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Autumn Breeze

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The gusts of wind swirled around across the sky, scattering leaves all around the world. With it, it brought in the chilliness of the nearing winter, yet winter was still far to see. The sun was setting, its rays gently striking against the world, and the moon rose slowly, taking the sun’s place within an instant. Autumn was here, visible by the red, orange, and yellow hues of the leaves. It was time—time for the November Autumn Festival to begin. 

 

~~~

 

“Seokwoo!” Juho’s hand rested on the top of the railing, heaving out a solemn sigh as he had been waiting outside his best friend’s home. His gaze fell to the floor, and his fingers clenched tighter against the wooden railing, “You promised.” He looked back at the door, not even hearing the slightest sound, and he began to turn away, a frown on his lips. 

 

As he walked away from the door, he felt a pair of arms engulf him from behind. “You know I take naps, Ju,” he heard a soft voice muffle against his nape, and the older boy couldn’t help but smile. 

 

“I know, I’m sorry,” said Juho. “I just thought…thought that maybe you just didn’t wanna go anymore.”

 

Linking arms with the older, Seokwoo stared deeply into his eyes and pursed his lips. “You underestimate me, Juho. We’ve always gone together with Inseong, so why would I stop now?“

 

Juho blanked, and he just glanced away. He could feel the blood rush to the tips of his ears, and he bit down on his lip, “I… don’t know.” A small yet awkward laugh erupted from his mouth, a pink hue blossoming in his cheeks. “I’m sorry-.”

 

“-Juho, you don’t need to apologize, ‘kay?”

 

“Okay…”

 

“Let’s go!” Seokwoo gently pinched his cheek, and he led the way. 

 

The festival wasn’t far; it was something that was always celebrated in the month of November, the last month of Autumn before Winter came in December. There were carnival games, assorted foods, pumpkin patches—a variety of things really. 

 

From a young age, Juho and Seokwoo have gone together. And then, Inseong joined the group, and they soon became a trio. 

 

“What new things do you think they brought?” Juho asked. 

 

“Hmm, I hope they brought new desserts,” said the younger with a soft hum, “I’m craving something sweet.” 

 

Juho gave him the side eye, raising a brow, “Something sweet at this hour? Have you eaten dinner yet?”

 

Seokwoo said nothing. Juho was right. Because he napped, he missed dinner, and that was on him. This happened often, not that he minded, yet he knew how much it worried his best friend. He smiled. “I’ll eat the food they offer then, okay?” He looked ahead. “Please don’t worry too much about me.”

 

“That’s hard to do,” whispered the older boy, catching sight of the archway that led to the festival entrance. 

 

“What did you say?” Seokwoo stopped. 

 

Juho stopped ahead of him, glancing at him, “All I said was I hope you eat well. I wonder what foods they have.” 

 

“Oh,” Seokwoo’s tone shifted a little, “I wonder too.” He broke eye contact, walking away ahead of Juho. 

 

Damn it, Juho followed behind the younger one. His teeth were beginning to chatter, regretting the fact he had not worn something warmer than the thin sweater he had on. His hands tightened against each arm, hugging himself almost, and he let his feet lead the way as the two of them approached Inseong, who was waiting for them with glee.

 

“Juho, why are you wearing something so thin in this weather?” Inseong shook his head. “You’re bound to get sick,” he huffed. 

 

Seokwoo looked over, “I didn’t even notice.”

 

“Sorry,” said Juho, feeling guilt, “I didn’t think there’d be this much wind.” 

 

“Well,” Inseong watched someone walk by in shorts, “at least you have clothes that cover you.” He peered over back at Juho, cracking a small chuckle as Juho just stared at him blankly. “Let’s go in. It’s starting.”

 

“I can’t wait!” Seokwoo rubbed his hands together, leading the way in as they explored the new attractions. 

 

For the first day, there weren't many people. It was rather desolate, yet there were still a few people to keep the hype running. Seokwoo ran like a child to every place there was, eating whatever Inseong got for him since he was starving. It made Inseong laugh; it made Juho laugh too to see Seokwoo’s childish antics, yet he loved seeing him happy. 

 

Juho found himself at the beverage stand, watching Inseong and Seokwoo from the corner of his eye. A soft grin got over his lips, and he took a small sip once he brought his cup up to his mouth. 

 

“Inseong is the best, isn’t he?”

 

Juho looked to his right, and he saw Youngbin. “Yeah,” he looked back to the two boys, “you’re really lucky to have him.” 

 

Youngbin nodded, taking a sip of his drink too.

 

“Does he know you came?”

 

“Oh, no,” Youngbin laughed, “I had told him I was busy, but I got the day off.”

 

“That’s great.” 

 

Right on cue, Inseong perked up from ambushing Seokwoo with tickles, and he saw Youngbin. Juho could see the hearts in his eyes, watching him walk over to Youngbin. Seokwoo was staring away, and it made Juho curious of what he saw. Juho walked away from the couple, standing next to Seokwoo, “What are you looking at, hm?”

 

Seokwoo only pointed at what he was looking at, and Juho soon saw the blue and white striped tent. “I want to go over there.”

 

That’s new, Juho’s eyes narrowed a bit, trying to see what type of attraction it was, yet he couldn’t quite see the sign. “You sure? The flaps are closed, I don’t think there’s anyone there-.”

 

“I just saw someone go in,” Seokwoo cut him off. “I’m going there. I don’t know what it is but,” Seokwoo stared deep into Juho’s eyes, “I just feel like I need to go there.” 

 

Juho took a deep breath, “Okay.” He held his warm cup in his hand. “Let’s go then, since I’m curious now too.”

 

So the two walked, only silence and the faint breezes of the wind accompanied them as they exchanged no words. The closer they walked, Juho became a bit more uneasy, soon becoming startled as they were jumped by someone in a mask.

 

“Youngkyun! That wasn’t nice!” He heard Seokwoo shout, and Juho caught a brief sighting of the younger boy. “Seokwoo, leave it, it’s okay-.”

 

“You spilled your hot chocolate though!” Seokwoo sulked, seeing how stained Juho’s clothes got. 

 

Juho could see the rage in Seokwoo’s eyes, and he gently patted Seokwoo’s head, “Youngkyun’s just bored, leave him be.” 

 

“He’s a rascal,” Seokwoo murmured. 

 

Juho huffed, “I think you’re being unfair to him. I’m going to bring him over to hang out with us.” He left Seokwoo alone, not caring about the younger’s protests and whines. 

 

Seokwoo closed his mouth shut, clenching his jaw as he clenched his fists. Stupid Youngkyun, he thought, always trying to scare Juho. He huffed. He looked at the tent in front of him, and he could see the sigh so clear now. 

 

“Seeking something? Come to the Fortune Teller.” 

 

And the flap was open.