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where we stand

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it’s late in the night, and shihyun shouldn’t be awake. he’s been in and out of practice and small performances as “we in the zone”, and he should be using this free time to sleep and recharge in order to do the same tomorrow too. instead, he finds himself silently slipping into bed only to pick up his phone, stick in his earbuds, and find the emotional notes of “friday n night” filling his ears. shihyun finds himself getting caught up in nostalgia, in his old memories that he wishes would just come back.

 

shihyun misses so, so much. he misses the days he would smile brightly just being in his one and only hyung’s presence, the days where that hyung would take care of him in the most subdued ways, just.. the time of being together. shihyun would be the first to admit he wasn’t in a great state back then, and the result of being pulled out of all of his dreams so suddenly was loathing self-hatred, but even then.. yongguk knew what to say to make him feel better. they weren’t an emotional duo, shihyun preferring to smile through pain and yongguk’s approach was to never voice such hardships, yet.. they knew exactly how to take care of each other when they need it most. shihyun doesn’t expect to find such things in his new members, even if eson’s a nice leader and jooan’s a caring hyung-- they’re all nice, but they could never be yongguk. nothing could change how much they’ve been through together.

 

and there’s this weird pressure on shihyun, as if he needs to be the one to reassure these boys and be strong and composed all the time. he isn’t the oldest, hell, he’s the youngest out of them all. but he’s the only one with debut and survival show experience (well, if you don’t count min’s short stunt on mixnine), and that feeling of having been these boys “sunbaenim” just months back makes him feel like he needs to act like one. nice, relaxed and reassuring. it’s not the hardest for shihyun after he had to do that whole act on under nineteen too, but he just wishes for some more space to breathe and express himself. he had that with yongguk, but now it’s all.. gone.

 

shihyun wonders if it’s appropriate to call yongguk up in the middle of the night. probably not, he reasons to himself. they haven’t been much in contact since shihyun left for under nineteen, after all. even when yongguk went to jbj, they managed to talk through texts and calls here and there, and that happened too throughout his solo releases. but the second shihyun is urged to go out on something, everything goes wrong. shihyun takes a small break from practicing “we are young” only to see articles about yongguk’s apology on his phone and shihyun pauses to check what he’s even apologizing for, and shihyun finds his eyes widen. all he can think while reading is that his hyung wouldn’t do this. others could believe it, but shihyun can see how things are being misinterpreted and reads through it easily. the boy wants to send a message to yongguk, /anything/ but the most recent messages are so sweet that he finds himself trembling to even mention such nonsense to yongguk’s face. by the time shihyun begins writing out a message, the trainers walk in and filming begins once again.

 

shihyun then wonders if it’s even right for him to contact the other first. if yongguk wanted to talk to him about it, he would say something first. yongguk’s a fairly private person, and something like this that wasn’t even remotely related to shihyun-- yongguk probably wouldn’t want his input on it. but maybe he would, shihyun keeps finding himself thinking throughout the night on that day. he might be having it hard and would like someone to believe him rather than the misconceptions of the sasaeng fans. shihyun finds himself typing out a long paragraph of nothing but support in the middle of the night, slightly cringing before pressing the ‘send’ button, already feeling anxious at what the other would respond.

 

but he doesn’t. yongguk is completely silent, he hasn’t even seen the message. shihyun’s worries build up, but he realizes he needs to focus on the survival show and the competition he’s in now, or it wouldn’t be fair to the others. so he stops gazing at his phone, stops being expectant for a response. when shihyun returns home to the dorms after under nineteen, he’s greeted with complete silence. yongguk is anywhere but here, and shihyun feels so empty at realizing just how alone he is now. but he manages. he moves out months after too, now living in the dorm that used to be just for ‘witz’, as a new member alongside min, the other new member. the boy lets out a soft sigh and he decides to go to sleep in a few minutes, he owes that much to his new group.

 

that was until he hears a small ding interrupt the flow of his music in this night. there’s only a few words on screen, but shihyun already wants to tear up.

 

yongguk hyungie

sorry.’

