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[personal profile] exohousewarming
Prompt Number: 46
Title: Somnambulists Exodus (Sleepwalkers Awakening)
Pairing: KaiSoo
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Angst, Fluff, Character Death(sort of), Mentions of drugs, Smut, Violence(minor) + brief mentions of blood.
Word Count: 18k+
Author Note: I’m a complete novice at writing about EXO, and have only written KaiSoo a handful of times but I loved this prompt so I wanted to give it a shot. I literally claimed last minute and I’ve been writing like a mad woman to get this done, so I hope that you don’t find it too lacking. It was just what came to me after reading the prompt and watching the Pathcode/Lucky One teasers. Anyway, I hope at least the prompter will enjoy this (please excuse any errors, I’ve read through it as best as I could), and thanks to the Mods for being so understanding and putting this fest together in the first place!




Somnambulists Exodus.


Kim Jongin and his husband Kyungsoo have the perfect life together; they have two beautiful children, a wonderful home, good paying jobs and three fun loving dogs.
Every time Jongin looks at his little family he’s sure he couldn't be happier- than life couldn't get any more perfect than this.
But one day everything changes when a creepy image of a wolf and an ominous message appears through the static on his television, turning his perfect life upside down when everything Jongin thought he knew is put to the test.
The messages tell him that his life is nothing more than an elaborate lie and he’s in danger, Kyungsoo too- but how can his love for his family be anything other than the realest thing he’s ever felt?
It’s this love and fear for his husband and his children that becomes both Jongin’s greatest strength and biggest weakness when he has to put everything he cares about on the line; including the lives of those he holds dearest.
But can this secret messenger be trusted, or is Jongin about to lead his loved ones into an even bigger trap than the one they’re already caught in?
Webs of lies are uncovered, obsession takes hold, and Jongin has to race against time to save both himself and his family.
But when he discovers that the people he thought he knew are part of the conspiracy, Jongin has nobody left to turn to other than his mystery messenger.
How will Jongin get his family to safety and convince his husband that he’s not completely insane? Can love really transcend all when he doesn't even know if what he feels is real, or will the life he knows now simply be part of the lie when he finally wakes up and learns the truth?

~*~




Part One: The Descent.

*

The six-thirty in the morning wake up call was so familiar to Jongin by now that he was reaching over to hit the off button on the clock before it even started ringing.

Feeling somewhat accomplished, Jongin fought the urge to stick his tongue out childishly at the obnoxious green digital numbers to say I win, in favour of rolling over to be greeted by the same mop of chocolate brown hair spread across the pillow next to his like a dark halo; his husband Kyungsoo.

Leaning over to press a kiss to his hair just to see the way Kyungsoo snuffled further into the pillow in response, Jongin then went about his morning routine, staring with his usual wake the hell up splash of cold water to his face followed by him brushing his teeth, briefly wondering why his mouth always felt like he’d swallowed carpet every single morning.

One of life’s great mysteries, he guessed; the scientific reasoning behind morning carpet mouth.

Back in the bedroom, Jongin quietly dressed in his favourite running gear before heading downstairs, pulling on his trainers so that he could take their dogs – an energetic trio of small dogs Monggu, Jjanggu and Jjangah – for their daily early morning jog around the block.

At this hour, the sun was barely more than an orange and pink tendril of smoke over the horizon, the air crisp and cold in a way that made Jongin’s lungs burn and breath fog in front of his face; it was perfect.

Jongin loved to run, loved the sound of his trainers pounding the concrete beneath them, the heave of his own chest and the feel of his head pumping oxygen rich blood around his body. By the time he got back home, the sun was a gold orb hanging in the sky whose warmth chased away the chill of the dawn; Jongin was sweating and the dogs were panting and almost dragging their feet back into the house, where he gave them fresh water before heading up the stairs to have a shower and wash away the sweat now clinging to what seemed to be every inch of his skin.

When he emerged surrounded by a cloud of steam, Jongin found the house to still be quiet, and upon wandering back into his bedroom to dress for work he smiled when he saw Kyungsoo still sleeping, though he shifted position to curl himself around his pillow rather than his own, the same way he did every morning when Jongin went for a run; it was adorable really.

Once dressed in black trousers and a pale blue button down shirt – which he wore with a dark blue silk tie that Kyungsoo bought him as a birthday gift one year – and brushing the sandy blonde mass of his hair back without bothering to blow dry it, Jongin headed back downstairs to make a start on breakfast, starting with; coffee.

As if by clockwork, by the time the coffee machine had done brewing, Kyungsoo was wandering into the kitchen, already dressed for work in beige trousers, white shirt with a deep purple sweater pulled over the top, a sleepy smile curving his lips when Jongin crossed the kitchen to kiss him hello.

“Morning you.” Jongin whispered against his lips before pecking them again.

“Hm, morning.” Kyungsoo answered, smiling into their next kiss.

“Kids up?”

“Getting there.”

Jongin laughed softly, “What would you like for breakfast today, husband of mine?”

“Are you on the menu?” Kyungsoo joked, stepping away to pour himself a much needed cup of coffee- black, two sugars, “Kids would probably love pancakes, though.”

Jongin couldn't argue with that, “One stack of pancakes, coming right up.”

He smiled to himself when he heard his husband go back upstairs to get their two sons – Dosik, who turned seven just last month, and Jongsik, who was five – up and ready for school. Breakfast was ready and on the table in time for Kyungsoo to come back down to the kitchen, this time with two boys in tow who still looked half asleep.

“Morning sleepyheads.” Jongin laughed, bending to give each of them a hug and a kiss before letting them sit at the table properly, smiling when they took to mimicking, and called him sleepyhead too.

