a chunk of their own comrades. Daehyun's most nervous about leaving the solitude of the derelict theatre and seeing the righteous carnage.
He jumped at a particularly vicious squawk from his pocket and pulled the radio out, tugging Youngjae's arm for him to stop.
"Are you completely ignoring me?" Himchan seethed. "Where the hell are you?"
Youngjae rolled his eyes when Daehyun handed him the radio. "We're on the second story, hyung. I think we can get out through one of the busted windows, on the side opposite the cave-in."
"Okay." He sounded relieved. "Just sit tight for a bit." A few armoured SWAT members were still trying to suppress the remaining rioters.
"Hey, Himchan hyung .... Is everyone okay?"
Daehyun knocked his shoulder against Youngjae's, who leaned against him quietly.
"We're good. Junhong and Jongup are both with me. Yongguk's off being the fearless leader." There's a laugh in his voice, but the distorted radio reception couldn't hide the worry.
"Alright. Well, we'll figure out a way out and meet you."
Youngjae nodded, not that Himchan could see, and handed the radio back to Daehyun to be tucked back into his pocket. Explosions from outside were fewer. Most of the shouting sounded pained rather than angry.
Walking close, they explored the second floor, nearly falling to the ruined first story when a banister gave way under Youngjae's hand. Finally, what used to be a door to somewhere—probably another building that had been demolished—was pushed out and fell to the glass-scattered alley. The day's heat still sat on the air, but a dusty breeze made it more bearable.
Most of the buildings were still standing, tagged and sad-looking with the occasional scorch mark. Some pieces of white and black flags clung to brick and abandoned cars. A few people, police and friend alike, covered in grime and dirt and blood, shuffled through the wreckage of the street, but no one noticed Daehyun or Youngjae.
Daehyun sat on the floor and let his legs dangle over the side of the building. "So this is what our future looks like, huh?" He rubbed at a sore spot between his neck and shoulder. "Not as pretty as I'd like."
Youngjae joined him on the floor with a soft sigh. "We'll make it pretty." They sat shoulder-to-shoulder and hip-to-hip in sore, tired, companionable silence and watched the stars come out from behind violet and vermilion clouds underlit with gold from flames that hadn't gone out.
Daehyun, notoriously unable to keep quiet for longer than a few seconds, nudged Youngjae with his knee. "Hey." When Youngjae turned his head to look at him, Daehyun pressed a soft kiss to his lips. They barely parted, breathing together. "I'm glad you're still with me." Alive and in one piece.
Youngjae grinned, a familiar sort of gleam returning to his eyes, and replied against Daehyun's lips, "You can't get rid of me."