Woonsung's Lazy teaser !!!!!!!!😭😭
Woonsung's Lazy teaser !!!!!!!!😭😭
→ the one with the desecration
↳ choi hajoon, tian xiaomei
↳word count: 4.4kk, warnings: self mutilation, self harm, alcohol, lots of blood, gore
a/n: takes place in 2021; pre-resurgence.
Hajoon made his way up the stairs, plate of food in hand. It wasn’t for him-- he hadn’t had an appetite in days. His hand laid limply on the doorknob, almost not wanting to see what was beyond the door, but he knew he had to do it. He sighed heavily, pieces of his chest rattling as he did so, and pushed the door open.
Kang Jaehwa-- the real Kang Jaehwa-- was tied up in the middle of the room. He had come back to coherence just a few hours after the Jae that Joon knew had fled. The boy was scared, which no one could blame him for. He had more or less just woken up out of a five-year coma.
Joon could still feel Near’s hands feathering against his back as he hauled the boys limp body up, refusing to let him go until the others had found him in the upstairs hallway.
”Hajoon, you can’t just keep him here.”
“Why not? He’s my fucking best friend, I have to take care of him.” Joon said, voice breaking with every word.
“It’s not him anymore, he’s gone, Joonie. You have to let him go.”
Near’s touch faded away as Joon stepped away from him. He felt like he was being cornered, he felt like an animal in a cage and he didn’t like it. He felt the weight of how alone he truly was. No one was going to be on his side anymore.
Hajoon had been alone for most of his life. Surrounded by many others, yes, but he never had any type of connection to any of them. Not until he had met Jaehwa. Jae was different. Jae got him. And even if their relationship could be strained by Hajoon’s own jealousy he harboured for the others life, Jae was undeniably the best friend that Joon had always craved and had always needed. Jae completed him in a way.
He felt like shit after the loss he suffered with Teal. He had held onto a sliver of hope that Teal was going to come back and that they would be able to work things out. That kept him sane, it kept him going. But when Jae had taken himself out, Joon lost any hope he had in one fell swoop.
Being alone was different before. Loneliness was something that used to just be the way of Joon’s life. But now, Joon had the taste of friendship, he had the taste of love, and lonely was something he never wanted to be again. Joon felt like he had lost absolutely everything.
Jaehwa lifted his head as Joon walked in, the same terrified expression he wore every time Joon had come in. He looked like the Jae that Joon knew, but Joon knew better. There were silent tears that ran down Jaehwa’s cheeks as he spoke, a different dialect than he’d had when it was Joon’s Jae.
“Please, I just want to go home. Please let me go.”
The accent was more akin to Joon’s, sounding like he was from further south. Joon didn’t say anything. He just crouched before the boy, avoiding the eyes he had come to know the half-decade Jae had been in his life.
The last time Joon spoke to the new Jae, he got frustrated. Looking at the shell of his best friend with a completely new filling was hard for him. He just wanted to beat it out of him, make him remember who he was and who he used to be. But Joon just had to accept that Jae was gone.
After Joon fed the boy, he took to the activity that filled all of his time then. He would look through grimoires, he would research and try to contact other witches, and he’d spend hours meditating, trying to see if he could build a psychic link with Jae to even just talk to him one last time.
He wanted more than anything to go to Hell to pull him back out. He wanted to do a summoning ritual to bring Jae face to face with him again. But he was plainly just out of luck as Jae had never told anyone what his true name was and without that, Joon was completely powerless. Joon could feel how abysmal the situation was in his bones, but he couldn’t bring himself to stop trying to save Jaehwa from the infernal place he had sent himself to.
Joon tried again and again to remind himself that the infernal place was his home, but Joon knew that Jae couldn’t stand it there. He knew he didn’t want to be there, and just the thought of Jae having to endure whatever it was he was going through was almost unbearable for Joon.
“You can ask me for help, you know?”
Joon looked up from the skin-bound book that laid in his hands, having taken to rubbing the binding with his palms as he read. “Why would I do that? What do you know about Hell?” His words came out sharp and pointed, stabbing harshly into the air as he sent his daggers toward Xiaomei who stood in the doorway.
His hair was dripping wet, a lilac towel loosely hung on his hips as his gold belly button ring glinted in the light that shone from Joon’s desk lamp.
“I went to school, Hajoon. I can read, I can help look for whatever you’re looking for.” Joon went back to what he was doing, not even humouring the younger boy looming in the doorway. “When’s the last time you even slept? You look like shit, Joon.”
“Please, shut the fuck up.” He said rolling his eyes, feeling like sand dwelled between his eyelids.
“And where’s your little Fae helper? Why isn’t he here protecting you or helping you?”
“Tian Xiaomei.” Joon said, hand reaching up and grabbing a dagger that rested on his desk. He unsheathed it, standing up and turning. “Leave me alone.”
Xiaomei put his hands in the air and raised his eyebrows. “I’m just saying, Jesus Christ.” He said under his breath before turning to his bed and throwing the towel onto it. He dug around behind Joon for a moment, suiting himself into a set of fresh and clean clothes. The sounds of Xiaomei rummaging around was pissing Joon off even more, making him want to actually follow through with the dagger he still clutched in his hand.
Serim really had started neglecting whatever it was he was supposed to be doing-- it didn’t go unnoticed by Joon either. But joon didn’t really mind it. The other seemed sick and Joon wanted to be alone anyway. He welcomed the silence that came with being alone, he wanted to be able to stay busy without interruption. He didn’t want the lull to hit him in full force and make him think about his own life. That was something he couldn’t handle.
“Well, I’m heading out for the night. I’ll probably be back before the morning but… yeah. Bye.” Xiaomei said. Joon turned to see him walk away, white skinny pants and a baby pink silk shirt leaving him alone again. Joon felt as close to happy as he could be.
The solitude didn’t last long.
His fingers unfurled from the dagger when Near poked his head in to greet him. He liked Near pretty well, especially since everything had happened. Near made him feel even the smallest bit better for a moment.
“Hyung,” Joon said, letting Near know it was okay to come in.
Joon rubbed his eyes, putting down the book as Near approached him.
“You want me to get you something?”
Joon blinked a couple times. Near’s softness reminded him of what a mother should be. Near was just so good.
Joon shook his head and Near hesitantly placed a hand on Joon’s shoulder. He knew Joon was volatile and Joon felt bad that he scared the smaller boy. “I’m okay.”
Near nodded. “Okay.”
Near had the same kind of small accent that Teal did. Maybe that’s why he liked to be around Near so much those days. That and Near seemed to be in gentle support of his endeavours. Unlike everyone else who passed through his room throughout the day, Near didn’t have anything to say about what Joon was doing.
Near left quickly, and Joon wondered for a moment if he had seen the boy shaking or if he had just imagined it. He threw the thought from his mind as he went back to reading again.
Joon held onto the porcelain sink, knuckles turning white as he looked at himself. His eyes were dark, he had circles marring his under eyes, cheeks were impossibly hollow, and his platinum blonde roots were screaming against his freshly-dyed hair already. He pushed his hair back out of his face, standing up straight as he did. There was nothing occupying his time, so Joon felt empty. He felt like the weight of the world was pushing down on his chest as he stared at himself in the mirror and he felt like there was nothing he could do about it. Hajoon felt hopeless.
He covered himself quickly, hating the feeling of the cold air that brushed against his skin. He pulled on a white hoodie that had been left behind in his room by Teal. It was the last one he had that still smelled like the boy and even though it was fucking pathetic, it made Joon feel calmer than usual.
Joon prepared himself to be intruded on again, having to sleep for at least a couple hours while Serim sat in the corner and watched him as he slept, but was surprised when the older boy never came round. He thought it odd that he hadn’t seen the boy the whole day, but he again welcomed the absence or company.
Joon celebrated the right way, cracking open one of the bottles of absinthe he had still in his drawer that Serim had put away. He threw the formality of cups out the window and drank it straight from the bottle, the sticky and sweet green liquid even chancing itself by running down his chin. He sat on his bed, pulling his legs up as a spare full bottle of absinthe rolled against his thigh. He pulled at the collar of the hoodie, pulling it over the lower half of his face and taking a gentle inhale before he got used to the scent and the waves of sea salt and ocean spray faded into the air around him.
It always begrudgingly reminded him of their time on the beach when they had gone to Jeju. Ironically, the first time Joon had ever felt anything before towards someone that wasn’t tainted with malice or jealousy. Teal had laughed, the most genuine sounding thing Joon had ever heard in his life and it made his brain melt. He felt like he had been awakened to a whole new world and he loved it. He loved Teal.
The seashell necklace made its presence known hanging around Joon’s neck as he sat there, staring at the ground as he clutched the neck of the bottle tightly between his fingers. He shook his head, the room taking a moment to catch up with his eyes as the alcohol wore him down easily. He had started to enjoy the absence of control when he drank, he even came to enjoy the taste of the absinthe. Joon felt like it took him away, made him feel like he was somewhere else, someone living in a different life. He just wished that there was something to do about how numb he felt all the fucking time.
The pain was there, there’s no doubt about that at all, but there was something that barred Joon from even thinking about feeling it. Something that kept him staring at walls instead of crying, made his heart feel stagnant instead of broken. Joon just couldn’t feel anything. He felt more and more like the mud he was born from every day.
Joon just wanted to feel something. He wanted it more than anything.
He looked down at his hand, opening his palm and running his finger over the raised skin where the seashell on his necklace had dug into him just weeks earlier. Maybe if the shell had went deeper, it would’ve hurt him more, maybe he would’ve even bled.
Hajoon’s eyes flicked over to the unsheathed dagger that still laid on his desk from earlier. His mind came alive with the idea, but he pushed it away just as quickly. He couldn’t, right?
His heart ached just looking at it, feeling like the dam was about to break. He had to try something, he had to try anything. He yearned to feel the pain, to be incontrol of what he was feeling for once instead of everyone else around him monopolising it.
He got up from the bed, letting the half-bottle of absinthe slip from between his fingers and hit the wooden floor with a resounding thud. He collapsed in the chair, his legs barely getting him there without buckling under him. He let his eyes travel down the knife. It was silver, no pretty gems encrusting it like the one he had given to Teal. It was basic, just a smooth hilt and a long twisted blade.
He grabbed his own arm with his right hand, lifting up the dead weight as if he couldn’t bring himself to move it on its own accord. He pushed up the white sleeve and ran his thumb over his own skin, smooth to the touch and cold.
He took a deep breath as he picked up the dagger; he had never turned the blade on himself before and it felt weird. Like he was about to be the center of his own ritual even if this was nothing of the sort.
The first line going from his wrist halfway down his forearm was small and he watched as the skin parted. Nothing but the acute blackness that he often found under his own skin made itself present. A twinge of anger jolted through Joon. It wasn’t enough. The slit wasn’t nearly enough to make him feel anything at all. He made the same cut again, this time digging deeper. His skin offered some resistance as he dragged the blade down his arm, but he made it all the way down. His arm felt warm, but still all he saw was the hollow noir staring back at him.
Joon sucked in a deep breath through his nose, a sob choking out as he reared the blade back and stabbed it as hard as he could into his forearm. His hands began to shake when he felt the knife exit the other side and stick into the table. He reluctantly pulled it out, the silence in the room that surrounded his muffled cries menacing as he did it again, the same thud resounding when it poked out the other side of his arm and into the desk.
His chest heaved and his lips sputtered out words, nearly incoherent. He was amidst his frustration when he realised he was screaming.
“I just want to feel it. I just want to feel something, I just want to feel myself.” he chanted, as if wishing it would make it happen.
He was confused as to why his arm felt so hot especially with how cold he typically was. He felt lightheaded as he stared at the gaping holes in his arm, the rest of him shaking violently as blackness started to swallow him up, the words still playing heavily on his lips. He blinked hard, keeping himself grounded and awake.
When he opened his eyes he realised that there was a thick red liquid all over him. He didn’t know what it was until the smell of rust hit his nose.
He furrowed his brow as he realised it was leaking from his arm, the block and gaping holes replaced by sinewy and sliced muscle, ribbons of skin hanging off of him, and worst yet, shards of pristine bone that he had struck when he stabbed so violently into himself.
Joon began to panic, not knowing what to do and unable to save himself at that point. There was no way he could get to any of his herbs or any of the things he needed before it was too late.
But this was what he wanted, wasn’t it?
Joon’s mind played in reverse as his lip quivered. He could feel the warmth leaving him, everything that made him himself, the essence of his life dwindling quickly from him. There was so much that he still had to regret in his life, so many loose ends that would never be tied up. He knew that the final conversation he had with Teal would be how the boy would remember him forever and that made him hurt. He knew that he’d never get to redeem himself for what he had done to his brother and the shame he had brought to his family. And he knew he’d never be able to save his best friend from the confines of Hell, even if he wanted to.
Joon was colder than he had ever been before, even with his typical frigid body temperature and he couldn’t stop fucking shaking as his body slumped forward.
This was it. Everything he had done in his life up until that point was meaningless.
Joon didn’t want to die. That was the last thing he wanted.
He imagined himself again, the night he had killed his brother. He could feel his mother’s fingers, so realistically, carding through his hair as he laid with his head in her lap. He felt warm in the house being heated by an eternal flame that sat vermillion in the fireplace. She was humming a song that felt familiar to him, something he felt like he had heard long ago in another life that he could no longer remember.
“Joonie,” She said once, hooking the end of her sentence as if she were going to say something. But she never continued.
His eyes were heavy and his mind felt weary. He was comfortable and he wanted to let go. He felt so warm suddenly, he felt like maybe he was okay with just leaving everything behind. Joonie was going to be okay.
“Hajoon.” His mother said again, her voice sounding distorted almost. His eyes jerked open. “Joon, fucking wake up. Please.” Her voice was that of a man.
Joon opened his eyes.
Xiaomei was standing over him, hands covered in blood as he fought with the knife that was stuck in the table and pinning his arm down in place. Joon groaned a little, the sound barely even having the chance to escape his lips. Xiaomei reared back, yanking as hard as he could and sending a metallic shing through the air as the knife dislodged and found itself in his hands. He dropped it to the floor immediately and shoved his arms under Joon’s, pulling him out of the chair and dragging him on the floor.
He dragged him out of their shared room, a trail of blood following them. Joon fell in and out of consciousness, only perking up when he heard Xiaomei yelling, catching not even a glimpse of what had happened.
Xiaomei had opened the door to their shared room, already smelling the lingering rusty scent from the hallway-- he figured Joon was just doing something along the lines of a blood ritual-- with a lot of blood from what he could smell.
His heart dropped into his stomach when he opened the door, seeing Hajoon’s slumped body with a dagger sticking out of his arm. He couldn’t breathe or even bring himself to move in that moment. He dropped his belongings and rushed over to him, tugging on the knife. It was stuck in the desk and he wasn’t strong enough to get it out.
“Joonie,” he said, his heart beating so quickly and harshly that he could feel it in his throat. “Hajoon? Joon, fucking wake up. Please.” He said before being sent flying backwards, knife in hand as he freed Joon from the desk.
Xiaomei breathed a sigh of relief. He just had to get him to water, he had to get his arm submerged.
Joon was pale and he didn’t seem like he was able to move. His eyes opened half-heartedly, barely even enough to be noticeable and Xiaomei took that as a good sign.
He hauled Joon up as much as he could, the larger boy’s deadweight proving difficult to move. Joon fell to the floor as Xiaomei dragged him out of their room and down the hallway.
“Oh shit, oh what the fuck?” He heard a voice say from behind him.
He turned his head quickly in his efforts to get Joon to the nearest bathroom and saw Serim over his shoulder. A pang of annoyance jolted through him.
“You were supposed to fucking take care of him.” Xiaomei said, feeling the ghost of a tear roll down his cheek. “How fucking dare you? You promised you were going to take care of him, why are you even here?”
Xiaomei didn’t listen to his response, or lack thereof-- he wasn’t sure if the boy had even bothered to reply. He made his way to the free bathroom, stepping into the bathtub and pulling Joon with him. He sat down, pulling Hajoon back and kicking the water on with his foot. The water was freezing cold, hopefully enough to shock Joon into a state of awareness, if even only a little.
Xiaomei could feel Joon tighten a little when the water soaked through his clothes. Xiaomei tightened his arm around Joon, hand grabbing the wrist on his mutilated arm and holding it low, making sure the water would hit it as it rose.
As the tub filled up, Xiaomei closed his eyes and when they opened again, they glowed with a bright white light. The water in the tub turned to blood and entered Joon, filling him back with everything he had lost that night. Xiaomei raised his arm, fingers prodding into his open wounds. He rubbed his digits around inside of his arm, mending the slices and tears that marred him. Lastly, he withdrew his hand, finally wrapping his fingers around Joon’s arm and sliding down, leaving behind the soft skin that Joon had started with earlier in the night.
Xiaomei took a deep breath, as he finished up, the glow in his eyes fading out and eventually disappearing completely.
He was wet and cold and covered in blood with this heavy ass man on him.
Hajoon didn’t stir one bit, and Xiaomei didn’t expect him to. He knew he would probably be out for a couple days just out of the sheer force that was exerted just to bloodlet and regain everything he had lost, not even to mention the things he could’ve see as he danced between the veil of the living and dead.
