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The End

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The end was never something Jinyoung put much thought into during his earlier years of life.  He lived a life dedicated to what he loved, hardly thinking about what the future might hold for him.

It wasn’t his idea to try and defy nature.

He stared down at the water below him, the currents hitting against the side of the bridge angrily.  The water appeared pitch black during the night, ready to swallow up anything that it came in contact with.

Jinyoung stood atop the bridge railing, no barriers between him and the water below.

He stuck one of his legs out curiously, the feeling of nothing underneath him sending a rush through his system.  He had always wondered what it would feel like to fall to your death, swallowed up by the waves never to be seen again.

He was only one step from living out his dreams when he was pulled back by strong arms, causing him to fall and land on the person like a human cushion.

“Don’t jump!  T-there’s… so much left to live for!  I swear!”  It was a man’s voice, he turned him around roughly and grabbed him by the shoulders, forcing him to look at his face. “Just, oh my god, please don’t jump.”  His hands were trembling and he had fear in his eyes.

Jinyoung was startled at first, but he realized this guy was just trying to save his life.  “Alright, I won’t jump today.”

“No!  D-don’t jump, ever!  There are people out there who care about you, your family, your friends-”

“I don’t have any friends, or a family.”  Jinyoung wasn’t the type to make friends, and his family was long forgotten.  It was his choice entirely, being close with anyone was too painful.

“That’s not true, there has to someone who cares.”

“There’s nobody.”

The man’s grip got tighter. “I care.”  He said sternly.

“You care?  Who are you?”

“My name is Mark.”

Mark Tuan, twenty-three years old, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a handsome face.

He had gathered all this information from him as they sat in a breakfast restaurant.  It was the only thing open at two in the morning.  Mark insisted he come with him because he didn’t want to leave him alone for the night.  He didn’t trust him, apparently.

“Psychology isn’t my strong point,” Mark said, forking the waffle he ordered nervously.  “Actually, this whole situation is really awkward, but I can’t bring myself to leave you alone until you promise me you’re not going to jump.”

It had been years since Jinyoung talked this much to one person.  He avoided it like the plague.  He had tried to leave but no matter what he said this Mark guy wouldn’t allow him.  He belatedly realized he probably shouldn’t have said he had no acquaintances.  A simple lie and he would've avoided this whole mess, but it wasn't in Jinyoung’s nature to be dishonest. “Alright Mark, I’m not going to jump.  Will you let me leave now?”

“I’m not buying it.”  He said; adamant on giving Jinyoung a hard time.

“What are you going to do, never let me out of your sight?  You don’t control my life.”

“Whatever hard time you’re going through you will make it through, trust me.  There’s nothing worth taking your own life over.”

Jinyoung had to admit it was kind of cute.  Not just anyone would try so vehemently so save a stranger’s life, especially in this situation.  “That’s not why I wanted to jump.”

“Huh?”  Mark tilted his head to the side in a cartoon-like manner.  “What do you mean…?”

“I had no intentions to die tonight.”

“You were about to jump off that bridge, why would you want to do that if you didn’t want to die?”

“For science, in a way, I just wanted to experience it.  I wanted to know what it feels like.”  Mark was staring at him like he was completely off his rocker.

“Okay, umm…”  Mark wasn’t sure what to say and Jinyoung wanted to burst out laughing.  Teasing this guy was a ton of fun; he had almost forgotten what it was like to talk with people.

Jinyoung was sitting on a secret two hundred years in the making. After so long it was only fair that the itch to just tell somebody was pretty irresistible.  It’s not like this guy was going to leave him alone anyways, maybe shocking him would be enough to get him to leave.  “I’ll tell you why, but you have to promise me you won’t tell anyone about this.”

“Alright…”  Mark seemed hesitant but Jinyoung was sure by his demeanor alone he wasn’t the type of guy to go around town speaking his mind.

“I can’t die, I’m immortal.”  Jinyoung said calmly.

Mark just stared at him for a second, trying to process the information.  “You’re… what?”  Mark smiled nervously.  “That’s real funny, ha-ha.”

