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Poison

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“Oppa.” Jeonghan smiled at his younger sister who’s only one year younger than him. It has always been the two of them since their parents died in accident when both of them were still young. They were too young to remember, and they had been living with their strict grandfather ever since then. Sometimes, their uncle and auntie would come and visit them, but rarely since they’re busy with their own stuffs as well.

“I have someone I like.” Jihyun shyly told him.

“Really?” Jeonghan frowned. “More than me?”

“Of course not!” Jihyun giggled and hugged him as they laughed happily.

 

Jeonghan tears flowed down as he remembered the last conversation he had with his sister before he flew off to Japan. It was a year exchanged student programs and he was so busy with his schedules he could only talk to his sisters on weekend. Even then, her sister wanted to hear his story instead of telling hers.

Jihyun was a sickly girl since she was young. She had been in and out of hospital due to her prolong kidney failure and she had to undergo dialysis treatment since she was young. They had to wait until her body is ready to receive a donated kidney and get lucky with a perfect match as soon as she’s ready to get a new kidney when she was 16. Jeonghan thought that everything was going fine with her, she was happy at the new school since she’s been home-schooled all her life, and even found someone she liked very much… why did she decided to kill herself?

“Jeonghan-ah?” His uncle, Lee Jaeyoung walked inside the room.

“Oh, uncle.” Jeonghan smiled sadly at his uncle.

“Here, this is all Jihyun’s stuffs. We’re going to donate most of her things as per your request, but I think you may want to take a look at her personal stuffs.

“What did harabeoji say?” Jeonghan asked. It was not a secret how much Jeonghan despised his grandfather. He was too strict and never showed any love towards them.

“He’s letting you do whatever you want with it.” Jaeyong pointed out. “Why don’t you go and visit him sometimes, hmm?”

“I can’t.” Jeonghan sighed. “Thinking that Jihyun died all by herself made me despised him a lot more.” No one knew Jihyun escaped the house that night. She left a suicide note and was missing for days before they found her body by the riverside two days later. By then, Jeonghan was already alerted and rushed back to Seoul, just to get scolded by his bedridden grandfather for abandoning his study. He shouted at him and never went to see him ever again before he left to stay with his uncle instead.

“Jeonghan-ah?” His auntie, Yoon Dajung walked in with a tray of food. “Let’s eat something, you’ve been skipping meals, it’s not good for your health.”

Jeonghan looked at the food with teary eyes. Everything reminded him of Jihyun. Strawberry was her favorite food. He sniffled.

“Jeonghan-ah, I know this is not the right time to say this, but do you want to take a break for a while? I think it’s going to help you refresh your mind a lot better. You can also help me and your uncle around the company.” Dajung told the younger.

Jeonghan was supposed to get to the best university, he was always an excellent student. But he quit the exchange program in a hurry after the death of his sister, and it would be hard for him to build the portfolio again. She knew Jeonghan deserved the best, so the only thing she could suggest now is for the younger to take a break for a while.

“Thank you for understanding me, auntie…” Jeonghan smiled at his auntie.

“I love you, Jeonghan-ah. I know this is hard, but we’ll be by your side and support you no matter what.” Dajung promised her nephew.

 

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Two years had passed since the death of Jihyun and with the help of his uncle and aunt, Jeonghan started to rebuild his life. He took a break for one year and repeat the whole year instead to get a high school diploma with great results.

His grandfather had passed away a few months before he graduated because of old age and their company management has been transferred to both his uncle and auntie to take care of while he as the official heir of the Yoon Empire decided to trust them and went to continue his study.

Jeonghan received numerous offers from top universities, both locally and internationally. But honestly, he had no interest in any of them.

“So, Jeonghan-ah.” Dajung sat down with a smile as their maids served their dinner. “Have you chosen where to go? I think Harvard Business School is great, but London School of Economics is also a great place to go.”

“Auntie, will you and uncle really be alright even where I choose to go?” Jeonghan queried.

“Of course, I’m just stating my opinion. You can go wherever you want, Jeonghan-ah. As long as you’re happy with it.” Dajung patted his hand with a warm smile.

“I want to study here.” Jeonghan decided.

“Really? SNU or Yonsei? Or I heard Sungkyunkwan is a good choice too!” Dajung smiled wider. “I’d be happier if you choose to stay in Korea, but I want you to do whatever you want.”

“Have you heard about Jeju Hoteliers University (JHU)?” Jeonghan asked.

“Of course, our Yoon Education Foundation had a lot of students graduated from there. It is the only specialist university in hotel management in our country.” Jaeyoung nodded. Both him and Dajung founded Yoon Education Foundation despite his father-in-law refusal. They stood by and managed to secure the deal with the board of directors and had been used as a part of their business empire’s corporate social responsibility.

“I’d love to go there.” Jeonghan told them.

“Really?”

“You do?” The two asked in both amusement and bewilderment.

“Can’t I?” Jeonghan frowned, he didn’t expect the that kind of reaction to be honest.

“You can, of course. We’re just shocked.” Dajung assured him. “But why there, to be exact in JHU?”

“I heard that’s where my parents meet.” Jeonghan told them.

Dajung smiled sadly at that. “Yeah, your father was there with your grandfather for an event and your mother was a student there. They fall in love, but your grandfather didn’t allow it to happen. You mother graduated when she was still pregnant with you. They came here to attend our wedding, but sadly…” She sighed. “…they met with an accident on the way there…”

“I’ve said this many time, auntie. It wasn’t your fault at all.” Jeonghan assured her. They smiled sadly at each other.

“Wait, Chan was going to apply to go there as well! I should ask him to send your application as well.” Jaeyoung decided. Chan is the couple’s eldest son. He has a younger brother, Lee Hyun who is two years younger and a younger sister, Lee Seol, who is three years below.

“I know.” Jeonghan chuckled. “He was the one who suggested the university to me.”

“Really, that boy!” Dajung laughed. “Where is he anyway?”

“He’s out to celebrate his final exam.” Jeonghan told them.

“He should take you as a role model. He acts too much like a kid when he’s the eldest son in this family.” Dajung shook her head.

“He’s still young, auntie. And he’s matured when he needs to, you don’t have to worry too much about him.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“You’ve always sided on him. That’s why he become such a baby around you, Jeonghan-ah.” Jaeyoung sighed.

“It’s fine. He’s a cute younger brother to me.” Jeonghan assured. “And I love having him around. He made me less lonely.” The couple has all their children in boarding school. As Jeonghan took a break for almost two years, he went back to school to be in the same class as his younger cousin. They became closer then, compared to back when all Jeonghan thought about was study and how to bring Jihyun out of the house.

“Well, we don’t mind where you wanted to go, Jeonghan-ah. Live your life however you want, we’ll take care of everything until you’re ready to step up in your grandfather’s place.” Jaeyoung assured the younger.

“Thank you, uncle, auntie.” Jeonghan smiled in content. He was so glad to have them in his life. His grandfather always told him what to do and he’s only allowed to make a choice that was already made for him. It was so different now, he was giving so much freedom to be himself. Maybe that’s why Chan, Hyun and Seol grew up happily. They accepted him with open hearts, like he was always their older brother and he was glad he at least has people to be called a family.

 

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“Are you nervous, hyung?” Chan asked as they walked inside the faculty. All eyes were trained on them while they walked through it lie it happened every day.

“A bit.” Jeonghan smiled.

“Hello, freshman?” The person at the registration counter beamed widely at them.

“Yes.” Chan took the registration documents from his cousin’s hand and passed both of the documents to him.

After helping them with the registration, he approached them again. “Hello again, I’m Seokmin, and I’m a part of the student council. I’ll be escorting you to your room today. Are you here with your parents… or?”

“We’re by ourselves.” Chan replied.

“Oh, wow.” Seokmin nodded. “How’d you get your luggage and stuffs?”

“We drive ourselves here.” Jeonghan finally spoke. “Thanks for the concern, but I think we can manage, right Chan?”

“Yeah, absolutely.” Chan smiled. “Thanks for the offer though.”

“I can still show you around!” Seokmin called out to the wind as the cousins already turned their back at him and walked away.

“Yah, it’s the Yoon!” Yugeyeom approached his friend.

“What Yoon?” Seokmin frowned.

“It’s the Yoon, don’t you realized when you help them with registration just now?” Yugyeom pointed out.

“I know, but what’s with Yoon?” Seokmin questioned.

“Yah, Yoon Empire is the owner of the largest tourism company in our country! Securing a job at their resort, hotel or travel agency would be everyone here’s dream comes true. They’re the main player of the hospitality industry in this country!” Yugyeom pointed out. “Well, you wouldn’t know, you’re too much into cooking.” He scoffed and walked away.

On the other hand, Chan and Jeonghan moved to their dormitory building. It was almost like a resort, situated by the clear view of the picturesque beach. “It’s like we’re on vacation everyday, isn’t it hyung?” Chan sighed in content at the view in front of him.

“Let’s just go, Chan.” Jeonghan chuckled and dragged the still daydreaming Chan inside their dormitory building.

“Hello, I’m Rowoon. Can I escort you to your room?” A guy greeted them at the entrance.

“Hello.” Chan bowed lightly, while Jeonghan just stared at them. The younger nudged him and Jeonghan just nodded lightly at him. “I’m Chan, and this is my cousin, Jeonghan.”

“Welcome to JHU!” Rowoon beamed at them. “May I see your dormitory card?” Chan showed both his and jeonghan and Rowoon nodded.

“Do you have any luggage to bring with you?” Rowoon asked.

“No, not yet. We’ll take care of that later.” Chan assured the older.

“Well, you can use the trolley service later, then. The trolley is self-service and it’s located next to the lobby’s elevator and the other one is in the basement.” Rowoon tell them.

“How big is this dormitory?” Chan asked as Rowoon led them towards the elevator.

“Well, there’s a few dormitories around the campus. It’s not that big, we don’t have as much students. So, students here mostly knew each other. Each dormitory building can house around two hundred students, since everyone need to be in campus, unless they are on-the-job training around the island.” Rowoon told them.

“There’s only six hundred students in the school?” Chan frowned.

“At most, yes. But we currently only have around 450 students, not including those who’re on-the-job training.” Rowoon replied. “It’s a small and specialize school, students mostly choose other universities unless they really want to go into the hospitality industry.”

“Here we are. This is your level, one of your room is here. Another one is at the end of this hallway. This is my contact detail, in case you need any help.” Rowoon passed them a card with a QR code.

“Wow, thank you!” Chan smiled at him.

“No problem.” Rowoon smiled. “I hope you have an enjoyable stay!” And off he went.

“What was that?” Chan chuckled. “So, this is you room and mine would be at the end of the hallway. Let’s go in first, hyung.”

Jeonghan keyed in the passcode and opened the door. There were two single beds at the corner, two study tables, two wardrobes, a bathroom, and a small lounge. “Not bad.” Chan commented. “This is a shared room, hyung. Will you be okay?”

“They don’t have single room here, Chan.” Jeonghan reminded. “We all have to share.”

“But we can have a talk with the administrations, maybe you can stay outside if you’re not comfortable?” Chan suggested.

“I’ll be fine. Unless my roommate is a bother, I’ll asked for a change of room, instead.” Jeonghan assured the younger.

“You sure you’ll be okay hyung?” Chan asked for confirmation again.

“I choose to be here, Chan. I ought to follow all the rules like everyone else.” Jeonghan confirmed.

“Well, if you say so, then.” Chan nodded. “I’m hungry, hyung. Let’s find something to eat and walk around before we come back. The curfew is 12 am, we still have at least half a day.”

“Sounds great. Let’s go.” Jeonghan agreed. They were about to walked out when the door opened.

“We can ask the admin for a change of room, hyung. I don’t think Wonwoo mind either.” A voice spoke out as two guys walked inside, probably didn’t realized they were already inside.

“I’m fine, Jihoon-ah. Wonwoo had been staying there for a year. It’d be a hassle to change the room just because of me. Besides…” The taller guy cut himself off as they realized they were not alone in the room.

“Hello!” Chan greeted them. “One of you must be the occupants of this room, right?”

“Yes, hello.” The taller guy bowed back while the smaller guy just nodded at them.

“I’m Chan, and this is my cousin, Jeonghan. This is his room.” Chan spoke on behalf of Jeonghan as always.

“Nice to meet you two.” The taller guy smiled lightly at them, showing off his slight dimple. “I’m Seungcheol, and this is Jihoon, a senior student.”

Hearing that, Jeonghan suddenly walked over and reached out his hand. “Nice to meet you too, Seungcheol. I’m Yoon Jeonghan. And I guess we’ll be sharing the room starting today.”

“Oh, please take care of me, Jeonghan.” Seungcheol accepted his hand. The surrounding turned cold as their hand touched. Jeonghan’s smile suddenly faded out while Jihoon was shooting him threatening glare with Chan smiling innocently in between them.

Chapter Text

“Hyung, I don’t care, let’s apply for a change of room. Or maybe apply to stay outside of campus!” Jihoon cried out as Seungcheol calmly arranged his toiletries with Jihoon hot on his tail.

“I’m gonna be fine, Jihoon. It’s not like I never shared a room with a stranger before.” Seungcheol pointed out.

“Hyung, he’s a Yoon! His initial is JH, doesn’t that enough to make you alarmed?” Jihoon pointed out.

“Yes, he’s a Yoon. I clearly heard his name as well. But does that really matter?” Seungcheol sighed. “I’m tired, Jihoon-ah. I just want to graduate peacefully, if I had enough time that is.”

“That’s more of the reason why you have to move somewhere else, hyung!” Jihoon screamed in frustration.

The bell dinged suddenly and Jihoon fell on the bed in shocked. Seungcheol let out a chuckle and walked over to open the door.

“Hyung!” A tall boy appeared in front of the door. “You’re finally here!”

“Yeah! I’m finally able to join the university this year.” Seungcheol hugged the taller boy back.

“How do you know this room, Kim Mingyu?” Jihoon asked with a frown.

“Seokmin told me.” Mingyu walked in and sat on Seungcheol’s bed. “Are you rooming by yourself, hyung?” He asked since the other side looked empty although it’s already almost dinner time.

“No, he’s rooming with Yoon Jeonghan.” Jihoon pointed out.

“By Yoon, do you mean the Yoon Hotel Empire?” Mingyu asked in awe.

“But what is a he doing here? I mean, Yoon’s family would never step their foot to a small and normal average university like ours, right? They can always go to any prestigious university they want.” Mingyu pointed out. All people from the Yoon family are elites, so it’s a wonder why people like Yoon Jeonghan would choose to be in JHU.

“Let’s not mind other people’s business, alright? I’m hungry. Is the cafeteria open?” Seungcheol asked.

“Fortunately, you ask, hyung. I almost forgot the reason I come here at the first place.” Mingyu laughed, showing his canine teeth. “I managed to book a kitchen today, so I cook quite a lot. Let’s go before my roommate brought his monsters and finished everything.”

“Let’s go quickly. It’s not often to hear ‘I’m hungry’ from Seungcheol hyung, you know. You should consider yourself very lucky.” Jihoon pointed out as he stood up.

“I haven’t finish unpacking.” Seungcheol whined.

“You can always continue tomorrow, hyung.” Jihoon dragged him up from the bed. “Let’s go!” And they left to Mingyu’s room just a few doors away.

 

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“Hyung? You alright?” Chan asked as they made their way to the car. “I can drive if you’re not feeling well, hyung.” The younger offered.

“I’ll drive.” Jeonghan immediately rejected the offer.

“You don’t trust me, hyung?” Chan pouted.

Jeonghan nodded. “I don’t. Get in. Or you have to walk to the restaurant yourself!” He shouted at Chan who was sulking by the roadside.

Jeonghan was usually silent, but he talked quite a lot with people he’s comfortable with, and that’s include Chan. So, Chan was wondering why his hyung have been quiet, and ended up driving them to the beach although Chan keep whining to go to the cute café by the mountain.

“Hyung, why are so quiet?” Chan finally complain as they finished ordering their food.

“Nothing, Chan-ah.” Jeonghan laughed.

“Do you not like Jeju? Or the university?” Chan asked worriedly.

“No, I like everything about this.” Jeonghan smiled lightly before sighing. “It’s just that my roommate…”

“Ah, your roommate…” Chan nodded. “Do you want to apply for exchange, hyung? I read somewhere that we’re allow to exchanged room or stayed outside with valid reasons. Should I apply to room with you, hyung? Or, should we apply to live outside instead?”

“Nah, it’s fine.” Jeonghan assured the younger.

“Then, what’s wrong hyung?” Chan pouted. “You know you can tell me anything, right?”

“I know.” Jeonghan chuckled. “It’s just that my roommate name is very familiar. I was trying to remember where I heard that name before.” He finally made up something. Yes, he trusted Chan enough, but he couldn’t drag Chan along with his problems.

“Oh, that Choi Seungcheol.” Chan nodded and took out his phone. “I already made a background check. “Apparently, he’s one of the scholars under Yoon Education Foundation. Interestingly, he’s a bit special. Everyone else only received tuition fees, but he’s quite special. He received living and medical expenses as well.”

“Why, is he that poor?” Jeonghan frowned. It can’t be, from what he knew Seuncgheol went to the same private school with Jihyun. The yearly fees won’t be affordable, unless… Unless Seungcheol had been receiving the expenses since then. What an ungrateful jerk!

“Hyung?” Chan frowned as he sensed murderous aura from the older.

“I remember.” Jeonghan looked at Chan. “He’s from Jihyun’s school.”

“From Tera Private School?” Chan frowned. “Did he receive the financial support there too?”

Jeonghan shrugged. “Can you help me find out more about him, Chan?”

“Sure.” Chan agreed and put his phone back inside his pocket. “But why, hyung?”

“Just because. I wanted to see what kind of roommate I have. It’d be interesting to know what kind of person your parents are giving their monetary support for.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“You’re right, hyung.” Chan nodded. “I’ll try my best to find out more about him.”

Soon, they finished their food while Chan started telling him stories about his previous school, his review of the university and many more. He thanked God for the younger, or else, he’d probably killed someone on his first day already.

The two arrived at the dormitory at around 9 pm. Chan went to get the trolley and helped Jeonghan put their luggage on the trolley and went up to their levels.

Chan waited as Jeonghan opened the door of his room to find it dark and quiet. “He must have gone to have dinner with his friend, hyung.” Chan commented. “Do you want me to come back later?” He asked as he pulled Jeonghan’s luggage inside the room.

“It’s okay, Chan. You should go to rest. We’re going to have a lot of stuffs to do tomorrow.” Jeonghan told the younger.

“See you, hyung! Text me if anything, alright?” Chan walked to the main door. “I’ll come running!”

Jeonghan giggled by himself at Chan’s cute reminder. Chan was like a heaven-sent younger brother for him. He might be annoying at times, but he knows Chan loves him a lot, he does too. He already lost all of his family members and he was lucky to have Chan and his family who showered him love like he’s the eldest son of the family.

Jeonghan decided to arrange his thing and started with putting the bedsheet which he failed miserably. Even he stayed in a boarding school, they always have someone to do it for them since it was a private boarding school for the wealthy heir. He sighed and decided to just spread it instead. He then opened his wardrobe, wondering what he should do with his clothes. There were no hangers, and he doesn’t even know where to start.

Jeongan contemplated whether he should call Chan but decided against it. The younger must be tired after running around the whole day. He then just picked out his pyjamas, towels and toiletries and headed to the bathroom.

As soon as he’s done, he put his laptop bag on the table and left it there. He jumped on the bed and sighed in content as the bed was comfortable enough for him. He took his phone and decided to read something on the internet.

As Jeonghan was tossing around on the bed, reading an online magazine, he heard the passcode was pressed from the outside. He quickly put his phone away and hid under the blanket, showing only the tip of his hair.

“Put him on the bed.” A voice stated. Jeonghan peeked to see the same small guy from before and another taller guy carrying his roommate on his back and gently on the bed.

“How much did he eat?” The taller guy asked.

“Quite a lot. You know how Mingyu is.” The smaller guy, Jihoon, if Jeonghan was not mistaken stated as he sat down by the bed.

“That guy really need a knock on his head.” The taller guy sighed.

“It’s okay. He didn’t know anthing, Wonwoo-yah.” Jihoon assured the taller guy who Jeonghan assumed as Wonwoo.

“It’s not like I know that much either.” Wonwoo sighed. “If you didn’t break down that night, I wouldn’t even know hyung’s existence.”

“Don’t even talk about that, Jeon Wonwoo.” Jihoon growled lowly, mindful of the two sleeping figures in the room. “I don’t even want to recall that terrible incident.”

They sat there in silent for a while before Jihoon stood up. “Let’s go. His roommate is sleeping, we shouldn’t be here for long.”

“Will he be alright if he wakes up later?” Wonwoo asked in concerned.

“He won’t wake up for a while, don’t worry.” Jihoon told the other and they slowly made their way outside the room, switching the light off on their way out.

Jeonghan let out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding and pulled his blanket away. He glanced over to the bed, which was only two meters away from his. The boy was sleeping peacefully, without even moving. Jeonghan wondered if his roommate was a psycho since he didn’t even move as he continued staring at him for a while.

The next morning, Jeonghan woke up to the sound of his alarm and stretched lazily before sitting up. His roommate was still in bed. Jeonghan made his way to the bathroom and wash up. He came back and checked his schedule before choosing his clothes.

Half an hour later, he’s ready to go out, but his roommate was still sleeping. He contemplates whether to wake him up or not when the passcode was keyed in from outside. He frowned before the door was pushed opened, revealing the small guy, Jihoon. Instead of going towards his roommate’s bed, he walked over towards him.

“I’m Jihoon. I wanted to tell you that he’s under my care. So, I’ll be in and out this room a lot, and if you mind, please apply for a room exchange.” Jihoon told him coldly. “One more thing, let’s mind each other’s business.”

Jeonghan scoffed. Like he wanted to mind the other’s business. He then sighed inwardly. Well, maybe he wants. Jeonghan took out his laptop from his backpack and put in an empty bottle and an extra charger he brought from home. He received a text from Chan telling him he’s waiting in the lobby. He grabbed his phone and car key and glanced over at Jihoon who was just sitting down by the bed and playing something on his phone.

“Won’t he be late for the orientation, though?” Jeonghan couldn’t help himself but asking.

“I said, let’s mind each other’s business.” Jihoon stated through his gritted teeth and ignored him again. Jeonghan sneered and quickly left the room to find Chan instead.

 

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“Hyung!” Chan waved at Jeonghan who came out from the building. They were on different groups for orientation, so their schedules were also a bit different.

“Hyung, this is my new friend. This is Seungkwan and Hansol. Hansol’s my roommate.” Chan introduced his friend. “Guy, this is my cousin, Jeonghanie hyung.”

“Hello, hyung.” Seungwkan waved and Vernon nodded lightly.

“We’re going to the mart, you two wanna follow?” Jeonghan suddenly invited.

“Can we, hyung?” Seungkwan asked excitedly.

“Of course.” Jeonghan smiled.

“I’m sorry, I can’t go with you guys. A senior wanted to meet me at 3 o’clock.” Hansol told them sadly.

“It’s okay, you can join us later.” Jeonghan assured.

“Bye Hansol, I’ll see you in the dorm later. Text me if you want something!” Chan waved his roommate as he walked away.

“I will!” Hansol called back.

“Thank you for inviting me to go together with you guys!” Seungkwan stated as he entered the car.

“No worries, Seungkwan-ah. We’re all freshman here, why don’t we just be friend to each other?” Jeonghan suggested.

“I’d be honored, hyungnim!” Seungkwan joked.

Jeonghan drove to the mart while Seungkwan chatted along the way about mostly everything. “I went to middle and high school together with Hansol, so we’re pretty close.” Seungkwan told them. “I also know Mingyu hyung from high school, and Seokmin hyung’s grandparents lived here, so we played a lot when we’re younger. I was surprised to have him as my roommate.”

“Wow, do you pretty much know about everyone, Seungkwan hyung?” Chan asked.

“Well, I have my source.” Seungkwan laughed. “By the way, Chan-ah… How do you skip a year in school?”

“Our school had a test for forth grader, and if they passed, they can skip to sixth year.” Chan replied with a chuckled. “Thanks to Jeonghan hyung, I managed to skip a year as well.”

“You too, hyung?” Jeonghan would say that Seungkwan was pretty much great in keeping the conversation going, which he failed miserably.

“But hyung didn’t skip it. He didn’t want to leave for boarding school too early.” Chan replied on behalf of his cousin. “I still remembered how mad grandfather was…” He shivered at the thought.

“It’s all in the past already.” Jeonghan commented nonchalantly as he parked his car in front of the main entrance of the mart. “Let’s go, I have quite a few things to buy.”

Half an hour later, both Chan and Seungkwan stared at Jeonghan’s trolley with a dropped jaw. “Hyung, are you going to apply to move out or something?” Seungkwan asked as he looked at the amount of stuffs inside the trolley. There were electric kettle, microwave, small fridge, toaster and even portable gas stove.

“Why? I read the rules, and they said we can have our own electric appliances inside the room.” Jeonghan shrugged as he put hangers and laundry bags inside the trolley.

“But hyung, I don’t think we can cook…” Chan trailed off.

“We can’t, but I’m not cooking every day. But there’s a lot of stuffs that can be done using a gas stove you know…” Jeonghan smirked. “I’m gonna get this.” He put an electric robot vacuum inside the trolley.

“He didn’t even look at the price.” Seungkwan whispered to Chan.

The younger giggled. “He didn’t have to, he can buy the whole mart if he wanted to.”

“As expected from the heir of the Yoon Empire.” Seungkwan acknowledged.

“You knew?” Chan gasped. “But I didn’t tell you anything!”

“You don’t have to.” Seungkwan giggled. “As I said, I have my source.”

“What sources? Jeonghan hyung dislike people finding out about him being the heir of the Yoon Empire Hotel.” Chan pointed out.

“I know, that’s why I acted like I didn’t know.” Seungkwan winked at Chan.

“Are you guys not gonna buy anything?” Jeonghan asked as he looked at the two empty baskets. “Don’t worry, I’ll pay, since you guys will have to help me moving all these stuffs to my room later.”

“Really, hyung? You’ll pay?” Seungkwan’s eyes twinkled.

“Uh-hmm.” Jeonghan smiled happily as he pushed his carts towards the confectionary section.

Half an hour later, even the cashier’s jaw dropped at the total amount of the price, but Jeonghan just nonchalantly swiped his black card and thanked her before pushing his cart out towards the car.

“How about dinner, guys?” Jeonghan asked as they finished loading all their stuffs, mostly Jeonghan’s stuff, Seungkwan only got a basket full of snacks wile Chan have a few necessities and a few snacks as well.

“I know a shop, hyung. It serves delicious cold noodles with clementine!” Seungkwan suggested.

“Great, let’s go there.” Jeonghan agreed.

The three ended up falling in love with their food as soon as it arrived and ordered another dish. “Seungkwan-ah, since you know everyone around, do you perhaps know anything about Choi Seungcheol?” Jeonghan suddenly asked as they were enjoying their stew.

“Chan just asked me this morning.” Seungkwan giggled. “He’s your roommate, correct?”

“Yeah.” Jeonghan nodded.

“Well, I can try to find out for you, hyung.” Seungkwan agreed.

“You don’t know anything about him?” Jeonghan asked in surprised.

“Well, the senior said he’s been deferring the offer to this university twice. But he’s a Yon Education Foundation (YEF) scholar’s recipient, so it’s doable for him.” Seungkwan told them. “No one know anything about his family background, but he’s Jihoon sunbaenim’s relative. No one know much about Jihoon sunbaenim either. Well, maybe Wonwoo sunabenim or Hoshi hyun knew a little bit, but not much. They’re just kinda exist.”

“What are they? A mystery?” Chan giggled at his own joke.

“Jihoon sunbaenim is a bit scary, but he’s actually very kind. Just don’t ask him any personal stuffs, and he’ll be fine.” Seungkwan told them.

“He came to me this morning when I was getting ready and told me that he’ll come in the room a lot. He also told me to mind each other’s business.” Jeonghan told the younger.

“Sound very much like him.” Seungkwan laughed. “Just ignore him, hyung.” He assured. “We all be out of trouble if we do.”

They finished their food and headed home. As promise, Seungkwan and Chan helped to bring all Jeonghan’s items to his room. Jeonghan pressed the passcode and opened the door, just to find his roommate still sleeping on the bed and Jihoon probably dozed off by the bedside, with the same outfit he saw him in this morning, if he was not mistaken.

“Hyung, we’ll just leave your thing by the lounge.” Seungkwan whispered as he and Chan very carefully made their way to the lounge. Jeonghan then walked them out and met someone quite tall running over towards him.

“Wait!” The tall guy called out, panting. “You must be Yoon Jeonghan, right? This room’s owner?”

“Yes, and you are?” Jeonghan crossed his arm on his chest.

“I’m Mingyu, a second-year student.” Mingyu replied and Jeonghan just stared at him, expecting him to continue. “Oh, yes, is Jihoon hyung inside? That small little guy?”

Jeonghan had to bite his laugh at that. “He’s inside, they’re sleeping.”

“Can I come inside?” Minhyu requested.

“Sure, come on in.” Jeonghan sighed and walked away. Mingyu thanked him and walked in towards the sleeping Jihoon. He paid them no attention although he was trying to eavesdrop their conversation.

“Hyung, wake up.” Mingyu shook the smaller guy gently.

“Oh, Mingyu-ah…” Jihoon stretched and sat up properly. “Why?”

“Wonwoo hyung is going to be at the library for the night shift, so he told me to bring you dinner.” Mingyu told him.

“Ah…” Jihoon nodded. “Did you bring it to our room?”

“Yes, but you’re not there.” Mingyu pointed out.

“Well, I’m hungry.” Jihoon fished out his phone and typed something before he stood up. “Let’s go. I’ll just come back later.”

“What about Cheol hyung?” Mingyu asked.

“He already ate just now. I asked Shua hyung to bring him something in the afternoon.” Jihoon replied as they walked out. He was saying something, but the door closed, so Jeonghan couldn’t hear anything anymore.

Jeonghan decided to wash up and arranged some of the things he bought but gave up soon after. He figured that he’ll need some help with them later. He switched off the light and jumped on his bed. He played with his phone for a bit before he heard a groan from the other bed.

“Jihoon-ah…” Jeonghan frowned as he glanced over to the bed next to him. Soon, his roommate slowly sat up on the bed and searched for his phone in the dim light. He stared at it for a while before he started to ruble around and sighed. He turned around and their eyes met.

“Oh, sorry…” Seungcheol croaked out before letting out a small cough. “Did I wake you up?” Jeonghan didn’t answer because he thought long for a suitable one. “You should go back to sleep. I’ll try to be very quiet…” He stated and reached for a water bottle by his bed and drink half of it before staring on the floor.

Jeonghan tried his best not to be very discreet about it, but he secretly continued to observe his roommate. After sitting for quite a long time, Seungcheol finally stood up and walked over towards the bathroom with his towel. Jeonghan waited for a while, but he didn’t come out, so he dozed off and went to sleep for the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

“Hyung, this is Mingyu sunbae.” Chan introduced Jeonghan to Mingyu as soon as they finished their schedule for the day.

“Just call me hyung.” Mingyu told the younger before smiling at the older. “Hi, we’ve met before, right?”

“How old are you?” Jeonghan asked straightforwardly.

“I’m 21.” Mingyu replied.

“I’m 23.” Jeonghan told the younger. “Should I call you sunbae or do you wanna be friends instead?”

“It’s actually up to you.” Mingyu replied. “But, why don’t we just be friends? I live on the same level with you guys anyways.”

“It’s decided then. I won’t be formal from now on, okay?” Jeonghan nodded. “So, how much do you need?”

“For what exactly?’ Mingyu frowned.

“Oh, Chan haven’t told you yet?” Jeonghan frowned. “I need someone to help me with the housekeeping.”

“Oh, that.” Mingyu laughed. “I’ve seen your room, but are you really going to pay me?” He inquired.

“I’ll need help every once in a while, so…” Jeonghan trailed off. “…I’ll feel bad. How much do you need?”

“Instead of that, why don’t you join my group of friends, hyung?” Mingyu offered. “You can just buy me food every once in a while, and I’ll help you whenever you want. How’s that sound?”

“Not too bad, but I have to meet them first before I can decide whether I should be in that group of friends or not.” Jeonghan replied. “But you don’t seem too bad, I’ll be your friend and buy you dinner tonight after you’re done with whatever you think need to be done at my room.”

“Cool! I’ll still have something to do, so I’ll come at around 6?” Mingyu suggested.

“Just give me your phone number and I’ll text you the passcode.” Jeonghan took out his phone. “Just text me that you’re coming and open the door yourself, alright?”

“See you later, hyung!” Mingyu excused himself and walked to the opposite side of the building.

“How did you meet him?” Jeonghan asked his cousin as they made their way to the café by the library.

