What really defines a beast? What sets humans and animals apart? What makes one better and latter, less? Few wonder about these questions, as it is not a concept that involves their physical well-being. Why waste our time thinking about something so different from ourselves?
But if, by our judgment, love is not discriminating against gender, race, or age, then why should it be confined by appearance? Why should it set rules against what acts are right, and what actions are unworthy? If two beings love each other, should either be told that dangerous circumstances created by other humans disallow the development of their feelings?
If one were to die, and the other to kill, does it make their love unworthy…unclean?
Maybe the snow isn’t pure based on the white glow of its tragic fall to an earth where its beauty is wasted. No, it’s pure based on the life it lived… short… and uneventful.
Minho believed that maybe a snowflake’s life was much like his.
Accidental. Random. Lost.
Not only that, but it never seemed to be significant, even with its abnormalities compared to the perfected shapes of the other snowflakes. If one snowflake looked ugly, would one discover its presence amongst other beautiful snowflakes? Would anybody realize its absence?
Perhaps, even, snow itself comes unnoticed, and leaves without a trace.
Snowflakes touch upon the ground as lightly as a feather, and leaves as hastily as running water. This was Minho.
Or rather, this was Minho without Taemin.
~ PART 1/1~
There was a thirst, a thirst in so inhuman, so out of habit that he stood shocked for a second, confused between who he was and what he was. But there was no time for hesitation, because the lump in his throat was urging him to move forward, to satisfy the craving. He needed blood. Or rather, he needed bloodshed. All that mattered were the thoughts of the warm stench of blood drifting up his nostrils, the feeling of raw flesh slip down his throat, and the ultimate need for dominancy. The mental processes of an animal.
Slowly, and undeniably instinctively, his hands formed a claw like stance. As graceful as a cat, as sly as a snake, he pounced.
Startled, Taemin didn’t react, but only stared wide eyed at the man he loved. As the two bodies collided, Minho’s weight made a pronounced effect on Taemin’s stable stance. He fell backward instantly, with Minho on top of him. As if in slow motion, the pair fell heavily onto the snow covered ground.
Taemin didn’t try to react, mostly because he knew that somewhere deep in his heart, the man attacking him was not the Minho he knew. Taemin could feel the confusion building up inside him, but it didn’t take long for him to realize that if he were to die, and it were in the arms of Minho, then possibly, he didn’t need to know why he was dying.
Just as Minho bared his teeth and hastily pushed aside layers and layers of clothing to reveal milky pale skin and a throbbing pulse, he heard a voice whisper into his ear.
“An animal can be tamed.”
It was Taemin.
And suddenly, Minho was confused. How had Taemin known? Behind the voices screaming for him to tear at Taemin’s flesh, and act upon his first instincts, a faded image of a little boy that had accompanied him his entire life made its way to his mind’s eye.
The little boy that had grown up with tigers and beasts surrounding him should’ve been able to fight him off easily, so why hadn’t Taemin retaliated when he attacked? Above all, who was this he was attacking?
Taemin? The named sounded oddly familiar, and as he heard the sounds roll off the tip of his tongue, a familiar sense of warmth spread from the pit of his stomach to where his cold hands were positioned, still cat like. Taemin, it was the same name that a little boy had introduced himself as 14 years ago.
Their first meeting had been purely coincidental, and Minho was feeling especially tired that day. He hated it when the doctors came.
Taemin had been hungry for several days, as once his mother was gone, he knew not how to get food. Overflowing with sadness, once he had found his mother’s photography equipment near the side of a cliff, he knew that she had been involved in an accident. Chances were, she wasn’t coming back. Sure, he knew he could sulk for several days, but it didn’t help his situation. After a day of careful contemplation, he decided that his mother wouldn’t have appreciated him giving up on life so easily, and thus, he finally got up from the corner where he was crying to look for food.
It was difficult though, as his mother was an Ecologist that reported her findings to a famous nature magazine, and she brought him into the natural habitat of animals so that she could study them further. Of course, when she fell off the cliff, she didn’t remember that her son was only five years old. He didn’t know how to use her computer, nor her phone.
And there she was, creating the new generation of Tarzan.
