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Minho suddenly wakes up, his chest heaving rapidly. He quickly glances at Jisung’s side of the room, thankful when he finds the younger’s bed empty. That just means no rude remarks or eyerolls from Jisung about how Minho ruined his sleep again with his moaning and senseless mumbling.

 

He tries to calm himself down, taking a few deep breaths in. He feels the back of his throat sting with unshed tears, but he’s used to the feeling. He was just having that nightmare again, the one he’s been seeing ever since he was 12 years old. It always has different beginnings, but they're all nice, Minho spending quality time with his loved parents. But when they suddenly get into their car to drive off somewhere and Minho’s dad loses control over the car, they crash into a brick wall and everything turns into a big blur before Minho bolts awake.

 

The dream itself wouldn’t be so painful when this wasn’t also the last living memory that Minho has of his parents.

 

But Minho doesn’t exactly like starting his day with that memory, after all it kind of breaks his big act of the carefree attitude that he likes to show others. So he quickly empties his mind, atleast tries to, and rushes out of his bed while hastily getting dressed, ready to face whatever the day will bring his way.

 

When he heads downstairs, he’s reminded again why Saturday is the only day of the week that he actually enjoys. There’s no school nor church on Saturdays, so he can do whatever he wants without having to see his stupid schoolmates. Or even worse, the adults who only see him as an orphan, eyes full of pity. He can’t stand the fake sympathy.

 

“Good morning, Mrs. Han, Jisung.” Minho says, stepping into the tiny kitchen and acknowledging the other two people already there. There’s freshly made breakfast on the table, waiting to be served and the room is filled with the sweet aroma.

 

Jisung ignores his existence, as per usual, and keeps his eyes locked on his phone, but Mrs. Han greets him warmly and gives him a sweet smile. “Good morning. Take a seat, honey, I made waffles.”

 

As a religious household, they follow all sorts of traditions, and only one of them is eating meals together. Minho would prefer it over going to church any minute.

 

You see, he doesn’t really believe in God. But his parents were Christian, and Mrs. Han is after all his godmother, treating Minho like he’s her own son, so going to the church with her is the least Minho can do. And they’ve never really forced their beliefs on Minho. Just in a small city like this, where everybody keeps their eyes on you, you have to atleast try to fit into the community. Even if it means getting up early every Sunday morning to do something you really don't care about.

 

“I need one of you to go to the post office for me later, your aunt sent me a package.” Mrs. Han says after a while, putting down her empty cup.

 

“I’ll do it, mom.” Jisung says in a heartbeat, earning a thankful smile from Mrs. Han.

 

“Don’t waste too much time, then. You know the post office is only opened for a couple of hours on Saturdays.” Mrs. Han reminds Jisung, before she turns to Minho, still smiling.

 

“Could you sweetheart do me a favor, too? I need you to buy some groceries.” She says, her tone gentle. “I’d do it myself, but I have some work to get done by the night. I already made a list so you wouldn't forget anything.”

 

But before Minho can even think of a reply, Jisung is already talking. “I’ll swing by the supermarket on my way home, don’t worry, mom.”

 

“Hey, I’m perfectly capable of-”

 

“I’m sure Minho hyung has other important businesses to take care of.” Jisung stops him, sending a quick glare in his direction. “Wouldn’t want to bother him.”

 

It’s surprising, right? How cold-hearted Jisung is towards Minho, but never towards his mom.

 

Mrs. Han hasn’t had an easy life. When her partner, Jisung’s dad, found out she was pregnant with Jisung, he left them all alone. The only people who were there for Mrs. Han were Minho’s parents. Other people here just aren’t exactly fond of single mom’s, even if they don’t say anything, you can tell by the way they act. Minho can only imagine the secret conversations they have, despising Jisung's mom between their safe walls.

 

So Mrs. Han worked hard to have a place Jisung could call his home, and Minho knows Jisung appreciates everything his mother went through for him, just so he could have a better future.

 

“Stop bickering you two.” Mrs. Han laughs, while standing up. “I expect the two of you to clean up the table and take care of the dishes, okay? I’ll see you later, loves.” She says, before she leaves the kitchen.

 

Little does Mrs. Han know it’s not always just lighthearted bickering. It mostly never is.

 

“Don’t you have someone waiting for you? I could clean the table myself, if you’d get out of the way, that is.” Jisung starts, already sucking all of the warmth in. The drastic change in Jisung's features doesn't come as a surprise.

 

“Why are you so bothered by mine and Changbin’s friendship? Ever thought of trying to get the fuck over it?” Minho says, while picking up the dirty dishes even if Jisung clearly told him not to. 

 

“You dare call that weirdo your friend?” Jisung chortles, but the laugh doesn’t reach his eyes. “You really just want to ruin my family’s reputation, huh.”

 

Jisung knows exactly what to say to get Minho’s blood boiling, but Minho doesn’t let him see how his words actually affect him.

