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my world starts and ends with you

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Beomgyu glances past the tinted window, seeing the bright lights of Seoul come into view. His bag rests by his feet and he doesn't make a move to pull it closer by his person — the bus is nearly empty, after all. He doesn't have to worry too much.

He doesn't know where exactly he's going. Hell, when he woke up this morning, he didn't have any intention of going anywhere than staying in Daegu.

But he had to leave. He had no choice anymore and he knows that with every second that passes by without him making up his mind about it, he'll slowly descend into the clutches of insanity. The way he had slowly made his way over to his parents' bedroom that afternoon, his heart stuck in his throat, he prayed to the stars that he wouldn't get caught by anyone.

Knowing where his parents kept their emergency money left him with more time to swiftly move to where it was hidden — right by the table tucked in the corner, the second drawer. His fingers were awfully quick in ripping open the compartment, stealing handfuls of bills and jamming them inside his backpack. There were no words to describe the increasing panic burning through his veins, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes as his hands shook.

Guilt squeezed his heart right out of his chest but the adrenaline pushed him to safely tuck the money away in his backpack before he shakily puts everything back into place — as if there wasn't any thief that came by. His father and mother were out for their work and the house felt emptier than it usually did.

But he didn't let it bother him, shrugging it off with his throat closing up. Beomgyu's footsteps barely echoed against the wooden floor as he made his way down the stairs, almost slipping at the last step. He had to hold onto the railing until his knuckles turned white before his feet found their way to the familiar porcelain flooring he grew up walking on.

He didn't know how he had done it — one second, he was keeping his footsteps as quiet as possible. The next second came like a whirlwind of emotions as he ran down the driveway, not looking back. Not even once did he allow himself to steal a glance at the looming mansion he was leaving behind. Beomgyu hastily buried his phone beneath the trash, knowing that any sort of way his parents could contact him, he'll be found in no time. 

Sitting on a bus on the way to Seoul is the one moment when he finally allowed himself to collapse in the seats, breathing out a deep sigh. His heart was still racing and the rush of blood pounding in his ears was something that he couldn't ignore. But at least he left. At least, he doesn't have to deal with his parents anymore.

Beomgyu continues to stare at the window, eyes wide as he watches the rush of city lights outside. It looks pretty, awfully bright even through the tinted window, but he can't search for the excitement that he thought was buried in his ribcage.

All he could think about are his parents waiting for him, thinking that he's coming back. He didn't breathe out a word to his friends about where he's going — why should he? He doesn't have an ounce of trust when it came to any of them.

The only lingering regret he has in his bones is the fact that he left Taehyun behind.

Taehyun, the one boy who looked up to him with his bright, wide eyes and a smile that constantly drawn itself across his lips. The one who approached him when he first transferred to his school, five years ago. Taehyun, who willingly took the seat beside him and waited patiently for Beomgyu to open up slowly, exposing more and more of his vulnerability. Taehyun, who stuck by his side all throughout; the same boy who he can consider as his best friend. 

He adored him to the ends of the Earth but he can't stay. He doesn't even want to think about Taehyun standing right outside of his house, waiting and waiting so endlessly for him before the news finally reaches him. He knows that Taehyun will be so confused, so overwhelmed with emotions and he hates that he won't be there anymore to reassure the younger boy. 

I'll call him, Beomgyu thinks to himself, his throat closing up as he stares mindlessly ahead. I'll call him once I reach Seoul. It'll be okay.

The bright lights paint themselves into his line of sight and Beomgyu lays his head against the window, watching the front. Cars sped so fast that his head is spinning as he watches the nightlife come alive — even at a time as late as eleven in the evening, there are so many people scattered around. He can see the way the alcohol bottles thrown at the sidewalks, shards that glimmer beneath the moonlit skies.