Xiaomei managed to get up, legs nearly buckling under him as they had fallen asleep in the tub. He pulled Hajoon out along with him, hearing him utter the same phrase over and over again as if it was tattooed on his brain.
”I just want to feel it.”
Xiaomei shook his head, letting Hajoon fall to the floor this time and snapping. Joon dragged along behind him as he walked, almost as if he was being dragged on an invisible rope. When he got back to their room, he flexed his hand, almost as if he was wringing out a rag. Joon’s clothes dried instantly and he was clean, save for the blood stains that were left behind on the white hoodie he was wearing.
Xiaomei hauled him up into his bed, resisting the urge to smack him.
Why would he do such a thing? Was it because of Jaehwa? Xiaomei simply didn’t understand it, and he really didn’t appreciate having to come in and see all this bad shit first hand. It wasn’t something he was used to and just staring down at Joon’s face, brow furrowed in morosity even in his most relaxed state, he found himself wanting to cry. He wanted to go find Near wherever he was in the house and tell him about what he had seen, but he didn’t feel like it was his to tell. No matter how poorly Joon treated him under any circumstances, he wasn’t just going to air out his shit like that.
Joon woke up in the night, he was plagued by the driest mouth and throat he’d ever had. Xiaomei was there, almost as if he was waiting for him. He felt so fucking tired, as if he hadn’t slept in years. His immediate reaction was to jerk his arm up, but his body ached and his reaction time was much slower than he had anticipated-- he felt like he had been drugged.
His arm was clear, no sign of any harm, but Teal’s hoodie was soaked in dried blood that was caked onto the fabric. “What the fuck happened?” Joon said, his voice cracking through his gravelly throat.
“You hurt yourself really bad.” Xiaomei said, a quiver on the end of the sentence. “You’re gonna be okay, though.”
So it really did happen. And Xiaomei had saved him?
Joon would’ve cocked his head to the side if he wasn’t in so much fucking pain, quirking up an eyebrow at the boy even in the darkness. Why had he saved him? Joon was under the impression that they hated each other.
“Just go back to sleep, Hajoon. You’re not ready to wake up yet.” Xiaomei said from across the room in his own bed.
So he closed his eyes and drifted into an acute blackness that was almost as comforting as the one he had swam in just hours before.
→ the one with the absinthe
↳ choi hajoon, former hellboy members, mention of teal piyapon
↳word count: 3k, warnings: smut, alcohol, angst
a/n: takes place in 2020; pre-resurgence.
Absinthe was fucking disgusting. That’s all that Joon could think as he drank down the verdant liquid. He was far past feeling the burn that clipped his throat, the alcohol feeling more and more like water with every drink he took.
Joon didn’t like drinking, not at all really. But he wanted to do something to numb the buzz at the back of his head. Usually it was hot and made him feel angry or annoyed at the drop of a hat, but lately it just made him feel sad. Joon preferred the anger over the sadness. Sadness was a weakness. He just didn’t want to feel anything anymore, so more often than not he tried to drown it all away.
Joon knew exactly when it had started. He recalled back to the night when he had dumped everything on Teal, telling him his deepest and darkest secret-- well, one of them at least. He just wanted to stop fucking dwelling on it and stop being so fucking scared. Telling Teal did make him feel better, but Teal himself made Joon feel weak.
He felt like his father had taught him a lesson before, that caring for people is a weakness. wanting what was best for someone else and throwing all care for yourself out the window wasn’t how he was supposed to live. Even in his drunken haze, he was still thinking about Teal and he hated it. He couldn't even tell if he was upset because of how he was supposed to feel or because of how he was actually feeling.
Joon liked Teal a lot. He liked Teal so much that he always wanted to spend their freetime together and he had even taken to selling Witch Charms on some little craft website just to be able to buy things the boy wanted-- just because Joon wanted to see him smile. He had never felt that way about anyone before, and the sudden onslaught of feelings drove him up a wall. His chest would get tight when Teal would do things that reminded him of his feelings. Things like looking at him with life and light in his eyes like he had hung the stars, laughing heartily and naturally, or simply just standing in the right lighting could set Joon’s feelings off. He almost felt like he couldn’t breathe properly and the insides contained in his ribcage fluttered.
Joon almost said that he loved Teal straight to his face. Joon felt like that was probably his breaking point, especially with everything else that bubbled in his mind that evening. Teal didn’t deserve to have to deal with someone's baggage when he was still sorting through his own. Joon didn’t deserve anything that Teal had to offer. Joon could feel his mind shifting, his insecurities making him go against his own belief system he had preached since he was just a child. Teal had started to change him.
Joon didn’t want to stop seeing Teal, but he forced himself to. Well, he stopped seeing him as often. Joon would try to muster up an excuse as to why Teal couldn’t come over, Joon would purposefully displace himself when he knew Teal would be free, and on the very rare occasion, he would simply not respond and come back later with the excuse that he was asleep. But there were nights too where Joon couldn’t say no. He never wanted to say no in the first place and every time he did, he felt like he was taking one of his pretty daggers that sat just beside his bed and stabbing himself in the chest with it. Sometimes, Joon thought he would’ve preferred that.
He was well past drunk when he cracked into another bottle of Absinthe. He didn’t even bother with the formalities of a cup or a glass, just drinking straight from the container. Xiaomei had been in earlier and shook his head at Joon when he saw that he was drinking again. But it wasn’t any of his business and he knew not to mess with a witch who was bigger than him and had a flourishing knife collection. Xiaomei decided to dip quickly, leaving Joon alone with his thoughts.
Joon probably would’ve liked the company, even if he didn’t like Xiaomei. He still would’ve liked to have someone there with him. Joon had to hold himself back in his drunken stupor, from calling Teal. He had to keep reminding himself that Teal wasn’t the answer to the problems that he was trying to numb. Jaehwa was also a no-go, staying out more often than not these days. Joon scoffed at the thought of him just weeks earlier, feigning annoyance because Joon wasn’t spending enough time with him. What a joke.
The only person left who would really put up with Joon’s bullshit was the most tolerant person he knew: Isaac. Joon thought he was tolerant because they always had a push and pull and even though Joon knew Isaac fucking hated him and detested the earth that Joon walked on, he didn’t do anything to otherwise hurt the witch either. So Joon figured there was something alluring about him to the younger boy.
Isaac was Teal’s age, they were born in the same year. Joon threw that thought out of his head as soon as it had come around as he tried to push himself up. The extent of his drunkenness and the added flair of the Absinthe hit his brain hard when he was finally standing on two wobbly legs like a baby giraffe taking its first steps. He held onto the corner of his bed for a moment, hoping the world would stop spinning just so he’d get the chance to check and see if Isaac was even home.
Joon hated being drunk. He didn’t like the absence of control and when he was like this, all control was out the window. Above everything in that moment, the thought from before creeped back into Joon’s head: he just wanted to feel good.
Joon shortly found himself standing in Isaac’s doorway on the side of the house he barely ever ventured to. It seemed cleaner than the side he lived on, smelled nicer almost like sweet flowers. But that didn’t matter at that moment.
“What?” Isaac’s voice pushed harshly out of his throat. He had been laying in his bed with his eyes closed and he had heard Joon’s loud ass footsteps trudging through the house. He was prepared when the larger boy appeared at his door.
“Where’s Near?” Joon could hear the way his tongue mangled the words as he slurred his speech.
“Not here. What do you want?”
Joon smiled hazily, leaning away from the door frame that he had been resting against and walking into the room. He closed the door behind him before he laid across Isaac’s bed.
Joon hummed, Isaac’s bed feeling so soft and pillowy as he laid there. “Mm, you’re so pretty, Isaac.” Joon’s voice was heavy in his throat, like he had just woken up from a deep sleep. “Remember a few months back when we were in that little room under the stairs?”
“What about it?”
Joon looped his arms around the boy, feeling him stiffen when he did so. He carded his hand through the others sandy blonde hair, squeezing his hand into a fist at the crown of his head and pulling on the locks.
“Can’t we do it again? Not even in your mouth this time.” Joon whined through thick lips. He could feel himself pouting. Joon could also feel his previously thought to be non-existent heart cracking in his chest. He felt like he was betraying Teal. Images of the boy splayed out beneath him making the prettiest sounds to match the prettiest faces he expressed while Joon rocked his hips into him. A whine got lost in his throat as he snapped himself back. He had to stop feeling like this. There was no other way for him to feel normal, he had to blow his load of problems into someone else. He just wanted to feel something good. He wanted to be inside someone else's skin for a bit without the worry.
Isaac had fallen silent, looking at the expression that Joon wore. Isaac couldn’t help himself when he giggled at the pain he could see writing within Joon just from the look in his eyes. The laughter just made Joon’s chest ache even more.
“Please just let me fuck you.” Joon pleaded, not caring how much the desperation wore thin on his voice. “Please.”
Isaac took a deep breath, wincing at the hand that was still tangled in his hair. “You know how this works.” He grabbed Joon’s wrist, the abruptness making his hand go limp as he pulled the older’s fingers from his hair. “What’s in it for me, hm? Got anything else fun like that sour jar you gave me before? I don’t know what it did but I’m dying to play with more.”
“I’ll give you whatever you want. I just need to feel something, wanna feel good.” Joon was quick to agree, more or less selling his soul to an angel. He was drunk and his mind was foggy with desperation. He wanted to touch without being touched, and he wanted to feel without feeling. Joon thought he needed this.
Joon lost time along the way, his memory of the night hazy and full of holes. He felt like he had apparated on his knees with his dick in his hand, his boxer briefs pushed down just enough in the front to get himself out. With Isaac, there was no foreplay-- and Joon appreciated that. He didn’t want to have to touch him or offer up any kind of romantic gestures. Issac was on all fours before him, his chest pushed against the mattress with his legs spread open just enough for Joon to be able to situate himself between them.
Joon couldn’t get Teal out of his head. Teal was different, the current predicament with Teal would’ve been so different. Joon had gotten accustomed to the push and pull he and Teal operated under. They both had a knack for working each other up so much that they would be pliant under the other's touch. They knew each other's buttons, they knew how to get each other going.
With Isaac, things were quick and rough. Isaac was more or less just there while Joon had his way with him. Joon liked it that way, though. He didn’t want to feign any type of intimacy just to get by. Their “relationship” they had was purely parasitic. Nothing Isaac gave up would be enough to pay back the favours and magic that Joon had put out in return for what he wanted. Both Joon and Isaac knew that, but neither seemed to care.
Joon’s free hand gripped one of Isaac’s ass cheeks, squeezing his flesh. Isaac was small, his features plump regardless of his small frame. He was round and sharp, bones jutting out under his skin along his body. His skin was soft, Joon revelling in the texture under his fingertips as he lined himself up, not wanting to spare too much time.
He spread Isaac open, guiding himself up to his rim and not even bothering to prep him. Joon didn’t even spare any time to get lube or to even spit on his cock, he just started to press the head of his cock into Isaac.
“Are you not going to use any--” Isaac cut himself off with a hiss as Joon pushed himself into him. He could feel himself rip open and the pain made his body throb as his toes curled. The human vessel he was in almost wanted to curl in, but Isaac arched his back and pressed out a laugh in the wake of the pain. It felt good.
Joon pushed out a trembling breath once he bottomed out in Isaac. Isaac was so warm and tight around him, he had just started, but Joon already felt more alive, he could feel himself getting distracted already. Isaac’s hole was twitching around him, spurring him on as he started to pull out, pushing back into him and feeling himself make noises that erupted from his throat.
To be honest, Joon’s body was numb, tingling under the ocean of absinthe he had drunk. He couldn’t stop the small whines that pushed from his mouth. Joon sounded desperate as he pushed in and out of Isaac and for once, Isaac was reacting to what he was doing. He was softly laughing with every thrust, almost bouncing back with every throw of Joon’s hips as he rolled into him.
The sound of them bumping together echoed in the room along with the sounds Joon was making, Isaac’s neverending giggle and gasps, and the acute silence that filled the rest of the house. Joon felt his cheeks getting impossibly warmer, his face already red and hot from the alcohol but only getting more intense.
“Fuck, fuck you feel so fucking good,” Joon managed out. He wasn’t sure if he even got the words out properly, just hoping he got his point across. A loud moan got cut off in his throat as he bit down on his lip. He needed to do something with his mouth, he felt like he was going to bite his fucking tongue off if he didn’t.
His hands were tightly held around Isaac’s hips, Isaac felt frail, almost like he was going to break. Joon didn’t care about it much, he held him harder and threw himself in as hard as he could. His joints felt weak as he fucked into Isaac, he could barely feel the small amount of blood that trickled down on him from where Isaac’s rim had torn. Isaac didn’t seem to mind at all, it seemed like it was the first time he had ever really enjoyed himself.
Joon unwound one of his hands from around Isaac’s hip, leaning forward and grabbing a fistful of his hair at the crown of his head. He held on tightly and pulled him up in a rough manner. Isaac was smiling as Joon held him by the hair, his free hand snaking around his chest to keep him up. Isaac’s head followed to where Joon’s hand was tugging his locks, leaving his neck open to Joon. He leaned forward, opening his mouth and resting his lips at the side of Isaac’s throat. He pounded harder into him, feeling Isaac gasp as he did, fisting his hair even rougher to the point he thought he would rip a patch of his hair out. Isaac let out a moan for the first time that Joon had ever heard, it was high and lilted, a sound that was just like shattering glass.
Joon felt the pit of his stomach engulfing itself in flames, the way his body tingled numbly gave him no satisfaction, but he just had to bust. He wanted to feel something so badly even in the wake of his senseless gest of unfeeling.
His sounds got louder, vibrating against the pale column of Isaac’s neck as he fucked into him faster. He whined and moaned, whimpers breaking through as he worked himself up to the point of no return. He buried himself one last time, pushing into Isaac deeply until there was no space left between them. Isaac’s back pressed tightly against Joon’s chest, the two of them molded together.
Isaac let out a sharp cry, cutting off into a laugh when Joon sunk his teeth into his throat, biting down as he drained his balls into Isaac’s ass. He thrusted shallowly into him, letting his throbbing cock weep into the younger until he ran on empty. He let out a breath, just like he had at the start, trembling just as much but this time with the euphoric aftershock that crashed over him.
Joon withdrew himself from Isaac, his teeth leaving behind dark imprints in his otherwise smooth skin. He pulled out his cock, looking at the aftermath as Isaac leaned forward, laying face down in his bed. There was dried blood and Joon’s cum had started leaking out of him.
Joon stepped onto the floor on wobbly knees, making sure to tuck himself back in his underwear before he stepped out of the room. He adjusted his hoodie, pulling it down over himself as he stumbled out.
“Thanks.” He called over his shoulder as he made his way back to his room.
Once Joon had made it back, he fell into his bed on his back. His body still vibrated uncomfortably and when he closed his eyes he felt like he was spinning. He wanted to drink more of the sticky green absinthe. He opened his eyes, looking up at the ceiling as the feeling of uncertain emptiness returned to him in the acute silence of his room. Joon was completely alone and he knew that the feeling of being high wouldn’t last.
He felt so fucking pitiful when tears started to roll down his cheeks unprovoked. He fucking hated crying. He welcomed the anger that rode up his spine. He was happy to feel anything else but the sadness. He was so fucking pathetic and he felt like he was a different person. He hated the feeling that knotted in his chest-- a completely different feeling from when he would look at Teal and feel a rush of warmth. This feeling was cold and sick. He felt like his insides were twisting.
He wanted to call Teal. He wanted to hear his voice and his boisterous laugh so badly. He just cried harder at the thought of him answering the call, hearing his melodic tone when he spoke as the words rolled off his tongue. Joon wanted the comfort that came along with Teal. He felt like he was fighting himself, stuck between wanting to be with Teal and wanting to distance himself. His head swam with confusion as his fingers tightly gripped his phone. He felt in his chest that one might come. He felt that Teal had to be smart though. He had to know that Joon had started building a distance. And Teal would get it, Teal would give him space. Teal was just so fucking good.
If he texts first, then I’ll talk to him. It’s meant to be if he texts me first.
Joon fell asleep waiting for a text that would never come.
→ the one with the swamp
↳ choi hajoon, teal piyapon | @lcstboys
↳word count: 2.6k, warnings: angst
a/n: takes place in 2020; pre-resurgence. HEHEHEHEHEHEHE.
Joon’s hands settled on the small of Teal’s back, staring intently at the top of the younger boy’s head as he laid on Joon’s chest. He noted how still the air felt, and how the sunlight beaming in through the small crack between the windowsill and the shade he typically kept pulled closed. He liked the sunlight a lot these days. The light made him feel warm, and the burning orange that swelled in the sky towards the end of the day had become his favourite colour.
His fingers slowly worked over Teal’s skin that felt soft under his touch. That was another thing that Joon had come to realise he liked; the man laying on his chest had made him feel different in a way. Joon was always one to be able to leave someone hanging or ditch them after he had gotten what he wanted… But Teal felt so different. He had gone against his own word just to make things better for Teal, and the war in his head that ensued had been bothering him ever since.
