“What is it like to be in love?”

“Free. It feels free, like there’s nothing that can stop me, nothing can hold me down.
It feels as if I can do anything because of love and I’m free of the fear of failure because,
even if I can’t do everything, at least at the end of the day,
there’s still me and him. When all else fails, love won’t.”

Reign on Me series

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

secret 9

Since he had become a Hunter for the Council in China, Zhou Mi had many opportunities to stare down the barrel of a gun. When he became a Head Hunter at the age of 18 and was transferred to the Korean branch, he had many opportunities to be in charge of teams, of Hunters and he would stare down the barrel of a gun to protect them. What he never anticipated in his entire life was to be staring down the barrel of a gun with his oldest friend holding it.

Zhou Mi blinked, startled, confused and hurt, “What the hell are you doing, Han Geng!?” He demanded, reverting back to Hankyung’s Chinese name.

“I can’t let another innocent person die, Zhou Mi… I… I can’t. I can’t.” Hankyung’s hand trembled as it held the gun, “I can’t shoot you, Mi… All I can do is beg you to stop this, to just walk away and leave Jo-sshi alone –”

Zhou Mi slowly stood up from his chair, eyes narrowing, “Geng, when have I ever said that I was going to report Kyuhyun to the Council!?”

“But… you said –”

“All I said was that Kyuhyun was transformed and that I was going to do something that could get me fired,” Zhou Mi replied,

“Which suggests that you’re going to tell the Council –”

“Nothing. I’m going to tell the Council nothing,” Zhou Mi interjected, “Kyuhyun needs medical attention and I know of someone who could give it to him, but Eeteuk refused the offer. So, if I invite that person here anyway, Eeteuk would have half a mind to fire me.”

Hankyung put the safety back on the gun and slammed it on the desk, “THAT’S what this is about!? This entire time… damn it, Mi, you could have said something soon!”

“I didn’t think you’d find my own gun and point it at me!” Zhou Mi argued,

“Well, then say something before I get hysterical! Have you not been listening to a word I’ve said the past five minutes? I was ranting about the Council and how they’d send you after him,” Hankyung defended,

“Well, it’s good to know that in a fight, my best friend will turn on me,” Zhou Mi stated angrily,

“That’s the last thing I’ll do, Mi,” Hankyung replied, “You know that; I even said I couldn’t shoot you for all my bravado.”

“You still pointed the gun at me –”

“To protect you from yourself!”


“To lose someone you care about is painful. I watched Eeteuk slowly change after Kangin’s death. He used to be happy all the time and he would smile and talk to the students so often. Now, it’s rare to even see him in the dining hall with the rest of the staff.” Hankyung shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest, “I’ve seen you lose someone – your family, damn it – and how that almost killed you. To think that after you closed yourself up and somehow this… this kid, this Jo Kyuhyun came and managed to slip beneath your defences… If you were ordered to kill that kid and you went through with it because of your principles against vampires, I know… I know that when the sun rose the next day, you would hate yourself and what you did would kill you in a way that your family’s death never did.”


“To protect Jo Kyuhyun, I would have stopped you. To protect yourself, I would have shot you,” Hankyung said quietly, seriously, “For the first time since you were fifteen, you’ve allowed yourself to care for someone else… I’m not going to let you destroy that, Mi.”

Zhou Mi looked at him, a rueful smile on his face, “I cared about you, Geng.”

“Yes and look where that got us: a misunderstanding and a gun in your face,” Hankyung laughed softly, “I know you’ve had your reservations about telling me about Jo-sshi because of the rules and whatnot… but we are friends first. Talk to me before I jump to conclusions.”

“Well, it seems I’ve destroyed whatever it was I had with Kyuhyun; if I ever had anything with him,” Zhou Mi admitted as he slowly dropped back down into his chair.

Hankyung leaned his hips against Zhou Mi’s desk, “Why? What did you do?”

“Why is it my fault? It could be his,” Zhou Mi replied,

Hankyung slanted a look at him, “From what I can see, Jo-sshi actually knows what it is like to have people around him. You, on the other hand, have had no one around you since you were fifteen –”

“I had you –”

“And I barely see you since I’ve started working here at SJA and you were moving around wherever your missions took you,” Hankyung replied swiftly, “You secretly do not know what it is like to have relationships with people.”

