ℰmmi (seulpeo) wrote in galaxyabandoned,

{exo; kai/chanyeol} untitled [incomplete]

Title: untitled
Fandom: exo
Pairing: kai/chanyeol
Word Count: ~6000 (incomplete)
Rating: pg-13
Summary: One night, Jongin meets a gorgeous stranger named Chanyeol at the club. The next day, he finds himself in jail, underground, locked up for inappropriate conduct with the prince.
Author's Note: ONE OF MY FAILED ATTEMPTS AT LONGFIC AHHH WHATEVER he was gonna do so many thINGs. another case of a whole lot of worldbuilding that didnt make it into the fic before i lost steam. somewhat inspired by suzanne collin's gregor the overlander series because those were my childhood.


In all honesty, there were several reasons why Jongin and Lu Han decided to rent the apartment that they currently lived in - reasonable price of rent (for Los Angeles, anyways), access to public transportation, proximity to Jongin's university and the graduate school Lu Han attends, of course. But ultimately, they'd chosen this particular apartment over other equally appealing candidates because there was a Starbucks down the street.

And as much as Lu Han swears loyalty to the coffee shop on campus at the university, and as much as he mourns how much of his research assistant paycheck falls neatly into the palm of the sleepy-eyed cashier at the Starbucks counter, he's the one shoving Jongin off the bed and out the door for brewed coffee from Starbucks to nurse his hangover, every time.

Partying is a bad idea with Lu Han, Jongin thinks sadly - and belatedly, too bad for him - as he shuffles around their kitchen in search for his house key, having unearthed his cell phone from the depths of his blankets. His head hurts like tiny assholey critters are bouncing Lego bricks off the inside of his skull, and his mouth tastes like a nightmarish mix of shitty alcohol and the mind-flavored mouthwash he'd hastily gargled before crashing last night - actually, today morning. There's a smudge of eyeliner down the length of his left forearm, where the tally marks, seemingly harmless little lines that Lu Han kept insisting on adding to with shot after shot, blended together while Jongin was asleep; squinting at the mess now, Jongin guesses that he had somewhere around five, maybe seven. All he knows is that Lu Han matched him for each shot, and kept going after Jongin called it quits. No wonder Lu Han looked as if he would've murdered Jongin if he came back without hangover coffee.

It's too early, though, the neighborhood quiet as if in respect for the sacredness of Sunday morning. Their apartment is close enough to where the commercial area of the big city begins for coffee runs to be convenient, but Jongin squints against the morning sun and still considers mutiny. He just wants to crawl back into bed, sleep this off, and make another empty promise to himself to never, ever let Lu Han take him to the club, ever again.

The night before had been a special enough occasion for Jongin to go, despite the promise he'd sworn to follow last time. Jongin had walked out of his last psychology final on Thursday and promptly returned home to sleep until evening, but Lu Han hadn't finished over at the grad school until Saturday. "I will die if I ever see another final exam," he'd announced loudly upon opening the front door that evening. "Get up, Jonginnie, you aren't wearing your pajamas to the club."

"What club," Jongin grumbled, as if Lu Han didn't pester him to go to Lupine every Friday night. Sometimes he went, sometimes he didn't, but unfortunately for Jongin's wallet, the former happened more frequently than the latter.

"You know what club!" Lu Han called from his bedroom next door to Jongin's, where Lu Han could hear he was changing clothes, putting on something nicer. "I swear I'll get you laid this time, I just need to you to come along for that to happen."

"No need, Lu Han," Jongin called back. "I'm fine. You don't have to do anything."

"Jongin, you never bring anyone back to the apartment," Lu Han said, appearing in the doorway of Jongin's room with his hands on his hips and a frown on his face. "And you never stay out late at someone else's place, either. You need this."

"Maybe I do, just on the nights when you aren't home," Jongin tried weakly.

Lu Han narrowed his eyes at him. "You're too lazy to buy condoms and you never steal any of mine," he shot back. "I know what you're up to, Jongin, and you're not fooling me. Go and get dressed - properly."