However hungryTaemin was though, he refused to eat meat, so hunting was already not an option. It was at that moment that he noticed a small tree hidden by shrubs and weeds. He grinned happily when he remembered seeing the same plant on his mother’s nature magazines. He didn’t quite remember the name, as it was a long name that a little 6 year old like him wouldn’t be able to pronounce. It didn’t matter of course, as the most important thing was that the fruits on the tree were edible.
He cautiously approached the tree, but just as he was within arm’s length of the fruits, something jumped onto him.
It was a baby hyena. Even though it was a baby, Taemin found himself small and fragile against the muscled body of a hyena. He had always been a small boy, but who knew that his last moments on this earth was to be spent on someone’s dinner plate? Heck, he hadn’t even lived long enough to have eaten many dinners himself!
He could do nothing but panic. Young as he was, he hadn’t been nearly as experienced as his mother.
In the moment he closed his eyes, hoping that the bite would be fast and painless, he heard a series of loud ‘booms’ that sounded much like the guns his mother had hidden in the house, except that these sounds seemed muted…controlled.
The hyena, too, jumped from the sound, and when the sounds got even louder, more terrifying, the hyena abandoned Taemin altogether, so that it could scurry off in haste. After all, when it came to dinner or your life, one should choose the latter.
It was from these sounds that Taemiin realized the shrubs hid more than the little tree, for behind the tree was a wide, glass window.
And behind the window was a boy.
Surprised, but interested, Taemin stood for several minutes just staring at the boy. Maybe it just Taemin, but he seemed to think that the boy behind the window seemed rather odd. He was slouched lazily across the ground before the window, and being clad in white, he largely resembled pictures of angels he saw on his mother’s bible. On second thought, Taemin took in the air of loneliness engulfing the little boy, and couldn’t help but think it’s a fallen angel before him. It was far too dark in the room for him to see anything else though, but his eyes lingered on the nametag the boy sported.
Minho. The fallen angel’s name was Minho. Had his mother sent this boy in her place? Taemin didn’t know, but he was already fascinated by the mysteriousness of this boy. In this wild forest, how had a young boy suddenly appeared? Most importantly, Taemin felt a sense of pity for the boy. Yes, Taemin himself was without a father, a mother, but he didn’t feel alone in the forest, where many other animals were.
Minho on the other hand, looked completely and utterly alone in the darkness.
Minho lowered his gaze from making eye contact with Taemin, and instead, focused his attention on Taemin’s torn t-shirt, and thread-bare pants. How odd, he thought, that this boy looked so different from the doctors. Were they not all humans? How come something as simple as clothing varied so much?
As much as Minho had wanted to see Taemin’s face, he instead, forced himself to look anywhere but in Taemin’s eyes.
Still taken possession by fascination, Taemin made his way to the window. At first, he didn’t know what to do, as he didn’t want to scare Minho, because it would probably be the only friend he ever made in this forest. With newfound courage though, through knowledge of a possible new friend, he knocked quietly on the window.
Minho was annoyed. What did this boy expect? For him to put on a show, and entertain him? Hardly possible! Minho peered angrily up at the smiling boy, and bared his teeth. It had been a silent growl, but Taemin didn’t back away. Instead, his smile grew brighter than ever.
Anger flashed in Minho’s eyes, and he tried desperately to scare Taemin, but failed every time he tried to look big and scary.
It didn’t occur to him that Taemin was laughing.
At his wits end, Minho finally got tired and gave up. Nothing he did seemed to scare Taemin off.
Taemin knocked on the window again, and Minho contemplated ignoring him, but something about the way Taemin was smiling lured him in. Taemin was waving, and pointing to sky.
Confused, Minho approached the window and peered outside. From the heavens, he saw flutters of white make its way to the ground. It wasn’t the first time he saw it, but he had always wondered what it was, and why it was there. He didn’t make a sound though, because he was still confused about Taemin. Why did it seem that a stranger like the little boy could make him feel so carefree? Ah, yes, because Taemin was smiling. It was the first time someone had smiled at him.
He didn’t have time to ponder the meaning of Taemin’s smile though, as Taemin was drawing on his window. From his individual studies, he recognized the letters, the forms, the sentence structure, but he didn’t really know why the boy was introducing himself.
