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When You Love Someone

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It all starts on a Thursday morning, and Jae is late again.

It’s past seven already and the main character has still to wake up and get ready for school.

 

 

It’s Thursday morning, and Jieun is finishing getting ready. One final look in the mirror, schoolbag already on her back. She picks up her phone to call Jae - she knows he’s probably still sleeping.

 

 

Thursday starts at dawn for Brian. He wakes up early, like he tends to do when he has a song to finish and sudden inspiration strikes him. Maybe that’s why you’ll catch him sleeping throughout the rest of the day.

 

 

It’s seven thirty on a Thursday morning, and Sungjin and Wonpil walk side by side, chatting lively about some new superhero movie that’s going to be out that week.

 

 

The bell rings at exactly eight o’clock, and Dowoon’s already sitting on his chair, head resting on the table, making a half assed attempt to block out the sounds of the numerous girls surrounding him; or maybe to fall asleep. He’s not sure yet.

 

 

*

 

“Hey!”

 

Jae jumps at the sudden scream in his direction, previously too focused on his notes to notice the black haired girl on his tail.

 

“Jesus, Jieun. You scared the shit outta me.” Jae sighs, taking a hand to his chest, while the other is still clenching his notes.

 

Jieun chuckles, taking his arm in hers and pulling him along the school’s main entrance.

 

“Language, Jae.”

 

“Oh, excuse me. Kim Jieun, your ladyship has frightened the shit out of my innocent soul. That better?” Jae sasses, knowing Jieun isn’t honestly mad at his choice of vocabulary.

 

“Not really, but nice try.” Jieun shakes her head, giving up on attempting to educate Jae. The boy is clearly lost already. Jieun glances at Jae’s notes. “Oh, are those for your presentation today?”

 

“Yes.” Jae nods, handing her the notes. “Wanna help ya boy out?” He asks in English. Jieun snorts.

 

“I’ll never get used to the way you talk, you know? Come on, let me hear what you’ve memorized so far.”

 

Jae frowns at her comment and raises a brow.

 

“What makes you think I haven’t memorized it all, by now?”

 

Jieun gives him the look, the knowing look like she’s about to spill the truth behind the dark circles under Jae’s eyes.

 

“Jae... if you knew the presentation by heart, you wouldn’t be studying it last minute. Secondly” Oh no, she has a list, Jae thinks “you were up all night working on that song you won’t shut up about, weren’t you?” Jieun asks, and she’s nailed it. She knows she has by the defeated look on Jae’s face.

 

“Okay, whatever mom, can you just help me out with this, please?” Jae makes sure to accentuate on the word ‘mom’, as a poor way of teasing Jieun for being older than him.

 

The two of them walk carelessly through the school hall, too lost in conversation to notice the people who pass by them, or, in this case, to notice the other protagonist who is about to crash into their lives, quite literally.

 

“Ahah Jae, you’re soooo funny, I could-“ Whatever Jieun was about to say gets cut off by the sound of her small frame bumping against a much larger one, sending the notes and books she was holding to the floor.

Jae, as the gentleman he is, dives down immediately and starts collecting his notes, then proceeds to pick up Jieun’s books.

 

As he is focused on getting everything back on his arms, Jae does not notice the person whom they have collided with, nor the glance he's being targeted with.

 

~Jieun~

 

Jieun is lost for words. She had initially thought about reprimanding the person, but as soon she lays eyes on him, her mouth goes dry, and all of her words die in her mouth. Brian Kang, designated school’s bad boy, is glaring at Jieun like she locked away the sun.

Jieun finally manages to pull on the back of Jae’s collar and the blond boy looks up at once.

 

~Jae~

 

“What Jieun-” Jae is met with Brian Kang’s gaze on him, a pair of dark, yet glistening, eyes. Jae involuntarily widens his eyes and lets his mouth drop slightly open, and Brian’s stare turns into a glare. Jae feels offended. “Won’t you at least apologize to her?” Jae speaks up, pointing at Jieun, who still hasn’t said a word.

 

Brian spares a glance at Jieun, then glares at Jae again, before turning around and leaving.

 

Jae huffs. “What an asshole.”

 

Jieun doesn’t listen.

 

*

~Brian~

 

There are a lot of things people say about Brian Kang. 

 

He is rude. The school’s bad boy. Not to be fucked with. Has probably committed crimes. Is good looking, but foul mouthed. Writes the best songs for the inter schools’ contest.

 

Most of them are false. Of course, no one would know, since Brian isn’t one to make friends easily. Or to make friends altogether. The boy likes to keep to himself. No, that’s not right. The boy has a hard time opening himself up to other people, so he just keeps to himself, avoids commotion when he can, writes his music when he thinks no one can see, plays it when he thinks no one will hear.

 

Brian Kang isn’t a bad boy. He’s a loner. People have yet to come to that conclusion, and maybe they won’t need to. Maybe.

 

 

Brian knows he’s going to be late anyways. He always is. And the teachers always let him in anyway, because to be honest, the only reason he’s still studying in this school is the fact the school needs him, or better yet, needs his potential, his grades, his talent.

 

Brian walks lazily through the halls, not a care in the world - or so everyone seems to believe - and he’ll admit he’s had more dignified moments. He just wasn’t paying attention. His lack of attention leads him into colliding with a whiny girl, clinging to her boyfriend.

 

Tch, annoying people are annoying.

 

The boy, with dyed blond hair, Brian notices, rushes to pick up the girl’s stuff, as the girl realizes who she’s bumped into and becomes shocked. 

Brian’s used to the reaction: the shock, followed by the slight fear, and finished off with the hate. Only, she doesn't seem to be hating him.

 

Brian notices the girl clinging to her boyfriend again and spares the boy a look. Maybe he shouldn’t have. Maybe if he hadn’t looked down, he’d have been fine. But he does look.

 

The blond boy is beautiful. Sharp features, parted red lips, brown confused eyes behind golden framed glasses which suit him like a glove. Brian's impressed.

 

No, not impressed. He's amazed.

 

And so he does the only thing he can think of, standing in presence of that beautiful man - he scowls at him. 

 

Nice one Brian, really smooth.

 

*

~Wonpil~

 

Already inside the classroom, Sungjin chats vividly with his best friend, Wonpil. The latter listens with a big smile and nods every now and then, as if listening to Sungjin rambling on about his expectations for a movie is his favorite thing to do.

 

There’s a noise from the door being opened, and Sungjin cuts himself off after glancing at it.

 

“...Hyung?” Wonpil asks after a while, confused by his friend’s reaction. He follows Sungjin’s gaze and his eyes land on a pretty girl with black hair, holding a few books and laughing with another boy.

 

Wonpil looks away. He knows about it. Has known since it first started.

Sungjin had been out of it like Wonpil had never seen, and it hadn’t taken a lot of effort to find out why - he had a crush on Kim Jieun, their fellow classmate. Jieun seems pretty and kind, from what Wonpil has seen and heard from other classmates, but there are two small issues, as far as Wonpil can tell.

 

The first, Sungjin has never held a conversation with the girl for more than five minutes, so it is likely that she doesn’t know about his best friend’s crush.

 

The second, Wonpil likes his best friend a little bit too much.

 

He had come to terms with it a while ago. At first, he was scared of his feelings - Why were they there? What had changed?

But soon, Wonpil found himself accepting them, if always containing them when Sungjin was around.

 

Wonpil knows he likes Sungjin, but he also knows Sungjin doesn’t like him back, not in that way. Sungjin only has eyes for her, Kim Jieun, and though Wonpil feels jealous, he can’t help but want his best friend to be happy with the one he loves, so he always helps him out whenever Sungjin asks about the girl.

 

“Good morning class.” Wonpil jolts slightly at the deep voice of Mr. Kim, their English teacher. “Is everyone here already?”

 

“Hmm, sir, there’s an absent student.” The class president speaks up, blushing afterwards and avoiding eye contact with anyone.

 

“Who is missing?”

 

The question is answered almost momentarily, as the classroom’s door swings open, revealing Brian Kang. The boy looks rather uncaring, as always, uniform shirt undone, long earrings and a smug look on his face.

 

“Mr. Kang-“

“Please, call me Brian.” The boy interrupts, raising a hand. Everyone is silent. No one would ever have the guts to speak up to their teachers like that - not to their music teacher, not to their drama teacher, and especially not to Mr. Kim.

 

Mr. Kang, do you have anything to say for yourself?” The teacher asks, his tone taking on a harsher note. Brian shrugs. The classroom almost gasps as a whole, witnessing the scene.

 

Not everyone is focused on Brian Kang though.

Next to him, Sungjin still has his eyes on Jieun, who is now sitting across the room, secretly chatting with a blond boy Wonpil assumes is her boyfriend.

 

~Jae~

 

Jae can’t believe what he’s hearing.

 

“You must be joking.” He whispers back. Jieun rolls her eyes and glances back at the dark brown haired boy in front of the class.

 

“I don’t know...” she shrugs. “He’s kind of hot.”

 

Jae snorts, a bit too loudly, becoming the center of attention of the classroom. He suddenly becomes aware of the twenty somethings pairs of eyes on him, and his anxiety kicks in. He looks everywhere, trying not to make eye contact with anyone, and ends up glancing at Brian, who is also staring at him with a face of disbelief.

 

“Well, Mr. Kang, there you have it. It looks like I’m not the only one thinking you should simply sit down and keep quiet.” Mr. Kim retorts, making use of Jae’s unintentional intervention.

 

Brian is still staring at Jae. Jae is still staring at Brian. It’s a contest now - who chickens out first. Jae can’t let him have it, his very pride is at stake.

 

It’s like time freezes, Jae feels like he has time to really look at Brian - messy dark brown hair, piercing brown eyes, glaring daggers at Jae, long silver earrings, unbuttoned uniform shirt over a black one with some weird logo, black boots; there was no denying it, Brian Kang was kind of hot.

 

Jae glances back at Brian’s face and finds him smirking at Jae.

 

Of course, you stupid idiot, what, did you think you could just give him a once over and he wouldn’t notice?! Fucking genius you are!

 

“Mr. Kang, I will not repeat myself, take a seat or leave the class.” Mr. Kim cuts in to save Jae. “And I hope it’s become clear you will be joining cleaning duty today.” Mr. Kim adds with a smug smile. That man is evil.

 

With a final glare at Jae, Brian lazily makes his way to the back of the classroom, taking a seat next to a sleeping boy.

 

Ugh, what an asshole. Yeah, but a hot asshole. What the fuck, self, whose side are you on? I mean, he is kinda hot... Just shut up- 

“You look like you’re having an existential crisis, Jae.” Jieun whispers, making Jae jolt awake from his inner argument with his mind.

 

“I’m good.”

 

Jae was, in fact, not good.

 

~Brian~

 

The first thing Brian notices, upon sitting down, is the fact the boy is surrounded by girls.

 

He glances to his right, at the sleeping boy next to him, and wonders what was so special about him. What he had done to hold that much power over an entire community of people.

 

Brian is, at best, good with dogs.

 

 

“-then, please Mr. Park, do your best.” Brian’s attention is caught by the teacher’s voice and he looks forward to see the blond guy from before standing up and walking towards the front of the classroom.

 

Brian’s gaze travels up and down the boy’s back - he’s very tall, taller than Brian himself, and seems skinny, but not lanky enough to appear weak. His hair is a tousled mess of blond locks, and when he finally turns around, Brian is met with that beautiful face again, hiding behind those golden glasses.

 

“Good morning class. Ok, so-“ Brian widens his eyes - he was not expecting that. The boy in front of him is fluent in English, maybe even more so than himself, if that is possible for a school like this. The boy clearly has an American accent, and the words slip out of his mouth like he was born to speak English rather than Korean.

 

Brian doesn’t remember the last time he paid so much attention in class. His eyes are on the blond boy for the rest of the lesson, completely unaware of the two pairs of eyes on him.

 

~Dowoon~

 

Dowoon wakes up by the middle of the lesson, and by the looks of it, someone is finishing their oral presentation.

 

He stretches his arms and legs in the most discreet way he can manage, squinting slightly to focus on the person in front of the classroom - Park Jaehyung. Dowoon doesn’t even attempt to pay attention to what Jaehyung is saying, knowing fully well he will forget about it the second the boy returns to his seat.

Instead, he looks over at the people sitting down, ignoring everyone that had been ogling him since the start of the lesson - or was it the start of the year?

 

His gaze travels to his left and he comes across Brian Kang sitting next to him. Huh, when did he arrive?

Dowoon was ready to fall back to sleep, when he notices his classmate is barely breathing, much less moving.

Dowoon frowns and follows Brian’s stare. It lands right on Jaehyung, and Dowoon has to gulp down a snort.

 

Suddenly, he becomes a bit more awake, and decides to entertain himself by watching Brian stare at Jaehyung. He’s staring so hard it looks like he likes him. Dowoon thinks, chuckling quietly.

 

It doesn’t cross his mind, however, that Brian might actually be getting a crush on a little someone with blond hair and golden framed glasses.

 

*

~Jae~

 

“So, lemme see if I got this straight.” Jae starts, while fixing his PE shirt. “He bumped into you, threw your stuff on the ground, glared at us and didn’t even apologize. And you think you like him?”

 

“Shut up, Jae, I just said he’s good looking.” Jieun protests back, crossing her arms on her chest.

 

“Well, you know my opinion-“

“Shut up!” Jieun quickly intervenes, her voice an octave higher than usual, and proceeds to blush to her ears.

 

Jae frowns and turns around, finding Brian walking up to the rest of the class gathering in the middle of the gym. Jae rolls his eyes.

 

“Alright ladies, gather ‘round.” The teacher yells. “Today we’ll be focusing on Basketball-“ yes! “- and boys and girls will take turns. Boys start. I'll make four teams of three and you'll play on half of the court.”

 

Basketball is Jae’s favorite sport to play. Okay, he might be a bit America biased, and it’s not like he is the sportiest or fittest person in the world, but Basketball simply does it for him.

 

“-Park Jaehyung, you’re with Brian Kang and Yoon Dowoon.” Jae’s mood turns sour as quickly as it had turned excited.

 

Seriously? Why do things like this only happen to him? He must have been a murdered in a past life. Why God, why?

 

*

 

It turns out that Brian actually knows his stuff. He’s not bad, which doesn’t at all mean Jae passes him the ball often. In fact, both of them seem to use Dowoon as a way of avoiding passing each other the ball.

 

The other team is a flop compared to them. Sungjin isn’t that bad, but Wonpil has a hard time actually catching the ball, and Jihoon isn’t even trying.

 

~Sungjin~

 

It’s hard for Sungjin to play knowing she is somewhere watching. He knows she probably hasn’t even spared a glance his way, but just knowing she's there makes it so much harder. Because he knows she is looking, yet she doesn’t see him.

 

By now, Sungjin knows Jae isn't a threat. He’s heard them talking - a pure coincidence, as it had happened - and came to the happy conclusion that Jieun is indeed single. For now, at least.

 

Sungjin has been trying not to look at the stands. He knows that if he sees her, he won’t be able to look away. Yet, he finds himself glancing there anyway, just for a second, and his eyes widen slightly when he sees her looking at him.

 

She’s smiling, her head the littlest bit tilted to the left, hair still down, looking as beautiful as ever. And she’s looking at Sungjin.

 

Sungjin’s heart stops.

 

Jieun tilts her head to the right.

 

A shadow comes into Sungjin’s sight.

 

Crack. His heart shatters a bit.

 

Brian Kang passes by him, ball in his hand, dribbling confidently, no doubt about to score another two pointer.

 

Jieun follows Brian with her eyes.

 

Crack. There it is again.

 

Sungjin too, follows Brian with his eyes, in time to see him score.

 

He feels a hand on his right shoulder and turns to see Wonpil.

 

“Are you okay, hyung?” He asks, even though his expression already says he knows Sungjin is not okay.

 

“I will be. Thank you, Wonpil-ah.” He replies, not finding enough strength to smile.

 

“Let’s go to the music store today, hyung. You’ll feel better after you play for a while.” Wonpil suggests, squeezing his shoulder in a way of comforting his friend.

 

Sungjin nods. “Okay, yeah, you’re right. Let’s go after class is over.”

 

Wonpil gives him a small smile and Sungjin’s mood brightens a bit. He’s glad he has Wonpil as a friend.

 

*

~Wonpil~

 

All the way to the music store, Wonpil makes sure to distract Sungjin with something - anything that will keep him from thinking about Jieun.

It seems to work - the boy has barely frowned since they got into the bus and he’s now chatting with Wonpil the same energetic way he had been that morning.

 

Wonpil smiles wider as well - seeing his best friend happy again, and knowing it’s because of him, makes him happy too. Wonpil’s gaze studies Sungjin’s face, the way he moves and expresses himself while speaking, but the other boy doesn’t notice - he has never noticed. 

Sungjin’s dark brown hair almost covers his eyes, fluffy locks moving whenever he turns his head. His eyes shine whenever he speaks of something he likes. His nose might seem strange if isolated, but when it’s put into the whole face, it just complements it, makes it unique. Beautiful. His lips aren’t the fullest Wonpil had ever seen, but the way Sungjin uses them, giving those half smiles every now and then, makes Wonpil want to kiss them.

 

Wonpil sighs. Sungjin doesn’t notice. He really needs to get over this stupid crush. The sooner, the better.

 

*

 

“Wonpil-ah! Are you listening?” Sungjin calls out, making Wonpil jolt from his trance like state.

 

“Oh. Sorry hyung, what were you saying?”

 

“I asked you what song you feel like playing.” Sungjin repeats, after a halfhearted sigh. Wonpil smiles.

 

“Oh. I guess, any song is good.” Wonpil thinks - there’s always that song... “I know which song I’d like to play!”

 

“Then let’s play it. You lead, I’ll follow you.” Sungjin speaks expectantly, smiling at Wonpil.

 

Wonpil’s heart beats faster against his chest as he starts playing, aware the song represents what he feels for Sungjin, while also aware the older boy is oblivious to his feelings.

 

If only Sungjin would notice him.

 

*

~Brian~

 

He's noticed the moment he walks into the room, long dark locks flying as the girl turns her head to look at him with a shocked expression. Brian huffs. Typical.

 

Making his way to his usual chair in the classroom, he notices the girl is somewhat familiar. Had they met before?

 

Brian sits down carelessly, studying the girl’s face. She has long black hair, a pale face, brown eyes, defined lips - pretty much a usual Korean high school girl. Oh. Oh. He remembers.

 

She’s Park Jaehyung’s girlfriend.

 

He decides to further study her. He guesses she’s cute. Yeah, alright, she’s pretty and cute and tiny, but what did he see in her?

 

“Hey, you!” She exclaims, getting an overly dramatic reaction from Brian as the boy flinches back in surprise. The girl chuckles and goes to pick up another mop. “Aren’t you gonna help?”

 

Seriously?

 

“Hmm... don’t really feel like doing so.” Brian says, smug smile on display.

 

The girl says nothing. She gets the mop and shoves it at Brian’s face, giving him a menacing look. Brian rolls his eyes, but picks the mop from her hands and stands up.

 

Oh, she’s kinda short. Maybe he likes short people.

 

Brian feels like he should take this opportunity to maybe find out about Jaehyung. If she is his girlfriend, then she’d know.

 

“I’m Brian, by the way.” He says smoothly, attempting to converse. She snorts.

 

“I think everyone knows who you are.” She says, blushing. “I’m Jieun.” She tells him, a small smile finding its way onto her lips.

 

Dammit, why does she have to be cute?

 

“Oh right,” here goes nothing “You’re that girl who bumped against me this morning, right? You and your friend.” He tries. Brian holds his breath.

 

Jieun gasps. “Excuse me? Jae and I did not bump into you. You were the one who bumped into us. Besides, like Jae said, you didn’t even apologize.”

 

Jae. She calls him Jae.

 

“Okay then, Jieun. I’m sorry for bumping against you. There, will you and your boyfriend be happy now?”

 

“Jae’s not my boyfriend. We’re just friends.”

 

Brian looks up at Jieun when the girl speaks.

 

“What?”

 

 

*

~Dowoon~ 

 

Dowoon finds himself alone when he gets home. He’s expecting it, of course, knowing his parents have bought him the house for him to be closer to school, but it doesn’t make him feel any less lonely.

 

Dowoon admits it to himself. He is lonely. It’s not like he doesn’t have any friends, it’s just that he doesn’t have any friends he truly wants to keep. It’s not that the girls aren’t nice, or pretty. It’s just that he isn’t interested. He’s never been interested. He’s sure that if he were to get a friend, his cool loner facade would be erased, and he’s not sure he’s ready for that. He might always be alone, but this way, at least he can be with himself.

 

 

Dowoon shrugs. He does it like he’s been talking to himself. No one answers.

 

There’s a note on the coffee table. It reads: ‘We left you money on the usual spot. It should be enough for the three months we’ll be gone. Be good and study hard. Love, mom.’

 

Dowoon crumples the paper in his hand and throws it in the nearest trash can.

 

It’s always been like this.

Chapter Text

“Shit, I’m late again.” Jae swears in English, carelessly picking up his bag and storming out of his house after a quick ‘I’m leaving now!’ to his mother.

 

He takes out his phone and texts Jieun a messy ‘im gon b l8’ while sprinting to school.

 

He almost makes it. Almost.

 

 

He can already see the school, where a school janitor is already beginning to close the entrance gates.

 

Shit. Shit. Shit!

 

Jae pushes himself to sprint faster.

 

I can make it. I can make it! I can-

 

Crash!

 

Jae collides with the floor with a thud and he knows he’ll be having an ugly bruise on his ass for the next week. There’s also some extra weight lying on top of him, but Jae has yet to open his eyes and find out what it is, or rather, who it is.

 

“Oww~” he groans, shutting his eyes tighter, before tentatively opening them.

 

The first thing he’s met with are brown eyes, shining, staring, expecting.

Jae feels a breath on face, and he looks down at parted lips, red and full. He inadvertently licks his own lips, wondering for just a second what it would feel like to lean forward and connected their lips.

 

Snap out of it, idiot!

 

In a mildly swift motion, Jae leans forward and pushes on Brian’s chest, rolling them over and landing with his knees on the floor and both hands on either side of Brian’s head. Jae doesn’t even dare to look at Brian’s eyes now, afraid of what he might do, and he just gets up as quickly as he can.

 

He looks at the school gates again, only to find them already closed. He frowns.

 

“Shit.” He says in English. “Fucking hell. No fucking way.” He keeps swearing, knowing it won’t help, but feeling like he needs to put his frustration into words.

 

He hears Brian snort and looks down at the other boy, who is sitting on the floor, hands behind his back, lazily supporting himself up.

 

“What?” He asks, now in Korean.

 

“Nothing.” Brian answers. “I was just admiring your vocabulary.” He adds in English. Jae forces himself not to widen his eyes.

 

He can speak English too now? Without the accent? What can’t the man do?!

 

Jae takes a moment to breathe in, and then sigh.

“For your information, swearing is a very much practical way of releasing stress and frustration.” Jae says sarcastically.

 

“So is sex, but do you see me going at it?”

 

Jae does widen his eyes at that, mouth falling open and feeling his face and ears heat up.

 

“Relax, I was just joking.” Brian snorts, getting up. Jae doesn’t say anything as Brian pats on his trousers to clear the dust that had clung to them, and the boy smirks at him. “Unless, of course, you’d like to try. If that’s the case, all you have to do is ask.”

 

“You’re joking.” Jae has no idea how else to answer. “I’d rather die than have sex with you.” It’s out of his mouth before he can stop it, and he’s not sure how feels about that. He decides it’s not his worst comeback.

 

Brian’s smirk wavers for just a fraction of second, before he straightens his shoulders and deepens said smirk.

 

“Again, I was joking, obviously. Who’d want to fuck you? With the Harry Potter glasses and seven feet of bone and skin?”

 

Ouch, that was just mean.

 

Jae huffs, readjusting his bag on his shoulder.

 

“Asshole.” He says, before leaving Brian there, walking towards the closed gates of the school.

 

*

 

Jae doesn’t see Brian for the rest of the day, and he’s thankful for that. He manages to still have some fun in P.E. when the coach tells them they’ll be playing Basketball again, and then in Musical Arts when Mr. Park let’s them play whatever instrument they want.

 

Jieun, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to feel the same way. All day long she mentions Brian and asks Jae - as if he knows (as if he cares) - where he thinks Brian is.

 

Jae doesn’t tell Jieun about his and Brian’s awkward encounter that morning. He omits it not for Jieun’s sake, but for his own pride. Leaving after an insult as plain as ‘asshole’ is pretty much admitting defeat, and Jae can’t have anyone knowing about that.

 

It’s when the last class is over, when Jieun mentions Brian again, that Jae loses it.

 

“I have no idea where that jerk is. I don’t know, and I don’t care, and will you please please just shut up about him for like two minutes?! Jeez, it’s like you like him or something!” Jae bursts out loudly, momentarily thankful that they’re the only two people still in the classroom.

 

When Jieun stays quiet, a glint of realization flashes in Jae’s eyes.

 

“Shit... you do like him. Don’t you?”

 

“Jae-“

 

“Don’t you?”

 

“Look, I don’t know why it angers you so much that I like him. Yes, okay, I like him. I like Brian, so what? Why are you so mad about that?” Jieun’s question catches him off guard.

 

“I- I just, I don’t want you to get hurt. He’s an asshole and he doesn’t deserve you and it does anger me that you’re falling for his cool facade. Trust me, behind all that bad boy rebellious look there’s nothing but an asshole who’s undeniably going to hurt you.” Jae is aware he’s spewing bullshit, but his words and the way he says them seem to get on to Jieun, if the look she gives him says anything.

She puts a hand on his shoulder and smiles.

 

“Thank you for your concern Jae, but I think I can take care of myself.”

 

“I hope you do.”

 

*

 

“Come ooooon, Jae.” Jieun begs for the nth time.

 

Jae rolls his eyes. It’s around six thirty in the afternoon, and Jieun had been hanging around at Jae’s. It’s something they always do – it’s something both of their parents had hoped would evolve into something more, but never has. Currently, Jae is plopped down on his bed, listening to Jieun’s proposal with a deep frown. The girl is sat on Jae’s chair, occasionally spinning around, in attempts of making her point more dramatic. Jae sighs.

 

“You know I hate parties-“

“Yes, and you also used to hate chicken and I’m pretty sure you hated me for a second today. People change! I promise you’ll have fun. Please? Pretty please?” Jieun keeps saying, making puppy eyes at him.

 

Jae rubs at his eyes. “Why are you so stuck on going to this party anyways?” As soon as he asks it, a thought flashes through his head. Please tell me that isn’t it. Jae smirks. “Or is it ‘cause Brian’s gonna be there?” Jae makes sure to make Brian’s name sound as stupid as possible, but when Jieun blushes, he halts in his laughter. “Seriously?” Jieun pouts and swings forwards in the chair to smack Jae’s leg.

 

“Come on, Jae. Please? Do it for me? Please?” She begs.

 

“No.”

 

“I’ll buy you chicken.”

 

“…” Jae ponders it for a second. “And shrimp fried rice?” Now that they’re negotiating, he might as well add in some more food. Jieun rolls her eyes.

 

“Yes, even though you eat only the rice.”

 

“Ok.” Jae shrugs.

 

“Yes!” Jieun throws her arms in the air in a quick celebration.

 

“Let’s go then.” Jae says, getting up and starting to collect his phone and jacket, but he stops when he sees the almost disgusted look on Jieun’s face. “What now?”

 

“You’re not going to wear that to this party. Not on my watch you won’t.” She says with an accusatory tone, pointing at his perfectly mundane outfit.

 

Jae rolls his eyes again. Lord help him.

 

*

 

Okay, he can admit it - Jieun does know what suits Jae the best. Her choice of outfit compliments Jae way better than his previous one.

 

Now, he’s wearing black jeans, an unbuttoned blue flannel shirt over a white t-shirt, and his customary golden framed glasses. He doesn’t have his hair styled any particular way, letting it fall down, almost reaching his eyes.

 

Jae can see Jieun’s proud stare in the mirror from behind him and he sighs.

 

“Ok, fine. Happy now?”

 

She nods. “Very. Let’s go!”

 

*

 

“Whose party is this again?” Jae asks over the loud crap music blasting through quality speakers.

 

“You know him. Yoon Dowoon. He’s from our class.” Jieun answers.

 

Jae thinks about it. Yoon Dowoon. Yoon Dowoon... Of course!

 

He’s the rich kid who always sleeps in class.  

He’s surrounded by girls at all times and there are people who say that he sleeps with all of them, but Jae has a hard time believing that. He doesn’t actually know him, but Dowoon doesn’t seem like the type to do something like that.

 

Jae looks around the house. It’s huge! And very modern too. 

 

The furniture from the conjoined living room and dining room has been pushed to the corners to make space, and the kitchen is also very big, decorated in black and white. There are stairs leading to a second floor, the staircase filled with people chatting and making out.

 

“Hey, this is-” Jae turns to talk to Jieun, but cuts himself off when he doesn’t find her where she used to be behind him. “Jieun?”

 

Jae starts walking back to the kitchen, intending to find his friend, when he feels a hand on his shoulder, turning him around.

 

“What the-“

“Yo man! Wassup?!” A guy he’s never seen before asks.

 

Must be wasted already.

 

“Sorry, you have the wrong per-“

“Park Jaehyung, right?” The dude cuts him off again, leaving Jae with widened eyes.

 

How the heck does he know me?

 

“Hmm yeah...” he answers, unsure.

 

“Pleasure.” The guy extends a hand “I’m Lee Baekmin, but you can call me just Baekmin, or whatever you want...” the guy, Baekmin, rambles on, too drunk for his own good.

 

“Yeah, okay. Nice to meet you Baekmin.” Jae takes his hand and shakes it quickly. “How do you know me?”

 

“Isn’t it obvious?”

 

Jae scrunches his eyebrows in confusion, because no, it’s not obvious, and Baekmin rolls his eyes, smiling wildly.

 

“I’m your fan! I know you from Youtube! I really like the songs you put there, man, seriously.” Baekmin admits, a blush creeping up on his ears.

 

Jae too, finds himself blushing.

 

A fan? Where the hell did I get a fan?

 

“O-oh. I see... Thanks, I guess.” He stutters in response.

 

“What are you doing here, though? I thought you lived in America or something.”

Jae scrunches his eyebrows slightly, but decides not to pay much attention to how much this person seems to know about him.

 

“Yeah, I… I moved, recently.”

 

Baekmin chuckles and hands him a cup which undoubtedly contains alcohol.

 

“Here, have some fun, Jaehyung.” He says.

 

Jae shakes his head. “Sorry, I don’t really drink-“

 

“Come on, Jae! Let loose! Have some fun!” Baekmin insists, pressuring him into taking the drink.

 

Jae takes his time to look over at Baekmin then - tall stature, round but sharp facial features, red dyed hair, muscled. If he plans to run, chances are he won’t get far.

 

Jae clears his throat and takes the drink.

 

“Yeah! Cheers mate!” Baekmin yells.

 

Yeah, cheers...

 

 

*

 

Oww, what, the hell...? My head hurts. Fucking hell, it hurts a lot. Shit, even thinking hurts. What the fuck happened?

 

Maybe it would’ve been fine if Jae hadn’t taken that first drink last night.

But he did.

Chapter Text

When the sun rises, Brian is already up. He’s been awake since six o’clock, to be more precise, working on the song he’ll be taking to the contest.

 

It should have been finished already - he’s got the lyrics and the melody down - but he hasn’t found it to be perfect yet. Maybe it’s a flaw of his, to be such a perfectionist, but it’s also what makes his music great.

 

He checks his phone one more time - 7:30 in the morning. Clicking his tongue, he looks back from his desk to his bed. Waiting for him to wake up has been slowly eating at Brian’s insides.

 

Shit. Why did I even do this?

 

He thinks to himself, memories from the past night flooding his mind.

 

 

>Friday Night<

 

 

The house is already full of people when Brian arrives, wearing a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt. Music is blasting through a couple of speakers, and neon lights give the party a disco atmosphere.

 

Brian sighs and tries to remember the reason why he’s here.

That’s right, he’d received a text from a classmate of his - Yoon Dowoon - inviting him to this party.

 

Now, Brian isn’t really a big fan of parties, but he thought maybe he should come, since Dowoon had actually gone through the trouble of texting him.

He tries not to regret his decision while passing by a guy throwing up in the kitchen sink. 

 

Now that’s gonna be a pain to clean.

 

He keeps looking around the house, marveling in its beauty and modernity, when he recognizes someone in the near distance.

 

In a couch pulled up against the wall of the living room, are Park Jaehyung and another guy, chatting lively, a bit too close to each other for Brian’s liking. Not that he cares. Not that it’s his business anyway.

 

Brian is about to look away, when he notices the guy sitting next to Jaehyung sneaking some kind of white powder into his drink when Jaehyung isn’t looking.

 

Is that shithead roofing Jaehyung’s drink? What the actual fuck. What a pervert. Maybe I should help... no, that’s not a good idea. Brian Kang, listen to me, you are not about to go rescue the guy you both hate and are crushing on.

 

Still, despite himself, Brian ends up walking towards Jaehyung.

He can hear him laugh at something the other guy is saying and it’s making Brian angry, for some reason he can’t quite name.

 

Jaehyung is about to drink. Brian speeds up his steps, unceremoniously bumping against every fucking person in the way and almost not making it in time.

 

Jaehyung stops his glass in mid air, giving Brian a confused look.

 

“Hey, what do you-” Brian slaps the drink from Jaehyung’s hand, making the glass fly and crash on the floor. People around them stare at him - most of them are from school, most of them stare like this is just another normal ‘Brian Kang’ thing to happen. “What the fuck is your problem?!” Jaehyung half shouts in English, attempting to stand up and barely balancing himself. Brian raises his hands and widens his eyes.

 

“Calm down, I swear it’s not what it looks like-“

“Oh really? Because it sure as fuck looks like you’re just fucking around with me. First this morning, now this. Fuck off already, asshole.” Brian can tell it’ll happen before Jaehyung even clenches his fist, so it’s not that hard for him to dodge the punch when Jaehyung lunches forward.