"You know, when I agreed to be your roommate," Jongin yelled after him, as Lu Han whisked off to call up his friends, "I never expected my senior from the dance team to take responsibility of my sex life."

"You need me!" Lu Han shouted from another room.

As far as roommates go, Lu Han is great. He can deal with how Jongin isn't exactly the neatest person to live with, how his manga tends to take as much room as their years of textbooks do on the bookshelves, how sometimes he stumbles home at impossible hours because he was practicing at the studio and lost track of time. They met on that team, when Jongin had passed the audition as a freshman and went to the first meeting trying to hide how he was brimming with exhilarated anticipation, and Lu Han understands how much the dance team and their art means to Jongin. He's good with warning Jongin about bringing back his one night stands, too, texting him in advance if he's going out that night; Jongin only wishes that Lu Han would stop trying to set him up with people he barely knows.

The worst part about living with Lu Han is probably the hangover Starbucks runs. Luckily, Jongin knows the streets of their neighborhood well enough to stumble forward on autopilot, yawning as he waits at the corner for the light to change. Last night is a bit of a blur for him, but he knows it was just the usual routine of reluctantly changing his clothes and catching a ride with Baekhyun and Yixing to Lupine and letting Lu Han drag him to the bar. He remembers dancing amid a crowd of sweaty people, remembers Lu Han's fingers around his wrist as he pointed out possible people for Jongin to talk to and Jongin's refusal, time after time.

He remembers a bright smile, full of sleep, paired with hesitant but interested eyes, and can't help but linger over it. It really has been a while since Jongin let someone into his bed, after the initial period during his underclassman years where he wanted to exploit his new-found freedom from his parents' constant supervision to the fullest. Lupine isn't the biggest club, but the music is good and the alcohol isn't too overpriced, so it draws in a decently large crowd comprised mostly of students like Jongin and Lu Han. After a few times, everyone's faces tend to meld together, vaguely familiar, like Jongin's seen them around campus over the years, but he remembers something new from last night. Deep, low voice, a confessed "I'm not from around here, actually."

Lu Han would know - he keeps better track of who Jongin talks to when they're at the clubs than Jongin ever does, even on top of his own flirty conversations and freely received drinks. He fishes his cell phone out of his pocket to text Lu Han a quick question - yo did i get w/some1 last nite?? - even though Lu Han probably won't get to it until he's had his coffee, and then slips his phone away.

Jongin can see the Starbucks now, and is deliberating over what to get for his own hangover when two pairs of rough, massive hands seize him and pull him bodily into the alley he just passed by. "What the fuck?" he hisses, trying to jerk his arms free and catch a proper glimpse of the thugs who just grabbed him, but one of them lands a blow on his stomach and he doubles over, groaning and struggling to catch his breath, make sense of this turn of events. Before he can scramble out of the way at the sound of something swinging through the air towards him, white-hot pain flares suddenly at the base of his skull, only to be replaced swiftly by darkness.

They're moving through more darkness when Jongin wakes, his mouth terribly dry and tasting slightly metallic. His stomach and his head both ache, and he can feel bruises forming where he was knocked up against something hard, maybe stone or concrete.

"Remember to close the entrance," someone says gruffly over his head to his companion, and Jongin guesses they're the two who ambushed him that morning. It's so dark around him now that it must be night; he must've been unconscious for hours. He can't remember much from those action movies Lu Han keeps making Jongin watch with him, but he's seen enough kidnapping and hostage situations to know that he's been caught in one, and they never turn out very well for the victim. God, he probably has a head injury on top of his dehydration. He's so fucked, there's no way Lu Han knows where he is.

They notice he's awake sooner than Jongin would like, and force him to walk on his own at a cruelly fast pace, Jongin stumbling and scraping himself against what feels like the walls of a rocky tunnel. His sweatshirt and jeans are holding their own, though, so the brunt of the damage is to his hands as they act as a poor substitute for his eyes.