Teal signed, his breath fanning against Joon’s bare chest and it brought him back to the land of the living. He tilted his head and couldn’t help the small smile that swayed over his lips when Teal’s hand found his own and wound their fingers together.
“Can you hear my heartbeat?”
Joon’s head felt light as he waited for Teal’s answer. He never felt like he could feel his own chest, and since the incident he had suffered at the hands of his previous coven, he was always so fucking scared that he didn’t even have a heart inside of him.
“Mhm. Course I can.” Teal said groggily. “What? Think you don’t have one?”
He turned his head, resting his chin right on Joon’s sternum. It hurt, but he welcomed the feeling.
“Sometimes I feel like I don’t. It kind of scares me, I can’t feel my own heartbeat and it makes me nervous.” Joon said, his hand coming to brace the back of Teal’s head, thumb swiping over his cheek hesitantly as he tried to avoid the younger’s eyes.
Joon sighed deeply, nudging Teal to roll off of him. He sat up, letting the sheet’s cover his legs as he rubbed the back of his neck. His skin was cold even to his own touch. Teal’s hand rasted gently at the small of Joon’s back, gently caressing the expanse of skin.
“Are you okay? You’ve been actin’ kinda different lately.”
Joon knew the question would pass Teal’s lips at some point. He knew he had been solemn-- more solemn than usual. Joon could usually mask how he was feeling with a cheeky smile or a roll of his eyes. But he really had been debating something over the past few days that made him withdraw into his head. He didn’t feel like he was living on the outside anymore and it was impossible to concentrate on nearly anything else.
Joon would never feel better unless he did it.
Joon had come to trust Teal more than anyone else he had ever met in his life. Teal was the fire of a warm day that decorated his life in shades of copper and ruby even when Joon felt like he was up to his knees in slate-coloured ice. He felt understood without ever telling Teal much about himself. He felt like they were similar in some ways and Teal made him feel comfortable in ways that Joon didn’t have the words to explain.
“Can I tell you a secret that’s kind of… on the personal side?” There was truly no going back after the words slipped out of his mouth. A secret that felt a thousand years old and weighed heavily on his mind was about to be brought to the surface and Joon already felt the tense relief falling over him from the ceiling.
Teal sat up, hand sliding under the sheet and coming to rest on Joon’s bare thigh. “You don’t have crabs, do you?”
“I-- shut the hell up, I’m serious.” Joon said without an ounce of sincerity in his words as he softly nudged Teal.
“You can tell me anything.”
“Well, obviously you know I’m a witch. But I used to belong to a really powerful coven that’s based in the south.” Joon takes a deep breath and he almost expects Teal to say something or make a joke somewhere, but the younger is silent, head leaning on Joon’s shoulder. He’s thankful that Teal didn’t try to look him in the eyes as he spoke, he didn’t think he’d be able to get on with it if he did.
“I did something bad that made them pretty unhappy with me. I betrayed my family and everyone in my coven when I did it and what I did doesn’t really matter that much, I don’t think. But it warranted them burning me at the stake.”
“How did you get away from it?” Teal said, his fingers drawing small patterns on Joon’s leg, offering up the smallest gesture.
“Well, I didn’t.” Joon paused, feeling like something was caught in his throat. He had never spoken the words to anyone before and he recognised the feeling that fluttered in the upper part of his chest from when he was a child and would cry relentlessly. He didn’t want the tears to fall in front of Teal. He didn’t want to ever cry again after he had gotten to the age where all he wanted to do was please his father. And even half a decade later, he was still trying so desperately to hold onto those values. Joon had to be strong always. He had to operate with conviction, regret nothing, be a man.
He took a deep breath, holding his head in his hands as Teal squeezed his bicep. “I was burned alive for what I did. And I remember it all. I remember how it smelled and how it felt to burn. It was the worst pain I had ever felt up until my nerves died and there was nothing but melted skin and black charred bits that I was encased in. I was blind and dried out and I--”
Joon cut himself off as he took a sharp breath in. He didn’t know why he was crying or where the tears had even come from. He thought about his death all the time and it never made him feel like crying. He was silent for a moment before he felt like he could collect himself. He began to speak again, voice shaking as he did.
“I died four years ago at the hands of everyone I had ever known.”
“But you’re here?”
“They apparently had tossed my body into a swamp and… I was dead for a few weeks. But then one day, I woke up under water as if I had been in a coma or something like that. I was sticking halfway out of the mud at the bottom of the swamp and I pulled myself out. And got to the shore. At first I thought something had happened and I had dreamed fuckin’... all of it ever happening. But my hair was white and grew white and I had completely reanimated almost as if nothing had ever happened to me. I stayed out in the woods for a few days, just trying to see if I was really on Earth or just in some kind of limbo where I would be subjected to the wrongdoings I’ve done. But then I stepped on a sharp rock and cut myself and I realised that I didn’t bleed anymore. My skin was always cold and still is. I was reborn in mud or clay or something and it scares the fuck out of me. I don’t know anything about it.”
Joon had reduced to a steady sob as he spoke, voice wearing thin as he still tried to pretend that everything was fine and that it was just another conversation on a Saturday evening. The sun had already begun to set and the only light illuminating Joon’s room was the glow of the quickly-fleeting sun that was going down faster than he was.
“I’m just so fucking scared, Teal. I can’t feel my own heartbeat even if other people can and I can’t bleed. Some days I don’t even know if I really am alive or not and I feel so fucking crazy. I don’t know anything about this and I’m terrified of what’s going to happen to me. What if none of this is real and I really am just in some kind of limbo?”
Teal pulled his hands back and took Joon’s cheeks in his hands. He turned his head and looked him in the eyes, his cheeks soft and wet under Teal’s touch. Teal’s thumbs swiped over Joon’s cheeks and under his eyes, collecting all the tears he could. His eyebrows were drawn up towards the center and he was almost pouting at Joon.
Joon couldn’t stop the tears anymore, he had been holding in the secret for years, and had been holding in a sadness he didn’t even know he had for years before he had ever died. Everything was finally drawing out of him.
Joon couldn’t bear to tell Teal the reason why he had been burned at the stake. He was always terrified that Teal would find him scary or grotesque in some way. Joon didn’t want to be a monster, he just wanted to be a person again. He knew that if he told Teal about what he had done, he’d have to come face to face with what he really was-- and Joon couldn’t handle that.
Joon fell forward into Teal, hiding his face in the crook of his neck as he held onto the boy. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to do this, I’m so sorry.”
Teal’s arms closed around Joon’s shoulders and held him tightly, head resting on top of his own.
“You don’t have to apologise, ya know. For someone your size, you’re nothing but a big crybaby, huh?” Teal said, but Joon could feel the way that he was speaking that he wasn’t smiling like he normally would when he said something like that. But Joon was thankful that he was trying to lighten the mood and not press him about his feelings. Joon knew it was best to cross one bridge at a time. He had opened up for once in his life, he could worry about the rest later.
Joon pulled back, looking Teal in the face and he fought the urge to kiss him. He didn’t want to change calibers so fast after saying something so weighty, but he wanted to be distracted again. He didn’t want to think about it and he could always distract himself when his mind felt high and far away. He wanted to bury himself in Teal and mindlessly fuck until he couldn’t hold himself up anymore. He decided against even trying it. He felt hyper aware of everything and crying with his dick inside of someone would be even more embarrassing than it already was.
A sharp pain shocked Joon on the tender underside of his upper arm. He jerked back. “Ow?”
“People who don’t exist can’t feel pain. And people who don’t exist can’t feel anything.” Teal said, resting his palm flat against Joon’s chest and letting his heartbeat flutter under his fingertips. “I think you’re a lot more human than you allow yourself to be, you just hold it all back.”
Joon couldn’t deny that Teal was right. The corners of his mouth drew up into the slightest smile and he could feel the weight off of his chest from finally getting the secret out of his head for once.
His chest swelled in a way that made him feel sick, the same way it had when Teal had smiled at him that day in Jeju that they’d shared together. It made him feel tight and weak. He had no idea what to make of it when the tightness would come around, but it only happened when he looked at Teal. His mouth began to move before he could control it.
“Teal, I really lo--” he cut himself off, doing everything but slapping a hand over his lips.
“I’m really glad we met. You make me feel more human than I have ever felt before.” Joon cocked his head to the side, feeling the small smile that played on his lips blooming a little bigger as he admired Teal’s face. How his nose sloped and his eyes twinkled even in the dimmest light. How he smiled with his whole face and how messy his hair was but how he still looked like the most beautiful fucking person Joon had ever seen in his life.
Joon buried it all down again, recovering from his crying jag and he dragged the back of his hand across his face. “I’m really sorry for that, it’ll never happen again.”
“You don’t have to keep apologising. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Joon swiveled around, standing up from the bed and grabbing the knife that laid atop his desk. The rubies in the handle glinted in the final shreds of sunlight streaming through Joon’s window. He looked down at it, the pristine blade that looked unused glinting up at him-- but he knew better. He turned around, holding his hand out to Teal.
Teal looked up at Joon, a bewildered look on his face. “What?”
“What do you mean what? You’ve been begging for it ever since you’ve laid eyes on it. Is the baby pirate scared of it now?” Joon said, almost condescendingly.
“As if,” Teal said, snatching the knife from Joon’s hand. He stabbed the knife into the air and Joon looked at him amusedly.
“Don’t cut yourself.”
Joon stretched, bending backwards before picking up his phone off his bedside table. He clicked a button on the side to check the time. “Are you hungry? We should order something, it's getting kinda late.”
Teal nodded. “Yeah, I didn’t wanna say anything but I’m fucking starving, Joonie.”
“You can order whatever you want, you know where my card is. I need to go do something real quick though, I’ll be right back.”
Joon slipped out of his room and ducked into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. He felt the swell in his chest again as he splashed cold water on his face and patted his cheeks with his hands. He was thinking about Teal still. Teal sitting in the middle of his bed, twisted in his white sheets with his smooth skin and soft body.
He almost regretted telling Teal about what had happened. He more or less trusted the boy with his life, or lack thereof, but he also felt like things were changing. Joon was comfortable where he was and had felt comfortable since even before the Jeju trip. He gripped the sides of the sink, looking himself in the eye in the mirror as his reflection stared back at him. He didn’t want Teal to look at him differently and in his heart he felt ashamed above everything else.
Joon took a deep breath and knew that he had to do something. He had to put distance between himself and Teal because he felt different. Teal never signed up for this. Teal didn’t deserve to be subjected to it. Joon should’ve never opened his fucking mouth.
He had to do what was right.
→ the one with the doors
↳ choi hajoon, kang jaehwa xu sing, tian xiaomei
↳word count: 5.1k, warnings: broken bones
a/n: takes place in 2020; pre-resurgence.
Jae stretched his limbs, untangling himself from the blanket that was wrapped tightly around him on the couch. He regretted having to get up from the cushioned paradise he had been nestled in, but he was mad. He had heard Joon coming home and not even offering him a single glance.
It had been this way for weeks now. Joon was once a constant in Jae’s life. He had said once that he was Jae’s best friend and Jae had brushed him off at the time… but it was true. There was no one in the house he cared for more than he cared for Joon, whether that care was returned or not.
Jae slid on his leather riding gloves, covering himself for whatever was about to happen. He didn’t expect to grab him or anything, it's just that Jae became more and more passionate with life with every day that passed. He climbed the stairs, not even bothering to knock when he burst into Joon’s room. Shorter jumped, dropping his phone and Jae watched it clatter to the floor.
“Hey!” He called out, causing Jae to laugh at him.
“Hey yourself. Can you get out? I need to talk to Choi Hajoon for a bit.” Shorter didn’t seem to offer to move in the slightest. He looked at Jae with a sort of dumbfounded look on his face. “Respect your hyung’s wishes. You never know what they’re capable of.”
Shorter nodded, picking up his phone from the ground and more or less scurrying out of the room like the little weasel he was.
He turned to face Joon, who greeted him with an airy laugh. “Thank fuck, I thought that brat would never leave. You pulled out the ‘Choi Hajoon’ and everything, jesus christ.”
Jae looked on at him, eyes unwavering. “Are we best friends?”
Joon cocked his head to the side. “What brought this on?”
“You’ve been absent for so long, you don’t even say hi to me anymore.”
Joon sighed deeply as Jae crossed his arms. Joon jutted out his bottom lip, feigning pity on the older boy. “Hm, are you jealous of whatever I’m spending my time doing when I’m not with you?”
“Cut the shit, Joon. I know what you’ve been doing I can smell it on you every time it happens you fucking sicko. I’m *not* jealous.”
“Come one, Jaehwa. Just say you miss me and admit that I’m your best friend and I’ll make it up to you.”
Jae rolled his eyes, his mouth twitching at the corners faintly. “You’re sick, Choi.”
“Don’t pout, your vessel will wrinkle.” Joon tipped his head back. “Will witch weed change your mind?”
“Straight from Jeju.”
Jae’s face cracked and he grinned, his cheeks balling up. “I think I can let it slide this time around. Next time the gloves are coming off.” Jae said cheerily.
Joon’s fingers worked diligently, rolling the blue petals between his fingers as the cerulean flowers shattered into a powder under his trained touch. He was supposed to be using a mortar and pestle, but who wanted to do that when this way, he could lick his fingers afterwards. He let the powder fall into a dish that sat on his lap, porcelain making his already-cold thighs feel even chillier. He packed the blue powder into a long wooden pipe, using a special tool to flatten it down before he twisted it around.
“You wanna go first?” Joon questioned, offering up the pipe to Jae.
Jae took a seat on the edge of the bed next to Joon, their thighs touching briefly before Joon pulled back and scooted almost unnoticeably away from Jae. He pushed it to the back of his mind, reaching out to take the pipe with a gloved hand.
“Are you lighting it for me?”
“Anything for the Prince, of course.”
Jae held the pipe up to his mouth, biting the tip between his teeth. He made a grandiose gesture with his hands, signalling Joon to light it. Joon swiped a match, the flame engulfing the end quickly before he cupped his hand around the bowl. He touched the match to the blue powder and it ignited, glowing from within itself. He waved the match out and watched as the indigo haze drifted up from the bowl as Jae inhaled.
Jae could feel it knocking into his bones as soon as he took the first hit. He wasn’t necessarily a lightweight, but the shit was potent. His vision heightened as the blue smoke swirled in his lungs. He could feel colours around him, all coming to nestle themselves around him and make him feel so impossibly warm. He let out a small laugh, feeling like he was on top of the world. He pulled the pipe out from between his lips and cocked his head. He looked down at the laurel branch that was tattooed around his arm, watching as it slithered like a snake around his skin.
Jae felt so good. He felt like he could forget about the things that plagued him, plagued his thoughts every time he was alone with himself. He just felt happy. He watched as Joon repeated what he had done, watching a smile creep onto his face. Jae knew that Joon was tormented with his own thoughts as well. He never let onto it because he never knew how he could go about it… but he could tell that something stirred within him. He could feel it. He liked the thought that Joon was feeling the same way as him, feeling like he could just let it all go at least for a little while before it all came rushing back.
Witch weed, also known as blue Aconite, more commonly referred to as Wolfsbane had always been used by witches, whether it was in practice of the natural borns or the practicing witches. It is commonly known as a poisonous plant, however, some witches discovered that with a tightly-kept secret charm, it can be made into a wicked hallucinogen and an upper. Joon had been experimenting with the shit since he was a kid-- it was common, especially in the bigger covens.
Jae let himself fall back on Joon’s bed, his arms crossing above his head and feeling his spine tingle when he stretched upward. He groaned at the feeling mixed with the euphoria that swirled in his brain. Joon fell backward not long after, his hood up making his chilly skin feel that much warmer.
Joon abrasively grabbed Jae’s face, pressing a loud and wet kiss on his cheek. Jae just laughed.
“You know you’re my best friend. I don’t know why, though. It’s not like you really need me.”
“You’re such a fuckin dumbass, Hajoon.”
Joon’s hand was still squeezing Jae’s cheek’s as he spoke. “You really don’t. You’re a demon and you’re so much higher up than I am. You don’t need me.”
“I mean it, you’re such a dumbass saying things like that. You realise what we’ve been through together? Throughout all these years… Before you got here it was almost unbearable, you know? Living with a house full of divines and then Cato. Which I mean don’t get me wrong, Cato’s fine but… You know Cato. But then you came. You were like me and you knew about me, knew things about my father and about where I came from. You understand me. So I wouldn’t have stayed this long if it wasn’t for you.”
Joon pursed his lips. “You’re so fuckin’ gay. You’re getting a lot better at talking about what you’re feeling.”
“It’s because I feel more every day and I can never shut the fuck up. You’re gonna have to sew my mouth shut before long. And I’m not, I have a girlfriend unlike some fucking people.”
Joon chuckled, raising himself on his elbow and finally releasing Jae’s cheeks. “Hey, you know what we should do? We should play a game. I saw it on the internet and it looks like fun. People are saying it's some kind of ritual but I think it's kinda bullshit.”
“What is it?”
“It’s called ‘Doors of the Mind.’” Joon said, grabbing his phone from where it had been resting on his pillow and pulling up the rules for the game. “I’ll be the guide if you want to explore your mind.”
