title: Woohyun's Delivery Service
pairing: woohyun x sunggyu
summary: inspired by studio ghibli's 'kiki's delivery service', where in woohyun is a witch.
there's a family of witches in sunggyu's town and recently one more is added to their team. no, the lady witch didn't give birth to another witch. the new witch flew in, he rode his broomstick from god knows where and crash-landed into sunggyu's bedroom through the window.
the window was closed, sunggyu was sleeping, nightlight blinking, which can be seen through the window because the curtains were open, because sunggyu was watching the stars before he fell asleep right on the rug in front of his bed. and the new witch thought it meant something, the blinking light. he didn't mean to shatter the window, he meant to ease his way in, curl up next to sunggyu and sleep with him. but he crashed anyway, cracking the glass, making sharp noises, waking sunggyu up.
sunggyu almost screamed when he saw him, a boy about sixteen years old, scratches all over his face and arms, glass pieces sparkling in the moonlight and the nightlight blinking in the reflection. woohyun grinned at him, a boyish childish grin that made sunggyu smile back.
the noise of shattering glass made sunggyu's parents dash in, his mother hooking her arm into her silk robe and his father pushing his horn-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose. they stare at the broken glass, the two boys smiling at each other sitting in a pile of broken glass, and then at the stranger with the broomstick.
the next morning, sunggyu's father set off to the witches' cottage at the top of the hill. he kissed his wife's cheek, cast a grave look at the night-time intruder, stuck the day's newspapers under his armpit and went off, tugging his cap over his eyes.
sunggyu's mother sweeps back into the house, tying an apron around her waist as she does so. she tells him to hand woohyun his broomstick back. so sunggyu brings woohyun round to the back of the house, where the storeroom is. there isn't any light in the storeroom so it'll be impossible to look for anything in there when the sun has set.
sunggyu unlocks the door and grabs woohyun's broom, which was hastily thrown in last night by his father.
"here it is." sunggyu hands it back to woohyun.
"thanks." woohyun checks his broomstick for any damages.
sunggyu watches him check. "did you ride that all the way here?"
woohyun looks up for a moment. "yup."
"how many days since you left your hometown?"
"i think about three."
"that's really long."
woohyun looks up when he's done. he grins brightly at sunggyu. "not really. you just think it's long because you have never went on a journey before, have you?"
sunggyu feels a little offended at that. it sounds like the younger boy is feeling superior just because he has travelled by himself for at least three days and the only world sunggyu knows of is his hometown.
"i like it here."
sunggyu feels annoyed. 'why' has always been a question that annoys him. he has never really been curious at anything. he was raised to be obedient, not to question, just carry out what is asked of him. he has responsibilities and he sticks around to complete them.
sunggyu's mother sticks her head out of a window and shouts for them to come back in for breakfast. they can smell the pancakes. sunggyu says they better hurry if they want to eat the pancakes hot. but woohyun clambers onto his old broomstick, grabs sunggyu's hand and kicks off the ground. sunggyu yelps, using both hands to clutch woohyun's hand desperately as he looks down at instinct.
"don't look down!" he hears woohyun's breathy voice tell him.
and it's the first time sunggyu doesn't do. he looks down and he wants to scream at how high off the ground he is. he wants to scream at how small his house looks, at how there's only air below his feet, at how slippery woohyun's hands are. but he doesn't scream. he just stares with wide eyes and tries not to cry.
"is there anywhere you want to go?"
yes yes yes.
but where? sunggyu knows he wants to go somewhere but he doesn't know where that place is exactly. because he hasn't found it. and he'll never find it if he doesn't go out there. but he'll never go out there because there's nothing out there for him. he's safe here, in his little cottage with his mother and his father who love him. he has a future here, in this town with all the friendly people and fresh air and green grass. he can find a lady, a house and he'll settle here forever, he'll never leave, never venture, never actually do anything.
that's why sunggyu feels like crying. because he can go right now. right now. it's possible. but then again he can't because he can't leave everything behind.