Each and every time Jongin looked at his and Kyungsoo’s two beautiful boys, it served as a reminder of how lucky they were to have been blessed children, that the child adoption agency had seen their home fit for not one child- but two. Jongin’s little family was nothing short of a miracle in his eyes; one that he would be forever grateful for.

“Who’s taking us to school today?” Dosik asked, always wanting to know what was happening when, who with and for how long; he’d been that way ever since he’d started talking.

“Daddy is taking you today boys.” Jongin smiled, “I have to work early.”

Jongsik grinned around a mouthful of food, “Have I got a packed lunch?” he asked without swallowing first.

“Of course, it’s in the refrigerator.” Jongin told him, ruffling his hair, “Thinking with your stomach, I like it.”

“Hm, reminds me of somebody else I know.” Kyungsoo smirked, kissing him quickly to distract him as he stole a forkful of blueberry pancake straight from his plate; Jongin fell for the same trick every single time he make pancakes.

Something’s never really changed- and it didn't bother Jongin at all; he liked his life the way it was.

Watching as his husband then retrieved the boys’ schoolbags from where they resided in the hallway before responding to their demands for orange juice, Jongin finished off his own breakfast, kissed both boys and then Kyungsoo goodbye before heading for the door, sliding his feet into his shoes and grabbing his jacket and briefcase on the way.

“Have a good day! Drive safe!” Kyungsoo called after him, followed by two cheerful rounds of bye dad that he knew would have him smiling all the way to the office.

“You too baby!” he shouted back, “Bye kids!”

Walking to his car Jongin briefly wondered how – as a computer software salesman – much better today could be than yesterday (his job wasn't exactly what you’d call varied), but then again Kyungsoo was a teacher at the local high school and there was no way in hell he’d last five minute’s doing his husband’s job.

Computers he could deal with, computers he could fix right up when the broke down unexpectedly. Teenage angst on the other hand-

He’d save that until his own children were teenagers, and deal with it then.

-

“Jongin, a moment in my office please- if you don’t mind.” Mr Jung said before Jongin had even had time to properly get himself set up at his desk, “I’d like to talk to you about your figures.”

“Of course, sir.” Jongin replied politely, watching his boss walk away before any more could be said.

“Uh oh, you’ve been summoned.” Jongdae, one of his work colleagues, laughed from the cubicle next to his, “Boss man has got it in for you.”

Though Jongin rolled his eyes at Jongdae, he couldn't help but feel a little worried as he took the long walk to Mr Jung’s office at the other side of the work floor; he hadn’t made any mistakes, had he?

Not that he could remember- and Jongin was very good at remembering things.

“Come in, Jongin.” Mr Jung’s deep voice sounded from inside the office when he hovered outside the partially open door, apprehensive about even knocking.

Taking a seat before the impressive oak desk when motioned to do so, Jongin found himself voicing his worry before he could stop himself, “Am I in some kind of trouble, Mr Jung sir?”

To his surprise, the stern looking, salt and pepper haired man laughed- actually laughed, so much so that his eyes crinkled up and he looked about ten years younger, “Trouble? Jongin you’re one of my best salesmen, why on earth would you be in trouble?”

“Well- you wanted to talk about figures so I thought-“

“That I was hauling you in here to fire you?” Mr Jung asked, and when Jongin couldn't deny it he chuckled again, and the blonde found himself relaxing a little; clearly his boss wasn't angry with him, “I actually wanted to see you, to tell you that your sales have made the biggest increase in the whole team this month.”

Shocked, Jongin sat there mute for a moment, “What- seriously?”

“Yes, you’re doing an exemplary job, Jongin.” Mr Jung smiled, “Which is why I’m going to tell you, that if I keep hearing such good things about your work, then I may just have to think about promoting you before Christmas.”

Jongin couldn't help the grin that spread across his face, or the warmth of pride spreading through his stomach at having his hard work recognised, “Thank you I- wow, I don't even know what to say.” He rambled, embarrassed but pleased, “Thank you so much.”

“Any time, now-“ Mr Jung said, “Back to work with you, set an example to the rest of them.”

“Of course, sir.” Jongin nodded, standing and bowing politely before leaving the office to go back to his workstation; he couldn't wait to tell Kyungsoo.

By the time Jongin’s lunch break comes around – he was on a detox so had one of Kyungsoo’s surprisingly tasty salads with him – he couldn't keep the news to himself anymore, and pressed the number on his phone to speed dial his husband.

“Hey, Jongin.” Kyungsoo said, the laughter in his voice told the blonde that he hadn’t even needed to look at the caller ID to know that it was him.

“Hey baby.” He smiled though Kyungsoo couldn't see it, “How’s your day going so far?”

Kyungsoo sighed heavily before replying, “Stressful- well sort of.” He said, “Had to break up several fights this morning.”

“Want me to come over there and kick their asses for you?” Jongin asked playfully.

“Thanks, but I think I’ve got it.” Kyungsoo laughed softly, “Anyway, enough about me, how’s your day?”

“Well I haven’t had to break up any fights but-“ he paused, grinning like an idiot, “I’m in the running for a promotion! Apparently I’m doing an exemplary job.” He told Kyungsoo excitedly, repeating his bosses earlier words, “Can you believe it? Me, up for promotion!”

“Sure I can, you’re the best sales executive they’ve got.” Kyungsoo told him firmly, sounding proud, “You’ve got this one babe, I have no doubts.”

