Rating: PG-13 in this chapter
Pairing(s): HaeWook, as in Donghae/Ryeowook, others implied.
Summary: Donghae's been missing from a whole month, he doesn't remember anything, not even his dreams. He knows something's missing but everything keeps slipping off his mind. Don't worry, he has help, and together they'll uncover the secret behind this puzzle, or you know, end up in the stomach of a dragon. kind of fairy tale AU.
Warnings: AU!, un-betaed nonsense, violence, non-humans everywhere but you already know that's how i roll, language, weird creatures (and no, I don't mean Heechul), my terrible sense of humor.
A/N:What painful chapter to write, I almost die guys, die, OK not really, but it was difficult because I put a lot of information in it and I ended up making a mess of myself to avoid making a mess in your brains, let's hope you enjoy it. If you wonder about the lack of updates you can see the whys here, and if you want to know more, lets just say that being an emotional wreck doesn't help any creative process. I hope you enjoy this chapter, it was fun to write when it wasn't killing me.
For ryeona and all the wonderful people who gives a chance to variety.
If they wanted to play, then they will play.
The weather behaved strangely near the forest, as if it wanted to defy even the wishes of the seasons, the wishes of reality.
But everything was strange in the forest for Donghae; the leaves where too big, the trees where too dark, the crows where too black, the water was too cold, the earth was too hard. The strangest thing of it all was Donghae himself.
He had never been in the forest, yet he knew exactly where to go, he was suddenly leading the way while barely knowing what he was doing.
“The memories are calling for you” said Hyukjae “you were actually the one who decided to go to the forest in the first place.”
“I did?” Heechul snorted. “I mean… I thought…”
Hyukjae smiled and patted Donghae on the back “You didn’t think, Donghae, and that’s the whole point of this - shut up, Heechul or I swear I’ll feed you something that won’t let you talk for a whole day- You don’t have to think, you have to feel and to listen.”
Donghae nodded, it kind of made sense, at least as much sense anything would make in their situation, it was the way it worked with the first piece of his memories; the idea of looking under his bed appeared from apparently nowhere just like the certainty that it was more than just a feather what he found there. If his memories were actually calling for him, the only thing he had to do was to answer the call. He could do it. Probably. Maybe.
The sky was starting to get the orange tint of the sunset; they only had a couple of hours of light to walk and then they would have to find a safe place to spend the night, it wasn’t safe at night in the forest, not that it was safe on the day either but at least they could see what was eating them if anything happened. He was about to ask when should they stop, when a sound startled him.
“What… what was that?” Said Hyukjae in a high pitched tone, unconsciously grabbing Heechul’s shirt who only grunted while pulling out his sword.
“It was a scream wasn’t it?” Donghae had his bow ready while trying to locate the source of the noise.
“We shouldn’t go there” said Hyukjae.
“Someone could be in trouble, that scream was human.” Replied a frowning Donghae.
“Your brother is right, Donghae” said Heechul looking without blinking towards the direction where the scream came from “this forest fools the ears and the minds of people, we can’t know if this is a trap.”
“But it could be real!”
“Even if it was” replied an expressionless Hyukjae “it already stopped.”
Donghae never knew the full weight of silence until that moment.
They had to get ready for the night.
Wise, but not enough.
The night was spent in silence, Heechul found a cave, a quick exploration found it empty and without signals of any kind of nest so they decided it was safe enough to use for the night, Hyukjae lit a fire to keep them warm and gave them hard bread and old cheese to eat.
“We can hunt tomorrow to get some meat, but right now this is all we have.” He said without looking at Donghae even once.
It was a quiet and miserable meal, Heechul was stressed, Hyukjae was absorbed in his own brain and Donghae was angry.
Furious, actually; he never thought that he would be so close to saving someone and not doing it, not being allowed to, and worse of all, being wrong for wanting to save them.
He yelled and fought and cursed for a whole hour, he was so angry and Hyukjae was patient while Heechul only ignored him which angered him even more.
“We could have done something!”
“No, Donghae, it’s not that simple.”
“It is that simple! We let someone die!” Hyukjae shook his head with a sad expression.
“If there was someone there, they were already dead, you have to understand that.”