“I’m serious; I just wanted to jump off the bridge to experience it.  I wasn’t going to die.”  Jinyoung was trying not to laugh as he saw Mark’s expression change from nervousness to horror.

“You can’t be serious.”

“You want to know for sure, “Jinyoung pointed to the knife on his plate used for cutting the waffle.  “Go ahead, just jab that straight through my chest, see what happens.”

“I am not doing that, you’re crazy.”

“So, you’ll let me leave now?  Who knows, I might be dangerous.”  Jinyoung urged.

“That’s even more reason not to leave you, I think I can get you the help you deserve and-”

That’s when Jinyoung picked up the knife and stabbed it through his chest himself.

“Where are you taking me?”  Jinyoung asked as Mark had a vice grip on his hand, pulling him through the empty streets refusing to let go.

“I was planning to take you to the hospital, but then you made it clear that you were perfectly fine a few blocks ago, and now I’m just kind of walking, and holy shit, you really just did that, didn’t you?” Jinyoung forgot that doing that in front of a mortal was probably not the best idea and would probably scar him for life.  Strangely, he still insisted on keeping Jinyoung with him.

“I told you I was immortal; now if you’re so scared of me, and you promised not to tell, can you let me go?”  Jinyoung urged but Mark wouldn’t let go.

“I can’t do that,” Mark pulled him down an alleyway and stopped in front of the entrance to a building.  “Not until I talk to you.”

After three flights of stairs they ended up in a small apartment, Jinyoung could only assume it was where he lived.  He was resistant to go inside, but this whole situation was his fault so he couldn’t just leave him hanging now.  It wasn’t like he would be able to hurt him anyways.

It was obvious Mark wasn’t thinking straight, the fear in his eyes mixed with uncertain curiosity.  “You can sit down somewhere, um,” He ran a hand through his hair nervously.  “This is a lot to take in, but I’m not afraid.”

Jinyoung never considered it but technically he wasn’t human anymore, it wouldn’t be untrue if others considered him a monster of some sort.  “Your hands are still shaking.”

“It’s not because I’m afraid I’m just… intrigued?”  Mark finally sat himself down next to Jinyoung and stared him down trying to think of what he wanted to say.

“I’ve never told anyone this before, but it’s kind of exciting to let someone know.  It feels liberating.”  Jinyoung knew deep down that he shouldn’t have done this, but somehow he couldn’t find himself regretting it.

The past two hundred years had been monotonous and boring, spent entirely alone with as little human contact as possible.  He didn’t realize it himself but he was craving a change, something to make existing interesting again.

“How long have you been alive?”  Mark asked through trembling lips.

Jinyoung pondered his answer, deciding there was no harm in telling him that.  “Two hundred and twenty-two years, only two hundred years as an immortal.  Not that long in retrospect.”

“You became an immortal then?  How did you-”

“I can’t tell you that.”  Jinyoung interrupted him.

Mark was taken aback, and Jinyoung understood why he was so interested in him.

“Immortality isn’t as great as you think; it’s not something you should desire.”

“Isn’t it amazing?  You get to live forever; you never have to fear death.”  Mark was obviously a dreamer, clueless to the reality of being immortal.

“Amazing?  It was never amazing for me.  I can’t live a normal life; everyone I knew grew old and left me behind.  I’ve traveled the world and now I don’t know what’s left for me.  Every day I wake up trying to experience something new but I’ve just run out of reasons to stay alive.”  Jinyoung didn’t mean to sound so harsh, but recalling his own bitter reality always struck him hard.  “You’re scared of dying but I’m scared of living.”  Jinyoung blinked away the tears in his eyes, refusing to let them fall.


“Sorry, I really need to go.  This was a mistake, I shouldn’t have come up here,” Jinyoung got up and walked towards the door.  “I’m not supposed to talk to anyone I don’t-” Mark grabbed him by the arm and stopped him.

“Where are you going to go?”

Jinyoung didn’t have a proper home; he always just kind of found somewhere to stay the night since he traveled so much.  It was so late maybe he wouldn’t even bother sleeping.  Maybe he could walk back to the bridge and finish what he was doing. “I don’t know.”

