Genre: Fantasy!AU, Romancer
A/N:Yes I am lazy. Sorry. Enjoy. Yay, Lay and Luhan~
A whinny from Lay makes Lu Han look up and laugh lightly, the sound bubbling up from his chest and making Suho's mouth twitch up in a smile.
"Hello, Yixing. I have not forgotten you, my dear friend," Lu Han says, letting go of Suho to caress Lay's nose fondly. "But why are you in your horse form? You have no need of it here."
Lay snorts and looks at Suho, who tilts his head.
"Ah…" Lu Han laughs again and kisses Lay's forehead. "You are afraid he will hate you."
"I'd never hate Lay," Suho protests, stepping forward to stroke Lay's mane. The horse shifts and dips his head, and Lu Han hums.
"You see? You are just being stubborn, Yixing. Have you stayed as a horse for so long that you have forgotten how to change?"
Lay neighs indignantly and stomps a hoof.
"I would very much like to hear your voice, Yixing," Lu Han murmurs, brushing the chestnut mane out of Lay's brown eyes.
Lay looks nervously at Suho before nodding as his eyes flutter shut. His dark wings wrap around his body and he sinks to his knees as he glows silver. With a bright flash, the wings fall away to reveal a man with soft chestnut hair that falls in waves around his face. Suho gapes as the man stands, his wings transforming into a dark, star speckled cloak of feathers.
The man's dark brown eyes flutter open and when they focus on Suho, he smiles, a soft, kind smile with a deep dimple pressed into his right cheek.
"Suho." His voice is as soft as his smile and Suho finds himself smiling back through his shock.
"Don't I get a greeting, Yixing?" Lu Han's laugh draws Lay's attention and he sinks into a deep bow in front of Lu Han.
"My lord," Lay says reverently, only looking up at Lu Han when Lu Han reaches out and tips his chin up.
"Welcome back, my friend," Lu Han says, motioning for Lay to rise. "I have missed you very much."
"I…am sorry, my lord," Lay replies as he stands, eyes flicking to Suho before settling back on Lu Han's face. Lu Han shakes his head with a smile, patting Lay's cheek.
"I know why you stayed away. You have nothing to apologize for."
Lu Han turns his eyes to Suho, who bows awkwardly, biting his lip. Lu Han takes his hands and Suho looks up, eyes wide.
"I know why you have come," he says gently.
"You do?" Suho blinks as Lu Han nods.
"Yes. You wish to wake my brother." Lu Han's lips press together. "But…I fear it is impossible. No matter what I try, he remains lost to me, deep in slumber."
The moon's eyes glisten and he bows his head, clutching Suho's hands a bit tighter.
"I have tried everything. And yet…"
Suho swallows and squeezes Lu Han's hands. His conversation with Wu Fan, through his dreams, nudges at him.
"I think I've spoken to him," he finally says.
Lu Han's head snaps up, his antlers nearly clipping Suho in the eye. Suho leans back slightly as Lu Han leans forward, eyes wide.
"You've…you've spoken to him? Wu Fan? Truly?" The moon whispers, desperation leaking into his voice as he clutches at Suho's hands.
"I've been having dreams. I was on top of a huge mountain, and the sun -Wu Fan- was there. The first few times, I was alone, and he sent me back before I could really talk to him, but the last time, there was another boy there, named Zitao, and Wu Fan didn't arrive until later. I tried to talk to him, and when I said his name, he said he thought he'd been forgotten and then sent us both back."
Lu Han's face drops.
"He said nothing else?" Lu Han asks, hope flickering in his eyes.
Suho shakes his head, looking down.
"No. I'm sorry," he answers, feeling inexplicably guilty.
Lu Han drops his hands and sighs.
"Do not apologize. My brother is very weak. The poison in his veins is strong and his mind must be muddled with it."
"Is there a cure? We need him to stop Chanyeol," Suho asks, biting his lip.
Lu Han's handsome face twists into a furious snarl and Suho drops to his knees from the wave of sheer force that rolls out from the moon. The shockwave blasts the trees around the temple out and Lay steps back, looking nervously from Suho to Lu Han.
"Do not mention his name in my presence. My brother gave him a life beyond that of a dumb bird and how did he repay Wu Fan? By poisoning him and usurping his throne. He is not worthy of the name Adar," Lu Han spits, eyes glowing white as waves of pure power continue to flow out of him. Suho can barely breathe in the presence of the furious god.
