((this is a different universe than the previous domino one shot))
it was the most painful pain that dominic had ever experienced.
it was as if someone had constructed brain surgery without applying any anesthesia — it was horrible. it was way past being a hangover, and dominic certainly remembered that he hadn’t hit his head the way before. but when he woke up in the middle of the night, it was as if he had been hit by a car and was brought back to life. maybe it was the dream that he had just awoken from… but he couldn’t remember what had happened.
that was the depressing part about dreams; you can only remember bits and pieces of them, and those pieces were normally the most questionable pieces. they were the ones that were right on the border of being reality and fantasy, and you could never figure out which side they were supposed to be placed. in this case, dominic had only remembered names… names of people he had never met… names of people he never heard of outside of entertainment. aoide song was the most clear — the other names were not so clear. one may have started with a d… another with a m… and maybe another with a t. but the ‘aoide song’ stuck out more than dominic’s bedhair did.
as he slowly opened his eyes, he instantly felt the chill in his apartment. the humidity in the air was the strongest it had been in years, and korea was suffering from constant pours of rain and barely any breaks. he must have left the air conditioner on for too long and it pushed the humid air out of the apartment, filling it with a prickly chill. it made his hairs stand on end, and the thin sheet that covered his legs was even colder than the air. slowly sitting up, he shifted to move out of the bed. once he stood completely on his feet, he had to catch himself on the dresser beside him so he wouldn’t fall — it felt as if a million anvils was tied to his head, and it almost made him fall backwards. slowly moving over to switch the lamp on the dresser onto a dim setting, he grabbed a bottle of painkillers and immediately took four, swallowing them dry.
after a couple minutes, dominic stood straight again and slowly walked over to the bathroom, cutting the light onto a dim setting again and rested his arms on the sink, staring at his reflection in the mirror. maybe it was just the lighting, but his reflection almost made dominic jump out of his skin. he was pale… too pale. he had terrible dark circles under his eyes along with eye bags, which was most likely caused by his hectic schedule. his lips were a pale pink color, and his eyes looked almost bloodshot. he had lost a lot of weight, along with some muscle mass in his arms. he looked deathly… but he wasn’t sure why. maybe he woke up too soon… maybe he actually looked different.
cutting on the sink and splashing hot water onto his face, he picked up a towel to dry himself and glanced at his reflection again before leaving to walk into the living room, his bare feet connecting with the chilled floor. gently turning the knotch down on the air conditioner, he moved to turn the television on and lay on the couch. rolling onto his stomach to hug a pillow, he turned to watch television for a few minutes before closing his eyes again, lulling off into another deep sleep.
feeling a gentle hand shake his shoulder, he let out a small groan, turning to lay on his back. feeling a petite body sit on his stomach and grab his leg to gently move it from it’s place slung over the top of the couch to lay beside his other leg, he slowly opened his eyes to see his girlfriend smiling back down at him.
"i fixed breakfast! it’s not exactly close to breakfast yet… but… i figured you’d have to wake up early."
"… aoide?" dominic silently croacked out, but closed his eyes to fully awake them before opening them again, slinging his hand over to grab his glasses from the small table in front of the couch and put them on. "oh… hey reno."
"are you okay? … you don’t look well." she reached over to press her hand to his forehead and gently trace the defined skull of his face. "have you been eating?"
"yeah… i’m alright. i just feel a bit loopy from painkillers." he brought a hand up to gently scratch the side of his mouth, inhaling the scent of food that immediately made his stomach growl.
"painkillers? … you aren’t supposed to just take those, dominic." her face contorted with worry.
"i know, i know. i woke up in the middle of the night with a big headache… i’m fine now." but in truth, he wasn’t. the pain in his head had lessened, but it still was there.
he sat up and shifted so he faced forward while reno scooted to sit beside him, opening the plastic containers of the hot food, which dominic stared at hungrily. sticking a couple of chopsticks into a bowl of tofu soup, and handing one to dominic, he gave her a smile and leaned over to peck her lips and then fumble around with the chopsticks, stuffing a piece of the tofu into his mouth.