“You can stay here if you don’t have anywhere better to go.  You can sleep on my sofa, I mean, if you… sleep.”

Jinyoung chuckled bitterly.  Everything was wrong about this situation but he was so worn out that the offer of a warm place to stay the night got the best of him, agreeing to spend just one night there.

That was the first in a long string of mistakes.

He absolutely hated to admit it, but Mark was adorable.

In the morning when he woke up he was offered clothes, a shower, and fruity cereal all courtesy of the kind stranger.  Jinyoung had convinced himself he would leave first thing in the morning but it was hard to find an opening to leave when someone was being this nice to you.

“So, you eat and sleep like a normal person?”  Mark asked as they munched on cereal together.

“I am a normal person in almost every aspect; it’s just that nothing will kill me.”  Jinyoung clarified.

“You didn’t feel when you stabbed yourself last night? I can’t remember because I freaked out more than you did.”

“Well, I felt it, but there wasn’t any pain.  It just feels like… there was a knife in my chest?  It’s hard to explain.”  Jinyoung thought it was comical speaking about this to someone since he hadn’t talked to anyone about this so freely before.  It made him feel more connected to reality.

“And the jumping off the bridge thing…”

“Oh!  I’ve never drowned before; I thought it would be exciting to try.  Recently it’s become a hobby of mine to get into a fatal situation just to experience it.”  Jinyoung wasn’t sure if he sounded more like a nerd or a lunatic when he said that.

“W-what else have you done?”  Mark was still obviously uncomfortable with the situation, but he was making a great effort to continue on as if they weren’t talking about fun ways to die.

“I’ve jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, sat in a walk-in freezer for three days, gotten shot in multiple places, set myself on fire...”  Jinyoung started listing.  “There are definitely some things I never want to try, like maybe falling into a meat grinder?  I don’t know what would happen and I don’t want to find out.”

Just the thought seemed to gross Mark out as he pushed his bowl to the side.  “Suddenly I’m not hungry anymore.”

“Sorry for the mental image, I should’ve waited until after breakfast to bring that one up.”

“It’s fine.”  Mark got up to empty out the dry cereal back into the box and pour his glass of milk down the sink.

“I should really be leaving now,” Jinyoung finished up his own cereal and got up.  “Where are my clothes from yesterday?”

“Why are you leaving?”  Mark asked, genuinely wondering.  “It’s not like you don’t have the time.”

“I…”  Jinyoung couldn’t argue that fact.  He had all the time in the world, literally.  “I didn’t mean to intrude in the first place.  Don’t you have something you should be doing?”

“I’m not busy today, and we’re friends now right?”  Jinyoung hated that stupid smile of his, melting away all of his worries.

“We’re not friends, I don’t make friends.”  Jinyoung refused to get close with anyone.  He knew it wouldn’t end well.  He knew he was making a bad decision.

“Can’t I be the exception?”

He knew he would regret it as soon as he said yes.

“Didn’t you get lonely, spending such a long time alone?”  Mark asked as they sat in a park, lying on the grass enjoying the sunlight.

Jinyoung had tried his best to keep distant but there was something about Mark that he clicked with.  He was on the introverted side like him, but he wasn’t a loner.  Quiet when he wanted to be, great at listening, but also fun and excitable.  He wasn’t someone Jinyoung thought he would get along with, but something about his personality drew him in.  A month passed in the blink of an eye.  It wasn’t a big deal yet.  It was just a month, he would leave eventually.

That’s what he kept telling himself.

“Believe it or not I don’t mind being alone.  Even before I became an immortal I’ve always loved doing things alone.  Shopping, watching movies, traveling, it’s best enjoyed by myself.”

“Even for two hundred years?”

“I mean, it was fun for a very long time.  It didn’t get boring because I was alone; it got boring because it felt like I’d experienced everything.  Company isn’t going to change that fact.”

“Do you even know what it’s like to do fun things with someone else?”

The question stung a bit.  “I had friends back then, believe it or not.  I still chose to do things by myself.”

