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Winter.

 

Seonghwa drove slowly to his shop, nodding his head to the beat of the music blasting in his car. The vibrations of the bass made him feel somewhat happy to be going to work after such a long time of being away. Snow had made it impossible for him to get to his shop, so he had Mingi run it until he could manage to squeeze his camry through the big towers of ice.

 

They rarely plowed his shopping center, as most of it is abandoned. He didn’t really mind, as it just meant less work for people who don’t get paid enough to do so. As long as he could get to work after a few days of waiting for the white blanket to melt, he was fine.

 

Turning past Yunho’s studio, he wondered if anyone had come in during the blizzard. Mingi had mentioned that he had done some piercings here and there, but for the past week the parlor was pretty much empty. None of his regulars came by besides Wooyoung, who dropped off some croissants for Mingi to eat.

 

He never paid the boy to be kind to his business partner, but some would say it sounds like it. Every week or so, he’ll drop by with something for both of the parlor workers. Seonghwa usually gave whatever he couldn’t manage to eat to Mingi, who took any food with open arms. After all, he was still trying to gather enough money for his own place.

 

Seonghwa bit his lip once he started coming up to the intersection closest to his shop, hoping that it wouldn’t be difficult to park his vehicle behind the building.

 

Everything was covered in the powdery snow, but it had cleared just enough for him to get around the back safely. He sighed deeply, a small part of him growing warm just thinking about being back in a place he was comfortable in.

 

He hummed his music quietly as he worked his way through the maze of visible ice down the pavement, making a left before backing into his parking space next to the back entrance of “Mars’ Tattoos.”

 

Gathering his coat and his phone, he wrapped his charging cord around the case, and prepared himself to step out into the negative degree weather. He opened the door and draped his coat overtop of himself, rushing to get inside.

 

He exhaled, seeing his breath cloud up in front of him as he dug in his pocket for his keys. His fingertips were already freezing, but he shoved the key inside the lock without much hassle, and darted into the back of his shop, shutting the door behind him.

 

From far away, he could hear Mingi groan slightly, his blankets bunching up as he sat up on the futon. “Hwaaa.” He grumbled with a groggy voice.

 

Seonghwa tossed his keys onto the counter and threw his coat aside on one of their chairs, stepping into the main room of the shop. There Mingi was with a massive bedhead, rubbing the tiredness out of his eyes. He looked as if he were beat up with a bruise on his face, but Seonghwa chose against asking him about it right now.

 

“Hwaaa.” He sang again, holding his arms out in a half asleep manner. “C’mere.”

 

Sighing, the older walked over and sat beside Mingi, who hugged him tight.

 

“How have you been doing, Mingi?” Seonghwa asked, giving Mingi a little squeeze back before detaching him from his neck.

 

Mingi hummed. “Fine. Wooyoung brought some food earlier, if you want some.” The tired co-worker pointed to the front counter, and there was a to-go bag placed on it. “I’m not hungry.”

 

The blonde haired man ran his hands through his hair, watching Mingi’s head hit his pillow once again, him back to snoring within seconds. Once he turned to his side, he could see the extent of the bruising on his arms and on his stomach. The splotches were a deep purple, and almost blended in with his own tattoos, but Seonghwa knew that those weren’t there before.

 

Maybe he went out last night, Seonghwa thought. I’ll ask him about it later. 

 

Seonghwa stood, and went to examine what Wooyoung had brought. His stomach was growling, and he was secretly despising himself for skipping breakfast. He stuffed his head into the bag, spying a note that the baker had left for Mingi.

 

Dear Mingi,

 

If Seonghwa returns today, then you better share this with him. I hope these are big enough for you two to be filled up. Enjoy! I made this with a ton of love.

 

Love, Wooyoungie

 

Oh how this boy made him cringe. He was perhaps too affectionate sometimes.

 

Anyway, Seonghwa opened the styrofoam to-go container and he was greeted with the fresh scent of chocolate filled croissants.

 

How did he know to bring these today? Does this man see into the future? These were Seonghwa’s favorite.

 

Humming loudly to himself, he snatched a napkin from the bag and carefully picked up one of the croissants, biting into the delicate baked goodness before about crying tears of joy. God, he loved these things. But he never told Wooyoung that he did.

 

While he ate away at his breakfast, he lit up the ‘open’ neon light in front of his store, and sat back into the desk chair he had, waiting for his first customer to arrive.