Word Count: 2152w
Summary: As sure as the sun rises with every break of dawn, Sanghyuk comes back home to Taekwoon.
A/N: written at 1 am under too much stress. finally finished this wip of underground street fighter kitten hybrid sanghyuk ;;;;;; i so far cannot believe ive written over 3k in the last two days alone that might be my record tbh
Sanghyuk stumbles against the side of a brick building, hardly wincing as his arm scrapes across the gritty brick. He shivers, drenched from ears to tail by the pouring rain thundering against the concrete pavement. His vision sways with a bout of dizziness, pressing himself harder into the brick wall. He hardly feels the cold sinking into his bones or the bruises on his face stinging with the pelting rain because the gash in his side has him clenching his eyes shut, the searing pain almost bringing him to his knees.
The crumpled bills in his pocket makes it feel more like a loss, even though he’d won the fight.
With a grunt, he forces himself off the wall and continues the seemingly endless trudge through the neighborhood. Half the streetlights don’t work, the other half flicker over his head when he steadies himself against the cold metal when his vision becomes fuzzy. Even though it’s three in the morning and his mind is still swimming in thoughts of the fighting pit, he knows his way through this neighborhood blind. He’s walked these crumbling sidewalks many times.
Maybe Taekwoon would be upset with him this time- he’d promised Taekwoon he’d stop fighting so often- but he’s in too much pain to feel the guilt swirling poisonously in his stomach.
By the time he stumbles out of the rain and into Taekwoon’s apartment building, the only reminder about the gash in his side is the dull throbbing against his bloody palm. He shivers as he steps into the warm elevator. The feeling of sneezing makes his lungs hurt, and so he steps quickly out of the elevator and walks faster towards Taekwoon’s apartment. He doesn’t bother knocking because Taekwoon always leaves his spare key tucked under the empty flower pot decorating his front door.
Sanghyuk hisses, having to bend down to grab the key and every bone in his body protests him moving at all, but his black tail is swinging wildly behind him at the prospect of Taekwoon’s warm apartment.
When he shuts the door behind him, carefully tiptoeing into the living room as thunder cracks outside, he isn’t surprised to see Taekwoon awake. He’s nursing a steaming cup of tea- chamomile, Sanghyuk absently notices. His eyes are sharp in the dark as he watches Sanghyuk struggle with his tattered sneakers and stumble into the hallway. He can’t sleep again. Maybe if Sanghyuk hadn’t come, he wouldn’t have slept at all.
Sanghyuk is all too happy for the warmth that hits him that he feels a purr rumble in his chest. He collapses against the windowsill in the living room closest to the heater, leaning heavily on the window. He’s vaguely aware that he might have dripped blood over the hardwood floors, and Taekwoon would definitely have something to say about that come morning, but the warmth returning to his freezing ears and tail distracts him from the thought of how much blood has dripped past his hand.
Taekwoon moves swiftly through his own home and is by Sanghyuk’s side by the time he blinks. The mug is gone from his hands and his palms are instead dwarfed by the dark blue sweater Sanghyuk had bought him for his birthday. Gentle fingertips press at the bruises on his face and the scratches on his arms, gauging how bad the injuries are this time by how much Sanghyuk hisses. Taekwoon doesn’t make a sound as he peels Sanghyuk’s hand from his side, warm fingers shocking his cold, bloody ones, and sees just how deep the gash runs.
“The other hybrid cheated,” Sanghyuk grits out, vision blurring for a moment when he notices Taekwoon’s pale fingers colored with his blood. Taekwoon looks up with an unreadable, stoic expression. Sanghyuk can never be sure what Taekwoon is thinking. “I still won.”
Taekwoon sighs and disappears quietly from his sight. He returns moments later with a plastic chair that he unfolds by the heater and leads Sanghyuk to sit on. He disappears again, and Sanghyuk can hear the dryer start and a cabinet open above it. Taekwoon returns with a first aid kit, freshly restocked since the last time Sanghyuk had dropped by beaten up.