“He’s Seungkwan hyung’s senior in high school, remember?” Chan remarked. “He’s a double major in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. He had a perfect score for housekeeping test last year, so he had been helping around the dormitory a lot. That’s what Seungkwan hyung told me.”

“Speak of the devil…” Jeonghan pointed at the main door of the café where Seungkwan and Hansol walked in.

“Hi, hyung!” Seungkwan and Hansol sat down. “Here, hyung.” He passed an envelope to Jeonghan.

“What is this?” Jeonghan asked.

“Channie told me that you enjoyed collecting old foreign money?” Seungkwan told him as he checked the contents of the envelope. “I got that from one of my pen pals back in high school, but I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Yah, you can sell it!” Hansol suggested.

“Nah, not my things.” Seungkwan shook his head. “Just consider this as a kind of bribe hyung, so I won’t feel bad every time you treated me to a nice meal at the cafeteria.”

“Yah, that’s nothing, seriously.” Jeonghan shrugged. “Go on, order anything. I already open a tab for both of you as well for the whole month.”

“Seriously, hyung?” Hansol frowned in disbelief.

“But hyung, I have to drink ice americano every day, would that be fine?” Seungkwan asked in concern.

“You can even drink it thrice a day and it won’t even scratch my savings, Seungkwan-ah.” Jeonghan chuckled. “But if you feel bad, you can pay for yourself instead.” The four laughed and continued chatting and laughing before they went back to the dormitory by Jeonghan’s car.

 

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“Seriously, hyung?” Mingyu stared wide eyes at the boxes in the lounge. “Look, you even have coffee maker here… and is that water dispenser?”

“I can’t live without all that.” Jeonghan admitted.

“Fair enough.” Mingyu nodded. He already helped Jeonghan put on the bedsheet and pillowcase, even taught him how to fold the blanket. He then helped Joenghan to arrange his clothes in the wardrobe and setting up his study table.

“Hyung, can I come here and borrow your microwave sometimes?” Mingyu asked as he finished setting it up.

“Feel free to do so whenever you want.” Jeonghan nodded. “Now that’s everything’s done, I need to take a picture of everything and sent it to the dorm keeper.”

“This is surely gonna cost a lot, hyung. Especially the fridge and the water dispenser.” Mingyu commented.

“I already check, it wasn’t that much. I already set up a monthly installment, they’ll charge it straight from my account every month.” Jeonghan explained. “Done. Have you decided what to eat, Mingyu-yah?”

“What about Thai food, hyung?” Mingyu suggested.

“Sounds delicious. Make an order, I’ll just pay when they come later, right?” Jeonghan confirmed. Mingyu ordered for their food and set up the robot vacuum cleaner to clean up the mess they’ve made while he brought all the boxes to the recycle bin.

“How long have you known Seungcheol?” Jeonghan asked as they waited for their food.

“Since last year.” Mingyu replied. “They came to Seoul with Wonwoo hyung and stayed at our house for a while before they went back. Cheol hyung lived here with Jihoon hyung’s family.”

“Wonwoo?” Jeonghan frowned, trying to recall the familiar name.

“Wonwoo hyung is Jihoon hyung’s roommate. Oh, and Wonwoo hyung is my stepbrother. We lived together after my mom married his father.” Mingyu told the older.

“How old is Jihoon exactly?” Jeonghan asked curiously.

“He looked like a middle schooler, isn’t he?” Mingyu giggled. “He’s a year older than me, so does Wonwoo hyung. Cheol hyung is the same age as you if I’m not mistaken.”

“He’d look cute if he stops being furrowing his face all damn times.” Jeonghan commented and they laughed.

Mingyu then went to retrieve the food and made a payment using Jeonghan cards and brought the food upstairs. They sat down and enjoyed their food, complemented how delicious it was.

“Hyung, I’m really sorry to ask this, but you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want.” Mingyu suddenly stated.

“Shoot.” Jeonghan replied shortly.

“You’re that Yoon Jeonghan, right?” Mingyu asked for confirmation. “From Yoon Hotel Empire.”

“Are you really asking me that?” Jeonghan frowned.

“Are you not?” Mingyu asked.

Jeonghan laughed. “I mean, I don’t like people befriended with me because I’m that Yoon Jeonghan from Yoon Empire Hotel… But since I’ve been on a few magazines and newspaper cutting, even on television… I thought at least those who go to this university would already know who I am.”

“But the last time you were on television was two years back. After that, you never show yourself ever again. I thought that maybe you’d already go to some prestigious university in America or something. How would people actually expected you to be here in JHU.” Mingyu pointed out.

Jeonghan chuckled. “That’s why I choose to be here. A place where people didn’t expect me to be. If you’re going to treat me differently after you confirm this fact, you’re calling me Young Master instead of hyung, understood?”

“Yes, Young Master.” Mingyu joked and they laughed.

 

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Jeonghan just finished making a cup of coffee for himself when his phone rang. He answered it as he saw Mingyu’s number. “Oh, Mingyu-ah.”

“Hyung, I’m going to do my laundry. Do you wanna join?” Mingyu asked.

“Sure.” Jeonghan agreed.

“I’ll go to your room in a few minutes.” Mingyu told him before he hung up. Jeonghan put his phone on the table and watched Seungcheol sleeping on his bed, while Jihoon doing something on the computer at the desk. It has been two weeks since they were rooming together, but he never had any conversation with his roommate.

Seungcheol was almost never alone in the room except for when he’s sleeping. Jihoon was always there, glaring at him every time he wanted to try to start a conversation. Even then, most of the times, Seungcheol are already asleep by the time he came back from dinner, and he was either still sleeping or already left the room when Jeonghan woke up the next morning.

Jeonghan was piling his laundry when Mingyu walked in. He went straight to Jihoon after greeting Jeonghan. He whispered something and Jihoon frowned with a sigh. The smaller guy then sent a glare at Jeonghan and left the room.

“Why does Jihoon always glare at me?” Jeonghan asked Mingyu as the younger put Jeonghan’s laundry bag on top of his wheeled suitcase.

“He glared at everyone, hyung. Just don’t mind him.” Mingyu assured the older as they walked towards the laundry room at the end of the hallway.

“Do you know how to operate the laundry machine, hyung?” Mingyu asked as he opened two of the laundry machines.

Jeonghan shook his head. “I usually just piled my clothes by the door, someone will collect it and bring it back after they’re done.”

“Well, you gotta learn, then.” Mingyu grinned. “I’ll pay for you as well, hyung.” Mingyu took out KRW10 000 from his pocket and went to exchanged it with ten tokens. “We each need five tokens to wash and another five tokens to dry.” He explained and passed five tokens to Jeonghan.

Mingyu and Jeonghan put their laundry each inside the machine and put the tokens before the machine started whirring about and washed the clothes. “It’ll take around half an hour, so I’ll just set my alarm. Let’s go for a quick tour, hyung.” Mingyu told the older.

“Whose room is this?” Jeonghan frowned as they ended up in from of the room next to his instead of his own.

Mingyu knocked twice and keyed in the passcode before opening the door. “Oh, Mingyu! You’re finally here!” A voice called out.

“Where’s Shua hyung?” Mingyu asked as he sat down on the couch and pull Jeonghan to sit with him.

“He’s on his way. He said he’s bringing some other people to help, so they’re inviting them over as well.” The cute guy, which Jeonghan assumed to be the owner of the room replied. “And this is…?”

‘Oh, I forgot. This is Jeonghan hyung. He’s rooming with Seungcheol hyung just next door.” Mingyu introduced the older. “This is Soonyoung hyung. He’s Jihoon hyung archenemy. They get into fight literally everytime they saw each other, I wonder how are they best friends still.” He laughed.

“Yah, I don’t fight with him every single day, alright?” Soonyoung made faces towards the younger. “Where is he anyway? He wasn’t in his room as much now.”

“He’s mostly in Cheol hyung’s room now.” Mingyu pointe dout.

“Oh, yeah…” Soonyoung nodded. He then turned to face Jeonghan. “You’re a freshman too? Along with Seungcheol hyung?”

“Yah, he’s older!” Mingyu patted Soonyoung’s thigh as the older dropped the formality like the senior he is.

“So, I can’t be a sunbae?” Soonyoung pouted.

“It’s technically up to you, actually.” Jeonghan responded. “You can either be a senior or be a friend. I don’t mind either.”

“Wait, you looked familiar though…” Soonyoung frowned before something crossed his mind and he widened his eyes in realization. “…you’re…that Yoon Empire…?”

Jeonghan rolled his eyes. “Yes, I’m Yoon Jeonghan. So what?”

“Oh, hyungnim! It’s such an honor to meet you here! I would like to thank you for the YEF! I’ll promise tow ork hard and graduate on time so I can work with Yoon Empire Hotel!” Soonyoung suddenly get excited. “I’ll be honored to be your friend, hyungnim!”

“So, you choose to be a friend?” Jeonghan confirmed and Sooyoung nodded expectantly. “There’s two rules. Don’t call me hyungnim, and don’t ever talk about the empire and that hotel. Will you be able to do that?”

“So... I really can just call you hyung?” Soonyoung asked.

“If I don’t have to call you sunbaenim?” Jeonghan offered. 

“Call!” Soonyoung agreed.

As if on cue, the door opened revealing Joshua. “Hello guys, sorry we’re late.” He walked in, followed by two other guys with their hand full of stuffs. “I made a few other things with these two… Jeonghan-ah…?” He called out as he met eyes with Jeonghan.

“Shua…” Jeonghan stood up as Joshua approached him.

“Oh God!” Joshua pulled him into a tight hug, leaving everyone puzzled. “It’s been more than two years! Why are you here?”

“Why else? I’m a student here.” Jeonghan replied as they let go of each other.

“Wait, wait.” Mingyu looked at them. “You guys know each other?” He asked.

“Yeah. We’re living with the same adopted family back when we joined the student exchanged program in Japan.” Joshua replied before looking back at Jeonghan. “After you went back that time, you never came back. I tried to contact you, but I’ve been rejected. I visit your family’s house, but they said you moved out.”

“A lot of thing happened, Shua-yah.” Jeonghan shrugged. “I’m sorry I made no effort to contact you. I just kinda want to forget everything. But I’m glad I get to meet you again today.”

“You guys continue, I’ll just get the laundry out and load the dryer quickly.” Mingyu told tehm and rushed out as his alarm rang.

“I’d never thought I’d see you here, in JHU.” Joshua pointed out. “I took a year off to get a professional certificate in Swiss, just in case I’ll find you there, but since I couldn’t find you anywhere, I just give up.”

“I’d never thought you’ll end up here either.” Jeonghan replied with a chuckled.

“Well, JHU was built by my great grandfather. It’s kind of family tradition to get our first degree here.” Joshua pointed out.

“Oh yeah, the Jo Hotel.” Jeonghan nodded.

“Anyways, do you stay here? Or outside?” Joshua asked.

“My room’s next door.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“Wait, you’re rooming with that Choi Seungcheol?” Joshua frowned.

“Yes. Why?” Jeonghan frowned back.

“Nothing.” Joshua smiled. “Anyways, before I forgot. This is Jun and Minghao. They’re foreign students from China. I am appointed as their mentor for six months.” He introduced the two foreign students.

“This is Jeonghan, my roommate Soonyoung, and that’s Mingyu.” Joshua introduced everyone.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Jun.” The taller guy bowed lightly.

“I’m Minghao.” The thinner guy smiled and waved at them with his quite thick Chinese accent.

“Minghao majored in Patisserie, so he got me some ingredients from the baking kitchen.” Joshua pulled the food out. “So, I made some sweet bread, coffee bread and usual snacks.”

“Woah, are we having early lunch today, hyung?” Soonyoung cheered. Joshua majored in Western cooking, so he always made pizza and panini and sandwich for snacks, which is almost equal to heavy brunch.

“Enjoy, I just keep some sweet bread for Seungcheol.” Joshua took a bag of sweet bread and put it away.

“Your cooking is still the best, Shua-yah.” Jeonghan complimented as he bit on a slice of pizza.

“Thank you.” Joshua smiled widely.

They enjoyed their snacks while laughing at Soonyoung’s joke and Joshua and Mingyu tried their best to explain whatever he was saying to the foreign students, especially Minghao.

Soon, Mingyu’s alarm rang again, signaling that it was the time to get their clothes out from the dryer. Both of them stood up to leave. “Wait, Jeonghan-ah, can you help me bring this to Seungcheol?”

“Oh… sure.” Jeonghan accepted it and they thanked Joshua before leaving.

“Let me give it to Cheol hyung.” Mingyu offered as they walked towards the laundry room.

“I can give it myself, Mingyu. He’s my roommate?” Jeonghan frowned.

“But Jihoon hyung doesn’t let you talk to him, right?” Mingyu pointed out.

“Why can’t I talk to my own roommate? That’s such a bullshit.” Jeonghan shook his head as he took out his clothes and dumped it inside his laundry bags.

“It’s okay, hyung. I’ll pass it for you if Jihoon hyung’s back. I’m gonna need to help you fold the clothes too, right?” Mingyu suggested.

“You’re right. Let’s go.” Jeonghan agreed and led the way back to his room. He pressed the passcode and walked in, just to find Wonwoo and Jihoon hovering over the still sleeping Seungcheol. They took a quick glance at them and whispered to each other before walking out.

“Am I living with vampire or something?” Jeonghan mumbled to himself. “Why are they trying to not let anyone know anything about him?”

“What do you say, hyung?” Mingyu asked as Jeonghan put the bread on Seungcheol’s table.

“Nothing, you can start. I need to go to the toilet for a bit.” Jeonghan shrugged and walked to the bathroom.

As soon as the door closed, Mingyu stood up and walked over to Seungcheol’s bed. He inspected the sleeping guy and sighed. He lifted the older limp hand and clasped it towards his chest. “Please hold on, hyung.” Mingyu whispered. “Please be strong and graduate, that’s all we want.” He caressed his cheek and quickly put his hand back as he heard the sound of water running from the bathroom. He went back to Jeonghan’s side and started folding and arranging the clothes before Jeonghan joined him as well.

Chapter Text

“Why aren’t you coming back for the holiday, hyung?” Chan whined as Jeonghan drove him to the airport along with Hansol and Soonyoung. The tree of them are going back to Seoul for a week of holiday while Jeonghan was going to stay in Jeju.

“I told you I’m going to stay here until we graduated, didn’t I?” Jeonghan pointed out as he parked his car by the departure lounge door. “Tell your parents I missed them so much, alright? And the little babies too.”

“They’re high and middle schoolers already, hyung. Not babies.” Chan scorned.

“You are my little baby too.” Jeonghan ruffled the younger hair and Chan scowled and pushed him away.

“I hate you, hyung.” He stated and exited the car.

“Bye Chan! I love you too!” Jeonghan hollered as Chan quickly made his way inside in embarrassment while Jeonghan guffawed. “Take care you two, I’ll pick you up here with Chan next Sunday, alright?” He told the other two.

“Thanks for driving us, hyung!” Soonyoung smiled happily.

“No worries. Have fun!” Jeonghan waved them off before driving away from the airport. He stopped by a restaurant to get some food and drove back to the dormitory. He walked inside his empty room. His roommate had left ever since they finished their last class two days ago while everyone else took their time to leave. It has been two months, but Jeonghan never had the opportunity to talk to him yet.

Jeonghan looked around his roommate’s side of the room. Everything was arranged so neatly that people would have wondered if someone really lived there. Jeonghan walked around Seungcheol’s table and found nothing there. No books, not even a scrap paper. It was too clean.

He opened Seungcheol’s wardeobe and his clothes were arranged neatly. He scanned around and saw a few sticky notes on the wardrobe door, listing times and numerous Korean alphabets. There was a sticky note on his drawer as well, listing days and numbers. He opened the drawer to find it empty and closed the drawer again. Why is his roommate so mysterious?

Jeonghan heard the bell dinged and closed the wardrobe’s door. He opened the door to find Seungkwan with a wide smile. “Chan said you’re not going back, so I brought my mom special spicy marinated crab.”

“Woah!” Jeonghan accepted the big Tupperware from Seungkwan as the younger followed him inside.

“Have you eaten, Seungkwan-ah?” Jeonghan asked as he brought two plates from the cabinet.

“I did.” Seungkwan replied. “But I can accompany you and eat again.” Seungkwan replied as he took a seat on the couch.

“I have a few drinks inside the fridge, help yourself.” Jeonghan told the younger as he brought two bowls and plates to the lounge. Seungkwan helped him opened the mini table on the floor and they sat down.

“Hyung, are you really going to stay here for the whole week?” Seungkwan asked.

“Yeah, why?” Jeonghan nodded.

“Well, why don’t you go back to Seoul? There’s nothing much to do here except for sightseeing. Don’t you miss your family?” Seungkwan asked. Jeonghan continued eating without answering the question. “Oh, sorry, did I ask the wrong question?”

“No, I don’t know how to explain this to you, but I don’t have any family anymore. I live with Chan’s family.” Jeonghan remarked.

“Then, why don’t you go back with Chan?” Seungkwan asked.

“Just because. I wanted to enjoy my life here for a bit.” Jeonghan replied.

“By yourself? Everyone else had gone home. Even your roommate.” Seungkwan pointed out.

“They all have their family to return to, Seungkwan.” Jeonghan replied coldly.

“But Seungcheol hyung doesn’t have any family, you don’t know that?” Seungkwan frowned. “He lived with Jihoon hyung’s family here, in Seogwipo. Jihoon hyung’s family own a hospital here.”

“Hospital?” Jeonghan frowned.

“They just opened that hospital a few years back. I remember the opening day because we were all invited.” Seungkwan told him.

“I see…” Jeonghan nodded. “I don’t know anything, Jihoon won’t let me talk to Seungcheol and he never tried making conversation either.”

“I wonder why Jihoon hyung dislike you so much? He’s fine with everyone else, though…” Seungkwan pointed out.

“That’s what I wanted to know too.” Jeonghan agreed. He saw Jihoon laughed, acted silly and play around with the others, but every time they met inside the room, his face will turn sour and stoic, like he had sinned him greatly.

“Oh, before I forgot, hyung, did Mingyu hyung tell you anything?” Seungkwan asked.

“About what exactly?” Jeonghan asked back.

“Here, maybe he forgot.” Seungkwan laughed. “This is Kihyun hyung’s contact number. He’s one of the housekeepers here. Mingyu hyung said if you need anything while he’s not here, you should contact this person.” He passed him a card.

“Thanks.” Jeonghan accepted the card. They finished eating and Seungkwna helped Jeonghan to clean up.

“If you’re bored, call me, hyung. I’ll take you around.” Seungkwan told him before he left. Jeonghan sent him off and closed the door, he’s all alone again, which gave him time to think and ponder about his roommate, and why he’s so mysterious. It makes it hard for him to execute his initial plan. But he will not give up.

 

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“Jeonghan-ah?” Jeonghan was surprised to see Joshua who was about to enter his room while he was on his way out to throw the trash.

“Oh, you didn’t go back?” Jeonghan asked.

“I did, I just came back.” Joshua replied. “You didn’t go back? I thought I saw Chan a few days ago.”

“Chan went back on his own.” Jeonghan told him. “Why are you back so early?”

“I didn’t want to go back actually, but Jun have a problem with his visa, so I went to Seoul to help him.” Joshua replied with a chuckle. “I guess we both don’t exactly have plan to return to Seoul, huh?”

“I guess.” Jeonghan laughed as well and they both excused themselves and went their way. Jeonghan went back to his room after disposing the trash inside the trash room and met with Joshua again.

“Hey, I’m kinda hungry. Have you eaten?” Joshua asked.

“No, not yet.” Jeonghan replied.

“Then, why don’t we go out and eat?” Joshua suggested. “I know a shop that sell delicious rockfish stew just 10 minutes away, would you be up for that?”

“Rockfish stew sounded delicious.” Jeonghan agreed. “Let me get my car key.”

“Let’s go with mine instead.” Joshua showed his key. “You don’t have to bring anything, my treat.”

“Wow, I didn’t know you drive a car too.” Jeonghan followed Joshua down to the basement carpark.

“Well, I don’t use it that much. Unless I want to go out.” Joshua replied as they both get inside the car. Joshua drove them to the restaurant.

“Were you by yourself for the whole four days?” Joshua asked as they finished ordering.

“Seungkwan came by once in a while.” Jeonghan told him. “Mostly it’s just me.”

“What about your roommate?” Joshua asked.

“He left even before the holiday start.” Jeonghan replied. “I don’t even know where he had run off to.”

“He’s kinda weird, you know.” Joshua suddenly commented. “Your roommate I mean.”

“Why?” Jeonghan asked curiously.

“I don’t know, he just seemed a bit off. I mean, if you look at his privilege, it’s like he’s the top of the pyramid here.” Joshua commented. “I was in the student council, so I saw him come and asked for a leave a few times. They just checked his ID, and he was approved, within minutes.”

“He skipped class a lot too.” Jeonghan agreed. “Most of the time, he just sleeps the morning off.” He then frowned. “I thought you know him, you baked him bread like almost every week.”

“Oh, that sweet bread?” Joshua chuckled. “Jihoon came to me through Soonyoung… I think around… six months ago? I made that sweet bread for Soonyoung’s birthday, so he probably shared it around. He came and asked me if I could make it for him every week, he even offered to pay.”

“So, you actually make it for him?” Jeonghan asked in amusement.

“Well, I have too cook something every week anyways, and making that sweet bread is not hard. It’s the simplest recipe I learn when I first came here. And I thought he’d been enjoying it, and I’m kinda glad.” Joshua chuckled. “That’s why I continued making it. And this year, Seungcheol came and thanked me as soon as he arrived, that’s how I know it was for Seungcheol, instead of Jihoon.”

After they finished having lunch, Joshua drove them to the café by the beach as they continued reminiscing their memories back when they were in Japan for a year.

“Shua-yah, do you remember my sister?” Jeonghan asked.

“Jihyunnie?” Joshua asked and Jeonghan nodded. “Why?”

“Uncle gave me her diary.” Jeonghan took out a small book he brought with him everywhere and put it on the table. He opened it and showed a picture to Joshua. “Can you recognize him?”

Joshua frowned as he saw the familiar picture. “Isn’t this… Seungcheol?” He looked younger and bigger, but it was definitely him.

“Jihyun told me she liked someone before…” Jeonghan sighed. “But I was too busy hating my grandfather and proving him wrong, I didn’t even ask her his name.”

“She liked him…?” Joshua asked as he continued skimming through the diary.

“And he doesn’t like her back.” Jeonghan fisted his palm as Joshua read through one of her entry.

 

23 July 20XX

God, why did Seungcheol oppa keep rejecting me? If he really dislikes it, why does he keep staying by my side? He should just go away and disappear, it’d make my life so much easier. But if he really leaves… I would be so heartbroken. God, what should I do?

 

Joshua flipped through the next page.

 

28 July 20XX

Seungcheol oppa rejected me again. He even told me that he’ll leave if I continue telling him the same thing ever and ever again. Why did he do that? If he hated me so much, why did he save my life in the first place? Was it all because of my family? I hate my family so much, why did they let him come into my life? I love him so much, but he hated me. God, what should I do so that he will finally accept me?

 

Joshua decided to stop reading the diary and put it between them. “Is this why you come to JHU?” He asked with a low voice.

“I found his name in the list of Yoon Education Foundation. It stated that he deferred the offer last year.” Jeonghan told him. “But Seungkwan told me he already deferred the offer twice before he registered this year.”

“Can’t you make a background check on him? He’s under YEF anyway, right?” Joshua pointed out.

“I did. I went through all the files and all the data, but there’s nothing about him. It was stated there that his parents died and he’s an orphan. There wasn’t even a name of the guardian since he’s over 18 years old.” Jeonghan explained. “I went through all his previous files, but I found nothing. I even ask someone to find out about him, but he also come back empty. It’s like he was trying to protect his identity or something.”

“What about his school profile? Medical files?” Joshua suggested.

“You think I haven’t tried?” Jeonghan scorned. “I did everything, but there’s nothing. He’s untraceable. Like he doesn’t exist for real. Don’t you see how Jihoon protect him? It’s like he’s a refugee or something.”

“What are you planning to do then?” Joshua asked.

Jeonghan’s aura turned murderous in an instant at the question. “I’m going to kill him.” Joshua froze. “Just like how he cornered Jihyun to kill herself, I’m gonna do the same thing.”

“Wait, what?” Joshua frowned. “How do you know that?”

Jeonghan opened the diary and took out a small envelope with Seungcheol’s name on it. He passed it Joshua who opened it and took out a card.

 

To my dear Seungcheol oppa,

I don’t know if you’ll receive this card, but if you ever did, I wouldn’t be in this world anymore. My entire existence is killing you, and that’s what I hate the most. Why can’t you just accept what I’m offering, oppa? What are you so afraid of? If you really hate me so much, why did you stay? Why don’t you leave? Why do I have to leave instead?

I hate you, oppa. I hate that I love you so much. I hate the fact that you won’t accept anything from me. I hate that you didn’t even consider my feelings. Have you ever thought how hard was it for me to make such decision? I don’t even have much time, oppa. I want to spend it happily with you! Was my feeling so hard to be understood? You always tell me that we’ll meet again in the next life, but what if this is our last? What if I won’t be able to meet you again? Why did you make my life so miserable?

Do you remember, oppa? You once told me that happiness is making other people happy. But I’m not happy, oppa. I can’t continue this life anymore, it’s too much to bear. I’m hurting too much whenever I see your face.

If next life really exists, I’ll go there first, oppa. In our next life, I’ll make sure I’ll find you first. Until then, you better live your life happily or I’ll haunt you to death!

Till our next life,

Yoon Jihyun.

13 January 20XX

 

“Is this…” Joshua put the card back inside the envelope. “…her final letter?”

“She was reported missing on the same date.” Jeonghan whispered, wiping tears that have started to flow like waterfall. “I came back in a rush, and two days later, they found her body by the Han River…”

Joshua moved over and pulled the sobbing Jeonghan into a tight hug. “She didn’t even say goodbye to me, Shua-yah. The last word she told me was that she’s wanted to go out and have fun. And she was reported missing just next day. What kind of fun did she wanted to go through exactly?”

Joshua didn’t say anything and just held his friend in his embrace. “I only have her in my life, why did she had to leave too?!” Joshua continued to hold his friend as he continued sobbing.

“So… what’s exactly is your plan?” Joshua asked as Jeonghan had finally calm down. He had brought him to his var and drove them back to their dormitory. Instead of Jeonghan’s room, he brought him to his room instead and waited until Jeonghan calmed down.

“I’m going to find out why he kept rejecting my sister. Once I know, I’m gonna erase his existence.” Jeonghan stated firmly.

“Are you sure you’re not gonna regret this, Jeonghan-ah?” Joshua asked in concerned.

“What will I lose. I’m the heir of Yoon Empire Hotel, and he’s almost non-existent. I’ll do whatever I could in my power to make his life a living hell.” Jeonghan promised.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“What are you doing up there, hyung?” Jeonghan nearly toppled on the chair at Mingyu’s sudden voice.

“Yah!” Jeonghan shouted in anger and surprised. “You surprised me! I thought I told you to tell me if you’re coming!”

“I did, but you never answer. I’m afraid something bad happened to you.” Mingyu called out.

Jeonghan jumped down the chair and scoffed. “Why are you here anyways?”

“I made some food. I wanted to invite you over.” Mingyu told the older. “What were you doing up there, by the way? You should have told me, I’ll help.”

“I just wanted to inspect something.” Jeonghan replied. “Can’t you just bring some food over?”

“I can’t. They won’t let me. They don’t even let me bring out some for Cheol hyung, what’s more for you.” Mingyu complained. “Let’s go hyung, or you’ll missed my delicious cooking!”

Jeonghan sighed and followed Mingyu back to his room. He was surprised to find almost everyone in their level there. “Come in, hyung! It must be bored to stay by yourself for the whole week. I made a feast, so you can eat as much as you want.”

Jeonghan walked in and everyone greeted him happily. Joshua waved and patted a seat next to him, so Jeonghan quickly walked over. “Here, Jeonghan hyung, right?” A smiley guy approached him. “I’m Seokmin, the guy who helped with your registration back then.”

Jeonghan blinked confusedly, how did this guy remembered things he didn’t even care about? “I’m a second-year student, but since everyone said you preferred to be called hyung, I’ll do the same.”

Jeonghan just nodded. “This is Mingyu’s specialty kimbap. You can’t find it anywhere else. He even got a perfect score for the test last month.” Seokmin boasted as if it was his work instead of Mingyu.

“Thank you.” Jeonghan accepted the plate. He put one of them inside his mouth and immediately acknowledge Mingyu’s talent in cooking.

“Mingyu’s the grandson of a famous traditional Korean restaurant. Sadly, it went bankrupt.” Joshua told him. “But he must have got her talent, he’s a golden hand, he turned everything into a perfect dish, especially Korean food.”

Jeonghan nodded in acknowledgement. He then scanned around the room. Soonyoung was laughing with Seokmin in a corner along with Seungkwan and Chan. Hansol was talking with Jun and Minghao, along with Mingyu and Mingyu’s roommate who Jeonghan saw a few times, Jungkook.

The bell dinged and everyone just continued talking before the door opened from the outside, revealing Wonwoo, Jihoon and Seungcheol. They walked in and sat by the bed before Wonwoo and Jihoon went to get some food.

Jihoon greeted Joshua since they were sitting by the food, but ignored him entirely, like he didn’t exist while Wonwoo greeted both of them. Jeonghan continued to talk with Joshua about random stuffs and laughed at Joshua lame joke before Chan joined them.

“No! Stop giving him food!” Jihoon’s voice suddenly echoed through the room. Everyone just ignored it and continued talking except for Jeonghan who turned around to see what’s the commotion is all about.

“He was the one who said he want some.” Mingyu complained and stood back up.

“Just put it here, Mingyu. I just want a taste.” Seungcheol stated.

“Just one spoon, hyung. I can’t skip the morning class tomorrow.” Jihoon warned him.

“I can, don’t worry.” Seungcheol joked and Wonwoo laughed.

“Don’t mind them, hyung.” Soonyoung told Jeonghan. “They’re always like that. Seungcheol hyung hade severe allergy towards spicy food, that’s why Jihoon had been protective over him.”

“Oh, I haven’t heard about allergy towards spicy food.” Jeonghan frowned.

“I know, right?” Joshua agreed. “I haven’t either.”

They continued talking about random thing as Jeonghan kept the new fact inside his mind. Allergy on spicy food, huh? Well, that will be a good place to start.

Chapter Text

“Are you craving for spicy food, hyung? Why do you buy all these spicy ramyeon?” Chan asked as he followed Jeonghan inside his room.

“It’s not that spicy.” Jeonghan shrugged.

“For you, obviously.” Chan rolled his eyes. “I’ll faint if I finish the whole bowl by myself, hyung.”

“That’s what I’m gonna do.” Jeonghan jerked his eyebrows and Chan dropped the bags on the floor.

“W-what did I do wrong, hyung?” Chan asked, trembling.

“Nah, not you.” Jeonghan assured the younger as he picked up the dropped bags. “Hey, I was just kidding, okay?” He patted the youngest shoulder.

“Hyung! I was shocked, you know! I thought you’re gonna punish me…” Chan pouted.

“Did I ever do that?” Jeonghan question, feeling attacked.

“No, you never hurt a fly.” Chan muttered.

“Then, why would you think I’d do that?” Jeonghan looked at Chan who looked won as he realized something. “Chan-ah… did that old geezer… did something to you?”

Chan took a long time before he finally nodded. “I didn’t past the qualification for the student exchange program…”

Jeonghan fisted his palm tightly. “You were never meant to pass! Why would he made you sit for that exam?!”

“He wanted me to replace you…” Chan whispered and Jeonghan took a deep calming breath as he heard the younger voice broke. He approached the younger and pulled him into a warm embrace.

“You won’t have to, Chan-ah.” Jeonghan assured the younger. “I’ll do whatever it takes to take revenge on that old geezer, even if he already died.”

“I’m sorry, hyung…” Chan muttered and Jeonghan hugged him tighter. “Let me walk you back to your room, Chan-ah.” He pushed Chan to stand and walked him back to his room.

After making sure Chan was alright, Jeonghan came back to his room. He climbed up the chair and opened the air vent and replaced the memory card of the small camera he put on a few days prior. He brought the memory card down and switched on his laptop.

The screen showed a fix video of an empty room for a while and he fast forwarded it until he could hear voices.

 

“Hyung, let’s exchanged the room, please.” It was Jihoon, and his attempt to persuade Suengcheol to exchange his room again and again.

“Yah, at least he’s fine with you coming in and out of the room. What if it’s someone else?” Seungcheol replied nonchalantly.

“Then we exchange room again.” Jihoon shrugged.

“Jihoon-ah, how long am I going to live like that then?” Seungcheol shook his head and laid down on the bed.

