title: To stay alive you gotta kill your mind
pairing: woohyun x sunggyu
summary: Woohyun is the bogeyman and Sunggyu could be a dream.
a/n: title is from twenty one pilot's 'migraine'. the bogeyman theme has very little to do with the entire story, the story is very messy, unorganized in general and i'm not even sure if i'm done with it.
un-beta-ed, un-proofread because i'm l... a... z... y... /hangs head in shame. crossing fingers for no confusing typos/grammar. (this story does switch from present tense to past tense, but they are deliberate)
i'm sick, like i've been sneezing and crying the whole of yesterday and today ;A; IS THIS AN EXCUSE FOR THIS SORRY EXCUSE OF A FIC? YES IT IS. /flies into hell
To stay alive you gotta kill your mind
woohyun said he was going to be the bogeyman when he grew up.
they were in first grade and the teacher made the class do a standard introductory round, their name and what they wanted to be when they grew up. there were answers like 'singer', 'doctor', 'writer'; sunggyu knew what to say ('teacher') but he was nervous anyway.
and then the boy in front of him, small-faced, dark skin, short, he stood up when it was his turn and said, “my name is nam woohyun. and i'm going to be a bogeyman when i grow up.”
and the whole class just gaped at him, some laughed. sunggyu was the only one who didn't hear it because he was too busy freaking out that his turn was next. the teacher just said, “okay.” and moved on, filing woohyun away as a weird and troublesome one to look out for. and when sunggyu said, “my name is kim sunggyu. i want to be a teacher when i grow up.” of course no one paid attention because everyone was still confused over woohyun.
woohyun and sunggyu were in the same class in their first year of high school too. in the second half of the year, someone started a rumour that woohyun had a crush on sunggyu. everyone heard about it except woohyun because he slept during class a lot and if he wasn't sleeping, he was being kicked out of the classroom for sleeping. anyway, seating arrangements were shuffled, a lot of teasing was made and somehow sunggyu found himself in the last row of the class, next to woohyun, who took the window seat.
woohyun was friendly, greeted him with a bright smile everyday, but other than that smile and that he slept all the time in class, woohyun was a stranger to sunggyu, as much as sunggyu was to woohyun. he heard the rumours that woohyun had a crush on him but that was all they were, rumours – he wasn't one to indulge in stupid rumours. anyway woohyun didn't even seem like he knew sunggyu's name before they became table mates.
they only interacted when there was partner work to be done during class. and when they interacted, it was to discuss the topic, or when woohyun hadn't done homework and sunggyu had to let him copy, or when the teacher was walking over when woohyun was sleeping and sunggyu had to nudge him roughly to wake him up. they weren't strangers, sure, but they weren't exactly close friends too, they had their own set of friends, after all.
the rumours about woohyun having a crush on sunggyu eventually dissipated. and new rumours about woohyun always sleeping during class because he did weird things at night surfaced. again, sunggyu didn't care about those rumours too. but when woohyun started to nod off for the fifth time that day, and sunggyu was sick of keeping a look out for him, he kicked woohyun's chair during their break, startling woohyun awake, and asked him why he was sleepy all the damn time.
“well, after high school, i'm going to officially be a bogeyman. i stay up late training for it.” woohyun said matter-of-factly, he yawned and stretched. “i don't even need to go to school. but my parents think i should so i have a choice. they don't want me in the business, see.”
sunggyu gaped at him and kicked his chair again, extra hard. “that's bullshit.”
woohyun just laughed. he didn't say anything more, went back to sleep.
sunggyu never believed him. he could believe it because woohyun had always been a weird person, the student teachers mark 'weird and dangerous' in the register, but woohyun also joked around a lot and said a lot of bullshit. but most of all, sunggyu didn't believe woohyun because the bogeyman was someone to be afraid of and woohyun, with his cheery disposition and teasing smiles, was anything but fearful.
it turns out woohyun is the worst bogeyman in the world.
ten years later, sunggyu finds woohyun outside the door, trying to put the slippers sunggyu left outside on. woohyun sees sunggyu and he doesn't even bother hiding, he just looks up and looks back down at the pair of slippers he's trying to slip his feet into intently.
sunggyu calmly steps out and closes the bedroom door behind him. “what the hell are you doing in my house?”