 

shihyun wonders what he’s suddenly apologizing for, because the boy is sure his message from months back was nothing but positivity-- but his thoughts are interrupted with another message.

 

yongguk hyungie

can you come out?’

 

shihyun’s taken aback but as his playlist moves onto wonderland, another flash of memories causes him to ditch the bed within seconds, shuffle over to get a hat to lazily slap on his messy bed hair, and throw on a jacket and a quick change of pants. he knows it isn’t the most presentable, especially for their first meeting in /months/ but shihyun’s more worried about the speed rather than anything else. worried that if he waits too long, yongguk will just disappear on him once again.

 

the boy finds himself dashing out of the door, receiving a big gush of air as greeting. but what he pays attention on is the small, amused chuckle he hears. shihyun quickly turns, only to be met face to face with yongguk. yongguk’s wearing something.. presentable, actually- more than presentable, very nice, to be honest. shihyun finds himself laughing embarrassedly at his rushed outfit while still gazing at the other. enchanting as always, he thinks. yongguk’s aura never changes although.. shihyun can see so many minuscule changes. the boy looks tired, his eyes speaking of layers of new scars shihyun wasn’t there to protect him from and soft marks on his face indicating a lot of frowning or straight faces. his iconic black hair has been dyed into a pale blonde, almost like a silver color. the two of them just stare at each other for a few moments, until shihyun decides to break the silence.

 

“so, um. why did you call me out?’ shihyun inquires slowly, head slightly tilted as he observes the older. “just.. thought we needed to talk. sorry about never responding,” yongguk says, voice slow with a slight hint of pain coming out in his tone. “it’s fine!  i’m.. used to it.” shihyun responds within a second of hearing the other respond, shaking his hands animatedly and flashing a small smile up at the elder after talking. “don’t say that.” yongguk’s voice resounds sternly, and shihyun finds himself blinking rapidly in confusion. “you- that’s not something to be used to, shihyun-ah.” there’s a tenderness in yongguk’s voice that can’t be found often, only tending to come out in emotional moments between the two of them. “oh, i- i guess so. but i don’t want to see you apologize either.” shihyun’s breath hitches a bit at the beginning of his speech, and yongguk’s response is only a soft chuckle as he reaches out to grab the younger’s hand.

 

“come. just standing here is uncomfortable.” yongguk says, pulling on shihyun’s hand slightly, taking a little pause before adding on. “do you want some drinks?” shihyun silently nods, and the two of them take a stroll towards the convenience store without any more words being said, just their hands entwined.

 

after a few minutes, the two of them find themselves at a park bench, in which yongguk throws a can of soju straight at shihyun. the younger is a little frazzled but manages to catch it, effortlessly cracking it open afterwards. the two of them sit side to side, quietly taking a few sips of their cans.

 

“i read the messages before, you know? only in the preview, though. was about to respond but my phone was taken away a few minutes afterwards.” yongguk states nonchalantly, humming softly afterwards before taking another chug of his drink. shihyun doesn’t say much, but rather gazes up at the other with his slightly tilted head and puzzled big eyes.

 

“oh. you probably didn’t know it was taken away, right? said it’d be dangerous for me to have some outlet to express myself because the scandal technically happened because of that. so i just stayed inside doing.. nothing.” yongguk says, taking big pauses between each sentence of his before taking another big sip from his can.

 

“that.. isn’t that too much?” shihyun said, his tone turning urgent and his gaze turning a little fiery. yongguk just shrugs in silence, his expression not budging unlike the very expressive younger.

 

“but, wait.. you were gone when i came back. where were you?” shihyun expectantly gazes up at yongguk, who takes another long sip of his drink before crushing the can and making a long throw of it into the trash.

“i went back home. i was losing my mind just being stuck in the dorms 24/7. so i supposed i could at least enjoy this time with family.” yongguk says, his tone just as consistent as before. always nonchalant. shihyun just nods in acknowledgement alongside a soft hum, before grabbing for yongguk’s hand.

 

“i missed you..” he says, softly. his unfinished can of soju is placed on the bench before shihyun laid his head on the other’s shoulder, being the clingy person he has always been. yongguk strokes shihyun’s hand softly, making no effort to get rid of the other as he gazes into the night sky, taking a deep breath out.