 

Brian grabs Jaehyung’s hand and twists his arm on his back, turning Jaehyung around and seizing him from further (trying to) attack him. Jaehyung tries to wiggle his way out of Brian’s hold, but Brian grabs his other arm, pulling Jaehyung’s back flush against his chest.

 

“Let me go, you ass-“

“You seriously need to come up with better insults than ‘asshole’.” Brian tells him, a smirk popping up on his face. Jaehyung turns his face to the right to glare at Brian. “Look, I’m sorry about your drink, but that guy you were talking with roofed it. That’s why I took it away.”

 

Jaehyung widens his eyes and snaps his head in the other guy’s direction. The conversation they’d been having was spoken in English, so the other guy seems lost as fuck when Jaehyung frowns at him in confusion and disbelief.

 

Brian lets go of Jaehyung’s arms.

 

“Is it true?” Jaehyung asks the guy, in Korean now.

 

“Hum? What do you mean, Jae?” The guy questions back, tilting his head to the side.

 

“Did you seriously roof my drink, Baekmin?”

 

Ah, so that’s where Brian knows this guy from. He’s his competition for the inter schools’ song contest.

 

A fucking turd too, apparently. What the hell is he even doing here? Isn't he from another town?

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jae.” Baekmin shrugs, a smug smile on his face. He looks at Brian then. “Are you seriously gonna believe what that creep tells you instead of me? I’m hurt, Jae. I thought we were past that already.” Baekmin says, grabbing one of Jaehyung’s wrists and slowly pulling him to himself. Jaehyung lets himself step closer to him.

 

Oh fuck no. That’s it, I’m done.

 

“Okay, that’s enough of that, both of you.” Brian almost growls, pulling on Jaehyung’s other wrist and forcefully making the boy turn around and collide with his chest, his head falling onto Brian’s shoulder.

 

Baekmin snorts. “Ahh, I see how it is. Fine, you take him. He’s all yours, Kang.” His words imply a second meaning, but all that Brian has time to do before Baekmin ups and leaves is flash him his middle finger.

 

Once the guy is gone, that’s when it dawns on Brian’s head.

Jaehyung is pressed up against his front. His head is resting on Brian’s right shoulder. Brian is still holding onto his wrist. They are so close that Brian can actually feel Jaehyung’s chest rising and falling with each breath he takes.

 

“Jae-“

“You know,” Jaehyung cuts him, stopping mid sentence to hiccup. “All that moving around...” hiccup “it’s kind of funny actually... feels like” hiccup “I’m about to-“ Jaehyung doesn’t say anything else, to busy hurling out all the contents of his stomach onto the floor and Brian’s back. 

Brian shuts his eyes tightly and presses his lips onto a thin line, feeling his shirt becoming wet and suspiciously hot.

 

Remind me, brain, why have I decided to help him?

 

“Are you done?” Brian asks after Jaehyung’s stopped vomiting. Jaehyung nods, and before Brian can stop him, cleans his mouth on Brian’s once white t-shirt. “What the fuck?!”

 

Jaehyung chuckles, clearly still drunk as fuck. “That’s what you get for bein’ an asshole.” It seems to be funny for him, since begins giggling. Brian would've found it cute, were it not for the current circumstances.

Instead, he rolls his eyes. He’s had enough.

 

“Okay, look. I’m going to take you home now. Is that okay?” He questions, trying his best to sound calm.

 

Jaehyung nods, eyes lidded with sleepiness.

 

“Okay, good. But first I have to clean up your mess, so go sit on the couch.” Brian orders.

 

“Okay~” Jaehyung manages, lazily walking towards the couch.

 

“And don’t drink anything!” Brian screams after him. Jaehyung makes a dismissing gesture with his hand.

 

“Yes, dad...”

 

Brian has lost count of how many times he’s sighed already.

 

  

After finally managing to clean Jaehyung’s hurl without vomiting himself, swipe the broken glass into the trash, and attempt to wash his shirt the best he could, Brian finally finds himself leaving the party, with a wet dripping t-shirt and a drunk guy with an arm around his shoulders.

 

Thankfully, Brian brought his car, an old crappy baby blue 65 Mustang that first belonged to his grandfather, back when his family still lived in Korea, and had been passed down to him.

 

Brian opens the passenger door with difficulty, trying not to drop Jaehyung at the same time.

 

“In you go.” Brian says, getting no reaction from Jaehyung at all. He sighs, but takes Jaehyung’s arm from around his shoulders and helps him into the car.

After a good two minutes of arranging a good angle to get Jaehyung in the seat, Brian finally shuts the door and goes around the front of the car to get in as well.

 

“Okay, I need you to tell me where you live.” Brian tells him, while buckling up and starting the car. When Jaehyung doesn’t answer him, he looks his way, only to find the boy passed out on the passenger seat. “You must be kidding me...” Brian says through clenched teeth. He shakes Jaehyung’s shoulder violently, but to no avail. The boy is out of it.

 

Brian stares at the car’s ceiling and rethinks where he went wrong in life. After a while, he glances back at Jaehyung’s sleeping form next to him. There’s no way he can leave him here, but he doesn’t know where to drop him off either.

 

So that leaves him with-

 

No. No fucking way. Not happening.

 

 

  

Brian grits his teeth and clenches his hands around the wheel throughout the whole ride to his apartment. It’s a small household, but it’s enough for a person. That’s right, a person, one human, a single living being. Not two.

 

Brian turns down the engine on the parking lot of the building, wondering how in the world he’s going to get Jae into his place. He knows he’ll most likely have to carry him.

 

“Let’s hope your skinny frame means you’re light weighted too.”

 

 

It doesn’t.

 

Brian has Jaehyung’s left arm around his shoulder and his own right hand on Jaehyung’s hip, and is now attempting to drag the boy to the elevator. He’s almost there. When he presses the button to call the elevator, Jaehyung’s head falls to the side, his nose now touching Brian’s neck and Brian has to gulp down several times in order not to let go of Jaehyung.

 

The doors finally open and Brian walks in, dragging Jaehyung along.

Once they’re inside, Brian finally glances at Jaehyung properly.

 

He looks nice. Well, he must have looked nice when he arrived the party at least. Now, his clothes are all crinkled and there are stains of alcohol on his shirt. His glasses are still on, slipping down his nose every now and then. Brian makes sure to pull them back up every time it happens. His hair is on another level though. Brian half chuckles when he notices. Every strand is sticking out in a different direction, almost like there’s been a mini hurricane going through Jaehyung’s hair. He still looks cute, Brian thinks, as the elevator doors open again.

 

The hall is big enough for about three people, so Brian doesn’t have any problems getting Jaehyung to his door. He fishes for his keys in his front pocket and unlocks the door.

 

The front door opens to reveal a small living room with a conjoined kitchen to the left. To the right stands a door leading to Brian’s bedroom, and up front is another door, leading to the bathroom.

It’s a small apartment, meant for a single person.

 

Brian looks over at the couch.

 

Guess you’ll be sleeping here.

 

He takes Jaehyung to his bedroom and sits him on the bed. By now, Jaehyung is starting to come back to his senses. He wonders if Jaehyung'd been roofed before Brian had arrived the party.

 

“Hmm, where am I?” Jaehyung asks, his rough drunken voice startling Brian.

 

“My place.” He simply answers, taking off his shirt and looking for a clean one in the small closet next to the door.

 

“Why are you getting naked?” Jaehyung asks again.

 

“I’m not.” Brian feels like it’s better to keep it simple with the answers. He puts on a warmer sweater and takes out pijama pants, choosing to dress them outside the bedroom.

 

He walks over to Jaehyung and sits beside him on the bed.

 

“You have to take that shirt off.” He tells him. Jaehyung hugs his torso, pouting. 

 

“Why?” He asks, and he sounds so much like a kid, Brian has to bite his lip to contain a chuckle.

 

“Because, you’re in my bed, and your clothes are dirty, and I don’t want my bed dirty.” Brian thinks it’s a good explanation. “Now, off.” He points at the shirt.

 

Jaehyung attempts to take it off. “It won’t come off.” He complains, still looking like a five year old. “Help.”

 

Brian needs all his strength not to roll his eyes, as he takes the shirt off of Jaehyung, followed by his t-shirt and throws them on the ground, next to his own.

 

When he looks back at Jaehyung, he can’t stop himself from staring at his frame. Although he’s thin, his arms are muscled and his torso is toned. Even though it's dark, Brian can tell how pale and soft his skin is, and there's something on Brian's mind that's screaming at him to reach out and touch it.

 

Brian flinches, realizing he’s been staring at Jaehyung, and looks up to his face.

Jaehyung hugs himself again, looking away.

 

“I’m cold.” He says. Brian widens his eyes.

 

“Oh, right yeah, sure. Wait, lemme just-” he picks up an oversized sweater he finds and throws it at Jaehyung’s face. “Here, dress that.”

 

Without even thinking much about it, Brian drops to his knees and starts undoing the laces of Jaehyung’s shoes, pulling them off along with his socks. When he looks up, Jaehyung has already put on the sweater, and Brian has to gulp down to keep from swooning over him. He looks nice in that sweater. Really nice.

 

Thankfully for him, Jaehyung is still drunk, so he doesn’t really process any of Brian’s mildly suspicious actions or facial expressions.

 

When Brian stands up and carefully takes off Jaehyung’s glasses, he doesn’t do anything besides squinting at Brian.

 

“You look nice without your glasses.” Brian compliments before he can stop himself, feeling his face heat up.

 

Jaehyung chuckles, like he thinks Brian’s kidding.

 

“You don’t.” He says, giggling.

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“You don’t look good without me having my glasses on. I can’t see you properly.” Jae clarifies, still quirky and giggling. Brian can’t help the smile that grows on his lips.

 

“So does that mean I look good when you have your glasses on?” He asks playfully, but also genuinely curious.

 

Jaehyung shrugs and chuckles.

Brian rolls his eyes, but ruffles Jaehyung’s hair gently, which is surprisingly soft, even after getting all messy. Brian decides not to pay attention to it.

 

“Go to sleep. You’ll feel better in the morning.” He lies, knowing fully well about the hangover that awaits Jaehyung, yet incapable of ruining this child like mood of his.

 

Jaehyung nods unnecessarily dramatically and lies down on the bed, letting Brian pull the covers on top of him.

 

Brian picks up his pijama pants and looks at Jaehyung one more time.

 

“Sweet dreams.” He whispers teasingly, when leaving the room.

 

He’s about to close the door when he hears “G’night Brian.”

 

Brian smiles all the way to the couch, while putting on the pijama pants, and pulling a cover on top of himself after lying down on the couch.

 

 

>Present Time<

 

Brian grabs at his hair. Why has he done this? Sure, he'd helped Jaehyung get out of a possibly awful situation. And sure, he did bring him home and witness his drunken adorableness. And sure, Jaehyung is wearing his clothes and sleeping on his bed at the moment. But what about when Jaehyung wakes up? What will he say? How will he react to this?

 

You need to calm the fuck down, Kang. Once you explain, he’ll most likely understand. If he lets you explain, that is…

  

*

 

It’s around ten o’clock. Brian has given up trying to work on his song and is now plopped down on the couch watching TV and eating snacks.

The show he’s watching goes on to commercials and Brian mutes the TV, in time to hear a scream coming from his bedroom.

 

He sighs loudly, preparing himself for the worst.

He walks barefooted to his bedroom and opens the door.

 

Jaehyung screams even louder and Brian winces.

 

“Good morning to you too.” Brian huffs.

 

Jaehyung is sitting up on the bed, clutching to the covers like they will protect him from all evil.

 

“What the fuck is going on? Why am I here? Why are you here? What the fuck happened?” Jaehyung hits him with several questions at once, and Brian tries not to laugh at his face.

 

“Hey, hey...” Brian attempts to shut him up, and when it doesn’t work “Hey! Listen to me, will you?” He says louder and with a firmer tone of voice that promptly shuts Jaehyung up. The boy nods and that’s when Brian notices Jaehyung’s been squinting his eyes this whole time.

 

Right, I forgot he’s blind.

 

Brian walks forward, not missing the way Jaehyung flinches backwards, and grabs the golden framed glasses from the nightstand, holding them in front of Jaehyung’s face.

 

“Your glasses.” He tells him. Jaehyung snatches the glasses from his hand and quickly puts them on. Then, he looks back at Brian.

 

“Shit, it really is you.” He mumbles, almost a whisper, but Brian still catches it and snorts.

 

“Expecting someone else, were you?” He retorts. Jaehyung doesn’t answer.

 

Instead, he looks around the bedroom. His eyes spot the closet behind Brian, the desk full of crap in front of the bed, the guitar leaning against said desk and the bass placed neatly on its stand on the corner of the room. Then, his eyes fall on the clothes scattered on the floor. Brian’s clothes from yesterday, and Jaehyung’s own ones, all messed up and thrown on the floor. His eyes widen and his face becomes red.

 

Brian mentally face palms.

 

“What-“

“It’s so not what it looks like.” Brian interrupts. “I can explain.” He offers, scratching the back of his neck.

 

“You better.”

 

*

 

“So,” Jaehyung pulls his knees up to his chest and hugs them. “What you’re saying is, I was drunk as fuck and you decided to take me home without and possibly abuse me. Did I miss anything?” Jaehyung asks sarcastically, raising a brow. He looks at his own arms. “Is this your sweater? Why am I wearing your sweater?!”

 

Brian rolls his eyes and crosses his arms on his chest.

 

“You should be thanking me right now. I potentially saved you from being kidnapped... or raped... or both! Yet you accuse me of abusing you when you were the one throwing up all over me and having me take your clothes off.”

 

Jaehyung blushes. His whole face becomes red and he avoids Brian’s eyes.

 

“I... threw up...?-“

“On me, yes. You did. Ruined my shirt and all.” Brian completes for him, enjoying this new shy and embarrassed side of Jaehyung. “So, you see, like I said you should really be thanking-“

“Why did you even do it?” Jaehyung asks, cutting Brian off. Brian shrugs.

 

“I saw Baekmin roofing your drink and decided not to ignore that. I think any sane sober person would’ve done the same.” They wouldn’t, Brian knows that, Jaehyung knows that, but Brian wasn’t about to tell him otherwise.

 

“Even so...” Jaehyung looks troubled with his own words. “Why did you bring me here? You could’ve left me there, or taken me to my house.”

 

Brian sighs. He expected questions, but the way Jaehyung asks them makes Brian feel nervous.

 

“I... you were drunk.” Brian says like it’s supposed to explain everything. “You were drunk and practically passing out and I’d taken my car. I was going to take you to your house, but you passed out the moment I got you in the car.”

 

Jaehyung face palms.

 

“You carried me to your car?”

 

“And out of it and up here and into my bed, yes.” Brian completes. Jaehyung blushes, before he frowns and looks at the bed, then at Brian.

 

“Wait. Where did you sleep then? If I was here?”

 

“Relax, I slept on the couch.” Brian shrugs, like his back isn’t killing him. Jaehyung gives him a questionable look. “What? It’s a comfortable couch. Now, are you done with the interrogation or not?” Brian tries his best to change the subject, and it seems to work, if the way Jaehyung’s stomach growls says anything. Brian snorts. “Hungry?”

 

Jaehyung hides his face in his hands. “Shut up, asshole.”

 

*

 

“Scrambled or fried?” Brian asks, not looking away from the stove, where he’s currently managing a pan with bacon, another one with bread slices and the last one with no eggs yet.

 

Jaehyung groans from where he’s sitting down on one of the kitchen chairs. Brian does look at him then.

 

Jaehyung his clutching his hair with both hands, wearing a deep pained frown on his face.

 

“You good?” Brian tries. Jaehyung looks up at him and glares.

 

“What’d ya think?” He snaps. Brian snorts.

 

“That’s what you get for drinking your ass off and getting yourself roofed by a freaking stranger.” Brian says, making his way over to the counter next to the fridge, and taking out a box of pain killers. “Here,” he throws the box at Jaehyung, who barely manages to catch it “take two of those with this.” He recommends, placing a glass of water on the table.

 

Jaehyung’s frown is one of pain and confusion.

 

“...Thanks.” He finally lets out.

 

“Sure.” Brian replies, deciding to make scrambled eggs when the yolk of the second egg doesn’t make it to the mixing bowl without cracking. “What is it?” Brian questions, feeling Jaehyung’s stare on his back.

 

“W-what?”

 

“I can hear you thinking. What is it that you want to ask?” Brian clarifies, too busy handling the eggs to turn around. Jaehyung is silent for almost 10 seconds.

 

“Why did you, I mean, why are you being so nice to me?” Jaehyung asks, his tone being one of curiosity. Brian huffs.

 

“Well believe it or not, I am a nice person.” Brian retorts, throwing his modesty out of the window. Jaehyung snorts, then winces in regret, his head probably giving him a hard time.

 

“You’re right.” He says. “I don’t believe it.”

 

Brian doesn’t have it in himself to hold back the chuckle that escapes his lips.

Chapter Text

They have breakfast in silence, and Jae is thankful for that. Not only is his head currently killing him, he also would have no idea what to say to Brian.

 

Jae glances at him. Brian is eating his eggs carelessly, paying no attention to the world around him – namely, to Jae.

He ends up staring again. Brian’s fox like eyes are focused on the food at the moment. His lips curl around the fork every now and then, and Jae has to force himself not to stare at them for too long. Brian’s hair is a mess, but it still looks good somehow. The bedhead he’s ended up with gives him a domestic look, and it’s also making Jae’s head hurt more, so he decides to look at what he’s wearing instead.

Brian is dressed in a grey sweater and blue flannel pajama pants, and he doesn’t seem to mind Jae seeing him in them. Not like he has to mind, he’s at home, after all. Jae should be the one apologizing here, but he isn’t sure he really wants to.

 

If he’s being honest, up until today, Jae found Brian to be a complete asshole, he never thought he’d find himself in a situation like this.

 

Jae sighs into his plate, taking one last bite of his toast. He hears Brian huffing and looks up at him.

 

“What?” He asks, frowning. Brian’s smile is smug, and he raises a brow.

 

“You done?”

 

“Hmm?” Jae is confused. Had Brian been aware of his staring? Oh shit, that’s it isn’t it? Now he thinks I'm a loser and a creep. Great. Brian rolls his eyes.

 

“I mean with your food, Jaehyung. Are you done with it?”

 

Thank God and Jesus, he didn’t notice.

 

“Yeah, hum, I’m good.” Jae ends up saying, picking up the glass of water he hadn’t fully drank yet.

 

“Good.” Brian answers, reaching forwards to pick up Jae’s plate.

 

He stands up and goes to put the plates on the sink, stopping and bending down right next to Jae's ear to whisper with a smirk:

 

“You can stare all you want. I don’t mind.”

 

Jae chokes. Brian barely manages to put the plates on the counter before he’s laughing quite dramatically at Jae.

 

“F-Fuck you.” Jae stutters out after regaining his composure. Brian snorts and takes the glass from Jae’s hands.

 

“You wish.” He teases, and Jae tries not to let his face redden. That’d happened a whole lot this morning already. “Come on now, Jaehyung. I’ll drop you home.” Brian speaks up after placing the glass on the sink.

 

“Okay…” Jae feels defeated.

 

*

 

Riding in Brian’s car ends up being weirder than Jae thought it would be. They don’t talk, not because they’re mad at each other, but simply because they have nothing to talk about, nothing to ask, nothing they want to know. Well, that’s wrong. There’s plenty that Jae wants to know, he’s just too much of a chicken to actually have the guts to ask.

 

It’s Brian who speaks up first.

“Where are you from?” he asks out of the blue. Jae turns his head from the window towards Brian.

 

“Hm?”

 

“Where are you from? You’re new in school, aren’t you? I’ve never seen you before a couple of days ago.” Brian further explains.

 

“Yeah, I’ve just moved recently. From the States.” Jae answers. Brian looks at him momentarily, before focusing back on the road.

 

“States? As in America?” he asks, to be sure.

 

“Yup, those States.” Jae nods, before turning back to the window. “What about you?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Yes, you. Yesterday, when you spoke English, you didn’t have that much of an accent, so I’m guessing you have spent at least some time abroad. There’s also your name, of course, not exactly Korean.” Jae clarifies. He sees Brian smile out of the corner of his eye.

 

“I went to Canada for middle school and I still go there every now and then. I have family there, so I visit sometimes. I’m also considering going to university in Toronto, but nothing's settled yet.” Brian fills in. Jae looks back at him. “Brian is the name I chose for Canada, but I ended up liking it better than Younghyun. So that’s why everyone calls me Brian.” He adds, still smiling.

 

“I see…” is the eloquent answer Jae provides. By now, he’s focusing on Brian completely, too fazed by the way he smiles and the way the light coming in through the widows reflects on his eyes, making the brown of his irises seem clearer.

 

Jae feels the car come to a stop and returns to his senses. He looks out his window and finds his house.

 

“That’s the one.” He says, to no one in particular. He glances back at Brian, and Brian is looking at him, probably waiting for a ‘thanks’ or a ‘bye’, but Jae has nothing, says nothing.

 

Brian raises a brow.

“So, are you gonna leave, or…” Jae widens his eyes.

“Right, yeah, sorry. Huh… Thanks, for the ride, and, you know, that… yeah, okay.” He rambles while fiddling with his seatbelt and opening the door to leave. He looks at Brian one last time. “So, hum, bye…?” Jae feels as awkward as awkward can get. Brian chuckles at him.

 

“Goodbye, Jaehyung.” He smiles.

 

Jae watches Brian drive away from where he stands. Did this really just happen?

 

He checks the time on his phone – 12:24pm – and hisses loudly when he finds several call and text notifications from his parents, and worse, Jieun.

He quickly dials Jieun while making his way to his door. She picks up on the first ring. He’s fucked.

 

“Where the hell are you?! Why didn’t you pick up my calls or answer my texts? Do you have any idea how worried I’ve been?! I-“

 

“Calm down, Jieun. I’m okay.”

“Oh. Oh, you’re okay.” Jae can feel the sarcasm in her tone and winces. “Isn’t that great. You’re okay. Well, guess what, I’m not! I’ve been worried sick for the past five hours! Where are you right now?” Jae sighs. There’s no getting out of Jieun reprehending him.

 

“I’m at my place.”

 

“Good. I'm here too.”

 

Jae’s eyes widen when his front door opens to reveal Jieun hanging up the phone. She smiles menacingly at him.

 

“Hi there, Jae.”

 

Shit.

 

*

 

“So do you want to tell me what happened to you last night or do I have to force it out?” Jieun questions.

 

They’re sitting in their usual spots – Jae is sat cross legged on his bed and Jieun is on Jae’s chair, occasionally swinging sideways, but without ever taking her eyes off of Jae.

 

Jae is not sure what to tell her – what should he tell her? Jae sighs. The truth, Jae. Just tell her the truth.

 

“Ok, so, this will all seem super weird, so just let me finish, ok?” Jae asks, looking at Jieun with hopeful eyes. Jieun frowns.

 

“…Ok, I guess. Tell me everything.”

 

*

 

“You what?!” Jieun exclaims, eyes wide, getting up from the chair. Jae gestures for her to sit back down.

 

“You didn’t let me finish!”

 

“Jae, you threw up on Brian Kang.” Jieun tells him, like he hasn’t been martyring himself for it over and over again. The way she says it, however, makes Jae blush.

 

“I didn’t mean to do it…” He pouts. Jieun snorts and sits down on the chair again.

 

“You’re hopeless.” She says, shaking her head. Jae’s pout deepens.

 

“Thanks a lot. Now will you let me finish?”

 

“Go ahead.” She gestures with her right hand for Jae to continue.

 

“Thank you.” Jae smiles shortly. “Basically, I don’t remember anything else… yet. I just know what he told me and that I woke up on his… place.”

 

“What did he tell you- wait, his house? He took you home? Oh my God, what did he do to you?!” Jieun suddenly barrages him with questions and Jae somewhat understands how Brian must have felt just a few hours prior, when it was Jae asking him that many questions at once.

 

“Wait, wait, calm down. Nothing happened, thank God.” Yeah, thank God, Jae. Shut up. I’m just saying… Jae rolls his eyes at himself. Now is not the time for inner arguments. “From what he told me, I was being roofed by some jackass who had been talking to me. I was apparently too drunk to even walk so he had to carry me to his car. But then I passed out, so he took me to his place and let me sleep there. Then today he drove me back.”

 

That was leaving a lot out. Jae is aware. He’s also aware of the look Jieun is giving him, and the fact she knows when something’s up, and something’s definitely not up, or else she’d have said something already.

 

“Hmm.” She ends up answering. Just ‘hmm’. That’s not too bad. “So...”

 

“So…” Jae repeats. He readies himself for a verbal slap across the face. Shoot me.

 

“I think…” Jesus Christ, just end it already. “I think that’s okay. It could have gone a lot worse.”

 

“I know- wait what?” Jae widens his eyes. “You’re not mad?”

 

“Why should I be? You’re really ok, and nothing awful happened.” Jieun shrugs, and her innocent smile is back. What’s going on? Something’s definitely off. “You should be grateful Brian was there to save your ass.” I knew it! There you have it, the unnecessary comment. It always ends up coming.

 

Jae rolls his eyes.

 

“Yeah yeah, whatever.”

 

“I’m serious, Jae. Being roofed is no joke. What if something had happened? You really should thank Brian. You did, right?”

 

“Of course I did. But it’s not like what he did was that great. You’re just biased because you're crushing on him.” Jae accuses, half serious, half teasing. Jieun chuckles.

 

“You’re wrong.” Jieun shakes her head, then adds in English: “Bros over hoes, remember?” Jae snorts out a laugh.

 

“Who taught you that?” He asks between laughing. “That’s definitely something you should never say. Ever.”

 

“Whatever.” Jieun brushes him off, but Jae can see the blush she tries to hide.

 

“Awww, come on, don’t get shy now. I was just kidding.”

 

“It’s not that, Jae.” Jieun stops him. “Okay, look, I don’t really like Brian okay? I just thought he was hot, but it’s not like I have a crush on him or anything. He’s just good looking, you know?” Jieun admits, though to Jae, it just sounds as if she’s giving unnecessary explanations, most likely to try to cover the fact she likes him.

 

“Yeah, sure.”

 

“I’m serious!” Jieun pouts, banging her fists on the chair's armrests to make her point more dramatic, but it just looks cute to Jae, who chuckles.

 

“Ok, Jieun. I believe you.” I believe you’re crushing on Brian, is what Jae wants to tell her.

Chapter Text

The autumn air hits Dowoon’s face as he speed walks, making a few strands of his hair flutter back and forth. He pays no mind to it. At the moment, there’s only one thing on his mind – he needs new drumsticks, preferably good ones, this time.

 

It’s his policy to always keep at least a spare pair of drumsticks at home, but it just so happens that this time, said spare pair was of low quality, and it ended up breaking in a little less than a week. Dowoon was in the middle of practicing a new rhythm, a more complex one, something he hadn’t done a lot yet, and the drumstick decided to break on him then. He wouldn’t have it.

 

A bell rings above his head when he opens the door to the music store. There’re exactly two people inside the store – himself and the cashier. The old man standing behind the counter smiles at him.

 

“Good afternoon, Dowoonie!” the man greets, kind as ever.

 

Dowoon smiles warmly at the old man.

 

“Good afternoon, harabeonim.” He says, bowing slightly in respect. The man, Mr. Min, chuckles.

 

“What can I do for you today? Was it the drumsticks again?” He guesses, and Dowoon scratches the back of his head.

 

“Well... the last package was in kind of a bad state, so I came to see if the new ones have arrived yet.” Dowoon admits, blushing slightly at the fact he keeps breaking his drumsticks.

 

Mr. Min smiles widely, his gums showing.

 

“Aren’t you a devoted boy.” He comments, and Dowoon feels his ears getting warm. “They haven’t arrived yet, I’m afraid. Once they do, I’ll keep a separate set reserved for you.” Mr. Min offers kindly.

 

“Oh... Ok.” Dowoon smiles, a bit disappointed that he won’t be able to play until tomorrow, at school. “Thank you for doing that for me, Mr. Min. I really appreciate it.”

 

“Oh, you’re welcome, Dowoonie. You’re a good boy, so I’ll gladly do it for you.” Mr. Min nods reassuringly. Dowoon tries his best not to show sadness on his face.

Mr. Min has told him many times how much Dowoon resembles his son, who’s left him to go travel around the world and never returned. Ever since Dowoon was a young boy, he always found Mr. Min to be a nice person; he’d even been the one introducing Dowoon to the drums. If not for him, Dowoon most likely wouldn’t have such a passion for anything. Mr. Min is a great friend of Dowoon, and in some aspects, a better parent than his biological ones.

 

Dowoon leaves the store empty handed, but with a warmer heart.

He decides if he can't play the drums, he can go play games instead. It won't be as fun, but it’ll be fun still.

 

He searches for a nearby arcade on his phone and makes his way to it, only stopping to buy a strawberry milkshake on a street roulette.

 

 

The arcade is not full of people, but given the early hour, Dowoon figures it is probably a popular arcade, so he decides on exploring its games quietly, avoiding people whenever he could.

 

An hour passes like that, moving from one game to another, until Dowoon finds the one he really likes – the one he deems additive enough to play for hours. The game is played with a joystick and it consists of moving the main character away from obstacles and throwing missiles at the opponent by clicking on a button. It isn’t a hard game, it’s more about timing and rhythmed reflexes, which is what attracts Dowoon to playing the game in the first place.

 

“Hey.” A rough voice comes from next to Dowoon. He feels like it’s been hours since he’s at the arcade. “Haven’t you been there for long enough? Move!” The man demands, sounding more aggressive than necessary. A simple ‘please’ would’ve sufficed.

 

Dowoon nods without taking his eyes away from the screen. “I’m almost done with this level. I’ll let you play after. Just a minute.” He says, paying no mind to his surroundings.

 

He’s focused on the game, so he only notices the large fat hand when it stops mere centimeters away from his face.

 

“That’s enough.” Another voice speaks up. He recognizes this voice.

 

Dowoon looks back and finds Brian Kang holding the man’s wrist and keeping him from slapping Dowoon. Brian looks at the man reprehensively.

 

“Were you seriously going to beat up a kid?” He asks, as if he himself isn’t a kid too. “Jerkface.”

 

“What did you just call me?” The man raises his voice, clenching his hands into fists at the same time.

 

Dowoon checks the time – time to leave.

 

He stands up from where Brian and the man are having a competition of insults and walks away, already thinking about where he should eat dinner.

 

 

*

 

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

Dowoon almost chokes on his drink when he hears his voice. He doesn’t dare look behind himself, and he doesn’t have to.

 

Brian walks past him and sits down on the opposite chair of the table. He presses his lips into a tight smile, his left cheekbone displaying a recent bruise and his upper lip bleeding with a cut.

 

Dowoon swallows the rest of his drink loudly and places the cup on the table.

 

“Sorry?” He plays dumb. Brian points at his own face.

 

“I said ‘you’re welcome’. I protected you and you left me to get beaten up by that old geezer.” Brian clarifies.

 

“Oh... sorry...” Dowoon looks down, feeling his ears heating up. Brian snorts and starts laughing at him, and Dowoon looks up abruptly.

 

“I’m joking.” He says when he’s done laughing. “That wasn’t your fault, I was the one getting kicked out of that place. But your face just now was priceless.” Brian tells him, a smug smile on his face. Dowoon pouts and scrunches his eyebrows. “Ahh come on, don’t be like that. It was a joke!”

 

“Why did you get kicked out?” Dowoon asks instead. Brian shrugs.

 

“Apparently that guy who swung at you was a manager there.” Dowoon’s eyes widen.

 

“So it was my fault!”

 

“It wasn’t! Jesus kid, I could’ve done nothing. It was my choice.” 

 

“And because of that, they beat you...” Dowoon looks at his hands, closing them into fists. He looks up. “Let me help you take care of that.” He asks, nodding at Brian’s face. Brian chuckles.

 

“It’s okay, really I-“

“It’s the least I can do.” Dowoon cuts in. Brian just stares at him without saying anything for a few moments. Then, he nods.

 

“Okay.”

 

*

 

“So this is what your house looks like without neon lights?” Brian asks sarcastically, mentioning the first and last time he’d been to Dowoon’s house, just two days prior. Dowoon rolls his eyes, but Brian is facing his back so he doesn’t notice.

 

“The first aid kit is in a closet on the kitchen. Follow me.” He says, not looking back. He hears Brian’s footsteps on his heel.

Brian gasps loudly when Dowoon turns on the lights.

 

“Holy shit, man. You have a really nice house.” Brian compliments. Dowoon tries his best to force a smile.

 

“Thanks, but it’s not my house. It’s my parent’s house. I just happen to sleep, shower and eat here. For now at least...” He shrugs. Brian’s expression changes from amazed to surprised to understanding.

 

“Oh… I’m sorry. I didn’t know-“

“It’s okay. You don’t need to apologize.” Dowoon cuts in, gesturing dismissively at Brian. “It’s complicated, but that’s beside the point. I’m gonna go get the first aid kit. You stay there, and don’t touch any glasses!” Dowoon decides to change the subject to something a bit brighter, like Brian breaking his mother’s glassware that day at the party. He turns and opens a counter, fetching for the kit.

 

“Sorry about that…” Brian says, shame displaying on his voice.

 

“It’s okay. There’re forty more.” Dowoon replies, grabbing the first aid kit and walking back to where Brian is leaning his back against the kitchen counter. Dowoon stops in front of him and holds the kit in front of Brian.

 

“Here.” He offers. Brian frowns. Dowoon rolls his eyes. “For the bruise and the cut, everything you need is there.”

 

“Wait, weren’t you gonna help me clean the wounds?” Brian questions, seemingly confused.

 

“I am though?”

 

“No, I mean…” Brian chuckles, shaking his head and taking the kit from Dowoon’s hands. “Nevermind. Thanks.”

 

 

 

“So can I ask you a question?” Brian asks, holding a small mirror with one hand and a small piece of cotton on the other.

 

At the moment, they’re sat at kitchen table, facing each other. Well, Dowoon is facing Brian, and Brian is facing his lip cut on the mirror.

 

“Sure.” Dowoon replies curtly.

 

“How come are you so popular, yet I've never seen you actually talking to people?” Dowoon thought Brian might ask that. It is weird, but it’s also very simple.

