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Be With You (Always By Your Side)

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Wooseok let out a sharp and loud sigh as he slumped onto his chair. He was hoping that what the homeroom teacher had told him was just a passing dream. Or just an imagination. 



“Why did the teacher call you? Did you do anything wrong?” Soonyoung, Wooseok’s classmate who was sitting behind him had asked.



“Nothing much and I didn’t do anything wrong.” Wooseok replied lazily, still so baffled of the teacher’s order for him.



“Nuh uh. I’m not buying it. Judging on how furiously you flipping through your precious notebook right now, something more than nothing much is going on.” Soonyoung peeked from behind to make a guess.



“Fine. I’m only saying this just so when people wonder if I’m gone, you’ll know who to blame.”



“Tell me about it.” 



“Cho Seungyoun. That’s what’s going on.” 



“Seungyoun? Why? What did he do? And why does it involve you? You barely even said a word to him.” And suddenly Soonyoung gasped loudly, covering his mouth. “Oh my, Wooseok. Are you-”



“Stop whatever you’re thinking of. The teacher was only assigning me to be his tutor because of his grades. Out of all people.” Wooseok turned to face Soonyoung and slapped his hand off his mouth. Chuckling at the funny sight of the hamster like boy. “Not that I know what you were thinking of though.” 



“Oh. I was thinking maybe you were just under his radar to be his lackey or something. You know- those typical chaebol son thingy.” Soonyoung paused after a beat or two. “But no one can make you their lackey anyway. The snarky Wooseok is scarier than a tiger.”



“I’m not snarky and you’re overdramatic.” Wooseok replied. 



“I’m not. Because you’re the only one who can beat that smelly raccoon Lee Jihoon. And I love you for that.” 



“Say that you love me more than Wonwoo then I’ll show you how much more I can beat Jihoon.” Wooseok challenged the other boy who he knew had just started going out with Wonwoo. Wooseok knew of this fact because Soonyoung said he needed someone to share his happiness with and he was happy for them. It was not an easy thing to be done in this cruel world, especially after he saw Soonyoung’s little escape from Wonwoo weeks ago. 



“No can do. I love how you scored higher than Jihoon but,” Soonyoung stopped to look around and leaned in towards Wooseok to whisper “I can only love Wonwoo.” He grinned widely. 



“Whatever. As long as you love me.” Wooseok smiled at Soonyoung and turned to the front again and he was beyond surprised when he saw the boy that is soon to become his responsibility smiling brightly just a few inches away from his face. “What the-”



“Who? Who loves you?” Seungyoun asked with an overwhelming amount of excitement. “I wanna know too.” 



“Too close. Get away from me.” Wooseok raised his precious notebook to barricade himself from Seungyoun. “Why are you here? Go back to your seat.” He ordered the taller boy and glanced at his own seat mate who had just arrived and was about to pull his chair to settle down. 



“Stop!” Seungyoun yelled at the clueless boy. “This seat is mine from today. You take my seat over there.” He pointed with his lips towards the empty chair by the door while nonchalantly ordering the boy. 



“Who are you to tell him that?” Wooseok defended the poor classmate. He noticed how the whole class was watching the situation right now. “It’s alright. He was just joking. You can just sit here.” The shorter boy tried to stop his poor classmate from packing his stuff under the order of the insufferable Cho Seungyoun. 



“First. Don’t stop packing your stuff.” Seungyoun glared at the boy who seemed to be contemplating of whom to listen to. “Secondly, it was the teacher’s order. Remember when the teacher said you’re going to tutor me? I bet you do. And the tutoring starts today. And it starts from me switching places with him. So, let me ask you. Don’t you wanna switch seats with me and sit with your girlfriend over there?” Seungyoun bored a sharp gaze towards the now guilty looking classmate. 



“Girlfriend card. Lowest of the low.” Soonyoung who was watching the whole thing quietly left his remark. 



And of course, the poor boy, somewhat more than grateful, had continued packing his belongings and dashed to the said seat while Seungyoun, with an annoying smirk on his face slammed his backpack onto the table and settled down at his new place whistling some random tunes. He turned to look at Wooseok who was obviously still silently fuming at him. Seungyoun thought he saw steam coming out of Wooseok’s tiny ears. Hmm, cute. 



“Stop looking at me. You may be sitting here but I’m still going to ask the teacher if he actually said that and don’t annoy me.” Wooseok pointed his index finger to Seungyoun’s smiley face. What Seungyoun did next was probably the peak of his annoyance towards the boy. 



Seungyoun unexpectedly bit Wooseok’s index finger and that earned a loud yelp from Wooseok and an even louder screech from Soonyoung at the back who was still watching the two. Wooseok pulled his finger away from Seungyoun’s bite as fast as he could. 



“What the hell, Cho Seungyoun?” Wooseok howled. 



“Your finger looks inviting, couldn’t help it.” Seungyoun shrugged. “So. What are we starting our tutoring session with today?” He casually brushed off the look of displease on Wooseok’s face. “Geez. I brushed my teeth and I haven’t eaten anything so stop with that look of disgust, Kim Wooseok.” Seungyoun rolled his eyes and sighed. 



“That’s not the point here, weirdo.” Wooseok shot back as he furiously wiped his finger with wet wipes that Soonyoung had conveniently handed him. He lifted his face to fiercely glare at Seungyoun. “Maths and English. That’s what we’ll be covering today.” 



“Maths only please. I don’t like English.” Seungyoun tried to bargain. 



“I’m your tutor so you listen to me and-”



Wooseok’s nagging was cut off by the sound of the bell to mark the start of the second half of the day.



“We’ll talk more about this tutoring thing after school ends.” Wooseok reminded the taller boy and immediately diverted his focus towards the arrival of Mr. Hong in front of the classroom.



“Yes, your highness.” Seungyoun uttered with a smile brighter than the sun. Haa I’m loving this already.



***




“What’s with English?” Wooseok asked the taller boy next to him. Everyone had left for home leaving Wooseok and Seungyoun to discuss their tutoring matter. 



Wooseok had begged Soonyoung to stay with him but apparently helping Wonwoo to buy materials for the school festival was more important, but the friendly hamster like boy did not forget to leave Wooseok a reminder that went “don’t get too close to him. He’s got a reputation.” 



Yeah, right. Reputation and the school festival. What’s our class’ theme this year, though? Seungyoun’s voice snapped Wooseok out of his thoughts.



“Think I’m good with English. I lived abroad before.” Seungyoun shrugged. “Just Maths, History, Science and maybe PE?” He tee-heed at his last word. 



“Why would I help you with PE?” I don’t do sports myself. Ugh. 



“That was just a joke, okay? Don’t take me seriously, Wooseok.” The taller boy laughed at Wooseok’s uptightness. “Teach me Hanja instead. Couldn’t understand a thing.” 



Wooseok kept silent as he continued jotting down notes while interrogating Seungyoun since the last 30 minutes. A thought came to his mind suddenly. “It’s weird.” He started. 



“What is?” Seungyoun asked shortly, spinning his pen in between his middle finger and thumb, blankly staring at the equally blank blackboard.



You failing all of these subjects. I don’t think anyone was that bad in our class. You got zero for English but you said I don’t have to help you with it because you’ve lived abroad before.” Wooseok said lengthily, hand still writing some notes. 



“Umm. I was actually bad. All along. It’s just you who never paid attention to me.” Seungyoun rubbed the back of his neck. He glanced at the younger boy next to him. “I was bad. Really.” He reemphasized. 



“Really? Weird. I don’t remember hearing anyone failing last year.” Wooseok insisted, eyes now on the taller boy sitting next to him. “Whatever it is, just don’t fool around. I take my assignment to tutor you seriously albeit reluctantly. The teacher promised me that this will be included in my record and I’ll receive some merit points too.” He warned the boy with a stern look on his face. 



“Deal.” Seungyoun replied with a grin. “So, what are we going to learn today?”



“Hmm. You.” 



“What?” Seungyoun’s eyes widened and his pen dropped onto the floor at the answer. “Wha- what do you mean? Me? Learn about me? Wh- Why?” 



“Why are you stuttering?” Wooseok let out a breathy chuckle and covered his mouth with the back of his delicate hand as if holding back his laughter.



To that, Seungyoun’s heart skipped a beat. I made him smile. “I’m not stuttering. You’re the one who’s saying weird things.” 



“Me? When I said learning about you, it means I need to learn on which area you’re actually bad at. Like history, which part of the world’s existence that you missed out on. Maths. Can you multiply? Those things, okay? Tell me more of those.” Wooseok paused to stare at Seungyoun. He saw Seungyoun’s fidgeting and now looking everywhere but him. Weird. “What did you have in mind, anyway?” 



“No-nothing.” A pause from Seungyoun. “The Renaissance era and the Joseon dynasty. I don’t understand those.” He said out of nervousness as he picked up his pen.



“What?” Wooseok gave him a disbelieving look. “And you call yourself a Korean?” Wooseok pfft at the answer. “Well, I can’t deny your rights to learn, I guess.”



Seungyoun whispered a breathy “right” to Wooseok’s patronizing answer. 



Silence engulfed them both as Wooseok now shifted his attention to his notebook again. 



Seungyoun tried to hide his smile as he saw Wooseok drew a mind map with his name at the centre of the neatly drawn diagram. He continued trailing Wooseok’s hand as he wrote some more notes. 



“It seems like we can’t do any tutoring today. It’s better to just start tomorrow.” Wooseok broke the silence. 



“What? Why?” Seungyoun unknowingly yelled almost at the speed of light. A hint of disappointment was clear in his voice and was hoping that Wooseok did not notice it. “No. I mean, ahem, why?” He switched to monotone immediately as he noticed Wooseok was flinching. 



Wooseok blinked his eyes twice to the change of tone. “Like I said, I need to learn your weaknesses first. I’ll make some questions tonight and I’ll let you answer them tomorrow. And we’ll see what we can do later.” Wooseok replied convincingly with a faint smile on his face. “Plus, I need to ask Jihoon for some notes too.” 



“Ji-who?” Seungyoun’s ears perked up at the mention of another boy’s name. 



“Lee Jihoon from the other class. He has complete notes on most of the subjects since he went to the academy. For our reference.” 



“Oh. I see.” Seungyoun’s heart skipped another beat at the mention of ‘our’. 



“And now, I’m going back. Can’t believe I’m gonna be seeing sunsets from now on. Bet the streets are as dark as my soul right now.” He stopped for a while to stare out of the window. “Would it kill if they fix the streetlights?” Wooseok murmured as he stuffed his belongings into his backpack. 



The taller somehow manage to catch the murmuring. “I can walk you home.” Seungyoun offered. “I mean- you’re going home late because of me anyway so I thought I should at least do exactly that, right? Like a gentleman I am.” He winked at the shorter boy who was standing up now. 



“You disgust me.” Wooseok snarled. Talking about studying matter with Seungyoun was fine but when no studying matter was involved, the fun was gone. For some reasons, the taller boy was still annoying in his eyes. “Thanks but I can walk myself.” 



“Come on. We’re gonna spend more time together. That’s the least that I could do. You give a little to take a little as they said.” Seungyoun tried to sound as convincing as he could because why would he miss a chance to walk Wooseok home? No way I’m losing this chance of a lifetime.



Wooseok walked past the taller boy, slightly pushing his gigantic figure, completely missing the disappointed look on Seungyoun’s face. 



As he reached the door, a shiver ran down his spine at the thought of being chased by wild stray dogs in the middle of the dark streets near his house came to his mind. So he turned hesitantly to the sight of Seungyoun who was absentmindedly fiddling his backpack straps. Hm? Was his lips always that pouty?



“On second thought, maybe that little offer was a good offer after all?” Wooseok scratched his temple with his forefinger as he felt ashamed of throwing away his ego for some kind of protection from stray dogs. Geez, why do dogs hate me?



“I can walk you home?” Seungyoun shot his head up in a flash to Wooseok’s change of mind. He quickly made a small run towards the younger boy. “Now lead the way, your highness.” 