“How do we play?” Jae remained in his position, crossing his hands over his stomach.
“So, you’re going to lay your head in my lap and I’ll rub your temples… You raise your arms above your head then we both have to start chanting ‘red door, yellow door, any other colour door’ until you fall into a trance. You put your arms down when you’re there, then after that, you’re apparently supposed to be able to walk around in your mind and go through doors.” Joon paused. “Also, you have to describe what you’re seeing. I’m the guide so I have to tell you to do things and I’ll steer you away from trouble-- assuming this shit even works.”
Jae’s high from the witch weed was a lot less strong at that point. He could still feel the euphoric tingle at the base of his spine, but the world moved a lot less around him. He shifted his position on Joon’s bed after the younger had sat cross-legged at the head. He gently laid his head back, being cushioned by a soft pillow that Joon had thrown over his lap to protect himself. The position was comfortable and Jae’s eyes closed on their own accord. He felt like he could go to sleep right then and there, but the curiosity of the doors of the mind prodded him and urged him to stay awake.
“So you saw this online?”
Joon nodded, fingers already pressing lightly on Jae’s temples as he looked down at the older. “Yup. I saw videos of it. Some people claiming demonic possession and shit like that but we clearly both know what that looks like, huh?” Jae chuckled softly and Joon patted his chest. “Since you’re possessing someone currently, I don’t think that’s really much of our concern at the moment.”
“Okay. I’m ready whenever you are then.” Jae said, closing his eyes once more. He raised his hands up above his head as Joon started rubbing his temples in light circles.
“Red door, yellow door, any other colour door.” They chanted together.
At first, Jae thought this whole thing was bullshit-- no way it could actually work on the slightest. He opened his eyes, expecting to see Joon’s face above him with his big grin as he looked down at Jae. Instead he was met with darkness. Joon’s and his own voice phased into a single buzz as he found himself in a dank concrete room, lightbulb buzzing above his head, he figured he was fucked.
“Joon?” His voice echoed off the walls. He felt a pit in his chest, almost akin to fear.
“Did it work?” Joon’s voice sounded like it was coming from inside his head, a new feeling he’d never experienced before.
“It worked. Holy fuck.”
Jae took a look around the room he was in before Joon’s voice came to him again. “What do you see, Jae?”
“Uh,” His eyes scattered across the walls. “It’s like I’m in a concrete box? There’s a red light on the wall and the halogen is like… hissing?”
“Do you see a door?”
“No, I--” As Jaehwa turned to face the direction he had started in, he noted that a steel door had made itself present among the barren wall. “Yeah. It's a really big and heavy steel door.”
”Go through it and tell me what you see.”
Jae placed his hand on the cold steel, not expecting the crack and creak when it eased open on its own. He stepped over the threshold, finding his bare feet hitting carpet rather than damp stone-- he was thankful. He looked around, he was in a long corridor.
“It’s like I’m in Hell House but… The hallway upstairs. It's just really fucking long. There’s lots of doors, they’re all different shapes and sizes and… colours.”
Jae’s ears perked up when he heard footsteps echoing somewhere in the distance. He said nothing about it.
”I’m here, don’t worry. Okay, you can pick the door but tell me what you see immediately, okay?”
Jae looked at the long line of doors that seemed to fade off in the distance. He took a moment, letting himself feel which door would be the one to pick.
He approached a pink door. One with a white knob and it felt familiar-- not like he had seen it before but more so just washing him with a sense of nostalgia. He placed his hand on the knob and twisted it, letting the door swing open on its own accord.
“Very bright.” Jae said, stepping inside. It was like he had ascended into the sky and he was high above where he had started. There were wisps of clouds floating at his feet and thinner ones at eye level. “It’s like there are clouds all around me. It's like I'm in the sky.”
Jae turned and nearly jumped when he saw what was behind him, a girl just a bit shorter than him with blonde hair flowing down her shoulders. She was dainty and thin, almost looking like she would break-- but her face was completely void of any features, the skin just smooth like she was a mannequin.
“Shit. There’s a girl.”
”Is she old? Like an old woman?”
“No. She looks like… almost like -----.” The girl tilted her head to the side as he spoke.
”Okay good. Can you talk to her?”
“Well, I could if she had a damn face. She doesn’t have a mouth or anything.”
At that moment, as the words left Jae’s mouth, the girl lifted her hands. She opened them to Jae, palms facing him as he looked at what she was trying to show him. A mouth was in the palm of her right hand, while a set of eyes adorned the left. The mouth moved quickly, speaking Aramaic. It was almost as if she was singing a song as she swayed gently back and forth.
There’s a lot you have to learn,
The murderer, the virgin, the whore.
Children are going to burn,
But when is a door not a door?
“What? What does that mean?”
”What’s going on, Jaehwa?”
“She-- she’s singing out of her hands. In fucking Aramaic, too.”
”If she makes you feel uneasy, you need to leave and close the door behind you.”
Jae stepped around her, her swaying continuing as he walked out. He closed the door and turned left, still hearing a faint echo from behind the door. The handle rattled, but showed no signs of actually opening.
“I’m just gonna walk a little to find one I feel like opening, okay?”
”Whatever pleases you, Prince.”
Jae stepped forward but quickly froze as he felt something touching his back. A person was standing against him, pressing forward.
“Joon? Hajoon? There’s someone behind me.”
Joon didn’t answer.
Jae turned his head, seeing a man who looked like he belonged in a funeral parlour. From what Jae could see, the man was very thin, making his face seem skeletal. He was wearing a black tophat with fuzzy white hair sticking out of the bottom. His nose looked like it had been cut down to the bone and he had the beadiest blue eyes that Jae had ever seen. He was wearing a long suitcoat, the tails extending long past his hips.
The man’s hands landed on Jae’s shoulders, squeezing him harshly and grounding him. He felt a bit of pain, for the first time in years that actually made him wince with the intensity.
“Choi Hajoon, fucking help me?”
“He can’t hear you, ┣▇▇▇═.”
Jae’s blood ran cold, hearing the name he had not been referred to since he skipped out of Hades. There it was. The man had utmost power over him in calling out his true name.
Jae couldn’t move anything. His joints clicked when he tried to walk and sent a searing pain through his muscles. He groaned out gently in wake of the burn that radiated through him.
Jae was suddenly thrusted forward so quickly that the air rushing past him made his hair blow back. He was being pushed through the corridor all the while his feet never touched the ground. He came to a halt and stopped in front of a solid red door. It was the purest red Jae had ever seen in his time in the land of the living, he felt like his eyes were getting lost in the colour and swimming in any direction they could muster.
The door was ajar.
From inside, Jae could hear the ticking of clocks. It was so loud that he could almost feel the floor rumble beneath him. The man’s hands on his shoulders released him before pushing his weight against Jae fully and knocking him inside the room. He fell on the ground, pushing the door open as his face landed just inches away from a cloven hoof.
Jae felt the voice rumble as he looked up, the legs attached to the cloven hooves started to change, melding from matted fur to smooth skin. Before his eyes met with what was standing before him, he had changed to that of a man.
“Lucifer.” Jae said with a sense of finality.
There was dread that washed over him. He had finally been caught up with after all these years of running from his father.
“Stand up. What’re they calling you now? Kang Jaehwa?”
Jae rose to his feet, greeted with cold white tile and pure white walls covered in nothing but clocks.
“What do you want? Why did you find me?”
“You’re my son. You haven’t been acting like my son but at the end of the day you’re still /mine./”
Jae felt a rush of cold air with the last word. He didn’t know what to say anymore.
“I can’t get to you still. That fucking bastard witch you live with can’t do a goddamned thing right besides protection spells and sigils. Some fucking witch, huh? I was lucky to slip in here while you were weak.” He paused, putting his hand under Jae’s chin and tipping his head up. “Been having issues with your hands, I see. Kill anyone?”
Jae jerked his head away from Lucifer’s touch and cast his eyes down.
“You have. That’s good to see you still have at least something of me in you. Truth is, Jaehwa, I’m very displeased with you and I don’t think we have to go over why exactly. It’d be a waste. But I want you to know that some way and somehow, I’m going to get you. That cunting warlock has to fuck up at some point and I will drag you the fuck back home.”
“I’ll never come back. I’d rather take the plunge and turn to ashes than to ever go back to that place again.”
Lucifer laughed. “Jaehwa, Jaehwa. It's best not to forget where you come from. At the end of the day it's my blood that flows in you. You’re my son. You are what you are and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.”
Jae cried out as his body was encased with steel. A metal box lined with something that poked his sides and stabbed into him as it clamped shut around him.
He came out of the trance on Joon’s lap screaming and flailing his arms as Joon tried to restrain him. He felt his hand connect with Joon’s face before his mind was able to catch up with his body again. Joon yelped, holding his nose following the crack that echoed through the room when Jae’s hand made contact with his face.
Jae breathed quickly, pulling in and pushing out air as fast as his lungs would allow him until he could calm down a bit from what he had see and what he had felt.
He looked up at Joon who had hunched over, holding his nose and covering the bottom part of his face with his hands. Jae tried to sit up and move so he could help Joon, but pain shot through his sides, making him yell and refuse to try to move anymore. A sweat broke out on his forehead as he laid there, but only for a few seconds.
“Joon. Hajoon, are you good?”
Joon turned towards him, hands still covering his face as he looked down at him. His eyes were watering and it seemed that there was no stop in sight for the stray tears that ran down his cheeks and dropped onto his hands. “They won’t stop fuckin’ watering.” he said, voice muffled by his palms.
“Move your hands. Let me see.” Jae’s voice quivered in the wake of the pain that was resonating in his sides and on his back.
Joon lowered his hands, eyes almost squinting closed as tears relentlessly spilled from them. “Does it look okay?”
Jae’s eyes glided down Joon’s nose bridge to where his nose twisted sideways against his face. There was already bruising along the center of his face and in the hollows of his eyes. There was no blood coming from his nostrils, but fuck, his nose was definitely broken.
“Shit, Joon.” Was all he could get out between gasps. “I can’t move and your shit is-- your nose is broken.”
Joon got up carefully and Jae’s head dropped down. He raised up his own shirt, looking down at himself and cringing at the deep burns that marred his skin. The smell hit the room, Jae could’ve wretched and Joon turned a ghastly white colour, looking away from Jae quickly.
“Should we… Should we go to the hospital?” Jae asked.
“I’ll take you if you want to go but… I should be fine.” Joon’s voice had changed, his broken nose restricting the airflow just a bit.
“Joon, your fucking nose is--”
“Stop. I don’t like doctors. I can take care of this shit myself, Jae.”
“You’re joking. How are you gonna fix the twisted ass nose on your face, Hajoon. Let’s just go, at least let them look at it.”
Joon shrugged. He took his hand, grabbing his nose with his index finger and thumb before he cracked it back to the center where it looked normal again. He called out, doubling over as the sound of his nose shifting rang out through the room. He raised up, tears falling softly down his cheeks but his voice was unwavering.
“Let’s go, then.” Joon said, walking over to help Jae out of the bed.
Jae struggled immensely, unable to really move himself. Joon’s hands were settled right on the burns that had been inflicted on him and he called out in pain every time he tried to move the older boy. He was out of breath and on the verge of tears.
“Can-- can you try to fix me?” Jae asked. His skin had gotten paler the longer he laid there and his eyes were glassy.
Joon noted how his shirt was sticking into the middle of the burns, where his skin was melted and had opened up. Joon was trembling as he stepped over to his desk and fumbled with glass bowls that were sitting there. He mixed some things that were readily available before he grabbed one of his knives. It was a silver one with blue accents. “I need blood.”
“Can’t you use your own?” Jae asked through a weak voice.
“... No. It won’t work that way. Xiaomei.”
Joon got up, stumbling out of the room and crashing down the stairs with heavy steps. He ducked into the kitchen where Shorter was sitting at the kitchen counter with a bowl of cereal and his phone held tightly on his hand.
“Xiao, can you come with me for a second?”
Shorter turned to face him, his cheek full of cereal. His eyes were full and he nodded quietly. He got up, pushing his phone into his pocket as he followed Joon up the stairs.
“Holy shit, what did you do to him? God, he smells fucking awful.” Shorter said, pulling a face as he looked down at Jae who laid brokenly on the bed. “I thought you guys weren’t even supposed to feel pain through the vessel.”
“Yeah, me neither.” Was all Jae offered back.
“I just need a hand real quick, Xiao. Come.” Joon said, walking back to his desk. He sat again, pretending to mix what was in the porcelain bowl. He picked up his knife. “Can you hold this for me?”
Shorter extended his hand, offering his palm up to Joon. Joon grabbed his wrist, pulling his hand over the bowl and slicing into his palm, letting the blood drip into the mixture. Shorter called out in pain and tried to pull away, but Joon’s grip was iron.
“What the fuck?!”
“It’s almost done, Xiaomei. It's already been done so just let it happen.” Joon’s voice was soft and level as he let go of Shorter’s wrist. He snatched his hand back.
“Dude, fuck you.” He sat on his bed and crossed his legs, he rubbed over his palm as the cut faded into a thin white line, and then disappeared completely.
“Don’t say that unless you’re gonna act on it.” Joon said before he picked the bowl up and sat it on his bedside table. He looked at Jae with a look of true sympathy laced with pity.
“Jae, I’m gonna have to take it off.” He said. His fingers curled around the hem of Jae’s shirt and he pulled on it. He tugged it from the wounds that held on tightly to the fabric. Jae winced and groaned until his shirt was up around his chest, tucked neatly under his chin.
Shorter lifted his head. “What even happened to him?”
Joon paused as he squatted down at the side of the bed. He had his fingers pressed into the mixture as he turned his head. Joon honestly hadn’t the fucking slightest idea what had happened to Jaehwa. He just shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. He’ll be fine tomorrow.”
Joon looked at the burns on Jae’s skin. The blackened flesh with pink raw middles looked back and him dauntingly-- and Shorter was right. It did stink. He eyed the first spot, it was a smaller burn. He rubbed his fingers in the mixture he had made and pressed it into the burn lightly before rubbing it around to cover the area. Jae groaned and writhed slightly. He twitched off the bed in agony with every move that Joon made and Joon could feel his body shaking.
“It’s okay, Jae. You’re gonna be fine.” He said, dipping his fingers back into the mixture. He started in with some incantation, hoping that it would help ease his pain… even if only a little.
Jae’s head finally lulled to the side and he ceased any noises. Joon was thankful that the pain had gotten too much for him, making him black put so he could finish what he was doing without worrying about how Jae was looking at him or how he was groaning.
Jae didn’t wake up until the next morning and his sleep was deep. He didn’t dream at all and he didn’t move. Joon had carried him back to his room while he was knocked the fuck out, waking up not long after and finding himself wrapped up, the pain a little less intense than it previously had been. He figured that was a good sign.
When he opened his eyes he couldn’t really feel anything. He figured that Cato had already left for the morning to do whatever, but there was something begging for his attention to his side. The room felt too quiet-- his never-silent home was almost like a vacuum, the only sounds he could hear was his own breathing. He angled his head up, looking into the far corner of the room that was shrouded in shadows.
A faint laugh bellowed out from the darkness and Jae felt like he was paralysed.
“Who is it?” He called out with a strong voice.
The way his true name was spoken felt like a taunt more than anything.
“You’re not really here, get out.” Jae said, calling to the corner of the room. The call riled another laugh to crack from the corner, but this time it was higher pitched.
Jae’s head snapped up, looking at the open door where Joon was standing and looking in on him.
“Who’re you talking to?”
Jae debated on telling Joon the truth about what he had seen behind the doors in his mind. He debated on telling him about what he heard in the corner of the room. He truly didn’t want to lie to Joon. But he figured it was safer that way.
“No one. I think your shit worked.” he said, pulling his blanket off. He sat up in bed, patting the bandages that wrapped around his sides and back, leaving his front exposed. “How’s your nose?”
“Mm. Sensitive topic, just don’t ask.” Joon said. He had deep bruising around his eyes and along the bridge of his nose. Jae kind of felt bad for him.
“Come downstairs, Near made Thai food for us and I think it's something you’ll really like.”
Jae nodded. “I’ll be down in a second, I just want to change.”
Joon closed the door and Jae got up from the bed. He walked to the light switch on the far wall and flipped it up. The fluorescent bulbs lit up the room-- including the ominous black corner that had been laughing and calling his true name just minutes before.
There was nothing there.
→ the one with the aftermath
↳ choi hajoon
↳word count: 2.1k, warnings: ritual sacrifice, satanic themes, death
a/n: takes place in 2020; pre-resurgence.
Joon laid with his head in the lap of someone he recognised as his mother. She had given birth to him and had kept him alive up until that point, but the knowledge that she would soon turn on him when she knew of what he did made him feel on edge. He wanted one more night to feel normal, one more night before the weight of his actions fully suffocated him. Joon liked to pretend that he was emotionless, a sopath, but he knew deep down inside himself that no matter how much he tried to drill the humanity out of himself, he just couldn’t.