 

“Most people who follow me around do it because of my parent’s money. They assume I live off of them and so they try to become my friends so they can use the money. And the reason why I don’t talk to them is that I don’t like fake people. The parties I throw, they're on my account, I don't like spending my parent's money.” Dowoon shrugs. He feels himself blush a bit – he’d never told anyone that. He looks up at Brian and finds him staring at him. Brian smiles.

 

“I get what you mean.” He admits. “Well, not like that, though. I’m not rich, at all. My parents pretty much left me here to move to Canada, so at least I understand what it feels like to have absent parents.”

 

“I never said that, though.” Dowoon observes. Brian gives him a knowing look.

 

“You didn’t really have to –shit!” Brian tells him, before cursing when the alcohol makes contact with the cut on his lips. Dowoon chuckles. “Anyway, people assume I'm some kind of delinquent because I don’t like messiness or drama. Maybe it’s because I have a foreign name? I don’t know, but with people like that, I guess I'm better off on my own. You know?”

 

“Yeah.” Surprisingly, Dowoon finds himself relating quite a lot to Brian. He’d never really paid the other boy much attention, but now that he thought about it, they were similar in some aspects.

 

“All done.” Brian announces, starting to pack the kit back to the way it was before. His cheekbone is covered in some green creamy moisture and the cut on his lip is shining from the alcohol poured in it. “Thanks for letting me use your supplies.”

 

“Yeah, sure.” Dowoon smiles shortly. Brian stands up.

 

“I should get going-“

“Let’s be friends!” It slips past Dowoon’s mouth before he can hold it in. Dowoon feels his whole face heating up for various reasons: one - he just asked someone to be friends with him; and two - who the hell even asks that question?

 

He’s just gonna laugh at you now, great Dowoon, really nice.

 

Dowoon’s eyes widen when Brian flashes him a big, toothy smile.

 

“I thought you’d never ask.” Brian replies, finishing putting on his jacket. “I really have to go now, but I’ll see you tomorrow at school.”

 

“Ok. See you tomorrow.” Dowoon waves at Brian while the boy leaves, and he only stops when he hears the front door closing. Dowoon feels pain on his cheeks and realizes he’s been smiling all this time.

 

Could it be… that he’d actually made a friend? A real friend?

 

Somehow, that feeling of loneliness he always feels becomes smaller, almost inexistent, and even if just for a little while, Dowoon allows himself to be happy. He's not alone anymore.

Chapter Text

Brian is in a bad mood. Has been, for the whole day.

It all started that morning, right after Brian arrived at school. He’d hoped to find Dowoon, which he did, but not before seeing Jaehyung.

He spotted his blond hair at the end of the corridor, and was hoping to coolly walk by him with a cool ‘hey’ and a cool nod or something. But none of that happened. In fact, the second Brian was at a close distance, Jaehyung turned around and practically ran the other way, as if he’d seen a monster. Brian frowned at his leaping form, but decided not to chase him. He looked to where Jaehyung had been and found his friend, Jieun, staring between Brian and Jaehyung.

But that hadn’t been all. Throughout the whole day, Jaehyung had avoided Brian like the plague. Was he mad at Brian? Embarrassed maybe? Brian didn’t know. All he knew was that Jaehyung was avoiding him, and it was annoying as fuck, because he’d wanted to at least say ‘hi’. Maybe it's because I'm still bruised; he probably thinks I'm a punk. Maybe he just doesn’t want to talk to me. Face it, Kang, you’re weird as fuck, you were lucky to find yourself a friend yesterday.

Brian’s frown remains on his face the rest of the day, and when Dowoon asks, he tells him it’s nothing.

 

 

“Excuse me?” an old lady raises her voice, and Brian wakes up from his brooding. His shakes his head quickly and gives the lady a fake smile.

 

“Sorry. What can I help you with Ma’am?” He asks from behind the gas station counter.

 

“Well, let me think. How about you take my money so I can leave? Kids these days, always clueless. This is why the world is the way it is…” The lady keeps grumbling while Brian takes her credit card from her hand and shoves it in the ATM.

 

“That’ll be 60.000 won please.” He interrupts her, really not wanting to hear more. He’s got enough in his head pissing him off at the time being. The lady scoffs, but quickly inserts her pin and takes her receipt. “Thank you and have a good night.”

 

“Hmpth!” Huffs the lady, turning her back to Brian and leaving the gas station.

Brian sighs. Old people like to complain a lot. If she only knew how much work Brian has to do to keep his apartment and still have money left to eat. The only thing keeping him from going bankrupt is the scholarship he managed to get for the art school he attends.  For the rest, he’s pretty much on his own. His parents send him money every month, but it’s barely enough for a week’s worth of food, much less the whole month. So, Brian works part times, the more the merrier. He also sings in the street and tries to sell his music, but he’s always paid short.

 

The bell on the door rings, signaling another customer has walked in. Brian gets up from his chair and waits for the person to come to the register. But they don’t. Instead, they probably go on to the convenience store section. Another ring. Brian glances at the door. It’s his manager. He stands up straighter and pretends to be working hard, even though there’s nothing to do.

“Hey, Kang?” The manager calls him. Brian looks at him. He’s not happy. “Why haven’t you cleaned the floor on isle three yet?”

 

“Hmm? I have cleaned it already, sir.” Brian answers, fearing it might have been the wrong answer.

 

“You call that clean? It looks worse than it was before. Did you lose a bit of your sight after those punches you got? You probably did… Go clean it again!” He orders. Brian sighs. “What was that? Did you roll your eyes at me, boy?”

 

“I didn’t-“

“You think I won't fire you?!” The manager yells at him, marching up to Brian. He’s really unhappy today.

 

“Hey!” A shadow comes between Brian and his boss, long black locks flying as the girl comes to an abrupt stop.

 

“Who the hell are you?” asks the manager, the anger in his voice clear as day. The girl crosses her arms.

 

“And who the hell are you, sir, to be yelling at a teenager just for doing his job?!” She spits back, making both the manager and Brian widen their eyes. The manager looks at Brian, who’s lost as fuck as to why the hell this stranger is helping him.

The girl turns to him. Jieun?

 

“What are you-?”

“Let’s leave, it’s not worth it.” She tells him, grabbing Brian’s wrist and pulling him along. Brian let’s himself be dragged by her, still too fazed as to what the hell has just happened. Did he just lose his job?

 

 

*

 

 

“-ian. Brian? Younghyun!”

Brian jolts at the sudden loud call of his name. He pretends to glare at whoever has just cut off his precious sleep time, but when his eyes finally focus on Dowoon’s face, he can't help but smile. Dowoon is just too cute, especially with that tiny smile that didn’t use to be there before Brian had talked to him.

 

“Ahh, Dowoon-ahh! I was sleeping!” Brian complains overly dramatically, while rubbing the sleepiness off of his eyes with his hands. Dowoon chuckles and sits on the table next to Brian’s.

 

“Don’t you sleep at night?” he asks, sarcastically.

 

“Not always.” Brian answers honestly. Dowoon frowns at him.

 

“How come? Do you have insomnia or something like that?” Dowoon wonders, sounding truthfully curious, and not playful, like most people would. Brian offers him a small smile.

 

“It’s not really like that. I tend to get inspiration to write music at the weirdest times, and I know if I don’t work on it right away, it’ll just slip away from me, and I couldn’t live with myself wasting my brain while it still helps me.” Brian explains.

 

“That’s a bit dramatic, Younghyun.” Dowoon comments. Brian raises a brow, but for a different reason.

 

“You can call me Brian, you know?” Dowoon shrugs at him in response.

 

“Can’t I call you Younghyun instead?” Dowoon asks, and it’s not like Brian could really say no.

 

“Sure, I don’t mind. It is still my name, after all.”

 

“Can I ask you a question though?” Brian smiles smugly.

 

“You already did.” He sing songs, going right back to kindergarten. Dowoon rolls his eyes at him. “I’m kidding. Shoot.”

 

“Why Brian?” Dowoon questions. Brian thinks back to the reason he chose his English name to be Brian. He blushes.

 

“It’s stupid.” He confesses. “You’ll laugh at me.”

 

“I won't!” Dowoon is quick to say. “I promise I won't.”

 

“That’s what they always say.” Brian fakes a cry. “Fine, I’ll tell you, and if you laugh, I’ll never talk to you again.”

 

“Sure, sure.” Dowoon dismisses.

 

“So… basically, there’s this American show I used to watch as a kid, every time I went to Canada to visit my grandparents. You probably don’t know it – it’s called ‘Family Guy’.” Dowoon shakes his head in confirmation that he, indeed, doesn’t know the show in question. “In the show there’s a character named Brian. He’s a dog, but that’s not the point. The point is, said dog is sarcastic as hell, and is always making corny remarks, and when I went over to Canada for middle school, my parents told me I should just take Brian as my English name. So I did.” Brian shrugs. Dowoon is looking at him with an intense expression, most likely holding back laughter.

 

“So, you named yourself… after a sarcastic, talking… dog?” Dowoon retraces, seemingly confused. Brian facepalms.

 

“I told you it’s stupid. I was twelve and an idiot, ok?” Brian tries to justify himself hopelessly.

 

“No, no, I think that’s like you.” Dowoon says. When Brian gives him a ‘what?’ kind of look, Dowoon understands he should elaborate. “I mean like, that’s something a twelve year old you would do. If there’s a character you identified yourself with, it’s only logical to want to be close to it. So in a way, it’s completely understandable.”

 

“…Right. Thanks, I guess?” Brian is the one getting confused now. Not only has Dowoon never spoken so much, but he also made absolutely no sense. Dowoon smiles innocently at him.

 

“You’re welcome.” Dowoon says, starting to unpack his stuff for Korean. “You said you didn’t sleep. Were you writing music?” He questions, changing the subject while opening his pencil case and taking out a sharpened pencil.

 

“Well, yes. I wrote a bit, composed a bit, and mostly just thought a lot.” Brian shrugs.

 

“Thought about music?” Dowoon asks. Brian blushes then, because no, he thought about how he lost his job three days ago, how he found a new one, and majorly, about Jaehyung, more than he thought about music.

 

“Among other things.” He decides to be vague, and adverts his gaze from Dowoon.

 

His eyes land on the people walking in and his breath hitches in his throat.

 

Jaehyung walks in behind another guy Brian has never seen – not like he knows many people there, anyways. Brian frowns. Jieun isn’t right on his side like usual, so either she takes art or dance lessons, or she didn’t come to school.

Jaehyung looks good, as per usual. He has his glasses on and he's wearing an oversized grey jacket over the school uniform. He looks cute. Jaehyung either hasn’t noticed Brian yet, or is avoiding looking around much.

 

Why won't he look at me? Why do I want him to look at me? Oh my God Brian, stop staring!

 

“-Hey! Earth to Younghyun!” Dowoon exclaims, and Brian realizes Dowoon’s been waving his hand over Brian’s eyes for a bit. He shakes his head quickly, attempting to focus back on reality.

 

“Hm? Sorry, I was just-“

“-too busy crushing on Park Jaehyung.” Dowoon cuts him off. Brian widens his eyes and actually feels his face heat up.

 

“How-“

“It wasn’t that hard to guess. Any time he’s around you always become distracted, not to mention you’re always staring at him.” Dowoon says, a smirk he doesn’t manage to hold back appearing on his lips.

 

“Oh my God…” Brian whispers. He’s never felt his face so hot before.

 

“So, you like him, huh?” Dowoon wiggles his eyebrows. Something inside Brian clicks.

 

“Shut up. Oh God…” Brian attempts to stop Dowoon, but he’s too busy panicking over two things: one, Dowoon knows about his crush; two, this is worse than he thought it to be at first.

 

I am so utterly , completely, amazingly, fantastically fucked…

Chapter Text

“We should come here more often.” Jae smiles, looking around the café shop. The shop looks the same since the last time Jae came here, around a month ago. Even though it’s quite small, its atmosphere is cozy, with simple decorations. Nothing too fancy, but just quite enough to make the café look welcoming. Jae nudges Jieun on the shoulder. “Hey, did you hear me? I said we should come here more often. Your parents put quite a lot of effort into this place. I really like it.” He compliments, knowing how hard Jieun’s parents had worked to open the shop, about seven years prior.

 

“Yeah, I like it here too. It’s never too crowded, but also never too monotone.” Jieun agrees. “I’m glad you came along today, Jae, I really didn’t want to do English homework alone.” Jieun fakes a happy sob, making Jae snort.

 

“Please, you only want to copy mine, admit it!”

 

“Fine, but I let you copy my Korean homework last time, so we’re even.” Jieun counters. Jae ponders over it.

 

“Good point.” He ends up saying. A rather loud couple passes by them and Jae frowns. “Nothing against it, but why are we studying here? Isn’t this place a lit bit loud for studying?” Jae asks. Jieun seems to be startled by the question for a second, before she looks away and smiles.

 

“Well, we hadn’t come here in a while…” Her words get lower and lower until they’re no longer heard. “Also… There’s one thing… I might have not told you yet…” Jae's frown deepens.

 

Why the hell is she getting shy about this? What hasn’t she told me?

“Jieun… What is it? What haven’t you told me?”

 

“Ok, first I need you to calm down. It’s nothing serious, just a minor detail. And I really don’t want this minor detail to stop us, namely you, from coming here.” Jieun rushes to say.

 

“Jieun-“

“Just, let me tell you.” Jieun stops Jae mid sentence, and Jae promptly shuts up.

 

 

  ~Jieun~

Monday – 20:27

 

Jieun speed walks out of the convenience shop without another word. She’s grabbing on Brian’s wrist and pulling him along, but so far, Brian has made no signs of having any issues with that.

Unknowingly, Jieun ends up taking Brian to a children’s playground, near the gas station. Brian hasn’t said a word since they’d gotten out of there.

 

Jieun looks at where she’s holding Brian’s wrist and lets him go, blushing in the process.

 

“S-Sorry about that…” She ends up whispering. Brian chuckles and Jieun looks up at him.

 

“Why are you sorry? You did just save me from getting my ass beaten.” He tells her. Jieun falls into one of the swings behind them and wraps her hands around the chains holding it up.

 

“Yeah, well, I’m not sure I should have done that…”

 

Brian walks slowly and sits down on the swing next to hers.

“Well, but you did. No going back now. It’s not worth thinking about it.” Brian says. “I mean, you did kinda just make me lose my job…” He’s quick to add, and Jieun blushes at the same time as Brian smirks.

 

“Sorry!” Jieun exclaims, holing her hands together in front of her face as an apology. “I just can't stand people mistreating other people, it makes me sick. I couldn’t just stand there and watch that, that… that asshole being rude to you… or anyone.” She explains. Brian chuckles. Was that funny? Why was that funny to him?  “What?”

 

“Nothing…” Brian shakes his head, looking away for a moment. “You reminded me of Jaehyung just now, is all.” He comments. Jieun watches his reaction closely while he mentions Jae.

 

“Yeah, well, Jae’s been rubbing off on me. I’m 97% sure I'm slowly turning into him.” Jieun tells him with a serious face, before they both laugh. “He's an idiot.”

 

“You can tell he really likes you, though.” Brian says, sounding truthful. Jieun shakes her, still smiling, and now mildly blushing.

 

“It’s not like that. We’re just friends. I’m like, the older sister he keeps insisting he doesn’t want.”

 

“Well, he makes a poor job of it. “ Brian adds.

 

“You sure pay a lot of attention to him.” Jieun teases, taking her time to smirk now, when Brian widens his eyes. Brian is quick to recompose himself though.

 

“Well, I guess I’ll have even more time to pay attention, now that I'm jobless.” It’s Jieun’s turn to blush as she looks down at her lap.

 

“I’m really sorry about that. I’m sure you’ll find a better job soon.”

 

“Ahh, I don’t know about that…” Brian dismisses. “There’s a lot of crap I have to pay this month, so unless you know of a good job that pays well, I'm most likely going to go live under a bridge for the next couple of months.” Brian admits, and Jieun isn’t sure if he’s joking or not, but suddenly, an idea pops up in her head, and she can't seem to ignore it.

 

“Well, actually…”

 

  ~Jae~

Present

 

“Woah, woah, wait. What does Brian have to do with this?” Jae cuts Jieun off.

 

“If you’d just let me finish-“ Jae stops Jieun again, realization hitting him across the face like a brick.

“Oh, no. Don’t tell me you-“

“Hello. Welcome to MyDay café. My name is Brian, and I’ll be serving you today.” Jae recognizes the voice the second it comes out of his mouth. He widens his eyes at Jieun.

 

Please, let me die.

 

Jae looks up slowly, but he recognizes the posture, he recognizes the hands. Fuck, he recognizes the smell of him, after sleeping on his bed and wearing his clothes.

 

Brian smirks at him. He’s playing me.

 

“Hi, Jaehyung.” He greets, but it sounds teasing. He turns to Jieun and his smirk becomes an innocent smile. Oh, you asshole. “Hello Jieun. How are you?”

 

Jieun smiles back. Wait, what?

 

“I’m good thanks. What do you think about this place? It’s nice, right?” Jieun questions back.

 

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool. And your parents are really nice. Thanks again for offering the job, I really needed it.” Brian tells her, and suddenly they’re engaging in a cordial conversation full of smiles and short laughs and a confused as fuck Park Jaehyung.

 

Offering the job? Her parents are nice? What the fuck is going on?

 

“Hold up.” Jae cuts them off. “What the heck is going on? You offered him the job?” He asks Jieun. She turns back to Jae and nods.

 

“Well, yes. I mean, it was mostly my fault that Brian lost his job so I couldn’t really do nothing about it, especially when I knew my parents were looking for extra help.” Jieun explains, shrugging afterwards. Jae glares silently at her.

 

Brian clears his throat. “Do you guys know what you want to order?” He questions, holding the black tray under one arm and a pen and a block of notes in his hands.

 

“I’ll have a chocolate milkshake.” Jieun says, still smiling.

 

Jae doesn’t speak. He’s currently too busy glaring his guts at Jieun. How could she? She knows Jae hates Brian, right? Why would she do this to him?

 

Jieun chuckles. “He’ll have a vanilla shake.” She orders for Jae. Brian chuckles while taking down the order, but Jae doesn’t reply to that either. Instead, he waits for Brian to leave before turning to Jieun again.

 

“How could you?!” He whisper screams. “I thought we were friends.” Jae half fakes a whine. Jieun snorts.

 

“Please, Jae. You know we’re friends, but I really couldn’t let it be, okay? I pretty much unemployed the guy, what did you expect me to do?” Jae pouts.

 

“You could’ve left him on the cold street and gone home.” He suggests. Jieun rolls her eyes.

 

“Well, I'm glad I was there instead of you, then.” Jieun lets out with a huff. She raises a brow at Jae. “He talked about you that day, you know?” and that, that catches Jae’s attention, as he widens his eyes slightly.

 

“Did he? What did he say?” Jae asks casually, sounding as uninterested as possible, because really, what does he care about what an asshole thinks of him? The answer is nothing, nada, he doesn’t give a damn. Jieun snorts.

 

“Interested, are we?” She smirks. “We were talking about his abusive boss and I called that man an ‘asshole’ and Brian said it made him think about you.” She says, resting her elbows on the table and holding her head in her hands. “I’m interested, Jae. What didn’t you tell me about that night you spent with Brian Kang?” Jieun pries, and Jae feels his face heat up. He was not expecting that.

 

“W-What?! Nothing happened. What are you implying?” Jae panics. There’s no real reason for him to panic, but he still does. Jieun bursts in laughter.

 

“I knew it.” She states, after calming down. Jae is still red.

 

“Knew what? What are you even saying?” Jae is no longer confused. He is above confused. Jieun is shaking her head.

 

“Nothing. It’s nothing.”

 

“It doesn’t look like nothing. Jieun-“

“Oh, look, Brian’s coming.” Jae’s head spins around so fast, he feels his neck strain, but it’s okay, because Brian is there and he’s wearing all black, except for a white apron on his waist, and his sleeves are pulled up to his elbows, and he’s holding the tray with their drinks so easily, and he’s smiling and he’s coming in Jae’s direction.

 

Holy shit brain, you need to shut the fuck up. Stop analyzing Brian. That was actually ogling-Shut up!

 

“Here’re your drinks!” Brian announces, placing the orders on the table. “One chocolate milkshake, for Miss Kim. And one vanilla milkshake for Mister Park. Enjoy~” The last word comes out of his mouth like he’s teasing Jae, and at this point, Jae isn’t surprised if he is. Brian walks away slowly, painfully so, like he’s on a freaking catwalk and has to walk like that. Jae gulps down, maybe a bit louder than he should.

 

Stop staring, his mind tells him, but his eyes seem to be glued to Brian. He’s helping another customer now, standing behind the counter, and he’s smiling at them. It looks good. Brian smiling looks good.

“-hey. Earth to Jae!”  Jieun shows up on his vision field and Jae jolts backwards against his chair.

 

“Woah, what the hell?”

 

“I should be asking that. You’ve been staring at Brian for two whole minutes now. That’s not healthy, Jae.” Jieun is mocking him. That has to be it.

 

“Shut up.” Nice. Good job, Jae. Great comeback. Jieun snorts.

 

“Okay, I’ll stop.”

 

“Good.”

 

“For now~”

“Jieun!”

Chapter Text

Brian is this close to breaking his pencil. Sure enough, he’s been applying way too much pressure on it for the past half an hour, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to him when it cracks in two uneven pieces.

The noise it produces, however unpleasing, manages to silence the source of his displeasure for a couple of minutes.

Math has never been his favorite subject, given he is a man of letters, but what annoys him about this lesson in particular isn’t what the teacher is saying and writing on the blackboard, but rather the whispering and squealing coming from a group of girls next to him. The girls weren’t squealing for him (thank fuck). Brian glances to his right and sighs.

 

How does Dowoon do it? How can he stand this?

 

His friend is, like usual, asleep on the desk, head resting on his arms as he snores peacefully. Brian snorts when yet another squeal is released by some girl. He can't help but rolling his eyes at them - they’re pathetic.

He looks back to the board. The teacher has just explained something he clearly missed out on, and is currently giving him the stink eye. Well, shit.

 

“Mr. Kang.” The Math teacher calls. Brian feels himself shrink.

 

“Yes, Mr. Yang?” he retorts politely. Mr. Yang is one of the few people he does not want to be on the bad side of. The teacher simply raises his eyebrows, pointing sideways with the book on his hands.

 

“Would you be so kind as to wake your friend up? This is a classroom after all, not a hotel.” Mr. Yang demands. Brian looks over at Dowoon and feels sorry for him.

 

My condolences…

 

He reaches over and pushes Dowoon by the shoulder.

“Yo, Dowoon, you gotta wake up man.” Brian calls quietly.

Dowoon jolts slightly and looks up, eyes squinting at the white light coming from the ceiling lamps.

 

“Hmm?” Dowoon asks, looking at the board. When his eyes meet the teacher’s, he sits back on his chair with a straight back, but his eyes show no fear, surprisingly enough.

 

“Yoon Dowoon. Please come to the front and do exercises 1 and 2 for us. If you’re so relaxed like that, it must mean you already ace this subject, right?” Mr. Yang orders, voice teasing but strict.

Brian hears Dowoon sigh, before the boy calmly stands and lazily makes his way to the board, picking up a piece of white chalk.

For the entire next minute the only sounds heard come from the chalk hitting the board, as Dowoon swiftly does the exercises, barely even stopping to make mental calculations. When he’s finished, he turns to Mr. Yang, who’s currently glaring daggers at him.

 

“Very well, Mr. Yoon, you may sit down, but do stop sleeping during my lessons, or I’ll have to send you to the head master's office.” Mr. Yang let's Dowoon off with a warning, but Dowoon simply smiles and walks back to his chair, next to where Brian is staring wide eyed at him.

 

“Bro, what the hell was that?!” Brian whisper screams. “You were sleeping, right? How on Earth did you get that right?”

Dowoon shrugs, but his ears turn red.

 

“I might be a genius…” He tells Brian with a teasing tone that has Brian holding back a snort.

 

“You might be.” He says back.

 

*

 

The following lesson is Music. Finally, Brian thinks as he enters the room along with Dowoon. Brian watches as Dowoon quietly trots towards the drums and sits down on the stool, picking up the drumsticks and ogling them with shiny eyes. Brian snorts.

 

“You hold them like you haven’t played in ages.” He teases. Dowoon glares at him.

 

“I haven’t! I broke my last pair of drumsticks last week and the new ones haven’t arrived yet, so I can only play here. It’s not fair!” Dowoon whines, before getting immersed by the drums all over again. Brian shakes his head, huffing slightly.

He looks around for a guitar, and makes his way to it when he finds the one he likes. He’s about to pick it up, when a larger, paler hand curls itself around the neck of the guitar and pulls it out of Brian’s reach.

Who the hell wants to fight?! Brian curses mentally, ready to scowl at the person who took his guitar from him, when his eyes land on none other than Park Jaehyung.

 

Jaehyung slowly puts the guitar strap over his shoulder, and begins tuning the guitar, unaware of Brian’s stare fixated on him.

 

“You-“ Brian starts, only to cut himself off when Jaehyung looks at him. Jaehyung smirks. I repeat, he smirks. Brian takes one step back to balance himself at the sight of that.

 

“Oh, I'm sorry. Did you want this guitar? Too bad I took it first, huh?” Jaehyung teases, looking smug. He glances around the room as if searching for something. “It looks like all the other guitars have been taken too, but there’s a bass there. Surely you don’t mind, do you, Brian?” The way Jaehyung’s eyes shine with his teasing leaves Brian speechless.

What is this? Payback for Saturday? I work there, you’re the one who went sitting down on one of my tables!

 

“G’morning children!” the Music teacher, Miss Lee, greets them as she makes her way to her messy desk. Brian wakes up to reality once again, quickly going to grab the bass and placing its strap around his shoulder. Thankfully, it looks to be tuned already, safe for a couple small adjustments he makes on G and D strings.

 

“I’m sure you’re all familiar with the inter school’s song contest, am I right?” she asks, and everyone nods. Well, everyone except for Park Jaehyung.

 

“I‘m not.” he says, in a confused tone. Brian smiles to himself.

 

“Ahh, Park Jaehyungssi, I forgot you’ve only been here for a few months! You’ve never witnessed the inter school’s contest!” she exclaims, as if not seeing the contest was something so terrible. “Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in later, but as I was saying, the contest will be different this year.” Collective ‘what’ and ‘why’s can be heard from the entire classroom before Miss Lee signals to a girl and she hits a gong, making everyone all but shut up at the loud sound it causes. “As I was saying, please let me finish, this year our school is planning to do something a little different. Every year many students leave this school with many musical and performing abilities, but with no team spirit. This year, the head master has proposed a different strategy. We’ll be forming groups, bands if you will, and you must compose, produce and write the lyrics of at least one song to take to the contest, as a group.” Everyone groans. “I know this might seem burdensome now, but trust me, by the end of the year, you’ll be working together with much more easiness, and you’ll be more prepared to face and solve disagreements amongst each other.”

Brian ponders over it. Sure, being in a band shouldn’t be too bad. As for himself, he always thought about going solo, mainly because he’s not particularly fond of people, and secondly because, who the hell would want him in their band?

 

“Okay, since I've now made this clear, we’ll be forming the groups during this lesson, and you’ll start working immediately. Form groups of four to six people. The first group evaluation will be at the end of this term, which is in… three? Four weeks. All I ask for are: group roles, who’s in charge of which instrument, of producing, composing and song writing. You’ll also have to play a song, it can be a cover or your own song, but make sure to let me know by then. Now I’ll give you some time to choose your band mates. Good luck!”

 

Brian makes his way to Dowoon instantly. However, the boy is already with someone else. Brian would’ve recognized the blond hair anywhere.

“Huh, Dowoon-?”

“Ah! This is him!” Dowoon cuts him off, gesturing between Brian and Jaehyung. “Younghyun, this is Park Jaehyung. He plays the guitar and he can sing. What do you say? I think you two know each other already, isn’t that right?” Brian wishes the Math teacher would’ve killed Dowoon.

Jaehyung looks confused as he stares between Dowoon and Brian’s telepathic conversation. He finally sighs and moves to leave.

 

“You know what, if you don’t want me here, then I’ll just-“

“Wait.” Brian grabs on Jaehyung’s wrist and turns him back around to face him. “No one said that.”

 

“Your eyes said that.” Jaehyung notes coldly. Brian raises a brow as a smirk grows on his lips.

 

“Did they? Were you that focused on my eyes-“

“For fuck’s sake-“ Jaehyung pulls his wrist from Brian’s grasp and attempts to leave a second time.

“Okay, okay I'm sorry, don’t leave.” Brian apologizes, grabbing Jaehyung’s wrist again. Jaehyung glares at Brian, but stays put. Dowoon chooses this moment to make his escapade.

 

“On one condition.” Jaehyung raises his index finger.

 

“Let’s hear it.”

 

“I’ll play the guitar.” Brian frowns. “It’s that or nothing.”

 

“I mean, okay sure. Can you even play other instruments?”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“I’m just saying-“

“Shut up!” Brian does quiet down after that, but the smirk doesn’t leave him as Jaehyung's face and neck reddens.

 

“Hey, Younghyun, Jaehyung!” Dowoon reappears from wherever he’d escaped to, which has them turning around to face him. Behind Dowoon are two other boys, their faces familiar to Brian. “I’ve asked them if they’d like to join our group, I hope that’s okay.”

 

“I wasn’t aware you were such a social butterfly, Dowoonie.” Brian jokes, earning himself a slap on the shoulder from the drummer.

 

“Shut up.” Dowoon pouts, which has both Brian and Jaehyung chuckling.

 

“I’m joking. So, who are these people?” Brian looks past Dowoon at the two other boys, a rather stiff looking one and a rather small and confused, yet cute, one.

 

“Park Sungjin.” The stiff looking one introduces himself, reaching out a hand that Brian is quick to shake.

 

“Brian. I play the bass. I can also sing a bit, and compose a bit, and produce a bit-“

“Okay, we get it, you’re Mr. Incredible.” Jaehyung cuts him off from behind him, shimming between Brian and Dowoon to shake Sungjin’s hand as well. “I’m Park Jaehyung. I sing and play the guitar. Nice to meet you.”

 

“And you are?” Brian asks the small looking boy, who smiles widely, his whole denture showing. Brian and Jaehyung are momentarily blinded by his white teeth.

 

“My name is Kim Wonpil. I play the keys and I sing too! Nice to meet you!” Brian’s eyes almost pop out of his head when Wonpil proceeds to bow ninety degrees. Brian grabs Wonpil’s shoulders and pulls him back up.

 

“There’s no need for that. Nice to meet you, Wonpil. You too, Sungjin.” Brian smiles at his new acquaintances. “Hrrm, Sungjin, do you play an instrument?”

 

“Yes, I play the guitar.” Sungjin answers. He then turns to Jaehyung, who’s already looking at him. “I understand you also play the guitar. If you want, you can keep the lead guitar and I’ll just sing, or we could both-“ Jaehyung stops Sungjin by raising a hand.

 

“Bro, you are definitely gonna play the guitar. I’ve heard you play once. It was enough. You play it well. We could also use the two guitars for better arrangements.” Jaehyung points out, and Brian doesn’t feel the slightest bit hurt by it. Really, he doesn’t. At all.

 

“Thanks, man.” Sungjin smiles for the first time since they’ve met.

 

“So, this is our group, huh?” Dowoon cuts in, hands – which are still holding the drumsticks - on his hips.

 

“I guess it is.” Brian answers, taking a moment to look over the four boys. I hope this works.

 

“We should probably meet up someday after school.” Sungjin speaks up, making everyone face him. He instantly looks down. “I mean, I don’t wanna sound too much into it but-“

“No, you’re right.” Dowoon interrupts. “This assignment is a big deal. We should focus on it the most. Meeting up is a good idea.” The drummer agrees.

 

“So when and where should we do this?” Wonpil questions. “I’ve got piano lessons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so tomorrow I’m not really available. And Sungjin hyung has-“

“Guitar and singing lessons on Tuesdays and Fridays so that rules Friday out for me.” Sungjin completes. “What about on Thursday?”

 

“That’s good for me.” Jaehyung answers.

 

“Me too, I’m free.” Dowoon nods his heads. Everyone turns to Brian, and he feels himself shrink a tad under the four pairs of eyes fixed on him.

 

“I’ve got work on Thursdays…” the four boys groan. “But! If we meet up at the café I work at, we can definitely manage!” Brian attempts. “My shift is from two to four then from six to eight, so I can definitely work from four to six and I’ll still be around the rest of the time. It’s not perfect, but it can work. What do you say?” Brian asks, hopeful. The boys look between each other, before Sungjin turns to Brian.

 

“Sure,” Sungjin smiles shortly “let’s do it.”

 

*

~Jae~ 

When Jae opens the door to the café, he’s met with the sight of Brian, smiling at a random costumer.

Actually, he’d seen him before walking into in. It’s not like he’d been searching for him, his eyes simply landed on Brian the moment he was on his field of vision.

Just like last time, Brian is wearing an apron around his waist. His black jeans have big enough back pockets that he manages to fit there the small notebook where he takes people’s orders, and today, the shirt he’s wearing, however baggy, has a wide cleavage, almost revealing his collarbones.

Jae almost walks straight into the glass door, too fazed by the waiter’s appearance, but is quick to regain his posture as he speed walks to a corner of the café and sits down in an empty table for six people.

 

It’s still three thirty and he doesn’t have a lot to do, so, before he let’s himself raise his stare to Brian again, he takes out his music notebook from his schoolbag and tries to immerse himself into finishing the guitar solo that’d been on his mind for a few days now. It’s the final piece for the song he’d been working on for so long, and it’s killing him that he can’t find the best chord arrangement, or the best way to strum the guitar, or how his voice should sound.

He’s so focused on completing the instrumental solo, that he never notices when someone takes the seat in front of him and watches him intently.

 

“You should make that a minor.”

Jae almost screams. His eyes, however small, grow wide as panic bubbles in his chest.

 

“What the hell! You scared the shit outta me, dude.” Jae protests, and he refuses to acknowledge the smirk on Brian’s lips.

 

“Sorry.” It has no apology tone to it though.