In ten minutes, he realized that his window was covered with little letters that faded almost as soon as he read them.
“I’m Taemin. Do you want to be friends?”
Minho looked at him, and pointed to his own eyes. Even as he did so, he was overcome with shame. Why were his eyes so different, so abnormal?
Taemin looked into his eye, but didn’t flinch. It wasn’t too shocking, he considered. So his pupils were slit, and?
Taemin pointed once again at the words “do you want to be friends?”
Minho considered it a second, and nodded his head.
What happened next shocked Minho completely, but he found himself smiling along to Taemin’s happy dance. Even to him, who knew nothing about this world, Taemin’s dance was cute and random. Finally, Minho thought, God had sent him an angel.
Taemin was dancing out of pure joy, for to him, if angels did exist, it must have slit eyes and a smile like the boy before him.
At first, Minho had been cautious near the boy, and always sat a distance from the window when Taemin appeared to talk to him. It didn’t take long for Taemin to get into the habit of going to see Minho every day. To Taemin, it didn’t matter if Minho didn’t want to open up to him yet, because all he really wanted was someone he could open up to. He admired Minho too; Minho was the shy, reserved boy that looked up at him expectedly every single day, expecting yet another story about his adventures in the forest, or the stories he read from the library his mother had in the house they lived in.
One of the first times Minho had started talking to Taemin was when he inquired about the snow. It had been the 8th year the two knew each other, and still, Minho rarely talked. But when Minho saw the snow again, he couldn’t help but ask about what it was.
“How does that feel like?” Minho asked, pointing to the blanket of white behind Taemin, but he didn’t need to speak loudly, for in the time they’ve talked, the two have learned how to read each other’s lips.
Taemin laughed, and stuck his hand into the pile of snow to grab a handful and show Minho.
“It feels like how you would feel if you stick your cheek onto the glass. Except it’s ten times as intense.”
Minho followed Taemin’s words, and felt the difference in temperature of the cold glass against his warm skin. He shuddered unexpectedly, and concluded he liked nothing about the snow. As pretty as it was, the uncertainty of snow also scared him. Besides, in the years he’s lived there, he always thought that he was like the snow. The snow came and left, but nobody ever realizes the difference… you can never tell that snow has once been there.
To Minho, his existence was much the same. He was here, but nobody cared. He would leave, and nobody would notice.
For once, Minho whispered what he thought to Taemin, and closed his eyes, feeling his warmth spread to the window and his cheeks gradually becoming cold.
He didn’t know if Taemin saw him say the words, but after opening his eyes again, he jumped back in shock. Taemin had plastered his cheek to the window, making it that between the two, there was only one thin layer of glass.
“I think I heard your heart beat very, very fast.” Taemin grinned, making Minho blush at the suggested closeness of the two.
“I-you-it was-” Minho’s sputtering did little to ease the smile on Taemin’s face, but rather, he got closer to the window and smiled as brightly as he could. Minho tried not to look, and instead, focused on straightening his shirt, which was never wrinkled in the first place.
Yes, this was the kind of effect Taemin had on Minho, even if he refused it at first.
Even then, Minho had blushed at close contact with Taemin, as even then he knew that he wanted it. He wanted desperately to be hugged by Taemin, to be loved by Taemin. But loving him was something Taemin never denied, and had always expressed openly; rather, it had been Minho that feared he wasn’t enough.
But what was he doing now? He lay on top of Taemin, but could think about nothing but Taemin’s death. What had he become?
“Remember when I told you to hold your hand up to the window?” Taemin whispered, his voice still shaking from the impact of the fall.
Minho shook his head, desperately trying to forget everything about Taemin, so that he could just do what his instincts were telling him to do.
“You wouldn’t tell me what was wrong,” Taemin said sadly, raising his hand to brush at Minho’s hair.
Minho shook his head again, this time more forcibly. How could he not remember?
It had been very recently that the doctors took him into the examination room for several weeks, and he couldn’t see Taemin for a very long time. It was so long that he feared Taemin would forget about him by the time he got back.
Of course, that was not the Taemin he knew, and just as Taemin promised, he would always be there. That night, when he got back to the room, Taemin was asleep near the window, shivering in the snow.
