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mind your heart

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Jisung should have seen this coming. Really, it’s a miracle it hasn’t happened before, all things considered. Although Jisung likes to think he’s a focused and observant person, during the morning — when he’s walking to class after having woken up literally ten minutes ago — things are a bit different. Throughout the entire fifteen-minute walk from his apartment to the university campus, Jisung’s still half-asleep brain can only focus on one thing: music. Loud music coming from his noise-canceling AirPods and making the rest of the world seem like a blurry mess in the process. He’s always trusted his subconscious survival instincts enough to keep him alive and muscle memory to take him wherever he needs to be. 

So it was only a matter of time until he ran headfirst into a lamppost. 

“Ow!” Jisung yelps the moment his forehead bumps into the metal pole, the impact hard enough to knock him down, making the contents of his bag — which was admittedly not all the way closed — spill all over the sidewalk. Somewhere along the one second it took from the bumping to him being ass-flat on the concrete floor, his AirPods fell from his ears — the lack of music making that horrible new reality much more obvious than Jisung would’ve liked. He is fully awake, now.

Jisung knows deep down that it was truly a matter of time until something like this happened to him, but it doesn't make it any less embarrassing.

Just as he is getting up on his knees to reassemble his things and get as far away from that damn pole as possible (and also pretend nothing’s happened for the rest of his life), he hears a gasp from behind him and then, before he can process it, Jisung is face to face with a man who seemingly appeared out of nowhere and is now crouched right in front of him with a worried expression on his face. “Oh my god, are you alright?”

Jisung feels mortification start running cold through his body, making him immediately freeze. Not only did he make a fool of himself by running into a lamppost, but somehow he managed to also have another human being witnessing it. Great

“Uhh,” he starts, still a bit unsure of what is going on and how to respond. How come he was waking the same path he’s walked every day for the past two years, sure that things would go smoothly like they always did and then one moment later he’s on the floor, forehead throbbing and with the addition of a stranger looking at him as if he’s sure Jisung’s brain has suffered some damage from the bump? How does one cope with that when not even a whole minute has passed since? 

He notices that his hesitance, though, seems to make the stranger’s expression even more worried, his frown deepening considerably so. So before that man decides to call an ambulance or something, Jisung clears his throat. “Um. Yeah, I’m alright.”

To Jisung’s relief, that seems enough to make the stranger visibly relax. “Well, as someone who’s also had the misfortune of running into a lamppost myself, I’m really glad you’re alright.” He then offers Jisung a small smile before continuing, “But I do have to tell you that your forehead is bleeding a bit.”

Jisung automatically raises one hand to touch the sore spot on his forehead and yup. Unsurprisingly it is bleeding a bit just like the stranger had informed him.

Although the situation itself is far from okay, once Jisung notices that the guy isn’t there to mock or ridicule him and is actively trying to genuinely help, he can’t help but feel relaxed enough to reciprocate the smile. See, he’s perfectly capable of being nice to strangers. Take that, Changbin-hyung. 

“It’s fine, I’ll just drop by a restroom on campus and clean it up.” 

But before Jisung could gather his things from the floor, thank the stranger for his assistance and go on his merry way, he notices that the boy suddenly has his own open bag in front of him, from which he takes what seems to be a mini first aid kit. 

“Lucky for you, I can help with that,” he says with a smile and then takes from the kit a small box — which reveals a spray medicine. “It’s an antiseptic spray,” he explains. And then, with a clinical expression that’s all business, he gets a round cotton pad from his bag and sprays the medicine on it.

You see, it's an understatement to say the whole situation is odd; they are both sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, Jisung’s things are spread all over, and people are constantly passing by, undoubtedly finding that situation very, very weird. And although Jisung’s rational side of his brain should be worried that he is about to let a complete stranger dab something onto his wounded forehead, he is extremely taken aback, feeling as if he can do nothing but gape at the guy with a mix of curiosity and awe while he soaks the cotton pad with the medicine, eyebrows furrowed in concentration and the tip of his tongue slightly peeping out.

Jisung uses this moment as an opportunity to take a look at the stranger for the first time. They seem to be the same age, the other guy appearing to be just a bit taller than him (just a teeny tiny bit, okay?). He has chin-length bleached hair that is up in a half-ponytail. Jisung is absolutely positive he has never seen him around before. From a critical standpoint, he has to say the guy is very pretty, with tiny eyes and plump lips.

Once the stranger’s done with soaking the cotton pad, he lifts it toward Jisung’s forehead and asks, “Can I?” 

Still stunned, Jisung blinks twice and dumbly nods ( what else could he do? ) and soon enough he feels fingers gently sweeping his bangs to the side and is then promptly greeted with the burning sensation of the antiseptic acting onto his wound. After dabbing and sweeping the cotton pad for a while, the stranger seems to determine he is done, wrapping the used cotton piece with a tissue and putting it inside his bag. And with that he opens the second box he has with him, revealing band-aids this time. Doraemon band-aids. 