 

“What were you saying, anyway?” Jae tries to change the subject. Brian leans forward, elbows on the table and head resting on his hands as he looks at Jae’s notebook. “I was saying you should change this chord,” he points to a B letter on Jae’s notebook “to a B minor. I think it would sound cleaner.”

 

“But it’d be a contrast to the entire song.” Jae points, furrowing his brows. What does he even know? He’s never seen or heard the whole song.

 

“Maybe so.” Brian shrugs. “Still, I think you should give it a try.” Brian takes out his notebook and quickly writes something on it. He rips the piece of paper off the notebook and slides it across the table. “Try this.”

 

Jae holds up the paper and glances at it with annoyed eyes. It doesn’t seem bad at all.

 

“Oh, and,” Jae looks up at Brian again “Can I get you anything?” he asks. Jae’s confused for two seconds, before he remembers that Brian works at the café.

 

“Iced coffee.” He simply says.

 

“No vanilla shake this time?” Brian questions teasingly. Jae wishes he could stop himself from blushing.

 

“Shut up, asshole.” He curses, before subtly hiding himself behind his notebook.

 

 

 

“One iced coffee.” Jae flinches again when Brian comes back with his drink. This guy is stealthy as fuck. “Am I that scary? Jeez, no need to flinch.”

 

“Sorry, I didn’t see you coming.” Jae says without paying a lot of attention. Since Brian had left, he’d been analyzing the changes the bass player had made to his guitar solo. Jae felt the urge to show him the whole song and ask him for advice, but of course, he’d never do that. No way in Hell.

 

“So did you finish the song?” Brian asks, siting down next to Jae. In his despair, Jae doesn’t even process their proximity and simply shrugs.

 

“Not really.” He adds to his vague answer.

 

“Hmm.” Brian says back, probably having run out of conversation. Jae holds his notebook in one hand and Brian’s note in the other.

 

“I just- if I did change this part, how on earth would it fit in here?”

Before he can stop him, Brian takes the notebook from his hands.

“Hey, give it back.”

 

“I can’t help you if I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Brian tells him, and sure enough, he’s got a point.

 

“Fine.” Jae pouts, and hears Brian chuckling. Jae keeps his head down, eyes fixed on his hands, as he waits for Brian to see through the rest of the song. Thankfully, he’s only got the melody there, otherwise Jae would have evaporated by now.

 

“Hmm.” Brian makes a noise like he’s done reading and Jae feels nervous. Why is he nervous? Why does Brian’s opinion even matter? “I like it.”

 

“What?” Jae finds himself asking instantly. He’d been prepared to hear something along the lines of ‘It sucks’, ‘What is this crap’ or something. Not a compliment.

 

“I said it’s good. I like it. This part here where you change the chords from minor to major is really smooth. It’s probably the chorus, right?” Jae looks up to where Brian is pointing, then to his face. Brian’s eyes are shining like he’s looking at something he really likes. He must really love music.

 

“Yeah, but how-”

“It’s nice. I have an idea how it sounds. Also, in the intro maybe you could-“ Jae can’t help but listen to everything Brian says with maximum attention. Brian seems really passionate about everything music related. Every word he says makes sense to Jae, every single tip or correction he points out is valid and Jae does find that Brian’s right about more than one thing. “So, at the guitar solo in the end, maybe instead of the B minor, you could keep it as a regular B and instead change it here to a D minor? It’d add to the feeling of the song. Though there’re no lyrics here, I can tell it’s an emotional song, so maybe that would make it a bit… I don’t know… nostalgic? Do you get what I mean? Jaehyung?”

 

“Hmm? Oh yeah, totally.” Jae agrees, without really knowing what he’s agreeing to. Truth is, after a while, Jae began to lose himself in Brian’s face, his smile, his eyes which radiated with love for music.

Brian chuckles and hands Jae his notebook back. “Sorry I took it from you.”

 

“No, it’s okay… Thanks.” Jae finds himself saying. When he looks at Brian, the boy is smiling at him, and there’s something in his eyes, a feeling, which Jae can’t decipher. “…-“

“Younghyun, Jaehyung, you guys arrived early.” Dowoon cuts Jae off before he can even start speaking. “I mean I guess Younghyun works here, but you’re early Jaehyung.”

 

“Oh, yeah… I just figured I didn’t have anything to do either way… so…” Jae ends up explaining.

 

“Yeah, sure, it’s just… since you always… at school, you know? Argh, how to say it?” Dowoon begins talking to himself and Jae turns to Brian, only to find the bass player with a similar confused expression.

 

“Don’t mind him, he does that sometimes. Just ignore it and play it cool.” Brian tells him quietly. Jae nods. Brian turns back to Dowoon. “My shift ends in five minutes so do you want anything to drink or eat, Dowoon?”

 

“Do you have strawberry shakes?” Dowoon asks. Brian smiles.

 

“Sure.” He nods. Dowoon’s eyes grow wide as a smile plasters itself across his face. Jae can’t help but smile a bit at his adorableness. “Sit down and I’ll bring it a second.”

Dowoon does as he’s told and Jae takes the chance to hide his notebook back in his bag, and instead take out a clean one.

 

“So Jaehyung,” Dowoon starts, placing his own notebook on the table. Jae looks up in time to see Dowoon place his elbows on the table, cross his fingers and rest his chin on his hands. “I heard you have a Youtube channel.” Jae’s eyes widen.

How? Who told him?! Who told you?!

 

“Hum… yeah- b-but like, it’s old…”

 

“I saw a couple of your videos.” Please, let me die now. “I really liked them. I think you have a lot of talent.”

 

“What?” What’s up with the compliment shower today?

 

“For real. Your voice is really melodic and you play the guitar very well too. I was impressed.”

 

“Thanks…?” Jae raises an eyebrow, not really sure how to react. “Can I ask you a favor, though?” Dowoon sends him a confused look but nods. “Could you please not tell anyone about it? That channel was something stupid I did because I lost a bet. I don’t know why I haven’t deleted it, but please don’t tell anyone.” Jae begs.

 

“Don’t tell anyone what?” Jae almost screams for the third time today as Brian shows up unannounced yet again.

 

“Nothing.” Dowoon is quick – quicker than Jae at least – to answer. “Jaehyung was just saying he has a place for us to practice but he doesn’t know if it’ll be available yet, so I shouldn’t tell anyone yet.” The drummer makes up, and Jae is both relieved and stressed about it. Brian raises a brow and glances at Jae.

 

“You have somewhere for us to practice?” he asks. Great. How am I supposed to get out of this now?

 

“Hum, I-“

“You know what.” Dowoon interrupts. “I just had an idea. Why don’t we practice at my place? I’ve got the space. Also, my drumsticks arrive tomorrow from what Mr. Min told me so it could work.” He suggests.

 

“Drumsticks?” Jae intervenes, smartly.

 

“What about drumsticks?” A familiar, warm but strict voice, speaks from behind Dowoon. Jae looks up to face Sungjin and, by his side, Wonpil.

 

“Hi guys.” Brian greets them with a smile. “Shall we get to work?” He looks between everyone, before his eyes fall on Jae.

 

“Let’s get it.”

Chapter Text

“Jae…” Jae rolls over on the bed. He’s not ready to wake up yet. “Jae, you gotta take that shirt off.” The voice tells him, still all warm and sweet.

 

“Ngrrn, let me sleep…” Jae groans against his pillow, shooing the person with his left arm. They catch him, though, and their grip on Jae’s wrist is strong enough to make Jae unbury his face from his pillow and glance at them.

 

“You’re in my bed, Jae, and I don’t want it dirty.”

~~

Jae’s eyes shoot open as he wakes up, panting and sweating. He looks at his bed, checking that he is indeed in his own bed, alone, then around at his bedroom, which is also empty. A relieved sigh escapes him as he rakes a hand through the mess that is his hair. Jae thinks back to his drea-nightmare. His nightmare. And ponders the thought that maybe he needs to see a shrink.

“What the Hell… Shit.”

 

*

 

“Jae… Jae!” Jieun screams, finally getting Jae’s attention. He looks at her, clueless.

 

“What?” he asks.

 

“Did you hear a single word I just said?” she wonders, though her tone shows she already knows the answer. Jae sighs.

 

“Sorry. Could you tell me again?” Jae attempts at making puppy eyes, which only get him an annoyed eye roll.

 

“It was nothing that important. I was just saying that this year’s interschools’ contest is going to be different for the performative arts department.” She informs. Jae raises his eyebrows.

 

“Really? Funny, it’s also going to be different for the music department. Though it’s not like it makes a difference for me, since this is my first and only year in this school…” Jae says.

 

“Yeah, I heard about it.” Jae sends her a confused look.

 

“You heard about it? Who told you?” He questions. Jieun crosses her arms on her chest.

 

“Well, excuse you, I have other friends, you know?” She tells him. Jae snorts.

 

“It was Brian, wasn’t it?” he takes a guess.

 

“Yeah.” She pouts. Jae chuckles. Then, he recalls how he woke up this morning and the smile drops from his face. “You okay?” Jieun asks. Jae snaps out of his thoughts and looks back at her.

 

“Hm? Yeah, I’m good.” He answers, absent minded.

 

 

*

~Brian~

 

“Hi Dowoonie!” Brian greets his friend, before frowning at how quickly Dowoon locks his phone and puts it away, practically yeeting his earphones at the back of the room. “Hmm, is everything ok?”

 

“Hm? Oh, yes, everything is fine, nothing to worry about.” Dowoon shakes his head, very unsubtly.

 

“Right. So, what were you watching on the phone then?” Brian tries his luck, though he knows Dowoon won’t tell him. The drummer, indeed, blushes, and looks down.

 

“Nothing.” Brian smirks at his response.

 

“Dowoon-ah. Were you perhaps watching p-“

“No! Younghyun! Ew, of course not!” Brian cackles at the way Dowoon’s face turns red.

 

“You’re really cute when you’re like that, you know?” Brian tells him, a fond smile finding its way onto his lips. Dowoon eyes him suspiciously, but upon seeing all hints of teasing gone, he smiles back.

 

“Thanks, Younghyun.”

 

“So will you tell me what you were watching now?”

 

“No.” Brian pouts.

 

*

~Wonpil~

 

Wonpil is focused on his work. He tells himself he is, at least. They’re in class, he’s supposed to be working on his assignment, he’s supposed to be focused. So why does his mind keep wandering off?

Wonpil sighs quietly, closing his eyes momentarily and trying to keep Sungjin’s face out of his mind. Really, what has he done so wrong that fate has made him fall for someone he can never have? It’s not fair.

Absent minded as he is, he never notices the curious gaze being held upon him, from the back of the class.

 

 

“Hey, Pil.” Sungjin’s voice brings Wonpil back to reality. He nods to let Sungjin know he’s listening. “I just wanted to tell you I can’t go home with you today. I’m staying late for an extra singing lesson.” He informs.

 

“Oh, that’s alright, hyung. I can wait for you.” I have been waiting. Hopelessly.

 

“Ahh, no, don’t.” Sungjin is, as always, oblivious to it, but his words hurt Wonpil more than they should. “You’ll get bored. I’m sure you’ll find something more productive to do. Maybe some of the people in our group walk home too?” Sungjin tries. Wonpil offers a small smile.

 

“Don’t worry, hyung. I’ll manage.” He assures him. “What do you think of them?”

 

“Hmm? Who? The group?”

 

“Yes. Jaehyung, Brian and Dowoon.” Wonpil nods.

 

“I don’t know. I mean, they seem nice, if a bit weird, especially Dowoon, but I mean, aren’t we all weird?” Wonpil smiles at that. A real smile.

 

“Yeah, I liked them too. I think they’re very nice, and, from what I’ve heard about them, very talented.” He agrees.

 

*

 

Wonpil sighs as he puts his bag around his shoulder. He’s been sighing a lot lately. The classroom is empty already, so he turns off the light when he leaves, walking slowly through the highschool halls.

Maybe walking home alone today will be good for him. He can think about stuff. Life. School. Sungjin. And maybe walking home alone won’t be all that good after all. Unwillingly, his mind starts doing it again, picturing Sungjin, the times he and Wonpil spent together, the moment Wonpil just knew he was in trouble… Wonpil wishes he could stop it, he just wants it to-

“Hey.” Wonpil hears someone call, but doesn’t look up from the sidewalk floor by the school’s entrance. “Wonpil-ah! Wait.” At the mention of his name, Wonpil does look in the voice’s direction, and is met with Yoon Dowoon waddling his way to him.

 

The more Wonpil looks at him, the more he gets why Dowoon is so popular. He’s got it all – the looks, the money, the skills. Sometimes, Wonpil wishes he’d have a quarter of the attention Dowoon gets.

 

“Hi.” Dowoon speaks again when he finally reaches Wonpil’s side.

 

“Hello.” Wonpil answers, nodding once and sparing the boy a smile. It’s not Dowoon’s fault that Wonpil’s feeling down after all.

 

“Are you walking home?” the drummer asks, eyes wide open. Wonpil encounters some difficulties looking away and almost crashes against a trash can.

 

“Hm? Yeah… You?” he ends up saying. Dowoon smiles.

 

“Me too. Can I join you?” he questions, bumping their shoulders lightly. Wonpil pays no mind to it. It’s cute.

 

“Hmm, sure. But I’m pretty sure we’re going different ways.” He points out. Dowoon pouts.

 

“Ahh, that might be true. Then, let’s walk together until we have to split up.” He suggests, making Wonpil smile at his persistency.

 

“Okay.”

 

Wonpil ends up finding that Dowoon lives alone in a house his parents had bought for him. When he asks about it, Dowoon only gives him a half smile and looks away, and that’s enough for Wonpil to understand it’s a sensitive topic and change the subject. The pianist also finds that Dowoon’s been playing the drums for a long time and that he hopes to make a life out of it. Wonpil can’t help but smile all the while Dowoon talks. He simply does it so much passion and expression Wonpil doesn’t even notice when they get to the place where they’ll most likely have to split up.

 

“Where do you go from here?” Dowoon asks. Wonpil looks around.

 

“That way.” He points to his right with his thumb. “I’m guessing you’re going the other way?”

 

“Well, the house is the other way. But I actually planned to go to this music store I know. Mr. Min said my drumsticks arrived already, so I’ve been wanting to go get them.” He explains. Wonpil widens his eyes in surprise.

 

“Wait, Mr. Min?” He repeats. “I think I know which store you’re talking about.” He smiles.

 

“Oh really?” Dowoon tilts his head slightly, and Wonpil smiles a bit harder. How can Dowoon be so cute?

 

 

“Oh, Dowoonie! I see you’ve brought a frien- Wonpilie! I didn’t know you two boys knew each other!” Mr. Min exclaims as he recognizes the both of them. Wonpil and Dowoon share a look and laugh shortly.

 

“We’ve just met a few days ago actually.” Dowoon says, “We’re…” acquaintances? Band mates? What?  “…friends. We’re friends.”

 

“Ahh, I see. I’m glad you two got to meet! You both have such talent!” Mr. Min chippers. “You must be here for your drumsticks, right Dowoonie?” at that, Dowoon’s gaze leaves Wonpil’s, to settle on the rectangular shaped box Mr. Min is holding in his left hand. “They’ve just arrived yesterday.” The old man comments as Dowoon tries not to sprint his way.

 

“Woah.” He says as he picks the small box up. “How many did you say are in here?”

 

“There’re four pairs. Eight in total. Please make them last a little longer this time.” Mr. Min tells him, and Wonpil chuckles quietly as he and Dowoon bicker like father and son.

A buzz on Wonpil’s pocket makes him stop smiling. He checks his phone.

Crap, it’s almost seven already.

Wonpil looks up in time to see Dowoon walking his way, drumsticks already paid.

 

“Everything okay?” he asks with an honest concerned look on his face. Wonpil offers him a smile.

 

“Yeah, it’s just almost seven, and I have to be home by then.” He answers as the door to the music shop closes behind them.

 

“Oh, alright.” Dowoon nods, but keeps walking by his side.

 

“Aren’t you going home?” Wonpil asks, confused that the other boy is still on the wrong direction to his own house.

 

“Well, I thought I’d walk you.” He says casually. Then, his face lightens as he probably realizes what he’s just said. “I mean, if you don’t want me to, that’s fine, I-I-” Wonpil cuts him off with a chuckle.

 

“Thank you Dowoonie. I’d be happy to have you walk me home.” He smiles, using the nickname Mr. Min had given him in the store. Dowoon pouts. He’s cute.

 

“Don’t call me that!” He protests, but the way he blushes makes Wonpil want to call him that even more. He smiles widely at the drummer, eyes disappearing and missing the look on Dowoon’s face as he does so.

 

“Alright Dowoonie~

Chapter Text

 ~Jae~

 

Jae wakes up surprisingly early for a Saturday morning. He’s not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the fact he’s meeting up with four people to try and play music together for the first time. He must be nervous.

 

His mom greets him when he comes down from his bedroom for breakfast.

“Good morning sweetheart.” She says in English. She’s been getting better at it. When they lived in the States, Jae and her would only speak in Korean, which is why now Jae can manage living here, but ever since they moved his mom has been doing her best to try and learn to speak English too. Jae gives her a kiss on the forehead before taking a few (by which he means six) pancakes to his plate.

 

“Morning mom.” He answers shortly, before beginning to ponder which topping he feels like eating today. Chocolate, Maple, or Strawberry syrup? 

 

“Are you going somewhere today?” his mom asks, looking at him upside down. Jae stops his fork midair, making a bit of chocolate syrup he'd chosen drip from the piece of pancake to the plate. Jae puts his fork down.

 

“Hmm, yeah. How did you know?”

 

“You don’t usually get dressed until four in the afternoon on Saturdays, so I thought you might.” His mom smirks, making him blush.

 

“Well, it’s for a school project.” He tells her. She winks at him.

 

“Of course it is~”

 

“It actually is!” He screams in frustration, already knowing she probably thinks Jae's going on a date. Why must his mother always try to pair him up with someone? Why mom, why?

 

*

 

“Is this the right house?” Jae asks himself, expecting one of his two braincells to answer the other.

 

“Oh, Jaehyungssi!” He turns around from the door and sees Sungjin and Wonpil walking his way.

 

“Hi guys.” He greets them with a smile.

 

“Hi!” Wonpil smiles back, and Jae swears his teeth reflect the  sunlight and blind him for a second. “Dowoonie sure has a nice place.” Wonpil compliments, making both Sungjin and Jae raise an eyebrow and the nickname. None of them comment on it though.

Jae finally rings the bell, and soon enough the door opens, revealing… Brian?

 

“Oh. Hey. Jaehyung.” Brian says smartly. Jae blinks.

 

“Hi.” He says back.

Brian finally seems to notice the other two boys and moves to the side to let them all in.

 

“Well, come on in, guys. Dowoon and I were already talking about the project.” He informs as Jae makes his way in.

 

“Dowoon’s place is nice.” Jae comments, looking around. Brian snorts behind him and Jae turns to him, glaring. “What?”

 

“Nothing. I just remembered the last time you were here.”

 

“What happened?” Wonpil asks with a curious smile.

 

“Jae-“

“Nothing! Nothing happened.” Jae cuts Brian off before he bursts with embarrassment. “Where’s Dowoon anyways?” he wonders loudly, smoothly changing the subject.

 

 

Turns out Dowoon has a big enough garage to fit his drum set and the rest of the instruments. As they set their stuff, Dowoon whips out a stand for Wonpil’s keyboard and two more stands for guitars or basses.

 

“Damn. What a dream.” Jae says as he sees it all. Dowoon smiles shortly, before it disappears and he goes back to sitting on the drums’ stool. Did I say something wrong?

 

“So Dowoon and I were talking about what kind of song we should play.” Brian starts, making the four boys looks his way.

 

“Yeah,” Dowoon agrees. “We were thinking that maybe we should try a cover first, something that we only have to play and not make from scratch, so that we could tune in with each other, and then maybe we could try something new?”

 

“What do you guys think?” Brian asks. It seems good to Jae, he’d thought about it too, and it makes sense they do it this way.

 

“Seems fine by me.” He answers.

 

“Me too.” Sungjin agrees, and Wonpil nods behind him.

 

“Okay, great. So… Which song are thinking?” Brian asks. “Any suggestions?”

 

Jae thinks about it. It should be something easy, something everyone knows or as a basic idea about. He knows a song.

 

“Do you guys know One Republic?” he asks. The four of them look at him and he suddenly wishes he hadn’t spoken.

 

“A few songs yes.” Sungjin answers.

 

“Well, I mean, if you want to, I have this small arrangement somewhere on my phone of ‘Stop and Stare’ by them. I don’t know if you guys know that one.” He suggests.

 

“It’s a good song.” Brian nods.

 

“Yeah, I like it!” Wonpil agrees.

 

“I’m pretty sure I can manage just fine.” Dowoon says with a smug smile, and Jae thinks he’s probably seen his cover of that song. Why didn’t I delete that Youtube channel?

 

It takes them twenty minutes to get the arrangements for each instrument and divide the lyrics by four – since Dowoon said he didn’t want to sing.

As soon as Sungjin starts playing, it’s like the whole atmosphere changes. Jae looks around and he can almost feel it. The nervousness of everyone for this to go right. It might be just a project, but it’ll also tell whether they can work as a group or not. This has to go well.

 

Brian’s verse starts and Jae is left open mouthed. He’d never heard him sing. Not like that. Not with that tone, and rhythm and that face. He’s not the only one surprised, as both Sungjin and Wonpil seem just as speechless.

Then Wonpil’s verse cuts in and Jae is almost sure his jaw will end up on the floor before the first chorus. Just like he had expected, Wonpil’s voice is higher, but so melodic it sounds almost celestial.

When it’s time for the chorus, Sungjin starts singing as Jae adds his guitar and Dowoon synchs the drums with the other instruments. Jae is once again rendered speechless, at Sungjin’s voice. He had not expected that. His voice sounds raspy and lower than the rest, but so good. It fits so well with the rest of them. The first part of the chorus ends and Jae starts singing, while Sungjin is still harmonizing along. They fit! Their voices fit, they don’t sound weird.

Jae, as he usually does, shuts his eyes while singing, trying his best to express his feelings through his voice, so he misses the looks he gets from the four members, who stare at him with surprise.

 

The rest of the song goes by smoothly, with no more surprises - that is, until the last verse, destined to Brian, comes up, and the bassist decides to do an adlib.

The four of don’t stop playing at that, but they all look at him as Brian aces the high note and manages to alter the tempo of the song without making it sound bad.

The song ends with one last stride from Sungjin’s guitar, and sure enough they’re all speechless.

 

“That was… really good.” Sungjin finally says, smiling, making them all release the breaths they’d subconsciously been holding.

 

“Oh my god Brian, where did that high note come from?” Wonpil asks “It was amazing!” he compliments. Brian scratches the back of his head.

 

“Thanks. I don’t know what came into me, I just felt like doing that.” He shrugs, but Jae can see a bit of color on his neck.

 

“I think we all did great.” Dowoon speaks up. The four boys look his way, and the drummer is quick to turn red. “I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s not everyone that can do that at a first try!” He points out and though no one speaks, all of them know Dowoon’s right.

 

They end up playing the song a few more times, pausing regularly to make a few adjustments and improvements. Without them noticing, midday comes and goes, and when Jae finally takes a look at the time on the top of his phone's screen, he curses.

 

“Shit! It’s almost 1pm.”

As if on cue, a loud grumble comes from Brian’s stomach, making the bassist clutch his belly. The rest chuckle as Brian visually blushes.

 

“If you’re hungry, I can order takeout for the five of us.” Dowoon offers. Jae’s hungry. He’s practically starving.

 

“I vote pizza.” Jae says instantly. Brian nods along.

 

“I’m game.” Wonpil agrees.

 

“What about you, Sungjin?” Dowoon asks, noticing the vocalist fiddling with his fingers.

 

“Well, I don’t really fancy pizza…” Sungjin admits.

 

“What? Dude, how?” Jae gasps. How can someone not love one of the greatest cuisines ever invented by our species

 

“I don’t know. Pizza’s just… cheesy?” Sungjin shrugs. Jae closes his mouth when he realizes he’s been hanging it open for a while.

 

“This is like, a huge obstacle in our friendship. I’m not sure we can make it guys…” Jae stresses, though he’s purely joking.

 

“I think you’re right.” Brian adds. One look his way let’s Jae know he’s also messing around. “I just don’t see how we can make this work in these conditions…” Sungjin visibly panics, hands gesturing vigorously.

 

“B-But guys, wait! We can order pizza! I’ll eat it too! I swear! Please ignore what I said, I was joking, that’s it, joking!-“ Sungjin is cut off by Jae’s and Brian’s laughter, both boys bending slightly as they finally let Sungjin off. Wonpil and Dowoon are quick to follow them in laughing, leaving Sungjin alone and confused.

 

“We were just messing with you, man.” Jae clarifies. “Food won’t split us up.” He guarantees. “Though now I’m set on making you like pizza. Wait for me, Sungjinssi, I’ll make you a pizza lover!” It’s a promise.

 

 

 

Four medium size pizzas and one takeout of noodles. Dowoon insists they eat in the living room, even though Jae’s scared he’ll just make a mess out of it (again). Thankfully, he’s sobered this time, which by no means makes him less clumsy.

 

By half past three they’re full and sleepy, squeezed together on one of the couches as Brian channel surfs.

 

“Pick one.” Dowoon tells him. Brian picks a stupid variety show which shouldn’t make them laugh as much as it does.

 

Jae eventually slides down to the floor and ends up resting his back on the couch, his head lolling to the sides from time to time.

Since they’re apparently making themselves comfortable, Wonpil puts his legs on top of the others’ laps, making a small sound of contentment when they let him stay like that.

It’s strange how quick they seem to be getting along. Not that Jae’s complaining! He’s just never made friends this easily.

Jieun is an exception. He knows her because they’re neighbors and their parents were already friends. Deep down, Jae knows his mom still wishes he’d date Jieun, though the simple thought of it makes Jae wanna be sick. Jieun deserves so much better. And besides… it’s not like Jae’s str-

“So I was thinking…” Brian speaks up, cutting off Jae’s mental rant. Brian soon becomes the center of attention of the four members. “For the first evaluation, maybe we could go with a cover.” He suggests. Jae has something to say, but it looks like the bassist isn’t done. “I know that going with “just a cover” might seem like we’re being careless, but hear me out. There’s this song I know. I’ve listened to it a few times before and I have this sketch of a cover. Like, a makeover of the song. I changed the lyrics and rearranged the melody. It’s not an original song, but it’s a start? And you could all give your input as well, so that’d it’d be more “ours”.” He finishes. Jae notices how wide Brian’s eyes are as he waits for an answer.

 

“I… kind of like that idea.” Jae says, scratching the back of his neck. “I’m not the best composer myself, but if I could have a look at it, I’d be sure to give any ideas I might have. I also think it’d be a bit tight to make a whole song, given we have like, what, two and a half weeks? If we’re gonna show something well done, I’d go with that too.”

 

“I agree with both of you.” Sungjin adds, as Wonpil and Dowoon nod along.

 

“So, what’s this song you were talking about?” Dowoon asks.

 

“It’s called 'Well done again my friend', by Okdal.”

Chapter Text

~Brian~

Brian groans, turning over and lazily reaching an arm out for his phone. After a good minute of feeling and probing around on his nightstand, he finally manages to pick his phone up. He squints his eyes as an attempt to not be blinded by the screen - which for some ungodly reason is on full brightness - , and takes a glance at the time: six thirty in the morning. He sighs deeply.

Knowing he’s not going to be able to sleep again, he chooses to do something productive and gets up, making his way to the bathroom slowly. Washing up is always the hardest part, since he’s not fully awake but also not fully asleep, so he keeps tripping on dirty clothes scattered on the bathroom floor since yesterday.

 

He takes it as a personal victory when he manages to get himself ready, and the small apartment satisfactory clean, in less than an hour.

He eats breakfast in the company of his phone and notebook, going through the month’s income, expenses, bills and taxes. Life sucks when you have to pay taxes. Just finishing his calculations of how much he needs to pay this month gives him a headache.

Great, I’ve got 170 442₩ left after paying this month’s bills.

For one thing, he’s glad he can manage his own money, it gives him a certain sense of independency and autonomy, even if it also brings back memories from when his parents pretty much sent him away alone, only giving him the kind monthly payment of 280 320₩, which is about enough for a couple of runs to the supermarket and a few meals. However, since he’s been working at Jieun’s parents’ café, he’s gotta admit he’s been living substantially better. His salary’s increased in around 112 130₩ in comparison to when he’d worked at the gas station.

As he finishes his last bite of toast, he makes a mental note to thank Jieun again, for offering the job.

 

*

 

He decides to walk to school. After all, it’s still early and he should try to clear his head.

Ever since Saturday, Brian’s been set on presenting the perfect song for the other guys. He knows they probably won’t judge him if there’re any mistakes, but he just can’t bare to make them. It’s something he hates about himself. Being such a perfectionist. It’s also something he hates about Jaehyung. Being so perfect-Okay no, stop, too early in the morning for that. Go back to sleep brain. Thank you.

 

He gets to school in record time, in his efforts to escape his own thoughts, and he’s surprised to find Dowoon already there, though he’s walking away. Not from Brian, but from a small group of people that are following him around.

Brian speeds up his pace and, when he gets close enough, puts his left arm around Dowoon’s shoulders, ruffling his hair with his free hand.

 

“Morning, Dowoon.” He greets, smirking. A single glare at the group following the drummer is enough to make it dissipate.

 

“Good morning, Younghyun. Thanks.” Dowoon nods shortly. Then, he shrugs Brian’s arm off of him.

 

“Hey, so mean, Dowoonie, you make me sad.” Brian pouts way too dramatically, but it’s worth it when Dowoon smiles. For some reason, Brian has been feeling more and more protective over the drummer in the time he’s known him.

 

“I’m throwing a party next Friday, I hope that’s okay.” Dowoon tells him.

 

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

Dowoon shrugs.

 

“I don’t know, maybe because of our project.”

 

“I think it’s a good idea. You’re probably needing to relax.” Brian assures him, tackling him in the side playfully. Dowoon shivers and slaps his elbow away.

 

“Aish! Stop. I was gonna invite all of you, but now I’m considering taking you out of the list.” He threatens, scowling at Brian.

 

“You wouldn’t.” Brian gasps, taking a hand to his chest.

 

“I would.” Dowoon levels his gaze, crossing his arms. Brian pouts and pulls on Dowoon’s sleeves like a child.

 

“I’m sorry, Dowoonie. Please don’t leave me~” He fake cries, getting Dowoon to chuckle again.

 

“Fine, fine. Whatever.” Dowoon rolls his eyes. “Oh, look who’s there.” He nods to Brian’s right.

The bassist follows his track and his eyes land on Jaehyung and Jieun, who are talking a good twenty meters away from them. From this far away, the height difference between the two is almost comical, but what makes Brian chuckle is how expressive Jaehyung is when he’s talking to Jieun.

 

“Aww, look at you swoon.” Dowoon comments sarcastically, earning himself a slap on the shoulder.

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Wanna go over and invite him to the party?” Dowoon wiggles his eyebrows.

 

Shut up.” Brian looks down, aware of the heat spreading on his neck and ears.

 

“Well, I’m going there anyways, so you’re welcome to join if you want…” Dowoon offers, though his tone is still mocking. When Brian glances up, Dowoon is almost halfway there, so he speed walks to reach him.

 

“Wait!”

 

~Jae~

 

“Well, I’m happy it went good then.” Jieun smiles.

 

“Hi guys!” A voice from behind Jae speaks and he turns around to find Dowoon waving a hand at them, with Brian on his tail. Jae smiles at Dowoon.

 

“G’morning Dowoon. Brian. Have you met Jieun, Dowoon?” he asks, maintaining his focus on Dowoon. It’s still too early for him to deal with Brian’s face.

 

“No, I haven’t. Nice to meet you, Jieun. I’m Yoon Dowoon.” He introduces himself politely. Jieun smiles.

 

“I know who you are, Dowoon. I’m Kim Jieun. Pleasure.” She introduces herself back. “I’ve been told the three of you are in the same group for the music project? Plus two more, right?” She speaks to Dowoon and Brian.

 

“Yep, that’d be correct. Us three, plus Sungjin and Wonpil. They’re pretty cool.” Brian answers. Jieun’s smile widens the littlest bit.

 

“Hi, Brian.” She greets, waving her hand at him for a second. It’s cute, yet Jae hates that Brian smiles back even more brightly. No, wait, he doesn't hate it. Why would he-?

 

“Hi, Jieun.” He waves back. “Oh, and before I forget, thank you.”

 Jieun tilts her head to the side in confusion.

 

“Hm? For what?”

 

“The job at the café. It’s really a life saver.” He says honestly. Jieun shakes her head.

 

“Well, thank my parents then, they hired you, not me.” She chuckles.

 

“So, guys…” Dowoon begins. “I’m gonna throw a party on Friday, and I was hoping you could come.” He says, directly to the point.

 

“Oh... okay.” Jieun seems to fall back a bit.

 

“I meant the two of you, obviously.” Dowoon adds, and Jae can tell he’s panicking slightly at Jieun’s reaction. The girl smiles again.

 

“Oh! Nice! Thank you, Dowoonie.”

Jae holds back a snort when Dowoon turns red at Jieun’s nickname, even though he’s called that by other people.

 

“So, you’ll go?” Brian asks, and Jae looks down. He looks down because he hears the tone in Brian’s voice, hopeful, and he’s not feeling like watching him stare at his best friend. This, of course, keeps him from meeting Brian’s gaze, which has been locked in on Jae for a while now.

 

He turns to Jieun when the girl takes his arm in hers.

“Sure, we’ll go!” She answers for the both of them. “Right, Jae?” She gives him the glare. Jae laughs nervously.

 

“R-Right.”

 

*

 

It’s Jae’s turn to stay behind for cleaning duty and to say the least, he’s bored as hell. He’s never really been a fan of cleaning up (if his bedroom isn’t enough of a proof), but having to do it when it isn’t even for himself is even worse. Not to be mean, but aren’t there people paid to do that? Or maybe that’s just him being accustomed to America’s system.

