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My favorite color is red (or maybe it's brown)

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Sunggyu learns that the sky is blue like you learn that four is two plus two.

There isn’t a reason for it – they just tell him and he believes it.  He has to. 

Sunggyu thinks that the sky is gray.  He thinks it’s the perfect shade of gray so that when the sun shines over him, so blindingly white, the gray is a nice contrast to it.  It’s a light color with specs of white clouds that sometimes look like pigs, or rabbits, or sea lions riding motorcycles all the way from Busan to Seoul to fetch his sister from college so they can lay on the grass (which is green they say, but Sunggyu still calls it gray in his head) and feel it’s thin stalks prickling between his toes and his back when his shirt is thin enough and if he moves to much he giggles because it tickles.  They lay like that and sip the cherry juice boxes until their lips turn blood red (his mother told him that – he just thought they looked a darker gray) and his sister tells him about the cute boy in her math lecture. 

He’s not the one though, he can’t be.  Because she doesn’t understand things about the blue sky or the green grass.  So they know he’s not the one. 

But Sunggyu is only seven and pretends that none of that exists.  Sunggyu doesn’t like the soulmate stuff they teach him in school so when his sister comes back its fun to lay in the grass like this and pretend.  It’s fun to see her cheeks turn darker gray and watch her eyes twinkle and listen to her talk so fast that her words start to slur together.  Sometimes she laughs so hard she starts rolling around in the grass and gets it in her hair and on her clothes and his mother yells at them for the smell later and sometimes she gets so embarrassed that she starts screaming (it sounds like a fire siren – Sunggyu tells her) and kicks around the air and wails.   It’s all because of the cute boy in her math class.  It’s everything they show on TV in the dumb dramas his mom watches, and in all the movies about soulmates finding each other.  It’s all there except for the colors. 

If that isn’t love, Sunggyu doesn’t understand what is.

His mother still warns her (him) that she (he) needs to be careful.  She tells her (him) that one day cute math boy will find his soul mate.  One day she (he) will find her (his) soul mate and it’ll end up a messy situation.  His mother tells her (him) that her racing heart is wrong, the only sure-tell of sign of true love is looking at a sky that is not gray with pretty specs of white but that is as clear blue as the ocean is supposed to be.  His mother tells them one day they will understand that love is not an easy game to play, and having soulmates is one way to guarantee a win.

But Sunggyu doesn’t like that – neither does his sister.  He likes the mystery, he likes the game.  Sunggyu wants to play blindfolded and wander around on his own.  He wants to brave the world with his own two eyes and fall in love without any assurance.  It isn’t unheard of – finding couples who aren’t soulmates.  It’s crazy though – why would anyone settle for someone when they know that someone better is out there for them? 

Sunggyu likes the idea still, being able to meet someone for the first time and watch it all develop.  To think that they have pretty gray eyes and a cute dimpled smile and then notice how their hair is the perfect type of messy right when they wake up and to taste their breath on his lips and to feel their fingers running across his cheeks and to just wake up one morning and realize that he has someone he loves and he found them all by himself.

His mother scolds his sister a lot – for planting these “crazy” ideas in his head.  Sunggyu doesn’t call them crazy; he likes them.  He tells all his friends at school he doesn’t want a soul mate and he’s gonna find his lover all by himself and everyone gasps at him.  He goes to principal’s office a few times and he sits Sunggyu down in that big leather chair that swallows him up while he stares at all the oddly colored pictures painting his wall.  He stares at one that looks like a mix between a pony and a rabbit and all it’s just a big glob of gray with eyes and a small name scribbled in at the bottom.  The name reads Nam Woohyun.   Sunggyu ignores the principal’s questions and asks him about the picture.  He sends him back to his class with a sigh and doesn’t tell him what color the pony’s tail is.  Sunggyu decides he doesn’t like him.  But the next time he goes, he asks and the principal tells him it’s red. 

Sunggyu thinks red is his favorite color, his mother told him it was the color of apples (his favorite food) and the color of cherry juice (his favorite drink) and most importantly his mother tells him that red is what they call the color of love.  Of course there is no better color to be his favorite. 

“His name is Daehyun and he has these eyes that sparkle and gosh Sunggyu I swear I have to at least kiss him once,”

“Mom says you can’t do that,”

“When have I ever listened to her before?”

 

“That’s just not how love works anymore, why would you want to choose when it’s already be chosen?”

“It takes the fun out of everything.”

“You shouldn’t try to have fun when your future is on the line.”

 

“What color is its tail?”

“It’s red.”

“I like that color.”

 

“But you don’t even know what red looks like,”

“I don’t know what blue is either, but you said that’s what the sky is,”

“That’s different…it’s…alright, fine.  Red can be your favorite color.” 

 

 

Dongwoo keeps trying to flick the eraser off his pencil at Sunggyu’s face but his nails are too stubby and Sunggyu is too far.  And Sunggyu’s also too deeply interested in the guest lecturer to notice him, drinking in all of his worlds like alcohol and watching his dreams become a drunken reality. 

Sunggyu’s smile stretches so large his missing tooth smack in the middle of his mouth shows clearly but he diligently scribbles down every word he can catch and hastily grabs for a brochure once class is dismissed.  He’s twelve years old and Sunggyu already knows what he’s going to do with his life the second he turns thirty. 

They learn about two surgeries that day – one of them is called Lacunar Removal, most people call it LacR for short.   It was for people who lost their soulmate in an accident and couldn’t cope with the pain.  It’s sad, Sunggyu thinks, but he’s too mesmerized by the other one to really care too much about it. That’s the one he decides he’s definitely going to get as soon as he can.

Dongwoo keeps flicking corn at him during lunch and a few kernels make it into his hair (one lands in his ear and Dongwoo laughs his butt off and slams his fist on the table so loud that the girls two tables over glare at him but Sunggyu is still too preoccupied to notice).  He hasn’t put down the brochure and his smile grows wider and wider, drunk with thoughts of his future.  “You aren’t actually going to do that stuff,” Dongwoo gives up on annoying him and shoves a large spoonful of corn into his mouth. 

“Why not? It’s exactly what someone like me needs,”  Sunggyu says, finally shutting the brochure and carefully slipping it into his backpack where it won’t get damaged – but his mother won’t find it later when he forgets to put out his lunch box in the kitchen and she has to rummage through his stuff to find it herself. 

Sunggyu thinks he’ll go home and talk to his sister about it though, maybe on the phone.  But he isn’t sure.  She’s not like him anymore.  She found her soulmate – and it wasn’t cute math boy.  It turned out to be the son of the baker that lived a street down from her campus she hadn’t visited until one day senior year of university.  She told him it smelled like apples and cinnamon and she didn’t even notice she could actually see in color because she was so distracted by the sweet smell.

Sunggyu thinks it’s ironic – the boy’s name was Daehyun too.  The Daehyun his sister spent four years crushing on didn’t like sweet things.  Sunggyu also thinks it’s funny that his sister completely forgot about cute math boy Daehyun.  She whispered his name into her pillow every night and read up on some American band to try to impress him and even learned all the lyrics to his favorite song just so she could sing it to him.  She did a lot for math boy Daehyun, and she ditched him for baker Daehyun. Sunggyu wonders if math boy Daehyun ever liked his sister, maybe it wasn’t just a one-sided thing. But math boy Daehyun graduated a year ago and Sunggyu never heard his sister talk about him ever again.

