Xhak - Patreon - Master
Jessica - Patreon - Initiate
Tessasgoat - Patreon - Apprentice
Selene S. - Patreon - Initiate
Ko-Fi Club - Xhak, Mieren, Jesteronimo, Crazy Cookie Lady, Kelly, Rhaelyant, Tom, Hstevens5, Notos, Cecil Azul, AriZo, Becca, Caitlyn
TW - Suicide attempt, graphic descriptions of mild gore, etc
A few hours later, Yuen came home and barely dropped his stuff in his room before he went straight to his dad’s office. “How’s Iahn?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, the man's eyes widened.
Yuen’s face slackened. “Oh, you swine.”
Yuen ran to Iahn’s room and as soon as he flung the door open, his heart stopped. Not again.
“Iahn!?” Yuen ran into the empty room, searching the covers hoping he was just buried but he isn’t that lucky. Yuen ran to the closet to check his hiding spot in the ceiling, but after climbing up, he wasn’t there either.
Yuen climbed back down and pulled out his phone but before he could message the group chat, his eyes caught on something on the nightstand.
Yuen snatched the paper off the bedside table and skimming the words almost sent him into a full-blown panic attack.
He knows exactly where Iahn is headed this time.
He “stole” his father’s car —taking the keys right in front of him and not being stopped isn’t exactly stealing— and with his lead foot, he turned a two-ish hour journey into just over an hour.
He doesn't care if he gets arrested for this, Iahn has a head start on him. He has to get there as soon as fucking possible, even if it winds up putting him in a car chase with the cops.
As soon as he had that thought, he immediately shook his head and drove just fast enough that he wouldn’t get pulled over. If he gets stopped by the cops, there’s every chance he won’t make it before Iahn does something drastic.
Yuen’s feet pounded the damp soil, crisp and cold as he ran through the creepy graveyard, eyes peeled for Iahn and couldn’t bring himself to care about disturbing the dead, but even as he neared Gill’s grave there was no sign of him.
Yuen cursed and ran back to the car that he’d accidentally left running in his haste.
He sped to the house and as soon as the keys were out of the ignition, he flung the door open and bolted for the front door. It didn’t even cross his mind that it might be locked before he was already inside, the door creaking and protesting the harsh treatment.
The living room was empty and the house still aside from Yuen’s harsh breaths. He barely remembered to fling the door closed behind him as he searched the house calling, “Iahn?” He searched everywhere, from Gill’s room to the art room, to what looked like Iahn’s room — not even half the size of his current one but this one felt far more lived-in and like it belonged to someone, to the kitchen, but he wasn’t there. He wasn’t anywhere.
Yuen felt like he was going to throw up as he hesitated to search the bathroom, but to his relief, there was nothing there. No smell of blood or sound of running water, no Iahn.
Yuen stood in the kitchen, leaning his palms against the counter, dropping his head before he pushed off it and started pacing.
‘Think. Think. Where else would he go? His friends’ places? I don’t know where—’ Yuen paused as his eyes caught on the backdoor.
There was no distinct thought or conscious decision made before he opened it and stepped onto the back porch, more of a jumbled mess of hope and what-ifs.
It was just like the last time he was here. If someone were to ask, he couldn’t tell them how he got up the ladder so fast but when he reached the top, he stopped like he had run smack into an invisible door.
The boy jumped, casting a glint off the metal in his hand and his eyes shot up to meet Yuen’s.
Yuen’s gaze darted down the eerie silver gleam, orange in the light of dusk that slipped through the cracks of the treehouse.
He slowly raised his hands out in front of him in a placating gesture, his voice was oddly calm and soft but firm as he slowly turned his palm upwards, “Give me the knife, Iahn.”
Yuen’s stomach turned even when there was a little bit of relief mixed into the toxic concoction of emotions swirling inside him as he noticed the red sheen on the tip of the blade and the thin rosy line on Iahn’s wrist, jagged and sloppy, but shallow and hardly bleeding at all.
It’s harder and more painful to cut than people think, and thankfully it looks like Iahn wasn’t far gone enough that despair would override self-preservation and pain to cut deeper. From the looks of it, he’s only tried once.
Sweat trickled down the side of Yuen’s face as he swallowed, he could see his hands trembling in front of him out of the corner of his eye and feel it through his whole body, but he was also strangely focused, like the adrenaline rush and absolute calm you can get when your life is in danger. That instinct takes over and puts you on a laser-focused path of how to survive. Yuen didn’t know that could happen when someone else’s life is in danger too.
“Go away!” Iahn screamed at him, a dozen different emotions flashing across his face but the ones that stuck were confliction, confusion, scared, and panicked. Yuen could almost see the trains of thoughts clashing in his head. Part of him whispered in the back of his head to take this opportunity and grab the knife before Iahn can react, but Yuen cast it aside. He’s too far away, and spooking Iahn is more likely to make him do something dangerous than to safely get Yuen the knife. Instead, he took the chance to climb the rest of the way into the treehouse, slowly enough that Iahn didn’t notice. At least that was the plan.