“So, it’s still an experience you’re lacking.”

“I’ve gone out with other people before; we’re hanging out together right now, aren’t we?”

“So, you’d prefer to be alone rather than out with me?”  Mark asked with a pout and those puppy dog eyes he both hated and loved.

“I didn’t say that.  Some people are fun to hang out with.  I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like hanging out with you.”

“So, you like me?”  Mark smirked and Jinyoung realized he walked right into that.

“I do like you, but not that much.”  Jinyoung tried to lie.  “I’m still planning on leaving eventually, once I figure out what I should do with my life next.  Don’t get too comfortable.”

Mark leaned back onto the grass, hands behind his head staring up at the clouds.  “Don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to decide.”

“You know, if the world just ended and was blown to smithereens or something, I’d be out there floating in space for an eternity.”  Jinyoung said as they sat on Mark’s couch nibbling on ice cream.  It had been three months since they met and Jinyoung was still taking up space in Mark’s apartment.  Three months still wasn’t a long time, Jinyoung convinced himself.

“Good thing you like being alone.”  Mark teased and Jinyoung whacked him across the arm.

“It’s not funny, it’s actually terrifying.  Just another joy of being immortal I suppose.”  Jinyoung sulked as he spooned his ice cream into his mouth.

Jinyoung had meant to leave, really, but Mark had become a constant in his life that was hard to get rid of.  He had gotten too accustomed to him tapping him to wake up in the morning, wearing his clothes, and just hanging out with him.  He still convinced himself he wasn’t over the deep end yet.  He could still leave whenever he wanted.

“You’re pretty cool for someone who’s over two hundred years old; shouldn’t you be an old man, mentally?  I mean, the fact that you still wear those wide pants is a dead giveaway-”

“Excuse me?  You’re the one who looks silly; I’ll never give into those skinny jeans thing.  It’s just so weird.”

“Scratch that, you really are an old man.”  That earned another playful jab from Jinyoung.

“Maybe it’s all in your head, I behave like an old person but because I’m in this body you don’t realize it.”

“Why are you picking today to make my brain hurt?  I don’t want to think about it.”

“You don’t have to think about it, it’s not like you’ll ever have to worry about the things I worry about.”  Mark’s face fell at his statement.

“There isn’t any way to reverse the immortality thing?  How did this...”  Mark knew not to ask about how it happened.  That was one thing Jinyoung never wanted to talk about.

“I’ve tried many things, trust me.  There’s nothing I can do about this.”

The atmosphere was suddenly solemn; Mark and Jinyoung finished their ice cream in silence.

“Mark!  You’ve been working out, haven’t you?”  Five months.  Far longer than he should’ve been there.

“I think it’s time you cut it off for the night.”  Jinyoung liked to drink occasionally but he couldn’t recall the last time he got this drunk.

“Why are you sooo not fun tonight Mark?”  Jinyoung knew he was an affectionate drunk, so the fact that he couldn’t help himself from sprawling over Mark’s lap wasn’t a surprise.  “Seriously, your biceps look bigger.”

“Do you always get this drunk when you go out?”

“Trust me, I haven’t been this drunk in a loooong time.  It’s not a good idea when you’re alone, but you’re here to take care of me so it’s fine, right?”   Jinyoung rolled over and locked his arms around him.  “Are you warm, or am I warm?”

Mark was smiling now and he assumed that was a good sign.

“You’re really cute.”

“I’m cute?”

Jinyoung hadn’t meant to say that out loud, but he decided he might as well go along with it since it was the truth.  “You’re always cute.  Cute and handsome.  That’s not fair.”

Mark was giggling now.  Still cute.  “Jinyoung, are you flirting with me?”

“No way!  I’m just saying you’re cute and handsome.  Are you single?”

Mark was just flat out laughing at him now.  “Shouldn’t you know that by now? You’ve been living on my sofa for the past five months.”

“Hmm, I didn’t see anyone so I can assume you’re single.  That’s good.”

“How about you Jinyoung, any secret boyfriend I should know about?”

