"Watch where you're going kid!"
Jisung barely recovered from the heavy blow to his shoulder when the words processed in his head. He would've turned around and probably spat something back, but whoever ran into him was long gone now. Perhaps it was for the best - he didn't need to be picking up Donghyuck's slightly confrontational personality.
Prick. He was the one to walk into me. He should watch where he's going before blaming me for his stupid mistakes.
It didn't really surprise him though - people barged past him like that all the time anyway and lately he was too tired to actually try and confront any of them. He was always tired these days; mind a mess, limbs heavy, shoulders carrying some invisible weight the size of Jupiter.
That's all because life was a tiring experience for Jisung. He woke up early in the mornings, where the birds screamed bloody murder as the sun rose, dragged himself all over the place from school to work and always ended up crashing onto his bed when he got home later on in thw afternoon. He hated the monotomous lifestyle that presented itself before him but...suffice it to say - not much could be done. He needed college for qualifications so he could get a job; he needed his current job to pay rent for his too-big apartment; he needed an apartment to continue going to college without waking up at more ridiculous hours. It was like a whole shitty cycle with no sign of letting up any time soon.
There wasn't really a point in complaining, though, he supposed. Life's a bitch, people suffer. To live and breathe also means to endure the unforgiving price of doing so. It's as if karma was chasing its own tail, trying to rip it off while not realising it was just fucking itself up.
Karma's never been good to me anyway.
He huffed and shoved his hands in his hoodie pocket, shrugging off the morbid thought and focusing on the music playing into his ears from his phone.
It wasn't long before he walked into the coffee shop he worked at - going straight into the back, and slipping off his hoodie while replacing it with an apron as if it was econd nature. Heading to the kitchen, he already spotted Taeil and Jungwoo who were bustling about, making and taking orders. The young boy announced his arrival and instantly the oldest walked over and greeted him.
"You look dead on your feet," Taeil remarked almost immediately, trying not to seem too worried. Jisung didn't like others worrying about him. Everytime pity or concern flashed in someone's eyes - everytime he heard sympathy in someone's voice; he shut down. He closed himself off and tried his best to keep up a careless attitude because, well, honestly, emotions are hard to deal with, especially in abrupt or sudden social situations. He didn't know how to control and compose himself in a way that wasn't awkward or seemingly robotic, which was weird. He despised the fact that he didn't really have a say in how he acted. They were his emotions, for fuck's sake, how could he not have control over them? The answer to that was impulse.
He was too much of an emotional person. He felt too much and therefore, when he wasn't controlling himself, expressed too much. He hated how he had to put up with such extremes but just like everything else in his stale life, he couldn't actually do anything about it. This helpess and miserable feeling was not uncommon to him.
"Thanks. It came with my college student starter pack," the younger retorted blankly, writing down an order with little to no thought. (It was a reflex by now, being able to retain and recite information almost instantly.) Taeil raised an eyebrow but didn't question the odd comeback.
"Are you getting enough sleep lately? I know you've been working the night shift for Joohae. You shouldn't let him do that to you, let me or even all of us help out! If this continues, I will have to fire him." The older rambled, concerned for the tired boy's health.
"No, hyung - don't fire him, it's fine. I can handle a few night shifts." Jisung protested, passing the order over to Jungwoo, who sent him a gentle smile. "Besides, it's not like college wouldn't keep me up anyway. It already is. Too many assignments."
"So you really haven't been sleeping." Taeil accuses, folding his arms and frowning. "Ji, this isn't good for your health. If you keep going on like this, you'll burn out." Frustration bubbled up inside the boy, he was tired and stressed and overwhelmed and he didn't have time for his health anymore. He didn't have time for anything anymore.
"Well, there's not a lot I can do, y'know!" He snapped angrily, instantly regretting it. He paled visibly and his eyes grew wide with realisation and fear.
What a fuck up.
Can't control yourself, yet again.
How useless can you get?
"H-Hyung...I'm so sorry -I didn't mean to snap at you I swear! I-I'm just.-" He starts frantically, but was cut short when he felt a warm hand land on his shoulder. For a second, he wondered how he missed seeing it coming. But then he realised that reality seemed to be almost...clipping. Lagging. Everything was spinning and it made concentration a harder task than it should be.
"Jisung, it's fine. You're stressed out, I know. It's okay to be stressed. But you need to relax, okay? You're in no state to be working, kid. I don't want you in work for the next few days."
Jisung's panic at that statement lead him into a smaller outburst of protest. "B-But, hyung! I need to work -- how will I pay rent? You of all people know that I'm struggling!"
"Let me pay the rent for this month."
"No! I can't let you do that!" Jisung retorted firmly, lightly shaking his head.
Taeil sighed and now the look of worry was clear on his face which caused guilt to strike through his bones, almost knocking him over.
The younger's shoulders rose despite how much they ached. He probably looked just as guilty as he felt and couldn't meet the older's gaze.
"I'll be fine...Like you said, I'm just stressed right now...As soon as I can rest, I will." he quietly muttered out, making Taeil huff.
"Promise?" He sternly asked, putting both hands on Jisung's shoulders. The boy nodded.
"Dude, you look like shit." Donghyuck stated bluntly as Jisung walked over to him and Renjun. The younegst scoffed and rolled his eyes, dropping down carelessly at the park table, inbetween his two friends.
"Taeil's said that already. Tell me something I don't know." Jisung remarked with a stale voice. Silence hung between them and Jisung could see his older friends looking at each other over his shoulders.
"Why don't you skip classes for today, Sungie?" Renjun asked, threading his hands through Jisung's hair carefully. The younger groaned in exasperation but kept his forehead pressed against his arms, which were folded over on the table.