He was forgotten, just like his mother said he would be, and Sunggyu is a little disappointed the outcome wasn’t messy at all.  He thinks that math-boy Daehyun deserves messy.  

Dongwoo narrows his eyes, and shoves a mixture of corn and mashed potatoes into his mouth, “That stuff is serious, my mother told me she’d disown me if I ever did it.”

 “You’re mother told you about this?”  Sunggyu pouts and picks at the crust around his sandwich that he hates but his mother refuses to waste food and forces (well, so she thinks) him to eat anyway.  “My mother never even talked about this stuff,”

“Well duh, probably because you’d be the first person to try to do it.”  Dongwoo snorts and takes a large swig of his chocolate milk.  “In fact you’d sign up for it now if you had the chance,”

“I don’t see why it’s a problem, it’s just being able to see colors without a soulmate,”  Sunggyu takes a bite out of his chicken sandwich and chews it carefully – sometimes his mother accidentally slips in a bone and he doesn’t need another rush to the dentist because he got a chicken bone stuck in his jaw.  “People do it all the time.”

“People who can’t find their soulmates,” Dongwoo reminds him.  “Color corrective surgery isn’t a joke, Sunggyu.”

“I didn’t say that it was,” Sunggyu shrugs his shoulder and takes a long sip out of his pouch of cherry juice and wonders if the teachers can see the bright red color on his lips.  He smacks them together, “All I’m saying is I don’t want anyone else deciding who I love,”

“But this is fate!” Dongwoo cries, with a little frustration, “You can’t just say no to fate, it doesn’t work that way.”

Sunggyu gives him a smug smile, but it’s not very smug because his cheeks still have loads of baby fat and his eyes crinkle up in a way that makes him look five, “Just watch me.”

Like Dongwoo, his sister laughs at him when he tells her about it later.

 

“Any questions?”

“Is it possible to get Color Corrective before the age of 30? Are there really no exceptions?”

“Very few…but why would anyone want that, would you not want to wait it out in hope?”

 

“Sunggyu…please take everything you learned today with a grain of salt, okay?”

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Don’t shoot to get this surgery, boy.  I don’t say this as your principal, but as a mentor. Don’t do it.”

 

“That’s a stupid dream.”

“It was yours once too.”

“But then I found my love.”

“Then you lost the game.”

 

Sunggyu lets her hold his hand in the grass and feels her fingers squeezing his hand and takes a long drink out of his cherry juice.  “Can you still see the colors?” He asks softly and his sister whimpers softly but she nods and Sunggyu wants to find Daehyun and punch him so hard he loses teeth. 

“Cheating isn’t the same as losing your soulmate forever,” she whispers it softly and the wind carries it off.  Sunggyu closes his eyes and flops over so his nose digs into the grass.  It makes him sneeze.  He relishes the feeling of the sun burning his back and he knows that by the time he gets up his skin will be red and by the next morning it’ll start to peel.  He hasn’t gotten a sunburn since he was eleven – he’s eighteen now.

He listens to the sound of his sisters sobs mixed with sound of grass moving in the wind and he takes a deep breath.  “I don’t understand what I did wrong,” Sunggyu stretches out his hand blindly and places it on her bulging stomach and sucks in a breath of air (it smells like dirt).   He just lets his hand rest there and it’s almost as if he can feel the baby’s heart beating against his hand. 

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Sunggyu tells her sincerely and he strokes her stomach gently and imagines a future coming home every day to a little boy (or girl) with tiny little fingers holding her hands out with a toothy smile and shiny gray eyes and dark black hair and a smile so big that it could melt even the wickedest of witches.  He imagines lifting him/her up in his arms hearing the squeals of joy and the fresh yells of “Uncle Gyu!” bouncing off the walls and he goes to squeeze his sister’s hand again.  “You really didn’t do anything wrong, he was an asshole.”

“I know,” her voice is thick with exhaustion and exasperation, she’s been told far too many times. “I know he is.”  She runs her thumb along the back of Sunggyu’s hand like she used to do when they were little and grabs his cherry juice pouch and takes a long swig.  If it were any other time, Sunggyu would have whined, but he lets her have it today.  He’d let her have all the cherry juice in the world if it meant getting rid of the pain she was feeling.  “It’s just…what am I going to do?  What will I tell the baby? It won’t even have a father.”

“It doesn’t need one,” Sunggyu rolls onto his back and he can already feel it starting to sting.  “It has you, and me, and mom and dad and that’s all it’s going to need.”  Sunggyu says it, and he means it.  It will be rough – he knows that it will.  He doesn’t expect it not to be.  But he also knows that it isn’t impossible.  But it doesn’t look like his sister thinks that way with the deep sigh she releases.  She runs her hand over her stomach with a frown taped to her face and Sunggyu repeats himself.  She hums as if she agrees and he knows she doesn’t.  He can’t blame her much, he knows he probably wouldn’t agree either.  He knows that no one would agree to that.  It’s not how society works anymore. 

“Maybe you should get LacR,” Sunggyu suggests and starts to rip out the grass and blow it into her face. He smiles when she wrinkles her nose.  He sits up and starts to make a picture on her stomach with the stalks of grass, he starts out by making a house.  “It’ll make you feel better,”

She laughs when a stalk of grass flows past her nose, Sunggyu can’t tell if she’s laughing because it tickles, or because the idea is too radical.  He figures it’s a weird mix of the two. “I don’t want to do that,” she opens her eyes and looks directly into the blinding sun and Sunggyu wonders if the sun is dimmer when you can see color because he could never do that without squinting and feeling like his eyes would burn off.  “I want to remember it, every last bit of it,” She closes her eyes again and Sunggyu can see her lips pulling into a smile. “It hurts, but it’s beautiful.”

He sighs, “This is why I’m going to get surgery.”  He mumbles under his breath and into the air, he hears his sister snort beside him.  “It’s much easier that way – none of this find your soulmate and pray they don’t leave you crap.” 

“But what if the person you find leaves you? That can still happen,” She warns him.

“It won’t hurt as much,” he deadpans and picks at the grass again to blow it in the air and watch the gray stalks float around for a while until they fall back down.  Some fall in pairs.  Some fall by themselves.  “Since everyone is crazy about this whole soulmate crap, it just won’t hurt as much.”  He says firmly.

She laughs, loud and rambunctious, but it isn’t a happy laugh.  Sunggyu can hear the pain in her laugh and even though she laughs herself breathless he can hear all that hurt in her voice and she turns to face him with hollow brown eyes and smile on her lips that looks so pained it hurts him to look at it.  “It doesn’t work that way, honey.”

Sunggyu rolls his eyes at the nickname and goes to stand up and maybe get another pack of cherry juice and his sister watches him leave with a smile still on her lips.  She calls out to him but he walks past as if he didn’t hear.   It won’t hurt as much, not when they’re not sure if they’re the right one.  It won’t hurt as much if he does it his way.

 

“That’s not how love works Gyu, it’s still going to hurt,”

“But it won’t hurt as bad,”

“You know that isn’t true.”

 

“Just because it didn’t work for her doesn’t mean you have to get surgery,”

“I was going to get it anyway,”

“Can’t you just give fate a chance?”

 

“You’re going off to college now,”

“Yea.”

“Don’t do anything stupid,”

“What do you mean?”

“Sunggyu please just….don’t do anything stupid.”