“No! I can’t fucking understand! The only thing I understand is that we didn’t do anything when we could!”
“You can’t save everyone!”
“I saved you! And you know I shouldn’t have, Hyukjae, you know it.”
Heechul always mocked him because he never used his brain before speaking, he always did that, and it usually had hilarious consequences; at that moment the only thing he managed to do was to hurt his brother, his only family in the world, because of a simple temper tantrum; because Hyukjae and Heechul wanted to keep them from taking (most likely) unnecessary risks.
He couldn’t fix anything at the moment, though, he was still angry, even if he understood his fault, he had to sulk, he knew that Hyukjae knew he didn’t mean what he said, Donghae would never regret having his brother, saving him, never.
He fell asleep trusting that everything would be fine in the morning.
It was time.
The boar was more than adequate for them, the meat was soft and juicy even after cooked, Hyukjae wrapped the leftovers in some leafs that he assured them would dry the meat and stop it from rotting too soon.
They spent most of the morning walking towards what sounded like a river, everything felt warm and wet and every step, every effort they made left them exhausted and sweaty.
And Hyukjae wasn’t speaking to any of them.
At some point of their horrible expedition Heechul had enough.
“Go and talk to him, goddammit, I’m going to kick your ass if you don’t fix this now, Donghae.”
Well, that was quite a serious threat.
His brother was walking a little behind them not looking at anything in particular, Donghae knew Hyukjae was upset because he wasn’t tripping or hitting himself with the trees or singing old songs with a very bad tone.
Hyukjae became very quiet when depressed, when Donghae found him for the first time he didn’t speak at all.
“Hyukjae, I’m sorry.”
“I know, I just… you don’t regret it, right?” Donghae smiled.
“Wow you’re dumb.”
“I’m your brother, of course I’m dumb; it comes with the blood.”
Hyukjae smiled too.
The next piece of the memory was under a rock, it was a white feather, almost identical to the first one he found except for the color, he still couldn’t describe the exact feeling that led him to the feather or the one that made him recognize it as part of him. But again, he found it. It would stay in a little pouch he carried next to the other feather until they were done, who knew when. Even with all that subconscious knowledge in him, he didn’t know how many memories were left.
They ate next to the river, Donghae managed to fish a couple of trout that tasted delicious well cooked, the river managed to keep them fresh even with all the heat surrounding him. Donghae finally felt some peace.
The boy came running out of nowhere; a monstrous beast after him, destroying the forest and everything around it, only to catch his prey, Donghae moved quickly, bow and arrow ready for the attack.
“In the eye, Donghae, shoot it in the eye!” yelled his brother.
The beast fell with a terrible roar, blinded and in pain, it was almost an act of mercy when Heechul sank his sword right in the chest of the animal, killing it immediately.
“A one eyed bear” said Heechul frowning “horrible beasts.”
“On the bright side we can use the fur and the meat” said Hyukjae not looking at the dead animal at all but at the boy they just rescued “I’m more worried about something else.”
The boy gulped under Hyukjae’s scrutiny “I… I got lost… and today… we were attacked by those things” he pointed at the bear “All of them died and I… just… I…”
“What are you doing here?” asked Heechul in a gentle tone, all of them where feeling a little worried about the boy, he was skinny and delicate looking, and also about to have a serious break down, Donghae gave him some water that the boy took gratefully.
“We are… were traders, it was our first time crossing the forest and we didn’t know… we…” the poor boy choked a sob, Heechul sighed.
“I would vote for leaving him here with water and some food, maybe a knife too, but Donghae would probably yell at me for a month for being cold hearted, and Hyukjae… well Hyukjae would probably agree with me but Donghae is too annoying when he’s pissed off, so I guess you’re coming with us, you can send a bird to your family when we get close to a town or something, agreed?”
The boy nodded in silence, Donghae smiled and patted him on the back.
“Well, it seems you’re one of us for the moment.” He said with a small smile that the boy answered with one of his own “I’m Donghae by the way, the two guys who are too cool to be nice are Hyukjae, my brother, and Heechul, my… well, Heechul is Heechul.”
The boy smiled a little more and Donghae felt dizzy.