“The students like me,” Zhou Mi defended, a slight pout causing his bottom lip to protrude just a bit,

“The students are a bunch of shallow little snobs who take your perpetual smiles for face value,” Hankyung corrected, “What they don’t realize is underneath that smile of yours, you’re actually worse than me when it comes to being strict and marking grades. Their little worlds are about to be shaken violently when midterms roll around after next week.”

“If they study, their ‘little worlds’ won’t get such a beating,” Zhou Mi scoffed,

“Right. I hear how the students talk about other teachers; they think Sungmin-sshi is a laidback teacher and that you’re a personable teacher. However, I know how you really are and something tells me that Sungmin-sshi takes his subject very seriously,” Hankyung replied, “They’re probably all thinking they’ll have it easy during midterms and finals and won’t even bother studying.”

“But then they’ll fail,” Zhou Mi said,

“And that’s when mommy and daddy come along and drop some bills,” Hankyung shook his head, “If Eeteuk was able to run this school without needing tuition to keep the school open, the system would be less corrupted. But this is Eeteuk’s life and he has no other living. Considering how much it is to keep this place going…” He looked at Zhou Mi, “And don’t think I’ve forgotten what our conversation was originally about: you suck at relationships.”

“I don’t even know what I did wrong!” Zhou Mi said, honestly affronted,

“Did you ask?” Hankyung asked and, before Zhou Mi could even reply, he stated flatly, “You didn’t ask. Mi, you need to work on your relationship skills.”

“Says the person who was holding a gun at my face just a few minutes ago,” Zhou Mi countered dryly,

“I’m never going to live that down, am I?”

Zhou Mi shook his head, slowly realizing he was truly smiling for the first time since he last saw Jo Kyuhyun.

The next day; Thursday; Third week of April 20XX

“So then, I had to come with him and fix his pants in the car on the way to the meeting. And, since he was running late, he was speeding and we got pulled over by a cop!”


“And, well… let’s just say the cop let us go without a ticket after explaining such awkward a situation,” Heechul grinned, sitting back in his chair, his lunch before him on his desk.

A few feet away, Kyuhyun was in bed, the top part raised so he could sit comfortably. One side of his curtains were open so he could see and converse freely with the school’s nurse. Kyuhyun laughed softly,

“To think that Headmaster Park was like that,” Kyuhyun smiled, leaning back against the raised mattress, “He hardly smiles now.”

“You’ve noticed?” Heechul blinked,

Kyuhyun nodded, “Headmaster Park used to randomly show up in classrooms and teach whatever subject was occurring. He came in once for one of my science classes and… you could tell that he loved teaching.”

“He actually wasn’t that great of a student, but he loved to learn; loved what you get to learn in school. He always felt that there was so much to know in the world and he wanted to know it all,” Heechul said, a particular smile on his face, “So, he worked hard and studied for hours.”

“You knew the headmaster when he was a student?” Kyuhyun gaped,

Heechul shook his head, “No, I knew someone who did, though. It’s a shame that newer students don’t get to know the headmaster like they used to be able to…” He sat up straight in his chair, leaning towards his food, when he paused, “Seriously, is there anything I can get you? You know I hate eating when you can’t… well… refuse to eat.”

“I’m fine,” Kyuhyun insisted,

“He usually tolerates plain toast and water,” Sungmin interjected as he strode in, arms full with papers,

Heechul stood, glaring at the student, “And you never told me this!? I’ve been unnecessarily starving you when I could’ve been pushing water and bread at you? I’ll go grab some now, give you guys some privacy.” As Heechul left, they heard him softly swear, “Damn masochistic vampire.”

Sungmin laughed as he pulled up a chair to Kyuhyun’s bed and plopped down, “How’ve you been?”

“Better,” Kyuhyun answered simply, “Why are you here? Go eat lunch.”

“I ate during class,” Sungmin laughed, “I gave the students a test today so they could see where they are before midterms,” he placed the stack of papers on Kyuhyun’s bed, “I figured I could spend the lunch hour with you and marking at the same time. Of course, unless Taeyeon is coming?”

Kyuhyun shook his head, “She has a test after lunch, so she’s probably holed herself in the library until then.” Kyuhyun cocked his head slightly to the side, “And what is with you two?”

“What do you mean?”

“Since the beginning of the school year, it seems like you’re both ignoring each other,” Kyuhyun said bluntly, “Did she find out you like her and now things are awkward between you two?”