"how have you been?"
"good, i guess. just recording… the same as last week… you?"
"nothing really… i’ve been worrying about your health."
"don’t worry about me. i won’t be in the hospital anytime soon… i worry about you. do you even get any sleep now?" another bite.
"i want to… and… yes. i have."
"a couple hours."
"that’s not enough."
"that’s all i can manage."
"borrow my sleeping pills."
"they don’t work."
dominic couldn’t reply anymore, and he quietly ate.
"… are you finished?"
"here, i’ll go clean it up." dominic slowly stood and grabbed the dishes, slowly padding over to the kitchen and set the dishes into the sink. when he did, he felt two arms wrap around him from behind and a head rest on his back.
"dominic… you aren’t okay."
"i am fine."
reno sighed and dominic turned around to face her, wrapping his bulk arms around her and resting his chin on the top of her head. they stood there for a couple of minutes, the only sound was heavy rain pelting against the windows and their quiet breaths, reno’s soft and dominic’s rugged.
"you said you couldn’t sleep?" reno shook her head.
"then sleep in my bed."
the rest of that night was a good sleep, though the name 'aoide song' was still ringing in his dreams.
for the first time in years, dominic felt pure. refreshed. clean.
maybe it was because of the military’s strict ‘no alcohol’ rule, or maybe it was just the new, welcome smell of seoul, but it made dominic feel good.
it had been three years — three years of fierce military training, three years of seeing his own comrades falling, three years of only getting shot once, and three years of being alcohol free. it was an accomplishment for him - before, he couldn’t go two hours without having a bottle of beer.
even though he felt like a new person, the raging memories of the old dominic — the raging, dumbass, neglecting alcoholic rapper — still lived on. even as he passed through the enrollment center and out of the exit into a crowd of press and die hard fans, the old dominic was still in the back of his mind, pestering and forcing the urge to revisit his bar — yes, his bar, since he brought it a couple of months before enrolling — and drink in a celebratory party. drink until he couldn’t lift a finger; drink until he had a total blackout on the bar stool.
he could remember the ‘accident’ that made him enroll into the military early as if it was just a couple of minutes before. he had slipped up and ignored aoide for a couple of weeks, spending more time with his long time friend travis than his own girlfriend. she went off to fuck the brains out of that one kid — dominic, even though he could remember everything that happened, still couldn’t remember his name — and end up cheating on dominic for a second time. he could remember the first time that she had done it and admitted it to him; it was an arguement that went on for days, but they eventually got back together. though the second time was different. the second time was even worse than the first. it was as if aoide had cut his heart open the first time, but the second time, she completely dissolved it.
dominic had parked his car in the parking lot outside of their shared apartment (they had finally settled and decided to get an apartment together outside of the public eye) after sending a ‘i’m home safe’ message to his manager. he had gotten out of the studio earlier than planned and his manager had sent the freshly recorded songs out to the producers. he was glad to get out of the studio; it had started to get a little too late, and dominic felt as if he was fixing to fall down from exhaustion at any minute. he put his phone into his pocket and was about to get out of the car until he saw a couple enter their apartment. just from the silhouette, he could tell that it was aoide, but a muscular, bulky silhouette was standing beside her as she unlocked the door to their apartment and the two stepped inside.
"maybe it’s just the new maintenance guy — the heat needed to be fixed anyway. maybe she got to cold and called for him."
but the scene had made a sharp pain attach itself to his stomach — he felt uneasy and nauseous about the situation. he stepped out of the car and walked with quick, determined steps to the building.
"but something isn’t right."
he normally couldn’t judge whether or not something was right or wrong — he normally acted on instinct, he never really had a certain feeling if something was wrong. but the scene had automatically sent the statement into his mind, and when it went into the instincts section, dominic acted on it.
shifting his weight simultaneously on each foot as he stood in the elevator, he prayed for the lift to just magically go to the floor as quickly as possible. so many questions filtered themselves into dominic’s mind as he rubbed his face to calm down.
