and when you suddenly feel cold, i'll be here, waiting
myname, gunwoo/insoo, au, pg-13, 3198w
All Gunwoo had to do was wait. He watched the blonde man pacing outside from the safety of the living room window. The man's name was Insoo, and that was all Gunwoo allowed himself to learn about him. In two days, Insoo would be dead.
"You're actually going to go through with this?" Seyong asked over Gunwoo's shoulder. Gunwoo was long accustomed to the red-haired devil appearing out of nowhere with his wolf-in-sheep's-clothing smile. "You'll let that poor man die?"
"Of course," he answered coldly. "As you said, someone has to die."
Despite his chiding tone, Seyong was grinning. "Yes, but I kind of had my heart set on you."
Gunwoo shrugged. "Too bad." Down below, Insoo continued to pace in front of the entrance to Gunwoo's apartment building. It was one of those high-end complexes with a doorman who made sure that only those buzzed in by the residents could get by. Now and then, Gunwoo's doorbell would go off; it'd been going off for two hours now. Gunwoo let the curtain drop and Insoo disappeared from his sight.
In the living room, Seyong was lounging in Gunwoo's favorite chair. "You fascinate me," he purred. "A man who makes a deal with the devil and has no regrets about letting an innocent die for it." He sighed and clutched his chest. "It will break my heart not to drag you to hell."
"You don't have a heart," Gunwoo replied with a wry smile.
Seyong just grinned. "Ah, you caught me."
Three years ago, Gunwoo first met Seyong on a roof. He hadn't been sure why exactly he'd been on a roof, only that he hadn't gotten there by any natural means. There were two chairs placed facing each other a ways away. A very strange man sat in one, smiling.
"Sit with me?" he asked. His smile was playful but chilling. Gunwoo opened and closed his mouth, not sure what to do except sit in the chair and listen. As they sat together, the man continued to smile and press his hands together, watching Gunwoo. "You want to be famous," he said at long last. It wasn't a question.
Gunwoo nodded. At the time he'd been living in a dingy apartment on the grungy side of town, waiting tables at the cafe down the street and performing in nightclubs when they'd hire him. He was deep in debt from attending the best musical academy in Seoul and well past the point of desperation.
"What if I could make that happen, right now?"
"How would you do that?" Gunwoo asked quietly. His usual skepticism was creeping in but there was something different about this man that gave Gunwoo a terrified feeling of hope.
The man spread his hands like all the world's possibilities lay between them. "Let's just say I have my ways. With me, it's absolutely one-hundred percent guaranteed." He chuckled. "It's not free, of course."
Gunwoo glared at him silently.
"Not much of a talker," he said, again not a question. "I like that." He paused and licked his lips. "Let me explain this as clearly as I can: I will give you three years-- three spectacularly successful years during which no doubt all of your dreams will come true. Everything you could possibly want will appear at your feet. At the end of those three years, completely fulfilled, you will die."
A cold chill ran down Gunwoo's spine. "Die?"
The man smirked. "That's how deals with the devil go."
Gunwoo's mind raced. The situation screamed scam or prank, but when he looked into this man's eyes, his palms grew sweaty. Something was different. No matter which way he looked at the offer, though, what the man said he could do was impossible.
"I accept," Gunwoo replied after a moment of scattered thinking.
The man raised a red eyebrow. "Really? That quickly?"
With a half-hearted shrug, Gunwoo nodded.
"Very interesting," he replied. His grin grew wicked and he got to his feet. His dark eyes seemed to be gleaming in the dim sunlight. "Well then, see you in three years, Gunwoo."
Frowning, Gunwoo fought the urge to ask the devil's name.
"It's Seyong," he said without being asked, and with that, he flickered away.
The next morning, Gunwoo woke up a star.
Gunwoo never meant to notice Insoo. In his nearly three years as a celebrity, he'd gotten in the habit of not noticing anything or anyone. Not because he felt he was above everyone, but because he could never forget Seyong's fiery smile, and the fate that lingered behind it. Despite his success, the money, and the recognition, Gunwoo's life became a prison sentence with a cemented end date, the end being the end of everything.