 

Twenty-two year old Sunggyu wakes up to the sound of his head smashing against piano keys and screams.  He jolts up and ends up banging his knees on the piano stool and lets out few cuss words and a whimper.   His hair sticks up and he hastily rubs his eyes before catching a glimpse of the time and groans,  “Fuck fuck fuck,”  he makes a mental note to burn Sungyeol alive and never trust him with wake up duty again.   His tall roommate is snoozing away and Sunggyu gets his revenge by turning his alarm off with a sly grin.

Sunggyu chuckles evilly and whispers to himself, “Revenge is sweet,”

He grabs his music sheets off the piano and scribbles off a few more notes before hastily signing his name and shoving it in his backpack.  He snatches a piece of toast and shoves it in his mouth and bolts out the door; praying he’ll catch the early train and get to class on time.  He calculates that if he runs – he can for sure make it, and if he walks, he has a fifty-fifty shot. 

So of course, he walks.  Kim Sunggyu is a music student, not a cross country runner

But in the end he ends up running when he sees his train pull into the tracks, and he’s at the other end of the subway.   Sunggyu groans again and ends up making a dash for it – he knocks down an old lady along the way and hears her grunt in pain.  But when she ends up cussing him out he keeps running because if she has the strength to swear at him, she has the strength to get up again.  Or at least get better if it was that bad.  Sunggyu slips through the doors and cuts off the woman’s stream of curses and wears a triumphant smile.  It only stretches wider when he sees a text from Sungyeol calling him an asshole. 

And then the world changes.

The first thing Sunggyu notices is that everything isn’t gray anymore.  He doesn’t know what it is – he’s never learned what color the subway seats are.  He’s only learned that they aren’t as soft as they’re supposed to be and smell disgusting.  But they’ve always been just as gray as everything else.  And that color he’s staring at isn’t gray.  His heart plummets.  He didn’t want this.

Sunggyu tries to be as nonchalant as possible, but the more he keeps his eyes open the more his head feels like it’s going to split in half.  Everything is so vibrant and pops up at him that it makes his head swirl.  He manages to snag a seat next to an old man snoring with his head up against the window and pretends like nothing’s different, but then he sees the boy and feels ridiculously guilty.

He’s gorgeous – that’s the first thing Sunggyu thinks.  But the second thing he thinks that he’s his soulmate and he really doesn’t want to talk to him.   The boy has large eyes and he has stood up from his seat to scan the rest of the subway – probably looking for someone searching as frantic as he is.   Sunggyu assumes that his eyes are brown – his sister told him that most eyes are brown and he thinks that brown is a really pretty color.  The boy clings to the pole of the subway while dancing on his tip toes and a smile threatening to break out on his face and Sunggyu feels guilty.  He can’t just not tell him. 

When he’s two stops away from his, Sunggyu clears his throat and approaches the boy.  “Um…can-“

The boy’s lips immediately form a smile and his eyes crinkle up and Sunggyu thinks it’s cute.  Now that he’s up close he can tell that the boy is a few centimeters shorter – but definitely leaner.  He also smells like apples and cinnamon and Sunggyu understands why his sister would be whisked away by the scent before the color.  “You can see colors, can’t you?”  The boy has a twinkle in his eyes and he can’t stop smiling, “Me too.  My name’s Woohyun.”

Sunggyu offers him a smile – much weaker – in return but Woohyun doesn’t seem to care.  He lets go of the pole and ends up throwing his arms around Sunggyu’s waist and pulling him tight against his chest.  Sunggyu lets out an awkward little squeak and his nose is filled with Woohyun’s scent.  It’s intoxicating – apples and cinnamon – he can’t blame his sister after all.  “I can’t believe I found you.” 

“Uh…”  Sunggyu pushes away from Woohyun, as gently as he possibly can, and clears his throat.  “I uh…don’t want to be rude or anything,” Woohyun’s eyes are still crinkled into a smile and he looks like a little puppy dog.  If this boy had a tail it would be wagging like crazy right now.  It makes everything so much harder.  “I don’t really like this soulmate stuff.”

Woohyun’s smile falls into a frown. He ends up taking a step back and Sunggyu gains his personal space back.  But his eyes are a little dimmer now, and Sunggyu feels guilt deep in the pit of his stomach.  “Oh…”  Sunggyu figures he should say something to fill in the gap, to keep the conversation going, but his stop his announced and he couldn’t be more grateful for it in his life. 

“Well…this is my stop.  Um it was….it was nice meeting you, sorry this probably wasn’t what you expected,” Sunggyu rubs the back of his neck sheepishly and ignores the way Woohyun’s eyes widen with fear. 

“W-Wait!”  Woohyun grabs onto his arm, gently.  And Sunggyu sees his puppy dog eyes and his heart wrenches.  Woohyun is unbearably cute – but that doesn’t mean he’s throwing everything he’s ever dreamed about out the window.  “Can’t you just give this a chance?  Please?”

The doors open and Sunggyu tosses Woohyun an apologetic look, but the boy speaks quickly, slurring his words together like his sister used to,  “I work at a coffee shop at the corner by the library at the next stop, you know the one I mean right?”  Sunggyu reluctantly nods.   “Come visit me sometime, please?” 

Sunggyu gently pushes his arm off and gives him a tiny smile, “Don’t get your hopes up.” 

He leaves the train.  He supposes he’ll have to tell his mother about this later.

 

“You found your soulmate?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Sunggyu you can’t just not do anything about this!”

 

“Mom told me,” 

“What’s your point?”

“My point is this isn’t just you, this is some other kid too, you’re ruining his life too,”

 

“I told him to his face,”

“That doesn’t make it okay,”

“It makes it understandable,”

 “That’s not the same,”

 

 Sunggyu doesn’t go for a long time.  He ends up putting it off with things like homework, exams, spring cleaning, feeding a cat, buying a cat to feed – just about everything he can think of.  But when his mother cuts off the monthly money that’s loaded into his bank account and Sungyeol almost cuts his head off when he doesn’t have enough for rent, he has no choice but to go.  His mother even gave him a crash course on colors just so he looked like he tried.

Sunggyu wasn’t planning on doing this ever – if not for his sake but for the sake of Woohyun.  This whole soulmate idea wasn’t his style and even if Woohyun was an okay guy, even if they were as compatible as possible (according to the world), Sunggyu just doesn’t think it’s going to work.   Simply because he won’t want it to.

But there he is, in front of the coffee shop with his laptop bag swung around his shoulders and his tousled brown hair (he was right about that color, but Woohyun’s eyes are a darker kind of brown than his hair – the kind of brown he could stare into for hours and get lost in). His eyes are also bloodshot – he hasn’t slept for the past twenty hours (he blames assignment due dates and anxiety and the fact that he really doesn’t want to do this).  He stands in front of the door for a while, debating the worst that could happen.   And when the whispers of strangers passing by get to hard to handle, Sunggyu sucks in a deep breath and pushes the door open. 

Sunggyu forgets about Woohyun once he steps inside.  The walls are covered in old-looking wood and there’s a fire crackling in the corner.  It’s the middle of May – but Sunggyu still thinks it’s a nice touch.  He runs his fingers over the walls and feels the course bumps against his fingers and inhales the scent of fresh coffee and vanilla and smiles.  “Kim Sunggyu is that you?”

Sunggyu looks up and he can’t stop the smile from spreading, “Hey, Dongwoo! Long time no see!”

