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nothing gold can stay

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It doesn't matter, in the end. Yibo sits on the benches with his mouth clamped shut, watching the court; thudding basketball against concrete, sweat glistening on bodies in the sun.

"Hey Yibo!" Sungjoo calls, stopping to mop his forehead. "You should come out and join us!" Yibo waves his hand, shakes his head, pulling out his mp3 player and headphones. Sungjoo frowns slightly, but doesn't say anything, back to the game as Yixuan passes the ball; Wenhan intercepts, muscles coiling in his legs as he lifts off the ground, takes control of the ball, pushes it through the hoop.

Yibo inhales sharply at the sight, almost slow motion as Wenhan lands, high fives Seungyoun, the rest of the team. He can't help it, hand jerking up to cover his mouth, keep his secrets safe inside.

When Sungjoo glances back at the bench, Yibo will already be gone.




It's a hot summer, this year, light glistening on the surface of the water, feet hitting the sand, beach volleyball and Yibo's eye tracks Wenhan from his spot under the parasol, elbow resting on the basket that holds their lunch.

Yixuan and Sungjoo versus Wenhan and Seungyoun. It's a good match, a good game, sand flying and the hot sun dripping down like honey, decorating their skin. Wenhan and Seungyoun win, sand flying as Wenhan leaps, silhouette agsint the sun, fist pumping. Yibo coughs, excuses himself to the restroom. The picnic lunch will the safe enough and they probably won't even notice him gone.




The lemonade is cool on his raw throat, the the water of the ocean cooler when he steps out into the water. Wenhan smiles, gesturing him on before he gets cannonballed by Seungyoun leaping off Yixuan's shoulders. Everything twists and turns, a wave rolling in and for a moment everything is blue as Yibo slips beneath the surface, light sparkling, refracted by the surface, the legs of the other boys kicking in shadowed relief.

It's easy, here, to say the things he'll never say, let a single daisy slip out from between his lips.

Just a moment, then warms are pulling him up, Wenhan asking in mock sincerity that hides real concern,

"Hey, you okay?" Wenhan glares at Seungyoun who shrugs, hangs off of Sungjoo, pulling him sputtering down into the blue. Yibo nods at Wenhan; the lie, like his smile, comes easily to his lips.

"I'm always okay," he says, grinning, sun on his face and crushed petals on his tongue.

With you, he adds, the thought he'll never voice.