Kyungsoo’s belief in him had always had a way of making Jongin believe in himself, too, “Thanks, Kyungsoo.” He said gratefully, “But I think that’s just because you bring out the best in me.”

His husband laughed and it was music to Jongin’s ears, “As much as I love you, and your corny lines, I have to get back to work so- see you at dinner?”

“Of course.” Jongin smiled, “I’ll make kimchi stew or something.”

“Well remember, you’re supposed to be-“

“Cutting back on the carbs, I know.” Jongin said, “I love you.”

“You too.”

Ending the call, Jongin spent the rest of his lunch break chatting idly with Jongdae – who joked about him actually coming back from Mr Jung’s office in one piece – before getting back to work, making call after call, offering every home in his designated area the latest in the corporation’s advanced computer software.

His day went by in a blur, much like it did every other day he was so focused on his work, and by the time he finally clocked off his back was stiff and his legs ached from sitting in one position too long; either that or he was aging prematurely.

Once home, as promised, Jongin set to cooking kimchi stew – one of the kids favourites, other than pizza, obviously – and smiled when he heard their cheerful, high-pitched voices as they talked to Kyungsoo a mile a minute at the same time as piling into the hallway, where they were greeted by the dogs yapping and wagging their tails excitedly.

“Honey I’m home!” Kyungsoo shouted, and Jongin shook his head at his husband’s obviously silly mood.

“Kitchen!” he called in response, not at all surprised when the entire family all but charged in – dogs included – they always did know how to follow their noses to the food.

“Hey.” Kyungsoo greeted, standing on his toes to kiss him whilst Jongin stirred the stew.

“Daddy can we play outside?” Jongsik asked, “Please?”

“How long until dinner?”

“Maybe twenty minutes.” Jongin said, laughing when Kyungsoo told them they had twenty minutes to play until dinner, and both boys ran outside with the dogs and down the lawn.

“I’ll keep an eye on them.” Kyungsoo smiled, kissing him again before moving away, “Maybe weed that damned flower bed I never seem to get around to- leave master chef to his culinary expertise.”

“Well when you see him, tell him to come give me a hand.” Jongin said, and Kyungsoo’s answering laughter could be heard even as he walked outside.

Once he’d finished cooking, Jongin put some food and fresh water down for the dogs before heading upstairs to change out of his work clothes (finally) so that he’d be more comfortable. When he got back downstairs, it was to find that Kyungsoo had already made the boys was their hands and sit at the table, and was currently dishing up the food.

“Thanks baby.” Jongin smiled, kissing his husband quickly.

“Well you cooked so-“ he paused to throw him a mischievous smirk, “It’s only right that I dish up so I can eat it.”

Jongin laughed as he took a plate of steaming kimchi stew from him, “At least I know you like my cooking.”

“I love you cooking.”

“Sweet talker.”

“I learned from the best.”

Jongin threw him a smirk of his own, “Who, me?”

“Nah, Changmin from work.” Kyungsoo threw back, laughing as he took his designated seat at the table.

Jongin loved this, loved how easy things were between them, how relaxed they were around one another- even with two young children their lives weren’t exactly stressful to the point of it being detrimental to their health; it was nice.

They were lucky- he was one of the lucky ones, he’d thought it since the day Kyungsoo said yes to his marriage proposal.

“So kids, why don't you tell dad how school was today?” Kyungsoo said, always making sure to involve their boys in dinnertime conversation.

Dosik piped up first, “We’re building a volcano for science class.” He told him excitedly, “Daddy said he’d help build it with me.”

“That sounds like a lot of fun!” Jongin said, voice full of enthusiasm so that his son would know he was taking an interest, “Very cool, too. What about you little man?” he asked, turning his attention to their youngest, who was eating bits of meat from his bowl as Kyungsoo cut them up smaller for him.

“We have show and tell!” he practically shouted, “Can I take the dogs dad, can I please?”

Jongin glanced at his husband, who gave him a barely perceptible nod, “What day is show and tell?”

Jongsik was quiet for a moment, thinking hard, “Friday!” he blurted finally, looking pleased with himself for remembering without prompting.

“Well it just so happens that Friday is my day off this week.” Jongin said, smiling at his excited and expectant son, “So dad will bring the dogs to class for you.”

It was such a simple thing that made Jongsik so obviously happy that in that moment Jongin felt the most amazing parent on the planet.

After dinner – and homework – Jongin found himself standing in their bathroom doorway, watching fondly as Kyungsoo bathed both of their boys together, before their evening Disney DVD before bed.

Tonight’s choice was The Lion King (the kids’ favourite), and the two of them were curled up in blankets on the living room floor, with Kyungsoo watching from the living room sofa whilst Jongin sat in the opposite chair with his laptop, typing up a couple of office spread sheets that he’d been asked to look over; it seemed he was going up in the world.

Glancing over at Kyungsoo, he found himself thinking that his husband had always looked kind of sexy in the glasses he always wore when he was reading or watching television; made him look sophisticated, or something.

“Quit staring.” Kyungsoo said without so much as taking his eyes off the television screen.

“I can’t help it.” Jongin said with a short laugh, “Think I’m hot for teacher.”

The smile that curved the plush of Kyungsoo’s lips gave away his playful mood, “Careful, you’re supposed to be working over there.” He said quietly, “Don't make me have to spank you with a ruler.”

Jongin almost snorted, “Kinky.”

Though Kyungsoo smirked, Jongin knew that was as far as it went; the kinkiest thing in their lives were the curly fries the kids liked to eat with pizza. It wasn't so bad though, Jongin thought, vanilla was nice, especially when Kyungsoo was naked and-

“Concentrate, Jongin.” Kyungsoo said, breaking the train of thought growing increasingly inappropriate- what with his children being in the room and all.