It feels like they walk for forever, the tunnel sloping down more and more steeply until Jongin has to keep himself from stumbling forward at places. He didn't even know it was possible to hike so far down, and it's making him a little nervous that neither of the guards speak, simply grasping his biceps tightly and steering him forward. The entire situation feels surreal, like Jongin's having a particularly exciting dream and soon he'll wake up, a little sweaty with his legs twisted in his blankets and Lu Han making puppy eyes at him at the foot of the bed, begging him to go to Starbucks like he does, every morning after a night at the club. Maybe after Jongin gets back, he'll tell Lu Han about his weird dream and Lu Han will laugh, ruffling his hair and conceding that he's been going a bit overboard with the action movies as of late.

Jongin's almost got himself convinced when the tunnel slowly evens out, the slope of it now gentle and even comfortable as the path before them opens up. He can hear the sound of rushing water, even a few distant voices of men who sound like they're working. "What," he can't help but whisper when he and his unkind personal entourage emerge from under the lip of the tunnel and he is met with the sight of a river moving so rapidly the water churns white with foam. Men flank the river water on both banks, shouting amongst each other, looking rather small beside such an impressive display of nature.

"Keep moving," the thug to his left growls at him, the grip on Jongin's arm squeezing tight for a moment until Jongin yelps, then curses himself for reacting to the pain. Do people feel pain in dreams? Aren't they supposed to wake up when it hurts?

For now, he sets his jaw and keeps moving forward in the direction that he's being told to go, hoping that this really is a dream. They follow the river for a long time, Jongin silently thanking his rigorous dance time practices for giving him the endurance to keep up the entire time, and he watches in his peripheral vision as the waters slow and veer off down channels that seem to be for irrigation. He glances up and sees more black, more darkness, and wonders how anyone could possibly grow anything somewhere this damp and unforgiving.

A sharp blow to his head has him dropping his chin again and looking only at the ground where he will step next, as best as he can make it out. His head throbs at the added abuse, and Jongin swallows his frustration and fear as much as he can. The river is slightly smaller now, a thinner ribbon curling through the earth as it moves with them towards their unknown destination rather than the monster that greeted Jongin out of the tunnel.

When the river's path abruptly crosses before them, Jongin is surprised to see a bridge erected over its width. His party of three halts at the foot of the bridge closer to them, and one of the thugs releases him to tie his wrists together at his back, Jongin resisting half-heartedly but knowing there's no way he could win when one man alone is big enough to crush him effortlessly. When his ties are secured, the grip on his upper arm returns and he's pulled towards the steps at the foot of the bridge closer to them. "Go," one of them says impatiently when he hesitates.

He crosses, and the river is wider, the bridge longer, than what he expects. At its peak, Jongin stares in amazement at the sight of a sprawling city of lights, dark stone buildings bright enough from within to illuminate the fields of what can only be crop surrounding the city. Here is where all of the irrigation channels run to, where the river water is being used - where all of the people live. It's not any place that Jongin has ever seen or heard of, where the sky is black as pitch but there are enough torches lit to make it resemble the daytime. Marveling at this mysterious civilization despite everything, Jongin lets himself be yanked forward and recovers his footing to cross the rest of the bridge and walk forward into this city.

The initial shock is quick to wear off when he notices, with a rising discomfort, that the people who live in this city, are not very happy. Toiling in the fields, harvesters are gaunt and pale, moving through their tasks mechanically as crops slowly fill their rudimentary wheeled wagons. At the entrance of the city, which is surrounded by an enormous and heavily fortified gate of stone, hardened guards glare down at Jongin and only let them by after a few murmured words of one of the thugs - who Jongin are starting to realize aren't exactly hired grunt work like he had assumed, but someone possibly rather important in this society.