Jisung decides right then and there that nothing more unusual has ever happened in his life before. Not even when he and Changbin-hyung had tried making pancakes and somehow managed to have the batter glued to the ceiling of their shared apartment for a week. Definitely not even when he came face to face with his own doppelgänger while on vacation in Argentina at the age of thirteen. It doesn’t even come close

While the stranger’s opening the band-aid package, Jisung figures he should say something to fill in the silence. Something nice, preferably, to ease the inevitable awkwardness of this whole situation. “Is this something you usually do?” He ends up asking and immediately cringes.

The man shifts his attention from the band-aid to Jisung’s eyes for a second and laughs. “What, offer first aid help to someone who just knocked themselves onto a lamppost?” He raises his eyebrows and Jisung nods. In his defense (and in defense of his dumb comment), it does seem like that was in fact something he did on a regular basis, considering he’s acting as if this is just a normal Tuesday morning. “Can’t say I’ve ever done this before, so you’re my lucky first.” 

Huh . “Then I’m honored,” Jisung replies good-naturedly. 

When the stranger signals he has the band-aid ready, Jisung pulls back his bangs this time to make it easier for him, and the guy quickly places it over the cut. Once he’s done and Jisung lets his bangs down, the stranger says, “Ok, now let me just-” And next thing Jisung knows the stranger is arranging his hair — most likely to try and find a way to cover the Doraemon band-aid, he assumes. Although the action is very methodical and impersonal — just the guy trying to finish his job and make sure Jisung doesn’t walk away looking ridiculous — Jisung can’t stop himself from feeling his ears heating up at the touch. After all, he is not used to strangers patting his hair out of nowhere. 

He tries to cough as a way to hide his embarrassment, but it only seems to make the stranger aware of it in the first place. His hands stop moving, and he quickly draws them away, averting his eyes to the floor. “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, I just wanted to-”

Jisung quickly shakes his head and stops the guy before he can continue. “No, it’s fine! Really, you helped a lot, like, a lot ,” he chuckles. Weird and unusual? Yes, but also very helpful and kind in a way Jisung has never seen done before. “I don’t even know how to thank you enough,” he finishes. 

The stranger smiles brightly at him. “Well, at least you won’t have to go around with Doraemon blatantly visible in your forehead,” he giggles. Actually giggles . Jisung can only stare. “And you don’t have to thank me, it was no problem at all.”

Sensing Jisung’s about to fight him on that one and make sure he understands the fact that what he did was far from nothing and deserves an absurd amount of thanks, he promptly says, “Now let me help you organize your things.”

And soon enough Jisung has his things back inside his bag — which is now very much closed — and they are both standing up. He absentmindedly checks his wristwatch and sees that this whole affair that seemed to last at least an hour in Jisung’s head actually lasted for about six measly minutes. He will never understand the concept of time.

“Just one last time before you go, thank you very much for your help,” Jisung says as the stranger is about to walk away. “Really, at first I was super ashamed to be caught in such an embarrassing position, but you ended up making me feel less awful about it, so. Thank you.” 

The stranger gives him a two-finger salute and smiles. He has a pretty smile, Jisung has to acknowledge it — the type of smile that makes his eyes look like tiny crescents and his whole face light up. Jisung feels like smiling as well just by looking at it. “I’m happy to help! Just be careful from now on, okay?” Jisung nods, still quite taken aback, honestly, and the stranger walks away, disappearing almost as if he was never there in the first place. 

 

What a crazy morning.

 


 

Later that day, when Jisung finally gets back home from his afternoon classes, the first thing Changbin notices when he walks in is the Doraemon band-aid on his forehead. Of course. 

“Do you want the short version or the long version?” He asks with a sigh when Changbin inevitably wants to know what happened. 

“Short version.”

Jisung mentally prepares himself for the intense teasing that’s about to happen to him soon. “I was walking to class, bumped into a lamppost, a guy appeared out of nowhere and offered first aid assistance.”

To say Changbin laughed is an understatement. He laughed so hard that he had to sit down. “Oh man, why am I even surprised,” he wheezes hysterically. “And the guy just pulled a first aid kit right from his ass like he’s on The Sims? And straight up put a Doraemon band-aid on your forehead? Out of nowhere?” 

“Well, he cleaned the wound first,” Jisung says, also sitting down next to Changbin and dropping his head in his hands. Changbin laughs even harder at that. 

After the laughter eventually ceases, Changbin offers to order takeout for the both of them. They spend the rest of the night eating cheap pizza and watching the next National Geographic’s documentary in Jisung’s to-watch list (one about deep-sea creatures). As the hours pass by and Jisung gets more and more tired, the foggier the events of that day become. The only thing in his mind (aside from how absolutely terrifying the Fangtooth fish are) is the promise of his warm bed.

 

It is only right before he closes his eyes to sleep that Jisung realizes he hadn’t even asked for the stranger’s name.