“It’s a pretty deep gash,” Taekwoon murmurs, easily picking out the roll of gauze and the small bottle of hydrogen peroxide. “You should’ve gone to the emergency room as a precaution.”
But Taekwoon knows that Sanghyuk wouldn’t go to a hospital even if he was halfway dead after a fight. Underground fighting was illegal and the small clinics wouldn’t be able to treat hybrids like Sanghyuk. However, saying it makes him feel a little better.
The rain patters softly outside as Sanghyuk slides out of his freezing, drenched shirt, dropping it on the floor by the heater with a heavy plop. His muscles ache as he settles back, head knocking back against the wall behind him. He winds his black tail around Taekwoon’s ankle in silent comfort for both of them.
Taekwoon works efficiently, apologizing softly when Sanghyuk hisses from the cotton rounds drenched in hydrogen peroxide pressed into the wound. He quickly cleans the gash, tossing away the bloody cotton rounds before wrapping the gauze around Sanghyuk’s waist tightly. Sanghyuk groans pitifully, whining about how tight it is, but Taekwoon secures it down and lightly bats Sanghyuk’s knee to tell him to stop whining.
Sanghyuk eventually drifts away into his own thoughts, only brought back to the present when Taekwoon presses particularly hard into a fresh bruise. He doesn’t really live here because hybrids aren’t allowed to live here, but the landlady’s daughter had made an exception for him when he was caught sneaking in one night after a bad fight. Taekwoon works a boring day job in a data security business, spending eight hours a day coding security patches and analyzing firewalls and security breaches for businesses. He comes home and cooks when he feels like it, but his exhaustion from the day doesn’t easily bring him sleep. Sanghyuk has known Taekwoon for a little over a year but he has never pried why Taekwoon can’t sleep. Sometimes he gets glimpses of it- when he happens to be home and Taekwoon kisses him breathless to erase his anxious thoughts and fucks him hard to expend the nervous energy brewing in his chest. But Sanghyuk doesn’t pry; he has his own secrets to keep too.
Sanghyuk has been fighting underground since he was a teenager- since he’d realized just how unfavorably the world looked upon hybrids. Street fighting was a way to make money, and though Sanghyuk was a lanky teen when he got into his first fight, he quickly learned to fight back as he filled into his tall body and developed lean muscle. The money was enough to keep him living, to help pay rent in his crumbling apartment with three other hybrids and to feed all four of them. The money kept him living long enough to keep bumping into Taekwoon, to keep coming back to Taekwoon’s apartment, to keep him fighting until he found his way into Taekwoon’s arms- the closest thing to what a home must feel like.
He startles as Taekwoon accidentally brushes against his torn right ear. The apology is written in his gaze and he scratches behind Sanghyuk’s ear softly. Taekwoon smiles gently hearing a soft purr rumbling from Sanghyuk’s chest.
The dryer beeps, the noise louder than the lightning crackling outside. Taekwoon stands up and takes Sanghyuk’s hand in his, slotting their warm palms together and locking their fingers. Sanghyuk moves slowly, wary of the bandage around his waist. He untangles his tail from Taekwoon’s ankle only to wrap it around his thigh instead and pulling them closer. If Taekwoon minds the feeling of Sanghyuk’s drenched jeans pressed to his thigh, he doesn’t say anything.
He pulls out a fresh set of clothes from the dryer and a bunch of fluffy bath towels. Sanghyuk eagerly strips out of his wet pants and briefs and into warm shorts and one of Taekwoon’s sweaters. His ears flicker happily atop his head as Taekwoon sets a warm towel over them and dries his hair. Sanghyuk takes another towel and unwinds his tail from Taekwoon’s thigh long enough to dry it off. Taekwoon smiles softly as he drapes the towel over his head and pulls him closer by it. His eyes are twinkling brightly in the dark, tongue poking out teasingly from between his lips as he watches Sanghyuk shudder under his gaze.