Dongwoo finishes scrubbing down the countertop with a whistle and jerks his head towards a table in the corner (the one closest to the crackling fire and the red brick chimney and the sight itself makes Sunggyu’s heart warmer).  “Grab a table and I’ll be right with you,”

Sunggyu snags the table Dongwoo pointed towards and unzips his laptop bag and starts to set up.  He figures that it’s up to Woohyun to find him.  He puts on his headphones for good measure though, and opens up his editing program to get started on his next piece while he waits for Dongwoo. It’s been a few years since he’s seen him – they drifted in high school, but not insanely so to the point where they cut all communications.  Dongwoo was the one who introduced him to Sungyeol, after all, and Sunggyu figures he should ask if he can sell him back because Sungyeol’s an ass.

Dongwoo places a French vanilla coffee next to him and slips in across the booth.  “What brings you here?”

“Oh…nothing special…just saw the place and thought I’d stop by, it looked interesting,” Sunggyu chuckles lamely and hates how easily the lie is seen. But Dongwoo drinks it up easily and smiles in response, “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you moved out here too,”

Dongwoo shrugs, “It got bored after you left for college, and more school wasn’t on my agenda – so I came out here and opened this place up, been running it for six months,” Sunggyu whistles and Dongwoo blushes.  “But how about you, still on that whole never-want-a-soulmate thing?”

Sunggyu groans and thinks of Woohyun.  “I guess you could say that,” Dongwoo clicks his tongue and has a slight frown on his face.  Dongwoo starts to say something, but his words are drowned out by the sound of plates crashing to the ground. 

Sunggyu’s eyes shoot up and he meets those puppy-dog brown eyes again.  There’s a pile of shattered glass at his feet and Dongwoo jumps up but Woohyun whimpers like a helpless kitten, “Y-Y-You came!”

Dongwoo has a weary look and his eyes dart nervously between Woohyun and Sunggyu.  “Am I missing something here?”

“That’s my soulmate,” Woohyun and Sunggyu say it at the same time.  The difference in their voices is pretty clear.  Woohyun is chipper and happy and his cheeks are even dusted with a light pink and his large brown eyes are twinkling.  Sunggyu, however, sounds tired, a little stressed and his eyes have no glow at all.  But that could all be the lack of sleep.  Or the amount of stress.  Probably both, honestly. 

Dongwoo’s face morphs into shock but he manages to squish it quickly, he’s never been one to pry where it’s not needed.  “Um…right.”  He smiles lightly, “Well then Hyun, why don’t you and Sunggyu enjoy your time and I’ll clean up this glass.”

Woohyun immediately dips into a bow and the formality almost makes Sunggyu giggle.  Almost.  He does allow himself a small smile when Woohyun dances around the glass and occupies the space Dongwoo once took up.  “Hi!”  He beams.

Sunggyu swallows awkwardly, “Uh…hi.”

“You came,” Woohyun doesn’t bother to hide the large smile that stretches from ear to ear and his eyes crinkle up again and Sunggyu has to resist the urge to lean over and pinch his cheeks. 

“I…did.”  He doesn’t have the heart to tell his mother actually forced him.  His smile is too pretty for that.  “But I uh…”  Sunggyu searches for the right words, “I just wanted to make sure you weren’t hung up on this or anything…”

Woohyun’s smile falls into a frown and Sunggyu wants to reach out and reform it.  He looks much better with a smile.  “But your my soulmate,” Woohyun whispers.  “Meeting you has been my dream,”

Sunggyu sighs, “Avoiding you has been mine,”

Woohyun’s frown deepens, “I don’t understand why you would want to avoid your soulmate; we were literally made for each other,”

Sunggyu shrugs, “And I just don’t like that,” Woohyun eyes droop and Sunggyu rushes to explain, “Not that I mind that it’s you! I just…I want to fall in love for myself, you know? I don’t want to just rush into a relationship loving someone,”

Woohyun smiles at him, “We can take it slow,”

“That isn’t…that’s not really what I mean,” Sunggyu mumbles.

“But can’t you give this a chance?”  Woohyun looks at him with his huge brown eyes and Sunggyu notices his hair is the same color as his eyes with the most perfect curls and his lips are tainted a pretty shade of red and now that he’s paying attention his voice has a subtle hum to it that would make him shiver if he listened to it long enough.  “Just because we’re soulmates doesn’t me we can’t fall in love too,”

“Well…no but it kinda…defeats the purpose?”  Sunggyu rubs the back of his neck sheepishly and pretends he wasn’t just fantasizing about this boy.  Ignoring your soulmate is harder than he thought.  “I mean it’s not really going to work to say I fell in love with someone who turned out being my soulmate anyway, people will say it was meant to be,”

“Isn’t that the end goal in love anyway?” Woohyun’s eyes twinkle, “Don’t you want people to look at you and think that your love is so perfect it was meant to be?”

Sunggyu opens his mouth to retaliate but he can’t find the words, “Yea…I suppose so,”

“Then can’t we give it a chance? You can leave if you want to,” Woohyun has a big puppy-dog smile and his crinkly eyes make it impossible to say now.

“I guess I can give it a shot,” Sunggyu says weakly.

Woohyun cheers so loud Dongwoo has to shush him and ends up dragging him to the backroom when he still doesn’t quiet down.  Sunggyu thinks this whole soulmate thing seems like it’s going to be a handful.  Sunggyu pays for the coffee and scribbles down a quick note with his name and phone number on it. 

And now he needs to call his mom for money.

 

“I told you it would work out!”

“It hasn’t…it’s just giving it a chance, that doesn’t mean –“

“It’ll work out, it works out for everyone.”

 

“It’ll probably work out if you try,”

“It didn’t work out for you,”

“Maybe I just didn’t try as hard as I should have,”

 

“So, you found a soulmate? Sucks dude.”

“Shut up Sungyeol,”

“No I…mean it.  I know how much this love thing meant to you.  I really am sorry.”

“Maybe you don’t have to be…”

Sunggyu’s visits to the café end up becoming a regular occurrence and his table by the chimney has been secured – thanks to Woohyun.  He always has a black reserved sign stuck in the middle and a new vase of fresh roses every day and greets Sunggyu with the warmest smile he can muster.  Sunggyu would be lying if he said it didn’t make his heart flutter every time.

And in all his visits, they learn a lot about each other.  Woohyun learns that Sunggyu is in his final year at university studying music, he learns that his life goal is to become a composer and to get Color Corrective as soon as he can get the chance (he frowned at that – but he listened politely all the way).  He learns that his favorite color is red (he might change it to brown) and he learns that Sunggyu loves French vanilla coffee. 

Sunggyu learns that Woohyun just turned twenty and finished two years of culinary school.  He learns that Dongwoo hired Woohyun through a friend and that he’s the one that creates the recipes for their pastries (which are immensely popular, and after tasting one, Sunggyu can see why).  He learns that Woohyun doesn’t have a favorite color because he loves them all and he learns that Woohyun’s life long goal is to find his soulmate and live a happy life together.  Sunggyu squirms at that, but listens politely, too.

And Sunggyu also learns that he’s ridiculously lucky Woohyun is willing to take this soulmate thing slow just for him – he really is.