woohyun hefts sunggyu up onto the broomstick. sunggyu clutches woohyun's shoulders as he straddles the broomstick. and they fly over the town. sunggyu lets go with one hand, reaches out towards the miniscule town and clenches his fist over it. the edges of the town sticks out from the two ends of his fist.
woohyun goes back down when sunggyu starts to cry.
he promised. "i'll bring you anywhere."
woohyun goes to live with the family of witches on the hill, who tells sunggyu and his family they're welcome any time. but sunggyu can tell by the grip of his mother' hand on his shoulder that his parents rather not be welcomed. woohyun smiles and holds out his pinkie for sunggyu to hook.
you promise. sunggyu mouths to woohyun as he hooks his pinkie around woohyun's. woohyun nods, smile widening, and before sunggyu can pull away, he brushes his lips against sunggyu's finger lightly. sunggyu feels himself being pulled back by his mother. woohyun laughs, waves and is led away by the family of witches, who seem nice enough but nobody seems to care.
sunggyu's hometown has never really accepted the presence of witches. there are other towns that are completely open to witches living among them, flying on brooms and feeding them medicinal potions. but in towns like sunggyu's, witches are looked down upon, looked on as sin. their potions are poison and their broomsticks are weapons.
in towns like sunggyu's, the people are scared of witches. they don't like witches but at least they respect them. in sunggyu's town, there's only one family of witches who live on the top of the hill, isolated from everyone else. from his room, from his window, sunggyu can see the little cottage with the brick roof, the cottage surrounded by plants and fruits and roses. it looks lovely but his parents have always warned him that the plants, fruits and roses are all poisonous ingredients for their potions and spells.
people won't bother the witches if the witches don't bother the people. most of the time, the two don't mix. but the witches sometimes come into the town to buy supplies, buy food. that's when people are on their guard, whispers spread through the crowd till everyone knows a witch is among them. either the witch is oblivious or she's forgiving. sunggyu thinks it's the latter.
he sees woohyun in the shopping crowd in town one morning. the sellers are shouting prices and "fresh, get it fresh!" people are pushing and pulling and bargaining for a cheaper price. women stand around chattering. children swipe through legs as they chase one another, never getting lost, only found by their mothers. water splash, coins clink, chatter chatter chatter. sweet, salty, prickly, sour smells dance and mix into an almost intoxicating scent. bodies are hot. breaths are hot. sweat prickles sunggyu's back and nape.
it's almost an adventure to go up to woohyun.
"the lizard hearts and dragon scales are in another alley, woohyun." sunggyu jokes when he grabs woohyun's arm. he's a little breathless because he had to fight through a crowd just to get to woohyun. there's always a crowd at the market in the morning but that doesn't mean sunggyu is used to it yet.
woohyun looks irritated and about to snap when he turns. but then he realizes it's sunggyu and his face softens into a slight smile. he grabs sunggyu's hand and loops it around his own arm.
"good morning, sunggyu." he says. "going for a relaxing morning walk through the market?"
"yeah, this is the life." sunggyu laughs as they're pushed along with the crowd. they don't care where they're walking to now, they're just pulsing with the tide of people. "is this your first time shopping in the morning here?"
"yeah." woohyun says. "if this keeps up, i'm flying to another town again. and i have this feeling that i'm not welcomed."
more and more furtive glances are cast to the thin intimacy between sunggyu and woohyun. his arm against woohyun's arm and side feels warmer. sunggyu can feel woohyun's body heat through their thin clothes because they're pressed up to each other so tightly, not with choice. their feet tangle and almost make them fall, almost makes sunggyu uncomfortable and woohyun comfortable.
"sort of." sunggyu gives woohyun a sheepish smile. "at least i welcome you."
"thank you. you don't know how much that means to me." woohyun turns his head to say this. his breath tickles sunggyu's neck, sunggyu can almost feel woohyun's dry lips brush against his skin.
