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by time, little by little

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It had been maybe a week, two weeks, since Hyunwoo left— since he said he had a life to live, sadness in his eyes and a soft tone to match his honesty.

 

A life to live…

 

Hoseok could hear it so plain in his head, seeing the way Hyunwoo looked at him even more clearly — it had might as well been painted on his eyelids, and he was forced to look at it every time he closed his eyes.

 

He remembered being at a loss for words, sitting at the island, Hyunwoo at the other side of it. A bowl of cereal was below Hoseok, Hyunwoo in the process of making his own breakfast when he finally stopped to talk.

 

I want… to break up, Hoseok.

 

No “Seok” or “Seokie.”

 

No, not all. He called him Hoseok . Fucking Hoseok.

 

He remembered how, prior to it, Hyunwoo had been withdrawn. He had been in his office longer, coming home and sleeping on the couch.

 

He remembered how it all started to click, when Hyunwoo looked at him with slightly furrowed eyebrows and a facial expression that was damn near close to devastated.

 

I have to move on with my life.

 

Am I stopping you from that?

 

No, I— … it’s just a lot right now.

 

Hoseok wasn’t given much to work with. He wasn’t fed a fulfilling reason, but to be fair, he didn’t demand one either. He didn’t throw things, didn’t pull malice out of Hyunwoo (or out of himself for that matter).

 

No, he just… closed his mouth, a slow nod leaving. Hyunwoo’s eyes were so fucking sad, and Hoseok couldn’t understand it.

 

If Hyunwoo was so devastated, why did he insist on leaving? On breaking things off?

 

He didn’t even know he was crying until a tear had dripped from the roundness of his cheek down into his cereal, Hyunwoo instinctively reaching forward to thumb it away before pulling back as if touching Hoseok had burnt him.

 

Hoseok remembered it all too well, burned into his memory. The way that Hyunwoo had left the milk, cereal, and him at that counter, grabbing his work belongings and leaving out of the door.

 

He hadn’t come back since.

 

Instead, one of his friends— Hyungwon— would stop by to collect his things. Hoseok stopped turning his head in anticipation when he heard the buzz at the door of the apartment, he stopped filling himself with pitiful hope that maybe he would see Hyunwoo again.

 

Every single time, it was Hyungwon.

 

And every single time, Hoseok avoided his eyes, letting him walk on past.

 

There was nothing he could do to stop him. After all, he couldn’t even stop Hyunwoo. Didn’t even have a chance to.

 

Within the week, boxes were starting to stack between the bedroom and the living room. They were piled up by the walls, leaving only a small pathway for Hoseok. The side of the sink that was Hyunwoo’s was vacant, and his side of the bedroom was starting to look the same.

 

All these changes were a lot, to say the least.

 

Hoseok felt like he was in a nightmare that he couldn’t wake up from. He felt like he was trapped in a time loop where Hyunwoo was going and going until he was completely gone. It was exhausting, the sliver of hope within him expecting a second chance— if not that, then some middle ground. A bridge, if one will.

 

But, realistically, he knew it wasn’t coming. He knew that Hyunwoo wasn’t impulsive, that his leave wasn’t one without thought.

 

It haunted him in his sleep, his thoughts. They ate him alive, making his body numb and the voices go to the maximum volume. The ghost of where Hyunwoo used to be in his bed was still there a considerable amount.

 

Yet another thing that refused to leave him.

 

And sadly… sometimes, when he really concentrated, he could feel the way fingertips would trace the slight dip into his v-line, rubbing circles into the soft skin. He could feel the plush lips pushing into his shoulder, kissing promises into paler skin.

 

Sometimes, he would burn himself out to those feelings that still lingered, bargaining that if he held on tight enough he would continue to feel them long after Hyunwoo’s leave.

 

A boat dream. A fucking boat dream.

 

It’s a lone Tuesday, when he comes back to the reality. The somber mood of the city is taking over and the TV is on, but Hoseok never really pays attention.