He opens the door and, as expected, no one’s there. He’s been doing cleaning duty alone since the start of the year, safe for the very first time he had to, when Jieun stayed behind to help him. Oh, how he wishes she would be here. So he wouldn’t have to do all the work. Well, if she were here, she probably would end up doing all the work, given how lazy Jae is.

Ok, that was rude. If you can hear me, sorry Jieun-

The classroom door swings open behind him, and Jae turns to look at who’s joining him. He freezes.

 

“Hmm, hi.” Brian waves shortly, closing the door once he walks in. Jae follows him with his eyes as the bassist drops his stuff on a table and goes to grab a mop. “So, have you been here for long?”

 

“Hmm, what? No.” Jae shakes his head quickly, a small attempt at waking himself up. “I just got here too.” He elaborates. “Wait. What are you doing here?” he asks, which for some reason has Brian snorting.

 

“Well, let’s just say Mr. Kim doesn’t fancy me at all.” He answers vaguely. “By which I mean I bumped against him and he went nuts.”

Jae huffs at that.

 

“You should really look where you go. Otherwise you’ll end up crashing against the entire school.” He mocks, but there’s no real bite to it. Not really.

 

“Ahah, you’re hilarious.” Comes his reply. Brian picks up a cleaning cloth and prepares to throw it. “Heads up.”

Jae catches it with ease.

 

“What’s this for?”

Brian frowns.

 

“Huh, cleaning…?”

 

“No shit, genius. I meant, what’re you giving me this for? I’m on moping duty. You can go ahead and swipe the tables clean.” Jae counters, throwing back the cloth. Brian rolls his eyes.

 

“Fine.”

 

“Fine.”

 

 

 

“So, you’re going to Dowoon’s party on Friday?” Jae almost slips on the half-wet floor when Brian speaks up. He clears his throat, hoping Brian did not just see him do that.

 

“Yeah. Jieun and I are both going.” He answers, knowing Brian probably wants to know that she’s really going.

 

“Ahh, that’s good." Brian comments. "Jieun is nice.” Jae mops the floor silently.

 

“Yeah… She is. Very nice.” He says quietly. His stomach feels empty. He's probably hungry.

 

“Do you… like her?” Brian questions, voice unsure. Jae whips his head around so fast he ends up actually slipping and falling on his ass with a loud ‘thud’. Great, another bruise to replace the last one.

Brian is next to him in a second, crunching down and laughing a bit louder than necessary.

 

“You okay?” He asks, reaching out a hand to help him up. Jae glares at him from where he’s sitting on the floor.

 

“Why? Worried?”

 

“Tremendously. Can’t you tell?” He asks rhetorically, with a stupid smirk on his stupid face.

 

“Asshole.” Jae let’s out as he smacks Brian’s hand away and gets up by himself, only to slip on the still wet floor and almost fall over again. Almost, because this time Brian is close enough to get ahold of Jae before he falls, keeping him up by his waist and shoulder.

 

“Careful.” He warns, and his voice is no longer playful, but actually concerned. Jae frowns a bit. Brian sighs, shaking his head slowly. “You’re too clumsy for your own good.” The comment (and the fact Brian’s hands are still resting on him, keeping him balanced) makes Jae’s face heat up, turning his pale skin red with embarrassment. He looks down, unable to hold eye contact with Brian any longer.

 

“Shut up.”

Brian chuckles, and Jae looks back at him when he senses movement. Before he can react, Brian reaches out with both hands and carefully picks Jae’s glasses up from where they had slipped down his nose, pulling them back up without ever breaking eye contact. Jae can’t breathe.

 

“There you go, Jae.”

 

 

*

 

~Brian~

 

“Dowoon. Yes, hi.” Brian speaks quickly, through the phone. “I need your help.”

 

“Hi, Younghyun. Of course, is everything okay?”

 

“No, everything is not okay. I’m in deep shit.” Brian curses, raking a hand through his hair as he almost runs through the streets.

 

“How deep are we talking?”

 

“I don’t know! Knee deep, maybe deeper.” Brian almost whimpers.

 

“Shit. Well, I’m home now, wanna come over in ten minutes?”

 

“I'll be there in five.”

Chapter Text

Wednesday morning finds Wonpil siting on his stool, playing the piano. He plays with his eyes closed, completely focused on the music, like closing his eyes lets him see the music better.

His father is standing next to the piano, monitoring him, listening closely to his son, of whom is he proud of, and yet, for whom he has high expectations.

Wonpil finishes the song, the last note played with a smile. He glances at his father and waits – for a praise, a comment, anything.

 

“That was really nice, Wonpil.” His father compliments. Wonpil smiles, before his father takes on a more serious expression and the pianist knows what's to come. “Have you thought about my proposal?” He asks him. Wonpil holds back a sigh. Though he doesn’t want to, his face reveals his displeasure for his father’s change of topic. “I know you don’t particularly like it, Wonpil, but this is a one time chance, and I think-“

“Dad, I’ve told you before. I don’t want to go. Please stop pressuring me into doing something I don’t want to do.” Wonpil says, for what feels like the thousandth time. His father sighs, but Wonpil knows this won’t be the last time he hears from the university proposal his father keeps insisting him to take.

 

*

 

Wonpil waits for Sungjin in the same place as usual. They always meet up at the bus station, which is almost the same distance from both boys’ houses. Given it’s still early, there’s no one else at the station besides him, so he sits on the bench as he waits for his best friend. When Wonpil first sees Sungjin, he can feel his mood improving already and he gets up immediately.

 

“Sungjin hyung! Good morning!” Wonpil waves, a toothy smile on his face. Sungjin speeds up a bit and reaches him quickly.

 

“Morning Pil.” He greets, as usual. Then, he makes a confused expression. “How are you?” He asks. Wonpil frowns.

 

“Hmm, what do you-“

“Pil, come on. I know that face. What happened? Was it your dad again?” he guesses.

Wonpil sighs, looking down.

 

“Yeah…”

 

“Is he still set on getting you to take the business uni offer?”

 

“Yeah.” Wonpil nods. “I, huh... played him a song I composed.” Wonpil tells him. Sungjin is the only person who’s heard his songs before. “I thought he was enjoying it. He looked like he was… but as soon as it was over the first thing he does is asking me if I’ve thought about the proposal… I don’t care about the stupid offer! I hate it! He never listens to me! Why won’t he listen?! I hate-!” Wonpil is cut off by Sungjin, who wraps him up on his arms. Wonpil’s breath gets caught on his throat, and it’s only then he realizes he’s crying.

Why am I…?

Sungjin places a hand on the back of his head protectively and Wonpil sighs, letting out all the tears he’s been holding for so long.

 

“It’s okay, Pillie. I’m here. I’m sorry. It’s gonna be alright.” Sungjin keeps saying small sentences and praises, and Wonpil can’t seem to stop crying. In fact, he’s probably crying harder now that Sungjin is hugging him. When did he stop crying about his dad and started crying because of Sungjin? When was it? Wonpil knows something like Sungjin hugging him won’t happen again anytime soon, so he hugs his best friend as tight as he can, so that he will remember this moment.

 

“I’m sorry…” Wonpil whispers, his sobs a bit quieter than before. Sungjin pets his hair again.

 

“Don’t be sorry. You have nothing be sorry for, Pillie.” Sungjin answers, oblivious to what Wonpil is apologizing about.

Wonpil lets himself breathe in Sungjin’s scent one last time, before his arms fall limp to his sides, and Sungjin lets him go. Sungjin goes through his bag and takes out a few tissues, handing them to Wonpil.

 

“Here. Take these.” He offers. Wonpil chuckles, though it comes out sounding more like a strangled sob from all the crying. He quickly puts himself back together, cleaning his face the best he can. He can’t believe he’s just had a breakdown in the middle of the street. He’s thankful it’s still early, so there isn’t anyone out here yet, safe for the two of them.

 

“Thank you, Sungjin.” Wonpil smiles sadly, putting the used tissues away in a nearby trashcan.

 

“You really don’t have to thank me, Pil. This is what friends are for, right?”

Wonpil feels like crying all over again, but he holds his tears back and, instead, smiles at Sungjin.

 

“Right.”

 

*

 

They split up at the school’s gate, when Sungjin tells him he needs to go to the library, and - after Wonpil denies when he asks him to come along -, agrees to meet him later in the classroom. He sighs a bit louder when Sungjin leaves, watching him as he moves farther and farther away from him.

Wonpil jumps in place when he feels a pair of hands on his shoulders, letting out a small scream.

 

“Morning!” A deep voice that undeniably belongs to Dowoon greets him from behind. Wonpil’s shoulders slump back down and he turns around with a glare, placing his hands on his hips.

 

“You scared me, Dowoon!” He scolds the drummer, but upon seeing his puppy eyes, he can’t help but to chuckle, shaking his head disapprovingly. “Good morning, Dowoonie.”

 

Dowoon is about to start speaking when he freezes, tilting his head sideways and looking weirdly at Wonpil.

“Are you okay?” He asks, unsure. There’s no way he knows, right? Wonpil’s eyes never get red from crying, and he’s sure he cleaned his face up well enough. He can’t know. There’s no way. Dowoon places a hand on Wonpil’s shoulder carefully, and smiles kindly at him. “It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me. I just hope you’re doing okay.” He says.

Wonpil wants to hug him, but he shouldn’t. Instead, he looks at Dowoon and gives a smile, something he’s been getting better at faking.

 

“I’m okay, Dowoonie, I promise. But thank you for asking. Really.” He thanks him, and he means it more than he shows. Dowoon replies with a big smile that makes Wonpil’s day a bit better.

 

“Shall we head to the classroom?” Dowoon asks. Wonpil nods.

 

“We shall.”

 

*

~Brian~

 

He doesn’t even notice he’s clicking his pen on the table until he feels Dowoon’s glare on his side. He looks around and finds the sleepy boy glaring daggers at him, head resting on his arms, but not sleeping – not anymore, at least.

“Would you be so kind as to stop doing that, Younghyun? Some people are trying to sleep here.” Dowoon protests in a whisper, since the teacher is in the classroom, attempting to teach. Brian holds back a snort.

 

“Sorry, your highness. Please continue your beauty sleep.” He mocks.

“Mr. Kang.” Shit. Brian smiles smugly at Mr. Kim, his favorite teacher. Note the sarcasm.

 

“Yes, Mr. Kim?” Brian answers.

 

“Could you answer my question?” The look on Mr. Kim’s face tells him he knows Brian hadn’t been listening to the class. He only wants to humiliate him. Being a teacher must be nice.

 

“Could you repeat the question?” he tries, the smug smile not leaving his face. If he’s going to be ordered to stay behind for cleaning duty anyway, he might as well go down with a fight.

 

“Were you not listening to me? What else could you possibly have been doing?” Brian doesn’t like his tone at all. Mr. Kim starts walking his way. Brian shuts his notebook quickly, to cover the ripped-up paper inside of it. He’s aware the whole classroom is looking at him. “What is that you’re hiding?” he asks, voice getting angrier.

 

“Nothing.”

 

“Then open your notebook.” He orders.

 

“What? No.” He answers instinctively. Some people gasp, shocked that he actually spoke back to their English teacher like that. Mr. Kim clearly doesn’t find it funny, as he all but takes Brian’s notebook from him. Brian tries to stop him, but he isn’t quick enough. The teacher holds up his notebook, which opens up to reveal the ripped-up paper he had previously been writing on.

I hate you so much. You should be fired. This is privacy invasion. You have no right, you fucking asshole-

Brian stands up on a whim the moment a huff escapes Mr. Kim’s mouth. He wants to punch him so bad. He’s going to-

“Hmm, sir? Excuse me?” Brian whips his head to side as locks of blond dyed hair stand up.

 

What are you doing?

 

“What is it, Mr. Park? Were you perhaps not paying attention as well?” Mr. Kim questions, though his voice takes on a much calmer tone when he addresses Jaehyung.

 

“I was paying attention, sir. I can answer your question, if that’s all you want. But I don’t think going through a student’s privacy is going to send your point across to them.” Brian holds his breath as Jaehyung speaks up for him. They lock eyes for a moment.

 

You’re gonna get in trouble, stupid! Stop it!, Brian tries telling him telepathically, but without any effect, as Jaehyung doesn’t sit back down.

 

“Well,” Brian almost flinches when Mr. Kim speaks up again. “What do you suggest I do?” he asks Jaehyung.

 

“I don’t know. Maybe make him stay behind for cleaning duty. That’s a fair punishment.” Jaehyung shrugs, seemingly relaxed, but Brian sees his hands shaking before he hides them behind his back. Brian still hasn’t spoken up again. He can’t believe this is happening.

 

“Well, well, well. It seems you’ve gotten yourself a savior, Mr. Kang.” Mr. Kim tells Brian, shoving his notebook along with the written paper back to Brian’s desk. “I’ll let it slide this time. You can stay behind for cleaning duty, right Mr. Kang?” It’s a question to which there’s only one answer, obviously, yet Brian finds it hard to speak. “Right, Mr. Kang? Or do you rather we read your little love note to the whole classroom?” He threatens.

 

“R-Right.” He finally answers, looking down, but with his eyes still widened. The classroom is dead silent.

 

“That’s good then. You can sit down, now.” Brian does as he’s told. “Oh, and Mr. Park,” No, not him. You can’t. “You’ll be staying behind for cleaning duty as well, since you seem to like Mr. Kang so much. That’s not a problem, right?” Brian looks at Jaehyung, his eyes telling him he’s sorry, but Jaehyung doesn’t look back. He’s still facing Mr. Kim.

 

“That’s right, sir.”

 

*

 

“You are so stupid!” Is the first thing Brian says, after everyone else has left the classroom. English had been the last lesson of the day, which meant cleaning duty is next, for the two of them. The other girl who was supposed to the stay behind as well had left at Mr. Kim’s orders, who told her the boys would just make her do all the work.

 

Jaehyung gasps, taking a step back.

 

“Well excuse me, Brian. I was just trying to help.” He counters.

 

“Well I didn’t need help!” Brian is getting angry. This isn’t good. He talks way too fast and too loudly when he gets angry.

 

“Clearly, you did. That guy looked like he was about to slap you across the face. You needed the help. Admit it.” Jaehyung spits.

 

“I didn’t need help from you!” It’s out of his mouth before he can stop it, and he hates how he can see Jaehyung’s face go from angry, to hurt, to disappointed. “Wait, Jaehyung-“

“Fine. Whatever.” He dismisses, grabbing his stuff and leaving the classroom.

 

“No, it’s not fine.” Brian follows him out of the classroom. “Let me explain.” He tries. Jaehyung doesn’t stop. “Jesus Christ, Jaehyung, will you fucking stop walking away, please?!” He almost screams, his question echoing through the empty halls of the school. Jaehyung does stop at that. He turns around and crosses his arms over his chest.

 

“I’m waiting.” He speaks. Brian holds back a snort.

Such a drama queen…

He makes his way over to where the guitarist is.

 

“I’m sorry.” He starts. “What I meant before was that I didn’t want your help because I knew you’d get punished along with me.” He clarifies. “It doesn’t seem fair that you have to pay for something you didn’t do.”

Jaehyung huffs.

 

“You really are an asshole.” He curses, but Brian can tell he’s holding back a smile, however small it may be. “I knew perfectly well what would happen. Everyone knows how abusive that teacher is. I just decided to do something about it this time. You’re welcome.” He says. Brian rolls his eyes at him.

 

“Thank you.” Jaehyung smiles smugly at him. “So, are we cool then?”

Please say yes.

 

“Hmm, depends.” Jaehyung looks up as if he’s thinking.

 

“On?”

Jaehyung smirks at him.

 

“Lemme see the love note you were writing.” He asks, wiggling his eyebrows, which has Brian’s ears turning red.

 

“It’s not a love note, and no, you can’t see it. It’s not finished.” Brian denies quickly.

It’s not a love note, idiot, it’s a love song. Of course I won’t show it to you, only to have you laugh at me.

 

“Then, I still hate you.”

Brian sighs dramatically.

 

“Come on. There must be something, anything, that you want.” He insists.

 

“Yeah, reading the love note.”

 

“It’s not a love note. And I meant anything else:”

Jaehyung rolls his eyes at him, but seems to think for a while.

 

“Alright, I know what I want.” He says, smirking.

Oh shit.

 

Brian ends up doing all the cleaning that day, while Jaehyung sits back and watches him mop the floor and swipe the tables clean.

Chapter Text

~Jae~

“Jieun, I swear to God-“ Jae protests, as the girl keeps taking clothes from his closet and throwing them on his bed, like his room wasn’t messy enough already.

 

“What? It’s not my fault you have like, two good pairs of jeans, and one shirt that isn’t completely off trend.” She comments, and Jae’s pride hurts in the slightest. So what if he doesn’t keep track on trends? It’s not like he has someone he wants to impress. “Finally.” She says, holding up a grey hoodie. “This one is cute. Though it had to say ‘Star Wars’, didn't it?” She rolls her eyes.

 

“Hey, don’t you dare to judge my amazing movie taste!” He warns, pointing a finger at her. She snorts.

 

“Sure. Now, where was that jacket you always wore?” She asks, more to herself than Jae, as she keeps throwing shit into his bed. “Ahah! Eureka! Got it!” She pulls out a dry green jacket, placing it neatly on his bed, next to the hoodie and bunch of other now messed up clothes. “You dress that with those jeans you like so much and put on that red beanie I gave you. Oh, and the dark glasses! You gotta wear those! Trust me!” she almost screams, way too excited.

 

“Right. And why are you choosing my clothes again?” he asks, still confused as to why his friend had insisted on picking his party outfit for him. Jieun sighs, placing a hand on Jae’s shoulder.

 

“Jae, let me tell you something, honey. You have a… peculiar, that’s right, taste for clothes. I’m simply helping you in making better decisions. Now shut up and get dressed, we need to leave in ten minutes.”

 

“Fine.”

 

*

 

Carrying his guitar case on his back, Jae looks over at Dowoon's place as he and Jieun approach the front garden. It's packed, like the last time he was there for a party, but today it’s got a different atmosphere to it. There’re fewer drunken people, and everyone seems more casually dressed than they had been at previous party. Jae’s also less scared of being there, maybe because now he knows Dowoon.

 

“Ok, this time don’t leave me alone.” Jae asks Jieun, as they enter the house. The girl chuckles, but keeps to his side. “There’s Dowoon.” Jae spots, walking in his way, with Jieun by his side.

 

“Hi, Jaehyung! Hello, Jieun.” Dowoon greets them with a smile. Someone is singing terribly in the living room, making the three of them (and the whole room) wince. “Gotta love karaoke, right?”

Jieun chuckles.

 

“Right.” She nods.

 

"Where should I leave my guitar?" Jae asks.

 

"Oh, you can leave right there, in the corner, or in the garage. No one's gonna take it, don't worry." Dowoon answers. The drummer had invited the four members over for a sleepover, in hopes that they could work for their school project the next day.

 

“Alright then, in the corner it is." Jae nods, quickly leaving the guitar behind, trusting it to be safe. "Hey, do you know if the others will be here too?” Jae questions, as he returns to Jieun's side.

 

“Oh, Brian’s probably almost here.” Dowoon tells him, and Jae frowns a bit when Dowoon stops at that. “A-And Sungjin and Wonpil are already here, they’re going to sing next, actually.” That catches Jae’s attention.

 

“Really? We’ve gotta see that.” Jae widens his eyes.

 

Sungjin and Wonpil sing ‘All of Me’ by John Legend. The three of them watch as the two boys harmonize throughout the whole song, never going offkey. Their voices fit incredibly well, and Jae thinks they almost look like idols already.

When the song is over, everyone claps and cheers for them. Sungjin spots them and his eyes widen. He tells something to Wonpil and, in a second, they’re making their way over to Jae and the others.

 

“Hi guys.” Wonpil greets. “Hi Jieun.” He smiles.

 

“Hi Wonpil. Sungjin.” She greets back, smiling.

 

“H-Hi.” Sungjin attempts. Jae raises an eyebrow, but says nothing.

 

“That just now was so great! You guys are incredible!” Jieun exclaims, hyping up their singing cheerfully. Sungjin and Wonpil blush at her praises but it’s true, they were great.

 

“Hmm, all that singing made me thirsty, I’ll be back.” Wonpil says, leaving quickly.

 

“I’ll be back too.” Dowoon tells them, before disappearing behind Wonpil.

 

~Dowoon~

 

“Hey, Wonpil.” He stops him in his tracks. The pianist turns around and smiles, but Dowoon can tell it’s fake.

 

“What is it?” he asks nicely.

 

“Nothing, I... I’ll go with you.” He offers.

 

“It’s okay, you don’t have to.”

 

“I know, but I want to.” It’s not a lie. Dowoon is genuinely concerned for Wonpil – has been, since last Thursday.

 

“Ok then. Of course you can come along.”

They head towards the kitchen quietly, and it only gets unbearable when they get there, since no one else is there to fill in the silence.

 

“Are you okay?” Dowoon tries.

 

“Hmm, what do you mean? Of course I am. Why?” Wonpil fakes being confused, but it isn’t working, not on Dowoon.

 

“You don’t seem okay. Since Thursday, you-“

“I don’t wanna talk about that, Dowoon…” Wonpil cuts him off, looking away.

 

“I just-“

“Dowoon…”

“Is it because of Sungjin?” He blurts out, hoping he’s not wrong, but wishing he’s also not right. Wonpil widens his eyes.

 

“H-How did you…?”

Dowoon shrugs.

 

“You just seem to always be around him and when he talks it’s like no one else is there.” Dowoon explains. Wonpil blushes, looking down again.

 

“Do you… hate me for it?” he asks. Dowoon frowns.

 

“What? Why would I?”

 

“It’s disgusting, isn’t it? Aren’t I?”

 

“What? No, Wonpil, look at me.” Dowoon reaches out and places his fingers on Wonpil’s chin, lifting his head up and locking eyes with the boy. “You are not disgusting, alright? You’re fine. No, not like, not just fine, you’re normal, in a good way. Like, you’re like… You’re-“ Dowoon cuts himself off as Wonpil chuckles. He lets himself smile at that too, his hand falling back to his side. “I’m sorry. I’m not good at this.”

 

“No, no, you’re fine.” Wonpil jokes. “In a good way.”

 

“I’m glad.” Dowoon feels his ears getting hotter.

 

“Hey, Dowoon?” Wonpil calls quietly. Dowoon looks at him intently.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Thank you.” The smile Wonpil gives him then is worth the risk of guessing why he looked so sad before. Dowoon smiles back.

 

“-“

“Oh, hi guys.”

The two boys jump apart at the foreign voice – not that they’d been all that close anyway. Dowoon looks at the door and finds Younghyun waving at them, his toothy smile plastered on his face.

 

“Hi Brian.” Wonpil is quick to greet.

 

“Younghyun. Did you just get here?” Dowoon asks.

 

“Yep.” He confirms. "I left the bass in your garage, as we agreed."

 

“Oh, that's good." Dowoon nods along. "Well, then, let’s go back to the others.” He suggests, looking back at Wonpil first.

 

“Let’s!” Wonpil agrees, smiling reassuringly at Dowoon.

 

~Jae~

 

“C’mon, Jae, you should totally do it.” Jieun tries to convince him, for the sixth time. Jae rolls his eyes at her again.

 

“No.” He denies yet again, crossing his arms on his chest. Jieun’s been trying to persuade him into singing a song from the karaoke machine, but Jae’s positive he won’t – not in front of all these people.

 

“I’m with Jieun, Jaehyung, you’d do great.” Sungjin agrees, making Jae sigh in exasperation. Not you too.

 

“Oh, look, the others are coming back. Let’s ask them.” Jieun notices, pulling on Sungjin's wrist and leaving Jae alone. He sighs and turns around to see where the two of them have left to, but, before he can even start walking, his breath gets caught in his throat.

 

“Fuck…” he mutters under his breath as he takes on the sigh of Brian, dressed in black jeans, a grey t-shirt and a black leather jacket. Fuck.

 

“Are you coming over here or not, Jae?” Jieun calls him, missing the look on her best friend’s face, as she herself is facing the other guys.

 

“Y-Yeah.” Jae ends up whispering, slowly walking towards them – towards Brian.

 

“Hi.” Brian smiles at him, waving a hand innocently. Jae hates that it makes him blush, but he thanks God it’s too dark for it to be seen – or at least that’s what he hopes.

 

“Hi.” He replies just as shortly, trying not to look at the bassist too much. The rest of them are already deep in conversation, but Brian frowns.

 

“You okay?” He asks. No, I am not okay, you ass. Not when you’re wearing that leather jacket.

 

“I’m fine. Just peachy.” Jae answers smoothly. Brian chuckles, and Jae has to look away not to swoon at it. Fuck you, Brian, really.

 

“So, what do you say, Brian?” Both Jae and Brian look up at the mention of the bassist’s name.

 

“Hmm? What?” Brian tilts his head to the side slightly. Jieun rolls her eyes.

 

“Will you sing a song?” She asks, probably for the second time. Not that Jae knows, he hadn’t been listening either. Brian forms an ‘o’ with his mouth.

 

“Ahh, I don’t know…” He dismisses. “Not alone, at least.” He smiles at Jieun. “Would you join me?” He proposes. Jieun bursts out laughing, but Jae sees her blush. He takes a deep breath, hopefully not deep enough to have been noticed by the others. In his own jealously, he doesn’t notice any of the others’ reactions at all. Not Sungjin’s, who presses his lips into a thin line and looks down. Not Wonpil’s, who smiles shortly before glancing away, or Dowoon’s, who looks between the pianist and Sungjin. And not Jieun’s, who’s still blushing but is now looking at Jae.

 

“Me? Singing? I don’t think so.” Jieun rejects, for Jae’s surprise. “That’d definitely make everyone run away.” She says, her tone playful. “You know who’d make for a great duet partner?” She returns, and Jae doesn’t like the way her voice is sounding at all. He looks up at her and sure enough, she’s got her glance fixed on him, smirking.

 

“Who’s that?” Brian wonders, not following.

 

Don’t you dare. Jae threatens telepathically.

 

“Jae.” She answers, still smirking at him. Brian turns to Jae. Jae wants to die. “He’s really good at duets.” She compliments, thought Jae knows she’s only spewing bull.

 

“Is he, now?” Brian raises an eyebrow, smirking himself.

 

“No.” Jae denies, crossing his arms. “Not happening.”

 

*

 

Why did I agree to do this again?, Jae asks himself, as Brian hands him a mic.

Okay, he can explain. He wasn’t going to sing, but then Brian provoked him saying ‘Maybe you’re just scared I’ll sing better’, to which he answered ‘Please, I could beat your ass any day!’, which was answered in two simple words – the reason he’s doing this: ‘Prove it.’

 

I’m so stupid. No, Brian’s stupid. Maybe we’re both stupid. But Brian’s more stupid than I am-

“Huh, Jaehyung?” Brian cuts him off. “Song?” he gestures towards the karaoke machine. Jae glances at the small crowd, already gathering around them – most of them there just to see Brian, obviously.

Jae shrugs as an answer and Brian rolls his eyes at him.

 

“Fine, then I’ll pick.” He decides, and Jae wants to contest, but he also doesn’t want to go back on his word, so he stays silent. Brian catches his attention by poking his arm twice. “Can it be this one?” He asks. Jae glances past Brian’s shoulder at the machine and reads out the song name – ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ by Taeyang. He swallows down hard. Why a love song? Is it for Jieun? Are you trying to impress her? “If you don’t want it, then we can-”

“No, let’s do it.” Jae cuts him off, shaking his head. Whatever, not like I care.

Brian nods once and presses the button to start the song. Jae points at him.

 

“You go first.”

 

And Brian does. Jae doesn’t know if he’ll ever get used to Brian’s singing, so clean, so melodic. He almost forgets to keep tabs on the lyrics, to know when his turn is up. Brian isn’t looking at him. He’s also not looking at Jieun. His are glued to the screen, reading out the lyrics. Really? How do you not know this song’s lyrics? Even I do, and I’m not from here. Jae chuckles slightly, before grabbing the mic in front of his own mouth.

He starts off in a low key, planning to keep it at that. It’s best to keep it simple rather than to try and go big only to fail. That’s what he thinks, anyway.

 

Brian probably doesn’t think like that. That, or he’s just that confident, given that when the chorus breaks, he goes for an adlib, and aces it. Of course he aced it. Jae rolls his eyes.

It goes back and forth until the last verse, when Jae decides he wants to have fun himself, and pulls a high note. Please don’t fail me now, voice. It doesn’t – in fact, it comes out pretty good, if he can say so himself.

He hears more and more people gathering around them, but he’s lost in the music, all he can hear is the melody, all he sees are the lyrics in his mind, and Brian, next to him, staring at him.

It’s the last verse, but Brian joins him, pulls a few more well-timed adlibs. It fits so well with Jae’s voice.

Jae is supposed to sing the last sentence, but he doesn’t. Brian takes over, ending the song just the way he’d started it – perfectly.

 

There isn’t any sound for a moment, before everyone starts clapping and cheering, but Jae can’t hear it properly.

He and Brian are staring at each other (are they closer now, or is it just Jae?) and it feels like there’s no one else in the room. Everything goes into slow motion. Jae can hear his own heartbeat – going crazy – and he just hopes Brian can’t hear it too.

What’s happening?

Brian steps forward. They’re so close. He reaches out a hand. He’s going to touch Jae. He’s going to touch me.

Brian’s hand stops in front of his face, his fingers move slow and gentle, carefully touching Jae’s glasses, pulling them back up from where they’d slipped down his nose, somewhere in the middle of Jae’s high note. Jae flinches. Not because he’s scared. He doesn’t know exactly why.

“Bri…” Jae’s voice betrays him then. He feels suffocated, yet he doesn’t want Brian to take his hand away. When he does, Jae pouts, but quickly hides it, looking down. Brian smiles, and his smile looks like a thousand suns to Jae.

 

“You did great, Jae.” Brian compliments. Jae’s heart skips a beat. You did great, Jae. He called me Jae again.

 

“I-I… You… You too.” Is all he manages to answer. Brian chuckles, but there’s no bite to it.

 

“I-“

“Holy shit, guys!” They jump apart like they’ve burned themselves, when Jieun interrupts Brian. They turn to her, but Jae can’t even manage a smile He’s breathless, he doesn’t know what’s going on, doesn’t know what the fuck just happened, and he wants to go home and curl himself to sleep. “That was so good!” she speaks up again, patting the two boys’ backs.

 

“Thanks, Jieun.” Brian smiles. Jae reaches for his glasses to pull them up again – they’d slipped down again from all the staring at the floor he’d been doing in the past minute.

 

“Yeah, thanks.” He tries to mimic Brian’s smile.

 

“That was seriously awesome!” Wonpil exclaims as he approaches them, and when Jae looks at him, he can see Sungjin nodding along. He feels himself becoming shy from all the compliments he isn’t used to getting.

 

“I mean,” Dowoon starts, “I’m pretty sure Younghyun went off-key during the second chorus-OW! I’m joking!” The drummer raises up his arms to try and block Brian’s playful punches.

 

“Shut up!” He protests. “We did great.” He states. “You did great.” He says, turning to Jae.

 

“…Thanks. You too.” Jae smiles shyly. He feels like he might implode at any second. He could use some alcohol right now. “I think I’m gonna go get a drink-“

“No!” Brian, Dowoon and Jieun all say simultaneously, making Jae flinch and shrink back to himself.

 

Wonpil and Sungjin are left frowning in confusion.

Chapter Text

~Dowoon~

Dowoon is used to waking up on his bed - and alone -, which is why he is confused for a second when opens his eyes and finds himself on the floor of the dining room.

Then, he starts remembering the events of the past night, when he’d invited the four boys to sleep over, so they could try and work on their project the following Saturday. They had moved the dining table to the side so they could fit five improvised beds – which they made out of whatever blankets and pillows they could find at the time. Although it might appear big, the house Dowoon is currently occupying has only one bedroom, and it’s too small for five people to sleep in.

 

Dowoon’s back feels stiffer than he would’ve liked, but other than that, nothing seems out of place. Next to him, Wonpil is sleeping quite peacefully, hugging his blankets instead of having them cover his body. Dowoon chuckles at the sight. He looks even more like a baby when he sleeps. Cute.

He sits up carefully, as to not wake anyone up, and looks around at the three other guys. Sungjin looks immaculate – his blankets aren’t even slightly wrinkled – and he’s lying down in a supine position. Younghyun, on the other hand, is a mess – every member of his is sticking out in a different direction and his hair is looking like a bird’s nest. Dowoon thinks their sleeping positions match their personalities rather well. It’s only then he realizes: Jaehyung isn’t anywhere to be seen. Where might he have gone to? Did he wake up already? Maybe he just went to the bathroom. He wouldn’t leave, right? Oh. Please tell me he doesn’t sleepwalk.

Dowoon’s thoughts are cut off when he hears the faintest sound of steps, and turns to the door in time to see Jaehyung walking in. The blond boy almost jumps when he spots Dowoon siting up, but manages not to make any noise.

 

“Hi.” Dowoon whispers, waving an awkward hand.

 

“G’morning. Sorry, you scared me.” Jaehyung whispers back. Dowoon shakes his head vigorously.

 

“It’s okay. Have you been up for a long time?” He whisper-asks. Jaehyung points at Dowoon’s blankets and the drummer nods, giving him permission to sit on them, in front of Dowoon.

 

“Nah, I just woke up like five minutes ago. But nature called. I hope you don’t mind, but I used your bathroom.” Jaehyung informs.

 

“Oh, sure, it’s cool. Should we wake them up?” Dowoon looks over at the three sleeping boys around them.

 

“Hmm, maybe… That reminds me, Dowoon…” Jaehyung starts, and Dowoon doesn’t like his facial expression at all. “I didn’t hear you sing last night. Though it’s your house.”

Dowoon’s ears turn crimson.

 

“Oh, yeah… I, huh, I don’t sing.” He quickly dismisses. “How did waking them up remind you of that?”

 

Jaehyung smirks and Dowoon widens his eyes. No.

 

 

~Brian~

 

Brian wakes up frowning. He had been sleeping peacefully up until he was rudely woken up by loud singing.

 

He opens his eyes and instantly realizes he isn’t home – he could never afford those curtains, that’s for sure. He remembers Dowoon had invited him and the other guys to sleep over at his house, so they could get some work done. He’s glad he has his arrangements on his phone so he can show the four guys the work he’s been doing.