"you’re just sleepy. it’s nine o’clock, you woke up earlier than usual this morning."
even as he reassured himself, the pain in the pit of his stomach still stayed. the feeling grew more with each ding the elevator emanated. he started to feel more and more panicked.
"what if she’s cheating on me again?"
dominic’s heart stopped at the very thought. aoide promised that she wouldn’t, she promised that she wouldn’t cheat on him again. she promised.
dominic cursed loudly as the elevator’s doors opened, and ran down the hall to his apartment door. he quickly fumbled with the items in his pockets before he brought out the apartment door’s keys and unlocked the door, pushing it open and stepping inside.
the first thing he noticed was the shoes. sure, the couple had a good share of shoes that stood beside the apartment door, but there was an unfamiliar pair lying beside a pair of aoide’s luxurious ones. a pair that dominic didn’t own next to a christmas gift that he gave her just the past week.
and with that, dominic was stomping down the hall, his own kicks still on. he stepped in front of the bedroom door and placed his hand on the door knob. there was an electric shock that jumped to his hand, which would normally cause dominic to falter back and shout profanity in pain, but his adrenaline was still too strong to even feel any sort of pain. he turned the knob slowly and pushed the door open. what he saw was worse than what he thought — it was the image of aoide on top of the bulky idol whose name still escaped him, on their bed, naked with only a single, thin bed sheet covering their lover half. his heart had literally skipped a beat — maybe even more than one beat — and acted on the raging instinct in his body.
walking up to the bed, he grabbed aoi’s arm and threw her off of the younger man, her still-shocked body rolling off into the floor along with the bed sheet. the younger male sat up immediately and had tried to get off the bed to check on aoide when dominic came in eye contact with him. in any other situation, dominic would be the one to flail back and run, but in this situation and for the only time in his life, dominic’s expression was murderous.
"who the fuck are you?" dominic didn’t give the other male a chance to answer before he punched the other directly in the mouth, the other stumbling back. "what the fuck are you doing here?" dominic shouted again, grabbing the other’s hair and punching him again. dominic’s rage was starting to blur his eyesight and couldn’t see the other’s fist as it came in contact with his face, causing dominic to spit out a wad of blood onto the hard-wood floors as he lounged at the other man before him, and the scene had started to become bloody and harmful.
in the end, there was no winner. the two were equally beaten up, and black sores on dominic’s body had already started to swell into a purple color. he hadn’t harmed aoide, though he knew that she had already came to stand up on the opposite side of the bed, and he could already picture the horror-stricken expression that she had on her face. not caring to stay for any time longer, dominic left the apartment, throwing his set of keys on the floor without a word, and only with the clothes he had on his back. he left for dae ru’s apartment, the closest place he could go without having to say a word to the owner — dae ru would eventually figure out what happened.
dominic spent a few nights over at dae ru’s apartment, depression finally taking it’s final hold on dominic as he didn’t speak a word to a single person, only coming to the decision to enroll into the military early.
back then, dominic was twenty-four.
now, the twenty-eight year old had a genuine smile on his face as he was face-to-face with a million fans and a million reporters and a billion cameras, and the number was growing.
"how are you, dominic?"
"how was your stay in the military?"
"what made you stay longer than the usual two years?"
"are you still an alcoholic?"
