Suho. The Moon.
Keep to yourself. Manage what you can. Deal with the past by...well, don’t deal with the past.
Suho orbited these rules - more like self-inflicted shackles - with careful calculation. Grades? He could master. Friends? Didn’t need them. He didn’t need a repeat of the scar named Seojun. Couldn’t again deal with frosty glares, couldn't deal with the thin-lipped smirk coming from the mouth that once laughed softly beside Suho in the too-early hours of the morning.
Their shared hangouts and sleepily composed song drafts felt like a lifetime ago...
What can I give to return to those days? To listen as Seojun boasted over his gaming records...To watch his hands trace across his motorcycle, lip caught between his teeth...To hear Seojun laugh with me again...I’d swallow my pride if I only knew how to break down the wall between us. Seyeon would hate to see us so torn apart…
But as with after every winter, the spring came. Lim Jugyeong. His old friend, new friend, and stranger-on-a-rooftop-i’ll-never-see-again-but-wish-you-well.
She skipped, fell, stumbled and ran into Suho’s life before he could understand he’d been waiting for the rain to stop and the skies to clear.
He clumsily fell right back into her orbit; tentative, sullen, scared, alone, smitten and clinging onto the fragments of hope he found in each interaction, Suho began to breathe again. Jugyeong’s kindness warmed Suho out of his loneliness; he opened up bit by bit and in return, she shared her secrets and ambitions and fears.
But Seojun haunted Suho. His remarks and jabs prickled Suho out of his carefully designed nonchalance. Whereas Jugyeong brought him into the present, Seojun’s presence reminded Suho of a hidden part of the past, a self he’d locked away and was trying hard to keep away.
Suho knew his feelings were complicated. Even now, when he was happy dating Jugyeong, he felt frustrated and jealous. It was misdirected, Suho knew this. Each of Seojun’s lazy grins bit into Suho’s skin like a flame held too close. Seojun liked Jugyeong but Suho couldn’t focus on one emotion; he disliked the way Seojun looked at his girlfriend but there was something unnamable burning hot against his ribcage, as though Seojun was pressing his fingers to his chest and keeping Suho’s gaze right there, in the space between the three of them. An empty space didn’t seem to be lacking anymore. There was something new waiting to fill it.
I dare you, Seojun’s gaze seemed to tease. I dare you to see what you truly want.
Weeks of unspoken words - and fights over things that were never quite about the right thing - finally culminated in the car accident. He remembered running out after hearing Seyeon's song. Remembered Seojun's shout and the car hurtling towards them-
Suho blinked, awake and dreary. He could already sense the throbbing aches of his injuries and groaned.
He was hit with a horrible memory and gasped.
Seojun? Was he awake? Was he okay? Please don't take him from me too-
“Suho! Please, be careful,” the girl’s voice sounded far away but the arm it belonged to gripped him tightly, fingers trembling. “You want to sit up? Okay, no, no, let me…”
Suho’s heart calmed at the sight of Jugyeong sitting by his bed, her open face kind and concerned. He managed a small smile before wincing.
“I’m...okay. Seojun? Is he…?”
“His arm is broken but other than some bruises, he’s fine, Suho, I promise.”
Jugyeong’s eyes grew wet and her voice shook as she continued. “We were all so worried but you're both so stubborn and strong. Thank you for waking up. I don’t know what i’d do…” She broke off and gave in to the tears this time.
Suho pulled her close to him and they embraced until the pain didn’t seem so unbearable. Suho whispered ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ and Jugyeong didn’t ask why. He was grateful because he had no idea if he was praying for himself or his own tears were for Seojun.
I can’t lose you either of you. I...like you both so much.
A knock sounded at the door. Jugyeong wiped away her tears with his sleeve - Suho suppressed a grin and nodded for her to open the door.
“Uh...hey. Glad you’re awake. Bye-”
“Seojun, wait-” the words burst from Suho before he could compose a response as equally cool and casual as Seojun’s.
His friend stood in a hospital gown, adorned in one of his favourite black and white leather jackets - of course he’d requested it as soon as he woke, Suho thought, fondness softening the embarrassment he felt. He scanned Seojun's face and traced the faint bruises and shadows under Seojun’s eyes.
Beautiful eyes. Why are his eyes so goddamn beautiful?
“Stare much? Do you want an autograph?” Seojun scoffed, ducking his head and running a hand through his dishevelled hair.
A quiet giggle came from Jugyeong and she beamed between them. “You two are just ridiculous, you know.”
Before either of them could question her further, the doctors began to do the daily rounds, but not before Suho felt his breath catch. In the small, plain hospital room filled with scars and tangled histories, a new page turned over. Between himself, Seojun and Jugyeong, something precious began to shape itself.
Jugyeong. The Stars.
