Chapter 1: Literal Fireflies
Fast asleep, Hakyeon was having dreams that he was running through the streets of his home town while a giant sugar glider flew above him, dropping large candies down at him like delicious but deadly projectiles. Dodging and weaving, he went to hide inside some kind of weird cafe that was somehow both 2D and 3D at the same time. Just as a giant lollipop blocked his exit from the shop, he began to smell smoke and a loud noise began to swell, like a beeping…
Waking up coughing, he found himself lifted over someone’s shoulder, the shrill sound of the fire alarm blaring through the hazy air. Confused and tired, he held onto the man carrying him from the apartment as the glow of a fire could be seen at the other end of the hallway. Panic begin to fill him but a part of him honestly wasn’t sure if he was still dreaming or not.
“What the actual did you manage to do?!” A voice screeched when they exited the building into the street, firefighters already rushing by them in an attempt to save the apartment, or at the least, the building itself.
“I was making grilled cheese!” The reply came in an exasperated, defensive tone and, as Hakyeon was sat down on his feet, the man turned to him. “There was a fly in the kitchen!”
“Okay, Jaehwannie.” Yawning, he stretched and looked up at the building, noting that he couldn’t yet see flames through his bedroom window, which he hoped was a good sign. “Explain what happened.”
“He’s a ing idiot.” Their less than friendly roommate rolled his eyes and glared at the frazzled man with minor singe marks on his clothes.
“Don’t be a , Hongbin.” The man that had carried him out to the street crossed his arms over his chest and stepped between the two bickering people.
“Thanks, Wonshik.” Nodding in appreciation at the peace keeper, Hakyeon turned his attention back toward their friend. “So what happened?”
“I was making grilled cheese.” Jaehwan began, staring dramatically into the distance like an old man remembering his time at war. “I noticed the light seem to flicker a few times and shrugged it off because, you know, I’m sure ghosts like grilled cheese too. I don’t mind sharing. But then it came at me.”
“The fly?” Hakyeon watched Jaehwan curiously, cocking his head to the side slightly in wonder as he tried to figure out how a fly could possibly be more terrifying than a possible ghost.
“Yeah. It flew right into my eye and I panicked. I was batting it away and somehow I knocked a piece of bread onto the burner and didn’t notice. See, the fly was still attacking me.” As Jaehwan told his harrowing tale, he became more and more animated in his actions, bringing a giggle to Hakyeon’s lips. “And so I didn’t notice that the bread had burnt and burst into flames until smoke alarm went off and by then half the kitchen was on fire.”
“Wait.” Wonshik held a hand out, motioning for Jaehwan to stop his story. “Why did it take so long for the alarm to go off?”
“I don’t know. It wasn’t even the kitchen alarm that went off.” Jaehwan shrugged Hongbin let out a small, strained noise.
“What did you do?” Turning to the grumpy man who was now trying to hide a very nervous look, Hakyeon tapped his foot. Before he could get any answers from Hongbin, a firefighter approached their small little group.
“Excuse me?” The firefighter rubbed the back of his head like he was dreading telling them something and a knot of concern began to grow in Hakyeon’s stomach. If he had lost all of his junk he was going to be so pissed.
“Yeah?” Wonshik moved forward, putting an arm around Hakyeon’s shoulders, as he looked the firefighter over. “How’s our apartment?”
“The kitchen is a loss but everything else just has some smoke damage. It seems the kitchen alarm was deactivated.” Glancing at Hakyeon, the firefighter blushed and shrugged. “Your landlord will need fix the kitchen before it’s safe for all of you to return. I can allow you to gather some essentials but you can’t stay here until it’s remodeled.”
“.” Hongbin groaned, and shook his head. “Good job, Jaehwan.”
“And who was the one who shut off the kitchen alarm, Hongbin.” Hakyeon snapped, irritated at the treatment he was giving their sweet, accident prone friend. Their angry roommate crossed his arms over his chest, refusing to answer as he followed the firefighter into the apartment building. Giving Jaehwan a reassuring smile, Hakyeon allowed Wonshik to lead him back inside.
“Were are we going to sleep?” Sighing, Hakyeon tried not to breathe in the lingering smoke as he packed some clothes and other things he might need if he were to be away from home for an extended period of time.
“I don’t want to but…” Looking through his phone, Wonshik dialed a number and held the device to his ear, waiting only a moment before someone answered. “Yeah, well, I didn’t want to call you in the middle of the night either but I had to. Unless you’d rather Hakyeon sleep in the streets like a hobo. … Our apartment caught fire. … No. No he’s fine. I wouldn’t ever let something happen to him, you head. … Yeah we’re on our way… Yeah. All of us. Bye.”
“What was that all about?” Hakyeon questioned as Wonshik hung up the phone and lifted up their bags. “Where are we going?
“I’ll get Hongbin, you get Jaehwan.” Pausing a moment, Wonshik rubbed Hakyeon’s head gently to reassure him and gave him a soft smile. “Taekwoon said we can go stay with him and Hyuk. So don’t worry too much.” As they parted ways, Hakyeon found his way to Jaehwan’s room.
