"So… a bit more info on the 'Natural user' thing and the fact that you referenced what seems to be some kind of goddess?" Jihan says, the reality of the situation pressing in on him. He exhales and allows his eyes to stray above Seonil's head and then he chokes on his spit.
"YOU'RE LEVEL 25?!" He exclaimed loudly, making his friend startle violently out of his giggle fit.
"What? Didn't you know what level I was already? I doubt it changed since earlier?" Seonil said confusedly; Jihan sat up and flailed his arms wildly prompting the martial artist to level himself upright as well.
"I was trying very hard not to look at anyone's levels, dude! I didn't want any more confirmation of my apparent insanity." Seonil grimaced before letting out the question that had been tossing around in his head.
"If you didn't think I had a high level, why did you tell me about your ability? Wouldn't it have been better to tell your mother or something?" His voice was tentative as he let out the question, Seonil's eyes fixed on Jihan's face. There was a second of silence before Jihan met his gaze.
"I told you because I trust you? Why else would I tell you?" Seonil let out a small strangled noise and bit his lip, arms coming to circle Jihan's shoulders. Jihan huffs fondly and runs a hand through Seonil's hair, pleased with the sudden feeling of safeness that contact with his friend gave him.
"I will never betray your trust." Seonil's voice held the strength of his conviction and it made Jihan feel warm, "Thank you for being my friend. Thank you." Jihan slipped his own arms around his friend as he tried to reassure him that unlike so many others, he didn't care that Seonil was better than him in everything, he wasn't going to just abandon him.
"Seonil… you don't need to thank me, seriously. I get more out of this friendship than you do anyway, I mean you are literally the only person I trust. If I didn't have you I would probably have a lot more problems than just abandonment issues and anxiety." Jihan's voice was steady but vulnerable and Seonil had to resist the urge to tell him just how wrong he was, just how much Jihan had saved him, just how many times the only thing between him and insanity was the thought of Jihan.
"I will always thank you, even if I stop verbally repeating it. You have done more for me than you will ever know." The brunette stares at Seonil quizzically.
"Like, that wasn't a confusing statement at all. Please continue to be strange and cryptic, it is clearly what I need right now." Jihan deadpans to Seonil's obvious amusement. The martial artist's face was scrunched up in the way it got sometimes when Jihan did something stupid or funny.
I love you.
"It doesn't matter. You wanted to know more about the Abyss?" Seonil changed the topic as he untangled himself from Jihan, the pang of longing lingering in his chest is ignored as always. Jihan's eyebrows knitted together before realisation struck.
"Is the abyss the name for people with superpowers? And now that I think about it abyss usually have a pretty negative connotation like Tartarus etc. and… holy fuck what have I gotten myself into?!" Jihan's good mood drained away as he realised that there would be others. Other people who have powers like his and if their world was named something often equated with black holes and the underworld, it didn't say good things about the type of people in it.
"Jihan are you okay?" Seonil said tentatively, knowing that his friend was probably putting two-and-two together in the way that only Jihan could.
"Um?" Jihan's voice was high and breathy, "Probably? You being here helps a lot; definitely." Seonil grimaced even as a little part of him preens at the acknowledgment of his ability to soothe his friend.
"I'm guessing that you just realised that the Abyss is essentially a superpowered criminal underworld?" Jihan nodded, feeling mildly nauseous. "Well, quick summary; Natural Ability users like you, are fairly rare in the Abyss; Acquired Ability users like me and my family, make up the rest of the population excluding the people with no abilities; Not everyone's an asshole," Jihan snorted derisively, "my family's guild is called Chunbumoon and we police this area along with the Yeon Hon guild; by police I mean we make sure that the murder, mayhem, and slavery is kept as low as we can humanly get it."
Jihan let out a low scared noise and started to curl in on himself, making Seonil swallow compulsively at the idea that he could be scared of him. He opened his mouth to ask before forcing it closed; Seonil would undoubtedly dislike the answer. He watched as Jihan took a deep breath and clenched his fists.
"I-," there is a heavy silence, "I will be okay! Yes! I have no choice but to deal with this, so worrying will do me no good. I have you and I will be okay!" Seonil's eyes widened as he stared at his friend's determined eyes. Jihan had always been like this; he acknowledged when he couldn't fight something, and he just ran with it to the best of his abilities. It was one of Jihan's best traits.
"Besides, what's the worst that could happen?" Seonil's smile became forced and he tried not to think of all the horrific things that could happen.
"Jihan?" Seonil started to ask, "Could you please not jinx yourself within the first 24hours of being in the Abyss, thanks." Jihan scoffed at his passive-aggressive jab.
"I'll try; anyway, the toilet still where it used to be?" He had been here relatively recently, but it never hurt to be sure with Seonil's family's everchanging complex.
"Nope, we switched the rooms around again. Down the hall, turn right, 5th door on the left." The martial artist recited, amused by how used to his family's antics, Jihan was.
"I will never understand why you can't keep the toilet in the same place each time; doesn't plumbing cost a fortune?" Seonil snickers.
"Magic, Jihan. Magic!" At Jihan's snort, Seonil kicked the idiot off the bed to theatrical squawks of 'abuse, abuse'. He watched Jihan leave and as the door swung shut it occurred to him that he'd slept with Jihan. He had slept in the same bed as Jihan! They had been spooning when he woke up!
Seonil very slowly turns to the bed and grabs a pillow, thankful that the rooms all had sound dampening seals on them.