 

The couch has become a new nesting area, close enough to the kitchen for him to wash his hair in the sink and make a lazy bowl of ramen.

 

Close enough to the door, where he was still stupidly expectant.

 

He leaned onto one side, so small on the big expanse of furniture. He wanted to laugh at himself. He always did make himself smaller than he actually was. Hyunwoo would say it constantly. Haha

 

He wrapped an arm around his knee, halfheartedly coddling himself, his phone in the other. Flipping through texts he left on read, looking through various Instagram stories of his friends living their life.

 

I have to move on with my life .

 

Hoseok felt the burn behind his eyelids, but there were barely any tears left for him. He was worn out a considerable amount. It showed in the way eyes were consistently puffy and swollen, a bottom lip to match that was torn to hell. The exhaustion coated his under eye with thicker bags than expected, even if he wasted a lot of his time sleeping if he wasn’t dragging himself to work.

 

He went back to the text messages, looking at the ones he left for days now, guilt pooling somewhere in the mushy milky mess of his brain.

 

TEXT. | from: minnie ^__^

[text]: seok?

[text]: you havent texted back in a week

[text]: you cant keep your hurt to yourself for this long

[text]: i just want to help you

[text]: please let me help you

[text]: i love you

 

Reluctant, he typed a message out. It was slow, and he could feel the tears clouding his vision. He wanted help, he wanted someone to hold him and make him feel whole again. He didn’t want foreign hands though. He wanted Hyunwoo.

 

He wanted Hyunwoo so fucking bad.

 

TEXT. | to: minnie ^__^

[text]: love u too

[text]: im ok :)

[text]: busy

 

It was short and simple. Something to let Minhyuk know he was alive at least. The idea of Minhyuk at his door, nevertheless coming in and seeing him in this state… it was a thought that made his gut lurch with an uncomfortable feeling.

 

TEXT. | from: minnie ^__^

[text]: you cant keep lying like that either

[text]: but okay.

[text]: im always a call away

 

Hoseok smiled, a little sad in its wake, a tear dripping off and landing on his phone screen. God, this was so pathetic, really. He sighed out of his nose, eyes closing, wiping them with the back of a shaky hand.

 

Breathe .

 

He was trying, however it all got caught up in his throat, hearing a knock on the door. He choked, really, blinking away those tears. It was almost a joke, and his shoulders slumped.

 

Really? Right now?

 

He looked back at the door, trying to measure his own breathing. No need to freak out, it was probably Hyungwon again.

 

But why would he knock? He usually just comes in…

 

Footsteps are light, carrying him to the door. He tried to fix his hair, his face, just incase it was a stranger. His hand was hesitant on the doorknob, but he turned it, opening the door.

 

He felt like he was hit with a truck. It was instant. He smelled the same mahogany smell, observed the way a broad chest that linked with broader shoulders had met eye to eye with him. His gaze lifted up, as much as he tried not to, and he felt his heart crumble up like a wad of paper.

 

“Hyunwoo,” he said, breathy.

 

Hyunwoo’s eyes were sad, not steeled in the slightest. He was always so honest, too honest, and it was a double edged sword to Hoseok. Hyunwoo looked at him, expectant, and Hoseok had just nodded and moved out of the way.

 

He shut the door, letting the elongated sleeves of his hoodie cover up just how badly his hands were shaking, stuffing them away. Hyunwoo had toed off his shoes at the door, slipping into the extra pair of slippers like it was second nature. Hoseok wanted to cry at the sight.

 

“Hyungwon… he, um, grabbed nearly everything. The rest is… in the closet,” Hoseok said before fixing himself. “ Your closet.”

 

Hyunwoo made a slight noise of understanding, nodding, stepping back into their bedroom. He looked fucking spectacular. He was dressed nice, taken care of. His eyes were sad, but maybe that was out of pity. Maybe he was inconvenienced. Who knows… he sure didn’t. Really, Hoseok thought he knew it all.