Insoo was a harmless mistake. Gunwoo's management company was famous, and they were always training new stars. To train the new stars, they needed talented instructors. Three months before Gunwoo was set to die, they brought in Insoo to be the new dance instructor.
The two of them never interacted; Gunwoo was beyond training and, as a ballad singer, he never needed much choreography. But Insoo was like a troublesome blip on Gunwoo's radar screen that never went away. He could sense Insoo when he was around, and Gunwoo found the man infuriatingly hard to ignore. Despite Insoo's polite attempts to introduce himself, Gunwoo brushed him off. When Insoo tried to start a conversation, Gunwoo simply walked away.
And then, one morning as Gunwoo was entering the building, he saw Insoo coming toward the doors. Instinctively Gunwoo turned away down a random hall, but Insoo called after him.
"Wait a second, damn it!" the normally kind instructor shouted, catching Gunwoo off guard. Gunwoo turned around just in time for Insoo to barrel right into him. Their foreheads smacked together and Gunwoo dropped to the ground. Insoo was all apologies as they helped each other up dizzily, and Gunwoo even gave him a nod and assured Insoo that he was fine. Insoo looked incredibly guilty when Gunwoo was called away by his manager.
"We have a problem," the red-faced man said. "A big problem."
Gunwoo's sales were dropping-- no, plummeting. Fans everywhere were suddenly turning into anti-fans. The CEO was furious. Customers were demanding refunds for his CDs.
That afternoon, while the company was panicking and trying to fix whatever had gone to wrong with Gunwoo, the other staff were in a buzz about Insoo.
"Did you hear?" Gunwoo overheard on his way out that night. "A man from our rival company showed up and tried to sign Insoo! Wouldn't he make a great idol?"
"What do you mean, you passed it on?" Gunwoo could almost imagine smoke pouring from Seyong's ears, the man's face was so red.
"I told you," he chuckled. He was a bit giddy; for the first time in years, he'd had a free day with no phone calls or texts or nagging emails. Everyone was leaving him alone. And it all deepened the feeling that had been growing over the past week: he was free. "I don't have your gift anymore."
Seyong's red hair was so bright it looked flaming in the light of Gunwoo's apartment. He was stalking around the living room, rubbing his hands together, rubbing them on his face, talking to himself. "But it was supposed to be you!"
Gunwoo smiled. "This means the deal is off, doesn't it?"
The devil slammed himself into a brilliantly upholstered chair and glowered. "No, the deal is not off." He took a deep breath. "Someone will die."
The temperature in the room seemed to drop.
"Insoo will have to die in your place."
Several hours after Seyong disappeared, Insoo was still lurking outside Gunwoo's apartment. The doorman had called to complain, as had a few of the neighbors, so Gunwoo felt he had no choice but to go see what the man wanted.
"Hello," he greeted a fuming Insoo.
"Why the hell have you been pretending not to be home?" Insoo demanded. "Do you think that people like you don't have to acknowledge the presence of us lowly beings?"
"No," he replied, taken aback. I don't want to think about how you're going to die. The doorman looked to Gunwoo anxiously but Gunwoo waved him off. "He's a coworker," he said in a bored tone. He glanced at Insoo. "Come inside."
Once inside, Insoo appeared at a loss for what to do next. He crossed his arms in an attempt to be intimidating, but the moment he met Gunwoo's icy gaze, he faltered. "I just want to talk, okay?"
Gunwoo, too, felt it a little odd. The last time he'd had guests over to his house was years ago, before his curse. He motioned toward the couch and Insoo seemed grateful. He perched on the edge, obviously agitated.
"I know what happened the other day," he began carefully. Gunwoo's raised eyebrows were the only sign of his surprise. "After we, you know, bumped heads, everything's become so weird." His eyebrows knotted and he sighed heavily. "At first, I thought it was a sudden change of luck, but then," he groaned, "Seyong showed up."
Gunwoo inwardly cursed the devil for purposefully not telling him. To Insoo, it just looked like Gunwoo chose a strange time to cross his arms.
"Two days, right?" Insoo asked quietly, glancing up to confirm that Gunwoo knew what he was talking about.
"Yes," he replied cautiously. "Two days from now is my twenty-first birthday, when my deal with Seyong was supposed to come to an end."
Insoo nodded, taking in the information.
