It’s the last class of the day and Wonsik is in math class, or rather enduring math class, when something catches his eyes through the window.
At first the only thing he can make out are blurred figures, but when they near the football field and he notice familiar brown hair and a petite body surrounded by three other figures.
He raises his hand and, before even getting allowance to speak, blurts out something about having to pee and in few seconds he’s out of the classroom.
On his way down the marble stairs, he curses the way too big school and when he finally walks down the last pair of stairs and crosses the last hallway, he storms out the front gate and on to the football field.
The figures he spotted from the distances of his classroom becomes clearer and finally he sees Jaehwan in the middle. He’s lying on the grass, white school shirt dotted with grass green spots and displaying his lower stomach while his upper lip is weeping red. Wonsik wants to turn around. Contrary to what some people say about him, he’s not a fan of fights. He wants to walk away from the scene, but the need to protect Jaehwan is bigger than his fear so he speaks up.
“What is happening here?” He asks even though it’s pretty obvious by Jaehwan’s condition.
The three figures turns to him. One of them is spotting a nasty grin, second one has his hand buried in his pockets and his sight even deeper buried in the green grass and the third one looks straight up frightened.
“We were just talking.” The one with the nasty grin says, with a hint of irony in his voice.
Wonsik and Jaehwan’s eyes meet for a second before Wonsik once again turns to the one with the nasty grin.
“Well consider that conversation over.”
He pushes through the three guys and as they leave he finally kneels next to Jaehwan.
“What the fuck Jaehwan?”
“Those three are the ones you should be asking that.”
Wonsik shakes his head and softly lifts Jaehwan’s upper lip with his thumb.
“What happened? You look horrible man.”
Jaehwan pushes Wonsik’s hand away and sits up.
“I’m fine.” Jaehwan says with a slight smile and grabs his backpack.
“You don’t look fine Jaehwannie.”
Jaehwan stays quiet as Wonsik helps him up from the ground. His legs are slightly wobbly but Wonsik supports his weight as they walk away from the school and quietly takes the 5 minute walk towards their street. Somewhere along the way Wonik had realised he had forgotten his backpack, but as Jaehwan’s steps become less and less wobbly he can’t make himself really care.
They end up in Wonsik’s kitchen. There’s no one home so they sit around the kitchen table. Wonik pours up a glass of juice for each of them. The silence is starting to borther Wonsik, Jaehwan isn’t usually this quiet. Far from. It unsettles Wonsik because he has known Jaehwan for long enough to know that even when something is wrong Jaehwan is bubbly and babbling away.
“So when are you going to tell me what happened?” Wonsik finally drops the bomb.
Jaehwan looks up, eyes big. He’s mindlessly chewing on the unharmed lower lip.
“They said stuff about my dad and i-”
He takes a sip of the juice, accidentally hitting his upper lip, causing a stinging sensation to hit him. He makes a face before continuing.
“- I kind of lost it. I think i slapped one of them, but it all happened so fast I can’t really-”
Wonsik shakes his head.
“You need to pick your fights Jaehwannie.”
He gets up and leaves the kitchen. When he comes back he’s accompanied by a red box and some cotton pads. He places it next to Jaehwan’s juice glass and with a ‘clack’ sound he opens the metallic box. It’s messy and everything is lying in an uncoordinated pile, but he still manages to find the bottle of disinfecting liquid.
“Look up at me.”
Jaehwan tilts back his head and lets Wonsik cleanse his wounded lip despite the horrible sting.
“How bad does it look?” He asks as Wonsik dabs the wound dry with a new cotton pad.
“You probably won’t need stitches, but you probably also want to stay out of fights for a while. Preferably forever. Just to be on the safe side you know.”
And Jaehwan genuinely laughs.
“I’ll get you to fight my battles then.” And Wonsik feels pathetic when he realises that he probably would. That he probably would do anything Jaehwan asks him to.
Wonsik packs away the first aid kit and as he walks out of the kitchen he mutters something about a mouse wanting to be a lion.