Hoseok raises an eyebrow in Kihyun’s direction. He can’t really hide his skepticism when he asks, “You? You like cell biology and understand every single thing about all of the mechanisms that cyclin dependent kinases are involved in?”
Kihyun raises an eyebrow back at Hoseok, the lighting causing his eyebrow piercing to shine and flash, drawing Hoseok’s attention to it for a few seconds too many. It isn’t like it’s the first time Hoseok has seen it, but he always finds himself staring. “What’s wrong with that? Just because I look the way I do, does that mean I can’t like something like that?”
And Hoseok can’t really answer that, especially not in the confident, seamless way that he used to be able to. He doesn’t really know Kihyun anymore, so he can’t say anything, can only apologize for assuming and being insensitive.
He knows that stereotyping people is bad, hates it when people do it to him all of the time, so there’s really no excuse for the way he labeled Kihyun based on the way he looks. But it’s hard when the only reason they’re meeting in the first place is because Hoseok is tutoring Kihyun in one of the many classes that he’s failing. It doesn’t help that Kihyun looks the way he does, with multiple piercings lining his ears, an eyebrow piercing shifting and catching the light every few seconds, and not to mention the lip ring looking all nice and pretty settled on the left side of his large bottom lip. Hoseok doesn’t even want to get started on the red-orange undercut or the leather jacket clinging to Kihyun’s shoulders much in the same way Kihyun’s ripped black jeans are practically molded to his damn thighs. Kihyun isn’t really helping himself out nor is he helping others think so highly of him when he is the way he is, but Hoseok of all people should know that just because you look a certain way doesn’t mean you are that way.
It’s quiet in the section of the library they’re seated in, and the sudden chilly atmosphere surrounding them doesn’t help. Hoseok knows that he should say something, because even though he has apologized, Kihyun is staring blankly down at his notebook, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be attempting the problems Hoseok gave him any time soon.
Just as Hoseok is about to ask Kihyun if he wants to stop for the day, Kihyun looks up at him, a spark in his gaze as he asks, “Why are you doing this?”
Hoseok is so surprised by the sudden question that he freezes, mouth opening and closing uselessly as he tries and formulates a response. He’s pretty sure that Kihyun isn’t asking him about anything related to their previous conversation, and he’s pretty sure he knows what Kihyun is referring to, but he doesn’t want to make things worse than they already are by assuming again.
Luckily for him, Kihyun seems to be a little impatient because it isn’t much longer until he’s continuing on, a hard glint to his eyes. “It has been weeks. We’ve met three times now and nothing is getting better. We just fucking sit here for two hours while you do your homework and I scroll through my phone because we both know I don’t give two shits about doing any of the work you give me. So why are you doing this in the first place?”
Hoseok’s initial reaction is to tell Kihyun to stop cursing, but he knows that isn’t the point right now. It would be useless anyways. So instead, Hoseok asks a question that has been bothering him for the last three meetings. “Why do you even show up then? If you don’t care about any of the work I’m giving you, then why are you even wasting time for the both of us? I’m going to do my work whether you’re here or not, I just have to do it in the library now while I babysit you and think of something to tell the teacher tomorrow when she asks me how you’re doing. To be honest, I didn’t even think you would show up the first time, and the more times you come here and the more hours that you waste, I can only wonder why you bother in the first place.”
Hoseok doesn’t even know where that whole thing came from, but he’s glad he got it off his chest. Even if Kihyun doesn’t respond, at least it’s out in the open instead of staying bottled up within Hoseok.
Kihyun only purses his lips in response. When it becomes clear that he isn’t going to be answering any time soon, Hoseok sighs and begins packing his things up. He really did want to help Kihyun, but if Kihyun isn’t going to put effort into helping himself, then there really isn’t anything that Hoseok can do regardless of how he feels.
He only manages to put one notebook away before there’s a hand in his field of vision and then tiny fingers curling around his wrist.
It sounds like a command, which only makes Hoseok want to leave more because there’s no way he’s going to sit here and be Yoo Kihyun’s plaything any longer. He’s tired of sitting here and watching Kihyun do nothing when all Hoseok wants to do is help him (and alright, maybe there’s another reason that Hoseok wants to, but he refuses to entertain that idea. It has been years, things have most definitely changed). But when he looks up to tell Kihyun just that (albeit in a nicer way because Hoseok is frustrated, but he still likes to think that he has manners), he notices the way that Kihyun is staring at him. It’s different from before, the hard edge gone. Hoseok doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s pretty sure there is a vulnerability there that he hasn’t seen in years.
Kihyun doesn’t say anything after that, not a apology for acting the way he has been or to maybe convince Hoseok to stay. He doesn’t have to, though, because Hoseok remembers enough about Kihyun to be able to tell anyways.
The fingers around his wrist clench a little tighter, Kihyun’s desperation and nervousness out in the open for one split second.
It’s all that Hoseok needs to relax against his chair, a sigh leaving his lips. “Alright, but only if you work. I don’t want to waste any more time.”
Kihyun grumbles a bit and purses his lips like he has to physically force the word out, but he eventually gets out a, “Fine.”
Hoseok isn’t entirely convinced that Kihyun is going to take this any more seriously than he has in the last three sessions, but at least this time when Hoseok gestures towards the empty worksheet in front of Kihyun, Kihyun actually goes to read it.
At least making sure Kihyun is focusing will distract Hoseok from how cold his wrist feels now that Kihyun is no longer holding on to it.