He comes into the coffee shop with dark circles rimming his eyes and yawns loudly.  Sunggyu has finals just around the corner and he hasn’t slept or eaten properly in a long time.  He needs to perfect his assignment – Kim Sunggyu doesn’t settle for anything less than perfect.  He eyes his table in a corner with a fresh bouquet of flowers and smiles to himself.  He sets up his laptop to work on the track he wants to submit for his project and waits for Woohyun, like always.

“So you’re composing again?”  Woohyun places a cup of steaming hot French vanilla in front of him and Sunggyu hums.  “Can I hear it?”

“It’s not done yet,” Sunggyu counters and yawns again, “I haven’t even got it all recorded yet,”

“But I want to hear what you sound like,” Woohyun smiles.

“You hear me talk every day,” Sunggyu laughs.

“You know what I mean!”  Woohyun whines and wears a cute little pout and Sunggyu resists the urge to reach over and ruffle his hair.  Woohyun would like it – he learned the younger is a huge fan of skin ship.  But he doesn’t want to get the poor boy’s hopes up so high so quickly.  “Can’t you sing for me just once?” He bats his eyelashes and Sunggyu threatens to return him to the pound, Woohyun gives him a confused look and Sunggyu shrugs it off. 

“We’re in the middle of a café, that’s strange,” Sunggyu takes a small sip of his coffee and hisses because it burns his tongue.  Woohyun laughs at him. 

“We can go to the backroom,”  He has that hopeful twinkle in his eye and Sunggyu sighs – it’s nearly impossible to say no to that twinkle.  “It’ll be quiet in there and no one can hear you…except for me,” Woohyun’s smile stretches.

 Sunggyu groans – but shuts his laptop and loads it back into his bag.  “This is going to sound strange without a piano,” Woohyun jumps to his feet all excited and Sunggyu releases a little chuckle. 

“It doesn’t matter,” he assures him, “It’ll be even more meaningful because it’s going to be you and only you,”  Sunggyu hides the blush that spreads on his cheeks with a cough and throws his laptop bag over his shoulder and follows Woohyun into the back. 

Woohyun shuts the door behind them and sits on the bench with an expectant smile and Sunggyu rubs the back of his neck sheepishly.  “You really want this?”  Woohyun nods his head so hard that his hair flops into his eyes and Sunggyu snorts.  Woohyun blushes and pushes it back. 

Sunggyu clears his throat and pretends to adjust the zipper on his sweater – this is already painfully awkward.  It’s not that he’s nervous about singing, he’s done live performances before.  But with Woohyun’s eyes so wide and his smile so big it makes him nervous.  “Fine, you asked for it.” 

Sunggyu takes a deep breath and settles on Light.  He can hear his voice shake in places and it makes him mad that he’s so nervous for this stupid little puppy and he wrings his fingers together behind his back.  Sunggyu looks everywhere but Woohyun when he sings and pretends to be as nonchalant as possible. He acts like he’s done this a million times because, well, he has.  He has done it a million times, but none of them have ever felt quite like this. 

He finishes with a cough and the room is silent.  He’s still a little weary to look Woohyun in the eyes so he tries to ease off the awkwardness, “Sorry my voice is kinda raspy, I’ve been practicing for finals coming up and have to get a recording finished so-“  Sunggyu’s cut off when Woohyun’s strong arms pull him into a hug.  He can feel his hair tickling the base of his neck and Sunggyu is stunned into silence.   He chuckles lightly and awkwardly (painfully so, skin ship just isn’t his thing) pats Woohyun on the back and laughs it off.  “I’m guessing this means you liked it, eh?”

Woohyun finally lets him go and Sunggyu suppresses the sigh of relief he wants to let out.  “Liked it? That was beautiful! Your voice was beautiful, I couldn’t hear it raspy at all; it was amazing!”  Woohyun’s eyes are big and bright and Sunggyu can see a little trace of tears in them.  He didn’t expect Woohyun to be that moved. 

Sunggyu smiles – so wide that his eyes crinkle up, “You’re only saying that because you aren’t a professional and can’t hear the difference,” he chides and bites his lip, “But thanks,”

Woohyun returns the smile and points to the sofa off in the corner, “It was, but my real motive for bringing you here was sleep,” Sunggyu rolls his eyes and Woohyun gives him a pointed look, “You look like a raccoon and you really outta sleep a little or you’ll pass out,” 

“I can’t,” Sunggyu turns for the door but Woohyun blocks it with his body – and Sunggyu thinks there’s a lot of ways he could get Woohyun to move, but he doesn’t think any of them are appropriate.  “I need to finish my song before Monday!”

“Monday’s a week away,” Woohyun scolds and Sunggyu groans.

“But it’s…different!” Sunggyu throws his arms up in exasperation, “You need to work on music when you’re in the zone, or it just doesn’t come out as right.”  He crosses his arms and wears a pout and Woohyun coos and pinches his cheeks. 

Sunggyu snarls lightly and grumbles, “Loser,” before he can stop himself.  Woohyun also learns that Sunggyu’s number one way of showing affection is insults – so it only makes his smile stretch wider.  He raises his eyebrows and gestures towards the couch with his eyes and Sunggyu groans. 

But his eyes are getting droopy just thinking about sleep and he gives Woohyun a stern look, “I’m only doing this because you’re being a stubborn brat, just so you know.”  He places his laptop bag on the table and ends up falling on the couch, “And because this couch is soft,” He runs his fingers over the fabric and Woohyun laughs it.

“Sleep tight,” He shuts the lights off to the break room and leaves Sunggyu to himself and his thoughts. 

The last thing Sunggyu thinks of is his final project and cherry pies. 

 

“You sound like you’re starting to like him!”

“He’s a fun kid I guess…I don’t think I love him,”

“It’ll come in time, you’ll see.”

 

“I want to get LacR…Mom told me not to,”

“I thought you said you wanted to remember?”

“Sometimes it’s easier if you forget,”

 

“So you and Woohyun are hitting it off well…”

“You want to tell me something, don’t you Dongwoo?”

“Please don’t hurt him…he’s an innocent kid. Just don’t hurt him.”

 

Sunggyu opens the door with a tooth-brush half sticking out of his mouth, his hair a mess, and a t-shirt he’s been wearing to bed for the past week without washing.  It’s almost dinner, but it’s the weekend and Sunggyu just woke up.  He blinks at Woohyun (who is dressed in a suit, red tie included and that makes Sunggyu a little weary) and yawns (toothpaste almost falls out of his mouth). “Let’s get dinner, I have a surprise for you.”  Woohyun quickly briefs him on a few details and Sunggyu ends up raising an eyebrow.

“So…like a date?”  Woohyun nods his head enthusiastically and Sunggyu gives him that awkward chuckle again.   Woohyun insisted they go out to celebrate the end of his finals and even suggested that he had the perfect place.  Of course, all this was a surprise, and the only clue Woohyun gave him was dress nice.  

“I think I know you well enough to know that I picked the perfect place.”  Woohyun says smugly, “Now get dressed!”   He ushers Sunggyu back into his apartment while Sunggyu chokes on toothpaste at the suddenness (they’d been standing at his threshold – Sungyeol is in his room and Sunggyu has the right mind to fear he’ll be out in seconds and share things that should never be shared – especially not with Woohyun). Sunggyu wipes the toothpaste dripping down his chin away before he speaks.    

“You sound pretty cocky,” Sunggyu snorts, but that smug look doesn’t leave Woohyun’s face so Sunggyu sighs dejectedly and gets ready for what he guesses constitutes into being his first date with his soulmate.  What a joy this will be.  Thankfully, he gets to finish brushing his teeth so at least his breath is minty fresh for the evening.