Iahn didn’t notice right away but it didn’t escape his attention for long, and just what Yuen wanted to prevent happened.
“Stay away from me!” Iahn scrambled backward and Yuen saw it in his eyes the second it occurred to Iahn to use the knife.
“No!” Yuen lunged forward and grabbed it just before it could reach Iahn’s arm. He flinched as the blade sliced through his palm, splitting his skin, and digging into the meat of his hand, but he didn’t let go and wrenched it from Iahn’s hand.
As soon as it was out of Iahn’s hand, Yuen didn’t hesitate to throw it.
The blade skidded across the wood before flipping off the edge of the open treehouse doorway into the grass below, and Iahn was not happy about that.
“Let go of me!” Iahn shrieked as Yuen grabbed him, yelling at Yuen for the first time in a full-blown rage.
The sudden scream startled Yuen as Iahn struggled.
It was hard to keep a hold on him, especially when he tried to twist Yuen’s fingers to get him to let go. Thankfully Iahn didn’t know that after a four-wheeling accident when he was twelve, Yuen could bend his fingers all the way backward, so his attempt did nothing.
“Get away from me! It’s none of your business!”
“No! I’m making it my business.” Yuen struggled to keep a hold of Iahn, thankfully he had a size advantage on the kid, or this would be impossible with how hard Iahn was twisting.
“What do you care!? We’re not family! You don’t even like me, just leave me alone!” Iahn thrashed.
“We are family, Iahn!”
Iahn scoffed bitterly, “You never wanted me around, no one does— not anymore— LET GO OF ME!!”
Iahn twisted and Yuen almost lost his grip on him, but he managed to lock his legs over Iahn’s.
Shit. Shit. Shit. This isn’t— he didn’t think this through.
“I do want you around!”
“LIAR!” Iahn’s voice cracked loud and sharp and Yuen flinched at the volume so close to his ears, but he didn’t let go. He didn’t know if wrestling Iahn was the right answer— he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do!
“It’s not a lie, Iahn.” Yuen’s muscles started to ache, and his fingers began to tingle as he clamped down on Iahn like a boa constrictor.
“Bullshit! I heard what you said to your friends— we’ll never be brothers!”
Ice flooded Yuen’s veins. What he said...to his friends…
“That was cold, Yuen.”
Yuen’s scowl deepened. He knows.
“He’s just a kid.”
“How can you treat your brother like that after he hurt himself? That bruise looked painful.”
Yuen finally glared at them with frigid eyes. “He’s not my brother.”
Yuen got control when he got behind Iahn and locked his arms over Iahn’s chest.
The back of Iahn’s head hit Yuen’s chest — hard, and he knew Iahn would get out of his hold if he didn’t do something.
So he decided to tell the truth.
Yuen knew. He’s known for a long time, he just… it was hard to admit it out loud, and he didn’t try very hard to, but Iahn has been his baby brother for a long time.
As crappy as it is, Yuen wouldn’t have been hostile towards him if Iahn really meant nothing to him. He barely would have acknowledged the boy’s existence, not going out of his way to make sure he knew Yuen didn’t like him. It’s a shitty excuse for an irrational, childish reaction to suddenly having a new sibling, but it is what it is. Yuen’s not perfect, not even close, but he can still own up to his mistakes.
“I lied, Iahn.” Yuen tried to blink the stinging in his eyes away, but he still felt moisture collecting at the corners; barely noticing that Iahn wasn't struggling anymore.
“I’m sorry. I'm so sorry, Iahn.” Yuen repeated over and over, pressing his nose against the side of Iahn’s head, letting the soft black mess tickle his skin.
His hand ached and stung and it hurt like a bitch, but he doesn't care. It's a small price to pay for his younger brother's life.
“I wouldn't steal my dad’s car and run all over for just anyone, you dunce.” Yuen held onto him tighter, rocking them back and forth. He doesn't know why it made him feel better, but it was calming his anxiety so he would take it.
Iahn struggled again as the dread hanging over his head twisted like a living thorny vine, “You don’t get it— you don’t understand!”
“I do.” Yuen cut him off sharply.
“I know you don’t think so, but I know, Iahn. I’ve been there.”
Iahn stopped struggling, a soft confused sniffle quieting his tears for now.
Yuen tightened his grip, his face scrunching in agony as the squeezing in his chest tightened.
“I know it hurts. I know you just want it to be over, but please,” Tears trekked down Yuen’s cheeks, dripping off into Iahn’s hair. “I know I haven’t been the best— or even a halfway decent older brother, but please, don't go anywhere.” Yuen’s voice cracked, at any other time he might have cared, but not today. “You're my little brother. You're not supposed to go anywhere before me.”
Tears slipped down Iahn’s cheeks again, but this time was different from all the times he’s cried since he moved from Grandpa’s house. Each tear released a small amount of the suffocating pressure that had been building up around his heart with nowhere to escape.