giggling hongbin (julyfix) wrote,
giggling hongbin
julyfix

In Your Bones: Chapter 7

notes: this is the last chapter, there will be an epilogue :)

[Previously...]

Denial is a beautiful thing, and ignorance is bliss. Perhaps Jongdae is just so ready to succumb to his fate, he finds it in himself to be much more… cheery than he has been the past few months. ‘Cheery’ might not be the right word, but — he’s smiling more, laughing more, and seems to be back to his ‘old self’. Sehun’s emotions trail behind him unsurely, but without work and the pair only spending time together (occasionally punctuated by visits from Jongin), it’s almost as if they feel… free. Both of them have saved up enough money to live comfortably, and Jongin had approved a sort of medical leave so that their bank accounts wouldn’t drain quicker than necessary.

They go to movies, they go on walks, they visit bars. There’s always that warning in the back of their heads — ‘Don’t leave’, ‘Don’t be seen’, ‘He’ll find you’ — but a small part of them accepted that come what may, they are not going to live in paralyzing fear forever. Sehun still has nightmares, still has to sleep in Jongdae’s bed or constantly be around the older, which is fine. Jongdae likes having him close because it gives him a nice illusion of control.

Kai hasn’t shown up in three weeks.

Jongin has been a constant.

Jongdae tries not to think that the two are related somehow. Not when he’s finally feeling some semblance of normalcy towards the chief. ‘Normalcy’ being shy hand touches and a few random, heated makeout sessions, in any case.

On a day where Sehun is choosing to snooze, Jongin comes over to join Jongdae in relaxing on the couch and watching movies. They’re comfortable on the couch, and while Jongdae has been more receptive than ever, Jongin is still cautious when it comes to anything beyond handshakes or friendly hugs.

Resting his cheek on Jongin’s shoulder, Jongdae stares at the television without really looking at it. “What will you do?”

Jongin shifts to drape an arm around Jongdae’s frame, “What do you mean?” He smells like deodorant and fabric softener.

“What will you do when me and Sehun are dead?”

He can feel Jongin tense slightly. They haven’t talked about it, not explicitly like this, and Jongdae figures it’s about time.

“You’ll have four dead officers and a cold case,” Jongdae murmurs.

“I don’t want to think of it like that,” Jongin starts to say.

“You have to think of it some way,” Jongdae says, doing his best to not get huffy. “You can’t just pretend this isn’t happening.”

“Like you’ve been?” Jongin retorts.

They both fall silent.

Jongdae exhales, “I don’t know how else I should act. I’m tired of being scared. I need to be strong for Sehun…”

Jongin’s hips shift and then he’s turning to rest his back against the arm of the couch, drawing Jongdae up onto his chest and cradling him warmly, carding fingers through his hair. Jongdae relaxes into the touch, absorbs Jongin’s warmth and scent, and then quiets down.

“I’m going to retire,” Jongin finally says.

Jongdae stays silent, but noses up into Jongin’s neck to encourage him to continue.

“I won’t be able to offer the force anything, after this. I’ll be worthless. So I’ll retire early, pull out all my pensions... “ There’s a small smile tinging the edges of Jongin’s voice. “Go to the countryside where my family has a farm. They’ve always wanted my help out there, and now I’ll finally be able to give back to them.”

Jongdae snorts a little, “Never pegged you for a farm boy.”

Jongin preens, “You think I got this tan in the city?”

Jongdae smiles, settling back down into Jongin’s frame, imagining their bodies becoming liquid and fully immersing within one another.

“You deserve happiness,” Jongdae finally says.

Jongin’s response is a quiet, “I want to be happy with you…”

--

Jongdae is startled awake by the most cold, violent awakening he’s ever experienced. Something hard, sharp, and freezing cold gets dumped over his head and when he opens his eyes and regains consciousness, he sees Kai standing in front of him holding an empty bucket. Jongdae’s breath is short, goosebumps erupting on his skin and he looks down to see ice cubes littering his lap and the floor; he shivers violently, feeling his teeth start to chatter.

“What the fuck?”

Kai tsks, tossing the bucket aside with a clatter. Jongdae flinches at the noise. They’re in the same basement-type room as last time, but it’s much darker, only a single bulb above Jongdae’s head bringing him into a five-foot radius of light.

“Nice to see you, too, detective~” Kai says with a smirk. He’s wearing that white mask again, no eyeholes, his mouth exposed. His ashy blond hair is greased back, a few gaudy earrings dangling from his ears.