Her nails gently scraped his scalp as he stared into the fire place before them. She always had such a light touch and she always treated him like he was still her little boy when it was just the two of them. Something the coven would never see as emotions and things of that nature that showed an apparent weakness were looked down upon. She started to hum, squeezing his cheek with her free hand and unknowingly comforting her son for something that would make her hate him.
Joon always craved power. It's not that he wanted to be in control, it was more that he wanted to be enough. He lived in the shadows of his older brother and a father who never spared him a second glance. He was never adequate. Not for his father, not for himself, not for the coven. He was considered a decent witch, he could always remember incantations and his parents had taught him Latin before he ever knew Korean. Joon was meant to succeed. He was meant to be strong.
“Mama,” He said, his eyes not moving from the only light source in the room. Her fingers stilled and rested where they had stopped.
His mind flashed with what he had done earlier that evening. The Latin played in his ears although the room was silent besides the sound of the logs cracking. He could see the witch he had sacrificed on a pentagram, arms and legs bound while he begged Joon not to do it. It was his brother. Joon had killed his big brother.
The sky was lilac as he looked down on his brother. The eyes they shared that they inherited from the man that Joon resented looked up at him, rimmed with wetness. Joon really wished he had covered his mouth. At least then he wouldn’t hear his pleading hours after the deed had been done. His brother was always stronger than he was. His brother always had so much more than Joon did. And Joon wanted it. He wanted all his brother's glory by any means necessary.
“Please stop fucking talking, Hyunjoon.” Joon said to him as he broke his concentration and incantations.
He continued on, listening to his brother’s broken cries as he writhed in pain as much as the rope binding him would allow. The ground opened up at once, an immense black hole making itself present along with the sound of agony ringing through the air coming from the pit. Black hands reached over the edge and an equally dark head raised itself up slowly with matching pitch black eyes that looked up at Joon. His breath hitched as Lucifer gazed upon him for the first time in his life. He almost couldn’t fucking believe it.
“He’s for you. I want his power.” He pressed himself to say. Lucifer turned, as if he was standing on a platform in the hole and grabbed Hyunjoon who was just barely alive at that point, but still enough to scream.
“You will have it.” He said, dragging his brother down, down, down. And Joon was alone.
“Hm?” His mother said, urging him to get on with what he had to say.
“It’s nothing.” He sat up at once, his hair clearly fucked on top of his head from where she had pushed it all to one side. “I think I’m going to go to sleep early tonight.”
The night did not cradle Joon as it once did. He laid motionless in his bed, sweat pricking the back of his neck as every sound throughout the house made him feel on edge. They were coming for him-- he knew that much. The heat in the old house that radiated from the flames on candles that licked the darkness with their bright orange tongues did nothing to suppress his fear, they only elevated it.
Joon had fucked up badly.
The power that he had sacrificed his brother for unfortunately had not made its way to him yet. He wondered what the holdup was and why he still felt the same hours later. They had to have found the fresher blood on the altar by then. He knew they would do a spell to see what had happened there and who had used the altar last. And he knew that they would undoubtedly come for him for killing one of their own. His biggest concern would just be exactly when.
He jolted awake in the midst of being half-asleep when his door creaked open. His back was turned away and he watched as the glow of a candlestick approached him. A hand rested on his shoulder, clenching him harshly.
“I know you’re awake.”
He knew it was bad already. His father barely ever spared him a glance normally, so him coming to retrieve Joon was completely out of left field.
“You’ve been summoned.” His voice had an edge to it. “Get up, we’re going now.”
Joon rolled over and his father had already turned his back on him. He swung his legs around and stood up from his bed, reaching for jeans and a shirt. His father turned suddenly, grabbing him harshly by the arm and throwing him forward. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? I said we’re going now.”
Joon fell to the ground and landed on his wrist funny, an audible pop resonating in the room. “Shit.” he muttered under his breath.
He stood, trying to rotate his wrist and being met with a grinding sound that sent pain through him so sharp that he clenched his jaw. He cradled his hand into himself and walked out of the room with his father towing him closely behind.
He knew exactly where they were going, so when his father snapped his fingers and they were suddenly at the stake met with the rest of the coven in black hoods and torches, he breathed out a sigh of dismay. He knew that getting out of this one was going to be pure hell if he even could get out of it. He felt vulnerable in front of them regardless, having arrived in only his underwear and his hair was a fucking mess… Not that it even mattered much at that point.
He looked to his side, seeing his mom. She looked like a mess as well. Her hair was disheveled and even in this lighting he could see how red her eyes were. She couldn’t even fucking look at him. She no longer cared about him.
A line of three particularly tall cloaked figures stood before the stake and Joon could recognise them without even seeing their faces. He lived under their rule for years, they were more or less the equivalent to his god. They set the rules for the coven and they enforced them by any means necessary. They were the elders of the coven and they had ingrained it into the heads of everyone that killing your own was strictly against the rules.
The tallest of the three of them, standing in the middle, beckoned Joon forward with a long spindly finger. “Choi Hajoon. Do you know why you’re here?”
“Because I sacrificed Hyunjoon.”
The crowd around them silenced, as if they didn’t expect for him to own up to his “crimes.” Joon blinked, feeling bored already. He felt like they were taking way too long between their questions.
“Come.” The middle one said, a tone of finality wearing on her voice.
Joon stepped forward, disregarding the stones that pricked sharply under his feet in the soil beneath him. He climbed the small set of stairs that led to the stake and stood before the elders.
“So you admit to committing the crime against your own people? Against your own coven and your own family?”
“Yes. I do.”
“Tell everyone what you did. Say it loud enough so everyone knows why we’re burning you to a fucking crisp.”
Joon resisted the urge to roll his eyes. The punishment he was to receive was already processing but he still felt like it wasn’t going to happen to him. Regardless of the fact that he was surrounded by the torches that would be used to incinerate him, regardless of the fact that he was actively calling attention to his so-called wrongdoings, he still felt like it wasn’t going to truly happen.
He turned to the crowd of people, all of which he had come to know one way or another. They were all part of the big and fucked up family-- if one could even call it that. He let out the breath he was holding and looking into the sea of blackness, he finally felt the weight of the reality he was to face weighing down on his shoulders.
“I took Hyunjoon into the woods to the big altar and I sacrificed him to Lucifer. I wanted his power and Lucifer said he would give it to me. I fucking killed my brother.”
Joon felt hand grabbing him from behind. They were long, thin, and boney and their grip was so tight that it hurt. A rag was placed over his eyes and tied tightly around him before he felt the burn of a rope binding his wrists behind him. He didn’t have enough time to react before his knees went out from under him. He couldn’t tell if it was because he collapsed or because someone had kicked the back of them. He fell forward and slumped before the hands grabbing him pulled him up, making his shoulders ache as he was tied to a large stake driven between the rocks on the stone platform he was on.
He sent himself to a different place. One where he wasn’t about to meet his certain end and be sent to Hell too soon for his own liking. He squeezed his eyes shut and thought back to earlier that night as he rested his head in his mother’s lap. He wished that would’ve been his last memory of her. Not the one where she couldn’t even look at Joon and she was crying because of what he had done. He felt a warm light, something white and bright and blinding. He could almost feel her fingers in his hair again before he was cut away from it. He was doused in gasoline. He coughed and sputtered, spitting out the gas that had flooded his mouth.
Joon could hear the crowd become restless, chattering amongst each other. He could hear someone scream as he felt the heat of a torch get closer to him before he felt nothing but pain all around him. The crackling of the fire engulfed him and was all that he could hear besides his own screams. He felt like everything in him was boiling and he couldn’t register any sense of time. The cloth over his eyes had burned away but his eyes had ceased to work anymore. He only saw an acute blackness before him.
His voice ceased to work as his skin cracked open and what fat resided below his skin leaked out of him, the fire burning bigger and brighter as he was completely engulfed in flames. His breath stopped passing through his lips and he felt his skin peeling up and his insides overheating as they surely had began to fail. Everyone watched in silence as he grew silent and ceased to struggle.
Dying was the worst thing Joon had ever experienced.
→ the one with the ghost
↳ choi hajoon, kang jaehwa xu sing, hellboy ensemble
↳word count: 3.6k, warnings: occult themes, animal sacrifice
a/n: takes place in 2020; pre-resurgence.
Joon struggled down the stairs, trying his hardest not to slap the duffle bag that was slung over his shoulder against the wall. He heard muffled sounds coming from the kitchen and if they heard the contents making noises or if it was anyone but Jae, he knew he’d be absolutely fucked. He stepped down on the bottom step, the floor creaking and the sounds in the kitchen going completely silent. Joon’s duffle bag bleated and he had the urge to throw it to the ground for betraying him.
“Who the fuck has a goat in here?” A voice from the kitchen asked. But Joon was relieved as he recognised the voice belonging to Jae. He relaxed a bit, pushing his shoulders back and walking into the room.
“You have no idea how glad I am to see you right now. I need you.” He said, setting the duffle bag down on the wooden floor. It wriggled around, the contents making frustrated sounds before giving up and laying still.
Jae took a bite of the dry bread that was on the plate before him. “Have you had this before? Bread?”
“I-- yes, I’ve had bread before. I was born here, remember?” Joon shook his head. “It’s so weird to me that you’re more or less an adult child discovering the world for the first time.”
“It’s so good, I don’t know how I have been around this long and not had bread.”
“So anyways, Jae. I need your help with this bag.” Joon said again, persisting.
“Why? You seemed like you were carrying it just fine down the stairs.”
“Yes, but I’m taking it to a bald on Hallasan and I need your otherworldly talent.” Joon said, shifting his weight on his feet and eyeing Jae intensely. Jae didn’t back down or show any signs of wavering.
Jae shrugged. “So you’re trying to contact the thing I fucking spawned from with a goat in a bag.”
“Well… yeah. When you put it like that you make me sound so bad for asking you to help me. But if you’re there he’s for sure to come regardless of the goat in the bag.”
“Do you want him to drag me back to Hell? Why don’t you just ask Cato.” Jae sighed and stood from his seat, taking a big gulp of water form the bottle that had been sitting next to his arm uncapped.
“Probably has to do with the fact that he’s been staring at walls and shit for like four days now? Come on, Jae. Do it for me, I’m your best friend.” Joon smirked, raising his shoulders and pretending to be coy. “You want me to make an altar dedicated to you, Jae? I’ll pray to you and everything.”
“Stop that. All you need is for Cato to be there, he’s a hellspawn as well so you might as well get him out of the fucking house for once.”
“Vampires don’t come from Hell. Why would you try to lie to me like that?”
“I’m a fucking demon, Joon. Like the first thing anyone ever says is ‘demons lie!’ you should know by now.” Jae rolled his eyes. “And I’m your best friend, not the other way around.”
Joon rolled his eyes, ignoring the comment. Joon knew that Jae was different. He wasn’t like the other demons that he had come into contact with over the years of practicing black magic. He would never tell Jae that, though. Jae just always seemed so human, even when he was freshly in whoever’s body he had decided to inhabit and decided it was a good fit. Jae never really talked about his time before he stepped into humanity. All that Joon knew was that Jae must’ve hated it an awful lot to abandon the life and run from it as hard as he could.
Joon clutched at his heart, letting out an exasperated sigh. “I’m not your best friend? Who else do you even know besides me?”
“I have friends outside of you.” Jae crossed his arms over his chest.
“Yeah? Like who?”
“I have Jamie.”
“A girl that you have no chance with is not better friends with you than I am. Now please, I’m begging you at this point to please come with me to Hallasan. I’ll buy you ice cream after.” Jae uncrossed his arms, putting his hands out in front of his face and looking at his palms before he looked back up at Joon. “What’re you doing…”
Jae advanced toward Joon, extending his palms out and just narrowly missing him as he dodged his touch. Joon fell backward onto the hardwood floor flat on his ass. “Jae, what the fuck? You could’ve touched me, you’re not even wearing the gloves.”
“But I didn’t. Let me help you up.” He said, extending his hand toward Joon. He shook his head, scooting backwards and getting up on his own. Joon thought that Jae had an odd sense of humour. He really couldn’t tell a lot of the time if Jae really did hate him or if this was all a game to him. Sometimes it felt genuine-- like when he tried to touch him knowing it would burn him alive from the inside out-- and sometimes it all just felt like banter. Joon felt like he’d never know the truth.
Joon almost tripped over some rock that jutted from the ground for the third time in the past five minutes as he made his way to the bald that rested just at the crest of Hallasan. His duffle bag had gotten more excited, the poor thing, bleating as he made his way up. It thrashed at his hip and struggled against the fabric that kept it encased.
“You think I could hit Isaac?”
“With your fist?” Jae cocked his head to the side, as if he was seriously weighing it in his head.
“No. Well, I mean yeah that too. I know I could fist punch that little pussy boy.” Joon clenched his fist at his side before letting it go lax.
“How much longer until we get to the bald?”
“Well, we’re crossing over the edge of it,” Joon paused for a moment, taking steps forward. “Now.”
The bald was an odd place. It was a barren area that was surrounded by trees in a perfect circle. Places like that exist on lots of different mountains in lots of different places and luckily, the anomaly was perfect for their purposes. Joon took his duffle bag to the center of the bald as Jae stayed on his heels staying close behind. In the center was a stone altar that was well-used by other witches-- and probably used by Joon’s old coven as well.
He sat the duffle bag on the ground, unzipping it and pulling the goat out by the rope that bound its legs and rendered it immobile. He sat it down on the altar and it cast its gaze toward Jae, pleading for help as if Jae would be its hero. Joon pulled a long dagger from a pocket in the bag as well, shedding himself of his light jacket and getting on his knees.
Joon set up his Grimoire, setting it binding-down on the stone and opening it to a page that was about halfway through the book. The pages were worn and tattered, something that had been passed down to him and the only thing he took with him when he was ousted from his coven. The book was heavy and thick. It was bound in human skin and the pages were written in blood.
Joon put his palms down flat against the altar and scanned the pages before him before he started. Jae took it upon himself to sit in the grass in the bald, ignoring the dew that coated the blades even as it bled its way through his jeans. He put his chin in his hand and stared boredly at Joon, waiting for it to be over and dreading the possibility of seeing Lucifer this early in the morning.
“Im 'valde et quis quis legere latin. Ego vere iustus volo et non opus est filler verum pone hic tria carmina. Sed heus, et satanas, et lucifer supellectilem. omnes oriuntur. ignis et sulphur. quisque moritur in finem.” Joon’s voice had taken on a different quality. It seemed deeper when he recited the incantation He raised the golden dagger above his head as the gemstones pressed into it glinted in the morning sunlight. It projected a red illuminance as the rubies danced in the glimmering sunshine.
Joon promptly plunged the dagger into the goat’s chest. The poor creature let out a defeated whine that ended in a gurgle as blood poured from the wound. It dripped onto the altar that cast up a haze that felt almost like a fog. Joon lathered some of the blood in his hands, setting the dagger on the stone before him before he cast his hands and head to the sky.
“Ex inferis, ex inferis, ex inferis.”
The sky above them clouded over unnaturally fast, the clouds turning a deep and dark grey colour as the once-fluffy horizon started forming into a funnel. The sky was a deep green and the sound of thunder rumbled both from above and below them. And then as if a switch was flipped, it all suddenly ceased. The only sound besides pleasant birdsong in the air that wafted from the trees on the outer edge of the bald was Joon’s exasperated breathing as the sunlight shone down mockingly on him.
“Your little spell didn’t work?” Jae said, standing from where he was sitting on the ground.
“No, I don’t understand? I’ve done that spell a few times and that never happened before. I wasted a fat ass goat and everything-- god damnit.” Joon pushed the goat's limp body off of the altar and knelt down. He ran his dagger through the grass as well as his hands to get as much blood off as possible. “I’m so fucking confused, Jae.”
“Maybe you just did it wrong this time around? Your pronunciation was a little… off?” Jae suggested as he put his hands on his hips.
“My pronunciation was off? I learned Latin before I could even walk. How the hell could my pronunciation be off?”
Jae shrugged as he watched Joon frantically look over the pages he had just read from, wondering if he actually had made some mistake unbeknownst to him.
“Maybe he just doesn’t like you.” Jae pursed his lips, folding his hands in front of him. He knew the kind of game he was playing when he toyed with Joon like this-- especially when it was regarding magic. But he also always knew how much of an upper hand he had on the boy.
Joon lifted his head making eye contact with him and breaking it almost as soon as they had connected. He knew how this friendship worked. He knew that in layman's terms, he was nothing but a peasant to a prince when it came to Jae. He knew that Jae didn’t need him in the slightest and how badly he needed him. He also knew that whatever he could come at Jae with would be for naught because Jae could end his life by simply touching him. Not even a simple fight was worth it to Joon if it meant that his own wellbeing would hang in the balance.
“Let’s just fucking go home.”
Jae shrugged, letting Joon lead the way out before he followed closely behind like a lost puppy.
“Where have you guys been? I’ve been trying to ring you for hours now.” Cato greeted them at the front door of their shared home.
“We were gone for an hour and a half, you’re just being dramatic.” Joon patted his shoulder before passing him in the entryway, Jae still following him closely behind. “What did you need?”
“I think we have a ghost.”