"mm." sunggyu's grip tightens around woohyun's arm as he flinches.
woohyun laughs and it takes sunggyu everything not to press closer than necessary.
they walk to the witches' cottage after the shopping trip. sunggyu's basket is heavy with shopping, woohyun hadn't got much shopping done because after all, he still didn't know how the market worked, how to surge through the crowd, how to make sure prices weren't switched up.
they stop walking when they're halfway up the hill, woohyun drags sunggyu off the path and drops down among the knee-high grass that is dancing with the wind. he lies down in the grass, hidden from anyone who walks past unless they look closely. but then again no one but the witches takes this path. sunggyu lies down next to him.
"have you decided where you want to go yet?"
it has been two weeks.
sunggyu feels like he should give an answer. but he doesn't know what to say.
"i don't know."
"you can go anywhere, you know."
"no, i don't."
sometimes at night, woohyun waits for sunggyu at the edge of town. when sunggyu is sure his parents are asleep, when his neighbours are quiet, he sneaks out of the house and meets woohyun. they climb on to woohyun's broomstick and woohyun kicks off the ground. the grass whistles.
the lights of the town are out besides the lamps along the streets. from way up here, sunggyu realizes the streets curls and whirls like mazes but they all meet in the middle. it's like they decide to dance and dance until they get tired and meet at the middle.
sunggyu looks up to the inky sky. and millions of stars smile, blinking back at him. his arms around woohyun's waist tightens.
"why'd you leave your hometown?" he asks.
"i always leave."
"what about your parents?"
"don't have them. 'a rolling stone gathers no moss'."
sunggyu hesitates. "should that mean anything to me?"
"i can feel your heart beating faster."
woohyun laughs. "i like the wind. i like flying. if i had a choice, i'd fly and fly and fly and never stop. i never want to walk, never want to touch ground. when i told you i had been on a journey for three days, i was lying. i had been on a journey for three months. nobody stopped me. nobody told me to get off my broomstick. until i passed your window and your blinking light called out to me and i saw you, you, your face in the moonlight and i just had to stop. but i wasn't used to landing after so long so i crashed."
"i hadn't seen you for three years."
"were you waiting for me that night?"
"you promised me back then."
"i'm still keeping that promise. do you know where you want to go now?"
"wherever you go."
woohyun's heart beats faster. so fast it feels like it's going to burst from happiness.
sunggyu enters his bedroom through his open window. woohyun comes in after him. they curl up together on the rug and they watch the stars blink and light the area of the sky around them, turning the black into the darkest blue.
sunggyu kisses woohyun for the first time. woohyun kisses back, softly, without urgency. sunggyu's lips are soft, like petals of a flower. sunggyu tastes like honey. woohyun's hand cups sunggyu's cheek and he brushes a thumb along sunggyu's cheekbone. he feels sunggyu smile. he feels sunggyu's hand on his chest as he pushes woohyun away. he hears sunggyu's laugh.
they were so happy.
something happens that forces the witches to leave the town.
the witches have left before. they have left for days to camp out in the woods or the forest for who-knows-what reason or ritual or hunting or whatever, something witches only know. they have left for months to attend events or festivals at faraway towns, towns that are more welcoming to witches. they have even left for years, one or two. but reasons for leaving for years are unknown. maybe it's something the people did to them, maybe it's something they did to the people. nobody really knows. there are rumours, there are always rumours. but they always come back.
this time, they say they're leaving for good. they're never coming back. and woohyun is going with them. but he hadn't told sunggyu.
so sunggyu finds himself running and running and running through the knee-high grass in the dark. he was having dinner with his parents and this pretty girl they invited over for sunggyu. then the topic of the witches' leaving came up. and sunggyu kicked his chair back, excused himself and ran off without looking back.
the grass tickle his legs and makes him itchy. he continues running.
the wind chills his skin and bones. he continues running.
the hammering of his heartbeat makes him sick and he coughs as he runs, he holds back his puke as he runs. he runs and runs and runs. and he wishes he can fly.
when he reaches the witches' cottage, the three witches – a man, his wife and his son – and woohyun are mounting their broomsticks. the man's broomstick is the widest and heaviest, he has a large box bounded tightly with a rope and tied to the front of his broomstick. the woman shares her broomstick with her son. both of them are carrying large backpacks. woohyun's broomstick is old and thin and splitting but he has a heavy box hanging from the front of his broomstick and he's carrying a large pack on his back.