Wooseok could have sworn on his life that he saw a tail wagging from Seungyoun’s back. 



“Stop calling me that. We’re not that friendly to have nicknames.”



“Yet.” Seungyoun replied shortly and started to whistle as he walked behind the boy that he had been secretly having a crush on. 



***



Quiet Wooseok was normal to Seungyoun. The smaller boy was usually calm and composed and only talked when needed. But fidgety and wary Wooseok was new to him. Their walk to Wooseok’s house was very quiet. The younger was obviously not into small talks and Seungyoun somewhat inconveniently had become clueless on how to small talk — which was so unusual of him, but the way Wooseok was timidly looking around and even stealing a glance at him from time to time at the back was odd to Seungyoun. He saw how Wooseok was tightly gripping onto his backpack straps and his steps were very small, as if something or someone was bothering him. That couldn’t be me. He said I can walk him home. Unless—?



So Seungyoun did what he thought was thoughtful — he tapped on the younger’s shoulder. 



To the tapping, Wooseok visibly flinched at Seungyoun’s sudden touch and shrieked, “Damn it! You scared the hell out of me, Cho Seungyoun.” He was obviously pale at this moment and was aggresively massaging his chest to slow down his heartbeat. 



Seungyoun on the other hand was even more surprised. Before he knew it, he was already holding Wooseok by the shoulders. “What’s wrong? Did I scare you? Wooseok, I’m sorry I- I didn’t mean to- I was just- You were-” He cannot seem to put his words together as guilt downpoured on him. “I’m sorry. Really. I mean it.” It’s just that, you look so worried. Worried of what, I don’t know and I wanna know.



Wooseok scanned the taller. He felt bad because it was obvious his yelling made Seungyoun stuttered. This is all the dogs’ fault. “It’s not you.” He said flatly to inform the taller boy. He felt the tight grip of Seungyoun’s hands on his shoulder but as guilt engulfed him, he could not say a word about it or even slap those hands away. “It’s the dogs, okay?” This is so embarrassing. 



“Dogs?” Puzzled by the short explanation, Seungyoun loosened his grip on the shorter’s shoulders, lowkey refusing to let go. “What do you mean dogs? Dogs like woof woof dogs?”



“Yes, Seungyoun. Woof woof dogs. There were a lot of them here. And they’re wild. Especially when it’s me who’s walking here.” Wooseok replied halfheartedly and as he felt the grip on his shoulders loosened, he did exactly what he had been waiting to do — slap those hands away. “Man, this is so embarrassing.” He rubbed his small face. 



“You mean to say you’re scared of the dogs?” Seungyoun probed as he was finally able to complete the puzzle but slightly disappointed as his hands were slapped away by Wooseok. 



“Yeah?” Wooseok’s answer came in the form of a question as he raised his face slightly. “They chased me before. Like real hard they chased me. Thank goodness Wonwoo was conveniently walking around to help me scare the dogs off.” Hm? Why am I telling him all these?



“Wonwoo?” Seungyoun asked, missing the whole point of Wooseok’s “tragic” story. 



“Yeah. Wonwoo.” 



“Who’s Wonwoo?”



“I was telling you about my tragically embarrassing story and ‘who’s Wonwoo?’ was what you got from it? Unbelievable.” The younger who had been standing slightly taller than Seungyoun because of the sloppy road turned forward to leave Seungyoun but his move was immediately halted as he felt a strong grip on his arm. 



“Sorry. Dogs. They were chasing you. I heard that.” Wonwoo? I’ve heard that name before, but where? As if a light bulb went off in his head, Seungyoun’s face was also suddenly lit up. “As a return of you, tutoring me, can I walk you home? Every day? Specifically, when it’s late and dark but even if it’s not late and dark, I still can walk you too.” He suggested in a breath. A dimple forming on his cheek showing how thrilled he was to the idea of being with Wooseok. “What do you say?”



Wooseok narrowed his eyes at the loud boy in front of him. He looks nice up close. Hm? What? Who nice? “Ahem. Let go of me first.” He snarled as he slapped the taller’s hand away for the second time. “We don’t know about our time arrangement yet. I’m planning to meet up in a broad daylight if I feel like having a weekend session.” Things I do for merit points and record. 



“Okay. Then let’s make it only when we finish late. Like today’s late. I mean, you looked so scared just now.” I was worried. “Wait- does that mean we might also meet even when it’s not after school ends?” Seungyoun’s eyes now looked like one of those shiny anime eyes.

 

Once again, Wooseok could have sworn on his beautiful face that he saw a tail wagging from Seungyoun’s back.

“Like I said earlier, we’ll see what we can do with your weaknesses first- are you even listening? Ugh, whatever.” He paused to take a breath. “Then, I’ll decide on how frequent the tutoring should be.” Wooseok sighed, and turned to start walking again. Funny how Wooseok did not feel scared anymore. For now. Maybe having a walking mate is actually not that bad and I can also stop third wheeling Soonyoung and Wonwoo. Joke’s on you wild dogs. He smirked internally as he believed that he had won the non-existent battle with the stray dogs. 



“So it means I have to be even more stupid to have more tutoring time with you.” Seungyoun mumbled to himself. A naughty, victorious grin formed on his face. If acting like a complete dumb is what I need to do, then that’s exactly what I’ll do.



“Huh? What did you say?” Wooseok asked without looking back at the boy who had also started walking again. 



“Nothing. Just some nice thoughts.” Seungyoun trailed the younger’s steps as he smiled lovingly, mentally printing Wooseok’s small figure into his mind.



“You’re a tough nut to crack.” 



“Hm? I don’t crack. Coconuts crack.” 

 

Seungyoun believed he had entered heaven alive when he heard Wooseok let out a chuckle, possibly because of his reply. 



Chapter Text

Wooseok spent the night preparing the test and browsing through his old notes for him to grasp better on subjects that he was supposed to help Seungyoun with. Without him realizing it, the time was already 2.30am so he hurriedly cleaned his desk and prepared the books for tomorrow (read: today). He internally prayed that the start of him tutoring Seungyoun would be smooth. Wooseok had a fairly good reason not to be associated with Seungyoun but he just wanted everything to run smoothly for the sake of his merit points since being a librarian was insufficient and also he sucked at sports so yeah helping Cho Seungyoun it is then. Although for some reasons, he had his doubts about Seungyoun failing but for now he will give him the benefit of the doubt if he intentionally failed himself or not. 

 

“Yerin said the theme that they agreed on was idol themed cafe or booth. That’s a lot of things to do and many concepts to consider.” Wooseok muttered as he mindlessly scribbled in his notebook that was now suddenly filled with Seungyoun’s name. Aside from the tutoring, he had the school festival to deal with too. He made a mental note to tell Yerin that he would not join the committee because Seungyoun and school festival are just not a good combination. “I should just sleep.” 

 

***

 

“Should I text him? If I text him what should I say? ‘Hey. I’ll pick you up tomorrow.’ Or ‘can I pick you up? Let’s walk together. The dogs might go out for a morning walk.’ That doesn’t sound too eager, right?” Seungyoun contemplated as he walked back and forth in his expansive officetel. Being the typical chaebol son, he told his family that he wanted to live alone and closer to school since his family’s mansion is quite far from the school. 

 

“I don’t wanna sound flirty but I need to sound flirty.” Seungyoun glanced at his phone to check on the time. “ 2 am? He must be asleep now. Should’ve texted him earlier.” He sighed and slumped onto the couch, face first. “Wooseok. Wooseok. Wooseok. Wooseok. Wooseok.” He repeated the name like a mantra. 

 

“That’s it. I’m going to his place first thing today. I know where he lives now. What’s the point of having his phone number if I can’t text him, right? A gentleman like me would just wait for him in front of his house.” He got up from the couch and made a determined stride to his room and rolled into his bed. 

 

“Sleep. I need sleep.” He was about to pull his blanket when he realized he had yet to set his alarm and flicked his own forehead for almost missing the morning. He tossed and turned for a few good minutes but fell asleep soon after he stared at a framed picture of Wooseok on the nightstand — the picture that marked the start of his crush on the boy.

 

***

 

Wooseok walked out of his room lazily that morning. It hit him first thing in the morning that his free-of-charge-but-full-of-merit-points-tutoring-job starts today. After saying goodbye to his mother, he lazily pushed the small gate of his house and what he saw first was very surprising — a certain Cho Seungyoun was standing with two finger hearts pointed at him. There goes the wagging tail again.

 

“Good morning, Wooseok seonsaeng-nim!” Seungyoun yelled at the top of his lungs. He flashed a wide smile, his walnut chin was eye catching. “Hi. Take my hearts!” 

 

Wooseok rolled his eyes and faked a gag. “Why are you even here?” He briefly scanned the taller boy and noticed how the soft wind was blowing his silky hair, revealing a bit of his forehead. 

 

“I’m here to walk with you. In case the dogs are up early for a morning walk- or run. You’ll never know.” Seungyoun replied with a double wink. 

 

Ahh. The dogs. Hm? Hold on- “But it’s not late and dark so you don’t have to come here. Do you even live around here though?” Wooseok knew Seungyoun does not live in his area — being the chaebol son he is, there was no way he could be living in this mundane neighbourhood. Even Jihoon lives in a mansion on top of a hill. 

 

“Oh. I don’t live around here but it’s in the same direction so walking to your place is nothing.” Seungyoun looked around the place just to get familiar with it even more. It was dark last night so he could not quite see things. His eyes stopped wandering and landed on Wooseok again. “What did you have for breakfast?” 

 

“Hmm. Kimchi jjigae and cheese kimbap.” Wooseok started his steps leaving Seungyoun who was still scanning the place. “I’ve got your tests prepared for today. I’ll let you take it during break time or after school.” He informed without looking back at the taller boy.

 

“Huh? Oh- okay.” Right, the test. Play dumb starts today I guess. “How long have you been living here?” Seungyoun probed as he walked beside Wooseok now, purposely (but only slightly) brushing his wide shoulder to Wooseok’s frail one.

 

“Since I was born, I guess.” What kind of small talk was that? He internally chuckled to Seungyoun’s obvious effort to small talk. “And by the way, I still prepared some English questions for you to answer. While we’re at it, might as well just cover all subjects.”

 

“Yeah.” I’ve come to a conclusion that the more I play dumb, the more sessions we’re having so yoohoo come to daddy, tests! “Are we getting on the bus or- what?” Seungyoun asked, now upping his shoulders game by purposely and obviously bumping them harder.

 

“Are your shoulders always this wide or did you dislocate them?” Wooseok snapped, ignoring Seungyoun’s question. “Stop hitting me for heaven’s sake.” He warned and pushed the taller boy away. 

 

“I’ll choose the first one because it sounds like a compliment.” Seungyoun winked for the nth time. “I was born with dependable wide shoulders which means you can always lean on me.” 

 

“Ugh.” Wooseok glared at the taller male but soon his expression turned soft and he narrowed his eyes towards the taller boy. “But that was smooth nevertheless.” 

 

“Huh? What was smooth? My shoulders?” 

 

“Don’t you realize what you’ve just said?” Wooseok snickered. 

 

“Hmm. My shoulders are wide?” Seungyoun shrugged and pulled his backpack strap onto his shoulder again as it kept on slipping off. 

 

“You were saying stuffs boys use to flirt, idiot. Or could it be that you’re indeed subconsciously flirting with me?” Wooseok jabbed teasingly, head slightly tilted up to look at the taller boy on his side and wiggling his eyebrows. 

 

Seungyoun stopped his walking and blankly stared at Wooseok who somewhat had stopped walking too. They stared at each other for a moment — Wooseok still with his teasing smile on his face and Seungyoun might be having a heart attack from Wooseok’s random guess because bullseye, you got me .

 

“Kim Wooseok?” A voice broke their gaze, and they simultaneously turned.

 

“Oh? Hey, Wonwoo. Good morning.” Wooseok greeted the voice’s owner. “Where’s Soonyoung?” He softly elbowed Seungyoun’s side to urge him to start walking towards Wonwoo who was still standing in front of his house and he struggled to hold his laughter when he saw how dumbfounded Seungyoun looked like right now as he followed Wooseok’s steps.