 

But it just shows now that all along, he didn’t know a damn thing.

 

Hoseok stayed behind. He was sure that if he observed too much, it would be weird. It would show that he’s not okay, that he can’t make himself be okay, and that he misses Hyunwoo so badly that it’s taking him apart limb by limb.

 

Hyunwoo came back out with the last box that stood between the two of them. The last box that kept Hyunwoo bonded to this place. Hoseok looked at it, wishing so badly that he had the strength to rip it out of Hyunwoo’s hands so he could selfishly keep it.

 

“Hoseok,” Hyunwoo began. Hoseok flinched, slightly.

 

Again, no “Seok” or “Seokie.”

 

Just… Hoseok.

 

Hoseok’s head raised, eyes looking at him. Hyunwoo looked stuck, he looked… hurt, really. Hoseok couldn’t understand it, and maybe if he weren’t so filled to the brim with his own emotions, he would’ve been able to grasp just why .

 

“I’m sorry,” is all Hyunwoo said. Hoseok felt like Hyunwoo’s hand had dove into his stomach, digging all his organs out until he was hollow. How cruel.

 

How fucking cruel .

 

If he was sorry, then why did he leave? If he was sorry, then why did he show up again, like this? It could’ve been Hyungwon, that would’ve been easier. He wouldn’t be standing here, hopes up like this will be another chick flick. Hopes up like Hyunwoo will drop the box and fucking kiss him, take him back into a warmth that was still lingering in familiarity.

 

It was so cruel.

 

Hoseok couldn’t even find the words enough to speak, lost on his tongue. His eyes gazed at him without blinking for a solid minute before they had to look away. He scoffed, lightly, to himself… at himself.

 

A joke. Hoseok felt like a joke that he, himself, couldn’t understand. Like the whole world was watching and laughing, but he was too far gone to hear it.

 

You really thought he would come back for you? Look at yourself.

 

Hoseok had to grab his own hand to stop it from shaking so badly within his hoodie pocket.

 

“I hope that.. you.. can move on now,” he said, voice raw. It was hard. It was so hard to say that.

 

He moved away to go sit back down in his corner of the couch, eyes averting from Hyunwoo, even though the other’s gaze was stabbing into his skull. Why wasn’t he leaving?

 

Didn’t he get what he wanted?

 

It was silent before Hyunwoo had gripped the box with certainty, slippers making their usual noise against the hardwood floor of their apartment. He could hear the slight shuffle, assuming Hyunwoo was putting his own shoes on. The door creaked open, and Hoseok found himself stupidly hoping yet again.

 

Don’t leave.

 

I didn’t mean it.

 

Please don’t go.

 

“Goodbye, Hoseok.”

 

The click of the door closing echoed, and he was gone.

 

It’s been a year in the making, and Hoseok’s healed to the best of his ability.

 

Autumn is at its peak, the trees turning pretty enough for Hoseok to keep the blinds open so he could observe. After Hyunwoo left, he took parts of Hoseok from Hoseok that he was sure he would never get back, so he molded them with his own hands.

 

Were they better? Who knows. It wasn’t really for him to say.

 

But he… felt better .

 

It’s midday, and he’s running late for work, his blue apron flying in the wind as he ran, hands struggling with the nametag that he was oh-so trying to furiously pin to the top corner of it.

 

Jesus christ.

 

He got into the door, panting. It was only 10 minutes over his shift, but it felt like hours to Hoseok. It was routine for him, to be strict with himself— it was the only way he could get better.

 

He had a life to live, too.

 

He’s forgiven for being late, Kihyun barely smacking him upside his head with a tut of annoyance. He was lucky to have a manager as kind as Kihyun. He was lucky to have a job at a small Bath & Body Works, where a demographic of rather nice people had shopped at. He was lucky.

 

Until he wasn’t.