Jongdae spits at his feet, “Just kill me already, will you? I’m sick of your games.”

“Ah,” Kai’s mouth opens in mock surprise, and he lifts a finger up to his chin. “But… today’s game is the funnest of them all.” His mouth curls into a sinister smirk and he takes a step back, reaching up to pull the chain of a fluorescent track light, bathing the basement in stale, stark white light.

It takes Jongdae’s eyes a moment to adjust, but when they do, he sees Jongin tied to a chair ten feet in front of him. His heart plummets into his gut.

“Jongin--?!”

Jongin is slumped over, chin to chest. He’s still in the clothes that he was wearing at Jongdae’s house, and he looks relatively unharmed.

“Mmm, it might take a bit for him to wake up,” Kai says conversationally, clapping his hands together and then rubbing them gleefully. “Wait until you see what I have prepared for today!”

Jongdae’s mind is racing. “Where’s Sehun?”

Kai stops his tittering and looks at Jongdae sharply. His eyes are shielded, but Jongdae feels them boring into his soul. “Oh, Sehun…” Kai licks his lips. “You could say he’s… two sheets to the wind.”

Jongdae isn’t stupid.

Sehun is dead.

He ducks his head, his shoulders straining from the way his hands are bound behind the chair. His eyes feel hot and wet and he knew he couldn’t prevent this, knew they couldn’t evade death forever, but he still feels such immense guilt, like lead on his conscience and coal in his gut.

“Aw.” Suddenly Kai is kneeling in front of Jongdae, tipping his chin up. Jongdae jerks, not wanting to feel that burning, demonic touch. “He went quickly. Much quicker than the others. He embraced my coming…” Kai’s finger traces over Jongdae’s jaw, making the detective snap his head back in disgust. Kai seems unbothered. “Right through the heart.” He uses his finger to poke Jongdae’s chest. “Instantaneous. Virtually no pain.”

“How pious of you,” Jongdae spits, snarling.

“I thought so,” Kai shrugs, standing up and turning to walk over towards where Jongin is slumped over. “Now… Can you imagine the sweet sight I happened upon at your home?” He places three fingers on Jongin’s shoulder as he walks around the back of the chair. “So sweet. You and the chief all cuddled up like two teens on a first date.” Kai then stands next to the chair, his fingers on Jongin’s opposite shoulder. Kai is wearing ripped black jeans and an obscure band shirt with a leather jacket over top, and he looks like some sorry excuse for a gangster from a cheesy drama. Jongdae just glares. “As far as I knew, Jongdae, you only had feelings for me.” Kai pouts, and then smirks, his free hand dropping below his belt to grab his own package lewdly. “And my body.”

“Shut up,” Jongdae snaps. “Let Jongin go. He’s not what you want--”

“Ah ah ah~” Kai shakes his head, and his hand starts massaging Jongin’s shoulder in an effort to no doubt try and wake the man up. “On the contrary, detective, I am very much interested in Jongin.”

Jongdae feels like his own face is going to spontaneously combust, with how hard he’s glaring at Kai. “Why? You’ve never expressed interest in him until now.”

“Detective, detective, detective,” Kai reaches up to the edge of the white mask, silver rings glinting on his fingers. “Dear Jongin, here…” He pulls off the mask and Jongdae feels his gut lurch. It’s different than the picture that Minseok had discovered, different seeing it in real life versus a grainy old photo that had barely been retouched. Here, in this dingy basement, Kai removes his mask to reveal a face identical to Jongin’s. The same almond-shaped eyes, the same slightly flat nose, the same strong brow bone. Kai and Jongin look exactly the same. “...is my vessel.”

Ever since the photo, Jongdae had accepted that Kai and Jongin share some similar features. But to be carbon copies of one another is almost too much, and Jongdae averts his gaze, unable to look at Kai. His heart is racing, his head is pounding, his fingers coming in and out of numbness as he tries to undo the bindings around his wrists. He’s still cold from the ice, body going through bouts of heating up with emotion and then cooling down again with uneven breaths.

“That’s not very nice, Jongdae,” Kai chastises, obviously referring to how Jongdae won’t look at him.

“This is fucked up,” Jongdae says, half delirious. “You’re psycho.”

Kai sighs heavily. The sound of his boots hitting the floor as he approaches Jongdae feels like hammers in his ear drums. Kai crouches in Jongdae’s line of sight and Jongdae closes his eyes tightly in response, feeling sick to his stomach.

“You know I’m not crazy,” Kai says. His hands rest on Jongdae’s knees. “You know that every bit of information you have uncovered is true. You know what my mission is.”