“I…”  Jinyoung paused, his brain freezing at the word ‘boyfriend’. “Not anymore.”

“Not anymore?”

“Can we kiss?”  Jinyoung blurted out, his mind fuzzy and his judgement impaired.

Jinyoung sat up so he was straddling Mark’s lap, staring into his eyes with want.  “Is that what you really want?”

“Please.”  Jinyoung said, not begging but there was something in his voice telling him he really needed it.

So Mark obliged, softly kissing him on the lips but pulling back quickly.  “That’s enough.”

“Hmm,” Jinyoung rested his head on Mark’s shoulder, nuzzling his face into the crook of his neck.  “Thank you.”

Jinyoung didn’t remember what happened in the morning.

After eight months Jinyoung knew he was doomed.  He had worked so hard to keep people away for two hundred years.  He never thought he would break so easily.  Thinking about how deeply he cared for Mark scared him, but he still kept pedaling forwards despite his better judgement.

Sometime over the months, he had gradually shifted from sleeping on Mark’s sofa to his bed, not because they were together or anything, Mark just thought it was comfier and since he was staying there for so long it would be inhumane to keep him there.  They were close enough and Jinyoung was really addicted to the way Mark held him all night- couldn’t sleep without it anymore.

He was so at peace for the first time in a long time, but that’s when the nightmares came back.

A sudden resurgence that made him toss and turn, unable to sleep.

For the first few nights Mark just tried to hold him and calm him down to the best of his abilities but one particularly bad night it got to him. He spoke softly into his ear, but his words were sharp and jagged, cutting through his disposition and shocking him wide awake.

“Who’s Jaebum?”

Jinyoung had hoped he would never hear that name again.

“Where did you…”  Jinyoung voice was barely a whisper.

“You say it a lot in your sleep, especially when you’re having nightmares.  I didn’t want to ask at first since I know you don’t like talking about your past but…”  Mark paused, still unsure if he should proceed.  “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”

“It’s fine, “Jinyoung sighed deeply.  “Finally telling someone about my immortality made me feel at ease, maybe I shouldn’t keep this bottled up any longer as well.”

Jinyoung sat up and leaned against Mark, staring at his lap as he recalled something that happened many years ago.

“I was a scientist once before I became immortal.  I was gifted; I graduated university at the age of 18 and became a full-fledged scientist at 20.  I spent all my days in the lab working away, discovering amazing things, and enjoying every minute of it.  I was so grateful I loved what I did.”  Jinyoung started.  “Being so smart at a young age was a blessing and a curse, all the other people in my classes would either look down on me or hate me for being so much younger and leagues smarter than them.”

Mark adjusted himself where he sat so he was more comfortable; realizing this story probably wasn’t going to end well.

“I met Jaebum in my first year of university, he was young and gifted like me, but he was even more intelligent.  He surpassed my skills and graduated a year before me with honours.  His thesis sparked new conversations in the scientific community. He was the scientist I always wanted to be.”  Jinyoung really hated thinking about this but at the same time, he retained some fondness in remembering how great things used to be.  “We became friends slowly; he was always in his own world, hesitant to talk to anyone.  It took me a while but eventually, we started talking regularly.  He was…”  Jinyoung didn’t have words to describe him.  “Perfect.”


“He was perfect in every sense of the word.  He was perfect in his studies, perfect in his research, perfect in his methodologies, perfect looks, perfect personality, everything about him clicked with me.  It didn’t take me long to realize this was the person I was meant to be with.”  It was weird telling Mark all of this for some reason, but he couldn’t stop now.  “We started dating and it only got better from there.  Once we both graduated we worked in the same lab, doing research, all of our papers proudly marked with both of our names.  We were known, two of the youngest scientists making remarkable progress in DNA research and pushing the boundaries on what genes are capable of.”

Mark looked at him confused and Jinyoung couldn’t help but smile a bit.

“Don’t worry; I’ll spare you the scientific jargon.  Basically, we researched ways to manipulate human genes to treat diseases.”  Mark nodded in understanding and let Jinyoung continue.  “Jaebum was never the one to stay within his boundaries when it came to research.  I still remember the day he pulled me aside and told me that he invented a new gene.”