"where are you going?" sunggyu asks, voice raspy, sweat dripping, legs wobbling.
"sunggyu..." the lady witch looks concerned. she gets off her broomstick, tells her son to get off too and they walk over to sunggyu, who's beginning to see everything as a stir of stars and night and moon. "are you alright?"
woohyun reaches sunggyu. he tells the others to go off without him first. they look at him in concern and then at sunggyu. but they mount their broomsticks and they're off. woohyun turns to sunggyu. there are purple bruises and red cuts all over woohyun's face and arms.
"we're leaving but i'll be back for you." woohyun says. "i promise you."
sunggyu glares at woohyun, chest still heaving with the effort to breathe. "you already promised me to bring me anywhere i want. i want to be everywhere, woohyun, with you. i just want to be with you. i don't want to stay here. i'm sick of it. i'm sick of how everyone is and how my parents love-me-but-then-they-don't. i don't get it. you don't get it. but i don't want to stay here. please. i want to go with you." he turns blue because he hadn't taken a breath as the words tumbled out.
woohyun shakes his head. it breaks sunggyu's heart into a million pieces, much like the pieces of the glass window woohyun broke when he crashed into his bedroom two months ago.
"not now." woohyun says. "i'll be back for you. i promise."
woohyun goes off and sunggyu watches woohyun's lamp. it looks like a firefly. then a star. and then nothing.
sunggyu has to drag himself back home.
woohyun takes another three years to come back for sunggyu.
he drops by sunggyu's bedroom to find the room empty of anything. it's bare, the bed is bare, there's no mattress on it, the walls are bare. the rug they had laid on is gone. it's only natural. woohyun is twenty now and sunggyu is twenty-two. it's only natural that he's gone.
woohyun climbs out of sunggyu's bedroom window and drops down to the front door. he knocks twice. sunggyu's mother opens the door. she's older. of course. she has more grey strands, more wrinkles, more exhaustion.
"who are you?" is what she asks.
sunggyu had opened his own bakery at the edge of town. he was closed for most of the morning so woohyun had to wait outside, leaning against the glass window. the name of the bakery was straight-forward enough – the bakery. sunggyu has never been very creative or enthusiastic about anything. woohyun wonders why sunggyu ever decided to open a bakery, of all businesses to set up.
woohyun wants his most charming smile to greet sunggyu. but when he sees sunggyu again for the first time after three years, all he can do is stare.
sunggyu's legs are longer, shoulders broader, face sharper but chubby cheeks and small eyes still present, lips pink and bitten and pouty, hair messy, caramel-coloured and windblown. he's absolutely gorgeous. he was handsome before but now he's irresistible, every bit of him. even the way he stuffs his hands into his pockets and the way he hides his chin behind his bundle of scarf around his neck. sunggyu is surprised to see woohyun standing outside his bakery. but he tries not to be obvious.
"you're back." he states flatly.
"and you're gorgeous." woohyun says.
sunggyu's face turns evidently red. he pushes woohyun aside to unlock the door. he doesn't hold the door open for woohyun.
"sunggyu, why'd you ever open a bakery?" woohyun follows sunggyu into the kitchen. the kitchen is clean and neat. there are traces of flour on the floor, but not much. the countertops are smooth and stainless. all the utensils hang on one wall, neatly and in order of size. the walls are made of red bricks. the oven is the traditional kind, the one that requires chopped wood. "doesn't seem like what you'll do."
sunggyu glares at woohyun as he unwraps his scarf. woohyun watches the motion of the scarf, watches sunggyu's pale nape as sunggyu hangs his scarf on the coat hanger.
"i like bread." sunggyu says. "what are you doing back?"