Peaceful days bloomed after the accident. Jugyeong found herself enjoying her studies, studying outside of school to prepare for cosmetology exams and tests, and relaxing with her friends and boyfriend.
I’ve come so far from the trembling girl who had no friends. I’m so proud of myself.
Although Jugyeong didn’t yet have the courage to face school without makeup she knew the time was closer than it ever had been. She would get there at her own pace, learn to love herself gradually, be content to share her friends’ affections and trust they were genuine. They loved her for her.
Suho likes me for me.
She didn’t hide the goofy grin splitting her face. She didn’t care if people in the library stared at her. She was so happy. Especially as in the following weeks after their hospital discharges they’d been hanging out so often, she, Suho and Seojun.
In fact, Jugyeong couldn’t remember the last time they’d been apart. After school, they held movie nights at Suho’s place - when he was lonely and didn’t want to admit it so Jugyeong planned a crash-in with Seojun. Sometimes they went to the arcade or out for food and karaoke with their friends, followed by a late walk, just the three of them. It often ended in light bickering over who was walking who home; Jugyeong dealt with the two idiots by declaring whoever started the fight next ought to kiss the other.
They were both rather quiet afterwards and Jugyeong watched their cheeks turn violent shades of pink.
I like Suho. Is it wrong that I look at Seojun more than I should too? That I...I also like how they watch each other? Do they feel the same way I do?
Jugyeong wasn’t quite brave enough to ask Suho about his feelings, not when her own were fogged with doubt. All she knew was: the three of them filled in each other’s missing parts - Suho was quiet, smart and cool, Seojun burned bright and laughed loud, and Jugyeong?
Well, every group needs a hug-first-talk-later soul. She smiled to herself, happily lost in thought as she waited for Suho outside by the playground. She reached a hand to her mouth and slowly traced her lower lip. The memory of her first kiss with Suho in the forest filled Jugyeong with a sweet aftertaste. But it still felt...lacking. Not because it was Suho.
Someone was missing.
She never felt that way when it was the three of them hanging out; her best days belonged to their school lunch hangouts or shared classroom notes; they belonged to weekends of part-time work with Seojun and Suho visiting them on breaks; they belonged to soothing Suho when his father stressed him out again, or sharing makeup tutorials with Seojun’s sister and laughing to the sound of Seojun’s shower singing.
She’d even managed to convince the boys to indulge her cosmetics practices. Suho and Seojun would sit cross-legged on her bed as they let her exploit their pretty faces with makeup tutorials.
“Hold still, please,” she would beg as Seojun squirmed. Suho would scoff quietly beside him but blink quickly when Jugyeong turned her brush and attention his way.
“You both look beautiful,” she told them once, surprised by her own confidence. There was a vulnerability in the way Suho smiled back at her, and when Seojun tilted his head towards him, the smile only widened.
“What?” Seojun asked. “You only just realised I’m hot?” The husky quality of his voice made Jungyeong swallow. He was looking at Suho the same way he’d eyed her up in that photoshoot.
“No.” Suho’s voice cut through the tension but his words created a different kind of pull. “I knew a long time ago.”
“How long?” Seojun’s demand was a white-hot flame. His fist sat closed beside Suho's open hand on the bed, the space between them almost non-existent.
Suho shrugged and cleared his throat. “Long enough to bury it. Should we eat?” he casually said, changing the subject. Jugyeong didn’t realise she’d become frozen and was staring like a fool.
“O-oh. Yes. Let’s eat! You can help me order, Seojun,” she said quickly, tugging him up by the arm and dragging him to the door. “Stay and...listen to some music!” she told Suho, who blinked, adorably confused, as she dragged his best friend from the room and into the hallway.
She watched Seojun struggle to regain his cool for a few moments as he scanned the delivery menu, pretending his thoughts were anywhere other than in the room upstairs, beside Suho. But Jugyeong knew how scary it was to accept your true feelings. It had taken her a long while too.
“Are you feeling okay?” She placed the back of her hand to his forehead and Seojun’s gaze held her own.
“Well, I am now,” he said, his lips twitching. Despite the tease, she could read him better now. She shook her head, smiling fondly.
“You’re both fools. My fools.” She said it lightly enough but cupped a hand against Seojun’s cheek, smiling as he instinctively leaned into the touch. He seemed to realise a moment later and hesitated. She reached up onto her tiptoes and kissed his cheek before the courage escaped her again.
“W-what was that for?” Seojun’s eyes widened. He pressed a finger to the spot on his cheek.
“It was from both of us. He just won’t admit it. I thought you were a man, hm?” Jugyeong couldn’t help but tease him. Really, Seojun was such a bluffer. She adored it.
I hope we can all be happy together.
Seojun. The Sun.