"what are you going to do now, ddk?"
dominic could only politely bow and wave as his manager came out of the enrollment building with some security members following behind him and dominic stepped aside as he let his manager walk in front of him, forcefully pushing the reporters out of the way while the three security members surrounded dominic as he followed his manager through the crowd. "let him rest. he’s still jet-lagged. he wants to see his family members." what was his manager kept repeating. it was their only excuse.
dominic had heard that his cousin was off somewhere in japan with no limit, dae ru was off doing activities in thailand with hussle, and travis was probably the only person who was waiting for dominic like the good friend he was, but dominic wasn’t blaming the other two. they couldn’t help it. he understood, dominic had also missed lots of important events with the other two.
as the group walked through the crowd of fans, they were shouting the same questions that the reporters had. there was even a 'dominic danger kim' chant that was growing louder by the minute. as they neared the van, an eager fan had reached out and grabbed dominic’s wrist, shouting something that at first was incoherent to his ears, but it sounded important. dominic shrugged the security officer off of him as he pulled the fan closer to him, allowing the fan to shout into dominic’s ear with news that dominic could’ve never imagined.
"dominic… do you know that aoide’s married now? she married maesyn, and she’s pregnant with a kid."
dominic blinked, pulling his head back to get a good look at the fan that had given him this important bit of information.
it wasn’t just any fan; it was his old manager. the one that dominic fired after aoide’s first cheating; the one that he had abandoned her for when the guy was in a car wreck. he looked older than dominic, but in truth, they were the same age. though, the ex-manager had been through tougher shit than dominic could ever imagine.
before he could say anything in reply, the grip of his new, older manager was directed onto his other wrist as dominic was dragged away, the phrase still stuck in his mind.
aoide was married to the guy that she had cheated on dominic with.
… and she was pregnant with a kid.
dominic had been happy up until that point. he didn’t blame his ex-manager, he blamed aoide. for the first time in the past decade that he knew aoide, he blamed her.
he was pulled into the large black van as his new manager sat in the driver’s seat, throwing a couple of celebrity magazines into dominic’s lap as he started the van and started to drive down the street, past the wavering crowd.
when dominic’s mind fully registered what was going on, he tensed up again as he looked down onto the front page of the magazine thrown into his lap. there, on the front cover, was a pregnant aoide kissing her now husband maesyn. it was as if this was revenge for what had happened just before he enrolled; it was a complete slap in the face, even if dominic was a ‘new, changed person’.
sure, dominic had earned his fair share of scars from military training and being out in the field, but he still had that one scar on his lip. it wasn’t noticeable unless you got right up to his face, but dominic saw it every time he looked at himself in the mirror. it was as if it had the same attractive drag that a shiny object would to an ADD person; it was always the first thing he saw on his face, and he stared at it as if it was the biggest part of his face.
"stop at dae ru’s apartment. just drop me off there."
"but he’s in thailand right now."
"i fucking know that. drop me off there."
"whatever you say, dominic."
he had already had his day planned out — go and meet travis, do a couple of interviews together, and then have a sober, alcohol-free party at travis’s place. though, with the news of aoide, that had changed everything.
the old, unfamiliar lump in his stomach had returned, for the first time in three years and two days, as the van stopped in front of the old apartment complex that he and dae ru had once lived in. dominic was still staring at the magazine cover. he was still staring at aoide’s face.
for the past three years, he focused entirely on himself being in the military — he hadn’t even thought of anything outside of that. that was the only way he broke his addiction to alcohol — after the first few weeks, his mind had completely overthrown the bug, and dominic had forgotten about the poison. it was something that no one had ever thought would happen; dominic was one of the biggest alcoholics in korea, everyone was sure that he would always remain the biggest. he had even heard jokes saying that he would have a bottle of beer beside him when he was on his deathbed.
in those three years, he had also not thought of anyone. not travis, dae ru or jubi. he had also not given a single thought to aoide — it had even gotten to the point where he thought he was just shipped over to south korea - he thought he still lived in america, and that his stardom in korea was in an alternate universe.
though, it all hit him once he unconsciously stepped out of the van onto the cold sidewalk in front of the apartment complex.
"you sure you want me to go? what about travis? what about those interviews?"
"call travis and tell him that i’ll see him tomorrow. tell the producers to postpone the interviews until tomorrow and that i’m passed out in the back of the van."