“Hyung, let’s just stay at my parents’ house instead. I’ll ask my dad for a driver so he could drive you around.” Jihoon offered.

“Your family had done a lot, Jihoon-ah.” Seungcheol shook his head.

“What’s wrong with that? My parents were the ones who offered you the help.” Jihoon argued.

“That doesn’t mean I can take advantages of that.” Seungcheol weakly countered.

“You should, hyung.” Jihoon sighed. “After what happened to you, how can you just want everything to end?”

“Isn’t that better?” Seungcheol asked as he sat up. “Jihoon-ah, if there’s a person I should be apologizing for, it’d be him. Not the other way around.”

“What have you done that is so wrong, hyung?” Jihoon questioned.

 

Jeonghan closed his laptop with a slap as he heard the door opened. He snapped his head towards the main door and saw Seungcheol walked in by himself and closed the door.

“Oh, you’re alone today.” Jeonghan couldn’t stop himself from commenting.

“Oh?” Seungcheol frowned. “Ah… Jihoon is summoned by the baseball team.” He sat down on the bed.

“I see.” Jeonghan nodded.

“I’m sorry if the kids made you uncomfortable. I tried to talk to them, but it’s no use.” Seungcheol apologized.

“Not really. It’s not like they’re invading my privacy, they’re invading yours.” Jeonghan pointed out. Because seriously, Jihoon and Wonwoo were just like shadows. They talked in whisper and although Jihoon ignored him, he still respects his privacy. He talked in whispers, never touched any of his personal item or even use the toilet. Jihoon would go back to his room if he needs to use the toilet instead of using theirs.

“I’ve never asked you this, but what’s your major, Jeonghan?” Seungcheol suddenly strike a conversation with him.

“ITHM.” Jeonghan replied. ITHM stands for International Tourism and Hospitality Management.

“Woah, only best student can choose double major like that.” Seungcheol acknowledge.

“Really?” Jeonghan frowned. “Except for Joshua and Seungkwan, everyone else I know had a double major.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“Not really. It’s just majority of the students who ended up on this level are smart.” Seungcheol replied. “As far as I know, only me, Seokmin, Joshua and Seungkwan did single major. Everyone else in this level have double major.”

“You’re a single major too.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“Yeah, that’s why you see me sleeping in a lot.” Seungcheol chuckled.

Jeonghan was about to say something when Seungcheol’s phone ring. “Oh, Jihoon-ah.” Seungcheol answered his phone. “Yes, I’m here already.” He sighed.

“What? No! You don’t have to. I’ll be fine. Just focus on your training instead.” Seungcheol put his bag away.

“Yeah…” Seungcheol met Jeonghan eyes and put a finger on his lips. “I’m by myself though.”

Jeonghan frowned. “I won’t. Why are you being anxious like this?” Seungcheol sounded a bit annoyed. “Shut it, Lee Jihoon. Or I’ll just block you.” And he hung up.

Jeonghan silently put his laptop back inside his bag. He’d like to continue watching the recordings, but he thought it’s better to get the information directly from the person himself.

“That Lee Jihoon will be the death of me, seriously.” Seungcheol mumbled as he drank water angrily. Jeonghan walked over to his bed with his phone.

“Sorry about that.” Seungcheol apologized.

“It’s okay.” Jeonghan assured him. “You’re very close to him. I thought you guys are brothers, but you guys have different surnames.”

“We’re cousins.” Seungcheol told him.

“Oh, really?” Jeonghan acted surprised to the information although he already knew. What is the way to make an interesting conversation? Make a relatable one. “I came here with my cousin too. You knew Chan, right?”

“I know. Chan introduced you guys before, didn’t he?” Seungcheol pointed out.

“Ah, that’s right.” Jeonghan nodded.

“Hyung? I’m coming in.” A voice called out and the passcode was pressed before Wonwoo appeared. He looked surprised to find Jeonghan there and nodded lightly to him. “Sorry, Jihoon told me Seungcheol hyung was alone in this room.”

“Yah, did he told you to come and accompany me?” Seungcheol asked in annoyance.

“No, he asked me to bring you to our room instead.” Wonwoo grinned sheepishly.

“Oh my God, seriously?” Seungcheol sighed. “Ah, whatever! Let me shower first.” He took his towel and disappeared behind the bathroom’s door.

Wonwoo waited by Seungcheol’s bed until he finished shower and even with rnon-stop complains, Seungcheol ended up following Wonwoo back to his room instead.

Jeonghan opened his laptop to continue watching the recording. But as soon as continued, the conversation between Seungcheol and Jihoon stopped as the bell dinged. Jihoon went to open the door for Wonwoo and they started talking about random things.

Jeonghan sighed as he ended up finished watching everything. None of them was interesting anyways since every time they came back, Seungcheol will immediately go to sleep. They really don’t spend much time talking inside the room, even when he’s not there. What else can he do then?

 

***************************************************************************

 

Chan and Seungkwan laughed as Jeonghan opened the door to his room, just to face Jihoon’s sudden wrath. “Yah, who gives you permission to put the CCTV inside the room?!”

“Yah?” Jeonghan questioned in disbelief. “Who are you to call me like that?”

“Feeling attacked now huh?” Jihoon growled. “This!” Jihoon threw the device on the floor angrily and stomped on it.

“Why did you do that?!” Jeonghan cried out in disbelief. “I did it for my own security!”

“What? You think we’re gonna rob you just because you’re the heir of the Yoon Empire?!” Jihoon growled angrily.

“Yah!” Jeonghan shouted back and ended up in a glaring stare with Jihoon.

“Jihoon-ah, stop it.” Seungcheol pulled Jihoon away.

“Why are you always so weakhearted against this kind of bastards, you fool?!” Jihoon shouted at Seungcheol before he walked out and slammed the door close.

“I’m sorry about him destroying your camera, but I’ll appreciate if you don’t invade my privacy with this kind of video recording.” Seungcheol stated firmly before he followed Jihoon out. Seungkwan and Chan remained frozen by the door side, not knowing what to do.

“How did they even found out…” Jeonghan kneeled to collect the broken device. He sighed as even the memory card was crashed. There goes his information.

“Hyung…” Seungkwan looked at the older. “W-why did you put up a CCTV?”

“Just because.” Jeonghan started the robot vacuum cleaner and made himself a cup of coffee, like nothing had happened.

“Why are you guys standing there like statues? Come and sit. Are you guys not gonna eat?” Jeonghan frowned at the two. Chan and Seungkwan slowly made their way inside and sat down by the table Jeonghan put in the middle of the longue.

“You knew my sister died of suicide two years ago, right?” Jeonghan suddenly asked the two as they ate in silence.

Chan frowned and Seungkwan looked up in surprised. “She died of suicide? Not because of her illness?” He looked at Chan and the younger hesitantly nodded.

“They masked it as if she died of illness…” Chan mumbled.

“W-what…” Seungkwan was speechless.

“Cold, right?” Jeonghan breathed out a chuckle. “It wasn’t an easy life I’m living here, Seungkwan.”

“I-I’m sorry, hyung… I-I d-didn’t know…” Seungkwan stammered.

“It’s okay.” Jeonhan assured. “I’m just giving you reasons why I have to put CCTV in my own room.”

“What is the relation between the CCTV and that suicide case, hyung?” Chan frowned.

“Why do you think?” Jeonghan questioned the two with a smirk. “Well, it has nothing to do with you guys, so even if I tell you, it won’t benefit anyone.”

“Hyung.” Chan bit his lips. “You don’t think Seungcheol hyung was related to noona’s suicide, do you?” He blurted out.

Jeonghan didn’t answer as he continued slurping his noodles. “Is that why you decided to stay in this room?”

“Let’s turn that back a bit, Chan-ah.” Jeonghan smirked. “Why do you think I got this room in the first place?”

“Hyung!” Chan shouted in disbelief.

“Well, it already turned out like this. What else can we do about it?” Jeonghan shrugged and Chan stood up.

“C-chan-ah!” Seungkwan called out as Chan ran out of the room.

“Seungkwan-ah?” Jeonghan looked up at the younger. “You already know too much. What do you think you will do?”

“I’ll keep it as a secret, hyung!” Seungkwan automatically put his hand up.

“You don’t need to.” Jeonghan smiled. “People need to know the truth anyway.” He shrugged and continued eating as Seungkwan took his cue to leave.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hyung?” Mingyu called and Jeonghan hummed without looking up from his laptop. “Did something happen with you and Seungkwan?”

“Why? Did he say anything?” Jeonghan asked, still not looking up from his laptop.

“No, but he’s kinda staring at us. He’s been doing it since we sit down.” Mingyu pointed out.

The two decided to do their assignment at one of the university café’s after they finished their class and Jeonghan was currently busy finishing up one of his assignments while Mingyu was making video for his presentation.

“Let him be. He’ll leave us alone when he’s tired.” Jeonghan replied nonchalantly.

“Hyung, I have one more question.” Mingyu stated and Jeonghan sighed.

“Okay, what else?” Jeonghan turned to face Mingyu with a bored expression.

“Did something happen between you and Jihoon hyung as well?” Mingyu asked.

“Why? Is he glaring at us too?” Jeonghan scanned around, but found no trace of Jihoon, but Seungkwan who quickly looked away to avoid eye contact.

“No, but he sounded like he’s going to kill you a week ago. And he warned us not to go to your room anymore. He even applied for Seungcheol hyung to move out from your room.” Mingyu replied.

“It won’t be easy, though.” Jeonghan was back to copying something on the net and paste it to assignment. “The room is currently full with the part-time students and freshmen weren't allowed to stay out of campus.”

“But Seungcheol hyung is a special case.” Mingyu pointed out.

“I am too.” Jeonghan blinked at Mingyu innocently. “Shua was to. But we stay. Would a mere scholar from YEF have a bigger advantage from us?”

“Hyung, you sound scary now…” Mingyu whispered.

“I did?” Jeonghan giggled. “Sorry about that.” He smiled. “We’ll see if he’s allowed to stay out of campus.”

Mingyu didn’t ask any more question and they finished their assignments quickly because of that. Soon, Jeonghan was driving his car alone back to the dormitory as Mingyu said he will have to go to the open kitchen for extra recording for his video presentation.

Instead of his room, Jeonghan went to ring the bell on the room next door. A few seconds later, Joshua invited him in. “Did he apply to stay out of campus?” Jeonghan asked as soon as he sat down.

“No.” Joshua replied and Jeonghan frowned.

“Not even a change of room?” Jeonghan confirmed and Joshua nodded.

“Jihoon did come and ask me for help, but Seungcheol refused.” Joshua explained.

“What?” Jeonghan scoffed in disbelief. “But why?”

“He said he’s just tired of everything and to just let it be.” Joshua quoted.

“That’s weird. Mingyu said…” Jeonghan trailed off but stop. It was Jihoon, and not Seungcheol.

“Anyways, he’s not gonna move.” Joshua told him. “He’s going to stay.”

“Well, that’s good news then.” Jeonghan smiled widely. It’ll be easier for him to execute his plan anyways. “Thanks, Joshua-yah.”

“Jeonghan-ah, wait.” Joshua stopped his friend. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Why? I’m not going to involve anyone. It’s my personal revenge.” Jeonghan assured him. “And I won’t hurt him immediately. It will be a slow process. Slow and steady win the race, remember?”

“Just don’t get hurt.” Joshua reminded him and Jeonghan patted his friends’s hand in assurance before walking out of the room.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan glanced over towards Seungcheol who was asleep on the bed and Jihoon who was sitting down by the bed, reading something from his phone. Jeonghan sighed, feeling bored of doing nothing and decided to walk over his desk.

Jeonghan was about to open his laptop when he felt a presence next to him. He turned around and let out a surprised yelp at Jihoon’s sudden presence. “Good that I’m making you scared, Yoon Jeonghan.” He smirked.

Jeonghan scoffed. “What do you want?”

“Seungcheol hyung might forgive you already, but I don’t. He insisted to stay to be considerate of everyone, which I have no freaking idea why he has to.” Jihoon glared at the older. “Just stop being too curious about him, or I’ll make you pay!” He whispered before walking back to his seat.

Jeonghan just scowled as Jihoon sent him another glare. He just shrugged. It’s not like Jihoon’s word could change his plan. He already secured his plan. And no one would be able to change his mind.

“Hyung?” Jihoon’s voice was always so soft whenever he talked to a just awake Seungcheol. Jeonghan watched the reflection of the two from his black screen monitor as Jihoon helped the older to sit up. He said something in whisper and Seungcheol shook his head.

Soon, Jihoon watched as Seungcheol left to the bathroom and continued to scroll through his phone again. Jeonghan closed his laptop and walked out. Mingyu haven’t come around unless he’s going to help him with the chores since he started to get busy with his international competition. Chan had been trying to avoid him for a while already, so does Seungkwan. Only Hansol came to greet him, but he wasn’t very close to him as much as the other two.

“Hyung!” Soonyoung waved him from the elevator. “Are you going out?”

“Yeah, I’m bored.” Jeonghan told them. “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to follow Seokmin to the open kitchen. We’re craving for some seafood risotto. Seokmin is going to cook it and I’m accompanying him since he’s afraid to be there all by himself.” Soonyoung answered cheerfully. “Do you wanna join us, hyung?”

“Can I?” Jeonghan asked.

“Sure, why not?” Soonyoung looked at Seokmin and the younger nodded as well.

Jeonghan offered to drive them there and Seokmin led them to the open kitchen area in the culinary department.

“Oh wow, this is huge!” Jeonghan whistled in amusement.

“Yeah, but people rarely come here. They usually used the private kitchen at the dormitory building or the library building.” Seokmin replied.

“Why?” Jeonghan frowned.

“Because the space to keep the ingredients is very limited here and we have to share.” Seokmin explained. “Unlike the private kitchen where it’s only be shared among us and our partners.”

“Then why are you here?” Jeonghan asked.

“Mingyu and Yerin were busy with their upcoming competition. I don’t want to be a bother just because I crave for some seafood risotto.” Seokmin laughed.

Jeonghan and Soonyoung sat down and watched as Seokmin skillfully prepared all the ingredients and start cooking. Half an hour later, Seokmin served them a plate of seafood risotto each.

“Oh, I forgot. Let me make some porridge with the remaining ingredients.” Seokmin stood back up and quickly prepared some rice. He then put all the ingredients inside and let the rice boiled on the stove while he joined them to eat.

“What’s the porridge for?” Jeonghan asked.

“Jihoon hyung asked me to make some. Mingyu is too busy with his competition, so he told me to cook it instead.” Seokmin replied as he happily ate his food.

“Why porridge?” Jeonghan questioned in wonder.

“Seungcheol hyung prefer liquid food. He drank only soup instead of taking rice, and he always have porridge if he felt like eating rice. He loves soft sweet bread, but only Shua hyung knew how to make that.” Seokmin pointed out. “I tried once, and it ended up not as soft as Shua hyung did.”

“Why is he so picky with his food?” Jeonghan inquired.

“Jihoon said Cheol hyung had several allergies with food.” Soonyoung told them. “His health is not in a good condition, so he has to be careful of what he eats every day.”

“Really? He looks pretty fine to me.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“Yeah, but he’s not allowed to do any activities that required physical strength.” Soonyoung elaborated further. “It’s stated in his health profile that he’s under medical observation under Jihoon’s family hospital. That’s why he receives both living and medical expenses from YEF.”

“Are you sure they’re not just bluffing?” Jeonghan suddenly questioned. “From what I see, he tends to sleep a lot, picky with his food and use you guys for his advantages, making you guys cook for him and everything.”

“That might be true.” Seokmin agreed and Jeonghan struggle to hide his smirk. “I knew a senior who got fake medical records from the hospital to avoid any physical activities. He also got medical expenses from YEF.”

“YEF is a saint, actually. They gave out medical expenses to those who have medical reports from the hospital along with the tuition fees.” Jeonghan fuelled them up.

“But I know Jihoon long enough. His family won’t forge something as important as that.” Soonyoung defended his friend.

“Really?” Jeonghan questioned. “I didn’t know you’re close to Jihoon.” He threw his bait.

“Jihoon was my childhood friend. Our family’s house was next to each other. He moved away when we’re in high school, though. He went to a private school, and then he moved to Jeju as his family opened a hospital here.” Soonyoung told them.

“So, you’ve known Seungcheol that long as well?” Jeonghan asked.

“No, never seen him before.” Soonyoung admitted. “I only knew he was Jihoon’s cousin when I met him again here, in the university.”

“Then, do you believe him?” Jeonghan queried. “I know you trust Jihoon, he’s your childhood friends, but what about Seungcheol? Are you sure he's not making things up?”

Soonyoung pondered for a while before shaking his head. “I only saw Jihoon’s crying in his sleep, calling for Seungcheol hyung and asking him not to leave him alone.”

“And you think that’s enough to believe Seungcheol?” Jeonghan questioned further trying to play the mind trick.

“Hyung, why do you have so much doubt on your own roommate?” Seokmin frowned as he sat back down after checking if the porridge was done.

“I don’t know, I just find him a little bit suspicious.” Jeonghan sighed and looked at Soonyoung who was in a deep thought. “I’m sorry if I offended you, Soonyoung-ah.”

“No, not at all, hyung.” Sooyoung smiled lightly. “Everyone is allowed to have their own judgement. But I believe in Jihoon. He cares a lot for Cheol hyung, so I trust him as well.”

“Fair enough.” Jeonghan nodded with a sigh. It's okay even if no one believes him “Has Jihoon always be that scary?” He changed the topic.

“Scary?” Both Seokmin and Soonyoung chorused. “What are you talking about, hyung? He’s the cutest creature on earth.” Seokmin laughed. “He teased others a lot and it’s a bit annoying, but I won’t call him scary.”

“He does have a scary side on him, though.” Soonyoung agreed. “But he rarely showed it unless someone do something bad, then he can be quite scary.”

“He’s always scary for me.” Jeonghan pouted.

“That must be because of the CCTV, hyung.” Soonyoung laughed.

“But he’s already scary even before that.” Jeonghan remarked.

“Well, he doesn’t like whoever tried to be close to Seungcheol hyung. Only Wonwoo was trustworthy enough to replace him occasionally, to take care of Seungcheol hyung’s matter.” Soonyoung explained.

“Why Wonwoo?” Jeonghan asked curiously.

“No idea. Wonwoo know him a lot better now that they’re roommate. There’s a lot of thing he didn’t share with me anymore…” Soonyoung trailed off, his smile faded.

“Really?” Jeonghan bit his lips, feeling guilty at Soonyoung's changed of emotion. “Sorry for asking, Soonyoung-ah.”

“It’s okay.” Soonyoung assured with a small smile. “We’re not kids anymore. We both grew up and have different direction in life already.”

“Hyung, do you want some truffle?” Seokmin asked as he opened the fridge. Both Jeonghan and Soonyoung widened their eyes in awe as they saw the fridge full of sweet snacks.

“Here, have a taste and tell me how it is.” Seokmin served them and effectively changed the heavy topic they were discussing to a lighter one.

 

***************************************************************************

 

Jeonghan woke up to the sound of Seungcheol’s phone ringing. He lazily sat up and yawned, but Seungcheol didn’t seemed to be fazed by the loud sound. The ringing stopped for a second before starting again. Jeonghan looked at the clock and gasped. It was already 11, how long was he asleep?

Seungcheol’s phone rang again, and this time, his roommate stirred from his sleep and fumbled around for his phone. Jeonghan could hear Jihoon’s voice boomed through the speaker as Seungcheol sighed.

“I was sleeping…” Seungcheol yawned and sat up.

Jeonghan walked inside the bathroom to wash up and came back to Seungcheol opening the door for Seokmin. “I rang the bell for a few times, but there’s no answer. That’s why I call Jihoon hyung.” Seokmin walked in. “Sorry, hyung. Did he scold you again?”

“Nah…” Seungcheol chuckled as he followed Seokmin inside. “He’s just worried.”

“Good morning, hyung!” Seokmin waved to Jeonghan who nodded at him as he dried his hair.

“Jihoon hyung told me to accompany you to eat, but I’m late for a meeting with my performance team.” Seokmin scratched his head guiltily. “I already told them to start without me, but I can’t skip this meeting. I’ll come back as soon as I finish the meeting, so just eat first hyung. You must be hungry already. You fell asleep on empty stomach yesterday, didn’t you?”

“I can take care of myself for a few hours, Seokmin. Thank you very much.” Seungcheol patted his shoulder.

“Jihoon hyung will scold me later, but I really have to attend the meeting.” Seokmin bowed in apology to Seungcheol.

“It’s okay, go on. You said the meeting is at 11, right? It’s already 20 minutes past.” Seungcheol assured the younger.

“I’ll be back as soon as I could hyung.” Seokmin walked over to the door. “Bye Jeonghan hyung!” He hollered before closing the door.

Jeonghan put two breads on the toast and made some coffee. “Jihoon’s not here?” He asked casually to Seungcheol.

“Oh?” Seungcheol looked at him. “Ah, yes.” He nodded. “He was appointed as a representative to check out the golf range owned by Retro Resort in Seogwipeo. He’ll be back after lunch.”

“I see.” Jeonghan nodded. Seungcheol staggered a bit as he stood up and get his towel to go to the bathroom.

Jeonghan opened his fridge and opened a bottle of hangover drink. He was out drinking by himself last night with a few friends he made from his class and came back drunk and sleep the morning away since it’s a Saturday. The second years were busy with their club meetings and preparation for international and professional test they’re required to have, so Jeonghan haven’t seen his friends on the same level that much.

Jeonghan opened his cabinet to get a new strawberry jam, but his eyes fell on the spicy ramyeon he bought with Chan two weeks ago. Smirking, he took it out and opened it. Checking that Seungcheol was still inside the bathroom, he brought the spicy soup base and creeped towards the bowl placed on Seungcheol’s nightstand.

Seokmin made sweet potato porridge and it tasted lovely. Rather than pouring the whole content of the spicy soup base in, Jeonghan put in half of the contents and stirred it. Jeonghan quickly have a taste and nodded in satisfaction. It wasn’t that spicy, but it’s mild enough for those who can’t eat spicy dishes.

Jeonghan then put away the spicy soup base inside the ramyeon pack and put it back to where it belonged. He then continued putting the jam on his toast like nothing happen as Seungcheol walked out of the bathroom.

Jeonghan finished his toast and coffee and sat down on his desk to finish his assignment. He saw Seungcheol wandered around his wardrobe for a while before taking a seat by his bed. He then took a picture of the porridge Seokmin made and played with his phone before getting ready to eat.

Jeonghan continued watching Seungcheol through the reflection from the mirror by his desk. Seungcheol took a few bites and nodded lightly. He continued eating for a while before the spiciness kicked in.

Soon, Seungcheol was chugging a whole bottle and started panting. Jeonghan turned around as his roommate looked like he was struggling to breath and started coughing badly. “Yah, you okay?” He asked with a frown, slightly anxious.

Seungcheol answered by vomiting all over the floor and immediately slumped on the ground. Jeonghan froze for a while before he slowly approached his roommate who laid motionless on the ground. “S-seungcheol-ah?” He called out, but his roommate remained still on the ground.

“Yah!” Jeonghan tried to pat him lightly as he kneeled down. He gasped lightly as he saw Seungcheol’s pale face. His lips were almost blue and Jeonghan couldn’t see any movement from him at all. He started to panic. Did he accidentally kill him instead? That wasn't his intention at all! Jeonghan reached for his phone, but he couldn’t think of anyone to call. He reached for Seungcheol’s phone instead, accidently knocking the bowl of sweet potato on the floor. He pressed the speed dial in panic, figuring that he must have set it up for someone.

“Oh, Seungcheol-ah? Something’s wrong?” Jeonghan frowned at the familiar voice, which wasn’t Jihoon.

“Please help!” Jeonghan called out. “Seungcheol throw up and collapsed! I don’t know what to do!”

“Jeonghan-ah?” Jeonghan frowned. How did the person on the other line knew him? “Are you at your room?”

“Yes.” Jeonghan replied, still confused.

“I’m on my way.” And the line disconnected. Jeonghan stared at Seungcheol’s limp figure anxiously. He didn’t intend to kill him at all! He was just testing if he's really allergic to spicy food!

Not even a minute later, Jeonghan could hear someone keyed in the passcode and opened the door. A tall figure walked in and Jeonghan turned around to face him. “Hyunwoo hyung?”

“We’ll talk later.” Hyunwoo stated before he kneeled by Seungcheol’s side. “How did he collapse?” The older suddenly asked.

“Ah..." Jeonghan paused. "He was eating and suddenly gasped for breath.”

Hyunwoo opened the drawer by the bed and took out what looked like a needle and tore it open. “Turn around, Jeonghan.”

“Huh?” Jeonghan frowned.

“I said, turn around.” Hyunwoo instructed and Jeonghan quickly obeyed. He was curious, but he couldn’t disobey the older.

“Can you pass me a clean towel from his wardrobe, Jeonghan?” Hyunwoo called out and Jeonghan walked over to the wardrobe and pulled out a clean towel from the folded clothes. Hyunwoo then easily lifted Seungcheol up and lay him down on the bed. He then pulled another drawer, taking out what look like an oxygen tank and swiftly set it up.

“Do you want to be outside while I clean this up?” Hyunwoo asked as soon as he’s done putting an oxygen mask over Seungcheol’s face. “You can stay if you don’t feel uncomfortable about the mess.” He continued.

“I... I’ll stay…” Jeonghan decided and walked over to his bed. He watched in confused interest as Hyunwoo cleaned up everything swiftly and skillfully before he finally took a seat by Seungcheol’s bed.

“You got a coffee machine here.” Hyunwoo commented as he put the cleaning tools back inside the cupboard.

“Yes, do you want some?” Jeonghan offered.

“May I?” Hyunwoo inquired.

“Sure.” Jeonghan was about to get down from his bed but was stopped by Hyunwoo.

“I’ll do it myself.” Hyunwoo told him.

“Hyung, why are you on Seungcheol’s speed dial?” Jeonghan finally asked as Hyunwoo sat down.

“I’m… his legal guardian.” Hyunwoo told the younger.

“Since when?” Jeonghan frowned. “You’re Jihyun’s personal caretaker for so long. Why didn’t you tell us anything about being a legal guardian?”

“It’s personal.” Hyunwoo commented.

“How long have you been here? Why haven’t I saw you around?” Jeonghan questioned further, he was curious.

“I’m one of the dorm keepers here. I’ve been here ever since Jihyun…” Hyunwoo didn’t have to continue for Jeonghan to understand.

The door suddenly burst opened and Jihoon dashed in and fell on his knees by Seungcheol’s bedside. “Oh God… oh God…” He panted as he held Seungcheol’s hand tightly. He turned around to face them. “What happened, hyung?”

“The sweet potato porridge, it’s quite mild.” Hyunwoo pointed out. Jihoon’s forehead ceased. “Not that much, but I guess he’s overly sensitive since it’s his first meal after half a day.”

“Hyung, why did you left the door open…” Seokmin froze by the door as Jihoon shot him a murderous glare.

Jeonghan swallowed thickly as Jihoon slowly stood up and approached Seokmin. “Why did you leave him alone?”

“I… I…” Seokmin couldn’t find any words as Jihoon pushed him over to the wall by Seungcheol’s bed.

“How many times do I remind you to not put anything spicy in his food?!” Jihoon questioned further.

“I didn’t put anything spicy inside!” Seokmin quickly defended himself.

“Pepper! Did you put black pepper in?!” Jihoon questioned.

“I… I did… but it’s to make the taste…” Seokmin was cut off by a punch on his face, and Hyunwoo pulling Jihoon away from the younger.

“Get out from my sight!” Jihoon roared. “Now!” And Seokmin scurried away.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Here.” Hyunwoo passed Jeonghan a can of soda before taking his seat. “So, why are you here?” He asked. Jeonghan had suddenly make a visit to his office, so he just humored him for a wuick talk.

“Hyung…” Jeonghan bit his lips. “How do you know Seungcheol?”

“How do I know him?” Hyunwoo frowned. “And why, may I ask, do you want to know?”

“I’m just curious. You’re Jihyun’s caretaker since we’re young. You basically stayed with us for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.” Jeonghan explained. "How are you someone's guardian? Don't you need to take care of him?"

“I was appointed by Seungcheol’s family to be his legal guardian, not taking care of him. He was brought up in an orphanage, so if there’s any legal documents are needed, I’ll take care of them for him instead.” Hyunwoo explained briefly.

“And you’re still his legal guardian now?” Jeonghan questioned. “At 23 years old?”

“Yes, YEF named me as his guarantor. So, I’ll be his legal guardian until he graduates.” Hyunwoo responded.

“I see…” Jeonghan trailed off.

“What is it that you really want to know, Jeonghan?” Hyunwoo asked, crossing his legs together.

Jeonghan sighed. Hyunwoo knew him long enough for him to beat around the bush like this. “Did Jihyun know Seungcheol?”

“Yes.” Hyunwoo replied without hesitation. “Jihyun went to the private school Seungcheol’s attending, so she knew him there.”

“Are they close?” Jeonghan asked.

“I don’t know that much. Jihyun won’t allow me to go to school with her. But I saw him walking her to the car sometimes, so I guess they’re quite close?” Hyunwoo shrugged.

“She didn’t say anything to you about him?” Jeonghan queried.

“Well, she did say he was like a brother to her…” Hyunwoo recalled. “That’s all.”

“What about Seungcheol?” Jeonghan asked further. "Did he say anything about Jihyun?"

“Seungcheol never said anything. I might be his legal guardian, but we don't talk to each otehr unless necessary.” Hyunwoo pointed out. “Why do you ask me all these, Jeonghan?” He stared at the younger questioningly.

Jeonghan took a deep breath and shrugged. “I’m just curious. I saw Jihyun’s diary and his name was in it…”

“They’re quite close. That’s all I know.” Hyunwoo cut him off. “Why don’t you go and ask Seungcheol yourself? He’s your roommate after all.”

“I can’t. Jihoon warned me to mind my own business.” Jeonghan sighed. “Jihoon only leave him alone when he’s sleeping. He’s like a shadow, you know. And he even become a food taster now. He didn’t even go back to his room anymore.”

“That’s so much like Jihoon.” Hyunwoo chuckled.

“Just be close to them. They might tell you something.” Hyunwoo suggested. "Aren't you going to class?" He questioned.

"Oh!" Jeonghan quickly stood up as he looked at his watch. He'll be late by a few minutes, so he need to run. He excused himself quickly and left.

As soon as he finished class, he found Chan and Seungkwan waiting for him. “Hey you guys.” Jeonghan greeted them excitedly. 

“Hyung, we need to talk.” Chan stated with a serious expression. If Jeonghan knew better, he'd laughed it off. Chan looked so cute when he was acting all serious like this.

“What is it about?” Jeonghan asked expectantly. 

“Hyung, I thought about it hard and long. I still don’t think Seungcheol hyung is related to Jihun noona’s suicide. I…” Chan couldn’t continue his words as Jihoon suddenly appeared and pushed him away and took his place in front of Jeonghan.

“Oh, Jihoon-ah. What a surprise.” Jeonghan greeted the younger amidst feeling alarmed at the younger's murderous expression.

“Jihoon-ah, let’s not make a ruckus here.” Wonwoo tried to hold him, but Jihoon pushed him away.

“I don’t want either, but this jerk!” Jihoon opened his bag and threw an opened packet of rameyon towards Jeonghan. It fell on the floor, causing a mess.

“It’s you, right? You stupid asshole!” Jihoon cursed loudly, inviting people to gather around them.

“What did I do?” Jeonghan questioned innocently.

“I found this inside your cabinet. Why is this open?” Jihoon growled.

“It’s my personal stash of food! Why do you care so much about it?” Jeonghan countered back.

Jihoon scoffed in disbelief. “Yah, I knew Seokmin for more than a year already! I tasted his sweet potato porridge and it wasn’t spicy at all!”

“Then go and apologise to him! Why are you blaming me?!” Jeonghan raised his voice albeit the murmurs from the students around them.

“You are the only other occupant inside the room that day!” Jihoon shouted back.

“Yah, if I really want to hurt him, why would I call for help?! I’ll just let him to die!” Jeonghan defended himself.

Jihoon smirked. “So, you do want to hurt him, don’t you?”

“What?” Jeonghan frowned in confusion as Jihoon approached him.

“You should just let him to die, it’d be so much easier for him that way!” Jihoon whispered harshly before hitting Jeonghan’s shoulder as he walked away. Wonwoo looked anxiously at Jeonghan before he followed Jihoon. The crowd dispersed as they murmured between each other.

“What is all that, hyung?” Chan’s face was void of any emotion.

“Chan-ah, I can explain!” Jeonghan put his hand up, not liking how the younger look. It's as if he was so disappointed with him.  

“How many times do I told you that noona didn’t kill herself, hyung? Why do you never trust me?!” Chan suddenly shouted.

“What?” Jeonghan frowned in surprised and the murmurs became louder.