“What, you mean besides yourself? There can’t be, I put a protective barrier on the house before we even moved in here. It's probably just your old ass head playing tricks on you.” Joon hung his jacket on a hook near the end of the hallway before turning toward the stairs.
“I don’t think you understand, it's a lot more than what it sounds like. Just look, please.”
“I’ll look.” Jae piped up from Joon’s side.
Cato led him up the stairs and to a room that was mostly unoccupied by any of them. Joon had straggled behind, not wanting to be left when there was an apparent commotion going on. Behind the wooden door there were sounds of moaning and thumping slapping the walls. Jae turned to Cato, raising an eyebrow.
“Are you sure this is… a ghost. Do you know what it sounds like--”
“I know what it sounds like, I beg you to just open the door.”
Jae took a deep breath, hoping that he didn’t see what he thought he was going to see just based on the sounds. The noises ceased for a moment as Jae nudged open the door and everything was in disarray. He heard the floor creak in the far corner before he saw a large book hurtling toward his head. He just managed to duck in time, the thick binding only grazing his shoulder before it clattered to the floor.
The room came back to life almost as if Jae had commanded it. Everything started flying around, slamming into walls and hitting the floor, and more books came flying toward him. Jae slammed the door closed as quickly as he could before he looked past Cato and met eyes with Joon.
“What did you do?”
The trio regrouped down in the kitchen, hoping that the divine line didn’t come out from their side of the house that they loved to hide out in. Cato sat at the kitchen island where Jae had been before as the other two stood before him, rolling around what they had just seen in their head.
“So, with the flying books, do you think it was just a mischievous spirit or a full-on poltergeist?”
Joon shook his head. “Nah. A mischievous spirit can’t do that much. They typically can only move one thing at a time. So that definitely had to be a poltergeist.”
“All I know is that it wasn’t a demon.”
Cato chuckled. “So glad we have you by our sides during these trying times, Jaehwa.”
Jae lookaed at him, making a face and scrunching his nose. “‘So glad we have you by our sides during these trying times, Jaehwa.’” he said, mocking Cato in a high-pitched tone.
“Children, children, daddy’s trying to think now.” Joon said with the wave of his hand.
“I let a lot of the shit you say slide but that just made me feel disgusted. I’d rather take the book than ever hear you say that shit again.”
“Ah, right. Is your shoulder okay Jae?”
“He’ll probably be bruised, but it's nothing serious I don’t think.” Jae raised his arm above his head, doing a slow single windmill. His shoulder cracked and popped along the way but his movement was smooth and never faltered. “Nothing serious.” He said again, almost as if it were to reassure himself.
“Whatever you say, man.” Joon picked up his grimoire again, setting it on the counter and looking at it. He debated in his mind whether he needed to look into it for assistance or not. The two others shifted uncomfortably and he knew it was the book before him. It wasn’t something that was easy to get used to, especially the way the binding seemed to pulsate under his touch. “I don’t think I need anything from here. Should be a simple in and out but Jae? I need you to do your old job.”
Jae puffed out his cheeks before silently agreeing. “You want me to send it to Hell?”
“Yup. Might even open up the gate for Lucifer to come through since our little scuffle in the woods didn’t go to plan. Come on.”
Joon grabbed salt and took a few black crystals he had sitting on a table near the kitchen. They made their way back up the stairs and Joon stood indignantly at the door this time. He was sure in his movements. That was something that was instilled in him from a young age; no matter what anyone else says or does, you’re the only person who can ever truly take care of you.
He twisted the knob and promptly entered the room, unafraid of anything that would be thrown at him. He uttered a few words, his eyes glowing with light that gave him the ability to see what was causing the issue that was so prominently at hand. Even above the whooshing of the objects and papers and books flying around him, Joon could hear Cato gasping softly from behind him. It made him smirk a little as he looked around, his eyes examining every inch of the room until they fell upon the far corner. It was seemingly darker, unreached by any light that came through the window.
Just as he expected, a wisp was hovering at the corner of the room, a violent shade of purple hazing around it. “Jae, it's there.” Joon pointed toward the wisp and all activity stopped. Everything fell from the air as Jae walked into the room and advanced toward the corner. He squatted, his knees cracking loudly as he got comfortable.
“Whatcha doing, little guy?” He said as he reached a hand out. He made contact with the wisp, the smoke-like tendrils almost as if they were being absorbed into his skin. Jae’s eyes went black as dark purple veins tainted the smooth plains that were once his cheeks. He let out a strained sound as he absorbed the wisp into his hand before his chest lit up red, his heart visibly beating in his chest before the light went dim.
Jae fell back, looking up at the ceiling and laughing as if he had just gotten a hit of something. His eyes faded from black back to their normal colour. “Fuck, you really never get used to that shit. Being in this body makes it so fucking painful.”
“Do you need some help getting up?”
“No. I’m just going to lay here for a minute, I need a second.”
“Well… what did you see?”
“It was a male. He was like probably twenty-one or twenty-two and he died of an overdose in some dark little club right outside of Seoul. He was mad because he didn’t get to do a lot of things before he died because it was unexpected and quick and the last thing his wisp transferred to me before it was sent down was ‘I’m scared.’ So, nothing really too out of the ordinary there. Just another day on the farm for us.”
“You didn’t get anything from Lucifer?”
“Not a thing. I think you fail to remember that I pissed him off really badly, Joon. He’s not just going to show up because I’m here.”
“God damnit.” Joon said. He walked briskly out of the room, frustrated.
Joon was powerful. Probably about as powerful as a witch could be but it still wasn’t enough for him. He wanted more. He craved more. He had made a deal with Lucifer-- one that he hadn’t reaped the rewards of yet. He had sacrificed a strong witch in his previous coven to absorb their power, but Lucifer had never come to actually give him the extra strength like he said he would.
Joon had been helplessly chasing the devil for months. Part of him thinks he really cared about the power, but another part knows he just wanted a justifiable reason for what he had done. Joon grabbed his grimoire off the kitchen island and made his way hastily to his own room that sat tucked just at the top of the stairs. He shelved it, locking the door behind him and sat at his own altar he had. It bubbled with trinkets and items he had accumulated trying to build up his stockpile he had lost before. He let his fingers linger softly over the dried flowers that sat before him before he crushed one of the crunchy blossoms in his hand.
Over everything he was impossibly frustrated with himself and with his situation. He knew that he was a lot of talk a lot of the time, especially where he was then. In a house with two divines and two other evil cryptids that he feigned leadership over. He knew that Jae called the shots deep down inside. He knew it and it ate him up inside. He wanted the power that Jae had, he wanted the life that he had just dumbly thrown away on the pursuit of being “good.” It was all bullshit to Joon.
He rested his head in his palm as he stuck needled into a jar, filling it with honeyed milk he had left sitting out in an attempt to lure a Fae into their house. Something he was never really good with was those little bastards who seemed to always outsmart him. They never wanted his gifts and they most certainly never left him any. They probably didn’t want the edge of black magic. They were smart.
He put in dirt and nails and waxed the jar shut, shaking it harshly and putting it in the sunlight that creeped through his window so it could bake and get ripe, marking a name messily on the top and wishing the worst of luck on the recipient. If he couldn’t get at him any other way, he would get at Jae this way. Kang Jaehwa was Joon’s best friend. But fuck, he couldn’t deny the swimming hatred he harboured for him.
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The Rose - individual scans from 'Red'
Quick preface; music is a medium of art, meaning that it is subjective and various interpretations of the song can be created, each one valid for its own reasons. This extremely long analysis is just what I believe the song to mean - it's just for fun and for me to display my thoughts in a coherent way - besides that, I hope you enjoy!
This has been proof-read once, so I'm sorry for any inconvenience my spelling errors may provide :)
(AND THE ANALYSIS CONTINUES UNDER THE CUT!)
She's In The Rain - The Rose; A Line By Line Dissection
Constructed upon the sounds of a classic ballad, the essence of ‘She’s in the Rain’ by the Rose is a bitter comfort with its overarching theme of mental turmoil and support. It captures a vast audience due to the song’s enticing way of conveying such heavyweight ideas. A delicate and soft harmony between the acoustic guitar and drums frames the song, broadening its range during the chorus to capture its passionate tone. By balancing the two ends of the same scope, the intricate grace of the song is personified as a tranquil aura that wraps around the listeners, a sense of ease created in the span of four minutes. As the music plays, a story forms within the lyrics - only enhanced by the instrumental accompaniment - coming to display the tragic sublimity behind the narrative.
Do you hear me?
Grey light and a gloomy misty day [회색빛 안개 덮인 Gloomy day]
I’m afraid my eyes are covered [눈앞이 가려진 게 두려워]
I’m not interested in anything anymore (I lost my hope in everything), No whoa [이젠 아무것도 흥미가 안 나 No woah]
Leading the listener into the song, the first sound they hear is the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar, followed by the vocals. Voice remaining light, almost replicating a whisper, the first line states a simple question, “Do you hear me?”. It’s a simple question to the listener, but as the song continues, it becomes evident it goes beyond surface level - within the first few seconds, such a clear question forms the skeleton for the route the rest of the song will follow. Returning to the question, it asks the listener if they can hear the character of the song, and as mentioned previously, the voice is gentle - like they aren’t used to using their voice to speak - in this case - sing. A quiet plea, in spite of that, there is no noise to disrupt from hearing those words properly, it's as if there was purposely no other noise in order to not drive away from hearing those three words. To me, it illustrates an image of someone finally speaking up, there’s an aura of hopefulness hanging on those words and it’s felt right from the moment they are sung - like this is the first time someone truly took the time to listen to what the character of this story has to say.
Right after, the next line falls into a similar trope, seemingly being a description of the weather; “Grey light and a gloomy misty day”. What captures this line is the choice of adjectives used - and it may be I am looking too far into it, but even so, the descriptors (grey, gloomy, and misty) aren’t just used to describe objects, they also fall under the umbrella of personal character as well, usually relating to a branch of something negatively impacting a person. Often correlated with being monotonous, grey is a term equated to circumstances being dull or dreary, be it a person or a situation. Gloomy - or gloom - is linked with sadness, dejection or melancholy, as well as diverging on a second path of connecting with hopelessness, despair. Either way, the word holds a great resemblance to the ideology of pessimism. Misty is one that doesn’t fit into the format of negativity as easily as gloomy and grey do, however, the direct meaning of misty is ‘abounding in or clouded by mist’ - still doesn’t make sense, does it? Have you ever tried looking through fog or mist? Outlines of objects grow indistinct, surrounding almost blurring together; everything goes obscure, the environment and situation grows vague to the human eye and it's hard to get through. The entirety of this line is a metaphor in itself, under the guise of simplicity, defining the setting of which the story of the song is going to take place in - both literally and emotively, the audience is presented with a downcast character whose outlook on their circumstance is bleak; nearly hopeless. And yet, the grounds for why remain undetermined, allowing the listener to place themselves in the moment with their struggle as a possible catalyst for the lyrics.
“I’m afraid my eyes are covered” has to be one of numerous favourite lines, as there is nothing in this verse indicating why the protagonist’s eyes are covered, either as a direct or interpretive manner. In some asian cultures, the concealing of the eyes is associated with three fundamental morales: respect, modesty or submission. In addition, western cultures follow the sentiment of eyes corresponding with the principle of honesty. In this way covering the eyes, by wearing sunglasses and so on, can mean mystery or deceit, furthering the idea of not seeing the whole truth. Various other symbolism of eyes can also be taken into account, and while any notion can be formatted to fit the context of the line - my favourite has to be the western ideology of honesty. If we involve the past two lines, they both provided the assumption the protagonist is in a tough spot, that there is an obstacle making their life harder - personally, this line displays the message while the character is currently struggling, they don’t know the complete scope of whatever is causing them this unhappiness. Their eyes are covered because their mind is zoned in on the negative of their situation, they’re - in a way - blinded to everything else.
Then comes the next line, “I’m not interested in anything anymore, no whoa”, or having been translated to “I lost my hope in everything, no whoa”, as well - it was hard enough to find which one is more true but luckily, they both work in the context of the song and allows room to place whatever interpretation to fit. This way, the connotation of the line shifts depending on what mood I’m in on a certain day, but usually, my view remains constant. Throughout this whole verse, the presentation of despondency is persistent, and is even more so apparent now. Losing interest in certain areas of life is a symptom people face when they are going through some mental health struggle. Hope is what fuels motivation, without it, there is no reason to try, and people lose their original excitement when it comes to activities. Either translation points to this sentiment, as they both compliment each other in the way of connecting unhappiness with a loss of attentiveness. Linking back to the story, the character lets us know their satisfaction or appeal for their life is depleting, their desire to continue persisting has grown thin.
Do you hear me?
I walk down the street, [and see] a different way [거리를 걷다 보니]
I look back, and there’s no one (nothing) there [뒤돌아보니 아무도 없네]
The dreams that chase me, I follow them, no whoa [내가 쫓던 꿈들이 날 따라와 No whoa]
Right at the beginning of this verse is when the repetition of the first line in the song is said, “Do you hear me?” The same hopeful-esque sound remains present. It’s as if the protagonist is looking for confirmation with that restatement, like they’re hoping the listener is still there - listening. Continuing to remain gentle, the question doesn’t pose any sort of standoff-ish behaviour, more so revealing a vulnerability to the already-open character.
“I walk down the street, [and see] a different way” is what I perceive to be a resolution developing for the character of the song - you know, a version of the ‘light at the end of the tunnel spiel. Street is synonymous with the words ‘path’ and ‘way’, which are both terms typically used when describing journey’s of self-development - examples being either striving to achieve certain goals or overcoming personal obstacles. By adding “[and see], as presented in some translations of this song, it reflects a contrast between the third line in the first verse of the eyes of the character being covered. Because the words state the protagonist “sees'' a different way, it presents the possibility they’ve slowly taken their gaze off the path they were currently treading - which in turn shows some sort of progression from the last verse, where the character had their eyes covered, a symbolism for not being able to see the complete scope of their situation and surroundings. ‘
Following that, “I look back, and there's no one [nothing] there,” is something that slightly threw me off. Hadn’t the lyrics just stated the character just seen a different way? How could it disappear within a few seconds of the instrumental? And that is where my interpretation is formed - the character had a moment of awareness where the truth of their circumstances were brought before them, but like a passing thought, it didn’t last long, disappearing moments after it arrived. Mirroring how the mind words, it puts the thought process people go through when battling their inner-demons - everyone has flashes of comprehension set in, yet sometimes logic goes out the window since we’re human and we are bound to fall into the control of our heart instead of our brains. So, it makes sense that when the character finally gazes upon a different path, it’s gone within just as quickly because they’re so zoned in on what they are feeling, wanting or needing, anything which doesn’t fit into their perception is brushed off with acknowledgement or ignorance.
“The dreams that chase me, I follow them, no whoa” furthers my previous point. Growing fixated on certain ideologies, hobbies or people causes a distance to grow between a person and the rest of their life. So far, it's been deciphered the character seems to be detached - to an extent - from their life formerly. Nothing brings them the emotions he used to feel, and no one they desire or know are there with them. Contrarily, they continue to pursue their aspirations, dreams and whatnots. Though, the line isn’t “the dreams that I chase,” but “the dreams that chase me”, which sounds kind of contradicting. Dreams don’t chase people, they’ve always been targets people aim for, some landing the target and others continuing to try - so the statement refutes itself within the same sentence. However, it is my belief that the line is relevant to my previous point of being one-track-minded on a specific path, causing a person to ignore everything else. One of the many definitions of ‘chase’ provided by OxfordLanguages is to ‘drive or cause to go in a specific direction. Bearing in mind, it could be the dreams pursuing the protagonist may not be any accomplishment they’re trying to aim for - they are goals that the character desires desperately and they’re being held over their head, coaxing the character to stick to a path that causes them heavy turmoil with the unspecified promise of achieving their hopes. It parallels the the ideology of “sacrifices are necessary to achieve success”, while true in some measure, relinquishing mental health, relationships or anything of the sort for something isn’t the route anyone should go on - if you are giving up so much for a single dream, it’s not worth the torture you have to put yourself through. But the character doesn’t fully understand, which causes them to continue pursuing this suffering with the belief that it’s going to be worth it, despite knowing the end-result will remain undetermined until the end.
I’m dying inside, I wanna think that it’s a lie, why, why
I scream and shout, yet there is no answer [소리쳐 외쳐봐도 대답이 없네]
A pouring loneliness in the rain, rain, rain [쏟아지는 외로움 In the rain, rain, rain]
One of the lines that - as I see it - is deeply striking, “I’m dying inside, I wanna think that’s a lie, why, why” has such a heavy implication of pain that I bet everyone has felt, even if it was just for a second. The phrase “dying inside” has grown fairly common in recent years - recent years in which the rate of stress, depression, and anxiety have been the highest ever recorded. “Dying inside”, according to my stance on the word, is the detonation of a negative change in a person - more specifically, losing that zest for life, it occurs when someone grapples with moving forward, becoming stuck in their internal pain; the grief hurting them in a manner that feels as though they are slowly killing them, chipping away at their vitality. Metaphorically, dying is the permanent loss of something since death is irreversible; dying inside is a process the flame of liveliness in a person fizzling out, sputtering, flickering, shaking, until at a point, it will completely go out. Harbouring their own conflicts, these issues are slowly eating away at the protagonist’s humanity, working like parasites - the longer they stay, the faster they gnaw away at any passion the character could hold for life, any positives that could be there slowly lose their appeal, which in turn, leaves an absence of pleasure about life.