Brian looks around and finds Wonpil and Sungjin, both looking like they’ve just woken up too.

The loud singing voice changes, and that’s when Brian understands – Dowoon and Jaehyung have decided to sing a duet to wake them up. How nice of them.

 

“Ugh…” Brian groans, rubbing his hands on his face to try and push away the sleepiness. “Morning, guys.” He says.

 

“Good morning, Brian.” Sungjin answers, looking way too composed for someone who’s just woken up.

 

“Ngh…” comes the noise from Wonpil. Brian turns his head to him and finds the pianist rolling around on the blankets, attempting to sit up. “I wanna sleep…” He protests, though it’s impossible with Jaehyung and Dowoon screaming their hearts out less than twenty meters away from them.

Brian chuckles at Wonpil, but gets up. Running his hands through his hair a few times – in a useless attempt at combing it – he makes his way to where the karaoke machine is, in the living room. The sight he’s met with has him stop in his tracks, placing a hand in front of his mouth to stop himself from laughing too hard.

 

Jaehyung and Dowoon are both singing, their faces red from embarrassment. The song is almost over, and yet, Brian chooses not to interrupt it, instead taking out his phone and pressing the record button. Oh, he’s definitely using this as blackmail material – he never knows when he might need it after all.

The song ends with Jaehyung hitting a high note perfectly, and if Brian wasn’t already biting on his lower lip to keep from laughing, he would’ve dropped his chin to the floor. He quickly hides his phone and walks into the division like he’s just gotten there.

 

“Oh, hey Younghyun. How’d you sleep?” Dowoon asks, sounding as if he hasn’t just screamed out an entire song. Brian snorts.

 

“Oh, you know. Just fine.” He smiles, but he’s glaring at the two boys in front of him. Jaehyung chuckles. Brian turns to him. “And good morning to you.”

 

“Dude-“ Jaehyung lets out, his laughter much clearer now. “Your hair…” He breathes, holding onto his stomach and trying not to bend over laughing. Brian pouts, but rakes his hands through his hair again.

 

*

 

Eleven thirty finds them in Dowoon’s office, where they sit across each other around a rectangular table.

Brian sends what he’s been working on over to Dowoon’s email and the drummer opens the two files in his computer.

 

“So you’re writing it in English?” Sungjin asks as he looks over at the file. Brian smiles shortly.

 

“Well, yeah. At first, I tried doing it in Korean, given I mostly write in that language, but I don’t know, English just felt right for this song.” Brian shrugs as he explains himself. “We can change it though, if you’d rather we sing in Korean.”

 

“I don’t think we have to change it.” Wonpil speaks up. “Though I would appreciate a translation…” He admits, blushing. Brian chuckles.

 

“Of course, I’ll translate it. Jaehyung can help with that too, right?” Brian asks, looking at the blond boy. Jaehyung seems to be caught off guard, as he straightens himself and clears his throat.

 

“What. Of course. I can help.” He answers quickly. “Though, I have a question.” He adds, frowning slightly.

 

“Shoot.”

 

“The composition isn’t done yet, right?” he questions, pointing at the computer. Brian nods.

 

“Right. I’m sorry for that, I haven’t managed to-“

“No, that ain’t it.” Jaehyung cuts him off. “You shouldn’t have to do everything, Brian. We’re a team. But I have a few ideas, so can I show it to you? All of you, that is.” He asks, looking at the four members. They all nod.

 

“Sure. I have a few ideas myself, and I’m sure you guys have something on your minds too.” Sungjin agrees. Dowoon claps once.

 

“Great! Let’s go to the garage then, I’ll print this and be on my way.” He suggests, dismissing the four boys.

 

They’re starting to leave when Wonpil speaks up.

“You guys go ahead, I’ll stay behind and wait for Dowoonie.” He tells them. Brian nods.

 

“Ok, sure.”

 

 

~Wonpil~

 

Wonpil waits until everyone has left the room, before turning to Dowoon.

“Hey…” He starts, without really knowing what he’s saying. Dowoon has his back turned to him, but he looks around at Wonpil when the boy speaks.

 

“Hmm? What was that?” he asks.

 

“Oh, hmm, I…” Wonpil tries again. It’s harder than he thought it’d be. He should just say it, it’s not like Dowoon would judge him now. Not after knowing what he knows. Right?

 

“Is everything okay, Wonpil?” Dowoon questions, turning his whole body to the pianist now. He’s frowning, probably confused by Wonpil’s babbling.

 

“Yeah, sorry, it’s just… About yesterday.”

 

“Oh. Right. What is it? Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine. I just… could you… could we keep that as a secret?” Wonpil asks, looking down. He’s sure Dowoon won’t use that information to hurt Wonpil or Sungjin, but you never know. In this world, you never know…

 

“Of course.” Dowoon answers quickly. Wonpil looks up at him with surprised eyes. “I wasn’t gonna tell anyone. It’s your secret, and I just happened to find it, but I’m not gonna go around telling it to other people. It’ll stay just between you and me.” Dowoon tells him. He raises his pinkie. “Promise.”

A smile slowly finds its way onto Wonpil’s lips. He reaches Dowoon in no time, and intertwines their little fingers.

“There.” Dowoon says, smiling. “It’s a promise!”

Before Dowoon can even breathe, Wonpil almost tackles him down, hugging the drummer tightly.

 

“Thank you, Dowoonie. Thank you.”

And then, his cheeks hurt, because the smile on his face is real, and it hasn’t been that way in a while.

 

 

~Jae~

 

Jae pulls his guitar up, securing its strap around his shoulder. He breathes deeply once, making sure he remembers the arrangement he’s been working on.

He plays it slow and unsure, unable to look at the other four people in the room.

Around him, the four members listen carefully, and Jae thinks he sees Wonpil and Brian taking notes from the corners of his eyes, but he could be wrong.

He finishes the last chord with a slow strum, finally looking up.

 

“That was it. What did you think? I know it needs a lot of work still, and it’s really nothing that good but-“

“Jaehyung, please.” Wonpil cuts him off, making Jae raise his eyebrows. “It’s amazing. I think it definitely fits the theme of the song. I took some notes for the keys, but we’d have to work on it together.”

Jae nods throughout Wonpil’s small speech, as if to make sure Wonpil knows he’s listening.

 

“I took some notes too.” Brian cuts in. “For the bass.” He adds. “I really like what you did in the first part, but I think maybe it’d be better not to go in with that much strength right off the bat? Like, taking it slow at first and then, bam!, the chorus hits… Does it make sense?”

 

“Yeah, it does. I was unsure about that too, but you’re right.” Jae agrees.

 

“I think your arrangement is really good, but can we try something?” Sungjin asks.

 

“Sure.”

 

“Before the chorus’ breakdown, you sneaked in a minus chord, right?” Jae nods. “Alright. Then, my idea is to maybe replace it with a major one? It’s a really small detail though….” Sungjin lowers his head.

 

“No, it’s nice. Let’s do that. I think maybe you should get this arrangement and play it, and I’d get a second arrangement for the tabs.” Jae suggests. Sungjin smiles.

 

“Alright. Yeah, let’s do it. I have a few ideas on that too.”

 

“Great, so you two can work on it, right?” Brian cuts in. Jae and Sungjin nod. “And Wonpil, you said you have some ideas for the keys, so you’re working on that?” Wonpil nods. Brian smiles and looks at Dowoon.

 

“I’ve got the drums, obviously.” Dowoon nods. “I think I’ve got it down…?” He tries. “From what you were saying before, I think it’s best to keep it lowkey for the drums. Nothing too strong. I got the timing from Jaehyung’s guitar playing, so all I need now is to put it together.” He explains. “Also, what do you think about an instrumental break? I think we could definitely get one in the middle or the end? If you guys want to, that is.” He asks. Brian smiles, and so do the other three.

 

“I think that’s an amazing idea.” The bassist agrees.

 

*

 

“I am officially exhausted.” Jae concludes, guitar case on his back.

 

They worked on instrumental and vocal arrangements for the whole day, and, by the looks of it, there’s still a lot of work to be done. But it’s almost seven in the afternoon and they should all get some rest, so they decide to stop for the day and continue next time.

Now, they find themselves and the door, Dowoon biding them goodbye before shutting the door.

 

“How are y’all getting home?” Jae asks, to make conversation.

 

“Pil and I are taking the bus. It’s about three stops away from our homes, so it’s not that long a ride.” Sungjin answers. Jae nods along, then turns to Brian, who points at his car.

 

“Right.” Jae presses his lips onto a thin line. Right. That means he’ll have to take the bus too. Alone. At night.

 

“We’ll be going then. Goodnight, Brian. Goodnight, Jaehyung!” Wonpil waves a hand at them, as he and Sungjin begin walking away.

 

“Bye…” Jae says, waving shortly. He checks his phone – twelve past seven. This means he either gets to the station in eight minutes – which for him is impossible – or he’s in to wait for another thirty minutes before the next bus to his place. Ah, fuck my life.

 

“Hey, Jae--hyung?” Brian calls, making the guitarist glance up from his screen. Brian has a puzzled expression on his face, which is almost comical.

 

“Yes.” He answers shortly.

 

“Do you… that is, do you need a ride?” He asks at last, which has Jae’s mouth hanging open in an ‘o’ shape.

 

“Oh.” He voices. “That. There’s no need. I’ll just go by bus.” Jae denies.

 

“But it’ll take you a really long time-“

“Seriously, it’s okay, dude. Don’t worry.” He tries again, hoping Brian gets the message. The message being that Jae doesn’t want to be in a small confined space with Brian for twenty minutes, without knowing what to say or how to properly breathe.

 

“Okay… I’m off, then.” Brian nods, turning around and walking towards his car. Jae watches him go.

Oh, well. You had your chance, idiot. Better luck being smart instead of stubborn next time.

 

Jae sighs at himself, and turns around, starting to make his way towards the bus station. He hopes there’re empty seats at the station, so he won’t have to stand for twenty minutes.

He hears a motor engine, and he frowns when he realizes the sound isn’t going away. When he looks at the road, he finds a baby blue Mustang by his side. He bends down at the window’s level and sure enough, Brian’s on the driver’s seat. Brian pulls the window open.

 

“Last chance~” He sing songs, sporting that stupid smile on that stupid face of his.

So persistent.

“No, thanks.”

Brian sighs, leaning sideways and opening the door.

 

“Just get in, Jaehyung.” He says. Jae shakes his head. “It’s gonna rain soon. Get in the car, Jae.” He orders.

There’s not much Jae can say to that, there’s not much he wants to say to that, so he simply gives up, with a pout on his face.

 

“Ugh, alright fine. You’re so annoying.” Jae comments, finally getting on the passenger’s seat and shutting the door. Brian snorts.

 

“You’re one to talk. Look.” Brian retorts, pointing at the front window, where small droplets of rain can already be seen. Jae’s pout loses its intensity by the second. “You’re welcome.” Jae crosses his arms, looking out his window.

 

“Whatever. Just take me home.” He grumbles quietly. Brian chuckles.

 

“Sure, your highness.”

 

“My name is Jae.” He counters, only then realizing he’s pretty much asking Brian to call him Jae. He facepalms mentally. Brian is quiet for a few seconds. Then:

 

“Sure, Jae.”

If Brian hears Jae's breath hitch, he says nothing of it.

 

The ride isn’t as awkward as Jae thought it’d be, given Brian does start talking soon enough, about the project, and the song, and how they can make it better. Jae slowly gets more comfortable on his seat.

 

“You know what? We should get a name for ourselves.” Jae says out of nowhere, interrupting something Brian had been saying about who should sing first.

 

“What?”

 

“A name. For us. For the band. It’s weird to call it ‘the project’ every time, like we’re working on some confidential science experiment.” Jae explains. Brian snorts. “What? It’s true!”

 

“No no, you’re right. But what would we name ourselves?” he asks, to which Jae shrugs.

 

“I dunno, beats me.” He replies. Brian frowns, and from Jae’s side perspective, it’s really cute how he pouts when he does. Wait, what? Jae shakes his head, trying to rid himself of such thoughts. “I think it’s something we should decide as a group, but we should definitely choose a name. Something that makes us us.” he says. “You know what I’m sayin’?” He adds in English.

 

“Yeah, I understand.” Brian answers, also in English.

 

“Damn, I forgot you do know what I’m saying. You’re probably one of the few people who speaks English around here.” Jae remembers. He hasn’t spoken his native language in a while, and he didn’t actually know how much he’d missed it.

 

“Same here.” Brian nods, keeping their conversation in English. “I mean, you’ve always got Mr. Kim, but I’m pretty sure we’re both on his bad side, now.” He jokes, which has Jae snorting. “Thank you for that time, by the way.”

 

“You’ve said that before.” Jae notes, raising a brow. The corners of Brian’s mouth twitch upwards, but he doesn’t smile.

 

“Yeah, I know. But that was actually the first time someone stood up for me like that. So thanks, Jae.”

Oh.

 

“Y-You’re welcome. I guess…” Jae looks away again, not because he’s embarrassed, but because he feels like there’s something more that Brian isn’t telling him, and he doesn’t want to pry.

As he looks out the window, he notices they’ve passed his house already.

 

“Hey, Brian, you’ve gone past my place already…” He points out. Brian smiles smugly.

 

“Oh, I know. All that talking made me hungry, so we’re stopping by McDonalds first. Hope that’s alright.”

 

“I have no money.” Jae deadpans. Brian snorts.

 

“I’ll cover for you.”

 

“How kind of you.” Jae glares, while Brian simply smirks.

 

“Well, I have always been kind. We’ve had this conversation before.”

 

“Asshole.” Jae curses, as he plots to order three extra large burgers.

Chapter Text

~Brian~

 

Brian is swiping a table clean when he spots the door to the café opening, from the corner of his eye. He checks on it, but it’s just a random costumer again. Yeri-ssi is behind the register, so he stays put, placing the cleaning cloth back on his apron’s front pocket. He sighs to himself – how long ‘till four o’clock, so he can get a break?

Not that he's complaining, don't get him wrong; he's just tired from school and the all nighter he pulled to work on the project song's bass melody.

 

It’s not until twenty minutes later, when someone enters the café, that Brian’s mood starts improving. He hides a smirk when Jaehyung trips on himself as he speed walks towards a table in the corner. What an idiot.

He approaches the guitarist slowly, trying not to scare him like he’d unintentionally done last time. Jaehyung looks up him, not moving his head.

 

“Howdy.” Jaehyung greets him.

 

“Good afternoon.” Brian nods back. “What can I get you?” he asks, taking out his notepad and clicking his pen open, ready to take the guitarist’s order. Jaehyung stares at him for a while, before he turns to his schoolbag next to where he’s siting and takes out a notebook of his own.

 

“This.” Jaehyung finally answers, handing him his own notebook. Brian frowns, clicking the pen closed, and placing it and the small notepad on the table, before grabbing Jaehyung’s notebook.

 

“What’s this?” He questions as he looks at the page where it's opened. Jaehyung sighs loudly, making Brian look up from the notebook in time to see Jaehyung press his forehead to the table and mumble something against the table top. Brian chuckles. “What was that?”

Jaehyung looks up, his chin still resting on the table, and glares at Brian.

 

“I need your help.” He repeats louder. Brian bits on his lower lip to keep from smiling.

Is he acting cute on purpose?

He ends up smirking anyway, which has Jaehyung pouting.

 

“Well, I’m still working.” He gestures towards the register, where Yeri-ssi is talking to a costumer.

 

“You were ‘still working’ that Thursday too. That didn’t stop you then.” Jae protests, and Brian is finding it difficult to say no to him.

 

“Alright, fine.” Brian gives in, plopping down on the chair across Jaehyung’s. “What do you need my help for?”

As soon as Brian concedes, Jaehyung all but lightens up, straightening himself up on his chair and leaning forwards.

 

“Well, you see, I’ve been working on the tabs for our song, right? And I’ve got most of it down, after we finished arranging the main guitar it was mostly easy, but the instrumental break is just killing me. I’ve been working non-stop on this but nothing feels right, I’m really-“

“Wow wow, slow down, Jaehyung!” Brian cuts him off, gesturing with both hands for him to shut up. Jaehyung presses his lips onto a thin line before puckering them into a pout, and Brian would be lying if he said he doesn’t follow the movement with his eyes. He’s quick to look down at the notebook, hoping Jaehyung hasn’t noticed the gaze on his lips.

 

Trying to focus on the tabs Jaehyung wrote, Brian imagines it being played. He can’t tell exactly how it sounds with the other instruments, but it seems fine so far. If only...

 

“Alright. I've got an idea.” Brian speaks up. He picks his pen and notepad up and writes down a tab similar to Jae’s, with a few alterations here and there. “What do you think of this?” He asks, handing him the paper, after ripping it out if the pad.

 

Jaehyung takes it and looks over at it, and Brian isn’t able to take his eyes off of him for a second. He looks nice when he’s focused.

Jaehyung looks up at him after a while.

 

“So?”

 

“Did you really just come up with this in two seconds?” Jaehyung asks.

 

“I simply changed a few things in some parts. But do you like it? Is it okay?”

 

“It’s perfect.” Jaehyung admits. Brian feels himself blush at that. He hopes Jaehyung won’t see it.

 

“Thanks...” he smiles “It’s mostly your work though.”

Jaehyung returns his smile, and for once, Brian feels like they can have a casual conversation, without being angry or awkward with each other.

 

“-“

“I’m truly sorry to interrupt.” Shit “but don’t you think” shit shit shit “you should leave the flirting for when you’re not working, Kang?” Fuck.

 

Brian doesn’t even process what she says, as he grimaces at Jae, who clearly sees the fear in his eyes. He turns slowly to the petite but dangerous young woman standing behind his chair.

 

“I’m so sorry, Yeri-ssi! I lost track of time! I’ll go help in the kitchen now!” Brian apologizes, bowing his head about thirty times, before he ups and all but sprints to the kitchen.

 

He closes the door behind himself and falls back to it, sighing deeply with his eyes still wide open.

 

“Dude, you look like you’ve almost just died or something.” One of the younger bakers, Soobin, jokes.

 

“I almost just did.” Brian whispers, his heart still beating fast.

 

He has yet to figure if it’s beating fast for Yeri-ssi’s threat or for Jae’s smile, which he can still picture in his head.

 

*

~Jae~

 

“Did you see his face?” Yeri-noona asks him, barely holding back her smile. Jae, too, has a hard time hiding his.

 

“You’re too mean, noona. I was the one who asked him for help.” Jae admits. Yeri places her hands on her hips, as if preparing herself to scold him.

 

“Park Jaehyung! How dare you distract my employees when they’re trying to work?”

 

“Technically, he’s not your employee…” Jae points out, and it’s become clear to him that if he doesn’t shut up in the next couple of seconds, Yeri’s gonna make him, and it won’t be pretty.

 

“Not yet. Miss Kim has talked to me many times already. She’s going to make me the manager of this place.” Yeri affirms proudly. Jae can’t help the smile that grows on his face. For all they joke, Yeri has been working at the café for as long as it’s been open, and she definitely has the profile for being a manager.

 

“I’m glad for you, Yeri-ssi. You deserve the job.” Jae speaks truthfully. Yeri returns his smile.

 

“Aww, ain’t you the cutest.” She jokes. “I can see why Brian likes you.” She comments, which makes Jae’s face burn red and his eyes widen. What?

 

“W-What? Brian does not l-like me. We’re school colleagues. Friends at best. We don’t-“

“Yah yah, chill, will you? I was joking. But now I’m interested.” She smirks, taking the seat previously occupied by Brian. Jae gulps, fearing what she might want to know. “The last time I saw you getting this worked up over someone, was when you had a crush on Lihua. Ahh, you were so embarrassed every time she was around…” She recalls. Jae’s blush turns darker. “Pity she moved away before you ever got the guts to tell her about your feelings.”

 

“Noona… can we please not talk about my non existing love life? Please.” Jae asks, hopeful that they can change subjects. Yeri rolls her eyes.

 

“You’re too insecure, Jae. And that’s not good. Try getting out of your comfort zone more often. Maybe you’ll enjoy what comes out of that. And remember, making mistakes also teaches you stuff, so don’t stop because something doesn’t go the way you thought it’d go.” She advices, gesturing with her hands to make it sound more poetic. Jae rolls his eyes, pretending to be annoyed.

 

“How deep, Yeri-ssi. I’m almost tearing up.” He deadpans. Yeri smacks him across the head.

 

“Yah, you annoying child! You’ve got much to learn.”

 

“You act like you’re much wiser than me, noona.” Jae protests, rubbing the side of his head which Yeri smacked. “We both know the truth.” He jokes, preparing himself for another hit. However, Yeri just shrugs, getting up from her seat.

 

“Well, you’re not wrong. And yet, what I told you still stands. You’re too young to shut your feelings to yourself. I gotta go back to work now, but mock my words, Park Jaehyung. I am watching you.” She warns, pointing with two fingers between her eyes and Jae, while leaving towards the register, where a small line of costumers has started to form.

 

*

 

~Dowoon~

 

Dowoon walks in silence, eyes on the road and ears open, listening closely to Wonpil, who’s chatting vividly by his side.

“-and then, she was crazy! She just closed her eyes, focused, and bam!, she started flying! You have got to watch that movie, Dowoonie, it’s amazing!” He insists, holding onto Dowoon’s arm. Dowoon smiles at the pianist, nodding.

 

“I will, I will. You’ve gotten me interested on it.” He assures. Wonpil smiles that smile Dowoon likes so much – the one where all his teeth are showing and small dimples form in his cheeks (the one when he’s really smiling).

 

“Yes!” Wonpil jumps in the air, making a small victory dance. “I’ll finally have someone to talk to about this! Sungjin only watches boring movies…” Wonpil rolls his eyes, and Dowoon’s smile falters for a second, before he puts it back on. “But wait!” Dowoon stops in his track.

 

“What is it? Are you okay?” Dowoon asks, suddenly worried that Wonpil might be hurt, or has forgotten something at school. Wonpil looks horrified.

 

“You won’t understand the movie if you only watch that one!” He says, his eyes opened so wide Dowoon is scared they’ll pop out of his head. The drummer chuckles quietly.

 

“That’s what you’re worried about?”

 

“I’m serious!” He pouts, stomping his foot on the floor like a five-year-old would.

 

“Alright, alright. How many movies of those are there even? Three? Four?”

“About twenty or so…” Wonpil reveals, looking down, while Dowoon’s left shocked.

 

“Twenty? That’s a lot.” He comments.

 

“Yeah… it’s okay if you don’t want to watch it then… since there’re a lot of movies before that one.” Wonpil tells him, still looking like a hurt puppy. Dowoon frowns, pushing on Wonpil’s shoulder lightly to make him look up at him.

 

“Hey.” He says, smiling at the pianist. “I told you I’d watch it, didn’t I?” Wonpil nods. “Then, I’ll watch it. I’ll watch all of them.” He promises. Wonpil’s face twists, and Dowoon watches his smile grow back on his face. He doesn’t want that smile to leave Wonpil’s face ever again.

 

“Really?! You will?” Wonpil asks, sounding hopeful.

 

“If,” Dowoon starts, putting up his index finger “and only if, you watch them with me.” He speaks his terms.

 

“Hmm.” Wonpil ponders, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “Would we watch them at your place?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“With popcorn?”

 

“Of course.” He nods.

 

“On that flat screen?”

 

“If they’re all on Netflix.”

 

“Alright. I’ll watch them with you.” Wonpil raises his pinkie. Dowoon stares at it for a while until the pianist motions for him to raise his pinkie too. They lock fingers. “Promise.” Wonpil smiles, and Dowoon replies with a smile of his own. Wonpil pulls at his hand by his pinkie, bringing their jointed hands closer to his face. “By the way, I’d watch them with you even if we watched them at my place, on my crappy computer with cold store bought popcorn.” Wonpil tells him, their pinkies still hanging between their faces. Dowoon feels himself blush at that.

 

“We can always do both.” He suggests. Wonpil seems to like the idea.

 

“Then, Friday at six for the two first movies? My place?” He invites. Dowoon thinks his ears might melt from how hot they are. He nods.

 

“Yeah, okay.”

They smile at each other for a while, before looking back to where they’re going. Dowoon keeps his grip on Wonpil’s pinkie strong, unconsciously so, as if he can’t let him go. After a while, he realizes what he’s doing and slowly takes his hand back, feeling embarrassed that he’d held Wonpil’s finger for so long already.

Wonpil says nothing about it, simply chuckling and going back to what he was saying before, something about his parents that Dowoon doesn’t really process, too busy thinking about how small and soft Wonpil’s hands are.

 

*

 

“Dowoonie! Wonpillie! I haven’t seen you both in a while!” Mr. Min greets them as they enter the music store. The two boys bow and smile politely at the shop owner.

 

“Hi.” Dowoon smiles, waving a hand at the old man, who smiles back.

 

“How have you been, Mr. Min?” Wonpil asks.

 

“Oh, you know. Doing fine. The shop is still taking a lot of my time, and old age is not forgiving.” He admits, with a sad smile. Wonpil nods in understanding. “But anyways, enough about me, how are you boys doing? Busy with school I assume?”

 

“Oh, yes, very busy.” Dowoon says.

“Very busy.” Wonpil agrees. Mr. Min smiles knowingly.

 

“But not busy enough you can’t spare this old man a visit?” He guesses. The two boys chuckle.

 

“Never.” Wonpil smiles. “Can I-“

“The keys are yours whenever you want them.” Mr. Min answers, before Wonpil finishes his sentence. “And the cajon is at your service, Dowoonie.” Mr. Min offers. Dowoon bows politely.

 

“Ah, thank you.” He says, going over to the instrument, and sitting down on it.

 

“You can play that?” Wonpil asks, looking surprised. Dowoon blushes.

 

“Well, a bit…” he admits. Wonpil places his hands on his hips, and Dowoon thinks that’s really cute. Wait, what am I thinking?

 

“You’re a box of surprises, aren’t you, Yoon Dowoon?” he questions, shaking his head like he can’t believe him. Dowoon shrinks to himself in embarrassment.

You’re full of surprises too, Kim Wonpil, is what Dowoon wants to say, but is cut off before he can even open his mouth.

 

“You two sure are cute.” Mr. Min says, chuckling. The two boys are quick to look away from each other and clear their throats, which only makes the shop owner laugh a bit more. “What will you play today?”

 

“Do you have any suggestions?” Wonpil asks him, as he turns on the keyboard and sets its volume.

 

“Just play anything you like, I’m sure I’ll like it too.” The man answers, gesturing dismissively but kindly.

Wonpil nods, looking over at Dowoon next. Their eyes meet and Dowoon has to force himself not to look away. Wonpil's eyes shine brightly.

 

“I’m fine with anything too, as long as you tell me how fast or slow the pace of the song is.” Dowoon says.

 

“Alright, then, do you know this one?”

Wonpil plays the first few notes of a song Dowoon instantly recognizes, then stops to look back at the drummer.

 

“Yeah, I like that song a lot.” Dowoon confirms. Wonpil smiles and Dowoon gives the count downs.

 

They play together with ease, and Dowoon marvels in how good Wonpil’s voice sounds. He finds it cute when he notices Wonpil tends to close his eyes and shake his head from side to side while he sings.

What are you thinking, Yoon Dowoon?

 

Dowoon shakes his head, hoping to clear his head, and misses a beat in the meantime, which causes Wonpil to open his eyes a give him a confused look. Dowoon feels himself blush, and looks down, giving his full attention to his instrument in order not to miss any more beats. Being a drummer, it’s already embarrassing enough to miss a beat, let one alone having missed one for having been thinking about someone else.

 

*

~Sungjin~

 

Sungjin freezes when he’s caught staring. He just couldn’t look away.

 

Like he’s been doing since a couple of weeks ago, Sungjin had stayed late for extra singing lessons. He’d been getting them ever since Miss Lee gave out the band project. He feels like he can’t fall back and he doesn’t want to bring his team down. No matter how many times Wonpil’s told him his singing is great, Sungjin simply can’t have enough of practice.

So, he’s been staying late for an extra hour or two of practice. Usually, when it’s time to leave, no one besides school janitors and a couple of teachers are left hanging around the school, so it comes as a surprise to Sungjin when he passes the performative arts’ department and listens to faint music, probably coming from one of the dance practice rooms. He thinks maybe someone who takes dance lessons had thought like him, and had stayed back for extra practice. He finds himself approaching the room, and peaking in through the almost closed door.

There’s someone practicing – a girl with long black hair. She’s doing contemporary dance, and from what Sungjin can tell (mostly out of his personal opinion rather than knowledge) she’s good. Her face is almost permanently covered by her hair, which makes it difficult for Sungjin to tell if he knows her or not, but for some reason, be it the music or the way the girl moves along with it, he can’t pry his eyes off of her. She’s incredible. The song comes to an end and the girl takes her hand to her hair, removing it from her face, while panting for air.

Sungjin's eyes widen the moment he realizes who the girl is, and he finds himself rooted in his spot, unable to move.

He freezes when Jieun spots him in the mirror. He was caught staring. He feels himself blush because of it.

She must think I’m a creep.

 

“Oh, hi Sungjin! I didn’t see you there. Come in!”

Sungjin looks back up all of a sudden, being greeted with kinds eyes and a warm smile.

She’s not mad? Oh my God, she isn’t mad. Do something! Greet her!

 

“H-Hi Jieun. Excuse me.” He bows slightly while walking in, mentally slapping himself for stuttering. Jieun chuckles and goes to stop the music, which has started to play all over again.

 

“I didn’t know you were still at school.” Jieun comments. Sungjin fidgets with his hands to keep himself occupied.

 

“Well, yeah… I’ve been having extra singing lessons on Wednesdays.” He admits, still unable to look Jieun in the eyes. “I didn’t know you were still at school either.” Sungjin retorts, chuckling quietly and hoping that didn’t sound too bad.

 

“Oh, yeah, it’s pretty much the same for me with dancing.” Jieun says. “The dance department’s also been very busy lately. You guys have your group project and we have our own too.” She reveals, which efficiently has Sungjin interested.

 

“Really? The other departments are having changes for this year's contest too?”

 

“Yep.” She nods. “We’re having two performances instead of one, a group and solo or duo performance.” She informs, still smiling. Sungjin does the best he can not to stare at her smile for too long.

 

“Oh, I see. That’s gotta be tough on you then. On all of you, I mean.”

 

“It is. But it’s also kind of fun? Like, I most definitely would not have been talking to as many people as I am now, because of the changes. I’m glad I can get to know a few of my colleagues better before going off to University, if that makes any sense.” She chuckles. Sungjin feels something akin to jealousy rise inside of him, and hates that the feeling is pointless, since there’s nothing for him to be jealous about.

 

“No, I get it.” He nods along, hiding his feelings. “Also, I’m sorry if I scared you before, I was just walking by and was surprised to see someone other than the janitors is still here.” He explains. Jieun laughs at that, and Sungjin smiles too. He likes her laugh, he decides.

 

“Don’t worry, I wasn’t scared. I was more surprised by the look on your face.” She tells him, mimicking his shocked expression. “Was my dancing that bad?” She asks, still laughing. Sungjin panics.

 

“No! Of course not! You were amazing I swear! I was staring like that because of how good I thought you were!” Shit.

The smile on Jieun’s face falters for a moment, as she takes in what Sungjin’s just said.

 

“Oh.” She lets out, before a grin spreads across her face again. “Thanks. That’s really nice of you!”

Sungjin lets out the breath he didn’t know he had been holding at that. That girl’s gonna give him a heart attack on of these days.

 

“Y-You’re welcome.” He speaks, knowing he’s blushing. “I, well, I should probably get going…” He says, though it’s an excuse. He’s just not sure how long he’ll able to stand being so close to her, to be speaking with her.

 

“Oh…” It’s a different kind of ‘oh’. “Okay, then. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then, Sungjin.”

 

“Yeah, I guess, you will…” Sungjin manages a tight-lipped smile. “See you tomorrow, Jieun.” He nods one last time, before closing the door to the dance practice room and sprinting his way to the school's exit.

 

Sungjin figuratively and literally facepalms all the way to the bus station. What was that?

Chapter Text

~Wonpil~

 

Wonpil distracts himself by pretending to look for books. Ever since the day had started and he’d met up with Sungjin at the bus station, the boy hadn’t shut up about his latest encounter with Jieun. Don’t take him the wrong way, Wonpil is glad Sungjin got to talk to the girl he likes, he really is. But he’s also jealous and his heart hurts to hear him talk about the girl so fondly.

 

“Ahh, I’m sorry Pill-ah. I’m probably being really annoying. We’re at the library for crying out loud.” Sungjin whispers, after ending his story.

 

“No, it’s okay, hyung. I don’t mind. I’m glad you got to speak with Jieun.” Wonpil smiles, though he has to force himself in doing so. He keeps looking for a book he doesn’t know the name of. “I’m gonna go look in the other side of the bookshelf.” Wonpil informs. He needs to breathe for a second.

 

“Oh, okay. I think the one I’m looking for is here, thought I haven’t really been focused on looking for it.” That makes two of us, hyung.

 

Wonpil smiles one last time, before leaving to the other side of the shelf, and picking up a random book. They're at the school's library looking for books to write about, for their Korean homework. For Wonpil, it's not that bad, given he enjoys commenting on stuff and expressing his opinion about all topics. However, Sungjin is more reserved, which is Wonpil has agreed to come here with him and help him out with his homework. The book Wonpil picks up is called ‘Youth’, by an author Wonpil hasn’t heard off, but since the summary seems cool, he decides to take a look at it and sits down on the floor, leans his back against the opposite bookshelf and opens the first page of the book. He learns the book is about a boy who’s lost someone – a friend, a lover. He’s recalling their precious time together, when they could still be as one.

Without realizing what he’s doing, Wonpil’s eyes search for Sungjin. He can see him through an empty space in the bookshelf in front of him. Sungjin has his eyes on a book of his own, probably the one he’d been looking for. Sungjin looks up from the book and glances sideways. His eyes are shining and the littlest smile grows on his face. Wonpil follows his gaze and his eyes land on Jieun. When had she gotten here? Jieun brushes a strand of hair behind her ear. As always, she looks beautiful.

Wonpil looks back at Sungjin. He’s still looking at her.