“i'm here to give nightmares to the kid.” woohyun says, gesturing to the bedroom door. “your kid?”
“no, my sister's kid.” sunggyu says, folding his arms. “please get out before i call the police.”
“did you leave these out here on purpose? so the bogeyman can't get in?” woohyun asks, frustration seeping into his features. he squats, picks the slippers up and turns them over. he proceeds to jam a slipper on to his foot but the slipper just slips right through, as if his foot is made of water. “goddamn it!”
“it was just to assure taeyang.” sunggyu shrugs. “i didn't really expect the bogeyman to come.”
“well, he's a naughty kid so i gotta do my job... let me do my job and take these away please.”
“gross, don't say 'naughty kid'.” sunggyu winces. “it makes you sound like a pedophile.”
“santa claus says that all time and the kids love him!” woohyun huffs, crossing his arms as well. he gives up on the slippers and sits down Indian-style in front of the door. “look, i'm not leaving until you take these stupid things away.”
sunggyu sits down as well. “i haven't seen you for what, 5 years? and you've become a kidnapping bum with a sack on his back?”
“the bogeyman!” woohyun says. “i told you what i'll become! you didn't believe me!” he sighs. sunggyu doesn't answer, just continues keeping his arms crossed and his lips in an indignant line. he half-believes what's going on is real. “you,” woohyun sighs and looks up through his eyelashes at sunggyu, and his fingers softly brush sunggyu's fringe out of his eyes. “you're still a dream.” barely a whisper. and then woohyun pushes sunggyu's fringe back completely, his palm hot against sunggyu's forehead.
sunggyu flushes, bats woohyun's hand away. he stands up. “people don't say things like that in real life.” and when he looks back down at woohyun, the bogeyman's gone. sunggyu checks up on taeyang, makes sure he's not having bad dreams or anything, and then removes the slippers from outside the door.
woohyun didn't come to school once. sunggyu had to bring him his homework after school. when sunggyu rang the doorbell, woohyun's mother answered the door. he was surprised at how normal woohyun's mother was, as if he expected her to be some kind of cooky parent who dressed in neon colours and had curly purple hair. she had dark chocolate brown hair and the same pair of warm golden-brown eyes as woohyun. she was friendly, pretty and neat with her pastel-yellow turtleneck, sleeves rolled up to her elbows and an apron over her clothes, hair tied back into a bun. “preparing dinner”, she explained as she invited sunggyu in.
the aroma of herbal soup was in the air, making sunggyu take a blatant deep breath and smiling to himself. woohyun's mother spotted this and she laughed, invited him to stay for dinner. he couldn't give an answer before woohyun was thumping down the stairs.
“your homework.” sunggyu said, holding it out. “you don't look sick to me.”
“i overslept.” woohyun explained, shrugging.
sunggyu turned to woohyun's mom, expecting her to scold him or something. but she just smiled and excused herself to return to the kitchen.
“she knows what my training is like.” woohyun said. “even dad's still sleeping.”
sunggyu rolled his eyes. “anyway, take your homework.”
woohyun whined and told sunggyu to take it away, at least he'd have an excuse to not have done homework. sunggyu insisted that he made the effort to bring woohyun his homework so the least woohyun could do was to take it, woohyun was about to whine again when his mother came out of the kitchen and glared at him. so woohyun took it and then whined about how he didn't know how to do it anyway. sunggyu said it wasn't his problem, about to leave until woohyun grabbed his arm and pleaded him to teach him what he missed.
and that was how sunggyu ended up wasting his afternoon playing video games at woohyun's house. he stayed for dinner too.
he met woohyun's father and brother, boohyun. boohyun was a college student. woohyun's father was a 'bogeyman' too. all of them acted as if that was normal. and then sunggyu watched tv with them and ate dessert and then did homework with woohyun. by the time he was done, it was 10pm and he was sleepy, eventually falling asleep on the floor in woohyun's bedroom.
