"How cute! When did you get a soul?"
Donghyuck let out a scream so full of angerpainfrustrationdefeat, it nearly created a physical charge in the air, sending danger ringing through Jisung's head. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Mark clutch desperately at his chest with his uninjured hand, eyes wide and jaw slack. Sungchan slumped further against him, but didn't take his eyes off of Chenle. Jisung quickly glanced back at Chenle as well and his chest squeezed again at how ragged and tired his best friend looked.
They were all falling apart at the seams, the prolonged state of terror that had blanketed the city for so long wearing on everyone who stepped foot within the limits.
" YOU THINK I'VE EVER STOPPED FEELING!?"
Donghyuck's eyes were wide and piercing as he stared at the Denizen as if he would tear him apart at the first chance. Jisung flinched when the ground cracked open next to them. Suddenly, he was squished into Sungchan as they were yanked back from the widening fault.
"Shit, he's losing it! Jaemin, bring Jeno over here!"
Jisung felt more than heard Johnny yell for Taeyong and Lucas to pull everyone away from the cracks. He couldn't tear his gaze away from Chenle, the Denizen, and Donghyuck even as Johnny tucked them into an alcove in tbe side of a building and ran back out to help. Donghyuck wouldn't hurt any of his friends—his family—especially not one of his dongsaengs but he'd never let go of the chokehold he kept on his powers at all times like this before.
"YOU THINK I COULD SURVIVE IF I LET MYSELF FEEL EVERYTHING THAT I DO!?"
Sungchan gasped, his grip on Jisung's side tightening before he carefully relaxed it.
Donghyuck seemed to grow both harmlessly smaller and horrifyingly bigger than he was. The familiar uneasy feeling of dissonance between what his eyes were seeing and what he knew about Donghyuck sunk into his mind. He distantly remembered that Sungchan, Shotaro, and several of WayV had never seen Donghyuck using his powers in an offensive way before.
The air around them shimmered as reality meshed with Donghyuck's power. He'd explained once as running your hands over tightly knitted fabric. Reality was fickle, determined to stick together the way it did. It took a lot of focus and energy to only unravel the bits you wanted to change and hold those changes for any significant amount of time. Reality-bending was difficult and dangerous because of it and vice-versa.
The ground cracked in some places and bent in others, peeling away in a terrifyingly wrong manner. From what Jisung could see, everything loose inside that bubble started to float gently upwards as if gravity was something to be ignored.
"YOU THINK I WOULD HAVE SURVIVED? THAT I WOULDN'T HAVE TORN MYSELF APART!? EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING I LOVE!?" Donghyuck roared, his body visibly thrumming with the power his anger fueled him with.
Jisung felt a flash of twisted-triumph at the way the Denizen took a step backward. As if that would save them, as if distance meant anything against Donghyuck's abilities.
"Do you know what I can do?"
The words carried a weight that hovered over the whole street. Jisung felt a pang of sadness at the sentence. Donghyuck had asked that before, so many different ways; it was a question, a warning, a justification of self-destructive tendencies, a child crying as quietly as he could in the dark of night. They were all just kids, but they had abilities—powers—that made them somehow both more and less than others. These parts of them made them something to be afraid of, something to defend yourself against, something Other to other people's Our.
Donghyuck held out a hand, palm up. Jisung watched the air itself collecting into the shape of something multi-colored and fluffy. A harmless, inviting thing that uncurled to reveal something not unlike an adorable puppy. The creature leaped off of his hand and grew bigger as it hit the ground and bounded around Donghyuck. Sharp teeth grew from powerful jaws and curled claws made themselves known in previously soft puppy paws. Fog seemed to cling along a coat of bristled fur and unsettlingly intelligent eyes peered out at everything. It circled around to stare at the Denizen and gave a smile that stretched too wide and revealed too many teeth.
"This is the stuff of nightmares. Your wildest dreams and worst fears come true. You wanna know what it would look like if I didn't care? I'd be where you are. It wouldn't take much to set my powers on the people who've shunned me. I've felt it every time I've been pushed away. I've felt every possibility of pain for the people I love. Every "what if" and every bit of hatred and fear pointed at me. It's enough to drive you mad. You think I don't feel? You think I have that luxury!? You think I don't care!? FUCK YOU! I'VE LOST MY FAMILY AND FOUND ANOTHER! IF YOU THINK I'M GONNA LET ANYBODY HURT THEM, TRY AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!" Donghyuck growled, pushing himself back onto his feet.
The Denizen took another step back, eyes widening. A dense fog flooded the street and a scream that made Sungchan flinch violently ripped from where they'd been standing. A pocket of air cleared, revealing where Chenle had been dangled by the Denizen. The metal he'd been encased in was crumbling. Before Jisung could jerk himself into action, a colorful blur that was most likely Taeyong streaked across the asphalt and leaped up to catch him. The ground shifted under them and rose up slightly, appearing to become softer. Yuta must have been helping, then.