 

“It’s Soonyoung’s turn to watch over the library this morning so he left earlier.” Wonwoo slightly bowed his head at the taller boy behind Wooseok. “Seungyoun, right?” 

 

“Huh? Yeah. Cho Seungyoun. You know me?” He asked out of sheer curiosity. It was a fact that Seungyoun came from a rich family, but his life was nothing like what the dramas portrayed — a douchebag, famous with people following him here and there, so having someone who was not from his class to know his name was a bit weird for him. He had always believed in living his life modestly is what will make people accept him for who he is. He had friends but only at school since he preferred staying at his officetel most of the time. Okay, maybe the officetel was slightly extravagant but at least he never showered people with luxury.

 

“Kind of.” Wonwoo replied shortly and smiled at Seungyoun. “Are you two taking the bus?” He asked, now looking at Wooseok. 

 

“Yeah. You’re not?” Wooseok queried as he walked closer to Wonwoo who had started walking and leaving Seungyoun behind. 

 

“I am but Jihoon said to wait for him first. He knew Soonyoung’s on duty so he’s taking this chance to drag me to have unhealthy breakfast at the convenience store before we go to school.” Wonwoo shook his head at his best friend’s antics. 

 

“Soonyoung still hate him, huh?” Wooseok giggled to the image of Soonyoung fuming if he ever found out that Jihoon took his boyfriend away. “Even when you’re-”, he stopped talking mid sentence and peeked at Seungyoun at the back. When he saw Seungyoun was just blankly staring at him, he turned to face forward again and held Wonwoo’s forearm, tiptoeing to whisper, “together?” 

 

Seungyoun’s eyes widened as he saw the scene right in front of his salad. He felt like he was repeatedly being punched in the gut when he saw the boy of his life was all touchy with Wonwoo. More like Won-who? Who is this guy? Why is he appearing in front of us and most importantly- why is Wooseok touching him?

 

“He’s not Soonyoung if he’s not petty about Jihoon but he knew there’s nothing much he can do about it.” Wonwoo smiled, he slightly turned and placed his hand on top Wooseok’s that was still on his arm, and as he did, from the corner of his eyes, he could see the cold glare that Seungyoun gave him. So he slowly peeled Wooseok’s hand off him. “I guess this is where we part ways. I’m heading to the convenience store first.” 

 

“Oh. We’re at the bus stop already?” Wooseok looked around the busy main street. There was a line of people waiting for the bus just like himself. “I’ll see you at school then and tell Jihoon I’ll pick up the notes from him later.” 

 

“Okay.” Wonwoo took one last look at Seungyoun and flashed him a knowing smile. “I’ll see you around, Seungyoun.” 

 

Huh? What was that smile for? Seungyoun confusedly stare at the spectacled boy whose slim but sturdy figure was now coursing through a sea of people. 

 

“What are you looking at?” Wooseok waved his hand in front of Seungyoun’s face. “Our bus is almost here.” 

 

“Huh? Right. The bus.” He paused. “So that was Wonwoo.” He said shortly, looking at the shorter  in his eyes. “How long have you known him?” 

 

“Wonwoo? Since I was 6 or 7- I don’t remember. Why did you ask?” Wooseok was weirded out of the question but he brushed off the feeling instantly.

 

“Just because.” Seungyoun shrugged. He could not help but had a feeling of being left out. There were people who had been in Wooseok’s life as early as when they were 7 years old while he had only known him properly when they were 18. Wish I had known you earlier. 

 

“Our bus is here. Let’s get on it.” Wooseok pulled Seungyoun by his slipping off backpack straps, snapping him out of his inner disappointments. 

 

***

 

It was during the lunch break that Seungyoun was ‘tested’ by Wooseok. The smaller boy told him to finish the short tests on history, Hanja, literature, some algebra, science and English at their school’s library. He stretched his body and looked around to search for any trace of his favourite boy but only to disappoint himself because Wooseok’s ethereal face was nowhere to be seen. 

 

“Man. Never knew that pretending of not knowing how to answer any of these is way harder than actually not knowing them.” He mumbled as he gathered the papers together. “For once in my life, I just hope I don’t have this brain.” Seungyoun sighed and roused from his chair, cautious of not making any screeching sound that could disturb other students. “Now, now. Is my seonsaeng-nim slacking off?” 

 

The taller started his search for Wooseok and walked past different sections including the literature and political science. It was only when he was at the sports and recreation section that he caught a glimpse of his favourite boy sleeping with his head leaned against the shelf, hugging a book tightly as if it was a plushie. The younger male also had his legs stretched, revealing the dokinchan socks that he had on. 

 

Seungyoun smiled lovingly and tiptoed towards Wooseok as to not make any sound and he was grateful that the section was at the end of the world. As he got closer, he squatted with his knees held tightly to his chest and took a moment to mentally draw the sleeping beauty in front of him. So small, so pretty, so otherworldly.

 

Being so caught up in the moment, the taller male unconsciously extended his hand with the intention to run his fingers through Wooseok’s fluffy hair. When his forefinger slightly touched the shorter’s fringe, Wooseok suddenly shifted, eyelids fluttering as he struggled to open his eyes. Seungyoun retracted his hand at the speed of light and stood up so abruptly that his head felt like exploding from the surging dizziness. His hands were trembling and he silently prayed that Wooseok was unaware of his loudly thumping heartbeat.

 

“Sorry. I fell asleep.” Wooseok said groggily and he rubbed his eyes. “Have you finished everything?” He added as he glanced at his watch before stacking the book that he held on to the shelf behind him. 

 

“Ye-yeah. I-I did.” For once, Cho Seungyoun. Can you please not stutter? He internally drop kicked himself but his eyes never leaving the younger male who is now massaging his legs, probably numb because of the cold air conditioned floor. 

 

Wooseok blankly stared at his numb legs. “I can’t stand.” He deadpanned. “Help me here, mate.” He ordered as he looked up to Seungyoun and held his hand out hoping for the taller to pull him up. 

 

Seungyoun thought that was a good chance to get touchy but man my palms are sweaty like a water faucet is flowing endlessly. He stared at the shorter’s oh so pretty hand. Noticing how Wooseok still looked so hopeful of him, he took the hand into his own and pulled the younger and he might have miscalculated his strength because as Wooseok was now on his feet, he somehow stumbled forward and almost slammed his face onto Seungyoun’s broad chest. 

 

Seungyoun impulsively grabbed Wooseok by the waist and their position now sort of looked like they were waltzing, faces only a few inches away from each other’s. The taller male stared down at Wooseok who was staring back at him with his cat like eyes. It was when they were at this close proximity that Seungyoun noticed how Wooseok was a lot smaller than he expected him to be — he was just at his chin level and the sight of Wooseok looking up at him made his head spinning again. 

 

The sound of the bell broke their trance and Wooseok took the opportunity to push Seungyoun away. He probably had exerted too much force because the taller hit his back against the shelf. Seungyoun groaned and frowned, but eyes never leaving Wooseok’s. 

 

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to push you that hard.” Wooseok muttered timidly. 

 

“Huh? Oh. It doesn’t hurt. I’m fine.” Seungyoun replied hoping to wash away the guilty look on Wooseok’s face. 

 

“Let’s head back to the classroom and don’t forget your tests. I’ll check on them after school ends.” The younger stole one last glance before he made his way and added, “we’re staying late today.” 

 

Seungyoun blinked once or twice and whispered an “okay.” He watched as Wooseok left him alone in between the shelves. He breathed in sharply, counted to 10 and breathed out slowly. Phew. Thought my heart could jump out of my chest. 

 

***

 

Wooseok shook his head from time to time as he marked Seungyoun’s test papers. He did not forget to sigh and even groaned as he read the answers. “I never knew you’re this bad.” He remarked without looking at the boy sitting beside him — who is resting his head on the table, boring his eyes at Wooseok, mouth ajar. 

 

You see, to say Wooseok did not notice it would be a total lie. Ever since they got back from the library, he could see from the corner of his eye that Seungyoun had been eyeing him for whatever reason, Wooseok refused to speculate. He tapped his pen on Seungyoun’s table to get his attention. 

 

To that, Seungyoun shot his head up and sat up straight facing Wooseok. “What? What did you say?” He asked clumsily. 

 

“I said- I never knew you’re this dumb.” Wooseok let out a sharp breath. “You wrote ‘IU’s alter ego’ for question regarding Admiral Yi Sun-sin and leukaemia is a human’s reverse osmosis? What the hell?” The younger male could not help but fumed at those answers. “And do you even realized your Hanja was actually Hiragana?” 

 

“Told you. I was bad.” Seungyoun defended nonchalantly. “That’s why you’re assigned to help me. The teacher made the right choice.” I worked hard for those silly answers at least credit me for that. 

 

“This is just absurd.” Wooseok raised the English test paper. “To kill two birds with one stone is ‘you need more than a stone to kill birds’?” He stopped midway to lightly hit his temple. “You know who else that might be killed? Me! Me, Seungyoun! You said you’re good with English.” He howled, demanding a better explanation now as he turned to stare at the older boy. 

 

“I am good but that doesn’t mean I know idioms. English can be anything y’know.” Seungyoun refuted half-heartedly. 

 

“You’re lucky I’m nice enough to tolerate your empty brain. I even turned down Yerin’s offer to be the committee members for the school festival.” The smaller replied. “I asked Jihoon for his notes for nothing then. We need to start from scratch if you can’t even do basic stuffs.” Although I feel like he got them wrong on purpose. 



“The school festival? When is it?” Seungyoun asked excitedly, dismissing the last part of Wooseok’s rant. School festival reminded him of when it all started with Wooseok. 

 

“Two weeks time. And it’s mock test two weeks after that.” Wooseok looked like as if he had something more to say but as he looked into Seungyoun’s eyes, he threw away the desire to ask. To be honest, Seungyoun failing his grades was just absurd to him. He was sure of the fact that no one failed last year and Seungyoun was actually amongst the top 10. Forgoing the floating question in his head, he turned again to stare at the marked test papers and Jihoon’s notes that he deemed unnecessary now. 

 

“You look like you have something to say.” Seungyoun noticed the shorter’s behaviour. “Say whatever you have in your mind.” He urged. Let’s talk some more. I couldn’t care less about this tutoring thing. He internally encouraged Wooseok and stared at the boy’s fluffy hair that he failed to touch earlier. 

 

The after effect of sleeping at 2.30 in the ungodly hours of the night hit Wooseok again. He rested his elbow on the table and supported his head with the palm of his hand, slightly tilted to Seungyoun’s direction. “We haven’t properly started yet but I’m already drained.” He ranted lazily. “I feel like you’re just faking it. What games are you playing with me, Cho Seungyoun?” He blinked slowly, flaunting his long eyelashes. 

 

Seungyoun held the urge to gulp. Wooseok is definitely not someone you could just pull a trick on — the boy was way smarter than he let off if he managed to confront him so casually like this. To cover his nervousness, Seungyoun mimicked Wooseok’s action. “I’m not playing any game. I can tell you that.” He gazed at the obviously tired looking boy. “I just wanna get closer to you and wish I had known you earlier, Wooseok.” He confessed.

 

A pregnant pause. 

 

“We’ve been classmates for two years. You should’ve known me well by now and there’s nothing much to know about me.” Wooseok said tenderly as he flashed a sincere smile. 

 

There are. A lot. I could list all the things that I wanna know about you and the list will go on and on.

 

The two stayed staring at each other for another beat or two. 

 

“You’re beautiful.” Seungyoun blurted out. Without waiting for Wooseok’s response, he once again extended his hand to touch the younger male — this time he managed to slightly caress his cheek with his knuckles. It was probably because of the serene vibe in between them now, Seungyoun suddenly had the courage to hold out his other hand and cradled Wooseok’s beautiful face, internally grateful that the smaller did not show any sign of refusal.