“He made a gene?”

“It’s possible but difficult.  Scientists were already working on genes that can do simple things like change the pigment of your eyes or strengthen your bones; none of their attempts have been successful.  Jaebum however, was convinced he had made a gene that prevented aging.”

It was obvious that this story was starting to come together in Mark’s mind, but he let him finish.

“It was ridiculous really, scientists had yet to develop such simple ones and he was trying to tell me he had invented a gene that makes you immortal?  I was skeptical of course, but I trusted Jaebum and I knew how smart he was.  The scientific community was not going to take us seriously without real proof that it worked, but the gene was only genetically mapped to humans and there was no way we’d able to find test subjects for that.”

Jinyoung had to stop for a big to digest all of this himself.  He’d never told this to anyone and it was getting harder and harder to speak.

“There’s a reason why you gain more wisdom as you grow older.  We were young and naive, gifted intelligently but blinded by our feelings.  Jaebum asked me if I loved him and of course, I considered him the most important person in my life.  He convinced me that we could both have the gene implanted in us, he knew it would work.  We would live together, forever.  We’d never have to be apart.  I was too stupid to realize the consequences, blinded by love.”  Jinyoung stopped talking there, having to take a break to gather up his thoughts properly.

“So… it worked.”  Mark said carefully.

“We hadn’t thought it through properly.  We were so hasty and excited we thought nothing would go wrong and- at first, it seemed like nothing did go wrong.  The implantation was successful, but it’s hard to test for something you have no experience with in any sense.  We didn’t discover anything new about our bodies until a day later, I passed a hot cup of coffee to Jaebum and he immediately dropped it, complaining that it was too hot.  I didn’t feel a thing, that’s when we realized something had gone horribly wrong.”  Jinyoung took a deep breath.  “To this day we still don’t know what exactly went wrong, but it was clear that the gene worked on me but did nothing to Jaebum.  Since this was secret research and only Jaebum really knew how it worked he was the only one who could fix it.  We tried everything; we worked endlessly running tests and developing new genes trying to find a way to reverse it.  We gave up our old jobs to pursue it until we eventually we were at the end of our ropes.  We ran out of money, savings completely depleted.  No matter what he did, there was no turning back.  Years went by, Jaebum kept growing older and I stayed the same.”

Mark pulled Jinyoung closer, trying to comfort him.

“I didn’t know what to feel anymore, sad and confused but still supporting Jaebum anyway I could.  Jaebum wasn’t the same, he became obsessed with his research, and even after we couldn’t afford to do actual tests anymore he was desperate.  It was clear he wasn’t the same person, after ten years he completely drove himself mad.  He couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I would be here when he was gone, the thought eating away at him day in and day out.  He blamed it all on himself, and no matter how hard I tried to comfort him it was too late.  There was no turning back, his mental state in such a bad shape he stopped caring by caring too much.  He was trying to save me when in reality he was making us both more miserable.”  Jinyoung wiped at his face, trying to dry his tears but they just kept falling.  “He couldn’t handle it anymore; he just couldn’t live with the guilt.”

Jinyoung felt defeated after all of that, falling onto Mark’s shoulder and trying to speak without his voice breaking.

“I remember him asking me ‘What’s forever when we’re together?’ and that’s what convinced me.  Forever should have never been taken so lightly.  Forever is an awful concept.  Nothing should last forever; there is a proper end for everything.  An end to a story, an end to a life. An end to suffering.  I’ll never get to experience a happy ending.”

That’s when Jinyoung cried, he really cried.  He cried so much in the beginning but eventually he stopped.  He thought his tears had dried up for good.

“Nobody can be strong forever.”  He pulled Jinyoung back down so he was lying against his chest and cuddled him, Mark’s hands around him gripping tightly.  “You’ll find a way to make your happy ending a reality.”

Jinyoung hated science; he refused to go near it since the day Jaebum died.  It left a bitter taste in his mouth.