 

“i missed you too, shihyun-ah. really did.” yongguk says as soft as a whisper, then laying his head on the back of the bench before readjusting once again and lightly placing it on top of the other’s head.

 

“hyung.. you won’t leave me again, right?” shihyun murmurs in his relaxed and slightly drunken state, in which yongguk’s eyes widen slightly and he strengthens his hold on shihyun’s hand.

 

“never, shihyun-ah. i wouldn’t even consider it. just.. call for me when you need me.” yongguk almost hesitates before speaking, taking many pauses between his words before saying the last few all in one breath as he gazes up at the starry sky. shihyun nods and hums in acknowledgement before looking up in the same way as the male is, and soon speaks yet again.

 

“look, a shooting star! i- i wish to be with you more. even if we’re on separate paths like this.” shihyun says, his voice a little loud and excited at the sudden spotting, his free hand pointing up at said star.

 

“you know that saying wishes out loud makes them invalid, right?” yongguk says, a soft snort escaping him as he lifts his head up to look properly, then softly running his free hand through shihyun’s hair.

 

“then you’re just gonna have to make it true for me- and i wished for something different in my head, you know.” shihyun pauses for a few seconds, then speaking again, “i’m not that dumb.” he says softly, with a soft laugh afterwards.

 

“yes, yes. i’ll make it true. but now i’m curious to what the other wish is..” yongguk says, his tone slightly amused at the other’s behaviour, as his last few words fade out softly.

 

“if i tell you, you’re gonna have to make this one true too.” shihyun says, his tone a little whiny at the beginning before becoming completely stern at the end. although slightly confused at the change of tone, yongguk responds with a quiet “i will.” due to his curiosity.

 

“i- i, um.” shihyun laughs sheepishly, his free hand fiddling with the fabric of his light jacket before that hand moved to pick up his can of soju that had just been sitting their before taking another, long, sip.  “i wished for you to reciprocate my feelings. like- like this.” shihyun said, words slightly slurring as he suddenly shifts his head and body to be sitting more in front of the other, before softly kissing the other. yongguk is slightly taken aback but reciprocates the kiss, the two of them stuck in the somewhat messy yet delightful feeling of it. once they finally pull away, they’re left breathless and gazing directly at each other’s faces, the rush of excitement from the kiss making both of them more alert.

 

they stay like that, silent for moments upon moments. “i think that cleared up how i feel about you. how i’ve always felt about you.” yongguk says, a small smile blossoming on his face as he gazes at the other.

 

almost automatically, shihyun beams brightly at him, using the position they were already in to easily embrace the other in a hug. “i’m so glad. thank you, hyung..” his voice was no louder than a sweet whisper while talking, and yongguk softly patted the younger’s back. “this is a big relief for me too, you know. don’t thank me for it.” he said while continuing to embrace the other. shihyun nods eagerly and moves to rest his face in the nook of the elder’s neck.

 

they relish in the moment once again, in the touch and soft aura of each other that they haven’t been able to feel for ages. it’s only at the offhand sight of his watch that yongguk begins to slowly let go.

 

“it’s late, shihyun-ah. let’s go back.” yongguk says, and shihyun whines softly in complaint but slowly gets up anyways. the two don’t let go out of each other’s hands, though. they spend the whole walk back calmly while swinging their hands-- mostly from shihyun’s side-- then finally reaching we in the zone’s dorm.

 

shihyun frowns when he realizes the building they’re at, that his dream-like night, the one thing he had wished for, is ending. yongguk notices shihyun’s expression and places a soft peck on his forehead, then softly whispering in the other’s ear to go in and sleep well. the younger is hesitant but slowly goes back inside, waving way too much at the elder before entering his door. yongguk just laughs, noting just how cute that is of the other.

 

kim yongguk spends the short walk back to his dorm wondering how lucky he is to have someone as pure and kind as kim shihyun by his side once again.

 

laying in bed, the two of them feel extra warm from all the closure given.

 

perhaps it was a short, yet perfect night.