"for you, of course, darling." woohyun says, grinning. he leans against the counter and flashes his most charming smile when sunggyu turns.
sunggyu looks disgusted rather than charmed. "will you get out of the kitchen?" he opens the kitchen door and gestures for woohyun to get out.
woohyun doesn't move from his spot. he surveys the kitchen as he leans back against the counter. his eyes sweep over the interior and lands on sunggyu. he looks sunggyu up and down, making sure sunggyu catches how his eyes slowly travel from his head to his feet and back up again. sunggyu feels warm and embarrassed and he bites his bottom lip. but he doesn't relent.
"get out, woohyun." he bites out.
woohyun stares at sunggyu. sunggyu glares back. woohyun sighs and leaves the bakery.
he comes back a few hours later when customers are beginning to fill sunggyu's bakery. even through the crowd building up in the bakery, sunggyu spots woohyun, who's just standing around staring at the bread and blocking everyone's way.
sunggyu calls woohyun over. he stuffs a custard bun into woohyun's mouth and says, "since you're going to stand around, help me out, won't you?"
woohyun nods, bun still in his mouth. sunggyu tells him to bring out the baked bread from the oven. he quickly chews and swallows. he relishes in the sweet taste before getting to work.
the bakery closes at eight o'clock. but the lights don't go out just yet for sunggyu and woohyun. there are still the cleaning up, the preparation for the next day and the counting of money to do. sunggyu handles the accounts as woohyun sweeps up the bakery, dancing around him with his broomstick.
"you can use your broomstick to sweep the floor?" sunggyu asks, looking at him sceptically.
"that's what a broomstick is for, isn't it?" woohyun sing-songs.
"yeah but won't the broomstick get dirty?"
"doesn't matter." woohyun shrugs. "wanna go for a ride after this?" he sits down opposite from sunggyu, leans forward and crosses arms, elbows on the table.
sunggyu's eyes light up – yes. but they dull the next moment – but.
"witches are sort of..." sunggyu hesitates. "you shouldn't stay around, you should go."
woohyun frowns. "are you coming with me?"
sunggyu wants to say yes, he'll go anywhere with woohyun. he said that three years ago and he holds true to it even after woohyun had left him. he wants to go everywhere and anywhere as long as it's with woohyun. but he bites his tongue back and shakes his head instead.
"i have this bakery to run now." sunggyu says. "after you witches left, the townspeople decided to make sure you don't come back. witches aren't allowed in this town any more. you should leave before anyone finds out you're one." woohyun's jaw clenches, fists ball, vein throbs with an impending outburst of anger. sunggyu notices and puts a gentle hand on woohyun's arm.
woohyun smiles at sunggyu. but sunggyu can still see the anger behind woohyun's eyes. "i'm staying, sunggyu. i'm not going anywhere without you. i'll just stop flying-"
woohyun didn't realize the magnitude of what he was promising until it left his mouth. 'stop flying' – is that even possible? woohyun lives in the air, he flies everywhere and anywhere because he can't stop flying. being grounded is frightening, solidity beneath his feet makes him feel like he has something to hold on to. he has never held on to anything, doesn't want to.
woohyun unclenches his fist and looks up at sunggyu. sunggyu's gorgeous - gorgeous with his soft eyes and his gentle smile and his comforting touch. now he has something (someone) to hold on to. and he's not sure he wants to let go.
"i'll stop flying and stay."
it's nice living like this, with sunggyu.
woohyun wakes up to the smell of bread and the warmth of sunggyu in his arms. sunggyu's flat constantly smells like bread, it's a lingering smell, faint but present. sunggyu's hair will tickle his nose and he'll smile and kiss sunggyu's neck, which stirs sunggyu awake. sunggyu will turn and mumble "good morning" as he rubs his eyes. woohyun rolls out of bed before sunggyu. he brushes his teeth and washes his face while sunggyu prepares the coffee. woohyun prepares breakfast while sunggyu brushes his teeth and washes his face. then they'll eat, conversation light and small between them and silence light but thick around them. and woohyun has never felt happier.
no touching, no kissing, no talking. just the light scent of bread and the bright light on sunggyu's face. just the warmth of the coffee cup in his hands and the warmth of the smile on sunggyu's lips. woohyun feels so happy, he could cry.