Beomgyu had always wanted to see Seoul for himself — his dreams about this city have long since been shards of memories that he could make here. Drunk on the adrenaline with the alcohol in his veins, his heart feeling lighter than ever as he runs through the streets. He could see it; he could see himself walking down the sidewalks at two in the morning, footsteps a little wobbly but he looks happy. Cheeks flushed and wide smile painted across his lips as every care that used to reside in his body left him.

Can he still achieve that, even as an nineteen year old boy? A boy who no longer has a home to come back to?

I'll be okay, I can survive. He thinks to himself, his eyes falling shut as the darkness blankets his vision. All his life, he's been shielded by his parents, tucked by and kept away from harm's way. But he's older now — he can take care of himself well enough now.

Tonight will be the startline of his dreams. A resurrection of brokenness and lonely nights, stretching them thin until he's sure that he's lost himself in the adrenaline rush and alcohol in a city that never seems to sleep.

He's so in deep in his thoughts that he didn't feel the way the bus slowly rolls into a stop. The metal creaks as the tires drag themselves against the pavement — his eyes flutter open as he takes in the sight of the bus stop through the tinted window. The few people left within the vehicle began to stand, making their way exhaustingly over to the front before making their way down the steps. 

Beomgyu can feel his heart racing beneath his chest, a distinct sound of his blood rushing to his ears and pounding so heavily that it drowns out everything else. He stumbles right out of his seat, hands hastily picking up the backpack from the ground and holding it against his chest. His heart is beating, like a stampede of elephants that resonates within his ribcage as he hikes the strap along his shoulder.

His movements are quick and sharp, seeing how the ride hasn't caused the adrenaline rush to fade. As he makes his way down the steps, the moment his feet hit the pavement, his heart stops in its place. The city sounds louder, looks so much brighter like this — it's so achingly overwhelming that Beomgyu has to stop to take it all in. He stares at the city lights hanging above his head, watching as the people gaze at them like they're falling stars from the skies.

Beomgyu is too drawn in by the overwhelming thought of being alone in a bright city like this, that he fails to realize that he's been standing for far too long by the steps. "Hey, kid." He snaps out of his thoughts, hearing the rough voice behind as him as he faces an older man glaring right at him, "You're blocking my way. Move."

"Sorry," Beomgyu murmurs as he finally steps away, walking steadily until he ends up by the bus shelter. The man stares at him with a frown written across his lips grumbling right under his breath as he shakes his head.

"Stupid kids. Shouldn't even be out this late."

Beomgyu holds back himself from answering the man, choosing to shrug it off. A stranger like him can't get rid of the excitement that's slowly bursting through his chest. His head is spinning as he walks down the sidewalk, glancing around so hastily. There's still so many stores open and clubs that have awfully bass booted songs echoing all too loudly but Beomgyu doesn't care.

He's finally here, right here in Seoul. The city where he'll never leave, no matter what happens.

Seoul will finally be the startline of all his dreams.

Nothing's holding him back anymore. 

 


 

Beomgyu doesn't know how long he's been falling asleep in benches in the park or how much time has passed since he watched the sun rise and fall beyond the horizon. The sight is always so achingly pretty — hues of bright red, orange paint themselves along the skies when it's the sunrise whilst pink streaks colors themselves in the once blue sky once the sun finally sets for the day.

He's numb from the taste of alcohol on his tongue; this is the first time for him to drink. Two bottles in and he's swaying, giggling to himself as the rush of happiness fills him up like no other. Beomgyu feels like he's on top of the world, with no worries left lingering in his bones.

But sometimes, in moments like this when the night has fallen silent, he finds his mind drifting back to Daegu. Everything that he hastily left behind without a second thought, only because of his parents' expectations rendering him speechless.

You should follow in our footsteps. He can hear his father's voice echoing in his head, a replay of his memories in his head whenever the alcohol courses itself through his veins. He can even see him sometimes — always sitting on the seat at the very head of the table, reading the newspaper. Never once making eye contact with Beomgyu when the boy makes his way to his own seat for breakfast. We have so much expectations for you, Beomgyu. You're the only one left in line that can keep our business alive.