Sungmin blinked, startled; “What… How?”

Kyuhyun blinked, offering a small smile, “It was pretty obvious when we were kids. I just assumed you still like her.”

“How was it obvious when we were kids!?” Sungmin demanded hotly,

Kyuhyun laughed, “Whenever we’d go climbing a hill or tree… or cross some river, you’d always offer to help her.”

“So? I was being a gentleman! I was that nice when I was a kid,” Sungmin defended,

“There was being nice, and then there was blushing everywhere,” Kyuhyun stated, “You’d always get red in the face whenever you offered Taeyeon any help.”

“Really?” Kyuhyun nodded. Sungmin sighed, “And here I was thinking I was so sneaky.”

“Nope, I figured it out when I was thirteen? So you were fourteen,” Kyuhyun replied,

“At least I hid it for a year,” Sungmin muttered as he grabbed the first paper and began marking the tests, “I can’t believe you noticed.”

“It wasn’t that hard to see,” Kyuhyun shrugged as he gently tugged at his blanket which had pooled at his waist. With only his right hand, he slowly pulled the blanket and tucked it behind his shoulders,

“Well, I’ve been able to hide it from Taeyeon all these years,” Sungmin stated as he picked up the next test. He glanced up, “Why do you think that is? You noticed it when we were kids and that literature teacher, Zhou Mi noticed it and I hardly talk to him; yet Taeyeon has no clue… to my knowledge, anyway.”

“When we were growing up, did you notice how things were between me and Taeyeon?” Kyuhyun asked as he leaned his head back against his stacked pillows,

“You were really open with her… more than… more than with me,” Sungmin muttered, dropping his gaze back to his paper,

“Sungmin –”

“It’s fine,” Sungmin insisted, “Really, I accepted it when we were kids; you’re just closer to Taeyeon.”

“Can I explain why?” Kyuhyun asked.

Sungmin looked up then. He knew it was difficult for Kyuhyun to trust people and, considering he had left Kyuhyun, knew it was even more difficult for him to trust again. He swallowed hard and nodded for him to continue.

“When we were kids, I only talked to you and Taeyeon. Even then I didn’t… I didn’t like talking to other kids,” Kyuhyun said, “My parents weren’t… they weren’t the warmest of people, but they were always there. Regardless of how I acted, they were always there and in my mind it meant they couldn’t leave me because we were family. I felt the same way about Taeyeon; she couldn’t leave me because we’re cousin. But you…”

“I’m not family and because of that it meant I could leave you,” Sungmin swallowed hard, “And then I proved your thinking right by leaving you.”

Kyuhyun shook his head, “I was stupid in thinking that, Sungmin. I mean, I thought family could never leave me and look what happens: my parents abandon me and I haven’t heard from Kyuri well… I honestly don’t remember ever talk to her.” He offered a rueful smile, “But I guess I can lay that last bit of guilt on my parents’ door for separating us.”

“Why didn’t you ever say that?” Sungmin asked,

“Because it might have pushed you away,” Kyuhyun shrugged before smiling, “But I’ve learned recently that the things I thought when I was a kid were… far from the truth.”

“How does you trusting Taeyeon have anything to do with her knowing – not knowing – how I feel?” Sungmin inquired,

“I was very open with Taeyeon when we were kids; even now I’m very open with her. On the other hand, Taeyeon isn’t very open about herself. She doesn’t lie to me and doesn’t hide anything, but she doesn’t say things up-front. I can usually tell if something’s off with her because she can’t hide her emotions, but otherwise, she’s a closed-book,” Kyuhyun said, “When we were growing up I used to tell her everything and… even at such a young age, she watched out for me. She knew when I didn’t want to go home, she knew that I didn’t like being around my parents. As kids, I think that she concerned herself so much with me, that she wasn’t able to open up her world to anyone else; she wasn’t able to see anyone beyond me.”

Sungmin knew immediately that what Kyuhyun said was true. Taeyeon had opened up to him; let him into her world, but only when Kyuhyun wasn’t around. Until that day, Sungmin had never told Kyuhyun about that day seven years ago. He knew it was hypocritical to want a limitless trust from Kyuhyun while he was keeping a secret from Kyuhyun at the same time. However, that day was one of the only times he had with just the two of them and, keeping it a secret, made it more private, more special, more treasured.