Jongdae shakes his head. “No. Fuck you, Kai. Aliens aren’t fucking real, there’s no fucking Tree -- you’re just a psychopath serial killer--”

Kai puts two fingers on Jongdae’s head and pushes hard. Jongdae’s head snaps back and all of a sudden he’s spiraling out of his chair, falling through an endless void -- a kaleidoscope of colors assault his vision, bright flashes of light nearly blind him, and when he comes down from lightspeed he’s floating, an astral projection above a lush forest. Instead of greens, browns and reds the forest is colored blues, aquas and deep purples, stretching beyond Jongdae’s line of vision.

Unsure of what exactly is happening, as well as knowing he has no control of it, Jongdae lets his astral body float over the trees. It doesn’t take long for him to reach the tallest tree in the forest, and as soon as he lays eyes on it, he knows.

The Tree of Life.

He feels an odd sense of familiarity as he floats in front of the massive tree. Each branch is pulsing slightly, like it has its own heartbeat. Voices float up to where Jongdae is and he glances down, seeing twelve figures huddled at the base of the giant trunk. His astral body floats closer and he can start to make out the conversation, ears straining to ear what sound like a foreign language.

We don’t have much time.” A familiar voice says. “We have to do this now, or else forfeit our entire existence -- our people and our culture.

But what if it doesn’t work?

The words are definitely foreign, but Jongdae’s mind is translating them as they filter through his ears. He frowns as he floats even closer, looking between all of the hooded people.

We have to have faith that it will,” the first voice replies. Jongdae sees the hooded figure has more decorations around his neck than the others. The leader?

A new voice speaks, “We will follow you anywhere, Wise one.

The decorated figure reaches out to place an elegant hand upon the shoulder of the figure next to him. “You have always been my most loyal.

The other hooded figure bows graciously, and then all at once, twelve pairs of hands are rising to lift the hoods from their heads.

Jongdae loses his breath.

Chanyeol. Kyungsoon. Zitao. Joonmyun, Luhan, Yixing, Yifan, Baekhyun, Minseok -- Jongdae feels dizzy. The next hood down reveals Sehun, and Jongdae feels his heart break. The decorated one and the figure next to him lower their hoods at the same time, and Jongdae is sure that if this weren’t an astral projection, he would faint.

The decorated man is Jongdae himself.

His right hand man is none other than Kai.

Before Jongdae can properly react the kaleidoscope eats him up again, sucking him into the swirling vortex of hyper speed, pulling him through the galaxies and then spitting him back into his body. There’s a clatter and Jongdae and the chair he’s tied to fall to the floor violently. Jongdae coughs up some blood, barely clinging to consciousness and gasping for air.

“Now…” Kai crouches next to where Jongdae lie fallen. “How was your journey?”

“I’m not,” Jongdae wheezes, “like you.”

“Oh, but you see Jongdae,” Kai stands up, starting to pace excitedly. “It was all your idea! Your idea to split the tree, to scatter it with all twelve Legends and then bring it back to life once we were all reunited. I’ve been waiting too long for your vessel. I have done so much in effort to find you.” He crouches again, head tilting so he can look properly at Jongdae, manic smile on his lips. “I never would have guessed that you would have been the most difficult to retrieve.”

Jongdae shakes his head, groaning, trying to wriggle free from his bonds. “No, no…”

“I suppose we could say that, if we looked at the fact that it was all your idea…” Kai gets gleeful. “You’re the serial killer!”

“NO!” Jongdae yells out. He feels himself breaking, inside and out. He’s not the man in the vision. He’s not an alien. He’s not responsible for the deaths of ten people. It’s not him, it’s not him…

With amazing strength Kai picks up Jongdae’s chair and sets him upright, his hands on the arms as he peers into Jongdae’s face. “You’re it, detective. You are the Wise One. You are responsible for all of us being on this filthy rock, responsible for restoring the Tree of Life--” Kai smirks wickedly, licking his sharp teeth with his tongue. “Responsible for murder.”

Jongdae jerks his head forward, head-butting Kai square in the forehead with the crown of his head. Kai curses and stumbles back, a hand covering his face; Jongdae breathes heavily, adrenaline pumping as he glares up at the other. Kai pulls his hand away and stares at the blood on his hand, and then stares at Jongdae in disbelief.

“You made me bleed…”

Jongdae spits at Kai’s feet, defiant.