sunggyu was shaken awake after a while, but only to be carefully lifted onto a bed, and then a soft blanket over his body. he opened his eyes a gap just to see woohyun ruffling his hair and then woohyun slipping out the door. sunggyu had nightmares that night, woke up sweating at the back of his neck. he rubbed his face into the pillow beneath his head until he realized the all too comforting smell belonged to woohyun and he was in woohyun's bed, in woohyun's room.
when sunggyu woke up again in the morning, woohyun was pacing around the bedroom in his school uniform. sunggyu laughed at him and told him it was Saturday.
when sunggyu went home that Saturday, he sat on his bed and thought about his dream. like any other dream, he could only remember bits and pieces of his nightmare. he remembered running, and then falling, and then flying. the flying before the falling, he thought. and then stopping and letting... letting some kind of darkness take over. but he remembered feeling an adrenaline rush, remembered how his pulse quickened in real life. but he had woken up feeling a smile on his lips and woohyun's scent mixing with the shampoo scent of his own hair. he thought about it until he fell back asleep.
the second time woohyun visits is 5 months after the first time, he's outside the door again, trying to untangle the knots out of a puff of thread. it looks hopeless.
“get out.” sunggyu says.
woohyun gives him a look of disbelief. “what i need is to get in, not out!”
“please get out.”
“c'mon, this is cruel. every time he's at your sister's house, i get in perfectly fine. every time he's at your house, i have some sort of obstacle to get past?”
“you're too dumb to untangle that, get out.”
woohyun sighs, tosses the puff of thread over his shoulder. but when he reopens his fist, the thread is still there. “IT'S STICKING TO MY PALM.”
sunggyu smacks him on the side of his head. “don't shout, my nephew is trying to sleep.”
woohyun glares at him, opening and closing his palm over the puff of thread. “you shouldn't spoil him, kids need nightmares to have the courage to face their fears.”
sunggyu snorts, he sits down in front of woohyun so they're on eye level. “then how come you're so wimpy?”
“i've never had nightmares.” woohyun shrugs. and sunggyu's about to protest like how can the bogeyman not have any nightmares; bogeymen give nightmares, if anything, they should be receiving nightmares all the time and never any pleasant dreams. but woohyun adds, “since i'm already living one.”
a quiet lays out over them, soft and gentle. sunggyu looks at the space between their legs and woohyun stares at sunggyu. woohyun reaches out and brushes back sunggyu's hair, just like he did the last time they saw each other.
“you're still a dream.” he whispers. “and in life, i'll still never have you.”
sunggyu looks up but woohyun's gone, taking the lingering quiet with him.
sunggyu and woohyun started going out in their senior year of high school. sunggyu didn't remember hanging out with woohyun in school a lot, they mostly spent their dates in woohyun's bedroom, with woohyun's sleeping with his head on sunggyu's lap and sunggyu reading a book, sometimes out loud. sunggyu's first kiss wasn't woohyun's first kiss. because woohyun was asleep when sunggyu kissed him, a peck on the lips, light and unsure.
the rest of the kisses they shared were always that way – light and unsure. the way woohyun kissed was slow – sleepy, gentle, and tentative, as if he was still asleep or as if he didn't know if he was still asleep or not.
thinking back, sunggyu hardly knew woohyun as a person. they were always playing video games or lying together or woohyun would be sleeping and he would be reading. they hardly knew each other, woohyun was sunggyu's first love and the only love he 'didn't know', but miraculously was together with the longest.
maybe the mystery behind woohyun made it fun for sunggyu, but sunggyu had never found himself wanting to know more about woohyun.
maybe it was how woohyun kissed like sunggyu was someone he could never have; woohyun seemed so desperately in love with sunggyu, like the first thing he'd search out when he woke up was sunggyu's eyes, sunggyu loved being loved, especially by woohyun.
maybe sunggyu kept loving woohyun because woohyun, even with all his 'bogeyman' lies and sleeping problem, had a tired glint in his eyes like he had seen the world and witnessed all its downfalls in his dreams, like he battled monsters in his dreams, because every time he woke up, he'd have this look of relief and he'd kiss sunggyu's hand, and he'd sigh because he knew he had to go back, couldn't abandon the world he lived in his dreams.
woohyun was weird. woohyun's favourite line was, “you're still a dream.” and he'd push all of sunggyu's hair back, off his forehead, press his own forehead against sunggyu's and sunggyu would feel as if woohyun was trying to tell him something, share something in his head with him, something he couldn't just say.
