There wasn't much that Wooseok remembered or particularly dwelt on from his younger years. Though there was this one particular memory that stuck in his head for some reason. And that was when one of his neighbourhood kids, Jinhyuk, shouted at him over the fence that he’s a loser.
Wooseok supposed that at that time Jinhyuk was part of the cool kids. As much as a bunch of eleven years olds could be called cool. Jinhyuk, Seungyoun, Kookheon and Yuvin however tried their best as they threw water balloons at passers-by on particularly hot days, swam in neighbours’ pools without permission and built a secret bunker in a big tree on the corner of their street. Even looking back Wooseok wouldn't call himself a loser but he supposed he was a bit boring compared to them. At that time he simply preferred to read his book over the company of others and his strong glasses did give him more of a nerd-look together with his smaller more fragile form.
Years after he wondered what about that day and memory was so special that he still got reminded of it. After all he didn't feel like the loser in that situation as Jinhyuk had a cast around his broken leg after he fell down from their secret three hide-out. Turned out he had a fight with Seungyoun over what should be their official group name.
It was now several years later and Wooseok has exchanged his glasses for contact lenses, grew into his large eyes (that as a kid made him look like a human squirrel) and finally stopped dressing like a fifty-year-old college professor. That might have been a mistake. To be perfectly honest, Wooseok would far much prefer being called a loser several times than being on a stupid college party.
"Oh, come on, hyung. At least try to look like you want to be here." Yohan whined next to him shaking him a bit while furiously looking around.
"Why am I here anyway? Pretty sure, that if that guy invited you here you don't need a wingman." Wooseok pointedly ignored a large guy beckoning him forward with a finger, while suggestively licking his lips and winking. Gross.
"Hyung, please. What if I don't find him? What if he's already dating someone and I'm gonna look like a desperate idiot? What if-" Yohan dramatically gasped, "he doesn’t like guys and I misunderstood him really badly?"
"Didn't you say he wears a rainbow pride bracelet?"
"Well yeah but what if...you know. He just likes how it looks?"
Wooseok looked at his friend in disbelief. He knew Yohan got nervous easily but this was just ridiculous.
Yohan was actually a catch. He was far too hyper for Wooseok’s taste, but even he had to admit that the younger boy’s broad chest and muscles from years of Taekwondo did things even to him. He also wore that black shirt tonight that emphasized his shoulders while teasing at his chest when Yohan turned just the right way. Wooseok was pretty sure that once they found Yohan’s dream man, the lack of attraction will be the last of their problems.
"Let's just go find the guy so I can go back home with the knowledge that you got laid, okay?"
They made their way to the kitchen of the huge house, Yohan still looking around. "I don't think that's going to happen. I mean-"
"Yohan! Here you are!" A taller handsome male made his way towards them. Wooseok could go home. Splendid. "I'm so glad you could make it! I like your shirt!"
Yohan's nervous tick disappeared and he smiled at the newcomer. "Yuvin-hyung! Hi."
Wooseok didn't particularly mind that the two ignored him in favour of doing googly eyes at each other for a bit as he tilted his head in thought. Yuvin was definitely a familiar name. And when he carefully looked at the man he was seeing the resemblance to his childhood neighbour. Though the front teeth he had knocked at seven when he tried to swing on a rope like Tarzan and proceeded to hit a tree with his face have grown back now nicely.
In that moment Yohan finally turned to him. "And this is my friend Kim Wooseok. I hope you don't mind I took him with me."
Yuvin smiled and offered his hand in greeting. "Of course not. I'm Song Yuvin, nice to meet you."
Wooseok smiled slightly back and took the offered hand. "Wooseok. Can I just ask you something out of curiosity? Have you perhaps lived in the Sinam-ri village?"
"Uh, yes? How-" Yuvin furrowed his eyebrows in thought and then his face brightened. "Oh my god! You're Kim Wooseok from the 25th house right? Wow, what a small world."
Yohan looked at them in slight confusion. "You know each other?"
Wooseok shrugged his shoulders. "We just lived in the same village when we were young."
“Well, I think this is as good an opportunity to celebrate as any," Yuvin took two bottles of amber liquid from one of the higher shelves, "everyone is in one of the upper rooms if you would like to join us." Wooseok once again just shrugged his shoulders but Yohan brightly nodded.