It had been two hundred years and the field had progressed so immensely, could they be at the point that they could help him?  His genes were embedded so deeply inside of him it was probably still impossible, but there was no way he would know for sure if he didn’t try.

Mark had made his life so much more enjoyable but he realized that this was where he had to draw the line.  One year of happiness was one year too much.

He packed up his belongings painstakingly while Mark was asleep, all things he had accumulated just during the time he spent with Mark.

He wasn’t upset at himself for leaving; he was upset for waiting so long to do it.  He had grown so attached it was hard to let go, but he knew what would happen if he stayed.  He knew it too well.  He would never wish such an unfortunate life upon Mark, someone who he… no.  He wouldn’t say it.

He had almost gotten away with it, but Mark managed to wake up and catch him in the act.  It’s like he could sense something was wrong.

“Jinyoungie,” He wiped the sleep out of his eyes.  “What are you doing?”

He looked so fragile like this, sleepy and innocent.  Jinyoung couldn’t bear to look at him as he spoke.  “I’m leaving.”

“What?”  The sincere confusion in his eyes made his stomach turn.  He felt sick doing this.

“I have to leave; we can’t be together like this anymore.  You know it’s not right.”

“What are you talking about?  I thought we… Jinyoung, you can’t let what happened in the past hold you back.  It’s not going to happen again.”

“Stop!  You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You only think that way because you haven’t experienced it, the years will go by and you’ll regret it if I stay.  You’ll learn to hate me.”

“That’s not true!  Jinyoung, you know I-”

“Don’t say it,” Jinyoung’s voiced cracked. “Please.”

“I love you.”  Of course, Mark didn’t listen.  He was always so darn stubborn.  Why were they always so stubborn?

He had been avoiding those three words so carefully, even though they both knew in their hearts they were true.  They had known for months they were in love with each other.  Hearing those words out loud just made everything too real.  He couldn’t accept the fact that this had managed to happen again.  He promised himself he would never happen again and he blew it.  It was such an infeasible scenario that Jinyoung’s heart hadn’t prepared, and when he realized it was too late.

“That’s not true, it can’t be true…”

“Why are you lying to yourself?  I thought you hated being dishonest.”

“I was hoping if I keep saying it I would be able to convince myself it was true.  It’s a fact, the more you think about something and repeat it the more likely it is that you’ll believe it, even if it isn’t true.”

Mark stepped towards him and pulled him into a hug.  “Is it working?”

“No,” Jinyoung whispered as he sobbed against Mark’s chest.  “I really love you.”

They kissed through tears.  They kissed for a long time.

Jinyoung couldn’t live life being miserable anymore.  He couldn’t live life sitting back and doing nothing.  He needed to fight for his happy ending.

That’s why Jinyoung had to leave.

It had been five long years apart.  Jinyoung hadn’t stayed in contact, it was too painful.  He had to focus on what he wanted, trying to get his mind back in shape.  Relearn so many things.

After five years, he didn’t even know what Mark’s life was like.  Would he still be living in the same worn down apartment, eating fruity cereal every morning and having ice cream for dinner?  Would he still be doing freelance work because he refused to settle down and find a real job?  Would he still be interested in him?  Would he even remember him?

All of that didn’t matter right now; he just needed to find him.  He needed to see him.

Five years later he knocked on the same apartment door and there he was, stubble on his face barely looking older than he was before. The same innocent eyes he had missed so much.

He knew he looked the same as he did before, so it was up to Mark if he still recognized him, or still wanted to acknowledge him.

First, there was disbelief, and then he was blessed with the most beautiful smile he had seen in years.

He pulled him into his arms, hugging him hard.  “Hey, stop, that hurts!”  Jinyoung complained about how tightly he was holding him.  “I can’t breathe!”

Mark let go immediately and looked up at him in his arms, realization slowly sinking in.  “Jinyoung, you’re....”  Mark was never great with words, but Jinyoung didn’t mind.  He always understood him perfectly despite the fact.  “Are you here to stay?”

“I can’t stay forever, but I’m willing to stay here as long as I can.”

It turns out; Jinyoung would have his happy ending, all thanks to a fateful encounter once upon a time.