People inside the city walls are the same: men limping into taverns with bandages on their shoulders, their thighs; women speaking to each other in hushed whispers as their children hide behind their skirts and watch Jongin pass by with frightened eyes. No one asks either guard why they are taking a strange boy through their city, averting their gazes as if they would rather forget seeing them as quickly as possible. The atmosphere is tight, like the skin of a drum is stretched over the edges of the walls that surround this city, and everyone is holding their breaths in fear that someone will strike the drum and send everything crashing down around them. Jongin isn't sure what to think, but the fear that permeates the eyes and movements of everyone around them makes him instinctively afraid as well, his breathing quickening and his heart pounding too loudly in his chest.

Most of what Jongin has seen of the city seems to be civilian homes, but as they move towards what must be the center of the city, a marketplace comes into view. It is currently deserted, a few stalls still being packed up as the vendors prepare to return home for the night after what must have been an unfruitful day of sales, judging by the worry on people's faces as Jongin crosses the empty square, stepping on dust that has been stepped on by hundreds of other people's feet. A fountain stands in the center, but it's off, looks like it's been off for a while judging from how dry and barren it is, no longer the beautiful symbol of prospering times as Jongin can picture it once was. Behind the fountain, he can see what looks like a palace in the distance, made of the same polished gray stone as the rest of the city, each cut window a flare of brilliant light. It's more elaborate than any other building in the city, with what looks like glittering metal and jewels lining the windows and front doorway, capping the roofs.

He's caught off guard when he's pulled sharply in a different direction, away from the faraway castle and towards a dimmer part of the city; Jongin is surprised at how the encroaching darkness unnerves him, how much he wants to go back the other way and maybe move closer towards the palace instead. Throughout his entire life, he's always been so dependent on the Californian sun, of the light switch he flicks on when he walks into a room, even of the little light of his cell phone when he goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night. This place relies on torchlight instead, contained fires in holders on every wall Jongin passes and lamps on tables and other surfaces inside the buildings - it's like Jongin's travelled back in time to an entirely different world, as impossible as that sounds. Lu Han, he thinks, is going to get a kick out of this when he wakes up, if he ever does.

"Hold up," he says loudly, panic leaking into his voice, when he sees where his guards are taking him. "What's going on? What are you doing?"

Both guards ignore him, one of them stepping forward to wrench open the door while the other shoves him over the threshold, the heavy door slamming closed behind them. There are only two weak torch to light the entrance, and then merely a single light that hardly illuminates the cells around it placed at periodic intervals along the length of the hallway. Jongin stares at the rooms lining the halls, swallowing hard, because that's what they are: cells. He is standing in a jail, and he's never committed a crime worse than jaywalking or littering in his entire life. Once, when he was a sophomore and borrowing Lu Han's car, he got caught speeding at five or so miles per hour over the speed limit, but he's already done the traffic school (and groveling to Lu Han, which took weeks longer) to make up for that.

Maybe he did something illegal last night when he was at the club, he thinks wildly. Maybe his drunk self got ahold of some spray cans and ruined an overpass or something. But there are so many graffiti artists in Los Angeles for the police to worry about, surely they wouldn't target a random kid like him. So maybe he got so plastered that he hurt someone, and now he can't remember any of it - but Lu Han would've told him, would've followed him to jail and bailed him right back out the second he was sober enough to. Jongin has known Lu Han long enough that he can trust Lu Han would do that.

Besides, if the police were after him, they would've sought him out with shrieking sirens and handcuffs - legal action - not ambushed him in an alleyway, dragged him to some foreboding dark place, and then put him in a jail. Maybe he's not in trouble with the law, Jongin realizes with a start, but he's screwed himself over with the secret mafia, or one of the gangs that claim Los Angeles at night. As the men push him unceremoniously into one of the empty cells, undoing his ties only to chain him against the far walls and slamming the door closed behind them, Jongin wishes that Lu Han were more interested in watching gang movies rather than secret agent movies where the protagonist somehow escapes capture unscathed and wins the heart of the girl as easily as he solves the case. Or is it detectives that do the case-solving? It's not like Jongin can do anything with one of his wrists in a cuff, positioned so high that his right arm is stretched over his head and already beginning to ache.