 

On the other hand, Wooseok’s face was void of any expression as if he had no intention to reciprocate anything. That was until he dropped the bomb — “Do you like me?” 

 

Wooseok’s face remain unchanged in between Seungyoun’s hands while the taller boy let out a heavy sigh.

 

“I like you so much since that day, Kim Wooseok.” 

 

***







Chapter Text

School festival, second year. 



“Damn it! Damn! It! Why me? And Elsa of all?” Wooseok fumed inside the small cubicle that the committee had built at the corner of their classroom. He turned around to look at himself since the absence of a mirror was inconveniencing him to look at himself properly. Wooseok felt like burning the classroom down because Frozen was definitely not the best cafe concept for their school festival. 



“A wig?” He grabbed the platinum blonde wig from a shopping bag hung behind the door, only to slam it harshly on the floor again. He stared at it for a moment before recollecting it and fiercely brushing them with his white gloved hands but he had no intention to put the wig on. Yet. “Elsa didn’t do anything wrong. I’m sorry I’m not mad at you.” He pep talked himself. He was about to cool off but the sight of Elsa’s blue glittering shoes that he put on earlier revived his fume more. “Ugh!”, was all that he could let out because he was just too enraged at the absurdity of being voted as Elsa. 



Wooseok won a majority of the votes as Elsa when one classmate made a remarkable remark that went, “Wooseok has the coldest face let him be Elsa!” And the last thing he remembered was the whole class chanting ‘Elseok! Elseok! Elseok!’ and suddenly he found himself wrapped in the long glittering blue dress. 



He slammed the cubicle door open and walked out of it and was startled when he saw a tall figure standing at one of the tables that they rearranged like one of those cafes setting in the expanse of the classroom. Pretty sure I’ve locked all the doors. Wooseok pondered for a while but his appearance right now was not one that allowed him to actually ponder on how the doors were opened. 



“I have my way.” As if hearing Wooseok’s mind, the tall boy, who seemed so absorbed in fixing his cameras, explained shortly without looking at the shorter male. 



Wooseok remained quiet. He preferred it if the boy did not turn - and by the back view and the cameras, he knew that it was Cho Seungyoun, who was assigned as the class’ photographer. Damn it! It means he heard me just now. He was about to make his way to his backpack when he realized that it was placed inconveniently at the table that Seungyoun was standing at. Ugh! for the nth time.  He made his way nevertheless since he needed to check on his phone that was inside the backpack. 



For a moment Wooseok was thankful that Seungyoun was unbothered of him and please don’t turn please don’t turn. He stealthily grabbed his backpack with very little movement so that he would not make a single tiny sound that could attract Seungyoun’s attention.



But fate works wonder because Seungyoun did turn. Wooseok internally cursed. It must be the glittering dress. 



“Wow!” Seungyoun gawked at Wooseok and he almost let out a chuckle but changed his mind because the shorter looked like he could swallow Seungyoun whole. Plus, he heard Wooseok’s earlier rampage inside the cubicle and that was enough to know how furious the boy was right now. Hell hath no fury like a Wooseok who had to cosplay as Elsa. “Ahem! I mean- I voted for you as Olaf fyi. It fits you more.” He remarked as he struggled to hide his smile.



Right. Whatever.” Wooseok rolled his eyes and decided to just ignore the boy and fished for his phone from his backpack. He noticed from the corner of his eye that Seungyoun’s eyes still lingered on him but he was just too irritated to mind it. “Why are you here anyway? Aren’t you supposed to walk around and take pictures?” He queried as he read the messages on his phone. 



“Gotta fix my cameras and I’m only assigned to take pictures for our class so I don’t need to walk around much.” Seungyoun paused and turned to Wooseok. He leaned on one of the tables casually, untangling himself from his camera. “Plus, the briefing is still on and even the gates aren’t opened yet. So yeah, here I am.” For some reason, he just could not stop staring at the shorter male. It must be the glittering dress. Cute. Hm? What? 



Wooseok hummed to the explanation. “I see. I need to go to the briefing. So now that you said you don’t need to walk around, I’ll just tell the class rep that you’re watching over the classroom.” He informed the boy. 



“Okay! Your highness.” Seungyoun teased as he flashed a smile at Wooseok who in return gave him an icy glare. 



But other than wonder, fate (read: Elsa’s glittering blue dress) works in a mysterious way too because Wooseok probably had miscalculated his step and clumsily tripped on his dress. And it had gotten even more mysterious on how extremely nimble Seungyoun was to catch him - but the catch somehow led to Wooseok falling on top of the taller male. To worsen the aftermath of the fall, Wooseok somehow had accidentally brushed his lips on Seungyoun’s pouty ones and that earned a yelp from himself. Then in a split second, Wooseok lifted himself up from Seungyoun whose eyes were comically widened. 



“Sorry.” Wooseok muttered under his breath as he stared down at the boy who was still pinned under him. I need to get up. Oh my god did I kiss him just now? “You can pretend that nothing happened.” He told the boy and he saw how Seungyoun just obediently nodded to his words. 



As Wooseok tried to get up, the white glove wrapping his hands had inconveniently worked even more mysteriously. His hands slipped and this time, he was 200% sure that he definitely (accidentally) kissed the boy under him because Wooseok can clearly feel the texture of Seungyoun’s mildly chapped lips and their foreheads even bumped into each other. 



In the midst of all that, Wooseok internally thanked the mother universe for gifting him with great reflex because this time too, he successfully lifted his face at twice the speed of light and managed to completely peeled himself off Seungyoun. Thank goodness. He stood up straight and once again, he stared down at Seungyoun. The taller boy still looked so startled and Wooseok felt bad because he did not just fell on top of him — he also accidentally kissed Seungyoun on his lips twice! 



“You are not to speak of this to the others. And even to me.” Wooseok warned the boy and left him laid down on the floor of the classroom. 



The sound of Wooseok shutting the door harshly brought Seungyoun back to his senses. He sat up straight and turned his body towards the door but he found himself all alone now. He tenderly touched his lips as if to not smear the taste of the shorter’s soft lips on his. Seungyoun laid down on the floor again — more like sprawled like a starfish. He giggled like a baby as he stared at the white snowflakes that were dangling on the ceiling. 



“That was my first kiss.” 



*** 



“Hey! Cho Seungyoun! Join us! We’re playing basketball!” Seungyoun was sitting on the bench when he heard Soonyoung yelling from across the court, snapping him out of his wandering thoughts. It had been five days since he impulsively confessed his feelings to Wooseok — thanks to Wooseok’s very own straightforwardness, he somehow managed to profess his adoration for him. And in that five days, two of them were the weekend and he had to live in agony from waiting for Wooseok to miraculously text him for a weekend session. And the younger boy did text him only to remind him to bring his Mathematics workbook for their Monday afternoon session leaving him wallowing in the endless agony. “Who else is playing?!” He yelled back.



“Almost everyone! We’re playing against Jihoon’s class today!” Soonyoung screamed louder as he mentioned Jihoon’s name. The two classes had to be combined for PE that day because Seungyoun’s class’ PE teacher was unavailable making the only available teacher to gather them at the same time. “Come on! We’re starting now! I need to beat the crap out of Jihoon’s ugly face!” He shouted even louder just to annoy the boys from the other class — Jihoon especially.



“Alright! Alright!” Seungyoun replied loudly and ran to the middle of the court to take his position. Before the game started, he caught a glimpse of Wooseok sitting under the tree near the court. It felt like he was being punched in the gut when he saw Wonwoo, who he had just known a few days ago giving Wooseok a canned drink and sat closely (read: literally an ocean apart) to his favourite boy. But the sound of the whistle from the teacher reminded him that this was not the proper time to be all broken hearted and jealous because the boy definitely did not leave him hanging with his impromptu confession.




***



“How was the tutoring?” Wonwoo asked Wooseok who seemed to be struggling to open his canned drink but Wonwoo being Wonwoo, he was not bothered to help the boy. 



“It was fine. He took my teaching well.” Wooseok answered without much thought in his mind. “He was just faking it anyway.” He added flatly, as if Seungyoun fabricating his poor result was nothing. 



“What do you mean?” Wonwoo probed out of curiosity. 



“Seungyoun is one of the smartest ones in our class.” Wooseok replied as he caught Seungyoun’s tall figure running around the court yelling some unintelligible words at his teammates. “You know- he said he likes me.” He blurted out nonchalantly. 



Wonwoo spurted his drink because of Wooseok’s deliberate confession. “What?!” 



“Ew. And you heard me. He said he likes me.” Wooseok deadpanned. Honestly, Soonyoung was right when he said Wooseok was under Seungyoun’s radar, but it was not because he was a lackey material - it was because of what Seungyoun had for him. A crush.



It was not that he did not notice during the last year’s school festival, Seungyoun was taking his pictures with his personal camera because he saw how Seungyoun had two cameras strapped around his neck — one was a dslr camera that he used to take pictures of his other classmates and one was a film camera that Wooseok was sure Seungyoun used it to take his pictures. Which reminds me I was Elsa at that time. He knew it from then, the taller boy possibly was starting to develop an interest in him. And truthfully, after their accidental kiss last year, he noticed how sometimes Seungyoun was stealing glances at him but when Wooseok caught him, the taller would just pretend like he was not drooling at Wooseok. 



But oddly, Wooseok had zero intention or more like a reason to confront Seungyoun since the kiss because why would I remind him of that and embarrass myself? So he let him be for almost a year because it did not bother him much back then. That was until when the teacher told him that Seungyoun needed to be tutored by him. Then, it started to bother him. So Wooseok feigned ignorance even more. He pretended like he did not remember that the kiss happened but Seungyoun’s flirty moves on him was just hard to be ignored. The most obvious part of Seungyoun liking him was, although Wooseok had left him hanging, the taller boy still picked him up and walked him home - and how the taller would just bravely shushed those dogs (read: puppies) away to keep them off Wooseok may be  included in the 101 exhibits of Seungyoun crushing on him. He still small talked about trivial matters like what kind of dog breeds that Wooseok like to which he answered, “I’m a cat person.” Despite all that, he knew that Seungyoun deserved the credit for being considerate for never bringing up about the kiss and the confession. 



“And then?” Wonwoo urged Wooseok to spill the tea more. 



“I left him hanging. I don’t know what to say.” Wooseok shrugged. “I mean- I don’t even know if I like anyone. Like- if I like girls or boys. Not that gender matters to me. But I just don’t know how to react to that.” He took a moment to breathe. “But he’s nice. He’s considerate and sometimes he reminds me of a shiba inu puppy.” 



“Hmm. I don’t know if that could pass as a confession. But that’s some nice thoughts you have for him. It’s a good start for the two of you, I guess.” Wonwoo concluded. He suddenly yelled, “Lee Jihoon! Go easy on Soonyoung!” when he saw his boyfriend was elbowed by the tiny Lee Jihoon. Those silly sworn enemies. 



“How was it with Soonyoung? Was it hard? I still think it’s funny he registered as a librarian just to avoid you.” Wooseok sniggered as an image of a pouty angry hamster reporting for duty to Mr. Hong came to his mind. 



“Well. Nothing was ever easy. Soonyoung and I had some miscommunications before everything. That’s all. But I don’t think you and Seungyoun would.” The spectacled boy guessed. Well- I could be wrong too but nah let them deal with it themselves. 



“And why is that?” In between his impromptu consultation with Wonwoo, he could not help but notice how Seungyoun was chancing a look at him from time to time. Their eyes met a few times but he somehow managed to stop himself from flinching. Focus on the game, can you? 



“Just a feeling. In my case, I found out about our feelings are mutual after being a whole ass idiot. You know, the love letter thing. But I’m glad I did what I did. Some damages were done but I’m grateful we worked things out and I never wanna miss any single day with him. I’m so whipped for Soonyoung am I?” Wonwoo chortled at his own silliness. 



Before Wooseok could respond to that, the sight of Soonyoung running towards Wonwoo and slumping himself into his boyfriend’s lap had adjourned their consultation with Seungyoun and Jihoon following him from behind. 