 

It seemed that life was never on his side, the bell on the door jingling. He was in the middle of restocking the front display, mesh bag in his hand, filled with sprays.

 

“Hi, welcome, can I help yo—” Hoseok whipped his head around with an award winning smile, eyes sparking. Until they weren’t, and he stopped short, knees barely bowing in.

 

Hoseok?

 

Hyunwoo was there, he was tan and somehow more fit than before. Hair was dyed a dark black, and fuck, he looked as good as usual. His eyes were still pretty sad, and his hands were painfully honest in the way that they reached out to hold Hoseok’s elbow and forearm, protecting him from dropping the numerous products that were not his.

 

Hoseok felt like he was going to somehow dissolve into a million fragments, right on the floor of a fucking Bath & Body Works.

 

Wasn’t this just lovely .

 

He had gotten better at controlling his emotions, at acting like his lifeforce wasn’t draining slowly at the sight of Hyunwoo, someone who was his one piece of stability. It took a year. It took a lot of self reflection and hot baths at the latest hour of night. But it was working, somehow, and he tried to realign without showing it to Hyunwoo all at once.

 

It wasn’t easy to pull away, slowly, clearing his throat. Right. There was a time and a place. He ran a hand through freshly dyed red hair, huffing out of his nose.

 

“Sorry,” he said. “How can I help you? Are you looking for something specific?”

 

Are you shopping for you or someone else, someone special, maybe?

 

Kihyun told him that was a good question to ask because it made the customer feel special, but Hoseok didn’t want to know the answer.

 

Hyunwoo couldn’t understand, and it showed in his gaze, even if he cleared his own throat. Hoseok was trying to be normal, and as much as he felt at a disarray with himself, it wasn’t fair to say anything that would hurt Hoseok. He’d done that enough, surely…

 

“Uh… is the peach spray still in season?” he asked, knowing full well what gaze he would get.

 

Hoseok realized that he wanted to punch Hyunwoo, somewhere in the back of his mind, but he kept it to himself. Peach. Peach spray.

 

That was all Hoseok ever fucking used, when they were together.

 

“It’s… actually a regular.”

 

Hyunwoo nodded, gaze lingering for seconds before he had moved past. Hoseok had stepped forward, grabbing the sleeve of Hyunwoo’s arm. It was so painfully cliché, but unlike most clichés, it wasn’t a romantic look— it was something painful, pleading in a sense.

 

Hyunwoo felt like he had been caught, and not in the way he wanted.

 

“Don’t play games with me,” Hoseok said, softly. “If you came here for something else, get it. Don’t… try to make me feel special, please .”

 

Hyunwoo was floored, a stone lodged in his throat. Fuck. Is that what Hoseok felt? Like Hyunwoo was dragging him around, making him hopeful? Like this was some game?

 

That’s not what he wanted, but Hoseok was looking away, slipping from Hyunwoo’s grasp.

 

“O..” he fell short, trying to pick his voice back up again. “Okay. I won’t.”

 

And he walked away. According to Kihyun, he had gotten something that smelled like coconut instead.

 

What’s funny is that Hyunwoo hated that smell.

 

It seemed like the days drug on further after that shift. Hoseok couldn’t go without seeing Hyunwoo in the faces and bodies of other people. Even if he couldn’t find him in public places, it didn’t stop him from looking. It haunted that crevice of his brain that was still holding on, and he found himself feeling the man he was a year ago. A shell, really.

 

Hollow, begging to be full again.

 

The next time he had a run in with Hyunwoo, it was at the gym.

 

Hoseok started going at ass o’clock when it was dead, barely anyone taking up the time. It was something to clear his head, keep him busy. He vented through his work outs, and it showed in how big his body had gotten.

 

But the one time he goes during the day, he sees Hyunwoo, and he spots him on the machine that Hoseok had oh-so conveniently used the most.