“Mind reader.” He grumbled.

“Not at all.” Kyungsoo laughed softly, “You’re just as transparent as an open window.”

They were quiet for a while after that, and Jongin was only half paying attention to his work, the children were just too adorable singing along to the songs in the movie; even Kyungsoo joined in with them.

“I think it’s time you put that away for the night.” Kyungsoo said almost an hour later, crossing the room and closing the lid of the laptop when Jongin saved his work, “You’re working too hard.”

When Kyungsoo bent down to kiss him, Jongin felt heat begin to coil low in his gut when his husband pulled away, only to pull him back into another kiss more heated than the one before it, more fiery than it had been in some time. It let Jongin know that he wasn't the only one feeling the ache of lack of intimacy and privacy thanks to the responsibilities of raising children.

Jongin loved his sons- his libido however, didn't.

“The kids are asleep.” Kyungsoo whispered against his lips, “We should probably take them upstairs.”

“Okay.” Jongin breathed, pecking his husband once more before standing up, setting his laptop aside to help Kyungsoo carry the two of them upstairs, the dogs following along looking half asleep themselves.

Tucking both of them into their beds and kissing them goodnight, Jongin smiled when the dogs too retired for the night, curling up in the basket that had somehow ended up in the kids room when the dogs had started sleeping in there every night anyway. Leaving the door slightly ajar as he left the room so that they would glow from the nightlight in the hall if they woke in the night, Jongin turned around and into another passionate kiss.

“I think we should go to bed, too.” Kyungsoo said, pressing up against him in a way that made it perfectly clear how tonight was going to end.

Jongin didn't need telling twice – their alone time was more precious now than it had ever been – and followed his husband into their bedroom, closing the door behind him and stripping off his clothes on his way to the bed; no way was he going to need pyjamas tonight.

“Come over here, you.” Jongin said softly when he got himself settled in bed, beckoning Kyungsoo over with a crook of his finger, smiling when the brunette did just that, tugging off his own clothes before sliding beneath the sheets to join him.

The softness of Kyungsoo’s body against him as he cuddled up close to kiss him softly had Jongin’s head spinning, and within moments he was gripping his husband’s hips firmly to pull him on top of him, skin against skin as their kiss deepened further.

Soft laughter from Kyungsoo had warm air breezing over Jongin’s parted lips, “Have you missed this, then?”

“Like you wouldn't believe.” Jongin said, pushing his hips upwards to emphasise his point, as if it wasn't obvious already.

He couldn't remember the last time they’d had sex, but Jongin was intent on fully rectifying that issue- right now. Shifting his bodyweight, he rolled them over easily; spreading Kyungsoo out beneath him looking as beautiful tonight as the first night they made love together years ago.

Kyungsoo didn't resist when Jongin pressed himself between his thighs, merely whimpered as the blonde teased him open with soft touches and gentle but insistent presses of his fingertips.

“Please, Jongin.” He pleaded quietly, panting softly, hair beginning to stick to skin already damp with sweat; it really had been far too long, and it was all the go ahead that Jongin needed.

Though they both remained on alert for any sound from their sons’ bedroom, Jongin truly lost himself in Kyungsoo for the first time in a long time, their lovemaking quickly growing from a gentle rocking together to a brutal push and pull that had them near orgasm so quickly he might have been embarrassed were it not for him being completely consumed by the euphoric high of having Kyungsoo wrapped around him so beautifully, moaning quietly and begging for the release they both craved right now more than anything.

“I love you.” Jongin half whispered, half moaned against Kyungsoo’s lips as they both climaxed almost simultaneously, collapsing together in a trembling, sweaty heap, their only regret being that really, it hadn’t lasted anywhere near as long as they would have liked. But being parents, they would take whatever they could get, because they had no idea when they would be allowed to indulge in the pleasure they could bring one another again.

“It’s been too long since we had any real parent time.” Kyungsoo mumbled from his position tucked under his armpit, curled up and already half asleep.

“Hm,” Jongin mumbled in agreement, kissing Kyungsoo’s hair softly, “Maybe I’ll see if my parents can babysit some time soon- then I can spend the night spoiling you rotten and loving you right.”

Kyungsoo laughed quietly before pressing a soft kiss to his bare flesh, “Sounds wonderful.”

“Goodnight, Kyungsoo.” Jongin whispered, knowing that his husband was seconds only away from drifting into dreamland.

“Goodnight.”

Silence fell for several minutes, and Jongin thought Kyungsoo to be asleep until, “And Jongin?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you too.” He whispered, “Always.”

In that moment, Jongin’s life was perfect, and he wouldn't change it for the world.

*

Friday afternoon, and so far Jongin’s day off had consisted of phoning his mother to arrange for her to have the kids one weekend soon (as promised to Kyungsoo), grocery shopping, and taking three excited dogs to the school for Jongsik’s show and tell. The dogs had been a hit with the kids – and the teacher – and had been remarkably well behaved; there weren’t even any toilet accidents.

He was now on his way back home after telling Jongsik to be good and enjoy the rest of his day and honestly, he was looking forward to having a couple of hours by himself; even if he did have housework to do so that his husband didn't have to after being at work all day.

Letting the dogs out onto the back garden to run themselves tired, Jongin went about wandering around the house, tidying away the kids toys as he went on his way upstairs to the boy’s bedroom, where he gathered up any dirty laundry before doing the same in his and Kyungsoo’s bedroom. Heading back downstairs with a pile of clothes that needed washing – and the dogs blankets – Jongin went straight to their small laundry room, shoved the laundry into the machine and set it going before making for his next point of call; the kitchen.