Taking a deep breath, it occurred to him just how fucked he was. He was so doomed.
Jihan plodded along the hallways trying to remember exactly what Seonil had told him. 'End of the hall, turn left? No right! And the door was on the left somewhere?'
"Looking for something?" Comes from just behind him and he jumps at least a foot in the air.
"Holy fu-dgesickles Seyoung! What is it with you guys and silent creepiness?" Seyoung smirks.
"It's in our blood. Heard you got an ability?" Jihan sighed and grimaced.
"Looks like it apparently-" Jihan barely gets his sentence out before a hand grasps his throat and slams him into the wall, squeezing tight.
"It's cute you thought that would fool us. Where is Jihan and what did you do to him?" He scrabbles at her arms, nails scraping ineffectually. Seyoung was strangling him.
Seyoung was strangling him!
His breaths were coming in increasingly laboured whistles as the hand around his throat tightened. He was scared. Where was Seonil? Why was Seyoung hurting him?
"Ha, the civilian act isn't going to work on me. You may have exploited Seonil's weakness for all things Jihan, but you need to cough up the answers right now!" His head was spinning and he could barely hear his strangler over the blood slamming through his eardrums. Seyoung let out an annoyed noise like he should be able to answer her when he couldn't even draw breath; her hand gripped tighter.
He hurt so much.
He couldn't breathe.
Loud gasping rattles were all he could hear as the hand released him and he crashed to the ground. He hurt so much. He needed to cough. ohgodItHurtsItHurtsItHurts!
He nearly screamed when something touched his neck. Why wasn't he screaming already? Could he scream, physically?
Something snapped back into place and he did scream; an awful rattling wail of agony. Guess that answers that question.
His mind swam as he tried to process what had just happened, what was still happening. His cheeks were cold with tears but he could breathe somewhat now.
He was scared.
What did he do wrong?
Why did Seyoung try to kill him?
He blinks and he's in someone's arms; Seonil's arms. Seonil.
His arms curl into fists around handfuls of Seonil's shirt and he sobs. He still hurts, even if not as much, and someone who he had known and had been almost friends with had tried to kill him.
Oh god, he almost died.
His sobs echo loud in his ears and he clings to Seonil in desperation.
Please don't leave me. I'm scared. Seonil.
"It'll be alright." Rumbles against him, Seonil's voice reverberating with protectiveness and anger. "I'll protect you. She will never touch you again. I would kill her, rip her to pieces while she's still alive and feed her her body parts."
Jihan had never heard his friend this angry before. He should be scared of him… but… instead, he just curled into Seonil's chest. Seonil would never hurt him; he might leave him but Jihan knew that Seonil would rather die than hurt him.
Seonil'd said so himself.
And Jihan trusted Seonil.
His body shook violently and he realised he was shivering. He was really cold and his skin seemed sweaty. Why was he sweaty if he was cold?
"I'm going to lay you down now." Panic pulsed through him as he tried to keep hold of Seonil; his hands were grey, why were his hands grey?
Despite his attempts to stay in Seonil's arms, he was rested against the wood on the floor. Seonil grabbed his legs and put them on the edge of the bed. Jihan was so confused. He was also still cold, the wood was cold and he was cold.
"C-col-ld" he said through the shivers.
"I know, just give me a second. I have a heated blanket in the closet." He wanted Seonil, he felt nauseous.
He started to gag and arms tilted him sideways. He hated vomiting, it was gross, better than nausea though. His neck throbbed with the agitation.
Something rubbed at his face and he realised that Seonil was wiping the vomit from his face. Ew. The cloth rubbing at his face was removed and something fluffy was pressed against him.
It warmed up.
"urr the besht Seonl!" Jihan slurred against Seonil's arm. The heated blanket was literally heaven. Would that make Seonil a saint? Christianity probably didn't work like that but… Saint Seonil.
He giggled a little.
"Do you feel better?" Seonil's voice was concerned, Jihan giggled at him.
"I feel less icky Seonil!" A hand flattened against his forehead and another cradled his body in the blanket.
"Well, at least you're not shivering? I'll have to ask grandfather to check-up on you, I've never treated shock before… Jihan, I'm sorry I didn't protect you. I will do better from now on." Jihan snugged against Seonil as much as he could with his legs still on the bed.
"S'okay, I believe you," Jihan said quietly before his eyes drifted shut. Was Seonil meant to keep him awake? Crap, he had no clue!
"Leave the medical knowledge to me, foolish boy. You have done decently so far, keep him company and calm." Seonil relaxed, his grandfather healed Jihan's throat before he'd run off with him, his grandfather could fix Jihan now.
"Okay." He murmured and rested his head to Jihan's forehead.
This didn't paint a good picture of Jihan's future in the Abyss.
He still wanted to murder his cousin though.
Sup, was this chap confusing/moving too fast? For those who didn't get it, Seyoung strangled Jihan assuming he was a random imitating himself. Because Jihan is like, what, level 3 right now, Seyoung managed to crush his windpipe like an egg which made her realise that 'oh fuck I just killed Seonil's boyfriend'. Ninja-gramps showed up and un-crushed Jihan's windpipe before Jihan was stolen by an extremely murderous Seonil. Jihan then went into shock from, like, trauma and shit, and was a bit dopey.
Anyway… thoughts on the chapter? Things you want to see more of?
Also, does anyone want to beta this? Like, I've never had a beta before so I don't know exactly the job description, but I want someone to bounce ideas off of and to pick up on the stupid little mistakes I might make when 'in the flow'.