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good words, bad days

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Floaty was a good word. It meant happy, felicity, feeling so light on your feet you skipped everywhere you went. Jisung certainly did not feel like that. His feet were sodden with the weight of his thoughts, his eyelids drooping along with them.

So why did Jisung call those bad days “floaty”? For a lack of something better, maybe. 

He could've said that his head felt like a half-empty water bottle, swinging and pulsating against the back of his eyes. That his bones were hollow, swinging like loose pendulums without anchors. But that was long, convoluted, weird. Jisung was weird. So when someone asked him how he felt, he’d say “floaty”.

It prompted more questions, but it was better than the truth. That he was off the ground, the junctions of his limbs loosening enough to leave him unraveled. Couldn’t focus, couldn’t stay in the moment. It was better than that.

Jisung’s plate swayed under his gaze the same way it felt like his body was. Oh, that’s right, I'm eating. He blinked once, twice, three times and buried his nails in his hand. The pain never really helped him stay “awake”, but it grounded him a little, kept his eyes focused. Changbin, who was seated next to him, opened his hand and held it in his own. Jisung blinked at him, and Changbin smiled. Jisung appreciated that. His hand was warm, and he let himself squeeze a little harder.

Jisung was weird, and weird was not a good word. There were a lot of not-good words thrumming under his skin, but he couldn’t remember them right now. Couldn’t remember much of anything. Pasta. That was what he was doing- eating.

Didn’t he already have that revelation? He shook himself off, lifting another mouthful. His hand felt too slow, yet undisturbed by gravity. Chewing felt unreal, too manual. The food was warm when he swallowed, too much of a disturbing sensation when he was all cold.

“Sungie, are you okay?” Someone asked. Jisung’s head spun. He lifted it up again from where it had faced the table. Dinner. He forced his eyes to move to meet Chan’s, who’d been the one asking.

“Yeah… ‘m. Okay.” He said, tongue heavy. Too heavy, too tight. There wasn’t a good word for that, wasn’t a word for the way his mind slouched against the side of his skull. Maybe that was because Jisung was broken.

If he had said that out loud, the others would’ve said that he wasn’t broken. That there was no such thing as broken. But sometimes, Jisung wasn’t sure; when he’d get too tired to take the medicine that was supposed to make him not tired, when he’d have to ask others to get him food, or even when he was happy. Because his moods should’ve been consistent, and they weren’t. Wasn’t that what being broken was?

“Can you eat a little more, hyung?” And normally that would make Jisung feel bad- that Jeongin was worried, but he felt nothing. He nodded and put another noodle to his mouth. It didn’t feel good, he didn’t like the way it settled against the brim of his stomach. 

He looked down at his plate again. He’d eaten less than he’d thought. But how was he supposed to eat more when his limbs were loose, falling apart and hanging by threads? When he just wanted to pull that string and watch himself crumble to the floor and slide underneath the table. Dinner.

Jisung swallowed another bite. It didn’t feel good, but he took another, and another, thoughts slow and muffled. Eventually, the inside circle of noodles in front of him was gone. Jisung stared at it, and thought it was good enough. He looked up, eyes wide, meeting the searching gaze of Chan.

“You did a good job, Sungie. You don’t have to eat if you don’t want to,” he cooed, hand coming down to pat his back reassuringly. Jisung didn’t smile. His mouth was heavy, not light. Words are fickle.

Fickle was a not-good word. Food was a not-good word. As Jisung stood up and brought his plate to the sink, “move” was another not-good word. It felt like he was dragging himself across ice- he bumped his hip against a wall, scraped the food off his plate with his fork. 

His head hurt. It was plastic, propped up on his neck, but he brought the plate to the sink anyways. He pulled his hand up to turn on the faucet and let it rinse the tomato sauce off, pushing it down into the drain. He turned the sink off again. You’re supposed to put it in the dishwasher, he told himself, but it was too far. What was normally two steps away was something he could barely see, zoning in and out of his vision.

“I’ll get it.” Minho said, beside Jisung in what felt like a fraction of a second. Jisung nodded, his head half-dropping like a cartoon character about to fall asleep. He let Minho take the plate from him and turned around. Everyone’s staring.

Usually, he’d hate that. Hate the crawling sensation of their concerned eyes on his skin. But his body was at half-speed, and he couldn’t bring himself to care. “Goodnight,” he drawled. They chorused it back, eyes lit up in a way Jisung’s couldn’t be.

He hated himself.

Maybe he just needed some sleep.

It was early, but he let the small part of himself that was still conscious guide him to his bedroom. Down a hallway. Left down another. Stumbling with his side pressed against the wall, knees shaking and pulled towards each other, drawstring tight. He barely startled when a warm hand pressed into the flesh of his back beneath his big, graphic t-shirt.

“Let me lay down with you?” Felix asked, honey eyes filled with ambrosia. Jisung found the little freckles scattered across his face with his eyes and let a very faint smile- but a smile nonetheless- flash across his mouth.

“Sure.” He muttered, and let Felix guide him back to their room. It was tentative, quiet, with only the sound of their footsteps. They reached their door, and Felix opened it. Jisung flopped down on Hyunjin’s bunk (it was closer), and Felix followed in kind.

Bed was a good word. So was Felix, Jisung realized as said boy burrowed into his side under the quilt. It made him a little happy. He liked that. 

He fell asleep with the light of Felix’s phone on his face, and the looming threat of upsetting his sleep schedule dangling over his head. It didn’t matter to him at that moment. Not much did.