“I’m sorry for that, Sungmin,”

Sungmin blinked, abruptly pulled from his musings. He saw the regret etched in the younger man’s face and he shook his head immediately, “It’s not your fault, Kyuhyun. You didn’t ask for any of that, but I think you’re right about her.” He chuckled softly, “I guess I should be thankful though, since it let me keep it a secret from her all this time.”

“Is that such a great thing, though? All this time, you two could have been together,” Kyuhyun said, “I may not trust easily, but even I know the importance of being with the on you care about.”

Sungmin raised an eyebrow as he finished marking the second test and picked up a third, “And what do you know about caring about someone?” When Kyuhyun said nothing, he prompted tentatively, “That Zhou Mi guy, right?”

“I don’t know,” Kyuhyun said quietly, simply, honestly; “From the first moment I saw him, my body reacted to him like it never did before. I… I find myself talking so freely to him which is so unlike me. I… I don’t know, Sungmin. Even if I knew what was going on, how could I separate true affection from simple blood lust?”

“If you solved your blood lust problem, then you could figure it out,” Sungmin suggested as he looked up from the test, “I know your reservations about drinking blood, but maybe if you did it could solve so many problems. For one thing, you could heal better.”

“I’ve already fed once,” Kyuhyun admitted quietly.

Sungmin’s eyebrows rose in surprise, “You have? When? Who… no, I know who… Zhou Mi?” Kyuhyun nodded; “So why don’t you feed now?”

“It was hard enough to feed the first time… to do so again,” Kyuhyun sighed as he leaned his head back and allowed his eyes to close, “It’s not that simple.”

“To feed is to give up the last difference between you and the vampire that bit you,” Sungmin’s fox-like eyes narrowed slightly, “To feed is to give complete trust; to exchange complete trust. He has done something to lose whatever trust you have given him. Because of this, you refuse to feed since he is the only on you are willing to feed from… right?”

Kyuhyun nodded slightly, “It’s not just that, Sungmin… All I crave is his blood. When I’ve felt the blood lust come along, all I remember is the taste of his blood… it’s all I’ll want.” He opened his eyes, staring up at the ceiling where rays of sunlight were creeping from a window across from where his bed was; “But I won’t feed from him… or anyone.”

“Since we found you, Kyuhyun, he has done nothing but protect you,” Sungmin admitted, “Did he do something to hurt you when we weren’t around?”

“Blood…” Kyuhyun murmured, “It’s always about blood with him. Sometimes… sometimes it shouldn’t be about just blood.” Silence fell upon them until Kyuhyun turned his eyes to his friend, “Can you grab me another blanket, Sungmin?”

“Mhmm,” Sungmin put down the test he had been marking, transferred the stack to a bedside table and then disappeared beyond the curtains. “Kyuhyun, what if… until you can you know… have his blood again… what if you drank someone else’s? Then at least you can heal faster.” He reappeared at Kyuhyun’s side with two folded blankets in his arms, “I know before I said I couldn’t, but if it can help you Kyuhyun, I will. And, I have no doubt that Taeyeon would give you her blood too.”

“She’s already offered so many times since I first became a vampire and I’ve rejected her every time,” he locked eyes with Sungmin, “But I refuse to drag you into the darkness with me, Sungmin.”

Sungmin blinked, “You mean I would turn… is… is Zhou Mi?”

Kyuhyun shook his head, “Only a pureblood vampire can make humans turn. I just mean that I didn’t want to bring you into my world, Sungmin.”

“You really know how to kill a good deed,” Sungmin accused lightly as he placed one of the blankets on the chair he had occupied and then began spreading out the other blanket over Kyuhyun, “I grabbed another blanket just in case. Did you want a sweater or something? I’m sure Taeyeon can grab one for you. Considering this is the nurse’s office, you’d think it’d insulate better.”

“I’m fine,” Kyuhyun insisted, “It’s probably just because I’m healing.”

“Trying to heal,” Sungmin corrected as he shook his head. He reached over and touched the back of his hand to the younger man’s forehead, “Damn it! Kyuhyun, you’re burning up!”

“Really? Then why am I so cold?” He offered a small smile,

“Oh my, you must really be sick. I haven’t seen you in such a light mood since you were thirteen,” Sungmin muttered as he looked over his shoulder, “Where is that nurse? He should’ve been back by now.”

