Whumptober 27: Okay, Who Had Natural Disasters On Their 2020 Bingo Card?
This one was an absolute delight to write. I just love this type of fic. Thanks to LovelyStressedPrincess for feeding me ideas and writing a couple of the paragraphs.
Summary: MK wakes up to an earthquake. At first he writes it off as paranoia, but as the day progresses, he can't help but feel like he's been here before.
Trigger Warnings: serious injury, mild self harm
MK woke up to the world shaking. Books were thrown from his shelves, various trinkets going everywhere.
Oh shit, was this an — earthquake. The word left a gross sense of deja vu.
The earthquake stopped almost as quickly as it started.
Warily, he dressed himself, praying there wouldn’t be another one. This had been rather tame for an earthquake.
He hurried downstairs, not wanting to be late for work.
When he saw that the shop, too, was a complete and total mess, he couldn’t help but be a little bit relieved.
In the calabash, nobody but him had been affected by the “earthquakes”. This meant that it had actually been real.
“Kid, are you okay?” Pigsy asked.
MK snapped out of his thoughts. “What?”
“The earthquake, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said.
Pigsy seemed satisfied. “Good. Let’s get started on cleaning this mess. I won’t have customers thinking we’re slobs!”
MK laughed breathlessly. Yeah, that was definitely Pigsy. There was absolutely nothing to worry about! Everything was all good.
An hour later, the shop was totally spick and span. Luckily, the earthquake hadn’t done too much damage.
From there, MK went on with his job, delivering noodles to people all across town. Rush hour had traffic, and there were no free samples.
Still, the earthquake had him on edge. But there was nothing to worry about. He was sure there was nothing to worry about.
The day proceeded to be almost painstakingly average. No horrible demons attacked, and he didn’t have to deal with any Karens at work. It was just… normal.
Almost suspiciously so.
At the end of his shift, Mei showed up. That was odd, wasn’t she supposed to have been busy? He could have sworn she was doing something today.
“Are you ready?” She asked, bouncing on her heels.
“Uh… ready for what?”
Mei laughed. “Don’t tell me you forgot.”
“That event the arcade is holding? You know, the one we’ve been talking about for weeks?”
MK’s blood went cold.
There was no event. He’d never made plans with Mei. He was sure of it.
He would have remembered if he had, which meant… no, no, this was the only strange thing that had happened, it didn’t mean anything…
But what if it did?
What if he was trapped again? What if this was all fake? The earthquake, the complete and total perfect normalcy of the day…
Okay. Alright okay, there was an easy way to figure this out. He just needed to check for his staff.
Mei watched, looking somewhat concerned, as he reached for the staff. Only… it wasn’t there.
“Where’s the staff?” He asked, panic beginning to set in.
“Locking away DBK,” Mr. Tang supplied from across the room as he slurped down his noodles. “Are you feeling alright, MK? You look a little… ill.”
He had never done that. He’d never defeated DBK, not for real. It wasn’t true. They were lying to him, none of this was real.
“I’m fine,” he squeaked, backing away very, very slowly.
He snapped around, coming face-to-face with Pigsy, who looked just as concerned as the other two.
Oh god, he was being boxed in, they were going to hurt him, they wouldn’t want to let him leave.
He forced his breathing to slow, and he gave the most natural smile he could muster. If he could convince them that he wasn’t onto them, he could buy himself some time.
“Everything’s good!” He said. “Sorry, I dunno what got into me! Anyways, I should probably make this last noodle delivery! I’ll be back soon for our thing, Mei!”
“If you’re sure…” Mei finally said, looking unconvinced.
“Please, I’ll be as quick as a bunny! You know how great I am at noodle deliveries, after all,” he said, as if he thought the concern was him not making it back in time. If he just kept playing dumb, everything would be fine. He just needed to get away.
He grabbed the bag of food, getting into his cart as calmly as possible.
Almost there almost there almost there.
Finally, he deemed himself a good distance from them. He didn’t know to what extent the demons had control over this… realm? Pocket dimension? Illusion? But he had to figure this out quick, before they realized he knew what was up.
Still, he couldn’t stop the panic from growing. Everything was so much more natural than last time. Had he not been here before, he probably would have just written it all off as a bump on the head.
But he knew better. He wasn’t stupid.