Yuvin started to lead them to the second floor. "Oh right, Wooseok, I almost forgot, Kookheon, Seungyoun and Jinhyuk are here too. You remember them?"
"Yeah sure. I do." Wooseok smirked to himself. What a small world indeed. He wondered if he could still one-up them, just like old times. Probably yes. But he won’t be able to say so for sure until he tries.
They entered a room which Wooseok would describe as “for the cool kids” with a tinge of irony. This was a place obviously only for the few invited and the atmosphere was laid-back, quieter than downstairs but friendly. Wooseok was just glad he didn't smell any weed.
"Hey, guys, got us the whiskey. And this is Yohan. I told you he would come." Yuvin smiled at the younger boy, who waved shyly with a light cute blush. Wooseok smirked again when he heard the stage whisper of a guy on his right who he was pretty sure was Kookheon. "You were freaking out just fifteen minutes ago that he's definitely not coming."
Yuvin either didn't hear him or smoothly ignored him. "And this is Wooseok. Kookheon, Seungyoun, you guys remember Wooseok? From home?"
Kookheon turned to him with a newly found interest and a spark of recognition in his eyes. "Wow, Wooseok? It's been what. 10 years?"
Wooseok shook his hand. "About that I think."
It took a bit longer for Seungyoun to remember. Though it was probably the combination of alcohol and a guy in a sleeveless shirt sitting beside him. "Didn't you wear glasses?" He asked, as he squinted at him suspiciously.
Wooseok chuckled a bit. "I did."
"Ooh, I know then, I know!" Seungyoun clapped excitedly, obviously proud at his great memory. There were things that remained unchanged. But he had to slightly adjust his opinion about this as Seungyoun looked at his sleeveless shirt guy companion, and then immediately cleared his throat and tried to look cool again. Almost unchanged.
Yuvin offered him and Yohan a drink which they gratefully accepted. "Where's Jinhyuk anyway?" Yuvin asked as he finally teared his gaze away from Yohan to notice his friend missing from the room.
"In the bathroom I think? Should be here any second." A tall guy with a fringe almost covering his eyes piped in from the couch. As if magically summoned, the door opened and a tall handsome man with a bright smile entered.
"Here he is. Wooseok, you remember Jinhyuk?" At Kookheon's words Wooseok smiled slightly.
Jinhyuk was just starting to drink from his glass trying to get a grasp on the conversation. His eyes had a pretty shape, his fingers around the glass were long and graceful and Wooseok suddenly realized he kinda wanted to find out how his long limbs would feel around his in a hug. Or a make-out session. Whichever. Wooseok was also very very petty, and he couldn’t just leave it like that.
"Yeah, I remember him. Was it when we were eleven you called me a loser, Jinhyuk?"
The tall boy finally completely turned his full attention to him. As if in slow motion Wooseok saw how Jinhyuk's eyes widened and not only in recognition. He then proceeded to choke and spit all of the drink in his mouth. Right on Wooseok's face of course. Like in dumb comedies, Wooseok thought amused, as he watched Jinhyuk relegated to a coughing fit his watering eyes still stuck on Wooseok. He wiped his face, fighting a smirk. This was too easy.
"I suppose you do remember then."
Jinhyuk just embarrassingly mumbled something affirmative to a resounding laughter from the whole room.
Wooseok sat down on a vacant chair beside Kookheon, crossing his legs and with the conversation in the room once again picking up he calmly sipped his drink. To his great amusement Jinhyuk kept stealing glances at him, tipping over a lamp and tripping over his own feet in the process. Wooseok was enjoying himself quite a bit.
It was later when the sleeveless shirt guy sat beside him - Hangyul, as Wooseok learned - and curiously looked at him. "So," he started, "if I understand it right you know Seungyoun and the others from before."
Wooseok nodded and his smile turned a bit more sinister. "Wanna hear some childhood stories?"
He might have accidentally said it loudly enough for the whole room to hear him. Accidentally, on purpose. Or something. As he watched at least half of the room huddle around his chair like a pack of children waiting for a bedtime story (all of them clutching glasses of whisky instead of milk, but who was he to dwell on details), Wooseok sent a wide smile Jinhyuk’s way.
Jinhyuk swallowed in worry. Wooseok lightly bit his lip. Who was the loser now, huh?