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The Fundamentals of Caring

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Changkyun hurls the flowers across the room while the phone rings,
“I didn’t know you could throw like that,” Jooheon smiles from the armchair,
“Not now, hyung,”
“No, I’m serious. You could be a rugby player with that arm. Are you going to answer that, or?
Changkyun takes a deep breath before storming over to the phone. He picks up and doesn't hesitate to voice his frustrations,

“Stop it with the flowers already!”
He yells into the phone,
“Do you not like them? I…I thought you loved lilies. They're casa blanca lilies too; you always said they were your favorite.”
“No Kihyun, the flowers aren't the problem, they're actually quite beautiful, but I don't want them. I—"
“That's fine. I can get you a different type. What kind do you like?”
“I’ve recently taken a liking to apollo lilies and—wait, no, I’m getting sidetracked. I don't want any flowers. At least not from you.”
“Changkyunnie, don't be like that. Just—
“And stop calling me.”
“Changkyun—"
“No. Don't ever talk to me, don't call me, don't even think about me, Kihyun. We're over,”
“Kyun-”
Changkyun hangs up, ruffling his lab coat in frustration,
“Is he still trying?” Jooheon sips his coffee while looking at Changkyun knowingly,
“You already know the answer to that. Honestly, how am I supposed to perform a surgery in an hour if I’m so worked up about this?”
“You could give me the surgery,”
“You would love that, wouldn't you hyung?” Changkyun scoffs,
“Just a thought,”
“Seriously though, 어떡할 거야?”
“I suppose, this is just an idea don't get mad, I suppose you could see him,”
“Are you out of your mind?” If looks could kill, Changkyun would be in prison for murder,
“I knew you would get mad, I shouldn't have said anything,”
“Hyung, you have the weirdest ideas. I hope you know that.”
“I know, but just because they're weird doesn't mean they're bad ideas. You should think about it,”
“I don't want to. I won't, not ever. I'm leaving, I have to prepare for surgery,”
“Do whatever you want,”
“See you later,” Changkyun heads for the door to leave, but he can't help thinking-
“But hyung,” He pauses with his hand on the door handle, as if really considering it, “Do you honestly think I should see him again?”
“I don't know, I guess? It might be good for both of you,”
“Both of us?”
“Yeah,” Jooheon shrugs, “It’ll give you both closure, and he’ll give up to go obsess over someone else. Preferably not someone we know,”
“I suppose--”
Changkyun's phone rings in his pocket,
“Should I answer?” He holds the phone up for Jooheon to see. It's Kihyun. Again,
“Do it,”
“Hello?” Changkyun answers with a sigh,
“Will you let me talk now?”
“You have one minute. Go,” Changkyun glares at his watch,
“Okay, I know I messed up. That I’m messed up,”
“Yeah, you did and you are,”
“I know. I know. I just… I miss you, I guess,”
“You guess?” Changkyun just has to scoff, “This might be the first time I’ve ever heard someone guess that they miss me,”
“That's not…forget it.
“Listen Kihyun, I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have a lot of free time, so if you could get to the point a bit quicker, that would be much a appreciated,”
“Right, sorry. It’s just, well, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently, like, a lot and my thoughts keep circling back to one thing…”
“Which is?”
“I’m not over you. And I don't think I ever will be,”
“Well I hate to burst your bubble, Kihyun hyung, but what makes you think I ever want to see you again?”
“Okay, that’s fair enough. But--”
“Actually no, better question- why are you doing this now? It's been over two years Kihyun. Why do you miss me all of a sudden?”
“I just-- it's not all of a sudden; I’ve been missing you since the day you broke up with me,”,”
“I somehow find that incredibly hard to believe,”
“That’s--”
“Kihyun, can you make this a bit faster , I have to go into surgery in an hour,”
“That's right, you're a doctor,”
“Exactly, so hurry up. I’ve already given you a lot more of my time than I should have,”
“Okay, okay. It's just- ugh, this went a lot better in my head.I just… I miss you, I miss seeing you,
“Hyung I-”
“It's--Don't say anything. Just--okay, my flight gets in at around two p.m, so--”
“Flight?”
“Yeah, I’m…um…I’m in Vienna right now,”
“What are you doing in-- actually, I don't want to know, nor do I care, lso just finish what you were saying,”
“Okay, well my flight gets in at two so, can you meet me at four? If you want of course,”
“I guess four wouldn’t be so bad,” Changkyun tries to play it off like he's doing Kihyun a massive favor, even considering adding a nonchalant shoulder shrug for effect before remembering that Kihyun can't see him
“Great. That--That's great, uh-”
“Kihyun are you--are you nervous?” Changkun looks at the Jooheon in disbelief. There's no way he's nervous, is there?
“No, no, I don't get nervous. It's just that, uhm, this was kind of a spur of the moment call, and I haven't really thought about what to say, so I’m just trying not to mess up,”
“That… actually kind of made sense,”
“Great, I don't sound insane.” There's a slight pause before he adds “So I’ll, um, I’ll see you at four? I can meet you at the hospital if you're okay with that,”
“I suppose.”
“Great…Great,”
“Kihyun, you're being very strange right now,”
“I don't-- yah! Don’t touch that!-- know what you mean,”
“Kihyun, are you with someone right now?”
“Depends what you mean; if by ‘with someone’ you’re asking if I’m currently in a relationship,” Changkyun blanches, hearing the smirk in Kihyun’s voice when he realises the other meaning of the question before Changkyun himself does, “ Then no. But if you’re asking if there is somebody else with me right now, then yes, why?”
“You seem…distracted,”
“No way, you have my full attention,” There's a beat of silence before he adds, “You always do,”
Changkun can imagine what Kihyun's expression would be if they were face to face; his head would be lowered slightly while he looked up through his lashes. It somehow still made Changkyun's heart skip a beat even after two whole years,
“You just can't help it, can you?”
Changkun can feel Kihyun's shrug when he answers,
“What can I say? You have that effect on me,”
Changkyun swallows thickly,
“Goodbye Kihyun,”
“Bye Changkyunnie,” honey drips from his voice and Changkyun has to hang up before he says something he might end up regretting, like 'I miss you'.
“This is your fault,” Changkyun glares at Jooheon,
“Don't be such a baby, what's the worst that could happen,”
“What if I get murdered?”
“Who's going to murder you? Anyone who tries will probably get beat up by Kihyun, and he's too worried about winning you back to think of murdering you. In less words, you'll be relatively safe,” Jooheon smiles reassuringly,
“Relatively?”
“Well,” Jooheon shrugs nonchalantly, “You are about to see your ex, who’s a sociopath, for the first time in about two years. He may not hurt you but it won’t be particularly easy,”
“I suppose you’re right. Now stop distracting me, I’m going to be late for surgery,”
“Whatever, go,”