As I am still looking at you.

 

Wonpil sighs quietly; his heart feels like it’s being squeezed, and it hurts, but there’s nothing he can do.

A buzz coming from Wonpil’s pocket makes him flinch. He takes out his phone and opens the message. It’s from Dowoon. A small smile makes its way onto Wonpil’s lips as he reads the message.

 

>Would you like to walk home with me like yesterday? (received at 15:23)

 

Wonpil thinks the boy sounds polite even through texting, and it makes him chuckle. He looks back at Sungjin, and his smile falters.

 

<Id like to, but i usually walk home with Sungjin hyung. If you want to join us, then thats fine :) (sent at 15:25)

 

He sends the reply and holds onto the phone, waiting for Dowoon’s text. When it doesn’t immediately come, Wonpil puts the phone back in his pocket and looks back down at the book placed on his thighs. He restarts the page, since he’d gotten lost before. Right now, the boy from the story is walking alone, remembering the past. In his memories, he can be happy with his loved one again. Wonpil lets out a small huff, a sad smile displaying on his face as he feels like he can relate to the protagonist. How ironic is that?

 

“Hey, Wonpil.” Sungjin calls, and Wonpil looks up, meeting his friend’s eyes. He smiles. “Did you find your book?” Sungjin asks.

 

“Hm? Oh, yeah. And you?”

Sungjin looks down, clearly embarrassed. A shy smile grows on his face. Wonpil’s breath hitches; he blinks quickly, hoping the tears behind his eyes will go away. The last thing he needs is for Sungjin to see him break down again.

 

“Yeah, I found it. I-“

“Oh? Sungjin-ah!” a high pitched voice cuts him off. Wonpil turns his head to where Jieun used to be, and finds her now closer to Sungjin than she’d been before. “I didn’t see you there. How are you?” she asks, still unaware of Wonpil’s presence.

Sungjin is panicking. For an outsider, it might be hard to tell when Sungjin’s embarrassed or shy, but Wonpil knows him. He knows how he reacts, knows everything about him. And that expression on his face is clearly shyness.

Wonpil watches their exchange. It makes his heart pound harder on his chest, like it’s trying to rip past Wonpil's ribcage and leave. He wishes it could be that easy.

It’s then that his phone vibrates again and Wonpil checks to see if Dowoon’s answered him yet.

 

>Oh… I wouldn’t want to come in between, then. I’ll see you tomorrow? (received at 15:33)

 

Wonpil starts typing right away, but stops himself before sending the message. He has no right to bring Dowoon into this, just because he knows about Wonpil’s feelings for Sungjin.

<No, please come with me|

<No, please come wi|

<No, plea|

<No,|

<Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow Dowoonie (sent at 15:34)

 

Wonpil sighs. He hates the way he feels. Hates that this pain won’t go away. Hates that he loves Sungjin and can never be with him.

“Wonpil? You okay?”

Wonpil shakes his head, tries to break free from his thoughts, and looks at Sungjin, who’s staring at him with a worried expression.

 

“Yeah, I’m good.” He lies, doing his best to fake a smile.

When will his heart allow him to be happy again?

 

 

~Dowoon~

 

Dowoon frowns a bit when he sees the text reply on his phone. He’d wanted to walk with Wonpil, but since Sungjin’s also coming, he feels like he’d be intruding into their routine. Not to mention, Wonpil probably wants to spend time with Sungjin alone.

 

“Hey, Dowoon. What’s got you frowning like that?” Younghyun asks, startling him. Dowoon puts his phone in his jean’s pocket and readjusts his backpack on his shoulder.

 

“Oh, it’s nothing. Just a text message.” He shrugs, hoping Younghyun will leave it at that.

 

“Okay, if you say so.” Dowoon’s thankful when Younghyun drops the subject so quickly. “Do you want a ride? I’m leaving in five and I can drop you home.” He offers. Dowoon smiles, nodding as an answer.

 

“Thanks, Younghyun.”

 

“Yah, don’t mention it. Let’s go then.” He motions for Dowoon to follow him.

 

*

 

“So, will you tell me who you’re texting?” Younghyun asks, his eyes never leaving the road. Dowoon looks up from his phone after sending his reply to Wonpil, who had kept texting him, even while he's walking home with Sungjin. Dowoon frowns at Younghyun.

 

“You sound like a dad.” He comments. “Being nosy.” He mumbles, looking outside the car window.

Younghyun snorts at his reaction.

 

“Well, I do worry about you and I am driving you home. Doesn’t that make me entitled?” He jokes, though Dowoon can tell Younghyun truly cares. He sighs.

 

“It’s Wonpil.”

 

“What about him?” Younghyun asks, frowning slightly.

 

“I was texting Wonpil. I asked him if he wanted to walk home with me again, but he said today he was going with Sungjin, and I didn’t want to int-“ Dowoon cuts himself off. He promised not to say anything about Wonpil's feelings towards Sungjin to anyone, yet here he is, almost spilling it. “I didn’t want to push myself into their routine.” He ends up saying instead.

 

“Oh, Dowoon. You have to stop assuming you’re a burden to everyone! How many times have I told you-“ Younghyun’s scolding goes on for a bit, but Dowoon doesn’t pay much attention to it. It’s something Younghyun has been doing a lot lately – scolding him. He almost sounds like his dad - or rather, the dad he never had -, and Dowoon isn’t sure if that makes him feel happy or annoyed. Maybe a bit of both. “-Wait.” Dowoon’s attention is turned back to Younghyun as his voice suddenly changes tones. “You said ‘again’.” Dowoon is confused.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“You said you texted Wonpil asking if he wanted to walk with you again. Is what I’m asking.” Younghyun elaborates, only adding to Dowoon’s confusion.

 

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I didn’t get the question.”

Younghyun sighs, as if Dowoon’s supposed to have guessed it already.

 

“Jesus, you’re slow. I’m asking about you walking Wonpil home. When? How? Why?” He finally clarifies. Dowoon makes an ‘o’ shape with his mouth, before he recalls the previous day and presses his lips shut.

 

“I- We, well, I was gonna walk home alone anyway. And so was he. So, I asked him if he wanted to come with me and he said yes. Is all.” Is not all, but Dowoon still feels embarrassed about the talking, and the promising and the song playing (and, of course, the staring, and the blushing, and the way hist heart was pounding in his chest).

 

“Alright. That sounds nice. Did you two talk? Had fun?”

 

“Oh my God, you are a dad!” Dowoon exclaims is despair. Younghyun snorts loudly.

 

“I’m sorry.” He says between his laughter. The car halts to a stop, and it’s then Dowoon notices they’re at a parking lot, to be more precise, the parking lot right outside Younghyun’s apartment building.

 

“Huh, Younghyun… not to be mean or anything, but didn’t you forget anything…?” He asks, pointing to himself with both index fingers. Younghyun chuckles, reaching a hand out and ruffling Dowoon’s hair, which makes him pout.

 

“I know, I know. I’ll send you home later, kiddo. But I need your help.”

Dowoon raises an eyebrow.

 

“Oh, okay. Is this about Jaehyung?” He questions, a playful smirk showing on his face when Younghyun blushes.

 

“No! Shut up! It isn’t!” He proceeds to smack Dowoon on the arm, though it doesn’t cause much damage to the smirk on his face. “I need your help with a song I’ve been working on.” He explains. “It’s not the one from our school project, but I’ve been pushing finishing this song for way too long, and I could use the help.”

Dowoon replaces his smirk with an honest smile as he listens to Younghyun.

 

“Alright, Younghyun. I’ll do my best.”

 

*

      Friday

 

~Wonpil~

 

After school, Wonpil finds himself rushing home, constantly tugging on Sungjin’s sleeves to make him walk faster to the bus station. When Sungjin asks him what’s all the rush for, Wonpil simply smiles, unable to keep his excitement down.

Okay, so maybe he is too excited. Sue him. He doesn’t remember the last time he’s had someone over to watch a movie that wasn’t Sungjin. And Sungjin prefers other movies – something Wonpil had to accept over time, given Sungjin isn’t really one to change his mind easily.

 

At the moment, Wonpil’s in his bedroom, making sure he’s got everything down: old computer? check; (store bought) popcorn? check; blankets? check. What more could they need?

Wonpil bites his lower lip, his eyes travelling towards the mirror hanging on his closet's open door. Does he look presentable? Why does that even matter? It’s not like this is a da-

Wonpil flinches at the sound of the bell. He’s here.

 

He makes a run for the door, and promptly opens it without so much as looking to see who’s there. There’s only one possible answer to that.

 

“Dowoonie.” A smile makes its way onto Dowoon’s lips, mimicking the one already on Wonpil’s. He makes room for Dowoon to walk in. “Welcome to my home.” He jokes as Dowoon walks in, and it’s then he takes a better look at the boy. Dowoon’s wearing boots, black jeans and a black leather jacket over an olive sweatshirt. He looks nice. Wonpil glances back at his own outfit and suddenly feels self-conscious about the jeans and white and blue stripped shirt he’s wearing.

 

“How have you been?” Dowoon asks, bringing Wonpil back to reality. “I mean, you know, since school ended, I guess…” Dowoon rambles on, when Wonpil doesn’t answer right away. Wonpil smiles.

 

“I’ve been great. Thanks for asking, Dowoonie.” He chuckles.

 

“Ahh, you've got to stop calling me that.” Dowoon pouts. Wonpil almost coos at him. Cute.

 

“Then, you should stop giving me reasons to.” Wonpil answers, chuckling when Dowoon makes a confused expression. Wonpil shakes his head. “Come on, it’s this way.”

 

 

 

“Your place is really cute.” Dowoon comments, upon entering Wonpil’s bedroom. Wonpil snorts.

 

“You don’t think it’s… I don’t know, small? Mediocre?” He asks, feeling self-conscious all over again. He’s aware that he and his parents aren’t the richest people in the world. He’s aware they’ve gone through many financial difficulties.

Dowoon grabs Wonpil's wrist, turns him around to face Dowoon, and gives Wonpil a look, like he doesn’t agree with him at all.

 

“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘comfortable’.” He corrects, making Wonpil smile.

 

“Thanks…” He knows he’s blushing, but he can’t seem to stop it. “Should we… watch the movie?” he questions, trying to change subjects.

 

“Sure.” Dowoon smiles. “That’s what I’m here for, right?”

Wonpil nods, smiling. Right.

 

*

 

“Wait, what? What do you mean he’s been frozen for seventy years?!”

Wonpil laughs as Dowoon keeps questioning the movie. He’s glad Dowoon seemed to enjoy it, or at least that he paid attention to it.

 

“It’s insane, right?” Wonpil agrees, unable to control his smile.

 

“But, wait, wait. What about Peggy? What happened to her? Is she dead? Tell me she’s not dead.”

 

“Well… That’s something you’ll have to see for yourself. No spoilers from me.” Wonpil tells him, making a gesture as if he’s sealing his mouth and throwing the invisible key away. Dowoon gasps.

 

“Yah, pick that key up! I wanna know! And what other heroes was that guy talking about? And saving the world?”

 

“You mean Fury? Yeah, can’t tell you that either. Sorry…”

 

“Kim Wonpil. I swear to God.” Dowoon warns, though it sounds playful more than anything else. “Tell me.” He orders. “Please.” He adds, with a polite bow. Wonpil chuckles, but shakes his head.

 

“No.” He presses his lips shut.

 

“Wonpil.”

 

“Not telling.”

 

“Wonpillie.”

 

“Still no.”

 

“Yah, don’t make me do this…” Dowoon sighs. Wonpil frowns in confusion.

 

“Do what-Ah!” Wonpil is cut off by Dowoon, who suddenly jumps on top of him, pinning him down to the bed and tickling his sides mercilessly. Wonpil squirms under him laughing, but Dowoon is way too strong. “Do- woon- ah! Stop-“ He pleads while trying to breathe, but Dowoon is too busy tickling and poking him to listen. “Please! Okay!” Wonpil yelps, finally managing to catch the other boy’s attention. Dowoon stops the tickling, but doesn’t move from where he is, pinning Wonpil to the bed, practically straddling his lap. Wonpil gulps, trying not to think about their current position, before looking back at Dowoon’s face. “In alternative, we could watch the next movie.” He suggests.

 

“O-Okay. Alright.” Dowoon nods. Wonpil smiles, raising an eyebrow at Dowoon.

 

“So… could you maybe, let me put the movie on?” He asks. Dowoon moves as quickly as lighting, and so does the blush that grows on his face.

 

 

~Dowoon~

 

He doesn’t know what comes over him, but, in a second, he’s pushing Wonpil down and crawling on top of him, poking his sides and laughing as Wonpil tries uselessly to break free. Since when is Dowoon touchy? Since never. He isn’t. So why does Wonpil make his want to… touch? Okay, that sounds terribly perverted. Wonpil just has that ‘cling to me, peasants’ kind of aura. Yeah, that makes sense. At least, it’s what Dowoon tells himself for the entirety of the next movie they watch. When Wonpil leans his head on Dowoon’s shoulder and, in turn, Dowoon puts his arm around Wonpil's shoulders, he blames it on Wonpil’s aura too. That’s the only possible explanation, right?

Chapter Text

~Jae~

 

Jae can’t sleep. Simple as that. He’s tried it all: closing his eyes and counting sheep, listening to soft music, blinking quickly for a minute to tire his eyes. He's even went as far as taking one of his mom’s sleeping pills. Nothing works. He’s been rolling around in bed for the past hour and a half, and just can’t fall asleep. He sighs. Why him?

Why can’t he sleep, you might be wondering? Well, you see, there’s only one day until he and the other fours boys have to present their song for the whole class and Miss Lee to hear and see. Jae knows this is stupid – because really, they’ve worked hard and they’ve done an amazing job – yet he can’t help but to be nervous. And it’s eating at him from the inside out.

Jae rolls on bed again, shifting his weight to his left shoulder and reaching with his right hand for his phone.

3am already… I should really sleep…

Praying to all the gods he knows, Jae shuts his eyes once again, attempting – uselessly – to fall asleep.

 

Okay, this clearly isn’t working.

 

*

 

“You look like shit.” Brian snorts, upon walking up to a zombie looking Jae. Jae turns around, and his bag, heavy on his shoulders, slides sideways and almost makes him loose balance. He glares at the smirking boy.

 

“Well, thanks. I feel like shit.” Jae admits, uncapable of even getting mad, from how much he wants to just lay down and sleep for fifteen hours straight. He’s been open-eyed-sleeping for the whole day of school, listening to exactly none of the lessons he’s had, and almost not making it alive into the café, where he smacked his forehead on the glass door when entering. Not that anyone needs to know that.

Brian huffs at Jae’s comment, but places a hand on his shoulder. Jae pretends it doesn’t make his heart miss a beat.

 

“But seriously though, you look awful-“

“-You’ve mentioned it.” Jae cuts him off, starting to get a bit annoyed.

 

“No, I mean… are you okay?” Brian finishes. Jae looks up and finds him carrying a worried expression. He sighs.

 

“Yeah, just couldn’t sleep.” He tells Brian, who nods in understanding.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry. I know what that’s like. It sucks.” He pats Jae’s back as he speaks, probably attempting to comfort him. However, all that registers into Jae’s brain is Brian’s hand, gentle and hot, even through the fabric of his clothes, touching him, making him feel even sleepier. Jae yawns. Brian snorts. “Pfft, you should go home, Jaehyung. Get some sleep.” Brian advices, but Jae’s quick to shake his head no.

 

“No, can’t.” He denies. “We gotta-“ yawn “-We gotta practice today, before the presentation tomorrow.” He remembers. Brian raises an eyebrow at him.

 

“Jae. The song’s already perfect. We made it perfect. And you already sing and play it so well. You should rest for today. None of the guys are gonna let you play in this state either way. Come on, let’s go.” Brian pulls on Jae’s sleeve for him to follow Brian, but Jae pulls back (or he tries to pull back).

 

“Go where?” he asks, his eyes getting heavier with every passing second. Brian chuckles, reaching a hand out to cup Jae’s cheek.

Warm. His hand is warm.

Jae leans into the touch, closing his eyes. He almost lets himself fall asleep right there and then, if Brian hadn’t moved his hand back, causing Jae to frown at the loss of the heat source.

 

“Home. To sleep.” Brian answers. Jae doesn’t have it in himself to fight back anymore.

 

Jae tries to force himself to stay awake; he doesn’t want to fall asleep in Brian’s car. Not again. But as soon as Brian notices Jae forcing his eyes open, he starts singing. Jae frowns at him at first. But then he gets it. Brian’s singing a lullaby. It’s low and quiet, and so melodic it makes Jae yawn every two seconds.

He tries to stay awake. He really does, but the next time he opens his eyes, Brian’s opening the passenger’s door from the outside, and pulling Jae out of the car.

 

“Come on, sleepyhead. Let’s get you to bed.” Brian says, in a quiet voice. Jae’s never seen him like this. So… caring? Not that he’s complaining (he definitely isn't complaining).

 

It’s only when they get into an elevator that Jae realizes: wait, this isn’t my house. He looks at Brian, waiting for an answer, an explanation, but the boy next to him says nothing. The doors to the elevator open, revealing a small but wide hall. Jae frowns. He’s been here before.

Like he’s been hit with a baseball bat across the head, memories start filling up in his mind, making him recall the time, not that long ago, when Brian had taken him through that same hall, albeit in a different circumstance.

 

“Wait, Bri… Is this…? Why are we-“ Jae’s too sleepy to even talk properly. He hears Brian chuckling as he unlocks the door to his apartment.

 

“Welcome to my home. Again.” Brian accentuates the word ‘again’, though it doesn’t sound mocking, simply informative. Jae walks in slowly. His eyes are threatening to shut closed at any second.

 

“Brian, I… I think-“

The last thing Jae sees is Brian, coming to take a hold of him and placing his arms around Jae’s waist, before he passes out.

 

*

 

~Brian~

 

Brian checks the time again – it’s almost seven. He should go wake Jaehyung up.

 

After texting Dowoon that he and Jae wouldn’t be able to make it to practice (and after denying for about twenty times that no, they weren’t on a date), he finds himself with little to nothing to do. His shift is over for the day, so he doesn’t have to go back to the café. His homework is done, and the song for the school project is completed. There’s nothing left to do.

Getting Jae to bed had been easier than he thought it would.

When he’d passed out, Brian had thought that, like last time, he’d be heavy. But what he didn’t expect was for him to feel strangely lighter this time, light enough for Brian to pick him up bridal style. Brian’s heart tightened at the sigh of Jae sleeping, the way he snuggled closer to Brian’s chest and purred out a quiet snore.

As much as he liked to see this peaceful side of Jae, Brian’s arms were not made of iron, so he quickly walked towards his bedroom, carefully dropping Jae on the mattress.

After removing his shoes and glasses, Brian covered Jae with a blanket he usually kept on his closet. Brian almost clutched his heart, as Jae curled into a small ball. He needed to leave fast, before he ended up writing a whole song about how pretty Jae looked while sleeping, so he picked his guitar up and left the bedroom, shutting the door behind himself as quietly as he could.

 

He went to sit down on the small couch and placed the guitar on his legs, finding the most comfortable position to play it while leaning back.

He ended up playing a few quiet songs, as to not make a lot of noise, but when Jae didn’t wake up after two hours, he gave up, already bored of playing the same five songs with different arrangements, over and over again.

 

Next, he went to the kitchen, where he entertained himself by cooking – yes, he likes cooking (since it provides him with tasty food). However, he found out soon enough that maneuvering a stove while a sleeping Jae was on his mind wasn’t really all that smart, given he managed to burn himself when touching a scalding pan. Nice one, Kang.

 

After finally making dinner – for two, just in case – Brian glances at the time.

It’s getting late. I should go wake him up.

 

Taking a deep breath, he pushes the door to his bedroom open, his eyes instantly flying over to his bed, where Jae’s still asleep.

He hasn’t moved too much, maybe rolled around a few times, if his now messy hair has anything to say about it. Brian takes the sight in. Jae’s too much, he’s too cute. Too pretty. Too perfect.

 

Snap out of it! You’re an idiot, just wake him up and stop thinking about what it would feel like to card your fingers through his hair.

Brian sighs at his own conscience. It’s not really helping his situation.

He shakes his head, hopes he can stop thinking about Jae’s messy hair and pouty lips, and crunches down next to the sleeping boy.

 

“Jae…” He whispers, reaching a hand out and shaking Jae’s shoulder lightly. Jae barely even moves. “Come on, Jae. You have to wake up now. It’s getting late.” He says, his voice getting a bit louder as he presses on. Jae groans, his face scrunching into a sleepy frown. It’s adorable.

 

“Brian…” Fuck.

His voice is deep from sleep, and the way he lets out Brian’s name, almost like a moan, has Brian holding his breath, trying very hard not to let it get to him – especially not to the lower half of him.

Jae opens his eyes and finds himself ten inches away from Brian. His eyes go wide in a second.

 

“Jesus Christ!” He yelps, sitting up and pulling the blanket to cover himself. Brian snorts.

 

“Close, but no. I’m Brian.” He jokes, earning a glare from Jae.

 

“Ahah, very funny, asshole.” Jae says while squinting his eyes. “How long have you been there?” he asks, weirdly concerned for someone who’d been sleeping the whole time.

 

“I don’t know. A minute? I just came here to wake you up, because it’s almost seven and I made food.” He explains. Jae goes from squinting, to raising his eyebrows, to blushing, in just a couple of seconds, and Brian tries not to chuckle at him, and instead hands him his glasses.

 

“Oh…” He lets out, taking the glasses from Brian's hands and putting them on. “I see. Thanks.”

 

“Sure.” Brian smiles. “So, you wanna eat?”

 

*

 

“You know,” Jae speaks up, his mouth full of toast and eggs. Brian raises a brow, as if asking ‘what?’. “this makes me remember that other time. You also cooked, then.” Jae comments, swallowing the food on his mouth loudly. Brian shakes his head at him, unable to stop his smile at how adorable Jae looks when he eats, his cheeks all puffy from having food stored in them.

 

“But last time, you were dying from a headache.” Brian recalls. Then, he snorts. “This time, you’re dying from lack of sleep.”

 

“Shut up. I’m not sleepy any-“ Jae cuts himself off with a yawn.

 

“Sure.” He smirks.

 

“Asshole.” Jae glares, not even bothering to hide his blush.

 

*

     Earlier that day

~Sungjin~

 

Dowoon makes his way into the café at exactly four in the afternoon, like they’d all planned. Wonpil is already sitting down in front of Sungjin, both of them pretending to drink their respective milkshakes.

 

“Hey, guys. Sorry I’m late.” Dowoon greets them, taking a seat next to Wonpil, who smiles widely at his arrival.

 

“It’s okay, you’re not late!” Wonpil tells him.

 

“Hey, have you heard anything from Brian? Or Jaehyung?” Sungjin asks. Dowoon frowns.

 

“Not since we left school. Why?”

 

“Well, they haven’t arrived yet, so I was wondering if you knew-“ just then, Dowoon’s phone rings, which has all three boys staring at Dowoon’s pocket. He takes his phone out and checks it.

 

“Oh, it’s a text from Brian!” Dowoon notices. He quickly reads the message, before looking back at the two curious boys around him. “He says he and Jaehyung can’t make it today.”

 

“What? Why?” Sungjin frowns. Today is the last day before their presentation. They should be practicing. Dowoon shakes his head.

 

“Brian says Jaehyung wasn’t feeling good, so he took him home. He says for the three of us to try and practice if we want, but they won’t be able to come meet us.”

 

“Is everything okay?” Wonpil cuts in. “What’s wrong with Jaehyung?” he asks, sounding truly concerned.

 

“I just asked now. Let’s see what Brian answers.” Dowoon tells them.

 

“Okay, so if they’re not coming, do you still want to practice just the three of us?” Sungjin asks.

 

“I mean, if you want to, then that’s fine. We still have our own parts recorded, so we could simulate them actually being there.” Dowoon says. Wonpil nods along.

 

“That’s true. And I could use a bit more practice…”

 

“What are you talking about, Pil? You’re literally perfect already.” Sungjin scolds him, missing the way Wonpil blushes and looks down at his lap.

 

“T-Thanks, hyung…”

“Oh! Brian replied.” Dowoon cuts in, making the two boys glance his way. “He says Jaehyung passed out ‘cause he couldn’t sleep last night, and that he’s resting at Brian’s for now.” Dowoon informs, quickly beginning to type something else he doesn’t read out. A sudden mess of texts come back all too quickly.

 

“Jesus, what’s that?” Sungjin asks, startled by the raging mess of rings the phone’s emitting. Dowoon chuckles.

 

“Sorry, it’s nothing. I just sent something funny to Brian.” He dismisses, though the look on his face is one of mischievousness. Dowoon shakes his head as he reads the last of Brian’s replies. “Shall we get going, then?”

 

 

*

~Jae~

 

“Morning!”

Jae almost jumps from the loud greeting. He turns around, glaring at his best friend.

 

“It’s too early for it to be a good morning, Jieun. I don’t do good mornings until eleven o’clock.” Jae answers. Jieun snorts.

 

“Christ. What’s gotten you so anxious already? Got a test today?” She asks, half joking, half serious.

 

“Worse.” Jae shakes his head. Jieun frowns, but it takes only a few moments for her to remember.

 

“Oh, shit, that’s right. It’s show day!” she chants cheerfully. Jae grimaces.

 

“Please don’t.”

 

“Oh, come on Jae, you’re gonna do great. I know you are. Why are you so nervous?”

 

“Well, I don’t know, you tell me. Maybe because it’s an oral presentation we’ll be doing for the whole class to see? And it’s like, a one chance deal, you either rock it or you flunk it? What’ if I mess up? What if my voice cracks? What if I make a mistake? It’s not just my grade at stake here, we all-“

Jieun slaps her hand onto Jae’s mouth, as a last resource to shut him up. She holds his stare until Jae starts breathing again.

 

“Have you calmed down now?” She asks, to which Jae nods. Jieun removes her hand from Jae’s mouth and wipes it on her uniform skirt. Jae fakes a hurt expression for that, but Jieun simply rolls her eyes at him. “Okay, good. Now, shut the fuck up and listen, ok? You’re not gonna mess up. None of you are. You’re going to get there and do great, like you always do. So stop being stressed about it. You know how much harder it is to focus if you’re being stressed.” She advices him. Jae nods again.

 

“You’re right…” He sighs. “How are you always right?”

Jieun smirks.

 

“I guess some of us are just meant to be better.” She says, sarcastically whipping her hair back. Jae snorts.

 

“Aaand, there it is. I knew I couldn’t compliment you.”

 

“Ahh, shut up. You love me.” She dismisses, rolling her eyes at him. Jae chuckles, but doesn’t deny it. He does love her, after all.

 

*

 

It takes him all his willpower not to faint upon entering the music classroom. Everyone is there already. The students are there. Miss Lee is there. Brian is… wait. Where is Brian?

 

Jae frowns, making his way to the three boys huddled up next to the drums and the keyboard setting.

 

“Hey, guys.” Jae greets, giving them a shy smile. He’s not sure if they’re mad at him for not showing up to practice the day before. However, his worries are soon gone when Wonpil all but attacks him with a tight hug.

 

“Jaehyung! Are you okay? How do you feel? Did you sleep well? How is your-“

“Jesus, Pil, those are too many questions. Let him breathe.” Sungjin cuts him off, chuckling. Wonpil pouts, but let’s Jae go.

 

“Sorry…” He mutters, looking down. Jae chuckles, glad to see the boys don’t seem angry at him.

 

“No, it’s okay. I’m better today, thanks for asking. And I’m really sorry for not coming yesterday. I know it was our last chance to rehearse before the presentation today and I messed it up, and I understand if you’re mad at me-“

“No one’s mad at you, though?” Dowoon stops Jae. “You weren’t feeling good. It’s better that you rested yesterday so today we can go all out and rock this presentation!” Dowoon motivates, making the three boys smile widely. “Which reminds me, where the hell is Younghyun?”

The smiles on their faces fade, as they look around but find no signs of Brian anywhere. He wouldn't miss school today, right?

 

“Fuck…” Jae whispers in English, after a while of Brian not showing up.

 

“Language.” Jae all but jumps in place, as the voice coming from behind him speaks up.

Around him, the three boys laugh at his reaction to Brian’s incoming. Jae turns around and glares at the boy standing a little bit too close to him. He takes a deep breath and tries to maintain eye contact.

 

“You… are an asshole.” Jae says, by now a given statement. Brian only shrugs, smiling smugly at him.

 

“Alright, alright, leave the flirting for after.” Dowoon cuts in, placing his arms in between the two of them and pushing them apart. “Right now, we’ve got a show to put on.”

 

“It’s literally just one song.” Wonpil points out. Dowoon shushes him quickly.

 

“Shh, let it happen.” Dowoon shushes him, turning back to all four boys. “Let’s do this.” He cheers, placing his hand on the center of their mini circle. Brian is quick to place his hand over Dowoon’s. Next, it’s Wonpil, followed by Sungjin. And finally, Jae understands what’s going on. He places his hand on top of the others’ and they all look at each other.

 

“What should we yell?” Dowoon asks, sounding more serious than Jae’s ever heard or seen him.

 

“Probably nothing, since we’re inside a classroom,” Dowoon glares at Brian’s input “…but let’s just go with ‘let’s get it’ or something like that.” Brian suggests. Dowoon nods and do the rest of them.

 

“Alright," Dowoon says "on the count of three. One. Two. Three!”

 

“Let’s get it!” They yell in whisper voices, raising their hands at the same time. Somehow, that simple gesture makes Jae feel more at ease. Even when the other students give them weird looks, they can’t seem to stop smiling.

 

We’ve got this. We’re gonna do great.

 

And so, when Miss Lee calls them out to present their song, Jae isn't scared anymore.

Chapter Text

~Brian~

 

Looking back at it now, it was probably the best they’ve ever played. The notes were the same, but they somehow sounded different. There was nothing new about it, and yet, it was like Brian had never heard it before. Their voices sang the same words, but why did they sound like new ones?

It’ll always make him smile, thinking about it. It was their first time playing together for a crowd, no matter how small it may have been. And it makes Brian feel proud. Not only of himself, but of the five of them.

The teacher seemed to like it too. And their classmates did, as well. When the song was over, they cheered loudly for the five of them, and Brian felt like they were meant to be. He felt that this, this project, this group, these people, were meant to be together. They were meant to become one. To play together. His cheeks still hurt, from smiling as hard as he had. Miss Lee gave them a lot of credit for working so much on rearranging the song, but she also said something else that’s stuck on Brian’s mind:

“Why don’t you try and make your own song next time?”

 

Our own song… That doesn’t sound bad at all.

 

 

It’s night time now, and Brian is sprawled out on his bed, scrolling through Instagram on his phone like a normal person. He’s got nothing to do. Or rather, he’s got nothing he wants to do. He’s about to give up and just go to sleep when he receives a call from Dowoon.

 

“Hi Dowoon. What’s up?”

 

“Hello, Younghyun. I’m good. How are you?”

 

“Hmm, fine. A bit bored, why?”

 

“I was thinking… The presentation went really well, and I think the five of us were all happy about that. Miss Lee gave us good advises on how to improve, but I think she liked it a lot too.”

 

Brian smiles to himself, remembering the look on all of their faces when Miss Lee had complimented them. Brian had found even himself blushing when the teacher told him she liked his voice. He also remembers the look of surprise on Jae’s face, when the time came and Miss Lee listed all the things she enjoyed about the way he sang and played. Brian’s glad she did.

 

“I thought maybe we could go out, the five of us.” Dowoon suggests, over the line.

 

“Like, to drink?”

 

“To celebrate.”

 

“Alright. That sounds good. Would we have dinner together?”

 

“Well, yes. If it’s not too expensive.”

 

“I know a good place, cheap but still very nice.” Brian recommends.

 

“Nice. So, we should probably ask the others. I’ll talk to Wonpil, who’ll talk to Sungjin, and you can talk to Jaehyung, right?”

 

“Why do I have-”

 

“Ok, talk to you later. Bye~”

 

Dowoon ends the call, cutting off Brian’s sentence in half. He sighs at the bright screen.

Thanks a lot, Dowoon, you brat.

Resigned, he dials Jae’s number and hopes he’ll pick up. There’re exactly five rings before Jae picks up (not that he counted).

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hi…”

 

*

 

~Jae~

 

By the time school was over that day, as soon as Jae had gotten a hold of his best friend, he’d grabbed her by the wrist and taken her home, after claiming he seriously needed to talk to her. Jieun had frowned, but didn’t complain as Jae rushed her towards the bus station.

They get to Jae's home in record time, and Jae rushes Jieun to his bedroom, closing the door behind himself.

 

“Alright, I’m here now.” Jieun says, sitting down on her usual spot – Jae’s desk chair. “What is so important you can only talk about in here? Is everything okay?”

Jae takes a deep breathe. Jieun is probably going to laugh at him. He knows she is.

 

“So, I told you we had the presentation today, right?” He starts, trying to sound as unaffected as possible. Jieun raises one eyebrow slowly.

 

“Yes… why? Did it go well? It did, right?”

 

“Well the thing is…” Jae makes a dramatic pause, before screaming: “It went so well, oh my God, you can’t even imagen how relieved I was afterwards!” Jae’s practically sobbing, as Jieun rolls her eyes at him, but smiles nonetheless.

 

“Jesus, Jae. You brought me all this way just to tell me that? I already knew it would go well, I told you, didn’t I? When am I ever wrong?” It Jae’s turn to roll his eyes, but he too, can’t stop smiling. “Well, what are you waiting for? Tell me about it!” She demands, crossing her arms and leaning back on the chair, pretending to be annoyed. Jae snorts, but sits back on the bed and clears his throat.

 

“So…”

 

            Friday Morning, 11:43 o’clock

 

“Whenever you’re ready.” Miss Lee tells them, crossing her legs and pulling her glasses further up her nose.

 

Jae takes a deep breath. They can do this. He looks to his left, over at his group mates, and his glance his caught by Brian’s, who nods at him in reassurance, just like his saying: we’ll do great, don’t worry. Jae smiles at him, at the same time as Dowoon gives them the initial beats.