“I’m so disappointed with you, hyung!” Chan walked away and Seungkwan looked a bit perplexed before he quickly hurried over to follow the younger.

“Jeonghan-ah…” Joshua walked over as soon as Chan and Seungkwan left. “What happened?” Jeonghan sighed as he looked at Joshua. At least he still has Joshua by his side.

Chapter Text

“Jihoon-ah, let’s stop assuming, alright?” Jeonghan stopped in front of the door. It was the first time he heard Seungcheol’s voice from outside the door. Usually it’s just Jihoon’s voice. Seungcheol didn’t talk that much, and even if he did, he never talk as loud as he was right now.

“Hyung! You don’t trust Seokmin, do you?!” Jihoon shouted.

“I do, but the doctor said it wasn’t because of my allergy, right? It was because I didn’t eat for a while.” Seungcheol’s voice was calmer than the younger.

“But that doesn’t revoke the fact that he tried to hurt you, hyung.” Jihoon screamed in frustration.

“How do you know? Do you see what he did? And why do you think he had to do that?” Seungcheol questioned and Jeonghan could hear Jihoon sighed.

“Why, why do you always side with him?” Jihoon questioned in anger. “After what his family did to you?!”

“Jihoon-ah, if we are going there, shouldn’t I hate you too?” Seungcheol asked. “Your family won’t accept me as a Lee either.” There was a brief silence. “That’s what I thought.”

“But it’s different, hyung. I care about you, my parents care about you too. They just can’t do anything because of your grandfather! They threaten our family, hyung!” Jihoon yelled again and Jeonghan’s ears perked at that.

“It’s not him, and it’s not you…” Seungcheol’s voice slowly faded out.

“Hyung!” Jeonghan frowned at Jihoon’s panicked voice.

“Why are you standing outside, hyung?” Jeonghan nearly jumped out in surprise as he turned around to face Mingyu. “Ah, is it about Jihoon hyung? Don’t worry, he won’t get mad for long. Seungcheol hyung should have calmed him down already.” He put the tray on the chair by the door and pressed the passcode instead.

“Hyung?” Mingyu called out. “I brought you food!” He announced as Jeonghan followed him inside. Jihoon was staring solemnly at Seungcheol as his roommate was laying on the bed, looking like he’s sleeping. Jeonghan frowned. He just heard them screaming at each other just a few seconds ago, how was his roommate already asleep?

“Put it on the desk, Mingyu.” Jihoon beamed lightly at the younger, ignoring Jeonghan who walked straight to his side of the room.

“Is hyung already sleeping? I thought he’s going to eat first?” Mingyu frowned.

“He just fell asleep.” Jihoon explained.

“Was I taking too much time?” Mingyu glanced at his watch. “I tried my best to prepare this quickly though…” He pouted.

“No, it’s not your fault.” Jihoon assured the younger. “Thanks for the food, Mingyu-yah. I’m sorry for troubling you.”

“It’s okay, hyung. It’s easy to make anyways.” Mingyu replied. “But it won’t be as tasty if it cools down, though. Why don’t you heat it up later, with the microwave?” He suggested as he pointed towards Jeonghan’s microwave with his pouty lips.

“It’s fine, I’ll just steam it.” Jihoon shrugged. “Thanks, Mingyu-yah.”

“Anytime, hyung!” Mingyu smiled and walked back out.

Jeonghan went to take a shower, his mind thinking of how he could bring Jihoon to his side so the younger could probably answer all the questions regarding Seungcheol that he had in his mind.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Chan-ah…” Jeonghan sighed as he followed Chan’s hurried steps towards the library. “Please?”

“No, hyung.” Chan whispered as he walked through the shelves. “Come on, stop following me, hyung!”

“I won’t.” Jeonghan insisted. “Until you forgive me and tell me everything, I won’t stop following you around.”

“Shh!” A librarian who was beside them shushed them. Chan looked at Jeonghan in anger and Jeonghan shrugged.

“We’ll just get thrown out together.” Jeonghan threatened with a louder voice and get another angry ‘shhh’ from the same librarian.

“Fine!” Chan walked out from the library and Jeonghan quickly followed.

“Look, I’m sorry, Chan.” Jeonghan spoke out as they ended up at a café just outside the library. “I know you’re disappointed in me, but what Jihoon said is not the truth! I didn’t do that to Seungcheol!”

“Then who else, hyung? Seokmin hyung already recreated the same recipe and it wasn’t spicy at all!” Chan pointed out.

“It wasn’t because of the spiciness, Chan. He didn’t eat for half a day. That triggered it!” Jeonghan defended himself.

“You really swear you didn’t do anything, hyung?” Chan questioned.

“What are you talking about?” Jeonghan asked back.

“The room, now that I think about it, it won’t be a mere coincidence for you to be rooming with Seungcheol hyung.” Chan pointed out. “You came to JHU because of him too. And you kept giving me hint that Seungcheol hyung is related to Jihyun noona’s suicide.”

“Okay, now you listen to me, Chan.” Jeonghan took a deep breath. “I did apply to be in the same room with Choi Seungcheol. I told an employee back at Yoon Empire Hotel (YEH), and he said it would be hard, but he’ll try his best.” He then put his phone on the table, showing proof of his conversation with the said staff. “Here, the employee told me I couldn’t choose my room, the room occupants’ names are arranged randomly and personally by the dorm keepers.”

“Hyunwoo hyung is here, isn’t he?” Chan was still glaring at the older.

“I only knew he was here when I called him from Seungcheol’s phone. He's been a mysterious guy, ever since he worked with Jihyun in the mansion.” Jeonghan argued. “And even if I asked for his help, you think he’ll help me? He didn’t even help Jihyun to get out of the mansion. He’s practically under that old geezer’s wing at all times!”

“So, you really didn’t do anything?” Chan repeated his question.

“No.” Jeonghan shook his head. “Not yet.”

“Hyung!” Chan cried out.

“I can’t help it, Chan-ah!” Jeonghan argued in frustration. “Every time I see him, I kept being reminded to Jihyun’s diary… I can’t help but feel angry that he kept rejecting my precious sister!”

“Hyung, it’s normal not to like someone else back.” Chan sighed in desperation. “Do you remember how many times you gave me boxes of chocolate on Valentine’s Day? Or how many papers we both donated to the recreation team to become the firebases?”

“I know…” Jeonghan sighed. He opened his bag and took out Jihyun’s diary. “Well, I think you have to read this, then.”

“What is this…?” Chan accepted the card that Jeonghan passed to him. He read it over and over again before sighing and put it back inside the envelope.

“Look, hyung. There’s something you need to know as well.” Chan changed his seat and sat beside Jeonghan instead. “First, Jihyun noona didn’t kill herself. I think I told you this a lot of times back then.”

“I also said so many times that it’s ridiculous! Who the heck would have so much power to penetrate our empire to manage to kill my sister?” Jeonghan whispered back angrily.

Chan sighed. “Hyung, noona was supposed to have another surgery on the 14 th . She was going to receive another kidney since the cancerous cells had damaged the one donated to her back then. But she decided to run away from home instead of receiving another kidney. I was with her, hyung! She wrote this letter in front of me!”

“What?” Jeonghan frowned in shock. “Why haven’t you said anything?”

“I did hyung! So many times! Did you ever try to listen to me until the end? You keep saying that you didn’t want to know anything that is not related to the reason why she jumped to her death.” Chan exhaled deeply. “She fainted on our way out, so I brought her to the hospital and informed my parents. My parents told me to try and keep her there, so I did. That’s when I first saw Seungcheol hyung. He came and asked me to talk to her in private. So, I leave them alone.”

“You left them alone?” Jeonghan frowned deeper.

“And after Seungcheol hyung left, my parents came. That’s when Jihyun noona said that she’ll undergo the surgery and accept the kidney.” Chan explained. “I wanted to stay with noona, but both my parents and noona told me to go home and come back the next morning. And when we came back, she wasn’t there anymore. They assumed that she went missing either in the morning or the night before. They said she sneaked out from the window…” He shook his head and stopped himself.

“She sneaked out of the window and ran away, right? There was a call made to the Suicide Prevention Helpline and there’s a recorded video of her jumped down the river!” Jeonghan pointed out.

“Hyung, do you know how far it is the hospital with Han River?” Chan questioned. “It was almost 2 miles, hyung. You think Jihyun noona would be able to walk all the way there?”

Jeonghan didn’t say anything as he thought about what Chan said. “When she ran away with me, she passed out even before we left the mansion, hyung! It was Hyunwoo hyung who brought us to the hospital, hyung. But he was called back to the mansion urgently and they changed the guard on the night Jihyun noona ran away.” Chan looked at Jeonghan.

“If only Hyunwoo hyung was there, he’d be able to prevent Jihyun from running away…” Jeonghan sighed.

“That might be true, but hyung…” Chan bit his lips. “But, if Jihyun noona really wants to kill herself, she can just decide not to accept the kidney. She’ll die anyway. She’s sick, hyung. Why go so far as trying to jump down the Han River and even call the Suicide Protection Helpline like a normal healthy people?”

“What are you trying to say, Chan?” Jeonghan asked through gritted teeth.

“I don’t think Jihyun noona is capable of such an attempt to kill herself, hyung. And I don’t know if you know this yet, but Seungcheol hyung was the kidney donor for Jihyun noona.” Chan stated.

“What?” Jeonghan’s eyes widened.

“I think there’s a deeper story to this, hyung.” Chan told his cousin. “I can try to…”

Chan was cut off by Jeonghan’s sudden sneer. He then laughed so loud, making everyone around them take weird glances at them. “Yah, Lee Chan. Are you trying to write a novel here?”

“What?” It was Chan’s turn to frown.

“Fine, I don’t mind if you don’t want to accept my apology.” Jeonghan exhaled as he stopped laughing. “But I think you let your imagination run too wild.”

“Hyung, I…” Chan was trying to explain further but was cut off by Jeonghan’s hand signal for him to stop.

“I know where you’re heading. You’re saying that Jihyun might be killed, right?” Jeonghan stared at Chan who nodded.

“Just like what you said, if they really want to kill Jihyun, they could just make up something simple, why go as far as have her call the Suicide Prevention Helpline and have her being recorded jumping over the railings by the Han River?” Jeonghan questioned back.

“Because they want it to look like suicide, hyung!” Chan pointed out.

“Then, they should just let the news reported her dying of suicide. Why mask the incident as if she died of illness?” Jeonghan challenged the younger. Chan grew speechless at that. “And if there’s really someone trying to kill her, you think people at YEH won’t already hunt them down? She’s the heiress of YEH after all. She owned the same amount of shares as me, and if she died, it would only benefit me, not anyone else.”

“Look, Chan. I’m here to apologize to you. You’re my family. I want us to be close again like before. I can’t have you glared and avoiding me anymore. That’s all.” Jeonghan looked at Chan sadly.

“Hyung…” Chan bit his lips guiltily.

“I know you’re disappointed in me after what happened to Seungcheol and I don’t know why you cared about him so much, but I already said that I didn’t do that.” Jeonghan sighed dejectedly.

“Will you promise me to not try and hurt Seungcheol hyung?” Chan suddenly asked.

“Huh?” Jeonghan frowned.

“I’ll find out what happened to Jihyun noona for you, so until I found out what happen, will you delay whatever you’re planning to do to him?” Chan persuaded the older.

“And we’ll be back to how we were?” Jeonghan demanded.

“Of course, hyung.” Chan promised. “I can never hate you, you’re my family.”

“Let’s go have dinner with Seungkwan and Hansol, then.” Jeonghan smiled happily. “My treat!”

“Sure, let me just text them.” Chan fished out his phone and texted his two best friends. The two came in less than ten minutes and the three went out to have dinner outside happily, burying whatever happened in between them.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Aish!” Jeonghan threw his bag on the bed in frustration. Both Seungcheol and Wonwoo glanced towards his direction as he jumped on the bed and covered himself with blankets. “Why?! Why?! Why?!” Jeonghan rolled around the bed and ended up falling on the ground.

“What’s wrong with that hyung?” Wonwoo whispered to Seungcheol.

“How do I know?” Seungcheol shrugged.

Jeonghan put his blanket away and sighed. Soon, Mingyu rang the bell and announced himself before opening the door. He then walked over towards Jeonghan’s bed. “Hyung, are you alright?”

“Those people are stupid! Why would anyone believe that?” Jeonghan screamed in frustration before slamming the door to the bathroom.

“Why?” Seungcheol asked as Mingyu fixed the mess Jeonghan made on his bed. “Did something happen?”

“People are cursing him on the community board. They even call him bad names and badmouth the Yoon Empire.” Mingyu told the two.

“I’m back!” Jihoon announced as he opened the door at the same time Jeonghan walked out of the bathroom.

“Yah, Lee Jihoon! It’s you, right?!” Jeonghan shouted, startling everyone in the room.

“What?” Jihoon yelled back.

“You upload the post on the community board!” Jeonghan called out.

“What? Do you think I’ll stoop that low?!” Jihoon countered in anger.

“You are! You’re the only one who keeps saying I was trying to hurt Seungcheol! Now everyone is badmouthing me, my whole family and even my dead sister! Are you satisfied?!” Jeonghan screamed out in frustration. His eyes were teary and Mingyu was by his side, trying to calm him down.

“Yah, I didn’t do that! And I didn’t tell anyone to do that!” Jihoon defended himself.

“You just want people to hate me, huh? I don’t know what I’ve done to you, or your family! But if you are going to hate me, just hate me alone! Why do you have to drag my family in this?! Why my dead sister? She suffered enough when she was alive, why does she need to be cursed again even after her death?!” Jeonghan fell on his knees as he started sobbing.

Wonwoo pulled Jihoon aside and showed the post on the community board on his phone to the smaller guy. On the other hand, Mingyu was trying and failing at trying to calm the crying Jeonghan down.

Yoon Jeonghan. What? The heir of YEH? Maybe all wealthy people have those kinds of vicious and monstrous personalities! He tried to hurt his own roommate! I saw his roommate’s friend calling him out in front of everyone. Heh! Serve him right! His family must be ashamed to have such a psychotic son. Maybe they won’t. Cause they’re just as filthy! Even his sister died early. God must have punished her before she does anything as nasty as the whole family. Tsk! YJH, you should just go die like your sister! That way, this country will be clean from horrendous people like you! And your family! Go die, YJH!

“How on earth does this kind of post manage to get a pass from the committee?!” Jihoon asked in disbelief.

“Someone must have hacked it in.” Wonwoo concluded.

“My poor sister… why…” Jeonghan sobbed inside Mingyu’s hug.

“Hyung!” Chan and Seungkwan appeared, followed by Joshua. They took turns trying to calm the frustrated Jeonghan as Wonwoo, Jihoon and Seungcheol watched by the sideline.

“Are you satisfied, Jihoon-ah?” Jeonghan suddenly asked the younger guy as he finally calmed down. “Now everyone is going to curse me alive.”

“Why is that my fault?” Jihoon frowned in confusion.

“You were the one who started all this. You accused me of trying to hurt Seungcheol! He should be lucky I was here with him when that incident happened. He’d be gone if I just let him be!” Jeonghan spat.

“Yah!” Jihoon yelled angrily but was stopped by Seungcheol.

“He’s right, Jihoon-ah.” Seungcheol nodded at him. “I should be grateful to him for calling Hyunwoo hyung. He can just let me be, but he did the right thing, didn’t he?”

“But, hyung!” Jihoon was still trying to argue.

“Jihoon-ah, let’s not drag each other’s family into this. You knew very well what had happened because of such a thing.” Seungcheol turned Jihoon to face him. “Both you and I already went through this, do you want someone else to go through it as well? And feel guilty for the rest of your life?” Jihoon grew silent at that.

Seungcheol stood up and faced them. “Let me apologize for what had happened.”

“What’s the point of your apology, now? Everyone is having fun cursing me and my family.” Jeonghan scoffed. “Soon, the whole country will know that I’m trying to kill my own roommate.”

“I will make sure that won’t happen.” Seungcheol stated firmly. “Wonwoo-yah?”

Wonwoo stood up and walked over towards them. “I already deleted that post from the community board. Anything that is related to the incident will be deleted as well. We will make a counter post on the community board and bury down the story so that people will quickly forget them.”

“Are you sure?” Jeonghan confirmed.

“You can check the community board, it’s not there anymore.” Wonwoo told them and Seungkwan opened the community board on his phone and showed it to Jeonghan.

“Will that be enough for you to forgive us?” Seungcheol asked. “And thank you, for saving my life.”

“Well…” Jeonghan glared at them, mostly towards Jihoon who had his back on them. “…I’ll think about it.”

“Yah!” Jihoon glared at him.

“Maybe if you stop killing me in your mind, I’ll forgive you easier!” Jeonghan hit Jihoon’s shoulder as he stormed his way out of the room.

Mingyu sighed and followed the older, so did Joshua. Both Chan and Seungkwan bowed at them and followed them outside as well.

That night, after being coaxed by his friend and enjoying Mingyu’s delicious cooking, Joshua walked Jeonghan back to his room. “You can come and sleep in my room if you want.” Joshua told him.

“It’s alright. I will just go in and sleep.” Jeonghan assured his friend.

“Good night then.” Joshua watched as Jeonghan walked inside the room and closed the door before leaving to his own room.

Jeonghan changed into a clean pyjama and headed to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. He dimmed the light and played with his phone before he went to sleep as his roommate wasn’t inside, not that he cared where he had gone to.

The next morning, Jeonghan woke up as usual. He saw Seungcheol sleeping on his bed and frowned. He didn’t hear them coming in last night. Maybe he was too tired lashing out and fell asleep a little bit too deeply.

Jeonghan cleaned up and prepared to go to his morning class as usual. He was making toast and coffee when he heard the bell dinged and the door opened from outside. He knew it was Jihoon as only Jihoon would be visiting their room so early in the morning, so Jeonghan ignored it and continued with his usual morning activities.

Jeonghan just finished making his toast when he felt a presence behind him, so he slowly turned around to face a dreary-looking Jihoon looking everywhere but him. He scoffed and continued making his toast.

Jihoon made a throat clearing sound and Jeonghan rolled his eyes and turned to face the younger. “What?” He asked nonchalantly.

“Sorry…” Jihoon muttered under his breath, but Jeonghan managed to hear it anyway.

“You’re talking to yourself or something?” Jeonghan frowned and poured his coffee.

“I’m sorry!” Jihoon repeated with a louder voice. Jeonghan smirked before turning around, coffee mug in his hand and leaning on the cabinet.

“Really? You don’t look sorry at all.” Jeonghan commented.

“I am not.” Jihoon rolled his eyes in annoyance. “But Seungcheol hyung wanted me to apologize, so I did.” Jeonghan jerked his eyebrows. Jihoon sighed. “Or else he won’t let me step inside this room ever again.”

“That’d be better.” Jeonghan nodded. “Should I not accept your apology, then?” 

“Yah!” Jihoon yelled which made Seungcheol stirred but didn’t wake up. “Can you please not be annoying so early in the morning?!” Jihoon lowered his voice.

Jeonghan walked away and finished his toast, as he continued getting ready to go to his morning class as usual. “Come on. Answer me, will you?”

“You’re really smitten over your hyung, huh?” Jeonghan sneered and Jihoon gritted his teeth. “Don’t get all worked up, I’m just teasing you, Jihoon-ah.”

Jihoon’s face darkened and Jeonghan chuckled. “I have two conditions, though.”

“No.” Jihoon countered.

“Well, you should stay out of this room, then.” Jeonghan picked up his backpack but was blocked by the smaller one.

“Fine. What is it?” Jihoon exhaled, trying to calm himself down.

“First, I want to talk freely to my own roommate.” Jeonghan smirked at the smaller before leaning down a bit, a gesture of mockery towards the younger. “Two, I want you to call me hyung.”

“What? No!” Jihoon declined frantically.

“No?” Jeonghan confirmed and nodded. “Okay.” He continued to make his way out but was blocked again by Jihoon.

“Fine!” Jihoon accepted frustratingly.

“Great.” Jeonghan smiled widely. “Let’s be close from now on okay, uri Jihoonie?” Jeonghan smirked before making his way outside. He could literally feel Jihoon throwing daggers behind his back as he walked out and closed the door. Jeonghan smirked. Yoon Jeonghan 1 – Lee Jihoon, 0.





Chapter Text

“Hey, you’re back early.” Jeonghan greeted Seungcheol who was sitting on the bed reading something from his phone.

“Yeah, my class ended early today.” Seungcheol smiled back. Jeonghan put his bag away and grabbed his towel. He was playing around with the others which involved running and he felt sweaty.

Jeonghan changed to a new set of clothes and walked out to find Jihoon already inside, talking to his roommate. “Hey, Jihoonie.” Jeonghan smiled evilly and Jihoon had to grit his teeth as he faked a smile. “I thought you’re not going to be here today.”

“Why would I not be here?” Jihoon asked through gritted teeth.

“I don’t know. Club activities?” Jeonghan pointed out as he opened the fridge. “Any drinks I can offer?”

“No thanks.” Seungcheol replied.

“The kids are going out to drink tonight, aren’t you guys joining?” Jeonghan asked as he read a message that was just sent through his phone.

“We can’t drink.” Seungcheol explained on behalf of them.

“Oh, why?” Jeonghan asked.

“Why do you ask so many questions?” Jihoon frowned.

“Jihoon…” Jihoon cowered at Seungcheol’s gentle voice. He looked up at Jeonghan who was expecting answers from them. “Jihoon has zero alcohol tolerance. He passed out with just 0.5% of alcohol. And I don’t drink much. I would get a massive headache if I did.” He explained.

“I see.” Jeonghan nodded. “I’m not a good drinker either. I’m just there for the mood, you know. When else can I enjoy this student’s life, if not now.”

“You’re definitely right, but we’re not going.” Jihoon told the older man.

“That’s a pity.” Jeonghan faked a pout. “How do you guys release your stress then?”

“Sleeping.” Jihoon answered simply.

“Ah… you’re right.” Jeonghan nodded. “Too much sleep is bad for your health. You should get yourself checked.” He stood up.

The bell dinged and Mingyu announced his arrival before opening the door. “Hyung, why aren’t you ready yet?” He asked Jeonghan.

“I am.” Jeonghan made a twirl. “Why? Do I look like I’m wearing pyjamas?” He frowned.

“Nah, I thought you just got back from class.” Mingyu pointed out and laughed.

“Really? At 8?” Jeonghan sent him a dreadful look. “Anyways, just wait for a bit. I’m gonna get my hair ready and we can go.”

“Sure, hyung.” Jeonghan disappeared behind the bathroom door and Mingyu put a tray by Seungcheol’s nightstand.

“Hyung, I made you abalone porridge tonight.” Mingyu told them.

“Abalone?” Both Seungcheol and Jihoon’s jaws dropped.

“Yah, where did you get such precious ingredients? I tried asking everyone in the culinary department, but they’re all out of stock.” Jihoon asked in awe.

“Jeonghan hyung ordered a special delivery, so we got some from the abalone farmer in Jeju city.” Mingyu told them. Jihoon put back his bowl on the table.

“I feel like eating pizza tonight. Maybe I should ask Wonwoo to come and watch a movie.” Jihoon scorned.

“Wonwoo is going with us, right Mingyu-yah?” Jeonghan walked out of the bathroom and grabbed his phone.

“Yeah, he’s going with us.” Mingyu agreed.

“Just have it, Jihoon-ah. I didn’t touch it at all, it was delivered straight to Mingyu’s private shared kitchen. I had a taste before I came back with Seungkwan and it was so delicious.” Jeonghan taunted the younger. “Are you really going to give up tasting Mingyu’s spectacular cooking just because I helped to buy one bag of abalone for him?”

“Jeonghan’s right, Jihoon-ah.” Seungcheol piped in. “Mingyu worked hard to prepare it for us. Let’s enjoy it.”

Jihoon pouted and sighed before Jeonghan jerked his eyebrows at him and he rolled his eyes. Jeonghan smirked and walked over towards them. “Eat a lot and grow up, uri Jihoonie…” He ruffled his hair before Jihoon managed to stop him and giggled. “Let’s go, Mingyu. They must be waiting.”

“Yah!” Jihoon cried out but Jeonghan had already closed the door shut, and left while laughing out loud with Mingyu.

 

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Jeonghan woke up at the sound of his alarm and stretched lazily on the bed. Seungcheol was already up and walked out of the bathroom. Seungcheol sent him a small smile and Jeonghan smiled back before tossing around and finally headed to the bathroom.

Jeonghan made himself a cup of coffee as usual when Jihoon arrived at their room, as usual. “Are you going to class today, hyung?”

“Shouldn’t I?” Seungcheol questioned back.

Jeonghan finished his cup of coffee and walked to his desk to get his bag. “How did you guys go to class?” He asked the two.

“Soonyoung or Wonwoo drive us around.” Seungcheol was the one who answered.

“Oh, they got cars?” Jeonghan frowned.

“No, it’s Jihoon’s family car. But Jihoon couldn’t drive and he won’t let me drive, so…” Seungcheol trailed off as Jihoon glared at him for giving out too much information.

Jeongan chuckled. “Your morning class is Economics, right?” He asked Seungcheol to which his roommate nodded.

“How do you know that?” Jihoon questioned with a frown.

“I saw his name in the attendance list.” Jeonghan pointed out. “I think we actually have three classes together today. Economy, Management and Operation System.” He smiled at Seungcheol, ignoring Jihoon who was throwing silent daggers at him again with his glares. “Why don’t you go to class with me?”

“He’s gonna skip the morning class.” Jihoon countered.

“Really? Then why is he preparing to go out?” Jeonghan questioned the younger.

“Hyung will be going with me. Just mind your own business.” Jihoon scoffed.

“You have class at 8.30, don’t you? In a different building altogether.” Jeonghan looked at the younger. “Our class starts at 9. You’ll be late.”

“How did you know my schedule?!” Jihoon gritted his teeth.

“Soonyoung.” Jeonghan breathed out a chuckle. “He told me that you guys have extra assignments to be done because you’ve been late for the class every week for a month already.”

Seungcheol frowned and turned to face Jihoon. “Is that true, Jihoon?” Jihoon shook his head frantically. Seungcheol jerked an eyebrow and Jihoon sighed and nodded hesitantly. “Why do you have to drag Soonyoung in this matter?”

“He said he didn’t mind.” Jihoon defended himself.

“He didn’t, but I do, Jihoon.” Seungcheol sighed in frustration.

“Sorry…” The smaller muttered with a slight pout before sending a glare towards Jeonghan which the older only found him cute.

“Anyways, why don’t you go with Soonyoung first? I’ll drive Seungcheol to class with me.” Jeonghan offered.

“No, I’ll go with you!” Jihoon quickly retorted.

“You’ll be late for your class again, Jihoon.” Seungcheol pointed out.

“Not really if we go now.” Jeonghan informed them. He grabbed his car key and phone. “Shall we, then?”

“What about Soonyoung?” Seungcheol asked Jihoon as he also picked up his backpack.

“I’ll text him…” Jihoon answered and walked out of the room. After locking the door, Jeonghan led the two towards his car. Jeonghan got inside and Seungcheol took the seat beside him while Jihoon took the backseat.

Jeonghan made sure they had their seatbelt on and drove towards the management department building. However, instead of their faculty building, Jeonghan made a detour to the other side of the building and stopped in front of the lobby.

“Jihoon?” Jeonghan called out as Jihoon was busy fiddling with his phone. The younger frowned and looked around to realise they were already at their faculty.

“Yah, why did you come here?” Jihoon groaned in disbelief.

“Yah?” Jeonghan frowned at the younger. “I drive you all the way to your class and you call me ‘yah’?”

“I can walk… Hyung.” Jihoon gritted his teeth before pressing the word ‘hyung’.

“You’ll be late, Jihoon-ah. Just go to your class already.” Seungcheol pointed out. Jihoon unwillingly exited the car and glared at Jeonghan.

“Stop glaring, Jihoon. You’ll wear out your eyes.” Jeonghan called out as soon as Jihoon closed the door to his car. “See you around, Jihoon-ah! Don’t sleep in class!” And Jeonghan drove off, leaving a very frustrated Jihoon by the lobby.

 

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“Thank you for driving me around today, Jeonghan-ah.” Seungcheol told his roommate as they sat down for lunch together. They had the same schedule for the whole day, so Jeonghan decided that they go around together and Seungcheol agreed. They went to the library to finish up their impromptu assignment to add up their quiz mark and went to have lunch together.

“You’re welcome.” Jeonghan replied as he looked at Seungcheol’s choice of menu. “Will you be full enough with just bread?” He asked in concern.

Seungcheol smiled and nodded. “I only eat rice once a day.”

“Really? Is that why you’re as slim as an idol?” Jeonghan asked in astonishment.

“You’re slim too.” Seungcheol chuckled.

“I’m naturally thin. You look like you’re sick.” Jeonghan pointed out. “Look at you, you’re literally just skin and bone.”

“Hyung!” Jihoon appeared while panting. “Why didn’t you reply to my text?”

“Ah!” Seungcheol fished out his phone from his pocket.

“Did you come running all the way here just because he didn’t text you back?” Jeonghan questioned the younger in disbelief.

“None of your business, Yoon Jeonghan.” Jihoon grunted.

“Jihoon…” Seungcheol frowned at the younger.

“Hyunggg!” Jihoon suddenly sounded like a spoiled brat. “I’m worried you know!”

“Calm down and let’s eat, shall we?” Jeonghan offered. “I won’t kidnap my own roommate in the bright daylight, so don’t worry alright?”

Jihoon pouted and sat down. “Order something, I’ll pay.” Jeonghan told the younger man as he gave him his money card. Seungcheol nodded at the younger and Jihoon reluctantly took it and went to order some food.

“Sorry about Jihoon. He has a reason why he acted like that, though.” Seungcheol apologized on behalf of his friend.

“No worries. I’m not such a likeable person either.” Jeonghan chuckled. “But he’s cute. So, I’ll let it slide.” The two laughed as Jihoon sat down with a tray of food.

“Have some juice, hyung.” Jihoon put a bottle of juice beside Seungcheol’s tray. “And, thank you.” He passed the card back to Jeonghan but didn’t let it go from his grasp. “Can we just agree on one thing, though?”

“You don’t want to call me hyung, right?” Jeonghan deducted and Jihoon nodded begrudgingly. Jeonghan pulled his card and put it back inside his wallet. “Fair enough, just don’t call me ‘yah’.”

“Assa!” Jihoon smiled and made a quick celebratory dance as the two older guys just watched him with a headshake.

 

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“Say, Seungcheol-ah.” Jeonghan turned his chair around to face Seungcheol. His roommate was reading a magazine on his bed while Jihoon was fast asleep right next to him. It’s a wonder how the two could always fit onto the single-sized bed comfortably.

“Yes?” Seungcheol put his magazine down.

“The kids wanted to go for a day picnic tomorrow. Do you wanna come with us?” Jeonghan invited him.

“By the beach?” Or by the mountain?” Seungcheol asked.

“By the beach. They want to have fun before we start to get busy with the exams soon.” Jeonghan told him. It’s already the end of the semester and they’ll have a month of examinations before their summer break.

“I can’t swim.” Seungcheol pointed out.

“I don’t either.” Jeonghan giggled. “We’re just going to play, have some good food, take a breather and come back.”

“Sounds fun. But you know…” Both Seungcheol and Jeonghan’s eyes fell onto the sleeping Jihoon beside Seungcheol. As if on cue, the smaller guy stirred and sat up while rubbing his eyes sleepily.

“Hyung…” His voice slightly hoarse due to his sleep and he blinked at Seungcheol which the older lightly coed at his cuteness. “Why aren’t you sleeping yet?”

“I will later.” Seungcheol ruffled the younger’s bed hair. Jihoon yawned and stretched before getting down from the bed. “I’ll go wash up.” He stated and walked out of the room.

“He’s up at this time?” Jeonghan frowned as he looked at the clock. It was almost 11 pm.

“Don’t mind him. He’s a night owl.” Seungcheol pointed out.

“What is he doing staying up so late at night?” Jeonghan wondered out aloud.

“I have no idea either.” Seungcheol answered with a small chuckle.

“So, are you coming with us tomorrow?” Jeonghan asked again.

“I’ll have to talk to Jihoon first.” Seungcheol answered. As if on cue, they heard the passcode being pressed and the door opened, revealing a fresher Jihoon.

“Jihoon-ah, let’s go and have a picnic with everyone tomorrow.” Jeonghan told the younger.

“Not interested.” Jihoon answered shortly.

“But Seungcheol wants to go.” Jeonghan pointed out and Seungcheol frowned at him.

Jihoon looked at Seungcheol and the older man shook his head. “He can’t anyways.”

“Everyone’s going. You guys should too.” Jeonghan persuaded the two.

“Look, hyung can’t stay outside for too long. He can’t even swim. Why would he go?” Jihoon explained, gritting his teeth.