“Probably took a detour by the math department,” Kyuhyun murmured as he leaned his head back against the pillows again,

“What?” Sungmin blinked,

“After being stuck here, I’ve learned a lot about Heechul,” Kyuhyun explained as Sungmin laid the second blanket onto of him, “He seems to only talk to two other people in the school: Headmaster Park and the math teacher, Han Seonsaeng-nim.”

“Well, who else could stand someone who’s so informal?” Sungmin asked as he tucked the blankets around Kyuhyun’s body, “Really, allowing students to call him by his first name.”

“You never used to be so stuffy,” Kyuhyun chided before he prompted, “Can you find another blanket?”

Sungmin’s eyes swept at the way that Kyuhyun’s body shivered despite having three blankets already, “How about I find you two more?” As he turned to leave, he caught sight of the nurse returning, “Ah, thank God; Kyuhyun has a fever!”

Heechul blinked, coming over immediately after kicking the door close behind him. Shoving the tray of toast and water to Sungmin, he immediately touched two fingers to Kyuhyun’s forehead, “Damn, you didn’t have a fever this morning.” He quickly assessed Kyuhyun’s appearance, “How many blankets do you have?”

“Three,” Kyuhyun answered immediately,

“At least your cognition is unaffected,” Heechul crossed his arms loosely, “If you’re cold then cooling you down will make you colder; this is most likely your body responding to being exposed to such extreme temperatures for such a long time. Kyuhyun, if you feed –”

“It’s not going to happen,” Sungmin defended swiftly, “What other choices do we have?”

“An antipyretic for the fever,” Heechul replied, “You’re going to have to ride out the chills, Kyuhyun and then after that, we’ll start cooling you down okay?”

“Just give me another blanket,” Kyuhyun answered simply,

“I’ll get you more; try eating something,” Heechul instructed as he disappeared beyond the curtains.

Kyuhyun watched as Sungmin arranged the tray on the bedside table beside his stack of tests; “Just the water, Min, I don’t think I could stomach the toast.”

“Now I know you’re really sick,” Sungmin said lightly, offering a small smile as he picked up the glass of water, “You haven’t called me ‘Min’ since you were… what? Eight?”

“Nine,” Kyuhyun corrected before Sungmin tipped water into his mouth. He drank almost a quarter of the contents before he turned his lips away,

“Kyuhyun, you have to drink more,” Sungmin insisted as he tried to follow Kyuhyun’s lips with the glass,

Kyuhyun shook his head, “If I drink more, I’ll cough up my stomach.”

“It’s not like there’s a lot in there,” Sungmin murmured as he put the glass back down on the tray, “Kyuhyun, is there anything I can do to convince you to drink blood?”

“Maybe if you and Taeyeon join forces, you might convince me,” Kyuhyun grinned. Suddenly, he locked eyes with the older man, “It’s so cold, Min.”

“Then drink blood and all of this will be solved,” Sungmin retorted, crossing his arms, “Damn, Kyuhyun… you’re more stubborn than I remember.”

“And you’re more persistent than I remember,” Kyuhyun replied,

“Well, considering how much you’re putting yourself in danger, I’ve decided to screw being nice and start acting like a damn friend,” Sungmin scowled, his fox-like eyes narrowed, “Taeyeon won’t say anything for God knows why, but you know what? I’d rather you being mad at me than you dying, Kyuhyun.”

“It’s just a fever, Min; I’m hardly dying,” Kyuhyun rolled his eyes as Heechul returned, arms carrying a large stack of thick blankets.

“We were lucky to have your bones attended to Kyuhyun,” Heechul stated, “I can’t even attend to your injuries normally because I don’t know how your body will react to anything. You’re still dehydrated and now you have a fever… I don’t know what else to do.”

“There must be something else,” Sungmin insisted,

“There… there was an option given, but it’s going to require a lot of trust from everyone,” Heechul sighed, running a hand through his long locks before he tied his hair back in a ponytail; “There’s someone who has medical experience. They’re not a doctor, but they know enough to treat your injuries properly.”

“Why haven’t they been called here yet?” Sungmin demanded,

“The headmaster doesn’t… Eeteuk doesn’t trust them,” Heechul explained, “This person is from the Council.”