Marry a nice girl too, while you're at it. His mother would always chime in, her voice airy and light though her words never once failed to weigh themselves heavily in Beomgyu's chest. There's so many nice girls that we can introduce you to. Then he'll hear the quiet voice of his mother, one that only he can hear. 

It's nice to have a family that you can always come home to.

Beomgyu wants to laugh at her words — he never wanted to follow through with his parents' expectations of him. He doesn't want to be the same stoic and cold man that calls himself his father; how can someone be so merciless in business, taking away jobs whenever he can because their lives are always on the tips of his fingers.

And a girl? Beomgyu has never liked girls; it didn't mean that he didn't try loving someone before. But it never worked out with her, not when he never felt that ache that he's constantly searching for. 

He's been trying to convince himself for so long that he likes girls — he likes them with an ache in his chest. But the first time a boy kissed him, Beomgyu could never forget the way his breath was taken away almost immediately. Or the way his knees are knocking against each other as the nerves run through his body. He still remembers the laugh coming from the boy, telling him that he shouldn't be so nervous. Beomgyu let himself go that night, kissing another boy in a way that he could never kiss a girl like that. 

At that moment, he knew right then and there that he wanted to break free from what his parents expected from him. He likes boys and that's something that he shouldn't be ashamed about. He likes art, books, music — god, he loves music with a longingness that can only be filled up whenever he picks up his guitar and sings. But he rarely did it, only choosing to let his hand feel the weight of his guitar in the middle of the night, when he feels like he's forgetting a part of himself that he grew to love. 

Beomgyu always knew love like it came with bruised knuckles and grazed knees. He knew love, like it always came with a surge of pain that he never wanted to experience.

He can't say he ever loved someone like that before. The closest he can come to is what he feels for Taehyun — a deep, longing ache to have a friend who's there by your side. Adoring him, despite how many mistakes you two make.

"Oh, fuck." He curses out loud, shaking his head as he straightens in his seat. Stumbling right out of the bench, he hugs the backpack against his chest as a wave of dizziness hits him. As much as he wants to stop, his need to call Taehyun and talk to him is so much stronger.

"I need to call him," Beomgyu speaks to himself, feeling the ache grow stronger at the thought of Taehyun worrying about him. "I need to let him know that I'm okay."

He doesn't know where he's going — he's stumbling right through the streets as the city lights begin to make his head hurt even more. His throat feels drier as he hastily opens his backpack, taking out a bottle of water. Even unscrewing the cap feels like it's such a difficult task as he tips his head, downing at least half of it.

Beomgyu doesn't stop walking as he screws the cap back on, forcing the bottle back inside the bag. The headache is slowly starting to dissipate but the adrenaline is also beginning to fade, making him realize how exhausted he is. But he can't stop, not when he's sure that Taehyun is all right, that he can give one last reassurance to him.

He needs to find a payphone somewhere so he can call him up. With that thought lingering in his head, he mindlessly begins searching the streets, too afraid to ask the crowd rushing past him. What if someone recognizes him? It's such an odd thing to worry about but he doesn't want to draw any attention to himself — it's already troublesome for him that he drank alcohol beforehand so he's still feeling the lingering effects of it in his veins.

But he can't keep walking like this, not when his feet are aching and he's still dizzy. He finds his way to an alleyway, an even more unfamiliar part for him as he stumbles right into it. His feet drag themselves past the rough line of chalk drawn across the pavement, sitting right against the wall as he rests the back of his head on it.

All he wanted to do is to take a breather, to clear his head and untangle the anxieties left within his chest. That's really all that he planned to do. But he never really expected the sound of feet against the concrete ground, echoing so distinctly because of the heavy boots and the faded sound of rushing cars and music in the streets. 

As Beomgyu lifts his head, his heart stops right in his chest. He no longer hears the rush of blood in his ears or the way his heart starts to erratically throw itself against his ribcage. He can't move nor can he breathe as he stares at three boys who seem to be at least five years older than him.