Lay steps in between Suho and Lu Han, shielding Suho from the brunt of Lu Han's power.
"My lord." Lay's voice is concerned as he steps towards Lu Han. "Please calm yourself."
Lu Han takes a furious step forward before he coughs and stumbles, falling onto his hands and knees as he retches. Thick, dark blood spatters on the white marble floor and the vibrant silver of Lu Han's hair seems to dim to a dull grey. Lay rushes forward and helps the moon up, half-carrying him to the throne where Lu Han slumps, gasping for breath.
Suho follows and kneels nervously at Lu Han's feet.
"What's wrong with him?" He asks in a hushed whisper, and Lay doesn't answer for a moment.
"He's trying to draw the poison out of Wu Fan and into himself," Lay states flatly.
Suho touches Lu Han's hand. It trembles under his fingers, cold and pale.
"He's killing himself," Suho whispers. Lay nods, lips pressed tightly together.
"I told him it wouldn't work. I told him it was likely that it would just put them both into an eternal slumber, but he didn't care. He loves his brother, and I fear he'll kill himself if that's what it takes to see Wu Fan again."
"So there's no cure. It's hopeless," Suho pulls his fingers away from the moon's hand, despair settling in.
Lay shifts next to him, eyes flickering nervously. Suho looks at him, confused.
"Chanyeol would know the cure," Lay says quietly, glancing at Lu Han to make sure the moon was still asleep. "He poisoned Wu Fan, he would know how to cure it."
Suho feels a small swell of hope before it's drowned by the impossible.
"He'd never tell me the cure. And even if he did, he'd kill me before I could tell anyone else," Suho sighs, rubbing his face.
Lay thinks this over, tapping his fingers on the arm of Lu Han's throne.
"Chanyeol has always been vain. Before as a swan and now as the phoenix. Flatter him. Tell him how clever his plan was and how powerful he is and how he's truly the greatest of the Adar. You have to let him think that he has you and you have nowhere to run and no one to help you. That is the only way he will tell you anything." Lay looks at Suho, chewing on his lip. "But it's not guaranteed he won't kill you."
"We don't really have another choice…" Suho mumbles, biting his lip before sighing deeply and nodding. "I'll do it," he says, forcing the anxiety out of his voice. Lay smiles softly and the dimple presses into his cheek again as he brushes soft lips against Suho's forehead.
"You are brave. You remind me of your father," he says softly.
"Did he know you were a Nightmare?" Suho asks, feeling his cheeks turn pink.
"Your great-grandfather saved my life when he was a boy. I have been with your family ever since, looking after him, your grandfather, your father, and now you," Lay smiles at the stunned expression on Suho's face. "Your father planned to tell you when you came of age, just like his father told him. But…"
Lay looks down, face creasing, and Suho nods.
"He didn't expect to go so soon," Suho finishes quietly.
Lay sighs and looks at Suho, and Suho sees the horse he's known all his life in the tender gaze.
"I feel like this is my fault. If I hadn't asked Kyungsoo to fetch Chen after your father's death, perhaps you would never have been marked. You would never have been drawn into this," Lay touches Suho's cheek and caresses it gently.
"You shouldn't blame yourself. You couldn't have predicted this, La- Yixing," Suho corrects the name and Lay pouts a little.
"I like it when you call me Lay," he mumbles, tousling Suho's hair and laughing when Suho scowls and smoothes it down again.
Lu Han stirs and moans and Lay's attention is instantly captured.
"My lord?" He murmurs, placing a hand on Lu Han's knee. Suho leans forward, biting his lip.
Lu Han's eyelids flutter before he finally opens them, some of the silver glow coming back as he smiles weakly at Lay.
"Yixing. I seem to have lost my temper," Lu Han's voice is faint and he struggles to sit up, waving off Lay when he tries to help. "I apologize, Suho. I should not have gotten so angry with you. It is not your fault."
"It's fine," Suho reassures him, smiling. "I'm glad you're feeling better."
Lu Han nods and wipes his mouth, grimacing at the blood before looking up, face set in worried lines.
"You should know your plan is suicide. The phoenix will kill you. But if you do this, if you learn the cure, I will be in your debt." Lu Han lays a hand on Suho's shoulder. "If there is anything I can do for you, name it."
Suho nods. The faces of his family flash through his mind, followed by Chen's laughing image.
"I'm going to do it. So, if you could make sure that Chanyeol stays away from my family, and if…" he swallows as Chen's bloodied form floats to the surface of his memories. "If you could keep Chen safe, then I'd call us even."