“Council? What Council?” Sungmin inquired,

“There’s a secret division in the government called the Council. Their job is to find and hunt vampires,” Heechul said gravely,

“Hunt?” Kyuhyun blinked, a silent question in his eyes,

Heechul nodded, “They kill vampires. They… they’re the ones who killed the headmaster’s lover a few years ago. Because of what the Council does and because of what the Council did to Eeteuk, he refuses to allow anyone from the Council on campus. He doesn’t trust anyone from the Council and thus, doesn’t want to risk your life by asking that person to come here. It seems selfish, but everything the headmaster has done up until now has been to protect you, Kyuhyun. He refuses to see another innocent person die, especially one who is fighting his vampirism so successfully.”

“How big is the risk if we let this person come here to treat Kyuhyun?” Sungmin inquired,

“Min –”

“No, Kyuhyun,” he replied firmly, “You can’t have it everyway you want; not with your life at stake.” He turned his fox-like eyes to the nurse, “How big is the risk?”

“Very. It’s welcoming the Council onto campus. What makes it even more troublesome is that the person isn’t just a Council member giving about orders from their office… the person is a Head Hunter,” Heechul replied,

“A head Hunter?” Kyuhyun blinked,

“A Head Hunter,” Heechul explained, “Is a person the Council sends out to do the hunting. Unlike a Hunter, though, a Head Hunter is designated a specific town, city or region, depending how high their position is. They’re in charge of a team of Hunters and delegate how to see through the orders of the Council.”

“There is no way I am letting a Head Hunter –”

“Can we trust this person? Is there a chance that they won’t kill Kyuhyun?” Sungmin interrupted the younger man,

“Apparently there is a chance, especially if the suggestion’s been… well, suggested,” Heechul said, “But still, to convince Eeteuk to let them on campus –”

“The headmaster could escort that Head Hunter guy here himself and I still would refuse,” Kyuhyun stated then, “I haven’t survived this long only to get killed off by some sadistic bastard with a fetish for killing vampires!”

“Then drink blood,” Sungmin argued ruthlessly, “You can’t have it everyway,” he repeated, “You can’t… I won’t let you die, Kyuhyun, even if it means having you hate me.” He stared hard at the younger man, “So it’s either blood or we call in this Head Hunter guy.”

“No. Neither,” Kyuhyun refused,

“Kyuhyun!” Sungmin exclaimed,

“The easiest way out of this is to just drink blood,” Heechul said quietly, calmly, placing one hand on Sungmin’s arm, “But we cannot force him.”

“Damn it, someone has to!” Sungmin argued,

“I won’t!” Kyuhyun retorted,

“Kyuhyun, please!” Sungmin begged,

“THE LAST TIME I DRANK BLOOD I GOT HURT!” He exclaimed angrily. He pulled his gaze away from the older men and continued, his voice quiet but rough, “I trusted completely and in the end, I got hurt –”

“But if it was me or Taeyeon –”

“Even then… even then,” Kyuhyun murmured, still unable to face the others.

“Okay, Kyuhyun needs to rest,” Heechul said, stepping between Sungmin and the bed, “Are you staying? The lunch hour is almost done.”

Sungmin shook his head, “I have a class during third period on Thursdays,” he explained as he picked up his stack of tests. He paused before he left, “Please Kyuhyun, think about it… I just got you back; I can’t lose you again.”

After they heard the door close behind Sungmin, Heechul began piling more blankets over Kyuhyun, “He has a point, you know.”

“About drinking blood?”

“About you not having it everyway you want,” Heechul replied as he draped another blanket over Kyuhyun, putting the total to six blankets. He reached over, touching two fingertips to his forehead, “Doesn’t seem like your temperature’s gone up… but I’ll check it and if it gets any higher I’ll start cooling you down with compresses. I’ll start you on an antipyretic until then.”

“Don’t bother,”


“My body doesn’t accept medication,” Kyuhyun admitted,

“But your history says that the last time you were here, Zhou Mi gave you medication for pain,” Heechul stated,

“And about ten minutes after he left, my body rejected them; both times,” Kyuhyun said,

“Why didn’t you say this earlier when I mentioned medication?” Heechul demanded, his arms akimbo,

Kyuhyun glanced at him, giving him a small, rueful smile, “I didn’t want to worry Sungmin.”