"What—" He can't finish his words as he feels himself getting lifted to his feet, his eyes wide as he sees a glint of a blade glimmering beneath the moonlight. The panic rises to his head, rushing through his veins as he feels himself being pushed roughly against the wall, the blade coming in contact with his throat.

"Look, kid," There's a smirk written across the man's lips and Beomgyu can feel himself shaking in fear as he sees the lack of remorse in the other's gaze. "Let's not make a mess here, all right? Just give us your money and we'll let you go."

Beomgyu, despite the fear running through his veins, still finds himself slowly shaking his head as the tears prick at the corners of his eyes. "N-No."

"What?"

"I said," He breathes out, trying to put on a brave front but he can feel himself still getting weak at the press of the blade against his skin, "No. I won't— I won't give you my money."

"Fuck," He can hear the one on the right curse out loud, roughly kicking a rock on the ground, "Do we really have to stay like this? Let's just ki—"

"We're not having someone else's blood on our hands. Didn't boss say that we need to lie low for now?"

"Oh, fuck off."

Beomgyu can see them getting briefly distracted, taking the opportunity to at least try and slip out of the man's grip. But when he moves slightly, he can feel the blade digging even more, almost hurting him as the tears start to make his vision blurry. He's so scared — he only heard stories of this in the news. Some people tend to meet their unfortunate end like this, bodies even thrown so carelessly until another soul stumbles right into them.

He doesn't want to end up like this. Not tonight, not when he still has to talk to Taehyun.

But even before he can part his lips to let out a cry, he hears another distinct sound of heavy boots moving closer, the pavement's loose rocks crunching beneath the soles. He can't turn his head without possibly injuring himself so he can't see who stumbled right into the same alleyway.

"What are you three doing here?"

From the voice alone, the three thieves stiffen almost immediately as they spare the intruder a glance. Beomgyu can feel the blade loosening slightly, just enough for him to steal a glance at the boy standing right by the entrance.

Fox-like eyes stare at the three men, his expression void of any emotions before a smirk eventually curves upon his lips as he takes a step closer. His hair is a dark shade of blue, easily making him stand out in a crowd, just from his handsome but rogue features alone. He crosses the rough chalked line, standing perfectly still as his gaze flickers from each thief before his eyes finally fall on Beomgyu. Hope flickers in Beomgyu but it fades all too quickly when he sees the lack of empathy on his features.

No, no. I can't die in here. Not yet. Beomgyu sinks his teeth onto his lower lip to stop himself from bursting into tears, shaking his head. He's still afraid as he gazes at the other man, hoping that he'll take pity on him.

But the blue haired boy never spares him another glance, choosing to keep his gaze pinned on the other thieves. The void of emotions on his features is disturbing for Beomgyu, the worry coursing itself through his veins at what this boy is capable of doing. 

"I asked," He speaks again, the smirk fading away as a frown crosses his lips instead. His voice is awfully cold and firm, as he stares down at the other men. "What are you doing here?" He slowly crosses the distance between them, his footsteps echoing loudly as his gaze pins them in their place.

"Do you not know whose territory this is?" 

Slowly, his gaze flickers from each and every thief standing right in front of him, as if he's analyzing their features. The man who's holding onto Beomgyu suddenly backs away, dropping the boy roughly to the ground. Beomgyu lets out a cough, a shiver running down his spine as he fixes himself up to sit against the wall. He can feel the blue haired man's gaze fixated upon him for a moment, an eyebrow arching at his direction before he switches his attention back to the thieves. 

"Don't touch him," He speaks, every syllable wrapped with venom as he narrows his eyes at them. His dark gaze falls on the blade that one of the men is holding, a flicker of a smirk curving upon his lips before it disappears as he stares back at them again. "Unless you'd rather have that knife pressed against your throat instead." 