And then, absurdly, Kai gets ecstatic. “You made me bleed! Only the true Wise One can inflict damage upon a Legend!” He smears the blood from his palm all over his face and then dances around the room, cackling gleefully. “The Wise One, the Wise One!”

The Kai in the astral projection wasn’t this… stilted, Jongdae thinks to himself. He glances over at Jongin and feels his heart skip a beat -- Jongin’s eyes are open, fixed on Jongdae, fear glinting wildly in them. As Kai dances around Jongdae licks his lips and gives a small nod to Jongin, trying to convey that he stay quiet. Jongin nods in return and hangs his head to his chest again, and Jongdae’s fingers start working on the rope around his wrists once more.

“Hey,” Kai says breathlessly, suddenly back in Jongdae’s realm of vision. Jongdae freezes. “I know what you’re doing.” Kai reaches around and tugs on a part of the rope that makes it pull tighter and Jongdae lets out a sharp cry of pain, hanging his head and clenching his jaw. “Mmmm…” Kai pulls away and glides over to Jongin, grabbing the man by the hair on the back of his head and yanking it up with a smirk.

Jongin can’t pretend to be asleep any longer and he cries out, body tensing and back arching to try and alleviate the pressure on his scalp.

“You can’t save each other,” Kai says, feigning sadness. “I’m afraid your fates are sealed. You will die... “ He looks down at Jongin, who looks utterly shocked to be staring at someone identical to himself. “We all will die.”

“Jongin,” Jongdae cuts through Kai’s melodious words. “Stay with me. Don’t fall for what he says, ok? We’re going to be alright. You’re going to be fine.”

Jongin can’t tear his gaze away from Kai’s face. He makes no indication of hearing Jongdae’s words, so Jongdae speaks louder.

Jongin, don’t fall for his bullshit!”

Jongin snaps out of it, his gaze returning to Jongdae. Kai lets go of the chief’s hair and then returns to stand in the middle of the room, spreading his arms out to the side.

“All that’s left is to kill my vessel so that I may take it over,” he explains, and then looks over at Jongdae. “...And for you to die and be reborn into your true role.”

“There has to be another way--” Jongdae’s over the edge. He’s broken. His tone is pleading and this is it, he’s really helpless. He’s tied to a chair, ten people are dead because of him, and he’s about to watch the one person he took a foolish chance on perish because of him.

Jongdae’s eyes are closed when Kai’s voice whispers in his ear.

“There is no other way.”

The detective’s eyes open in time to watch the flash of silver preceding a torrential downpour of crimson. Kai has sliced Jongin’s neck from ear to ear -- Jongin’s eyes are wide, fixated on Jongdae as he chokes on his own blood. The tendons inside his throat are flexing, working, trying to both swallow and cough up the sudden influx of liquid but it’s spilling out of his mouth, pouring down the front of his shirt and Jongdae watches in horror, unable to make a single sound, unable to move, unable to do anything.

“Jong…” Jongin wheezes, his limbs starting to spasm.

“I’m so sorry,” Jongdae says, voice hoarse, his face wet with tears.

Covered in blood and gruesome as he’s ever been, Jongin’s red stained lips manage to lift up in a small smile. It looks like he tries to form words, and then his head falls back, the light leaving his eyes, the inner workings of his throat exposed as his body sags and he finally expires.

It’s quiet.

For a delirious moment, Jongdae thinks that Kai has poofed away again. He feels so alone, sitting across from Jongin’s dead body. Everything has been taken away from him… everyone has been taken away from him. As he stares down at his lap, absorbing everything, he feels something building up inside of him, slowly filling the emptiness. Anger? Disappointment? Hatred? He thinks about how he’ll never hear Sehun’s laugh again, he thinks so hard about his stupid lisp that he always tried to hide and how Jongdae always thought it was super adorable. He thinks about Minseok and how he’ll never help Jongdae figure out how the hell to use Windows 10. He thinks about everyone else, too, and how their loved ones will never know what happened to them… Who killed them, and for what reason. Not that it’s believable, by any means.

A pair of boots come into his range of vision and Jongdae glances up to see Kai looking down at him. There’s no mad glint in the other man’s eyes. No sadistic twist of his lips, no tremble in his fingers. Kai’s expression is pensive as he looks down at Jongdae, and Jongdae doesn’t realize he’s sobbing until Kai bends down close enough for Jongdae to muffle the noise in his shoulder. Kai reaches around and unties the rope cutting into Jongdae’s skin, rubs his fingers over the bruised flesh, and noses gently against Jongdae’s ear.