But, it does turn out to be a joy, it truly does.  Sunggyu stares at the banner hanging above the concert hall and his jaw drops.  “No. Fucking. Way.”  Woohyun has that super smug smile on and adjusts his tie and places hand on the small of Sunggyu’s back.  “Nam Woohyun you….how?”

“I pulled a few strings,” Woohyun shrugs.

“Do you know how hard I’ve tried to get tickets to this?” Sunggyu gasps, he throws his arms up in the air, “How did you even know?”

“You mentioned he was your favorite pianist at least ten times, Gyu,”

“Two things,” Sunggyu shoves his arm off and Woohyun pouts, “One, don’t call me doubt.” Woohyun gives him an unconvincing smile and Sunggyu whacks him on the head.  “Two, yea but you….how did you get tickets to Yiruma?”

“I told you, I pulled some strings.” Woohyun says again, as if it’s obvious.

“You can’t just….you can’t just pull strings to get into Yiruma!” Sunggyu cries, completely flabbergasted. “You’re a long-lost nephew or something right? Oh my god you can be my soul mate all you want if this is what I get,” Woohyun scoffs and Sunggyu sticks his tongue at him.  “But really, how much did this cost?  I saved up for months anticipating getting these tickets…”

“Not a single penny,” Woohyun pops his lips and Sunggyu whacks him again, hard enough that rustles up his hair.  Woohyun only laughs and fixes it again, “I don’t know Yiruma personally, but I do know the owner of this building,” Sunggyu gives him an incredulous look, “Not related or anything, just an old family friend.  He helped me out when I told him my soul mate was crazy about this kind of stuff.”

Sunggyu rolls his eyes and pushes Woohyun into the concert hall.  Woohyun even managed to snag them seats closest to the stage – where the lighting is gorgeous and it’s almost as if the piano is right next to Sunggyu’s ear.  Needless to say, he loves this. 

And what makes it even more perfect, Sunggyu finds, is that Woohyun is right next to him.  He really doesn’t like that Woohyun’s his soulmate.  It goes against everything he’s ever wanted in his life.  But this gradual descent into a relationship is exactly what Sunggyu pictured it would be.  It isn’t anything different than what he thought…except that now he knows what red is and likes brown more than red (this may or may not be due to the fact that the chocolate brown of Woohyun’s eyes twinkles in the light and makes his heart skip a beat).   Sunggyu thinks this soulmate thing isn’t his cup of tea – but Woohyun’s made it his cup of French vanilla coffee.  Sunggyu can take that. 

So today, Sunggyu decides to be a little adventurous.  Or maybe the high from enjoying a Yiruma concert is messing with his senses.  Sunggyu reaches out for Woohyun’s hand and just holds it as if it were the most normal thing in the world.  He doesn’t miss the goofy grin that splits Woohyun’s face in two and has a hard time suppressing his chuckle.  “So does this mean we’re officially together now?”  Woohyun asks brightly.

“Kinda?”  Sunggyu shrugs and enjoys the way Woohyun rubs his thumb on the back of his hand.  “Don’t get to hotheaded just yet, we’re still taking this slow.”  Sunggyu chides and Woohyun salutes like a little puppy and this time Sunggyu actually laughs.  The old lady a few seats down bends over to give him a glare but Sunggyu is too happy to care.

Sunggyu decides that this soulmate thing may not be as horrible as he originally thought.

 

“I told you it would work out,”

“It’s only going exactly how I wanted it to,”

“Right, right.  Either way, you finally got some sense knocked into you.”

 

“So you ended up happy with a soulmate after all, eh you big baby?”

“We’re still taking it slow you know, I could still back out.”

“You wouldn’t do that though.  You’ll end up loving him a lot.  Not because your soulmates, but because you love him.”

 

“So how many kids do you want in the future?”

“Oh my god Woohyun shut up.”

“I want at least five.”

“I’m going to dump you.”

 

“A club?”  Dongwoo hums proudly and even Woohyun’s ears perk up at the idea.  “Do people in relationships even go to clubs?”  Sunggyu makes a weird gesture between himself and Woohyun which causes the younger to laugh and Sunggyu pretends to smack him.  “Isn’t that where you go to have hookup sex?”

“What a way with words you have,” Woohyun sings and Sunggyu rolls his eyes.  “I don’t know…I haven’t been to one in a really long time.”

“Which is why you both should come!”  Dongwoo cries, a big smile glowing on his face. “I don’t want to go by myself and you can just come to dance and have fun.  Take a few shots and enjoy the night, it doesn’t need to go anywhere else,”

Sunggyu gives them both a skeptical look, “I don’t know about this…”

And so, he ends up in a club taking shots with a team of idiots. “See Hyung, I told you it would be fun!”  Dongwoo downs a shot and pours another for himself and the other two.  Sunggyu can see Woohyun’s getting a little tipsy but he figures that the younger can control himself when needed.

“It’s not so bad,” Sunggyu rolls his eyes and clinks his glass with Dongwoo before downing the alcohol.  He can feel it running through his veins and figures he should stop.  He can’t bring himself to tell Dongwoo no when more alcohol is in his glass, though.

It doesn’t take Dongwoo long to slip away from the booth and into the dance floor – he was always the type to mingle even when they were young.  So it ends up being him and Woohyun that finish the bottle and Sunggyu gets to admire the beautiful redness on Woohyun’s cheeks and the laziness in his eyes.  Yup, he’s definitely drunk.  But Sunggyu isn’t faring much better.

Sunggyu’s had one shot too many and throws his inhibitions out the window when Woohyun’s mouth presses on his.  His lips stretch into a smile and he can feel Woohyun’s mouth doing the same against his.  It’s been a while since he’s been to the club scene – and he’s damn well going to make use of it while he gets the chance. 

Sunggyu tries to take the lead and push up his mouth against Woohyun but the younger won’t have it.  His tongue pushes deeper and Sunggyu can feel teeth grazing his bottom lip.  The kiss is sloppy – but it’s Woohyun so it’s okay.  He can feel Woohyun secure his hands on his waist and he’s so eager and it reminds Sunggyu of a puppy.  He smiles into the kiss because even his lips taste sweet and Sunggyu can’t even focus on the heat of Woohyun’s body pushed against his and he can’t even register that his back is pressed up against the wall and the alcohol washes over him.  All he can think is that this is so Woohyun.  This kiss just screams Woohyun.

Woohyun breaks away with red lips, swollen and full and his cheeks are dusted pink.  His pupils are dilated and the brown is so rich that Sunggyu is sure that this is his color.  Brown is his color.  Woohyun’s perfectly styled hair is tousled and messy (Sunggyu figures that was his doing) and the younger boy is panting – out of breath and has the most beautiful smile on his face.   He goes to kiss him again and slip his hands beneath Sunggyu’s shirt and the elder laughs.  “Eager, aren’t we?”  Woohyun lets out a relentless whine and smashes his lips on Sunggyu’s again.  Sunggyu chuckles when their mouth meets but he doesn’t refuse. 

“Private,” Woohyun breaks from his lips again to mumble against his throat and feel Sunggyu’s veins tingle against his lips when he laughs again.  Woohyun presses his lips on them and speaks again, “Let’s go somewhere private?”