He steps closer and the men back away almost immediately. He shows no flicker of emotions on his expression as he raises his head. His words feel like a heavy warning, making Beomgyu even more afraid of what he meant. 

"Don't test me. You know what I'm capable of." 

With a shaky nod coming from the three, they hastily slipped past him. The blue haired boy stands there, letting the two escape without a scratch. But he seems to have a change of mind when he suddenly reaches out to grab hold of the third thief's shoulder, roughly throwing a punch against his cheek. 

He shakes his hand, checking his knuckles as he lets the boy fall to the ground with a whimper at the unexpected impact. Beomgyu holds his breath, watching him with wide eyes as the blue haired boy sinks down, pointing at the roughly drawn chalked line a few inches away. 

"How many times do I have to tell you not to cross the line? Ah, it's like you're asking for a beating from me," He rans his fingers through his blue strands, gaze fixated on the fallen boy with an amused smirk painted across his features, "Is that what you want?" 

All he receives is a quick shake of the other boy's head as his eyes show a flicker of fear. A sigh falls from his lips, standing up as he delivers a harsh blow against the thief's stomach before he points past the alley.

"Get out of here while I'm still playing nice." 

Beomgyu watches how the thief hurriedly stands from his position, wincing for a moment as he clutches his stomach but he pushes himself to stumble right out of the alley. There's still a lingering fear in his body as he fixates his gaze on blue haired boy. He sees the way he finally relaxes, as if putting up the front is exhausting as he turns on his heel.

Their gazes lock on each other and Beomgyu can feel his throat close. There's something about the way the blue haired boy is staring at him — a flicker of emotions that slip by too fast that Beomgyu couldn't decipher even one of them. He's afraid to speak, the words dying on his lips as he numbly sits against the wall. He doesn't make any move to leave, making the other boy raise a brow at his behavior as he crosses the distance between them.

Though the darkness has long since blanketed over their bodies, he can see the flicker of moonlight that hits the blue haired man's features. He looks absolutely ethereal — dark blue hair falling over his eyes before he brushes the strands away. Fox-like eyes that stay focused on him, curiosity finally taking hold of his expression as he pauses right in front of him.

As he steps closer, Beomgyu can see the scar that ran under his right and down his cheek. The scar looks faded, a dark line running across his skin but somehow, Beomgyu's interest is piqued at the sight of it. He wonders what's his story for a moment — almost forgetting that the man standing before him seems to be feared. His voice alone causes shivers to run down the spines of other people and his reputation is enough for people to stumble away as far as they could.

Who is this boy?

Once the thought falls upon him on who this man might be — he finds himself closing his eyes quickly, shifting closer against the wall. He curls up, face buried in his hands as he catches his breath, murmuring pleas of please don't kill me and I swear, I'm not a bad person. Pleas that sound more and more like a prayer as they fall from the edges of his mouth.

"Get up."

He hears the firmness in the other's voice and Beomgyu stiffens, hurrying to follow his words. He still ends up pressed against the wall, arms wrapped around his own frame as he shakes. He feels so much smaller like this though he's sure that the other boy is barely taller than him.

"Are you afraid of me?"

Beomgyu hears the question, stealing his attention away so effectively. He hears the amusement dripping from the man's voice. With a deep breath, he finally opens his eyes as he stares back at the dark gaze fixated on him. Caught breathless by his beauty, he parts his lips, only to fall silent as he eventually closes his mouth.

He's feeling more and more like an idiot as the minutes stretch themselves thin. It must be the same thought that the other is having because after a moment of silence, he heaves a frustrated sigh as he slips his hands in his pockets.

"It's useless to talk to you." 

The other boy is already spinning on his heel, ready to leave him alone. Exactly as what Beomgyu would have wanted him to do. But as his gaze falls on his back, he feels the urge to reach out and stop him from walking away. 

And that's exactly what he ends up doing. 