Like a househusband hurricane, Jongin swept around, loading the dishwasher, cleaning the countertops and mopping the floor before moving on to the living room, vacuuming and dusting and polishing until the place was spotless; just the way they liked it. Well, for the couple of hours before the kids came home and tore through it leaving a trail of belongings in their wake, at least.

Declaring his housework mission a complete success, Jongin rewarded himself with a salami and pickle sandwich and a beer – he sucked at sticking to strict diets – and dropped down onto the sofa to watch some television whilst he ate. He only realised that he must have fallen asleep when he jolted himself awake to find nothing but static playing across the television screen. Glancing his watch that told him it wasn't even three in the afternoon, Jongin frowned, wondering why the channel he’d been watching appeared to be off air in the middle of the day.

Flicking through several channels and finding that they didn't work either, Jongin made to turn the television off, figuring that there must be some signal trouble in the area and he’d be better off just leaving it alone and trying again later.

He suddenly stopped short when he could have sworn an image appeared on the screen, mixed in with the black and white static. Blinking hard several times, Jongin focused hard on the screen, leaning forwards in his seat only to jump backwards in shock when in flashed again; this time it was an image of a wolf, he was sure of it.

Standing up to go and take a closer look, Jongin’s blood ran cold and his heart kicked up a gear when a message appeared on the screen that could be in no way misinterpreted; somebody is watching you.

The image was gone as quickly as it appeared, and not knowing what else to do Jongin switched the television off and all but ran out onto the back garden, where the dogs had obviously tired themselves out and were sleeping peacefully in the afternoon sunshine together.

Closing his eyes, Jongin took a few deep, steadying breaths before reopening them again, grateful for the fresh air and its ability to clear his head and stop it spinning; it must be the stress of wanting that promotion so badly getting to him- he just needed to relax more.

Regardless, Jongin had been left with a chill down his spine that even the sun couldn't thaw, and so needed to occupy himself until Kyungsoo came home; his husband would have a logical explanation for this, he always did. Busying himself with cooking dinner early – lasagne and home made garlic bread – Jongin found himself feeling paranoid for the first time in his life.

Were they being watched?

“Don't be stupid, Jongin.” He scolded himself, “You’d just woken up from a sleep you didn't mean to have- you imagined the whole thing.”

Jongin hoped he was right about this, because the alternative was just too frightening to comprehend-

Somebody is watching you- but why?

-

“Having fun over there are we?” Kyungsoo scolded good naturedly as he ushered Dosik and Jongsik upstairs after watching Mulan, “Watching whilst I try and get your sons’ ready for bed.”

“Of course.” Jongin smirked, “Are you going to send me to bed too?”

Kyungsoo snorted a laugh, “You’re terrible.”

Crossing the hallway to where Kyungsoo was standing at the bottom of the stairs watching the children race their way to the bathroom, Jongin kissed him hard, “I’d be even more terrible if we were alone right now.”

After what had happened earlier, the distraction would have been a welcome one.

“Dad!” came Dosik’s yell a moment later, “Jongsik spilled toothpaste on himself again.”

Both parents laughed softly, “Duty calls.” Jongin said, heading upstairs when Kyungsoo said he’d switch everything off and lock up before joining him for a much-needed early night sadly not with the intention of making love; they were both exhausted from work.

Walking into the bathroom, Jongin found Jongsik stood there, grinning sheepishly with a stripe of white toothpaste right down the front of his X-Men pyjamas, “Come on Wolverine,” he laughed as he kneeled down in front him, “Let’s get you cleaned up and into bed.”

After supervising the rest of their night-time routine – Dosik was a big boy now and didn't need help, apparently – Jongin carried Jongsik whilst he held Dosik’s hand and got them both tucked into bed with a kiss to the head each, “Daddy will be up in a minute to say goodnight.” He told them, smiling fondly at the way they both just curled up ready to go to sleep; they had been blessed with such well-behaved children.

“Jongin get down here!” Kyungsoo shouted suddenly, and the uncharacteristic panic in his husband’s voice had him leaving the kids to jog downstairs into the living room.

“What is it baby- what’s wrong?” he asked worriedly when he found Kyungsoo standing there looking like he’d just seen a ghost.

“The television it- it left me a message.” Kyungsoo rambled, and Jongin felt that same icy chill from before shiver down his spine, “There was static and then a wolf I think…and then a message.”

“What message?” Jongin asked, though he already knew the answer.

“It said that somebody was watching us.” Round eyes suddenly fearful locked with his, “Jongin you don't think that’s true do you? Or maybe I’m seeing things…”

Jongin shook his head, pulling his husband into his arms, “You’re not, baby…I saw it too. This afternoon.”

He felt the shudder than ran through Kyungsoo’s body, “Then what does it mean?”

“I don't know.” Jongin told him honestly.

Kyungsoo stepped away, mirroring Jongin’s own actions from earlier and turning the television off, “I’m going to say goodnight to the boys.”

“I’ll be up in a minute.” Jongin said, watching his husband go before checking and double-checking that all the doors and windows were shut tight and locked-

What the hell is going on here?

-


Over the next few days, every time Jongin left the television on for more than ten minutes that same message would appear after the flickering image of a wolf; it had gotten so bad he’d simply stopped switching the damned thing on unless he really had to.

The morning after that first time, Kyungsoo had declared that he had been overtired the night before and was probably seeing things – he never did like the static channel, even as a child – and had refused to talk about it further, leaving Jongin to wonder why, if this was in fact a trick of the mind, he was seeing it more and more often.