"Fuck," he says out loud, and lets his head fall back to rest on the wall behind him. The burn of his shoulder and arm muscles doesn't feel like dream material at all, and the way he can't see a thing right now because moonlight doesn't filter in through the tiny window above his head is unnerving. It could be a new moon, though, he tells himself stubbornly, and uses his free hand to pat his pockets and figure out what he has on him, hoping that'll become an idea of what he can possibly do in this situation.

His keys and a couple of dollar bills that he remembers Lu Han solemnly placing into his hand on Jongin's way out are in one pocket. His breath catches in his throat as he realizes that his cell phone is in the opposite pocket, and a scramble to reach across his body and maneuver himself so he can tug the phone out of his jeans back pocket ensues. When he finally manages, his heart sinks to see there's no reception here, and he notices that Lu Han sent him two texts before connection dropped. The first one reads, in reply to his question that now feels like it crossed Jongin's mind forever ago: yeaaaah he was soooooo tall and sooooo cuteee.

Jongin stares at the screen of his cell phone incredulously, and wishes he could reply and interrogate Lu Han properly. Underneath the first text reads a second, which says, couldnt dance for shit but he told a lot of jokes to make u laugh!! he didnt drink much and i saw u guys leaving tgt with his arm arnd ur shoulders omg u btr tell me if his dick was big bc his hands sure were.

Mortified, he turns the screen of his phone off hastily as if that can permanently erase what happened last night; Lu Han's lack of filter has always been kind of embarrassing, more so after he found out that Jongin swung for the other team, but this is too much to handle. At least now Jongin remembers who Lu Han is talking about, piecing together his memories to recall who the smile and eyes and voice belonged to. They'd been at the bar for a while, Jongin feeling too hot but happy after dancing with Yixing on the dance floor while Lu Han and Baekhyun talked at the bar, catching up now that finals were over. Yixing coaxed Baekhyun out to jump around with him, and Jongin had slipped into Lu Han's seat, reaching for a glass that the bartender brought at Lu Han's raised hand. "Having fun?" Lu Han had asked, smiling at him, carelessly relaxed the way he got when he had some alcohol in his system.

Shrugging, Jongin nodded and took a gulp of his drink, feeling the alcohol burn as it curled its way around his mouth and down his throat to heat his belly. He was never one for small talk and Lu Han didn't push it, too busy making eyes at a girl a bit farther down the bar, and someone had tapped Jongin's shoulder to get his attention - not a novelty, per se, but still Jongin was surprised as he turned around, saying, "Yes?"

"Hey," that deep voice said, coming from a mouth that flashed a television-worthy smile of pearly whites at him, open and friendly. "I saw you dancing out there."

"Oh," Jongin said, feeling a little self-conscious. He was recognized often enough at school for being on the dance team, and known well enough among the dancing community, but for completely strangers to walk up and address it was always a bit of a trip. "Yeah, I was?"

Behind him, Jongin could hear Lu Han snort, and resisted the urge to glare at him. The stranger forged on, smiling a bit unsurely at Jongin, and said, "You're very good."

"Thanks," Jongin said. He was caught off guard, used to girls slathering on the compliments and invading his personal space, but most of the praise went to his face and body and none of it was as genuine as the three words that this stranger had given him. It took a little time, but soon the boy - "Um, Chanyeol. My name is Chanyeol. What's yours?" - was sitting beside him, elbow against the bar with how he was facing Jongin and Jongin only, cracking jokes that made Jongin laugh so hard he wondered whether the alcohol was playing a part in Jongin's sense of humor, too. But he loved how Chanyeol recounted little things that had happened to him, hands always gesturing and face animated with how much he wanted Jongin to know what had happened, how much he wanted to pull Jongin straight into that moment to witness it with him all over again. It was like he was a light flaring in the dimmed club, brilliantly white in stark contrast to the colored strobe lights flickering across the walls and people's moving bodies in the vague darkness of the club. Even the memory of it now is something worth marveling at.