Minho knew he should’ve woken Taemin up with a tap on the glass, but he couldn’t do it. He sat there, as silent as he could, and watched Taemin sleep. It had been so long since he’s seen Taemin.
Unexpectedly, he started crying, and by the time Taemin woke up, he was sobbing so hard that his entire body rocked at the violent cries. Taemin tried desperately to calm Minho down, but everything he did only made Minho cry harder.
It had taken a long, long time for him to finally figure out that Minho was afraid of losing him. It had been the first time that Minho directly expressed his feelings, and it made Taemin oddly sad. He didn’t like seeing Minho weak, for it made him want to hug Minho, although that was something Minho made clear wasn’t going to happen. Minho was always in that building, and never did Taemin ever see him leave.
Gently, Taemin brought his hand to the window, placing it palm first onto the cold glass. He urged Minho to do the same.
“We can’t hold hands, Minho, but please tell me that you know I love you.” Taemin said, unable to break his gaze from Minho.
“You can’t.” Minho had stated flatly, but he couldn’t force himself to take his hand down. “No matter how much I want you to. I shouldn’t have let you stay so long.”
“I’m not leaving.” Taemin had whispered, unable to stop tears from rolling down his cheeks. “Why can’t I stay?”
“Can’t you see? You can’t be happy here. You can’t be happy with me.”
“They won’t let you go, right? Why can’t you leave?” Taemin asked, suddenly shocked at the revelation. Why hadn't 'they' told him?
“Because I don’t belong anywhere else.”
“Not even in my arms? Not even if I love you?”
“I don’t think it’s enough.” Minho said, “They don’t care.”
“Why should they be a part of this?”Taemin asked angrily, wiping his tears roughly with the back of his sleeve.
“They own me. They own what I am.”
“What are you then?” Taemin asked, pronouncing every word as clearly as he could, as it felt very odd for him to ask such a question.
Minho didn’t answer for several minutes, but then he finally did open his mouth, and closed it again.
He gritted his teeth as he muttered. “A monster. A beast.” Quickly, he took down his hand, and screamed for Taemin to leave. “We would never be together.” He said.
Taemin left, and for weeks, he didn’t come to see Minho. It wasn't until that morning, when Taemin came again, and dragged with him, a large, heavy wooden chair.
He didn’t say much; he didn’t warn Minho of anything. Instead, he hauled the chair over his head and attacked the glass window over, and over again.
The shattering of glass, paired with the screams and tears of Taemin made Minho scared, and for a second, he stood still, not knowing what was happening.
“If the glass wall they built is all that’s keeping us apart, then I’ll break it for you. Don’t tell me to leave again.” Taemin cried, unable to keep his emotions in control.
But neither knew the impact having direct contact with a human being could make on Minho, and once Minho was free from the room, he couldn’t help but pounce on Taemin. Who knew it would bring them into this state of life or death?
Upon remembering what had happened just minutes ago, Minho tried to tell himself to calm down, and to stop hurting Taemin. He looked down at the hand Taemin had wanted to hold his with, and he wondered; is this really the hand he wanted to tear off and make his dinner?
His slit eyes made its way back to Taemin, and he realized that Taemin was still beneath him, watching him.
He had expected himself to growl, but only a slight whimper escaped his lips, and he understood that the beast part of him was subsiding. On the snow, flecks of blood made him realize what he had just done.
He looked at the man he loved, and felt his heart crack at the scars and bruises covering Taemin.
With the beast side gone, he fell to the ground and cried. How could he have let himself lose control like that? Taemin tried to hug him, but he flinched away under Taemin’s touch. Who knew when his inner beast would be unleashed again?
“What did they do to you?” Taemin asked, trying to comfort Minho.
“You should know,” A cold voice said from behind Minho.
Minho stopped crying, and looked up at the sudden intruder.
It was his doctor.
“You had been a part of this after all.”
Taemin looked wide eyed at Minho, who was shaking his head in disbelief.
“You were part of them?” Minho cried, every word cracking when he said it. Taemin himself felt the words tear at his heart, and he tried hard to stop the doctor from saying any more.
“You were part of the people that scientifically combined genes of a tiger and human being’s to create me? You were part of the people that took me to tests where they starved me, where they hit me, where they didn’t let me sleep?” Minho asked. “Why did you lie to me?”
