Genre: Fantasy!AU, Romancer
A/N: I don't really know what to say besides I wrote most of this while on a trip to Yellowstone so expect another part soon.
The mountaintop is strangely dark. Suho cranes his neck upwards but sees no sign of the sun. He paces slowly, feeling anxious. A slight cough from behind him makes him whirl, lightning crackling along his arm.
The boy behind him backs away in fear, almost slipping over the edge. Suho yells and grabs him back, steadying them on the narrow rock plateau. The boy clings to Suho's arm, shaking a little, and Suho is somehow reminded of his younger brother Sehun. Instinctively he wraps his arms around the taller boy and rubs his back, murmuring soothing words.
The boy buries his face in Suho's neck and whimpers.
"Wh-where are we?" he mumbles against Suho's skin, and Suho frowns a little.
"I'm not…entirely sure…I come here when I dream sometimes."
"So…so we're asleep right now?" The boy asks quietly, pulling his face away from Suho's neck slightly.
"I think so. Well, I am, anyway."
The boy nods slowly and pulls out of Suho's hug to hold out a shaky hand.
"I'm…Zitao…" he says, voice so quiet Suho barely hears it. Suho shakes his hand with a smile.
"My name is Suho."
"Suho…" Zitao rolls the syllables around and frowns a little, eyebrows furrowing together and making him look murderous.
"Is there something wrong?" Suho asks warily, eyeing the boy.
"No it's just…your name sounds really familiar…" Zitao chews his lip and looks down.
"Have we met before?" Suho asks, even though he's sure he would have remember a boy like Zitao; tall, tanned and a little intimidating, with dark, wind-ruffled hair and sharp eyes that remind Suho of a cat.
Zitao shakes his head and shrugs with a small huff, seemingly giving up.
"I know I've heard your name before, but I don't know where," Zitao looks up and frowns.
Suho looks up as well.
"I don't suppose you know where the sun went?" Suho asks the other boy, and Zitao shakes his head, his hair bouncing and revealing silver studs in his ears. So he was from a nomad tribe.
"I was hoping you knew," Zitao almost whispers, and Suho is quickly realizing that Zitao is extremely soft-spoken and a whisper is a normal speaking volume for him.
"You've been here before?" Suho looks at Zitao before inching over to the side, peering down at the clouds far below.
Zitao nods, staying far away from the edge.
"Once. I got separated from my family and I was lost in the snow…one moment I was closing my eyes, listening to a songbird, and the next I was here…I thought I was dead." Zitao looks up, brows furrowed. "Are we dead?"
Suho shakes his head.
"I don't think so. This is the third time I've been here and I always wake up. But…" He looks up, biting his lip. "The sun is usually here."
Zitao looks up and makes a soft noise of alarm, pointing above their heads. Suho looks up and gasps.
A huge luminous bird is swooping towards them, its burning golden wings filling the sky with light and warmth. It's almost too bright to look at but somehow Suho manages to watch as the enormous bird begins to circle the mountaintop, shrinking and growing gradually dimmer with each rotation, until the ball of light Suho was familiar with rests above his and Zitao's heads.
"Wu Fan," Suho breathes, and the sun flares, stinging his eyes. He rubs at them hastily as Wu Fan's voice echoes around him.
"You know my name?"
For the briefest of instances, Suho glimpses fiery golden eyes in the sun but then they vanish. He nods, as Zitao creeps next to him and clutches his arm. Suho awkwardly pats the taller boy, still focused on the sun.
"It has been a long time since someone has called my name," Wu Fan says, his voice tinged with sadness. "I thought I had been forgotten."
Suho opens his mouth but is cut off by Zitao.
"My people remember you, lord. We pray that you wake soon."
Wu Fan is silent for a long time. Suho chews his lip, about to try to speak again, when Wu Fan sighs.
"I will send you back, before I grow too weary to do so. If you stay too long, you might join me in my slumber."
"But-" Suho starts and Zitao grips his arm tightly as the world dissolves into grey light. Suho feels the pressure on his arm lessen and he looks for Zitao but the boy is gone. He floats for a while in a grey sea of fog, and begins to wonder if he's trapped. Faintly, Kyungsoo's voice comes to him, calling his name.
He focuses on the sound and swims towards it, finally opening his eyes and blinking in the dim evening light.
Kyungsoo's wide, worried eyes stare down at him and Suho frowns.
"You were asleep for a long time," Kyungsoo states, rocking back on his heels as Suho sits up. "Almost three days."
Suho stares at him, eyes almost as big as the sylphid's.
"Three days?" He gapes, incredulous.
Kyungsoo nods, helping Suho stand on shaky legs. Suho's head pounds and he stumbles forward, yelping softly when his foot comes in contact with something wet and cold. He blinks and looks down.
Water. He kneels and drinks greedily, scooping the water up in his hands and gulping it down. He leans back, wiping his mouth, and notices something carved on a tree across the water. He squints and gets up, walking around the edge to get a closer look, and his breath catches.
He spins to look at Kyungsoo.
"You brought me home," he says slowly, hands shaking slightly. If he's found here, his family could be blamed. They could already be in Templar custody, for all he knew. Kyungsoo nods, walking over to him on the air above the spring.