sunggyu's bakery didn't open till the late morning, around 10am, which is strange because people usually do their shopping in the morning. sunggyu says he can't stand the morning shopping crowd in the market, he refuses to fight through the crowd just to get to his bakery. so he sleeps for most of the morning and goes to work when the market crowd has thinned.
woohyun realizes sunggyu is quite popular around town. almost everyone they pass say "good morning" to sunggyu. then they look curiously at woohyun. woohyun smiles and nods but doesn't say anything as he tightens his hold around sunggyu's arm. so far only one or two of the townspeople squint at woohyun and wonder why woohyun looks so familiar. then sunggyu tells them woohyun is a visiting friend and their qualms disappear into a trusting smile. woohyun tries not to talk to the bakery's customers but the girls and housewives enjoy hanging around just to make small talk with woohyun. sometimes they ask about woohyun, most of the time they ask about sunggyu.
sunggyu takes fort at the back, in the kitchen, and woohyun mans the front counter. sometimes, when woohyun is overwhelmed by the crowd, the switch. they're always too busy to talk, too busy to look at each other. so woohyun likes the moments when they brush pass each other. their arms just brush, skin kissing lightly, and their eyes flicker to each other's, their eyes and lips smile. woohyun loves those moments. that single moment when all the chatter seems to have died and they're the only two people, in the doorway between the kitchen and the front of the shop.
at the end of the day, they prepare for the next day together in the kitchen. and then sunggyu sits down to do the accounts as woohyun sweeps up the front of the shop, then the back. when they're both done, sunggyu switches the lights, bathing them in darkness, and woohyun will pull sunggyu for a small kiss. sunggyu locks up and they leave at 11pm, hand in hand.
back at home, they have supper together, exchanging stories and tangling fingers. they laugh, they smile, the bicker. and finally, the wash up and prepare for bed. woohyun will be in bed first, snuggling into the pillows. when sunggyu is in bed, woohyun wriggles closer to him and puts his arm around sunggyu and they whisper "goodnight" against each other's lips.
the cycle repeats, each day, with new conversations. woohyun loves sunggyu more and more. sunggyu loves woohyun more and more.
and woohyun's broomstick leans against the wall in the storeroom, still holding promises.
"so i'll be back in three days." sunggyu reminds, slinging the bag strap over his shoulder.
woohyun pouts. "i'm going to miss you."
sunggyu laughs, pushing jokingly at woohyun's shoulder. "don't be a wuss. it's just three days."
"you promise, three days."
"yeah, yeah, i promise." sunggyu rolls his eyes. "if i'm not back within three days, it means i'm dead, okay?"
"don't say that, it's not even funny." woohyun whines, latching on to sunggyu. "it's not too late to change your mind and skip this year's festival. it's too far away."
sunggyu flaps his arms to shake woohyun off him. "no way, the festival is very lucrative. i'll be insane to skip even one year." he climbs into the car and closes the door.
woohyun bends to meet sunggyu's level, leaning into the car through the window. "be careful, darling." they kiss, his thumb traces sunggyu's cheekbone.
none of them want to break the kiss but sunggyu moves away first. "don't worry too much about me." he grins, starts the engine, waves and drives off, the huge package bound to the top of the small blue car bounces along.
the first day without sunggyu passes quite alright. it's busy, of course. and woohyun has never felt more stressed in his entire life. but the customers are understanding and whenever woohyun apologise for taking too long to serve them, they smile and say "it's okay, it must be awfully busy with sunggyu gone and everything." sunggyu isn't 'gone', it sounds morbid – gone. he's just off to the festival, he's not gone. woohyun smiles anyway and thanks them for their patience. he tries not to notice the absence of brushing arms, smiling eyes and caramel-coloured hair.
the second day without sunggyu is exciting. woohyun wakes up pouting because of how cold he feels. he greets the townspeople who'd greet sunggyu as he walks through the market. they tilt their heads and ask "sunggyu's not back yet?" and woohyun replies with a patient smile and "he'll be back the day after tomorrow." and when he says that, his heart flutters with excitement. he tries hard not to notice the absence of small waves, gentle touches and soft kisses.