Heechul plopped down in the chair by Kyuhyun’s bed, arms crossed about his torso, “Damn it, Kyuhyun, now what am I going to do with you?”

Kyuhyun cocked his head, “You can tell me more funny stories about the headmaster?”

That evening

“What do you mean he’s in isolation!?” Taeyeon demanded. She had come to the nurse’s office after her last class only to find that Kyuhyun wasn’t in his bed. When she asked Heechul about it, he relayed to her said information.

“It’s not like I shoved him in there and locked the door; it’s self-imposed,” Heechul said as he leaned back in his chair, turning his gaze away from the computer screen,

Why is it self-imposed?” Taeyeon questioned as she headed towards the door of the private room.

Immediately, Heechul jumped form his chair and caught up with her, “It’s just blood lust, nothing new.”

“Bull shit,” Taeyeon argued when they reached the door, “He’s experienced it several times since we found him on the room and never before did he self-impose himself to isolation. So why – is that yelling?” She glanced at the closed door, “Is that Sungmin!?”

She reached for the door knob, but immediately, Heechul stopped her, clasping her wrist firmly, “I highly suggest not opening that door and interrupting them.”

“What’s going on? Why did Kyuhyun want isolation and why the hell is he in there yelling with Sungmin of all people!?” Taeyeon questioned, eyes narrowing angrily, “Kyuhyun would never yell at Sungmin.”

“Yelling has such a negative connotation,” Heechul said calmly as he slipped his body between Taeyeon and the door, “They’re more… talking very loudly at one another.”

“Why won’t you tell me what’s going on? Why won’t you let me see my cousin?” Taeyeon demanded,

“Because a very important discussion is occurring right now,” Heechul insisted, “A very loud discussion.”

Suddenly, the door opened and Sungmin appeared. However, he had his back to them as he stared into the room, “And for the record, Heechul’s right: YOU ARE A MASOCHISTIC VAMPIRE!”

Heechul moved out of the way just before Sungmin turned and slammed the door behind him, just moments before he realized Taeyeon was present. Just as the door closed, his gaze locked with Taeyeon’s and his eyes widened immediately,

“Taeyeon, what are you –”

She crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at the older man, “What the hell is going on Sungmin?”

“Blood lust,” Sungmin answered swiftly,

“Why is he isolated?”

“Blood lust plus anger?”

“Why were you two yelling?”

“Did you not hear the ‘anger’ part?”

“ARGH!” She charged at Sungmin, trying to grasp the doorknob. However, Sungmin immediately grabbed her hands, stopping her, “Damn it, Sungmin, tell me the truth!”

Sungmin glanced at Heechul who shook his head; they both knew that Kyuhyun demanded they keep the truth from Taeyeon. Sungmin looked back at Taeyeon. Her eyes were still narrowed but now, up close, he could see the worry and sadness braided with her anger and frustration. The moment he laid eyes on her outside of Kyuhyun’s door, he knew he was doomed to break Kyuhyun’s promise for secrecy.

Sighing heavily, Sungmin forcibly pushed Taeyeon back a few steps away from the door. Hands still holding hers, he locked his gaze with hers, not allowing her any movement; “Kyuhyun has a fever; has had one all day. Apparently, having a fever and experiencing blood lust at the same time is like… giving his hunger anabolic steroids. He realized how violent his blood lust was and immediately went into isolation. We were yelling because I’m trying to convince him to drink blood.”

“He’ll never drink blood,” Taeyeon said, not fighting against Sungmin’s hold at all, “He won’t Sungmin, I’ve tried –”

“Have you tried yelling?” Sungmin asked simply, “Because if you get mad at him, maybe he’ll listen to reason.”

Sungmin watched as Taeyeon visibly paled. Startled, he watched as she shook her head vehemently,

“No… No, I won’t… I won’t yell at him,” Taeyeon stammered as she tried to pull away, tried to move away from Sungmin, “No, I won’t – I won’t!”

“Taeyeon,” He held her hands firmly, slightly shaking her, “Okay, I won’t make you.” He tried to read the expression in her eyes. However, for the first time since he met her, he couldn’t understand the emotions running through her big, expressive eyes; “We need to figure out something to do. Kyuhyun’s fever has gotten worse.” He glanced at Heechul.