 

They met gazes, Hoseok trying not to let his stare linger for too long. Hyunwoo’s eyes lit up in a sense, maybe in surprise, but Hoseok really tried not to fixate. It would just be wishing a star that wasn’t even shooting out of the sky— wasteful .

 

Instead, he took the treadmill, popping in his headphones. He ran harder than his cardio regime asked him to, feeling the familiar burn in his calves that had slowly shot up to his thighs. It felt cathartic, and he liked the feeling of… well, feeling .

 

He ran until his lungs couldn’t keep up, sweat dripping in slightly red droplets down his face, turning the treadmill off as he slowly backed off of it. He got through a good amount of his playlist, satisfied with himself. Maybe he could run again later around the block, get a mile jog in.

 

When he turned, he ran right into a body nearly as sweaty as his own. Once again, he was vulnerable in a sense, eyes shifting to meet with familiar dark pools. Great. Great.

 

“Uh?”

 

“I wanted to.. say sorry, for a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t fair of me,” Hyunwoo said, and Hoseok blinked.

 

This was starting to feel like slow suffocation, like Hyunwoo was dragging a plastic bag over his head, taking his sweet time with cutting off his oxygen supply. It was a feeling that made a bitter taste form on his tongue, and he swallowed.

 

Get it together.

 

“It’s okay,” Hoseok always was pretty forgiving.

 

“Can we—” Hyunwoo paused before blinking and shaking his head. “Sorry. Nevermind.”

 

“Can we what ?” he spoke up, causing Hyunwoo to turn all rigid like some sort of sculpture.

 

Why was he being so weird?

 

“Can we… hang out sometime?” Hyunwoo asked, hesitance in his voice.

 

Hoseok felt like the ground could break at any moment, that the cracks can peel open and the hands of hell would drag him down. He felt everything yet nothing at all. It’s the first drag of a cigarette, the dopamine so fake when it flows into your body.

 

You’re happy, but you’re dying.

 

“As friends,” Hoseok corrected.

 

“Oh— um, yes. Of course.”

 

“... That’s… yeah, I suppose we can,” Hoseok mumbled, looking down at his tennis shoes. To be honest, when he looks at the core of himself, he’s not sure why he agreed. It was a one way ticket to mindless hope, wishing on that same star that still hasn’t shot through the sky all over again.

 

He’s a jenga tower, and all it takes is a simple flick from Hyunwoo to make him fall over into pieces.

 

Hyunwoo smiled, eyes smiling with him. He was beautiful.

 

“I’ll text you,” Hyunwoo said without much thought behind it. Right. They still had each other's numbers. He can’t remember the last time they talked, or well…

 

Really, in the back of his head, he was sure he drunk texted Hyunwoo months after he left for the last time. It was probably slurs of I miss you and Why did you leave me , and he was more than sure that Minhyuk deleted those texts when his hands got on Hoseok’s phone, saving him the grief and only leaving him with the hazy memory of being so initiative in the first place.

 

Hyunwoo left him standing there, mouth dry albeit being perfectly hydrated. He watched his back retreat, and Hoseok wondered if he was looking too far into things… but Hyunwoo seemed lighter on his feet.

 

Weird

 

TEXT. | from: my hyunnie

[text]: I found a ramen shop.

[text]: Super informal. Seems perfect.

[text]: See you at 8.

 

Another couple weeks passed when their schedules were finally able to link, and Hoseok felt… weird. He didn’t feel bad, didn’t feel like a heap of emotions. He just felt out of place, like a puzzle piece that didn’t exactly fit. The red in his hair was fading, and he was sitting with black dye in it, using that as a scapegoat to pass the time.

 

He was a bleach blonde when him and Hyunwoo had gone on their first couple dates. However, he got sick of the root touch up and the way that Minhyuk would tell him he looked like an android or a vampire. So, he dyed it. Pitch black, darker than the honey brown he was used to.