“It didn’t start that way!!!!” Taemin cried, desperately clinging to the Minho that was pushing himself away from the two. “They told me I was helping you!! I didn’t know they were hurting you!”
“I was nothing to you too. I was only an experiment, wasn’t I?”
“No! I ran away when I found out they were hurting you! I tried to get you away from them..." Taemin cried, suddenly made clear to the idea that Minho had been a genetic experiment all along. When he released Minho, he didn't know that upon having contact with a human being, Minho's beast instincts would surface. An animal's instincts stopped only at attack and kill, but Minho had controlled it, as Minho had said that he loved Taemin. Taemin shook his head in shame, how could he have promised the doctors to allow them to monitor Minho's interaction with him, when he himself did not know what they were doing to Minho? How could he have been so ignorant? How had he believed them so easily?
“Yes you were Minho, and still are. We did every physical test possible, but we needed a psychological one… one to see if a hybrid like you was capable of loving, of having human characteristics. You performed well on the test; you didn’t hurt Taemin after all.”
“This was all a test?” Minho asked, suddenly disgusted with himself. This was all he would ever be, wasn’t it? A test subject.
“But we can’t risk your presence anymore. The government is starting to find out. Hybrids are illegal; genetic mutations like this are illegal.” The doctor said, not a hint of remorse in his voice.
“Then why do it?”
“I don’t have to answer you, Minho. All you have know is that you can’t stay here.”
“You’re going to kill me.” Minho said, closing his eyes and awaiting his death. “Come like a snowflake, leave like one. I never existed anyways, right?” He asked, directing his question at Taemin.
Taemin was still shaking his head, crying. He tried desperately to grab the gun that the doctor was holding, but the doctor held on to it stubbornly.
“You disobeyed us, Taemin.” The doctor said suddenly, turning his gun on Taemin. “You weren’t supposed to fall in love with him. You weren’t supposed to try and set him free. Why did you break the window? We can't trust you with these secrets.”
“It started out a test, but it won’t end that way.” Taemin said, allowing the bullet to penetrate his skull before falling over silently.
The spurt of Taemin’s blood made Minho nauseous, and he knew that he still loved Taemin, regardless of whether it was a test or not. He charged for the man that shot Taemin, and felt, at the same moment, other guns being fired from inside the room. It didn’t matter. He ran, and he killed as many as he could. In no time, he felt warm blood wash over his hands, and dozens of guns were pointed at him.
He only snickered as he allowed the beast instincts of a tiger take over him, and another growl left his lips. With his strength and agility, he had gotten most of the men down even with bullets being shot into him
Minho fell heavily onto the snow, and from the distance, he saw the lump of clothes that should’ve been Taemin.
Taemin may have lied about the tests, but he sincerely believed that none of the other things Taemin had said were lies. Taemin did love him, he concluded, as it was what he wanted to believe.
As the sun rose steadily across the sky, Minho blinked at the light. As silently as the snow had come, the snow would leave. As silently as he had made his way into the world, he would not leave without grasping onto something that would hold meaning, something that reminded him of the fact that his existence was real. He would hold in his hands, the feelings of loving and being loved. He was not just an experimental beast.
His only regret was Taemin’s death, but he bitterly acknowledged how pleased he was that when the sun melted the snow, it would carry his blood to mix with Taemin’s. It was like kissing a billion snowflakes, and have one of them reach Taemin. Even in their death, the two would not part.
Love has tightly wound up these two lives, one a beast and the other human, with its powerful iron grip, but pulls the two apart with a force even more powerful, making it that the two would be alone at death.
Minho didn’t know if he should be pleased at love’s cruelty, for he definitely would not be able to stand seeing Taemin’s lifeless body, bullet punctured.
He wondered again, if Taemin too, was thinking of him as they spent their last minutes alone. "I'm more than snow. I have Taemin." He whispered.
From the sun’s loving glare, a drip of water slithered into a puddle of Minho’s blood and trickled downhill to where Taemin lay.
Taemin closed his eyes as the iron salted water slid over his bloodied hand, mixing the two people’s blood together.
Current Location: Somewhere
Current Mood: blah