Despite his numerous personal struggles with friends and his mother’s health, Seojun never paid much attention to who attracted his attention; the pretty girl smiling at him in the hallway of the trainee building, the barista at his favourite coffee shop who had dimples and a guitar tattoo on his right hand.
It never mattered. Beautiful girls and boys attracted Seojun’s eye but having met many trainees, friends and people across different friendship groups, he knew he’d always come back to him. Back to Lee Suho. And more recently, back to Jugyeong too.
Why’s it so hard to believe they have room for me?
The two people who could challenge him and appreciate his quieter sides and his passionate side too....Seojun wanted them. He wanted them both beside him, to be brave enough to admit it. He had forgiven Suho a long time ago for the pained history between them, and asked for forgiveness too.
But when the pain left, hope and something tender took shape; Seojun felt threatened by the overwhelming newness of it. The completeness of watching Jugyeong drag Suho up to sing with her in their favourite karaoke booth. The way they shared looks and included him too.
Jugyeong’s presence had been the glue to the frayed string of fate between Suho and Seojun, he knew this now. She’d woven her own string into theirs and created a kaleidoscope of colours known only to them.
Seojun felt the kiss coming a mile away and yet, it still surprised him.
After so much hard work, their graduation day arrived. Seojun found himself suited up and with nowhere to go after the ceremony. His family had gifted him flowers and after forcing him to take many, many photos, left him to enjoy the evening with friends. Only he’d been indecisive and excused himself from every option; there had been a few parties planned by rebellious students and one gathering at Soojin’s house but...he just wanted to feel at home. So he found himself at Suho’s place, where Jugyeong was already, and smiled.
“Hello. Room for one more?”
“Always,” she said, letting him in. Suho sat in a white shirt, the sleeves rolled up enough for Seojun to appreciate his muscle definition. He swallowed and greeted him as cooly as he could.
They sat together on the floor for a while and played some games and Suho teased them both about their studies finally paying off, to which Seojun and Yungyeon teamed up to beat him at the next game.
“I had a great tutor,” Jugyeong said, all giggly and delighted and looking at Suho like he was the moon. Which he was, Seojun supposed, eyeing him without shame. He was looking away anyway. Suho was cool and beautiful and Seojun felt he could burn up the sun for a bit of his attention. If Suho was the moon, Jungyeon was the stars; scattered in pieces of dreams, love and insecurities but binding everyone together.
If I'm the sun, I burn and burn until there’s nothing left.
“Careful, don’t hurt your brain.” Suho’s voice clipped at his thoughts. Seojun scoffed and nudged him with an elbow.
“Never fear, my friend. I can’t hurt what’s not there.”
“Hey! You weren’t supposed to agree.”
“Then study more-”
“Excuse me but remember what I said would happen the next time you fight,” Jugyeong piped up. She gave them a warning look and although it was playful, Seojun felt a sense of competition light him up from the inside.
He leaned closer to Suho, placing his hands on either side of his legs.
“What? No words, smart boy?”
Suho kissed him first. It shouldn’t have caught Seojun off-guard, especially as he half-initiated it, but it did.
Stupid. You’re so stupid to think a kiss from Lee Suho wouldn’t absolutely destroy you. You fool. You’ve wrecked yourself for the both of them now.
The kiss was brief but hard and Seojun had enough time to slip a hand around the back of Suho’s head, drawing him closer. When he pulled away, their foreheads pressed together. He swallowed.
“I want to play you something. Both of you,” Seojun said. If he didn’t do it now, he’d never get a more perfect opportunity to try. He led them into Suho’s music room - pausing briefly to squeeze Suho’s hand as the brief pain they shared flared up. Suho stood by the piano and Jugyeong sat on the stool with Seojun, her body warm and safe against his.
He played for the both of them, the song he’d tried to start and finish and rewrite over and over again in their months together. The honesty of it poured out in gentle piano chords and a deeper, pained but intimate voice. Seojun was so proud of it. Proud of them. When he was finished, he turned and smiled.
“Thank you,” Jugyeong said. She met him halfway and this kiss was the opposite of his first with Suho; gentle and slow. She chased his mouth, surprising Seojun, and they shared a laugh as they relaxed and tried again. When they broke away, Seojun sensed Suho coming to stand closer, and they sat on the sofa together for a while, tracing hands, lips, lines and scars still not quite faded.
“Let’s make our own path,” Jugyeong said brightly, head against Seojun’s shoulder, hand in Suho’s free one. His other hand curled around the sofa to reach the back of Seojun’s neck, where he toyed with the strands of hair, making Seojun shiver and lean into his touch. The quiet intimacy of it was irreplaceable. Seojun knew he’d found a home amongst the two of them.
They fell asleep in Suho’s bed, tired and happy, Jugyeong wrapping her arms around Seojun’s chest as Suho cradled her from behind. They drifted off into dreams, curled around each other; the stars scattered between the sun and moon to keep them connected.