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I’m looking at you, but I can’t reach you

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Don’t all humans die?
Joo In Hyung’s going to die anyways.


The words come out without much thought and the next thing he remembers is the weight of JB’s foot in his stomach, forcing him backwards. He doesn’t have enough time to recover before a fist hits him in the cheek, non-blood accumulating in his mouth. As he looks up, he matches JB’s eyes—kohl ice freezing him over. And Youngjae knows that at the moment all JB sees is red.


It’s not all that different from himself, because all he sees is green.


"We exist because of Joo In Hyung! How could you all be so heartless!?" JB shouts, shaking in his rage. Youngjae scoffs, and he catches Mark and Jackson lowering their eyes to the floor. "Of course we’re heartless," he mutters under his breath, low but still audible for JB to catch it in the silence of the night. "What did you say?" JB asks, voice strained in disbelief. Youngjae turns to look him straight in the eye, with courage that he didn’t even know he had. "I said ‘of course, we’re heartless.’ You as well, we’re all heartless. There’s no heart in our chest cavities, no pulse in our wrists, no blood flowing through our veins." He kicks at the small pebbles on the street before continuing. "Every single thing about our existence is an illusion, just a centimetre close to being figments of someone’s illusion. Don’t pretend that you’re the one with all these selfless emotions when you’re nothing but threads and cotton." He lets out all his words too harsh and turns around, walking off before anyone has the chance to say anything.


Youngjae leaves.
JB doesn’t bother to find him.


He doesn’t ever find out if Mark and Jackson also left after, and he wills himself not to think about anything but the mess of score sheets in front of him. “You don’t have emotions, you don’t have a heart,” he reminds himself. It’s hard to focus when all his mind does is flashback to the limited years of memories he has, where the person standing by his side was always JB. Where every time he tilts his head up, he’s met with the soft gaze of the other male. The soft gaze was never directed at him though, always being a spectator to the care that JB has for In Hyung. 


The green biting at his soul is nothing but his illusions, just like his entire existence.He picks up the pencil and begins filling the paper with notes—transferring the melodies from his mind to physical records. The clock ticks on behind him and he’s only vaguely conscious that the sun is setting.


The sun is setting.
Joo In Hyung is dying.


"I’m so tired today, JB" In Hyung says as she walks over the the bed, falling over without much strength. As she shifts to a more comfortable position, she catches the sight of JB’s jaw clenching but she’s too tired to figure out the meaning of his actions. "I want to sleep." She declares, eyes threatening to close. JB comes to her side then, helping to place the covers on top of her frail body. She feels unexpectedly tired today, more so than yesterday and she ponders if this is also the side effect of her degenerative disease. She had expected waking up one day to find that she can no longer walk, but she hasn’t expected that her stamina would deplete alongside her motor skills. JB runs his fingers through her bangs as he speaks, "Are you going to sleep?" In Hyung hums with an affirmative nod, shifting into the mound of blankets. 


"But," she starts sleepily, "where are the other guys?" 


"They went to visit their families for a while." He replies, and In Hyung’s ears pick up the hoarseness of his throat. "Did you guys have a fight?" She asks carefully. JB doesn’t answer at first, avoiding her gaze as he looks at the setting sun instead. "No, they just went back to their families. They have a home to go to, you know? Their parents will worry." JB swallows the lies piercing through his soul, and he wonders if the feeling of guilt will multiply when he actually has lungs to breathe through.


"Hey, we’re family too." In Hyung smiles, blinking tiredly. JB smiles, slightly glad that Joo In Hyung is too tired to notice the redness of his eyes. "Yeah," he says softly. "And family will stick with each other until the end." In Hyung nods again and JB fixes the blankets. "Go to sleep if you’re tired."


Joo In Hyung sleeps.
She doesn’t wake up.


Youngjae looks out the window, the sun’s falling into the horizon—skies darkening as the moon comes into focus. There’s a painful surge of heat running through his wrist, searing him as night falls. He drops his pencil, papers scattering onto the floor as he realizes what the painful thudding in his chest cavity is.


He is alive.
Youngjae has never felt more dead.


He finds that the feeling of guilt does actually multiply when he has neurons and dendrites to transfer his thoughts to every newly created cell in his body. Youngjae’s living—breathing—and carrying the weight of Joo In Hyung’s soul on his shoulders. “We exist because of Joo In Hyung! How could you all be so heartless!?” JB had shouted at him once. Youngjae doesn’t scoff this time, because he isn’t heartless anymore. The dread of a new star appearing in the sky taunts him more and more and when he finally sees the glint of a foreign nebulae, he all but runs out to familiar grounds. He sees red and green, fading into a dull blue. He doesn’t want to see JB with Joo In Hyung, but he also doesn’t want to see the JB without Joo In Hyung by his side.


When he reaches the camping car, breathless and muscles aching, he slows down. His lungs sting, heart pounding from having run all the way here from his apartment. JB doesn’t greet him—can’t greet him—and Youngjae cautiously makes his way to the camping car. Joo In Hyung’s fallen into eternal slumber and he finds JB next to her, vermillion pooling from his wrist. Their intertwined hands stained crimson and the soft smile on JB’s face burns itself onto Youngjae’s corneas. 


He doesn’t see green anymore.
Youngjae finds his world fading into a monotonous grey.