“We’ll be staying at Seungkwan’s family’s beach house. It’s by the sea, so Seungcheol can just stay inside. It’s just for a day. We’ll play, eat, sleep and come back.” Jeonghan coaxed them. “Aren’t you bored being trapped inside this building for the whole semester?”

“No.” Jihoon insisted.

“Seungcheol-ah, don’t you want to spend time with the others too? They’ve been helping you so much throughout the semester. They would love it if you came together with them.” Jeonghan used his wild card.

“Yah! You’re playing dirty!” Jihoon called out.

“I said, don’t ‘yah’ me, Lee Jihoon.” Jeonghan stated coldly. “Or I’ll kidnap him to go with me tomorrow.”

“Hyung, no.” Jihoon shook his head at Seungcheol desperately.

“We’re staying indoors, right?” Seungcheol suddenly asked.

“The kids might not be staying inside for the whole day, but yeah, we even have a karaoke booth and board games.” Jeonghan hid his victorious smile.

“Jihoon-ah…?” Seungcheol looked at Jihoon and the younger rolled his eyes at the puppy look the older was giving him. “Please…? I want to spend time with others too. Hmm?”

“Fine.” Jihoon sighed and Jeonghan hid his smirk. “What time are we leaving?”

“Around 10. We’ll stop by the mart to buy some ingredients for lunch and dinner before leaving for the beach house.” Jeonghan told them. “But we can just go straight to the beach house. I’ll drive us straight there with Seungkwan.”

“We’re not sleeping there, right?” Jihoon confirmed.

“Some of the guys will.” Jeonghan answered. “But I’m coming back. They don’t have enough room for all of us.”

“We’ll come back with you then.” Jihoon decided.

“Yes! Thank you so much, Jihoon-ah!” Seungcheol pulled Jihoon into a hug and the younger squirmed.

“Go to sleep now, hyung.” Jihoon ordered and Seungcheol laid down obediently.

“Good night!” Seungcheol pulled the blanket and closed his eyes almost immediately. Jeonghan sent a victorious look at Jihoon and turned back around towards his desk. Yoon Jeonghan – 2, Lee Jihoon – 0.



Chapter Text

“Here.” Jeonghan put a stack of books on the table in between them.

“I’m sorry, Jeonghan. You have to bring all the books here from the library.” Seungcheol apologized as Jeonghan took a seat in front of him.

“If you’re really sorry, why don’t you buy me lunch after we hand in our assignment tomorrow?” Jeonghan suggested and Seungcheol laughed.

“Right, I will just transfer some cash to your card.” Jeonghan laughed as well.

“Hyung!” Jihoon appeared from afar and panted as he sat down by the gazebo Jeonghan had booked to prepare for their assignment.

“Why are you here?” Jeonghan frowned at Jihoon who smirked evilly at Jeonghan.

“Hyung needs my help for the assignment.” Jihoon stuck out his tongue at the elder.

“Let him do it himself. Why are you always doing things for him? He’s not a disabled person, is he?” Jeonghan intentionally fueled the fire.

“Shut up, rich bastard!” As expected, Jihoon bit his bait.

“Jihoon…” Jihoon calmed down at Seungcheol’s warning tone. “I’m sorry, Jeonghan-ah. But Jihoon had been helping me a lot with the assignment. I know I’m paired with you for this assignment, but can I let Jihoon help me as well? Please?”

Of course Jeonghan couldn’t say no to those puppy eyes. He hates Seungcheol, he really did. But he’s trying to befriend him for now, so he needs to act like a civil friend. But Jihoon really gets on his nerves and he might kill him before Seungcheol, so he answered the obvious. “No.”

“Then don’t pair up with him, hyung!” Jihoon stood up, pulling Seungcheol up with him.

“Really? You’re just gonna cancel the assignment because I don’t agree on having Jihoon as a helper?” Jeonghan called out in disbelief.

“Sorry, Jeonghan. I don’t think I could do anything without him.” Seungcheol decided and stood up as well.

“Weak.” Jeonghan spat.

“Say that again, I dare you!” Jihoon was suddenly in front of him, his tiny body didn’t match the murderous aura around him.

“Weak!” Jeonghan spat out, louder and sharper. “What kind of person are you, huh? Can’t you do anything on your own?”

Jeonghan’s words were cut short as Jihoon grabbed his collar. “What? Are you going to punch me on the face? Do it, Lee Jihoon and we’ll see what will happen to the both of you.”

“Lee Jihoon.” Jihoon let out an angry growl before letting go of the older man and pushed him away harshly.

“It’s okay, Jihoon-ah.” Seungcheol looked at Jeonghan. “We’ll just continue to pair together.”

“Hyung!” Jihoon frowned in disbelief.

“I’m sorry on behalf of Jihoon, Jeonghan-ah.” Seungcheol smiled at Jeonghan before he pulled Jihoon away. Jeonghan watched as the two talked, Seungcheol was talking calmly while Jihoon had the same frowning face which got angrier as they continued talking. Soon, Jihoon stormed away and Seungcheol walked back to the gazebo.

“I’m sorry about that.” Seungcheol took his seat back.

“It’s fine.” Jeonghan assured him. “Just why do you need his help anyway?”

“I’m a bit lacking on the academic side.” Seungcheol coughed embarrassedly. “I don’t want to let anyone down and I need to pass the class, so…”

“Hey, I’m here, okay?” Jeonghan jerked his eyebrows. “I’m an excellent student.” He boasted.

“I know, that’s why I need Jihoon. I don’t want to drag you down with my insufficient knowledge and skills.” Seungcheol reasoned out regretfully.

“I don’t believe you. You’re a YEF scholar. They don’t choose average students for a scholar.” Jeonghan pointed out. And Seungcheol doesn’t only have his tuition fees paid, but he also receives living and medical expenses.

“But I’m a special case, Jeonghan. I’m an orphan and my socioeconomic background is below average. There’s a few scholars like me too, that’s why we have living expenses on top of the tuition fees.” Seungcheol explained and Jeonghan frowned. He remembered his auntie and uncle telling him about helping those from a very poor background to survive, even helping them to get food stamps.

“But you should be good enough to continue your study here.” Jeonghan added. JHU, even an average university, is still a specialised one. Students have to take online examinations before they are eligible to apply, and the requirement is not below average either.

“Well… about that…” Seungcheol scratched the back of his head timidly. “The reason why I am a mature student is because I’ve been trying a few times to get in.” Seungcheol looked down in defeat. “And I need to pass a few rounds of interviews because my result is below average? And I need to get into JHU to assure the continuation of my scholarship, so…”

Jeonghan nodded as he listened to his roommates. He didn’t know that. But after working so hard to get in, why did his roommates always manage to skip classes? That was one of the mysteries Jeonghan vowed to find out. If he’s not making up stories, then none of his explanations matched up right now.

“Jeonghan-ah, I’m sorry but can we take a rain check for today? I promise I will continue doing the research for you, but I have somewhere to go urgently.” Seungcheol said as he looked at his phone.

“What about tomorrow night? I’ll bring the book back to our room, so we can look over it for the rest of the night together?” Jeonghan suggested.

“Sure, thanks Jeonghan!” Seungcheol stood up. “And I’m really sorry about today.” And he ran off even before Jeonghan managed to reply.

Jeonghan rolled his tongue in annoyance as he stared at the books scattered on the table. He decided to call Mingyu and Joshua and the two arrived to help him carry everything back to his room with the promise to treat them for dinner.

After having an exclusive dinner, the three rushed back inside the campus before their curfew, barely managed to drive inside before the last bell rang and the gate closed on them.

“Woah, we survived!” Jeonghan sighed as Mingyu parked the car.

“Thanks to my brilliant driving skills, right hyung?” Mingyu touted as he played with the car key.

“Thanks for driving us back, Mingyu.” Joshua smiled at the youngest of them.

“Sure!” Mingyu tossed the key back to Jeonghan and he catched it before pressing the passcode to his own room. The room was already dark on Seungcheol’s side, the said guy sleeping on the bed with Wonwoo dozing off by the bedside.

Jeonghan walked over to his side not so silently, waking Wonwoo up. He checked on the sleeping Seungcheol and walked out of the room, minding his own business. Jeonghan took a quick shower, changed into his pyjamas and slumped over his bed comfortably.

“That feels so good.” Jeonghan sighed in content. He looked at Seungcheol for a while, wondering what made him run off so suddenly just now. A few minutes later, he snapped out of it, decided that it wasn’t his business anyways and switched off the lights before drifting off to sleep.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Do you want coffee?” Jeonghan asked as he took his seat on the study table. Seungcheol was right beside him with his round and thick rimmed glass that Jeonghan didn't even know he owned.

“Nah, just mineral water.” Seungcheol pointed to his extra-large-sized water bottle by the table. “I need to finish that by today, so…” He shrugged and continued scanning the thick book in front of him.

Jeonghan nodded and sipped his coffee before he continued to look through various websites for their presentation.

“Seungcheol-ah?” Jeonghan looked away from the screen. Seungcheol hummed without looking away from the screen. “Why do you choose your major?”

“It was the easiest major to pass?” Seungcheol replied, looking away from the book.

“Seriously?” Jeonghan frowned in disbelief. “Then are you just going to apply to work anywhere as soon as you get your degree?”

“Not anywhere.” Seungcheol replied nonchalantly, pulling his glasses away from his face. “I’m from YEF, so it’s compulsory for me to send a resume to Yoon Empire Hotel. They’ll give me whatever job they deemed suitable for me.”

“But with your major…” Jeonghan blinked. “…and your performance… I mean, no offense…” He put his hand up. “What if they give you a job as a bellboy? Or a server? Or a housekeeping staff? Or just a receptionist?”

“That’s better than having no job.” Seungcheol replied as he gave him a smile. “…no?” Jeonghan frowned and Seungcheol laughed. “With my performance, I don’t think YEH would even offer me a job, don’t you think so, future president-nim?” He gave him a teasing smile.

“Why don’t you join any extra activities, get a specialised cert like everyone else? Then maybe you could be an executive instead?” Jeonghan queried, trying to dig anything out of his mysterious roommate.

“My dream is to graduate, Jeonghan. Not to decorate my resume. As long as I can have enough credits to graduate, I’m more than happy.” Seungcheol pointed out.

“But normal people would decorate their resume so that they could get the best out of it, Seungcheol.” Jeonghan argued.

“Yeah, and you know very well that I’m not normal, don’t you, Jeonghan?” Seungcheol chuckled on his own. “Different people have different dreams, Jeonghan. Some people want to have a steady job, some people want to start a business, and some people just want to live freely, don’t you think?”

Jeonghan could feel venom through the words, but he didn’t know who Seungcheol was trying to impale with the venomous words. “Just like what our presentation would be, sometimes we have to choose the opportunity cost, choosing the next best thing instead of the best thing? Maybe that’s much better for the economic flow?”

Jeonghan took a while before he broke in a set of chuckles. “Wow, you should be the presenter, Seungcheol.”

“You said we’re doing this together, so, we’re presenting this work together, aren’t we?” Seungcheol looked confused. “Do I have to present it on my own?”

“Nah, I’m just complimenting you. You’re such an eloquent speaker.” Jeonghan pointed out.

“I am.” Seungcheol stated boastfully. “If you squint a bit more, you’ll find out that I was the best speaker for the national debate tournament when I was in high school.”

“I didn’t know you’re so funny, Seungcheol.” Jeonghan even held his stomach from laughing too much.

“I’m telling the truth, though. It didn’t ring any bells?” Seungcheol stared at him seriously and Jeonghan slowly stopped laughing.

“What do you mean?” Jeonghan frowned.

“The 67 th national debate tournament? I mean, your team won anyways…” Seungcheol reminded him and Jeonghan gasped as he remembered the event. His school won the first prize, but the best speaker was awarded to the captain of the team who won the second place.

“You went to school the same year as me?” Jeonghan frowned. “Then why are you here two years later than our friends?”

“Back at you, Yoon Jeonghan. I mean, I told you that I’ve been trying to get here a few times because of my scholarship, but what about you? And why JHU of all places?” Seungcheol stared back at him with the same amount of energy.

“Wait, why are we talking about this anyways?” Jeonghan backtracked. He couldn’t continue or he’ll spill out his secret in the open. It’s still too early! He needs to take serious precaution. He snapped out of his thoughts at Seungcheol’s giggles.

“It was you who asked me first.” Seungcheol put back his glasses which covered almost half of his face. “Let’s continue then, so we can finish by dinner and go to sleep.”

Jeonghan shrugged in agreement and focused back to his task at hand. He scanned countless documents and watched a few videos while stealing glances at Seungcheol who had permanent pout on his face. He wondered what the other guy had on his mind. He had so many questions, especially, what is his relationship with his sister.

Jeonghan snapped out of his thoughts at Seungcheol’s light sniffles. He turned around to find him blinking back at him confusedly. He shrugged and continued watching one last video before they concluded the research and compiled everything together.

Twenty minutes later, Jeonghan was finally done with his work. He stretched lightly, facing Seungcheol’s table as he did so and scoffed. The said guy was already dozing off in his notebook. Jeonghan was about to wake him up when the bell rang twice.

“Hyung? It’s Seokmin! I have your dinner!” Jeonghan’s stomach made a loud grumble at the announcement.

“Coming!” He called out as he left their study area towards the door. He opened the door to find Seokmin with a basket filled to the brim. “Yah, are you going for a picnic or something?”

“Nah, Jihoon hyung asked me to make some sweet potato porridge for Seungcheol’s hyung since Mingyu is away for a family event with Wonwoo.” Seokmin walked inside with the basket in his hand. “Wonwoo hyung said Seungcheol hyung would be studying with you, so I made some cheesy chicken katsu with rice curry for you. I made extra so we can both share since Jihoon specifically told me to wait until hyung fell asleep before I left. And since I don’t know how long that would take, I brought some snacks in case we got hungry.”

“You’re officially the resident ahjumma, Seokmin-ah.” Jeonghan commented as they made their way to the lounge. “He fell asleep while reading I think.” He pointed at Seungcheol who was still sleeping with his head on the desk.

“I shall wake him up. Can I have a cup of iced americano from your precious coffee machine, hyung?” Seokmin requested as Jeonghan started the machine to make some coffee for himself.

“Sure.” Jeonghan started to prepare the coffee while Seokmin walked over towards the study table. He softly put his hand on Seungcheol’s shoulder and shook him lightly.

“Hyung? I brought food.” Seokmin told him. “Hyung? Wake up, let’s eat.” Seokmin shook the older a bit harder as he showed no response. That’s when he saw a red blotch on the notebook. “Hyung?!” Seokmin pulled Seungcheol’s head up forcefully and held him steady as he checked on him.

“Hyung! Jeonghan hyung! Can you get some tissues??” Seokmin cried out and Jeonghan soon appeared with a box of tissues.

“Why? What happened?” Jeonghan asked as he walked over with the box of tissues. He gasped as he saw Seungcheol’s face full of blood. The blood was everywhere on his face, it even stained his glasses, his notebook and his shirt, not to mention his arm where he had been resting his head on.

“Hyung, can you help me get Jihoon’s number on call? My hand is kinda full.” Seokmin instructed and Jeonghan wondered why Seokmin was acting so calm, like he was used to the situation.

“But I don’t have his number.” Jeonghan told the younger.

“Use Seungcheol hyung’s phone.” Seokmin pointed to Seungcheol’s phone that was on the table. “The password is 3388.”

Jeonghan pressed the password and paused as he saw the background picture of the phone. It was a picture of his late sister, Jihyun with Seungcheol smiling away at the camera. “Hyung? Jeonghan hyung! Quick!”

Jeonghan snapped out of his trance and with shaking hands, he dialled Jihoon’s number that he found on the list of calls instead of going through the countless number of contacts saved inside the phone.

“He’s not picking up!” Jeonghan replied as Seokmin laid Seungcheol down on the floor.

“Give it to me.” Seokmin snatched the phone away. He pressed the speed dial button and the loudspeaker button, smudging the screen with blood.

“Hyung?” Jihoon’s voice was heavy with concern.

“Hyung! It’s Seokmin. Hyung’s having a bad nosebleed!” Seokmin reported as he grabbed a towel from Seungcheol’s opened bag and dabbed it on Seungcheol’s face.

“I’m coming over!” And the line ended.

“Hyung, can you get me a bucket of water?” Seokmin asked Jeonghan, who was standing like a statue by the table. “Jeonghan hyung!”

“Uh? What…?” Jeonghan blinked.

Seokmin sighed as he stood up instead and rushed back with another towel and a bucket of water. He wiped away the blood from Seungcheol’s face as his nosebleed had stopped, fortunately.

A few minutes later, the door opened, revealing a panting Jihoon who looked like he ran from the other side of the campus. “Sorry I’m late. I was just at the library…”

Jeonghan blinked at the younger in disbelief. That’s too fast. “Did he bleed a lot?”

“Not as much, I think. He only got a blotch on the book and smeared his glasses and shirt.” Seokmin reported calmly as Jihoon held his wrist.

“His heartbeat is normal.” Jihoon announced and the two sighed in relief. “Can you help me get him back to the bed?”

Jeonghan watched as the two worked on Seungcheol. They changed his clothes, wiped his face and dabbed a cold towel on his forehead. No one even acknowledged him, as if he was just a mere shadow.

“Here.” Jihoon suddenly shoved Seungcheol’s notebook in front of his face. “Enough of this pairing bullshit. I don’t care if you fail the class, but Seungcheol hyung is dismissed from all classes. I’m being nice and letting you do whatever you want because he worked hard for this.”

“Hyung?” Seokmin appeared beside him with a smile. “Let’s eat. You must be hungry, right?” Jeonghan followed Seokmin absentmindedly towards the lounge.

“Let’s eat, hyung.” He put a pair of chopsticks and a spoon in front of the older.

Jeonghan just watched as Seokmin inhaled the food hungrily in front of him. “Why hyung? Does my food not suit your palate?”

“No, it’s delicious.” Jeonghan replied and took his plate and ate a spoonful of rice. He then turned towards the sleeping area and shrugged. He shouldn’t feel guilty, right?

“Don’t worry about them, hyung.” Seokmin told him. “Seungcheol hyung will wake up later at night and Jihoon will give him something to eat.”

Worry? Jeonghan scoffed silently. Of course not! “It’s normal for him to have a nosebleed if he worked too hard on something, hyung. That’s why he didn’t join any activities or did his assignment. Jihoon hyung or the others would usually do it for him, insead. It’s a wonder why he suddenly agreed to do an assignment with you.”

“I kinda forced him to.” Jeonghan shrugged.

“It’s okay, hyung. You didn’t know.” Seokmin assured the older.

“But who in the world fainted just because of a mere nosebleed? Is he afraid of blood or something?” Jeonghan scoffed, not being able to keep it only in his thoughts.

Luckily Seokmin didn’t really mind with his harsh choice of words. He giggled instead. “You’ll be killed by Jihoon if he hears you say that, hyung.” Seokmin whispered scandalised. “But to answer your question, he has low blood pressure and low supply of red blood. That’s why he fainted.”

“Is he sick or something?” Jeonghan frowned.

“I guess you didn’t know, hyung.” Seokmin shrugged like it was nothing big before he dropped the truth. “He has leukaemia.”

 

Chapter Text

Jeonghan speed-walked through the crowd to get to the library quickly. He was trying to find Chan, but he couldn’t find his younger cousin anywhere. It was the last day of their study week since examination would start on the next day, so he guessed Chan would be in the library like the good student he was.

“Hansol-ah!” Jeonghan called out to the younger guy, but he just ignored him and walked straight to the main entrance of the library. Jeonghan sighed and started running before grabbing his hand, pulling him to a stop.

“Oh hyung.” Hansol turned around and pulled his earphone out.

“I was calling for you!” Jeonghan scolded him.

“Sorry, hyung.” He shrugged as he pointed to his earpiece.

“Anyways, have you seen Chan?” Jeonghan asked. “I’ve been looking for him all around, he said he’s coming back to campus today.”

“In the evening hyung. He’ll get on the last flight from Seoul.” Hansol replied helpfully.

“Ah, I forgot about that.” Jeonghan nodded. “Sorry. Say hi to Boo for me.” He told Hansol as the younger was about to continue walking.

“See you, hyung!” And Hansol disappeared from the entrance of the door.

Jeonghan sighed and changed his direction towards the café. After the study session with Seungcheol and getting to know about Seungcheol’s illness, he tried to find Chan, but his cousin was already back in Seoul. He tried calling him, but he never picked up. Seungcheol on the other hand just disappeared, so did Jihoon. He went to sleep and woke up the next day to an empty room. All Seungcheol’s items were still there but he was not there. He never came back. He tried to ask Mingyu, but even the younger didn’t know since Wonwoo also didn’t know where Jihoon had run off to.

Chan had sent him a quick message of ‘we need to talk’ and ‘I’m coming back tomorrow’, but he’s still back in Seoul. And apparently mostly everyone knew about Seungcheol’s illness. Even Seungkwan judged him. “What do you mean you don’t know? You’re literally his roommate.” Was what the younger said.

Well, to be fair, Jihoon did a good job making Seungcheol a mysterious roommate. If he was a character in a supernatural story, he’d suspect Seungcheol and Jihoon to be a vampire or something. Pale skin, doing nothing but sleeping, eating weird food, staying up at night and many more strange occurrences.

“Jeonghan-ah?” It was Joshua. He frowned worriedly at Jeonghan. “Is everything okay?”

“Not really.” Jeonghan sighed, his shoulder drooping low.

“Wanna talk about it?” Joshua offered and Jeonghan merely nodded as he let Joshua lead him to one of the secluded seats behind their department. Joshua left him there and he came back with two cans of drink.

“Seriously?’ Jeonghan let out a chuckle as he took the can from his friend. “Beer at 2 pm?”

“We have exams tomorrow, so this is the best I can do for you.” Joshua chuckled back. “So, what’s wrong?”

Jeonghan didn’t answer immediately. He stared at the can for a while before opening it and drank a sip.

“Do you know about it too?” Jeonghan finally asked as Joshua took a sip of his beer as well.

“About what?” Joshua asked back, not really understanding the question.

“About Seungcheol and his… illness?” Jeonghan asked directly. Joshua looked a bit taken aback with the sudden question before letting out a small sigh.

“Yeah, of course.” Joshua nodded curtly.

“And you didn’t think of telling me that?” Jeonghan frowned accusingly.

“You’re his roommate, and the circumstances were a dead giveaway. I thought that if I was in your shoes, I would already ask on my second day of living with him.” Joshua simply explained.

“But you said he’s weird!” Jeonghan called out angrily.

“I didn’t know yet back then…” Joshua bit his lips. “I only knew about it after Wonwoo joined us for the student council a few months ago. He was in charge of the students’ absence in the discipline body and when we combined, he still holds the portfolio. So, I asked why he never marked Seungcheol’s absence and that’s when I knew about it.”

“Everyone knew except for me, huh?” Jeonghan scoffed.

“Why? Are you going to stop with your revenge plan now that you know he’s sick?” Joshua suddenly asked.

“He has Jihyun as his lock screen picture!” Jeonghan pointed out.

“What?” Joshua was shocked as well.

“I saw it twice already. The first time I saw it, I panicked, so I thought my brain was playing a joke on me. But this time I clearly saw it! It was a picture of him and Jihyun. He killed her and he still had the audacity to use her as his lock screen picture!” Jeonghan’s fist was trembling as he was consumed with anger, making the beer can crash and spill everywhere.

“Calm down, Jeonghan.” Joshua pulled the crushed can away and replaced it with his handkerchief to wipe the liquid away. “I think there’s something more behind all these stories, Jeonghan.”

“Like what?” Jeonghan growled. “My family’s all dead, Shua. My parents, my younger sister, my grandfather! All I have are my uncle and auntie, but they weren’t even my real family! We’re not even blood related!”

“You’re not?” Joshua frowned in confusion.

“My auntie wasn’t my grandfather’s biological daughter. Why do you think I was named the official heir instead of her?” Jeonghan pointed out, making Joshua speechless with the sudden news. “She’s an adopted daughter. My grandmother used to love visiting orphanages and she ended up adopting her when she was around five years old.” Joshua kept quiet, trying to process all the sudden surge of information.  

“Why is my life such a wreck?”

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hyung!” Jeonghan turned around just to see Chan running towards him and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug.

“C-chan! C-can’t breathe!” Jeonghan shouted, trying to squirm out of his tight hold.

“Oh!” Chan quickly let go of him and he let out a panting breath. “I’m sorry, hyung.” Jeonghan looked at the younger sternly, but his frown softened as he saw Chan’s moist eyes.

“Channie?” Jeonghan pulled him closer. “Why are you crying?”

“I’m just…” Chan tried to control his tears, but obviously failed as tears flowed down his slightly chubby cheek. “I miss you so much, hyung…”

“Aww…” Jeonghan ruffled his hair before wiping his tears away. “I miss you too, kid.”

“Hyung, there’s so much that I want to tell you!” Chan wiped his tears dry as he smiled brightly, too bright in Jeonghan’s opinion. “Can I stay the night?”

“Of course.” Jeonghan replied, still perplexed with the sudden enthusiasm. “But I’m going to study the whole night, though. Would that be fine for you?”

“Sure! I’ll accompany you!” Chan agreed. “Why don’t we go out for dinner first, hyung?” His tone suddenly quieted down a bit. “I have something to tell you.”

“Okay, let’s go.” Jeonghan agreed and they went down to the dormitory cafeteria to have dinner.

“First thing first, hyung.” Chan pushed his bowl away. Jeonghan had no idea how he managed to finish his dinner that fast. Either he’s too hungry or he’s just too eager to tell him something.

“I got Seungcheol hyung’s profile.” Jeonghan lit up at that. “I’ll email you later but let me just briefly tell you about what I read.”

“So?” Jeonghan inquired impatiently as Chan finished his drink as well.

“Apparently, his name wasn’t Choi Seungcheol. His birth certificate showed that the name was registered two years after his birth.” Chan told him. “He had no record of his family. The record says that he was sent to the hospital by a passer-by. I checked that record too, but all I got was he was left all alone at an empty park. Luckily he was found early or else…”

“Cut the sob story, Chan.” Jeonghan rolled his tongue in annoyance.

“Then, what do you want to know, hyung?” Chan queried with his forehead ceased.

“Did he go to the same school as Jihyun?” Jeonghan asked straightforwardly.

“Yeah, but only for his senior year. He went to Hwaseong for the first two years. He dropped out and transferred in his final year. The record says it’s because of health issues.” Chan answered.

“Yeah, he has leukaemia, right?” Jeonghan casually replied.

“Well, that’s the most recent since it’s a relapse… but yeah. Leukaemia is definitely one of them.” Chan nodded lightly; his voice laced with pity.

“What do you mean by one of them? And the leukaemia was a relapse?” Jeonghan was utterly confused by now.

“Based on his medical report, he had a heart problem when he was young. But after he was sent to the orphanage, the doctors had managed to find enough sponsors to continue treating him. But in the process, they found out he had leukaemia. Long story short, he got a transplant, and he was healthy. But he fell sick again, which is why he dropped out and transferred to Jihyun noona’s school.” Chan explained. “And he was in and out of hospital after that for a while before he was deemed healthy enough to get to the university earlier this year.”

“But he said it was because of his interview? He was a below average student?” Jeonghan frowned.

“Who tell you that, hyung?” Chan frowned. “He’s one of the best students nationally? He scored a perfect score for the CSAT. He was even on the television for a while…” Chan trailed off as he remembered the reason why Jeonghan knew nothing of this. Of course he didn’t, he was mourning for Jihyun’s death for months.

“He really lied to me, huh?” Jeonghan whispered under breath.

“What did you say, hyung?” Chan frowned.

“Nothing. I don’t know why this is important. I need to study for tomorrow. Just send the file to me, I’ll read it later.” Jeonghan stood, Chan followed suit although he was very much confused with the elder’s sudden change of mood.

Chan did end up sleeping in Jeonghan’s bed that night as Jeonghan spent the whole night studying random things. None of what he read actually made sense to him. He only remembered what Chan told him and how it was so different from what Seungcheol had told him before. Are there two Choi Seungcheol, then?

Jeonghan ended up switching on his computer. There was a new unread email from Chan. He hastily clicked it, and Seungcheol’s profile appeared. True to what Chan just told him, Seungcheol’s profile listed almost everything about him, which was totally opposite of what Seungcheol had told him. He wasn’t living on food stamps, he had monthly sponsors from YEF since he was 12. His medical fees were paid by YEF, and currently sponsored by The Universe Foundation, a foundation under Jihoon’s family’s name. Looking at his medical record, Seungcheol actually had to delay his admittance to the university twice because of his health. He was offered a full scholarship by JHU, he didn’t have to go for a round of interviews like what he had told him before. So, why did Seungcheol lie to him? Did he actually know his plan?

“Hyung…?” Chan sleepily sat up from the bed and Jeonghan quickly shut his laptop off.

“Oh, you’re awake? It’s still early, you should go back to sleep.” Jeonghan told the younger as he glanced at the clock by the wall.

“Are you really not gonna sleep, hyung?” Chan asked.

“I’ll be too anxious to sleep, might as well do a quick revision y’know.” Jeonghan stifled his yawn. Truthfully, his head is aching like crazy. He had no idea why. Why did he get so worked up with Seungcheol’s life? He was just going to take revenge on him, for Pete’s sake!

“Wake me up later, hyung…” Chan muttered sleepily before he went back to sleep. Jeonghan ended up just staring at the wall for two full hours before Chan’s alarm rang so loudly and they get ready for the morning.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hyung, have you seen the name list for the students awarded for the Academic Excellence Award?” Chan asked excitedly as Jeonghan stifled another yawn. He had been doing nothing but sleep for the whole week. It was a few weeks after their exams where Jeonghan had been staying up for almost every night staring into nothing.

“I haven’t…” Jeonghan stretched his limbs. They were back in Seoul for two weeks of semester break before they had to go back to the university for professional training.

“Let’s look at it together!” Chan leaped over and took a seat beside the older guy.

“Can’t we do it after breakfast?” Jeonghan asked sleepily.

“Hyung, it’s almost 4 pm. What do you mean breakfast?” Chan frowned as he shoved his phone on Jeonghan’s face.

“Fine, let’s see.” Jeonghan yielded tiredly.

“Woah!” Chan squealed in excitement seeing both his name and Jeonghan as he scrolled through the page on his phone. “And the best student for the management department goes to…” Chan made his voice high-pitched and Jeonghan groaned.

“Huh?” Chan stared at his phone in disbelief. “Hyung, you scored 3.89?” He frowned since the cut-off point to receive the award was a Cumulative GPA of 3.87 for the whole semester.

“Huh, what?” Jeonghan frowned as well. True to what Chan said, he could see the number right there. Even Chan was higher up with a higher 3.95.

“Wait, hyung… Seungcheol didn’t attend any exams, right?” Chan looked at the older guy with a confused frown.

“He wasn’t even in the room, Chan. You were there for the whole two weeks of our examination.” Jeonghan grumbled out his reply.

“He wasn’t in any of the exams in your class either, right? Because I have few classes with him, and I was sure he was marked absent and his seat was empty for the whole time.” Chan stated as he kept his stare at the screen of his phone.

“Yes, Chan.” Jeonghan grunted in annoyance. “Why the sudden interest in my roommate, huh?”

“I mean, if he didn’t attend any exams, why is his name listed here?” Chan showed the screen he was staring at towards Jeonghan.

 

Top Student for Academic Excellence Award Year 20XX

Management Department (1 st Year)

Choi Seungcheol (CGPA 4.0)

 

Jeonghan’s jaw dropped, so did Chan’s phone from his hold.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan was enjoying his morning coffee as usual when he heard the door open. It was the first day of the new semester after they finished their professional training, so everyone was already back in the campus, except for the newcomer who just entered the room.

“Hey, Jeonghan.” Jeonghan didn’t smile back, he just stared at him as he continued sipping his coffee silently.

As usual Jihoon simply ignored him as he wheeled the suitcase inside and parked it by Seungcheol’s wardrobe. “Go on, hyung. Pack up everything. I didn’t touch your things for the whole three months as I promised.”

Jeonghan put down his mug on the table with a loud clang, making the two glanced at him for a quick seconds before continuing with their work. He watched as Seuncgheol dumped all of his clothes from the wardrobe inside one of the suitcases as Jihoon pulled out the bed sheet.

“Why do you have so many things, hyung?” Jihoon grumbled as he tried to close the suitcase, obviously failing to do so. “I’ll just go grab another suitcase and boxes for your books.” And he walked out of the room.

“You’re leaving?” Jeonghan wanted to slap his mouth after he blurted that out unconsciously.

Seuncgheol looked surprised but he gave him a soft smile with a light nod. “Yeah, we’re only required to stay inside campus for the first semester. I’m going to stay off campus now.” He stated as he sat on the suitcase to close it properly and zipped it up.