Jongin remembers drinking and talking with Chanyeol longer than he'd ever chatted with a stranger at Lupine, or any club, and Lu Han slipping away to join Baekhyun and Yixing to give them more of a guise of privacy. In retrospect, he should've known Lu Han was keeping an eye on them, watching in anticipation as Jongin and Chanyeol built up to leaving together the way Lu Han said they did; his roommate and best friend has always been so invested in seeing Jongin with something else, even though Jongin's told him more than once how seriously, Lu Han, I don't need a boyfriend. He might enjoy the warmth of another body pressed up against his own, even if he doesn't say it, but he knows for a fact that he doesn't crave it the way Lu Han seems to. The combination of initial flirtation and eventual wanderlust that Lu Han maneuvers relationships with both boys and girls never ends well, never has ended well.

The weight of Chanyeol's arm - hot, slightly sweaty, heavier than Jongin expected - on his shoulders had been a surprise, one that Jongin probably would've shrugged off instinctively had he not had all those shots. But he had, and instead he stumbled unsteadily on his feet and ended up leaning against Chanyeol for support; the other boy had hardly drunk, like Lu Han said in his text, too busy talking on and on without inhibition in a way Jongin kind of envied. "You okay?" Chanyeol had murmured into Jongin's ear, warm breath blowing onto the sensitive skin of Jongin's throat.

Head spinning pleasantly, Jongin shivered and nodded, pressing his face into the crook between Chanyeol's neck and shoulder for a brief moment as he tried to find his feet in the confusion that thrummed through his body. When he was sure he could walk, they left the club, Jongin eventually slipping his arm around Chanyeol's waist. He can't tell if he imagined Chanyeol holding onto him tighter or not. Sitting slumped in this prison, one arm still raised painfully over his head and the other still holding onto his useless phone, Jongin is cold and thirsty and hungry, unable to conjure the rest of the heated night anymore. If not for Lu Han's texts, he would've been easily convinced he'd imagined Chanyeol entirely.

As the night - it's definitely getting darker, which Jongin hadn't even thought was possible - dragged on, Jongin falls into a fitful sleep and hopes beyond hope that he wakes up in his own bed, with Lu Han's weight hurling itself onto his chest to knock the air out of his lungs and jerk him out of sleep, his ears filled with the cry for Starbucks hangover coffee.

He does not wake up to a freshly raging post-club hangover and Lu Han's hopeful pleas for Starbucks. Instead, he's greeted by the sight of the forbidding door and its tiny window, fitted with bars and letting in only the tiniest sliver of light. His head still hurts, though, yesterday's hangover worsened by the head injuries and lack of water, and his legs burn from being pushed harder than normal, which isn't an easy feat to accomplish. He is still terribly cold, cursing himself for not grabbing a thicker sweatshirt, but coffee was literally just down the street and he never bothered to wear more anyways. The worst part is Jongin's chained right arm, which is stiff and cramped up from being pinned to the wall all night, and he's worried at how numb his fingers feel.

The cell phone in his hand is as cold as a stone, matching the walls and ground surrounding him. When he turns on the screen, he curses himself for not setting it to airplane mode while he slept, with the battery half-depleted. It's still set to the window of Lu Han's texts, shoving the truth into his face, and Jongin doesn't even have an actual answer for the second text. What a shame.

It should be day about now. There's still not much light, which is seriously beginning to creep Jongin out, but his cell phone announces it's a little past 9 AM, when the sun should be well on its way to its zenith in the sky. He has to concede to himself, staring sadly at the calendar app on his phone, that this is no longer a dream that he can recount to Lu Han over their coffee. That somehow, for some crazy reason, Jongin has been abducted off the streets and taken to this weird city powered on torchlight - and thrown into jail for no apparent reason. Fuck, he thinks again. The only thing to be grateful about is that he's done with school for the semester, which gives him time to figure out a solution to his situation without having to worry about his classes or his grades. What kind of people imprison random kids off the streets anyways?