"That doesn't explain why you're here, though," Gunwoo said in his best bored voice. Insoo balked, understandably offended, but he closed his mouth before he could say anything.
"I just wanted answers, I guess." He rose to his feet. "I can understand why you're upset that I'm here." He glanced at Gunwoo again. "I'm sure you don't want to be reminded of this. It's not your problem anymore."
The dancer made for the door, and Gunwoo almost went to stop him. But why should I? Gunwoo asked himself. Let Insoo go, and all of his problems would be solved. A new life awaited him if he could just let this man go.
Insoo paused at the door. "You didn't mean to do it, right?" he asked in a voice so low Gunwoo almost couldn't hear him. "You didn't mean to pass this to me?"
The back of Gunwoo's neck went hot with shame. "No," he admitted. His voice felt hoarse.
Looking over his shoulder, Insoo beamed. "Then I have no reason to be mad, right?"
As Insoo let the door close behind him, Gunwoo wondered why those words sounded like some kind of reassurance.
Seyong was waiting for him the next morning. Hands folded in his lap, he greeted Gunwoo with a pleased smile. "I came to give you a warning," he practically sang.
Gunwoo poured himself a cup of coffee and sat on the other side of the kitchen table.
The devil looked a bit irked at the lack of reaction, but continued on smoothly, "The curse could still come back to you."
Gunwoo's heart almost stopped, but he knew better than to show as much to Seyong. The fact that Seyong could read minds only further complicated interacting with the man, but Gunwoo had long gotten accustomed to not even thinking what he truly felt.
"It's called the Devil's Kiss." Seyong ran a finger along his lip. "The curse can be passed by mouth, my dear."
"Is that all?" Gunwoo asked, feigning his best tired sigh. "I have a lot to do today. I get a whole new chance at life, you know."
Seyong practically flinched with rage when Gunwoo winked, sipping at his coffee. A second later, a shadow was all that was left in the chair.
A piece of paper slid toward Gunwoo and a pen was placed by his hand. He regarded the words on the page half-heartedly. More than likely this deal was a wordy way to rip him off, but he didn't much care. He scrawled in signature and handed it back to his company's CEO.
"With that, our business is officially done," the older man said. His white hair was slightly disheveled, his eyes tired from days of trying to repair the damage. Little did he know that the forces of the underworld were against him. At least by signing over his rights to his music, his legacy, Gunwoo was giving this man back something.
And with this, Gunwoo thought, I am getting my life back. Even knowing that Insoo was somewhere in the building wasn't enough to keep Gunwoo from smiling slightly as he shook the CEO's hand.
The joy was short-lived. As he exited the elevator, a familiar figure appeared in the main lobby.
When he saw Gunwoo, Insoo grinned. "Gunwoo!" he shouted happily, waving from the exit.
Gunwoo's stomach twisted and his breathing quickened. He hurried through the lobby, passing right by Insoo, his hand still in the air.
The voice was cut off as Gunwoo made it through the front doors. A burst of cold air hit him and he sighed in relief. The traffic that morning was especially bad. He stood at the street corner and angrily pressed the button to cross.
He span on his heels and Insoo was standing right beside him. His face was flushed from the cold and his eyes were worried. Gunwoo chewed the insides of his cheeks to keep from letting Insoo see what this was doing to him. He turned and began to cross the street, disregarding the light entirely. A horn blared and Gunwoo braced himself. Idiot, he cursed as a van flashed before his eyes--
Something shoved him from the side and he went tumbling forward, out of the van's way. That something grabbed his wrist and forced him to his feet, then all the way across the street now that the light had changed. "Are you okay?" Insoo panted as they reached the sidewalk. His grip on Gunwoo's wrist was painfully tight.
"Is there something fucking wrong with your head?" he shouted, attracting the attention of everyone around them. "Do you not see how fucking stupid you are?"
Insoo stared, mouth open. Gunwoo felt his cheeks grow warm and his hands were tight fists at his sides. His chest was heaving with his labored breathing. He couldn't remember the last time he was this worked up.
As the crowds moved around them and pretended not to hear Gunwoo's outburst, Insoo smiled. "I want you to spend tomorrow with me," he said with sudden confidence.