"okay then, dominic. don’t get yourself into trouble. i don’t want to have to clear your name by myself again."
dominic didn’t move until his manager had turned the van across the block — the two out of each other’s sight. then, he bolted. he wasn’t going to dae ru’s apartment, he was going to his second home. the only place where he could sit back and relax without being bothered. the only place where he could release out all of his stress and feelings without talking or physically harming anyone.
it was just a ten minute run — and once he got to the front door, dominic wasn’t even tired. not out of breath; not anywhere to the point of sweating. the only point of soreness was in his ankle, but that was only because he had slightly slipped on the sheet of ice that had covered the sidewalk on the way there. he walked in through the doors, expecting to see a crowd of people, but there were only a couple — and they were the ones who knew not to bother dominic when he was in the bar, even if he had been away in the military for a couple of years.
dominic walked over to the bar and ordered exactly two bottles of beer — sure, his old self was able to take more than that, but dominic knew better than to over drink himself when he hadn’t had a single drop of alcohol in three years.
he told himself he wasn’t going to drink again. it was strictly forbidden. but that was apart of the new dominic’s memory.
and the new dominic had died when he entered the bar.
dom downed the first bottle of beer in just a couple of minutes. he had already felt the burning sensation in his throat as he finished, the liquid mixing with the water in his stomach and drowning out the pain of the painful lump. he was already starting to feel the lurch in his stomach, but he still had another bottle to drink. he still had memories of aoide to wash out of his mind.
the other people in the bar had left three minutes ago, leaving only dom and the bartender. the bartender had walked into the back three seconds ago, leaving only dom.
as he started on the second bottle, the lurch in his stomach had jumped to his throat, causing dom to hop up and do the familiar sprint to the bathroom. there, he bolted into one of the stalls and released the jumping lurch of his stomach, not even bothering to shut the stall door. he didn’t care if anyone came in and scolded him for vomiting. he really didn’t fucking care.
as he finished, he stood and groaned. the memory of aoide getting married was still there in his mind; the image on the front cover of the magazine was still plastered onto his pupils.
and there, reality finally hit him. dom cried. he cried for what felt like an hour. not just over aoide’s marriage and kid, but over what had happened to him in the past decade. it had its ups and downs, but nothing good stood out. dom only remembered the bad stuff — the stuff that had caused him so much pain, but it was the stuff that he bit his tongue about and let pass.
dom stood up, his hands grabbing the railing as he leaned on it to regain balance. he was wasted; he could already feel another lurch coming on as he started to walk out of the stall towards the sink. as his face entered the mirror’s reflection, his eyes were attracted to the small scar on his face. that fucking scar that hadn’t went away for three years. that fucking scar that aoide’s now husband had caused. that fucking scar that aoide had caused.
dom took a step forward, but faltered — he was wasted, he should’ve known to hold onto something as he walked, but dom wasn’t all there. he fell forward, eyes shut for the expected impact on the floor, arms held out straight to catch himself. however, he was closer to the sink than he thought — and there it came, an unexpected contact of skull to solid porcelain.
his head snapped back, and his eyes fluttered open before squinting shut once again because of the pain. as he came in contact with the floor, his outstretched arm caused him to fall onto his back as his head lolled to the look at the ceiling. he felt blood roll down his forehead, causing a small dark red puddle on the floor. his mind was still dizzy, the pain in his stomach was still there, and the memories of aoide came flooding back to him. his life flashed before his eyes — and the pain in his head grew. he felt another lurch go into his throat, flooding his mouth as he unconsciously opened it. the pain in his head had overwhelmed his thoughts, and even though his instincts was telling him to turn his head, dom refused.
the world would be better if dominic wasn’t there anymore.
"aoide, the times that you haven’t spent with me, you don’t know what i’ve fucking done. during these off sessions between us, where i’ve felt like it was my fault, i’ve fucking attempted to kill myself - because it always seemed that it was better that i fell off fucking earth for you to be happy - and i’m not fucking afraid to do it again. it seems like you wouldn’t care if i did or not."