 

“Atleast I don’t hang out with people who think bullying and teasing others just because they’re different is okay.” Minho says, placing the dirty dishes in the sink.

 

“It’s none of your business who I hang out with.” Jisung glares at him. Nothing more annoying than a brat, who’s two years younger than you, but almost as tall as you. Meaning Minho's intimidating glaring isn't that intimidating at all, but Minho just blames it on the lack of their height difference.

 

“Um, yeah, I think it is? Especially when I’m the one they’ve been trying to fuck with for years. Or do you need me to freshen your memory?”

 

Jisung takes a sharp breath, and Minho thinks he’s gonna spit right back at him, but Jisung just turns away from Minho, facing the sink with a pile of dirty dishes in it. “Would you just go already? I’m tired of you.” He sighs, and Minho knows it's better to leave.

 

Minho rolls his eyes and walks out of the kitchen, glad that conversation is over. They don’t always lash out on each other like that, but Jisung must be having a hard time and of course he takes it out on Minho. How surprising.

 

Minho also knows Jisung could find much better friends than Miyeon and her stupid minions, but he doesn’t, and truth be told, it hurts Minho. Jisung never seems truly happy with them, so Minho doesn’t understand the younger and his actions. But after years of pointless teasing from these assholes, you kind of get used to it. People letting you down, and all that other crap.

 

Atleast Minho has Changbin. Even if the latter graduated last year, he promised to never leave Minho alone in this hellhole. And who knows, maybe next year they can go to college together, far far far away from here.

 

Minho texts Changbin a short “omw ” before he jumps on his bike and storms off, heading towards his best friend’s home. He would rather rot than spend his only free day at home, anyway.

 

Yeah, Changbin lives alone too. How cool is that?

 

The apartment isn’t exactly the biggest, but it’s still Changbin’s own place, and also the only place where Minho feels truly safe, so they both feel very attached to the small apartment.

 

Minho uses the spare key to go inside, only one of the perks of having a best friend who lives alone. He can come and go whenever he likes.

 

He’s not surprised when he finds Changbin huddled behind his laptop in the living room, probably working on music as always. It’s Changbin’s dream to major in music studies at college, and Minho is his biggest supporter. His best friend is like, really fucking talented if you ask Minho.

 

“You know, you could atleast knock or something like that before coming in.” Changbin says, his eyes never leaving the computer screen.

 

“I texted you that I’m coming, I think that should be enough.” Minho says, propping down on the comfortable living room couch. He reaches for the remote control, even though he knows he won’t be paying the TV any attention. Right now, he needs to rant to his best friend.

 

“Can you not be so loud for once, please, and turn the TV volume down? I’m trying to work.”

 

“But, Binnie hyung.” Minho whines, just the way he knows Changbin finds it amusing and not annoying at all. “I wanna talk to my best friend. I need to talk to my best friend.”

 

Changbin turns to him and rolls his eyes, but his lips are turned up from the corners. “What happened? Did you and Jisung fight again?”

 

“Yeah, and I’m getting so tired of it.” Minho pouts, making direct eye contact with his best friend. Changbin’s eyes are comforting, somehow. “You’d think after living together for almost eight years he would stop being such a dickhead towards me, but no." Minho gasps, dramatically, before continuing. "And you know what? Lately, he keeps bringing you up in every conversation. Like, that’s so fucking annoying and has seriously nothing to do with him?”

 

“Oh, that makes sense, don’t you think?” Changbin says, nodding. while Minho doesn’t understand anything. “Now that the whole city knows that I’m gay, I’m always a hot topic.” Changbin laughs.

 

“What does you being gay have anything to do with me?” Minho asks, confused.

 

“Well, I’m your best friend, the only person you hang out with, so there’s that. Jisung and others might get some ideas, you know.” Changbin says, but the thought doesn’t seem to bother him that much.

 

“Well, thank god they don’t know I’m gay. Imagine what they’d think of me, of us, a kid without parents turns into a sinner? That's too much.” Minho snickers, but stops when Changbin looks at him with concerned eyes. “Hey, you can’t give me that pitiful look, you’re supposed to laugh at my jokes, not take them seriously like others would.”

 

“Min, you know not all religious people are homophobic, right? Coming out is scary and takes time, but I feel so much more comfortable after doing it. People have thought differently of me ever since I was born, so it doesn’t really matter to me what their topic about me is while they talk all that shit behind my back.” Changbin explains. “I just feel better myself now that I’m out.”

 

“Yeah, but I’m not gonna give them another reason to tease and bully me. And you’re like, three years older than them, of course they’re not gonna beat you up or some shit.” Minho argues back. He’s seriously terrified of the idea of anyone ever finding out he’s gay. How would Mrs. Han react? And Jisung? Minho doesn’t even wanna think about it.

 

He tries to suppress the anxious feelings in his chest, after all it’s not the first time he feels them. “Can we just go do something fun? I don’t wanna think about this.”