Beomgyu rushes after him, feet moving quickly as his fingers brush against the fabric of his jacket. They curl around the clothing, forcefully stopping him from walking away completely. He can see the boy turns around to glance at him, furrowed eyebrows and his still dark gaze focused on Beomgyu.

He knows that he's afraid. He knows that he should be afraid. Yet, there's a strange longingness that delves deep within his ribcage, eyes flickering to stare at him with a strange amount of trust. He doesn't know why he's feeling like this towards a boy who supposedly stopped three men from hurting him — but he can't stop the words from falling past his lips nevertheless.

"Thank you," Beomgyu finally speaks up, his voice soft and gentle. A quite striking contrast to the way his fingers are twitching from the fear and anxiety coursing through his veins. "For saving me. It means a lot."

"I didn't do it for you," The blue haired stranger fires back almost immediately, his voice going cold though the annoyance streaks itself across his features. "Everyone knows that there are territories that you shouldn't cross. And yet, they crossed mine so willingly." He pauses, mumbling under his breath with frustration wrapping around his words. "Fucking idiots."

"Still, thank you."

All he receives in response is the boy shrugging him off, still mildly annoyed at his presence. "Whatever. Go back home, kid. It's dangerous out here."

Home. Beomgyu doesn't know where he can go back home — he's been running away for so long. He can't find a way to trace his footsteps back to his parents, his friends. All he's worrying about is Taehyun—

His throat feels like it's going to close up as he shakes away his anxieties, blinking rapidly as he tightens his hold on the other boy's jacket. "I don't know where to go," He admits out loud, the fear coursing itself through his veins even more. "I ran away from home and I took the bus to here."

That seems to catch the boy's attention, finally turning to him as he shrugs off Beomgyu's grip on his jacket. He narrows his gaze at him though he's certainly intrigued as he steps closer to close the distance between them. "Why?"

"I," Beomgyu pauses as he sinks his teeth onto his lower lip, looking more and more hesitant before he breathes out a sigh as he fixates his gaze on the other boy, "I couldn't handle the pressure from my parents anymore. They wanted me to follow their footsteps, get into their business and get married to some rich girl." He shakes his head, his voice becoming softer as he wraps his arms around his own figure.

"I don't want that."

The blue haired boy barks out a laugh, running a hand through his dark blue strands before he stares at the other boy in disbelief. His gaze runs down his frame, a soft tsk leaving past his lips. "And you thought that running all the way to this part of Seoul would be better?" Sarcasm drips from the edge of his voice, his eyes going dark as the edge presents itself in his tone.

"Kid, go back home. At least there, you have a family you can come back to." 

There's a twinge of sadness beneath his words and Beomgyu is quick to sense it. The blue haired doesn't say anything else, his voice rigid and firm as always though after a moment, he looks like he wanted to say something. But he shakes his head afterwards, already on his way to leave the alley instead.

What stops him from walking away completely once again is the way Beomgyu answers him. 

"No, I don't want to." 

He pauses, back turned on Beomgyu as he stands right in front of the line. He doesn't bother turning around so Beomgyu can't catch a glimpse of his expression but he knows that he caught the other boy by surprise. 

"What?"

"Can I," Beomgyu swallows his pride, clutching his backpack that seemed to have fallen on the ground. There's a flicker of desperation on his features but he doesn't even bother hiding what he feels right now.

"Can I stay with you?"

The question forces the blue haired boy to finally incline his head, staring at him before he turns to him with a narrowed gaze. He's tongue-tied for the first time since the very second their gazes met a moment ago — when Beomgyu had a knife pressed against his throat whilst he stood inches away with a frown. 

"You're kidding me, aren't you?"

"I'm not." 

"You're not?" He bursts out laughing, shaking his head as he heaves out a sigh as he steps closer once again. He stands taller than Beomgyu, easily intimidating the other boy as Beomgyu shrinks naturally under his gaze. Something about him radiates intimidation and confidence — you wouldn't be able to stand tall if he's around. 