Lu Han nods.
"Protection for the ones you love. Not many would ask for that, Suho. Do you not want protection for yourself as well?"
Suho shakes his head.
"No. If Chanyeol tries to harm me and he can't, he'll be suspicious and he won't tell me anything." He looks at Lay, who nods, eyes worried. "He has to think I'm helpless."
"Very well." Lu Han's expression is solemn as he stands, bringing Suho up with him. "Then I pledge to keep your family safe, and to look after the thunderbird."
"Thank you." Suho's smile feels a bit strained, fear starting to creep back in as he realizes he's going to his almost certain death.
"No, thank you," Lu Han says firmly, gripping Suho's hands. "I had almost given up hope on waking my brother."
Lu Han looks up suddenly, gaze distant.
"I believe you should leave soon. While the phoenix would not dare to come here, the thunderbird's time is running short."
Suho nods and steps back as Lay puts a hand on his shoulder.
"I can take you to the edge of the phoenix's territory. After that I must leave you alone."
Trying not to tremble, Suho turns and looks at Lay.
The Nightmare nods and in a pulse of soft silver light, the winged horse appears in the place of the man. Suho climbs onto Lay's broad back and takes a deep breath as the moon watches. Lay sweeps his wings out and starts to gallop towards an open archway, gaining speed until with a great flap of his wings, he launches himself out of the temple and into the sky.
They climb in a tight spiral, and as Suho looks up, he spots a dark hole in the sky. It grows larger and larger until it nearly swallows up everything around him, and Lay bursts through it with a flurry of feathers.
The night air is cold and quickly saps the warmth from Suho's body. He presses close to Lay's body, which radiates heat, and tries to stop his teeth from chattering too badly. Lay whinnies, sensing the boy's distress, and Suho pats the horse's neck, trying to reassure him.
"I'm fine, Lay," he tells the horse, who snorts and tosses his head slightly. Suho laughs and presses his face into Lay's mane, inhaling the horse scent and trying to get some semblance of rest.
It feels like hours before Lay finally starts to dip lower in the sky, and Suho's hands have gone numb from cold and lack of use. The sun is just barely coming up on the horizon and Suho squints at the sea of orange sand ahead of them.
Lay spirals down and lands as gently as he can, but Suho still feels the impact in his bones and he rolls off of the Nightmare with a groan. He feels stiff all over and half-frozen. Lay lips his hair before transforming into his human form. He embraces Suho, pressing a kiss to Suho's temple and holding him tightly.
Suho hugs him back, closing his eyes and inhaling. Lay still smells like horse, but also of flowers and spices and something Suho can't name, but it makes him feel calm.
"I'm scared," he says before he can help it, and Lay leans back a little to look him in the eye.
Lay chews on his lip before plucking a dark feather from his wing-cloak and holding it out to Suho. With a puzzled frown, Suho takes it. Lay grasps Suho's hand.
"Chanyeol…will probably hurt you. Burn you. He has no regard for a human's life. If it becomes too much, drop my feather and I will come to you. I want to know the cure just as badly as Lu Han, but I do not want you to sacrifice yourself just to learn it. So even if he doesn't tell you the cure, if you fear for your life, drop my feather."
Suho swallows and nods, clutching the dark, silver edged feather in his slightly clammy hand.
"You promise you will come if I need you?" He whispers, the heat of Chanyeol's flames still fresh in his mind. Lay presses his forehead to Suho's and looks into his eyes.
"I swear I will come to you." His voice is quiet but completely sincere.
Suho nods and squeezes Lay's hand.
"I'm going now. If I don't come back…"
Lay grabs his shoulders and shakes him a little.
"You will come back."
Suho smiles and hugs Lay again.
"Alright. I'll come back."
Lay nods and Suho steps away, turning towards the rising sun.
"How far away is Chanyeol?" he asks, swallowing as heat begins to rise from the huge sea of sand in front of him.
"Far," Lay says, moving to stand next to Suho. "But he will find you before you find him."
Suho nods again, tucking Lay's feather into his belt before taking a deep breath and taking a step forward onto the sand.
He doesn't look back until he reaches a large rock about a hundred feet out, where he turns to look back at where he came. Lay raises his hand and then, in a flash of silver light, he transforms into a horse and flies away.
Suho, alone, turns and starts walking into the burning desert, towards Chanyeol and, hopefully, towards Chen.