“My house or yours?”  Sunggyu pulls Woohyun up by his cheeks and can see the lust glowing in his eyes.  Deep down Sunggyu can hear the rational part in him telling him to stop – he shouldn’t go this far until it’s serious; at least not with Woohyun.  Sunggyu tells that rational part to can it and steals Woohyun’s lips for another kiss. 

“Too far,” Woohyun grumbles and presses his thigh knee against Sunggyu’s thigh and the elder hums in pleasure.  “Closer.” 

“I’m not for public sex,” Sunggyu chuckles when Woohyun intertwines their fingers and leads him towards the men’s bathroom.   But that thought lays forgotten when Woohyun has him pinned against the cool tiles and his long fingers are slipping under his shirt again.  Sunggyu bites back the noises threatening to escape his mouth but Woohyun forces them out with his lips.  “W-Woohyun we can’t –“

“I love you.”

Sunggyu pauses.  “W-What?”

“I love you. I love you so fucking much.”  Woohyun pushes at his lips but a feeling of guilt sinks into Sunggyu’s stomach and he gently pushes Woohyun off.  But drunk Woohyun doesn’t get the hint and wraps his arms around Sunggyu’s waist and pulls him against his stomach nibbling softly on his ear and whispering over and over, “I love you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  I love you.”

The alcohol makes Sunggyu’s stomach hurt and Woohyun’s words make his heart burn.  “Woohyun I….I don’t think…I’m…” 

Woohyun nuzzles deeper into his throat and continues, “I love you so much.  You’re my soulmate, I could never ask for a better one, I love you.” 

And it crashes on him.  Sunggyu can’t do this.   Sunggyu thinks about how against soulmates he is.  The fear of commitment tingles in his heart.  What if he decides not to do this? What it doesn’t work out? Is the soulmate thing really a hoax? He’s always believed so – he can’t change that. He won’t. He won’t let Woohyun change that. The alcohol buzzes into his brain again and goes to all the wrong places – he shoves Woohyun against the bathroom floor and ignores the look of confusion in his eyes.  “I don’t,” Sunggyu whimpers and Woohyun’s eyes are still confused – and clouded with lust.  “I don’t love you.  I’m not ready for this…I…I’m sorry.” 

Sunggyu’s storming out of the restroom and out of the club before Woohyun can even register that he probably fucked up. 

Except he didn’t. 

 

“Did something happen last night?”

“I just felt a little sick,”

“Did something happen with Woohyun...?” 

“…”

“Hello?  Sunggyu? Hello?”

 

“So, he declared his love for you, and you walked out,”

“I’m not ready for that!”

“You’re an asshole,”

“Thanks, captain obvious,”

 

“You know, just because it happened to me doesn’t mean it’ll happen to you,”

“I didn’t say it would,”

“Then why are you so afraid of commitment?”

 

“It’s meant to work out! You can’t leave the poor boy, I didn’t raise you like that!”

“It doesn’t always work out, it didn’t for Noona.”

“That doesn’t mean it won’t for you.”

 

Sunggyu doesn’t visit the café for a long time.  He holes himself up in his room and ignores Sungyeol trying to break down his door every other day to get him out.  He slips out at midnight, grabs some ramen and returns to his cave.  He doesn’t have the ability to face anyone right now – especially not Woohyun. 

Speaking of, the younger has attempted to call him quite often, but Sunggyu hasn’t dared to pick up once.   It’s so often that whenever his iTunes is on shuffle and Drifting Apart starts (it’s the song he set as his ringtone) he actually cringes. 

All the time locked in his room doesn’t go in vain, however.  He does still attend his classes – and gets a load of good material for them.  He caught his professor humming the tune to the latest track he submitted.  It was a sad, slow song about fucking up life and losing soulmates and basically everything going wrong with Sunggyu and his shitty life.

Well, at least he got an A.

Sunggyu ignores his growling stomach as long as possible until he can literally feel his insides screaming at him.  He lets out a deep sigh and glances over at the clock.  It’s only eight – Sungyeol’s bound to be lounging around on the couch waiting for him to emerge and give him shit about ruining Woohyun’s life.  And Sunggyu’s too, apparently.  He’s gotten that a lot recently.  But he hasn’t eaten since morning and if he doesn’t eat something he just might eat himself. 

Sunggyu grudgingly swings his door open – he doesn’t bother to be quiet, Sungyeol will catch him anyway – and stomps into the kitchen and starts boiling water for his ramen.  And searching through the cabinets makes him hiss – Sungyeol ate the last package of creamy chicken and Sunggyu imagines ripping his head off to add to his ramen as a consulate.  But then he figures Sungyeol tastes gross and decides against it. 

“Nice to see you out and about,” the devil strolls into the kitchen and places a mug into the sink.  “I’m surprised you can show your face around after ruining someone’s life,”

Sunggyu tosses him a glare, “Are you ever gonna quit it with that?” he hisses, ripping open the sauce packet with his teeth (quite vigorously – it makes Sungyeol shudder) and sprinkling it into his pot.  “I told him at the beginning, it might not work out.”

“But you didn’t say you’d bail on him like this,” Sungyeol reprimands, “I’m sure he was expecting some kind of formal break up,”

“We were never formally together,” Sunggyu spits at him and slurps a sip of his Ramen.  It’s good; but not as good as the creamy chicken. 

“So do you plan on ignoring him for the rest of your life?” Sungyeol raises an eyebrow.

“You trying to say that’s impossible?” Sunggyu shoots back.  He almost feels a bit guilty at the exasperated sigh Sungyeol lets out.  He’s only trying to help – Sunggyu knows that.  But he just isn’t in the mood. 

“Whatever, you inconsiderate asshole,” Sungyeol thwacks him on the head and shoves an envelope in his palm.  “He asked me to give that to you, It’s your choice whether you read it or not.  But you really outta.  Poor thing is completely devastated and you’re the one being the jerk.”

“I specifically told him-“

“It still makes you an asshole,” Sungyeol ducks out of the kitchen before Sunggyu gets to smack him.   Sunggyu turns the envelope over in his palm a couple times and ignores his ramen boiling over the pot.  He yelps when hot water nearly hits his toes and turns down the stove quickly.  The water settles to a light simmer and Sunggyu sighs – long and slow. 

He opens the letter and after the first few words he knows he’s the world’s biggest asshole. 

“I’m really sorry.”

Sunggyu doesn’t even bother to read the rest of the letter.  He just groans loudly and crumples it up in his fist.  He fists his hair and screams so loud Sungyeol comes rushing into the kitchen.  Before the boy can open his mouth Sunggyu snatches a jacket and shoves shoes on his feet.  “Where are you going?” Sungyeol demands.

“To knock some sense into an idiot.”  He slams the door behind him and storms down the hallway – steam rising out of his ears. 

Woohyun’s apartment isn’t far – only a simple bus ride.  But the time it takes for Sunggyu to get on the bus and actually make it to Woohyun’s door is more than enough time to make him completely reconsider his decision. 

He has no idea how to even start.  He ends up standing around Woohyun’s front door for a good five minutes staring at the brass knocker and trying to fix his disheveled hair in the camera of his phone and almost turns back at least ten times.  But Sunggyu feels like shit and Woohyun deserves better than him.  So much better.  But he stuck around and the least Sunggyu owes him is an apology.  He gathers all his courage, and knocks on the door three times and waits in silence.