Jeonghan didn’t say anything to that. “There’ll be no replacement for me until next year, don’t worry. You can have the room for yourself.” Seungcheol told him.

Jeonghan was about to say something, but he quickly shut his mouth as the door opened, revealing Jihoon who shot him a quick glare before proceeding to help Seungcheol cleaning up everything.

Soon, Wonwoo, Mingyu and Seokmin joined them as they cleaned up. Nobody said anything as they put everything away under Jihoon and Seungcheol’s instructions. Soon, there were two pieces of luggage and two boxes by the door.

Wonwoo, Mingyu and Seokmin all took each of the box and suitcase, leaving Jihoon and Seungcheol with one of the suitcases. Seungcheol looked at Jihoon who had been giving him a firm stare with a head shake and Seungcheol immediately pouted. Jihoon sighed and nodded before he walked out with the remaining suitcase.

“Jeonghan-ah?” Seungcheol called out to Jeonghan who had been sitting a bit far from them while they cleaned up.

“Yes?” Jeonghan looked up from his phone.

“I just wanna say sorry and thank you.” Seungcheol told him with a soft smile. “Thank you for talking to me, treating me like normal, helping me when I was sick back then. And I’m sorry for how Jihoon treated you, and always having people over. You have the room to yourself now, you can do whatever you want.”

“Where are you going to stay?” Jeonghan asked instead.

“At one of Jihoon’s family house.” Seungcheol replied. “They’ve got a lot of those around the island.”

“Are you running away, Seungcheol?” Jeonghan suddenly asked, and Seungcheol furrowed his brow.

“What are you talking about?” Seungcheol asked back. “Why would I run away from you? Is there a reason for me to do that?” They stared into each other orbs, and Jeonghan could see it then, the smirk, it was quick, like a flash, he’d miss it if he blinked.

“If there’s nothing more, I’ll take my leave, Jeonghan.” Seungcheol broke the silence between them. “Once again, thank you and sorry for everything.” He smiled and turned around to leave.

Jeonghan kept his eyes on Seungcheol’s back as he disappeared behind the closed door of their previously shared room.He walked over to their sleeping area and glanced around, there was nothing left on Seungcheol’s side, not even a speck of dust.

“Hyung? Can we come in?” A voice called out before he heard the bell rang.

“Come on in!” Jeonghan replied back. The door opened and Chan walked in, followed by Seungkwan and Vernon.

“We brought food, hyung!” Chan announced.

“Why so much?” Jeonghan asked as he eyed the food.

“It’s a celebration, hyung!” Vernon pointed out. “You got the room for yourself until next year. Even the seniors weren’t lucky enough to get a room for themselves, hyung.”

“Chan-ah…” Jeonghan looked at his younger cousin.

“Yes, hyung?” Chan looked back at him.

“Are you sure the profile you gave me is genuine?” Jeonghan questioned seriously.

“Yes, hyung. I even asked one of mom’s assistants to hack it for me.” Chan replied in a serious mode too.

“Why? What about Seungcheol hyung’s profile?” Seungkwan queried curiously.

“Nothing important, Seungkwan.” Jeonghan assured the younger. “He just told me something weird, so I checked his profile to confirm.”

“Rich people really had their way, huh?” Vernon commented wryly as he continued stuffing his mouth with the food they brought.

“Get me his new address, will you, Chan?” Jeonghan told his cousin, indirectly admitting to Vernon’s sly comment.

“Sure thing, hyung! Not a sweat!” Chan agreed happily, not even minding the change in both Vernon and Seungkwan’s expression.

 

***************************************************************************

 

Jeonghan sat down by the field, and the soccer team was having a friendly match with Pohang University. He was there to support Seungkwan and Mingyu as they played for the university. What Jeonghan didn’t expect to see was Seungcheol as one of the players. He was so different from how he usually was as he ran across the field actively. He was also very agile and strong. He could kick the ball across the field and he even scored both the goals for their university team in the first half of the game.

Jeonghan realised that after Seungcheol left their shared room, he had changed almost 360 degrees. He never missed any classes, and he was surrounded by more friends compared to how he was mostly only around Jihoon and Wonwoo back then. Jeonghan even found him partying the night away with his group of friends. That was not how Seungcheol was back then.

Seungcheol wasn’t there anymore in the second half of the game, so Mingyu and Seungkwan each scored a goal for their university team. They won 4-2 against Pohang University as the match ended.

“That was such a good game, wasn’t it, hyung?” Chan commented excitedly.

Jeonghan stood up without answering the question and Chan quickly followed, leaving Vernon enjoying the celebration ceremony in the field.

“Hyung, what’s wrong?” Chan asked as they finally got inside the car, Chan taking the driver’s seat instead.

“Don’t you find it weird?” Jeonghan stared at Chan with a frown. “You said he was sick, how can he run around like that?”

“Ah, he played soccer a bit when he was in Hwaseong. He’s a star player for two years before he dropped out and transferred.” Chan explained.

“But you said he’s sick?” Jeonghan pointed out. “Even his profile said he’s sick.”

Chan sighed before looking back at the older. “Hyung, I don’t understand you. Why are you being so adamant in stalking Seungcheol hyung’s life? Can’t you just let him be?”

Jeonghan’s eyebrow furrowed deeper. “Is there something else you’re hiding from me, Chan?”

Chan looked away for a second. “Yes, I do. But it’s not my place to say. You can’t hear it from me, you have to hear it from the right person, at the right time.”

“Does this involve Seungcheol?” Jeonghan’s stare intensified and Chan let out a heavy breath.

“I don’t even know what you want to hear from me, hyung. But yeah.” Chan nodded. “I would say your relationships are a lot more complicated than what you think. But I will just clarify one thing to you, hyung. Jihyun noona didn’t kill herself. She didn’t want to die. I can assure you that much, hyung.”

“Can’t you just tell me the truth, Chan?” Jeonghan begged, almost desperate.

“I wish I could, hyung. And I’m dying to tell you the truth. But I can’t. I don’t even know if whatever I know currently is the truth. My parents were just mad at me when I brought it up to them.” Chan sighed deeper.

“Fine, I’ll just find it out myself.” Jeonghan decided as Chan parked his car at the basement carpark.

“What are you going to do, hyung?” Chan asked worriedly as Jeonghan opened the door.

“I’m going to find out who killed Jihyun. And I’m gonna make sure they will pay the same price.” And Jeonghan walked out, leaving Chan frozen in fear.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hey, Seungcheol.” Jeonghan took a seat beside Seungcheol in the only class they shared for the semester.

“Oh, Jeonghan-ah. Hi!” Seungcheol happily waved back with his usual gummy smile.

“Are you joining the MT Trip for our department this weekend?” Jeonghan asked casually.

“Yeah, I just got the permission this morning.” Seungcheol replied excitedly.

“Why do you need permission?” Jeonghan asked, a little bit confused.

“Well, I have to bring the others with me. So, Jihoon, Wonwoo, Mingyu and Seokmin are going to be there as well.” Seungcheol replied nonchalantly. Jeonghan was about to ask further, but their lecturer walked in and started the class before dividing them into groups for their presentation, so Jeonghan didn’t get to see Seungcheol again after that.

Weekends came at last and all the first-year students in the management department got together to join the MT. Luckily, there were only 75 students for the whole management department since most of them have double majors and ended up joining the other department MT that was already held in their first semester.

“Hey, hyung!” Seokmin greeted Jeonghan excitedly as he boarded the bus with Chan, Seungkwan and Vernon.

“Hey.” Jeonghan smiled back and they walked further to find any empty seats. Jeonghan and Chan ended up sitting together behind Seungkwan and Vernon. The bus moved not too long after. They stopped by the port and got on the boat since their MT was held on a small tourist island an hour away from their university. They all walked together from the port to their boarding place, which is only a few minutes away.

“You guys got your key room before after you leave the ferry just now, correct?” One of the staff members asked them.

“Yes!” Everyone chorused.

“Every room has six beds, so you’ll have five roommates with you. The room number is engraved on the key and you guys will have a free schedule for a few hours. We’ll see you guys by the cafeteria for lunch before we start the activity, alright?” The person in charge announced. Everyone cheered before scrambling around happily to find their rooms.

“Hyung, what’s your room number?” Chan asked as he showed his key to Jeonghan. “Oh, you’re rooming with Vernon!”

“What about you?” Jeonghan asked.

“I’ll be rooming with Seungkwan and some other guys I guess.” Chan told him. “Let’s go take a walk at the beach later, hyung!” He called out before running over towards his own room.

Jeonghan walked over to his room and opened the door. He let out a quick scoff as soon as he saw the other occupants of the room. It looks like his plans work. He walked past Jihoon and Seungcheol who was sitting on the bed by the door and exchanged high five with Vernon. Jihoon scowled at him as he took the bed beside Vernon.

“Who else is rooming together with us?” Jeonghan asked Vernon as he put his bag by the foot of the bed.

“Wonwoo hyung and the other guy from Chan’s class. What’s his name again? Minhyuk I think?” Vernon told him.

“Hyungs!” Seokmin suddenly appeared in front of the door. “Oh, Jeonghan hyung and Vernonie are here too!” He excitedly greeted them before turning back his attention towards Jihoon and Seungcheol. “Mingyu found a place to cook, let’s go eat!”

“Yeah, let’s go!” Seuncgheol stood up before turning his attention to Jeonghan and Vernon. “You guys can come and join us as well. Mingyu is cooking a feast.”

“Won’t he cook for lunch later as well?” Vernon frowned in confusion.

“No, he’s not in charge of cooking lunch. He’s in charge of the barbecue party tomorrow night.” Seokmin was the one who replied. “Let’s go! It’ll be fun with more people.” He added.

“Go on, first, Vernon. I still have to get my charger from Chan.” Jeonghan told the younger man and he immediately stood up to follow Seokmin and Seungcheol.

“I’ll be there in a while.” That’s all Jihoon said and the three just left without him.

“It’s your arrangement, right?” Jihoon suddenly stated as Jeonghan grabbed his wallet and phone, ready to go out as well.

“What is?” Jeonghan blinked innocently.

“Don’t play dumb with me, Yoon Jeonghan!” Jihoon hissed through gritted teeth. “I know this is another one of your scheming plots! I already made sure for us to be rooming together when we got the permission to join, you’re trying to make it not look so obvious by just putting yourself in our room. I wonder what kind of strings you are pulling now?”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Lee Jihoon.” Jeonghan smirked. “I’m not interested in your life at all.”

“Yeah, but you’re very interested in my cousin’s life that I’ve been trying so hard to protect.” Jihoon seethed. “I need to know why you’re so keen on doing this!”

“Well, that’s for me to know, and maybe for you to find out?” Jeonghan cackled evilly. “Make sure you always sleep with one eye open, Lee Jihoon. You don’t want anything to happen to your precious cousin, do you?” He winked and walked out, ignoring the sound of profanity screaming from Jihoon from behind the closed door.

 

Chapter Text

“Come on, it’ll be fun!” Seungcheol pouted at the other four who were looking at him as if he grew another pair of eyes.

“Bungee jumping is not fun, hyung! What the heck?” Mingyu frowned in disbelief.

“Come on, it’s one of my wish lists. Can’t you do it? At least for me?” Seungcheol shot out his best pout.

“Hyung, you know I love you and all. But bungee jumping is a little bit…” Jihoon sighed as he looked at Seungcheol’s dejected face.

“I’ll go with him.” Wonwoo decided.

“No!” Jihoon quickly stopped him.

“Jihoonie, please? Pretty please?” Seungcheol pouted bigger. “With a cherry on top?”

“I don’t even like cherry, hyung, what the heck.” Jihoon scoffed, making a disgusted face. “No means no, hyung. You said you want to have fun at the MT. It’s not gonna be fun if you’re leaving the tower in an ambulance now, will you?”

“At least I jump!” Seungcheol argued.

“You’re not gonna be able to jump, hyung.” Jihoon pointed out, trying to be as calm as he could. “You’re gonna pass out as soon as you get there.”

“Do you have such little faith in me, Jihoon?” Seungcheol started to sulk.

“I do, hyung. And I want you to enjoy this MT. Let’s do it next time, and we’ll come just for bungee jumping, okay?” Jihoon tried his best to persuade the older guy.

“Promise?” Seungcheol’s eyes lit up.

“Yes, hyung. I promise.” Jihoon smiled and Seungcheol hopped excitedly before they walked away from the tower.

Jeonghan walked out of his hiding place behind the wall. He swore all he did throughout the MT was trying to stalk his ex-roommate. He was hoping to at least find out something about him, but it was nothing much that he already knew, except that Seungcheol mostly joined the others compared to back then where he was always with Jihoon.

“You know you’re not being subtle at all, right hyung?” Jeonghan nearly let out an unmanly squeal at the sound of Seungkwan’s voice. He snapped his head to the source of voice, finding the younger smirking at him.

“You scared me!” Jeonghan frowned and Seungkwan just chuckled.

“You might as well just join them, hyung.” Seungkwan suggested.

“And get killed by Jihoon?” Jeonghan shuddered at the thought. “No thanks.”

“Hyung, I thought you hate Seungcheol hyung. Why are you stalking him?” Seungkwan asked. Jeonghan was about to reply to him when Vernon suddenly appeared in front of him, looking frantic.

“Hyung, Chan! Someone kidnapped Chan!” Vernon cried out as he panted in front of them.

“What?! How??” Jeonghan asked in panic.

“I don’t know, we were walking to the café and all of the sudden, three people came over. One of them pinned me on the wall and the other two brought him away!” Vernon said in one breath.

“Yah, did you report it to the management, yet?” Seungkwan asked urgently.

“I did, but they won’t believe me because there’s no proof!” Vernon was still panting.

“What the heck? Don’t they have CCTV or something?” Jeonghan screamed in frustration as he started to storm towards the management office, slamming the door open angrily.

“What the…” The person in-charge in the management office turned around. “Young master Yoon, how can we help you?”

“How can you help me?! Chan was kidnapped! Can you guys move your ass around and start to find him?” Jeonghan shouted.

“How long has he been missing, young master?” The officer calmly asked.

“Yah, don’t you have CCTV or something?! And I even have a witness! Won’t you guys do your job properly?” Jeonghan growled angrily.

“Please calm down, young master. We have CCTV all over the area. We’ve checked everything, but there’s no sign of anyone suspicious entering the area.” The officer explained kindly yet firmly.

Jeonghan turned and glared at Vernon. “I was there with him! I swear!”

“Why would they only take one of you, seriously? Don’t they need you to shut up as well?” The officer questioned Vernon with a slightly annoyed tone. “Are you sure this is not a simple prank camera by some stupid college students?”

Jeonghan fished out his phone and dialled Chan’s phone but he was sent straight to voicemail. He tried again and again, just to receive the same result.

“He’s not answering!” Jeonghan screamed in frustration. “Create a search team. I want Chan back safe and sound by tonight!”

“I’m sorry young master. But this is not a private investigating company. And a police report can’t even be done without any proof.” The officer calmly answered. “The only thing we could advise you is to wait until tomorrow morning…”

“I don’t care! If anything happens to him, all of you will be fired, do you understand?!” Jeonghan stormed out of the office, screaming profanities towards everyone and everything in front of him.

“Hyung, shouldn’t we try and find him?” Seungkwan suggested after Jeonghan had calmed down from his rage.

“Where do we start?” Jeonghan pulled his hair in frustration. “Where’s Vernon? I’m gonna kill him as well if anything happens to Chan!”

“Calm down, hyung.” Seungkwan patted Jeonghan’s shoulder. “Why don’t you contact anyone that could help you trace his phone or something? Or anything that could locate him? Or anyone who could help us find him directly? Don’t you have anyone like that?”

“I do, but…”

“No but, hyung! Chan might be in danger!” Seungkwan urged him.

Jeonghan sighed and fished out his phone again, dialling one of his family bodyguards. “Yes, young master, how can we help?”

“Chan is missing! Please locate him as fast as you can!” Jeonghan demanded urgently.

“I’m sorry, young master. But you have to give more details about this.” The person on the line replied.

“So, a friend told me that he saw Chan was taken away forcefully by some man! We’re at the MT, and who picks this place?! Why don’t they have CCTV everywhere?! What if they did something bad to Chan?!” Jeonghan raised his voice at the end, his worry about his younger cousin skyrocketed.

“Please calm down, young master. We’ll be trying our best to locate him within the vicinity.” The person replied calmly. “And we’ll update you every fifteen minutes interval.”

Jeonghan sighed as he hung up the phone. Where would people be taking his cousin? Why would they take him? He felt like crying. He should have been with the younger, but he was too busy on his little rendezvous, now he lost him!

“What did they say, hyung?” Seungkwan inquired curiously. He was worried too. Chan was his closest friend.

“They’ll try to locate him and update me every fifteen minutes.” Jeonghan felt like throwing up in anxiety. Seungkwan sensed his worry and led him back to his room instead. Seungkwan brought Jeonghan to his bed and sat him down.

“I’ll go get some water for you, hyung.” Seungkwan offered and walked out of the room.

“I heard you lost your baby cousin?” Jeonghan frowned as he looked at the door. JIhoon was standing in front of the door, a mischievous smirk displayed on his face.

“What the…” Jeonghan gritted his teeth. “How did you even know that?!”

“Well, my family owned the biggest private investigating company in Jeju. Who do you think your company will turn to for help?” Jihoon walked inside, closing the door.

“Then, just mind your damn business, will you?!” Jeonghan growled.

“Don’t be so agitated, hyung.” Jihoon pressed the word ‘hyung’. “Seungcheol hyung is sleeping, we don’t want him waking up, or… you know it will not be pretty, right?”

That’s when Jeonghan realised another person in the room. On the other side of the room was Seungcheol, sleeping soundly. Beside him was Wonwoo, who was shooting them an expressionless look.

“And I think it’s you, who has to sleep with your eyes open, don’t you think so, hyung?” Jihoon jerked his eyebrows before snickering lightly.

“Yah! What are you…” Jeonghan was about to charge towards Jihoon when the sound of his ringing phone echoed throughout the room. It was the ringtone he specifically set for Chan, so he quickly reached over his phone instead.

“Chan-ah!” Jeonghan called out urgently. “Where are you?”

“Hyung…” Jeonghan felt his heart break at how weak Chan’s voice sounded. “Don’t come here… please don’t…”

“What are you talking about?” Jeonghan asked worriedly, but there was no reply from the other side. “Yah, Lee Chan!”

“Greetings, Jeonghan-nim? Or should I say, Lee Won-nim?” The voice on the other side chuckled lightly.

“Where’s my cousin??” Jeonghan growled impatiently.

“Fussy, aren’t we?” The voice touted.

“Yah, would you tell me…” And the line was cut off. “What a stupid freak show is this?!” Jeonghan grumbled angrily before a text arrived from an unknown number, giving him an address. There was also an attached picture of Chan. Jeonghan felt his blood boil at the picture of his cousin tied up on a chair. He was unconscious with his head resting on the top of the chair and eyes closed.

Jeonghan ran out in an instant, but not before forwarding the message to his assistant. “Hyung!” Seungkwan called out, but he just ignored him. He needed to find Chan. Whoever did this must have something against him.

 

***************************************************************************

 

It was already dark when Jeonghan arrived at the address he received from the text. Luckily, he had forwarded the message to his assistant because the message disappeared ten minutes after it was sent to him.

“We’ll go inside first, young master.” One of the people his assistant sent to pick him up and drive him to the address told him as soon as they parked their car by the road. It was a luxurious building by the beach, and it seemed like it was not a place where you bring a kidnapped person.

“Greetings, young master.” Everyone froze as the gate suddenly opened.

“Hyung!” Chan waved from the balcony upstairs. Jeonghan frowned. “Come in, hyung!”

“We’ll check the surroundings first, young master. This might be a trap.” The bodyguards suggested, and Jeonghan nodded his agreement. Five minutes later, the guards come back out, announcing that it’s safe for him to go inside while they follow him closely.

“Yah, Lee Chan! What was the phone call about?!” Jeonghan growled as soon as he reached the second floor where Chan was comfortably sitting on the couch, watching some shows on television.

“What phone call?” Chan frowned. “I never called you! How did you know I was here, anyways?”

“Yah, Vernon told me you got kidnapped right in front of him!” Jeonghan felt his rage intensified.

“Oh, that.” Chan let out a big laugh. “I can’t believe he reported it to you. That was just a ploy, so that I could get out of the MT place. It was so boring, hyung. And the bed was not comfortable enough. And it was not like you to stay either, but since you’re too hooked up with stalking Seungcheol hyung, I decided to run away on my own.”

Jeonghan felt like punching the younger boy in front of him. He was panicked out of his wit, and here they were, having a nonsense conversation about how boring the MT place was.

“Yah, do you know how worried I was?!” Jeonghan roared, making the younger in front of him slightly flinched. “I panicked! I contacted everyone to try and find you! And you dare say all that?!”

“I’m sorry, hyung!” Chan put his hand together as he kneeled on the floor in front of Jeonghan. “I didn’t mean to worry you! I was just trying to flee from the MT place. I didn’t know Vernon would escape and run over to tell you! I was going to invite you here for lunch!”

“I got a call from your phone! Talking nonsense about Lee Won something, do you think all of this is a joke?!” Jeonghan yelled in full anger. Chan’s face instantly pale.

“Y-you knew…?” Chan’s voice trembled slightly.

“Know what??” Jeonghan yelled back. “Who the heck is even Lee Won??”

“I’m sorry, hyung.” Chan hugged Jeonghan’s torso while kneeling. “I promise I didn’t call you or anything. I was supposed to bring Vernon with me, I didn’t know where he had escaped or run to!” Chan cried out tearfully.

“You’ve just created the biggest chaos, do you know that?!” Jeonghan reprimanded the younger softer, his heart softened at the younger’s tears.

“I know, hyung. I’m sorry…” Chan sobbed and Jeonghan sighed lightly as he slowly patted the younger’s back gently.

After making sure the bodyguards left and giving the update to his assistant about Chan’s well-being, Jeonghan decided to stay with Chan and enjoyed lunch together with the younger.

“Where’s Vernon? He went missing the moment I made a complaint to the management of the MT place.” Jeonghan asked and Chan frowned.

“Oh, I called him before you arrived and invited him over for lunch, but he said he had to leave for Seoul for an urgent matter.” Chan told him.

“He was so frantic when he came and told me about your kidnapping, but he just vanished into thin air so suddenly.” Jeonghan complained. “What a weird kid.”

“Don’t mind him, hyung. He’s always like that.” Chan assured the older. “Are you going to the barbecue party tonight, hyung?”

“It will be full of drunk men. I’m not staying anywhere near them.” Jeonghan scrunched his nose in disgust.

“As if you’re never drunk, hyung.” Chan scoffed and Jeonghan reached over to smack on the back of his head, earning a whine from the younger.

“By the way, did you find out the address for Seungcheol’s new place?” Jeonghan asked.

“Of course, it wasn’t hard to find out.” Chan answered as he took out his phone and showed it to Jeonghan. “Interestingly, he lived quite far from Jihoon hyung’s family mansion. And I just came to know that Jihoon hyung, Wonwoo hyung and Mingyu hyung also moved out from the dormitory and lived with him there.

“It’s a normal townhouse, though.” Jeonghan pointed out. He had seen a few of Jihoon’s family mansion, and they were enormous. However, the house Chan was showing to him was just an average townhouse.

“Yeah, it’s located nearer to the hospital than our school. The area is quite remote, though. It’s located at one of the private beaches owned by Jihoon hyung’s family.” Chan pointed out before frowning. “And now that I see it, it looks eerily like this house…”

“Where did you even get this house from?” Jeonghan asked.

“I got Mr Kim to book one for me.” Chan happily replied. Jeonghan frowned. Mr Kim is the person who was taking care of their wellbeing in Jeju. If he already knew and booked this house for Chan, then why on earth did he panicked along with him when he reported Chan missing just a few hours ago?

“But Mr Kim was the one who contacted the bodyguards to help me find you!” Jeonghan exclaimed in confusion.

“What? No! He was the one who drove me here this morning.” Chan argued, his forehead creased in confusion.

“Mr Kim!” Jeonghan yelled and the middle aged man appeared in front of them in a rush. “What is all this about?”

“I’m sorry for this confusion, young masters. I thought young master Chan was really kidnapped, and it happened after I drove him here. But it turned out that he was here all along.” Mr Kim bowed in apology. “I am truly sorry for my mistake, young master.”

Jeonghan tsked in annoyance. “Someone is playing a prank with me! Mr Kim, I want you to screen all my calls and text messages and find any suspicious items inside. And get me a new phone, with the latest security.”

“Your wish is my obligation, young master.” Mr Kim bowed and took Jeonghan’s phone from him before leaving the two of them pondering about what the heck just happened to them.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hyung!” Seungkwan appeared in front of his door as soon as he walked out to go to his class that morning.

“Oh, Seungkwan-ah. What’s up?” Jeonghan asked as he locked the door to his room.

“How did you find Chan?” Seungkwan asked curiously.

“Oh, that…” Jeonghan sighed. He had messaged Seungkwan telling him that he found Chan, but he didn’t explain about it in detail to the younger.

“Why didn’t you ask Chan?” Jeonghan frowned.

“I did. But all he did was laugh.” Seungkwan rolled his eyes.

“He wasn’t kidnapped, he just wanted to escape.” Jeonghan told the younger. “And Vernon thought it was serious, so he escaped and reported it to me.”

“That’s another mystery. No one haven’t seen him since then.” Seungkwan tapped his chin in wonder.

“Chan said he had to attend some urgent matters back in Seoul.” Jeonghan answered nonchalantly as he pressed the key to his car. “Get in, let’s go to class together.

“Thank you, hyung! You’re the best.” Seungkwan happily jumped at the offer. They both went to their respective class after that. Jeonghan walked into his class and attended the lecture as usual.

“For this assignment, I already paired you up randomly, so you can check the course learning board to find out who your partner is.” The lecturer announced before he dismissed the class.

Jeonghan sighed as he closed his notebook. “Hey, Jeonghan.” He looked up to Seungcheol standing beside his seat, smiling softly at him. “I just checked the board and we’re paired up together.”

Jeonghan nodded and crossed his hand in front of his chest, signalling Seungcheol to finish whatever he wanted to say. “I know we don’t have the best experience together, so I was thinking of telling the lecturer to change our partner? Just want to give you a heads up so that you won’t get surprised or anything.”

“It’s okay, Seungcheol.” Jeonghan replied. “Who wouldn’t want to be partnered with you? You’re a valedictorian student. I should be honoured instead.” He stated as a matter of fact.

“Oh, that… I have to thank Jihoon and Wonwoo for that, and you, of course! If you didn’t help me with the report and presentation, I don’t even know what will happen…” Seungcheol smiled bashfully, as he scratched the back of his head.

“Yeah, that was the only subject you got an A, you got A+ for the other subject and you were absent through the examination.” Jeonghan stood up. “I won’t reject a genius partner.”

“Hyung?” Jihoon appeared before Seungcheol managed to say anything. “Oh, hey Jeonghan hyung. Fancy seeing you here.”

“Yeah, fancy seeing you here too.” Jeonghan rolled his eyes in annoyance. He didn’t know why Jihoon was starting to act nice around him, and he honestly didn’t want to care. “You don’t have to change partner, I don’t mind working with you.” Jeonghan shrugged.

“I mind.” Seungcheol stopped him. “I don’t want to inconvenience you further…”

“Like how?” Jeonghan demanded frustratingly.

“You’ll have to do your work at our shared house, hyung. Seungcheol hyung won’t be around campus after class.” Jihoon pointed out.

Jeonghan was about to snap but paused midway. Well, if he could go to Seungcheol’s house, maybe he could dig deeper about him and find proof about Jihyun’s death. He let out a sigh instead, pretending to act cool. “Sure. Just text me the address and when you’re free. I’ll be coming over.”

“Really?” Seungcheol's eyes twinkled so much, he nearly started to pity him. He had this childish innocence that seemed to never be tainted… no, Jeonghan! He killed your sister!

“Jeonghan?” He snapped out of his trance as Seungcheol waved his hand in front of his face.

“What?” Jeonghan felt like punching himself for letting his mind wander around in front of Seungcheol.

Seungcheol just shrugged. “I’ll text you my free schedule and address. If our free time matches, just give me the date and time before you come over.” He said before pocketing his phone back. “See you around, Jeonghan.”

 

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It had been a few weeks since they had started their project together at Seungcheol’s house. Jeonghan had sneakily tried to peek around his room, but he couldn't find anything out of place. So today, he had prepared something special for him. Feeling satisfied with his plan, Jeonghan drove over to Seungcheol’s shared house for their last discussion. They will have to hand in the project next week since it’s already at the end of the year, so this will be the last time they’ll be meeting for their project.

As usual, Mingyu opened the door for him and led him straight towards Seungcheol’s room. He appeared again a few minutes later with their snack and left the door slightly open.

As soon as Mingyu left, Jeonghan started his plan. He made sure they finished off their project first and uploaded it on their course board on the web. Jeonghan made Seungcheol do the final touch while he sneakily popped a sleeping pill inside Seungcheol’s milk behind his back.

The project was successfully uploaded on the website and the two high fived each other happily. Jeonghan suggested they celebrate it with a drink and clunk their glass of drinks – Seungcheol with a glass of milk and Jeonghan with a glass of orange juice.

“This croissant is so delicious.” Jeonghan complimented as he enjoyed the food.

“Eat up. There’s still a lot. Mingyu never made small portions of food.” Seungcheol told him.

“Why don’t you eat as well?” Jeonghan asked as Seungcheol finished his drink.

“I…” Seungcheol suddenly paused. “Jeonghan-ah, I’m sorry, but can we finish this now? I don’t feel too well…”

“What’s wrong?” Jeonghan pretended to worry.

“My head…” Seungcheol groaned lightly.

“Come, let me bring you to the bed before leaving.” Jeonghan offered.

“Thanks…” Seungcheol mumbled. He didn’t make it to bed as he promptly passed out. But Jeonghan was ready to catch him before dragging him slightly towards the bed and laid him properly on the bed.

Jeonghan then closed the door silently and locked it from inside before starting his plan. The first thing he did was to unlock Seungcheol’s phone. He stared at the familiar wallpaper for a bit, feeling slightly emotional before taking a picture of it with his phone. He then started to clutter around the room, finding something else.

A few minutes later, Jeonghan came across a locked drawer. He skilfully picked the lock, a skill he mastered when he was young, when he was locked up as a punishment for his bad behaviour. The drawer opened easily and there were a bunch of files. Jeonghan examined the first file, and his eyes caught the name on the file. Lee Won? He put the files inside his backpack and locked the drawer again.

Jeonghan then took one last glance at Seungcheol who laid still on the bed and opened the door, leaving it ajar as it usually is and walked down the stairs.

“Are you guys done?” Wonwoo asked from the living room.

“Yeah, we’ve finished uploading the work.” Jeonghan replied calmly.

“What about Seungcheol hyung?” Wonwoo put his book away, and Jeonghan smiled a little bit nervously. Seungcheol usually followed Jeonghan down after they finished their discussion.

“He said he’s tired, so he’s gonna rest.” Jeonghan answered calmly.

“I see.” Wonwoo nodded and turned off the television.

“Why don’t you rest too, hyung?” Jeonghan felt a shiver through his spine and quickly turned around to find Jihoon behind him.

“Wha…?” Jeonghan felt a prick on his neck and his world blackened out almost immediately after that.

 


And the plot twist start! 

Chapter Text

“Hyung…” Jeonghan frowned slightly at the sound of the familiar voice. “Hyung…” A light sob could be heard before it slowly died down as Jeonghan had finally managed to force his eyes open.

Jeonghan tried to remember what happened. A flash of memories appeared in front of him and he shot up from his position. He scanned his surroundings and it looked like he was in some kind of a hospital room.

“Hyung…” His senses returned immediately as he saw Chan on the bed beside him. His face was messy with tears and he was hooked up to a few machines.

“Chan-ah, what’s wrong?” Jeonghan held the younger’s hand, wincing slightly at how cold they were.

“Thank God, you’re awake…” Chan whispered, his voice weaker than before. “I’m sorry for dragging you into this hyung…” He blinked weakly as another drop of tears flowed down his cheek. “…I should have warned you about the truth…”

“What are you talking about, Chan-ah?” Jeonghan asked, gripping Chan’s hand tighter.

“…whatever happened…I wanted to know that… I’ve always loved you hyung…” Chan mumbled, his voice barely a whisper. The machine beside him made a loud sound as Chan slowly closed his eyes. And the monitor flatline.

“No, Chan-ah! No! Wake up! What the heck is this?!” Jeonghan screamed loudly as he shook his cousin awake, but he was as limp as a rag doll. “Help! Please help!” Jeonghan patted Chan’s cheek as hard as he could, hoping that it would wake the younger up. “Please, Chan-ah… please… You can’t die like this…” Jeonghan fell on his knees, his hand still holding on Chan’s cold hand.