Was he the only one, or were there others that had been seeing it too? What about Kyungsoo, had he seen it more than once? As the days went by the messages altered slightly – you’re not safe there, you need to escape, your life isn’t real – and Jongin wondered if this could actually be the beginnings of madness; if he repeated to a health professional what he’d been seeing (messages from the television, really?) it would be enough to at least have him taken in for observation whilst they did tests on his brain.

All things that he had no intentions of doing- Jongin hated hospitals.

Best-case scenario? This whole thing was some elaborate windup from somebody at work, Jongdae most likely. Worst-case scenario? He was actually delusional and about to suffer some unforeseen psychotic break.

For right now though, Jongin was in the dining room, helping Kyungsoo redecorate whilst the boys played together in the living room. He had given his husband free range of what the colour scheme would be, something he half wished he hadn’t because Kyungsoo had chosen robin egg blue for all the walls and a deep eggplant purple for the base boards.

It was terrible, honestly, but it was only paint after all, and it really wasn't important to Jongin- what was important was that his husband was happy, and if that meant having eggplant on his walls then so be it.

He suddenly registered the sound of the kids giggling and talking to what sounded like somebody other than each other, and kissed Kyungsoo softly on his way to go and see what had gotten them so excited, “Hey you two,” he smiled, “Who’re you talking to?”

“The man in the TV!” Jongsik shouted, and Jongin swore his heart momentarily stopped when he realised they were simply watching the static on the damned television.

“Alright boys, that’s enough television for tonight,” he told them, ushering them towards the door, “Upstairs both of you, daddy will be up in a minute to read you a story.”

“What’s going on?” Kyungsoo asked, looking confused when Jongin called him into the room.

“It’s the damned television again, Jongsik said there was a man in the television.”

Though Jongin caught the way Kyungsoo’s eyes widened slightly, his husband was clearly riding the denial train straight into the middle of nowhere, “Babe he’s five years old, hardly a reliable source for what’s real and what’s imaginary.”

“What’re you saying?” Jongin asked, feeling increasingly anxious and unsettled, “That’s I’m imagining things?”

Kyungsoo sighed, “Of course not just- come to bed with me after I’ve gotten the kids down.” He said, crossing the room and stretching up to kiss him, warm and full of reassurance, “This is starting to worry me now, Jongin.”

“There’s no need.” Jongin told him firmly, “I’ll keep you safe, you and the boys. You know that.”

“It’s you I’m worried about.”

“I’ll be fine.” Jongin said, turning back to the television after Kyungsoo had gone to read their sons’ a bedtime story, and he froze when he saw the message bleeding through the static.

Test subject eighty-eight, you need to get yourself and test subject twelve out of that house. None of this is real and you’re not safe.

“Bullshit.” Jongin snapped, unplugging the television, locking up and jogging up the stairs to join his family.

The better part of two hours later, and Jongin was having trouble settling, even with Kyungsoo curled up in his arms and sleeping peacefully. Each time he did manage to drift off into unconsciousness, he found himself having nightmares for the first time since he was a child.

That night Jongin dreamed of white hallways and sterile smells, doors he couldn't open and locks for which he had no keys. He dreamed of an almost painfully bright room where there were people laid down, strapped to beds and hooked up to an IV that was pumped them full of liquid of an eerily dark colour.

That night when he dreamed, Jongin saw himself sat on a bed, trapped in a room with a single window – or perhaps a two-way mirror, who knows – saw nurses in white uniforms wearing red visors partially hiding their faces administering a drug to him. Potent and unwanted- it made him feel as though he wasn't really there anymore.

Seeing himself was like looking a stranger, and Jongin shocked himself awake more than once, covered in cold, damp sweat and wondering – quiet seriously – what on earth was wrong with him, and why was it happening now?

*

“You shouldn't overthink things so much, Jongin.” Kyungsoo had told him one day, several weeks ago now, when Jongin had told him again about the messages coming through the television, and sometimes his laptop too, “You’ll just drive yourself needlessly crazy.”

His husband was still sticking to the ‘you’re just overworked and overtired- we both are’ theory, but Jongin wasn't sure what to think anymore. Why would being tired suddenly have him hallucinating or having delusions when all it had ever done before was leave him with a headache and a lack of motivation for a few days?

It didn't make any sense. None of it did, and Jongin was convinced there was something more to these messages than his insomnia- he just couldn't for the life of him figure out what. Wanting to be sure, Jongin had already checked the television – and his laptop – to see if there was anything out of the ordinary going on inside, an extra information chip or something connected to the wiring, but came out empty handed.

Still, with the weeks that followed, the messages lessened somewhat, and so Jongin allowed himself to fall back into his usual routine, which today involved getting the kids up and ready for school because Kyungsoo had to be at work early for a meeting before classes started.

“Where’s daddy gone?” Dosik asked as Jongin supervised him tying his shoelaces- he was getting pretty good at it now.

“To talk to all the other teachers about who hasn't been handing in there homework on time.” He teased, tickling his sons’ ribs until he was giggling, squealing and trying to wriggle out of his grasp, which he only succeeded at when Jongin turned to tickle Jongsik too.

“Are you getting us after school dad?” Jongsik asked when they could all breathe properly again.

Jongin smiled, ruffling his hair affectionately, “You bet I am little man.”

All dressed and ready to go, Jongin headed downstairs with the boys’ checked they both had their lunchboxes, pencil cases, reading books and homework books, made sure the dogs had food and water before piling the kids into the car to drive them to school.