“I’m sorry it had to be this way…” Kai whispers.

Jongdae must be crazy, because he believes him, and he sags against Kai’s solid, real body, howling in despair into Kai’s shirt.

--

By now Jongdae has just accepted that he sometimes wakes up in a totally different place than he fell asleep. He accepts that sometimes he’s not even asleep when he blinks and finds himself in a new location. So when he comes to in his own bed in his apartment, fully dressed, clean, and with a clear head, he doesn’t question it. He checks the clock to see it blinking 02:00 and then he sits up, rubbing the back of his neck.

There are rope marks burned into the skin of his wrists.

He’s on auto-pilot when he gets dressed in a suit he’d normally wear to work. He makes sure his tie is snug and straight, loops his leather belt neatly and fastens it tightly, makes sure his shoes are polished. Over his button-up he works his arms into his leather shoulder holster, buckling it up over his sternum and giving it a tug to make sure it’s snug. He clips another holster to his belt and then walks over to the safe sitting on top of his dresser, twisting the combination until it clicks and the door pops open. He tucks the revolver into his shoulder holster, the government-issued glock into his hip holster, and then takes a breath.

Shrugging into a suit jacket, Jongdae leaves his cell phone, wallet, and badge, and takes one last look around his apartment as he walks through it. It’s still a disaster from both Minseok and Sehun staying with him. Their laughs echo in his ears as he makes his way to the front door, hand reaching out towards the knob. He pauses, fingers a scant millimeter away from the metal, and then clenches his jaw.

He’s going to take Kai down, once and for all.

His fingers touch the knob and thunder crashes outside, lightning sparking through Jongdae’s body and carrying him out of his personal prison.

When his feet touch the ground again he’s on a rooftop, wind howling and thunder clapping in the distance. Lightning flashes and Kai emerges from the shadows, his expression solemn as he regards Jongdae, who has his feet planted and fists raised, ready to strike at any time.

“No matter how this ends, Jongdae,” Kai says, speaking loud enough for Jongdae to hear, “it’s going to start over how it’s meant to be.”

“I’m going to go out on my terms,” Jongdae yells back. A few rain drops splatter onto his cheek. “You’ve taken everything from me. I won’t give you the satisfaction of taking me, too.”

Kai shakes his head, using a hand to push his blond hair out of his face. His face twitches, the ghost of that crazy grin stretching his lips illuminated by lightning before it disappears just as quickly. Jongdae watches the minor expression change with interest.

“You…” Jongdae licks his lips. “You’re the only one that existed outside of your vessel.”

Kai’s gaze is heavy when it rests on Jongdae. He doesn’t say anything.

“You were split from your vessel, and the rest of us… The rest of us were just one being.” Jongdae’s thoughts are going a million miles an hour. “That’s why you were so unstable. That’s why you seem so normal now.” Jongdae’s eyes search Kai’s features. “If we’re all supposed to die to be reborn as Legends in new bodies… what happens to you now that you and Jongin have merged?”

With a clap of thunder, Kai disappears. Jongdae immediately goes on the defense, pulling his revolver from his shoulder holster and cocking it, holding it steady as he starts to take a few steps forward, head on swivel.

“Kai?” Jongdae calls out.

“You’ve always been smart.” Kai’s voice is disembodied, and Jongdae struggles to locate it with all the wind blowing about. “What do you think will happen to me?”

A clatter to Jongdae’s left has him whipping around, gun aiming to a piece of scrap metal trying to skitter along the cement. Glancing around, Jongdae adjusts his grip on the gun. “I don’t know.”

“Think about it,” Kai’s voice is suddenly in Jongdae’s ear. “You all have to die, to be reborn. I’m still alive.”

Realization sinks into the pit of Jongdae’s gut. Kai is planning on dying tonight to complete the ritual.

“Well,” Jongdae whips around quickly, but Kai isn’t standing behind him. He’s no longer freaked out by Kai’s disappearing act, and instead starts to let his gaze wander around the roof top again. “That’s too bad for you. I’m not a killer.”

Kai’s arms are suddenly around Jongdae’s waist, hugging the detective’s back to his chest. “But I am,” he whispers along Jongdae’s neck, making the man’s knees weak. In a flash his hands move to Jongdae’s and with incredible expertise and skill, he opens up the chamber of the revolver to empty out all of the bullets -- save for one. He spins the chamber and then snaps it back into place and then pulls away, the cold wind harsh against Jongdae’s back.

