“Unnie!” Jonghyun looked up to see Krystal coming back into the ring. “Where is Kibum oppa?”
“He’s not asleep?” Victoria asked. Krystal shook her head.
“His window was open, though…” she mumbled. Jonghyun’s breath caught in his throat.
“He isn’t anywhere?” Amber asked. Krystal shook her head. “Agh, so that dummy’s really gone, then…”
“What do you mean?” Jonghyun asked, panicked.
“He left the grounds,” Amber told him. “Do you want to go look for him?”
“Yes,” Jonghyun answered without thinking.
“Then the two humans will go,” Amber agreed.
“Be careful,” Victoria told her. “Don’t you dare get hurt.”
“We won’t,” Amber told her, standing up. “Let’s go, Jonghyun.” Jonghyun followed her without hesitation. Apparently it was late now, because as they carefully left the boarded up tent, Amber kicked a rock into the distance, and it didn’t stop. The barrier was gone. She gestured for Jonghyun to follow, and they walked down the path from the tent. Once they left the general area, the night sky became more relaxed. It wasn’t nearly as frightening as before. In fact, Jonghyun felt a nostalgic sort of breeze in the air.
This was the air he had breathed for his entire life.
In the back of his mind, Jonghyun knew it would be hilariously easy to make a break for it. He could find his hometown, eat all the non-poisoned food he wanted, and live a normal life. But something else had his attention now. If he couldn’t find Kibum, he couldn’t live with abandoning him.
Would that push Kibum to hurt himself the way Victoria supposedly had? The thought was unbearable.
Amber and Jonghyun walked until they reached a nearby town. Well, Jonghyun had insisted they fast-walked. This town must have been on the opposite route from his own, as he didn’t recognize the road there. But the town had similar buildings to those from his own.
“How do you know he’s here?” Jonghyun asked as they passed the first set of buildings.
“He’s come here before on his own,” Amber answered. “We should spilt up.”
“It’s night time,” Jonghyun reminded her. “Isn’t that a little dangerous?” Amber looked at him and smiled.
“When you work at the circus, nothing should faze you. Consider this training.” Jonghyun huffed, and Amber waved him off towards the middle of the town, where she took a less out-in-the open route. Every rock rolling around on the cobblestone set Jonghyun off. He came to realize that he was less comfortable in a sleeping town than a circus that was more than likely cursed. He tried to shake the thought off.
It took about twenty minutes of searching before Jonghyun was sure he had scanned the entire town. Finally, he came across the church, indicated by a steeple topped with a cross. A small whimpering came from the roofing behind the tall steeple, and Jonghyun circled the building to get a better look.
A figure stood on a foothold on the backside of the steeple. As soon as the tail poked out, Jonghyun knew it was Kibum. He found a ladder against the wall, and climbed it to the roof. The roof was gabled and slippery, but Jonghyun was determined to get Kibum down from the height he was at.
“Kibum!” He shouted. Kibum whipped around, almost teetering right off of the roof. “Hey, come down!”
Kibum didn’t respond. Jonghyun watched his feet shuffle closer to the edge. Panicked, he took a running start and jumped up, grabbing Kibum’s shoe and pulling him down to the roof. Kibum yelped, and the two went tumbling when they hit the shingles. Jonghyun only had the sense to stick his foot out, catching the gutter and stopping them from falling right off the side of the building. While he was disoriented, Kibum wriggled from Jonghyun’s grasp and scrambled up the sloped roof. Jonghyun got to his feet and pinned him down at the top of the gable. Kibum kicked and thrashed, but Jonghyun didn’t let up.
“Were you trying to jump or something?!” Jonghyun shouted. Kibum was breathing heavily, seething.
“So what if I was?” He spat.
“Why?!” Jonghyun asked, upset that he would even consider it. “Because I touched your hand?!” Kibum scrunched up his nose.
“Yes!” He retorted. “Stop doing things like that! It’s all lies!”
“It is not!” Jonghyun told him.
“Yes it is!” Kibum hissed. “You called it courtesy! You know what I call that? Going after the insecure person because he’s easy!” Jonghyun felt his stomach twist up in knots. That’s what Kibum had mistaken it for?
“That’s complete crap!” Jonghyun shouted. “I never did that! I genuinely gave a damn about you!”
“Shut up!” Kibum yelled, tears welling in his eyes. “I’ll kill you! I-I… “ He closed his eyes to hide the obvious crying. Jonghyun’s heart returned to its position in the familiar vice grip. He wanted to kiss Kibum’s lips into a smile. He wanted to hold him until he stopped crying. But instead, he moved himself off of the cat boy. If Kibum thought he was being sought because he was ‘easy,’ then Jonghyun needed to leave him alone. Kibum moved his freed hands to his face and sobbed into them, not getting up from the roof. Jonghyun, once again, forced himself to watch. He forced himself to feel every tear that Kibum shed.
Once he stopped, Jonghyun convinced Kibum to come off the roof without jumping. He offered his hand to help, but Kibum pushed it away. Amber ran into them, and didn’t question what had happened. Kibum walked ahead of the humans, and they went home in silence.
Jonghyun’s heart didn’t leave the vice.
Ooohsnap :O This chapter actually takes place outside of the circus... weird stuff. XD
Thank you for your amazing comments so far! <3 <3 <3
Stay tuned for chapter 25! I'm assuming this fic will be longer than 'Proof!' Exciting! :D
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