Another unsparing line, “I scream and shout, yet there is no answer” exudes strain. As established, the protagonist is isolated from the grander public, be it in actuality or just what they believe mentally, which is a reasonable point to why there is no reply. To scream is to convey danger - hence fear - but also heighten the awareness of both the person screaming and the person listening. By selecting ‘scream’ as a word used in the sentence, I believe that the character is not in danger but is fearful of something, possibly afraid of failing, or a fear developed from feeling unsure of what to do - my bet is leaning towards the latter. The character’s dream is what causes them to continue down the path they are on - and as indicated prior - with no one else as support, meaning that if they do try to ask or speak, no one will be able to hear them or contribute to their thoughts, no matter how much they yell. ‘Shouting’ is a method used to gain dominance in a situation, by becoming loud, it forces the other person into submission - one could also label it an intimidation tactic. Along with screaming, by shouting, the character is trying to gain control of a situation in which they don’t have any. It’s clear to the listener that because they are so isolated, there is no one to have tyranny over besides themselves. Because of that, I see it as they’re trying to make sense of their current circumstance, and yelling into this response-less void is a means to manage that confusion. There is no possible way to get an answer from yourself if you’re confused on something, that’s illogical on so many levels, it reasonable to assume there is no answer because the character is directing these questions at a figurative person, a person who is actually them without them comprehending that just yet.
Right before the chorus, the line of “A pouring loneliness in the rain, rain, rain,” is sung out. At this stage, its well acknowledged the character is alone. When something’s poured, it flows out quickly and in large quantities at once - its why people associate ‘pouring rain’ with thunderstorms. Regardless, this is the first time that the main character directly states their recognition of the position they’re in - they’ve realized their loneliness. In multiple works of literature, rain is symbolism for change and/or unhappiness - it is known to transform environments, in a metaphorical stance, it represents change in people, often tying in with a sort of negative emotion. Based on those two ideas, it’s best to assume the character has been hit with a wave of realization of their loneliness in a time where some sort of shift is occurring in them. This shift is most likely the single-minded focusness of the character slowly dissipating, revealing larger chunks of things they’ve missed both spiritually and around them.
She’s in the rain
When I look at beautiful you [아름다웠던 널 그려보면]
The passing time stops [흘러가버린 시간이 멈춰]
It's hard to even open my eyes now
No whoa, she’s in the rain
One of the most addictive choruses, this verse strikes a warm intensity within me. “She’s in the rain,” is an analogy for unhappiness or sorrow. In the context of a movie or book, when there is the need to portray a character’s sadness on screen or in words, the image of a person standing in the downpour is a classic stereotype to return to. This may be because - in a way - rain is cruel in the sense it blocks out sunlight, which is associated with light and warmth, a counterpoint to the depressing ideology tied to rain. It literally makes our days much gloomier and greyer, looping back to the first verse discussing the weather. Naturally, this further cements the relation between these two lines. Having said that, this line isn’t referencing the character the listener has been trailing, instead they point out a female, stating that she’s also in the rain. We’ve already set up the protagonist in the rain, but this is a new character. She seems to be going through a similar issue, clearly in some sort of pain for her to be in this “rain”. Under the scope of the metaphorical translation, the protagonist recognizes this too, continuing to watch this new figure into the second line.
“When I look at beautiful you” which has also been translated to a completely different line, “If I draw you who was beautiful”, they continue to watch her. One constant in each translation is that ‘beautiful’ is used. Expanding on the concept of what beauty is, an article on National Geographic describes it as less about aesthetics and more about self-awareness and individuality - my favourite sentence in this article being “modern beauty doesn't ask us to come to the table without judgment. It simply asks for us to come presuming everyone in attendance has the right to be there.” I would have to apply that message to this line, beautiful is now relative to having individuality, so when you see someone out in the world, you should remember that no matter their circumstance - they have a right to be there. This girl that has so easily caught the attention of the protagonist has every right to be there as well, her situation may be alike or completely different but it doesn’t mean that she can’t wallow in her grief. Though, as mentioned, beauty is relative, the standard is constantly shifting depending on a person - it's a subjective concept, ergo, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While the situation both of them are in is dull, the character is able to still find beauty within it.
Focusing on her beauty, the next line expands on this, “The passing time stops” provides a more hyperbolized way of stating how taken the protagonist is. When time ‘stops’ or ‘freezes’, it is used to describe the sensation someone feels when they’re in awe - an overwhelming feeling of admiration. Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, puts it best, “When we focus on the present, we become more aware of nuanced changes in our emotions, physical sensations, and aspects of the surrounding environment.” I would say for the first time, the character has become conscious of their surroundings, which is why they came across the girl in the first place - they’ve begun to realize. Aaker continues on, “When we become more aware of these changes, our experiences are sliced up into meaningful segments, and this makes our time seem fuller and more expansive and plentiful.” This makes the belief that the character is in awe of this girl more believable, as they fit the description provided - they’ve come to be aware, and because of that, noticing something as simple as another person - albeit, they might find them attractive - becomes that much more enticing. Melanie Rudd explains that only two things are required to create a moment of “awe”: perceptual vastness and a need for accommodation. Awe is what causes most people to feel they need to revise their personal views on their thinking or reflect on how they understand the world. So, a mundane moment like looking upon a pretty girl can strike that sensation of stopping time - because it fits the criteria required. Something as simple as that, clearly struck a chord in the protagonist - by continuing to listen to the song, the audience comes to find out what it is.
“It’s hard to even open my eyes” references back to the third line in the first verse of having one’s eyes covered. A phrase commonly used is “blinding beauty”, despite what most think, this phrase is more so linked with character-al beauty than physical. If beauty - as the public perceives it - was blind, the only other judge of prettiness would be based on a person’s character. Overall, your eyes are useless if your mind is ignorant to the internal beauty of another. But the character never outright claims that they cannot open their eyes - it's hard but it means they still can. I believe that this is them looking beyond just the looks of the girl, and further into her expressions and mannerisms - noticing the smaller quirks about her, which provide an insight to the rest of her “beauty”, her mentality and anything else that makes up her. But I’ve also processed it so that her beauty can be correlated with “light”, and staring into something so bright - be it metaphorically or literally - can make anyone’s head turn. Take the example of a bright smile, or the sun - they can both be described as bright but staring at a smile for too long can make someone “light-headed” in the sense it's too much, and the sun can burn your retinas.
A repeat of the first line in the chorus with the addition of ‘no whoa,’ “No whoa, she’s in the rain,” hits much harder now than it did before. Listening to the instrumental in the background, the guitar and drums disappear when ‘she’s in the rain’ is said, and it reminds me of understanding. When shown in movies or books, a character coming to a realization is one of the most plot-relevant moments, it’s where - ironically - time stops. To put that sensation into a way for the audience to feel it too, taking away the background sound at the exact same time was the best possible way to portray it. At first, it was like the thought that this girl was also in the rain was a passing thought - something that, they obviously acknowledged but didn’t pay much mind too - well not as much as I did - but the second time around, they’ve been hit with a wave of perception, truly grasping the gravity of what’s going on. There have been sparks of awareness before this line, but this is where the protagonist is truly cornered with the significance of the situation this girl is in, and in turn themselves. By noticing when someone else is in a bad position, it can open another’s eyes to the fact they may be in a similar spot without recognizing at first. Right after, is when the instruments all come in at once with a burst, symbolizing the opposite of a frozen moment - it represents the weight of situation crashing down upon the character in waves, time coming back to its normal speed and resembling the effect that this new observation has upon the protagonist - he realizes that he is not the only one.
Do you hear me?
Even if you’re hurt, you don’t show it [아파도 아픈 티 안내는 너]
I’m too afraid to see the end [끝이 보이는 게 너무 두려워]
Your eyes are already so lifeless, no whoa [너의 눈엔 이미 생기가 없어 No woah]
This is the third repeat of the same line, “Do you hear me?” but this is the first time that it has been shown that the protagonist isn’t directing this at a void or the listener - this time, there is another person. Easily deciphered, the question is directed towards the girl, the character is calling out for her attention, hoping that she does hear their voice. An aura of insecurity still laces those words, and can be felt - it is as if they’re still unsure if they’re being heard but by the numerous times they’ve asked the question, there is a growing confidence developing behind them each time. However, there is a softness towards them as well, a light and comforting sense that mimics someone slowly approaching something - or someone - vulnerable. We can assume since both people in the song are in tough situations, approaching in the manner that the protagonist is because they want to ensure they don’t scare the first person they’ve truly acknowledged away.
Such a simple observation, but it’s intense because of that - “Even if you’re hurt, you don’t show it” is powerful because it brings recognition to the fact that the girl may be hurting. The protagonist also adds the fact that even if she is, she is not daring to show those feelings. A reason why this line resonates with me so much is because of how many people have been in a similar situation to this girl. As humans - or just people who feel emotions deeply - we have a tendency to try and ignore them, viewing any sort of negative feeling like anger or sadness as a flaw, because there is such an intense response ignited within us. Emotions that we classify as “negative” can cause people to act irrationally, functioning with their heart more than logic - and it can lead to regretting those actions later on. But following what we feel is apart of being human, we’ve evolved in a way that our emotions act as much of a guide as our brains; experiencing these negative emotions is important to our overall health, people who allow themselves to feel are more in control of their thoughts and behaviours because they are able to comprehend and analyze the root cause behind them - or they try to at least. However, it’s hard to agree with that state of mind all the time because being hurt in any form - physical or mental - is like a defeat. I’ve gone through this multiple times - showing hurt can make anyone feel like they’ve lost, because showing hurt means that you are exposing your vulnerability to a vaster audience, and it leaves you exposed without barriers - letting anyone look in, it lets anyone see you suffer. Being in that position is so demeaning, as those parts of us are the most secret for a reason - we don’t want to be viewed as weak, so by any means, we try to keep that part hidden - just like the girl is doing.
“I’m afraid to see the end” is the next line. ‘The end’ has various meanings, depending on what someone believes - it can refer to the to eventually reach or come to the completion of some sort of action, or reach a point and not go further, and even a final part to something. There’s obviously more, but most people often think of these three. Personally, only one of them fits the context of the song best - coming to the completion of an action. With a simple re-listen to the second verse, the character had mentioned following through with their dreams, and they were so stream-lined on their quest. This is the first time they see someone else, someone else struggling like they are - and as presented in the previous line, the character is seeing a few parallels between their own behaviour and the girl’s. We can assume that their eyes aren’t covered anymore, well not completely, but they still are uncertain about aspects of coming to terms with their life. Being scared is common when it comes to uncertainty, it’s normal to fear things we don’t know - coming to the end of something fits into the category of the unknown, because the result is going to remain undetermined until one reaches that point. It makes sense why the protagonist is afraid, it's because they don’t know if their efforts will pay-off, the anxiety of possibly wasting their time over their situation was the right thing to do, and still, they are unable to find out just yet.
Another loved line, “Your eyes are already so lifeless, no whoa,” is a line that I cannot get out of my head. Eyes that are so lifeless - it just sticks within my mind. If we were to go by a textbook definition, it means to be lacking qualities expressive of life or vigor. It’s such a bland explanation for a sentence that clearly holds a deeper message than what is stated. To be lifeless is to be dead, a permanent ending of one’s life. And since death is irreversible, it demonstrates the fact that returning is not a viable option, you are forever trapped in a state where - as people describe the concept of death - control slowly slips from your grasp, a sudden coldness overtaking your senses and profound terror of what happens next, are all that someone can feel. I don’t fear death, but almost subconsciously, I associate it with being coldness with death - both in the sense of actual death or a more metaphorical take on it - because being cold and being dead/lifeless result in a person being disengaged from their world, slowly shutting out both the good and the bad, to grow isolated and by themselves. They become distant. To those who are close to the person whose growing distant, it hurts to see them drag through constant pain and knowing that you cannot help them because either they’ve accepted this misery so they don’t see an issue with it or they have not but cannot reach out for help because they are trying so hard to deny the pain. That is what being lifeless means to me - dragging through life on repeat with no purpose, like on a constant loop where nothing is fulfilled but just continues on. Eyes are one of the most expressive features we have as humans, that is why besides being associated with honesty, respect, and so on - they have been labelled as ‘gateways into the soul’ because of said expressive-ness. Furthermore, the soul is the essence of being alive, composed of the components that make up an individual: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, thinking and so on. Based on that onslaught of information, the line is describing how the girl in the song is losing her sense of self to the hardships she’s facing, her adoration for life has slipped away. The pain that gnawed at her love, killed the light that would’ve been in her eyes, leaving her lifeless, dead.
She’s dying inside
She wants to think that it's a lie, why, why
No matter how much I try to call, there’s no answer [애타게 불러봐도 대답이 없네]
Pouring raindrops, in the rain, rain, rain [쏟아지는 빗방울 in the rain, rain, rain]
While nearly identical to “I’m dying inside”, the first line replaces the ‘I’ with ‘she’, looking at the situation from a different angle. Returning to the explanation provided for the previous version of the line, it holds the same meaning - to die inside is to lose that flame of liveliness one previously held, it is to become trapped in internal pain that it slowly eats away at one’s appreciation for life. The explanation fits well with the protagonist when the line applied to them, but manages to also be relevant to the girl. Her ambition, motivation - whatever it may be that keeps her going - is slowly slipping through her fingers, leaving an emptiness that cannot be filled with meaningless words or by trying to ignore it with overworking or baseless distractions. She is dying, and that idea is creeping in her, not completely exposed on the outside. This battle is internal, and she refuses to let it slip outside onto her face, or through her emotions. The line of her eyes being so lifeless makes more sense now, eyes are the gateway to the soul as mentioned, so it’s the first place where people can have a glimpse into who someone is on the inside - and if she’s dying, the first place where it would be noticeable, is through her eyes, because the soul that is kept behind them is decaying.
Just like the line before it, “She wants to think that it’s a lie, why, why” only has one word changed, changing the perspective the audience has on the song. Death, in a distant way, can be related to the concept of failing. In a more literal sense, one can die from failure, heart failure or kidney failure are examples of this - our body is unsuccessful in meeting our necessary demands, and when it isn’t able to carry through with vital tasks, the results are fatal because those inconsistencies can lead to a person passing away. With a more philosophical stance, failure, as described in psychology, essentially means we are not able, and therefore, unworthy. Tying the two concepts together, death and failure share the similarity of being successful in something - death occurs when we’re unable to keep our body alive, and failure happens when we are unsuccessful in achieving a certain task. Both come with negative connotations, but what sticks out to me is, as humans, our fear of failure is immense - we would rather try multiple times to correct a failure than outright acknowledge it, or it takes continuous convincing to get us to see our shortcomings. The girl in the song’s shortcoming is that she is in fact dying in a way, but doesn’t want to acknowledge that fact. Dying, it seems, is sort of like failing in her eyes, bringing attention to it would mean she’s lost against the world, being in this ‘rain’ is protecting her from facing the possibility of not being her ideal image of ‘well’.
“No matter how much I try to call, there’s no answer,” it’s a play on the third verse’s version of this line. Instead of screaming or yelling out, the main character is calling out - this time, with the knowledge that another person is there. Calling out is to speak in a loud clear voice so as to be heard even from a distance, it’s a word used when stating you’re trying to grab someone’s attention. In this case, the protagonist is calling out to the girl, trying to get her attention. Regardless if they’re screaming, yelling or calling out, there is no response. If calling out is a way to grab attention, why isn’t it working right now? To me, this shows the desolation that comes with being trapped in your own head. At the beginning of the song, the audience trailed behind the protagonist, following their train of thoughts, only able to hear what the character was going through, but when they opened up their worldview, more things appeared before them, including the girl. Now, whilst their perspective is clearing up, they are able to view what it was like to feel so alone through observing the girl. She’s so confined within her own mind which causes her to tune out her surroundings, including someone speaking directly towards her. I’d go as far as to say many have been in similar positions where we’ve been so caught up in our sentiments, subconsciously, our brain tunes everything else out. It’s the best way to describe what’s happening in this line, the girl is trapped within herself to a point where she’s almost on another level where no one can truly communicate with her in a manner that would satisfy either.
Like all the other lines in this verse, “Pouring raindrops, in the rain, rain, rain” is an iteration of verse three, third line. In the mentioned former line, its stated rain is a symbolism for change and/or happiness. It’s my belief that statement still holds up when it comes to this line, the only difference I remain fixated on is “pouring raindrops” instead of the aforementioned “pouring loneliness”. Rainfall, ergo falling raindrops, are known to symbolize many things, one of those many outlooks being each droplet symbolizes a pause for introspection. There’s more standpoints as well, the reason I bring this one up specifically is because of how well it fits the song’s overall narrative. When it's pouring outside, it points to the fact there’s an onslaught of raindrops, leading to heavy rain, thunderstorms and whatnot. If each droplet accounts for a moment to observe one’s own mental health, a bunch of them means to truly delve into one’s inner-workings, and self-analyze. I associate the word ‘pour’ with ‘wave’, it may be because either can relate to water, but its also due to how strong either can be - a crashing wave can topple a person, pouring rain can drench you from head to toe - both are just as overwhelming. Applying the same logic to being confronted with self-reflection, the emotions linked with learning more about deep-rooted issues and beliefs can be overwhelming. To have such a revelation in a moment of change, is necessary for making improvements, and that’s my interpretation is the way it is - because both concepts flow so well into another.