Wooseok held himself from staring at Seungyoun’s sweat glistened neck and arms. His shirt was drenched in sweat and his fringe was a wet, sticky mess. He then absentmindedly handed his half drank canned drink to Seungyoun. Huh? Why did I do that?



“Wow! Kim Wooseok! I didn’t know you can share drinks now?” Soonyoung asked with amusement. “You hated it when I drink from your bottle before.” He teased as he used Wonwoo’s hand to fan away the heat. 



Wooseok glared at the boy and was internally grateful that Seungyoun did not embarrass him when he took the drink. He thought he saw the tail again but it was not wagging this time. “That was before. Shut up.” 



“Think about it, okay. It’s hard to understand others and harder to understand yourself but you’ll get to it.” Wonwoo suddenly tapped Wooseok’s shoulder and gave his two cents to  him. From the corner of his eyes, he could see Seungyoun’s cold glare at him but he decided to ignore it. Won’t touch your boy, I have mine. 



“Wow! Wonfucius! So philosophic!” Soonyoung shrieked and stuck his tongue out at Jihoon when he saw the boy rolled his eyes. 



“Let’s go change, Soonyoung.” Wonwoo prompted his boyfriend to get up from his lap. He then held Soonyoung’s hand and slung his other free hand around the quiet Jihoon’s shoulder. 



“Let’s go. Bye, Wooseok! See ya, Seungyoun! I’ll drop Soonyoung off later.” The three then walked away with Wonwoo trying to stop Jihoon and Soonyoung from cutting each other’s throat. 



“You should change too.” Wooseok reminded Seungyoun who was just absentmindedly playing with the now empty can.



“Yeah. I should.” Seungyoun replied as he stared at Wooseok who was still sitting down looking up at him. “Need a help to get up?” 



Wooseok pondered for a moment or two. 



“Yeah.” 



***



It was another tutoring session today and Seungyoun was looking forward to it as usual, especially after the basketball game this morning — the sight of Wooseok talking with Wonwoo was still vivid to him and he cannot brush off the jealousy growing in him but he knew full well that there was nothing he could do about it either.



He was on his third question of finding another x-value when Wooseok arrived from the staff room after helping Mr. Hong to carry his books. 



“I’m almost done with these.” Seungyoun informed the boy brightly as he saw Wooseok walked into the classroom. He pulled his chair closer to his table to give way for Wooseok to get to his own seat but was confused when Wooseok turned the chair around in front of him instead and now they sat face to face. Hm?



The shorter male crossed his arms and leaned his back into the backrest. Seungyoun visibly gulped and he felt his palms were starting to sweat.



“Is it the kiss?” Wooseok started suddenly with a straight face. 



“Is it the what?” The taller answered with another question, confused of the introduction.



“Why do you like me? Is it because of the kiss?” Wooseok repeated his question sharply this time, he leaned his body forward and rested his forearms on the table. 



“Oh. You can say that. But it was more than just the kiss.” Seungyoun replied timidly. He scratched his temple with his pen. 



“More? What are they?” The younger dug dipper. 



“Kisssses?” Seungyoun noticed that Wooseok raised his eyebrow to his response so he added, “we kissed twice, remember?” 



Of course I remember but you don’t have to remind me. Wooseok cleared his throat, refusing to dwell on that. 



“Why did you ask?” Seungyoun queried. The boy sitting across him was such a closed book — it was just hard to guess what he was thinking. What more with his constant impassive look. “But just to let you know, there’s- there’s more to it than just those kisses, okay? You should at least know that.” He confessed, timidity lacing his voice. 



“Do you always like boys?” The shorter probed more, curious of Seungyoun’s preferences. 



“I don’t know. Does it matter? I can like anyone that I want.” Seungyoun looked down and he gathered all his might to not caress Wooseok’s delicate hands on his table. Must. Resist. 



“I told the teacher that I can’t tutor you anymore.” Wooseok announced emotionlessly out of the blue. Casually trailing off from the topic brought up earlier.



All kinds of resistance that Seungyoun had before was now thrown out of the window when he erratically grabbed Wooseok’s hands and that made the boy slightly pulled forward. “What- why?!”



“You never needed it in the first place and you know it too. I just don’t want us to waste time on unnecessary things.” Wooseok bored his gaze into the taller’s eyes. He felt the overwhelming strength clasping his hands but oddly he did not feel the need to resist. 



“Look- Wooseok- I can pretend that I don’t like you and so do you. I mean- not that you like me too so you don’t have to pretend.” He slightly shook their connected hands to strengthen his appeal. “But please, you don’t have to stop tutoring me.” 



The younger male breathed in sharply. “I can’t just pretend that you don’t like me. I can’t do that.” The fact that Wooseok never lied, making it harder for him to live in pretense. 



“I’ll be good. I promise.” Seungyoun looked around frantically for some more reasons to make Wooseok retract his words. “Your merit points? What about them? Your record?” He added, voice laced with urgency. 



“Seungyoun, please. You don’t have to promise me anything. It’s not just about the tutoring, okay? And I can’t just act like nothing happened too. This thing- you liking me- things like that never happened to me.” He paused to take a sharp breath intake and added, “Maybe it’s my fault that I never actually apologised to you. So I’m sorry- I’m sorry that I accidentally kissed you. Sorry that I triggered something in you. I just- I just don’t know how to- how to do all of these things. I wish I could turn back the time- to the time that you never talked to me- the time that you never stole glances at me. It’s just burdensome at times.” He explained exasperatedly. 



Wooseok let out a heavy sigh. It suddenly hit him that he had long-winded his speech because the real reason he wanted to end the tutoring was because he had started to feel conscious of Seungyoun — of Seungyoun’s stare, Seungyoun’s flirty moves and Seungyoun’s attention for him. But the way he sees it now, it seemed like he had done the complete opposite. The words implying that he would like to know Seungyoun better too just would not come out. But at the same time, his conscience was telling him to not rush into things too. The taller now looked like his world had crumbled to pieces. The way Seungyoun’s hold on his hands had loosened supported the fact that he had conveyed his message wrongly. And suddenly guilt rushed to him. 



Seungyoun lowered his head and completely let go of Wooseok’s hands now. He let out a sigh and smiled bitterly. “I’m the one that should’ve apologized. I didn’t mean to bother you with my feelings. I shouldn’t have requested for your help.” His voice trembled heartbreakingly, but it broke his heart more when he saw the reddening hand prints from his strong grip that he had left on Wooseok’s hands - but still, Wooseok’s words were just too painful for him to process.



Wooseok tried to find Seungyoun’s eyes but the elder just let his head down with his fringe covering his eyes as if he had already given up on him. “Seungyoun- I didn’t mean it that way- I was just-” 



“It’s fine. I‘m a bother to you so just- just don’t say anything anymore. I’ve heard enough. Don’t worry, I’ll change my seat tomorrow.” Seungyoun weakly stopped Wooseok from rubbing salt to his wound. “I’m sorry that we can’t turn back the time but I won’t look at you again. You have my word.” 



The elder then reluctantly stood up and started to pack his belongings into his backpack before asking the shorter who was still sitting down - who looked as if he had no intention to stop Seungyoun from leaving, “You can walk yourself home, right?” He stared at Wooseok who remained unmoved and when there was no answer from the younger, he knew that was the queue for him to leave Wooseok alone in the empty classroom. 



Wooseok froze in his seat. It was when he heard the sound of the sliding door closing that he realized he had definitely broke Seungyoun’s heart. He brought his hands up to cover his face - disappointed at himself for failing to express himself more and better. And Wonwoo was wrong because this was not a good start and I’ll never get to anything. 



***

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The next morning, Wooseok arrived late to school. Other than forgetting to set his alarm, his journey to the school was also slowed down. All because he was being chased by his nemesis aka the stray dogs when he got back from school after the whole fiasco with Seungyoun yesterday. He wounded his knee after missing his steps and tripped on the rough asphalt street. Lucky was an understatement for Wooseok because thankfully after his fall, the dogs had somehow stop their pursuit for him. He hates to admit it but deep down, Wooseok was missing the sense of security that Seungyoun gave him although it was just for a short while. He was limping and as he reached the classroom, he realized he needed to hide it so he walked as if he did not have a palm sized wound on his knee. Even Mom doesn’t know about this. 



Wooseok then weakly pushed the classroom’s sliding door and much to his surprise, Seungyoun’s face was the first one that he saw due to the taller boy going back to his original seat near the door. 



They caught each other’s eyes but the taller quickly averted his eyes to the book in his hands — completely ignoring Wooseok. 



“Kim Wooseok!” Soonyoung calling his name from his seat broke Wooseok away from his trance so he immediately made his way to his place, knowing full well that Seungyoun was no longer bothered to pay him any attention. 



“Hey, Soonyoung.” Wooseok greeted languidly. 



“Why did he change his seat?” Soonyoung whispered closely to Wooseok’s ear. “What happened?” He asked again, jerking his head towards Seungyoun’s direction.



Ahh. Here we go. “I told the teacher I couldn’t help him anymore.” He explained shortly. “I’ll tell you about it later, okay? I promise.” He convinced Soonyoung when he saw how the other boy was about to open his mouth to dig deeper.



“Okay.” Soonyoung replied shortly. “Oh! And we’re delegating roles today!” He shrieked in a split second. 



“For the school festival?” Wooseok asked unenthusiastically as he turned to face forward. 



“Yeap! Have you thought of which idol group you’re going to dress as? I’m going with Shinee’s Ring Ding Dong!” Soonyoung informed excitedly, clapping his hands like a seal. 



Wooseok secretly glanced at Seungyoun who still seemed so immersed in his reading before answering Soonyoung’s question. “Told Yerin I’ll just help with the dishwashing. I’ve had enough of cosplaying.” 



“Eyy. Wooseok is no fun.” Soonyoung jabbed. “Well, whatever floats your boat then.” He decided to stop bothering Wooseok because it was obvious he was not in the mood for it. 



Other than the delegation part, the day went by uneventfully for Wooseok. He pretended that he was unbothered of Seungyoun’s drastic change. The taller boy did not bat an eye at him at all today. It was like Wooseok was not even in his peripheral vision. Wooseok suppressed his disappointment of being ignored by the taller boy but he realized the pain that he gave the boy was much more unbearable than what he had.



***



Three days went by since Seungyoun had started completely ignoring Wooseok and one day left for the school festival to take place. Not that Wooseok was counting but the boy who was once again voted as the class' photographer had definitely lost his interest in Wooseok. And Wooseok was indeed not in the slightest was bothered by it. Look at him- look at those girls flailing their hands trying to fish for his attention. Sore to my eyes. He was also definitely not jealous of the girls in his class trying to get closer to Seungyoun.



“Kim Wooseok! Stop daydreaming and we need more balloons so work that pretty mouth of yours more. They ain’t gonna blow themselves up, I’m telling ya!” Soonyoung yelled from the other side of the classroom, with arms akimbo.



That boy is constantly yelling. How did Wonwoo’s ears survive? Wooseok rolled his eyes to that and proceeded blowing the balloons as Soonyoung wished. 



It was when he was at his 27th balloon that Wooseok realized he almost missed his schedule to clean his wound. He had gotten an earful from his Mother for trying to hide his injuries. Despite all the nagging, his Mother still dragged him to the nearest clinic to get him treated and even called the authorities to lodge complaints regarding the wild stray dogs and the broken streetlights. 



So he left the balloons as they were and fished for a small pouch where he kept his antiseptic spray and other essentials to clean his wound from his backpack. No one knew he injured himself- because I ain’t embarrassing myself telling the world I was chased down by a family of dogs- and hid the pouch inside his blazer. He brisk walked past Seungyoun and heard the taller joking around with their classmates. Well, good for him, I guess. 