The distance between their lips is hardly enough space for a breath, and Sanghyuk lets Taekwoon pull him forward, shrink the space between them until they are pressed flush against each other. Sanghyuk’s palms settle on Taekwoon’s waist, his tail trembling where it’s encircled around Taekwoon’s thigh. Taekwoon’s hands are tangled in Sanghyuk’s hair, carding through it gently as he licks at the seam of his lips. Sanghyuk moans quietly, tasting bitter tea on Taekwoon’s tongue.
“You promised me you were going to stop,” Taekwoon whispers against his lips, so quiet Sanghyuk almost doesn’t hear it. But he does, and he pulls away to look at Taekwoon seriously.
It’s one of the rare times Taekwoon ever voices his worries about Sanghyuk fighting underground. He doesn’t do it often because he knows Sanghyuk really is trying to get out of that life, especially since he’s recently secured a job washing dishes in a restaurant not far from here, but Sanghyuk realizes that Taekwoon must have been especially worried this time. Sanghyuk feels the guilt once again settle heavily in his chest; Taekwoon has his own anxious thoughts to deal with and doesn’t need to add more about Sanghyuk’s well being.
“I’m sorry,” he replies, dropping his forehead to Taekwoon’s shoulder. Taekwoon runs his fingers behind his ears, gently caressing his torn one. “Hongbin got sick again and I was just trying to help out Wonshik and Jaehwan with the sudden expenses.”
Taekwoon hums softly in understanding. “You don’t have to say anymore,” he says, hearing the subtle change in Sanghyuk’s voice as he chokes around his words. “I’ll tell Hakyeon in the morning to drop by when he’s got time to check up on all of you. I don’t know if just wrapping your wound in bandages will be enough.”
“Thank you,” Sanghyuk whispers. His eyes droop sleepily as he presses a soft kiss to Taekwoon’s neck. Taekwoon takes both his hands in his, caressing his bruised knuckles gently, and leads them both off to bed.
Taekwoon’s room is small and there’s hardly enough space for the bed. It’s quite frankly too small for Taekwoon, and therefore too small for the both of them to share, but they make it work anyway. Taekwoon presses himself close to Sanghyuk’s chest, wary of his wound and his bruises as he curls up against him. Sanghyuk presses Taekwoon even closer, bringing his head to rest on his chest so he can card through his hair. Taekwoon leans up to kiss him, breath hitching as Sanghyuk licks into his mouth and kisses him breathless. His palm presses to Sanghyuk’s chest, heartbeat warm and steady against his hand, and something about it brings Taekwoon to relax.
When Sanghyuk wakes up again, his sore muscles and bruises scattered over his body pulling him from sleep with a dull sting, he looks down to find Taekwoon peacefully asleep. The beginning of dawn’s light have just begun filtering through the blinds, bathing the room in soft, warm light. Under the light of dawn, Sanghyuk can see the worried furrow between Taekwoon’s brows and the fist that’s clenched in the front of his shirt. Taekwoon doesn’t stir as Sanghyuk shifts against him, not even making a sound as Sanghyuk groans from feeling the wound pull beneath the bandages. He settles back, eye level with Taekwoon and tail wrapping comfortingly around his waist.
Taekwoon will have to get up and leave for work soon and Sanghyuk will have to leave soon after to run home before work to grab his uniform. Wonshik and Hongbin will be worried about him, Jaehwan will just smile as they walk off to work together, and Hakyeon will chastise him about his injuries and will fret about Hongbin. The day will pass as if they were two planets running in opposite orbits, living separate lives that wouldn’t normally cross paths. But the sun will set and Sanghyuk will come home to Taekwoon’s embrace.
Maybe when he does come back home again, Taekwoon won’t have to nurse his injuries. Maybe when exhaustion hits them, Taekwoon will be able to sleep without his thoughts keeping him up. And maybe he’ll sleep by Taekwoon’s side straight through morning’s light without a worry waking either of them up.
As sure as the sun rises with every break of dawn, Sanghyuk comes back home to Taekwoon. Maybe, someday, he won’t have to leave.