Jeonghan sobbed his heart out as he heard the door open. He was about to turn around when the monitor suddenly beeped. Jeonghan snapped his head so fast to look at the monitor, and sure enough, Chan’s heartbeat moved again.

“Oh God! Oh God…” Jeonghan pulled the unconscious Chan on his hug, wetting his shoulder with his tears as he listened to Chan’s slow but steady breaths and heartbeats.

“How does it feel, Yoon Jeonghan?” Jeonghan turned around to find Seungcheol approaching him, Wonwoo and Jihoon tailing him closely.

Jeonghan shot up from his seat and grip onto Seungcheol’s collar. “Did you do this?!”

“I did.” Wonwoo raised up his hand with a proud smile, as if he did something that should be praised.

“What the heck? What are you guys planning?!” Jeonghan yelled angrily.

“Well, that's what I was supposed to ask you. What are you planning?” Seungcheol questioned, without even any sign of fear on his face. “Taking petty revenge on Jihyun’s so called ‘suicide death’?” Seungcheol touted.

Jeonghan didn’t get to wipe the smirk on his ex-roommate’s face as his fist was gripped tightly from the back. With just one push, he was separated from Seungcheol and thrown away on the floor on his butt. “What on earth…” Jeonghan came face-to-face with an expressionless Mingyu. He was so different from the usual bright, cheery and clumsy Mingyu he saw every day in the university.

“So, how does it feel having to see your sibling dying in front of you without knowing the reason?” Seungcheol asked, his face void of any emotion.

Jeonghan slowly stood up. “My sister died years ago. And you’re the reason why she died!”

“You still believe the lies your parents and grandfather were feeding on to you, huh?” Seungcheol snickered before walking over and sat down on the chair by the wall. The other three stood beside him, Jeonghan eyed them confusedly.

“Yah, my parents died years ago! I didn’t even remember them!” Jeonghan’s blood boiled. “And I saw her diary! I even saw the wallpaper of your phone! Why else would you have her picture as your wallpaper?”

“Do you know what?” Seungcheol let out a breath. “At first when I know about your plan from Shua, I think you’re kinda stupid. The reason you assume that I was the reason for Jihyun to kill herself is really beyond my imagination… But then, I remember your parents and how they’ve been feeding lies to our grandfather and I know they’ve been twisting some facts.”

“Yah, I have enough of this! Why are you talking about my parents? They died in an accident years ago on the way to Seoul when they were on their way to attend Chan’s parents wedding!” Jeonghan shouted in anger.

“Oh wow, what a beautiful story.” Seungcheol scoffed. “Yah, I thought you’re smart, how did you believe that lie?”

“What lie, you freak?!” Jeonghan demanded.

“If your parents were to die in an accident on their way to attend their younger sister’s marriage, why did you and Jihyun were left unscathed?” Seungcheol questioned him.

“They didn’t bring me and Jihyun. We’re still young and the travelling distance was far.” Jeonghan didn’t know why he was actually replying to Seungcheol’s cryptic questions. “Look, why are you doing this?”

“If I were to be honest, I’d like to reveal everything to the public and claim back everything that was mine.” Seungcheol replied smugly. “But getting too much attention is too tedious, and I don’t even have that much time to live even if I reclaim whatever is supposed to be mine.”

Jeonghan scoffed at that. “You think it’s easy to eliminate me?”

“It is easy.” Jihoon shrugged. “It’s been more than 12 hours, but no one is trying to find you.”

“I can make them search for me and change all of your fate in less than an hour.” Jeonghan warned them.

“Ooh, that'll be fun, don’t you think, Jihoonnie?” Seungcheol smirked, so did Jihoon. “I’d be so interested to see how you’d make that happen since you don’t even know where this is, nor do you have anything with you.”

Jeonghan touched his pocket, and true enough there was nothing there, but what surprised him more was the clothes he was wearing. It was one of the hospital uniforms instead of the clothes he remembered wearing before all of this happened.

“What do you want from me?” Jeonghan questioned frustratingly.

“Your name, your life, and everything about Yoon Jeonghan.” Seungcheol answered straightforwardly.

“And for what? I’m the heir of the Yoon Empire, you think you can simply bring me down?” Jeonghan trudged proudly.

“Of course we can. And you’re not the heir of Yoon Empire, Yoon Jeonghan is. And you’re not Yoon Jeonghan.” Jihoon stepped forward and Jeonghan unconsciously took a step back before pausing.

“Then who am I?” Jeonghan touted with an eye roll.

“You’re Lee Won.” Jihoon pressed a button and a screen appeared on the white wall. “Your parents never died, they are still alive, and are acting so shamelessly as your aunt and uncle.” Jeonghan frowned to see Chan’s parents on the screen.

“Lee Jaeyoung and Yoon Dajung.” Jihoon zoomed in on the picture, showing a baby Jeonghan smiling happily with them. “Married 25 years ago, owned the prominent Yoon Education Foundation. They have three sons and a daughter. You, Lee Won-nim, is their eldest son.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?!” Jeonghan yelled in anger, refusing to believe in whatever show they were making.

“Don’t you even wonder why your aunt didn’t even mind not being the heir of your grandfather’s business? She was so happy to let you become the heir.” Jihoon pressed the button and showed another screen. “Because you’re her biological son. She’s the one who put you there, and I think it’s better to know this from us first rather than from your biological parents when they think you’re not doing a good job later.”

“You’d be leading the Yoon Empire under their control and they’ll collect all your wealth for your other siblings. So, at the end, the whole foundation will be Lee’s instead of Yoon’s.” Seungcheol pointed out.

“You think this is believable?” Jeonghan scoffed.

“Well, we’re not making grand and emotional stories like your real parents did, so of course you won’t believe us.” Seungcheol stood up. “But I’m pretty sure you’ll believe your dearest younger brother. He knew everything, yet he kept it from you because he was afraid you couldn’t accept the truth. What an angel.”

“What did you do to him?!” Jeonghan demanded as he turned to see Chan’s unconscious form on the bed.

“The same sleeping pill you gave me.” Seungcheol replied. “But with a double dose. So, he’ll be sleeping for a while more. Everything around him is fake, we didn’t connect anything on him.” He pointed out.

“What the…” Jeonghan frowned in disbelief.

“You really love him like a real brother. Maybe because you shared the same DNA?” Seungcheol put a file on Jeonghan’s bed. “Food will be served by Mingyu every four hours, we won’t let you starve.”

“Do you expect me to stay and repent?” Jeonghan scoffed.

“No, just enjoy the rest for a bit. The semester break is starting off soon, and after you leave this place, I don’t think you have enough time to rest like this anymore.” Jihoon gave him a shrug before leaving the room with the others.

The door closed and it woke up all the sense in Jeonghan. His brain started to process all the information he just received. What was all that? Chan knew? He looked at the unconscious Chan and sighed. He’d have to wait for him to wake up to find out everything.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hyung…” Jeonghan shot up from his seat towards Chan’s bed. He was looking through the files they left for him while waiting for Chan to wake up.

“Chan-ah, what is this all about?” Jeonghan asked.

“What is what?” Chan asked groggily. “Where are we, hyung? Why am I so dizzy…?” Chan swayed lightly and Jeonghan caught him before he fell down the bed.

As if on cue, the door opened and Mingyu walked in with a trolley of food and a few other things. He walked over wordlessly towards Chan and pushed him back to lay down properly on the bed.

“What is that?!” Jeonghan asked suspiciously as Mingyu took out a bag of saline water.

“It’s an IV drip. He’s been put to sleep for 24 hours, he’s clearly dehydrated.” Mingyu replied monotonously as he skilfully inserted the needle on Chan’s wrist. The younger just groaned lightly as the needle pricked on his skin, but he was too weak to fight it. He took another look at the big needle on his wrist and his eyes rolled up and he fell limp on the bed.

“Yah, what did you do?” Jeonghan shouted accusingly.

“Chan’s afraid of needles. He’ll faint at the sight of it.” Mingyu replied, still monotonous. “Don’t worry, he’ll be up in no time.” He left the trolley in the middle of their beds and walked out without saying anything else.

Jeonghan took a look at the food on the trolley. The sight and the smell of the food made his stomach rumble lightly, and he wondered how long had been locked up in the room. He really wanted to eat, but he was afraid that Mingyu would put something bad inside the food.

“Hyung?” Jeonghan snapped his head at the sound of Chan’s voice before helping him to sit up.

“Yah, why didn’t you tell me I had a phobia of needles?” Jeonghan asked as he put a few pillows behind Chan’s back so that the younger boy could rest his back comfortably.

“I thought you’d know.” Chan chuckled. “You’ve always cared so much about me.”

“I did, huh?” Jeonghan sighed as he pulled the food trolley nearer to them/ “Are you hungry, should we eat something?”

Chan didn’t have to answer as their stomach rumbled at the same time. Jeonghan lifted up one of the trays and put it on the table in front of Chan and moved his tray to the other side of the table. They ate in silence, the only sound was their chopstick and spoon hitting the tray.

“Mingyu’s hyung cooking is always the best, right hyung?” Chan asked as Jeonghan moved their tray back on the trolley and pushed it nearer to the door.

“How did you know that it’s Mingyu’s cooking?” Jeonghan frowned.

“He’s been cooking for me since I’ve been here.” Chan pointed out nonchalantly and Jeonghan sat down beside him with a worried frown.

“How long have you been here, Chan-ah?” Jeonghan questioned.

“I’m not sure, three days? Four days?” Chan replied. “They told me to wait for you here.”

“Who are they?” Jeonghan inquired a bit angrily. How dare these people detained his precious cousin?

“Vernon and Joshua hyung were the ones who brought me here. They told me that you’ll come here and bring me home.” Chan replied calmly, as if it’s a normal event. “Mingyu hyung came in every four hour or so, bringing me delicious foods. He always accompanies me to eat. Sometimes Wonwoo hyung will join and he even invited me to play games and watch movies with him.”

“Chan-ah, I don’t understand. Why are you so calm? You’re basically kidnapped!” Jeonghan pointed out in frustration.

“I wasn’t, hyung…” Chan sighed. “I come here with my own will.”

“What?” Jeonghan frowned in confusion.

“I met with Jihoon hyung and Seungcheol hyung last week to seek for the truth.” Chan told the older boy. “They were hesitating for a bit, but in the end, they confirmed the truth. So, when Vernon and Joshua hyung took me to this place, I already knew that they were planning something. I just told the hyungs to be gentle with you.”

“Where is this place, Chan-ah?” Jeonghan asked curiously. “Let’s escape out of here!”

“This is Jihyun noona’s family house before her parents died.” Chan answered.

“Why didn’t I remember anything about this house?” Jeonghan questioned in disbelief.

“Of course you don’t, hyung.” Chan sighed. “You were with our parents in our family house.”

“What nonsense had they been feeding you, Chan-ah?!” Jeonghan screamed in annoyance. Not this again!

“I’m telling you the truth, hyung…” Chan had started to sob. “I remember seeing eomma crying every time harabeoji locked you in the punishment room back then. I thought she was worried about you, it turns out she was feeling guilty for letting you live that way.”

“What are you talking about, seriously!” Jeonghan stood up, not believing his ears.

“Hyung, you’re my biological brother. Your birth name is Lee Won. The real Jeonghan was born a few months earlier than you, but he was sick. Their mother died after giving birth to Jihyun noona and their father was met in an accident on his way back to meet them. Our parents exchanged his spot with you because Jihyun noona turned out to be sick as well. They wanted you to be the heir of Yoon Empire since our grandfather was going to give up the company to his partner instead.” Chan explained in detail, sniffling occasionally in between.

“No, that’s not true!” Jeonghan felt like pulling his hair apart.

“Jihyun noona didn’t die of suicide, hyung. She really died because of her illness. The reason why they told you that she’s die of suicide was because she refused the final procedure to save her life. She couldn’t hold on for longer anymore, at first, she accepted the surgery because she was gonna live for you, but after receiving confirmation that you’re indeed not her real brother, she decided to put off the surgery. She thought that she would be able to meet you for one last time, but she couldn’t hold on anymore. That old man was so afraid you’d find out the truth, so she decided to tell you that Jihyun noona died of suicide instead…” Chan cried harder.

“What the heck?!” Jeonghan still couldn’t accept the truth. “This is not right! I saw them bringing her body out of the River! I clearly saw her by the bridge! I saw her call the Suicide Prevention Team!” He yelled in pure devastation.

“She went to the bridge almost everyday with Hyunwoo hyung.” Chan told him. “She called the Prevention Suicide Centre almost every night too. But she never thought of jumping into the river. She already knew she’d die anyway. Our grandfather and parents make it like that, so you’ll be more motivated and stronger to become the sole heir of the Yoon Empire… which was never yours in the first place anyway…”

“The body… wasn’t Jihyun noona’s. She was safely kept in the mortuary for two days while they were faking the search. The body you saw by the river was a ploy. They exchanged them in the hospital and released the truth about her dying with illness while telling you that Jihyun noona died of suicide.” Chan continued as Jeonghan was frozen in his seat, trying to process the whole lot of crazy information he just received.

“Why are you only telling me this now?!” Jeonghan finally questioned after a long silence. Tears dropped down his face, a mixture of anger, frustration and confusion.

“I’m sorry, hyung…” Chan cried again. “I don’t want to hurt you with unconfirmed truth. But after I met with Seungcheol hyung and Jihoon hyung’s family a few weeks ago, I was devastated. I already suspected it, but to know the truth was hard, hyung… I don’t want you to get hurt. I wanted to wait until you’d be able to accept the truth before I tell you everything…”

“Then why did you do it now?! Why did you let all these befall upon us?!” Jeonghan screamed in distress. The information was too much for him to absorb at once.

“We’re the only ones who can disclose the truth, hyung. And we don’t have much time anymore. I know if we do this, we might have to give up everything we have, but I don’t think I can live knowing that I had cruelly taken away other people’s hope and right, hyung…” Chan hiccupped in between his sniffles. “I think it’s right to disclose the truth. But I don’t have that power, only you would be able to do so, hyung…”

“What are you even talking about…?” Jeonghan hand sunken on his seat, too tired to process any information anymore.

“Hyung, Yoon Empire was built along with another three families, the Hong family and the Lee family. The Hong family built the university and the Lee family built the hospitals. They had agreed that all the funds would come from our Yoon Empire Hotel. Without heir, both the university and hospital won’t stay afloat, that’s why our grandfather wanted to give up the hotel to the Hong family, since the Lee family already owned The Universe Foundation.” Chan continued his explanation. “But our parents disagree and decided to exchange the real Jeonghan’s position with you. They never knew that the real Jeonghan would actually live a longer life. All they could do is continue to support him and act as if he’s not the real heir… but truth is meant to be discovered, and Jihyun noona was the first one to find out…”

“That I wasn’t her real older brother?” Jeonghan questioned silently and Chan nodded.

“She was so desperate in trying to save her brother’s life, but it was inevitable…” Chan let out a heavy breath. “It sounds so crazy isn’t it?”

Jeonghan let out a tired chuckle. He then slowly frowned as the puzzle slowly pieced themselves together. “Jihoon is the heir of The Universe Foundation, right?” He suddenly asked.

“Yes, and Shua hyung is the heir of the Hong family.” Chan added.

“Then, the real heir of the Yoon Empire is…” Jeonghan paused, not believing the conclusion he just made.

“The real heir of the Yoon Empire is Seungcheol hyung. His birth name that we couldn’t find in his file is… Yoon Jeonghan.”

Chapter Text

Jeonghan and Joshua sat down silently on the couch. Chan had gone to sleep on his bed after having their dinner in silence a few hours ago. Chan had cried himself to sleep and Jeonghan was too busy processing his thoughts to tend to the younger boy. He was too preoccupied with the news he just received. He even absentmindedly asked for Joshua to Mingyu when he came in to collect the dishes after dinner, not knowing that his request would be fulfilled.

“Is it true?” Jeonghan asked after a long silence between them.

“What is?” Joshua questioned him back.

“Everything that Chan told me…” Jeonghan trailed off.

“I don’t know what exactly Chan told you, Jeonghan.” Joshua pointed out and Jeonghan sighed. He didn’t want to be reminded of the same bitter truth all over again since he was still trying to process it.

“I don’t even know what is the truth anymore, Shua-yah…” Jeonghan looked at his friend and Joshua could see it, the hurt and confusion swirling in his eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me anything?”

“Even though I only found out everything a few months ago…” Joshua sighed. “I asked Jihoon about what happened to Seungcheol, and they told me the truth. I found it hard to believe at first, but after they showed me the DNA result and even authenticated it with my mom… I had no choice but to believe it. It’s hard to unsee the truth anymore.”

“So, I’ve been living a fake life? All of my life was a lie?” Jeonghan questioned bitterly.

“I’m sorry, Jeonghan-ah… It wasn’t your fault. It was the adults… They were the ones who made the decision for you.” Joshua assured him.

“All my life I thought I only had Jihyun and my grandfather… He never treated me right, was it because I’m not the real heir…?” Jeonghan felt his tears welled up in anguish. The resentment for his grandfather just multiplied by seconds.

“He’s dead, Jeonghan-ah.” Joshua comforted his friend. “Now, it’s all up to you to rectify this whole situation.”

“Funny how I was the one who was thrown into this situation without my knowledge and suddenly I have to amend everything, huh?” Jeonghan cackled lowly. “What is even left to do? Should I give up being the heir altogether? After all the brutal training I’ve been through?”

“No, you didn’t have to give up your position.” Joshua corrected him. “You just have to bring all this to light, seek for the truth legally, not illegally as you’ve been doing to Seungcheol…”

“Seungcheol! Seungcheol! Seungcheol!” Why are all of you even on his side?!” Jeonghan yelled in frustration. “It was his fault that I had to be in this situation! Why do I have to be the one to fix it?!”

“He didn’t have much time, Jeonghan. All he wanted was to clear his name, to seek out the truth.” Joshua calmly replied.

“What about me? Why are you all on everyone else’s side other than me?” Jeonghan questioned bitterly.

“Chan had always been by your side since the start, Jeonghan-ah. Jihyun, haven’t she been on your side all these times? She supported you with all her heart. Me, I’m on your side too. I’m just giving you the options. I will never force you to do anything you didn’t want to do. I’m just here to tell you the truth, that’s why I was allowed to be here.” Joshua assured him comfortingly.

“But you still work for Seungcheol, right? That’s why I’m still stuck here. Even Chan was rooting for Seungcheol, that’s why he went on with this crazy plan.” Jeonghan scoffed.

Joshua sighed and fished out something from his pocket and put it on the table between them. “I know Seungcheol and Jihoon went too far this time, but believe me, they had no choice either. You’ve been too much of a threat for Seungcheol, and all he wanted was to be close to you. He didn’t have any more family members, Jeonghan. He only has Jihoon’s family, and your family. Your parents always think of him as a threat to you, so Jihoon’s family took care of everything for him. But your parents still have the humane side for him, so they built YEF, with the sole reason to provide him with decent life, so they won’t feel guilty for exchanging his life with yours.”

“How did you get my phone?” Jeonghan questioned as he looked at both his phone and Chan’s phone on the table.

“Jihoon gave it to me when I arrived here. Your parents will come and pick you and Chan up tomorrow. They’ve managed to locate Chan’s phone, so they’re coming early in the morning tomorrow. We’ll be leaving this house tonight, Mingyu will prepare you extra food so you won’t be hungry until they arrive to pick you up.” Joshua stood up.

“Are you just leaving like that?” Jeonghan questioned.

“Yes.” Joshua smiled. “I was hoping that you had a proper talk with your biological parents, and when the time's come, you’ll come back here. Until then, I’ll be waiting, Jeonghan-ah.” And he walked out of the door.

True to what Joshua said, that night, they received a notification from Chan’s parents telling them they’ll be on their way to pick them up. Mingyu gave them food in takeout boxes, snacks and sandwiches and also their clothes before he left that night. None of them came back, and in the next morning, as promised, Chan’s parents arrived.

“Chan-ah!” Chan’s mother – their mother – cried out as he rushed over towards Chan who was sitting on the bed, passing him as if he was never there. “Oh God, are you alright, my baby?” She took her time checking up Chan from top to bottom for any sight of injury, her eyes teary. Their father followed suit, giving hugs to the two and Jeonghan just watched them in heightened envy. Weren’t they his biological parents too?

“Jeonghan-ah, are you alright?” They finally turned their attention towards him, after making sure that Chan was alright. Was he so much of a nuisance that they just exchanged his life with someone else and even forgot that he was theirs? Is that why it was so easy for them to let him go and act as if he was never their son in the first place?

“Hyung…” Chan croaked out, his face contorted in worry as he faced him. That’s when Jeonghan realised he had been crying. Jeonghan let out a shaky breath and quickly steadied himself up, stopping the tears and the emotion from showing on his face.

“Let’s go home.” Jeonghan pushed past his so-called biological parents and siblings, walking away from the room they’ve been staying in for a few days.

The journey home was a torture for Jeonghan. Their father was sitting beside the driver, while Chan was having sandwiches in between their mother and him. Chan was fully hugged by their mother, who had been babying him for the whole time, while Chan ahd Jeonghan’s hand tightly clasped in his other hand. Jeonghan was green with envy, he wished he had a set of parents who would dote on him like Chan was dotted. It was so much worse that he knew Chan’s parents were also his, when all they cared about was Chan.

As soon as they arrived at home, Jeonghan locked himself in his own room. He refused anyone to come in, no matter how much Chan begged him to let him in. He spent his time crying, reminiscing about the things that were never his in the first place. His real parents and family were never his, and his parents didn’t care about him anymore. They’ve moved on from him being their first son twenty years ago. Now that he already knows the truth, what is left for him?

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Hyung!” Chan called out in surprise as Jeonghan walked down the stairs that morning. He had been locking himself inside the room for two days straight without having anything to eat, no matter how hard they tried to beg him.

Jeonghan ignored his younger brother and took a seat at the dining table, surprising the couple who was getting ready for their breakfast.

“Oh, Jeonghan-ah. I’m glad you want to join us for breakfast today. What a good decision. What do you want for breakfast? I'll ask the maid to cook something for you?” Dajung offered.

“Is it true?” Jeonghan suddenly asked and the couple turned to look at him.

“What is, Jeonghan-ah?” Jaeyoung asked, puzzled with the sudden question thrown at them.

“You had an eldest son named Lee Won. What happened to him?” Jeonghan asked straightforwardly. The sound of the butter knife dropping on the table echoed in the whole house due to the total silence.

“H-how… how did you know that?” Jaeyoung stuttered as he put his bread down.

“How long are you going to keep the secret from me, uncle?” Jeonghan looked up at the older man, his eyes hollow and empty, sending shivers through his spine. “Or should I say, father?”

“J-jeonghan-ah…” Dajung approached him, but he quickly pushed her hand away from touching him.

“Jeonghan? Why do you want me to be Jeonghan so bad? Is the money and power worth so much that you sacrifice my life to become the heir of the Yoon Empire?” Jeonghan wanted to scream, but he had no energy after crying and not sleeping for almost two days, so he just blurted it out monotonously.

“We… we want the best for you, son…” Jaeyoung started.

“So now I’m a son? You let me go out of your life, living the most brutal life as the heir of Yoon Empire, acting so nice like you’ve always cared for me like the caring uncle and auntie you are, do you know how much it hurts?” Jeonghan let his tears fall down his face. “I thought I was all alone in this world. I lost everyone in my family, I never had my parents by my side as I grew up, I had to go through countless hardships to make sure I became a good heir, and for what? For me to find out that you guys were my biological parents and suddenly gave me a cheer because I was never alone in the first place?”

“Jeonghan-ah…” Dajung sobbed lightly, trying to form words, but Jeonghan won’t let any of them talk.

“You thought acting like you care for me is enough? You thought giving support by the side-line was enough for me to live on? You thought sacrificing your son and exchanging my life to be the heir of Yoon Empire would be the best thing of my life? No! I lost everyone that I thought was my blood-related family. You made me believe that I was an orphan, and I always thought I was pitiful for having no one in my family anymore. I was always so grateful that at least I have you guys in my life, so that I could share some love as a family…” Jeonghan choked on his sobs. “But it looks like I was wrong. I was more pitiful because my biological family decided to leave me all alone, leaving me to cry on my own for losing all my family members, when they were actually always there! You left me out to fend for myself, the moment you exchanged my life, you actually deleted me from your family tree.”

“It’s not like that, Jeonghan-ah…” Jaeyoung tried to confer, but Jeonghan won’t let him either.

“Then what? Are you going to take me back in once I successfully become the heir of the Yoon Empire? Will you go off telling everyone that I was actually you guys’ son and had no choice but to sacrifice to ensure the continuity of the Yoon Empire? What more lies are you going to feed me?!” Jeonghan spat out in full anguish. “And then what? You guys will act like the saint you are, telling everyone that you want nothing from me, other than accepting you guys as my biological parents, knowing that I won’t have anywhere to go but to you guys?”

“No… Jeonghan-ah…” Dajung cried.

“See, I’m still a Jeonghan…” Jeonghan’s voice broke. “You guys would never see me as your eldest son ever again, won’t you?” Jeonghan looked at his parents that were now hanging their heads in shame.

“Fair enough. Now I know where I stand in this family.” Jeonghan let out a shaky breath and turned on his heels.

“Hyung, where are you going?” Chan quickly held him to a stop. Jeonghan weakly pushed him away, making himself stumbled due to his low energy.

“You… never saw me as your older brother either, right? That’s why you didn’t tell me earlier...” Jeonghan felt his world spinning.

“No, that’s not true, hyung! I love you so much, I…”

“Don’t touch me!” Jeonghan managed to growl, albeit weakly as he swatted Chan’s hand away. “Just leave me alone…”

“Hyung!” Chan’s shout fell onto deaf ears as Jeonghan collapsed on the floor, limp and unconscious.

 

***************************************************************************

 

Jeonghan woke up to the sound of a clock ticking on the wall. He scanned his surroundings, trying to figure out where he was.

“Are you finally awake?” Jeonghan turned to his left, finding Seungcheol sitting on the bed on the other side of the room. “What did you do to yourself?”

“Where is this?” Jeonghan frowned.

“You must have been so out of it, huh?” Seungcheol chuckled, continued by a cough. “It’s your grandfather’s house. This is your old room, isn't it?”

Jeonghan frowned as he took in the surroundings. He had left the room for so long. The last time he stepped into this room was before he left for Japan. After that, he always stays at his personal apartment that was given to him which is nearby to his high school.

“How long was I asleep?” Jeonghan asked next as Seungcheol put his book and glasses away.

“About 48 hours, I think?” Seungcheol replied. “Your parents brought you to the hospital, but Chan was begging us to bring you away, so we brought you here instead.”

“Why are you in my grandfather’s house anyway?” Jeonghan asked, kicking the blanket away as he sat up from the bed.

“Ah, your parents must have not told you yet?” Seungcheol nodded nonchalantly. “They gifted the house to me.”

“Why would they do that?” Jeongahn frowned.

“Why do you think so?” Seungcheol raised his eyebrow and suddenly everything that has been happening around him for the past week dumped on him like cold water. He relented and sat back down on the bed, pulling the blanket on top of him, not knowing what else to do. He couldn’t just leave, he had no idea who else would be outside and he couldn’t figure out where to go immediately.

Seungcheol let out another chuckle and let him be. Jeonghan stayed like that for a while before the door opened and a hand poked on his side. “Hyung?”

Jeonghan frowned as he peeked out from the blanket. Seokmin smiled at him so brightly that he felt like hiding himself further into the blanket. Why is everyone here anyways?

“Come on, hyung. Let’s eat.” Seokmin persuaded him. Jeonghan sighed and pulled his blanket away hearing the pout in the younger’s voice.

“I made some potato grinch for you today, hyung. Joshua hyung made his signature sweet bread. Do you want to brush your teeth while I prepare your food?” Seokmin asked, his smile reaching his eyes.

“Sure.” Jeonghan nodded.

“Wait here, I’ll get Chan.” Seokmin stood up and left. Not long after, Chan appeared with a familiar backpack.

“Hyung! You’re awake!” Chan cheered, but quickly lowered his voice as he approached his bed. “Here, I brought your necessities with me.” Chan opened his bag. “I brought your favorite fluffy towels and pyjamas, your skincare and your toiletries. Here.” Chan extended his arm with all his things.

Jeonghan hesitated for a bit before accepting it. Chan watched as he stood up from the bed and slowly made his way towards the bathroom. He stopped midway and turned back to face Chan. “Chan-ah…” He then decided against it and turned back to go inside the bathroom.

“I told our parents everything on your behalf, hyung.” Chan told the older boy. Jeonghan tensed at the word ‘our parents’. “I told them everything and asked them to leave you alone until you’re ready to face them. They promise to leave you alone…” Chan gave him a soft and gentle smile. “…for now.”

Jeonghan hummed. “Thank you, Chan.”

“Anything for you, hyung.” Chan replied. “But for now, off you go to take a bath, you stink!” He changed the topic quickly to enlighten the tense mood between them. Jeonghan let out a small giggle before disappearing behind the bathroom’s door.

As soon as he walked out, a breakfast table was already set up by the bed. Seokmin and Chan were talking animatedly in a hushed voice, but it wasn’t serious, judging from the small smile tugging on their lips.

“Where’s the others?” Jeonghan asked casually.

“Who, your roommate?” Chan laughed at his own question. “You’re back to being Cheol hyung’s roommate huh, hyung?” Jeonghan just scoffed at the teasing tone as he sat down.

“They went out for their usual walk.” Seokmin provided. “They’ll be back in an hour or so.”

“You’re… not mad at me, Seokmin-ah?” Jeonghan looked at the younger.

“What? Why would I?” Seokmin asked back, confusion written all over his face. Jeonghan exchanged looks with Chan and Seokmin chuckled.

“I mean, you might be a threat to Cheol hyung, as Jihoon hyung described it…” Seokmin laughed before continuing. “But other than that, we all know you’re not that bad.”

“Yeah, you’re bad towards Seungcheol hyung. He only wanted to be close to you, but you did everything to push him away from your life.” Chan agreed. “If only you listened to me when I said Jihyun noona didn’t kill herself back then, none of this would happen. But then again if you didn’t go around trying to get revenge on Seungcheol hyung, we’ll never find the truth anyways…”

“Stop talking about it, Chan. Jeonghan hyung needs to eat.” Seokmin gestured towards Jeonghan who played with his food in silence, only occasionally scooping the food to eat.

“Sorry, hyung.” Chan pouted. “Eat a lot, hyung. You haven’t been eating for days. You don’t know how panicked I was when you collapsed back then.”

Jeonghan hummed and continued eating the food. He didn’t eat everything, but Seokmin was satisfied with the amount of food he finished, claiming that he purposely put in extra so that he would eat more.

“Seokmin-ah…” Jeonghan called out.

“Yes, hyung?” Seokmin stopped piling up the dishes on the trolley.

“Do you know…” Jeonghan bit his lips. “…how bad…?”

“You mean Cheol hyung’s condition?” Seokmin asked back and Jeonghan gave him a subtle nod, not even looking at him.

“He’s already on the final stage.” Seokmin replied sadly. “There’s nothing left that could be done. He was hoping to at least graduate from the university, but even that seems a bit hard now.”

“How long?” Chan was the one who asked.

“Three months… six months at most.” 

 

Chapter Text

“Stop staring, don’t you know it’s rude?” Seungcheol spoke out, his eyes never left the book on his lap.

Jeonghan cleared his throat in embarrassment. “Why are you so focused on studying? You’re scored a high mark for everything, despite your… you know absenteeism and your…condition…?”

“Well, I had strings I could pull as well. Joshua’s parents are always fond of me, so…” Seungcheol shrugged, closing the book and putting it away. “And graduating as the highest in the class is one of my dreams, so gotta work hard for that, shouldn’t I?”

“How long have you known about you… I mean, the real you?” Jeonghan asked curiously.

“Funny how you’re suddenly interested in me now that you know the truth, huh?” Seungcheol chuckled lightly. “If I knew it was this easy to get close to you, I’d drop the bomb of truth earlier.”

Jeonghan just scoffed and rolled his eyes at that. “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

“I knew it since I was a kid. Jihoon’s family dislike me at first. My mom wasn’t even a real daughter of the Lee family, so they were trying to send me back to the Yoon family. But Jihoon’s grandfather won’t let that happen, so he brought me away for a while to the orphanage. Before he died, he gave all of his inheritance to me and they could only get it back after I turned 18. That’s why they had no choice but to take care of me.” Seungcheol started his story.

“But then I got sick, like really sick. And being the doctor, they just couldn’t let me suffer on my own. So, they started to really care for me, and that’s how I became one of the members of the Lee family. They got me a donor and I was healthy for a while. I was a star soccer player, but after an incident where I collapsed on the field, they found out that I relapsed. That’s when I was transferred to Jihyun’s school and found out that she was my biological sister. That’s when I started to get curious about my real family and found out about you.” Seungcheol explained further.