Little did Wooseok know, Seungyoun saw his suspicious moves and he noticed how Wooseok left the classroom at a certain time of the day since the last three days. He did sit near the door after all to notice the shorter male’s behavior. As curiosity crept on him, he excused himself from the group and secretly followed Wooseok from behind. Curiosity turned to concern when he saw Wooseok walked into the school’s infirmary. His heart almost stopped beating because as much as he tried to ignore Wooseok’s presence, he could not help but eavesdropped at whatever conversation involving the younger and he still cared so much for the boy that he had been harboring feelings for. Moving on does not happen in a night after all and the fact that he finally had the courage to approach Wooseok, made it harder for him to get over the younger – not after he purposely failed in every subject and especially not after he was finally able to have a proper conversation with Wooseok. Not after the accidental kiss either - not after everything.

Seungyoun quietly opened the door and immediately locking it because he knew if Wooseok was that secretive with his moves, it only meant that no one realized what had happened to him. The taller walked past three beds stealthily and his heart almost stopped for the second time of the day when he heard a hiss from behind the curtain that covers the fourth and the last bed in the infirmary. He made a small run and couldn't care less of the stomping sounds that his feet made. 



Wooseok’s head shot up to the sound and to say that he was surprised was an understatement because he thought he had masked himself enough - and why would Seungyoun be here, anyway? He saw the panic look on Seungyoun’s face and tried to cover his own startled look by nonchalantly asking, “What are you doing here?” The younger even had the audacity to pull down his rolled up trousers to hide his wound.



“What are you doing here? And what happened to your knee?” Seungyoun asked as he kneeled down on one knee and stopped Wooseok from hiding his wound. “How did this happen? Who did this? Tell me, Wooseok.” He held Wooseok’s hand tightly, eyes never leaving the wounded knee. 



The shorter remained silent and he swallowed back the sudden urge to cry as he felt Seungyoun’s touch. It felt like he was under the elder’s spell when he realized that he had no might to swat Seungyoun’s hand off his. The next thing he knew, Seungyoun was already taking his antiseptic spray from the unzipped pouch to clean his wound. 



Seungyoun was about to spray the antiseptic on Wooseok’s wound when he realized that the younger had squeezed their intertwined hands harder as if to bite down the stinging pain. “Hold still. I’ll be gentle.” Seungyoun said tenderly to ease the pain. The taller continued attending to Wooseok’s wound with just one hand and was grateful when the shorter tolerated well by helping Seungyoun with his free hand. They treated the wound in silence and Seungyoun had to admit that he had no constraint when it comes to Wooseok because their closeness had made it hard it for him to not dart a worried look at Wooseok. It pained him to see Wooseok flinching when he treated the wound and it pained him even more knowing Wooseok was not protected from any forms of danger. 



“You can leave now.” The younger ordered coldly to break the silence and he let Seungyoun’s hand go. “I can manage.” 



“Can you get up?” The elder asked, hopeful of Wooseok to take accept his help. 



“I said I can manage.” Wooseok repeated sharply, still not looking at Seungyoun.



“Of course you do.” Seungyoun muttered in between clenched teeth as he watched Wooseok cautiously pulling down his trouser that was rolled up to knee-height. “What happened?” Seungyoun probed again, now standing tall on his feet. “Is it the dogs?” 



“Why do you care? You acted like I didn’t exist for the past three days and you should just do exactly that now.” Wooseok snapped but he immediately bit his bottom lip when he realized he was not rightful to snap at the elder. 



“Don’t talk as if you’re the one with a broken heart here.” Seungyoun was about to turn to leave Wooseok alone on the floor when he halted his steps and said, “Let me at least help you get up.” He held out his hand. 



“I said I can manage, didn’t I?” Wooseok tilted his head up and swatted Seungyoun’s hand away.



“The hell you can, Kim Wooseok.” The taller boy snapped back at the stubbornness and stormed his way out of the infirmary. Why do I even bother?



“Stupid Kim Wooseok. I’ll never understand myself.” Wooseok regretfully muttered under his breath as he struggled to get up. 



***



The school festival started off well the next day. Under the smooth control of a certain Kwon Soonyoung, everything went accordingly to their plans. Almost everyone was dressing up as their favourite idols but not Wooseok. He was just not in the mood to dress up especially with him still slightly limping off his way. 



After what had happened with Seungyoun yesterday, Wooseok could not help but feel even guiltier towards Seungyoun. He was just being a reasonably nice human being to you, Kim Wooseok and you had the audacity to act like the world revolves just around your silly flat ass. He sighed at the thought of his uncalled-for anger towards Seungyoun yesterday.



Without realizing it, they were already into the second half of the school festival. Wooseok was just quietly wiping the cutlery sets when he heard a loud cheering of his classmates. Something must have happened so he went out of the deserted cubicle with a square shaped ceramic vase that was filled with spoons and chopsticks in his hands to find out what was going on. 



“What happened?” He asked Yerin, their class representative who was just standing at the side watching the uproar. 



“Jihye just confessed her feelings to Seungyoun. Cute, aren’t they?” Yerin remarked cheerfully as she pointed at Jihye and Seungyoun who were standing facing each other in the middle of the classroom. 



Wooseok felt his hands losing their strength suddenly. Before he knew it, he had already dropped the vase on the floor. The previously loud cheering somehow had conveniently came to a stop - making the whole class and their cafe guests to turn their heads to Wooseok and the clattering sound of a broken ceramic and steel sets of cutlery. Amidst that, he spotted Seungyoun who was clad in his school uniform staring at him. 



“Oh my god! Wooseok! You’re okay?” Yerin held Wooseok’s arm and asked out of concern. 



“Ye-yeah. I’m fine.” Wooseok uttered and squatted to collect the scattered spoons and pieces of the ceramic shards. A confession? No way! 



Wooseok heard rushed footsteps coming towards him and when he looked up, he saw Seungyoun was already on his knees helping him to clean the mess. Wooseok flinched when his hand accidentally brushed Seungyoun’s knuckles. He was just still too surprised of his own clumsiness and the proximity of Seungyoun to him that it made Wooseok instantly roused from the floor. He looked around the classroom and the crowd. His vision was suddenly blurry but he knew that people were watching him; some were heard whispering words that Wooseok could not decipher. Hm? Why are my eyes blurry? He rubbed his eyes and winced at the damp sensation on the pad of his fingers. Wooseok blinked twice and he felt the first drop of tears streamed down his face. Tears? Why am I crying?



“Kim Wooseok?” Soonyoung who was there called his name out of concern. 



“Wooseok. You’re crying.” Seungyoun said as he too, got up from the floor. He held Wooseok’s shoulders and lightly shook him back to his senses. “Wooseok! You okay? Talk to me, please! Are you hurt anywhere?Seungyoun yelled and begged for answers as worry laced his trembling voice. 



“Don’t touch me!” Wooseok shouted and he instantly slapped Seungyoun’s hands away. Before he realized it, he was already running out of the classroom. He heard the faint sound of his name being called but he just wanted to run away — from what? He was unsure of it too. All he wanted to do was cry his lungs out for belatedly realizing that he had taken Seungyoun’s feelings for granted and now the taller boy might be with someone else instead of him. Ignoring the stinging pain in his knee, he ran as fast as he could to anywhere his aching feet might take him too. 



***



“..seok. Wooseok! Kim Wooseok! Get up!” Wooseok felt his shoulder was being hit lightly with a book? He got up in an instant only to see Wonwoo’s concerned face sitting across him. 



“Where am I?” Wooseok asked groggily, head dizzy from his sudden rouse. 



“The library. You passed out.” Wonwoo explained shortly. 



“I what?” The shorter’s eyes widened comically.



“You came running to my class. You were a crying mess and the last thing I remember I had to carry your skinny ass to the library because the infirmary was weirdly locked. My struggle of carrying you on my back is worth a lifetime supply of iced latte, fyi. And just in case you don’t believe me, you can check for the live footage from Jihoon’s camera for receipt.” The spectacled boy nagged lengthily. “What happened anyway?” Wonwoo still asked, although he had heard some parts of the story from Soonyoung that Wooseok suddenly left after some sort of ‘argument’ with Seungyoun but Soonyoung tends to exaggerate so I need to hear it from this dude himself. Knowing Soonyoung and Wooseok since he was 7, he was now used to the differences in their storytelling styles — a little too exaggerated versus almost no content. 



Under the dim ray of sunset through the window, Wooseok struggled to recall what actually happened. “Jihye confessed to Seungyoun. That was the last thing that I remembered.” He fiddled with the edges of his crooked necktie to hide his embarrassment of causing a scene.



“And why are you crying?” Wonwoo probed, even though he had managed to put two and two together that it had something to do with Seungyoun receiving a confession. 



“I don’t know. Force of nature, I guess?” Wooseok knew why he cried but there was no way in hell he would say it to Wonwoo’s face. 



“How far gone are you that you don’t know the confession was just some cheap marketing stunt planned by Soonyoung?” Wonwoo scrutinised the younger.



“What do you mean?” Wooseok stared into Wonwoo’s eyes for further explanation. 



“You heard me. Can’t believe you’re one of the top scorers in our school but you’re actually this dumb?” The elder boy who was clad in his dark blue PE uniform with a black bandana tied around his head, remarked sharply. 



“In my defense- I was just a dishwasher and your hamster like boyfriend should’ve at least warned everyone that it was just a stunt.” Wooseok retorted.



“It’s called a stunt for a reason and don’t call Soonyoung a hamster because he’s a tiger now.” The taller rebutted. 



They remained quiet for a beat or two before laughing out loud at their childish bickering — that’s 11 years of friendship for you.



“Now, tell me honestly, dummy. You like him too, don’t you? Soonyoung told me you’ve been secretly ogling at Seungyoun ever since you stopped tutoring him.” He paused as he saw Wooseok rolled his eyes. “Okay- maybe ‘ogling’ was a bit exaggerated since it came from Soonyoung but you get what I’m saying, right?”



The shorter let out a heavy sigh and stared at the bookshelves surrounding them both. “He lost interest in me. And it’s probably my fault because I long-winded too far in my stupid defense. Plus, I’m an ungrateful jerk.” 



“You are stupid and ungrateful- and silly of you to think a man like Seungyoun would lose interest just like that.” Wonwoo flicked Wooseok’s forehead softly. “Don’t make the same mistake as I did, Kim Wooseok. Communication and mutual understanding are the keys here.” He groaned as he roused from the floor and added, “I don’t know exactly what you feel for him, but it’s best if you just get straight to the point. Well, not that you’re straight anymore- but just be true to yourself. Be true to Seungyoun. Maybe it’s still too early to say exactly what you feel for him- but at least give him a solid answer. He’s a nice kid. Maybe, possessive a bit. But he may have his points. And now- I have a boyfriend who’s dressing like Shinee’s Taemin in Ring Ding Dong video waiting to watch the fireworks together.” He let out in a breath. After ruffling Wooseok’s hair, the spectacled boy then left him alone in the darkness of the library. 



Wooseok sighed heavily. I’m a jerk. “I need to find him and tell him what I feel or at least apologize.” He was ashamed of himself but at the same time, was determined to fix things with Seungyoun now - so he got up, instinctively fixing his messy hair and made his run to search for the said boy. 




***



Much to his dismay, Wooseok failed to even catch a glimpse of Seungyoun’s shadow. He had ran around the sea of students and rows of booths at the basketball court, the cafeteria and even the field where a huge campfire was lit up for students to dance around and watch the fireworks show later. There’s no way he’s in the classroom because the building is now closed for closing ceremony- unless? The thought that Seungyoun could be there made him sprinted to their classroom. He made sure that the teachers did not see him and he arrived at the classroom with his breathing ragged from the running.



He was once again let down when he saw there was no familiar figure that he had been searching for in the classroom. Oh? But the way how only his table was put to its original place caught Wooseok’s attention. He coursed through the classroom that was still in its cafe setting from this morning hastily. 



