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 i. was i more than it's worth? or will you see my name and i'll fade?

joshua wonders if choi seungcheol ever actually thought he was beautiful. he tells, now told him that on a daily basis, because he knew joshua had issues with not being good enough. he always took it into account, always made sure to make him feel so special. seungcheol made joshua believe, for once in quite a bit of time, that he was worth it. that he was worth all of the love, the adoration, the gifts he recieved. and joshua believed him, and he regrets it now. because seungcheol didn't mean it, and he knows it now. 

 

it's five o'clock pm, just on the dot exactly when seungcheol comes home from work. joshua comes at five ten, a little earlier than usual. he didn't stop for a sandwhich this time, because he planned on cooking for seungcheol. he had been working so hard lately, and has been coming home after joshua sometimes. he gets lonely yes, but seungcheol always greets him when he comes home with love, and even when he comes home smelling a bit too much like the one perfume from victoria's secret that joshua doesn't use, he pushes it all to the back of his head. everything is fine, seungcheol loves him and no one else right?

 

joshua was horribly mistaken when he came home at five ten that day. he wishes he would've stopped for a sandwhich, an iced coffee, and a box of donuts. he wishes he would have stopped at the grocery store because he knew they were running low on orange juice and coffee creamer. he wishes he would've stopped somewhere for a little while fucking longer so he wouldn't see the way the sign that says "cheol and shua's residents" shaking above the window. maybe he was building that table they bought from ikea ages ago. deep inside joshua knew, seungcheol was fucking someone on that table and it sure as hell wasn't him. he knew this whole time, he just didn't want to believe it because seungcheol was the only person who thought he was worth something. 

 

joshua packed all of his belongings into his suitcases and left a small note on the table. he hopes seungcheol will still think he's worth it, even though it's obvious that the girl in the bathroom with him is worth way more than whatever joshua was. he knew joshua was fading away from seungcheol's heart for awhile now, he just thought that maybe, just maybe, he would tell him through words instead of actions. when joshua leaves his key on the table, tears well up in his eyes. he knew this wouldn't last, love never lasts for joshua. it always fades eventually, like the bright colors on a t-shirt after putting it into the washing machine for a few rounds. joshua is now those dull colors, and seungcheol wants a new shirt. 

 

ii. pitch my camp in your mind, sat behind the fire inside your eyes.

seokmin was incredibly fun, and bright too. he treated joshua with so much kidness and it was all so new. joshua had hope in them, in himself. seokmin would never leave him, and he made it clear whenever they were together. joshua has never been happier with the younger boy, and it shows. he smiles more, laughs more, lives more. life is no longer this hell hole joshua is forever trapped in and forced to adapt to. it's something that can be beautiful, and he failed to see it before. seokmin brought it out in him, and everything was finally, okay. joshua wanted, needed this to last for just a little while longer. deep in his heart, he knows seokmin will eventually leave.

 

joshua knows he drives people away. either with his clinginess or his insecurities, people stop loving him. it's always a slow and gradual process, until they literally can physically not take it anymore. he wishes it wasn't like this, but it is. and what is he gonna do about it? joshua has been trying to change himself for years, to meet someone standards for love. he has given everything up just for human affection, and it never lasts. no matter how much joshua changes, he's come to the ultimate conclusion that no one in the entire universe for the rest of his days will ever love him. which is why he cherishes seokmin so much, because he's one of the best things that's ever happened to joshua in a long time. 

 

when seokmin breaks up with joshua, he becomes the dull colors from a faded t-shirt. seokmin promises that "it's nothing you did. i just, need to get over some things first, you know?". it's funny, it's never something joshua does. joshua knows it's a damn lie, because it had to be something he did. seokmin was the best, and joshua could change all he wanted, he would never be good enough for seokmin. the boy was too good all on his own, and joshua didn't want to corrupt that. so when seokmin comes over two weeks after what joshua is now deeming the incident, it leaves a pang in his chest. he misses seeing seokmin, and the fact that he can't love him like he used to hurts so so much

 

the two are tangled in the sheets, like how they used to be. for some reason, it doesn't feel the same. he thought seokmin fucking the daylights out of him would make him feel, alive again. but it doesn't, it just hurts more. joshua has to pass his tears as too much pleasure instead of too much pain as seokmin pushes in, kissing him deeply. no matter how full seokmin makes him feel, joshua is truly empty on the inside. it's the eyes that give him away, when seokmin comes up from air is when joshua can get a clear look at them. it's that moment, where joshua knows why he still feel so empty with seokmin here.

 

seokmin is cheating, he can see it in his eyes. seokmin isn't coming back to love him, this isn't anthing about reuniting. this is about seokmin getting off, and using joshua to do so. none of it was real, and joshua is surprised he ever thought it was. joshua was never good enough for seokmin to ever want to come back. there was no love behind this, it's all meaningless, cheating sex. and after being cheated on, to being the person the cheater is secretly with snaps that one string in joshua. it's almost like a sudden wrong note in a song, it's ugly, and you have to start over again.