"That's stupid," He scoffs, looking more and more in disbelief at the other boy's proposition. "Thought that rich kids like you must have at least some common sense, no?" 

His words are wrapped around with sarcasm and harsh tones, making Beomgyu wince. Out of instinct, he flinches as he steps back, failing to catch sight of the flicker of guilt on the other boy's expression. Beomgyu swallows the lump in his throat as he stares at his shoes. His voice is soft as the words slip by his lips, unable to lift his head to gaze at him directly.

"Can I at least use your phone?" He murmurs, tightening his hold around his backpack slightly, "I need to call someone." When he raises his head, he can see the uncertainty on the blue haired boy's expression so he hurriedly says, "It'll be quick, I promise."

A beat of silence passes by before the boy heaves out a sigh, nodding his head as he reaches for his phone, unlocking it and throwing it in his direction. Beomgyu clutches onto it tightly like it's a lifeline as he turns away, dialing Taehyun's number without any moment of hesitation. It rings relentlessly in his hand as he nervously places it against his ear, catching his breath.

He doesn't know how long has it been since he left Daegu without looking back. How long has it been since Taehyun found out? Does he even know that Beomgyu left? Or what if, this whole time that Beomgyu was spiraling and thinking that Taehyun was worrying about him, the younger boy didn't care enough—

"Hello?" Beomgyu stiffens at the sound of Taehyun's tired voice through his phone. There's an ache in his chest that makes him want to burst into tears — he feels so sorry, so incredibly guilty right now. 

"Taehyun? It's me," He speaks, feeling his throat tighten as he takes a moment to calm down the erratic beating of his heart, "It's me, Beomgyu." 

"What?" His voice comes out hoarse, rougher as the words escape so fast that Beomgyu almost misses the anger hidden beneath them, "Don't lie to me. This isn't a joke — I've been trying to find him for three days. I can't reach him anymore. I—" His words dissipate as sobs escape past his lips and the sound itself drives the stake of guilt into Beomgyu's chest.

Three days. He's been gone for three days, trying to live his life in Seoul without even telling Taehyun where he had gone. God, he really doesn't deserve him.

"It's me, Taehyun." He pushes, voice shaky as he closes his eyes, pressing it against his ear as he stands there. A shiver runs down his spine as he tries not to burst into tears but it's so difficult, especially when he hears the hitch in Taehyun's breathing through the phone.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry—" I've been such a bad friend to you. I don't deserve you. "I should've told you where I was."

"Where are you, hyung?" The panic rises in Taehyun's voice and he can hear a bed creaking and footsteps resonating against the wooden floor, "Tell me and I'll head over there to pick you up—"

"No, listen, I really left on my own. It's my decision." He hears the way Taehyun stops walking, probably awaiting for his next words so Beomgyu pushes though his words become softer, gentler. "I'm in Seoul right now. I'm only using someone else's phone so I can call you up and let you know that I'm okay."

It's quiet, so awfully silent on the other line before Taehyun finally speaks. "Your parents are worried about you, hyung. Should I let them know where you are?"

"No, don't." Beomgyu knows that he's wrong here but he doesn't want to be found right now. There's a risk of being found if he lets his parents have a hint in knowing where he is — this is the only way he can get the freedom that he's been chasing after for so many years already. 

It's all that he truly wants.

"Don't tell them, okay?" He pauses, his tone laced with desperation. It's sickening to know that Taehyun would do anything for him but right now, it's what he needs. "Please, Taehyunnie?" 

There's such a long stretch of silence between their conversation that Beomgyu fears that Taehyun has dropped the call. But as he starts to pull the phone away from his ear, he hears the younger boy's voice slip through, his tone resolute and firm. 

"Okay, hyung. I promise. But you need to let me know how you're doing every now and then, alright?" 

"Oh, god. Thank you so much, Taehyun." He murmurs a silent prayer to the stars for listening to him before he nods his head, despite knowing that Taehyun isn't seeing him right now. "I promise I'll call you."