the third day without sunggyu is horrible. because all woohyun can think about is sunggyu coming home sunggyu coming home sunggyu coming home. tomorrow, sunggyu's coming home tomorrow. his heart doesn't stop hammering against his chest because sunggyu is coming home. he drops things, charges customers wrongly and he thinks about sunggyu's coming home home home. the customers smile at him when they say "sunggyu's coming home tomorrow, isn't he?" and woohyun breaks into a huge grin and say "yes, he is." it takes woohyun everything not to fly off just to pick sunggyu up from the other town.
but sunggyu doesn't appear the next day. maybe not in the morning. what time did sunggyu say he'll be back? woohyun tries not to be worried. he prepares a cup of coffee for sunggyu and waits for sunggyu to burst through the door. when it's time to go for work, he throws the coffee out and wishes sunggyu will be back soon.
the whole day at work, woohyun watches the door for sunggyu. the customers notice how distracted woohyun is. "he's not back yet?" they ask. woohyun shakes his head "but i'm sure he'll be back soon." but he doesn't come in to the bakery that day.
woohyun's worry worsens when he finds the house empty of kim sunggyu. he searches every room, waits for sunggyu until 3 in the morning. but no. the clock continues ticking on. woohyun wishes time would go slower, slower because sunggyu isn't back yet.
and he sleeps right there at the table in the kitchen, hoping he'll wake up to a blanket around his shoulders and the scent of sunggyu in the air.
it's the fifth day of sunggyu's absence and woohyun can't take it.
he's a nervous wreck, hands trembling, legs shaking, breath shallow. he can't work like this. sunggyu said he'd back in three days unless he had died. and the very thought is terrifying. he can't work in this state, worrying about sunggyu, watching the door, watching the clock. so he skips breakfast, grabs his broomstick from the storage room and takes off right in front of the flat.
he just has to find sunggyu.
woohyun finds sunggyu after a day. he finds sunggyu in a tiny village that only uses oil lamps and has almost zero connection to the outside world. he finds sunggyu lying in bed, shivering under a thin sheet for a blanket, in a run-down inn with creaking floorboards and leaking ceilings. woohyun stumbles over to sunggyu and collapses onto him in relief, peppering kisses all over sunggyu's face – his nose, his ear, his eyes, his lips again and again and again. sunggyu yelps and struggles at first. but he realizes it's woohyun sobbing into shirt and it's woohyun holding him tightly, it's woohyun whimpering and begging for him to never leave again.
"you could've called." woohyun deadpans as they pack sunggyu's clothes into his backpack.
"i tried but the only phone in the town is down. there was a storm and-"
"you could have sent a letter."
"i did but there was a storm and-"
"you know," woohyun pulls sunggyu to him, arm around his waist. "forget it. you're safe and we're going home. that's all that matters." he grins and kisses sunggyu.
sunggyu rolls his eyes. "i wish you'd stop being so cheesy. i can take care of myself. i'm sorry i made you worried but really, woohyun. did you drive here?"
"of course not, i flew here."
sunggyu freezes, pushes woohyun away. "you flew here?"
"yeah." woohyun shrugs. "it's no big deal. this will be the only time, i swear. it was an emergency and flying is faster than driving."
"did anyone see you?"
"i don't know." woohyun shrugs again. he tries to pull sunggyu back to him. "it's okay, darling, it's not like i was trying to kill them with my flying or anything."
"it's okay." he kisses sunggyu's mouth shut.
but it's not okay.
when they reach home, woohyun landing softly on the ground again, their flat has been boarded up. and when they go to the bakery, the bakery has been burned. sunggyu is trembling with anger, tears prick his eyes. he turns to woohyun. the townspeople have gathered around them in a semi-circle. they're holding stones in their hands.
"witch, you've fooled us long enough." someone pulls sunggyu into the growing semi-circle, leaving woohyun alone in front of the broken glass window of the bakery.
sunggyu tires to fight off the person's grip. "it's fine, woohyun is about to leave-" his pulse races.