He came to a stop on the side of the road, putting his head on the steering wheel.
He needed to go. But he needed to stop. Why was he freaking out so much? He’d been here before, this would be a piece of cake.
But his breathing refused to calm, and he was pretty sure he was going to vomit.
Deep breaths, he demanded of himself. Deep. Breaths.
He looked up, his knuckles going white from how hard he was gripping the wheel.
“Monkey King,” he greeted stiffly, swallowing down his fear.
“Well that’s a little formal,” he laughed.
MK just looked at him, ignoring his comment in favor of trying to determine what to do. Fake or not, Monkey King was too strong for him to fight. Especially without his staff.
Monkey King frowned. “You seem—”
Agitated, MK thought with a growing sense of dread. He was going to say that. Jin and Yin were just taunting him, they were playing with him, they were letting him know—
Instead of comforting him, MK only felt the sense of nausea swirling in his stomach get worse. They had gotten smarter.
That wasn't good.
“Mhmm,” he agreed, not trusting himself to speak.
“Did something happen?”
Besides being trapped in an evil artifact again? Besides the fact that the world around him was completely and utterly fake? Besides knowing that everyone here was nothing but a lie?
“Nope!” He forced out. “Just had a long night!”
He needed to get his staff he needed to get out he needed to run.
“Anyway, I’vegottodeliverthesenoodlesbye.” He didn’t give Monkey King a chance to stop him, speeding off in his cart as fast as it would take him. By the grace of the heavens, he didn’t follow him.
Okay. Tang had said his staff was on the mountain. He found it a little odd that the demons would put it right back where it had been last time, but hopefully that would make it easier for him. If last time’s experience had taught him anything, it was that he would have to be fast.
He didn’t know how quickly Jin and Yin would send his “friends” after him. He glared at the street. Friends. They were nothing but empty shells, puppets on strings. That may have been the most cruel part of all. Trying to make him believe that the people he loved were real.
Focus MK. Just get to the mountain.
He could do this.
He continued to drive, trying hard to force all other thoughts out of his head. It was hard to not think about things when you were thinking about not thinking about them.
It was hard not to focus on the fact that he was trapped in a tiny world controlled by two people who were intent on destroying him, who were holding his life in their hands, who were manipulating and playing with it like putty, who wanted him to suffer and not know it until the very last moment.
Tears pushed at his eyes. It wouldn’t be like last time. He’d figured it out way faster, and now he was going to put an end to it.
This didn’t help to calm the panic.
Jin and Yin had done a better job this time. They were smarter. This could only mean horrible things for him if he let it go on any further.
He pulled to a stop again, squeezing his eyes shut. He just needed a minute. He just needed a quick minute. Everything was gonna be fine.
He covered his eyes with his hand, as if it would block the tears. It really only served to make his hand wet.
Shakily, he ran his other hand through his hair, flinching when a sharp burst of pain came from it.
Carefully, he touched that spot again. There was a large, really fucking painful bump. When had that happened? He didn’t remember hitting his head…
Whatever, he could worry about it later. Right now, he needed to pull himself together and get the hell to the mountain before he was caught.
He couldn’t manage to stop crying, but the tears had at least slowed enough that he felt he could drive again. His vision was only slightly blurry.
Just as he pulled up to the construction site, his phone rang.
“Um… hello?” he asked, cursing himself when he choked up. Fuck, now they would know he’d been crying.
“Kid? You okay?” Pigsy asked from the other end of the line.
“I’m—” so scared “fine.” He forced down a bitter laugh. They really had gotten smarter. A worried phone call instead of all his friends randomly showing up to stop him from taking back his staff, yeah, that was clever. But he wasn’t stupid. He was going to get out of here, and he was going to go home.
“Okay, great, care to tell me why this tracker app says you’re hanging around at that construction site instead of doing your job?” Pigsy asked, sounding somewhat annoyed.
“I’m not stupid!” MK yelled, unable to hold himself back. He all but flung himself into the elevator, directing it down. “You can’t keep me in here this time!”
“You can’t trick me that easily again!”
“Kid, hold on, I’ll be right there—”
“Don’t even try it!”
He hung up, glaring at his dark phone screen as the elevator continued to descend.
And then, out of nowhere, it stopped.
“Come on, you stupid piece of junk!” he begged, “Work!”