"Why?" Suho asks, eyes fixed on the sylphid.
"We needed him," Kyungsoo says, and a soft neigh makes Suho turn around.
Lay stands on the pathway to the house, liquid brown eyes fixed on Suho with an expression that Suho can only describe as relief.
"Lay?" Suho asks, stepping towards the horse with a slight smile. Lay whinnies and trots towards his boy, bumping him with his nose and snuffling his hair. Suho laughs and hugs the horse around his neck.
"I missed you, boy," Suho says, patting the horse's thick neck. Lay huffs and nudges Suho lightly with his cheek.
Kyungsoo's voice reminds Suho that the sylphid is there. He turns to look at Kyungsoo, one hand still stroking Lay's neck.
"Who's Yixing?" Suho asks, brows knitting together. Kyungsoo doesn't answer him, just keeps staring at the horse, who suddenly seems much more timid, shying away from the sylphid.
Kyungsoo narrows his eyes slightly and a wind blasts through the trees. Lay spooks, rearing back with a scream and Suho leaps away, shouting in surprise.
"Do not test my patience, Yixing," Kyungsoo says quietly, and Lay looks from Suho to Kyungsoo before hanging his head. A soft silver glow surrounds the chestnut horse and as Suho watches, a pair of wings unfold from Lay's back, dark as midnight. As they unfurl fully, stars and constellations twinkle within the feathers and then disappear as Lay folds the wings close to his body.
Suho gapes, mouth falling open. Lay whinnies quietly and nudges Suho's chest, looking almost ashamed.
"So he's a…" Suho looks at Kyungsoo.
"A Nightmare," Kyungsoo nods, touching one of Lay's wings. "One of Lu Han's personal messengers. He'll take you to Lu Han. Right, Yixing?"
Lay snorts and shakes his mane before looking at Suho, who steps forward and ghosts his fingers along the silver-tipped afeathers.
"My horse is a Nightmare."
"Yes, and unless you get going soon, Chanyeol is going to find you and kill us all," Kyungsoo's voice is clipped and Suho can't help but think about Xiumin's sacrifice as he nods and climbs clumsily onto Lay's back.
The patient horse lets him get settled before nodding to Kyungsoo and turning to trot down the dirt path. The trot quickly turns into a canter and then a full on gallop. Suho has never seen Lay move at a speed above a walk and he nervously grips the horse's hair, yelping slightly when Lay sweeps his wings out and down, pushing off from the ground.
Lay quickly gains altitude, until the spring is a shining circle reflecting the full moon. Suho manages to loosen his hold on Lay's mane and looks down, catching a glimpse of Kyungsoo as the sylphid turns into a whirlwind and swirls into the sky.
Suho looks down at Lay's head, where the horse's ears are twitching nervously. Suho pats the strong neck with a little chuckle and Lay whinnies, flapping his wings hard and driving them up a little higher into the clouds.
Suho chuckles again and rests his cheek on Lay, sighing a little.
"It'll be alright, right?"
Lay snorts. Suho sighs and plays with the chestnut mane in front of him. He is lost in thoughts of silver eyes and black feathers and thunder and barely notices when Lay breaks through the clouds.
"Whoa…" he manages to mumble, struck dumb by the sheer number of stars strewn across the night sky. He traces constellations with his finger and remembers the story Xiumin and Kyungsoo told him, how Xiumin placed lamps of ice in the sky to light the the night.
The moon looms in front of him, silver and full, and Suho wonders how he will talk to Lu Han. He notes, with some alarm, that the moon is growing steadily larger and larger, swallowing up the sky.
Lay shows no sign of stopping or slowing however, and Suho grips the Nightmare's mane tighter.
"Lay?" His voice rises in pitch and volume until with a soft flutter of wings, they burst through the circle of light. Suho blinks.
They are now soaring above an vast marble temple of some sort, open to the air and surrounded by a pine forest. Lay tilts to the left and begins to descend in a slow spiral, Suho's teeth jarring slightly when the Nightmare touches down with a soft clatter of hooves. Suho takes a moment to get his bearings before he slides off of Lay's back, his legs buckling slightly beneath him. Lay comes to his rescue with a wing behind his back and a soft lipping of his hair.
Looking around, Suho sees pillars of white marble inlaid with silver, with blue curtains draped across a few openings, but much of the building is left open to the air. A soft hum draws his attention to a man, or perhaps a boy, sitting on a throne at the far end of the room, a soft silver sheen emitting from his skin.
A pair of stag's antlers peek from his wavy silver hair, and as he notices Suho's gaze, a smile curves his lips. He stands and walks towards Suho and Lay, and the Nightmare bows its head reverently as the boy approaches. Suho notes that the boy is bare chested, but his lower half is wrapped in a shimmery pale gold cloth that ripples like water when he moves.
"Welcome, Suho. I am Lu Han." Lu Han's voice is soft and warm, and Suho feels as though he has come home to a soft blanket and a warm fire. His eyes tear up and he rubs at them fiercely. Soft fingers brush his tears away and Suho is pulled into an embrace.
"Do not cry. All will be well."
And somehow, Suho believes him