"Because classes are important. And mandatory. Plus I have a test for my Lit class tomorrow and you know how Ms.Lee gets when people don't go to her shitty pre-exam lessons."
"Fuck Ms.Lee, dude! You're withering away right in front of us!-" Jisung sent Donghyuck an unamused glare, making him now roll his eyes. "-Okay maybe I'm being dramatic, but look at you! You're paler than that music volunteer from the Uni a few blocks away! What's his name? Jihoon? Or something ---"
"Anyway!" Renjun interrupted pointedly, "You also look thinner too. How is that even possible? You were already skinny enough to become one of those display skeletons in the Biology labs." He poked Jisung's somewhat gaunt cheek, earning him a petulant whine and a large, boney hand to shoo him away.
"What is this, Snog Marry Avoid?" Jisung quipped in an irritated tone. "Stop worrying, I'm fine. Just tired."
"If this is you being 'just tired' then what the fuck does 'exhausted' look like?" Donghyuck snorted, smirking slyly. Jisung elbowed his arm, making the older laugh louder. "Okay! Okay! I get it, you're fine or whatever." He protested, waving his hand dissmissively and in a somewhat lazy fashion.
The topic was ultimately dropped after that, much to Jisung's relief, but they still sent him concerned glances when they thought he wasn't looking. He ignored them, let them indulge in their worries at least a little bit
"Do you guys wanna sleep over at mine tomorrow?" Renjun offered sometime later, looking eager and excited about the idea.
"Yeah, sure. I got nothing better to do. Plus, nothing could ever beat our sleepovers." Donghyuck chimed, looking over to Jisung for his answer. "You in, Sungie?"
Jisung was free tomorrow, no doubts about it, but Jisung honestly didn't know if he wanted to go. He loved his friends -loved them to death - but he didn't know if he could keep up with their energy the entire time. Not to mention the fact that they might take it as an opportunity to coddle him; to try and get him to let them care for him. He just couldn't let that happen.
On the other hand though: he hasn't slept over at Renjun's in a while, hasn't properly cuddled with both of them for a while either...And he missed their affection and teasing...Besides, it wasn't guaranteed that they'd smother him with their concern, right? And if they did, it'd only be for a night...
"Uh..." he muttered intelligently.
"Come on, Ji! It'll be fun!" Donghyuck urged, hooking his arm with Jisung's before proceeding to basically hug it while cuddling close. The younger boy whined in complaint again and tried to pull away, but Donghyuck could not be shaken off. He looked to Renjun desperately for help, but the Chinese boy simply laughed at his misery.
God, these two were a pain in the ass. But he loved them, anyway. Maybe. Sort of.
"C'mon, Ji, we'll even keep away from Highschool Musical just for you."
"HEY! Shut it Renjun, we all know that it's you who hates Highschool Musical! Don't manipulate our baby like that!"
After Jisung finished his night shift, he trudged his way home. He couldn't pin-point exactly when his head started to feel fuzzy, but he didn't let that deter him.
Firmly, he pushed it back; there wasn't time to worry about it, not when he needed to study for his test tomorrow. Education was a priority.
For the hours proceeding, he sat hunched over (almost painfully so) on his bed, going over notes and information that he absolutely needed. He didn't really have much understanding of any of it right now, but retained it in his brain nontheless. When dawn came, Jisung was showered and dressed, ready for the day if it weren't for the bone-aching exhaustion he felt thrumming through his limbs.
All the information seemed to be bouncing around his head, smashing into the sides of his skull, causing it to sting horribly, like angry bees. Or wasps.
He stumbled out of his apartment and then to college, fully prepared to splurge out information onto his test and then forget about it a second later.
Which is actually exactly what he did.
Everything he had shoved into his memory the night before was now on that paper and, at this point, he didn't care if it made sense or not. He tried his best, god damnit; it's the fault of whoever the flying fuck made the test in the first place - who decided to include so much useless content anyway? Fuck them and fuck that test.
Afterwards, he felt numb, empty. All sense if knowledge was sapped out of him and left only motion controls left for him to fend himself with.
In a cloudy haze, he walked through campus, hands fumbling with his phone so he could phone someone - anyone. A total shut down was emerging, faster than he could even comprehend what was going on. He suddenly couldn't feel anything - not even the overpowering headache that was there just seconds ago.
Jisung knew he should've been looking where he was going instead of shoving his face into his phone to try and see what he was doing (for once, it would've actually been his fault) but alas he didn't and so he collided with another boy who was rushing around the corner. His exhausted body took the collision as an opportunity to finally give out on him and he collapsed back onto the floor, as did his phone, thankfully unharmed.
"Woah! Sorry, dude, I didn't see you there!" The boy's voice swam in his ears. He felt like he was underwater, limbs heavy and difficult to move, hearing muffled and garbled.
What's happening to me?
Jisung's head was spinning and reality started to fade in and out of focus as he used one shaky arm to push himself up a bit, to try and keep the overwhelming urge to pass out at bay. "Hey...Are you okay? Should I call someone?" The same voice called to him, but now it sounded more frantic, panicked even.
The person above him finally crouched down to his level and from what Jisung could see, he seemed concerned and even scared. He only got occasional clear glimpses before suddenly his eyesight reverted bacm to being more of a watercoloured rendition of everything.
This is it. This is how I die. In front of a cute stranger. How painfuly tragic.
"Call...Donghyuck..." Jisung muttered weakly, arm giving out, unable to hold himself up. The last thing he saw was that pretty, worried face shifted to a more mortified expression, and then everything went to black.