Struggling to resist checking his phone constantly just to watch the time go by, Jongin squirms around and tries to find a way to relieve the discomfort and pain in his arm. It twists his wrist a little, making him wince as silently as possible, but Jongin manages to stand against the wall and can't help but groan as sensation slowly returns to the fingertips of his right hand.

He shifts around, pacing a little, and then feels stupid because he can only manage a little semicircle around his wrist anyways. The boredom and the pain alternate, and Jongin eventually powers off his cell phone because watching the minutes slip by is more detrimental than helpful. Just as he slips back down to sit, extending his legs out in front of him and glumly examining the tops of his beat-up Converse sneakers, there's the loud clanking of someone unlocking the door to his cell. His head snaps up and he automatically presses his back against the wall, getting as far from the door as he possibly can in this tiny room.

The door opens to reveal one of the goons from yesterday, and Jongin glares at him resentfully because it makes him feel just the tiniest bit better about this shitstorm of a kidnapping situation. "Eat," the burly man demands, shoving a brittle metal tray of food towards him: a scrap of old bread, and soup so bad it seems to be mostly water with some limp vegetables floating around the surface. Beside the shallow bowl of soup, a blunted spoon with a short handle. Jongin's life is playing out as a very bad action movie, and he wants this film to end now so he can punch Lu Han for even suggesting it for movie night.

Because he's too thirsty to refuse, Jongin obeys the order, drinking the flavorless soup so quickly he chokes and has to take a moment to catch his breath before stabbing half-heartedly at the vegetables with the head of the spoon, scowling as they stick on the way down his throat. When he's done with the soup, the man seizes the tray from him - double-checking for the spoon in a way that makes Jongin swat at his invading hands irritably - and throws the bread in his general direction before leaving. Jongin barely manages to catch it from falling onto the grimy ground, and jerks his head up at the sound of his locks scraping back into place.

The bread, as Jongin practically expects at this point, is so hard it's barely consumable. He holds it in his hand anyways, watching the dry crumbs that rub off under his thumb scatter over his jeans, which are streaked with dust and soot from the tunnel and his jail cell. It would be better if he ate dirt instead, Jongin thinks bitterly, and instead vaguely contemplates throwing the bread at the guard's head during his next meal instead.

During his next meal, however, he behaves, eating silently and more slowly this time, dipping the bread into the soup in hopes it'll be more edible this way. He's never eaten so poorly in his life, he realizes miserably when the guard yanks the food tray away once again and stomps out of the cell, as if it's terribly difficult to feed the prisoner twice a day - at least he's being fed at all. Jongin's lived his entire life up until this point so comfortably, slightly spoiled as the only son and youngest child of three, and happily surrounded by his family and his community. He thinks of his parents living in the Bay Area and Lu Han and his friends down in Los Angeles, his sisters finding their own ways through the world with their careers and families, and wonders what happened with them when he never came back from the Starbucks run. Maybe his entire church youth group knows he's gone missing, too; you can never keep anything secret for long with that group, and Jongin realizes he misses even that part of his life when it's always been a hassle in the past. The Korean mothers gossiping is something he has always viewed as so typical of his life that not having that small annoyance is frightening to him now. He doesn't know anything here, and everything that he does know is gone.

It's as cold as ever, and Jongin guesses he must be in Seattle or something where it rains all year and the sun never comes out. Surely Seattle is close enough to the ocean that there are rivers running through the city. Or maybe Alaska, if he was unconscious long enough for that. At this point, the possibility that he was out for the hours it would take to be transported from Southern California to the northern tip of the continent is very real, and he squeezes his eyes close as the delayed panic finally hits him.

He's just a teenager - just a kid, for fuck's sake. As much as he likes to blow smoke and pretend that graduating high school and Saturday Korean school, and surviving the first few years of his university career are enough to make him an adult, Jongin's always relied heavily on the people around him while growing up. Thrown into a drastic situation like this, with no way to contact anyone for help or to even get his arm free so he can try to escape, has him hyperventilating and trembling so hard he's curling in on himself.
Tags: !incomplete, fandom: exo, pairing: kai/chanyeol
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