Jongdae looks down at the bullets littering his feet and then lowers his gun, still defensive even though it’s quite obvious that no matter how hard he tries, Kai will still sneak up on him. “What is your plan tonight, Kai?”

“If I tell you, you won’t let me do it.”

Pain explodes in Jongdae’s ribs and he loses his breath in a whoosh, before he staggers away to right his footing. Kai is in front of him now and not backing down, not disappearing, raising his fist to strike Jongdae again -- Jongdae uses one hand to block the blow to his face, dodging away. Kai’s body turns and one of his long legs comes up, foot aiming for Jongdae’s opposite side, and Jongdae wraps his arms around Kai’s shin, twisting to get the man off balance. They both stumble together, thunder rumbling in the background, and in the chaos of their misplaced footing, Kai’s fist manages to cuff the side of Jongdae’s head, making his vision blur.

So far, in all of this, Kai has yet to physically harm Jongdae to any crucial extent. He’s clearly provoking Jongdae by picking a physical fight with him… and it’s clearly working, because Jongdae loads his strength into his right arm and manages to land his knuckles right on the curve of Kai’s jaw.

It feels amazing.

The man staggers back and spits out some blood, grinning, satisfied with Jongdae’s response. All of the anger Jongdae has held onto, all of the sadness and negative emotions come barreling out of him in a war cry and when Kai rushes him again Jongdae tackles him, sending them both down to the ground. Jongdae uses the butt of his revolver to pistol whip the blond, and after that it’s a mess of fists and feet as they roll around on the cold ground.

In a quick move Kai manages to get the gun from Jongdae’s hand, his feet going over his head as he rolls backwards to get away from Jongdae. They both stand at the same time, Jongdae drawing the glock from his hip, the two men aiming their weapons at one another.

Kai is splitting at the seams. The strength and resolution of Jongin’s personality is swirling with the instability of Kai’s madness and Jongdae can see all of the conflicting emotions flashing in Kai’s eyes, see them twitching his lips.

Their tussle wasn’t as epic or as satisfying as Jongdae had hoped it would be, but now that they’re in a standoff, Jongdae has the realization that he knows how this is going to end.

They all have to die.

It’s almost as if Kai can hear Jongdae’s thoughts, because he takes off running the instant the idea crosses Jongdae’s mind. Cursing, Jongdae follows after him, dodging around vents and exhaust pipes and storage sheds before he finally comes to the edge of the building. Kai is standing on the ledge, the revolver pointed to his own head, and Jongdae feels his gut drop.

“This is how it ends,” Kai exhales. The wind is so loud, Jongdae has to read his lips.

“Kai--” Jongdae holsters his gun, holding up his hands and bracing himself against the impending storm. Kai can’t kill himself. It’s not fair, Jongdae thinks wildly, that Kai is so ready to take himself out when Jongdae has been so agonized over all of this, when Jongdae has nothing left to live for.

“What do you think will kill me faster?” The crazy edge is back in Kai’s voice, and Jongdae is filled with dread. “A bullet to my brain, or my head impacting on cement?”

Jongdae’s eyes are on the way Kai’s finger vibrates on the trigger of the revolver. No. This isn’t how it’s going to end. Kai is not going to win this. “Don’t—” Jongdae takes a step forward but immediately staggers back when Kai flings an arm out to the side, exposing himself.

“Or maybe a bullet from your gun?”

Jongdae feels that rage bubbling up inside of him again, as the wind tries to knock him over. “Things don’t have to end like this!”

Kai has a dreamy expression on his features as he replies, “This is the only way.” The smile that splits his lips brings panic to Jongdae’s gut. “Let me know which one killed me faster.” He jumps.

Jongdae raises his gun and fires, the bullet hitting the invisible bullseye in the center of Kai’s forehead before the man’s body goes sailing eighty floors. Breathing heavily, Jongdae’s fingers tremble on the grip of his gun, shock settling into his system. For the first time he has used his gun selfishly, angrily, for his own gain. He has never shot a single person before.

He killed Kai.

He murdered Kai.

He...

He looks down at the gun in his hands, the fog in his brain starting to clear.

He released Kai.

Closing his eyes, Jongdae lifts the gun to his own temple, feeling peace for the first time in almost a year. True, blissful peace, not born of ignorance or denial, and he feels a smile curving his lips as his finger flexes on the trigger.

This is how it has to end.

This is how it has to begin.

He pulls the trigger.

Stars explode in the sky, and Jongdae’s ashes blow up into the cosmos.

[Epilogue]

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Tags: member: jongdae, series: in your bones
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