As he reached his table, he saw the familiar backpack on top of the table — Seungyoun’s backpack. He lifted the backpack slightly and saw the elder’s dslr camera underneath it. Wooseok took the camera and wrapped the strap around his slim wrist. He looked around before pressing the power button and internally grateful that he had fiddled with Jihoon’s camera before so he knew how to navigate the thing. He pressed on a button that will let him to browse the pictures. He pressed, pressed and pressed some more until it had gotten to a series of similar pictures — pictures of his own back view. There were some pictures of him when he was blowing the balloons, some of him hanging the balloons and even some of him seemingly being reprimanded by Soonyoung - but they were all taken without his knowledge. The only thing that he could see was the back of his head.



“Why are there so many pictures of me?” Wooseok blurted out with confusion.



“Because you exist to me all the time and you should know exactly just that, Kim Wooseok.” A faint voice from the door answered Wooseok’s question. 



Wooseok instantly turned around to the familiar voice of Seungyoun and he unknowingly dropped the camera but thanks to the strap, the camera survived. 



“I like you, Kim Wooseok. I like you so much. So much that I could die.” Seungyoun confessed again, almost pleading. “Why did you cry? Hm? I was worried sick. Tell me, Wooseok. Did I hurt- no- do my feelings disgust you?” The taller boy asked more but not moving an inch from the door. His broad shoulders are slumped and his hair disheveled - he looked so much like a puppy that had lost its mother. He looked so hurt.



The younger felt his heart was crushed to pieces when he heard the heartbreaking pleading by the usually cheerful boy. He so much wanted to wash away the taller’s sadness. Wooseok then untangled himself from the camera and sprinted towards Seungyoun’s direction and unabashedly threw himself to him. He circled his arms around the elder’s neck to bury his face in between the crook of Seungyoun’s neck and shoulder. Wooseok was internally grateful when he felt his action was instantly reciprocated as he felt Seungyoun’s long arms wrapping his slim waist.



“I like you too, Cho Seungyoun.” The younger mumbled quietly.



“Hm? I can’t hear you.” Seungyoun said although he actually heard it but he just wanted the boy to say it while looking into his eyes. “Say it, Wooseok. Say that you like me too.” He urged softly. 



But instead of repeating his words, Wooseok did something else that Seungyoun never thought the younger would initiate. 



Wooseok slightly pulled away from Seungyoun’s embrace and tiptoed a bit to kiss the taller on his lips. It was a chaste kiss but Seungyoun could feel the softness of Wooseok’s lips on his. The shorter pulled his face away, but not letting go the embrace on Seungyoun’s neck to lock gaze with the taller. “Took me long enough, but I like you too, Cho Seungyoun.” Wooseok confessed shyly to Seungyoun whose heart could combust right there and then. 



The taller flashed a fond smile at the younger male in his hold. Finally. He thought not much words were needed anymore for him to finally make Wooseok his — so he leaned in to Wooseok to kiss him again. He indulged in the sweetness of Wooseok’s lips as he slightly tilted his head to find the right angle - and when he found it, he deepened the kiss by gently sliding his tongue in to coax Wooseok’s mouth open and taste the roof of his mouth just to test the waters on how much more Wooseok could take but the shorter’s yelp stopped the elder’s move. Seungyoun was even more confused when Wooseok completely peeled himself off his hold.



“What? What’s wrong?” Seungyoun worriedly asked. 



“Your tongue- you just licked the inside of my mouth.” Wooseok replied shyly, not looking at Seungyoun. He played with the edges of his own blazer as he could feel his face turned warm and was glad that the classroom was a bit dark so Seungyoun was unable to see his reddening face. 



“I’m sorry- I got carried away. Won’t do it again if you hate it.” The taller stared down at Wooseok and apologised as he took Wooseok’s hands into his own. 



“No! That’s not what I mean- It’s weird but I don’t hate it.” Is this when I look him in the eyes? He pondered as he stared at their intertwined hands.



“Wooseok. Look at me.” Seungyoun swayed their connected hands side to side to urge the younger to look at him in the eyes. 



“I’m sorry.” was what Wooseok said the instant his eyes met Seungyoun’s. “I’m sorry I left you hanging and for not being true to you. And also for yelling at you. For everything.” 



“You have to kiss me every morning, every single day if you‘re really sorry.” Seungyoun teased. 



“Too much.” The shorter pouted his lips to show protest. 



Or you can just let me kiss you every morning, every single day.” The taller changed his mind at the sight of his pouty boy- hm? What do I call him now?



Seungyoun suddenly pulled their bodies backwards and let the back of his thighs bumped the table to sit subtly at the edge of the table. Wooseok was confused but he followed through nevertheless as Seungyoun’s sturdy thighs held him in place.



The faint light of the roaring campfire lit up the dark classroom and the elder’s face noticeably turned serious — gone was his wrinkly smile and the walnut chin. “Wooseok. Listen to me. This might be new to you- to us both- but I would love it for us to be together. And just to let you know- I could be possessive. I hate it the most when something- or someone that belongs to me is touched by others. Can you handle that?” Seungyoun warned sternly but tenderly in a breath. 



Wooseok pondered as he gazed back at Seungyoun’s intense stare. He wanted to run his fingers through the taller’s disheveled hair, but Wonwoo’s smug face suddenly popped up to his mind and he flashed a teasing grin. “You mean, Wonwoo?” 



“Not just Won- wait, what? What do you mean?” Seungyoun furrowed his brows. Wait a minute. “Kim Wooseok! You did that on purpose? When I first picked you up?” He baffled. 



Maybe. Or maybe not.” Wooseok wiggled his eyebrows and whooped when he felt his lithe figure was pulled closer to the broad figure in front of him, his chin automatically hooked on Seungyoun’s shoulder. 



“You tease.” Seungyoun whispered closely to Wooseok’s ear, earning a baby like giggle from him. Probably ticklish from the whisper. 



Ah! The fireworks!” Wooseok swiftly released himself from the grasp of his boyfriend. Boyfriend. He internally tee-heed to the thought of calling Seungyoun his boyfriend as he made a small run to the window, leaving Seungyoun behind. “It’s starting soon! Come here!” He beckoned the elder. 



Seungyoun strode to his boyfriend. Boyfriend. He let out a content sigh of finally having to call Wooseok his boyfriend. For the nth time of the day, he held Wooseok’s hand again and smiled lovingly at him - to which Wooseok reciprocated with an equally loving smile. 



A few moments before the fireworks show started, Wooseok leaned his head into Seungyoun’s shoulder, and in return, the taller leaned in to quickly kissed Wooseok on the lips and rested his head on to the crown of Wooseok’s head. Bless our height difference. 



They let comfortable silence engulfed them as the colorful fireworks lit up the dark sky. 



“Hey. Walk with me every day.” Wooseok said softly. 



“Anything for you. I’ll even carry your bag if you want.” Seungyoun answered fondly.



Wooseok sighed into his smile and Seungyoun tightened his grip on the younger’s hand as more colorful fireworks exploded in the night sky. 



I’ll always be with you. 








 

Chapter Text

The sound of his doorbell woke Seungyoun up from his slumber. After the interschool football tournament, he had been bedridden because of a high fever for the last two days. Nevertheless, it was a memorable tournament for him this year because it was his last game as a highschooler and most importantly it was a game that he played where his boyfriend since the last 58 days was there to show his support. The picture of Wooseok clasping his hands together as Seungyoun took the penalty kick was now his lock screen image - thanks to Wonwoo who took the picture. So he was fine with the fever and yes, he’s cool with Wonwoo now. 



What Seungyoun was not fine with was the sound of the doorbell. At first, Seungyoun thought it was just his Mother who was persistent on taking him home to their mansion but how the sound had a certain calming beat made Seungyoun second guessed. And also, his Mother knew his passcode which was Wooseok’s birthday so it cannot be her. But his Mother does not need to know what those numbers combination meant other than it was his passcode. The sound of the bell this time was almost like the bell was pressed with patience although it was rang repeatedly. So he sluggishly walked out of his room, leaving the comfort of his soft bed to see who it was interrupting his rest. If it’s Mom I swear to God I’m changing the passcode to my anniversary with Wooseok. 



As he opened the door, the small figure that he had missed so much standing in front of him was the sight that Seungyoun never thought he would see — it was his boyfriend of 58 days, Kim Wooseok. On second thought, maybe he was fine with the repetitive sound of the doorbell after all. The taller’s mouth gaped and he blinked twice to process everything because in his defence he had reasons to not be expecting Wooseok standing so ethereally beautiful in front of his door.



The first reason would be the fact that Wooseok hated going out on the weekend because according to him, “Crowds suffocate me more than sports do.” Secondly, they usually spent their time together at a Frozen themed cafe in Wooseok’s neighbourhood. The cafe that had introduced Seungyoun to Wooseok’s other friends like Lee Jihoon and Kim Mingyu, who were also dating. The fateful meeting had led to Mingyu adding Wooseok and Seungyoun to their group chat that Mingyu named as, “‘We The Gays 6/6 ️’ because we are- wait for it— indeed the gays!” Seungyoun was beyond stoked to know Mingyu because apparently puppies understood each other better. No offence, Wonwoo. The third reason would be, Wooseok had never been to his place albeit knowing his address because the younger had never actually made his way to the luxurious officetel. And lastly, Wooseok said something along, “I’m going out with my Mom today. Have a good rest.” and that was all the elder needed - for he preferred it more that Wooseok did not walk alone to his place because, “Wooseok, don’t walk anywhere without me, okay? If it’s with your Mom, then it’s okay. It’s dangerous out there.” Soonyoung called Seungyoun ‘a possessive over-protective freak’ but Mingyu said, “that’s just him protecting his property unlike your oblivious boyfriend, Jeon Wonblivious.” To which Jihoon added with an annoying smirk, “I mean- what’s the point of having a boyfriend if they don’t protect you. Oh! I know why. Because it’s Wonwoo!” Wonwoo had an earful of Soonyoung’s ‘protect me more’ speech that day. 



“Hi.” Wooseok wiggled a tiny wave with his hand and snapped Seungyoun out if his thoughts. 



“Huh? Hey. Hi. Come in.” Seungyoun welcomed his boyfriend to his house confusedly. Upon seeing his boyfriend’s beautiful face, the taller had to resist the want to kiss him because Wooseok and beret hat are undoubtedly a perfect combination. He reminds me of a doll. He so much wanted to kiss the younger but being a thoughtful boyfriend he is, he held himself back because Wooseok cannot be infected with his fever too. His boyfriend falling ill was the last thing that Seungyoun wanted to see, so no kiss hello for him today. But just wait until I’m all healed. 



They were standing in the middle of the vast living room when Wooseok broke Seungyoun out of his wandering thoughts again. 



“How are you?” The shorter asked, eyes looking around the minimally furnished living room. Nice. 



“Sick. But at least I’m not dying.” Seungyoun answered weakly as he scanned his boyfriend.



Wooseok chuckled to the answer. The football tournament must have took its toll on Seungyoun but Wooseok was glad that he had at least got the chance to watch Seungyoun’s games before leaving high school since he had never actually seen one before. The heat kills me though. Ugh. 



Seungyoun scanned the shorter more. He noticed how Wooseok had a shoulder bag with him but forgone the curiosity of what was inside the bag because the question of why Wooseok was here and not going out with his Mother bothered him more. “I thought you said you’re going out with your Mom? And how did you find my place?” 



“Ah. It was just a small family gathering with my Mom’s family. Told them I had a study group.” Hm? I can lie after all. Wooseok internally pat himself on the back and momentarily paused before continuing, “and I took a taxi.” 



Seungyoun’s face went blank at the mention of the taxi. He was not really into the idea of Wooseok getting on public transportation without his presence but he chose not to ruin the mood. For now. “I see.” He muttered softly. “You look cute.” He praised the younger as he poked the black beret hat.



The younger remained quiet and and glared at the taller for calling him cute. But little did Wooseok know what power his glare held for Seungyoun. 



Screw resistance because sulky Wooseok was Seungyoun’s limit. The taller abruptly pulled Wooseok by his waist, closer to his broad chest. The shorter let out a surprise “whoop!” to the maneuvering. Seungyoun suddenly leaned in closer to Wooseok’s face to kiss the younger on the lips but Wooseok proven to be agile because he managed to raise his hand to barricade their lips from touching and Seungyoun ended up kissing the shorter’s palm instead. 