"Good." There's another stretch of silence before Taehyun speaks, his voice quivering through the line. "I really wished that you let me know beforehand that you're leaving. At least, I could've said goodbye to you." He sounds so upset and Beomgyu knows that he's the sole reason why his best friend is like that. God, the guilt is going to eat him up one day. 

"Take care, hyung. Maybe one day, I can slip away and visit you." His voice becomes softer that Beomgyu almost misses the words that he says, "Or maybe you'll come back home here."

He doesn't speak, choosing to ignore his words for now. He can't tell him that he never wants to come back to Daegu — for the first time in his life, he feels absolutely free

Free from any judgment, from any lingering regret in his veins. The ache that's been in his chest for so long is no longer there, replacing it with a tender and soothing happiness that resides within him. But he doesn't say anything to Taehyun, knowing that his words could easily cause a strike in the younger boy's heart and he doesn't want him to feel even more hurt. 

"Take care of yourself too." He never says what he truly feels but this time, the words manage to leave his lips faster than he could stop hinself. "I love you, Taehyunnie."

There's another beat of silence before a laugh echoes through the line. It sounds light and airy, the same familiar laugh that Beomgyu had gotten used to for the past months and years that they've been together.

"I love you too, hyung."

He quietly pulls the phone away, letting out a deep breath before dropping the call. A saddened smile graces his lips as he stares at the phone for too long, only realizing that it's not his when it slips right out of his grasp so easily. He raises his head, watching as the blue haired boy pockets his phone, arching a brow as he stares Beomgyu's disheveled state.

"You really don't want to go home, don't you?"

"How can I go home," Beomgyu emits a laugh but it sounds hollow and empty, so achingly sad as he shakes his head, "When that place never felt like home for me?"

The boy standing in front of him, for the first time since they crossed paths, doesn't say anything as he chooses to keep his mouth shut. Beomgyu doesn't miss the look of sympathy that he receives from him for a brief second before it dissolves into nothing. They stare at each other for a long stretch of moment before the blue haired stranger breaks it with a question that's been lingering in his mind. "Where are you staying tonight?"

A corner of Beomgyu's lips lift upwards to form a half smile as he wraps his arms around his own frame, "Wherever that is free and comfortable for the night. How can I be choosy when I brought this onto myself, right?"

"Huh, no wonder you asked me if you could stay with me," A scoff falls from his lips but he sounds much less hostile as he heaves out a sigh. He looks uncertain, running a hand through his blue strands as he keeps his other hand pocketed in his dark jeans.

"You're too trusting, kid." He lowers his tone into a murmur as his eyes lay upon Beomgyu to stare at him for a long moment, "That's dangerous. You don't even know my name and yet, you're asking me—"

"My name is Beomgyu. Choi Beomgyu."

That seems to stop the blue haired boy from talking, clearly caught off guard by his sudden introduction. Beomgyu can see the flicker of emotions in his eyes once again under the star-drunk skies; he'll never say it out loud but somehow, his heart feels like it's going to explode right through his ribcage.

The little attempt causes the taller man to let out a low laugh, blue strands falling over his eyes as he brushes them away, "Do you think that I'll give you my name after you let me know what's yours?"

"It's the courteous thing to do, isn't it?"

There's a faint smirk that curves upon the other boy's lips and Beomgyu knew right then and there that he convinced him. Another laugh spills from his lips and once again, Beomgyu can feel the flutter of the butterflies' wings in his chest, rendering him breathless as he watches the other boy stretch his hand out to him.

This almost feels like a dream, a strange chain of events that shouldn't happen. And yet, here they are — his hand warm against the stranger's, whose smile that lit up brighter than the stars and city lights hanging over their heads.

"Yeonjun," He speaks and Beomgyu sees the universe's worth of stars in the other boy's eyes as he finally smiles right at him.

"Choi Yeonjun."