The door opens just a crack – and Sunggyu makes eye contact with Woohyun while he slowly pulls it open and Sunggyu can see he looks dead.  He looks as though he hasn’t slept in months and his hair has thinned out a little bit.  “Hey.” 

“H-hey,” Sunggyu stutters and Woohyun looks down at his feet.  “I…I’m sorry I was an asshole.”

Woohyun shuffles his feet awkwardly.  “You weren’t…I was just…I thought that…yea.”  Woohyun lets out a hollow chuckle.  “I went into it kinda fast…”  Woohyun looks up at Sunggyu and mumbles under his breath, “…but ignoring me was pretty assholeish.”

Sunggyu laughs lamely, “Yea that….that was dumb.”  He scratches the back of his neck nervously. “I just…I got scared.  I don’t really approve of this just yet still.  I still don’t know if I ever will, to be quite frank,” he ignores Woohyun’s ears drooping. “You did go into it fast.  But I handled it like an idiot.”

Woohyun grumbles a small, “You sorta did.” Under his breath and Sunggyu thinks it’s so like Woohyun.  He didn’t read the apology letter – but he can practically rewrite it word for word.  It was probably Woohyun apologizing, but insisting it was partly Sunggyu’s fault too.  Taking the blame – but pushing it on Sunggyu as well.  That’s just how Woohyun was and his small, pouting face makes Sunggyu chuckle and ruffle his hair.  Woohyun looks up – a little shocked.  “S-So are we….cool? Like…friends cool? Or…”

Sunggyu answers him with a soft peck to his lips.  “I can’t say I love you. But you’re still my boyfriend and I’m still yours.  Besides, that kiss was actually pretty decent.”

Woohyun grins stupidly (It doesn’t stretch to his eyes – Sunggyu notes) and presses a peck to his lips too and wraps his arms around his waist.  Sunggyu feels Woohyun’s hair tickle the sensitive skin on his neck but his words make his heart swell the most. “I missed you.”

 

“So you decided to stop being an asshole, eh?”

“Shut up.”

“Yea, yea.  Just refill my ramen supply.”

 

“You know, you made up.  But don’t lead him on.”

“I’m not.  He knows very well-“

“Just because he knows it, doesn’t mean he feels it.  Feeling is different from knowing, Gyu.”

 

“I told you this stuff worked out!”

“Yea. Hey…did Noona know about Daehyun before she caught him?”

“Why would you ever suggest something like that?”

“I just…was curious.”

 

 

 

The next time Sunggyu visits the café – Woohyun is falling to pieces.  He’s sniffling like crazy and Sunggyu hears the croak in his voice.   His hair is disheveled and his eyes look heavy – Dongwoo tosses him a weary look every now and then but Woohyun keeps repeating his welcoming greeting like a mantra.   He sneezes loudly and Sunggyu swears he sneezed out an organ.  “Dude.  Take a break.”

Woohyun sniffles and shakes his head. He goes to do another greeting, but a large sneeze takes the place of words and Woohyun groans and rips his apron over his head and whips it to the ground.  He vaguely mumbles to Dongwoo he’s going on break and Dongwoo watches him slump into the break room.  He barely manages to give Sunggyu a sign before the older man chuckles and follows Woohyun. 

He finds him half on the couch and the boy lets out a groan when Sunggyu kicks him lightly. “What’s wrong?” He asks teasingly.

“I’m sick.” Woohyun whines – he sniffles for emphasis and Sunggyu chuckles.  He places his hand on Woohyun’s forehead – no fever.  Probably just a cold.  “My nose is stuffed, my throat itches and my left eye won’t stop fucking watering.”

“So basically…the common cold.” Sunggyu chuckles and ruffles his hair.

Woohyun snarls and shoves his hand off. “You suck.  You’re my boyfriend, you’re supposed to take care of me lovingly.”

Sunggyu actually snorts and Woohyun groans louder. “You’ll be fine by tomorrow morning,” he gives him a few rough pats on the back for emphasis and ignores the strangled groan Woohyun lets out.   “If it makes you feel any better, I’ll sit here with you until you go back, yea?”

“You’re boring anyway,” Woohyun huffs and Sunggyu laughs.  It makes him smile a little at how far their relationship has come.  They’ve really grown closer (the insults are only out of love, after all).  It almost makes him feel like he truly would enjoy spending the rest of his life with Woohyun.  If only to wake up every morning and annoy the shit out of him.  

Woohyun’s hand fumbles around until he finds Sunggyu’s fingers and let’s a content hum (accompanied by a series of sniffles) and interlocks their fingers.  Sunggyu clicks his tongue in annoyance but lets it slide and even starts to play with Woohyun’s hair a little bit.  It feels soft and always smells like strawberries.  Sunggyu loves strawberries.

“Hey Hyung?”  Woohyun mumbles and Sunggyu can see that he’s half-conscience.  He figure the cold kept Woohyun up last night.  He hums as an answer.  “Can you promise me something?” 

Sunggyu starts to feel a little skeptical.  The last time Woohyun wasn’t completely in his senses things didn’t go to great.  “What is it?”

“Even if…even if you decide not to be my soulmate,” Sunggyu’s heart wrenches at his words, “Can we still be friends?  I…I really like you.  Even if we can just be friends, I’d like that.”

Sunggyu smiles lightly and places a small kiss to his forehead, “Of course you idiot, I wouldn’t be able to live if I couldn’t annoy the shit out of you.”

“I hate you.” Woohyun grumbles and Sunggyu lets out a laugh.

 

“That’s a heavy promise.”

“It’s just being friends.”

“It’s not easy to be friends with someone you imagined as a lover, it’s more complicated than that.”

 

“It’s Woohyun’s birthday soon right, what did you get him?”

“If I told you, you’d tell him. I’m going to get it wrapped tomorrow.”

“Wow, you’re trust in me is phenomenal.”

 

“Hyung, let’s be friends forever, okay?”

“Woohyun we aren’t seven.”

“Yea but…I still want to.”

“Okay.”

 

Sunggyu taps his foot impatiently as the woman carefully wraps Woohyun’s gift.  He wasn’t the best at wrapping – and he didn’t trust Sungyeol with secrets.  He’s giddy to give it to him next week – it’s a small little key chain with Woohyun’s name engraved into it.  It’s a heart (a little lovey dovey for Sunggyu’s tastes) with a beautiful swirl of red and brown that Sunggyu just couldn’t resist.  It may be small, but Woohyun’s an idiot that will love it anyway.  The lady giggles at him and Sunggyu sneers.  She promptly shuts up. 

Sunggyu’s vision goes black for a second.  Sunggyu clutches his head and shuts his eyes tight.  He vaguely hears the woman talking to him but it sounds distant and hazy.  Sunggyu shakes his head and blinks a few times to clear his eyes and when he opens them the woman looks mildly concerned.  He goes to tell her he’s okay but then he notices. 

The key chain isn’t red and brown anymore. 

It’s a weird gray.

 

“Hello? Sunggyu?  Sunggyu where are you? Woohyun got in an accident! He - BEEP”

 

“Sunggyu you’re in the hospital right, I heard that Woohyun–BEEP“

 

“Sunggyu? Sunggyu are you –BEEP“

 

“Stop hanging up on everyone.”

“I don’t give a shit,”

“Hey Hyung-“

“I swear if you say anything morbid or-“

“I love you.”

BEEP.