 

loud wretching sobs escape joshua's lips, and this time seokmin knows it's not from pleasure. everything stops, he pulls out and cages joshua in his arms. "joshua, honey what's wrong?" seokmin asks in the sweetest voice which genuinely makes joshua want to fucking vomit. "y-you, you're with someone else. don't use me like that minnie, be good to him okay? you're so much better than this." joshau hiccups, pushing seokmin off of him. seokmin lays beside him, with an awestruck look on his face. "how did you know?" he asks, not even planning to deny it.

 

"i can tell, your eyes said it all."

 

iii. and i'll look through them once or twice, but i might see something i don't like.

jihoon believes eyes are the window to his soul. his music is in his eyes, it's all there. and joshua loves that about him, even though jihoon says it's stupid and tries to change the topic with flushed cheeks. things with jihoon were going good, not too good to be true, but not bad. he was expecting an ending, but not a bad one. a more peaceful, because he knew jihoon didn't want to hurt him. even though jihoon may come off as an asshole to some people, he's actually very sweet even though jihoon hates when joshua tells him so. he's just shy, and snaps when people set him off, it's never intentional. joshua loves jihoon, and jihoon loves him. hopefully the universe would make them last just a little while longer, he really likes this boy.

 

when jihoon calls joshua over, joshua expects it, but at the same time doesn't know. was he wrong about jihoon? is he gonna confess that he's been cheating ever since they got together and that all the songs they wrote weren't truly for him, but for the whoever else he was seeing? honestly, joshua is so exhausted that he can't even bring himself to cry. he's so tired of giving himself away, he no longer has anything to give. jihoon has tooken the last meaningful parts of him, and now it's a shell of human being that's parking in front of jihoon's apartment. 

 

"joshua, i have something to tell you." joshua remembers what jihoon told him, the eyes are the window to his soul. he knows instantly, there's nothing new. "don't worry jihoon, it's okay if you've been cheating on me." joshua says with a sigh. jihoon's eyes widen in horror before he shouts a series of  no no no that's not it!  and waving his hands in the air. joshua sees tears in his eyes, threatening to spill onto his pretty cheeks. "joshua, i would never cheat on you, please know that i still love you." jihoon says the last part a bit quieter, and joshua feels fucking horrible. of course jihoon may no longer love him, but he would never cheat on him.

 

"j-joshua i'm sorry, but i think i love someone else. please tell me stop." jihoon is hugging joshua tightly, sobbing into his shoulder. "hoonie, fall in love with someone else. it's already too late, bu i'm glad you told me. you're really good jihoon, and i know you get shy over compliments but you are. my time with you is up, go back someone else happy yeah?" jihoon lets out a particularly loud sob into joshua's shoulder, hiccuping with short breaths. "hey hoonie, breathe okay? i'm not mad okay?" joshua rocks him back and forth. 

 

"i'm so sorry, you don't deserve this." jihoon says, pulling back to look at joshua with red eyes. joshua sees the heartbreak, so he manages to give him his best smile, even though his vision is a bit blurry. even though he expected it, jihoon was so good to him. he always was, and he knows jihoon feels horrible. but he knows if he continues to keep on loving jihoon, jihoon will jst miss what he never had, and joshua doesn't want that. if jihoon's happiness is worth joshua leaving, then so be it. jihoon deserves the best, and joshua will do everything in his power to make sure that's what he gets. 

 

"one last kiss, please?" jihoon asks, and joshua nods. it's like a flower closing up, taking up as much nutrients as it can before it closes forever. jihoon kisses with fever and joshua has to hold him down so he won't fall off the couch. joshua feels it all, all of the love jihoon had for him, he wanted joshua to have every last drop. jihoon was still crying, his sobs shushed by joshua's kisses. for once, joshua thanks the universe. he thanks it for not giving them an ugly ending, because jihoon didn't deserve it. but jihoon would be happy with whoever he likes now, and everything will be fine.

 

one day, when joshua passes jihoon on the street, he sees him with someone else. he recognises him, it's soonyoung, a dance instructor jihoon works with. joshua is glad it was him, soonyoung knows how to to take good care of him. once jihoon and joshua lock eyes, he gives him a thumbs up. jihoon smiles and waves, before blowing a kiss along with his boyfriend. joshua assumes he knows the story, because he seems to have no problem with jihoon blowing kisses to his ex.

 

joshua feels a twang in his heart, but it's not pain. it's like a sense of happiness, joshua is happy  that jihoon and soonyoung are together. he's really happy actually, and it's nice. he's glad jihoon is happy, so it makes him happy.