Oh god. He’d given himself away, and if he didn’t get to the ground in time, they’d catch up with him. Fuck fuck fuck, he was so stupid, why had he done that?
He looked down, weighing his options. He couldn’t jump, not without his staff. He’d break something for sure.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. He kicked the wall of the elevator as if that would do something.
He was a sitting duck. For a few, dreadful minutes, he sat there, contemplating his options. He was going to throw up.
“MK?” he heard.
“Are you here? Pigsy sent me since I was already nearby.”
No no no, he wasn’t letting not-Mei ruin everything.
He covered his mouth, hoping it would quiet down his breathing. He couldn’t make a sound.
He heard Mei fiddling with the lever of the elevator. “Move, you stupid…” she gave it a kick, and then it started to move. Up.
He didn’t have a choice. He forced the gate open, tumbling out and to the ground.
The resounding crack echoed loudly.
“MK, oh my god!”
He scrambled to his feet, whimpering through the pain, limping frantically for the staff. Almost there, almost there—
“Kid, stop! What is he doing?”
“He’s going crazy, he just jumped from this thing!”
“Holy shit, MK, stop!”
He tuned out their words, forcing back the tears and the pain. Almost there. Just a little closer—
Someone grabbed him.
“No!” he screamed, wrenching himself from their grip. They only grabbed him again.
“MK, bud, take a deep breath. Can you do that?”
Monkey King was here why was Monkey King here he wouldn’t be here if this wasn’t all fake.
“Let me go!” he screamed, twisting out of his mentor’s hold once more, barely making it two steps before he fell to the ground.
His not-friends were surrounding him.
He couldn’t breathe, they weren’t going to let him get to that staff, he could barely even think through the pain, he needed to move, but he couldn’t.
“Give him some air!” Pigsy demanded, pushing Monkey King to the side as he kneeled beside MK. “Kid, look at me.”
MK squeezed his eyes shut tight. “You c-can’t trick me, not again,” he whispered.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb! I know! I told you I know! Give it up already!” he sobbed, clutching his leg.
They were trying so hard to save this, it was almost pathetic. They’d gotten Pigsy just right this time, too.
He loosened his grip on his leg, slowly sitting up.
“Hey, hey, be careful—”
He bolted. He shot to his feet and ran for the staff, holding back every scream and every sob. He could hurt when he was free.
His fingers brushed against the staff—
He was yanked back.
Mei was there, holding her blade. “We can’t let you do this,” she whispered.
“You can’t stop me this time!”
He threw a punch, actually managing to land a hit on her. She looked shocked and horrified and scared all rolled into one.
“MK,” Tang said, approaching him with his hands up, as if to show that he wasn’t a threat. “You need to calm down so we can look at your leg.”
MK had to give the demons props. Tang really did look scared.
“Stay. Away from me!”
Mei put a hand on his shoulder. “We just want to help,” she insisted.
Without thinking, he kicked her with his bad leg, nearly falling to the ground himself with the pain. Still, he scrambled for the staff once more.
Monkey King forced him to the ground. “Enough!” he shouted.
MK didn’t listen to him, crying so hard from the pain that he couldn’t see straight. He kicked, and screamed, and fought, but Monkey King, real or not, was so much stronger than him. He was helpless.
“Just kill me!” he sobbed, thrashing in Monkey King’s grip. “Just kill me!” he begged again. “I know that’s what you want! Just do it!”
Monkey King recoiled. “Where would you even get that idea? Kid, it’s me. I would never want you to be hurt. But you’re hurting yourself by doing this.”
MK thrashed harder, his sobs making his whole body shake and tremble. His leg twisted in the wrong way.
He screamed, the sound ripping from his throat painfully. His breathing picked up, he was hyperventilating again, get off him get off him get off him he needed to get out please let him go he wanted to go home he wanted to be in reality again.
“We need to get him to a hospital,” Tang said, from somewhere to his right.
“Mei, call an ambulance,” Pigsy said, looking over MK worriedly.
“No!” he sobbed, weakly fighting back. It hurt so much. He was beginning to get tired. “Let me go, kill me, please…”
“Help is on the way, bud,” Monkey King said.
In one last attempt, MK reached weakly for the staff, even as darkness began to overtake his vision.
He had been so close.
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