Heechul, seeing a call for help, stepped forward, “Kyuhyun’s still severely dehydrated; I’m not sure how he gets so much energy for his blood lust to be so… volatile. Not to mention the bruises on his body and his bones… Without blood, I don’t know how long Kyuhyun will last. His body, his cells, thrive on blood, but his body doesn’t have enough since he’s not feeding. I fear that much like how humans’ bodies eat at their muscles when they starve themselves, Kyuhyun’s body will eventually deplete his own blood; that’s my hypothesis anyway.”

“When you put it like that… blood in a vampire serves two purposes, one which is nutrition that humans have food for,” Sungmin stated, “So, if we can get blood into Kyuhyun’s body, the way a human is given an IV at a hospital, it would have the same effects right?”

“More or less,” Heechul shrugged, “This is all guess work, but yes, a blood transfusion should – in theory – work. After all, a vampire’s body is identical to a human’s. The only differences are some of the biological processes to getting energy.”

“Then Kyuhyun doesn’t need to feed and we don’t need that Head Hunter,” Sungmin looked at Taeyeon, offering a small smile, “All we need is for him to comply with a blood transfusion.”

“It’s not that simple,” Taeyeon murmured, her gaze dropping from his,

“What do you mean? This seems like the simplest – and only – solution that Kyuhyun will agree to,” Sungmin stated,

“A blood transfusion means needing a blood match,” Taeyeon said, “Kyuhyun’s blood type is A negative.”

“Are you fucking kidding me!?” Heechul demanded. He ran both hands through his hair, releasing the tie which held it back, “Of all the damn blood types in the world he has to go and have one of the most difficult to find!? It could take forever to find a blood bank that has donors with that blood type! What. The. F – you know what? I have half a mind of phoning up his parents and yelling at them!”

Sungmin slowly released his hold on Taeyeon to cross his arms, “Do you think either of his parents would be a match?” He looked at Taeyeon,

She shrugged, “Even if they were, it’s a hopeless cause; his parents want nothing to do with him. Even his mother’s broken all contact with my mom.”

Sungmin raised an eyebrow, “What about –”

“If you could find her, that’s also a hopeless cause,” Taeyeon interrupted swiftly, “If you recall, she hates Kyuhyun.”

“Who hates Kyuhyun?” Heechul raised an eyebrow at the two,

“His sister,” Taeyeon explained, “You think them abandoning Kyuhyun last year was bad? They shipped off Kyuri when she could barely talk.” Taeyeon shook her head as she brought up her thumb and began chewing on the tip, “I haven’t seen Kyuri since I was ten and she was eleven.”

Sungmin sighed, “Well, I guess I should go back to trying to convince him then,” he turned the doorknob, opening the door just a few inches, “If I come in can we talk without yelling?” When he got no reply, he looked in, “Kyuhyun? Damn it!”

Heechul and Taeyeon watched as Sungmin suddenly sprang into the room. They crowded the doorway as they found Sungmin kneeling before Kyuhyun’s collapsed form on the floor. Sungmin gently held Kyuhyun up with one arm beneath his back as his freehand went to his forehead, touching it with the back of his hand,

“I think his temperature went up again,” Sungmin said as he slipped his other arm beneath Kyuhyun’s knees and stood up. “Kyuhyun, wake up, damn you! Wake up!”

Immediately, Heechul ran off to grab a water basin and a face cloth while Taeyeon rushed into the room as Sungmin slowly lowered Kyuhyun onto the bed.

As he peered down at his friend’s face, he watched as droplets of perspiration formed along Kyuhyun’s hairline. He sighed heavily, “I don’t know what to do anymore Taeyeon. Short of forcing him, nothing seems to be able to convince him to feed.”

Taeyeon turned to leave,

“Where are you going?”

“I can’t convince him and you can’t convince him. So, I’m going to the one person who might be able to convince him,” Taeyeon stated as she stood in the doorway, “It’s a long shot and he might not succeed, but… I don’t know what else to do either.”

“He hurt Kyuhyun,” Sungmin stated quietly, “He might have less success in convincing Kyuhyun than either of us.”

“But unlike either of us, he actually got Kyuhyun to drink blood,” Taeyeon replied, “And despite whatever happened between them… that has to count for something.”

Sungmin watched her leave and then turned back his gaze to his fallen friend. Slowly, he let his eyelids fall and murmured softly, “Please hold on, Kyuhyun… just a bit longer. Please, wake up.”

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