"he's a witch, don't address him so affectionately!" someone throws the first stone at woohyun. "flying witches are the worst!" the stone hits woohyun's arm with a loud 'thwack'.
the stones keep flying towards woohyun. woohyun seems used to it, head down and arms up to protect his head. he doesn't shout out, doesn't beg for them to stop. he just stands there, gripping his broomstick and hiding his face.
and sunggyu realizes why woohyun left three years ago and three years before that.
woohyun is used to being stoned, first time being six years ago. they were kids when they first met, woohyun had crashed through sunggyu's window. sunggyu's parents didn't rush in because they weren't home or they didn't care, sunggyu wasn't sure which. woohyun had cuts and bruises everywhere and he looked terrified, he was shaking and shaking and he couldn't stop. he was crying, nose runny, tears still running. sunggyu didn't touch him but his wails got louder and he was backing away, apologizing for everything but nothing that was his fault. he only stopped when sunggyu started crying because he was a kid (they both were) and someone just crashed into his bedroom and everything was confusing and he was tired and woohyun was too damn loud.
they stopped crying when woohyun got tired. then sunggyu crawled to him and put his arm around him and they fell asleep on the rug. the next day, woohyun was gone but he remembered talking to woohyun, asking where woohyun was from, was woohyun a witch, why was he crying? and he remembered woohyun's words to him before they fell asleep i'll bring you anywhere.
the first time, he left because he was a child but he knew if he stayed, sunggyu would be in trouble.
the second time he was stoned was three years later. he had crashed into sunggyu's bedroom again but sunggyu didn't cry this time. he just stared and he smiled. and his parents came into his room because they were home this time or they thought sunggyu was trying to run away again. woohyun decided to stay, thought it was safe. he wanted to stay by sunggyu's side this time. he reminded sunggyu of his promise. he kept to it. and then sunggyu said he'd go anywhere with woohyun and woohyun was so happy.
but someone got unhappy, he wasn't sure who it was. and sunggyu didn't know about it but they threw stones at woohyun. he's a flyer, disgusting. flyers are disgusting. because 'a rolling stone gathers no moss', it means they have all the freedom they want. and it's unfair because everyone wants that freedom and if everyone can't have that freedom then witches shouldn't to. but yet woohyun does. he has so much of it. and they hate him for it. so the family of witches leave because they decide they can't live in such a hostile town, woohyun getting stoned was the breaking point.
the second time, he left because he knew sunggyu couldn't possibly lead the life he led in the clouds, never getting down, never stopping, never holding on.
woohyun lowers his arm enough to catch sunggyu's desperate eyes. he gives sunggyu a sad smile and he mounts his broomstick. the stones get infinitely stronger against his bruised skin. sunggyu's screaming something but his screams mix with the other angry screams. and woohyun can't take it. he mouths to sunggyu i love you. and that's when sunggyu breaks from the crowd. he has scratches on his arms from the people who tried to hold him back. he throws his arms around woohyun and the stones lessen but still hit sunggyu's back. woohyun shouts at him to go back, you're hurting!
sunggyu cries and whispers "i want to go wherever you go."
the wind whistles. sunggyu holds on tight.
the wind blows. sunggyu holds on tighter.
the wind kisses their skin and brushes the hair out of their eyes. sunggyu rests his cheek against woohyun's back and he smiles. he smiles even though woohyun can't see him. he smiles for the wind to carry it back to his hometown to say 'thank you'.
sunggyu starts to cry softly. he closes his eyes and he feels the tears slip through, he feels tears wet his cheeks and he opens them to watch the crystals fly away with the wind. maybe the wind will bring his tears back to his hometown to say 'but i'm leaving now'. woohyun feels the tears on his back. he smiles even though sunggyu can't see him.
they're silent. but the promises can never be louder.
'a rolling stone gathers no moss' they fly and fly and they don't stop. woohyun had nothing to hold on to except sunggyu and sunggyu's not letting go.
- fin -