“Why didn’t you tell me the truth from the start then?” Jeonghan asked with a frown.

“I wanted to at first. I even begged Jihoon’s parents to let me enrol in the university like a normal student as soon as I know you’re going to enrol in the same year. I even begged Hyunwoo hyung to let me to become your roommate.” Seungcheol chuckled. “I wanted to tell you the truth at first after I saw Jihyun’s diary on your table, but then I figured out your plan from Shua, so I wanted to see how far you’d go to fight me.” He shrugged and let out a silent giggle.

“All your plans were a part of my plan. I stopped Jihoon from taking out the camera installed in our room earlier than he was supposed to, I even ate the spicy soup purposely. You weren’t so good at doing your act, the spicy smell was so obvious.” Seungcheol dissed him with a light snicker. “Jihoon was so mad after he knew the truth, but I enjoyed it. I enjoy having someone treating me like I was a normal student. I’ve lived my life as if I’m a fragile being, like I’m a fragile glass that was gonna break if they let go of their hold on me. But you’re different. You treat me normally, even going as far as trying to avenge me, and it’s fun to see you try.”

“Yah!” Jeonghan growled, feeling uncomfortable at the constant teasing aimed towards him.

“I’m tired of being a damsel in distress for almost my whole life, Jeonghan-ah. I thought that I could save myself and become a hero, but yeah everyone knows better.” Seungcheol chuckled by himself. “Along the way, my illness became more serious, and Chan kept asking us weird questions. We decided to tell Chan the truth. He was the one who told us about you buying sleeping pills, so we brought him away just in case you decided to kill me, and unfortunately, you nearly did. Good news, I didn’t die. You’re nice enough to put only a little bit of the portion for me, although with my conditions, it worked too well. So, Jihoon kinda got mad, he shot you with a sleeping drug instead.”

“He had the right to be mad at me.” Jeonghan sighed. “I mean, I’m not that likeable.” He shrugged.

“You’re wrong. Jihyun had this big crush on you. Every time we met, she never shut up about you. You’re like this big existence in her life, she always told me that she’s so thankful to have you as her brother, although you’re not her biological brother.” Seungcheol told him.

“She knew?” Jeonghan frowned.

“Of course, she was the one who tried so hard to find me. I mean, I accepted all you revenge on me, partially because of her. You’re right, she did die of a suicide indirectly. She refused her final surgery. I should have died instead of her…” Seungcheol’s voice broke at the last sentence.

Jeonghan let Seungcheol wallow in his emotion in silence. He has a lot on his mind as well, that he wanted to say and ask, but he decided to let it be first.

“I’m sorry, you shouldn’t have to know all this.” Seungcheol was quick to wipe his tears away and pulled his book back towards him. “I’m going to read, if I fall asleep and you still have questions, you can go to Wonwoo, or maybe if you don’t mind facing his wrath, you can find Jihoon. Joshua is in the US with his family for a holiday, so if you wanna wait for him, he’ll be back in two weeks.”

Jeonghan just gave him a small nod and Seungcheol continued reading his book. Jeongahn stood up to get to the bathroom, and when he came out, Seungcheol was already sprawled comfortably on his bed, his glasses and book thrown by his side.

“Hyung!” Jihoon suddenly burst inside, approaching the sleeping Seungcheol in a rush before letting out quite a loud sigh as soon as he sat down beside him. He pulled the blanket to cover his body and put the book and glasses away, all the while under Jeonghan’s watching eyes.

“Come out, I know you have a lot of questions. I already warned him not to spill his mind to you, but it’s not like he listened to me anyways…” Jihoon sighed as he eyed the sleeping Seungcheol. “You know where the study is, right? I’ll be there whenever you’re ready.” He said before closing the door behind his back.

Jihoon didn’t have to wait that long for Jeonghan to appear in the study ten minutes later. He invited himself on the couch, Jihoon joining him with two cans of soda. “I supposed we should be drinking, but I’m not tolerant of alcohol since I rarely drink it.”

“I take it as you’re not mad at me anymore?” Jeonghan started their conversation.

“I was never not mad at you. You’re such a foolish jerk, a mirror of your own parents.” Jihoon spat out, albeit very calmly. “I will never understand hyung’s fondness on you, but again, you’re his real self, you’ve been living the life he should have been, and Jihyun’s story was one of the catalysts that make him pity you so much.”

Jeongahn looked up at him with a frown and the younger let out a notorious laugh. “Seungcheol hyung is too kind. He had such a high empathy for everyone else than himself. After threatening you and Chan, he felt so guilty and cried so much that we had to transfer him to a hospital. He’s a fool like that.”

Jeonghan couldn’t help but let out a scoff. “You know what? I was a volunteer at the hospital, so I always partnered with hyung. After he was released from the hospital and started to live a normal life, I met Jihyun. She’s such a wonderful soul. She was the one who told me everything, and I got them to meet. We hid the secret from hyung at first, not knowing how to tell him the truth, but then Jihyun got too sick. The person who was supposed to donate the kidney to her didn’t make it at the last health check-up and your family was in uproar, until your parents approached him. They had the audacity to offer him an enormous amount of money if he donated the kidney. What they didn’t know was that the person who was supposed to donate the kidney to Jihyun was always hyung. My parents advised against him donating the kidney to her, but hyung couldn’t bear to see how badly her condition deteriorated.”

Jeonghan gripped his fist tightly at the story, feeling a mixture of emotions surging throughout his body. “So, he donated his kidney to Jihyun, at the risk of his own health. It didn’t take long for his body to react, he collapsed in his final game, right after he scored the winning goal. We were so shocked. He was in coma for two weeks, and my parents decided to transfer him to Jihyun’s school instead. Jihyun wanted to donate her bone marrow to him, but if she did so, she’ll die. She insisted so badly, and that’s when hyung find out the truth about their relationship.” 

“Jihyun’s health deteriorated further and the doctor suggested for her to get another kidney.” Jihoon continued as Jeonghan didn’t seem like he was going to say anything. “Of course, being the noble fool, hyung would offer his kidney, since he had nothing to live for anyways. But Jihyun refused, they were in a very heated argument, and finally Jihyun agreed to accept his kidney with the condition of him accepting her bone marrow.” Jihoon took a deep breath. “But then Jihyun found out that hyung was practically trying to kill himself. If he gave up his kidney, he’ll die, because he already donated his first one for her. That’s why she ran away a few hours before the surgery. She did try to run away through the window, but she didn’t manage to go far in her condition. She was brought to an emergency surgery, but nothing could be done anymore. She died while waiting for another donor since your grandfather and parents refused to have you back. You’re the only other family members that have the matching kidney for Jihyun, but they wanted you to be perfectly healthy, so they didn’t tell you that you actually matched her.”

Jihoon could see Jeonghan’s fist trembling so hard as he bit his lips. “I had to say this, but in a way, your parents and grandfather were the real indirect reason for why Jihyun died. Of course, hyung still blamed himself, so did you. But if only they tell you that you’re matching with Jihyun, maybe Jihyun would still be here with us, today.”

Jeonghan stood up abruptly as soon as Jihoon finished his sentences, making him startled. He let out a breath before walking out, ignoring the call from Jihoon.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“J-jeonghan-ah…?” Jeonghan had his biological father pinned on the wall with the bodyguards and security surrounding them, hesitating to separate them without any instruction.

“Jeonghan!” Dajung appeared, screaming in surprise. Jeonghan let go of his father and pulled his mother into the circle, before pulling her towards her husband on the floor.

“You made me believe that Jihyun was my biological sister, and you killed her?!” Jeonghan roared in pure anguish, his face red from holding on his tears.

“We… never…” Dajung stuttered, swallowing her sobs as he faced the wrath of her eldest son that she abandoned for power twenty years ago. “We didn’t kill her…”

“You only care about me being the perfect heir! You never care about my feelings! You let Jihyun die when I was the perfect match for her! I could have donated my kidney to her!” Jeonghan yelled so loud, it echoed throughout the whole office, making everyone's attention focused on them.

“If you really wanted to make me a ploy without me finding out, the least you could do is to care for the people around me as well! You think I’d accept you guys so easily as my biological parents after what you’ve done?!” Everyone was shocked at the sudden revelation.

“Jeonghan-ah, calm down.” Jaeyoung tried his best to stop Jeonghan from going berserk in the main office.

“I’m not going to calm down. I will let the whole world know what you have done behind your so-called charitable foundation! Lee Won? He’s dead! I will live my life forever as Yoon Jeonghan, even if I’m not gonna be the heir of the Yoon Empire. But if I did become the heir of the Yoon Empire, you can take this foundation and rot in hell!” With that, Jeonghan left the room, leaving everyone murmuring behind his back.

Jeonghan walked out of the building and saw Chan standing by his car. “I don’t know if you’ll hate me too, hyung. But I’m with you on this one.”

“You don’t have to, Chan. They might abandon me to be a Yoon, but they’re still your parents.” Jeonghan stood firmly on his ground.

“Yes, and you’re my brother. They will always be my parents, but what they did is wrong. I can’t continue to be on their side knowing what they did is awfully wrong.” Chan decided firmly.

“Are you sure?” Jeonghan questioned.

“I’ve never been so sure, hyung.” Chan assured the older guy.

“Fair enough then.” Jeonghan tossed his key to Chan. “We need to get going, there’s a lot of things that we need to do if we’re really going to do this.”

“Ay, ay, captain!” Chan get in the driver seat and they sped away from the luxurious building.

 

***************************************************************************

 

Jeonghan sat down by the bed, watching as Seungcheol slept soundly with a few wires attached to his body. He had been transferred to the hospital earlier that week since his condition had worsened.

It has been three months since Jeonghan faced his biological parents and released the truth to the board of directors. Most of them were shocked, and they agreed to vote out the ownership of Yoon Dajung and Lee Jaeyoung from Yoon Education Foundation. The Lee family decided to claim for the ownership of the YEF so that all the kids that has been receiving support from the foundation can continue to stay on without having any changes. Jeonghan had continued to be the successor of the Yoon Empire and all the shares owned by both his biological parents and siblings were transferred to the foundation instead.

Joshua’s father had agreed to join hands with the upper management of Yoon Empire Hotel and took care of the hotel management until Jeonghan finished his study. He had decided to take his time to learn everything since the management personnel who had been working hard since his grandfather’s time had promised to take care of the hotel management until he was ready to take over everything from them.

“When did you arrive, hyung?” Jihoon asked as he walked in, along with the others.

“Just a few minutes ago.” Jeonghan lied. He has been there since early this morning, but he won’t tell them.

“Oh? Then, why did you leave the mansion so early?” Chan questioned. He had sold his apartment and decided to stay at his grandfather’s mansion, along with Chan. “I thought you already left.”

Jeonghan just laughed at that. Their new semester is starting in the upcoming week and the boys were preparing to go back to Jeju, except for Joshua who had already graduated. He had already started his training with university management a month ago, so he’s already all the way in Jeju.

“Is he not going back to Jeju?” Jeonghan asked Jihoon.

“No, he’s staying here.” Jihoon replied. “I don’t think he could ever go back anyways.” Everyone went silent at that.

“What about hyung’s graduation? He was supposed to graduate next semester, wasn't he?” Seokmin asked sadly.

“Why is he graduating already?” Seungkwan, a new addition to the whole event, asked curiously.

“He received a special entry to the university. He’s supposed to take less credit every semester, but he decided to go for a normal route and finished everything earlier instead.” Chan explained on behalf of everyone.

“Woah, our university has that kind of special entry?” Seungkwan gasped in amusement.

“It’s usually for those who have been working in the industry for more than ten years. It was done to help them gain a degree and upgrade their position with extra qualifications.” Wonwoo added.

“And hyung received it because…?” Seungkwan winced as Chan knocked on his head lightly.

“It’s fine, Chan-ah. He deserved to know. We can’t let him be in the dark by himself, shouldn’t we?” Jihoon turned to face the younger boy. “Hyung didn’t have much time to live anyways. He won’t be able to work. He was supposed to be under full treatment, but since he knew he’d die anyways, he wanted to fulfil his wish. One of them is getting a degree.”

“And the other is to graduate at the top of his class.” Jeonghan added, making everyone turn their head towards him in surprise. “What?” Jeonghan frowned. “He told me himself.”

Jihoon looked at him in disbelief as he shrugged. He then looked away as his phone vibrated and checked it. His eyes widened almost comically as he read the message before facing Jeonghan once again.

“What?” Jeonghan already leaned backwards, getting ready just in case Jihoon decided to pounce on him out of the blue.

“Did you do the test?” Jihoon demanded urgently.

“Test? What test?” Jeonghan frowned, before a realisation dawned upon him.

“You’re a match!” Jihoon cheered, shaking the suddenly frozen Jeonghan. “You’re a match!”

“I am?” Jeonghan gasped in surprise before sharing a hug with Jihoon.

As soon as they broke out of the hug, Jeonghan pulled Chan into a hug. “Now I can redeem myself, Chan-ah! We can pay back what our family has done!” Chan just nodded and jumped together with the older.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Why did you do it?” Seungcheol asked, his face void of any expressions.

“Shouldn’t you be thankful instead?” Jeonghan shot him a glare.

“Really, Jeonghan?” Seungcheol scoffed before letting out a sigh. “I’m gonna die anyways, what can extra years of life do to me? Adding more burden to the other people around me?”

Jeonghan lifted his fist but stopped abruptly in front of Seungcheol’s face and hit his shoulder lightly instead. “Never ever say that again!”

“But it’s the truth!” Seungcheol spat back.

“Yah!” Jeonghan growled and Seungcheol gave him a sneer. “Why are you so childish?! I’m trying to save your life here!”

“I’m saying that you didn’t have to do that!” Seungcheol roared back and quickly bit his lips as he saw tears on Jeonghan’s face. “Yah… you can’t be crying, that's playing dirty…” He whined as he passed a box of tissue on the nightstand to Jeonghan.

“Jihyun… used to say the same thing back then…” Jeonghan suddenly blurted out.

“Uh… sorry…” Seungcheol sat back down on his bed.

“You should be. I just wanted to save your life. I’ve taken away your life when you were young, and I can’t even give it back. The least I can do is to help you fulfil your dream and you didn’t even want to accept that…” Jeonghan wiped away his tears angrily.

“It’s not like I didn’t want your help, Jeonghan. But I’m dying. Even with the bone marrow transplant, I’ll be dying in a few years anyways.” Seungcheol repeated.

“But at least you’ll be graduating, and at the top of your class.” Jeonghan pointed out. “Isn’t that your dream?”

“Why are you so adamant in helping me with my dream? Did you forget? I killed your sister!” Seungcheol didn’t back down either.

“She’s your sister, and you’re trying to kill yourself to save her. If there’s anyone to be blamed, it’s our grandfather, and my parents. If only they told me the truth, I’ll be able to save both of you! I’m just trying to fulfil my delayed responsibility here!” Jeonghan fought back.

“What for? I’m dying anyway, Jeonghan!” Seungcheol sighed.

“To see what’s the end of your life. If you were the real Yoon Jeonghan, this is how your life would turn out. I want you to see that. Those brutal trainings I had endured just so I become the perfect heir of Yoon Empire, I want to show you how it turned out.” Jeonghan stated firmly. “Honestly, I still loathe you. I had to undergo those training because you’re not the perfect person our family hoped you to be. I hate you for not being able to persuade Jihyun to accept your kidney. I despised you for letting Jihyun find out that you’ll die if you give your kidney to her. Above all, I envy how easy you’ve been living, despite being thrown out of our family, while I had to bear all of those responsibilities and hurts thrown at me since I was young.”

“You really think I got it easy, Jeonghan?I had to fight my illness almost all my life, I had to beg for my family to accept me. At least, people were doing things for your sake, and you got the benefit indirectly. You got to be the heir of Yoon Empire, at the cost of your family, while I had to sacrifice my own life to save my one and only blood-related family that would accept me. Even then, she was taken away from my life. What else do I left?” Seungcheol’s voice raised up with every sentence. “I can’t be dying just like that, Jihoon’s family will be cursed for generation if they just let me die like that. So, I decided to not let my life ended just like that. I wanted the people who had been taking care of me genuinely know that I’ve lived happily so they won’t regret my death! And I’m already near to the finishing line! Why do you have to disrupt it?! Why can you just let me die in peace?!” He screamed angrily and kicked his IV pole, making it fell down, pulling away the needle on his wrist, making it bleed.

“Yah!” Jeonghan managed to catch him before he collapsed down on the floor. “Seungcheol-ah? Yah!” Seungcheol had passed out in his hold as Jihoon ran inside the alarm echoed loudly inside the room.

“What did you do?!” Jihoon shouted accusingly at Jeonghan and pulled the unconscious Seungcheol away from him as a team of doctors and nurses arrived.

“Get out! Get out!” Jihoon growled as he pushed Jeonghan out of the room and slammed the door on his face.

Chapter Text

The light was blinding as Jeonghan forced his eyes open. His head was fuzzy and his whole body was sore, as if he was hit by a truck.

“Hyung!” Chan’s voice could be heard by his side before he was engulfed in a hug.

“You’re finally awake.” Jeonghan saw a blurry image of a person approaching them and slowly, it became clear. “You really did sacrifice your life, Yoon Jeonghan. Thank you.”

“J-ji…hoon?” Jihoon smiled at him.

“Hyung! You made me so worried! You’ve been sleeping for almost three weeks already, do you know that?” Chan cried beside him, but he was pulled away as a doctor came over to attend him. It took a while for him to be checked up as they asked him obvious questions like his name, his age and to read the name of the people around him. They only left him alone until they were satisfied with his answer.

“It’s been three weeks?” Jeonghan asked Chan who already claimed the seat beside him, his face puffy and full of tears.

“Yes, even Seungcheol hyung already woke up a week ago.” Chan pointed out, rubbing his palm gently.

“Is he okay?” Jeonghan asked, obviously to Jihoon.

“He’s fine. But they put him back to sleep for a while so they could make sure everything’s fine with his body without hurting him.” Jihoon answered.

Jeonghan nodded. He remembered getting an emergency call from the hospital a day after his argument with Seungcheol, asking if he’s willing to donate his bone marrow. He had to get into another heated argument with Jihoon. But after knowing that Seungcheol might never wake up again, Jihoon finally changed his mind to let Jeonghan donate his bone marrow to Seungcheol.   

“You’re the one that wasn’t fine. You lost a lot of blood and flatline twice in the ICU in the first week.” Chan told him. “I was so scared that I’ll lose you instead.”

“Maybe it’s not the time for me to die yet.” Joenghan joked, feeling his eyelids slightly heavy.

“You’re still tired, go back to sleep, hyung. You need as much rest as you can. Your body is still recuperating from the surgery.” Chan told him.

“I did well, right?” Jeonghan looked at Chan.

“You did well, hyung.” Chan assured him, his tears flowing down like a river as he caressed Jeonghan’s thumb in his hold.

“Chan’s right. You did very well, Jeonghan hyung.” Jihoon gave him another smile. “I know hyung didn’t want to accept it at first, but I’m sure he’ll be thankful too. Just… Thank you for staying alive. I don’t think either hyung or I will be able to live well if you died after donating your bone marrow to him.”

“You call me hyung…” Jeonghan pointed out weakly.

“Rest, hyung.” Jihoon patted his arm. “You need it.” And Jeonghan closed his eyes again, feeling warmth all over his body as he enjoyed his restful sleep.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Why did I get less marks than him?” Jeonghan demanded, standing in front of their lecturer. “We got the same result, though!” He pointed out.

“Well, your results are the same, but your discussion is different.” The lecturer pointed out. “He discussed the result in a more detailed and organised manner compared to you, so I gave him extra marks.”

“That’s not fair!” Jeonghan demanded and Seungcheol just bowed to their lecturer and pulled Jeonghan away.

“Yah!” Jeonghan swatted his hand away, unintentionally hitting Seungcheol’s face, making him wince.

“Oh my God! I’m sorry!” Jeonghan quickly dragged Seungcheol to a nearby bench as he fussed on him like the mother hen, he is. “Does it hurt? Are you feeling dizzy or lightheaded? You’re not bleeding, thank God!”

Seungcheol let out a laugh as he pushed Jeonghan away. “Yah, I thought I told you to treat me normally!”

“I did! I went to complain to the lecturer for giving us different marks.” Jeonghan scoffed.

“Then stop fussing on me all damn times!” Seungcheol whined.

“Yah! Do you want me to let you pass out here randomly? Even when I hated you so much back then, I had the courtesy to ask for help? What do you think I am, a descendant of Cruella?” Jeonghan fought back.

“Ah, my head hurts…” Seungcheol sighed and Jeonghan’s concern automatically geared up.

“Really? Are you feeling dizzy? Should I get Jihoon?” Jeonghan panicked again. Seungcheol let out another sigh and rolled his eyes as he stood up, walking away from Jeonghan.

“Yah! Choi Seungcheol!” Jeonghan quickly ran up to him, linking their arms together.

“Yah, I’m fine!” Seungcheol tried to push him away, but Jeonghan held on tighter.

“But I’m not…” Jeonghan leaned on Seungcheol’s shoulder.

“Yah, let me go!” Seungcheol playfully pushed Jeonghan away and to his surprise, the latter dropped down on the floor limply. “Yah, Yoon Jeonghan!” He kneeled down by his side, not knowing what to do.

“What happened?” Jihoon, who had been waiting for them inside the car, rushed over towards them in panic.

“I don’t know, he just dropped down and fainted.” Seungcheol replied worriedly.

“Hyung? Jeonghan hyung, wake up!” Jihoon tried shaking him awake.

“He’s acting.” Both Jihoon and Seungcheol looked up to see Chan standing in front of them, crossing his arms in amusement.

“What?” Seungcheol frowned in disbelief.

“He’s. Acting.” Chan walked over and stepped on his palm, automatically earning a hiss from Jeonghan.

“Yah! You’re playing dirty!” Jeonghan shouted at Chan who had walked ahead of them.

“Yah, are you okay?” Seungcheol asked worriedly as he fussed over him.

“Yah!” Jeonghan let out another wince as Jihoon flicked him in the forehead as he stood up. Seungcheol stood up as well. He then helped Jeonghan to stand up too before picking up their things that had scattered on the ground.

“You’re really okay?” Seungcheol asked again as they got inside the car.

“Yes, Seungcheol. I was just pretending.” Jeonghan chuckled.

“Yah, do you know how panicked I am??” Seungcheol sulked with a big pout.

“Now you know why we fussed over you, Choi Seungcheol?” Jeonghan questioned, raising his eyebrow. “Treating you normally when you’re fine and when you’re sick are totally different things. Do you see it now?”

Seungcheol just scoffed and turned around, the other three occupants of the car just gave him scoffs and eyerolls as he continued sulking by himself.

After what happened between them, their living arrangement had been changed. They all left the dormitory and left on their own. Chan and Jeonghan lived together in a townhouse owned by Seungkwan’s family, so naturally Seungkwan joined them living there as well.

Seungcheol continued to stay at the townhouse owned by his own biological parents alongside Jihoon, Mingyu and Wonwoo. Joshua visited them every once in a while and it looked like today was the day because as soon as Jihoon dropped them in front of their townhouse, Joshua was already waiting at the porch with his luxurious car.

“Hey, you’re early. Have you been waiting for a long time?” Jeonghan asked as he unlocked the door while Chan waved goodbyes and thanked Jihoon for driving them to the university before they drove away.

“Not really, I met up with Vernon just now. He’s coming back from Switzerland soon and will continue his final semester with you guys.” Joshua replied as he invited himself to sit on the couch. Vernon is Seungcheol’s cousin on his mother’s side. As his mother was an adopted child of the Lee family, it wasn’t hard for Vernon’s family to trace them back. His family fought for Seungcheol’s custody at first, but because of the inheritance, they decided to let Seungcheol choose instead. They then decided to send Vernon to be with Seungcheol so that they could know him better, and naturally he got involved with them as well.

“Time flies so fast, isn’t it? The kids are already graduating and we’re gonna be in our final year soon.” Jeonghan sat down with a tray of drinks and cookies Seokmin baked for them last night.

“I’m glad we’re all doing better. It’s scary to see you fought with Jihoon back then.” Josua shook his head at the memories.

“They’re still headbutting each other now, but Jihoon didn’t appreciate hyung’s childish argument anymore, he always left Jeonghan mid-arguments.” Chan chimed in, picking up his key by the door. “I’ll be back after 10, hyung.” He then closed the door behind him, leaving Joshua and Jeonghan chatting with each other.

 

***************************************************************************

 

“Welcome back, hyung!” Chan greeted him as soon as he walked out of the arrival gate. Joshua was standing beside him, giving him a small wave. It was three a.m. in the morning and Jeonghan purposely changed his flight ticket last minute so none of the reporters would be there in the airport when he arrived. Looking at how bright the two looked, his plan must have worked.

“Let’s go, quick. There are some reporters at the back, so we’re gonna use the front door and act like you’re not Jeonghan.” Joshua pulled his bag, and Chan pulled him, and they walked out quickly to the basement parking. They made it safely through the crowd since Chan’s car was fully tinted and he kinda changed his car to an average one so that they won’t be followed.

As soon as they made it to the expressway, Chan squealed happily as he pressed the pedal freely and they sped through the empty road.

“I’m sleepy, wake me up when we arrive, okay?” Joshua said as he pushed down his seat.

“Rude.” Jeonghan frowned and Joshua just stuck out his tongue at him and went to sleep. It has been two years since he left South Korea to continue his master’s degree in Switzerland. He managed to skip his internship semester and graduated alongside the others and flew straight to Switzerland. He didn’t come back for the whole two years, so his friends came and visit him there instead.

“We’re here.” Chan announced as he parked in front of the main door of his grandfather’s mansion. Chan was still staying there, but he was not alone. Vernon and Seokmin who got their job at YEH also stayed there with him, and Seungkwan would also crash there whenever he had work in Seoul, which is every other week since he was appointed as one of the junior managers for the new branch of his family resort in Seoul.

“I’ll crashed here for the night.” Joshua announced and invited himself to one of the many guest rooms inside the mansion while Chan helped him with his bags to his room.

 “Rest up, hyung.” Chan wished him goodnight and he was all alone in his room. His king-sized bed was moved back to the middle of the room. Seungcheol had moved out of the house after he moved to Switzerland, as Jihoon bought him an apartment nearer to their hospital instead. Seungcheol started to work with The Universe Foundation, becoming Jihoon’s personal assistant, when it’s really the other way around as Chan reported.

But, as they already expected, Seungcheol won’t be able to hold on for long. Two years after he graduated, his kidney stopped functioning again, and his cancerous cell grew more aggressively for the third time. Everyone had started to get ready for everything, knowing very well that this time, Seungcheol won’t make it anymore.

Jeonghan fell asleep without changing his clothes and woke up with Chan nagging at him to take a bath and have breakfast. He made sure he ate a decent breakfast before leaving him to sleep his jetlag away.

It was late evening when Chan appeared again, nagging at him to eat before leaving him to sleep again. He finally woke up after resting for more than 24 hours. He took a long bath before joining Chan for brunch at the dining room since it’s a weekend.

“Morning, hyung.” Chan greeted him as he sat down on the dining table.

“Good morning.” Jeonghan greeted him back. “What’s the plan for today?”

“Visiting Seungcheol hyung.” Chan replied as he spread some butter on his toast. “Are you coming?”

“Why not?” Jeonghan agreed. After finishing their brunch and lazing around for a bit more, Jeonghan and Chan get ready to leave for the hospital. Both of them frowned at each other as they saw everyone huddling around outside the VIP ward.

“Oh, you’re here. We’re just going to give you guys a call.” Joshua was the one who welcomed them.

“What happened?” Chan asked in concern.

“He vomited blood and stopped breathing. They’re trying to suck the blood out from his lung as of now.” Joshua calmly explained.

It took almost one hour for them to be allowed to visit Seungcheol again, so they took turns with Jeonghan and Chan letting the others visit him first as they were the last to arrive.

“What did the doctor say?” Jeonghan asked as Jihoon walked out of the ward into the lounge. Since it’s a private VIP ward, Seungcheol was separated from them by a door, while the visitor could still stay inside the lounge within the room, where all of them were currently seated.

“Most of his organs are slowly shutting down. The only thing they could do is administer antibiotics and painkillers to keep him from the pain.” Jihoon replied, his eyes dim. “He might not make it until next week, so they told us to prepare ourselves for the worst.”

Jeonghan and Chan went in the end, watching Seungcheol sleeping peacefully on the bed. He was so much thinner than he used to be, and his face was gaunt and pale. “You’ve done well, Seungcheol-ah.” Jeonghan whispered before leaving the room with Chan.

It was a week later when they received the news of Seungcheol’s passing. Jihoon told them that he passed peacefully in his sleep. The funeral was peaceful without too many visitors, although most of them stay throughout everything, except for Joshua and Vernon who get busy running in and out settling other things in between.

“Hyung.” Jihoon approached him as they were all ready to leave the cemetery.

“Here, Seungcheol hyung left this for you.” Jihoon passed him an envelope. “I found it under his bed after he moved away.”

Jeonghan accepted it and they exchanged a quick hug before leaving their separate ways. Chan drove them home and both of them retreated to rest in the privacy of their own room. Jeonghan took a bath and changed into his comfortable sleeping clothes before finally opening the envelope Seungcheol had left for him.

There was a picture of Jihyun and him inside, as well as a letter. Jeonghan put the picture away and opened the letter.

 

Hey,

I know we’ve already been on speaking terms for quite long, but I still think it’s awkward to say that we’re close enough to be friends, nor relatives. So, I’d settle for you to be the closest being of my own self, Yoon Jeonghan.

I’m writing this letter to tell you that I hate you as well. I hate you for living the life that was supposed to be mine. I despise you for being able to have a family, for living healthily while I was thrown around, and being cared for out of people’s greed for inheritance.

Honestly, when I first found out the truth, I wanted to scream to the whole world that I’m the real Yoon Jeonghan. That you were a devil in disguise that was sitting on the wrong throne, that your family was a menace, that the Yoon Empire was nothing but a big bundle of lies.

But then I met Jihyun. Jihyun never talks about anything but you. She knew that I’m her biological brother, but she couldn’t shut up about you. How bad you’ve suffered through living as Yoon Jeonghan, how much you love her, and how grateful she was to be your younger sister. That’s when I realised, I might not be able to be such a good older brother to Jihyun, nor the perfect heir to the Yoon Empire. I was born sick, and it was my fate to be stuck with this freaking illness for the rest of my life.

Jihoon told me this once before, that we’re both a poison to each other. That our existence would only bring chaos to each other’s life. And chaos it did. You literally tried to kill me while I destroyed your dream to live with a happy family. I won't be sorry for that though, your family was still a menace for what they’ve done to both of us.

But either way, your existence has become a breath of fresh air in my life. Like I’ve told you before, you treated me normally, not like I’m a fragile glass like the others around. That’s why I lied to you, telling you the opposite things about my life, making it hard for you to try finding out who the real me. Wasn’t it at least fun?

But all in all, you show me the reasons why you have the right to become Yoon Jeonghan, the heir of the Yoon Empire. I was happy that you actually wanted to avenge me for being the reason of Jihyun’s death. That means you love her so much, just as much as she loves you.

There should never be two Yoon Jeonghan though, and I’m happy to live my life as Choi Seungcheol. And I’m glad it’s you who became Yoon Jeonghan instead of me. I’m happy to be myself and if I was given another chance, I would still choose to live as Choi Seungcheol, but with a different storyline, I hope.

I know I don’t even have any right to say this, other than me being born as Yoon Jeonghan, but please live well in my stead. Treat the name with pride and make both of us proud. I might be born as Yoon Jeonghan, but you’ve lived as Yoon Jeonghan for the whole of your life. You’re the rightful owner to the throne. Thank you for living so well in my stead, Jeonghan-ah. I’ll be watching from above from now on, so continue to live well. It’s your life, no one has the right to take it away from you, other than yourself.

Till next time,

Choi Seungcheol.

 

Jeonghan folded the letter back and smiled sadly. “You just have to remind me that I’m not the real Yoon Jeonghan every time we talk, huh?” He chuckled bitterly. “I will live well, Seungcheol-ah! I will make sure to be born as the real Yoon Jeonghan next time so I can show it off on your ugly face!” He shouted outside the balcony.

“What did you say, hyung?” Chan’s voice could be heard from next door.

“Nothing! Go to sleep!” Jeonghan screamed his reply.

“You too, hyung! Stop shouting, it’s almost 3 am!” Chan yelled back.

“Good night to you too, little bastard!” Jeonghan shouted before pulling the widow shut. He giggled as he heard Chan’s grumble from the other side of the wall.

“I will live my life proudly, Seungcheol-ah.” Jeonghan whispered before he closed his eyes, letting sleep claim him before he started a new day tomorrow, as the CEO in training for Yoom Empire Hotel and continue living the life of the Yoon Empire’s successor.