“you're still a dream.” woohyun whispered. “and a nightmare at the same time.”
like any other child, sunggyu didn't like nightmares when he was younger. he hated them and would sleep with his parents every time he had one. eventually, he stopped hating them and treated them as something like an adventure, a fight with his own monsters. he liked it, he liked being the hero of his own dreams. nightmares gave him an adrenaline rush, sent his heart thumping and when he woke up from them, he'd feel pleasantly buzzed, he'd roll over and want to tell someone (woohyun) about his nightmare.
but then his nightmares started featuring woohyun, not like woohyun dying or anything, but like literally woohyun making him scared. woohyun with a devil's face and sinking teeth into his arm; woohyun wrapping fingers around his neck, strangling him to his death; woohyun stabbing him a million times over until he could actually feel the pain in real life.
and he'd wake up, realizing he loved woohyun because he still wanted to call woohyun and tell him, “you know, you...” he'd meant to say you're in both my dreams and nightmares too but he realized nightmares are dreams so instead he'd say, with his tongue tying up and going numb and tears prickling his eyes and sweat prickling his neck. “i can't tell dreams apart from reality any more because you're always there but i kind of like it this way, y'know what i mean?”
there wasn't a single a pause. “yeah, i know what you mean.” he sounded exhausted but relieved. and sunggyu could almost feel the light, tentative peck of a kiss on the left side of his lips, where he laid down and slept.
and then they graduated and woohyun disappeared. sunggyu wasn't heartbroken because every time he slept, there woohyun was, a half nightmare, half fantasy. nothing was different, only now he could tell apart dreams and reality.
the third time woohyun actually manages to get into the bedroom. but sunggyu is still tucking the kid into bed and seeing sunggyu with a kid,it does things to your heart, even the bogeyman's heart. sunggyu shoos woohyun out and woohyun gives him an incredulous look. sunggyu holds him down with a glare and he rolls his eyes, backing out of the room.
“seriously, you're killing my rep as the bogeyman here, he'll grow up never afraid of the bogeyman.” woohyun complains as soon as they're both out the door and the door is closed behind them.
“he's just a kid,” sunggyu says. “life is enough of a nightmare as it is.”
woohyun rolls his eyes. “bullshit. look, there isn't any obstacle here so i'll just go right in...”
sunggyu sits down on the floor, tugs on woohyun's hand, woohyun sighs and sits down too. a book is passed into woohyun's hand and woohyun stares. when he opens the book to the first page, sunggyu is already lying down with his head on woohyun's lap.
“read to me.” sunggyu says. “until i fall asleep.”
woohyun chokes out a hoarse laughter, but he starts to read. he's so unused to reading, unused to staying at one spot for so long, unused to the feeling of sunggyu's head on his lap; so he reads slowly, lightly and tentatively, urged on only by the soft satisfied humming sunggyu rewards him with once in a while. sunggyu grins up at him, gives him the thumbs up, tells him he's doing well. there's a flutter in his chest better than the ones nightmares give him.
five chapters in and sunggyu falls asleep, breathing lightly. it amuses woohyun how he's not having a nightmare with his head on the bogeyman's lap, he's not having nightmares even when the bogeyman basically read him a bedtime story. sunggyu turns his head and rubs his nose against woohyun's thigh, as if breathing him in, as if mixing his scent with woohyun's.
woohyun pushes the hair off sunggyu's forehead and whispers, “you're still a dream.”
and then woohyun wakes up and the first thing he searches for is sunggyu, grabbing his hand and looking into his eyes. sunggyu has just woken up too, he blinks sleepily, mumbles something while pulling his hand from woohyun's grip. and then he rolls over and burrows deeper beneath the blankets.
“i had a nightmare, sunggyu, you have to, like, comfort me or something!” woohyun whines, shaking sunggyu by the shoulders.
“don't shit with me,” sunggyu mumbles. “the bogeyman doesn't get nightmares.”
woohyun stares at sunggyu's back, traces the outline of sunggyu's neck with his fingertips. it all feels like a dream, again and again.