“Keep your fever virus to yourself, big guy.” Wooseok narrowed his eyes as he tried to escape from Seungyoun’s hold.



The elder let out a disappointed sigh. “Then don’t tempt me. And that beret hat, wear them when we go out next time. I’ll wear mine too.” He told the younger. Seungyoun still kissed Wooseok quickly and lightly on his forehead nevertheless.



“That depends on my mood. I was just too lazy to style my hair today so I put this on.” He explained before saying, “And you know- you’re a bad host. I’ve been here for an eternity. At least invite me to sit. My legs hurt.” The younger complained. 



Seungyoun facepalmed himself. “I’m sorry, baby. Sit, sit!” He beckoned at the L-shaped settee. 



Wooseok gently placed his shoulder bag on the floor before squinting his eyes at the taller as he took a seat. “Baby?” 



Seungyoun sat on the floor in front of Wooseok and rested his chin on the younger’s laps. “Well, aren’t you one?” He teased as he fiddled with Wooseok’s cardigan’s button. 



The younger smiled lovingly. He hated Soonyoung for calling Wonwoo ‘baby’ before because it’s Wonwoo for goodness’ sake. But being called one himself is really a good feeling apparently. 



The two let silence accompanied them. Seungyoun then shifted to rest his head on Wooseok’s lap. He felt lulled when Wooseok started stroking his hair, with the younger’s other hand running up and down of Seungyoun’s jawline. 



“Have you been to the clinic?” The younger asked as he felt Seungyoun’s temperature was a bit too warm than usual. 



“Nope. But my Mom sent a doctor to check on me.” The elder answered with half-lidded eyes. It was probably the medicine effects that were still in his system or maybe it was Wooseok’s honey like voice that made him feel like he was floating now. 



Wooseok tried to decipher Seungyoun’s words. Then it hit him. Of course, a chaebol son. The doctor came to see you. 



Without stopping his stroking on Seungyoun’s silky locks, Wooseok asked another question. “Do you live alone?” 



Seungyoun softly hummed a ‘yes’ to answer the question. “Do you wanna live with me? I’ll be less lonely if you do.” He tested the younger. 



“I have my own house and my own family to live with so no thanks.” Wooseok turned down teasingly. 



Seungyoun raised his head at the teasing and placed his two hands onto Wooseok’s thighs. “Eyy. Wooseok is so mean.” He turned to point at the bag that Wooseok was carrying earlier. “What’s in that?”



“I bought you some porridge. And some homework that you missed out on the days you were absent.” And I miss you. Big time. “Are you hungry? Do you wanna eat?” 



“Maybe later.” Seungyoun roused from the floor to lie down on the settee and once again he rested his head on Wooseok’s lap. “I’m sleepy.” He added drowsily. 



“Then sleep.” The younger said as he stroked Seungyoun’s hair lovingly. 



***



Seungyoun was greeted by the dim sunset ray through the white curtain when he woke up from his sleep. He must have been very sick to sleep through the day. The cloth that was wrapping him woke him up completely from the sleepiness. Wooseok’s cardigan. He breathed in the remnants of Wooseok’s baby like scent and sat up straight to look for any trace of the younger but sadly, not a strand of Wooseok’s hair was in his vision - even the shoulder bag that was originally on the floor was gone now. Seungyoun just wanted to wallow in despair knowing that his boyfriend had left without telling him. 



But his wallowing came to a halt when he heard the sound of the opening and closing of his kitchen cabinets. Hm? He roused in an instant and placed the soft cardigan on the settee as if to not crinkle it. Then he walked slowly and much to his surprise, it was Wooseok that he saw. Clad in his neatly tucked in white t-shirt and black jeans - and it seemed like he was struggling to peek at what was inside the cabinet that was probably slightly too high for him. Seungyoun internally drop kicked himself for accusing his boyfriend of leaving earlier and the light was on why didn’t I see it? The beret hat that was placed on the counter top made him smiled. Seungyoun then tiptoed his way to the kitchen and stealthily wrapped his arms around Wooseok’s middle. 



“Agh! What the hell?!” Wooseok tried to turn but Seungyoun’s hold proven to be too strong to move around in. “Geez! You scared me, Cho Seungyoun!” Although his mouth was spitting anger, he couldn't help but reflexively gripped on Seungyoun’s forearms on his middle. 



The elder let out a contented sigh before apologizing. “Sorry. Why didn’t you wake me up? Hm?” 



“You looked so tired so I let you sleep some more. And you’re still a bit feverish too. You feel better now?” Wooseok queried with concern.



“Hmm.” Seungyoun really felt better. Then again, it could be because of the medicines or because Wooseok was still here with him. He nosed impossibly closer to the younger’s neck. He really smelled like a baby. My baby. “What were you looking for just now?”



“Ah! I need to transfer the porridge to bowls or anything that I could find except that I couldn’t. Where did you put your plate, anyway?” The younger whined. 



“Let me get them for you.” The elder then placed his head on the crown of Wooseok’s head and dragged the younger that was still in his hold across the kitchen floor to the bowls compartment. With his long limbs, Seungyoun easily grabbed two bowls and placed them on the counter top. 



“Keep them lower. Do you even eat if you keep everything up there?” The shorter groaned. 



“Nope. I’ll just keep them up there. So I can do this every time you’re here.” Seungyoun chuckled as he slightly shook their connected bodies side to side. 



“You watched too many dramas.” The younger sneered. 



Seungyoun giggled to the remarks and he had to reluctantly let go of Wooseok’s small figure from his hold because the younger kept on elbowing him. His boyfriend might be small but never underestimate his strength. Tiny but mighty. He surrendered to the elbowing and made them both a hot chocolate before settling down on the stool. 



“Hold on. Let me reheat the porridge and then we’ll eat together. You have to eat your medicines too.” Wooseok reminded Seungyoun who kept his eyes glued to every single movement of Wooseok. 



The two then ate in silence - with Seungyoun darting glances at Wooseok from time to time. The elder then ate his medicines but not without some nagging from Wooseok because Seungyoun kept on saying, “Blegh. The antibiotics taste like shampoo.” To which Wooseok retorted by saying, “You ate shampoo before?” Seungyoun let the question ran past them. 



Seungyoun then held Wooseok’s hands that were on the counter top. He played with them silently with Wooseok just watching him with a loving look. They let themselves drowned in the comfortable silence again. When their eyes met, Wooseok blinked slowly at the elder. Unbeknownst to Wooseok, his slow blink was Seungyoun’s favourite and if only Wooseok knew what it could do to the elder. Another one thing that Seungyoun had discovered about Wooseok since dating him was, Wooseok is the kind of person that holds eye contacts and he loved him for that. 



“This is nice.” Seungyoun whispered, breaking the quietness. 



“What is?” Wooseok asked shortly. 



“Us. You. In my place.” The elder replied without raising his head, hands still intertwined with Wooseok’s, as he traced the veins on the back of the shorter’s hands. 



“I was just here because you’re sick.” Wooseok claimed nonchalantly. 



The elder let out a breathy chuckle. “Of course you are, baby.” Seungyoun knew full well now that Wooseok’s words usually contradicted his actions. 



Seungyoun then raised his head to lock gaze with Wooseok before he suddenly proposed. “Kim Wooseok. Let’s get married.” 



Wooseok held his gaze at Seungyoun and he slowly retracted his hands from Seungyoun’s hold - to clasp his hands together and placed them on his own lap. He internally sighed. It must be the fever talking. 



“I know we’ve only started going out, but don’t you want to?” Seungyoun added in a rush as he held his hand out to tuck Wooseok’s hair behind his ear. 



“You do realize that we’re only 19, right?” The younger calmly asked. He must not let things get to him. 



“Yeah. But Wooseok-”



“And I still want to go to university.” Wooseok added, cutting Seungyoun’s mid-sentence. 



“I know. I mean- when you’re- when we’re done with all of those. Let’s go to a place where we can get married. What about New York? No! Too loud. What about Paris?” Seungyoun then went on listing some other countries before asking, “What do you think? A place just for the two of us. Hm?” 



Wooseok took a deep breath and sighed heavily. We’ve only started but we already have a lot to sort out. 



“Why? Is it too much to ask?” Seungyoun probed as he saw Wooseok’s contemplated look. 



“Do you love me?” Wooseok suddenly asked. 



“Of course I do, Wooseok. With all my heart.” The elder was never tired of declaring his love for Wooseok. In fact, he texted Wooseok countless amounts of ‘I love you’ every single day since they started going out. Seungyoun then ran his hand through his hair - the thought of Wooseok doubting his love stressed him out. 




“Then if you do, we don’t have to leave here just to get married. Even after we’re done with our study, we can’t just leave our families behind. You know that, right?” Wooseok breathed in the vanilla scent that surrounded Seungyoun’s officetel. It mysteriously calmed him down albeit it was just his first time stepping on his boyfriend’s place. “And Seungyoun- marriage isn’t easy and for me- you don’t need a piece of paper just to validate your love. Our love.” Wooseok added tenderly as he raised his hand to caress Seungyoun’s cheek, in hope of washing away his agony. He needed to be the sensible one here. 



Seungyoun leaned in to the touch. “So you love me too? I can’t live a day without you reminding me that you love me too, Wooseok.” Seungyoun knew of his own possessiveness. In fact he tried to tone it down by consulting Wonwoo but it’s Wooseok, his first love - that we’re talking about here. He cannot- no, more like would never tone it down. 



Wooseok blinked his eyes slowly to show assurance. “Of course, Seungyoun. I love you too.” Wooseok then suddenly roused from his stool to cup Seungyoun’s face, and in return, Seungyoun wrapped his arms around Wooseok’s waist. Wooseok stared down at Seungyoun who was looking up at him with pleading eyes. 



Wooseok then leaned in to kiss Seungyoun. The elder who had been holding back suddenly rushed into the kiss by sliding his tongue in to urge Wooseok to open his tiny mouth, tasting the remnants of hot chocolate- but that was until Seungyoun was reminded of his earlier attempt. He pulled away so suddenly and Wooseok looked so puzzled of the abrupt move. Hm? This feels familiar.



“What about my fever virus?” Seungyoun asked with his puppy like eyes. 



“That microsized thing won’t kill me. But you would.” Wooseok flashed a loving smile and leaned in once again. 



They kissed slowly with Wooseok letting out a quiet breathy sigh and Seungyoun deepened the kiss as he slightly pulled Wooseok lower by the nape of his neck. The elder softly nibbled on Wooseok’s bottom lip, eliciting a soft moan from Wooseok. Seungyoun then trailed his tongue on Wooseok’s bottom lip. Deciding he was done with the licking, the taller continued to kiss Wooseok hard and when Wooseok let out a muffled moan and softly tapping Seungyoun’s cheek, Seungyoun knew that was the queue for him to break the kiss. Which he did, although reluctantly. And when he saw Wooseok was slightly panting and his red bitten lips, he could not help but feel proud and blessed to call the younger his. 



“I love you.” Wooseok whispered fondly, gazing at Seungyoun’s dreamy eyes. 



“And I love you the most.” I can do this for as long as I live. 



The shorter then quickly kissed Seungyoun on both of his cheeks. Seungyoun giggled before resting his head on Seungyoun’s chest as Wooseok wrapped a hand around Seungyoun’s neck and ran his free hand up and down of the elder’s back with Seungyoun tightening his hold on Wooseok’s middle. 



Seungyoun closed his eyes to the sound of Wooseok’s steady heartbeat. He internally pledged that he will only make Wooseok’s heart beats for him and him only. What’s mine will forever be mine. 



“Stay with me tonight.” The elder murmured. 



“Only if you promise to do some homework before we sleep.” Wooseok teased. 



“Of course.” Seungyoun raised his head once again to stare into Wooseok’s eyes before saying, “and cuddle with me, okay?” 



“Okay.” Wooseok flashed a tender smile and leaned in to kiss his boyfriend again. 



Fever heals, anyway.