 


 

 

“For love of-- Kihyun will you stop with the leg shaking, it's annoying,” Minhyuk sighs beside Kihyun, accepting the flight attendant’s offer of the water,
“No Minhyuk, I want this to go perfectly,”
“And it will, so unless this is part of some new workout regimen I’m not aware of,” He grabs Kihyun's thigh, “Stop with the shaking,”
“Minhyuk,” Kihyun stares at him blankly,

“I’ve already had ten scenarios play out in my mind in which Changkyun totally dumps me. Two of which end with him punching me in the face,”
“How many end well?” Minhyuk inquires, passing his water over to Kihyun before taking one for himself,
“One. And a half,”
“A half?”
“I got through the whole dinner before he threw his wine in my face,”
“Rough,” Minhyuk chuckles, glancing out the window. They're about to take off, at least that's what the pilot says, but Minhyuk trusts him. He makes sure to switch his phone to airplane mode and tells Kihyun to do the same, to which Kihyun responds with a ‘don’t tell me what to do,’ but complies anyway. Minhyuk smiles at his friends antics. Sometimes he wonders why, and how, he still puts up with Kihyun after all these years. He's almost glad that Kihyun's been so distracted by Changkyun recently that he's become (slightly) more tolerable. But despite that, not that he would ever tell Kihyun without a gun to his head, he honestly does hope that Changkyun will take him back, even with all of his problems and faults. Mainly because Kihyun's time with Changkyun had been the closest to happy Minhyuk had seen his friend of almost thirty years since—
“Do you think he hates me?”
Minhyuk snaps awake after being so close to finally falling asleep,
“What?”
“Changkyun. Do you think Changkyun hates me?”
“Almost certainly,”
“You could at least lie,”
“Why would I?”
“You're seriously no help,” Kihyun huffs, “I should have asked Hakyeon to come to Vienna with me,”
“No you shouldn't have. He would only have distracted you. I, on the other hand, did not. I kept you focused on all the important things you had to do because I, shock horror, am not madly in love with you, unlike certain people,”
“I hate it when you do that,”
“Do what?”
“Make more sense than me,”
“After being stuck with me our whole lives I would have hoped that you would be used to it, but I guess some people never change,”
“You're right, I haven't changed in years. The last time anything about me changed, I was fifteen,”
“I thought you didn't like to talk about that,”
“I don't. Unless I bring it up. And besides, if we're going to talk about me changing, we can't not talk about the worst year of my life,”
“I suppose so,” Minhyuk sighs. It's not just Kihyun who doesn't like to talk about that year, Minhyuk hates the subject as well, even more so when Kihyun's the one who brings it up,
“You don't have to look so guilty every time I talk about it,” Kihyun laughs at his friend, resting his head on his fist, “I keep telling you, nothing that happened that year was your fault. If anything it's my fault for being such an idiot and ignoring it when it had been happening. So seriously, stop blaming yourself for what happened to me Minhyuk. I have, haven't I?”
“Yeah, but still—"
“Nope,” Kihyun cuts him off, “But nothing. At any rate,” He sighs, “It's all happened already, regardless of whose fault it is. It's not like if you blame yourself for it that'll make it not happen. Let's just forget about it shall we?”
“It's just—"
“Shall we?” It’s very clearly not a request anymore and Minhyuk, having known Kihyun for his whole life, knows when to drop a subject. But just because Kihyun has told Minhyuk to stop talking about it, at least for now until he inevitably brings it up again, doesn't mean that Minhyuk won't keep thinking about it, because how can he not? Because he does feel guilty, he feels sorry to Kihyun. Because, in a way, he’s part of the reason Kihyun became what he did, he's half of the reason Kihyun broke. And even though Kihyun claims not to blame Minhyuk anymore, he knows there's still a part of Kihyun that does blame him, that thinks it his fault. It becomes most obvious on the nights when he lets Kihyun drink a little extra, too much even, and he starts cursing Minhyuk, telling him that it's his fault even though never specifying what he's done. But Minhyuk knows, even when Kihyun pretends nothing happened the next day, brushing his accusations off as ‘drunk words’. But isn't it that same Kihyun who will trick people into getting drunk in order to know how they really feel because ‘drunk words are sober thoughts’? So, despite Kihyun's best efforts to convince him otherwise, Minhyuk still blames himself for that one year. After all, he was the one who told Kihyun to trust Hyungwon, wasn't he?