 

When he showed up with black hair, he remembered the way that Hyunwoo turned red all the way up to his ears. It was cute, watching Hyunwoo admire him…

 

But that was in the past.

 

TEXT. | to: my hyunnie (— Fuck, he really needed to change that.)

[text]: stop reading me like this

[text]: im gonna run your bank account dry

 

TEXT. | from: my hyunnie

[text]: Reading you? You’re not the only one who likes ramen, Hoseok. Lol.

[text]: Doesn’t matter to me. I don’t need the money. :)

 

He texted like a fucking grandpa after all these years of fumbling with a cellular device, and Hoseok couldn’t read him well like this. It seemed like Hyunwoo still wasn’t awfully transparent. Love that.

 

When it came time, he got all of the dye out of his hair, drying it until it was soft and swirling in black curls in the front. Not bad . He would’ve cried if it was patches of black and red, but it’s hard to miss when you’ve drown your whole head, he would like to think.

 

He didn’t dress up, not really. Maybe it was better if he didn’t because man, it would be awkward to look like a tryhard when this is just… a friendly get together. Right? Yeah.

 

Yeah.

 

A knock on the door a couple minutes later and he felt like he was gonna jump right out of his damn skin.

 

The apartment was… different.

 

Minhyuk had came over and helped him rearrange everything . He took down old art and posters from bands that he shared custody of with Hyunwoo, replacing them with abstract pieces and solo artists that Hoseok drowned into. The furniture was placed to his convenience, the bedroom made solely for a single person.

 

It was his baby steps, erasing what was .

 

He felt guilt in the smallest of ways when he opened the door, gaze flickering up to meet warmer eyes. He remembered how sad they were about a year ago, filled with distress and confusion. Now they were warm, and glittering with something . Something that Hoseok couldn’t quite place a finger on.

 

Fondness?

 

No, there was no way.

 

“Smells nice,” he commented, breaking the air between them with that awkward tone of his.

 

Hoseok had rolled his eyes, smiling a little. “I get specialty candles for free , of course it does.”

 

“Are you ready?”

 

Hoseok nodded, slipping on his shoes, making sure to turn off the lights and lock the door as he left, slipping behind Hyunwoo. Somewhere deep inside, he wanted to grab his hand as they walked together, but he shoved it further.

 

The drive in Hyunwoo’s car felt too… real to be true. That lack of oxygen came back, and he just steadied himself. There was no need to get worked up. He wanted this. He knew what came with that sort of want.

 

There can’t be sunshine without any rain, Seokie.

 

But I hate it, I hate the rain. It just makes me want the sun more!

 

Doesn’t that make it worth it, though? Seeing the sun again after all of the nasty rain?

 

His throat had a burning, sour taste in it. He swallowed it, cringing at the feel, trying to get a grip on himself as Hyunwoo pulled into the parking lot.

 

It was a small, hole in the wall kind of place, lit with red and yellow lighting. They were to sit on the floor at their table, and Hoseok had hummed upon plopping down, stretching his legs a bit.

 

It was… nice. Small. Comforting.

 

“Hoseok.”

 

“Hm?”

 

“I…” he stopped short, only to begin again. “I really missed you.”

 

It’s funny how little it takes to make someone’s walls crumble.

 

Hoseok felt like the bag was around his face was tied by faster moving hand, air supply cut off entirely. He didn’t gasp and drag hands at the plastic, however, no matter how easy it was to tear.

 

They put in their order, Hoseok sitting there with a water in front of him. What was he supposed to say? He questioned himself, even if the words themself had came tumbling out, unwarranted.

 

“If you missed me then why did you leave?” he tried not to sound bitter. “You said you had a life to live. That’s all you gave me before you were gone.” It was softly spoken, albeit the raw emotion behind it. No tears (yet), and he’s… just… being honest.

 

That’s the best thing to be at this point. For himself and for Hyunwoo.