Parking just outside, Jongin walked them both up to the gates, crouching down to say goodbye, “Have a good day, son. I love you.” He smiled as Dosik hugged him tightly before grabbing his bag and running off to find his friends.

“Can I get a kiss?” Jongin asked Jongsik, smiling when his youngest looked both ways as though checking to see if anybody was looking before nodding, “I love you little man, see you after school.”

It still felt weird sometimes, watching his kids run off to spend the day somewhere other than with him and Kyungsoo; left him feeling empty, somehow.

His mind wandering back to the strange happenings of the past few weeks despite his best efforts to not think about it at all had Jongin approaching a couple of the other parents dropping their own kids off at school.

“Morning Mrs Park.” He greeted the short, thin woman with a bobbed haircut of deepest ebony that was as sharp and severe as her eyes, “How’s your daughter these days?”

“Fine, fine, into everything of course,” she laughed, though it wasn't a musical sound, “But she’s fine. How about your two boys? Growing up fast it seems.”

Jongin nodded, “Too fast.” He paused, wondering whether or not to broach the subject at all, “Listen, I wanted to ask you something, if that’s okay?”

“Of course.”

“This may sound a little strange but- have you been having any problems with your television, or your computer maybe?” he asked, and she frowned in what appeared to be confusion.

“I don't think so, why do you ask?”

“Well, I’ve been getting all these weird messages on a static channel that isn’t meant to be a static channel and it had me a little freaked out- what with me having children in the house and all. Have none of you experienced anything like this?” Jongin asked when he noticed a couple of other people paying a little too much attention.

There was something in the way their expressions changed, barely noticeable but definitely there that had Jongin immediately back peddling, “Ah, it’s probably nothing.” He laughed awkwardly, “Kyungsoo thinks I’m working too much and he’s probably right.” He took several steps backwards, “Anyway, I don't want to be late to the office, so I’ll have to say goodbye.”

Sliding into the driver’s seat, Jongin sighed heavily as he pulled away from the school, his mind now on nothing but those damned messages. The townspeople were hiding something-

And he intended to find out what.

-

For the first few hours of his shift, Jongin kept his head down and got on with his work, but by the time lunch was approaching it was hard not to notice that things seemed different today. The other members of staff weren’t nearly as talkative – even Jongdae had muttered barely more than a hello – and it freaked him out almost as much as the messages had done.

Unable to put it off any longer, Jongin used the company internet connection to pull up a search for any possible connection between the static channel messages and the image of what he was now certain was a wolf, along with the increasingly fucked up dreams he’d been having near to every single night for weeks now.

Thinking about his dreams, how vivid they were – how real they felt to him – it was almost like he wasn't dreaming at all, but remembering, but even Jongin knew that to be impossible. How could he remember a place that he’d never seen before in his life?

It didn't take long to find what he was looking for, and when he did he almost wished he hadn’t. Pictures, dozens of them, of an institution for the mentally disturbed that looked frighteningly like the one he kept dreaming about; there were even wolves carved out of stone hanging over the eaves of the building like gargoyles.

Feeling an all too familiar chill run down his spine, Jongin tried to search the psychic meaning behind dreaming about wolves but was suddenly cut off by an error message- cannot display page, unauthorized access not permitted.

Almost jumping back from his computer in shock – and feeling as though he really was being monitored – Jongin gathered up his things and left the office early for the first time since starting this job unless he had fallen ill unexpectedly.

He only hoped that he was imagining the hostile looks on his co-workers faces as he rushed by them and out of the door.

Throwing his stuff into the car and barely restraining himself from looking over his shoulder to see if he was being followed, Jongin drove home as fast as safely possible, rushing inside the house to set his laptop up in the living room, along with his printer some paper and a pen. He was going to get to the bottom of this, right now, so that his family could finally go back to normal.

Jongin started by searching for the image of the wolf, then for other people who may have experienced the same creepy message that he had been getting to see if any of it connected either together, or back to the institution that he still couldn't find the location of, almost as though it was hidden from the public altogether.

-

How much time went by, Jongin had no idea, and only realised just how long he’d been sat doing research – he was surrounded by print outs and pages of his own scribbled handwriting, pictures of the mental institution open on the laptop screen - when his husband’s voice sounded from the hallway.

“What the hell are you playing at Jongin?” Kyungsoo shouted, angry in a way that Jongin had only seen very rarely, “Leaving your children stranded at the school when you were supposed to be picking them up!”

Standing up and spinning around, Jongin felt nothing but guilty when Kyungsoo stormed into the room with their two children, both of them looking confused and upset.

“Shit- I’m so sorry Kyungsoo.” Jongin apologised, “I didn't even notice the time.”

Kyungsoo scowled at him, “I’m not the one you need apologise to, it was your sons’ who were left alone and afraid Jongin, not me.”

Crossing to them quickly, Jongin crouched down and pulled them both into the tightest hug he could, “I’m so sorry boys, so sorry.”

Jongsik was crying, hands curled into Jongin’s shirt in little fists, “Did you really forget us dad?”

“No baby, of course not.” Jongin said, kissing his mass of dark hair over and over, “I just lost track of time but it will never happen again, okay?”

He felt Jongsik nod, “O-okay.”

“Dosik, do you understand me?” he asked, surprised when his eldest son merely shrugged off his embrace and wandered further into the living by himself, switching on the television to watch whatever cartoon was playing.

“So this is what you’ve been doing that’s more important than your children.” Kyungsoo snapped, holding up several pages of his research.

“Babe it was a mistake. You know I’d never intentionally do anything to hurt them.”