Insoo's smile continued to grow, stretching from tiny, perfect ear to tiny, perfect ear. "Please. Spend tomorrow with me." He squeezed Gunwoo's hand; Gunwoo hadn't even been aware that Insoo had been holding it in the first place. "I want to spent my last day alive with you."
"You're... insane," Gunwoo whispered into the air. He dropped Insoo's hand, turned and walked away. He didn't stop walking until he was sure he was very, very far away.
Gunwoo sat awake in his living room, drinking. Seyong was sitting across from him in Gunwoo's favorite chair, but Gunwoo wasn't sure if the devil was there or if his drunken mind was playing tricks on him.
"That man is very interesting, too, it seems," Seyong said.
An empty bottle rolled off of the coffee table to join a collection of them on the burgundy rug.
"He would risk his life, the day before he's supposed to die, for the person who is the very reason he's going to die in the first place."
Another empty bottle flew from Gunwoo's hand into the wall. The smash was loud and satisfying. Gunwoo smiled.
"What do you think that means, Gunwoo?"
The devil's voice faded in and out as Gunwoo reclined on the couch. "I don't know; you're the one who can read minds."
Seyong didn't answer. He smirked, and sighed to himself as if enjoying an inside joke. "I don't think I'll mind taking that one with me after all."
Gunwoo frowned and glared at Seyong. He watched Seyong stand up and head for the door. It was an odd sight, considering Seyong had not once used an actual door in Gunwoo's presence.
"Tomorrow at noon, Gunwoo."
Sometimes Guwnoo wondered if Seyong was just in his mind.
Tomorrow at noon.
At eleven fifty-five, Gunwoo ran through the front doors of his former company. The receptionist quietly inquired to what he was doing there, but he barely heard her.
"Insoo!" he shouted into the busy lobby. Everyone turned and stared at him, but there was no answer.
One of the usual idols-in-training pass by and Gunwoo grabbed him by the shirt, nearly lifting the poor boy off his feet. "Jinseok, where is Insoo?"
"Uh-uh," the boy stammered. "He's in the practice rooms, hyung, like always."
He dropped Jinseok and took off down the hallway. He knocked into several people on the way but didn't so much as look back. There would be time for apologies later-- hopefully.
Gunwoo entered the practice room quietly, panting. Insoo stood before his class and calmly delivered instructions, like he wasn't two minutes away from his own death. He looked utterly shocked to see Gunwoo when he grabbed Insoo from behind.
"I have any idea," he wheezed before Insoo could speak. "I think I know how we both can live."
Insoo gaped at him, but nodded.
"Seyong told you about the Devil's Kiss?"
Another nod, as well as a slight blush.
"The curse passes by kissing. Whoever has the curse at noon dies." He grinned at Insoo. "What if we never stop kissing?"
The blush on Insoo's face deepened in a way Gunwoo hoped he could always remember. He shook his head as Insoo started to speak again. He held Insoo's small face in his hands and, with one last moment of hesitation, said a silent prayer and pressed their lips together.
The feeling sent such a strong electric shock through Gunwoo's tired, dull existence that he almost pulled back, but Insoo grabbed Gunwoo by his coat and held him steady. Insoo's lips moved against Gunwoo's with unrestrained desperation. Gunwoo's mind reeled as Insoo demanded more, biting Gunwoo's bottom lip, sliding his tongue into Gunwoo's mouth, pulling Gunwoo closer and closer by the coat. He could taste Insoo's toothpaste and could smell his shampoo. He breathed it all in, not wanting to miss a second. If this was to be his final act in life, Gunwoo was more than grateful.
You bastard, Seyong's voice chuckled in Gunwoo's ear. Somewhere in the background, the clock chimed twelve times. Gunwoo leaned in and wrapped his arms tightly around Insoo's shoulders. There were whispers and outright chuckles around them. They'd no doubt drawn quite the crowd. Gunwoo didn't bother opening his eyes. Time span around them, unable to do a thing. Insoo smiled into the kiss and pressed closer, refusing to let go.
Live well, both of you.
Noon came and went, but they had no reason to stop.
a/n: this was inspired by an episode of a cdrama called Hello Summer, which was only seventeen minutes long hence the slightly quicker pace. also, this was supposed to be a drabble. oopsie.