“Hakyeon…” His friend flung himself at him and Hakyeon embraced his emotional companion. “I’m so sorry! I really didn’t mean to catch the kitchen on fire. You must have been so scared!”
“Jae, it’s fine.” Doing his best to comfort his friend, he rubbed the man’s back and shoulders until he was calm enough to release him from his embrace. “I wasn’t scared. I think I was too tired and shocked to feel fear. And the firefighter told us that our stuff wasn’t really damaged before I could even process the possibility.”
“But Hongbin said we’re going to be homeless…” Sniffling, Jaehwan pouted at him and Hakyeon couldn’t help but pity him.
“No we’re fine.” Kissing Jaehwan’s cheek, he gave him a tight, encouraging hug. “Get your bag ready to go. We’re leaving for Taek and Hyuk’s in a minute.”
“I can come too?” Looking shocked, Jaehwan shoved some clothes in a bag and reached for his phone charger. “Even after I caught the apartment on fire?”
“Of course.” Giving Jaehwan a thumbs up, Hakyeon grinned devilishly. “I wouldn’t go without you and Taekwoon wouldn’t leave me on the streets so you’re good to go, Jae.” The two hugged again before Hongbin shouted at them to hurry up.
A half an hour later found them across town, entering a whole new apartment complex. As the door opened, a taller man pulled Hakyeon inside, looking him over meticulously in silence. A younger man excitedly ran up to kiss Hongbin before dragging Jaehwan off to his bedroom to watch anime together.
“Taekwoon, I’m okay.” Hakyeon chuckled as he hugged the man inspecting him for injury. “I promise. Wonshik got me out at soon as he was aware of the fire.”
“Good…” Shooting a glare at Wonshik, Taekwoon held on to Hakyeon. “You smell like smoke…”
“Oh man. I’m sorry it was impossible for me to protect him from that.” Growling, Wonshik pulled Hakyeon away, kissing him. Shaking his head, Hakyeon leaned against Wonshik, annoyed at the two men and their constant bickering for his attention.
“Come with me.” Taekwoon grabbed Hakyeon by the wrist and led him off to his bedroom. “Strip.”
“Wow, Taek. I mean, take a man out to dinner first.” Laughing, Hakyeon winked at the grumpy man only to receive a soft slap on the rear.
“You’re going to shower and wear my clothes.” Turning to go through his drawers, Taekwoon gestured with one hand toward his personal bathroom. “Go. Having that on your skin will make you sick.”
“No peeking~” Grinning, Hakyeon bounced into the bathroom, happy to get the stench of smoke out of his hair. It that his apartment would be out of order for… well… he didn’t know how long it would be under construction, but he was a little excited to get to spend time with all of his friends, and Hongbin, at the same time, like an extended sleepover.
“Hakyeon.” Taekwoon opened the door, causing Hakyeon to jump in surprise and scramble to cover his junk with a wash cloth. “Calm down. I was just bringing you some clothes.” Sitting a bundle on the counter, the man looked him over and smirked before he left, Hakyeon feeling flustered and embarrassed in his wake.
By the time he was clean and dressed in the slightly oversized clothes, Hakyeon was feeling sleepy all over again. With a yawn, he wandered out of the bedroom where everyone was appearing to get ready for bed, debating on their sleeping arrangements. Hongbin looked annoyed, as always, but Taekwoon and Wonshik were glaring murder at each other as well.
“Absolutely not.” Arms crossed over his chest, Taekwoon shook his head. “Hakyeon is not sleeping with you.”
“Oh and I suppose he just has to sleep with you?” Hands tightly curled into fists, Wonshik took a step toward the other man and Hakyeon sleepily interjected.
“I’ll just sleep with Jaehwan and Hyuk.” Shrugging, he stretched and stifled a yawn with his hand. “You two can sleep together.”
“Nobody’s sleeping with my boyfriend but me.” Hongbin hissed, holding poor Hyuk in a death grip. “Back off, Hakyeon.”
“I’m not trying to sleep with him, Hongbin.” Rolling his eyes, Hakyeon watched Hyuk in pity at his boyfriend’s jealousy.
“Hakyeon just showered, which none of you heathens have done yet. If he sleeps with you, he’ll smell like smoke again and it could damage his lungs.” Taekwoon reached out to grip Hakyeon’s wrist gently. “Hongbin, you sleep with Hyuk. Jaehwan, you and him can sleep on the futon in my office. Just don’t touch anything.” Without giving anyone a chance to argue, Taekwoon pulled Hakyeon back into the bedroom and locked the door.
“Hey, is the locked door really needed.” Yawning, Hakyeon happily crawled into bed, stretching out. He had shared a bed with Wonshik for years now, not having enough rooms in their apartment and it felt weird not to spend the rest of the night by his best friend’s side, but Hakyeon wasn’t hating sleeping beside Taekwoon either.
“I don’t trust Wonshik.” Taekwoon climbed into bed beside him and rubbed his cheek. “Just get some sleep.” Nodding, Hakyeon quickly obliged, feeling suddenly far too drained to stay awake any longer. The last thing he remembered was feeling Taekwoon pull him close and the start of another strange dream about an exploding cloud that rained confetti. He probably needed to eventually look into why his dreams were always so strange, but for the time being, he was just happy to be sleeping again.