 

iv. like your hands in his shirt entwined in cotton, his loving smirk

joshua isn't surprised at this point. he knew minghao didn't love him, and if he did he was loving someone else too. the only reason why joshua hasn't left yet was because, he was tired of leaving. maybe if joshua just got a little bit better, minghao would love him a little more. or maybe it's minghao, but that can't be it. joshua is always at fault, that's how the world is set up. it's not like joshua can argue it, look at his love life. something always happens and it's magically his fault.

 

"alright guys i'm heading home!" joshua calls out to his friends, getting into the taxi. jeonghan waves goodbye, while soonyoung holds jihoon like a child, the two of them waving. man, maybe love just isn't his thing, maybe he should just be friends with everyone. all of his friendships are amazing, maybe he should stick to those. but minghao is so enticing and he wants to love him. xu minghao has an aura, that makes everyone attached to him, even if he isn't attached to them.

 

he tips the taxi driver far too much, and the face that the driver makes is all worth it. he's always loved making people happy, even if they don't make him happy. case in point, minghao and joshua. joshua would do anything and everything just to see minghao smile and just be happy. compliment him on his fashion, go to art museums, anything. he has a feeling minghao doesn't do the same, that he could genuinely care less about joshua but it didn't bother him. he was far too tired emotionally (and physically) to care anyway.

 

"hey hao i'm home." joshua says quietly, so it goes unheard. joshua rubs his eyes, and sees minghao grinding on someone, hand entangled in their shirt. joshua sees the smirk plastered on the other boy's lips, and joshua feels nothing. he can't tell if he's broken or he simply doesn't care. he should be hurt, that his "boyfriend" is making out with another random guy on the couch he just bought. to be frank, joshua would be more upset if they got any bodily fluids on the couch than the situation that would have to occur to get to that conclusion. 

 

he lets out a long sigh, his head hanging low. it catches minghao's attention, and he turns around, jumping off of joshua now recognizes as jun, one of minghao's close friends. "shit joshua i-" joshua holds up his hands as a sign for him to stop talking. "i don't care minghao, i'm going to bed. tell jun that he's welcome anytime." joshua says, and walks to the bedroom door. the two of them expect him to slam the door, but he doesn't. he closes it normally, and takes a shower to head to bed.

 

joshua didn't even cry, he couldn't bring himself to. love is tiring, he's no longer capable of it. he's just so exhausted, that he simply doesn't care. when minghao joins him in bed, joshua is already sleeping. when he wakes up, joshua is gone already leaving a note on the counter, about how he thanks hao for taking him to all of those cool art museums. minghao fucked up, and he wishes he treated joshua better. because now it hit him, he broke joshua. a normal person be angry or upset if they saw minghao do what they did, but joshua simply didn't care. minghao is guilty, and he'll have to live with that.

 

v. losing my way, seeing your name

"hey baby, i made breakfast!" joshua wakes up to find hansol in front of him, holding a bowl of cereal. joshua smiles up at his beautiful fiance, like he's the most beautiful person in the world. joshua believes he is, even though hansol says otherwise. "i-i'm not really cooking and i didn't want to burn the house down, so-" joshua shushes him with a kiss, which has his cheeks flushed. "it's okay sollie, i love it." hansol gives him that birght smile, the big one when he's really happy.

 

hansol jumps into bed with him, snuggling close to the older. he watches joshua absolutely devour the cheerios, which makes him giggle softly. once he's finishes, he sits the bowl on the bedside table and rolls on top of hansol. "i love you, you know that right?" joshua says, and hansol's face is beet red. hansol acts all smooth as an act, but whenever joshua says anything a little romantic he's a mess. "love you too, ah stop!" joshau peppers kisses all over his face, murmuring a tiny i love you into every kiss on his skin.

 

"are you excited? we're getting married in just two months!" joshua says, lying down beside him. "excited? im ecstatic! we'll be together, like officially. but not like saying we weren't before but like marriage, you know?" hansol rambles and joshua lets him, looking at him with the most loving look on his face. "i love you joshua, and i-i know i don't say it enough but i do." hansol says quietly, snuggling into joshau's arm. "hansol, you have no clue how much i love you. i don't care if you don't say it as much as me, i love you all the same." joshua says, and the tables turn so now hansol is on top of him

 

the way he kisses joshua, beats every other kiss he's ever had. it's all like watercolor, the sound of a paintbrush hitting a canvas painting love. it's the children running around at a carnival laughing, different color converse hitting the ground in brisk playful sprints. it's the calmness of the ferris wheel, but also the the rush of a watercolor. hansol has the feeling of nothing but the rush and anticipation of everything. hansol is special, no one has ever loved and committed to doing so for joshua as much as he has. he hopes hansol knows, that he's joshua's angel. and if he doesn't he'll make sure of it on the day the silver band on each of theirhands will be replaced with the real thing.