Four times pass and Jae joins in with his guitar, as Brian tunes in with the bass as well. It sounds great, just like they’d practiced. And then:

 

Do all people already know

The answers that I don’t?

 

Jae notices the look of surprise on Miss Lee’s face, as none other than Dowoon, opens the song, with his deep voice. He smiles to himself.

 

Why do the seams

Always all come undone at once?

 

So far, so good. It’s Wonpil’s turn to join in with the keys, as Sungjin starts his verse.

 

Some days are harder than others

And mama said boys don’t cry.

So, I look up

To a blurry image of the sky.

 

Sungjin’s voice hits all notes perfectly, like he always does, and he even manages to sneak in that raspy sound that gives the music more feeling. Jae takes a deeper breath. It’s his turn now, to join in with his own voice, as Sungjin prepares to play the first note of his guitar.

 

Dad said for there to be light

There must be dark,

It’s just how the world

Keeps turning around and round the lights

Now gone.

 

Jae exhales away from his mic. I did it, he thinks, thanking everything that’s holy for letting him sing though his first verse without his voice failing him.

They get ready for the first chorus, and Wonpil leans forwards to sing.

 

Well done again my friend.

Even if no one

Can tell you how lucky you’ve been.

I need you to know,

Well done again my friend.

 

Jae wasn’t even worried about Wonpil missing a note. He’s never missed a note, ever since they’ve been practicing together. He’s glad though, that Wonpil sang through his verse with no problems and, as usual, his voice sounded angelic.

During the breakdown after the chorus, Jae is long since gone, now he’s flowing with music. He knows he is. He can feel the sound of the instruments resonating through him, like this is where he belongs, playing and singing forever.

It’s Brian who brings him back, or rather, Brian’s voice.

 

Some days are harder than others.

Mama said boys don’t cry.

 

Of course, Jae thinks, of course he’d do an adlib. Jae’s not sure if he’s mad or relieved. Sure, he changed the sound of the verse, but it fits perfectly, and it means Brian’s feeling confident enough to do so. He decides it’s a good thing (and not only because, after glancing his way, Brian’s looking really hot right now).

 

So, I look up

To a blurry image of the sky.

 

Brian finishes his verse smoothly, giving way for Jae to sing again. For some reason, hearing Brian’s adlib makes Jae feel more at ease, so he dives into his verse without a worry. He’s got this.

 

Dad said for there to be light

There must be dark,

It’s just how the world

Keeps turning around and round the lights

Now goooone~

 

Look at him, making adlibs of his own. Jae doesn’t know what comes over him to do so, but he’s so into this song, that he simply does what he feels like it’s right. His eyes are closed, so he doesn’t see Miss Lee’s reaction. Nor his classmates’, nor his groupmates’.

Wonpil cuts in, singing the last chorus as beautifully as he sang the first.

 

Well done again my friend.

Even if no one

Can tell you how lucky you’ve been.

I need you to know,

Well done again my friend.

 

This is it now. The final part of the song. The instrumental break they’d work so hard into composing. Sungjin starts it, slowing the beat, only for it to breakdown again, as they all play their hearts out. It feels like no one else is there. It’s just them and their music; and it’s great. It feels great. The sound goes louder and louder, until finally, it stops completely.

Jae’s out of breath. Looking around, so are the rest of his groupmates. They’ve done it. They really did it.

 

Reality kicks in abruptly, as Jae hears clapping and cheering. He looks upfront, and finds their classmates in hysteria, looking (and sounding) like they’ve truly enjoyed listening to them play. He looks over at Miss Lee and freezes, swallowing the lump that instantly forms in his throat.

She’s staring right at him, and she’s smiling. She’s smiling, oh my God, did she really like it? Holy shit! Holy fucking-

“Hey,” Jae flinches upon feeling a hand in his shoulder, and looks to his left, where Brian’s standing next to him, grinning like an idiot. Jae can’t even come up with something to mock him about, he’s too excited and exhausted.

 

“We did it.” He grins back, probably looking just as idiotic.

 

“We did.” Brian agrees.

 

“Guys!” Dowoon almost screams from behind them, and the pair of them turn around in time to see the drummer tackle Wonpil and Sungjin, hugging them both. “We rocked it!” He cheers, then looks over at Brian and Jae. “Come here, you idiots!” He calls. Brian chuckles.

 

“That’s a first.” He comments, probably referring to Dowoon’s lack of restraint in calling them idiots. Jae chuckles along, shaking his head, but they both throttle to the rest of their group.

Together, the five of them manage a weird group hug, where they’re essentially crushing each other, but they’re also too hyper to care about breathing.

 

“Alright, alright. Quiet down, students!” Miss Lee calls out, and they break apart, standing in line next to each other, and taking deep breaths to prepare themselves for the teacher’s analysis of their performance (and for air too). Jae can feel himself getting nervous all over again. It wasn’t just him, right? Miss Lee had been smiling, right?

Jae’s breath gets caught in his throat as he feels Brian’s hand on his wrist, behind their backs – they’re all so pressed together next to each other, that it’s impossible to keep their hands in the sides, so they’d all put them behind their backs. Jae glances at Brian from the corner of his eyes, and Brian’s looking ahead, but he still grips Jae’s wrist a bit harder, as way of telling he knows how he feels, and it’ll be okay. Jae looks down and smiles. Brian’s right, it’s gonna be okay. No matter what, he’s proud of himself. He’s proud of the five of them.

 

“Okay, now that you’ve calmed down, I’ll tell you a bit of how I like to evaluate students.” Miss Lee starts, pushing up her glasses again and glancing every now and then towards the small notebook on her lap. “Firstly, even though you’re a group, the evaluations and the grades will always be individual. I don’t think it’s fair to give a group the same grades, when the members have different skills, qualities and defects.” It’s a good point. Fair enough. “Secondly, I’ll always tell you what I think of your performance, the song itself and the work you’ve put into making or arranging it, and I’ll also tell you what I liked and didn’t like from it.

But, I’ll also want to hear you. You’ll also have to defend your grades, I want to see if you can tell what went right, what went wrong and what can go better next time. Is that clear?” She asks, to which the five of them (and the rest of the students) nod to. “Great.” She turns to the rest of the class “If you have anything you want to say, you can. Just put your hand up and I’ll pass you the word once I’m done. Make sure it’s something relevant, so we don’t waste time, ok?” The students nod again. She smiles and turns back to Jae and the other four guys. “Starting off with what I liked. I think it was really nice of you to try to rearrange the song, I could hear all the work you put into it, so that’s good. I think it was smart of you to go with a cover first, since there wasn’t that much of time for you to make a new song from scratch.

“I liked that you rewrote the lyrics, though I don’t see why you did so in English?” She looks up from her notebook, probably where she keeps her evaluations and notes, and waits for one of them to speak up.

Jae lifts his arm ever so slightly, so his holding Brian’s hand, and squeezes it, signaling for him to answer the question. Through the corner of his eyes, he sees Brian gulp.

Guess you’re nervous too, after all.

 

“When we decided that this was going to be the song we would present, I was the one suggesting the lyrics to be in English. As you know, I lived in Canada for a while, and Jae--Jaehyung has only recently moved from America to here, which means we both have good enough English skills to write something we could sing in that same language. So, as a group, we all agreed to change the lyrics to English.” Brian nods once, after finishing his answer. Miss Lee raises her brows, looks them over, and writes something down on her notebook.

Jesus fuck, end this already.

 

“Alright, I understand. I think that was a good idea, actually.” Jae actually hears Brian sigh in relief. “It shows that you all compromised. You all participated. Next, I liked the arrangement itself. Was it one of you who did it, did you all make your own parts? How did you make the arrangement?”

Before any of them have the time to think, Sungjin raises his hand, asking permission to speak, and Miss Lee nods. Looking at the rest of them, Jae can tell they’re all silently thanking Sungjin for stepping up.

 

“At first, we’d thought about making our own parts, so that’s how we began. But soon enough, we figured it would be much easier to work together, so we helped each other out and gave suggestions for all instruments and even for how the singing should also sound. We really worked together to make the arrangements of this song. And, if I’m allowed to say so, I’m very proud of what we’ve made.” Sungjin bows slightly, as if he’s suddenly shy after speaking. Miss Lee squints her eyes.

 

“Yes, you’re allowed to say so. I think one of the most important characteristics in a person who choses the musical industry is being proud and self-confident, so I’m glad you’re feeling that way. Does it also apply to the rest of your bandmates?” She asks, looking at the other four, who nod fervently. “Good.” She smiles tightly, writing something down on her notebook.

“Alright, now that the instrumental part is done, I’d like to talk a bit about the singing part. Yoon Dowoon.” She calls out. Jae and Brian both look his way, and see Wonpil push Dowoon forwards a bit, until he’s a step closer to the teacher. “I hadn’t heard you sing before. Why is that?”

 

“W-Well, Miss. I was never very confident in my own v-voice. Playing the drums is one thing. I know I’m good at it, but my voice is really deep, and I’ve never really liked how it sounds when I sing. But my groupmates encouraged me to sing, and so I did my best in singing the intro.” He chokes out the answer. Jae feels a sudden urge to go to Dowoon and protect him, but he stays still, knowing it would do him no good.

 

“I see. Well, I didn’t like it.” Jae stops breathing altogether. And so do the others.

How could she say that, knowing about Dowoon’s insecurities?

“I didn’t like it because you showed almost no range at all.” She continues, and Jae’s heart is divided between beating hard and not beating at all. “But don’t feel too bad about that. It just means you’ve got plenty of room to improve. I like your voice; I think it has potential. The fact that it’s deep makes it stand out, and I think you should use that to your advantage. For now, I’d advise you to get vocal lessons or practice at home, and once you’re as confident in your voice as you are in the drums, then I’ll want to hear you sing again.” She finishes her evaluation, giving Dowoon the smallest smile. Dowoon nods and turns around to walk back to where he was, between Wonpil and Sungjin. Glancing at him, Jae can see Dowoon’s frown, and he can’t tell whether he’s disappointed or motivated. Maybe he’s both.

 

“Kim Wonpil.” Wonpil jolts as his name is called, and steps forward to same place where Dowoon had been. “I really like your voice. I think it’s melodic and it has a lot of potential.” Jae nods slightly, agreeing with her. “Potential which you didn’t show today. Not to its fullest.”

For fuck’s sake.

“I’ll hope next time you can show me more range. A new side of your voice. Alright?”

Wonpil nods.

 

“Y-Yes, Miss.” He stutters out, going back to his previous place.

 

“Kang Younghyun.” Brian let’s go of Jae’s hand, but not before griping it tightly one last time. When he walks forward, Jae’s hand instantly feels colder, so he takes it in his other hand. “For all the time I knew you, you’ve always struck me as a person who works better alone.” She starts, and suddenly, Jae’s scared that Miss Lee will take Brian out of their group. She can’t. “I was wrong, it seems.” Jae sighs in relief. “I’m glad for that. It’s nice seeing you work well with others.” Brian nods with his hands behind his back. He’s shaking.

 

“Thank you, Miss.” He bows his head.

 

“I do like your voice. You showed some range while singing. It worked well with the song, but I also think you can do better. Also, I’d like to hear more complex bass lines.” She tells him.

 

“I understand. Thank you.” He bows again, before going back to where he’d been standing before, next to Jae.

As soon as he gets there, Jae grabs his hand again, and clutches it. He doesn’t know why he’s so nervous about this. Maybe it’s because he really wants this to work out. He really wants Miss Lee to let them stay together.

 

“Park Sungjin.”

 

“Here.” Sungjin answers, stepping forwards.

 

“Your voice is very distinct. I like how it sounds, but I felt like you weren’t all that confident in yourself.” She points out. Sungjin nods while she speaks.

 

“Yes, I… Although we practiced very hard, I always get very nervous before an evaluation, and sometimes it has its toll on my performance. I’ll try to work on that, Miss.” He talks like a professional; at least he sounds like one to Jae.

 

“Very well, I’m glad we’re on the same page. I’ll look forward for your next performance, then.”

 

“Thank you, Miss.” He bows with his whole torso, before going back to his place. Jae knows he’s next, but he still flinches when Miss Lee calls him out.

 

“Park Jaehyung.”

Jae takes a deep breath, lets go of Brian’s hand and walks forward. His legs are shaking.

 

“I didn’t know you could sing.” Miss Lee says, which is weird, because he’s sang before in her class. The way Jae frowns must be enough of an answer, because Miss Lee chuckles (she chuckles). “I meant that I didn’t know you could sing like that. You’ve never sang in my lessons like you did today. It was a nice change. I’ve always found your voice to be very melodic, but you always sounded like you were holding back. And today, there was a moment there, when you gave yourself over to the song, and it went very well. I was glad to get to know this side of yours.”

What? Did she.. actually compliment me? My voice??

 

“T-Thank you, Miss.” Jae bows wholeheartedly (he almost does a flip from how hard he bows, but he manages not to fall).

 

“However,” oh shit “I want to see you loosened up. Your voice still sounded strained, and I know you have much more potential than you let it show. Next time, I want to hear you, as you are.” She finishes.

 

“Okay. I’ll do my b-best.” Jae bows again (less aggressively this time) and goes back to his previous position. Brian pats his lower back, as if congratulating him, and Jae smiles at the floor.

 

“Overall, I really liked your presentation. The song was a nice choice. The way you rearranged it was impeccable, which will give you a lot of credit. And, as for improvements, we’ve already talked about what I expect from you next time. Furthermore, I think you should stick together. After this presentation, you’ll have the chance to change groups, but I think yours works very well. So, why don’t you try and make your own song next time?” She suggests it like it’s nothing, like it doesn’t make the five of them go wide eyed. Jae can’t believe what he’s hearing. If Miss Lee’s saying they should make their own song, it means she expects that much from them. “I look forward for the next term.” She smiles, and Jae simply can’t help the smile on his face.

 

            Present Time, Friday, 19:38 o’clock

 

“Oh my God, Jae.” Jieun says, after a while of simply staring at him with a shocked expression. “That’s amazing!” She exclaims, getting up from her chair and throwing herself at Jae in a crushing hug.

 

“Gaaa!-“ Jae screams, but isn’t quick enough to escape her attack. In fact, he’s quite happy that she’s excited for him. It makes him even more hyper. And then, Jieun stars tickling him, and heaven turns into hell – she knows how ticklish he is.

A good five minutes pass, during which Jae tries desperately to kick Jieun away from him, without any success. When Jieun finally gets tired of teasing him, she rolls over to lie beside him, and looks at him.

 

“You’re really amazing, Jae. You know that, right?” She asks, sounding sincere. Jae’s eyes are wide open, as he isn’t at all expecting the compliment (he never is).

 

“What? What are you saying?” He can feel the blush creeping up his neck, but it’s Jieun, she’s seen him blush many times.

 

“I mean it. Look at you, Jae. You overcame your anxiety; you went there and you kicked ass and the Miss Lee complimented you.” Jieun keeps going, staring into Jae’s eyes while speaking. Moments like these are rare, when she truly compliments him. Jae feels himself get emotional, and he tries (and fails) to keep his eyes rom getting teary. For all he might deny it, he’s really sensitive, and small things like this are enough to make him cry. “Ahh, don’t cry.”

 

“I’m not!” Jae denies, wiping at his eyes anyway.

 

“I was complimenting you!” Jieun protests, punching his shoulder lightly.

 

“I know!” Jae retorts, sniffing and attempting to regain his composure. “Okay, I’m okay.” He tells himself. “Thanks.” He smiles at Jieun. “It means a lot.”

 

“I can tell.” She jokes.

 

“Ahah, shut up!”

 

“Aww, the little baby is crying!” She mocks playfully, making pouty lips at Jae, who frowns at her.

 

“If you tell someone about this, ever, I swear…” He shakes his head, resting his head back down on the bed. Jieun laughs at him, and soon enough, he joins her, until they’re both left giggling at nothing in particular.

We’re idiots, aren’t we?

 

Jae’s phone breaks off their laughter, and he picks it up to check on who’s calling him.

Brian…

Should he pick up? Probably, but he won’t know what to say if he does. Wait, why does that even matter?

 

“Who’s calling?” Jieun asks, looking over Jae’s shoulder. Jae tries to hide the phone, but he’s a second too late. “Oooh, Brian’s calling!” She chirps, smacking his shoulder again. When he looks her way, she’s smirking. “Well? Pick up?” Jae looks between Jieun and the phone, sighs, then picks up.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hi… Jae.”

 

“Hmm, what’s the matter?” Jae tries to go straight (ah) to the point. Behind him, Jieun smacks his shoulder again – with the way things are going, he’ll probably get a bruise where she’s smacking him.

 

“Well, Dowoon called. He invited the four of us for dinner. You know. Go out and celebrate. Since the presentation went well and all.” Brian elaborates. Jae had already told Jieun she could stay over at his today, since it’s Friday. He looks behind his back and Jieun nods with her eyes wide opened, clearly having heard what Brian had said.

 

“I see. I wouldn’t mind going, but Jieun is over at my place and we’d planned to have a sleepover.” Jae tells him, instantly regretting it when Brian goes:

“Oh… I see.”

 

“No! I mean, we’re not… she’s not-“

Brian cuts him off by laughing.

 

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Jae.”

 

I wasn’t. Was I?

 

“If you want to come today, and if Jieun also wants to, then I’m sure none of the guys would mind her coming along.” He suggests.

 

Jae glances back up at Jieun. He places his hand over the phone.

 

“Do you want to go out with us?” He asks in a whisper. Jieun shrugs.

 

“Sure. Why not?”

 

“And you don’t mind?”

 

“Jae, you know I don’t mind. The guys are cool. I like them.” Jieun smiles, giving him a thumbs up.

He nods, placing the phone next to his ear again.

 

“Okay, Jieun’s in. We’ll meet you where exactly? And when?” he asks.

 

“There’s this restaurant next to a park in town, I’ll send to the location by text. I think maybe by eight thirty?”

 

“Alright.”

 

“See you soon, Jae.”

 

“Bye.”

Jae ends up the call and sighs loudly. When he looks at Jieun, she’s glancing at him with a weird expression, like she’s watching him and trying hard not to laugh.

 

“What?” He asks. She raises her eyebrows.

 

“Nothing…" She says. Jae hates it when she’s vague, because he can tell she’s onto something, yet he never has any idea of what exactly. He decides to ignore it for now. His phone rings; it’s a text from Brian, with the restaurant’s location.

 

“Alright, Brian sent the location. Shall we get going? It’s about twenty minutes away by car. I can call an Uber.” Jae says while getting up.

 

“Jae, we’re wearing the school uniform.” Jieun points out. Jae looks down at himself.

 

“So?”

 

So, since when have I ever let you go out at night anywhere dressed in a school uniform?” She questions, crossing her arms. Jae opens his mouth to answer, but Jieun’s quicker. “Halloween doesn’t count.”

Damnit!

Chapter Text

~Brian~

 

Brian doesn’t know what he had been expecting, but it was definitely not that. Definitely not Jae wearing a bright yellow hoodie (is everything he owns oversized, or is he just that small?), black jeans, and those same dark glasses he almost never uses. Definitely not Jae with his hair parted mostly to the left, so it falls over one of his eyes, and the rest of it, on the right, slicked behind his ear in a way it almost passes as an undercut. Brian was not expecting that, for sure.

He’s also aware he’s staring – has been, for the past five minutes or so, since they’ve arrived the restaurant – but he can’t help it. When he asked him (and Jieun) out, he wasn’t expecting they’d come all fancy dressed. He himself changed outfits, but only into denim jeans and a white knitted sweater, you know, casual clothes. He didn’t do anything to his hair either, because he thought, what’s the point, if they’re just going out casually, right? Well, apparently wrong, because Jae looks like he’s about to debut as a k-idol, Jieun looks really cute in her skinny jeans, oversized grey sweater (could it be Jae’s?) and white converse, and even Dowoon has decided to dress himself like this is a special occasion (it kind of is, they’ve all worked hard for this to be a special occasion, but still).

 

Brian looks up when Wonpil and Sungjin arrive - Dowoon had spotted them and started waving like crazy.

 

“Hi, guys! Sorry we’re late.” Wonpil greets them, as he and Sungjin go around the four of them to sit down on the two available spots, between Dowoon and Jieun. Brian is next to Jae, who’s next to Jieun, who’s now next to Sungjin.

 

“It’s alright, we’ve just arrived about ten minutes ago too.” Dowoon smiles.

 

 

~Wonpil~

 

The call from Dowoon to meet up couldn’t have come in a better time. Or rather, a more needed time. Not when his father had started pressuring Wonpil to accept the university’s proposal again – even though Wonpil has already told him time and time again that he doesn’t want to.

After talking with Sungjin, the two friends decide to meet up at the bus station and get a bus together from there on.

Wonpil sneaks out of the house by his bedroom window. It’s during times like this that he feels the most like a rebel – sneaking out of his house through his window, climbing down the tree next to it, and sprinting away until his house is in the distance. He smiles wickedly. If my parents find out, I’m dead, he thinks, but for some reason, he can’t manage to feel worried about it. Not today.

 

Sungjin looks really nice – wearing a black denim jacket, over a beige hoodie, and jeans. His hair his parted in the middle, the way he wears it sometimes, when he’s in the mood to style it. Wonpil thinks it suits him quite well.

He looks down at himself and, for a change, he’s proud of his own choice of outfit – black skinny jeans and a black and white vertical stripped shirt, which he tucked into his jeans to make that loose effect he likes to see himself in.

 

“You look nice, Pil.” Sungjin compliments when Wonpil reaches the bus station. Wonpil feels himself blush at that, and looks down at his shoes.

 

“Thanks, hyung. You do, too.” He compliments back. Sungjin smiles at him.

 

“Thanks. Oh look, you’re here just in time. The bus is coming.” He notices, nodding towards where he sees the bus.

 

"Let's get going then." Wonpil claps once, taking out his bus pass. 

 

*

 

Sungjin opens the door to the restaurant for Wonpil, who thinks he must be in an incredibly good mood. He doesn’t usually do that for Wonpil. He decides to take everything he can get out of it, and walks past where Sungjin is, still holding the door open for him.

He sees Jieun before Sungjin does, but he doesn’t even get a chance to drop his smile, before Dowoon spots him and waves dramatically at them. Dowoon looks cute, as he always does – wearing an oversized light jean jacket over a blue sweater and dark jeans.

Wonpil trots his way over to the table and bows slightly (forgetting for a second that Jaehyung and Brian had already told him it wasn’t necessary).

 

“Hi, guys! Sorry we're late.” Wonpil greets them, sitting next to Dowoon, and watching Sungjin as he sits down next to Jieun. They smile at each other.

 

“It’s alright, we’ve just arrived about ten minutes ago too.” Dowoon smiles, then pats Wonpil on his forearm softly, making him look at him. “Hi.” He says, giving Wonpil a smaller, shyer smile. He’s only gotten here now, but why is he already blushing?

 

“H-Hi…” He repeats, unsure of why he does that, too.

 

“Should we order, now?” Brian asks, clapping once. Wonpil and Dowoon both turn to him, as does the rest of the table. Jaehyung snorts. It’s kind of cute, because his glasses are a little low on his nose, and it makes them move up and down. He probably notices it too, because he pushes the glasses up again, frowning at his own nose.

 

“Let’s do that.” Dowoon answers at last. “You’re the one who knows this place; what do you recommend?” He asks, turning to Brian, who seems to be pondering about the question.

 

“Well, I like pretty much everything here.” He says. “But, if there’s one thing which I absolutely love it's the ramen. Really guys, you have no idea, it’s amazing.” Brian admits, proceeding to describe all the types and variations of ramen the menu offers. Wonpil finds himself chuckling quietly, at the passionate way Brian talks about food. He must be really hungry, huh?

 

 

“I think you’ve just manipulated the whole table into ordering ramen.” Jieun laughs, putting down her menu. Brian smiles.

 

“Well, what can I say? I’m very persuasive.” He teases. Next to him, Jaehyung snorts, and, next to Jieun, Sungjin looks at his empty plate like it’s suddenly very interesting. Wonpil thinks this must be what it feels like to watch a movie if you’re in the movie (and in love with one of the main characters).

 

“Good evening!” A waiter greets them. “Have you decided what you’ll be having today?” he asks politely. Wonpil smiles at him.

 

“I think it’s going to be ramen for everyone.” He says, chuckling. The waiter too, chuckles.

 

“Oh, well. We have a big variety of ramen here. But if you need any help, I personally recommend the Banshu Ramen.” The waiter suggests. Wonpil looks over at the menu on his hands, biting his lower lip. He puts the menu down after a second, smiling at the waiter.

 

“Alright. I’ll have that, then.” He decides, handing the waiter his menu.

 

“You won’t regret it.” The waiter promises. Then, he turns to Dowoon, who for some reason, doesn’t look all that pleased.

 

“I’ll have the same.” He says, before smiling weirdly. “Please.” He adds, handing his menu over. Wonpil can’t see his face, but he can the face the waiter makes when Dowoon hands him his menu. He frowns. What was that?

The waiter moves on, taking the rest of the guys’ and Jieun’s order, and leaving to the kitchen. When he’s out of sight, Wonpil tugs at Dowoon’s jean jacket, making him look his way.

 

“Everything okay?” He asks quietly. Dowoon stares at Wonpil for a second, before answering.

 

“Yeah…” He says, huffing out a small smile. “I’m good.”

 

*

~Jae~

 

Jae doesn’t think he’s ever seen anyone eat quite as fast as Brian does.

 

“Dude… slow down.” He says, after a while of watching him slurp away his noodles like his life depends on it. Brian freezes mid-slurping, and makes eye contact with Jae, who feels himself start to get flustered. Why am I the one who’s blushing? He’s the one eating like a pig here; get a hold of yourself, Jae!

Brian is still looking at him when Jae zones back into reality. His lips are pouting around the noodle strings, and he’s leaning on his bowl of food and looking up at Jae. He looks like a five-year-old (a very cute five-year-old).

Then, just as quickly as he’d frozen, Brian slurps the noodles hanging on his mouth and licks away the remaining ramen soup on his lips. Jae gulps, unable to keep from tracking Brian’s tongue. Stop it, brain. Brian smirks, and that’s how Jae knows he’s been caught staring.

 

“How is your food, Jae?” Jieun asks, elbowing him on the arm lightly. He turns to her so quickly, he’s amazed nothing snaps, and he thanks her internally for saving him from hearing Brian's inevitable snarky remark.

 

“Oh… it's great. Really nice.” He answers, though he hasn’t really eaten all that much. Okay, so maybe he’s biased. He grew up in Mc Donald’s and Domino’s and that’s the kind of yummy food he (really) enjoys. Ramen is good – it’s great – but it doesn’t compare to a McChicken, or a Domino’s pizza.

 

“Hmm, did Jae tell you all about the presentation?” Brian cuts in, snitching one the soybeans Jae had carefully put aside on his plate.

 

“Hey!” Jae protests, glaring at Brian, who raises his eyebrows while munching on Jae’s food. He swallows loudly before answering.

 

“What? You weren’t gonna eat them, were you?”

 

“Well, no.”

 

“So?”

 

“So, you could’ve asked…”

 

“Would you have said yes?” Maybe.

 

“No.” Jae pouts, though he’s still glaring. Brian grins.

 

“Then, you have your answer.” Brian actually winks at him, which has Jae glaring harder. Brian doesn’t give him time to further protest, as he turns back to Jieun, who had been watching them quietly. “So, did he?”

 

“Hmm? Oh, right. Yes. He told me everything.” She smiles brightly, and Jae can tell why Brian likes her. She’s the embodiment of the perfect girlfriend.

 

“He told you everything?” Brian asks, and Jae frowns at him. What does he-oh. That. Jae didn’t tell Jieun about that.

 

“What do you mean?” Jieun chuckles, scrunching her nose a little. Jae panics.

 

“He told you we-“ Jae shuts Brian up before he can finish the sentence. Really, why is he so embarrassed by it? He just knows everyone will think he likes Brian. Which he doesn’t. Does he? He doesn’t. He held his hand out of momentary panic and stress, that's all.

Jae has no resources left to shut Brian up, so he does the only thing he can think of – he picks up a spoon full of soybeans and shoves it in Brian’s mouth. It proves to be effective, if a bit unorthodox. Both Brian and Jieun are giving him unimpressed looks. Brian is raising an eyebrow - his expression screaming ‘really?’ - , and Jieun just looks like she wants answers.

Jae laughs nervously and puts the spoon down.

 

“What? You said you wanted them.” He tells Brian, as an excuse to try to change subjects.

 

“Right.”

 

*

~Wonpil~

 

The dinner goes quite well, if Wonpil says so himself. As the food arrives, they start talking more and more (apart from Brian, who focuses mainly on sipping away his food).

Wonpil realizes just how much he likes these people. Even Jieun, who isn’t part of their music group, is adorable. She’s nice and funny, and also a bit sarcastic, mostly towards Jaehyung, when he does something stupid (which, apparently, he’s been doing a lot).

Dowoon seems to forget whatever he was being weird about before, and ends up talking more than any of them. Wonpil is happy about that, since Dowoon never really talks a lot.

When their plates are finally empty, Wonpil gets up quietly.

 

“I’m just going to the bathroom. I’ll be back.” He tells the others, who nod. He makes his way to the toilets, but ends up being stopped before he can do his business.

 

“Hey.” A vaguely familiar voice greets him. Wonpil turns around and is met by the waiter from before. He smiles at him.

 

“Hi.” He answers. He isn’t sure what he’s done. Has he done anything he shouldn’t? “Is, huh, is everything okay?” He asks, after the guy doesn’t say anything else. The waiter looks to be around the same age as Wonpil, maybe a year or so older. He’s tall and has wide shoulders (wider than Wonpil’s, not that that’s too hard). His face is round shaped, and his grey dyed hair falls just short of his eyes, giving him a somewhat celebrity look. He’s handsome, Wonpil concludes. The handsome waiter chuckles at Wonpil’s question.

 

“Don’t worry. You’ve done nothing wrong.” He smiles, and Wonpil feels himself blush. The handsome waiter has dimples. “I just wanted to say hello.” He admits, scratching the back of his head with his right hand. Oh, he thinks.

 

“Oh…” He says. Then: “Well, hello.”  He smiles, waving his hand in a way he knows looks cute (he’s been told it does, at least).

 

“I’m Namjoon.” He introduces himself, still smiling. Wonpil widens his eyes, because oh, so he is flirting.

 

“Wonpil.” He replies. Namjoon raises a hand and reaches out for Wonpil’s hair, removing a little of dust from it. Wonpil follows the movement with his eyes.

 

“You’re cute, Wonpil.” Namjoon says quietly. Wonpil is ready to die. And he only wanted to go to the bathroom. He’s about to thank Namjoon for the compliment, when he’s interrupted yet again, by someone not as cheerful.

 

“Wonpil, are you o-“ Dowoon cuts himself off as he sees Wonpil and Namjoon, and how close they’re standing. Unconsciously, Wonpil steps back, putting a good two meters distance in between him and Namjoon, who simply turns and looks at Dowoon.

 

“Dowoon…” Wonpil whispers, and he’s not sure why he feels the need to explain himself, but he does it anyway. “I was just- We were just talking. I wasn’t-“

“Don’t.” Dowoon cuts him off, putting up a hand. Wonpil flinches, because he’s never heard Dowoon sound like that. So angry? No, this isn’t angry. Dowoon takes a deep breath. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me.” He tells Wonpil, though it looks like he’s telling himself that, too.

 

“Hey, you guys, you know what? I’m sorry.” Namjoon cuts in, raising up both his hands. He sounds regretful, and Wonpil’s heart clutches a bit at that. “I didn’t want to come in between anything. I’ll leave now.” He excuses himself, before walking out quickly. Come in between? Of what?

Wonpil looks at Dowoon again, and finds him staring at the floor. Maybe Dowoon was uncomfortable seeing Wonpil with another guy? Maybe Wonpil disgusts him, after all. Maybe Dowoon was trying to make an effort to accept Wonpil, but now that he’s seen him with some else, he can’t do it anymore.

 

“I’m sorry.” Dowoon says after a silence which, for Wonpil, lasted years. He’s going to tell me he can’t be my friend anymore, isn’t he?

 

“No, it’s okay.” Wonpil beats Dowoon to it, and the boy looks up quickly.

 

“It’s not okay. I-“

“I understand, Dowoon. It’s okay. If you don’t want to be my friend anymore, that’s okay. I mean, it’s not, but I understand…” Wonpil rambles on, telling Dowoon that it’s fine if he can’t bare to be friends with someone like Wonpil, while boring holes in the floor, which is suddenly all too appealing.

 

“Wonpil.” Dowoon cuts him off, and the tone he uses has him recalling the first time he told Dowoon about his feelings for Sungjin. “What are you even saying?”

Wonpil looks up, and it’s then he sees the look of confusion in Dowoon’s face.

 

“Weren’t you…? Weren’t you going to tell me you can’t be my friend anymore?” Wonpil asks. Dowoon frowns.

 

“Why would I say that? Do you not want to be friends with me anymore?” He counters.

 

“Yes!” Wonpil answers quickly, to which Dowoon gasps. “I mean, I do want to be your friend. But I thought you wouldn’t want to, after-“

“Wonpil, you are an idiot sometimes, you know that?” Dowoon cuts him off, probably after finally understanding what Wonpil had been trying to say. Wonpil chuckles, rolling his eyes.

 

“I’ve been told that before, yes.”

 

“That’s because you are. Why would I want to stop being friends with such an amazing person? I was apologizing for interrupting… whatever was going on before I came in here…” Dowoon explains, gesturing towards where Wonpil and Namjoon had been… talking? Wonpil blushes, looking down.

 

“Nothing was going on…” He whispers, though it might have.

 

“Of course not.” Dowoon says, in a mocking tone. Wonpil glares up at him, but Dowoon’s already giving him a playful smirk. Wonpil smiles at the sight. He’s glad Dowoon’s still here with him. He should say something to break the tension.

 

“I, huh…” Wonpil starts. “I need to pee.” He says.

 

“Oh. Right. Sure, of course.” Dowoon answers, all too quickly. “I’ll go back now. See you in a bit.” Dowoon stumbles on his words (and on his steps), and walks away. Wonpil watches him go, trying not to chuckle, since his bladder is close to exploding.

 

You really are an idiot, Kim Wonpil.