She’s in the rain
When I look at beautiful you [아름다웠던 널 그려보면]
The passing time stops [흘러가버린 시간이 멈춰]
It’s hard to open my eyes even now [이젠 눈을 뜨기조차 버거워]
No whoa, she’s in the rain
Holding more meaning that it leads on, this verse is central to how the song is shaped, but I won’t go over each line because I already have, and there’s no variation from what was stated prior, and I’m confident in the fact that what I stated before continues to hold up here.
Your traces spread in my memory [내 기억 속에내너의 흔적이번져]
As if the rain has soaked it up [빗물의 흠뻑 젖은 것처럼]
I lost track of where to go [갈 곳을 잃은 채]
Coloured by reality, in your frozen tears [현실에 물들어얼어붙은네 눈물 속에]
Returning back to the protagonist’s thoughts, “Your traces spread in my memory” displays how specific moments remain ingrained in our memories. The use of “your” presents the audience with a scene, in which the protagonist is directly speaking to the girl - even though it’s been established, she’s unable to hear anything they’re saying. In the chorus, the idea that time stops is due to the fact the main character is so taken by the girl - in awe of her. That narrative is necessary when thinking about this verse, specifically this line - her presence is what is being captured in the character’s memory although she hasn’t done anything interesting yet - all the audience and the protagonist have to go off of is; she’s beautiful, and she’s in a similar setting. It’s pretty mundane, if you think about it, but for some reason, the character’s mind has deemed it important enough to be something memorable. But if we reference what I stated for the chorus, the reason time slows down for the character is because they’re in awe - these feelings of wonder are what materialize memories. Think about it, the memories you return to most or remember vividly are moments that brought forth are the ones that bring catharsis - consequently, awe fits into that category as it fits the criteria of a strong emotion. So based on this, I believe that her traces are spreading in the character’s memory because they’re trying to savour the moment, allowing it to take control of most of their headspace. It’s a moment that brought them realization, opening them up to the world - that’s a valuable moment, so it makes sense that it's being imprinted in the character’s thoughts.
A continuation of the previous line, “As if the rain has soaked it up” is a simile allowing comparison between the metaphorical link of rain being soaked up and one’s mind internalizing something. When rain falls onto the ground, there’s always something to absorb it, it could be the cracks in the pavement or the grass utilizing it to allow plants to thrive - our minds work in a way that is comparable, human brains are recognized for their abilities to process and contain bountifuls of information. But I wouldn’t compare our brains to rain for that, they share a more likeness to a sponge, but then again, using sponge would’ve thrown off the vibe of the song - and people perceive words differently too, so I can suspend my reservations - but despite that, either way, the rain soaking up things is an analogy used to make it easier for the audience to visualize the previous sentence.
“I lost track of where to go,” another line referring to the possibility the protagonist is coming to terms with what’s holding them back or the pains in their life. Tying it to a previous verse, where they had stated something about walking down a path, and in the same verse, talking about following their dreams, this fits into the same branch. In that verse, there was confidence behind what they had spoken, affirming they knew where they were going, and what they were doing, but here, the line proves otherwise, with the character admitting they don’t know what they’re doing. It can be interpreted that if they’re still on the same path that they were in the beginning of the song, their trust in if their actions are right is wavering. But clearly, they aren’t on that path, because they’ve clearly mentioned, they’re lost - unable to find one’s way or ascertain one’s whereabouts, as well as confused or helpless. This definition fits best with the character’s current stance, creating a visualization of uncertainty that they’re surely facing when coming to terms with the truth. Not only that, this can also be processed as another method of admitting one’s shortcomings, while they were confident at the beginning of the song of being on the right path, it may not be that way anymore - and it’s a common occurrence in us as people, to believe we are right at first but slowly grow less sure when things aren’t going as we had seen them.
A fairly abstract line, “Coloured by reality, in your frozen tears” is so poetic, exceeding any other line in this song. Less direct than the rest, this line is more up for interpretation as the wording allows for more flexibility with its meaning. But one thing that I firmly believe is that this line is still directed towards the girl. Different colours hold different meanings, red for passion, green for balance, and so on - reality is made up of a diverse range of colours, they surround humanity in multiple ways, allowing us to process them in various methods. Some people are more spiritual than others, associating colors with some divine meaning, others are more literal with assigning colours to things with just the basis of aesthetics - either route, both are viable choices when it comes to colour. With that as a basis, to me, being coloured by reality is seeing the abundance of shades that make up the human experience. Each colour represents a moment, but the definition of those colours vary depending on the person, people can associate what colour they want with whatever situation they deem right. Like colours, each experience has a different connotation, for example, red can be linked with a memory of anger while purple works for a day where you got to pretty yourself up. No matter what, moments differentiate, just like colours do - and reality is made up of these differing moments, hence, colours. That is what ‘coloured by reality’ means, in my eyes, at least. The line continues on, with “in your frozen tears” - for some odd reason, my first thought is that as proven prior, the girl maintains a tough façade - “even though you’re hurt, you don’t show it” - its likely her tears are frozen in the sense that she can’t bring herself to cry, because again, it shows a sign of weakness to her. Frozen is being held in a fixed state for a period of time, and if someone harbours the fear of showing any weakness, they’ll try to keep up the façade of poise, holding back any sort of reaction. In its entirety, the line is a metaphor for how the many colours - memories, both good and bad - are reflected in the girl’s eyes, even though she is trying to keep them hidden. It may be because eyes are the most expressive feature, but even if one tries to keep their composure, eyes reveal the most, clearly, it’s what shows the girl’s true feelings even if she doesn’t want to admit them openly.
She’s in the rain
You wanna hurt yourself, I’ll stay with you
You make yourself go through the pain
It’s better being held than holding on
We’re in the rain
A repeat of the same line, “She’s in the rain” still holds the same reasoning as its predecessor, so I would apply the same meaning here, as lines have no deviation for another.
Though, right after, is such a blunt line, “You wanna hurt yourself, I’ll stay with you,” doesn’t need much reading between the lines or deciphering, it’s right there with no sugar-coating. A part of the girl’s motive is revealed, she wants to hurt herself in some way. I can’t explain this line much due to the fact it's so direct, but it has substance beyond its surface. People hurt themselves for various reasons, a common one being it’s an outlet or escape from other pains. Research has found that self-inflicted pain aids in stopping intense emotions from developing any further, and that oddly enough, the pain felt relieving. The same logic could be what’s running through the girl’s head, believing that hurting herself is better than having someone else inflict the pain - I mean, it seems like a better solution if one didn’t look further than that. What softens this blow is those four simple words after, “I’ll stay with you,” the implication is not much, in spite of this, that’s all that is required to make someone feel noticed. Stories of depression, anxiety, and so on detail the loneliness felt by the victims, how no one dared to ask how the person was doing or lend a hand, which often led to disastrous consequences afterwards. To those who did have a supporting hand, the suffering felt less difficult, recovering from a low point was much easier - bearing that in mind, it's why people encourage having support links in case they fall into a bad situation. Hearing just those words, allows people who are at their lowest to recognize there are people they can trust, they’re not alone even if they feel as though they are. By staying with this girl, the protagonist is showing her that people do take notice of scenarios like this, not everyone is going to brush over it like she believes they would - it’s a method of realizing people do care.
“You make yourself go through the pain,” is modified from the line right before this, the undertones slightly diverging from the previous sentence’s link. Focusing more on the aspect of explaining the girl purposely makes herself suffer, it implies that her pain is more from an internalized source than outside. Besides the reasons provided of an outlet, relief or controlling emotion - some inflict injury on themselves as a way to self-punish for any perceived wrongdoings, it shares relations to the previous points, but this is from more of a self-loathing angle. From my analyzation, my perception of the girl is she’s independent, she holds a deep disdain for failure and is prideful - this might be me self-projecting, but I’m going to roll with it - it makes sense if she were to believe her efforts, on whatever she’s trying to achieve, aren’t enough, punishing herself is the best option. Under the guise of self-criticization, it allows her to get away with crumbling her self-worth, hurting herself mentally to the point her self-esteem is non-existent. All of this done for the sole purpose of not feeling good enough, and going through the pain is just a part of the process to her, because in her eyes, she deserves it.
My favourite line by far, one that’s stuck with me since the first listen, “It’s better being held than holding on,” evoked such a powerful emotional response from me, and continues to do so, every listen makes it feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and the feeling is addicting. When situations get tough - and they do, a lot - one’s sanity or will to continue grows thin, to a degree where you don’t have the desire to continue but some force - be it stubbornness, or the tiniest bit of faith - you can’t bring yourself to let go. Just trying to hold onto that little scap can be exhausting, even more effort than you’d care to put in. Being held relieves some of that anguish, it provides a security blanket and the sense someone else is there if you need their assistance or just the fact a second presence can feel comforting. It’s easier to have someone hold your hand when you’re hanging off a cliff than be forced to endure that alone, being held makes it all easier. While this is the explanation that I’ve come up with, I’d say I’m still realizing its meaning because I struggle with accepting support, and that’s likely another reason I click with it so well.
“We’re in the rain” is, in my eyes, such a pleasant change because with only the slightest difference in wording, the whole aura of its definition shifts. Being alone can cause more grief than having someone because the burden of your suffering is just yours to bear, making its weight much heavier on your mind. With another by your side, the heaviness is much lighter because the force isn’t on solely you. If the rain symbolizes negativity, or change, depending on what you view it as, having another person allows you to not stand in the downpour by yourself. Alone, you are trapped with your despair, those thoughts keeping you company, recycling the same words over and over again. With nothing to suppress them, it allows the cycle of low self-esteem to continue, which further damages any appreciation you could hold for the life you have. Having another by your side keeps you distracted, directing your attention to a different topic, silencing the negativity - even for a moment. Though, this would mean that the other person would have to stand in the rain with you, it’s not necessarily bad, though. As rain can also symbolize change, the change could be the fact of accepting someone, so the rain isn’t all bad - there’s people who enjoy it, including myself, so it can’t be all bad. Rain can be interpreted as a lot of things, but with someone else by your side, you get to share the experience. By stating “we’re in the rain”, I conceptualize it as sharing your burden, experience, thoughts, or whatever with another. Having a shared bond of, say, an experience allows trust and belief to bridge between two people, a relationship that allows both to understand each other in a way that an outsider couldn’t, so any pains that stem up can be dealt with easier because, as the saying commonly goes; two heads are better than one, and most likely, that’s the message the protagonist is trying to get across to the girl.
In this falling rain
I refill the scattered you
So I can see the beautiful you, no whoa
We’re in the rain
Out of the many interpretations that can apply, the best fitting one for “In this falling rain” has to be rain symbolizing negativity, as mentioned countless times throughout this analysis. Raindrops fall wherever they want to, with no proper course of action, they can strike at any time so light spring showers or thunderstorm downpours can happen whenever - just like negativity. When negativity does come around, it can come crashing down rapidly, but blossoming slowly, allowing the hurt and despair to slowly creep their way into enjoyment. Without complicating it any further, this line, if written more directly, could’ve been “In this cycle of negativity”, and it would’ve still worked.
“I refill the scattered you” is an indication to what I had mentioned previously, having support can help with dealing with negativity, causing the suffering to be lighter, allowing you to breathe and still find enjoyment in life even during the tougher moments. If the protagonist of this story was to help the girl, they would technically be their aide - being the person who the girl can depend on, and just by doing that little action, they’d help revive the zest for life the girl had at one point. With the use of “scattered you”, it hints towards the theory that the female in the song is broken in a metaphorical way, and it's been proven throughout the course of the song; from frozen tears and ‘she’s dying inside’ to the more direct ‘you wanna hurt yourself’ and ‘you make yourself go through the pain’, she is broken or breaking mentally. Not the damaged type of broken though - don’t get me wrong! - broken as in emotionally overwhelmed, broken as in losing faith in continuing on with life, broken as in you feel so done with everything. That is what broken means. Scattered, technically, is synonymous with broken, because if we use the example of a vase - when it’s pieces are scattered, it’s broken. Building off that, “scattered you” is another iteration of being broken, and by “refilling”, we can confidently assume it’s another way of saying “repair”. The protagonist is basically stating they will be there to help put back, or repair, who they don’t view as their truest self.
Continuing into the third line, “So I can see the beautiful you,” calls back to the chorus, while also building upon the foundation of the last line. Beauty, or being beautiful, delves into both realms of physical and psychological, tying it’s narrative to the presence of positive qualities. Often, beauty leads to attraction - taking an interest, desire in or a gravitation towards something or someone - even on a solely platonic level, one can still be attracted to that person. From prior parts in the song, it’s evident the protagonist is drawn to the girl, calling her “beautiful” multiple times in the chorus, so the notion they’re attracted to her - more so in an interested-type angle - isn’t a far-fetched concept. Besides inspecting just those two words, “So I can see you” adds more value to the last half of the line. ‘So’ is a subordinating conjunction to introduce the clause of a result or decision, as this line is a continuation of the one before it. The addition of ‘so’ allows the listener to see this as a result of “refilling the scattered you” - at least, the hope for what the result is. Beautiful is also a branch of being true, by saying they want to see the “beautiful you”, it’s not necessarily just a happiness they’re looking for, instead, it’s someone who is true to their sense of character - which includes having not just all positives or negatives, but a mix of both aspects remain faithful to who someone is as a person.
Ending it off strong, the protagonist repeats “We’re in the rain,” affirming their previous declaration - the girl is not alone, they’re not alone because they’re in this rain together. Again, this line is so profound to me even if it's just four words. Being alone is much harder than having another person there to support you as your thoughts have free reign on what to think, all the goods and all the bads. With two people there, the pressure of holding certain burdens becomes lighter as one person isn’t given the duty to hold all the pressure. I’ve stated this already; two is better than one - with the use of “we’re”, that’s exactly what the song establishes. Being in the rain - if looked from a literal stance - can be an experience, some people are frightened by the thought of a possible thunderstorm, on the flipside, others love to run out and splash in puddles. Either way, with someone by your side in those moments, they’re more memorable, enjoyable, because the experience is shared with someone. Although both see the same thing, it’s processed from two different viewpoints, allowing more perspective and a chance to expand your own ideologies for the chance to understand the other. “We’re in the rain” hits as hard as it does because it's stating a message people have heard constantly, altered to a way that allows people to see their circumstance from a universal position - think about it, how many people have been in the rain? A lot. How many people have struggled? The answer is the same. Hence, this line is stating just that, no one is alone in the rain, there is always someone there with them, just maybe harder to see.
From this extremely long analysis, despite the other possible explanations people have for this song, it’s clear that I may have gone slightly overboard but I honestly love this song with my entire being. So much substance is captured within short sentences, allowing interpretation and personal projection to occur, people are able to feel each emotion the band had tried incorporating through a lens that reflects their own internal struggles. I’ve always described this song as tragically optimistic, with its duality from its uncompromising, blunt lines about loneliness and mental turmoil, to the slow shift towards optimism of being able to look for support. Every song that the Rose releases has this sort of catharsis in it, able to evoke a scale of emotions from me, but that’s a part of their appeal. ‘She’s in the rain’ is captivating, it doesn’t remain fixated on a single view, shifting between first person, to second, and third. These transitions between perspectives are a parallel to the various angles people have when they go through their own trials of suffering, it’s admirable on how well it's presented in this song. One of my favourite songs, I don’t think I’ll be able to get sick of it. Like life itself, the song isn’t all depressing nor is it all positive, there’s a delicate balance it holds, showing what happens when we lean too far into one of two sides. I’m not a fan of ballads, believing them to be too sappy or dramatic for my taste - I’d have to say that I’m wrong in that sense, because there is truth laced within those supposed-dramatic components.
‘She’s in the Rain’ deserves more recognition for its enticing tactic of portraying dark themes, it allows them to feel more real while enabling the audience to project their own sorrows onto the lyrics. It’s a song leading on more than it displays, just like humanity does - and I love it for all its parallels. And yet, this may be just me digging further beyond my limits, but it doesn’t matter because even with all of this overthinking, it just adds to the song. And so, I recommend anyone who hasn’t listened to do so, because it is such a charming melody that tugs at the heart in a way that no other song could possibly do so.
lies down... all my men r in the military.............
Ay ışığı parlıyor Yolumu buldum Yavaşça bana yaklaş Görünen el feneri ile Işığı takip et Dökülen kayan yıldızlarla
Kırmızı olmak istiyorum, Tıpkı önümdeki yanan ateş gibi. Kırmızı olmak istiyorum, Tıpkı kırmızıya boyanmış gökyüzü gibi. Umurumda değil, Olmak istiyorum.