“No Jongin, forgetting milk at the grocery store is a mistake.” Kyungsoo said, bending to lift Jongsik up, holding him against his hip, “Forgetting to pick your children up from school?” his husband paused, looking both sad and disgusted, “I don't even have words.”

“That’s not fair, Kyungsoo.”

“Isn’t it?”

Guilt was an iron fist around his heart, but Jongin had to make Kyungsoo see why he had gotten so preoccupied, “We’re not the only ones Kyungsoo, we’re not the only ones affected by these weird messages.”

“Jongin?”

“What?”

“I don't care.” Kyungsoo said, and Jongin couldn't hide the shock he knew was on his face.

“What do you mean you don't care?” Jongin asked, following as Kyungsoo took Jongsik into the kitchen and sat him down on the table.

“First and foremost Jongin, you are a father,” Kyungsoo told him, voice low and razor sharp, “And this stupid obsession of yours should not be getting in the way of that.”

Anger licked white hot up Jongin’s insides then, “Don't you dare insinuate that I’m not a good father to these boys,” he snapped, hating that they were fighting in front of the children for the first time, “Nothing is more important to me than this family and it’s safety Kyungsoo- nothing. Which is why I’ve been looking into this.”

“I’m going to make dinner.” Kyungsoo said calmly, “And you are going to have a serious think about your priorities and whether you’ve gotten them straight.”

“This is important Kyungsoo, you know it as well as I do because you saw it too.

“Jongin listen to me,” Kyungsoo started, “I was overtired, and I don't know what I saw, so there is nothing for us to be looking into. All that matters to me is this family, so even if by some billion to one chance there had been something there- I still wouldn't care. I like it here Jongin, we have a good life so please…don't spoil it.”

Feeling deflated and lost for words when Kyungsoo then turned away from him – the discussion was clearly over – Jongin kissed Jongsik’s head and told him he loved him before heading back into the living room, where Dosik was still sat in front of the television, though he appeared to be staring through it rather than watching it. The lack of expression on his face was a little unnerving, but Jongin put it down to shock left over from his asshole move as a father today.

Going back to his laptop to switch the damned thing off and pack everything away before it could cause another argument, Jongin wanted to throw it through the nearest window when yet another message was waiting for him.

You are test subject eighty-eight, Kim Jongin, and your husband is test subject twelve. Your trackers will prove it to you.

Before Jongin could even shout for Kyungsoo to come and see for himself, the message was gone, “Of course it is.” The blonde mumbled to himself, switching the laptop off and gathering up his paperwork to take it all upstairs and out of the way.

Going to the bathroom to wash up ready for dinner, Jongin couldn't shake the thought of what had been written on his computer screen, why the hell would he have a tracker? And even if he did, where was it?

Shaking his head at himself and wondering if he really was going crazy – he certainly sounded crazy with the things he kept saying – Jongin bent down over the sink and splashed his face with cold water, hoping it would clear his head and allow him to think straight.

He had forgotten to pick his own children up from school today – it made him sick to think about what could have happened to them - because of all this bullshit getting into his head and under his skin; he needed to regain his equilibrium and fast.

Straightening up and sighing heavily, Jongin barely bit back a cry of fright when he caught sight of his reflection in the large mirror, only it wasn't his reflection at all- at least not the one of him stood in his bathroom at home.

Jongin saw himself, being led to a room at the end of a white hallway with several closed doors lining the sides, each one with a number on it, 61, 99, 94, 10, 04, 12 were the ones he noticed before being shoved through the door that slammed shut behind him, the last thing he caught sight of was the number on the front of it- 88.

He watched as he paced the room for what seemed like an age, screaming, crying and kicking out at the walls, the door, desperate to escape. But then they came, the nurses with the red visors and men with eyes the same scarlet shade, they held him down and injected him with a drug that had him boneless in seconds- fighting no longer.

Jongin watched in horror, screaming at his own reflection to find that no sound would come out as they then hooked him up to an IV full of a fluid he didn't know the use of and inserted a small, electrical looking device into his left arm, just below the crease of his elbow.

Finally managing to shake himself out of it, Jongin stumbled backwards away from the sink, landing on the toilet lid where he sat for a few moments, shaking with fear and covered in cold sweat.

“This isn’t real, this isn’t real.” He mumbled to himself over and over, “It can’t be.”

There’s only one way to know for sure his subconscious piped up as he struggled to keep himself together, your tracker.

Acting quickly before he could talk himself out of it, Jongin jumped up, crossing the room to dig around in the bathroom cabinet for a moment before retrieving his shaving razor, quickly dismantling it so that he could access the blade inside.

Removing his shirt and biting down on his own tie to keep from crying out, Jongin took a deep breath as he bent his left arm, and pressed the blade into his skin, splitting the delicate flesh and smearing it with crimson that immediately spilled from the wound.

Breathing deeply through the pain, Jongin cut as deep as he could stomach, dropping the razorblade in the sink so that he could have the use of his other hand. Swallowing the bile rising in his throat, Jongin had no choice but to push his own fingers into the wound, moving them carefully beneath the flesh to see if what he’d been experiencing all this time was true or the fabrication of a possibly schizophrenic mind.

He swore his heart stopped when he hit something and, gripping tightly, pulled out of his arm a tiny device with the number eighty eight stamped into the side of it, barely visible through the blood; his tracker.

Dropping into onto the bathroom countertop in shock, splattering the marble effect with blood, Jongin grabbed the nearest towel and pressed it onto the self-inflicted wound hard, trembling once more and wondering who – or what – he really was-

And what the hell he and Kyungsoo were caught up in the middle of.

*

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