 

“I don’t know why I said that,” Hyunwoo said, looking down on himself, gaze on his hands. He clenched his fist, sighing. “It was so… stupid. I think I was overwhelmed. With work, with life. I wanted to stop it all.”

 

“So you cut me out first.”

 

Hyunwoo nodded, and Hoseok looked down at the table.

 

“Hyunwoo, you should’ve said something.”

 

“I know.”

 

“No, you don’t,” Hoseok said, tears finally coming into fruition. “You don’t know. You have no fucking clue how terrible it felt. How I had to accept it, you just walking out. I knew that you didn’t mean it when you left, but I was so far gone that I couldn’t even argue with you.” He was going and going now, and he wondered when Hyunwoo would be gone again. “I waited and waited by that door like some dog. I hoped and I dreamed and I fucking craved for you to just come back through that damn door.”

 

The air was so crisp in this moment, and when Hoseok had looked up at Hyunwoo with those tears in his eyes, Hyunwoo felt like he was struck by a bolt of lightning— paralyzed.

 

“But you didn’t. You didn’t.

 

Ah, so this is heartbreak…

 

Hyunwoo was sure he knew it well.

 

He remembered how he sat in his new bed, not broken in yet, wanting to tear his hair out. He remembered how empty his new place felt, made for one person instead of two. He remembered the confusion in his chest, the hazy feeling in his brain. He remembered never being sure of his decision, but being so infuriated with himself that he kept going through with it.

 

Hyungwon would drop off box after box, telling him just how hollow Hoseok had looked. He felt haunted by his mistakes, seeing the happy Hoseok he knew in his dreams slowly turn into the miserable one that he created.

 

Seok ,” he said, voice cracking if only a little.

 

Hoseok looked devastated, tears dropping off the apples of his cheeks, right onto the table. “Was it me?” he asked, eyes widening. “Just tell me if it was me who pushed you out.”

 

Hyunwoo felt that pang in his chest, like his sternum was being cracked with a sledgehammer, all his bones caving in and stabbing right into his heart. Fuck. Fuck.

 

“No, no , god— Seok, it was never you,” he said, reaching forward to cup his cheek, rubbing tears away. “You couldn’t even hurt a fly.”

 

Which was the truth. Hoseok would kill a bug on accident and cry, it’s just how he was.

 

“I miss you so much, Hyunwoo,” Hoseok sobbed, softly. It was hard admitting it after a year of convincing himself that he could cycle out of it. But you never really fall out of love with someone who showed you what love meant in the first place.

 

Hyunwoo leaned forward, brushing back freshly dyed hair, pressing fuller lips to Hoseok’s. It was the only impulse decision he had ever made, and he hoped he wouldn’t regret it.

 

Hoseok was tugged back down to earth by Hyunwoo’s hands, yanking that plastic bag off his head himself and filling the oxygen back into his lungs with his own lips. Hoseok felt like he was gasping at air, pressing with fervor into the kiss, chasing something he was afraid of losing all over again.

 

They broke apart though, wide eyes matching as they looked at eachother, sitting back.

 

“Did you—”

 

“Did I—

 

Hoseok couldn’t help it, and he crumbled into a fit of laughter, rubbing at his inevitable tears. Fuck. Fuck! This was life, was it not? Life in its rawest form. His walls felt scattered, broken and built up, only for him to kick them down himself.

 

It felt like after all this storming, the sun was beginning to peek from the clouds, bringing down small strips of sunlight rays, shining on him.

 

At the end of the day, all you can do is go home, and Hyunwoo was that.

 

He was that and so much more .

 

And even if Hoseok can’t see himself fully coming around until a few more dates, a few more talks, and a few more kisses—— this would just have to be enough.

 

And he could settle with enough.

 

So… Shouldn’t we bring out their ramen before it gets cold?” Changkyun asked, peering around the corner behind Jooheon’s back, the bowls in hand.

 

“Shut up , you fucking raisin, it was just getting good.”